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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Folk-Tales of the Magyars, by Various, Edited by W. Henry Jones and Lajos Kropf, Translated by W. Henry Jones and Lajos Kropf

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Title: The Folk-Tales of the Magyars

Collected by Kriza, Erd?lyi, Pap, and Others

Author: Various

Editor: W. Henry Jones and Lajos Kropf

Release Date: June 18, 2013 [eBook #42981]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


E-text prepared by Albert L?szl?, Adrian Treves,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team





The Folk-Lore Society,



Alter et Idem.


XIII. (1886).

List of Officers of the Society,






G. L. GOMME, F.S.A., 1, Beverley Villas, Barnes Common, S.W.


MISS C. S. BURNE. Lt.-Gen. PITT-RIVERS, D.C.L. F.R.S., F.S.A., etc.


EDWARD CLODD, 19, Carleton Road, Tufnell Park, N.




Ireland: G. H. KINAHAN.
North Scotland: Rev. WALTER GREGOR.
India: Captain R. C. TEMPLE.


J. J. FOSTER, 36, Alma Square, St. John's Wood, N.W.







ELLIOT STOCK, 62, Paternoster Row.





This Work


Is Dedicated.

[Pg v]


A vast and precious store of Folk-Lore is to be found amongst the Magyars as yet but little known to English readers, and so it is hoped that this work on the subject may prove of some value to the student of Comparative Folk-Lore. The difficulty of the language is one which makes it well nigh impossible for the unaided foreigner to do anything like justice to the stories. We laboured together often till dawn to make the translation as literal as possible, that the reader might have as true a rendering of the Magyar story-teller's method and manner as so different a tongue as English would permit.

Whilst engaged on the Finnish stories we received the greatest help from Finnish friends, especially Mr. A. Nieminen, Dr. Fagerlund, Dr. Krohn, Dr. Rancken, Professor Freudenthal, Mr. Halleen, and Mr. Walter von Bonsdorff. In the Lapp stories [Pg vi] Professor Friis of Christiania has ever been a true helper. Amongst numerous kindly helpers we tender thanks to Dr. Retzius, Stockholm; Professor Gitt?e, Charleroi; the Rev. Henry Jebb, of Firbeck Hall; Mr. Quigstad, of Troms; Mr. Nordlander; Mr. O. P. Petersson, Hern?sand; Mr. Lindholm; Dr. R. K?hler; Baron Nordenskj?ld; and the Rev. Walter H. James, rector of Fleet.

We regret that we cannot do more than acknowledge the courtesy of the late Dr. Greguss (Buda Pest), whose lamented death removed a scholar and friend to Englishmen.

If this collection adds a mite to the knowledge of man, our labours will not have been in vain.[1]

W. H. J.

L. L. K.

[1]Mr. Kropf desires it to be stated, that he is not responsible for the Introduction and Notes beyond supplying certain portions of the material for their compilation.

[Pg vii]


Before the arrival of the Magyars, Hungary was the "cock-pit of eastern Europe;" its history one incessant struggle between nation and nation, which either perished or was driven out by some more powerful neighbour. First we hear of the subjection of what was known as Pannonia, by the Romans; then, when that great power began to wane, a motley horde under the great Attila swept down and founded a kingdom. "Attila died in Pannonia in 453. Almost immediately afterwards the empire he had amassed rather than consolidated fell to pieces. His too-numerous sons began to quarrel about their inheritance; while Ardaric, the King of the Gepidae, placed himself at the head of a general revolt of the dependent nations. The inevitable struggle came to a crisis near the river Netad, in Pannonia, in a battle in which 30,000 of the Huns and their confederates, including Ellak,[1] Attila's eldest son, were slain. The nation thus broken rapidly dispersed. One horde settled under Roman protection in Little Scythia (the Dobrudsha); others in Dacia Ripensis (on the confines of Servia and Bulgaria), or on the southern borders of Pannonia."[2] A tradition asserts that the Magyars are descendants of those Huns, who, after their defeat, returned to their homes in Asia. On the other hand, one of their most learned men says, we cannot [Pg viii]"form an accurate idea as to the part the Hungarians took in the irruption of the Huns, with which event they are associated in national tradition." But yet he adds, "we fairly claim that the ancestors of the Hungarians took part in the great devastating campaigns which Attila carried on against Rome and the Christian West, as far as France." Legend carries us still further back, saying that the giant Nimrod had two sons named Hunyor and Magyar, from whom the Huns and Magyars descended.[3] Leaving legend, in history we find that the Magyars appeared in Europe about 884, first on the Ural, later on the banks of the middle Volga; and then, marching westward, passed over the Danube and the Bug, crossing the Carpathians between 888 and 900, under ?lmos, the father of ?rp?d,[4] the founder of modern Hungary, who is said to have claimed the country as his inheritance from Attila. The Magyars, then, are part of the numerous hordes of Turco-Tartar origin which, impelled by some mighty impulse, left their home amid the [Pg ix]Altai mountains, and, conquering the divided forces on the rich plains of Hungary, settled down, and so founded the race whose tales form the body of this work.[5]

Another people, the Sz?kely,[6] speak a dialect of Magyar, which, like other Magyar dialects, differs but slightly from the written language. This race claims to be descendants of those Hunnish tribes that remained in Europe after the defeats. They say, that when the Magyars arrived in modern Hungary they found a Magyar-speaking people (the Sz?kely) inhabiting parts of Transylvania. This is confirmed to some extent by the statement of Constantinus Porphyrogenitus, who, writing about 950, asserted that, amongst others, some Magyar tribes lived on the banks of the rivers Maros and K?r?s (Transylvania). Kriza, too, quotes several Sz?kely sayings referring to the Sz?kely-Magyar relationship, e.g.:

"A Sz?kely has borne the Magyar."

"If there were no Sz?kelys in the world, there would not be any Magyars."

"There is the same difference between a Sz?kely and a Magyar as there is between a man's son and his grandson."

"Let the Magyar be thankful, that the Sz?kely is his acquaintance."

With regard to the alleged descent of the Sz?kelys from the [Pg x]Huns, the evidence in proof of such a pedigree is very meagre. First, it has not as yet?with any degree of accuracy?been determined who the Huns were. Prof. Vamb?ry has, with infinite pains, collected and analysed some seventy words, mostly proper names?all that has come down to us of the old Hunnish language?and come to the conclusion that the Huns and Avars for the greater part belonged to the Turco-Tartar branch of the Ural-Altaic race; yet he is bound to acknowledge that he would gladly welcome a few historical facts to support him in his conclusions, which are built upon an almost entirely philological basis.[7] Indeed, it seems as though the term "Hun" was a sort of conventional designation, like "Scythian," or "Barbarian" with the ancient Greeks and Romans; or "Frenghi" with the modern Turks. Attila and the various races he pressed into his service were, of course, the Huns par excellence. After his death and the fatal battle near the river Netad his hordes appear to have well-nigh vanished from Europe; but their terrible deeds left an indelible impression upon the people who were unfortunate enough to have been brought into contact with the "scourge of God" and his fierce warriors. In the lapse of time all kinds of weird traditions gathered round their names, in the usual way, when great names pass into the possession of the Folk Historian;[8] and so they drifted through legends of saints into the region of myths. Thus we find the name H?ne (Heune, Hewne, Huyne) becomes synonymous with "giant," and to this day the Westphalian and Dutch peasant speaks of the great tumuli as "H?nen gr?ber"?graves of the giants, or Huns.[9] To add to the confusion, it would appear that [Pg xi]there were some German tribes who were known as Hunes. Mr. Karl Blind has pointed out in the Gentleman's Magazine,[10] that our own Venerable Bede speaks of Hunes as being among the tribes of Germany that came over to Britain together with the Saxons. Elsewhere[11] he explains "the tribal origin of Siegfried (of the Nibelungen lied) as a German H?ne;" a word which has nothing whatever to do with the Mongolian Huns. We know medi?val writers were not very particular about facts, and the licentia poetica was claimed not only by poets, but also by historiographers, as an indisputable privilege. Thus, Jo?o Barros, in his chronicle of Clarimundus,[12] calmly tells us that Count Henry of Portugal, the Navigator, was of Hungarian descent, and that he found the statement in a Magyar book.[13] This alleged pedigree was the cause of a fierce controversy amongst Hungarian savants, and was fully threshed out in the early part of the present century.[14]

Vigfusson[15] remarks that the northern poet, whom he designates the "Tapestry poet," uses Hunar (Huns), Hynske (Hunnish) as a vague word for "foreign." Probably the East Baltic folk would have been Huns to the earlier poets. With regard to the German and Scandinavian Huns, it is noteworthy what Olaus Magnus writes with regard to the "Huns" of his time. The learned prelate says that "in [Pg xii]provincia Middelpadensi versus Boreales partes Sueti? superioris, ubi fer? major pars virorum Huni nomine appellantur tamquam populi clarius contra Hunos olim belligerantes ac triumphantes."[16] His statement is borne out by his colleague, Joannes Magnus,[17] who asserts that "non desunt qui dicant ipsos Hunnos ? Septentrionale parte Scandi? utra Helsingorum terras ex Medelphatia primum erupisse: in qua etiam hodie plurimi pr?stantissim? fortitudinis homines inveniuntur, qui Hunni proprio nomine appellantur, quique magna et pr?clara opera in tyrannos, qui patri? libertatem vexaverat, peregerunt."

In the face of all this, it is quite evident how difficult a task awaits those who attempt to identify the lineal descendants of the Huns: and those who uphold the Hunnish descent of the Sz?kelys do not appear, as yet, to have advanced sufficient historical grounds to establish the connection of the modern Sz?kelys with the Huns of Attila.[18]

[Pg xiii]

It is well known that the Hun descent of the Magyars and Sz?kelys has equally been questioned. Savants of such authority as Budenz and Hunfalvy disclaim the Hun relationship, and endeavour to prove the Finn-Ugrian origin of the Magyars. Whereas Professor Vamb?ry, in his work on the "Origin of the Magyars," which received so favourable a reception at the hands of the whole learned world, defends, as we saw above, a Turco-Tartar descent.

It lies far beyond the limits of this work to give even a brief outline of the history of the Sz?kelys: yet a few data may not be out of place to show that, although they are at the present time, and mayhap always have been, a Magyar-speaking people, yet they are in many respects distinct from the race known as the Magyars. Ibn Dasta, an Arab writer,[19] at the end of the ninth century, informs us that in his time some Bulgarians lived on the banks of the River Itil (Volga); and that they consisted of three tribes, viz.: the Berzuls, the Esseghels, and the Uz. He further says that "the first territory of the Magyars lies between the country of the Bisseni and the Esseghel Bulgarians."

Another Arab writer, Ibn Muhalhal, about the middle of the tenth century, mentions a people named "Jikil," who lived next to the "Bajnak." If the writers who would identify in this Ashkal, Esseghel, or Jikil people, the parents of the Sz?kely race, be right in their conclusions, then the Siculi (as they are called in Latin deeds) are of Bulgarian descent.[20] But we know [Pg xiv]full well how dangerous it is to build up theories on a mere similarity of names amongst barbarous or semi-barbarous races. The first reliable information we have about them is that about the year 1116 A.D. Bisseni and Siculi formed the body-guard of the Magyar King Stephen II. in his war against the Czechs. They supplied the vanguard of the army of King G?jza against Henry of Austria about 1146. More than half a century later, i.e. A.D. 1211, Andreas II. presented some uninhabited territory in Transylvania to the Teutonic knights; and, in a deed dated 1213, William, Bishop of Transylvania, granted the tithes of his territory to the same order, but reserved to himself the right of collecting them from all Magyar or Sz?kely immigrants who might settle on the lands in question.[21] King B?la IV. ordered the Sz?kelys[22] to supply him with one hundred mounted warriors in war; and later on, to show them his gratitude for their faithful services, he created them military nobles:[23] "Quod non sub certo numero (in a body as hitherto) sed eo modo sicut servientes regales, per se et personaliter armata nobiscum exercituare teneantur."[24] The Sz?kelys of Hungary Proper gradually disappear, but the Siculi of Transylvania figure throughout the pages of Hungarian history as a separate people, with institutions and privileges of their own, and acting as a sort of border-fencibles in the numerous wars with the enemies of the Magyars. They furnished a separate title to the Prince of Transylvania,[25] and, although recent reforms have swept away old barriers, yet one still hears people speaking of the three nations of [Pg xv]Transylvania, viz. the Magyars, the Sz?kelys, and the Saxons.[26] Whether they ever spoke a language of their own we are unable to say; they speak several dialects, which have been carefully studied by Kriza,[27] himself a Sz?kely by birth, and which possess peculiarities not to be found amongst the Magyars, or any other part of the realm of St. Stephen. A passage[28] in a work entitled "Hungaria et Attila," by Nicolaus Ol?h, Archbishop of Esztergom (died 1568), might, perhaps, be quoted to prove that an independent Sz?kely language had existed once, but there is an ambiguity about the statement of the learned prelate which makes it useless to the philologist. At any rate, we do not possess a single scrap of the old language, if it ever existed.

Having thus made ourselves acquainted with the Sz?kelys, we may proceed to consider the other Magyar-speaking nationalities.

The Cs?ng?s[29] are Hungarian settlers in Moldavia; there are so many similarities in their tongue to the Sz?kely dialects that Hunfalvy appears to be quite confident that they are a people of Sz?kely origin.[30] Of late years an attempt has been made to resettle them in the less populous crown lands in Hungary; the result, as one might expect, is, that some are content, whilst others lust after the flesh-pots of Moldavia.

Next come the K?ns (Cumanians). The non-Magyar writers,[31] who have made the old language of this people their study, declare it, with almost unanimous consent, to be a Turkish dialect, whereas the Magyar writers, with very few exceptions, staunchly defend the Magyar origin of the Cumanians.[32]

[Pg xvi]

Foremost in the ranks of the latter party was the late Stephen Gy?rf?s, who denied that a lingua Cumenesca had ever existed, and that the various extant specimens are the remnants of the language of a people of Magyar descent, who had become Turks during the lapse of centuries.[33] His most powerful antagonist is Count G?jza Kuun, the learned editor of the Codex Cumanicus,[34] who espouses the cause of the Turkish party. Besides the valuable Glossary preserved in the Codex, several versions of the Lord's Prayer and other scraps of the Cumanian tongue are in existence, and have been examined by competent scholars, and pronounced to be of undoubted Turkish origin.[35]

Jazygo-Cumanians have been quoted in the note, and so we [Pg xvii]proceed to consider the next race?if one may use the word?viz.: the Jazyges, formerly a military tribe, who, together with the Cumanians, live in central Hungary, in the vicinity of the capital, and occupy a territory on the banks of the rivers Danube, Zagyva, S?rr?t, Tisza, and K?r?s.

From time immemorial, until quite recent times, they enjoyed certain privileges and administered their own affairs in three districts?the J?szs?g, Kis-K?ns?g, and Nagy-K?ns?g, entirely separate from the surrounding population, thus forming a state within a state. They had however to surrender some of their old rights in 1848, and by the law of 1876 (cap. xxxiii.), which readjusted the political divisions of the kingdom, the limits of their territory disappeared altogether from the map of Hungary.[36] With regard, then, to the nationality of the J?sz people, they are found at all periods of history in company with the Cumanians, and so, as their institutions are the same as their fellow armigerents, [Pg xviii] we may safely assume with Hunfalvy that they are a branch of the Cumans, if they be not offspring of the same mother-stock.

Next come the Pal?cz folk,[37] who live scattered among the other races in several of the northern counties of Hungary, and speak a dialect of their own. Hunfalvy asserts that they are the same people as the "Polovczi" mentioned by early Russian and Slavonic writers. And as Jerney, in his paper The Pal?cz Nation and The Pal?cz Chronicle, has proved beyond doubt that, whatever the Magyar Chronicles and Byzantine writers relate anent the Cumans can be traced, statement for statement, in Russian and Polish writers, with reference to the Polovczi, Hunfalvy draws the conclusion that the Pal?cz people are Cumans.[38]

Their name first occurs in Russian Annals A.D. 1061, and the Magyar savant to whose rich store of learning this work is so deeply indebted thinks that the migration of the Cumans into Hungary took place in two distinct streams, one, an earlier one, from the North, vi? the Slave countries across the Northern Carpathians, and another, later one from the south-east, through the passes and defiles of the south-eastern extension of the same range of mountains.

Before leaving this part of the subject, the reader must be reminded that all the foregoing races or nationalities at the present time speak one or other Magyar dialect,[39] and that the [Pg xix]old Cuman tongue is the only other language of which we know anything.[40]

Having, we hope, somewhat cleared the way as to people amongst whom the stories have been collected, we may now proceed to say a few words about the tales themselves. Of course, the stories will be found to bear a strong resemblance to other collections, as indeed they must do; the very fact of the striking way in which not only tales, but even little superstitions, reappear in all manner of strange places,[41] is of itself a fact which is of the deepest interest to those who study the history of man. We have attempted to give some few variants to the tales in this work, chiefly confining ourselves to Lapp and Finnish tales, which are but little known in England, and of which, as of the Magyar, there is a rich store. The more one considers comparative folk-lore, the more one is convinced that many of these tales were the common property of mankind before they migrated from their Asiatic [Pg xx]home.[42] Of course local circumstances often colour the stories, but do not change the theme. Amidst the stories from Hungary we find, as we might presume, the Sz?kely stories telling of snow-clad mountains, whilst those from the banks of the Danube dwell on the beauties of the Hungarian plains. The fierce conflicts of the past, too, have left their marks on the stories, and so we find the Turkish Sultan[43] and the Dog-headed Tartar[44] as the tyrants of the tale; and even, in one case, so modern a fact as the French invasion[45] is used to frighten an old-world witch. We see later on the influence of Mohammedanism, and also the marks of Christianity,[46] in some tales which become as it were, a folk-lore palimpsest. Nor must we omit other ways by which the tales have been modified. Many of the medi?val romances were, of course, translated into Hungarian; and even to this day the penny bookstall is always present at fairs and popular gatherings where "yards of literature" are to be obtained for a nominal sum. The vendor cannot afford a booth or stall, so a [Pg xxi]mat or tarpaulin is spread on the ground, and weighted at the four corners with brickbats or paving stones, hence the Hungarian name "ponyva-irodalom" (tarpaulin literature). Here we find mediaeval romances, bits of national history, biographies and panegyrics of famous robbers, the wicked doings of the mistress of some castle and her punishment, the exploits of Magyar heroes, the chronicles of Noodledom, in prose, or versified by some such favourite poet of the people as Peter Tat?r; and by this means certain tales have been imported, others modified. Then again, the wandering students were entertained by the country folk during their peregrinations, and no doubt in return amused the old folks with the latest news from the town, and the young ones with tales from the Greek and Roman Mythologies.[47] Another mode of dissemination and modification was the soldiers. When the Hapsburgs were at the height of their glory the emperor-king's soldiers were scattered far and wide over Europe; and, after long years of service in an infantry regiment and absence from home, the old private returned to his native village, and at eventide in the village inn related how he, as "Sergeant of Hussars," caught with his own hand the Emperor Napoleon, and only let him go at the earnest entreaties of his wife, and upon receiving a rich bribe in gold.[48] The old soldier was well received in every family, and enjoyed great authority as a man who had seen the world. The children sat upon his knee, or stood round about him open-mouthed, and listened to his marvellous yarns.[49]

In Hungary, as in other countries, until the labours of the Brothers Grimm directed attention to the importance of the Folk-tales, nothing was done in the way of collecting them; and, [Pg xxii]even after Grimm's work appeared, no move was made in Hungary until Henszlman read his paper in 1847 before the Kisfaludy Society on the "Popular Tales of Hungary," in which paper he examined some 14 tales which afterwards appeared in Erd?lyi's Collection, vols. 1 and 2. Ladislaus Arany in May 1867 read another paper before the same society and according to his calculation some 240 tales had been collected up to that date: the collections quoted by him were as follows:?

John Erd?lyi,[50] Folk-Songs and Popular Tales, 3 vols.   containing 34 tales
George Ga?l,[51] Hungarian Folk-Tales, 3 vols.   " 53 "
John Erd?lyi, Hungarian Popular Tales, 1 vol.   " 13 "
Ladislaus Mer?nyi, Original Popular Tales, 2 vols. } " 65 "
Ladislaus Mer?nyi, Popular Tales from the Valley of the Saj?, 2 vols. }
Ladislaus Mer?nyi, Popular Tales from the Banks of the Danube, 2 vols. }
Ladislaus Arany, Original Popular Tales, 1 vol.   " 35 "
John Kriza,[52] Wild Roses, 1 vol.[53]   " 20 "
Julius Pap, Pal?cz Folk-Poetry, 1 vol.   " "
[Pg xxiii] Count John Majl?th,[54] Hungarian Fairy Tales, Sagas and Popular Tales, translated from the German by G. Kazinczy, 1 vol.   " 6 "
Maurus J?kai, Witty Tales of the Hungarian Folk, 1 vol.   " 8 "
  Total, 240  

Of these, Erd?lyi's first collection and Kriza's Wild Roses are the most important, and the translation of them form the bulk of this volume. Since 1867 the work of collecting the Popular Tales has been going on steadily, and the Hungarian Language Guardian (Magyar Nyelv?r) is a paper specially devoted to the purpose: publishing popular sayings, proverbs, children's games, nursery rhymes, &c. Very little of the Folk-lore treasure is known outside of Hungary. There is Count Majl?th's collection, which appeared originally in German, and also a German edition of Ga?l, and one by Stier, which contains some of Erd?lyi's stories. In English the only translations we are aware of are the tale of "The talking grapes, the smiling apple, and the tinkling apricot," from Erd?lyi's collection, which was translated by Mr. E. D. Butler, and appeared in a London suburban paper; and another tale, "The Round Stone," in the February number of the St. Nicholas Magazine, 1882; so that this collection opens up new ground. The great difficulty in considering these tales?in common with the Finn, Esthonian, and Lapp?is the language; and the aim of the present translation is but to be as literal as possible in its rendering of the stories; there being no attempt [Pg xxiv]whatever made to polish or beautify the tales, but simply an endeavour to reproduce as near as may be the stories as told by the people; in many cases, especially with regard to the Sz?kely stories, this has been a work of very great difficulty, on account of the dialect, and must plead for the many shortcomings in the translations.

A brief consideration of some points in Magyar Folk-lore may be found of interest in a study of the stories. And I am indebted for the following information on giants, fairies, and witches to a valuable paper, entitled Mythological Elements in Sz?kely Folk-lore and Folk-life, read by Kozma before the Hungarian Academy in 1882.

I. GIANTS.[55]

Many of the characteristics of the Magyar giants are the same as those to be found in the Greek and German mythologies, but we do not find anything extraordinary in their appearance, such as one eye?as Cyclops[56], or sundry heads as the northern giants, nor redundant fingers and toes as the Jews; they are simply big men. There is no trace of any struggle between the gods and the giants in Magyar mythology.

They are said to be sons of witches,[57] and as tall as towers,[58] and step from mountain-top to mountain-top as they walk.

The length of their stride and the pace at which they walk is illustrated in a tradition, according to which the giants who inhabited a fortress called Kadicsav?r, near the River Nyik?, [Pg xxv]were in the act of shaving when the bells rang first from the church-tower of Gyula-Fej?rv?r, at the second ringing they dressed, on the third ringing they sat in church.[59]

Near Szotyor in H?romsz?k[60] there is a rock, which is called the "Giant's Stone," on the top of this there is a cavity resembling in shape the heel of a man; the diameter of this hole is five feet, and popular tradition says it is the imprint of a giant's heel.

When the giant is angry he strikes a blow with his fist on the rock, and traces of his fist are shown now-a-days on a rock near Ikavar; his footstep is shown in the neighbourhood of K?zdi-Borosny?, on a rocky ledge near a spring, where he used to come down to drink.

With one foot he stands on the mountain where Csiki-B?lv?nyos-v?r castle stands; with the other on a mountain opposite, and bending down, he picks up the water of the River Olt, running in the valley below, in a gigantic bucket, with one swoop.

He mounts a horse of such size that it stands with its hind legs on a mountain in Bodok in H?romsz?k, while its fore-legs rest on another mountain in Bickfal?, and its head reaches far into Wallachia, where it grazes in a green clover-field.

On short outings he walks; on long journeys he goes on horseback; his steed is a t?tos,[61] with whom he holds many conversations. On returning home from a long ride he throws his mace, weighing forty hundredweights, from a distance of forty miles (= about 180 English miles), which drops into the [Pg xxvi]courtyard of the castle, and penetrating into the ground taps a subterranean spring.[62]

While the giant of the Germans lives during the flint-period, and uses gigantic stones and masses of rock as weapons, the Hungarian giant uses swords and maces of iron and copper, and also goes in for wrestling. He is not a cannibal. He is fond of a good supper and warm food, and is not a teetotaller. He always takes plenty of provisions on the journey.

Kozma has come across a tale, "Iron-made Peter," in which there figure six giants, each of whom is proficient in one thing or another. They bear names which characterise their special accomplishments. In English they would be as follows: Sharp-eye, Fast-runner, Far-thrower, Glutton, Drinker, Shiverer. The first is sitting on a mountain-peak reaching up to heaven's vault, and keeps on bowing in every direction, muttering "Which way shall I look? Is there nothing else to be seen? I have already seen everything in the world." The second is wandering about a vast plain, the boundaries of which cannot even be seen, and is moaning, evidently in great trouble. "Where shall I run? In which direction? No sooner do I start than I am at the end of this place." The third is seen sitting among huge pieces of rock, and crying, "Where shall I throw now? Which way? The whole world is covered by the stones I have thrown." The fourth is watching a bullock roasting, and continues yelling, "Oh, how ravenously hungry I am! What can I eat?" The fifth is rolling about on the sea-shore, roaring, "Oh, how thirsty I am! What will become of me? What can I drink? If I drain the ocean there will not be left anything for to-morrow!" The sixth is shivering on the top of a huge stack of wood all in a blaze, and exclaiming, "Oh, how cold I am! I am freezing."

[Pg xxvii]

The hero of the tale finds suitable employment for each of the giants. "Fast-runner" goes on an errand into the seven-times-seventh country, and returns in five minutes, although he goes to sleep on the road from the sleeping draught administered to him by a witch. "Sharp-eye" discovers him asleep; and "Far-thrower" knocks away the pillow from underneath his head, thus enabling him to return by the appointed time. "Glutton" consumes 366 fat oxen within six hours. "Drinker" empties during the same interval the contents of 366 casks, each holding 100 buckets of wine. "Shiverer" creeps into a furnace, which has been brought to, and kept in, a glowing heat for the last twenty-four years by twenty-four gipsies,[63] and by so doing lowers the temperature so that his mates, who have gone with him, are shivering with cold although they are wrapped up in thick rugs.[64]

The giants in northern regions live in six-storied diamond castles, or in golden fortresses which swivel round on a leg; more generally, however, they inhabit fortresses built by their own hands on the top of lofty mountains or steep rocks. In Sz?kelyland the ruins of thirty-six such castles are existing, all of which are ascribed by the people to the giants. Some of their names show this; they are called the "Giant's Rock," the "Giant's Castle," the "Giant's Hill." In one case (Egyesk? in Csiksz?k) they show the giants' table and bench in the rock. Sometimes, however, the castles are inhabited by fairies.

Tall mountain chains are sometimes said to be roads built by giants. Their names are "Attila's Track," "Devil's Ridge," &c. These roads were constructed by devils and magic cocks who were in the service of the giants. Hence also the name "Cocks' Ridge." In one case, however, near Sz?raz Ajta, the [Pg xxviii]ridges were made by giants themselves,[65] who used silver-shared ploughs drawn by golden-haired bullocks for this purpose.

The giants left their homes when "the country was given away to mankind," or when "modern mankind commenced to exist." When the husbandmen appeared and began to till the lands in the valleys and lowlands the giants did not associate with men, but kept to their castles and only visited the impenetrable woods.

There is a tale which occurs in several localities about a giant's daughter who finds a husbandman, picks up him and his team and puts them into her apron and carries them off as toys, showing them to her father. The father exclaiming angrily, "Take him back, as he and his fellow-creatures are destined to be the lords of the globe," or "Their anger might cause our ruin," or "They will be our successors." We thus see that, while in the German tale the giant of Nideck-burg in Alsacia bids his daughter to take back the ploughman and his team for fear that by preventing his tilling the land the bread-supply might fail, in the Hungarian tales the giant openly acknowledges the superior power of the human race.[66]

The giants, unlike their brethren in foreign lands, are gregarious and live under a royal dynasty. They hold assemblies, at which their king presides. Several royal residences exist in Sz?keland. Near Beseny? there is one that is called "Csentetet?." Tradition has even preserved the giant-king's name, which was B?bolna. This king used to convoke the other [Pg xxix]giants to the assembly with huge golden bells. On feeling his approaching death he ordered the bells to be buried in a deep well in the castle, but on feast days they are still to be distinctly heard ringing, which sets the whole rock vibrating.

The name of another king of giants is to be found in Kriza's "Prince Mirk?" (Kutyafej? = Dogheaded.)

Sometimes the giants were good-natured and full of kindness towards the weak.[67]

They marry, their wives are fairies, so are their daughters. They make very affectionate fathers. They had no male issue, as their race was doomed to extermination. They fall in love, and are fond of courting. Near Bikkfalva, in H?romsz?k, the people still point out the "Lovers' Bench" on a rock, where the amorous giant of Csigav?r used to meet his sweetheart, the "fairy of Veczeltet?."

The giants lived to a great age. Old "Doghead" remembers a dream he dreamt 600 years ago. His friend Knight Mezei finds him after a separation of 600 years, and they live happy for a great many years after.[68]

They have magic powers. They know when a stranger is hidden in their home. Doghead knows who has thrown back his mace from a distance of 180 English miles. They are acquainted with the conjuring formul? and charms of the fairies, and know how to overcome them. They have a thorough knowledge of geography, and can give advice to those who enter their service, &c. They have great physical strength, and can build huge castles and roads, subdue whole countries, amass treasures[69] which they have guarded even after their death. Magic beings, animals, and implements await their commands.

[Pg xxx]

In the castle of Hereczv?ra, near Oltszem, the giants were negroes, and their servants were black dwarfs. Among the magic animals who guarded the giant's treasures we may mention the bullock with golden hair, the t?tos, &c. Of weapons, charms, &c., Doghead's copper mace, Prince Mirk?'s magic sword, the wine kept in a cask in the seventh cellar, each drop of which equals the strength of five thousand men.

The king of the giants of G?rg?ny is bullet-proof; but if a man who is the seventh son of his mother (and all the elder brothers of whom are alive) casts a bullet, at the first appearance of the new moon, by a fire of wheat straw, this bullet will kill the monarch. Such a man was found, and the bullet was made, and it killed the king. The other giant, now being without a leader, evacuated the fortress and withdrew to Hungary Proper. Thus we see a giant can only be killed with a magic weapon.

In one of Kozma's tales the hero is in possession of a rusty padlock, from which two giants appear whenever he commands. They produce by charms, a golden cloak, and a golden fortress on the swivel principle, which they hand over to their master in a nutshell. They then clothe the poor lad in a copper suit and seat him on a copper steed so that he may appear decently dressed before the king; they change his miserable hovel into a fine palace at eleven o'clock, and at noon the whole royal family, who are his guests, sit down to a sumptuous dinner; they carry their master and his royal bride across a sea of flames, &c. There are several other tales which attribute the power of flying to giants.

Some of the giants have grown old and died a natural death. The greater part of them, however, were killed by enterprising knights. They have buried their treasures in deep wells, in huge mountains, or in extensive cellars under the fortresses. In the well of the V?rhegy in Sz?raz-Ajta there lies[Pg xxxi] hidden the silver plough and the golden bullock; in the cellar the silver plough with the fluid gold. In the cellars of Hereczv?ra in black casks the accumulated treasure of the negro-giants is guarded by the black dwarfs, who spend their time in eating, drinking, and dancing. In the cellar of K?zdi-Szent-L?lek castle the treasure is guarded by a copper greyhound. In the well and cellar of the V?rb?rcz, near Kis-Borosny?, the gigantic golden bells and other treasures of the king of giants are guarded by two black goats. Near Angyalos, in the B?bolna dyke, King B?bolna's golden sun and golden lamb are guarded by two black greyhounds and a snow-white stallion in full harness. In the well of Csigav?r there is a gold bucket on a golden chain, and in the bowels of the Tepej mountain, near Als?-R?kos, the rams with golden fleece, &c.

Some of the cellar doors open every third, others every seventh year. People have been inside, but were careless and lost the treasure on the way back to the surface, others were more careful, and succeeded in bringing some of it out; but the moment the wind touched it it changed into dry leaves or bits of charcoal. Some unwise people have been foolhardy enough to try the expedition a second time, but the huge iron doors closed behind them. But whereas the natives have hitherto been unsuccessful in recovering the hidden treasure, foreigners come and carry it off wholesale on the backs of horses, which are shod with shoes turned the wrong way.[70]

[Pg xxxii]


Fairy, in Hungarian, "t?nd?r," from the same root as "t?n" (verb) and "t?n?s" (noun) = comparitio, apparitio, and "t?nd?kol" = to shine. Cf. the Mongolian "Tinghir."

The queen of the fairies is sometimes called a goddess. Thus, south of the sulphur cave, B?d?s, near Altorja, behind a mountain called the Priests' Mountain, is situated the very ancient village of Ikafalva, through which runs a brook named Furus. According to the tradition, the ancestors of the people of the village were led to this place more than 1,000 years ago, in the time of the conquest of the country, by a hero who encouraged his warriors in the name of "the goddess Furuzsina." The hero fell in the struggle, and on the spot where his blood had flowed a spring appeared, close to which the warriors built the present village, and named the brook after their goddess. The water of this brook is collected, even at the present day, into ponds; and drinking from this "blood and water" has made the villagers so strong that they have quite a name for physical strength in the neighbourhood. If a lad of Ikafalva performs some feat of pluck or strength they say: "It is no wonder, he has grown up on Furus water!"

Although the fairies, as a rule, are kind, good-natured persons, and take the hero's part in the tales, the Sz?kely folk-lore furnishes a case to the contrary, i.e. that of two fairies, "Firtos" and "Tartod," the former being the queen of the good, the latter the queen of the bad, fairies.[72]

[Pg xxxiii]

Kozma has found another variation of the first-named tale in "Fairy Helena." Helena's father blows across a broad river, whereupon a golden bridge appears. The young fairy takes a "kourbash," and wipes a rusty table-fork with it, which at once changes into a steed with golden hair, on which her lover, the prince, flees to Italy. When they discover that they are followed, Helena spits on the floor,[73] on the door-handle, and on the hinge of the door, whereupon the planks, the handle, and the hinge commence to speak to the king's messengers from behind the closed door, and the fugitives gain time to make their escape. Her father is sent after them in the shape of a gigantic spotted eagle, who with the tip of one wing touches heaven and with the other earth. On the road the same things happen as in "Fairy Elizabeth," with this difference, that Helena's mother changes into a buffalo who drinks all the water in the pond on which the lovers swim about as ducks, whereupon they change into worms; and, as the mother cannot find them in the mud, she pronounces the curse of oblivion upon them.

Their means of charming were: The pond of beautifying milk, dresses, tears, the saliva, fascinating look, word of command, rejuvenating herb, rejuvenating water, wound-healing herb, water of life and death, iron bar, copper bridle, leather belt, gold and diamond rod, copper and gold whip, at the cracking of which dragons and devils appear; magic wand, curse of oblivion, sleeping draughts (wine), and the table that covers itself. The daughter of Doghead rides on a t?tos. The magic animals in their service are: the cat and the cock, although the loud crowing of the latter has, by indicating the time, very often a fatal influence on fairies who are forgetful. One fairy queen, Dame Rapson, has the devil himself in her service.

[Pg xxxiv]

Their conjuring formulae are: "You are mine, I am thine." "Be there, where you have come from!" "Fog before me, smoke behind me." "Hop, hop! let me be, where I wish to be." "Hop, hop! they shall not know where I have come from, nor where I am going to! Let me be, where my thoughts are!" They can teach their magic formulae to their heroes.

As to their occupations. Of serious ones, our tales only mention embroidery. Their more favourite pastimes seem to be: bathing, banquets, singing, frivolous dances, and love adventures. After their nocturnal dances, flowers spring up where their feet have touched the ground. If anybody approaches them while they are dancing, they, in their unbounded merriment, drag him also into the dance.

On one occasion they enticed a shepherd into Borza-v?ra Cave, and kept him there for three days, amusing him with singing, dancing, playing music, and cajoling; finally they invited him to a game of cards and dismissed him with a big hatful of gold. From the castle-hill of Makkfalva the merry song of the fairies can be heard now every night as they dance round the castle-walls to the strains of music. They are reserved in their love; but, having made their choice, they are faithful, and their passion has no bounds. The daughter of Doghead is an instance of this; she reveals to her hero her father's charms, in order to ensure his victory in his struggle for life and death. The young and pretty mistress of Kisv?rtet? Castle, near Zs?g?d, in the county of Cs?k, stood on a rock-ledge, waiting for the return of her husband from the war, till she faded away in her grief. The impression of her foot can still be seen in the rock. The fairy daughter of the giant who inhabited the castle near Bereczk fell in love with a hero who played the flute, disguised as a shepherd, at the foot of the rock; but her haughty father smashed the shepherd with a huge piece of rock, which is still[Pg xxxv] to be seen in the bed of the brook. His daughter thereupon escaped from the father's castle, and built a castle (Le?nyv?r = Maiden's Castle) near Ojtoz for herself, where she spent the rest of her days mourning for her lover, until grief killed her. Another such a pretty tale is associated with Firtos Castle. The fairy who lived here was in love with a knight; and, notwithstanding that her father forbade the intercourse, they secretly met in the garden every night. One beautiful moonlight night she was standing on the brink of the rock, when, as she extended her arm to assist her lover up the steep slope, the knight's horse slipped, and they were precipitated arm in arm into the depth below, and thus perished, united for ever in death. The horse caught on a projecting piece of rock, and petrified. "Firtos's horse" is still to be seen. Dame Rapson's daughter, Irma, a fairy, also fell a victim to prohibited love, and fell from a lofty peak where her mother's castle stood, with her lover, Zelemir, into the depth below, where Dame Rapson found them, and died of a broken heart. They all three were buried under the rock below, which tradition names "Zelemir's Tower."

At the south angle of the Firtos there is a group of rocks which is called "Fairy Helena's Carriage," in which the fairies who lived in the castle used to drive out on moonlight nights. But one night they were so much engrossed in their enjoyments that they returned home late; and lo! the cock crew, and the carriage turned into stone.

The fairies live in castles on lofty mountain peaks. They build their castles themselves, or inherit them from giants. Sometimes they are at a great distance, as e.g. Fairy Elizabeth's Castle in the town of Johara, in the "Land of Black Sorrow."

Kozma enumerates the names of about 23 castles which belonged to fairies and which still exist. The castle of Kadacs formerly belonged to giants, upon whose extinction the fairies moved into it. Dame Rapson's castle near Paraja was built of[Pg xxxvi] materials which were carried up on the almost perpendicular side of the rock, to a height which makes one's head swim, by a magic cat and cock. The road leading to the castle was constructed by the Devil for a "mountain of gold," and a "valley of silver." Dame Rapson owed the Devil his wages for several years, although he kept on reminding her of it, till at last the cunning fairy presented him with a gold coin between the tips of her upheld fingers, and a silver coin in her palm, explaining to him that the gold coin is the mountain and the silver coin the valley.[74] The Devil, seeing that he was outwitted, got into a fearful rage and destroyed the road, the traces of which are still shown as far as the G?rg?ny (snow-clad) mountains, and is still called "Dame Rapson's Road." The tale about building the road for a mountain of gold and valley of silver is also mentioned in connection with the V?rhegy, near K?szv?nyes-Remete, but in this case it is Fairy Helen's daughter who cheats the devil. There is such a dam also at the foot of the S?hegy, near Paraja, extending as far as Mikh?za, and this bank too is called "Dame Rapson's Road," and also "Devil's Dyke." A dam, similar to the "Cock's Ridge," near Rika, extends in the neighbourhood of Gagy and K?rispatak in the direction of Firtos, and is called "Pretty Women's Road," or "Fairies' Road." Another high dam with a deep moat at its southern side, and also called the "Fairies' Road," is to be seen between Enlaka and Firtos. Under the Sz?pmez? (Beautiful Meadow) in H?romsz?k, the golden bridge of the fairies lies buried. On the outskirts of Tord?tfalva there is a peak called "Eb?dl?-M?l" (eb?dl? = dining-place) on which the fairies coming from Firtos to Kadacsv?ra used to assemble to dinner.

In some localities caves are pointed out as the haunts of fairies [Pg xxxvii]such as the caves in the side of the rock named Budv?r. We have already mentioned the cave Borza-v?ra near the castle of Dame Rapson; another haunt of fairies is the cave near Alm?s, and the cold wind known as the "Nemere" is said to blow when the fairy in Alm?s cave feels cold. On one occasion the plague was raging in this neighbourhood; the people ascribed it to the cold blast emanating from the cave, so they hung shirts before the mouth of the cave, and the plague ceased. (Mentioned by L. K?v?ry.)

The fairies have beautiful flower-gardens in the castle grounds, and in the centre of the garden there is generally a golden summer-house which swivels round on a pivot. On moonlight nights they returned to water their flower-beds long after they had disappeared from the neighbourhood. The peonies (Whitsun-roses) that bloom among the ruins of Dame Rapson's Castle are even nowadays known among the people as Dame Rapson's roses.

The fairies live an organised social life. Several of their queens are known, as e.g. Dame Rapson and Fairy Helen. The latter was the most popular among them. The queens had court-dames, who were also fairies, and who lived near their queen's castle, as e.g. the court-dames of Dame Rapson lived in Borza-v?ra Cave. They also live a family life?their husbands being giants or heroes, their children fairy-girls. Those of them, however, who waste their love on ordinary mortals all die an ignoble death.

Although they have disappeared from earth, they continue to live, even in our days, in caves under their castles, in which caves their treasures lie hidden. The iron gates of Zeta Castle, which has subsided into the ground and disappeared from the surface, open once in every seven years. On one occasion a man went in there, and met two beautiful fairies whom he addressed thus: "How long will you still linger here, my[Pg xxxviii] little sisters?" and they replied: "As long as the cows will give warm milk."[75] (See Baron B. Orb?n, Description of Sz?kelyland, 3 vols.)

Their subterranean habitations are not less splendid and glittering than were their castles of yore on the mountain peaks. The one at Firtos is a palace resting on solid gold columns. The palace of Tartod, and the gorgeous one of Dame Rapson are lighted by three diamond balls, as big as human heads, which hang from golden chains. The treasure which is heaped up in the latter place consists of immense gold bars, golden lions with carbuncle eyes, a golden hen with her brood, and golden casks filled with gold coin. The treasures of Fairy Helen are kept in a cellar under Kov?szna Castle, the gates of the cellar being guarded by a magic cock. This bird only goes to sleep once in seven years, and anybody who could guess the right moment would be able to scrape no end of diamond crystals from the walls and bring them out with him. The fairies who guard the treasures of the Pog?nyv?r (Pagan Castle) in Marossz?k even nowadays come on moonlight nights to bathe in the lake below.

Other fairies known by their names are: Tark? (after whom a mountain near Csik-Gyergy? takes its name) with her twin daughters Olt and Maros (the names of the two principal rivers of Transylvania, the sources of which are on the Tark?); their mother touched them with her magic wand, and they were transformed into water-fairies, they then went in search of their father, who at the time when the elements were put in order [Pg xxxix]was transformed into the Black Sea.[76] Another fairy is Mika, the warrioress fairy, who with her father Kadicsa led the remnants of Attila's Huns to their present place of sojourn.[77]

As mentioned before, there were good and bad fairies. The most complete tale about good and bad fairies is the one about Firsos and Tart?d, fully mentioned by Ipolyi.[78] The castle of Dame V?n?tur (near Bereczk), the bad fairy who defied God, was swallowed up by the earth, and she herself turned into a stone frog.[79] Dame Jen? (Eugen), who lived in ?nlak Castle, drove out one day, and on her way home her coachman happened to remark that: "If the Lord will help us, we shall be home soon!" to which she haughtily replied: "Whether he will help us, or whether he won't, we shall get home all the same." At that moment she and her carriage were turned into stone and the people still call a rock "Dame Jen?'s Carriage." (There is also another place called "Dame Jen?'s Garden.") The fairy who lived in S?v?r Castle near Csik-Somly?, was spinning on the Sabbath, and while doing so used the Lord's name in vain, and was, with her spinning-wheel turned into stone. Her stone distaff is shown to this day. A pond near Sz?kely-Keresztur named "Katustava" (i.e. Kate's Pond) contains a sunken house which once upon a time belonged to a woman who was punished for doing her washing on a feast-day. Even now the children stand round the pond and sing out: "Boil up, boil up, Catherine! boil up, boil up, Catherine! We do our soaping on Saturday and rinse our clothes on Sunday!" In days gone by, the water used to boil up with great force and the little folks were [Pg xl]dispersed, and had to run away in consequence of the rush of water. They returned, however, and threw stones into the pond, and the water boiled up again vehemently. Aged people say that in their childhood the pond was ten to twelve yards in diameter, and the water boiled up to a height of two or three feet. Its present diameter is not more than a couple of feet, and the boiling up has also considerably decreased in proportion. The pond will perhaps disappear altogether, but its name will last, as the whole close of fields is named after it. (Kate's Pond Close).

A clear Christian influence can be traced in the four last tales. Mohamedanism[80] has also left behind its traces in the tales in which fairies figure who kidnap girls.

Such a fairy was Dame Hirip, who lived on the V?roldal, near Gyergy?-Szens-Mikl?s. She used to stand on the castle tower with a wreath in her hand, waiting for her two sons, who were engaged at the bottom of the mountain, cutting down the sweethearts of the girls they had kidnapped; until, at last, two heroes clad in mourning killed them; whereupon their mother faded away with the wreath she held in her hand. On mount B?kk?s, which skirts the valley of the ?z, lived another kidnapping fairy, who kidnapped a girl every year from the shores of the Black Sea. On one occasion she happened to kidnap the sweetheart of the King of the Ocean-Fairies, the loveliest maid in the sea; the King pursued her and impeded her flight, and tired her out by raising a hurricane and shower of rain. He overtook and caught her at a place called "Stone Garden;" and, seizing her, killed her by flinging her on to a rock. A mineral healing spring sprung up where her blood flowed on the ground.[81]

[Pg xli]


The degenerate descendants of bad fairies are witches;[82] in Hungarian, "boszork?ny;" in Turkish-Tartar, "Bosh?r Kh?n;" which signifies one who worries, annoys, or teases. They appear sometimes as green frogs, sometimes as black cats; and they find a demoniacal delight in "plaguing" people. Sometimes they appear as horses and kick their enemies cruelly;[83] if such a horse be caught and shod, the horse-shoes will be found on the hands and feet of the witch next day.[84]

In nearly every village, one or two such old women are to be found who are suspected, but nobody dares to do them any harm.[85]

It is a very simple thing to see the witches. After the autumn sowing is over the harrow is to be left on the field over winter. In the morning of St. George's Day one has to go out in the field, make the harrow stand upright, stand behind it, and observe through it the herd of cattle as they pass by. You will then notice the head witch between the horns of the bull, and the minor witches between the horns of the other beasts.[86] But if you do not know the necessary protecting formula, then you are done for.

If you do not like to risk this, there is another way. Dye the first egg of a black hen, and take it with you to church in your pocket on Easter Sunday, and observe the people as they walk [Pg xlii]into church. Some of them will have great difficulty in passing through the door on account of the length of their horns. When leaving the church, you must go out before them and put down the egg; or stand at the meeting of two cross-roads; or else they will carry you off. Witches, or other evil spirits, have no power at cross-roads. The popular tales describe the witches as mothers of giants, or dragons.[87] The witch is capable of changing forms by turning somersaults.[88] They appear then as a puddle, brook, golden pear-tree, fiery oven, &c. They grow so old that their lower lips hang down as far as their knees; their eyelids also become elongated, so that if they wish to see anything the eyelid has to be lifted up with a huge iron rod, weighing 300 hundred-weights.

They exercise their magic powers: (1) in a defensive way;[89] (2) in an aggressive way, by bewitching, the cause of which is some real or fictitious offence, or evil intention. Thus by magic you can make the woman appear who has taken away the cow's milk, and you can make her give back the milk. The modus procedendi is as follows: take a rag saturated with milk, or a horse-shoe or chain which has been made hot in a clear fire, place it on the threshold and beat it with the head of a hatchet; or make a plough-share red hot, and plunge it several times into cold water. In order to keep away intruders it is a rule that the first woman who enters the house while the incantation proceeds is severely beaten, because she is the culprit. Sometimes the ridiculous thing happens that the man has to thrash his own wife, if she happens to be the first comer.

By magic one can make a young man marry under all circumstances a girl previously selected. Of such a young man they say, "They have dug up a big weed[90] for him;" or, "They [Pg xliii]are boiling his 'kapcza'[91] for him." The latter seems to indicate some charm. The sorceress summons toads, holds an unintelligible conversation with them, and hands some mysterious charm which has to be placed under the threshold of the selected young man's house. The person, however, who orders the incantation will die the same year.

Some kinds of severe illness or accidents can be produced by planting in secret certain magic plants on the selected person's ground; the illness will last, and the consequences of the accident be felt, until the plants are removed. If the owner plants these plants himself they will serve as a preventative.

Thieves can be found out or bewitched, and they dread the thing so much that very often they return in secret the stolen articles.

There are various formul? to cause marriage or produce sickness. One of them may be mentioned here.[92] The person who orders the incantation steals from the selected victim some article of dress, and takes it to the sorceress, who adds three beans, three bulbs of garlic, a few pieces of dry coal, and a dead frog to it, and places these several articles in an earthenware pot under the victim's gate or threshold, accompanied by these words: "Lord of the infernal regions and of the devils, and possessor of the hidden treasures; give to ... (name of the victim) some incurable illness?(or inflame ... with irresistible love towards ...)?and I will join your party!"

[Pg xliv]

In a Hungarian paper, published in 1833, we read

Some woman in Transylvania grew tired of her husband, and consulted a sorceress about the means of getting rid of him. The sorceress (a Wallachian old woman) visited the woman's house, and they both retired to the garret, where the sorceress laid out an image in clay, which was intended to represent the unfortunate husband, and surrounded it with burning wax tapers, and both women engaged in prayer for the quick departure from this life of the husband. The latter, however, appeared on the scene and put an end to the proceedings.

Amidst the vast pile of superstitions still current amidst the peasantry, we may note the following, from a very valuable work by Varga J?nos, entitled A babond?k k?nyve, Arad, 1877; a volume which won the prize offered at the time by the Hungarian physicians and others, for the best work written on the existing superstitions of the Magyar people. Its chief aim is to instruct the people, and is written in very popular language.

To this day old women (Roman Catholics) do not swallow the consecrated wafer at communion; but save it and carefully wrap it in a handkerchief, and keep it in a drawer at home, as it will prevent the house from being burnt down. An epidemic raged all over Hungary, and the people in one of the villages attributed the outbreak of cholera to an old woman who had died shortly before, and who was said to have been a witch in her lifetime. The corpse was dug up, and replaced in the grave face downwards, in order to stay the plague. When the rinderpest broke out in another village they had recourse to the same remedy. The corpse of the witch was unearthed, and reburied face downwards. As this had no effect, the shift of the corpse was turned inside out and put on again. As the pest still continued, the heart of the witch was taken out and divided into four pieces, and one quarter burnt at each of the four[Pg xlv] corners of the village, and the herd driven through the smoke. One year, when there was a drought in the country, in a northern village, amongst the Slov?ks, a young girl was let down into a well, in order to bring on the rain.

Ghosts.[93] There is a proverb saying that: "The good souls do not wish to come back, and the bad ones are not allowed to return;" but still people believe in ghosts.

Sprites. (Evil spirits, garabonczas.) The father of the garabonczas is the devil; the mother, a witch. The garabonczas mostly appears as a poor wandering student begging for milk in the village. If he be well treated no harm will happen to the village, but if he be sent away from the door, he will bring on hail and will destroy the crops belonging to the place. He generally rides officially on dragons or t?tos.

Exchanged children, or t?ltos.[94] If a child be born with some defect (say without an arm, &c.) or with some supernumerary member (say six fingers or six toes) or with a big head, people say it is an exchanged child; it is a child of some witch who exchanged her offspring for the baby, while the baby's mother was in bed. Babies born with teeth are especially considered to be children of witches. Such unfortunate creatures are very badly treated by the people, and even by their own parents. The name "t?ltos" sticks to them, even when grown up. A knife stuck into a slice of garlic and placed under the pillow of the woman in childbed is an effective remedy against babies being exchanged by witches.

Goblins[95] (Lid?rcz) are the servants of evil spirits or the evil [Pg xlvi]spirits themselves. One favourite form they like to appear in is the "wandering fire," or will-o'-the-wisp. A hen that crows (a hermaphrodite bird) is also a goblin; and a combination of cock and hen is hatched from the first egg laid by the young hen, or from very small undersized eggs as are sometimes laid by fowls. A little decrepit, undeveloped chicken is also always looked at with suspicion. The good housewife breaks the first egg laid by a young hen, or a very small egg, to prevent the goblin's being hatched. The crowing hen is executed, the neck being laid on the threshold and cut off with a hatchet; if the head jumps into the yard, then no matter, but if it hops inside the house, then it means that the house will be burnt down. (In Germany some hundred and seventy years ago a crowing hen was brought before the judges, sentenced to death, its neck cut off by the public executioner in the market-place, and the body burnt at the stake.)

Roadside wanderers or inhabitants of graves.[96] Sickly, yellow, haggard-looking people are said to live in graves or crypts at night. The Magyar people are very good-natured, and their hospitality is well known. But such a grave-inhabitant can reckon upon having no mercy. If they stop and rest anywhere somebody is sure to die in the neighbourhood. If anybody look at them it will bring on jaundice; if anybody touch them the healthy person will dry up; children die if touched or kissed by such a creature.

There is a rich mine of Folk-Medicine, as yet but little worked by western students: a few examples will be found in "Sz?kely Folk-Medicine," Folk-lore Journal, April 1884, and we append a few more, which may be of interest, from an old MS.[97]

Jaundice is brought on by looking through the window of a [Pg xlvii]house where there is a corpse laid out, and seeing it. It is cured by taking nine "creepers" from the head of a person with the same Christian names as the patient; put the nine insects into an apple; bake the whole, and give it to the patient for internal application. Then take the foeces[98] of a person of the same Christian name; place them in a hard-boiled egg, having first removed the yolk; sew the egg in a small bag, and place it secretly under the altar, and allow three masses to be said over it; then hang it round the patient's neck, who has to wear it for nine days. The cure is to be repeated nine times. There is a marginal note in the book to the effect that our "doctor" had altogether six cases under treatment, but not one of the patients got beyond the first stage of the cure.[99]

Pleurisy. Take a trough in which the dough has been kneaded and taken out; pour water into it cross-ways (diagonally from corner to corner) then pour water in cross form over the peel; scrape out the trough and knead with one finger the scrapings into a flat cake and place it on the aching side. Varga also gives a form of prayer which has to be recited when the dough is placed on the side. The same prayer is prescribed for toothache and sore throat.

Scurvy. (In Magyar "s?ly.") The scorbutic place is to be rubbed with a piece of rancid bacon, and the following ditty sung:?

"S?-s?, lentils-s?
Onion-s?,?77 sorts of s?,

I order thee, in the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary to disappear!"

[Pg xlviii]

Cataract in the eye. This is cured with a long prayer, commencing I ? N ? R ? I, and, if it has no effect, another (shorter) prayer is mumbled, and the performer breathes upon the eye.

Gangrene is also cured by prayers; a little garlic and broken glass is placed upon the wound.

Another way is to bury three hairs of the patient in the gutter under the eaves, and then to say the Lord's Prayer. When the medicine-man arrives at the words "as in earth," he drops a slice of garlick, this is afterwards buried in some secluded spot. If anybody steps on this place he will be affected by the same disease.

Hydrophobia is cured by a mixture of the following nine ingredients:?

1. A kind of small, vermilion, flat beetle;

2. Some dittany gathered before St. John's Day;

3. Splinters of tree struck by lightning before St. George's Day;

4. Some cantharides;

5. Young buds of ash gathered in early spring;

6. Rue gathered before St. George's Day;

7. "St. Ivan's beetle" (? glow-worm);

8. "Christmas crumb"[100] and eggshell from between two Christmases;

9. On Midsummer Day, at early dawn, the medicine-man walks out barefoot, and the weeds, grasses, flowers, &c. that stick to his sole or toes form ingredient No. 9.

The mixture is to be taken internally.

Epilepsy is treated with an oil prepared by the quack out of horseradish; also some brimstone and other things.

External wounds and sore nails are cured by placing a live toad on the place.

[Pg xlix]

The rash called St. Anthony's Fire. A man whose Christian name is Anthony has to produce sparks with steel and flint.[101]

Scab is treated with an ointment made of beef-fat and brimstone; the ointment to be used for three days, and to be followed up by a hot-air bath. As these useful establishments only exist in large towns, the unfortunate sufferer is put inside a hot oven.

Quinsy.?With the child's finger stroke the throat of a lizard,[102] caught before St. George's Day.

Cramp.?Place a left-hand window-frame across the child suffering from cramp, or burn feathers under its nose.

Hand of Glory.[103]?The little finger of the human foetus has all the virtues of (and is used for the same purpose as) the hand of glory. All the famous brigands are believed to have one of these articles in their possession.

When a person is in extremis they place him or her, bed and all, in a line with and under the main joist of the ceiling. If the dead person's eyes are left open somebody will soon follow him or her.

Superstitious Days.

Friday. Work commenced or finished on Friday is sure to fail.

Who laughs on Friday will cry on Sunday.

To sneeze on Friday the first thing in the morning when the stomach is empty means some great catastrophe.

To start on a journey on Friday is unlucky.

[Pg l]

He or she who is taken ill on Friday will never again leave their bed.

A guest on Friday means one week's distress.

Dough kneaded on Friday will not rise.

Linen washed on Friday will give the wearer some skin disease.

If the fires are lighted in the rooms for the first time on Friday the house will be burnt down.

If a baby gets its first tooth on a Friday the front teeth will come all right but no more.

If a baby commence to talk on a Friday it will, when grown up, stammer or remain mute altogether.

If the new year commence with a Friday all the crops will fail.

If a hen commence to sit on her eggs on a Friday the eggs become addled.[104]

St. Matthias. "It is better trust the ice after St. Matthias' Day than in you, my dear little maid." Erd?lyi, vol. 3. Folk-Song No. 200.

St. George's Day is a very lucky day.

A butterfly caught before St. George's Day brings great luck.

Snakes caught before St. George's Day make a powerful medicine.

The skin of a marmot caught before St. George's Day will make a purse which will never be empty.

[Pg li]

The person who sees a swallow or stork before St. George's Day will live as many years as the bird flaps its wings.

Procure the wing of a bat caught before St. George's Day and wrap up money in it; then you will never be without cash.

On the night following St. George's Day one can listen to the conversation of the witches and overhear their secrets about good and bad herbs.

All the medicines gathered before St. George's Day are very powerful.

Christmas Eve.?Roman Catholics fast on this day?eating no meat, using instead fish and vermicelli with crushed poppy seed and honey. Those who stand on "Lucy's chair" during midnight mass can tell who is a witch and who is not. St. Lucy's Day is December 13th, and on that day some begin to make a small chair, or stool, working at it, on each following day, so as to get it ready by Christmas Eve. The maker then takes it to midnight mass, and sits upon it in order to discover who are witches in the parish. All those who turn their backs to the altar whilst he (or she) sits on the stool, are witches. "Lucy's chair" is also said of anything that is being made very slowly. On this day, too, the farmer's wife and servants wrap their heads up in cloaks, and, armed with big brushes (a sort of brush tied athwart the end of a pole), go round and catch the hens and touch their hinder parts, believing that it will cause them to lay more eggs. The twelve days following St. Lucy's are called Lucy's Kalendar, and are very carefully observed. If the first, second, third, &c., be raining, windy, foggy, &c., so will the first, second, third, &c., months of the next year be.

Christmas Day.?Every hour of this day is significant and pregnant with good or evil. It seems as if on this day every good angel descended from heaven to scatter blessings, and every[Pg lii] demon ascended from the infernal regions to shower curses on the heads of men.[105]

Even the remnants of food have their magic power. The well-known "Christmas crumb" forming an important ingredient in many folk-medicines.

Whoever picks up an apple or nut from the ground will be covered with sores; and if anyone steps upon a reel of cotton (or gets entangled in it) upon this day, he will, without fail, have an attack of the "evil of Lazarus."

A sort of basket made of twisted or plaited straw, such as is used for taking dough to the bakers, is filled with hay and put under the table to receive the "little Jesus," who is said to get into it. Maize put under this basket is said to fatten fowls to a wondrous extent, and cattle thrive marvellously on the hay. Whosoever eats nuts without honey will lose his teeth.

Whosoever does not eat a slice of garlic with honey on this holy day will get a sore throat.[106]

There are several Finnish superstitions with regard to this season, e.g.:

In West Bothnia one must not spin on St. John's Day (which is called a half-holyday), or the sheep will be attacked with disease during the year. Cf. the well known saying that a spinning wheel is unlucky on board a ship.

Fire must not be taken out of a house on Christmas Eve,[107] or else the so-called "black ears" will grow among the barley. See Suomen Muinaismuisto-yhdistyksen, Aikakauskirja, v. p. 109.

[Pg liii]

If the corn is found to be very much entangled when cut, it is said that the farmer slept crooked in bed on Christmas Eve. In some villages, on "Knuts Day," Jan. 13th, a young girl is dressed up as a bride, and called "twenty-days' bride" (twenty days after Christmas), and driven through the village. The day ends with a dance, and a collection for the "bride," who is generally one of the poor. Straw, too, was laid on the room floors in remembrance of the Saviour's bed. A light burnt all night on the settle.[108] These customs still exist in some places.

A yule-cross used to be erected at the house-door on Christmas Eve.

To return to the Magyars. The bread at Christmas time is baked in curious forms, just as it is in Finland, where, e.g., in ?bo, it is made in the form of a fish, &c., and called "Kuse" and "Kasa," in other parts in the form of animals, &c. (cf. the "Yuldoos" in Northumberland).

New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.[109] Molten lead is cast into water to see the future husband's trade. Watch which way the cock crows on the dawn of the new year, for in that direction your future partner will surely come. Turn your pillow at midnight (December 31st), and you will see whom you are to marry, in your dreams. Any one born at midnight will become a great person. Whosoever is whipped on New Year's Day will be whipped every day in the new year! Indeed, anything done on this day will be repeated during the year. It is unlucky to sow on this day, as it prevents the hens laying. If you put on new linen you will cause your skin to be covered with sores. New Year's morn is spent in wishing each other a happy new year; just as, in many parts of England (e.g. Hull) the juvenile [Pg liv]population call and expect to receive their reward in the shape of coin of the realm.

In Vienna they say: "to have Schweinsgl?ck," or "Saugl?ck," i.e., "a pig's luck," or a "sow's luck;" and so one sees in some houses a cook appear, bearing a sucking pig on a tray, and wishing all a happy New Year, expecting a New Year's box in return.

According to Paul Kelecs?nyi, the following custom is observed at Kolony, in the county of Nyitra. Girls make a bonfire, and leap through the flame. From their mode of leaping the spectators gather when the girl will be married. The performance is accompanied by a song, of which a few verses will suffice as a specimen:

"We lay a fire,
We lay it square,
At one corner sit five old men,
At the other sit good looking matrons,
At the third sit handsome young bachelors,
At the fourth sit pretty young maidens.
Then the fire is lighted.
John A's (the name of an unmarried man) is about to catch fire.
Let us extinguish it! (Susie.)
Oh! don't let us forsake the poor people!
Jane B's (generally John A's sweetheart) store house is about to catch fire.
Let us....
Oh! don't...."

Then follow verses, like the following, and all more or less unintelligible:

"How high the branch of the tree has grown,
[The tree] has sent out branches.
It is bending and bending across the ocean
Into the courtyard of John A.
Of [to?] pretty Helena with the silken yellow tresses."

See Erd?lyi's Folk-Songs and Stories, vol. iii. pp. 148-150. "Szent Iv?n ?neke."

[Pg lv]

On St. John the Baptist's Day[110] the glow-worm is gathered, and also at dawn the medicinal herbs for certain cures (see supra). On this day it is also customary to jump over "St. John's fire;" any person doing this will not die during the year.

On the Day of St. Paul's Conversion all the bears turn round in their sleep in their winter dens.

On the Night of St. Andrew's every girl will dream about her future husband; if she manage to procure a shirt of a young man and place it over-night under her pillow, she will so bewitch him that he will follow her like her shadow.

On Saturday before Easter all snakes, frogs, toads, &c., can be driven away in the morning when the cattle's bell is heard.

On Palm Sunday, swallow without chewing three buds blessed by the priest and brought from church, and this will prevent a sore throat.

St. Martin. On this day, in conformity with an old custom, the Jewish community of Pozsony (Pressburg) yearly present a fat goose to the King of Hungary. This deputation is always received personally.

St. Michael. The bier in Magyar is called "St. Michael's horse."

St. Stephen.?See Notes and Queries, "Magyar and Finn Songs on St. Stephen's Day," 6 S. viii. 487, and x. 485, with which we may compare the following:?

Vausenottes: La c?r?monie de crier les valantins: les gar?ons se nommoient vausenots et les filles vausenottes: ces mots viennent de vouser ou vauser, qui eux-m?mes viennent de vocare, nommer, et de nuptiae noces: comme si l'on disoit appeler aux noces: aux mariages: cette c?r?monie s'est pratiqu?e longtemps dans le pays Messin. Voyez Valantin.

Valantin: Futur ?poux, celui qu' on d?signoit ? une fille le jour des brandons, ou premier dimanche de car?me, qui, d?s [Pg lvi]qu'elle ?toit promise, se nommoit valantine: Et si son valantin ne lui faisoit point un present ou ne la regaloit avant le dimanche de la mi-car?me, elle le br?loit sous l'effigie d'un paquet de paille ou de sarment, et alors les promesses de mariage ?toient rompues et annuli?s.

Brandon: Tisson allum?, feu, flambeau: de-l? ou a appel? dimanche des brandons, le premier dimanche de car?me, parce qu'on allumoit des feux ce jour-l?, il ?tait encore nomm? le jour de behourdi, behourt, bordes, bourdich, termes qui signifioient une jo?te une course de lances. Il se nomme encore dans quelques provinces, le jour de grand feux, des valantins, le jour des bulles ou des bures, le dimanche des bordes; au figur?, l'ardeur de l'amour et son flambeau, brando. On appelle ? Lyons, brandons, des rameaux verds auxquels on attache des g?teaux, des oublies et des bugnes, le premier dimanche de car?me.

Bule, bulle; Feu de rejouissance.

Borde. One of the meanings of the diminutive of "borde," viz.: "bordelle" "on a appliqu? ensuite aux lieux de d?bauche."[111]

Heltay G?sp?r, the typographer of Kolozsv?r, wrote his book in 1552 against this custom as practised in Hungary.

The following Finnish superstitions at certain times may here be noted for comparative purposes:?

Lent. Witches are said to have cut off the sheep's wool at this time, and given it to the evil one; who in return gave them good luck with their sheep and butter.

Shrove Tuesday. Women are not to spin on this day; because, if they do, the sheep will suffer from diseases.

If the sun shines on this day there will be a fine summer. Much sledging must be done if long flax is desired; and seven meals must be eaten without drinking, if thirst is to be avoided during the summer heats.

[Pg lvii]

Good Friday. It was not customary formerly to make a fire on this day.

Easter. On Easter Eve cut off the wool from between the sheep's ears; so the young folks burn straw and tar-barrels to frighten the Easter witches (in the parishes of W?r? and Munsala). If anyone wishes to see the witches, as they ride in mid-air on their broomsticks, he must sit on the roof of a three-times-removed house. (Houses in Finland are built of wood, and often sold and removed to another site.)

May 1st. As the weather is this day, so will the rest of the year be.

Eve of St. John Baptist. On this night the young girls go out into rye-fields with bits of colored worsted, and tie them round the stalks that are chosen. The stalks are then cut off just above the worsted. Next morning the stalk that has grown the most during the night foretells the future of the maiden. The red one foretells purity; green, love; yellow, rejection; black, grief; blue, old maid; white, death; speckled, an illegitimate child. The stalk is then taken up and placed under the pillow, and whatever the sleeper then dreams will undoubtedly happen.

A Finnish lady friend relates that she and one of her friends on this night gathered nine different sorts of flowers, and, having made wreaths of them, put them under their pillows?as it was said that next morning there would be a lock of hair the colour of the future husband's found in each wreath. In order to make sure, each of the young ladies, unknown to the other, cut a lock off her own head and placed it in her friend's wreath, but, unfortunately, one of the ladies also put a lock of her own hair in her own wreath, and thus next day found she was doomed to have two mates! In some parts, when the farmers return from church, they see who can get home first, as that one will get his harvest in first the following year.

[Pg lviii] In some places straw is burnt on this night, but it is more common to burn wood (which fires are called Kokko). In some parts these fires are burnt on Maunday Thursday night. In Honkojoki, after the Kokko is burned two persons go and stand each on a wood stack, and begin throwing the logs into a heap, each trying his best to throw more than his rival. This done, the logs are counted, and, if found to be an odd number, it is regarded as an omen of misfortune. The girls are dressed in white on this night. In the southern parts of the country stones used to be rolled down the hill sides on this night. The houses are decorated on the outside with young birches and inside with leafy boughs, &c. For dressing with flowers and leaves at this time see Hofberg, "Digerd?den."

St. Bartholomew.?According to some, seed ought to be sown this day.

St. Matthew's Day.?People disguise themselves so as not to be recognised. A sledge, too, is drawn by a ram, with a straw man as driver.

St. Thomas's Eve.?A Swedish superstition regards this as the goblins' special night, and one story (Hofberg, "Tomten") relates how no one would go into a smithy that night on this account, and if anyone looked through the door he would see the goblins forging silver bars, or "turning their own legs under the hammer."

In the Highlands, even in modern times, there were May-Day bonfires, at which the spirits were implored to make the year productive. A feast was set out upon the grass, and lots were drawn for the semblance of a human sacrifice; and whoever drew the "black piece" of a cake dressed on the fire was made to leap three times through the flame.[112]

In many parts of France the sheriffs or the mayor of a town [Pg lix] burned baskets filled with wolves, foxes, and cats, in the bonfires at the Feast of St. John; and it is said that the Basques burn vipers in wicker panniers at Midsummer, and that Breton villagers will sacrifice a snake when they burn the sacred boat to the goddess who assumed the title of St. Anne.[113]

Varga also gives the following information on numbers:

13 is very unlucky.[114] If thirteen sit down to table, one will die.

9 also plays an important part. See folk-medicine. Hydrophobia breaks out in nine days, weeks, months, or years. Nine different ingredients often make up the mixture?nine different shoots of nine different trees. If a cow be bewitched, a cure with nine ants' nests is used. Most medicines are taken nine times; the patient has to bathe nine times, &c. &c.

7 is very superstitious. The seventh child plays an important part in everything; only a seventh child can lift hidden treasures. A seventh child seven years old has great magic power. In digging for treasures seven people club together, each member removes seven spades-full of earth in one night. Seven times seven, or seventy-seven is also a magic number. The devil's grandmother is 777 years old.

3 very often occurs in fairy-tales. It is an important number with witches. It is said there are 33,333 witches in Hungary.

[Pg lx]

Superstitions about Animals.

It would be more easy to enumerate those animals about which there are not superstitions, but we will give a few instances from Varga.

The Death-Bird (a kind of small owl).?If the death-bird settles on the roof, and calls out three times "kuvik," somebody will die in that house.

The Owl.?The well-known servant of witches. It procures them the required number of snakes, lizards, &c.

The Cuckoo.?It will tell you how many years you have to live. It sucks the milk out of the udder of the cow. There is also another bird credited with this.

The Crowing-hen.?See supra. p. xlvi.

The Swallow and stork are favourite birds. To catch a swallow is very unlucky. To disturb its nest will set the roof on fire. If you kill it, your arm will shrivel up. Of this bird the people say that it dies; of all others, they perish. (A human being "dies" = "meghal" in Hung. = "stirbt" in German; an animal "perishes" = "megd?glik," = "crepirt.") If you see the first swallow, stroke your face and sing, "I see a swallow; I wash off the freckles"?and the freckles will disappear. The stork is, also, a sacred bird. It must not be caught or killed; to disturb its nest will set the house on fire. He who sees for the first time in the year a stork standing, will be very lazy during the year; if flying, then fresh and very healthy.

Lark, Plover,[115] Quail, and Pigeon.?When Christ was hiding himself he went among some underwood, his pursuers were about to follow him there, when the lark rose and sang: "Nincs, nincs, nincs, nincs, nincs, sehol itten." (He is not?he is nowhere [Pg lxi] here). The pursuers were about to leave, when out of malice the quail flew up and called "Itt szalad, itt szalad" (Here he runs, here he runs); the pursuers thereupon returned, and Christ took refuge in a shrubbery; then the plover flew up and cried "b? vik, b? vik" (he is hiding), and the pigeon added "a bokorban, a bokorban" (in the bush). Christ blessed the lark, hence it rises high up in the sky and sings merrily, whereas the three other birds were accursed to never fly on a tree, but to hide themselves among grass, in the mud, in old ruins.

See Arany L?szl? "Magyar N?pmes?inkr?l" (On our Magyar Popular Tales), a paper read before the Kisfaludy Society on May 29, 1867. Cf. Hofberg, Horsg?tten.

Newt.?If you swallow a newt with the water drawn from a well, it will grow quite a monster in your stomach, and eat its way through. The monster will have a head as a calf; immense immoveable eyes; a skin like a human being; its voice like a baby's, and its head covered with fur, like that of a wild cat.

Snake.?There is a snake in every house; if it creep out of its hole, some great misfortune will happen. It is therefore unlucky to disturb it. The skin of a snake caught before St. George's Day, drawn over a stick, makes a powerful weapon; it will break iron in two.

Snakes and Frogs.[116]?If a snake or frog get into a man's stomach, it can be allured out by placing some steaming milk near the mouth of the patient. If they die inside, the patient has to take internally some powderized stork's stomach. [Cf. "Liber Quartus Practicae Haly," cap. 49, "De eius medela qui leporem marinum aut ranam biberit," p. 207, verso (Leyden, [Pg lxii] 1523)]. The so-called frog-rain; the frogs drop from the clouds, or that they are drawn up by the clouds from lakes, &c.

Lizard, see "Quinsy" and "St. George's Day," pp. xlix. and li.

Cat.?The black cat is a favourite disguise of the witch. When the cat is cleaning herself, you must observe at whom she looks first, when finished; the person so looked at will go to a ball, or some other amusement. If the cat uses one paw only, a guest will arrive; he will come from the direction in which the cat stroked her paw the last time. If a cat be uneasy, &c., it will rain.

Donkey.?There are three indents on the bulrush as if made with teeth. The tradition is, that the donkey on which Christ sat commenced to nibble the reed, but before it had time to bite it off, Christ rode away. The traces of the teeth are still plainly visible. The cross on the donkey's back is said to be the stains left by Christ's blood, as it ran down on both sides.?Arany L?szl? loc. cit.

Raven.?There is a well-known Magyar folk-song commencing the thus:?

"The raven washes his brood on Good Friday."

Clocks.?The ticking of the clock-beetle forbodes death in the house.

Dog.?The witch will sometimes appear as a black dog. If a dog whine in his sleep, it is a sign of conflagration; if it bark in its sleep, robbers are due. If a dog howl,[117] it smells a dead body, and somebody will die in the house.

The Sow with a litter of nine, the Horse without a head, the Bull with horns pointing downwards, are favourite forms assumed by witches.

The Tortoise.?When Christ was walking on earth, He appeared as a beggar, and begged for alms at a Jew's house. The [Pg lxiii] mistress of the house was very mean; and in order not to be obliged to give anything, she hid under a trough used for kneading bread, and told her little girl to say that she was not to be found. When the girl said that her mother was not at home, Christ replied: "May she never be able to get home!" The girl waited in vain for her mother to come forth; and when she opened the closet door, an ugly thing crawled out, with a trough-like shield grown to its back. This is the origin of the tortoise.

Superstitions about Plants.

Varga supplies the following notes on this subject:

Deadly Nightshade works miracles in folk-medicine. One of its uses is to cure maggots in beasts. It is not used internally nor applied externally. The medicine-man approaches the plant wherever it grows, makes a hole into the ground close to the root, then bends the plant gently down, sticks the top of it into the hole and buries it, taking care not to break the plant. Then he repeats the following formula:?"Do you hear, deadly nightshade? I herewith bury you, and will not again liberate you until the maggots that have got into the left rump of John So-and-So's cow clear out from there."

Vervain or "lock-opening herb."?Open the skin on the palm of your hand, place a small leaf of vervain under the skin and let the wound heal over; then at the touch of such hand all locks and bars will open. All the more famous brigands of old are said to have had such power.

Clover.?Clover with four leaves is very lucky.

Wolf's-milk.?The milky juice oozing from the broken stem of this plant will beautify the skin.[118]

[Pg lxiv] The Wolf's-bane leaf, the ?k?rfark k?r? (lit. the dried oxtail)[119], and the Rue are very important herbs in folk-medicine.

Some other plants are said to have had this power, that if at dusk you switch with them three times in the air you hit the witch, and you can hear her moaning.

The Lily is the flower of the dead. If any body be executed innocent, three yellow lilies will grow on his grave.

Superstitions about Stones.

The Diamond is blown, like glass, by thousands and thousands of snakes in caves, who bury them in the sand.

The Carbuncle glows in the dark.

The Garnet. While the person who wears these stones is healthy the garnet is of a beautiful red colour; when the wearer ails the stones turn pale.

The Opal is an unlucky stone.


Astronomy. The milky way came about in this way. The driver of a cart of straw was very drunk; the straw was badly loaded and fell off in all directions as the drunken driver drove his horses irregularly over the way.

*Comets forebode a great war or the pest.

Many people get out at the left side of the bed, pull on the left side first of their trousers, the left sleeve of their coat, and undress left first because it is good for toothache.

*If your palm itches, you receive money; rub it to your hair, and you get as much money as you touched hairs.

[Pg lxv] *Right eye itching, you will cry; left eye, you will be merry; whose eyes jump about will get beaten.

*Singing in right ear, bad news; left, good news.

If a family gets into a new house, somebody will die; a dead body's eyes left open, he is looking for somebody to follow him. If you pity an animal when it is being slaughtered it dies very slowly.

*If a knife, fork, or scissors drop and stick upright in the ground, a guest will arrive. If by accident one more plate is laid on the table than necessary, a very hungry guest will come.

Where there is a baby in the house, you must sit down or you will take away its sleep. If you stare at the baby, you spoil it with your eye. To counteract this, put your hat on the child's head or spit on the baby. If the mischief is already done, drop a piece of live coal into a glass of water, and make the child drink of it, and bathe his eyes with the water. At the same time wish the "spoiling" back to the person from whom it came.

If a spider lowers itself on somebody at night, it is lucky; in the daytime, unlucky.

*If the fire is noisy (a series of small explosions) there will be high words or some scrimmage in the house. If you dream of fire, you will be robbed. If in your dream you see yourself as bride or bridegroom, you will die. If you dream that you are dead, you get married. If, at meals, you sit between two brothers or sisters, you will get married.

If a woman in the family-way looks into the window, where there is a corpse, the baby will be dumb. If the woman sends away a beggar, she will bear twins.

In stormy weather stick a hatchet in the threshold, and the hail-clouds will roll by. *Make the sign of a cross with the poker against the sky and the rainbow will appear.

When it rains and the sun shines too, the devil beats his wife. [Pg lxvi] If it thunders without lightning, the devil has got hold of a poor sinner. If you abuse the rain, the angels cry and the devil tears his hair.

If the cow is bewitched and will not allow herself to be milked, place the pail over her head; or go to the cemetery, procure a decayed old wooden cross, and beat the animal with it.

If the cow kicks, cover her head with an old apron and stick holes through the apron with the pitchfork. *The witch will feel the stabbing from the prongs. If the witch has taken away the milk of the cow, procure nine ants'-nests,[121] bury this with nine pieces of bread on the road over which the cattle goes, so that the cow may step over it. Then after three days knead the bread and soil together and make the cow eat it, and her milk will be restored.

Or pour some of the milk into a fiery oven, and the fire will burn the witch who spoilt the cow.

It is not good to look at a cow while calving, because her milk will not come. The first week's milk is to be given to the poor, or it will be difficult to milk the cow afterwards.

Do not call a child "a frog," or it will with difficulty learn to talk. Do not step over it, or you stop its growing. Do not say thanks for a medicine, or it will lose its power. Do not wish the fisher or hunter "good luck," or he will have a poor day. To meet a priest is unlucky; to meet a Jew lucky.

If a child suffers from epileptic fits, take the shirt it has worn during one of the fits and wrap it around one of the (wooden) crosses in the cemetery, this will cure the child; but the person who removes it will catch the disease. When a child loses its first tooth, the mother ought to eat the tooth in a piece of bread, and then she will never suffer from toothache. When a child sees a swallow for the first time in Spring, it must spit several [Pg lxvii] times into the palms of its hands and pretend to wash its face; this will prevent freckles.

The following is said to cure abscesses: Boil together peas, beans, lentils, and millet in a new pot, and when the mess is ready bathe the affected place therein; then take pot and contents at dawn to the cross-roads, and dash it to the ground. The abscesses will disappear, the first person who steps over the mess will get them.

When sweeping the house the dust must not be swept towards the door but from it, and the sweepings burnt; then luck will never desert the house.

A loaf that has been cut should never be placed so that the cut part faces the door, because that would cause lack of bread.

When the bread is taken from the oven, if a few red-hot cinders be thrown into the oven it is as good as throwing them down your enemy's throat!

*Whenever water is drawn from a well, great care must be taken that a little is returned, to propitiate the angry sprite of the well.

Manners at Table.

"Whereas other learned and wise nations keep their heads covered while they are at meals, the Magyars uncover themselves at table. Perhaps they follow this custom because they remember the words of St. Paul (1 Cor. ii.), who says that every man praying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head; the Magyars, however, not only often commence their meals with a prayer, but mention the Deity as often as they drink, and wish to those, in whose honour they lift their glasses, good luck and bliss, and pray to God for these, which custom is not always followed by other nations. Therefore they think it is better not to cover the head than to be obliged to uncover [Pg lxviii] themselves so many times."[122]?From "A Kopaszsagnac diczireti" (the praise of baldness). Kolozsv?r, 1589; author unknown.

Drinking Custom.?The Finnish word "ukko," at the present day, means "the host," "the master of the house;" formerly "yli-jumala" meant "the chief-God," "the God of the weather and fertility." Wherefore V?in?m?inen prays to him when sowing the first seed (Kalevala, I. runes 317-330).

The heathen Finns, after spring sowing,[123] sacrificed with "Ukko's cup" (Ukon malja). Jacob Grimm compares Ukko's cup to Thor's drinking vessel.[124]

In 1886, or thereabouts, the Magyar Academy of Science came into possession of some XVIth and XVIIth century deeds written in Magyar, and relating to the sale of certain vine-yards in the Hegyalja, where the famous vines of Tokaj[125] grow. From these deeds it appears, that in each case the bargaining for [Pg lxix]the vineyard was followed by a drinking-bout, at which one of the men would lift up his glass; and if nobody objected to the sale the bargain became confirmed and binding upon all parties concerned. The ceremony of lifting up the cup that should serve as a sign that the bargain was struck was called "Ukkon poharat f?lmutatui," = show up Ukko's glass, and the name of the person who performed the ceremony is mentioned in the deed in every case. Thus, in one of these documents, dated "T?llya, December 28, 1623," we read as follows: "In witness thereof, we the above named magistrates and sworn men, in conformity with the living old custom of our ancestors, have drunk ?ldom?s[126] &c. Ukko's glass was held up[127] by John Kantuk de Liszka."

Thus, while the Finnish Agricola in 1551 condemns the custom of "drinking Ukko's cup" of the ancient Finns as a superstition, in Hungary, in the Hegyalja, it was, according to deeds bearing dates from 1596 to 1660, a ceremony "in accordance with the old law and living custom."[128]

See Paul Hunfalvy's "Magyarorsz?g Ethnographi?ja," Budapest, 1876, pp. 242 & seq.

[1] "Alad?r," in Hungarian tradition.

[2] Enc. Britt. "Huns."

[3] See "Rege a csoda-szarvasr?l, by Arany J?nos, an English translation of which has been published by Mr. Butler in his Legends, Folk Songs, &c., from the Hungarian." Cf. Hungary, by Professor Vamb?ry, cap. iii.

[4] According to Hungarian history, ?rp?d found numerous small nationalities inheriting Attila's realm, with each of whom he had to settle separately. The number of nationalities has been further increased by fresh arrivals from Asia, and immigrants from Western Europe during the past ten centuries: thus we hear of the continuous irruption of Besseni (Petchenegs) during the reign of Stephen the Saint (first King of Hungary, A.D. 1000); of Cumani in the time of Salamon (A.D. 1060) and his successors; and of Tartars under Batu Khan (A.D. 1285) in the time of B?la IV. During this last invasion large tracts of land became depopulated, the inhabitants having either perished or fled; so that the king was obliged to invite immigrants from Western Europe, and this was the origin of the Saxon settlements in Transylvania. This will to some extent show the difficulties which beset the writer who attempts to give a sketch of the races inhabiting modern Hungary. A further difficulty, in tracing the origin of such races, is due to the variety of spelling adopted by different writers in describing the same race, and the unscrupulous use of the names Huns, Scythae, &c. when writing about tribes inhabiting regions beyond the borders of the then known civilised world. Vide infra, p. x.

[5] We have attempted to give but a brief sketch of the Magyars, feeling that when there is so lucid a work as "Hungary," by so well-known an authority as Professor Vamb?ry, within the reach of all, and dealing with this subject in a way that it would be folly for us to attempt, we may content ourselves with referring all readers to that work, and to Der Ursprung der Magyaren by the same author.

[6] The Sz?kely (in German "Sz?kler," in Latin "Siculus") inhabit the eastern parts of Transylvania, the territory occupied by them forming an oblong strip between the Saxon settlement of Besztercze and Brass? (Kronstadt), with two branches to the west known as Marossz?k and Udvarhelysz?k. Another district (sz?k) inhabited by them, Aranyos-sz?k, lies in the western part of Transylvania between the districts of Torda and Als?-Fej?r.

[7] The Nationality of the Huns and Avars, a paper read before the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Oct. 4, 1881. Cf. also "The Origin of the Magyars," by the same author.

[8] See p. 380, infra.

[9] Kozma says, that in the two above-mentioned countries the word "Huns" was used, up to the thirteenth century, among the people as equivalent to giants, who figured in fairy tales. Simrock and Grimm are inclined to see real persons in them, and say they were the Huns, and in later history the Magyars.

[10] 1883, vol. i. pp. 466, 467.

[11] Cornhill Magazine, May, 1882.

[12] The first edition appeared in 1520. Cf. Diccionario Bibliographico Portuguez (Lisboa, 1859) sub voce "Barros."

[13] He asserts that his chronicle is a translation of "ex lingua Ungara." So far as one knows, the original remains undiscovered and unknown!

[14] Cf. Geo. Fej?r, Henricus Portagulliae Comes origine Burgundus non Hungarus, Bud? 1830, and other dissertations by M. Hol?czy, &c. in the British Museum. Press Mark 10632/1.

[15] Corpus Poeticum Boreale, by Vigfusson and Powell. Oxford, 1883, p. lxi, vol. i.

[16] Historia de Gentium Septentrionalium variis conditionibus &c. (Basile?, 1567). Lib. ii. cap. xviii.

[17] De Hunnis et Herulis Libri Sex. Joannes Magnus died in 1544. His chronicle appeared interspersed with Olaus Magnus' work. Cf. Lib. viii. cap. xiii.

[18] Cf. Paul Hunfalvy's polemic work, A Sz?kelyek. Budapest, 1880. The same learned writer in his well-known Ethnography of Hungary, disputes the separate origin of the Sz?kelys, and maintains that they are not a distinct people from the Magyars, but that they are Magyars who have migrated from Hungary Proper into their modern Transylvanian homes. This assertion gave rise to severe criticism on the part of the defenders of the old tradition like Dr. John Nagy, Farkas De?k, and others; and the above mentioned pamphlet was a reply, wherein the author further defends his assertion, on the testimony of comparative philology and history. One powerful argument in favour of the separate origin is, that for centuries the Sz?kely population has kept distinct not only from the Saxons, but also from the Magyars in Transylvania; they had privileges which were denied to the Magyars. Their administration until recently was quite distinct. Their name first occurs in a deed signed by William, Bishop of Transylvania, dated 1213, in which the Bishop renounces his right of collecting tithes from settlers in the B?rczas?g "a waste and uninhabited" track of land, if those settlers be neither Magyars nor Sz?kelys.

[19] Abu-Ali Achmed ben Omar ibn Dast?s. Information regarding the Kozars, Burt?s, Bulgarians, Magyars, Slavs and Russ. Edited by D. A. Chvolson, St. Petersburg, 1869 (in Russian); quoted by Hunfalvy in his Ethnography of Hungary.

[20] Abn Dolif Misaris ben Mohalhal De Intinere Asiatico?Studio Kurd de Schloezer. Berolini, 1845. Cf. Defr?mery Fragments de Geographes, &c. in Journ. Asiat. ser. iv. tom. xiii. 466. Both quoted by Colonel Yule in Cathay and the Way Thither. London, 1866. Vol. i. pp. cxi. and clxxxvii.

[21] On the river V?g (in the North of Hungary Proper).

[22] Hunfalvy The Sz?kelys, pp. 40-42.

[23] Ib. p. 41.

[24] Cf. Republica Hungarica, ex off. Elzeviriana, 1634, p. 12. "Nemo apud illos (Ciculos) ignobilis esse censetur, etiam si manu aratrum tractet, aut caprino gregi praesit."

[25] Georgius R?k?czy. Dei Gratia Princeps Transylvani? ... et Siculorum Comes, &c.

[26] Prior to 1876, the Sz?kelys administered their own affairs, and were divided into five "sz?ks" (sedes).

[27] His essay, entitled "A few words on the Sz?kely Dialects," was published at the end of his work, Vadr?zs?k, vol. i.

[28] Quoted infra, p. xix.

[29] Vide infra, p. 380.

[30] Opus citatum, p. 34.

[31] Such as Klaproth.

[32] Cf. Hunfalvy Ethnography, p. 408.

[33] Cf. The History of the Cumanians, and also The Nationality and Language of the Jazygo-Cumanians, by Stephen Gy?rf?s. Budapest, 1882.

[34] Budapest, 1880. The original MS. is in the Bibliotheca Marciana in Venice. It was discovered by Cornides in 1770. Klaproth first made it known in his "M?moirs relatifs ? l'Asie," III. and Roesler published a specimen of its grammar in his "Rom?nische Studien," pp. 352-356.

[35] Count G?jza Kuun has, we are glad to say, not yet spoken his last word; for that indefatigable scholar is busily engaged on a large work on his favorite subject, which, judging by the extracts he read (June 1st, 1885) before the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, promises to rank with the best writings of modern philologists.

It may be of interest here to quote one of the Cumanian children's rhymes:

Heli, heli, j?de ?z?rm?ny
?zbe her!
Zeboralle, sarmamamile,
Alo bizon sasarma,
D?z?szt?rm? d?cs?rm?
Hej ala hilala
Zeboralle d?cs?rm?.
(Wolan, wolan, ich l?se das Gel?bde,
Der Lenz ist da!
Mit Gebeten, Zauberzeichen
Mache ich den Zauber
Unsch?dlich. Ich preise dich!
Es ist nur ein Gott.
Mit Gebeten preise ich dich).

Vide Ungarische Revue, viii.-ix., Heft. 1885, p. 644.

[36] How dangerous a practice it is to build up history upon no other ground than the mere similarity in the sound of the names of nationalities is shewn in the history of the modern Jazyges. This name has led many a chronicler astray. Their Magyar proper name is "J?sz," which, according to Hunfalvy (Ethnography of Hungary, p. 376) is derived from the word "ij?sz," i.e. "an archer," or "bowman," a name describing their original occupation. In some old deeds of the xivth and xvth centuries, they are called "Jassones" and "Pharetrarii," and things kept straight until Ranzanus the Papal Nuncio at the Court of Matthias Corvinus appeared on the scene, and, struck by the sound of the name "Jassones" and finding that they lived on the very territory which, according to Ptolemy, was occupied by the Jazyges: Metanastae in his time, at once jumped to the conclusion that they were lineal descendants of the wild horsemen mentioned by the classic author. We know how hard anything false dies, and so we find this statement copied by subsequent writers, and even disfiguring the pages of so excellent a work as Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, sub. art. "Jazyges." A still wilder mistake was made by a scribe of King Sigismund, who re-christened the J?sz folk "Philist?i," which afterwards appears in many deeds. It would appear to be reasoned out thus; a "J?sz," or "bowman," must naturally handle a bow and arrow; but an arrow is called "pfeil" in German, which comes from the old German "phil," hence J?sz-Philist?i, Q. E. D! Cf. Hunfalvy's Ethnography loco citato.

[37] Vide infra, p. 412, &c.

[38] Ethnography of Hungary, p. 362.

[39] The true born Magyar repudiates with scorn the idea that there is any such thing as a dialect, boasting that rich and poor speak the same tongue. Cf. Galeoti Martii, de Matthi? egregie, sapienter, fortiter et jocose dictis ac factis libellus, ed. Cassovi?, 1611. "Unde fit ut carmen lingua Hungarica compositum rusticis et civibus, mediis et extremis, eodem tenore intelligatur." Galeoti was an Italian by birth, and Papal Nuncio at the Court of Matthias I. (Corvinus), King of Hungary.

[40] There is a passage in the writings of Nicolaus Ol?h (Hungaria et Attila, cap. xix. ? 3) which at first sight seems to ascribe a separate language to each of the peoples named in the text. According to him, "the whole of Hungary in our days (xvith century) contains various nations, viz., Magyars, Germans, Czechs, Slov?ks, Croats, Saxons, Sz?kelys, Wallachs, Servians, Cumans, Jazyges, Ruthens, and finally Turks, and all these (nations) "differenti inter se utuntur lingua," except that some of the words may appear somewhat similar and identical in sound in consequence of (their) protracted use and (the continuous) contact (of the said nations with each other)." Against this, we may urge, that if the language of the Sz?kelys, for example, differed no more from the Magyar than the German speech from that of the Saxons, they can scarcely be described as two different languages. Moreover, another writer says, that the "Hungari nobiles ejusdem regionis (Transylvani?) passim intermixti Saxonibus, cum Ciculis propemodum tam sermone, quam vestitu et armis conveniunt." See Respublica Hungarica, 1634. We have good reasons for believing that the passage has been copied by the Elzevirian compiler from the Chronigraphica Transylvani? of George Reijchersdorffer, 1550.

[41] Cf. Simpleton stories and lying stories, many of which as told in Hungary, Finland, and Flanders, and even amongst the Lapps, are identical with those we hear in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Northumberland, and Norfolk.

[42] Professor Vamb?ry says: there are many features in Hungarian Folk-Tales which can be found in the tales of China, and other Asiatic countries, ancient and modern. The characteristics of the chief personages in the tales show that the tales have been imported by the Magyars from their old Asiatic homes, although a Slavonic influence cannot be denied.

[43] P. 239 infra. See also remains of the Turkish occupation and their barbarous doings in the children's rhyme:

"Lady bird, lady bird, fly away, fly away,
For the Turks are coming!
They will throw you into a well full of salt water:
They will take you out, and break you on the wheel."

Dark wine produced at Eger (Erlau) is called "Turk's blood."

[44] Pp. 70, 118.

[45] P. 5, infra.

[46] "Stephen the Murderer," "Fisher Joe," and the "Baa Lambs" in this collection. Cf. "Die Engel-l?mmer" Aus der im Auftrage der Kisfaludy-Gesellschaft von Lad Arany und Paul Gyulai besorgten. Ungarische Revue viii. ix. Heft, 1885, p. 640, and note, which says: "Eines der wenigen ungarischen Volkm?rchen, in welche die christliche Mythologie hineinspielt."

[47] Cf. Such stories as "Handsome Paul," p. 29 infra et seq.

[48] See all this beautifully sketched by Czuczor, in his poem Joannes H?ry.

[49] That the Magyar soldier can tell stories may be seen in Ga?l's tales, most of which Arany tells us have a most undesirable flavour of the barracks about them.

[50] John Erd?lyi (born 1814, died 1868), Hungarian poet and author, elected Member of the Hungarian Academy of Science, 1839.

[51] These tales were collected from soldiers: and are full of unnecessary flourishes and coarse barrack-room jokes.

[52] John Kriza (born 1812, died 1875), born in a small village of Sz?kely parents. Unitarian minister, professor, poet, and author, elected Member of the Academy, 1841.

[53] A second volume has, I believe, since appeared.

[54] Ladislaus Arany objects to this collection, on the ground that the collector has tried to improve on the original popular form, and endeavoured to produce something classic, and thus spoiled the stories.

[55] Giant in Magyar is: "?ri?s" i. e. a tall man, tall father. Cf. pp. 99, 147, 318, 340. Cf, numerous stories of giants and what they are like in Friis. Lappiske Eventyr and Hofberg. Svenska S?gner.

[56] See pp. 146 and 388.

[57] See "Knight Rose," p. 57.

[58] See "Knight Rose," p. 55.

[59] Cf. "Handsome Paul," p. 26 infra, where another illustration of their size will be found; also the giant in Swedish tale who travelled from Dalecarlia to Stockholm, and the bread was still warm in his knapsack when he ended his journey.

[60] Cf. Friis. "Jetanis." Hofberg. "Bron ?fver Kalmarsund" "Ulfgrytstenarna" "Ruggabron" and "Stenen i Gr?nan dal."

[61] Vide pp. 345 and 392 infra.

[62] Vide "Prince Mirk?," p. 72.

[63] In Hungary, the village blacksmith is a gipsy as a rule.

[64] Vide "Shepherd Paul," p. 244 and note p. 407.

[65] Cf. "A Lincolnshire tale," p. 363.

[66] Cf. Story as found in Finland, Lapland, and Sweden, of Kaleva's daughter, who, finding a man, put him and his horse and plough into her apron, and carrying them off to her mother, asked what sort of a dung beetle this was she had found scratching the earth, receiving a similar answer to the above-mentioned one. Cf. Hofberg. Svenska S?gner, J?tten Puke. Dybeck, Runa 1845, p. 15, and Thiel Danmarks. Folksagn ii. p. 228.

[67] Vide "Handsome Paul" and "Fairy Elizabeth."

[68] See "Prince Mirk?."

[69] Cf. Rancken, "Munsala," 22 i.: W?r?, 22: where a description of buried treasures will to be found. Also Hofberg, "Den forl?rade skatten," "Guldvaggan," "Skatten i S?byb?cken," "Skattgr?fvarna," vide infra. pp. xxx. xxxvii.

[70] Amongst the numerous stories of hidden treasures, I may note two I heard in my own parish lately. There is a chest of gold buried in Mumby Hill, and an old man went by "his'sen," and dug and dug, and would have got it, but so many little devils came round him, he had to give up.

The other tale is a long story of a man who went to an old house, and every thing he did "a little devil" did, and as the man could not be frightened a vast hidden treasure was revealed to him.?W. H. J.

[71] Rancken, N?gra ?kerbrukspl?gseder i Finland. Munsala, 22, c. and d. Hofberg. Svenska S?gner "Skogsr?et och Sj?r?et," and "Ys?tters-Kajsa."

[72] "Fairy Elizabeth," "Handsome Paul," "Knight Rose," and "Prince Mirk?" are full of the doings of fairies.

[73] Cf. Ralston, Russian Folk-Tales, "The Baba Yaga," p. 143. Afanassieff, i. No. 3 b.

[74] This is the nearest translation. In the original a hyphen between gold and mountain, silver and valley, alters the meaning.

[75] i.e. "For ever." A form of orientalism which frequently occurs in Magyar folk-poetry. For instance,

"My rose I will not marry you
Until there are no fish in the lake,
And as there always will be
Cf. You see, my rose, I cannot marry you."

[76] The waters of the two rivers flow into the Theiss, this into the Danube, and the Danube into the Black Sea.

[77] Baron Orb?n's Sz?kelyland.

[78] Bishop Arnold Ipolyi, Magyar Mythology.

[79] Ladislaus K?v?ry, Historical Antiquities.

[80] In consequence of the Turkish rule over Hungary. Buda was 157 years in the hands of the Turks.

[81] Vide Baron Orb?n, Sz?kelyland.

[82] One must be careful not to confound, as many writers do, the witches of fairy tales, with the old women who are designated as witches by the common people.

[83] Cf. Many Lincolnshire and Yorkshire tales.

[84] Cf. Rancken, "Purmo" 27, and "Munsala," 25.

[85] It is interesting to note that, although prosecution for witchcraft was only abolished in England under George II. in 1736, in Hungary it was abolished under Coloman the Learned, who reigned 1095-1114, for a very cogent reason, "Witches are not to be prosecuted, as they do not exist!"

[86] The Hungarian cattle have long erect horns like those of the Roman campagna.

[87] Cf. p. 203 infra.

[88] As the wolf in the Finnish tale, "The Golden Bird."

[89] See Folk Medicine.

[90] Charm-weed.

[91] Square pieces of linen without seam or hem, wrapped round the bare foot, instead of socks.

[92] Only lately, a man in my own parish said that when "Maud was a young 'un, she was amazin' badly. The doctors could do nowt for her: she was all skin and bone. Doctors said it wor a decline; but a' didn't believe it, for she did sqwe?l amazin'. It was all an owd woman who used to sell pins and needles." It appears, this old woman always gave, and insisted upon giving, Maud, some little thing; and at last they perceived the child was "witched"; so the next time the old woman appeared, another daughter ordered her off, and the child recovered; the same old woman is said to have "witched" another child in the parish in like manner. I may add "Maud" is now a fine strapping girl, and vows vengeance on the witch.?W. H. J.

[93] Cf. Hofberg, "Bissen," the manner of "laying ghosts," is noticed, ib. "Herrn till Rosendal."

[94] In some parts of Finland the same superstition is, or was, current (e.g. in Munsala). Unbaptized children are specially liable to be changed by the trolls, but this may be prevented by putting Holy Scripture in the cradle, or silver coins, scissors, or other sharp tools. Cf. Hofberg, Svenska Folks?gner "Bortbytingen."

[95] Cf. Hofberg "Mylingen," "Tomten." See also N?gra ?kerbrukspl?gseder bland svenskarne i Finland af Dr. J. Oscar I. Rancken.

[96] Cf. Rancken. "Munsala," 22 g.

[97] This belonged formerly to a well-known medicine man, who practised over three countries. There are hundreds and hundreds of cures in it.

[98] This class of ingredients occupied an important place in the pharmacop?ia of the physicians of the middle ages. Cf. Liber Secundus Practicae Haly cap. 51, "De stercoribus et fimis," p. 178 (Lyons 1523).


"I physicks 'em, I bleeds 'em, I sweats 'em,
And if they will die, I lets 'em."

[100] See "Christmas Day."

[101] Steel and flint are still in extensive use among smokers in rural districts.

[102] The Magyar name of quinsy is torokgyik, i.e. throat-lizard.

[103] Varga does not seem to know anything about

"The dead, shrivelled hand ...
... of the gentleman dangling up there."

[104] So far is this day considered unlucky in Portugal that we heard of a Portuguese young lady who had ordered a harp from England: it unfortunately arrived at her house on Friday, and was sent away till Saturday, although she was "dying to try it!" Tuesday is also regarded as unlucky in Portugal.

On St. Peter's Day, in Portugal, the saint is said to have a holiday, and take the keys with him, and the fisher-folk assert that if anyone is drowned on that day the chances are he will be sent to the "wrong place."

Cf. "Ma foi sur l'avenir bien fou qui se fiera,
Tel qui rit vendredi, dimanche pleurera."?

Racine au commencement de la com?die des Plaideurs.

[105] One is said to be most liable to be punished at this time on this account.

[106] Garlic is said to be a charm against evil. See Notes and Queries, 6 S. ix. 5.

[107] It is a common superstition in many parts of Yorkshire that fire must not go out of the house between New and Old Christmas Day. An old nurse told us she once went home during this time and her neighbours would not even give her a match that she might light her candle and so find her own.

[108] Cf. Yorkshire, Yule-candle.

[109] Lead is cast in Finland to see whether fortune or misfortune is in store; in these degenerate days "stearine," has been used by impatient souls. See also Burnaby, Ride to Khiva, cap. xxii.

[110] Elton's Origins of English History, 270, 271.

[111] See Glossaire de la langue Romane, par J. B. B. Roquefort. Paris, 1808.

[112] See Cormac's Glossary, under "Beltene," Revue Celtique, iv. 193; Grimm, Deutsche Mythol. 579.

[113] "C'?tait en beaucoup d'endroits en France l'usage de jeter dans le feu de la Saint-Jean des mannes ou des paniers en osier contenant des animaux, chats, chiens, renards, loups. Au si?cle dernier m?me dans plusieurs villes c'?tait le maire ou les ?chevins qui faisaient mettre dans un panier une ou deux douzaines de chats pour br?ler dans le feu de joie. Cette cout?me existait aussi ? Paris, et elle n'y a ?t? supprim?e qu'au commencement du r?gne de Louis XIV."?Gaidoz, Esquisse de la Religion des Gaulois, 21.

[114] In the West-end of London there is a house where No. 13 is cancelled, and the house re-numbered 15A for the very same reason. The people are comme il faut, and consider themselves educated.

[115] Plover.?Notes and Queries 4th S. viii. 268. On the Lancashire Moors there is a tradition that the plovers contain the souls of those Jews who assisted at the Crucifixion.

[116] Hungarian saying: "To speak snakes and frogs after a man," to say everything that is bad about him.

[117] Or dig.

[118] I (writes a Magyar friend) have seen a youth use this stuff to produce a beard and moustache, and the whole of his skin was covered with ugly sores.

[119] German name, Himmelbrandt, Wollkraut, K?nigskerre; French, bouillon blanc, mol?ne.

[120] The superstitions marked * have been in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire quite lately.

[121] The small heap of soil thrown up by ants.

[122] The modern custom is to lift the glass and say "Isten ?ltesse!" ("may God let you live.")

[123] The Finnish reformer, Michael Agricola, in his preface to the 1551 edition of the Finnish Psalms, prepared by him, mentions the idols and sacrifices of the old Finns. The passage relating to this matter is in verses, and especially of the Carialians he says the following: "Egres creates them peas, beans, and carrots, cabbage, flax, and hemp; K?nd?s guards their cleared grounds and ploughed fields as they superstitiously believe; and when they finished their spring-sowing, then they drank Ukko's Cup."

"Kuin kev?-kylv? kylvettiin
Silloin Ukon malja juottiin."

[124] "Wie Thor's cleinne trank man Ukko zu ehren volle Schale." Mythol Vorr xxviii. In Sweden, as toasts, the only word they mention is "sk?l," cup; this is a meagre reminder of "Thor's Sch?le."

[125] Not Tokay; that is German. We have a hazy recollection that one of the Popes?it may have been Sylvester II. (A.D. 1000) or Pio Nono?upon receiving a small cask of Tokaj wine, exclaimed "Talc vinum summum pontificem decet!" or words to this effect.

[126] "?ldom?s," from "?ldani" (Latin offerre and benedicere) hence?"sacrificium" and "benedictio." Cf. "Ultema?"?"preces" in Cheremiss. In the district of Hradist in Moravia, "oldoma? pit"?"?ldoma's drink." In modern Magyar the word "?ldozni" is used for to sacrifice. Whether the Magyar and Finnish Ukko are the same, or whether it is a mere coincidence, we are not prepared to say. Hunfalvy makes much of it.

[127] Ukkon-pohar-felmutato volt.

[128] In modern times the bargain is first settled and the "liquor" comes afterwards, tout comme chez nous in England.

[Pg lxx]


Preface v
Introduction vii
Contents lxx
I.? Prince Csihan 1
  Notes 303
II.? Stephen the Murderer 7
  Notes 306
III.? The Lamb with the Golden Fleece 13
  Notes 312
IV.? Fisher Joe 15
  Notes 313
V.? Luck and Bliss- 22
  Notes 317
VI.? The Lazy Cat 23
VII.? Handsome Paul 25
  Notes 317
VIII.? The Travels of Truth and Falsehood 36
  Notes 322
IX.? The Hunting Princes 39
  Notes 324
X.? The Lazy Spinning Girl 46
  Notes 330
XI.? The Envious Sisters 49
  Notes 335
XII.? Knight Rose 54
  Notes 339
XIII.? Prince Mirk? 59
  Notes 344
XIV.? The Student who was forcibly made King 76
  Notes 354
XV.? The Children of the Two Rich Men 80
  Notes 355
[Pg lxxi] XVI.? The Hussar and the Servant Girl 83
  Notes 360
XVII.? My Father's Wedding 86
  Notes 360
XVIII.? The Baa-Lambs 90
  Notes 361
XIX.? Fairy Elizabeth 95
  Notes 362
XX.? The Three Princes 110
  Notes 373
XXI.? The Three Dreams 117
  Notes 375
XXII.? Csabor Ur 123
  Notes 380
XXIII.? The Devil and the Three Slov?k Lads 126
  Notes 383
XXIV.? The Count's Daughter 127
  Notes 383
XXV.? The Speaking Grapes 131
  Notes 383
XXVI.? The Three Oranges 133
  Notes 386
XXVII.? The Youngest Prince 137
  Notes 387
XXVIII.? The Invisible Shepherd Lad 141
  Notes 387
XXIX.? The Three Princesses 144
  Notes 388
XXX.? Cinder Jack 149
  Notes 389
XXXI.? The Three Brothers 152
  Notes 391
XXXII.? The Three Valuable Things 155
  Notes 392
XXXIII.? The Little Magic Pony 157
  Notes 392
XXXIV.? The Beggars' Present 161
  Notes 394
[Pg lxxii] XXXV.? The World's Beautiful Woman 163
  Notes 395
XXXVI.? The Girl without Hands 182
  Notes 397
XXXVII.? The King and the Devil 188
  Notes 397
XXXVIII.? The Three Princes, &c. 196
  Notes 399
XXXIX.? The Widower and his Daughter 207
  Notes 401
XL.? The Wishes 217
  Notes 402
XLI.? The Two Orphans 220
  Notes 402
XLII.? The Wonderful Frog 224
  Notes 404
XLIII.? The Devil and the Red Cap 225
  Notes 405
XLIV.? Jack Dreadnought 228
  Notes 405
XLV.? The Secret keeping Little Boy 232
  Notes 406
XLVI.? Shepherd Paul 244
  Notes 407
XLVII.? The Pelican 250
  Notes 409
XLVIII.? The Girl with the Golden Hair 262
  Notes 413
XLIX.? The Lover's Ghost 278
  Notes 416
L.? Snake Skin 282
  Notes 417
LI.? The Fairies' Well 288
  Notes 418
LII.? The Crow's Nest 298
  Notes 418
LIII.? Woman's Curiosity 301
  Notes 421
Index 423

[Pg 1]



There was once?I don't know where, at the other side of seven times seven countries, or even beyond them, on the tumble-down side of a tumble-down stove?a poplar-tree, and this poplar-tree had sixty-five branches, and on every branch sat sixty-six crows; and may those who don't listen to my story have their eyes picked out by those crows!

There was a miller who was so proud that had he stept on an egg he would not have broken it. There was a time when the mill was in full work, but once as he was tired of his mill-work he said, "May God take me out of this mill!" Now, this miller had an auger, a saw, and an adze, and he set off over seven times seven countries, and never found a mill. So his wish was fulfilled. On he went, roaming about, till at last he found on the bank of the Gagy, below Martonos, a tumble-down mill, which was covered with nettles. Here he began to build, and he worked, and by the time the mill was finished all his stockings were worn into holes and his garments all tattered and torn. He then stood expecting people to come and have their flour ground; but no one ever came.

One day the twelve huntsmen of the king were chasing a fox; and it came to where the miller was, and said to him: [Pg 2] "Hide me, miller, and you shall be rewarded for your kindness." "Where shall I hide you?" said the miller, "seeing that I possess nothing but the clothes I stand in?" "There is an old torn sack lying beside that trough," replied the fox; "throw it over me, and, when the dogs come, drive them away with your broom." When the huntsmen came they asked the miller if he had seen a fox pass that way. "How could I have seen it; for, behold, I have nothing but the clothes I stand in?" With that the huntsmen left, and in a little while the fox came out and said, "Miller, I thank you for your kindness; for you have preserved me, and saved my life. I am anxious to do you a good turn if I can. Tell me, do you want to get married?" "My dear little fox," said the miller, "if I could get a wife, who would come here of her own free will, I don't say that I would not?indeed, there is no other way of my getting one; for I can't go among the spinning-girls in these clothes." The fox took leave of the miller, and, in less than a quarter of an hour, he returned with a piece of copper in his mouth. "Here you are, miller," said he; "put this away, you will want it ere long." The miller put it away, and the fox departed; but, before long, he came back with a lump of gold in his mouth. "Put this away, also," said he to the miller, "as you will need it before long." "And now," said the fox, "wouldn't you like to get married?" "Well, my dear little fox," said the miller, "I am quite willing to do so at any moment, as that is my special desire." The fox vanished again, but soon returned with a lump of diamond in his mouth. "Well, miller," said the fox, "I will not ask you any more to get married; I will get you a wife myself. And now give me that piece of copper I gave you." Then, taking it in his mouth, the fox started off over seven times seven countries, and travelled till he came to King Yellow Hammer's. "Good day, most gracious King Yellow Hammer," said the fox; "my life and death are in your majesty's hands. I have heard that you have an unmarried daughter. I am a messenger [Pg 3] from Prince Csihan, who has sent me to ask for your daughter as his wife." "I will give her with pleasure, my dear little fox," replied King Yellow Hammer; "I will not refuse her; on the contrary, I give her with great pleasure; but I would do so more willingly if I saw to whom she is to be married?even as it is, I will not refuse her."

The fox accepted the king's proposal, and they fixed a day upon which they would fetch the lady. "Very well," said the fox; and, taking leave of the king, set off with the ring to the miller.

"Now then, miller," said the fox, "you are no longer a miller, but Prince Csihan, and on a certain day and hour you must be ready to start; but, first of all, give me that lump of gold I gave you that I may take it to His Majesty King Yellow Hammer, so that he may not think you are a nobody."

The fox then started off to the king. "Good day, most gracious king, my father. Prince Csihan has sent this lump of gold to my father the king that he may spend it in preparing for the wedding, and that he might change it, as Prince Csihan has no smaller change, his gold all being in lumps like this."

"Well," reasoned King Yellow Hammer, "I am not sending my daughter to a bad sort of place, for although I am a king I have no such lumps of gold lying about in my palace."

The fox then returned home to Prince Csihan. "Now then, Prince Csihan," said he, "I have arrived safely, you see; prepare yourself to start to-morrow."

Next morning he appeared before Prince Csihan. "Are you ready?" asked he. "Oh! yes, I am ready; I can start at any moment, as I got ready long ago."

With this they started over seven times seven lands. As they passed a hedge the fox said, "Prince Csihan, do you see that splendid castle?" "How could I help seeing it, my dear little fox." "Well," replied the fox, "in that castle dwells your wife." On they went, when suddenly the fox said, "Take off the clothes you have on, let us put them into this hollow tree, and [Pg 4] then burn them, so that we may get rid of them." "You are right, we won't have them, nor any like them."

Then said the fox, "Prince Csihan, go into the river and take a bath." Having done so the prince said, "Now I've done." "All right," said the fox; "go and sit in the forest until I go into the king's presence." The fox set off and arrived at King Yellow Hammer's castle. "Alas! my gracious king, my life and my death are in thy hands. I started with Prince Csihan with three loaded wagons and a carriage and six horses, and I've just managed to get the prince naked out of the water." The king raised his hands in despair, exclaiming, "Where hast thou left my dear son-in-law, little fox?" "Most gracious king, I left him in such-and-such a place in the forest." The king at once ordered four horses to be put to a carriage, and then looked up the robes he wore in his younger days and ordered them to be put in the carriage; the coachman and footman to take their places, the fox sitting on the box.

When they arrived at the forest the fox got down, and the footman, carrying the clothes upon his arm, took them to Prince Csihan. Then said the fox to the servant, "Don't you dress the prince, he will do it more becomingly himself." He then made Prince Csihan arise, and said, "Come here, Prince Csihan, don't stare at yourself too much when you get dressed in these clothes, else the king might think you were not used to such robes." Prince Csihan got dressed, and drove off to the king. When they arrived, King Yellow Hammer took his son-in-law in his arms and said, "Thanks be to God, my dear future son-in-law, for that He has preserved thee from the great waters; and now let us send for the clergyman and let the marriage take place."

The grand ceremony over, they remained at the court of the king. One day, a month or so after they were married, the princess said to Prince Csihan, "My dear treasure, don't you think it would be as well to go and see your realm?" Prince Csihan left the room in great sorrow, and went towards the [Pg 5] stables in great trouble to get ready for the journey he could no longer postpone. Here he met the fox lolling about. As the prince came his tears rolled down upon the straw. "Hollo! Prince Csihan, what's the matter?" cried the fox. "Quite enough," was the reply; "my dear wife insists upon going to see my home." "All right," said the fox; "prepare yourself, Prince Csihan, and we will go."

The prince went off to his castle and said, "Dear wife, get ready; we will start at once." The king ordered out a carriage and six, and three waggons loaded with treasure and money, so that they might have all they needed. So they started off. Then said the fox, "Now, Prince Csihan, wherever I go you must follow." So they went over seven times seven countries. As they travelled they met a herd of oxen. "Now, herdsmen," said the fox, "if you won't say that this herd belongs to the Vasfogu B?ba, but to Prince Csihan, you shall have a handsome present." With this the fox left them, and ran straight to the Vasfogu B?ba. "Good day, my mother," said he. "Welcome, my son," replied she; "it's a good thing for you that you called me your mother, else I would have crushed your bones smaller than poppy-seed." "Alas! my mother," said the fox, "don't let us waste our time talking such nonsense, the French are coming!" "Oh! my dear son, hide me away somewhere!" cried the old woman. "I know of a bottomless lake," thought the fox; and he took her and left her on the bank, saying, "Now, my dear old mother, wash your feet here until I return." The fox then left the Vasfogu B?ba, and went to Prince Csihan, whom he found standing in the same place where he left him. He began to swear and rave at him fearfully. "Why didn't you drive on after me? come along at once." They arrived at the Vasfogu's great castle, and took possession of a suite of apartments. Here they found everything the heart could wish for, and at night all went to bed in peace.

Suddenly the fox remembered that the Vasfogu B?ba had no [Pg 6] proper abode yet, and set off to her. "I hear, my dear son," said she, "that the horses with their bells have arrived; take me away to another place." The fox crept up behind her, gave her a push, and she fell into the bottomless lake, and was drowned, leaving all her vast property to Prince Csihan. "You were born under a lucky star, my prince," said the fox, when he returned; "for see I have placed you in possession of all this great wealth." In his joy the prince gave a great feast to celebrate his coming into his property, so that the people from B?nczida to Zsukhajna were feasted royally, but he gave them no drink. "Now," said the fox to himself, "after all this feasting I will sham illness, and see what treatment I shall receive at his hands in return for all my kindness to him." So Mr. Fox became dreadfully ill, he moaned and groaned so fearfully that the neighbours made complaint to the prince. "Seize him," said the prince, "and pitch him out on the dunghill." So the poor fox was thrown out on the dunghill. One day Prince Csihan was passing that way. "You a prince!" muttered the fox; "you are nothing else but a miller; would you like to be a house-holder such as you were at the nettle-mill?" The prince was terrified by this speech of the fox, so terrified that he nearly fainted. "Oh! dear little fox, do not do that," cried the prince, "and I promise you on my royal word that I will give you the same food as I have, and that so long as I live you shall be my dearest friend and you shall be honoured as my greatest benefactor."

He then ordered the fox to be taken to the castle, and to sit at the royal table, nor did he ever forget him again.

So they lived happily ever after, and do yet, if they are not dead. May they be your guests to-morrow!

[Pg 7]


There was once, I don't know where, over seven times seven countries, or even beyond that, a very, very rich farmer, and opposite to him lived another farmer just as rich. One had a son and the other a daughter. These two farmers often talked over family matters together at their gates, and at last arranged that their children should marry each other, so that in case the old people died the young people would be able to take possession of the farms. But the young girl could not bear the young man, although he was very fond of her. Then her parents threatened to disinherit her if she did not marry as she was bid, as they were very wishful for the marriage to take place.

On the wedding morning, when they arrived at church, and were standing before the altar, the bride took the wedding ring and dashed it on the floor before the clergyman, saying, "Here, Satan, take this ring; and, if ever I bear a child to this man, take it too!" In a moment the devil appeared, snatched up the ring, and vanished. The priest, seeing and hearing all that was done, declined to proceed with the ceremony, whereupon the fathers remonstrated with him, and declared that if he did not proceed he would lose his living. The wedding thereupon was duly celebrated.

As time went by the farmers both died; and the young folks, who couldn't bear each other before, at last grew very fond of each other, and a handsome boy was born. When he was old enough he went to school, where he got on so well that before long his master could teach him no more. He then went to college, where he did the same as at school, so that his parents [Pg 8] began to think of him taking holy orders. About this time his father died; and he noticed that every night when he came home from the college that his mother was weeping: so he asked her why she wept. "Never mind me, my son," said she; "I am grieving over your father." "But you never cared much for him," said he; "cheer up, for I shall soon be a priest." "That's the very thing I'm weeping over," said his mother; "for just when you will be doing well the devils will come for you, because when I was married to your father I dashed the wedding-ring on the ground, saying, 'Here, Satan, take this ring; and if ever I bear a child to this man take it too.' One fine day, then, you will be carried off by the devil in the same way as the ring." "Is this indeed true, mother?" said the student. "It is indeed, my son." With that he went off to the priest, and said, "Godfather, are these things which my mother tells me concerning her wedding true?" "My dear godson," replied the priest, "they are true; for I saw and heard all myself." "Dear godfather, give me then at once holy candles, holy water, and incense." "Why do you want them, my son?" asked the priest. "Because," replied the student, "I mean to go to hell at once, after that lost ring and the deed of agreement." "Don't rush into their hands," said the priest; "they will come for you soon enough." But the more the priest talked the more determined was the student to set off at once for the infernal regions.

So off he went, and travelled over seven times seven countries. One evening he arrived at a large forest, and, as darkness set in, he lost his way and roamed about hither and thither looking for some place to rest; at last he found a small cottage where an old woman lived. "Good evening, mother," said he. "Good luck has brought you here, my son," said she. "What are you doing out here so late?" "I have lost my way," replied the student, "and have come here to ask for a night's lodging." "I can give you lodging, my son, but I have a murderous [Pg 9] heathen son, who has destroyed three hundred and sixty-six lives, and even now is out robbing. He might return at any moment, and he would kill you; so you had better go somewhere else and continue your way in peace, and mind you take care not to meet him."

"Whether he kill me or not," said the student, "I shall not stir an inch." As the old woman could not persuade him to go he stayed. After midnight the son returned, and shouted out loudly under the window, "Have you got my supper ready?" He then crept in on his knees, for he was so tall that he could not enter otherwise. As they sat at table he suddenly saw the student. "Mother, what sort of a guest is that?" said he. "He's a poor tramp, my son, and very tired." "Has he had anything to eat?" "No; I offered him food, but he was too tired to eat." "Go and wake him, and say, 'Come and eat'; because whether he eat or whether he let the food alone he will repent it."

"Hollo!" said the student, "what is the matter?"

"Don't ask any questions," replied the old woman; "but come and eat." The student obeyed, and they sat down to supper. "Don't eat much," said the old woman's son, "because you will repent it if you do eat and you will repent it if you don't." While they were eating the old woman's son said, "Where are you going, mate?what is your destination?" "Straight to hell, among the devils," quoth the student.

"It was my intention to kill you with a blow; but now that I know where you are going I will not touch you. Find out for me what sort of a bed they have prepared for me in that place."

"What is your name?"

"My name," said he, "is Stephen the Murderer."

In the morning, when they awoke, Stephen gave the student a good breakfast, and showed him which way to go. On he [Pg 10] travelled till at length he approached the gates of hell. He then lighted his incense, sprinkled the holy water, and lighted the holy candles. In a very short time the devils began to smell the incense, and ran out, crying, "What sort of an animal are you? Don't come here! Don't approach this place; or we will leave it at once!"

"Wherever you go," said the student, "I tell you I will follow you; for, on such and such a date, you carried off from the church floor my mother's wedding-ring; and if you don't return it and cancel the agreement, and promise me that I will have no more trouble from you, I will follow you wherever you go." "Don't come here," cried they; "stop where you are, and we will get them for you at once."

They then blew a whistle and the devils came hastily out from all directions, so many you could not count them, but they could not find the ring anywhere. They sounded the whistle again, and twice as many came as before, but still the ring was not to be found. They then whistled a third time, and twice as many more came. One fellow came limping up, very late. "Why don't you hurry," cried the others; "don't you see that a great calamity has happened? The ring can't be found. Turn out everybody's pockets, and on who ever it is found throw him into the bed of Stephen the Murderer." "Wait a moment," cried the lame one, "before you throw me into Stephen the Murderer's bed. I would rather produce three hundred wedding-rings than be thrown into that place:" whereupon he at once produced the ring, which they threw over the wall to the student, together with the agreement, crying out that it was cancelled.

One evening the student arrived back at Stephen the Murderer's. The latter was out robbing. After midnight, as usual, he returned, and when he saw the student he woke him, saying, "Get up, let's have something to eat! And have you been to hell?"

[Pg 11] "I have." "What have you heard of my bed?" "We should never have got the ring," said the student, "if the devils had not been threatened with your bed." "Well," said Stephen, "that must be a bad bed if the devils are afraid of it."

They got up the next morning, and the student started for home. Suddenly it struck Stephen the Murderer that as the student had made himself happy he ought to do as much for him. So he started after the student, who, when he saw him coming, was very much afraid lest he should be killed. In a stride or two Stephen overtook the student. "Stop, my friend; as you have bettered your lot, better mine, so that I may not go to that awful bed in hell."

"Well then," said the student, "did you kill your first man with a club or a knife?" "I never killed anybody with a knife," said Stephen, "they have all been killed with a club." "Have you got the club you killed the first man with? Go back and fetch it."

Stephen took one or two strides and was at home. He then took the club from the shelf and brought it to the student; it was so worm-eaten that you could not put a needle-point on it between the holes. "What sort of wood is this made of?" asked the student. "Wild apple-tree," replied Stephen. "Take it and come with me," said the student, "to the top of the rock." On the top of the rock there was a small hill; into this he bade him plant the club. "Now, uncle Stephen, go down under the rock, and there you will find a small spring trickling down the face of the stone. Go on your knees to this spring and pray, and, creeping on your knees, carry water in your mouth to this club, and continue to do so till it buds; it will then bear apples, and when it does you will be free from that bed."

Stephen the Murderer began to carry the water to the club, and the student left him, and went home. He was at once made a priest on account of his courage in going to hell; and [Pg 12] after he had been a priest for twenty-five years they made him pope, and this he was for many years.

In those days it was the rule?according to an old custom?for the pope to make a tour of his country, and it so happened that this pope came to his journey's end, on the very rock upon which the club had been planted. He stopped there with his suite, in order to rest. Suddenly one of the servants saw a low tree on the top of the rock, covered with beautiful red apples. "Your holiness," said he to the pope, "I have seen most beautiful red apples, and if you will permit me I will go and gather some." "Go," said the pope, "and if they are so very beautiful bring some to me." The servant approached the tree; as he drew near he heard a voice that frightened him terribly saying, "No one is allowed to pluck this fruit except him who planted the tree." Off rushed the servant to the pope, who asked him if he had brought any apples.

"Your holiness, I did not even get any for myself," gasped the servant, "because some one shouted to me so loudly that I nearly dropped; I saw no one, but only heard a voice that said, 'No one is allowed to pluck this fruit but the man who planted the tree.'"

The pope began to think, and all at once he remembered that he had planted the tree when he was a lad. He ordered the horses to be taken out of his carriage, and, with his servant and his coachman, he set off to the red apple-tree. When they arrived, the pope cried out, "Stephen the Murderer, where are you?" A dried-up skull rolled out, and said, "Here I am, your holiness; all the limbs of my body dropped off whilst I was carrying water, and are scattered all around; every nerve and muscle lies strewn here; but, if the pope commands, they will all come together." The pope did so, and the scattered members came together into a heap.

The servant and the coachman were then ordered to open a [Pg 13] large, deep hole, and to put the bones into it, and then cover all up, which they did. The pope then said mass, and gave the absolution, and at that moment Stephen the Murderer was delivered from the dreadful bed in hell. The pope then went back to his own country, where he still lives, if he has not died since.


There was once a poor man who had a son, and as the son grew up his father sent him out to look for work. The son travelled about looking for a place, and at last met with a man who arranged to take him as a shepherd. Next day his master gave him a flute, and sent him out with the sheep to see whether he was fit for his work. The lad never lay down all day, very unlike many lazy fellows. He drove his sheep from place to place and played his flute all day long. There was among the sheep a lamb with golden fleece, which, whenever he played his flute, began to dance. The lad became very fond of this lamb, and made up his mind not to ask any wages of his master, but only this little lamb. In the evening he returned home; his master waited at the gate; and, when he saw the sheep all there and all well-fed, he was very pleased, and began to bargain with the lad, who said he wished for nothing but the lamb with the golden fleece. The farmer was very fond of the lamb himself, and it was with great unwillingness he promised it; but he gave in afterwards when he saw what a good servant the lad made. The year passed away; the lad received the lamb for his wages, and set off home with it. As they journeyed night set in just as he reached a village, so he went to a farmhouse to ask for a night's lodging. [Pg 14] There was a daughter in the house who when she saw the lamb with the golden fleece determined to steal it. About midnight she arose, and lo! the moment she touched the lamb she stuck hard-and-fast to its fleece, so that when the lad got up he found her stuck to the lamb. He could not separate them, and as he could not leave his lamb he took them both. As he passed the third door from the house where he had spent the night he took out his flute and began to play. Then the lamb began to dance, and on the wool the girl. Round the corner a woman was putting bread into the oven; looking up she saw the lamb dancing, and on its wool the girl. Seizing the peel in order to frighten the girl, she rushed out and shouted, "Get away home with you, don't make such a fool of yourself." As the girl continued dancing the woman called out, "What, won't you obey?" and gave her a blow on her back with the peel, which at once stuck to the girl, and the woman to the peel, and the lamb carried them all off. As they went they came to the church. Here the lad began to play again, the lamb began to dance, and on the lamb's fleece the girl, and on the girl's back the peel, and at the end of the peel the woman. Just then the priest was coming out from matins, and seeing what was going on began to scold them, and bid them go home and not to be so foolish. As words were of no avail, he hit the woman a sound whack on her back with his cane, when to his surprise the cane stuck to the woman, and he to the end of his cane. With this nice company the lad went on; and towards dark reached the royal borough and took lodgings at the end of the town for the night with an old woman. "What news is there?" said he. The old woman told him they were in very great sorrow, for the king's daughter was very ill, and that no physician could heal her, but that if she could but be made to laugh she would be better at once; that no one had as yet been able to make her smile; and moreover the king had issued that very day a proclamation stating that whoever made her laugh should have her for his wife, and share the [Pg 15] royal power. The lad with the lamb could scarcely wait till daylight, so anxious was he to try his fortune. In the morning he presented himself to the king and stated his business and was very graciously received. The daughter stood in the hall at the front of the house; the lad then began to play the flute, the lamb to dance, on the lamb's fleece the girl, on the girl's back the peel, at the end of the peel the woman, on the woman's back the cane, and at the end of the cane the priest. When the princess saw this sight she burst out laughing, which made the lamb so glad that it shook everything off its back, and the lamb, the girl, the woman, and the priest each danced by themselves for joy.

The king married his daughter to the shepherd; the priest was made court-chaplain; the woman court bakeress; and the girl lady-in-waiting to the princess.

The wedding lasted from one Monday to the other Tuesday, and the whole land was in great joy, and if the strings of the fiddle hadn't broken they would have been dancing yet!


There was once a poor man, who had nothing in the world but his wife and an unhappy son Joe. His continual and his only care was how to keep them: so he determined to go fishing, and thus to keep them from day to day upon whatever the Lord brought to his net. Suddenly both the old folks died and left the unhappy son by himself; he went behind the oven and did not come out till both father and mother were buried; he sat three days behind the oven, and then remembered that his father had kept them by fishing; so he got up, took his net, and went fishing below the [Pg 16] weir: there he fished till the skin began to peel off the palms of his hands, and never caught so much as one fish. At last he said, "I will cast my net once more, and then I will never do so again." So he cast his net for the last time and drew to shore a golden fish. While he was going home he thought he would give it to the lord of the manor, so that perhaps he might grant a day's wages for it. When he got home he took down a plate from the rack, took the fish from his bag, and laid it upon the plate; but the fish slipped off the plate and changed into a lovely girl, who said, "I am thine, and you are mine, love." The moment after she asked, "Joe, did your father leave you anything?" "We had something," replied her husband; "but my father was poor and he sold everything; but," continued he, "do you see that high mountain yonder? it is not sold yet, for it is too steep and no one would have it." Then said his wife, "Let's go for a walk and look over the mountain." So they went all over it, length and breadth, from furrow to furrow. When they came to a furrow in the middle his wife said, "Let us sit down on a ridge, my love, and rest a little." They sat down, and Joe laid his head on his wife's lap and fell asleep. She then slipped off her cloak, made it into a pillow, drew herself away, and laid Joe upon the pillow without waking him. She rose, went away, uncoiled a large whip and cracked it. The crack was heard over seven times seven countries. In a moment as many dragons as existed came forth. "What are your Majesty's commands?" said they. "My commands are these," replied she: "you see this place?build a palace here, finer than any that exists in the world; and whatever is needed in it must be there: stables for eight bullocks and the bullocks in them, with two men to tend them; stalls for eight horses and the horses in them, and two grooms to tend them; six stacks in the yard, and twelve threshers in the barn." She was greatly delighted when she saw her order completed, and thanked God that He had given her what He had promised. "I shall now go," said she, "and wake my husband." When [Pg 17] she came to him he was still asleep. "Get up, my love," said she, "look after the threshers, the grooms, the oxen, and see that all do their work, and that all the work be done, and give your orders to the labourers; and now, my love, let us go into the house and see that all is right. You give your orders to the men-servants, and I will give mine to the maids. We have now enough to live on;" and Joe thanked God for His blessings. He then told his wife that he would invite the lord of the manor to dine with him on Whit Sunday. "Don't leave me," replied his wife; "for if he catch sight of me you will lose me. I will see that the table is laid and all is ready; but a maid shall wait on you. I will retire into an inner room lest he should see me."

Joe ordered the carriage and six, seated himself in it, the coachman sat on the box, and away they went to the lord's house; they arrived at the gate, Joe got out, went through the gate, and saw three stonemasons at work in the yard; he greeted them and they returned the greeting. "Just look," remarked one of them, "what Joe has become and how miserable he used to be!" He entered the castle, and went into the lord's room. "Good day, my lord." "God bless you, Joe, what news?" "I have come to ask your lordship to dine with me on Whit Sunday, and we shall be very pleased to see you." "I will come, Joe;" they then said good-bye and parted. After Joe had gone the lord came into the courtyard, and the three masons asked him "What did Joe want?" "He has invited me to dine with him," was the reply, "and I am going." "Of course; you must go," said one of them, "that you may see what sort of a house he keeps."

The lord set out in his carriage and four, with the coachman in front, and arrived at the palace. Joe ran out to meet him, they saluted each other, and entered arm in arm. They dined, and all went well till the lord asked, "Well, Joe, and where is your wife?" "She is busy," said Joe. "But I should like to see her," explained the baron. "She is rather shy when in [Pg 18] men's society," said Joe. They enjoyed themselves, lighted their pipes and went for a walk over the palace. Then said the baron to his servant, "Order the carriage at once;" it arrived, and Joe and he said "Farewell." As the baron went through the gate he looked back and saw Joe's wife standing at one of the windows, and at once fell so deeply in love with her that he became dangerously ill; when he arrived at home the footmen were obliged to carry him from his carriage and lay him in his bed.

At daybreak the three masons arrived and began to work. They waited for their master. As he did not appear, "I will go and see what's the matter with him," said one of them, "for he always came out at 8 a.m." So the mason went in and saluted the baron, but got no reply. "You are ill, my lord," said he. "I am," said the baron, "for Joe has such a pretty wife, and if I can't get her I shall die." The mason went out and the three consulted together as to what was best to be done. One of them proposed a task for Joe, i.e. that a large stone column which stood before one of the windows should be pulled down, the plot planted with vines, the grapes to ripen over night, and the next morning a goblet of wine should be made from their juice and be placed on the master's table; if this was not done Joe was to lose his wife. So one of them went in to the baron and told him of their plan, remarking that Joe could not do that, and so he would lose his wife. A groom was sent on horseback for Joe, who came at once, and asked what his lordship desired. The baron then told him the task he had to propose and the penalty. Poor Joe was so downcast that he left without even saying "good-bye," threw himself into his carriage, and went home. "Well, my love," asked his wife, "what does he want?" "Want," replied her husband, "he ordered me to pull down the stone column in front of his window. Since my father was not a working-man, how could I do any work? Nor is that all. I am to plant the place with vines, the [Pg 19] grapes have to ripen, and I am to make a goblet of wine, to be placed on his table at daybreak; and if I fail I am to lose you."

"Your smallest trouble ought to be greater than that," said his wife. "Eat and drink, go to bed and have a good rest, and all will be well." When night came she went out into the farmyard, uncoiled her whip, gave a crack, which was heard over seven times seven countries, and immediately all the dragons appeared. "What are your Majesty's commands?" She then told them what her husband required, and in the morning Joe had the goblet of wine, which he took on horseback lest he should be late; he opened the baron's window, and, as nobody was there, he placed the goblet on the table, closed the window, and returned home.

At daybreak the baron turned in his bed. The bright light reflected by the goblet met his eyes, and had such an effect on him that he fell back in his bed, and got worse and worse.

The three masons arrived and wondered why their master did not appear. Said the tallest to the middle one, "I taught him something yesterday; now you must teach him something else." "Well," said the middle one, "my idea is this, that Joe shall build a silver bridge in front of the gate during the night, plant both ends with all kinds of trees, and that the trees be filled with all kinds of birds singing and twittering in the morning. I'll warrant he won't do that, and so he will lose his wife." When the baron came out they communicated their plan; he at once sent for Joe and told him what he required. Joe went away without even saying good-bye, he was so sad. When he got home he told his wife what the baron wanted this time. "Don't trouble yourself, my love," said his wife, "eat and drink and get a good rest, all shall be well." At night she cracked her whip and ordered the dragons to do all that was required, and so at daybreak all was done. The birds made such a noise that the whole of the village was awakened by them. One nightingale loudly and clearly to the baron sang, "Whatever [Pg 20] God has given to some one else that you must not covet; be satisfied with what has been given to you." The baron awoke and turned over, and, hearing the loud singing of the birds, rose and looked out of the window. The glare of the silver bridge opposite the gate blinded him, and he fell back in bed and got worse and worse. When the three masons arrived they could not enter, for the splendour of the silver bridge dazzled them, and they were obliged to enter by another gate.

As they were working, the shortest said to the middle one, "Go and see why his lordship does not come out; perhaps he is worse." He went in and found the baron worse than ever. Then said the shortest, "I thought of something, my lord, which he will never be able to do, and so you will get his wife." "What is that, mason?" demanded the baron. "It is this, my lord," said the mason, "that he shall ask God to dinner on Palm Sunday, and that he can't do, and so he will lose his wife." "If you can get Joe's wife for me you shall have all this property," said the baron. "It's ours, then," said they, "for he can't do that." Joe was sent for, and came at once to know what was required of him. "My orders are these," replied the baron, "that you invite God to dinner on Palm Sunday to my house; if you do not your wife is lost." Poor Joe went out without saying good-bye, jumped into his carriage, and returned home dreadfully miserable. When his wife asked him what was the matter he told her of the baron's commands. "Go on," said his wife; "bring me that foal, the yearling, the most wretched one of all, put upon it an old saddle and silver harness on its head, and then get on its back." He did so, said good-bye, and the wretched yearling darted off at once straight to heaven. By the time it arrived there it had become quite a beautiful horse. When Joe reached the gates of Paradise he tied his horse to a stake, knocked at the door, which opened, and he went in and greeted the Almighty. St. Peter received him, and asked him why he had come. "I've come," said he, "to [Pg 21] invite God to dinner at my lord's on Palm Sunday." "Tell him from me," said the deity, "that I will come, and tell him that he is to sow a plot with barley, and that it will ripen, and that I will eat bread made of it at dinner. That a cow is to be taken to the bull to-day, and that I will eat the flesh of the calf for my dinner."

With this Joe took leave, and the foal flew downward. As they went Joe was like to fall head-foremost off, and called upon the deity. St. Peter told him not to fear, it was all right; he would fall on his feet. When Joe arrived at home the barley was waving in the breeze and the cow was in calf. "Well, wife," said he, "I will go to the baron's and give him the message." So he went, knocked at the door, and entered the room. "Don't come a step further," cried the baron. "I don't intend to," said Joe: "I've come to tell you I have executed your commands, and mind you don't blame me for what will happen. The deity has sent you this message: you are to sow a plot with barley, and of it make bread for His dinner. A cow is to go to the bull, and of the calf's flesh He will eat." The baron became thoughtful. "Don't worry yourself, my lord," said Joe, "you have worried me enough, it is your turn now;" and so he said "good-bye," and went off home: when he got there the barley-bread was baking and the veal was roasting.

At this moment the deity and St. Peter arrived from heaven and were on their way to the baron's, who the moment he saw them called out to his servant, "Lock the gate, and do not let them in." Then said the deity, "Let us go back to the poor man's home, and have dinner there." When they reached the foot of the mountain St. Peter was told to look back and say what he saw, and lo! the whole of the baron's property was a sheet of water. "Now," said the deity to St. Peter, "let us go on, for the mountain is high, and difficult to ascend." When they arrived at Joe's he rushed out with outspread arms, fell to the ground, and kissed the sole of the deity's foot. He entered and [Pg 22] sat down to dinner, so did Joe and his wife and also St. Peter. Then said God to Joe, "Set a table in this world for the poor and miserable, and you shall have one laid for you in the world to come; and now good-bye: you shall live in joy, and in each other's love."

They are living still if they have not died since. May they be your guests to-morrow!


Luck and Bliss went out one day, and came to a town where they found a poor man selling brooms, but nobody seemed to buy anything from him. Bliss thereupon said, "Let us stop, and I will buy them all from the poor fellow, so that he may make a good bargain." So they stopped, and Bliss bought them all, and gave him six times the market value of them, in order that the poor man might have a good start.

On another occasion they came to the same town and found the man still selling brooms. Bliss bought them all, and gave him ten times their market value. They came a third time to the town, and the man was still selling brooms, whereupon Luck said, "Let me try now, for, see, you have bought them all twice, and in vain, for the man is a poor broom-seller still;" [Pg 23] so Luck bought them, but she did not give a penny more than the market price. They came to the town a fourth time and saw the man who had sold brooms leading wheat into town in a wagon with iron hoops on the wheels and drawn by four fine bullocks. When they saw this Luck said to Bliss, "Do you see that man who used to sell brooms? You bought them all twice for a very high price. I bought them but once, and that for the market value, and the consequence of my having done so is that he no longer sells brooms, as he used to do, but wheat, and it appears he must have got on well with his farm too."


A lad married a lazy rich girl, and he made a vow that he would never beat her. The missis never did any work but went about from house to house gossiping and making all kinds of mischief, but still her husband never beat her. One morning as he was going out to his work he said to the cat, "You cat, I command you to do everything that is needed in the house. While I am away put everything in order, cook the dinner, and do some spinning; if you don't, I'll give you such a thrashing as you won't forget." The cat listened to his speech half asleep, blinking on the hearth. The woman thought to herself, "My husband has gone mad." So she said, "Why do you order the cat to do all these things, which she knows nothing about?" "Whether she does or whether she doesn't it's all the same to me, wife. I have no one else whom I can ask to do anything; and if she does not do all that I have ordered her to do you will see that I will give her such a thrashing as she will never forget." With this he went out to work, and the wife began to talk to the cat and said, "You had better get your work done, or he will beat you;" but the cat did not work, and the wife went from house to house gossiping. When she came home the cat was asleep on the hearth, and the fire had gone out; so she said, "Make the fire up, cat, and get your work done, or you will get a sound thrashing;" but the cat did no work. In the evening the master came home and found that nothing was done and that [Pg 24] his orders were not carried out; so he took hold of the cat by its tail and fastened it to his wife's back, and began to beat till his wife cried out, "Don't beat that cat any more! Don't beat that cat any more! it is not her fault, she cannot help it, she does not understand these things." "Will you promise then that you will do it all in her stead?" inquired her husband. "I will do it all and even more than you order," replied his wife, "if you will only leave off beating that cat."

The woman then ran off home to complain to her mother of all these things, and said, "I have promised that I will do all the work instead of the cat, in order to prevent my husband beating her to death on my back." And then her father spoke up and said, "If you have promised to do it you must do it; if not, the cat will get a thrashing to-morrow." And he sent her back to her husband.

Next time the master again ordered the cat what she had to do, and she did nothing again. So she got another beating on the wife's back, who ran home again to complain; but her father drove her back, and she ran so fast that her foot did not touch the ground as she went.

On the third morning again the master commenced to give his commands to the cat, who, however, was too frightened to listen, and did no work that day; but this time the mistress did her work for her. She forgot no one thing she had promised?she lighted the fire, fetched water, cooked the food, swept the house, and put everything in order; for she was frightened lest her husband should beat the poor cat again; for the wretched animal in its agony stuck its claws into her back, and, besides, the end of the two-tailed whip reached further than the cat's back, so that with every stroke she received one as well as the cat. When her husband came home everything was in order, and he kept muttering, "Don't be afraid, cat, I won't thrash you this time;" and his wife laid the cloth joyfully, dished up the food, and they had a good meal in peace.

[Pg 25] After that the cat had no more beatings, and the mistress became such a good housewife that you could not wish for a better.


There was once, over seven times seven countries, a poor woman who had a son, and he decided to go into service. So he said to his mother, "Mother, fill my bag and let me go out to work, for that will do me more good than staying here and wasting my time." The lad's name was Paul. His mother filled his bag for him, and he started off. As it became dark he reached a wood, and in the distance he saw, as it were, a spark glimmering amongst the trees, so he made his way in that direction thinking that he might find some one there, and that he would be able to get a night's lodging. So he walked and walked for a long time, and the nearer he came the larger the light became. By midnight he reached the place where the fire was, and lo! there was a great ugly giant sleeping by the fire. "Good evening, my father," said Paul. "God has brought you, my son," replied the giant; "you may think yourself lucky that you called me father, for if you had not done so I would have swallowed you whole. And now what is your errand?"

"I started from home," said Paul, "to find work, and good fortune brought me this way. My father, permit me to sleep to-night by your fire, for I am alone and don't know my way." "With pleasure, my son," said the giant. So Paul sat down and had his supper, and then they both fell asleep. Next morning the giant asked him where he intended to go in search of work. "If I could," replied Paul, "I should like to enter the king's service, for I have heard he pays his servants justly." [Pg 26] "Alas! my son," said the giant, "the king lives far away from here. Your provisions would fail twice before you reached there, but we can manage the matter if you will sit on my shoulder and catch hold of the hair on the back of my head." Paul took his seat on the giant's shoulders. "Shut your eyes," said the giant, "because if you don't you will turn giddy." Paul shut his eyes, and the giant started off, stepping from mountain to mountain, till noon, when he stopped and said to Paul, "Open your eyes now and tell me what you can see."

Paul looked around as far as he could see, and said, "I see at an infinite distance something white, as big as a star. What is it, my father?" "That is the king's citadel," said the giant, and then they sat down and had dinner. The giant's bag was made of nine buffalo's skins, and in it were ten loaves (each loaf being made of four bushels of wheat), and ten large bottles full of good Hungarian wine. The giant consumed two bottles of wine and two loaves for his dinner, and gave Paul what he needed. After a short nap the giant took Paul upon his shoulders, bade him shut his eyes, and started off again, stepping from mountain to mountain. At three o'clock he said to Paul, "Open your eyes, and tell me what you can see." "I can see the white shining thing still," said Paul, "but now it looks like a building." "Well, then, shut your eyes again," said the giant, and he walked for another hour, and then again asked Paul to look. Paul now saw a splendid glittering fortress, such a one as he had never seen before, not even in his dreams. "In another quarter-of-an-hour we shall be there," said the giant. Paul shut his eyes again, and in fifteen minutes they were there; and the giant put him down in front of the gate of the king's palace, saying, "Well, now, I will leave you here, for I have a pressing engagement, and must get back, but whatsoever service they offer to you, take it, behave well, and the Lord keep you." Paul thanked him for his kindness and his good-will, and the giant left. As Paul was a fine handsome fellow he was engaged at once, for the first three [Pg 27] months to tend the turkeys, as there was no other vacancy, but even during this time he was employed on other work: and he behaved so well, that at the end of the time he was promoted to wait at the king's table. When he was dressed in his new suit he looked like a splendid flower. The king had three daughters; the youngest was more beautiful than the rose or the lily, and this young lady fell in love with Paul, which Paul very soon noticed; and day by day his courage grew, and he approached her more and more, till they got very fond of each other.

The queen with her serpent's eye soon discovered the state of affairs, and told the king of it.

"It's all right," said the king, "I'll soon settle the wretched fellow; only leave it to me, my wife."

Poor Paul, what awaits thee?

The king then sent for Paul and said, "Look here, you good-for-nothing, I can see you are a smart fellow! Now listen to me: I order you to cut down during the night the whole wood that is in front of my window, to cart it home, chop it up, and stack it in proper order in my courtyard; if you don't I shall have your head chopped off in the morning." Paul was so frightened when he heard this that he turned white and said, "Oh, my king! no man could do this." "What!" said the king, "you good-for-nothing, you dare to contradict me? go to prison at once!" Paul was at once taken away, and the king repeated his commands, saying that unless they were obeyed Paul should lose his head. Poor Paul was very sad, and wept like a baby; but the youngest princess stepped into his prison through a secret trap-door, and consoled him, giving him a copper whip, and telling him to go and stand outside the gate on the top of the hill, and crack it three times, when all the devils would appear. He was then to give his orders, which the devils would carry out.

Paul went off through the trap, and the princess remained in prison till Paul returned; he went out, stood on the hill, and [Pg 28] cracked his whip well thrice, and lo! the devils came running to him from all sides, crying, "What are your commands handsome Paul?" "I order you," replied Paul, "by to-morrow morning to have all that large forest cut down, chopped, and stacked in the king's courtyard;" with this he went back to prison and spent a little time with the princess before she went away. The devils entered the wood, and began to hew the trees down; there was a roaring, clattering, and cracking noise as the big trees were dragged by root and crown into the king's yard; they were chopped up and stacked; and the devils, having finished the task, ran back to hell. By one o'clock all was done.

In the morning the first thing the king did was to look through the window in the direction of the wood; he could not see anything but bare land, and when he looked into the courtyard he saw there all the wood chopped and stacked.

He then called Paul from prison and said, "Well, I can see that you know something, my lad, and I now order you to plough up to-night the place where the wood used to be, and sow it with millet. The millet must grow, ripen, be reaped, threshed, and ground into flour by the morning, and of it you must make me a large millet-cake, else you lose your head." Paul was then sent back to prison, more miserable than ever, for how could he do such an unheard-of thing as that? His sweetheart came in again through the trap-door and found him weeping bitterly. When she heard the cause of his grief she said, "Oh, don't worry yourself, dear; here is a golden whip, go and crack it three times on the hill-top, and all the devils will come that came last night; crack it again three times and all the female devils will arrive; crack it another three times and even the lame ones will appear, and those enceinte come creeping forth. Tell them what you want and they will do it."

Paul went out and stood on the hill-top, and cracked his whip three good cracks, and then three more, and three more, such [Pg 29] loud cracks that his ears rung, and again the devils came swarming in all directions like ants, old ones and young ones, males and females, lame and enceinte, such a crowd that he could not see them all without turning his head all round. They pressed him hard, saying, "What are your commands, handsome Paul? What are your commands, handsome Paul? If you order us to pluck all the stars from heaven and to place them in your hands it shall be done."

Paul gave his orders and went back to prison, and stayed with the princess till daybreak.

There was a sight on the hill-side, the devils were shouting and making such a din that you could not tell one word from another. "Now then! Come here! This way, Michael! That way, Jack! Pull it this way! Turn it that way! Go at it! See, the work is done!"

The whole place was soon ploughed up, the millet sown, and it began to sprout, it grew, ripened, was cut, carted in wagons, in barrows, on their backs, or as best they could. It was thrashed with iron flails, carried to the mill, crushed and bolted, a light was put to the timber in the yard, it took fire, and the wood crackled everywhere, and there was such a light that the king in the seventh country off could see to count his money by it. Then they brought from hell the biggest cauldron they could find, put it on the fire, put flour into it and boiling water; as the millet-cake was bubbling and boiling they took it out of the pot and put it into Mrs. Pluto's lap, placed a huge spoon into her hands, and she began to stir away, mix it up, and cut it up with her quick hands till it began to curl up at the side of the cauldron after the spoon. As it was quite done she mixed it well once more, and being out of breath handed the spoon to Pluto himself?who was superintending the whole work,?who took out his pocket-knife?which was red-hot?and began to scrape the cake off the spoon and to eat it with great gusto.

Mrs. Pluto then took the cake out with a huge wooden spoon, [Pg 30] heaped it up nicely, patted it all round, and put it on the fire once more; when it was quite baked she turned it out a large millet-cake in the midst of the yard, and then they all rushed back, as fast as they could run, to hell.

Next morning, when the king looked through the window, an immense millet-cake was to be seen there, so large that it nearly filled the whole yard; and he, however vexed he was, could not help bursting out into a loud laugh. He gave instant orders for the whole town to come and clear away the millet-cake, and not to leave so much as a mouthful. Never was such a feast seen before, and I don't think ever will be again: some carried it away in their hands, some in bags, some in large table-cloths, sacks, and even in wagons; everybody took some, and it went in all directions in every possible manner, so that in three hours the huge cake was all gone; even the part that had stuck to the ground was scraped up and carried away. Some made tarts of it at home, pounded poppy-seed, and spread it over them; others wanted pork to eat with it, others ate it with fresh milk, with dried prunes, with perry, with craps, with cream-milk, sour-milk, cow's-milk, goat's-milk; some with curds; others covered it over with cream-cheese, rolled it up and ate it thus; better houses mixed it with good buffalo-milk, and ate it with butter, lard, and cream-cheese, so that it was no longer millet-cake with cream-cheese, but cream-cheese with millet-cake! There were many who had never eaten anything like it before, and they got so full of it they could just breathe; even the king had a large piece served up for his breakfast on a porcelain plate; he then went to the larder for a large tub, which was full of the best cream-cheese of Csik like unto the finest butter; he took a large piece of this, spread it on his cake, set to and ate it to the very last. He then drank three tumblerfuls of the best old claret, and said, "Well, that really was a breakfast fit for the gods!" And thus it happened that all the millet-cake was used up, and then the king sent for Paul and said to him, [Pg 31] "Well, you brat of a devil, did you do all this, or who did it?" "I don't know." "Well, there are in my stables a bay stallion, a bay mare, two grey fillies and a bay filly, you must walk them about, in turn, to-morrow morning, till they are tired out; if you don't I'll have your head impaled." Paul wasn't a bit frightened this time, but began to whistle, and hum tunes to himself in the prison, being in capital spirits. "It will be very easy to walk these horses out," said he; "it's not the first time I've done that." The matter looked different however in the evening when his sweetheart came and he told her all about it. "My love," said she, "this is even worse than all the rest, because the devils did all your former tasks for you, but this you must do yourself. Moreover, you must know that the bay stallion will be my father, the bay mare my mother, the two grey foals my elder sisters, and the bay foal myself. However, we shall find some way of doing even this. When you enter the stable we all will begin to kick so terribly that you won't be able to get near us; but you must try to get hold of the iron pole that stands inside the door, and with it thrash them all till they are tame; then you must lead them out as well as you can; but don't beat me, for I shall not desert you." His love then gave him a copper bridle, which he hid in his bosom, and buttoned his coat over it. And his lady-love went back to her bedroom; for she knew there was plenty of hard work in store for her on the morrow; for the same reason she ordered Paul to try to sleep well.

In the morning the jailer came, and brought two warders with him, and led Paul to the stable to take the horses out for a walk. Even in the distance he could hear the snorting, kicking, pawing, and neighing in the stable, so that it filled the air. He tried in vain to get inside the stable-door, he had not courage enough to take even one step inside. Somehow or other, however, he got hold of the iron pole, and with it he beat, pounded, and whacked the bay stallion till it lay down in agony. He then took out his bridle, threw it over its head, led it out, jumped upon its back, and [Pg 32] rode it about till the foam streamed from it, and then led it in and tied it up. He did the same with the bay mare, only she was worse; and the grey foals were worse still, till by the end he was nearly worn out with beating them. At last he came to the bay foal, but he would not have touched her for all the treasure of the world; yet, in order to deceive the others, he banged the crib, box, manger, and posts right lustily, till at last the bay foal lay down. With this the mare, who was the queen, said to the bay stallion, "You see it was that bay foal who was the cause of all this. But wait a bit, confound her!" she cried after them as he led her out of the stable; "I also have as many wits as you, and I will teach you both a lesson. Never mind, my sweet daughter, you have treated us all most cruelly with that iron pole, but you shall pay for it shortly." When Paul heard this he was so frightened he could hardly lead the foal. "Don't be afraid," said the foal, "let's get away from here, and the sooner the better, never to return, or woe betide us!" They cantered up to the house, where she sent him in to get money, and jewellery, and the various things they would need, and then galloped off as fast as she could with Paul on her back, over seven times seven countries, till noon; and just as the sun was at noon the foal said to Paul, "Look back; what can you see?" Paul looked back and saw in the distance an eagle flying towards them, from whose mouth shot forth a flame seven fathoms long. Then said the foal, "I will turn a somersault, and become a sprouting millet-field; you do the same, you will become the garde champ?tre, and when the eagle, which is my father, comes, if he ask you if you have seen such and such travellers, tell him, yes, you saw them pass when this millet was sown." So the foal turned over and became a sprouting millet-field, and Paul became the garde champ?tre. The eagle arrived, and said, "My lad, have you not seen a young fellow on a bay foal pass this way in a great hurry?" "Well, yes," replied Paul, "I saw them at the time this millet was sown, but I can't [Pg 33] tell you where they may be now." "I don't think they can have come this way," said the eagle, and flew back home and told his wife all about it. "Oh! you baulked fool!" cried she, "the millet-field was your daughter, and the lad Paul. So back you go at once, and bring them home."

Paul and his foal rode on half the afternoon, and then the foal said, "Look back, what can you see?" "I see the eagle again," said Paul, "but now the flame is twice seven fathoms long; he flies very quickly." "Let's turn over again," said the foal, "and I will become a lamb and you will be the shepherd, and if my father ask you if you have seen the travellers say yes, you saw them when the lamb was born." So they turned over, and one became a lamb and the other a shepherd; the eagle arrived and asked the shepherd if he had seen the travellers pass by, and was told that they were seen when the lamb was born. The king returned and told his wife all, who drove him back, crying, "The lamb was your daughter and the shepherd, Paul, you empty-headed fool." Paul and the foal went on a long way, when the foal said, "What can you see?" He saw the eagle again, but now it was enveloped in flames; they turned over and the foal became a chapel, and Paul a hermit inside; the eagle arrived and inquired after the travellers, and was told by the hermit that they had passed by when the chapel was building. The eagle went back a third time, and his wife was in an awful rage and told him to stay where he was, telling him that the chapel was his daughter and the hermit Paul. "But you are so dense," said she, "they can make you believe anything; I will go myself and see whether they will fool me."

The queen started off as a falcon. Paul and the foal went still travelling on, when the foal said, "Look back, what can you see?" "I see a falcon," said Paul, "With a flame seventy-seven yards long coming out of its mouth." "That's my mother," said the foal, "We must be careful this time, Paul, for we shall [Pg 34] not be able to hoodwink her with lies; let us turn over quickly, she will be here in a second. I will be a lake of milk and you a golden duck on it; take care she doesn't catch you, or we are done for." They turned over and changed; the falcon arrived and swooped down upon the duck like lightning, who had just time to dive and escape. The falcon tried again and again till it got quite tired; for each time the duck dived and so she missed him. In a great rage the falcon turned over and became the queen. She picked up stones and tried to strike the duck dead, but he was clever enough to dodge her, so she soon got tired of that and said, "I can see, you beast, that I cannot do anything with you; my other two daughters died before my eyes to-day from the beating you gave them with the iron pole, you murderer. Now I curse you with this curse, that you will forget each other, and never remember that you have ever known each other."

With this she turned over, became a falcon, and flew away home very sad, and the other two changed also, this time into Paul and the princess. "Nobody will persecute us now," said she, "let us travel on quietly. The death of my two sisters is no sad or bad news to me, for now when my father and mother are dead the land will be ours, my dear Paul;" so they wandered on, and talked over their affairs, till they came to a house; and as the day was closing they felt very tired and sat down to rest and fell asleep. After sunset they awoke and stared at each other, but couldn't make out who the other was, for they had forgotten all the past, and inquired in astonishment "Who are you?" and "Well, who are you?" But neither could tell who the other was; so they walked into the town as strangers and separated. Paul got a situation as valet to a nobleman, and the princess became a lady's maid in another part of the city. They lived there for twelve months, and never once remembered anything that had happened in the past. One night Paul dreamt that the bay stallion was in its last agony, and soon afterwards died; the lady's maid, at the same time, dreamt that the bay mare [Pg 35] was dying, and died; by this dream they both remembered all that had happened to each other; but even then they did not know that they were in the same town. On the day following this dream Paul was sent by the nobleman's son secretly with a love-letter to the nobleman's youngest daughter where the lady's maid lived. Paul took the letter, and handed it to the lady's maid so that she might place it in her mistress's hands; then he saw who the lady's maid was, that it was his old sweetheart, the beloved of his soul; now he remembered how often before he had given her letters from his young master for the young lady of the house, and how he had done a little love-making on his own account, but never till now had he recognised her. The princess recognised Paul at a glance and rushed into his arms and wept for joy. They told each other their dreams, and knew that her father and mother?the bay mare and bay stallion of yore?died last night. "Let us be off," said the princess, "or else the kingdom will be snatched from us." So they agreed, and fixed the day after the morrow for the start. Next morning the official crier proclaimed that the king and queen had died suddenly about midnight; it happened at the very moment they had had their dreams.

They started secretly by the same road, and arrived at home in a day.

The king and queen were still laid in state, and the princess, who was thought to be lost, shed tears over them.

She was soon afterwards crowned queen of the realm, and chose Paul for her consort, and got married; if they have not died since they are still alive, and in great happiness to this day.

[Pg 36]


A long time ago?I don't exactly remember the day?Truth started, with her bag well filled, on a journey to see the world. On she went over hill and dale, and through village and town, till one day she met Falsehood. "Good day, countrywoman," said Truth; "where are you bound for? Where do you intend going?" "I'm going to travel all over the world," said Falsehood. "That's right," said Truth; "and as I'm bound in the same direction let's travel together." "All right," replied Falsehood; "but you know that fellow-travellers must live in harmony, so let's divide our provisions and finish yours first." Truth handed over her provisions, upon which the two lived till every morsel was consumed; then it was Falsehood's turn to provide. "Let me gouge out one of your eyes," said Falsehood to Truth, "and then I'll let you have some food." Poor Truth couldn't help herself; for she was very hungry and didn't know what to do. So she had one of her eyes gouged out, and she got some food. Next time she wanted food she had the other eye gouged out, and then both her arms cut off. After all this Falsehood told her to go away. Truth implored not to be left thus helpless in the wilds, and asked that she might be taken to the gate of the next town and left there to get her living by begging. Falsehood led her, not to where she wanted to go, but near a pair of gallows and left her there. Truth was very much surprised that she heard no one pass, and thought that all the folks in that town must be dead. As she was thus reasoning with herself and trembling with fear she fell asleep. When she awoke she heard some people talking above her head, and soon discovered that they were [Pg 37] devils. The eldest of them said to the rest, "Tell me what you have heard and what you have been doing." One said, "I have to-day killed a learned physician, who has discovered a medicine with which he cured all crippled, maimed, or blind." "Well, you're a smart fellow!" said the old devil; "what may the medicine be?" "It consists simply of this," replied the other, "that to-night is Friday night, and there will be a new moon: the cripples have to roll about and the blind to wash their eyes in the dew that has fallen during the night; the cripples will be healed of their infirmities and the blind will see." "That is very good," said the old devil. "And now what have you done, and what do you know?" he asked the others.

"I," said another, "have just finished a little job of mine; I have cut off the water-supply and will thus kill the whole of the population of the country-town not far from here." "What is your secret?" asked the old devil. "It is this," replied he; "I have placed a stone on the spring which is situated at the eastern corner of the town at a depth of three fathoms. By this means the spring will be blocked up, and not one drop of water will flow; as for me I can go everywhere without fear, because no one will ever find out my secret, and all will happen just as I planned it."

The poor crippled Truth listened attentively to all these things. Several other devils spoke; but poor Truth either did not understand them or did not listen to what they said, as it did not concern her.

Having finished all, the devils disappeared as the cock crew announcing the break of day.

Truth thought she would try the remedies she had heard, and at night rolled about on the dewy ground, when to her great relief her arms grew again. Wishing to be completely cured, she groped about and plucked every weed she could find, and rubbed the dew into the cavities of her eyes. As day broke she saw light once more. She then gave hearty thanks to the God [Pg 38] of Truth that he had not left her, his faithful follower, to perish. Being hungry she set off in search of food. So she hurried off to the nearest town, not only for food, but also because she remembered what she had heard the devils say about cutting off the water supply. She hurried on, so as not to be longer than she could help in giving them her aid in their distress. She soon got there, and found every one in mourning. Off she went straight to the king, and told him all she knew; he was delighted when he was told that the thirst of the people might be quenched. She also told the king how she had been maimed and blinded, and the king believed all she said. They commenced at once with great energy to dig up the stone that blocked the spring. The work was soon done; the stone reached, lifted out, and the spring flowed once more. The king was full of joy and so was the whole town, and there were great festivities and a general holiday was held. The king would not allow Truth to leave, but gave her all she needed, and treated her as his most confidential friend, placing her in a position of great wealth and happiness. In the meantime Falsehood's provisions came to an end, and she was obliged to beg for food. As only very few houses gave her anything she was almost starving when she met her old travelling companion again. She cried to Truth for a piece of bread. "Yes, you can have it," said Truth, "but you must have an eye gouged out;" and Falsehood was in such a fix that she had either to submit or starve. Then the other eye was taken out, and after that her arms were cut off, in exchange for dry crusts of bread. Nor could she help it, for no one else would give her anything.

Having lost her eyes and her arms she asked Truth to lead her under the same gallows as she had been led to. At night the devils came; and, as the eldest began questioning the others as to what they had been doing and what they knew, one of them proposed that search be made, just to see whether there were any listeners to their conversation, as some one must have [Pg 39] been eaves-dropping the other night, else it would never have been found out how the springs of the town were plugged up. To this they all agreed, and search was made; and soon they found Falsehood, whom they instantly tore to pieces, coiled up her bowels into knots, burnt her, and dispersed her ashes to the winds. But even her dust was so malignant that it was carried all over the world; and that is the reason that wherever men exist there Falsehood must be.


Once there was a king whose only thought and only pleasure was hunting; he brought up his sons to the same ideas, and so they were called the Hunting Princes. They had hunted all over the six snow-capped mountains in their father's realm; there was a seventh, however, called the Black Mountain, and, although they were continually asking their father to allow them to hunt there, he would not give them permission. In the course of time the king died, and his sons could scarcely wait till the end of the funeral ceremonies before they rushed off to hunt in the Black Mountain, leaving the government in the hands of an old duke. They wandered about several days on the mountain, but could not find so much as a single bird, so they decided to separate, and that each of them should go to one of the three great clefts in the mountain, thinking that perhaps luck would serve them better in this way. They also agreed that whoever shot an arrow uselessly should be slapped in the face. They started off, each on his way. Suddenly the youngest one saw a raven and something shining in its beak, that, he thought, was in all probability a rich jewel. He shot, and a piece of steel [Pg 40] fell from the raven's beak, while the bird flew away unhurt. The twang of the bow was heard all over the mountain, and the two elder brothers came forward to see what he had done; when they saw that he had shot uselessly they slapped his face and went back to their places. When they had gone the youngest suddenly saw a falcon sitting on the top of the rock. This he thought was of value, so he shot, but the arrow stuck in a piece of pointed rock which projected under the falcon's feet, and the bird flew away; as it flew a piece of rock fell to the ground which he discovered to be real flint. His elder brothers came, and slapped his face for again shooting in so foolish a manner. No sooner had they gone and the day was drawing to an end than he discovered a squirrel just as it was running into its hole in a tree; so he thought its flesh would be good to eat; he shot, but the squirrel escaped into a hollow of the tree, and the arrow struck what appeared to be a large fungus, knocking a piece off, which he found to be a fine piece of tinder. The elder brothers came and gave him a sound thrashing which he took very quietly, and after this they did not separate. As it was getting dark and they were wandering on together a fine roebuck darted across their path; all three shot, and it fell. On they went till they came to a beautiful meadow by the side of a spring, where they found a copper trough all ready for them. They sat down, skinned and washed the roebuck, got all ready for a good supper, but they had no fire. "You slapped my face three times because I was wasting my arrows," said the youngest; "if you will allow me to return those slaps I will make you a good fire." The elder brothers consented, but the younger waived his claim and said to them, "You see, when you don't need a thing you think it valueless; see now, the steel, flint, and tinder you despised will make us the fire you need." With that he made the fire. They spitted a large piece of venison and had an excellent huntsman's supper. After supper they held a consultation as to who was to be the guard, as they had decided not to sleep without a [Pg 41] guard. It was arranged that they should take the duty in turns, and that death was to be the punishment of any negligence of duty. The first night the elder brother watched and the two youngest slept. All passed well till midnight, when all at once in the direction of the town of the Black Sorrow, which lay behind the Black Mountain, a dragon came with three heads, a flame three yards long protruding from its mouth. The dragon lived in the Black Lake, which lay beyond the town of the Black Sorrow, with two of his brothers, one with five heads and the other with seven, and they were sworn enemies to the town of the Black Sorrow. These dragons always used to come to this spring to drink at midnight, and for that reason no man or beast could walk there, because whatever the dragons found there they slew. As soon as the dragon caught sight of the princes he rushed at them to devour them, but he who was keeping guard stood up against him and slew him, and dragged his body into a copse near. The blood streamed forth in such torrents that it put the fire out, all save a single spark, which the guarding prince fanned up, and by the next morning there was a fire such as it did one good to see. They hunted all day, returning at night, when the middle prince was guard. At midnight the dragon with the five heads came; the prince slew him, and his blood as it rushed out put the fire entirely out save one tiny spark, which the prince managed to fan into a good fire by the morning.

On the third night the youngest prince had to wrestle with the dragon with seven heads. He vanquished it and killed it. This time there was so much blood that the fire was completely extinguished. When he was about to relight it he found that he had lost his flint. What was to be done? He began to look about him, and see if he could find any means of relighting the fire. He climbed up into a very high tree, and from it he saw in a country three days' journey off, on a hill, a fire of some sort glimmering: so off he went; and as he was going he met [Pg 42] Midnight, who tried to pass him unseen; but the prince saw him, and cried out, "Here! stop; wait for me on this spot till I return." But Midnight would not stop; so the prince caught him, and fastened him with a stout strap to a thick oak-tree, remarking, "Now, I know you will wait for me!" He went on some four or five hours longer, when he met Dawn: he asked him, too, to wait for him, and as he would not he tied him to a tree like Midnight, and went further and further. Time did not go on, for it was stopped. At last he arrived at the fire, and found there were twenty-four robbers round a huge wood fire roasting a bullock. But he was afraid to go near, so he stuck a piece of tinder on the end of his arrow, and shot it through the flames. Fortunately the tinder caught fire, but as he went to look for it the dry leaves crackled under his feet, and the robbers seized him. Some of the robbers belonged to his father's kingdom, and, as they had a grudge against the father, they decided to kill the prince. One said, "Let's roast him on a spit"; another proposed to dig a hole and bury him; but the chief of the robbers said, "Don't let us kill the lad, let's take him with us as he may be very useful to us. You all know that we are about to kidnap the daughter of the king of the town of the Black Sorrow, and we intend to sack his palace, but we have no means of getting at the iron cock at the top of the spire because when we go near it begins at once to crow, and the watchman sees us; let us take this lad with us, and let him shoot off the iron cock, for we all know what a capital marksman he is; and if he succeeds we will let him go." To this the robbers kindly consented, as they saw they would by this means gain more than if they killed him. So they started off, taking the prince with them, till they came close to the fortress guarding the town of the Black Sorrow. They then sent the prince in advance that he might shoot off the iron cock; this he did. Then said the chief of the robbers, "Let's help him up to the battlements, and then he will pull us [Pg 43] up, let us down on the other side, and keep guard for us while we are at work, and he shall have part of the spoil, and then we will let him go." But the dog-soul of the chief was false, for his plan was, that, having finished all, he would hand the prince over to the robbers. This the prince had discovered from some whisperings he had heard among them. He soon found a way out of the difficulty. As he was letting them down one by one, he cut off their heads, and sent them headless into the fortress, together with their chief. Finding himself all alone, and no one to fear, he went to the king's palace: in the first apartment he found the king asleep; in the second the queen; in the third the three princesses. At the head of each one there was a candle burning; that the prince moved in each case to their feet, and none of them noticed him, except the youngest princess, who awoke, and was greatly frightened at finding a man in her bedroom; but when the prince told her who he was, and what he had done, she got up, dressed, and took the young prince into a side-chamber and gave him plenty to eat and drink, treated him kindly, and accepted him as her lover, and gave him a ring and a handkerchief as a sign of their betrothal. The prince then took leave of his love, and went to where the robbers lay, cut off the tips of their noses and ears, and bound them up in the handkerchief, left the fortress, got the fire, released Midnight and Dawn, arrived at their resting-place, made a good fire by morning, so that all the blood was dried up.

At daybreak in the town of the Black Sorrow, Knight Red, as he was inspecting the sentries, came across the headless robbers. As soon as he saw them he cut bits off their mutilated noses and ears, and started for the town, walking up and down, and telling everybody with great pride what a hero he was, and how that last night he had killed the twenty-four robbers who for such a length of time had been the terror of the town of the Black Sorrow. His valour soon came to the ears of the king, who ordered the Red Knight to appear before him: here he boasted of his valour, and [Pg 44] produced his handkerchief and the pieces cut from the robbers. The king believed all that he said, and was so overjoyed at the good news that he gave him permission to choose which of the princesses he pleased for his wife, adding that he would also give him a share of the kingdom. The Red Knight, however, made a mistake, for he chose the youngest daughter, who knew all about the whole affair, and was already engaged to the youngest prince. The king told his daughter he was going to give her as a wife.

To this she said, "Very well, father, but to whomsoever you intend to give me he must be a worthy man, and he must give proofs that he has rendered great service to our town." To this the king replied, "Who could be able or who has been able to render greater services to the town than this man, who has killed the twenty-four robbers?" The girl answered, "You are right, father; whoever did that I will be his wife." "Well done, my daughter, you are quite right in carrying out my wish; prepare for your marriage, because I have found the man who saved our town from this great danger." The young girl began to get ready with great joy, for she knew nothing of the doings of the Red Knight, and only saw what was going to happen when all was ready, the altar-table laid, and the priest called, when lo! in walked the Red Knight as her bridegroom, a man whom she had always detested, so that she could not bear even to look at him. She rushed out and ran to her room, where she fell weeping on her pillow. Everyone was there, and all was ready, but she would not come; her father went in search of her, and she told him how she had met the youngest of the Hunting Princes the night before, and requested her father to send a royal messenger into the deserted meadow, where the dragons of the Black Lake went to drink at the copper trough, and to invite to the wedding the three princes who were staying there; and asked her father not to press her to marry the Red Knight till their arrival; on such conditions she would go among the guests. [Pg 45] Her father promised this, and sent the messenger in great haste to the copper trough, and the young girl went among the guests. The feast was going on in as sumptuous a manner as possible. The messenger came to the copper trough, and hid himself behind a bush at the skirts of an open place, and as he listened to the conversation of the princes he knew that he had come to the right place; he hastened to give them the invitation from the king of the town of the Black Sorrow to the wedding of his youngest daughter.

The princes soon got ready, especially the youngest one, who, when he heard that his fianc?e was to be married, would have been there in the twinkling of an eye if he had been able. When the princes arrived in the courtyard the twelve pillows under the Red Knight began to move, as he sat on them at the head of the table. When the youngest prince stepped upon the first step of the stairs, one pillow slipped out from under the Red Knight, and as he mounted each step another pillow fled, till as they crossed the threshold even the chair upon which he sat fell, and down dropped the Red Knight upon the floor.

The youngest Hunting Prince told them the whole story, how his elder brothers had slain the dragons with three and five heads, and he the one with seven heads; he also told them especially all about the robbers, and how he met the king's daughter, how he had walked through all their bedrooms and changed the candles from their head to their feet; he also produced the ring and the handkerchief, and placed upon the table the nose and ear-tips he had cut off the robbers.

They tallied with those the Red Knight had shown, and it was apparent to everybody which had been cut off first.

Everyone believed the prince and saw that the Red Knight was false. For his trickery he was sentenced to be tied to a horse's tail and dragged through the streets of the whole town, then quartered and nailed to the four corners of the town.

[Pg 46] The three Hunting Princes married the three daughters of the king of the town of the Black Sorrow. The youngest prince married the youngest princess, to whom he was engaged before, and he became the heir-apparent in the town of Black Sorrow, and the other two divided their father's realm.

May they be your guests to-morrow!


A common woman had a daughter who was a very good worker, but she did not like spinning; for this her mother very often scolded her, and one day got so vexed that she chased her down the road with the distaff. As they were running a prince passed by in his carriage. As the girl was very pretty the prince was very much struck with her, and asked her mother "What is the matter?" "How can I help it?" said the mother, "for, after she has spun everything that I had, she asked for more flax to spin." "Let her alone, my good woman," said the prince; "don't beat her. Give her to me, let me take her with me, I will give her plenty to spin. My mother has plenty of work that needs to be done, so she can enjoy herself spinning as much as she likes." The woman gave her daughter away with the greatest pleasure, thinking that what she was unwilling to do at home she might be ashamed to shirk in a strange place, and get used to it, and perhaps even become a good spinster after all. The prince took the girl with him and put her into a large shed full of flax, and said "If you spin all you find here during the month you shall be my wife." The [Pg 47] girl seeing the great place full of flax nearly had a fit, as there was enough to have employed all the girls in the village for the whole of the winter; nor did she begin to work, but sat down and fretted over it, and thus three weeks of the month passed by. In the meantime she always asked the person who took her her food, "What news there was?" Each one told her something or other. At the end of the third week one night, as she was terribly downcast, suddenly a little man half an ell long, with a beard one and a-half ells long, slipped in and said, "Why are you worrying yourself, you good, pretty spinning-girl?" "That's just what's the matter with me," replied the girl; "I am not a good spinster, and still they will believe that I am a good spinster, and that's the reason why I am locked up here." "Don't trouble about that," said the little man; "I can help you and will spin all the flax during the next week if you agree to my proposal and promise to come with me if you don't find out my name by the time that I finish my spinning." "That's all right," said the girl, "I will go with you," thinking that then the matter would be all right. The little dwarf set to work. It happened during the fourth week that one of the men-servants, who brought the girl's food, went out hunting with the prince. One day he was out rather late, and so was very late when he brought the food. The girl said, "What's the news?" The servant told her that that evening as he was coming home very late he saw, in the forest, in a dark ditch, a little man half an ell high, with a beard one and a-half ells long, who was jumping from bough to bough, and spinning a thread, and humming to himself:?"My name is Dancing Vargaluska. My wife will be good spinster Sue."

Sue, the pretty spinning-girl, knew very well what the little man was doing, but she merely said to the servant, "It was all imagination that made you think you saw it in the dark." She brightened up; for she knew that all the stuff would be spun, and that he would not be able to carry her off, as [Pg 48] she knew his name. In the evening the little man returned with one-third of the work done and said to her, "Well, do you know my name yet?"

"Perhaps, perhaps," said she; but she would not have told his real name for all the treasures in the world, fearing that he might cease working if she did. Nor did she tell him when he came the next night. On the third night the little man brought the last load; but this time he brought a wheelbarrow with him, with three wheels, to take the girl away with him. When he asked the girl his name she said, "If I'm not mistaken your name is Dancing Vargaluska."

On hearing this the little man rushed off as if somebody had pulled his nose.

The month being up, the prince sent to see if the girl had completed her work; and when the messenger brought back word that all was finished the king was greatly astonished how it could possibly have happened that so much work had been done in so short a time, and went himself, accompanied by a great suite of gentlemen and court-dames, and gazed with great admiration upon the vast amount of fine yarn they saw. Nor could they praise the girl enough, and all found her worthy to be queen of the land. Next day the wedding was celebrated, and the girl became queen. After the grand wedding-dinner the poor came, and the king distributed alms to them; amongst them were three deformed beggars, who struck the king very much: one was an old woman whose eyelids were so long that they covered her whole face; the second was an old woman whose lower lip was so long that the end of it reached to her knee; the third old woman's posterior was so flat that it was like a pancake.

These three were called into the reception-room and asked to explain why they were so deformed. The first said, "In my younger days I was such a good spinster that I had no rival in the whole neighbourhood. I spun till I got so addicted to it [Pg 49] that I even used to spin at night: the effect of all this was that my eyelids became so long that the doctors could not get them back to their places."

The second said, "I have spun so much during my life and for such a length of time that with continually biting off the end of the yarn my lips got so soft that one reached my knees."

The third said, "I have sat so much at my spinning that my posterior became flat as it is now."

Hereupon the king, knowing how passionately fond his wife was of spinning, got so frightened that he strictly prohibited her ever spinning again.

The news of the story went out over the whole world, into every royal court and every town; and the women were so frightened at what had happened to the beggars that they broke every distaff, spinning-wheel, and spindle, and threw them into the fire!


A king had three daughters whose names were Pride, Gentleness, and Kindness. The king was very fond of them all, but he loved the youngest one, Kindness, the most, as she knew best how to please him. Many clever young gentlemen came to visit Kindness, but no one ever came near the other two, and so they were very envious of her, and decided they would get rid of her somehow or other. One morning they asked their father's permission to go out into the fields, and from thence they went into the forest. Kindness was delighted at having liberty to roam about in such pretty places; the other two were pleased that they had at last got the bird into their hands. As the dew [Pg 50] dried up the two eldest sisters strolled about arm in arm, whilst the youngest chased butterflies and plucked the wild strawberries, with the intention of taking some home to her father; she spent her time in great glee, singing and listening to the songs of the birds, when suddenly she discovered that she had strolled into an immense wood. As she was considering what to do, her two sisters appeared by her side, and said spitefully, "Well, you good-for-nothing! you have never done anything but try to make our father love you most and to spoil our chances in every way, prepare yourself for your end, for you have eaten your last piece of bread." Kindness lifted up her hands, and besought them not to harm her, but they cut off her hands, and only spared her life under the condition that she would never go near her home again; they then took her beautiful precious mantle from her, and dressed her in old rags; they then led her to the highest part of the forest, and showed her an unknown land, bidding her go there and earn her living by begging. The blood streamed from Kindness's arms, and her heart ached in an indescribable way, but she never uttered the slightest reproach against her sisters, but started off in the direction pointed out to her. Suddenly she came to a beautiful open plain, where there was a pretty little orchard full of trees, and their fruit was always ripening all the year round. She gave thanks to God that he had guided her there, then, entering the garden, she crouched down in a by-place. As she had no hands to pluck the fruit with she lived upon what grew upon low boughs; thus she spent the whole summer unnoticed by any one.

But towards autumn, when every other fruit was gone save grapes, she lived on these, and then the gardener soon discovered that the bunches had been tampered with and that there must be some one about: he watched and caught her. Now it so happened that the garden belonged to a prince, who spent a great deal of his time there, as he was very fond of the place. The gardener did not like to tell him of what had happened, as he [Pg 51] pitied the poor handless girl and was afraid his master would punish her severely. He decided therefore to let her go. Accidentally, however, the prince came past and asked who she was. "Your highness," replied the gardener, "I know no more of her than you do. I caught her in the garden, and to prevent her doing any more damage I was going to turn her out." "Don't lead her away," said the prince; "and who are you, unfortunate girl?" "You have called me right, my lord," said Kindness, "for I am unfortunate, but I am not bad; I am a beggar, but I am of royal blood. I was taken from my father because he loved me most; crippled because I was a good child. That is my story." To this the prince replied, "However dirtily and ragged you are dressed, still it is clear to me that you are not of low birth: your pretty face and polished speech prove it. Follow me; and whatever you have lost you will find in my house." "Your highness, in this nasty, dirty dress?how can I come into your presence? Send clothes to me which I can put on, and then I will do whatever you order." "Very well," said the prince; "stay here, and I will send to you." He went and sent her a lady-in-waiting with perfumed water to wash with, a gorgeous dress, and a carriage. Kindness washed and dressed herself, got into the carriage, and went to the prince. Quite changed in her appearance, not at all like as she was before, however much she suffered she was as pretty as a Lucretia; and the prince fell so much in love with her that he decided on the spot that he would marry her; and so they got married, with great splendour, and spent their time together in great happiness.

When the two elder sisters came home from the forest their father inquired where Kindness was. "Has she not come home?" said they; "we thought that she would have been home before us. As she was running after butterflies she got separated from us. We looked for her everywhere and called for her; as we got no answer we set off home before the darkness set in."

[Pg 52] The king gave orders that Kindness was to be looked for everywhere; they searched for days but could not find her; then the king got so angry in his sorrow that he drove the two elder girls away because they had not taken proper care of their sister. They set out into the world in quite another direction, but by accident arrived in the country where Kindness was queen; here they lived a retired life in a small town unknown to all. Kindness at this time was enceinte; and as war broke out with a neighbouring nation her royal husband was obliged to go to the field of battle. The war lasted a long time, and in the meantime Kindness gave birth to twins, two handsome sons; on the forehead of one was the sign of the blessed sun, on the other the sign of the blessed moon; in great joy the queen's guardian sent a letter containing the good news to the king by a messenger to the camp. The messenger had to pass through the small town where the envious sisters dwelt; it was quite dark when he arrived, and as he did not see a light anywhere but in their window he went and asked for a night's lodging; while he stayed there he told them all about the object of his journey; you may imagine how well he was received, and with what pleasure they offered him lodging, these envious brutes! When the messenger fell asleep they immediately took possession of the letter, tore it open, read it, and burnt it, and put in its place another to the king, saying that the queen had given birth to two monsters which looked more like puppies than babes; in the morning they gave meat and drink to the messenger, and pressed him to call and see them on his way back, as they would be delighted to see him. He accepted their kind invitation, and promised that he would come to them, and to no one else, on his return. The messenger arrived at the camp and delivered his letter to the king, who was very downcast as he read it; but still he wrote back and said that his wife was not to be blamed; "if it has happened thus how can I help it? don't show her the slightest discourtesy," wrote he. As the messenger went back [Pg 53] he slept again in the house of the two old serpent-sisters; they stole the king's letter and wrote in its place: "I want neither children nor mother; see that by the time I come home those monsters be out of my way, so that not even so much as their name remain." When this letter was read every one was very sorry for the poor queen, and couldn't make out why the king was so angry, but there was nothing for it but for the king's orders to be carried out, and so the two pretty babes were put in a sheet and hung round Kindness's neck, and she was sent away. For days and days poor Kindness walked about suffering hunger and thirst, till at last she came to a pretty wood; passing through this she travelled through a valley covered with trees; passing through this at last she saw the great alpine fir-trees at the end of the vale; there she found a clear spring; in her parching thirst she stooped to drink, but in her hurry she lost her balance and fell into the water; as she tried to drag herself out with her two stumps, to her intense astonishment she found that by immersion her two hands had grown again as they were before; she wept for joy. Although she was hiding in an unknown place with no husband, no father, no friend, no help whatever, with two starving children in this great wilderness, still she wasn't sorrowful, because she was so delighted to have her hands again. She stood there, and could not make up her mind in which direction to go; as she stood looking all round she suddenly caught sight of an old man coming towards her. "Who are you?" said the old man. "Who am I?" she replied, sighing deeply; "I'm an unfortunate queen." She then told him all she had suffered, and how she had recovered her hands that very minute by washing in the spring. "My poor good daughter," said the old man, bitterly, "then we are both afflicted ones; it's quite enough that you are alive, and that I have found you. Listen to me: your husband was warring against me, he drove me from my country, and hiding from him I came this way; not very far from here with one of my faithful servants I have built a hut [Pg 54] and we will live together there." The old man, in order to prove the miraculous curing power of the spring, dipped his maimed finger into it, which was shot off in the last war; as he took it out, lo! it was all right once more.

When the war was over, Kindness's husband returned home and inquired after his wife. They told him all that had happened, and he was deeply grieved, and went in search of her with a great number of his people, and they found her at last with her two pretty babes, living with her old father. On inquiry it was also found out where the messenger with the letters had slept and how the letters were changed. Pride and Gentleness were summoned and sentenced to death; but Kindness forgave them all their misdeeds, and was so kind to them that she obtained their pardon, and also persuaded her father to forgive them.

There is no more of this speech to which you need listen, as I have told it to the very end and I have not missed a word out of it. Those of whom I have spoken may they be your guests, every one of them, to-morrow!


A king had three sons. When the enemy broke into the land and occupied it, the king himself fell in the war. The young princes were good huntsmen and fled from the danger, all three, taking three horses with them. They went on together for a long time, till they did not even know where they were; on they journeyed, till at last they came to the top of the very highest snow-covered mountain, where the road branched off: here they decided to separate and try their luck alone. They agreed that on the summit of the [Pg 55] mountain, at the top of a tall tree, they would fix a long pole, and on it a white handkerchief. They were to keep well in sight of this white flag, and whenever the handkerchief was seen full of blood the one who saw it was to start in search of his brothers, as one of them was in danger. The name of the youngest was Rose; he started off to the left, the other two went to the right. When Rose came to the seventh snow-capped mount and had got far into it he saw a beautiful castle and went in. As he was tired with travelling and wanted a night's rest, he settled down. When even came the gates of the castle opened with great noise, and seven immense giants rushed into the courtyard and from thence into the tower. Every one of them was as big as a tall tower. Rose, in his fright, crept under the bed; but the moment the giants entered one of them said, "Phuh! What an Adam-like smell there is here!" Looking about they caught Rose, cut him up into small pieces like the stalk of a cabbage and threw him out of the window.

In the morning the giants went out again on their business. From a bush there came forth a snake, which had the head of a pretty girl; she gathered up every morsel of Rose's body, arranged them in order, and said, "This belongs here, that belongs there." She then anointed him with grass that had healing power, and brought water of life and death from a spring that was not far off and sprinkled it over him. Rose suddenly jumped up on his feet and was seven times more beautiful and strong than before. At this moment the girl cast off the snake-skin as far as the arm-pits. As Rose was now so strong he became braver, and in the evening did not creep under the bed, but waited for the giants coming home, at the gate. They arrived and sent their servants in advance to cut up that wretched heir of Adam; but they could not manage him, it took the giants themselves to cut him up. Next morning the serpent with the girl's head came again and brought Rose to life as before, and she herself cast off her skin as far as her waist. Rose was now twice as strong as a [Pg 56] single giant. The same evening the seven giants killed him again, he himself having killed the servants and wounded several of the giants. Next morning the giants were obliged to go without their servants. Then the serpent came and restored Rose once more, who was now stronger than all the seven giants put together, and was so beautiful that though you could look at the sun you could not look at him. The girl now cast off the serpent's skin altogether and became a most beautiful creature. They told each other the story of their lives. The girl said that she was of royal blood, and that the giants had killed her father and seized his land, that the castle belonged to her father, and that the giants went out every day to plunder the people. She herself had become a snake by the aid of a good old quack nurse, and had made a vow that she would remain a serpent until she had been avenged on the giants, and she knew now that although she had cast off the snake's skin she had nothing to fear because Rose was a match for the seven giants. "Now, Rose," said she, "destroy them every one, and I will not be ungrateful." To which he replied, "Dearest one, you have restored me to life these three times?how could I help being grateful to you? My life and my all are yours!" They took an oath to be true to each other till death, and spent the day merrily till evening set in, when the giants came, and Rose addressed them thus: "Is it not true, you pack of scoundrels, that you have killed me three times? Now, I tell you that not one of you shall put his foot within these gates! Don't you believe me? Let's fight!" They charged upon him with great fury, but victory was, this time, on his side; he killed them one after the other and took the keys of the castle out of their pockets. He then searched over every nook in the building, and came to the conclusion that they were safe, as they had now possession of the castle.

The night passed quietly; next morning Rose looked from the courtyard to the top of the snow-covered mountain, in the [Pg 57] direction of the white flag, and saw that it was quite bloody. He was exceedingly sorry, and said to his love, "I must go in search of my two elder brothers, as some mischief has befallen them; wait till I return, because if I find them I shall certainly be back."

He then got ready, took his sword, bow and arrow, some healing-grass, and water of life and death with him, and went to the very place where they had separated. On the way he shot a hare, and when he came to the place of separation he went on the same road by which his elder brothers had gone; he found there a small hut and a tree beside it; he stopped in front of the tree, and saw that his brothers' two dogs were chained to it; he loosed them, lighted a fire, and began to roast the hare. As he roasted it he heard a voice as if some one were shouting from the tree in a shivering voice; "Oh, how cold I am!" it said. "If you're cold," replied Rose, "get down and warm yourself." "Yes," said the voice, "but I'm afraid of the dogs." "Don't be afraid as they won't hurt an honest person." "I believe you," said the voice in the tree, "but still I want you to throw this hair between them; let them smell it first, then they will know me by it." Rose took the hair and threw it into the fire. Down came an old witch from the tree and warmed herself. Then she spitted a toad and began to roast it. As she did so she said to Rose, "This is mine, that is yours," and threw it at him. As Rose couldn't stand this he jumped up, drew his sword, and smote the witch; but lo! the sword turned into a log of wood, and the witch flew at him to kill him, crying, "It's all up with you also. I've killed your brothers in revenge because you killed my seven giant sons."[1] But Rose set the dogs at her, and they dragged her about till they drew blood. The blood was spilt on the log of wood and it became a sword again. Rose caught hold of it and chopped the old witch's left arm off. Now the witch showed [Pg 58] him the place where she had buried his brothers. Rose smote her once more with his sword and the old witch went to Pluto's. Rose dug out the bodies, put the bits together, anointed them with the healing-grass, and sprinkled them with the water of life and death, and they came to life again.

When they opened their eyes and saw Rose, they both exclaimed, "Oh! how long I have been asleep." "Very long indeed," said Rose, "and if I hadn't come you'd have been asleep still." They told him that soon after they had separated they received the news that the enemy had withdrawn from their country, and they decided to return, and that the elder should undertake the government of the land, and the other go in search of Rose. On their way they happened to go into the hut, and the old witch treated them as she was going to treat Rose.

Rose also told them his tale, and spoke to them thus: "You, my eldest brother, go home, and sit on our father's throne. You my other brother come with me, and let us two govern the vast country over which the giants had tyrannised until now:" and thus they separated and each went on his own business.

Rose found his pretty love again, who was nearly dead with fretting for him, but who quite recovered on his happy return. They took into their hands the government of the vast country which they had delivered from the sway of the giants. Rose and his love got married with the most splendid wedding-feast, and the bride had to dance a great deal; and if they've not died since they're alive still to this very day.

May they curl themselves into an eggshell and be your guests to-morrow.

[1] According to Kozma this is the only instance in the Sz?kely folk-lore which accounts for the origin of giants.

[Pg 59]


There was once, I don't know where, a king who had three sons. This king had great delight in his three sons, and decided to give them a sound education, and after that to give them a place in the government, so that he might leave them as fit and willing heirs to his throne; so he sent these sons to college to study, and they did well for a while; but all of a sudden they left college, came home, and would not return. The king was very much annoyed at their conduct, and prohibited them from ever entering his presence. He himself retired, and lived in an eastern room of the royal residence, where he spent his time sitting in a window that looked eastward, as if he expected some one to come in that direction. One of his eyes was continually weeping, while the other was continually laughing. One day, when the princes were grown up, they held a consultation, and decided to ascertain from their royal father the reason why he always sat in the east room, and why one eye was continually weeping while the other never ceased laughing. The eldest son tried his fortune first, and thus questioned the king: "Most gracious majesty, my father. I have come to ask you, my royal sire, the reason why one of your eyes is always weeping while the other never ceases laughing, and why you always sit in this east room." The king measured his son from top to toe, and never spoke a word, but seized his long straight sword which leant against the window and threw it at him: it struck the door, and entered into it up to the hilt. The prince jumped through the door and escaped the blow that was meant for him. As he went he met his two [Pg 60] brothers, who inquired how he had fared. "You'd better try yourself and you will soon know," replied he. So the second prince tried, but with no better result than his brother. At last the third brother, whose name was Mirk?, went in, and, like his brother, informed the king of the reason of his coming. The king uttered not a word, but seized the sword with even greater fury, and threw it with such vehemence that it entered up to the hilt in the wall of the room: yet Mirk? did not run away, but only dodged the sword, and then pulled it out of the wall and took it back to his royal father, placing it on the table in front of him. Seeing this the king began to speak and said to Prince Mirk?, "My son, I can see that you know more about honour than your two brothers. So I will answer your question. One of my eyes weeps continually because I fret about you that you are such good-for-nothings and not fit to rule; the other laughs continually because in my younger days I had a good comrade, Knight Mezey, with whom I fought in many battles, and he promised me that if he succeeded in vanquishing his enemy he would come and live with me, and we should spend our old age together. I sit at the east window because I expect him to come in that direction; but Knight Mezey, who lives in the Silk Meadow, has so many enemies rising against him every day as there are blades of grass, and he has to cut them down all by himself every day; and until the enemies be extirpated he cannot come and stay with me." With this, Prince Mirk? left his father's room, went back to his brothers, and told them what he had heard from the king. So they held council again, and decided to ask permission from their father to go and try their fortunes. First the eldest prince went and told the king that he was anxious to go and try his fortune, to which the king consented: so the eldest prince went into the royal stables and chose a fine charger, had it saddled, his bag filled, and started on his journey the next morning. He was away for a whole year, and then suddenly turned up one morning, carrying on his [Pg 61] shoulder a piece of bridge-flooring made of copper; throwing it down in front of the royal residence, he walked into the king's presence, told him where he had been, and what he had brought back with him. The king listened to the end of his tale and said, "Well, my son, when I was as young as you are I went that way, and it only took me two hours from the place where you brought this copper from. You are a very weak knight: you won't do; you can go." With this the eldest prince left his father's room. The second prince then came in and asked the king to permit him to try his fortune, and the king gave him permission. So he went to the royal stables, had a fine charger saddled, his bag filled, and set off. At the end of a year he returned home, bringing with him a piece of bridge-flooring made of silver; this he threw down in front of the royal residence, and went in unto the king, told him all about his journey and about his spoil. "Alas!" said the king, "when I was as young as you I went that way, and it did not take me more than three hours; you are a very weak knight, my son: you will not do."

With this he dismissed his second son also. At last Prince Mirk? went in and asked permission to go and try his fortune, and the king granted him permission, so he also went into the royal stables in order to choose a horse for the journey; but he did not find one to suit him, so he went to the royal stud-farm to choose one there. As he was examining the young horses, and could not settle which to have, there suddenly appeared an old witch, who asked him what he wanted. Prince Mirk? told her his intention, and that he wanted a horse to go on the journey. "Alas! my lord," said the old witch, "you can't get a horse here to suit you, but I will tell you how to obtain one: go to your father, and ask him to let you have the horn which in his younger days he used to call together his stud with golden hair, blow into it, and the golden stud will at once appear. But don't choose any of those with the golden hair; but at the very last [Pg 62] there will come a mare with crooked legs and shaggy coat; you will know her by the fact that when the stud passes through the gates of the royal fortress the mare will come last, and she will whisk her tail and strike the heel-post of the fortress-gate with such force that the whole fort will quiver with the shock. Choose her, and try your fortune." Prince Mirk? followed the witch's advice most carefully. Going to the king he said, "My royal father, I come to ask you to give me the horn with which in your younger days you used to call together your stud with the golden hair." "Who told you of this?" inquired the king. "Nobody," replied Prince Mirk?. "Well, my dear son, if no one has informed you of this, and if it be your own conception, you are a very clever fellow; but if any one has told you to do this they mean no good to you. I will tell you where the horn is, but by this time, I daresay, it is all rust-eaten. In the seventh cellar there is a recess in the wall; in this recess lies the horn, bricked up; try to find it, take it out, and use it if you think you can." Prince Mirk? sent for the bricklayer on the spot, and went with him to the cellar indicated, found the recess, took the horn, and carried it off with him. He then stood in the hall of the royal residence and blew it, facing east, west, south, and north. In a short time he heard the tingle of golden bells begin to sound, increasing till the whole town rang with the noise; and lo! through the gates of the royal residence beautiful golden-haired horses came trooping in. Then he saw, even at the distance, the mare with the crooked legs and shaggy coat, and as she came, the last, great Heavens! as she came through the gates she whisked the heel-post with her tail with such force that the whole building shook to its very foundation. The moment the stud had got into the royal courtyard he went to the crooked-legged shaggy-coated mare, caught her, had her taken to the royal stables, and made it known that he intended to try his fortune with her. The mare said "Quite right, my prince; but first you will [Pg 63] have to give me plenty of oats, because it would be difficult to go a long journey without food." "What sort of food do you wish? Because whatever my father possesses I will willingly give to you," said the prince. "Very well, my prince," said the mare; "but it is not usual to feed a horse just before you start on a journey, but some time beforehand." "Well, I can't do much at present," said the prince; "but whatever I've got you shall have with pleasure." "Well, then, bring me a bushel of barley at once, and have it emptied into my manger." Mirk? did this; and when she had eaten the barley she made him fetch a bushel of millet; and when she had eaten that she said, "And now bring me half a bushel of burning cinders, and empty them into my manger." When she had eaten these she turned to a beautiful golden-haired animal like to the morning-star. "Now, my prince," said she, "go to the king and ask him to give you the saddle he used when he rode me in his younger days." Prince Mirk? went to the old king and asked him for the saddle. "It cannot be used now," said he, "as it has been lying about so long in the coach-house, and it's all torn by this, but if you can find it you can have it." Prince Mirk? went to the coach-house and found the saddle, but it was very dirty, as the fowls and turkeys had for many years roosted on it, and torn it; still he took it to the mare in order to put it on her, but she said that it was not becoming a prince to sit upon such a thing, wherefore he was going to have it altered and repaired; but the mare told him to hold it in front of her, and she breathed on it, and in a moment it was changed into a beautiful gold saddle, such as had not an equal over seven countries; with this he saddled the t?tos (mythical horse). "Now, my prince," said she, "you had better go to your father and ask him for the brace of pistols and the sword with which he used to set out when he rode me in former days." So the prince went and asked these from his father, but the old king replied "that they were all rusty by this time, and of no use," but, if he really wanted them, [Pg 64] he could have them, and pointed out the rack where they were. Prince Mirk? took them and carried them to the mare, who breathed upon them, and changed them into gold; he then girded on his sword, placed the pistols in the holsters, and got ready for a start. "Well, my dear master," said the mare, "where now is my bridle?" Whereupon, the prince fetched from the coach-house an old bridle, which she blew upon and it changed into gold; this the prince threw over her head, and led her out of the stable, and was about to mount her when the mare said, "Wait a minute, lead me outside the town first, and then mount me;" so he led her outside the town, and then mounted her. At this moment the mare said, "Well, my dear master, how shall I carry you? Shall I carry you with a speed like the quick hurricane, or like a flash of thought?" "I don't mind, my dear mare, how you carry me, only take care that you run so that I can bear it."

To this the mare replied, "Shut your eyes and hold fast." Prince Mirk? shut his eyes, and the mare darted off like a hurricane. After a short time she stamped upon the ground and said to the prince, "Open your eyes! What can you see?" "I can see a great river," said Prince Mirk?, "and over it a copper bridge." "Well, my dear master," said the mare, "that's the bridge from which your eldest brother carried off part of the flooring: can't you see the vacant place?" "Yes, I can see it," said the prince, "and where shall we go now?" "Shut your eyes and I will carry you;" with this, she started off like a flash of lightning, and in a few moments again stamped upon the ground and said, "Open your eyes! Now what do you see?" "I see," said Prince Mirk?, "a great river, and over it a silver bridge." "Well, my dear master, that's the bridge from which your second brother took the silver flooring; can't you see the place?" "Yes," said he, "I can, and now where shall we go?"

"Shut your eyes and I will carry you," said the mare, and off she darted like lightning, and in a moment she again stamped [Pg 65] upon the ground and stopped and said to Prince Mirk?, "Open your eyes! What can you see?" "I see," replied he, "a vast, broad, and deep river, and over it a golden bridge, and at each end, on this side and that, four immense and fierce lions. How are we to get over this?" "Don't take any notice of them," said the mare, "I will settle with them, you shut your eyes." Prince Mirk? shut his eyes, the mare darted off like a swift falcon, and flew over the bridge; in a short time she stopped, stamped, and said, "Open your eyes! Now what do you see?" "I see," said the prince, "an immense, high glass rock, with sides as steep as the side of a house." "Well, my dear master," said the mare, "We have to get over that too."

"But that is impossible," said the prince; but the mare cheered him, and said, "Don't worry yourself, dear master, as I still have the very shoes on my hoofs which your father put on them with diamond nails six hundred years ago. Shut your eyes and hold fast."

At this moment the mare darted off, and in a twinkling of the eye she reached the summit of the glass rock, where she stopped, stamped, and said to the prince, "Open your eyes! What can you see?" "I can see, below me," said Prince Mirk?, "on looking back, something black, the size of a fair-sized dish." "Well, my dear master, that is the orb of the earth; but what can you see in front of you?" "I can see," said Prince Mirk?, "a narrow round-backed glass path, and by the side of it, this side as well as on the other side, a deep bottomless abyss." "Well, my dear master," said the mare, "we have to get over that, but the passage is so difficult that if my foot slips the least bit either way we shall perish, but rely on me. Shut your eyes and grasp hold of me, and I will do it." With this the mare started and in another moment she again stamped on the ground and said, "Open your eyes! What can you see?" "I can see," said Prince Mirk?, "behind me, in the distance, some faint light and in front of me such a thick darkness that I cannot even see [Pg 66] my finger before me." "Well, my dear master, we have to get through this also. Shut your eyes, and grasp me." Again she started and again she stamped. "Open your eyes! What can you see now?" "I can see," said Prince Mirk?, "a beautiful light, a beautiful snow-clad mountain, in the midst of the mountain a meadow like silk, and in the midst of the meadow something black." "Well, my dear master, that meadow which looks like silk belongs to Knight Mezey, and the black something in the middle of it is his tent, woven of black silk; it does not matter now whether you shut your eyes or not, we will go there." With this Prince Mirk? spurred the mare, and at once reached the tent.

Prince Mirk? jumped from his mare and tied her to the tent by the side of Knight Mezey's horse, and he himself walked into the tent, and lo! inside, a knight was laid at full length on the silken grass, fast asleep, but a sword over him was slashing in all directions, so that not even a fly could settle on him. "Well," thought Prince Mirk? to himself, "this fellow must be a brave knight, but I could kill him while he sleeps; however, it would not be an honourable act to kill a sleeping knight, and I will wait till he wakes." With this he walked out of the tent, tied his mare faster to the tent-post, and he also lay down full length upon the silken grass, and said to his sword, "Sword, come out of thy scabbard," and his sword began to slash about over him, just like Knight Mezey's, so that not even a fly could settle on him.

All of a sudden Knight Mezey woke, and to his astonishment he saw another horse tied by the side of his, and said, "Great Heavens! what's the meaning of this? It's six hundred years since I saw a strange horse by the side of mine! Whom can it belong to?" He got up, went out of the tent, and saw Prince Mirk? asleep outside, and his sword slashing about over him. "Well," said he, "this must be a brave knight, and as he has not killed me while I was asleep, it would not be honourable to [Pg 67] kill him," with this he kicked the sleeping knight's foot and woke him. He jumped up, and Knight Mezey thus questioned him: "Who are you? What is your business?" Prince Mirk? told him whose son he was and why he had come. "Welcome, my dear brother," said Knight Mezey, "your father is a dear friend of mine, and I can see that you are as brave a knight as your father, and I shall want you, because the large silken meadow that you see is covered with enemies every day, and I have to daily cut them down, but now that you are here to help me I shall be in no hurry about them; let's go inside and have something to eat and drink, and let them gather into a crowd, two of us will soon finish them." They went into the tent and had something to eat and drink; but all at once his enemies came up in such numbers that they came almost as far as the tent, when Knight Mezey jumped to his feet and said, "Jump up, comrade, or else we are done for." They sprang to their horses, darted among the enemy, and both called out, "Sword, out of thy scabbard!" and in a moment the two swords began to slash about, and cut off the heads of the enemy, so that they had the greatest difficulty in advancing on account of the piles of dead bodies, till at last, at the rear of the enemy, twelve knights took to flight, and Knight Mezey and Prince Mirk? rode in pursuit of them, till they reached a glass rock, to which they followed the twelve knights, Prince Mirk? being the nearest to them. On the top of the rock there was a beautiful open space, towards which the knights rode and Prince Mirk? after them on his mare, when all at once they all disappeared, as if the earth had swallowed them; seeing this, Prince Mirk? rode to the spot where they disappeared, where he found a trap-door, and under the door a deep hole and a spiral staircase. The mare without hesitation jumped into the hole, which was the entrance to the infernal regions. Prince Mirk?, looking round in Hades, suddenly discerned a glittering diamond castle, which served the lower regions instead of the sun, and saw that the twelve knights [Pg 68] were riding towards it; so he darted after them, and, calling out "Sword, come out of thy scabbard," he slashed off the twelve knights' heads in a moment, and, riding to the castle, he heard such a hubbub and clattering that the whole place resounded with it: he jumped off his horse, and walked into the castle, when lo! there was an old diabolical-looking witch, who was weaving and making the clattering noise, and the whole building was now full of soldiers, whom the devilish witch produced by weaving. When she threw the shuttle to the right, each time two hussars on horseback jumped out from the shuttle, and when she threw it to the left, each time two foot soldiers jumped from it fully equipped. When he saw this, he ordered his sword out of its scabbard, and cut down all the soldiers present. But the old witch wove others again, so Prince Mirk? thought to himself, if this goes on, I shall never get out of this place, so he ordered his sword to cut up into little pieces the old witch, and then he carried out the whole bleeding mass into the courtyard, where he found a heap of wood: he placed the mass on it, put a light to it, and burnt it. But when it was fully alight a small piece of a rib of the witch flew out of the fire and began to spin around in the dust, and lo! another witch grew out of it. Prince Mirk? thereupon was about to order his sword to cut her up too, when the old witch addressed him thus: "Spare my life, Mirk?, and I will help you in return for your kindness; if you destroy me you can't get out of this place; here! I will give you four diamond horse-shoe nails, put them away and you will find them useful." Prince Mirk? took the nails and put them away, thinking to himself, "If I spare the old witch she will start weaving again, and Knight Mezey will never get rid of his enemies," so he again ordered his sword to cut up the witch, and threw her into the fire and burnt her to cinders. She never came to life again. He then got on his mare and rode all over the lower regions, but could not find a living soul anywhere, whereupon he spurred his mare, galloped to the foot of the spiral staircase, and in another moment [Pg 69] he reached the upper world. When he arrived at the brink of the glass rock he was about to alight from his mare: and stopped her for this purpose, but the mare questioned him thus, "What are you going to do, Prince Mirk??" "I was going to get down, because the road is very steep and it's impossible to go down on horseback." "Well then, dear master, if you do that you can't get below, because you couldn't walk on the steep road, but if you stop on my back, take hold of my mane, and shut your eyes, I will take you down." Whereupon the mare started down the side of the rock, and, like a good mountaineer, climbed down from the top to the bottom, and having arrived at the foot of the steep rock, spoke to Prince Mirk? thus: "You can open your eyes now." Mirk? having opened his eyes, saw that they had arrived in the silken meadow.

They started in the direction of Knight Mezey's tent, but Knight Mezey thought that Mirk? had already perished, when suddenly he saw that Mirk? was alive, so he came in great joy to meet him, and leading him into his tent, as he had no heir, he offered him the silk meadow and his whole realm, but Mirk? replied thus: "My dear brother, now that I have destroyed all your enemies, you need not fear that the enemy will occupy your country, therefore I should like you to come with me to my royal father, who has been expecting you for a very long time." With this they got on their horses, and started off in the direction of the old king's realm, and arrived safely at the very spot on the glass rock where Mirk? had jumped down. Knight Mezey stopped here, and said to Prince Mirk?: "My dear brother, I cannot go further than this, because the diamond nails of my horse's shoes have been worn out long ago, and the horse's feet no longer grip the ground." But Mirk? remembered that the old witch had given him some diamond nails, and said: "Don't worry yourself, brother. I have got some nails with me, and I will shoe thy horse." And taking out the diamond [Pg 70] nails, he shod Knight Mezey's horse with them. They mounted once more, and like two good mountaineers descended the glass rock, and as swift as thought were on the way home.

The old king was also then sitting in the eastern window, awaiting Knight Mezey, when suddenly he saw two horsemen approaching, and, looking at them with his telescope, recognised them as his dear old comrade Knight Mezey, together with his son, Prince Mirk?, coming towards him; so he ran down at once, and out of the hall. He ordered the bailiff to slaughter twelve heifers, and by the time that Knight Mezey and Mirk? arrived, a grand dinner was ready waiting for them; and on their arrival he received them with great joy, embraced them and kissed them, and laughed with both his eyes. Then they sat down to dinner, and ate and drank in great joy. During dinner Knight Mezey related Mirk?'s brave deeds, and, amongst other things, said to the old king: "Well, comrade, your son Mirk? is even a greater hero than we were. He is a brave fellow, and you ought to be well pleased with him." The old king said: "Well, when I come to think of it, I begin to be satisfied with him, especially because he has brought you with him; but still I don't believe that he would have courage to fight Doghead also." Prince Mirk? was listening to their talk but did not speak. After dinner, however, he called Knight Mezey aside, and asked him who Doghead was, and where he lived. Knight Mezey informed him that he lived in the north, and that he was such a hero that there was no other to equal him under the sun. Prince Mirk? at once gave orders for the journey, filled his bag, and next day started on his mare to Doghead's place; according to his custom, he sat upon the mare, grasped her firmly, and shut his eyes. The mare darted off, and flew like a swift cyclone, then suddenly stopped, stamped on the ground, and said, "Prince Mirk?, open your eyes. What do you see?" "I see," said the Prince, "a diamond castle, six stories high, that glitters so that one can't look at it, although one could look [Pg 71] at the sun." "Well, Doghead lives there," said the mare, "and that is his royal castle." Prince Mirk? rode close under the window and shouted loudly: "Doghead! are you at home? Come out, because I have to reckon with you." Doghead himself was not at home, but his daughter was there?such a beautiful royal princess, whose like one could not find in the whole world. As she sat in the window doing some needlework, and heard the high shrill voice, she looked through the window in a great rage, and gave him such a look with her beautiful flashing black eyes, that Prince Mirk? and his mare at once turned into a stone statue. However, she began to think that perhaps the young gentleman might be some prince who had come to see her; so she repented that she had transformed him into a stone statue so quickly; and ran down to him, took out a golden rod, and began to walk round the stone statue, and tapped its sides with her gold rod, and lo! the stone crust began to crack, and fell off, and all at once Prince Mirk? and his mare stood alive in front of her. Then the princess asked; "Who are you? and what is your business?" And Mirk? told her that he was a prince, and had come to see the Princess of Doghead. The princess slightly scolded him for shouting for her father so roughly through the window, but at the same time fell in love with Prince Mirk? on the spot, and asked him to come into her diamond castle, which was six stories high, and received him well. However, while feasting, Prince Mirk? during the conversation confessed what his true errand was, viz., to fight Doghead; but the princess advised him to desist from this, because there was no man in the whole world who could match her father. But when she found that Mirk? could not be dissuaded, she took pity on him, and, fearing that lest he should be vanquished, let him into the secret how to conquer her father. "Go down," she said, "into the seventh cellar of the castle; there you will find a cask which is not sealed. In that cask is kept my father's strength. I hand you here a silver bottle, which you [Pg 72] have to fill from the cask; but do not cork the bottle, but always take care that it shall hang uncorked from your neck; and when your strength begins to fail, dip your little finger into it, and each time your strength will be increased by that of five thousand men; also drink of it, because each drop of wine will give you the strength of five thousand men." Prince Mirk? listened attentively to her counsel, hung the silver bottle round his neck, and went down into the cellar, where he found the wine in question, and from it he first drank a good deal, and then filled his flask, and, thinking that he had enough in his bottle, he let the rest run out to the last drop, so that Doghead could use it no more. There were in the cellar six bushels of wheat flour, with this he soaked it up, so that no moisture was left, whereupon he went upstairs to the princess, and reported that he was ready and also thanked her for her directions, and promised that for all her kindness he would marry her, and vowed eternal faith to her. The beautiful princess consented to all, and only made one condition, viz., that in case Prince Mirk? conquered her father he would not kill him.

Prince Mirk? then inquired of the beautiful princess when she expected her father home, and in what direction, to which the princess replied that at present he was away in his western provinces, visiting their capitals, but that he would be home soon, because he was due, and that it was easy to predict his coming, because when he was two hundred miles from home, he would throw home a mace weighing forty hundredweight, thus announcing his arrival, and wherever the mace dropped a spring would suddenly burst from the ground. Prince Mirk? thereupon went with the royal princess into the portico of the royal castle, to await there Doghead's arrival, when suddenly, good Heavens! the air became dark, and a mace, forty hundredweight, came down with a thud into the courtyard of the royal fortress, and, striking the ground, water burst forth immediately in the shape of a rainbow. Prince Mirk? at once ran into the courtyard [Pg 73] in order to try how much his strength had increased. He picked up the mace swung it over his head, and threw it back so that it dropped just in front of Doghead. Doghead's horse stumbled over the mace; whereupon Doghead got angry. "Gee up! I wish the wolves and dogs would devour you," shouted Doghead to the horse. "I have ridden you for the last six hundred years, and up to this time you have never stumbled once. What's the reason that you begin to stumble now?" "Alas! my dear master," said his horse, "there must be something serious the matter at home, because some one has thrown back your mace that you threw home, and I stumbled over it." "There's nothing the matter," said Doghead; "I dreamt six hundred years ago that I would have to fight Prince Mirk?, and it is he who is at my castle; but what is he to me? I have more strength in my little finger than he in his whole body." With this he darted off at a great speed and appeared at the castle. Prince Mirk? was awaiting Doghead in the courtyard of the fortress. The latter, seeing Prince Mirk?, galloped straight to him and said, "Well, Mirk?. I know that you are waiting for me. Here I am. How do you wish me to fight you? With swords? or shall we wrestle?" "I don't care how; just as you please," said Mirk?. "Then let us try swords first," said Doghead, and, getting off his horse, they stood up, and both ordered out their swords. "Swords, come out of the scabbards." The two swords flew out of the scabbards and began to fence over the heads of the combatants. The whole place rung with their clashing, and in their vehemence they sent forth sparks in such quantity that the whole ground was covered with fire, so that no one could stand the heat. Whereupon Doghead said to Mirk?, "Don't let us spoil our swords, but let us put them back into their scabbards, and let us wrestle." So they sheathed their swords and began to wrestle. When suddenly Doghead grasped Mirk? round the waist, lifted him up, and dashed him to the ground with such force that Mirk? sank to his belt. Mirk? was frightened, and quickly dipped his little finger into [Pg 74] the bottle. Whereupon he regained his strength, and, jumping out of the ground, made a desperate dash at Doghead, and threw him to the ground with such force, that he lay full length on the ground like a green frog; then he seized him by his hair and dragged him behind the royal residence, where a golden bridge stood over a bottomless lake. He dragged him on to the bridge, and, holding his head over the water, ordered his sword out of the scabbard and cut off his head, so that it dropped into the bottomless lake, and then he pushed the headless trunk after it.

Doghead's daughter saw all this, and grew very angry with Prince Mirk?, and as he approached her she turned her face away, and would not even speak to him; but Prince Mirk? explained to her that he could not do otherwise, for if he had spared Doghead's life he would have destroyed his; and that he was willing to redeem his promise, and keep his faith to the princess and take her for his wife. Whereupon the royal princess became reconciled, and they decided to get ready to go to Prince Mirk?'s realm. They ordered the horses?Doghead's charger was got ready for the beautiful princess?and, mounting them, were about to start, when all at once deep sorrow seized Prince Mirk?, and the beautiful royal princess thus questioned him: "Why are you so downcast, Mirk??" "Well, because," said Mirk?, "I'm anxious to go back to my country, but I am also extremely sorry to leave behind this sumptuous diamond castle, six stories high, which belonged to your father, for there is nothing like it in my country." "Well, my love," said the princess, "don't trouble about that. I will transform the castle into a golden apple at once, and sit in the middle of it, and all you will have to do is to put the apple into your pocket, and then you can take me with you and the castle too, and when you arrive at home you can re-transform me wherever you like." Thereupon the pretty princess jumped down from her horse, handed the reins to Mirk?, took out a diamond rod, and commenced to walk round the diamond castle, gently beating the sides of it with the [Pg 75] diamond rod, and the castle began to shrink and shrunk as small as a sentry box, and then the princess jumped inside of it, and the whole shrivelled up into a golden apple, the diamond rod lying by the side of it. Prince Mirk? picked up the golden apple and the diamond rod, and put them into his pocket, and then got on horseback, and, taking Doghead's horse by the bridle, he rode quietly home. Having arrived at home, Mirk? had the horses put in the stables, and then walked into the royal palace, where he found the old king and Knight Mezey quite content and enjoying themselves. He reported to them that he had conquered even Doghead, and that he had killed him; but the old king and Knight Mezey doubted his words. Therefore Prince Mirk? took them both by their arms, and said to them, "Come along with me, and you can satisfy yourselves, with your own eyes, that I have conquered Doghead, because I have brought away with me, not only his diamond castle, six stories high, but also his beautiful daughter, inside it, as a trophy of my victory." The old king and Knight Mezey were astonished at his words, and, still doubting, followed Mirk?, who took them into the flower garden of the king, in the middle of which Prince Mirk? selected a nice roomy place for the diamond castle, and placed the golden apple there, and commenced walking round, and, patting its sides with the diamond rod, the golden apple began to swell. It took a quadrangular shape, growing and growing, higher and higher, till it became a magnificent six-storied diamond castle; and then he took the old king and Knight Mezey by their arms, and led them up the diamond staircase into the rooms of the castle, where the princess, who was world-wide known for her beauty, met them, and received them most cordially. She bade them sit down, and sent lackeys to call the other sons of the old king and also the higher dignitaries of the court. In the dining-hall there was a big table, which could be opened out. She gave orders, and the table was laid of itself, and on it appeared all sorts of [Pg 76] costly dishes and drinks, and the assembled guests feasted in joy. The old king was highly satisfied with his son's doings, and handed over to Mirk? the royal power and the whole realm: he himself and Knight Mezey retired into quiet secluded life, and lived long in great happiness. The young royal couple who got married had beautiful children, and they are alive still, to this very day, if they have not died since. May they be your guests to-morrow!


A student started on a journey, and as he went over a field he found some peas which were cracked. He thought that they might be of use to him as he was a poor lad, and his father had advised him to pick up anything he saw, if it was worth no more than a flea; so he gathered up the peas and put them in his pocket. As he travelled he was overtaken by night just when he arrived at the royal borough; so he reported himself to the king, and asked for some money for travelling expenses, and a night's lodging. Now the student was a comely lad, spoke grammatically, and had good manners. The queen noticed this, and as she had a daughter ready for marriage, she came to the conclusion that he was a prince in disguise, who had come in search of a wife. She told this to the king, and he thought it very probable. Both agreed that they would try to find out whether he really was a prince, and asked him to stay with them for two days. The first night they did not give him a very splendid bed, because they thought that if he were satisfied, he was but a student, if not, then he must be a prince. They [Pg 77] made his bed in the adjoining house, and the king placed one of his confidential servants outside of the window, that he might spy out all that the student did. They showed the bed to the student, and he began to undress when they left. As he undressed all the peas dropped out of his pocket, and rolled under the bed; he at once began to look for them and pick them up, one by one, and did not finish till dawn. The spy outside could not make out what he was doing, but he saw that he did not go to sleep till dawn, and then only for a short time, having spent the night arranging his bed; so he reported to the king that his guest had not slept, but had fidgeted about, appearing not to be used to such a bed. The student got up, and during breakfast the king asked him how he had slept, to which he replied, "A little restlessly, but it was through my own fault." From this they concluded that he already repented of not having shown them his true position, and thus having not got a proper bed. They believed, therefore, that he was a prince, and treated him accordingly. Next night they made his bed in the same place, but in right royal style. As the student had not slept the night before, the moment he put his head down he began to sleep like a pumpkin, and never even moved till dawn. He had no trouble with his peas this time, for he had tied them up in the corner of his handkerchief as he picked them up from under the bed. The spy reported to the king next morning that the traveller slept soundly all night. They now firmly believed that the student simply dressed up as such, but in reality was a prince. They tried to persuade him that he was a prince, and addressed him as such. The king's daughter ran after the student to get into his favour, and it didn't take much to make him fall in love with her, and so the two got married. They had lived a whole year together, when they were sent off to travel in order that the student-king might show his wife his realm. The student was very frightened that he might not get out of his trouble so well, and grew more and more alarmed, [Pg 78] till at last he accepted his fate. "Let come whatever is to come," thought he, "I will go with them, and then, if nothing else can be done, I can escape, and go back to college," for he had carried his student's gown with him everywhere. They started off and travelled till they came to a large forest. The student slipped aside into a deep ditch, where he undressed, in order to put on his student's clothes and to escape. Now there was a dragon with seven heads lazily lying there, who accosted him thus: "Who are you? What are you looking for here? What do you want?" The student told him his whole history, and also that he was just going to run away. "There is no need to run away," said the dragon, "that would be a pity, continue your journey; when you get out of this wood you will see a copper fortress, which swivels on a goose's leg. Go into it, and live there in peace with your wife, with your dog and cat, till the fortress begins to move and turn round. When this happens, be off, because if I come home and catch you there, there will be an end of you." The student went back to his travelling companions and continued his way until, emerging from the wood, he saw the fortress. They all went in and settled down as in their own, and all went on very well for two years, and he already began to believe that he really was a king, when suddenly the fortress began to move, and swivel round very quickly. The student was downcast, and went up on the battlement of the fortress, wandering about in great sorrow; he there found an old woman, who asked him, "What's the matter with your Majesty?" "H'm! the matter is, old woman," replied the student, "that I am not a king, and still I am compelled to be one," and then he told her his whole history up to that time. "There's nothing in that, my son," said the old woman, "be thankful that you have not tried to keep your secret from me. I am the queen of magic, and the most formidable enemy of the dragon with seven heads; therefore this is my advice: get a loaf made at once, and let this loaf be placed in the oven seven times [Pg 79] with other loaves, this particular loaf each time to be put in the oven the first and to be taken out last. Have this loaf placed outside the fortress gate to-morrow, without fail. When the dragon with the seven heads is coming, it will be such a charm against him that he will never trouble you again, and the fortress will be left to you with all that belongs to it." The student had the loaf prepared as he was told, and when the clock struck one after midnight the bread was already placed outside the fortress gate. As the sun rose, the dragon with seven heads went straight towards the fortress gate, where the loaf addressed him thus, "Stop, I'm guard here, and without my permission you may not enter; if you wish to come in, you must first suffer what I have suffered."

"Well," said the dragon, "I've made up my mind to enter, so let me know what ordeals you have gone through."

The loaf told him, that when it was a seed it was buried in a field that had previously been dug up: then rotted, sprouted, and grew; it had suffered from cold, heat, rain, and snow, until it ripened; it was then cut down, tied into sheaves, threshed out, ground, kneaded into dough, and then seven times running they put it in a fiery oven, each time before its mates: "If you can stand all this," concluded the loaf, "then I'll let you in, but on no other condition." The dragon, knowing that he could not stand all this, got so angry that he burst in his rage and perished. The student from that day became lord of the fortress, and after the death of his wife's parents became king of two lands; and if he has not died yet, he reigns still.

If I knew that I should fare as well as that student I would become a student this very blessed day!

[Pg 80]


There lived, at the two corners of a country, far away from each other, two rich men; one of them had a son, the other a daughter; these two men asked each other to be godfather to their children, and, during the christening they agreed that the babes should wed. The children grew up, but did no work, and so were spoilt. As soon as they were old enough their parents compelled them to marry. Shortly afterwards their parents died and they were left alone; they knew nothing of the world and did not understand farming, so the serfs and farm-labourers had it all their own way. Soon their fields were all overgrown with weeds and their corn-bins empty; in a word they became poor. One day the master bethought himself that he ought to go to market, as he had seen his father do; so he set off, and drove with him a pair of beautiful young oxen that were still left. On his way he met a wedding-party, and greeted them thus, "May the Lord preserve you from such a sorrowful change, and may He give consolation to those who are in trouble," Words he had once heard his father use upon the occasion of a funeral. The wedding-party got very vexed, and, as they were rather flushed with wine, gave him a good drubbing, and told him that the next time he saw such a ceremony he was to put his hat on the end of his stick, lift it high in the air, and shout for joy. He went on further till he came to the outskirts of a forest, where he met some butcher-like looking people who were driving fat pigs, whereupon he seized his hat, put it on the end of his stick, and began to shout: which so frightened the pigs that they rushed off on all sides into the wood; the butchers got hold of him and gave him a sound beating, and [Pg 81] told him that the next time he saw such a party he was to say, "May the Lord bless you with two for every one you have." He went on again and saw a man clearing out the weeds from his field, and greeted him, "My brother, may the Lord bless you with two for every one you have." The man, who was very angry about the weeds, caught him and gave him a sound beating, and told him that the next time he saw such things he had better help to pull out one or two. In another place he met two men fighting, so he went up and began to pull first at one and then at the other, whereupon they left off fighting with each other and pitched into him. Somehow or other he at last arrived at the market, and, looking round, he saw an unpainted cart for sale, whereupon he remembered that his father used to go into the wood in a cart, and so he asked the man who had it for sale whether he would change it for his two oxen?not knowing that having once parted with the oxen he would not get them back again. The man was at first angry, because he thought he was making fun of the cart, but he soon saw that the man with the oxen was not quite right in his head, and so he struck the bargain with the young farmer, who, when he got the cart, went dragging it to and fro in the market. He met a blacksmith and changed the cart for a hatchet; soon the hatchet was changed for a whetstone; then he started off home as if he had settled matters in the most satisfactory manner. Near his village he saw a lake, and on it a flock of wild ducks. He immediately threw his whetstone at them, which sank to the bottom, whilst every one of the ducks flew away.

He undressed and got into the lake, in order to recover his whetstone, but in the meantime his clothes were stolen from the bank, and, having no clothes, he had to walk home as naked as when he was born. His wife was not at home when he arrived. He took a slice of bread from the drawer, and went into the cellar to draw himself some wine; having put the bread on the door-sill of the cellar, he went back to get his wine, as he did so he saw a dog come up and run away with his bread; he at [Pg 82] once threw the spigot after the thief, so the spigot was lost, the bread was lost, and every drop of wine was lost, for it all ran out. Now there was a sack of flour in the cellar, and in order that his wife might not notice the wine he spread the flour over it. A goose was sitting on eggs in the cellar, and as he worked she hissed at him. Thinking that the bird was saying, that it was going to betray him to his wife, he asked it two or three times, "Will you split?" Going up to the goose, it hissed still more, so he caught hold of it by the neck, and dashed it upon the ground with such force that it died on the spot. He was now more frightened than ever, and in order to amend his error he plucked off the feathers, rolled himself about in the floury mess, then amongst the feathers, and then sat on the nest as if he were sitting. His wife came home, and, as she found the cellar door wide open, she went down stairs, and found her husband sitting in the nest and hissing like a goose; but his wife soon recognised him, and, picking up a log of wood, she attacked him, saying, "Good Heavens, what an animal, let me kill it at once!" Up he jumped from the nest, and cried out in a horrible fright, "Don't touch me, my dear wife, it's I!" His wife then questioned him about his transactions, and he gave a full account of all that had happened; so his wife drove him away and said, "Don't come before my eyes again till you have made good your faults." She then gave him a slice of bread and a small flask of spirit, which he put in his pocket and went on his way, his wife wishing him "a happy journey, if the road is not muddy." On his way he met Our Lord Christ and said to him, "I'm not going to divide my bread with you, because you have not made a rich man of me." Then he met Death, with him he divided his bread and his spirits, therefore Death did not carry him off, and he asked Death to be his child's godfather.

Then said Death, "Now you will see a wonder"; with this he slipped into the spirit flask, and was immediately corked up [Pg 83] by the young man. Death implored to be set free, but the young farmer said, "Promise me then that you will make me a rich man, and then I will let you out." Death promised him this, and they agreed that the man was to be a doctor, and whenever Death stood at the patient's feet, he or she was not to die, and could be cured by any sort of medicine whatever: but if Death stood at the patient's head he was to die: with this they parted.

Our man reached a town where the king's daughter was very ill. The doctors had tried all they could, but were not able to cure her, so he said that he was going to cure her, if she could be cured, if not, he would tell them; so thereupon he went into the patient and saw Death standing at her feet. He burnt a stack of hay, and made a bath for her of the ashes, and she recovered so soon as she had bathed in it. The king made him so many presents that he became a very rich man: he removed to the town, brought his wife there, and lived in great style as a doctor. Once however he fell sick, and his koma [his child's godfather] came and stood at his head, and the patient begged hard for him to go and stand at his feet, but his koma replied, "Not if I know it," and then the doctor also departed to the other world.


The wife of a priest in olden times, it may have been in the antediluvian world, put all the plates, dishes, and milk-jugs into a basket and sent the servant to wash them in the brook. While the girl was washing she saw a cray-fish crawl out of the water, and, as she had never seen one in her life before, she stood staring at it, and was a little [Pg 84] frightened. It so happened that a hussar rode past on horseback, and the girl asked him, "Would you mind telling me, my gallant horseman, what sort of a God's wonder that yonder is?" "Well, my sister," said the soldier, "that is a cray-fish." The servant then took courage, and went near the cray-fish to look at it, and said, "But it crawls!" "But it's a cray-fish," said the soldier again. "But it crawls," said the servant abruptly. "But it's a cray-fish," said the soldier a third time. "Well, my gallant horseman, how can you stand there and tell me that, when I can see that it crawls?" said the servant. "But, my sister, how can you stand there and tell me, when I can see that it's a cray-fish?" said the soldier. "Well, I'm neither blind nor a fool, and I can see quite well that it's a-crawling," said the servant. "But neither am I blind nor a fool, and I can see that it is a cray-fish," said the soldier.

The servant got so angry that she dashed her crockery to the ground and broke it into fragments, crying, in a great rage, "May I perish here if it is not a-crawling!" The hussar jumped off his saddle, drew his sword, and cut off his horse's head, saying, "May the executioner cut off my neck like this if it isn't a cray-fish!" The soldier went his way on foot, and the servant went home without her ware, and the priest's wife asked, "Well, where are all the pots?" The servant told her what had happened between the soldier and her about a cray-fish and a-crawling. "Is that the reason why you have done all the damage?" said the priest's wife. "Oh, mistress, how could I give in when I saw quite well that it was a-crawling; and still that nasty soldier kept on saying it was a cray-fish?" The wife of the priest was heating the oven, as she was going to bake, and she got into such a rage that she seized her new fur jacket, for which she had given a hundred florins, and pitched it into the oven, saying, "May the flames of the fire burn me like this if you were not both great fools!" "What is all this smell of burning?" asked the priest, coming in. Learning what had happened [Pg 85] about a cray-fish and a-crawling, he took his gown and cut it up on the threshold with a hatchet, saying, "May the executioner cut me into bits like this if the three of you are not fools!" Then came the schoolmaster (his calf had got loose and run into the clergyman's yard, and he had come after it to drive it home): and, hearing what had happened, and why, he caught hold of a stick, and struck his calf such a blow on the head that it fell down dead on the spot, exclaiming, "If God will, may the fiery thunderbolt thus strike me dead if you all four are not fools!"

Then came the churchwarden, and asked what had happened there, and when he was told he got into such a rage that he picked up the church-box and dashed it on the ground in the middle of the yard, so that the box was broken to pieces, and the precious altar-covers and linen were rolling about on the dirty ground, saying, "May I perish like this, at this very hour, if the whole five of you are not fools!"

In the meantime the sacristan came in, and, seeing the linen on the floor, he threw up his hands and said, "Well, I never! whatever's the matter?" Then they told him what had happened, and why, whereupon he picked up all the covers and linen and tore them into shreds, saying, "May the devil tear me to atoms like this if you six are not a parcel of raving lunatics!"

News of the event soon got abroad, and the whole congregation gathered together and set the priest's house on fire, crying, "May the flames of the fire burn us all like this, every one of us, if all the seven were not fools!"

[1] The zest of this tale turns upon a similarity in the sound of the words in Magyar for "cray-fish," and "crawling."

[Pg 86]


Once I discovered all of a sudden, it was before I was born, that my father was going to get married, and take my mother unto him. My father said to me, "Go to the mill and have some corn ground for bread for the wedding!" Whereupon I betook myself hurriedly like a smart fellow, I looked for a cloth, and took up into the loft three bags, and filled nine sacks with the best wheat of D?lnok, the best to be found; I put all nine sacks at once over my shoulder, and took them to the cart. I led out oxen and tried to yoke them, but neither of them could find it's old place; I put the off-side one on the near side, and the near-side one on the off side, and they were all right. I tried the yoke-pins, but they would not fit, I therefore put in lieu of one the handle of a shovel, and in place of the other a pole, and then all was right. I went to the mill with the team, and when I arrived there I stopped the oxen and stuck the whip into the ground in front of them to prevent them running away; I myself went into the mill to call the miller to assist me in carrying in the wheat. I couldn't find a soul in the mill. I looked around, under the bed, behind the oven, and saw that the green jug was not on it's peg; from this I knew that the mill was away gathering strawberries, so I thought, if this were so, I should have to wait patiently till it returned, but then I remembered that it was not its custom to hurry back, and by the time it got back my hair might be grey, and then it would be difficult for oxen to wait from year to year as I had not brought aught for them to feed on. So I rushed after it at a dog's trot, out on to the mount, and found it sniffing about the shrubs, so I cut a jolly good stick and began to bang it on both sides as hard as my strength allowed me, till I happened to hit it rather hard [Pg 87] with the stick, and, having struck it, I could hear it far away as it began to move down in the valley, and it ground away and made such a clatter; it was just grinding my wheat! In order to get down from the mount into the valley more quickly, I lay down on the ground and rolled down the slope, and after me all the stumps, who envied my pastime. Nothing happened to them, and the only accident I had was that I knocked my nose a little into some soft cow-dung, but I didn't carry it away altogether, and a good deal of it is left there still. The poor white horse fared much worse than that, as it was grazing at the foot of the mount, it got so frightened by us that it ran out of this world with a fetter fastened to it's feet, and has not returned to this very day. I rubbed my nose on the sward as a hen does, and went to see what had become of the oxen in the meantime: lo! the stock of my whip had taken root and become such a tall tree that it was as high as the big tower at Brass?[1] and the starlings had built their nests in it, and had so many young ones that you couldn't hear the clattering of the mill for their chirping.

Well, I was very much delighted, thinking that now I could catch a lot of young starlings; I knew how to climb well. I climbed the tree, and tried to put my hand into a hole but couldn't, so I tried my head, and that went in comfortably. I stuffed my breast full of starlings. When I tried to get out of the hole I could not; so I rushed home and fetched an adze, and cut myself out. I couldn't get down, as the tree was so thick and my head so giddy, so I called the miller to help me, but he, thinking that my complaint was hunger, sent me some miller-cake by his son, but I told him in a great rage that that was not what I wanted: so off he ran at once, and brought me a bushel of bran, handing it up on the end of a pale. I twisted the bran into a rope, so strong that it would bear a millstone, and I tried whether it would reach the ground, but it did not reach, so I doubled it up, then it not only reached, but trailed on the ground. I [Pg 88] began to glide down it, but a beetle aloft sawed it in two where it was tied to the bough, and down I dropped rope and all; but while I was falling to the ground, in the meantime, the young starlings in my breast got their feathers, took to their wings, and flew away with me. When we were flying over the river Olt, some women who were washing rags on the bank began to shout, "What the fiery thunderbolt is the boy doing that he flies so well? If he drops he will drop straight in the river and drown." I saw they were all staring at me, but from the chirping of the young starlings I couldn't clearly hear what they shouted: so I thought they were shouting that I should untie the waist-band of my shirt. I untied the waist-band of my shirt below the garter that tied my socks: with this the young starlings got out of my bosom all at once and all the wings I had flew away. Down I dropped into the middle of the river: with my splash the waters overflowed the banks and washed as far as the foot of the mountain: but when the waters flowed back into the bed of the river, (with the exception of a few drops that were lapped up by a thirsty shepherd-dog of Gid?fal?) so many fish were left on the bank that they covered the whole place, from M?ln?s to Doboly and from ?rkos to Angyalos and even the whole plain of Sz?pmez?. Well, there was a lot of fish! Twelve buffalo-carts were carting them away without interruption for a whole week, and the quantity didn't get less, you couldn't see that any had been taken away: but a stark naked gipsy brat came that way from K?r?spatak, and he picked them up, put them into his shirt lap, and carried them all away.

I then remembered that they had not sent me here to play but to grind corn, so I started in the direction of where I had left the oxen to see what they were doing, and whether they were there still. I travelled for a long time till I got quite tired. I saw in a meadow a horse, and I thought I could easily get on it, and go where I wished to go, but it would not wait for me. I caught hold of its tail, turned it round, and so we stood face to face, and I said to it quite bumptiously: "Ho! stop, old nag. Don't be [Pg 89] so frisky." It understood the kind words and stopped dead, like a peg. I put the saddle on the grey and sat on the bay and started off on the chestnut; over a ditch and over a stile, so that the horse's feet did not touch the ground. In one place I passed a vineyard, and inside the hedge there was a lot of pretty ripe fruit. I stopped the grey, got down from the bay, and tied the chestnut to the paling. I tried to climb over the hedge, but couldn't, so I caught hold of my hair, and swung myself over. I began to shake the plum-tree, and walnuts dropped. I picked up the filberts and put them in my bosom. It was very hot, I was very thirsty, so that I nearly died of thirst. I saw that not very far away there were some reapers, and I asked, "Where can I get water here?" They shewed me a spring not far off. I went there, and found that it was frozen over. I tried in vain to break the ice with my heel, and then with a stone, but did not succeed, as the ice was a span thick; so I took the skull from my head and broke the ice with it easily. I scooped up water with it, and had a hearty drink. I went to the hedge and swung myself over by the hair into the road; then I untied the grey, got on the bay, and galloped off on the chestnut, over stile and ditch, so that my hair flew on the wind. In one place I passed two men. As I overtook them, they called out after me: "Where's your head, my boy?" I immediately felt my back, and lo! my head was not there; so I galloped back at a quick dog-trot to the spring. What did I see? My skull felt lonely without me, and had so much sense that as I forgot it there, it had made a neck, hands, waist, and feet, for itself out of the mud, and I caught it sliding on the ice. Well! I wasn't a bad hand at sliding myself, so I slid after it as fast as I could. But it knew better than I did, and so I couldn't possibly catch it. My good God! What could I do? I was very much frightened that I was really going to be left without a head but I remembered something, and thought to myself: "Never mind, skull, don't strain yourself, you can't outdo me." So I hurriedly made a greyhound out of mud, and set it after my skull. He [Pg 90] caught it in a jiffy, and brought it to me. I took it and put it on: I went to the hedge, and seizing myself by the hair, swung myself over the hedge: untied the grey, got on the bay, and galloped away on the chestnut, over a stile, and over a ditch, like a bird, till I came to the mill, where I found that my father had not had patience to wait for me, and so had set off in search of me; and, as he couldn't find me, began to bewail me, vociferating: "Oh! my soul! Oh! my son! Where have you gone? Oh! Oh! Why did I send you without anybody to take care of you? Oh! my soul! Oh! my son! Now all is over with you. You must have perished somewhere." As my father was always scolding me, and calling me bad names in my lifetime, I could never have believed that he were able to pity me so much. When I saw what was the matter with him, I called from a distance: "Console yourself, father, I am here, 'a bad hatchet never gets lost.'" It brought my poor old father's spirits back. We put the sacks full of flour on the cart and went home, and celebrated my father's wedding sumptuously. The bride was my mother, and I was the first who danced the bride's dance with her, and then the others had a turn, and when the wedding was over, all the guests went away and we were left at home by ourselves, and are alive at this date, if we are not dead. I was born one year after this, and I am the legitimate son of my father, and have grown up nicely, and have become a very clever lad.

[1] Cronstadt in Transylvania.


There was once, somewhere or in some other place, I don't know where, over seven times seven countries, or even beyond them, a poor widow, and she had three unmarried sons who were so poor that one had always to go out to service. First the eldest went, and, as he [Pg 91] was going and going over seven times seven countries, and even beyond them, he met an old man, who accosted him, saying, "My younger brother, where are you going?" The lad answered, "My father, I am going to look for work." "And I am in need of a servant," the old man replied; so he engaged the lad on the spot to tend his baa-lambs. In the morning, as the lad went out with them, the old man told him not to drive them and not to guide them, but simply to go after them, as they would graze quietly if left to themselves. The lad started with the baa-lambs; first they came to a splendid meadow, he went in and trotted after them as his master had told him; then they came to a swift stream and the baa-lambs went over it, but the lad had not the courage to go into the water, but walked up and down the bank till evening, when the baa-lambs returned of their own accord, recrossed the water, and, as night had set in, he drove them home. "Well, my dear son," said his master, "tell me where you have been with the baa-lambs." "My dear father, I only followed after them. First of all they went into a large plain; after that we came to a great, swift stream; they got over the large sheet of water, but I remained on this side, as I did not dare to go into the deep water." As the poor lad finished his tale the master said, "Well, my dear son, I shall send you away, as I can see very well that you are not fit for service," and he sent him off without any pay. The lad went home, very much cast down. When he got home his two brothers asked him, "Well, dear brother, how did you get on in service?" "Hum, how did I get on, and what did I do? You'd better go yourselves and you will soon know." "Very well," they replied, and the second son went to look for service, met the same old man, and fared the same as his brother, and was sent home without anything. As he arrived home his younger brother met him and asked, "Well, dear brother, what sort of service did you get?" "Hum," replied he, "What sort of a place did I get? You had better go and then you also will know." "Very well," [Pg 92] replied the youngest, and he too went to try his luck. As he went along he met the same old man, and was engaged by him to tend his baa-lambs for a year; the old man told him, too, to walk after them, and not to leave them under any circumstances. Next morning the old man prepared the lad's bag, and let the baa-lambs out of the fold; they started off, and the lad followed them, step by step, till they came to a pretty, green plain: they walked over it, quietly grazing along as they went, till they came to the swift stream; the baa-lambs crossed it, and the lad followed them; but the moment he entered the water the swift current swept off his clothes and shrivelled his flesh, so that, when he got to the other side, he was only skin and bones; so soon as he reached the other bank the baa-lambs turned back and began to blow on him, and his body was at once fairer than it ever was before. The baa-lambs started off again till they came to a large meadow where the grass was so high that it was ready for the scythe, and still the cattle grazing on it were so ill-fed that a breath of wind would have blown them away; the baa-lambs went on to another meadow which was quite barren, and the cattle there had nothing to eat, yet they were as fat as butter; thence the baa-lambs went into a huge forest, and there, on every tree, was such a lamentation and crying and weeping as one could not conceive of; the lad looked to see what the meaning of the loud crying could be, and lo, on every bough there was a young sparrow, quite naked! and all were weeping and crying. From here the baa-lambs went sauntering on till they came to a vast garden; in this garden there were two dogs fighting, so that the foam ran from their mouths; still they could not harm each other. The baa-lambs went on further till they came to a great lake, and there the lad saw a woman in the lake, scooping with a spoon something from the water incessantly, and still she was not able to scoop the thing up. From there the baa-lambs went further, and, as they went, he saw a brook of beautiful, running water, clear like crystal, and, as he was very thirsty, he had half a mind to drink of it, but, thinking [Pg 93] that the spring-head was very much better, he went there, and saw that the water was bubbling out of the mouth of a rotting dead dog, which so frightened him that he did not taste a drop. From there the baa-lambs went into another garden, which was so wonderfully pretty that human eye had never seen the like before. Flowers of every kind were blooming, but the baa-lambs left them untouched, only eating the green grass, and, as they ate, he sat down under the shade of a beautiful flowering tree in order to partake of some food, when suddenly he saw that a beautiful white pigeon was fluttering about in front of him; he took his small blunderbuss, which he had with him, and shot at the pigeon, knocking off a feather, but the pigeon flew away; he picked up the feather and put it in his bag. From thence the baa-lambs started off home, the lad following them. When they arrived, the old man asked: "Well, my son, and how did the baa-lambs go?" "They went very well," answered the lad, "I had no trouble with them. I had merely to walk after them." As he said this, the old man asked him: "Well, my son, tell me where you have been with the baa-lambs." Then he told him that the baa-lambs first went into a pretty green plain, then they went through a swift stream; and he told him all?where he had been with them and so on. When he had finished his tale, the old man said: "My dear son, you see that wonderful pretty green plain where you went first with the baa-lambs represents your youth up to this day. The water through which you went is the water of life which washes away sin: that it washed away all your clothes and dried up your flesh means that it washes away all your previous sins: that on the other shore, upon the baa-lambs breathing on you, your body became purer, means that the holy faith, by the water of life, has penetrated all over your soul, and you have become purified from your sins, regenerate in all; the baa-lambs who breathed upon you are angels, and your good and pious teachers. The ill-fed cattle amidst the luxuriant grass means [Pg 94] that the avaricious, whilst surrounded by plenty, even begrudge themselves food; they will be misers even in the other world: they will have plenty to eat and drink, they will partake of both, and still will be eternally hungry and thirsty. Those beasts who fed in the barren field, and were so fat, means that those who have given from their little to the poor in this world, and have not chastised their bodies with hunger and thirst, will feed heartily in the other world out of little food, and will never know hunger or thirst. That the young birds cried so mournfully in the woods, my son, means that those mothers in this world who do not have their children baptised, but have them buried without, will, in the other world, eternally weep and cry. The two dogs who fought so in the garden means that those relatives who in this world fight and squabble over property will eternally fight in the other world, and never come to terms. That woman who was fishing in a lake so busily for something with a spoon, and could not catch it, is he who in this world adulterates milk with water and sells it in this state to others; he will in the other world continually be in a lake, and will eternally fish about with a spoon, in order to fish the milk out of the water, and will never succeed. That you saw a pretty clear brook and did not drink of it, but went to the spring where the water flowed out of the mouth of a dead dog, that means, my dear son, the beautiful sermons of the clergy and their holy prayers. The dead dog from whose mouth the clear water flowed represents the priests who preach pious and wise lessons, but never keep them themselves. The garden into which you went is Heaven. Those who live without sin in this world will come into such a beautiful garden in the other world. But now, my dear son, can you show me some proof that you have really been in that garden?"

The lad quickly took from his bag the white pigeon's feather, and handed it to him, saying, "Look here, my old father, I shot this from a white pigeon there." The old man took the pigeon's feather, and said to him, "You see, my son, I was that white [Pg 95] pigeon, and I have been following you all the journey through, and always kept watch over you, to see what you did. So God also follows man unknown to him, to see what he does. The feather you shot away was one of my fingers; look here, I have not got it!" and as he looked he saw that the little finger was missing from the old man's hand; with this, the old man placed the feather there, blew upon it, and the finger was once more all right. In the meantime the year came to an end?for if I may mention it here the year consisted of but three days then?so the old man said to the lad: "Well, my son, the year is now ended; hand me over the bag, and then you can go. But first let me ask you would you rather have heaven, or so much gold as you can carry home?" To this the lad replied that he did not wish for gold, but only desired to be able to go to heaven. Thereupon the old man at once filled a sack with gold for him, lifted it upon the lad's back, and sent him home. The lad thanked the old man for his present, betook himself home with his sack of gold, and became such a rich farmer with six oxen that not in the whole village, nay, not even in the whole neighbourhood, was there such a one who came near him. He also took to himself a suitable girl as his wife, who was as pretty as a flower; he is alive to this very day, if he has not died since. May he be your guest to-morrow!


There was once somewhere, I don't know where, beyond seven times seven countries, and even beyond them, a poor man who had a wife and three children. They were awfully poor. One day the eldest son said: "Dear mother, bake me some ash-cake and let me go into [Pg 96] service." His mother at once baked the cake, and the lad started, and went on and on till he came to a high snow-clad mountain, where he met a grey-haired man and greeted him: "May the Lord bless you, my good old father." "The Lord bless you, my son. What are you after?" asked the old man. "I am going out to service, if the Lord will help me to some place." "Well, then, come to me," said the old man, "I will engage you." So they went to the house of the grey-haired old man, and the very next day they went out ploughing but they only ploughed up some grass-land, and sowed it with seed. Now let me tell you, that the old man promised him a bushel of seed for sowing. Two days passed, and at dawn of the third day the old man said: "Well, my son, to-day you can go out ploughing for yourself; get the plough ready, yoke the oxen in, and in the meantime I will get the bushel of wheat I promised." So the lad put the oxen to the plough and the old man got the bushel of wheat and placed it on the plough. They started, the old man accompanying him. Just at the end of the village he said to the lad: "Well, my son, can you see that place yonder covered with shrubs? Go there, and plough up as much of it for yourself as you think will be enough for the bushel of wheat." The lad went, but was quite alarmed at the sight of the shrubs, and at once lost heart. "How could he plough there? Why, by the time he had grubbed up the shrubs alone it would be night." So he ran off home, and left the plough there, and the oxen then returned of their own accord to the old man's place?if I may interrupt myself, they were the oxen of a fairy. When the lad arrived at his father's house, his other brothers asked him: "What sort of a place have you found?" "What sort of a place!" replied he, "go yourself, and you will soon find out." The middle son set out, and just as he was going over the snow-clad mountain he met the old man, who engaged him on the spot as his servant, and promised him a bushel of wheat, as he had done before. They went to the old man's home, and he [Pg 97] fared just as his elder brother had done. At dawn on the third day, when he had to plough for himself, he got frightened at the sight of the vast number of shrubs, which no human being could have ploughed up in the stated time. So he went home too, and on his way he met his younger brother, who asked him: "What sort of a place have you found, my dear elder brother?" "What sort of a place had I? Get up out of the ashes, and go yourself, and you will soon find out." Now let me tell you that this boy was continually sitting among the ashes. He was a lazy, ne'er-do-weel fellow; but now he got up, and shook the ashes from him and said: "Well, my mother, bake me a cake also: as my brothers have tried their fortune let me try mine." But his brothers said: "Oh! you ash-pan! Supposing you were required to do nothing else but eat, you would not be good enough even for that." But still he insisted, that his mother should bake something for him. So his mother set to work and baked him a cake of some inferior bran, and with this he set out. As he went over the boundless snow-clad mountain, in the midst of it he met the old man and greeted him: "The Lord bless you, my old father!" "The Lord bless you, my son! Where are you going?" "I am going out to service, if I can find an employer." "Well, you are the very man I want; I am in search of a servant." And he engaged him on the spot, promising to make him a present of a bushel of wheat for sowing. They went home together, and after they had ploughed together for two days, the lad set out on the third day to plough up the land allotted to him for his own use: while the youngster was putting the oxen to the plough the old man got the wheat and placed it on the plough. On the dyke there was a big dog, who always lay there quietly; but this time he got up, and started off in front of him. The old man also accompanied him as far as the end of the village, from whence he showed him where to go ploughing. The youngster went on with the plough, and soon saw that he was not able to [Pg 98] plough a single furrow, on account of the thick bushes. After considering what to do, he bethought himself, and took his sharp hatchet and began to cut down a vast quantity of shrubs and thorns, the dog carrying them all into a heap. Seeing that he had cut enough, he began to plough. The two oxen commenced to drag the plough and cut up the roots in a manner never seen before. After he had turned three times, he looked round and said: "Well, I'm not going to plough any more, but will begin to sow, so that I may see how much seed I've got." He sowed the seed, and noticed that it was just sufficient, and therefore he had to plough no more. In great joy he set the plough straight and went home. The old man met him and said: "Well, my son, thanks to the Lord, you have now finished your year, and in God's name I will let you go. I do not intend to engage any more servants." Before I forget to tell you, I may mention it here, that the year had three days then. So the lad went home, and his brothers asked him: "Well, then, what sort of a place have you found?" "Well, I believe I've served my master as well as you did."

One day, a year after, he went into the field to look at his wheat crop. There he saw an old woman reaping some young wheat, so he went home and said to his father: "Well, my father, do you know what we have to do? let's go reaping." "Where, my son?" "Well, father, for my last year's service I had a bushel of wheat given to me for sowing, it has got ripe by this time, so let us go and reap it." So all four (his father, his two brothers, and himself) went; when they came to the spot they saw that it was a magnificent crop, a mass of golden ears from root to top, ready and ripe; so they all started to work and cut down every head.

They made three stacks of it, each stack having twenty-six sheaves. "Well my son," said the father, "there are three stacks here and there are three of you to guard them, so while I go home to hire a cart, guard them well, so that the birds may not carry [Pg 99] away a single stem." The father went home, and the three sat down (one at the foot of each stack) to watch them, but the youngest was the most anxious, as it was his own, and ran to and fro continually to prevent his brothers falling asleep. Just as he had awakened them and was going back to his own stack he saw a woodpecker dragging away, by jerks, a golden ear along the ground, so he ran after it in order to get it back, but just as he was on the point of catching it the woodpecker flew off further and further, and enticed him, until at last it got him into the very midst of the boundless snow-clad mountains. All of a sudden the youngster discovered where he was, and that it was getting dusk. "Where was he to go? and what was he to do?" So he thought he would go back to the stacks, but as he had kept his eye on the woodpecker and the wheat-ear, he had taken no notice of the surroundings, and knew not which way he had come. So he determined to climb the highest tree and look round from there: he looked about and found the highest tree, climbed it, and looked East but saw nought, South and saw nought: North, and far, very far away he saw a light as big as a candle; so he came down, and started off in the direction in which he had seen the light and went straight over ditches, woods, rocks, and fields till at last he came to a large plain, and there he found the fire which he had seen before, and lo! it was such a heap of burning wood that the flames nearly reached heaven: he approached it and when he drew near the burning heap he saw that a man was lying curled round the fire, his head resting on his feet, and that he was covered with a large cloak: then thought the lad, "Shall I lie down inside or outside of the circle formed by the body of the man?" If he lay outside he would catch cold; if he lay inside he would be scorched, he thought; so he crept into the sleeve of the cloak, and there fell asleep. In the morning when the sun arose, the big man awoke, he yawned wide, and got up from the fire; as he rose the youngster dropt out of his sleeve on to the ground: the giant [Pg 100] looked at him (because I forgot to tell you it wasn't a man, it was a giant), and was very much pleased at the sight; he quickly picked him up, took him into his arms, and carried him into his palace, (and even there put him into the best room) and put him to bed, covered him up well, and crept out of the room on tiptoe lest he should wake him. When he heard that the youngster was awake, he called to him through the open door, "Don't be afraid, my dear son, I am a big man it is true, but notwithstanding I will be to thee like thy father, in thy father's place; like thy mother, in thy mother's place." With this he entered the room, and the poor lad stared into the giant's eyes, as if he were looking up to the sky. Suddenly the giant asked him how he got there, and the lad told him the whole tale. "Well, my dear little son, I will give you everything that your heart can think of, or your mouth name, I will fulfil your every wish, only don't worry yourself;" and he had all sorts of splendid clothes made for him, and kept him on costly food; and this lasted till the lad became twenty years of age, when one day the lad became very sad, and his giant father asked him, "Well, my dear son, tell me why you are so sad, I will do all your heart can think of, or your mouth name; but do tell me what's the matter with you?" So the lad said, after hesitation, "Well! well! well! my dear father, I am so sad because the time has come when I ought to get married, and there's nobody here to get married to." "Oh! my son, don't worry yourself over that, such a lad as you has but to wish and you will find plenty of womankind, the very prettiest of them, ready to have you; you will but have to choose the one your heart loves best." So saying he called the lad before the gate and said: "Well, my son, you can see that great white lake yonder: go there at noon prompt and hide yourself under a tree, for every noon three lovely fairy girls come there who are as handsome as handsome can be: you can look at the sun, but you can't look at them! They will come disguised [Pg 101] as pigeons, and when they arrive on the bank they will turn somersaults, and at once become girls: they will then undress, and lay their dresses on the bank: you must then glide up, and steal the dress of the one your heart loves best, and run away home with it, but be careful not to look back, however they may shout: because if you do, believe me, she will catch you, box your ears, and take her clothes from you."

So he went to the lake and hid himself under an oak, and all at once three white pigeons came flying, their wings flapping loudly as they came, they settled down on the bank, and went to take a bath. The lad wasn't slow to leave his hiding-place, and pick up the dress of the eldest fairy girl and run away with it; but she noticed it at once, rushed out of the lake, and ran after him, shouting: "Stop! sweet love of my heart. Look at me; see how beautiful my skin is; how pretty my breasts are. I'm yours, and you're mine!" So he looked round, and the fairy snatched her dress away in a moment, slapped his face, and returned to the others in the lake. Poor lad! he was very sad, and went back and told his giant father all that had happened, and his giant father answered, "Well; wasn't I right? Didn't I tell you not to look back? But don't fret; three in number are the divine truths, and three times also will you have to try. There are two yet left, go again to-morrow at noon. Take care you don't look back, or pick up the same dress that you picked up yesterday, because, believe me, if you do, there will be the mischief to pay." So he went early next day (he couldn't wait till noon) and hid himself under a tree, when all of a sudden the pigeons appeared, turned somersaults, and became three beautiful fairy girls. They undressed, laid their dresses on the bank, and went into the lake; in short, the lad fared with the second as with the first?he couldn't resist the temptation of looking back when the beautiful fairy kept imploring him, as the sweet love of her heart, to gaze at her beautiful skin and breasts. He looked back, was slapped in the face as before, and lost the fairy dress. He went [Pg 102] home again, very sad, to his giant father, and told him how he had fared; and the giant said in reply: "Never mind, don't bother yourself, my son, three are the divine truths; there is one more left for you; you can try again to-morrow, but only be very careful not to look back this time." Next day he couldn't wait till noon, but went and hid himself under the oak very early, and had to wait a long, long time. At last the white pigeons arrived, turned somersaults as before, and put their dresses on the bank, whilst they themselves went into the lake. Out he rushed from his hiding-place, snatched up the youngest's dress, and ran away with it. But the fairy noticed that her dress was gone, and rushed out of the lake after him like a hurricane, calling out incessantly: "Stop! sweet love of my heart, look how beautifully white my skin is! See how beautifully white are my breasts. I am yours, and you are mine." But the lad only ran faster than ever, and never looked behind once, but ran straight home to his giant father, and told him that he had got the dress this time. "Well, my dear son," said he, "didn't I tell you not to worry yourself in the least, and that I would do all for you that your heart could desire, or your mouth name?" Once after this the lad was very sad again, so his giant father asked him: "Well, my son, what's the matter this time, that you are so sad?" "Well, my dear father, because we have only got a dress, and that is not enough for a wedding. What's the use of it? What can I do with it?" "Never mind, don't worry about that. Go into the inside closet, and on a shelf you will find a walnut, bring it here." So the lad went and fetched the nut, and the giant split it neatly in two, took out the kernel, folded up the dress (and I may mention it here the dress consisted of only one piece), put it inside the nut-shell, fitted the two halves together, and said to the lad: "Well, my son, let me have your waistcoat, so that I may sew this nut into the pocket; and be careful that no one opens it, neither thy father, nor thy mother, nor any one in this [Pg 103] world, because should any one open it your life will be made wretched; you will be an outcast."

With this, the giant sewed the nut into the pocket, and put the waistcoat on him. As they finished this, they heard a great clamping noise, and a chinking (as of coins) outside. So the giant bade him to look out of the window, and what did he see? He saw that in the courtyard there was a lovely girl sitting in a carriage drawn by six horses, and about her beautiful maids and outriders, and the giant said, "You see, it is Fairy Elizabeth, your ladylove." So they went out at once, and helped Fairy Elizabeth out of her carriage, then she ordered the carriage and horses to go back, at once, to where they had come from, and in a moment they disappeared, and there was no trace of them left. They then went into the house, but the giant remained outside, and he drew in the dust figures of a priest, and a cantor, and guests, and they appeared at once. All went into the house, and the young folks got wed, and a great wedding feast was celebrated. There was the bridegroom's best man, and the groom's men, and the bride's duenna, and all her bridesmaids, and the wedding feast lasted three full days. They ate, drank, and enjoyed themselves, and when all was over the young couple lived together in quiet happiness. Once more, however, the lad became very sad, and the giant asked him: "Well, my dear son, why are you sad again? You know that I will do all your heart can desire, or your mouth name." "Well, my dear father," replied he, "how can I help being sad; it is true we live together happily, but who knows how my father and mother and brothers and sisters are at home? I should like to go to see them."

"Well, my dear son," said the giant, "I will let you go; you two go home, and you will find your relations keeping the third anniversary of your death: they have gathered in all the golden corn, and become so rich that they are now the greatest farmers in the village: each of your brothers have their own home and they have become great men (six-ox farmers) and have a whole flock of [Pg 104] sheep." So the giant went outside, and drew in the dust the figures of horses and carriage, coachman, footmen, outriders, and court damsels, and they at once appeared; the young couple sat in the carriage, and the giant told the lad if ought happened to him he had only to think of one of these horses, and it would at once bring him back here. With this they started, and they arrived at home and, saw that the courtyard of his father's house was full of tables, crowded with people sitting round them, but no one spoke a word; they all were speechless so that you could not even hear a whisper. The couple got out of the carriage, in front of the gate, walked into the yard, and met an old man; it happened to be his father. "May the Lord give you a good day, Sir!" said he; and the old man replied, "May the Lord bless you also, my lord!" "Well sir," asked the young man, "what is the meaning of all this feasting that I see, all this eating and drinking, and yet no one speaks a word; is it a marriage or a funeral feast?" "My lord, it is a burial feast," replied the old man; "I had three sons, one was lost, and to-day we celebrate the third anniversary of his death." "Would you recognise your son if he appeared?" Upon hearing this his mother came forward and said, "To be sure, my dearest and sweetest lord, because there is a mark under his left armpit." With this the lad pulled up his sleeve and showed the mark, and they at once recognised him as their lost son; the funeral feast, thereupon, was at once changed into a grand wedding festival. Then the lad called out to the carriage and horses "Go back where you have come from," and in a moment there was not a trace of them left. His father at once sent for the priest and the verger and they went through all the ceremonies again, and whether the giant had celebrated them or not, certainly the father did: the wedding feast was such a one as had never been seen before! When they rose from the table they began the bride's dance: in the first place they handed the bride to the cleverest dancer, and whether he danced or not, most certainly the bride did: as she danced her feet never touched the ground, and everyone who was there looked at the bride only, and all whispered to each other, [Pg 105] that no man had ever seen such a sight in all his life. When the bride heard this she said, "Hum, whether I dance now or whether I don't, I could dance much better if anyone would return to me the dress I wore in my maiden days." Whereupon they whispered to each other, "Where can that dress be?" When the bride heard this she said, "Well, my souls, it is in a nut-shell, sewn into my husband's waistcoat pocket, but no one will ever be able to get it." "I can get it for you," said her mother-in-law, "because I will give my son a sleeping-draught in wine and he will go to sleep," and so she did, and the lad fell on the bed fast asleep; his mother then got the nut from his pocket and gave it to her daughter-in-law, who at once opened it, took the dress out, put it on, and danced so beautifully, that, whether she danced the first time or not, she certainly danced this time; you could not imagine anything so graceful. But, as it was so hot in the house, the windows were left open, and Fairy Elizabeth turned a somersault, became a white pigeon, and flew out of the window. Outside there was a pear tree, and she settled upon the top of it, the people looking on in wonder and astonishment; then she called out that she wanted to see her husband as she wished to say a word or two to him, but the sleeping draught had not yet lost its power, and they could not wake him, so they carried him out in a sheet and put him under the tree and the pigeon dropped a tear on his face; in a minute he awoke. "Can you hear me, sweet love of my heart?" asked the pigeon, "if you ever want to meet me seek for me in the town of Johara, in the country of Black Sorrow," with this she spread her wings and flew away. Her husband gazed after her for a while and then became so grieved that his heart nearly broke. What was he to do now? He took leave of all and went and hid himself. When he got outside of the gate he suddenly remembered what the giant had told him about calling to memory one of the horses; he no sooner did so than it appeared all ready saddled; he jumped upon it and thought he would like to be at [Pg 106] the giant's gate. In a moment he was there and the giant came out to meet him. "Well, my dear son, didn't I tell you not to give that nut to anyone?" The poor lad replied, in great sorrow, "Well, my dear father, what am I to do now?" "Well, what did Fairy Elizabeth say when she took leave of you?" "She said that if ever I wished to meet her again I was to go to the town of Johara, in the country of Black Sorrow." "Alas, my son!" said the giant, "I have never even heard the name, so how could I direct you there? Be still, and come and live with me, and get on as well as you can." But the poor lad said that he would go, and he must go, in search of his wife as far as his eye could see. "Well, if you wish to go, there are two more children of my parents left, an elder brother and an elder sister. Take this; here's a mace. We three children couldn't divide it amongst us, so it was left with me. They will know by this that I have sent you; go first to my elder brother, he is the king of all creeping things; perhaps he may be able to help you." With this he drew in the dust the figure of a colt three years old, and bade him sit on it, filled his bag with provisions, and recommended him to the Lord. The lad went on and on, over seven times seven countries, and even beyond them; he went on till the colt got so old that it lost all its teeth; at last he arrived at the residence of the king of all creeping things, went in, and greeted him, "May the Lord give you a good day, my dear father!" And the old man replied, "The Lord has brought you, my son. What is your errand?" And he replied, "I want to go to the country of Black Sorrow, into the town of Johara if ever I can find it." "Who are you?" asked the old man. With this he showed him the mace, and the king at once recognised it and said, "Ah, my dear son, I never heard the name of that town. I wish you had come last night, because all my animals were here to greet me. But stay, I will call them together again to-morrow morning, and we shall then see whether they can give us any information." Next morning the old man got up very early, took a whistle and blew it three times, and, in the twinkling [Pg 107] of an eye all the creeping things that existed in the world came forward. He asked them, one by one, whether they knew aught of the town of Johara in the country of Black Sorrow. But they all answered that they had never seen it, and never even heard its name. So the poor lad was very sad, and did not know what to do. He went outside to saddle his horse, but the poor brute had died of old age. So the old man at once drew another in the dust, and it was again a colt three years old. He saddled it for him, filled his bag with provisions, and gave him directions where to find his elder sister. With this the lad started off, and went over seven times seven countries, and even beyond them, till at last, very late, he arrived at the elder sister's of the giant and greeted her. She returned it; and asked him, "What is your errand?" he replied that he was going to the town of Johara in the country of Black Sorrow. "Well, my son," said the old woman, "and who has sent you to me?" "Don't you know this mace?" and she recognised it at once, and said, "Alas! my dear son, I am very pleased to see you, but I cannot direct you, because I never even heard of the place. Why did you not come last night, as all the animals were here then. But as my brother has sent you, I will call them all together again to-night, and perhaps they will be able to tell you something." With this, he went out to put his horse in the stable, and found that it had grown so old that it hadn't a single tooth left; he himself, too, was shrivelled up with age, like a piece of bacon rind, and his hair was like snow. At eve the old woman said to him, "Lie down in this bed!" when he lay down she put a heavy millstone upon him; she then took a whip, went outside the door, and cracked it. It boomed like a gun and the poor man inside was so startled that he lifted up the millstone quite a span high. "Don't be afraid, my son," called out the old woman, "I'm only going to crack it twice more," and she cracked it again; whether it sounded the first time or not, it certainly did this time, so that the poor man inside lifted the millstone quite a yard high, and [Pg 108] called out to the old woman not to crack that whip again, or he should certainly die on the spot. But she cracked it again, notwithstanding, and it sounded so loud, that whether the first two sounded or not, this time it sounded so loud that the poor man kicked the millstone right up to the ceiling. After that the old woman went in and said to him, "You can get up now, as I am not going to crack my whip any more." So he got up at once, and she went and opened the window, and left the door wide open too. At once it became quite dark, the animals came in such clouds that they quite obscured the sunlight; she let them in one by one through the window, and read out the name of each one of them from a list, and asked them if they knew where the country of Black Sorrow was, but nobody knew it; so she dismissed them and shut the window and door. The poor man was very sad now; he didn't know what to do next or where he was to go. "There is nothing more to be done," said the old woman; "but I will give you a colt, and fill your bag full of provisions, and in heaven's name go back where you have come from." They were still consulting when somebody knocked at the window and the old woman called out, "Who's that?" "It is I, my dear queen," replied a bird; and she began to scold it for being so late; but still she let it in, hoping that it might tell them something. Lo! it was a lame woodpecker. "Why are you so late?" she demanded, and the bird replied that it was because it had such a bad foot. "Where did you get your leg broken?" inquired the old woman. "In Johara, in the country of Black Sorrow." "You are just the one we want," said the old woman; "I command you to take this man on your back without delay and to carry him to the very town where you have come from." The woodpecker began to make excuses and said that it would rather not go there lest they should break the other leg also; but the old woman stamped with her foot, and so it was obliged to obey and at once set off with the man on its back, whose third horse had already died; on they went over seven times seven countries, and even beyond them, till they [Pg 109] came to a very high mountain, so high that it reached to heaven.

"Now then," said the woodpecker, "you had better get down here, as we cannot get over this." "Well, but," said the poor man, "how did you get over it?" "I? Through a hole." "Well then, take me also through a hole." Then the woodpecker began to make excuses, that it could not take him, first urging this reason and then that; so the poor man got angry with the woodpecker, and began to dig his spurs into the bird's ribs saying, "Go on, you must take me, and don't talk so much; it was you who stole the golden wheat-ear from my stack." So what could the poor woodpecker do but carry him. They arrived in the country of Black Sorrow, and stopped in the very town of Johara. Then he sent the woodpecker away, and went straight into the palace where Fairy Elizabeth lived. As he entered Fairy Elizabeth sat on a golden sofa; he greeted her, and told her he had come to claim her as his wife. "Is that why you have come?" replied she. "Surely you don't expect me to be your wife; an old bent, shrivelled-up man like you. I will give you meat and drink, and then in heaven's name go back to where you have come from." Hearing this the poor man became very sad and didn't know what to do, and began to cry bitterly; but in the meantime (not letting him know) Fairy Elizabeth had ordered her maids to go out at once and gather all sorts of rejuvenating plants, and to bring some youth-giving water, and to prepare a bath for him as quickly as possible. Then she turned to the old man again, and, in order to chaff him, said, "How can you wish a beautiful young girl like me to marry such an ugly old man as you? Be quick, eat, drink, and go back to where you have come from." In his sorrow the poor man's heart was nearly broken, when all at once Fairy Elizabeth said to him, "Well, dearest love of my youth, so that you may not say that I am ungrateful to you for having taken the trouble to come to me, and made all this long journey for me, I will [Pg 110] give you a bath." She motioned to the maids, they at once seized him, undressed him, and put him into the tub; in a moment he was a young man again a hundred times handsomer than he was in his youth; and while they were bathing him they brought from a shop numerous costly dresses and clothed him with them and took him to Fairy Elizabeth; man and wife embraced and kissed each other again and again, and once more celebrated a grand marriage festival, going through all the ceremonies again; after all this was over they got into a carriage drawn by six horses, and went to live with the giant, their father, but they never went again, not even once, to the place where he had been betrayed. The giant received them with great joy, and they are still alive to this-day, if they haven't died since. May they be your guests to-morrow!


There was once, I don't know where, beyond seven times seven countries, and at a cock's crow even beyond them?an immense, tall, quivering poplar tree. This tree had seven times seventy-seven branches; on each branch there were seven times seventy-seven crow-nests, and in each nest seven times seventy-seven young crows. May those who don't listen attentively to my tale, or who doze, have their eyes pecked out by all those young crows; and those who listen with attention to my tale will never behold the land of the Lord! There was once, I don't know where, a king who had three sons who were so much like each other that not even their mother could distinguish them from each other. The king sent his three sons wandering; the three princes went, and went, and, on the third day, they arrived at a vast forest, where [Pg 111] they first met a she-wolf with three whelps. "What are you doing here, princes, where not even the birds ever come?" asked the wolf, "you can go no further, because I and my whelps will tear you in pieces." "Don't harm us, wolf!" said the princes, "but rather, let's have your whelps to go as our servants." "I will tear you to pieces," howled the wolf, and attacked them; but the princes overcame the wolf, and took the three whelps with them. They went and went further into the vast forest and met a bear with three cubs, the next day. "What are you doing here, princes, where not even a bird comes?" asked the bear; "you can go no further, because I and my cubs will tear you in pieces." "Don't harm us, bear," said the princes, "but rather let's have your three cubs to come as our servants." "I will tear you in pieces," roared the bear, and attacked them, but the princes overcame the bear, and took the three cubs with them. Again they went into the vast forest, and met a lioness and her three cubs, on the third day. "What are you doing here, princes, where not even a bird comes? you can go no further, because I and my cubs will tear you in pieces." "Don't harm us, lioness," said the princes, "but let's have your three cubs to come as our servants." "I will tear you in pieces," roared the lioness, and attacked them, but the princes overcame the lioness, and took the three cubs as their servants: and thus each prince had three servants, a lion, a bear, and a wolf. At last they reached the outskirts of the vast forest, where the road divided into three, under a tree, and here the eldest said, "Let us stick our knives into the tree, and each start in a different direction; in a year hence we will be back again, and whosoever's knife is covered with blood, he is in danger, and the others must go in search of him." "Agreed," said the others, and, sticking their knives into the tree, started off in different directions.

After long wanderings the eldest came to a town which was wholly covered with black cloth, and here he took lodgings with an old woman. "Why is this town hung with black?" asked [Pg 112] the prince. "Alas, we live in great danger here!" said the old woman, "in the lake near the town lives the dragon with seven heads, who vomits fire, and to him we have to give a virgin every week, and to-morrow it is the king's daughter's turn, and she has to go, and this is the reason why our town is covered with black." "And is there no man who can help?" inquired the prince. "We have not found one yet," said the old woman, "although our king has promised his daughter, and after his death his realm, to the one who kills the dragon." The prince did not say another word, but took a rest and, afterwards, went towards the lake, and as he passed the royal palace he saw the princess in the window weeping. The royal princess was so beautiful that even the sun stopped before the window, in his course, to admire her beauty. At last he reached the lake, and could already hear, even at a distance, the dragon with seven heads roaring, so loudly that the ground trembled. "How dare you approach me? You must die, even had you seven souls!" roared the dragon, but instead of an answer the prince threw his mace at him, with such force that it smashed one of his heads on the spot, thereupon he attacked him with his sword, and also set his dogs at him, and while he cut the dragon's heads off one by one, his servants bit him to pieces, and thus killed the dragon, whose blood formed a brook seven miles long. After this he drew a tooth out of each head of the dragon and put them into his sabretache, and, as he was very tired, he lay down amongst the bulrushes and went fast asleep with his dogs. The Red Knight was watching the whole light from amongst the bulrushes, and, seeing that the prince was asleep, he crept to him and killed him, and quartered him, so that he might not revive, and, picking up the dragon's seven heads, went off towards the town. As soon as the Red Knight had gone the three dogs woke, and, seeing that their master had been murdered, began to howl in their sorrow. "If we only had a rope, so that we could tie him together. I know of a weed which would bring him [Pg 113] to life again," said the wolf. "If we only knew how to tie him together, I would soon get a rope," said the lion. "I would tie him together if I had a rope," said the bear; whereupon the lion ran to the town, the wolf went in search of the weed, and the bear remained behind to guard his master's body. The lion rushed into a ropemaker's and roared, "Give me a rope, or I will tear you in pieces." The ropemaker, in his fright, produced all the rope he had, and the lion rushed off with a coil. In the meantime the wolf also returned with the weed, and the bear tied the prince's body together, and the wolf anointed him. When, all at once, the prince woke, and, rubbing his eyes, stood up. "Well, I have slept a long time," said the prince, and as he saw that the sun was setting he returned to the town with his servants, and, as he again passed in front of the royal palace, he saw the princess once more, who looked at him, smiling this time. The prince again took his night's lodging with the old woman, and, as he got up next morning, the whole town was covered with red cloth. "Why is the whole town covered with red, now?" asked the prince. "Because the Red Knight killed the dragon, and saved the royal princess, and he is to be married to her to-day," replied the old woman. The prince thereupon went into the palace, into which crowds of people were streaming. The king was just leading the Red Knight to his daughter, and said, "Here, my daughter, this is the hero who killed the dragon, and only the hoe and the spade will separate him from you from this day." "My royal father," said the princess, "that isn't the man that killed the dragon, and therefore I cannot be his wife." "He did kill him," shouted the king, "and, in proof of it, he brought the dragon's seven heads with him, and therefore you have to be his wife, according to my promise." And there was a great feast after this, but the princess sat crying at the table, and the prince went home very downcast. "Give me some food, master, I'm hungry," said the wolf, when his master came home. "Go to the king and get some food from his table," and the [Pg 114] wolf went. The Red Knight sat on seven red pillows, between the king and his daughter, but when he saw the wolf enter, in his fright a pillow dropped from under him, and the wolf took a full dish, and went away, and told his master what had happened. "Give me some food, master. I'm hungry too," said the bear; and his master sent him also to the palace, and as he entered the Red Knight in his fright again dropped a pillow from under him. When the bear arrived at home with the food, he told this to his master. And as the lion got hungry too, he had to go for his food; and this time the Red Knight dropped a third pillow, and could hardly be seen above the table. Now the prince went to the palace himself, and as he entered every one of the pillows dropped from under the Red Knight in his fright. "Majesty," said the prince, "do you believe that the Red Knight has killed the dragon with seven heads?" "Yes," answered the king, "and he brought the seven heads with him, they are here." "But look, majesty, whether there is anything missing out of every head." The king examined the dragon's heads, and exclaimed in astonishment: "Upon my word there is a tooth missing from every head." "Quite so," said the prince, "and the seven dragon teeth are here," and, taking them from his sabretache, he handed the teeth to the king. "Your Majesty, if the Red Knight has killed the dragon, how could I have obtained the teeth?" "What's the meaning of this?" inquired the king, in anger, of the Red Knight; "who killed the dragon?" "Pardon!" implored the knight. In his fear he confessed all, and the king had him horsewhipped out of the palace, and sent the dogs after him.

He bade the prince sit down at once by the side of his daughter, as her bridegroom; and in joyful commemoration of the event they celebrated such a wedding that the yellow juice flowed from Henczida to Bonczida. And the prince and princess lived happily afterwards as man and wife.

However, it happened once that as the prince went hunting with [Pg 115] his three servants, and after a long walk strolled into the wood, he became tired and hungry; so he made a fire under a tree, and sat down at it, and fried some bacon; when suddenly he heard some one call out with a trembling voice in the tree: "Oh! how cold I am." The prince looked up, and saw an old woman on the top of the tree shivering. "Come down, old mother," said he. But the old woman said, still shivering with cold, "I'm afraid to come down, because your dogs will kill me; but if you will strike them with this rod, which I throw down to you, they will not touch me." And the good prince, never thinking that the old woman was a witch, struck his servants with the rod, who, without him noticing it, turned into stone. Seeing this, the old woman came down from the tree, and, having prepared a branch as a spit, she caught a toad. She drew it on the spit, and held it to the fire, close to the bacon; and when the prince remonstrated and tried to drive the old woman away, she threw the toad into his face, whereupon the prince fainted. As his servants could not assist him, the witch killed him, cut him up in pieces, salted him, and put him into a cask. The princess was waiting for her husband in great sorrow; but days passed, and still he did not come, and the poor princess bewailed him day and night.

In the meantime, the second prince returned to the tree in which they had stuck their knives; and, finding that his elder brother's knife was covered with blood, started in search of him. When he came to the town, it was again covered with black. He also took lodgings for the night with the old woman, and on inquiring she told him the whole story of the first prince, and also informed him that the town was draped in black because the prince was lost while hunting. The second prince at once came to the conclusion that it could be no one else but his elder brother, and went to the palace. The princess, mistaking him for her husband in her joy, threw her arms round his neck. "Charming princess, I am not your husband," said the prince, "but your husband's younger brother." The princess, however, would not believe him, as she [Pg 116] could not imagine how one man could so resemble another; therefore she chatted with him the whole day, as if with her husband, and, night having set in, he had to get into the same bed with her. The prince, however, placed his unsheathed sword between himself and his sister-in-law, saying: "If you touch me, this sword will at once cut off your hand." The princess was very sorry on hearing this, but, in order to try, she threw her handkerchief over the prince, and the sword cut it in two at once, whereupon the princess burst out crying, and cried the whole night. Next morning the prince went out in search of his brother, and went out hunting in the same wood where he had heard his brother was lost. But, unfortunately, he met the witch, and was treated in the same way as his brother. She killed and salted him also.

After this the youngest prince returned to the tree in which the knives were, and, finding both his brothers' knives covered with blood, went in the direction in which his eldest brother had gone. He came to the town, which was still draped in black, and learned all from the old woman; he went to the palace, where the princess mistook him too for her husband. He had to sleep with her, but, like his brother, placed a sword between them, and, to the great sorrow of the princess, he, too, went out hunting the next morning. Having become tired, he made a fire, and began to fry some bacon, when the witch threw him the rod; but the prince luckily discovered in the thicket the six petrified dogs, and instead of touching his own dogs with the rod, he touched those which had been turned into stone, and all six came to life again. The witch was not aware of this and came down from the tree, and the brutes seized her on the spot, and compelled her to bring their masters to life again. Then the two princes came to life again. In their joy all three embraced each other, and their servants tore the witch in pieces. Whereupon they went home, and now the joy of the princess was full, because her husband and her brothers-in-law [Pg 117] had all returned, and she had no longer any fear that the sword would be placed in the bed. On account of the joyful event the town was again draped in red cloth. The eldest prince lived happily with his wife for a long time, and later on became king. His two brothers went home safely.


There was once, I don't know where, even beyond the Operenczi?s Sea, a poor man, who had three sons. Having got up one morning, the father asked the eldest one, "What have you dreamt, my son?" "Well, my dear father," said he, "I sat at a table covered with many dishes, and I ate so much that when I patted my belly all the sparrows in the whole village were startled by the sound." "Well, my son," said the father, "if you had so much to eat, you ought to be satisfied; and, as we are rather short of bread, you shall not have anything to eat to-day." Then he asked the second one, "What have you dreamt, my son?" "Well, my dear father, I bought such splendid boots with spurs, that when I put them on and knocked my heels together I could be heard over seven countries." "Well, my good son," answered the father, "you have got good boots at last, and you won't want any for the winter." At last he asked the youngest as to what he had dreamt, but this one was reticent, and did not care to tell; his father ordered him to tell what it was he had dreamt, but he was silent. As fair words were of no avail the old man tried threats, but without success. Then he began to beat the lad. "To flee is shameful, but very useful," they say. The lad followed this good advice, and ran away, his father after him with a stick. As they reached the street the king was just passing [Pg 118] down the high road, in a carriage drawn by six horses with golden hair and diamond shoes. The king stopped, and asked the father why he was ill-treating the lad. "Your Majesty, because he won't tell me his dream." "Don't hurt him, my good man," said the monarch; "I'll tell you what, let the lad go with me, and take this purse; I am anxious to know his dream, and will take him with me." The father consented, and the king continued his journey, taking the lad with him. Arriving at home, he commanded the lad to appear before him, and questioned him about his dream, but the lad would not tell him. No imploring, nor threatening, would induce him to disclose his dream. The king grew angry with the lad's obstinacy, and said, in a great rage, "You good-for-nothing fellow, to disobey your king, you must know, is punishable by death! You shall die such a lingering death that you will have time to think over what disobedience to the king means." He ordered the warders to come, and gave them orders to take the lad into the tower of the fortress, and to immure him alive in the wall. The lad listened to the command in silence, and only the king's pretty daughter seemed pale, who was quite taken by the young fellow's appearance, and gazed upon him in silent joy. The lad was tall, with snow-white complexion, and had dark eyes and rich raven locks. He was carried away, but the princess was determined to save the handsome lad's life, with whom she had fallen in love at first sight; and she bribed one of the workmen to leave a stone loose, without its being noticed, so that it could be easily taken out and replaced; and so it was done!

And the pretty girl fed her sweetheart in his cell in secret. One day after this, it happened that the powerful ruler of the dog-headed Tartars gave orders that seven white horses should be led into the other king's courtyard; the animals were so much alike that there was not a hair to choose between them, and each of the horses was one year older than another; at the same time the despot commanded that he should choose the youngest from [Pg 119] among them, and the others in the order of their ages, including the oldest; if he could not do this, his country should be filled with as many Tartars as there were blades of grass in the land; that he should be impaled; and his daughter become the Tartar-chief's wife. The king on hearing this news was very much alarmed, held a council of all the wise men in his realm, but all in vain: and the whole court was in sorrow and mourning. The princess, too, was sad, and when she took the food to her sweetheart she did not smile as usual, but her eyes were filled with tears: he seeing this inquired the cause; the princess told him the reason of her grief, but he consoled her, and asked her to tell her father that he was to get seven different kinds of oats put into seven different dishes, the oats to be the growths of seven different years; the horses were to be let in and they would go and eat the oats according to their different ages, and while they were feeding they must put a mark on each of the horses. And so it was done, The horses were sent back and the ages of them given, and the Tartar monarch found the solution to be right.

But then it happened again that a rod was sent by him both ends of which were of equal thickness; the same threat was again repeated in case the king should not find out which end had grown nearest the trunk of the tree. The king was downcast and the princess told her grief to the lad, but he said, "Don't worry yourself, princess, but tell your father to measure carefully the middle of the rod and to hang it up by the middle on a piece of twine, the heavier end of it will swing downwards, that end will be the one required." The king did so and sent the rod back with the end marked as ordered. The Tartar monarch shook his head but was obliged to admit that it was right. "I will give them another trial," said he in a great rage; "and, as I see that there must be some one at the king's court who wishes to defy me, we will see who is the stronger." Not long after this, an arrow struck the wall of the royal palace, which shook it to its very foundation, like an earthquake; and great was the terror [Pg 120] of the people, which was still more increased when they found that the Tartar monarch's previous threats were written on the feathers of the arrow, which threats were to be carried out if the king had nobody who could draw out the arrow and shoot it back. The king was more downcast than ever, and never slept a wink: he called together all the heroes of his realm, and every child born under a lucky star, who was born either with a caul or with a tooth, or with a grey lock; he promised to the successful one, half of his realm and his daughter, if he fulfilled the Tartar king's wish. The princess told the lad, in sad distress, the cause of her latest grief, and he asked her to have the secret opening closed, so that their love might not be found out, and that no trace be left; and then she was to say, that she dreamt that the lad was still alive, and that he would be able to do what was needed, and that they were to have the wall opened. The princess did as she was told; the king was very much astonished, but at the same time treated the matter as an idle dream in the beginning. He had almost entirely forgotten the lad, and thought that he had gone to dust behind the walls long ago. But in times of perplexity, when there is no help to be found in reality, one is apt to believe dreams, and in his fear about his daughter's safety, the king at last came to the conclusion that the dream was not altogether impossible. He had the wall opened; and a gallant knight stepped from the hole. "You have nothing more to fear, my king," said the lad, who was filled with hope, and, dragging out the arrow with his right hand, he shot it towards Tartary with such force that all the finials of the royal palace dropped down with the force of the shock.

Seeing this, the Tartar monarch was not only anxious to see, but also to make the acquaintance of him who did all these things. The lad at once offered to go, and started on the journey with twelve other knights, disguising himself so that he could not be distinguished from his followers; his weapons, his armour, and everything on him was exactly like those around him. This [Pg 121] was done in order to test the magic power of the Tartar chief. The lad and his knights were received with great pomp by the monarch, who, seeing that all were attired alike, at once discovered the ruse; but, in order that he might not betray his ignorance, did not dare to inquire who the wise and powerful knight was, but trusted to his mother, who had magic power, to find him out. For this reason the magic mother put them all in the same bedroom for the night, she concealing herself in the room. The guests lay down, when one of them remarked, with great satisfaction, "By Jove! what a good cellar the monarch has!" "His wine is good, indeed," said another, "because there is human blood mixed with it." The magic mother noted from which bed the sound had come; and, when all were asleep, she cut off a lock from the knight in question, and crept out of the room unnoticed, and informed her son how he could recognise the true hero. The guests got up next morning, but our man soon noticed that he was marked, and in order to thwart the design, every one of the knights cut off a lock. They sat down to dinner, and the monarch was not able to recognise the hero.

The next night the monarch's mother again stole into the bedroom, and this time a knight exclaimed, "By Jove! what good bread the Tartar monarch has!" "It's very good, indeed," said another, "because there is woman's milk in it." When they went to sleep, she cut off the end of the moustache from the knight who slept in the bed where the voice came from, and made this sign known to her son; but the knights were more on their guard than before, and having discovered what the sign was, each of them cut off as much from their moustache as the knight's who was marked; and so once more the monarch could not distinguish between them.

The third night the old woman again secreted herself, when one of the knights remarked, "By Jove! what a handsome man the monarch is!" "He is handsome, indeed, because he [Pg 122] is a love-child," said another. When they went to sleep, she made a scratch on the visor of the knight who spoke last, and told her son. Next morn the monarch saw that all visors were marked alike. At last the monarch took courage and spoke thus: "I can see there is a cleverer man amongst you than I; and this is why I am so much more anxious to know him. I pray, therefore, that he make himself known, so that I may see him, and make the acquaintance of the only living man who wishes to be wiser and more powerful than myself." The lad stepped forward and said, "I do not wish to be wiser or more powerful than you; but I have only carried out what you bade me do; and I am the one who has been marked for the last three nights." "Very well, my lad, now I wish you to prove your words. Tell me, then, how is it possible there can be human blood in my wine?" "Call your cupbearer, your majesty, and he will explain it to you," said the lad. The official appeared hastily, and told the king how, when filling the tankards with the wine in question, he cut his finger with his knife, and thus the blood got into the wine. "Then how is it that there is woman's milk in my bread?" asked the monarch. "Call the woman who baked the bread, and she will tell," said the lad. The woman was questioned, and narrated that she was nursing a baby, and that milk had collected in her breasts; and as she was kneading the dough, the breast began to run, and some milk dropped into it. The magic mother had previously informed her son, when telling him what happened the three nights, and now confirmed her previous confession that it was true that the monarch was a love-child. The monarch was not able to keep his temper any longer, and spoke in a great rage and very haughtily, "I cannot tolerate the presence of a man who is my equal: either he or I will die. Defend yourself, lad!" and with these words he flashed his sword, and dashed at the lad. But in doing so, he accidentally slipped and fell, and the lad's life was saved. Before the former had time to get on his [Pg 123] feet, the lad pierced him through, cut off his head, and presented it on the point of his sword to the king at home. "These things that have happened to me are what I dreamt," said the victorious lad; "but I could not divulge my secret beforehand, or else it would not have been fulfilled." The king embraced the lad, and presented to him his daughter and half his realm; and they perhaps still live in happiness to-day, if they have not died since.


There was once a young prince who was, perhaps, not quite twenty-five years old, tall, and his slim figure was like a pine tree; his forehead was sorrowful, like the dark pine; his thunder-like voice made his eyes flash; his dress and his armour were black, because the prince, who was known all over the world simply as Csabor Ur (Mr. Csabor), was serving with the picked heroes of the grand king, and who had no other ornaments besides his black suit but a gold star, which the grand king had presented to him in the German camp for having saved his life. The fame of Csabor Ur's bravery was great, and also of his benevolence, because he was kind to the poor, and the grand king very often had to scold him for distributing his property in a careless way. The priests, however, could not boast of Csabor Ur's alms, because he never gave any to them, nor did he ever give them any money for masses, and for this reason the whole hierarchy was angry with him, especially the head priest at the great king's court; but Csabor Ur being a great favourite of the great king, not even a priest dared to offend him openly, but in secret the pot was boiling for him. One cold autumn the great king arrived at the royal palace from the camp with Csabor Ur, the [Pg 124] palace standing on the bank of a large sheet of water, and before they had taken the saddles off the stallions the great king thus addressed Csabor Ur: "My lad, rest yourself during the night, and at dawn, as soon as day breaks, hurry off with your most trusty men into Roumania beyond the snow-covered mountains to old Demeter, because I hear that my Roumanian neighbours are not satisfied with my friendship, and are intriguing with the Turks: find out, my lad, how many weeks the world will last there (what's the news?) and warn the old fox to mind his tail, because I may perhaps send him a rope instead of the archiepiscopal pallium." Csabor Ur received the grand king's order with great joy, and, having taken leave of Dame Margit (Margaret), dashed off on his bay stallion over the sandy plains to the banks of the Olt, and from there he crossed over during a severe frost beyond the snow-covered mountains; he arrived at the house of Jord?n Boer, the king's confidential man, whose guest he was, and here he heard of old Demeter's cunning in all its details, and also that he was secretly encouraged by the great king's head priest to plot against the sovereign; hearing this, Csabor Ur started on his journey, and arrived on the fourth day in Roumania, where he became the bishop's guest, by whom he was apparently received cordially; the old dog being anxious to mislead with his glib tongue Csabor Ur, about the events there, but it was very difficult to hoodwink the great king's man. Csabor Ur never gave any answer to the bishop's many words, and therefore made the bishop believe that he had succeeded in deceiving Csabor Ur; but he was more on his guard than ever and soon discovered that every night crowds of people gathered into the cathedral; therefore one night he also stole in there dressed in the costume of the country, and to his horror heard how the people were conspiring with the bishop against the great king, and how they were plotting an attack with the aid of the Turkish army.

Csabor Ur listened to these things in great silence and sent [Pg 125] one of his servants with a letter to the great king next day, in which he described minutely the whole state of affairs. The spies, however, laid in ambush for the servant, attacked and killed him, took Csabor Ur's letter from him, and handed it to the bishop, who learnt from its contents that Csabor Ur had stolen into the cathedral every night. He, therefore, had the large oak doors closed as soon as the congregation had assembled on the same night, and in an infuriated sermon he informed the people that there was a traitor among them. Hearing this everybody demanded his death, and they were ready to take their oath on the Holy Cross that they were not traitors. Whereupon the bishop ordered a stool to be placed on the steps of the altar, sat down, and administered the oath to all present. Only one man, in a brown fur-cloak, did not budge from the side of the stoup. The bishop, therefore, addressed him thus: "Then who are you? Why don't you come to me?" But the dark cloak did not move, and the bishop at once knew who it was and ordered the man to be bound; whereupon the multitude rushed forward to carry out his command. Thereupon the man dropped his brown cloak; and, behold, Csabor Ur stood erect?like a dark pine?with knitted brows and flashing eyes, holding in his right hand a copper mace with a gilt handle, his left resting on a broad two-edged sword. The multitude stopped, shuddering, like the huntsman, who in pursuit of hares suddenly finds a bear confronting him; but in the next moment the crowd rushed at their prey. Csabor Ur, after cutting down about thirty of them, dropped down dead himself. His blood spurted up high upon the column, where it can still be seen in the cathedral?to the left of the entrance?although the Roumanian priests tried their best to whitewash it. The great king heard of this, had the head priest imprisoned, and went with an immense army to revenge Csabor Ur's murder. With his army came also Dame Margit, dressed in men's clothes, who wept at the foot of the blood-bespurt column till one day after mass they picked her up dead from the flags.

[Pg 126]


There was once, I don't know where, in Slavonia, a man who had three sons. "Well, my sons," said he one day to them, "go to see the land; to see the world. There is a country where even the yellow-hammer bathes in wine, and where even the fence of the yards is made of strings of sausages; but if you wish to get on there you must first learn the language of the country." The three lads were quite delighted with the description of the wonderful country, and were ready to start off at once. The father accompanied them as far as the top of a high mountain; it took them three days to get to the top, and when they reached the summit they were on the border of the happy land: here the father slung an empty bag on every one of the lads' shoulders, and, pointing out to the eldest one the direction, exclaimed, "Ah! can you see Hungary?" and with this he took leave of them quite as satisfied as if he had then handed them the key of happiness. The three lads went on and walked into Hungary; and their first desire was to learn Hungarian, in accord with their father's direction. The moment they stepped over the border they met a man, who inquired where they were going? They informed him, "to learn Hungarian." "Don't go any further, my lads," said the man, "the school year consists of three days with me, at the end of which you will have acquired the requisite knowledge." The three lads stayed; and at the end of the three days one of them had happily learned by heart the words "we three"; the other, "for a cheese"; and the third, "that's right." The three Slov?k lads were delighted, and wouldn't learn any more; and so they continued on their journey. They walked till they came to a forest, where they found a murdered man by the road-side; they looked at him, and to their astonishment they recognised the murdered man as their late master whom they had just left; [Pg 127] and while they were sighing, not knowing what to do, the rural policeman arrived on the spot. He began to question them about the murdered man, saying, "Who killed him?" The first, not knowing anything else, answered, "We three." "Why?" asked the policeman. "For a cheese," replied the second. "If this is so," growled the policeman, "I shall have to put you in irons." Whereupon the third said, "That's right." The lads were escorted by the policeman, who also intended to get assistance to carry away the dead man; but the moment they left, the dead man jumped up, shook himself, and regained his ordinary appearance, and became a sooty devil, with long ears and tail, who stood laughing at the lads, being highly amused at their stupidity, which enabled him to deceive them so easily.


There was once, I don't know where, an old tumble-down oven, there was nothing left of its sides; there was also once a town in which a countess lived, with an immense fortune. This countess had an exceedingly pretty daughter, who was her sole heiress. The fame of her beauty and her riches being very great the marrying magnates swarmed about her. Among others the three sons of a count used to come to the house, whose castle stood outside the town in a pretty wood. These young men appeared to be richer than one would have supposed from their property, but no one knew where and how the money came to them. The three young men were invited almost every day to the house, but the countess and her daughter never visited them in return, although the young lady was continually asked by them. For a long time the girl did not accept their invitation, till one day she was preparing for a walk into the wood, in which the young counts' [Pg 128] castle was supposed to be: her mother was surprised to hear that she intended to go into the wood, but as the young lady didn't say exactly where she was going her mother raised no objection. The girl went, and the prettiness of the wood, and also her curiosity enticed her to go in further and further till at last she discovered the turrets of a splendid castle; being so near to it her curiosity grew stronger, and at last she walked into the courtyard. Everything seemed to show that the castle was inhabited, but still she did not see a living soul; the girl went on till she came to the main entrance, the stairs were of white marble, and the girl, quite dazzled at the splendour she beheld, went up, counting the steps; "one hundred," said the girl, in a half whisper, when she reached the first flight, and tarried on the landing. Here she looked round when her attention fell on a bird in a cage. "Girl, beware!" said the bird. But the girl, dazzled by the glitter, and drawn on by her curiosity, again began to mount the stairs, counting them, without heeding the bird's words. "One hundred," again said the girl, as she tarried on the next landing, but still no one was to be seen, but thinking that she might find some one she opened the first door, which revealed a splendour quite beyond all she had ever imagined, a sight such as she had never seen before, but still no one appeared. She went into another room and there amongst other furniture she also found three bedsteads, "this is the three young men's bedroom," she thought, and went on. The next room into which she stepped was full of weapons of every possible description; the girl stared and went on, and then she came to a large hall which was full of all sorts of garments, clerical, military, civilian, and also women's dresses. She went on still further and in the next room she found a female figure, made up of razors, which, with extended arms as it seemed, was placed above a deep hole. The girl was horror-struck at the sight and her fear drove her back; trembling she went back through the rooms again, but when she came into the [Pg 129] bedroom she heard male voices. Her courage fled and she could go no further, but hearing some footsteps approach she crept under one of the beds. The men entered, whom she recognised as the three sons of the count, bringing with them a beautiful girl, whom the trembling girl recognised by her voice as a dear friend; they stripped her of all, and as they could not take off a diamond ring from her little finger, one of the men chopped it off and the finger rolled under the bed where the girl lay concealed. One of the men began to look for the ring when another said "You will find it some other time," and so he left off looking for it. Having quite undressed the girl they took her to the other room, when after a short lapse of time she heard some faint screaming, and it appeared to her as if the female figure of razors had snapped together, and the mangled remains of the unfortunate victim were heard to drop down into the deep hole. The three brothers came back and one of them began to look for the ring: the cold sweat broke out on the poor girl hiding under the bed. "Never mind, it is ours new and you can find it in the morning," said one of the men, and bade the others go to bed; and so it happened: the search for the ring was put off till next day. They went to bed and the girl began to breathe more freely in her hiding-place; she began to grope about in silence and found the ring and secreted it in her dress, and hearing that the three brothers were fast asleep, she stole out noiselessly leaving the door half ajar. The next day the three brothers again visited the countess when the daughter told them that she had a dream as if she had been to their castle. She told them how she went up a flight of marble stairs till she counted 100, and up the next flight when she again counted 100. The brothers were charmed and very much surprised at the dream and assured her that it was exactly like their home. Then she told them how she went from one room to another and what she saw, but when she came in her dream as far as the razor-maid they began to feel uneasy and grew [Pg 130] suspicious, and when she told them the scene with the girl, and in proof of her tale produced the finger with the ring, the brothers were terrified and exclaiming, "We are betrayed!" took flight; but everything was arranged, and the servants, who were ordered to watch, caught them. After an investigation all their numberless horrible deeds were brought to light and they were beheaded.


There was once, I don't know where, beyond seven times seven countries, a king who had three daughters. One day the king was going to the market, and thus inquired of his daughters: "What shall I bring you from the market, my dear daughters?" The eldest said, "A golden dress, my dear royal father;" the second said, "A silver dress for me;" the third said, "Speaking grapes, a smiling apple, and a tinkling apricot for me." "Very well, my daughters," said the king, and went. He bought the dresses for his two elder daughters in the market, as soon as he arrived; but, in spite of all exertions and inquiries, he could not find the speaking grapes, the smiling apple, and tinkling apricot. He was very sad that he could not get what his youngest daughter wished, for she was his favourite; and he went home. It happened, however, that the royal carriage stuck fast on the way home, although his horses were of the best breed, for they were such high steppers that they kicked the stars. So he at once sent for extra horses to drag out the carriage; but all in vain, the horses couldn't move either way. He gave up all hope, at last, of getting out of the position, when a dirty, filthy pig came that way, and grunted, [Pg 131] "Grumph! grumph! grumph! King, give me your youngest daughter, and I will help you out of the mud." The king, never thinking what he was promising, and over-anxious to get away, consented, and the pig gave the carriage a push with its nose, so that carriage and horses at once moved out of the mud. Having arrived at home the king handed the dresses to his two daughters, and was now sadder than ever that he had brought nothing for his favourite daughter; the thought also troubled him that he had promised her to an unclean animal.

After a short time the pig arrived in the courtyard of the palace dragging a wheelbarrow after it, and grunted, "Grumph! grumph! grumph! King, I've come for your daughter." The king was terrified, and, in order to save his daughter, he had a peasant girl dressed in rich garments, embroidered with gold, sent her down and had her seated in the wheelbarrow: the pig again grunted, "Grumph! grumph! grumph! King, this is not your daughter;" and, taking the barrow, it tipped her out. The king, seeing that deceit was of no avail, sent down his daughter, as promised, but dressed in ragged, dirty tatters, thinking that she would not please the pig; but the animal grunted in great joy, seized the girl, and placed her in the wheelbarrow. Her father wept that, through a careless promise, he had brought his favourite daughter to such a fate. The pig went on and on with the sobbing girl, till, after a long journey, it stopped before a dirty pig-stye and grunted, "Grumph! grumph! grumph! Girl, get out of the wheelbarrow." The girl did as she was told. "Grumph! grumph! grumph!" grunted the pig again; "go into your new home." The girl, whose tears, now, were streaming like a brook, obeyed; the pig then offered her some Indian corn that it had in a trough, and also its litter which consisted of some old straw, for a resting-place. The girl had not a wink of sleep for a long time, till at last, quite worn out with mental torture, she fell asleep.

Being completely exhausted with all her trials, she slept so [Pg 132] soundly that she did not wake till next day at noon. On awaking, she looked round, and was very much astonished to find herself in a beautiful fairy-like palace, her bed being of white silk with rich purple curtains and golden fringes. At the first sign of her waking maids appeared all round her, awaiting her orders, and bringing her costly dresses. The girl, quite enchanted with the scene, dressed without a word, and the maids accompanied her to her breakfast in a splendid hall, where a young man received her with great affection. "I am your husband, if you accept me, and whatever you see here belongs to you," said he; and after breakfast led her into a beautiful garden. The girl did not know whether it was a dream she saw or reality, and answered all the questions put to her by the young man with evasive and chaffing replies. At this moment they came to that part of the garden which was laid out as an orchard, and the bunches of grapes began to speak "Our beautiful queen, pluck some of us." The apples smiled at her continuously, and the apricots tinkled a beautiful silvery tune. "You see, my love," said the handsome youth, "here you have what you wished for?what your father could not obtain. You may know now, that once I was a monarch but I was bewitched into a pig, and I had to remain in that state till a girl wished for speaking grapes, a smiling apple, and a tinkling apricot. You are the girl, and I have been delivered; and if I please you, you can be mine for ever." The girl was enchanted with the handsome youth and the royal splendour, and consented. They went with great joy to carry the news to their father, and to tell him of their happiness.

[Pg 133]


There was once, I don't know where, a king, who had three sons. They had reached a marriageable age, but could not find any one who suited them, or who pleased their father. "Go, my sons, and look round in the world," said the king, "and try to find wives somewhere else." The three sons went away, and at bed-time they came to a small cottage, in which a very, very old woman lived. She asked them about the object of their journey, which the princes readily communicated to her. The old woman provided them with the necessaries for the journey as well as she could, and before taking leave of her guests, gave them an orange each, with instructions to cut them open only in the neighbourhood of water, else they would suffer great, very great damage. The three princes started on their way again, and the eldest not being able to restrain his curiosity as to what sort of fruit it could be, or to conceive what harm could possibly happen if he cut it open in a place where there was no water near: cut into the orange; and lo! a beautiful girl, such as he had never seen before, came out of it, and exclaimed, "Water! let me have some water, or I shall die on the spot." The prince ran in every direction to get water, but could not find any, and the beautiful girl died in a short time, as the old woman had said. The princes went on, and now the younger one began to be inquisitive as to what could be in his orange.

They had just sat down to luncheon on a plain, under a tall, leafy tree, when it appeared to them that they could see a lake not very far off. "Supposing there is a girl in the fruit, I can fulfil her wish," he thought to himself, and not being able to restrain his curiosity any longer, as to what sort of girl there could be inside, he cut his orange; and lo! a girl, very [Pg 134] much more beautiful than the first, stepped out of it, and called out for water, in order to save her life. He had previously sent his brother to what he thought was a lake; and, as he could not wait for his return with the water, he ran off himself, quite out of breath, but the further he ran the further the lake appeared to be off, because it was only a mirage. He rushed back to the tree nearly beside himself, in order to see whether the girl was yet alive, but only found her body lifeless, and quite cold.

The two elder brothers, seeing that they had lost what they had been searching for, and having given up all hope of finding a prettier one, returned in great sorrow to their father's house, and the youngest continued his journey alone. He wandered about until, after much fatigue, he came to the neighbourhood of some town, where he found a well. He had no doubt that there was a girl in his orange also, so he took courage, and cut it; and, indeed, a girl, who was a hundred times prettier than the first two, came out of it. She called out for water, and the prince gave her some at once, and death had no power over her. The prince now hurried into the town to purchase rich dresses for his love; and that no harm might happen to her during his absence, he made her sit up in a tree with dense foliage, the boughs of which overhung the well.

As soon as the prince left, a gipsy woman came to the well for water. She looked into the well, and saw in the water the beautiful face of the girl in the tree. At first she fancied that she saw the image of her own face, and felt very much flattered; but soon found out her mistake, and looking about discovered the pretty girl in the tree. "What are you waiting for, my pretty maid?" inquired the gipsy woman with a cunning face. The girl told her her story, whereupon the gipsy woman, shamming kindness, climbed up the tree, and pushed the pretty girl into the well, taking her place in the tree, when the pretty girl sank. The next moment a [Pg 135] beautiful little gold fish appeared swimming in the water; the gipsy woman recognised it as the girl, and, being afraid that it might be dangerous to her, tried to catch it, when suddenly the prince appeared with the costly dresses, so she at once laid her plans to deceive him: the prince immediately noticed the difference between her and the girl he had left; but she succeeded in making him believe that for a time after having left the fairy world, she had to lose her beauty, but that she would recover it the sooner the more he loved her: so the prince was satisfied and went home to his father's house with the woman he found, and actually loved her in hopes of her regaining her former beauty. The good food and happy life, and also the pretty dresses, improved the sunburnt woman's looks a little: the prince imagining that his wife's prediction was going to be fulfilled, felt still more attached to her, and was anxious to carry out all her wishes.

The woman, however, could not forget the little gold fish, and therefore feigned illness, saying that she would not get better till she had eaten of the liver of a gold fish, which was to be found in such and such a well: the prince had the fish caught at once, and the princess having partaken of the liver, got better, and felt more cheerful than before. It happened, however, that one scale of the fish had been cast out in the courtyard with the water, and from it a beautiful tree began to grow; the princess noticed it and found out the reason, how the tree got there, and again fell ill, and said that she could not get better until they burnt the tree, and cooked her something by the flames. This wish also was fulfilled, and she got better; it happened, however that one of the woodcutters took a square piece of the timber home to his wife, who used it as a lid for a milk jug: these people lived not very far from the royal palace, and were poor, the woman herself keeping the house, and doing all servants' work.

[Pg 136] One day she left her house very early, without having put anything in order, and without having done her usual household work; when she came home in the evening, she found all clean, and in the best order; she was very much astonished, and could not imagine how it came to pass; and it happened thus on several days, whenever she had not put her house in order before going out. In order to find out how these things were accomplished, one day she purposely left her home in disorder, but did not go far, but remained outside peeping through the keyhole, to see what would happen. As soon as everything became quiet in the house, the woman saw that the lid of the milk jug which was standing in the window, began to move with gentle noise, and in a few moments a beautiful fairy stepped out of it, who first combed her golden tresses, and performed her toilet, and afterwards put the whole house in order. The woman, in order to trap the fairy before she had time to retransform herself, opened the door abruptly. They both seemed astonished, but the kind and encouraging words of the woman soon dispelled the girl's fear, and now she related her whole story, how she came into the world, how she became a gold fish, and then a tree, and how she used to walk out of the wooden lid of the milk jug to tidy the house; she also enlightened the woman as to who the present queen was. The woman listened to all in great astonishment, and in order to prevent the girl from slipping back into the lid, she had previously picked it up, when she entered, and now threw it into the fire. She at once went to the prince, and told him the whole story.

The prince had already grown suspicious about his wife's beauty, which had been very long in returning, and now he was quite sure that she was a cheat: he sent for the girl and recognised her at once as the pretty fairy whom he had left in the tree. The gipsy woman was put into the pillory, and the prince married the pretty girl, and they lived ever after in happiness.

[Pg 137]


There was once, I don't know where, an old petticoat a hundred years old, and in this petticoat a tuck, in which I found the following story. There was once a king who had seven sons and seven daughters: he was in great trouble where to find princesses of royal blood as wives for his sons and princes as husbands for his daughters. At last the idea struck him that the seven sons should marry the seven daughters. They all consented to their father's wish with the exception of the youngest son and daughter: "Well, if you won't," said the father, "I will give you your inheritance and you can go and try your fortune, and get married as best you can." The two children went, and came to a strange land, where they were overtaken by darkness in a wood. They chose a bushy tree for their resting place, whose leafy boughs bent down to the ground and afforded shelter. When they woke next morning, the girl told her brother that she had dreamt that there was a town not far off, where a king lived who had been ill for a long time, and thousands upon thousands of doctors had failed to cure him. He again dreamt that an old man with snow-white hair told him that the tree under which they slept gave water: in this water the king was to be bathed, and he would be cured. They at once examined the tree, and from a crack in the bark sap as clear as crystal was dripping; they filled their flasks with the fluid and continued their journey. When they reached the outskirts of the forest, they saw a town in front of them.

Having arrived there they went into an inn to find out whether their dream was true, and asked the host what the [Pg 138] news was in the town; he, in his conversation, mentioned the illness of the king, and the many unsuccessful attempts of men to cure him, and that he had strict orders, under a heavy penalty, to report at once every doctor that came to his inn. "I also am a doctor," said the prince, "and this youth is my assistant," he continued, pointing to his sister, who was dressed in male attire. The innkeeper at once reported them, and they went to court to try their remedy on the king. The king's body was covered with sores, and the doctor bathed his hand with the juice of the tree. To his great joy, the king discovered next morning that the place which had been bathed was visibly improving; he therefore, the very same night, sent a huge wooden vessel on a cart to the tree, to bring him sufficient water for a bath. After a few baths the king actually recovered; and the doctor, having received a handsome present, requested a favour of the king, viz., to pay him a visit and to do him the honour of dining with him. The king cordially granted the request, and the prince received him with great splendour in his spacious apartments, which were decorated with a lavishness becoming a sovereign. As the king found the doctor alone, he inquired after his assistant, and at this moment a charming pretty girl stepped from one of the side rooms, whom the king at once recognised as the doctor's assistant. The strangers now related to him their story, and the king became more affable, especially towards the pretty assistant, who at once gained possession of his heart and soul, and the short acquaintance ended with a wedding. The prince, not forgetting the object of his journey, started soon after the wedding festivities were over.

He passed on till he came to the boundary of the king's realm, and then went on as far as the capital of the next country. He was riding about the streets on a fine horse, when he heard a voice coming from a window close by, "Hum, you, too, won't get on without me," and looking in the direction from which the voice came, he discovered an old man looking out of the window. [Pg 139] He didn't take any notice of the voice, but went on; and, having arrived at an inn, made sundry inquiries, when he was told that adventurous young men in this town might either meet with great fortune or with a great misfortune; because the king had a daughter whom no one had as yet seen, with the exception of her old nurse. The girl had three marks on her, and whoever found out what they were, and where they were, would become her husband; but whosoever undertook the task and failed, would be impaled, and that already ninety-nine young fellows had died in this manner.

Upon hearing this, it became clear to the prince what the meaning of the old man's saying was; he thought, that no doubt the old man took him for another adventurer, and the thought struck him that the old man must be acquainted with the secret, and that it would be advantageous to make his acquaintance. He found a plea at once; the old man was a goldsmith, and, as the prince had lost the rowel of his golden spur on the road, he called on him, and, having come to terms about the spur, the prince inquired of him about the princess, and the old man's tale tallied with that of the innkeeper. After a short reflection, the prince told the old man who he was, and, with a look full of meaning, inquired if the goldsmith could help him in case he tried his luck. "For a good sum with pleasure," replied the goldsmith. "You shall have it," said the prince; "but tell me how, and I will give you this purse on account." The old man, seeing that there was good opportunity for gain, said, "I will construct a silver horse in which you can conceal yourself, and I will expose it for sale in the market. I am almost sure that no one will buy it but some one attached to the royal court, and if once you get in there, you can get out of the horse by a secret opening and go back whenever you like and, I think, you will succeed."

And so it happened; on the following market-day a splendid silver horse was exhibited in the vicinity of the royal palace: there were a good many admirers, but on account of the great [Pg 140] price there was no buyer, till at last a person belonging to the royal court enquired the price; after a few moments he returned and bought the horse for the king, who presented it to his daughter, and thus the prince managed to get into the chamber of the princess, which was the most difficult of all things, and he listened amidst fear and joy to the silvery voice of the pretty girl, who amused herself with the horse?which ran on wheels?and called it her dear pet.

Evening drew on, and the mysterious girl went to rest; everything became quiet, and only her old nurse was sitting up not far from her bed; but about midnight she, too, fell asleep; hearing that she was fast asleep, the prince got out of the horse and approached the girl's bed, holding his breath, and found the mark of the sun shining on the girl's forehead, the moon on the right breast, and three stars on the left. Having found out the three secret marks, the prince was about to retire to his hiding-place when the princess woke. She tried to scream, but at an imploring gesture of the youth she kept silence. The girl could not take her eyes off the handsome prince, who related to her how and for what reason he had dared to come. The girl, being tired of her long seclusion, consented to his scheme, and they secretly plotted how the prince should get out of the palace; whereupon he went back to his hiding-place. In accord with the plot, next morning the girl broke one of the horse's ears off, and it was sent back to the goldsmith's to be repaired, and the prince was thus able to leave his dangerous position.

Having again splendidly remunerated the goldsmith, he returned to his new brother-in-law, so that he might come back with a splendid suite and royal pomp, and appear as a king to try his fortune. The prince returned with many magnificently-clad knights and splendid horses, and reported himself to the king, and informed him by message that he was anxious to try his luck for the possession of his daughter. The king was very much pleased with the appearance of the youth, and therefore [Pg 141] kindly admonished him not to risk his life, but the prince seemed quite confident, and insisted on carrying out his wishes; so a day was fixed for carrying out the task. The people streamed out to the place where the trial was to take place, like as to a huge festival. And all pitied the handsome youth, and had sad misgivings as to his fate.

The king granted three days to those who tried their fortune, and three guesses. On the first and second day, in order not to betray the plot, and in order to increase the ?clat the prince guessed wrongly on purpose; but on the third day, when everyone was convinced that he must die, he disclosed in a loud voice the secret marks of the princess. The king declared them to be right, and the prince was led to his future wife, amidst the cheers of the multitude and the joyous strains of the band. The king ordered immense wedding festivities all over the town, and resigned his throne in favour of his son-in-law, who reigned happy for many years after!


There was once, I don't know where, a poor man who had a very good son who was a shepherd. One day he was tending his sheep in a rocky neighbourhood, and was sending sighs to Heaven as a man whose heart was throbbing with burning wishes. Hearing a noise as of some one approaching he looked round and saw St. Peter standing in front of him in the guise of a very old grey man. "Why are you sighing, my lad?" inquired he, "and what is your wish?" "Nothing else," replied the lad, respectfully, "but to possess a little bag which never gets full, and a fur cloak which makes me invisible when I put it on." His wish was [Pg 142] fulfilled and St. Peter vanished. The lad gave up shepherding now and turned to the capital, where he thought he had a chance of making his fortune. A king lived there who had twelve daughters, and eleven of them wanted at least six pairs of shoes each every night. Their father was very angry about this, because it swallowed up a good deal of his income; he suspected that there was something wrong, but couldn't succeed by any traps to get to the bottom of it. At last he promised the youngest princess to him who would unveil the secret.

The promise enticed many adventurous spirits to the capital, but the girls simply laughed at them, and they were obliged to leave in disgrace. The shepherd lad, relying on his fur cloak, reported himself; but the girls measured him, too, with mocking eyes. Night came, and the shepherd, muffling himself in his fur cloak, stood at the bedroom door where they slept, and stole in amongst them when they went to bed. It was midnight and a ghost walked round the beds and woke the girls. There was now great preparation. They dressed and beautified themselves, and filled a travelling bag with shoes. The youngest knew nothing of all this, but on the present occasion the invisible shepherd woke her?whereupon her sisters got frightened; but as she was let into their secret they thought it best to decoy her with them, to which, after a short resistance, the girl consented. All being ready, the ghost placed a small dish on the table. Everyone anointed their shoulders with the contents, and wings grew to them. The shepherd did the same: and when they all flew through the window, he followed them.

After flying for several hours they came to a huge copper forest, and to a well, the railing round which was of copper, and on this stood twelve copper tumblers. The girls drank here, so as to refresh themselves, when the youngest, who was here for the first time, looked round in fear. The lad, too, had something to drink after the girls had left and put a tumbler, together with [Pg 143] a twig that he broke off a tree, in his bag; the tree trembled, and the noise was heard all over the forest. The youngest girl noticed it and warned her sisters that some one was after them, but they felt so safe that they only laughed at her. They continued their journey, and after a short time came to a silver forest, and to a silver well. Here again they drank, and the lad again put a tumbler and a silver twig into his bag. In breaking off the twig the tree shook, and the youngest again warned her sisters, but in vain.

They soon came to the end of the forest and arrived at a golden forest, with a gold well and tumblers. Here again they stopped and drank, and the lad again put a gold tumbler and twig in his bag. The youngest once more warned her sisters of the noise the quivering tree made, but in vain. Having arrived at the end of the forest they came to an immense moss-grown rock, whose awe-inspiring lofty peaks soared up to the very heavens. Here they all stopped. The ghost struck the rock with a golden rod, whereupon it opened, and all entered, the shepherd lad with them. Now they came to a gorgeous room from which several halls opened, which were all furnished in a fairy-like manner. From these twelve fairy youths came forth and greeted them, who were all wonderfully handsome. The number of servants increased from minute to minute who were rushing about getting everything ready for a magnificent dance. Soon after strains of enchanting music were heard, and the doors of a vast dancing hall opened and the dancing went on without interruption. At dawn the girls returned?also the lad?in the same way as they had come, and they lay down as if nothing had happened, which, however, was belied by their worn shoes, and the next morning they got up at the usual hour.

The king was impatiently awaiting the news the shepherd was to bring, who came soon after and told him all that had happened. He sent for his daughters, who denied everything, but the tumblers and the twigs bore witness. What the [Pg 144] shepherd told the youngest girl also confirmed, whom the shepherd woke for the purpose. The king fulfilled his promise with regard to the youngest princess and the other eleven were burnt for witchcraft.


There was once, I shan't tell you where, it is enough if I tell you that there was somewhere a tumble-down oven, which was in first-rate condition barring the sides, and there were some cakes baking in it; this person (the narrator points to some one present) has eaten some of them. Well then, on the mountains of Kom?rom, on the glass bridges, on the beautiful golden chandelier, there was once a Debreczen cloak which had ninety-nine tucks, and in the ninety-ninth I found the following tale.

There was once a king with three daughters, but the king was so poor that he could hardly keep his family; his wife, who was the girls' stepmother, therefore told her husband one night, that in the morning she would take the girls into the wood and leave them in the thicket so that they might not find again their way home. The youngest overheard this, and as soon as the king and queen fell asleep she hurried off to her godmother, who was a magic woman, to ask her advice: her godmother's little pony (t?tos) was waiting at the front gate, and taking her on its back ran straight to the magic woman. She knew well what the girl needed and gave her at once a reel of cotton which she could unwind in the wood and so find her way back, but she gave it to her on the condition that she would not take her two elder sisters home with her, because they were very bad and proud. As arranged next morning the girls were led out by their stepmother [Pg 145] into the wood to gather chips as she said, and, having wandered about a long time, she told them to rest; so they sat down under a tree and soon all three went to sleep; seeing this, the stepmother hurried home.

On waking up, two of the girls, not being able to find their mother, began to cry, but the youngest was quiet, saying that she knew her way home, and that she would go, but could not take them with her; whereupon the two elder girls began to flatter her, and implored her so much that she gave in at last. Arriving at home their father received them with open arms; their stepmother feigned delight. Next night she again told the king that she would lead them deeper still into the wood: the youngest again overheard the conversation, and, as on the night before, went on her little pony to her godmother, who scolded her for having taken home her bad sisters, and on condition that this time she would not do so, she gave her a bag full of ashes, which she had to strew over the road as they went on, in order to know her way back; so the girls were led into the wood again and left there, but the youngest again took her sisters home, finding her way by the ashes, having been talked over by many promises and implorings. At home, they were received, as on the first occasion; on the third night their stepmother once more undertook to lead them away; the youngest overheard them as before, but this time, she had not courage to go to her godmother, moreover she thought that she could help herself, and for this purpose she took a bag full of peas with her, which she strewed about as they went. Left by their mother, the two again began to cry, whereas the youngest said laughing, that she was able to go home on this occasion also; and having again yielded to her sisters she started on her way back, but to her astonishment could not find a single pea, as the birds had eaten them all. Now there was a general cry, and the three outcasts wandered about the whole day in the wood, and did not find a spring till sunset, to quench their thirst; they also [Pg 146] found an acorn under an oak under which they had lain down to rest; they set the acorn, and carried water in their mouths to water it; by next morning it had grown into a tree as tall as a tower, and the youngest climbed up it to see whether she could not discover some habitation in the neighbourhood; not being able to see anything, they spent the whole day crying and wandering about. The following morning, the tree was as big as two towers, but on this occasion too the youngest girl looked in vain from its summit: but at last, by the end of the third day, the tree was as tall as three towers, and this time the youngest girl was more successful, because she discovered far away a lighted window, and, having come down, she led her sisters in the direction of the light. Her sisters, however, treated her most shamefully, they took away all her best clothes, which she thoughtfully had brought with her, tied up in a bundle, and she had to be satisfied with the shabbiest; whenever she dared to contradict them they at once began to beat her; they gave her orders that wherever they came she had to represent them as daughters of rich people, she being their servant. Thus, they went on for three days and three nights until at last they came to an immense, beautiful castle.

They felt now in safety, and entered the beautiful palace with great hopes, but how frightened were they when they discovered a giantess inside who was as tall as a tower, and who had an eye in the middle of her forehead as big as a dish, and who gnashed her teeth, which were a span long. "Welcome, girls!" thus spoke the giantess, "What a splendid roast you will make!" They all three were terrified at these words, but the youngest shewed herself amiable, and promised the giantess that they would make all kind of beautiful millinery for her if she did them no harm; the woman with the big teeth listened, and agreed, and hid the girls in a cupboard so that her husband might not see them when he came home; the giant, who was even taller than his wife, however, at once began to sniff about, [Pg 147] and demanded human flesh of his wife, threatening to swallow her if she did not produce it. The girls were fetched out, but were again spared, having promised to cook very savoury food for the grumbling husband.

The chief reason of their life having been spared, however, was because the husband wanted to eat them himself during the absence of his wife, and the woman had a similar plan in her mind. The girls now commenced to bake and roast, the two eldest kneaded the dough, the youngest making the fire in the oven, which was as big as hell, and when it got red hot, the cunning young girl called the giant, and having placed a pot full of lard into the oven, asked him to taste it with his tongue to see whether the lard was hot enough, and if the oven had reached its proper heat. The tower of flesh tried it, but the moment he put his head inside the oven, the girl gave him a push and he was a dead man in the fiery oven; seeing this, the giantess got in a rage, and was about to swallow them up, but, before doing so, the youngest induced her to let herself be beautified, to which she consented; a ladder was brought, so that the young girl might get on to her head to comb the monster's hair; instead of combing, however, the nimble little girl knocked the giantess on the head with the huge iron comb, so that she dropped down dead on the spot. The girls had the bodies carted away with twenty-four pair of oxen, and became the sole owners of the immense castle. Next Sunday, the two eldest dressed up in their best, and went for a walk, and to a dance in the royal town.

After their departure their youngest sister, who remained at home to do servants' work, examined all the rooms, passages, and closets in the castle. During her search she accidentally found something shining in a flue. She knocked it off with a stone, and found that it was a most beautiful golden key. She tried it in every door and cupboard, but only succeeded, after a long search, in opening a small wardrobe with it; and, how great was her surprise to find that it was full of ladies' dresses [Pg 148] and millinery, and that every thing seemed made to fit her. She put on a silver dress in great haste, and went to the dance. The well-known little pony was outside waiting for her, and galloped away with her like a hurricane. The moment she entered the dancing hall all eyes were fixed on her, and the men and youths of the highest dignity vied with each other as to who should dance with her. Her sisters who, till her arrival, were the heroines of the evening and the belles of the ball, were quite set aside now. After a few hours' enjoyment the young lady suddenly disappeared; and, later on, received her sisters on their return in her servant's clothes. They told her that they had enjoyed themselves very well at first, but that later on some impudent female put them in the back-ground. The little girl laughed and said, "Supposing that I was that lady;" and she was beaten by her sisters, and called some not very polite names for her remark. Next Sunday the same thing happened again, only this time the young girl was dressed in gold. Everything happened the same, and she was again beaten at home.

The third Sunday the little girl appeared in a diamond dress. At the dance, again, she was the soul of the evening; but this time the young men wanted her to stay to the end of the ball, and watched her very closely, so that she might not escape. When, therefore, she tried to get away, she was in such a hurry that she had no time to pick up a shoe she accidentally dropped in the corridor; she was just in time to receive her sisters. The shoe came into the possession of the prince, who hid it carefully. After a few days the prince fell very ill, and the best physicians could not find a cure for him; his father was very nearly in despair about his only son's health, when a foreign doctor maintained that the patient could only be cured by marrying, because he was love-sick. His father, therefore, implored him to make him a full confession of his love, and, whoever the person whom he wished might be, he should have [Pg 149] her. The prince produced the shoe, and declared that he wanted the young lady to whom the shoe belonged. So it was announced throughout the whole realm, that all the ladies of the country should appear next Sunday to try on the shoe, and whosoever's foot it fitted she should become the prince's wife. On Sunday the ladies swarmed in crowds to the capital. Nor were the two eldest of the three sisters missing, who had had their feet previously scraped with a knife by their youngest sister, so that they might be smaller. The youngest sister also got ready after their departure, and, having wrapped the mate of the lost shoe in a handkerchief, she jumped on the pony's back in her best dress, and rode to the appointed place. She overtook her sisters on the road, and, jumping the pony into a puddle, splashed them all over with mud. The moment she was seen approaching 100 cannons were fired off, and all the bells were rung; but she wouldn't acknowledge the shoe as her own without a trial, and, therefore, tried it on. The shoe fitted her exactly, and when she produced its mate, 300 cannons greeted her as the future queen. She accepted the honour upon one condition, namely, that the king should restore her father's conquered realm. Her wish was granted, and she became the prince's wife. Her sisters were conducted back to their royal father, who was now rich and powerful once more; where they live still, if they have not died since.


A peasant had three sons. One morning he sent out the eldest to guard the vineyard. The lad went, and was cheerfully eating a cake he had taken with him, when a frog crept up to him, and asked him to let it have some of his cake. "Anything else?" asked the [Pg 150] lad angrily, and picked up a stone to drive the frog away. The frog left without a word, and the lad soon fell asleep, and, on awaking, found the whole vineyard laid waste. The next day the father sent his second son into the vineyard, but he fared like the first.

The father was very angry about it, and did not know what to do; whereupon his youngest son spoke up, who was always sitting in a corner amongst the ashes, and was not thought fit for anything, and whom for this reason they nicknamed Cinder Jack. "My father, send me out, and I will take care of the vineyard." His father and his brothers laughed at him, but they allowed him to have a trial; so Cinder Jack went to the vineyard, and, taking out his cake, began to eat it. The frog again appeared, and asked for a piece of cake, which was given to him at once. Having finished their breakfast, the frog gave the lad a copper, a silver, and a gold rod; and told him, that three horses would appear shortly, of copper, silver, and gold, and they would try to trample down the vineyard; but, if he beat them with the rods he had given him they would at once become tame, and be his servants, and could at any time be summoned to carry out his orders. It happened as the frog foretold; and the vineyard produced a rich vintage. But Cinder Jack never told his master or his brothers how he had been able to preserve the vineyard; in fact, he concealed all, and again spent his time as usual, lying about in his favourite corner.

One Sunday the king had a high fir pole erected in front of the church, and a golden rosemary tied to the top, and promised his daughter to him who should be able to take it down in one jump on horseback. All the knights of the realm tried their fortune, but not one of them was able to jump high enough. But all of a sudden a knight clad in copper mail, on a copper horse, appeared with his visor down, and snatched the rosemary with an easy jump, and quickly disappeared. When his two [Pg 151] brothers got home they told Cinder Jack what had happened, and he remarked, that he saw the whole proceeding much better, and on being asked "Where from?" his answer was, "From the top of the hoarding." His brothers had the hoarding pulled down at once, so that their younger brother might not look on any more. Next Sunday a still higher pole, with a golden apple at the top, was set up; and whosoever wished to marry the king's daughter had to take the apple down. Again, hundreds upon hundreds tried, but all in vain; till, at last, a knight in silver mail, on a silver horse, took it, and disappeared. Cinder Jack again told his brothers that he saw the festivities much better than they did; he saw them, he said, from the pig-stye; so this was pulled down also. The third Sunday a silk kerchief interwoven with gold was displayed at the top of a still higher fir pole, and, as nobody succeeded in getting it, a knight in gold mail, on a gold horse, appeared; snatched it down, and galloped off. Cinder Jack again told his brothers that he saw all from the top of the house; and his envious brothers had the roof of the house taken off, so that the youngest brother might not look on again.

The king now had it announced that the knight who had shown himself worthy of his daughter should report himself, and should bring with him the gold rosemary, the apple, and the silk kerchief; but no one came. So the king ordered every man in the realm to appear before him, and still the knight in question could not be found; till, at last, he arrived clad in gold mail on a gold charger; whereupon the bells were at once rung, and hundreds and hundreds of cannons fired. The knight, having handed to the princess the golden rosemary, the apple, and the kerchief, respectfully demanded her hand, and, having obtained it, lifted his visor, and the populace, to their great astonishment, recognised Cinder Jack, whom they had even forgotten to ask to the king's presence. The good-hearted lad had his brothers' house rebuilt, and gave them presents as well. He took [Pg 152] his father to his house, as the old king died soon after. Cinder Jack is reigning still, and is respected and honoured by all his subjects!


There was once a poor man who had three sons. "My sons," said he to them one day, "you have not seen anything yet, and you have no experience whatever; it is time for you to go to different countries and try your luck in the world; so get ready for the journey, and go as far as your eyes can see." The three lads got ready, and, having filled their bags with cakes specially prepared For the occasion, they left home. They went on and on till at last they got tired and lay down,?the two elder then proposed that, as it became good brethren, they should all share equally, and that they should begin with the youngest's provisions, and when they were finished should divide those of the second, and lastly those of the eldest. And so it happened; on the first day the youngest's bag was emptied; but the second day, when meal-time came, the two eldest would not give the youngest anything, and when he insisted on receiving his share, they gouged out his eyes and left him to starve. For the present let us leave the two eldest to continue their way, and let's see what became of the poor blind lad. He, resigning himself to God's will, groped his way about, till, alas! he dropped into a well. There was no water in it, but a great deal of mud; when he dropped into it the mud splashed all over his body, and he felt quite a new man again and ever so much better. Having besmeared his face and the hollows of his eyes with the mud he again saw clearly, because the healing power of the miracle-working mud [Pg 153] had renewed his eyes once more, and his whole face became of a beautiful complexion.

The lad took as much mud in a flower pot with him as he could carry and continued his journey, when suddenly he noticed a little mouse quite crushed, imploring him for help; he took pity on it, and, having besmeared it with the miraculous mud, the mouse was cured, and gave to his benefactor a small whistle, with the direction that if anything happened to him he had to blow the whistle, and the mouse, who was the king of mice, would come to his help with all his mates on earth. He continued his way and found a bee quite crushed and cured it too with the mud, and obtained another whistle, which he had to blow in case of danger, and the queen of the bees would come to his aid. Again going on he found a wolf shockingly bruised; at first he had not courage to cure it, being afraid that it would eat him; but the wolf implored so long that at last he cured him too, and the wolf became strong and beautiful; the wolf, too, gave him a whistle to use in time of need.

The lad went on till at last he came to the royal town, where he was engaged as servant to the king. His two brothers were there already in the same service, and, having recognised him, tried in every way to destroy him. After long deliberation as to how to carry out their plan they went to the king and falsely accused their brother of having told them that he was able to gather the corn of the whole land into the king's barn in one night; the lad denied it, but all in vain. The king declared that if all the corn was not in the barn by the morning he would hang him. The lad wept and wailed for a long time, when suddenly he remembered his whistles, and blew into the one that the mouse had given him and when the mice came he told them his misfortunes: by midnight all the corn of the country was gathered together. Next day his brothers were more angry still, and falsely said to the king that their brother was able to build a beautiful bridge of wax from the royal castle to the market place [Pg 154] in one night; the king ordered him to do this too, and having blown his second whistle the bees, who appeared to receive his command, did the task for him. Next morning from his window the king very much admired the beautiful arched bridge; his brothers nearly burst in their rage, and spread the report that their brother was able to bring twelve of the strongest wolves into the royal courtyard by the next morning. They firmly believed that on this occasion they were quite sure of their victory, because either the wolves would tear their brother in pieces, or if he could not fulfil the task the king would have him executed; but again they were out of their reckoning: the lad blew his third whistle and the king of wolves arrived to receive his orders. He told him his misfortune, and the wolf ordered not only twelve, but all his mates in the country, into the royal courtyard. The lad now sat on the back of the king of wolves, and drove with a whip the whole pack in front of him, who tore everything in pieces that crossed them. There was a great deal of weeping, imploring, and wailing in the royal palace, but all in vain; the king promised a sack full of gold, but all in vain. The king of the wolves, heedless of any words, urged on the pack by howling at them continually: "Drive on! Seize them!" The king promised more; two sacks, three sacks, ten, or even twenty sacks full of gold were offered but not accepted; the wolves tore everyone in pieces; the two brothers perished, and so did the king and all his servants, and only his daughter was spared; the lad married her, occupied the king's throne, and lives happily to this day if he has not died since. In his last letter he promised to come and see us to-morrow.

[Pg 155]


There were once two kings who lived in great friendship; one had three sons, the other a daughter. The two fathers made an agreement, that in case of either of them dying, the other should become guardian of the orphans; and that if one of the boys married the girl he should inherit her property. Very soon after the girl's father died, and she went to live with her guardian. After a little time the eldest boy went to his father and asked the girl's hand, threatening to commit suicide if his request was refused; his father promised to give him a reply in three weeks. At the end of the first week the second son asked the girl's hand, and threatened to blow out his brains if he could not wed her; the king promised to reply to him in a fortnight. At the end of the second week, the youngest asked for the girl, and his father bade him wait a week for his answer. The day arrived when all three had to receive their reply, and their father addressed them thus: "My sons, you all three love the girl, but you know too well that only one can have her. I will, therefore, give her to the one who will show himself the most worthy of her. You had better go, wherever you please, and see the world, and return in one year from this day, and the girl shall be his who will bring the most valuable thing from his journey." The princes consented to this, and started on their journey, travelling together till they came to a tall oak in the nearest wood; the road here divided into three branches; the eldest chose the one leading west, the second selected the one running south, and the third son the branch turning off to the east. Before separating, they decided to return to the same place after the lapse of exactly one year, and to make the homeward journey together.

[Pg 156]

The eldest looked at everything that he found worthy of note during his travels, and spared no expense to get something excellent: after a long journey hither and thither, he at last succeeded in getting a telescope by the aid of which he could see to the end of the world; so he decided to take it back to his father, as the most valuable thing he had found. The second son also endeavoured to find something so valuable that the possession of it should make him an easy winner in the competition for the girl's hand: after a long search he found a cloak by means of which, when he put it on and thought of a place, he was immediately transported there. The youngest, after long wandering, bought an orange which had power to restore to life the dead when put under the corpse's nose, provided death had not taken place more than twenty-four hours before. These were the three valuable things that were to be brought home; and, as the year was nearly up, the eldest and the youngest were already on their way back to the oak: the second son only was still enjoying himself in various places, as one second was enough for him to get to the meeting place. The two having arrived at the oak, the middle one appeared after a little while, and they then shewed each other the valuables acquired; next they looked through the telescope, and to their horror they saw that the lady for the possession of whom they had been working hard for a whole year, was lying dead; so they all three slipped hurriedly into the cloak, and as quick as thought arrived at home; the father told them in great grief that the girl could belong to no one as she was dead: they inquired when she died, and receiving an answer that she had been dead not quite twenty-four hours, the youngest rushed up to her, and restored her to life with his magic orange. Now there was a good deal of litigation and quarrelling among the three lads: the eldest claimed the greatest merit for himself, because, he said, had they not seen through his telescope that the girl was dead they would have been still lingering at the oak, and the orange would have been of no avail; the second maintained that [Pg 157] if they had not got home so quickly with his cloak the orange would have been of no use; the third claimed his orange as the best, for restoring the girl to life, without which the other two would have been useless. In order to settle the dispute, they called all the learned and old people of the realm together, and these awarded the girl to the youngest, and all three were satisfied with the award, and the two others gave up all idea about suicide. The eldest, by the aid of his telescope, found himself a wife who was the prettiest royal princess on earth, and married her: the second heard of one who was known for her virtue and beauty, and got into his cloak, and went to her, and so all three to their great satisfaction led their brides to the altar, and became as happy as men can be.


Once a poor man had twelve sons, and, not having sufficient means to keep them at home, he sent them into the great world to earn their bread by work and to try their fortunes. The brothers wandered twelve days and nights over hills and dales till at last they came to a wealthy king, who engaged them as grooms, and promised them each three hundred florins a year for their wages. Among the king's horses there was a half-starved looking, decrepit little pony; the eleven eldest boys continually beat and ill-treated this animal on account of its ugliness, but the youngest always took great care of it, he even saved all the bread crumbs and other little dainties for his little invalid pony, for which his brothers very often chaffed him, and in course of time they treated him with silent contempt, believing him to be a lunatic; he bore [Pg 158] their insults patiently, and their badgering without a murmur, in the same way as the little pony the bad treatment it received. The year of service having come to an end, the lads received their wages, and as a reward they were also each allowed to choose a horse from the king's stud. The eleven eldest chose the best-looking horses, but the youngest only begged leave to take the poor little decrepit pony with him. His brothers tried to persuade him to give up the foolish idea, but, all in vain, he would have no other horse.

The little pony now confessed to his keeper that it was a magic horse, and that whenever it wanted it could change into the finest charger and could gallop as fast as lightning. The twelve brothers then started homewards; the eleven eldest were proudly jumping and prancing about on their fine horses, whereas the youngest dragged his horse by its halter along the road: at one time they came to a boggy place and the poor little decrepit pony sank into it. The eleven brothers who had gone on before were very angry about it, as they were obliged to return and drag their brother's horse out of the mud: after a short journey the youngest's again stuck in the mud, and his brothers had to drag it out again, swearing at him all the time. When at last it stuck the third time they would not listen any more to their brother's cries for help. "Let them go," said the little pony, and after a short time inquired if they had gone far? "They have," answered the lad. Again, after a short time, the pony inquired whether he could still see them. "They look like flying crows or black spots in the distance," replied his master. "Can you see them now?" asked the pony in a few minutes. "No," was the reply; thereupon the pony jumped out of the mud and, taking the lad on its back, rushed forth like lightning, leaving the others far behind. Having arrived at home the pony became poor and decrepit as before, and crawled on to the dung heap, eating the straw it found there, the lad concealing himself behind the oven. The others having arrived showed their wages and horses to [Pg 159] their father, and being asked about their brother they replied that he had become an idiot, and chosen as his reward an ugly pony, just such a one as the one on the dung heap, and that he stuck fast in a bog, and perhaps was now dead. "It is not true," called out the youngest from behind the oven, and stepped forth to the astonishment of all.

Having spent a few days in enjoying themselves at their father's house, the lads again started on a journey to find wives. They had already journeyed over seven countries and seven villages as well, and had not as yet been able to find twelve girls suitable for them, till at last, as the sun was setting, they came across an old woman with an iron nose, who was ploughing her field with twelve mares; she asked of them what they sought, and, having learned the object of their wanderings, she proposed that they should look at her twelve daughters: the lads having consented, the old woman drove her twelve mares home and took the lads into her house and introduced them to her daughters, who were none others than the twelve mares they saw before. In the evening she bade each lad go to bed with one of the girls; the eldest lad got into bed with the eldest girl and so on, her youngest, who was the favourite daughter and had golden hair, becoming the youngest lad's bedfellow.

This girl informed the lad that it was her mother's intention to kill his eleven brothers; and so, in order to save them, on their all falling asleep, the youngest lad got up and laid all his brothers next to the wall, making all the girls lie outside, and having done this, quietly crept back into his bed.

After a little while, the old woman with the iron nose got up and, with a huge sword, cut off the heads of the eleven sleepers who were lying outside, and then she went back to bed to sleep. Thereupon the youngest lad again got up, and, waking his brothers, told them how he had saved them, and urged them to flee as soon as possible. So they hurried off, their brother remaining there till daybreak. At dawn he noticed that the old [Pg 160] woman was getting up, and that she was coming to examine the beds, so he, too, got up, and sat on his pony, taking the little girl with the golden hair with him. The old woman with the iron nose, as soon as she found out the fraud, picked up a poker, turned it into a horse, and flew after them; when she had nearly overtaken them, the little pony gave the lad a currycomb, a brush, and a piece of a horse-rug, and bade him throw first the currycomb behind him, and in case it did not answer, to throw the brush, and as a last resource the piece of horse-rug; the lad threw the currycomb, and in one moment it became a dense forest, with as many trees as there were teeth in the comb; by the time that the old woman had broken her way through the wood, the couple had travelled a long distance. When the old woman came very near again, the lad threw the brush behind him, and it at once became a dense forest, having as many trees as there were bristles in the brush. The old woman had the greatest difficulty in working her way through the wood; but again she drew close to their heels, and very nearly caught them, when the lad threw the horse-rug away, and it became such a dense forest between them and the old woman, that it looked like one immense tree; with all her perseverance, the old woman could not penetrate this wood, so she changed into a pigeon to enable her to fly over it; but as soon as the pony noticed this he turned into a vulture, swooped down on the pigeon, and tore it in pieces with his claws, thus saving both the lad and the pretty girl with the golden hair from the fury of the hateful old woman with the iron nose.

While the eleven elder brothers were still out looking after wives, the youngest married the pretty little girl with the golden hair, and they still live merrily together, out