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There was once a poor lad. He took the road, went to find himself a master. He met a priest on the road. Where are you going, my lad?’

 

‘I am going to find myself a master.’

 

‘Mine’s the very place for you, my lad, for I’ve another lad like you, and I have six oxen and a plough. Do you enter my service and plough all this field.’

 

The lad arose, and took the plough and the oxen, and went into the fields and ploughed two days. Luck and the Ogre came to him. And the Ogre said to Luck, ‘Go for him.’ Luck didn’t want to go for him; only the Ogre went. When the Ogre went for him, he laid himself down on his back, and unlaced his boots, and took to flight across the plain.

 

The other lad shouted after him, ‘Don’t go, brother; don’t go, brother.’

 

‘Bah! God blast your plough and you as well.’

 

Then he came to a city of the size of Bucharest. Presently he arrived at a watchmaker’s shop. And he leaned his elbows on the shop-board and watched the prentices at their work. Then one of them asked him, ‘Why do you sit there hungry?’

 

‘He said, ‘Because I like to watch you working.’

 

Then the master came out and said, ‘Here, my lad, I will hire you for three years, and will show you all that I am master of. For a year and a day,’ he continued, ‘you will have nothing to do but chop wood, and feed the oven fire, and sit with your elbows on the table, and watch the prentices at their work.’

 

Now the watchmaker had had a clock of the emperor’s fifteen years, and no one could be found to repair it; he had fetched watchmakers from Paris and Vienna, and not one of them had managed it. The time came when the emperor offered the half of his kingdom to whoso should repair it; one and all they failed. The clock had twenty-four tunes in it. And as it played, the emperor grew young again. Easter Sunday came; and the watchmaker went to church with his prentices. Only the old wife and the lad stayed behind. The lad chopped the wood up quickly, and went back to the table that they did their work at. He never touched one of the little watches, but he took the big clock, and set it on the table. He took out two of its pipes, and cleaned them, and put them back in their place; then the four-and-twenty tunes began to play, and the clock to go. Then the lad hid himself for fear; and all the people came out of the church when they heard the tunes playing.

 

The watchmaker, too, came home, and said, ‘Mother, who did me this kindness, and repaired the clock?’

 

His mother said, ‘Only the lad, dear, went near the table.’

 

And he sought him and found him sitting in the stable. He took him in his arms: ‘My lad, you were my master, and I never knew it, but set you to chop wood on Easter Day.’ Then he sent for three tailors, and they made him three fine suits of clothes. Next day he ordered a carriage with four fine horses; and he took the clock in his arms, and went off to the emperor. The emperor, when he heard it, came down from his throne, and took his clock in his arms and grew young. Then he said to the watchmaker, ‘Bring me him who mended the clock.’

 

He said, ‘I mended it.’

 

‘Don’t tell me it was you. Go and bring me him who mended it.’

 

He went then and brought the lad.

 

The emperor said, ‘Go, give the watchmaker three purses of ducats; but the lad you shall have no more, for I mean to give him ten thousand ducats a year, just to stay here and mind the clock and repair it when it goes wrong.’

 

So the lad dwelt there thirteen years.

 

The emperor had a grown-up daughter, and he proposed to find a husband for her. She wrote a letter, and gave it to her father. And what did she put in the letter? She put this: ‘Father, I am minded to feign to be dumb; and whoso is able to make me speak, I will be his.’

 

Then the emperor made a proclamation throughout the world: ‘He who is able to make my daughter speak shall get her to wife; and whoso fails him will I kill.’

 

Then many suitors came, but not one of them made her speak. And the emperor killed them all, and by and by no one more came.

 

Now the lad, the watchmaker, went to the emperor, and said, ‘Emperor, let me also go to the maiden, to see if I cannot make her speak.’

 

‘Well, this is how it stands, my lad. Haven’t you seen the proclamation on the table, how I have sworn to kill whoever fails to make her speak?’

 

‘Well, kill me also, Emperor, if I too fail.’

 

‘In that case, go to her.’

 

The lad dressed himself bravely, and went into her chamber. She was sewing at her frame. When the lad entered, he said, ‘Good-day, you rogue.’

 

Thank you, watchmaker. Well, sit you down since you have come, and take a bite.’

 

‘Well, all right, you rogue.’

 

He only was speaking. Then he tarried no longer, but came out and said, ‘Good-night, rogue.’

 

‘Farewell, watchmaker.’

 

Next evening the emperor summoned him, to kill him. But the lad said, ‘Let me go one more night.’ Then the lad went again, and said, ‘Good-evening, rogue.’

 

‘Welcome, watchmaker. And since you have come, brother, pray sit down to table.’

 

Only he spoke, so at last he said, ‘Good-night, rogue.’

 

‘Farewell, watchmaker.’

 

Next night the emperor summoned him. ‘I must kill you now, for you have reached your allotted term.’

 

Then said the lad, ‘Do you know, emperor, that there is thrice forgiveness for a man?’

 

‘Then go to-night, too.’

 

Then the lad went that night, and said, ‘How do you do, rogue?’

 

‘Thank you, watchmaker. Since you have come, sit at table.’

 

‘So I will, rogue. And see you this knife in my hand? I mean to cut you in pieces if you will not answer my question.’ And why should I not answer it, watchmaker?’

 

‘Well, rogue, know you the princess?’

 

‘And how should I not know her?’

 

‘And the three princes, know you them?’

 

‘I know them, watchmaker.’

 

‘Well and good, if you know them. The three brothers had an intrigue with the princess. They knew not that the three had to do with her. But what did the maiden? She knew they were brothers. The eldest came at nightfall, and she set him down to table and he ate. Then she lay with him and shut him up in a chamber. The middle one came at midnight, and she lay with him also and shut him up in another chamber. And that same night came the youngest, and she lay with him too. Then at daybreak she let them all out, and they sprang to slay one another, the three brothers. The maiden said, “Hold, brothers, do not slay one another, but go home and take each of you to himself ten thousand ducats, and go into three cities; and his I will become who brings me the finest piece of workmanship.” So the eldest journeyed to Bucharest, and there found a beautiful mirror. Now look you what kind of mirror it was. “Here, merchant, what is the price of your mirror?” “Ten thousand ducats, my lad.” “Indeed, is that not very dear, brother?” “But mark you what kind of mirror it is. You look in it and you can see both the dead and the living therein.” Now let’s have a look at the middle brother. He went to another city and found a robe. “You, merchant, what is the price of this robe?” “Ten thousand ducats, my son.”‘

 

‘What are you talking about, watchmaker? A robe cost ten thousand ducats!’

 

‘But look you, you rogue, what sort of robe it is. For when you step on it, it will carry you whither you will. So you may fancy he cries “Done!” Meanwhile the youngest also arrived in a city and found a Jew, and bought an apple from him. And the apple was such that when a dead man ate it he revived. He took it and came to his brothers. And when they were all come home they saw their sweet-heart dead. And they gave her the apple to eat and she arose. And whom then did she choose? She chose the youngest. What do you say?’

 

And the emperor’s daughter finally spoke. And the watchmaker took her to wife. And they made a marriage.

 

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From Gypsy Folk Tales (1899) compiled by Francis Hindes Groome

ISBN: 978-0-956584-47-8

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_gft1.html

 

The illustrated edition of this book will be published during the summer of 2012. The illustrations are currently being worked on by Dutch illustrator Maggie Gunzel.

 

Gypsy Folk Tales Book 1

 

 

Once upon a time a lot of fairies lived in Mona.

 

One day the queen fairy’s daughter, who was now fifteen years of age, told her mother she wished to go out and see the world. The queen consented, allowing her to go for a day, and to change from a fairy to a bird, or from a bird to a fairy, as she wished.

 

When she returned one night she said:

“I’ve been to a gentleman’s house, and as I stood listening, I heard the gentleman was witched: he was very ill, and crying out with pain.”

 

“Oh, I must look into that,” said the queen.

 

So the next day she went through her process and found that he was bewitched by an old witch. So the following day she set out with six other fairies, and when they came to the gentleman’s house she found he was very ill.

 

Going into the room, bearing a small blue pot they had brought with them, the queen asked him:

 

“Would you like to be cured?”

 

“Oh, bless you; yes, indeed.”

 

Whereupon the queen put the little blue pot of perfume on the centre of the table, and lit it, when the room was instantly filled with the most delicious odour.

 

Whilst the perfume was burning, the six fairies formed in line behind her, and she leading, they walked round the table three times, chanting in chorus:

 

“Round and round three times three,

We have come to cure thee.”

 

At the end of the third round she touched the burning perfume with her wand, and then touched the gentleman on the head, saying:

 

“Be thou made whole.”

 

No sooner had she said the words than he jumped up hale and hearty, and said:

 

“Oh, dear queen, what shall I do for you? I’ll do anything you wish.”

 

“Money I do not wish for,” said the queen, “but there’s a little plot of ground on the sea-cliff I want you to lend me, for I wish to make a ring there, and the grass will die when I make the ring. Then I want you to build three walls round the ring, but leave the sea-side open, so that we may be able to come and go easily.”

 

“With the greatest of pleasure,” said the gentleman; and he built the three stone walls at once, at the spot indicated.

 

II.

 

Near the gentleman lived the old witch, and she had the power of turning at will into a hare. The gentleman was a great hare hunter, but the hounds could never catch this hare; it always disappeared in a mill, running between the wings and jumping in at an open window, though they stationed two men and a dog at the spot, when it immediately turned into the old witch. And the old miller never suspected, for the old woman used to take him a peck of corn to grind a few days before any hunt, telling him she would call for it on the afternoon of the day of the hunt. So that when she arrived she was expected.

 

One day she had been taunting the gentleman as he returned from a hunt, that he could never catch the hare, and he struck her with his whip, saying “Get away, you witchcraft!”

 

Whereupon she witched him, and he fell ill, and was cured as we have seen.

 

When he got well he watched the old witch, and saw she often visited the house of an old miser who lived nearby with his beautiful niece. Now all the people in the village touched their hats most respectfully to this old miser, for they knew he had dealings with the witch, and they were as much afraid of him as of her; but everyone loved the miser’s kind and beautiful niece.

 

III.

 

When the fairies got home the queen told her daughter:

 

“I have no power over the old witch for twelve months from to-day, and then I have no power over her life. She must lose that by the arm of a man.”

 

So the next day the daughter was sent out again to see whether she could find a person suited to that purpose.

 

In the village lived a small crofter, who was afraid of nothing; he

was the boldest man thereabouts; and one day he passed the miser without saluting him. The old fellow went off at once and told the witch.

 

“Oh, I’ll settle his cows to-night!” said she, and they were taken

sick, and gave no milk that night.

 

The fairy’s daughter arrived at his croft-yard after the cows were

taken ill, and she heard him say to his son, a bright lad:

 

“It must be the old witch!”

 

When she heard this, she sent him to the queen.

 

So next day the fairy queen took six fairies and went to the croft,

taking her blue pot of perfume. When she got there she asked the crofter if he would like his cows cured?

 

“God bless you, yes!” he said.

 

The queen made him bring a round table into the yard, whereon she placed the blue pot of perfume, and having lit it, as before, they formed in line and walked round thrice, chanting the words:

 

“Round and round three times three,

We have come to cure thee.”

 

Then she dipped the end of her wand into the perfume, and touched the cows on the forehead, saying to each one:

 

“Be thou whole.”

 

Whereupon they jumped up cured.

 

The little farmer was overjoyed, and cried:

 

“Oh, what can I do for you? What can I do for you?”

 

“Money I care not for,” said the queen, “all I want is your son to avenge you and me.”

 

The lad jumped up and said:

 

“What I can do I’ll do it for you, my lady fairy.”

 

She told him to be at the walled plot the following day at noon, and left.

 

IV.

 

The next day at noon, the queen and her daughter and three hundred other fairies came up the cliff to the green grass plot, and they carried a pole, and a tape, and a mirror. When they reached the plot they planted the pole in the ground, and hung the mirror on the pole. The queen took the tape, which measured ten yards and was fastened to the top of the pole, and walked round in a circle, and wherever she set her feet the grass withered and died. Then the fairies followed up behind the queen, and each fairy carried a harebell in her left-hand, and a little blue cup of burning perfume in her right. When they had formed up the queen called the lad to her side, and told him to walk by her throughout. They then started off, all singing in chorus:

 

“Round and round three times three,

Tell me what you see.”

 

When they finished the first round, the queen and lad stopped before the mirror, and she asked the lad what he saw?

 

“I see, I see, the mirror tells me,

It is the witch that I see,”

said the lad. So they marched round again, singing the same words as before, and when they stopped a second time before the mirror the queen again asked him what he saw?

 

“I see, I see, the mirror tells me,

It is a hare that I see,”

said the lad.

 

A third time the ceremony and question were repeated.

 

“I see, I see, the mirror tells me,

The hares run up the hill to the mill.”

 

“Now”, said the queen, “there is to be a hare-hunting this day week; be at the mill at noon, and I will meet you there.”

 

And then the fairies, pole, mirror, and all, vanished and only the empty ring on the green was left.

 

V.

 

Upon the appointed day the lad went to his tryst, and at noon the Fairy Queen appeared, and gave him a sling, and a smooth pebble from the beach, saying:

 

“I have blessed your arms, and I have blessed the sling and the

stone.

 

“Now as the clock strikes three,

Go up the hill near the mill,

And in the ring stand still

Till you hear the click of the mill.

Then with thy arm, with power and might,

You shall strike and smite

The devil of a witch called Jezabel light,

And you shall see an awful sight.”

 

The lad did as he was bidden, and presently he heard the huntsman’s horn and the hue and cry, and saw the hare running down the opposite hill-side, where the hounds seemed to gain on her, but as she breasted the hill on which he stood she gained on them. As she came towards the mill he threw his stone, and it lodged in her skull, and when he ran up he found he had killed the old witch. As the huntsmen came up they crowded round him, and praised him; and then they fastened the witch’s body to a horse by ropes, and dragged her to the bottom of the valley, where they buried her in a ditch. That night, when the miser heard of her death, he dropped down dead on the spot.

 

As the lad was going home the queen appeared to him, and told him to be at the ring the following day at noon.

 

VI.

 

Next day all the fairies came with the pole and mirror, each

carrying a harebell in her left-hand, and a blue cup of burning

perfume in her right, and they formed up as before, the lad walking beside the queen. They marched round and repeated the old words, when the queen stopped before the mirror, and said:

 

“What do you see?”

 

“I see, I see, the mirror tells me,

It is an old plate-cupboard that I see.”

 

A second time they went round, and the question, was repeated.

 

“I see, I see, the mirror tells me,

The back is turned to me.”

 

A third time was the ceremony fulfilled, and the lad answered

 

“I see, I see, the mirror tells me,

A spring-door is open to me.”

 

“Buy that plate-cupboard at the miser’s sale,” said the queen, and she and her companions disappeared as before.

 

VII.

 

Upon the day of the sale all the things were brought out in the

road, and the plate-cupboard was put up, the lad recognising it and bidding up for it till it was sold to him. When he had paid for it he took it home in a cart, and when he got in and examined it, he found the secret drawer behind was full of gold. The following week the house and land, thirty acres, was put up for sale, and the lad bought both, and married the miser’s niece, and they lived happily till they died.

 

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From “Welsh Fairy Tales and Other Stories”

ISBN: 978-1-907256-03-5

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