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Title: Serbian Folk-lore
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
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              SERBIAN FOLK-LORE





               _SECOND EDITION_

      The Columbus Printing, Publishing
      and Advertising Company, Limited,
     Amberley House, Norfolk Street, W.C.

           _Preparing for Publication_,


  _A Further Contribution to Serbian Folk-Lore_,



    INTRODUCTION                                         1

    THE BEAR'S SON                                      23

    THE WONDERFUL KIOSK                                 31



    PAPALLUGA; OR, THE GOLDEN SLIPPER                   58

    THE GOLDEN-FLEECED RAM                              65

    WHO ASKS LITTLE, GETS MUCH                          74

    JUSTICE OR INJUSTICE? WHICH IS BEST                 80

    SATAN'S JUGGLINGS AND GOD'S MIGHT                   84

    THE WISE GIRL                                       88

    GOOD DEEDS ARE NEVER LOST                           93

    LYING FOR A WAGER                                  103

    THE WICKED STEPMOTHER                              108

    BIRD GIRL                                          114

    SIR PEPPERCORN                                     117

    BASH-CHALEK; OR, TRUE STEEL                        139


    ONE GOOD TURN DESERVES ANOTHER                     180

    THE BITER BIT                                      191

    THE TRADE THAT NO ONE KNOWS                        206

    THE THREE SUITORS                                  221

    THE GOLDEN-HAIRED TWINS                            228

    THE DREAM OF THE KING'S SON                        237

    THE THREE BROTHERS                                 245

    ANIMALS AS FRIENDS AND AS ENEMIES                  282

    THE LEGEND OF ST. GEORGE                           295


It is only within the last few years that the importance of folk-lore,
the popular legends, tales, drolls, and extravagances which have been
handed down from generation to generation among the labourers,
peasants and youth of a nation, has been frankly recognised. It is
now, however, generally acknowledged that this kind of literature,
which more than all other deserves the name of popular, possesses a
value beyond any momentary amusement which the tales themselves may
afford, and it has assumed an honourable post side by side with other
and graver materials, and has obtained a recognised use in deciding
the conclusions of the historian and ethnologist. It is fortunate that
the utility of these 'tales and old wives' fables' should have been
thus recognised, otherwise the dull utilitarianism of modern educators
would soon have trampled out these fragments of the 'elder time,' and
have left to our children no alternative than that of 'being crammed
with geography and natural history.'[1] The collection of Serbian
popular tales, now translated into English and here published, is an
additional contribution to our knowledge of such literature--the most
venerable secular literature, it may be, which has come down to our

    [1] Charles Lamb, in a letter to Coleridge, October, 1802.

At the wish of the lady who has selected and translated these tales, I
have undertaken to edit them. In doing so I have, however, preserved,
as far as possible, the literality of her version, and have limited
myself to the addition of a few notes to the text. The tales included
in this volume have been selected from two collections of Serbian
folk-lore; the greater part from the well-known 'Srpske narodne
pripovijetke,' of Vuk Stefanovich Karadjich, published at Vienna, in
1853, and others from the 'Bosniacke narodne pripovijetke,' collected
by the 'Society of Young Bosnia,' the first part of which collection
was printed at Sissek, in Croatia, in 1870. The collection of Vuk
Stefanovich Karadjich was translated into German by his daughter
Wilhelmina, and printed at Berlin, in 1854.[2] To this volume, which
is dedicated to the Princess Julia, widow of the late Prince Michael
Obrenovich III., Jacob Grimm, who suggested to Karadjich the utility
of making the original collection, has contributed a short but
interesting preface.

    [2] 'Volksmärchen der Serben, gesammelt und herausgegeben von
    Vuk Stephanowitsch Karadschitsch.' Berlin, 1854.

The collection of Vuk Karadjich was gathered by him from the lips of
professional story-tellers, and of old peasant women in Serbia and
the Herzégovina. One of these stories, translated in the present
volume, and here called 'The Wonderful Kiosk,' or 'The Kiosk in the
Sky,' was however written out and contributed to this collection by
Prince Michael, the late and lamented ruler of Serbia, who had heard
it, in childhood, from the lips of his nurse. The Bosniac collection
was made by young theological students from that country--members of
the college at Dyakovo, in Croatia.

The taste for this species of literature has, during the last few
years, led to the publication of various collections of traditional
folk-tales, legends, and sagas, from all countries including and lying
between Iceland and the southern extremity of Africa and of Polynesia,
until a very ample body of such stories have been made accessible even
to the mere English reader. Whilst Mr. Thorpe[3] and Mr. Dasent[4]
have directed their attention to Iceland and the Scandinavian
kingdoms, Mr. Campbell has rendered important service by his large
collection of West Highland stories.[5] Indian legends, and folk-lore
in general, has been illustrated by the volumes of Mr. W. H. Wilson,
Dr. Muir[6], Colonel Jacob, Mr. Kelly[7], and Miss Frere[8]; and the
Cingalese traditions by the writings of Mr. Turnour, and especially
by the volumes of Mr. Spence Hardy.[9] Russian and North Slavonic
folk-lore has been made accessible and arranged in the valuable
volumes of Mr. Ralston, on 'The Songs of the Russian People,' and on
'Russian Folk-Lore.' Dr. Bleek has collected some of the myths and
popular tales of the tribes in the neighbourhood of the Cape of Good
Hope[10]; and Sir George Grey has done the same good service in
preserving specimens of the folk-tales of the people of New
Zealand.[11] Whilst foreign countries have given up their stores of
popular literature to these investigations, similar industry has been
shown in collecting the traditions and folk-lore of our own country.
The songs collected in Sir Walter Scott's 'Border Minstrelsy,'
illustrated as they are by the notes which he added, are a store-house
alike for the northern counties of England and the southern counties
of Scotland. Mr. Wright and Mr. Cockayne, in their volumes, that on
the 'Literature of the Middle Ages,' by the former gentleman, and that
of the 'Leechdoms of Early England,' by the latter, have brought
together the folk-lore of our forefathers; and in the pages of
Baker[12], Chambers[13], Hone[14], Henderson[15], Hunt[16], and
others, are stored up much of the local folk-lore and tales which
still exist amongst us, and which we have inherited from our Aryan
ancestors,--echoes of stories first heard by them in their home in
Central Asia.

    [3] 'Northern Mythology,' 3 vols.

    [4] 'Popular Tales from the Norse.'

    [5] 'Popular Tales of the West Highlands,' 4 vols. Edinb.

    [6] 'Original Sanskrit Texts on the Origin and History of the
    People of India, &c.'

    [7] 'Indo-European Traditions.'

    [8] 'Old Deccan Days.'

    [9] 'Manual of Buddhism' and 'Legends and Theories of the
    Buddhists.' London. 1866.

    [10] 'Reynard, the Fox, in South Africa.'

    [11] 'Polynesian Mythology and Traditions of New Zealand.'

    [12] 'Folk-Lore of Northamptonshire.'

    [13] 'The Book of Days.'

    [14] 'Table Book' and 'Year Book.'

    [15] 'Notes on the Folk-Lore of the Northern Counties of
    England and the Borders.'

    [16] 'Drolls of Old Cornwall.' 2 vols.

By means of these and similar collections, we are enabled to trace and
compare the folk-tale in the various stages of its growth, and note
its modifications, according to the religion of the people who have
received it, and the climate of the countries in which it has been
naturalised. In the pages of Professor Max Müller, of Mr. Baring
Gould, and of Mr. Cox, we have attempts, more or less successful, to
treat these stories scientifically, and to trace and explain the
origin and motive of the various popular tales and legends which are
comprehended under the name of folk-lore.

An examination of these collections leads to the conclusion
that--apart at least from the legends of history--the number of
strictly original folk-tales is but small; and that people, settled
for ages in countries separated geographically, have yet possessed
from remote antiquity a popular literature, which must have been the
common property of the race before it branched into nations; but that
the natural accretions, the growth of time, together with local
colouring, fragments of historical facts, the influence of popular
religious belief, and, above all, the exigencies and ingenuity of
professional story-tellers, have so modified these primitive tales and
legends, that an appearance of originality has been imparted to
current popular tales, which, however, a larger acquaintance with
folk-lore, and a more extended investigation, are now gradually
dispelling. It is at length evident that various primitive legendary
and traditionary elements have been combined in most of these tales;
and that the only originality consists in such combination. They
resemble a piece of tesselated work made up of cubes of coloured
stone, the tints of which are really few in number, though they admit
of being arranged into a variety of figures after the fancy of the

In the appendix to Mr. Henderson's 'Notes on the Folk-Lore of the
Northern Counties of England,' under the appropriate name of
'Story-radicals,' the reader will find a useful and suggestive
classification of the elements which enter into the composition of
various popular tales borrowed from Von Hahn's introduction to his
collection of Greek and Albanian folk-tales; and although this
classification is rendered imperfect by the recent large increase of
such stories, yet it suffices to explain the manner in which fragments
selected from other popular fictions have been built up and
agglutinated together. Philological research is day by day
illustrating more clearly the original oneness of the language of
mankind; and collections of household stories and popular legends are
showing that much of the really popular literature, especially such as
lingers in lands uninvaded by modern civilisation, and in sequestered
spots in the midst of such civilisation, was possessed in common,
before mankind was parted off into races, and subdivided into tribes
and nations; so that they also furnish another proof of the unity of
the human race. We are still able, at least to some extent, to trace
the genealogy of many popular stories, and to ascend to their
fountain-head, or at least to such a distance as to indicate the time
when they originated, and the land where they were first told. Thus we
may feel sure that had some of the tales in this volume been the
original fancies of Slavonic minstrels and story-tellers they would
not have been garnished with crocodiles, alligators, elephants, and
the fauna and flora of Hindoostan, and that the germ of such stories
must therefore have existed before the Slav made his home in Europe.
Such accessories are sufficient proof that the tales themselves could
not have been indigenous to the banks of the Danube, but must have
been brought thither by a race which had migrated from a more southern
and eastern home.

Whilst the original home of these stories may thus be satisfactorily
proved to have been in other lands than that in which they are now
found, the growth of the tale, story, legend, or droll may be traced
by an examination of the stories themselves. They are, in most
instances, composite--an agglutination of fragments such as is seen in
the breccias and similar stones of igneous origin. The desire of being
credited with originality--a common weakness of humanity--the
necessity of lengthening out a tale so as to fill up a definite amount
of time in its recitation, and the wish to amuse by novel
combinations--all tended to the structural growth of these tales. This
was effected in part by the unexpected arrangements of old and
well-known incidents, in part by the easier and coarser expedient of
mere repetition. Thus, a common trick of the story-teller was to
repeat all the details of the events which happened to one of the
personages in his story, and to attribute them to each of the three,
or even the seven heroes who had started in search of adventures, and
whom he makes meet with precisely similar fortunes. These repetitions
sometimes appear and are sometimes dispensed with, according to the
exigencies of time, or the skill of the narrator. The other expedient
of adding to the original tale incidents taken from other stories,
admits of the exercise of much ingenuity on the part of the
story-teller, and entitled him, in some degree, to the credit of
originality. The fact remains, however, that the materials out of
which such stories are constructed are less numerous than the stories
themselves; which have for thousands of years delighted and amused,
and sometimes instructed, both old and young alike, the peasant and
the prince, the rude Hottentot of Southern Africa, the stolid boor of
Russia, and the quick-witted and intelligent Greek.

It is comparatively an easy task to trace the popular stories which
are familiar to us, to the countries where they were originally told;
or, at least, to decide approximately as to the land of their birth.
Still more easy to decompose them, and separate the original germ from
the accretions which have gathered around it in its course. It is not
so easy, however, to determine the motive of the original story.
According to one school of writers, these popular folk-tales embody
profound mythological dogmas, and were even purposely constructed to
convey, by means of symbolical or histrionic teaching, the maxims of
ancient religions and philosophies. To some extent this is possibly
true; apart, however, from the fact, and the speculations which the
facts may give rise to, the truth or falsity of this is of but little
practical value. No skill which we possess can decide with any
certainty as to the mythological or non-mythological origin of a
folk-tale, or families of such tales, and the attempts which have been
made to interpret such tales in accordance with mythology, have ended
in absurd failures.

Much confusion of thought, as it appears to me, exists as to the
mythological motive which is claimed for many of these folk-tales; and
men have confounded the mythological explanation of a tale with its
mythological origin and motive. We shall, however, have done but
little in the way of clearing up this question when we have adjusted
the various incidents of a folk-tale to the teaching of ancient
mythology. The attempt to do so resembles the labours of the
neo-Platonic expounders of declining Paganism, in their endeavours to
make it appear more reasonable by giving to the gross and material
incidents of ancient polytheism a subtle and recondite spiritual
interpretation. The question--too frequently lost sight of--being not
whether the incidents of Pagan mythology might by any such process be
reconciled with the intellect of a philosopher, but whether the
incidents themselves originated in the intent to present spiritual
truth to the mind, and were bodied forth in order to convey such
spiritual lessons to the apprehension of the worshipper. There is a
similar order to be observed in the examination and interpretation of
these tales; and the most ingenious interpretation of a folk-tale, and
its adjustment to the incidents of mythology, do not advance us one
step towards determining its motive, and clearing up the obscurities
which surround its origin. Again, the presence of mythological
incidents in a tale in no degree accounts for its origin; nor does it
assist us in proving these tales to possess a mythological character.
In popular literature--especially in such a literature as that of
which I am speaking--the tone of the popular mind must needs be
reflected; and if mythology had, at the date of the creation of the
tale, or during its growth, any considerable hold over the popular
mind, this fact would be indicated by the characters introduced, as
well as by the general colouring given to the tale itself; just as a
profoundly religious mind tinges the creations of the imagination or
the productions of the intellect with the religious convictions which
possess it. But tales and scientific treatises may be profoundly
Christian in their _ethos_, without it being necessary for us to
attribute to their authors the intention of presenting, by this means,
an esoteric explanation of the articles of the Creed.

Now it is to be borne in mind, that at the time when most of the
primary materials, out of which these folk-tales are constructed,
originated, polytheism had peopled the groves and streams, the
mountains and the valleys, the hills and plains, the sky above and the
deep sea below, and even the centre of the earth, with supernatural
beings. Every day and every fraction of life had its tutelary; every
family its special _lar_; and every individual its _genius_, or
guardian spirit. Omnipresence was subdivided into atoms, and an atom
was everywhere present. Under such circumstances it would hardly have
been possible to construct a tale or to rearrange the fragments of
older tales without introducing these elements of the popular belief.
Without doing so, indeed, a tale would not--could not have become a
folk-tale. This, however, in no way makes probable the mythological
signification and origin of such tales, any more than the introduction
of guns and pistols, of gas or the telegraph, into a modern tale,
would prove it to have a military or a scientific motive.

A specimen of the way in which folk-tales are interpreted
mythologically will, I think, show at once the ingenuity of the
interpreter and the baselessness of the interpretation. The tale which
I cite as a specimen of this kind of treatment is one which, like
folk-tales in general, occurs in several forms in England, in Southern
Italy, in Germany, in the Tyrol, in Hungary, in Iceland, Swabia,
Wallachia, and Greece, and probably in other countries. I give it in
the form in which it appears in the 'Modern Greek Household Tales,'
edited by Von Hahn, because the Greek version of this tale has the
merit of being 'shorter than most of its variants.' The ingenious
though fanciful explanation will be found in the appendix to Mr.
Henderson's 'Notes on the Folk-Lore of the Northern Counties of

'A man and a woman had no children; the woman prayed that she might be
granted one, even though it were a serpent; and in due course of time
she brought forth a serpent, which left the house and took up its
abode in a hole.

'The woman is a terrible shrew, and a bad woman to boot; she brings
the house to poverty, and then goes to the serpent to ask for relief.
The serpent gives his mother a gold-dropping ass, warning her never to
let it touch water. The couple live on the gold for some while, but at
last the woman leads the ass to the water, and it runs away and is
lost. She goes once more to her child, who gives her a pitcher, which
does all she wants; she sells this to the king, and is reduced to
poverty. The old man now goes to the serpent's lair and obtains a
stick, to which he says, "Up stick, and do your duty!" whereupon it
knocks the woman on the head and kills her; so the man lives in
happiness ever after.'

On this, the writer who undertakes to interpret this tale observes--

'That these stories rest upon a common mythological foundation, there
is strong evidence to prove. The gold-dropping animal, the magic table
or napkin, the self-acting cudgel, appear in some of the tales of
ancient India, and their original signification is made apparent.

'The master, who gives the three precious gifts, is the All
Father--the Supreme Spirit. The gold and jewel dropping ass is the
spring cloud hanging in the sky, and shedding the bright productive
Vernal showers. The table which covers itself is the earth becoming
covered with flowers and fruit at the bidding of the New Year. But
there is a check; rain is withheld, the process of vegetation is
stayed, by some evil influence. Then comes the Thunder cloud, out of
which leaps the bolt and rains pour down, the earth receives them, and
is covered with abundance--all that was lost is restored.'

The incident of the dropping of jewels only appears in the Neapolitan
version, given in the 'Pentamerone' of Giambattista Basile,[17] and is
apparently an addition made by him to the original story. The
explanation of the meaning of the tale, it appears to me, might as
fittingly have been taken from the region of science, or of history,
and might have been as easily interpreted in a thousand and one other
ways as in this. So that if, originally, the folk-tale embodied a
mythological truth, which, however, may be affirmed or denied with
equal right, the fact is of no value in aiding us to determine what
the intentions of the inventor of the tale must have been.

    [17] Naples, 1837.

Mythological symbolism, like very much of what passes current as
ecclesiastical symbolism, is a testimony to the ingenuity of the
interpreter; it has, oftentimes, no existence in the object
interpreted. We may, to our own satisfaction, perhaps, resolve the
sternest facts into impalpable fancies; the fact remains, and will
remain when the fancy has faded into its original nothingness or
lingers only as a beautiful freak of fancy. The twelve Cæsars were
living and historical personages, though an ingenious apologist has
reduced them into mythological non-existences, and has traced in them
a likeness to the twelve signs of the Zodiac. Mythological and
legendary incidents, it is true, have a tendency to fasten themselves
upon real men and women until, like parasitical plants round the trunk
of a tree, they conceal the true character of those who are thus
clothed. Sir Richard Whittington, however, was Lord Mayor of London,
though the sounds heard from the brow of Highgate Hill--

    'When he, a friendless and a drooping boy,
    Sat on a stone, and heard the bells speak out--
    Articulate music'--[18]

had no more real existence than his famous cat, and though we are
indebted for the means by which his great wealth was acquired only to
the pleasant invention of the popular-romance writer.

    [18] Wordsworth, 'The Prelude.'

Probably many of these stories possess an historical origin, and could
we recover their original form, they might be found to record real
incidents in the life of an historical personage or of a nation. The
original form, however, can now hardly be even guessed at. Successive
generations of story-tellers have added to the original tale, and have
changed archaic incidents for those better understood by the audience,
and therefore appealing the readier to their sympathies. When
transplanted from its home to a distant land the local colouring has
been changed, unintelligible customs have been made to give place to
vernacular ones, until so little remains of the old tale that even
with the help of comparative analysis it is now impossible to recover
the form in which it was given out at the first. Even with a written
literature and with diffused information, Shakespeare found it
necessary to the stories which he dramatized to interweave appliances
made known by modern discoveries, and, accordingly, anachronisms
abound in his plays. If this has been the case even where the national
literature was a written one, we might be confident beforehand that we
should find the story-teller of the Southern Slavs lengthening out and
giving variety to his tale, not from the stores of archæology, but
from such common, every-day customs as would appeal forcibly to his
simple audience.

The reader who is familiar with the stories accumulated by recent
collectors, will trace, without difficulty, in the present volume,
those fragments of the primary tales out of which story-tellers in all
parts of the world have for many generations constructed or expanded
their own tales. It is, therefore, unnecessary for me to do this. I
add, however, a few notices of some of the tales included in this
volume, merely as illustrations of the way in which they have been
built up out of older materials: like the palaces of the modern Roman
nobility, out of the marbles which were originally intended to
perpetuate the memory of the victories of the Republic and the
magnificence of the ministers of the Empire.

In the tale which is entitled 'Justice or Injustice,'[19] the manner
in which the king's daughter is enticed on ship-board, and carried off
with her attendant maidens, will at once recall the incident related
in the opening paragraph of the history of Herodotus. The resemblance
between the narrative of the abduction of the daughter of Inachus by
the Phoenician merchants, and that in the tale, is so close that it
can hardly be accidental. Some will think that this lends some support
to the notion that the account in Herodotus is mythological; others
that the Serb tale is probably based on an historical fact. That the
tale in this volume is not of Serbian origin, is evident from the
introduction of the elephants, and the description of their capture
after being intoxicated. The restoration of the hero by means of 'the
water of life,' is an incident common to very many of these
folk-tales, and may fairly be regarded as a 'story-radical.' In the
tale of 'Bash-Chalek,' this water of life is changed and christianized
into 'the water of Jordan,' whereas in its North Slavonic variant it
is still the 'water of life' which is retained as the means by which
the hero is recalled from death. In most particulars the Serbian tale
closely follows the Russian type, and may be compared with the tale
which Mr. Ralston has translated under the title of 'Marya
Morevna.'[20] The 'True Steel' of the Serbian tale is the Koshchei
the Deathless of the Russian story; and the younger brother of the
North Slavonic story is evidently the Prince Ivan of the South
Slavonic tale. Again, two of the wooers are the same in both stories,
the chief variation being that in the Serbian folk-tale the raven is
introduced instead of the dragon of the Russian story.

    [19] Ralston's 'Russian Folk-Tales,' p. 85.

    [20] Ralston's 'Russian Folk-Tales,' p. 85.

The Bosniac story of 'The Three Brothers' is a good example of the way
in which the expansion of these stories is effected. We have here
three separate stories thrown into one; the various incidents of which
are to be sought for in a variety of tales and in different countries.
In part the tale seems to be an echo of the Egyptian story, which,
written on papyrus and believed to be of the date of the Exodus of the
Israelites, is preserved in the Bibliothèque Impériale. Of this story,
Mr. Goodwin has given an abstract in the Cambridge Essays of 1858. The
astonishing leap made by the horse of the younger brother is but an
exaggeration of the sufficiently exaggerated exploit of Buddha's
horse, Kantako, which was thirty-six feet long, was able to go three
hundred miles in one night, and, when impeded by the Déwas, overcame
the obstacles interposed in the way of its progress by leaping across
the river Anoma, a distance of two hundred and ten feet.[21] In part,
however, the details of this part of the story accords with the
account of the leap made by the horse Rama Rajah which took three
successive leaps, not only over a wide river, but also over four
thick and tall groves of copal, soparee, guava, and cocoa-nut trees,
as told in the story of 'Rama and Luxman.'[22] Again, the iron teeth
of the sister in the Bosniac story make part of the marvels in the
Russian story of 'The Witch,'[23] and has its counterpart in the
incident of the Syriote story of 'The Striga.'[24] The way in which
the old woman destroys her victims by throwing around them a hair of
her head is also common to these folk-tales, and to several which may
be found in the collections of similar tales told in widely separated

    [21] Hardy's 'Legends and Theories of the Buddhists,' p. 134.

    [22] Frere's 'Old Deccan Days,' p. 76.

    [23] Ralston's 'Russian Folk-Tales,' p. 163.

    [24] Hahn's 'Modern Greek Household Tales,' No. lxv.

The incident of the tree growing out of the grave in the Serb story of
'The Golden-haired Twins,' makes also part of the story of 'Punchkin'
in the collection of stories from the Deccan, where a pomelo tree
which springs from the grave of a murdered person leads to the
knowledge of the murder.[25] The same incident again occurs in
'Truth's Triumph' in the same collection,[26] where the hundred and
one children of the king and Guzra Bai, after having been destroyed by
the ranee, their stepmother, and buried by her orders, have their
grave marked by a tree springing spontaneously from it; and when the
mango tree has been cut down by the orders of the ranee and directed
to be burnt, a sudden rising of the water prevents the order from
being carried out, and the trunk is floated down to a place of
security, stranded on a bank, and again changed into children.

    [25] 'Old Deccan Days,' p. 4.

    [26] _Ibid_, p. 54.

Another of what I have ventured to call 'primitive fragments,' because
commonly made use of in the construction of the folk-tales of various
races, makes its appearance in the story of 'The Biter Bit.' In that
story the giant demands as his reward that he should receive what the
old man had 'forgotten at home;' and obtains one of his sons, who had
been left behind when his numerous brothers had set out on their
bride-seeking expedition. This reappears in the Russian tale of 'The
Water King and Vasilissa the Wise,'[27] and also in the story of 'The
Youth' from the same lands.[28] The latter part of the story resembles
the incidents in the Indian tale of 'Sringabhuja.' In 'Peppercorn' the
episode of the maces which the hero requires, and with which he is
unsatisfied until the third has been made to stand the test of being
thrown into the air and descending on the forehead of 'Peppercorn'
without breaking the mace, but merely bruising the forehead of the
hero, occurs not only in the Serbian tale of 'The Bear's Son,' but
also the Russian story of 'Ivan Popyalof,' of which Mr. Ralston has
given us a translation; whilst the fraud practised on 'Peppercorn' by
his two companions who leave him in the deep hole down which he has
descended, and his subsequent adventures both below and on the earth,
are almost identical with incidents in another Russian folk-tale, 'The

    [27] Ralston's 'Russian Folk-Tales,' p. 120.

    [28] _Ibid_, p. 139.

    [29] _Ibid_, p. 73.

I have noted these various resemblances and borrowings, or rather
variations from one and the same original, because they illustrate the
way in which the tales found in all parts of the world have been built
up of fragments which are the common property of mankind. I have not
thought it necessary to trace out all the resemblances to other
tales--all the borrowings from the common stock. Most of my readers
will be able to do that for themselves. I have but adduced them by way
of example of story-building. They, however, show us that the stock of
original materials out of which these folk-tales have been constructed
is, comparatively speaking, of but limited extent, and also that the
large number of tales which compose the popular literature of the
world are but evidences of the skill with which these scanty materials
have been combined by the folk-teachers. The literature of a nation is
after all but the result of the combination of some five-and-twenty
sounds and letters.

In Serbia there is a curious distinction in the use of prose and
rhythm in these folk-stories. Prose is the vehicle for tales related
by women; rhythm the prerogative of men. Prose stories are usually
told in the domestic circle, and in gatherings of women at Selo or
Prelo. During the summer evenings when field labour and household
occupations have come to a close, it was, and indeed still is,
customary in Serbian villages for young girls, accompanied by some
older female friends, to gather in groups under the branches of some
wide-spreading tree, and then, whilst the younger people occupy
themselves in spinning, some of the older women interest the rest of
the company by relating these traditionary stories. Men are excluded
from these gatherings, and the story-telling which fills up the chief
part of these evenings is looked on as exclusively a feminine
occupation. These stories are always in prose.

There are, indeed, men story-tellers. Their tales or stories,
however, invariably assume the character of poems, and they are
generally--indeed almost always--accompanied by the monotonous sounds
of the "gusle." Generally speaking, these poems relate to historical
or mythical incidents in the life of the nation; though sometimes
they are of the same kind as the folk-tales which are given in this
volume, and which are related in the feminine circle. When this is
the case the distinction already noted is, however, strictly
observed. The folk-tale related by a woman is in prose; the same tale
told by a man is cast into the form of a poem. Even the purely
Christian legends, of which the reader is presented in this volume
with a specimen popular in Bosnia and the Herzégovina, 'The Legend of
St. George,' is related with the aid of rhythm. Legends of the latter
kind may have been, as some suppose, originally related by priests in
their churches, and possibly in prose. Now, however, that they have
passed into the possession of the professional story-tellers they
have put on the masculine garb of verse. This Homeric feature of Serb
customs is indeed now dying out with other national peculiarities. It
is, however, far from being dead, nor are such verses employed only
in celebrating the glories of the reign of Stephen Dushan, the
heroism of George Brankovich, or the mournful defeat of Kossovo. Long
tedious debates in the National Parliament, or Skoupshtina, of 1870,
on the liberty of opening and keeping shops in villages as
distinguished from towns, were summed up and reported throughout the
country in a way which would astonish the readers of the debates in
our English Parliament. The whole discussion, with the arguments of
the various speakers, took the form of a long song or poem, which was
recited in the open air before the villagers assembled to hear the
course and result of the debate. Perhaps in a similar manner the
military and naval incidents, the contentions of mighty chiefs, the
debates before the tent of Agamemnon, or in the council-house of
Troy, were thrown into verse by the Father of poetry, the Prince of
story-tellers, or, if the reader holds to the Wolfian theory, by the
professional rhapsodists, and thus made known throughout Greece in
the form of the Iliad. At any rate we have, in the practice still
living in Serbia, an instance of the way in which a Serbian Homer
would naturally have communicated to his countrymen all the details
of meetings at the council-board and skirmishes in the plain which
diversified the history of a siege, in the varying fortunes of which
their interest was enlisted.

                                                  W. DENTON.


Once upon a time a bear married a woman, and they had one son. When
the boy was yet a little fellow he begged very hard to be allowed to
leave the bear's cave, and to go out into the world to see what was in
it. His father, however, the Bear, would not consent to this, saying,
'You are too young yet, and not strong enough. In the world there are
multitudes of wicked beasts, called men, who will kill you.' So the
boy was quieted for a while, and remained in the cave.

But, after some time, the boy prayed so earnestly that the Bear, his
father, would let him go into the world, that the Bear brought him
into the wood, and showed him a beech-tree, saying, 'If you can pull
up that beech by the roots, I will let you go; but if you cannot, then
this is a proof that you are still too weak, and must remain with me.'
The boy tried to pull up the tree, but, after long trying, had to give
it up, and go home again to the cave.

Again some time passed, and he then begged again to be allowed to go
into the world, and his father told him, as before, if he could pull
up the beech-tree he might go out into the world. This time the boy
pulled up the tree, so the Bear consented to let him go, first,
however, making him cut away the branches from the beech, so that he
might use the trunk for a club. The boy now started on his journey,
carrying the trunk of the beech over his shoulder.

One day as the Bear's son was journeying, he came to a field where he
found hundreds of ploughmen working for their master. He asked them to
give him something to eat, and they told him to wait a bit till their
dinner was brought them, when he should have some--for, they said,
'Where so many are dining one mouth more or less matters but little.'
Whilst they were speaking there came carts, horses, mules, and asses,
all carrying the dinner. But when the meats were spread out the Bear's
son declared he could eat all that up himself. The workmen wondered
greatly at his words, not believing it possible that one man could
consume as great a quantity of victuals as would satisfy several
hundred men. This, however, the Bear's son persisted in affirming he
could do, and offered to bet with them that he would do this. He
proposed that the stakes should be all the iron of their ploughshares
and other agricultural implements. To this they assented. No sooner
had they made the wager than he fell upon the provisions, and in a
short time consumed the whole. Not a fragment was left. Hereupon the
labourers, in accordance with their wager, gave him all the iron which
they possessed.

When the Bear's son had collected all the iron, he tore up a young
birch-tree, twisted it into a band and tied up the iron into a bundle,
which he hung at the end of his staff, and throwing it across his
shoulder, trudged off from the astonished and affrighted labourers.

Going on a short distance, he arrived at a forge in which a smith was
employed making a ploughshare. This man he requested to make him a
mace with the iron which he was carrying. This the smith undertook to
do; but putting aside half the iron, he made of the rest a small,
coarsely-finished mace.

Bear's son saw at a glance that he had been cheated by the smith.
Moreover, he was disgusted at the roughness of the workmanship. He
however took it, and declared his intention of testing it. Then
fastening it to the end of his club and throwing it into the air high
above the clouds he stood still and allowed it to fall on his
shoulder. It had no sooner struck him than the mace shivered into
fragments, some of which fell on and destroyed the forge. Taking up
his staff, Bear's son reproached the smith for his dishonesty, and
killed him on the spot.

Having collected the whole of the iron, the Bear's son went to another
smithy, and desired the smith whom he found there to make him a mace,
saying to him, 'Please play no tricks on me. I bring you these
fragments of iron for you to use in making a mace. Beware that you do
not attempt to cheat me as I was cheated before!' As the smith had
heard what had happened to the other one, he collected his workpeople,
threw all the iron on his fire, and welded the whole together and
made a large mace of perfect workmanship.

When it was fastened on the head of his club the Bear's son, to prove
it, threw it up high, and caught it on his back. This time the mace
did not break, but rebounded. Then the Bear's son got up and said,
'This work is well done!' and, putting it on his shoulder, walked
away. A little farther on he came to a field wherein a man was
ploughing with two oxen, and he went up to him and asked for something
to eat. The man said, 'I expect every moment my daughter to come with
my dinner, then we shall see what God has given us!' The Bear's son
told him how he had eaten up all the dinner prepared for many hundreds
of ploughmen, and asked, 'From a dinner prepared for one person how
much can come to me or to you?' Meanwhile the girl brought the dinner.
The moment she put it down, Bear's son stretched out his hand to begin
to eat, but the man stopped him. 'No!' said he, 'you must first say
grace, as I do!' The Bear's son, hungry as he was, obeyed, and, having
said grace, they both began to eat. The Bear's son, looking at the
girl who brought the dinner (she was a tall, strong, beautiful girl),
became very fond of her, and said to the father, 'Will you give me
your daughter for a wife?' The man answered, 'I would give her to you
very gladly but I have promised her already to the Moustached.' The
Bear's son exclaimed, 'What do I care for Moustachio? I have my mace
for him!' But the man answered, 'Hush! hush! Moustachio is also
somebody! You will see him here soon.' Shortly after a noise was
heard afar off, and lo! behind a hill a moustache showed itself, and
in it were three hundred and sixty-five birds' nests. Shortly after
appeared the other moustache, and then came Moustachio himself. Having
reached them, he lay down on the ground immediately, to rest. He put
his head on the girl's knee and told her to scratch his head a little.
The girl obeyed him, and the Bear's son, getting up, struck him with
his club over the head. Whereupon Moustachio, pointing to the place
with his finger, said, 'Something bit me here!' The Bear's son struck
with his mace on another spot, and Moustachio again pointed to the
place, saying to the girl, 'Something has bitten me here!' When he was
struck a third time, he said to the girl angrily, 'Look you! something
bites me here!' Then the girl said, 'Nothing has bitten you; a man
struck you!'

When Moustachio heard that he jumped up, but Bear's son had thrown
away his mace and ran away. Moustachio pursued him, and though the
Bear's son was lighter than he, and had gotten the start of him a
considerable distance, he would not give up pursuing him.

At length the Bear's son, in the course of his flight, came to a wide
river, and found, near it, some men threshing corn. 'Help me, my
brothers, help--for God's sake!' he cried; 'help! Moustachio is
pursuing me! What shall I do? How can I get across the river?' One of
the men stretched out his shovel, saying, 'Here! sit down on it, and I
will throw you over the river!' The Bear's son sat on the shovel, and
the man threw him over the water to the other shore. Soon after
Moustachio came up, and asked, 'Has any one passed here?' The
threshers replied that a man had passed. Moustachio demanded, 'How did
he cross the river?' They answered, 'He sprang over.' Then Moustachio
went back a little to take a start, and with a hop he sprang to the
other side, and continued to pursue the Bear's son. Meanwhile this
last, running hastily up a hill, got very tired. At the top of the
hill he found a man sowing, and the sack with seeds was hanging on his
neck. After every handful of seed sown in the ground, the man put a
handful in his mouth and eat them. The Bear's son shouted to him,
'Help, brother, help!--for God's sake! Moustachio is following me, and
will soon catch me! Hide me somewhere!' Then the man said, 'Indeed, it
is no joke to have Moustachio pursuing you. But I have nowhere to hide
you, unless in this sack among the seeds.' So he put him in the sack.
When Moustachio came up to the sower he asked him if he had seen the
Bear's son anywhere? The man replied, 'Yes, he passed by long ago, and
God knows where he has got before this!'

Then Moustachio went back again. By-and-by the sower forgot that
Bear's son was in his sack, and he took him out with a handful of
seeds, and put him in his mouth. Then Bear's son was afraid of being
swallowed, so he looked round the mouth quickly, and, seeing a hollow
tooth, hid himself in it.

When the sower returned home in the evening, he called to his
sisters-in-law, 'Children, give me my toothpick! There is something in
my broken tooth.' The sisters-in-law brought him two iron picks, and,
standing one on each side, they poked about with the two picks in his
tooth till the Bear's son jumped out. Then the man remembered him, and
said, 'What bad luck you have! I had nearly swallowed you.'

After they had taken supper they talked about many different things,
till at last the Bear's son asked what had happened to break that one
tooth, whilst the others were all strong and healthy. Then the man
told him in these words: 'Once upon a time ten of us started with
thirty horses to the sea-shore to buy some salt. We found a girl in a
field watching sheep, and she asked us where we were going. We said we
were going to the sea-shore to buy salt. She said, "Why go so far? I
have in the bag in my hand here some salt which remained over after
feeding the sheep. I think it will be enough for you." So we settled
about the price, and then she took the salt from her bag, whilst we
took the sacks from the thirty horses, and we weighed the salt and
filled the sacks with it till all the thirty sacks were full. We then
paid the girl, and returned home. It was a very fine autumn day but as
we were crossing a high mountain, the sky became very cloudy and it
began to snow, and there was a cold north wind, so that we could not
see our path and wandered about here and there. At last, by good luck,
one of us shouted, "Here, brothers! Here is a dry place!" So we went
in one after the other till we were all, with the thirty horses,
under shelter. Then we took the sacks from the horses, made a good
fire, and passed the night there as if it were a house. Next morning,
just think what we saw! We were all in one man's head, which lay in
the midst of some vineyards; and whilst we were yet wondering and
loading our horses, the keeper of the vineyards came and picked the
head up. He put it in a sling and slinging it about several times,
threw it over his head, and cast it far away over the vines to
frighten the starlings away from his grapes. So we rolled down a hill,
and it was then that I broke my tooth.'


Once upon a time there lived a king, who had three sons and one
daughter. The daughter was kept by her father for safety in a cage,
since he cared for her as for his own eyes. When the girl grew up, she
one evening asked her father to let her walk a little with her
brothers in the front of the palace, and her father granted her
request. She had hardly, however, taken a step outside the door of the
palace before a dragon came down, caught her away from her brothers,
and flew up with her into the clouds.

The three brothers ran as quickly as they could, and told their father
what had happened to their sister, and asked him to let them go in
search of her. To this their father consented, and gave each of them a
horse, and other needful things for their travelling, and they went
away to find their sister. After they had travelled a long time, they
came in sight of a kiosk, which was neither in the sky nor yet on the
earth, but hung mid-way between both. On coming near it, they began to
think that their sister might be in it, and they consulted together
how they might contrive to reach it. After much deliberation they
settled that one of them should kill his horse, make a thong out of
the hide, and fastening one end of the thong to an arrow, shoot it
from the bow so that it should strike deep in the side of the kiosk,
and that thus they might be able to climb up to it. The youngest
brother proposed to the eldest that he should kill his horse, but this
he refused to do. In like manner the second brother refused, so that
nothing remained but that the youngest should kill his horse, which he
did and made a long thong out of the hide; to this he tied an arrow,
which he shot towards the kiosk.

The question was then asked, who would climb up the thong? The eldest
brother declared that he would not; the second also refused, and thus
it was the youngest was forced to climb up. When he had reached the
kiosk he went from room to room, until at length he found his sister
sitting with the dragon sleeping with his head upon her knee, while
she passed her fingers through the hair of his head.

When she saw her brother she was very much frightened, and made signs
for him to go away before the dragon woke up. But this her brother
would not do, and instead of going away took his mace and struck with
all his might on the head of the dragon. The dragon moved his paw a
little towards the place where he had been struck, and said to the
maiden, 'I felt something bite me just here.' As he spoke the king's
son gave him another blow, and the dragon said again, 'I felt
something bite me just here.' When the brother lifted his mace to
strike the third time, the sister pointed and showed him where to
strike at the life of the dragon. So he struck at the life, and the
dragon immediately fell down dead, and the king's daughter pushed him
from her knee and ran quickly to her brother and kissed him. Then she
took him by the hand and began to show him the various rooms of the

First, she took him into a room where a black horse stood ready to be
mounted, with all his riding-gear on him, and the whole of the harness
was of pure silver.

She then led him to a second room, and in it stood a white horse, also
saddled and bridled, and his harness was entirely of pure gold.

At last the sister took her brother into a third room, and there stood
a cream-coloured horse, and the reins and stirrups and saddle, which
were on him, were all thickly studded with precious stones.

After passing through these three rooms, she led him to a room where a
young maiden sat behind a golden tambourette, busily engaged in
embroidering with golden thread.

From this room they went into another, where a girl was spinning gold
thread, and again into another room where a girl sat threading pearls,
and before her, on a golden plate, was a golden hen with her chickens,
sorting the pearls.

Having seen all these things, the brother went back to the room where
the dragon lay dead, and threw him down to the earth, and the two
brothers, who were below, were almost frightened to death at the sight
of the dragon's carcass. The young prince then let his sister slowly
down, and, after her, the three young maidens, each of them with the
work on which she was employed. As he let them down, one after the
other, he shouted to his brothers and told them to whom each of the
maidens should belong--reserving for himself the third one, whom he
also let down to the ground. This was the maiden who was engaged in
threading pearls with the help of the golden hen and chickens. His
brothers, however, were envious at the success of his courage, and at
his having found his sister and saved her from the dragon, so they cut
the thong in order that he might not be able to get down from the

Then they found, in the fields near, a young shepherd, whom they
disguised and took to their father, but forbad their sister and the
three maidens, with many threats, to tell what they had done. After
some time the youngest brother, who had been left in the kiosk,
received the news that his two brothers and the shepherd were to marry
the three maidens. On the day when his eldest brother was married, the
youngest brother mounted his black horse, and just as the wedding
party came back from the church, the young prince came down from the
kiosk, rushed into the midst, and struck his eldest brother slightly
in the back, so that he fell down from his horse; he then immediately
flew back again to the kiosk. On the day that his second brother was
married, the youngest again came down among the wedding party, as
they left the church. He was mounted on the white horse, and he struck
his second brother as he had done the eldest, so that he also fell
down, and then he returned again to the kiosk. At last, on hearing
that the young shepherd was going to be married to the maiden whom the
prince had selected for himself, he mounted on the cream-coloured
horse, descended again, and rode among the wedding guests as they came
out of the church, and struck the bridegroom with his mace on his head
so that he at once fell down dead. When the guests gathered round him
to catch him, which he permitted them to do, making no attempt to
escape from them, he soon proved to them that he himself was the third
son of the king, and that the shepherd was an imposter, and that his
brothers, out of envy, had left him in the kiosk, when he had found
his sister and killed the dragon. His sister and the three young
maidens confirmed all that he said, so that the king, in his anger at
the two elder brothers, drove them away from his court; however, he
married the youngest brother to the third maiden, and, at his death,
left him his kingdom.


Once upon a time there lived a shepherd who served his master
faithfully and honestly. One day, whilst keeping the sheep in the
forest, he heard a hissing, and wondered what the noise could be. So
he went farther into the wood to try and find out. There he saw that
the forest was on fire, and a snake was hissing in the midst of the
flames. The shepherd watched to see what the snake would do, for it
was quite surrounded by the fire, which approached it nearer and
nearer. Then the snake cried out, 'For God's sake, good shepherd, save
me from the fire!' So the shepherd stretched his crook across the
flames and the snake glided rapidly over the staff and up his arm on
to his shoulder, till at last it wound itself round his neck. Then the
shepherd was terrified and exclaimed, 'What shall I do? What an
unlucky wretch I am! I saved you, and now you are about to kill me!'
The snake answered, 'Do not be afraid; only take me to the house of
my father. My father is the king of snakes.' But the shepherd, being
already in great fear, began to excuse himself, saying he must not
leave his sheep. Then the snake said, 'Nothing will happen to your
sheep. Do not be anxious about them. But let us hurry home.'

So the shepherd went on with the snake through the forest, until they
came to a gate made entirely of snakes. Then the snake on the neck of
the shepherd hissed, and instantly the snakes untwined themselves, so
that the man could pass through. As soon as they had gone through, the
snake said to him, 'When you reach my father's house he will offer to
give you whatever you like--gold, silver, or precious stones. Do not,
however, take any of these things. Choose, instead, the language of
animals. He will hesitate at first, but at last he will give it you.'
Meanwhile they arrived at the palace, and the king of snakes said,
weeping, 'For God's sake, my child, where were you?' Thereupon the
snake told him all that had happened, how he had been surrounded by
fire, and how the shepherd had saved him. Then the snake king said to
the shepherd, 'What do you wish that I should give you for saving my

The shepherd answered, 'I desire nothing but the language of animals.'
The snake king, however, said, 'That is not good for you, for if I
give it you, and you tell any one about it, you will instantly die.
Therefore it is better that you ask me for something else.' 'If you
wish to give me anything,' replied the shepherd, 'give me the
language of animals; if you will not give me that, I want nothing--so
good-bye,' and he turned to go away. Then the snake king called him
back, saying, 'If you indeed wish it so much, take it. Open your
mouth.' The shepherd did so, and the snake king blew into his mouth
and said, 'Now blow once yourself in my mouth.' The shepherd did so,
and then the snake king blew again into his mouth, and this they did
three times. After that the snake said, 'Now, you possess the language
of animals; go, in God's name, but do not for the world tell any one
about it. If you tell any one you will instantly die.'

The shepherd returned across the forest, and, passing through it, he
understood everything the birds and animals, and even the plants, were
saying to each other. When he came to his sheep he found them all
there, safe and sound, so he laid himself down to rest a little.
Hardly had he done so before two or three ravens settled on a tree
near him, and began to converse together, saying, 'If that shepherd
only knew that just on the spot where the black sheep is lying there
is, deep in the earth, a cave full of gold and silver!' When the
shepherd heard that he went off to his master and told him. The master
brought a cart, and dug down to the cave, and carried the treasure
away home. But the master was honest, so he gave up the whole of the
treasure to the shepherd, saying, 'Here my son, all this wealth
belongs to you. For to you God gave it. Build a house, marry, and live
upon the treasure.' So the shepherd took the money, built a house, and
married, and by-and-by he became the richest man in the whole
neighbourhood. He kept his own shepherd, and cattle-driver, and
swineherd; in short, he had great property and made much money.

Once, just at Christmas, he said to his wife, 'Get ready some wine and
other food, and to-morrow we will feast the shepherds.' The wife did
so, and in the morning they went to their farm. Towards evening the
master said to the shepherds, 'Come here, all of you; you shall eat,
drink, and make merry together, and I will go myself this night to
watch the sheep.'

So the master went to watch his sheep, and, about midnight, the wolves
began to howl and the dogs to bark. The wolves spoke, in wolf
language, 'May we come and take something? You, also, shall get a part
of the prey.' And the dogs answered, in dog language, 'Come! we also
are ready to eat something.' But there was one old dog there who had
only two teeth left. This old dog shouted furiously, 'Come on, you
miserable wretches, if you dare. So long as I have these two teeth
left you shall not do any damage to my master's property.' All this
the master heard and understood. Next day he ordered all the dogs to
be killed except that old one. The servants began to remonstrate,
saying, 'For God's sake, master, it is a pity to do this.' But the
master answered, 'Do as I have ordered you,' and started with his wife
to go home. They rode on horseback, he on a fine horse and his wife on
a handsome mare. But the master's horse went so fast that the wife
remained a little behind. Then the master's horse neighed, and said
to the mare, 'Come on, why do you stay behind?' And the mare answered,
'Ah, to you it is easy--you are carrying only one weight, and I am
carrying three.' Thereupon the man turned his head and laughed. The
wife saw him laughing, and urged the mare on quicker till she came up
to her husband, and asked him, 'Why were you laughing?' He said
merely, 'I had good reason to laugh!' But the wife was not satisfied,
and again begged he would tell her why he laughed. He excused himself,
exclaiming, 'Give up questioning me; what has come to you, my wife? I
forget now why it was I laughed.' But the more he refused to tell her,
the more she wished to know. At last the man said, 'If I tell you I
shall die immediately!' That, however, did not quiet her, and she kept
on asking, saying to him, 'You must tell me.' In the meantime they
reached their house. When they had done so the man ordered a coffin to
be made, and, when it was ready, had it placed in front of the house,
and laid himself down in it. Then he said to his wife, 'Now I will
tell you why I laughed, but the moment I tell you I shall die.' So he
looked around once more, and saw that the old dog had come from the
field, and had taken his stand over his head, and was howling. When
the man noticed this he said to his wife, 'Bring a piece of bread for
this poor dog.' The wife brought a piece and threw it to the dog, but
the dog did not even look at it, and a cock came near and began to
peck at it.

Then the dog said to the cock, 'You think only about eating. Do you
know that our master is going to die?' And the cock answered, 'Well,
let him die, since he is such a fool. I have a hundred wives, and
often at nights I gather them all round a grain of corn, and, when
they are all there, I pick it up myself. If any of them are angry, I
peck them; that is my way of keeping them quiet. Only look at the
master, however; he is not able to rule one single wife!'

The man, hearing that, got out of the coffin, took a stick, and called
his wife to him, saying, 'Come now, and I will tell you what you want
to know.' The wife, seeing she was in danger of getting a beating,
left him in peace, and never asked him again why it was he laughed.


Once upon a time there lived a king who had three sons. Now, before
the king's palace grew a golden apple-tree, which in one and the same
night blossomed, bore fruit, and lost all its fruit, though no one
could tell who took the apples. One day the king, speaking to his
eldest son, said, 'I should like to know who takes the fruit from our
apple-tree!' And the son said, 'I will keep guard to-night, and will
see who gathers the apples.' So when the evening came he went and laid
himself down, under the apple-tree, upon the ground to watch. Just,
however, as the apples ripened, he fell asleep, and when he awoke in
the morning, there was not a single one left on the tree. Whereupon he
went and told his father what had happened. Then the second son
offered to keep watch by the tree, but he had no better success than
his eldest brother.

So the turn came to the king's youngest son to keep guard. He made his
preparations, brought his bed under the tree, and immediately went to
sleep. Before midnight he awoke and looked up at the tree, and saw
how the apples ripened, and how the whole palace was lit up by their
shining. At that minute nine peahens flew towards the tree, and eight
of them settled on its branches, but the ninth alighted near him and
turned instantly into a beautiful girl--so beautiful, indeed, that the
whole kingdom could not produce one who could in any way compare with
her. She stayed, conversing kindly with him, till after midnight, then
thanking him for the golden apples, she prepared to depart; but, as he
begged she would leave him one, she gave him two, one for himself and
one for the king his father. Then the girl turned again into a peahen,
and flew away with the other eight. Next morning, the king's son took
the two apples to his father, and the king was much pleased, and
praised his son. When the evening came, the king's youngest son took
his place again under the apple-tree to keep guard over it. He again
conversed as he had done the night before with the beautiful girl, and
brought to his father, the next morning, two apples as before. But,
after he had succeeded so well several nights, his two elder brothers
grew envious because he had been able to do what they could not. At
length they found an old woman, who promised to discover how the
youngest brother had succeeded in saving the two apples. So, as the
evening came, the old woman stole softly under the bed which stood
under the apple-tree, and hid herself. And after a while, came also
the king's son, and laid himself down as usual to sleep. When it was
near midnight the nine peahens flew up as before, and eight of them
settled on the branches, and the ninth stood by his bed, and turned
into a most beautiful girl.

Then the old woman slowly took hold of one of the girl's curls, and
cut it off, and the girl immediately rose up, changed again into a
peahen and flew away, and the other peahens followed her, and so they
all disappeared. Then the king's son jumped up, and cried out, 'What
is that?' and, looking under the bed, he saw the old woman, and drew
her out. Next morning he ordered her to be tied to a horse's tail, and
so torn to pieces. But the peahens never came back, so the king's son
was very sad for a long time, and wept at his loss. At length he
resolved to go and look after his peahen, and never to come back again
unless he should find her. When he told the king his father of his
intention, the king begged him not to go away, and said that he would
find him another beautiful girl, and that he might choose out of the
whole kingdom.

But all the king's persuasions were useless. His son went into the
world to search everywhere for his peahen, taking only one servant to
serve him. After many travels he came one day to a lake. Now by the
lake stood a large and beautiful palace. In the palace lived an old
woman as queen, and with the queen lived a girl, her daughter. He said
to the old woman, 'For heaven's sake, grandmother, do you know
anything about nine golden peahens?' and the old woman answered, 'Oh,
my son, I know all about them; they come every mid-day to bathe in the
lake. But what do you want with them? Let them be, think nothing
about them. Here is my daughter. Such a beautiful girl! and such a
heiress! All my wealth will remain to you if you marry her.' But he,
burning with desire to see the peahens, would not listen to what the
old woman spoke about her daughter.

Next morning, when day dawned, the prince prepared to go down to the
lake to wait for the peahens. Then the old queen bribed the servant
and gave him a little pair of bellows, and said, 'Do you see these
bellows? When you come to the lake you must blow secretly with them
behind his neck, and then he will fall asleep, and not be able to
speak to the peahens.' The mischievous servant did as the old woman
told him; when he went with his master down to the lake, he took
occasion to blow with the bellows behind his neck, and the poor prince
fell asleep just as though he were dead. Shortly after, the nine
peahens came flying, and eight of them alighted by the lake, but the
ninth flew towards him, as he sat on horseback, and caressed him, and
tried to awaken him. 'Awake, my darling! Awake, my heart! Awake, my
soul!' But for all that he knew nothing, just as if he were dead.
After they had bathed, all the peahens flew away together, and after
they were gone the prince woke up, and said to his servant, 'What has
happened? Did they not come?' The servant told him they had been
there, and that eight of them had bathed, but the ninth had sat by him
on his horse, and caressed and tried to awaken him. Then the king's
son was so angry that he almost killed himself in his rage. Next
morning he went down again to the shore to wait for the peahens, and
rode about a long time till the servant again found an opportunity of
blowing with the bellows behind his neck, so that he again fell asleep
as though dead. Hardly had he fallen asleep when the nine peahens came
flying, and eight of them alighted by the water, but the ninth settled
down by the side of his horse and caressed him, and cried out to
awaken him, 'Arise, my darling! Arise, my heart! Arise, my soul!'

But it was of no use; the prince slept on as if he were dead. Then she
said to the servant, 'Tell your master to-morrow he can see us here
again, but never more.' With these words the peahens flew away.
Immediately after the king's son woke up, and asked his servant, 'Have
they not been here?' And the man answered, 'Yes, they have been, and
say that you can see them again to-morrow, at this place, but after
that they will not return again.' When the unhappy prince heard that,
he knew not what to do with himself, and in his great trouble and
misery tore the hair from his head.

The third day he went down again to the shore, but, fearing to fall
asleep, instead of riding slowly, galloped along the shore. His
servant, however, found an opportunity of blowing with the bellows
behind his neck, and again the prince fell asleep. A moment after came
the nine peahens, and the eight alighted on the lake and the ninth by
him, on his horse, and sought to awaken him, caressing him. 'Arise, my
darling! Arise, my heart! Arise, my soul!' But it was of no use, he
slept on as if dead. Then the peahen said to the servant, 'When your
master awakens tell him he ought to strike off the head of the nail
from the lower part, and then he will find me.' Thereupon all the
peahens fled away. Immediately the king's son awoke, and said to his
servant, 'Have they been here?' And the servant answered, 'They have
been, and the one which alighted on your horse, ordered me to tell you
to strike off the head of the nail from the lower part, and then you
will find her.' When the prince heard that, he drew his sword and cut
off his servant's head.

After that he travelled alone about the world, and, after long
travelling, came to a mountain and remained all night there with a
hermit, whom he asked if he knew anything about nine golden peahens.
The hermit said, 'Eh! my son, you are lucky; God has led you in the
right path. From this place it is only half a day's walk. But you must
go straight on, then you will come to a large gate, which you must
pass through; and, after that, you must keep always to the right hand,
and so you will come to the peahens' city, and there find their
palace.' So next morning the king's son arose, and prepared to go. He
thanked the hermit, and went as he had told him. After a while he came
to the great gate, and, having passed it, turned to the right, so that
at mid-day he saw the city, and beholding how white it shone, rejoiced
very much. When he came into the city he found the palace where lived
the nine golden peahens. But at the gate he was stopped by the guard,
who demanded who he was, and whence he came. After he had answered
these questions, the guards went to announce him to the queen. When
the queen heard who he was, she came running out to the gate and took
him by the hand to lead him into the palace. She was a young and
beautiful maiden, and so there was a great rejoicing when, after a few
days, he married her and remained there with her.

One day, some time after their marriage, the queen went out to walk,
and the king's son remained in the palace. Before going out, however,
the queen gave him the keys of twelve cellars, telling him, 'You may
go down into all the cellars except the twelfth--that you must on no
account open, or it will cost you your head.' She then went away. The
king's son whilst remaining in the palace began to wonder what there
could be in the twelfth cellar, and soon commenced opening one cellar
after the other. When he came to the twelfth he would not at first
open it, but again began to wonder very much why he was forbidden to
go into it. 'What _can_ be in this cellar?' he exclaimed to himself.
At last he opened it. In the middle of the cellar lay a big barrel
with an open bung-hole, but bound fast round with three iron hoops.
Out of the barrel came a voice, saying, 'For God's sake, my brother--I
am dying with thirst--please give me a cup of water!' Then the king's
son took a cup and filled it with water, and emptied it into the
barrel. Immediately he had done so one of the hoops burst asunder.
Again came the voice from the barrel, 'For God's sake, my brother--I
am dying of thirst--please give me a cup of water!' The king's son
again filled the cup, and took it, and emptied it into the barrel, and
instantly another hoop burst asunder. The third time the voice came
out of the barrel, 'For God's sake, my brother--I am dying of
thirst--please give me a cup of water!' The king's son again took the
cup and filled it, and poured the water into the barrel--and the third
hoop burst. Then the barrel fell to pieces, and a dragon flew out of
the cellar, and caught the queen on the road and carried her away.

Then the servant, who went out with the queen, came back quickly, and
told the king's son what had happened, and the poor prince knew not
what to do with himself, so desperate was he, and full of
self-reproaches. At length, however, he resolved to set out and travel
through the world in search of her. After long journeying, one day he
came to a lake, and near it, in a little hole, he saw a little fish
jumping about. When the fish saw the king's son, she began to beg
pitifully, 'For God's sake, be my brother, and throw me into the
water. Some day I may be of use to you, so take now a little scale
from me, and when you need me, rub it gently.' Then the king's son
lifted the little fish from the hole and threw her into the water,
after he had taken one small scale, which he wrapped up carefully in a
handkerchief. Some time afterwards, as he travelled about the world,
he came upon a fox, caught in an iron trap. When the fox saw the
prince, he spoke: 'In God's name, be a brother to me, and help me to
get out of this trap. One day you will need me, so take just one hair
from my tail, and when you want me, rub it gently.' Then the king's
son took a hair from the tail of the fox, and let him free.

Again, as he crossed a mountain, he found a wolf fast in a trap; and
when the wolf saw him, it spoke: 'Be a brother to me; in God's name,
set me free, and one day I will help you. Only take a hair from me,
and when you need me, rub it gently.' So he took a hair, and let the
wolf free. After that, the king's son travelled about a very long
time, till one day he met a man, to whom he said, 'For God's sake,
brother, have you ever heard any one say where is the palace of the
dragon king?' The man gave him very particular directions which way to
take, and in what length of time he could get there. Then the king's
son thanked him and continued his journey until he came to the city
where the dragon lived. When there, he went into the palace and found
therein his wife, and both of them were exceedingly pleased to meet
each other, and began to take counsel how they could escape. They
resolved to run away, and prepared hastily for the journey. When all
was ready they mounted on horseback and galloped away. As soon as they
were gone the dragon came home, also on horseback, and, entering his
palace, found that the queen had gone away. Then he said to his horse,
'What shall we do now? Shall we eat and drink, or go at once after
them?' The horse answered, 'Let us eat and drink first, we shall
anyway catch them; do not be anxious.'

After the dragon had dined he mounted his horse, and in a few moments
came up with the runaways. Then he took the queen from the king's son
and said to him, 'Go now, in God's name! This time I forgive you
because you gave me water in the cellar; but if your life is dear to
you do not come back here any more!' The unhappy young prince went on
his way a little, but could not long resist, so he came back next day
to the dragon's palace, and found the queen sitting alone and weeping.
Then they began again to consult how they could get away. And the
prince said, 'When the dragon comes, ask him where he got that horse,
and then you will tell me so that I can look for such another one;
perhaps in this way we can escape.' He then went away, lest the dragon
should come and find him with the queen.

By-and-by the dragon came home, and the queen began to pet him, and
speak lovingly to him about many things, till at last she said, 'Ah!
what a fine horse you have! where did you get such a splendid horse?'
And he answered, 'Eh! where I got it every one cannot get one! In such
and such a mountain lives an old woman who has twelve horses in her
stable, and no one can say which is the finest, they are all so
beautiful. But in one corner of the stable stands a horse which looks
as if he were leprous, but, in truth, he is the very best horse in the
whole world. He is the brother of my horse, and whoever gets him may
ride to the sky. But whoever wishes to get a horse from that old
woman, must serve her three days and three nights. She has a mare
with a foal, and whoever during three nights guards and keeps for her
this mare and this foal, has a right to claim the best horse from the
old woman's stable. But whoever engages to keep watch over the mare
and does not, must lose his head!'

Next day, when the dragon went out, the king's son came, and the queen
told him all she had learned from the dragon. Then the king's son went
away to the mountain and found the old woman, and entered her house
greeting: 'God help you, grandmother!' And she answered, 'God help
you, too, my son! what do you wish?' 'I should like to serve you,'
said the king's son. Then the old woman said, 'Well, my son, if you
keep my mare safe for three days and three nights I will give you the
best horse, and you can choose him yourself; but if you do not keep
the mare safe you shall lose your head.'

Then she led him into the courtyard, where all around stakes were
ranged. Each of them had on it a man's head, except one stake, which
had no head on it, and shouted incessantly, 'Oh, grandmother, give me
a head!' The old woman showed all this to the prince, and said, 'Look
here! all these were heads of those who tried to keep my mare, and
they have lost their heads for their pains!'

But the prince was not a bit afraid, so he stayed to serve the old
woman. When the evening came he mounted the mare and rode her into the
field, and the foal followed. He sat still on her back, having made up
his mind not to dismount, that he might be sure of her. But before
midnight he slumbered a little, and when he awoke he found himself
sitting on a rail and holding the bridle in his hand. Then he was
greatly alarmed, and went instantly to look about to find the mare,
and whilst looking for her, he came to a piece of water. When he saw
the water he remembered the little fish, and took the scale from the
handkerchief and rubbed it a little. Then immediately the little fish
appeared and said, 'What is the matter, my half-brother?' And he
replied, 'The mare of the old woman ran away whilst under my charge,
and now I do not know where she is!' And the fish answered, 'Here she
is, turned to a fish, and the foal to a smaller one. But strike once
upon the water with the bridle and cry out, "Heigh! mare of the old
woman!"' The prince did as he was told, and immediately the mare came,
with the foal, out of the water to the shore. Then he put on her the
bridle and mounted and rode away to the old woman's house, and the
foal followed. When he got there the old woman gave him his breakfast;
she, however, took the mare into the stable and beat her with a poker,
saying, 'Why did you not go down among the fishes, you cursed mare?'
And the mare answered, 'I have been down to the fishes, but the fish
are his friends and they told him about me.' Then the old woman said,
'Then go among the foxes!'

When evening came the king's son mounted the mare and rode to the
field, and the foal followed the mare. Again he sat on the mare's back
until near midnight, when he fell asleep as before. When he awoke, he
found himself riding on the rail and holding the bridle in his hand.
So he was much frightened, and went to look after the mare. As he went
he remembered the words the old woman had said to the mare, and he
took from the handkerchief the fox's hair and rubbed it a little
between his fingers. All at once the fox stood before him, and asked,
'What is the matter, half-brother?' And he said, 'The old woman's mare
has run away, and I do not know where she can be.' Then the fox
answered, 'Here she is with us; she has turned into a fox, and the
foal into a cub; but strike once with the bridle on the earth and cry
out, "Heigh! you old woman's mare!"' So the king's son struck with the
bridle on the earth and cried, 'Heigh! old woman's mare!' and the mare
came and stood, with her foal, near him. He put on the bridle, and
mounted and rode off home, and the foal followed the mare. When he
arrived the old woman gave him his breakfast, but took the mare into
the stable and beat her with the poker, crying, 'To the foxes, cursed
one! to the foxes!' And the mare answered, 'I have been with the
foxes, but they are his friends, and told him I was there!' Then the
old woman cried, 'If that is so, you must go among the wolves!'

When it grew dark again the king's son mounted the mare and rode out
to the field, and the foal galloped by the side of the mare. Again he
sat still on the mare's back till about midnight, when he grew very
sleepy and fell into a slumber, as on the former evenings, and when he
awoke he found himself riding on the rail, holding the bridle in his
hand, just as before. Then, as before, he went in a hurry to look
after the mare. As he went he remembered the words the old woman had
said to the mare, and took the wolf's hair from the handkerchief and
rubbed it a little. Then the wolf came up to him and asked, 'What is
the matter, half-brother?' And he answered, 'The old woman's mare has
run away, and I cannot tell where she is.' The wolf said, 'Here she is
with us; she has turned herself into a wolf, and the foal into a
wolf's cub. Strike once with the bridle on the earth and cry out,
"Heigh! old woman's mare!"' And the king's son did so, and instantly
the mare came again and stood with the foal beside him. So he bridled
her, and galloped home, and the foal followed. When he arrived the old
woman gave him his breakfast, but she led the mare into the stable and
beat her with the poker, crying, 'To the wolves, I said, miserable
one!' Then the mare answered, 'I have been to the wolves; but they are
his friends, and told him all about me!' Then the old woman came out
of the stable, and the king's son said to her, 'Eh! grandmother, I
have served you honestly; now give me what you promised me.' And the
old woman answered, 'My son, what is promised must be fulfilled. So
look here: here are the twelve horses, choose which you like!' And the
prince said, 'Why should I be too particular? Give me only that
leprous horse in the corner! fine horses are not fitting for me!' But
the old woman tried to persuade him to choose another horse, saying,
'How can you be so foolish as to choose that leprous thing whilst
there are such very fine horses here?' But he remained firm by his
first choice, and said to the old woman, 'You ought to give me which I
choose, for so you promised.' So, when the old woman found she could
not make him change his mind, she gave him the scabby horse, and he
took leave of her, and went away, leading the horse by the halter.

When he came to a forest he curried and rubbed down the horse, when it
shone as bright as gold. He then mounted, and the horse flew as
quickly as a bird, and in a few seconds brought him to the dragon's
palace. The king's son went in and said to the queen, 'Get ready as
soon as possible!' She was soon ready, when they both mounted the
horse, and began their journey home. Soon after the dragon came home,
and when he saw the queen had disappeared, said to his horse, 'What
shall we do? Shall we eat and drink first, or shall we pursue them at
once?' The horse answered, 'Whether we eat and drink or not it is all
one, we shall never reach them.'

When the dragon heard that, he got quickly on his horse and galloped
after them. When they saw the dragon following them they pushed on
quicker, but their horse said, 'Do not be afraid! there is no need to
run away.' In a very few moments the dragon came very near to them,
and his horse said to their horse, 'For God's sake, my brother, wait a
moment! I shall kill myself running after you!' Their horse answered,
'Why are you so stupid as to carry that monster. Fling your heels up
and throw him off, and come along with me!' When the dragon's horse
heard that he shook his head angrily and flung his feet high in the
air, so that the dragon fell off and brake in pieces, and his horse
came up to them. Then the queen mounted him and returned with the
king's son happily to her kingdom, where they reigned together in
great prosperity until the day of their death.


    [30] Servian name for "Cinderella."

As some village girls were spinning whilst they tended the cattle
grazing in the neighbourhood of a ravine, an old man with a long white
beard--so long a beard that it reached to his girdle--approached them,
and said, 'Girls, girls, take care of that ravine! If one of you
should drop her spindle down the cliff, her mother will be turned into
a cow that very moment!'

Having warned them thus, the old man went away again. The girls,
wondering very much at what he had told them, came nearer and nearer
to the ravine, and leant over to look in; whilst doing so one of the
girls--and she the most beautiful of them all--let her spindle fall
from her hand, and it fell to the bottom of the ravine.

When she went home in the evening she found her mother, changed into a
cow, standing before the house; and from that time forth she had to
drive this cow to the pasture with the other cattle.

In a little time the father of the girl married a widow, who brought
with her into the house her own daughter. The stepmother immediately
began to hate the step-daughter, because the girl was incomparably
more beautiful than her own daughter. She forbade her to wash herself,
to comb her hair, or to change her clothes, and sought by every
possible way to torment and scold her. One day she gave her a bag full
of hemp, and said, 'If you do not spin all this well and wind it, you
need not return home, for if you do I shall kill you.'

The poor girl walked behind the cattle and spun as fast as possible;
but at mid-day, seeing how very little she had been able to spin, she
began to weep. When the cow, her mother, saw her weeping, she asked
her what was the matter, and the girl told her all about it. Then the
cow consoled her, and told her not to be anxious. 'I will take the
hemp in my mouth and chew it,' she said, 'and it will come out of my
ear as thread, so that you can draw it out and wind it at once upon
the stick;' and so it happened. The cow began to chew the hemp and the
girl drew the thread from her ear and wound it, so that very soon they
had quite finished the task.

When the girl went home in the evening, and took all the hemp, worked
up, to her stepmother, she was greatly astonished, and next morning
gave her yet more hemp to spin and wind. When at night she brought
that home ready the stepmother thought she must be helped by some
other girls, her friends; therefore the third day she gave her much
more hemp than before. But when the girl had gone with the cow to the
pasture, the woman sent her own daughter after her to find out who
was helping her. This girl went quietly towards her step-sister so as
not to be heard, and saw the cow chewing the hemp and the girl drawing
the thread from her ear and winding it, so she hastened home and told
all to her mother. Then the stepmother urged the husband to kill the
cow. At first he resisted; but, seeing his wife would give him no
peace, he at last consented to do as she wished, and fixed the day on
which he would kill it. As soon as the step-daughter heard this she
began to weep, and when the cow asked her why she wept she told her
all about it. But the cow said, 'Be quiet! do not cry! Only when they
kill me take care not to eat any of the meat, and be sure to gather
all my bones and bury them behind the house, and whenever you need
anything come to my grave and you will find help.' So when they killed
the cow the girl refused to eat any of the flesh, saying she was not
hungry, and afterwards carefully gathered all the bones and buried
them behind the house, on the spot the cow had told her.

The real name of this girl was Mary, but as she had worked so much in
the house, carrying water, cooking, washing dishes, sweeping the
house, and doing all sorts of house-work, and had very much to do
about the fire and cinders, her stepmother and half-sister called her
'Papalluga' (Cinderella).

One day the stepmother got ready to go with her own daughter to
church, but before she went she spread over the house a basketful of
millet, and said to her step-daughter, 'You Papalluga! If you do not
gather up all this millet and get the dinner ready before we come back
from church, I will kill you!'

When they had gone to church the poor girl began to weep, saying to
herself: 'It is easy to see after the dinner; I shall soon have that
ready; but who can gather up all this quantity of millet!' At that
moment she remembered what the cow had told her, that in case of need
she should go to her grave and would there find help, so she ran
quickly to the spot, and what do you think she saw there? On the grave
stood a large box full of valuable clothes of different kinds, and on
the top of the box sat two white doves, who said, 'Mary, take out of
this box the clothes which you like best and put them on, and then go
to church; meanwhile we will pick up the millet seeds and put
everything in order.' The girl was greatly pleased, and took the first
clothes which came to hand. These were all of silk, and having put
them on she went away to church. In the church every one, men and
women, wondered much at her beauty and her splendid clothes, but no
one knew who she was or whence she came. The king's son, who happened
to be there, looked at her all the time and admired her greatly.
Before the service was ended she stood up and quietly left the church.
She then ran away home, and as soon as she got there took off her fine
clothes and again laid them in the box, which instantly shut itself
and disappeared.

Then she hurried to the hearth and found the dinner quite ready, all
the millet gathered up, and everything in very good order. Soon after
the stepmother came back with her daughter from the church, and was
extremely surprised to find all the millet picked up and everything so
well arranged.

Next Sunday the stepmother and her daughter again dressed themselves
to go to church, and, before she went away, the stepmother threw much
more millet about the floor, and said to her step-daughter, 'If you do
not gather up all this millet, prepare the dinner, and get everything
into the best order, I shall kill you.' When they were gone, the girl
instantly ran to her mother's grave, and there found the box open as
before, with the two doves sitting on its lid. The doves said to her,
'Dress yourself, Mary, and go to church; we will pick up all the
millet and arrange everything.' Then she took from the box silver
clothes, and having dressed herself, went to church. In the church
everyone, as before, admired her very much, and the king's son never
moved his eyes from her. Just before the end of the service the girl
again got up very quietly and stole through the crowd. When she got
out of church she ran away very quickly, took off the clothes, laid
them in the box, and went into the kitchen. When the stepmother and
her daughter came home, they were more surprised than before; the
millet was gathered up, dinner was ready, and everything in the very
best order. They wondered very much how it was all done.

On the third Sunday the stepmother dressed herself to go with her
daughter to church, and again scattered millet about on the ground,
but this time far more than on the other Sundays. Before she went out
she said to her step-daughter, 'If you do not gather up all this
millet, prepare the dinner, and have everything in order when I come
from church, I will kill you!' The instant they were gone, the girl
ran to her mother's grave, and found the box open with the two white
doves sitting on the lid. The doves told her to dress herself and go
to church, and to have no care about the millet or dinner.

This time she took clothes of all real gold out of the box, and,
having put them on, went away to the church. In the church all the
people looked at her and admired her exceedingly. Now the king's son
had resolved not to let her slip away as before, but to watch where
she went. So, when the service was nearly ended, and she stood up to
leave the church, the king's son followed her, but was not able to
reach her. In pushing through the crowd, however, Mary somehow in her
hurry lost the slipper from her right foot and had no time to look for
it. This slipper the king's son found, and took care of it. When the
girl got home she took off the golden clothes and laid them in the
box, and went immediately to the fire in the kitchen.

The king's son, having determined to find the maiden, went all over
the kingdom, and tried the slipper on every girl, but in some cases it
was too long, in others too short, and, in fact, it did not fit any of
them. As he was thus going about from one house to the other, the
king's son came at last to the house of the girl's father, and the
stepmother, seeing the king's son coming, hid her step-daughter in a
wash-trough before the house. When the king's son came in with the
slipper and asked if there were any girl in the house, the woman
answered 'Yes,' and brought out her own daughter. But when the slipper
was tried it was found it would not go even over the girl's toes. Then
the king's son asked if no other girl was there, and the stepmother
said, 'No, there is no other in the house.' At that moment the cock
sprung upon the wash-trough, and crowed out 'Cock-a-doodle-do!--here
she is under the wash-trough!'

The stepmother shouted, 'Go away! may the eagle fly away with you!'
But the king's son, hearing that, hurried to the wash-trough, and
lifted it up, and what did he see there! The same girl who had been in
the church, in the same golden clothes in which she had appeared the
third time there, but lying under the trough, and with only one
slipper on. When the king's son saw her, he nearly lost his senses for
the moment, he was so very glad. Then he quickly tried to place the
slipper he carried on her right foot, and it fitted her exactly,
besides perfectly matching with the other slipper on her left foot.
Then he took her away with him to his palace and married her.


Once upon a time a hunter went to the mountains to hunt, and met there
a golden-fleeced ram. The moment he saw it he took up his rifle to
shoot it; before, however, he could do so, the ram rushed at him and
killed him with its horns. His friends found him lying dead, and took
him home and buried him, without knowing how he had been killed. The
hunter's wife hung up his rifle on a nail. When her son grew old
enough, he one day asked his mother for the rifle, that he might go
hunting. The mother, however, refused to give it him. 'Nothing in the
world, my son,' cried she, 'shall induce me to do so. Your father lost
his life through that gun, and do you wish, also, to lose your life
because of it?'

However the youth managed to steal the rifle one day, and went away to
the mountains to hunt. When he came to the forest, the golden-fleeced
ram appeared also to him, and said, 'I killed your father, and I will
kill you!' The son was shocked, and said, 'God help me!' Then he
levelled at the ram with the rifle and killed it.

Greatly rejoiced that he had killed the golden-fleeced ram, (for
there was not another like it in all the kingdom) he now took the
fleece home. In a very short time the news of this spread all over the
country, and reached even the king's ears. Then the king ordered the
young lad to bring the ram's fleece to him, that he might see what
different animals lived in his kingdom. When the young lad took it to
the king, and exhibited it, the king asked, 'How much money do you
want for that fleece?' To which the young man answered, 'I will not
sell it for any money.'

Now the king's first minister happened to be the uncle of the young
man; instead, however, of being his friend, he was his greatest enemy.
So the minister said to the king, 'If he will not give you the fleece,
set him something to do which will cost him his life. The best plan
would be to order him to do something which it is impossible for him
to do.' Accordingly he advised the king to order the young man to
plant a vineyard, and to bring him, within seven days, new wine from
it. The young man hearing this, began to weep, and begged to be
excused from such a task as he could not work a miracle. But the king
said, 'If you don't do that in seven days, you shall lose your life.'

Then the youth returned weeping to his mother, and told her about it.
And the mother said, 'Did I not tell you, my son, that the golden
fleece would cost you your life as it cost your father his?' Weeping
and wondering what to do, since he got no rest at home, he thus walked
out of the village a good distance, when, suddenly, a little girl
appeared before him and said, 'Why are you weeping, my brother?' He
answered, somewhat angrily, 'Go your way, in God's name! you cannot
help me.' He then went on his way, but the little girl followed him,
and begged much that he would tell her why he wept, 'for, perhaps,'
said she, 'I may be able to help you.' 'Well, then, I will tell you,'
said he, 'though I am sure no one except God can help me.' So he told
her all that had happened to him, and what the king had ordered him to
do. When she had heard all, she said, 'Be not tearful, my brother, but
go and demand from the king that he should appoint the place where the
vineyard shall be planted, and order it to be dug in straight lines;
then go yourself, and take a sack, with a branch of basilicum in it,
and lie down to sleep in the place where the vineyard has been marked
out. Take courage! Don't be afraid! In seven days you will have ripe

Thereupon he returned home and told his mother how he had met the
little girl, and what she had told him; not, however, as having any
belief in what she had said. The mother, however, when she had heard
his words, said, 'Go, my son, and try; anyhow you are a lost man. You
can but try.'

He went then to the king and demanded land for the vineyard, and
begged that it should be dug in straight rows. The king ordered
everything to be done as the young man demanded, who forthwith took a
sack on his shoulder, and a sprig of basilicum, and went full of fear
and sorrow to lie down in the place. When he awoke next morning the
vines were already planted; the second morning the leaves were on the
vines; and, in short, on the seventh day there were ripe grapes, and
that, too, in a season when grapes were to be found nowhere else.

He gathered some grapes, and made sweet wine; and took also a cluster
of grapes in a handkerchief, and went to the king.

The king and the whole court were exceedingly surprised, but the young
man's uncle said, 'Now we will order him to do something which it is
quite impossible that he should do.' He then advised the king to call
the young man, and order him to make a palace of elephants' tusks.

The young man heard the king's order, and went home weeping. He told
his mother the order which the king had given him, and said, 'Mother,
this is a task which neither I nor any one else can fulfil.' Then the
mother advised him to take a walk beyond the village. 'Perhaps,' said
she, 'you will again meet the little girl.' Accordingly he went; and
when he reached the place where he had before seen the maiden, she
again appeared to him, and said, 'You are sad and troubled as before,
my brother.' Then he told her what a task the king had set him to
perform. She, however, no sooner heard this than she said, 'This will
also be easy; but first go to the king, and demand from him a ship
with three hundred barrels of wine, and three hundred barrels of
brandy, and twenty carpenters. Then, when you arrive at a place which
you will find between the mountains, dam up the water there, and pour
into it the wine and the brandy. The elephants will soon come there to
drink water, and will get drunk and fall down. Then your twenty
carpenters must cut off their tusks, and carry them to the spot where
the king desires to have the palace built. Then lie down there to
sleep, and in seven days the palace will be ready.'

The young man returned home and told his mother what the young maiden
had said to him. The mother advised him to follow the girl's counsel.
'Go, my son,' she said, 'perhaps God will again help you.' So the
young man went to the king, and demanded the barrels of wine and
brandy, and the twenty carpenters. The king furnished him with all he
desired; and he went immediately where the girl had told him, and did
as she had ordered. And, even as she had foretold, the elephants came
to drink, and got tipsy, and fell down; and the carpenters sawed their
tusks, and carried them to the spot where the palace was to be built.
Then, at evening, the young man took his sack and a branch of
basilicum, and went and lay down to sleep in the place.

And on the seventh day the palace was ready. When the king saw it, he
marvelled, and said to his first minister, the uncle of the young man,
'Now what shall we do with him? Indeed he is not a man; God knows only
what he is.'

To this, the minister answered, 'Yet one thing you ought to order him
to do, and if he fulfils that, also, indeed he must be something more
than man.' So, in accordance with the advice of his minister, the
king called the young man again, and said, 'Now, go and bring me the
king's daughter from such and such a kingdom, and out of such a city.
If you should fail to bring her, you will lose your head.'

The young man went home and told his mother the new task which the
king had set him to do, and the mother said, 'Go, my son, and look for
that young maiden. Perhaps God will grant that she may save you a
third time!'

So, as before, he went outside the village, and met the young maiden,
and told her what he had now to do.

The girl listened to him, and then said, 'Go and demand from the king
a ship; in the ship must be made twenty shops, and in each shop must
be a different kind of ware, each one better than the other. Then
demand that the twenty handsomest young men should be chosen, and
finely dressed, and put one in each shop as salesman. Then sail
yourself with the ship, and you will first meet a man who carries a
large eagle. You must ask him if he will sell it you, and he will
answer "Yes." Then give him anything he demands in return for the
eagle. After that you will meet a man carrying in his fishing-net a
carp with golden scales; you must buy the carp, whatever it may cost
you. Thirdly, you will meet a man carrying a live dove, and this dove
you must also buy, whatever the price may be. Then, take a feather
from the eagle's tail, a scale from the carp, and a little feather
from the left wing of the dove, and let the eagle, carp, and dove go
away free. When you arrive in the kingdom, and at the city where the
princess resides, you must open all the twenty shops, and order each
young man to stand before his shop-door. Then the citizens will come
and admire the wares; and the maidens, who come to fetch water, will
go back into the city and say, "Such a ship and such wares were never
before seen since this was a city!" This news will reach the ears of
the king's daughter, and she will beg permission from her father to go
and see the ship herself. When she comes, with her friends, on board,
you must lead her from one shop to the other, and bring out and show
her the finest wares which you have. Thus you must contrive to engage
her attention and to keep her on board till it gets dusk, and then let
the ship sail. In that moment it will be so dark that nothing can be
seen. The girl will have a bird on her shoulder, and, when she sees
the ship is sailing away, she will let the bird fly to take tiding to
the palace of what has happened to her. Then you must burn the eagle's
plume, and the old eagle will instantly come to you. You must order
him to catch the bird, and he will quickly do so. Then the girl will
throw a small stone into the water, and the ship will at once stand
still; but you will immediately burn the carp's scale, and the carp
will come to you. You must order him to find and swallow that little
water of life, and when he does so the ship will sail on. After
sailing some time you will arrive between two mountains; there the
ship will turn to stone and you will be greatly terrified. The girl
will urge you to fetch some water of life, and you must then burn the
dove's feather, and the bird will immediately appear. You will give
him a little bottle that he may bring you some water of life, and when
he does so the ship will sail on again, and you will come happily home
with the king's daughter.'

The young man listened to the advice of the maiden, and then returned
home and told all to his mother. After that he went to the king and
demanded all the things that the maiden had counselled him to procure.
The king could not refuse, so all that he asked was given him, and he
sailed away.

All things happened exactly as the young maiden had foretold, and the
young man came back with the king's daughter happily to his own

The king and his first minister, the uncle of the young man, saw, from
the windows of the palace, the ship whilst yet it was far from the
city; and the minister said to the king, 'Now there is nothing left to
do but to kill him as he comes out of the ship!' When the ship reached
the port, the king's daughter first came ashore with her companions;
then the handsome young shopmen, and, lastly, the young man alone. But
the king had had the headsman placed there, and when the young man
stepped on the shore the executioner cut his head off. The king
intended to marry the king's daughter; accordingly, as soon as she
came on land he ran to her, and began to caress her, but she turned
away her head from him, and said, 'Where is he who has been working
for me?' And when she saw that his head was cut off she rushed to the
body, took out some water of life and poured over it, so he arose
alive and well as ever. When the king and his minister saw this
wonder, the minister said to the king, 'This man will know now more
than ever he did, since he has been dead and is come back to life!'
Then the king began to wonder if it were true that a man who has been
dead knows more when he returns to life, and, in order to satisfy his
curiosity, he ordered the headsman to cut off his head, and directed
that the girl with the water of life should bring him again to life.
But, after the king's head was cut off, the girl refused to restore
him to life. Instead of doing so, she wrote a letter to her father,
told him all that had happened, and told him her wish to marry the
young man. So the king, her father, sent forth a proclamation that the
people should take the young man for their king, and threatened to
declare war against them if they refused to do so. The people
recognised immediately the merits of the young man, and owned that he
deserved to be their king, and to marry the king's daughter.
Accordingly they made him king, and he married the king's daughter.
Then the handsome young men, who had sailed with him in the ship as
shopmen, married the companions of the king's daughter who was now
queen, and thus all of them became great dignitaries in the kingdom.


Once on a time there lived three brothers, who had no property except
one pear-tree. This they watched carefully, each of them in turn
guarding it, whilst the other two worked for wages away from home. One
day God sent an angel to see how these brothers were living; and
ordered the angel, if they lived very poorly, to give them better
food. When the angel came down to the earth, he changed himself into
the form of a beggar; and when he saw one of the brothers watching the
pear-tree, asked him to give him a pear. Then the brother plucked some
pears, and gave them to the beggar, and said, 'Here, take these from
my share of the pears; I cannot give you any of those which belong to
my brothers.' So the angel thanked the man and went away.

Next morning the second brother remained to guard the pear-tree; and
the angel came again, and begged him to give him a pear. The man took
some of the pears and gave them to the angel, saying, 'Take these
from my pears; but from the pears of my brothers I dare not give you

The third day the third brother stayed at home to watch the pear-tree,
and the angel came as before, and asked only for one pear. And this
brother said also, 'Here are some of my pears; from the pears of my
brothers I cannot give you any.'

The day after, the angel changed himself into a monk, and came very
early, so that he found all three brothers at home, and said to them,
'Come with me; I will give you better nourishment than you have at

The three brothers followed him without saying a word. At last they
came to a large torrent, where the water flowed in great streams, and
made a loud noise. Then the angel asked the eldest brother, 'What
would you like?' And the man answered, 'I should like all this water
to be changed into wine, and to belong to me.'

Then the angel made the sign of the cross in the air with his stick,
and, in a moment, wine was flowing instead of water. On the banks of
the river heaps of barrels were being made, and men were working very
diligently--in short, there was quite a village. The angel then left
the eldest brother there, saying, 'Here is all you wished! now keep
yourself!' and he continued his journey with the other two brothers.
Then they came to a field covered over with a multitude of doves, and
the angel asked the second brother, 'What would you like?' 'I should
like all these doves to be sheep, and to belong to me!' replied the
man. The angel again made the sign of the cross in the air with his
stick, and, instantly, sheep were there instead of doves. There were
dairies also, and women milking the sheep; some were pouring out the
milk, and others collecting the cream; some were making cheese, others
churning butter. There was also a slaughter-house, with men cutting
the meat into joints, whilst others were weighing it, and others
receiving money as they sold the meat.

Then the angel said to the second brother, 'Here is what you wished
for; now live.' The angel now took with him the youngest brother,
walked with him across the field, and then asked, 'And what would
_you_ like?' The man answered, 'I wish for nothing, except that God
may give me a wife of pure Christian blood!' Then the angel said, 'Oh,
that is difficult to find! In the whole world there are but three
such, and two of them are already married. The third is a maid still,
but she is asked in marriage by two wooers.'

So the angel and the young man set out, and, having journeyed a long
way, at length came to the city where the king dwelt whose daughter
was of pure Christian blood.

As soon as they arrived, they went to the palace to ask for the girl.
When they entered the palace, they found two kings already there, and
their wedding gifts laid out upon a table. Then they also placed there
the presents they had brought. When the king saw them, he said to all
those who were standing before him, 'What shall we do now? Those are
the presents of kings, but these look, in comparison, like the gifts
of a beggar!' Then the angel said, 'I will tell you what to do. Let
the matter be decided in this way--the maid shall take three vines,
and plant them in the garden, dedicating each of them to one of the
three wooers. The man on whose vine grapes are found next day is the
one the girl ought to marry.' So all agreed to this, and the maid
planted three vines in the garden, dedicating each of them to one of
her three wooers.

The next morning, when they looked, grapes were found on the vine
dedicated to the poor man. So the king could not help himself, and was
obliged to give his daughter to the youngest brother, and let them at
once be married in the church. After the wedding, the angel took them
to a forest, and left them there, where they lived for a whole year.

At the end of a year, God again sent the angel, saying, 'Go down and
see how those poor men are living. If their food be scanty, give them
better nourishment.'

The angel came down to earth as before, in the likeness of a beggar,
and went first to the brother who had the torrent overflowing with
wine. The beggar asked for a cup of wine, but the man refused, saying,
'If I were to give every one who asks a cup of wine, I should have
none for myself!' When the angel heard this, he made the sign of the
cross with his stick, and the torrent began to flow with water as at
first. Then the angel said to the eldest brother, 'That was not for
thee! go back under the pear-tree and guard it!'

After that the angel went to the second brother who had the field
quite covered with sheep, and begged him to give him a morsel of
cheese; but he refused, saying, 'If I were to give every one a little
bit of cheese, I should have none left!' When the angel heard this, he
made the sign of the cross in the air, and the sheep turned in an
instant into doves, and flew away.

Then the angel said to the second brother, 'That was not for thee! go
back under the pear-tree and guard it!'

At last the angel went to see how the youngest brother was living, and
found him with his wife in the forest, dwelling in a little hut, and
living poorly. He begged to be allowed to sleep there that night, and
they received him with great willingness, only excusing themselves
that they could not serve him as they would. 'We are only poor
people,' they said. The angel answered, 'Do not speak about that! I
shall be quite content with what you have for yourselves.' Then these
poor people asked themselves what they must do. They had no corn to
make real bread; for they usually ground the bark of certain trees,
and made bread from it. Such bread, therefore, the wife made now for
their guest, and put it to the fire to bake. Whilst it baked, they
talked with him. In a little while, when they looked to see whether
the cake was baked, they found that there was a loaf of real bread
quite ready for the table, and very large. When they saw that, they
lifted up their hands and thanked God, saying, 'Thank thee, O God!
that we are now able to give food to our guest.'

So they placed the bread before the angel, and also filled a vessel
with water, and when they came to drink they found it was wine. Then
the angel made a sign of the cross with his staff over the hut, and on
that spot rose a royal palace, filled with abundance of everything.
And the angel blessed the youngest brother and his wife, and left
them, and they lived there long and very happily.


A king had two sons; of these, one was cunning and unjust, the other,
just and gentle. After the death of the father the elder son said to
the younger, 'Depart; I will not live with you any longer. Here are
three hundred zechins and a horse; this is your portion of our
father's property. Take it, for I owe you nothing more than this.' The
younger son took the money and the horse which were offered him, and
said, 'Thank God! See only how much of the kingdom has fallen to me!'

Some time afterwards the two brothers, both of whom were riding, met
by chance in a road. The younger brother greeted the elder one,
saying, 'God help thee, brother!' and the elder answered, 'Why do you
speak always about God? Nowadays, injustice is better than justice.'
The younger brother, however, said to him, 'I will wager with you that
injustice is not, as you say, better than justice.' So they betted one
hundred golden zechins, and it was arranged that they should leave the
decision to the first man they met in the road. Riding together a
little farther they met with Satan, who had disguised himself as a
monk, and they asked him to decide which was better, justice or
injustice? Satan answered, 'Injustice!' And the good brother paid the
bad one the hundred golden zechins which he had wagered.

Then they betted for another hundred zechins, and again a third time
for a third hundred, and each time Satan--who managed to disguise
himself in different ways and meet them--decided that injustice was
better than justice.

Thus the younger brother lost all his money, and his horse into the
bargain. Then he said, 'Thank God! I have no more money, but I have
eyes, and I wager my eyes that justice is better than injustice.'

Thereupon the unjust brother, without waiting for any one's decision,
drew his knife and cut both his brother's eyes out, saying, 'Now you
have no eyes, let justice help you.' But the younger brother in his
trouble only thanked God and said, 'I have lost my eyes for the sake
of God's justice, but I pray you, my brother, give me a little water
in some vessel to wash my wounds and wet my mouth, and bring me away
from this place to the pine-tree just about the spring, before you
leave me.' The unjust brother did so, gave him water, and left him
alone under the pine-tree near the spring of water.

There the unfortunate remained, sitting on the ground. Late, however,
in the night, some fairies came to the spring to bathe, and one of
them said to the others, 'Do you know, my sisters, that the king's
daughter has got the leprosy? The king has summoned all the
physicians, but no one can possibly help her. But if the king only
knew, he would take a little of this water in which we are bathing,
and wash his daughter therewith! and then in a day and a night she
would recover completely from her leprosy. Just as any one deaf, or
dumb, or blind, could be cured by this same water.'

Then, as the cocks began to crow, the fairies hurried away. As soon as
they were gone, the unfortunate man felt his way slowly with his
outstretched hands till he came to the spring of water. There he
bathed his eyes, and in an instant recovered his sight. After that he
filled the vessel with water, and hurried away to the king, whose
daughter was leprous, and said to the servants, 'I am come to cure the
king's daughter, if he will only let me try. I guarantee that she will
become healthy in a day and night.'

When the king heard that, he ordered him to be led into the room where
the girl was, and made her immediately bathe in the water. After a day
and a night the the girl came out pure and healthy.

Then the king was greatly pleased, and gave the young prince the half
of his kingdom, and also his daughter for a wife, so that he became
the king's son-in-law, and the first man after him in the kingdom.

The tidings of this great event spread all over the world, and so came
to the ears of the unjust brother. He guessed directly that his blind
brother must have met with good fortune under the pine-tree, so he
went himself to try to find it also. He carried with him a vessel full
of water, and then carved out his own eyes with his knife. When it was
dark the fairies came again, and, as they bathed, spoke about the
recovery of the king's daughter. 'It cannot be otherwise,' they said,
'someone must have been listening to our last conversation here.
Perhaps someone is listening now. Let us see.'

So they searched all around, and when they came to the pine-tree they
found there the unjust brother who had come to seek after good
fortune, and who declared always that injustice was better than
justice. They immediately caught him, and tore him into four parts.

And so, at the last, his wickedness did not help him, and he found to
his cost that justice is better than injustice.


One morning the son of the king went out to hunt. Whilst walking
through the snow he cut himself a little, and the drops of blood fell
on the snow. When he saw how pretty the red blood looked on the white
snow, he thought, 'Oh, if I could only marry a girl as white as snow
and as rosy red as this blood!' Whilst he was thus thinking, he met an
old woman and asked her if there were such maidens anywhere to be
found. The old woman told him that on the mountain he saw before him
he would find a house without doors, and the only entrance and outlet
of this house was a single window. And she added, 'In that house, my
son, there is living a girl such as you desire; but of the young men
who have gone to ask her to be their wife none have returned.'

'That may all be as you say,' answered the prince, 'I will go,
nevertheless! Only tell me the way that I must take to get to the
house.' When the old woman heard this resolve, she was sorry for the
young man, and, taking a piece of bread from her pouch, she gave it
to him, saying, 'Take this bread and keep it safe as the apple of your
eye!' The prince took the bread, and continued his journey. Very soon
afterwards he met another old woman, and she asked him where he was
going. He told her he was going to demand the girl who lived in the
doorless house on the mountain. Then the old woman tried to dissuade
him, telling him just the same things as the former one had done. He
said, however, 'That may be quite true, nevertheless I will go, even
if I never return.' Then the old woman gave to the prince a little
nut, saying, 'Keep this nut always by you; it may help you some time
or other!'

The prince took the nut and went on his way, till he came to where an
old woman was sitting by the roadside. She asked him, 'Where are you
going?' Then he told her he was going to demand the girl who lived in
the house on the mountain before him. Upon this the old woman wept,
and prayed him to give up all thoughts of the girl, and she gave him
the very same warnings as the other old women had done. All this
however was of no use, the prince was resolved to go on, so the old
woman gave him a walnut, saying, 'Take this walnut, and keep it
carefully until you want it.'

He wondered at these presents, and asked her to tell him why the first
old woman had given him a piece of bread, the second a nut, and she
herself now a walnut. The old woman answered, 'The bread is to throw
to the beasts before the house, that they may not eat you; and, when
you find yourself in the greatest danger, ask counsel, first from the
nut, and then from the walnut.'

Then the king's son continued his wandering, till he came at last to
a thick forest, in the midst of which he saw the house with only a
single window. When he came near it he was attacked by a multitude of
beasts of all kinds, and, following the advice of the old woman, he
threw the bit of bread towards them. Then the beasts came and smelt at
the bread one after the other, and, upon doing so, each drew his tail
between his legs and lay down quietly.

The house had no door, and but one window, which was very high above
the ground, so high that do what he could he was not able to reach it.
Suddenly he saw a woman letting down her golden hair; so he rushed and
caught hold of it, and she drew him up thereby into the house. Then he
saw that the woman was she for whose sake he had come to this place.
The prince and the girl were equally pleased to see each other, and
she said, 'Thank God that my mother happened to be from home! She is
gone into the forest to gather the plants by the aid of which she
transforms into beasts all the young men who venture here to ask me to
be their wife. Those are the beasts who would have killed you, if God
had not helped you. But let us fly away from this place.' So they fled
away through the forest as quickly as they could. As they happened to
look back, however, they saw that the girl's mother was pursuing them,
and they became frightened. The old woman was already very near them
before the prince remembered his nut. He took it out quickly and
asked, 'For God's sake! tell me what we must do now?' The nut
replied, 'Open me!' The prince opened it, and from the little nut
flowed out a large river, which stopped the way, so that for a time
the girl's mother could not pass. However, she touched the waters with
her staff, and they immediately divided and left her a dry path, so
that she could run on quickly after the prince and the girl.

When the prince saw she would soon come up with them, he took out the
walnut and asked, 'Tell me, what we must do now?' And the walnut
replied, 'Break me!' The king's son broke the walnut, and a great fire
flamed out from it--so great a fire that the whole forest barely
escaped being consumed by it. But the girl's mother spat on the fire,
and it extinguished itself in a moment. Then the king's son saw that
these were nothing but the jugglings of the devil, so he turned
eastward, made the sign of the cross, and called on the mighty God to
help him. Then it suddenly thundered and lightened, and from heaven
flashed a thunderbolt which struck the mother of the girl, and she
fell dead upon the ground.

Thus at length the king's son arrived safely at home, and when the
girl had been made a Christian, he married her.


Once upon a time a poor man lived in a small and mean cottage. He
possessed nothing in the world except a daughter who was very wise
indeed. She taught her father how to beg, and how to speak wisely. One
day the poor man went to the king to beg, and the king asked him
whence he came, and who had taught him to speak so well.

He told the king where he lived, and that he had a daughter who told
him what to say.

'And who taught your daughter all this wisdom?' demanded the king. The
poor man answered, 'God and our poverty have made her wise.'

Then the king gave him thirty eggs and said, 'Take these eggs to your
daughter, and tell her that if she bring forth chickens from the eggs,
I will make her rich presents; but if she fails, then I will have you

The poor man went back to his cottage weeping, and told all this to
his daughter. The girl saw at once that the eggs which the king had
sent had been boiled, but she told her father to go to sleep quietly,
and she would take care for everything. The father did as she said,
and, whilst he slept, she took a pot, filled it with water and beans,
and boiled them.

Next morning she told her father to take a plough and oxen, and go to
plough in a wood near to which the king would pass. 'When you see the
king coming,' said she, 'take a handful of beans, and begin to sow,
shouting, "Go on, my oxen, and God grant that the boiled beans may
bear fruit!" When the king asks you, "How can you expect boiled beans
to grow?" answer him, "Just as much as from boiled eggs to hatch

The poor man listened to his daughter, and went to plough. When the
king came near, he began to shout, 'Ho ho, my oxen! go on! and God
grant that these boiled beans may bring me a good crop!'

The king, hearing these words, stopped his carriage, and said to the
poor man, 'Poor fellow, how can boiled beans bear a crop?'

'Just as well as boiled eggs can bring forth chickens,' answered the

The king saw that his daughter had taught him what to say, and he
ordered his servants to bring the man before him. Then the king gave
him a bunch of flax, saying, 'Take this, and make from it all the
sails a ship needs. If you do not, you shall lose your life.'

The poor man took the bunch of flax with great fear, and returned
weeping to the cottage to tell his daughter, who bade him go to sleep
quietly. Next morning she gave him a small piece of wood, and told him
to take it to the king and demand that, from this piece of wood, all
the tools needful for spinning and weaving should be made. 'Then,'
continued she, 'I will make all that he has ordered me.'

The king was surprised, and considered a moment what to do. At last he
said, 'Take this little glass to your daughter, and tell her she must
empty the sea with it, so that dry land shall be where the water now

The poor man took the little cup to his daughter, and, weeping, told
her all the king required. The girl bade him be quiet till morning,
and then she would do all that was needed. Next morning she called her
father, gave him a pound of tow, and said, 'Take this to the king, and
tell him that with this tow he must first stop all the sources of the
rivers and lakes, and then I will dry up the sea.'

So the poor man went to the king and told him what his daughter had

The king, seeing that the girl was wiser than himself, ordered that
she should be brought before him. When she bent before the king, he
said, 'Guess, maiden! what can be heard at the greatest distance?'

The girl answered, 'Your majesty, the thunder and the lie can be heard
at the greatest distance.'

Then the king grasped his beard, and, turning to his courtiers, put to
them the question, 'Guess what my beard is worth?' Some of them said
so much, others again so much; but the girl observed to the king that
none of the courtiers had guessed right, and said, 'The king's beard
is worth as much as three summer rains.' The king, greatly astonished,
said, 'It is so; the girl has guessed rightly!' Then he asked her if
she were willing to be his wife; and added that, if she were willing,
he would marry her.

The girl bent low and said, 'Let it be as your majesty commands! But I
pray you write with your hand on a scrap of paper this promise, that
if you should ever be displeased with me, and should send me away from
you, I shall be allowed to take with me from the palace any one thing
which I like best.'

The king consented, and gave the promise.

After they had lived happily together for some time, one day the king
was angry, and said to his wife, 'I will not have you any longer for
my wife, and I bid you leave the palace!'

The queen answered, 'I will obey your majesty, but permit me to pass
one night more in the palace. To-morrow I will go.'

This, the king could not well refuse.

That evening, at supper, the queen mixed something with the wine, and
offered it to the king to drink, saying, 'Be of good cheer, O king!
To-morrow we shall separate and, believe me, I shall be happier than I
was when I first met you.'

The king drank, and soon after fell asleep. Then the queen ordered her
carriage, and carried the king away with her to the cottage.

Next morning, when the king awoke in the cottage and saw where he
was, he exclaimed, 'Who brought me here?'

The queen answered, 'I brought you.'

Then the king asked, 'How have you dared to do so? Did I not tell you
I will not have you any longer for my wife?'

But the queen took out the king's written promise, and said, 'Yes,
indeed, you told me so; but see, you have written and promised that I
"shall be allowed to take with me from the palace that which I like
best, whenever I must leave the court."'

The king, seeing the paper, kissed his wife, and returned with her to
the palace.


In days gone by there lived a married couple who had one only son.
When he grew up they made him learn something which would be of use to
him in after-life. He was a kind, quiet boy, and feared God greatly.
After his schooling was finished his father gave him a ship, freighted
with various sorts of merchandise, so that he might go and trade about
the world, and grow rich, and become a help to his parents in their
old age. The son put to sea, and one day the ship he was in met with a
Turkish vessel in which he heard great weeping and wailing. So he
demanded of the Turkish sailors, 'Pray, tell me why there is so much
wailing on board your ship?' and they answered, 'We are carrying
slaves which we have captured in different countries, and those who
are chained are weeping.'

Then he said, 'Please, brothers, ask your captain if he would give me
the slaves for ready cash?'

The captain gladly agreed to the proposal, and after much bargaining
the young man gave to the captain his vessel full of merchandise, and
received in exchange the ship full of slaves.

Then he called the slaves before him, and demanded of each whence he
came, and told them all they were free to return to their own
countries. At last he came to an old woman who held close to her side
a very beautiful girl, and he asked them from what country they came.
The old woman told him, weeping, that they came from a very distant
land, saying, 'This young girl is the only daughter of the king, and I
am her nurse, and have taken care of her from her childhood. One day,
unhappily, she went to walk in a garden far away from the palace, and
these wicked Turks saw her and caught her. Luckily I happened to be
near, and, hearing her scream, ran to her help, and so the Turks
caught me too, and brought us both on board of this ship.' Then the
old woman and the beautiful girl, being so far from their own country,
and having no means of getting there, begged him that he would take
them with him. So he married the girl, took her with him, and returned

When he arrived his father asked him about his ship and merchandise,
and he told him what had happened, how he had given his vessel with
its cargo, and had bought the slaves and set them free. 'This girl,'
continued he, 'is a king's daughter, and the old woman her nurse; as
they could not get back to their country, they prayed to remain with
me, so I married the girl.'

Thereupon the father was very angry, and said, 'My foolish son! what
have you done? Why have you made away with my property without cause
and of your own will?' and he drove him out of the house.

Then the son lived with his wife and her old nurse a long time in the
same village, trying always, through the good offices of his mother
and other friends, to obtain his father's forgiveness, and, begging
him to let him have a second ship full of merchandise, promised to be
wiser in future. After some time the father took pity on him, and
received him again into his house, with his wife and her old nurse.
Shortly after he fitted him out another ship, larger than the first
one, and filled with more valuable merchandise. In this he sailed,
leaving his wife and her nurse in the house of his parents. He came
one day to a city where he found the soldiers very busy carrying some
unlucky villagers away to prison. So he asked them, 'Why are you doing
this my brethren? Why are you driving these poor people to prison?'
and the soldiers answered:

'They have not paid the king's taxes, that is why we take them to

Then he went to the magistrate and asked, 'Please tell me how much
these poor prisoners owe?'

When the magistrate told him he sold his goods and ship, and paid the
debts of all the prisoners, and returned home without anything.
Falling at the feet of his father, he told him what he had done, and
begged him to forgive him. But the father was exceedingly angry, more
so than before, and drove him away from his presence. What could the
unhappy son do in this great strait? How could he go begging, he whose
parents were so rich? After some time his friends again prevailed upon
the father to receive him back, because, as they urged, so much
suffering had made him wiser. At last the father yielded, took him
again into his house, and prepared a ship for him finer and richer
than the two former ones. Then the son had the portrait of his wife
painted on the helm, and that of the old nurse on the stern, and,
after taking leave of his father and mother, and wife, he sailed away
the third time.

After sailing for some days he came near a large city, in which there
lived a king, and, dropping anchor, he fired a salute to the city. All
the citizens wondered, as did also their king, and no one could say
who the captain of the strange ship might be. In the afternoon the
king sent one of his ministers to ask who he was, and why he came; and
the minister brought a message that the king himself would come at
nine o'clock the next morning to see the ship. When the minister came
he saw on the helm the portrait of the king's daughter, and on the
stern that of her old nurse, and in his surprise and joy dared not
believe his own eyes. For the princess had been promised to him in
marriage while she was yet a child, and long before she was captured
by the Turks.

But the minister did not tell any one what he had seen.

Next morning, at nine o'clock, the king came with his ministers on
board the ship, and asked the captain who he was, and whence he came?

Whilst walking about the vessel he saw there the portrait of the girl
on the helm and that of the old woman on the stern, and recognised the
features of his own daughter and her old nurse who had been captured
by the Turks. But his joy was so great, he dared not believe his eyes,
so he invited the captain to come that afternoon to his palace to
relate his adventures, hoping thus to find out if his hopes were well

In the afternoon, in obedience to the king's wish, he went to the
palace, and the king at once began to inquire why the figure of the
girl was painted on the helm and that of the old woman on the stern.
The captain guessed at once that this king must be his wife's father,
so he told him everything that had happened--how he had met the
Turkish ship filled with slaves, and had ransomed them and set them
free. 'This girl, alone,' he continued, 'with her old nurse, had
nowhere to go, as her country was so far off, so they asked to remain
with me, and I married the girl.'

When the king heard this he exclaimed, 'That girl is my only child,
and the accursed Turks took her and her old nurse. You, since you are
her husband, will be the heir to my crown. But go--go at once to your
home and bring me your wife that I may see her--my only daughter,
before I die. Bring your father, your mother, bring all your family.
Let your property be all sold in that country, and come all of you
here. Your father shall be my brother, and your mother my sister, as
you are my son and the heir to my crown. We will all live together
here in one palace.' Then he called the queen, and all his ministers,
and told them all about his daughter. And there was great rejoicing
and festivity in the whole court.

After this the king gave his son-in-law his own large ship to bring
back the princess and the whole family. So the captain left his own
ship there, but he asked the king to send one of his ministers with
him, 'Lest they should not believe me,' he said; and the king gave him
as a companion for his voyage the same minister to whom he had
formerly promised the princess in marriage. They arrived safely in
port, and the captain's father was surprised to see his son return so
soon, and with such a splendid vessel.

Then he told all that had happened and his mother and wife, and
especially the old nurse, rejoiced greatly when they heard the good
news. As the king's minister was there to witness the truth of this
strange news, no one could doubt it. So the father and mother
consented to sell all their property and go to live in the king's

But the minister resolved to kill this new heir to the king and
husband of the princess who had been promised to him for wife; so,
when they had sailed a long distance, he called him on deck to confer
with him. The captain had a quiet conscience, and did not suspect any
evil, so he came up at once, and the minister caught him quickly and
threw him overboard.

The ship was sailing fast, and it was rather dark, so the captain
could not overtake her, but was left behind in the deep waters. The
minister, however, went quietly to sleep.

Fortunately the waves carried the king's young heir to a rock near the
shore; it was, however, a desert country, and no one was near to help
him. Those he had left on board the ship, seeing next morning that he
had disappeared, began to weep and wail, thinking he had fallen
overboard in the night and been drowned. His wife especially lamented
him, because they had loved each other very much. When the ship
arrived at the king's city, and reported to him the great disaster
that had befallen them, the king was troubled, and the whole court
mourned greatly. The king kept the parents and family of the young man
by him as he had engaged to do, but they could not console themselves
for their great loss.

Meanwhile, the king's unhappy son-in-law sat on the rock, and lived on
the moss which grew there, and was scorched by the hot sun, from which
he had no shelter; his garments were soiled and torn, and no one would
have recognised him. Still not a living soul was to be seen anywhere
to help him. At last, after fifteen days and fifteen nights, he
noticed an old man on the shore, leaning on a staff, and engaged in
fishing. Then the king's heir shouted to the old man, and begged him
to help him off the rock. The old fisherman consented--

'If you will pay me for it,' said he.

'How can I pay you when, as you see, I have nothing, and even my
clothes are only rags?' answered the young man sadly.

'Oh, that matters nothing,' exclaimed the old man; 'I have here pen
and paper, so, if you know how to use them, write a promise to give me
half of everything you may ever possess, and then sign the paper.'

To that the young man gladly consented; so the old man walked through
the water to him, and he signed the paper, and then the old man took
him over to the shore. After that he journeyed from village to
village, barefoot, hungry, and sorrowful, and begged some garments to
cover him.

After thirty days' wandering, his good luck led him to the city of the
king, and he went and sat at the door of the palace, wearing on his
finger his wedding-ring, on which was his own name and the name of his
wife. At eventide, the king's servants took him into the courtyard,
and gave him to eat what remained of their supper. Next morning he
took his stand by the garden-door, but the gardener came and drove him
away, saying that the king and his family were soon coming that way.
So he moved away a little, and sat down near a corner of the garden
and shortly afterward he saw the king walking with his mother, his
father leading the queen, and his wife walking with the minister, his
great enemy. He did not yet desire to show himself to them, but as
they passed near him and gave him alms, his wife saw the wedding-ring
on a finger of the hand which he held out to take the money. Still she
could not think the beggar could be her husband, so she said--

'Let me see the ring you have on your finger.'

The minister, who was walking by her, was a little frightened, and

'Go on, how can you speak to that ragged beggar?'

But she would not hear him. She took the ring, and read thereon her
own and her husband's names. Her heart was greatly troubled by the
sight of the ring, but she controlled her feelings and said nothing.
As soon as they returned to the palace, she told the king, her father,
that she had recognised her husband's ring on the hand of the beggar
who sat by the side of the garden. 'So please send for him,' said she,
'that we may find out how the ring came into his hands.'

Then the king sent his servants to find the beggar, and they brought
him to the palace. And the king asked him whence he came, and how he
got that ring. Then he could no longer restrain himself, but told them
how he had been thrown overboard by the treacherous minister, and
spent fifteen days and nights on the naked rock, and how he had been

'You see now how God and my right-dealing have brought me back to my
parents and my wife.'

When they heard that, they could hardly speak, so rejoiced were they.
Then the king summoned the father and mother, and related what had
happened to their son.

The servants quickly brought him fine new garments, and bathed and
clothed him. Then for many days there was great rejoicings, not only
in the palace, but also in all the city, and he was crowned as king.
The minister was seized by the king's order, and given up to the
king's son-in-law, that he might punish him after his own will. But
the young king would not permit him to be put to death, but forgave
him, on condition that he left the kingdom instantly.

A few days after, the old man who had saved the young king came,
bringing with him his written promise. The young king took the paper,
and reading it, said--

'My old man, sit down. To-day I am king, but if I were a beggar I
would fulfil my word, and acknowledge my signature. Therefore we will
divide all that I have.'

So he took out the book and began to divide the cities.

'This is for me--that is for you.' So saying, he wrote all on a chart,
till all were divided between them, from the greatest city to the
poorest barrack.

The old man accepted his half, but immediately made a present of it
again to the young king, saying--

'Take it! I am not an old man, but an angel from God! I was sent by
God to save thee, for the sake of thy good deeds. Now reign and be
happy, and may thy prosperity last long.'

The angel disappeared; and the king reigned there in great happiness.


One day a father sent his son to the mill with corn to grind; but
before he went he recommended him not to grind it in the mill in which
he should happen to meet with a man named 'Beardless.'[31] The boy
came to a mill, but there he found Beardless.

    [31] The 'Beardless,' in Serbian national tales, is the
    personification of craft and sharpness.

'God bless you, Beardless,' said he.

'God bless you too, my son,' replied the man.

'Can I grind my corn here?' asked the boy.

'Why not?' responded Beardless; 'my corn will be soon ready, and you
can grind yours as long as you like.'

But the boy recollected his father's advice, and left the mill and
went to another. But Beardless took some corn, and hurried by a
shorter way, to the mill towards which the boy had gone, and reached
there before him, and put some of his corn into the mill to be ground.
When the boy arrived, he was greatly surprised to find Beardless
there, and so he went away from this and approached a third mill. But
Beardless hurried by a short cut, and reached this mill also before
the boy, and gave some of his corn to be ground. He did the same at a
fourth mill; so the boy got tired, and, thinking that he should find
Beardless in every mill, put down his sack, and resolved to grind in
this mill, although Beardless was there.

When the boy's corn came to be ground, Beardless said to him,
'Hearken, my son. Let us make a cake of your flour.'

The boy was thinking all the time of his father's words, but he could
not help himself. So he said, 'Very good, we will make one.'

Beardless got up and began to mix the flour with water, which the boy
brought him, and he kept mixing till all the corn was ground, and all
the flour made into a very large loaf. Then they made a fire, put the
bread to bake, and, when it was baked, took it and placed it against a

Then Beardless said, 'My son, listen to me. If we were to divide the
loaf between us, it would not be enough for either of us, so let us
tell each other some lies, and whoever tells the greatest lie shall
have the whole loaf for himself.'

The boy thought, 'I cannot now draw back, so I may as well do my best
and go on.' So he said aloud to Beardless, 'Very well, but you must

Then Beardless told many different lies, and when he got quite tired
of lying, the boy said to him, 'Eh! my dear Beardless, if that is all
you know, it is not much. Only listen, and have patience a little,
whilst I tell you a real truth. In my _young_ days, when I was an
_old_ man, we had very many beehives, and it was my business every
morning to count them. Now I always counted the bees easily enough,
but I never could count the beehives. One morning, whilst counting the
bees, I saw that the best bee was missing, so I put a saddle on the
cock and mounted, and started in search of my bee. I traced it to the
sea-shore, and saw that it had gone over the sea, so I followed it.
When I got over, I saw that a man had caught my bee, and was ploughing
a field with it in which he was about to sow millet. I called to him,
"That is my bee! How did you get her?" And the man said, "Well,
brother, if it is yours, take it." And he gave me back my bee, and
also a sack full of millet. Then I put the sack on my back, and moved
the saddle from the cock to the bee. Then I mounted it, and led the
cock behind me, that he might rest a little. Whilst I was crossing the
sea, somehow one of the strings of the sack broke, and all the millet
fell into the water.

'When I had got over it was already night, so I dismounted and let the
bee loose to graze. The cock I fastened near me, and gave him some
hay; after that I lay down to sleep. When I awoke in the morning, I
found the wolves had killed my bee and eaten it up; and the honey was
lying all about the valley ankle-deep; and on the hills it lay
knee-deep. Then I began to think in what I could gather up all the
honey. I remembered I had a little axe by me, so I went into the
forest to try to kill some beast, in order to make a sack from its
skin. In the forest I saw two deer dancing on one leg; so I broke the
leg with my little axe and caught them both. From the two deer I drew
three skins and made three bags, wherein I gathered up all the honey.
I put the sacks full of honey on the cock's back, and hastened home.
When I reached home I found that my father had just been born, and
they sent me to heaven to bring some holy water. Whilst I was thinking
how I should go up to heaven, I remembered the millet which had fallen
into the sea. When I reached the sea I found the millet had grown up
quite to heaven, so I climbed it and reached the sky. And on getting
into heaven I saw the millet was quite ripe, and that one whom I met
there had reaped it, and had already made a loaf from it, and had
broken some pieces into warm milk, which he was eating. I greeted him,
saying, "God help you!" and he answered, "God help thee also!" and
then he gave me holy water and I returned. But I found that meanwhile
there had been a great rain, so that the sea had risen and carried
away my millet. Then I grew very anxious as to how I should get down
again to earth. At last I remembered that I have long hair, so long
that when I stand upright it reaches down to the ground, and when I
sit it reaches to my ears; so I took my knife and cut one hair after
another, and tied them together as I went down them. Meanwhile it grew
dark, so I tied a knot in the hair, and resolved to rest on that knot
through the night. But how should I do without a fire? The tinder-box
I had by me, but I had no wood! Then I remembered I had somewhere in
my overcoat a sewing-needle, so I found it, cut it in pieces and made
a great fire, and when I was well warmed laid myself down near the
fire to sleep. I slept soundly, but, unfortunately, a spark of fire
burnt the hair through, and so head over heels I fell to the ground,
and sank into the earth up to my girdle. I looked about to see how I
could get out, and, seeing no help near, I hurried home for a spade
and came back and dug myself out. Then I took the holy water to my
father. When I arrived at home I found the reapers working in the
corn-field. The corn was so high, that the reapers were almost burnt
up. Then I shouted to them, "Why do you not bring our mare here which
is two days' long and a day and a half broad, and on whose back large
trees are growing? Bring her that she may make a little shadow on the
field!" My father quickly brought the mare, and the reapers worked on
quite pleasantly in her shadow. Then I took a vessel to bring some
water. But the water was frozen, so I took my head and broke the ice
with it. Then I filled the vessel with water, and carried it to the
reapers. When they saw me they all shouted, "But where is your head?"
I put up my hand to feel for my head, and found, alas, that I had no
head on my shoulders. I had forgotten it, and had left it by the
water. So I returned quickly, but a fox had got there before me, and
was drawing the brains from my head to eat. Then I approached slowly
and struck the fox furiously, and he began to run, and, in running,
dropped a little book from his pocket. I opened the book, and there I
read, "The whole loaf is for me, and Beardless is to get nothing!"' So
the boy caught up the loaf and ran off home, and Beardless remained
looking after him.


There was once on a time a stepmother who hated her step-daughter
exceedingly, because she was more beautiful than her own daughter whom
she had brought with her into the house. By-and-by, the father learned
also to hate his own child: he scolded her, and beat her, in order to
please his wife. One day his wife said to him, 'Let us send your
daughter away! Let her look out for herself in the world!' Upon this
the man asked, 'Where can we send her? Where can the poor girl go
alone?' To this the wife answered, 'If you will not do this, husband,
I will no longer live with you. You had better take her to-morrow out
of the house. You can lead her into the forest, and then steal away
from her and hurry home!' She repeated this so often that at length he
consented, but said, 'At least prepare the girl something for her
journey, that she may not die the first day of hunger.'

The stepmother thereupon made a cake, and, the next morning early, the
father led the girl far away into the very heart of the forest, and
there left her and went back home.

The poor girl, thus left alone, wandered all day about the wood
seeking for a path, but could find no way out of it. When it grew dark
she got up into a tree to pass the night, fearing lest some wild
beasts would eat her if she remained on the ground. And, indeed, all
night long the wolves were howling under the tree, so that the poor
girl trembled so much that she could hardly keep her herself from
falling. When day dawned she descended from the tree and walked on
again, hoping to find some way out of the forest. But the wood grew
thicker and thicker, and seemed to have no end. In the evening whilst
she was looking for a tree in which she might remain safely over the
night, all at once she saw something shining in the forest. So she
went on, hoping to find some shelter, and at length came to a fine
large house. The gates were open, so she went in, and walked through a
great many rooms, each one more beautiful than the other. On a table
in one room she found a candle burning. She thought this must be the
house of some robbers; but she was not afraid, for she reasoned with
herself, 'Rich men have reason to fear robbers, but I have none--I
will tell them that I will serve them gladly for a piece of bread.'

She then took the cake from her bag, said grace, and began to eat.
Just as she had begun to eat a cock came into the room, and sprung
upon the table to reach the cake, so the girl crumbled some of it for
him. Then a little dog came in and jumped quite friendly upon her, so
she broke a piece from her cake for the little dog, and took him on
her knee, and petted and fed him. After that came in a cat also, and
the girl fed her too.

At length the girl heard a loud noise as if some great beast was
coming, and was greatly frightened when a lion came into the room. But
the lion moved his tail in such a friendly way, and looked so very
kindly, that she took heart, and offered him a piece of her cake. The
lion took it and began to lick her hand, and the girl had no longer
any fear of him, so she stroked him gently and fed him with the rest
of the cake. Suddenly she heard a great noise of weapons, and almost
swooned as a creature in a bear-skin entered the room. The cock, the
dog, the cat, and the lion, all ran to it, and jumped about it
affectionately, showing in all possible ways their great joy. The poor
girl thought it a very strange beast, and expected it would jump upon
her and kill her. But the fearful thing threw the bear-skin from its
head and shoulders, and all the room shone and glittered with its
golden garments. The poor girl almost lost her senses when she saw
before her a handsome man, beautifully dressed. But he came up to her
and said, 'Don't be afraid, my dear! I am not a bad man, I am the son
of the king, and when I wish to hunt I come here and use this
bear-skin as a disguise lest the people should recognise me. Those who
see me believe that I am a ghost and run away from me. No one dares to
come into this house, knowing that I often come here. You are the only
person who has ventured in. How did you know that I am not a ghost?'

Then she told him she had never heard of him nor of the house, but
that her stepmother had driven her away from home, and she told him
all that had happened to her. When he heard this, he was very sorry,
and said, 'Your stepmother hated you, but God has been kind to you. I
will marry you if you are willing to be my wife--will you consent?'
'Yes!' she replied. Next day he took her to his father's palace and
married her. After some time she begged to be allowed to go to see her
father. So her husband allowed her to go, and she dressed herself all
in gold and went to her father's house. The father happened to be away
from home, and the stepmother, seeing her coming, was afraid lest she
had come to revenge herself. So she hurried to meet her and said, 'You
see that it was I who sent you on the road to happiness.' The
step-daughter kissed her, and embraced her step-sister. Then the girl
said she was very sorry that she had not found her father at home,
and, on her going away, she gave plenty of money to her stepmother.
When, however, she had gone away the stepmother shook her fist after
her and cried, 'Wait a little, you shall not be the only one so
dressed out; to-morrow I will send my own daughter after you the same

When her husband came home at night she told him all that had
happened, and said, 'What do you think, husband? would it not be a
good thing to send my girl also into the wood to try her fortune; for
your girl, whom we sent there, never came back until now, and now she
has come glittering in gold?'

The man sighed and agreed to the proposal. Next day the stepmother
prepared for her daughter plenty of cakes and roasted meats, and then
sent her with the father into the forest. The man led her deep into
the forest, as he had done his own daughter, and there left her.
Finding the father did not return, she began to seek a way to get
home, and soon came in sight of the house in the forest. She entered
it, and seeing no one, fastened the door inside, saying as she did so,
'If God himself comes I will not open to Him.' Then she took out of
her bag the baked meats and cakes and began to eat. Whilst she was
eating, the cock, the dog, and the cat came in suddenly, and began to
play about her affectionately, hoping she would give them something;
but she became quite angry, and exclaimed, 'The devil take you! I have
hardly enough for myself: do you think I will give any to you?' Then
she began to beat them; whereat the dog howled, and the lion hearing
it rushed in furiously, caught the girl and killed her.

Next day the king's son came with his wife to hunt. She immediately
recognised her sister's dress, and gathered together the fragments of
the body, which she took to her stepmother. She found her father at
home this time, and he was greatly pleased to hear that his daughter
was married to the king's son. When, however, he heard what had
happened with the daughter of his wife, he was very sorry, but said,
'Her mother has deserved this from the hand of God, because she hated
you without a cause. There she is at the well, I will go and tell

When the stepmother heard what had happened to her daughter, she said
to her husband, 'I cannot bear your daughter! I cannot bear to look at
her! Let us kill her and her husband. If you will not consent, I will
jump down into this well!' 'I cannot kill my own child,' returned he.
'Well, then,' cried she, 'if _you_ will not kill her, _I_ cannot
endure her!' and so she jumped down into the well.


Once upon a time lived a king, who had only one son; and when this son
grew up, his father sent him to travel about the world, in order that
he might find a maiden who would make him a suitable wife.

The king's son started on his journey, and travelled through the whole
world without finding anywhere a maiden whom he loved well enough to
marry. Seeing then that he had taken so much trouble, and had spent so
much time and money, and all to no purpose, he resolved to kill
himself. With this intention, he climbed to the top of a high
mountain, that he might throw himself from its summit; for he wished
that even his bones might never be found. Having arrived at the top of
the mountain, he saw a sharp rock jutting out from one side of it, and
was climbing up to throw himself from it, when he heard a voice behind
him calling, 'Stop! stop! O man! Stop for the sake of three hundred
and sixty-five which are in the year!' He looked back, and seeing no
one, asked, 'Who are you that speak to me? Let me see you? When you
know how miserable I am, you will not prevent me killing myself!'

He had scarcely said these words when there appeared to him an old
man, with hair as white as wool, who said, 'I know all about you. But
listen! Do you see that high hill?' 'Yes, I do,' said the prince. 'And
do you see the multitude of marble blocks which are on it?' said the
old man. 'Yes, I do,' rejoined the prince. 'Well, then,' continued the
old man, 'on the summit of that hill there is an old woman with golden
hair, who sits night and day on that very spot, and holds a bird in
her bosom. Whoever can get this bird into his hands, will be the
happiest man in the world. But, be careful. If you are willing to try
and get the bird, you must take the old woman by her hair before she
sees you. If she sees you before you catch her by her hair, you will
be changed into a stone on the spot. Thus it happened to all those
young men you see standing there, as if they were blocks of marble.'

When the king's son heard this, he thought, 'It is all one to me
whether I die here or there. If I succeed, so much the better for me;
if I fail, I can but die as I had resolved.' So he went up the hill.
When he arrived near the old woman, he walked very cautiously towards
her, hoping to reach her unseen; for, luckily, the old woman was lying
with her back towards him, sunning herself, and playing with the bird.

When near enough, he sprang suddenly and caught her by the hair. Then
the old woman cried out, so that the whole hill shook as with a great
earthquake; but the king's son held fast by her hair, and when she
found that she could not escape she said, 'What do you desire from
me?' He replied, 'That you should give me the bird in your bosom, and
that you call back to life all these Christian souls!' The old woman
consented, and gave him the bird. Then from her mouth she breathed a
blue wind towards the men of stone, and immediately they again became
alive. The king's son, having the bird in his hands, was so rejoiced,
that he began to kiss it; and, as he kissed it, the bird was
transformed into a most beautiful maiden.

This girl the enchantress had turned into a bird, in order that she
might allure the young men to her. The girl pleased the king's son
exceedingly, and he took her with him, and prepared to return home. As
he was going down the hill, the girl gave him a stick, and told him
the stick would do everything that he desired of it. So the king's son
struck with it once upon the rock, and in a moment there came out a
mass of golden coin, of which they took plenty for use on their
journey. As they were travelling they came to a great river, and could
find no place by which they could pass over; so the king's son touched
the surface of the river with his stick, and the water divided, so
that a dry path lay before them, and they were able to cross over the
river dryshod. A little farther they came to a herd of wolves, and the
wolves attacked them, and seemed about to tear them to pieces; but the
prince struck at them with his stick, and one by one the wolves were
turned into ants. Thus, at length, the king's son reached home safely
with his beloved, and they were shortly after married, and lived long
and happily together.


Three brothers once upon a time went out into the neighbouring forest
to choose some trees fit for building. Before going, however, they
told their mother not to forget to send their sister into the wood
after them with their dinners. The mother sent the girl as she had
been told to do; but as the girl was on her way a giant met her in the
wood, and carried her off to a cave, where he lived.

All day long the brothers waited, expecting their sister, and
wondering why their mother had forgotten to send them food. At length,
after remaining two days in the forest, and becoming anxious and angry
at the delay, they went home. When they arrived there they asked their
mother why she had not sent their sister with their food, as she had
promised to do; she replied that she had sent the girl three days ago,
and had been wondering greatly why she had not come back.

When the three brothers heard this they were exceedingly troubled, and
the eldest said, 'I will go back into the forest and look for my
sister.' Accordingly he went. After wandering about some time he came
to a shepherdess, who was minding a flock of sheep. He asked her
anxiously if she had seen his sister in the wood, or whether she could
tell him anything about her. The shepherdess replied that she had
indeed seen a girl carrying food, but a giant had met her and carried
her off to his cave. Then the young man asked her to tell him the way
to the giant's cave; which she did. The cave was hidden in a deep
ravine. The brother at once went down, and called aloud on his sister
by name. In a short time the girl came to the mouth of the cave, and,
seeing her eldest brother, invited him to come in. This he did, and
was exceedingly surprised to see that the seeming cave was in reality
a magnificent palace. Whilst he stood there, talking to his sister,
and inquiring how she liked her new home, he heard a loud whirring in
the air overhead, and, immediately afterwards, saw a heavy mace fall
on the ground just in front of the cave. Greatly terrified and
astonished, he asked his sister what this meant, and she told him not
to be afraid, for it was only the way the giant let her know of his
return three hours before he came, that she might begin to prepare his

When it grew dark the giant came home, and was at once aware that a
stranger was in his place. In reply to his angry questions, his wife
told him it was 'only her brother, who had come to visit them.' When
the giant heard this he went to the mouth of the cave, and calling a
shepherd, ordered him to kill the largest sheep in his flock and roast

When the meat was ready the giant called his brother-in-law, and
said, as he cut the sheep in two equal parts, 'My dear brother-in-law,
listen well to what I say; if you eat your half of the meat sooner
than I eat mine, I will give you leave to kill me; but if I eat my
half quicker than you eat yours, I shall certainly kill you.'

Thereupon the poor brother-in-law began to shake all over with fright;
and, fearing the worst, tried to eat as fast as he could. But he had
hardly swallowed three mouthfuls before the giant finished his share
of the sheep, and killed him, according to his threat.

For some time the other two brothers and their old mother waited
impatiently to see if the elder brother would come back. At last,
hearing nothing either of the brother or of the sister, the second son
said, 'I will go and look after them.' So he went into the same forest
where his brother had gone, and, meeting there the same shepherdess
minding her sheep, he inquired if he had seen his brother or sister.
The shepherdess answered him as she had answered the elder brother,
and he, too, asked the way to the giant's cave, and, on being told,
went down the ravine until he reached the place. There he called on
his sister by name, and she came out and invited him to enter the
cave. This he did, and shared the fate of his brother; for, being
unable to eat his part of the sheep as quickly as the giant ate his,
he was also killed.

Not long after, the third brother went forth the same road, to look
after his two elder brothers and sister, and, having found the giant's
cave, was likewise invited to eat half a sheep, or be put to death.
He, however, failed like his brothers had done before him, and being
unable to eat his part of the sheep as quickly as the giant ate his,
he was also killed.

Now the parents being alone in their house, prayed that God would give
them another son, even were he no bigger than a peppercorn. As they
prayed so it came to pass, and not very long after a little boy was
born to them, who was so extremely small that they christened him

When the boy was old enough he went out to play with other boys; and
one day, in a quarrel, one of these said to him, 'May you share the
fate of your three elder brothers!' Hearing this, Peppercorn ran off
home at once, and asked his mother what these words meant. So the
mother was forced to tell him how his three brothers had gone into the
forest to look after their lost sister, and had never come back again.
As soon as he heard this, Peppercorn began to search the house for
pieces of old iron, and, having found some scraps, carried them off in
the evening to a blacksmith, that with them he might make him a mace.
Next morning, Peppercorn went to the smith to ask for his mace, which
the man gave him, saying at the same time, 'Now, pay me for making
it.' To this, Peppercorn replied, 'First, let me see if it is strong
enough;' and he threw it up in the air and held his head so that the
mace might fall upon it. As soon as the mace struck his head, it broke
into pieces; and Peppercorn, seeing how badly it was made, fell into a
passion and killed the smith. Then he gathered up the pieces of iron,
and went off to look for a better workman. He soon found another
blacksmith who was willing to make him a mace, but demanded a ducat
for the work. Peppercorn said he would willingly pay the ducat if the
smith made him a really strong serviceable mace. So next morning he
went to ask if it was ready, and the smith said 'Yes; but you must
first pay me the ducat, and then I will give it you.' Peppercorn,
however, answered, 'The ducat is ready in my pocket, but I must first
see if the mace is good before I pay for it.' Thereupon he caught it,
flung it up in the air, and held his head under it as it fell. As soon
as the mace struck his head it broke into pieces; and he, again
falling into a great passion, killed this smith also.

Gathering up the pieces of iron, he now carried them to a third smith,
who undertook to make him a good strong mace, and demanded a ducat for
doing so. Next morning Peppercorn went for the mace, and, after trying
it three times, each time throwing it up higher in the air and letting
it fall on his head, where it raised great bumps, he owned that he was
satisfied with it, and accordingly paid the smith the ducat as he had

Having now a good strong mace, Peppercorn started off at once for the
forest, in which his three elder brothers and his sister had been
lost. After wandering about for some time, he came to the place where
the shepherdess sat watching her sheep, and, in reply to his
questions, she told him that she had seen his three brothers go down
the ravine in search of their sister, but had never seen them come up

Notwithstanding this, Peppercorn went resolutely down the ravine,
calling aloud upon his sister by name. When she heard this she was
exceedingly surprised, and said to herself, 'Who can this be calling
me by name, now that all my brothers are killed? I have no other
relations to come and look for me!' Then she went to the entrance of
the cave and called out, 'Who is it that calls me; I have no longer
any brothers?'

Peppercorn said to her, 'I am your brother who was born after you left
home, and my name is Peppercorn!'

On hearing this, his sister led him into the palace, but he had hardly
had time to say a few words to her before a loud whirring was heard in
the air, and the giant's mace fell to the ground. For a moment
Peppercorn was terrified at this, but he recovered himself quickly,
and, pulling the mace out of the ground, flung it back to the giant,
who, in astonishment, said to himself, 'Who is this who throws my mace
back to me? Methinks I have at last found someone able to fight with

When the giant came home, he immediately asked his wife who had been
in the cave, and she answered him, 'It is my youngest brother!'
Thereupon the giant ordered the shepherd to bring the largest sheep in
his flock. When this was brought, the giant killed it himself, and,
whilst preparing it for roasting, said to Peppercorn, 'Will you turn
the meat, or will you take care of the fire?' Peppercorn said he
would rather gather wood and make the fire; so he went out and tumbled
down some large trees with his mace. These he carried to the mouth of
the cave, and made a large fire ready for the meat.

When the sheep was roasted, the giant cut it in two parts, and gave
one half to Peppercorn, saying, 'Take this half, and if you eat it
before I eat my half you are free to kill me; but if you don't, I
shall surely kill you!' So Peppercorn and the giant began to eat as
fast as they could, swallowing down large pieces of meat, and, in
their haste, almost choking themselves. At last, Peppercorn, by
trickery, managed to get rid of his share of the sheep, and, according
to the arrangement, killed the giant. This done, with the help of his
sister, he collected all the treasures the giant had heaped up in his
palace, and, taking them with him, returned home with his sister, to
the great joy of their parents.

Peppercorn remained some time after this with his father, mother, and
sister, and they lived very merrily on the treasures he had brought
from the giant's cave. At length, however, he saw that the riches were
coming to an end, so he resolved to go into the world to seek his

After travelling about a good while he came one day to a large city
where he saw a great crowd gathered about a man who held an iron pike
in his hand, and every now and then squeezed drops of water out of the
iron. Whilst the people watched, wondering and admiring his great
strength, Peppercorn went up and asked him, 'Do you think there is any
man in the world stronger than yourself?'

'There is only one man alive who is stronger than myself, and that one
is a certain person called Peppercorn,' answered he. 'Peppercorn can
receive a mace on his head without being hurt!'

Thereupon Peppercorn told the man who he was, and proposed to him that
they should travel about the world together.

'That will I right gladly,' said the Pikeman. 'How can I help being
glad to go with a trusty fellow like you!'

Travelling together they came one day to a certain city, and, finding
a concourse of people assembled, they went to see what was the matter.
They found a man sitting on the bank of a river turning the wheels of
nine mills with his little finger. So they said to him, 'Is there any
one stronger than you in the world?'

And he answered them, 'There are only two men stronger than I am--a
certain person named Peppercorn and a certain Pikeman.' Hearing this,
Peppercorn and the Pikeman told him who they were, and proposed that
he should join them in their travels about the world.

The Mill-turner very gladly accepted the offer, and so all three
continued their journey together.

After travelling some time they came to a city where they found all
the people greatly excited because some one had stolen the three
daughters of the king, and, notwithstanding the immense rewards his
majesty had offered, no one had as yet dared to go out to look for the
princesses. As soon as Peppercorn and his two comrades heard this they
went to the king and offered to search for his three daughters. But in
order to accomplish the task they demanded that the king should give
them a hundred thousand loads of wood. The king gave them what they
wanted, and they made a fence all around the city with the timber.
This done they began to watch.

The first morning they prepared a whole ox for their dinners, and
discussed the question which of the three should stay behind to mind
the meat whilst the other two watched the fence. The Pikeman said, 'I
think I will stay here and take care of the meat, and I will have
dinner ready for you when you come back from looking after the fence.'
So it was thus settled. Just, however, as the Pikeman thought the ox
was well roasted he was frightened by the sudden approach of a man
with a forehead a yard high and a beard a span long. This man said to
the Pikeman, 'Good morning!' but the latter ran away instead of
answering, he was so shocked by the strange appearance of the man.

Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard was quite content at this, and,
sitting down, soon finished the whole ox. When he had ended his dinner
he got up and went away.

Shortly afterwards Sir Peppercorn and the Mill-turner came for their
dinners, and, being very hungry, shouted from afar to the Pikeman,
'Let us dine at once!' But the Pikeman, keeping himself hidden among
the bushes, called out to them, 'There is nothing left for us to eat!
A little while ago Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard came up and
ate up the whole ox to the very last morsel! I was afraid of him, and
so I did not say one word against it.'

Peppercorn and the Mill-turner reproached their companion bitterly for
allowing all their dinner to be stolen without once trying to prevent
it, and the Mill-turner said scornfully, 'Well, I will stop to-morrow
and look after the meat, and Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard
may come if he likes!'

So the next day the Mill-turner stayed to roast the ox, and his two
comrades went to look after the fence they had built round about the

Just before dinner-time Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard came
out of the forest and walked straight up to the ox, and stretched his
hands out greedily to grasp it. The Mill-turner was so frightened by
his strange appearance that he ran off as hard as he could to look for
a place to hide in.

By-and-by Peppercorn and the Pikeman came for their dinners and
asked angrily where the meat was. Whereupon the Mill-turner
answered, 'There is no meat! It has all been eaten by that horrible
Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard, and his looks frightened me
so that I dared not say a single word to him.'

It was no use complaining, so Peppercorn only said, 'To-morrow I will
stay to mind the ox, and you two shall go and look after the fence. I
will see if we are to remain the third day without dinner.'

The next morning the Pikeman and the Mill-turner went to see if all
was right round about the city, and Peppercorn remained to roast the
ox. Exactly as on the two former days, just before dinner was ready,
Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard made his appearance, and went
up to seize the meat. But Peppercorn pushed him roughly back, saying,
'Two days I have been dinnerless on your account, but the third day I
will not be so, as long as my head stands on my shoulders!'

Much astonished at his boldness, Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard
exclaimed, 'Take care you don't begin to quarrel with me. There is no one
in all the world who can conquer me, except a fellow called Peppercorn!'

Peppercorn was very pleased to hear this, and, without more
hesitation, sprang at once on Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard,
and, after some struggling, pulled him down to the earth and bound
him. This done, he tied him fast to a tall pine-tree. Now the Pikeman
and Mill-turner came up and were exceedingly glad to find their
dinners safe. Just as they were in the middle of their dinners,
however, Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard, with a sudden jerk,
pulled up the pine-tree by the roots and ran off with tree and all,
making furrows in the earth with it just as if three ploughs had been
passing over the ground.

Seeing him run off, the Pikeman and Mill-turner jumped up quickly and
ran after him, but Peppercorn called them back and told them to finish
their dinners first, for there would be plenty of time to catch him after
they had dined! So they all three went on eating, and when they had done
they followed the furrows which Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard
had made in the ground. After a while they came to a deep dark hole in
the earth, and when they had examined it all round and tried in vain on
account of the darkness to look down into it, they returned to the king
and asked him to give them a thousand miles of strong rope so that they
could go down into the pit.

The king at once ordered his servants to give them what they required,
and when they had got the great cable they went back to the hole. On
the way, as they were going, they discussed which of the three should
venture down first, and it was at last settled that the Pikeman should
be let down. However, he made them solemnly promise him that they
should pull him up again the instant he shook the rope.

He had been let down but a very little way before he shook the rope,
and so they pulled him up as they had promised.

Then the Mill-turner said, 'Let _me_ go down.' And so the other two
lowered him, but in a moment or two he shook the rope violently; and
so he, too, was pulled up.

Now Peppercorn grew angry, and exclaimed, 'I did not think you were
such cowards as to be afraid of a dark hole! Now let _me_ down!' So
they let him down and down until his foot touched solid ground.
Finding that he had reached the bottom, he looked round him, and saw
that he stood just in the very middle of a most beautiful green
plain--a plain so beautiful that it was a real pleasure to look on it.

At one end of the plain stood a large handsome palace, and Peppercorn
went nearer to look at it. There, in the gardens, walking, he met two
young girls, and asked them if they were not the daughters of the
king? When they said that they were, he inquired what had become of
the other sister; and the princesses told him that their youngest
sister was in the palace very busy binding up the wounds that
Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard had lately received from a
certain knight called Peppercorn.

Then Peppercorn told them who he was, and that he had come down on
purpose to release them, and to take them back to the king, their father.
On hearing this good news, the two princesses rejoiced greatly, and told
Peppercorn where he would find Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard and
their youngest sister. But they warned him not to rush in on the giant,
but rather to go softly, and first try to get hold of the sabre which
hung on the wall over his bed, for this sabre possessed the wonderful
power of killing a man when he was a whole day's journey from it.

Peppercorn took care to do as the princesses had told him. He stole
very quietly into the room where Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard
was lying, and when he was near the bed he sprang up suddenly and
seized the sword. The moment the wounded giant saw his sabre in the
hands of Peppercorn he jumped up quickly and ran out of the palace.
Peppercorn followed him some time before he remembered what the two
princesses had told him of the wonderful properties of the sword, but
as soon as he recollected this he made a sharp cut with it in the air,
as if he were cutting off a man's head, and the moment he did so
Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard fell down dead.

Then Peppercorn went back to the palace, and, taking with him the
three princesses, prepared to return to the upper world.

When he came to the place where the rope was hanging he took a large
basket, and, placing the eldest princess in it, fastened it to the
rope, then, giving her a note, in which he said that he sent her for
the Pikeman, he made the signal agreed upon for the rope to be drawn
up. So his comrades pulled up the rope, and when it came down again
with the empty basket, Peppercorn sent up the second princess, after
giving her a paper, in which he had written, 'This one is for the

When the rope descended the third time he sent up the youngest
princess, who was by far the most beautiful of the three. He gave her
a paper which said that this one he meant to keep for himself. Just as
the Pikeman and the Mill-turner began to pull up the rope the princess
gave Peppercorn a little box, saying, 'Open it when you have need of

Now, when the Pikeman and Mill-turner drew up the youngest princess,
and saw how very beautiful she was, they determined to leave
Peppercorn down in the pit, and go back without delay to the king's
palace, and there see which of them could get the youngest princess
for his wife.

Peppercorn waited patiently some time for the rope to be let down that
he might be drawn up but no rope appeared. At last he was obliged to
own to himself that his two comrades had deceived and deserted him,
and, seeing how useless it was to remain standing still any longer, he
walked off without knowing where the road would take him. Walking on,
after a long time, he came to the shore of a large lake, and heard a
great noise of crying and shouting. Very soon a multitude of people,
looking like a wedding party, made their appearance. After placing a
young girl in bridal attire on the shore of the lake, the people left
her there alone and went away.

Peppercorn, seeing the girl left by herself, and noticing how sad she
looked, went up to her, and asked her why her friends had left her
there, and why she was so sad? The girl answered, 'In this lake is a
dragon who, every year, swallows up a young girl. It is now my turn;
and our people have brought me as a bride to the dragon, and left me
to be swallowed up.'

Peppercorn, on hearing this, asked her to let him rest near her a
little, because he was very tired, but she answered, 'You had far
better fly away, my good knight; if it is necessary that I should die,
it is not needful that you should die also.'

But Peppercorn said to her, 'Don't trouble yourself about me, only
let me rest near you a little, for I am very tired. It will be time
enough for me to run away when the dragon comes.' Having said this he
sat down near the girl, and in a little while fell asleep. He had not
slept long before the surface of the lake became agitated, and the
water rose up in large waves; presently the dragon lifted its head,
and swam straight to the shore where the girl sat, evidently intending
to swallow her at once. The maiden cried bitterly, and a tear falling
on Peppercorn's face, awakened him. He sprang up quickly, grasped his
sword, and, smiting fiercely, with one stroke, cut off the dragon's

Then he took the girl by the hand, and led her back to the city, where
he found that she was the only daughter of the king of that country.
The king was overjoyed at hearing that the dragon was killed, and also
at seeing his daughter brought back to him safe and sound. So he
insisted that Peppercorn should marry the princess, which he did, and
they all lived together very happily for a long time.

After a while, however, Peppercorn began to long greatly for the other
world, and grew sadder and sadder every day. When his wife noticed
this change in his appearance she asked him very often what ailed him,
but he would not tell her for a long time, because he did not wish to
trouble her. At last, however, he could keep his secret no longer, and
confessed to the princess how much he longed to go back to the upper
world. Though she was very sorry to hear this, she promised him that
she herself would beg the king to let him go, since he so greatly
wished it. This she did; and when the king objected, not wishing to
lose so good a son-in-law, the princess said, 'Let him go; he has
saved my life, and why should we keep him against his will? My three
sons will still remain to comfort us!'

Then the king consented, saying, 'Very well; let it be as he wishes,
since you have nothing to say against it. Tell your benefactor to go
to the lake-shore, and to say to the giant-bird he will find there,
that the king sends her his greetings, and desires her to take the
bearer of them up to the other world.'

The princess returned to her husband and told him what her father had
said, and then began to prepare some provisions for the journey. When
these were ready, and the king had sent the letter for the bird,
Peppercorn took a kind leave of his wife, and went down to the
lake-shore, where he soon found the nest of the giant-bird and her
little ones in it, though she herself was not there. So he sat down to
wait under the tree where the nest was. As he sat there, he heard the
little birds chirping very restlessly and anxiously. Then he saw that
the lake was beginning to throw up high waves, and soon a monster came
out of the water and made straight for the nest to swallow the young

Peppercorn, however, did not stop long to think about the matter, but
quickly drew his wonderful sword and killed the monster. It happened
that the giant-bird was just coming back, and when she saw Peppercorn
under the tree, she shrieked as she ran up to kill him, 'Now I have
caught you--you who have been killing all my little ones for so many
years! Now you shall pay me for it, for I will kill you!' But the
little birds from their nest high in the tree, cried out to her,
'Don't do him any harm! he has saved us from being swallowed by a
monster who came out of the lake to kill us.'

Meanwhile, Peppercorn went to her, and presented the king's letter.
The giant-bird read it through carefully, and then said to him, 'Go
home and kill twelve sheep. Fill their skins with water, and bring
them here, together with the flesh of the sheep.'

Peppercorn went back to the king, who at once ordered that he should
be supplied with the flesh of twelve sheep, as well as with twelve
sheep-skins full of fresh water. With this provision Peppercorn
returned to the shore of the lake.

Then the giant-bird placed the twelve skins full of water under her
left wing, and the flesh of the twelve sheep under her right, and
took Peppercorn on her back. This done, she told him that he must
watch well her movements, and when she turned her beak to the left
side, he must give her water, and when she turned it to the right he
must give her meat. After impressing these directions upon Peppercorn,
the giant-bird rose with her triple load in the air, and flew straight
up towards the other world. As she flew she turned, from time to time,
her beak, now to the left and then to the right, and Peppercorn gave
her water or meat, as she had directed him to do. At last, however,
all the meat disappeared. So, when the giant-bird turned her beak
once more to the right, Sir Peppercorn, having no more meat to give
her, and fearing some evil might happen if he did not satisfy her,
took out his knife, and, cutting a piece of flesh from the sole of his
right foot, gave it to her.

But the bird knew by the taste that he had cut it from his own foot,
so she did not swallow it, but hid it under her tongue, and held it
there until she reached the other world.

Then she set Peppercorn down on the earth and told him to walk, and
when he tried to do so he was forced to limp, because of the loss of
part of his foot. When the giant-bird noticed this, she asked him,
'Why do you limp so?' To this Peppercorn answered, 'Oh, it is nothing!
Do not trouble yourself about it!' But the bird told him to lift his
right foot, and when he did so, she took the piece of flesh she had
kept hidden under her tongue, and laid it on the place where he had
cut it from. Then she tapped it two or three times with her beak to
make it grow to the rest of the foot.

Peppercorn walked on some time before he remembered the little box
which the youngest of the three daughters of the king had given him.
Now, however, he opened it, and a bee and a fly flew out and asked him
what he desired. He said, 'I want a good horse to carry me to the
king's residence, and a decent suit of clothes to wear.' Next moment a
suit of good clothes lay before him, and a handsome horse stood ready
saddled for him to mount. Then he took the clothes, and, mounting the
horse, rode off to the city where the king dwelt. Before entering the
city, however, he opened his little box, and said to the fly and the
bee, 'I do not want the horse any more at present.' Accordingly they
took it with them into their little box.

Peppercorn went to live in the house of an old woman in the city. Next
morning he heard the public crier shouting in the street, 'Is there
any one bold enough to fight with the mighty Pikeman, the king's

Peppercorn was very pleased to hear this challenge, and, opening his
box without delay, told the bee and fly, who flew out to receive his
orders, that he wanted at once a fine suit of clothes and a strong
charger, so that he might go to fight with the Pikeman. The bee and
fly instantly gave him what he required, and he dressed himself and
rode off to the field, where he found the Pikeman proudly awaiting any
one who might presume to accept his challenge.

So Peppercorn and the Pikeman fought, and before very long the first
son-in-law of the king was slain. Then Peppercorn returned home
quickly, and opening his box, bade the bee and fly take away the horse
and the fine clothes.

The king sought everywhere for the stranger who had killed his
son-in-law, but no one knew anything about him. So, after some days,
the city crier went round again, proclaiming that the Mill-turner, the
second son-in-law of the king, would fight any one who dared to meet

Peppercorn again let out his bee and his fly, and asked for a finer
horse and handsomer clothes than the last. So they brought him a very
gorgeous suit, and a most beautiful coal-black charger, and with these
he went on the field to meet the Mill-turner. They fought, but
Peppercorn soon killed the king's second son-in-law, and again went to
his lodgings, where he ordered the bee and fly to take the horse and
clothes with them into their little box.

Now, not only the king, but all his people were very much puzzled as
to who the powerful knight could be, who had killed the two valiant
sons-in-law of the king. So a strict search was made, and he was
sought everywhere. But no one could tell anything about him; while
such horses as he rode, and such clothes as he wore were not to be
found in the whole kingdom.

Some time had passed since the king's sons-in-law had been killed, and
people had begun to be a little quieter and had given up all hope of
finding out who the stronger knight might be. Then Peppercorn wrote a
letter to the king's youngest daughter, and sent it to her by the old
woman in whose house he lived. In the letter he told the princess
everything that had happened to him since he had sent up in the basket
to his false comrades, and told her also that he himself had slain
both of the traitors in fair fight.

The young princess, as soon as she had read the letter, quickly ran to
her father and begged him to pardon Peppercorn. The king saw he could
not justly deny her this favour, since the two men who had been killed
had deceived and deserted their friend, without whose superior
courage they would never have been themselves his sons-in-law, seeing
that all the three princesses, but for Peppercorn, must have remained
in the other world where Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard had
carried them.

So, after thinking all this over in his mind, the king told his
daughter that he willingly forgave Peppercorn, and that she might
invite him to the palace. This the princess did at once, and very soon
after Peppercorn made his appearance before the king in splendid
attire, and was received very kindly.

Not long afterwards, the marriage of Peppercorn with the beautiful
princess, the king's youngest daughter, was celebrated with great
rejoicings, and the king built them a fine house near his palace to
live in.

There Peppercorn and his princess lived long and happily, and he never
had any wish to wander again about the world.


Once upon a time there was a king who had three sons and three
daughters. At length old age overtook him, and the hour came for him
to die. While dying he called to him his three sons and three
daughters, and told his sons to let their sisters marry the very first
men who came to ask them in marriage. 'Do this, or dread my curse!'
said he, and soon after expired.

Some time after his death there came one night a great knocking at the
gate; the whole palace shook, and outside was heard a great noise of
squeaking, singing, and shouting, whilst lightnings played round the
whole court of the palace. The people in the palace were very much
frightened, so that they shook for fear, when all at once some one
shouted from the outside, 'O princes! open the door!' Thereupon the
king's eldest son said, 'Do not open!' The second son added, 'Do not
open, for anything in the world!' But the youngest son said, 'I will
open the door!' and he jumped up and opened it.

The moment he had opened the door something came in, but the brother
could see nothing except a bright light in one part of the room; out
of this light came these words: 'I have come to demand your eldest
sister for wife, and I shall take her away this moment, without any
delay; for I wait for nothing, neither will I come a second time to
ask her! Therefore answer me quickly--will you give her or not?'

The eldest brother said, 'I will not give her. How can I give her when
I cannot see you, and do not know who you are, nor whence you come?
You come to-night for the first time, and wish to take her away
instantly! Should I not know where I can visit my sister sometimes?'

The second said, 'I will not give my sister to-night to be taken

But the youngest said, 'I will give her if you will not. Have you
forgotten what our father commanded us?' and, with these words, taking
his sister by the hand, he gave her away, saying, 'May she be to you a
happy and honest wife!'

As the sister passed over the threshold every one in the palace fell
to the ground from fear, so vivid was the lightning and loud the claps
of thunder. The heavens seemed to be on fire and the whole sky
rumbled, so that the whole palace shook as if about to fall. All this
however passed over, and soon after the day dawned; when it grew light
enough, the brothers went to see if any trace was left of the mighty
power, to whom they had given their sister, so that they might be able
to trace the road by which it had gone. There was, however, nothing
which they could either see or hear.

The second night, about the same time, there was heard again round
the whole palace a great noise, as if an army was whistling and
hissing, and at length some one at the door cried out, 'Open the door,
O princes!' They were afraid to disobey, and opened the door, and some
dreadful power began to speak, 'Give here the girl, your second
sister! I am come to demand her!' The eldest brother answered, 'I will
not give her away!' The second brother said, 'I will not give you my
sister!' But the youngest said, 'I will give her! Have you forgotten
what our father told us to do?' So he took his sister by the hand and
gave her over, saying, 'Take her! may she be honest and bring you
happiness!' Then the unseen noises departed with the girl. Next day,
as soon as it dawned, all three brothers walked round the palace, and
for some distance beyond, looking everywhere for some trace where the
power had gone, but nothing could be seen nor heard.

The third night, at the same hour as before, again the palace rocked
from its very foundations, and there was a mighty uproar outside. Then
a voice shouted, 'Open the door!' The sons of the king arose and
opened the door, and a great power passed by them and said, 'I am come
to demand your youngest sister!' The eldest and the second son
shouted, 'No! we will not give our sister this third night! At any
rate, we will know before our youngest sister goes away from our house
to whom we are giving her, and where she is going, so that we can come
to visit her whenever we wish to do so!' Thereupon the youngest
brother said, 'Then I will give her! Have you forgotten what our
father on his death-bed recommended us? It is not so very long ago!'
Then he took the girl by the hand and said, 'Here she is! Take her!
and may she bring you happiness and be happy herself!' Then instantly
the power went away with a great noise. When the day dawned the
brothers were very anxious about the fate of their sister, but could
find no trace of the way in which she had gone.

Some time after the brothers, speaking together, said, 'Good God! it
is really very wonderful what has happened to our sisters! We have no
news--no trace of them! We do not know where they are gone, nor whom
they have married!' At last they said to each other, 'Let us go and
try to find our sisters!' So they prepared immediately for their
journey, took money for their travelling expenses, and went away in
search of their three sisters.

They had travelled some time when they lost their way in a forest, and
wandered about a whole day. When it grew dark they thought they would
stop for the night at some place where they could find water. So,
having come to a lake, they decided to sleep near it, and sat down to
take some supper. When the time for sleep came the eldest brother
said, 'I will keep watch while you sleep!' and so the two younger
brothers went to sleep and the eldest watched. In the middle of the
night the lake began to be greatly agitated, and the brother who was
watching grew quite frightened, especially when he saw something was
coming towards him from the middle of the lake. When it came near he
saw that it was a terrific alligator with two ears, and it ran at
him; but he drew his knife and struck it, and cut off its head. When
he had done this he cut off the ears also, and put them in his pocket,
the body and the head, however, he threw back into the lake. Meanwhile
the day began to dawn, but the two brothers slept on and knew nothing
of what their eldest brother had done. At length he awakened them, but
told them nothing, so they went on their travels together. When the
next day was closing, and it began again to grow dark, they took
counsel with each other where they should rest for the night, and
where they should find water. They felt also afraid, because they were
approaching some dangerous mountains.

Coming to a small lake they resolved to rest there that night; and
having made a fire they placed their things near it, and prepared to
sleep. Then the second brother said, 'This night I will keep guard
whilst you sleep!' So the two others fell asleep, and the second
brother remained watching.

All at once the lake began to move, and lo! an alligator, with two
heads, came running to swallow up the three. But the brother who
watched grasped his knife, felled the alligator to the ground with one
blow, and cut off both the heads. Having done this he cut off the two
pairs of ears, put them in his pocket, and threw the body into the
water, and the two heads after it. The other brothers, however, knew
nothing about the danger which they had escaped, and continued to
sleep very soundly till the morning dawned.

Then the second brother awoke them, saying, 'Arise, my brothers! It
is day!' and they instantly jumped up, and prepared to continue their
journey. But they knew not in what country they now were, and as they
had eaten up nearly all their food, they feared greatly lest they
should die of hunger in that unknown land. So they prayed God to give
them sight of some city or village or, at least, that they might meet
some one to guide them, for they had already been wandering three days
up and down in a wilderness, and could see no end to it. Pretty early
in the morning they came to a large lake and resolved to go no
further, but remain there all the day, and also to spend the night
there. 'For if we go on,' said they, 'we are not sure that we shall
find any more water near which we can rest.' So they remained there.

When evening came they made a great fire, took their frugal supper,
and prepared to sleep. Then the youngest brother said, 'This night I
will keep guard whilst you sleep;' and so the other two went to sleep,
and the youngest brother kept awake, looking sharply about him, his
eyes being turned often towards the lake. Part of the night had
already passed, when suddenly the whole lake began to move, the waves
dashed over the fire and half quenched it. Then he drew his sword and
placed himself near the fire, as there appeared a great alligator with
three heads, which rushed upon the brothers as if about to swallow
them all three.

But the youngest brother had a brave heart, and would not awaken his
brothers, so he met the alligator, and gave him three blows in
succession, and at each blow he cut off one of the three heads. Then
he cut off the six ears and put them in his pocket, and threw the body
and the three heads into the lake. Whilst he was thus busy the fire
had quite gone out, so he--having nothing there with which he could
light the fire, and not wishing to awaken his brothers from their deep
slumbers--stepped a little way into the forest, with the hope of
seeing something with which he might rekindle the fire.

There was, however, no trace of any fire anywhere. At last, in his
search, he climbed up a very high tree, and, having reached the top,
looked about on all sides. After much looking he thought he saw the
glare of a fire not very far off. So he came down from the tree and
went in the direction in which he had seen the fire, in order to get
some brand with which he might again light the fire. He walked very
far on this errand, and though the glare seemed always near him, it
was a very long time before he reached it. Suddenly, however, he came
upon a cave, and in the cave a great fire was burning. Round it sat
nine giants, and two men were being roasted, one on each side of the
fire. Besides that, there stood upon the fire a great kettle full of
the limbs of men ready to be cooked. When the king's son saw that, he
was terrified and would gladly have gone back, but it was no longer

Then he shouted as loud and cheerfully as he could, 'Good evening, my
dear comrades! I have been a very long time in search of you!'

They received him well, saying, 'Welcome! if thou art of our

He answered, 'I shall remain yours for ever, and would give my life
for your sake!'

'Eh!' said they, 'if you intend to be one of us, you know, you must
also eat man's flesh, and go out with us in search of prey?'

The king's son answered, 'Certainly; I shall do everything that you

'Then come and sit with us!' cried the giants; and the whole company,
sitting round the fire, took meat out of the kettle and began to eat.
The king's son pretended to eat, also, but instead of eating he always
threw the meat behind him, and thus deceived them.

When they had eaten up the whole of the roasted meat, the giants got
up and said, 'Let us now go to hunt, that we may have meat for
to-morrow.' So they went away, all nine of them, the king's son making
the tenth. 'Come along!' they said to him, 'there is a city near in
which a great king lives. We have been supplying ourselves with food
from that city a great many years.' As they came near the city they
pulled two tall pine-trees up by the roots, and carried them along
with them. Having come to the city wall, they reared one pine-tree up
against it, and said to the king's son, 'Go up, now, to the top of the
wall, so that we may be able to give you the other pine-tree, which
you must take by the top and throw down into the city. Take care,
however,' they said, 'to keep the top of the tree in your hands, so
that we can go down the stem of it into the city.' Thereupon the
king's son climbed up on the wall and then cried out to them, 'I don't
know what to do; I am not acquainted with this place, and I don't
understand how to throw the tree over the wall; please one of you come
up and show me what I must do.' Then one of the giants climbed up the
tree placed against the wall, caught the top of the other pine-tree,
and threw it over the wall, keeping the top all the time safe in his
hand. Whilst he was thus standing, the king's son drew his sword,
struck him on the neck, and cut his head off, so that the giant fell
down into the city.

Then he called to the other eight giants, 'Your brother is in the
city; come, one after the other, so that I can let you also down into
the city!' And the giants, not knowing what had happened to the first
one, climbed up one after the other, and thus the king's son cut off
their heads till he had killed all the nine.

After that, he himself slowly descended the pine-tree and went into
the city, walking through all the streets, but there was not one
living creature to be seen. The city seemed quite deserted. Then he
said to himself, 'Surely those giants have made this great devastation
and carried all the people away.'

After walking about a very long time, he came to a tall tower, and,
looking up, he saw a light in one of the rooms. So he opened the door,
and went up the steps, into the room. And what a beautiful room it was
in which he had entered! It was decorated with gold and silk and
velvet, and there was no one there except a girl lying on a couch,
sleeping. As soon as the king's son entered, his eyes fell upon the
girl, who was exceedingly beautiful. Just then he saw a large serpent
coming down the wall, and it had stretched out its head and was ready
to strike the girl on the forehead, between the eyes. So he drew his
dagger very quickly, and nailed the snake's head to the wall,
exclaiming, 'God grant that my dagger may not be taken out of the wall
by any hand but my own!' and thereupon he hurried away, and passed
over the city wall, climbing up and going down the pine-trees. When he
got back to the cavern where the giants had been, he plucked a brand
from the fire, and ran away very quickly to the spot where he had left
his two brothers, and found them still sleeping.

He soon lighted the fire again, and meanwhile the sun having arisen he
awoke his brothers, and they arose and all three continued their
journey. The same day they came to the road leading to the city. In
that city lived a mighty king, who used to walk about the streets
every morning, weeping over the great destruction of his people by the
giants. The king feared greatly that one day his own daughter might
also be eaten up by one of them. That morning he rose very early, and
went to look about the city; the streets were all empty, because most
of the people of the city had been eaten up by the giants. Walking
about, at last he observed a tall pine-tree, pulled up quite by the
roots, and leaning against the city wall. He drew near, and saw a
great wonder. Nine giants, the frightful enemies of his people, were
lying there with their heads off. When the king saw that he rejoiced
exceedingly, and all the people who were left, gathered round and
praised God, and prayed for good health and good luck to those who had
killed the giants. At that moment a servant came running, to tell the
king that a serpent had very nearly killed his daughter. So the king
hurried back to the palace, and went quickly to the room wherein his
daughter was, and there he saw the snake pinned to the wall, with a
dagger through its head. He tried to draw the knife out, but he was
not able to do so.

Then the king sent a proclamation to all the corners of the kingdom,
announcing that whoever had killed the nine giants and nailed the
snake to the wall, should come to the king, who would make him great
presents and give him his daughter for a wife. This was proclaimed
throughout the whole kingdom. The king ordered, moreover, that large
inns should be built on all the principal roads, and that every
traveller who passed by should be asked if he had ever heard of the
man who had killed the nine giants, and any traveller who knew
anything about the matter should come and tell what he knew to the
king, when he should be well rewarded.

After some time the three brothers, travelling in search of their
sisters, came one night to sleep at one of those inns. After supper
the master of the inn came in to speak to them, and, after boasting
very much what great things he had himself done, he asked them if they
themselves had ever done any great thing?

Then the eldest brother began to speak, and said, 'After I started
with my brothers on this journey, one night we stopped to sleep by a
lake in the midst of a great forest; whilst my two brothers slept I
watched, and, suddenly, an alligator came out of the lake to swallow
us, but I took my knife and cut off its head; if you don't believe me,
see! here are the two ears from his head!' And he took the ears from
his pocket and threw them on the table.

When the second brother heard that, he said, 'I kept guard the second
night, and I killed an alligator with two heads; if you do not believe
me, look! here are its four ears!' and he took the ears out of his
pocket and showed them.

But the youngest brother kept silence. The master of the inn began
then to speak, to him, saying, 'Well, my boy, your brothers are brave
men; let us hear if you have not done some bold deed.'

Then the youngest brother began, 'I have also done something, though
it may not be a great thing. When we stayed to rest the third night in
the great wilderness on the shore of the lake, my brothers lay down to
sleep, for it was my turn to keep guard. In the middle of the night
the water stirred mightily, and a three-headed alligator came out and
wished to swallow us, but I drew my sword and cut off all the three
heads; if you do not believe, see! here are the six ears of the
alligator!' The brothers themselves were greatly surprised, and he
continued: 'Meanwhile the fire had gone out, and I went in search of
fire. Wandering about the mountain I met nine giants in one cave;' and
so he went on, telling all that had happened and what he had done.

When the innkeeper heard that he hurried off and told everything to
the king. The king gave him plenty of money, and sent some of his men
to bring the three brothers to him. When they came to the king, he
asked the youngest, 'Have you really done all these wonders in this
city--killed the giants and saved my daughter from death?' 'Yes, your
majesty,' answered the king's son. Then the king gave him his daughter
to wife, and allowed him to take the first place after him in the
kingdom. After that he said to the two elder brothers, 'If you like I
will also find wives for you two, and build palaces for you.' But they
thanked him, saying they were already married, and so told him how
they had left home to search for their sisters. When the king heard
that, he kept by him only the youngest brother, his son-in-law, and
gave the other two each a mule loaded with sacks full of money; and so
the two elder brothers went back to their kingdom. All the time,
however, the youngest brother was thinking of his three sisters, and
many a time he wished to go in search of them again, though he was
also sorry to leave his wife. The king would never consent to his
going, so the prince wasted away slowly without speaking about his

One day the king went out hunting, and said to his son-in-law, 'Remain
here in the palace, and take these nine keys, and keep them carefully.
If you wish, however,' added he, 'you can open three or four rooms,
wherein you will see plenty of gold and silver, and other precious
things. Indeed, if you much wish to do so, you can open eight of the
rooms, but let nothing in the world tempt you to open the ninth. If
you open that, woe to you!'

The king went away, leaving his son-in-law in the palace, who
immediately began to open one room after another, till he had opened
the whole eight, and he saw in all masses of all sorts of precious
things. When he stood before the door of the ninth room, he said to
himself, 'I have passed luckily through all kinds of adventures, and
now I must not dare to open this door!' thereupon he opened it. And
what did he see? In the room was a man, whose legs were bound in iron
up to the knees, and his arms to the elbows; in the four corners of
the chamber there were four columns, and from each an iron chain, and
all the chains met in a ring round the man's neck. So fast was he
bound that he could not move at all any way. In the front of him was a
reservoir, and from it water was streaming through a golden pipe into
a golden basin, just before him. Near him stood, also, a golden mug,
all covered with precious stones. The man looked at the water and
longed to drink, but he could not move to reach the cup. When the
king's son saw that, he was greatly surprised, and stepped back; but
the man cried, 'Come in, I conjure you in the name of the living God!'
Then the prince again approached, and the man said, 'Do a good deed
for the sake of the life hereafter. Give me a cup of water to drink,
and be assured you will receive, as a recompense from me, another
life.' The king's son thought, 'It is well, after all, to have two
lives,' so he took the mug and filled it, and gave it to the man, who
emptied it at once. Then the prince asked him, 'Now tell me, what is
your name?' And the man answered, 'My name is True Steel.' The king's
son moved to go away, but the man begged again, 'Give me yet one cup
of water, and I will give you in addition a second life.' The prince
said to himself, 'One life is mine already, and he offers to give me
another--that is, indeed, wonderful!' So he took the mug and gave it
to him, and the man drank it up. The prince began already to fasten
the door, while the man called to him, 'Oh, my brave one, come back a
moment! You have done two good deeds, do yet a third one, and I will
give you a third life. Take the mug, fill it with water, and pour the
water on my head, and for that I will give you a third life.' When the
king's son heard that, he turned, filled the beaker with water, and
poured it over the man's head, the moment the water met his head all
the fastenings around the man's neck broke, all the iron chains burst
asunder. True Steel jumped up like lightning, spread his wings, and
started to fly, taking with him the king's daughter, the wife of his
deliverer, with whom he disappeared. What was to be done now? The
prince was afraid of the king's anger.

When the king returned from the chase, his son-in-law told him all
that had happened, and the king was very sorry and said to him, 'Why
did you do this? I told you not to open the ninth room!' The king's
son answered, 'Don't be angry with me! I will go and find True Steel
and bring my wife back!' Then the king attempted to persuade him not
to go away: 'Do not go, for anything in the world!' he said; 'you do
not know True Steel. It cost me very many soldiers and much money to
catch him! Better remain here, and I will find you some other maiden
for a wife; do not fear, for I love you as my own son, notwithstanding
all that has happened!' The prince, however, would not hear of
remaining there, so taking some money for his journey he saddled and
bridled his horse, and started on his travels in search of True Steel.

After travelling a long time, he one day entered a strange city, and,
as he was looking about, a girl called to him from a kiosk, 'O son of
the king, dismount from your horse and come into the forecourt.' When
he entered the courtyard the girl met him, and on looking at her he
recognised his eldest sister. They greeted each other, and the sister
said to him, 'Come, my brother--come with me into the kiosk.'

When they came into the kiosk, he asked her who her husband was, and
she answered, 'I am married to the King of Dragons, who is also a
dragon. I must hide you well, my dear brother, for my husband has
often said that he would kill his brothers-in-law if he could only
meet them. I will try him first, and if he will promise not to injure
you, I will tell him you are here.' So she hid her brother and his
horse as well as she could. At night, supper was prepared in readiness
for her husband, and at last he came. When he came flying into the
courtyard, the whole palace shone. The moment he came in, he called
his wife and said, 'Wife, there is a smell of human bones here! Tell
me directly what it is!'

'There is no one here!' said she. But he exclaimed, 'That is not

Then his wife said, 'My dear, will you answer me truly what I am going
to ask you? Would you do any harm to my brothers, if one of them came
here to see me?' And the dragon answered, 'Your eldest and your second
brother I would kill and roast, but I would do no harm to the
youngest.' Then his wife said, 'Well, then, I will tell you that my
youngest brother, and your brother-in-law, is here.' When the Dragon
King heard that he said, 'Let him come to me!' So the sister led the
brother before the king, her husband, and he embraced him. They kissed
each other, and the king exclaimed: 'Welcome, brother-in-law!' 'I hope
I find you well?' returned the prince courteously, and he told the
Dragon King all his adventures from the beginning to the end.

Then the Dragon King cried out, 'And where are you going, my poor
fellow? The day before yesterday True Steel passed here carrying away
your wife. I assailed him with seven thousand dragons, yet could do
him no harm. Leave the devil in peace; I will give you as much money
as you like and then go home quietly.' But the king's son would not
hear of going back, and proposed next morning to continue his journey.
When the Dragon King saw that he could not change his intention, he
took one of his feathers, and gave it into his hand, saying,
'Remember what I now say to you. Here you have one of my feathers, and
if you find True Steel and are greatly pressed, burn this feather, and
I will come in an instant to your help with all my forces.' The king's
son took the feather and continued his journey.

After long travelling about the world he arrived at a great city, and,
as he rode through the streets, a girl called to him from a kiosk:
'Here, son of the king! Dismount and come into the courtyard!' The
prince led his horse into the yard, and behold! the second sister came
to meet him. They embraced and kissed each other, and the sister led
the brother up into the kiosk, and had his horse taken to a stable.
When they were in the kiosk, the sister asked her brother how he came
there, and he told her all his adventures. He then asked her who her
husband was. 'I am married to the King of the Falcons,' she said, 'and
he will come home to-night, so I must hide you somewhere, for he often
threatens my brothers.'

Shortly after she had concealed her brother, the Falcon King came
home. As soon as he alighted all the house shook. Immediately his
supper was set before him, but he said to his wife, 'There are human
bones somewhere!' The wife answered, 'No, my husband, there is
nothing;' after long talking, however, she asked him, 'Would you harm
my brothers if they came to see me?' The Falcon King answered, 'The
eldest brother and the second I would delight in torturing, but to the
youngest I would do no harm.' So she told him about her brother. Then
he ordered that they should bring him immediately; and when he saw
him, he rose up and they embraced and kissed each other. 'Welcome,
brother-in-law!' said the King of Falcons. 'I hope you are happy,
brother?' returned the prince, and then they sat down to sup together.
After supper, the Falcon King asked his brother-in-law where he was
travelling. He replied that he was going in search of True Steel, and
told the king all that had happened.

On hearing this the Falcon King began to advise him to go no farther.
'It is no use going on,' said he. 'I will tell you something of True
Steel. The day he stole your wife, I assaulted him with four thousand
falcons. We had a terrible battle with him, blood was shed till it
reached the knees, but yet we could do him no harm! Do you think now,
that you alone could do anything with him? I advise you to return
home. Here is my treasure: take with you as much as you like.' But the
king's son answered, 'I thank you for all your kindness, but I cannot
return. I shall go at all events in search of True Steel!' For he
thought to himself, 'Why should I not go, seeing I have three lives?'
When the Falcon King saw that he could not persuade him to go back, he
took a little feather and gave it him, saying, 'Take this feather, and
when you find yourself in great need, burn it and I will instantly
come with all my powers to help you!' So the king's son took the
feather and continued his journey, hoping to find True Steel.

After travelling for a long time about the world he came to a third
city. As he entered, a girl called to him from a kiosk, 'Dismount, and
come into the courtyard.' The king's son went into the yard, and was
surprised to find his youngest sister, who came to meet him. When they
had embraced and kissed each other, the sister led her brother to the
kiosk and sent his horse to the stables. The brother asked her, 'Dear
sister, whom have you married? What is your husband?' She answered,
'My husband is the King of Eagles.' When the Eagle King returned home
in the evening his wife received him, but he exclaimed immediately,
'What man has come into my palace? Tell me the truth instantly!' She
answered, 'No one is here;' and they began their supper. By-and-by the
wife said, 'Tell me truly: would you do any harm to my brothers if
they came here?' The Eagle King answered, 'The eldest and second
brother I would kill, but to the youngest I would do no harm! I would
help him whenever I could!' Then the wife said, 'My youngest brother,
and your brother-in-law, is here; he came to see me.' The Eagle King
ordered that they should bring the prince instantly, received him
standing, kissed him, and said, 'Welcome, brother-in-law!' and the
king's son answered, 'I hope you are well?' They then sat down to
their supper. During the repast they conversed about many things, and
at last the prince told the king he was travelling in search of True
Steel. When the Eagle King heard that, he tried to dissuade him from
going on, adding, 'Leave the devil in peace, my brother-in-law; give
up that journey and stay with me! I will do everything to satisfy
you!' The king's son however, would not hear of remaining, but next
day, as soon as it dawned, prepared to set out in search of True
Steel. Then the Eagle King, seeing that he could not persuade him to
give up his journey, plucked out one of his feathers and gave it him,
saying, 'If you find yourself in great danger, my brother, make a fire
and burn this feather; I will then come to your help immediately with
all my eagles.' So the prince took the feather and went away.

After travelling for a very long time about the world, roaming from
one city to another, and always going farther and farther from his
home, he found his wife in a cavern.

When the wife saw him she was greatly astonished, and cried, 'In God's
name, my husband, how did you come here?' He told her how it all
happened, and then added, 'Now let us fly!' 'How can we fly,' she
asked, 'when True Steel will reach us instantly? and when he does he
will kill you, and carry me back.' But the prince, knowing he had
three other lives to live, persuaded his wife to flee, and so they
did. As soon, however, as they started, True Steel heard it, and
followed immediately. When he reached them, he shouted to the king's
son, 'So, prince, you have stolen your wife!' Then, after taking the
wife back, he added, 'Now, I forgive you this life, because I
recollect that I promised to give you three lives; but go away
directly, and never come here again after your wife, else you will be
lost!' Thus saying, he carried the wife away, and the prince remained
alone on the spot, not knowing what to do.

At length the prince resolved to go back to his wife. When he came
near the cave he found an opportunity when True Steel was absent, and
took his wife again and tried to escape with her.

But True Steel learned their flight directly, and ran after them. When
he reached them, he fixed an arrow to his bow, and cried to the king's
son, 'Do you prefer to die by the arrow or by the sword?' The king's
son asked pardon, and True Steel said, 'I pardon you also the second
life; but I warn you! never come here again after your wife, for I
will not pardon you any more! I shall kill you on the spot!' Saying
that, he carried the wife back to the cave, and the prince remained
thinking all the time how he could save her.

At last he said to himself, 'Why should I fear True Steel, when I have
yet two lives? One of which he has made me a present, and one which is
my own?' So he decided to return again to the cave next morning, when
True Steel was absent. He saw his wife, and said to her, 'Let us fly!'
She objected, saying, 'It is of no use to fly, when True Steel would
certainly overtake us.' However, her husband forced her to go with
him, and they went away. True Steel, however, overtook them quickly,
and shouted, 'Wait a bit! This time I will not pardon you!' The prince
became afraid, and begged him to pardon him also this time, and True
Steel said to him, 'You know I promised to give you three lives, so
now I give you this one, but it is the third and last. Now you have
only one life, so go home, and do not risk losing the one life God
gave you!'

Then the prince, seeing he could do nothing against this great power,
turned back, reflecting, however, all the time, as to the best way of
getting his wife back from True Steel.

At last, he remembered what his brothers-in-law had said to him when
they gave him their feathers. Then he said to himself, 'I will try
this fourth time to get my wife back; if I come to trouble, I will
burn the feathers, and see if my brothers-in-law will come to help

Hereupon he went back once more towards the cavern wherein his wife
was kept, and, as he saw from a distance that True Steel was just
leaving the cave, he went near and showed himself to his wife. She was
surprised and terrified, and exclaimed, 'Are you so tired of your life
that you come back again to me?' Then he told her about his
brothers-in-law, and how each of them had given him one of their
feathers, and had promised to come to help him whenever he needed
their assistance. 'Therefore,' added he, 'I am come once more to take
you away; let us start at once.'

This they did. The same moment, however, True Steel heard of it, and
shouted from afar, 'Stop, prince! You cannot run away!' And then the
king's son, seeing True Steel so near him, quickly took out a flint
and tinder-box, struck some sparks, and burned all three feathers.
Whilst he was doing this, however, True Steel reached him, and, with
his sword, cut the prince in two parts. That moment came the King of
Dragons, rushing with his whole army of dragons, the King of Falcons,
with all his falcons, and the King of Eagles, with his mighty host of
eagles, and they all attacked True Steel. Torrents of blood were shed,
but after all True Steel caught up the woman and fled away.

Then the three kings gave all their attention to their brother-in-law,
and determined to bring him back to life. Thereupon they asked three
of the most active dragons which of them could bring them, in the
shortest time, some water from the river Jordan.

One said, 'I could bring it in half an hour.' The second said, 'I can
go and return in ten minutes.' The third dragon said, 'I can bring it
in nine seconds.' Then the three kings said to the last one, 'Go,
dragon; and make haste!' Then this dragon exhibited all his fiery
might, and in nine seconds, as he had promised, he came back with
water from the Jordan.

The kings took the water and poured it on the places where the prince
was wounded, and, as they did so, the wound closed up, the body joined
together, and the king's son sprang up alive.

Then the three kings counselled him: 'Now that you are saved from
death, go home!' But the prince answered, he would at all events yet
once more try to get his wife back. The kings, his brothers-in-law,
again spoke, 'Do not try again! Indeed, you will be lost if you go,
for now you have only one life which God gave you!'

The king's son, however, would not listen to their advice. So the
kings told him, 'Well then, if you are still determined to go, at
least do not take your wife away immediately, but tell her to ask True
Steel where his strength lies, and then come and tell us, in order
that we may help you to conquer him!'

So the prince went secretly and saw his wife, and told her how she
could persuade True Steel to tell her where his strength was. He then
left her and went away.

When True Steel came home, the wife of the king's son asked him, 'Tell
me, now, where is your great strength?' He answered, 'My wife, my
strength is in my sword!' Then she began to pray, and turned to his
sword. When True Steel saw that, he burst out laughing, and said, 'O
foolish woman! my strength is not in my sword, but in my bow and
arrows!' Then she turned towards the bow and arrows and prayed.

Then True Steel said, 'I see, my wife, you have a clever teacher who
has taught you to find out where my strength lies! I could almost say
that your husband is living, and it is he who teaches you!'

But she assured him that no one taught her, for she had no longer any
one to do so.

After some days her husband came, and when she told him she could not
learn anything from True Steel, he said, 'Try again!' and went away.

When True Steel came home she began again to ask him the secret of his
strength. Then he answered her, 'Since you think so much of my
strength, I will tell you truly where it is.' And he continued, 'Far
away from this place there is a very high mountain; in the mountain
there is a fox; in the fox there is a heart; in the heart there is a
bird, and in this bird is my strength. It is no easy task, however, to
catch that fox, for she can transform herself into a multitude of

Next day, as soon as True Steel left the cave, the king's son came to
his wife, and she told him all she had learned. Then the prince
hurried away to his brothers-in-law, who waited, all three impatient
to see him, and to hear where was the strength of True Steel. When
they heard, all three went away at once with the prince to find the
mountain. Having got there, they set the eagles to chase the fox, but
the fox ran to a lake, which was in the midst of the mountain, and
changed herself into a six-winged golden bird. Then the falcons
pursued her, and drove her out of the lake, and she flew into the
clouds, but there the dragons hurried after her. So she changed
herself again into a fox, and began to run along the earth, but the
rest of the eagles stopped her, surrounded, and caught her.

The three kings then ordered the fox to be killed, and her heart to be
taken out. A great fire was made, and the bird was taken out of the
heart and burnt. That very moment True Steel fell down dead, and the
prince took his wife and returned home with her.


A long time ago there lived a poor woman who possessed nothing in the
world except one son and four lambs. The boy took the lambs out to
graze every morning, and brought them home every night. One day it
happened that the lambs were grazing in a field not far from the
summer palace of the king, and the king's daughter came out to the
young shepherd and asked him to give her one of them. The boy refused,
saying, 'I cannot give you one, for my mother will scold me if I do,
as we have nothing in the world except these four lambs.' The
princess, however, had taken so great a fancy for a lamb that she
would not be refused, and at last said, 'Only let me have this one and
I will give you any price you like to ask.'

The boy, seeing that the princess would not go away without a lamb,
considered a little how he could get rid of her, and then he told her
that he would give her one if she would show him one of her shoulders.
To his great surprise the princess, without any hesitation, pushed her
mantle aside and showed him her bare white arm, and he noticed that on
the shoulder there was a mark like a star. He was obliged now to give
her one of his lambs, and when he went home in the evening he told his
mother that he had fallen asleep at noon, and that when he awoke, one
of the lambs had vanished, and he could not find it anywhere.

Then his mother scolded him very much, saying, 'I see you will bring
me to the beggar's staff with your carelessness! To-morrow you must
take these three lambs out to graze very early, and look well about
for the lost one. And if you don't find it you had better never let me
set eyes on you again.'

At dawn the next day the boy took the three lambs to graze in the same
field, and sat down to consider how he could get back the lamb he had
lost. At noon, when no one was about, the king's daughter came out of
the palace and said to him, 'Young shepherd, give me another lamb, and
ask what you please in return.' But the boy answered, 'No! I dare not
give you another; I have suffered enough for the one I gave you
yesterday! So please go and bring me my lamb back.'

This the princess refused to do, and said, 'It is quite useless to
speak of such a thing. But tell me, did you notice anything particular
on my shoulder?'

The youth answered, 'Yes, I saw a star!'

'Ah!' exclaimed the princess; 'for that you can never pay me enough,
and yet you want your lamb back!' So they almost quarrelled, for the
king's daughter persisted in begging him to give her another lamb, and
the young shepherd insisted that she should bring him the first one
back again.

At last, seeing there was no end to her begging, the boy said, 'Well!
I will give you one if you uncover before me your other shoulder.'
This the princess did instantly, and he remarked that she had the mark
of a star on that arm also. In this way he lost a second lamb; and
when the evening came he went home very sadly, feeling sure his mother
would scold him. And so she did, far more than at the first time,
calling him ill names and threatening to beat him. The boy was really
sorry that he had given way to the princess's prayers, but he could
not help it now. Next day, again, the princess came to him and begged
so hard and so long for a third lamb that he became impatient, and,
thinking to shame her, said he would give her one if she showed him
her neck. To his great surprise, however, the king's daughter at once
let her mantle fall, and he saw that she had the mark of a crescent on
her throat. So the poor boy lost a third lamb, and hardly dared go
home to his mother at night with the one lamb left them. Indeed the
poor old woman was so angry at her son's carelessness in losing one
lamb after another whilst he slept--for he did not dare to tell her
the truth about the princess--that she cursed him as 'a
good-for-nothing who would bring her to beggary.'

Notwithstanding all his mother's reproaches and threats the boy could
not refuse the princess the next day when she came out to ask for the
fourth lamb. However, he tried to get her to go away a long time, and
not until quite tired out with her begging, did he exclaim, 'Well, I
will give you the lamb if you will show me your breast!' Then the
princess pushed her robe aside, and the boy noticed that she had the
mark of a sun on her bosom.

In this way the young shepherd lost all the four lambs, and he lived a
long time with his mother in great poverty.

A long, long time afterwards the king sent out a proclamation that he
intended to let his daughter marry, and would give her to that man who
could tell him what particular birth-marks she had about her. The
young shepherd heard this proclamation, and when he went home in the
evening he said to his mother, 'Mother, I intend to go to the king's
palace to-morrow, so get me my best linen ready.'

'And what do _you_ want in the king's palace?' asked the poor old
woman wondering.

'I intend, God helping me, to marry the king's daughter,' replied the
young man boldly.

'Oh! you had better give up that fancy,' cried the mother. 'It will be
better for you to go and work and gain a piaster than to go, like a
fly without a head, dreaming about things that are as high as the sky
above you.'

But the young man would not be persuaded, and went the next day to the
king's palace. Before going out of the hut, however, he said to his
anxious old mother, 'Good-bye, mother.'

He had not walked very far before a gipsy met him, and asked, 'Where
are you going, my young man?'

'I am going to the king's palace,' answered the youth, 'and I mean,
God helping me, to marry the king's daughter.'

'But, my dear comrade,' said the gipsy, keeping near him, 'how can you
really expect that she will marry you, when you are so poor? Only a

'Eh!' returned the young man; 'but I know what birth-marks she has,
and the king has sent out a proclamation that whoever guesses these
shall have her for his wife.'

'If it is so,' rejoined the cunning gipsy, 'I myself will also go to
the palace with you.'

The young man was glad to have company on the road, and so he and the
gipsy travelled on together until they came to the residence of the

When they came to the palace they found a large number of people who
had come to 'try their luck,' and guess what birth-marks the princess
had. But it was lost time, for every one of them, after going past the
king and guessing 'by good luck' at the marks of the princess, was
obliged to go away, having lost his time and gained nothing. At length
the turn came for the young shepherd to pass before the king, and the
gipsy kept close to him to hear what he would say.

So the youth stepped before the king and said, 'The princess has a
star on each shoulder, and a crescent on the throat----'

At this moment the gipsy shouted loudly, 'Look there! that is just
what I was going to say!'

'Be quiet!' said the young shepherd; 'or, if you really know what
other marks she has, speak out.'

'No, no!' cried the gipsy, 'go on, go on! When _you_ have done, _I_
will speak what I know!'

Then the youth turned again to the king and continued, 'The princess
has the mark of a sun on her bosom----'

'That is exactly what I was going to say!' cried the gipsy, coming up
quickly; 'she has the mark of a sun on her breast.'

Now the king was exceeding surprised, and confessed to his counsellors
that the young shepherd had really guessed the truth. But as neither
the king nor the counsellors at all liked the idea of the princess
marrying a poor shepherd, they consulted how they could get rid of him
without giving the lie to the king's proclamation. At length it was
decided that his Majesty should say, 'As both the shepherd and the
gipsy have guessed the princess's birth-marks, I cannot justly decide
which of them should marry her. But I will give to each of them
seventy piasters, and they must both go and trade with this money for
a year. At the end of the year, that one which brings back the most
money shall have the princess for his wife.'

The young shepherd and the gipsy, having received the money, went off
in opposite directions to seek their fortunes.

After having travelled about some time, like a fly without a head, not
knowing where--the shepherd stopped one night to rest in the hut of an
old woman, who was even poorer than his own mother.

As he sat with the old woman in the hut that evening, the lad thought
he might just as well ask her advice as to the best way to invest his
capital of seventy piasters, so he said: 'I have seventy piasters to
trade with, can you tell me some good way in which I may employ them

The old woman considered the matter for some time before she answered,
and then said, 'To-morrow is market-day in the next city; go there
yourself, and when a man brings a very poor cow for sale, go up and
try to buy it. The cow will be of many different colours, but very
thin and ill fed, but you must buy her at whatever price the man asks
for her. When you have bought her, bring her here at once.'

The young man agreed to follow the old woman's counsel, and so next
day he went to the city and really found there a man who had brought a
poor, but variously coloured, cow to sell. Many people wished to buy
the cow, but the young man outbid them all, and at length offered all
his seventy piasters for her. So he got the cow, and drove it to the
hut where he had passed the night. When the old woman came out to see
who was coming, he called out to her, 'Now, my old mother, I have
bought the cow, and what shall we do with her? She has cost me all my

The old woman answered at once, 'Kill the cow, my son, and cut it in

'But how will that bring me back my money with profit?' asked the
young shepherd, hesitating whether he should follow her advice or no.

'Don't be afraid, my son, but do as I say,' returned the old woman.
Accordingly he did as she advised him, killed the cow and cut her into
pieces. This done, he asked again, 'And now, what shall I do?' The old
woman said quietly, 'Well, now we will eat the meat, and the suet we
will melt down and put into a pot to keep for some other occasion.'

The shepherd did not at all like this proposal, for he could not see
what return he could hope to get for such an investment of his
capital. However, he thought within himself, 'Well, since I have been
foolish enough to follow her counsel on the two former occasions, I
may as well follow it also this third time.' So he remained with the
old woman many days, until the last piece of meat had been eaten up.
When, however, he thought over all that had happened, he grew very
sad, and, seeing no sign of anything better, said one morning to the
old woman reproachfully, 'Now you see by following your counsel I have
spent all the king's money, and am now a ruined man!'

'Don't be afraid, my son,' said the old woman; 'you can now take that
pot of suet with you and go to the black world, where all the people
are black as chimney-pots, and there you can sell for a good deal of
money your suet, for it has the power to make the black skin white.'

The poor shepherd was very glad at hearing this, and next morning took
the pot of suet on his shoulder and started on his journey. After he
had travelled many, many days, he came to a strange-looking country,
and, going a little farther, he saw a man who was quite black, just
as the old woman had said--as black as a chimney-pot. He was
immediately going to offer to sell some of his fat to the black man,
when the latter, frightened at the sight of a white man, ran away.
Many other black men who saw him did the same, but after a while, when
they saw that he went on quietly carrying his pot on his shoulder,
they took courage, and came to him one by one, until at last quite a
large crowd had gathered about him. At length, one of them ventured to
say to him, 'You strange-looking man, tell us who you are, and where
you come from, and why did you come here?' The shepherd answered, 'I
am a white man from a white world, and I come to bring you some fat
which will make you also white--that is, of course, if you choose to
buy it from me and pay me for it well.'

Now the black men, though they had been quite shocked at first to see
the white man, began to think they also would like to be white; so
they said they were willing to pay him as much as he liked to ask for
his wonderful fat, because they were very rich.

However, they doubted a little if the fat would really make them white
as he said, and wished to see it tried before they bought it.
Thereupon he set the pot on the ground, and walked round and round it,
saying some queer words as if he were charming it. Then he took out of
the pot a little of the fat, and with it smeared one of the black men.
In a moment the black skin became quite white, and the other blacks,
seeing that he had told them the truth, crowded eagerly round him,
begging that he would make them white also, and outbidding each other
in offers of money, provided only that he made them white in a short
time. The young shepherd worked hard, smearing one black skin after
the other, until he got quite weary and had become very rich, for they
gave him a good deal of money, and there were a great many of them who
wished to be made white.

Just as he had thus whitened the last of the black men about him, one
of them said to him, 'Wonder-working man! We have a king who, being
our chief, is the blackest of us all; therefore, if you think you can
make him white also, we are sure he will be very glad to get rid of
his blackness, and will pay you more money than you ever dreamt of.'

'I will do it very gladly,' answered the shepherd; 'for you must know
I am doing this not so much for the sake of money as for charity;
only, show me at once the way to your king.'

So they all ran off before him to show him the way, and he followed
them carrying his pot on his shoulder.

When they arrived at the door of the king's palace, one of the men
said to him, 'Wait a moment here, whilst I go and tell his Majesty all
about your wonderful fat, and ask him to receive you.' The shepherd
waited quietly, though crowds gathered round him to stare at him and
his great pot, until the man came back and said the king was waiting
impatiently to see him. So he lifted his pot again on his
shoulder--for he had set it down that he might rest the better--and
followed the messenger to the king's presence.

Now the king of the black men was far blacker than anything the
shepherd had ever seen in his life; he had no doubt, however, after
all he had seen, but that his fat would whiten him also. So he said
cheerfully, 'Good morning, your Majesty!' 'Good morning, my dear
fellow,' returned the black king; 'I have heard that you can do
wonders, and I have seen that you have already whitened many of my
subjects, so, for Heaven's sake, deliver me also from this my
blackness, and ask in return whatever you like, even the half of my

'What your Majesty has heard is quite true,' said the shepherd; 'and I
will very gladly try to make you also white!' and he took a great lump
of fat and rubbed it well all over the king's face and neck. In a
moment the king became as white as snow, to the great rejoicings of
all his people. But no one was so pleased as the king himself, so he
said again, 'Only ask! I will give you whatever you wish, even if it
be my throne!'

'I thank your Majesty very humbly for offering me your throne, but I
don't want it,' replied the shepherd; 'but if you will give me three
ships full of gold and silver, and some good sailors to manage the
ships, and some good soldiers and cannons to defend them against the
pirates, I shall think myself more than repaid, and I will send you
back the ships and cannons when the gold and silver are landed safely
in my country.'

Then the king at once gave the necessary orders, and in a very few
days his servants came to report to him, that the ships were then
filled with gold and silver, and that the cannons were ready loaded
and posted for action, and all the sailors and soldiers prepared to
fight if any sea-robber came in their way.

Then the young shepherd took a courteous leave of the king, and of all
those other people who were so thankful to him for having changed them
from black men into white ones. He now went on board one of the ships,
very glad to go back to his own country, and the two other ships full
of gold and silver followed the first one across the seas.

After having sailed a long time the three ships reached at last the
coast of the kingdom where the king was waiting, daily expecting the
return of the gipsy and shepherd to claim his daughter. The shepherd
let his ships lay quietly in the harbour one day, and then, noticing
much tumult and disturbance in the city, went ashore to see what had
happened. There he found a great crowd, and on asking some of the
people what they were going to do, they told him that they were going
to hang a gipsy who had come to the city with seventy piasters
capital, and who had not only spent all his money in drinking and
revellings, but had even got into debt for seventy other piasters,
which he was quite unable to pay, and that this was the reason they
were about to hang him. In a few moments the hangman appeared, leading
the gipsy, who was no other than the very man who had tried to cheat
the shepherd out of the princess.

The young shepherd recognised his rival at once, and, going near him,
said, 'What is this, my old friend? Have you really come to this?'
The instant the gipsy saw the shepherd he stopped and began to whine
and wail, begging him to save him from the gibbet, and he would be his
faithful servant all his life. 'As for the princess,' he added
cunningly, 'I have given her up a long time ago, and don't care for
anything if only my life is spared.'

Then the young shepherd was sorry for the poor trembling, whining
wretch, and offered to pay the debt for the gipsy if the people would
let him off. So they agreed to this, and the young man not only paid
the seventy piasters the gipsy owed, but bought him besides a suit of
good clothes as well as a carriage and a pair of fine horses. Then he
left him and went back to his ships, and they sailed on slowly along
the coast towards the king's residence.

Now when the gipsy had dressed himself out smartly in his fine new
clothes, he got into his carriage and drove off quickly to the king's
palace. Arrived there, he left his carriage and horses in the
courtyard, and went at once to the presence of the king, whom he
addressed thus: 'Your Majesty knows it is not yet quite a year since
you gave me seventy piasters to trade with, and see! I come back
already handsomely dressed, and have a fine carriage with a pair of
beautiful horses below in the yard. As for the young shepherd, I have
heard that he has not only spent all your Majesty's money in rioting,
but that he had also got in debt, for which he has been hung. So it is
no use waiting for him! Let us keep my wedding at once!'

The king did not fancy the gipsy for his son-in-law, and was thinking
what he could say to put him off a little time, when, looking by
chance through his window, he saw three strange-looking ships sailing
slowly towards the shore. At this he exclaimed, 'I see some foreign
visitors are coming to visit me, and I shall have enough to do to
receive them with due honours, so we must put off the marriage for
some days, at least!'

But the gipsy pressed the king more and more to let him marry the
princess at once; he was even bold enough to tell his Majesty that he
could not wait any longer, and that the wedding would be all over in
an hour. The king, however, refused to hear anything of this; so the
gipsy, seeing that his plan had failed, went out from the presence of
the king in great anger.

A few hours later the three strange-looking ships dropped their
anchors just opposite the palace, and the young shepherd, landing,
came into the presence of the king, who was greatly astonished to see
him alive, and still more astonished to hear that in return for his
seventy piasters he had brought three vessels full of gold and silver.

The king was now very well content to accept him as his son-in-law,
and told him, in the course of conversation, what the gipsy had said
about his having gone in debt and been hung. Then the young shepherd
told his Majesty how he had found the gipsy, and had saved his life by
paying his debt for him. The king was exceedingly angry, and ordered
his servants to go after the gipsy and bring him at once into his

The servants looked about and around the palace on all sides, but
nowhere could they find any trace of the gipsy. Then the king
commanded that some of them should go in search of him without delay,
and armed men were speedily scattered over the whole country, so that
at last he was caught, and brought before the king, who condemned him
to be hung for having so shamefully tried to injure the man who had
saved his life and treated him so generously, and for having, at the
same time, attempted to cheat the king.

The young shepherd spent a few days in the palace, telling the king
all the things he had seen in the black world, and then, all
preparations having been made, he was married to the princess, with
great pomp and rejoicings.

Then the king with his daughter and son-in-law lived for a great many
years very happily.


It happened once upon a time, many years ago, that a certain king went
into his forest to hunt, when instead of the usual game he caught a
wild man. This wild man the king had taken to his castle, and locked
up, for safety, in a dungeon. This done, he put out a proclamation
that whosoever should dare to set the wild man free should be put to

As luck would have it, the dungeon where the creature was confined was
just below the sleeping-room of the king's youngest son. Now the wild
man cried and groaned incessantly to be set free, and these unceasing
lamentations at length so moved the young prince that one night he
went down and opened the dungeon door, and let out the prisoner.

Next morning the king and all the courtiers and servants were
exceedingly astonished to hear no longer the usual sounds of wailing
from the dungeon, and the king, suspecting something amiss, went down
himself to see what had become of his captive. When he found the den
empty he flew into a great passion, and demanded fiercely who had
presumed to disobey his commands and let out the wild man. All the
courtiers were so terrified at the sight of the king's angry
countenance, that not one of them dared speak, not even to assert
their innocence. However, the young prince, the king's son, went
forward at last and confessed that the pitiful crying of the poor
creature had so disturbed him day and night, that at length he himself
had opened the door. When the king heard this, it was his turn to be
sorry, for he found himself compelled to put his own son to death or
give his own proclamation the lie.

However, some of his old counsellors, seeing how greatly the king was
perplexed and troubled, came and assured his Majesty that the
proclamation would in reality be carried out if the prince, instead of
being put to death, was simply banished from the kingdom for ever.

The king was very glad to find this way of getting out of the dilemma,
and so ordered his son to leave the country, and never come back to
it, at the same time he gave him many letters of recommendation to the
king of a very distant kingdom, and directed one of the court servants
to go with the young prince to wait upon him. Then the unhappy young
prince and his servant started on their long journey.

After travelling some time, the young prince became very thirsty, and,
seeing a well not far off, went up to it to drink. However, there
happened to be no bucket at the well, nor anything in which to draw
water, though the well was pretty full. Seeing this, the young prince
said to his servant, 'Hold me fast by the heels, and let me down into
the pit that I may drink.' So saying, he bent over the well, and the
servant let him down as he was directed.

When the prince had quenched his thirst, and wished to be pulled back,
the servant refused, saying, 'Now I can let you fall into the pit in a
moment, and I shall do so unless you consent at once to change clothes
and places with me. I will be the prince henceforth, and you shall be
my servant.'

The king's son, seeing that he had foolishly placed himself in the
power of the servant, promised readily everything his servant asked,
and begged only to be drawn up.

But the faithless servant, without noticing his master's prayers, said
roughly, 'You must make a solemn oath that you will not speak a word
to any one about the change we are going to make.'

Of course, since the prince could not help himself, he took the oath
at once, and then the servant drew him up, and they changed clothes.
Then the wicked servant dressed himself in his master's fine clothes,
mounted his master's horse, and rode forward on the journey, whilst
the unfortunate prince, disguised in his servant's dress, walked
beside him.

In this way they went on until they came to the court of the king to
which the exiled son had been recommended by his father.

Faithful to his promise, the unfortunate prince saw his false servant
received at the court with great honours as the son of a great king,
whilst he himself, all unnoticed, stood in the waiting-room with the
servants, and was treated by them with all familiarity as their equal.

After having some time enjoyed to his heart's content the
hospitalities the king lavished upon him, the false servant began to
be afraid that his master's patience might be wearied out soon, under
all the indignities to which he was exposed, and that one day he might
be tempted to forget his oath and proclaim himself in his true
character. Filled with these misgivings, the wicked man thought over
all possible ways by which he could do away with his betrayed master
without any danger to himself.

One day he thought he had found out a way to do this, and took the
first opportunity to carry out his cruel plan.

Now you must know that the king at whose court this unhappy prince and
the false servant were staying, kept in his gardens a great number of
wild beasts fastened up in large cages. One morning, as the pretended
prince was walking in these gardens with the king, he said suddenly,
'Your Majesty has a large number of very fine wild beasts, and I
admire them very much; I think, however, it is a pity that you keep
them always fastened up, and spend so much money over their food. Why
not send them under a keeper to find their own food in the forest? I
dare say your Majesty would be very glad if I recommended a man to you
who could take them out in the morning and bring them back safely at

The king asked, 'Do you really think, prince, that you can find me
such a man?'

'Of course, I can,' replied unhesitatingly the cruel man; 'such a man
is now in your Majesty's court. I mean my own servant. Only call him
and threaten that you will have his head cut off if he does not do it,
and compel him to accept the task. I dare say he will try to excuse
himself, and say the thing is impossible, but only threaten him with
the loss of his head whether he refuses or fails. For my part, I am
quite willing your Majesty should have him put to death, if he

When the king heard this, he summoned the disguised prince before him,
and said, 'I hear that you can do wonders: that you are able to drive
wild beasts out like cattle to find their own food in the forest, and
bring them back safely at night into their cages. Therefore, I order
you this morning to drive all my bears into the forest, and to bring
them back again in the evening. If you don't do this, your head will
pay for it; so beware!'

The unlucky prince answered, 'I am not able to do this thing, so your
Majesty had better cut off my head at once.'

But the king would not listen to him, only saying, 'We will wait until
evening; _then_ I shall surely have your head cut off unless you bring
back all my bears safely to their cages.'

Now nothing was left for the poor prince to do but open the cage-doors
and try his luck in driving the bears to the forest. The moment he
opened the doors all the bears rushed out wildly, and disappeared
quickly among the trees.

The prince followed them sadly into the forest, and sat down on a
fallen tree to think over his hard fortunes. As he sat thus, he began
to weep bitterly, for he saw no better prospect before him than to
lose his head at night.

As he sat thus crying, a creature in form like a man, but covered all
over with thick hair, came out of a neighbouring thicket, and asked
him what he was crying for. Then the prince told him all that had
happened to him, and that as all the bears had run away he expected to
be beheaded at night when he returned without them. Hearing this, the
wild man gave him a little bell, and said kindly, 'Don't be afraid!
Only take care of this bell, and when you wish the bears to return,
just ring it gently, and they will all come back and follow you
quietly into their cages.' And having said this he went away.

When the sun began to go down, the prince rang the little bell gently,
and, to his great joy, all the bears came dancing awkwardly round him,
and let him lead them back to the gardens, following him like a flock
of sheep, whilst he, pleased with his success, took out a flute and
played little airs as he walked before them. In this way he was able
to fasten them up again in their dens without the least trouble.

Every one at the court was astonished at this, and the false servant
more than all the others, though he concealed his surprise, and said
to the king, 'Your Majesty sees now that I told you the truth. I am
quite sure the man can manage the wolves just as well as the bears,
if you only threaten him as before.'

Thereupon, the next morning the king called the poor prince, and
ordered him to lead out the wolves to find their food in the forest
and to bring them back to their cages at night. 'Unless you do this,'
said his Majesty, as before, 'you will lose your head.'

The prince pleaded vainly the impossibility of his doing such a thing;
but the king would not hear him, only saying, 'You may as well try,
for whether you refuse or fail you will certainly lose your head.'

So the prince was obliged to open the cages of the wolves, and the
moment he did this the wild animals sprang past him into the thickets
just as the bears had done, and he, following them slowly, went and
sat down to bewail his ill-luck.

Whilst he sat thus weeping, the wild man came out of the wood and
asked him, just as he had done the day before, what he was crying for.
The prince told him, whereupon the creature gave him another little
bell, and said, 'When you want the wolves to come back, just ring this
bell, and they will all come and follow you.' Having said this he went
back into the wood, and left the prince alone.

Just before it grew dark, the prince rang his bell, and to his great
joy all the wolves came rushing up to him from all quarters of the
forest, and followed him quietly back to their cages.

Seeing this, the false servant advised the king to send out the birds
also, and to threaten the disguised prince with the loss of his head
if he failed to bring them also back in the evening.

Accordingly the next morning the king ordered the prince to let out
all the wild doves, and to bring them all safely to their different
cages before night set in.

The instant the poor young man opened the cage-doors the wild doves
rose like a cloud into the air, and vanished over the tops of the
trees. So the prince went into the forest and sat down again on the
fallen tree. As he sat there, thinking how hopeless a task he had now
before him, he could not help crying aloud and bewailing all his past
misfortunes and present miserable fate.

Hardly had he begun to lament, however, before the same wild man came
from the bushes near him and asked what fresh trouble had befallen
him. Then the prince told him. Thereupon the wild man gave him a third
bell, saying, 'When you wish the wild doves to return to their cages
you have only to ring this little bell.' And so it indeed happened,
for the moment the prince began ringing softly, all the doves came
flying about him, and he walked back to the palace gardens and shut
them up in their different cages without the least trouble.

Now, happily for the prince, the king had just at this time much more
important business on his hands than finding his wild beasts and birds
in food without paying for it. No less a matter, in fact, began to
occupy him than the finding a suitable husband for his daughter. For
this purpose he sent out a proclamation that he would hold races
during three days, and would reward the victor of each day with a
golden apple. Whosoever should succeed in winning all three apples
should have the young princess for his wife. Now this princess was far
more beautiful than any other princess in the world, and an exceeding
great number of knights prepared to try and win her. This, the poor
prince in his servant's dress watched with great dismay; for he had
fallen deeply in love with the fair daughter of the king. So he
puzzled himself day and night with plans how he, too, could try his
luck in the great race.

At last he determined to go into the forest and ask the wild man to
help him. When the wild man heard the prince calling, he came out of
the thicket, and listened to all he had to say about the matter.
Seeing how much the prince was interested in the young princess, who
was to be the prize of the victor, the wild man brought out some
handsome clothes and a fine horse, and gave them to the prince,
saying, 'When you start in a race, do not urge your horse too much,
but at the end, when you are getting near the goal, spur him, and then
you will be sure to win. Don't forget, however, to bring me the golden
apple as soon as you receive it.'

All came to pass just as the wild man had said. The prince won the
apples the two first days; but as he disappeared as soon as he
received them from the king, no one in the court recognised him in his
fine attire, and all wondered greatly who the stranger knight might
be. As for the king, he was more perplexed and curious than all the
rest, and determined not to let the stranger escape so easily the
third day. So he ordered a deep, wide ditch to be dug at the end of
the race-course, and a high wall built beyond it, thinking thus to
stop the victor and find out who he was.

The prince, hearing of the king's orders, and guessing the reason of
them, went once again into the forest to ask help from his wild
friend. The wild man, thereupon, brought out to him a still more
beautiful racer, and a suit of splendid clothes; and, thus prepared,
the prince took his place as before among the knights who were going
to try for the prize. He won the golden apple this third time also;
but, to the surprise of the king and the whole court, who hoped now to
find out who he was, he made his horse spring lightly over the ditch,
and the great wall, and vanished again in the forest.

The king tried every way to find out who had won the three golden
apples, but all in vain. At last, one day, the princess, walking in
the gardens of the palace, met the prince disguised in his servant's
dress, and saw the shining of the three apples which he carried
concealed in his bosom. Thereupon she ran at once to her father, and
told him what she had seen, and the king, wondering very much, called
the servant before him.

Now the prince thought it time to put an end to all his troubles, and
therefore told the king frankly all his misfortunes. He related how he
had offended the king, his father, and been exiled for life; how his
false servant had betrayed him; and how the wild man he had set free
had come to help him out of the fearful snares the wicked servant had
spread for him.

After hearing all this, the king very gladly gave him the princess for
wife, and ordered the false servant to be put to death immediately.

As for the prince, he lived with his beautiful princess very happily
for many years after this, and when the king, his father-in-law, died,
he left to them both the kingdom.


Once upon a time there was an old man who, whenever he heard anyone
complain how many sons he had to care for, always laughed and said, 'I
wish that it would please God to give me a hundred sons!'

This he said in jest; as time, however, went on he had, in reality,
neither more nor less than a hundred sons.

He had trouble enough to find different trades for his sons, but when
they were once all started in life they worked diligently and gained
plenty of money. Now, however, came a fresh difficulty. One day the
eldest son came in to his father and said, 'My dear father, I think it
is quite time that I should marry.'

Hardly had he said these words before the second son came in, saying,
'Dear father, I think it is already time that you were looking out for
a wife for me.'

A moment later came in the third son, asking, 'Dear father, don't you
think it is high time that you should find me a wife?' In like manner
came the fourth and fifth, until the whole hundred had made a similar
request. All of them wished to marry, and desired their father to find
wives for them as soon as he could.

The old man was not a little troubled at these requests; he said,
however, to his sons, 'Very well, my sons, _I_ have nothing to say
against your marrying; there is, however, I foresee, one great
difficulty in the way. There are one hundred of you asking for wives,
and I hardly think we can find one hundred marriageable girls in all
the fifteen villages which are in our neighbourhood.'

To this the sons, however, answered, 'Don't be anxious about that, but
mount your horse and take in your sack sufficient engagement-cakes.
You must take, also, a stick in your hand so that you can cut a notch
in it for every girl you see. It does not signify whether she be
handsome or ugly, or lame or blind, just cut a notch in your stick for
every one you meet with.'

The old man said, 'Very wisely spoken, my sons! I will do exactly as
you tell me.'

Accordingly he mounted his horse, took a sack full of cakes on his
shoulder and a long stick in his hand, and started off at once to beat
up the neighbourhood for girls to marry his sons.

The old man had travelled from village to village during a whole
month, and whenever he had seen a girl he cut a notch in his stick.
But he was getting pretty well tired, and he began to count how many
notches he had already made. When he had counted them carefully over
and over again, to be certain that he had counted all, he could only
make out seventy-four, so that still twenty-six were wanting to
complete the number required. He was, however, so weary with his
month's ride, that he determined to return home. As he rode along, he
saw a priest driving oxen yoked to a plough, and seemingly very deep
in anxious thought about something. Now the old man wondered a little
to see the priest ploughing his own corn-fields without even a boy to
help him, he therefore shouted to ask him why he drove his oxen
himself. The priest, however, did not even turn his head to see who
called to him, so intent was he in urging on his oxen and in guiding
his plough.

The old man thought he had not spoken loud enough, so he shouted out
again as loud as he could, 'Stop your oxen a little, and tell me why
you are ploughing yourself without even a lad to help you, and this,
too, on a holy-day?'

Now the priest--who was in a perspiration with his hard work--answered
testily, 'I conjure you by your old age, leave me in peace! I cannot
tell you my ill-luck.'

At this answer, however, the old man was only the more curious, and
persisted all the more earnestly in asking questions to find out why
the priest ploughed on a Saint's day. At last the priest, tired with
his importunity, sighed deeply and said, 'Well, if you _will_ know: I
am the only man in my household, and God has blessed me with a hundred

The old man was overjoyed at hearing this, and exclaimed cheerfully,
'That's very good! It is just what I want, for _I_ have a hundred
sons, and so, as you have a hundred daughters, we can be friends!'

The moment the priest heard this he became pleasant and talkative, and
invited the old man to pass the night in his house. Then, leaving his
plough in the field, he drove the oxen back to the village. Just
before reaching his house, however, he said to the old man, 'Go
yourself into the house whilst I tie up my oxen.'

No sooner, however, had the old man entered the yard than the wife of
the priest rushed at him with a big stick, crying out, 'We have not
bread enough for our hundred daughters, and we want neither beggars
nor visitors,' and with these words she drove him away.

Shortly afterwards the priest came out of the barn, and, finding the
old man sitting on the road before the gate, asked him why he had not
gone into the house as he had told him to do. Whereupon the old man
replied, 'I went in, but your wife drove me away!'

Then the priest said, 'Only wait here a moment till I come back to
fetch you.' He then went quickly into his house and scolded his wife
right well, saying, 'What have you done? What a fine chance you have
spoiled! The man who came in was going to be our friend, for he has a
hundred sons who would gladly have married our hundred daughters!'

When the wife heard this she changed her dress hastily, and arranged
her hair and head-dress in a different fashion. Then she smiled very
sweetly, and welcomed with the greatest possible politeness the old
man, when her husband led him into the house. In fact, she pretended
that she knew nothing at all of any one having been driven away from
their door. And as the old man wanted much to find wives for his sons,
he also pretended that he did not know that the smiling house-mistress
and the woman who drove him away with a stick were one and the
self-same person.

So the old man passed the night in the house, and next morning asked
the priest formally to give him his hundred daughters for wives for
his hundred sons. Thereupon the priest answered that he was quite
willing, and had already spoken to his daughters about the matter, and
that they, too, were all quite willing. Then the old man took out his
'engagement-cakes,' and put them on the table beside him, and gave
each of the girls a piece of money to _mark_ them. Then each of the
engaged girls sent a small present by him to that one of his sons to
whom she was thus betrothed. These gifts the old man put in the bag
wherein he had carried the 'engagement-cakes.' He then mounted his
horse, and rode off merrily homewards.

There were great rejoicings in his household when he told how
successful he had been in his search, and that he really had found a
hundred girls ready and willing to be married; and these hundred, too,
a priest's daughters.

The sons insisted that they should begin to make the wedding
preparations without delay and commenced at once to invite the guests
who were to form part of the wedding procession to go to the priest's
house and bring home the brides.

Here, however, another difficulty occurred. The old father must find
two hundred _brideleaders_ (two for each bride); one hundred _kooms_
(first witnesses); one hundred _starisvats_ (second witnesses); one
hundred _chaious_ (running footmen who go before the processions) and
three hundred _vojvodes_ (standard-bearers); and, besides these, a
respectable number of other non-official guests.[32]

    [32] See 'Popular Customs of Serbia,' by the same author.

To find all these persons the father had to hunt throughout the
neighbourhood for three years; at last, however, they were all found,
and a day was appointed when they were to meet at his house and go
thence in procession to the house of the priest.

On the appointed day all the invited guests gathered at the old man's
house. With great noise and confusion, after a fair amount of
feasting, the wedding procession was formed properly, and set out for
the house of the priest where the hundred brides were already prepared
for their departure for their new home.

So great was the confusion, indeed, that the old man quite forgot to
take with him one of the hundred sons, and never missed him in the
greeting and talking and drinking he was obliged, as father of the
bridegrooms, to go through. Now the young man had worked so long and
so hard in preparing for the wedding-day that he never woke up till
long after the procession had started and every one had had, like his
father, too much to do and too many things to think of to miss him.

The wedding procession arrived in good order at the priest's house,
where a feast was already spread out for them. Having done honour to
the various good things, and having gone through all the ceremonies
usual on such occasions, the hundred brides were given over to their
'leaders,' and the procession started on its return to the old man's
house. But, as they did not set off until pretty late in the
afternoon, it was decided that the night should be spent somewhere on
the road. When they came, therefore, to a certain river named
'Luckless,' as it was already dark, some of the men proposed that the
party should pass the night by the side of the water without crossing
over. However, some others of the chief of the party so warmly advised
the crossing the river and encamping on the other bank, that this
course was at length, after a very lively discussion, determined on;
accordingly the procession began to move over the bridge.

Just, however, as the wedding party were half-way across the bridge
its two sides began to draw nearer each other, and pressed the people
so close together that they had hardly room to breathe--much less
could they move forwards or backwards.

They were kept for some time in this position, some shouting and
scolding, others quiet because frightened, until at length a black
giant appeared, and shouted to them in a terribly loud voice, 'Who are
you all? Where do you come from? Where are you going?'

Some of the bolder among them answered, 'We are going to our old
friend's house, taking home the hundred brides for his hundred sons;
but unluckily we ventured on this bridge after nightfall, and it has
pressed us so tightly together that we cannot move one way or the

'And where is your old friend?' inquired the black giant.

Now all the wedding guests turned their eyes towards the old man.
Thereupon he turned towards the giant, who instantly said to him,
'Listen, old man! Will you give me what you have forgotten at home, if
I let your friends pass over the bridge?'

The old man considered some time what it might be that he had
forgotten at home, but, at last, not being able to recollect anything
in particular that he had left, and hearing on all sides the groans
and moans of his guests, he replied, 'Well, I will give it you, if you
will only let the procession pass over.'

Then the black giant said to the party, 'You all hear what he has
promised, and are all my witnesses to the bargain. In three days I
shall come to fetch what I have bargained for.'

Having said this, the black giant widened the bridge and the whole
procession passed on to the other bank in safety. The people, however,
no longer wished to spend the night on the way, so they moved on as
fast as they could, and early in the morning reached the old man's

As everybody talked of the strange adventure they had met with, the
eldest son, who had been left at home, soon began to understand how
the matter stood, and went to his father saying, 'O my father! you
have sold _me_ to the black giant!'

Then the old man was very sorry, and troubled; but his friends
comforted him, saying, 'Don't be frightened! nothing will come of it.'

The marriage ceremonies were celebrated with great rejoicings. Just,
however, as the festivities were at their height, on the third day,
the black giant appeared at the gate and shouted, 'Now, give me at
once what you have promised.'

The old man, trembling all over, went forward and asked him, 'What do
you want?'

'Nothing but what you have promised me!' returned the black giant.

As he could not break his promise, the old man, very much distressed,
was then obliged to deliver up his eldest son to the giant, who
thereupon said, 'Now I shall take your son with me, but after three
years have passed you can come to the Luckless River and take him

Having said this the black giant disappeared, taking with him the
young man, whom he carried off to his workshop as an apprentice to the
trade of witchcraft.

From that time the poor old man had not a single moment of happiness.
He was always sad and anxious, and counted every year, and month, and
week, and even every day, until the dawn of the last day of the three
years. Then he took a staff in his hand and hurried off to the bank of
the river Luckless. As soon as he reached the river, he was met by the
black giant, who asked him, 'Why are you come?' The old man answered
that he had come to take home his son, according to his agreement.

Thereupon the giant brought out a tray on which stood a sparrow, a
turtle-dove, and a quail, and said to the old man, 'Now, if you can
tell which of these is your son, you may take him away.'

The poor old father looked intently at the three birds, one after the
other, and over and over again, but at last he was forced to own that
he could not tell which of them was his son. So he was obliged to go
away by himself, and was far more miserable than before. He had
hardly, however, got half-way home when he thought he would go back to
the river and take one of the birds which he remembered had looked at
him intently.

When he reached the river Luckless he was again met by the black
giant, who brought out the tray again, and placed on it this time a
partridge, a tit-mouse, and a thrush, saying, 'Now, my old man, find
out which is your son!'

The anxious father again looked at one bird after the other, but he
felt more uncertain than before, and so, crying bitterly, again went

Just as the old man was going through a forest, which was between the
river Luckless and his house, an old woman met him, and said, 'Stop a
moment! Where are you hurrying to? And why are you in such trouble?'
Now, the old man was so deeply musing over his great unhappiness that
he did not at first attend to the old woman; but she followed him,
calling after him, and repeating her questions with more earnestness.
So he stopped at last, and told her what a terrible misfortune had
fallen upon him. When the old woman had listened to the whole story,
she said cheerfully, 'Don't be cast down! Don't be afraid! Go back
again to the river, and, when the giant brings out the three birds,
look into their eyes sharply. When you see that one of the birds has a
tear in one of its eyes, seize that bird and hold it fast, for it has
a human soul.'

The old man thanked her heartily for her advice, and turned back, for
the third time, towards the Luckless River. Again the black giant
appeared, and looked very merry whilst he brought out his tray and put
upon it a sparrow, a dove, and a woodpecker, saying, 'My old man! find
out which is your son!' Then the father looked sharply into the eyes
of the birds, and saw that from the right eye of the dove a tear
dropped slowly down. In a moment he grasped the bird tightly, saying,
'This is my son!' The next moment he found himself holding fast his
eldest son by the shoulder, and so, singing and shouting in his great
joy, took him quickly home, and gave him over to his eldest
daughter-in-law, the wife of his son.

Now, for some time they all lived together very happily. One day,
however, the young man said to his father, 'Whilst I was apprentice in
the workshop of the black giant, I learned a great many tricks of
witchcraft. Now I intend to change myself into a fine horse, and you
shall take me to market and sell me for a good sum of money. But be
sure not to give up the halter.'

The father did as the son had said. Next market-day he went to the
city with a fine horse which he offered for sale. Many buyers came
round him, admiring the horse, and bidding large sums for it, so that
at last the old man was able to sell it for two thousand ducats. When
he received the money, he took good care not to let go the halter, and
he returned home far richer than he ever dreamt of being.

A few days later, the man who had bought the horse sent his servant
with it to the river to bathe, and, whilst in the water, the horse got
loose from the servant and galloped off into the neighbouring forest.
There he changed himself back into his real shape, and returned to his
father's house.

After some time had passed, the young man said one day to his father,
'Now I will change myself into an ox, and you can take me to market to
sell me; but take care not to give up the rope with which you lead

So next market-day the old man went to the city leading a very fine
ox, and soon found a buyer, who offered him ten times the usual price
paid for an ox. The buyer asked also for the rope to lead the animal
home, but the old man said, 'What do you want with such an old thing?
You had better buy a new one!' and he went off taking with him the

That evening, whilst the servants of the buyer were driving the ox to
the field, he ran away into a wood near, and, having taken there his
human shape, returned home to his father's house.

On the eve of the next market-day, the young man said to his father,
'Now I will change myself into a cow with golden horns, and you can
sell me as before, only take care not to give up the string.'

Accordingly he changed himself next morning into a cow, and the old
man took it to the market-place, and asked for it three hundred

But the black giant had learnt that his former apprentice was making a
great deal of money by practising the trade he had taught him, and,
being jealous at this, he determined to put an end to the young man's

Therefore, on the third day he came to the market himself as a buyer,
and the moment he saw the beautiful cow with golden horns he knew that
it could be no other than his former apprentice. So he came up to the
old man, and, having outbid all the other would-be purchasers, paid at
once the price he had agreed on. Having done this, he caught the
string in his hand, and tried to wrench it from the terrified old man,
who called out, 'I have not sold you the string, but the cow!' and
held the string as fast as he could with both hands.

'Oh, no!' said the buyer, 'I have the law and custom on my side!
Whoever buys a cow, buys also the string with which it is led!' Some
of the amused and astonished lookers-on said that this was quite true,
therefore the old man was obliged to give up the string.

The black giant, well satisfied with his purchase, took the cow with
him to his castle, and, after having put iron chains on her legs,
fastened her in a cellar. Every morning the giant gave the cow some
water and hay, but he never unchained her.

One evening, however, the cow, with incessant struggles, managed to
get free from the chains, and immediately opened the cellar-door with
her horns and ran away.

Next morning the black giant went as usual into the cellar, carrying
the hay and water for the cow; but seeing she had got free and run
away, he threw the hay down, and started off at once to pursue her.

When he came within sight of her, he turned himself into a wolf and
ran at her with great fury; but his clever apprentice changed himself
instantly from a cow into a bear, whereupon the giant turned himself
from a wolf into a lion; the bear then turned into a tiger, and the
lion changed into a crocodile, whereupon the tiger turned into a
sparrow. Upon this the giant changed from the form of a crocodile into
a hawk, and the apprentice immediately changed into a hare; on seeing
which, the hawk became a greyhound. Then the apprentice changed from a
hare into a falcon, and the greyhound into an eagle; whereupon the
apprentice changed into a fish. The giant then turned from an eagle
into a mouse, and immediately the apprentice, as a cat, ran after him;
then the giant turned himself into a heap of millet, and the
apprentice transformed himself into a hen and chickens, which very
greedily picked up all the millet except one single seed, in which the
master was, who changed himself into a squirrel; instantly, however,
the apprentice became a hawk, and, pouncing on the squirrel, killed

In this way the apprentice beat his master, the black giant, and
revenged himself for all the sufferings he had endured whilst learning
the trade of witchcraft. Having killed the squirrel, the hawk took his
proper shape again, and the young man returned joyfully to his father,
whom he made immensely rich.


A long while ago there lived a poor old couple, who had an only son.
The old man and his wife worked very hard to nourish their child well
and bring him up properly, hoping that he, in return, would take care
of them in their old age.

When, however, the boy had grown up, he said to his parents, 'I am a
man now, and I intend to marry, so I wish you to go at once to the
king and ask him to give me his daughter for wife.' The astonished
parents rebuked him, saying, 'What can you be thinking of? We have
only this poor hut to shelter us, and hardly bread enough to eat, and
we dare not presume to go into the king's presence, much less can we
venture to ask for his daughter to be your wife.'

The son, however, insisted that they should do as he said, threatening
that if they did not comply with his wishes he would leave them, and
go away into the world. Seeing that he was really in earnest in what
he said, the unhappy parents promised him they would go and ask for
the king's daughter. Then the old mother made a wedding cake in her
son's presence, and, when it was ready, she put it in a bag, took her
staff in her hand, and went straight to the palace where the king
lived. There the king's servants bade her come in, and led her into
the hall where his Majesty was accustomed to receive the poor people
who came to ask alms or to present petitions.

The poor old woman stood in the hall, confused and ashamed at her
worn-out, shabby clothes, and looking as if she were made of stone,
until the king said to her kindly, 'What do _you_ want from me, old

She dared not, however, tell his Majesty why she had come, so she
stammered out in her confusion, 'Nothing, your Majesty.'

Then the king smiled a little and said, 'Perhaps you come to ask

Then the old woman, much abashed, replied, 'Yes, your Majesty, if you

Thereupon the king called his servants and ordered them to give the
old woman ten crowns, which they did. Having received this money, she
thanked his Majesty, and returned home, saying to herself, 'I dare say
when my son sees all this money he will not think any more of going
away from us.'

In this thought, however, she was quite mistaken, for no sooner had
she entered the hut than the son came to her and asked impatiently,
'Well, mother, have you done as I asked you?'

At this she exclaimed, 'Do give up, once for all, this silly fancy, my
son. How could you expect me to ask the king for his daughter to be
your wife? That would be a bold thing for a rich nobleman to do, how
then can _we_ think of such a thing? Anyhow, _I_ dared not say one
word to the king about it. But only look what a lot of money I have
brought back. Now you can look for a wife suitable for you, and then
you will forget the king's daughter.'

When the young man heard his mother speak thus, he grew very angry, and
said to her, 'What do I want with the king's money? I don't want his
money, but I _do_ want his daughter! I see you are only playing with
me, so I shall leave you. I will go away somewhere--anywhere--wherever
my eyes lead me.'

Then the poor old parents prayed and begged him not to go away from
them, and leave them alone in their old age; but they could only quiet
him by promising faithfully that the mother should go again next day
to the king, and this time really ask him to give his daughter to her
son for a wife.

In the morning, therefore, the old woman went again to the palace, and
the servants showed her into the same hall she had been in before. The
king, seeing her stand there, inquired, 'What want you, my old woman,

She was, however, so ashamed that she could hardly stammer, 'Nothing,
please your Majesty.'

The king, supposing that she came again to beg, ordered his servants
to give her this time also ten crowns.

With this money the poor woman returned to her hut, where her son met
her, asking, 'Well, mother, _this_ time I hope you have done what I
asked you?' But she replied, 'Now, my dear son, do leave the king's
daughter in peace. How can you really think of such a thing? Even if
she would marry you, where is the house to bring her to? So be quiet,
and take this money which I have brought you.'

At these words the son was more angry than before, and said sharply,
'As I see you will not let me marry the king's daughter, I will leave
you this moment and never come back again;' and, rushing out of the
hut, he ran away. His parents hurried after him, and at length
prevailed on him to return, by swearing to him that his mother should
go again to the king next morning, and really and in truth ask his
Majesty this time for his daughter.

So the young man agreed to go back home and wait until the next day.

On the morrow the old woman, with a heavy heart, went to the palace,
and was shown as before into the king's presence. Seeing her there for
the third time, his Majesty asked her impatiently, 'What do you want
this time, old woman?' And she, trembling all over, said, 'Please your
Majesty--nothing.' Then the king exclaimed, 'But it cannot be nothing.
Something you must want, so tell me the truth at once, if you value
your life!' Thereupon the old woman was forced to tell all the story
to the king; how her son had a great desire to marry the princess, and
so had forced her to come and ask the king to give her to him for

When the king had heard everything, he said, 'Well, after all, _I_
shall say nothing against it if my daughter will consent to it.' He
then told his servants to lead the princess into his presence. When
she came he told her all about the affair, and asked her, 'Are you
willing to marry the son of this old woman?'

The princess answered, 'Why not? If only he learns first the trade
that no one knows!' Thereupon the king bade his attendants give money
to the poor woman, who now went back to her hut with a light heart.

The moment she entered, her son asked her, 'Have you engaged her?' And
she returned, 'Do let me get my breath a little! Well, _now_ I have
really asked the king; but it is of no use, for the princess declares
she will not marry you until you have learnt the trade that no one

'Oh, that matters nothing!' exclaimed the son. 'Now I only know the
condition, it's all right!' The next morning the young man set out on
his travels through the world in search of a man who could teach him
the trade that no one knows. He wandered about a long time without
being able to find out where he could learn such a trade. At length
one day, being quite tired out with walking and very sad, he sat down
on a fallen log by the wayside. After he had sat thus a little while,
an old woman came up to him, and asked, 'Why art thou so sad, my son?'
And he answered, 'What is the use of your asking, when you cannot help
me?' But she continued, 'Only tell me what is the matter, and perhaps
I can help you.' Then he said, 'Well, if you must know, the matter is
this: I have been travelling about the world a long time to find a
master who can teach me the trade which no one knows.' 'Oh, if it is
only that,' cried the old woman, 'just listen to me! Don't be afraid,
but go straight into the forest which lies before you, and there you
will find what you want.'

The young man was very glad to hear this, and got up at once and went
to the forest. When he had gone pretty far in the wood, he saw a large
castle, and, whilst he stood looking at it and wondering what it was,
four giants came out of it and ran up to him, shouting, 'Do you wish
to learn the trade that no one knows?' He said, 'Yes; that is just the
reason why I come here.' Whereupon they took him into the castle.

Next morning the giants prepared to go out hunting, and, before
leaving, they said to him, 'You must on no account go into the first
room by the dining-hall.' Hardly, however, were the giants well out of
sight before the young man began to reason thus with himself: 'I see
very well that I have come into a place from which I shall never go
out alive with my head, so I may as well see what is in the room, come
what may afterwards.' So he went and opened the door a little and
peeped in. There stood a golden ass, bound to a golden manger. He
looked at it a little, and was just going to shut the door when the
ass said, 'Come and take the halter from my head, and keep it hidden
about you. It will serve you well if you only understand how to use
it.' So he took the halter, and, after fastening the room door,
quickly concealed it under his clothes. He had not sat very long
before the giants came home. They asked him at once if he had been in
the first room, and he, much frightened, replied, 'No, I have not been
in.' 'But we know that you have been!' said the giants in great anger,
and seizing some large sticks, they beat him so severely that he could
hardly stand on his feet. It was very lucky for him that he had the
halter wound round his body under his clothes, or else he would
certainly have been killed.

The next day the giants again prepared to go out hunting, but before
leaving him they ordered him on no account to enter the second room.

Almost as soon as the giants had gone away he became so very curious
to see what might be in the second room, that he could not resist
going to the door. He stood there a little, thinking within himself,
'Well, I am already more dead than alive, much worse cannot happen to
me!' and so he opened the door and looked in. There he was surprised
to see a very beautiful girl, dressed all in gold and silver, who sat
combing her hair, and setting in every tress a large diamond. He stood
admiring her a little while, and was just going to shut the door
again, when she spoke, 'Wait a minute, young man. Come and take this
key, and mind you keep it safely. It will serve you some time, if you
only know how to use it.' So he went in and took the key from the
girl, and then, going out, fastened the door and went and sat down in
the same place he had sat before.

He had not remained there very long before the giants came home from
hunting. The moment they entered the house they took up their large
sticks to beat him, asking, at the same time, whether he had been in
the second room.

Shaking all over with fear, he answered them, 'No, I have not!'

'But we know that you have been,' shouted the giants in great anger,
and they then beat him worse than on the first day.

The next morning, as the giants went out as usual to hunt, they said
to him, 'Do not go into the third room, for anything in the world; for
if you do go in we shall not forgive you as we did yesterday, and the
day before! We shall kill you outright!' No sooner, however, had the
giants gone out of sight, than the young man began to say to himself,
'Most likely they will kill me, whether I go into the room or not.
Besides, if they do not kill me, they have beaten me so badly already
that I am sure I cannot live long, so, anyhow, I will go and see what
is in the third room.' Then he got up and went and opened the door.

He was quite shocked, however, when he saw that the room was full of
human heads! These heads belonged to young men who had come, like
himself, to learn the trade that no one knows, and who, having obeyed
faithfully and strictly the orders of the giants, had been killed by

The young man was turning quickly to go away, when one of the heads
called out, 'Don't be afraid, but come in!' Thereupon he went into the
room. Then the head gave him an iron chain, and said, 'Take care of
this chain, for it will serve you some time if you know how to use
it!' So he took the chain, and going out fastened the door.

He went and sat down in the usual place to wait for the coming home of
the giants, and, as he waited, he grew quite frightened, for he fully
expected that they would really kill him this time.

The instant the giants came home they took up their thick sticks and
began to beat him without stopping to ask anything. They beat him so
terribly that he was all but dead; then they threw him out of the
house, saying to him, 'Go away now, since you have learnt the trade
that no one knows!' When he had lain a long time on the ground where
they had thrown him, feeling very sore and miserable, at length he
tried to move away, saying to himself, 'Well, if they really have
taught me the trade that no one knows, for the sake of the king's
daughter I can suffer gladly all this pain, if I can only win her!'

After travelling for a long time, the young man came at last to the
palace of the king whose daughter he wished to marry. When he saw the
palace, he was exceedingly sad, and remembered the words of the
princess; for, after all his wanderings and sufferings, he had learnt
no trade, and had never been able to find what trade it was 'that no
one knows.' Whilst considering what he had better do, he suddenly
recollected the halter, the key, and the iron chain, which he had
carried concealed about him ever since he left the castle of the four
giants. He then said to himself, 'Let me see what these things can
do!' So he took the halter and struck the earth with it, and
immediately a handsome horse, beautifully caparisoned, stood before
him. Then he struck the ground with the iron chain, and instantly a
hare and a greyhound appeared, and the hare began to run quickly and
the greyhound to follow her. In a moment the young man hardly knew
himself, for he found himself in a fine hunting-dress, riding on the
horse after the hare, which took a path that passed immediately under
the windows of the king's palace. Now, it happened that the king stood
at a window looking out, and noticed at once the beautiful greyhound
which was chasing the hare, and the very handsome horse which a
huntsman in a splendid dress was mounted on. The king was so pleased
with the appearance of the horse and the greyhound, that he called
instantly some of his servants, and, sending them after the strange
rider, bade them invite him to come to the palace. The young man,
however, hearing some people coming behind him calling and shouting,
rode quickly behind a thick bush, and shook a little the halter and
the iron chain. In a moment the horse, the greyhound, and the hare had
vanished, and he found himself sitting on the ground under the trees
dressed in his old shabby clothes. By this time the king's servants
had come up, and, seeing him sit there, they asked him whether he had
seen a fine huntsman on a beautiful horse pass that way. But he
answered them rudely, 'No! I have not seen anyone pass, neither do I
care to look to see who passes!'

Then the king's servants went on and searched the forest, calling and
shouting as loudly as they could, but it was all in vain; they could
neither see nor hear anything of the hunter. At length they went back
to the king, and told him that the horse the huntsman rode was so
exceedingly quick that they could not hear anything of him in the

The young man now resolved to go to the hut where his old parents
lived; and they were glad to see that he had come back to them once

Next morning, the son said to his father, 'Now, father, I will show
you what I have learned. I will change myself into a beautiful horse,
and you must lead me into the city and sell me, but be very careful
not to give away the halter, or else I shall remain always a horse!'
Accordingly, in a moment he changed himself into a horse of
extraordinary beauty, and the father took him to the market-place to
sell him. Very soon a great number of people gathered round the horse,
wondering at his unusual beauty, and very high prices were offered for
him; the old man, however, raised the price higher and higher at every
offer. The news spread quickly about the city that a wonderfully
handsome horse was for sale in the market-place, and at length the
king himself heard of it, and sent some servants to bring the horse,
that he might see it. The old man led the horse at once before the
palace, and the king, after looking at it for some time with great
admiration, could not help exclaiming, 'By my word, though I am a
king, I never yet saw, much less rode, so handsome a horse!' Then he
asked the old man if he would sell it him. 'I will sell it to your
Majesty, very willingly,' said the old man; 'but I will sell only the
horse, and not the halter.' Thereupon the king laughed, saying, 'What
should I want with your dirty halter? For such a horse I will have a
halter of gold made!' So the horse was sold to the king for a very
high price, and the old man returned home with the money.

Next morning, however, there was a great stir and much consternation
in the royal stables, for the beautiful horse had vanished somehow
during the night. And at the time when the horse disappeared, the
young man returned to his parents' hut.

A day or two afterwards the young man said to his father, 'Now I will
turn myself into a fine church not far from the king's palace, and if
the king wishes to buy it you may sell it him, only be sure not to
part with the key or else I must remain always a church!'

When the king got up that morning, and went to his window to look out,
he saw a beautiful church which he had never noticed before. Then he
sent his servants out to see what it was, and soon after they came
back saying, that 'the church belonged to an old pilgrim, who told
them that he was willing to sell it if the king wished to buy it.'
Then the king sent to ask what price he would sell it for, and the
pilgrim replied, 'It is worth a great deal of money.'

Whilst the servants were bargaining with the father an old woman came
up. Now this was the same old woman who had sent the young man to the
castle of the four giants, and she herself had been there and had
learnt the trade that no one knew. As she understood at once all about
the church, and had no mind to have a rival in the trade, she resolved
to put an end to the young man. For this purpose she began to outbid
the king, and offered, at last, so very large a sum of ready money,
that the old man was quite astonished and confused at seeing the money
which she showed him. He accordingly accepted her offer, but whilst he
was counting the money, quite forgot about the key. Before long,
however, he recollected what his son had said, and then, fearing some
mischief, he ran after the old woman and demanded the key back. But
the old woman could not be persuaded to give back the key, and said it
belonged to the church which she had bought and paid for. Seeing she
would not give up the key, the old man grew more and more alarmed,
lest some ill should befall his son, so he took hold of the old woman
by the neck and forced her to drop the key. She struggled very hard to
get it back again, and, whilst the old man and she wrestled together,
the key changed itself suddenly into a dove and flew away high in the
air over the palace gardens.

When the old woman saw this, she changed herself into a hawk and
chased the dove. Just, however, as the hawk was about to pounce upon
it, the dove turned itself into a beautiful bouquet, and dropped down
into the hand of the king's daughter who happened to be walking in the
garden. Then the hawk changed again into the old woman, who went to
the gate of the palace and begged very hard that the princess would
give her that bouquet, or, at least, one single flower from it.

But the princess said, 'No! not for anything in the world! These
flowers fell to me from heaven!' The old woman, however, was
determined to get one flower from the bouquet, so, seeing the princess
would not hear her, she went straight to the king, and begged
piteously that he would order his daughter to give her one of the
flowers from her bouquet. The king, thinking the old woman wanted one
of the flowers to cure some disease, called his daughter to him, and
told her to give one to the beggar.

But just as the king said this, the bouquet changed itself into a heap
of millet-seed and scattered itself all over the ground. Then the old
woman quickly changed herself into a hen and chickens, and began
greedily to pick up the seeds. Suddenly, however, the millet vanished,
and in its place appeared a fox, which sprang on the hen and killed

Then the fox changed into the young man, who explained to the
astonished king and princess that he it was who had demanded the hand
of the princess, and that, in order to obtain it, he had wandered all
over the world in search of some one who could teach him 'the trade
that no one knows.'

When the king and his daughter heard this, they gladly fulfilled their
part of the bargain, seeing how well the young man had fulfilled his.

Then, shortly afterwards, the king's daughter married the son of the
poor old couple; and the king built for the princess and her husband a
palace close to his own. There they lived long and had plenty of
children, and people say that some of their descendants are living at
present, and that these go constantly to pray in the church, which is
always open because the key of it turned itself into a young man who
married the king's daughter, after he had shown to her that he had
done as she wished, and learnt, for her sake, 'the trade that no one


In a very remote country there formerly lived a king who had only one
child,--an exceedingly beautiful daughter. The princess had a great
number of suitors, and amongst them were three young noblemen, whom
the king loved much. As, however, the king liked the three nobles
equally well, he could not decide to which of the three he should give
his daughter as a wife. One day, therefore, he called the three young
noblemen to him, and said, 'Go all of you and travel about the world.
The one of you who brings home the most remarkable thing shall become
my son-in-law!'

The three suitors started at once on their travels, each of them
taking opposite ways, and going in search of remarkable things into
distant and different countries.

A long time had not passed before one of the young nobles found a
wonderful carpet which would carry rapidly through the air whoever sat
upon it.

Another of them found a marvellous telescope, through which he could
see everybody and everything in the world, and even the many-coloured
sands at the bottom of the great deep sea.

The third found a wonder-working ointment, which could cure every
disease in the world, and even bring dead people back to life again.

Now the three noble travellers were far distant from each other when
they found these wonderful things. But when the young man who had
found the telescope looked through it he saw one of his former friends
and present rivals walking with a carpet on his shoulder, and so he
set out to join him. As he could always see, by means of his
marvellous telescope, where the other nobleman was, he had no great
difficulty in finding him, and when the two had met, they sat side by
side on the wonderful carpet, and it carried them through the air
until they had joined the third traveller.

One day, when each of them had been telling of the remarkable things
he had seen in his travels, one of them exclaimed suddenly, 'Now let
us see what the beautiful princess is doing, and where she is.' Then
the noble who had found the telescope looked through it and saw, to
his great surprise and dismay, that the king's daughter was lying very
sick, and at the point of death. He told this to his two friends and
rivals, and they, too, were as thunderstruck at the bad news--until
the one who had found the wonder-working ointment, remembering it
suddenly, exclaimed, 'I am sure I could cure her, if I could only
reach the palace soon enough!' On hearing this, the noble who had
found the wonderful carpet, cried out, 'Let us sit down on my carpet,
and it will quickly carry us to the king's palace!'

Thereupon the three nobles gently placed themselves on the carpet,
which rose instantly in the air, and carried them direct to the king's

The king received them immediately; but said very sadly, 'I am sorry
for you; for all your travels have been in vain. My daughter is just
dying, so she can marry none of you!'

But the nobleman who possessed the wonder-working ointment said
respectfully, 'Do not fear, sire, the princess will not die!' And on
being permitted to enter the apartment where she lay sick, he placed
the ointment so that she could smell it. In a few moments the princess
revived, and when her waiting-women had rubbed a little of the
ointment in her skin she recovered so quickly that in a few days she
was better than she had been before she was taken ill.

The king was so glad to have his daughter given back to him, as he
thought, from the grave, that he declared that she should marry no one
but the young nobleman whose wonderful ointment had cured her.

But now a great dispute arose between the three young nobles; the one
who possessed the ointment affirmed that had he not found it the
princess would have died, and could not, therefore, have married any
one; the noble who owned the telescope declared that had he not found
the wonderful telescope they would never have known that the princess
was dying, and so his friend would not have brought the ointment to
cure her; whilst the third noble proved to them that had he not found
the wonderful carpet, neither the finding of the ointment nor the
telescope would have helped the princess, since they could not have
travelled such a great distance in time to save her.

The king, overhearing this dispute, called the young noblemen to him,
and said to them, 'My lords, from what you have said, I see that I
cannot, with justice, give my daughter to any of you; therefore, I
pray you to give up altogether the idea of marrying her, and that you
continue friends as you always were before you became rivals.'

The three young nobles saw that the king had decided justly; so they
all left their native country, and went into a far-off desert to live
like hermits. And the king gave the princess to another of his great

Many, many years had passed away since the marriage of the princess,
when her husband was sent by her father to a distant country with
which the king was waging war. The nobleman took his wife, the
princess, with him, as he was uncertain how long he might be forced to
remain abroad. Now it happened that a violent storm arose just as the
vessel, in which the princess and her husband were, was approaching a
strange coast, and in the height of the great tempest the ship dashed
on some rocks, and went to pieces instantly. All the people on board
perished in the waves, excepting only the princess, who clung very
fast to a boat, and was carried by the wind and the tide to the
sea-shore. There she found what seemed to be an uninhabited country,
and, finding a small cave in a rock, she lived in it alone three
years, feeding on wild herbs and fruits. She searched every day to
find some way out of the forest which surrounded her cave, but could
find none. One day, however, when she had wandered farther than usual
from the cave where she lived, she came suddenly on another cave,
which had, to her great astonishment, a small door. She tried over and
over again to open the door, thinking she would pass the night in the
cave; but all her efforts were unavailing, it was shut so fast. At
length, however, a deep voice from within the cave called out, 'Who is
at the door?'

At this the princess was so surprised that she could not answer for
some moments; when, however, she had recovered a little, she said,
'Open me the door!' Immediately the door was opened from within, and
she saw, with sudden terror, an old man with a thick grey beard
reaching below his waist, and long white hair flowing over his

What frightened the princess the more was her finding a man living
here in the same desert where she had lived herself three years
without seeing a single soul.

The hermit and the princess looked at each long and earnestly without
saying a word. At length, however, the old man said, 'Tell me, are you
an angel or a daughter of this world?'

Then the princess answered, 'Old man, let me rest a moment, and then I
will tell you all about myself, and what brought me here!' So the
hermit brought out some wild pears, and when the princess had taken
some of them, she began to tell him who she was, and how she came in
that desert. She said, 'I am a king's daughter, and once, many years
ago, three young nobles of my father's court asked the king for my
hand in marriage. Now the king had such an equal affection for all
these three young men that he was unwilling to give pain to any of
them, so he sent them to travel into distant countries, and promised
to decide between them when they returned.

'The three noblemen remained a long time away; and whilst they were
still abroad somewhere, I fell dangerously ill. I was just at the
point of death, when they all three returned suddenly; one of them
bringing a wonderful ointment which cured me at once; the two others
brought each equally remarkable things--a carpet that would carry
whoever sat on it through the air, and a telescope with which one
could see everybody and everything in the world, even to the sands at
the bottom of the sea.'

The princess had gone on thus far with her story, when the hermit
suddenly interrupted her, saying, 'All that happened afterwards I know
as well as you can tell me. Look at me, my daughter! I am one of those
noblemen who sought to win your hand, and here is the wonderful
telescope.' And the hermit brought out the instrument from a recess in
the side of his cave before he continued, 'My two friends and rivals
came with me to this desert. We parted, however, immediately, and have
never met since. I know not whether they are living or dead, but I
will look for them.'

Then the hermit looked through his telescope, and saw that the other
two noblemen were living in caves like his, in different parts of the
same desert. Having found this out, he took the princess by the hand,
and led her on until they found the other hermits. When all were
re-united, the princess related her adventures since the ship, in
which her husband was, had gone down, and she alone had been saved.

The three noble hermits were pleased to see her alive once again, but
at once decided that they ought to send her back to the king, her

Then they made the princess a present of the wonderful telescope, and
the wonder-working ointment, and placed her on the wonderful carpet,
which carried her and her treasures quickly and safely to her father's
palace. As for the three noblemen, they remained, still living like
hermits, in the desert, only they visited each other now and then, so
that the years seemed no longer so tedious to them. For they had many
adventures to relate to each other.

The king was exceedingly glad to receive his only child back safely,
and the princess lived with her father many years but neither the king
nor his daughter could entirely forget the three noble friends who,
for her sake, lived like hermits in a wild desert in a far-off land.


Once upon a time, a long, long while ago, there lived a young king who
wished very much to marry, but could not decide where he had better
look for a wife.

One evening as he was walking disguised through the streets of his
capital, as it was his frequent custom to do, he stopped to listen
near an open window where he heard three young girls chatting gaily

The girls were talking about a report which had been lately spread
through the city, that the king intended soon to marry.

One of the girls exclaimed, 'If the king would marry me I would give
him a son who should be the greatest hero in the world.'

The second girl said, 'And if I were to be his wife I would present
him with two sons at once. Two twins with golden hair.'

And the third girl declared that were the king to marry _her_ she
would give him a daughter so beautiful that there should not be her
equal in the whole wide world!

The young king listened to all this, and for some time thought over
their words, and tried to make up his mind which of the three girls
he should choose for his wife. At last he decided that he would marry
the one who had said she would bring him twins with golden hair.

Having once settled this in his own mind, he ordered that all
preparations for his marriage should be made forthwith, and shortly
after, when all was ready, he married the second girl of the three.

Several months after his marriage, the young king, who was at war with
one of the neighbouring princes, received tidings of the defeat of his
army, and heard that his presence was immediately required in the
camp. He accordingly left his capital and went to his army, leaving
the young queen in his palace to the care of his stepmother.

Now the king's stepmother hated her daughter-in-law very much indeed,
so when the young queen was near her confinement, the old queen told
her that it was always customary in the royal family for the heirs to
the throne to be born in a garret.

The young queen (who knew nothing about the customs in royal families
except what she had learnt from hearing or seeing since her marriage
to the king) believed implicitly what her mother-in-law told her,
although she thought it a great pity to leave her splendid apartments
and go up into a miserable attic.

Now when the golden-haired twins were born, the old queen contrived to
steal them out of their cradle, and put in their place two ugly little
dogs. She then caused the two beautiful golden-haired boys to be
buried alive in an out-of-the-way spot in the palace gardens, and then
sent word to the king that the young queen had given him two little
dogs instead of the heirs he was hoping for. The wicked stepmother
said in her letter to the king that she herself was not surprised at
this, though she was very sorry for his disappointment. As to herself,
she had a long time suspected the young queen of having too great a
friendship for goblins and elves, and all kinds of evil spirits.

When the king received this letter, he fell into a frightful rage,
because he had only married the young girl in order to have the
golden-haired twins she had promised him as heirs to his throne.

So he sent word back to the old queen that his wife should be put at
once into the dampest dungeon in the castle, an order which the wicked
woman took good care to see carried out without delay. Accordingly the
poor young queen was thrown into a miserably dark dungeon under the
palace, and kept on bread and water.

Now there was only a very small hole in this prison--hardly large
enough to let in light and air--yet the old queen managed to cause a
great many people to pass by this hole, and whoever passed was ordered
to spit at and abuse the unhappy young queen, calling out to her, 'Are
you really the queen? Are you the girl who cheated the king in order
to be a queen? Where are your golden-haired twins? You cheated the
king and your friends, and now the witches have cheated you!'

But the young king, though terribly angry and mortified at his great
disappointment, was, at the same time, too sad and troubled to be
willing to return to his palace. So he remained away for fully nine
years. When he at last consented to return, the first thing he noticed
in the palace gardens were two fine young trees, exactly the same size
and the same shape.

These trees had both golden leaves and golden blossoms, and had grown
up of themselves from the very spot where the stepmother of the king
had buried the two golden-haired boys she had stolen from their

The king admired these two trees exceedingly, and was never weary of
looking at them. This, however, did not at all please the old queen,
for she knew that the two young princes were buried just where the
trees grew, and she always feared that by some means what she had done
would come to the king's ears. She therefore pretended that she was
very sick, and declared that she was sure she should die unless her
stepson, the king, ordered the two golden-leaved trees to be cut down,
and a bed made for her out of their wood.

As the king was not willing to be the cause of her death, he ordered
that her wishes should be attended to, notwithstanding he was
exceedingly sorry to lose his favourite trees.

A bed was soon made from the two trees, and the seemingly sick old
queen was laid on it as she desired. She was quite delighted that the
golden-leaved trees had disappeared from the garden; but when midnight
came, she could not sleep a bit, for it seemed to her that she heard
the boards of which her bed was made in conversation with each other!

At last it seemed to her, that one board said, quite plainly, 'How
are you, my brother?' And the other board answered, 'Thank you, I am
very well; how are you?' 'Oh, I am all right,' returned the first
board; 'but I wonder how our poor mother is in her dark dungeon!
Perhaps she is hungry and thirsty!'

The wicked old queen could not sleep a minute all night, after hearing
this conversation between the boards of her new bed; so next morning
she got up very early and went to see the king. She thanked him for
attending to her wish, and said she already was much better, but she
felt quite sure she would never recover thoroughly unless the boards
of her new bed were cut up and thrown into a fire. The king was sorry
to lose entirely even the boards made out of his two favourite trees,
nevertheless he could not refuse to use the means pointed out for his
stepmother's perfect recovery.

So the new bed was cut to pieces and thrown into the fire. But whilst
the boards were blazing and crackling, two sparks from the fire flew
into the courtyard, and in the next moment two beautiful lambs with
golden fleeces and golden horns were seen gambolling about the yard.

The king admired them greatly, and made many inquiries who had sent
them there, and to whom they belonged. He even sent the public crier
many times through the city, calling on the owners of the
golden-fleeced lambs to appear and claim them; but no one came, so at
length he thought he might fairly take them as his own property.

The king took very great care of these two beautiful lambs, and every
day directed that they should be well fed and attended to; this,
however, did not at all please his stepmother. She could not endure
even to look on the lambs with their golden fleeces and golden horns,
for they always reminded her of the golden-haired twins. So, in a
little while she pretended again to be dangerously sick, and declared
she felt sure she should soon die unless the two lambs were killed and
cooked for her.

The king was even fonder of his golden-fleeced lambs than he had been
of the golden-leaved trees, but he could not long resist the tears and
prayers of the old queen, especially as she seemed to be very ill.
Accordingly, the lambs were killed, and a servant was ordered to carry
their golden fleeces down to the river and to wash the blood well out
of them. But whilst the servant held them under the water, they
slipped, in some way or another, out of his fingers, and floated down
the stream, which just at that place flowed very rapidly. Now it
happened that a hunter was passing near the river a little lower down,
and, as he chanced to look in the water, he saw something strange in
it. So he stepped into the stream, and soon fished out a small box
which he carried to his house, and there opened it. To his unspeakably
great surprise, he found in the box two golden-haired boys. Now the
hunter had no children of his own; he therefore adopted the twins he
had fished out of the river, and brought them up just as if they had
been his own sons. When the twins were grown up into handsome young
men, one of them said to his foster-father, 'Make us two suits of
beggar's clothes, and let us go and wander a little about the world!'
The hunter, however, replied and said, 'No, I will have a fine suit
made for each of you, such as is fitting for two such noble-looking
young men.' But as the twins begged hard that he should not spend his
money uselessly in buying fine clothes, telling him that they wished
to travel about as beggars, the hunter--who always liked to do as his
two handsome foster-sons wished--did as they desired, and ordered two
suits of clothes, like those worn by beggars, to be prepared for them.
The two sons then dressed themselves up as beggars, and as well as
they could hid their beautiful golden locks, and then set out to see
the world. They took with them a gusle[33] and a cymbal, and
maintained themselves with their singing and playing.

    [33] 'Gusle,' one-stringed instrument on which the Servian
    bards accompany their recitation of ballads.

They had wandered about in this way some time when one day they came
to the king's palace. As the afternoon was already pretty far
advanced, the young musicians begged to be allowed to pass the night
in one of the outbuildings belonging to the court, as they were poor
men, and quite strangers in the city. The old queen, however, who
happened to be just then in the courtyard saw them, and hearing their
request, said sharply that beggars could not be permitted to enter any
part of the king's palace. The two travellers said they had hoped to
pay for their night's lodging by their songs and music, as one of
them played and sung to the gusle, and the other to the cymbal.

The old queen, however, was not moved by this, but insisted on their
going away at once. Happily for the two brothers the king himself came
out into the courtyard just as his stepmother angrily ordered them to
go away, and at once directed his servants to find a place for the
musicians to sleep in, and ordered them to provide the brothers with a
good supper. After they had supped, the king commanded them to be
brought before him that he might judge of their skill as musicians,
and that their singing might help him to pass the time more

Accordingly, after the two young men had taken the refreshment
provided for them, the servants took them into the king's presence,
and they began to sing this ballad:--

'The pretty bird, the swallow, built her nest with care, in the palace
of the king. In the nest she reared up happily two of her little ones.
A black, ugly-looking bird, however, came to the swallow's nest to mar
her happiness, and to kill her two little ones. And the ugly black
bird succeeded in destroying the happiness of the poor little swallow;
the little ones, however, although yet weak and unfledged, were saved,
and, when they were grown up and able to fly, they came to look at the
palace where their mother, the pretty swallow, had built her nest.'

This strange song the two minstrels sung so very sweetly that the king
was quite charmed, and asked them the meaning of the words.

Whereupon the two meanly dressed young men took off their hats, so
that the rich tresses of their golden hair fell down over their
shoulders, and the light glanced so brightly upon it that the whole
hall was illuminated by the shining. They then stepped forward
together, and told the king all that had happened to them and to their
mother, and convinced him that they were really his own sons.

The king was exceedingly angry when he heard all the cruel things his
stepmother had done, and he gave orders that she should be burnt to
death. He then went with the two golden-haired princes to the
miserable dungeon wherein his unfortunate wife had been confined so
many years, and brought her once more into her beautiful palace.
There, looking on her golden-haired sons, and seeing how much the
king, their father, loved them, she soon forgot all her long years of
misery. As to the king, he felt that he could never do enough to make
amends for all the misfortunes his queen had lived through, and all
the dangers to which his twins sons had been exposed. He felt that he
had too easily believed the stories of the old queen, because he would
not trouble himself to inquire more particularly into the truth or
falsehood of the strange things she had told him.

After all this mortification, and trouble, and misery, everything came
right at last. So the king and his wife, with their golden-haired
twins, lived together long and happily.


There was once a king who had three sons. One evening, when the young
princes were going to sleep, the king ordered them to take good note
of their dreams and come and tell them to him next morning.

So, the next day the princes went to their father as soon as they
awoke, and the moment the king saw them he asked of the eldest, 'Well,
what have you dreamt?'

The prince answered, 'I dreamt that I should be the heir to your

And the second said, 'And I dreamt that I should be the first subject
in the kingdom.'

Then the youngest said, '_I_ dreamt that I was going to wash my hands,
and that the princes, my brothers, held the basin, whilst the queen,
my mother, held fine towels for me to dry my hands with, and your
majesty's self poured water over them from a golden ewer.'

The king, hearing this last dream, became very angry, and exclaimed,
'What! I--the king--pour water over the hands of my own son! Go away
this instant out of my palace, and out of my kingdom! You are no
longer my son.'

The poor young prince tried hard to make his peace with his father,
saying that he was really not to be blamed for what he had only
dreamed; but the king grew more and more furious, and at last actually
thrust the prince out of the palace.

So the young prince was obliged to wander up and down in different
countries, until one day, being in a large forest, he saw a cave, and
entered it to rest. There, to his great surprise and joy, he found a
large kettle full of Indian corn, boiling over a fire and, being
exceedingly hungry, began to help himself to the corn. In this way he
went until he was shocked to see he had nearly eaten up all the maize,
and then, being afraid some mischief would come of it, he looked about
for a place in which to hide himself. At this moment, however, a great
noise was heard at the cave-mouth, and he had only time to hide
himself in a dark corner before a blind old man entered, riding on a
great goat and driving a number of goats before him.

The old man rode straight up to the kettle, but as soon as he found
that the corn was nearly all gone, he began to suspect some one was
there, and groped about the cave until he caught hold of the prince.

'Who are you?' asked he sharply; and the prince answered, 'I am a
poor, homeless wanderer about the world, and have come now to beg you
to be good enough to receive me.'

'Well,' said the old man, 'why not? I shall at least have some one to
mind my corn whilst I am out with my goats in the forest.'

So they lived together for some time; the prince remaining in the
cave to boil the maize, whilst the old man drove out his goats every
morning into the forest.

One day, however, the old man said to the prince, 'I think you shall
take out the goats to-day, and I will stay at home to mind the corn.'

This the prince consented to very gladly, as he was tired of living so
long quietly in the cave. But the old man added, 'Mind only one thing!
There are nine different mountains, and you can let the goats go
freely over eight of them, but you must on no account go on the ninth.
The Vilas (_fairies_) live there, and they will certainly put out your
eyes as they have put out mine, if you venture on their mountain.'

The prince thanked the old man for his warning, and then, mounting the
great goat, drove the rest of the goats before him out of the cave.

Following the goats, he had passed over all the mountains to the
eighth, and from this he could see the ninth mountain, and could not
resist the temptation he felt to go upon it. So he said to himself, 'I
will venture up, whatever happens!'

Hardly had he stepped on the ninth mountain before the fairies
surrounded him, and prepared to put out his eyes. But, happily a
thought came into his head, and he exclaimed, quickly, 'Dear Vilas,
why take this sin on your heads? Better let us make a bargain, that if
you spring over a tree that I will place ready to jump over, you shall
put out my eyes, and I will not blame you!'

So the Vilas consented to this, and the prince went and brought a
large tree, which he cleft down the middle almost to the root; this
done, he placed a wedge to keep the two halves of the trunk open a

When it was fixed upright, he himself first jumped over it, and then
he said to the Vilas, 'Now it is your turn. Let us see if you can
spring over the tree!'

One Vila attempted to spring over, but the same moment the prince
knocked the wedge out, and the trunk closing, at once held the Vila
fast. Then all the other fairies were alarmed, and begged him to open
the trunk and let their sister free, promising, in return, to give him
anything he might ask. The prince said, 'I want nothing except to keep
my own eyes, and to restore eyesight to that poor old man.' So the
fairies gave him a certain herb, and told him to lay it over the old
man's eyes, and then he would recover his sight. The prince took the
herb, opened the tree a little so as to let the fairy free, and then
rode back on the goat to the cave, driving the other goats before him.
When he arrived there he placed at once the herb on the old man's
eyes, and in a moment his eyesight came back, to his exceeding
surprise and joy.

Next morning the old man, before he drove out his goats, gave the
prince the keys of eight closets in the cave, but warned him on no
account to open the ninth closet, although the key hung directly over
the door. Then he went out, telling the prince to take good care that
the corn was ready for their suppers.

Left alone in the cave, the young man began to wonder what might be
in the ninth closet, and at last he could not resist the temptation to
take down the key and open the door to look in.

What was his surprise to see there a golden horse, with a golden
greyhound beside him, and near them a golden hen and golden chickens
were busy picking up golden millet-seeds.

The young prince gazed at them for some time, admiring their beauty,
and then he spoke to the golden horse, 'Friend, I think we had better
leave this place before the old man comes back again.'

'Very well,' answered the golden horse, 'I am quite willing to go
away, only you must take heed to what I am going to tell. Go and find
linen cloth enough to spread over the stones at the mouth of the cave,
for if the old man hears the ring of my hoofs he will be certain to
kill you. Then you must take with you a little stone, a drop of water,
and a pair of scissors, and the moment I tell you to throw them down
you must obey me quickly, or you are lost.'

The prince did everything that the golden horse had ordered him, and
then, taking up the golden hen with her chickens in a bag, he placed
it under his arm, and mounted the horse and rode quickly out of the
cave, leading with him, in a leash, the golden greyhound. But the
moment they were in the open air the old man, although he was very far
off, tending his goats on a distant mountain, heard the clang of the
golden hoofs, and cried to his great goat, 'They have run away. Let us
follow them at once.'

In a wonderfully short time the old man on his great goat came so
near the prince on his golden horse, that the latter shouted, 'Throw
now the little stone!'

The moment the prince had thrown it down, a high rocky mountain rose
up between him and the old man and before the goat had climbed over
it, the golden horse had gained much ground. Very soon, however, the
old man was so nearly catching them that the horse shouted, 'Throw,
now, the drop of water!' The prince obeyed instantly, and immediately
saw a broad river flowing between him and his pursuer.

It took the old man on his goat so long to cross the river that the
prince on his golden horse was far away before them; but for all that
it was not very long before the horse heard the goat so near behind
him that he shouted, 'Throw the scissors.' The prince threw them, and
the goat, running over them, injured one of his forelegs very badly.
When the old man saw this, he exclaimed, 'Now I see I cannot catch
you, so you may keep what you have taken. But you will do wisely to
listen to my counsel. People will be sure to kill you for the sake of
your golden horse, so you had better buy at once a donkey, and take
the hide to cover your horse. And do the same with your golden

Having said this, the old man turned and rode back to his cave; and
the prince lost no time in attending to his advice, and covered with
donkey-hide his golden horse and his golden hound.

After travelling a long time the prince came unawares to the kingdom
of his father. There he heard that the king had had a ditch--three
hundred yards wide and four hundred yards deep--dug, and had
proclaimed that whosoever should leap his horse over it, should have
the princess, his daughter, for wife.

Almost a whole year had elapsed since the proclamation was issued, but
as yet no one had dared to risk the leap. When the prince heard this,
he said, 'I will leap over it with my donkey and my dog!' and he leapt
over it.

But the king was very angry when he heard that a poorly dressed man,
on a donkey, had dared to leap over the great ditch which had
frightened back his bravest knights; so he had the disguised prince
thrown into one of his deepest dungeons, together with his donkey and
his dog.

Next morning the king sent some of his servants to see if the man was
still living, and these soon ran back to him, full of wonder, and told
him that they had found in the dungeon, instead of a poor man and his
donkey, a young man, beautifully dressed, a golden horse, a golden
greyhound, and a golden hen, surrounded by golden chickens, which were
picking up golden millet-seeds from the ground.

Then the king said, 'That must be some powerful prince.' So he ordered
the queen, and the princes, his sons, to prepare all things for the
stranger to wash his hands. Then he went down himself into the
dungeon, and led the prince up with much courtesy, desiring to make
thus amends for the past ill-treatment.

The king himself took a golden ewer full of water, and poured some
over the prince's hands, whilst the two princes held the basin under
them, and the queen held out fine towels to dry them on.

This done, the young prince exclaimed, 'Now, my dream is fulfilled;'
and they all at once recognised him, and were very glad to see him
once again amongst them.


There was once upon a time an old man whose family consisted of his
wife, three sons, and a daughter. They were exceedingly poor, and
finding that they could not possibly all live at home, the three sons
and the daughter went out into the world in different directions to
find some means of living. Thus the old man and his wife remained

Having neither horses nor oxen, the old man was obliged to go every
day to the forest for fuel, and carry home the firewood on his back.

On one occasion it was nearly evening when he started to go to the
forest, and his wife, who was afraid to remain alone in the house,
begged very hard to be permitted to go with him. He objected very much
at first, but as she persisted in her entreaties, he at length
consented to her following him, first bidding her, however, take good
care to make the house-door safe, lest some one should break into the

The old woman thought the door would be safest if she took it off its
hinges, and carried it away on her back. So she took it off and
followed her husband as fast as she was able. The old man, however,
was not angry when he saw how she had mistaken his words, and the
manner she had chosen to make sure of the door; for, he reflected,
there was little or nothing at all in the house for any one to steal.

When they had reached the forest the husband began to cut wood, and
his wife gathered the branches together in a heap. Meanwhile it had
got very late, and they were anxious as to how they should pass the
night, seeing their own house was so far off that they would be unable
to reach it before morning, and there were no houses in the
neighbourhood where they could sleep. At last they observed a very
tall and widely spreading pine-tree, and they resolved to climb up and
pass the night on one of its branches.

The man got up first, and his wife followed him, drawing, with great
difficulty, the door after her. Her husband advised her to leave the
door on the ground under the tree; but she would not listen to him,
and could not be persuaded to remain in the tree without her
house-door. Hardly had they settled themselves on a branch, the old
woman holding fast her door, before they heard a great noise, which
came nearer and nearer.

They were excessively frightened at the noise, and dared neither speak
nor move.

In a short time they saw a captain of robbers followed by twelve of
his men, approach the tree; the robbers were dressed all alike, in
gold and silver, and one of them carried a sheep killed and ready for
roasting. When the old man and woman saw the band of robbers come and
settle under the pine-tree in which they had themselves taken refuge
they thought their time was come, and gave themselves up for lost.

As soon as the robbers had settled themselves, the youngest of them
made a fire and put the sheep down to roast, whilst the captain
conversed with the others. The sheep was already roasted and cut up,
and the robbers had begun with great gaiety to eat it, when the old
woman told her husband that she could not possibly hold the door any
longer, but must let it fall. The old man begged her piteously not to
let it go, but to hold it fast and keep quiet, lest the robbers should
discover and kill them. The old woman said, however, that she was so
exceedingly tired she could no longer by any possibility hold it. The
old man, seeing it was no good talking about it, declared that, as he
could not hold his corner of the door any longer when she had let go
her corner, it was not worth while to complain, 'since,' as he said,
'what must be must be, and it is no use to be sorry for anything in
this world.' Thereupon they both loosened their holds of the door at
once, and it fell down, making a great noise--especially with its iron
lock--as it fell from branch to branch.

The door made so much noise in falling, that the whole forest
re-echoed with the sound.

The robbers, greatly astonished at the noise, and too frightened by
the unexpected clashing above their heads to see what was the cause,
took to their heels, without once thinking of the roast sheep they
left behind, or of any of the treasures which they had brought with
them. One of them alone did not run away far from the spot, but hid
himself behind a tree, and waited to see what might come of so much

The old couple, seeing the robbers did not return, came down from the
tree, and, being exceedingly hungry, began to eat heartily; the old
man all the time praising the wisdom of his wife in throwing down the

The robber who had hidden himself, seeing only the old people near the
fire, came up to them, and begged to be allowed to share their meal,
as he had not eaten anything for the last twenty-four hours. This they
permitted, and spoke of all kinds of things, until the old man
exclaimed suddenly to the robber, 'Take care! you have a hair on your
tongue! Do not choke yourself, for I have no means to bury you here!'

The brigand took this joke in earnest, and begged the old man to take
the hair out of his mouth, and he would in return show him a cave
wherein a great treasure was hidden. As he was describing the great
heaps of gold ducats, thalers, shillings, and other coins which he
said were in the cave, the old woman interrupted him, saying, 'I will
take the hair out of your mouth, without pay! Only put your tongue out
and shut your eyes!' The robber very gladly did as she told him, and
she caught up a knife and in a moment cut off a piece of his tongue.
Then she said, 'Well, now! I have taken the hair out!' When the robber
felt what had been done to him he jumped up and down in pain, and at
length ran away without hat or coat in the same direction as his
companions had gone, shouting all the time, 'Help! help! give me some
plaster!' His companions, hearing imperfectly these words,
misunderstood him, and thought he cried to them, 'Help yourselves;
here is the police-master!' especially as he ran as if the captain of
police with a large force was at his heels. Accordingly, the robbers
themselves ran faster and farther away.

Meanwhile the old couple thought it no longer safe to stay under the
pine-tree, so they gathered up quickly all the money, whether gold or
silver, which they could carry, and hurried back to their home. When
they got there they found the hens of the neighbours had pulled off
the thatch of their house; they were, however, the less sorry for
this, since they had now money enough to build another and a better
home. And this they did, and continued to live in their fine new house
without once remembering their sons and daughter, who had been
wandering about the world already some nine long years.

In the meantime the sons and the daughter had been working each in a
different part of the world. When, however, they had been away from
their home nine years, they all, as if by common consent, conceived an
ardent desire to go back once more to their father's house. So they
took the whole of the savings which they had laid up in their nine
years' service, and commenced their journeys homewards.

On his travels the eldest brother met with three gipsies, who were
teaching a young bear to dance by putting him on a red-hot plate of
iron. He felt compassion for the creature in its sufferings, and asked
the gipsies why they were thus tormenting the animal. 'Better,' he
said, 'let me have it, and I will give you three pieces of silver for
it!' The gipsies accepted the offer eagerly, took the three pieces of
silver, and gave him the bear. Travelling farther on he met with some
huntsmen who had caught a young wolf, which they were about to kill.
He offered them, also, three pieces of silver for the animal, and
they, pleased to get so much, readily sold it. A little further still
he met some shepherds, who were about to hang a little dog. He was
sorry for the poor brute, and offered to give them two pieces of
silver if they would give the dog to him, and this they very gladly
agreed to.

So he travelled on homeward, attended by the young bear, the wolf-cub,
and the little dog. As all his nine years' savings had amounted only
to nine pieces of silver, he had now but a single piece left.

Before he reached his father's house he met some boys who were about
to drown a cat. He offered them his last piece of money if they would
give him the cat, and they were content with the bargain and gave it
up to him. So, at last, he arrived at his home without any money, but
with a bear, a wolf, a dog, and a cat.

Just so, it had happened with the other two brothers. By their nine
years' work they had only saved nine pieces of silver, and on their
way home they had spent them in ransoming animals, exactly as the
eldest brother had done.

The sister, in her nine years' service, had saved only five pieces of
money. As she travelled homeward she met with a hedgehog who was
buying from a mouse its iron teeth, offering in exchange for them its
bone teeth and two pieces of money besides.

When she had listened a while to their bargaining, she said to the
mouse, 'My dear little mouse, I offer you the hedgehog's teeth and
three pieces of silver besides!'

The mouse instantly agreed to this bargain. So she caught the
hedgehog, drew its teeth, and gave them, with three pieces of silver,
to the mouse, who gave her in return its iron teeth.

As she went on her journey she began to suspect that the mouse had
deceived her. To see if this was so or not she determined to make
trial of the teeth, and, going a little aside from the road, she found
a thick oak-tree and began to bite at it. It seemed to her that she
had hardly begun to gnaw at the tree when it already commenced
shaking, and threatened to fall. Seeing this, she was satisfied that
she had really got the iron teeth, and so went on her journey quite

Before she reached her father's house she observed a mouse sharpening
its teeth upon a stone. So she begged the mouse to lend her the stone,
that she might sharpen her teeth also. The mouse, however, refused to
do this unless she gave two pence. Without much reflection, she took
out her last two pieces of money and handed them to the mouse, which
gave her in return the stone to sharpen her teeth with.

Then she resumed her journey homeward. As she walked, however, she
reflected upon what she should say when her parents and brothers asked
her where she had been, and how much she had saved during the nine
years she had been from home.

When she reached home she found her three brothers already there with
their treasures--that is to say, with their bears, wolves, dogs, and
cats. Luckily for her, her brothers did not ask her how much she had
saved, for they felt sure that she must have made large savings. They
asked her only about her health, and how she had travelled, and were
all very glad that they were once again united together as a family.

This joy, however, did not last long. Soon after they had returned,
the old father died. Then the three brothers consulted together, and
decided to invest part of the money, which their father and mother had
got from the robbers, in the purchase of four horses and one

But their affairs did not go on very smoothly. One morning, instead of
three horses in the stable they found only two; the third horse had
been killed. Something had bitten it, sucked its blood, and devoured
half of its body! And it was the finest of the three horses which had
been killed. After this, the brothers resolved for the future to keep
watch every night in the stable. When night came, they consulted as to
which of them should first keep guard, and the youngest brother said,
'_I_ will do so.' Accordingly, after having supped, he went to the
stable to sleep there. Just about midnight came into the stable a
creature all in white, and jumped at once on the youngest horse and
began to gnaw it. When the brother who was watching saw that, he was
in a great fright; so much so, indeed, that without stopping to find
the doors, he got out through a hole in the roof. Whilst he was thus
making his escape, the monster killed the horse, sucked its blood, and
ate up half the body.

Next day, when the elder brothers saw what had happened, they made a
great lamentation over their loss. At night the eldest brother said to
the second, 'Now do you go and keep a good watch; it is your horse that
is in danger!' So the second brother went at once into the stable and
lay down. Again, about midnight, the thing in white came in, and the
watcher, as much frightened as his younger brother had been the night
before, jumped up and escaped just as he had done. The monster, having
bitten the horse, sucked its blood, and ate up half of it.

Next morning, when he saw what had happened, the eldest brother said
that _he_ would keep guard at night over the remaining horse. So at
night he went into the stable, gave his horse plenty of hay, and
placed himself in a corner to watch. Again, when it was about
midnight, the same creature in white came in. Seeing it coming he was
first frightened, but soon rallied his spirits and stood, holding his
breath, to see what would follow.

He saw that the thing in white looked something like his sister, and
carried in its hand a whetstone. Coming up to the horse the monster
bit it, sucked its blood, and, after having eaten up half the body,
left the stable. All that time the eldest brother had remained quiet,
never stirring at all. Perhaps he did this from fear; perhaps,
however, because he had resolved to be quiet, whatever might happen.

Next morning, when the younger brothers found that the horse had been
killed and half devoured, during their eldest brother's watch, they
began to laugh and to tease him with his loss. He told them that _he_,
however, knew what they did not--who it was that had killed and eaten
their horses; but that they must not speak a word about it to any one.
He then told them that their own sister had slain their horse, and had
sucked the blood. At first they refused to believe this; soon,
however, they were convinced that it was true. And the proof came in
this way.

One morning the two elder brothers went into the fields to work, and
the younger remained at home. Their sister likewise remained at home,
without knowing, however, that her youngest brother was also in the
house. The eldest brother on going out had directed the youngest to
place a kettle with water on the fire to boil, and to keep stirring
the fire under it. In case the water should turn to blood he was
immediately to open the cellar, let out a little dog, and bid it
follow the way which they had taken when they went into the fields.

When the two brothers were gone, the youngest went to walk in the
yard, and on coming back heard a great noise and wailing in the
house. So he went to the house-door and looked in through the keyhole;
and what do you think he saw? His sister had cut her old mother's
throat, and was just about to put the body on a spit to roast. On
seeing this, he was terribly frightened, and ran to hide himself
behind a large tub which stood in the kitchen. Shortly afterward his
sister brought the spit out of doors, and put it before the fire to
roast, speaking aloud, 'I shall do the same with my three brothers,
one after the other, and then I shall remain alone the mistress of the
entire property.'

When the roasting was done, she carried the spit with the body into
the room, and leaning it against a wall, brought out the whetstone and
began to sharpen the teeth.

The moment she went inside the house, the youngest brother jumped up
from his hiding-place, rushed to the door, and from the outside
watched what she was doing. When he had seen this, he filled the
kettle, stirred up the fire, and then hid himself near the furnace.
Having sharpened her teeth, his sister ate up the body of her mother,
all except the head. After she had finished her meal, taking the head
in her hand, she went out to the kitchen. On seeing the fire burning
so well, and the kettle filled with water, she became angry, and began
to look about to discover whether any one was in the house. Suspecting
one of her brothers might be there, she shouted aloud, calling her
brothers by their names, and searched everywhere in the house.
Luckily, however, she forgot to look by the side of the furnace,
where her younger brother lay hidden. Not finding any one in the
house, she then took her mother's head in her hand and ran out,
following the way her brothers had gone to their work in the fields.
As she ran she shouted, 'Wait a little! Don't think you have escaped

The youngest brother, seeing his sister had run away, came out of his
concealment to look at the water in the kettle. He saw the water had
turned to blood, so he went quickly to the cellar and let out one of
the little dogs which his sister feared more than all her brothers.

Having let the dog free, the youngest brother came back to the kettle,
to see what would happen to the water on the fire. By this time all
the water, which had turned to blood, was boiling quickly, and
throwing up a great number of bubbles; these bubbles rose the quicker
the nearer the sister came to her two brothers in the field. When she
was not more than five steps from them, however, she suddenly heard a
noise, as if someone was running behind her; so she turned to look,
and, seeing the dog coming, was terrified, and tried to save herself
by climbing a tree which was close by. When, however, she caught at a
branch, it broke in her hand, and she fell to the ground, and the same
instant the dog rushed at her, and bit her into two pieces. The two
brothers saw all this, but they were afraid to come near her lest she
should again revive and attack them. Soon, however, seeing the dog was
tearing her to pieces, they became convinced that she was really dead,
so they came to the spot where she was, and took up her body and
buried it, together with their mother's head, under the tree by which
she had fallen.

After they had done this, the two brothers returned home, and told
their youngest brother all that had happened. He, on his part, told
them how the boiling water had turned to blood and at first bubbled up
quicker and quicker, but how, after some time, it grew quieter, and,
at length, turned again to water. Then the three brothers
congratulated themselves at having got rid of their terrible sister. A
few days later they all went into the fields to bring in the hay which
the two elder ones had mown. They found, however, hardly the third
part of the hay which they had left. At this they wondered greatly,
and looked about to see who had stolen it; but, finding no one, after
a little while they took up what was left and returned home.

At length the year, on which all this had happened, passed away. The
next year, however, they dared not leave their mown grass unwatched.
So they discussed which of them should first keep guard. Each of them
offered to do it; but, at last, they agreed that the youngest brother
should begin to watch. So he prepared himself, and, at night, went out
into the field. Having come there, he climbed up into the tree under
which his sister's body and his mother's head lay buried, and resolved
to remain there until daybreak. About midnight he heard a great noise
and shouting, which frightened him so much that he dared not stir at
all. Some creatures came into the field and eat up most of the hay,
and what they did not eat they tossed about and spoiled, so that it
was fit for nothing. When daylight came, the youngest brother came
down from the tree and went home, to tell what he had seen.

So that year they had no hay.

Next year, when hay harvest came, the three brothers took counsel
together how to preserve their hay. The second brother now volunteered
to watch in the field, and seemed quite sure he would be able to save
the hay. Accordingly he went, and climbed into the tree, just as his
brother had done the previous year. About midnight three winged horses
came into the field with a company of fairies. The winged horses began
to eat the newly mown hay, and the fairies danced over it. After the
greater part of the hay had been eaten by the horses, and all the rest
had been spoiled by the dancing of the fairies, the whole company left
the field, just as day began to dawn. The watcher in the tree had
witnessed all this; he was, however, too frightened to do
anything--indeed, he hardly dared to move. When he went home, he told
his brothers all that he had seen; at which they were sad, since this
year again they would have no hay.

However, the time passed, and the third summer came on. Again the
three brothers cut the grass in their meadow, and consulted together
anxiously how they should manage to keep their new hay.

At length it was settled that it was now the turn of the eldest
brother to keep watch. If he, also, failed to save the hay, it was
agreed that they should divide amongst them the little property which
they had left, and go out again, separately, to seek their fortunes in
the world, seeing they had no luck in their own country.

As had been agreed upon, the eldest brother now went out into the
field at night; but, instead of going up into the tree as his brothers
had done, he lay quietly down on a heap of hay, and waited to see what
would happen. About midnight he heard a great noise, afar off, and,
by-and-by, a troop of fairies, with three winged horses, came straight
towards the place where he lay. Having got there, the fairies began to
dance, and the horses to eat the hay, and canter about. The eldest
brother looked on, and, at first, felt much afraid, and wished
heartily the whole company would go away without seeing him. As,
however, they seemed in no hurry to do this, he considered what he
should do, and, at length, decided that it would be worth while to try
to catch one of the three horses. So, when they came near him, he
jumped on the back of one of them, and clung fast to it. The other two
horses instantly ran away, and the fairies with them.

The horse which the eldest brother had caught tried all sorts of
tricks to throw off his unwelcome rider, but he could not succeed.
Finding all his attempts to free himself quite useless, at last he
said, 'Let me go, my good man, and I will be of use to you some other
time.' The man answered, 'I will set you free on one condition; that
is, you must promise never more to come in this field; and you must
give me some pledge that you will keep your promise.'

The horse gladly agreed to this condition, and gave the man a hair
from his tail, saying, 'Whenever you happen to be in need, hold this
hair to a fire, and I will instantly be at your service.'

Thereupon the horse went off, and the eldest brother returned home.
His brothers had waited impatiently for his return, and, when they saw
him, pressed him immediately to tell them all that had happened. So he
told everything, except that he had got a hair from the horse's tail,
because he did not believe that the horse would keep his promise and
come to him in his need. The two younger brothers, however, had no
confidence that the fairies and winged horses would fulfil their
promise and never come again to ruin their hay-field, so they proposed
that the property should be at once divided, and that they should
separate. The eldest brother tried to persuade them to remain at least
one other year longer, to see what would happen; he was not able,
however, to succeed in this. Accordingly they divided the remnant of
their property, took each their animals, that is, each his bear, his
wolf, his dog, and his cat, and left their home, for the second time,
to seek their fortunes in the world.

The first day they travelled together, but the second day they were
obliged to separate, because having come to a crossway, and trying to
keep on the same path, they found they could not take a step forward
so long as they were together. They therefore left that path and tried
another; it was, however, of no use, for they could not move a step
forward as long as they were together; and when they tried the third
path, the same happened there also. So they tried if two of them could
go on in one road if one of them went before and the other behind. But
this also they were unable to do; they could not get on one step, try
as hard as they would, so nothing was left them but to separate and
each of them to go alone by a different road. They were exceedingly
sorry to part, but could not help themselves.

Before the brothers separated, the eldest brother said, 'Now,
brothers, before we part, let us stick our knives in this oak-tree; as
long as we live our knives will remain where we stick them; when one
of us dies, his knife will fall out. Let us, then, come here every
third year to see if the knives are still in their places. Thus we
shall know something, at least, about each other.' The other two
agreed to this, and, having stuck their knives in the oak-tree, and
kissed each other, went, each one his own way, taking his animals with

Let us first follow the youngest brother in his wanderings. He
travelled, with his attendant animals, all that day and the following
night without stopping, and the next day saw before him a king's
palace, and went straight towards it. Having been taken into the
presence of the king, he begged his majesty to employ him in watching
his goats. The king consented to take him as goat-herd, and from that
day he had the charge of the king's goats and lived on thus quietly
for a long time.

One day the new goat-herd chanced to drive his flock to a high hill,
not far from the king's palace. On the summit of the hill there was a
very tall pine-tree, and the instant he saw it he resolved to climb up
and look about from its top on the surrounding country. Accordingly,
he climbed up, and enjoyed exceedingly the extensive and beautiful
prospect. As he looked in one direction he saw, a long way off, a
great smoke arising from a mountain. The moment he saw the smoke he
fancied that one of his brothers must be there, as he thought it
unlikely that any one else would be in such a wilderness. So he
resolved at once to give up his place of goat-herd, and travel to the
mountain which he had seen in the distance. Coming down from the tree,
therefore, he immediately collected his goats, which was a very easy
task for him to do, since he had such good help in his bear, his wolf,
his dog, and his cat.

No sooner had he reached the palace than he went straight to the king
and said, 'Sir, I can no longer be your Majesty's goat-herd. I must go
away, for I saw to-day a smoking mountain, and I believe that one of
my brothers is there, and I wish to go and see if this be so. I
therefore beg your Majesty to pay me what you owe me, and to let me
go!' All this time he thought the king knew nothing about the smoking

When he had said this, however, the king immediately began to advise
him on no account to go to the mountain--for, as he assured him,
whoever went there never came back again. He told him that all who
had gone thither seemed at once to have sunk into the earth, for no
one ever heard anything more about them. All the king's warnings and
counsels, however, availed nothing; the goat-herd was bent on going to
the smoking mountain, and looking after his two brothers.

After he had made all preparations for the journey he set out,
accompanied, as usual, by his four animals. He went straight to the
mountain; but, having got there, he could not at first find the fire.
Indeed, he had trouble enough before he discovered it. At length,
however, he found a large fire burning under a beech-tree, and went
near it to warm himself. At the same time he looked about on all sides
to see who had made the fire. After looking about some time he heard a
woman's voice, and upon his looking up to see whence the sound came,
he saw an old woman sitting on one of the branches above his head. She
sat huddled together all of a heap, and shaking with cold.

No sooner had he discovered her than the old woman begged him to allow
her to come down to the fire and warm herself a little. So he told her
she might come down and warm herself as soon as she pleased. She
answered, however, 'Oh, my son, I dare not come down because of your
company. I am afraid of the animals you have with you--your bear, and
wolf, and dog, and cat.'

At this he tried to re-assure her and said, 'Don't be afraid! They
will do you no harm.' However she would not trust them, so she plucked
a hair from her head, and threw it down, saying, 'Put that hair on
their necks and then I shall not be afraid to come down.'

Accordingly the man took the hair and threw it over his animals, and
in a moment the hair was turned into an iron chain which kept his
four-footed followers bound fast together.

When the old woman saw that he had done as she desired, she came down
from the tree and took her place by the fire. She seemed at first a
very little woman; as she sat by the fire, however, she began to grow
larger. When he saw this he was greatly astonished, and said to her,
'But, my old woman, it seems to me that you grow bigger and bigger!'
Thereupon she answered, shivering, 'Ha! ha! no, no, my son! I am only
warming myself!' But, nevertheless, she continued to grow taller and
taller, and had already grown half as tall as the beech-tree. The
goat-herd watched her growing with wide-open eyes, and, beginning to
get frightened, said again, 'But really you are getting a fearful
size, and are growing taller and taller every moment.'

'Ha, ha, my son,' she coughed and shivered, 'I am only warming
myself!' Seeing, however, that she was now as tall as the tallest
beech-tree, and, fearing that his life was in danger, he called
anxiously to his companions, 'Hold her fast, my bear! Hold her fast,
my wolf! Hold her fast, my dog! Hold her fast, my cat!' But it was all
in vain that he called to them; none of them could move a step from
their places. When he saw that, he endeavoured to run away, but found
that he could no more move from his place than if he were fast chained
to it. Then the old woman, seeing everything had gone on just as she
wished, bent down a little, and, touching him with her little finger,
said, 'Go, you have lost your head!' and the self-same moment he
turned to ashes. After that, she touched, with the little toe of her
left foot, all his animals, one after the other, and they also turned
at once to ashes as their master had done.

Having collected all the ashes she buried them under an oak-tree. Then
as soon as she took the iron chain in her hand, it turned again into a
hair, which she put back into its place on her head.

She had before done with many young and noble knights just as she had
now done with this poor goat-herd.

The second brother, after serving a long time in a strange place, was
seized with a great desire to go to the oak-tree at the cross-roads,
where he had parted with his brothers, in order to see if their knives
were still sticking in the tree. When he got there, he found the knife
of his eldest brother still firmly fixed in the trunk of the oak, but
his youngest brother's knife had fallen to the ground. Then he knew
that his younger brother was dead, or in great danger of death, and he
resolved at once to follow the way he had gone and try to discover
what had become of him. Going then along the same road which his
younger brother had travelled, he came, on the third day, to the
king's palace, and went in and begged the king to take him into his
service. Whereupon the king took him as goat-herd, exactly as he had
taken before the youngest brother.

When the second brother had tended the king's goats a long time, he
one day drove them up a high hill, and, finding there a very tall
pine-tree, resolved at once to climb up to its top and look about to
see what kind of a country lay on the other side of the hill. When he
had looked round a while from the tree he noticed a great volume of
smoke rising from a mountain afar off, and the thought came at once to
his mind that his brothers might be there. Accordingly, he came down
quickly, collected his goats, and went back to the king's palace,
followed by his four companions, that is to say, by his bear, his
wolf, his dog, and his cat. When he had reached the palace he went
straight to the king, and begged him to pay him his wages at once, and
to let him go to look after his brothers; for he had seen a smoke upon
a mountain, and he believed they were there. The king tried in vain to
dissuade him by telling him that none who went there ever came back;
but all his Majesty's words availed nothing. Thereupon, seeing he was
decided on going, the king paid him what he owed him, and let him go.

He at once set out, and went straight to the mountain; but, when he
got there, he was a long time before he could find any fire. At last,
however, he found one burning under a beech-tree, and he went up to it
to warm himself, wondering all the time who had made it, since he saw
no one near. As he warmed himself he heard a woman's voice in the tree
above his head, and, looking up, saw there an old woman huddled up on
a branch, and shaking with cold.

As soon as he saw her, the old woman asked him to let her come down
and warm herself by the fire, and he told her she might come and warm
herself as long as she liked.

She said, however, 'I am afraid of the company which you have with
you. Take this hair and lay it over your bear, and wolf, and dog, and
cat, and then I shall be able to come down.'

So saying, she pulled a hair out of her head and threw it down. He
laughed at her fears, and assured her that his companions would not
hurt her; finding, however, notwithstanding all he said, that she was
still afraid to come down from the tree, he, at last, took the hair
and laid it on the beasts as she had directed. In an instant the hair
turned into an iron chain, and bound the four animals fast together.
Then the old woman came down, and took a place by the fire to warm
herself. As the second brother watched her warming herself, he saw her
grow bigger and bigger, until she had grown half as tall as the

Wondering greatly, he exclaimed, 'Old woman, you are growing bigger
and bigger.' 'Hy, hy! my son,' said she, coughing and shivering, 'I am
only warming myself.' But when he saw that she was already as tall as
the beech-tree, he became frightened, and called to his companions,
'Hold her, my bear! hold her, my wolf! hold her, my dog! hold her, my
cat!' They were none of them, however, able to move, so fast were they
held together by the iron chain.

Seeing that, the old woman stooped down and touched him with her
little finger, and he fell immediately into ashes. Then she touched
the four animals, one after the other, with the little toe of her left
foot, and they, also, crumbled to ashes.

No sooner had the old woman done this than she collected all the ashes
in a heap and buried them under an oak-tree. As she had before done
with the ashes of many a youthful knight and gentleman, so she did now
with those of this poor simple man. Pity, if they were to die, that
some more worthy means than one hair from the head of a miserable old
woman had not brought about their deaths!

A very long time had passed, and yet the eldest brother never once
thought of going back to the cross-roads where he had parted with his
brothers. He was engaged in the service of a good and honest master,
and, finding himself so well off, fancied that his brothers were the
same. His master was an innkeeper, and the whole work of the servant
was to prepare, morning and evening, the beds of the guests. He did
his duty so well that his master thought of adopting him for his son,
as he himself was childless.

One day a gentleman of great distinction came to pass the night at the
inn, and the servant thought that the stranger looked remarkably like
his youngest brother. He wished to ask him his name, but could not for
shame; partly because he feared his brother would reproach him for
having forgotten to go to the cross-roads; partly because the guest's
manners were so polished and his clothes were of fine silk and
velvet; whereas he had left his brother very poorly clad, and of
rustic manners.

As he thought of the likeness which the guest bore to his youngest
brother, he considered that, in his travels about the world, his
brother might have found wisdom, and by his wisdom might have
succeeded in some way of business, and by his business might have
gained money; and then, having got money, that it would be easy for
him to get as fine clothes as the stranger wore. Reasoning thus, he
took courage at last to ask the gentleman about his family, and at
length grew bold enough to ask him plainly if he was not his brother.

This, however, the stranger quickly and positively denied, and asked,
in return, about the servant's family. To all the particulars which
the servant gave him he listened with a smile.

Next morning, the guest left the inn very early; and when the servant
went to arrange the bed in which he had slept, he found, under the
pillow, a little stone.

He thought the stone must be valuable, having been in the possession
of so rich a man, and yet he considered its loss could hardly be felt
by one who went clothed in silks and velvets. He lifted it to his lips
to kiss it, before putting it in his pocket; but the moment his lips
touched it, two negroes started out and asked him, 'What are your
orders, sir?' He was frightened by the suddenness of their appearance,
and answered, 'I do not order anything.' Then the negroes disappeared,
and he put the stone in his pocket.

The more he thought of this, the more he marvelled at the wonderful
stone, and considered what he should do with it. By-and-by, in order
to find out what the negroes could do, he took the stone out of his
pocket, and raised it again to his lips. The moment he did so, the
negroes re-appeared, and asked him again, 'What do you demand, sir?'
He replied quickly, 'I desire to have the finest clothes prepared for
me, of which no two pieces must be made from the same kind of stuff.'
In a very few moments the negroes brought him the most beautiful
clothes possible; so fine indeed were they all, that he could not
decide which piece was the most beautiful. Then, dismissing the
negroes, who disappeared in the stone, he dressed himself. He was
admiring the fine fit of his clothes, when his master came to the door
of his room, and, seeing a stranger in such an exceedingly rich dress,
said humbly, 'Excuse me, sir, where do you come from?'

'From not far off,' the servant answered.

'Wait a moment, sir,' said the innkeeper; 'I will call my servant to
take your orders;' and, going outside, he called loudly for his

Meanwhile, the servant quickly threw off his fine clothes and gave
them back to the negroes. Dressing himself hurriedly in his old
clothes, he rushed out of his room. Then, finding the pantry open, he
began to arrange the things.

His master found him employed in this way, and ordered him at once to
leave that business, and to go into the house to make coffee for a
distinguished guest who had that moment arrived.

The strange guest, however, was nowhere to be found. The innkeeper
looked, with his servant, into all the rooms, but there was no sign of
a guest anywhere. Then the master, greatly astonished, thought that
some thieves had been playing him a trick, and bid the servant in
future to look more sharply who came in and who went out of the inn.
The servant listened quietly to his master; but, having once
remembered his brothers, he had now an irresistible desire to look
after them, and so he told the innkeeper that he had resolved to go
away, and desired that he might be paid his wages.

The innkeeper was very sad at hearing this, and offered to raise his
wages, and tried all means to keep him; but it was of no use. Seeing
that the servant was resolved to go away, the master then paid him,
and let him leave the inn. Then the eldest brother took with him his
four animals--his bear, wolf, dog, and cat, and went away.

After travelling a very long time, his good fortune brought him to the
cross-roads where he had parted with his brothers. Instantly he rushed
to the oak to see if the knives were still sticking in it, but his own
knife alone stood in the tree. The two others had fallen out, and he
was much grieved at this, believing that his brothers were dead or
that they were in great danger. In his trouble he had quite forgotten
the wonderful hair and stone which he possessed. He resolved to go
and search after his brothers, and therefore went along the same road
his youngest brother had taken when they parted.

As he travelled he remembered the hair which the winged horse had
given him, and the stone which he had found at the inn; but these did
not much console him, he was so exceedingly sorry for his brothers.
After travelling some time he found himself before a large palace, the
door-keepers of which asked him if he would take charge of the king's
goats. He said he would, if the king could only tell him something
about his two brothers, who had travelled that way with a similar
company to that which he had. The king said that no men with such a
company had passed that way during his reign; and this was quite true,
inasmuch as he had only recently mounted the throne, the old king,
under whom the two brothers had served, having lately died. However,
though the eldest brother could learn nothing of his two younger
brothers, he decided to stay some time there, and so engaged himself
to the king as goat-keeper.

As he drove the goats out, day by day, he looked about on all sides
for some trace of his brothers; for, although their knives had fallen
out of the oak-tree, he tried to believe that they were not dead.

One day, as he thus wandered about with his goats, he met an old man,
who was going to the forest, with his axe on his shoulder, to cut

So he asked him if he had seen anything of his two brothers. The old
man answered, 'Who knows? Perhaps they have been lost on that
mountain where so many other men have lost their lives. Drive your
goats up that high hill; from its top you will see a much higher
mountain, which smokes, and never ceases to smoke. On that mountain
many people have been lost; perhaps your brothers also have perished
there. I will, however, give you one piece of good advice. Do not go,
for anything in the world, to the place where it smokes. I am now an
old man, but I never remember to have seen one man return who went
there. Therefore, if your life is dear to you, do not go up that
mountain.' So saying the old man went off.

The goat-keeper drove his goats up the hill, and, from its top he saw,
as he had been told, a very high mountain which smoked. He tried to
discover if any living creature was thereon, but he could not see the
traces of a single one there. He considered within himself whether he
should go there or not, and, after revolving it over in his mind, he
at length determined to go.

In the evening, when he drove the goats home, he told the king of his
intention. The king tried hard to dissuade him, and promised to raise
his wages if he would stay with him; however, nothing could turn him
from his resolution. So the king paid him, and he went away.

Having come to the mountain he found the fire, and wondered who lit
it. As he thought over this he heard a woman's voice, saying, 'Hy,
hy!' So he looked up, and was astonished at seeing, in the branches of
the beech-tree over his head, an old woman huddled together. Her hair
was longer than her body, and as white as snow. When he looked up, she
said to him, 'My son, I am so cold. I should like to warm myself, but
I am afraid of your beasts. I made that fire myself, but, seeing you
coming with your animals, I was frightened, and got up here to save

'Well, you can now come down again, and warm yourself as much as you
please,' said he. However, she protested, 'I dare not--your beasts
would bite me. But I will throw you a hair, and you shall bind them
with it. _Then_ I can come down.' The eldest brother thought to
himself: the hair must be a very singular hair indeed, if it could
bind his bear, his wolf, his dog, and his cat. So, instead of throwing
it over the animals, he threw it into the fire. Meanwhile the old
woman came down from the tree, and they both sat by the fire. But he
never moved his eyes from her.

Very soon she began to grow, and grow, and in a short time she was ten
yards high. Then he remembered the words of the old wood-cutter, and
trembled. However, he only said to her, 'How you are growing, auntie.'
'Oh, no, my son,' she answered, 'I am only warming myself.' She still
grew taller and taller, and had grown as tall as the beech-tree, when
he again exclaimed, 'But how you _are_ growing, old woman!'

'Oh, no, my son. I am only warming myself,' she repeated as before.

But he saw that she meant him mischief, so he shouted to his
companions, 'Hold her, my dog! hold her, my little bear! hold her, my
little wolf! hold her, my pussy!' Thereupon they all jumped on the old
woman, and began to tear her. Seeing she was unable to help herself,
she begged him to save her from her furious enemies, and promised she
would give him whatever he asked. 'Well,' said he, 'I demand that you
bring back to life my two brothers, with their companions, and all
those you have destroyed. Besides that, I demand ten loads of ducats.
If you will not comply with these demands, I shall leave you to be
torn to pieces by my animals.' The old woman agreed to do all this,
only she begged hard that one man should not be brought back to life,
because she had said, when she had turned him to ashes, 'When _you_
arise, may _I_ lie down in your place!' and, therefore, she was afraid
she should be turned to ashes herself if _he_ came back to life.

As the eldest brother, however, thought that she was trying to cheat
him, he would not comply with her request.

Finding that she could not otherwise help herself, she at length said
to him, 'Take some ashes from that heap under the tree, and throw them
over yourself and your company, and whilst you do so say, "Arise up,
dust and ashes--what I am now may you also be!"'

Wonder of wonders! The moment he did as she told him, there arose up
crowds of men--more than ten thousand of them. On seeing such a
multitude of people coming from under the tree, he was almost struck
senseless with astonishment. But he explained to them briefly what had
happened. Most of them thanked him heartily; some, however, of them
would not believe him, and said with anger, 'We would rather you had
not awakened us.' Then they went away in crowds; some took one way,
some another, until they were all dispersed. Only his two brothers
remained behind; though they, too, for some time could not believe
that he was their brother. However, when they saw that their animals
recognised his, they remembered that no one but themselves had had
such a strange company of beasts. Having recognised each other, the
brothers fell into each other's arms, and embraced affectionately.
Then they divided the ducats which the old woman had given to the
eldest, loaded their animals with their treasures, and went straight
away towards the place where they were born, and where their parents
had died.

As for the old woman, when the last man arose from the ashes under the
oak-tree, she herself crumbled into ashes under it.

The three brothers built three fine palaces for themselves, and lived
therein some time unmarried. At length, however, they began to think
what would become of all their property after their deaths, and said
to each other that it would be a pity for them to die without heirs.
So they resolved to marry, that their wealth might be left to their
sons and daughters.

The eldest brother said, 'Let me go and find the best wives I can for
all three of us; meantime you two will remain here, and take care of
our property.' The others gladly agreed to this, as the eldest brother
had given proofs enough that he was by far the wisest of the three,
and they felt sure that he would be able also to bring this important
business to a successful issue. So he made the needful preparations,
and started on his journey to look out for three wives for himself and
the two younger brothers who remained at home.

After long travelling he arrived at a large city, and resolved to
remain there all night, and to continue his journey in the morning.

It happened that the king of that place had just arranged a
horse-race, and promised his only daughter as the prize, and, with
her, ten loads of treasure to the winner.

The very evening the eldest brother arrived he heard the public
bell-man proclaiming aloud through the streets, that every one who had
a horse should come to-morrow to the royal field, and whoever should
spring first over the ditch should be rewarded with the king's
daughter, and should receive, with her, ten loads of gold.

He listened to the proclamation without saying anything. Next morning
he went out into the king's field in order to see the racing, and
found there already innumerable horses of all kinds.

A little later came also the princess, the king's daughter, and behind
her were brought ten loads of treasures.

When he saw the king's daughter he thought her so exceedingly
beautiful that he went instantly a little aside from the crowd to get
a better sight of her. He then remembered his wonderful stone. Taking
it out he now lifted it to his lips, and immediately the two negroes
appeared, and said, 'Master what do you command?' He replied, 'Bring
me clothes of silk and velvet, together with precious stones, and ten
good horses! and bring them as soon as possible!' He had not winked
twice before the negroes had placed before him everything which he had
demanded. Then he took out the hair, and striking fire with a flint,
held the hair near it. The moment he did this, the same cream-coloured
horse that had given him the hair stood beside him, and asked,
'Master, what do you command?' He answered, 'I wish that to-day we
leave all the other horses behind us in the race, so that I may gain
the king's daughter. Therefore prepare yourself, and let us go at
once, as the other horses are now ready for starting.'

The instant he had spoken these words, the cream-coloured horse stood,
pawing the earth, ready and eager to begin the race. The man then
mounted it, and off they went. The other racers, having started a few
moments before, were already pretty far from the starting-point; in an
instant, however, he had reached them, and in another had passed and
left them far behind. When he reached the ditch--which was a hundred
and five yards deep, and a hundred yards wide--the horse made so great
a spring that it touched ground some fifty yards beyond the ditch,
broad as it was.

Then he rode back and took the maiden, the king's daughter, and,
placing her behind him on his horse, carried her off, together with
the loads of gold. All the people, seeing this, wondered greatly who
the strange knight could be who had left all the best horses so far
behind in the race, and had won the beautiful princess, with all her
rich treasures.

He rode along until he came to a wood pretty far from the city, and
there he let his wonderful horse go until he should want him again. He
then took off all his beautiful clothes, and put on his old dress, and
in this manner went on with the maiden and the loads of gold.

About evening he arrived at a strange city, and decided to remain
there. After he had rested a little while, the people in the inn told
him that all day long the city bell-man had proclaimed, that whoever
had a good horse should go to-morrow to the horse-race, for the king
of the palace had offered his only daughter as a prize, together with
a hundredweight of gold and jewels; but that there was a ditch to be
sprung over which was three hundred and fifty yards deep and a hundred
and fifty yards wide. When he heard this he was greatly pleased, for
he was quite sure that he should win this race also.

Next morning, by the help of the little stone and the wonderful hair,
he was again dressed in the finest clothes, and mounted on his
cream-coloured horse, and so took his place amongst the racers.

Every one wondered from what country this knight came, and were
delighted at his rich dress; as for the horse, the people were never
tired of admiring it. When the race-horses were arranged for the start
he remained purposely behind. He knew well enough that this was of no
consequence to him, as in one moment he could reach and pass them all.
At length he started, and in a moment distanced the fleetest horse,
arriving at the ditch, and leaping over it as if it were nothing.
Then, without waiting a minute, he took possession of the king's
daughter and her treasures, and went straight to the city where he had
left the first king's daughter and her loads of gold.

Taking the two princesses and all the wealth with him, he now thought
that it was time for him to go back home. On his way, however, he had
the great good luck to come again to a large city, where he resolved
to remain during the night. There, also, the public crier had been
proclaiming all day long, that the king had determined to give his
only daughter and fifteen hundredweight of gold to whoever should win
the race which was to be run on the morrow. In this instance, however,
the horses would have to leap over a ditch one thousand yards deep and
four hundred and fifty yards wide. On hearing this proclamation, the
eldest brother became very joyful, for he knew that no racer had any
chance of beating his wonderful horse.

On the morrow, therefore, by means of his little stone and the hair,
he ordered fifteen horses to be ready, to carry away the treasures he
felt sure of winning, and, at the same time, directed the negroes to
bring him his fairy courser and dresses so splendid that not even a
king could buy them.

Richly dressed in this way, and mounted, as he was, on his marvellous
horse, all the world, who had gathered to see the great race, could
look at nothing except at him.

When all the racers were arranged for the start, he lingered behind
and let them all speed off like falcons. He wished every one to see
that he was the last to start, that they might not charge him
afterwards with having in any way cheated. When they had already gone
pretty far, he started himself, and in a moment he had reached them,
passed them, and left them all a long, long distance behind. How could
it be otherwise? When did the crow outfly the falcon? Coming to the
ditch, he touched the bridle a little, and, in an instant, his horse
had leaped over the ditch, and they were safe on the other side. So,
without any delay, he took away the maiden, together with all the
gold, and went back to the city. Having collected his immense
treasures, he now took with him the three princesses, and went
straight home. As he travelled along with his company, every one who
met him asked him, 'Where are you going? are the girls for sale?' For
you see the princesses were exceedingly beautiful. But beyond all
others his two brothers, when he reached home, wondered and were
delighted at the sight of the three beautiful princesses. They did not
rejoice half so much over the great riches he had gained for them as
over the marvellous fairness of the kings' daughters whom he had
brought to be their wives.

Thus each of the three brothers married a beautiful princess; the
eldest brother, however, who had shown himself so much the bravest and
wisest of them, married the youngest and most beautiful of the three.


Once upon a time, a long while ago, there lived in a very far-off
country, a young nobleman who was so exceedingly poor that all his
property was an old castle, a handsome horse, a trusty hound, and a
good rifle.

This nobleman spent all his time in hunting and shooting, and lived
entirely on the produce of the chase.

One day he mounted his well-kept horse and rode off to the
neighbouring forest, accompanied, as usual, by his faithful hound.
When he came to the forest he dismounted, fastened his horse securely
to a young tree, and then went deep into the thicket in search of
game. The hound ran on at a distance before his master, and the horse
remained all alone, grazing quietly. Now it happened that a hungry fox
came by that way, and seeing how well-fed and well-trimmed the horse
was, stopped a while to admire him. By-and-by she was so charmed with
the handsome horse, that she lay down in the grass near him to bear
him company.

Some time afterwards the young nobleman came back out of the forest,
carrying a stag that he had killed, and was extremely surprised to
see the fox lying so near his horse. So he raised his rifle with the
intention of shooting her; but the fox ran up to him quickly and said,
'Do not kill me! Take me with you, and I will serve you faithfully. I
will take care of your fine horse whilst you are in the forest.'

The fox spoke so pitifully that the nobleman was sorry for her, and
agreed to her proposal. Thereupon he mounted his horse, placed the
stag he had shot before him, and rode back to his old castle, followed
closely by his hound and his new servant, the fox.

When the young nobleman prepared his supper, he did not forget to give
the fox a due share, and she congratulated herself that she was never
likely to be hungry again, at least so long as she served so skilful a

The next morning the nobleman went out again to the chase, the fox
also accompanied him. When the young man dismounted and bound his
horse, as usual, to a tree, the fox lay down near it to bear it

Now, whilst the hunter was far off in the depth of the forest looking
for game, a hungry bear came by the place where the horse was tied,
and, seeing how invitingly fat it looked, ran up to kill it. The fox
hereupon sprang up and begged the bear not to hurt the horse, telling
him if he was hungry he had only to wait patiently until her master
came back from the forest, and then she was quite sure that the good
nobleman would take him also to his castle and feed him, and care for
him, as he did for his horse, his hound, and herself.

The bear pondered over the matter very wisely and deeply for some
time, and at length resolved to follow the fox's advice. Accordingly
he lay down quietly near the horse, and waited for the return of the
huntsman. When the young noble came out of the forest he was greatly
surprised to see so large a bear near his horse, and, dropping the
stag he had shot from his shoulders, he raised his trusty rifle and
was about to shoot the beast. The fox, however, ran up to the huntsman
and entreated him to spare the bear's life, and to take him, also,
into his service. This the nobleman agreed to do; and, mounting his
horse, rode back to his castle, followed by the hound, the fox, and
the bear.

The next morning, when the young man had gone again with his dog into
the forest, and the fox and the bear lay quietly near the horse, a
hungry wolf, seeing the horse, sprang out of a thicket to kill it. The
fox and the bear, however, jumped up quickly and begged him not to
hurt the horse, telling him to what a good master it belonged, and
that they were sure, if he would only wait, he also would be taken
into the same service, and would be well cared for. Thereupon the
wolf, hungry though he was, thought it best to accept their counsel,
and he also lay down with them in the grass until their master came
out of the forest.

You can imagine how surprised the young nobleman was when he saw a
great gaunt wolf lying so near his horse! However, when the fox had
explained the matter to him, he consented to take the wolf, also,
into his service. Thus it happened this day that he rode home followed
by the dog, the fox, the bear, and the wolf. As they were all hungry,
the stag he had killed was not too large to furnish their suppers that
night, and their breakfasts next morning.

Not many days afterwards a mouse was added to the company, and after
that a mole begged so hard for admission that the good nobleman could
not find it in his heart to refuse her. Last of all came the great
bird, the kumrekusha--so strong a bird that she can carry in her claws
a horse with his rider! Soon after a hare was added to the company,
and the nobleman took great care of all his animals and fed them
regularly and well, so that they were all exceedingly fond of him.

One day the fox said to the bear, 'My good Bruin, pray run into the
forest and bring me a nice large log, on which I can sit whilst I
preside at a very important council we are going to hold.'

Bruin, who had a great respect for the quick wit and good management
of the fox, went out at once to seek the log, and soon came back
bringing a heavy one, with which the fox expressed herself quite
satisfied. Then she called all the animals about her, and, having
mounted the log, addressed them in these words:--

'You know all of you, my friends, how very kind and good a master we
have. But, though he is very kind, he is also very lonely. I propose,
therefore, that we find a fitting wife for him.'

The assembly was evidently well pleased with this idea, and responded
unanimously, 'Very good, indeed, if we only knew any girl worthy to be
the wife of our master; which, however, we do not.'

Then the fox said, '_I_ know that the king has a most beautiful
daughter, and I think it will be a good thing to take her for our
lord; and therefore I propose, further, that our friend the kumrekusha
should fly at once to the king's palace, and hover about there until
the princess comes out to take her walk. Then she must catch her up at
once, and bring her here.'

As the kumrekusha was glad to do anything for her kind master, she
flew away at once, without even waiting to hear the decision of the
assembly on this proposal.

Just before evening set in, the princess came out to walk before her
father's palace; whereupon the great bird seized her and placed her
gently on her outspread wings, and thus carried her off swiftly to the
young nobleman's castle.

The king was exceedingly grieved when he heard that his daughter had
been carried off, and sent out everywhere proclamations promising rich
rewards to any one who should bring her back, or even tell him where
he might look for her. For a long time, however, all his promises were
of no avail, for no one in the kingdom knew anything at all about the

At last, however, when the king was well-nigh in despair, an old gipsy
woman came to the palace and asked the king, 'What will you give me if
I bring back to you your daughter, the princess?'

The king answered quickly, 'I will gladly give you whatever you like
to ask, if only you bring me back my daughter!'

Then the old gipsy went back to her hut in the forest, and tried all
her magical spells to find out where the princess was. At last she
found out that she was living in an old castle, in a very distant
country, with a young nobleman who had married her.

The gipsy was greatly pleased when she knew this, and taking a whip in
her hand seated herself at once in the middle of a small carpet, and
lashed it with her whip. Then the carpet rose up from the ground and
bore her swiftly through the air, towards the far country where the
young nobleman lived, in his lonely old castle, with his beautiful
wife, and all his faithful company of beasts.

When the gipsy came near the castle she made the carpet descend on the
grass among some trees, and leaving it there went to look about until
she could meet the princess walking about the grounds. By-and-by the
beautiful young lady came out of the castle, and immediately the ugly
old woman went up to her, and began to fawn on her and to tell her all
kinds of strange stories. Indeed, she was such a good story-teller
that the princess grew quite tired of walking before she was tired of
listening; so, seeing the soft carpet lying nicely on the green grass,
she sat down on it to rest awhile. The moment she was seated the
cunning old gipsy sat down by her, and, seizing her whip, lashed the
carpet furiously. In the next minute the princess found herself borne
upon the carpet far away from her husband's castle, and before long
the gipsy made it descend into the garden of the king's palace.

You can easily guess how glad he was to see his lost daughter, and how
generously he gave the gipsy even more than she asked as a reward.
Then the king made the princess live from that time in a very secluded
tower with only two waiting-women, so afraid was he lest she would
again be stolen from him.

Meanwhile the fox, seeing how miserable and melancholy her young
master appeared after his wife had so strangely been taken from him,
and having heard of the great precautions which the king was using in
order to prevent the princess being carried off again, summoned once
more all the animals to a general council.

When all of them were gathered about her, the fox thus began: 'You
know all of you, my dear friends, how happily our kind master was
married; but you know, also, that his wife has been unhappily stolen
from him, and that he is now far worse off than he was before we found
the princess for him. _Then_ he was lonely; _now_ he is more than
lonely--he is desolate! This being the case, it is clearly our duty,
as his faithful servants, to try in some way to bring her back to him.
This, however, is not a very easy matter, seeing that the king has
placed his daughter for safety in a strong tower. Nevertheless, I do
not despair, and my plan is this: I will turn myself into a beautiful
cat, and play about in the palace gardens under the windows of the
tower in which the princess lives. I dare say she will long for me
greatly the moment she sees me, and will send her waiting-women down
to catch me and take me up to her. But I will take good care that the
maids do not catch me, so that, at last, the princess will forget her
father's orders not to leave the tower, and will come down herself
into the gardens to see if she may not be more successful. I will then
make believe to let her catch me, and at this moment our friend, the
kumrekusha, who must be hovering over about the palace, must fly down
quickly, seize the princess, and carry her off as before. In this way,
my dear friends, I hope we shall be able to bring back to our kind
master his beautiful wife. Do you approve of my plan?'

Of course, the assembly were only too glad to have such a wise
councillor, and to be able to prove their gratitude to their
considerate master. So the fox ran up to the kumrekusha, who flew away
with her under her wing, both being equally eager to carry out the
project, and thus to bring back the old cheerful look to the face of
their lord.

When the kumrekusha came to the tower wherein the princess dwelt she
set the fox down quietly among the trees, where it at once changed
into a most beautiful cat, and commenced to play all sorts of graceful
antics under the window at which the princess sat. The cat was striped
all over the body with many different colours, and before long the
king's daughter noticed her, and sent down her two women to catch her
and bring her up in the tower.

The two waiting-women came down into the garden, and called, 'Pussy!
pussy!' in their sweetest voices; they offered her bread and milk,
but they offered it all in vain. The cat sprang merrily about the
garden, and ran round and round them, but would on no account consent
to be caught.

At length the princess, who stood watching them at one of the windows
of her tower, became impatient, and descended herself into the garden,
saying petulantly, 'You only frighten the cat: let me try to catch
her!' As she approached the cat, who seemed now willing to be caught,
the kumrekusha darted down quickly, seized the princess by the waist,
and carried her high up into the air.

The frightened waiting-women ran to report to the king what had
happened to the princess; whereupon the king immediately let loose all
his greyhounds to seize the cat which had been the cause of his
daughter being carried off a second time. The dogs followed the cat
closely, and were on the point of catching her, when she, just in the
nick of time, saw a cave, with a very narrow entrance, and ran into it
for shelter. There the dogs tried to follow her, or to widen the mouth
of the cave with their claws, but all in vain; so, after barking a
long time very furiously, they at length grew weary, and stole back
ashamed and afraid to the king's stables.

When all the greyhounds were out of sight the cat changed herself back
into a fox, and ran off in a straight line towards the castle, where
she found her young master very joyful, for the kumrekusha had already
brought back to him his beautiful wife.

Now the king was exceedingly angry to think that he had again lost
his daughter, and he was all the more angry to think that such poor
creatures as a bird and a cat had succeeded in carrying her off after
all his precautions. So, in his great wrath, he resolved to make a
general war on the animals, and entirely exterminate them.

To this end he gathered together a very large army, and determined to
be himself their leader. The news of the king's intention spread
swiftly over the whole kingdom, whereupon the fox called, for the
third time, all her friends--the bear, the wolf, the kumrekusha, the
mouse, the mole, and the hare--together, to a general council.

When all were assembled the fox addressed them thus: 'My friends, the
king has declared war against us, and intends to destroy us all. Now
it is our duty to defend ourselves in the best way we can. Let us each
see what number of animals we are able to muster. How many of your
brother bears do you think _you_ can bring to our help, my good

The bear got up as quickly as he could on his hind legs, and brummed
out, 'I am sure I can bring a hundred.'

'And how many of your friends can _you_ bring, my good wolf?' asked
the fox anxiously.

'I can bring at least five hundred wolves with me,' said the wolf with
an air of importance.

The fox nodded her satisfaction and continued, 'And what can _you_ do
for us, dear master hare?'

'Well, I think I can bring about eight hundred,' said the hare

'And what can _you_ do, you dear little mouse?'

'Oh, _I_ can certainly bring three thousand mice.'

'Very well, indeed!--and you, Mr. Mole?'

'I am sure I can gather eight thousand.'

'And now what number do you think you can bring us, my great friend,

'I fear not more than two or three hundred, at the very best,' said
the kumrekusha sadly.

'Very good; now all of you go at once and collect your friends; when
you have brought all you can, we will decide what is to be done,' said
the fox; whereupon the council broke up, and the animals dispersed in
different directions throughout the forest.

Not very long after, very unusual noises were heard in the
neighbourhood of the castle. There was a great shaking of trees; and
the growling of bears and the short sharp barking of wolves broke the
usual quiet of the forest. The army of animals was gathering from all
sides at the appointed place.

When all were gathered together the fox explained to them her plans in
these words:--'When the king's army stops on its march to rest the
first night, then you, bears and wolves, must be prepared to attack
and kill all the horses. If, notwithstanding this, the army proceeds
further, you mice must be ready to bite and destroy all the
saddle-straps and belts while the soldiers are resting the second
night, and you hares must gnaw through the ropes with which the men
draw the cannon. If the king still persists in his march, you moles
must go the third night and dig out the earth under the road they will
take the next day, and must make a ditch full fifteen yards in breadth
and twenty yards in depth all round their camp. Next morning, when the
army begins to march over this ground which has been hollowed out, you
kumrekushas must throw down on them from above heavy stones while the
earth will give way under them.'

The plan was approved, and all the animals went off briskly to attend
to their allotted duties.

When the king's army awoke, after their first night's rest on their
march, they beheld, to their great consternation, that all the horses
were killed. This sad news was reported at once to the king; but he
only sent back for more horses, and, when they came late in the day,
pursued his march.

The second night the mice crept quietly into the camp, and nibbled
diligently at the horses' saddles and at the soldiers' belts, while
the hares as busily gnawed at the ropes with which the men drew the

Next morning the soldiers were terrified, seeing the mischief the
animals had done. The king, however, reassured them, and sent back to
the city for new saddles and belts. When they were at length brought
he resolutely pursued his march, only the more determined to revenge
himself on these presumptuous and despised enemies.

On the third night, while the soldiers were sleeping, the moles worked
incessantly in digging round the camp a wide and deep trench
underground. About midnight the fox sent the bears to help the moles,
and to carry away the loads of earth.

Next morning the king's soldiers were delighted to find that no harm
seemed to have been done on the previous night to their horses or
straps, and started with new courage on their march. But their march
was quickly arrested, for soon the heavy horsemen and artillery began
to fall through the hollow ground, and the king, when he observed
that, called out, 'Let us turn back. I see God himself is against us,
since we have declared war against the animals. I will give up my

Then the army turned back, amidst the rejoicings of the soldiers. The
men found, however, to their great surprise and fear, that whichever
way they turned, they fell through the earth. To make their
consternation yet more complete, the kumrekushas now began to throw
down heavy stones on them, which crushed them completely. In this way
the king, as well as his whole army, perished.

Very soon afterwards the young nobleman, who had married the king's
daughter, went to the enemy's capital and took possession of the
king's palace, taking with him all his animals; and there they all
lived long and happily together.


Once upon a time all the saints assembled in order to divide amongst
themselves the treasures of the world. And, in this division, each
saint obtained something which satisfied him.

The beautiful summer, with all its wealth of flowers, fell to the lot
of St. George: to St. Elias fell the clouds and the thunder; and to
St. Pantelija the tempest. St. Peter obtained the keys of heaven: to
St. Nicholas fell the seas, and the ships upon them; and to the
Archangel Michael fell the right of gathering and guarding the souls
of the dying. St. John was chosen to preside over friendship and
'_koom-ship_,'[34] and to the holy Lady Mary the saints committed the
charge of the lawless country of the cursed Troyan,[35] in order that
she might bring it to a state of peace, and establish therein the
true religion.

    [34] The 'koom' is a sort of godfather or sponsor. See
    'Popular Customs of Serbia.'

    [35] In some versions of this poem this 'Troyan' is changed
    into 'India.' Probably there is here a reference to the
    theory that the Turks and Troyans were the same people.
    Knolles, in the opening chapter of his 'General Historie of
    the Turkes,' says, 'Some, after the manner of most nations,
    derive them from the Troians, led thereunto by the affinity
    of the words Turci and Teucri; supposing--but with what
    probability I know not--the word Turci or Turks to have been
    made of the corruption of the word Teucri, the common name of
    the Trojans; as also for that the Turks have of long most
    inhabited the lesser Asia, wherein the antient and most
    famous city of Troy sometime stood.'--_Edit._

About a year had passed away since the saints had thus divided amongst
themselves the treasures of the world, when one day the holy Lady Mary
entered the assembly, evidently greatly afflicted, and with large
tears falling over her white cheeks. She greeted '_in the name of
God!_' her brethren the saints, and these gave her back her greeting.
Then St. Elias addressed her, saying, '_Our_ sister, holy Mary,
wherefore are you grieving? Why are you shedding these tears? You are,
perhaps, dissatisfied with the lot which fell to you when we divided
the treasures?'

But the holy Mary answered, 'My brethren, ye who are the righteousness
of God, when you divided the treasures you gave me also a share
therein, and therewith I am satisfied. Yet I have good cause,
nevertheless, to be sorely grieved. I come but now from the city of
the Troyan, and I have been unable to bring it to peace and the true
faith. There the young people do not reverence their elders--there the
brother challenges his own brother to mortal combat,--there the _koom_
is pursuing his _koom_ in the law courts,--there the brother
intermarries with his own sister, and the _koom_ with his
_kooma_,--there the holy Sabbath is violated, and, worst of all, there
they do not pray to the true God. The people have made to themselves a
god of silver, and to this idol do they pray. Now, what can I do, my
dear brethren, except to pray that the true God should send his
lightnings from heaven to destroy the fortress and fortifications,
and to burn down the cities and villages? Then, perhaps, the people of
the Troyan country may come to see the great wickedness and repent.'

St. Elias said to her these words, 'Our sister, holy Mary, do not do
this thing! Rather let us all pray God to allow us to give some
warning to the people--that He orders snow to fall on Mitrovdan, and
remain until St. George's day;[36] and another snow to fall on St.
George's day, and lie on the earth until Mitrovdan;[37] so that no
seeds can be sown, and no ewes can rear their lambs. In this way,
perhaps, the pride of the earth may be subdued, and the people brought
at last to repentance.'

    [36] 'George's day,' 25th April, O. S.

    [37] Mitrovdan, 25th October, O. S.

All the saints approved the proposal of St. Elias, and acted as he had
said. Then a great snow fell on Mitrovdan, and remained until St.
George's day, and a second snowfall came on St. George's day, and lay
on the earth until Mitrovdan. No seed could be sown, therefore, and no
lambs could be reared. The people suffered greatly throughout the
year; they would not, however, repent and mend their ways. Some of
them had part of last year's corn in their garners, and shiploads of
grain were brought from countries beyond the seas, and so they got
somehow through the year, and went on living just as wickedly as

The holy Mary, seeing this, went a second time to the assembled
saints weeping. After the exchange of the customary greeting, St.
Elias asked her what was the reason of her tears, and she told him
that she was sorely grieved because the people of the Troyan country,
notwithstanding the chastisement they had suffered, still continued
living in wickedness. Then the saints resolved to send down a second
warning. So they prayed God to send down the curse of the small-pox.
Thereupon the small-pox appeared amongst the Troyans, and raged in
their country for three full years, carrying off all the strength and
beauty of the people, so that only the old remained to cough, and the
little babes to cry.

But, when the children grew up, they behaved just as their parents had
done, and neither improved nor repented. Weeping bitter tears over her
white cheeks, the holy Mary went the third time to the assembly of the
saints, and reported how disorderly and madly the people of the Troyan
land were still living. She said, it was quite evident that they could
not be brought to repentance, and that, therefore, she intended now to
pray God to send down his lightnings and destroy the cities and

But St. Elias said again, 'Not so, my dear sister! not so! Let us give
them yet a third warning.' So the saints prayed to God for the third
warning, and God granted their request.

Next morning, close by the king's palace in the chief city of the
Troyans a green lake appeared, and therein was an insatiable dragon
feeding on young men and maidens. Every morning, for breakfast, the
monster required a young man who had never been wedded; and every
evening, for supper, he demanded a youthful and blooming maiden.

This went on for seven years, until, at length, the turn came to the
only daughter of the king. Then the queen cried loudly and bitterly,
and clasped her arms closely round the neck of her child. Mother and
daughter wept together three days, and when the fourth day dawned, the
queen fell into a light slumber by her daughter's side. As she slept,
she dreamed that a man appeared to her, and said, 'O queen of the
Troyan city! do not send your daughter this evening to the lake; but
send her to-morrow, when the day dawns, and the sun shines. Tell her,
when she goes to the lake, she must bathe her face, and then, turning
towards the east, let her call on the name of the true God. She must,
however, be careful not to mention the idol of silver. This done, she
must wait patiently, ready to accept whatsoever the true God ordereth
for her.'

The queen, awakening from her sleep, related at once her dream to her
daughter, and impressed on her the necessity of carrying out
faithfully her instructions. Weeping bitterly, the king's daughter
took leave of her mother at daybreak, begging the queen to forgive her
the milk with which she had been nourished in her babyhood. Then she
went down to the lake shore, bathed her face, and, turning eastwards,
prayed to the true God. This done, according to her mother's
instructions, she sat down and awaited whatever might happen to her.

Suddenly there appeared a strange knight mounted on a magnificent
charger. He greeted the maiden 'in the name of God!' and she,
springing up quickly, returned the greeting courteously. Then the
strange knight, seeing she had been weeping, asked what it was that
troubled her, and wherefore she sat waiting there alone. In answer to
these questions the maiden related the whole sad story of the dragon,
and the fearful fate which seemed to await her.

When she had finished her narration, the knight dismounted, and,
removing his kalpak from his head, said, 'Now I desire to sleep a
little, and I wish you to pass your hand through my hair that I may
sleep more pleasantly.' The girl tried to dissuade him from this, lest
the dragon should come whilst he slept, and devour him also. She said
it would be a pity for him to perish thus needlessly. However, she
could not prevail on him to abandon his purpose, and he fell at once
into a gentle slumber, and slept as quietly as a young lamb.

Very soon, however, the waters of the lake were agitated, and the
terrible dragon appeared coming towards them. Then the unknown knight
sprang up quickly into his saddle, and, stretching out his arms,
lifted the maiden up and placed her behind him on his charger. This
done, with one stroke of his lance, he pinned the dragon down to the
bottom of the lake, where it remained bleeding, but not dead. Then
the knight took the girl back to the palace of the king, her father,
and the queen, who had been watching anxiously everything that passed,
met him at the gate and delivered up to him the keys of the city.

The knight, who was no other than St. George, now walked through the
streets of the Troyan city, and, having gathered the people around
him, spoke to them thus, 'Listen to me, my children! Pray no more to
the idol of silver, pray only to the one true God! And you, young
people, reverence your elders. All of you remember that near relatives
cannot be permitted to intermarry. Keep holy the Sabbath, as well as
all the other holy days and saint days.' Having thus admonished them,
the holy knight ordered that the temple should be opened, and when his
commands had been obeyed, he took out of it the silver idol, and
melted it into a variety of ornaments. In the place of the silver idol
he placed a holy picture, and then consecrated the temple, and it
became a church. When this was done, he turned again to the people,
and said, 'If you will promise to do as I have told you, I will kill
the dragon in the lake; but if you refuse to do what I have asked of
you I will let him loose again, and I think he will soon make an end
of you.'

Then all the people bowed themselves to the earth before the holy
knight, and shouted aloud, 'O good and unknown knight! our brother in
God! Deliver us from the dragon in the lake, and we will do and live
just as you have counselled us!' Whereupon they received the true
faith. When they had so done, St. George returned to the lake, and
made the sign of the cross over it with a stick, and at that very
moment both the lake and dragon disappeared as if they had never been.

Having done all this, St. George went back to the heavenly kingdom to
recount to the saints there assembled the conversion of the Troyan


The Columbus Printing, Publishing and Advertising Company, Ltd., Amberley
House, Norfolk Street, London, W.C.

Transcriber's Note

Minor punctuation errors have been repaired.

Hyphenation and accent usage has been made consistent.

The following amendments have been made:

    Page 2--Michel amended to Michael--... widow of the late
    Prince Michael Obrenovich III., ...

    Page 5--conprehended amended to comprehended--... popular
    tales and legends which are comprehended ...

    Page 29--sisters-in-lay amended to sisters-in-law--... he
    called to his sisters-in-law, ...

    Page 29--me amended to him--Then the man told him in these
    words: ...

    Page 89--kings amended to king--When the king asks you, ...

    Page 90--has amended to his--... and told him what his
    daughter had said.

    Page 156--oftens amended to often--'... for he often
    threatens my brothers.'

    Page 182--price amended to prince--Faithful to his promise,
    the unfortunate prince ...

    Page 264--beach-tree amended to beech-tree--... she was now
    as tall as the tallest beech-tree, ...

    Page 287--her-herself amended to herself--... the princess
    found herself borne upon the carpet ...

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