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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Last Roma Myths

In olden days there were twelve brothers. And the eldest brother, the carpenter Manoli, was making the long bridge. One side he makes; one side falls. The twelve brothers had one mistress, and they all had to do with her. They called her to them, 'Dear bride.' On her head was the tray; in her hands was a child. Whoseso wife came first, she will come to the twelve brothers. Manoli's wife, Lénga, will come to the twelve brothers. Said his wife, 'Thou hast not eaten bread with me. What has befallen thee that thou eatest not bread with me? My ring has fallen into the water. Go and fetch my ring.' Her husband said, 'I will fetch thy ring out of the water.' Up to his two breasts came the water in the depth of the bridge there. He came into the fountain, he was drowned. Beneath he became a talisman, the innermost foundation of the bridge. Manoli's eyes became the great open arch of the bridge. 'God send a wind to blow, that the tray may fall from the head of her who bears it in front of Lénga.' A snake crept out before Lénga, and she feared, and said, 'Now have I fear at sight of the snake, and am sick. Now is it not bad for my children?' Another man seized her, and sought to drown her, Manoli's wife. She said, 'Drown me not in the water. I have little children.' She bowed herself over the sea, where the carpenter Manoli made the bridge. Another man called Manoli's wife; with him she went on the road. There, when they went on the road, he went to the tavern, he was weary; the man went, drank the juice of the grape, got drunk. Before getting home, he killed Manoli's wife, Lénga.

A KING had three sons. He gave the youngest a hundred thousand piastres; he gave the same to the eldest son and to the middle one. The youngest arose, he took the road; wherever he found poor folk he gave money; here, there, he gave it away; he spent the money. His eldest brother went, had ships built to make money. And the middle one went, had shops built. They came to their father.

'What have you done, my son?'

'I have built ships.'

To the youngest, 'You, what have you done?'

'I? every poor man I found, I gave him money; and for poor girls I paid the cost of their marriage.'

The king said, 'My youngest son will care well for the poor. Take another hundred thousand piastres.'

The lad departed. Here, there, he spent his money; twelve piastres remained to him. Some Jews dug up a corpse and beat it.

'What do you want of him, that you are beating him?'

'Twelve piastres we want of him.'

'I'll give you them if you will let him be.'

He gave the money, they let the dead man be. He arose and departed. As the lad goes the dead man followed him. 'Where go you?' the dead man asked.

'I am going for a walk.'

'I'll come too; we'll go together; we will be partners.'

'So be it.'

'Come, I will bring you to a certain place.'

He took and brought him to a village. There was a girl, takes a husband, lies with him; by dawn next day the husbands are dead.

'I will hide you somewhere; I will get you a girl; but we shall always be partners.'

He found the girl (a dragon came out of her mouth).

'And this night when you go to bed, I too will lie there.'

He took his sword, he went near them. The lad said, 'That will never do. If you want her, do you take the girl.'

'Are we not partners? You, do you sleep with her; I also, I will sleep here.'

At midnight he sees the girl open her mouth; the dragon came forth; he drew his sword; he cut off its three heads; he put the heads in his bosom; he lay down; he fell asleep. Next morning the girl arose, and sees the man her husband living by her side. They told the girl's father. 'To-day your daughter has seen dawn break with her husband.'

'That will be the son-in-law,' said the father.

The lad took the girl; he is going to his father.

'Come,' said the dead man, 'let's divide the money.' They fell to dividing it.

'We have divided the money; let us also divide your wife.'

The lad said, 'How divide her? If you want her, take her.'

'I won't take her; we'll divide.'

'How divide?' said the lad.

The dead man said, 'I, I will divide.'

The dead man seized her; he bound her knees. 'Do you catch hold of one foot, I'll take the other.'

He raised his sword to strike the girl. In her fright the girl opened her mouth, and cried, and out of her mouth fell a dragon. The dead man said to the lad, 'I am not for a wife, I am not for any money. These dragon's heads are what devoured the men. Take her; the girl shall be yours, the money shall be yours. You did me a kindness; I also have done you one.'

'What kindness did I do you?' asked the lad.

'You took me from the hands of the Jews.'

The dead man departed to his place, and the lad took his wife, went to his father.

In those days there was a man built a galleon; he manned her; he would go from the White Sea to the Black Sea. He landed at a village to take in water; there he saw four or five boys playing. One of them was bald. He called him. 'Where's the water?' he asked. Baldpate showed him; he took in water.

'Wilt come with me?'

'I will, but I've a mother.'

'Let's go to your mother.' They went to her.

'Will you give me this boy?'

'I will.'

The captain paid a month's wages; he took the lad. They weighed anchor; they came to a large village; they landed to take in water.

The king's son went out for a walk, and he sees a dervish with a girl's portrait for sale. The king's son bought it; it was very lovely. The girl's father had been working at it for seven years. The king's son set it on the fountain, thinking, Some one of those who come to drink the water will say, 'I've seen that girl.' The captain came ashore; he took in water; he lifted up his eyes, and saw the portrait. 'What a beauty!' He went aboard, and said to his crew, 'There's a beauty yonder, I've never seen her like.'

Baldpate said, 'I'm going to see.'

Baldpate went. The moment he saw the portrait, he burst out laughing. 'It's the dervish's daughter. How do they come by her?'

Hardly had he said it when they seized him and brought him to the palace. Baldpate lost his head the moment they seized him. But two days later they came to him: 'This girl, do you know her?'

'Know her? why, we were brought up together. Her mother is dead; she suckled both her and me.'

'If they bring you before the king, fear not.'

He came before the king.

'This girl, do you know her, my lad?'

'I do, we grew up together.'

'Will you bring her here?'

'I will. Build me a gilded galleon; give me twenty musicians; let me take your son with me; and let no one gainsay whatever I do. Then I will go. I shall take seven years to go and come.'

They took their bread, their water for seven years; they set out. They went to the maiden's country. At break of day Baldpate brought the galleon near the maiden's house; the maiden's house was close to the sea. Baldpate said, 'I'll go upon deck for a turn; don't any of you show yourselves.' He went up; he paced the deck.

The dervish's daughter arose from her sleep. The sun struck on the galleon; it struck, too, on the house. The girl went out, rubs her eyes. A man pacing up and down. She bowed forward and saw our Baldpate. She knew him: 'What wants he here?'

'What seek you here?'

'I've come for you, come to see you; it is so many years since I've seen you. Come aboard. Your father, where's he gone to?'

'Don't you know that my father has been painting my portrait? He's gone to sell it; I'm expecting him these last few days.'

'Come here, and let's have a little talk.'

The girl went to dress. Baldpate went to his crew. Hide yourselves; don't let a soul be seen; but the moment I get her into the cabin, do you cut the ropes; I shall be talking with her.'

She came into the cabin; they seated themselves; they talk; the galleon gets under weigh. He privily brought in the king's son.

'Who is this?' said the girl. 'I am off.'

'Are you daft, my sister? Let's have some sweetmeats.' He gave her some; they intoxicated the girl.

'A little music to play to you,' said Baldpate.

He went, brought the musicians; they began to play. The girl said, 'I'm up, I'm off; my father's coming.'

'Sit down a bit, and let them play to you.' They play their music; she hears not the departure of the galleon.

'I'm off,' said the girl to Baldpate.

She went on deck and saw where her home was. 'Ah! my brother, what have you done to me?'

'Done to you! he who sits by you is the son of the king, and I'm come to fetch you for him.'

She wept and said, 'What shall I do? shall I fling myself into the sea?' No, she went and sat down by the king's son. Plenty of music and victuals and drink. Baldpate is sitting up aloft by himself; he is captain. They eat, they drink; he stirred not from his post.

Two or three days remained ere they landed. At break of dawn three birds perched on the galleon; no one was near him. The birds began talking: 'O bird, O bird, what is it, O bird? The dervish's daughter eats, drinks with the son of the king; she knows not what will befall them.'

'What will?' the other birds asked.

'As soon as he arrives, a little boat will come to take them off. The boat will upset, and the dervish's daughter and the king's son will be drowned; and whoever hears it and tells will be turned into stone to his knees.'

Baldpate listens; he is alone.

Early next morning the birds came back again. They began talking together: 'O bird, O bird, what is it, O bird? The dervish's daughter and the king's son eat, drink; they know not what will befall them. As soon as they land, as soon as they enter the gate, the gate will tumble down, it will crush them and kill them; and whoever hears it and tells will be turned into stone to the back.'

Day broke; the birds came back. 'O bird, O bird, what is it, O bird? The dervish's daughter eats, drinks; she knows not what will befall her.'

'What will?' the other birds asked.

'The marriage night a seven-headed dragon will come forth, and he will devour the king's son and the dervish's daughter; and whoever hears it and tells them will be turned into stone to the head.'

Baldpate says, all to himself, 'I shan't let any boats come.' He arose; he came opposite the palace; some boats came to take off the maiden.

'I want no boats.' Instead he spread his sails. The galleon backed, the galleon went ahead. One and all looked: 'Why, he will strand the galleon!'

'Let him be,' said the king, 'let him strand her.'

He stranded the galleon.

Baldpate said to the king, 'When I started to fetch this girl, did I not tell you you must let me do as I would? No one must interfere.'

He took the girl and the prince; he came to the gate. 'Pull it down.'

'Pull it down, why?' they asked.

'Did I not tell you no one must interfere?'

They set to and pulled it down. They went up, sat down, ate, drank, laugh, and talk.

The worm gnaws Baldpate within.

Night fell; they will bed the pair. Baldpate said; 'Where you sleep I also will sleep there.'

'The bridegroom and bride will sleep there; you can't.'

'What's our bargain?'

'Thou knowest.'

They went, they lay down; Baldpate took his sword, he lay down, he covered his head. At midnight he hears a dragon coming. He draws his sword; he cuts off its heads; he puts them beneath his pillow. The king's son awoke, and sees his sword in his hands. He cried, 'Baldpate will kill us.'

The father came and asked, 'What made you call out, my son?'

'Baldpate will kill us,' he answered.

They took and bound Baldpate's arms.

Day broke; the king summoned him. 'Why have you acted thus? Seven years you have gone, you have journeyed, and brought the maiden; and now you have risen to slay them.'

'What could I do?'

'You would kill my son, then will I kill you.'

'Thou knowest.'

They bind his arms, they lead him to cut off his head. As he went, Baldpate said to himself; 'They will cut off my head. If I tell, I shall be turned into stone. Come, bring me to the king; I have a couple of words to say to him.'

They brought him to the king.

'Why have you brought him here?'

'He has a couple of words to say to you.'

'Say them, my lad.'

'I, when I went to fetch the dervish's daughter, I was sitting alone on the galleon; your son was eating, drinking with the maiden. One morning three birds came; they began talking: "O bird, O bird, what is it, O bird? The dervish's daughter eats, drinks with the son of the king; she knows not what will befall her. And whoever hears it and tells will be turned into stone to his knees." No one but I was there; I heard it.'

As soon as Baldpate had said it, he was turned into stone to his knees. The king, seeing he was turned into stone, said, 'Prithee, my lad, say no more.'

'But I will,' Baldpate answered, and went on to tell of the gate; he was turned into stone to his back.

'The third time the birds came and talked together again, and I heard (that was why I wished to sleep with them): "A seven-headed dragon will come forth; he will devour them." And if you believe it not, look under the pillow.'

They went there; they saw the heads.

'It was I who killed him. Your son saw the sword in my hands, and he thought I would kill them. I could not tell him the truth.'

He was turned into stone to his head, They made a tomb for him.

The king's son arose; he took the road; he departed. 'Seven years has he wandered for me, I am going to wander seven years for him.'

The king's son went walking, walking. In a certain place there was water; he drank of it; he lay down. Baldpate came to him in a dream: 'Take a little earth from here, and go and sprinkle it on the tomb. He will rise from the stone.'

The king's son slept and slept. He arose; he takes some of the earth; he went to the tomb; he sprinkled the earth on it. Baldpate arose. 'How sound I've been sleeping!' he said.

'Seven years hast thou wandered for me, and seven years I have wandered for thee.'

He takes him, he brings him to the palace, he makes him a great one.

In those days there was a rich man. He had an only son, and the mother and the father loved him dearly., He went to school; all that there is in the world, he learned it. One day he arose; took four, five purses of money. Here, there he squandered it. Early next morning he arose again and went to his father. 'Give me more money.' He got more money, arose, went; by night he had spent it. Little by little he spent all the money.

And early once more he arose, and says to his father and mother, 'I want some money.'

'My child, there is no money left. Would you like the stew-pans? take them, go, sell them, and eat.'

He took and sold them: in a day or two he had spent it.

'I want some money.'

My son, we have no money. Take the clothes, go, sell them.'

In a day or two he had spent that money. He arose, and went to his father, 'I want some money.'

'My son, there is no money left us. If you like, sell the house.'

The lad took and sold the house. In a month he had spent the money; no money remained. 'Father I want some money.'

'My son, no riches remain to us, no house remains to us. If you like, take us to the slave-market, sell us.'

The lad took and sold them. His mother and his father said, 'Come this way, that we may see you.' The king bought the mother and father.

With the money for his mother the lad bought himself clothes, and with the money for his father got a horse.

One day, two days the father, the mother looked for the son that comes not; they fell a-weeping. The king's servants saw them weeping; they went, told it to the king. 'Those whom you bought weep loudly.'

'Call them to me.' The king called them. 'Why are you weeping.'

'We had a son; for him it is we weep.'

'Who are you, then? ' asked the king.

'We were not thus, my king; we had a son. He sold us, and we were weeping at his not coming to see us.'

Just as they were talking with the king, the lad arrived. The king set-to, wrote a letter, gave it him into his hand. 'Carry this letter to such and such a place.' In it the king wrote, 'The lad bearing this letter, cut his throat the minute you get it.'

The lad put on his new clothes, mounted his horse, put the letter in his bosom, took the road. He rode a long way; he was dying of thirst; and he sees a well. 'How am I to get water to drink? I will fasten this letter, and lower it into the well, and moisten my mouth a bit.' He lowered it, drew it up, squeezed it into his mouth.

'Let's see what this letter contains.'

See what it contains--'The minute he delivers the letter, cut his throat.' The lad stood there fair mesmerised. 1

In a certain place there was a king's daughter. They go to propound a riddle to her. If she guesses it, she will cut off his head; and if she cannot, he will marry the maiden.

The lad arose, went to the king's palace.

'What are you come for, my lad?'

'I would speak with the king's daughter.'

'Speak with her you shall. If she guesses your riddle, she will cut off your head; and if she cannot, you will get the maiden.'

'That's what I'm come for.'

He sat down in front of the maiden. The maiden said, 'Tell your riddle.'

The lad said, 'My mother I wore her, my father I rode him, from my death I drank water.'

The maiden looked in her book, could not find it. 'Grant me a three days' respite.'

'I grant it you,' said the lad. The lad arose, went to an inn, goes to sleep there.

The maiden saw she cannot find it out. The maiden set-to, had an underground passage made to the place where the lad lies sleeping. At midnight the maid arose, went to him, took the lad in her arms.

'I am thine, thou art mine, only tell me the riddle.'

'Not likely I should tell you. Strip yourself,' said the lad to the maiden. The maiden stripped herself.

'Tell me it.' Then he told her.

The maiden clapped her hands; her servants came, took the maiden, and let her go. The maiden was wearing the lad's sark, and the lad was wearing the maiden's.

Day broke. They summoned the lad. The lad mounted his horse, and rides to the palace. The people see the lad. '’Tis a pity; they'll kill him.'

He went up, and stood face to face with the king.

'My daughter has guessed your riddle,' said the king.

'How did she guess it, my king? At night when I was asleep, there came a bird to my breast. I caught it, I killed it, I cooked it. Just as I was going to eat it, it flew away.'

The king says, 'Kill him; he's wandering.'

'I am not wandering, my king. I told your daughter the riddle. Your daughter had an underground passage made, and she came to where I was sleeping, came to my arms. I caught her, I stripped her, I took her to my bosom, I told her the riddle. She clapped her hands; her servants came and took her. And if you don't believe, I am wearing her sark, and she is wearing mine.'

The king saw it was true.

Forty days, forty nights they made a marriage. He took the maiden, went, bought back his father, his mother.

There were two brothers, one poor and one rich. And the rich one said to him, 'Come with me, brother, to our father.' And the rich one took bread for himself, and the poor one had none.

And the rich one kept eating bread, and the poor one said, 'Give me, too, a bit of bread.'

'If you will give me an eye, I will give you a bit of bread.' 'I will give it you, brother.'

And he took out an eye, and gave him a bit of bread.

And he went further, and he hungered. 'Give me a bit more bread.'

'Give me one more eye.'

'I will give it you, brother.'

Behold, he was blind now, and his brother took him by the hand and led him under the gallows, and left him there; and his brother departed. At nightfall came the devils, and perched on the gallows.

And the biggest devil asked, 'What hast done in the world? where wert walking?'

'I did--I stopped the water.'

'And thou, what hast thou done?'

'The emperor's daughter neither dies nor lives; she is just in torment.'

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'And thou, what hast thou done?'

'I did--that a brother dug out a brother's eyes.'

'If he knew, there's a brook here, and if he washed himself, he would see.'

'If the townsfolk knew to go to the mountain and remove the stone, the water would flow again.'

And the third said, 'But if the emperor's daughter knew, under her bed there is a toad, and if she takes it out, and gets ready a bath, and puts the toad in the bath, and if they wash her, she would grow strong.'

Then the cocks crowed, and the devils departed.

So the man dragged himself to the brook, and kept feeling with his hand till he found the water. And he washed his face, and his eyes were restored to him. And he went into the city where they had stopped the water. 'What will you give me if I release the water?'

'What you want, we will give you.'

'Well, come with me to the mountain, take to you iron crowbars.'

So they went to the mountain, and raised the stone; and the water flowed plentifully.

'Well, now, what do you want, man, for releasing the water?'

'Give me a carriage and two horses and a carriageful of money.'

They gave them to him. He went to the emperor's daughter. 'What will you give me if I make her strong?'

'What you want, I will give you.'

'Set water on the fire to boil.'

And he went and took out the toad, and threw it into the bath; and they washed the emperor's daughter, and she grew stronger and fairer than ever.

'What do you want for making her strong and fair?'

'Give me two horses and a carriageful of money, and give me a driver home.'

So he went home, and sent the servant to his brother, to borrow a bushel. And his brother asked, 'What to do with the bushel?'

'To measure money with.'

His brother gave him the bushel; and went himself and asked his brother, 'Where did you get it, the money, from, and the horses?'

p. 114

'From there where you left me.'

'Lead me, too, thither to that place. I am sorry, brother.'

'Don't be sorry; you've just got to go. Well, come, brother.'

So they both went to the place where he dug out his eyes.

'Give me, brother, a bit of bread.'

'Give me an eye.'

He gave him an eye, and he gave him a bit of bread.

And they went further. 'Give me, brother, a bit more bread.'

'Give me one more eye.'

'I will, brother.'

So he gave him a bit more bread, and took him by the hand, and led him under the gallows, and left him there, and departed. At nightfall came the devils, and perched on the gallows. And the biggest devil asked, 'What have you done? where have you been to in the world?'

One said, 'Don't tell, for there was lately a blind man under the gallows, and he heard what we said. And he made himself eyes, and made the water run, and raised up the emperor's daughter. Stay, while I look under the gallows.'

And they found the blind man. 'There's a blind man here.' And they rent him all in pieces. Then the devils departed; the man was dead.

There was once a nobleman who had a very handsome son. The nobleman wished that his son should marry, but there was nobody whom he would wed. Young ladies of every kind were assembled, but not one of them would he have. For ten years he lived with his father. Once in a dream he bethought himself that he should go and travel. He went away far out into the world; and for ten years he was absent from his home. He reflected, and 'What shall I do?' he asked himself; 'I will return to my father.' He returned home in rags, and all lean with wretchedness, so that his father was ashamed of him. He remained with him three months.

Once he dreamt that in the middle of a field there was a lovely sheet of water, and that in this little lake three beautiful damsels were bathing. Next morning he arose and said to his father, 'Rest you here with the help of the good God, my father; for I am going afar into the world.'

His father gave him much money, and said to him, 'If you do not wish to stay with me, go forth with the help of God.'

He set out on his way; he came to this little lake; and there he saw three beautiful damsels bathing. He would have captured one of them, but these damsels had wings on their smocks, by means of which they soared into the air and escaped him. He went away, this nobleman's son, and said he to himself, 'What shall I do now, poor wretch that I am?' and he began to weep bitterly.

Then he sees an old man approaching him, and this old man asks him, 'Why do you weep, my lad?'

'Oh! well do I know why I weep: there are three lovely damsels who bathe in that lake, but I cannot capture them.'

'What do you want, then?' asks this old man. 'Would you catch the whole three of them?'

'No,' he replied, 'I wish to catch only one of them, the youngest one.'

'Very well, then, listen: I am going to dig a pit for you; whenever you see them coming for a swim, hide yourself in this hole, and wait there in silence. As soon as they have laid down their clothes, jump up and seize hold of the smock belonging to the youngest one. She will beg you to give it up to her, but do not give it up.'

Well, these three damsels came; they took off their smocks, and laid each of them aside. The nobleman's son watched them from his pit; he jumped out; he seized hold of the smock belonging to the youngest one. She beseeches him to give it back to her, but he will not consent to do so. The two other sisters fly away with the good God, and he returns to his home with the young damsel. His father sees that he brings a beautiful damsel with him. Well, he marries her. They live together for five years. They had a very pretty young son. But as for the winged smock he had a special room made, into which he locked it, and the key of the room he gave to his mother to take care of. Madman that he was! he would have done better had he burned that smock.

One day he went out into the fields. Then his wife spoke thus to his mother, 'Mother, five years now have I been here, and I know not what there is in my husband's room, because he always keeps it hidden from me.'

Then the mother said to her, 'Well, come with me; I am going to show it to you.'

'That is right, mother. I wish it much, because he ought not to hide anything from me, for I would not rob him of anything, to hand it over to the lads.'

She went into that room with his mother; she sees that her smock with the two wings is there.

'Mother,' she said, 'may I again don this smock, to see whether I am as beautiful still as I was once.'

'Very well, my daughter, put it on again; I do not forbid you.'

She put on the smock, and she said to his mother, 'Remain here with the help of the good God, my mother; salute my husband for me; and take good care of my child. For never more will you see me.'

Then she sped away with the good God, and returned home to the witch, her mother.

Her husband came back to the house and asked his mother, 'Where has my wife gone?'

My son, she went into that room there; she once more put on a certain smock; she sent you a farewell greeting; and she asked me to take care of her child, for never more would she see us.'

'Well, I am going away in quest of her.'

He took a lot of money with him, he set out, and journeyed forth with the help of the good God. He came to a miller's house. The miller had a mill, where they ground corn for this witch. Well, the nobleman's son asked this miller to hide him in a sack, to cover him with meal, and to fasten him securely into the sack.

'I will pay you for this service,' said he to the miller.

Well, as soon as he had hidden him in the sack and fastened it, four devils came. Each of them took a sack; but the first of these, the one in which the nobleman's son was concealed, was very heavy. This devil took the sack; he threw it upon his back; he set out on his road, and went away with the good God (sic!). They went to the abode of the witch and laid down their sacks.

The next day there was to be a wedding there. Who should happen to come to this first sack but his wife? 'What are you doing here?'

'Well, I am come to take you away.'

'Meanwhile, my mother is going to kill you.'

Her mother, having heard with whom she was speaking, entered and recognised him. 'So, then, it is you who are so clever, and who stole away my daughter. Hearken, then, you shall have her to wife if you perform for me the feats which I shall lay upon you.'

She gave him food and drink; he went to bed.

Next day he got up, and the witch arose also and said to him, 'Hearken, I have here a great forest, three hundred leagues in extent. You must uproot for me every tree, cut them in pieces, arrange these pieces in piles, the logs on one side and the brushwood on the other. If you do not do that for me, I will cut off your head.'

She gave him a wooden axe and a wooden spade. He set out; he went to the forest. He came to this forest; he saw it was very large.

'What can I do here, wretched man that I am, with the wooden axe and the wooden spade that she has given me?'

He struck a blow with the axe on a tree; and the axe broke.

'What am I going to do now, wretched man that I am?'

He cowered down upon the ground, and fell a-weeping. He sees his wife come; she brings him something to eat and drink.

'Why are you weeping?' asks his wife.

'How can I refrain from weeping when your mother has given me an axe and a spade of wood, and I have broken them both already.'

'Hush, then, weep not; all will go well. Only eat and be filled.'

He ate and was filled.

'Come, now, I am going to louse your head.' 1

He went to her; he laid his head in her lap; and he fell asleep. His wife put her fingers into her mouth and whistled. A great number of devils came to her.

'What is it that the great lady demands of us?'

'That this entire forest be cut down, and that the logs be set in piles on one side, and the brushwood on the other; each kind has to be ranged in separate piles.'

The devils set themselves to this task, and cut down the whole forest, so that not a stick of it remained standing, and all the wood was arranged in piles.

His wife then awoke him: 'Get up now.'

He arose, he saw the whole forest was cut down, and each kind of wood was arranged in lots. He is rejoiced; he returns to the house before night.

'Finished already?' the mother, this witch, asks him. 'Yes,' he replied, 'I am finished.'

She went out to see. The whole forest indeed was felled, and each kind of wood was arranged in piles. At that she was much mortified. Well, she gave him some food; he satisfied himself, and lay down to sleep.

She arose next morning, this witch, and said to him, 'I will give you my daughter to wife if you cause my forest to become again what it was before, with every leaf in its place again. And if you fail to do that for me, why, then, I will cut off your head.'

Well, he set out; he went on his way. He came to the forest.

'What shall I do now, unhappy wretch that I am?'

He tried to fasten a branch on to its proper trunk, and the branch fell off again. He bowed himself to the ground and wept. His wife came to him, bringing him food.

'Why do you weep so, like a calf?'

'How can I help weeping, when your mother has made me fell this forest, and now commands me so to restore this same forest so that each leaf shall be once more in its proper place on the tree?'

'Don't weep any more, then; eat.'

He ate; he was satisfied.

'Come, let me louse your head.'

He lay down on her lap and went to sleep.

Then she whistled, and the devils appeared in great numbers.

'What do you demand of us, my lady?'

'I demand that my forest be restored to its former condition, so that each leaf may be on its own tree.'

Well, the devils set to work and restored everything, so that every leaf was in its proper place. Then she awoke him. He got up and saw the whole forest entire, as it had been before.

Quite overjoyed, he returned to the house before night. 'Finished already?' asked the mother.

'Yes. I have finished.'

She went forth to see if it was true. There was the forest as it had been before.

Then the mother said, 'What are we to do with him now?'

She gave him food and drink.

She arose next morning, this witch. 'Hearken, you shall have my daughter to wife if you perform for me yet one more feat.'

'Very well, mother.'

'There is a very large pond here; you must drain it dry.'


But beware of letting a single fish in it perish.'

She gave him a sieve with big holes. 'This is what you must empty the pond with.'

He went to the pond, this nobleman's son; he lifted up a sieveful of water, which immediately streamed away. He flung the sieve to the devils.

'If at least she had given me a bucket, I might perhaps have managed to empty this pond more quickly.'

Then he bowed himself down and began to weep. 'Wretch that I am, what shall I do now?'

He sees his wife come to him.

'Why are you weeping again?'

'Because your mother has given me a sieve with big holes, so that the water runs away at once.'

'Never mind, then, be quiet; do not weep any more. With God's help all will go well,'

She gave him to eat and to drink; then he lay down on his wife's lap and slept. His wife whistled, and a great number of devils appeared before her.

'What does her ladyship demand of us?'

'I desire that all the water in this pond be drained away, without a single fish in it dying.'

The devils set themselves to the task; the pond was soon empty; and not one fish in it died. When he arose, he saw that there was no longer any water in the pond, and that the fish in it remained alive. Filled with joy, he went away to the house.

'Finished already?' the witch asked him.

'Yes, mother, I have done it already.'

Well, she went away out to see. She sees that not a single drop of water remained in her pond, but that the fish, still living, were like to die for want of water. The witch, having then returned home, said to herself, 'What are we going to do with him now? He has already performed three feats for me; I must make him perform yet a fourth.'

She gave him food and drink. He went to bed.

Next morning, when he arose, the witch said to him, Hearken, you shall have my daughter to wife if you accomplish this feat: my pond must be fuller than ever of water, and with more fish in it.'

Then he betook himself to the pond, this nobleman's son, and began to weep bitterly. 'Unhappy that I am, what am I going to do now?' He sees his wife come bringing food.

'Why are you weeping at such a rate? I've told you already not to weep any more.'

He ate; he lay down with his head in his wife's lap, and fell asleep. She whistled, and the devils appeared in great numbers.

'What does her ladyship demand of us?'

'I desire that my pond again be filled with water, and that it have more water and more fish than before.'

Well, she awoke him; he found the pond full of water. He was quite delighted and returned to the house.

'Finished already?' the witch asked him.

'Yes, mother, I have finished.'

She goes out and sees that the pond is full of water and fish. She comes into the house again, and says she to herself, 'What are we going to do now with him? However, he must be killed to-morrow.'

She gave him food and drink; thereafter he went to bed.

His wife came to him and said, 'We must escape this very night. But should our mother pursue us, I will then change myself into a lovely flower, and you shall change yourself into a beautiful meadow.'

'Very well.'

'And if you see it is our father that pursues us, then I will change myself into a church, and you shall change yourself into an old man.'


'And if you perceive it is our sister who is coming after us, then I shall have to change myself into a duck, and you must change yourself into a drake. But I shall no longer have the heart to retain myself; she will beseech me, "My darling sister, return to us." Thus will she speak to me. Then must you, in your form of drake, allow her no rest, but beat her senseless with blows of your wings.'

All right.'

Well, they set out and took to flight.

After they had escaped, and had traversed a distance of a great many leagues, what do they see?--the eldest sister coming after them. As soon as she perceived her, she said to her husband, 'Change yourself into a beautiful meadow, and I will change myself into a pretty flower.'

The eldest sister came up, and, finding nobody, said to herself, 'In the midst of such miserable fields, see, here is a beautiful large meadow and a very pretty flower.' Then she went home to her mother, the witch.

'What have you seen?' asked her mother.

'In the midst of a field I saw a beautiful meadow with a lovely flower.'

Her mother stormed at her: 'Why did you not pluck that flower? You would have brought them both home again.'

Well, the witch set out herself. Meanwhile they had got to a great distance. At length she sees the witch pursuing them, and she says to her husband, 'I will change myself into a duck swimming in the middle of a pond, and you must change yourself into a swan.' 1

Well, she changed herself into a duck on a beautiful pond, and he changed himself into a swan. Her mother, the witch, making up to them, said to them, 'Oh! I am just going to capture you, to take you both back with me.'

She proceeded to drink up the water of the pond. Then the swan flung himself upon the witch, and battered in her head.

'That's what my wife advised me to do,' he remarked.

Then they renewed their journey, and went away with the help of God. They had gone yet some leagues further on; then the father set out in pursuit of them. His daughter sees her father coming, and says she to her husband, 'Now change yourself into an old man, and I will change myself into a church.'

The father arrives, but finds nobody. He sees a church in the middle of a forest, and he says to himself, this sorcerer, 'I am now a hundred years old, but never yet have I seen a church in the depths of a forest with an old man inside it.' So he went back to his house with the good God. When he got there, his two daughters said to him, 'Our mother has been killed. We knew not that she had exposed all the tricks to him, and they have ended by killing our mother.'

They journeyed still further away into the world. She sees, the wife of the nobleman's son, that her youngest sister is pursuing them. She says to him, 'I will change myself into a duck, and do you change yourself into a drake, and you must do the same thing to her as you did to my mother.'

Well, he stopped there and changed himself into a drake, and she changed herself into a beautiful duck. Her sister came up, and proceeded to entreat her, 'My dear sister, come back with me, for if you do not I will kill myself.'

Then the drake flung himself upon this sister, and battered her with blows of his wings, and gave her no respite; again he flung himself on her and battered in her head. Well, then they set out, and resumed their journey with the good God.

'Now,' said they to themselves, 'nobody will pursue us any more.'

They arrived, this nobleman's son and his wife, at the house of that same miller who had hidden him in a sack. 'So you see, sir, that I have gained my end.'

It is very fortunate that you have, by the grace of God. We were certain you were dead, and, see, you are still alive.'

He paid this miller a large sum of money for bringing him to the house where his wife was living. He comes home; his mother sees that it is her son, who had been absent from home for more than twenty years. His child is now grown up. She is filled then with joy, so is his son at his father's return; and they all live together with the good, golden God. 

A little boy was given a little bull-calf by his father. His father died, and his mother remarried. His stepfather was cruel to him and threatened to kill the calf. An old man advised the boy to run away, and he did. He begged for some bread, which he shared with the calf. Later, he begged for some cheese, which he would have shared, but the calf refused. It told the boy it would go into the wild and kill all the creatures it finds, except a dragon, which will kill it. It told the boy to climb a tree, and once it was dead, to skin it and take its bladder, which would make anything it struck drop dead. With it, he was to kill the dragon.

It happened as the calf said. Monkeys climbed the tree after him, and the boy squeezed the cheese, claiming it was flint; when they saw the whey, they retreated. The boy set out to find the dragon and kill it. He found a princess who had been staked out for the dragon. He killed it, though it bit off his forefinger. He said he must leave her, but first he cut out the dragon's tongue and the princess gave him a diamond ring. The princess told her father, who asked for him to come, and many gentlemen cut off their forefingers and brought diamond rings and the tongues of all kinds of beasts, but none were the dragon's tongue or the princess's ring.

The boy came, but the king turned him away as a beggar, though the princess knew he was like the boy. Somewhat later, he came back, better dressed, and the princess insisted on speaking with him. He produced the ring and the tongue and married the princess. and they lived happily ever after.

An old king could be cured only by golden apples from a far country. His three sons set out to find them, and parted ways at a crossroads. The youngest son found a house in a forest, where an old man greeted him as a king's son, and told him to put his horse in the stable and have something to eat. After the meal, he asked how the man knew he was a king's son, and the man said he knew many things, including what the prince was doing. He told the prince that he had to stay there the night, though many snakes and toads would crawl over him, and if he stirred, he would turn into one himself.

The prince got little sleep but did not stir. In the morning, the old man gave him breakfast, a new horse, and a ball of yarn to throw between the horse's ears. When the prince threw it and chased it, he came to the old man's brother, who was uglier than the first one. He received the same hospitality, and the same unpleasant night, and this brother sent him on to the third brother.

At the third brother's, the brother, who was even uglier than the second one, told him he must go on to a castle. There, he must tell swans to bear him over the lake to a castle. It was guarded by giants, lions, and dragons, but they would be asleep, and so he must go in at one o'clock and come out again by two. He must go through some grand rooms, go down into the kitchen, and then go out into the garden. There he must pick the apples. He should come back the same way, and when riding off, never look back because they would pursue him into he nearly reached the old man's house.

He went to bed, and this time the brother assured him that nothing would disturb him, and nothing did. In the morning, the old man warned him not to tarry because of a beautiful woman.

He reached the castle by the swans and saw a beautiful woman there. He exchanged his garter, gold watch, and pocket-handkerchief for hers, and kissed her. Then he got the apples and had to flee with all speed, because the hour was nearly up, but he escaped.

The old man brought him to a well and insisted that the prince cut his head off and throw it into the well. This turned him into a young, handsome man, and the house into a palace. At the second brother's, he received a new bed, with no snakes or toads, and cut off his head as well, and then same with the first.

He met up with his brothers again. They stole his apples and put others in their place, and went on before him. When he reached home, his apples were not as good as his brother's, and his father thought they were poisoned and told his headsman to cut his head off. The headsman instead took him into the woods and left him there. A bear came up to him, and he climbed a tree, but the bear persuaded him to come down. The bear brought him to some tents, where they made him welcome, and changed in a handsome young man, Jubal. He stayed with them and was happy, although he had lost the golden watch somewhere. One day, he saw it in the tree where he had climbed to hide from the bear, and climbed it to get it again.

Meanwhile, the princess, realizing one of the king's sons had been there, set out with an army. When she reached the king, she demanded to see his sons. When the oldest came, he said he had been to her castle, but when she threw down the handkerchief and he walked over it, he broke his leg; then the second brother said the same, but also broke his leg. She demanded of the king whether he had more sons; the king sent to the headsman, who confessed he had not killed the prince, and the king said he must find him, to save the king's life. They found Jubal, who pointed to the tree where the prince was, and they told the prince he must come because a lady was looking for him, and they brought Jubal with them. He did not break his leg over the handkerchief, and the princess knew he was the prince, so they married, and went back to her castle.

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