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In Issue 24 of the Baba Indaba Children’s Stories, Baba Indaba narrates the Russian tale of SALT and that of Ivan the Ninny. His father gave two great ships to Ivan’s older brothers and a small, worn-out ship with patchwork sails to Ivan and sends them across to trade. But Ivan comes back with his ship laden with treasure and a Princess on his arm, while his brothers don’t have much to show. How did Ivan do it? Well you’ll have to read the story to find out!
 
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.
 
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”.
 
ISSN: 2397-9607 Issue 24 (Digital)
 

Salat – Baba Indaba Children’s Stories

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Just loaded for it’s proof run LEGENDS AND STORIES FROM MARTHA’S VINEYARD, NANTUCKET AND BLOCK ISLAND. 21 legends and stories from the Cape Cod area which goes back to at least 1602.

Table of contents is:
MARTHA’S VINEYARD AND NANTUCKET
LOVE AND TREASON
THE HEADLESS SKELETON OF SWAMPTOWN
THE CROW AND CAT OF HOPKINSHILL
THE OLD STONE MILL
THE ORIGIN OF A NAME
MICAH ROOD APPLES
A DINNER AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
THE NEW HAVEN STORM SHIP
THE WINDAM FROGS
THE LAMB OF SACRIFICE
MOODUS NOISES
HADDAM ENCHANTMENTS

BLOCK ISLAND
THE BUCCANEER
ROBERT LOCKWOOD’S FATE
LOVE AND RUM
THE WHOLE HISTORY OF GRANDFATHER’S CHAIR
THE LOYALISTS OF MASSACHUSETTS
PUNISHMENT FOR WEARING LONG HAIR IN NEW ENGLAND
SCHOOL DISCIPLINE IN THE STATE OF MASSACHSETTS
THE SCHOOLMASTER’S SOLILOQUY
THE STORY OF KING PHILIP (of the Wampanoag tribe)

Cover - Legends and Stories from Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and Block Island

Cover – Legends and Stories from Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Block Island

An excerpt from TALES OF FOLK AND FAIRIES – 14 children’s tales from around the world – A NEW RELEASE

 

THERE was once a girl who was wiser than the King and all his Councillors; there never was anything like it. Her father was so proud of her that he boasted about her cleverness at home and abroad. He could not keep his tongue still about it. One day he was boasting to one of his neighbors, and he said, The girl is so clever that not even the King himself could ask her a question she couldn’t answer, or read her a riddle she couldn’t unravel.

Now it so chanced the King was sitting at a window nearby, and he overheard what the girls father was saying. The next day he sent for the man to come before him. I hear you have a daughter who is so clever that no one in the kingdom can equal her; and is that so? asked the King.

Yes, it was no more than the truth. Too much could not be said of her wit and cleverness.

That was well, and the King was glad to hear it. He had thirty eggs; they were fresh and good, but it would take a clever person to hatch chickens out of them. He then bade his chancellor get the eggs and give them to the man.

Take these home to your daughter, said the King, and bid her hatch them out for me. If she succeeds she shall have a bag of money for her pains, but if she fails you shall be beaten as a vain boaster.

The man was troubled when he heard this. Still his daughter was so clever he was almost sure she could hatch out the eggs. He carried them home to her and told her exactly what the King had said, and it did not take the girl long to find out that the eggs had been boiled.

When she told her father that, he made a great to-do. That was a pretty trick for the King to have played upon him. Now he would have to take a beating and all the neighbors would hear about it. Would to Heaven he had never had a daughter at all if that was what came of it.

The girl, however, bade him be of good cheer. Go to bed and sleep quietly, said she. I will think of some way out of the trouble. No harm shall come to you, even though I have to go to the palace myself and take the beating in your place.

The next day the girl gave her father a bag of boiled beans and bade him take them out to a certain place where the King rode by every day. Wait until you see him coming, said she, and then begin to sow the beans. At the same time he was to call out this, that, and the other so loudly that the King could not help but hear him.

The man took the bag of beans and went out to the field his daughter had spoken of. He waited until he saw the King coming, and then he began to sow the beans, and at the same time to cry aloud, Come sun, come rain! Heaven grant that these boiled beans may yield me a good crop.

The King was surprised that any one should be so stupid as to think boiled beans would grow and yield a crop. He did not recognize the man, for he had only seen him once, and he stopped his horse to speak to him. My poor man, said he, how can you expect boiled beans to grow? Do you not know that that is impossible?

Whatever the King commands should be possible, answered the man, and if chickens can hatch from boiled eggs why should not boiled beans yield a crop?

When the King heard this he looked at the man more closely, and then he recognized him as the father of the clever daughter.

You have indeed a clever daughter, said he. Take your beans home and bring me back the eggs I gave you.

The man was very glad when he heard that, and made haste to obey. He carried the beans home and then took the eggs and brought them back to the palace of the King.

After the King had received the eggs he gave the man a handful of flax. Take this to your clever daughter, he said, and bid her make for me within the week a full set of sails for a large ship. If she does this she shall receive the half of my kingdom as a reward, but if she fails you shall have a drubbing that you will not soon forget.

The man returned to his home, loudly lamenting his hard lot.

What is the matter? asked his daughter. Has the King set another task that I must do?

Yes, that he had; and her father showed her the flax the King had sent her and gave her the message.

Do not be troubled, said the girl. No harm shall come to you. Go to bed and sleep quietly, and to-morrow I will send the King an answer that will satisfy him.

The man believed what his daughter said. He went to bed and slept quietly.

The next day the girl gave her father a small piece of wood. Carry this to the King, said she. Tell him I am ready to make the sails, but first let him make me of this wood a large ship that I may fit the sails to it.

The father did as the girl bade him, and the King was surprised at the cleverness of the girl in returning him such an answer.

That is all very well, said he, and I will excuse her from this task. But here! Here is a glass mug. Take it home to your clever daughter. Tell her it is my command that she dip out the waters from the ocean bed so that I can ride over the bottom dry shod. If she does this, I will take her for my wife, but if she fails you shall be beaten within an inch of your life.

The man took the mug and hastened home, weeping aloud and bemoaning his fate.

Well, and what is it? asked his daughter. What does the King demand of me now?

The man gave her the glass mug and told her what the King had said.

Do not be troubled, said the girl. Go to bed and sleep in peace. You shall not be beaten, and soon I shall be reigning as Queen over all this land.

The man had trust in her. He went to bed and slept and dreamed he saw her sitting by the King with a crown on her head.

The next day the girl gave her father a bunch of tow. Take this to the King, she said. Tell him you have given me the mug, and I am willing to dip the sea dry, but first let him take this tow and stop up all the rivers that flow into the ocean.

The man did as his daughter bade him. He took the tow to the King and told him exactly what the girl had said.

Then the King saw that the girl was indeed a clever one, and he sent for her to come before him.

She came just as she was, in her homespun dress and her rough shoes and with a cap on her head, but for all her mean clothing she was as pretty and fine as a flower, and the King was not slow to see it. Still he wanted to make sure for himself that she was as clever as her messages had been.

Tell me, said he, what sound can be heard the farthest throughout the world?

The thunder that echoes through heaven and earth, answered the girl, and your own royal commands that go from lip to lip.

This reply pleased the King greatly. And now tell me, said he, exactly what is my royal sceptre worth?

It is worth exactly as much as the power for which it stands, the girl replied.

The King was so well satisfied with the way the girl answered that he no longer hesitated; he determined that she should be his Queen, and that they should be married at once.

The girl had something to say to this, however. I am but a poor girl, said she, and my ways are not your ways. It may well be that you will tire of me, or that you may be angry with me sometime, and send me back to my fathers house to live. Promise that if this should happen you will allow me to carry back with me from the castle the thing that has grown most precious to me.

The King was willing to agree to this, but the girl was not satisfied until he had written down his promise and signed it with his own royal hand. Then she and the King were married with the greatest magnificence, and she came to live in the palace and reign over the land.

Now while the girl was still only a peasant she had been well content to dress in homespun and live as a peasant should, but after she became Queen she would wear nothing but the most magnificent robes and jewels and ornaments, for that seemed to her only right and proper for a Queen. But the King, who was of a very jealous nature, thought his wife did not care at all for him, but only for the fine things he could give her.

One time the King and Queen were to ride abroad together, and the Queen spent so much time in dressing herself that the King was kept waiting, and he became very angry. When she appeared before him, he would not even look at her. You care nothing for me, but only for the jewels and fine clothes you wear, he cried. Take with you those that are the most precious to you, as I promised you, and return to your father’s house. I will no longer have a wife who cares only for my possessions and not at all for me.

Very well; the girl was willing to go. And I will be happier in my father’s house than I was when I first met you, said she. Nevertheless she begged that she might spend one more night in the palace, and that she and the King might sup together once again before she returned home.

To this the King agreed, for he still loved her, even though he was so angry with her.

So he and his wife supped together that evening, and just at the last the Queen took a golden cup and filled it with wine. Then, when the King was not looking, she put a sleeping potion in the wine and gave it to him to drink.

He took it and drank to the very last drop, suspecting nothing, but soon after he sank down among the cushions in a deep sleep. Then the Queen caused him to be carried to her fathers house and laid in the bed there.

When the King awoke the next morning he was very much surprised to find himself in the peasants cottage. He raised himself upon his elbow to look about him, and at once the girl came to the bedside, and she was again dressed in the coarse and common clothes she had worn before she was married.

What means this? asked the King, and how came I here?

My dear husband, said the girl, your promise was that if you ever sent me back to my fathers house I might carry with me the thing that had become most precious to me in the castle. You are that most precious thing, and I care for nothing else except as it makes me pleasing in your sight.

Then the King could no longer feel jealous or angry with her. He clasped her in his arms, and they kissed each other tenderly. That same day they returned to the palace, and from that time on the King and his peasant Queen lived together in the greatest love and happiness.

 

ISBN: 978-1-909302-41-9

URL: http://abelapublishing.com/tales-of-folk-and-fairies–14-childrens-tales_p26544525.htm

Tales of Folk and Fairies -Cover-w-Persp

Some years rolled by and still Bar Shalmon thought of his native land. One day the princess found him weeping quietly.

 

“Why art thou sad, husband mine?” she asked. “Dost thou no longer love me, and am I not beautiful now?”

 

“No, it is not that,” he said, but for a long time he refused to say more. At last he confessed that he had an intense longing to see his home again.

 

“But thou art bound to me by an oath,” said the princess.

 

“I know,” replied Bar Shalmon, “and I shall not break it. Permit me to visit my home for a brief while, and I will return and prove myself more devoted to thee than ever.”

 

On these conditions, the princess agreed that he should take leave for a whole year. A big, black demon flew swiftly with him to his native city.

 

No sooner had Bar Shalmon placed his feet on the ground than he determined not to return to the land of Ergetz.

 

“Tell thy royal mistress,” he said to the demon, “that I shall never return to her.”

 

He tore his clothes to make himself look poor, but his wife was overjoyed to see him. She had mourned him as dead. He did not tell of his adventures, but merely said he had been ship-wrecked and had worked his way back as a poor sailor. He was delighted to be among human beings again, to hear his own language and to see solid buildings that did not appear and disappear just when they pleased, and as the days passed he began to think his adventures in fairyland were but a dream.

 

Meanwhile, the princess waited patiently until the year was ended.

 

Then she sent the big, black demon to bring Bar Shalmon back.

 

Bar Shalmon met the messenger one night when walking alone in his garden.

 

“I have come to take thee back,” said the demon.

 

Bar Shalmon was startled. He had forgotten that the year was up. He felt that he was lost, but as the demon did not seize him by force, he saw that there was a possibility of escape.

 

“Return and tell thy mistress I refuse,” he said.

 

“I will take thee by force,” said the demon. “Thou canst not,” Bar Shalmon said, “for I am the son-in-law of the king.”

 

The demon was helpless and returned to Ergetz alone.

 

King Ashmedai was very angry, but the princess counselled patience.

 

“I will devise means to bring my husband back,” she said. “I will send other messengers.”

 

Thus it was that Bar Shalmon found a troupe of beautiful fairies in the garden the next evening.

 

They tried their utmost to induce him to return with them, but he would not listen. Every day different messengers came–big, ugly demons who threatened, pretty fairies who tried to coax him, and troublesome sprites and goblins who only annoyed him. Bar Shalmon could not move without encountering messengers from the princess in all manner of queer places. Nobody else could see them, and often he was heard talking to invisible people. His friends began to regard him as strange in his behavior.

 

King Ashmedai grew angrier every day, and he threatened to go for Bar Shalmon himself.

 

“Nay, I will go,” said the princess; “it will be impossible for my husband to resist me.”

 

She selected a large number of attendants, and the swift flight of the princess and her retinue through the air caused a violent storm to rage over the lands they crossed. Like a thick black cloud they swooped down on the land where Bar Shalmon dwelt, and their weird cries seemed like the wild shrieking of a mighty hurricane. Down they swept in a tremendous storm such as the city had never known. Then, as quickly as it came, the storm ceased, and the people who had fled into their houses, ventured forth again.

 

The little son of Bar Shalmon went out into the garden, but quickly rushed back into the house.

 

“Father, come forth and see,” he cried. “The garden is full of strange creatures brought by the storm. All manner of creeping, crawling things have invaded the garden–lizards, toads, and myriads of insects. The trees, the shrubs, the paths are covered, and some shine in the twilight like tiny lanterns.”

 

Bar Shalmon went out into the garden, but he did not see toads and lizards. What he beheld was a vast array of demons and goblins and sprites, and in a rose-bush the princess, his wife, shining like a star, surrounded by her attendant fairies. She stretched forth her arms to him.

 

“Husband mine,” she pleaded, “I have come to implore thee to return to the land of Ergetz with me. Sadly have I missed thee; long have I waited for thy coming, and difficult has it been to appease my father’s anger. Come, husband mine, return with me; a great welcome awaits thee.”

 

“I will not return,” said Bar Shalmon.

 

“Kill him, kill him,” shrieked the demons, and they surrounded him, gesticulating fiercely. “Nay, harm him not,” commanded the princess.

 

“Think well, Bar Shalmon, ere you answer again. The sun has set and night is upon us. Think well, until sunrise. Come to me, return, and all shall be well. Refuse, and thou shalt be dealt with as thou hast merited. Think well before the sunrise.”

 

“And what will happen at sunrise, if I refuse?” asked Bar Shalmon.

 

“Thou shalt see,” returned the princess. “Bethink thee well, and remember, I await thee here until the sunrise.”

 

“I have answered; I defy thee,” said Bar Shalmon, and he went indoors.

 

Night passed with strange, mournful music in the garden, and the sun rose in its glory and spread its golden beams over the city. And with the coming of the light, more strange sounds woke the people of the city. A wondrous sight met their gaze in the market place. It was filled with hundreds upon hundreds of the queerest creatures they had ever seen, goblins and brownies, demons and fairies. Dainty little elves ran about the square to the delight of the children, and quaint sprites clambered up the lampposts and squatted on the gables of the council house. On the steps of that building was a glittering array of fairies and attendant genii, and in their midst stood the princess, a dazzling vision, radiant as the dawn.

 

The mayor of the city knew not what to do. He put on his chain of office and made a long speech of welcome to the princess.

 

“Thank you for your cordial welcome,” said the princess, in reply, “and you the mayor,. and ye the good people of this city of mortals, hearken unto me. I am the princess of the Fairyland of Ergetz where my father, Ashmedai, rules as king. There is one among ye who is my husband.”

 

“Who is he?” the crowd asked in astonishment.

 

“Bar Shalmon is his name,” replied the princess, “and to him am I bound by vows that may not be broken.”

 

“’Tis false,” cried Bar Shalmon from the crowd.

 

“’Tis true. Behold our son,” answered the princess, and there stepped forward a dainty elfin boy whose face was the image of Bar Shalmon.

 

“I ask of you mortals of the city,” the princess continued, “but one thing, justice–that same justice which we in the land of Ergetz did give unto Bar Shalmon when, after breaking his oath unto his father, he set sail for a foreign land and was delivered into our hands. We spared his life; we granted his petition for a new trial. I but ask that ye should grant me the same petition. Hear me in your Court of Justice.”

 

“Thy request is but reasonable, princess,” said the mayor. “It shall not be said that strangers here are refused justice. Bar Shalmon, follow me.”

 

He led the way into the Chamber of Justice, and the magistrates of the city heard all that the princess and her witnesses, among whom was the rabbi, and also all that Bar Shalmon, had to say.

 

“’Tis plain,” said the mayor, delivering judgment, “that her royal highness, the princess of the Fairyland of Ergetz, has spoken that which is true. But Bar Shalmon has in this city wife and child to whom he is bound by ties that may not be broken. Bar Shalmon must divorce the princess and return unto her the dowry received by him on their marriage.”

 

“If such be your law, I am content,” said the princess.

 

“What sayest thou, Bar Shalmon?” asked the mayor.

 

“Oh! I’m content,” he answered gruffly. “I agree to anything that will rid me of the demon princess.”

 

The princess flushed crimson with shame and rage at these cruel words.

 

“These words I have not deserved,” she exclaimed, proudly. “I have loved thee, and have been faithful unto thee, Bar Shalmon. I accept the decree of your laws and shall return to the land of Ergetz a widow. I ask not for your pity. I ask but for that which is my right, one last kiss.”

 

“Very well,” said Bar Shalmon, still more gruffly, “anything to have done with thee.”

 

The princess stepped proudly forward to him and kissed him on the lips.

 

Bar Shalmon turned deadly pale and would have fallen had not his friends caught him.

 

“Take thy punishment for all thy sins,” cried the princess, haughtily, “for thy broken vows and thy false promises–thy perjury to thy God, to thy father, to my father and to me.”

 

As she spoke Bar Shalmon fell dead at her feet. At a sign from the princess, her retinue of fairies and demons flew out of the building and up into the air with their royal mistress in their midst and vanished.

 

 

————————-

From: JEWISH FAIRY TALES AND LEGENDS

ISBN: 978-1-907256-14-1

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

 

A percentage of the profits will be donated to the CHRISTCHURCH EARTHQUAKE APPEAL.

 

Jewish Fairy Tales and Legends

 

 

Bar Shalmon found himself on the outskirts of the city, and cautiously he crept forward. To his intense relief, he saw that the first building was a synagogue. The door, however, was locked. Weary, sore, and weak with long fasting, Bar Shalmon sank down on the steps and sobbed like a child.

 

Something touched him on the arm. He looked up. By the light of the moon he saw a boy standing before him. Such a queer boy he was, too. He had cloven feet, and his coat, if it was a coat, seemed to be made in the shape of wings.

 

“Ivri Onochi,” said Bar Shalmon, “I am a Hebrew.”

 

“So am I,” said the boy. “Follow me.”

 

He walked in front with a strange hobble, and when they reached a house at the back of the synagogue, he leaped from the ground, spreading his coat wings as he did so, to a window about twenty feet from the ground. The next moment a door opened, and Bar Shalmon, to his surprise, saw that the boy had jumped straight through the window down to the door which he had unfastened from the inside. The boy motioned him to enter a room. He did so. An aged man, who he saw was a rabbi, rose to greet him.

 

“Peace be with you,” said the rabbi, and pointed to a seat. He clapped his hand and immediately a table with food appeared before Bar Shalmon. The latter was far too hungry to ask any questions just then, and the rabbi was silent, too, while he ate. When he had finished, the rabbi clapped his hands and the table vanished.

 

“Now tell me your story,” said the rabbi. Bar Shalmon did so.

 

“Alas! I am an unhappy man,” he concluded. “I have been punished for breaking my vow. Help me to return to my home. I will reward thee well, and will atone for my sin.”

 

“Thy story is indeed sad,” said the rabbi, gravely, “but thou knowest not the full extent of thy unfortunate plight. Art thou aware what land it is into which thou hast been cast?”

 

“No,” said Bar Shalmon, becoming afraid again.

 

“Know then,” said the rabbi, “thou art not in a land of human beings. Thou hast fallen into Ergetz, the land of demons, of djinns, and of fairies.”

 

“But art thou not a Jew?” asked Bar Shalmon, in astonishment.

 

“Truly,” replied the rabbi. “Even in this realm we have all manner of religions just as you mortals have.”

 

“What will happen to me?” asked Bar Shalmon, in a whisper.

 

“I know not,” replied the rabbi. “Few mortals come here, and mostly, I fear they are put to death. The demons love them not.”

 

“Woe, woe is me,” cried Bar Shalmon, “I am undone.”

 

“Weep not,” said the rabbi. “I, as a Jew, love not death by violence and torture, and will endeavor to save thee.”

 

“I thank thee,” cried Bar Shalmon.

 

“Let thy thanks wait,” said the rabbi, kindly. “There is human blood in my veins. My great-grandfather was a mortal who fell into this land and was not put to death. Being of mortal descent, I have been made rabbi. Perhaps thou wilt find favour here and be permitted to live and settle in this land.”

 

“But I desire to return home,” said Bar Shalmon.

 

The rabbi shook his head.

 

“Thou must sleep now,” he said.

 

He passed his hands over Bar Shalmon’s eyes and he fell into a profound slumber. When he awoke it was daylight, and the boy stood by his couch. He made a sign to Bar Shalmon to follow, and through an underground passage he conducted him into the synagogue and placed him near the rabbi.

 

“Thy presence has become known,” whispered the rabbi, and even as he spoke a great noise was heard. It was like the wild chattering of many high-pitched voices. Through all the windows and the doors a strange crowd poured into the synagogue. There were demons of all shapes and sizes. Some had big bodies with tiny heads, others huge heads and quaint little bodies. Some had great staring eyes, others had long wide mouths, and many had only one leg each. They surrounded Bar Shalmon with threatening gestures and noises. The rabbi ascended the pulpit.

 

The Fairy Princess of Ergetz from Jewish Fairy Tales and Legends

A strange crowd of demons of all shapes and sizes poured into the synagogue with threatening gestures.

 

“Silence!” he commanded, and immediately the noise ceased. “Ye who thirst for mortal blood, desecrate not this holy building wherein I am master. What ye have to say must wait until after the morning service.”

 

Silently and patiently they waited, sitting in all manner of queer places. Some of them perched on the backs of the seats, a few clung like great big flies to the pillars, others sat on the window-sills, and several of the tiniest hung from the rafters in the ceiling. As soon as the service was over, the clamor broke out anew.

 

“Give to us the perjurer,” screamed the demons. “He is not fit to live.”

 

With some difficulty, the rabbi stilled the tumult, and said:

 

“Listen unto me, ye demons and sprites of the land of Ergetz. This man has fallen into my hands, and I am responsible for him. Our king, Ashmedai, must know of his arrival. We must not condemn a man unheard. Let us petition the king to grant him a fair trial.”

 

After some demur, the demons agreed to this proposal, and they trooped out of the synagogue in the same peculiar manner in which they came.

 

Each was compelled to leave by the same door or window at which he entered.

 

Bar Shalmon was carried off to the palace of King Ashmedai, preceded and followed by a noisy crowd of demons and fairies. There seemed to be millions of them, all clattering and pointing at him. They hobbled and hopped over the ground, jumped into the air, sprang from housetop to housetop, made sudden appearances from holes in the ground and vanished through solid walls.

 

The palace was a vast building of white marble that seemed as delicate as lace work. It stood in a magnificent square where many beautiful fountains spouted jets of crystal water. King Ashmedai came forth on the balcony, and at his appearance all the demons and fairies became silent and went down on their knees.

 

“What will ye with me?” he cried, in a voice of thunder, and the rabbi approached and bowed before his majesty.

 

“A mortal, a Jew, has fallen into my hands,” he said, “and thy subjects crave for his blood. He is a perjurer, they say. Gracious majesty, I would petition for a trial.”

 

“What manner of mortal is he?” asked Ashmedai.

 

Bar Shalmon stepped forward.

 

“Jump up here so I may see thee,” commanded the king.

 

“Jump, jump,” cried the crowd.

 

“I cannot,” said Bar Shalmon, as he looked up at the balcony thirty feet above the ground. “Try,” said the rabbi.

 

Bar Shalmon did try, and found, the moment he lifted his feet from the ground, that he was standing on the balcony.

 

“Neatly done,” said the king. “I see thou art quick at learning.”

 

“So my teachers always said,” replied Bar Shalmon.

 

“A proper answer,” said the king. “Thou art, then, a scholar.”

 

“In my own land,” returned Bar Shalmon, “men said I was great among the learned.”

 

“So,” said the king. “And canst thou impart the wisdom of man and of the human world to others?”

 

“I can,” said Bar Shalmon.

 

“We shall see,” said the king. “I have a son with a desire for such knowledge. If thou canst make him acquainted with thy store of learning, thy life shall be spared. The petition for a trial is granted.”

 

The king waved his scepter and two slaves seized Bar Shalmon by the arms. He felt himself lifted from the balcony and carried swiftly through the air. Across the vast square the slaves flew with him, and when over the largest of the fountains they loosened their hold. Bar Shalmon thought he would fall into the fountain, but to his amazement he found himself standing on the roof of a building. By his side was the rabbi.

 

“Where are we?” asked Bar Shalmon. “I feel bewildered.”

 

“We are at the Court of Justice, one hundred miles from the palace,” replied the rabbi.

 

A door appeared before them. They stepped through, and found themselves in a beautiful hall. Three judges in red robes and purple wigs were seated on a platform, and an immense crowd filled the galleries in the same queer way as in the synagogue. Bar Shalmon was placed on a small platform in front of the judges. A tiny sprite, only about six inches high, stood on another small platform at his right hand and commenced to read from a scroll that seemed to have no ending. He read the whole account of Bar Shalmon’s life. Not one little event was missing.

 

“The charge against Bar Shalmon, the mortal,” the sprite concluded, “is that he has violated the solemn oath sworn at his father’s death-bed.”

 

Then the rabbi pleaded for him and declared that the oath was not binding because Bar Shalmon’s father had not informed him of his treasures abroad and could not therefore have been in his right senses. Further, he added, Bar Shalmon was a scholar and the king desired him to teach his wisdom to the crown prince.

 

The chief justice rose to pronounce sentence.

 

“Bar Shalmon,” he said, “rightly thou shouldst die for thy broken oath. It is a grievous sin. But there is the doubt that thy father may not have been in his right mind. Therefore, thy life shall be spared.”

 

Bar Shalmon expressed his thanks.

 

“When may I return to my home?” he asked. “Never,” replied the chief justice.

 

Bar Shalmon left the court, feeling very downhearted. He was safe now. The demons dared not molest him, but he longed to return to his home.

 

“How am I to get back to the palace?” he asked the rabbi. “Perhaps after I have imparted my learning to the crown prince, the king will allow me to return to my native land.”

 

“That I cannot say. Come, fly with me,” said the rabbi.

 

“Fly!”

 

“Yes; see thou hast wings.”

 

Bar Shalmon noticed that he was now wearing a garment just like all the demons. When he spread his arms, he found he could fly, and he sailed swiftly through the air to the palace. With these wings, he thought, he would be able to fly home.

 

“Think not that,” said the rabbi, who seemed to be able to read his thoughts, “for thy wings are useless beyond this land.”

 

Bar Shalmon found that it would be best for him to carry out his instructions for the present, and he set himself diligently to teach the crown prince. The prince was an apt pupil, and the two became great friends. King Ashmedai was delighted and made Bar Shalmon one of his favourites.

 

One day the king said to him: “I am about to leave the city for a while to undertake a campaign against a rebellious tribe of demons thousands of miles away. I must take the crown prince with me. I leave thee in charge of the palace.”

 

The king gave him a huge bunch of keys.

 

“These,” he said, “will admit into all but one of the thousand rooms in the palace. For that one there is no key, and thou must not enter it. Beware.”

 

For several days Bar Shalmon amused himself by examining the hundreds of rooms in the vast palace until one day he came to the door for which he had no key. He forgot the king’s warning and his promise to obey.

 

“Open this door for me,” he said to his attendants, but they replied that they could not.

 

“You must,” he said angrily, “burst it open.”

 

“We do not know how to burst open a door,” they said. “We are not mortal. If we were permitted to enter the room we should just walk through the walls.”

 

Bar Shalmon could not do this, so he put his shoulder to the door and it yielded quite easily.

 

A strange sight met his gaze. A beautiful woman, the most beautiful he had ever seen, was seated on a throne of gold, surrounded by fairy attendants who vanished the moment he entered.

 

“Who art thou?” asked Bar Shalmon, in great astonishment.

 

“The daughter of the king,” replied the princess, “and thy future wife.”

 

“Indeed! How know you that?” he asked.

 

“Thou hast broken thy promise to my father, the king, not to enter this room,” she replied. “Therefore, thou must die, unless–”

 

“Tell me quickly,” interrupted Bar Shalmon, turning pale, “how my life can be saved.”

 

“Thou must ask my father for my hand,” replied the princess. “Only by becoming my husband canst thou be saved.”

 

“But I have a wife and child in my native land,” said Bar Shalmon, sorely troubled.

 

“Thou hast now forfeited thy hopes of return,” said the princess, slowly. “Once more hast thou broken a promise. It seems to come easy to thee now.”

 

Bar Shalmon had no wish to die, and he waited, in fear and trembling for the king’s re-turn. Immediately he heard of King Ashmedai’s approach, he hastened to meet him and flung himself on the ground at his majesty’s feet.

 

“O King,” he cried, “I have seen thy daughter, the princess, and I desire to make her my wife.”

 

“I cannot refuse,” returned the king. “Such is our law–that he who first sees the princess must become her husband, or die. But, have a care, Bar Shalmon. Thou must swear to love and be faithful ever.”

 

“I swear,” said Bar Shalmon.

 

The wedding took place with much ceremony. The princess was attended by a thousand fairy bridesmaids, and the whole city was brilliantly decorated and illuminated until Bar Shalmon was almost blinded by the dazzling spectacle.

 

The rabbi performed the marriage ceremony, and Bar Shalmon had to swear an oath by word of mouth and in writing that he loved the princess and would never desert her. He was given a beautiful palace full of jewels as a dowry, and the wedding festivities lasted six months. All the fairies and demons invited them in turn; they had to attend banquets and parties and dances in grottoes and caves and in the depths of the fairy fountains in the square. Never before in Ergetz had there been such elaborate rejoicings.

 

————————-

From: JEWISH FAIRY TALES AND LEGENDS

ISBN: 978-1-907256-14-1

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

 

A percentage of the profits will be donated to the CHRISTCHURCH EARTHQUAKE APPEAL.

 

Jewish Fairy Tales and Legends

In a great and beautiful city that stood by the sea, an old man lay dying. Mar Shalmon was his name, and he was the richest man in the land. Propped up with pillows on a richly decorated bed in a luxurious chamber, he gazed, with tears in his eyes, through the open window at the setting sun. Like a ball of fire it sank lower and lower until it almost seemed to rest on the tranquil waters beyond the harbour. Suddenly, Mar Shalmon roused himself.

 

“Where is my son, Bar Shalmon?” he asked in a feeble voice, and his hand crept tremblingly along the silken coverlet of the bed as if in search of something.

 

“I am here, my father,” replied his son who was standing by the side of his bed. His eyes were moist with tears, but his voice was steady.

 

“My son,” said the old man, slowly, and with some difficulty, “I am about to leave this world.

 

My soul will take flight from this frail body when the sun has sunk behind the horizon. I have lived long and have amassed great wealth which will soon be thine. Use it well, as I have taught thee, for thou, my son, art a man of learning, as befits our noble Jewish faith. One thing I must ask thee to promise me.”

 

“I will, my father,” returned Bar Shalmon, sobbing.

 

“Nay, weep not, my son,” said the old man. “My day is ended; my life has not been ill-spent. I would spare thee the pain that was mine in my early days, when, as a merchant, I garnered my fortune. The sea out there that will soon swallow up the sun is calm now. But beware of it, my son, for it is treacherous. Promise me–nay, swear unto me–that never wilt thou cross it to foreign lands.”

 

Bar Shalmon placed his hands on those of his father.

 

“Solemnly I swear,” he said, in a broken voice, “to do thy wish–never to journey on the sea, but to remain here in this, my native land. ’Tis a vow before thee, my father.”

 

“’Tis an oath before heaven,” said the old man. “Guard it, keep it, and heaven will bless thee. Remember! See, the sun is sinking.”

 

Mar Shalmon fell back upon his pillows and spoke no more. Bar Shalmon stood gazing out of the window until the sun had disappeared, and then, silently sobbing, he left the chamber of death.

 

The whole city wept when the sad news was made known, for Mar Shalmon was a man of great charity, and almost all the inhabitants followed the remains to the grave. Then Bar Shalmon, his son, took his father’s place of honour in the city, and in him, too, the poor and needy found a friend whose purse was ever open and whose counsel was ever wisdom.

 

Thus years passed away.

 

One day there arrived in the harbour of the city a strange ship from a distant land. Its captain spoke a tongue unknown, and Bar Shalmon, being a man of profound knowledge, was sent for. He alone in the city could under-stand the language of the captain. To his astonishment, he learned that the cargo of the vessel was for Mar Shalmon, his father.

 

“I am the son of Mar Shalmon,” he said. “My father is dead, and all his possessions he left to me.”

 

“Then, verily, art thou the most fortunate mortal, and the richest, on earth,” answered the captain. “My good ship is filled with a vast store of jewels, precious stones and other treasures. And know you, O most favoured son of Mar Shalmon, this cargo is but a small portion of the wealth that is thine in a land across the sea.”

 

“’Tis strange,” said Bar Shalmon, in surprise; “my father said nought of this to me. I knew that in his younger days he had traded with distant lands, but nothing did he ever say of possessions there. And, moreover, he warned me never to leave this shore.”

 

The captain looked perplexed.

 

“I understand it not,” he said. “I am but performing my father’s bidding. He was thy father’s servant, and long years did he wait for Mar Shalmon’s return to claim his riches. On his death-bed he bade me vow that I would seek his master, or his son, and this have I done.”

 

He produced documents, and there could be no doubt that the vast wealth mentioned in them belonged now to Bar Shalmon.

 

“Thou art now my master,” said the captain, “and must return with me to the land across the sea to claim thine inheritance. In another year it will be too late, for by the laws of the country it will be forfeit.”

 

“I cannot return with thee,” said Bar Shalmon. “I have a vow before heaven never to voyage on the sea.”

 

The captain laughed.

 

“In very truth, I understand thee not, as my father understood not thine,” he replied. “My father was wont to say that Mar Shalmon was strange and peradventure not possessed of all his senses to neglect his store of wealth and treasure.”

 

With an angry gesture Bar Shalmon stopped the captain, but he was sorely troubled. He re-called now that his father had often spoken mysteriously of foreign lands, and he wondered, indeed, whether Mar Shalmon could have been in his proper senses not to have breathed a word of his riches abroad. For days he discussed the matter with the captain, who at last persuaded him to make the journey.

 

“Fear not thy vow,” said the captain. “Thy worthy father must, of a truth, have been bereft of reason in failing to tell thee of his full estate, and an oath to a man of mind unsound is not binding. That is the law in our land.”

 

“So it is here,” returned Bar Shalmon, and with this remark his last scruple vanished.

 

He bade a tender farewell to his wife, his child, and his friends, and set sail on the strange ship to the land beyond the sea.

 

For three days all went well, but on the fourth the ship was becalmed and the sails flapped lazily against the masts. The sailors had nothing to do but lie on deck and wait for a breeze, and Bar Shalmon took advantage of the occasion to treat them to a feast.

 

Suddenly, in the midst of the feasting, they felt the ship begin to move. There was no wind, but the vessel sped along very swiftly. The captain himself rushed to the helm. To his alarm he found the vessel beyond control.

 

“The ship is bewitched,” he exclaimed. “There is no wind, and no current, and yet we are being borne along as if driven before a storm. We shall be lost.”

 

Panic seized the sailors, and Bar Shalmon was unable to pacify them.

 

“Someone on board has brought us ill-luck,” said the boatswain, looking pointedly at Bar Shalmon; “we shall have to heave him over-board.”

 

His comrades assented and rushed toward Bar Shalmon.

 

Just at that moment, however, the look-out in the bow cried excitedly, “Land ahead!”

 

The ship still refused to answer the helm and grounded on a sandbank. She shivered from stem to stern but did not break up. No rocks were visible, only a desolate tract of desert land was to be seen, with here and there a solitary tree.

 

“We seem to have sustained no damage,” said the captain, when he had recovered from his first astonishment, “but how we are going to get afloat again I do not know. This land is quite strange to me.”

He could not find it marked on any of his charts or maps, and the sailors stood looking gloomily at the mysterious shore.

 

“Had we not better explore the land?” said Bar Shalmon.

 

“No, no,” exclaimed the boatswain, excitedly. “See, no breakers strike on the shore. This is not a

human land. This is a domain of demons. We are lost unless we cast overboard the one who has brought on us this ill-luck.”

 

Said Bar Shalmon, “I will land, and I will give fifty silver crowns to all who land with me.”

 

Not one of the sailors moved, however, even when he offered fifty golden crowns, and at last Bar Shalmon said he would land alone, although the captain strongly urged him not to do so.

 

Bar Shalmon sprang lightly to the shore, and as he did so the ship shook violently.

 

“What did I tell you?” shouted the boat-swain. “Bar Shalmon is the one who has brought us this misfortune. Now we shall re-float the ship.”

 

But it still remained firmly fixed on the sand. Bar Shalmon walked towards a tree and climbed it. In a few moments he returned, holding a twig in his hand.

 

“The land stretches away for miles just as you see it here,” he called to the captain. “There is no sign of man or habitation.”

 

He prepared to board the vessel again, but the sailors would not allow him. The boatswain stood in the bow and threatened him with a sword. Bar Shalmon raised the twig to ward off the blow and struck the ship which shivered from stem to stern again.

 

“Is not this proof that the vessel is bewitched?” cried the sailors, and when the captain sternly bade them remember that Bar Shalmon was their master, they threatened him too.

 

Bar Shalmon, amused at the fears of the men, again struck the vessel with the twig. Once more it trembled. A third time he raised the twig.

 

“If the ship is bewitched,” he said, “something will happen after the third blow.”

 

“Swish” sounded the branch through the air, and the third blow fell on the vessel’s bow. Something did happen. The ship almost leaped from the sand, and before Bar Shalmon could realize what had happened it was speeding swiftly away.

 

“Come back, come back,” he screamed, and he could see the captain struggling with the helm. But the vessel refused to answer, and Bar Shalmon saw it grow smaller and smaller and finally disappear. He was alone on an uninhabited desert land.

 

“What a wretched plight for the richest man in the world,” he said to himself, and the next moment he realized that he was in danger indeed.

 

A terrible roar made him look around. To his horror he saw a lion making toward him. As quick as a flash Bar Shalmon ran to the tree and hastily scrambled into the branches. The lion dashed itself furiously against the trunk of the tree, but, for the present, Bar Shalmon was safe. Night, however, was coming on, and the lion squatted at the foot of the tree, evidently intending to wait for him. All night the lion remained, roaring at intervals, and Bar Shalmon clung to one of the upper branches afraid to sleep lest he should fall off and be devoured. When morning broke, a new danger threatened him. A huge eagle flew round the tree and darted at him with its cruel beak. Then the great bird settled on the thickest branch, and Bar Shalmon moved stealthily forward with a knife which he drew from his belt. He crept behind the bird, but as he approached it spread its big wings, and Bar Shalmon, to prevent himself being swept from the tree, dropped the knife and clutched at the bird’s feathers. Immediately, to his dismay, the bird rose from the tree. Bar Shalmon clung to its back with all his might.

 

Higher and higher soared the eagle until the trees below looked like mere dots on the land. Swiftly flew the eagle over miles and miles of desert until Bar Shalmon began to feel giddy. He was faint with hunger and feared that he would not be able to retain his hold. All day the bird flew without resting, across island and sea. No houses, no ships, no human beings could be seen. Toward night, however, Bar Shalmon, to his great joy, beheld the lights of a city surrounded by trees, and as the eagle came near, he made a bold dive to the earth. Headlong he plunged downward. He seemed to be hours in falling. At last he struck a tree. The branches broke beneath the weight and force of his falling body, and he continued to plunge downward. The branches tore his clothes to shreds and bruised his body, but they broke his terrible fall, and when at last he reached the ground he was not much hurt.

 

————————-

From: JEWISH FAIRY TALES AND LEGENDS

ISBN: 978-1-907256-14-1

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

 

A percentage of the profits will be donated to the CHRISTCHURCH EARTHQUAKE APPEAL.

 

Jewish Fairy Tales and Legends

This is the fifth and final chapter of Gulliver’s first journey to Lilliput. I hope you have enjoyed this introduction to Gulliver’s Travels.

 

Three days after my arrival, walking out of curiosity to the northeast coast of the island, I observed at some distance in the sea something that looked like a boat overturned. I pulled off my shoes and stockings, and wading two or three hundred yards, I plainly saw it to be a real boat, which I supposed might by some tempest have been driven from a ship. I returned immediately to the city for help, and after a huge amount of labor I managed to get my boat to the royal port of Blefuscu, where a great crowd of people appeared, full of wonder at sight of so prodigious a vessel. I told the Emperor that my good fortune had thrown this boat in my way to carry me to some place whence I might return to my native country, and begged his orders for materials to fit it up, and leave to depart—which, after many kindly speeches, he was pleased to grant.

 

Meanwhile the Emperor of Lilliput, uneasy at my long absence (but never imagining that I had the least notice of his designs), sent a person of rank to inform the Emperor of Blefuscu of my disgrace; this messenger had orders to represent the great mercy of his master, who was content to punish me with the loss of my eyes, and who expected that his brother of Blefuscu would have me sent back to Lilliput, bound hand and foot, to be punished as a traitor. The Emperor of Blefuscu answered with many civil excuses. He said that as for sending me bound, his brother knew it was impossible. Moreover, though I had taken away his fleet he was grateful to me for many good offices I had done him in making the peace. But that both their Majesties would soon be made easy; for I had found a prodigious vessel on the shore, able to carry me on the sea, which he had given orders to fit up; and he hoped in a few weeks both empires would be free from me.

 

With this answer the messenger returned to Lilliput; and I (though the monarch of Blefuscu secretly offered me his gracious protection if I would continue in his service) hastened my departure, resolving never more to put confidence in princes.

 

In about a month I was ready to take leave. The Emperor of Blefuscu, with the Empress and the royal family, came out of the palace; and I lay down on my face to kiss their hands, which they graciously gave me. His Majesty presented me with fifty purses of sprugs (their greatest gold coin) and his picture at full length, which I put immediately into one of my gloves, to keep it from being hurt. Many other ceremonies took place at my departure.

 

I stored the boat with meat and drink, and took six cows and two bulls alive, with as many ewes and rams, intending to carry them into my own country; and to feed them on board, I had a good bundle of hay and a bag of corn. I would gladly have taken a dozen of the natives; but this was a thing the Emperor would by no means permit, and besides a diligent search into my pockets, his Majesty pledged my honour not to carry away any of his subjects, though with their own consent and desire.

 

Having thus prepared all things as well as I was able, I set sail. When I had made twenty-four leagues, by my reckoning, from the island of Blefuscu, I saw a sail steering to the northeast. I hailed her, but could get no answer; yet I found I gained upon her, for the wind slackened; and in half an hour she spied me, and discharged a gun. I came up with her between five and six in the evening, Sept. 26, 1701; but my heart leaped within me to see her English colors. I put my cows and sheep into my coat pockets, and got on board with all my little cargo. The captain received me with kindness, and asked me to tell him what place I came from last; but at my answer he thought I was raving. However, I took my black cattle and sheep out of my pocket, which, after great astonishment, clearly convinced him.

 

We arrived in England on the 13th of April, 1702. I stayed two months with my wife and family; but my eager desire to see foreign countries would suffer me to remain no longer. However, while in England I made great profit by showing my cattle to persons of quality and others; and before I began my second voyage I sold them for 600£. I left 1500£. with my wife, and fixed her in a good house; then taking leave of her and my boy and girl, with tears on both sides, I sailed on board the “Adventure.”

 

———————-

From The Blue Fairy Book

ISBN: 9781907256905

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

 

The Blue Fairy Book

 

It was not long before I communicated to his Majesty the plan I formed for seizing the enemy’s whole fleet. The Empire of Blefuscu is an island parted from Lilliput only by a channel eight hundred yards wide. I consulted the most experienced seamen on the depth of the channel, and they told me that in the middle, at high water, it was seventy glumguffs (about six feet of European measure). I walked toward the coast, where, lying down behind a hillock, I took out my spy-glass, and viewed the enemy’s fleet at anchor—about fifty men-of-war, and other vessels. I then came back to my house and gave orders for a great quantity of the strongest cables and bars of iron. The cable was about as thick as packthread, and the bars of the length and size of a knitting-needle. I trebled the cable to make it stronger, and for the same reason twisted three of the iron bars together, bending the ends into a hook. Having thus fixed fifty hooks to as many cables, I went back to the coast, and taking off my coat, shoes, and stockings, walked into the sea in my leather jacket about half an hour before high water. I waded with what haste I could, swimming in the middle about thirty yards, till I felt ground, and thus arrived at the fleet in less than half an hour. The enemy was so frightened when they saw me that they leaped out of their ships and swam ashore, where there could not be fewer than thirty thousand. Then, fastening a hook to the hole at the prow of each ship, I tied all the cords together at the end. Meanwhile the enemy discharged several thousand arrows, many of which stuck in my hands and face. My greatest fear was for my eyes, which I should have lost if I had not suddenly thought of the pair of spectacles which had escaped the Emperor’s searchers. These I took out and fastened upon my nose, and thus armed went on with my work in spite of the arrows, many of which struck against the glasses of my spectacles, but without any other effect than slightly disturbing them. Then, taking the knot in my hand, I began to pull; but not a ship would stir, for they were too fast held by their anchors. Thus the boldest part of my enterprise remained. Letting go the cord, I resolutely cut with my knife the cables that fastened the anchors, receiving more than two hundred shots in my face and hands. Then I took up again the knotted end of the cables to which my hooks were tied, and with great ease drew fifty of the enemy’s largest men-of-war after me.

 

When the Blefuscudians saw the fleet moving in order, and me pulling at the end, they set up a scream of grief and despair that it is impossible to describe. When I had got out of danger I stopped awhile to pick out the arrows that stuck in my hands and face, and rubbed on some of the same ointment that was given me at my arrival. I then took off my spectacles, and after waiting about an hour, till the tide was a little fallen, I waded on to the royal port of Lilliput.

 

The Emperor and his whole Court stood on the shore awaiting me. They saw the ships move forward in a large half-moon, but could not discern me, who, in the middle of the channel, was under water up to my neck. The Emperor concluded that I was drowned, and that the enemy’s fleet was approaching in a hostile manner. But he was soon set at ease, for, the channel growing shallower every step I made, I came in a short time within hearing, and holding up the end of the cable by which the fleet was fastened, I cried in a loud voice: “Long live the most puissant Emperor of Lilliput!” The Prince received me at my landing with all possible joy, and made me a Nardal on the spot, which is the highest title of honour among them.

 

His Majesty desired that I would take some opportunity to bring all the rest of his enemy’s ships into his ports, and seemed to think of nothing less than conquering the whole Empire of Blefuscu, and becoming the sole monarch of the world. But I plainly protested that I would never be the means of bringing a free and brave people into slavery; and though the wisest of the Ministers were of my opinion, my open refusal was so opposed to his Majesty’s ambition that he could never forgive me. And from this time a plot began between himself and those of his Ministers who were my enemies, that nearly ended in my utter destruction.

 

About three weeks after this exploit there arrived an embassy from Blefuscu, with humble offers of peace, which was soon concluded, on terms very advantageous to our Emperor. There were six ambassadors, with a train of about five hundred persons, all very magnificent. Having been privately told that I had befriended them, they made me a visit, and paying me many compliments on my valor and generosity, invited me to their kingdom in the Emperor their master’s name. I asked them to present my most humble respects to the Emperor their master, whose royal person I resolved to attend before I returned to my own country. Accordingly, the next time I had the honor to see our Emperor I desired his general permission to visit the Blefuscudian monarch. This he granted me, but in a very cold manner, of which I afterward learned the reason.

 

When I was just preparing to pay my respects to the Emperor of Blefuscu, a distinguished person at Court, to whom I had once done a great service, came to my house very privately at night, and without sending his name desired admission. I put his lordship into my coat pocket, and, giving orders to a trusty servant to admit no one, I fastened the door, placed my visitor on the table, and sat down by it. His lordship’s face was full of trouble; and he asked me to hear him with patience, in a matter that highly concerned my honour and my life.

 

“You are aware,” he said, “that Skyresh Bolgolam has been your mortal enemy ever since your arrival, and his hatred is increased since your great success against Blefuscu, by which his glory as admiral is obscured. This lord and others have accused you of treason, and several councils have been called in the most private manner on your account. Out of gratitude for your favours I procured information of the whole proceedings, venturing my head for your service, and this was the charge against you:

 

“First, that you, having brought the imperial fleet of Blefuscu into the royal port, were commanded by his Majesty to seize all the other ships, and put to death all the Bigendian exiles, and also all the people of the empire who would not immediately consent to break their eggs at the smaller end. And that, like a false traitor to his Most Serene Majesty, you excused yourself from the service on pretence of unwillingness to force the consciences and destroy the liberties and lives of an innocent people.

 

“Again, when ambassadors arrived from the Court of Blefuscu, like a false traitor, you aided and entertained them, though you knew them to be servants of a prince lately in open war against his Imperial Majesty.

 

“Moreover, you are now preparing, contrary to the duty of a faithful subject, to voyage to the Court of Blefuscu.

 

“In the debate on this charge,” my friend continued, “his Majesty often urged the services you had done him, while the admiral and treasurer insisted that you should be put to a shameful death. But Reldresal, secretary for private affairs, who has always proved himself your friend suggested that if his Majesty would please to spare your life and only give orders to put out both your eyes, justice might in some measure be satisfied. At this Bolgolam rose up in fury, wondering how the secretary dared desire to preserve the life of a traitor; and the treasurer, pointing out the expense of keeping you, also urged your death. But his Majesty was graciously pleased to say that since the council thought the loss of your eyes too easy a punishment, some other might afterward be inflicted. And the secretary, humbly desiring to be heard again, said that as to expense your allowance might be gradually lessened, so that, for want of sufficient food you should grow weak and faint, and die in a few months, when his Majesty’s subjects might cut your flesh from your bones and bury it, leaving the skeleton for the admiration of posterity.

 

“Thus, through the great friendship of the secretary the affair was arranged. It was commanded that the plan of starving you by degrees should be kept a secret; but the sentence of putting out your eyes was entered on the books. In three days your friend the secretary will come to your house and read the accusation before you, and point out the great mercy of his Majesty, that only condemns you to the loss of your eyes—which, he does not doubt, you will submit to humbly and gratefully. Twenty of his Majesty’s surgeons will attend, to see the operation well performed, by discharging very sharp-pointed arrows into the balls of your eyes as you lie on the ground.

 

“I leave you,” said my friend, “to consider what measures you will take; and, to escape suspicion, I must immediately return, as secretly as I came.”

 

His lordship did so; and I remained alone, in great perplexity. At first I was bent on resistance; for while I had liberty I could easily with stones pelt the metropolis to pieces; but I soon rejected that idea with horror, remembering the oath I had made to the Emperor, and the favours I had received from him. At last, having his Majesty’s leave to pay my respects to the Emperor of Blefuscu, I resolved to take this opportunity. Before the three days had passed I wrote a letter to my friend the secretary telling him of my resolution; and, without waiting for an answer, went to the coast, and entering the channel, between wading and swimming reached the port of Blefuscu, where the people, who had long expected me, led me to the capital.

 

His Majesty, with the royal family and great officers of the Court, came out to receive me, and they entertained me in a manner suited to the generosity of so great a prince. I did not, however, mention my disgrace with the Emperor of Lilliput, since I did not suppose that prince would disclose the secret while I was out of his power. But in this, it soon appeared, I was deceived.

 

———————-

From The Blue Fairy Book

ISBN: 9781907256905

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

 

The Blue Fairy Book

 

 

My gentleness and good behaviour gained so far on the Emperor and his Court, and, indeed, on the people in general, that I began to have hopes of getting my liberty in a short time. The natives came by degrees to be less fearful of danger from me. I would sometimes lie down and let five or six of them dance on my hand; and at last the boys and girls ventured to come and play at hide-and-seek in my hair.

The horses of the army and of the royal stables were no longer shy, having been daily led before me; and one of the Emperor’s huntsmen, on a large courser, took my foot, shoe and all, which was indeed a prodigious leap. I amused the Emperor one day in a very extraordinary manner. I took nine sticks, and fixed them firmly in the ground in a square. Then I took four other sticks, and tied them parallel at each corner, about two feet from the ground. I fastened my handkerchief to the nine sticks that stood erect, and extended it on all sides till it was as tight as the top of a drum; and I desired the Emperor to let a troop of his best horse, twenty-four in number, come and exercise upon this plain. His majesty approved of the proposal, and I took them up one by one, with the proper officers to exercise them. As soon as they got into order they divided into two parties, discharged blunt arrows, drew their swords, fled and pursued, and, in short, showed the best military discipline I ever beheld. The parallel sticks secured them and their horses from falling off the stage, and the Emperor was so much delighted that he ordered this entertainment to be repeated several days, and persuaded the Empress herself to let me hold her in her chair within two yards of the stage, whence she could view the whole performance. Fortunately no accident happened, only once a fiery horse, pawing with his hoof, struck a hole in my handkerchief, and overthrew his rider and himself. But I immediately relieved them both, and covering the hole with one hand, I set down the troop with the other as I had taken them up. The horse that fell was strained in the shoulder; but the rider was not hurt, and I repaired my handkerchief as well as I could. However, I would not trust to the strength of it any more in such dangerous enterprises.

I had sent so many petitions for my liberty that his Majesty at length mentioned the matter in a full council, where it was opposed by none except Skyresh Bolgolam, admiral of the realm, who was pleased without any provocation to be my mortal enemy. However, he agreed at length, though he succeeded in himself drawing up the conditions on which I should be set free. After they were read I was requested to swear to perform them in the method prescribed by their laws, which was to hold my right foot in my left hand, and to place the middle finger of my right hand on the crown of my head, and my thumb on the top of my right ear. But I have made a translation of the conditions, which I here offer to the public:

“Golbaste Mamarem Evlame Gurdile Shefin Mully Ully Gue, Most Mighty Emperor of Lilliput, delight and terror of the universe, whose dominions extend to the ends of the globe, monarch of all monarchs, taller than the sons of men, whose feet press down to the center, and whose head strikes against the sun, at whose nod the princes of the earth shake their knees, pleasant as the spring, comfortable as the summer, fruitful as autumn, dreadful as winter: His Most Sublime Majesty proposeth to the Man-Mountain, lately arrived at our celestial dominions, the following articles, which by a solemn oath he shall be obliged to perform:

“First. The Man-Mountain shall not depart from our dominions without our license under the great seal.

“Second. He shall not presume to come into our metropolis without our express order, at which time the inhabitants shall have two hours’ warning to keep within doors.

“Third. The said Man-Mountain shall confine his walks to our principal high roads, and not offer to walk or lie down in a meadow or field of corn.

“Fourth. As he walks the said roads he shall take the utmost care not to trample upon the bodies of any of our loving subjects, their horses or carriages, nor take any of our subjects into his hands without their own consent.

“Fifth. If an express requires extraordinary speed the Man-Mountain shall be obliged to carry in his pocket the messenger and horse a six days’ journey, and return the said messenger (if so required) safe to our imperial presence.

“Sixth. He shall be our ally against our enemies in the island of Blefuscu, and do his utmost to destroy their fleet, which is now preparing to invade us.

“Lastly. Upon his solemn oath to observe all the above articles, the said Man-Mountain shall have a daily allowance of meat and drink sufficient for the support of 1,724 of our subjects, with free access to our royal person, and other marks of our favour. Given at our palace at Belfaburac, the twelfth day of the ninety-first moon of our reign.”

I swore to these articles with great cheerfulness, whereupon my chains were immediately unlocked, and I was at full liberty.

One morning, about a fortnight after I had obtained my freedom, Reldresal, the Emperor’s secretary for private affairs, came to my house, attended only by one servant. He ordered his coach to wait at a distance, and desired that I would give him an hour’s audience. I offered to lie down that he might the more conveniently reach my ear; but he chose rather to let me hold him in my hand during our conversation. He began with compliments on my liberty, but he added that, save for the present state of things at Court, perhaps I might not have obtained it so soon. “For,” he said, “however flourishing we may seem to foreigners, we are in danger of an invasion from the island of Blefuscu, which is the other great empire of the universe, almost as large and as powerful as this of his Majesty. For as to what we have heard you say, that there are other kingdoms in the world, inhabited by human creatures as large as yourself, our philosophers are very doubtful, and rather conjecture that you dropped from the moon, or one of the stars, because a hundred mortals of your size would soon destroy all the fruit and cattle of his Majesty’s dominions. Besides, our histories of six thousand moons make no mention of any other regions than the two mighty empires of Lilliput and Blefuscu, which, as I was going to tell you, are engaged in a most obstinate war, which began in the following manner: It is allowed on all hands that the primitive way of breaking eggs was upon the larger end; but his present Majesty’s grandfather, while he was a boy, going to eat an egg, and breaking it according to the ancient practice, happened to cut one of his fingers. Whereupon the Emperor, his father, made a law commanding all his subjects to break the smaller end of their eggs. The people so highly resented this law that there have been six rebellions raised on that account, wherein one emperor lost his life, and another his crown. It is calculated that eleven hundred persons have at different times suffered rather than break their eggs at the smaller end. But these rebels, the Bigendians, have found so much encouragement at the Emperor of Blefuscu’s Court, to which they always fled for refuge, that a bloody war, as I said, has been carried on between the two empires for six-and-thirty moons; and now the Blefuscudians have equipped a large fleet, and are preparing to descend upon us. Therefore his Imperial Majesty, placing great confidence in your valor and strength, has commanded me to set the case before you.”

I desired the secretary to present my humble duty to the Emperor, and to let him know that I was ready, at the risk of my life, to defend him against all invaders.

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From The Blue Fairy Book

ISBN: 9781907256905

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_bfb.htm

lThe Blue Fairy Book

After about two hours the Court retired, and I was left with a strong guard to keep away the crowd, some of whom had had the impudence to shoot their arrows at me as I sat by the door of my house. But the colonel ordered six of them to be seized and delivered bound into my hands. I put five of them into my coat pocket; and as to the sixth, I made a face as if I would eat him alive. The poor man screamed terribly, and the colonel and his officers were much distressed, especially when they saw me take out my penknife. But I soon set them at ease, for, cutting the strings he was bound with, I put him gently on the ground, and away he ran. I treated the rest in the same manner, taking them one by one out of my pocket; and I saw that both the soldiers and people were delighted at this mark of my kindness.

 

Toward night I got with some difficulty into my house, where I lay on the ground, as I had to do for a fortnight, till a bed was prepared for me out of six hundred beds of the ordinary measure.

 

Six hundred servants were appointed me, and three hundred tailors made me a suit of clothes. Moreover, six of his Majesty’s greatest scholars were employed to teach me their language, so that soon I was able to converse after a fashion with the Emperor, who often honoured me with his visits. The first words I learned were to desire that he would please to give me my liberty, which I every day repeated on my knees; but he answered that this must be a work of time, and that first I must swear a peace with him and his kingdom. He told me also that by the laws of the nation I must be searched by two of his officers, and that as this could not be done without my help, he trusted them in my hands, and whatever they took from me should be returned when I left the country. I took up the two officers, and put them into my coat pockets. These gentlemen, having pen, ink, and paper about them, made an exact list of everything they saw, which I afterward translated into English, and which ran as follows:

 

“In the right coat pocket of the great Man-Mountain we found only one great piece of coarse cloth, large enough to cover the carpet of your Majesty’s chief room of state. In the left pocket we saw a huge silver chest, with a silver cover, which we could not lift. We desired that it should be opened, and one of us stepping into it found himself up to the mid-leg in a sort of dust, some of which flying into our faces sent us both into a fit of sneezing. In his right waistcoat pocket we found a number of white thin substances, folded one over another, about the size of three men, tied with a strong cable, and marked with black figures, which we humbly conceive to be writings. In the left there was a sort of engine, from the back of which extended twenty long poles, with which, we conjecture, the Man-Mountain combs his head. In the smaller pocket on the right side were several round flat pieces of white and red metal, of different sizes. Some of the white, which appeared to be silver, were so large and heavy that my comrade and I could hardly lift them. From another pocket hung a huge silver chain, with a wonderful kind of engine fastened to it, a globe half silver and half of some transparent metal; for on the transparent side we saw certain strange figures, and thought we could touch them till we found our fingers stopped by the shining substance. This engine made an incessant noise, like a water-mill, and we conjecture it is either some unknown animal, or the god he worships, but probably the latter, for he told us that he seldom did anything without consulting it.

 

“This is a list of what we found about the body of the Man-Mountain, who treated us with great civility.”

 

I had one private pocket which escaped their search, containing a pair of spectacles and a small spy-glass, which, being of no consequence to the Emperor, I did not think myself bound in honour to discover.

 

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From The Blue Fairy Book

ISBN: 9781907256905

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

 

The blue fairy book

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