You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Folk Tales and Folklore’ category.
Mokete was a chief’s daughter, but she was also beautiful beyond all the daughters of her father’s house, and Morongoe the brave and Tau the lion both desired to possess her, but Tau found not favour in the eyes of her parents, neither desired she to be his wife, whereas Morongoe was rich and the son of a great chief, and upon him was Mokete bestowed in marriage.
But Tau swore by all the evil spirits that their happiness should not long continue, and he called to his aid the old witch doctor, whose power was greater than the tongue of man could tell; and one day Morongoe walked down to the water and was seen no more. Mokete wept and mourned for her brave young husband, to whom she had been wedded but ten short moons, but Tau rejoiced greatly.
When two more moons had waned, a son was born to Mokete, to whom she gave the name of Tsietse (sadness). The child grew and throve, and the years passed by, but brought no news of Morongoe.
One day, when Tsietse was nearly seven years old, he cried unto his mother, saying, “Mother, how is it that I have never seen my father? My companions see and know their fathers, and love them, but I alone know not the face of my father, I alone have not a father’s protecting love.”
“My son,” replied his mother, “a father you have never known, for the evil spirits carried him from amongst us before ever you were born.” She then related to him all that had happened.
From that day Tsietse played no more with the other boys, but wandered about from one pool of water to another, asking the frogs to tell him of his father.
Now the custom of the Basuto, when any one falls into the water and is not found, is to drive cattle into the place where the person is supposed to have fallen, as they will bring him out. Many cattle had been driven into the different pools of water near Morongoe’s village, but as they had failed to bring his father, Tsietse knew it was not much use looking near home. Accordingly, one day he went to a large pond a long distance off, and there he asked the frogs to help him in his search. One old frog hopped close to the child, and said, “You will find your father, my son, when you have walked to the edge of the world and taken a leap into the waters beneath; but he is no longer as you are, nor does he know of your existence.”
This, at last, was the information Tsietse had longed for, now he could begin his search in real earnest. For many days he walked on, and ever on. At length, one day, just as the sun was setting, he saw before him a large sea of water of many beautiful colours. Stepping into it, he began to ask the same question; but at every word he uttered, the sea rose up, until at length it covered his head, and he began falling, falling through the deep sea.
Suddenly he found himself upon dry ground, and upon looking round he saw flocks and herds, flowers and fruit, on every side. At first he was too much astonished to speak, but after a little while he went up to one of the herd boys and asked him if he had ever seen his (Tsietse’s) father. The herd boy told him many strangers visited that place, and he had better see the chief, who would be able to answer his question.
When Tsietse had told his story to the chief, the old man knew at once that the great snake which dwelt in their midst must be the child’s father; so, bidding the boy remain and rest, he went off to consult with the snake as to how they should tell Tsietse the truth without frightening him; but as they talked, Tsietse ran up to them, and, seeing the snake, at once embraced it, for he knew it was his father.
Then there was great joy in the heart of Morongoe, for he knew that by his son’s aid he should be able to overcome his enemy, and return at length to his wife and home. So he told Tsietse how Tau had persuaded the old witch doctor to turn him into a snake, and banish him to this world below the earth. Soon afterwards Tsietse returned to his home, but he was no longer a child, but a noble youth, with a brave, straight look that made the wicked afraid. Very gently he told his mother all that had happened to him, and how eager his father was to return to his home. Mokete consulted an old doctor who lived in the mountain alone, and who told her she must get Tsietse to bring his father to the village in the brightness of the day-time, but that he must be so surrounded by his followers from the land beyond that none of his own people would be able to see him.
Quickly the news spread through the village that Morongoe had been found by his son and was returning to his people.
At length Tsietse was seen approaching with a great crowd of followers, while behind them came all the cattle which had been driven into the pools to seek Morongoe. As they approached Mokete’s house the door opened and the old doctor stood upon the threshold.
Making a sign to command silence, he said:”My children, many years ago your chief received a grievous wrong at the hand of his enemy, and was turned into a snake, but by the love and faithfulness of his son he is restored to you this day, and the wiles of his enemy are made of no account. Cover, then, your eyes, my children, lest the Evil Eye afflict you.”
He then bade the snake, which was in the centre of the crowd, enter the hut, upon which he shut the door, and set fire to the hut. The people, when they saw the flames, cried out in horror, but the old doctor bade them be still, for that no harm would come to their chief, but rather a great good. When everything was completely burnt, the doctor took from the middle of the ruins a large burnt ball; this he threw into the pool near by, and lo! from the water up rose Morongoe, clad in a kaross, the beauty of which was beyond all words, and carrying in his hand a stick of shining black, like none seen on this earth before, in beauty, or colour, or shape. Thus was the spell broken through the devotion of a true son, and peace and happiness restored, not only to Mokete’s heart, but to the whole village.
This book raises funds for the SENTABALE charity in the African mountain Kingdom of Lesotho – supporting children orphaned by AIDS.
For more info, a table of contents and to buy – click on this link http://abelapublishing.com/folklore-and-tales-from-lesotho_p26444658.htm
An excerpt from Andrew Lang’s RED FAIRY BOOK
THERE was once upon a time a fisherman, who lived hard by a palace and fished for the King’s table. One day he was out fishing, but caught nothing at all. Let him do what he might with rod and line, there was never even so much as a sprat on his hook; but when the day was well nigh over, a head rose up out of the water, and said: `If you will give me what your wife shows you when you go home, you shall catch fish enough.’
So the man said `Yes’ in a moment, and then he caught fish in plenty; but when he got home at night, and his wife showed him a baby which had just been born, and fell a-weeping and wailing when he told her of the promise which he had given, he was very unhappy.
All this was soon told to the King up at the palace, and when he heard what sorrow the woman was in, and the reason of it, he said that he himself would take the child and see if he could not save it. The baby was a boy, and the King took him at once and brought him up as his own son until the lad grew up. Then one day he begged to have leave to go out with his father to fish; he had a strong desire to do this, he said. The King was very unwilling to permit it, but at last the lad got leave. He stayed with his father, and all went prosperously and well with them the whole day, until they came back to land in the evening. Then the lad found that he had lost his pocket-handkerchief, and would go out in the boat after it; but no sooner had he got into the boat than it began to move off with him so quickly that the water foamed all round about, and all that the lad did to keep the boat back with the oars was done to no purpose, for it went on and on the whole night through, and at last he came to a white strand that lay far, far away. There he landed, and when he had walked on for some distance he met an old man with a long white beard.
`What is the name of this country?’ said the youth.
`Whiteland,’ answered the man, and then he begged the youth to tell him whence he came and what he was going to do, and the youth did so.
`Well, then,’ said the man, `if you walk on farther along the seashore here, you will come to three princesses who are standing in the earth so that their heads alone are out of it. Then the first of them will call you—she is the eldest—and will beg you very prettily to come to her and help her, and the second will do the same, but you must not go near either of them. Hurry past, as if you neither saw nor heard them; but you shall go to the third and do what she bids you; it will bring you good fortune.’
When the youth came to the first princess, she called to him and begged him to come to her very prettily, but he walked on as if he did not even see her, and he passed by the second in the same way, but he went up to the third.
`If thou wilt do what I tell thee, thou shalt choose among us three,’ said the Princess.
So the lad said that he was most willing, and she told him that three Trolls had planted them all three there in the earth, but that formerly they had dwelt in the castle which he could see at some distance in the wood.
`Now,’ she said, `thou shalt go into the castle, and let the Trolls beat thee one night for each of us, and if thou canst but endure that, thou wilt set us free.’
`Yes,’ answered the lad, `I will certainly try to do so.’
`When thou goest in,’ continued the Princess, `two lions will stand by the doorway, but if thou only goest straight between them they will do thee no harm; go straight forward into a small dark chamber; there thou shalt lie down. Then the Troll will come and beat thee, but thou shalt take the flask which is hanging on the wall, and anoint thyself wheresoever he has wounded thee, after which thou shalt be as well as before. Then lay hold of the sword which is hanging by the side of the flask, and smite the Troll dead.’
So he did what the Princess had told him. He walked straight in between the lions just as if he did not see them, and then into the small chamber, and lay down on the bed.
The first night a Troll came with three heads and three rods, and beat the lad most unmercifully; but he held out until the Troll was done with him, and then he took the flask and rubbed himself. Having done this, he grasped the sword and smote the Troll dead.
In the morning when he went to the sea-shore the Princesses were out of the earth as far as their waists.
The next night everything happened in the same way, but the Troll who came then had six heads and six rods, and he beat him much more severely than the first had done but when the lad went out of doors next morning, the Princesses were out of the earth as far as their knees.
On the third night a Troll came who had nine heads and nine rods, and he struck the lad and flogged him so long, that at last he swooned away; so the Troll took him up and flung him against the wall, and this made the flask of ointment fall down, and it splashed all over him, and he became as strong as ever again.
Then, without loss of time, he grasped the sword and struck the Troll dead, and in the morning when he went out of the castle the Princesses were standing there entirely out of the earth. So he took the youngest for his Queen, and lived with her very happily for a long time.
At last, however, he took a fancy to go home for a short time to see his parents. His Queen did not like this, but when his longing grew so great that he told her he must and would go, she said to him:
`One thing shalt thou promise me, and that is, to do what thy father bids thee, but not what thy mother bids thee,’ and this he promised.
So she gave him a ring, which enabled him who wore it to obtain two wishes.
He wished himself at home, and instantly found himself there; but his parents were so amazed at the splendour of his apparel that their wonder never ceased.
When he had been at home for some days his mother wanted him to go up to the palace, to show the King what a great man he had become.
The father said, `No; he must not do that, for if he does we shall have no more delight in him this time; `but he spoke in vain, for the mother begged and prayed until at last he went.
When he arrived there he was more splendid, both in raiment and in all else, than the other King, who did not like it, and said:
`Well, you can see what kind of Queen mine is, but I can’t see yours. I do not believe you have such a pretty Queen as I have.’
`Would to heaven she were standing here, and then you would be able to see!’ said the young King, and in an instant she was standing there.
But she was very sorrowful, and said to him, `Why didst thou not remember my words, and listen only to what thy father said? Now must I go home again at once, and thou hast wasted both thy wishes.’
Then she tied a ring in his hair, which had her name upon it, and wished herself at home again.
And now the young King was deeply afflicted, and day out and day in went about thinking of naught else but how to get back again to his Queen. `I will try to see if there is any place where I can learn how to find Whiteland,’ he thought, and journeyed forth out into the world.
When he had gone some distance he came to a mountain, where he met a man who was Lord over all the beasts in the forest —for they all came to him when he blew a horn which he had. So the King asked where Whiteland was.
`I do not know that,’ he answered, `but I will ask my beasts.’ Then he blew his horn and inquired whether any of them knew where Whiteland lay, but there was not one who knew that.
So the man gave him a pair of snow shoes. `When you have these on,’ he said, `you will come to my brother, who lives hundreds of miles from here; he is Lord over all the birds in the air—ask him. When you have got there, just turn the shoes so that the toes point this way, and then they will come home again of their own accord.’
When the King arrived there he turned the shoes as the Lord of the beasts had bidden him, and they went back.
And now he once more asked after Whiteland, and the man summoned all the birds together, and inquired if any of them knew where Whiteland lay. No, none knew this. Long after the others there came an old eagle. He had been absent ten whole years, but he too knew no more than the rest.
`Well, well,’ said the man, `then you shall have the loan of a pair of snow shoes of mine. If you wear them you will get to my brother, who lives hundreds of miles from here. He is Lord of all the fish in the sea—you can ask him. But do not forget to turn the shoes round.’
The King thanked him, put on the shoes, and when he had got to him who was Lord of all the fish in the sea, he turned the snow shoes round, and back they went just as the others had gone, and he asked once more where Whiteland was.
The man called the fish together with his horn, but none of them knew anything about it. At last came an old, old pike, which he had great difficulty in bringing home to him.
When he asked the pike, it said, `Yes, Whiteland is well known to me, for I have been cook there these ten years. To-morrow morning I have to go back there, for now the Queen, whose King is staying away, is to marry someone else.’
`If that be the case I will give you a piece of advice,’ said the man. `Not far from here on a moor stand three brothers, who have stood there a hundred years fighting for a hat, a cloak, and a pair of boots; if anyone has these three things he can make himself invisible, and if he desires to go to any place, he has but to wish and he is there. You may tell them that you have a desire to try these things, and then you will be able to decide which of the men is to have them.’
So the King thanked him and went, and did what he had said.
`What is this that you are standing fighting about forever and ever?’ said he to the brothers; `let me make a trial of these things, and then I will judge between you.’
They willingly consented to this, but when he had got the hat, the cloak, and the boots, he said, `Next time we meet you shall have my decision,’ and hereupon he wished himself away.
While he was going quickly through the air he fell in with the North Wind.
`And where may you be going?’ said the North Wind.
`To Whiteland,’ said the King, and then he related what had happened to him.
`Well,’ said the North Wind, `you can easily go a little quicker than I can, for I have to puff and blow into every corner; but when you get there, place yourself on the stairs by the side of the door, and then I will come blustering in as if I wanted to blow down the whole castle, and when the Prince who is to have your Queen comes out to see what is astir, just take him by the throat and fling him out, and then I will try to carry him away from court.’
As the North Wind had said, so did the King. He stood on the stairs, and when the North Wind came howling and roaring, and caught the roof and walls of the castle till they shook again, the Prince went out to see what was the matter; but as soon as he came the King took him by the neck and flung him out, and then the North Wind laid hold of him and carried him off. And when he was rid of him the King went into the castle. At first the Queen did not know him, because he had grown so thin and pale from having travelled so long and so sorrowfully; but when she saw her ring she was heartily glad, and then the rightful wedding was held, and held in such a way that it was talked about far and wide.
From: Andrew Lang’s RED FAIRY BOOK
Just submitted this book with 34 tales and stories to the printer for it’s proof run.
It has a truly unique collection of stories and tales with none of the usual favourites. In addition it has 6 colour plates and 36 BnW illustrations.
Check out the table of contents and a sample of the illustrations at http://abelapublishing.com/andrew-langs-lilac-fairy-book_p26399608.htm
33% of the net profit will be donated to the Temi Charitable Foundation in the Republic of Georgia.
Once Upon A Time the two Bead girls were sent by their mother to marry Cocoon-Man’s son. He was wrapped up and put away. He had never been outside, and had never eaten anything.
The Bead sisters came from a place far off in the ocean. They came on the water, brought by the wind, and they always sang the song of the wind. It took just one day for them to reach Cocoon-Man’s house. His daughters liked the two girls and gave them food. All the men were out hunting, and the daughters sent the two girls into the sweathouse and told them to sit by Pine-Marten’s bed. They could not get Cocoon-Man’s son, the one their mother had sent them for. Cocoon-Man would not listen to it, so they took Pine-Marten, and stayed three days with him. At the end of that time they wanted to go home. Pine-Marten asked all his people for blankets and shells to give his wives to carry home. They started. Cocoon-Man made a trail to the west to walk on. He sent his words out west, put his hand out west and east to make a trail, and immediately it was open. Cocoon-Man sat on the ground in the center,
and made a rainbow reaching from the place where he sat to the home of the girls.
The company started. Weasel went with Pine-Marten up to the top of the rainbow, and thewomen went under it. While they were travelling, Weasel made a flute out of a reed, and made sweet music that sounded through the world and was heard by every living being.
The two sisters walked on the lower rainbow, the reflection, and reached home safely. Next year Pine-Marten had children. He made a boy of beadshells, and from a round shell which he threw into his wife a girl was born. In the spring of the second year, he came back on the same trail that Cocoon-Man had made. His children grew very fast. Then he left his boy at home, and sent his girl to her grandmother in the ocean. The boy stayed with Cocoon-Man. The third year he had two sons and two daughters.
Now Pine-Marten’s wife took one son and one daughter to her mother in the ocean; and Pine-Marten kept one son and one daughter, and they lived with him at Fall River.
An excerpt from Achomawi and Atsugewi Myths and Tales
eBook http://abelapublishing.com/achomawi-and-atsugewi-myths-and-tales-ebook_p24837956.htm only US$0.50 formats PDF end ePub
THERE was once upon a time a young girl named Japonel, the daughter of a wood-cutter, and of all things that lived by the woodside, she was the most fair.
Her hair in its net was like a snared sunbeam, and her face like a spring over which roses leaned down and birds hung fluttering to drink—such being the in-dwelling presence of her eyes and her laughing lips and her cheeks.
Whenever she crossed the threshold of her home, the birds and the flowers began calling to her, “Look up, Japonel! Look down, Japonel!” for the sight of the sweet face they loved so much. The squirrel called over its bough, “Look up, Japonel!” and the rabbit from between the roots, “Japonel, look down!” And Japonel, as she went, looked up and looked down, and laughed, thinking what a sweet-sounding place the world was.
Her mother, looking at her from day to day, became afraid: she said to the wood-cutter, “Our child is too fair; she will get no good of it.”
But her husband answered, “Good wife, why should it trouble you? What is there in these quiet parts that can harm her? Keep her only from the pond in the wood, lest the pond-witch see her and become envious.”
“Do not go near water, or you may fall in!” said her mother one day as she saw Japonel bending down to look at her face in a rain-puddle by the road.
Japonel laughed softly. “O silly little mother, how can I fall into a puddle that is not large enough for my two feet to stand in?”
But the mother thought to herself, when Japonel grows older and finds the pond in the wood, she will go there to look at her face, unless she has something better to see it in at home. So from the next pedlar who came that way she bought a little mirror and gave it to Japonel, that in it she might see her face with its spring-like beauty, and so have no cause to go near the pond in the wood. The lovely girl, who had never seen a mirror in her life, took the rounded glass in her hand and gazed for a long time without speaking, wondering more and more at her own loveliness. Then she went softly away with it into her own chamber, and wishing to find a name for a thing she loved so much, she called it, “Stream’s eye,” and hung it on the wall beside her bed.
In the days that followed, the door of her chamber would be often shut, and her face seldom seen save of herself alone. And “Look up, Japonel! Look down, Japonel!” was a sound she no longer cared to hear as she went through the woods; for the memory of “Stream’s eye” was like a dream that clung to her, and floated in soft ripples on her face.
She grew tall like an aspen, and more fair, but pale. Her mother said, “Woe is me, for now I have made her vain through showing her her great beauty.” And to Japonel herself she said, “Oh, my beautiful, my bright darling, though I have made thee vain, I pray thee to punish me not. Do not go near the pond in the wood to look in it, or an evil thing will happen to thee.” And Japonel smiled dreamily amid half-thoughts, and kissing her mother, “Dear mother,” she said, “does ‘Stream’s eye’ tell me everything of my beauty, or am I in other eyes still fairer?” Then her mother answered sadly, “Nay, but I trust the open Eye of God finds in thee a better beauty than thy mirror can tell thee of.”
Japonel, when she heard that answer, went away till she came to the pond in the wood. It lay down in a deep hollow, and drank light out of a clear sky, which, through a circle of dark boughs, ever looked down on it. “Perhaps,” she said to herself, “it is here that God will open His Eye and show me how much fairer I am than even ‘Stream’s eye’ can tell me.” But she thought once of her mother’s words, and went by.
Then she turned again, “It is only that my mother fears lest I become vain. What harm can come if I do look once? it will be in my way home.” So she crept nearer and nearer to the pond, saying to herself, “To see myself once as fair as God sees me cannot be wrong. Surely that will not make me more vain.” And when she came through the last trees, and stood near the brink, she saw before her a little old woman, dressed in green, kneeling by the water and looking in.
“There at least,” she said to herself, “is one who looks in without any harm happening to her. I wonder what it is she sees that she stays there so still.” And coming a little nearer, “Good dame,” called Japonel, “what is it you have found there, that you gaze at so hard?” And the old woman, without moving or looking up, answered, “My own face; but a hundred times younger and fairer, as it was in my youth.”
Then thought Japonel, “How should I look now, who am fair and in the full bloom of my youth? It is because my mother fears lest I shall become vain that she warned me.” So she came quickly and knelt down by the old woman and looked in. And even as she caught sight of her face gazing up, pale and tremulous (“Quick, go away!” its lips seemed to be saying), the old woman slid down from the bank and caught hold of her reflection with green, weed-like arms, and drew it away into the pool’s still depths below. Beneath Japonel’s face lay nothing now but blank dark water, and far away in, a faint face gazed back beseeching, and its lips moved with an imprisoned prayer that might not make itself heard. Only three bubbles rose to the surface, and broke into three separate sighs like the shadow of her own name. Then the pond-witch stirred the mud, and all trace of that lost image went out, and Japonel was left alone.
She rose, expecting to see nothing, to be blind; but the woods were there, night shadows were gathering to their tryst under the boughs, and brighter stars had begun blotting the semi-brightness of the sky. All the way home she went feebly, not yet resolved of the evil that had come upon her. She stole quietly to her own little room in the fading light, and took down “Stream’s eye” from the wall. Then she fell forward upon the bed, for all the surface of her glass was grown blank: never could she hope to look upon her own face again.
The next morning she hung her head low, for she feared all her beauty was flown from her, till she heard her father say, “Wife, each day it seems to me our Japonel grows more fair.” And her mother answered, sighing, “She is too fair, I know.”
Then Japonel set out once more for the pond in the wood. As she went the birds and the flowers sang to her, “Look up, Japonel; look down, Japonel!” but Japonel went on, giving them no heed. She came to the water’s side, and leaning over, saw far down in a tangle of green weeds a face that looked back to hers, faint and blurred by the shimmering movement of the water. Then, weeping, she wrung her hands and cried:
“Ah! sweet face of Japonel,
Beauty and grace of Japonel,
Image and eyes of Japonel,
‘Come back!’ sighs Japonel.”
And bubble by bubble a faint answer was returned that broke like a sob on the water’s surface:
“I am the face of Japonel,
The beauty and grace of Japonel;
Here under a spell, Japonel,
I dwell, Japonel.”
All day Japonel cried so, and was so answered. Now and again, green weeds would come skimming to the surface, and seem to listen to her reproach, and then once more sink down to their bed in the pond’s depths, and lie almost still, waving long slimy fingers through the mud.
The next day Japonel came again, and cried as before:
“Ah! sweet face of Japonel,
Beauty and grace of Japonel,
Image and eyes of Japonel,
‘Come back!’ cries Japonel.”
And her shadow in the water made answer:
“I am the face of Japonel,
The beauty and grace of Japonel;
Here under a spell, Japonel,
I dwell, Japonel.”
Now as she sat and sorrowed she noticed that whenever a bird flew over the pond it dropped something out of its mouth into the water, and looking she saw millet-seeds lying everywhere among the weeds of its surface; one by one they were being sucked under by the pond-witch.
Japonel stayed so long by the side of the pond, that on her way home it had fallen quite dark while she was still in the middle of the wood. Then all at once she heard a bird with loud voice cry out of the darkness, “Look up, Japonel!” The cry was so sudden and so strange, coming at that place and that hour, that all through her grief she heard it, and stopped to look up. Again in the darkness she heard the bird cry, “Why do you weep, Japonel?” Japonel said, “Because the pond-witch has carried away my beautiful reflection in the water, so that I can see my own face no more.”
Then the bird said, “Why have you not done as the birds do? She is greedy; so they throw in millet-seeds, and then she does not steal the reflection of their wings when they pass over.” And Japonel answered, “Because I did not know that, therefore I am to-day the most miserable of things living.” Then said the bird, “Come to-morrow, and you shall be the happiest.”
So the next day Japonel went and sat by the pond in the wood, waiting to be made the happiest, as the bird had promised her. All day long great flocks of birds went to and fro, and the pond became covered with seeds. Japonel looked; “Why, they are poppy-seeds!” she cried. (Now poppy-seeds when they are eaten make people sleep.) Just as the sun was setting all the birds began suddenly to cry in chorus, “Look down, Japonel! Japonel, look down!” And there, on the pond’s surface, lay an old woman dressed in green, fast asleep, with all the folds of her dress and the wrinkles of her face full of poppy-seeds.
Then Japonel ran fast to the pond’s edge and looked down. Slowly from the depth rose the pale beautiful reflection of herself, untying itself from the thin green weeds, and drifting towards the bank. It looked up with tremulous greeting, half sadness, half pleasure, seeming so glad after that long separation to return to its sweet mistress. So as it came and settled below her own face in the water, Japonel stooped down over it and kissed it.
Then she sprang back from the brink and ran home, fast, fast in the fading light. And there, when she looked in her mirror, was once more the beautiful face she loved, a little blue and wan from its long imprisonment under water. And so it ever remained, beautiful, but wan, to remind her of the sorrow that had come upon her when, loving this too well, she had not loved enough to listen to the cry of the birds: “Look up, Japonel!” and, “Japonel, look down!”
An excerpt from : Moonshine and Clover
Special Offer: 17% off
HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!
Listen to the laughing Wizard with the pointed eyes!
IN OLD times there lived a King. He had only one daughter. He would not give her in marriage except to the man who could perform three great tasks even if he were most miserable of beggars. Many tried, but none succeeded.
Now not far away dwelt a poor man who had three sons. The eldest and wisest said:
“I am going to win the Princess.”
On the way thither he met an old Beggar, and he never even said good morning to him.
The Beggar said, “Whither do you speed, my Son?”
“What business is that of yours?” he growled in passing.
The old one answered, “Your going will be in vain.”
And so it was. The eldest and wisest returned home without having accomplished anything.
The second and wise son, now said he was going, and surely he would win the Princess. But it happened to him, as it had happened to the first.
Then the third and stupid son spoke:
“Since the two elder have been, I am going. Perhaps I shall succeed.”
“What can you do, when the wisest could not succeed?”
But he did not ask for anything, and set out for the King. He met the old Beggar, bowed to him, took off his cap, and wished him a good morning.
The old man thanked him, and asked where he was going. The lad showed him his whole heart, he hid nothing. The Beggar then gave him a whistle, and said:
“Today you will have to tend a hundred hares. Just whistle to them, and they will obey you.”
It happened as he said.
When the lad came to the King, the lad’s first word was:
“Where is your daughter? I want to see her, whether she pleases me.
When he had looked at her he said, “She pleases me. For her sake I will perform the three tasks.”
The King set him the task for that day, of tending a hundred hares. When they carried them to the field and turned them loose, the hares ran away in every direction.
At first the stupid son let them do as they wished; but when they were all out of sight, he wanted to see if they would obey him. He blew on his whistle, and the hares were there like lightning. He counted them, and missed none.
“Good! Run away again and feed. When I need you, I will whistle,” said he to the hundred.
I do not know who saw all this and reported it to the King. But he was in a great rage. He sent his wife to the lad that she might ask and beg for a hare. She dressed herself like an old woman, came slyly to the lad, and asked if he would give her just one hare, she needed it so much!
He answered, “I can neither sell it nor give it. The hares are not mine.”
She kept on begging and begging, “You could easily give me just one.”
He marked who she was, and finally said he would give her a hare, if she would give him a hearty kiss. She said no! and no! but when she saw it was the only way out she gave him a kiss.
She stuffed the hare into a covered basket, and went away happy, thinking she had deceived the stupid lad. He waited till she was near home, drew out his whistle, and whistled hard. Bang! the hare sprang against the cover and, heigh ho! leaped back to his master. The Queen stood still with her mouth open. The hare was gone!
That evening the stupid lad chased his hundred hares home, and handed them over to the King.
The next morning the old Beggar came again. He gave the lad a horn to call together horses. That day the King set him the task of herding a hundred horses, and of driving them all home at evening.
When they let the horses loose in the field, they ran away in every direction. But in a little while the lad sounded his horn, and they all came galloping up and stood around him.
Then the King told his wife to go and beg for a horse. But she would not go. She said she was afraid of horses, that he should go. The King disguised himself so that no one should know him, and rode to the field where the lad was, and asked him if he had a horse to sell.
“I have none, for sale,” said he.
Well, could it be borrowed?
Well, could it be given away?
“O if need be, I could give one, but only if you will kiss your donkey.”
The King twisted his mouth this way and that. But it was of no use! He had to kiss the donkey, or he would get no horse.
When he had done this, he placed himself joyfully on the horse, rode home, and shut the animal in the stable, thinking:
“I have certainly deceived that lad! There will be one of his horses missing tonight!”
The youngest son, not knowing that the King had already reached home, sounded his horn soon after the horse was in the stable. When the horse heard the horn, he sprang against the door. The door opened crick, crack! and the King hearing the noise ran to the window. All he could see was the whisk of a tail.
In the evening the lad chased the horses home, and drove them together into the stable.
On the third day, the King ordered him to tell lies into an empty sack till he, the king, called out:
The lad stuck his mouth into the sack, lied and fibbed as hard as he could, but the sack stayed empty. Then it came into his head to fill the sack with truth!
He began to relate how he had tended hares, and how the Queen had come to buy, but that he had given her nothing till she kissed him!
Ha! ha! ha! The King roared with laughter, and enjoyed the shame of his wife.
Now the lad began to tell further, that while he was herding the horses the King himself had come to get a horse, but that he, the lad, had given him nothing till he–the donkey–
“Bind the sack, quick!” cried out the King before the lad could finish. “It is full!”
And so the lad won the Princess, as easily as rolling off a log.
From “Wonder Tales from Baltic Wizards”
Eight-year-old Princess Irene lives a lonely life in a wild and desolate country full of mountains and valleys. Her fathers palace, built upon one of the mountains, was very grand and beautiful. The princess was born there, but, soon after her birth, she was sent away to be brought up by country people in a large house, half castle, half farm-house, on the side of another mountain, about halfway between its base and its peak.
Her father the king is normally absent attending to affairs of state, and her mother is dead. Irene has never known about the existence of the goblins which lurk in the underground mines, but her nursemaid Lootie does know about them. These goblins are grotesque and hideous beings, who centuries ago were human, but due to various reasons, they were driven underground and became malformed and distorted by their new lifestyle. This caused them to despise the humans above the ground and vow revenge against them.
When the peaceful kingdom is menaced by an army of monstrous goblins, intent of revenge, the brave and beautiful princess Irene joins forces with, Curdie, a resourceful peasant boy to rescue the noble king and all his people. The lucky pair explore the mines and battle the evil power of the wicked goblin prince armed only with the gift of song, the miracle of love, and a magical shimmering thread given to her by a beautiful lady who lives in the attic of the great house. But just who is this beautiful lady and what does she want?
33% of the publishers profit from the sale of this book will be donated to charities.
ONCE upon a time there lived a man whose one wish and prayer was to get rich. Day and night he thought of nothing else, and at last his prayers were granted, and he became very wealthy. Now being so rich, and having so much to lose, he felt that it would be a terrible thing to die and leave all his possessions behind; so he made up his mind to set out in search of a land where there was no death. He got ready for his journey, took leave of his wife, and started. Whenever he came to a new country the first question that he asked was whether people died in that land, and when he heard that they did, he set out again on his quest. At last he reached a country where he was told that the people did not even know the meaning of the word death. Our traveller was delighted when he heard this, and said:
‘But surely there are great numbers of people in your land, if no one ever dies?’
`No,’ they replied, `there are not great numbers, for you see from time to time a voice is heard calling first one and then another, and whoever hears that voice gets up and goes away, and never comes back.’
`And do they see the person who calls them,’ he asked, `or do they only hear his voice?’
`They both see and hear him,’ was the answer.
Well, the man was amazed when he heard that the people were stupid enough to follow the voice, though they knew that if they went when it called them they would never return. And he went back to his own home and got all his possessions together, and, taking his wife and family, he set out resolved to go and live in that country where the people did not die, but where instead they heard a voice calling them, which they followed into a land from which they never returned. For he had made up his own mind that when he or any of his family heard that voice they would pay no heed to it, however loudly it called.
After he had settled down in his new home, and had got everything in order about him, he warned his wife and family that, unless they wanted to die, they must on no account listen to a voice which they might someday hear calling them.
For some years everything went well with them, and they lived happily in their new home. But one day, while they were all sit-ting together round the table, his wife suddenly started up, exclaiming in a loud voice:
`I am coming! I am coming!’
And she began to look round the room for her fur coat, but her husband jumped up, and taking firm hold of her by the hand, held her fast, and reproached her, saying:
`Don’t you remember what I told you? Stay where you are unless you wish to die.’
`But don’t you hear that voice calling me?’ she answered. `I am merely going to see why I am wanted. I shall come back directly.’
So she fought and struggled to get away from her husband, and to go where the voice summoned. But he would not let her go, and had all the doors of the house shut and bolted. When she saw that he had done this, she said:
‘Very well, dear husband, I shall do what you wish, and remain where I am.’
So her husband believed that it was all right, and that she had thought better of it, and had got over her mad impulse to obey the voice. But a few minutes later she made a sudden dash for one of the doors, opened it and darted out, followed by her husband. He caught her by the fur coat, and begged and implored her not to go, for if she did she would certainly never return. She said nothing, but let her arms fall backwards, and suddenly bending herself forward, she slipped out of the coat, leaving it in her husband’s hands. He, poor man, seemed turned to stone as he gazed after her hurrying away from him, and calling at the top of her voice, as she ran:
`I am coming! I am coming!’
When she was quite out of sight her husband recovered his wits and went back into his house, murmuring:
`If she is so foolish as to wish to die, I can’t help it. I warned and implored her to pay no heed to that voice, however loudly it might call.’
Well, days and weeks and months and years passed, and nothing happened to disturb the peace of the household. But one day the man was at the barber’s as usual, being shaved. The shop was full of people, and his chin had just been covered with a lather of soap, when, suddenly starting up from the chair, he called out in a loud voice:
`I won’t come, do you hear? I won’t come!’
The barber and the other people in the shop listened to him with amazement. But again looking towards the door, he exclaimed:
`I tell you, once and for all, I do not mean to come, so go away.’
And a few minutes later he called out again:
`Go away, I tell you, or it will be the worse for you. You may call as much as you like but you will never get me to come.’
And he got so angry that you might have thought that someone was actually standing at the door, tormenting him. At last he jumped up, and caught the razor out of the barber’s hand, exclaiming:
`Give me that razor, and I’ll teach him to let people alone for the future.’
And he rushed out of the house as if he were running after someone, whom no one else saw. The barber, determined not to lose his razor, pursued the man, and they both continued running at full speed till they had got well out of the town, when all of a sudden the man fell head foremost down a precipice, and never was seen again. So he too, like the others, had been forced against his will to follow the voice that called him.
The barber, who went home whistling and congratulating himself on the escape he had made, described what had happened, and it was noised abroad in the country that the people who had gone away, and had never returned, had all fallen into that pit; for till then they had never known what had happened to those who had heard the voice and obeyed its call.
But when crowds of people went out from the town to examine the ill-fated pit that had swallowed up such numbers, and yet never seemed to be full, they could discover nothing. All that they could see was a vast plain, that looked as if it had been there since the beginning of the world. And from that time the people of the country began to die like ordinary mortals all the world over.
- a new release GBP4.99, €5.99, US$6.99, C$6.99, A$9.99
It is not known, now, for what length of time the Tuatha de Danaan had the sway over Ireland, and it is likely it was a long time they had it, but they were put from it at last.
It was at Inver Slane, to the north of Leinster, the sons of Gaedhal of the Shining Armour, the Very Gentle, that were called afterwards the Sons of the Gael, made their first attempt to land in Ireland to avenge Ith, one of their race that had come there one time and had met with his death.
It is under the leadership of the sons of Miled they were, and it was from the south they came, and their Druids had told them there was no country for them to settle in till they would come to that island in the west. “And if you do not get possession of it yourselves,” they said, “your children will get possession of it.”
But when the Tuatha de Danaan saw the ships coming, they flocked to the shore, and by their enchantments they cast such a cloud over the whole island that the sons of Miled were confused, and all they could see was some large thing that had the appearance of a pig.
And when they were hindered from landing there by enchantments, they went sailing along the coast till at last they were able to make a landing at Inver Sceine in the west of Munster.
From that they marched in good order as far as Slieve Mis. And there they were met by a queen of the Tuatha de Danaan, and a train of beautiful women attending on her, and her Druids and wise men following her. Amergin, one of the sons of Miled, spoke to her then, and asked her name, and she said it was Banba, wife of Mac Cuill, Son of the Hazel.
They went on then till they came to Slieve Eibhline, and there another queen of the Tuatha de Danaan met them, and her women and her Druids after her, and they asked her name, and she said it was Fodhla, wife of Mac Cecht, Son of the Plough.
They went on then till they came to the hill of Uisnech, and there they saw another woman coming towards them. And there was wonder on them while they were looking at her, for in the one moment she would be a wide-eyed most beautiful queen, and in another she would be a sharp-beaked, grey-white crow. She came on to where Eremon, one of the sons of Miled, was, and sat down before him, and he asked her who was she, and she said: “I am Eriu, wife of Mac Greine, Son of the Sun.”
And the names of those three queens were often given to Ireland in the after time.
The Sons of the Gael went on after that to Teamhair, where the three sons of Cermait Honey-Mouth, son of the Dagda, that had the kingship between them at that time held their court. And these three were quarrelling with one another about the division of the treasures their father had left, and the quarrel was so hot it seemed likely it would come to a battle in the end.
And the Sons of the Gael wondered to see them quarrelling about such things, and they having so fruitful an island, where the air was so wholesome, and the sun not too strong, or the cold too bitter, and where there was such a plenty of honey and acorns, and of milk, and of fish, and of corn, and room enough for them all.
Great grandeur they were living in, and their Druids about them, at the palace of Teamhair. And Amergin went to them, and it is what he said, that they must give up the kingship there and then, or they must leave it to the chance of a battle. And he said he asked this in revenge for the death of Ith, of the race of the Gael, that had come to their court before that time, and that had been killed by treachery.
When the sons of Cermait Honey-Mouth heard Amergin saying such fierce words, there was wonder on them, and it is what they said, that they were not willing to fight at that time, for their army was not ready. “But let you make an offer to us,” they said, “for we see well you have good judgment and knowledge. But if you make an offer that is not fair,” they said, “we will destroy you with our enchantments.”
At that Amergin bade the men that were with him to go back to Inver Sceine, and to hurry again into their ships with the rest of the Sons of the Gael, and to go out the length of nine waves from the shore. And then he made his offer to the Tuatha de Danaan, that if they could hinder his men from landing on their island, he and all his ships would go back again to their own country, and would never make any attempt to come again; but that if the Sons of the Gael could land on the coast in spite of them, then the Tuatha de Danaan should give up the kingship and be under their sway.
The Tuatha de Danaan were well pleased with that offer, for they thought that by the powers of their enchantments over the winds and the sea, and by their arts, they would be well able to keep them from ever setting foot in the country again.
So the Sons of the Gael did as Amergin bade them and they went back into their ship and drew up their anchors, and moved out to the length of nine waves from the shore. And as soon as the Men of Dea saw they had left the land, they took to their enchantments and spells, and they raised a great wind that scattered the ships of the Gael, and drove them from one another. But Amergin knew it was not a natural storm was in it, and Arranan, son of Miled, knew that as well, and he went up in the mast of his ship to look about him. But a great blast of wind came against him, and he fell back into the ship and died on the moment. And there was great confusion on the Gael, for the ships were tossed to and fro, and had like to be lost. And the ship that Donn, son of Miled, was in command of was parted from the others by the dint of the storm, and was broken in pieces, and he himself and all with him were drowned, four-and-twenty men and women in all. And Ir, son of Miled, came to his death in the same way, and his body was cast on the shore, and it was buried in a small island that is now called Sceilg Michill. A brave man Ir was, leading the Sons of the Gael to the front of every battle, and their help and their shelter in battle, and his enemies were in dread of his name.
And Heremon, another of the sons of Miled, with his share of the ships, was driven to the left of the island, and it is hardly he got safe to land. And the place where he landed was called Inver Colpa, because Colpa of the Sword, another of the sons of Miled, was drowned there, and he trying to get to land. Five of the sons of Miled in all were destroyed by the storm and the winds the Men of Dea had raised by their enchantments, and there were but three of them left, Heber, and Heremon, and Amergin.
And one of them, Donn, before he was swept into the sea, called out: “It is treachery our knowledgeable men are doing on us, not to put down this wind.” “There is no treachery,” said Amergin, his brother. And he rose up then before them, and whatever enchantment he did on the winds and the sea, he said these words along with it:
“That they that are tossing in the great wide food-giving sea may reach now to the land.
“That they may find a place upon its plains, its mountains, and its valleys; in its forests that are full of nuts and of all fruits; on its rivers and its streams, on its lakes and its great waters.
“That we may have our gatherings and our races in this land; that there may be a king of our own in Teamhair; that it may be the possession of our many kings.
“That the sons of Miled may be seen in this land, that their ships and their boats may find a place there.
“This land that is now under darkness, it is for it we are asking; let our chief men, let their learned wives, ask that we may come to the noble woman, great Eriu.”
After he had said this, the wind went down and the sea was quiet again on the moment.
And those that were left of the sons of Miled and of the Sons of the Gael landed then at Inver Sceine.
And Amergin was the first to put his foot on land, and when he stood on the shore of Ireland, it is what he said:
“I am the wind on the sea;
I am the wave of the sea;
I am the bull of seven battles;
I am the eagle on the rock;
I am a flash from the sun;
I am the most beautiful of plants;
I am a strong wild boar;
I am a salmon in the water;
I am a lake in the plain;
I am the word of knowledge;
I am the head of the spear in battle;
I am the god that puts fire in the head;
Who spreads light in the gathering on the hills?
Who can tell the ages of the moon?
Who can tell the place where the sun rests?”
- – - – - – -
An excerpt from “Of Gods and Fighting Men” – The Story of the Tuatha De Danaan ad of the Fianna of Ireland”.
THE stars shine down!
The Northern Lights flash over the sky,
and the Milky Way glows white!
Listen to the song of the Wizard
of the Crystal-Lighted Cavern!
AH! BEAUTIFUL was Linda the lovely daughter of Uko. She showed all the skypaths to the little birds, when they came flocking home in the springtime or flew away in autumn. She cared as gently and tenderly for the little birds, as a mother cares for her children. And just as a flower bespangled with a thousand drops of dew shines and smiles in the morning sunshine, so Linda shone while caring for her little winged ones.
Thus it was no wonder that all the world loved Linda. Every youth wished her for his bride, and crowds of suitors came to woo her.
In a handsome coach with six brown horses, the Pole Star drove up, and brought ten gifts. But Linda sent him away, with hurried words:
“You always have to stay in the same place. You cannot move about,” said she.
Then came the Moon in a silver coach drawn by ten brown horses. He brought her twenty gifts. But Linda refused the Moon, saying:
“You change your looks too often. You run in your same old way. You do not suit me.
Hardly had the Moon driven sorrowfully off, before the Sun drove up. In a golden coach with twenty red-gold horses, he rattled up to the door. He brought thirty presents with him. But all his pomp, shining splendor, and fine gifts did not help him. Linda said:
“I do not want you. You are like the Moon. Day after day you run in the same street.”
So the Sun went away sorrowful.
Then at midnight, in a diamond coach drawn by a thousand white horses, came the Northern Lights. His coming was so magnificent, that Linda ran to the door to meet him. A whole coach-load of gold, silver, pearls and jewelled ornaments, the servants of the Northern Lights carried into the house and his gifts pleased her, and she let him woo her.
“You do not always travel in the same course,” said Linda. “You flash where you will, and stop when you please. Each time you appear robed in new beauty and richness, and wear each time a different garment. And each time you ride about in a new coach with new horses. You are the true bridegroom!”
Then they celebrated their betrothal. But the Sun, Moon, and Pole Star looked sadly on. They envied the Northern Lights his happiness.
The Northern Lights could not stay long in the bride’s house, for he had to hurry back to the sky. When he said farewell, he promised to return soon for the wedding, and to drive Linda back with him to his home in the North. Meanwhile, they were to prepare Linda’s bridal garments.
Linda made her bridal robes, and waited and waited. One day followed the other, but the bridegroom did not come to hold the joyous wedding with his beloved. The winter passed, and the lovely spring adorned the earth with fresh beauty, while Linda waited in vain for her bridegroom. Nothing was seen of him!
Then she began to grieve bitterly and lament, and to sorrow day and night. She put on her bridal robes and white veil, and set the wreath on her head, and sat down in a meadow by a river. From her thousand tears little brooks ran into the valleys. In her deep heart-felt sorrow she thought only of her bridegroom.
The little birds flew tenderly about her head, brushing her with their soft wings, to comfort her. But she did not see them, nor did she take care of them anymore. So the little birds wandered about, flying here, flying there, for they did not know what to do or where to go.
Uko, Linda’s father, heard of her sorrow and how the little birds were untended. He ordered his Winds to fetch his daughter to him, to rescue her from such deep grief. And while Linda was sitting alone in the meadow weeping and lamenting, the Winds sank softly down beside her, and gently lifting her, bore her up and away. They laid her down in the blue sky.
And there is Linda now, dwelling in a sky-tent. Her white bridal veil spreads round her. And if you look up at the Milky Way, you will see Linda in her bridal robes. There she is, showing the way to little birds who wander.
Linda is happy! In winter she gazes towards the North. She waves her hand at the Northern Lights flashing nearer and nearer, then he again asks her to be his bride.
But though he flashes very close to Linda, heart to heart, he cannot carry her off. She must stay forever in the sky, robed in white, and must spread out her veil to make the Milky Way.
From WONDER TALES FROM BALTIC WIZARDS