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    Folktales

    Prince Kindhearted
    (European Folktale)

    Once upon a time there lived a king who had but one son, and he was called the Kindhearted. When the prince was twenty years old, he asked the king, his father, to let him go traveling. His father fitted him out for the journey, gave him a true servant to guard him, and his fatherly blessing. The prince took leave of his father, mounted a brave steed and went to different countries, to see God's world, to learn many things, and to return home a wiser and a better man.

    Once when the prince was slowly riding through a silent field, he suddenly perceived an eagle in pursuit of a swan. The white swan was almost caught by the eagle's sharp claws, when the prince, carefully aiming, fired his pistol. The eagle fell dead, and the happy swan came down and said: "Prince Kindhearted, I thank you for your help. It is not a swan that is thanking you, but the enchanted daughter of the Knight Invisible. You have not saved me from an eagle's claws, but from the terrible magician King Koshchey. My father will pay you well for your services. Remember whenever you are in need, to say three times: 'Knight Invisible, come to my help!'" The swan flew away as soon as it had finished speaking, and the prince looked after it, then continued his journey.

    He crossed many high mountains, traversed deep rivers, passed foreign countries, and at last he came to a great desert, where there was nothing to see but sky and sand. No man lived there, no animal's voice was ever heard, no vegetable ever grew there; the sun was shining so brightly and burning so terribly that all the rivers were dried up, their beds were lost in the sand, and there was not a drop of water anywhere. The young prince anxious to go everywhere and see everything and not noticing how dry things were, kept going farther and farther, and deeper and deeper, into the desert. But after a while he became terribly thirsty. In order to find some water he sent his servant in one direction and he himself went in another. After a long time he succeeded in finding a well. He called to his servant, "I have found a means of getting some water," and they both were happy. But their happiness did not last, for the well was very deep and they had nothing with which to reach the water.

    The prince said to the servant: "Dismount, I will let you down into the well by some long ropes and you shall draw up some water."

    "No, my prince," answered the servant, "I am much heavier than you are, and Your Majesty's hands will not be able to hold me. You take hold of the ropes, and I will let you down into the well."

    The prince, the ropes tied around him, went down into the well, drank the cold water, and taking some of it for the servant, pulled the ropes, as a sign for the servant to draw him up again.

    But instead of pulling him up, the servant said: "Listen, you, kingly son! From your cradle-days until now you have lived a happy life, surrounded by luxury and love, and I have always led the life of a miserable wretch. Now you must agree to become my servant, and I will be the prince instead of you. If you will not exchange, say your last prayer, for I am going to drown you."

    "Do not drown me, my true servant, you will not gain anything by it. You will never find such a good master as I am, and you know what a murderer may expect in the next world."

    "Let me suffer in the next world, but I will make you suffer in this one," answered the servant and he began to loosen the ropes.

    "Stop!" cried the prince, "I will be thy servant and you shall be the prince. I will give you my word for it."

    "I do not believe your word. Swear that you will write down what you promise me, now, for words are lost in the air, and writing always remains as a testimony against us."

    "I swear!"

    The servant let down into the well a sheet of paper and a pencil, and told the prince to write the following: "The bearer of this is Prince Kindhearted, traveling with his servant, a subject of his father's kingdom."



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    Last edited by Darra; 19th Aug 2012 at 07:40 PM.
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    Re: Folktales

    (Cont..)

    The servant glanced over the note, pulled the prince out of the well, gave him his shabby clothes, and put on the prince's rich dress. Then having changed armor and horses, they went on.

    In a week or so they came to the capital of a certain kingdom. When they approached the palace, the false prince gave his horse to the false servant and told him to go to the stable, and he himself went straight into the throne chamber and said to the king: "I come to you to ask for the hand of your daughter, whose beauty and wisdom are known all over the world. If you consent, you will have our favor; if not, we will decide it by war."

    "You do not speak to me in a nice way at all, not as a prince ought to speak, but it may be that in your country you are not used to better manners. Now listen to me, my future son-in-law. My kingdom is now in the hands of an enemy of mine. His troops have captured my best soldiers and now they are approaching my capital. If you will clear my kingdom from these troops, my daughter's hand will be yours as a reward."

    "All right," answered the false prince, "I will drive your enemies away. Do not worry if they come to the capital. To-morrow morning not one enemy will be left in your land." In the evening he went out of the palace, called his servant and said to him: "Listen, my dear! Go out to the city walls, drive away the foreign troops, and for this service I will return to you your note, by which you denied your kingdom and swore to be my servant."

    The honest Prince Kindhearted put on his knightly armor, mounted his steed, went out to the city walls and called in a loud voice: "Knight Invisible! Come to my help!"

    "Here I am," said Knight Invisible, "what do you wish me to do for you? I am ready to do everything for you, because you saved my child from the terrible Koshchey."

    Prince Kindhearted showed him the troops, and the Knight Invisible whistled loudly and called: "Oh you, my wise horse, come to me quickly!"

    There was a rustling in the air, it thundered, the earth trembled, and a wonderful horse appeared, having a golden mane, from his nostrils a fire was burning, from his eyes bright sparks were flying, and from his ears thick clouds of smoke were coming.

    Knight Invisible jumped upon the horse and said to the prince: "Take this magic sword and attack the troops from the left, and I upon my golden-maned horse will attack them from the right."

    They both attacked the army. From the left the soldiers were falling like wood, from the right like whole forests. In less than an hour the entire army vanished. Some of them remained upon the spot, dead; some of them fled. Prince Kindhearted and the Knight Invisible met upon the battle-field, shook hands in a friendly way, and in a minute the Knight Invisible and his horse turned into a bright red flame, then into thick smoke, which disappeared in the darkness. The prince returned quietly to the palace.

    The young princess felt very sad that evening. She could not sleep and so leaned out of her window, whence she overheard the conversation between the prince and the servant. Then she saw what was going on behind the city walls. She also saw the Knight Invisible disappear in the darkness, and Prince Kindhearted return to the palace. She saw the false prince coming out of the palace, taking the knightly armor from the servant, and Prince Kindhearted entering the stable to rest.

    The next morning, the old king, seeing his land freed from the enemies, felt very happy, and gave the prince many rich presents. But when he announced the engagement of his daughter to him, she stood up, took the hand of the real prince, who helped to serve at the table, led him before the old king and said: "My dearest father and king, and all you that are present here! This man is my bridegroom, sent to me by God, for he is your savior, and the real prince. And that one who calls himself a prince, is a traitor; a false and dishonest man." Then the princess told everything she knew and said: "Let him show some proof that he really is a prince."

    The false prince gave to the king the note, which was given to him in the well. The king opened it and read aloud: "The bearer of this note, the false and untrue servant of Prince Kindhearted, asks for pardon and expects a just punishment. The note was given to him in the well by Prince Kindhearted."

    "Is it really so?" cried the wretch and he became pale as death.

    "Yes, read it yourself, if you do not believe it," answered the king.

    "I cannot read," said the poor fellow. He knelt before his master and begged for mercy, but he received what he deserved.

    Prince Kindhearted and the princess were happily married.

    Last edited by Darra; 19th Aug 2012 at 08:04 PM.
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    Re: Folktales

    The Twins With the Golden Star
    (Romanian Folktale)

    Once upon a time something happened. If it hadn't happened, it wouldn't be told.

    There was an emperor, who ruled over a whole world, and in this world lived an old shepherd and shepherdess, who had three daughters, Anna, Stana, and Laptitza(Little Milk-white).

    Anna, the oldest sister, was so beautiful that the sheep stopped feeding when she went among them; Stana, the second, was so lovely that the wolves watched the herd when she was the shepherdess, but Laptitza, the youngest, who had a skin as white as the foam of milk, and hair as soft as the wool of the lambkins, was as beautiful as both of her sisters put together, beautiful as only she herself could be.

    One summer day, when the sunbeams were growing less scorching, the three sisters went to the edge of the forest to pick strawberries. While searching for them, they heard the tramp of horses' hoofs, as if a whole troop of cavalry were dashing up. It was the emperor's son, hunting with his friends and courtiers, all handsome, stately youths, sitting their horses as if they were a part of their steeds, but the handsomest and proudest of all rode the most fiery charger, and was the emperor's son himself.

    When they saw the sisters, they curbed their horses and rode more slowly.

    "Listen to me, sisters," said Anna; "if one of those youths should choose me for his wife, I'd knead a loaf of bread which, when he had eaten it, would make him always feel young and brave."

    "And I," said Stana, "would weave my husband a shirt, in which he could fight against dragons, go through water without being wet, or fire without being burned."

    "But I," said Laptitza, the youngest sister, "would give my husband two beautiful sons, twin boys with golden hair, and on their foreheads a golden star, a star as bright as Lucifer."

    The youths heard these words, and turning their horses dashed toward the maidens.

    "Sacred be thy promise, thou shalt be mine, fairest empress," cried the emperor's son, lifting Laptitza with her berries upon his horse.

    "And thou shalt be mine!" "And thou shalt be mine!" said a second and third youth; so bearing their lovely burdens on their steeds, all dashed back to the imperial court.

    The three weddings were celebrated the very next day, and for three days and nights the festival was held throughout the empire with great pomp and splendor. After three days and nights the news went through the whole country that Anna had gathered grain, ground, boiled, and kneaded it, and made a loaf of bread, as she had promised while picking strawberries. Then, after three more days and nights, tidings went through the land that Stana had collected flax, dried, and hackled it, spun it into linen, wove the cloth, and made her husband a shirt as she had promised while seeking for her strawberries. Laptitza alone had not yet kept her word, but great things require time.

    When seven weeks had passed, counting from the wedding day, the emperor's son, now emperor, appeared before his brave companions and the other courtiers with a very joyous face, and in a much softer voice than ever before informed them that henceforth he should not leave the court for a long time, his heart moved him to stay with his wife night and day.

    So the world, the country, and the whole empire rejoiced in the expectation of seeing something never beheld before.

    "Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire"

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    Re: Folktales

    (Cont...)

    But many things happen in this world, among them much that is good and much that is evil.

    The emperor had a step-mother, who had brought with her to the palace a daughter of her first husband, a girl with beautiful hair. But woe betide those who have such relationships.

    The step-mother had intended that her daughter should become the emperor's wife and empress of the whole country, instead of little Milk-white, the shepherd's daughter. Therefore she determined that if things fell out as Laptitza had promised, the emperor and the world should believe they did not happen according to the prediction.

    But the step-mother could not carry out her plan, because the emperor remained with his wife day and night. Yet she thought that gradually, by coaxing and cunning, she might get rid of him, and then Laptitza would be left in her care and she would provide for every thing.

    But she could not get rid of the emperor by means of a few coaxing words. The wind blew them away, and all her craft was useless. Time passed, the day for the fulfillment of Laptitza's promise was drawing near, and still the emperor never left his wife.

    When the step-mother saw that no plot succeeded, she felt as if a stone were lying heavy on her heart, and sent a message to her brother, whose kingdom was very near, to ask him to come with his soldiers and summon the emperor to a war.

    This was a clever plan and, as will be seen, not an unsuccessful one. The emperor fairly leaped into the air in his rage, when he heard that hostile soldiers were on the march to attack his country, and that something would occur which had not happened for a long time—a battle, a terrible battle, a battle between two emperors. The young husband saw that there was no help for it, he must do what needed to be done.

    That is the way with emperors. No matter how much they wish to guard their wives—if they hear of war, their hearts fairly leap in their bodies, their brains swell almost to bursting, their eyes grow dim, and leaving wife and children in God's care, they dash like the wind to battle.

    The emperor departed at the first sign of peril, moved as swiftly as one of God's judgments, fought as only he could fight, and at dawn on the morning of the third day was back again at the imperial court, his heart soothed by the battle, but full of unsatisfied longing to know what had happened during his absence.

    And—this had happened. Just at dawn on the morning of the third day, when the stars were paling in the sky, and the emperor was only three steps from the palace-gate, the Lord's gift came down to the earth, and Laptitza's promise was fulfilled—two beautiful twin princes, exactly alike, each with golden hair and a golden star on his forehead.

    But the world was not to see them!

    The step-mother, as wicked as her thoughts, hastily put two puppies in the place of the beautiful twins, and buried the golden-haired children at the corner of the palace, just under the emperor's windows.

    When the monarch entered the palace he saw and heard nothing except the two puppies the step-mother had put in the twins' place. No words were wasted. The emperor saw with his own eyes, and that was enough. Laptitza had not kept her promise, and there was nothing to be done except mete out her punishment.

    He could not help it, and though his own heart was torn, commanded that the empress should be buried to her breast in the earth and so remain before the eyes of the world, in token of what befell those who tried to deceive an emperor.

    The next day the step-mother's wish was fulfilled. The emperor married a second time, and again the wedding festivities lasted three days and three nights.

    But God's blessing does not rest upon unjust deeds.

    The two princes found no rest in the earth. Two beautiful aspens sprang up where they were buried, but when the step-mother saw them she ordered them to be pulled up by the roots. The emperor, however, said: "Let them grow, I like to see them before the window. I never beheld such aspens before."

    So the trees grew, grew as no other aspens ever had grown, every day a year's growth, every night another year's growth, but in the dawn of morning, when the stars were paling in the sky, three years' growth in a single moment. When three days and three nights had passed, the two aspens were lofty trees, lifting their boughs to the emperor's window, and when the wind stirred the branches, he listened to their rustling all day long.

    The step-mother suspected what they were, and pondered all day trying to find some way to get rid of the trees at any cost. It was a difficult task, but a woman's will can squeeze milk from a stone, a woman's cunning conquers heroes—what force can not accomplish, fair words win, and when these fail, hypocritical tears succeed.

    One morning the empress sat down on the side of her husband's bed and began to overwhelm him with loving words and tender caresses. It was a long time before the thread broke, but at last—even emperors are mortal!

    "Very well," he said, reluctantly, "have your own way; order the aspens to be cut down, but one must be made into a bedstead for me, the other for you."

    This satisfied the empress. The aspens were cut down, and before night the beds were standing in the emperor's room.

    When he lay down, he felt as if he had become a hundred times heavier, yet he had never rested so well; but it seemed to the empress as if she were lying on thorns and nettles, so that she could not sleep all night long.

    When the emperor had fallen asleep, the beds began to creak, and amid this creaking the empress fancied she heard words that no one else understood.

    "Is it hard for you, brother?" asked one of the beds.

    "No, it isn't hard for me," replied the bed in which the emperor was sleeping, "I am happy, for my beloved father rests upon me."

    "It's hard for me," replied the other, "for on me lies a wicked soul."

    So the beds talked on in the empress's ears until the dawn of morning.

    When daylight came, the empress planned how she could destroy the beds. At last she ordered two bedsteads exactly like them, and when the emperor went hunting, placed them in his room without his knowledge; but the aspen beds, down to the very smallest splinter, she threw into the fire.

    When they were burned so entirely that not even a bit of charcoal remained, the empress collected the ashes and scattered them to the winds, that they might be strewn over nine countries and seas, and not an atom find another atom through all eternity.


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    Re: Folktales

    (Cont...)

    But she had not noticed that just when the fire was burning brightest two sparks rose, and soaring upward, fell again into the midst of the deep river that flowed through the empire, where they were changed into two little fishes with golden scales, so exactly alike that nobody could help knowing they were twin brothers.

    One day the imperial fishermen went out early in the morning, and threw their nets into the water. Just at the moment the last stars were fading, one of the men drew up his net and beheld what he had never seen before: two tiny fishes with golden scales.

    The other fishermen assembled to see the miracle, but when they had beheld and admired it, determined to carry the fish alive to the emperor for a gift.

    "Don't take us there, we've just come from there, and it will be our destruction," said one of the fishes.

    "But what shall I do with you?" asked the fisherman.

    "Go and gather the dew from the leaves, let us swim in it, put us in the sun, and don't come back again till the sunbeams have dried the dew," said the second little fish.

    The fisherman did as he was told, gathered the dew from the leaves, put the little fish into it, placed them in the sun, and did not come back till the dew was all dried up.

    But what had happened! What did he see?

    Two boys, handsome princes with golden hair and a golden star on their foreheads, so exactly alike that no one who saw them could help knowing that they were twin brothers.

    The children grew very rapidly. Every day enough for a year, and every night enough for another year, but in the dawn of morning when the stars paled in the sky, enough for three years in a single moment. Besides, they grew as no other children ever had grown, three times as fast in age, strength, and wisdom. When three days and nights had passed, they were twelve years in age, twenty-four in strength, and thirty-six in wisdom.

    "Now let us go to our father," said one of the princes to the fisherman.

    The fisherman dressed the lads in beautiful clothing, and made each a lambskin cap, which the boys drew low over their faces, that no one might see their golden hair and the golden star on their foreheads, and then took the princes to the imperial palace.

    It was broad daylight when they arrived.

    "We want to speak to the emperor," said one of the princes to the guard, who stood armed at the door of the palace.

    "That can't be done, he's at table," replied the soldier.

    "Just because he is at table," said the second prince, passing through the door.

    The guards ran up and tried to drive the boys out of the court-yard, but the boys slipped through their fingers like quicksilver. Three paces forward, three up, and they were standing before the great hall, where the emperor was dining with all his court.

    "We want to come in," said one of the princes sharply, to the servants who stood at the door.

    "That can't be done," one of the lackeys answered.

    "Indeed! We'll see whether it can be done or not," cried the other prince, pushing the men aside right and left.

    But there were a great many lackeys, and only two princes. A tumult and uproar arose outside, that resounded through the palace.

    "What is going on out there?" asked the emperor angrily.

    The princes stopped when they heard their father's voice.

    "Two boys are trying to enter by force," said an attendant, approaching the emperor.

    "By force? Who seeks to enter my palace by force? Who are these boys?" cried the emperor in the same breath.

    "We know not, your majesty," replied the lackey, "but there must be something uncommon about them, for the lads are as strong as young lions, they overpowered the guard at the gate, and have given us plenty to do. Besides, they are proud, they don't lift their caps from their heads."

    The emperor flushed scarlet with rage.

    "Throw them out!" he cried. "Set the dogs on them."

    "Never mind, we will go," said the princes, weeping at the harsh words, as they went down the steps again.

    As they reached the gate, they were stopped by a servant, who was out of breath from running to overtake them.

    "The emperor has commanded you to come back, the empress wants to see you."

    The princes hesitated, then turned, climbed the stairs, and still with their caps on their heads appeared before the emperor.

    There stood a long, wide table, at which sat all the imperial guests; at the head was the emperor, and beside him the empress, reclining on twelve silk cushions.

    As the princes entered, one of these twelve cushions fell to the floor, only eleven remaining under the royal lady.

    "Take off your caps!" cried a courtier.

    "To wear the head covered is a token of rank among men. We wish to be what we are."

    "Why, yes!" exclaimed the emperor, softened by the musical words that fell from the boys' lips. "Remain what you are, but who are you? Whence do you come, and what do you want?"

    "We are twin brothers, members of a family that is broken in twain, half in the earth, half at the head of the table; we come from whence we went, and have reached the place whence we came; we have had a long journey, have spoken in the sighing of the wind, given a voice to wood, sang in the ripples of the water, but now we wish to chant in human language a song you know without knowing it."

    A second cushion fell from under the empress.

    "Let them go home with their nonsense!" she said to her husband.

    "Oh! no, let them sing," replied the emperor. "You only wanted to see them, but I wish to hear them. Sing, boys!"

    The empress was silent, and the princes began to sing the story of their lives.

    "There was once an emperor," they began, and a third cushion fell from under the empress.

    When they described the emperor's departure to the war, three cushions fell at once, and when the princes had finished their song not a single one remained. But when they took off their caps and showed their golden hair and the golden star on their foreheads, guests, courtiers and emperor closed their eyes, that they might not be dazzled by so much radiance.

    Afterward, what ought to have been from the beginning, happened.


    Laptitza sat at the head of the table beside her husband, but the step-mother's daughter served as the humblest maid in the palace, and the wicked step-mother was fastened to the tail of a wild mare and dragged around the earth seven times, that the whole world might know and never forget, that whoever plans evil comes to a bad end.

    "Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire"

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    Re: Folktales

    The son of seven queens
    (Indian Folktale)

    Once upon a time there lived a King who had seven Queens, but no children. This was a great grief to him, especially when he remembered that on his death there would be no heir to inherit the kingdom.

    Now it happened one day that a poor old fakir came to the King, and said, "Your prayers are heard, your desire shall be accomplished, and one of your seven Queens shall bear a son."

    The King's delight at this promise knew no bounds, and he gave orders for appropriate festivities to be prepared against the coming event throughout the length and breadth of the land.

    Meanwhile the seven Queens lived luxuriously in a splendid palace, attended by hundreds of female slaves, and fed to their hearts' content on sweetmeats and confectionery.

    Now the King was very fond of hunting, and one day, before he started, the seven Queens sent him a message saying, "May it please our dearest lord not to hunt towards the north to-day, for we have dreamt bad dreams, and fear lest evil should befall you."

    The king, to allay their anxiety, promised regard for their wishes, and set out towards the south; but as luck would have it, although he hunted diligently, he found no game. Nor had he more success to the east or west, so that, being a keen sportsman, and determined not to go home empty-handed, he forgot all about his promise, and turned to the north. Here also he was at first unsuccessful, but just as he had made up his mind to give up for that day, a white hind with golden horns and silver hoofs flashed past him into a thicket. So quickly did it pass that he scarcely saw it; nevertheless a burning desire to capture and possess the beautiful strange creature filled his breast. He instantly ordered his attendants to form a ring round the thicket, and so encircle the hind; then, gradually narrowing the circle, he pressed forward till he could distinctly see the white hind panting in the midst. Nearer and nearer he advanced, till, just as he thought to lay hold of the beautiful strange creature, it gave one mighty bound, leapt clean over the King's head, and fled towards the mountains. Forgetful of all else, the King, setting spurs to his horse, followed at full speed. On, on he galloped, leaving his retinue far behind, keeping the white hind in view, never drawing bridle, until, finding himself in a narrow ravine with no outlet, he reined in his steed. Before him stood a miserable hovel, into which, being tired after his long, unsuccessful chase, he entered to ask for a drink of water. An old woman, seated in the hut at a spinning-wheel, answered his request by calling to her daughter, and immediately from an inner room came a maiden so lovely and charming, so white-skinned and golden-haired, that the King was transfixed by astonishment at seeing so beautiful a sight in the wretched hovel.

    She held the vessel of water to the King's lips, and as he drank he looked into her eyes, and then it became clear to him that the girl was no other than the white hind with the golden horns and silver feet he had chased so far.

    Her beauty bewitched him, so he fell on his knees, begging her to return with him as his bride; but she only laughed, saying seven Queens were quite enough even for a King to manage. However, when he would take no refusal, but implored her to have pity on him, promising her everything she could desire, she replied, "Give me the eyes of your seven Queens, and then perhaps I may believe you mean what you say."

    The King was so carried away by the glamour of the white hind's magical beauty, that he went home at once, had the eyes of his seven Queens taken out, and, after throwing the poor blind creatures into a noisome dungeon whence they could not escape, set off once more for the hovel in the ravine, bearing with him his horrible offering. But the white hind only laughed cruelly when she saw the fourteen eyes, and threading them as a necklace, flung it round her mother's neck, saying, "Wear that, little mother, as a keepsake, whilst I am away in the King's palace."

    Then she went back with the bewitched monarch, as his bride, and he gave her the seven Queens' rich clothes and jewels to wear, the seven Queens' palace to live in, and the seven Queens' slaves to wait upon her; so that she really had everything even a witch could desire.

    Now, very soon after the seven wretched hapless Queens had their eyes torn out, and were cast into prison, a baby was born to the youngest of the Queens. It was a handsome boy, but the other Queens were very jealous that the youngest amongst them should be so fortunate. But though at first they disliked the handsome little boy, he soon proved so useful to them, that ere long they all looked on him as their son. Almost as soon as he could walk about he began scraping at the mud wall of their dungeon, and in an incredibly short space of time had made a hole big enough for him to crawl through. Through this he disappeared, returning in an hour or so laden with sweet-meats, which he divided equally amongst the seven blind Queens.

    As he grew older he enlarged the hole, and slipped out two or three times every day to play with the little nobles in the town. No one knew who the tiny boy was, but everybody liked him, and he was so full of funny tricks and antics, so merry and bright, that he was sure to be rewarded by some girdle-cakes, a handful of parched grain, or some sweetmeats. All these things he brought home to his seven mothers, as he loved to call the seven blind Queens, who by his help lived on in their dungeon when all the world thought they had starved to death ages before.

    At last, when he was quite a big lad, he one day took his bow and arrow, and went out to seek for game. Coming by chance past the palace where the white hind lived in wicked splendour and magnificence, he saw some pigeons fluttering round the white marble turrets, and, taking good aim, shot one dead. It came tumbling past the very window where the white Queen was sitting; she rose to see what was the matter, and looked out. At the first glance of the handsome young lad standing there bow in hand, she knew by witchcraft that it was the King's son.


    "Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire"

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    Re: Folktales

    (Cont..)

    She nearly died of envy and spite, determining to destroy the lad without delay; therefore, sending a servant to bring him to her presence, she asked him if he would sell her the pigeon he had just shot.

    "No," replied the sturdy lad, "the pigeon is for my seven blind mothers, who live in the noisome dungeon, and who would die if I did not bring them food."

    "Poor souls!" cried the cunning white witch; "would you not like to bring them their eyes again? Give me the pigeon, my dear, and I faithfully promise to show you where to find them."

    Hearing this, the lad was delighted beyond measure, and gave up the pigeon at once. Whereupon the white Queen told him to seek her mother without delay, and ask for the eyes which she wore as a necklace.

    "She will not fail to give them," said the cruel Queen, "if you show her this token on which I have written what I want done."

    So saying, she gave the lad a piece of broken potsherd, with these words inscribed on it—"Kill the bearer at once, and sprinkle his blood like water!"

    Now, as the son of seven Queens could not read, he took the fatal message cheerfully, and set off to find the white Queen's mother.

    Whilst he was journeying be passed through a town, where every one of the inhabitants looked so sad, that he could not help asking what was the matter. They told him it was because the King's only daughter refused to marry; so when her father died there would be no heir to the throne. They greatly feared she must be out of her mind, for though every good-looking young man in the kingdom had been shown to her, she declared she would only marry one who was the son of seven mothers, and who ever heard of such a thing? The King, in despair, had ordered every man who entered the city gates to be led before the Princess; so, much to the lad's impatience, for he was in an immense hurry to find his mothers' eyes, he was dragged into the presence-chamber.

    No sooner did the Princess catch sight of him than she blushed, and, turning to the King, said, "Dear father, this is my choice!"

    Never were such rejoicings as these few words produced.

    The inhabitants nearly went wild with joy, but the son of seven Queens said he would not marry the Princess unless they first let him recover his mothers' eyes. When the beautiful bride heard his story, she asked to see the potsherd, for she was very learned and clever. Seeing the treacherous words, she said nothing, but taking another similar-shaped bit of potsherd, she wrote on it these words—"Take care of this lad, giving him all he desires," and returned it to the son of seven Queens, who, none the wiser, set off on his quest.

    Ere long he arrived at the hovel in the ravine where the white witch's mother, a hideous old creature, grumbled dreadfully on reading the message, especially when the lad asked for the necklace of eyes. Nevertheless she took it off, and gave it him, saying, "There are only thirteen of 'em now, for I lost one last week."

    The lad, however, was only too glad to get any at all, so he hurried home as fast as he could to his seven mothers, and gave two eyes apiece to the six elder Queens; but to the youngest he gave one, saying, "Dearest little mother!—I will be your other eye always!"

    After this he set off to marry the Princess, as he had promised, but when passing by the white Queen's palace he saw some pigeons on the roof. Drawing his bow, he shot one, and it came fluttering past the window. The white hind looked out, and lo! there was the King's son alive and well.

    She cried with hatred and disgust, but sending for the lad, asked him how he had returned so soon, and when she heard how he had brought home the thirteen eyes, and given them to the seven blind Queens, she could hardly restrain her rage. Nevertheless she pretended to be charmed with his success, and told him that if he would give her this pigeon also, she would reward him with the Jogi's wonderful cow, whose milk flows all day long, and makes a pond as big as a kingdom. The lad, nothing loth, gave her the pigeon; whereupon, as before, she bade him go ask her mother for the cow, and gave him a potsherd whereon was written— "Kill this lad without fail, and sprinkle his blood like water!"

    But on the way the son of seven Queens looked in on the Princess, just to tell her how he came to be delayed, and she, after reading the message on the potsherd, gave him another in its stead; so that when the lad reached the old hag's hut and asked her for the Jogi's cow, she could not refuse, but told the boy how to find it; and bidding him of all things not to be afraid of the eighteen thousand demons who kept watch and ward over the treasure, told him to be off before she became too angry at her daughter's foolishness in thus giving away so many good things.

    Then the lad did as he had been told bravely. He journeyed on and on till he came to a milk-white pond, guarded by the eighteen thousand demons. They were really frightful to behold, but, plucking up courage, he whistled a tune as he walked through them, looking neither to the right nor the left. By-and-by he came upon the Jogi's cow, tall, white, and beautiful, while the Jogi himself, who was king of all the demons, sat milking her day and night, and the milk streamed from her udder, filling the milk-white tank.




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    Re: Folktales

    (Cont...)

    The Jogi, seeing the lad, called out fiercely, "What do you want here?"

    Then the lad answered, according to the old hag's bidding, "I want your skin, for King Indra is making a new kettle-drum, and says your skin is nice and tough."

    Upon this the Jogi began to shiver and shake (for no Jinn or Jogi dares disobey King Indra's command), and, falling at the lad's feet, cried, "If you will spare me I will give you anything I possess, even my beautiful white cow!"

    To this the son of seven Queens, after a little pretended hesitation, agreed, saying that after all it would not be difficult to find a nice tough skin like the Jogi's elsewhere; so, driving the wonderful cow before him, he set off homewards. The seven Queens were delighted to possess so marvellous an animal, and though they toiled from morning till night making curds and whey, besides selling milk to the confectioners, they could not use half the cow gave, and became richer and richer day by day.

    Seeing them so comfortably off, the son of seven Queens started with a light heart to marry the Princess; but when passing the white hind's palace he could not resist sending a bolt at some pigeons which were cooing on the parapet. One fell dead just beneath the window where the white Queen was sitting. Looking out, she saw the lad hale and hearty standing before her, and grew whiter than ever with rage and spite.

    She sent for him to ask how he had returned so soon, and when she heard how kindly her mother had received him, she very nearly had a fit; however, she dissembled her feelings as well as she could, and, smiling sweetly, said she was glad to have been able to fulfil her promise, and that if he would give her this third pigeon, she would do yet more for him than she had done before, by giving him the million-fold rice, which ripens in one night.

    The lad was of course delighted at the very idea, and, giving up the pigeon, set off on his quest, armed as before with a potsherd, on which was written, "Do not fail this time. Kill the lad, and sprinkle his blood like water!"

    But when he looked in on his Princess, just to prevent her becoming anxious about him, she asked to see the potsherd as usual, and substituted another, on which was written, "Yet again give this lad all he requires, for his blood shall be as your blood!"

    Now when the old hag saw this, and heard how the lad wanted the million-fold rice which ripens in a single night, she fell into the most furious rage, but being terribly afraid of her daughter, she controlled herself, and bade the boy go and find the field guarded by eighteen millions of demons, warning him on no account to look back after having plucked the tallest spike of rice, which grew in the centre.

    So the son of seven Queens set off, and soon came to the field where, guarded by eighteen millions of demons, the million-fold rice grew. He walked on bravely, looking neither to the right or left, till he reached the centre and plucked the tallest ear, but as he turned homewards a thousand sweet voices rose behind him, crying in tenderest accents, "Pluck me too! oh, please pluck me too!" He looked back, and lo! there was nothing left of him but a little heap of ashes!

    Now as time passed by and the lad did not return, the old hag grew uneasy, remembering the message "his blood shall be as your blood"; so she set off to see what had happened.

    Soon she came to the heap of ashes, and knowing by her arts what it was, she took a little water, and kneading the ashes into a paste, formed it into the likeness of a man; then, putting a drop of blood from her little finger into its mouth, she blew on it, and instantly the son of seven Queens started up as well as ever.

    "Don't you disobey orders again!" grumbled the old hag, "or next time I'll leave you alone. Now be off, before I repent of my kindness!"

    So the son of seven Queens returned joyfully to his seven mothers, who, by the aid of the million-fold rice, soon became the richest people in the kingdom. Then they celebrated their son's marriage to the clever Princess with all imaginable pomp; but the bride was so clever, she would not rest until she had made known her husband to his father, and punished the wicked white witch. So she made her husband build a palace exactly like the one in which the seven Queens had lived, and in which the white witch now dwelt in splendour. Then, when all was prepared, she bade her husband give a grand feast to the King.

    Now the King had heard much of the mysterious son of seven Queens, and his marvellous wealth, so he gladly accepted the invitation; but what was his astonishment when on entering the palace he found it was a facsimile of his own in every particular! And when his host, richly attired, led him straight to the private hall, where on royal thrones sat the seven Queens, dressed as he had last seen them, he was speechless with surprise, until the Princess, coming forward, threw herself at his feet, and told him the whole story. Then the King awoke from his enchantment, and his anger rose against the wicked white hind who had bewitched him so long, until he could not contain himself. So she was put to death, and her grave ploughed over, and after that the seven Queens returned to their own splendid palace, and everybody lived happily.


    Last edited by Darra; 20th Aug 2012 at 01:37 AM.
    "Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire"

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    Re: Folktales

    The Magician and the Sultan’s Son
    (African Folktale)

    There was once a sultan who had three little sons, and no one seemed to be able to teach them anything; which greatly grieved both the sultan and his wife.

    One day a magician came to the sultan and said, “If I take your three boys and teach them to read and write, and make great scholars of them, what will you give me?”

    And the sultan said, “I will give you half of my property.”

    “No,” said the magician; “that won’t do.”

    “I’ll give you half of the towns I own.”

    “No; that will not satisfy me.”

    “What do you want, then?”

    “When I have made them scholars and bring them back to you, choose two of them for yourself and give me the third; for I want to have a companion of my own.”

    “Agreed,” said the sultan.

    So the magician took them away, and in a remarkably short time taught them to read, and to make letters, and made them quite good scholars. Then he took them back to the sultan and said: “Here are the children. They are all equally good scholars. Choose.”

    So the sultan took the two he preferred, and the magician went away with the third, whose name was Keejaa′naa, to his own house, which was a very large one.

    When they arrived, Mchaa′wee, the magician, gave the youth all the keys, saying, “Open whatever you wish to.” Then he told him that he was his father, and that he was going away for a month.

    When he was gone, Keejaanaa took the keys and went to examine the house. He opened one door, and saw a room full of liquid gold. He put his finger in, and the gold stuck to it, and, wipe and rub as he would, the gold would not come off; so he wrapped a piece of rag around it, and when his supposed father came home and saw the rag, and asked him what he had been doing to his finger, he was afraid to tell him the truth, so he said that he had cut it.

    Not very long after, Mchaawee went away again, and the youth took the keys and continued his investigations.

    The first room he opened was filled with the bones of goats, the next with sheep’s bones, the next with the bones of oxen, the fourth with the bones of donkeys, the fifth with those of horses, the sixth contained men’s skulls, and in the seventh was a live horse.

    “Hullo!” said the horse; “where do you come from, you son of Adam?”

    “This is my father’s house,” said Keejaanaa.

    “Oh, indeed!” was the reply. “Well, you’ve got a pretty nice parent! Do you know that he occupies himself with eating people, and donkeys, and horses, and oxen and goats and everything he can lay his hands on? You and I are the only living things left.”

    This scared the youth pretty badly, and he faltered, “What are we to do?”

    “What’s your name?” said the horse.

    “Keejaanaa.”

    “Well, I’m Faaraa′see. Now, Keejaanaa, first of all, come and unfasten me.”

    The youth did so at once.

    “Now, then, open the door of the room with the gold in it, and I will swallow it all; then I’ll go and wait for you under the big tree down the road a little way. When the magician comes home, he will say to you, ‘Let us go for firewood;’ then you answer, ‘I don’t understand that work;’ and he will go by himself. When he comes back, he will put a great big pot on the hook and will tell you to make a fire under it. Tell him you don’t know how to make a fire, and he will make it himself.

    “Then he will bring a large quantity of butter, and while it is getting hot he will put up a swing and say to you, ‘Get up there, and I’ll swing you.’ But you tell him you never played at that game, and ask him to swing first, that you may see how it is done. Then he will get up to show you; and you must push him into the big pot, and then come to me as quickly as you can.”

    Then the horse went away.

    "Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire"

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    Darra

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    Re: Folktales

    (Cont..)

    Now, Mchaawee had invited some of his friends to a feast at his house that evening; so, returning home early, he said to Keejaanaa, “Let us go for firewood;” but the youth answered, “I don’t understand that work.” So he went by himself and brought the wood.

    Then he hung up the big pot and said, “Light the fire;” but the youth said, “I don’t know how to do it.” So the magician laid the wood under the pot and lighted it himself.

    Then he said, “Put all that butter in the pot;” but the youth answered, “I can’t lift it; I’m not strong enough.” So he put in the butter himself.

    Next Mchaawee said, “Have you seen our country game?” And Keejaanaa answered, “I think not.”

    “Well,” said the magician, “let’s play at it while the butter is getting hot.”

    So he tied up the swing and said to Keejaanaa, “Get up here, and learn the game.” But the youth said: “You get up first and show me. I’ll learn quicker that way.”

    The magician got into the swing, and just as he got started Keejaanaa gave him a push right into the big pot; and as the butter was by this time boiling, it not only killed him, but cooked him also.

    As soon as the youth had pushed the magician into the big pot, he ran as fast as he could to the big tree, where the horse was waiting for him.

    “Come on,” said Faaraasee; “jump on my back and let’s be going.”

    So he mounted and they started off.

    When the magician’s guests arrived they looked everywhere for him, but, of course, could not find him. Then, after waiting a while, they began to be very hungry; so, looking around for something to eat, they saw that the stew in the big pot was done, and, saying to each other, “Let’s begin, anyway,” they started in and ate the entire contents of the pot. After they had finished, they searched for Mchaawee again, and finding lots of provisions in the house, they thought they would stay there until he came; but after they had waited a couple of days and eaten all the food in the place, they gave him up and returned to their homes.

    Meanwhile Keejaanaa and the horse continued on their way until they had gone a great distance, and at last they stopped near a large town.

    “Let us stay here,” said the youth, “and build a house.”

    As Faaraasee was agreeable, they did so. The horse coughed up all the gold he had swallowed, with which they purchased slaves, and cattle, and everything they needed.

    When the people of the town saw the beautiful new house and all the slaves, and cattle, and riches it contained, they went and told their sultan, who at once made up his mind that the owner of such a place must be of sufficient importance to be visited and taken notice of, as an acquisition to the neighborhood.

    So he called on Keejaanaa, and inquired who he was.

    “Oh, I’m just an ordinary being, like other people.”

    “Are you a traveler?”

    “Well, I have been; but I like this place, and think I’ll settle down here.”

    “Why don’t you come and walk in our town?”

    “I should like to very much, but I need some one to show me around.”

    “Oh, I’ll show you around,” said the sultan, eagerly, for he was quite taken with the young man.

    After this Keejaanaa and the sultan became great friends; and in the course of time the young man married the sultan’s daughter, and they had one son.

    They lived very happily together, and Keejaanaa loved Faaraasee as his own soul.

    "Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire"

    With ♥
    Darra

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