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

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

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

Title: Sixty Folk-Tales from Exclusively Slavonic Sources
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Sixty Folk-Tales from Exclusively Slavonic Sources" ***

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


Internet Archive (https://archive.org)

Note: Images of the original pages are available through
      Internet Archive. See

Transcriber's note:

      Discrepancies between titles in the Table of Contents and in
      the main body of the text are preserved as printed. These are
      as follows (Table of Contents title first):

            _The Wondrous Lads_ and _The Wonderful Boys_.

            _The Miraculous Lock_ and _The Wonder-Working Lock_.

            _A Vila as a Friend and the Months as Friends_ and
            _The Friendship of a Vila and of the Months_.


Translated, with Brief Introductions and Notes, by


Sometime Fellow and Tutor of Christ's
College, Cambridge; Late Head Master of
Felsted and Bury St. Edmund's Schools;
Corresponding Member of the Royal
Bohemian Society of Sciences.

Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.C.


So much interest has lately been awakened in, and centred round,
Folklore, that it needs no apology to lay before the British reader
additional information upon the subject. Interesting enough in
itself, it has been rendered doubly interesting by the rise and
progress of the new science of Comparative Mythology, which has
already yielded considerable results, and promises to yield results
of still greater magnitude, when all the data requisite for a full
and complete induction have been brought under the ken of the
inquirer. The stories of most European races have been laid under
contribution, but those of the Slavonians have, as yet, been only
partially examined. Circumstances have enabled me to make a
considerable addition to what is as yet known of Slavonic Folklore,
although I cannot make any pretence to having exhausted the mine,
or, rather, the many mines, which the various Slavonic races and
tribes possess, and which still, more or less, await the advent of
competent explorers.

In offering to the public a selection of sixty folklore stories
translated from exclusively Slavonic sources, it is but fitting to
give some account of the work from which I have derived them. In
1865, the late K. J. Erben, the celebrated Archivarius of the old
town of Prague, published a 'Citanka,' or reading-book, intended to
enable Bohemians to commence the study of all the numerous Slavonic
dialects, containing 'one hundred simple national tales and stories,
in their original dialects.' To this he appended a vocabulary, with
explanations of words and forms strange to, or divergent from, the
Bohemian, briefly given in the Bohemian language. This vocabulary is
divided into two parts, one illustrating the tales of those
Slavonians who make use of the Cyrillic characters, and belong to
the Orthodox Greek Church; and the other, those of the Catholic and
Protestant Slavonians, who employ alphabets founded on the Latin
characters of the West of Europe. Pan Erben paid special attention
to the preservation of the simple national forms of speech, as taken
down from the lips of the people; and, besides laying printed
collections under contribution, obtained several previously
unpublished stories.

Beginning with his native tongue, the Bohemian language, he passes
on to the closely-allied Moravian and Hungarian-Slovenish (Slovak)
dialects, and then takes the Upper and Lower Lusatian, the former of
which is related to the old Bohemian, while the latter inclines
rather to the Polish language. He next goes on to the Kashubian, a
rapidly-perishing sub-dialect of Polish, and then to the Polish
tongue itself.

Next comes the White Russian, forming a transition from Polish to
Great Russian, whereas the Little Russian in Galicia, the Ukraine,
and South Russia, is more nearly allied to the Bohemian than to the
White Russian. The ancient Russian language, which was also much
allied to the Old Bohemian, is the basis of the present written
Russian, and presents a transition to the Bulgarian, which, in the
north-west, melts into the Serbian, which again, in its Croatian
branch, near Varazdin, approaches most nearly to the Bohemian. The
Illyrian-Slovenish of Carinthia, though, in locality, least distant
from Bohemia, exhibits forms most removed from the Bohemian
language, just as the Upper Lusatian is less allied to the Bohemian
than is the locally-distant Kashubian.

I took up the book, originally, for the purpose for which it was
compiled, viz., that of obtaining an acquaintance with the main
features of all the Slavonic dialects, but found myself tempted, by
the extreme beauty of some of the stories, to translate the major
portion of them. That I do not present a still larger selection to
the reader is due to the fact that so many of the Great Russian
_skazkas_ have been so admirably translated, edited, and illustrated
by my friend--alas! that I must now term him my late friend--Mr.
W. R. S. Ralston, that I have scarcely considered them as coming
within the sphere of the present work.

For an essay on the singular mythical being, _Kurent_, occurring
only in the Serbian tales from Carniola, and as yet unnoticed in any
work on Slavonic mythology, I am indebted to Professor Gregor Krek,
of Grätz, in Styria. This will be found prefixed to the stories
which it illustrates.

I have also prefixed a short introduction, containing various
matters of interest, to each set of tales, as they follow each
other, according to their different languages, dialects, or

The table of contents immediately following will give a general view
of the stories and their respective sources, arranged under the
three heads of: (_a_) The Western Slavonians, (_b_) the Eastern
Slavonians, and (_c_) the Southern Slavonians.


(N.B.--_Ch_ as _ch_ in _church_.)



  BOHEMIAN STORIES                                                   3

          I. Long, Broad and Sharpsight (_Dlouhy, Siroky,
               Bystrozyakr_). K. J. Erben                            4

         II. 'The Three Golden Hairs of Grandfather
               Allknow' (_Tri zlaté vlasy Deda-Vsheveda_).
               K. J. Erben                                          16

        III. Goldenhair (_Zlatovláska_). K. J. Erben                25

         IV. Intelligence and Luck (_Rozum a Stesti_).
               K. J. Erben                                          33

          V. The Jezinkas (_Jezinky_). K. J. Erben                  36

         VI. The Wood-Lady (_Lesní zenka_). Bozena Nemcova          40

        VII. George with the Goat (_Jirka s kozú_). K. J.
               Erben                                                46

  MORAVIAN STORIES                                                  51

       VIII. Godmother Death (_Smrt kmotrenka_). B. M.
               Kulda, 'Moravian National Stories,' p. 573           52

         IX. The Four Brothers (_Ctvero bratrí_). B. M.
               Kulda, 'Moravian National Stories,' p. 758           55

  HUNGARIAN-SLOVENISH STORIES                                       62

          X. The Three Lemons (_Tri citroni_). J. Rimavski,
               'Slovenish Stories,' i. 37                           63

         XI. The Sun-Horse (_Slncoví kuon_). J. Rimavski,
               'Slovenish Stories,' i. 27                           75

        XII. The Golden Spinster (_Zlatá priadka_). A. H.
               Skultety and P. Dobshinsky, 'Slovenish
               Stories,' i. 350                                     82

       XIII. Are You Angry? (_Ci se hnevace?_). A. H.
               Skultety and P. Dobshinsky, 'Slovenish
               Stories,' i. 279                                     89

  UPPER AND LOWER LUSATIAN STORIES                                  92

        XIV. Right Always Remains Right (_Prawo predco
               prawo vostanje_). K. Smoler                          92

         XV. Little Red Hood (_Cerwjenawka_). H. Kopf,
               the 'Luzican,' 1863, p. 42                           97

  KASHUBIAN STORY                                                  101

        XVI. Cudgel, Bestir Yourself! (_Kjiku resze se_).
               Dr. Florian Cenova                                  101

  POLISH STORIES                                                   107

       XVII. Prince Unexpected (_O Królewiczu Niespodzianku_).
               A. J. Glinski, 'Polish Story-Teller,' i. 121        108

      XVIII. The Spirit of a Buried Man (_Duch pogrzebanego_).
               K. W. Wóycicki, 'Popular Tales' (Klechdy),
               ii. 66                                              121

        XIX. The Pale Maiden (_Blada panna_). K. Balinski,
               'Tales of the People,' p. 72                        125

         XX. The Plague-Swarm (_Homen_). K. W. Wóycicki,
               'Popular Tales,' i. 130                             127


  WHITE RUSSIAN STORIES                                            131

        XXI. The Frost, the Sun, and the Wind (_Moroz,
               Solntse i Vyeter_). A. Afanasief, 'National
               Russian Stories,' i. 1                              132

       XXII. Little Rolling-Pea (_Pakatsigaroshak_).
               A. Afanasief, 'National Russian Stories,'
               iii. 2, 7                                           132

      XXIII. The Wondrous Lads (_Chudetsnye Malchiki_).
               A. Afanasief, 'National Russian Stories,'
               iii. 25                                             138

  LITTLE RUSSIAN STORIES FROM GALICIA                              142

       XXIV. God Knows how to Punish Man (_Bôg znae, chim
               cholovyeka karati mae_). M. Tyemyak in the
               'Vyenok,' ii. 332                                   143

        XXV. The Good Children (_Dobri dyeti_). Ja. Balagur,
               in the 'Vyenok,' ii. 338                            146

       XXVI. The Devil and the Gipsy (_Chort i Tsigan_). Ja.
               Balagur, in the 'Vyenok,' ii. 370                   150

      XXVII. God and the Devil (_Bôg i Chort_). P. A.
               Lavrovski                                           153

  LITTLE RUSSIAN STORIES FROM SOUTH RUSSIA                         156

     XXVIII. The Beautiful Damsel and the Wicked Old Woman
               (_O Krasavitsye i o zloi babye_). P. Kulish,
               'Memoirs of Southern Russia,' ii. 10                157

       XXIX. The Snake and the Princess (_Uzh i Tsarevna_).
               P. Kulish, 'Memoirs of Southern Russia,' ii. 14     159

        XXX. Transformation into a Nightingale and a Cuckoo
               (_Prevrastenye v Solovya i kukushku_). P. Kulish,
               'Memoirs of Southern Russia,' ii. 33                160

       XXXI. Transmigration of the Soul (_Peresedenye dushi_).
               P. Kulish, 'Memoirs about Southern Russia,'
               ii. 34                                              161

      XXXII. The Wizard (_Znakhor_). P. Kulish, 'Memoirs of
             Southern Russia,' ii.                                 162

  GREAT RUSSIAN STORIES                                            164

     XXXIII. The Lime-Tree (_Lipa_). J. A. Kuljakof, 'Great
               Russian Stories,' i. 132                            164

      XXXIV. Ilya of Murom and Nightingale the Robber (_Ilya
               Muromets i Solovei-razboinik_). A. Afanasief,
               'National Russian Stories,' i. 53                   167


  BULGARIAN STORIES                                                175

       XXXV. The Lord God as an Old Man (_Dyedo-Gospod_). G. S.
               Rakovski, the 'Pokazalets,' Odessa, 1859, i. 137    176

      XXXVI. Bulgarian Hospitality (_Blugarsko Gostopriyemstvo_).
               Konstantin Pavlof                                   179

     XXXVII. Cinderella (_Pepelezhka_). Konstantin Pavlof          181

    XXXVIII. The Golden Apples and the Nine Peahens (_Zlata
               yabluka i devat paunky_). Konstantin Pavlof         186

      XXXIX. The Language of Animals (_Gadinski yazyk_).
               Konstantin Pavlof                                   199

  SERBIAN STORIES                                                  204

         XL. The Lame Fox (_Shantava Lisitsa_). The 'Podunavka,'
               1848, Nos. 48, 49                                   205

        XLI. The Sons' Oath to their Dying Father (_Ochina
               Zakletva_). Vuk St. Karadsich, 'Serbian
               National Tales,' p. 109                             217

       XLII. The Wonderful Hair (_Chudovata Dlaka_). Vuk St.
               Karadsich, 'Serbian National Tales,' p. 154         221

      XLIII. The Dragon and the Prince (_Azhdaya i Tsarev
               Sin_). Vuk St. Karadsich, 'Serbian National
               Tales,' p. 54                                       224

       XLIV. Fate (_Usud_). Vuk St. Karadsich, 'Serbian
               National Tales,' p. 89                              231

  SERBIAN STORIES FROM BOSNIA                                      239

        XLV. The Birdcatcher (_Ptichar_). J. F. Jukih, in the
               'Bosnian Friend,' i. 114                            239

       XLVI. The Two Brothers (_Bratya_). J. F. Jukih, in the
               'Bosnian Friend,' i. 171                            246

  SERBIAN STORIES FROM CARNIOLA                                    252

      XLVII. The Origin of Man (_Odkuda chovyek_). The 'Neven,'
               1858, p. 60                                         254

     XLVIII. God's Cock (_Bozhji Kokot_). The 'Neven,' 1858,
               p. 61                                               254

       XLIX. Kurent the Preserver (_Kurent Spasitelj_). The
            'Neven,' 1858, p. 74                                   256

          L. Kurent and Man (_Kurent i chovyek_). The 'Neven,'
               1858, p. 75                                         257

         LI. The Hundred-Leaved Rose (_Ruzha Steperitsa_). The
               'Neven,' 1858, p. 105                               261

  CROATIAN STORIES                                                 265

        LII. Kraljevitch Marko (_Kraljevich Marko_). M.
               Krachmanov Valjavets, 'National Stories,' p. 64     266

       LIII. The Daughter of the King of the Vilas (_Vilinskoga
               kralya kcher_). M. Krachmanov Valjavets, 'National
               Stories,' p. 273                                    278

        LIV. The Miraculous Lock (_Chudotvorni Lokot_). M.
               Krachmanov Valjavets, 'National Stories,' p. 186    284

         LV. The She-Wolf (_Vuchitsa_). M. Krachmanov Valjavets,
               'National Stories,' p. 240                          290

        LVI. Milutin (_Milutin_). M. Krachmanov Valjavets,
               'National Stories,' p. 131                          291

  ILLYRIAN-SLOVENISH STORIES                                       297

       LVII. A Vila as a Friend and the Months as Friends (_Vila
               priyatlitsa in mestsi priyatli_). The 'Novice,'
               1854, No. 6                                         298

      LVIII. The Fisherman's Son (_Ribchev Sin_). The 'Slovenia,'
               1848, Nos. 46, 47; L. Pintar                        301

        LIX. The White Snake (_Bela kacha_). The 'Slovenska
               behela' (_Slavonic Bee_), 1850, p. 4                312

         LX. The Vila (_Vila_). The 'Novice,' 1853, No. 76         314



These stories are translated from the language of the Slavonic
inhabitants of nearly three-fourths of Bohemia, the 'Czechs,' as the
Poles write the word, or 'Chekhs,' if we adopt the nearest
orthographical approximation to it that the English alphabet allows
us to make. This nation had an early literary development,
commencing before the foundation of the University of Prague
(_Praha_) by the Emperor Charles IV. in 1348. For a long time after
that epoch the Bohemians could justly claim the title of the best
educated nation in Europe. They produced a prose writer--Thomas of
Stitny, whose first original work was published in 1377--whose equal
is not to be found in English literature till the age of Queen
Elizabeth. In the Thirty Years' War (1620) the people and literature
of Bohemia were crushed for more than two centuries, the population
being reduced during that terrible war from over four millions to
eight hundred thousand.

The Bohemian language itself is a very remarkable one. It possesses
both accent and quantity independent of each other, like Latin and
Greek. Thus it is difficult for a foreigner to read aloud or to
speak, for, if he attends carefully to the accent, he is liable to
neglect quantity, and if he attends to quantity, he is likely to
slur over the proper accentuation of words. It, as well as Polish,
employs a sibillated _r_, which in many words is difficult to
pronounce. It also writes semi-vowels, especially _r_, without a
vowel; so that many syllables appear as if there were no vowel in
them. But this it is sufficient to notice once for all, as it causes
no real difficulty in pronunciation.

The fairy-tales relating to the kindly or malevolent superhuman
inhabitants of the woods are peculiar and striking. In No. 5 these
imaginary beings are represented under the latter, and in No. 6
under the former aspect.

_Two_ waters, one of death and the other of life, are found in the
Bohemian stories, just as in the Russian ones--a point wherein the
Slavonic tales regularly differ from those of Western Europe, which
only acknowledge the water of life. As Mr. Ralston remarks ('Songs
of the Russian People,' p. 97): 'When the "dead water" is applied to
the wounds of a corpse, it heals them, but before the dead body can
be brought to life, it is necessary to sprinkle it with the "living


There was a king, who was already old, and had but one son. Once
upon a time he called this son to him, and said to him, 'My dear
son! you know that old fruit falls to make room for other fruit. My
head is already ripening, and maybe the sun will soon no longer
shine upon it; but before you bury me, I should like to see your
wife, my future daughter. My son, marry!' The prince said, 'I would
gladly, father, do as you wish; but I have no bride, and don't know
any.' The old king put his hand into his pocket, took out a golden
key and showed it to his son, with the words, 'Go up into the tower,
to the top story, look round there, and then tell me which you
fancy.' The prince went without delay. Nobody within the memory of
man had been up there, or had ever heard what was up there.

When he got up to the last story, he saw in the ceiling a little
iron door like a trap-door. It was closed. He opened it with the
golden key, lifted it, and went up above it. There there was a large
circular room. The ceiling was blue like the sky on a clear night,
and silver stars glittered on it; the floor was a carpet of green
silk, and around in the wall were twelve high windows in golden
frames, and in each window on crystal glass was a damsel painted
with the colours of the rainbow, with a royal crown on her head, in
each window a different one in a different dress, each handsomer
than the other, and it was a wonder that the prince did not let his
eyes dwell upon them. When he had gazed at them with astonishment,
the damsels began to move as if they were alive, looked down upon
him, smiled, and did everything but speak.

Now the prince observed that one of the twelve windows was covered
with a white curtain; he drew the curtain to see what was behind it.
There there was a damsel in a white dress, girt with a silver
girdle, with a crown of pearls on her head; she was the most
beautiful of all, but was sad and pale, as if she had risen from the
grave. The prince stood long before the picture, as if he had made a
discovery, and as he thus gazed, his heart pained him, and he cried,
'This one will I have, and no other.' As he said the words the
damsel bowed her head, blushed like a rose, and that instant all the
pictures disappeared.

When he went down and related to his father what he had seen and
which damsel he had selected, the old king became sad, bethought
himself, and said, 'You have done ill, my son, in uncovering what
was curtained over, and have placed yourself in great danger on
account of those words. That damsel is in the power of a wicked
wizard, and kept captive in an iron castle; of all who have
attempted to set her free, not one has hitherto returned. But what's
done cannot be undone; the plighted word is a law. Go! try your
luck, and return home safe and sound!'

The prince took leave of his father, mounted his horse, and rode
away in search of his bride. It came to pass that he rode through a
vast forest, and through the forest he rode on and on till he lost
the road. And as he was wandering with his horse in thickets and
amongst rocks and morasses, not knowing which way to turn, he heard
somebody shout behind him, 'Hi! stop!' The prince looked round, and
saw a tall man hastening after him. 'Stop and take me with you, and
take me into your service, and you won't regret it!' 'Who are you,'
said the prince, 'and what can you do?' 'My name is Long, and I can
extend myself. Do you see a bird's nest in that pine yonder? I will
bring you the nest down without having to climb up.'

Long then began to extend himself; his body grew rapidly till it was
as tall as the pine; he then reached the nest, and in a moment
contracted himself again and gave it to the prince. 'You know your
business well, but what's the use of birds' nests to me, if you
can't conduct me out of this forest?' 'Ahem! that's an easy matter,'
said Long, and began to extend himself till he was thrice as high as
the highest fir in the forest, looked round, and said: 'Here on this
side we have the nearest way out of the forest.' He then contracted
himself, took the horse by the bridle, and before the prince had any
idea of it, they were beyond the forest. Before them was a long and
wide plain, and beyond the plain tall gray rocks, like the walls of
a large town, and mountains overgrown with forest trees.

'Yonder, sir, goes my comrade!' said Long, and pointed suddenly to
the plain; 'you should take him also into your service; I believe he
would serve you well.' 'Shout to him, and call him hither, that I
may see what he is good for.' 'It is a little too far, sir,' said
Long; 'he would hardly hear me, and it would take a long time before
he came, because he has a great deal to carry. I'll jump after him
instead.' Then Long again extended himself to such a height that his
head plunged into the clouds, made two or three steps, took his
comrade by the arm, and placed him before the prince. He was a
short, thick-set fellow, with a paunch like a sixty-four gallon
cask. 'Who are you?' demanded the prince, 'and what can you do?' 'My
name, sir, is Broad; I can widen myself.' 'Give me a specimen.'
'Ride quick, sir, quick, back into the forest!' cried Broad, as he
began to blow himself out.

The prince didn't understand why he was to ride away; but seeing
that Long made all haste to get into the forest, he spurred his
horse, and rode full gallop after him. It was high time that he did
ride away, or else Broad would have squashed him, horse and all, as
his paunch rapidly grew in all directions; it filled everything
everywhere, just as if a mountain had rolled up. Broad then ceased
to blow himself out, and took himself in again, raising such a wind
that the trees in the forest bowed and bent, and became what he was
at first. 'You've played me a nice trick,' said the prince, 'but I
shan't find such a fellow every day; come with me.'

They proceeded further. When they approached the rocks, they met a
man who had his eyes bandaged with a handkerchief. 'Sir, this is our
third comrade,' said Long, 'you ought to take him also into your
service. I'm sure he won't eat his victuals for naught.' 'Who are
you?' the prince asked him, 'and why are your eyes bandaged? You
don't see your way!' 'No, sir, quite the contrary! It is just
because I see too well that I am obliged to bandage my eyes; I see
with bandaged eyes just as well as others with unbandaged eyes; and
if I unbandage them I look everything through and through, and when
I gaze sharply at anything, it catches fire and bursts into flame,
and what can't burn splits into pieces. For this reason my name is
Sharpsight.' He then turned to a rock opposite, removed the bandage,
and fixed his flaming eyes upon it; the rock began to crackle,
pieces flew on every side, and in a very short time nothing of it
remained but a heap of sand, on which something glittered like fire.
Sharpsight went to fetch it, and brought it to the prince. It was
pure gold.

'Heigho! you're a fellow that money can't purchase!' said the
prince. 'He is a fool who wouldn't make use of your services, and if
you have such good sight, look and tell me whether it is far to the
iron castle, and what is now going on there?' 'If you rode by
yourself, sir,' answered Sharpsight, 'maybe you wouldn't get there
within a year; but with us you'll arrive to-day--they're just
getting supper ready for us.' 'And what is my bride doing?'

    'An iron lattice is before her,
      In a tower that's high
      She doth sit and sigh,
    A wizard watch and ward keeps o'er her.'

The prince cried, 'Whoever is well disposed, help me to set her
free!' They all promised to help him. They guided him among the gray
rocks through the breach that Sharpsight had made in them with his
eyes, and further and further on through rocks, through high
mountains and deep forests, and wherever there was any obstacle in
the road, forthwith it was removed by the three comrades. And when
the sun was declining towards the west, the mountains began to
become lower, the forests less dense, and the rocks concealed
themselves amongst the heath; and when it was almost on the point of
setting, the prince saw not far before him an iron castle; and when
it was actually setting, he rode by an iron bridge to the gate, and
as soon as it had set, up rose the iron bridge of itself, the gate
closed with a single movement, and the prince and his companions
were captives in the iron castle.

When they had looked round in the court, the prince put his horse up
in the stable, where everything was ready for it, and then they went
into the castle. In the court, in the stable, in the castle hall,
and in the rooms, they saw in the twilight many richly-dressed
people, gentlemen and servants, but not one of them stirred--they
were all turned to stone. They went through several rooms, and came
into the supper-room. This was brilliantly lighted up, and in the
midst was a table, and on it plenty of good meats and drinks, and
covers were laid for four persons. They waited and waited, thinking
that someone would come; but when nobody came for a long time, they
sat down and ate and drank what the palate fancied.

When they had done eating, they looked about to find where to sleep.
Thereupon the door flew open unexpectedly all at once, and into the
room came the wizard; a bent old man in a long black garb, with a
bald head, a gray beard down to his knees, and three iron hoops
instead of a girdle. By the hand he led a beautiful, very beautiful
damsel, dressed in white; she had a silver girdle round her waist,
and a crown of pearls on her head, but was pale and sad, as if she
had risen from the grave. The prince recognised her at once, sprang
forward, and went to meet her; but before he could utter a word the
wizard addressed him: 'I know for what you have come; you want to
take the princess away. Well, be it so! Take her, if you can keep
her in sight for three nights, so that she doesn't vanish from you.
If she vanishes, you will be turned into stone as well as your three
servants; like all who have come before you.' He then motioned the
princess to a seat and departed.

The prince could not take his eyes off the princess, so beautiful
was she. He began to talk to her, and asked her all manner of
questions, but she neither answered nor smiled, nor looked at anyone
any more than if she had been of marble. He sat down by her, and
determined not to sleep all night long lest she should vanish from
him, and, to make surer, Long extended himself like a strap, and
wound himself round the whole room along the wall; Broad posted
himself in the doorway, swelled himself up, and stopped it up so
tight that not even a mouse could have slipped through; while
Sharpsight placed himself against a pillar in the midst of the room
on the look-out. But after a time they all began to nod, fell
asleep, and slept the whole night, just as if the wizard had thrown
them into the water.

In the morning, when it began to dawn, the prince was the first to
wake, but--as if a knife had been thrust into his heart--the
princess was gone! He forthwith awoke his servants, and asked what
was to be done. 'Never mind, sir,' said Sharpsight, and looked
sharply out through the window, 'I see her already. A hundred miles
hence is a forest, in the midst of the forest an old oak, and on the
top of the oak an acorn, and she is that acorn.' Long immediately
took him on his shoulders, extended himself, and went ten miles at a
step, while Sharpsight showed him the way.

No more time elapsed than would have been wanted to move once round
a cottage before they were back again, and Long delivered the acorn
to the prince. 'Sir, let it fall on the ground.' The prince let it
fall, and that moment the princess stood beside him. And when the
sun began to show itself beyond the mountains, the folding doors
flew open with a crash, and the wizard entered the room and smiled
spitefully; but when he saw the princess he frowned, growled, and
bang! one of the iron hoops which he wore splintered and sprang off
him. He then took the damsel by the hand and led her away.

The whole day after the prince had nothing to do but walk up and
down the castle, and round about the castle, and look at the
wonderful things that were there. It was everywhere as if life had
been lost in a single moment. In one hall he saw a prince, who held
in both hands a brandished sword, as if he intended to cleave
somebody in twain; but the blow never fell: he had been turned into
stone. In one chamber was a knight turned into stone, just as if he
had been fleeing from some one in terror, and, stumbling on the
threshold, had taken a downward direction, but not fallen. Under the
chimney sat a servant, who held in one hand a piece of roast meat,
and with the other lifted a mouthful towards his mouth, which never
reached it; when it was just in front of his mouth, he had also been
turned to stone. Many others he saw there turned to stone, each in
the position in which he was when the wizard said, 'Be turned into
stone.' He likewise saw many fine horses turned to stone, and in the
castle and round the castle all was desolate and dead; there were
trees, but without leaves; there were meadows, but without grass;
there was a river, but it did not flow; nowhere was there even a
singing bird, or a flower, the offspring of the ground, or a white
fish in the water.

Morning, noon, and evening the prince and his companions found good
and abundant entertainment in the castle; the viands came of
themselves, the wine poured itself out. After supper the folding
doors opened again, and the wizard brought in the princess for the
prince to guard. And although they all determined to exert
themselves with all their might not to fall asleep, yet it was of no
use, fall asleep again they did. And when the prince awoke at dawn
and saw the princess had vanished, he jumped up and pulled
Sharpsight by the arm, 'Hey! get up, Sharpsight, do you know where
the princess is?' He rubbed his eyes, looked, and said, 'I see her.
There's a mountain 200 miles off, and in the mountain a rock, and in
the rock a precious stone, and she's that precious stone. If Long
carries me thither, we shall obtain her.'

Long took him at once on his shoulders, extended himself, and went
twenty miles at a step. Sharpsight fixed his flaming eyes on the
mountain, the mountain crumbled, and the rock in it split into a
thousand pieces, and amongst them glittered the precious stone. They
took it up and brought it to the prince, and when he let it fall on
the ground, the princess again stood there. When afterwards the
wizard came and saw her there, his eyes flashed with spite, and
bang! again an iron hoop cracked upon him and flew off. He growled
and led the princess out of the room.

That day all was again as it had been the day before. After supper
the wizard brought the princess in again, looked the prince keenly
in the face, and scornfully uttered the words, 'It will be seen
who's a match for whom; whether you are victorious or I,' and with
that he departed. This day they all exerted themselves still more to
avoid going to sleep. They wouldn't even sit down, they wanted to
walk about all night long, but all in vain; they were bewitched; one
fell asleep after the other as he walked, and the princess vanished
away from them.

In the morning the prince again awoke earliest, and when he didn't
see the princess, woke Sharpsight. 'Hey! get up, Sharpsight! look
where the princess is!' Sharpsight looked out for a long time. 'Oh
sir,' says he, 'she is a long way off, a long way off! Three hundred
miles off is a black sea, and in the midst of the sea a shell on
the bottom, and in the shell is a gold ring, and she's the ring. But
never mind! we shall obtain her, but to-day Long must take Broad
with him as well; we shall want him.' Long took Sharpsight on one
shoulder, and Broad on the other, and went thirty miles at a step.
When they came to the black sea, Sharpsight showed him where he must
reach into the water for the shell. Long extended his hand as far as
he could, but could not reach the bottom.

'Wait, comrades! wait only a little and I'll help you,' said Broad,
and swelled himself out as far as his paunch would stretch; he then
lay down on the shore and drank. In a very short time the water fell
so low that Long easily reached the bottom and took the shell out of
the sea. Out of it he extracted the ring, took his comrades on his
shoulders, and hastened back. But on the way he found it a little
difficult to run with Broad, who had half a sea of water inside him,
so he cast him from his shoulder on to the ground in a wide valley.
Thump he went like a sack let fall from a tower, and in a moment the
whole valley was under water like a vast lake. Broad himself barely
crawled out of it.

Meanwhile the prince was in great trouble in the castle. The dawn
began to display itself over the mountains, and his servants had not
returned; the more brilliantly the rays ascended, the greater was
his anxiety; a deadly perspiration came out upon his forehead. Soon
the sun showed itself in the east like a thin strip of flame--and
then with a loud crash the door flew open, and on the threshold
stood the wizard. He looked round the room, and seeing the princess
was not there, laughed a hateful laugh and entered the room. But
just at that moment, pop! the window flew in pieces, the gold ring
fell on the floor, and in an instant there stood the princess again.
Sharpsight, seeing what was going on in the castle, and in what
danger his master was, told Long. Long made a step, and threw the
ring through the window into the room. The wizard roared with rage,
till the castle quaked, and then bang! went the third iron hoop that
was round his waist, and sprang off him; the wizard turned into a
raven, and flew out and away through the shattered window.

Then, and not till then, did the beautiful damsel speak and thank
the prince for setting her free, and blushed like a rose. In the
castle and round the castle everything became alive again at once.
He who was holding in the hall the outstretched sword, swung it into
the air, which whistled again, and then returned it to its sheath;
he who was stumbling on the threshold, fell on the ground, but
immediately got up again and felt his nose to see whether it was
still entire; he who was sitting under the chimney put the piece of
meat into his mouth and went on eating; and thus everybody completed
what he had begun doing, and at the point where he had left off. In
the stables the horses merrily stamped and snorted, the trees round
the castle became green like periwinkles, the meadows were full of
variegated flowers, high in the air warbled the skylark, and
abundance of small fishes appeared in the clear river. Everywhere
was life, everywhere enjoyment.

Meanwhile a number of gentlemen assembled in the room where the
prince was, and all thanked him for their liberation. But he said,
'You have nothing to thank me for; if it had not been for my trusty
servants Long, Broad, and Sharpsight, I too should have been what
you were.' He then immediately started on his way home to the old
king, his father, with his bride and servants. On the way they met
Broad and took him with them.

The old king wept for joy at the success of his son; he had thought
he would return no more. Soon afterwards there was a grand wedding,
the festivities of which lasted three weeks; all the gentlemen that
the prince had liberated were invited. After the wedding Long,
Broad, and Sharpsight announced to the young king that they were
going again into the world to look for work. The young king tried to
persuade them to stay with him. 'I will give you everything you
want, as long as you live,' said he; 'you needn't work at all.' But
they didn't like such an idle life, took leave of him, went away and
have been ever since knocking about somewhere or other in the world.

       *       *       *       *       *

This story appears to me to be the perfection of 'Natural Science in
Allegory.' It is not a mere 'Natur-myth,' exhibiting the contests,
victories, and defeats of the forces of Nature. In interpreting it
we must distinguish between the mere machinery and the essential
actors. The king's son does nothing himself, and the whole work is
performed by the three men, whom he takes into his service. I
understand by the king's son Man, who wishes to cultivate the earth,
who is the princess imprisoned by the enchanter, the drought. She is
released by the agency of the three phenomena that usher in the
rainy season, the rainbow (Long), the cloud (Broad), and the
lightning (Sharpsight). Man, by the aid of these three phenomena, is
enabled to cultivate the earth. Such a story could only originate in
a country of periodic rains. The rapid recovery of vegetation and
almost instantaneous reappearance of fish in dried-up brooks in
India are well known. The common story of the Sleeping Beauty is
evidently a fragment from the myth which exhibits figuratively the
speedy wake up of all things when released from the bondage of the

It is possible also to consider the prince as the sun, who cannot
marry the drought-enslaved earth, until he has taken into his
service and obtained the aid of the same three phenomena. Those who
had previously attempted to set the princess free would then be the
suns immediately preceding the rainy season, which had not had the
aid of Long, Broad, and Sharpsight.


There was once upon a time a king who delighted in hunting wild
animals in forests. One day he chased a stag to a great distance and
lost his way. He was all alone; night came on, and the king was only
too glad to find a cottage in a clearing. A charcoal-burner lived
there. The king asked him whether he would guide him out of the
forest to the road, promising to pay him well for it. 'I would
gladly go with you,' said the charcoal-burner, 'but, you see, my
wife is expecting; I cannot go away. And whither would you go at
this time of night? Lie down on some hay on the garret floor, and
to-morrow morning I will be your guide.' Soon afterwards a baby boy
was born to the charcoal-burner. The king was lying on the floor and
couldn't sleep. At midnight he observed a kind of light in the
keeping-room below. He peeped through a chink in the boarding and
saw the charcoal-burner asleep, his wife lying in a dead faint, and
three old hags, all in white, standing by the baby, each with a
lighted taper in her hand. The first said: 'My gift to this boy is,
that he shall come into great dangers.' The second said: 'My gift to
him is, that he shall escape from them all and live long.' And the
third said: 'And I give him to wife the baby daughter who has this
day been born to that king who is lying upstairs on the hay.'
Thereupon the hags put out their tapers, and all was still again.
They were the Fates.

The king felt as if a sword had been thrust into his breast. He
didn't sleep till morning, thinking over what to do, and how to do
it, to prevent that coming to pass which he had heard. When day
dawned the child began to cry. The charcoal-burner got up and saw
that his wife had gone to sleep for ever. 'Oh, my poor little
orphan!' whimpered he; 'what shall I do with you now?' 'Give me the
baby,' said the king; 'I'll take care that it shall be well with it,
and will give you so much money that you needn't burn charcoal as
long as you live.' The charcoal-burner was delighted at this, and
the king promised to send for the baby. When he arrived at his
palace they told him, with great joy, that a beautiful baby-daughter
had been born to him on such and such a night. It was the very night
on which he saw the three Fates. The king frowned, called one of his
servants, and told him: 'Go to such a place in the forest; a
charcoal-burner lives there in a cottage. Give him this money, and
he will give you a little child. Take the child and drown it on your
way back. If you don't drown it, you shall drink water yourself.'
The servant went, took the baby and put it into a basket, and when
he came to a narrow foot-bridge, under which flowed a deep and broad
river, he threw the basket and all into the water. 'Good-night,
uninvited son-in-law!' said the king, when the servant told him what
he had done.

The king thought that the baby was drowned, but it wasn't. It
floated in the water in the basket as if it had been its cradle, and
slept as if the river were singing to it, till it floated down to a
fisherman's cottage. The fisherman was sitting by the bank mending
his net. He saw something floating down the river, jumped into his
boat, and went to catch it, and out of the water he drew the baby in
the basket. He carried it to his wife, and said: 'You've always
wanted a little son, and here you have one. The water has brought
him to us.' The fisherman's wife was delighted, and brought up the
child as her own. They named him 'Floatling' (_Plaváczek_), because
he had floated to them on the water.

The river flowed on and years passed on, and from a boy he became a
handsome youth, the like of whom was not to be found far and wide.
One day in the summer it came to pass that the king rode that way
all alone. It was hot, and he was thirsty, and beckoned to the
fisherman to give him a little fresh water. When Floatling brought
it to him, the king looked at him with astonishment. 'You've a fine
lad, fisherman!' said he; 'is he your son?' 'He is and he isn't,'
replied the fisherman; 'just twenty years ago he floated, as a
little baby, down the river in a basket, and we brought him up.' A
mist came before the king's eyes; he became as pale as a whitewashed
wall, perceiving that it was the child he had ordered to be drowned.
But he soon recollected himself, sprang from his horse, and said: 'I
want a messenger to my palace, and have nobody with me: can this
youth go thither for me?' 'Your majesty has but to command and the
lad will go,' said the fisherman. The king sat down and wrote a
letter to his queen: 'Cause this young man whom I send you to be run
through with a sword at once; he is a dangerous enemy of mine. Let
it be done before I return. Such is my will.' He then folded the
letter, fastened and sealed it with his signet.

Floatling started at once with the letter. He had to go through a
great forest, but missed the road and lost his way. He went from
thicket to thicket till it began to grow dark. Then he met an old
hag, who said to him: 'Whither are you going, Floatling?' 'I am
going with a letter to the king's palace, and have lost my way.
Can't you tell me, mother, how to get into the right road?' 'Anyhow,
you won't get there to-day,' said the hag; 'it's dark. Stay the
night with me. You won't be with a stranger. I am your godmother.'
The young man allowed himself to be persuaded, and they hadn't gone
many paces when they saw before them a pretty little house, just as
if it had grown all at once out of the ground. In the night, when
the lad was asleep, the hag took the letter out of his pocket and
put another in its place, in which it was written thus: 'Cause this
young man whom I send you to be married to our daughter at once; he
is my destined son-in-law. Let it be done before I return. Such is
my will.'

When the queen read the letter, she immediately ordered arrangements
to be made for the wedding, and neither she nor the young princess
could gaze enough at the bridegroom, so delighted were they with
him; and Floatling was similarly delighted with his royal bride.
Some days after, the king came home, and when he found what had
happened, he was violently enraged at his queen for what she had
done. 'Anyhow, you ordered me yourself to have him married to our
daughter before you returned,' answered the queen, and gave him the
letter. The king took the letter and looked it through--writing,
seal, paper, everything was his own. He had his son-in-law called,
and questioned him about what had happened on his way to the palace.

Floatling related how he had started and had lost his way in the
forest, and stayed the night with his old godmother. 'What did she
look like?' 'So and so.' The king perceived from his statement that
it was the same person that had, twenty years before, assigned his
daughter to the charcoal-burner's son. He thought and thought, and
then he said: 'What's done can't be altered; still, you can't be my
son-in-law for nothing. If you want to have my daughter, you must
bring me for a dowry three golden hairs of Grandfather Allknow.' He
thought to himself that he should thus be quit of his distasteful

Floatling took leave of his bride and went--which way, and whither?
I don't know; but, as a Fate was his godmother, it was easy for him
to find the right road. He went far and wide, over hills and dales,
over fords and rivers, till he came to a black sea. There he saw a
boat, and in it a ferryman. 'God bless you, old ferryman!' 'God
grant it, young pilgrim! Whither are you travelling?' 'To
Grandfather Allknow, for three golden hairs.' 'Ho, ho! I have long
been waiting for such a messenger. For twenty years I've been
ferrying here, and nobody's come to set me free. If you promise me
to ask Grandfather Allknow when the end of my work will be, I will
ferry you over.' Floatling promised, and the ferryman ferried him

After this he came to a great city, but it was decayed and sad. In
front of the city he met an old man, who had a staff in his hand,
and could scarcely crawl. 'God bless you, aged grandfather!' 'God
grant it, handsome youth! Whither are you going?' 'To Grandfather
Allknow, for three golden hairs.' 'Ah! ah! we've long been waiting
for some such messenger; I must at once conduct you to our lord the
king.' When they got there the king said: 'I hear that you are going
on an errand to Grandfather Allknow. We had an apple-tree here that
bore youth-producing apples. If anybody ate one, though he were on
the brink of the grave, he got young again, and became like a young
man. But for the last twenty years our apple-tree has produced no
fruit. If you promise me to ask Grandfather Allknow whether there is
any help for us, I will requite you royally.' Floatling promised,
and the king dismissed him graciously.

After that he came again to another great city, which was half
ruined. Not far from the city a son was burying his deceased father,
and tears, like peas, were rolling down his cheek. 'God bless you,
mournful grave-digger!' said Floatling. 'God grant it, good pilgrim!
Whither are you going?' 'I am going to Grandfather Allknow, for
three golden hairs.' 'To Grandfather Allknow? It's a pity you didn't
come sooner! But our king has long been waiting for some such
messenger; I must conduct you to him.' When they got there, the king
said: 'I hear that you are going on an errand to Grandfather
Allknow. We had a well here, out of which sprang living water; if
anybody drank it, even were he at the point of death, he would get
well at once; nay, were he already a corpse, if this water were
sprinkled upon him, he would immediately rise up and walk. But for
the last twenty years the water has ceased to flow. If you promise
me to ask Grandfather Allknow whether there is any help for us, I
will give you a royal reward.' Floatling promised, and the king
dismissed him graciously.

After this he went far and wide through a black forest, and in the
midst of that forest espied a large green meadow, full of beautiful
flowers, and in it a golden palace. This was Grandfather Allknow's
palace; it glittered as if on fire. Floatling went into the palace,
but found nobody there but an old hag sitting and spinning in a
corner. 'Welcome, Floatling!' said she; 'I am delighted to see you
again.' It was his godmother, at whose house he had spent the night
when he was carrying the letter. 'What has brought you here?' 'The
king would not allow me to be his son-in-law for nothing, so he sent
me for three golden hairs of Grandfather Allknow.' The hag smiled,
and said: 'Grandfather Allknow is my son, the bright Sun; in the
morning he is a little lad, at noon a grown man, and in the evening
an old grandfather. I will provide you with the three golden hairs
from his golden head, that I too mayn't be your godmother for
nothing. But, my boy! you can't remain as you are. My son is
certainly a good soul, but when he comes home hungry in the evening,
it might easily happen that he might roast and eat you for his
supper. Yonder is an empty tub; I will cover you over with it.'
Floatling begged her also to question Grandfather Allknow about the
three things concerning which he had promised on the road to bring
answers. 'I will,' said the hag, 'and do you give heed to what he

All at once a wind arose outside and in flew the Sun, an old
grandfather with a golden head, by the west window into the room. 'A
smell, a smell of human flesh!' says he; 'have you anybody here,
mother?' 'Star of the day! whom could I have here without your
seeing him? But so it is; you're all day long flying over God's
world, and your nose is filled with the scent of human flesh; so
it's no wonder that you still smell it when you come home in the
evening.' The old man said nothing in reply, and sat down to his

After supper he laid his golden head on the hag's lap and began to
slumber. As soon as she saw that he was sound asleep, she pulled out
a golden hair and threw it on the ground. It rang like a
harp-string. 'What do you want, mother?' said the old man. 'Nothing,
sonny, nothing! I was asleep, and had a marvellous dream.' 'What did
you dream about?' 'I dreamt about a city, where they had a spring of
living water; when anybody was ill and drank of it, he got well
again; and if he died and was sprinkled with this water, he came to
life again. But for the last twenty years the water has ceased to
flow; is there any help that it may flow again?' 'Quite easy;
there's a toad sitting on the spring in the well that won't let the
water flow. Let them kill the toad and clean out the well; the water
will flow as before.' When the old man fell asleep again, the hag
pulled out a second golden hair and threw it on the ground. 'What
ails you again, mother?' 'Nothing, sonny, nothing; I was asleep, and
again had a marvellous dream. I dreamt of a city where they had an
apple-tree which bore youth-restoring apples; when anybody grew old
and ate one he became young again. But for the last twenty years the
apple-tree has borne no fruit; is there any help?' 'Quite easy;
under the tree there lies a snake that exhausts its powers; let them
kill the snake and transplant the apple-tree; it will bear fruit as
before.' The old man then fell asleep again, and the hag pulled out
a third golden hair. 'Why won't you let me sleep, mother?' said the
old man crossly, and wanted to get up. 'Lie still, sonny, lie still!
Don't be angry, I didn't want to wake you. But a heavy sleep fell
upon me, and I had another marvellous dream. I dreamt of a ferryman
on a black sea; for twenty years he has been ferrying across it, and
no one has come to set him free. When will his work have an end?'
'He's the son of a stupid mother. Let him give the oar into another
person's hand and jump ashore himself; the other will be ferryman in
his stead. But let me be quiet now; I must get up early to-morrow
and go to dry the tears which the king's daughter sheds every night
for her husband, the charcoal-burner's son, whom the king has sent
for three golden hairs of mine.'

In the morning a wind again arose outside, and on the lap of its old
mother awoke, instead of the old man, a beautiful golden-haired
child, the divine Sun, who bade farewell to his mother and flew out
by the east window. The hag turned up the tub and said to Floatling:
'There are the three golden hairs for you, and you also know what
Grandfather Allknow has answered to those three things. Go; and
good-bye! You will see me no more; there is no need of it.'
Floatling thanked the hag gratefully, and departed.

When he came to the first city, the king asked him what news he
brought him. 'Good news,' said Floatling. 'Have the well cleaned
out, and kill the toad which sits on the spring, and the water will
flow again as aforetime.' The king had this done without delay, and
when he saw the water bubbling up with a full stream, he presented
Floatling with twelve horses white as swans, and on them as much
gold and silver as they could carry.

When he came to the second city the king asked him again what news
he brought. 'Good news!' said Floatling. 'Have the apple-tree dug
up; you will find a snake under the roots; kill it; then plant the
apple-tree again, and it will bear fruit as aforetime.' The king had
this done at once, and during the night the apple-tree was clothed
with bloom, just as if it had been bestrewn with roses. The king was
delighted, and presented Floatling with twelve horses as black as
ravens, and on them as much riches as they could carry.

Floatling travelled on, and when he came to the black sea, the ferryman
asked him whether he had learnt when he would be liberated. 'I have,'
said Floatling. 'But ferry me over first, and then I will tell you.'
The ferryman objected, but when he saw that there was nothing else to
be done, he ferried him over with his four-and-twenty horses. 'Before
you ferry anybody over again,' said Floatling, 'put the oar into his
hand and jump ashore, and he will be ferryman in your stead.'

The king didn't believe his eyes when Floatling brought him the three
golden hairs of Grandfather Allknow; and his daughter wept, not from
sorrow, but from joy at his return. 'But where did you get these
beautiful horses and this great wealth?' asked the king. 'I earned it,'
said Floatling; and related how he had helped one king again to the
youth-restoring apples, which make young people out of old ones; and
another to the living water, which makes sick people well and dead
people living. 'Youth-restoring apples! living water!' repeated the
king quietly to himself. 'If I ate one I should become young again; and
if I died I should be restored to life by that water.' Without delay
he started on the road for the youth-restoring apples and the living
water--and hasn't returned yet.

Thus the charcoal-burner's son became the king's son-in-law, as the
Fate decreed; and as for the king, maybe he is still ferrying across
the black sea.

       *       *       *       *       *

This story is a variant of Grimm's 'Giant with the Three Golden
Hairs.' But, whereas in Grimm there is nothing to indicate who the
giant is, or whether he has three golden hairs and three only, in
the Bohemian tale it is plain that 'Grandfather Allknow' is the Sun,
and that the three golden hairs are three sunbeams.


There was a king who was so clever that he understood all animals,
and knew what they said to each other. Hear how he learnt it. Once
upon a time there came to him a little old woman, who brought him a
snake in a basket, and told him to have it cooked for him; if he
dined off it, he would understand what any animal in the air, on the
earth, or in the water said. The king liked the idea of
understanding what nobody else understood, paid the old woman well,
and forthwith ordered his servant to cook the fish for dinner.
'But,' said he, 'be sure you don't take a morsel of it even on your
tongue, else you shall pay for it with your head.'

George, the servant, thought it odd that the king forbade him so
energetically to do this. 'In my life I never saw such a fish,' said
he to himself; 'it looks just like a snake! And what sort of cook
would that be who didn't take a taste of what he was cooking?' When
it was cooked, he took a morsel on his tongue, and tasted it.
Thereupon he heard something buzzing round his ears: 'Some for us,
too! some for us, too!' George looked round, and saw nothing but
some flies that were flying about in the kitchen. Again somebody
called with a hissing voice in the street outside: 'Where are you
going? where are you going?' And shriller voices answered: 'To the
miller's barley! to the miller's barley!' George peeped through the
window, and saw a gander and a flock of geese. 'Aha!' said he;
'that's the kind of fish it is.' Now he knew what it was. He hastily
thrust one more morsel into his mouth, and carried the snake to the
king as if nothing had happened.

After dinner the king ordered George to saddle the horses and
accompany him, as he wished to take a ride. The king rode in front
and George behind. As they were riding over a green meadow, George's
horse bounded and began to neigh. 'Ho! ho! brother. I feel so light
that I should like to jump over mountains!' 'As for that,' said the
other, 'I should like to jump about, too, but there's an old man on
my back; if I were to skip, he'd tumble on the ground like a sack
and break his neck.' 'Let him break it--what matter?' said George's
horse; 'instead of an old man you'll carry a young one.' George
laughed heartily at this conversation, but so quietly that the king
knew nothing about it. But the king also understood perfectly well
what the horses were saying to each other, looked round, and seeing
a smile on George's face, asked him what he was laughing at.
'Nothing, your illustrious majesty,' said George in excuse; 'only
something occurred to my mind.' Nevertheless, the old king already
suspected him, neither did he feel confidence in the horses, so he
turned and rode back home.

When they arrived at the palace, the king ordered George to pour him
out a glass of wine. 'But your head for it,' said he, 'if you don't
pour it full, or if you pour it so that it runs over.' George took
the decanter and poured. Just then in flew two birds through the
window; one was chasing the other, and the one that was trying to
get away carried three golden hairs in its beak. 'Give them to me!'
said the first; 'they are mine.' 'I shan't; they're mine; I took
them up.' 'But I saw them fall, when the golden-haired maiden was
combing her hair. At any rate, give me two.' 'Not one!' Hereupon the
other bird made a rush, and seized the golden hairs. As they
struggled for them on the wing, one remained in each bird's beak,
and the third golden hair fell on the ground, where it rang again.
At this moment George looked round at it, and then poured the wine
over. 'You've forfeited your life!' shouted the king; 'but I'll deal
mercifully with you if you obtain the golden-haired maiden, and
bring her me to wife.'

What was George to do? If he wanted to save his life, he must go in
search of the maiden, though he did not know where to look for her.
He saddled his horse, and rode at random. He came to a black forest,
and there, under the forest by the roadside, a bush was burning;
some cowherd had set it on fire. Under the bush was an ant-hill;
sparks were falling on it, and the ants were fleeing in all
directions with their little white eggs. 'Help, George, help!' cried
they mournfully; 'we're being burnt to death, as well as our young
ones in the eggs.' He got down from his horse at once, cut away the
bush, and put out the fire. 'When you are in trouble think of us,
and we'll help you.'

He rode on through the forest, and came to a lofty pine. On the top
of this pine was a raven's nest, and below, on the ground, were two
young ravens crying and complaining: 'Our father and mother have
flown away; we've got to seek food for ourselves, and we poor little
birds can't fly yet. Help us, George, help us! Feed us, or we shall
die of hunger!' George did not stop long to consider, but jumped
down from his horse, and thrust his sword into its side, that the
young ravens might have something to eat. 'When you are in need
think of us, and we'll help you.'

After this, George had to go on on foot. He walked a long, long way
through the forest, and when he at last got out of it, he saw before
him a long and broad sea. On the shore of this sea two fishermen
were quarrelling. They had caught a large golden fish in their net,
and each wanted to have it for himself. 'The net is mine, and mine's
the fish.' The other replied: 'Much good would your net have been,
if it hadn't been for my boat and my help.' 'If we catch such
another fish again, it will be yours.' 'Not so; wait you for the
next, and give me this.' 'I'll set you at one,' said George. 'Sell
me the fish--I'll pay you well for it--and you divide the money
between you, share and share alike.' He gave them all the money that
the king had given him for his journey, leaving nothing at all for
himself. The fishermen were delighted, and George let the fish go
again into the sea. It splashed merrily through the water, dived,
and then, not far from the shore, put out its head: 'When you want
me, George, think of me, and I'll requite you.' It then disappeared.
'Where are you going?' the fishermen asked George. 'I'm going for
the golden-haired maiden to be the bride of the old king, my lord,
and I don't even know where to look for her.' 'We can tell you all
about her,' said the fishermen. 'It's Goldenhair, the king's
daughter, of the Crystal Palace, on the island yonder. Every day at
dawn she combs her golden hair, and the bright gleam therefrom goes
over sky and over sea. If you wish it, we'll take you over to the
island ourselves, as you set us at one again so nicely. But take
care to bring away the right maiden; there are twelve maidens--the
king's daughters--but only one has golden hair.'

When George was on the island, he went into the Crystal Palace to
entreat the king to give the king, his lord, his golden-haired
daughter to wife. 'I will,' said the king, 'but you must earn her;
you must in three days perform three tasks, which I shall impose
upon you, each day one. Meanwhile, you can rest till to-morrow.'
Next day, early, the king said to him: 'My Goldenhair had a necklace
of costly pearls; the necklace broke, and the pearls were scattered
in the long grass in the green meadow. You must collect all these
pearls, without one being wanting.' George went into the meadow; it
was long and broad; he knelt on the grass, and began to seek. He
sought and sought from morn to noon, but never saw a pearl. 'Ah! if
my ants were here, they might help me.' 'Here we are to help you,'
said the ants, running in every direction, but always crowding round
him. 'What do you want?' 'I have to collect pearls in this meadow,
but I don't see one.' 'Only wait a bit, we'll collect them for you.'
Before long they brought him a multitude of pearls out of the grass,
and he had nothing to do but string them on the necklace.
Afterwards, when he was going to fasten up the necklace, one more
ant limped up--it was lame, its foot had been scorched when the fire
was at the ant-hill--and cried out: 'Stop, George, don't fasten it
up; I'm bringing you one more pearl.'

When George brought the pearls to the king, the king counted them
over; not one was wanting. 'You have done your business well,' said
he; 'to-morrow I shall give you another piece of work.' In the
morning George came, and the king said to him: 'My Goldenhair was
bathing in the sea, and lost there a gold ring; you must find and
bring it.' George went to the sea, and walked sorrowfully along the
shore. The sea was clear, but so deep that he couldn't even see the
bottom, much less could he seek and find the ring there. 'Oh that my
golden fish were here; it might be able to help me.' Whereupon
something glittered in the sea, and up swam the golden fish from the
deep to the surface of the water: 'Here I am to help you; what do
you want?' 'I've got to find a gold ring in the sea, and I can't
even see the bottom.' 'I just met a pike which was carrying a gold
ring in its mouth. Only wait a bit, I'll bring it to you.' Ere long
it returned from the deep water, and brought him the pike, ring and

The king commended George for doing his business well, and then next
morning laid upon him the third task: 'If you wish me to give your
king my Goldenhair to wife, you must bring her the waters of death
and of life--she will require them.' George did not know whither to
betake himself for these waters, and went at haphazard hither and
thither, whither his feet carried him, till he came to a black
forest: 'Ah, if my young ravens were here, perhaps they would help
me.' Now there was a rustling over his head, and two young ravens
appeared above him: 'Here we are to help you; what do you wish?'
'I've got to bring the waters of death and of life, and I don't know
where to look for them.' 'Oh, we know them well; only wait a bit,
we'll bring them to you.' After a short time they each brought
George a bottle-gourd full of water; in the one gourd was the water
of life, in the other the water of death. George was delighted with
his good fortune, and hastened to the castle. At the edge of the
forest he saw a cobweb extending from one pine-tree to another; in
the midst of the cobweb sat a large spider sucking a fly. George
took the bottle with the water of death, sprinkled the spider, and
the spider dropped to the ground like a ripe cherry--he was dead. He
then sprinkled the fly with the water of life out of the other
bottle, and the fly began to move, extricated itself from the
cobweb, and off into the air. 'Lucky for you, George, that you've
brought me to life again,' it buzzed round his ears; 'without me
you'd scarcely guess aright which of the twelve is Goldenhair.'

When the king saw that George had completed this matter also, he
said he would give him his golden-haired daughter. 'But,' said he,
'you must select her yourself.' He then led him into a great hall,
in the midst of which was a round table, and round the table sat
twelve beautiful maidens, one like the other; but each had on her
head a long kerchief reaching down to the ground, white as snow, so
that it couldn't be seen what manner of hair any of them had. 'Here
are my daughters,' said the king; 'if you guess which of them is
Goldenhair, you have won her, and can take her away at once; but if
you don't guess right, she is not adjudged to you, you must depart
without her.' George was in the greatest anxiety; he didn't know
what to do. Whereupon something whispered into his ear: 'Buzz! buzz!
go round the table, I'll tell you which is the one.' It was the fly
that George had restored to life with the water of life. 'It isn't
this maiden--nor this--nor this; this is Goldenhair!' 'Give me this
one of your daughters,' cried George; 'I have earned her for my
lord.' 'You have guessed right,' said the king; and the maiden at
once rose from the table, threw off her kerchief, and her golden
hair flowed in streams from her head to the ground, and such a
brightness came from them, even as when the sun rises in the
morning, that George's eyes were dazzled.

Then the king gave his daughter all that was fitting for her
journey, and George took her away to be his lord's bride. The old
king's eyes sparkled, and he jumped for joy, when he saw Goldenhair,
and gave orders at once for preparations to be made for the wedding.
'I intended to have you hanged for your disobedience, that the
ravens might devour you,' said he to George; 'but you have served
me so well, that I shall only have your head cut off with an axe,
and then I shall have you honourably buried.' When George had been
executed, Goldenhair begged the old king to grant her the body of
his dead servant, and the king couldn't deny his golden-haired bride
anything. She then fitted George's head to his body, and sprinkled
him with the water of death, and the body and head grew together so
that no mark of the wound remained. Then she sprinkled him with the
water of life, and George rose up again, as if he had been born
anew, as fresh as a stag, and youth beamed from his countenance.
'Oh, how heavily I have slept!' said George, and rubbed his eyes.
'Yes, indeed, you have slept heavily,' said Goldenhair; 'and if it
hadn't been for me, you wouldn't have waked for ever and ever.' When
the old king saw that George had come to life again, and that he was
younger and handsomer than before, he wanted to be made young again
also. He gave orders at once that his head should be cut off, and
that he should be sprinkled with the water. They cut his head off
and sprinkled him with the water of life, till they'd sprinkled it
all away; but his head wouldn't grow on to the body. Then, and not
till then, did they begin to sprinkle him with the water of death,
and in an instant the head grew on to the body; but the king was
dead all the same, because they had no more of the water of life to
bring him to life again. And since the kingdom couldn't be without a
king, and they'd no one so intelligent as to understand all animals
like George, they made George king and Goldenhair queen.

       *       *       *       *       *

This story is a variant, and a very beautiful variant, of Grimm's
'White Snake.' The two kinds of water, that of death and that of
life, appear here, showing that it is a true Slavonic, and not a
Teutonic story.


Once upon a time Luck met Intelligence on a garden-seat. 'Make room
for me!' said Luck. Intelligence was then as yet inexperienced, and
didn't know who ought to make room for whom. He said: 'Why should I
make room for you? you're no better than I am.' 'He's the better
man,' answered Luck, 'who performs most. See you there yon peasant's
son who's ploughing in the field? Enter into him, and if he gets on
better through you than through me, I'll always submissively make
way for you, whensoever and wheresoever we meet.' Intelligence
agreed, and entered at once into the ploughboy's head. As soon as
the ploughboy felt that he had intelligence in his head, he began to
think: 'Why must I follow the plough to the day of my death? I can
go somewhere else and make my fortune more easily.' He left off
ploughing, put up the plough, and drove home. 'Daddy,' says he, 'I
don't like this peasant's life; I'd rather learn to be a gardener.'
His father said: 'What ails you, Vanek? have you lost your wits?'
However, he bethought himself, and said: 'Well, if you will, learn,
and God be with you! Your brother will be heir to the cottage after
me.' Vanek lost the cottage, but he didn't care for that, but went
and put himself apprentice to the king's gardener. For every little
that the gardener showed him, Vanek comprehended ever so much more.
Ere long he didn't even obey the gardener's orders as to how he
ought to do anything, but did everything his own way. At first the
gardener was angry, but, seeing everything thus getting on better,
he was content. 'I see that you've more intelligence than I,' said
he, and henceforth let Vanek garden as he thought fit. In no long
space of time Vanek made the garden so beautiful, that the king took
great delight in it, and frequently walked in it with the queen and
with his only daughter.

The princess was a very beautiful damsel, but ever since she was
twelve years old she had ceased speaking, and no one ever heard a
single word from her. The king was much grieved, and caused
proclamation to be made, that whoever should bring it to pass that
she should speak again, should be her husband. Many young kings,
princes and other great lords announced themselves one after the
other, but all went away as they had come; no one succeeded in
causing her to speak. 'Why shouldn't I too try my luck?' thought
Vanek; 'who knows whether I mayn't succeed in bringing her to answer
when I ask her a question?' He at once caused himself to be
announced at the palace, and the king and his councillors conducted
him into the room where the princess was. The king's daughter had a
pretty little dog, and was very fond of him because he was so
clever, understanding everything that she wanted. When Vanek went
into the room with the king and his councillors, he made as if he
didn't even see the princess, but turned to the dog and said: 'I
have heard, doggie, that you are very clever, and I come to you for
advice. We are three companions in travel, a sculptor, a tailor and
myself. Once upon a time we were going through a forest and were
obliged to pass the night in it. To be safe from wolves, we made a
fire, and agreed to keep watch one after the other. The sculptor
kept watch first, and for amusement to kill time took a log and
carved a damsel out of it. When it was finished he woke the tailor
to keep watch in his turn. The tailor, seeing the wooden damsel,
asked what it meant. "As you see," said the sculptor, "I was weary,
and didn't know what to do with myself, so I carved a damsel out of
a log; if you find time hang heavy on your hands, you can dress
her." The tailor at once took out his scissors, needle and thread,
cut out the clothes, stitched away, and when they were ready,
dressed the damsel in them. He then called me to come and keep
watch. I, too, asked him what the meaning of all this was. "As you
see," said the tailor, "the sculptor found time hang heavy on his
hands and carved a damsel out of a log, and I for the same reason
clothed her; and if you find time hanging on your hands, you can
teach her to speak." And by morning dawn I had actually taught her
to speak. But in the morning when my companions woke up, each wanted
to possess the damsel. The sculptor said, "I made her;" the tailor,
"I clothed her." I, too, maintained my right. Tell me, therefore,
doggie, to which of us the damsel belongs?' The dog said nothing,
but instead of the dog the princess replied: 'To whom can she belong
but to yourself? What's the good of the sculptor's damsel without
life? What's the good of the tailor's dressing without speech? You
gave her the best gift, life and speech, and therefore she by right
belongs to you.' 'You have passed your own sentence,' said Vanek; 'I
have given you speech again and a new life, and you therefore by
right belong to me.' Then said one of the king's councillors: 'His
Royal Grace will give you a plenteous reward for succeeding in
unloosing his daughter's tongue; but you cannot have her to wife, as
you are of mean lineage.' The king said: 'You are of mean lineage; I
will give you a plenteous reward instead of our daughter.' But Vanek
wouldn't hear of any other reward, and said: 'The king promised
without any exception, that whoever caused his daughter to speak
again should be her husband. A king's word is a law; and if the king
wants others to observe his laws, he must first keep them himself.
Therefore the king _must_ give me his daughter.' 'Seize and bind
him!' shouted the councillor. 'Whoever says the king _must_ do
anything, offers an insult to his Majesty, and is worthy of death.
May it please your Majesty to order this malefactor to be executed
with the sword?' The king said: 'Let him be executed.' Vanek was
immediately bound and led to execution. When they came to the place
of execution Luck was there waiting for him, and said secretly to
Intelligence, 'See how this man has got on through you, till he has
to lose his head! Make way, and let me take your place!' As soon as
Luck entered Vanek, the executioner's sword broke against the
scaffold, just as if someone had snapped it; and before they brought
him another, up rode a trumpeter on horseback from the city,
galloping as swift as a bird, trumpeted merrily, and waved a white
flag, and after him came the royal carriage for Vanek. This is what
had happened: The princess had told her father at home that Vanek
had but spoken the truth, and the king's word ought not to be
broken. If Vanek were of mean lineage the king could easily make him
a prince. The king said: 'You're right; let him be a prince!' The
royal carriage was immediately sent for Vanek, and the councillor
who had irritated the king against him was executed in his stead.
Afterwards, when Vanek and the princess were going together in a
carriage from the wedding, Intelligence happened to be somewhere on
the road, and seeing that he couldn't help meeting Luck, bent his
head and slipped on one side, just as if cold water had been thrown
upon him. And from that time forth it is said that Intelligence has
always given a wide berth to Luck whenever he has had to meet him.


There was a poor orphan lad who had neither father nor mother, and
was compelled to go out to service to get his living. He travelled a
long way without being able to obtain an engagement, till one day he
came to a hovel all by itself under a wood. On the threshold sat an
old man, who had dark caverns in his head instead of eyes. The
goats were bleating in the stall, and the old man said: 'I wish I
could take you, poor goats, to pasture, but I can't, I am blind; and
I have nobody to send with you.' 'Daddy, send me,' answered the lad;
'I will pasture your goats, and also be glad to wait upon you.' 'Who
are you? and what is your name?' The lad told him all, and that they
called him Johnny. 'Well, Johnny, I will take you; but drive out the
goats for me to pasture first of all. But don't lead them to yon
hill in the forest; the Jezinkas will come to you, will put you to
sleep, and will then tear out your eyes, as they have mine.' 'Never
fear, Daddy,' answered Johnny; 'the Jezinkas won't tear out _my_
eyes.' He then let the goats out of the stall, and drove them to
pasture. The first and second day he pastured them under the forest,
but the third day he said to himself: 'Why should I be afraid of the
Jezinkas? I'll drive them where there is better pasture.' He then
broke off three green shoots of bramble, put them into his hat, and
drove the goats straight on to the hill in the forest. There the
goats wandered about for pasture, and Johnny sat down on a stone in
the cool. He had not sat long, when all of a sudden, how it came
about he knew not, a beautiful damsel stood before him, all dressed
in white, with her hair--raven-black--prettily dressed and flowing
down her back, and eyes like sloes. 'God bless you, young goatherd!'
said she. 'See what apples grow in our garden! Here's one for you;
I'll give it you, that you may know how good they are.' She offered
him a beautiful rosy apple. But Johnny knew that if he took the
apple and ate it he would fall asleep, and she would afterwards tear
out his eyes, so he said: 'I am much obliged to you, beautiful
damsel! My master has an apple-tree in his garden, on which still
handsomer apples grow; I have eaten my fill of them.' 'Well, if
you'd rather not, I won't compel you,' said the damsel, and went
away. After a while came another, still prettier, damsel, with a
beautiful red rose in her hand, and said: 'God bless you, young
goatherd! See what a beautiful rose I've just plucked off the hedge.
It smells so nice; smell it yourself.' 'I am much obliged to you,
beautiful damsel. My master has still handsomer roses in his garden;
I have smelt my fill of them.' 'Well, then, if you won't, let it
alone!' said the damsel, quite enraged, turned round, and retired.
After a while, a third damsel, the youngest and prettiest of them
all, came up. 'God bless you, young goatherd!' 'Thank you, beautiful
damsel!' 'Indeed, you're a fine lad,' said the damsel, 'but you'd be
still handsomer if you had your hair nicely combed and dressed.
Come, I'll comb it for you.' Johnny said nothing, but when the
damsel came up to him to comb his hair, he took his hat from his
head, drew out a bramble-shoot, and pop! struck her on both hands.
The damsel screamed 'Help, help!' began to weep, but was unable to
move from the place. Johnny cared naught for her weeping, and bound
her hands together with the bramble. Then up ran the other two
damsels, and, seeing their sister a captive, began to beg Johnny to
unbind her and let her go. 'Unbind her yourselves,' said Johnny.
'Alas! we can't, we have tender hands, we should prick ourselves.'
But when they saw that the lad would not do as they wished, they
went to their sister and wanted to unfasten the bramble. Thereupon
Johnny leapt up, and pop! pop! struck them too with a spray, and
then bound both their hands together. 'See, I've got you, you wicked
Jezinkas! Why did you tear out my master's eyes?' After this, he
went home to his master, and said, 'Come, daddy, I've found somebody
who will give you your eyes again.' When they came to the hill, he
said to the first Jezinka, 'Now tell me where the old man's eyes
are. If you don't tell me, I shall throw you at once into the
water.' The Jezinka made excuse that she didn't know, and Johnny was
going to throw her into the river, which flowed hard by under the
hill. 'Don't, Johnny, don't!' entreated the Jezinka, 'and I'll give
you the old man's eyes.' She conducted him into a cavern, where was
a great heap of eyes, large and small, black, red, blue and green,
and took two out of the heap. But when Johnny placed them in the old
man's sockets, the poor man began to cry: 'Alas, alas! these are not
my eyes. I see nothing but owls.' Johnny became exasperated, seized
the Jezinka, and threw her into the water. He then said to the
second: 'Tell me, you, where the old man's eyes are.' She, too,
began to make excuses that she didn't know; but when the lad
threatened to throw her, too, into the water, she led him again to
the cavern, and took out two other eyes. But the old man cried
again: 'Alas! these are not my eyes. I see nothing but wolves.' The
same was done to the second Jezinka as to the first; the water
closed over her. 'Tell me, you, where the old man's eyes are,' said
Johnny to the third and youngest Jezinka. She, too, led him to the
heap in the cavern, and took out two eyes for him. But when they
were inserted, the old man cried out again that they were not his
eyes. 'I see nothing but pike.' Johnny saw that she, too, was
cheating him, and was going to drown her as well; but the Jezinka
besought him with tears: 'Don't, Johnny, don't! I will give you the
old man's proper eyes.' She took them from under the whole heap. And
when Johnny inserted them into the old man's sockets, he cried out
joyfully: 'These, these are my eyes! Praise be to God! now I see
well again!' Afterwards Johnny and the old man lived together
happily; Johnny pastured the goats, and the old man made cheeses at
home, and they ate them together; but the Jezinka never showed
herself again on that hill.


Betty was a little girl; her mother was a widow, and had no more of
her property left than a dilapidated cottage and two she-goats; but
Betty was, nevertheless, always cheerful. From spring to autumn she
pastured the goats in the birch-wood. Whenever she went from home,
her mother always gave her in a basket a slice of bread and a
spindle, with the injunction, 'Let it be full.' As she had no
distaff, she used to twine the flax round her head. Betty took the
basket, and skipped off singing merrily after the goats to the
birch-wood. When she got there, the goats went after pasture, and
Betty sat under a tree, drew the fibres from her head with her left
hand, and let down the spindle with her right so that it just hummed
over the ground, and therewith she sang till the wood echoed; the
goats meanwhile pastured. When the sun indicated mid-day, she put
aside her spindle, called the goats, and after giving them each a
morsel of bread that they mightn't stray from her, bounded into the
wood for a few strawberries or any other woodland fruit that might
happen to be just then in season, that she might have dessert to her
bread. When she had finished her meal, she sprang up, folded her
hands, danced and sang. The sun smiled on her through the green
foliage, and the goats, enjoying themselves among the grass,
thought: 'What a merry shepherdess we have!' After her dance, she
spun again industriously, and at even, when she drove the goats
home, her mother never scolded her for bringing back her spindle

Once, when according to custom, exactly at mid-day, after her scanty
dinner, she was getting ready for a dance, all of a sudden--where
she came, there she came--a very beautiful maiden stood before her.
She had on a white dress as fine as gossamer, golden-coloured hair
flowed from her head to her waist, and on her head she wore a
garland of woodland flowers. Betty was struck dumb with
astonishment. The maiden smiled at her, and said in an attractive
voice, 'Betty, are you fond of dancing?' When the maiden spoke so
prettily to her, Betty's terror quitted her, and she answered, 'Oh,
I should like to dance all day long!' 'Come, then, let's dance
together. I'll teach you!' So spoke the maiden, tucked her dress up
on one side, took Betty by the waist, and began to dance with her.
As they circled, such delightful music sounded over their heads,
that Betty's heart skipped within her. The musicians sat on the
branches of the birches in black, ash-coloured, brown, and
variegated coats. It was a company of choice musicians that had come
together at the beck of the beautiful maiden--nightingales, larks,
linnets, goldfinches, greenfinches, thrushes, blackbirds, and a very
skilful mocking-bird. Betty's cheek flamed, her eyes glittered, she
forgot her task and her goats, and only gazed at her partner, who
twirled before and round her with the most charming movements, and
so lightly that the grass didn't even bend beneath her delicate
foot. They danced from noon till eve, and Betty's feet were neither
wearied nor painful. Then the beautiful maiden stopped, the music
ceased, and as she came so she disappeared. Betty looked about her;
the sun was setting behind the wood. She clapped her hands on the
top of her head, and, feeling the unspun flax, remembered that her
spindle, which was lying on the grass, was by no means full. She
took the flax down from her head, and put it with the spindle into
her basket, called the goats, and drove them home. She did not sing
on the way, but bitterly reproached herself for letting the
beautiful maiden delude her, and determined that if the maiden
should come to her again, she would never listen to her any more.
The goats, hearing no merry song behind them, looked round to see
whether their own shepherdess was really following them. Her mother,
too, wondered, and asked her daughter whether she was ill, as she
didn't sing. 'No, mother dear, I'm not ill; but my throat is dry
from very singing, and therefore I don't sing,' said Betty in
excuse, and went to put away the spindle and the unspun flax.
Knowing that her mother was not in the habit of reeling up the yarn
at once, she intended to make up the next day what she had neglected
to do the first day, and therefore did not say a word to her mother
about the beautiful maiden.

The next day Betty again drove the goats as usual to the birch-wood,
and sang to herself again merrily. On arriving at the birch-wood the
goats began to pasture, and she sat under the tree and began to spin
industriously, singing to herself all the time, for work comes
better from the hand while one sings. The sun indicated mid-day.
Betty gave each of the goats a morsel of bread, went off for
strawberries, and after returning began to eat her dinner and
chatter with the goats. 'Ah, my little goats, I mustn't dance
to-day,' sighed she, when after dinner she collected the crumbs from
her lap in her hand and placed them on a stone that the birds might
take them away. 'And why mustn't you?' spoke a pleasing voice, and
the beautiful maiden stood beside her, as if she had dropped from
the clouds. Betty was still more frightened than the first time, and
closed her eyes that she might not even see the maiden; but when the
maiden repeated the question, she answered modestly: 'Excuse me,
beautiful lady, I can't dance with you, because I should again fail
to perform my task of spinning, and my mother would scold me.
To-day, before the sun sets, I must make up what I left undone
yesterday.' 'Only come and dance; before the sun sets help will be
found for you,' said the maiden, tucked up her dress, took Betty
round the waist, the musicians sitting on the birch branches struck
up, and the two dancers began to whirl. The beautiful maiden danced
still more enchantingly. Betty couldn't take her eyes off her, and
forgot the goats and her task. At last the dancer stopped, the music
ceased, the sun was on the verge of setting. Betty clapped her hand
on the top of her head, where the unspun flax was twined, and began
to cry. The beautiful maiden put her hand on her head, took off the
flax, twined it round the stem of a slender birch, seized the
spindle, and began to spin. The spindle just swung over the surface
of the ground, grew fuller before her eyes, and before the sun set
behind the wood all the yarn was spun, as well as that which Betty
had not finished the day before. While giving the full spool into
the girl's hand the beautiful maiden said: 'Reel, and grumble
not--remember my words, "Reel, and grumble not!"' After these words
she vanished, as if the ground had sunk in beneath her. Betty was
content, and thought on her way, 'If she is so good and kind, I will
dance with her again if she comes again.' She sang again that the
goats might step on merrily. But her mother gave her no cheerful
welcome. Wishing in the course of the day to reel the yarn, she saw
that the spindle was not full, and was therefore out of humour.
'What were you doing yesterday that you didn't finish your task?'
asked her mother reprovingly. 'Pardon, mother; I danced a little too
long,' said Betty humbly, and, showing her mother the spindle,
added: 'To-day it is more than full to make up for it.' Her mother
said no more, but went to milk the goats, and Betty put the spindle
away. She wished to tell her mother of her adventure, but bethought
herself again, 'No, not unless she comes again, and then I will ask
her what kind of person she is, and will tell my mother.' So she
made up her mind and held her tongue.

The third morning, as usual, she drove the goats to the birch-wood.
The goats began to pasture; Betty sat under the tree, and began to
sing and spin. The sun indicated mid-day. Betty laid her spindle on
the grass, gave each of the goats a morsel of bread, collected
strawberries, ate her dinner, and while giving the crumbs to the
birds, said: 'My little goats, I will dance to you to-day!' She
jumped up, folded her hands, and was just going to try whether she
could manage to dance as prettily as the beautiful maiden, when all
at once she herself stood before her. 'Let's go together, together!'
said she to Betty, seized her round the waist, and at the same
moment the music struck up over their heads, and the maidens circled
round with flying step. Betty forgot her spindle and her goats, saw
nothing but the beautiful maiden, whose body bent in every direction
like a willow-wand, and thought of nothing but the delightful music,
in tune with which her feet bounded of their own accord. They danced
from mid-day till even. Then the maiden stopped, and the music
ceased. Betty looked round; the sun was behind the wood. With tears
she clasped her hands on the top of her head, and turning in search
of the half-empty spindle, lamented about what her mother would say
to her. 'Give me your basket,' said the beautiful maiden. 'I will
make up to you for what you have left undone to-day.' Betty handed
her the basket, and the maiden disappeared for a moment, and
afterwards handed Betty the basket again, saying, 'Not now; look at
it at home,' and was gone, as if the wind had blown her away. Betty
was afraid to peep into the basket immediately, but half-way home
she couldn't restrain herself. The basket was as light as if there
was just nothing in it. She couldn't help looking to see whether the
maiden hadn't tricked her. And how frightened she was when she saw
that the basket was full--of birch leaves! Then, and not till then,
did she begin to weep and lament that she had been so credulous. In
anger she threw out two handfuls of leaves, and was going to shake
the basket out; but then she bethought herself, 'I will use them as
litter for the goats,' and left some leaves in the basket. She was
almost afraid to go home. The goats again could hardly recognise
their shepherdess. Her mother was waiting for her on the threshold,
full of anxiety. 'For Heaven's sake, girl! what sort of spool did
you bring me home yesterday?' were her first words. 'Why?' asked
Betty anxiously. 'When you went out in the morning, I went to reel;
I reeled and reeled, and the spool still remained full. One skein,
two, three skeins; the spool still full. "What evil spirit has spun
it?" said I in a temper; and that instant the yarn vanished from the
spindle, as if it were spirited away. Tell me what the meaning of
this is!' Then Betty confessed, and began to tell about the
beautiful maiden. 'That was a wood-lady!' cried her mother in
astonishment; 'about mid-day and midnight the wood-ladies hold their
dances. Lucky that you are not a boy, or you wouldn't have come out
of her arms alive. She would have danced with you as long as there
was breath in your body, or have tickled you to death. But they have
compassion on girls, and often give them rich presents. It's a pity
that you didn't tell me; if I hadn't spoken in a temper, I might
have had a room full of yarn.' Then Betty bethought herself of the
basket, and it occurred to her that perhaps, after all, there might
have been something under those leaves. She took out the spindle and
unspun flax from the top, and looked once more, and, 'See, mother!'
she cried out. Her mother looked and clapped her hands. The
birch-leaves were turned into gold! 'She ordered me: "Don't look
now, but at home!" but I did not obey.' 'Lucky that you didn't empty
out the whole basket,' thought her mother.

The next morning she went herself to look at the place where Betty
had thrown out the two handfuls of leaves, but on the road there lay
nothing but fresh birch-leaves. But the riches that Betty had
brought home were large enough. Her mother bought a small estate;
they had many cattle. Betty had handsome clothes, and was not
obliged to pasture goats; but whatever she had, however cheerful and
happy she was, nothing ever gave her so great delight as the dance
with the wood-lady. She often went to the birch-wood; she was
attracted there. She hoped for the good fortune of seeing the
beautiful maiden; but she never set eyes on her more.


There was a king who had a daughter who never could be induced to
laugh; she was always sad. So the king proclaimed that she should be
given to anyone who could cause her to laugh. There was also a
shepherd who had a son named George. He said: 'Daddy! I, too, will
go to see whether I can make her laugh. I want nothing from you but
the goat.' His father said, 'Well, go.' The goat was of such a
nature that, when her master wished, she detained everybody, and
that person was obliged to stay by her.

So he took the goat and went, and met a man who had a foot on his
shoulder. George said: 'Why have you a foot on your shoulder?' He
replied: 'If I take it off, I leap a hundred miles.' 'Whither are
you going?' 'I am going in search of service, to see if anyone will
take me.' 'Well, come with us.'

They went on, and again met a man who had a bandage on his eyes.
'Why have you a bandage on your eyes?' He answered, 'If I remove the
bandage, I see a hundred miles.' 'Whither are you going?' 'I am
going in search of service, if you will take me?' 'Yes, I'll take
you. Come also with me.'

They went on a bit further, and met another fellow, who had a
bottle under his arm, and, instead of a stopper, held his thumb in
it. 'Why do you hold your thumb there?' 'If I pull it out, I squirt
a hundred miles, and besprinkle everything that I choose. If you
like, take me also into your service; it may be to your advantage
and ours too.' George replied: 'Well, come too!'

Afterwards they came to the town where the king lived, and bought a
silken riband for the goat. They came to an inn, and orders had
already been given there beforehand, that when such people came,
they were to give them what they liked to eat and drink--the king
would pay for all. So they tied the goat with that very riband and
placed it in the innkeeper's room to be taken care of, and he put it
in the side room where his daughters slept. The innkeeper had three
maiden daughters, who were not yet asleep. So Manka said: 'Oh! if I,
too, could have such a riband! I will go and unfasten it from that
goat.' The second, Dodla, said: 'Don't; he'll find it out in the
morning.' But she went notwithstanding. And when Manka did not
return for a long time, the third, Kate, said: 'Go, fetch her.' So
Dodla went, and gave Manka a pat on the back. 'Come, leave it
alone!' And now she too was unable to withdraw herself from her. So
Kate said: 'Come, don't unfasten it!' Kate went and gave Dodla a pat
on the petticoat; and now she, too, couldn't get away, but was
obliged to stay by her.

In the morning George made haste and went for the goat, and led the
whole set away--Kate, Dodla, and Manka. The innkeeper was still
asleep. They went through the village, and the judge looked out of a
window and said, 'Fie, Kate! what's this? what's this?' He went and
took her by the hand, wishing to pull her away, but remained also by
her. After this, a cowherd drove some cows through a narrow street,
and the bull came rushing round; he stuck fast, and George led him,
too, in the procession.

Thus they afterwards came in front of the castle, and the servants
came out of doors; and when they saw such things, they went and told
the king. 'O sire, we have such a spectacle here; we have already
had all manner of masquerades, but this has never been here yet.' So
they immediately led the king's daughter to the square in front of
the castle, and she looked and laughed till the castle shook.

Now they asked him what sort of person he was. He said that he was a
shepherd's son, and was named George. They said that it could not be
done; for he was of mean lineage, and they could not give him the
damsel; but he must accomplish something more for them. He said,
'What?' They replied that there was a spring yonder, a hundred miles
off; if he brought a goblet of water from it in a minute, then he
should obtain the damsel. So George said to the man who had the foot
on his shoulder: 'You said that if you took the foot down, you could
jump a hundred miles.' He replied: 'I'll easily do that.' He took
the foot down, jumped, and was there. But after this there was only
a very little time to spare, and by then he ought to have been back.
So George said to the second: 'You said that if you removed the
bandage from your eyes, you could see a hundred miles. Peep and see
what is going on.' 'Ah, sir! Goodness gracious! he's fallen asleep!'
'That will be a bad job,' said George; 'the time will be up. You,
third man, you said if you pulled your thumb out, you could squirt a
hundred miles; be quick and squirt thither, that he may get up. And
you, look whether he is moving, or what.' 'Oh, sir! he's getting up
now; he's knocking the dust off; he's drawing the water.' He then
gave a jump, and was there exactly in time.

After this they said that he must perform one task more; that
yonder, in a rock, was a wild beast, a unicorn, of such a nature
that he destroyed a great many of their people; if he cleared him
out of the world he should obtain the damsel. So he took his people
and went into the forest. They came to a firwood. There were three
wild beasts, and three lairs had been formed by wallowing as they
lay. Two did nothing; but the third destroyed people. So they took
some stones and some pine-cones in their pockets, and climbed up
into a tree; and when the beasts lay down, they dropped a stone down
upon that one which was the unicorn. He said to the next: 'Be quiet;
don't butt me.' It said: 'I'm not doing anything to you.' Again they
let a stone fall from above upon the unicorn. 'Be quiet! you've
already done it to me twice.' 'Indeed, I'm doing nothing to you.' So
they attacked each other and fought together. The unicorn wanted to
pierce the second beast through; but it jumped out of the way, and
he rushed so violently after it, that he struck his horn into a
tree, and couldn't pull it out quickly. So they sprang speedily down
from the fir, and the other two beasts ran away and escaped, but
they cut off the head of the third, the unicorn, took it up, and
carried it to the castle.

Now those in the castle saw that George had again accomplished that
task. 'What, prithee, shall we do? Perhaps we must after all give
him the damsel!' 'No, sire,' said one of the attendants, 'that
cannot be; he is too lowborn to obtain a king's daughter! On the
contrary, we must clear him out of the world.' So the king ordered
them to note his words, what he should say. There was a hired female
servant there, and she said to him: 'George, it will be evil for you
to-day; they're going to clear you out of the world.' He answered:
'Oh, I'm not afraid. When I was only just twelve years old, I killed
twelve of them at one blow!' But this was the fact: when his mother
was baking a flat-cake, a dozen flies settled upon her, and he
killed them all at a single blow.

When they heard this, they said: 'Nothing else will do but we must
shoot him.' So they drew up the soldiers, and said they would hold a
review in his honour, for they would celebrate the wedding in the
square before the castle. Then they conducted him thither, and the
soldiers were already going to let fly at him. But George said to
the man who held his thumb in the bottle in place of a stopper: 'You
said, if you pulled your thumb out, you could besprinkle everything.
Pull it out--quick!' 'Oh, sir, I'll easily perform that.' So he
pulled out his thumb and gave them all such a sprinkling, that they
were all blind, and not one could see.

So, when they perceived that nothing else was to be done, they told
him to go, for they would give him the damsel. Then they gave him a
handsome royal robe, and the wedding took place. I, too, was at the
wedding; they had music there, sang, ate, and drank; there was meat,
there were cheesecakes, and baskets full of everything, and buckets
full of strong waters. To-day I went, yesterday I came; I found an
egg among the tree-stumps; I knocked it against somebody's head, and
gave him a bald place, and he's got it still.

       *       *       *       *       *

This story is related to Grimm's tale of the 'Golden Goose,' but it
is much more rationally constructed, and much more interesting. The
man who jumps one hundred miles appears to be the rainbow, the man
with bandaged eyes the lightning, and the man with the bottle the
cloud. The interpretation will be very similar to that of No. 1, but
the allegory is by no means so clear or so well constructed. As to
the nonsense at the end, it is a specimen of the manner in which the
narrators of stories frequently finish them in all Slavonic


Moravia is so named from the river Morava (in German the river
March), of which, and its affluents, it is the basin. It falls into
the Danube a little above Presburg. In very early times Moravia
appears to have been more civilized and powerful than Bohemia; but
later, Bohemia became a considerable kingdom, and Moravia a
dependency of, and eventually a margravate under the Bohemian crown.

The Moravian stories differ but little in character from those of
Bohemia. The country, unlike Bohemia, abounds in dialects, although
the literary language is the Bohemian. On the east the Moravian
melts into the Silesian, or 'Water-Polish.'

No. 8, 'Godmother Death,' is an interesting variant of the Teutonic
'Godfather Death,' which is given by Grimm. The reason why Death is
represented as a Godmother, rather than a Godfather, in the Moravian
story, is, that Death (_Smrt_) is feminine in all Slavonic dialects.
The story constructed on this basis is more graceful and fuller of
incident than the Teutonic tale, in which Death is masculine.

No. 9 is another story falling under the head of 'Natural Science in
Allegory,' which is clearer and simpler in construction and
interpretation than any variant of it that I am acquainted with.


There was a man, very poor in this world's goods, whose wife
presented him with a baby boy. No one was willing to stand sponsor,
because he was so very poor. The father said to himself: 'Dear Lord,
I am so poor that no one is willing to be at my service in this
matter; I'll take the baby, I'll go, and I'll ask the first person I
meet to act as sponsor, and if I don't meet anybody, perhaps the
sexton will help me.' He went and met Death, but didn't know what
manner of person she was; she was a handsome woman, like any other
woman. He asked her to be godmother. She didn't make any excuse, and
immediately saluted him as parent of her godchild, took the baby in
her arms, and carried him to church. The little lad was properly
christened. When they came out of church, the child's father took
the godmother to an inn, and wanted to give her a little treat as
godmother. But she said to him, 'Gossip,[1] leave this alone, and
come with me to my abode.' She took him with her to her apartment,
which was very handsomely furnished. Afterwards she conducted him
into great vaults, and through these vaults they went right into the
under-world in the dark. There tapers were burning of three
sizes--small, large, and middle-sized; and those which were not yet
alight were very large. The godmother said to the godchild's father:
'Look, Gossip, here I have the duration of everybody's life.' The
child's father gazed thereat, found there a tiny taper close to the
very ground, and asked her: 'But, Gossip, I pray you, whose is this
little taper close to the ground?' She said to him: 'That is yours!
When any taper whatsoever burns down, I must go for that man.' He
said to her: 'Gossip, I pray you, give me somewhat additional.' She
said to him: 'Gossip, I cannot do that!' Afterwards she went and
lighted a large new taper for the baby boy whom they had had
christened. Meanwhile, while the godmother was not looking, the
child's father took for himself a large new taper, lit it, and
placed it where his tiny taper was burning down.

    [1] The Slavonians are rich in terms, both masculine and
    feminine, expressing the various relationships between
    godparents and godchildren and their parents. We have only one
    form, 'gossip,' which thus has to do duty for both the godmother
    and the father of the godchild.

The godmother looked round at him and said: 'Gossip, you ought not
to have done that to me; but if you have given yourself additional
lifetime, you have done so and possess it. Let us go hence, and
we'll go to your wife.'

She took a present, and went with the child's father and the child
to the mother. She arrived, and placed the boy on his mother's bed,
and asked her how she was, and whether she had any pain anywhere.
The mother confided her griefs to her, and the father sent for some
beer, and wanted to entertain her in his cottage, as godmother, in
order to gratify her and show his gratitude. They drank and feasted
together. Afterwards the godmother said to her godchild's father:
'Gossip, you are so poor that no one but myself would be at your
service in this matter; but never mind, you shall bear me in memory!
I will go to the houses of various respectable people and make them
ill, and you shall physic and cure them. I will tell you all the
remedies. I possess them all, and everybody will be glad to
recompense you well, only observe this: When I stand at anyone's
feet, you can be of assistance to every such person; but if I stand
at anybody's head, don't attempt to aid him.' It came to pass. The
child's father went from patient to patient, where the godmother
caused illness, and benefited every one. All at once he became a
distinguished physician. A prince was dying--nay, he had breathed
his last--nevertheless, they sent for the physician. He came, he
began to anoint him with salves and give him his powders, and did
him good. When he had restored him to health, they paid him well,
without asking how much they were indebted. Again, a count was
dying. They sent for the physician again. The physician came. Death
was standing behind the bed at his head. The physician cried: 'It's
a bad case, but we'll have a try.' He summoned the servants, and
ordered them to turn the bed round with the patient's feet towards
Death, and began to anoint him with salves and administer powders
into his mouth, and did him good. The count paid him in return as
much as he could carry away, without ever asking how much he was
indebted; he was only too glad that he had restored him to health.
When Death met the physician, she said to him: 'Gossip, if this
occurs to you again, don't play me that trick any more. True, you
have done him good, but only for a while; I must, none the less,
take him off whither he is due.' The child's father went on in this
way for some years; he was now very old. But at last he was wearied
out, and asked Death herself to take him. Death was unable to take
him, because he had given himself a long additional taper; she was
obliged to wait till it burned out. One day he drove to a certain
patient to restore him to health, and did so. Afterwards Death
revealed herself to him, and rode with him in his carriage. She
began to tickle and play with him, and tap him with a green twig
under the throat; he threw himself into her lap, and went off into
the last sleep. Death laid him in the carriage, and took herself
off. They found the physician lying dead in his carriage, and
conveyed him home. The whole town and all the villages lamented:
'That physician is much to be regretted. What a good doctor he was!
He was of great assistance; there will never be his like again!' His
son remained after him, but had not the same skill.

The son went one day into church, and his godmother met him. She
asked him: 'My dear son, how are you?' He said to her: 'Not all
alike; so long as I have what my dad saved up for me, it is well
with me, but after that the Lord God knows how it will be with me.'
His godmother said: 'Well, my son, fear nought. I am your
christening mamma; I helped your father to what he had, and will
give you, too, a livelihood. You shall go to a physician as a pupil,
and you shall be more skilful than he, only behave nicely.' After
this she anointed him with salve over the ears, and conducted him to
a physician. The physician didn't know what manner of lady it was,
and what sort of son she brought him for instruction. The lady
enjoined her son to behave nicely, and requested the physician to
instruct him well, and bring him into a good position. Then she took
leave of him and departed. The physician and the lad went together
to gather herbs, and each herb cried out to the pupil what remedial
virtue it had, and the pupil gathered it. The physician also
gathered herbs, but knew not, with regard to any herb, what remedial
virtue it possessed. The pupil's herbs were beneficial in every
disease. The physician said to the pupil: 'You are cleverer than I,
for I diagnose no one that comes to me; but you know herbs counter
to every disease. Do you know what? Let us join partnership. I will
give my doctor's diploma up to you, and will be your assistant, and
am willing to be with you till death.' The lad was successful in
doctoring and curing till his taper burned out in limbo.


There was, once upon a time, a huntsman who had four sons, and these
sons wanted to go to gain experience in the world. When they were
all over sixteen years old, they said to their father: 'We are going
into the world, father; we pray you give us money for our journey.'
The father gave them 100 florins and a horse apiece. They mounted
their horses and rode to the mountains. On a mountain were four
roads, and between them stood a beech-tree. At this beech-tree they
halted, and the eldest said to the rest, 'Brothers, let us separate
here, and go each by a different road to seek his fortune in the
world. Let us each stick his knife into this beech-tree, and in a
year and a day let us all meet together here. These knives will be
tokens for us; if any one of the knives is rusty, the one of us to
whom it belongs will be dead; and he whose knife is free from rust
will be alive and well.' They separated, and went each his way, and
when they came to suitable places they each learned a handicraft.
The eldest learned to be a cobbler, the second to be a thief, the
third to be an astrologer, and the fourth to be a huntsman. When the
year and day arrived, they started on their return. The eldest came
first to the beech-tree, pulled out his own knife and looked at the
other knives. Seeing that they were all free from rust, he rejoiced,
and said, 'Praise be to God! we are all alive and well.' He went
home. When he came to his father, his father asked him, 'What manner
of handicraft have you learnt?' The son replied, 'Daddy, it's no use
telling you stories; I'm a cobbler.' The father said, 'Well, you've
learned a nice gainful handicraft.' The son answered, 'But, daddy,
I'm not a cobbler like other cobblers, but I'm this kind of cobbler:
if anything is worn out, I only say, "Let it be mended up," and it
is so at once.' The father had a coat worn out at the elbows, and
told him to cobble it up. The son gave the command, 'Let it be
mended up,' and in a moment the coat was mended up as if it were
brand new, nor was it possible to know that it had been mended at
all. Upon this the father said nothing more. The next day the second
son came to the beech. He pulled out his own knife, and looked at
the remaining two; the third was already gone. Seeing that they
were both free from rust, he rejoiced, and said, 'Praise be to God!
we are all alive and well; our eldest brother is at home already.'
He also went home. When he came to his father, his father asked him,
'What manner of handicraft have you learned?' The son replied, 'Dear
daddy, it's no use telling stories to you; I'm a thief.' The father
said, 'Oh, you've learned a nice gainful trade! Shame on you!' The
son said to him, 'But, daddy, I'm not a thief like a thief, but I'm
such a thief that, if I think of anything, be it where it may, I
have it with me at once.' Just then a hare came running on the
hillside; it could be seen through the window; the father told him
to fetch the hare. The son immediately said, 'Let yon hare be here,'
and it was with them at once. After this the father said no more.
The third day the third son came to the beech, pulled out his own
knife and looked at the other knife, two not being there. Seeing
that it was clear of rust, he said, 'Praise be to God! we are all
alive and well; my two elder brothers are at home already.' He also
went home. When he came to his father, his father asked him what
manner of handicraft he had learned. The son replied, 'Dear daddy,
it's no use to tell you stories; I'm an astrologer.' His father said
to him that it was a nice pretty handicraft. The son answered, 'But,
daddy, I am this kind of astrologer: if I look at the sky, I see at
once where anything is in the whole earth.' On the fourth day the
youngest son came to the beech and pulled out his knife, the other
three being there no longer. He was glad, and said, 'My brothers are
already all at home.' He also went home. When he came to his father,
the father asked him what manner of handicraft he had learned. The
son answered that he was a huntsman. The father said, 'Anyhow, you
have not despised my craft; for that you're a good lad.' The son
said, 'But, dear daddy, I'm not such a huntsman as you are, but one
of this kind; if there is an unusually fine head of game, I say,
"Let it be shot," and immediately shot it is.' There was a hare
darting along the hillside; it was visible through the window. The
father said, 'Shoot it!' The youngest son spoke the word, and the
hare lay dead. The father said, 'I don't see whether it is lying
dead.' The astrologer looked at the sky, and said, 'Yes, daddy, it's
lying there behind the bushes.' The father said, 'Yes, it's lying
there, but how are we to get it?' The brother who was a thief said,
'Let it be here,' and immediately there it was. But it had come
through thorny bushes, and was all torn. The father said, 'The whole
skin is torn; who'll buy it of us?' The brother who was a cobbler
said, 'Let it be mended up,' and immediately mended up it was. The
father said, 'Well, you'll all four maintain yourselves by your

They lived for some time at home with their father, and maintained
themselves well. Then a king lost the princess, his daughter, and
made proclamation that whoever should find her, to that person he
would give his daughter and the kingdom as well. The brothers said
to one another, 'Let us go thither.' The father didn't give them
leave to go, but go they did, and gave out that they were the people
who would find the lost princess. The king immediately sent a
carriage for them. When they came to the king, they said that they
understood he had made proclamation that his daughter was lost, and
that he would give her and the kingdom as well to whoever should
find her. The king said that this was very truth, and immediately
asked them to tell him where his daughter was. The astrologer
replied that he could not tell him just then, but when evening came
he would perceive in the sky where she was. About eight or nine
o'clock they went out and gazed at the sky. The astrologer said that
she had been taken captive by a dragon; that the dragon had seized
her as she was out walking, and was keeping her on an island beyond
the Red Sea; that she was obliged to fondle him for two hours every
day, and that the dragon then had his head placed on her lap. When
day came, they assembled and drove in the carriage to the Red Sea.
Then they got into a boat and rowed to the island where the princess
was. When they arrived at the island, the princess was out walking,
and the dragon wasn't at home; but the princess made signs to them
that they were in evil case, for the dragon was just flying home.
The thief-brother called out with speed, 'Let the princess be here!'
She was with them in the boat at once, but cried out that they were
in evil case, and would all perish. They rowed speedily away in the
boat, but the dragon, full of wrath, roared and growled and rose in
the air above them. The astrologer said to the huntsman, 'Brother,
shoot him.' The huntsman-brother said, 'Let him be shot.' The dragon
was shot, but fell on the boat and broke a hole in it, so that the
water came in. They threw the dragon into the sea, and the
huntsman-brother gave the word to the cobbler-brother, 'Mend the
leak.' The cobbler-brother mended the leak, so that not a drop of
water came into the boat to them. Thus they arrived safely with the
princess at the sea-shore, landed on the beach, took their seats in
the carriage with the princess, and drove off. But as they drove
along in the carriage, they disputed to which of them the princess
and the kingdom belonged. The astrologer said, 'The princess is
mine. If it hadn't been for me, we shouldn't have known where the
princess was.' The thief said, 'The princess is mine. If it hadn't
been for me, we shouldn't have got the princess into the boat.' The
huntsman said that the princess was his; if it hadn't been for him,
they wouldn't have shot the dragon. The cobbler shouted that the
princess was his; if it hadn't been for him, they would all have
been drowned and have perished. When they came to the palace to the
king, they asked him to decide to whom the princess belonged. The
king said, 'Dear brothers, I will judge you righteously. It is true
that you have all deserved her, but you cannot all obtain her.
According to my promise, the astrologer-brother must obtain her, for
I made proclamation that whoever should _find_ the lost princess
should obtain her and the kingdom with her; the astrologer found
her, and told us where she was. But, that none of you may be
unfairly dealt with, each shall receive a district of his own, and
ye shall each be kings in your own districts.' They were all
content. The astrologer, as soon as the wedding was over, sent home
for his father. The father came, and was delighted that his sons had
become monarchs each in his district. In the spring he lived with
the cobbler, in the summer with the thief, in the autumn with the
huntsman, and in winter with the astrologer, and enjoyed himself
everywhere till death.

       *       *       *       *       *

I think that this story is connected with the Ceres and Proserpine
cycle, only the daughter is lost by a father instead of a mother. It
will be seen, also, that at the conclusion of the story the order of
the brothers is not the same as in the story itself. And I think the
error is in the story, and that the astrologer ought to have been
the youngest brother instead of the huntsman. The brothers are the
four seasons of the year, which in ancient times began with spring,
the cobbler, who mends up all things, and makes them new again; next
comes summer, the thief, who gathers the products of the earth;
third comes autumn, the huntsman, when the wild animals that have
increased and multiplied during the year are destroyed and reduced
within limits; last comes winter, the astrologer, when ploughing,
sowing, and other agricultural operations that govern the whole year
go on by calculation. Thus the princess herself, the earth or its
fertility, is assigned to the representative of winter, while the
other seasons are lords each in his own district.

This Moravian tale will bear an advantageous comparison with Grimm's
tale of the 'Four Accomplished Brothers,' in which neither of the
brothers is allowed to obtain the princess.


The Slovenes or Slovaks of North Hungary speak a great number of
dialects, their literary language being, however, the Bohemian. They
seem to be the _débris_ of a much larger nation or assemblage of
nations, which was forced out of the plains of Pannonia into the
mountains by the invasion of the Magyar or Hungarian horsemen, who,
according to the Russian chronicler Nestor, marched past Kief in
A.D. 898, on their way to establish themselves in their present

Their stories are not very dissimilar to the Bohemian tales,
although they do not resemble them so closely as the Moravian
stories do. No. 10 is one of the tales that especially attracted my
attention, and caused me to entertain the idea of translating a
considerable selection out of the hundred given by Erben. No. 11
contains incidents which occur again in the White Russian story (No.
22), and in the great Russian tale of 'Ivan Popyalof,' given by
Ralston, though in other respects the stories are very different.
No. 12 is a superior variant of the German 'Rumpelstilskin' given by
Grimm, and No. 13 is a specimen of an entirely different kind of
story, illustrating 'The biter bitten.'


There was once upon a time an old king who had an only son. This son
he one day summoned before him, and spoke to him thus: 'My son, you
see that my head has become white; ere long I shall close my eyes,
and I do not yet know in what condition I shall leave you. Take a
wife, my son! Let me bless you in good time, before I close my
eyes.' The son made no reply, but became lost in thought; he would
gladly with all his heart have fulfilled his father's wish, but
there was no damsel in whom his heart could take delight.

Once upon a time, when he was sitting in the garden, and just
considering what to do, all of a sudden an old woman appeared before
him--where she came, there she came. 'Go to the glass hill, pluck
the three lemons, and you will have a wife in whom your heart will
take delight,' said she, and as she had appeared so she disappeared.
Like a bright flash did these words dart through the prince's soul.
At that moment he determined, come what might, to seek the glass
hill and pluck the three lemons. He made known his determination to
his father, and his father gave him for the journey a horse, arms
and armour, and his fatherly blessing.

Through forest-covered mountains, through desert plains, went our
prince on his pilgrimage, for a very, very great distance; but there
was nothing to be seen, nothing to be heard of the glass hill and
the three lemons. Once, quite wearied out with his long journey, he
threw himself down under the cool shade of a broad lime-tree. As he
threw himself down, his father's sword, which he wore at his side,
clanged against the ground, and a dozen ravens began croaking at the
top of the tree. Frightened by the clang of the sword, they rose on
their wings, and flew into the air above the lofty tree. 'Hem! till
now I haven't seen a living creature for a long while,' said the
prince to himself, springing from the ground. 'I will go in the
direction in which the ravens have flown; maybe some hope will
disclose itself to me.'

He went on--he went on anew for three whole days and three nights,
till at last a lofty castle displayed itself to him at a distance.
'Praise be to God! I shall now at any rate come to human beings,'
cried he, and proceeded further.

The castle was of pure lead; round it flew the twelve ravens, and in
front of it stood an old woman--it was Jezibaba[2]--leaning on a
long leaden staff. 'Ah, my son! whither have you come? Here there is
neither bird nor insect to be seen, much less a human being,' said
Jezibaba to the prince. 'Flee, if life is dear to you; for, if my
son comes, he will devour you.' 'Ah! not so, old mother, not so!'
entreated the prince. 'I have come to you for counsel as to whether
you cannot let me have some information about the glass hill and the
three lemons.' 'I have never heard of the glass hill; but stay! when
my son comes home, maybe he will be able to let you have the
information. But I will now conceal you somewhat; you will hide
yourself under the besom, and wait there concealed till I call you.'

    [2] Jezibaba is said to represent winter.

The mountains echoed, the castle quaked, and Jezibaba whispered to
the prince that her son was coming. 'Foh! foh! there is a smell of
human flesh; I am going to eat it!' shouted Jezibaba's son, while
still in the doorway, and thumped on the ground with a huge leaden
club, so that the whole castle quaked. 'Ah, not so, my son, not so!'
said Jezibaba, soothing him. 'There has come a handsome youth who
wants to consult you about something.' 'Well, if he wants to consult
me, let him come here.' 'Yes, indeed, my son, he shall come, but
only on condition that you promise to do nothing to him.' 'Well,
I'll do nothing to him, only let him come.'

The prince was trembling like an aspen under the besom, for he saw
before him through the twigs an ogre, up to whose knees he didn't
reach. Happily his life was safeguarded, when Jezibaba bade him come
out from under the besom. 'Well, you beetle, why are you afraid?'
shouted the giant. 'Whence are you? What do you want?' 'What do I
want?' replied the prince. 'I've long been wandering in these
mountains, and can't find that which I am seeking. Now I've come to
ask you whether you can't give me information about the glass hill
and the three lemons.' Jezibaba's son wrinkled his brow, but, after
a while, said in a somewhat gentler voice: 'There's nothing to be
seen here of the glass hill; but go to my brother in the silver
castle, maybe he'll be able to tell you something. But stay, I won't
let you go away hungry. Mother, here with the dumplings!' Old
Jezibaba set a large dish upon the table, and her gigantic son sat
down to it. 'Come and eat!' shouted he to the prince. The prince
took the first dumpling and began to eat, but two of his teeth
broke, for they were dumplings of lead. 'Well, why don't you eat?
maybe you don't like them?' inquired Jezibaba's son. 'Yes, they are
good; but I don't want any just now.' 'Well, if you don't want any
just now, pocket some, and go your way.' The good prince--would he,
nould he--was obliged to put some of the leaden dumplings into his
pocket. He then took leave and proceeded further.

On he went and on he went for three whole days and three nights, and
the further he went, the deeper he wandered into a thickly wooded
and gloomy range of mountains. Before him it was desolate, behind
him it was desolate; there wasn't a single living creature to be
seen. All wearied from his long journey, he threw himself on the
ground. The clang of his silver-mounted sword spread far and wide.
Above him four and twenty ravens, frightened by the clash of his
sword, began to croak, and, rising on their wings, flew into the
air. 'A good sign!' cried the prince. 'I will go in the direction in
which the birds have flown.'

And on he went in that direction, on he went as fast as his feet
could carry him, till all at once a lofty castle displayed itself to
him! He was still far from the castle, and already its walls were
glistening in his eyes, for the castle was of pure silver. In front
of the castle stood an old woman bent with age, leaning on a long
silver staff, and this was Jezibaba. 'Ah, my son! How is it that you
have come here? Here there is neither bird nor insect, much less a
human being!' cried Jezibaba to the prince; 'if life is dear to you,
flee away, for if my son comes, he will devour you!' 'Nay, old
mother, he will hardly eat me. I bring him a greeting from his
brother in the leaden castle.' 'Well, if you bring a greeting from
the leaden castle, then come into the parlour, my son, and tell me
what you are seeking.' 'What I am seeking, old mother? For ever so
long a time I've been seeking the glass hill and the three lemons,
and cannot find them; now I've come to inquire whether you can't
give me information about them.' 'I know nothing about the glass
hill; but stay! when my son comes, maybe he will be able to give you
the information. Hide yourself under the bed, and don't make
yourself known unless I call you.'

The mountains echoed with a mighty voice, the castle quaked, and the
prince knew that Jezibaba's son was coming home. 'Foh! foh! there's
a smell of human flesh; I'm going to eat it!' roared a horrible ogre
already in the doorway, and thumped upon the ground with a silver
club, so that the whole castle quaked. 'Ah! not so, my son, not so;
but a handsome youth has come and has brought you a greeting from
your brother in the leaden castle.' 'Well, if he's been at my
brother's, and if he has done nothing to him, let him have no fear
of me either; let him come out.' The prince sprang out from under
the bed, and went up to him, looking beside him as if he had placed
himself under a very tall pine. 'Well, beetle, have you been at my
brother's?' 'Indeed, I have; and here I've still the dumplings,
which he gave me for the journey.' 'Well, I believe you; now tell me
what it is you want.' 'What I want? I am come to ask you whether you
can't give me information about the glass hill or the three lemons.'
'Hem! I've heard formerly about it, but I don't know how to direct
you. Meanwhile, do you know what? Go to my brother in the golden
castle, he will direct you. But stay, I won't let you go away
hungry. Mother, here with the dumplings!' Jezibaba brought the
dumplings on a large silver dish, and set them on the table. 'Eat!'
shouted her son. The prince, seeing that they were silver dumplings,
said that he didn't want to eat just then, but would take some for
his journey, if he would give him them. 'Take as many as you like,
and greet my brother and aunt.' The prince took the dumplings,
thanked him courteously, and proceeded further.

Three days had already passed since he quitted the silver castle,
wandering continuously through densely wooded mountains, not knowing
which way to go, whether to the right hand or to the left. All
wearied out, he threw himself down under a wide-spreading beech, to
take a little breath. His silver-mounted sword clanged on the
ground, and the sound spread far and wide. 'Krr, krr, krr!' croaked
a flock of ravens over the traveller, scared by the clash of his
sword, and flew into the air. 'Praise be to God! the golden castle
won't be far off now,' cried the prince, and proceeded, encouraged,
onwards in the direction in which the ravens showed him the road.
Scarcely had he come out of the valley on to a small hill, when he
saw a beautiful and wide meadow, and in the midst of the meadow
stood a golden castle, just as if he were gazing at the sun; and
before the gate of the castle stood an old bent Jezibaba, leaning on
a golden staff. 'Ah! my son! what do you seek for here?' cried she
to the prince. 'Here there is neither bird nor insect to be seen,
much less a human being! If your life is dear to you, flee, for if
my son comes, he will devour you!' 'Nay, old mother, he'll hardly
eat me,' replied he. 'I bring him a greeting from his brother in the
silver castle.' 'Well, if you bring him a greeting from the silver
castle, come into the parlour and tell me what has brought you to
us.' 'What has brought me to you, old mother? I have long been
wandering in this mountain range, and haven't been able to find out
where are the glass hill and the three lemons. I was directed to
you, because haply you might be able to give me information about
it.' 'Where is the glass hill? I cannot tell you that; but stay!
when my son comes, he will counsel you which way you must go, and
what you must do. Hide yourself under the table, and stay there till
I call you.'

The mountains echoed, the castle quaked, and Jezibaba's son stepped
into the parlour. 'Foh! foh! there's a smell of human flesh; I'm
going to eat it!' shouted he, while still in the doorway, and
thumped with a golden club upon the ground, so that the whole castle
quaked. 'Gently, my son, gently!' said Jezibaba, soothing him;
'there is a handsome youth come, who brings you a greeting from your
brother in the silver castle. If you will do nothing to him, I will
call him at once.' 'Well, if my brother has done nothing to him,
neither will I do anything to him.' The prince came out from under
the table and placed himself beside him, looking, in comparison, as
if he had placed himself beside a lofty tower, and showed him the
silver dumplings in token that he had really been at the silver
castle. 'Well, tell me, you beetle, what you want!' shouted the
monstrous ogre; 'if I can counsel you, counsel you I will; don't
fear!' Then the prince explained to him the aim of his long journey,
and begged him to advise him which way to go to the glass hill, and
what he must do to obtain the three lemons. 'Do you see that black
knoll that looms yonder?' said he, pointing with his golden club;
'that is the glass hill; on the top of the hill stands a tree, and
on the tree hang three lemons, whose scent spreads seven miles
round. You will go up the glass hill, kneel under the tree, and hold
up your hands; if the lemons are destined for you, they will fall
off into your hands of themselves; but, if they are not destined for
you, you will not pluck them, whatever you do. When you are on your
return, and are hungry or thirsty, cut one of the lemons into
halves, and you will eat and drink your fill. And now go, and God be
with you! But stay, I won't let you go hungry. Mother, here with the
dumplings!' Jezibaba set a large golden dish on the table. 'Eat!'
said her son to the prince, 'or, if you don't want to do so now, put
some into your pocket; you will eat them on the road.' The prince
had no desire to eat, but put some into his pocket, saying that he
would eat them on the road. He then thanked him courteously for his
hospitality and counsel, and proceeded further.

Swiftly he paced from hill into dale, from dale on to a fresh hill,
and never stopped till he was beneath the glass hill itself. There
he stopped, as if turned to a stone. The hill was high and smooth;
there wasn't a single crack in it. On the top spread the branches of
a wondrous tree, and on the tree swung three lemons, whose scent was
so powerful that the prince almost fainted. 'God help me! Now, as it
shall be, so it will be. Now that I'm once here, I will at any rate
make the attempt,' thought he to himself, and began to climb up the
smooth glass; but scarcely had he ascended a few fathoms when his
foot slipped, and he himself, pop! down the hill, so that he didn't
know where he was, or what he was, till he found himself on the
ground at the bottom. Wearied out, he began to throw away the
dumplings, thinking that their weight was a hindrance to him. He
threw away the first, and lo! the dumpling fixed itself on the glass
hill. He threw a second and a third, and saw before him three steps,
on which he could stand with safety. The prince was overjoyed. He
kept throwing the dumplings before him, and in every case steps
formed themselves from them for him. First he threw the leaden ones,
then the silver, and then the golden ones. By the steps thus
constructed he ascended higher and higher till he happily attained
the topmost ridge of the glass hill. Here he knelt down under the
tree and held up his hands. And lo! the three beautiful lemons flew
down of themselves into the palms of his hands. The tree
disappeared, the glass hill crashed and vanished, and when the
prince came to himself, there was no tree, no hill, but a wide plain
lay extended before him.

He commenced his return homeward with delight. He neither ate nor
drank, nor saw nor heard, for very joy. But when the third day came,
a vacuum began to make itself felt in his stomach. He was so hungry
that he would gladly have then and there betaken himself to the
leaden dumplings if his pocket hadn't been empty. His pocket was
empty, and all around was just as bare as the palm of his hand. Then
he took a lemon out of his pocket and cut it into halves; and what
came to pass? Out of the lemon sprang a beautiful damsel, who made a
reverence before him, and cried out: 'Have you made ready for me to
eat? Have you made ready for me to drink? Have you made pretty
dresses ready for me?' 'I have nothing, beautiful creature, for you
to eat, nothing for you to drink, nothing for you to put on,' said
the prince, in a sorrowful voice, and the beautiful damsel clapped
her white hands thrice before him, made a reverence and vanished.

'Aha! now I know what sort of lemons these are,' said the prince;
'stay! I won't cut them up so lightly.' From the cut one he ate and
drank to his satisfaction, and thus refreshed, proceeded onwards.

But on the third day a hunger three times worse than the preceding,
assailed him. 'God help me!' said he; 'I have still one remaining
over. I'll cut it up.' He then took out the second lemon, cut it in
halves, and lo! a damsel still more beautiful than the preceding one
placed herself before him. 'Have you made ready for me to eat? Have
you made ready for me to drink? Have you made pretty dresses ready
for me?' 'I have not, dear soul! I have not!' and the beautiful
damsel clapped her hands thrice before him, made a reverence, and

Now he had only one lemon remaining; he took it in his hand and
said: 'I will not cut you open save in my father's house,' and
therewith proceeded onwards. On the third day he saw, after long
absence, his native town. He didn't know himself how he got there,
when he found himself at once in his father's castle. Tears of joy
bedewed his old father's cheeks: 'Welcome, my son! welcome a hundred
times!' he cried, and fell upon his neck. The prince related how it
had gone with him on his journey, and the members of the household
how anxiously they had waited for him.

On the next day a grand entertainment was prepared; lords and ladies
were invited from all quarters; and beautiful dresses, embroidered
with gold and studded with pearls were got ready. The lords and
ladies assembled, took their seats at the tables, and waited
expectantly to see what would happen. Then the prince took out the
last lemon, cut it in halves, and out of the lemon sprang a lady
thrice as beautiful as had been the preceding ones. 'Have you made
ready for me to eat? Have you made ready for me to drink? Have you
got pretty dresses ready for me?' 'I have, my dear soul, got
everything ready for you,' answered the prince, and presented the
handsome dresses to her. The beautiful damsel put on the beautiful
clothes, and all rejoiced at her extraordinary beauty. Ere long the
betrothal took place, and after the betrothal a magnificent wedding.

Now was fulfilled the old king's wish; he blessed his son, resigned
the kingdom into his hands, and ere long died.

The first thing that occurred to the new king after his father's
death was a war, which a neighbouring king excited against him. Now
he was constrained for the first time to part from his hard-earned
wife. Lest, therefore, anything should happen to her in his absence,
he caused a throne to be erected for her in a garden beside a lake,
which no one could ascend, save the person to whom she let down a
silken cord, and drew that person up to her.

Not far from the royal castle lived an old woman, the same that had
given the prince the counsel about the three lemons. She had a
servant, a gipsy, whom she was in the habit of sending to the lake
for water. She knew very well that the young king had obtained a
wife, and it annoyed her excessively that he had not invited her to
the wedding, nay, had not even thanked her for her good advice. One
day she sent her maidservant to the lake for water. She went, drew
water, and saw a beautiful image in the water. Under the impression
that this was her own reflection, she banged her pitcher on the
ground, so that it flew into a thousand pieces. 'Are you worthy,'
said she, 'that so beautiful a person as myself should carry water
for an old witch like you?' As she uttered this she looked up, and
lo! it wasn't her own reflection that she saw in the water, but that
of the beautiful queen. Ashamed, she picked up the pieces and
returned home. The old woman, who knew beforehand what had occurred,
went out to meet her with a fresh pitcher, and asked her servant,
for appearance' sake, what had happened to her. The servant related
all as it had occurred. 'Well, that's nothing!' said the old woman.
'But, do you know what? Go you once more to the lake, and ask the
lady to let down the silken cord and draw you up, promising to comb
and dress her hair. If she draws you up, you will comb her hair, and
when she falls asleep, stick this pin into her head. Then dress
yourself in her clothes and sit there as queen.'

It wasn't necessary to use much persuasion to the gipsy; she took
the pin, took the pitcher, and returned to the lake. She drew water
and looked at the beautiful queen. 'Dear me! how beautiful you are!
Ah! you are beautiful!' she screamed, and looked with coaxing
gestures into her eyes. 'Yes,' said she; 'but you would be a hundred
times more beautiful if you would let me comb and dress your hair;
in truth, I would so twine those golden locks that your lord could
not help being delighted.' And thus she jabbered, thus she coaxed,
till the queen let down the silken cord and drew her up.

The nasty gipsy combed, separated, and plaited the golden hair till
the beautiful queen fell sound asleep. Then the gipsy drew out the
pin, and stuck it into the sleeping queen's head. At that moment a
beautiful white dove flew off the golden throne, and not a vestige
remained of the lovely queen save her handsome clothes, in which the
gipsy speedily dressed herself, took her seat in the place where the
queen sat before, and gazed into the lake; but the beautiful
reflection displayed itself no more in the lake, for even in the
queen's clothes the gipsy nevertheless remained a gipsy.

The young king was successful in overcoming his enemies, and made
peace with them. Scarcely had he returned to the town, when he went
to the garden to seek his delight, and to see whether anything had
happened to her. But who shall express his astonishment and horror,
when, instead of his beautiful queen, he beheld a sorry gipsy. 'Ah,
my dear, my very dear one, how you have altered!' sighed he, and
tears bedewed his cheeks. 'I have altered, my beloved! I have
altered; for anxiety for you has tortured me,' answered the gipsy,
and wanted to fall upon his neck; but the king turned away from her
and departed in anger. From that time forth he had no settled abode,
no rest; he knew neither day nor night; but merely mourned over the
lost beauty of his wife, and nothing could comfort him.

Thus agitated and melancholy, he was walking one day in the garden.
Here, as he moved about at haphazard, a beautiful white dove flew on
to his hand from a high tree, and looked with mournful gaze into his
bloodshot eyes. 'Ah, my dove! why are you so sad? Has your mate been
transformed like my beautiful wife?' said the young king, talking to
it and caressingly stroking its head and back. But feeling a kind of
protuberance on its head, he blew the feathers apart, and behold!
the head of a pin! Touched with compassion, the king extracted the
pin; that instant the beautiful mourning dove was changed into his
beautiful wife. She narrated to him all that had happened to her,
and how it had happened; how the gipsy had deluded her, and how she
had stuck the pin into her head. The king immediately caused the
gipsy and the old woman to be apprehended and burnt without further

From that time forth nothing interfered with his happiness, neither
the might of his enemies nor the spite of wicked people. He lived
with his beautiful wife in peace and love; he reigned prosperously,
and is reigning yet, if he be yet alive.


There was once upon a time a country, sad and gloomy as the grave,
on which God's sun never shone. But there was a king there, and this
king possessed a horse with a sun on his forehead; and this
sun-horse of his the king caused to be led up and down the dark
country, from one end to the other, that the people might be able to
exist there; and light came from him on all sides wherever he was
led, just as in the most beautiful day.

All at once the sun-horse disappeared. A darkness worse than that of
night prevailed over the whole country, and nothing could disperse
it. Unheard-of terror spread among the subjects; frightful misery
began to afflict them, for they could neither manufacture anything
nor earn anything, and such confusion arose among them that
everything was turned topsy-turvy. The king, therefore, in order to
liberate his realm and prevent universal destruction, made ready to
seek the sun-horse with his whole army.

Through thick darkness he made his way as best he could to the
frontier of his realm. Over dense mountains thousands of ages old
God's light began now to break from another country, as if the sun
were rising in the morning out of thick fogs. On such a mountain the
king came with his army to a poor lonely cottage. He went in to
inquire where he was, what it was, and how to get further. At a
table sat a peasant, diligently reading in an open book. When the
king bowed to him he raised his eyes, thanked him, and stood up. His
whole person announced that he was not a man like another man, but a

'I was just reading about you,' said he to the king, 'how that you
are going to seek the sun-horse. Journey no further, for you will
not obtain him; but rely on me: I will find him for you.' 'I promise
you, good man, I will recompense you royally,' replied the king,
'if you bring him here to me.' 'I require no recompense; return home
with your army--you're wanted there; only leave me one servant.'

The next day the seer set out with the servant. The way was far and
long, for they passed through six countries, and had still further
to go, till in the seventh country they stopped at the royal palace.
In this seventh country ruled three own brothers, who had to wife
three own sisters, whose mother was a witch. When they stopped in
front of the palace, the seer said to his servant: 'Do you hear? you
stay here, and I will go in to ascertain whether the kings are at
home; for the horse with the sun is in their possession--the
youngest rides upon him.' Therewith he transformed himself into a
green bird, and, flying on the gable of the eldest queen's roof,
flew up and down and pecked at it until she opened the window and
let him into her chamber. And when she let him in he perched on her
white hand, and the queen was as delighted with him as a little
child. 'Ah, what a dear creature you are!' said she, as she played
with him; 'if my husband were at home he would indeed be delighted
with you; but he won't come till evening; he has gone to visit the
third part of his country.'

All at once the old witch came into the room, and, seeing the bird,
screamed to her daughter, 'Wring the accursed bird's neck, for it's
making you bleed!' 'Well, what if it should make me bleed? it's such
a dear; it's such an innocent dear!' answered the daughter. But the
witch said: 'Dear innocent mischief! here with him! let me wring his
neck!' and dashed at it. But the bird cunningly transformed itself
into a man, and, pop! out through the door, and they didn't know
whither he had betaken himself.

Afterwards he again transformed himself into a green bird, flew on
the gable of the middle sister, and pecked at it till she opened
the window for him. And when she let him in he flew on to her white
hand, and fluttered from one hand to the other. 'Oh, what a dear
creature you are!' cried the queen, smiling; 'my husband would
indeed be delighted with you if he were at home; but he won't come
till to-morrow evening; he has gone to visit two thirds of his

Thereupon the witch burst into the room. 'Wring the accursed bird's
neck! wring its neck, for it's making you bleed!' cried she as soon
as she espied it. 'Well, what if it should make me bleed? it's such
a dear, such an innocent dear!' replied the daughter. But the witch
said: 'Dear innocent mischief! here with it! let me wring its neck!'
and was already trying to seize it. But at that moment the green
bird changed itself into a man, ran out through the door, and
disappeared, as it were, in the clap of a hand, so that they didn't
know whither he had gone.

A little while afterwards he changed himself again into a green bird
and flew on the gable of the youngest queen's roof, and flew up and
down, and pecked at it until she opened the window to him. And when
she had let him in he flew straight on to her white hand, and made
himself so agreeable to her that she played with him with the
delight of a child. 'Ah, what a dear creature you are!' said the
queen; 'if my husband were at home he would certainly be delighted
with you, but he won't come till the day after to-morrow at even; he
has gone to visit all three parts of his kingdom.'

At that moment the old witch came into the room. 'Wring, wring the
accursed bird's neck!' screamed she in the doorway, 'for it is
making you bleed.' 'Well, what if it should make me bleed, mother?
it is so beautiful, so innocent,' answered the daughter. The witch
said, 'Beautiful innocent mischief! here with him! let me wring his
neck!' But at that moment the bird changed itself into a man, and
pop! out through the door, so that none of them saw him more.

Now the seer knew where the kings were, and when they would arrive.
He went to his servant and ordered him to follow him out of the
town. On they went with rapid step till they came to a bridge, over
which the kings were obliged to pass.

Under this bridge they stayed waiting till the evening. When at even
the sun was sinking behind the mountains, the clatter of a horse was
heard near the bridge. It was the eldest king returning home. Close
to the bridge his horse stumbled over a log of wood, which the seer
had thrown across the bridge. 'Ha! what scoundrel was that who threw
this log across the road?' exclaimed the king in anger. Thereat the
seer sprang out from under the bridge and rushed upon the king for
'daring to call him a scoundrel,' and, drawing his sword, attacked
him. The king, too, drew his sword to defend himself, but after a
short combat fell dead from his horse. The seer bound the dead king
on the horse, and gave the horse a lash with the whip to make him
carry his dead master home. He then withdrew under the bridge, and
they waited there till the next evening.

When day a second time declined towards evening, the middle king
came to the bridge, and, seeing the ground sprinkled with blood,
cried out, 'Somebody's been killed here! Who has dared to perpetrate
such a crime in my kingdom?' At these words the seer sprang out from
under the bridge and rushed upon the king with drawn sword,
exclaiming, 'How dare you insult me? Defend yourself as best you
can!' The king did defend himself, but after a brief struggle
yielded up his life under the sword of the seer. The seer again
fastened his corpse upon the horse, and gave the horse a lash with
the whip to make him carry his dead master home. They then withdrew
under the bridge and waited till the third evening came.

The third evening, at the very setting of the sun, up darted the
youngest king on the sun-horse, darted up with speed, for he was
somewhat late; but when he saw the red blood in front of the bridge,
he stopped, and gazing at it exclaimed, 'It is an unheard-of villain
who has dared to murder a man in my kingdom!' Scarcely had these
words issued from his mouth when the seer placed himself before him
with drawn sword, sternly bidding him defend himself, 'for he had
wounded his honour.' 'I don't know how,' answered the king, 'unless
it is you that are the villain.' But as his adversary attacked him
with a sword, he, too, drew his, and defended himself manfully.

It had been mere play to the seer to overcome the first two kings,
but it was not so with this one. Long time they fought, and broke
their swords, yet victory didn't show itself either on the one side
or on the other. 'We shall effect nothing with swords,' said the
seer, 'but do you know what? Let us turn ourselves into wheels and
start down from the hill; the wheel which breaks shall be the
conquered.' 'Good!' said the king; 'I'll be a cart-wheel, and you
shall be a lighter wheel.' 'Not so,' cunningly said the seer; 'you
shall be the lighter wheel, and I will be the cart-wheel;' and the
king agreed to it. Then they went up the hill, turned themselves
into wheels, and started downwards. The cart-wheel flew to pieces,
and bang! right into the lighter wheel, so that it all smashed up.
Immediately the seer arose out of the cart-wheel and joyfully
exclaimed, 'There you are, the victory is mine!' 'Not a bit of it,
sir brother!' cried the king, placing himself in front of the seer;
'you have only broken my fingers. But do you know what? Let us make
ourselves into flames, and the flame which burns up the other shall
be the victor. I will make myself into a red flame, and do you make
yourself into a bluish one.' 'Not so!' interrupted the seer; 'you
make yourself into a bluish flame, and I will make myself into a red
one.' The king agreed to this also. They went into the road to the
bridge, and, changing themselves into flames, began to burn each
other unmercifully. Long did they burn each other, but nothing came
of it. Thereupon, by coincidence, up came an old beggar with a long
gray beard, a bald head, a large scrip at his side, leaning upon a
thick staff. 'Old father!' said the bluish flame, 'bring some water
and quench this red flame; I'll give you a penny for it.' The red
flame cunningly exclaimed, 'Old father! I'll give you a shilling if
you'll pour the water on this bluish flame.' The old beggar liked
the shilling better than the penny, brought water and quenched the
bluish flame. Then it was all over with the king. The red flame
turned itself into a man, took the sun-horse by the bridle, mounted
on his back, called the servant, thanked the beggar for the service
he had rendered, and went off.

In the royal palaces there was deep grief at the murder of the two
kings; the entire palaces were draped with black cloth, and the
people crowded into them from all quarters to gaze at the cut and
slashed bodies of the two elder brothers, whose horses had brought
them home. The old witch, exasperated at the death of her
sons-in-law, devised a plan of vengeance on their murderer, the
seer. She seated herself with speed on an iron rake, took her three
daughters under her arms, and pop! off with them into the air.

The seer and his servant had already got through a good part of
their journey, and were then crossing desert mountains, a treeless
waste. Here a terrible hunger seized the servant, and there wasn't
even a wild plum to assuage it. All of a sudden they came to an
apple-tree. Apples were hanging on it; the branches were all but
breaking under their weight; their scent was beautiful; they were
delightfully ruddy, so that they almost offered themselves to be
eaten. 'Praise be to God!' cried the delighted servant; 'I shall eat
one of those apples with an excellent appetite.' 'Don't attempt to
gather one of them!' cried the seer to him; 'wait, I'll gather some
for you myself.' But instead of plucking an apple, he drew his sword
and thrust it mightily into the apple-tree; red blood spouted out of
it. 'There,' said he, 'you would have come to harm if you had eaten
any of those apples, for the apple-tree was the eldest queen, whose
mother placed her there to put us out of this world.'

After a time they came to a spring; water clear as crystal bubbled
up in it, all but running over the brim and thus attracting
wayfarers. 'Ah!' said the servant, 'if we can't get anything better,
let us at any rate have a drink of this good water.' 'Don't venture
to drink of it!' shouted the seer; 'but stay, I'll get you some of
it.' Yet he didn't get him any water, but thrust his drawn sword
into the midst of it; it was immediately discoloured with blood,
which began to flow from it in mighty waves. 'That is the middle
queen, whose mother placed her here to put us out of this world,'
said the seer, and the servant thanked him for his warning, and went
on, would he, nould he, in hunger and thirst, whithersoever the seer
led him.

After a time they came to a rose-bush, which was red with delightful
roses, and filled the air round about with their scent. 'Oh, what
beautiful roses!' said the servant; 'I never saw such beauties in
all my life. I'll go and gather a few of them; I will at any rate
comfort myself with them if I can't assuage my hunger and thirst.'
'Don't venture to gather one of them!' cried the seer; 'I will
gather them for you.' With that he cut into the bush with his sword;
red blood spurted out, as if he had cut the vein of a human being.
'That is the youngest queen,' said the seer to his servant, 'whom
her mother, the witch, placed here with the intention of taking
vengeance upon us for the death of her sons-in-law.' They then went

When they crossed the frontier of the dark realm, flashes flew in
all directions from the horse's forehead, and everything came to
life again, beautiful regions rejoiced and blossomed with the
flowers of spring. The king didn't know how to thank the seer
sufficiently, and offered him the half of his kingdom as a reward,
but he declined it. 'You are king,' said he; 'rule over the whole
realm, and I will return to my cottage in peace.' He took leave and


Far away somewhere beyond the Red Sea, there was a certain young
lord. When he had grown up in body and mind, he bethought himself
that indeed it would not be a bad thing to look round him in the
world and seek out a nice wife for himself, and a good mistress for
his household. Well, as he determined, so he did. He went out into
the world, but could not find such a one as he would have liked. At
last he went somehow into the house of a widow, who had three
daughters, all maidens. The two elder were as active as wasps for
work, but the youngest, who was named Hanka, was like a leaden bird
for everything that wanted doing. When the young lord came to them
at spinning time he was astounded. 'How is it,' thought he, 'that
Hanka can be sleeping in the chimney-corner, while the other
spinsters are hard at work at their tasks?' He said to their mother:
'But, old lady, tell me, why don't you make that one, too, take a
distaff? She is quite a grown-up girl, and would amuse herself by
work.' 'Ah! young sir,' replied the mother, 'I would allow her to
spin with all my heart; I would fill her distaff myself; but what
then? She is such a spinster, that by herself she would by morning
spin up not only all our spinning materials, but all the thatch from
the roof, and that into golden threads; nay, at last she would
betake herself to my gray hairs; I am obliged, therefore, to give
her a holiday.' 'If this be so,' said the delighted suitor, 'and if
it is God's will, you can give her to me to wife. You see, I have a
nice establishment--flax, hemp, whole heaps of the finer and
commoner kinds of tow; she could spin away to her heart's content.'
At such language the old woman did not take long for consideration,
and Hanka woke from her slumbers. They brought the bridegroom
expectant a handsome olive-coloured handkerchief out of the
clothes-chest, adorned him with periwinkles, and performed the
marriage ceremony that very evening. The other spinsters were
somewhat mortified at Hanka's good fortune, but finally were content
at it, hoping that they, too, would get rings on their fingers,[3]
now that the idle hand, as they nicknamed Hanka, had obtained a
husband. The next day our young bridegroom ordered his horses to be
harnessed, and when all was ready, placed the tearful bride beside
him in a handsome carriage, gave his hand to his mother-in-law,
called out 'Farewell!' to the bride's sisters, and they left the
village at a gallop.

    [3] Literally, 'Would come under the garland.'

For better or worse! Poor Hanka sat by her youthful husband mournful
and tearful, just as if the chickens had eaten up all her bread. He
talked to her enough, but Hanka was as mute as a fish. 'What's the
matter with you?' said he. 'Don't be frightened. At my house,
indeed, there will be no going to sleep for you. I shall give you
all that your heart desires. You will have flax, hemp, fine and
coarse tow enough for the whole winter, and I have got in a store
of apples for spittle.' But our Hanka became more sorrowful the
further they went. Thus they arrived in the evening at the young
lord's castle, got down from the carriage, and, after supper, the
future lady was conducted into a large room, in which, from top to
bottom, lay nothing but spinning materials. 'Well,' said he, 'here
you have distaff, spindle, and spindle-ring, and rosy apples and a
few peas for spittle--spin away! If you spin all this, by morning,
into golden threads, we shall be man and wife at once; if not, I
shall cause you to be put to death without further ado.' Thereupon
the young lord went out and left the spinster to spin. When Hanka
was left alone, she didn't seat herself under the distaff, for she
didn't even know how to twirl the threads, but began sorrowfully to
exclaim: 'Oh God! God! here I am come out to vile disgrace! Why did
not my mother teach me to work and spin like my two sisters? I might
then have reposed in peace at home; but, as it is, sinful creature
that I am, I must perish miserably.' As she was thus expressing her
feelings, the wall suddenly opened, and a little mannikin stood
before the terrified Hanka, with a red cap on his head and an apron
girt round his waist; before him he pushed a little golden
hand-cart. 'Why have you your eyes so tearful?' inquired he of
Hanka. 'What has happened to you?' 'As if, sinful soul that I am, I
should not weep,' said she; 'only think, they have ordered me to
spin all these spinning materials into golden threads by morning,
and if I don't do so, they will have me put to death without any
ceremony. Oh God! God! what shall I do, forlorn in this strange
world?' 'If that is all,' said the mannikin, 'don't be frightened. I
will teach you to spin golden threads cleverly; but only on this
condition, that I find you this time next year in this very place.
Then, if you do not guess my honourable name, you will become my
wife, and I shall convey you away in this cart. But, if you guess
it, I shall leave you in peace. But this I tell you: if you choose
to hide yourself anywhere this time next year, and if you fly ever
so far beneath the sky, I shall find you, and will wring your neck.
Well, have you agreed to this?' It was not, sooth to say, very
satisfactory to Hanka; but what could the poor thing do? At length
she bethought herself: 'Let it be left to God, whether I perish this
way or that! I agree.' The mannikin, on hearing this, made three
circuits round her with his golden cart, seated himself under the
distaff, and repeating:

    'Thus, Haniczka, thus!
    Thus, Haniczka, thus!
    Thus, Haniczka, thus!'

taught and instructed her to spin golden threads. After this, as he
came, so he departed, and the wall closed up of itself behind him.
Our damsel, from that time forth a real golden spinster, sat under
the distaff, and seeing how the spinning materials decreased and the
golden threads increased, spun and spun away, and by morning had not
only spun up all, but had had a good sleep into the bargain. In the
morning, as soon as the young lord awoke, he dressed himself and
went to visit the golden spinster. When he entered the room he was
all but blinded by the glitter, and wouldn't even believe his eyes,
that it was all gold. But when he had satisfied himself that so it
was, he began to embrace the golden spinster, and declared her his
true and lawful wife. Thus they lived in the fear of God, and if our
young lord had previously loved his Haniczka for the golden
spinning, he then loved her a thousand times more for the beautiful
son that she in the meantime bore him.

But what? There's no footpath without an end, neither could the joy
of our wedded pair endure for ever. Day passed after day, till
finally the appointed time approached within a span. Now our Hanka
began to be more sorrowful from moment to moment; her eyes were as
red as if they were baked, and she did nothing but creep like a
shadow from room to room. And, indeed, it was a serious thing for a
young mother to have to lose all at once her good husband and her
beautiful son! Hitherto her poor husband knew nought about anything,
and comforted his wife as well as he could; but she would not be
comforted. When she bethought herself what a nasty dwarf she was
going to obtain instead of her shapely husband, she all but dashed
herself against the walls from excessive agony. At last she managed
to overcome herself, and revealed everything to her husband as it
had occurred to her on that first night. He became, from horror, as
pale as a whitewashed wall, and caused proclamation to be made
throughout the whole district that, if anyone knew of such a dwarf,
and should make known his real name, he would give him a piece of
gold as large as his head. 'Ah! what a windfall such a piece of gold
as that would be!' whispered neighbour to neighbour, and they
dispersed on all sides, examined all corners, all but looked into
the mouseholes, searched and searched as for a needle, but, after
all, couldn't find anything out. Nobody knew and nobody had seen the
dwarf, and as for his name, no living soul could guess it. Under
such circumstances the last day arrived; nothing had been seen or
heard of the mannikin, and our Hanka, with her boy at her breast,
was wringing her hands at the prospect of losing her husband. Her
unhappy husband, whose eyes were almost exhausted from weeping, in
order, at any rate, to escape from beholding the agony of his wife,
took his gun on his shoulder, fastened his faithful hounds in a
leash, and went out hunting. After hunting time--it was about the
hour of afternoon luncheon--it began to lighten on all sides and in
all directions, rain poured so that it would have been a shame to
turn a dog out into the roads, and in this tempest all our young
lord's servants sought shelter where they could, and got so lost
that he remained with only one on a densely wooded unknown hill, and
that as soaked and dripping as a rat. Where were they to seek
shelter before the ever-increasing storm? where to dry themselves?
where to obtain harbour for the night? The unlucky pair, master and
servant, looked round on all sides to see whether they couldn't espy
a shepherd's hut or a cattle-shed; but where nothing is, there is
nothing. Finally, when they had almost strained their eyes out of
the sockets, they saw where, out of the hole of the side shaft of a
mine, puffs of smoke were rolling, as from a limekiln. 'Go, lad,'
said the young lord to the servant, 'look whence this smoke issues;
there must be people there. Ask them whether they will give us
lodging for the night.' The servant went off and returned in a jiffy
with the intelligence that neither door, nor shed, nor people were
there. 'Fie, you're only a duffer!' said the lord to his servant
with chattering teeth. 'I'll go myself; you, for a punishment, shall
drip and freeze.' Well, the noble lord took the job in hand, but
neither could he espy anything, save that in one place smoke kept
continually issuing out of the side shaft. At last in disgust he
said: 'Whatever devil on devil may bring, know I must whence all
this smoke comes.' So he went to the hole itself, knelt beside it
and peeped in. As he was thus peeping, he espied, somewhere under
ground, where food was cooking in a kitchen, and covers were laid
for two on a stone table. Round this table ran a little mannikin in
a red cap with a golden hand-cart before him, and from time to time,
after making the circuit, he sang:

    'I've manufactured a golden spinster for the young lord,
    She will try to guess my name to night;
    If she guesses my name aright, I shall leave her;
    If she guesses it not, I shall take her:
    My name is Martynko Klyngas.'

And again he ran like mad round the table and shouted:

    'I'm preparing nine dishes for supper,
    I'll place her in a silken bed;
    If she guesses,' etc.

The young lord wanted nothing more; he ran as fast as his legs could
carry him to his servant, and, as it now cleared up a little, they
were fortunate enough to find a path, by which they hastened home.
He found his wife at home in agony, in misery, streaming with tears;
for she thought she would not be able even to take leave of her
husband, as he was so long away. 'Don't afflict yourself, my wife,'
were the young lord's first words when he entered the room. 'I know
what you require; his name is Martynko Klyngas.' And then he,
without delay, recounted to her everything, where he had gone and
what had happened to him. Hanka could scarcely keep on her feet for
joy, embraced and kissed her husband, and betook herself joyfully
into the room, in which she had spent the first night, to finish
spinning the golden threads. At midnight the wall opened, and the
mannikin with the red cap came in, as he had done that time last
year, and running round her with the golden cart shouted with the
utmost power of his lungs:

    'If you guess my name, I leave you;
    If you guess it not, I take you;
        Only guess, guess away!'

'I'll have a try to guess,' said Hanka; 'your name is Martynko
Klyngas.' As soon as she had uttered this, the little dwarf seized
his cart, threw his cap on the ground, and departed as he had come;
the wall closed, and Hanka breathed in peace. From that time forth
she spun no more gold, and, indeed, neither was it necessary for her
so to do for they were rich enough. She and her husband lived
happily together, their boy grew like a young tree by the water's
side; and they bought a cow, and on the cow a bell, and here's an
end to the tale I tell.

       *       *       *       *       *

[This story may be compared with 'Rumpelstiltskin' in Grimm. The
principle is the same; but, I think, the variation in the details is
much in favour of the Slavonic tale.]


Where it was, there it was, a certain village there was, in which
lived a father with three sons. One of them was silly, and always
sat in the chimney corner,[4] but the other two were considered
clever. One of these went out to service in a village not far off.
His mother put on his back a wallet full of cakes baked under the
ashes. He went into a house and made an engagement with the master
upon the terms that whichever got angry first was to have his nose
cut off. The servant went to thresh. He was not called by his master
either to breakfast or to dinner. His master asked him: 'Well,
Mishek, are you angry?' 'What have I to be angry for?' Evening came,
and supper was cooked; again they did not ask Mishek. His master
asked him: 'Well, Mishek, are you angry?' 'What have I to be angry
for?' He wasn't angry, for the cakes from home still held out. But
during the second and third day the wallet was emptied, and again he
wasn't summoned to dinner. His master asked him: 'Mishek, are you
not angry?' 'Wouldn't even the devil be angry, when you are thus
killing me with hunger?' Then his master pulled out a knife and cut
off Mishek's nose. He hastened home noseless, and complained to his
father and brothers of his wicked master. 'You simpleton!' said the
next brother, Pavko. 'Stay, I'll go! Hey, mother, bake some cakes
under the ashes!' Pavko started off and went straight to the same
village and to the same house, and made an engagement with the same
master, on the terms that whichever was the first to become angry
was to have his nose cut off. They set him, too, to thresh for three
days, but neither on the first, nor on the second, nor on the third
day, did they call him to take a meal. 'Pavko, are you not angry?'
'Wouldn't even devils be angry with you? My belly has already grown
to my backbone.' Thereupon his master pulled out a knife and cut off
Pavko's nose. Pavko went home noseless, and said to his elder
brother: 'That's a cruel house of entertainment; the devil's got my
nose.' Then Adam, the youngest, shouted from the chimney-corner:
'You are idiots! I'll go, and you'll see that I shall make a good
job of it.' He went with cakes baked under the ashes in his wallet,
and hit right upon the same village in which his brothers had been,
and engaged himself with the same master upon the terms that
whichever got angry first should have his nose cut off. But Adam
knew how to proceed intelligently. When his master didn't call him
to dinner, he went to the public-house with what he had threshed and
pawned it all. His master came and didn't see a grain of corn. Adam
then asked him: 'Master, are you angry?' 'Why should I be angry?'
This occurred several times, and his master always said that he
wasn't angry, for fear of losing his nose. Once there came a day on
which the master and mistress were obliged to be from home, and they
ordered Adam by their return to kill the first sheep that looked at
him when he entered the stable, to dress it and boil it in a
caldron, putting parsley with it. Adam went into the stable with
great banging and noise, so that all the sheep looked at him at
once, whereupon he slaughtered them all. One he dressed and put in
the caldron, but instead of parsley he threw in a dog called by that
name. His master and mistress came and asked Adam whether he had
done everything properly? He said: 'I've slaughtered the sheep and
thrown Parsley into the caldron till I saw his feet. Now, master,
are you angry?' 'What have I to be angry about?' he replied, for he
preferred keeping his nose. On Christmas Eve, when they had to go to
church, it was very dark. Adam's master said to him: 'It would be a
good thing if somebody would light us as far as the church.' 'Go!
go! I'll light you.' He took fire and set the roof on fire, till the
whole house was in flames. The master hurried up, and Adam said to
him: 'Master, are you angry?' 'Why should I be angry?' said he; for
his nose was dearer to him than his house. But what was he to do
without a house, without everything? They went into the world,
master, mistress, and servant. They wanted to put him to death; and
planned together, that when he was asleep his master should throw
him into the water. But Adam was up to this; he didn't lie down on
the side nearest the water, but got up in the night and threw his
mistress, who was on that side, into the water. His master woke, and
saw that his wife was gone; and began to cry out. But Adam asked
him: 'Well, master, are you angry?' 'Wouldn't even the devil be
angry, now that you've done me out of everything?' Adam took a knife
and cut off his master's nose. He then took to his heels, went home,
and said to his brothers: 'Now you see, you wiseacres, that I've
earned the nose.'

    [4] Literally, 'Behind the stove.'


The Upper Lusatian language is spoken in a district which may be
marked by the towns of Löbau, Bautzen, and Muskau, while the Lower
Lusatians dwell round the towns of Spremberg and Kottbus. Of the
Upper Lusatians the larger portion live in Saxony and the smaller in
Prussian territory; the Lower Lusatians are all Prussian subjects.

The Upper Lusatian story illustrates, in folklore style, a moral
principle of great value. The Lower Lusatian tale is a variant of
our own 'Little Red Ridinghood.' But it completes the story in such
a manner as to explain the allegorical meaning of the narrative in
the sense in which I am inclined to interpret it, as will be shown
at the conclusion of the story.

But the Slavonic remnant in Lusatia is so surrounded by German
territory, that most of its folklore has already been pressed into
the service of the Germans.

A remarkable point in the Lusatian language is the completeness of
the dual number in both nouns, adjectives, and verbs.


There was once upon a time a huntsman, who had a son, who was also a
huntsman. He sent his son into a foreign land, to look about him
and learn something additional. Here he went into a tavern, where he
found a stranger, with whom he entered into conversation. They told
each other all the news, till they also began to talk about right
and wrong. The stranger asserted that the greatest wrong could be
made right for money. But the huntsman opined that right always
remained right, and offered to bet three hundred dollars upon it, if
the stranger would do the same.[5] The stranger was content
therewith, and they agreed to ask three advocates the question at
once. They went to the first advocate, and he said that it was
possible to make wrong right for money. They then went to another.
He also asserted that wrong could be made right for money. Finally,
they went to a third. He also told them that wrong could be made
right for money. They then went back again, and as they had been
going about the whole day, it wasn't till late in the evening that
they got to their tavern. The stranger then asked the huntsman
whether he still disbelieved that the greatest wrong could be made
right for money, and the huntsman replied that he should soon be
obliged to believe it on the assertion of the three advocates,
although he was very unwilling to do so. The stranger was willing to
grant him his life if he consented to pay three hundred dollars; but
as they were talking about it, in came a man who overpersuaded the
stranger that he must needs abide by what they had previously agreed
upon. He did not, however, do this, but only, with a red-hot iron,
took his eyesight from him, and told him at the same time, that he
would then and then only believe that right remained right in the
world, when the huntsman regained his sight.

    [5] This surely ought, from what transpires later in the story,
    to have run thus: 'To stake his life against three hundred
    dollars to be staked by the stranger.'

The huntsman entreated the host of the tavern to put him on the
right road to the town. He put him on the road to the gallows, and
went his way. When the huntsman had gone a little further, there was
the end of the road, and he heard it strike eleven. He couldn't go
any further, and remained lying where he was in hope that perhaps
somebody would come there in the morning. After a short time he
heard a clatter, and soon somebody came up; nor was it long before a
second and a third arrived. These were three evil spirits, who
quitted their bodies in the night time, and perpetrated all manner
of villainy in the world. They began to talk together, and one said:
'To-day it is a year and a day since we were here together and
related the good deeds that we had done during the year before. A
year has again elapsed, and it is therefore time that we should
ascertain which of us has done the best action during the past
year.' The first spoke, and said: 'I have deprived the inhabitants
of the city of Ramul of their water supply; they can only be helped
if somebody finds out what it is that stops up the spring.' 'What's
that?' said the second; and the first replied: 'I have placed a
great toad on the spring out of which the water at other times
flowed; if that be removed, the water will spring up again as
before.' The second said: 'I have caused the beauty of the princess
of Sarahawsky to disappear, and herself to fade away to skin and
bones; she cannot be helped until the silver nail, which hangs above
her bed, be pulled out.' The third said: 'Yesterday I caused a
person to be deprived of his eyesight with a red hot iron; he can
only be helped by washing his eyes with the water that is in the
well not far from this gallows.' It then struck twelve in the town,
and the three disappeared at once, but the huntsman remembered all
that he had heard, and rejoiced that it was in his power to regain
his eyesight.

Early on the morrow he heard somebody passing by, and begged him to
send him people from the town, to tell where the healing spring was.
Then all manner of people came to him, but no one could show him the
spring, save at length one old woman. He caused himself to be led
thither, and as soon as he had washed his eyes in it, he immediately
obtained his eyesight again.

He now asked the way to the city of Ramul, and went thither. As soon
as he arrived, he told the town council that he would restore them
their water. But plenty of people had been there already, and the
city had spent a great deal of money upon them, yet no one had
effected aught, so, as it had been all in vain, they intended to
have nothing more to do with the matter. Well, he said that he would
do it all for nothing, only they must give him some labourers to
help him. It was done. When they had dug as far as the place where
the pipes, through which the water used to flow, were laid into the
spring, he sent all the workmen away and dug a little further
himself, and behold! a toad, like a boiler, was sitting on the
spring. He removed it, and immediately the water began to flow, and
ere long all the fountains were filled with water. The citizens got
up a grand banquet in his honour, and paid him a large sum of money
for what he had done.

He then went on and came to Sarahawsky. Then in a short time he
learnt that the princess was ill, just as he had heard, and that no
physician was able to help her; moreover that the king had promised
that the person who could cure her malady should obtain her to wife.
He therefore equipped himself very handsomely, went to the king's
palace, and there declared that he had come from a far country, and
would cure the princess. The king replied to him that he had scarce
any hope left, but would nevertheless make the experiment with him.
The huntsman said that he would fetch his medicine. He went out and
bought all manner of sweet comfits, and then went to the princess.
He gave her a first dose, and looked about to see in what part of
her bed's head the silver nail was sticking. Early on the second day
he came again, gave her again some of his medicine, took the
opportunity of laying hold of the nail, and pulled it till it began
to move. In the afternoon the princess felt that she was better. The
third day he came again, and while the princess was taking the
medicine, pulled again at the bed's head, pulled the nail clean out,
and put it secretly into his pocket. At noon the princess was so far
recovered, that she wanted to have her dinner, and the king invited
the huntsman to a grand banquet. They settled when the wedding was
to take place, but the huntsman considered that he must first go

And when he had got home, he went again to the tavern where he had
lost the sight of his eyes, and the stranger was there also. They
began to tell each other all the news, and the huntsman related what
he had heard under the gallows; how he had discovered the water, and
finally how he had regained the sight of his eyes, and said that the
stranger must now believe that in the world right always remained
right. The stranger marvelled exceedingly, and said that he would
believe it.

After this the huntsman went on and came to his princess, and they
had a grand wedding festival, which lasted a whole week. The
stranger bethought himself that he, too, would go under the gallows;
peradventure he might also hear some such things as the huntsman had
heard, and might in consequence also obtain a princess to wife. And
when the year had elapsed, he also went there. He heard it strike
one, and in a short time he heard a clatter; then up came somebody
again, and it wasn't long before a second and third arrived. They
began to talk together, and one said: 'It cannot but be, that some
one overheard us last year, and through that everything that we
have done is ruined. Let us, therefore, make a careful search before
we again recount to each other what we have done.' They immediately
began to search, and found the stranger. They tore him into three
pieces and hung them up on the three corners of the gallows.

When the old king died they took the huntsman for king, and if he
has not died, he is reigning still at the present day, and firmly
believes that in his realm right will always remain right.


Once upon a time, there was a little darling damsel, whom everybody
loved that looked upon her, but her old granny loved her best of
all, and didn't know what to give the dear child for love. Once she
made her a hood of red samite, and since that became her so well,
and she, too, would wear nothing else on her head, people gave her
the name of 'Red Hood.' Once her mother said to Red Hood, 'Go; here
is a slice of cake and a bottle of wine; carry them to old granny.
She is ill and weak, and they will refresh her. But be pretty
behaved, and don't peep about in all corners when you come into her
room, and don't forget to say "Good-day." Walk, too, prettily, and
don't go out of the road, otherwise you will fall and break the
bottle, and then poor granny will have nothing.' Red Hood said, 'I
will observe everything well that you have told me,' and gave her
mother her hand upon it.

But granny lived out in a forest, half an hour's walk from the
village. When Red Hood went into the forest, she met a wolf. But she
did not know what a wicked beast he was, and was not afraid of him.
'God help you, Red Hood!' said he. 'God bless you, wolf!' replied
she. 'Whither so early, Red Hood?' 'To granny.' 'What have you
there under your mantle?' 'Cake and wine. We baked yesterday; old
granny must have a good meal for once, and strengthen herself
therewith.' 'Where does your granny live, Red Hood?' 'A good quarter
of an hour's walk further in the forest, under yon three large oaks.
There stands her house; further beneath are the nut-trees, which you
will see there,' said Red Hood. The wolf thought within himself,
'This nice young damsel is a rich morsel. She will taste better than
the old woman; but you must trick her cleverly, that you may catch
both.' For a time he went by Red Hood's side. Then said he, 'Red
Hood! just look! there are such pretty flowers here! Why don't you
look round at them all? Methinks you don't even hear how
delightfully the birds are singing! You are as dull as if you were
going to school, and yet it is so cheerful in the forest!' Little
Red Hood lifted up her eyes, and when she saw how the sun's rays
glistened through the tops of the trees, and every place was full of
flowers, she bethought herself, 'If I bring with me a sweet smelling
nosegay to granny, it will cheer her. It is still so early, that I
shall come to her in plenty of time,' and therewith she skipped into
the forest and looked for flowers. And when she had plucked one, she
fancied that another further off was nicer, and ran there, and went
always deeper and deeper into the forest. But the wolf went by the
straight road to old granny's, and knocked at the door. 'Who's
there?' 'Little Red Hood, who has brought cake and wine. Open!'
'Only press the latch,' cried granny; 'I am so weak that I cannot
stand.' The wolf pressed the latch, walked in, and went without
saying a word straight to granny's bed and ate her up. Then he took
her clothes, dressed himself in them, put her cap on his head, lay
down in her bed and drew the curtains.

Meanwhile little Red Hood was running after flowers, and when she
had so many that she could not carry any more, she bethought her of
her granny, and started on the way to her. It seemed strange to her
that the door was wide open, and when she entered the room
everything seemed to her so peculiar, that she thought, 'Ah! my God!
how strange I feel to-day, and yet at other times I am so glad to be
with granny!' She said, 'Good-day!' but received no answer.
Thereupon she went to the bed and undrew the curtains. There lay
granny, with her cap drawn down to her eyes, and looking so queer!
'Ah, granny! why have you such long ears?' 'The better to hear you.'
'Ah, granny! why have you such large eyes?' 'The better to see you.'
'Ah, granny! why have you such large hands?' 'The better to take
hold of you.' 'But, granny! why have you such a terribly large
mouth?' 'The better to eat you up!' And therewith the wolf sprang
out of bed at once on poor little Red Hood, and ate her up.

When the wolf had satisfied his appetite, he lay down again in the
bed, and began to snore tremendously. A huntsman came past, and
bethought himself, 'How can an old woman snore like that? I'll just
have a look to see what it is.' He went into the room, and looked
into the bed; there lay the wolf. 'Have I found you now, old
rascal?' said he. 'I've long been looking for you.' He was just
going to take aim with his gun, when he bethought himself, 'Perhaps
the wolf has only swallowed granny, and she may yet be released;'
therefore he did not shoot, but took a knife and began to cut open
the sleeping wolf's maw. When he had made several cuts, he saw a red
hood gleam, and after one or two more cuts out skipped Red Hood, and
cried, 'Oh, how frightened I have been; it was so dark in the wolf's
maw!' Afterwards out came old granny, still alive, but scarcely able
to breathe. But Red Hood made haste and fetched large stones, with
which they filled the wolf's maw, and when he woke he wanted to jump
up and run away, but the stones were so heavy that he fell on the
ground and beat himself to death. Now, they were all three merry.
The huntsman took off the wolf's skin; granny ate the cake and drank
the wine which little Red Hood had brought, and became strong and
well again; and little Red Hood thought to herself, 'As long as I
live, I won't go out of the road into the forest, when mother has
forbidden me.'

       *       *       *       *       *

[Little Red Hood, like many folklore tales, is a singular mixture of
myth and morality. In Cox's 'Comparative Mythology,' vol. ii., p.
831, note, Little Redcap, or Little Red Riding Hood, is interpreted
as 'the evening with her scarlet robe of twilight,' who is swallowed
up by the wolf of darkness, the Fenris of the Edda. It appears to me
that this explanation may suit the colour of her cap or hood, but is
at variance with the other incidents of the story. I am inclined to
look upon the tale as a lunar legend, although the moon is only
actually red during one portion of the year, at the harvest moon in
the autumn. Red Hood is represented as wandering, like Io, who is
undoubtedly the moon, through trees, the clouds, and flowers, the
stars, before she reaches the place where she is intercepted by the
wolf. An eclipse to untutored minds would naturally suggest the
notion that some evil beast was endeavouring to devour the moon, who
is afterwards rescued by the sun, the archer of the heavens, whose
bow and arrow are by a common anachronism represented in the story
by a gun. Though the moon is masculine in Slavonic, as in German,
yet she is a lady, 'my lady Luna,' in the Croatian legend No. 53,
below. In the Norse mythology, when Loki is let loose at the end of
the world, he is to 'hurry in the form of a wolf to swallow the
moon' (Cox ii., p. 200). The present masculine Slavonic word for
moon, which is also that for month, 'mesic,' or 'mesec,' is a
secondary formation, the original word having perished. In Greek and
Latin the moon is always feminine.]


The Kashubians inhabit a small district in the North-east of
Pomerania, 'the province upon the sea,' from _po_, upon, and _more_,
the sea. The limits of the district may be roughly marked by the
towns of Leba, Lauenburg and Bütow or Bytom.

The story contains many of the circumstances of the German story of
'The Table, the Ass and the Stick' in Grimm's collection. The
Kashubian tales again would naturally be pressed into the service of
the surrounding Germans. Bitter complaints have been made by
Slavonic literati, that their Folklore tales have been appropriated
by the Germans. Of course there is a vast amount of common ground in
Folklore, and incidents belonging to one tale will sometimes start
up at a distance in another apparently entirely unconnected with it.
But I believe that there is considerable ground for the complaint.


A cobbler was busying himself on Saturday with mending old shoes,
that he might be able to go to church on Sunday. He worked till late
in the evening, and, having finished his work, early in the morning
dressed himself, and took his book to service. In church he heard
this doctrine, that if any one dedicates his property to the church,
God will recompense him a hundredfold in another form. And as he was
poor, he therefore determined to sell his cottage and goods and take
the whole price to the priest at the church. He went home and told
his wife of his intentions; and in a few days the money was in the
hands of the parson.[6] But day passed after day, and nothing was to
be seen of a recompense. At last, when hunger sorely tried the
cobbler, he dressed himself like an old beggar and went to seek for
the Lord God. After wandering a couple of days he met with an old
shepherd, who was pasturing a large flock of lambs. And as he was
very hungry, he made up his mind to go up to the old shepherd, and
ask him to give him a little to eat out of his dinner-basket.[7]
During the meal he related all that he had done, and how it was then
going with him. The old shepherd compassionated the poor cobbler,
and gave him a lamb, which scattered ducats at every call: 'Lamb,
shake yourself!' but gave it him under the condition, that in one
village, through which he was obliged to pass, he was not to enter
the house of his old gossip. He laid the lamb on his shoulder with
great joy, thanked the old man for it, and started with speed on his
way home to rejoice his wife and children. When he got behind the
hill, he began to distrust the words of the old shepherd, for he
could not get it into his head that an ordinary lamb would scatter
ducats. Wishing, therefore, to assure himself of their truth, he
placed the lamb on the ground and uttered the old man's words:
'Lamb, shake yourself!' and when at the self-same moment he espied
ducats round the lamb's feet, he considered himself the most
fortunate man in the whole world. Without delay he put the lamb on
his back, and went on towards home. But when he went past his
gossip's tavern, she besought him to pay her a visit, for they had
not seen each other for a very long time. The cobbler at first
hesitated a little, but wishing to show that he had ducats in his
pocket, and that he had met with such good fortune, he went into the
tavern; and, after first giving into her charge his present from the
old man, with these words, 'But don't say to him, "Lamb, shake
yourself!"' went to the table and drank off a noggin of brandy. But
his gossip, a knavish old woman, bethought herself at once that
there must be some secret lying in these words. She, therefore, took
the lamb into another room, and when she was there by herself, said
to the lamb: 'Lamb, shake yourself!' when she saw that he scattered
ducats she began to consider how to cheat her gossip. After a short
time she determined to make the cobbler drunk, to detain him all
night at her house, and next day, early, to give him instead of his
lamb another like it out of her own flock; which was effected
according to her intention. Well, early in the morning the cobbler
took the lamb on his shoulder and now hastened straight to his wife
and children, and tossed them, as they wept, a couple of ducats,
that his wife might get a good meal ready. His wife could not wonder
enough whence her little husband had got so much money, but she did
not venture to question him. After the meal the cobbler put the lamb
on the table, called his children, that they might enjoy with him
the rolling ducats, and shouted: 'Lamb, shake yourself!' But the
lamb stood as if he were made of wood, and never even moved his
head. The children, who had eaten their fill, began to laugh, and
the wife thought that her husband was not quite right in his head.
The cobbler, angry that his wish had not come to pass, repeated
once more the old man's words, but this time, too, without effect,
therefore he pushed the lamb off the table. So long as the ducats
held out, there was content in the home; but as soon as they began
to run short in the cottage, his wife began to reproach her husband
for doing no work, and not troubling himself about a livelihood. So
nothing again remained for the cobbler but, stick in hand, to go to
look for the old man. He knew very well what a bad welcome he would
receive from him, but what was to be done? However, the old man had
compassion on the poor family, and this time gave him a tablecloth,
which at every summons: 'Tablecloth, spread yourself!' spread itself
of its own accord, and on it stood most excellent food and drink;
but under the condition that he didn't go into his gossip's house.
The cobbler, well content with the present, thanked the old man and
moved towards home. In a short time he was behind the hill, sat down
upon the ground, and, not from curiosity but from hunger, gave the
word of command to the tablecloth to spread itself, for his inside
was croaking. When, after eating his fill, he went past the tavern,
his old gossip was waiting for him in front of the door; she begged
him in the kindest terms not to pass her tavern, adding the proverb:
'Whoever passes a tavern sprains his foot.' The cobbler wavered
long, but at last went in and entrusted her with the tablecloth with
these words: 'Dear gossip, don't say, "Tablecloth, spread
yourself!"' The crafty woman gave him brandy in welcome, not for
money; therefore, her gossip tossed off noggin after noggin, till
there came a dizziness in his head. Then his gossip did the same
with the tablecloth as with the lamb. The cobbler came to his wife
and children, placed the tablecloth on the table and cried:
'Tablecloth, spread yourself!' But the tablecloth didn't stir, and
the cobbler began to despair and to revile the old woman, his
gossip. He returned again to the old man, begged pardon of him on
his knees for not fulfilling the condition that time also, and
prayed him, nevertheless, to have compassion on him and to be his
preserver once more. The old man for a long time refused, but at
last gave him a cudgel with a silver mounting set with precious
stones, and ordered him this time to visit his gossip, and take note
of these words: 'Cudgel, bestir yourself!' The cobbler, seized with
new joy, thanked the old man a hundred times, and made the more
haste towards his wife and children. Still, when behind the hill, he
was curious to know what the cudgel meant, and wishing to satisfy
himself, said: 'Cudgel, bestir yourself!' In a moment there stood
before him a couple of stout fellows, who began to thrash him
mercilessly. The cobbler, seized by cruel terror, did not know how
to order them to cease beating him; at last, when already well
beaten, he cried out: 'Cudgel, leave off!' Instantly the fellows
disappeared and the cudgel stood before him. 'You're good, you're
good!' said the cobbler, getting up from the ground, 'you'll help me
to those former gifts.' When he arrived at the village, where his
gossip lived, he stepped into her house and made himself at home as
with an old acquaintance. She was very glad to see him, for she
thought she would again make a good profit, entertained him well,
and afterwards began to inquire whether he hadn't something for her
to take charge of. Then the cobbler gave up to her his cudgel with
the request not to say: 'Cudgel, bestir yourself!' The old woman
laughed in her sleeve at the simpleton, thinking to herself, 'He
wouldn't tell me without cause what I'm not to say!' She went at
once with the cudgel into the other room, and scarcely had she
crossed the threshold, when she cried out impatiently: 'Cudgel,
bestir yourself!' Immediately the two fellows with cudgels began to
beat her, and she lost all self-possession. At her piercing shrieks
the host darted up to help her, when, hey ho! he got it too. The
cobbler all the time kept calling out: 'Go it, cudgel! go it! till
they give me back my lamb and my tablecloth!' Then nothing remained
to his gossip but to give up his property to him. She ordered the
lamb and tablecloth to be brought. As soon as the cobbler had
satisfied himself that this was really done, he shouted 'Cudgel,
leave off!' and went with the three gifts as quick as he could to
his wife and children. Then there was great joy, for they had money
and victuals in abundance; and did not withal forget God and other
people, but assisted every poor person.

    [6] _Plebanus_, the priest of a church in which baptisms are

    [7] Or dinner-pot: two earthenware pots united together, used by
    shepherds and others to carry their dinners in.


The Polish language is one of great beauty and flexibility, but it
is disfigured by an orthography which causes English readers to
imagine that it is very difficult to pronounce, which is by no means
the case. The letter _z_ in Polish performs the office frequently
assigned to _h_ in English, viz., that of softening the preceding
consonant without possessing any further power of its own. Thus _cz_
is the exact equivalent in Polish of our _ch_, and _sz_ exactly
represents our _sh_. The other grand peculiarities of the Polish
language are the sibillated _r_, written _rz_, the retention of the
nasal sounds of long _a_ (as _on_) and long _e_ (as _en_ in French),
and the dull _l_, represented by a curved stroke through the letter
_l_, which has the sound of our final _ll_ in 'bull,' but is
somewhat difficult to pronounce at the beginning or in the middle of
a word.

Poland, or rather Lithuania, the aristocracy of which is Polish, has
produced a really great poet, Mickiewicz, whose poems are so
beautiful, that it would be worth while for a literary person of
leisure to study the language for the mere purpose of reading them.
See Morfill's 'Russia' (Sampson Low, 1880), pp. 207-212. One of the
most celebrated of Mickiewicz's poems, 'Pan Taddeus,' has lately
been translated by Miss M. A. Biggs (Trübner and Co.).

In the Polish story, No. 17, we make acquaintance with 'Kostchey
the Deathless,' who plays a great part in Russian stories, but is
entirely unknown by name among the southern and most of the western
Slavonians. His place is with them taken by dragons and evil shapes
of various kinds. His name is probably derived from _kost_, a
'bone,' and I have ventured to Anglicize it accordingly. He is
generally supposed to symbolize winter, and certainly deciduous
trees and bushes then exhibit a very skeleton-like appearance. In a
story from the government of Perm, given by Mr. Ralston, the secret
of his immortality is discovered, and he is put to death
accordingly. But I cannot help inferring that his death is of annual
occurrence, and that he resumes his reign annually at the proper
season, to be again put to death towards spring. With No. 18 several
Russian tales given by Mr. Ralston (pp. 185-193) may be compared.
No. 19 is a singular story of a more Oriental than European cast,
and No. 20 reads as much like a dream dreamed after the consumption
of a considerable quantity of _vodka_, as a genuine Folklore story.
Such is also the case with several of Crofton Croker's Legends of
the south of Ireland.

Tale No. 17 has already appeared in the 'Folklore Journal' for
January, 1884. For mere beauty of construction and narration I doubt
whether its equal can be found in any language.


There was a king and queen who had been married for three years, but
had no children, at which they were both much distressed. Once upon
a time the king found himself obliged to make a visit of inspection
round his dominions; he took leave of his queen, set off and was not
at home for eight months. Towards the end of the ninth month the
king returned from his progress through his country, and was already
hard by his capital city, when, as he journeyed over an uninhabited
plain during the most scorching heat of summer, he felt such
excessive thirst that he sent his servants round about to see if
they could find water anywhere and let him know of it at once. The
servants dispersed in various directions, sought in vain for a whole
hour, and returned without success to the king. The thirst-tormented
king proceeded to traverse the whole plain far and wide himself, not
believing that there was not a spring somewhere or other; on he
rode, and on a level spot, on which there had not previously been
any water, he espied a well with a new wooden fence round it, full
to the brim with spring water, in the midst of which floated a
silver cup with a golden handle. The king sprang from his horse and
reached after the cup with his right hand; but the cup, just as if
it were alive and had eyes, darted quickly on one side and floated
again by itself. The king knelt down and began to try to catch it,
now with his right hand, now with his left, but it moved and dodged
away in such a manner that, not being able to seize it with one
hand, he tried to catch it with both. But scarcely had he reached
out with both hands when the cup dived like a fish, and floated
again on the surface. 'Hang it!' thought the king, 'I can't help
myself with the cup, I'll manage without it.' He then bent down to
the water, which was as clear as crystal and as cold as ice, and
began in his thirst to drink. Meanwhile his long beard, which
reached down to his girdle, dipped into the water. When he had
quenched his thirst, he wanted to get up again--something was
holding his beard and wouldn't let it go. He pulled once and again,
but it was of no use; he cried out therefore in anger, 'Who's there?
let go!' 'It's I, the subterranean king, immortal Bony, and I shall
not let go till you give me that which you left unknowingly at
home, and which you do not expect to find on your return.' The king
looked into the depth of the well, and there was a huge head like a
tub, with green eyes and a mouth from ear to ear, which was holding
the king by the beard with extended claws like those of a crab, and
was laughing mischievously. The king thought that a thing of which
he had not known before starting, and which he did not expect on his
return, could not be of great value, so he said to the apparition,
'I give it.' The apparition burst with laughter and vanished with a
flash of fire, and with it vanished also the well, the water, the
wooden fence, and the cup; and the king was again on a hillock by a
little wood kneeling on dry sand, and there was nothing more. The
king got up, crossed himself, sprang on his horse, hastened to his
attendants, and rode on.

In a week or maybe a fortnight the king arrived at his capital; the
people came out in crowds to meet him; he went in procession to the
great court of the palace and entered the corridor. In the corridor
stood the queen awaiting him, and holding close to her bosom a
cushion, on which lay a child, beautiful as the moon, kicking in
swaddling clothes. The king recollected himself, sighed painfully,
and said within himself: 'This is what I left without knowing and
found without expecting!' And bitterly, bitterly did he weep. All
marvelled, but nobody dared to ask the cause. The king took his son,
without saying a word, in his arms, gazed long on his innocent face;
carried him into the palace himself, laid him in the cradle, and,
suppressing his sorrow, devoted himself to the government of his
realm, but was never again cheerful as formerly, since he was
perpetually tormented by the thought that some day Bony would claim
his son.

Meanwhile weeks, months, and years flowed on, and no one came for
his son. The prince, named 'Unexpected,' grew and developed, and
eventually became a handsome youth. The king also in course of time
regained his usual cheerfulness; and forgot what had taken place,
but alas! everybody did not forget so easily.

Once the prince, while hunting in a forest, became separated from
his suite and found himself in a savage wilderness. Suddenly there
appeared before him a hideous old man with green eyes, who said:
'How do you do, Prince Unexpected? You have made me wait for you a
long time.' 'Who are you?' 'That you will find out hereafter, but
now, when you return to your father, greet him from me, and tell him
that I should be glad if he would close accounts with me, for if he
doesn't soon get out of my debt of himself, he will repent it
bitterly.' After saying this the hideous old man disappeared, and
the prince in amazement turned his horse, rode home and told the
king his adventure. The king turned as pale as a sheet, and revealed
the frightful secret to his son. 'Don't cry, father!' replied the
prince, 'it isn't a great misfortune! I shall manage to force Bony
to renounce the right over me, which he tricked you out of in so
underhand a manner, and if in the course of a year I do not return,
it will be a token that we shall see each other no more.' The prince
prepared for his journey, the king gave him a suit of steel armour,
a sword, and a horse, and the queen hung round his neck a cross of
pure gold. At leave-taking they embraced affectionately, wept
heartily, and the prince rode off.

On he rode one day, two days, three days, and at the end of the
fourth day at the setting of the sun he came to the shore of the
sea, and in the self-same bay espied twelve dresses, white as snow,
though in the water, as far as the eye could reach, there was no
living soul to be seen; only twelve white geese were swimming at a
distance from the shore. Curious to know to whom they belonged, he
took one of the dresses, let his horse loose in a meadow, concealed
himself in a neighbouring thicket, and waited to see what would come
to pass. Thereupon the geese, after disporting themselves on the
sea, swam to the shore; eleven of them went to the dresses, each
threw herself on the ground and became a beautiful damsel, dressed
herself with speed, and flew away into the plain. The twelfth goose,
the last and prettiest of all, did not venture to come out on the
shore, but only wistfully stretched out her neck, looking on all
sides. On seeing the prince she called out with a human voice:
'Prince Unexpected, give me my dress; I will be grateful to you in
return.' The prince hearkened to her, placed the dress on the grass,
and modestly turned away in another direction. The goose came out on
the grass, changed herself into a damsel, dressed herself hastily,
and stood before the prince; she was young and more beautiful than
eye had seen or ear heard of. Blushing, she gave him her white hand,
and, casting her eyes down, said with a pleasing voice: 'I thank
you, good prince, for hearkening to me: I am the youngest daughter
of immortal Bony; he has twelve young daughters, and rules in the
subterranean realm. My father, prince, has long been expecting you
and is very angry; however, don't grieve, and don't be frightened,
but do as I tell you. As soon as you see King Bony, fall at once on
your knees, and, paying no regard to his outcry, upbraiding, and
threats, approach him boldly. What will happen afterwards you will
learn, but now we must part.' On saying this the princess stamped on
the ground with her little foot; the ground sprang open at once, and
they descended into the subterranean realm, right into Bony's
palace, which shone all underground brighter than our sun. The
prince stepped boldly into the reception-room. Bony was sitting on a
golden throne with a glittering crown on his head; his eyes gleamed
like two saucers of green glass and his hands were like the nippers
of a crab. As soon as he espied him at a distance, the prince fell
on his knees, and Bony yelled so horribly that the vaults of the
subterranean dominion quaked; but the prince boldly moved on his
knees towards the throne, and, when he was only a few paces from it,
the king smiled and said: 'Thou hast marvellous luck in succeeding
in making me smile; remain in our subterranean realm, but before
thou becomest a true citizen thereof thou art bound to execute three
commands of mine; but because it is late to-day, we will begin
to-morrow; meanwhile go to thy room.'

The prince slept comfortably in the room assigned to him, and early
on the morrow Bony summoned him and said: 'We will see, prince, what
thou canst do. In the course of the following night build me a
palace of pure marble; let the windows be of crystal, the roof of
gold, an elegant garden round about it, and in the garden seats and
fountains; if thou buildest it, thou wilt gain thyself my love; if
not, I shall command thy head to be cut off.' The prince heard it,
returned to his apartment, and was sitting mournfully thinking of
the death that threatened him, when outside at the window a bee came
buzzing and said: 'Let me in!' He opened the lattice, in flew the
bee, and the princess, Bony's youngest daughter, appeared before the
wondering prince. 'What are you thus thinking about, Prince
Unexpected?' 'Alas! I am thinking that your father wishes to deprive
me of life.' 'Don't be afraid! lie down to sleep, and when you get
up to-morrow morning your palace will be ready.'

So, too, it came to pass. At dawn the prince came out of his room
and espied a more beautiful palace than he had ever seen, and Bony,
when he saw it, wondered, and wouldn't believe his own eyes. 'Well!
thou hast won this time, and now thou hast my second command. I
shall place my twelve daughters before thee to-morrow; if thou dost
not guess which of them is the youngest, thou wilt place thy head
beneath the axe.' 'I unable to recognise the youngest princess!'
said the prince in his room; 'what difficulty can there be in that?'
'This,' answered the princess, flying into the room in the shape of
a bee, 'that if I don't help you, you won't recognise me, for we are
all so alike that even our father only distinguishes us by our
dress.' 'What am I to do?' 'What, indeed! That will be the youngest
over whose right eye you espy a ladycow; only look well. Adieu!' On
the morrow King Bony again summoned Prince Unexpected. The
princesses stood in a row side by side, all dressed alike and with
eyes cast down. The prince looked and marvelled how alike all the
princesses were; he went past them once, twice--he did not find the
appointed token; the third time he saw a ladycow over the eyebrow of
one, and cried out: 'This is the youngest princess!' 'How the deuce
have you guessed it?' said Bony angrily. 'There must be some
trickery here. I must deal with your lordship differently. In three
hours you will come here again, and will show your cleverness in my
presence. I shall light a straw, and you will stitch a pair of boots
before it goes out, and if you don't do it you will perish.'

The prince returned desponding and found the bee already in his
apartment. 'Why pensive again, prince?' 'How shouldn't I be pensive,
when your father wants me to stitch him a pair of boots, for what
sort of cobbler am I?' 'What else will you do?' 'What am I to do? I
shan't stitch the boots, and I'm not afraid of death--one can but
die once!' 'No, prince, you shall not die! I will endeavour to
rescue you, and we will either escape together or perish together!
We must flee--there's nothing else to be done.' Saying this, the
princess spat on one of the window-panes, and the spittle
immediately froze. She then went out of the room with the prince,
locked the door after her, and threw the key far away; then, taking
each other by the hands, they ascended rapidly, and in a moment
found themselves on the very spot whence they had descended into the
subterranean realm; there was the self-same sea, the self-same shore
overgrown with rushes and thornbushes, the self-same fresh meadow,
and in the meadow cantered the prince's well-fed horse, who, as soon
as he descried his rider, came galloping straight to him. The prince
didn't stop long to think, but sprang on his horse, the princess
seated herself behind him, and off they set as swift as an arrow.

King Bony at the appointed hour did not wait for Prince Unexpected,
but sent to ask him why he did not appear. Finding the door locked,
the servants knocked at it vigorously, and the spittle answered them
from the middle of the room in the prince's voice, 'Anon!' The
servants carried this answer to the king; he waited, waited, no
prince; he therefore again sent the same servants, who heard the
same answer: 'Anon!' and carried what they had heard to the king.
'What's this? Does he mean to make fun of me?' shouted the king in
wrath: 'Go at once, break the door open and conduct him to me!' The
servants hurried off, broke open the door, and rushed in. What,
indeed? there was nobody there, and the spittle on the pane of glass
was splitting with laughter at them. Bony all but burst with rage,
and ordered them all to start off in pursuit of the prince,
threatening them with death if they returned empty-handed. They
sprang on horseback and hastened away after the prince and princess.

Meanwhile Prince Unexpected and the princess, Bony's daughter, were
hurrying away on their spirited horse, and amidst their rapid flight
heard 'tramp, tramp,' behind them. The prince sprang from the horse,
put his ear to the ground and said, 'They are pursuing us.' 'Then,'
said the princess, 'we have no time to lose.' Instantly she
transformed herself into a river, changed the prince into a bridge,
the horse into a raven, and the grand highway beyond the bridge
divided into three roads. Swiftly on the fresh track hastened the
pursuers, came on to the bridge, and stood stupefied; they saw the
track up to the bridge, but beyond it disappeared, and the highway
divided into three roads. There was nothing to be done but to
return, and they came with nought. Bony shouted with rage, and cried
out: 'A bridge and a river! It was they. How was it that ye did not
guess it? Back, and don't return without them!' The pursuers
recommenced the pursuit.

'I hear "tramp, tramp!"' whispered the princess, Bony's daughter,
affrightedly to Prince Unexpected, who sprang from the saddle, put
his ear to the ground, and replied: 'They are making haste, and are
not far off.' That instant the princess and prince, and with them
also their horse, became a gloomy forest, in which were roads,
by-roads, and footpaths without number, and on one of them it seemed
that two riders were hastening on a horse. Following the fresh
track, the pursuers came up to the forest, and when they espied the
fugitives in it, they hastened speedily after them. On and on
hurried the pursuers, seeing continually before them a thick forest,
a wide road and the fugitives on it; now, now they thought to
overtake them, when the fugitives and the thick forest suddenly
vanished, and they found themselves at the self-same place whence
they had started in pursuit. They returned, therefore, again to Bony
empty-handed. 'A horse, a horse! I'll go myself! they won't escape
out of _my_ hands!' yelled Bony, foaming at the mouth, and started
in pursuit.

Again the princess said to Prince Unexpected: 'Methinks they are
pursuing us, and this time it is Bony, my father, himself, but the
first church is the boundary of his dominion, and he won't be able
to pursue us further. Give me your golden cross.' The prince took
off his affectionate mother's gift and gave it to the princess, and
in a moment she was transformed into a church, he into the priest,
and the horse into the bell; and that instant up came Bony. 'Monk!'
Bony asked the priest, 'hast thou not seen some travellers on
horseback?' 'Only just now Prince Unexpected rode this way with the
princess, Bony's daughter. They came into the church, performed
their devotions, gave money for a mass for your good health, and
ordered me to present their respects to you if you should ride this
way.' Bony, too, returned empty-handed. But Prince Unexpected rode
on with the princess, Bony's daughter, in no further fear of

They rode gently on, when they saw before them a beautiful town,
into which the prince felt an irresistible longing to go. 'Prince,'
said the princess, 'don't go; my heart forebodes misfortune there.'
'I'll only ride there for a short time, and look round the town, and
we'll then proceed on our journey.' 'It's easy enough to ride
thither, but will it be as easy to return? Nevertheless, as you
absolutely desire it, go, and I will remain here in the form of a
white stone till you return; be circumspect, my beloved; the king,
the queen, and the princess, their daughter, will come out to meet
you, and with them will be a beautiful little boy--don't kiss him,
for, if you do, you will forget me at once, and will never set eyes
on me more in the world--I shall die of despair. I will wait for you
here on the road for three days, and if on the third day you don't
return, remember that I perish, and perish all through you.' The
prince took leave and rode to the town, and the princess transformed
herself into a white stone, and remained on the road.

One day passed, a second passed, the third also passed, and nothing
was seen of the prince. Poor princess! He had not obeyed her
counsel; in the town, the king, the queen, and the princess their
daughter, had come out to meet him, and with them walked a little
boy, a curly-headed chatterbox, with eyes as bright as stars. The
child rushed straight into the prince's arms, who was so captivated
by the beauty of the lad that he forgot everything, and kissed the
child affectionately. That moment his memory was darkened, and he
utterly forgot the princess, Bony's daughter.

The princess lay as a white stone by the wayside, one day, two days,
and when the third day passed and the prince did not return from the
town, she transformed herself into a cornflower, and sprang in among
the rye by the roadside. 'Here I shall stay by the roadside; maybe
some passer-by will pull me up or trample me into the ground,' said
she, and tears like dew-drops glittered on the azure petals. Just
then an old man came along the road, espied the cornflower in the
rye by the wayside, was captivated by its beauty, extracted it
carefully from the ground, carried it into his dwelling, set it in a
flower-pot, watered it, and began to tend it attentively. But--O
marvel!--ever since the time that the cornflower was brought into
his dwelling, all kind of wonders began to happen in it. Scarcely
was the old man awake, when everything in the house was already set
in order, nowhere was the least atom of dust remaining. At noon he
came home--dinner was all ready, the table set; he had but to sit
down and eat as much as he wanted. The old man wondered and
wondered, till at last terror took possession of him, and he betook
himself for advice to an old witch of his acquaintance in the
neighbourhood. 'Do this,' the witch advised him: 'get up before the
first morning dawn, before the cocks crow to announce daylight, and
notice diligently what begins to stir first in the house, and that
which does stir, cover with this napkin: what will happen further,
you will see.'

The old man didn't close his eyes the whole night, and as soon as
the first gleam appeared and things began to be visible in the
house, he saw how the cornflower suddenly moved in the flower-pot,
sprang out, and began to stir about the room; when simultaneously
everything began to put itself in its place; the dust began to sweep
itself clean away, and the fire kindled itself in the stove. The old
man sprang cleverly out of his bed and placed the cloth on the
flower as it endeavoured to escape, when lo! the flower became a
beautiful damsel--the princess, Bony's daughter. 'What have you
done?' cried the princess. 'Why have you brought life back again to
me? My betrothed, Prince Unexpected, has forgotten me, and,
therefore, life has become distasteful to me.' 'Your betrothed,
Prince Unexpected, is going to be married to-day; the wedding feast
is ready, and the guests are beginning to assemble.'

The princess wept, but after awhile dried her tears, dressed herself
in frieze, and went into the town like a village girl. She came to
the royal kitchen, where there was great noise and bustle. She went
up to the clerk of the kitchen with humble and attractive grace, and
said in a sweet voice: 'Dear sir, do me one favour; allow me to make
a wedding-cake for Prince Unexpected.' Occupied with work, the first
impulse of the clerk of the kitchen was to give the girl a rebuff,
but when he looked at her, the words died on his lips, and he
answered kindly: 'Ah, my beauty of beauties! do what you will; I
will hand the prince your cake myself.' The cake was soon baked, and
all the invited guests were sitting at table. The clerk of the
kitchen himself placed a huge cake on a silver dish before the
prince; but scarce had the prince made a cut in the side of it, when
lo! an unheard-of marvel displayed itself in the presence of all. A
gray tom-pigeon and a white hen-pigeon came out of the cake; the
tom-pigeon walked along the table, and the hen-pigeon walked after
him, cooing:

    'Stay, stay, my pigeonet, oh stay!
    Don't from thy true love flee away;
    My faithless lover I pursue,
    Prince Unexpected like unto,
    Who Bony's daughter did betray.'

Scarcely had Prince Unexpected heard this cooing of the pigeon, when
he regained his lost recollection, bounced from the table, rushed to
the door, and behind the door the princess, Bony's daughter, took
him by the hand; they went together down the corridor, and before
them stood a horse saddled and bridled.

Why delay? Prince Unexpected and the princess, Bony's daughter,
sprang on the horse, started on the road, and at last arrived
happily in the realm of Prince Unexpected's father. The king and
queen received them with joy and merriment, and didn't wait long
before they prepared them a magnificent wedding, the like of which
eye never saw and ear never heard of.

       *       *       *       *       *

With the above story should be compared that of 'The Water King, and
Vasilissa the Wise' (Ralston, p. 120). A large number of tales that
may also be compared with it are mentioned by Mr. Ralston in pp.
132-133 of his Russian Folk-tales. As to the interpretation of
'Prince Unexpected,' it is very tempting to look upon Kostchey's
twelve daughters as representing the twelve months. And, as the year
anciently began with spring, Kostchey's youngest daughter would be
the month which forms the transition from winter to spring. The
interruption of their progress by Prince Unexpected's temporary
forgetfulness may be explained as the temporary cessation of warm
weather and return of a kind of secondary winter, which often
occurs in early spring. Prince Unexpected himself may, perhaps, be
considered as representing the sun, who has been held in captivity
by the winter and has escaped with the last month of the year.
Vasilissa the Wise is the _eldest_ daughter of the Water King, and
would thus represent the first month of the new year.


A poor scholar was going by the highway into a town, and found under
the walls of the gate the body of a dead man, unburied, trodden by
the feet of the passers-by. He had not much in his purse, but
willingly gave enough to bury him, that he might not be spat upon
and have sticks thrown at him. He performed his devotions over the
fresh heaped-up grave, and went on into the world to wander. In an
oak wood sleep overpowered him, and when he awoke, he espied with
wonderment a bag full of gold. He thanked the unseen beneficent
hand, and came to the bank of a large river, where it was necessary
to be ferried over. The two ferrymen, observing the bag full of
gold, took him into the boat, and just at an eddy took from him the
gold and threw him into the water. As the waves carried him away
insensible, he by accident clutched a plank, and by its aid floated
successfully to the shore. It was not a plank, but the spirit of the
buried man, who addressed him in these words: 'You honoured my
remains by burial; I thank you for it. In token of gratitude I will
teach you how you can transform yourself into a crow, into a hare,
and into a deer.' Then he taught him the spell. The scholar, when
acquainted with the spell, could with ease transform himself into a
crow, into a hare, and into a deer. He wandered far, he wandered
wide, till he wandered to the court of a mighty king, where he
remained as an archer in attendance at the court. This king had a
beautiful daughter, but she dwelt on an inaccessible island,
surrounded on all sides by the sea. She dwelt in a castle of copper,
and possessed a sword such that he who brandished it could conquer
the largest army. Enemies had invaded the territory of the king; he
needed and desired the victorious sword. But how to obtain it, when
nobody had up to that time succeeded in getting on to the lonely
island? He therefore made proclamation that whoever should bring the
victorious sword from the princess should obtain her hand, and,
moreover, should sit upon the throne after him. No one was
venturesome enough to attempt it, till the wandering scholar, then
an archer attached to the court, stood before the king announcing
his readiness to go, and requesting a letter, that on receipt of
that token the princess might give up the weapon to him. All men
were astonished, and the king entrusted him with a letter to his
daughter. He went into the forest, without knowing in the least that
another archer attached to the court was dogging his steps. He first
transformed himself into a hare, then into a deer, and darted off
with haste and speed; he traversed no small distance, till he stood
on the shore of the sea. He then transformed himself into a crow,
flew across the water of the sea, and didn't rest till he was on the
island. He went into the castle of copper, delivered to the
beautiful princess the letter from her father, and requested her to
give him the victorious sword. The beautiful princess looked at the
archer. He captured her heart at once. She asked inquisitively how
he had been able to get to her castle, which was on all sides
surrounded by water and knew no human footsteps. Thereupon the
archer replied that he knew secret spells by which he could
transform himself into a deer, a hare, and a crow. The beautiful
princess, therefore, requested the archer to transform himself into
a deer before her eyes. When he made himself into a graceful deer,
and began to fawn and bound, the princess secretly pulled a tuft of
fur from his back. When he transformed himself again into a hare,
and bounded with pricked up ears, the princess secretly pulled a
little fur off his back. When he changed himself into a crow and
began to fly about in the room, the princess secretly pulled a few
feathers from the bird's wings. She immediately wrote a letter to
her father and delivered up the victorious sword. The young scholar
flew across the sea in the form of a crow, then ran a great distance
in that of a deer, till in the neighbourhood of the wood he bounded
as a hare. The treacherous archer was already there in ambush, saw
when he changed himself into a hare, and recognised him at once. He
drew his bow, let fly the arrow, and killed the hare. He took from
him the letter and carried off the sword, went to the castle,
delivered to the king the letter and the sword of victory, and
demanded at once the fulfilment of the promise that had been made.
The king, transported with joy, promised him immediately his
daughter's hand, mounted his horse, and rode boldly against his
enemies with the sword. Scarcely had he espied their standards, when
he brandished the sword mightily several times, and that towards the
four quarters of the world. At every wave of the sword large masses
of enemies fell dead on the spot, and others, seized with panic,
fled like hares. The king returned joyful with victory, and sent for
his beautiful daughter, to give her to wife to the archer who
brought the sword. A banquet was prepared. The musicians were
already striking up, the whole castle was brilliantly lighted; but
the princess sat sorrowful beside the assassin-archer. She knew at
once that he was in nowise the man whom she saw in the castle on the
island, but she dared not ask her father where the other handsome
archer was; she only wept much and secretly: her heart beat for the

The poor scholar, in the hare's skin, lay slain under the oak, lay
there a whole year, till one night he felt himself awakened from a
mighty sleep, and before him stood the well-known spirit, whose body he
had buried. He told him what had happened to him, brought him back to
life, and said: 'To-morrow is the princess's wedding; hasten,
therefore, to the castle without a moment's delay; she will recognise
you; the archer, too, who killed you treacherously, will recognise
you.' The young man sprang up promptly, went to the castle with
throbbing heart, and entered the grand saloon, where numerous guests
were eating and drinking. The beautiful princess recognised him at
once, shrieked with joy, and fainted; and the assassin-archer, the
moment he set eyes on him, turned pale and green from fear. Then the
young man related the treason and murderous act of the archer, and in
order to prove his words, turned himself in presence of all the
assembled company into a graceful deer, and began to fawn upon the
princess. She placed the tuft of fur pulled off him in the castle on
the back of the deer, and the fur immediately grew into its place.
Again he transformed himself into a hare, and similarly the piece of
fur pulled off, which the princess had kept, grew into its place
immediately on contact. All looked on in astonishment till the young
man changed himself into a crow. The princess brought out the feathers
which she had pulled from its wings in the castle, and the feathers
immediately grew into their places. Then the old king commanded the
assassin-archer to be put to death. Four horses were led out, all wild
and unbroken. He was bound to them by his hands and feet, the horses
were started off by the whip, and at one bound they tore the
assassin-archer to pieces. The young man obtained the hand of the
young and charming princess. The whole castle was in a brilliant blaze
of light, they drank, they ate with mirth; and the princess did not
weep, for she possessed the husband that she wished for.


A peasant farmer in reduced circumstances had a beautiful daughter,
whom an old knight, the proprietor of the village, wanted to marry,
and that even by compulsion. But the damsel disliked him, and her
parents also refused to consent to the marriage. So the proprietor
persecuted them in every way in his power, and so oppressed them
with forced labour and ordered them to be beaten on the slightest
occasion, that the poor farmer could hold out no longer, but
determined to remove from the village with his whole family. In the
cottage in which the farmer dwelt there was something continually
grating behind the stove, but though they searched several times,
and turned the seat constructed at the side of the stove upside
down, yet were they unable to discover aught. But when, on the day
of their departure, they were removing the rest of their goods, they
heard a more and more articulate grating, and whilst they were
impatiently listening, as the grating and scraping went on, out of
the stove sprang a thin pale form, like a buried maiden. 'What the
devil is this?' cried the father. 'For heaven's sake!' screamed the
mother, and all the children after her. 'I am no devil,' said the
thin pale maiden, 'but I am your Poverty. You are now taking
yourselves off hence, and you are bound to take me with you to your
new abode.' The poor householder was no fool; he bethought himself a
little, and neither seized nor throttled his Poverty, for she was so
slight that he could have done nothing of any consequence to her,
but he made the lowest possible reverence to her, and said: 'Well,
your gracious ladyship, if you are so well satisfied amongst us,
then come with us; but, as you see, we are removing everything for
ourselves, so help us to carry something, and we shall get off the
quicker.' Poverty agreed to this, and wanted to take a couple of
small vessels out of the house, but the householder distributed the
small vessels among his children to remove, and said that there was
still a block of wood in the yard which must also be taken away.
Going out into the yard, he made a cut in the block from above with
his axe. He then called Poverty, and politely requested her to help
him remove the block. Poverty did not see on which side to lift the
block, till, when the farmer pointed out the cleft to her, she put
her long thin fingers in the chink. The farmer, pretending to lift
the block on the other side, suddenly pulled his axe out of the
cleft, and Poverty's long thin fingers remained squeezed in the
block, so that, being utterly unable to pull them out, she shrieked
out immediately in what pain she was. But all in vain. The farmer
removed all his goods as well as his children, quitted the cottage
completely, and returned to the place no more.

When the farmer settled in another village, things went with him so
prosperously that ere long he was the richest man in the whole
village; he married his daughter to a respectable and wealthy
farmer's son, twenty years old, and the whole family prospered. On
the other hand, the proprietor of the first village, the oppressor
of these poor people, having to assign vacant cottages to fresh
tenants, came to inspect the cottage left vacant by the reduced
farmer, who had refused to give him his daughter. Seeing Poverty
beside the block complaining of the pain of her fingers, he took
pity on the pale maiden, took her fingers out by means of a wedge,
and set her completely free. From the time of her liberation the
pale maiden never quitted the side of her liberator, and when,
moreover, the devil lit a fire in the old stove, and the proprietor
went dotty with love in his old age, he spent and spent, and ran
through everything that he had.


A Ruthenian, having lost his wife and children by the plague, fled
into the forest from his desolate cottage and sought safety there.
He wandered about all day long; towards evening he constructed a
booth of branches, lit a little fire, and fell asleep, wearied out.
It was already after midnight when a mighty noise awoke him. He rose
to his feet, listened, and heard a kind of songs in the distance,
and accompanying the songs a sound of tambourines and fifes. He
listened, in no small astonishment, that, when death was raging
around, people were rejoicing there so merrily. The noise that he
heard kept continually approaching, and the terrified Podolian[8]
espied a swarming multitude advancing along a wide road. It was a
troop of strange-looking spectres that circled round a carriage; the
carriage was black and elevated, and in it sat the Plague. At every
step the frightful company kept increasing; for on the road almost
everything was transformed into a spectre.

    [8] A Ruthenian by nationality, a Podolian by locality.

Feebly burned his little fire; a tolerably large firebrand was still
smoking a little. Scarcely had the plague-swarm drawn near when the
firebrand stood upon feet, extended two arms--the burning part began
to glitter with two glaring eyes--it began to sing in concert with
the others. The villager was stupefied; in speechless terror he
seized his axe and was on the point of striking the nearest spectre,
but the axe flew out of his hands, transformed itself into a tall
woman with raven-black tresses, and, singing, vanished before his
eyes. The plague-swarm proceeded onwards; and the Podolian saw how
the trees, the bushes, the owls, the screech-owls, assuming tall
shapes, increased the multitude, the terrible harbinger of a
frightful death. He fell down powerless, and when in the morning the
warmth of the sun awoke him, the vessels that he had brought with
him were smashed and broken, the clothes torn to rags, the
provisions spoilt. He perceived that no one but the plague-swarm had
done him all this mischief, and, thanking God that he had at any
rate escaped with life, proceeded further to seek shelter and food.



We now come to the first set of stories belonging to those
Slavonians who make use of the Cyrillic instead of the Latin
characters. The White Russians occupy the whole of the Governments
of Minsk and Mogilef, and great part of those of Vitebsk and Grodno.
In these stories we first met with the distinction between the
Western and Eastern Slavonic terms for monarch. The Western
Slavonians employ the terms _kral_, _krul_, or _korol_, for a
monarch, which are believed to originate from the name of the mighty
Frankish monarch, KARL the Great, whom we generally know by his
French title, Charlemagne. The Eastern Slavonians usually make use
of the term TZAR, 'Emperor,' which is a corruption of the Latin
'Cæsar,' the title of the emperors of Constantinople, and later of
the Russian emperors. Thus in the following stories we shall find
emperors and empresses generally, though not invariably, replacing
kings and queens, till we return again to the West.

The White Russian language possesses but little literature, but was
employed for diplomatic purposes by the once powerful state of
Lithuania (Morfill's 'Slavonic Literature,' S.P.C.K., p. 113).

The heroes 'Overturn-hill' (_Vertogor_) and 'Overturn-oak'
(_Vertodub_), who appear in No. 22, occur also in a story from the
Ukraine, given by Mr. Ralston (pp. 170-175). Several circumstances
in No. 22 are also similar to incidents in the Russian tale of 'Ivan
Popyalof' (Ralston, p. 66), but in spite of these similarities the
stories are truly distinct.


Once upon a time a man went out alone, and met on the road the Sun,
the Frost, and the Wind. Well, on meeting them, he gave them a
salutation: 'Praised' [be the Lord Jesus Christ]! To which did he
present the salutation? The Sun said: 'To me, that I might not burn
him.' The Frost said: 'To me, and not to you, for he is not so much
afraid of you as of me.' 'Story-tellers! it's false!' said, lastly,
the Wind; 'that man presented the salutation not to you two, but to
me.' They began to jangle and quarrel together, and all but pulled
the mantles off each other's backs. 'Well, if it's so, let's ask him
to whom he presented the salutation, to me or to you?' They overtook
the man and asked him; then he said: 'To the Wind.' 'Didn't I say
that it was to me?' 'Stop you! I'll give you a baking, you rascal!'
said the Sun; 'you shall remember me.' Then said the Wind: 'Never
fear, he won't bake you; I shall blow and cool him.' 'So will I
freeze you up, you scoundrel!' said the Frost. 'Don't be frightened,
poor fellow! then I shan't blow, and he'll do nothing to you; he
doesn't freeze you up without a wind.'


In a certain empire and a certain province, on the ocean sea, on the
island of Bujan, stood a green oak, and under the oak a roasted ox,
and by its side a whetted knife; suddenly the knife was seized. Be
so good as to eat! This isn't a story (_kazka_), but only a preface
to a story (_prikazka_): whoever shall listen to my story, may he
have a sableskin cloak, and a horseskin cloak, and a very beautiful
damsel, a hundred roubles for the wedding, and fifty for a

There was a husband and wife. The wife went for water, took a
bucket, and after drawing water, went home, and all at once she saw
a pea rolling along. She thought to herself: 'This is the gift of
God.' She took it up and ate it, and in course of time became the
mother of a baby boy, who grew not by years, but by hours, like
millet dough when leavened. They nursed and petted him in a way that
couldn't be improved upon, and put him to school. What others learnt
in three or four years he understood in a single year, and the book
was not sufficient for him. He came from the school to his father
and mother: 'Now, then, daddy and mammy, thank my teachers, for
already many come to school to me. Thank God, I know more than
they.' Well, he went into the street to amuse himself, and found a
pin, which he brought to his father and mother. He said to his
father: 'Here's this piece of iron; take it to a smith, and let him
make me a mace of seven poods weight.' His father didn't say a
single word to him, but only thought in his own mind: 'The Lord has
given me a child different from other people; I think he has a
middling understanding, but he is now making a fool of me. Can it
possibly be that a seven-pood[9] mace can be made out of a pin?' His
father, having a considerable sum of money in gold, silver, and
paper, drove to the town, bought seven poods of iron, and gave them
to a smith to make a mace of. They made him a seven-pood mace, and
he brought it home. Little Rolling-pea came out from the attic, took
his seven-pood mace, and, hearing a storm in the sky, threw it into
the clouds. He went up into his attic: 'Mother, look in my head
before I start; a nasty thing is biting me, for I am a young lad.'
... Well, rising from his mother's knees, he went out into the yard
and saw the clouds. He fell down with his right ear to the broad
ground, and on rising up called his father: 'Father, come here: see
what is whizzing and humming; my mace is coming to the ground.' He
placed his knee in the way of his mace; the mace struck him on the
knee and broke in halves. He became angry with his father: 'Well,
father, why did you not have a mace made for me out of the iron that
I gave you? If you had done so, it would not have broken, but only
bent. Here is the same iron for you, go and get it made; don't add
any of your own.' The smiths put the iron in the fire and began to
beat it with hammers and pull it, and made a seven-pood mace.

    [9] A pood is 40 Russian, 36 English, pounds.

Little Rolling-pea took his seven-pood mace and got ready to go on a
journey, a long journey; he went and went, and Overturn-hill met
him. 'I salute you, brother Little Rolling-pea! whither are you
going? whither are you journeying?' Little Rolling-pea also asked
him a question: 'Who are you?' 'I am the mighty hero Overturn-hill.'
'Will you be my comrade?' said Little Rolling-pea. He replied:
'Possibly I will be at your service.' They went on together. They
went and went, and the mighty hero Overturn-oak met them. 'God bless
you, brothers! Good health to you! What manner of men are you?'
inquired Overturn-oak. 'Little Rolling-pea and Overturn-hill.'
'Whither are you going?' 'To such a city. A dragon devours people
there, so we are going to smite him.' 'Is it not possible for me to
join your company?' 'It is possible,' said Little Rolling-pea. They
went to the city, and made themselves known to the emperor. 'What
manner of men are you?' 'We are mighty heroes!' 'Is it in your power
to deliver this city? A dragon is ravenous and destroys much
people. He must be slain.' 'Why do we call ourselves mighty heroes,
if we do not slay him?' Midnight came, and they went up to a bridge
of guelder-rosewood over a river of fire. Lo! up came a six-headed
dragon, and posted himself upon the bridge, and immediately his
horse neighed, his falcon chattered, and his hound howled. He gave
his horse a blow on the head: 'Don't neigh, devil's carrion![10]
Don't chatter, falcon! And you, hound, don't howl! For here is
Little Rolling-pea. Well now,' said he, 'come forth, Little
Rolling-pea! shall we fight or shall we try our strength?' Little
Rolling-pea answered: 'Not to try their strength do good youths
travel, but only to fight.' They began the combat. Little
Rolling-pea and his comrades struck the dragon three blows at a time
on three heads. The dragon, seeing that he could not escape
destruction, said: 'Well, brothers, it is only little Rolling-pea
that troubles me. I'd settle matters with you two.' They began to
fight again, smashed the dragon's remaining heads, took the dragon's
horse to the stable, his falcon to the mews, and his hound to the
kennel; and Little Rolling-pea cut out the tongues from all six
heads, took and placed them in his knapsack, and the headless trunk
they cast into the river of fire. They came to the emperor, and
brought him the tongues as certain proof. The emperor thanked them.
'I see that you are mighty heroes and deliverers of the city, and
all the people. If you wish to drink and eat, take all manner of
beverages and eatables without money and without tax.' And from joy
he issued a proclamation throughout the whole town, that all the
eating-houses, inns, and small public-houses were to be open for the
mighty heroes. Well, they went everywhere, drank, amused themselves,
refreshed themselves, and enjoyed various honours.

    [10] An insulting nickname.

Night came, and exactly at midnight they went under the
guelder-rose bridge to the river of fire, and speedily up came a
seven-headed dragon. Immediately his horse neighed, his falcon
chattered, and his hound howled. The dragon immediately struck his
horse on the head. 'Neigh not, devil's carrion! chatter not, falcon!
howl not, hound! for here is Little Rolling-pea. Now then,' said he,
'come forth, Little Rolling-pea! Shall we fight or try our
strength?' 'Good youths travel not to try their strength, but only
to fight.' And they began the combat, and the heroes beat off six of
the dragon's heads; the seventh remained. The dragon said: 'Give me
breathing time!' But Little Rolling-pea said: 'Don't expect me to
give you breathing time.' They began the combat again. He beat off
the last head also, cut out the tongues, and placed them in his
knapsack, but threw the trunk into the river of fire. They came to
the emperor, and brought the tongues for certain proof.

The third time they went at midnight to the bridge of guelder-rose
and the river of fire; speedily up came to them a nine-headed
dragon. Immediately his horse neighed, his falcon chattered, and his
hound howled. The dragon struck his horse on the head. 'Neigh not,
devil's carrion! falcon, chatter not! hound, howl not! for here is
Little Rolling-pea. And now come forth, Little Rolling-pea! Shall we
fight or try our strength?' Little Rolling-pea said: 'Not to try
their strength do good youths travel, but only to fight.' They began
the combat, and the heroes beat off eight heads; the ninth remained.
Little Rolling-pea said: 'Give us breathing time, unclean power!' It
answered: 'Take breathing time or not, you will not overcome me; you
slew my brothers by craft, not by strength.' Little Rolling-pea not
only fought, but thought how to delude the dragon. All at once he
thought of a plan, and said: 'Yes, there's still much of your
brother behind--I'll take you all.' Hastily the dragon looked
round, and he cut off the ninth head also, cut out the tongues, put
them into his knapsack, and threw the trunk into the river of fire.
They went to the emperor. The emperor said: 'I thank you, mighty
heroes! live with God, and with joy and courage, and take as much
gold, silver, and paper money as you want.'

After this the wives of the three dragons met together and took
counsel together. 'Whence did those men come who slew our husbands?
Well, we _shall_ be women if we don't get rid of them out of the
world.' The youngest said: 'Now then, sisters! let us go by the
highroad, where they will go. I will make myself into a very
beautiful wayside seat, and if, when wearied, they sit down upon it,
it will be death to them all.' The second said to her: 'If you do
nothing to them, I will make myself into an apple-tree beside the
highroad, and when they begin to come up to me, the agreeable odour
will attract them; and if they taste the apples, it will be death to
them all.' Well, the heroes came up to the beautiful wayside seat.
Little Rolling-pea thrust his sword into it up to the hilt--blood
poured forth! They went on to the apple-tree. 'Brother Little
Rolling-pea,' said the heroes, 'let us each eat an apple.' But he
said: 'If it is possible, let us eat; if it is not possible, let us
go on further.' He drew his sword and thrust it into the apple-tree
up to the hilt, and blood poured forth immediately. The third
she-dragon hastened after them, and extended her jaws from the earth
to the sky. Little Rolling-pea saw that there was not room for them
to pass by. How were they to save themselves? He looked about and
saw that she specially aimed at him, and threw the three horses into
her mouth. The she-dragon flew off to the blue sea to drink water,
and they proceeded further. She pursued them again. He saw that she
was near, and threw the three falcons into her mouth. Again the
she-dragon flew to the blue sea to drink water, and they proceeded
further. Little Rolling-pea looked round; the she-dragon was again
pursuing him, and seeing his danger, he took and threw the three
hounds into her mouth. Again she flew off to the blue sea to drink
water; while she drank her fill, they proceeded still further. He
looked round and saw that she was catching them up again. Little
Rolling-pea took his two comrades and threw them into her mouth. The
she-dragon flew to the blue sea to drink water, and he went on.
Again she overtook him; he looked round, saw that she was not far
off, and said: 'Lord, protect me and save my soul!' He saw before
him an iron workshop, and fled into the smithy. The smith said to
him: 'Why, stranger, are you so cowardly?' 'Honourable gentlemen!
protect me from an unclean power, and save my soul!' They took and
shut the smithy completely up. 'Give up to me what is mine!' said
the she-dragon. Then the smiths said to her: 'Lick the iron door
through, and we will place him on your tongue.' She licked the door
through, and placed her tongue in the centre. The smiths seized her
tongue three at a time with red-hot pincers, and said: 'Come,
stranger, do with her what you will!' He went out into the yard, and
began to pound the she-dragon, and pounded her skin to the bones,
and her bones to the marrow; then took her with her whole carcase
and buried her seven fathoms deep. Then, and not till then, did he
live and eat morsels; but we ate bread, for he had none. I was
there, too, and drank honey-wine; it flowed over my beard, but
didn't get into my mouth.


A father had three daughters; they went to the river to wash the
linen. The king's son rode up. One said: 'Well, if the king's son
were to marry me, I would hem the whole palace round with a single
needle.' The second said: 'If the king's son were to marry me, I
would feed the whole palace with a single roll.' But the third said:
'If the king's son were to marry me, I would bring him two sons,
each with a moon on his head and a star on the nape of his neck.'
The king rode up to the one that said: 'I would bring him two sons;'
they lived one year, two years, and she was expecting to become a
mother. The king came and gave orders to her mother: 'Whatever God
gives my wife, let it be reared.' He rode away twenty miles off, and
God gave his wife children; she brought him two sons, each with a
moon on his head and a star on the nape of his neck. His wife wrote
a letter, that God had given them two sons, each with a moon on his
head and a star on the nape of his neck. A servant carried the
letter to him, and went in to stop the night at the house of the
queen's sister, without knowing that it was her sister. He lay down
to sleep; then she took and opened the letter, erased that which was
written in it--'Each with a moon on his head and a star on the nape
of his neck'--and wrote instead, that it was not a snake nor a
lizard--it was nobody knew what, that she had become the mother of.
The man went to the king and delivered the letter. He read it
through: 'What God has given her, let it not be destroyed without my
orders.' He went back and again stopped at the same place to pass
the night; she took the letter again, opened it, erased what the
king had written, and wrote instead, that before he returned, she
was to bury her sons. When he arrived, the king's wife read it
through, and began to weep; she was grieved to bury those beautiful
sons. She dug two graves in the yard and buried them; out of them
grew two maples, a golden stem and a silver one. The king came to
the house and put her away because she had buried them without his

He rode off and married his wife's second sister. They lived
together, and after a time she said: 'My most illustrious husband!
let us cut down those maples and make ourselves a bed.'--'Ah! my
most illustrious husband! let us cut up that bed and burn it, and
sprinkle the ashes on the road.' A shepherd was driving sheep that
way; a ewe strayed and swallowed some of the ashes; she bore two
he-lambs; on the head of each was a moon, on the back of the neck a
star. Then she disliked those lambs, ordered them to be slaughtered,
and the entrails to be thrown out into the street. The first wife
came out, collected the entrails, cooked and ate them, and became
the mother of two sons; each had a moon on his head and a star on
the nape of his neck. The two sons grew and grew, and never took off
their caps. Then the king had a desire that somebody should come to
tell him stories. People said that there were two brothers there who
could tell stories. They came to tell stories.

They began to tell a story. 'There was a king who had a queen; the
queen became the mother of two sons; on the head of each was a moon,
on the nape of the neck a star. Afterwards the king went hunting;
the queen wrote a letter and sent it. The man went to her sister's
for the night; she took the letter, opened it, and wrote that it was
not a snake nor a lizard--it was nobody knew what, that the queen
had been the mother of. The king read it through, and replied that
it was to be reared, whether it were a snake or a lizard. The man
went homewards, and again rested at the house where he had passed
the night. She opened the letter, and wrote that she was to bury it
'_by my arrival_.' Then she dug two holes--graves--and buried them;
and two maples grew out, a golden stem and a silver one. The new
queen contrived that they should be cut down and a bed made of them,
and began to sleep on it, and began to be uncomfortable: she
ordered the bed to be cut up and burnt, and the ashes to be thrown
out into the yard. A shepherd was driving sheep; a ewe swallowed
some of the ashes and bore two he-lambs; each had a moon on the head
and a star on the back of the neck. The queen ordered the lambs to
be slaughtered, and their entrails to be thrown out into the street.
Her divorced sister went out into the street, collected the
entrails, took them to her house, cooked and ate them, and became
the mother of two sons; each had a moon on his head and a star on
the nape of his neck.' The boys bowed and took off their caps, thus
illuminating the whole room. The second wife was placed on an iron
harrow, and torn to pieces, but the king took his first wife, and
they began to live happily.



Mr. Ralston does not seem to have been directly acquainted with
these tales; at any rate, none of them are given in either his book
of Russian folk-tales or in that of Russian songs. It is, therefore,
the more necessary for me to supplement his admirable work by giving
all the Galician stories in Erben's collection.

The Little Russians, or Ruthenians, form the bulk of the population
in the Austrian province of Galicia, formerly the principality of
Halicz, and also designated 'Red Russia.' The capital is Lemberg
(contracted from Löwenberg), or Lvóv. They are also found in the
adjoining parts of the north of Hungary, and in the Bukovina.

I think that the present selection is the first introduction of the
literature of the Austrian Russians to the notice of the British

The prophet Elijah (_Ilya_) is a very important and powerful
personage in Russian folklore, and we find him accordingly in No. 27
holding a prominent position in the heavenly hierarchy, even before
the creation of man! He seems to have taken the place of Perun, the
god of thunder, among the heathen Slavonians.

I must also draw attention to the extreme stupidity of the 'devils'
of Slavonic folklore. They are still less intelligent than their
Teutonic brethren, and do not appear to have any connection with the
Arch Enemy, but to be, as Mr. Ralston says (p. 370), rather 'the
lubber fiends of heathen mythology, beings endowed with supernatural
might, but scantily provided with mental power.' No. 26 gives a
specimen of their average intelligence.


There was a wealthy, a very wealthy proprietor; he had buildings
enough; there was where and wherewith for every purpose. Once upon a
time he had guests at his house, and said to them: 'If my buildings
were to be burnt down, I should know where and how to rebuild them.'
He said, and it came to pass. While he was conversing thus with his
guests, somebody went out into the courtyard, but returned still
quicker and said: 'You're on fire!' But the proprietor said: 'Never
mind; I wish it to be so.' He neither attempted to extinguish the
fire himself nor allowed others to do so, and thus all was reduced
to ashes; only the site was left. But he didn't trouble himself a
bit, but went and lived by the waterside, and kept his money in a
willow-tree, being thus a source of danger to himself. Unexpectedly
a heavy rain fell, and before he could look about him the water had
already undermined the willow and carried it away. He then became
poor, so that it became his lot to serve others. He was obliged to
carry letters for gentlemen.

Well, it came to pass once that he was going with a letter, and
night overtook him on the way; what was he now to do? He begged a
night's lodging at a certain man's house; this man was rich and
kindly, so he said: 'Good! you shall not pass my house.' Meanwhile
the mistress prepared supper, and after supping they prayed to God,
but before they lay down to sleep they conversed together about
this and that. The traveller began to relate how he had himself been
wealthy, how he had been burnt out, and had come to poverty. 'I
had,' said he, 'still a little money, and kept it in a willow-tree,
but great floods came, undermined the willow, and carried my money
away with the water! Thus I remained with nothing, and now it has
been my lot more than once to beg for bread.'

Scarcely had his host heard this when he looked at his wife, for the
willow had floated to shore under their barn, and when they began to
cut it up, the money tumbled out a little at a time. They both went out
into a room, and began to consult how to return the money to him
without his knowing whence it came. They consulted. Then said the host:
'Well, what shall we do? Let us cut off the under part of a loaf, take
out the crumb, put the money inside, then cover it again with the
crust; and when he is on the point of departing let us give it him, as
if it were provision for his journey.' And so they did. The next day
when he was starting to proceed on his way, they gave him the loaf of
bread, and said: 'Here's for you; it will be of use on the road.' He
took it, made his bow, and went on his way. On the road there met him
some merchants--pardon me, some drovers--purchasing swine, who had
formerly visited him more than once, and they asked him: 'Of course you
know what we're after?' and he replied: 'Formerly it was at my house;
misfortune has come upon me; I've been burnt out, and now I serve
others.' When he had spoken these words he all at once gave his
knapsack a tap, and said: 'Come! buy some bread.' (He took it out.)
'Somehow I'm not hungry, and it's heavy to carry; some money would be
more advantageous on my journey.' Bargain and sale. They came to an
agreement. The merchants took the bread and he the money, and they

The merchants came to that very same village, and went to the house
of that very same proprietor, from whom the bread came, and began to
make inquiries of him respecting their business. 'Not I, but God!'
said he; 'sit down, meanwhile, and rest;' and he sent for a snack
for them. But they said to him that he needn't trouble himself. 'On
the road we bought a loaf of excellent bread from a man who was
going with a letter.' They (the host and his wife) felt a quaking at
the heart; they had a suspicion; but the merchants soon took it out
and placed it on the table, the very same loaf, which they had given
to the traveller. The proprietor looked at his wife, and said to
their guests: 'Before anything is done, let us go and have a look
round; maybe you will make a purchase.' 'Let us go!' and they went
out of the house, but he winked to his wife, and she knew at once
what he wanted. When they went out on their business, the mistress
brought out another loaf and placed it on the table, but removed the
first one. They returned, breakfasted, either did or didn't come to
terms, and went away.

After some time the man came again with a letter, and turned in
again at the proprietor's, just as at an old acquaintance's, for the
night. They received him and were glad, for they thought they might
now be successful in returning the money somehow or other. They
waited; they passed the night, and when he had gone out of the
house, they wrapped the money in a cloth, put it in his knapsack,
gave him breakfast, and dismissed him. He went off, and as he went
by a footpath through the orchard, he bethought himself: 'Ah! what
beautiful apples! Come! let me pluck a few for my journey.' He took
off his knapsack and hung it on a tree, that it mightn't embarrass
him, and began himself to reach after the apples. Just then up came
his host, the proprietor. He saw him, and took flight so much the
quicker, leaving his knapsack on the tree. The proprietor espied the
knapsack hanging on a branch, began to think, and afterwards also
said: 'The poor fellow was frightened, and has forgotten his
knapsack.' He took down the knapsack, and said: 'His road goes to
the foot-bridge; he ran away through the bushes that he mightn't see
me. I'll put it on the bridge, and then he'll be sure to take it
up.' Even so he did. He ran round sideways, placed the money on the
bridge, and went himself behind a bush not very far off, to keep a
look-out and see what would happen.

Suddenly the traveller came up to the bridge, and looking downwards
thought, and afterwards said: 'It's good that I still have some
sight, at any rate, and can go on my way and earn something to get
my bread. What should I do if I were to go blind? How should I get
across this bridge? Come, I'll see whether I could do it
successfully.' Then, closing his eyes, tap, tap, with his stick over
the bridge, he went straight forwards, stepped over the money, and
went his way. The proprietor, recovering from his astonishment, said
aloud: 'He has angered God!'


The Lord was angered at mankind, and for three years there was a
great famine over all the world; nowhere in the world was even a
grain of corn produced, and what people sowed failed to come up from
a drought so great, that for three years there was not a drop of
rain or dew. For one year more people managed to live somehow or
other, thrashing up what old corn there was; the rich made money,
for corn rose very high. Autumn came. Where anybody had or purchased
old seed, they sowed it; and entreated the Lord, hoped in the love
of God, if God would give fertility, 'if God would forgive our
sins.' But it was not so. They did not obtain the love of God. When
they cast the seed into the holy earth, that was the last they saw
of it; if it germinated somewhat, if it sent up shoots, it withered
away close to the ground. Woe! and abundance of it! God's world went
on, sorrowed and wept, for now it was manifest that death by hunger
was approaching. They somehow got miserably through the winter.
Spring came. Where anybody had still any grain, they sowed it. What
would come to pass? No blessing was poured forth, for the drought
began with wind. Moreover, there was but little snow in the winter,
and everything dried up so that the black earth remained as it was.
It now came to this--all the world began to perish! The people died;
the cattle perished; as misery carried them, so did the people

There was at that time a powerful emperor in a certain empire; as
the young ordinarily cleave to the young, so would he associate only
with young men. Whether in council or in office or in the army,
there were none but young men; no old man had access to anything
anywhere. Well, as young men, unripe in understanding, were the
counsellors, so was their counsel also unripe. One year passed, a
second passed; then, in the third year, they saw that misery was
already on every side, that it was already coming to this, that all
the world would perish. The young emperor assembled his young
council, and they began to advise after their fashion; they advised,
they advised, and ah! the resolutions they came to were such that it
is a sin even to give an account of their resolutions! Well, the
emperor made proclamation after their advice, that all old people
were to be drowned, in order that, said he, bread might not be
wasted in vain, but there might be a supply of bread for the young;
and that no one should venture, on pain of death, to maintain or
harbour any old man. Well, heralds went about throughout the whole
country, and promulgated the emperor's command everywhere--yea,
brigands seized old people where they chose, and drowned them
without mercy.

There were then in a certain place three own brothers, who had an
aged father. When they heard of this edict, they told their father;
and their father said: 'My sons, such is the will of God and the
will of the emperor; take me, let me perish at once, only that you,
my children, may live on. I am already with one foot in the grave.'
'No, our own daddy! we will die, but we will not give you up,' cried
the good sons with one voice, and fell upon his neck; 'we will keep
you; we will take from our own mouths, and will nourish you.'

The three brothers took their aged father, conducted him into their
cottage, dug under the raised portion of the floor, made up a bed
with sheets and frieze-coats, for straw was scarce, and placed the
old man there, brought him a loaf of bread as black as the holy
earth, and covered him over with the floor. There the old man abode
for two or three months, and his sons brought him clandestinely all
that they had. The summer passed without harvest, without mowing.
September passed too. Autumn passed without joy. Winter passed too.
Now came spring; the sun became warm. It was now time to sow, but
there was no seed. The world was large, but there was no seed-corn.
When one kind was used up, the people sowed others, hoping that
there would be a crop; but when they cast it into the holy earth, it
rotted there. It seemed as if the end of the world were come.

Then the three sons went to their father, and asked him: 'Daddy,
what shall we do? It's time to sow. God is now sending showers of
rain; the earth is warmed and is crumbling like grits; but of seed
there is not a blessed grain.' 'Take, my sons, and strip the old
roof off the house, and thresh the bundles and sow the chaff.' The
lads stripped the house and barn (anyhow, there was nothing in it),
and threshed away till the sweat ran from their brows, so that they
crushed the bundles as small as poppy-seeds. When they sowed, God
gave a blessing; so in a week's time it became green like rue; in a
month's time, in two months' time, there was corn, ever so
much--ever so much, and all manner of seed was found there: there
was rye, there was wheat and barley; yea, maybe, there was also a
plant or two of buckwheat and millet. Wherever you went throughout
the world there was no corn to be seen; all the plain was overgrown
with grasses, steppe-grasses, and thistles, but with _them_ was corn
like a forest. How people wondered and were astounded! The fame
thereof went over the whole world, and the news reached the emperor
himself, that in such and such a place there were three own
brothers, and with them corn had sprung up for all the world, and so
beautiful, never was the like beheld! The emperor ordered the three
brothers to appear in the imperial presence.

The brothers heard of it, and smacked the tops of their heads with
their hands. 'Now it will be amen with us!' They went again to their
father. 'Daddy! they tell us to appear before the emperor. Advise
us, daddy, what to do!' 'Go, my sons--what will be, will be; and
tell the pure truth before the emperor.' The brothers started off
and went to the emperor. The emperor inquired menacingly: 'Why,
villains, did ye hoard up corn, when there was such a famine that so
many people died of hunger? Tell the truth; if not, I shall order
you to be tortured and racked even unto death.' The brothers related
all as it had been, from the beginning to the end. 'Now, most
gracious emperor, give us over to any torture whatever, or let thy
kindness have compassion on us!' The emperor's brow became smooth,
his eyes became serene. He then ordered the old father to be brought
before him at once, and made him sit beside him close to his throne,
and hearkened to his counsel till death, and his sons he rewarded
handsomely. He ordered the corn to be collected ear by ear, and to
be rubbed out in men's hands; and sent it about for seed-corn in all
empires, and from it was produced holy corn for all the world.


An old gipsy went to engage himself as servant to a devil; the devil
said: 'I will give you what you wish to bring me fire-wood and water
regularly, and to put fire under the kettle.' 'Good!' The devil gave
him a pail and said: 'Go yonder to the well and draw some water.'

Our gipsy went off, got some water into the pail, and drew it up
with a hook; but, being old, he couldn't draw it out, and was
obliged to pour the water out, in order not to lose the pail in the
well. But what was he now to return home with? Well, our gipsy took
some stakes out of a fence, and grubbed round about the well, as if
he were digging. The devil waited and waited, and as the gipsy
didn't appear himself, of course he didn't appear with the water.
After awhile he went himself to meet the gipsy, and without thinking
inquired: 'But why do you loiter so? Why haven't you brought water
by this time?' 'Well, what? I want to dig out the whole well, and
bring it to you!' 'But you would have wasted time, if you had
purposed anything of the sort; then you wouldn't have brought the
pail in time, that the quantity of fire-wood might not be
diminished.' And he drew out the water and carried it himself. 'Eh!
if I had but known, I should have brought it long ago.'

The devil sent him once to the wood for fire-wood. The gipsy
started off, but rain assailed him in the wood and wetted him
through; the old fellow caught cold and couldn't stoop after the
sticks. What was he to do? Well, he took and pulled bast; he pulled
several heaps, went round the wood, and tied one tree to another
with strips of the bast. The devil waited, waited on, and was out of
his wits on account of the gipsy. He went himself, and when he saw
what was going on: 'What are you doing, loiterer?' said he. 'What am
I doing? I want to bring you wood. I'm tying the whole forest into
one bundle, in order not to do useless work.' The devil saw that he
was having a bad time of it with the gipsy, took up the fire-wood,
and went home.

After settling his affairs at home, he went to an older devil to ask
his advice: 'I've hired a gipsy, but he's quite a nuisance; _we're_
tolerably 'cute,' says he, 'but he's still stronger and 'cuter than
we. Unless I kill him----' 'Good, when he lies down to sleep, kill
him, that he mayn't lead us by the nose any more.' The time came to
go home; they lay down to sleep; but the gipsy evidently noticed
something, for he placed his fur-coat on the bench where he usually
slept, and crept himself into a corner under the bench. When the
time came, the devil thought that the gipsy was now in a dead sleep,
took up an iron club, and beat the fur-coat till the sound went on
all sides. He then lay down to sleep, thinking: 'Oho! it's now amen
for the gipsy!' But the gipsy grunted: 'Oh!' and made a rustling in
the corner. 'What ails you?' 'Oh, a flea bit me.'

The devil went again to the older one for advice: 'But where to kill
him?' said he. 'When I smashed him with a club, he only made a
rustling and said: "A flea bit me."' 'Then pay him up now,' said the
elder devil, 'as much as he wants, and pack him off about his
business.' The gipsy chose a bag with ducats and went off. Then the
devil was sorry about the money, and consulted the older one again.
'Overtake the gipsy, and say that the one of you that kicks a stone
best, so that the sound goes three miles, shall have the money.' The
devil overtook him: 'Stay, gipsy! I've something to say to you.'
'What are you after, son of the enemy?' 'Oh, stay, let us kick; the
one that kicks loudest against a stone, let his be the money.' 'Now
then, kick away,' said the gipsy. The devil kicked once, twice, till
it resounded in their ears; but the gipsy meanwhile poured some
water on it: 'Eh! what's that, you fool?' 'When I kick a dry stone,
water spurts out.' 'Ah! when he kicks, tremble! water has spurted
out of the stone.'

The devil went again for advice. The elder one said: 'Let the one
who throws the club highest have the money.' The gipsy had now got
some miles on his way; he looked round; the devil was behind him:
'Stop! wait, gipsy!' 'What do you want, son of the enemy?' 'The one
of us that throws the club highest, let his be the money.' 'Well,
let us throw now. I've two brothers up yonder in heaven, both
smiths, and it will just suit them either for a hammer or for
tongs.' The devil threw, so that it whizzed, and was scarcely
visible. The gipsy took it by the end, scarcely held it up, and
shouted: 'Hold out your hands there, brothers--hey!' But the devil
seized him by the hand: 'Ah, stop! don't throw; it would be a pity
to lose it.'

The elder devil advised him again: 'Overtake him once more, and say,
"The one that runs fastest to a certain point, let him have the
money."' The devil overtook him; the gipsy said: 'Do you know what?
I shan't contend with you any more, for you don't deserve it; but
I've a young son, Hare, who's only just three days old; if you
overtake him, you shall measure yourself with me.' The gipsy espied
a hare in a firwood: 'There he is! little Hare! now, then, Hare!
Catch him up!' When the hare started he went hither and thither in
bounds, only a line of dust rose behind him. 'Bah!' said the devil,
'he doesn't run straight.' 'In my family no one ever did run
straight. He runs as he pleases.'

The elder devil advised him to wrestle; the stronger was to have the
money. 'Eh!' said the gipsy; 'you hear the terms for me to wrestle
with you: I have a father, he is so old that for the last seven
years I have carried him food into a cave; if you floor him, then
you shall wrestle with me.' But the gipsy knew of a bear, and led
the devil to his cave. 'Go,' said he, 'in there; wake him up, and
wrestle with him.' The devil went in and said: 'Get up, longbeard!
let us have a wrestle.' Alas! when the bear began to hug him, when
he began to claw him, he beat him out, he turned him out, and threw
him down on the floor of the cave.

The elder devil advised that the one who whistled best, so that it
could be heard for three miles, should have the money. The devil
whistled so that it resounded and whizzed again. But the gipsy said:
'Do you know what? When I whistle you will go blind and deaf; bind
up your eyes and ears.' He did so. The gipsy took a mallet for
splitting logs, and banged it once and twice against his ears. 'Oh,
stop! Oh! don't whistle, or you'll kill me! May ill luck smite you
with your money! Go where you will never be heard of again!' That's


Once upon a time there was nothing; there was only the heaven above,
and water beneath. Then God journeyed [in a boat] upon the water and
saw a vast, vast crust of hard foam, on which sat the devil. God
asked him: 'What art thou?' 'I will not converse with thee,'
replied the wicked one, 'unless thou takest me into thy boat.' God
promised, and heard in reply: 'I'm the devil.' They both journeyed
on without conversing together at all, till the devil began: 'How
very nice and beautiful it would be, if there were firm land in the
world!' 'There shall be,' answered God; 'go down into the depth of
the sea and bring up a handful of sand; I will make the land from
it. When thou descendest, and art about to take the sand, say these
words: "I take thee in the name of God."' The devil didn't wait
long, but was immediately under the water. On the bottom he reached
after the sand with both hands with these words: 'I take thee in my
own name.' When he came up to the top he looked with curiosity at
his closed fists, and was astonished at seeing that they were empty.
But God, observing what had happened to him, consoled him, and told
him to go down to the bottom once more. He did so, and as soon as he
began to grub into the sand in the deep, he said: 'I take thee in
his name.' However, he brought up only as much sand, as could get
under his nails; God took a little of the sand and firm land formed
itself, but only as much as was required for a bed. When night came,
God and the devil lay down side by side on the firm land to pass the
night. As soon as our Lord God fell asleep, the devil pushed him
towards the east, in order that he might fall into the water and
perish. In the direction in which he pushed him, there did it become
land for a long way. The devil tried pushing him towards the west,
and on that side the land extended far. A similar circumstance
helped to form land also on the other sides of the world.

As soon as God had made the land, he ascended to heaven. The devil,
not liking to stay without him, followed in his track. Now he heard
how the angels praised God in hymns, and began to feel annoyed, that
he had no one to rejoice at his arrival. He went up to God and
whispered in his ear: 'What must I do, that I may have such a
multitude?' God answered him: 'Wash thy hands and face, and sprinkle
the water behind thee.' He did so, and there came into existence
such a multitude of devils that the angels and saints no more had
sufficient room in heaven. God observed what an injury there was
from this to his own. He summoned St. Ilya, and ordered him to let
off a storm of thunder and lightning. Ilya was glad at this; he
roared, thundered, and lightened with a tempest, and poured rain for
forty days and nights, and along with the great rain the devils also
fell from heaven on to the earth. At last there were no more wicked
ones, and angels also began to fall. Then God ordered Ilya to stop,
and wherever any devil struck the ground at the time that he fell,
there he remained. From that time to this bright little fires have
darted about in heaven, and only now fall upon the earth.



Here again Mr. Ralston informs us in his preface that he 'has been
able to use but little the South Russian collections of Kulish and
Rudchenko, there being no complete dictionary available of the
dialect, or rather language, in which they are written.' He has,
however, given a long and interesting story from the Ukraine, which
I find also in Erben, the 'Norka.' One of Erben's South Russian
stories is too closely identical with a pretty tale from the
government of Voronezh, given by Ralston (p. 63), for me to give it
a place here. All the other South Russian stories in Erben's
collection I have translated, and only wish they had been more

The tales of Snake Husbands always appear to have an evil end,
though the two that I have translated do not conclude so touchingly
as the beautiful Great Russian story, 'The Watersnake' (Ralston, p.
116). Certainly the science of comparative mythology cannot be
considered as having its data complete, until Slavonic folklore has
been thoroughly investigated and analyzed.

In No. 28 an old friend will be discovered in a very rustic dress.


In the woods stood a cottage. In it lived a man and his wife, but
they had no children. Well, they went on a pilgrimage to beseech God
to give them a child. God gave them a daughter. She grew and
prospered. The prince about that time rode up to the place, as he
was out hunting, and sent his attendant, saying: 'Be so good as to
go and ask for a draught of water at yon cottage.' The attendant
went to ask for the water just when the child was weeping, and
pearls were rolling down from her eyes. Her mother pacified her; she
began to smile; all manner of flowers bloomed. The servant went out
and said: 'Prince, I have seen a little girl; when she weeps, pearls
roll down; and when she smiles, all manner of flowers bloom.' The
prince went into the cottage, and began to tease the child to make
her cry. She cried, and pearls rolled down. He then begged her
mother to pacify her. When she smiled, the prince saw that all
manner of flowers bloomed.

The girl continued to grow, and the prince always rode round that
way when he went hunting. Well, she grew up. The prince said: 'Old
man, give me your daughter to wife.' She now embroidered
handkerchiefs with eagles. But the emperor said: 'Where are your
wits gone to, my son, that you want to take a peasant girl to wife?'
Then the prince took one of the handkerchiefs that she had
embroidered, and carried it to the emperor, whereat the emperor
clapped his hands. 'Marry,' said he, 'my son, marry!' Then he
conducted her homeward, but in his suite was an old woman who had
her daughter with her. Well, as they were on their way, the prince
stopped to shoot something, and the old woman took everything from
the damsel, scooped out her eyes, and thrust her into a cavern in
the ground, and dressed her daughter in her apparel; so the prince
took her to wife without recognising her.

But round the cavern there grew a multitude of bushes. An old man
came to gather brushwood. The girl, the damsel, was sitting in the
cavern, and in front of her a heap of pearls, which she had wept as
she sat; but she had no eyes. 'Take me,' said she, 'kind old man,
and pick up this jewellery here.' Well, the old man took her,
collected the jewellery, and led her home. At the old man's there
were no children, but there was an old woman. She, the damsel, said:
'Collect the jewellery in a bag, and carry it to the town for sale;
and if a certain old woman meets you, then don't sell to her, but
say: "Give what you have about you."' Well, he carried it to the
town and met the old woman. The old woman said: 'Sell me the
jewellery!' 'Purchase.' 'How much for it?' 'Give what you have about
you?' She gave him an eye. Then the damsel began with one eye to
embroider a handkerchief. Again the old man carried jewellery to the
town. The old woman again said: 'Old man, sell me the jewellery!'
'Purchase.' 'How much for it?' 'Give what you have about you?' She
gave him the other eye. The damsel then began to embroider still
more beautifully. The old man said: 'There's a dinner at the
emperor's.' The damsel said to him: 'Go, kind old man, to the dinner
and take a jug, that you may beg some soup for me.' She also tied a
handkerchief of her own sewing on the old man's neck. When the
prince espied the handkerchief on the old man's neck, he cried:
'Whence come you, old man?' 'From the farm yonder, prince; and there
is also a damsel living at my house, so be so kind as to give her
something in this jug.' 'But, old man, where did you get that
handkerchief?' 'I found a damsel in a cavern in the ground, and she
embroidered it.' The prince at once recognised it by the embroidery.
''Tis she! 'tis she!' But the old woman's daughter he packed off to
tend swine. That's all.


There was an emperor and empress who had three daughters. The
emperor fell ill, and sent his eldest daughter for water. She went
to fetch it, when a snake said: 'Come! will you marry me?' The
princess replied: 'No, I won't.' 'Then,' said he, 'I won't give you
any water.' Then the second daughter said: 'I'll go; he'll give me
some.' She went; the snake said to her: 'Come! will you marry me?'
'No,' she said, 'I won't.' He gave her no water. She returned and
said: 'He gave me no water. He said: "If you will marry me I will
give it."' The youngest said: 'I will go; he will give me some.' She
went, and the snake said to her: 'Come! will you marry me?' 'I
will,' she said. Then he drew her water from the very bottom, cold
and fresh. She brought it home, gave it her father to drink, and her
father recovered. Then on Sunday a carriage came, and those with it

    'Open the door,
    Why did the dear one love?
    Why draw water from the ford,

She was terrified, wept, and went and opened the door. Then they
said again:

    'Open the rooms,
    Why did the dear one love?
    Why draw water from the ford,

Then they came into the house and placed the snake in a plate on the
table. There he lay, just as if he were of gold! They went out of
the house, and said:

    'Sit in the carriage,
    Why did the dear one love?
    Why draw water from the ford,

They drove off with her to the snake's abode. There they lived, and
had a daughter born to them. They also took a godmother to live with
them, but she was a wicked woman. The child soon died, and the
mother died soon after it. The godmother went in the night to the
place where she was buried, and cut off her hands. Then she came
home, and heated water-gruel, scalded the hands, and took off the
gold rings. Then the princess--such was the ordinance of God--came
to her for the hands, and said:

    'The fowls are asleep, the geese are asleep,
    Only my godmother does not sleep.
    She scalds white hands in water-gruel,
    She takes off golden rings.'

The godmother concealed herself under the stove. She said again:

    'The fowls are asleep, the geese are asleep,
    Only my godmother does not sleep.
    She scalds white hands in water-gruel,
    She takes off golden rings.'

The next day they came and found the godmother dead under the stove.
They didn't give her proper burial, but threw her into a hole.


A damsel fell in love with a snake, and was also beloved by him. He
took her to wife. His dwelling was of pure glass, all crystal. This
dwelling was situated underground, in a kind of mound, or something
of the sort. Well, it is said that her old mother at first grieved
over her. How could she help doing so? Well, when the time came, the
snake's wife became the mother of twins, a boy and a girl; they
looked, as they lay by their mother, as if they were made of wax.
And she was herself as beautiful as a flower. Well, God having given
her children, she said: 'Now, then, since they have been born as
human beings, let us christen them among human beings.' She took her
seat in a golden carriage, laid the children on her knees, and drove
off to the village to the pope.[11] The carriage had not got into
the open country, when sadness was brought to the mother. The old
woman had made an outcry in the whole village, seized a sickle, and
rushed into the country. She saw she had manifest death before her,
when she called to her children, and went on to say: 'Fly, my
children, as birds about the world: you, my little son, as a
nightingale, and you, my daughter, as a cuckoo.' Out flew a
nightingale from the carriage by the right-hand, and a cuckoo by the
left-hand window. What became of the carriage and horses and all
nobody knows. Nor did their mistress remain, only a dead nettle
sprang up by the roadside.

    [11] The orthodox Greek priests are always designated 'popes.'


A certain woman had a kind of adventure. When she went out into the
field to cut grass, or to fetch hemp, and placed food in the stove,
then somebody took the victuals out of the stove, and ate them all
clean up. She thought, what might such a thing as this signify?
Nohow could she guess it. She came, the door was shut, and there was
only remaining in the house a baby--maybe half a year old--in the
cradle. Well, she betook herself to a wise woman. She entreated her
and paid her to come, and she came. She looked about, she snuffed
about--I mean the wise woman. All at once she heard something
indefinite. 'Go you,' she said, 'into the field, and I'll hide
myself and we'll see what this is.' The woman went into the field,
and the wise woman hid herself in a corner, and kept a look-out.
Then, pop! the baby jumped out of the cradle! She looked, and it was
no more a baby, but an old man. He was quite dwarfish, and his beard
was long. In a moment he was after the eatables, pulled the victuals
out of the stove, then gave a screech, and began to gobble up the
food. When he had devoured all, then he became a baby again; but now
he didn't crawl into the cradle, but lay down, and screeched till
the whole house rang. Then the wise woman was after him: she placed
him on a block of wood, and began to chop the block under his feet.
He screeched and she chopped: he screeched and she chopped. Then she
saw how, taking an opportunity, he became an old man again, and
said: 'Old woman, I have transformed myself not once nor twice only:
I was first a fish, then I became a bird, an ant, and a quadruped,
and now I have once more made trial of being a human being. It isn't
better thus than being among the ants; but among human beings--it
isn't worse!'


There was here once in our village a certain Avstriyat, who was such
a wizard that he could cause rain or hail to pass away when he
chose. It happened that we were cutting corn in the country; a cloud
came up. We began to hurry off the sheaves, but he took no notice,
cut and cut away by himself, smoked his pipe, and said: 'Don't be
frightened--there'll be no rain.' Lo and behold, there was no rain.
Once--all this I saw with my own eyes--we were cutting rye, when the
sky became black, the wind rose: it began to whistle at first afar
off, then over our very heads. There was thunder, lightning,
whirlwind--such a tempest, that--O God! Thy will be done! We went
after our sheaves, but he--'Don't be frightened, there'll be no
rain.' 'Where won't it be?' We didn't hearken to him. But he smoked
his pipe out, and cut away quietly by himself. Up came a man on a
black horse, and all black himself: he darted straight up to
Avstriyat: 'Hey! give permission!' said he. Avstriyat replied: 'No,
I won't!' 'Give permission; be merciful!' 'I won't. It would be
impossible to get such a quantity in.' The black horseman bowed to
the man, and hastened off over the country.

Then the black cloud became gray and whitened. Our elders feared
that there would be hail. But Avstriyat took no notice. He cut the
corn by himself and smoked his pipe. But again a horseman came up;
he hastened over the country still quicker than the first. But this
one was all in white, and on a white horse. 'Give permission!' he
shouted to Avstriyat. 'I won't!' 'Give permission, for God's sake!'
'I won't. It wouldn't be possible to get such a quantity in.' 'Hey!
give permission; I can't hold out!' Then, and not till then, did
Avstriyat relent. 'Well, then, go now, but only into the glen, which
is beyond the plain.' Scarcely had he spoken, when the horseman
disappeared, and hail poured down as out of a basket. In the course
of a short hour it filled the glen brimful, level with the banks.


Here I have but little to remark that has not already been noticed
by Mr. Ralston. In No. 33 I have given a pretty variant of Grimm's
'Fisherman's Wife.' In this story, which is from the Government of
Moscow, there is a curious confusion between 'king' (_korol_), and
'emperor' (_tzar_). The peasant asks to be made _korol_ 'king,' but
is answered that an 'emperor' (_tzar_) is chosen by God. The King of
Poland was formerly the mighty potentate west of Moscow, which
emerged from Tartar bondage under a grand-duke, or grand-prince.
This confusion may possibly imply that the story was crystallized in
its present form not long after the assumption of the imperial
dignity by the ruler of Muscovy.

As to No. 34, Mr. Ralston, in his 'Songs of the Russian People,'
gives an account of the manner in which Ilya of Murom obtained a
vast accession of strength from the still mightier hero Svyatozor
(pp. 58-63). By his exploits, however, in the story which I have
given, Ilya appears to have already possessed strength enough for
most purposes.


One evening Vanyusha (Johnny) was sitting with his grandfather, and
asked his grandfather: 'Whence comes it that bears' paws are like
our hands and feet?' His grandfather replied: 'Listen, Johnny. I
will tell you what I have myself heard from ancient people. Ancient
people said bears were like human beings, like us orthodox
Christians. In a certain village there lived a poor cottager. His
cottage was wretched; he had no pony; a cow he never even thought
of; he had no fire-wood. Winter came, and it was cold in his
unwarmed room. The cottager took his axe, and went with it into the
wood. An enchanted tree--a lime-tree--presented itself to his sight.
He struck it with his axe, and now to cut it down; but the lime-tree
addressed him in human speech: "I will give you all that you want.
If you have no riches, if you have no wife, I will give you all."
The peasant said: "Very good, mother, if you make me richer than any
of the peasants. But I have no pony, no cow, and my cottage is
wretched." The lime-tree said: "Go home; all shall be yours." The
peasant went. A new house was his: fences of stout boards, horses
that were ready to fly, and store-rooms full of corn. The cottager
was not satisfied, because his wife was not handsomer. What was to
be done? "I'll go off quick to Mother Lime-tree." He took his axe,
and went off into the wood.

'He went into the wood to the lime-tree, and struck it with his axe.
"What do you want?" "Mother Lime-tree, among mankind there are wives
and wives, but mine is such a disagreeable one. Do me a service:
give me a handsome wife." The lime-tree said: "Go home." The peasant
went. His wife came to meet him--such a beauty--blood and milk, and
store-rooms full of everything good. Well, the cottager began to
live comfortably with his young wife, and thought: "It is a fine
thing for us to live possessed of riches, but we're under a superior
authority. Is it impossible for me to be the superior authority
myself?" He thought it over with his wife. He went again to the
enchanted lime-tree.

'He went into the wood, he struck it with his axe. "What do you
want, peasant?" "What, indeed, Mother Lime-tree! It's a fine thing
for us to live in possession of riches; but we're under a superior
authority. Is it impossible for me to be head-borough myself?" "Very
well: go home; all shall be yours." No sooner had the cottager got
home, when a letter came for him--"The cottager was to be
head-borough." The cottager got used to living as head-borough, and
thought to himself: "It's a fine thing to be head-borough; but all
is under the control of the lord of the manor. Is it impossible for
me to be the lord myself?" He considered the matter with his wife,
they consulted together, and he went off again to the lime-tree.

'He went up to it, and struck it with his axe. The tree asked him:
"What do you want?" "Thanks to you, mother, for all; but how not to
doff my cap before the lord, to become the lord myself?" "What is to
be done with you? Go home; it shall all be yours." Scarcely had he
got home, when up drove the lord-lieutenant, and brought him a
letter from the king, that "he was to be a gentleman." It was
advantageous to be a gentleman. He began to give entertainments and
banquets. "It's a fine thing to be a gentleman, but without an
official position! Was it impossible for him to become an official?"
They thought and talked it over. He went off to the lime-tree and
struck it with his axe. "What do you want, peasant?" "I thank you,
mother, for all; but is it impossible for me to be an official?"
"Well, then, go home!" No sooner had he got home, when a royal
letter arrived--he was invested with orders. "It's a fine thing to
be decorated, but all is under the control of the lord-lieutenant.
Is it impossible for me to be lord-lieutenant myself?" He thought it
over with his wife, went off into the wood to the enchanted tree,
the lime-tree.

'He came to the lime-tree and struck it with his axe. It said: "What
do you want, peasant? With what are you discontented?" "I thank you,
mother, for everything; but is it impossible for me to be
lord-lieutenant myself, and to have a rich patrimony?" "It is
difficult to effect this. But what is to be done with you? Go
home!" The cottager had scarcely got home, when a letter
arrived--the cottager was to be lord-lieutenant, and was presented
with an estate of inheritance. The cottager became used to living as
lord-lieutenant--indeed, by descent, he was not a peasant. "It's a
fine thing for me to live as lord-lieutenant, but all is under the
control of the king." He considered; he went off into the wood to
the enchanted tree, the lime-tree.

'He came to it, and struck it with his axe. The tree inquired: "What
do you want?" "All is excellent; I thank you for all; but is it
impossible for me to be king myself?" The lime-tree began to try to
persuade him. "Foolish man, for what are you asking? Consider what
you were, and what you have become. From a cottager you have become
a man of high rank and everything; but an emperor[12] is chosen by
God." The lime-tree endeavoured to persuade him with all manner of
arguments that he had better not make the request, but all in vain.
The cottager would not budge, but insisted that it should make him
emperor. The lime-tree said to him: "It is impossible to effect
this, and it will not be done; you will lose, too, what you have
already obtained!" But the cottager still insisted. The lime-tree
said: "Become a bear, and your wife a she-bear!" And he became a
bear, and she a she-bear. They went off bears.'

    [12] Note the transition from king (_korol_) to emperor

The grandson inquired: 'Grandfather, can this be a true story?' 'In
reality 'tis a fable. Do not desire what is impossible; be content
with a little. If you desire much, you will lose what you have


In the famous city of Murom, in the village of Karatcharof, lived a
peasant, Ivan Timofeewitch. He had an only child, Ilya Murometz. He
sat as children do for thirty years, and when thirty years had
passed, he began to walk firmly on his feet, became conscious of
vast strength, made himself a warrior's equipment and a steel spear,
and saddled a good horse, worthy of a hero. He went to his father
and mother, and begged their blessing. 'My honoured father and
mother, let me go to the famous city of Kief to perform my devotions
to God, and to kneel to the Prince of Kief.' His father and mother
gave him their blessing, laid upon him serious injunctions, and
spoke to this effect: 'Ride straight to the city of Kief, straight
to the city of Chernigof, and on your road do no injury, shed no
Christian blood causelessly.' Ivan Murometz received the blessing of
his father and mother, prayed to God, took leave of his father and
mother, and started on his journey.

He travelled far on into the gloomy forest, until he came to a
robbers' camp. The robbers espied Ilya Murometz, and their robber
hearts burned for his heroic horse, and they began to talk together
about taking his horse from him, for they were not wont to see such
horses anywhere, and now an unknown man was riding on so good a
horse. And they arose to assail Ilya Murometz by tens and twenties.
Ilya Murometz halted his heroic horse, and took out of his quiver an
arrow of guelder-rosewood, and placed it on his tough bow. He shot
the arrow of guelder-rosewood along the ground, and it penetrated to
the distance of a fathom slanting. Seeing this, the robbers were
terrified, collected into an orb, fell on their knees, and said:
'You are our lord and father, valiant and good youth! We are guilty
before you; take for such a fault as ours as much as you please of
coloured raiment and herds of horses.' Ilya smiled and said: 'I've
nowhere to put it; but if you wish to live, don't venture any
further!' and rode on his way to the famous city of Kief.

He rode on to the city of Chernigof, and under that city of
Chernigof were standing armies of heathen innumerable, and they were
besieging the city of Chernigof, and wanted to destroy it and ravage
the churches of God therein, and to take into captivity the Prince
and Duke of Chernigof himself. Ilya Murometz was terrified at this
great force; nevertheless, he committed himself to the Lord God, his
Creator, and determined to risk his head for the Christian faith.
Ilya Murometz began to slaughter the heathen forces with his steel
spear, and defeated all the pagan power, and took captive the
heathen prince, and led him into the city of Chernigof. The citizens
came out of the city of Chernigof to meet him with honour; the
Prince and Duke of Chernigof came himself. They received the good
youth with honour, and gave thanks to the Lord God, because the Lord
unexpectedly sent deliverance to the city, and caused them not all
to perish in vain at the hands of such a heathen host. They received
him into their houses, made him a great entertainment, and let him
proceed on his journey.

Ilya Murometz rode off towards the city of Kief by the direct road
from Chernigof, which had been beset for full thirty years by
Nightingale the robber, who allowed neither horseman nor
foot-traveller to pass, and slew them not by any weapon, but by his
robber whistling. Out rode Ilya Murometz into the open country, and
espied the tracks of horses, and rode on upon them, and arrived at
the Branskian forest, at the muddy swamps, at the bridges of
guelder-rosewood, and at the river Smorodinka. Nightingale the
robber forboded his end and a great misfortune, and before Ilya
Murometz approached within twenty versts, began to whistle
vigorously with his robber whistling; but the hero's heart was not
terrified. Then, before he approached within ten versts, he began to
whistle still more violently, and from this whistling Ilya
Murometz's horse tottered under him. Ilya Murometz rode up to the
nest itself, which was constructed upon twelve oaks. Nightingale the
robber espied the hero of Holy Russia, whistled with all his might,
and wanted to smite Ilya Murometz to death.

Ilya Murometz took down his tough bow, placed on it an arrow of
guelder-rosewood, shot it at Nightingale's nest, struck his right
eye and knocked it out. Nightingale the robber tumbled down like a
sack of oats. Ilya Murometz took Nightingale the robber, bound him
fast to his steel stirrup, and rode on towards the famous city of
Kief. On the way stood a mansion belonging to Nightingale the
robber, and when Ilya Murometz came opposite the robber's mansion,
the windows thereof were open, and at these windows the robber's
three daughters were looking out. The youngest daughter saw him, and
cried to her sisters: 'There's our father outside coming with booty,
and leading to us a man bound to his steel stirrup.' But the eldest
daughter looked, and began to weep bitterly. 'That isn't our father
coming: it's an unknown man coming, and leading our father.' They
began to scream to their husbands: 'Our dear husbands! ride and meet
the man, and take our father from him; do not let our family be put
to such contempt.' Their husbands, strong heroes, rode against the
hero of Holy Russia; their horses were good, their spears were
sharp, and they were about to receive Ilya on their spears.
Nightingale the robber espied this, and said to them: 'My dear
sons-in-law, do not cause yourselves to be put to shame, and do not
provoke so mighty a hero; rather with humility entreat him to drink
a cup of green wine in my house.' At the request of the sons-in-law,
Ilya turned into the house, not knowing their villainy. The eldest
daughter raised on chains an iron slab, which was placed over the
door, in order to crush him. But Ilya observed her at the door,
struck her with his spear, and smote her to death.

When Ilya Murometz arrived at Kief city, he rode straight to the
prince's palace, and entered the house, which was of white stone,
prayed to God, and knelt to the prince. The Prince of Kief asked
him: 'Tell me, good youth, how men name you, and of what city you
are a native?' Ilya Murometz made reply: 'My lord, men call me
Little Ilya, but by my father's family I am an Ivanof; a native of
the city of Murom, of the village of Karatcharof.' The prince
inquired: 'By what road did you ride from Murom?' 'By that of
Chernigof, and under the walls of Chernigof I defeated an
innumerable heathen host, and delivered the city of Chernigof.
Thence I proceeded by the direct road, and took captive the mighty
hero, Nightingale the robber, and led him hither with me bound to my
steel stirrup.' The prince, becoming angry, said: 'What a lie you
are telling!' When the heroes, Alesha Popovitch and Dobrynya
Nikititch, heard this, they flew to look, and assured the prince
that it really was so. The prince ordered a cup of green wine to be
brought to the good youth. The prince had a wish to listen to the
robber's whistling. Ilya enveloped the prince and princess in a
sable mantle, placed them beneath his arms, summoned Nightingale,
and commanded him to give the Nightingale whistle with half
strength. But Nightingale the robber whistled with his full robber
whistle, and deafened the heroes, so that they fell on the floor.
For this Ilya Murometz slew him.

Ilya Murometz made a brotherhood with Dobrynya Nikititch. They
saddled their good steeds, and rode into the open country to seek
adventures; and they rode full three months without finding any
adversary. But they rode on in the open country; there came a
wandering beggar: the ragged dress upon his back weighed fifty
poods, his hat nine poods, his staff was ten fathoms long. Ilya
Murometz began to urge his horse toward him, and was about to match
his heroic strength with him. The wandering beggar recognised Ilya
Murometz, and said: 'Oh! you are Ilya Murometz. If you remember, we
learnt to read and write together at one school, and now you are
urging your horse against a poor cripple like me, as against an
enemy. But this you don't know, that in the famous city of Kief a
great misfortune has happened. An infidel, a mighty hero, the
unclean Idolishtcha, has arrived. His head is as big as a beer
caldron, his shoulders are a fathom broad, the distance between his
eyebrows is a span, that between his ears is an arrow of
guelder-rosewood; he eats an ox at a time, and drinks a caldron at a
draught; and the Prince of Kief is very grieved about you, because
you have left him in such perplexity.' Clothing himself in the
beggar's dress, Ilya Murometz went straight to the prince's court,
and cried with heroic voice: 'Oh, is it you, Prince of Kief? Send me
an alms, wandering beggar that I am.' The prince saw him, and spake
as follows: 'Come into the palace to me, beggar; I will give you
your fill of food and drink, and gold for your journey.' And the
beggar entered the palace and stood by the stove; he looked on at
what was occurring. Idolishtcha asked for something to eat. They
brought him a whole ox roasted, and he ate it up, bones and all.
Idolishtcha asked for something to drink. They brought him a caldron
of beer, carried by twenty men; he took it up by the handles, and
drank it all up. Ilya Murometz said: 'My father had a greedy mare;
she over-ate herself and died.' Idolishtcha didn't stand that, and
said: 'Oh, it's you, wandering beggar! Why do you insult me? It's
nothing to me to take you up in my hands. Nay, what are you? If such
an one as Ilya Murometz was among you, I'd make a fight of it even
with him.' 'Then here's such an one as he,' said Ilya Murometz, and,
taking off his hat, struck him gently on the head with it.--But he
broke through the wall of the house, took the corpse of Idolishtcha,
and threw it out by the rent. For this the prince honoured Ilya
Murometz with great commendations, and placed him on the list of
mighty heroes.



The Bulgarians do not derive their name from a Slavonic origin, but
from a small and warlike nation of horsemen, which in A.D. 679
crossed the Danube under a chief named Isperich, conquered the
disunited Slavonic tribes that had settled in Mœsia, and
consolidated them into a powerful realm. The conquerors melted into
the conquered, and lost their language, but gave their name to the
state and country. The Slavonic language of the people does not
appear to have been affected by that of their Ugrian conquerors, but
rather by the old Thracian language, which, conjointly with Latin,
has produced the present Roumanian. The peculiarities of the present
Bulgarian language are: (1) the loss of case-inflexions in nouns and
adjectives, while the verbal system is most complete and complex;
(2) the expression of the genitive and dative cases by prefixing the
preposition _na_; (3) the post-positive article, which is also
borrowed from the old Thracian language, which was akin to the
Illyrian now spoken by the present Albanians and Epirots; (4) the
loss of the infinitive mood, which is replaced by _da_ with the
finite verb. Baron Wenceslas Wratislaw, in describing his journey
through Bulgaria in 1591, says of the people: 'They use a Slavonic
language, so that we Bohemians can converse with them.'

The Bulgarian tales themselves are curious, and some of them very
beautiful, as are also the songs, to which considerable space is
devoted by Mr. Morfill in his 'Slavonic Literature' (pp. 125-144).
There are old traditions as to the world and its inhabitants,
apparently of heathen origin (No. 35); a singular fusion of the
history of Abraham and Isaac with some other, probably heathen,
tradition (No. 36); a version of 'Cinderella' (No. 37), which,
involving as it does the transmigration of souls, clearly exhibits
an Indian origin; a beautiful story (No. 38), the latter part of
which is a variant of the latter part of the Russian tale of 'Marya
Morevna' (Ralston, p. 85), and No. 39, in the latter part of which
many people will recognise a variant of an old acquaintance.


In the beginning, when man began to plough, when he had cut a furrow
from one end to the other, he lifted his plough on to his shoulder,
and when he had carried it back to the same end that he had begun
from, he began again to plough thence. The Lord, in the form of an
old man, passed by and said to him, 'Not thus, my son, but when you
make a furrow, turn your plough round at the same place to which you
have cut the furrow, and plough back to the end from which you
began.' And thus the ploughman learnt to plough aright, as people
plough at this day.

Thence the Lord went away in the form of an old man, and saw a woman
who was weaving at a loom, and putting the thread, three threads at
a time, into her mouth; she bit the thread off at one end, and began
again at the same side. The Lord said to her, 'Not thus, daughter;
but put the thread hither and thither with two hands without biting
the thread off.' And she learnt to weave as people weave at this

The next day the Lord again passed alongside of the ploughman in a
different guise, and asked him: 'Who taught you, my son, to plough
thus?' He replied to him: 'The Lord God, in the form of an old man.'
The Lord blessed him, and said: 'A day to plough and a year to eat!'
Afterwards he passed by the woman and asked her: 'Who taught you,
daughter, to weave thus?' She replied: 'Myself, my very own self,
quickly, quite quickly.' Then the Lord said to her: 'A year to
weave, that you may carry it under the arm!'

They say, moreover, that at that time men had command not only over
all animals, but also over inanimate things; but later, they say, it
was altered when men became wicked. For instance, when a man had cut
logs of wood and piled them in a heap, he struck them with a stick,
and they went of themselves whither they were required to go. But a
certain woman having cut logs and struck them to make them go, they
started; but she, being tired of walking beside them on foot, seated
herself at top, and the logs resisted. She struck them on one side,
she struck them on the other, but they didn't move any whither. Then
she unfastened her girdle, and put them on her back. On the way God
showed himself to her, and said to her: 'Since you are wicked,
instead of your riding on them, let them ride on you.'

When the Lord walked about the earth and blessed it, he went first
to a herdsman. He was lying on his back under a tree, a pear-tree;
his pitcher, in which he fetched water for himself, stood by empty.
The Lord, in the form of an old man, asked him: 'My son, is there
any water in the pitcher?' He said to him: 'No.' The Lord said to
him: 'Go, my son, to fetch me a little water, that the old man may
drink.' The herdsman made a sign to him with his foot: 'There is
where the spring is; if you're thirsty, go, drink.' The Lord then
gave the word that all the herd should run off as if assailed by the
gadfly; then, when they began all to run in one direction, the
herdsman took his hat in his hand and started off, and as he ran
after them thought: 'How I have sinned against God!'

Then the Lord went to a shepherd. The shepherd also had a pitcher.
The Lord asked him: 'My son, have you any water?' He replied to him:
'There is water, old man, but I cannot go to fetch it myself, or the
sheep will disperse.' Then said the Lord: 'Go, my son; I will watch
them.' When the shepherd went off for the water, the Lord took the
shepherd's staff, and when he had stuck it into the ground, placed
the shepherd's cloak upon it, and blessed the sheep. They became
quiet and tranquil in the shade. During the shepherd's absence up
came a wolf to obtain the appointed tribute which he received every
day from the shepherd. The Lord gave him a lamb of little value. The
wolf, discontented, did not choose to take it, but darted forward
and seized another, which he liked. Then the Lord took the
shepherd's trumpet, and struck him on the loins--on the spine. From
this it has remained a property of the wolf that his loins are just
as weak as his neck is strong. But he carried off the lamb which he
had seized. The Lord took two little stones, threw them after the
wolf and blessed them; they became two dogs, ran after the wolf, and
took away the lamb which the wolf had seized. The shepherd came up
bringing the Lord cold water, and saw the sheep quiet, for they were
standing in the shade and the two dogs were frolicking round them.
The shepherd then asked the old man: 'Well, old man, now when the
sheep are standing quiet, and are like blocks of wood, how shall I
drive them to pasture?' The Lord said to him: 'My son, take a copper
trumpet, and blow it to them; they will start off in the direction
from which the wind blows gently.' From that time forth down to the
present day people drive their sheep to pasture blowing trumpets.


Once upon a time, when the Lord had formed the world, he wished to
see how his people lived; he came down from heaven first of all on
the Balkan Mountains, took the form of a man with a long white beard
and white clothes; took a staff in his hand, and went about the
world in the Bulgarian land; he travelled much, a whole day long,
over desolate mountains. In the evening he came to a village to pass
the night. He went into the first house at the end of the village
and sat down on the threshold, said nothing, but meditated by
himself. The mistress was in her house doing some work, and did not
see him. But now her husband came from the field, from his plough,
espied the old man, was delighted, and said to him: 'Old man, you
are very tired; you are a weary traveller. Come into the house; rest
yourself, if it is but a poor one. I will entertain you with all
that the Lord has given me--only say the word.' The old man regarded
him with cheerful eyes, went into the house and sat down. The man
and his wife quickly rose up and prepared a hospitable meal
according to what they possessed, and as nicely and as handsomely as
they could, and placed it on the table. The couple ate of their
homely meal, but the old man would not; he only smelt the homely
banquet, said nothing, but watched how the two persons enjoyed
themselves, and rejoiced. They urged him, they begged him. 'Old man,
why don't you eat? You will remain hungry. Take, and taste, and try
what you please. What we have is all here before you.' The old man
only said this: 'Eat you--eat; I am thinking of something.' When
they had eaten their fill, they rose. The mistress went out to feed
the child because it was crying. Then said the old man to her
husband: 'Do you know what, master, if you wish to entertain me? I
cannot eat everything, but I wish for baked human flesh. Kill your
little son, wash him nicely, and place him whole on the frying-pan
in the oven; only look out that your wife does not see you, for she
will weep.' He replied: 'Is this all that you want, old man? Why did
you not tell me long before, that you might not have sat a hungry
guest in the house? Did I not tell you that all was yours that the
Lord had given me? Indeed, I love you exceedingly, old man; my heart
tells me that you are good and worthy, and now you shall see; only
have a little patience, till I get ready that which you desire.' The
man went out of doors, and his wife had begun to do some work, and
had left her child to play by itself in the moonlight till it fell
asleep, without knowing what was about to take place. Her husband
stole the child, killed it with all haste, put it entire in the
frying-pan, and shut it up in the oven, that its mother might not
see it till it was cooked; he then went to the old man, sat down by
him and conversed cheerfully with him. They had not talked long,
when the old man became silent, sniffed with his nose, and said to
the servant lad: 'Go, look at the baked meat; it smells nicely;
perhaps it is cooked.'

The lad rose, went out, opened the oven to look at and take out the
baked meat. But what did he see? He was amazed and frightened at the
wonder; all the oven and all the house was glittering with the
brightness of the child. The frying-pan and the child had become
gold, and shone like the sun. The child was sitting in the
frying-pan like a big boy--handsome, cheerful, bright, and well. On
his head was a crown of pearls and precious stones; on the girdle at
his waist was a sword. In his right hand he held a book of
blessing; in his left hand he had a wheatsheaf full of ears; and all
this was shining more than fire, because it had all become gold. He
returned to tell the old man what a wonder had taken place, and to
ask what was to be done; but the old man was no longer there; he had
gone out in front of the house, and said to them: 'Fare ye well, and
live as ye have done till now, honourably and contentedly. Your good
hearts will have good from field and cattle, and blessing and peace
upon your children and children's children from the Lord. He will
receive you and entertain you in his heavenly house.' He then went
away alone under cover of the night, no one knows whither.


Once upon a time, a number of girls were assembled spinning round a
deep rift or chasm in the ground. As they spun they chattered
together and told stories to each other. Up came a white-bearded old
man, who said to them: 'Girls! as you spin and chatter, be
circumspect round this rift; or, if any of you drops her spindle
into it, her mother will be turned into a cow.' Thus saying he
departed. The girls were astonished at his words, and crowded round
the rift to look into it. Unfortunately, one of them, the most
beautiful of all, dropped her spindle into it. Towards evening, when
she went home, she espied a cow--her mother--in front of the gate,
and drove her out with the other cattle to pasture. After some time
the father of the girl married a widow, who brought a daughter with
her into the house. The second wife had a spite at the man's first
daughter, especially because she was more beautiful and more
industrious than her own, and she allowed her neither to wash
herself, nor to comb her hair, nor to change her clothes. One day
she sent her out with the cattle, gave her a bag full of tow, and
told her: 'If you don't spin this tow into yarn to-day, or if you
don't wind it into a ball, you had better not come home at
eventide--I shall kill you.' It was sad for the poor girl, as she
went after the cattle, endeavouring as well as she could to keep
them together. In the afternoon, when the cattle lay down to chew
the cud, she began to look at the bag to see how to perform her task
upon it; but when she saw that she could not make out what to do
with it, she began to cry. When the cow which was her mother saw her
crying, she asked her why she was crying. She told her how it was,
and what it was. Then said the cow to her: 'Don't be afraid; I will
help you. I will take all the tow into my mouth, and will chew it,
and yarn will come up into my ear. You must take it and reel it into
a ball, and you will finish it in good time.' As she said, so it
was. She began to chew the tow, piece after piece; yarn came up into
her ear, and the girl wound and reeled it, and finished the task. In
the evening she departed and went to her stepmother, who was amazed
at seeing so much work completed. The next time she gave her as much
tow again. The girl spun till noon, and then in the afternoon, when
the cattle lay down to chew the cud, the cow came up to her and
began to chew the tow; yarn came up into her ear, and the girl wound
and reeled it, and finished in good time. In the evening she went
home and delivered to her stepmother all the tow spun and wound. She
was astonished at seeing so much work completed. The third time she
gave her still more tow, and sent her own daughter to see who helped
her. The daughter went and concealed herself apart, and saw how it
was and what it was, that the girl completed so much work in the
day; she saw how the cow took the tow into her mouth, how yarn came
up into her ear, and how the girl wound and reeled it. She went home
to tell her mother. When she heard this from her daughter, she
urged her husband to kill the cow. He endeavoured in every way to
persuade her not to kill the cow, but could not over-persuade her.
At last, when he saw that there was no escape, he promised to kill
it on a certain day. When the girl heard that they were going to
kill the cow she began to cry, and told the cow secretly that they
were going to kill her. She said to the girl: 'Be quiet--don't cry!
If they kill me, you must not eat any of my flesh, but must collect
the bones and bury them behind the cottage. Then if need come to
you, you must go to the grave, and help will come to you thence.' On
hearing this she went away.

One day they killed the cow and boiled her flesh, brought it into
the parlour, and began to eat. The girl alone did not eat of it,
according to the instructions she had received; but collected the
bones, and then, without anybody seeing her, took them and buried
them behind the cottage, where the cow (her mother) had ordered her
so to do. The girl was named Mary; but at length, when they had put
all the work in the cottage upon her--that is to say, to sweep, to
fetch water, to cook, to wash up the plates--she had become dirty
and begrimed with ashes and cinders from excessive work at the
fireplace; and therefore her stepmother nicknamed her Cinderella
(Pepelezka), and this remained her name afterwards.

One Sunday her stepmother got ready to go to church with her
daughter, but, before starting, took a wooden dish of millet,
scattered it on the ground in the cottage, and said to Cinderella:
'Here you, Cinderella! if you don't pick up this millet, and if you
don't get dinner ready by the time that I return from church, don't
come before my eyes, or I shall put you to death.' Then they went
away. Poor Cinderella, when she looked at all the millet, cried out
weeping and wailing: 'I will cook, I will sweep, I will attend to
everything, but what poor girl can pick up all this millet?' When
she had wept and spoken, immediately there came into her mind what
the cow had told her, to go to the grave, and there help would be
given her in trouble. Cinderella went off to the grave. When there,
what did she see? On the grave stood an open box, filled with all
manner of rich clothes, and on the lid were two pigeons, white as
snow. They said to her: 'Mary! take the clothes out, put them on,
and go to church, and we will pick up the millet and get the dinner
ready.' She put out her hands and took the upper ones, which were of
pure silk and satin, put them on, and went to church. In the church
people great and small marvelled at her beauty and her dress,
especially because no one recognised her or knew who or what she
was. Most of all did the emperor's son marvel at her, and never took
his eyes off her. When service was ended, she stole away and ran
quickly home, undressed immediately, and put the clothes in the box,
and the box immediately vanished from sight. She went to the
fireplace, and what did she see there? The millet picked up, dinner
ready--in one word, everything attended to! Soon afterwards, lo! her
stepmother came with her daughter from church, saw everything in
proper order, and was astounded.

Next Sunday, when she was about to go to church, taking a larger
dish of millet and scattering it on the ground, she threatened
Cinderella that she would kill her if she didn't pick it up and get
dinner ready. The stepmother went off with her daughter to church,
and Cinderella betook herself to the grave of the cow. On the grave
she found the two pigeons and the box with the dresses in it open.
They told her to dress herself and go to church, and they would pick
up the millet and get dinner ready. Taking a dress of pure silver,
she dressed herself and went off to church. Now everybody, small and
great, marvelled at her more than before, and the emperor's son did
not take his eyes off her for a moment. Service ended, she stole
off amidst the multitude and got away home. There she undressed, and
put the clothes in the box, and the box disappeared from sight. Soon
afterwards, lo! her stepmother came and looked about; the millet was
picked up, dinner was ready, and Cinderella was at the fireplace.
She was astonished at seeing so much work completed.

The third time her stepmother got ready to go to church, and before
she started, taking a dish of millet thrice as large, and scattering
it on the ground, she said to Cinderella: 'Cinderella, if you don't
pick up all this millet before we return from church, and if you
don't get dinner ready, go and hide yourself; don't come before my
eyes--I shall kill you.' Then she went off to church. After this
Cinderella went to the grave of the cow, and found there the box
open and the two pigeons upon it. They told her to dress herself and
go to church; they would pick up the millet and get the dinner
ready. Taking a dress of pure gold, she dressed herself and went to
church. There, when the people saw her, they marvelled, but no one
knew who or what she was. The emperor's son never took his eyes off
her, and planned, when service was over, to follow her closely, to
see whither she betook herself. Service ended, she stole off amidst
the crowd, hastening to get away before her stepmother; but as she
was pushing through the crowd, she lost one of her shoes, and the
emperor's son took it up. She escaped from among them with one shoe,
undressed very quickly, put the clothes in the box, and the box
vanished. She went home and looked in the cottage; the millet was
picked up, dinner was ready, and everything attended to. She sat
down at the fireplace, and, lo! her stepmother came and looked about
the cottage; everything was in order, the millet picked up, dinner
ready; she had nothing to find fault with her or scold her about.

The emperor's son left the people, disguised himself, took the
shoe, and went from cottage to cottage to try it on, to find out
whose it was; and wherever he went he made inquiries, and tried it
on the foot of every girl, but it did not fit one. For some it was
too large, and for others too small; for some too narrow, for others
too broad. At last he came to Cinderella's cottage. As soon as her
stepmother saw him, she concealed Cinderella under a trough. He
asked whether there was any girl in the house. She replied that
there was, and brought her daughter to him. He tried the shoe on
her, but it wouldn't even allow her toes to go in. He then asked
whether there wasn't another girl there, and she told him that there
wasn't. The cock had flown on to the trough, and when she told the
emperor's son that there was no other girl there, he crowed:
'Cock-a-doodle-doo! pretty girl under trough!' The stepmother
shrieked out: 'Shoo! eagles have brought you!'[13] But the emperor's
son, on hearing the cock say this, went up and took the trough off;
and there was, indeed, the girl that he had seen in the church with
those beautiful dresses, only on one foot she had no shoe. He tried
the shoe on her; it went on, and was exactly the same as that on the
other foot. Then the emperor's son took her by the hand, conducted
her to his court, married her, and punished her stepmother for her
evil heart.

    [13] Eagles are frequently supernatural messengers in Bulgarian
    tales. One might have expected, 'Eagles take you!' but it is as
    I have given it.


There was once upon a time an emperor who had three sons, and in his
yard a golden apple-tree, which flowered and ripened every night;
but somebody robbed it, and the emperor was utterly unable to
discover who the robber was. Once he was conversing with his sons,
and said to them: 'I do not know whither goes the fruit from our
apple-tree.' Then the eldest son answered him: 'I will go to-night
to see who takes it.' When it became dark, the eldest son did as he
had said: went out, and lay down under it. Well, when the apples
began to ripen in the course of the night, slumber overtook him, and
he fell asleep; and when he awoke at dawn he looked--but where were
the apples? Taken away! When he saw this, he went and related all to
his father just as it really happened. The second son said to his
father: 'I will go to-night to watch, that I may see who takes it.'
But he, too, watched it even as the first one. About the time when
the apples began to ripen, he fell asleep. When he woke up in the
morning, where were the apples? Taken away! Now came the turn of the
third and youngest brother. He went out at eventide under the
apple-tree, placed a sofa there, lay down, and went to sleep. About
midnight, when the apples began to ripen, he woke up and looked at
the apple-tree. It had just begun to ripen, and illuminated all the
yard from the brightness of its fruit. Just then up flew nine
peahens, eight of which settled upon the apple-tree, and the ninth
on the ground beside his sofa, and, as soon as she had alighted,
became a damsel, who shone with beauty like a bright sun. They
conversed together while the other eight were rifling the tree, and
when dawn came, she thanked him for the apples, and he begged her to
leave just one behind her. She gave him two--one for himself, and
one to take to his father--transformed herself into a peahen, and
flew away, followed by the other eight. In the morning the prince
rose up, and took one apple to his father, who did not know what to
do for joy, and commended him without ceasing. The next evening the
youngest prince went out again to watch the apple-tree, and as soon
as he had gone out, lay down as before, and watched it that night
also. In the morning he again brought his father an apple. This went
on for a few days, when his brothers began to envy him, because they
could not watch it, whereas he watched it successfully. They could
not make out how to discover the manner in which he watched the
apple-tree. So they sought out an old witch, who promised them to
find out how their young brother watched the apple-tree. At the
approach of evening, when the youngest prince was about to go out to
watch the apple-tree, the accursed witch stole out and went off
before him, lay down under his sofa, and there concealed herself.
The prince came, lay down without knowing that the old woman was
under his sofa, and went to sleep as previously. About midnight,
when the prince had just woke up, the nine peahens arrived; eight of
them settled on the tree, and the other on the ground beside his
sofa, transformed herself into a damsel, and they began to converse
together. While these were talking to each other, the accursed old
witch softly raised herself up, and cut off a piece of the damsel's
long hair. As soon as she felt this, the damsel sprang on one side,
transformed herself into a peahen, and flew away, with the other
eight behind her. The prince, on seeing this, sprang off his sofa,
and shouted: 'What is this?' He erelong espied the old woman under
the sofa, seized and hauled her from under it, and, when morning
came, ordered her to be fastened to the tails of two horses and torn
asunder. The peahens came no more to the apple-tree, and the prince
was much grieved on this account, and wept and mourned day after
day. At last he determined to go to seek them all over the world,
and went and told his father what his intention was, and his father
endeavoured to comfort him, and said: 'Stay, my son! I will find you
another damsel in my empire, such an one as you wish for.' But in
vain; he would not follow his father's advice, and made
preparations to go; took with him one of his servants, and went into
the world to find the peahen. When he had travelled a long time, he
came to a lake, in the midst of which was a rich palace, and in the
palace an aged empress, who had one daughter. The prince, on coming
to the old empress, asked her to tell him about the nine peahens, if
she knew about them; and the old woman replied that she did, and
that the nine peahens came daily to bathe in the lake. On telling
him this, she began to try to over-persuade him with these words:
'Never mind those nine peahens, my son. I have a handsome damsel,
and abundance of wealth--it will all remain yours.' But as soon as
the prince heard where the peahens were, he would not listen to her
talk, but in the morning ordered his servant to get the horses ready
to go to the lake. Before they started for the lake, the old woman
called his servant, bribed him, and gave him a little whistle,
saying to him: 'When the time approaches for the peahens to come to
the lake, do you secretly look out, and blow the whistle behind your
master's neck; he will immediately fall asleep, and will not see
them.' The accursed servant hearkened to her, took the whistle, and
did as the old woman told him. When they arrived at the shore of the
lake, he calculated the time when the peahens would arrive, blew the
whistle behind his master's neck, and he immediately fell as sound
asleep as if he were dead. Scarcely had he fallen asleep, when the
peahens arrived; eight of them settled on the lake, and the ninth
perched upon his horse, and began to try to awaken him: 'Arise, my
birdie! arise, my lamb! arise, my dove!' But he heard nothing, but
slept on as if dead. When the peahens had finished bathing, they all
flew away, and he awoke, and asked his servant: 'What is it? Did
they come?' The servant replied: 'They did come,' and told him how
eight of them settled on the lake, and the ninth on his horse, and
that she tried to wake him. When the unhappy prince heard this from
his servant, he was ready to kill himself from pain and anger. The
next morning they visited the shore of the lake again, but his
accursed servant calculated the time to blow the whistle behind his
neck, and he immediately fell asleep as if he were dead. Scarcely
had he fallen asleep, when the nine peahens arrived; eight settled
on the lake, and the ninth on his horse, and began to try to awake
him: 'Arise, my birdie! arise, my lamb! arise, my dove!' But he
slept on as if he were dead, hearing nothing. When the peahen failed
to wake him, and they were about to fly away again, the one which
had been trying to wake him turned and said to his servant: 'When
your master wakes, tell him that to-morrow it will once more be
possible for him to see us, but after that, never more.' On saying
this she took flight, and the others from the lake after her.
Scarcely had they flown away, when the prince awoke, and asked his
servant: 'Did they come?' He told him: 'They did come, and eight of
them settled on the lake, and the ninth on your horse, and tried to
wake you, but you slept soundly. As she departed, she told me to
tell you that you will see her here once again to-morrow, and never
more.' When the prince heard this, he was ready to kill himself in
his unhappiness, and did not know what to do for sorrow. On the
third day he got ready to go to the lake, mounted his horse, went to
the shore, and, in order not to fall asleep, kept his horse
continually in motion. But his wicked servant, as he followed him,
calculated the time, and blew the whistle behind his neck, and he
immediately leant forward on his horse and fell asleep. As soon as
he fell asleep, the nine peahens flew up; eight settled on the lake,
and the ninth on his horse, and endeavoured to wake him: 'Arise, my
birdie! arise, my lamb! arise, my dove!' But he slept as if he were
dead, and heard nothing. Then, when they were about to fly away
again, the one which had perched on his horse turned round, and said
to his servant: 'When your master wakes up, tell him to roll the
under peg on the upper, and then he will find me.'[14] Then she flew
off, and those from the lake after her. When they had flown away, he
awoke again, and asked his servant: 'Did they come?' He replied:
'They did; and the one that had perched on your horse told me to
tell you to roll the upper peg on the under one, and then you would
find her.' When the prince heard this, he drew his sword, and cut
off his servant's head. When he had done this, he started to travel
on alone. When he had travelled a long time, he came at dusk to the
cottage of a hermit, and lodged there for the night. In the evening
the prince asked the hermit: 'Grandfather, have you heard of nine
golden peahens?' The hermit answered: 'Yes, my son; you are
fortunate in having come to me to ask about them. They are not far
hence; it is not more than half a day's journey to them from here.'
In the morning, when the prince departed to seek them, the hermit
came out to accompany him, and said to him: 'Go to the right, and
you will find a large gate. When you enter that gate, turn to the
right, and then you will go right into their town, and in that town
is their palace.' He went on his way according to the hermit's
words, and went on till he came to that gate; then turned to the
right, and descried the town upon a hill. When he saw the town he
was much rejoiced. When he entered the town he inquired where the
palace of the nine peahens was. It was pointed out to him. At the
gate a watchman stopped him, and inquired whence and who he was. The
prince told him all, whence he was and who he was. After this the
watchman went off to announce him to the empress. When she heard it,
she ran breathless, and stood in the form of a damsel before him,
took him by the hand, and led him upstairs. Then the two rejoiced
together, and in a day or two were wedded.

    [14] I do not understand this expression. It is afterwards
    inverted by the servant. But it has no further bearing on the

When a few days had elapsed after their marriage, the empress
departed to go on a journey, and the prince remained alone. When she
was about to start, she took out and gave him the keys of twelve
cellars, and said to him: 'Open all the cellars, but do not have any
nonsense with the twelfth.' She went away. When the prince remained
alone in the palace, he bethought himself: 'What does this mean,
that I am to open all the cellars, but not to open the twelfth?
Glory to the Lord God! what can there be in it?' He then began to
open them one after the other. He came to the twelfth, and at first
would not open it; but as he had no occupation, he began to brood
and to say to himself: 'How can it be in this cellar that she told
me not to open it?' At last he opened it too, and found standing in
the midst of it a cask bound with iron hoops, and a voice out of it
was heard, saying: 'I pray you, brother--I am athirst for
water--give me a cup of water.' On hearing this voice, the prince
took a cup of water, and sprinkled it on the bung; and as soon as he
had sprinkled it, one of the hoops of the cask burst. The voice then
cried: 'Give me one more cup of water; I am athirst.' He took a cup
of water and sprinkled it on the bung; and as soon as he had done
so, another hoop burst on the cask. The voice then cried: 'I am
athirst; give me, brother, one more cup of water.' The prince took
another cup of water and poured it on the bung; but as soon as he
had finished pouring it, the third hoop of the cask burst, the cask
split asunder, and out of it flew a dragon, found the empress on her
way, and carried her off. Thus it happened, and the attendants came
and told their master that a dragon had carried the empress away.
Finally he set off to seek her in the world. When he had travelled a
long time, he came to a marsh, and in that marsh espied a little
fish, which was endeavouring to jump into the water, but was unable
to do so. This little fish, on seeing the prince, addressed itself
to him: 'I pray you, brother, do a good action: throw me into the
water; I shall some time be of use to you; only take a scale from
me, and when you are in want of me, rub it between your fingers.' On
hearing this he took a scale off it, threw the fish into the water,
put the scale into a handkerchief, and went on his way. When he had
gone a little further, he espied a fox caught in a trap. When the
fox saw him, it called out: 'I pray you, brother, let me out of this
trap; I shall some day be of use to you; only take one or two hairs
from my fur, and when I am wanted for you, rub them between your
fingers.' He let it out of the trap, took one or two hairs from it,
and went on his way. Thus he proceeded onwards, till, as he went, he
came to a hill, and found a crow caught in a trap just like the fox
before. As soon as the crow saw him, it cried out: 'I pray you, be a
brother to me, traveller; let me out of this trap; I shall some day
be of use to you; only take a feather or two from me, and when you
are in want of me, rub them between your fingers.' The prince took
one or two feathers from the crow, let it out of the trap, and then
went on his way. As he went on to find the empress, he met a man,
and asked him: 'I pray you, brother, do you not know where is the
palace of the dragon emperor?' The man showed him the way, and also
told him at what time he was at home, that he might find him. The
prince thanked him, and said: 'Farewell.' He then went on, and
gradually came to the palace of the dragon emperor. On his arrival
there he found his beloved, and when she saw him and he saw her,
they were both full of joy. Now they began to plan together how to
escape. Finally they agreed to saddle their horses and take to
flight. They saddled them, mounted, and off. When they had ridden
off, the dragon arrived and looked about, but the empress was not to
be found. 'Now what shall we do?' said the dragon to his horse.
'Shall we eat and drink, or pursue them?' The horse replied to him:
'Don't trouble yourself; eat and drink.' When he had dined, the
dragon mounted his horse and galloped after them, and in course of
time overtook them, and took the empress away, but said to the
prince: 'Go in safety; this time you are forgiven, because you gave
me water in the cellar; but do not come a second time if your life
is dear to you.' The poor prince remained as if thunderstricken,
then started and proceeded a little way; but as he could not
overcome his heart, he returned to the dragon's palace. There he
found the empress weeping. When they saw each other and met, they
began to consult how to get away so as to escape. Then said the
prince to the empress: 'When the dragon comes, ask him from whom he
bought that horse, and tell me, that I may obtain such another, that
we may escape.' After saying this to her he went out, that the
dragon might not find him on his arrival. When the dragon came, the
empress began to coax him and make herself agreeable to him, and
said to him: 'What a swift horse yours is! From whom did you buy
him? Tell me, I pray you.' He answered: 'Where I bought him nobody
can make a purchase. On a certain hill lives an old woman who has
twelve horses in her stable, such that you don't know which is
better than another. One of them is in the corner, and this one
looks skinny; but he is the best of all, and is brother of mine:
this one could fly to the sky. Whoever seeks to obtain a horse from
the old woman must serve her three days. The old woman has a mare
with a foal; whoever watches the mare successfully for three days,
to him the old woman gives the choice of whichever horse he wishes.
Whoever engages himself to watch the mare, and fails to watch her
successfully for three days and three nights, loses his life.' On
the morrow the dragon went away, and the prince came in. The empress
told him what the dragon had said. Then the prince started off and
went to the hill where the old woman was to be found. When he
entered her house, he said to her: 'Good-day, old woman!' The old
woman replied: 'The Lord give you prosperity, my son!' She said to
him: 'What brings you here, my son?' He replied: 'I should like to
take service with you.' The old woman said to him: 'Very good, my
son. I have a mare with a foal. If you watch her successfully for
three days, I will give you one of these twelve horses of mine to
take away, whichever you choose; but if you fail to watch her
successfully, I shall take off your head.' Then she took him into
the yard. In the yard post after post was fixed in the ground, and
on each was stuck a human head; only one remained vacant, and this
cried out continually: 'Old woman, give me a head!' When the old
woman had shown him all, she said: 'Know that all these engaged to
watch the mare and the foal, but were unable to watch her
successfully.' But the prince was in no wise terrified thereby. In
the afternoon he mounted the mare and galloped uphill and downhill,
and the foal galloped after her. Thus till midnight, and then, would
he nould he, sleep crept over him, and he fell asleep. When he woke
up at dawn his arms were round a stump instead of the mare, but he
held the halter in his hand. When he perceived this, the poor fellow
became dizzy from terror, and started off to look for her; and while
he was looking for her, came to a sheet of water, and when he came
to the water, he remembered the little fish, unfolded the
handkerchief, and took out the scale and rubbed it between his
fingers. Up sprang the little fish out of the water, and lay before
him. 'What is the matter, adopted brother?' said the fish. He
replied: 'The old woman's mare has escaped from me, and I don't know
where she is.' The fish said to him: 'Here she is amongst us; she
has transformed herself into a fish, and her foal into a little
fish; but do you flap the halter on the water, and call out: "Coop!
coop! old woman's mare!"' He flapped the water with the halter, and
called out: 'Coop! coop! old woman's mare!' and immediately she
transformed herself again into a mare, and, pop! there she was on
the brink of the water before him! He put the halter on her and
mounted her, and trot! trot! and at the old woman's. When he brought
her in, the old woman gave him his dinner, but led the mare into the
stable, scolded her, and said: 'Among the fish, good-for-nothing
rogue?' The mare replied: 'I was among the fish, but they told of
me, because they are his friends.' The old woman said to her: 'Go
among the foxes.' The second day he mounted the mare, and galloped
uphill and downhill, and the foal galloped after. Thus till
midnight. When it was about midnight sleep overcame him, and he fell
asleep upon the mare's back. At dawn, when he awoke, his arms were
round a stump, but he held the halter in his hand. When he perceived
this, he sprang off again to seek her. As he was seeking her, it
came at once into his head what the old woman had said to the mare
when she was leading it into the stable. Then he unwrapped the fox's
hairs out of the handkerchief, rubbed them between his fingers, and
the fox immediately jumped out before him. 'What is it, adopted
brother?' He replied: 'The old woman's mare has run away.' The fox
said to him: 'Here she is amongst us; she has become a fox, and the
foal a fox-cub. But do you flap the ground with the halter, and call
out: "Coop! coop! old woman's mare!"' He flapped and called, and the
mare leaped out before him. Then he caught her and put the halter on
her, mounted her, and rode to the old woman's. When he brought her
home, the old woman gave him his dinner, led the mare off to the
stable, and said: 'Among the foxes, good-for-nothing rogue?' The
mare replied: 'I was among them, but they are his friends, and told
of me.' The old woman said to her: 'Be among the crows.' The third
day the prince again mounted the mare, and galloped her uphill and
downhill, and the foal galloped after. Thus till midnight. About
midnight he became sleepy, and fell asleep, and woke up at dawn; but
his arms were round a stump, and he held the halter in his hand. As
soon as he perceived this, he darted off again to seek the mare, and
as he was seeking her, it came into his head what the old woman had
said the day before when scolding the mare. He took out the
handkerchief and unwrapped the crow's feathers, rubbed them between
his fingers, and, pop! the crow was before him. 'What is it, adopted
brother?' The prince replied: 'The old woman's mare has run away,
and I don't know where she is.' The crow answered: 'Here she is
amongst us; she has become a crow, and the foal a young crow. But
flap the halter in the air, and cry: "Coop! coop! old woman's
mare!"' He flapped the halter in the air, and cried: 'Coop! coop!
old woman's mare!' and the mare transformed herself from a crow into
a mare, just as she had been, and came before him. Then he put the
halter on her, and mounted her, and galloped off, the foal following
behind, to the old woman's. The old woman gave him his dinner,
caught the mare, led her into the stable, and said to her: 'Among
the crows, good-for-nothing rogue?' The mare replied: 'I was among
them, but they are his friends, and told of me.' Then when the old
woman came out, the prince said to her: 'Well, old woman, I have
served you honestly; now I ask you to give me that which we agreed
upon.' The old woman replied: 'My son, what is agreed upon must be
given. Here are twelve horses--choose whichever you please.' He
replied: 'Why shall I pick and choose? Give me that one where he is
in the corner; there is none better in my eyes.' Then the old woman
began to dissuade him: 'Why chose that skinny one when there are so
many good ones?' He then insisted once for all: 'Give me the one
which I ask, for such was our agreement.' The old woman twisted,
turned, and without more ado gave him the one which he asked for.
Then he mounted it, and 'Farewell, old woman!' 'Good-bye, my son!'
When he took it to a wood and groomed it, it glittered like gold.
Afterwards, when he mounted it and gave it its head, it flew, flew
like a bird, and in a jiffy arrived at the dragon's palace. As soon
as he entered the courtyard, he bade the empress to get ready for
flight. She was not long in getting ready; they both mounted the
horse and set off. They had not long started in flight when the
dragon arrived--looked about. No empress. Then he said to his horse:
'Shall we eat and drink, or shall we pursue?' 'Eat or not, drink or
not, pursue or not, you won't catch him.' When the dragon heard
this, he immediately mounted his horse, and started to pursue them.
When the prince and empress perceived that he was pursuing them,
they were terrified, and urged their horse to go quickly, but the
horse answered them: 'Never fear; there's no need to hurry.' The
dragon came trot, trot, and the horse he rode called to that which
bore the prince and the empress: 'Bless you, brother, wait! for I
shall break my wind from pursuing you.' The other replied: 'Whose
fault is it, if you're such a fool as to carry that spectre on your
back? Buck, and throw him on the ground, and then follow me.' When
the dragon's horse heard this, up with his head, a jump with his
hind-quarters, and bang went the dragon against a stone. The dragon
was smashed to pieces, and his horse followed the prince and
empress. Then the empress caught and mounted it, and they arrived
safe and sound in the empress's dominions, and reigned honourably as
long as they lived.


A certain man had a shepherd, who served him faithfully and honestly
for many years. This shepherd, when he was once upon a time
following the sheep, heard a whistling on the hill, and, not knowing
what it was, went off to see. When he got to the place, there was a
conflagration, and in the middle of it a serpent was squeaking. When
he saw this, he waited to see how the serpent would act, for all
around it was burning, and the fire had almost come close to it.
When the serpent saw him, it screamed: 'Dear shepherd, do a good
action: take me out of this fire.' The shepherd took pity on its
words, and reached it his crook, and it crawled out upon it. When it
had crawled out, it coiled itself round his neck. When the shepherd
saw this, he was frightened, and said: 'Indeed you are a wretch! Is
that the way you are going to thank me for rescuing you? So runs the
proverb: "Do good, and find evil."' The serpent answered him: 'Don't
fear: I shall do you no harm; only carry me to my father; my father
is the emperor of the serpents.' The shepherd begged pardon, and
excused himself: 'I can't carry you to your father, because I have
no one to leave in charge of my sheep.' The serpent said to him:
'Don't fear for your sheep; nothing will happen to them; only carry
me to my father, and go quickly.' Then there was no help for it, so
he started with it over the hill. When he came to a door, which was
formed of nothing but serpents intertwined, and went up to it, the
serpent which was coiled round his neck gave a whistle, and the
serpents, which had twined themselves into the form of a door,
immediately untwined, and made way for them to enter. As the
shepherd and the serpent entered the palace, the serpent called to
the shepherd: 'Stop! let me tell you something: when you come into
my father's palace, he will promise you what you desire, silver and
gold; but don't you accept anything, only ask him to give you such a
tongue that you will be able to understand all animals. He will not
give you this readily, but at last grant it you he will.' The
shepherd went with it into its father's palace, and its father, on
seeing it, shed tears, and asked it: 'Hey, my son, where have you
been till now?' It replied, and told him everything in order: what
had taken place, and how it had taken place, and how the shepherd
had rescued it. Then the emperor of the serpents turned to the
shepherd, and said to him: 'Come, my son, what do you wish me to
give you in recompense for rescuing my child?' The shepherd replied
to him: 'Nothing else, only give me such a tongue that I can
understand all animals.' The emperor of the serpents said to him:
'That is not a proper gift for you, my son, because, if I give you
anything of the kind, you will betray yourself in somebody's
presence by boasting of it, and then you will die immediately; ask
something else.' The shepherd replied to him: 'I wish for nothing
else. If you will give it me, give it; if not, farewell!' He turned
to go; but the emperor of the serpents cried out: 'Stay! Return! If
you ask this, come, that I may give it you. Open your mouth.' The
shepherd opened his mouth, and the emperor of the serpents spat into
it, and told him to spit also into his mouth. And thus they spat
thrice into each other's mouths. When this was done, the emperor of
the serpents said to the shepherd: 'Now you have the tongue which
you desired; go, and farewell! But it is not permitted you to tell
anybody, because, if you do, you will die. I am telling you the
truth.' The shepherd then departed. As he went over the hill, he
understood the conversation of the birds, and, so to speak, of
everything in the world. When he came to his sheep, he found them
correct in number, and sat down to rest. But scarcely had he lain
down, when two crows flew up, perched on a tree hard by him, and
began to converse in their language: 'If that shepherd knew that
just where that black lamb lies a vault full of silver and gold is
buried in the ground, he would take its contents.' When he heard
this, he went and told his master, and he brought a cart, and they
broke open the door of the vault, and took out its valuable
contents. His master was a righteous man, and said to him: 'Well, my
son, this is all yours; the Lord has given it you. Go, provide a
house, get married, and live comfortably.' The shepherd took the
property, went away, provided a house, got married, and lived very
comfortably. This shepherd, after a little time, became so rich and
prosperous that there was nobody richer than he in his own or the
neighbouring villages. He had shepherds, cowherds, swineherds,
grooms, and everything on a handsome scale. Once upon a time this
shepherd ordered his wife on New Year's Eve to provide wine, brandy,
and everything requisite, and to go the next morning to his cattle,
to take the provisions to the herdsmen, that they, too, might enjoy
themselves. His wife obeyed him, and did as her husband ordered her.

The next day they got up, got ready, and went. When they arrived
where the cattle were, the master said to his shepherds: 'Lads,
assemble together, and sit down to eat and drink your fill, and I
will watch the cattle to-night.' This was done; they assembled
together, and he went out to sleep by the cattle. In the course of
the night, after some time, the wolves began to howl and speak in
their language, and the dogs to bark and speak in theirs. The wolves
said: 'Can we capture any young cattle?' The dogs answered in their
language: 'Come in, that we, too, may eat our fill of flesh.' But
among the dogs there was one old dog, who had only two teeth left.
This dog spoke and answered the wolves: 'In faith, as long as these
two teeth of mine last, you shan't come near to do harm to my
master.' In the morning, when it dawned, the master called the
herdsmen, and told them to kill all the dogs except that old one.
His servants began to implore him: 'Don't, master! Why? It's a sin.'
But he said to them: 'Do just as I ordered you, and not otherwise.'

Then he and his wife mounted their horses and went off. His wife
rode a mare, and he a horse. As they went, the master's horse
outstripped the wife's mare, and began to say to her in their
language: 'Go quicker; why do you hang back?' The mare's reply in
defence of her lagging pace was so amusing that the man laughed out
loud, turned his head, and looked behind him with a smile. His wife
observed him smiling, whipped her mare to catch him up, and then
asked him to tell her why he smiled. He said to her: 'Well, suppose
I did? Something came into my head.' This answer did not satisfy
her, but she began to worry him to tell her why he smiled. He said
this and that to her to get out of it, but the more he said to get
out of it, the more did she worry him. At length he said to her
that, if he told her, he would die immediately. But she had no dread
of her husband's dying, and went on worrying him: 'There is no
alternative, but tell me you must.' When they got home, they
dismounted from their horses, and as soon as they had done so, her
husband ordered a grave to be dug for him. It was dug, and he lay
down in it, and said to his wife: 'Did you not press me to tell you
why I smiled? Come now, that I may tell you; but I shall die
immediately.' On saying this, he gave one more look round him, and
observed that the old dog had come from the cattle. Seeing this, he
told his wife to give him a piece of bread. She gave it him, but the
dog would not even look at it, but shed tears and wept; but the
cock, seeing it, ran up and began to peck it. The dog was angry, and
said: 'As if _you'd_ die hungry! Don't you see that our master is
going to die?' 'What a fool he is! Let him die! Whose fault is it?
I have a hundred wives. When I find a grain of millet, I call them
all to me, and finally eat it myself. If one of them gets cross at
this, I give her one or two pecks, and she lowers her tail; but this
man isn't equal to keeping one in order.' When the man heard the
cock say this, he jumped up at once out of the grave, seized a
stick, chased his wife over hill and dale, and at last settled her
completely, so that it never entered her head any more to ask him
why he smiled.


The Serbian is the most widely spread of the South Slavonic dialects,
being spoken not only in Serbia proper, but also in Bosnia,
Herzegovina, Croatia, Carniola, and a great part of South Hungary. It
has, like the Bulgarian, been affected by the old Thracian language,
but not to the same extent. The infinitive is very frequently
represented by _da_ with the finite verb. Szafarzik includes the whole
of the South Slavonic dialects, except the Bulgarian, under the common
name 'Illyrian,' and subdivides them into the three divisions of
Serbian, Croatian, and Carinthian-Slovenish.

The Serbian stories are generally good, particularly No. 40, which
may be compared with a very inferior variant in Grimm, 'The Golden
Bird.' No. 40 is one of the stories, the beauty of which set me to
work upon the present series of translations. In it is to be noticed
the _pobratimstvo_, or adoptive brotherhood, which plays so
important a part in Serbian life, and of which we have just had a
glimpse in the Bulgarian story, No. 38. No. 43 is a very good story,
containing novel and interesting incidents. In No. 44 it must be
observed that 'Fate' is represented as a man, for the converse
reason to that for which Death is represented as a woman in the
Moravian story, No 8. _Usud_ (Fate) is masculine, while _Smrt_
(Death) is feminine in Slavonic.

The Serbs possess actual epic poetry, of which an account is given
by Mr. Morfill ('Slavonic Literature,' pp. 154-162).


There was a man who had three sons--two intelligent, and one a
simpleton. This man's right eye was always laughing, while his left
eye was weeping and shedding tears. This man's sons agreed to go to
him one by one, and ask him why his right eye laughed and his left
eye shed tears.

Accordingly the eldest went to his father by himself, and asked him:
'Father, tell me truly what I am going to ask you. Why does your
right eye always laugh and your left eye weep?' His father gave him
no answer, but flew into a rage, seized a knife, and at him, and he
fled out of doors, and the knife stuck in the door. The other two
were outside, anxiously expecting their brother, and when he came
out, asked him what his father had said to him. But he answered
them: 'If you're not wiser than another, go, and you will hear.'

Then the middle brother went to his father by himself, and asked
him: 'Father, tell me truly what I am going to ask you. Why does
your right eye always laugh and your left weep?' His father gave him
no answer, but flew into a rage, seized a knife, and at him, and he
fled out of doors, and the knife stuck in the door. When he came out
to his brothers, his brothers asked him: 'Tell us, brother--so may
health and prosperity attend you!--what our father has said to you.'
He answered them: 'If you're not wiser than another, go, and you
will hear.' But this he said to his elder brother on account of the
simpleton, that he, too, might go to his father to hear and see.

Then the simpleton, too, went by himself to his father, and asked
him: 'Father, my two brothers won't tell me what you have said to
them; tell me why your right eye always laughs and your left eye
weeps?' His father immediately flew into a rage, seized a knife, and
brandished the knife to pierce him through; but as he was standing,
so he remained standing where he was, and wasn't frightened in the
least. When his father saw that, he came to him, and said: 'Well,
you're my true son, I will tell you; but those two are cowards. The
reason why my right eye laughs is, that I rejoice and am glad
because you children obey and serve me well. And why my left eye
weeps, it weeps on this account: I had in my garden a vine, which
poured forth a bucket of wine every hour, thus producing me
twenty-four buckets of wine every day and night. This vine has been
stolen from me, and I have not been able to find it, nor do I know
who has taken it or where it is. And for this reason my left eye
weeps, and will weep till I die, unless I find it.' When the
simpleton came out of doors, his brothers asked him what his father
had said, and he told them all in order.

Then they prepared a drinking bout for their father and the
domestics, and set out on their journey. On the journey they came to
a cross-road, and three ways lay before them. The two elder
consulted together, and said to their youngest brother, the
simpleton: 'Come, brother, let us each choose a road, and let each
go by himself and seek his fortune.' 'Yes, brothers,' answered the
simpleton; 'you choose each a road; I will take that which remains
to me.' The two elder took two roads which ran into each other,
started on their way, and afterwards met, came out into the road,
and said: 'Praise be to God that we're quit of that fool!' They then
sat down to take their dinner. Scarcely had they sat down to eat,
when up came a lame she-fox on three legs, which approached them,
fawning and begging to obtain something to eat. But as soon as they
saw the fox: 'Here's a fox,' said they; 'come, let us kill it.'
Then, stick in hand, and after it. The fox limped away in the best
fashion it could, and barely escaped from them. Meanwhile,
shepherd-dogs came to their wallet and ate up everything that they
had. When they returned to the wallet they had a sight to see.

The simpleton took the third road right on, and went forward till he
began to feel hungry. Then he sat down on the grass under a
pear-tree, and took bread and bacon out of his wallet to eat.
Scarcely had he sat down to eat, when, lo! that very same lame fox
which his two brothers had seen began to approach him, and to fawn
and beg, limping on three feet. He had compassion on it because it
was so lame, and said: 'Come, fox, I know that you are hungry, and
that it is hard lines for you that you have not a fourth foot.' He
gave it bread and bacon to eat, a portion for himself, and a portion
for the fox. When they had refreshed themselves a little, the fox
said to him: 'But, brother, tell me the truth: whither are you
going?' He said: 'Thus and thus: I have a father and us three
brothers; and one of my father's eyes always laughs, because we
serve him well, and the other eye weeps, because there has been
stolen from him a vine belonging to him, which poured forth a bucket
of wine every hour; and now I am going to ask people all over the
world whether someone cannot inform me about this vine, that I may
obtain it for my father, that his eye may not weep any longer.'

The fox said: 'Well, I know where the vine is; follow me.' He
followed the fox, and they came to a large garden. Then the fox
said: 'There is the vine of which you are in search; but it is
difficult to get to it. Do you now mark well what I am going to say
to you. In the garden, before the vine is reached, it is necessary
to pass twelve watches, and in each watch twelve warders. When the
warders are looking, you can pass them freely, because they sleep
with their eyes open. If they have their eyes closed, go not, for
they are awake, not sleeping, with their eyes closed. When you come
into the garden, there under the vine stand two shovels--one of
wood, and the other of gold. But mind you don't take the golden
shovel to dig up the vine, for the shovel will ring, and will wake
up the watch; the watch will seize you, and you may fare badly. But
take the wooden shovel, and with it dig up the vine, and, when the
watch is looking, come quietly to me outside, and you will have
obtained the vine.'

He went into the garden, arrived at the first watch; the warders
directed their eyes towards him; one would have thought they would
have looked him to powder. But he went past them as past a stone,
came to the second, third, and all the watches in succession, and
arrived in the garden at the vine itself. The vine poured forth a
bucket of wine every hour. He was too lazy to dig with the wooden
shovel, but took the golden one, and as soon as he struck it into
the ground, the shovel rang and woke the watch; the watch assembled,
seized him, and delivered him to their lord.

The lord asked the simpleton: 'How did you dare to pass so many
watches, and come into the garden to take my vine away?' The
simpleton said: 'It is not your vine, but my father's; and my
father's left eye weeps, and will weep till I obtain him the vine,
and I must do it; and if you don't give me my father's vine, I shall
come again, and the second time I shall take it away.' The lord
said: 'I cannot give you the vine. But if you procure me the golden
apple-tree which blooms, ripens, and bears golden fruit every
twenty-four hours, I will give it you.'

He went out to the fox, and the fox asked him: 'Well, how is it?'
He answered: 'No how. I went past the watch, and began to dig up the
vine with the wooden shovel; but it was too long a job, and I took
the golden shovel; the shovel rang and woke the watch; the watch
seized me, and delivered me to their lord, and the lord promised to
give me the vine, if I procured him the golden apple-tree which,
every twenty-four hours, blooms, ripens, and bears golden fruit.'
The fox said: 'But why did you not obey me? You see how nice it
would have been to go to your father with the vine.' He shook his
head: 'I see that I have done wrong; but I will do so no more.' The
fox said: 'Come! now let us go to the golden apple-tree.' The fox
led him to a far handsomer garden than the first one, and told him
that he must pass similarly through twelve similar watches. 'And
when you come in the garden,' said she, 'to where the golden
apple-tree is, two very long poles stand there--one of gold, and the
other of wood. Don't take the golden one to beat the golden
apple-tree, for the golden branch will emit a whistling sound, and
will wake the watch, and you will fare ill; but take the wooden pole
to beat the golden apple-tree, and then mind you come out
immediately to me. If you do not obey me, I will not help you
further.' He said: 'I will, fox, only that it may be mine to acquire
the golden apple-tree to purchase the vine; I am impatient to go to
my father.' He went into the garden, and the fox stayed waiting for
him outside. He passed the twelve watches, and also arrived at the
apple-tree. But when he saw the apple-tree, and the golden apples on
the apple-tree, he forgot for joy where he was, and hastily took the
golden pole to beat the golden apple-tree. As soon as he had
stripped a golden branch with the pole, the golden branch emitted a
whistling sound, and woke the watch; the watch hastened up, seized
and delivered him to the lord of the golden apple-tree.

The lord asked the simpleton: 'How did you dare, and how were you
able, to go into my garden in face of so many watches of mine, to
beat the golden apple-trees?' The simpleton said: 'Thus and thus: my
father's left eye weeps because a vine has been stolen from him,
which poured forth a bucket of wine every hour. That vine is kept in
such and such a garden, and the lord of the garden and the vine said
to me: "If you procure me the golden apple-tree which, every
twenty-four hours, blooms, ripens, and produces golden fruit, I will
give you the vine." And, therefore, I have come to beat the golden
apple-tree, to give the apple-tree for the vine, and to carry the
vine to my father, that his left eye may not weep. And if you do not
give me the golden apple-tree now, I shall come again to steal it.'

The lord said: 'It is good, if it is so. Go you and procure me the
golden horse which, in twenty-four hours, goes over the world, and I
will give you the golden apple-tree; give the apple-tree for the
vine, and take the vine to your father, that he may weep no more.'

Then he went outside, and the fox, awaiting him, said: 'Now, then;
how is it?' 'Not very well. The golden apple-trees are so beautiful
that you can't look at them for beauty. I forgot myself, and
couldn't take the wooden pole, as you told me, but took the golden
pole to beat the golden apple-tree; the branch emitted a whistling
sound, and woke the watch; the watch seized me, and delivered me to
their lord, and the lord told me, if I procured him the golden horse
which goes over the world in twenty-four hours, he would give me the
golden apple-tree, that I may give the apple-tree for the vine to
take to my father, that he may weep no more.'

Again the fox began to scold and reproach him: 'Why did you not obey
me? You see that you would have been by now at your father's. And
thus you torment both yourself and me.' He said to the fox: 'Only
procure me the horse, fox, and I will always henceforth obey you.'

The fox led him to a large and horrible forest, and in the forest
they found a farmyard. In this farmyard twelve watches, as in the
case of the vine and the apple-tree, guarded the golden horse. The
fox said: 'Now you will pass the watches as before; go if they are
looking; do not go if they have their eyes shut. When you enter the
stable, there stands the golden horse, equipped with golden
trappings. By the horse are two bridles--one of gold, and the other
plaited of tow. Mind you don't take the golden bridle, but the one
of tow; if you bridle him with the golden bridle, the horse will
neigh and will wake the watch; the watch will seize you, and who
will be worse off than you? Don't come into my sight without the
horse!' 'I won't, fox,' said he, and went. He passed all the
watches, and entered the stable where the horse was. When he was
there, golden horse! golden wings! so beautiful, good heavens! that
you couldn't look at them for beauty! He saw the golden bridle; it
was beautiful and ornamented; he saw also that of tow; it was dirty,
and couldn't be worse. Now he thought long what to do and how to do.
'I can't put that nasty thing' (the tow bridle)--'it's so nasty!--on
that beauty; I had rather not have him at all than put such a horse
to shame.' He took the golden bridle, bridled the golden horse, and
mounted him. But the horse neighed, and woke the watch; the watch
seized him and delivered him to their lord.

Then the lord said: 'How did you have resolution to pass my numerous
warders into my stable to take away my golden horse?' The simpleton
replied: 'Need drove me; I have a father at home, and his left eye
continually weeps, and will weep till I obtain for him a vine which
in a day and night poured forth twenty-four buckets of wine; this
vine has been stolen from him. Well, I have found it, and it has
been told me that I shall obtain the vine if I procure the golden
apple-tree for the lord of the vine. And the lord of the golden
apple-tree said if I procured him the golden horse, he would give me
the golden apple-tree. And I came from him to take away the golden
horse, that I might give the golden horse for the golden apple-tree,
and the golden apple-tree for the vine, to take it home and give it
my father, that he may weep no more.' The lord said: 'Good; if it is
so, I will give you my golden horse, if you procure me the golden
damsel in her cradle, who has never yet seen either the sun or the
moon, so that her face is not tanned.' And the simpleton said: 'I
will procure you the golden damsel, but you must give me your golden
horse, on which to seek the golden damsel and bring her to you. And
a golden horse properly appertains to a golden damsel.' The lord:
'And how will you guarantee that you will return to me again?' The
simpleton: 'Behold, I swear to you by my father's eyesight, that I
will return to you again, and either bring the horse, if I do not
find the damsel, or give you the damsel, if I find her, for the
horse.' To this the lord agreed, and gave him the golden horse; he
bridled it with the golden bridle, and came outside to the fox. The
fox was impatiently expecting him, to know what had happened.

The fox: 'Well, have you obtained the horse?' The simpleton: 'I
have, but on condition that I procure for him the golden damsel in
her cradle, who has never yet seen the sun or the moon, so that her
face is not tanned. But if you know what need is, good friend, in
the world, say whether she is anywhere, and whether you know of such
a damsel.' The fox said: 'I know where the damsel is; only follow
me.' He followed, and they came to a large cavern. Now the fox said:
'There the damsel is. You will go into that cavern, deep into the
earth. You will pass the watches as before. In the last chamber lies
the golden damsel in a golden cradle. By the damsel stands a huge
spectre, which says: "No! No! No!" Now, don't be at all afraid; it
cannot do anything to you in any wise; but her wicked mother has
placed it beside her daughter, that no one may venture to approach
her to take her away. And the damsel is impatiently waiting to be
released and freed from her mother's cruelty. When you come back
with the damsel in the cradle, push all the doors to behind you,
that they may be shut, that the watch may not be able to come out
after you in pursuit.' He did so. He passed all the watches, entered
the last chamber, and in the chamber was the damsel, rocking herself
in a golden cradle, and on the way to the cradle stood a huge
spectre, which said: 'No! No! No!' But he paid no attention to it.
He took the cradle in his hands, seated himself with the cradle on
the horse, and proceeded, pushed the doors to, and the doors closed
from the first to the last, and out he flew with the damsel in the
cradle before the fox. The fox was anxiously expecting him.

Now the fox said to him: 'Are you not sorry to give so beautiful a
damsel for the golden horse? But you will not otherwise be able to
acquire the golden horse, because you have sworn by your father's
eyesight. But come! let me try whether I can't be the golden
damsel.' She bounded hither and thither, and transformed herself
into a golden damsel; everything about her was damsel-like, only her
eyes were shaped like a fox's eyes. He put her into the golden
cradle, and left the real damsel under a tree to take charge of the
golden horse. He went, he took away the golden cradle, and in the
cradle the fox-damsel, delivered her to the lord of the golden
horse, and absolved himself from the oath by his father's eyesight.
He returned to the horse and the damsel. Now that same lord of the
golden horse, full of joy at acquiring the golden damsel, assembled
all his lordship, prepared a grand banquet for their entertainment,
and showed them what he had acquired in exchange for his golden
horse. While the guests were gazing at the damsel, one of them
scrutinized her attentively, and said: 'All is damsel-like, and she
is very beautiful, but her eyes are shaped like a fox's eyes.' No
sooner had he said this, when up sprang the fox and ran away. The
lord and the guests were enraged that he had said 'fox's eyes,' and
put him to death.

The fox ran to the simpleton, and on they went to give the golden
horse for the golden apple-tree. They arrived at the place. Here
again the fox said: 'Now, you see, you have got possession of the
golden damsel, but the golden horse properly appertains to the
golden damsel. Are you sorry to give the golden horse?' 'Yes, fox;
but though I am sorry, yet I wish my father not to weep.' The fox:
'But stay; let me try whether I can be the golden horse.' She
bounded hither and thither, and transformed herself into a golden
horse, only she had a fox's tail. Then she said: 'Now lead me; let
them give you the golden apple-tree, and I know when I shall come to

He led off the fox-horse, delivered it to the lord of the golden
apple-tree, and obtained the golden apple-tree. Now, the lord of the
golden apple-tree was delighted at having acquired so beautiful a
horse, and invited his whole lordship to a feast, to boast to them
what a horse he had acquired. The guests began to gaze at the horse,
and to wonder how beautiful he was. All at once one scrutinized his
tail attentively, and said: 'All is beautiful and all pleases me,
only I should say that it is a fox's tail!' The moment he said that,
the fox jumped up and ran away. But the guests were enraged at him
for using the expression 'fox's tail,' and put him to death. The
fox came to the simpleton, and proceeded with the golden damsel, the
horse, and the golden apple-tree to the vine.

Now again the fox said: 'You see, now you have acquired the golden
apple-tree. But the golden damsel is not appropriate without the
golden horse, or the golden horse without the golden apple-tree. Are
you sorry to give the golden apple-tree?' The simpleton: 'Yes, fox;
but I must, to obtain the vine, that my father may not weep. I had
rather that my father did not weep than all that I have.' The fox
said: 'Stay! I will try whether I can be the golden apple-tree.' She
bounded hither and thither, and transformed herself into a golden
apple-tree, and told him to take it away and give it for the vine.
He took off the golden fox-apple-tree, and gave it to the lord of
the vine, obtained the vine, and went away.

The lord for joy assembled his whole lordship, and prepared a grand
feast, to display what a golden apple-tree he had acquired. The
guests assembled and began to gaze at the apple-tree. But one
scrutinized it attentively, and said: 'All is beautiful, and cannot
be more beautiful, only the fruit is in shape a fox's head, and not
like other apples.' No sooner had he said this when up jumped the
fox and ran away. But they were enraged at him and slew him, because
he had said 'fox's head.'

Now the simpleton took leave of the fox and went home, having with
him the golden damsel, the golden horse, the golden apple-tree, and
the vine. When he arrived at the cross-road, where he had parted
from his brothers when he went from home to seek the vine, he saw a
multitude of people assembled, and he, too, went thither to see what
was the matter. When he got there, his two brothers were standing
condemned, and the people were going to hang them. He told the
damsel that they were his brothers, and that he would like to
ransom them. The damsel took a large quantity of treasure out of her
bosom, and he ransomed his brothers, the malefactors, who had
thought to acquire the vine by slaying, burning, and plundering.
They envied him, but could not help themselves. They proceeded home.
The simpleton planted the vine in the garden where it had been; the
vine began to pour forth wine, and his father's left eye ceased to
weep and began to laugh. The apple-tree began to blossom, the golden
horse to neigh, the damsel to sing, and there was love and beauty at
the farmhouse. Everything was merry, everything was rejoicing and
making progress.

All at once the father sent his sons to bring him from the country
three ears of rye, that he might see what manner of season it would
be. When they came to a well in the country, they told their
simpleton brother to get them some water to drink. He stooped over
the well to reach the water for them; they pushed him into the water
and he was drowned. Immediately the vine ceased to pour forth wine,
the father's eye began to weep, the apple-tree drooped, the horse
ceased to neigh, the damsel began to weep, and everything lost its
cheerful appearance. Thereupon that self-same lame fox came up, got
down into the well, gently drew her adopted brother out, poured the
water out of him, placed him on the fresh grass, and he revived. As
soon as he revived the fox was transformed into a very beautiful
damsel. Then she related to him how her mother had cursed her
because she had rescued her greatest enemy from death. She was
cursed, and was transformed into a cunning fox, and limped on three
feet until she should rescue her benefactor from a watery death.
'And, lo! I have rescued you, my adopted brother. Now, adieu!' She
went her way, and the simpleton his way to his father, and when he
arrived at the farmhouse the vine began again to pour forth wine,
his father's eye to laugh [the golden apple-tree to bloom], the
golden horse to neigh, and the golden damsel to sing. He told his
father what his brothers had done to him on the way, and how a
damsel had rescued him and freed herself from a curse. When his
father heard this he drove the two villains into the world. But he
married the simpleton to the golden damsel, with whom he lived long
in happiness and content.


There was an old man who had three sons and one daughter. When the
time came for the old man to die, he summoned all his three sons,
and made them promise under oath to give their sister to the first
who came to ask for her, whoever he might be. When some time had
elapsed after the father's death, an old man arrived in a
two-wheeler, and asked for the maiden in marriage. The two elder
brothers would not give her to him immediately, because he was old
and poor; but the youngest insisted that they should give her to
him, reminding them of the oath they had sworn to their father. And
so they gave her in marriage to the old man, and the old man took
her away to his home. After some time, the elder brother went on a
visit to his sister. When he got there, it was a large house, and
couldn't be better. The sister was greatly delighted when she saw
her brother, and when he inquired of her how she was getting on, she
replied: 'Excellently; it can't be better.' When the brother arrived
at his sister's, the old man was not at home, but soon afterwards
arrived, and was very pleased when he saw his wife's brother, and
said to him: 'We will feast and be merry; but first you shall go on
my horse to fetch him some grass, but you must cut it where the
horse paws with his foot, and not where you please.' His wife's
brother said to him: 'Good! brother-in-law, I will.' He then mounted
the horse and went off. As on he went, he came to a silver bridge.
When he espied the bridge and saw that it was all of silver, he
became covetous, dismounted, and pulled off a silver plate, saying:
'I may benefit myself.' Afterwards he cut grass where he pleased,
without waiting till the horse pawed with his foot, mounted the
horse again, and returned back. On arriving at the house, he put the
horse in the stable, placed the grass before him, and went off into
the house. When he arrived in the house, the old man asked him
whether he had satisfied the horse, and whether the horse was eating
the grass. He replied, 'Yes,' and that the horse was eating. The old
man said: 'It is good that I also look.' He then went into the
stable. When he got there, the horse had not touched it. The old man
understood that the grass had not been cut where he had told him; he
therefore at once sent off his brother-in-law supperless, to go back
whence he had come. On reaching home, he didn't tell his brothers
how he had fared at his brother-in-law's, but said to the middle
brother: 'Our brother-in-law salutes you, and wishes you to go to be
his guest.' After some time, the middle brother went on a visit to
his sister; but he, too, fared even as the first one. His sister's
husband sent him, too, for grass, and when he got to the silver
bridge, he, too, became covetous, like the first, pulled off a
silver plate, and did not cut the grass as his brother-in-law told
him, but where he thought fit. When he came back to his
brother-in-law's house, his brother-in-law caught him, too, out in a
lie, and sent him home supperless, like the first one. When he got
home, he told nobody how he had fared at his brother-in-law's, but
said to the youngest brother: 'Our brother-in-law salutes you, and
wishes you to go to visit him.'

After some time, the youngest brother, too, went off. When his
sister espied him, she said to him: 'Only, brother, be sure not to
do as our two brothers have done.' He didn't know what they had
done, and his sister would not tell him anything more. When his
sister's husband came home, he, too, was delighted with his wife's
brother, and said to him: 'We will feast and be merry, only go first
on my horse and fetch him some grass; but you will cut it there
where the horse paws with his foot, and not where you please.' He
mounted the horse and went off for the grass. When he arrived at the
bridge, he was astonished at its beauty, but was quite sorry that it
hadn't those two plates; and when he came to the middle, he looked
on one side and the other, and saw under it, where water was
bubbling in a huge caldron, and human heads boiling in it, and
eagles pecking them from above. Afterwards, having passed over the
bridge, he came to a village, and, as he passed through it, saw that
there everything was sad and sorrowful, and wondered thereat, and
asked a man: 'How is this, brother, that all is so sorrowful with
you?' He replied: 'How should it not be sorrowful, when hail smites
us every hour, and we have nothing.' When he came out of the
village, he found two pigs on the road, and they were fighting
without ceasing. He tried to part them, but in vain, and, being
unable to part them, went on further. Thus proceeding, he came to
another village, and, as he went through, heard on all sides singing
and merriment, and said to someone: 'I went through one village and
found everything sorrowful, and why is all so merry with you?' The
villager answered him: 'Why should it not be so, when every hour is
productive to us, and we have all in abundance?' Finally, the horse
carried him to a very beautiful meadow. When they were in the middle
of the meadow, the horse stood still and pawed with his foot, and he
dismounted and cut grass, and returned back to the house. When he
got to the house, he led the horse into the stable, laid the grass
before him, and the horse immediately began to eat. When his
sister's husband saw that he had satisfied the horse, he was very
pleased, and said to him: 'You are my true brother-in-law; now let
us be merry and feast.' Then they sat down to table and began to
sup. At supper the old man said to him: 'Now, tell me what you have
seen.' He answered him: 'Oh, my brother-in-law! what I have seen
cannot be expressed. First I saw a very beautiful silver bridge, but
it was disfigured where it wanted a pair of plates. Whoever took
these away, the living God hath slain him!' The old man thereupon
told him: 'Your two brothers stole them. As they have done, so have
they fared. But tell me what you saw next.' His wife's brother
replied: 'At the middle under the bridge I saw a huge caldron, where
it was bubbling, and in it the heads of dead people, and eagles were
pecking them from above.' Thereupon his sister's husband said:
'Those are the eternal torments in that world. What did you see
more?' His wife's brother continued: 'I saw a village, and in it
everything miserable.' The old man said to him: 'There there is no
union and no truth, nor knowledge of God. What did you see further?'
His wife's brother said to him further: 'I saw two pigs fighting
without ceasing.' His sister's husband replied: 'Those are two
brothers who do not live in concord. What did you see further?' 'I
saw another village, and in it all was cheerful.' His sister's
husband said to that: 'Those are people after God's will; they
gladly welcome and entertain everybody, and do not drive the poor
empty-handed from before their houses. Tell me what you saw
further.' His wife's brother said to him: 'I saw a very beautiful
meadow. I would stay there three days to view such beauty.' His
sister's husband replied: 'That is the paradise of that world, but
it is difficult to attain to it.' After this they enjoyed each
other's society for many days. Finally, the wife's brother declared
that he must go home, and his sister's husband presented him with a
large gift, and told him that he recognised him immediately for an
honourable man, because he had insisted that his father's
directions, which he had sworn to observe, should be carried out,
and that he would be prosperous, and his two brothers unprosperous.

       *       *       *       *       *

N.B.--There are two words for 'brother-in-law' in Servian: _shura_,
the wife's brother, and _zet_, the sister's husband. This makes the
tale read better in Servian than in English.


There was a man who was very poor, but so well supplied with
children that he was utterly unable to maintain them, and one
morning more than once prepared to kill them, in order not to see
their misery in dying from hunger, but his wife prevented him. One
night a child came to him in his sleep, and said to him: 'Man! I see
that you are making up your mind to destroy and to kill your poor
little children, and I know that you are distressed thereat; but in
the morning you will find under your pillow a mirror, a red
kerchief, and an embroidered pocket-handkerchief; take all three
secretly and tell nobody; then go to such a hill; by it you will
find a stream; go along it till you come to its fountain-head; there
you will find a damsel as bright as the sun, with her hair hanging
down over her back, and without a scrap of clothing. Be on your
guard, that the ferocious she-dragon do not coil round you; do not
converse with her if she speaks; for if you converse with her, she
will poison you, and turn you into a fish, or something else, and
will then devour you; but if she bids you examine her head, examine
it, and as you turn over her hair, look, and you will find one hair
as red as blood; pull it out and run back again; then, if she
suspects and begins to run after you, throw her first the
embroidered pocket-handkerchief, then the kerchief, and, lastly, the
mirror; then she will find occupation for herself. And sell that
hair to some rich man; but don't let them cheat you, for that hair
is worth countless wealth; and you will thus enrich yourself and
maintain your children.'

When the poor man awoke, he found everything under his pillow, just
as the child had told him in his sleep; and then he went to the
hill. When there, he found the stream, went on and on alongside of
it, till he came to the fountain-head. Having looked about him to
see where the damsel was, he espied her above a piece of water, like
sunbeams threaded on a needle, and she was embroidering at a frame
on stuff, the threads of which were young men's hair. As soon as he
saw her, he made a reverence to her, and she stood on her feet and
questioned him: 'Whence are you, unknown young man?' But he held his
tongue. She questioned him again: 'Who are you? Why have you come?'
and much else of all sorts; but he was as mute as a stone, making
signs with his hands, as if he were deaf and wanted help. Then she
told him to sit down on her skirt. He did not wait for any more
orders, but sat down, and she bent down her head to him, that he
might examine it. Turning over the hair of her head, as if to
examine it, he was not long in finding that red hair, and separated
it from the other hair, pulled it out, jumped off her skirt and ran
away back as he best could. She noticed it, and ran at his heels
full speed after him. He looked round, and seeing that she was about
to overtake him, threw, as he was told, the embroidered
pocket-handkerchief on the way, and when she saw the
pocket-handkerchief, she stooped and began to overhaul it in every
direction, admiring the embroidery, till he had got a good way off.
Then the damsel placed the pocket-handkerchief in her bosom, and ran
after him again. When he saw that she was about to overtake him, he
threw the red kerchief, and she again occupied herself, admiring and
gazing, till the poor man had again got a good way off. Then the
damsel became exasperated, and threw both the pocket-handkerchief
and the kerchief on the way, and ran after him in pursuit. Again,
when he saw that she was about to overtake him, he threw the mirror.
When the damsel came to the mirror, the like of which she had never
seen before, she lifted it up, and when she saw herself in it, not
knowing that it was herself, but thinking that it was somebody else,
she, as it were, fell in love with herself in the mirror, and the
man got so far off that she was no longer able to overtake him. When
she saw that she could not catch him, she turned back, and the man
reached his home safe and sound. After arriving at his home, he
showed his wife the hair, and told her all that had happened to him,
but she began to jeer and laugh at him. But he paid no attention to
her, and went to a town to sell the hair. A crowd of all sorts of
people and merchants collected round him; one offered a sequin,
another two, and so on, higher and higher, till they came to a
hundred gold sequins. Just then the emperor heard of the hair,
summoned the man into his presence, and said to him that he would
give him a thousand sequins for it, and he sold it to him. What was
the hair? The emperor split it in two from top to bottom, and found
registered in it in writing many remarkable things, which had
happened in the olden time since the beginning of the world. Thus
the man became rich and lived on with his wife and children. And
that child, that came to him in his sleep, was an angel sent by the
Lord God, whose will it was to aid the poor man, and to reveal
secrets which had not been revealed till then.


There was an emperor who had three sons. One day the eldest son went
out hunting, and when he got outside the town, up sprang a hare out
of a bush, and he after it, and hither and thither, till the hare
fled into a water-mill, and the prince after it. But it was not a
hare, but a dragon, and it waited for the prince and devoured him.
When several days had elapsed and the prince did not return home,
people began to wonder why it was that he was not to be found. Then
the middle son went hunting, and as he issued from the town, a hare
sprang out of a bush, and the prince after it, and hither and
thither, till the hare fled into the water-mill and the prince after
it; but it was not a hare, but a dragon, which waited for and
devoured him. When some days had elapsed and the princes did not
return, either of them, the whole court was in sorrow. Then the
third son went hunting, to see whether he could not find his
brothers. When he issued from the town, again up sprang a hare out
of a bush, and the prince after it, and hither and thither, till the
hare fled into the water-mill. But the prince did not choose to
follow it, but went to find other game, saying to himself: 'When I
return I shall find you.' After this he went for a long time up and
down the hill, but found nothing, and then returned to the
water-mill; but when he got there, there was only an old woman in
the mill. The prince invoked God in addressing her: 'God help you,
old woman!' The old woman replied: 'God help you, my son!' Then the
prince asked her: 'Where, old woman, is my hare?' She replied: 'My
son, that was not a hare, but a dragon. It kills and throttles many
people.' Hearing this, the prince was somewhat disturbed, and said
to the old woman: 'What shall we do now? Doubtless my two brothers
also have perished here.' The old woman answered: 'They have
indeed; but there's no help for it. Go home, my son, lest you follow
them.' Then he said to her: 'Dear old woman, do you know what? I
know that you will be glad to liberate yourself from that pest.' The
old woman interrupted him: 'How should I not? It captured me, too,
in this way, but now I have no means of escape.' Then he proceeded:
'Listen well to what I am going to say to you. Ask it whither it
goes and where its strength is; then kiss all that place where it
tells you its strength is, as if from love, till you ascertain it,
and afterwards tell me when I come.' Then the prince went off to the
palace, and the old woman remained in the water-mill. When the
dragon came in, the old woman began to question it: 'Where in God's
name have you been? Whither do you go so far? You will never tell me
whither you go.' The dragon replied: 'Well, my dear old woman, I do
go far.' Then the old woman began to coax it: 'And why do you go so
far? Tell me where your strength is. If I knew where your strength
is, I don't know what I should do for love; I would kiss all that
place.' Thereupon the dragon smiled and said to her: 'Yonder is my
strength, in that fireplace.' Then the old woman began to fondle and
kiss the fireplace, and the dragon on seeing it burst into a laugh,
and said to her: 'Silly old woman, my strength isn't there; my
strength is in that tree-fungus in front of the house.' Then the old
woman began again to fondle and kiss the tree, and the dragon again
laughed, and said to her: 'Away, old woman! my strength isn't
there.' Then the old woman inquired: 'Where is it?' The dragon began
to give an account in detail: 'My strength is a long way off, and
you cannot go thither. Far in another empire under the emperor's
city is a lake, in that lake is a dragon, and in the dragon a boar,
and in the boar a pigeon, and in that is my strength.' The next
morning when the dragon went away from the mill, the prince came to
the old woman, and the old woman told him all that she had heard
from the dragon. Then he left his home, and disguised himself; he
put shepherd's boots on his feet, took a shepherd's staff in his
hand, and went into the world. As he went on thus from village to
village, and from town to town, at last he came into another empire
and into the imperial city, in a lake under which the dragon was. On
going into the town, he began to inquire who wanted a shepherd. The
citizens told him that the emperor did. Then he went straight to the
emperor. After he announced himself, the emperor admitted him into
his presence, and asked him: 'Do you wish to keep sheep?' He
replied: 'I do, illustrious crown!' Then the emperor engaged him,
and began to inform and instruct him: 'There is here a lake, and
alongside of the lake very beautiful pasture, and when you call the
sheep out, they go thither at once, and spread themselves round the
lake; but whatever shepherd goes off there, that shepherd returns
back no more. Therefore, my son, I tell you, don't let the sheep
have their own way and go where _they_ will, but keep them where
_you_ will.' The prince thanked the emperor, got himself ready, and
called out the sheep, taking with him, moreover, two hounds that
could catch a boar in the open country, and a falcon that could
capture any bird, and carrying also a pair of bagpipes. When he
called out the sheep he let them go at once to the lake, and when
the sheep arrived at the lake, they immediately spread round it, and
the prince placed the falcon on a stump, and the hounds and bagpipes
under the stump, then tucked up his hose and sleeves, waded into the
lake, and began to shout 'Dragon! dragon! come out to single combat
with me to-day that we may measure ourselves together, unless you're
a woman.'[15] The dragon called out in reply, 'I will do so now,
prince--now!' Erelong, behold the dragon! it is large, it is
terrible, it is disgusting! When the dragon came out, it seized him
by the waist, and they wrestled a summer day till afternoon. But
when the heat of afternoon came on, the dragon said: 'Let me go,
prince, that I may moisten my parched head in the lake, and toss you
to the sky.' But the prince replied: 'Come, dragon, don't talk
nonsense; if I had the emperor's daughter to kiss me on the
forehead, I would toss you still higher.' Thereupon the dragon
suddenly let go of him, and went off into the lake. On the approach
of evening, he washed and got himself up nicely, placed the falcon
on his arm, the hounds behind him, and the bagpipes under his arm,
then drove the sheep and went into the town playing on the bagpipes.
When he arrived at the town, the whole town assembled as to see a
wondrous sight because he had come, whereas previously no shepherd
had been able to come from the lake. The next day the prince got
ready again, and went with his sheep straight to the lake. But the
emperor sent two grooms after him to go stealthily and see what he
did, and they placed themselves on a high hill whence they could
have a good view. When the shepherd arrived, he put the hounds and
bagpipes under the stump and the falcon upon it, then tucked up his
hose and sleeves, waded into the lake and shouted: 'Dragon, dragon!
come out to single combat with me, that we may measure ourselves
once more together, unless you are a woman!' The dragon replied: 'I
will do so, prince; now, now!' Erelong, behold the dragon! it was
large, it was terrible, it was disgusting! And it seized him by the
waist and wrestled with him a summer's day till afternoon. But when
the afternoon heat came on, the dragon said: 'Let me go, prince,
that I may moisten my parched head in the lake, and may toss you to
the sky.' The prince replied: 'Come, dragon, don't talk nonsense;
if I had the emperor's daughter to kiss me on the forehead, I would
toss you still higher.' Thereupon the dragon suddenly left hold of
him, and went off into the lake. When night approached the prince
drove the sheep as before, and went home playing the bagpipes. When
he arrived at the town, the whole town was astir and began to wonder
because the shepherd came home every evening, which no one had been
able to do before. Those two grooms had already arrived at the
palace before the prince, and related to the emperor in order
everything that they had heard and seen. Now when the emperor saw
that the shepherd returned home, he immediately summoned his
daughter into his presence and told her all, what it was and how it
was. 'But,' said he, 'to-morrow you must go with the shepherd to the
lake and kiss him on the forehead.' When she heard this she burst
into tears and began to entreat her father. 'You have no one but me,
and I am your only daughter, and you don't care about me if I
perish.' Then the emperor began to persuade and encourage her:
'Don't fear, my daughter; you see, we have had so many changes of
shepherds, and of all that went out to the lake not one has
returned; but _he_ has been contending with the dragon for two whole
days and it has done him no hurt. I assure you, in God's name, that
he is able to overcome the dragon, only go to-morrow with him to see
whether he will free us from this mischief which has destroyed so
many people.'

    [15] This is intended as an insult. 'Azhdaja,' a dragon, is
    feminine in Servian.

When, on the morrow, the day dawned, the day dawned and the sun came
forth, up rose the shepherd, up rose the maiden too, to begin to
prepare for going to the lake. The shepherd was cheerful, more
cheerful than ever, but the emperor's daughter was sad, and shed
tears. The shepherd comforted her: 'Lady sister, I pray you, do not
weep, but do what I tell you. When it is time, run up and kiss me,
and fear not.' As he went and drove the sheep, the shepherd was
thoroughly cheery, and played a merry tune on his bagpipes; but the
damsel did nothing but weep as she went beside him, and he several
times left off playing and turned towards her: 'Weep not, golden
one; fear nought.' When they arrived at the lake, the sheep
immediately spread round it, and the prince placed the falcon on the
stump, and the hounds and bagpipes under it, then tucked up his hose
and sleeves, waded into the water, and shouted: 'Dragon! dragon!
Come out to single combat with me; let us measure ourselves once
more, unless you're a woman!' The dragon replied: 'I will, prince;
now, now!' Erelong, there was the dragon! it was huge, it was
terrible, it was disgusting! When it came out, they seized each
other by the middle, and wrestled a summer's day till afternoon. But
when the afternoon heat came on, the dragon said: 'Let me go,
prince, that I may moisten my parched head in the lake, and toss you
to the skies.' The prince replied: 'Come, dragon, don't talk
nonsense; if I had the emperor's daughter to kiss me on the
forehead, I would toss you much higher.' When he said this, the
emperor's daughter ran up and kissed him on the face, on the eye,
and on the forehead. Then he swung the dragon, and tossed it high
into the air, and when it fell to the ground it burst into pieces.
But as it burst into pieces, out of it sprang a wild boar, and
started to run away. But the prince shouted to his shepherd dogs:
'Hold it! don't let it go!' and the dogs sprang up and after it,
caught it, and soon tore it to pieces. But out of the boar flew a
pigeon, and the prince loosed the falcon, and the falcon caught the
pigeon and brought it into the prince's hands. The prince said to
it: 'Tell me now, where are my brothers?' The pigeon replied: 'I
will; only do me no harm. Immediately behind your father's town is a
water-mill, and in the water-mill are three wands that have sprouted
up. Cut these three wands up from below, and strike with them upon
their root; an iron door will immediately open into a large vault.
In that vault are many people, old and young, rich and poor, small
and great, wives and maidens, so that you could settle a populous
empire; there, too, are your brothers.' When the pigeon had told him
all this, the prince immediately wrung its neck.

The emperor had gone out in person, and posted himself on the hill
from which the grooms had viewed the shepherd, and he, too, was a
spectator of all that had taken place. After the shepherd had thus
obtained the dragon's head, twilight began to approach. He washed
himself nicely, took the falcon on his shoulder, the hounds behind
him, and the bagpipes under his arm, played as he went, drove the
sheep, and proceeded to the emperor's palace, with the damsel at his
side still in terror. When they came to the town, all the town
assembled as to see a wonder. The emperor, who had seen all his
heroism from the hill, called him into his presence, and gave him
his daughter, went immediately to church, had them married, and held
a wedding festival for a week. After this the prince told him who
and whence he was, and the emperor and the whole town rejoiced still
more. Then, as the prince was urgent to go to his own home, the
emperor gave him a large escort, and equipped him for the journey.
When they were in the neighbourhood of the water-mill, the prince
halted his attendants, went inside, cut up the three wands, and
struck the root with them, and the iron door opened at once. In the
vault was a vast multitude of people. The prince ordered them to
come out one by one, and go whither each would, and stood himself at
the door. They came out thus one after another, and lo! there were
his brothers also, whom he embraced and kissed. When the whole
multitude had come out, they thanked him for releasing and
delivering them, and went each to his own home. But he went to his
father's house with his brothers and bride, and there lived and
reigned to the end of his days.


There were two brothers living together in a house, one of whom did all
the work, while the other did nothing but idle, and eat and drink what
was ready at hand. And God gave them prosperity in everything--in
cattle, in horses, in sheep, in swine, in bees, and in everything else.
The one that worked one day began to think to himself: 'Why should I
work for that lazybones as well? It is better that we should separate,
and that I should work for myself, and he do as he likes.' So one day
he said to his brother: 'Brother, it isn't right. I do all the work,
and you don't help in anything, but merely eat and drink what's ready.
I have made up my mind that we separate.' The other began to dissuade
him: 'Don't, brother; it is good for us to be tenants in common; you
have everything in your hands, both your own and mine, and I am content
whatever you do.' But the first abode by his determination, so the
second gave way, and said to him: 'If it is so, take your own course;
make the division yourself, as you know how.' Then he divided
everything in order, and took everything that was his before him. The
do-nothing engaged a herdsman for his cattle, a horsekeeper for his
horses, a shepherd for his sheep, a goatherd for his goats, a swineherd
for his swine, a beeman for his bees, and said to them: 'I leave all my
property in your hands and God's,' and began to live at home as before.
The first took pains about his property himself as before, watched and
overlooked, but saw no prosperity, but all loss. From day to day
everything went worse, till he became so poverty-stricken, that he
hadn't shoes to his feet, but went barefoot. Then said he to himself:
'I will go to my brother, and see how it is with him.' He did so, and
as he went came to a flock of sheep in a meadow, and with the sheep
there was no shepherd, but a very beautiful damsel was sitting there
spinning golden thread. He addressed her: 'God help you!' and inquired
whose the sheep were. She replied: 'The sheep belong to the person to
whom I belong.' He asked her further: 'To whom do you belong?' She
answered: 'I am your brother's luck.' He was put out, and said to her:
'And where is my luck?' The damsel answered him: 'Your luck is far from
you.' 'But can I find it?' inquired he, and she replied: 'You can; go,
seek for it.' When he heard this, and saw that his brother's sheep were
good--so good, that they could not be better, he didn't care about
going further to see other cattle, but went off straight to his
brother. When his brother saw him, he had compassion on him, and began
to weep: 'Where have you been so long a time?' Then, seeing him
barehead and barefoot, he gave him at once a pair of boots and some
money. Afterwards, when they had enjoyed each other's company for some
days, the visitor rose up to go to his own house. When he got home, he
took a wallet on his back, some bread in it, and a staff in his hand,
and went into the world to look for his luck. As he travelled, he came
to a large wood, and as he went through it, he saw a gray-haired old
maid asleep under a bush, and reached out his staff to give her a push.
She barely raised herself up, and, hardly opening her eyes for the
rheum, addressed him: 'Thank God that I fell asleep, for, if I had been
awake, you wouldn't have obtained even that pair of boots.' Then he
said to her: 'Who are you, that I shouldn't even have obtained this
pair of boots?' She replied: 'I am your luck.' When he heard this, he
began to beat his breast: 'If you are my luck, God slay you! Who gave
you to me?' She quickly rejoined: 'Fate gave me to you.' He then
inquired: 'And where is this Fate?' She answered: 'Go and look for
him.' And that instant she disappeared. Then the man went on to look
for Fate. As he journeyed, he came to a village, and saw in the village
a large farmhouse, and in it a large fire, and said to himself: 'Here
there is surely some merry-making or festival,' and went in. When he
went in, on the fire was a large caldron, in which supper was cooking,
and in front of the fire sat the master of the house. The traveller, on
going into the house, addressed the master: 'Good-evening!' The master
replied: 'God give you prosperity!' and bade him sit down with him, and
then began to ask him whence he came, and whither he was going. He
related to him everything: how he had been a master, how he had become
impoverished, and how he was now going to Fate to ask him why he was so
poor. Then he inquired of the master of the house why he was preparing
so large a quantity of food, and the master said to him: 'Well, my
brother, I am master here, and have enough of everything, but I cannot
anyhow satisfy my people; it is quite as if a dragon were in their
stomachs. You'll see, when we begin to sup, what they will do.' When
they sat down to sup, everybody snatched and grabbed from everybody
else, and that large caldron of food was empty in no time. After
supper, a maidservant came in, put all the bones in a heap, and threw
them behind the stove; and he began to wonder why the young woman threw
the bones behind the stove, till all at once out came two old
poverty-stricken spectres, as dry as ghosts, and began to suck the
bones. Then he asked the master of the house: 'What's this, brother,
behind the stove?' He replied: 'Those, brother, are my father and
mother; just as if they were fettered to this world, they will not
quit it.' The next day, at his departure, the master of the house said
to him: 'Brother, remember me, too, if anywhere you find Fate, and ask
him what manner of misfortune it is that I cannot satisfy my people,
and why my father and mother do not die.' He promised to ask him the
question, took leave of him, and went on to look for Fate. As on he
went, he came, after a long time, to another village, and begged at a
certain house that they would take him in for a night's lodging. They
did so, and asked him whither he was going; and he told them all in
order, what it was, and how it was. Then they began to say to him: 'In
God's name, brother, when you get there, ask him with regard to us too,
why our cattle are not productive, but the contrary.' He promised them
to ask Fate the question, and the next day went on. As he went, he came
to a stream of water, and began to shout: 'Water! water! carry me
across.' The water asked him: 'Whither are you going?' He told it
whither he was going. Then the water carried him across, and said to
him: 'I pray you, brother, ask Fate why I have no offspring.' He
promised the stream to ask the question, and then went on. He went on
for a long time, and at last came to a wood, where he found a hermit,
whom he asked whether he could tell him anything about Fate. The hermit
answered: 'Go over the hill yonder, and you will come right in front of
his abode; but when you come into Fate's presence, do not say a word,
but do exactly what he does, until he questions you himself.' The man
thanked the hermit, and went over the hill. When he came to Fate's
abode, there was something for him to see. It was just as if it were an
emperor's palace; there were men-servants and maid-servants there;
everything was in good order, and Fate himself was sitting at a golden
dinner-table at supper. When the man saw this, he, too, sat down to
table, and began to sup. After supper, Fate lay down to sleep, and he
lay down too. About midnight a terrible noise arose, and out of the
noise a voice was heard: 'Fate! Fate! so many souls have been born
to-day; assign them what you will.' Then Fate arose, and opened a chest
with money in it, and began to throw nothing but ducats behind him,
saying: 'As to me to-day, so to them for life!' When on the morrow day
dawned, that large palace was no more, but instead of it a
moderate-sized house; but in it again there was enough of everything.

At the approach of evening Fate sat down to supper; and he, too, sat
down with him, but neither spoke a single word. After supper they
lay down to sleep. About midnight a terrible noise began, and out of
the noise was heard a voice: 'Fate! Fate! so many souls have been
born to-day; assign them what you will.' Then Fate arose, and opened
the money-chest; but there were not ducats in it, but silver coins,
with an occasional ducat. Fate began to scatter the coins behind
him, saying: 'As to me to-day, so to them for life.' When, on the
morrow, day dawned, that house was no more, but instead of it there
stood a smaller one. Thus did Fate every night, and his house became
smaller every morning, till, finally, nothing remained of it but a
little cottage. Fate took a mattock, and began to dig; the man, too,
took a mattock and began to dig, and thus they dug all day. When it
was eventide, Fate took a piece of bread, broke off half of it, and
gave it to him. Thus they supped, and, after supper, lay down to
sleep. About midnight, again, a terrible noise began, and out of the
noise was heard a voice: 'Fate! Fate! so many souls have been born
to-day; assign them what you will.' Then Fate arose, opened the
chest, and began to scatter behind him nothing but bits of rag, and
here and there a day-labourer's wage-penny,[16] shouting: 'As to me
to-day, so to them for life.' When he arose on the morrow, the
cottage was transformed into a large palace, like that which had
been there the first day. Then Fate asked him: 'Why have you come?'
He detailed to him all his distress, and said that he had come to
ask him why he gave him evil luck. Fate then said to him: 'You saw
how the first night I scattered ducats, and what took place
afterwards. As it was to me the night when anyone was born, so will
it be to him for life. You were born on an unlucky night, you will
be poor for life; but your brother was born on a lucky night, and he
will be lucky for life. But, as you have been so resolute, and have
taken so much trouble, I will tell you how you may help yourself.
Your brother has a daughter, Militza, who is lucky, just as her
father is; adopt her, and, whatever you acquire, say that it is all
hers.' Then he thanked Fate, and said to him again: 'In such a
village there is a wealthy peasant, who has enough of everything;
but he is unlucky in this, that his people can never be satisfied:
they eat up a caldron full of food at a single meal, and even that
is too little for them. And this peasant's father and mother are, as
it were, fettered to this world; they are old and discoloured, and
dried up like ghosts, but cannot die. He begged me, Fate, when I
lodged with him for the night, to ask you why that was the case.'
Then Fate replied: 'All that is because he does not honour his
father and mother, throwing their food behind the stove; but, if he
puts them in the best place at table, and if he gives them the first
cup of brandy, and the first cup of wine, his servants would not eat
half so much, and his parents' souls would be set at liberty.' After
this he again questioned Fate: 'In such a village, when I spent the
night in a house, the householder complained to me that his cattle
were not productive, but the contrary, and he begged me to ask you
why this was the case.' Fate replied: 'That is because on the
festival of his name-day he slaughters the worst animals; but if he
slaughtered the best he has, his cattle would all become
productive.' Then he asked him the question about the stream of
water: 'Why should it be that that stream of water has no
offspring?' Fate replied: 'Because it has never drowned a human
being; but don't have any nonsense; don't tell it till it carries
you across, for if you tell it, it will immediately drown you.' Then
he thanked Fate, and went home. When he came to the water, the water
asked him: 'What is the news from Fate?' He replied: 'Carry me over,
and then I will tell you.' When the water had carried him over, he
ran on a little, and, when he had got a little way off, turned and
shouted to the water: 'Water! Water! you have never drowned a human
being, therefore you have no offspring.' When the water heard that,
it overflowed its banks, and after him; but he ran, and barely
escaped. When he came to the man whose cattle were unproductive, he
was impatiently waiting for him. 'What news, brother, in God's name?
Have you asked Fate the question?' He replied: 'I have; and Fate
says when you celebrate the festival of your name-day, you slaughter
the worst animals; but if you slaughter the best you have, all your
cattle will be productive.' When he heard this, he said to him:
'Stay, brother, with us; it isn't three days to my name-day, and, if
it is really true, I will give you an apple.'[17] He stayed till the
name-day. When the name-day arrived, the householder slaughtered his
best ox, and from that time forth his cattle became productive.
After this, the householder presented him with five head of cattle.
He thanked him, and proceeded on his way. When he came to the
village of the householder who had the insatiable servants, the
householder was impatiently expecting him. 'How is it, brother, in
God's name? What says Fate?' He replied: 'Fate says you do not
honour your father and mother, but throw their food behind the stove
for them to eat; if you put them in the best place at table, and
give them the first cup of brandy, and the first cup of wine, your
people will not eat half as much, and your father and mother will be
content.' When the householder heard this, he told his wife, and she
immediately washed and combed her father and mother in law, and put
nice shoes on their feet; and, when evening came, the householder
put them in the best place at table, and gave them the first cup of
brandy and the first cup of wine. From that time forth the household
could not eat half what they did before, and on the morrow both the
father and the mother departed this life. Then the householder gave
him two oxen; he thanked him, and went home. When he came to his
place of abode, his acquaintances began to congratulate him, and ask
him: 'Whose are these cattle?' He replied to everybody: 'Brother,
they are my niece Militza's.' When he got home he immediately went
off to his brother, and began to beg and pray him: 'Give me,
brother, your daughter Militza to be my daughter. You see that I
have no one.' His brother replied: 'It is good, brother; Militza is
yours.' He took Militza, and conducted her home, and afterwards
acquired much, but said, with regard to everything, that it was
Militza's. Once he went out into the field to go round some rye; the
rye was beautiful; it could not be better. Thereupon a traveller
happened to come up, and asked him: 'Whose is this rye?' He forgot
himself, and said: 'Mine.' The moment he said that, the rye caught
fire and began to burn. When he saw this, he ran after the man:
'Stop, brother! it is not mine; it belongs to Militza, my niece.'
Then the fire in the rye went out, and he remained lucky with

    [16] A 'marjush,' a small coin with the image of the Virgin Mary
    on it.

    [17] _I.e._, a good present.


The Bosnian stories are not written in the Cyrillic, but in the
Latin character. This indicates that the Christian inhabitants of
Bosnia belong to the Latin rather than to the Greek Church. The
Serbians of the Kingdom of Serbia would, no doubt, gladly absorb
Bosnia, but it is very doubtful whether the Bosnians would be
equally glad to be absorbed by them. In Bosnia the landed
proprietors are extensively Mahometans, and neither they nor the
Latin Christians would be very willing to place themselves under the
domination of the Orthodox Greek Church, without much stronger
guarantees than the Serbians of the kingdom, as at present
constituted, are likely to be able or willing to give them.


Near Constantinople there lived a man who knew no other occupation
but that of catching birds; his neighbours called him the
birdcatcher. Some he used to sell, others served him for food, and
thus he maintained himself. One day he caught a crow, and wanted to
let it go, but then he had nothing to take home. 'If I can't catch
anything to-day, I'll take my children the crow, that they may
amuse themselves; and they have no other birds at hand.' So he
intended, and so he did. His wife, on seeing the crow, said: 'What
mischief have you brought me? Wring the worthless thing's neck!' The
crow, on hearing that sentence, besought the birdcatcher to let her
go, and promised to be always at his service. 'I will bring birds to
you; through me you will become prosperous.' 'Even if you're lying,
it's no great loss,' said the birdcatcher to himself, and set the
crow at liberty.

On the morrow the birdcatcher went out birdcatching as usual, and
the crow kept her word; she brought him two nightingales; he caught
them both, and took them home. The nightingales were not long with
the birdcatcher, for the grand vizier heard of them, sent for the
birdcatcher, took the two nightingales from him, and placed them in
the new mosque. The nightingales were able to sing sweetly and
agreeably; the people collected in front of the mosque and listened
to their beautiful singing; and the wonder came to the ears of the
emperor. The emperor summoned the grand vizier, took the birds from
him, and inquired whence he had got them. When the emperor had
thought the matter over, he sent his cavasses, and they summoned the
birdcatcher. 'It's no joke to go before the emperor! I know why he
summons me; no half torture will be mine. I am guilty of nothing, I
owe nothing; but the emperor's will, that's my crime!' said the
birdcatcher, and went into the emperor's presence all pale with
fear. 'Birdcatcher, sirrah! are you the catcher of those
nightingales which were at the new mosque?' 'Padishah! both father
and mother! where your slipper is, there is my face!--I am.'
'Sirrah!' again said the emperor, 'I wish you to find their mother;
doubtless your reward will be forthcoming. But do you hear? You may
be quite sure of it; if you don't, there will be no head on your
shoulders. I'm not joking.' Now the poor fellow went out of the
emperor's presence, and how he got home he didn't know; a good two
hours afterwards he came to himself and began to lament. 'I'm a
fool! I thought my trade led no-whither, and not to misfortune for
me; but now see! To find the mother of the birds--none but a fool
could imagine it--and to catch her!' To this lamentation there was
neither limit nor end. It was getting dark, and his wife summoned
him to supper; just then the crow was at the window: 'What's this?'
the crow asked. 'What are these lamentations? What's the distress?'
'Let me alone; don't add to my torture; I'm done for owing to you!'
said the birdcatcher, and told her all, what it was and how it was.
'That's easy,' answered she; 'go to the emperor to-morrow, and ask
for a thousand loads of wheat; then pile up the corn in one heap,
and I will inform the birds that the emperor gives them a feast;
they will all assemble; _their_ mother, too, will doubtless come;
the one with regard to which I give you a sign is she; bring a cage,
put the two nightingales in it; the mother, seeing her two young
birds, will fly up; let your snare be ready, and then we shall find
and catch her.' As the crow instructed him, so he did. The emperor
gave him the corn; he feasted the birds, caught the mother of the
nightingales, and took her to the emperor. He received a handsome
reward, but he would gladly have gone without such reward when he
remembered how many tears he had shed. The crow, too, received a
reward, for she persuaded the birdcatcher to give his wife a good
beating, which he did, to the satisfaction of the crow, in her

Time after time, behold some of the emperor's cavasses! 'Come, the
emperor summons you!' sounded from the door. 'A new misfortune! a
new sorrow!' thought the birdcatcher in his heart, and went before
the emperor. 'Do you hear, sirrah? Just now I paid you a good
recompense, now a greater one awaits you. I wish you to seek the
mistress of those birds, otherwise, valah! bilah! your head will be
in danger! Do you understand me?' At these words of the emperor the
birdcatcher either could not or dared not utter a word; he shrugged
his shoulders and went out of his presence. As he went home he
talked to himself weeping: 'I see that he is determined to destroy
me, and some devil has put it into his head to torture me first.' On
arriving at home he found his crow at the window: 'Has some
misfortune again occurred to you?' 'Don't ask,' replied the
birdcatcher; 'one still blacker and more miserable!' and told her
all in detail, what it was and how it was. 'Don't trouble your head
much about that,' said the crow. 'Be quick; ask the emperor for a
boat full of all manner of wares. Then we will push off on the deep
sea; when people hear that the emperor's agent is bringing wares,
the people will assemble, and that lady is sure to come; the one on
which I perch is she; up anchor and off with the boat!' This the
birdcatcher remembered well. What he asked of the emperor, that he
gave him, and he pushed the boat over the sea; his bringing wares
for sale went from mouth to mouth; people came and purchased the
wares. At last came the mistress of the birds also, and began to
examine the wares; the crow perched on her shoulder; the anchor was
raised, and in a short time the birdcatcher brought the boat to
under the emperor's quay. When the birdcatcher brought her before
the emperor, the emperor was astounded. He didn't know which to
admire most, the birdcatcher's cleverness or her beauty. Her beauty
overpowered the emperor's mind; he rewarded the birdcatcher
handsomely, and placed the sultana in his house. 'You are the
dearest to me of all,' said the emperor several times to her; 'if I
were to banish all the sultanas, you should never go out of my

The birdcatcher was again in evil case. The new sultana was in a
perpetual state of irritation, for it was poor luck to be obliged to
be affectionate to an elderly longbeard. The emperor comforted her,
and asked her what failed her, when she had everything in abundance
with him. A woman's revenge is worse than a cat's. Not daring to
tell the emperor the truth, she wanted to revenge herself on the
poor birdcatcher. 'Dear Padishah, I had a valuable ring on my hand
when that birdcatcher deluded me into the boat, and pushed it from
the shore. I began to wring my hands in distress, the ring broke,
and one half fell into the sea, just where it was my hap to be. But,
dear sultan, if I am a little dear to you, send that birdcatcher,
let him seek that half for me, that I may unite it to this one.'
'All shall be done,' said the emperor; and the cavasses soon brought
the birdcatcher. 'My son,' said the emperor, 'if you do not intend
to lose my love and favour, hearken to me once more. At the place
where you captured that lady, she broke a ring; it fell into the
sea. I know that you can do so--find her that half; your reward will
not fail; otherwise, you know....' When the poor fellow got home, a
fit of laughter seized him from distress. 'I knew that the devil was
teaching him how to torment and torture me before he put me to
death. If hell were to open, all the devils wouldn't find it!'
'What's the matter, friend?' said the crow. 'Till now you were
weeping and complaining, and now in a rage you are laughing.' He
told her all--what it was, and how it was. 'Don't fret yourself,'
continued the crow. 'Have you given your wife a good thrashing? I
wish you to give her a good hiding again, when we go down to the
sea. And now come, ask the emperor for a thousand barrels of oil.'
The emperor had stores of oil and felt; he gave him as much as he
required. Everybody thought that he was going to trade with the oil.
When he arrived at the place where he captured the young lady, the
crow gave the word of command, and they poured out all the oil into
the sea. The sea became violently agitated, the crow darted in, and
found the missing fragment of the ring. The birdcatcher took the
boat back thence under the emperor's palace, and delivered the ring
to the emperor, he passed it on to the lady, and she fitted it to
the other half. Both she and the emperor were astonished at the
birdcatcher's cleverness, commended him, and sent him home with a

The emperor wished by every means to induce the young lady to marry
him, and to have a formal wedding. She for a long time declined, but
at last said: 'If it is your will, I consent, but only on condition
that before our wedding you destroy that birdcatcher.' The emperor
now found himself between two fires. It was agony to destroy his
benefactor, it was worse agony not to be able to withstand his
heart, and to give up the love of the young lady. Love is eternal,
and is often stronger even than truth. He summoned the birdcatcher,
commended him for having so often fulfilled his will, and told him
that he deserved to sit in the grand vizier's seat.... 'But there is
nothing else for it, but you must go home, take leave of your wife,
children, and friends, of whom I will undertake the care; in the
afternoon come; you must of necessity jump into the fire.' He went
home, and the crow came to meet him. He told her all that was to be
done with him in the afternoon, and said to her: 'If you do not help
me as usual now, I am done for, not through my fault, nor through
the emperor's, but owing to you.' The crow informed him what to do,
but before he went, he was to give his wife a thoroughly good
beating. His wife departed this life from so many blows. A fire was
flaming before the great mosque, the Turks came out of the mosque,
the emperor came, the people swarmed round the fire. The birdcatcher
came cheerfully before the emperor. Everyone deemed him a
malefactor. 'Fortunate Padishah, it is your pleasure to burn me to
death. I am happy to be able to be a sacrifice for you. It has
occurred to my mind, I am anxious to have a ride on a good horse:
permit me so to do before I jump into the fire.' The emperor smiled,
and ordered his best horse to be brought for him. He mounted, and
made the horse gallop well; when the horse sweated, he dismounted,
anointed himself with the horse's foam, remounted, darted up to the
fire, then dismounted, and darted into the fire. The people looked
on; five times, six times did he cross the flames, sprang out of the
fire, and stood before the emperor as a youth of twenty years of
age, sound, young, goodly, and handsome. The people cried: 'Mercy,
emperor! He has fulfilled his penalty.' And the emperor graciously
pardoned him. The emperor now longed to become young and handsome
also. He made the birdcatcher grand vizier, merely that he might
tell him the secret. He said to him: 'My lord, it is easy. Take a
good horse, gallop about an hour as I did, dismount when the horse
sweats, anoint yourself with his perspiration, jump into the fire,
and you will come out such as I am.' Friday dawned; the emperor's
best horse was saddled for him; everybody thought that he was going
to the mosque. A fire was burning furiously in front of the mosque.
The people said: 'There's somebody going to jump in again,' and they
were under no delusion. The emperor darted up to the fire all alone,
the people looked on to see what was going to happen. The emperor
dismounted with great speed, and sprang into the fire.... The people
crowded to rescue the emperor--'twas all in vain. The emperor was
burned to death. 'He was crazy!' shouted the chief men and soldiers.
They conducted the birdcatcher into the mosque, and girt him with
the emperor's sword. Then the birdcatcher became emperor, the damsel
he selected sultana, and the crow the chief lady at court.


There was a man who had a wife but no sons, a female hound but no
puppies, and a mare but no foal. 'What in the world shall I do?'
said he to himself. 'Come, let me go away from home to seek my
fortune in the world, as I haven't any at home.' As he thought, so
he did, and went out by himself into the white world as a bee from
flower to flower. One day, when it was about dinner-time, he came to
a spring, took down his knapsack, took out his provisions for the
journey, and began to eat his dinner. Just then a traveller appeared
in front of him, and sat down beside the spring to rest; he invited
him to sit down by him that they might eat together. When they had
inquired after each other's health and shaken hands, then the second
comer asked the first on what business he was travelling about the
world. He said to him: 'I have no luck at home, therefore I am going
from home; my wife has no children, my hound has no puppies, and my
mare has never had a foal; I am going about the white world as a bee
from flower to flower.' When they had had a good dinner, and got up
to travel further, then the one who had arrived last thanked the
first for his dinner, and offered him an apple, saying: 'Here is
this apple for you'--if I am not mistaken it was a Frederic
pippin--'and return home at once; peel the apple and give the peel
to your hound and mare; cut the apple in two, give half to your wife
to eat, and eat the other half yourself. What has hitherto been
unproductive will henceforth be productive. And as for the two pips
which you will find in the apple, plant them on the top of your
house.' The man thanked him for the apple; they rose up and parted,
the one going onwards and the other back to his house. He peeled the
apple and did everything as the other had instructed him. As time
went on his wife became the mother of two sons, his hound of two
puppies, and his mare of two foals, and, moreover, out of the house
grew two apple-trees. While the two brothers were growing up, the
young horses grew up, and the hounds became fit for hunting. After a
short time the father and mother died, and the two sons, being now
left alone like a tree cut down on a hill, agreed to go out into the
world to seek their fortune. Even so they did: each brother took a
horse and a hound, they cut down the two apple-trees, and made
themselves a spear apiece, and went out into the wide world. I can't
tell you for certain how many days they travelled together; this I
do know, that at the first parting of the road they separated. Here
they saw it written up: 'If you go by the upper road you will not
see the world for five years; if you go by the lower road, you will
not see the world for three years.' Here they parted, one going by
the upper and the other by the lower road. The one that went by the
lower road, after three years of travelling through another world,
came to a lake, beside which there was written on a post: 'If you go
in, you will repent it; if you don't go in, you will repent it.' 'If
it is so,' thought he to himself, 'let me take whatever God gives,'
and swam across the lake. And lo! a wonder! he, his horse, and his
hound were all gilded with gold. After this he speedily arrived at a
very large and spacious city. He went up to the emperor's palace and
inquired for an inn where he might pass the night. They told him, up
there, yon large tower, that was an inn. In front of this tower he
dismounted; servants came out and welcomed him, and conducted him
into the presence of their master in the courtyard. But it was not
an innkeeper, but the king of the province himself. The king
welcomed and entertained him handsomely. The next day he began to
prepare to set forth on his journey. The evening before, the king's
only daughter, when she saw him go in front of her apartments, had
observed him well, and fixed her eyes upon him. This she did because
such a golden traveller had never before arrived, and consequently
she was unable to close her eyes the whole night. Her heart thumped,
as it were; and it was fortunate that the summer night was brief,
for if it had been a winter one, she could hardly have waited for
the dawn. It all seemed to her and whirled in her brain as if the
king was calling her to receive a ring and an apple; the poor thing
would fly to the door, but it was shut and there was nobody at hand.
Although the night was a short one, it seemed to her that three had
passed one after another. When she observed in the morning that the
traveller was getting ready to go, she flew to her father, implored
him not to let that traveller quit his court, but to detain him and
to give her to him in marriage. The king was good-natured, and could
easily be won over by entreaties; what his daughter begged for, she
also obtained. The traveller was detained and offered marriage with
the king's daughter. The traveller did not hesitate long, kissed the
king's hand, presented a ring to the maiden, and she a handkerchief
to him, and thus they were betrothed. Methinks they did not wait for
publication of banns. Erelong they were wedded; the wedding feast
and festival were very prolonged, but came to an end in due course.
One morning after all this the bridegroom was looking in somewhat
melancholy fashion down on the country through a window in the
tower. His young wife asked him what ailed him? He told her that he
was longing for a hunt, and she told him to take three servants and
go while the dew was still on the grass. Her husband would not take
a single servant, but mounting his gilded horse and calling his
gilded hound, went down into the country to hunt. The hound soon
found scent, and put up a stag with gilded horns. The stag began to
run straight for a tower, the hound after him, and the hunter after
the hound, and he overtook the stag in the gate of the courtyard,
and was going to cut off its head. He had drawn his sword, when a
damsel cried through the window: 'Don't kill my stag, but come
upstairs: let us play at draughts for a wager. If you win, take the
stag; if I win, you shall give me the hound.' He was as ready for
this as an old woman for a scolding match, went up into the tower,
and on to the balcony, staked the hound against the stag, and they
began to play. The hunter was on the point of beating her, when some
damsels began to sing: 'A king, a king, I've gained a king!' He
looked round, she altered the position of the draughtsmen, beat him
and took the hound. Again they began to play a second time, she
staking the hound and he his horse. She cheated him the second time
also. The third time they began to play, she wagered the horse, and
he himself. When the game was nearly over, and he was already on the
point of beating her, the damsels began to sing this time too, just
as they had done the first and second times. He looked round, she
cheated and beat him, took a cord, bound him, and put him in a

The brother, who went by the upper road, came to the lake, forded
it, and came out all golden--himself, his horse, and his hound. He
went for a night's lodging to the king's tower; the servants came
out and welcomed him. His father-in-law asked him whether he was
tired, and whether he had had any success in hunting; but the king's
daughter paid special attention to him, frequently kissing and
embracing him. He couldn't wonder enough how it was that everybody
recognised him; finally, he felt satisfied that it was his brother,
who was very like him, that had been there and got married. The
king's daughter could not wonder enough, and it was very distressing
to her, that her newly-married husband was so soon tired of her, for
the more affectionate she was to him, the more did he repulse her.
When the morrow came, he got ready to go out to look for his
brother. The king, his daughter, and all the courtiers, begged him
to take a rest. 'Why,' said they to him, 'you only returned
yesterday from hunting, and do you want to go again so soon?' All
was in vain; he refused to take the thirty servants whom they
offered him, but went down into the country by himself. When he was
in the midst of the country, his hound put up a stag, and he after
them on his horse, and drove it up to a tower; he raised his sword
to kill the stag, but a damsel cried through a window: 'Don't meddle
with my stag, but come upstairs that we may have a game at draughts,
then let the one that wins take off the stakes, either you my hound,
or I yours.' When he went into the basement, in it was a hound and a
horse--the hounds and horses recognised each other--and he felt sure
that his brother had fallen into prison there. They began the game
at draughts, and when the damsel saw that he was going to beat her,
some damsels began to sing behind them: 'A king! a king! I've gained
a king!' He took no notice, but kept his eye on the draughtsmen;
then the damsel, like a she-devil, began to make eyes and wink at
the young man. He gave her a flip with his coat behind the ears:
'Play now!' and thus beat her. The second game they both staked a
horse. She couldn't cheat him; he took both the hound and the horse
from her. The third and last time they played, he staking himself
and she herself; and after giving her a slap in her face for her
winking and making of eyes, he won the third game. He took
possession of her, brought his brother out of the dungeon, and they
went to the town.

Now the brother, who had been in prison, began to think within
himself: 'He was yesterday with my wife, and who knows whether she
does not prefer him to me?' He drew his sword to kill him, but the
draught-player defended him. He darted before his brother into the
courtyard, and as he stepped on to the passage from the tower, his
wife threw her arms round his neck and began to scold him
affectionately for having driven her from him overnight, and
conversed so coldly with her. Then he repented of having so
foolishly suspected his brother, who had, moreover, released him
from prison, and of having wanted to kill him; but his brother was a
considerate person and forgave him. They kissed each other and were
reconciled. He retained his wife and her kingdom with her, and his
brother took the draught-player and her kingdom with her. And thus
they attained to greater fortune than they could ever have even
hoped for.


In these we come to a very singular mythological being, _Kurent_,
who has not, as yet, found a place in the writings of Slavonic
mythologists. With respect to Kurent, Professor Krek writes as
follows: 'The question as to the nature of the Slovinish Kurent is
very difficult, especially as the tradition about him is, in my
judgment, very corrupt. So far as I know, no one has hitherto
discussed it scientifically, and what I am now writing to you is my
own subjective opinion, rapidly formed. The name itself does not
appear to be indigenous, but I think it is of Romance, perhaps of
mediæval Latin origin, though I am not yet able to say what its
signification is. In a mythological point of view, there is to be
observed in the stories about Kurent a certain mixture of
heathen-Slavonic and Christian elements; but I think the basis is
entirely indigenous. If I mistake not, Kurent is essentially of
Dionysiac signification, which is indicated by the fact that the
Slovinish stories connect him closely with the vine-stock, and with
wine in general, just as is the case with the Greek Dionysos. It is
noteworthy that the Little Russians have the word "Kurent" in the
sense of a merry wedding tune (Zhelechovskij, i. 391), and that the
Slovinish tradition frequently puts Kurent in the place of "Pust,"
so that both represent the same mythological idea. With regard to
"Pust," there is no doubt that, with his orgiastic system, he is
just like the Greek Dionysos, although his name is recent, and rests
upon alien conceptions; indeed, here the fact is of more decisive
import than the name. The name is not connected with the old
Slavonic "pust," _desertus_, but with "pust" in the old Slavonic
"mesopust," in Bohemian "masopust," which are identical with the
Greek ἀπόκρεωϛ, in Latin "carnisprivium." Of what original names
"Kurent" and "Pust" have occupied the place, it will now never
be possible to determine. It is just in mythological matters, that
all manner of old traditions are unsatisfactory, as everybody knows
who has busied himself at all closely with this subject. Much that
is Christian has similarly become mingled with the original pagan
conceptions in the case of Kurent also, and it is not easy to
separate them from later accretions. I think that the Slovintzes
honoured Kurent with a special solemnity or festival at the same
time that the other Slavonians celebrated the regeneration of
winter, nature, and the birth of the solar deity. This mythological
phenomenon has its analogy in the myths of other Ario-European
nations, a matter so generally known that there is no need of
dilating upon it now. What I wish to draw attention to is this: that
the Slovinish "Kurent," as also his representative "Pust" is of
Dionysiac signification, and I don't know to what to compare him
more properly than to the Greek Dionysos. Circumspection is
especially necessary in mythological matters, but I venture to
affirm that my opinion will hold its ground before severe criticism.
I purpose treating at greater length of this matter at a later time,
but I do not think I shall find it necessary to retract any portion
of my opinion.'

Mr. Morfill informs me, moreover, that _Kurenta grati_ is given by
Zhelikovskij in the sense 'to play the Kurent,' _i.e._, the air so


In the beginning there was nothing but God, and God slept and
dreamed. For ages and ages did this dream last. But it was fated
that he should wake up. Having roused himself from sleep, he looked
round about him, and every glance transformed itself into a star.
God was amazed, and began to travel, to see what he had created with
his eyes. He travelled and travelled, but nowhere was there either
end or limit. As he travelled, he arrived at our earth also; but he
was already weary; sweat clung to his brow. On the earth fell a drop
of sweat: the drop became alive, and here you have the first man. He
is God's kin, but he was not created for pleasure: he was produced
from sweat; already in the beginning it was fated for him to toil
and sweat.


The earth was waste: nowhere was there aught but stone. God was
sorry for this, and sent his cock to make the earth fruitful, as he
knew how to do. The cock came down into a cave in the rock, and
fetched out an egg of wondrous power and purpose. The egg chipped,
and seven rivers trickled out of it. The rivers irrigated the
neighbourhood, and soon all was green: there were all manner of
flowers and fruits; the land, without man's labour, produced wheat,
the trees not only apples and figs, but also the whitest and
sweetest bread. In this paradise men lived without care, working,
not from need, but for amusement and merriment. Round the paradise
were lofty mountains, so that there was no violence to fear, nor
devilish storm to dread. But further: that men, otherwise their own
masters, and free, might not, from ignorance, suffer damage, God's
cock hovered high in the sky, and crowed to them every day, when to
get up, when to take their meals, and what to do, and when to do it.
The nation was happy, only God's cock annoyed them by his continual
crowing. Men began to murmur, and pray God to deliver them from the
restless creature: 'Let us now settle for ourselves,' said they,
'when to eat, to work, and to rise.' God hearkened to them; the cock
descended from the sky, but crowed to them just once more: 'Woe is
me! Beware of the lake!' Men rejoiced, and said that it was never
better; no one any more interfered with their freedom. After ancient
custom, they ate, worked, and rose, all in the best order, as the
cock had taught them. But, little by little, individuals began to
think that it was unsuitable for a free people to obey the cock's
crowing so slavishly, and began to live after their own fashion,
observing no manner of order. Through this arose illnesses, and all
kinds of distress; men looked again longingly to the sky, but God's
cock was gone for ever. They wished, at any rate, to pay regard to
his last words. But they did not know how to fathom their meaning.
The cock had warned them to dread the lake, but why? for they hadn't
it in their valley; there flowed quietly, in their own channel, the
seven rivers which had burst out of the egg. Men therefore
conjectured that there was a dangerous lake somewhere on the other
side of the mountains, and sent a man every day to the top of a hill
to see whether he espied aught. But there was danger from no
quarter; the man went in vain, and people calmed themselves again.
Their pride became greater and greater; the women made brooms from
the wheat-ears, and the men straw mattrasses. They would not go any
more to the tree to gather bread, but set it on fire from below,
that it might fall, and that they might collect it without trouble.
When they had eaten their fill, they lay down by the rivers,
conversed, and spoke all manner of blasphemies. One cast his eyes on
the water, wagged his head, and jabbered: 'Eh! brothers! A wondrous
wonder! I should like to know, at any rate, why the water is exactly
so much, neither more nor less.' 'This, too,' another answered, 'was
a craze of the cock's; it is disgraceful enough for us to be
listening to orders to beware of a lake, which never was, and never
will be. If my opinion is followed, the watcher will go to-day for
the last time. As regards the rivers, I think it would be better if
there were more water.' His neighbour at first agreed, but thought,
again, that there was water in abundance; if more, there would be
too much. A corpulent fellow put in energetically that undoubtedly
both were right; it would, therefore, be the most sensible thing to
break the egg up, and drive just as much water as was wanted into
each man's land, and there was certainly no need of a watchman to
look out for the lake. Scarcely had these sentiments been delivered,
when an outcry arose in the valley; all rushed to the egg to break
it to pieces; all men deplored nothing but this, that the
disgraceful look-out could not be put a stop to before the morrow.
The people stood round the egg, the corpulent man took up a stone,
and banged it against the egg. It split up with a clap of thunder,
and so much water burst out of it that almost the whole human race
perished. The paradise was filled with water, and became one great
lake. God's cock warned truly, but in vain, for the lawless people
did not understand him. The flood now reached the highest mountains,
just to the place where the watchman was standing, who was the only
survivor from the destruction of mankind. Seeing the increasing
waters, he began to flee.


Mankind perished by the flood, and there was only one who survived,
and this was Kranyatz. Kranyatz fled higher and higher, till the
water flooded the last mountain. The poor wretch saw how the pines
and shrubs were covered; one vine, and one only, was still dry. To
it he fled, and quickly seized hold of it, not from necessity, but
from excessive terror; but how could it help him, being so slender
and weak? Kurent observed this, for the vine was his stick, when he
walked through the wide world. It was agreeable to him that man
should be thought to seek help from him. It is true that Kurent was
a great joker; but he was also of a kindly nature, and was always
glad to deliver anyone from distress. Hearing Kranyatz lamenting, he
straightened the vine, his stick, and lengthened it more and more,
till it became higher than the clouds. After nine years the flood
ceased, and the earth became dry again. But Kranyatz preserved
himself by hanging on the vine, and nourishing himself by its grapes
and wine. When all became dry, he got down, and thanked Kurent as
his preserver. But this didn't please Kurent. 'It was the vine that
rescued you,' said he to Kranyatz; 'thank the vine, and make a
covenant with it, and bind yourself and your posterity, under a
curse, that you will always speak its praises and love its wine more
than any other food and drink.' Very willingly did the grateful
Kranyatz make the engagement for both himself and his posterity, and
to this day his descendants still keep faith, according to his
promise, loving wine above all things, and joyfully commemorating
Kurent, their ancient benefactor.


Kurent and man contended which should rule the earth. Neither Kurent
would yield to man nor man to Kurent, for he (man) was so
gigantic--he wouldn't even have noticed it, if nine of the people of
the present day had danced up and down his nostrils. 'Come,' said
Kurent, 'let us see which is the stronger; whether it is I or you
that is to rule the earth. Yonder is a broad sea; the one that
springs across it best shall have both the earth and all that is on
the other side of the sea, and that is, in faith, a hundred times
more valuable than this wilderness.' Man agreed. Kurent took off his
coat and jumped across the sea, so that just one foot was wetted
when he sprang on to dry land. Now he began to jeer at the man; but
the man held his tongue, didn't get out of temper, neither did he
take off his coat, but stepped without effort and quite easily over
the sea, as over a brook, and came on to dry land without even
wetting a foot. 'I'm the stronger,' said man to Kurent; 'see how my
foot is dry and yours is wet.' 'The first time you have overcome
me,' answered Kurent; 'yours are the plains, yours is the sea, and
what is beyond the sea; but that isn't all the earth, there is also
some beneath us and above us; come, then, let us see a second time
which is the stronger.' Kurent stood on a hollow rock, and stamped
on it with his foot, so that it burst with a noise like thunder, and
split in pieces. The rock broke up, and a cavern was seen where
dragons were brooding. Now the man also stamped, and the earth
quaked and broke up right to the bottom, just where pure gold flowed
like a broad river, and the dragons fell down and were drowned in
the river. 'This trial, too, is yours,' said Kurent; 'but I don't
acknowledge you emperor till you overpower me in a third fierce
contest. Yonder is a very lofty mountain. It rises above the clouds;
it reaches to the celestial table, where the cock sits and watches
God's provisions. Now, then, take you an arrow and shoot, and so
will I; the one which shoots highest is the stronger, and his is the
earth, and all that is beneath and above it.' Kurent shot, and his
arrow wasn't back for eight days; then the man shot, and his arrow
flew for nine days, and when, on the tenth day, it fell, the
celestial cock that guarded God's provisions fell also, spitted upon
it. 'You are emperor,' said cunning Kurent. 'I make obeisance to
you, as befits a subject.' But the man was good-natured, and made a
covenant of adoptive brotherhood with Kurent, and went off to enjoy
his imperial dignity. Kurent, too, went off, but he was annoyed that
the man had put him to shame; where he could not prevail by
strength, he determined to succeed by craft. 'You are a hero, man,'
he would say, 'I am witness thereto; but beware of me, if you are a
hero also in simplicity; I go to bring you a gift, that I have
devised entirely by myself.'

He said and squeezed the vine, his stick, and pure red wine burst
out of it. 'Here's a gift for you; now, then, where are you?' He
found the man on the earth the other side of the sea, where he was
enjoying a bowl of sweet stirabout. 'What are you doing, my lord?'
said Kurent. 'I've mixed a bowl of stirabout from white wheat and
red fruit, and, see, here I am eating it and drinking water.' 'My
poor lord! you are emperor of the world and drinking water! hand me
a cup, that I may present you with better drink, which I, your
humble servant, have prepared for you myself.' The man was deceived,
took the cup with red wine, and drank some of it. 'Thank you,
adopted brother; you are very kind, but your drink is naught.'
Kurent was disgusted, went off again, and thought and thought how to
cheat the man. Again he squeezed his stick, again red wine burst
forth from it, but Kurent did not allow it to remain pure, but the
rascal mixed hellebore with it, which Vilas and prophetesses pluck
by moonlight to nourish themselves with. A second time he went in
search of the man, and found him at the bottom of the earth, where
the pure gold was flowing like a broad river. 'What are you doing,
my lord?' asked Kurent. 'I am getting myself a golden shirt, and I
am tired and very thirsty; but there's no water here, and it's a
long way to the world--seven years' journey.' 'I am at your
service,' said Kurent; 'here's a cup of wine for you; better never
saw the red sun.' The man was deceived, took it, and drank it up.
'Thank you, Kurent; you are good, and your drink is good, too.'
Kurent was going to pour him out a fresh cupful, but the man would
not allow it, for his nature was still sober and sensible. Kurent
was disgusted, and went off to see whether he could not devise
something better. For the third time he squeezed his stick; wine
burst out more strongly, but this time it did not remain pure nor
without sin. The rascal applied an arrow, opened a vein and let some
black blood flow into the wine. Again he went in search of the man,
and found him on the high mountain at God's table, where he was
feasting on roast meat, which had not been roasted for him, but for
God himself. 'What are you doing, my lord?' asked Kurent in
amazement and joy, when he saw that the man was sinning abominably.
'Here I am, sitting and eating roast meat; but take yourself off,
for I am afraid of God, lest he should come up and smite me.' 'Never
fear!' was Kurent's advice; 'how do you like God's roast meat?'
'It's nice, but it's heavy. I can scarcely swallow it.' 'I am at
your service,' said Kurent; 'here is wine for you, the like of which
isn't on earth or in heaven, but only with me.' The third time the
man was deceived, but cruelly. 'Thank you, Kurent,' he said; 'you
are good, but your drink is better; draw me some more, as becomes a
faithful servant.' Kurent did so, and the man's eye became dim and
his mind became dim, and he thought no more of God, but remained at
table. Suddenly God returned, and seeing the man dozing and eating
roast meat at his table, became angry, and smote him down the
mountain with his mighty hand, where he lay, half dead, for many
years, all bruised and hurt. When he got well again his strength had
diminished; he could neither step across the sea, nor go down to the
bottom of the earth, nor uphill to the celestial table. Thus Kurent
ruled the world and man, and mankind have been weak and dwarfed from
that time forth.


The man contended with Kurent for the earth. Unable to decide their
dispute by agreement, they seized each other, and struggled together up
and down the earth for full seven years; but neither could Kurent
overcome the man, nor the man Kurent. At that time they kicked the
earth about and broke it up, so that it became such as it now is: where
there was formerly nothing but wide plains, they dug out ravines with
their heels, and piled up mountains and hills. When they were wearied
with fighting, they both fell down like dead corpses, and lay for a
hundred and a hundred years; and the mighty Dobrin hastened to the
earth, bound both the man and Kurent, and ruled the world. But the two
woke up, and, looking about them, observed Dobrin's cords, and wondered
who had thrown spider's webs over them. Raising themselves, they broke
their bonds as mere spiders' webs, seized Dobrin, bound him with golden
fetters, and handed him over to a fiery dragon, to plait the
lady-dragon's hair and wash her white hands. Then said Kurent to the
man: 'See, by quarrelling we got tired out, and fell asleep, and a
good-for-nothing came to us and ruled the world. We have handed him
over to the fiery dragon, but if we contend as before, a stronger than
Dobrin will come to us, and will conquer both me and you, and we shall
suffer like silly Dobrin. But let us give up disputing; you are a hero,
and I think I am, too; the hills and abysses are our witnesses, when
they crashed under our heels. Hear, therefore, and follow my advice. I
have a garden, and in my garden is a mysterious plant, the
hundred-leaved rose. By the root it is attached to the bottom of the
earth, imprisoning a terrible creature--the living fire. In vain does
the creature endeavour to release and free itself from its bonds, the
roots. But woe to us, if you pull up the hundred-leaved rose out of the
earth! The creature 'living-fire' would force its way through, and the
earth, and all that is in it, would become nothing but a mighty desert
where the water has dried up. Such is the root of the hundred-leaved
rose. But don't seize hold of its top, either. It is in your power to
pull it off, it is neither too strong nor lofty, but it conceals within
it wondrous powers--lightning and thunder. They would knock to pieces
both you and the earth, and all that is beneath it and above it; the
hundred-leaved rose would alone remain; but a hundred and a hundred of
God's years would elapse before a new earth grew up around it, and a
living race was again produced. Such is the garden of the
hundred-leaved rose. But it also possesses extraordinary petals. I have
often sat a day at a time under them, and the petals would comfort me,
and sing songs sweeter than even the slender throat of a Vila singing
ever uttered. But from the petals there is no danger; pluck them, and
next morning they will sprout forth handsomer than ever. But up to the
present time I have not injured them, but have noticed in the night,
how they fell and raised themselves again; and I easily understood how
the stars and the moon go round, for all came up in the sky just like
the petals of the hundred-leaved rose. Come, then; let us ask the
wondrous plant, and then make peace together. The first petal is yours,
the second mine, the third belongs to neither of us, and so on till we
pluck all the petals: let him who pulls off the last petal be ruler on
the earth, but not for ever, for that would be a disgrace to a hero,
but for one of God's hours, a hundred terrestrial years; and when the
hour passes, let that one rule again to whom that luck does not fall
the first time, whether it be I or you, so that we may arrange to
succeed each other in a friendly manner without dispute and dangerous
discord. But the beginning is difficult; let us have no suspicion,
either I as to you, or you as to me, but let all be of goodwill, and
without trickery; let us ask the hundred-leaved rose, with whom there
is no unrighteousness.' The man agreed to what Kurent said; one hero
trusted the other. They went off to the garden, and asked the
hundred-leaved rose. The man pulled a petal, Kurent pulled one, and the
third petal remained unowned. 'I am yours,' 'you are mine,' 'each is
his own;' 'I am yours,' 'you are mine,' 'each is his own;' so said both
heroes, as they pulled the mysterious petals. But it was not the will
of the hundred-leaved rose that one autocrat should rule the earth.
There were still three petals, the first belonging to the man, the
second to Kurent, and the third to neither, and this was the only one
remaining on the hundred-leaved rose. Kurent and the man saw that it
was not destined for either to rule or to humble himself; they parted
in grief, and roamed through the wide world, each afraid of the other,
so that they did not venture even to go to sleep at night. An hour of
God, a hundred terrestrial years, elapsed, and then both heroes met
again. For the second time they consulted the hundred-leaved rose, and
it arranged it so, that Kurent was to humble himself, and the man, who
pulled off the last petal, was to rule. The hero humbled himself to
him, but the man did not know how to rule, but allowed himself to be
deluded, and lay down on a plain to rest and sleep. Thus he lay for a
whole hour of God, a hundred terrestrial years, and the wild beasts
came up and made game of him: foxes littered in his ear, and
predaceous kites nested in his thick hair. The man was a great
simpleton, but also a mighty hero, as tall, as a plain, the end of
which you cannot see, is long, and as shaggy as a wooded mountain. But
the hour of God had elapsed, and Kurent came to the sleeper, and woke
him up in no agreeable fashion. The man saw that he had slept through
his term of rule, and that it was his, according to the agreement, to
serve during an hour of God, a hundred terrestrial years. Kurent began
to rule, but he didn't go to sleep, but made use of his rule, and
exercised his power to the full. He invited the man to dinner, and
treated him in a courteous and friendly manner, that he might soon
forget his servitude. Kurent kept this in view, and drew him a cup of
wine straight from his own vineyard. The simpleton was tricked, and
drank it up; but it tasted sour to him, so he grumbled: 'Bad drink at a
bad host's!' Kurent did not get angry at this, but drew him a second
cup of old red wine: 'Drink, and don't find fault with what is God's.'
The second time the man was tricked and drank it up. It did not taste
sour to him, but he said: 'Wondrous drink at a wondrous host's!' Kurent
drew him a third cup, of wonderful wine, which the first plant, the
first planted, yielded, of the first autumn in the first created year.
The third time the man was tricked, but for ever. After drinking it up,
he threw his arms round Kurent's neck, and cried out: 'Oh, good drink
at a good host's! Treat me with this wine, and rule both my body and
soul, not only for one hour of God, but from henceforth for evermore.'
Kurent was delighted, and plied the man with sweet wine, and the man
drank, and cried without ceasing, that he had no need of freedom so
long as there was wine to be had with Kurent. Kurent laughed at him,
seeing how the man's powers had decayed through wine, and that nobody
could any more contend with him for the sovereignty of the earth.


The Croats are believed to take their name from their former abode
in the ancient Chrobatia, north of the Carpathian Mountains, whose
name retains the same root, CRB(or P)T. Among them we meet with a
wonderful hero, 'Marko' (No. 52), the account of whose _buzdovan_,
or mace, the southern representative of Thor's hammer, may be
compared with 'Little Rolling-pea's _bulava_ (No. 22), and that of
Ivan Popyalof' (Ralston, p. 66). Marko appears to have been a very
unprincipled hero, with very slight ideas of honesty and fair-play.
He is represented as gaining his vast strength from a superhuman
source--a Vila, of whom more anon. In No. 53, we are carried into
cloudland, and meet with representatives of the Clashing Rocks'
(Symplegades), through which the good ship _Argo_ had to pass before
she could make her way into the Black Sea, and which, till their
reappearance in this story, seem to have dropped altogether out of
folklore. From this story, and also from several incidents in No.
52, we perceive that the Vilas of the South Slavonians are not
denizens of the earth, the waters, or the woods, but of the clouds,
and thus a journey has to be made into cloudland to find the
daughter of their king.[18] No. 54 will remind us of Aladdin and
his wonderful ring and lamp, although animals play a part in it
unknown to the Oriental tale. No. 55 introduces us to the singular
relations supposed to exist between human beings and wolves, and No.
56 exhibits a curious mixture of destiny and ingenuity.

    [18] It must also be noticed that the hero is represented as
    catching the Storm-mare, just as Bellerophon does the horse
    Pegasus by the fountain Peirene.


There was once upon a time a mother who gave birth to Kraljevitch
Marko. She reared him, and placed him in a position to become a
hero. When Marko was growing up he was obliged to feed swine, but he
was then weakly, and so dwarfish a lad that his comrades were able
to beat him, and wanted him to be a sort of servant for them and
tend their swine. But he was not willing to do this, so they beat
him and lugged him by the hair, so that he was obliged to run away
from them. He got away, and went into the fields, and there roamed
about, thinking: 'They would be beating me all day, now one, now
another of them; but as it is, when I go to them in the evening,
they will only beat me once.' As he roamed about, he came up to a
baby. He saw that it was a handsome one, and that it was lying in
the sun. He made it a cool shade with branches, and went a little
way off and sat down. As he thus sat, up came a Vila, and said to
herself: 'Gracious God! who has done this? Let him ask me for
anything in the world; I will give it him.' He heard this,
approached, and said: 'Sister, I have done this for you.' 'You have
done it, little brother? Come! what do you ask of me in return, that
I may reward you for being so good as to make a cool shade for my
baby?' 'Ah, dear sister! what I should ask you, you could not give
me.' 'Well, what is such a mighty matter? only tell me.' He was
thinking of this, that his comrades might not beat him at the
pasture; therefore he said that he should wish that they should not
beat him. She replied: 'Well, if that is what you wish for, come and
suck my breast.' He obeyed her, went and sucked. When he had
finished sucking, the Vila said to him: 'Well, go now and heave yon
stone, and try whether you can heave it up.' The stone was twelve
hundredweight. He went to heave it, but could not stir it from its
place. Then the Vila said to him: 'Come and suck again; when you
have done sucking, go and heave it.' He went to suck, and when he
had finished, went to heave it, but only lifted it a little. Then he
went again to suck, with such effect that he could already cast it a
little way. He went to suck once more. Then he was already able to
cast it to a great height and over hills, so that it was no more to
be found. Once more she bade him come to suck. He sucked his fill,
and then she said to him: 'Go now whithersoever you will; no one
will beat you any more--no, not your comrades.' He went merrily to
the herdsmen, and they called to him: 'Where have you been that we
are obliged to tend your swine?' and rushed upon him to beat him. He
only waited for them. When they came up to him, he seized one,
knocked them down, and the one who was in his hands was quite
squashed, with such force had he taken hold of him. The other
shepherds, who saw what he did, ran to the home of those whom he had
knocked down, saying: 'Marko has knocked down your son, and
so-and-so's, and so-and-so's.' They all went to his mother: 'What
manner of son is this that you have reared up?--a brigand, who kills
our children!' She was terrified out of her wits, thinking what her
son had done. She began to revile him: 'Sonny, never did my eye see
that you did anything; wherefore do you thus to me, that other
people come to revile me because of your doings? Go! I shall be glad
if my eye never sees you more. Why do you put me to shame?' 'Well,
then, good! if so you say, I will go into the world.' 'Only go that
I may never see you.' 'Well, then, good! go I will.'

He went. Now, he thought to himself: 'What shall I do? I am a hero,
but I have not what a hero requires.' Then he went to a smith, at
whose smithy were five-and-twenty smiths. 'God help you, smith!'
'God help you, Kraljevitch Marko! why have you come to me?' 'I have
come to you that you may forge me a sword weighing twelve
hundredweight; then you shall also forge me a mace, if you make the
sword well; but you must know that it must be stronger than your
anvil. If it cuts it through, you shall receive payment; otherwise,
not. Have you understood me?' 'Yes.' 'Well, then make it now.' All
five-and-twenty smiths went immediately and forged the sword. When
it was ready, Marko came. 'Well, smith, have you got it ready?'
'Yes, Marko.' 'Now come, let me see.' Marko struck, but the sword
broke into two pieces, and not the anvil. 'Ah! friend smith, you've
not done it well; you get no pay.' He went on to another smith. 'God
help you, smith!' 'God help you, Kraljevitch Marko! What work do you
want done?' 'I have come to you to make me a sword weighing twelve
hundredweight, and to make it stronger than your anvil, because, if
it cuts through your anvil, you will receive payment; if not, you
will get nothing. Have you understood me?' 'Yes.' 'Then make it.'
Then up came the thirty smiths, worked at the sword, and worked
until they had finished forging it. Marko came: 'Well, smith, is the
sword ready?' 'It is, Marko.' 'Show it me that I may see it.' Marko
took it, struck, cut through the anvil, and cut right into the
block. 'Well, smith, you've made it well. Now that you've made me a
sword, make me also a sheath for the sword, and also a club, that
is, a mace, weighing twelve hundredweight, then I will pay you all
at once. But when I throw the mace, it must not break; if it
breaks, then you get no payment.' He made him a mace also, but did
not make it well. When Marko threw it, he let it fall upon himself,
and the mace broke. Then said Marko: 'You have made me the sword
well, but not the mace. Reach out your hand that I may pay you for
the sword.' The smith reached out his hand, and Marko cut it off
with the sword, saying: 'There's your payment, smith, for the sword,
that you may no more make such swords for any hero.' Then he went to
a third smith, with whom thirty-eight smiths were at work, and said:
'God help you, smith!' 'God requite you, Marko! why have you come to
me?' 'I have come to you to make me a club, that is, a mace,
weighing twelve hundredweight; I tell you the truth, if I throw it
up on high, and it breaks when it falls, you get no payment.' All
thirty-eight smiths worked till they forged it. Marko came: 'Well,
is the mace ready?' 'It is, Marko.' 'Show it, that I may see it.'
When he gave it him, he threw it so high into the air that it was
three days and three nights in the sky. When it came down, Marko
presented his back; it fell upon him, and cast him to the ground,
and blood flowed from his nose and teeth, but the mace remained
sound. But Marko sprang up quickly, and said to the smith: 'Ah! dear
smith! you've made it well for me; reach out your hand that I may
pay you.' He reached out his hand to him, and he cut his hand off
with his sword. 'Let this be your payment, smith, that you may no
more make such staves for any hero.'

Then he went off to his mother and said to her: 'Mother, you see in
me a hero; if you revile me, I shall go about the world.' Then his
mother began to scold him: 'Why are you like this? Why don't you
live like other people? You have oxen; go, then, on to the green
hill and plough the fallows and pastures, and thereby support your
old mother.' Marko obeyed her, took the oxen, and went. But he
didn't go on to the green hill, to plough the fallows and pastures,
but he went and ploughed the emperor's highroads. When the Turks saw
this, they went to Marko--three hundred Turks, all chosen
warriors--and said to him: 'Why, Marko, do you plough the emperor's
highroads? you have the fallows and pastures!' Then at him, to cut
him down. When Marko saw this, he hadn't with him either his sword
or his mace, so seized his plough and felled all three hundred
Turks. Then said he: 'Ah! gracious God! a wondrous hero!' Then he
took the Turks' gold from them, left his plough, unyoked the oxen,
and turned them loose on the green hill: 'Go, little oxen, on to the
green hill, and feed and graze from pine to pine, like the cuckoo;
Marko has not managed to plough with you, and now never will he
more.' And home he went singing: 'Here, mother, you have gold
enough, live upon it, and I will go into the world, that your eye
may see me no more.'

He took his mace and sword, went and came to an inn, where some
Turks were drinking red wine and conversing. 'We should be glad to
make the acquaintance of Kraljevitch Marko and see him. We have
heard that he is a celebrated hero. His brother Andro is in Stambol
here. He is a hero, but they say that _he_ is a still greater hero.'
'In whose service is Andro Kraljevitch?' 'In that of a pasha; he
will soon come riding past here.' 'Good; I will wait for him.' Up
came Andro Kraljevitch, riding with the pasha. Marko called out to
him: 'Eh, adopted brother, Kraljevitch Andro!' 'Thanks, unknown
hero, perhaps you are Kraljevitch Marko?' 'Quite true, I am
Kraljevitch Marko.' 'Good; let us go into the inn to drink a cup of
wine, that love and the fortune of heroes may thus unite us. Now we
are not afraid of going into combat against any empire.' So they
went on the way to an inn. Kraljevitch Marko said: 'Prithee, sing me
a song, Andro.' 'Dear brother, I dare not. The Vila of the cloud
would shoot me.' 'Don't be afraid; I am here.' Andro obeyed, and
sang so that all the branches began to fall. All at once a spear
flew against Andro and struck him down. Marko looked about to see
whence it came, and espied a Vila in the cloud; he seized his mace
and threw it at the Vila, so that it at once struck her to the
ground. The Vila began to shriek: 'Let me go, Marko! I will bring
Andro back to life, and will give you a wondrous horse, so that you
will be able to fly in the air.' Marko agreed, and she took certain
grasses, and brought Andro back to life. Marko obtained the wondrous
horse, and both rode off to an inn and drank red wine. But in the
inn there was a wicked harlot. She became enamoured of Andro, but he
would not even look at her. She therefore put sweet honey into his
wine, that he might drink the wine. Marko went out for a short time,
and the wicked woman murdered Andro. But when Marko came in he
seized the wicked woman, and spitted her on his sword: 'Take that,
wretch, for murdering my brother Andro.'

He went on into the world. He roamed hither and thither, and when he
met with any hero, he tried the fortune of combat with him, as in
his encounter with black Arapin. Arapin built a tower beside the
level sea. When he had built it handsomely and raised it high, he
said thus to it: 'Handsomely, my tower, handsomely have I built
thee, and high have I raised thee, for I have no father nor mother,
no brother nor sister, nor even my beloved, to walk about in thee.
But I have a love, the daughter of the emperor Soliman. I will write
him the leaf of a white book, and send up to him by a black Tatar;
for if he will not give her to me, let him meet me in single
combat.' He wrote the leaf of a white book and sent it by a black
Tatar. When Soliman read over the leaf of the white book, he shed
tears abundantly, and his empress Solimanitza came to him and
questioned him: 'Why do you weep, emperor Soliman? Ofttimes have
letters come for you, and you have not shed abundant tears; what
distress is tormenting you?' He told her this, that black Arapin had
written to him, that, if he did not give him his daughter, he must
meet him in single combat; and how could he meet him in single
combat? She advised him to write the leaf of a white book to
Kraljevitch Marko to come, promising to give him three loads of
money. He wrote the leaf of a white book and sent it by a black
Tatar. When Kraljevitch Marko read over the leaf of the book, he
began to laugh greatly: 'Yes, i' faith, emperor Soliman! what will
your money do for me, if black Arapin severs my head from my
shoulders?' And he said not whether he would go or not go. The
emperor Soliman was anxiously expecting the Tatar, who brought to
him the words, that Marko neither said that he would come, nor that
he would not come. Thereupon the emperor was sorrowful, for he had
no such man who would deliver his daughter. There arrived a second
letter from black Arapin, that he must give him his daughter; if he
did not give her, he must meet him in single combat. As he read it,
he shed abundant tears. Thereupon his only daughter came to him and
asked him: 'Why do you weep, emperor Soliman? Letters have ofttimes
arrived for you, and you have not shed abundant tears.' He replied
to her: 'Dear daughter! You see that black Arapin writes to me,
that, if I do not give you to him, I must meet him in single combat;
and how shall I, poor man that I am, meet him?' 'You know, dear
father, that there is one hero, Kraljevitch Marko. Write to him,
that you will give him nine loads of money, if he will come and meet
him in single combat.' The emperor Soliman wrote to Kraljevitch
Marko the leaf of a white book, and sent it to him by a black Tatar.
When he read over the leaf of the white book he laughed greatly:
'I' faith, emperor Soliman! what will your money be to me, if black
Arapin severs my head from my shoulders?' Thereupon he did not say
whether he would come or not come. Sorrowful thereat, the emperor
did not know what to do. Then came a third letter from black Arapin,
that he was coming, and that he must prepare, would he, nould he, to
give him his daughter, and that all inns and shops must be shut for
fear of him. Thereupon the emperor Soliman shed abundant tears as he
read it. His daughter came to him: 'Why do you weep, emperor
Soliman? Letters have ofttimes arrived for you, and you have not
shed abundant tears. What distress is assailing you?' 'You see, dear
daughter, that black Arapin writes to me, that if I don't give you
to him, I must meet him in single combat! But how shall I, poor man,
meet him?' 'Write, dear father, to Kraljevitch Marko to come, and
offer him twelve loads of money, and a shirt which is neither spun
nor woven nor bleached, but made of nothing but pure gold, and a
serpent that holds a tray in its mouth, and on the tray a golden
casket, and in the casket a precious stone, by aid of which you can
sup at midnight just as well as at mid-day.' He wrote the leaf of a
white book and sent it to Kraljevitch Marko by a black Tatar, and
offered him all that his daughter told him. When Marko read the leaf
of the white book, he laughed greatly, and said: 'I' faith, emperor
Soliman! what will your money do for me, if black Arapin severs my
head from my shoulders?' And then, too, he did not say that he would
come or not come. Thereupon came the leaf of a white book from black
Arapin, that Arapin had now got ready three hundred heroes, all in
silver armour, and all chosen warriors. Then said Kraljevitch Marko
to his piebald horse: 'Eh! piebald horse, my pearl! you know well
that you must be faithful to me, for, if not, I shall cut off your
feet at the knees, and that you must bear yourself valiantly.' And
the piebald horse replied that he must saddle and mount with speed
to go soon, and that black Arapin was already near. Marko saddled
and mounted him, and went to the city where the emperor Soliman

Now, when he had ascertained by which road Arapin's men were coming,
he presented himself to a young innkeeper, and said, knocking at the
door: 'Open, and bring some wine.' But he excused himself, saying
that he dared not draw any, for all inns and shops were obliged to
be shut for fear of black Arapin. But the hero said to him: 'You
must bring some for me, or I shall cleave your head to the
shoulders.' The innkeeper saw that it could not be otherwise, and
was obliged to bring him a cup of wine. Marko drank half, and gave
half to his piebald horse. Then he brought two cups, one for Marko,
and one for the horse. Meanwhile, Marko went into the garden to look
about him. When he got there, he saw by the side of a brook a damsel
in sorrow, and wondered what ailed her that she wept so piteously,
saying: 'Ah! my rivulet! I would rather abide in you, than lie
behind black Arapin's back.' When Marko saw that it was Soliman's
daughter, he said: 'What ails you, damsel, that you weep so
piteously?' She replied to him: 'Go hence, unknown hero! As to what
you ask me, you cannot aid me.' 'Now, only tell me; maybe I shall
aid you.' 'Black Arapin will come, and will take me away from my
father and mother; but I had a man, who could have set me free, but
he will not. I offered him twelve loads of money, and a shirt, which
is neither spun nor bleached, but is made of pure gold; and a
serpent, that holds in its mouth a tray, and on the tray a golden
casket, and in the casket a precious stone, by aid of which he could
sup at midnight, as well as at mid-day; but he won't. The sun has
not seen him, neither has the moon thrown its light upon him, nor
has he seen his mother more, nor has a bird sung to him.' Marko
answered her: 'Don't chatter, don't chatter; but go and say that I
have arrived. I am Marko; and let him dress and furnish you
handsomely, and give you all that is requisite for Arapin, and all
that he shall desire.' Then she ran to her father, and told him all
that Marko said. Meanwhile, while Marko was conversing with the
damsel, Arapin arrived, saw an inn open, and a horse in front of it
standing tethered at the entrance. He said: 'Who is this, that is
not afraid of my terror?' And thereupon he said that he would soon
teach him to be afraid of him. After this, he shouted an order to
the bedelija; the bedelija (such is the [Turkish] name for a horse)
would not stir. 'Well, I'll go thither; I won't make quarrels; maybe
I shall obtain possession of the damsel without any disturbance.'
And, in fact, thither he went, obtained possession of the damsel,
and all that he needed was given him. Then he went again to the inn,
and saw the horse again standing there. Again he was about to go to
the innkeeper to slay him; but he shouted to the horse, the horse
wouldn't stir. Said Arapin: 'Well, I won't make quarrels, now that I
have obtained the damsel without any quarrel.' When Arapin proceeded
on his way, Marko came out of the garden, and his piebald horse said
to him: 'Where have you been so long, that Arapin might easily have
killed me?' 'Now don't fear, my piebald; we shall soon kill him,
please God, not he you.' Then he called for one more cup of wine for
himself, and one for his piebald. When they had finished drinking,
they started on their way, and in pursuit of Arapin. Arapin had
already told his chief officer to look round to see whether any dark
fog came out behind them. He looked round, but saw nothing. But when
he afterwards looked round a second time, he espied a dark fog, and
said to Arapin: 'Yes, my lord, a dark foul fog is coming behind
us.' Scarcely had he said this, when Marko attacked, and began to
slaughter, his rearguard. Arapin said to him: 'Don't be silly,
Marko; why are you playing the fool with us? I don't know whether
you are jesting, or playing the fool.' 'I am neither jesting nor
playing the fool, but am in earnest.' 'Do, then, what you can; throw
what you have.' 'I won't; but throw you your mace.' Marko's piebald
threw himself down, and Arapin's mace went over Marko's head. Then
Marko threw his mace, and felled Arapin to the ground, and the
piebald leapt to Arapin, and said to Marko: 'Come, see that you cut
off Arapin's head.' When the piebald leapt, Marko, too, struck with
his sword, and cut off Arapin's head, and the piebald quickly leapt
backwards thirty paces. Then he left Arapin's carcase on the ground,
gave the head to the damsel, and said: 'Kiss him, now that he is
dead, though you wouldn't when he was living.' They went home, and
the emperor caused a great entertainment to be prepared, and all
Marko's friends, and his father and mother, to be invited, and Marko
obtained his promised reward.

So, too, he tried the fortune of combat with Musa Urbanusa.[19] He
had three hearts. Marko fought with him for three nights and three
white days without cessation, so that red foam already issued from
Marko, while not even white foam came from Musa Urbanusa. Then
Kraljevitch Marko shouted: 'Eh! sister Vila!' The Vila replied: 'I
cannot help you, because the baby has fallen asleep in my arms; but
don't you know your secret weapon?' Then said Kraljevitch Marko:
'Look, Musa Urbanusa, whether the sun is now rising or setting.'
Musa looked at the sun, and Marko drew his knife, and ripped Musa
up. Musa seized hold of him so powerfully that he barely dug his way
out from under Musa, whom he had ripped up. There he lay, and Marko
pushed himself sideways, and when he had extricated himself, went to
look what there was in this man that was so strong. He saw that Musa
had three hearts, one was beating, the second was beginning to beat
a little, and the third did not yet know aught about it. On the
third he saw a snake lying, and the snake said to Marko: 'Thank God
that I didn't know of it; you wouldn't have done what you have done.
But open your mouth, Marko, that I may enter into you, that you,
too, may be as strong as he was.' Marko became angry, and cut the
snake to pieces, saying: 'I don't need such a foul creature as you

    [19] Musa, the Albanian, more properly Arbanasian.

Then he proceeded on his way, and went about till firearms were
invented. He went up to a shepherd, who was shooting birds. Then
Marko asked him: 'What's this that you are doing?' 'Eh! you see, I'm
shooting birds; and I could shoot you, also.' 'And how would you
kill me with this thing? Heroes have not killed me; could you do
so?' Then he reached his hand to him, and said: 'Shoot into my hand
here.' He shot, and shot through his hand. Then said Marko: 'It is
not worth my while to live any longer in the world; now any cuckoo
could slay me; I had rather quit it.' He went into a cavern, and
lives there still at the present day. Into this cavern a man was
compelled to go, who was let down by a rope in a chest. When he
arrived within, the Vila immediately stepped up to him, and said:
'Christian soul, why come you here?' He told her why and how. But
Marko heard that somebody was conversing, and immediately asked the
Vila who it was that had come in. She told him that a soul from that
world had come to see what was in the cavern. Marko immediately said
that he must come to him, that he might see how strong people in the
world still were, and he must give him his hand. But she gave him a
red-hot iron, and Marko took it, and squeezed it in his hands so
that water spirted out of it, and said: 'Ah, ah! I could still live
in the world if no one would talk about me for three days.' He also
commissioned him to tell the lords that he should come there. He
gave him a letter, too, and sealed it with his own hand, and allowed
him to go up. He shook the rope, and got into the chest. Then they
pulled him up, and he gave the letter to the lords; but, for fear of
Marko's coming, the lords did not make the letter public for people
to know how Marko had gone into the cavern. The footprints of his
horse are still recognised.


There was a mother, who was expecting. As she once upon a time came
out of church from mass, her pains fell upon her. Whither should she
go? She concealed herself under a bridge, and became the happy
mother of a son. The three Royenitzes also came thither. They are
hags, who determine by what death every child is to pass from this
world. One said: 'Let us kill him at once.' The second said: 'Not
so; but when he grows up, then let us kill him, that his mother's
sorrow for him may be greater.' But the third said: 'Let us not do
so; but if he does not take the daughter of the king of the Vilas to
wife, then let us kill him.' And so it was settled.

When he had grown up, he said to his mother: 'Mamma, I should like
to marry.' 'Ah, my son, you say that you would like to marry; but
there is no one to be married to you.' He asked her: 'Why not?' She
told him: 'Yes; the Suyenitzes have pronounced your fate, that if
you do not take the daughter of the king of the Vilas to wife, they
will put you to death.' He then said: 'Well, I'll go in search of
her; but first I'll go to ask a certain old smith; maybe he'll be
able to tell me where she is.' The smith said: 'My son, it will be
difficult for you to find out; but go to the mother of the moon; if
she can't tell you, I don't know who will be better able to tell you
than she.' He also gave him three pairs of iron shoes, and sent him
off to the mother of the moon. 'Only, when you come to her, take her
by the arm, then she will ask you at once what you want, and tell
her without delay.' He went off, and just as he was on the point of
wearing out the shoes, he came to the moon's mother, and took her by
the arm. She asked him immediately what he wanted. He said: 'I want
to find the daughter of the king of the Vilas.' She said: 'Well, my
son, I don't know; but maybe my son knows. Wait till he comes home,
and then you can ask him. But he mustn't find you; he would tear you
to pieces at once. When he comes home, he will notice that you are
here. I will conceal you, and when he asks for the third time where
the Christian soul is, then say to him: "Here I am!" and he won't be
able to do anything to you.' The old woman hid him under a trough.
The moon came home, and asked: 'Mamma, you have a Christian soul
here.' And when he asked for the third time where the Christian soul
was, he announced himself: 'Here I am.' And then he could do nothing
to him, otherwise he would have crushed him to powder. He asked him
what he wanted. He said: 'I want to find the daughter of the king of
the Vilas.' The moon: 'I don't know, but if the sun's mother doesn't
know, I don't know who else does.' And he showed him the way by
which he must go.

He put on the second pair of shoes, and when he was just on the
point of wearing them out, he came to the sun's mother, and took her
by the arm. She said to him at once: 'What do you want?' He said to
her that, if she knew where the Vilas' castles were, he wanted to
obtain the daughter of the king of the Vilas. She then said to him:
'Ah, my son, I don't know; but if my son doesn't know, I don't know
who else does. Wait a little till he comes home.' She, too,
concealed him under a trough, and he announced himself the third
time that the sun asked: 'Mother, you have a Christian soul here:'
saying, 'Here I am.' Neither could the sun do anything to him, but
asked him what he wanted. He replied that he was in search of the
Vilas' castles, and the daughter of the king of the Vilas. Then the
sun said to him: 'Ah, I don't know; but if the storm-mare (that is,
the storm or wind) doesn't know, then I don't know who will know.'
Then he showed him the road, and said: 'When you come to a meadow
where the grass is up to your knees, there the storm-mare is. If you
don't find her there, wait for her; she will come to feed. Don't go
directly to her, but hide behind a tree or in a hole, and when she
comes, take her at once by the bridle, otherwise it will not be good
for you.'

He went off, and put on the third pair of shoes, then went and went,
and arrived at the meadow. When he got there, the storm-mare was not
there till dawn. He hid himself under a bridge, and when she came to
the bridge to drink water, he seized her by the bridle, and she
asked him what he wanted. He replied that he wanted to find the
daughter of the king of the Vilas. She answered him: 'Mount on my
back.' He mounted, and she then said to him: 'But you mustn't fall
off.' She reared; he almost fell off, but kept himself on with his
foot. She reared a second time, and then, too, he almost fell off. A
third time she reared, and then, too, he almost fell off, only he
kept himself on with his knee. Then she said to him: 'This will be
harmful to me.' She went off with him like a bird, and sped and sped
up to two steps. When she came near them, the steps split in twain
from the gust, but speedily closed again, and tore off a piece of
the mare's tail. Then the mare said to him: 'You see how you harmed
me when you almost fell off.' Then they went on till they arrived at
the Vilas' castles. Then she said: 'Don't get drunk or forget, so as
not to come to me.' He said that he would come, and went off
upwards. They received and entertained him, and he asked them at
once to give him the king's daughter. They promised that they would
give her to him. Then they feasted, and ate and drank till darkness
came on. And when evening arrived, he said that he must go out on
his own account, and would return directly. He went off to the
storm-mare. They had brought her a hundred quintals of hay. He
concealed himself in the mare's tail. They sought him, and couldn't
find him; but nevertheless they almost found him at dawn; but a cock
began to crow, and then they could do nothing to him. Afterwards he
went indoors, and they gave him again to eat and drink, and asked
him where he had been. He replied: 'I slept under a hedge; I fell
down, and soon fell asleep on the spot.' They gave the mare a
hundred quintals of hay and several measures of oats. They enjoyed
themselves the whole day till evening. He went out again and hid
himself in the mare's mane. They sought him all night long, but
couldn't find him; but at dawn an old witch told them that he was in
the mane. They would almost have found him there, but the cocks
began to crow, and they couldn't kill him now. But afterwards they
killed all the cocks in the whole village. He went again into the
castle. They gave him what he wanted to eat and drink, and the mare,
as usual, a hundred quintals of hay and several measures of oats,
and said to him: 'You must not go out anywhere in the evening; we
will prepare everything for you that you require.' When evening
came, they were on friendly terms with him, but nevertheless
dispersed. He went out, and went to the mare. Where did she bestow
him? She hid him under her foot in her shoe, for she had a large
foot. They went to seek him again. But during the day he took two
eggs, and the mare hatched them by evening in her throat, and they
had almost grown up by evening. When they sought him again, they
couldn't find him. At dawn they consulted the old witch. She told
them that he was under the mare's hoof. They wanted now to take him
out, but the cockerels which the mare had hatched in her throat
began to crow. They could do nothing to him, but they wrung the two
cockerels' necks. Now he said that they must give him the king's
daughter, that he might depart. But the king said that he wouldn't
give her to him, because he had not slept where he had prepared a
bed for him. He declared that he had been drunk and had gone out,
had fallen down, and gone to sleep on the spot. But the king would
not believe him. Now he begged him to bring his daughter to him,
that he might at any rate give her a kiss. But beforehand the mare
instructed him that, when she came to kiss him, he was to seize her
and pull her on to her (the mare), and they would escape with her.
And he was also to take a brush with which horses are cleaned, a
comb with which horses are combed, and a glass of water, and make
good preparations for himself. But when the king granted his request
that his daughter should come for him to kiss her, she stood on his
foot in the stirrup, and as she stood to give the kiss, off started
the mare, and made her way through the gate, and on and on she went.
The king saw this, called for his horse, and after them. They were
already far on their way. All of a sudden the mare said: 'Look round
to see whether anyone is coming behind us.' He looked round and
said: 'There is; he is all but catching you by the tail.' The mare
said: 'Throw the brush!' He threw the brush, and a forest placed
itself behind them, so that he could scarcely make his way through;
the poor king could scarcely get through for thorn bushes. And they
had meanwhile got a long way forward. The king, however, forced his
way through, and again after them with speed, till he was again on
the point of catching them. Then the mare said: 'Look round to see
whether anyone is coming behind us.' He looked round and saw that he
was already near, and the mare was all but caught by the tail, and
said: 'He is near, and you are all but caught by the tail.' The mare
said: 'Throw the comb.' He threw it, and a great chain of mountains,
one after the other, placed itself there; and on they went further,
so that they had already gone a great space, and the king with
difficulty made his way over the mountains, and again after them, so
that he was again on the point of overtaking them. The mare told him
to look round to see whether anyone was coming behind them. He said
that there was, and that she was all but caught by the tail. The
mare said: 'Throw the glass with water.' He threw it, and a great
flood of water arose, so that the king could with difficulty get
across. And they had already got a long way on. No sooner had the
king got out of the water, when on he went with speed, with speed,
again after them, and was already on the point of overtaking them,
when the mare was already near the steps, and the steps opened from
the gust of wind, and the mare sped through, and they closed again,
and the king couldn't proceed further through the steps, and shouted
loudly: 'Son-in-law, don't go any further; I cannot do so. Let not
my daughter complain that I have given her nothing.' Then he somehow
threw his girdle over the steps, for he had nought else to give her
save that girdle. And the girdle was such that whatsoever its owner
wanted, he obtained. Then the king returned, and they remained
happy. He thanked the storm-mare courteously, and went home with
speed, for he bade the girdle place them at his house. They prepared
a grand banquet, for they had plenty, and I was at the banquet and


There was once upon a time a woman who had one son. This son
maintained himself and his mother; he fed their one cow, and brought
wood and carried it to the town for sale, and with the money bought
bread to support his mother and himself. On one occasion he carried
sticks to market, and bought bread and went homewards. As he went
homewards with the bread, he went through a wood, came up to some
shepherds, and saw that they were going to kill a puppy, and said to
them: 'Don't kill it; the poor animal has done you no wrong; give it
rather to me.' The shepherds said to him: 'What will you give us?
Give us that loaf.' He gave them the loaf, took the dog, and carried
it home. When he got home, his mother asked him: 'Have you brought
any bread?' 'No, but I have bought a puppy with the bread.' She then
said: 'Wherewith shall we support it, when we've nothing to eat
ourselves?' 'Well, I'll go gather sticks, sell them, and buy bread.'
He went a second time to gather sticks, took them and sold them,
then bought bread, went through the wood, and saw where the
shepherds were killing a kitten, and said to them: 'Don't kill the
animal; it has done you no harm; rather give it to me?' They said to
him: 'What will you give us?' He said: 'What should I give you, when
I've got nothing?' The shepherds said: 'That loaf of bread.' He gave
it them and carried the kitten home. The old woman was again
anxiously expecting bread. When he got home his mother said to him:
'Do you bring me any bread?' 'No, but I've bought a kitten with the
bread.' The old woman then said: 'You've nothing to eat yourself,
much less the cat.' He then said: 'It, too, will be serviceable.
I'll go gather sticks, sell them, and buy bread.' He went a third
time, gathered and sold sticks, bought bread, and went homewards.
Going through the wood, he saw the shepherds killing a snake, and
said: 'Don't kill the snake, it has done you no harm; why should you
kill it?' He begged for it, too, because he compassionated it; it
was beautifully marked, and he fancied it. Then said the shepherds:
'What will you give us not to kill it?' He said: 'This little loaf
of bread.' He gave it them, and they gave him the snake. He went
home with the snake, and the snake said to him: 'Now feed me; when I
grow up you shall carry me home.' When he got home his mother said
to him: 'Why haven't you brought some bread? Why have you brought
this?' He said: 'It, too, will be of service.' Then he went a fourth
time to gather sticks, took them to market, sold them, bought four
loaves of bread, and brought them home. Then they all ate their
fill--the dog, the cat, the snake, his mother, and himself. He
maintained the whole set of animals. The snake grew big; he now
carried it home. It said to him: 'Do you hear? my mother will offer
you gold and silver, but don't take any, but let her give you the
lock which hangs behind the door. Whenever you want anything
whatever, only knock on the lock; twelve young men will come, who
will ask you: "What are your commands?" Only say what you wish for,
and you will have it immediately.' When he carried it home, its
parents asked him what he wanted for bringing their daughter home.
He said according to his instructions: 'Nothing but that lock, which
hangs behind the door.' They said to him: 'We can't give you that;
and what good would you do yourself with the lock? Let us rather
give you a quantity of money, as much as you can carry.' He then
said: 'I don't wish for your money; only give me the lock.' When
they long refused to give it him, he was about to depart. But they
saw that he ought not to go away without payment, so gave him the
lock. Now, when he had obtained the lock, and had gone a little
distance from the house, he knocked on the lock, and immediately out
came twelve young men, who asked him: 'What are your commands?'
'Only that you place me at home at once.' He immediately stood in
front of his cottage, and when his mother saw him, she rejoiced:
'Oh, my son! you have come home; how miserable I have been because
you were not at home!' 'Well, mamma, don't talk! we shall now live
better than we have done hitherto; I have brought you such a thing,
that we shall live with ease.' Then he gently knocked on the lock,
and up darted the twelve young men: 'What are your commands?' 'Food
and drink for me, my mother, the dog and the cat.' And so it was.
This pleased the old woman, and she loved her son still more.

Now it came into his head that he should like to get married, and he
said to his mother: 'Mamma, go you to our king, and ask him to give
me his daughter to wife.' His mother jeered him: 'What is this
nonsense that you are talking?' 'Well, go you to the king and tell
him!' The old woman did not venture to go at once; but at last go
she did, and told the king that her son wished to marry his
daughter. The king said to her: 'Good! provided he performs for me
what I shall command him; if he breaks up these hills by to-morrow
morning, as far as my eyes can see, so that the best wheat shall
grow, and I shall eat a cake from it to-morrow, then it is good; if
that shall not be done, he will lose his head.' She went home
weeping: 'My son, you have done an evil thing; the king has said to
you, you must break up all these hills by to-morrow morning, as far
as the king's eyes can see, so that the best wheat shall grow there,
and the king shall eat a cake from it to-morrow; and if that be not
done, you will lose your head.' 'Well, mamma, if that's all he said,
then she will be mine.' 'Ah! my sonny! how can this be? You cannot
do it.' 'Don't talk, mamma, but let us go to sleep; you will see
whether all will be ready to-morrow or no.' They took their supper,
and his mother went off to sleep. Then he knocked on the lock, and
out sprang the twelve young men. 'What are your commands?' 'I ask
that these hills be broken up, as far as the king's eyes can see,
and the best wheat must grow there.' It was done. In the morning the
old woman went to the king with the cake. The king rose up and saw
that it was really accomplished, and the old woman was waiting with
the cake. The king came out, and she said to him: 'Good-morning; I
have brought it.' Then the king said: 'Good! he has done this; now
tell him that by to-morrow he must clear all the woods, as far as he
can see, and the best vineyards must be there, and he' (the king)
'must eat grapes and drink new wine to-morrow; and if he does not do
this, he will lose his head.' She went again weeping home, and told
her son all that the king had said to her. But he only smiled and
said: 'Well, well, only go to sleep, you will see whether all will
be ready to-morrow or no.' When they had supped, the old woman went
off to sleep, and he knocked on the lock, and the twelve young men
sprang out: 'What are your commands?' 'I command that these woods be
all cleared, and that they produce the best grapes.' This, too, was
done. In the morning the king rose up and saw that the change was
really effected. The old woman, too, was really waiting for him with
grapes and new wine. The king said to her: 'Well, good! tell your
son that he must accomplish one thing more, and then he will win my
daughter. If he shall have as much cattle, and such a castle as I
have, he will win my daughter; if not, he will lose his head.' The
old woman went home again, and told him what the king said. Then he
knocked on the lock, and immediately out sprang the twelve young
men: 'What are your commands?' He ordered that by the morrow a
better castle must be built than the king had ever seen, and that he
must have more cattle than the king, and there must be a covered way
from his castle to the king's, and that a better garden must be
formed, and in it all kinds of trees, and all sorts of birds to sing
in it. This, too, came to pass. On the morrow he caused his six best
horses to be harnessed, and went to fetch the king's daughter, to go
to the wedding. Then the king said that there should be wedding
festivities for five years. They were married, and the wedding
festivities took place. Entrance was free to everyone. The
festivities had already lasted three years, when the king's
resources were exhausted. Then said the young man: 'Now I will
entertain for three years.' The king of the sea came, too, to the
festivities, and fancied the king's daughter, whom the other had
married. Once upon a time he saw how he knocked upon the lock, and
that which he wanted immediately presented itself. When they went to
sleep, the king of the sea stole the lock, and knocked upon it; up
sprang the twelve young men: 'What are your commands?' 'That this
castle and this lady be placed on the black sea.' It was done. In
the morning the young man and his mother were terrified out of their
wits, because they were lying in a simple cottage. But he knew at
once that he had lost the lock. Then he went to the king and prayed
him to take charge of his mother, that he might go to look for his
castle. Well, he went to look for it, with his dog and cat. He
approached that sea, saw his castle, and said: 'Cat and dog, do you
see our castle? But how shall we get into it?' They went to the sea
and sat down. He was weary, and fell asleep as he sat. Then said the
dog and the cat: 'Let us go for the lock.' The dog said: 'You can't
swim; sit on my back; I will carry you.' They went and came up to
the wall. Then said the dog: 'I can't climb up a wall.' The cat said
to him: 'You hang on somehow behind me.' And thus they arrived at
the corridor. Now said the cat: 'You, dog, stay outside; I'll go in
by myself.' The king of the sea had just such a cat. The cat went to
the door and mewed: 'Miau.' Then said the king of the sea: 'Let the
cat in.' Then the cat went in and took the lock so neatly that the
king of the sea didn't see it; he then went to the door and mewed:
'Miau.' Then said the king of the sea: 'Let the cat out.' The cat
went out, and the dog asked it: 'Have you got it?' 'I have; only
go.' They went over the wall and into the sea; and when they were
already not far from their master, the dog wanted to have hold of
the lock, to carry it up to his master, and said to the cat: 'Give
me the lock; if you don't, I will throw you into the sea.' Then they
squabbled, and the lock fell into the sea, and a fish swallowed it;
but the cat seized the fish, and said: 'If you don't give up the
lock I will kill you.' The fish said: 'Don't kill me; I'll give you
the lock,' and immediately brought the lock up. They went to their
master, and carried up the lock. When their master awoke and rose
up, he said: 'In what condition have you come?' They said: 'Our
master, we have brought the lock.' 'Where is it?' 'Here.' Then he
took it and knocked upon it, and out sprang the twelve young men:
'What are your commands?' 'I command that my castle be placed where
it was, as well as that king and my wife.' It was done. Then he went
into the castle, and she immediately ran to him and they kissed each
other. But he caused the king of the sea to be impaled on a spit in
the midst of the sea. Thus he obtained his castle back again, and
lived happily with his wife, but the king of the sea was destroyed.


There was an enchanted mill, so that no one could stay there,
because a she-wolf always haunted it. A soldier went once into the
mill to sleep. He made a fire in the parlour, went up into the
garret above, bored a hole with an auger in the floor, and peeped
down into the parlour. A she-wolf came in and looked about the mill
to see whether she could find anything to eat. She found nothing,
and then went to the fire, and said: 'Skin down! skin down! skin
down!' She raised herself upon her hind-legs, and her skin fell
down. She took the skin, and hung it on a peg, and out of the wolf
came a damsel. The damsel went to the fire, and fell asleep there.
He came down from the garret, took the skin, nailed it fast to the
mill-wheel, then came into the mill, shouted over her, and said:
'Good-morning, damsel! how do you do?' She began to scream: 'Skin on
me! skin on me! skin on me!' But the skin could not come down, for
it was fast nailed. The pair married, and had two children. As soon
as the elder son got to know that his mother was a wolf, he said to
her: 'Mamma! mamma! I have heard that you are a wolf.' His mother
replied: 'What nonsense you are talking! How can you say that I am a
wolf?' The father of the two children went one day into the field to
plough, and his son said: 'Papa, let me, too, go with you.' His
father said: 'Come.' When they had come to the field, the son asked
his father: 'Papa, is it true that our mother is a wolf?' His father
said: 'It is.' The son inquired: 'And where is her skin?' His father
said: 'There it is, on the mill-wheel.' No sooner had the son got
home, than he said at once to his mother: 'Mamma! mamma! you are a
wolf! I know where your skin is.' His mother asked him: 'Where is my
skin?' He said: 'There, on the mill-wheel.' His mother said to him:
'Thank you, sonny, for rescuing me.' Then she went away, and was
never heard of more.


A certain man had two children--one a boy, and the other a girl.
This man required his children to relate to him every morning what
they had dreamed. Indeed, the girl related her dream, whatever she
had dreamed, every morning, but the boy did not, for he dreamed
every night what eventually happened to him; he dreamed that he
killed a king, took to wife a count's daughter, and became king in
the kingdom in which he killed the king. Exasperated at this, his
father thought the reason why he did not tell his dream was because
he was afraid, and drove him out along a road, and beat him so that
he cried piteously. A count was driving past, and heard the child
crying. He ordered his servant to go to the man, and tell him not to
beat the child, but say how much he should give him to take it away
himself. The man said, in reply, that he need only take it away from
before his eyes. He immediately took it, and delivered it to the
count, and the count took it away home. The count had one daughter,
who took a great affection for the boy. It was also a custom with
the count that the children were obliged to relate what they
dreamed. But he would not reveal his dream to the count, and say
what he had dreamed; and he had dreamed the very same dream that he
had dreamed at his father's. Then the count became very angry, and
caused a vault to be built in his garden, inside which he was to be
thrown, and it was to be constructed of such masonry that nobody
should be able to give him anything to eat, and that no light should
by possibility enter it. But the count's daughter, who was very
sorry for the boy, went out to the masons, and promised them a
purse of money, only to construct it in such a manner that she would
be able to give him food at night. This the masons did, in return
for the good money. He was seven years inside, and unable to sit or

Now came a time when king sent a staff to the count, and said he
would attack him with an army, if he did not tell him on which side
the staff opened. Now the damsel came at night, and brought the lad
food, saying: 'Now, I have brought you food for the last time,
because a king has sent us a staff, and my father must open it; if
he does not open it, he will attack us with an army. We must perish
under the open sky, but you in this vault.' He replied that she was
not to frighten herself, 'but go, lie down, and soon jump up and say
to your father: "My dear papa, I have dreamt of good luck for us."
He will say: "What?" Reply to him: "I dreamt that I should tell you
that, if you will open the staff, you need only fill a tub with
water, and put the staff in it; the staff will turn with that side
up on which it opens."' Even so it came to pass. Her father did so,
sealed up the staff on that side, and sent it to the king. The king
wrote back to him: 'You have certainly done it, but not with your
own stupid head. But you have one hard by your house, of whom you
know not; he has done this for you.' Then he wrote a letter again to
the count, and said: 'I shall send you three horses all alike, and
you must tell me how many years old each is.' And all alike they
were. One was one year old, the second two, and the third three
years old. Then the damsel took him food, and said to him: 'Now I am
bringing you food for the last time; you will have to die here, and
we in the open air, for the king has sent us three horses exactly
alike, and we must tell him how old each is.' He replied that she
must go and lie down, and say that she had dreamt thus: that he
must prepare three heaps of oats of three different years, and let
the horses go to the oats, and they would go of themselves each to
his own heap; the one which was one year old would go to the
one-year-old oats, the second to the second, and the third to the
third heap. She told him this. And it came to pass just as she told
him. Then he wrote in reply to the king, and the king to him:
'Certainly, you have done this, but not with your own stupid head;
but you have another who does it for you, of whom you are not aware.
But I shall send you one thing more. I shall send you, on a given
day, at the hour when you will be at dinner, a war-mace, weighing
three hundredweight; it will strike the spoon out of your mouth. You
must throw it back to me just as I threw it to you.' Indeed, this,
too, came to pass. The mace flew in, knocked his spoon out of his
hands, and flew off with speed into the cellar, inside which it
stuck so fast that a score of soldiers couldn't move, much less
throw, it. Now the count assembled, and invited all people, but no
one was able to do it. She took him food again, and said to him:
'You have set us free twice, but certainly the third time you will
not be able to do so, and now you will die here, and all of us in
the open air.' He then asked her what sort of work it was that had
to be done. She told him, and he answered: 'Go home and lie down,
then get up and say that you have dreamt that no one else but I can
do it, so I tell you; but the count will not believe you, yet will
think, since you have twice dreamed with success, that possibly now,
too, it may be true.' And so it came to pass. The count caused him
to be dug out. He saw how weak he was, and said: 'I am stronger than
he, but I can't throw it; how, then, can he throw it?' He then said:
'Go to a certain king; he has nine hundred cows, and has them all
registered when each was calved. Buy for me one cow, which is
neither more nor less than nine years old, and whatever he says you
are to pay for it, pay. If you pay one kreutzer less, I shall be two
hundredweight lighter.' Well, he went thither, and inquired whether
he had such a cow. The king answered that he had. Then he asked the
price. The king replied: 'Nine thousand pieces of silver.' He paid
them, drove it home, and had it slaughtered immediately. The young
man then said that he must be three months by himself in a house,
without anybody being allowed to go in to him. Now he took at once
two pounds of beef, but did not eat the flesh, but only the soup.
This lasted for three months. Well, the cook told the count that he
would not eat the flesh, in order to serve his own interests. Then
the count went himself to him, and asked him why he would not eat
the flesh. He replied that something must be brought him to eat. Now
he took a piece, threw it upon the wall, and said to the count: 'You
see the flesh has fallen down, and the soup has stuck to the wall;
and so it is with me: the soup abides with me, and the flesh goes
down from me.' Then he went out to look at the mace. He was already
able to move it. Then he went in for three months to eat. Then he
was able, with his left hand, to throw it two hundred fathoms high
into the air. He went in once more to eat for three months. Now he
was exceedingly strong, and told the count to write freely to the
king, that on such and such a day, at such and such an hour, the
mace would arrive, and knock the spoon out of his mouth at dinner.
In fact, so it was. He threw it a hundred and twenty-five hours walk
into the other kingdom. Now the king saw that he had done this also.
Then he wrote to him: 'Certainly you have done all that I told you,
but not with your own stupid head, but he has done it for you, whom
you caused to be walled up in a vault. But you must send him here to
me, that I may see him.' But he wanted to slay him. Now, the count
was unwilling to let him go, but, nevertheless, he was obliged to
do so. 'But do you know what, count? Cause all your people to be
summoned hither, and we will select as many as ever we can that
resemble me.' There were only nine such, and he was himself the
tenth. Now he told him to have exactly similar uniforms made for
them all, so that, at any rate, no one would know one to be
different from another, and to provide similar horses for all, and
then he would go thither. Even so it came to pass. Then the ten
went. But before they arrived at the town, he said to them: 'Indeed,
you don't know why we are going thither; we are going to be put to
death; but I tell you not to be in any wise afraid. This king will
give you the word of command when we enter: "Milutin (such was the
boy's name), dismount!" Then you must all dismount so that no one is
behindhand, but all alike, and at once. Then he will say: "Milutin,
go into the house!"--all go into the house. "Milutin, shut the
door!"--all off to shut it. "Milutin, take your seat at table!"--all
do it at once. "Milutin, go to bed!"--all off to bed at once.' Even
so it was. Thus the king could in no wise recognise him, and did not
venture to slaughter them, but ordered his servant to conceal
himself under a bed, and listen which spoke most wisely, and put a
mark upon him. Now they all lay down, and began to converse as to
what would come out of this. Milutin then said: 'Doubtless, till now
he has not recognised me, and will ride after me, and will overtake
us; but never mind that, only kneel down and pray to God. Then
notice well: if I first emit fire out of my mouth, kill yourselves;
but if he emits it first, have no fear whatever; this signifies to
you that human flesh will seethe in human blood.' The man under the
bed heard this speech, and cut off a piece from the heel of his
boot. Morning arrived, and Milutin told them that each must look
well at his clothes: maybe there would be some mark on someone's
uniform. But all at once he observed that just his boot-heel had
been cut off, and said: 'All give me your boots, that I may cut off
each of the heels just as I have mine cut off.' Now the king came to
summon them: 'Milutin, come to breakfast!' and they all went at
once. And the king saw that they all had a similar mark, and,
therefore, did not know which to put to death. Then he reprimanded
the servant. Now said the king: 'Milutin, go home!' and they all
went homeward at once. But erelong the king recognised Milutin by
his horse--for he had the horse from the count--and overtook him.
They immediately knelt down, as he had previously bidden them, and
he began first to fight on horseback, but nothing came of it. Then
they both dismounted from their horses, and fought thus, each
leaping against the other so that the earth quaked under them. Thus
they fought terribly for some time. But all at once they observed
that the king emitted fire out of his mouth, and then Milutin
afterwards. Then the king spat pure fire out of his mouth at
Milutin, and Milutin also spat fire. The two fought on in this
frightful manner; but suddenly Milutin overcame the king, threw him
down, cut off his head, and carried it home to the count. Now all
was merriment, and Milutin married the count's daughter, took
possession of the realm of the king whom he had slain, and there was
a grand festival. That's the end.


I am afraid that our delightful friend Oliver Goldsmith has
pre-occupied the British mind with a certain amount of prejudice
against the region,

    'Where the rude Carinthian boor
    On strangers shuts th' inhospitable door.'

But if the said rude and inhospitable person had been addressed in a
tongue 'understanded of the people,' his reception of the
'Traveller' might possibly have been very different. Be that as it
may, the folklore tales of the Styrian and Carinthian Slavonians are
full of interest, and in them we certainly find the fullest account
of the Vilas, and even a Vila marriage with a human being, which
ends in an unfortunate separation, like those in Irish legends
between mermaids and men. No. 57 gives us a singular variant of
'Cinderella,' in which the circumstances are different down to the
conclusion, which is similar to that of the Bulgarian version, No.
37. No. 58 carries us completely into wonderland, where several old
acquaintances will meet us in new dresses and relations. In No. 59
we have a singular legend of a white snake, an animal connected with
which there are also superstitions in the Scotch Highlands.

The backwardness of the Slovenes is mainly due to the ferocity with
which Protestantism was stamped out by Ferdinand II., who, as well
as his father, Ferdinand I., wrote his name in blood in the annals
of Bohemia. (See Morfill's 'Slavonic Literature,' pp. 176, 177.)

As regards the language, the dual is as fully developed as in


A wicked woman married a poor man, who had already a little daughter
named Maritza. Afterwards God gave her a daughter of her own, whom
she loved and cherished more than her own eyes. On her stepdaughter,
who was a good and very handsome child, she could scarcely bear to
cast a look; therefore she drove her about, teased and tormented
her, in order as soon as possible to make an end of her; she threw
her the poorest remnants of food and everything, just as she would
have done to a dog. Indeed, she would have given her a snake's tail
to eat, if she had had one at hand; and instead of a bed, she sent
her to sleep in an old trough.

When her so-called mother saw that the girl, in spite of all this,
was good and patient, and grew handsomer than her daughter, she
thought and thought how to find a pretext to get rid of the orphan
out of the house, and devised one.

One day she sent her daughter and stepdaughter to wash wool; to her
own daughter she gave white wool, to her stepdaughter black, and
said to her with sharp threats: 'If you don't wash the black wool as
white as my daughter will hers, don't come home any more, or else I
shall beat you out of the house.' The poor stepdaughter wept
piteously, entreated her, and said that it was impossible for her to
do this. But all in vain. Seeing that there was no mercy for her,
she tied up the wool and went weeping after her half-sister. When
they came to the water, they undid their bundles, and began to wash,
when a beautiful fair damsel from somewhere joined and saluted them:
'Good luck, friends! do you want any help?' The stepmother's
daughter said with a scornful laugh: 'I want no help; my wool will
soon be white; but our stepdaughter's yonder will not be so in a
hurry.' Thereupon the strange damsel stepped up to the sorrowful
Maritza, saying: 'Come! let us see whether that wool will allow
itself to be washed white.' Both began immediately to rinse and
wash, and in a jiffy the black wool became as white as fresh-fallen
snow. When they had finished washing, her fair friend vanished
nobody knew whither. The stepmother, seeing the white wool, was
amazed and angry, because she had no excuse for driving her
stepdaughter away.

Some time after this came sharp cold and snow. The wicked stepmother
was continually thinking how best to persecute her unfortunate
stepdaughter, and now ordered her: 'Take a basket and go off to the
mountain; there gather me ripe strawberries for the new year. If you
don't bring me them, it will be better for you to stay on the
mountain.' The orphan Maritza wept piteously, entreated her and
said: 'How shall poor I procure ripe strawberries in sharp winter
cold?' But all in vain. She was obliged to take the basket and go.

As she was going all in tears over the mountain she met twelve young
men, whom she saluted courteously. They received the salutation in a
friendly manner, and asked her: 'Whither are you wading, dear girl,
in the snow thus in tears?' She told them the whole story prettily.
The young men said to her: 'We will help you if you will tell us
which month of the whole year is the best?' Maritza said in reply:
'They are all good, but the month of March is the best, for it
brings us most hope.' They were pleased with her answer, and said:
'Go into the first glen on the sunny side; there you will get as
many strawberries as you wish.' And indeed she brought her
stepmother a basketful of most excellent strawberries for the new
year, and told her that the young men whom she had met on the
mountain had shown them to her.

Some days later, when the weather had become milder, the mother said
to her own daughter: 'Go now into the mountain for strawberries;
maybe you will find those young men, and they will give you similar
good fortune, for they have shown themselves so wonderfully kind to
our greasy stepdaughter.' The daughter dressed herself grandly, took
the basket, and skipped off merrily on to the mountain. When she got
there, she did actually meet the twelve young men, to whom she said
haughtily: 'Show me where the strawberry-plants grow, as you showed
our stepdaughter.' The young men said: 'Good! provided you guess
which month is the best of the whole year.' She answered quickly:
'They are all bad, and the month of March is the worst.' But at that
speech the whole mountain clouded over in a jiffy, and a storm beat
upon her so that she scarcely panted home alive. The young men were
the twelve months.

Meanwhile the goodness and beauty of the ill-used stepdaughter was
noised about in the district, and a young, rich and honourable lord
arranged with her stepmother to come on such and such a day with his
retinue to betroth the stepdaughter to be his wife. The stepmother,
jealous of the orphan, did not tell her a single word of this, but
thought to thrust her own daughter surreptitiously into this good

When the appointed evening came the infamous stepmother packed her
stepdaughter off in good time to the trough to sleep, then cleared
up the house, prepared supper, dressed out her daughter to the best
of her ability, and placed her at table with some knitting in her
hands. Thereupon up came the betrothal party; the stepmother
welcomed them, conducted them into the house, and said to them:
'There is my dear stepdaughter.' But what good was it? For in the
house they had a cock, who began with all his might, and without
intermission, to crow: 'Kukuriku, pretty Maritza in trough!
kukuriku, pretty Maritza in trough!' and so forth. When the
betrothal party understood and comprehended the cock's crowing, they
insisted that the real stepdaughter must come out of the trough, and
when they saw her, they could not sufficiently express their
admiration at her beauty and grace, and took her away with them that
very evening, and the wicked stepmother and her daughter remained
put to shame before all people. Maritza was happy with her husband
and with all her house to a great age and an easy death, for a Vila
and all the months were her friends.


Once upon a time there was a lord on the Danube who had a fisherman
to catch fish for him. This lord was preparing a great banquet, and
ordered his fisherman to catch three hundredweight of fish in three
days. On the first day the fisherman went early in the morning to
catch the fish. But he could not obtain any. The second day he went
again very early in the morning. He made the round of the water, but
again took none. The third day came. The fisherman went to catch
fish, and went on till mid-day, but could not net any. In the
afternoon he determined to go home by the waterside, and carried
himself as if he were very much out of sorts. Suddenly up sailed a
striped boat. In the boat sat a gentleman clad in green. He
questioned the fisherman saying: 'Man, why are you so sorrowful here
by the water?' The fisherman said: 'How should I not be sorrowful?
My lord ordered me to catch three hundredweight of fish in three
days; to-day is the last day, and I have not obtained any.' Then
said the gentleman: 'Promise me that which you don't know that you
have, and you shall to-day catch plenty.' The fisherman thought to
himself: 'What I don't know that I have, I shall easily do without,
if I do promise him.' And the gentleman at the same time added: 'And
I will wait twenty years. In twenty years you will be able to fulfil
your promise.' 'Agreed,' said the fisherman. He cast his nets and
drew them out full of fish. He cast them a second time, and it was
just the same. He cast them once more. The gentleman said to him:
'Only send home for them to come with a waggon and four horses.'
They came with four horses. They packed the fish in, so that they
scarcely drew them with the four horses. But before they went home
the gentleman asked the fisherman: 'But do you know what you have
promised me?' The fisherman said: 'My lord, I do not. What I don't
know that I have, I have promised you, be it what it may.' The
gentleman smiled, and said: 'You don't know that your wife will be
the mother of a son, and this son you have promised to me. When
twenty years have elapsed, you must just bring him here.' Then the
fisherman took the fish home. On the one hand he was glad, on the
other very downcast. When he brought them home his lord began to
grumble, saying: 'You're a thorough fool! Why did a messenger come
to me to say that you could not obtain any? Now you have brought me
such a quantity that I hardly know where to stow them.' The
fisherman excused himself, and related to his lord the whole series
of occurrences from beginning to end. Afterwards he put a question
to his lord: 'God only knows how it will be now, since I have done
such an evil thing, that I have promised him my son.' His lord said:
'What of that? Twenty years is a long time. By then all may be

It came to pass. The fisherman's wife became the mother of a boy. He
grew up right handsome. When he became a little older they sent him
to school. At school he learnt so well, that at sixteen he had
learnt enough to be ordained a priest. But his father and mother
said: 'Not a priest, for he is promised. Let us rather place him for
four years more in the black school.' When he had completed the
course of the black school, he came back to the Danube, with all
before him in the future, as if he were about to succeed, and behind
in the past, because he had already been successful. Then said he to
his father: 'Father, now it is time for us to go.' The father: 'To
go? whither?' The son: 'Whither you promised me.' The father: 'Who
promised you any whither?' The son: 'What? don't you know to whom
you promised me twenty years ago? Let us go to that piece of water,
where you then went to catch fish.' The father became very
sorrowful. The son then said: 'Don't be afraid. Only quickly coat
over arm and follow me. Only you must do what I instruct you to do.
If you obey me, no harm will happen to you and me.' On the way he
also instructed his father as follows: 'When we come to that piece
of water, the striped boat will sail up just as when you caught the
fish. In it will sit the gentleman in green to whom you promised me.
The gentleman will push the boat to the shore in shallow water. I
shall step on it with one foot, and stand on dry land with the
other. Then say: "My son, I commend you to God the Father, and the
Son, and the Holy Ghost. May these three always be with you!" When
you have uttered these holy words I shall spring into the boat.'
Everything happened exactly as the son told his father and
instructed him on the way. The striped boat sailed up on the water.
In it was the gentleman dressed in green. The son stepped with one
foot on the boat, and stood with the other on dry land. His father
commended him to God the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The son sprang on board the boat, and the gentleman pushed it from
the shore. All at once all sank, the boat, the gentleman, and the
son. The father was terribly frightened, and cried out at the top of
his voice: 'Jesus, Maria! my son has gone down to hell!' He then
crept home very sorrowful.

His son passed through the water into a town which is called
Perdonkorten.[20] In this town all the population was enchanted. He
walked and walked about the town, but nowhere was there anybody.
Hunger took possession of him, but he could get nothing to eat. He
bethought himself of going to catch some fish. He went to the water,
caught some, lit a fire, cooked them, and ate his fill. He then went
into the shade, laid himself down, and fell asleep. He dreamt that
he was told to go to pass the night in a lordly castle, to seat
himself at table, to light a taper on each side of him, and wait. He
did according as he had dreamt. The clock struck midnight, when
suddenly the door opened outside of itself. A huge snake glided into
the house. It came up opposite the young man, and besought him:
'Kiss me.' He cursed it, and said: 'Take thyself off from me, Satan!
Thou hast no power over me.' The snake retired through the door.
Thereupon day broke. The young man walked and walked again about the
town. He saw here and there carriages ready harnessed, but no human
being. In the afternoon he went again to the water to catch fish.
When he had eaten his fill, he went into the shade. He lay down, and
soon fell asleep. Erelong he dreamt what would have happened, if he
had kissed the snake. He woke up, and thought: 'This evening I will
go back, and will kiss it if it comes.' In fact, he went again into
the same house, seated himself at table, lit two tapers, and waited.
The clock struck twelve. The door opened. Through it glided a very
much larger snake, with two heads. It came up the room opposite him,
and besought him again: 'Kiss me!' Terror seized him, for it was
much more horrible than the one he had seen the preceding night.
Therefore he cursed it again: 'Take thyself off from me, Satan! Thou
hast no power over me.' The snake again quitted the house.
Afterwards day broke. He went again into the town, caught fish, and
ate his fill. When he had eaten, he went into the shade, lay down,
and fell asleep. Ere long he dreamt again: 'Thou wouldst,
nevertheless, have only done rightly if thou hadst kissed the
snake.' He woke up, and said: 'This evening I will kiss it, even if
it appears still more terrible.' In the evening he went into the
same house. He seated himself at table, lit two tapers, and waited.
When the tower clock struck twelve, the door opened. A terrible
snake glided in. It had three heads, and was still larger than the
one he saw the preceding evening. It came puffing opposite him. It
began to twine round him, and beseech him: 'Kiss me!' He pressed his
lips to it, and kissed it.

    [20] German, 'Wundergarten.'

As soon as he had kissed it, the snake turned into a beautiful
maiden, as beautiful as a damsel could be. The snake was the
enchanted daughter of the lord of the castle. After the kiss, all
belonging to the castle, and the whole town, were disenchanted.
Erelong the father and mother of the disenchanted daughter came into
the room. They welcomed him with the greatest joy. The father said
to him: 'Friend, I give you my kingdom and my daughter, if she
pleases you.' He replied: 'Let us wait a bit, that we may make a
little acquaintance with each other.' Thereupon they prepared a
grand supper. They supped, and did not go to bed till late. In the
morning they got up. The young man and the damsel went a walk in the
town. The whole town rejoiced over him, and pointed at him, saying:
'That is our deliverer.'

Now the young man was content with all. Only he still felt sorry,
when he bethought himself: 'Here am I in such good fortune, while my
father on the Danube is thinking that I have fallen into the abyss
of hell. If I could only just go to my father on the Danube, to tell
him of my luck, I should then be completely content.' Thereupon the
damsel said to him: 'I have something such that you could easily go
to your father, if you would but be sure to come back.' He said:
'You know that I shall come. Nowhere have I had such good fortune as
here.' Now they agreed that she would wait for him seven years, if
he did not return before. The damsel gave him a certain ring, and
said: 'Here is this ring, look through it, and think to yourself
that you would like to be with your father by the Danube, and you
will find yourself there. When you wish to come back to me, look
again through the ring, and think to yourself that you would like to
be with me, and you will find yourself here with me. But you must
not show it to anybody, lest you lose it. If you lose it, it will be
very difficult for you ever to come to us.' The young man looked
through the ring, thought to himself that he would like to be with
his father by the Danube, and in a moment there he was. His father
and mother were very, very glad to see him safe and sound once more.
They asked him all manner of questions. He related to them how he
had darted through the water into an enchanted city, and what had
been his hap afterwards. The whole household jumped for joy at
hearing how fortunate he had been. Especially rejoiced was his
mother, who walked continually on tiptoe for joy. Afterwards his
father took him to his lord, for whom he still caught fish. There,
again, the whole household rejoiced greatly over him. The lord had
two daughters. Erelong he said to him: 'Stay with us. I will give
you a portion of my kingdom and one daughter, if it pleases you.' He
thought to himself: 'There there awaits me a whole kingdom, and a
larger one than this. The lady, too, there, is handsomer than this
one.' Nevertheless he said within himself: 'Suppose I stay here a
day or two. I shall easily go back before the time is out. Seven
years don't pass so quickly.'

It came to pass that he went a walk one day with the two daughters.
On the road the silly fellow showed them the ring, and told them how
he had come back into that country. They thought to themselves:
'Behold! if we could but take that ring from him, then he would be
glad to stay with us.' They went a little farther on, and one of
them said: 'Let us sit down a bit here in the shade.' They sat down
on the grass under a tree. They had not sat there long when one of
them said to him: 'Listen! listen! What have you got in your hair?'
He: 'I don't know that I've anything.' She: 'You have something; you
have indeed. Let me look at your head.' Now she began to examine and
stroke his head till he fell fast asleep. The other, on seeing this,
put her hand quickly into his pocket, and took out his ring. They
rose up, and prolonged their walk. They walked and walked about the
country, when he put his hand into his pocket, and found that the
ring was no longer there. He said: 'I've lost my ring. What shall I
do now?' They said: 'Let us go back. We will look for it. Maybe we
shall find it.' They went back to the self-same place where they had
been sitting. They helped him to look for it carefully. They looked
for it in vain, for one of them had got it in her own pocket.

After this, he remained five years more in that house. When the
fifth year had elapsed, he said: 'This won't do. If I remain here,
I shall never get to Perdonkorten. Now go I must. There will be two
years for me, eventually, to get there.' Once upon a time he was
benighted. He went through thickets, where there was no living soul.
He espied a light on another hill. He said: 'Thither I must go.
There will be people there.' He went thither. There was nobody at
home but a woman. He asked whether they would take him in for the
night. The woman said to him: 'I would willingly take you in for the
night, but I do not advise you to stay here. My three brothers are
three thieves. When night is over, they will come home, and will
soon put you to death.' He said: 'Never fear! Only bring me a pint
of wine, that I may drink and wait for them here at the table.' When
night was over, up came the three brothers home. He sat in the house
at the table, and busied himself with the wine. They asked him: 'Who
are you?' He replied: 'I don't know who I am. I'm a poor fellow who
roams hither and thither in the world, wheresoever I must.' They
said: 'But to what family do you belong?' He said: 'That also I
don't know. All through I am knocking about in the world. Nowhere am
I at home.' They said: 'What is your name? How do you write
yourself?' He had gone through the course of study at the black
school; therefore he knew how they wrote their names, and that they
had lost a brother. He therefore told them their surname, and the
name of their lost brother. They said: 'You are indeed our own
brother, whom we lost many years ago.' He said: 'It is easy to see
that I am.' They asked him: 'But are you willing to take up our
business?' He said: 'Why not, if your business is honest, and one
can easily get one's living from it?' They said: 'From our
handicraft a living is got right easily. At home we do nothing at
all, and have always plenty to eat and plenty to drink.' He
inquired: 'What have you gained to-day?' They replied: 'To-day we
have gained more than we ever gained before. We have obtained shoes:
whoever puts them on will fly two hundred miles in half an hour. We
have obtained a mantle: whoever wraps himself in it, nobody sees
him. We have obtained a hat: whoever puts it on his head, and throws
it before him, hills open themselves to him, so that he follows it
whithersoever he will.' He: 'But is this true?' They: 'It is.' He:
'Now, then, let's try this dress on me. We'll see how it will fit
me.' He put on the shoes, wrapped himself in the mantle, clapped the
hat on his head, and stepped a little way from them. He asked them:
'But don't you really see me?' They said: 'Nobody sees you.' Then he
gave a jump, so that the earth quaked. They hurried after him, as it
were, in the dark; but he escaped them, for nobody saw him.

He then flew to the place where the sun rises. He thought to
himself: 'The sun gives light in all regions; he will therefore know
the way to Perdonkorten.' When he came to the sun's house, he asked
the servant: 'Is my lord the sun at home?' The servant: 'He is not;
he is gone to give light on the earth. He will come home in the
evening. You must wait for him if you want to speak with him. Only I
tell you that when he comes home, there will be such a heat, that
you will curl up like a rasher of bacon, if you don't hide
yourself.' The traveller: 'If it is so, I will bury myself in the
ground. When the sun comes home, come and call me.' He went, and did
bury himself deep in the ground. When the sun came home and flew
down, the servant came to call him. 'Now, then, my lord the sun is
at home.' He got up and went to the sun. When he came into the house
the sun asked him: 'What have you got to say?' He said: 'I have come
to ask you the road to the city of Perdonkorten. You enlighten all
lands; surely you know the way thither.' The sun: 'I don't know the
way thither. It must be somewhere among hills and narrow dales,
where I never go. The moon gives light more in hollow places; you
must go where she rises.'

He went. He leaped, and was at once at the place where the moon
rises. Neither was she at home. He asked her lady's maid: 'Whither
has my lady moon gone that she is not at home?' The maid: 'She is
gone to give light on the earth.' He: 'I will wait, then.' The maid:
'It is dangerous to wait. When she flies faintly shining home, such
a frost will be caused that you will stiffen like an icicle.' He:
'I'll bury myself therefore in the ashes. When she returns home,
come and call me.' Towards morning the moon came freezing home. He
shivered in the ashes, but didn't stiffen. When the moon had put
herself to rights, her maid went to call him, and said: 'Now come;
the moon is at home.' He rose out of the ashes, shivered a little,
and went to the moon. When he entered the house, the moon asked him:
'What do you want? What have you got to say?' He said: 'Nothing
wrong, my lady moon--nothing wrong. I have come to ask you the road
to the city of Perdonkorten. You throw light into all dark holes;
therefore, you surely know which way to go thither.' The moon: 'I
don't know that. It must be among such hills that I never get there.
If you wish to learn it, you must go where the wind rises. He flies
over all abysses, therefore he will surely be able to indicate you
the way thither.'

In a jiffy he was there. The wind was just then at home. He asked
him: 'My lord the wind, do you know the way to the city of
Perdonkorten?' The wind: 'Of course I do. Anyhow, I'm going thither
to-morrow morning at three. The king's daughter there is betrothed,
and I am going to blow for them at the wedding, that it may not be
too warm. But I shall go through such abysses and such rocks, that I
don't know whether you will be able to follow me.' The traveller:
'My lord the wind, never fear. No rock will stop me. I have such a
hat, that if I throw it, the ground opens and I go after it
whithersoever I will.' The wind: 'Well, then, let us go.' They went
at three. They came to a terrible rock. The wind roared, and made
his way by a hole through the terrible rock. He could not follow
him. Therefore he took off his hat and threw it against the rock.
The rock opened. The wind glided on in front and he followed quickly

When it was half-past four in the morning, they had made their way
to the city of Perdonkorten. The wind went to blow at the wedding
that it mightn't be too warm for them. _He_ went into the church,
seated himself on a bench, and waited for the wedding-party. At
eleven music was heard, and fifty couples of wedding guests came
into the church. One was more handsomely dressed than the rest. His
reverence the chaplain proceeded to say mass for them. After mass he
began to take the marriage service. _He_ was sitting on a bench, but
nobody saw him, because he had that mantle on. Suddenly he rose from
the bench, and gave a thump on the chaplain's books, so that they
fell with a bang on the floor. The chaplain said: 'One of you two
must have such a sin upon him, that you are unfit to receive this
sacrament.' Now the bride began to relate how someone had once come
to deliver them. With this person a mutual engagement had been made
that she would wait for him seven years, etc. The chaplain: 'How
much time has elapsed?' She: 'Five years and a half.' The chaplain:
'Now you two must wait a year and a half more. If in that time
nothing is heard of him, then you may marry.' The chaplain,
moreover, asked her: 'Which would you rather have, this one or that
other?' The lady: 'I should prefer the other, should he come. But I
know that I shall never see him again.'

_He_ heard these words, and they pleased him. Now they went home
from the church. He who had thumped the books walked amidst the
wedding-party, but nobody saw him, because he had the mantle on. The
damsel's father thought it hard thus to send the wedding guests away
home, therefore he gave them several cups of wine. The guests drank
the wine, and _he_ went up and down in the house, but nobody saw
him. When all the wedding guests had taken themselves off home, he
doffed his mantle, hung it on a peg, and they recognised him as
their deliverer. The beautiful damsel met him in the middle of the
house. She threw her arms round his neck, and said: 'Behold! to-day
I should have been married to another husband, if God had not
protected me.'

Hereupon they soon prepared a marriage with this new bridegroom.
They went to the wedding. The wedding passed off successfully. They
got ready a right handsome wedding-feast for them. They had plenty
of everything--plenty to drink, and plenty to eat. Moreover, they
gave me wine to drink out of a sieve, and bread to eat out of a
glass, and one on the back with a shovel. After that I took myself


Once upon a time snakes multiplied so prodigiously in the district
of Osojani (Ossiach), that every place swarmed with them. The
peasants in that district were in evil case. The snakes crept into
the parlours, the churches, the dairies, and the beds. People had
not even quiet at table, for the hungry snakes made their way into
the dish. But the greatest terror was caused by a frightfully large
white snake, which was several times seen attacking the cattle at
Ososcica (Görlitz Alpe). The peasants did not know how to help
themselves; they instituted processions, and went on pilgrimages,
that God might please to remove that terrible scourge from them. But
neither did that help them.

When the poor people were in the greatest distress, and knew not how
to act to rid themselves of this plague, one day an unknown man came
into the district, who promised to put an end to every one of the
snakes, provided they could assure him that they had seen no great
white snake. 'We have not seen one at all,' was the reply of some of
the number that had collected round the stranger.

Then he caused a great pile to be constructed round a tall fir, and
when he had climbed to the top of the fir, he ordered them to set
the whole pile on fire on all sides, and afterwards to run quickly

When the flame had risen on all sides against the tall fir, the
unknown man took a bone pipe out of his pocket, and began to blow it
so powerfully that everybody's ears tingled. Quickly up rushed and
crowded from all quarters a vast number of snakes, lizards, and
salamanders to the pile, and, driven by some strange force, all
sprang into the fire and perished there. But all at once a mightier
and shriller hiss was heard from Ososcica, so that all present were
seized with fear and dread. The man on the fir, at hearing it,
trembled with terror: 'Woe is me! there is no help for me!' so said
he. 'I have heard a white snake hiss; why did you thus mislead me?
But be so compassionate as not to forget every year to give alms to
the poor on my behalf.'

Scarcely had the poor man uttered these words, when a terrible snake
wound its way up with a great noise, like a furious torrent, over
the sharp rocks, and plunged into the lake, so that the foam flew
up. It soon swam to the other side of the lake, and, all
exasperated, rushed to the burning pile, reared itself up against
the fir, and pushed the poor man into the fire. The snake itself
struggled and hissed terribly in the fire, but the strong fire soon
overpowered it.

Thus perished, along with the whole lizard race, the monstrous snake
which had done so much harm to the cattle. The peasants were again
able without fear to carry on their occupations, and the shepherds
at Ososcica to pasture their cattle without anxiety. The grateful
people have not up to the present time forgotten the promise of
their ancestors, and every year on that self-same day distribute
gifts of corn to the poor.


One warm summer day a tall and handsome young man of Veprim was
going over the hill Uczka, and found by the path on the grass a
beautiful maiden, dressed in white, with a sun-kerchief, and was
astounded on beholding the beauty of her countenance. Not wishing to
awaken her, he tore off a large branch, and fixed it quietly in the
ground, to form a shade for her. Erelong she woke up, saw the branch
which had been planted, herself in the shade, and the young man
standing by her. She asked him: 'Are you, young man, the person who
set up this shade for me?' He replied: 'I am; for your appearance
pleased me, and I was afraid that the sun would scorch you.' She
said to him further: 'What do you want for this kindness?' The young
man replied merrily: 'Allow me to behold your most beautiful
countenance, and to take you to wife.' 'Good! I am content to take
you for my husband,' said she; 'but you must know that I am a Vila.
But you must never utter my name; if you speak my name Vila, I must
quit you at once.' He promised that he would not, conducted her
home, told his parents all that had happened, and how it had
happened, only did not tell them that his bride was a Vila. She
pleased them, and they willingly consented to the match. Erelong
they were wedded. The two lived for some years in cheerful
happiness; domestic prosperity continued in every shape and form,
and she bore him a little daughter, beautiful as an angel.

Some years afterwards the young man one summer morning heard it
thundering quite early. He got up, went to the window, saw that a
terrible storm was brewing, and said to his wife: 'Wife, it is a
pity and a great misfortune that we haven't cut our wheat; the hail
will beat it all down.' She said to him: 'Never fear; it won't beat
ours down.' After saying this she rose and went in front of the
door. When she came back a terrible hailstorm began to fall. Her
husband said reproachfully: 'I told you we should lose all our
wheat.' She laughed at him, and said in reply: 'Go to the
threshing-floor; you'll see that it hasn't beaten it down for _us_.'
When the hail ceased, the husband did go to the threshing-floor, and
there saw all the wheat nicely put together in sheaves, and, on
returning, called out in utter astonishment: 'Ah, she is a Vila! she
is a Vila!' But that moment she vanished. Her husband remained sad
and sorrowful with his little daughter without his Vila wife.

The Vila mother still came back from time to time, visible only to
her little daughter, helping her in all needs, as the most careful
mother, until she grew up to a marriageable age. When the Vila's
daughter came to the proper time of life, she married and was the
ancestress of the present family of Polharski.--So the story.

_Elliot Stock, Paternoster Row, London._

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber's note:

Archaic and variant spelling is preserved as printed.

Hyphenation has been made consistent.

Minor punctuation errors have been corrected.

On page vii, the omitted page number in the Table of Contents, for
Bohemian Stories, has been added.

On page ix, the Table of Contents entry for _The Wizard_ appears to
be missing a page number following 'ii.' As there is no way to
establish what this might be, it is preserved as printed.

On the assumption of printer errors, the following changes have
been made:

    Page xi--first instance of Kraljevich changed to Kraljevitch, to
    match main body of text--LII. Kraljevitch Marko (_Kraljevich

    Page 62--22 changed to 12--No. 12 is a superior variant of the
    German 'Rumpelstilskin' ...

    Page 140--become changed to became--... the queen became the
    mother of two sons; ...

    Page 207--be changed to he--... and went forward till he began
    to feel hungry.

    Page 297--57 changed to 59--In No. 59 we have a singular legend
    of a white snake, ...

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Sixty Folk-Tales from Exclusively Slavonic Sources" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.