Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Islands of Magic - Legends, Folk and Fairy Tales from the Azores
Author: Eells, Elsie Spicer, 1880-
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Islands of Magic - Legends, Folk and Fairy Tales from the Azores" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



[Illustration: Cover art]



[Frontispiece: Nothing but the Sea, Sky and Rock]



THE ISLANDS OF MAGIC


  LEGENDS, FOLK AND FAIRY
  TALES FROM THE AZORES



RETOLD BY

ELSIE SPICER EELLS



Illustrated by

E. L. BROCK


[Illustration: title page logo]


NEW YORK

HARCOURT, BRACE AND COMPANY



COPYRIGHT, 1922, BY

HARCOURT, BRACE AND COMPANY, INC.



PRINTED IN THE U. S. A. BY

THE QUINN & BODEN COMPANY

RAHWAY, N. J.



PREFACE

Some three-fourths of the distance between America and Europe there is
a group of nine beautiful islands called the Azores which belong to
Portugal.  Their names are Flores, Corvo, Fayal, Pico, S. Jorge,
Graciosa, Terceira, S. Miguel, and Santa Maria.  Many people think them
to be the mountain peaks of the submerged continent, Atlantis, which
long ago was covered by the ocean.

There are ancient records which tell of Arabian caravels driven back by
dangerous seas surrounding islands full of volcanoes.  There are old
pictures which portray seas of spouting geysers and flaming volcanic
isles.  In these regions islands had a habit of suddenly lifting
themselves out of the ocean and then disappearing again from view.
When the largest of the islands, S. Miguel or St. Michael as it is
called in English, was mapped, two mountain peaks were marked where
later only one could be discovered.  Thus it was that the Azores gained
their reputation.  Islands full of volcanoes amid seas of spouting
geysers could be nothing else but enchanted.  And islands and mountain
peaks which suddenly vanished away from one's sight!  Surely the Azores
must be the true land of magic.

"The day of folktales is departing from the Azores," said the wise
woman.  "Public schools came with the republic, and where books of
printed stories enter folktales become confused and soon are lost."

"There is no originality among our islanders," complained the wise man
of the islands.  "They have told over and over again the stories of our
mother country, Portugal, and they have made few variations."

However, when I spent December 1920 and January 1921 in the Azores in
connection with research work for the Hispanic Society, I found that
there were not only pleasant folktales there but even real fairies.
They inhabit the wooded slopes of Monte Brasil on the island of
Terceira.  The fisher folk who visit the barren Ilheos de Cabras on the
Bay of Angra know that there are fairies living in those rocky isles
even yet when the boys and girls of the Azores are sailing away from
them to seek their fortunes in America.  Have they not often seen the
fairy garments spread out upon the rocks in the bright sunshine?

"You are like the Holy Virgin herself," said the little maid of St.
Michael.

"Did you ever see the Virgin?" asked my friend.

"Once the white clouds parted for a moment and I caught a glimpse of
her beautiful blue mantle," replied the child reverently.

Yes, there are still fairies and simple faith and magic in the islands.
One who visits the boiling springs at Furnas does not doubt for a
moment that he is upon enchanted ground.

Folk tales are composite. No one person or group of persons can claim
credit for them.  They are our inheritance from many storytellers.  To
all these storytellers both of yesterday and of to-day I offer my
grateful appreciation and hearty thanks.

I have endeavored to tell the stories in a way which will be pleasing
to American children.  To do this I have taken the liberty of making
occasional elaborations or omissions which I believe add to the value
of the story. Everywhere first of all I have tried to keep the spirit
of the Azores.

Thanks are due the publishers of the "Delineator" and the "Outlook" for
permission to reprint stories which have appeared in these magazines.

E. S. E.



[Illustration: Contents headpiece]

CONTENTS


  Princess Bluegreen of the Seven Cities
  The Islands of Flowers
  Why Dogs Sniff
  Longstaff, Pinepuller and Rockheaver
  The Table, the Sifter and the Pinchers
  Linda Branca and her Mask
  Fresh Figs
  Peter-of-the-Pigs
  The Princess Who Lost Her Rings
  The Master of Magic
  St. Anthony's Godchild
  Trouble When One's Young
  The Little Maid Who Was Wise
  Manoel Littlebean
  The Necklace of Pearls
  The Daughter of the King of Naples
  Maria-of-the-Forest
  The Seven Enchanted Princes
  The Listening King
  José the Beast Slayer
  The Princess of the Lost Island
  Why The Alvéloa Bird Received a Blessing
  Why the Codorniz Bird Received a Curse
  Outside the Door Like the Mother of St. Peter
  Why the Owl Flies at Night
  The Laborer and His Master
  'Tis Faith Which Saves
  St. Brendan's Island
  The Silent Cavalier
  The Enchanted Palace
  The Friend of the Devil
  The Miller's Cloak
  The Magic Mouthful
  The Messengers



[Illustration: Illustrations headpiece]

Illustrations


Nothing but the Sea, Sky and Rock . . . . . . . . . _Frontispiece_

King Graywhite Struck His Royal Sword Against the Great Wall

She Could Not Hold Them All

"Will Somebody Please Pass the Pepper"

The Three Friends Journeyed on Together

"Table, Set Yourself," Said the Man

She Quietly Stole Out of the House

The Two Rabbits Came Running Up to Him

He Buried It Halfway in the Sand

The Two Old Women, The Princess, The King and Queen, and
  All the Courtiers Followed

The Horse Had Changed Into a Kernel of Corn

He Climbed Up the High Wall of the Palace

"Oh, Stone From My Garden Wall," She Was Saying

They Were Big and Heavy, but Her Great Fear Gave Her Strength

He Saw the Quantities of Gold

"Take Me Home as Fast as You Can!"

Then He Sorrowfully Returned to His Waiting Ship

"We Never Have Looked So Neat and Clean"

The Miller and His Wife Were the Most Surprised People
  in the Whole Country

He Frowned Down at José

"Alms! Alms!"

Pedro Lifted the Two Great Jars and Slowly Climbed Up the Hill

It Appeared That the Fair Maid Would Die

One Evening Just at Sunset

The Peaceful Snow-Capped Summit of Mt. Pico

The Beautiful Enchanted Palace in the Lake of Ginjal

He Bowed His Head Upon His Hands

He Wrapped Himself In the Brown Cloak And Went Out Through
  the Fierce Blinding Storm

She Ran to the Water Jar

A Fierce Storm Arose



THE ISLANDS OF MAGIC



[Illustration: Headpiece]


PRINCESS BLUEGREEN OF THE SEVEN CITIES

_The Story of the Origin of the Azores_


Once upon a time in the lost kingdom of Atlantis there ruled a king
whose name was Graywhite.  He had married the beautiful Queen
Rosewhite.  They lived in a magnificent palace, but it was a sad place
because there were no little children in it.

"There are plenty of babies in the homes of the poor peasants who can
scarcely find food for them," mourned King Graywhite.  "Why is it that
I, the ruler of this vast rich kingdom, can have no child to inherit my
wealth and my domains?"

"Women in tiny hovels have their arms full of rosy dimpled darlings,"
sighed Queen Rosewhite.  "Why is it that I, the queen of this
magnificent palace, can have no baby of my own?"

Queen Rosewhite passed her days and nights in weeping, while King
Graywhite grew ugly and cruel to his subjects.  Once he had been the
kindest ruler in the world.

Things went on like this for several years.  Queen Rosewhite's lovely
face grew pale and wan, and her beautiful eyes became so sad that it
hurt the hearts of her faithful subjects.  The king's face lost its
expression of jolly kindness and became sour and cruel.  They offered
prayers and solemn vows before all the holy shrines in the whole
kingdom of Atlantis, but no child was born into the royal palace.  King
Graywhite grew so harsh and ugly to his subjects that the entire
kingdom offered prayers and vows, too.  As things were, life was not
worth living in the kingdom of Atlantis.

In front of the royal palace there was a beautiful terrace where King
Graywhite and Queen Rosewhite had loved to walk in the days before they
had grown cross and sad.  One night when they were sitting upon the
terrace enjoying the fresh soft evening air and the bright starlight
there suddenly appeared a dazzling light which almost blinded them.
Queen Rosewhite covered her face with her hands and the king bowed his
proud head upon his breast.

"Do not fear to look at me," said a gentle voice.

King Graywhite and Queen Rosewhite glanced up.  They saw a tiny fairy
standing before them with a circle of bright light dancing about her.

"King and Queen of Atlantis," said the gentle voice.  "You shall have a
child, a little daughter, prettier than the sunlight.  I have heard
your prayers and vows, but I have also heard the prayers and vows of
your poor subjects, too."

The glad news had brought a happy light into Queen Rosewhite's
beautiful eyes, but now it faded out and a look of fear crept in.  It
had hurt the queen's loving heart to have her husband so cruel to his
subjects.  She often had told him that punishment would surely come
upon him because of his harsh deeds.

"When the little princess is born," went on the fairy's voice, "I shall
take her away from you for twenty years.  No harm will come to her.  I
shall hide her away from you and all the world within seven beautiful
cities which I shall construct in the loveliest part of your whole
kingdom.  Around these seven cities I shall place strong walls.  At the
end of twenty years, if your heart, King Graywhite, is free from sin
and you have made proper restitution for all your wrongdoing, you shall
receive the princess into your arms."

"Twenty years is a long time," said King Graywhite sadly.  Tears were
running down Queen Rosewhite's cheeks and she could not speak.

"You must wait until the twenty years are over," continued the fairy.
"If you attempt to enter the strong walls before that time you shall
fall dead and your kingdom shall be consumed by fire.  Swear to me now
in the presence of your faithful queen that you will not try to enter
these strong walls which I shall construct about the seven cities."

"I swear it," said the king in a voice which trembled as he solemnly
lifted his right hand.

The vision disappeared as suddenly as it had come, and King Graywhite
and Queen Rosewhite sat alone in the bright starlight on the terrace
before the royal palace.

"Have I been dreaming?" asked the king.

"It was not a dream," replied the queen.

Time passed and a beautiful baby daughter was born to the king and
queen of Atlantis.  They gave her the name of Princess Bluegreen.
There was great rejoicing throughout the entire kingdom.  Her birth was
celebrated by lavish feasts and gay songs and dances.

When the little Princess Bluegreen was only three days old she
disappeared from the royal palace.  She had been carried away by the
fairy to the seven cities which had been constructed to receive her.

Years passed.  Every day the king and queen received reports from the
fairy.  They heard that the little Princess Bluegreen was well, and
that each hour she grew lovelier.  Sometimes there was almost joy in
the palace when King Graywhite chuckled over the quaint sayings of the
little princess which were repeated to him, and the queen heard with a
tender smile of the tiny blue slippers and the green parasol which the
fairy had given her.  That day Queen Rosewhite bought new slippers for
many little maids in the city.

As time went on, however, the royal palace of Atlantis grew almost as
sad as it had been before the Princess Bluegreen had been born.  Only
to receive reports of their daughter was not enough to make the king
and queen happy.  They longed to see her with their own eyes and to
clasp her in their arms.

As the weeks and months and years rolled by without seeing the little
princess, King Graywhite resumed his cruel treatment of his subjects.
He was growing old and his nature grew sour with the years.  Queen
Rosewhite tried to reason with him.

"We must bear this thing with patience," she told him.  "We brought it
upon ourselves."

The king kept raging against the fairy and did not notice Queen
Rosewhite's politeness in saying "we" instead of "you."  It was the
king who was responsible for all the cruelty.  Good Queen Rosewhite had
never had a cruel thought in her whole blameless life.

At last the day of the eighteenth birthday of the Princess Bluegreen
grew near.

"Are you sure that it is not eighteen years which the fairy said,
instead of twenty years?" asked King Graywhite querulously.

Queen Rosewhite assured him that it was twenty years as he well knew.
The king's anger broke out fiercely.

"I will no longer be kept from my daughter!" he cried.

"Would you break the vow which you solemnly made to the fairy in my
presence?" asked Queen Rosewhite trembling.  She had never dreamed that
he would dare to break it.  Now, however, she was thoroughly frightened
at the thought which came to her.

"I'll break that foolish vow!" shouted the king savagely.

Tears rolled down the cheeks of good Queen Rosewhite.

"No good will come of this," she mourned.  "Be prudent, dear king.  It
is only two years more which we have to wait."

"The last two years will be the hardest ones of all!" raged King
Graywhite.  "I cannot endure it!"

That very day he started to prepare the army for the expedition to the
Seven Cities, amid the queen's lamentations and in spite of her fears
and warnings.

"Be wise and patient, dear king.  Give up this wild expedition," were
her last words to him; when, at length, all the preparations completed,
he set out with his great army upon the dangerous quest of the seven
cities surrounded by their strong walls in the loveliest part of the
whole kingdom of Atlantis.

King Graywhite marched on and on.  It was a long and perilous journey
and the army suffered many hardships on the way.  It seemed as if they
would never arrive, but at last they drew near to what everybody knew
to be the most beautiful part of the whole kingdom, where the fairy had
taken the Princess Bluegreen to conceal her.

Storms raged; lightning flashed; ominous roarings and rumblings sounded
from the depths of the earth.

"Let us hasten back to the royal palace before it is too late,"
besought the generals of King Graywhite's army.

"On!  On!" cried the king.  "Do you think I would abandon this
expedition now?"

The words were hardly out of his mouth when a huge rock fell from its
place near where he stood and rushed away down the mountainside.  The
earth trembled violently beneath their feet.  Fearful rumblings and
roarings sounded all about them.

"On!  ON!" shouted the maddened king.

Before them rose the great walls which the fairy had built around the
seven cities.  Within these walls was the Princess Bluegreen radiant
with the beauty of her eighteen winters and summers passed in peace and
happiness under the watchful care of the kind fairy.  The thought of
her thrilled the heart of King Graywhite.

"On!  On!" he shouted to the generals about him.

"On!  On!" they, in turn, passed the word along to the trembling
soldiers which composed the royal army.

With the fearful sounds and shakings about them, the poor men heartily
wished they were safe at home.  They rallied, however, for a final
charge and swept up to the walls which surrounded the seven cities.

King Graywhite struck his royal sword against the great wall.  At that
moment the walls fell.  The earth beneath their feet rose.  Great
flames swept up towards the sky and rushed over the land, sweeping
everything before them.  Then the sea raged over the earth in violence
until it had covered the whole kingdom of Atlantis.

[Illustration: King Graywhite struck his royal sword against the great
wall]

The fairy's curse had been fulfilled.  The king was dead.  His kingdom
was consumed by fire.


When at last the waters grew calm again all that remained of the great
rich kingdom of Atlantis was the group of nine rocky islands which
to-day is called the Azores.  In the largest of these islands, St.
Michael, there is still an enchanted spot called Seven Cities.  Great
wall-like mountains tower toward the sky.  In the crater valley amid
the wall-like mountains there is a lake of green and one of blue.  The
blue lake is where the beautiful Princess Bluegreen left her little
blue slippers, they say, and the green lake is where she left her
lovely green parasol.



THE ISLANDS OF FLOWERS

_Another Story of the Origin of the Islands_


Paradise is, of course, ruled by loving law.  All places good to live
in are governed by laws.

Long, long ago there was a little angel who broke one of the rules of
Paradise.  Of course she had to be punished.  Punishment always follows
broken laws.  She was banished from her heavenly home.  Never again
could she join in the chorus of celestial music.  Never again could she
look up into the face of the great King.

Now it happened that this little angel loved the flowers of Paradise
especially.  For the last time she walked through the heavenly gardens.

"Oh, my exquisite ones, I cannot bear to leave you!" she sobbed to her
favorite blossoms.  "It breaks my heart!"

The flowers lifted their fair faces to hers in loving sympathy.  They
breathed out their sweetest perfume at her gentle touch.  They
stretched out their hands to catch her trailing garments as she passed
them.

"My best beloveds!  You are asking me to take you with me!" cried the
little angel.

She filled her arms with the lovely blossoms of Paradise.  Now the
angel was a very little angel and the flowers she gathered made a very
large armful indeed.  She could not bear to leave any of her favorites
behind.  Slowly and sorrowfully she left the heavenly gardens.  Slowly
and sorrowfully she passed outside the celestial gate.

When she had left the gates of Paradise far behind the lovely blossoms
in her grasp were all that remained of Heaven to her.  They filled her
arms so full that she could not hold them all.  Some of them fell.
Down, down to earth they floated.  They came to rest on the smiling
blue waters of the broad Atlantic.

[Illustration: She could not hold them all]

"Oh, what shall I do!  I have lost my exquisite ones!" sobbed the
little angel.

The flowers of Paradise smiled up at her from the place where they had
fallen.  Never had they looked lovelier.

"My best beloveds are beautiful and happy!" she cried as she smiled
through her tears.  "I still have all I can carry!  I'll leave them
where they are!"

There are nine of the flowers of Paradise which the angel dropped.
They have always remained in the blue Atlantic where she left them.
After many years Portuguese mariners found them and Portugal claimed
them as her own.  She named them the Azores.

To this very day, however, one of the islands is called Flores, which
means flowers.



WHY DOGS SNIFF

_The Story of the Dogs' Dinner Party_


Once upon a time the dogs gave a dinner party.  All the dogs were
invited and all the dogs accepted the invitation.  There were big dogs
and little dogs and middle-sized dogs.  There were black dogs and white
dogs and brown dogs and gray dogs and yellow dogs and spotted dogs.
There were dogs with long tails and dogs with short tails and dogs with
no tails at all.  There were dogs with little sharp-pointed ears and
dogs with big flat drooping ears.  There were dogs with long slender
noses and dogs with short fat turn-up noses.  All these dogs came to
the party.

Now the dinner was a most elaborate affair.  Everything had been
arranged with the utmost care.  All the good things to eat were spread
out upon the rocks by the sea.  A gay sparkling little brook brought
water to drink.  The sun was shining brightly and a soft gentle little
breeze was blowing.  Everything seemed absolutely perfect.

But there was a cross fussy old dog who came to the party.  She was a
yellow dog, they say.  Nothing ever suited her.  Whenever she went to a
party she always found fault with something.  Sometimes there was too
little to eat and sometimes there was too much.  Sometimes the hot
things were not hot enough and sometimes the cold things were not cold
enough.  Sometimes the hot things were so hot they burned her mouth and
the cold things so cold that they gave her indigestion.  There was
always something wrong.

At this party, however, there was not too much to eat and there was not
too little to eat.  The hot things were all just hot enough and the
cold things were all just cold enough.  Everything seemed to be exactly
as it should be.

"How good everything tastes!" remarked the big black dog between polite
mouthfuls.

"Everything is seasoned exactly right," added the black and white
spotted dog between mouthfuls which were entirely too large to be
polite.

That was an unfortunate remark.  The cross fussy yellow dog heard it.
She noticed immediately that the big juicy bone she was eating had not
been seasoned with pepper.

"Will somebody please pass the pepper?" she asked.

[Illustration: "Will somebody please pass the pepper?"]

All the black dogs and white dogs and brown dogs and yellow dogs and
gray dogs and spotted dogs fell over each other trying to find the
pepper to pass.  There was not a single bit of pepper at that dinner
party.

"I can't eat a mouthful until I have some pepper," whined the yellow
dog.

"I'll go into the city and get some pepper," said one of the dogs.
Nobody ever knew which dog it was.

The dog who went into the city to get the pepper never came back.
Nobody ever knew what became of him.

Whenever two dogs meet they always sniff at each other.  If one of them
should happen to be the dog who went into the city to get the pepper,
he would surely smell of pepper.



LONGSTAFF, PINEPULLER AND ROCKHEAVER

_The Story of Three Friends_


Long ago there lived a blacksmith upon whose strong right arm there
swelled great muscles and whose big hairy fist was capable of
delivering so heavy a blow that all the men in the village and nearby
countryside stood in awe of him.  He had a hot temper as well as a
strong right arm and his pretty young wife grew so afraid of him that
she ran away into the forest, taking her baby son with her.  The
blacksmith had become crosser and crosser of late because the baby
sometimes cried at night and disturbed his rest.

In the deep forest the young wife found nuts and herbs and wild fruits
to eat.  The baby boy thrived most marvelously.  Soon he was big and
strong, able to kill wild beasts to add to their food.  At last his
strength was so great that he could lift big rocks and pull up huge
trees.

One day he said to his mother, "Dearest one, I'd like to leave you for
a little while.  I want to go back to the village where I was born.
The stories you have told me about it keep ringing in my ears.  I must
see the place for myself.  Do you mind, mother dear, if I take this
journey?"

His mother had long foreseen that a day would come when he would no
longer be content to live alone with her in the deep forest.  Her heart
ached but she gave her consent to the expedition.

When the lad reached the village he went straight to the shop of the
blacksmith.  His mother had described it to him so often that he had no
difficulty in finding it.  He knew at once that the man at the forge
was his father.  He looked exactly as he had always imagined his father
looked.

"Good day," said he.  "I'd like you to weld an iron bar for me, a bar
as tall as the tallest tree in front of your shop."

The blacksmith glanced at the lad and then at the tree.

"You must have made a mistake in your measurements," he replied.  "You
don't know what you are talking about."

The boy from the forest smiled quietly and stepped a trifle nearer to
the blacksmith.

"You are quite right," he admitted.  "Thank you for pointing out to me
my mistake.  I should have said that I want this iron bar made twice as
tall as the tallest tree before your door.  I want it to be of good
thickness, too.  I plan to use it as my staff."

The blacksmith looked the lad over more carefully.  In truth he
appeared as if he might be able to use the staff after all.  The
blacksmith hastily agreed to make it at once, and he didn't say a word
about arranging the price in advance according to his custom.

"Have my staff ready for me next week," commanded the boy as he bade
the blacksmith good-by.

When at last the lad was once more with his mother in the deep forest
he told her all that had passed.  "When I return for my staff I want
you to go with me, dear mother," were his words when he had ended his
story.

"I!" cried the woman in alarm.  "I'd be afraid to go!  From your
description I am sure the blacksmith is in truth your father, and I
fear that his disposition has not improved with the years."

"Don't be afraid, dear heart," said the son.  "I'll be there and I'll
take care of you.  I'll see that he does you no harm."

They started out on their journey, and just a week from the day of the
lad's first visit to the blacksmith shop he stood once more in the
door.  He had left his mother hidden behind the bushes and shrubs.

"Good day," he said to the blacksmith.  "Is my staff ready?"

"Yes, indeed.  It is entirely completed," replied the blacksmith more
politely than he was in the habit of speaking even to the parish priest
himself.  "I have just sent for two yokes of oxen and enough men to
drag it out of my shop."

"That is quite unnecessary," responded the boy.  "I'm sorry indeed to
hear that you have inconvenienced yourself."

He picked up the staff and tossed it about as jauntily as if it had
been a slender cane.  The blacksmith stared at him in amazement, his
mouth wide open and his eyes bulging out of his head.

"May I ask who you are?" he asked as soon as he could catch his breath.

"My name from this day forth shall be Longstaff," replied the lad.
"And it so happens that I am your own son."

The blacksmith listened in surprise while the boy told the story of the
years he and his mother had lived in the deep forest.  He embraced his
son tenderly.

"You are indeed a son to be proud of!" he cried.  "Come and live with
me.  We shall have a happy life together."

The blacksmith was thinking that a strong young man like this would be
a great help around the shop.

Longstaff shook his head.  "Thank you, but I cannot tarry here," he
said.  "I must go away and see the world a bit.  My mother, however, is
waiting behind the bushes.  I fear she will be very lonely while I am
away."

When Longstaff's mother came in response to his call her husband
embraced her lovingly and kissed her.  "I've really missed you about
the house while you have been away," he told her.

"If you are not good to her you'll hear from me," said, his son as he
looked him straight in the eye.

Longstaff then set out to see the world, travelling from one country to
another.  After a time he came to a place where there was a man pulling
up pine trees by the roots as easily as if they were the weeds in your
garden.

"Good day," said Longstaff.  "What is your name?"

"I am called PINEPULLER," was the reply.  "I'm very strong, as you can
see for yourself, but I've heard that there is somebody stronger than I
am.  His name is LONGSTAFF, I am told."

Longstaff gave his iron staff a gay toss into the air and caught it
again in his hand.

"That happens to be my name," he said.  "I like you.  Won't you join me
in my travels about the country?  We two would have a jolly time
together."

Pinepuller accepted the invitation and together they journeyed on.
Soon they came to a place where there was a man picking up great rocks
and tossing them about as lightly as if they had been rubber balls.

"Good day," said Longstaff.  "What is your name?"

"My name is ROCKHEAVER," replied the other.  "You can see for yourself
that I am very strong.  I've heard, however, that there is somebody
stronger than I am.  His name is LONGSTAFF, I am told."

"That happens to be my name," said Longstaff, "and this is my friend
Pinepuller.  You are just the man to complete our little party.  Won't
you join us as we travel about the country?"

Rockheaver accepted the invitation with glee and the three friends
journeyed on together from that hour.  Everywhere they went they had
everything their own way because of their great strength.

[Illustration: The three friends journeyed on together]

One day Longstaff, Pinepuller and Rockheaver sat on a rock by the sea.
Suddenly they spied two pretty girls tossing glass balls back and forth
and catching them.  They had not stood there on the sand a moment
before when the three friends had passed that way.  Possibly they had
been bathing and had only just come out of the water.  Longstaff ran to
speak to them.  He put out his hand and caught their two glass balls at
once.  Then a strange thing happened.  The two beautiful maidens
disappeared the very minute Longstaff put their two glass balls into
his pocket, and he was left standing alone on the sand by the sea.

"That is queer," he complained as he told Pinepuller and Rockheaver
what had happened.

Not far away there was a little house.  There were no signs of life
about the place and consequently the three friends entered.  Inside the
house there were beds, beautiful furniture and a kitchen completely
furnished with pots and pans.

"I like this house," said Longstaff, as he seated himself in the
largest chair.  "I'm going to rest a bit and you two can go hunting.
When you return I'll have the dinner cooked for you."

Accordingly, Pinepuller and Rockheaver went away to hunt for game.
Longstaff rested for a while in the big chair and then he went into the
kitchen to light the fire.  Soon the fire was burning merrily and the
water in the kettle was bubbling away cozily.  Longstaff cooked the
dinner exactly as his mother had taught him long ago in the deep
forest.  Just for a minute he turned his back to hunt for the salt.
When he turned around the pots and the frying pan were gone from the
fire.  There was a tiny dwarf with red boots disappearing through the
kitchen floor with Longstaff's good dinner.

Longstaff gasped.  He was not at all accustomed to having his dinner
stolen from under his very nose, as it were.

Soon Pinepuller and Rockheaver came back with the hares they had killed
in the hunt.  They looked at the dying fire, at the empty pots and
frying pan, and at the dazed expression on Longstaff's face.

"Where's the dinner?" asked Pinepuller.  "I'm as hungry as a bear.  You
said you'd have it ready when we got back."

"I know what he's done!" cried Rockheaver.  "He has eaten all the
dinner and hasn't left a single mouthful for us!"

When Longstaff told them the story of the dwarf with red boots who had
stolen the dinner it was difficult to make them believe it.

"Very well," said he, "if you won't take my word for it, why doesn't
Pinepuller stay in the kitchen and cook these hares?  Rockheaver and I
will go away and you can see what happens."

Accordingly, Longstaff and Rockheaver went away and Pinepuller made a
stew of the hares.  While he was hunting for the salt the little dwarf
with red boots came out from under the table and stole the stew.
Pinepuller turned around just in time to catch him at it.  He raised
his big arm to seize him, but the dwarf, in the twinkling of an eye,
vanished into the floor, taking the stew with him.

When Longstaff and Rockheaver returned Pinepuller told what had
happened.  "I believe you now," said he to Longstaff.  "I ask your
pardon for doubting your word."

However, Rockheaver was not convinced.  "I know what has happened,"
said he.  "You were so hungry you couldn't wait for us and you ate up
the stew.  You and Longstaff have plotted that I shall go with an empty
stomach this day."

"Let Rockheaver, then, be the one to stay in the kitchen," suggested
Longstaff.  "We have brought back other hares from the hunt.  Let him
cook them and see what happens."

Longstaff and Pinepuller went away, leaving Rockheaver to cook the
hares.  Again the dwarf with red boots jumped out from under the table
and stole the dinner.  When his two friends returned Rockheaver begged
their pardon for his moments of distrust.

"These are surely queer doings," said Longstaff.  "I'm going to make an
investigation.  I'll not rest in peace until I find out where this
red-booted dwarf lives and where these three dinners have gone.  Come
and help me dig up the ground under the kitchen."

At once Rockheaver dug up the floor of the kitchen and Pinepuller
pulled out the earth beneath.  Soon they had a deep well-like hole
reaching down into the ground.  While they had been digging, Longstaff
had made a ladder out of the branches of the trees, a ladder so long
that it could reach very far into the earth.

"I'm going to be the one to descend into this hole," remarked Longstaff
when he thought that it was quite deep enough.

Indeed his two friends were entirely willing that he should.

He lowered the ladder he had made and very cautiously he crept down
into the earth.  At the foot of the ladder he came to what looked like
a heavy barred door.  He had brought his big iron staff with him, of
course, and with this he knocked hard at the door.

"Who is there?" called out a voice from within.

"I am Longstaff."  "Open."

"Go away as fast as you can," said the voice.  "This is the home of the
seven-headed serpent.  If he catches you it will be serious.  You'll be
enchanted and can never get away."

"I'd like to meet this serpent for a minute or two," said Longstaff.

The heavy door swung open and Longstaff stepped inside.  Immediately he
heard a rushing like a great wind.  With his big iron staff he struck a
mighty blow at the seven-headed serpent.  He hit him just in time to
avoid being enchanted.  The huge seven-headed serpent fell to the
ground completely stunned by Longstaff's blow.

At the first drop of blood which fell from the wounded monster a
beautiful maiden appeared near the door.  Longstaff recognized her at
once as one of the two girls he had seen on the seashore tossing and
catching the two glass balls.  He took the balls out of his pocket.

"Do you recognize these?" he asked the maiden.

"Indeed I do," she replied.  "One of these glass balls belongs to me
and the other belongs to my sister.  She, too, has been enchanted and
is behind the next door you see ahead of you."

"I'll get you away from this evil place," said Longstaff, "and then
I'll see what I can do to help your sister."

He lifted her in his arms and started to carry her up the ladder.

"Wait just a minute," she said.  "I think I'd better give you back this
glass ball.  I'll not be able to speak a word while you have it, but I
think you need it more than I."

She gave him back the glass ball and then they hastened up the long
ladder.  When Pinepuller and Rockheaver saw the lovely maiden in
Longstaff's arms they were filled with amazement.

"She is a princess who has been enchanted," explained Longstaff.  "Take
good care of her while I return for her sister.  Then we will restore
these fair damsels to their father, the king, who has long mourned them
as dead."

Once more Longstaff crept down the ladder into the depths of the earth.
The seven-headed serpent was still lying where he had fallen and
Longstaff stepped past him and knocked at the door which barred his way.

"Who is there?" called out a voice from within.

"This is Longstaff!  Open!"

"Hurry away as fast as you can.  This is the home of the dwarf with red
boots," said the voice.

"That red-booted dwarf is exactly the person I want to see," answered
Longstaff, holding fast to his heavy iron bar which his father had made
him long ago in the blacksmith's shop.

The door slowly swung open and Longstaff stepped inside.  At once he
heard the footsteps of the red-booted dwarf.  The tiny dwarf looked up
at him in surprise.

"We'll fight and see who is the best man," stormed he.  "You fight with
the black sword and I'll use the white one."

"No indeed," said Longstaff.  "I'll use the white sword and you the
black.  Otherwise I'll not wait to fight with swords but will choose my
own weapon which happens to be this iron staff of mine."

The little red-booted dwarf looked up at the heavy iron staff in
Longstaff's hand.  It could crush him very easily indeed.

"Very well!" said he.  "Just as you like!"

Longstaff fought with the white sword and the dwarf with the black one,
and soon the dwarf had fallen, though his great agility made up for his
lack of size.  With the first drop of blood which fell from the
red-booted dwarf the beautiful princess was disenchanted.

She gave her glass ball back to Longstaff after she had recognized it
as her own; and, safe in his arms, she was borne up the long ladder to
the place where her sister was awaiting her with Pinepuller and
Rockheaver.

"I've left my staff behind!" cried Longstaff in alarm.  "I must go down
once more and get it."

He had never been without his staff near at hand even when he was
asleep.  Hastily he again descended the ladder.  There was his staff
lying where he had dropped it when he took the white sword.  When he
turned around to go up the ladder again, it had disappeared.  His
friends had forgotten all about him, so interested had they become in
the two beautiful maidens.  Even at that moment they were on their way
to the king's palace.  They had pulled up the ladder, never giving
another thought as to how Longstaff was going to get out of the hole.

Longstaff shouted in vain.  Then he remembered how the dwarf had
appeared in the kitchen.  Evidently the red-booted dwarf knew how to
get up to the surface of the earth.  A drink from Longstaff's flask
quickly revived him.  He reached for the white sword ready to fight
again.

"Wait a minute, my friend," said Longstaff.  "You are now my prisoner.
I'll let you go as soon as you perform a little service for me.  Just
take me up to the surface of the earth."

"That is easy," answered the dwarf.  "Take hold of my hand."

As soon as Longstaff had taken the hand of the red-booted dwarf he felt
himself rise.  In a moment he was safe outside the hole.

"There's another thing I want you to do for me before I let you go," he
said.  "Take me to the king's palace."

Longstaff took hold of the dwarf's hand and in a moment more they were
at the palace.  It was only a minute after the king's daughters had
been restored to him.  The royal palace was wild with joy.  Even the
fact that the two lovely maidens were dumb was almost overlooked.

When Pinepuller and Rockheaver saw Longstaff's angry eyes they ran away
as fast as they could.  They were never seen near the royal palace
again.

Longstaff drew the two glass balls from his pocket and gave one to each
of the two beautiful princesses.  At once they could speak, and
together they told their story to their father, the king.

"You may wed whichever princess you prefer," said the king to Longstaff
when he had heard how he had made the bold rescue.

Longstaff wedded the princess who was more beautiful than her sister,
and when the king died he reigned over the whole kingdom.



THE TABLE, THE SIFTER AND THE PINCHERS

_The Story of the King's Laborer and His Wages_


Once upon a time there was a man who was very poor.  He had so many
children it was difficult to earn money enough to provide for them all.
Accordingly, he left home and hired out to the king of a distant land.

At the end of a year's time he went to the king and said: "I have
served you faithfully for a whole year.  Now I wish to return to my
wife and children.  Pay me, I pray you, what you owe me for my work."

The king said: "I will not reward you in money.  I will give you
something better than money.  Here is a table.  When you are hungry all
you have to do is to say, 'Table, set yourself.'  Then the table will
immediately be spread with food."

"Thank you, good king," replied the man.  "With this table it will be
easy enough to provide food even for all my large family."

When the man had started home with his table he soon grew hungry.  He
put it down by the roadside under a leafy tree and said, "Table, set
yourself."  Immediately it was full of the most delicious food.  The
man ate all he could and gave the rest away to some beggars who passed
that way.

"It is a lucky day for us," said the beggars as they thanked him.

That night the man stopped at an inn.  He was so delighted with the
magic powers of his table that he foolishly told the innkeeper about it.

"That would be a most excellent table for me to possess," thought the
innkeeper.  "With this in my possession I would soon be a rich man.  I
could charge my guests a price in proportion to the rich food I would
serve them, and I'd never have to spend a cent of my money to buy
supplies."

That night the innkeeper stole the table and substituted another for it
which looked exactly like it.  Early in the morning the man loaded the
table on his back and hurried home to his wife and children.

"We'll never be hungry again!" he cried as he embraced his wife.
"Never again shall our children call for food when we have nothing to
give them!"

"How much did the king pay you?" asked his wife in surprise.  The good
woman well knew how much it cost to buy food enough to keep all their
children from going hungry.

"The king did not pay me in money.  He gave me something better than
money," replied the man.  "Do you see this table?  Call the children.
I want to show you something."

The man's wife and children all gathered about the table, watching it
curiously.

"Table, set yourself," said the man.

[Illustration: "Table, set yourself," said the man]

The table remained standing in the center of the floor just as it was.

"What trick is this?" asked the good wife.  She had been a bit
suspicious from the moment she had heard that there was no money in her
husband's pockets.

"I'll get the beggars I fed to prove to you what this table provided
yesterday," he said when he had told all the story.

"You'd better go back to the king as fast as you can," advised the
wife.  "Take back this good-for-nothing table which he has imposed upon
you and ask for some real money instead."

The man did as his wife advised.  The king was thoughtful for a moment.
He guessed that the man had been robbed.

At last he said: "I'll give you a sifter this time.  Then when you need
money all you have to do is to say, 'Sifter, sift!'  It will sift out
money as freely as if it were flour."

The man was delighted with the sifter.  He sifted his pockets full of
money immediately and hurried home.  On the way he again spent the
night at the inn.

"When I brought my table home it wouldn't work," he told the innkeeper.
"I took it back and got something in its place which is all right."

The innkeeper watched him sift out money.

"Why don't I get that sifter?" thought the innkeeper.  "I work very
hard serving my guests even though the table provides the food for
them.  If I had this sifter I wouldn't have to work.  I'd close the inn
and pass the rest of my life enjoying the money I'd sift into my
pockets so easily."

That night he stole the sifter and substituted another which looked
exactly like it.

When the man reached home there was plenty of money in his pockets and
his wife and children were happy for a little while.  However, he soon
wanted to display the magic gifts of his new sifter.  Accordingly, he
called his family together.

"Sifter, sift," he commanded.

The sifter behaved just like any ordinary sifter.

"You have been tricked again!" cried his wife.  She was very cross
indeed and told her husband exactly what she thought of him.

Home was not a comfortable place for him that day, so he decided to
hurry back to the king after he had emptied all the money in his
pockets into his wife's lap.

"This will supply you for a while," he said.  "It is quite as much as
any ordinary husband would have brought home for a year's work."

"A woman hates to have her husband made a fool of," replied the woman
as she rolled up the money and tucked it away carefully.

When the king had heard the story he was entirely convinced that the
man had an enemy who had stolen both the table and the sifter.

"Where did you spend the night?" he asked.

The man told of passing the night in the inn.

"I've heard that innkeeper is going to retire from business, he has
become so rich," said the king.  "You'd better hurry there as fast as
you can before he leaves town."

The laborer nodded his head thoughtfully, a wise look creeping into his
eyes.

"Take these pinchers," ordered the king.  "Use them on that innkeeper
until he gives back the table and the sifter."

When the innkeeper was sore and black and blue from the pinchers he
gave back the table and the sifter.

After that there were prosperous days indeed for the king's laborer.
Whenever the children were hungry, he would say: "Table, set yourself,"
and immediately the table would be full of the most delicious food.
Whenever his wife said, "I need some money," he would call out,
"Sifter, sift," and the sifter would sift out money as freely and
easily as if it were flour.

As for the pinchers, they proved to be quite as useful as the other
gifts he received from the king.  Whenever the children were naughty he
had only to glance in the direction of those pinchers.  The children
would immediately behave as they should.



LINDA BRANCA AND HER MASK

_The Story of the Girl Who Did Not Like To Be Pretty_


Long ago there lived a girl who was so pretty she grew tired of being
beautiful and longed to be ugly.  She was so attractive that all the
young men in the whole city wanted to marry her.  Every night the
street in front of her house was full of youths who came to sing
beneath her balcony.

Linda Branca, that was the girl's name, grew tired of being kept awake
nights.  It is well enough for a little while to hear songs about one's
pearly teeth and snowy arms, one's flashing eyes and waving hair, one's
rosebud mouth and fairylike feet; but a steady diet of it becomes
decidedly wearing.

"I wish I were as homely as that girl who is passing by," she remarked
one day.  "Then I could sleep nights."  "If I were as ugly looking as
that I'd have a chance to select a really good husband perhaps.  With
so many to choose from it is terribly confusing.  I'll never be able to
make any choice at all as things are now.  I'm afraid I'll die
unwedded," she added as she carefully surveyed the girl's coarse hair,
her large feet and hands, her ugly big mouth and ears and small
red-lidded eyes.  "That girl has a much better chance of a successful
marriage than I have, with all this tiresome crowd of suitors to drive
me distracted!"

The girl in the street heard her words and looked up.  When she saw how
lovely Linda Branca was she was amazed indeed at the words she had
heard.  She thought that she must have made a mistake and asked Linda
Branca to say it all over again.

"You can be exactly as homely as I am," declared the girl when at last
she had sufficiently recovered from her surprise to find her tongue.
"I am an artist.  I can prepare a mask for you which will make you just
as ugly as I am."

"Go on and make it as soon as you can!" cried Linda Branca, clapping
her little hands in joy.

That evening the suitors in the street under the balcony thought that
the lovely Linda Branca had become very gracious.  She was frequently
to be seen on the balcony looking eagerly up and down the street as if
she were expecting some one.  Her dark eyes were sparkling and her fair
cheek had a rosy flush upon it which they had never seen before.

"The beautiful Linda Branca is more charming than ever," was the burden
of their songs that night.

Linda Branca was so excited about her new mask that she could not have
slept even if there had been no suitors to disturb her with their
songs.  When at last she fell asleep towards morning it was only to
dream that the new mask had the face of a donkey.

It was not until the next week that the mask finally arrived.  Linda
Branca had grown very impatient and was almost in despair lest she
should never receive it.  When at last the girl brought it one could
easily see why it had taken a whole week to prepare it.  So like a
human face it was that it was plain that the making of it had called
forth great patience and skill as well as necessary time.

"It is even uglier than I had hoped it would be!" cried Linda Branca in
delight when she saw it.

Surely, when she tried it on no one of her suitors would ever have
recognized the fair Linda Branca of their songs.

Now Linda Branca had no mother, and her father was away on business, so
it was an easy matter to prepare for her departure.

Linda Branca's father was a man of wealth who spared no money in giving
his daughter beautiful gowns to enhance her rare beauty.  She had one
dress of blue trimmed with silver and another of blue embroidered in
gold.  As she packed up a few belongings to take with her, she decided
to add these two favorite garments.

"Who knows but I may need them sometime?" she mused as she rolled them
up carefully.

With the ugly mask upon her face, and dressed in a long dark cloak, she
quietly stole out of the house.  She went to the king's palace in a
neighboring city and inquired if they were in need of a maid.

[Illustration: She quietly stole out of the house]

"Ask my son.  It is he who rules here," said the king's mother.

The king looked at Linda Branca with a critical eye.

"I hired my last servant because she was so pretty," he remarked.  "I
think I'll hire this one because she is so ugly."

Accordingly, Linda Branca became a servant in the royal palace.  She
soon discovered, however, that it was the pretty maid who received all
the favors.  It was good to sleep nights without being disturbed by the
songs of suitors under her window.  Nevertheless, after a time, Linda
Branca could not fail to see that it was the pretty maid who had the
happy life.

"I believe I'd almost be willing to be pretty again," said Linda Branca
to herself.  "Perhaps it has some advantages."

She knew very well that the pretty maid was not as tired as she that
night.

The next day there was to be a great feast which was to last for two
days.  Linda Branca asked the queen if she might be allowed to attend.

"Ask my son," said the queen.  "It is he who rules here."

"May I go to the feast?" asked Linda Branca when she was blacking the
king's boots.

"Look out or I'll throw my boot at you," said the king.

That night when the feast had already begun, she dressed herself
carefully in the robe of blue trimmed with silver.  It was indeed a
pleasure to remove the ugly mask and find that she was still just as
lovely as when the crowds of suitors sang about her great beauty.

That night at the feast every one talked about the beauty of the
mysterious stranger in the dress of blue trimmed with silver.  The king
himself danced with her.  He was completely captivated by her charm.

"Where do you come from, lovely lady?" he asked.

"I come from the land of the boot," replied Linda Branca with a gay
laugh.

The king was completely mystified, for he did not know where the land
of the boot was.  He asked the queen and all the wisemen of the court,
but there was not a single one of them who had ever heard of that
country.  The next day they hunted through all the books and all the
maps, but there was no book or map which mentioned it.

"She is the most beautiful maiden I have ever seen!" cried the king.
"I'd like to marry her, but how can I ever see her again if I can't
find out the location of the land she comes from!"

He was in deep despair, and every one in the royal palace was nearly
distracted.  It was decidedly embarrassing to have the king fall in
love with a stranger from a country nobody could find on a map or in a
book.

When the king returned from the feast he saw the ugly little maid he
had hired busy at her work about the palace.  The next day she again
asked the queen's permission to go to the feast that night.

"Ask my son," was the queen's reply.

When Linda Branca asked the king's permission, he replied: "Look out or
I'll hit you with my hairbrush."

That night Linda Branca again removed her ugly mask and dressed herself
in the beautiful gown of blue embroidered in gold.  She was even
lovelier than the night before.

When she entered the grand ball room the king was almost wild with joy.
He ran to her side at once and kept dancing with her the entire evening.

"What country do you come from?" he asked again.

"I'm from the land of the hairbrush," replied Linda Branca.

"Where is that land?" asked the king, but Linda Branca would not tell
him.

"Where is the land of the hairbrush?" asked the king of the queen
mother, and of all the wise men of the court.

Nobody could tell him, and nobody could find the land of the hairbrush
upon any map or in any book.

"Stupid ones!" cried the king.  "I don't believe you have half tried to
find it!"

He looked through all the maps and books himself and at last he grew
ill from so much studying.  His friends all gathered about him in the
royal bedchamber and sought to console him.  However he refused
consolation.

"I do not care whether I live or die!" he cried.  "I care for nothing
except the beautiful stranger who came to my feast."

Linda Branca knew that the king was ill, and when these words were
reported to her she quickly dressed herself in the robe of blue trimmed
with silver, which she had worn the first night of the feast.  When she
took off her ugly mask and looked at herself in the glass she was
really pleased with her reflection.

"It is not so bad after all to be pretty," she said as she smiled.

Linda Branca stole out of the palace and peeped into the window of the
royal bedchamber.  One of the king's counsellors saw her.

"Whose lovely face is that at the window?" he asked.

"It is surely the beautiful stranger from the land of the boot," said
one.

"It is the charming maiden from the land of the hairbrush," disputed
another.

By the time the king himself had reached the window there was no one to
be seen.  He called for the queen, his mother.

"Tell me, mother, who was outside my window a moment ago?" he asked.

"No one unless a masquerader," replied the queen.

The poor queen was nearly worn out with worry over her son.  She was
afraid he was so sick that he was going to die.

The next day the king had in truth grown most decidedly worse.  The
court physicians went about with anxious faces and the whole palace had
become a place of deepest gloom.

Linda Branca put on her dress of blue embroidered with gold and again
peeped into the window of the royal bedchamber.

Now the king had lain upon his richly carved bed with his eyes fixed
every moment upon the window where the face had appeared.  He did not
close his eyes at all.

"He can't live long if this keeps up," one court physician whispered to
another.

He had just finished saying these words when the king gave a loud cry
and sprang from his bed.  He ran to the window and reached it just in
time to catch a piece of the skirt of blue embroidered in gold.  He
held it tight.

"Masquerader, unmask!" he cried.

Linda Branca had hastily put on the mask which she had brought with
her, and now she looked up at the king with the face of the little
servant he had hired.  She took off the mask and smiled into his eyes.

"Now at last I know who is the beautiful stranger from the land of the
boot and the land of the hairbrush!" cried the king.

When Linda Branca had told the king, the queen mother and all the
courtiers her whole story everybody laughed.

"Who ever before heard of a maiden who wanted to be less beautiful than
Nature had made her!" cried the wise men.

"I always knew that when my son saw fit to select his bride he would
choose a rare woman," said the queen mother proudly.

The king himself did not say a single word, but gazed and gazed at the
lovely face of Linda Branca with such joy in his eyes that she knew in
her heart that at last she was glad to be beautiful.

"Stay pretty," is a parting greeting between women in the Azores.
Perhaps it was Linda Branca herself who began saying it in the
beginning.



FRESH FIGS

_The Story of a Clever Youth and a Foolish One_


Long ago there lived a little maid who fell ill.  Her father was very
rich and he did everything he could for her.

One day she said: "If I only had some fresh figs I'm sure I'd feel
better."

Now it was in the month of January.  It would be many long months
before the fresh figs would be ripe.  The rich man was greatly worried.
Not even his fortune could ripen the figs, as he well knew.

Nevertheless he decided to advertise and therefore said: "Whoever shall
bring fresh figs to my daughter shall marry her if he be young.  If he
be old he shall receive his reward in money."

This announcement was spread abroad throughout the whole country, but
no one had any fresh figs in the month of January.  At last, however,
there was a woman found who had a fig tree close by the side of her
house, protected from the cold winds by the house and by the high wall
of her garden.  This woman had a few fresh figs, but they were small
and not very good.

"Send them to the little maid who is sick," advised her neighbors.

"Indeed I'll send them as soon as my son can get ready to start,"
replied the good woman.

Now the woman had two sons.  One of them was foolish, but the other was
considered one of the cleverest youths in the whole countryside.  He
left home immediately with the best of the figs in his basket.

On the way he met a woman dressed in blue with a child in her arms.  It
was really the Holy Mother and her Child but he did not recognize them.

"What are you carrying in your basket?" asked the woman.

"I am carrying horns," replied the clever youth.

"Yes, you are carrying horns," replied the woman.

The young man went on to the rich man's house supposing that he was
carrying figs in his basket just as when he started out.  The basket
had grown heavy.

"What have you in your basket?" asked the rich man when he saw the
youth at his door.

"I have brought some fresh figs from my garden to your daughter who is
ill," replied the clever one.

The rich man was delighted.  He opened the basket.  Then he shook the
boy roughly by the collar and pushed him away down the steep steps.
There were horns in the basket.

"What do you mean by playing such a trick on me?" called the rich man
after him.  "Never let me see your face in these parts again!"

There were still a few of the poorest of the fresh figs remaining on
the tree.  The foolish son begged his mother for permission to carry
them to the little maid who was sick.

"Yes.  Go with them," replied his mother.  "Who knows but what you may
wed the rich man's daughter!"  She laughed as she said it.

The boy who was foolish started for the rich man's house with the figs
in his basket.  They were only a very few, and poor little things
indeed.

On the way he met a woman dressed in blue with a child in her arms.

"What are you carrying in your basket?" asked the woman.

"Fresh figs for a little maid who is sick," replied the boy.

"Yes, you are carrying figs," said the woman.

The boy opened his basket.  "Here, take one for the baby," he said.
"He's a lovely child."

He gave one of the best figs to the baby and went on his way to the
rich man's house.

"What have you in your basket?" asked the rich man.

"Fresh figs from my garden for your daughter who is sick," replied the
boy.

The rich man opened the basket with a scowl upon his face.  He well
remembered how he had been tricked before.  Then his eyes grew wide
with surprise.

"What, figs like these in January!" he cried in amazement.

The figs had grown large and beautiful on the road to the rich man's
house.  They filled the whole basket.  The little maid was so happy
when she saw them that she began to grow better immediately.

When her father saw that the youth was foolish, he repented of his
promise to give his daughter in marriage to any young man who brought
fresh figs to her.  However, he had given his word and it was not a
thing to be lightly broken.

"I'll tell you what to do to get out of your difficulty," said his
friend to whom he told his trouble.  "Turn two lively rabbits out on
the mountain and tell the boy that he'll lose his life if he doesn't
catch them and bring them back at night."

That is exactly what the rich man did.  The poor youth tried in vain to
catch the rabbits.  He got very tired and hot; and, foolish as he was,
he knew enough to realize that the task set for him was quite
impossible.

Suddenly he saw the woman dressed in blue standing before him with the
child in her arms.

"What is the matter?" she asked him.

The boy told her how he would lose his life if he did not catch the
rabbits and bring them back to the rich man at nightfall.

The woman cut a reed and made a pipe of it.

"Play on this pipe," she said, "and the rabbits will come back to you
of their own accord."

The youth played such sweet music on his pipe that the two rabbits came
running up to him immediately.  It was all he could do to keep away the
other beasts and birds.  Everything which heard the music was charmed
by it.

[Illustration: The two rabbits came running up to him]

On his way back to the rich man's house he met two men who had been
sent to kill him.  No one had dreamed, of course, that he'd really
catch the rabbits.  The two men were so surprised when they saw them in
the bag that their eyes stuck out.  The rich man was even more amazed.

As for the little maid who had been sick, when she heard the sweet
music which the youth played upon the pipe, she was quite ready to
marry him.  The wedding was celebrated with great joy.



PETER-OF-THE-PIGS

_The Story of a Sharp Lad and a Sharper_


Long ago there lived a man who employed a boy to take care of his pigs.
The lad's name was Peter and he was commonly called by every one in the
countryside Peter-of-the-pigs.

One day a man came up to him and said:

"Sell me these seven pigs."

"I can't sell but six of them," said Peter.  "I must keep one, but you
may buy the other six if you will cut off their tails and ears and
leave them for me."

The man promised to do this, and the boy pocketed the money.  The six
pigs looked sad enough without their tails and ears as they were driven
away by their new master.

Peter led his one remaining pig down to the sand pit.  He buried it
halfway in the sand.  He buried the tails and ears of the other six
pigs, too, so that part of them stuck out.  Then he ran with all speed
for his master.

[Illustration: He buried it halfway in the sand]

"Come and help me get the pigs out of the sand pit!" he called out.

His master ran as fast as he could to the sand pit.  There he saw one
of the pigs halfway out of the sand.  He and Peter together soon pulled
it out completely.  Then he took hold of the tail nearby.  To his
horror it appeared to break off in his hand.

"Run to the house and ask my wife to give you two shovels!" cried the
owner of the pigs.  "With the shovels we can dig out the rest of the
pigs."

The boy ran to the house.  He knew that his master kept his money in
two big bags.

"My master says that you shall give me his two money bags," said Peter
to his mistress.

The woman did not approve of doing this.  "Are you sure he said both of
them?" she asked.

"Yes, both of them," said Peter.  "Go ask him yourself."

Accordingly, the woman ran out of the house.

"Did you say both of them?" she called to her husband.

"Yes, both of them," he replied.  "Be quick about it, too."

Of course the poor man thought that she was asking about the two
shovels which he had sent Peter to get.

Thus Peter received his master's two bags of money, and set out into
the world with the bags on his shoulder and his pockets full of the
money he had obtained from the sale of the six pigs.

After a time Peter-of-the-pigs met a robber.  The robber stole one of
his money bags and ran away with it.  Peter ran after him.

Now it happened that the robber had just killed a deer.  He was
carrying the liver inside his blouse.  As he ran he threw it back so
that he could run faster.  Peter saw what he had done.

"If you want to catch me, you'll have to throw away your liver, too,"
called out the robber over his shoulder.

Peter-of-the-pigs pulled out his knife and cut out his liver.  Of
course he dropped dead at once.

When at last Peter's master found out that he had been deceived he ran
after the lad.  As he found him lying dead there by the wayside, he
said:

"Oh, Peter-of-the-pigs!  You were sharp, but you found some one who was
sharper."

Thus it is in life.



THE PRINCESS WHO LOST HER RINGS

_The Story the Lame Old Women Told_


Long ago there lived a lovely princess who owned the most beautiful
rings in the whole world.  She had rings set with diamonds and rings
set with pearls.  She had rings set with rubies and rings set with
sapphires.  She had rings set with emeralds and turquoises and
amethysts and every other kind of precious stone.  She had rings which
had no precious stones in them, but which were wonderfully decorated
with fine and delicate carving, wrought with great skill.

This princess lived in a magnificent palace surrounded by a high wall.
Her own apartments opened upon a pleasant balcony.  From the balcony
she could see the blue waters of the ocean and the tall trees of the
forest.  Here she liked to pass her days.

In a corner of the balcony there was a basin and pitcher of silver
always kept filled with water in order that the princess might wash her
hands on the balcony instead of having to go inside the house.
Whenever she washed her hands she always removed the ring she was
wearing that day.  Some days it was one ring and other days it was
another, but, whatever ring it happened to be, the princess always took
it off carefully when she washed her hands.

One day a pretty white rabbit came up to the balcony to play with the
princess.  That day the princess was wearing her best diamond ring.
She removed it very carefully when she washed her hands.  Then it
disappeared.  She knew that the rabbit must have stolen it.

The next day the rabbit came again and that day the princess lost her
best emerald ring.  She was very sure that the rabbit must have stolen
that, too.  However, she liked to play with the rabbit, so she said
nothing to her father, the king, about the lost rings.

Every day the rabbit came and every day there was a ring missing.  The
princess had a large box full of rings, in the beginning, but one
morning she opened the box and saw that it was entirely empty.  She
remembered then that she had put on her last ring, one set with a
sapphire, the morning before.

The princess became so sad that she would not go out to the balcony to
play with the white rabbit.  Every day she grew sadder and sadder.  At
last her father, the king, noticed it.

"What is the matter with our daughter, the princess?" he asked the
queen.  "She is sad now, and once she was the very jolliest, happiest
princess in the whole world."

"I cannot imagine what the trouble is," replied the queen.  "Perhaps
she is lonely.  Let us send for the storytellers of the kingdom to come
and tell their stories to entertain her."

Accordingly, the king sent for all the storytellers in the whole
kingdom.  All the storytellers had to come to the palace even if they
were old and lame.

Now it so happened that in the kingdom there were two old women who
were very lame.  They knew the most interesting stories of anybody, but
it took them so long to reach the palace that they forgot all their
best stories on the way.

"What story are you going to tell the princess?" one of the lame old
women asked the other.

"I can't remember a single one of my stories," said the other old
woman.  "It has taken my lame old legs so long to travel the road to
the palace that now that we are almost there I can't think of a single
story."

The two old women tried to remember some of their stories, but they
could not think of any.  They were almost at the royal palace, too.

"What shall we do if we can't remember our stories?" asked the first
old woman.

"We'll have to learn some new stories," replied the other.

Just then they spied a queer sight.  There was a little donkey without
any feet traveling along the road.  On his back was a load of wood.

"What a queer donkey!" cried the first old woman.

"Let us follow along after him.  Perhaps we shall be able to tell a
story about him," replied the other.

The two old women followed the donkey into the forest.  There was a
little thatched-roofed house in the forest and before the house there
was a fire burning.  A kettle of something which smelled good was
boiling merrily over the fire.

The donkey which had no feet stopped beside the fire and left his load
of wood.  The two old women stopped beside the fire, too.

"What do you suppose is cooking in this kettle?" asked one of the old
women.

"It smells so good I'm going to taste and see," said the other.

She started to taste, but as she was about to stick in her finger she
heard a strange deep voice which seemed to come out of the little
thatched house.

"Do not touch.  It is not yours," is what the voice said.

The two old women went up to the door of the house and one of them
peeped through the keyhole.

Inside the house she saw a pretty white rabbit playing with a box full
of rings.  Suddenly the white rabbit pulled off his skin and changed
into a handsome prince.

"What wouldn't I give to see the owner of these rings!" cried the
prince.

The two lame old women hurried away from the little house in the
forest.  They were frightened at the queer doings there.

"I know a story to tell the princess!" cried one of the old women when
she had recovered from her fright.  "I'll tell her how I peeped through
the keyhole and saw the rabbit change his skin."

"I know what I'll tell the princess," said the other old woman.  "I'll
tell her how I followed the donkey without any feet and what that
strange voice said to me when I tried to taste the good-smelling broth
in the kettle."

"We must keep saying over our stories so we won't forget them," said
the first old woman.

"We must hurry on our way to the royal palace and get there while we
remember them," said the other.

The two old women hurried on their way to the palace as fast as their
lame old legs could carry them.  They rehearsed their stories over and
over along the way so they would not forget them.

Many storytellers had told their tales to the princess.  They were
jolly tales, too, but the princess was not in the least cheered by
them.  She remembered her lost rings even when she was listening to the
stories.

"If the storytellers cannot make the princess happy, who can?" asked
the king in despair.

"I'm sure I don't know," replied the queen.  "She always used to like
stories."

Finally the two old women reached the royal palace and went to tell
their tales to the princess.

The first old woman told the story of the donkey without any feet and
the broth in the kettle.  The princess did not appear to be
particularly interested even when the old woman told about the strange
deep voice which said, "Do not touch.  It is not yours."  Cold chills,
however, ran up and down the spines of the king and queen and all the
courtiers when she came to that part of the tale.

Next the other old woman told how she peeped through the keyhole of the
little thatched house in the forest and saw the white rabbit change his
skin.

The pretty dark eyes of the princess sparkled when the old woman
mentioned the rabbit and she leaned forward in her chair eagerly.

"Our dear little princess looks like her own happy self again for the
first time in ages," whispered the king to the queen.

When the old woman told of the rabbit's words, "What would I not give
to see the owner of these rings!" the princess clapped her hands.

"Take me to see this rabbit at once!" she cried.

The king and queen and all the courtiers went with the princess to find
the white rabbit.  The two old women went first to point out the way,
and as these old women were so lame the whole procession moved very
slowly.

At last they drew near the forest.  There was the donkey without any
feet moving along the road with a load of wood on his back.  The two
old women, the princess, the king and queen and all the courtiers
followed the donkey into the deep forest to the door of the little
thatched house.  Before the house the fire was burning and something
which smelled good was boiling in the kettle.  The princess stuck in
her finger to try it.

[Illustration: The two old women, the princess, the king and queen, and
all the courtiers followed]

"Take it.  It is yours," said the strange deep voice from the little
house.

The princess was so surprised that she forgot to taste the
good-smelling broth.  She ran to the door of the house and peeped
through the keyhole.  There was the white rabbit playing with a box
full of rings set with diamonds and pearls, rings set with rubies and
sapphires, rings set with emeralds and amethysts and turquoises, and
rings set with no precious stones at all, but carved delicately, with
great skill.

"What wouldn't I give to see the owner of these rings!" said the rabbit
as he pulled off his skin and changed into a handsome prince.

"Here's the owner of the rings!" cried the princess.  "She is here at
your very door!"

The door of the little thatched house in the deep forest swiftly opened
and the prince received the princess in his arms.

"Your words have broken my enchantment!" he cried.  "Now that at last
the voice of the owner of these rings is heard at my door, I'll never
have to put on my rabbit skin again."



THE MASTER OF MAGIC

_The Story of a Boy who Learned His Lessons in School_


Once upon a time there lived a man who had three sons.  The two older
ones worked in the fields, but the youngest one went to school.  He
learned how to read and write and do sums and make drawings.  At last
he even learned magic.

The two elder brothers complained to their father about him one day.
Their hearts were bitter against him.

"It is not fair, father," they said.  "We work hard every day in the
fields and bring home money to enrich the family.  Why shouldn't our
brother work, too?  He does nothing except study."

The youngest son heard their words of complaint.

"Will you go hunting with me to-morrow, father?" he asked.  "I have
learned much magic.  In fact, I have become a master of magic.  I will
turn myself into a hunting dog if you will go into the fields with me."

The next day the young man changed himself by magic into a hunting dog,
and his father went into the fields with him.  He bagged many rabbits
that day.  As they returned home, he met one of his friends.

"What luck to-day?" asked his friend.

The hunter proudly displayed the rabbits he had in his bag.  "I have
them, thanks to my dog," he said.

"I'd like to buy that dog of yours," said his friend.  "What will you
take for him?"

The father named an enormous price, and to his great surprise his
friend accepted it.  The money was passed over at once, and the hunting
dog went home with his new master.

The next day they went on a hunting expedition into the deep forest.
Suddenly the dog disappeared.  His master called and whistled to him in
vain.  Finally he was obliged to return home without him.  He had lost
both the dog and the money he had paid for him.

"Have you seen my hunting dog?" were his words for many weeks to every
one he met.

His hunting dog had fled into a deep forest and once more resumed his
original form.  He returned home and told his two brothers that in a
single day he had earned for his father more than their combined
efforts for many weeks.  Indeed it was quite true.

The next day the young man said to his father: "Will you buy a saddle
and bridle for me if I turn myself into a horse?"

His father made the purchase, and then the young man changed into a
handsome black horse.  His father rode him up and down the streets very
proudly.  The Great Magician noticed the beautiful beast.

He called the man to him and said: "That is a very good horse you are
riding.  What will you sell him for?"

The father named an enormous price, but he at once paid it cheerfully.
He ordered the horse placed in his stables.

Now this Great Magician had a beautiful daughter who was very fond of
horses.  She went out to inspect his new purchase as soon as it was
brought home.  She noticed that the horse ate nothing.

"What a beauty!" she cried as she stroked his glossy black coat.  "You
are the handsomest horse in the stable.  Why don't you eat?  I believe
your bridle is hurting you.  I'm going to take it off."

As soon as the bridle was removed it was changed into a bird and flew
out the window.  The Great Magician at that moment changed himself into
a hawk and killed the bird, never dreaming that it was the bridle of
the new horse he had purchased.

The next morning when the Great Magician went to mount his beautiful
black steed there was no new horse to be found in the stable.  The
horse had changed into a kernel of corn.

[Illustration: The horse had changed into a kernel of corn]

The Great Magician transformed himself into a hen to eat up the corn,
but the youth was too quick for him.  He changed into a dog and seized
the hen between his teeth and gave it a good shaking.  Then he returned
to his own form and explained the whole affair to the Great Magician.

"You are surely a master of magic," was the comment of the magician.

When the Great Magician had forgiven him for the shaking he had
received when he was in the form of a hen, he gladly gave his consent
to his daughter's marriage to the master of magic.



ST. ANTHONY'S GODCHILD

_The Story of Antonia who became a King's Page_


Long ago there lived a man who had so many children that he could
scarcely find godfathers for them all.  He had requested so many of his
friends to serve, that when his last baby was born, a little dark-eyed
daughter, he vowed that he'd ask the first man he met upon the street.

As luck would have it, he happened to meet the good St. Anthony.

"Will you be godfather to my baby daughter?" he asked.

Kind St. Anthony gladly consented.  He named the baby Antonia, and said
to the father:

"Train up this child in the way she should go.  Teach her all you can.
When she is thirteen years old I'll come to get her and I'll give her a
good start in life."

The years flew by and soon little Antonia was thirteen years old.  The
father was afraid that St. Anthony had forgotten his promise, but one
day the saint appeared.

"Is this my godchild?" he asked as he looked at Antonia.  "Surely she
has grown prettier each year of her life."

Antonia blushed shyly and looked even more attractive than before.

"Dress yourself in your brother's garments," he said to her.  "I am
going to take you to the king's court and you are entirely too pretty
to go there in your own dresses."

Accordingly, Antonia put on her brother's clothes and went to serve as
a page to the king.  She was now called Anthony instead of Antonia.

Now the king had a sister who grew very fond of the little page.  She
became angry that the page did not love her in return and plotted
against him.

One day she went to the king and said:

"Your little page says that he can separate all the chaff from the
wheat in a single night."

"Let him try," responded the king.

When Anthony heard what the king required he was decidedly worried.
Then he remembered that he was the godchild of St. Anthony and that the
saint was always ready to aid those in need.  He called upon St.
Anthony to help him fulfill the king's command.  In the morning the
king's wheat was entirely free from chaff.

The king loved his little page more and more, and the king's sister was
angrier than before that she could not win the affection of the youth.
She made a new plot against him.

"What do you suppose that page is saying now?" she asked her brother.
"He boasts that he can go to the palace of the king of the Moors and
steal the purse of gold pieces from beneath his pillow."

The king sent Anthony to the palace of the king of the Moors.  With St.
Anthony's help he climbed up the high wall of the palace and crept in
through a window.  The king of the Moors was so sound asleep that
Anthony had no difficulty whatever in slipping his hand under the
pillow and stealing the purse.  Then he crept out again without
awakening the king.

[Illustration: He climbed up the high wall of the palace]

"That young page, Anthony, has grown so very boastful," remarked the
king's sister a few days after his return, "that he now claims that he
can carry away the king of the Moors himself."

Then she added, "I'll marry him if he fulfills this boast."

"Bring home the king of the Moors as your captive," were the king's
orders to Anthony.

The page was very much worried for he thought that it would be more
difficult to capture the king of the Moors than it had been to capture
his purse.

"Not at all, dear godchild," said the kind St. Anthony when he had
heard about the king's new command.

Anthony climbed quietly up the wall as before and crept in through the
window.  Then he rolled the king of the Moors up in the bedclothes and
tossed him out of the window.  By the time the king was really awakened
from his sleep he was in the boat ready to sail away.

When Anthony returned to the palace with his captive, the king said:

"My best and bravest page, you are worthy indeed of any honor.  You
shall wed my sister."

"I can't marry her," said Anthony.  "My name is Antonia."

"In that case," said the king, "I'll marry you myself."



TROUBLE WHEN ONE'S YOUNG

_The Story of a Maid's Choice_


Long ago there lived a beautiful maiden whose name was Clarinha.  She
had been betrothed to a prince whom she had never seen.  When at last
he should be old enough to receive the rule of the kingdom he was
coming to claim her as his bride.

Clarinha lived in a magnificent palace surrounded by a beautiful
garden.  Every day she spent many hours among the lovely flowers and
trees.

One day an eagle alighted on the tallest tree in the garden.

"Good morning, fair Clarinha," he said to her.

"Good morning," she replied in surprise.  Never before had an eagle
spoken to her.

"Which do you prefer, trouble when you are young or when you are old?"
asked the eagle.

Clarinha did not know what to say.  That night she asked her mother
which would be better to choose.

"Choose trouble when you're young, dear child," advised her mother.
"When you are young it is easy to bear anything, but when you are old
you can endure nothing."

She remembered her mother's words.  Next day when the eagle again
addressed the same question to her, she answered: "Trouble when I'm
young."

Clarinha had hardly said these words when the eagle lifted her up by
the pink skirt she was wearing and carried her away.  On he flew over
seas and mountains.  Clarinha was frightened nearly to death.

At last the eagle set her down in a strange land.  She was hungry, and,
accordingly, hired out in a bakeshop to earn her living.  She would
have been happier if the eagle had flown away, but he remained in a
nearby tree-top.

The baker went out, leaving Clarinha to bake the dough which he had
left ready to put into the oven.  The little maid carefully closed the
door and all the windows so that the eagle would not be able to get
inside.  As soon as the baker was out of sight, however, he flew down
the chimney.  He tore about the bakeshop, spilling all the dough on the
floor and breaking the dishes.  Then he went back up the chimney when
he had completed all the damage there was to be done.

When the baker returned he flew into a terrible rage.  He gave poor
Clarinha a beating and turned her out into the street.

She walked about the city and at last found work as shopkeeper in a
little shop on a corner.  The owner of the business went away next day,
leaving her in charge of everything.  As soon as he was gone she shut
the door and all the windows, but the eagle flew down the chimney and
broke the cups and glasses and plates which were set out for sale in
neat rows upon the shelf.

"What have you been doing in my shop?" cried the owner in anger when he
returned and saw the destruction which the eagle had left behind.

He didn't give the poor girl a chance to reply, but seized her roughly
and threw her out into the street.

Clarinha walked and walked seeking work, and at last she arrived at the
door of the royal palace.

"Do you happen to need a servant?" she asked the queen.

"I have all the servants I need," replied the queen.

The prince was standing nearby.

"Hire her, mother," he advised.  "She'll do to take care of the ducks."

Accordingly, the queen hired Clarinha to care for the ducks.  The next
morning all the ducks in the royal duckyard were dead.  The eagle had
killed them all.

"Hire her for a seamstress, mother," said the prince.  "The poor little
thing is crying as if her heart would break.  I'm sorry for her."

The queen hired Clarinha to be a seamstress in the royal palace.

That very day the prince left home to visit his betrothed.  He was
going to marry a beautiful maiden in a neighboring land, whom he had
never seen.  As he left the palace he asked each one of the servants
what gifts he should bring at his return.

When he came to Clarinha, her reply was, "Bring me a stone from the
palace wall of your betrothed."

The prince thought it a strange request, but he promised to fulfill it.

As soon as the prince arrived in the land where his betrothed lived, he
found out that the palace was in mourning because of her mysterious
disappearance one day from the garden.

He was so sad that he could not linger in that land.  He stayed only
long enough to buy the gifts which he had promised to bring to the
servants.  Along with the other gifts he carried a stone from the
palace garden of his betrothed.

When Clarinha received her gift she heard the story of the mysterious
disappearance of the prince's bride.  As soon as she held the stone in
her hand she knew that it came from the wall of her own loved garden.
Joy shone in her beautiful eyes.

For the first time the prince noticed how very lovely Clarinha was.  He
had always liked the little maid even when her face was sad, but now
that she was happy he saw that she was the most beautiful girl he had
ever seen.

"What does that pretty little maid intend to do with that stone?" he
asked the queen.

"I cannot guess," replied the queen.  "She seemed happy enough to
receive it.  I never saw her look happy before.  Trouble seems to
follow whatever she undertakes.  I was on the point of discharging her.
She's caused me nothing but endless annoyance.  I hired her only to
please you."

The prince followed Clarinha and listened at her door.  Inside her room
she was talking to the stone.

"Oh, stone from my garden wall," she was saying.  "How are the flowers
of my garden?"

[Illustration: "Oh, stone from my garden wall," she was saying]

The prince could hardly believe his ears.  Suddenly he guessed what the
truth might be.  He burst into the room.

"Are you my betrothed who has disappeared from her own land?" he asked
Clarinha.

She smiled into his eyes.

"Trouble when one's young is hard enough to bear," she said when she
had told all her story.  "I've had quite enough to last me all my life."

"Your woes are ended now and a happy life lies before you," said the
prince.  "Our wedding shall be celebrated at once."



THE LITTLE MAID WHO WAS WISE

_The Story of a Robber Who was Outwitted_


Long ago there lived a merchant who had three daughters.  Every year at
a certain day of a certain month he went away to a distant city to
collect money on an account.  His wife and daughters remained at home,
and all went well until one sad day the wife died.  That year the
merchant looked forward to his journey with dread for he would have to
leave his daughters alone.

"I cannot bear to go away," he said to them.  "My heart is filled with
fear lest some evil may befall you during my absence."

He worried about the matter night and day.  The business was most
important and there was no one whom he could send to transact it for
him.

However, the question of leaving three such pretty girls unprotected
was a thing not to be regarded lightly.

"Do not be afraid to leave us, dear father," said his daughters.
"Nothing will harm us while you are away."

"How do you know?" asked their father.  "I am older and wiser than you
are and I know that there are many evils which might come upon you.
There are many bold thieves in this city, for instance, who would be
only too ready to take advantage of my absence and rob my home of all I
possess."

"We can lock ourselves securely in the house and not let any one
enter," said the three daughters.

"Be sure that you admit no one," commanded the merchant.

They gave him their promise and he started on his journey.
Nevertheless, he went with an anxious heart.

Now, outside this city there was a band of bold robbers.  The captain
of the band had watched the merchant's departure, and when he was
safely away the thief dressed himself in the disguise of an old beggar.
When it was evening he led his band into a nearby street and in his
disguise approached the merchant's house.  He knocked at the door.

"Have pity upon a poor unfortunate one!" he called out.  "It is raining
outside, and no one with mercy in his heart could turn away one who
begs shelter from the storm.  Let me enter, I pray you, to pass the
night under your roof."

"It's surely a terrible storm outside," said the merchant's eldest
daughter, as the wind rattled the tiles of the roof and the rain beat
in torrents against the doors and windows.  "I think we ought to take
pity on a poor beggar a night like this."

The second daughter peeped out of the window at the beggar.

"He is old as well as poor," she said.  "Our father has always taught
us to show mercy and kindness to the aged."

"Remember our promise to our father!" cried the youngest one.  "We gave
him our word that we would admit no one.  We can give this poor beggar
some alms and send him away with a blessing."

The eldest daughter frowned.  "It is not for the youngest and most
childish one of us to make the plans," she said.

The second daughter added.  "We two are older and wiser than you are.
It is for us to determine what shall be done.  If we decide to show
mercy to this poor beggar it is not for you to oppose it."

"Bui we should not forget our promise to our father!" cried the
youngest daughter.

However, in spite of all she could say, the elder sisters opened the
door and admitted the beggar.  They led him into the kitchen to dry his
clothes.  Then they made ready a bed for him to sleep upon.  They gave
him his supper in the kitchen and then they ate their own.

"It is a fearful night to send away a beggar," said the eldest sister
while they were eating.

"I am glad we have made him comfortable for the night," remarked the
middle sister.

"I am thinking that our dear father would be anxious if he knew that we
had broken our promise so easily," said the youngest sister.

"For shame!" cried the eldest.

"I don't think it was breaking our promise to show kindness to a poor
old beggar," said the middle one.

"A promise is a promise, nevertheless," said the youngest.

While they were talking, the beggar had taken the apples which the
girls were to eat for dessert and had sprinkled a sleeping powder over
them.  The two eldest ate their apples, but the youngest could not eat
that night.  She threw the apple away.

As soon as they had eaten, the girls went to their room, and the two
eldest were overcome with sleep almost before they had time to get into
bed.  The youngest one was so frightened that she could not sleep a
single wink.

Soon she heard footsteps.  The beggar entered the room.  The youngest
one pretended that she, too, was asleep.  The man went to the bed of
the eldest sister and stuck a pin into her foot to see if she were
completely unconscious.  She did not stir and he knew that the sleeping
powder had thoroughly done its work.  Then he went to the bed of the
second sister and did the same.  She was as completely unconscious as
her sister.  It hurt terribly when he stuck the pin into the foot of
the youngest, but she did not stir.  The robber thought that she was as
completely overcome by the sleeping powder as the others.

The youngest sister peeped through her long heavy eyelashes and watched
the beggar.  She saw to her surprise that he had laid aside the heavy
ragged old coat which he had kept wrapped about him even while he ate.
Underneath he was dressed like a robber with a sword, pistols and
dagger.  She was so terribly frightened that it was all she could do to
keep her teeth from chattering.

She heard the robber go about the house picking out the valuables which
he wanted to steal.  Then she heard him go down the stairway and unbolt
the heavy doors which led into the store.  She quietly got up and crept
out of the room to hear him more distinctly.

On a chair in the dining room she saw the sword which he had taken off.
He had evidently thought that, with all three girls so sound asleep,
he'd not need to use his weapons.

Soon she heard the heavy outer doors of the store unbolted.  The robber
had gone outside to call the rest of the band.  The little girl flew
down the stairs and closed the doors of the store securely.  They were
big and heavy, but her great fear gave her strength.

[Illustration: They were big and heavy, but her great fear gave her
strength]

"He'll find it difficult to get into our house again," she said to
herself as she waited to see if the robber returned.

Soon she heard footsteps outside.  She knew that the thief had brought
back others with him.

There were frightful words said when they found that the door was shut.

"It was the youngest one who deceived me!" cried the robber chieftain.
"I knew all the time that she did not want to let me in.  I was
suspicious of her from the first."

"Perhaps you can outwit her yet!" cried another.  "She may not be so
wise as she appears.  You never can tell."

The leader of the band of thieves went up close to the keyhole and
whispered: "Kind lady of the house, have pity on me."

The merchant's daughter at first did not answer; but, as he kept on
calling to her, she finally asked him what it was that he wanted.

"I have left my charm behind!" he cried.  "Pray let me enter to get it.
I promise you I will do you no harm."

"I do not trust your promises," replied the little maid.  "You shall
not come into my father's house."

"Pass the charm out to me, then," said the robber.

"It's in the fire," replied the girl.

"Go throw vinegar on the fire and put it out," said the captain of the
thieves.  "Then you can pull my charm out in safety."

Now it happened that there was a little hole in the door just large
enough for a man's hand to enter.  It is the hole through which beggars
often thrust outstretched hands, asking for alms.

"Put your hand through the hole in the door," replied the little maid.
"Then I'll give you your charm."

She quickly ran upstairs and got the robber's sword which he had left
on a chair in the dining room.  When she returned, his hand was
sticking through the hole in the door.  She struck it with all her
might with the great sword and cut it off.

The cries and curses of the robbers filled the air.  They tried in vain
to break down the great doors.  The doors were strong and held
securely.  At last it was daylight and the band of thieves had to flee.

In the morning the effect of the sleeping powder wore off and the two
elder sisters awoke.  When they heard their sister's story they were
filled with amazement.

"I don't believe a word of it!" cried the oldest.  "You are making it
up."

"You had a bad dream," said the second.  "I had such a nightmare myself
that I have a headache this morning."

It was not until their little sister had shown them the robber's hand
and the great sword that they were convinced that she had told them the
truth.

"Oh, why did we ever let the man into our house!" cried the eldest.

"Oh, why didn't we keep our promise to our father!" cried the middle
one.

When at last the merchant returned from the distant city where he had
been to collect money he was delighted to find his house and his three
daughters safe.

"I see that no harm befell you in my absence," he said as he embraced
them fondly.  "All my worries about you were foolish."

The eldest daughter blushed and hung her head.  "Great danger
threatened us while you were away," she said.  "Thanks to our youngest
sister, we are safe."

"Our little sister was wiser than we were," said the middle daughter.

When the merchant had heard the whole story, he said: "After this we
must all give ear to the wisdom of this little maid.  She is wise
beyond her years."



MANOEL LITTLEBEAN

_The Story of How He Helped His Father_


Long ago there lived a man and his wife who had no children.

"I wish I had a little boy," said the man.

"I'd like a son of my own even if he were not any larger than a little
bean," said the woman.

Time passed and a son was born to this worthy couple.  He was no larger
than a little bean and as the years went by he never grew any bigger.
His name was Manoel Littlebean.  He caused his mother endless trouble
by constantly getting lost.  Sometimes she'd nearly step on him.  Other
times he'd fall into the food and she would almost swallow him.

One day his mother couldn't find him.

"Manoel Littlebean!  Manoel Littlebean!" she called.

There was no answer.

She went outside the house and called his name anxiously.  There was no
reply.  She asked all the neighbors if they had seen the child, but
there was nobody who had noticed him that day.  His poor mother was
nearly wild with anxiety.

"I'm afraid I'll never see the dear child again," she mourned.  "I'm
sure I have either stepped on him or swallowed him!"

"You never stepped on him or swallowed him yet," comforted her husband.
However, he added anxiously, "I can't see what has become of my Manoel."

The truth of the matter was that Manoel Littlebean had been swallowed
by the goat.  He was a most active youngster in spite of his small size
and he caused the goat a terrible attack of indigestion.

The goat did not know what was the matter and he tore around so wildly
and caused so much destruction that his master decided to kill him.

"I simply can't be bothered with that goat any longer," he said.  "I
have quite enough to worry about already with Manoel Littlebean lost
and my poor wife nearly sick with anxiety because of it."

He never dreamed that it was his son who was making the goat so wild
with misery.  When the goat was dead he threw it out into the street.

That night a wolf came and ate the goat.  He swallowed the goat's
stomach so greedily that Manoel Littlebean had no time to escape.
However he jumped about just as actively inside the wolf as he had done
when the goat had swallowed him.  The wolf was just as uncomfortable as
the goat had been.

"What is the matter with me?" thought the wolf.  "Never in my life have
I had such a stomachache.  I believe I'm going to die."

He ran away into the forest and crept into a cave to await his end.
Inside the cave was a robbers' den.  Three of the robbers were there
counting over the gold they had just brought back.

When they saw the wolf they were so frightened that they dropped their
bags of gold and ran away as fast as they could, leaving everything
behind them.

Manoel Littlebean guessed that he was making the wolf sick.

"If I can only make him so ill that he will spit me up!" said Manoel to
himself as he jumped about his liveliest.

That is exactly what happened.  The wolf spit Manoel Littlebean out.

He was decidedly dirty and unattractive, but he didn't mind in the
least.  He saw the quantities of gold in the robbers' cave and his eyes
shone.

[Illustration: He saw the quantities of gold]

"If I can only find my way home to tell my father about it, he will be
a rich man!" he cried.

It was a long distance home and several times he thought that he had
lost his way.  Finally, however, he saw his own mother's light in the
window.  He ran toward it as fast as he could run.

"Manoel Littlebean, what have you been doing?" cried his mother when
she saw him.  "Where did you get so dirty?  Come, let me give you a
bath the first thing!"

"Never mind about the bath, mother," said Manoel.  "I have more
important things to attend to.  Where is father?"

His mother called her husband and they both forgot how dirty the child
was when they heard his story.

"Let us hurry to the robbers' cave, father," he said.  "We must get
there before they return."

"What about the wolf?" asked his mother anxiously.

Manoel Littlebean laughed.

"The wolf doesn't have any stomachache now," he said.  "He went home
long ago."

They went to the robbers' cave and brought home the huge sacks full of
gold.  It was enough to make them live like princes for a lifetime.

"I have the best and cleverest son in the world," said the father.

"Never in the world was there a son who was such a joy and comfort to
his parents," said his mother.

Manoel Littlebean was treated by every one as politely as if he had
been big.



THE NECKLACE OF PEARLS

_The Story of a Water-nymph and an Island Lad_


In a tiny cottage on the steep rocky hillside of one of the islands of
the Azores there lived a poor woman and her only son whose name was
Francisco.  Every day the boy went fishing in his little boat, and
every night he brought home fish for his mother to cook for their
evening meal and to carry into the market to sell.  In this way they
lived very comfortably, and they loved each other so dearly that they
were as happy as happy can be.

Francisco, with his fair skin, blue eyes and thatch of curly golden
hair, was the handsomest boy in the whole parish, and by the time he
was sixteen years old there was many a rich man's daughter who had
smiled upon him.  However, the lad thought only of his fishing boat and
his mother and did not notice the smiles.

One night the moon was so bright that Francisco could not sleep.  He
awakened his mother who was dozing comfortably in her bed.

"I'm going fishing, mother dear," he said as he kissed her.  "The
moonlight is calling me."

His mother started up from her bed in terror and amazement.

"Why, my boy, do you do such a thing as this?" she asked.  "You have
never been fishing in the night before.  Some evil will surely befall
you."

"Don't worry about me, dear mother," replied Francisco, laughing at her
fears.  "I know how to take care of myself.  It is as light as day.
Think how many fish I'll bring back for you to sell in the market
to-morrow."

His mother shook her head anxiously, but, with another loving kiss, the
lad ran out into the bright moonlight.  He quickly launched his little
fishing boat and soon was floating smoothly along on the peaceful
waters of the bay which gleamed like a silver pathway in the moonlight.
The soft air, the gentle rocking of the little boat, and the face of
the moon upon which his blue eyes were fixed combined to send sleep to
his eyelids.  Soon he was nodding in the little boat.  A few moments
later and he was fast asleep.  The moon's rays upon his curls made them
shine as if they were indeed made of gold.

Now the village maidens were not the only ones who had noticed
Francisco's blue eyes and handsome face.  A water-nymph who dwelt in
the depths of the sea had often observed him.  In the daytime she was
invisible to the eye of humans and so the lad had never seen her though
she often spent long hours near him, never taking her eyes from his
face.

"Here comes the beautiful youth in his little fishing boat!" cried the
nymph as she saw the moonlight gleaming upon his bright curls.  "At
last my wish has come true.  Now at night he'll be able to see me."

She hastily arranged her own beautiful hair before a little mirror she
carried.  Some of the strands of priceless pearls which decked her
lovely head were a trifle awry.  These and the necklaces of rare pearls
which hung about her fair throat surrounded her with a gleam of soft
light almost like the light of the moon.  As she approached nearer to
the little boat she saw that Francisco was fast asleep.  She swam in
the direction of the lad with all possible speed, a wild terror in her
eyes.

"What madness is this?" she asked as she looked down upon his bowed
head.  "This frail boat will drift upon the dangerous rocks and be
dashed to pieces.  I'll take him home to my own palace without
awakening him.  Perhaps when he sees how lovely it is he'll even like
me a little bit."

Just for a moment she hesitated, thinking how far from home Francisco
would be in the palace of mother-of-pearl in the depths of the sea.

"The rocks are really very dangerous," she said to herself as she
gently drew his sleeping form into her arms.

The next morning Francisco's empty fishing boat was found by the
fishermen.  For hours his mother had watched in vain for his return.
When at last she heard that the empty boat had been found she was
nearly wild with grief.

"He was the best son a mother ever had," she moaned over and over
again.  "How can I live without him!"

Indeed, as the days and weeks went by it was increasingly difficult for
the poor woman to live.  She not only missed her boy's loving smile,
but she also missed the fish he caught so skillfully.  There was little
for the poor woman to eat if she had any appetite for food.

"Why don't you go to the Wiseman of the Sea and tell him your
troubles?" asked one of the neighbors.

Francisco's mother knew that it was a long and difficult journey to
reach the Wiseman of the Sea.  She decided, however, it would be worth
the effort just to gaze into his wise eyes.  He knew so much, perhaps
he would know how to say something to comfort her in her great sorrow
and loneliness.  She had shrugged her shoulders when her neighbor had
spoken of it but she could not get the idea out of her mind.  She knew
that she would never rest in peace until she had made this journey.
Accordingly, she launched Francisco's fishing boat, and, thanks to
smooth seas, reached the little rocky island in the midst of the sea
where the Wiseman of the Sea lived.

His tall form was outlined above the cliff even as she tied her little
boat.  He was very tall, far taller than anybody she had ever seen, and
his snow-white beard fell to his feet.  He was clothed in fish scales
which gleamed in the sunlight.

"Well, little mother, what can I do for you to-day?" he asked, as she
came up the path to the summit of the rock.

The eyes of the Wiseman of the Sea were very kind as well as full of
great wisdom.  Francisco's mother forgot to be afraid of him as she had
expected to be.  She told him the story of her lost son.  The Wiseman
listened carefully to her words and then he said:

"Good mother, I am glad to tell you that I know where your Francisco
is.  He is in the power of a water-nymph who has carried him away to
her castle of mother-of-pearl in the depths of the sea."

Francisco's mother felt the tears of joy well up into her eyes.  "Is my
boy happy there and is he well?" she asked eagerly.

"He is entirely well and happy.  The water-nymph gave him a philtre
which has made him forget his past life entirely."

"I'm glad you told me that," said the boy's mother.  "I was just
wondering how my dear lad could be happy while he was causing me so
much sorrow.  He has always been the best and kindest son with which a
mother ever was blessed."

The Wiseman of the Sea started to say something, but the woman
interrupted as a new thought flew into her mind.  "Tell me," she cried,
"is there no way of getting him back?  With all your wisdom can't you
think of some way to make him once more remember the mother who loves
him and the little home in which we have passed so many happy days
together?  Do you not know some means of breaking the power which this
water-nymph has over him?"

The Wiseman looked out across the sea in silence for at least a minute
and a half.  He thought hard.  Francisco's mother watched him with
eager eyes.  She could hardly wait for his answer.  At last these were
the words which fell from his lips:

"You have shed many tears, good woman, but tears are still to flow if
you are to bring back your son."

"Oh, must I suffer more?" cried the heart-broken mother.  "It seems
that I have already lived a lifetime since my dear lad kissed me in the
moonlight.  I have endured all that I can bear."

The Wiseman smiled gently as he raised his hand.  "Listen, my child,"
he said.  "Your tears must be shed upon the bosom of the waters.  If,
perchance, one of them should fall upon your son's heart there in the
palace of the water-nymph in the depths of the sea, the power of her
philtre will be broken."

"I'll shed whole oceans of tears if I can break the power of that
water-nymph and bring back my Francisco," said his mother.

The fact is that she began to shed tears then and there, even before
she had thanked the Wiseman of the Sea for what he had told her.

Now it happened that Francisco had grown to love the beautiful palace
of mother-of-pearl in the depths of the sea.  He never tired of all its
beauty.  About the palace there were lovely gardens filled with flowers
made of precious gems.  Each tiny bud of that garden was worth a king's
ransom, so rich were the jewels which composed it.  The water-nymph
often gathered her arms full of these rare blossoms and wove them into
a garland to crown Francisco's golden curls.  He never had a thought of
the old life at home with his mother, so completely had the nymph's
philtre done its work.

There was always a big fish swimming about the palace.  On its back
there was a cushion of seagreen satin embroidered with lovely pearls.

"This is your riding horse," said the water-nymph to Francisco the
first day he had seen it.  "If you should ever get tired of the palace
and find the life here a bit monotonous, just mount this horse and ride
about for a little."

The water-nymph had shaken out her long fair tresses so that they
covered as much as possible of the fishtail she had instead of feet.
She was very sensitive about the fact that she had no feet upon which
to wear pretty little slippers like those of the maidens she had seen
so often as they called out gay greetings to the handsome fisher-lad.

Francisco had smiled into her eyes.  "How absurd," he cried, "to think
of such a thing as getting tired of this wonderful place!"

In fact the days had slipped by all too fast for the happy youth.  Then
it suddenly happened one day while the water-nymph was asleep that he
thought of his mother, the little house which had been his home for
sixteen years and more, the fishing boat which was his pride and joy,
the moonlight night when he had gaily kissed his mother's cheek and
gone away never to return.  He did not stop to waken the sleeping
nymph.  He said no word to the servants of the palace.  He thought only
of the fish with the cushion of sea-green satin embroidered with rare
pearls.

"Quick!" he cried to it.  "Take me home as fast as you can!  My
mother's heart is breaking!  She has shed so many tears for me, I know,
that by this time she may be entirely blind."

[Illustration: "Take me home as fast as you can!"]

In another hour Francisco was safe at home with his mother's arms about
him.  She had shed so many tears that her eyes were swollen almost
shut, but they were not closed so completely that they could not shine
with the great joy which once more filled her heart.

"Promise me one thing," she said to him.  "Give me your word that
you'll never go fishing again.  I don't trust that water-nymph even in
the daytime."

Accordingly, Francisco gave up being a fisherman and became a hunter.
To make his spears, he gathered the young sapling which grew on the
hillside even down to the edge of the water.  He had grown still
handsomer while he had lived in the palace of mother-of-pearl in the
depths of the sea, and there were twice as many pretty maidens who cast
smiling glances in his direction.

It was the daughter of the rich man of the village who at last won the
heart of Francisco.  When he went a-wooing, however, he had no gift to
take except the birds he had killed with his own hand.  The rich man
laughed at him.  These were his words:

"When my daughter marries it shall be only to a youth who can bring her
rich gifts."

Francisco went away with a sad heart and sat upon the rocks at the edge
of the sea, gazing out over the water with eyes so full of tears that
they saw nothing.

The water-nymph was not far away from the shore those days.  She was
always seeking for a glimpse of the golden head which she had so often
crowned with flowers.  Her joy now at the sight of him was buried by
her sorrow when she saw that his heart was full of woe.  She knew at
once the cause of his grief.

The next morning when Francisco went to get wood to make a new spear,
he found a necklace of priceless pearls lying on the shore.  It was the
gift of the water-nymph, but since his heart had been touched by his
mother's tears he had entirely forgotten her.  He took the gift to the
maid he loved with never a thought of the giver.



THE DAUGHTER OF THE KING OF NAPLES

_The Story of a Prince's Quest_


There was once a king who had an only son.  The years passed by and he
did not marry, so one day his father called him before him and said:

"The time has come when you should marry, my son.  You are now at the
age when you should no longer wait to choose your bride.  Why is it
that you have not already done this?"

The prince replied:

"I will wed no one except the daughter of the king of Naples."

"Do you know that the king of Naples has a daughter?" asked the father.

"No," answered the son.  "I do not know."

"I should advise you to find out whether or not the king of Naples
happens to have a daughter before you decide to marry her," remarked
the king dryly.

"That is good advice," replied the prince.  "I thank you."

Accordingly, he asked everybody he met whether the king of Naples had a
daughter.  There was no person to be found who knew anything about it.

"You'll have to go to Naples to obtain this information," advised the
king.  "It is a long journey, but if you are determined to marry nobody
except the daughter of the king of Naples there seems to be no way
except to go there and learn whether or not he has a daughter."

Accordingly, a ship was prepared and the prince sailed for Naples.  It
was a difficult, stormy voyage, but finally they arrived safely.  The
moment they landed the beggars came crowding about them.  The prince
distributed alms among them most generously.

Then he asked: "Does any one know whether or not the king of Naples has
a daughter?"

There was nobody who knew.  Finally, however, an old woman said that
once she passed by the royal palace and there was a beautiful face at
the window.

"I think that perhaps this was the daughter of the king of Naples, but
I do not know," she added.

"Go at once and find out," ordered the prince.  "You shall be richly
rewarded."

The old woman hastened to the royal palace.  She saw the same lovely
face at the window which she had seen before.

"Lovely lady, I want to talk to you!" she called out.

Now it happened that day that the princess was feeling decidedly bored
and out of tune with life.  It looked like an interesting diversion to
talk with the old woman.  Thus it came to pass that she opened the
window graciously.

"What do you wish, good mother?" she asked.

"Are you the daughter of the king of Naples?" questioned the old woman.

"I am," replied the princess.

"May I come some day to sell you pretty things?" asked the old woman.

The princess appointed an hour the next day when she might come with
her wares.  Then the old woman hurried back to the waiting prince.

"The king of Naples has a daughter!" she cried.  "A very beautiful
daughter, too!"

The prince showered the old woman with gold.  He was so delighted that
at last he had found this out that he could well afford to be generous.

The old woman thanked him.  "I did something else for you, kind sir,"
she said.  "I made an appointment to see the princess to-morrow.  I am
going to the palace at four o'clock to sell pretty things to her."

"Well done, good mother!" cried the prince, again thrusting his hand
into his purse.  "Let me go in your place!"

The old woman gladly consented, and the prince dressed himself as a
peddler.  The next afternoon at four o'clock he went to the palace of
the king of Naples.

"It is a peddler with many interesting wares for sale," said the
servant who answered his knock.  "He speaks of an appointment with your
Royal Highness."

"Yes," said the princess.  "A peddler was to come to-day at four
o'clock with pretty things for me to buy."

Accordingly, the prince was admitted to the presence of the daughter of
the king of Naples.  If she were surprised to find the peddler a
handsome young man instead of the old woman with whom she had talked
the day before she did not show it.

"What lovely things you have!" she cried as she examined the tray full
of ribbons and beads and trinkets.

She selected a number of the wares and then she asked, "What is the
price of these?"

The prince would not set a price.

"If your Royal Highness is pleased with these," said he, "I have many
more things at home which you will like even better.  I'll bring them
to you to-morrow."

"That will be splendid!" cried the princess.  "Come again to-morrow at
this hour."

The next day the prince again dressed himself as a peddler, but
underneath the outer garments he wore his own rich clothing.  When he
was admitted to the royal palace he laid aside his peddler's disguise
and stood before the princess looking like the true prince he was.  He
was very handsome in his rich suit of crimson velvet, with his hat with
the long plume in his hand.  The princess was so surprised that she
turned pale.

"Who are you?" she cried.  "You surely are not the peddler who came
here yesterday!"

The prince smiled into her eyes, and, even without the peddler's
garments which were rolled up on the tray, she would have recognized
him.

He told her of the quest which had led him there, and she admired all
the patience and diligence he had shown in finding out her existence.
When he asked her to marry him at once, she readily consented.  They
planned that she should steal down the staircase at night and go away
with him on his ship.

All this sounded very romantic to the daughter of the king of Naples.
She had never dreamed that a thing like this would ever happen.  All
her life she had been so closely guarded that stealing out of the
palace and sailing away in the prince's ship seemed the most wonderful
thing in the world.

The next night had been agreed on, and long ahead of the appointed hour
the prince sat on horseback at the foot of the stairway down which the
princess would steal.  He was very weary with all the excitement of the
past three days, and as he waited he fell asleep.  A robber passed by
and saw his sleeping form hanging limply on the saddle.

"I'll gently deposit him on the ground and get away with his horse and
saddle," thought the thief, as he stopped and regarded the horse with a
critical eye.

Just then, however, he saw something which made him change his mind
about hurrying away after he had deposited the prince's sleeping form
beneath a tree.  There was the loveliest maiden he had ever seen
creeping silently down the stairway.  She came straight up to him.

"I'm ready, beloved," were her words.

The robber silently lifted her behind him on the horse's back and
together they rode away.

"Where is your boat?" asked the princess after they had ridden together
for some time without speaking.

"So it is a boat which the fair lady is looking for," thought the
thief.  "I was expecting this good horse to carry us the whole
distance.  A boat is a bit difficult to arrange, but it can be done if
necessary.  There ought to be a boat around somewhere for me to steal."

He left the daughter of the king of Naples on the shore while he went
to steal a boat.  When he returned the light shone upon his face and
the girl thought that he did not look the same as the day before.

"Of course, I've seen him only twice," she told herself in an effort to
gain assurance.  "It must be the prince, my own true love."

"Here is our boat," said the robber, and together they embarked.

As the morning light shone upon the robber the princess saw that he was
not in the least like the prince who had come a-peddling.  The robber
laughed.

"Does my lady know with whom she is going away?" he asked.

"I thought I was going with the prince who is my lover," she replied,
bursting into bitter tears.

Running away was not half so romantic and delightful as she had
pictured it.  She heartily wished that she were back in the royal
palace.

As for the prince, he soon awoke and looked about the palace garden
where he was lying under the tree.

"How did I get here?" he asked as he rubbed his eyes sleepily.

There was none to tell him, so he decided that his horse must have
thrown him off and run away.

"It is queer that my fall did not awaken me," he said to himself.  "It
is a bit awkward to lose my horse.  However, if the princess only keeps
her promise and comes to me we shall manage to get to our ship somehow."

He waited very patiently for a time and then he began to fear that the
princess had repented of her promise to run away.  He did not give her
up, however, until it was almost daylight.  Then he sorrowfully
returned to his waiting ship.

[Illustration: Then he sorrowfully returned to his waiting ship]

"I have at least found out that the king of Naples has a daughter and
that she is the most beautiful princess in the whole world," he said.
"If she prefers not to have a run-away marriage it will doubtless be
better for me to sail home and tell my father to make arrangements with
the king of Naples for our wedding.  There are some advantages in this
more dignified method."

Thus it happened that the prince sailed away for his own country, never
dreaming that the princess had kept her promise to steal down the
stairway in the night and that she was then in the hands of the wicked
robber.


The daughter of the king of Naples sobbed and cried so loud when she
found that it was not her own prince with whom she was sailing that the
robber became quite disgusted with her.

"I thought you were a pretty little maid," he said, "when I first saw
you, but now I've changed my mind about you."

Indeed no person with good eyesight would have called the princess
pretty at that moment, with her face all red and swollen with much
weeping.

The robber decided that he did not want to bother with her any longer,
so he landed in the country of the Junqueiras and left her there.  The
princess wandered about the place until night came without seeing a
single soul,--nothing but the sea, sky and rocks.

She was really, however, not far from the hut in which there lived the
wife and daughter of a poor fisherman.  In the stillness of the night
they heard a cry.

"Some one is in trouble outside, mother," said the daughter.

"Perhaps the pirates have come and by this cry are trying to lure us
out," answered her mother cautiously.  There were often pirate ships
which stopped there.  The daughter listened carefully.

"No, mother," she insisted.  "I'm sure this is a girl's cry."

The two women opened their door and crept out in the darkness.  The
sobs of the princess soon led them to the place upon the rocks where
she lay crying as if her heart would break.  They lifted her tenderly
and carried her home.

The fisherman's daughter gave the princess some of her own clothes to
wear and they lived together as if they were sisters.  Together they
did all the work of the little house and the princess was too busy to
weep.  Sometimes, however, she cried in the night when the fisherman's
wife and daughter were asleep.  She wept for her lost love and for the
royal palace of the king of Naples which had always been her home.

Now it happened that the prince's ship encountered a great storm and
was driven about by the sea.  At last it was blown by the gales to the
land of the Junqueiras.

The prince saw the fisherman's daughter and the princess standing on
the rocks by the sea.  He stared hard at the princess.  Then he spoke
in a voice which shook.

"You remind me of some one I used to know," he said.  "Tell me your
name, I pray you, fair maid."

The princess looked down at the garments of the fisher maid which she
wore.  She blushed.  The prince she had recognized the very moment she
had seen him.

"I am the daughter of the king of Naples," she said.

The fisherman's daughter stared at her in amazement.

"She is no king's daughter!" she cried.  "She is a poor abandoned maid
who came to us out of the sea.  We found her upon these very rocks.  It
is my own dress that she is wearing.  A king's daughter, indeed!  She
is no more the daughter of the king of Naples than I am!"

But the prince had taken the daughter of the king of Naples in his
arms.  As soon as they returned to the palace their wedding was
celebrated with great joy and they lived together as God lives with the
angels.



[Illustration: Headpiece]



MARIA-OF-THE-FOREST

_The Story of a King and His Fate_


Once upon a time there was a young king who went into the deep forest
on a hunting expedition.  He and his favorite page became separated
from the rest of the party and soon they realized that they were lost.
As night approached they found the rude hut of a charcoal burner and
begged for permission to pass the night there.  They were received most
hospitably.

Just at the hour of midnight the king was awakened from his sleep by a
voice.  This is what it said:

  "Here in this hut is born to-night
    The maiden of your fate:
  You can't escape your lot, young king;
    Your fate for you will wait.

  'Tis fate--'tis fate--'tis fate."


The king turned over on his pillow and tried to sleep, but the strange
voice kept ringing in his ears.  He rose early.

As soon as he saw the charcoal burner the man said: "A baby daughter
was born to me last night."

"At what time?" asked the king.

"It was just midnight," replied the charcoal burner.

The king awakened his page and told him what had happened.

"I refuse to wed any maid born in this poor hut," he said.  "You must
help me to escape this fate."

"What can I do about it?" asked the page, yawning.

"You must steal this babe this very day and put it to death," said the
king sternly.

The page did not dare refuse, and easily obtained possession of the
baby when no one was looking.  He carried her away into the deep
forest, but he did not have the heart to put an innocent babe to death.
He left her in a hollow tree, wrapped up in the bright red sash he wore.

When he had returned to the king he confessed that he had been too
tender-hearted to slay the baby.  The king was angry.

"Take me to the baby," he said.  "I'll do the deed myself."

Though they searched long and faithfully they were unable to find the
hollow tree where the baby had been left.  They, of course, did not
wish to return to the hut of the charcoal burner, and at length they
found their way out of the deep forest.

"No one will ever discover that baby if I could not find it myself!
She will soon die without food," said the page.

The king agreed that it was quite impossible for the babe to escape
death, but he could not forget the strange voice which had said:

  "Here in this hut is born to-night
    The maiden of your fate:
  You can't escape your lot, young king;
    Your fate for you will wait.

  'Tis fate--'tis fate--'tis fate."


Now it happened that very day that a woodcutter was working in the
forest.  Suddenly he heard what sounded like the cry of a baby.

"There can't be a child here in the deep forest," he said to himself
and went on with his work.

The cry continued, however, and it sounded very near, almost under the
woodcutter's feet.  He looked into the hollow log and there he found a
dimpled baby girl wrapped in a bright red sash.

"Poor little thing!  Her own mother has abandoned her.  My good wife
will be a mother to her," he said.

The woodcutter's wife had no children of her own and received the baby
gladly.  She named her Maria-of-the-forest.  As the days flew by and
the babe thrived under her care, she could not have loved her more had
she been her own child.

The weeks and months passed and soon the little Maria-of-the-forest had
grown into a lovely little girl five years old.  Her kind foster mother
made a bonnet for her out of the bright red sash which she had found
wrapped about her the first time she saw her.  It made Maria's dark
eyes look even brighter than before.

Now it happened that the king and his page were again hunting in the
forest and passed by the house of the wood cutter.  The page noticed
the pretty little girl and the red bonnet she wore.  He called her to
him and examined it carefully.

"There can be no doubt that material is from my own red sash," he
confessed to the king.  "This woodcutter's daughter could have such a
bonnet as this in no other way."

The king bade him make inquiries about the child and soon the page
found out that the little maid was in truth the baby he had left in the
hollow tree.  The king ordered him again to steal her.  This time the
king plotted her death by drowning.  He had a box made for her, put her
in it, and threw her into the sea with his own hand.

"I refuse to wed any girl brought up in a woodcutter's hut," he raged.
"I'll escape that fate."

Nevertheless he could not escape the memory of the strange voice which
had said:

  "Here in this hut is born to-night
    The maiden of your fate:
  You can't escape your lot, young king;
    Your fate for you will wait.

  'Tis fate--'tis fate--'tis fate."


It was most annoying to remember it.

It happened soon after that a ship encountered the box floating upon
the sea.  The sailors rescued it and opened it with interest.  Inside
they were surprised to find a pretty little dark-eyed girl with a
bright red bonnet on her head.  She could not tell them where she had
come from but she said her name was Maria-of-the-forest.

When the sailors arrived in their own country they told the story of
finding the child and the king asked to see her.  He and the queen were
so pleased with her lovely face and gentle manners that they received
her into the royal palace.  She was brought up as a lady-of-waiting to
their own little daughter of about the same age.

When, after a dozen years, the princess was wedded, all the kings of
near-by countries were invited to the marriage feast.  The king who had
been lost in the forest came with the others.  At the feast there was
no one more beautiful than Maria-of-the-forest.  The king danced with
her.

"Who is the girl?" was his eager question.

"She has been reared in the royal palace as if she were in truth the
sister of the bride," was the reply.

The king fell in love with the beautiful maid and gave her a ring.  The
page, however, was suspicious when he heard her name.  He lost no time
in making inquiries about her.  What he found out made him very sure
that she was in truth the daughter of the charcoal burner.  He reported
his suspicions to the king.

"Never mind," said the king.  "I'll wed the maid anyway.  One can't
escape from one's fate."



THE SEVEN ENCHANTED PRINCES

_The Story of How Honoria Kept Her Promise_


Long ago there was a little maid who lived all alone with her
grandmother.  They were very poor.  The girl's name was Honoria.

One day the grandmother sent the girl out to sell some of the oranges
from their orange tree.

"You must bring home at least three vintens to me," she said.  "Don't
dare return without at least that small amount of money."

Honoria went from door to door trying to sell the oranges.  Every one
seemed to have plenty of them that day.  There was nobody who would
purchase a single one.

She walked on and on through the town, everywhere obtaining the same
answer, "We do not wish to purchase any oranges to-day."

Finally she found herself outside the town and in the forest.  There
was a house with the door wide open and on the table in front of the
door lay three vintens.  There was no one in sight and nobody answered
Honoria's knock at the door.

"I'll take the money and leave some oranges in place of it," said
Honoria.  "That will not be stealing."

Accordingly, she selected some of the largest and finest of her oranges
and placed them on the table.  She put the money away carefully to take
to her grandmother.  Then she turned to leave, but found that the door
was closed.

She tried her best to open it but could not.  Neither could she open
any of the windows to climb out by that means.  The windows were all
fastened just as securely as the door.

"What shall I do?" cried the girl, who was now thoroughly frightened.

She did not like the idea of remaining a prisoner in the house in the
forest.  All day she tried to find some way of escape, but there seemed
nothing to do except to wait until somebody came to her aid.

"This house is not far from the city.  Surely some one will be passing
this way and will come and help me get out," said Honoria.  "I hope
they'll come before night."

There was nothing to eat in the house and she was thankful enough for
the big basket full of juicy oranges.

At last it grew dark.  Then Honoria heard footsteps outside the house.
She could not see who was coming, but a key was turned in the lock and
some one entered.  She was so frightened that she hid under the table.

A lighted candle showed that seven dwarfs had entered the house.  They
had brought food with them, and they at once went to work to prepare
their evening meal.

"Who left us all these fine oranges?" asked one of the dwarfs.

"I do not know," replied another.  "Some one has surely been here and
it must have been a kind friend."

Honoria was almost tempted to crawl from under the table and show
herself, but she decided that it would be better to stay where she was
and go home the next day when it was light.

When morning came, however, she found that she had been sleeping so
soundly that she had not heard the seven dwarfs when they left the
house.  The door was fastened just as securely as before.

Honoria looked about the house and saw that there was enough work to
keep her busy all day.  There were dishes to wash and floors to sweep
and beds to make.  Fortunately the dwarfs had left plenty of food.

When night came she heard the footsteps approaching and again hid under
the table.  As soon as the seven dwarfs came into the house they saw
that it had been changed wonderfully during their absence.

"Our dishes are all washed!" cried one of the dwarfs.  "Last night we
forgot to wash them after supper!"

"Our beds are all made!" cried another.  "We left home so early this
morning we did not have time to make them!"

"Our floors are all swept and everything is in order!" cried another.
"We never have looked so neat and clean!"

[Illustration: "We never have looked so neat and clean"]

"Somebody must have been here," said one of the dwarfs.

"It is surely a kind friend," said another.

"Perhaps they are here yet!" cried another.

"If they are men we'll treat them like brothers and if they are women
we'll treat them like sisters," said the seventh dwarf who had not
spoken before.  He had been looking around the house carefully, but he
had seen no one.

Honoria crawled out from under the table.  The dwarfs joined hands and
danced around her in a circle.

"We have a big sister now!" they cried.  "A big sister to take care of
us!"

Honoria knew that if she said anything about leaving the dwarfs they
would be heartbroken.  She knew, too, that her grandmother would give
her a terrible beating for staying away from home so long.  The easiest
thing seemed to be to remain in the forest and keep house for the seven
dwarfs.

Weeks and months went by and Honoria led a happy life in the forest.
The dwarfs brought home plenty of delicious food and they also brought
her the prettiest dresses she had ever seen.  They were green like the
moss and the leaves of the forest and brown like the rich earth about
the house.  There was a little hat with red berries upon it which
Honoria thought the most charming hat in the world.  She tried it on
and ran to the brook to look at her reflection, for there was not a
single mirror in the house.

One day the king passed by with his gay hunting party.  That day
Honoria had on her prettiest moss-green dress and the king thought her
the loveliest maiden he had ever seen.  He stopped to chat with her.

"Do you live here in the forest all alone?" he asked.

"No, I keep house for my seven brothers," was Honoria's answer.

"What a lovely little housekeeper!" cried the king.  "Marry me and come
to live in the royal palace!"

"I must ask my brothers first," responded Honoria.  "I will tell you
to-morrow what they say."

That night when the seven dwarfs came home Honoria told them about her
visit from the king.

"How can we spare our big sister?" cried one of the dwarfs.

"Who will keep house for us when she goes away?" cried another.

"Who will make the beds so nicely?" asked another.

"Who will sweep our floors?"

"Who will wash our dishes?"

"Who will sew on our buttons?"

"I have known that our big sister would marry sometime," said the
seventh dwarf who had not spoken, but who had been thinking quietly.
"Why shouldn't she marry the king?"

"We must let her marry the king!  We must not be selfish!" cried all
the dwarfs together.

They decided that Honoria should marry the king, but they asked her not
to let him kiss her until he had first said these words: "By permission
of the seven enchanted princes."  He would have to remember it without
being reminded by Honoria.

Honoria told the king what her brothers had said and the wedding was
celebrated with great joy.

When the king tried to kiss Honoria she burst into tears.  He had
forgotten all about saying: "By permission of the seven enchanted
princes."

Honoria would not let the king kiss her, and she cried so much and
struggled so hard that the king thought she had gone crazy.  He ordered
her shut up in the dark cell underneath the palace.  Then he married a
new queen.

Now it happened that there was a faithful servant who was quite sure
that Honoria was not crazy.  When Honoria told her of the words which
the king must say before he kissed her this servant tried to think of
some way to help her.  She was very angry at the fact that there was a
new queen.

One day she went to the queen and said: "Queen Honoria who is shut up
in the dark cell underneath the palace is much more clever than you
are."

"What does Queen Honoria do that is so clever?" asked the new queen.

"Queen Honoria will take a sword and cut off her head.  Then she will
put it back on again so that it is as good as new.  I don't believe you
are clever enough to do that."

"I never tried it," answered the new queen, "but just to show you that
I'm as clever as Queen Honoria I'll do it."

With these words she seized a sword and cut off her head.  Of course
she fell dead immediately.  The king married a new queen.

Then the servant went to the new queen and said: "Queen Honoria who is
shut up in the dark cell underneath the palace is more clever than you
are."

The new queen was indignant at this remark.  "Why is she more clever
than I am?" she asked.  "What can she do that I can't do?"

"She can take a sword and cut off her hand.  Then she'll stick the hand
on again and it will be as good as new."

"I've never tried it, but I'll do it just to convince you that I am
clever too," said this new queen.

She took up a sword and cut off her right hand.  Then she fainted away.
The arm grew full of poison and the queen soon died, but not until she
had told the king what the servant had said to her.

The king was very angry at the servant and called her to him.

"What do you mean," he thundered, "by telling such a story about Queen
Honoria's magic powers?"

"I wanted you to remember where you had found Queen Honoria," replied
the servant.

Then the king suddenly remembered how he had first seen Queen Honoria
when she was in the house in the forest.  He thought of how pretty she
had been in the dress which looked like soft green moss.  Then he
thought of how she had said that she must ask permission of her seven
brothers before she consented to become his queen.

"By permission of the seven enchanted princes!" he cried.  "I forgot to
say these words before I kissed my dear Queen Honoria!"

He quickly ran to the dark cell underneath the palace where she was
confined.  He said the magic words and kissed his fair queen who was
just as beautiful as before she had been shut up in the cell, though a
trifle paler.

In the house in the forest the seven dwarfs who were in truth seven
enchanted princes suddenly were disenchanted.

"Our dear sister Honoria did not forget us after all," they cried in
joy.



THE LISTENING KING

_The Story of the Trouble Which Came to Him_


Once upon a time there lived a king who liked to walk in disguise about
the streets of the city, listening at people's doors.  It was, in fact,
his favorite amusement.  Other kings of that land had been fond of war
or hunting or fishing or games, but there had never before been one who
liked to listen at doors.  For this reason he was called "the listening
king."

"It is the greatest fun I have," he often said to his counsellors.
"Being a king would be a stupid life if one didn't have some diversion."

"Be careful that it does not get you into trouble," said the wise men.
"We have often heard that listening to other people's secrets is a
dangerous practice."

"I've had nothing but pleasure from it, anyway," the king would reply.
Then he would add, "So far, at least."

Sometimes he would take a friend or two with him, and sometimes he
would go alone.  The habit of listening at doors became more and more a
favorite one to him as the months and years passed.

Now in that city there lived a man of humble station who had three
pretty daughters.  One evening the king passed his house and stopped at
the door to listen.

"Whom would you like to marry?" one of the girls was asking.  It
happened to be the youngest one.

"I'd like to marry the royal baker," the eldest sister replied.

"Why?" asked the youngest one.

"So that I might always eat fresh bread," was the reply.

"Whom would you like to marry?" the youngest sister asked the middle
one.

"I'd like to marry the royal meat cook so that I might always eat meat
roasted just to a turn," was her answer.

"Whom would you like to marry?" asked the eldest and the middle sister
together.

"I'd like to marry the listening king himself," was the reply which
their youngest sister made.

"Silly!  Silly!" cried her two sisters.  "We have perhaps a chance of
getting our wishes, but what chance have you?"

"If one wishes for nothing splendid one never gets anything splendid,"
replied the youngest sister with a blush which made her look very
charming to the king as he peeped through the keyhole.

The king went away with a shrewd smile upon his face.  The next day he
sent for the three sisters to come to the palace.  They were very much
frightened.

"Well," said the king to the eldest girl, "do you want to marry the
royal baker?"

"Yes, your majesty," she replied.  "I have no objections."

The king turned to her sister.

"How is it with you?" he asked.  "What do you say to marrying the royal
meatcook?"

"I'll be most happy to marry him, your majesty," she answered.

The youngest girl was blushing like a rose and her heart was thumping
so that she could scarcely breathe.  The king smiled as he noticed her
fair head bowed upon her breast.

"Would you like to marry the listening king?" he asked her gently.

"Yes, your majesty," she responded, so low that the king could hardly
hear her.

"Very well," said the king.  "I'll have all these weddings celebrated
at once."

Thus it happened that the two eldest sisters got their wishes and
married the royal baker and the royal meatcook, while the youngest one
wedded the listening king himself.  The others were very angry at her
luck and their hearts were filled with envy.

"Why didn't we wish to be queens or at least princesses?" one asked the
other.  "It would have been just as easy to have had our wishes
granted!"

"Why didn't we!  Why didn't we!  How stupid we were!" cried the other.

They passed the time in plotting against their youngest sister, the
queen.

A year flew by and twin sons were born to the royal pair.  They had
gold stars on their foreheads.  The whole kingdom was filled with
rejoicing.  As for the listening king, he was so happy that he forgot
to listen at people's doors.

The only persons in the whole country who were not happy were the two
jealous sisters.  They stole the tiny babies out of the palace and
threw them into the river.

"Trouble has at last come to our listening king," said the wise men,
when the loss was discovered.

The basket in which the twins had been placed floated away down the
stream.  It was found by a miller.

"What have we here?" he asked his wife as together they removed the
cover from the basket.

"I guess it is something good to eat," said his wife.  "What do you
think it is?"

"I guess it is a poor little puppy which some one wanted to drown,"
replied the miller.

Then they took the cover off the basket.  The two babies opened their
eyes and smiled just then.  The miller and his wife were the most
surprised people in the whole country and also the happiest ones.

[Illustration: The miller and his wife were the most surprised people
in the whole country]

"What beautiful children!" cried the miller.

"Let's keep them!" cried his wife.

"Of course we'll keep them," replied the miller.  "The good God himself
must have sent them to us in answer to our prayers."

Just then the miller's wife noticed the golden stars upon their
foreheads.

"What does this mean?" she asked.

"I don't know," answered her husband as he examined them carefully.
"Perhaps it is just a sign that they are truly the gift of God."

The miller and his wife cared for the two children as if they had been
their own.  They lived such a long distance from the palace that they
never heard the news that the royal babes were missing.

As the two boys grew older they became the handsomest, cleverest lads
in the whole kingdom.  The gold stars shone and twinkled upon their
foreheads.  At last the miller's wife made little caps for them to wear
to hide the stars.  They were altogether too conspicuous.

Then one sad summer a pestilence came upon the land and the good miller
and his wife died.  The two children were left alone in the world.  The
listening king had decreed all the orphaned children in the kingdom
should be brought to the royal city that they might be fed and cared
for.  The miller's two orphans went with the others, and the king's
wicked sister-in-laws saw them.  They recognized them at once because
of the golden stars upon their foreheads.

"We must make a new plot to destroy the royal children," said one
sister to the other.  "And we must be quick about it or the king or
queen will see them and recognize them, too, by the golden stars."

"Are you quite sure these are the two royal babes we threw into the
river?" asked the other sister doubtfully.  "It is a bit difficult for
me to believe that our sister's children can be so handsome."

"I'm entirely certain of it," assured her sister.  "There is no one
except the royal babes who could have those golden stars."

While the wicked sisters plotted, the two children had approached the
royal gardens.  Inside the garden there was a beautiful parrot with
feathers of green and gold.

"I'm going to catch that bird," said one of the brothers.  "Wait here
while I go inside the gates."

He could not catch the parrot and he called his brother to come and
help him.  Together they succeeded; and, with the beautiful
green-and-gold parrot tightly clutched, they tried to slip outside the
gate of the royal gardens.

Just as they were almost out, the great gates swiftly closed and caught
their garments.

"We're caught!  We're caught!" cried the two children.  "How can we
ever get the gates unfastened!"

At the sound of their cries, the royal gardeners, the courtiers and the
listening king himself came to the rescue.

When the king saw the golden stars upon their foreheads he leaned
against the nearest tree for support.

"What children are these?" he asked in a voice which shook.

"I never saw them before," replied the head gardener.  "I think they
are some of the orphan children which the great mercy and clemency of
your royal majesty have caused to be rescued from the plague."

"Who are your parents, my children?" asked one of the courtiers.

"We are the children of the good miller and his wife," they replied.
"Our kind foster parents are now dead with the plague."

"Where did this miller and his wife find you?" asked the king eagerly.

Then the two children told the story of how the miller had found them
in a basket in the river.  They knew it well, for it was their favorite
story of all the ones which the miller's wife had told them.

The courtiers looked at each other in amazement.  Every one had noticed
the bright stars shining on the children's brows.

"I believe you are the two dear babes lost from this palace!" cried the
king as he took them in his arms.

"Who put them in that basket?" asked the king's counsellors.

"If I knew you may be sure that fitting punishment would be visited
upon them!" cried the king.

The beautiful green-and-gold parrot had escaped from the children's
arms and had flown back to a tree near the gates of the royal gardens.
Suddenly he was heard to speak.

"Go find the king's sisters-in-law," were the words he said.

The king's sisters-in-law were quickly brought into the garden.  A look
at their guilty faces convinced every one that they were the ones who
had placed the royal babes in the basket and had thrown them into the
river.

"You shall now receive the punishment which you have so richly
deserved!" cried the king as he frowned upon them sternly.

"Where is the good queen?" some one asked.

The queen had been sleeping in her own apartments and had not heard the
noise in the garden.  When the courtiers brought her there and she saw
the two handsome boys with the bright stars shining on their foreheads,
she fainted with the joy of it.



JOSÉ THE BEAST SLAYER

_The Story of a Boy Who Grew Up in the Forest_


There was once a king who had a little daughter.  He went to the Wise
Man of the Forest to learn how best to bring her up, and this is what
he was told:

"For twelve years you must keep your daughter in a tower in the forest.
It should have no door, only a little window through which you may pass
food to her.  You must give her meat which has no bones in it."

The king ordered a tower constructed in the deep forest.  It had no
door, and only a little window.  Here the princess was placed.  Every
day food was passed to her through the little window.  The king himself
took charge of this, so that he might be sure that there was no meat
given her which had bones in it.

The years flew by, and at last the twelve year period was nearly up.
Then the king went away one day and left the servants to carry food to
the princess.  They were careless, and gave her meat which had a bone
in it.

The little princess had grown very tired of being shut up in the tower
of the forest.

"Ah," said she when she discovered the bone in her meat.  "At last I
have something with which to make this little window larger.  I've
tried in vain to make it bigger with my fingers."

She used the bone to dig away the wall each side of the window and soon
the little opening had grown so large that the princess could lean her
head out of it and look up at lofty trees.  That very day a duke passed
that way on a hunting expedition and saw the beautiful princess in the
tower.  He fell in love with her immediately.

Now that the princess had some one to help her make the hole larger it
was an easy matter to make it big enough to escape.  That very night
she ran away with the duke.

When the king returned from his journey he found the tower in the
forest entirely empty.  There was nothing but the yawning hole to tell
him of his daughter's escape.  He tried in vain to find out what had
become of her, but there was no person who could tell him anything
about her.

The princess had gone with the duke across a great river which no one
else knew how to cross.  She lived in a big cave in the rocks, and
after all the years in the tower it seemed a wonderful home indeed.
She was never tired of admiring the trees and flowers of the forest and
listening to the songs of the birds.  When at last her baby son was
born she thought that she was the very happiest person in the whole
world.

Now when the baby was two years old, the duke decided that they must
take him to a hermitage to be baptized.  They went down to the great
river and he carried his little son across it in safety.  Then he
returned for the princess, but on the way his foot slipped and he fell
into the river.  The strong current bore him swiftly away, leaving the
princess on one side of the river and her little son on the other.

"How shall I get across?" cried the princess when she saw what had
happened.

"Don't worry, mother," replied the child.  "I'll come and get you."

To her amazement he crossed the great river in safety and bravely
escorted his mother to the other bank in spite of her tears and cries
of fear.

"Well done, my son!" she said when on the other bank.  "You are indeed
a son to be proud of!"

They went to a church and the boy was baptized.  José the Beast Slayer
was the name he chose.  Then they wandered on until at last they came
to a house with a door in which a little window had been cut.  The boy
thrust in his arm and opened the door as if it had been his own.

"Walk in, mother dear," were his words.

Together they entered the house and together they explored the various
rooms.  There was nobody there and there was nothing to eat.
Accordingly, José went out begging.  He asked alms at the royal palace
and there he was given money to buy food.  There was even enough left
over to pay for a gun.

Now that he owned a gun there was no need of begging any more.  He shot
plenty of game for his mother and what was left he carried to the royal
palace to give to the king.

One day in the deep forest he entered a cave where the giant of the
forest lived.

"What are you doing here, little penny chicken?" asked the huge giant
as he frowned down at José.

[Illustration: He frowned down at José]

"I may be a little penny chicken, but I'm not in the least afraid of
giants," replied the boy boldly.

"What, a little penny chicken like you not afraid of me!" cried the
giant as he picked him up roughly and set him on his neck.

José seized the giant's long beard and drew it around his neck so
tightly that the giant fell to the floor dead.  Then José seized one of
the money-bags and ran home with it to his mother.

"You must carry some of this to the king," said his mother when she saw
it and had heard his story.

Accordingly, José carried the money as a gift to the king.

"Who is bringing me all this?" asked the king when he saw it.

"A little lad," replied the king's servants.

"Lead him in to me," said the king.  "I'd like to see him."

Accordingly, the boy was led before the throne.

"What is your name, my lad?" asked the king kindly.

"I am called José the Beast Slayer, your majesty," replied the boy as
he bowed low before the throne.

"Who are your parents?" asked the king.

"My father is dead," replied José, "and my mother is a princess who ran
away from a tower in the forest."

José had often heard the story of his mother's life in the tower.  It
was the tale he liked best of all.

At the boy's words the king started and looked at him sharply.

"Tell me about this tower," he said eagerly.

"It was a tower in the deep forest," replied José.  "It had no door,
only a little window through which food was passed to her.  She could
never have any meat with a bone.  This was because the Wise Man of the
Forest had told her father that it was the best way to bring her up.
One day her father went away and the servants gave her meat with a bone
in it and--"

"I always suspected something like that," interrupted the king.

José looked at him in surprise.

"Were you there?" he asked.

The king nodded.  "Go on with your story, my boy," he said.

José told all the circumstances of his mother's escape from the tower,
just as she had so often described them to him.  Tears were running
down the king's cheeks when at last the story was ended.

"My lad, you are my own grandson!" cried the king as he took him in his
arms.  "Proud am I, too, that I have a grandson like you!  Where is
your mother now?"

"My mother is in the house in the forest," replied José.  "It is she
who told me to carry the money to the king."

"Why did she never come to me?" asked the father.

"I think she was afraid she'd be punished for running away from the
tower without any door," was José's reply.

When the princess was brought home to the royal palace there was a
great feast held which lasted for three days and three nights.  Then
the king sent his men with José into the forest to the cave where the
giant had lived.  They brought home so many bags of gold that it
required the entire royal army to transport it.

Years passed, and when the old king died it was José the Beast Slayer
who was king of the land.



[Illustration: Headpiece]



THE PRINCESS OF THE LOST ISLAND

_The Story of Euphemia and Her Good Deeds_


Euphemia was the daughter of King Atlas and the granddaughter of the
great god Jupiter.  She was more beautiful than her fifteen sisters,
though they were all lovely.

All the ten sons of Neptune admired her charms and sought to marry her,
but she would wed none of them.  There was, in truth, no one in all the
world who was worthy of her.  Euphemia herself knew this and preferred
to remain a star in the constellation of the Hyades, her sisters,
rather than wed an unworthy husband.

Euphemia became a Christian, they say, through the efforts of the
cherubim.  She decided to come down to earth and go about doing good
deeds.  Accordingly, she came to the island called Seven Cities.

Now in the island of Seven Cities there lived a rich and venerable
Christian prince.  He adopted Euphemia as his own daughter.  She was
called Princess Euphemia of the island of Seven Cities.

As soon as she came to the island all pain and misery vanished from it.
Joy reigned.  Banquets were held, songs were sung, gay dances were
danced.  It was as if every day were a feast day.

Time passed.  Many changes came to the island, but Euphemia herself
remained always young, always beautiful.

One day two priests from the outside world visited the island.  They
saw the magnificent palaces, the beautiful gardens.  Two tame lions
followed them about.  They were as gentle as if they had been dogs.

"We are in the celestial regions," said one priest to the other.

"Let us stay here forever," said the other priest.  "It is indeed the
Paradise of which we have dreamed."

The two priests had come in a tiny launch from a large boat.

"We should return and tell our friends about this celestial region,"
they agreed.  "To-morrow we will all explore this wonderful country."

It was almost dark when the two priests reached their ship by the
little launch.  They reported all the things they had heard and seen in
the new land.

The next morning, however, the island had entirely disappeared.  The
water stretched before their gaze with an unbroken rippling blue
surface.

"What has become of our beautiful island," the good priests asked in
amazement.

"We were anchored off the shore of one of the enchanted islands," was
the opinion of everybody.

Euphemia, they say, has not yet disappeared entirely.  She has changed
her form.  She is still found in the Azores in the plant called
SOLANEA, the flower of St. Cosmo.  She is still doing good deeds.  Pain
disappears when she comes, just as it did in the lost island.  St.
Cosmo, the patron saint of all good physicians, could never have gained
his reputation without her good deeds.



[Illustration: Headpiece]



WHY THE ALVÉLOA BIRD RECEIVED A BLESSING

_The Story of the Bird of Good Luck_


In the Azores there is a little bird which is loved and protected by
every one.  Its name is the Alvéloa.  It has a gray back, white breast,
head and throat, and black and white wings.  The tail of this little
bird is always in motion.  This is the reason:

Long ago when the wicked king Herod ordered all the babies to be
killed, the Holy Virgin fled into Egypt with the Christ child safe in
her arms.  They rode upon an ass.

The Virgin glanced fearfully behind her as they went along the way.  At
any moment Herod's messengers might come in pursuit.  The tracks of the
ass showed plainly in the dusty road.

"Oh!" cried the Holy Mother, "Our enemies will see our tracks!  They
will know in what direction we have fled!"

The Alvéloa was nearby and heard.  She spread out her tail like a fan
and shook it about in the dusty road.  The tracks of the ass were
completely brushed away.

The Holy Mother smiled upon her.

"For this kind deed, little bird, your tail shall be always in motion.
By this sign you shall be known and your life shall be spared."

To this very day the tail of the Alvéloa is in motion.  St. Michael,
himself, the patron of the island of S. Miguel, has asked a special
protection for the little bird in his island.


The Alvéloa flew all the way before the Virgin, showing her the road
into Egypt.

"My blessing upon you, little bird," said the Virgin.  "May you always
have the strength to slay your enemy."

To this very day the Alvéloa is able to slay birds much larger than
herself.

"The Alvéloa kills the hawk," is a saying in the Azores.


If one wakes in the morning and sees this little gray and white bird
before his window he will have a lucky day.

On the way into Egypt the Virgin pointed to the lupine which grew by
the wayside.

"Eat, little bird," she said.  "Eat until your hunger is satisfied.
Blessings be upon you for your kind deeds to me and to the Holy Child.
May good fortune and plenty always attend you."

To this very day this bird blessed by the Virgin is an emblem of good
luck.



[Illustration: Headpiece]



WHY THE CODORNIZ BIRD RECEIVED A CURSE

_A Story of the Bird Who Walks Humbly_


When the Holy Virgin was fleeing into Egypt to escape the persecutions
of Herod, the Codorniz bird flew about making a great racket, calling
out, "Come this way."

"Keep quiet!" cried the Virgin.  "Our enemies will hear you!  They will
come in pursuit!"

In spite of her words the Codorniz kept up its noise.

"My curse be upon you," said the Virgin.  "You shall always walk
humbly.  You shall never fly high and smile at the sun."

To this very day the Codorniz bird walks humbly.  It has many enemies
who love to slay it to devour.



OUTSIDE THE DOOR LIKE THE MOTHER OF ST. PETER

_A Story of Why She Stays Outside_


If there is no response when you ring the bell or knock at a door in
the Azores, you have to stay "outside the door like the mother of St.
Peter," they say.  This is the story which tells why the mother of St.
Peter had to stay outside:

The very stingiest woman in the whole city was St. Peter's mother.  She
was so stingy that she never gave away a single thing to a beggar.  No
matter if the beggar were old or sick or blind or crippled or even a
mother with a babe in her arms, she always made the same reply, "I have
nothing to give away."

Not even when there was famine in the land, but plenty in her own home,
would the mother of St. Peter share with the unfortunate.

When St. Peter was made the guardian of the keys of Heaven, of course
he tried to bring his mother inside the celestial gate.

"When your mother lived upon the earth did she ever share her plenty
with any of my poor unfortunate children?" was the question.

St. Peter thought hard.  His mother had been a worthy, virtuous woman
in many respects, but he could recall nothing which she had ever given
to the poor and the unfortunate.

At last he remembered a day when she had gone into the garden to get
vegetables for the soup.

A poor beggar woman had stood outside the garden gate, crying: "Alms!
Alms, for the love of God!"

[Illustration: "Alms!  Alms!"]

"Get away from my garden," said St. Peter's mother.  "I have no alms to
give you.  If I give away the vegetables from my garden, I'd soon have
nothing left to feed my own family.  I'd be begging myself."

The poor beggar woman started to turn away with tears in her eyes.  An
onion stalk fell from the hand of St. Peter's mother.  It was bruised
by its fall and covered with mud, but the beggar seized it eagerly.

"Keep it.  I wouldn't use it anyway," snapped St. Peter's mother.

St. Peter could remember nothing else to tell, so he related this story.

"Go and find the onion," was the comment.

When St. Peter at last found that onion stalk, it was still dirty with
the mud of the garden and crumpled by its fall, just as it had been
when his mother had given it to the beggar.

"Hold out the onion and pull your mother in," was the order.

St. Peter held out the onion stalk.  It did not reach very far down
into Purgatory, but his mother jumped up as high as she could and
seized it eagerly.

Slowly and very carefully he pulled her up by it to the Heavenly Gate.
Just as she was about to enter the door the onion stalk broke.

"I'm sorry.  You'll have to stay outside," said St. Peter.  "I've done
the best I could for you.  The onion stalk was not strong enough to
pull you through."

Thus it happens that the mother of St. Peter has to stay outside the
door of Heaven.



WHY THE OWL FLIES AT NIGHT

_A Story of Good St. Anthony_


Long ago there was an image of the good St. Anthony washed ashore by
the rough waves of the Bay of Angra.  A little chapel was built to
receive it on the steep slopes of Monte Brasil overlooking the bay and
here it still remains.

Once upon a time a little boy named Pedro lived in a tiny cottage near
St. Anthony's shrine.  His mother had died and his father had married a
new wife who was often cruel to him.  She dressed him in ragged, shabby
clothes and the other children of the parish often pointed their
fingers at him in scorn because of his poor garments.

One day as Pedro knelt before the image of the good saint a strange
thing happened.  His clothing became new and whole.  He was dressed as
well as any boy in the parish.

"Where did you get clothes like this?" asked the stepmother when he
came home that night.  "I always knew you were a good-for-nothing.  I
believe you have stolen them."

Little Pedro told what had happened, but the woman would not believe
him.

"Don't stand there talking any longer!" she cried.  "Take the water
jars and go to the spring and fill them for me.  Hurry, I don't want to
be kept waiting for the water!"

Pedro lifted the two great water jars which stood on the floor and
slowly climbed up the hill to the little spring which supplied water
for the family needs during the greater part of the year.  Just now the
spring had failed, as the stepmother had found out that very day.

[Illustration: Pedro lifted the two great jars and slowly climbed up
the hill]

"There is no water in the spring now," said an old man whom little
Pedro met on the way.  The boy had almost reached the spring and the
big jars were growing heavy even though they were empty.

"I'm so nearly there I'll go on and see for myself," decided the lad.
"The other spring is so far away and the jars will be so heavy that I
can never carry them all the long distance.  Perhaps there is still a
little water here."

When he reached the spring he was surprised to see the water flowing
faster than in many a day.  He remembered, too, the new suit of clothes
he was wearing.

"Luck is with me to-day!" he cried as he filled the water jars.  "The
good saint Anthony is my friend.  He it is who has given me my handsome
clothing and he it is who has blessed the spring for me."

When he returned home with the jars full of water his stepmother stared
at him in amazement.  He had not been gone long enough to obtain it
from the farther spring.

"Where did you get this water?" she asked, as soon as she could find
words with which to speak.

Pedro told her that it came from the spring just as it always did.

"That spring is dry to-day!" she cried.  "Now I know that you are a
liar as well as a thief.  Just wait until your father comes home!  I'll
see that you get the beating you deserve."

Pedro wondered why she had sent him to the spring if she had believed
it to be dry, and while he was thinking of this the angry woman gave
him a big basket.

"Here," she said.  "Go out in the garden and pick up some wood for me.
Hurry.  Don't keep me waiting.  Your slow ways drive me mad."

Pedro knew that all the wood in the garden had been picked up long ago.
Now there was nothing in the garden except roses.  There were red roses
and pink roses and yellow roses and white roses, but not a single stick
of wood.  High up on the steep slopes of Monte Brasil there might be
wood to gather, but the night was dark and the path was steep and long.
Little Pedro was very tired, so tired that two great tears rolled down
his cheeks.

Suddenly the good saint Anthony from the little chapel stood before
him.  He smiled kindly at the child.  "Why are you crying, my boy?"
asked the saint.  "I have watched you carefully for a long time and I
know you seldom give way to tears, though often your burdens are so
heavy that a boy less brave would do little else than weep."

"I have to fill my basket with wood and there is nothing except roses
in our garden," replied Pedro.  "I'm tired and it is very dark on Monte
Brasil to search there for wood."

"Here, dear boy," said the saint, smiling.  "Just pick the roses and
fill your basket with them.  Then take them to your stepmother and see
what she will say to you.  I'll be with you."

Pedro filled his big basket with the lovely red and yellow and pink and
white roses which grew in the garden in such rich abundance.  Then he
ran into the house with them.  As the light from the candles fell upon
them, to his amazement he saw that they were no longer roses.  The
basket was full of wood.

"Where did you get this wood?" cried the woman angrily.  "There are
only roses in the garden.  Where have you been?"

She seized Pedro roughly by the collar of his new coat and shook him
until his teeth chattered.  He looked up into the saint's eyes.  St.
Anthony's face was stern.

"Stop, woman!" cried the voice which a moment before had been so kind
and gentle.  Now it thundered forth in stern accents.  "This little lad
has done no harm.  You have been guilty of a desire to bring harm to
him, For this cruelty take the punishment which you so richly merit.
It is you who have sent this child out into the night.  Now it is I who
sends you out into the night."

From that moment Pedro's stepmother was no longer a woman.  She was
changed into an owl with her eyes the big round circles they had looked
when she had gazed up into the fierce face of angry St. Anthony.  To
this very day the owl has to fly by night.



[Illustration: Headpiece]



THE LABORER AND HIS MASTER

_The Story of a Man Who Outfitted Another_


Once upon a time there was a laborer who said to his master:

"It is time to plant the fields."

"Very well," said his master.  "The part which grows above the ground
shall be mine and you shall have in payment for your labor the part
which grows below the ground."

"Agreed," said the laborer.

He planted the fields with potatoes.  His master had nothing but the
tops outside the earth.  The laborer harvested many baskets of potatoes
that year and sold them for a goodly sum.  The master was angry because
of this.

"Next harvest time," said he, "we'll see about things!  You shall give
me what grows below the ground and keep for yourself what grows above."

"Agreed," said the laborer.  "That is perfectly fair to me."

The laborer planted the fields with wheat.  His master had nothing but
the roots, while he harvested a rich crop of wheat which he sold for
much money.

"I'll settle with you," said his master.

The laborer was frightened.

"Don't be afraid," said his wife.  "When your master comes let me talk
to him."

The woman gashed her face and hands with the pruning knife.

The master came to the door and she opened it.

"Where is your husband?" he asked.

"He is sharpening his nails," said she.  "See what ugly scratches I
already have upon my hands and face."

The master went away without punishing the laborer.



'TIS FAITH WHICH SAVES

_The Story of a Maid Who Was Betrothed to One She Trusted_


There was once upon a time a fair maid who lived in the island of
Fayal.  She was betrothed to a young man of the same island.  One day
she fell ill with a disease which baffled the skill of all the
physicians.  Their arts, the mourning of her betrothed, the prayers and
tears of her mother, all seemed of no avail.  It appeared that the fair
maid would die.

[Illustration: It appeared that the fair maid would die]

Now it happened that in one of the nearby islands, St. Michael, there
was a miracle-working image called the Santo Christo.  The fair maid
begged of her betrothed that he would go to St. Michael and procure
some of the mysterious miracle-working sweat of the Santo Christo or
some of the miraculous parings of the nails of the image, which had the
power to heal any disease.

The young man gladly set out on the quest.  On the boat which conveyed
him to St. Michael, however, he met a maid with beauty and charm, a
maid whose bright eyes made him forget the sad eyes of his betrothed.

When he arrived at his destination he thought only of singing gay songs
beneath the balcony of his new love.  The days flew by, and soon it was
time for the boat to return to Fayal.  He had forgotten the mission on
which he had come, and he returned to the boat with no relics of the
miracle-working Santo Christo.

The homeward journey was rough and stormy.  Filled with fear of death
at any moment, the young man remembered the fair maid of Fayal who even
at that very hour might be dying.  His conscience smote him.

"Oh, why did I allow another fair face to crowd out from my heart the
image of my beloved?" he asked himself.  "Faithless wretch that I am,
what shall I say to my betrothed if good fortune and the sea permit me
to stand once more at her side?"

The rough waves beat angrily against the side of the boat in answer.
That night the storm ceased and in the morning it was fair and clear as
the boat entered the beautiful harbor of Fayal under the shadow of Mt.
Pico.  With clear skies and smooth seas the young man's conscience
became less troublesome.  He resolved that he would not confess his
deceit to his betrothed.

"If I told her it might make her grow worse so rapidly that she would
die because of it," he said to himself.

Indeed, it was quite enough to have made the girl die of a broken
heart, had she known the whole story.

Suddenly the youth's face clouded.

"What shall I say to my beloved as the reason why I have brought back
to her neither the miracle-working sweat of the Santo Christo nor the
miraculous nail parings?" he was asking.

His eye fell upon the boat's wooden side.  Quickly he shaved off some
fine parings of this wood.  He wrapped them up carefully and took them
to the fair maid of Fayal as if they were parings from the nails of the
miracle-working image.

His betrothed's face shone with joy at his return.  Tears of
thankfulness filled her eyes when she saw the parings which he had
brought her.

"How can I ever thank you for your faithfulness in this quest in my
behalf, and the great love which prompted you to undertake this stormy,
dangerous journey on the rough seas that I might once more be well?"

The young man did not enjoy hearing her speak of his love and
faithfulness.  He did not reply.

"No maid was ever blessed with so wonderful a lover," went on the happy
girl.

"You are forgetting to take the parings," said the mother.  "They will
not cure you if you do not take them."

The fair maid of Fayal took the parings in a gourd full of water.  She
began to improve immediately and the next day she was entirely well.

"'Tis faith which saves and not parings," said her betrothed.



ST. BRENDAN'S ISLAND

_The Story of the Little Maid Who Found It_


There was once an Irish monk called St. Brendan.  One day he received a
visit from a hermit who told him of a most marvelous island.

"Come and visit this earthly Paradise," said the hermit.  "There the
sun always shines.  The birds wear golden crowns upon their heads and
speak like humans."

The perfume of the island clung to the garments of the hermit for forty
days.

Good St. Brendan asked many questions about the mysterious island and
at last resolved to visit it and see for himself if all the wonders of
which he had heard were really true.  Accordingly, he built a coracle
of wattle covered with hides tanned in oak bark and softened with
butter.  He loaded it with provisions to last for forty days.  Then he
persuaded some of his disciples to accompany him.  This was somewhat
difficult for they were timid about embarking upon this dangerous
expedition in the frail boat.  St. Brendan, however, succeeded in
overcoming their fears and set out with a little group of his most
devoted followers.

It was seven years before they returned to their native land.  They
were even more enthusiastic about their wonderful island than the
hermit had been.  They urged others to go and find out its marvels but
nobody else was ever able to locate it.

They say that the island of St. Brendan was a floating island in the
Atlantic.  Good St. Brendan did not die but kept on living in the
earthly Paradise of his isle.  When the Christians were hard pressed in
their battles with the Moors and were about to be pushed back into the
sea the island of St. Brendan appeared upon the horizon, and the good
saint himself came to fight against the Moors and bring victory to the
Christians.


In the middle of the fifteenth century there was a little maid called
Maria who lived in the island of Terceira.  She heard the story of St.
Brendan's isle from a Franciscan brother.  Day and night she dreamed of
it.  She often sat upon the hillside of Monte Brasil, looking eagerly
out over the broad expanse of sea, hoping with all her heart that the
island would appear to her.

One day there landed in Terceira a cavalier of Rhodes named Vital.
From his grandfather he had inherited some of the sacred relics of St.
Brendan.  He had come to the Azores in his search for the mysterious
island.  On his doublet he wore an eight-pointed star and a band upon
which was embroidered in scarlet silk the motto, "By Faith."  It was
indeed "by faith" that he had embarked upon his quest.

The little maid, Maria, fell in love with him the moment she heard of
him and his errand.  She worshiped him as if he had been the good St.
Brendan himself, but when she was with him she sat with downcast eyes,
her long dark eyelashes sweeping her delicate cheek, and did not give
him a glance, much less a word.

The young cavalier loved the little maid.  He divided his holy relics
of St. Brendan with her, and in return he begged of her that she might
speak a word of love.

"To tell my love to you," said Maria, "I'd have to be where nobody but
God could hear."

Indeed it was quite true that Maria needed to be where nobody but the
good God could hear her when she spoke of her love for the cavalier
Vital.  The son of the wealthy Captain of the district had long admired
her delicate beauty.  He had already sought her for his bride.  His
jealousy against Vital rose up like a burning flame.  He went to Maria
and demanded that she should marry him at once.

Maria firmly refused.

"If you do not wed me," said the captain's son, "I shall have my father
lock you up in the stronghold of St. Louis on the hillside."

"I should prefer to spend all my days confined in the castle of St.
Louis rather than be your wife," said she.  "Why can't you leave me in
peace with my relics of the good St. Brendan!"

The mention of St. Brendan's relics stirred the young man's wrath even
more.  He well knew who it was who had given her the holy relics.  His
threat was fulfilled, and she was taken that very day to the castle of
St. Louis and locked up in that stronghold.

Her room had a window, and there she sat high up in the tower of the
castle looking down at the city of Angra beneath her.

"I had longed to serve the good God," she cried.  "Why is it that my
life has been made useless!"

At that very moment the earth trembled.  The strong walls of the castle
shook as if they had been built of paper.

Near the fort two doves were sitting on the branches of a cedar tree.

"Let us rescue this fair maid," said one dove to the other.

"Yes, let us carry her away on our wings," agreed the other.

That instant the earth shook so that the walls of the stronghold fell
to the ground.  The two doves spread out their snow-white wings and
bore Maria away in safety.

Over houses and churches they flew.  Over treetops and the broad
expanse of the sea they rose.  The city, the island, the sea, all
disappeared from Maria's sight.  She felt so dizzy that she closed her
eyes.

When she opened them again she was in an island of such beauty as she
had never dreamed.  It was indeed a garden of Paradise.  The good St.
Brendan himself, she saw, was the gardener.


The earthquake caused much damage in the island of Terceira.  When the
disappearance of Maria was known throughout the little city; of Angra
nobody mourned for her as did the young cavalier Vital.

"What is the island to me without Maria?" he asked in sorrow.

Once more he embarked upon the sea in his search for the island of St.
Brendan.  Long days and long nights he tossed about on the ocean.

One evening just at sunset he saw the clouds of heaven descending to
earth like a white ladder.  Then he observed, far away upon the
horizon, an island.  He knew in his heart that he had at last a glimpse
of St. Brendan's isle.

[Illustration: One evening just at sunset]

A gentle breeze swelled his sails and sent him rapidly toward it.  As
he drew near he saw his loved Maria standing with her arms
outstretched.  A bright light shone about her.

"To speak of my love to you," said she, "I have to be where nobody but
God can hear--God and the gardener of this island, St. Brendan."



THE SILENT CAVALIER

_The Story of the Peach Tree_


In the early days when the Azores had just been discovered there were
many Flemish settlers who came to the islands.  Among them there was a
young cavalier of the order of St. George of Borgonha.  His name was
Jesus Maria and the reason why he had come was because a wise monk had
told him that his path in life lay by way of the sea.

"Your name given to you in Holy Baptism," said the monk, "is Iesvs
Maria.  Transpose the letters and it says in Latin, _Maris es via_."

The young cavalier agreed that the sea must be his path of destiny and
he at once set sail upon a long voyage which finally led him to the
island of Fayal.  He loved the rocky coast where the waves beat.  He
loved the deep ravine where the laughing brook ran, the lake in the
ancient crater, the snow-capped summit of Mt. Pico which smiled down in
stately majesty from the opposite island.  He decided that this was to
be his home.

"My path of Destiny was indeed the sea," he said.  "The sea has brought
me to a country which is very fair."

In the island of Fayal there were already some Portuguese settlers.
One of these had a beautiful daughter Ida.  The young Flemish cavalier
thought that she was the fairest maid he had ever seen.  He fell deeply
in love with her.

Now the cavaliers of the order of St. George of Borgonha had vowed that
they would never wed.  Jesus Maria could not break the solemn pledge
which he had given when he joined the order.  Neither could he forget
the bright eyes of the Portuguese maiden Ida.  It seemed as if his
heart would break.

"I will leave this island and return to my own country," he thought.

Then he remembered the words which the wise monk had said about the sea
being his path.  He had followed that road and it had led him to a fair
island home.  He decided that he could not return to his native land of
Flanders.  Over across the shining blue water he looked up at the
peaceful snow-capped summit of Mt. Pico.  The sight of its majestic
stillness seemed to give him strength to hold his tongue and keep him
from speaking words of love to the beautiful Portuguese maiden.  Never
a word of love broke from him.  The maiden Ida never knew the shrine
she occupied in the heart of the Flemish cavalier.

[Illustration: The peaceful snow-capped summit of Mt. Pico]

The days dragged slowly by.  The young man could bear no more.  He felt
that his strength could no longer endure on the same island with Ida.
If he stayed near her he would break his vow.

One morning in a little boat he crossed the blue waters to the island
of Pico.  At the foot of the majestic mountain he loved, he built the
little hut which was to be his home.  He never returned to the island
of Fayal, and as the years went by he was spoken of as the good hermit
of Pico.  Nobody knew his secret.

When at last the Cavalier Jesus Maria died, a peach tree grew from his
tomb,--the emblem of silence.  The leaf of this tree has the form of
the human tongue.  Its fruit has a stone shaped somewhat like the human
heart.  From this stone there comes a seed which when planted produces
a new tree.  Thus it is that words which bear fruit spring from the
heart.  It is silence which teaches one the gift of fruitful words,
they say in the Azores.



THE ENCHANTED PALACE

_The Story of Lake Ginjal_


In the village of Altos Ares in the island of Terceira there lived once
upon a time a fair maid who had been baptized Perola, which means
Pearl.  As she grew older she was indeed like a rare pearl among the
other maidens of the village, so great was the charm of her unusual
beauty.  She was the joy of her home and of the whole community for her
disposition was as lovely as her face.

One bright spring morning Perola leaned over the cistern where she had
gone to get water.  Her reflection showed so plainly in the water that
she paused to gaze into the smiling eyes of her own mirrored face.  As
she did so a magic spell was woven about her.  The water fairy who had
come to the cistern had seen her great beauty and had thrown a charm
over her.  In a moment more she fell into the cistern to join her
reflection there.

When Perola could not be found there was great excitement in the little
village.  Nobody could guess what had become of her.  Her mother prayed
devoutly for her safety in the church of St. Roque.  All the villagers
sought for her in every possible place.

Now at the north of the island of Terceira there are groups of tiny
rocks in the sea which are called the Biscoitos or biscuits.  Here
there lived a wise old woman who had a great reputation among all the
people of the island for her knowledge.

"Let us go to consult the wise woman of Biscoitos," said one of the
village youths when they had sought long and faithfully for a trace of
the hiding-place into which Perola might have vanished.

Accordingly, the young men of Altos Ares went to the wise woman, and
this is what she told them:

"The fair pearl of your village is safe from the fishers of pearls.
She is hidden away in an enchanted palace of marble and ivory and
tortoise-shell and mother-of-pearl."

The water fairy had taken Perola through an underground passage which
led from the cistern to the beautiful enchanted palace in the lake of
Ginjal.  There she was kept in hiding.  The fairies never dreamed that
anybody would ever be able to guess where she was.

[Illustration: The beautiful enchanted palace in the lake of Ginjal]

Now, with the words of the wise woman of Biscoitos to guide them, the
youths of Altos Ares organized an expedition to search for their lost
playmate.  The sons of the magistrate, the rich men, the learned men of
the island of Terceira joined this expedition.  They searched through
the whole island for a place where an enchanted palace might be located.

At last, upon St. John's Day when the days and nights are of equal
length, this band of the brave youths of Terceira came to the shores of
Lake Ginjal in the interior of the island.

"This is surely the enchanted place.  Here in this lake must lie the
fairies' palace of marble and ivory and tortoise shell and
mother-of-pearl!" somebody cried.

"How shall we be able to approach this magic palace and rescue Perola?"
asked one.

"How shall we be able to break her enchantment?" asked another.

"Let us camp here upon the border of the lake and consider how best to
proceed," said the leader of the expedition.

Now at that very hour on St. John's Day the mother of Perola was in the
church of St. Roque in Altos Ares praying devoutly for her daughter's
safe return.

Suddenly she heard a strange voice.  These were the words which fell
upon her ears:

"Your prayers and the perseverance of the youths of the island have at
last triumphed.  Go in peace.  On the day of St. Peter at the hour of
sunset your daughter shall be restored to you.  Her enchantment shall
be broken and she shall be brought to the bank of Lake Ginjal in a boat
of ivory, drawn by a snow-white swan."

When the youths encamped upon the shore of the lake heard these tidings
they set up such a shout of joy that it was indeed enough to break any
enchantment.

At the time appointed Perola was brought to the bank of the lake in a
boat of ivory drawn by a snow-white swan, just as fair and lovely as
upon the day when she had vanished from the little village of Altos
Ares.

This is the story of the Lake of Ginjal.  It is quite probable that the
enchanted palace of the water fairies is still there.



THE FRIEND OF THE DEVIL

_A Story of the Islands in the Bay of Angra_


Once upon a time there was a handsome Flemish youth who came to the
island of Fayal.  His name was Fernâo de Hutra.  He fell in love with a
beautiful nun in the convent of the Gloria in the city of Horta.

One day the Devil appeared to him.

"Since you fell in love with this fair nun, I see you are a friend of
mine," said the Devil.

The young man had not known this, but he replied:

"Say rather that I will be your friend if you help me get possession of
this nun I love."

"Very well," said the Devil, "but you will have to make a bargain with
me."

"What is it?" asked Fernâo, rather anxiously.

"Grant me your solemn pledge that you'll give me all your children,"
responded the Devil.

"Agreed," said Fernâo.

After that he saw much of the Devil.  The nun, however, was as devout
as she was beautiful.  She refused to break the vows she had made and
flee with the Flemish youth.  She firmly resisted both him and the
Devil.

"You are not a true friend to me after all," said Fernâo to the Devil
sadly.

"But you are my friend," said the Devil in reply.

Soon after, Fernâo de Hutra left the city of Horta and the island of
Fayal and went to join his kinsmen who had settled in Angra in the
island of Terceira.  Here his handsome face won many friends for him
among the youth of the city.  To some of these he confided the story of
his relations with the Devil.

Now it happened that in the year 1666 the first bull fight was held in
Angra.  To this very day the island of Terceira is the only one in the
Azores which has bull fights.

Fernâo had taken part in this.  He was one of the chief organizers of
the bull fight held on St. John's Day of the following year.  That day
all the men and women and children of the city of Angra assembled in
the public square before the fort.  The bullfighters, richly clad, rode
forth upon prancing steeds decked in costly velvets with streamers and
ribbons of gold and silver which sparkled in the bright sunlight.  The
youths were resplendent in their garments of crimson or purple or blue
velvet, richly embroidered.  Fernâo de Hutra was radiant in his jacket
of blue decked with pearls, with a plumed hat upon his handsome head.
He carried a yellow banner embroidered with the arms of his family.

Gay music sounded.  The bulls were brought into the ring.  The
bullfighters saluted and the fight began.

In the windows of the castle the daughters of the chief magistrate of
the city of Angra were seated among their friends.  The eldest
daughter, Sophia, was the most beautiful maid of the whole city.  The
magistrate watched her anxiously as her fair cheek alternately paled
and flushed as the struggle went on.  There could be no doubt about the
fact that there was love in her eyes as they rested upon the handsome
young Flemish cavalier, Fernâo de Hutra.  She was wearing his colors
and in her hand she carefully held his bouquet of flowers.  The ribbon
which tied them secured also a piece of paper upon which were written
these words:

  "Oh, beautiful maid of my heart's desire,
  For your dear sake I'd go through fire."


The magistrate withdrew from the gay scene into the silence of the
great hall of the castle.  He bowed his head upon his hands.

[Illustration: He bowed his head upon his hands]

"This youth is the friend of the Devil," he groaned.  "I cannot consent
to my daughter's marriage to him.  He has promised to give all his
children to the Devil, they say.  I cannot allow my own grandchildren
to be given to the Devil."

That very day he began to plot how to get rid of the handsome young
Fernâo.

Now in the bay before the city of Angra there are two rocky islands
called to-day just as they were then, the Ilheos de Cabras, the islands
of goats.  The brother-in-law of the magistrate was the owner of these
barren islands.  There were a few goats there, a few mulberry bushes,
and a tiny spring of fresh water.  The magistrate called his
brother-in-law to him as soon as the bull fight was over.  He told him
all his fears and asked if he might use the islands as a place of
banishment for the young Flemish cavalier who was the friend of the
Devil.

"You are quite welcome to use these islands for so worthy a purpose,"
replied his brother-in-law.  "Indeed, I have often thought that the
deep cave on the island led into Inferno.  It is a most fitting spot
for the habitation of the Devil's friend."

Thus it happened that the handsome young Flemish cavalier was seized
and borne away to the barren rocky islands in the Bay of Angra.  When
he was received there a great earthquake shook the whole island of
Terceira.  When at last the people of the city of Angra were through
contemplating all the destruction which had been wrought, some one
looked in the direction of the island of goats.  They saw that a great
piece had been broken away from one of the islands.

Thus it was that the Devil received his friend.



THE MILLER'S CLOAK

_The Story of a Man Who Tried to Stay Home from Church_


There was once a pious miller.  He was always to be found in the church
praying.  He prayed for the dead.  He prayed for those who were alive.
He prayed for all who suffered, for the homeless ones, for the hungry
ones.  He prayed for those upon the sea and those upon the land.

Now it happened that a terrible storm smote the island.  The sea beat
high against the rocky coast.  Lightning flashed.  Thunder roared.  The
wind howled.  The rain fell in torrents as if it were a flood.

"Don't go out in the storm to-night," counselled his wife.  "It is not
a suitable night for one to go to church."

"I agree with you," replied the miller.  "I do not need to go to the
church in this fierce storm.  Surely my prayers of other days and
nights have been so many that to-night I have earned rest in my own dry
house.  The good God will pardon me."

The miller wrapped his heavy brown cloak about him and lay down upon
his bed.  The wind shrieked.  Thunder shook the earth.  Unseen hands
pulled the miller's cloak from off his bed.

"The wind has blown out the candle!  Light another!" cried the miller
to his wife.

By the dim light of the candle the good miller again arranged his bed.
He wrapped his heavy mantle about him and once more tried to sleep.
Again his cloak was pulled from off his bed as if by unseen hands.

There was no rest for the miller that night.  His cloak could not be
made to cover him as he lay upon his bed.

"I might as well go to church and pray," he told his wife.  "I can't
rest here."

He wrapped himself in the brown cloak and went out to the church
through the fierce blinding storm.  He prayed for the dead.  He prayed
for those who were alive.  He prayed for all who suffered, for the
homeless ones, the hungry ones.  He prayed for those upon the sea, for
those upon the land.

[Illustration: He wrapped himself in the brown cloak and went out
through the fierce blinding storm]

"Surely the prayers of the pious are needed this night," said the
miller to his wife when he came in out of the fierce storm.

Lightning flashed.  Thunder roared.  The rain fell in torrents.  The
wind howled and drove the pouring rain against the windows.  It blew in
sheets through the door before the miller had time to close it behind
him.  The storm beat upon the thatched roof as if it would carry it
away.

"Quick, your cloak!" cried the miller's wife.  "Take it off that I may
dry it by the fire!"

The good man started to obey.  As he touched his cloak, however, his
eyes opened wide in amazement.  It was entirely dry.

"Feel it yourself!" said he to his wife.  "There is not a drop of rain
upon it!"

The miller's wife discovered that his words were true.

"It is a miracle of God!" cried she as she crossed herself.



THE MAGIC MOUTHFUL

_The Story of a Woman Who Quarreled_


Once upon a time there was a woman who lived a most unhappy life.  She
and her husband were always quarreling.  Every day when he came home
from work he was cross, and said harsh words to her.  She would respond
with bitter words, and things would go from bad to worse until at last
he would beat her.

One day the woman took her water jar and went to the fountain to fill
it as usual.  She was so unhappy that great tears were rolling down her
cheeks.

There was a little old woman standing by the fountain.

"What is the matter, my daughter?" she asked as she saw the tears upon
the poor woman's cheeks.

When she had heard all the story, the little old woman took the water
jar and filled it at the fountain.

"Go home, my daughter," she said.  "Keep this water in the jar.  The
moment your husband says a cross word to you, fill your mouth with the
water."

The sad woman thanked her and went to her own house.

The next day when her husband came home he began to scold as usual.
She was about to reply when she suddenly remembered the old woman's
advice.  She ran to the water jar and filled her mouth with water.

[Illustration: She ran to the water jar]

To her great amazement her husband soon stopped scolding.  That night,
for the first time in many weeks, she went to sleep without a beating.

Things kept on going well for several days.  Just as soon as her
husband came home cross and said unpleasant things she would fill her
mouth with water from the jar.  Then he would get over being cross.
Now there were smiles instead of tears on the woman's face.

At last, however, the water jar grew empty.

Once more the woman went to the fountain, hoping that she would again
find the little old woman who had given her the magic water.  She found
her waiting at the fountain.

"How did my prescription succeed, dear daughter?" she asked as soon as
she saw her.

"How can I ever thank you for all you have done for me!" cried the
woman.  "Now I am happy once more.  My husband no longer beats me.  I
did not dream that my life could ever be so full of joy.  Give me, I
pray you, some more of the magic water."

The little old woman smiled gently.

"Dear daughter," she said, "the water which I put in your jar is
nothing but the water from this fountain.  It is the very same which
you always carry home.  This is the secret: When your mouth is full of
water you cannot reply when your husband says cross words to you.  If
you do not keep up the quarrel it soon ends.  That is why your life is
happy now instead of sad.  Go home, and whenever your husband says an
unkind word pretend that your mouth is full of water and do not reply.
Go in peace, my child."

The woman always remembered this good advice and never again quarreled
with her husband.  When she had children of her own she passed on to
them the secret.

Now it is generally known in the Azores that if one does not want to
keep up a quarrel it is well to pretend that his mouth is full of
water.  This is the reason why the people of the islands are so
peaceful and happy.



THE MESSENGERS

_The Story of a Youth Who Met Death_


There lived once upon a time in the island of Terceira a youth whose
name was Vladmiro.  He had come from Flanders, a cavalier of the order
of St. John.  He was betrothed to a fair maid of the island.

One morning he was hunting in the forest of cedars when he suddenly saw
Death standing before him.  He fell upon his knees and sent up a
fervent prayer to the Holy Virgin.

Then he said to Death: "O Death, why is it that you have come in search
of me so soon?  I am young, rich, happy.  I am betrothed to a maid who
loves me.  Life looks very bright and fair."

Death stepped back a pace.

"Your prayer to the Holy Mother has saved you," he said.  "I had indeed
come in search of you.  You were about to die from an accident with
your hunting arms.  See, I have already retreated a pace.  I have
decided not to take you with me this time."

Vladmiro returned a prayer of thanksgiving.  Then he said:

"O Death, I am going to make a request of you.  Please do not come up
to me so suddenly again.  It gives me a fright.  Next time you come for
me will you please be so kind as to send messengers in advance to give
me a little warning?"

"Yes, young cavalier," responded Death.  "I will gladly do what you
ask.  I give you my promise that next time I will send my messengers
ahead of me to warn you that I am approaching."

With these words Death withdrew and went on alone through the forest of
cedars.

The spring of that very year the young cavalier married the fair maid
who loved him.  Life was full of joy.  Many children were born to the
worthy couple.  Riches and honors came, too.  The years sped by as if
they flew on wings.

At last a half century had passed.  Vladmiro held his grandchildren
upon his knees and told them the story of the day he met Death in the
forest of cedars.

"We are glad that Death passed on and left you," said the children.

"If he hadn't we could not have had you for our grandfather," said the
namesake grandson Vladmiro, snuggling closer in his arms.

"You do not have to fear Death now, grandfather, do you?" asked the
little Maria.  "He will keep his promise and send his messengers, don't
you think so?"

"Yes, Death is a good Christian and will keep his word," replied the
aged cavalier.

The next morning he set sail for the island of Fayal where there were
other grandchildren to visit in the home of his married daughter,
Francisca.

On the voyage a fierce storm arose.  The small boat was buffetted about
by the gales.  Suddenly Vladmiro was startled to see Death standing
beside him just as in the forest years ago when he had been young.

[Illustration: A fierce storm arose]

"Why have you come to-day?" he cried in alarm.  "Why is it that you
have not kept your word?  You gave me your promise that you would send
your messengers, next time you came, to warn me of your approach."

"I have kept my word," said Death.  "I have sent my messengers."

"Where are they?" asked the old man in amazement.

Death pointed to Vladmiro's snowy hair.

"I have sent my messengers in your white locks, your failing eyesight
and hearing, the wrinkles on your cheeks.  Can it be that you have
failed to recognize them?"

Vladmiro bowed his head in silence and without a murmur went with Death.

In truth, Death had been a good Christian and had kept his word.



THE END





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Islands of Magic - Legends, Folk and Fairy Tales from the Azores" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home