Sunday, October 27, 2013

[Scandinavian Tale] How a Lad Stole the Giant's Treasure

Once upon a time there lived a peasant who had three sons. The two elder ones used to go with him to the field and to the forest, and helped him in his work, but the youngest remained at home with his mother, to help her in the house. His brothers despised him for doing this, and whenever they had a chance they used him badly.

At length the father and mother died, and the sons divided the property among them. As might have been looked for, the elder brothers took all that was of any value for themselves, leaving nothing to the youngest
but an old cracked kneading-trough, which neither of them thought worth the having.

"The old trough," said one of the brothers, "will do very well for our young brother, for he is always baking and scrubbing."

The boy thought this, as was only natural, a poor thing to inherit, but he could do nothing, and he now recognised that it would be no use his remaining at home, so he wished his brothers good-bye, and went off to seek his fortune. On coming to the side of a lake he made his trough water-tight with oakum, and converted it into a little boat. Then he found two sticks, and using these as oars rowed away.

When he had crossed the water, he saw a large palace, and entering it, he asked to speak with the king. The king questioned him respecting his family and the purpose of his visit.

"I," said the boy, "am the son of a poor peasant, and all I have in the world is an old kneading-trough. I have come here to seek work."

The king laughed when he heard this.

"Indeed," said he, "you have not inherited much, but fortune works many a change."

He took the lad to be one of his servants, and he became a favourite for his courage and honesty.

Now the king who owned this palace had an only daughter, who was so beautiful and so clever that she was talked of all through the kingdom, and many came from the east and from the west to ask her hand in marriage. The princess, however, rejected them all, saying that none should have her for his wife unless he brought her for a wedding-present four valuable things belonging to a giant who lived on the other side of
the lake. These four treasures were a gold sword, three gold hens, a gold lantern, and a gold harp.

Many king's sons and many good warriors tried to win these treasures, but none of them came back, for the giant caught them all and eat them. The king was very sorrowful, for he feared that at this rate his
daughter would never get a husband, and so he would not have a son-in-law to whom to leave his kingdom.

The boy when he heard of this thought that it might be well worth his while to try to win the king's beautiful daughter. So he went to the king one day, and told him what he meant to do. When the king heard him,
he got angry, and said--

"Do you think that you, who are only a servant, can do what great warriors have failed in?"

The boy, however, was not to be dissuaded, and begged him so to let him go that at last the king grew calmer and gave him his permission. "But," said he, "you will lose your life, and I shall be sorry to miss you."

With that they parted.

The boy went down to the shore of the lake, and, having found his trough, he looked it over very closely. Then he got into it and rowed across the lake, and coming to the giant's dwelling he hid himself, and
stayed the night there.

Very early in the morning, before it was light, the giant went to his barn, and began to thrash, making such a noise that the mountains all around echoed again. When the boy heard this he collected some stones and put them in his pouch. Then he climbed up on to the roof of the barn and made a little hole so that he could look in. Now the giant had by his side his golden sword, which had the strange property that it clanked whenever the giant was angry. While the giant was busy thrashing at full speed, the boy threw a little stone which hit the sword, and caused it to clank.

"Why do you clank?" said the giant. "I am not angry."

He went on thrashing, but the next moment the sword clanked again. Once more the giant pursued his work, and the sword clanked a third time. Then the giant got so angry that he undid the belt, and threw the sword out of the barn door.

"Lie there," said he, "till I have done my thrashing."

The lad waited no longer, but slipping down from the roof seized on the sword, ran to his boat, and rowed across the water. On reaching the other side he hid his treasure, and was full of glee at the success of his adventure.

The next day he filled his pouch with corn, put a bundle of bast-twine in his boat, and once more set off to the giant's dwelling. He lay hiding for a time, and then he saw the giant's three golden hens walking about on the shore, and spreading their feathers, which sparkled beautifully in the bright sunshine. He was soon near them, and began to softly lead them on, scattering corn for them out of his pouch. While they were picking the boy gradually led them to the water, till at last he got them into his little boat. Then he jumped in himself, secured the fowl with his twine, pushed out from the shore, and rowed as quickly as he could to the other side of the water.

The third day he put some lumps of salt into his pouch, and again rowed across the lake. As night came on he noticed how the smoke rose from the giant's dwelling, and concluded that the giant's wife was busy getting ready his food. He crept up on to the roof, and, looking down through the hole by which the smoke escaped, saw a large cauldron boiling on the fire. Then he took the lumps of salt out of his pouch, and threw them one by one into the pot. Having done this, he crept down from the roof, and waited to see what would follow.

Soon after the giant's wife took the cauldron off the fire, poured out the porridge into a bowl, and put it on the table. The giant was hungry, and he fell to at once, but scarcely had he tasted the porridge when he found it too salt. He got very angry, and started from his seat. The old woman made what excuse she could, and said that the porridge must be good; but the giant declared he would eat no more of the stuff, and told her to taste it for herself. She did so, and pulled a terrible face, for she had never in her life tasted such abominable stuff.

There was nothing for it but she must make some new porridge. So she seized a can, took the gold lantern down from the wall, and went as fast as she could to the well to draw some water. She put the lantern down by the side of the well, and was stooping down to get the water, when the boy ran to her, and, laying hold of her by the feet, threw her head over heels into the well. He seized hold of the golden lantern, ran away as fast as he could to his boat, and rowed across the water in safety.

The giant sat for a long time wondering why his wife was away so long. At last he went to look for her, but nothing could he see of her. Then he heard a splashing in the well, and finding she was in the water, he, with a lot of work, got her out.

"Where is my gold lantern?" was the first thing he asked, as the old woman came round a little.

"I don't know," answered she. "Somebody came, caught me by the feet, and threw me into the well."

The giant was very angry at this.

"Three of my treasures," said he, "have gone, and I have now only my golden harp left. But, whoever the thief may be, he shall not have that; I will keep that safe under twelve locks."

While these things occurred at the giant's dwelling, the boy sat on the other side of the water, rejoicing that he had got on so well.

The most difficult task, however, had yet to be done, and for a long time he thought over how he could get the golden harp. At length he determined to row over to the giant's place and see if fortune would favour him.

No sooner said than done. He rowed over and went to a hiding-place. The giant had, however, been on the watch, and had seen him. So he rushed forward in a terrible rage and seized the boy, saying--

"So I have caught you at last, you young rascal. You it was who stole my
sword, my three gold hens, and my gold lantern."

The boy was terribly afraid, for he thought his last hour was come.

"Spare my life, father," said he humbly, "and I will never come here again."

"No," replied the giant, "I will do the same with you as with the others. No one slips alive out of my hands."

He then shut the boy up in a sty, and fed him with nuts and sweet milk, so as to get him nice and fat preparatory to killing and eating him.

The lad was a prisoner, but he ate and drank and made himself as easy as he could. After some time the giant wanted to find out if he were fat enough to be killed. So he went to the sty, made a little hole in the wall, and told the boy to put his finger through it. The lad knew what he wanted; so instead of putting out his finger he poked out a little peeled alder twig. The giant cut the twig, and the red sap ran out. Then he thought the boy must be yet very lean since his flesh was so hard, so he caused a greater supply of milk and nuts to be given to him.

Some time after, the giant again visited the sty, and ordered the boy to put his finger through the hole in the wall. The lad now poked out a cabbage-stalk, and the giant, having cut it with his knife, concluded that the lad must be fat enough, his flesh seemed so soft.

The next morning the giant said to his wife--

"The boy seems to be fat enough now, mother; take him then to-day, and bake him in the oven, while I go and ask our kinsfolk to the feast."

The old woman promised to do what her husband told her. So, having heated the oven, she dragged out the boy to bake him.

"Sit on the shovel," said she.

The boy did so, but when the old woman raised the shovel the boy always fell off. So they went on many times. At last the giantess got angry, and scolded the boy for being so awkward; the lad excused himself, saying that he did not know the way to sit on the shovel.

"Look at me," said the woman, "I will show you."

So she sat herself down on the shovel, bending her back and drawing up her knees. No sooner was she seated than the boy, seizing hold of the handle, pushed her into the oven and slammed the door to. Then he took the woman's fur cloak, stuffed it out with straw, and laid it on the bed. Seizing the giant's bunch of keys, he opened the twelve locks, snatched up the golden harp, and ran down to his boat, which he had hidden among the flags on the shore.

The giant soon afterwards came home.

"Where can my wife be?" said he. "No doubt she has lain down to sleep a bit. Ah! I thought so."

The old woman, however, slept a long while, and the giant could not wake her, though he was now expecting his friends to arrive.

"Wake up, mother," cried he, but no one replied. He called again, but there was no response. He got angry, and, going to the bed, he gave the fur cloak a good shake. Then he found that it was not his wife, but only a bundle of straw put in her clothes. At this the giant grew alarmed, and he ran off to look after his golden harp. He found his keys gone, the twelve locks undone, and the harp missing. He went to the oven and opened the door to see how the meat for the feast was going on. Behold! there sat his wife, baked, and grinning at him.

Then the giant was almost mad with grief and rage, and he rushed out to seek the lad who had done him all this mischief. He came down to the edge of the water and found him sitting in his boat, playing on the harp. The music came over the water, and the gold strings shone wonderfully in the sunshine. The giant jumped into the water after the boy; but finding that it was too deep, he laid himself down, and began to drink the water in order to make the lake shallower. He drank with all his might, and by this means set up a current which drew the boat nearer and nearer to the shore. Just when he was going to lay hold of it he burst, for he had drunk too much; and there was an end of him.

The giant lay dead on the shore, and the boy moved away across the lake, full of joy and happiness. When he came to land, he combed his golden hair, put on fine clothes, fastened the giant's gold sword by his side, and, taking the gold harp in one hand and the gold lantern in the other, he led the gold fowl after him, and went to the king, who was sitting in the great hall of the palace surrounded by his courtiers. When the king saw the boy he was heartily glad. The lad went to the king's beautiful daughter, saluted her courteously, and laid the giant's treasures before her. Then there was great joy in the palace, that the princess had after all got the giant's treasures and so bold and handsome a bridegroom. The wedding was celebrated soon after with very much splendour and rejoicing; and when the king died the lad succeeded him, ruling over all the land both long and happily.

I know no more respecting them.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

[Philippine Legend] The Tobacco of Harisaboqued

A legend of the volcano of Canlaon on the island of Negros. It is
told generally in Western Negros and Eastern Cebu. The volcano is
still active, and smoke and steam rise from its crater.

Long before the strange men came over the water from Spain, there
lived in Negros, on the mountain of Canlaon, an old man who had great
power over all the things in the earth. He was called Harisaboqued,
King of the Mountain.

When he wished anything done he had but to tap the ground three times
and instantly a number of little men would spring from the earth
to answer his call. They would obey his slightest wish, but as he
was a kind old man and never told his dwarfs to do anything wrong,
the people who lived near were not afraid. They planted tobacco on
the mountain side and were happy and prosperous,

The fields stretched almost to the top of the mountain and the plants
grew well, for every night Harisaboqued would order his dwarfs to
attend to them, and though the tobacco was high up it grew faster
and better than that planted in the valley below.

The people were very grateful to the old man and were willing to do
anything for him; but he only asked them not to plant above a line
he had ordered his little men to draw around the mountain near the
top. He wished that place for himself and his dwarfs.

All obeyed his wish and no one planted over the line. It was a pretty
sight to see the long rows of tobacco plants extending from the towns
below far up to the line on the mountain side.

One day Harisaboqued called the people together and told them that
he was going away for a long time. He asked them again not to plant
over the line, and told them that if they disregarded this wish
he would carry all the tobacco away and permit no more to grow on
the mountain side until he had smoked what he had taken. The people
promised faithfully to obey him. Then he tapped on the ground, the
earth opened, and he disappeared into the mountain.

Many years passed and Harisaboqued did not come back. All wondered
why he did not return and at last decided that he would never do
so. The whole mountain side was covered with tobacco and many of the
people looked with greedy eyes at the bare ground above the line,
but as yet they were afraid to break their promise.

At last one man planted in the forbidden ground, and, as nothing
happened, others did the same, until soon the mountain was entirely
covered with the waving plants. The people were very happy and soon
forgot about Harisaboqued and their promise to him.

But one day, while they were laughing and singing, the earth suddenly
opened and Harisaboqued sprang out before them. They were very much
frightened and fled in terror down the mountain side. When they reached
the foot and looked back they saw a terrible sight. All the tobacco
had disappeared and, instead of the thousands of plants that they
had tended so carefully, nothing but the bare mountain could be seen.

Then suddenly there was a fearful noise and the whole mountain top
flew high in the air, leaving an immense hole from which poured fire
and smoke.

The people fled and did not stop until they were far away. Harisaboqued
had kept his word.

Many years have come and gone, but the mountain is bare and the
smoke still rolls out of the mountain top. Villages have sprung up
along the sides, but no tobacco is grown on the mountain. The people
remember the tales of the former great crops and turn longing eyes
to the heights above them, but they will have to wait. Harisaboqued
is still smoking his tobacco.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


In the portal of the Church of the Apostles, near the new market in
Cologne, hung a picture, the portraits of a certain Frau Richmodis von
Aducht and her two children, of whom the following singular story is
related. The picture was covered with a curtain which she worked with
her own hands.

Her husband, Richmuth von Aducht, was, in the year of grace 1400, a
rich burgomaster of Cologne, and lived at the sign of the Parroquet in
the New Marckt. In that year a fearful plague desolated all quarters
of the city. She fell sick of the pest, and, to all appearance, died.
After the usual period had elapsed she was buried in the vaults of the
Apostles' Church. She was buried, as the custom then was, with her
jewelled rings on her fingers, and most of her rich ornaments on her
person. These tempted the cupidity of the sexton of the church. He
argued with himself that they were no use to the corpse, and he
determined to possess them. Accordingly he proceeded in the dead of
night to the vault where she lay interred, and commenced the work of
sacrilegious spoliation. He first unscrewed the coffin lid. He then
removed it altogether, and proceeded to tear away the shroud which
interposed between him and his prey. But what was his horror to
perceive the corpse clasp her hands slowly together, then rise, and
finally sit erect in the coffin. He was rooted to the earth. The
corpse made as though it would step from its narrow bed, and the
sexton fled, shrieking, through the vaults. The corpse followed, its
long white shroud floating like a meteor in the dim light of the lamp,
which, in his haste, he had forgotten. It was not until he reached his
own door that he had sufficient courage to look behind him, and then,
when he perceived no trace of his pursuer, the excitement which had
sustained him so far subsided, and he sank senseless to the earth.

In the meantime Richmuth von Aducht, who had slept scarcely a moment
since the death of his dear wife, was surprised by the voice of his
old manservant, who rapped loudly at his chamber door, and told him to
awake and come forth, for his mistress had arisen from the dead, and
was then at the gate of the courtyard.

"Bah!" said he, rather pettishly, "go thy ways, Hans; you dream, or
are mad, or drunk. What you see is quite impossible. I should as soon
believe my old grey mare had got into the garret as that my wife was
at the courtyard gate."

Trot, trot, trot, trot, suddenly resounded high over his head.

"What's that?" asked he of his servant.

"I know not," replied the man, "an' it be not your old grey mare in
the garret."

They descended in haste to the courtyard, and looked up to the window
of the attic. Lo and behold! there was indeed the grey mare with her
head poked out of the window, gazing down with her great eyes on her
master and his man, and seeming to enjoy very much her exalted
station, and their surprise at it.

Knock, knock, knock went the rapper of the street gate.

"It is my wife!" "It is my mistress!" exclaimed master and man in the
same breath.

The door was quickly unfastened, and there, truly, stood the mistress
of the mansion, enveloped in her shroud.

"Are you alive or dead?" exclaimed the astonished husband.

"Alive, my dear, but very cold," she murmured faintly, her teeth
chattering the while, as those of one in a fever chill; "help me to my

He caught her in his arms and covered her with kisses. Then he bore
her to her chamber, and called up the whole house to welcome and
assist her. She suffered a little from fatigue and fright, but in a
few days was very much recovered.

The thing became the talk of the town, and hundreds flocked daily to
see, not alone the lady that was rescued from the grave in so
remarkable a manner, but also the grey mare which had so strangely
contrived to get into the garret.

The excellent lady lived long and happily with her husband, and at her
death was laid once more in her old resting-place. The grey mare,
after resting in the garret three days, was got down by means of
scaffolding, safe and sound. She survived her mistress for some time,
and was a general favourite in the city, and when she died her skin
was stuffed, and placed in the arsenal as a curiosity. The sexton went
mad with the fright he had sustained, and in a short time entered that
bourn whence he had so unintentionally recovered the burgomaster's

Not only was this memorable circumstance commemorated in the Church of
the Apostles, but it was also celebrated in _bassi relievi_ figures on
the walls of the burgomaster's residence--the sign of the Parroquet in
the New Marckt. The searcher after antiquities will, however, look in
vain for either. They are not now to be found. Modern taste has
defaced the porch where stood the one, and erected a shapeless
structure on the site of the other.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

[German Folktale] Gaffer Death

There was once a poor man who had twelve children, and he was obliged
to labour day and night that he might earn food for them. When at
length, as it so happened, a thirteenth came into the world, the poor
man did not know how to help himself, so he ran out into the highway,
determined to ask the first person he met to be godfather to the boy.

There came stalking up to him Death, who said--

"Take me for a godfather."

"Who are you?" asked the father.

"I am Death, who makes all equal," replied the stranger.

Then said the man--

"You are one of the right sort: you seize on rich and poor without
distinction; you shall be the child's godfather."

Death answered--

"I will make the boy rich and renowned throughout the world, for he
who has me for a friend can want nothing."

Said the man--

"Next Sunday will he be christened, mind and come at the right time."

Death accordingly appeared as he had promised, and stood godfather to
the child.

When the boy grew up his godfather came to him one day, and took him
into a wood, and said--

"Now shall you have your godfather's present. I will make a most
famous physician of you. Whenever you are called to a sick person, I
will take care and show myself to you. If I stand at the foot of the
bed, say boldly, 'I will soon restore you to health,' and give the
patient a little herb that I will point out to you, and he will soon
be well. If, however, I stand at the head of the sick person, he is
mine; then say, 'All help is useless; he must soon die.'"

Then Death showed him the little herb, and said--

"Take heed that you never use it in opposition to my will."

It was not long before the young fellow was the most celebrated
physician in the whole world.

"The moment he sees a person," said every one, "he knows whether or
not he'll recover."

Accordingly he was soon in great request. People came from far and
near to consult him, and they gave him whatever he required, so that
he made an immense fortune. Now, it so happened that the king was
taken ill, and the physician was called upon to say whether he must
die. As he went up to the bed he saw Death standing at the sick man's
head, so that there was no chance of his recovery. The physician
thought, however, that if he outwitted Death, he would not, perhaps,
be much offended, seeing that he was his godfather, so he caught hold
of the king and turned him round, so that by that means Death was
standing at his feet. Then he gave him some of the herb, and the king
recovered, and was once more well. Death came up to the physician with
a very angry and gloomy countenance, and said--

"I will forgive you this time what you have done, because I am your
godfather, but if you ever venture to betray me again, you must take
the consequences."

Soon after this the king's daughter fell sick, and nobody could cure
her. The old king wept night and day, until his eyes were blinded, and
at last he proclaimed that whosoever rescued her from Death should be
rewarded by marrying her and inheriting his throne. The physician
came, but Death was standing at the head of the princess. When the
physician saw the beauty of the king's daughter, and thought of the
promises that the king had made, he forgot all the warnings he had
received, and, although Death frowned heavily all the while, he turned
the patient so that Death stood at her feet, and gave her some of the
herb, so that he once more put life into her veins.

When Death saw that he was a second time cheated out of his property,
he stepped up to the physician, and said--

"Now, follow me."

He laid hold of him with his icy cold hand, and led him into a
subterranean cave, in which there were thousands and thousands of
burning candles, ranged in innumerable rows. Some were whole, some
half burnt out, some nearly consumed. Every instant some went out, and
fresh ones were lighted, so that the little flames seemed perpetually
hopping about.

"Behold," said Death, "the life-candles of mankind. The large ones
belong to children, those half consumed to middle-aged people, the
little ones to the aged. Yet children and young people have oftentimes
but a little candle, and when that is burnt out, their life is at an
end, and they are mine."

The physician said--

"Show me my candle."

Then Death pointed out a very little candle-end, which was glimmering
in the socket, and said--


Then the physician said--

"O dearest godfather, light me up a new one, that I may first enjoy my
life, be king, and husband of the beautiful princess."

"I cannot do so," said Death; "one must burn out before I can light
up another."

"Place the old one then upon a new one, that that may burn on when
this is at an end," said the physician.

Death pretended that he would comply with this wish, and reached a
large candle, but to revenge himself, purposely failed in putting it
up, and the little piece fell and was extinguished. The physician sank
with it, so he himself fell into the hands of Death.

Monday, October 7, 2013

[Armenian Folklore] The Youth Who Would Not Tell His Dream

There lived once upon a time a man and wife who had a son. The son arose
from his sleep one morning and said to his mother: "Mother dear, I had a
dream, but what it was I will not tell you."

The mother said, "Why will you not tell me?"

"I will not, and that settles it," answered the youth, and his mother
seized him and cudgelled him well.

Then he went to his father and said to him: "Father dear, I had a dream,
but what it was I would not tell mother, nor will I tell you," and his
father also gave him a good flogging. He began to sulk and ran away from
home. He walked and walked the whole day long and, meeting a traveller,
said after greeting him: "I had a dream, but what it was I would tell
neither father nor mother and I will not tell you," Then he went on his
way till finally he came to the Emir's house and said to the Emir:
"Emir, I had a dream, but what it was I would tell neither father nor
mother, nor yet the traveller, and I will not tell you."

The Emir had him seized and thrown into the garret, where he began to
cut through the floor with a knife he managed to get from some one of
the Emir's people. He cut and cut until he made an opening over the
chamber of the Emir's daughter, who had just filled a plate with food
and gone away. The youth jumped down, emptied the plate, ate what he
wanted, and crept back into the garret. The second, third, and fourth
days he did this also, and the Emir's daughter could not think who had
taken away her meal. The next day she hid herself under the table to
watch and find out. Seeing the youth jump down and begin to eat from her
plate, she rushed out and said to him, "Who are you?"

"I had a dream, but what it was I would tell neither father nor mother,
nor the traveller, nor yet the Emir. The Emir shut me up in the garret.
Now everything depends on you; do with me what you will."

The youth looked at the maiden, and they loved each other and saw each
other every day.

The King of the West came to the King of the East to court the daughter
of the King of the East for his son. He sent an iron bar with both ends
shaped alike and asked: "Which is the top and which is the bottom? If
you can guess that, good! If not, I will carry your daughter away with

The King asked everybody, but nobody could tell. The King's daughter
told her lover about it and he said: "Go tell your father the Emir to
throw the bar into a brook. The heavy end will sink. Make a hole in that
end and send the bar back to the King of the West." And it happened that
he was right, and the messengers returned to their King.

The King of the West sent three horses of the same size and color and
asked: "Which is the one-year-old, which is the two-year-old, and which
the mare? If you can guess that, good. If not, then I will carry off
your daughter."

The King of the East collected all the clever people, but no one could
guess. He was helpless and knew not what to do. Then his daughter went
to her lover and said, "They are going to take me away," and she told
him when and how.

The youth said: "Go and say to your father, 'Dip a bundle of hay in
water, strew it with salt, and put it near the horses' stall. In the
morning the mare will come first, the two-year-old second, the
one-year-old last.'"

They did this and sent the King of the West his answer.

He waited a little and sent a steel spear and a steel shield, and said:
"If you pierce the shield with the spear, I will give my daughter to
your son. If not, send your daughter to my son."

Many people tried, and among them the King himself, but they could find
no way of piercing the shield. The King's daughter told him of her
beloved prisoner, and the King sent for him. The youth thrust the spear
into the ground, and, striking the shield against it, pierced it

As the King had no son, he sent the youth in place of a son to the King
of the West to demand his daughter, according to agreement.

He went on and on--how long it is not known--and saw someone with his
ear to the ground listening.

"Who are you?" the youth asked.

"I am he who hears everything that is said in the whole world."

"This is a brave fellow," said the youth. "He knows everything that is
said in the world."

"I am no brave fellow. He who has pierced a steel shield with a steel
spear is a brave fellow," was the answer.

"I am he," said the youth. "Let us be brothers."

They journeyed on together and saw a man with a millstone on each foot,
and one leg stepped toward Chisan and the other toward Stambul.

"That seems to me a brave fellow! One leg steps toward Chisan and the
other toward Stambul."

"I am no brave fellow. He who has pierced a steel shield with a steel
spear is a brave fellow," said the man with the millstones.

"I am he. Let us be brothers."

They were three and they journeyed on together.

They went on and on and saw a mill with seven millstones grinding corn.
And one man ate all and was not satisfied, but grumbled and said, "O
little father, I die of hunger."

"That is a brave fellow," said the youth. "Seven millstones grind for him
and yet he has not enough, but cries, 'I die of hunger.'"

"I am no brave fellow. He who pierced a steel shield with a steel spear
is a brave fellow," said the hungry man.

"I am he. Let us be brothers," said the youth and the four journeyed on
together. They went on and on and saw a man who had loaded the whole
world on his back and even wished to lift it up.

"That is a brave fellow. He has loaded himself with the whole world and
wishes to lift it up," said the youth.

"I am no brave fellow. He who has pierced a steel shield with a steel
spear is a brave fellow," said the burdened man.

"I am he. Let us be brothers."

The five journeyed on together. They went on and on and saw a man lying
in a brook and he sipped up all its waters and yet cried, "O little
father, I am parched with thirst."

"That is a brave fellow. He drinks up the whole brook and still says he
is thirsty," said the youth.

"I am no brave fellow. He who has pierced a steel shield with a steel
spear is a brave fellow," said the thirsty man.

"I am he. Let us be brothers."

The six journeyed on together. They went on and on and saw a shepherd
who was playing the pipes, and mountains and valleys, fields and
forests, men and animals, danced to the music.

"That seems to me to be a brave fellow. He makes mountains and valleys
dance," said the youth.

"I am no brave fellow. He who has pierced a steel shield with a steel
spear is a brave fellow," said the musical man.

"I am he. Let us be brothers," said the youth.

The seven journeyed on together.

"Brother who hast pierced a steel shield with a steel spear, whither is
God leading us?"

"We are going to get the daughter of the King of the West," said the

"Only you can marry her," said they all.

They went on till they came to the King's castle, but when they asked
for the daughter the King would not let her go, but called his people
together and said: "They have come after the bride. They are not very
hungry, perhaps they will eat only a bite or two. Let one-and-twenty
ovens be filled with bread and make one-and-twenty kettles of soup. If
they eat all this I will give them my daughter; otherwise, I will not."

The seven brothers were in a distant room. He who listened with his ear
to the ground heard what the King commanded, and said:

"Brother who hast pierced a steel shield with a steel spear, do you
understand what the King said?"

"Rascal! how can I know what he says when I am not in the same room with
him? What did he say?"

"He has commanded them to bake bread in one-and-twenty ovens and to make
one-and-twenty kettles of soup. If we eat it all, we can take his
daughter; otherwise, not."

The brother who devoured all the meal that seven millstones, ground
said: "Fear not, I will eat everything that comes to hand, and then cry,
'Little father, I die of hunger.'"

When the King saw the hungry man eat he screamed: "May he perish! I
shall certainly meet defeat at his hands."

Again he called his people to him and said, "Kindle a great fire, strew
it with ashes and cover it with blankets. When they come in in the
evening they will be consumed, all seven of them."

The brother with the sharp ears said: "Brother who hast pierced a steel
shield with a steel spear, do you understand what the King said?"

"No; how can I know what he said?"

"He said, 'Kindle a fire, strew it with ashes, and cover it with
blankets, and when they come in in the evening they will be consumed,
all seven of them.'"

Then said the brother who drank up the brook: "I will drink all I can
and go in before you. I will spit it all out and turn the whole house
into a sea."

In the evening they begged the King to allow them to rest in the room
set apart for them. The water-drinker filled the whole room with water,
and they went into another.

The King lost his wits and knew not what to do. He called his people
together, and they said in one voice, "Let what will happen, we will not
let our princess go!"

The man with the sharp ears heard them, and said, "Brother who hast
pierced a steel shield with a steel spear, do you understand what the
King said?"

"How should I know what he said?"

"He said, 'Let what will happen, I will not let my daughter go.'"

The brother who had loaded himself with the whole world said: "Wait, I
will take his castle and all his land on my back and carry it away."

He took the castle on his back and started off. The shepherd played on
his pipes, and mountains and valleys danced to the music. He who had
fastened millstones to his feet led the march, and they all went
joyously forward, making a great noise.

The King began to weep, and begged them to leave him his castle. "Take
my daughter with you. You have earned her."

They put the castle back in its place, the shepherd stopped playing, and
mountain and valley stood still. They took the King's daughter and
departed, and each hero returned to his dwelling-place, and he who had
pierced the steel shield with the steel spear took the maiden and came
again to the King of the East. And the King of the East gave him his own
daughter, whom the youth had long loved, for his wife. So he had two
wives--one was the daughter of the King of the East, the other the
daughter of the King of the West.

At night, when they lay down to sleep, he said: "Now, I have one sun on
one side and another sun on the other side, and a bright star plays on
my breast."

In the morning he sent for his parents and called also the King to him,
and said, "Now, I will tell my dream." "What was it, then?" they all
said. He answered: "I saw in my dream one sun on one side of me and
another sun on the other, and a bright star played on my breast."

"Had you such a dream?" they asked.

"I swear I had such a dream."

And three apples fell from heaven: one for the story-teller, one for him
who made him tell it, and one for the hearer.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

[Armenian Folklore] The Sheep Brother

Once there was a widow and she had a daughter. The widow married a
widower who had by his first wife two children, a boy and a girl. The
wife was always coaxing her husband: "Take the children, do, and lead
them up into the mountains." Her husband could not refuse her, and, lo!
one day he put some bread in his basket, took the children, and set off
for the mountain.

They went on and on and came to a strange place. Then the father said to
the children, "Rest here a little while," and the children sat down to
rest. The father turned his face away and wept bitterly, very bitterly.
Then he turned again to the children and said, "Eat something," and they
ate. Then the boy said, "Father, dear, I want a drink." The father took
his staff, stuck it into the ground, threw his coat over it, and said,
"Come here, my son, sit in the shadow of my coat, and I will get you
some water." The brother and sister stayed and the father went away and
forsook his children. Whether they waited a long time or a short time
before they saw that their father was not coming back is not known. They
wandered here and there looking for him, but saw no human being

At last they came back to the same spot, and, beginning to weep, they

"Alas! Alas! See, here is father's staff, and here is his coat, and he
comes not, and he comes not."

Whether the brother and sister sat there a long time or a short time is
not known. They rose after a while, and one took the staff and the other
the coat, and they went away without knowing whither. They went on and
on and on, until they saw tracks of horses' hoofs filled with

"I am going to drink, sister," said the brother.

"Do not drink, little brother, or you will become a colt," said the

They passed on till they saw tracks of oxen's hoofs.

"O sister dear, how thirsty I am!"

"Do not drink, little brother, or you will be a calf," the sister said
to him.

They went on till they saw the tracks of buffalo hoofs.

"O sister dear, how thirsty I am!"

"Drink not, little brother, or you will be a buffalo calf."

They passed on and saw the tracks of bears' paws.

"Oh, I am so thirsty, sister dear."

"Drink not, little brother, or you will become a little bear."

They went on and saw the tracks of swine's trotters.

"O sister dear, I am going to drink."

"Drink not, little brother, or you will become a little pig."

They went on and on till they saw the tracks of the pads of wolves.

"O sister dear, how thirsty I am!"

"Do not drink, little brother, or you will become a little wolf."

They walked on and on till they saw the tracks of sheep's trotters.

"O sister dear, I am almost dying with thirst."

"O little brother, you grieve me so! You will, indeed, be a sheep if you

He could stand it no longer. He drank and turned into a sheep. He began
to bleat and ran after his sister. Long they wandered, and at last came

Then the stepmother began to scheme against them. She edged up to her
husband and said: "Kill your sheep. I want to eat him."

The sister got her sheep-brother away in the nick of time and drove him
back into the mountains. Every day she drove him to the meadows and she
spun linen. Once her distaff fell from her hand and rolled into a
cavern. The sheep-brother stayed behind grazing while she went to get
the distaff.

She stepped into the cavern and saw lying in a corner a Dew, one
thousand years old. She suddenly spied the girl and said: "Neither the
feathered birds nor the crawling serpent can make their way in here; how
then hast thou, maiden, dared to enter?"

The girl spoke up in her fright. "For love of you I came here, dear

The old Dew mother bade the girl come near and asked her this and that.
The maiden pleased her very much. "I will go and bring you a fish," she
said, "you are certainly hungry." But the fishes were snakes and
dragons. The girl was sorely frightened and began to cry with terror.
The old Dew said, "Maiden, why do you weep?" She answered, "I have just
thought of my mother, and for her sake I weep." Then she told the old
mother everything that had happened to her. "If that is so," said the
Dew, "sit down here and I will lay my head on your knee and go to

She made up the fire, stuck the poker into the stove, and said:

"When the devil flies by do not waken me. If the rainbow-colored one
passes near, take the glowing poker from the stove and lay it on my

The maiden's heart crept into her heels from fright. What was she to do?
She sat down, the Dew laid her head on her knees and slept. Soon she saw
a horrible black monster flying by. The maiden was silent. After a while
there came flying by a rainbow-colored creature. She seized the glowing
poker and threw it on the old Dew's foot. The old mother awoke and said,
"Phew, how the fleas bite." She rose and lifted up the maiden. The
girl's hair and clothing were turned to gold from the splendor of the
rainbow colors. She kissed the old Dew's hand and begged that she might
go. She went away, and taking her sheep-brother with her started for
home. The stepmother was not there, and the maiden secretly dug a hole,
buried her golden dress, and sat down and put on an old one.

The stepmother came home and saw that the maiden had golden hair.

"What have you done to your hair to make it like gold?" she asked. The
maiden told her all, how and when. The next day the stepmother sent her
own daughter to the same mountain. The stepmother's daughter purposely
let her distaff fall and it rolled into the hole. She went in to get it,
but the old Dew mother turned her into a scarecrow and sent her home.

About that time there was a wedding in the royal castle; the King was
giving one of his sons in marriage, and the people came from all
directions to look on and enjoy themselves.

The stepmother threw on a kerchief and smartened up the head of her
daughter and took her to see the wedding. The girl with the golden hair
did not stay at home, but, putting on her golden dress so that she
became from head to foot a gleaming houri, she went after them.

But on the way home, she ran so fast to get there before her stepmother,
that she dropped one of her golden shoes in the fountain. When they led
the horses of the King's second son to drink, the horses caught sight of
the golden shoe in the water and drew back and would not drink. The King
caused the wise men to be called, and asked them to make known the
reason why the horses would not drink, and they found only the golden
shoe. The King sent out his herald to tell the people that he would
marry his son to whomsoever this shoe fitted.

He sent people throughout the whole city to try on the shoe, and they
came to the house where the sheep-brother was. The stepmother pushed the
maiden with the golden locks into the stove, and hid her, and showed
only her own daughter.

A cock came up to the threshold and crowed three times, "Cock-a-doodle
doo! The fairest of the fair is in the stove." The King's people brushed
the stepmother aside and led the maiden with golden hair from the stove,
tried on the shoe, which fitted as though moulded to the foot.

"Now stand up," said they, "and you shall be a royal bride."

The maiden put on her golden dress, drove her sheep-brother before her,
and went to the castle. She was married to the King's son, and seven
days and seven nights they feasted.

Again the stepmother took her daughter and went to the castle to visit
her stepdaughter, who in spite of all treated her as her mother and
invited her into the castle garden. From the garden they went to the
seashore and sat down to rest. The stepmother said, "Let us bathe in the
sea." While they were bathing she pushed the wife of the King's son far
out into the water, and a great fish came swimming by and swallowed her.

Meanwhile the stepmother put the golden dress on her own daughter and
led her to the royal castle and placed her in the seat where the young
wife always sat, covering her face and her head so that no one would
know her.

The young wife sat in the fish and heard the voice of the bell-ringer.
She called to him and pleaded: "Bell-ringer, O bell-ringer, thou hast
called the people to church; cross thyself seven times, and I entreat
thee, in the name of heaven, go to the prince and say that they must not
slaughter my sheep-brother."

Once, twice the bell-ringer heard this voice and told the King's son
about it.

The King's son took the bell-ringer with him and went at night to the
seashore. The same voice spoke the same words. He knew that it was his
dear wife that spoke, and drew his sword and ripped open the fish and
helped his loved one out.

They went home, and the prince had the stepmother brought to him, and
said to her: "Mother-in-law, tell me what kind of a present you would
like: a horse fed with barley or a knife with a black handle?"

The stepmother answered: "Let the knife with a black handle pierce the
breast of thine enemy; but give me the horse fed with barley."

The King's son commanded them to tie the stepmother and her daughter to
the tail of a horse, and to hunt them over mountain and rock till
nothing was left of them but their ears and a tuft of hair.

After that the King's son lived happily with his wife and her
sheep-brother. The others were punished and she rejoiced.

And three apples fell down from heaven.