You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘peasant’ tag.

Now that its winter time for those of us who live in the Northern hemisphere, here is a poignant story about a snowflake.
———–
SNOWFLAKE – A SLAVONIC STORY.

(Contes Populaires Slaves, traduits par Louis Leger.
Paris: Leroux, Editeur.)

Once upon a time there lived a peasant called Ivan, and he had a wife whose name was Marie. They would have been quite happy except for one thing: they had no children to play with, and as they were now old people they did not find that watching the children of their neighbours at all made up to them for having one of their own.
One winter, which nobody living will ever forget, the snow lay so deep that it came up to the knees of even the tallest man. When it had all fallen, and the sun was shining again, the children ran out into the street to play, and the old man and his wife sat at their window and gazed at them. The children first made a sort of little terrace, and stamped it hard and firm, and then they began to make a snow woman. Ivan and Marie watched them, the while thinking about many things.
Suddenly Ivan’s face brightened, and, looking at his wife, he said, ‘Wife, why shouldn’t we make a snow woman too?’
‘Why not?’ replied Marie, who happened to be in a very good temper; ‘it might amuse us a little. But there is no use making a woman. Let us make a little snow child, and pretend it is a living one.’
‘Yes, let us do that,’ said Ivan, and he took down his cap and went into the garden with his old wife.
Then the two set to work with all their might to make a doll out of the snow. They shaped a little body and two little hands and two little feet. On top of all they placed a ball of snow, out of which the head was to be.
‘What in the world are you doing?’ asked a passer-by.
‘Can’t you guess?’ returned Ivan.
‘Making a snow-child,’ replied Marie.
They had finished the nose and the chin. Two holes were left for the eyes, and Ivan carefully shaped out the mouth. No sooner had he done so than he felt a warm breath upon his cheek. He started back in surprise and looked—and behold! the eyes of the child met his, and its lips, which were as red as raspberries, smiled at him!
‘What is it?’ cried Ivan, crossing himself. ‘Am I mad, or is the thing bewitched?’
The snow-child bent its head as if it had been really alive. It moved its little arms and its little legs in the snow that lay about it just as the living children did theirs.
‘Ah! Ivan, Ivan,’ exclaimed Marie, trembling with joy, ‘heaven has sent us a child at last!’ And she threw herself upon Snowflake (for that was the snow-child’s name) and covered her with kisses. And the loose snow fell away from Snowflake as an egg shell does from an egg, and it was a little girl whom Marie held in her arms.
‘Oh! my darling Snowflake!’ cried the old woman, and led her into the cottage.
And Snowflake grew fast; each hour as well as each day made a difference, and every day she became more and more beautiful. The old couple hardly knew how to contain themselves for joy, and thought of nothing else. The cottage was always full of village children, for they amused Snowflake, and there was nothing in the world they would not have done to amuse her. She was their doll, and they were continually inventing new dresses for her, and teaching her songs or playing with her. Nobody knew how clever she was! She noticed everything, and could learn a lesson in a moment. Anyone would have taken her for thirteen at least! And, besides all that, she was so good and obedient; and so pretty, too! Her skin was as white as snow, her eyes as blue as forget-me-nots, and her hair was long and golden. Only her cheeks had no colour in them, but were as fair as her forehead.
So the winter went on, till at last the spring sun mounted higher in the heavens and began to warm the earth. The grass grew green in the fields, and high in the air the larks were heard singing. The village girls met and danced in a ring, singing, ‘Beautiful spring, how came you here? How came you here? Did you come on a plough, or was it a harrow?’ Only Snowflake sat quite still by the window of the cottage.
‘What is the matter, dear child?’ asked Marie. ‘Why are you so sad? Are you ill? or have they treated you unkindly?’
‘No,’ replied Snowflake, ‘it is nothing, mother; no one has hurt me; I am well.’
The spring sun had chased away the last snow from its hiding place under the hedges; the fields were full of flowers; nightingales sang in the trees, and all the world was gay. But the gayer grew the birds and the flowers the sadder became Snowflake. She hid herself from her playmates, and curled herself up where the shadows were deepest, like a lily amongst its leaves. Her only pleasure was to lie amid the green willows near some sparkling stream. At the dawn and at twilight only she seemed happy. When a great storm broke, and the earth was white with hail, she became bright and joyous as the Snowflake of old; but when the clouds passed, and the hail melted beneath the sun, Snowflake would burst into tears and weep as a sister would weep over her brother.
The spring passed, and it was the eve of St. John, or Midsummer Day. This was the greatest holiday of the year, when the young girls met in the woods to dance and play. They went to fetch Snowflake, and said to Marie: ‘Let her come and dance with us.’
But Marie was afraid; she could not tell why, only she could not bear the child to go. Snowflake did not wish to go either, but they had no excuse ready. So Marie kissed the girl and said: ‘Go, my Snowflake, and be happy with your friends, and you, dear children, be careful of her. You know she is the light of my eyes to me.’
‘Oh, we will take care of her,’ cried the girls gaily, and they ran off to the woods. There they wore wreaths, gathered nosegays, and sang songs some sad, some merry. And whatever they did Snowflake did too.
When the sun set they lit a fire of dry grass, and placed themselves in a row, Snowflake being the last of all. ‘Now, watch us,’ they said, ‘and run just as we do.’
And they all began to sing and to jump one after another across the fire.
Suddenly, close behind them, they heard a sigh, then a groan. ‘Ah!’ They turned hastily and looked at each other. There was nothing. They looked again. Where was Snowflake? She has hidden herself for fun, they thought, and searched for her everywhere. ‘Snowflake! Snowflake!’ But there was no answer. ‘Where can she be? Oh, she must have gone home.’ They returned to the village, but there was no Snowflake.
For days after that they sought her high and low. They examined every bush and every hedge, but there was no Snowflake. And long after everyone else had given up hope Ivan and Marie would wander through the woods crying ‘Snowflake, my dove, come back, come back!’ And sometimes they thought they heard a call, but it was never the voice of Snowflake.
And what had become of her? Had a fierce wild beast seized her and dragged her into his lair in the forest? Had some bird carried her off across the wide blue sea?
No, no beast had touched her, no bird had borne her away. With the first breath of flame that swept over her when she ran with her friends Snowflake had melted away, and a little soft haze floating upwards was all that remained of her.

From: Andrew Lang’s Pink Fairy Book – now part of a 3 book set

ISBN:978-1-907256-75-2

URL: http://abelapublishing.com/andrew-langs-coloured-fairy-tales-3-book-set_p24618764.htm

Andrew Lang's Coloured Fairy Tales 3 Book Set

Advertisements

THERE was once a happy king. Great or small, maid or man, everyone was happy in his kingdom, everyone was joyful and glad.

Once this monarch saw a vision. In his dream there hung from the ceiling in his house a fox suspended by the tail. He awoke, he could not see what the dream signified. He assembled his viziers, but they also could not divine what this dream presaged.

Then he said: Assemble all my kingdom together, perhaps someone may interpret it.’ On the third day all the people of his kingdom assembled in the king’s palace. Among others came a poor peasant.

In one place he had to travel along a footpath. The path on both sides was shut in by rocky mountains. When the peasant arrived there, he saw a serpent lying on the path, stretching its neck and putting out its tongue.

When the peasant went near, the serpent called out: ‘Good day, where art thou going, peasant?’ The peasant told what was the matter. The serpent said: ‘Do not fear him, give me thy word that what the king gives, thou wilt share with me, and I will teach thee.’ The peasant rejoiced, gave his word, and swore, saying: ‘I will bring thee all that the king presents to me if thou wilt aid me in this matter.’ The serpent said: ‘I shall divide it in halves, half will be thine; when thou seest the king, say: “The fox meant this, that in the kingdom there is cunning, hypocrisy, and treachery.”‘

The peasant went, he approached the king, and told even what the serpent had taught. The king was very much pleased, and gave great presents. The peasant did not return by that way, so that he might not share with the serpent, but went by another path.

Some time passed by, the king saw another vision: in his dream a naked sword hung suspended from the roof. The king this time sent a man quickly for the peasant, and asked him to come. The peasant was very uneasy in mind. There was nothing for it, the peasant went by the same footpath as before.

He came to that place where he saw the serpent before, but now he saw the serpent there no more. He cried out: ‘O serpent, come here one moment, I need thee.’ He ceased not until the serpent came. It said: ‘What dost thou want? what distresses thee?’ The peasant answered: ‘Thus and thus is the matter, and I should like some aid.’ The serpent replied: ‘Go, tell the king that the naked sword means war–now enemies are intriguing within and without; he must prepare for battle and attack.’

The peasant thanked the serpent and went. He came and told the king even as the serpent had commanded. The king was pleased, he began to prepare for war, and gave the peasant great presents. Now the peasant went by that path where the serpent was waiting. The serpent said: ‘Now give me the half thou hast promised.’ The peasant replied: ‘Half, certainly not! I shall give thee a black stone and a burning cinder.’ He drew out his sword and pursued it. The serpent retreated into a hole, but the peasant followed it, and cut off its tail with his sword.

Some time passed, and the king again saw a vision. In this vision a slain sheep was hanging from the roof. The king sent a man quickly for the peasant. The peasant was now very much afraid. And he said: ‘How can I approach the king?’ Formerly the serpent had taught him, but now it could no longer do this; for its goodness he had wounded it with the sword.

Nevertheless, he went by that footpath. When he came to the place where the serpent had been, he cried out: ‘O serpent, come here one moment, I want to ask thee something.’ The serpent came. The man told his grief. The serpent said: ‘If thou givest me half of what the king gives thee, I shall tell thee.’ He promised and swore. The serpent said: ‘This is a sign that now everywhere peace falls on all, the people are become like quiet, gentle sheep.’

The peasant thanked it, and went his way. When he came to the king, he spoke as the serpent had instructed him. The king was exceedingly pleased, and gave him greater presents. The peasant returned by the way where the serpent was waiting. He came to the serpent, divided everything he had received from the king, and said: ‘Thou hast been patient with me, and now I will give thee even what was given me before by the king.’ He humbly asked forgiveness for his former offences. The serpent said: ‘Be not grieved nor troubled; it certainly was not thy fault. The first time, when all the people were entirely deceitful, and there was treachery and hypocrisy in the land, thou too wert a deceiver, for, in spite of thy promise, thou wentest home by another way. The second time, when there was war everywhere, quarrels and assassination, thou, too, didst quarrel with me, and cut off my tail. But now, when peace and love have fallen on all, thou bringest the gifts, and sharest all with me. Go, brother, may the peace of God rest with thee! I do not want thy wealth.’ And the serpent went away and cast itself into its hole.

* * * * * * *

From: Georgian Folk Tales

ISBN: 978-1-907256-12-7

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

The Serpent and the Peasant

Once Upon A Time there was once a happy king. Great or small, maid or man, every one was happy in his kingdom, everyone was joyful and glad.

 

Once this monarch saw a vision. In his dream there hung from the ceiling in his house a fox suspended by the tail. He awoke, he could not see what the dream signified. He assembled his

viziers, but they also could not divine what this dream presaged.

 

Then he said: Assemble all my kingdom together, perhaps some one may interpret it.’ On the third day all the people of his kingdom assembled in the king’s palace. Among others came a poor peasant.

 

In one place he had to travel along a footpath. The path on both sides was shut in by rocky mountains. When the peasant arrived there, he saw a serpent lying on the path, stretching its neck and putting out its tongue.

 

When the peasant went near, the serpent called out: ‘Good day, where art thou going, peasant?’ The peasant told what was the matter. The serpent said:

‘Do not fear him, give me thy word that what the king gives, thou wilt share with me, and I will

teach thee.’

The peasant rejoiced, gave his word, and swore, saying: ‘I will bring thee all that the king presents to me if thou wilt aid me in this matter.’

The serpent said: ‘I shall divide it in halves, half will be thine; when thou seest the king, say: “The fox meant this, that in the kingdom there is cunning, hypocrisy, and treachery.”‘

 

The peasant went, he approached the king, and told even what the serpent had taught. The king was very much pleased, and gave great presents. The peasant did not return by that way, so

that he might not share with the serpent, but went by another path.

 

Some time passed by, the king saw another vision: in his dream a naked sword hung suspended from the roof. The king this time sent a man quickly for the peasant, and asked him to come.

The peasant was very uneasy in mind. There was nothing for it, the peasant went by the same footpath as before.

 

He came to that place where he saw the serpent before, but now he saw the serpent there no more. He cried out: ‘O serpent, come here one moment, I need thee.’

He ceased not until the serpent came. It said: ‘What dost thou want? what distresses thee?’ The

peasant answered: ‘Thus and thus is the matter, and I should like some aid.’ The serpent replied: ‘Go, tell the king that the naked sword means war–now enemies are intriguing within and without; he must prepare for battle and attack.’

 

The peasant thanked the serpent and went. He came and told the king even as the serpent had commanded. The king was pleased, he began to prepare for war, and gave the peasant great

presents. Now the peasant went by that path where the serpent was waiting. The serpent said: ‘Now give me the half thou hast promised.’

 

The peasant replied: ‘Half, certainly not! I shall give thee a black stone and a burning cinder.’ He drew out his sword and pursued it. The serpent retreated into a hole, but the peasant followed it, and cut off its tail with his sword.

 

Some time passed, and the king again saw a vision. In this vision a slain sheep was hanging from the roof. The king sent a man quickly for the peasant. The peasant was now very much

afraid. And he said: ‘How can I approach the king?’ Formerly the serpent had taught him, but now it could no longer do this; for its goodness he had wounded it with the sword.Nevertheless, he went by that footpath. When he came to the place where the serpent had been, he cried out: ‘O serpent, come here one moment, I want to ask thee something.’

 

The serpent came. The man told his grief. The serpent said: ‘If thou givest me half of what the king gives thee, I shall tell thee.’

He promised and swore. The serpent said: ‘This is a sign that now everywhere peace falls on all, the people are become like quiet, gentle sheep.’

 

The peasant thanked it, and went his way. When he came to the king, he spoke as the serpent had instructed him. The king was exceedingly pleased, and gave him greater presents. The peasant returned by the way where the serpent was waiting. He came to the serpent, divided everything he had received from the king, and said: ‘Thou hast been patient with me, and now I will give thee even what was given me before by the king.’

He humbly asked forgiveness for his former offences. The serpent said: ‘Be not grieved nor troubled; it certainly was not thy fault. The first time, when all the people were entirely deceitful, and there was treachery and hypocrisy in the land, thou too wert a deceiver, for, in spite of thy promise, thou wentest home by another way. The second time, when there was war everywhere, quarrels and assassination, thou, too, didst quarrel with me, and cut off my tail. But now, when peace and love have fallen on all, thou bringest the gifts, and sharest all with me. Go, brother, may the peace of God rest with thee! I do not want thy wealth.’ And the serpent went away and cast itself into its hole.

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/georgian-folk-tales_p23332619.htm

 

Georgian Folk Tales

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.
——————-
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

Not long ago, or perchance very long ago, I do not know for sure, there lived in a village, some place in Russia, a peasant—a moujik. And this peasant was a stubborn and a quick-tempered fellow, and his name was Dimian.

 

He was harsh by nature, this Dimian, and wanted everything to go his own way. If anyone talked or acted against him, Dimian’s fists were soon prepared for answer.

 

Sometimes, for instance, he would invite one of his neighbors and treat his guest with fine things to eat and to drink. And the neighbor in order to maintain the old custom would pretend to refuse. Dimian would at once begin the dispute:

 

“Thou must obey thy host!”

 

Once it happened that a shrewd fellow called on him. Our moujik Dimian covered the table with the very best he had and rejoiced over the good time he foresaw.

 

The fellow guest speedily ate everything up. Dimian was rather amazed, but brought out his kaftan.

 

“Take off thy sheepskin,” said he to the guest; “put on my new kaftan.”

 

In proposing it he thought within himself:

 

“I will bet that this time he will not dare accept; then I will teach him a lesson.”

 

But the fellow quickly put on the new kaftan, tightened it with the belt, shook his curly head and answered:

 

“Have my thanks, uncle, for thy gift. How could I dare not take it? Why, one must obey his host’s bidding.”

 

Dimian’s temper was rising, and he wanted at any rate to have his own way. But what to do? He hastened to the stable, brought out his best horse, and said to his guest:

 

“Thou art welcome to all my belongings,” and within himself he thought, “He certainly will refuse this time, and then my turn will come.”

 

But the fellow did not refuse, and smilingly answered:

 

“In thy house thou art the ruler,” and quickly he jumped on the horse’s back and shouted to Dimian, the peasant:

 

“Farewell, master! no one pushed thee into the trap but thyself,” and with these words the fellow was off.

 

Dimian looked after him and shook his head.

Dimian the Peasant from Folk Tales from the Russian

“Well, I struck a snag,” said he.

 

————————-

From: FOLK TALES FROM THE RUSSIAN

ISBN: 978-1-907256-XX-X

http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_ftftr.html

 

A percentage of the profits will be donated to UNICEF.

 

Folk Tales from the Russian

 

 

Advertisements