NOTE: Yes, Roumanian is the correct spelling. This was the way it was spelt in 1881

 

Happy to have received such a handsome remuneration, the gardener with much trouble and pains made the garden in as good a state as it was before the folly of Dimitri. The marriage of the second daughter took place in a short space of time, and her father and his suite accompanied them also, to the frontier; Didine only remaining at home under the plea of indisposition. Dimitri repeated the same folly as on the marriage of the oldest sister, the only difference being that this time he wore the second suit belonging to the fairies. All was repeated as before, and to prevent his being beaten, Didine sent two handfuls of gold to the gardener in return for his flowers. Again he worked until the garden had once more got into good condition.

 

Shortly after this the Governor organised a great chase, and while hunting he narrowly escaped being torn to pieces by a wild boar; to celebrate his good fortune he raised a temporary kiosque in the wood, and bade all his friends come and make merry.

 

Didine only was not there, still on the plea of indisposition. Dimitri for the third time alone, recommenced his folly, and put on the third dress of the fairies which was embroidered with the sun on the chest, the moon on the back, and the morning and evening star on the sleeves.

 

This time he committed such havoc that it was impossible to re-arrange the garden.

 

The gardener’s rage knew no bounds and he was on the point of giving Dimitri a beating when Didine tapped at the window and asked for flowers.

 

With difficulty were two or three flowers found which had escaped the hoofs of the horse, but she gave him three handfuls of gold and begged him not to lay hands on Dimitri. In five weeks the garden was restored and Dimitri made to promise that he would never more commit such mischief.

 

The Governor began to be anxious about his daughter Didine for she kept to the house and seemed always sad, he proposed that she should marry the son of a neighbouring Boyard but she would not entertain the idea, so he called his council and asked their advice. “Governor!” said they “you must build a great tower with a gateway, and all the pretenders to the hand of Didine must pass under it, give to her a golden apple which she must throw to the one whom she desires for her husband.”

 

No sooner said than done, the tower was built, and it was soon spread abroad that all who wished to marry Didine must pass under this Archway. Many came, of both high and low degree, but still she did not throw the apple, and they began to believe that she had no wish to marry, until one of the councillors said, “Let all those who are in your court, all those who are employed on your estate, pass under also.” So they were called, and last of all came Dimitri who with great difficulty was persuaded to pass under. Didine at once flung the apple at him. The Governor seeing this exclaimed, “it is a mistake, she has hit the wrong man, let all pass through again.” This was done, and again Didine threw the apple to Dimitri. All agreed that there was no mistake this time, and so the father unwillingly consented to her choice.

 

They were married without any rejoicings and suffered to live in the Governor’s court, Dimitri earning their living as a water carrier. They were laughed at by all, the servants even throw dust and sweepings in the direction of their room. Inside it was very different, the horse had brought there all the wonders of the world, not even in King’s palaces were to be found such lovely things as in their wretched dwelling.

 

The other pretenders to the hand of Didine were so indignant at their rejection, that they united together to make war on the Governor. This caused him much pain, but he had no other alternative than to prepare for the struggle.

 

His two sons-in-law brought their retainers and Dimitri asked his wife to beg of the Governor to let him go to the battle. “Go from out of my sight,” said the father, “you have broken my peace for ever.” After much entreaty he was prevailed on to allow Dimitri to be there, if only as a water carrier for the soldiers.

 

So in a shabby working dress, astride a wretched horse, blind and lame, he set off in front. When the army caught him up, they found that his horse had sunk into a bog, and he was trying with all his might to extricate it. With laughs and jeers they passed on, leaving him alone to do the best he could. When they were out of sight, Dimitri swiftly donned the clothes of the fairies, and mounting his winged horse, sped to a commanding height, where he had a good view of the troops. Seeing that the enemy was eight times greater in number, he dashed into their midst, and slashing right and left, put them to rout in the greatest disorder. In the effort Dimitri cut his wrist, and the Governor gave him his handkerchief with which to bind it up.

 

When the Governor’s army returned victorious, they again came upon Dimitri, still trying to extricate the miserable mare from the bog; and being in good humour with their success, the Governor ordered his soldiers to come to his aid.

 

Shortly after this, the Governor fell ill and became totally blind. All the doctors, all the wise men, all the astrologers were called, but none could think of any remedy.

 

On awaking one morning, the Governor related that he had dreamt that if he washed his eyes with the milk of a wild red goat, he would regain his sight. Hearing this, his two sons-in-law set off in search of such a goat, without taking notice of Dimitri, or asking him to accompany them. He, on his side, went out alone, on his faithful steed, to the mountains where the red goats browsed.

 

Finding quickly both sheep and goats, Dimitri milked the sheep, disguised himself as a goat-herd, and was on the look out for his brothers-in-law. When they came up they asked him if he had milk to sell? He answered, yes, but that having heard of the Governor’s dream, he was going to take this reel goat’s milk to him. Enquiring if he would sell the milk to them, he said he would take no money for it, but that if they wished for the milk he would give them some, if they would allow him to mark them with his brand on their backs.

 

The sons-in-law taking council together, thought it would not do them much harm, so they consented to being branded, and taking the milk, set off quickly to the Governor. He took of the milk and drank it, he bathed his eyes with it, but it had no effect.

 

Sometime after came Didine with a wooden pail, saying, “Father, take this milk and use it, it is brought by my husband-drink it, and bathe your eyes with it, I entreat you.” The Governor answered, “What good has your stupid husband ever done to me? Is it likely he can be of any use now? Even your brothers-in-law who aided me in battle, are no good to me. Have I not forbade you my presence? How dare you intrude?” “I will submit to any punishment you may think fit, father, if you will but wash your eyes with this milk, which your loving daughter brings you.” The Governor seeing that she was so importunate, bathed his eyes with the milk again and again, until he began to see dimly; continuing this, in a few days his sight was quite restored to him.

 

On the Governor’s recovery he gave a great banquet, and Didine with her husband, Dimitri, were allowed to sit at the lower end of the table. While the festivity was at its height, Dimitri arose, and demanding pardon for the interruption, enquired of the Governor if it were right for slaves to sit at the same table as their masters. “Certainly not,” said the Governor. “If that be the case, and as all the world knows you to be a just man, give me justice, and bid your right hand and your left hand guest, arise, for they are my slaves, for proof of which you will find them both branded with my mark.”

 

When the sons-in-law heard this, they began to tremble, and were forced to confess the truth. They were bade to rise, and place themselves behind Dimitri’s chair.

 

Later on Dimitri drew from his pocket, the handkerchief which the Governor gave him to bind his wrist after the battle. “How did you come by this handkerchief?” said the Governor, “for I gave it to the powerful man. sent from God to aid me in the battle.” “Not at all,” said Dimitri, “for you gave it to me.” “Is it so? Could it have been you who stood us in such good stead.”

 

“I alone,” said Dimitri.

 

“It is impossible that I can believe this,” said the Governor, “unless you stand before me precisely as you were when I gave you the handkerchief.” Dimitri rose from the table, and going out quickly, returned clad in a suit of the fairies’ clothes, and with his golden hair let down, to the astonishment of the Governor and his guests. All rose and saluted him on his entrance, the Governor complimented Didine on her choice, and feeling that he was growing old, said he wished to relinquish the Governorship in favour of Dimitri. This done, Dimitri’s power and renown became world-wide talk. He pardoned his brothers-in-law, and gave them good posts in the country.

 

His winged horse returned to fairyland, bearing the three suits of charmed clothing, which he no longer needed. All that remained to him was his hair which was like threads of gold, from his having bathed in the magic bath.

 

His sons and daughters inherited his beautiful hair, and the old women to this day, believe that all true Dimitris ought to have hair as bright and golden as the ripe maize in their cornfields.

 

————————-

From Roumanian Fairy Tales and Legends (1881)

ISBN: 978-0-9560584-9-2

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_rft.html

 

Romanian Fairy Tales and Legends

Advertisements