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ISSN: 2397-9607 Issue 36

In Issue 54 of the Baba Indaba Children’s Stories, Baba Indaba narrates the story of a clever lass which also teaches that when solving a problem, brains are better than brawn. The young maiden’s mind is so keen that even the king heard of her and asked her for an audience.

It is believed that folklore and tales are believed to have originated in India and made their way overland along the Silk and Spice routes and through Central Asia before arriving in Europe. Even so, this does not cover all folklore from all four corners of the world. Indeed folklore, legends and myths from Africa, Australia, Polynesia, and some from Asia too, are altogether quite different and seem to have originated on the whole from separate reservoirs of lore, legend and culture.

This book also has a “Where in the World – Look it Up” section, where young readers are challenged to look up a place on a map somewhere in the world. The place, town or city is relevant to the story, on map. HINT – use Google maps.

Baba Indaba is a fictitious Zulu storyteller who narrates children’s stories from around the world. Baba Indaba translates as “Father of Stories”.

 

FOLLOW THIS LINK: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Anon_E_Mouse_THE_CLEVER_LASS?id=drv_CwAAQBAJ

A Clever Lass - Cover

A Clever Lass – Cover

Now there was once a farmer who had but one daughter of whom he was very proud because she was so clever. So whenever he was in any difficulty he would go to her and ask her what he should do. It happened that he had a dispute with one of his neighbours, and the matter came before the King, and he, after hearing from both of them, did not know how to decide and said:

“You both seem to be right and you both seem to be wrong, and I do not know how to decide; so I will leave it to yourselves in this way: whichever of you can answer best the three questions I am about to ask shall win this trial. What is the most beautiful thing? What is the strongest thing? and, What is the richest thing? Now go home and think over your answers and bring them to me to-morrow morning.”

So the farmer went home and told his daughter what had happened, and she told him what to answer next day.

So when the matter came up for trial before the King he asked first the farmer’s neighbour,

“What is the most beautiful thing?”

And he answered, “My wife.”

Then he asked him, “What is the strongest thing?”

“My ox.”

“And what is the richest?”

And he answered, “Myself.”

Then he turned to the farmer and asked him,

“What is the most beautiful thing?”

And the farmer answered, “Spring.”

Then he asked him, “What is the strongest?”

“The earth.”

Then he asked, “What is the richest thing?”

He answered, “The harvest.”

Then the King decided that the farmer had answered best, and gave judgment in his favour. But he had noticed that the farmer had hesitated in his answers and seemed to be trying to remember things. So he called him up to him and said,

“I fancy those arrows did not come from your quiver. Who told you how to answer so cleverly?”

Then the farmer said, “Please your Majesty, it was my daughter who is the cleverest girl in all the world.”

“Is that so?” said the King. “I should like to test that.”

Shortly afterwards the King sent one of his servants to the farmer’s daughter with a round cake and thirty small biscuits and a roast capon, and told him to ask her whether the moon was full, and what day of the month it was, and whether the rooster had crowed in the night. On the way the servant ate half the cake and half of the biscuits and hid the capon away for his supper. And when he had delivered the rest to the Clever Girl and told his message she gave this reply to be brought back to the King:

“It is only half-moon and the th of the month and the rooster has flown away to the mill; but spare the pheasant for the sake of the partridge.”

And when the servant had brought back this message to the King, he cried out,

“You have eaten half the cake and fifteen of the biscuits and didn’t hand over the capon at all.”

Then the servant confessed that this was all true, and the King said,

“I would have punished you severely but that this Clever Girl begs me to forgive the pheasant, by which she meant you, for the sake of the partridge, by which she meant herself. So you may go unpunished.”

The King was so delighted with the cleverness of the girl that he determined to marry her.

But, wishing to test her once more before doing so, he sent her a message that she should come to him clothed, yet unclothed, neither walking, nor driving, nor riding, neither in shadow nor in sun, and with a gift which is no gift.

When the farmer’s daughter received this message she went near the King’s palace, and having undressed herself wrapped herself up in her long hair, and then had herself placed in a net which was attached to the tail of a horse. With one hand she held a sieve over her head to shield herself from the sun; and in the other she held a platter covered with another platter.

Thus she came to the King neither clothed nor unclothed, neither walking, nor riding, nor driving, neither in sun nor in shadow.

Now when she was released from the net and a mantle had been placed over her she handed the platter to the King, who took the top platter off, whereupon a little bird that had been between the two platters flew away. This was the gift that was no gift.

The King was so delighted at the way in which the farmer’s daughter had solved the riddle that he immediately married her and made her his Queen. And they lived very happily together though no children came to them. The King depended upon her for advice in all his affairs and would often have her seated by him when he was giving judgment in law matters.

Now it happened that one day at the end of all the other cases there came two peasants, each of whom claimed a foal that had been born in a stable where they had both left their carts, one with a horse and the other with a mare. The King was tired with the day’s pleadings, and without thinking and without consulting his Queen who sat by his side, he said,

“Let the first man have it,” who happened to be the peasant whose cart was drawn by the horse.

Now the Queen was vexed that her husband should have decided so unjustly, and when the court was over she went to the other peasant and told him how he could convince the King that he had made a rash judgment. So the next day he took a stool outside the King’s window and commenced fishing with a fishing-rod in the road.

The King looking out of his window saw this and began to laugh and called out to the man,

“You won’t find many fish on a dry road,” to which the peasant answered,

“As many as foals that come from a horse.”

Then the King remembered his judgment of yesterday and, calling the men before him, decided that the foal should belong to the man who had the mare and who had fished in front of his windows. But he said to him as he dismissed them,

“That arrow never came from your quiver.”

Then he went to his Queen in a towering rage and said to her,

“How dare you interfere in my judgments?”

And she said, “I did not like my dear husband to do what was unjust.” But the King said,

“Then you ought to have spoken to me, not shamed me before my people. That is too much. You shall go back to your father who is so proud of you. And the only favour I can grant you will be that you can take with you from the palace whatever you love best.”

“Your Majesty’s wish shall be my law,” said the Queen, “but let us at least not part in anger. Let me have my last dinner as Queen in your company.”

When they dined together the Queen put a sleeping potion in the King’s cup, and when he fell asleep she directed the servants to put him in the carriage that was waiting to take her home, and carried him into her bed. When he woke up next morning he asked,

“Where am I, and why are you still with me?”

Then the Queen said, “You allowed me to take with me that which I loved best in the palace, and so I took you.”

Then the King recognized the love his Queen had for him, and brought her back to his palace, and they lived together there forever afterwards

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EFB-Cover-W-Perspective

There were two lasses, daughters of one mother, and as they came from the fair, they saw a right bonny young man stand at the house-door before them. They never saw such a bonny man before. He had gold on his cap, gold on his finger, gold on his neck, a red gold watch-chain — eh! but he had brass. He had a golden ball in each hand. He gave a ball to each lass, and she was to keep it, and if she lost it, she was to be hanged. One of the lasses, ’twas the youngest, lost her ball. I’ll tell thee how. She was by a park paling, and she was tossing her ball, and it went up, and up, and up, till it went fair over the paling; and when she climbed up to look, the ball ran along the green grass, and it went right forward to the door of the house, and the ball went in and she saw it no more.

 

So she was taken away to be hanged by the neck till she was dead because she’d lost her ball.

 

But she had a sweetheart, and he said he would go and get the ball. So he went to the park gate, but ’twas shut; so he climbed the hedge, and when he got to the top of the hedge, an old woman rose up out of the dyke before him, and said, if he wanted to get the ball, he must sleep three nights in the house. He said he would.

 

Then he went into the house, and looked for the ball, but could not find it. Night came on and he heard bogles move in the courtyard; so he looked out o’ the window, and the yard was full of them.

 

Presently he heard steps coming upstairs. He hid behind the door, and was as still as a mouse. Then in came a big giant five times as tall as he, and the giant looked round but did not see the lad, so he went to the window and bowed to look out; and as he bowed on his elbows to see the bogles in the yard, the lad stepped behind him, and with one blow of his sword he cut him in twain, so that the top part of him fell in the yard, and the bottom part stood looking out of the window.

 

There was a great cry from the bogles when they saw half the giant come tumbling down to them, and they called out, ‘There comes half our master; give us the other half.’

 

So the lad said, ‘It’s no use of thee, thou pair of legs, standing alone at the window, as thou hast no eye to see with, so go join thy brother’; and he cast the lower part of the giant after the top part. Now when the bogles had gotten all the giant they were quiet.

 

Next night the lad was at the house again, and now a second giant came in at the door, and as he came in the lad cut him in twain, but the legs walked on to the chimney and went up it. ‘Go, get thee after thy legs,’ said the lad to the head, and he cast the head up the chimney, too.

 

The third night the lad got into bed, and he heard the bogles striving under the bed, and they had the ball there, and they were casting it to and fro.

 

Now one of them has his leg thrust out from under the bed, so the lad brings his sword down and cuts it off. Then another thrusts his arm out at other side of the bed, and the lad cuts that off. So at last he had maimed them all, and they all went crying and wailing off, and forgot the ball, but he took it from under the bed, and went to seek his true-love.

 

Now the lass was taken to York to be hanged; she was brought out on the scaffold, and the hangman said, ‘Now, lass, thou must hang by the neck till thou be’st dead.’ But she cried out:

 

‘Stop, stop, I think I see my mother coming!
O mother, hast brought my golden ball
And come to set me free?’

 

‘I’ve neither brought thy golden ball
Nor come to set thee free,
But I have come to see thee hung
Upon this gallows-tree.’

 

Then the hangman said, ‘Now, lass, say thy prayers, for thou must die.’ But she said:

 

‘Stop, stop, I think I see my father coming!
O father, hast brought my golden ball
And come to set me free?’

 

‘I’ve neither brought thy golden ball
Nor come to set thee free,
But I have come to see thee hung
Upon this gallows-tree.’

 

Then the hangman said, ‘Hast thee done thy prayers? Now, lass, put thy head into the noose.’

 

But she answered, ‘Stop, stop, I think I see my brother coming!’ And again she sang, and then she thought she saw her sister coming, then her uncle, then her aunt, then her cousin; but after this the hangman said, ‘I will stop no longer; thou’rt making game of me. Thou must be hung at once.’

 

But now she saw her sweetheart coming through the crowd, and he held over his head in the air her own golden ball; so she said:

 

‘Stop, stop, I see my sweetheart coming!
Sweetheart, hast brought my golden ball
And come to set me free?’

 

‘Aye, I have brought thy golden ball
And come to set thee free,
I have not come to see thee hung
Upon this gallows-tree.’

 

And he took her home, and they lived happy ever after.

—————————

From More English Fairy Tales

ISBN: 978-1-907256-09-7

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

 

 

 

As I was a-walking one morning in the spring,
I heard a young ploughman so sweetly to sing,
And as he was singing these words he did say,
No life is like the ploughman’s in the month of May.

The lark in the morning rises from her nest,
And mounts in the air with the dew on her breast,
And with the jolly ploughman she’ll whistle and she’ll sing,
And at night she’ll return to her nest back again.

If you walk in the fields any pleasure to find,
You may see what the ploughman enjoys in his mind;
There the corn he sows grows and the flowers do spring,
And the ploughman’s as happy as a prince or a king.

When his day’s work is done that he has to do,
Perhaps to some country walk he will go;
There with a sweet lass he will dance and sing,
And at night return with his lass back again.

Then he rises next morning to follow his team,
Like a jolly ploughman so neat and so trim;
If he kiss a pretty girl he will make her his wife,
And she loves her jolly ploughman as dear as her life.

There’s Molly and Dolly, Nelly and Sue;
There’s Ralph, John, and Willie, and young Tommy too ;
Each lad takes his lass to the wake or the fair,
Adzooks! they look rarely I vow and declare.

——————

From Scottish Fairy and Folk Tales

ISBN: 978-1-907256-93-6

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

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