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There was once a peasant who daily left his wife and children in the valley to take his sheep up the mountain to pasture; and as he watched his flock grazing on the mountain-side, he often had opportunity to use his cross-bow and bring down a chamois, whose flesh would furnish his larder with food for many a day.
While pursuing a fine animal one day he saw it disappear behind a boulder, and when he came to the spot, he was amazed to see a doorway in the neighbouring glacier, for in the excitement of the pursuit he had climbed higher and higher, until he was now on top of the mountain, where glittered the everlasting snow.

The shepherd boldly passed through the open door, and soon found himself in a wonderful jewelled cave hung with stalactites, in the centre of which stood a beautiful woman, clad in silvery robes, and attended by a host of lovely maidens crowned with Alpine roses. In his surprise, the shepherd sank to his knees, and as in a dream heard the queenly central figure bid him choose anything he saw to carry away with him. Although dazzled by the glow of the precious stones around him, the shepherd’s eyes constantly reverted to a little nosegay of blue flowers which the gracious apparition held in her hand, and he now timidly proffered a request that it might become his. Smiling with pleasure, Holda, for it was she, gave it to him, telling him he had chosen wisely and would live as long as the flowers did not droop and fade. Then, giving the shepherd a measure of seed which she told him to sow in his field, the goddess bade him begone; and as the thunder pealed and the earth shook, the poor man found himself out upon the mountain-side once more, and slowly wended his way home to his wife, to whom he told his adventure and showed the lovely blue flowers and the measure of seed.

The woman reproached her husband bitterly for not having brought some of the precious stones which he so glowingly described, instead of the blossoms and seed; nevertheless the man proceeded to sow the latter, and he found to his surprise that the measure supplied seed enough for several acres.

Soon the little green shoots began to appear, and one moonlight night, while the peasant was gazing upon them, as was his wont, for he felt a curious attraction to the field which he had sown, and often lingered there wondering what kind of grain would be produced, he saw a misty form hover above the field, with hands outstretched as if in blessing. At last the field blossomed, and countless little blue flowers opened their calyxes to the golden sun. When the flowers had withered and the seed was ripe, Holda came once more to teach the peasant and his wife how to harvest the flax—for such it was—and from it to spin, weave, and bleach linen. As the people of the neighbourhood willingly purchased both linen and flax-seed, the peasant and his wife soon grew very rich indeed, and while he ploughed, sowed, and harvested, she spun, wove, and bleached the linen. The man lived to a good old age, and saw his grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow up around him. All this time his carefully treasured bouquet had remained fresh as when he first brought it home, but one day he saw that during the night the flowers had drooped and were dying.

Knowing what this portended, and that he too must die, the peasant climbed the mountain once more to the glacier, and found again the doorway for which he had often vainly searched. He entered the icy portal, and was never seen or heard of again, for, according to the legend, the goddess took him under her care, and bade him live in her cave, where his every wish was gratified.
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From MYTHS OF THE NORSEMEN
ISBN 978-1-907256-65-3
URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/myths-of-the-norsemen_p23332642.htm

Frigga at the Spinning Wheel

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There was an old man with a multitude of children. He had an underground cave in the forest. He said, ‘Make me a honey-cake, for I will go and earn something.’ He went into the forest, and found a well. By the well was a table. He laid the cake on the table. The crows came and ate it. He slept by the well. He arose and saw the flies eating the crumbs. He struck a blow and killed a hundred flies. He wrote that he had killed a hundred souls with one blow. And he lay down and slept.

 

A dragon came with a buffalo’s skin to draw water. He saw what was written on the table, that he had killed a hundred souls. When he saw the old man, he feared. The old man awoke, and he too feared.

 

The dragon said, ‘Let’s become brothers.’

 

And they swore that they would be Brothers of the Cross. The dragon drew water. ‘Come with me, brother, to my palace.’

 

They went along a footpath, the old man first. When the dragon panted, he drove the old man forward; when he drew in his breath, he pulled him back. The dragon said, ‘Brother, why do you sometimes run forward and sometimes come back?’

 

‘I am thinking whether to kill you.’

 

‘Stay, brother, I will go first and you behind; maybe you will change your mind.’

 

They came to a cherry-tree. ‘Here, brother, have some cherries.’

 

The dragon climbed up, and the old man was eating below. The dragon said, ‘Come up, they’re better here.’

The deluded dragon from “Gypsy Folk Tales Book One – Illustrated Edition”

The old man said, ‘No, they aren’t, for the birds have defiled them.’

 

‘Catch hold of this bough.’

 

The old man did so. The dragon let go of it, and jerked the old man up, and he fell on a hare and caught it.

 

The dragon said, ‘What’s the matter, brother? Was the bough too strong for you?’

 

‘I sprang of my own accord, and caught this hare. I hadn’t time to run round, so up I sprang.’

 

The dragon came down and went home. The old man said, ‘Would you like a present, sister-in-law?’ [seemingly offering the hare to the dragon’s wife].

 

‘Thanks, brother-in-law.’

 

The dragon said to her aside, ‘Don’t say a word to him, else he’ll kill us, for he has killed a hundred souls with one blow.’ He sent him to fetch water: ‘Go for water, brother.’

 

He took the spade and the buffalo’s hide, dragged it after him, and went to the well, and was digging all round the well.

 

The dragon went to him. ‘What are you doing, brother?’

 

‘I am digging the whole well to carry it home.’

 

‘Don’t destroy the spring; I’ll draw the water myself.’

 

The dragon drew the water, and took the old man by the hand, and led him home. He sent him to the forest to fetch a tree. He stripped off bark, and made himself a rope, and bound the trees.

 

The dragon came. ‘What are you doing, brother?’

 

‘I am going to take the whole forest and carry it home.’

 

‘Don’t destroy my forest, brother. I’ll carry it myself.’ The dragon took a tree on his shoulders, and went home.

 

He said to his wife, ‘What shall we do, wife, for he will kill us if we anger him?’

 

She said, ‘Take uncle’s big club, and hit him on the head.’

 

The old man heard. He slept of a night on a bench. And he took the beetle, put it on the bench, dressed it up in his coat, and put his cap on the top of it. And he lay down under the bench. The dragon took the club, and felt the cap, and struck with the club. The old man arose, removed the beetle, put it under the bench, and lay down on the bench. He scratched his head. ‘God will punish you, brother, and your household, for a flea has bitten me on the head.’

 

‘There! do you hear, wife? I hit him on the head with the club, and he says a mere flea has bitten him. What shall we do with him, wife?’

 

Give him a sackful of money to go away.’

 

‘What will you take to go, brother? I’ll give you a sackful of money.’

 

‘Give it me.’

 

He gave it. ‘Take it, brother, and be gone.’

 

‘I brought my present myself; do you carry yours yourself.’

 

The dragon took it on his shoulders and carried it. They drew near to the underground cavern. The old man said, ‘Stay here, brother, whilst I go home and tie up the dogs, else they’ll wholly devour you.’ The old man went home to his children, and made them wooden knives, and told them to say when they saw the dragon, ‘Mother, father’s bringing a dragon; we’ll eat his flesh.’

 

The dragon heard them, and flung down the sack, and fled. And he met a fox.

 

‘Where are you flying to, dragon?’

 

‘The old man will kill me.’

 

‘Fear not; come along with me. I’ll kill him, he’s so weak.’

 

The children came outside and cried, ‘Mother, the fox is bringing us the dragon skin he owes us, to cover the cave with.’

 

The dragon took to flight, and caught the fox, and dashed him to the earth; and the fox died. The old man went to the town, and got a cart, and put the money in it. Then he went to the town, and built himself houses, and bought himself oxen and cows.

 

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From: GYPSY FOLK TALES BOOK ONE – Illustrated Edition

ISBN: 978-1-907256-XX-X

http://www.abelapublishing.com/gypsytales1-ill.html

 

A percentage of the profits will be donated to THE RELIEF FUND for ROMANIA

 

Gypsy Folk Tales Book One - Illustrated Edition

 

 

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