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Anthony R. (Anthony Reubens) Montalba.

Fairy tales from all nations online

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FAIRY TALES FROM

ALL NATIONS.



BY

ANTHONY R. MONTALBA.



WITH TWENTY-FOUR ILLUSTRATIONS BY RICHARD DOYLE.




LONDON:

CHAPMAN & HALL, 186, STRAND.

MDCCCXLIX.

* * * * *




TO


THE ILLUSTRIOUS PATRON OF LETTERS

THE RIGHT HON. THE EARL FITZWILLIAM,

This Little Book

IS HUMBLY INSCRIBED,

AS A MARK OF SINCEREST GRATITUDE AND RESPECT,

BY HIS MOST OBEDIENT AND DEVOTED SERVANT,

A. R. MONTALBA.

* * * * *




PREFACE.


The time has been, but happily exists no longer, when it would have
been necessary to offer an apology for such a book as this. In those
days it was not held that

Beauty is its own excuse for being;

on the contrary, a spurious utilitarianism reigned supreme in
literature, and fancy and imagination were told to fold their wings,
and travel only in the dusty paths of every-day life. Fairy tales, and
all such flights into the region of the supernatural, were then
condemned as merely idle things, or as pernicious occupations for
faculties that should be always directed to serious and profitable
concerns. But now we have cast off that pedantic folly, let us hope
for ever. We now acknowledge that innocent amusement is good for its
own sake, and we do not affect to prove our advance in civilisation by
our incapacity to relish those sportive creations of unrestricted
fancy that have been the delight of every generation in every land
from times beyond the reach of history.

The materials of the following Collection have been carefully chosen
from more than a hundred volumes of the fairy lore of all nations; and
none of them, so far as the Editor is aware, have been previously
translated into English.

The Editor cannot close this brief Preface without expressing his
grateful acknowledgments of the enhanced attraction imparted to his
little work by Mr. Richard Doyle's admirable Illustrations.




CONTENTS.


TALE. LANGUAGE. AUTHOR. PAGE.

BIRTH OF THE FAIRY TALE 1

SNOW-WHITE AND ROSY-RED _Danish_ TORGEN MOE AND
P. ASBIÖRNSON 9

THE STORY OF ARGILIUS AND
THE FLAME KING _Slavonic_ COUNT MAYLÁTH 20

PERSEVERE AND PROSPER _Arabic_ DR. G. WEIL 38

PRINCE OF THE GLOW-WORMS _German_ FRIEDRICH VON SALLET 41

THE TWO MISERS _Hebrew_ 71

PRINCE CHAFFINCH _French_ 73

THE WOLF AND THE NIGHTINGALE _Swedish_ E. M. ANNDT 105

THE ENCHANTED CROW _Polish_ K. W. WOYCICKY 132

THE DRAGON-GIANT AND HIS
STONE STEED _Russian_ O. L. B. WOLFF 153

THE STORY OF SIVA AND MADHAVA _Sanskrit_ SOMADEVA BHATTA 185

THE GOBLIN BIRD _Betschuanian_ CASALIS 201

THE SHEPHERD AND THE SERPENT _German_ 209

THE EXPEDITIOUS FROG _Wendian_ LEOPOLD HAUSST AND
J. E. SCHMALER 215

EASTWARD OF THE SUN, AND
WESTWARD OF THE MOON _Norwegian_ P. ASBIÖRNSON 217

THE LITTLE MAN IN GREY _Upper Lusatian_ MONTZ HAUSST 236

RED, WHITE, AND BLACK _Norman_ L'HERITIER 243

THE TWELVE LOST PRINCESSES _African_
AND THE WIZARD KING. 249

THE STUDY OF MAGIC UNDER
DIFFICULTIES _Italian_ STRAPPAROLA 268

FORTUNE'S FAVOURITE _Hungarian_ G. VON GALL 281

THE LUCKY DAYS _Italian_ STRAPPAROLA 309

THE FEAST OF THE DWARFS _Icelandish_ 313

THE THREE DOGS _Frieslandish_ L. BECKSTEIN 329

THE COURAGEOUS FLUTE-PLAYER _Franconian_ 339

THE GLASS HATCHET _Hungarian_ G. VON GALL 345

THE GOLDEN DUCK _Bohemian_ WOLFGARD A. GERLE 360

GOLDY _German_ JUSTINUS KERNER 377

THE SERPENT PRINCE _Italian_ BASILE 384

THE PROPHETIC DREAM 398


The Illustrations drawn by RICHARD DOYLE, and engraved by G. DALZIEL,
E. DALZIEL, ISABEL THOMPSON, C. T. THOMPSON, RICHARD THOMPSON, and W.
T. GREEN.




FAIRY TALES FROM ALL NATIONS




THE BIRTH OF THE FAIRY TALE.


[Illustration]

When nursery tales and entertaining stories did not yet exist - and
those were dull times for children, for then their youthful paradise
wanted its gayest butterfly - there lived two royal children, a brother
and sister. They played with each other in a garden allotted to them
by their royal sire. This garden was full of the most beautiful and
fragrant flowers; its paths were over-spread with golden sands and
many-coloured stones, which vied in brilliancy with the dew which
glistened on the flowers, illuminated by the splendour of an eastern
sun. There were in it cool grottos with rippling streams; fountains
spouting high towards heaven; exquisitely chiselled marble statues;
lovely arbours and bowers inviting to repose; gold and silver fish
swam in the reservoirs, and the most beautiful birds flitted about in
gilded cages so spacious that they scarcely felt that they were
confined, whilst others at full liberty flew from tree to tree,
filling the air with their sweet song. Yet the children who possessed
all these delights, and saw them daily, were satiated with them and
felt weary. They looked without pleasure on the brilliancy of the
stones; the fragrance of the flowers and the dancing water of the
fountains no longer attracted them; they cared not for the fish which
were mute to them, nor for the birds whose warbling they did not
comprehend. They sat mournful and listless beside each other; having
everything that children could desire - kind parents, costly toys, the
richest clothing, every delicacy the land could furnish, with liberty
to roam from morning until evening in the beautiful garden, - still
they were unsatisfied and they knew not why! - they could not tell what
else they wanted.

Then came to them the queen, their mother, beautiful and majestic,
with a countenance expressive of love and gentleness. She grieved to
see her children so mournful, meeting her with melancholy smiles,
instead of gaily bounding to her embrace. Her heart was sorrowful
because her children were not happy as she thought they ought to be,
for as yet they knew not care; and, thanks to an all-good Providence,
the heaven of childhood is usually bright and cloudless.

The queen placed herself between her two children. She threw her full
white arms round their necks, and said to them with endearing maternal
tenderness, "What ails you, my beloved children?" - "We know not, dear
mother!" replied the boy. - "We do not feel happy!" said the girl.

"Yet everything is fair in this garden, and you have everything that
can give you pleasure. Do all these things then afford you no
enjoyment?" demanded the queen, whilst tears filled her eyes, through
which beamed a soul of goodness.

"What we have and enjoy seems not to be the one thing which we want,"
answered the girl. - "We wish for something else, but we know not what
it is," added the boy.

The queen sat silent and sad, pondering what that might be for which
her children pined. What could possibly afford them greater pleasure
than that splendid garden, the richness of their clothing, the variety
of their toys, the delicacy of their food, the flavour of their
beverage? But in vain; she could not divine the unknown object of
their desire.

"Oh, that I myself were again a child!" said the queen to herself with
a deep sigh. "I should then perhaps discover what would impart
cheerfulness to my children. To comprehend the wish of a child, one
should be a child oneself. But I have already wandered too far beyond
the boundaries of childhood where fly the golden birds of paradise;
those beautiful birds without feet, that never require the repose of
which all earthly creatures stand in need. Oh, that such a bird would
come to my assistance, and bring to my dear children that precious
gift which should dispel their gloom and make them happy!"

And, behold, the queen had scarcely formed this wish, when a
wondrously beautiful bird, whose splendour surpassed all that can be
imagined, bent its flight from the ethereal sky, and wheeled round and
round until it attracted the gaze of the queen and her children, who
on beholding it were filled with astonishment, and with one voice
exclaimed: "Oh, how wonderful is that bird!" And wonderful indeed it
was, and gorgeous to behold as it gradually descended towards them.
Like burnished gold blended with sparkling jewels shone its plumage,
reflecting the seven colours of the rainbow, and dazzling the eye
which it still rivetted anew by its indescribable charms. Beautiful as
it was, the aspect of the bird inspired them with a kind of awe,
which, though not unpleasing, increased when they felt the wafting of
its wings, and suddenly beheld it rest in the lap of the queen. It
looked on them with its full eyes, which, though they resembled the
friendly smiling eyes of a child, had yet in them something strange
and almost unearthly; an expression the children could not comprehend,
and therefore feared to consider. They now observed also, that mingled
with the bright coloured plumage of this unearthly bird, were some
black feathers which they had not before perceived. But scarcely was a
moment permitted to them for these observations, ere the wonder-bird
again arose, soared aloft higher and higher till it was lost to the
sight in the blue and cloudless ether. The queen and her children
watched its flight in amazement until it had entirely vanished, and
when they again looked down, lo, a new wonder! The bird had deposited
in the mother's lap an egg which beamed like the precious opal with
many-coloured brilliancy. With one voice, the royal children
exclaimed: "Oh, the beautiful egg!" whilst the mother smiled in an
ecstasy of joy; for a voice within her predicted to her that this was
the jewel which alone was wanting to complete the happiness of her
children. This egg, she thought, within its thousand-coloured shell,
must contain the treasure that would ensure to her children that which
has ever been, and ever will be withheld from age - Contentment; - the
longing for that treasure and the anticipation of it would charm away
their childish melancholy.

The children could not gaze their fill on the splendid egg, and soon
in admiring it, forgot the bird that had bestowed it on them. At first
they hardly ventured to touch their treasure, but after a while, the
maiden first took courage to lay upon it one of her rosy fingers,
exclaiming whilst a purple blush of delight over-spread her innocent
face: "The egg is warm!" then the royal youth, to try the truth of his
sister's words, cautiously touched it also, and lastly the mother
placed her beautifully white and taper finger on the costly egg,
which then separated into two parts, and there came out from it a
being most marvellous to behold. It had wings, and yet it was no bird,
nor yet butterfly nor bee, though it was a combination of all these
infinitely and indescribably blended. It was in short, that multiform
many-coloured childish Ideal, the _Fairy Tale_, dispensing pleasure,
and happiness, and inspiration to infancy and youth. The mother
thenceforth no longer beheld her children pining with melancholy, for
the Fairy Tale became their constant companion, and remained with them
till the sun which shone on their last day of childhood had set. The
possession of this wondrous being from that day endeared to them
garden and flowers, bowers and grottos, forests and valleys; for it
gave new life and charms to all around them. Borne on its wings they
flew far and wide through the great measureless world, and yet, ever
at their wish, they were in a moment wafted back to their own home.

Those royal children were mankind in their youthful paradise, and
nature was their lovely serene and mild mother. Their wishes drew down
from heaven the wonder-bird, PHANTASY, most brilliant of plumage
although intermingled with its feathers, were some of the deepest
black: the egg deposited by this bright bird, contained the GOLDEN
FAIRY TALES: and as the affection of the children for Fairy Lore grew
stronger from day to day, enlivening and making happy the time of
their childhood, the stories themselves wandered forth, and were
welcomed alike in hall and palace, castle and cottage, ever growing in
charms and novelty, till they at length received the mission of
pleasing manhood also. The grave, the toil-worn, and the aged, would
listen with pleased ear to their wonderful relations, and dwell with
fond recollection on the golden birth of those Fairy charms.




SNOW-WHITE AND ROSY-RED.

[Danish.]


In a far-distant land, there reigned a queen, who was one day driving
in a sledge over the new fallen snow, when, as it chanced, she was
seized with a bleeding at her nose, which obliged her to alight. As
she stood leaning against the stump of a tree, and gazed on her
crimson blood that fell on the snow, she thought to herself, "I have
now twelve sons, and not one daughter; could I but have a daughter
fair as that snow and rosy as that blood, I should no longer care
about my sons." She had scarcely murmured the wish, before a sorceress
stood beside her. "Thou shalt have a daughter," said she, "and she
shall be fair as this snow and rosy as thy blood; but thy twelve sons
shall then be mine; thou may'st, however, retain them with thee, until
thy daughter shall be baptized."

Now, at the appointed time the queen brought into the world a
daughter, who was fair as snow and rosy as blood, just as the
sorceress had promised, and on that account she was called Snow-white
and Rosy-red; and there was great joy throughout all the royal
household, but the queen rejoiced more than all the rest. But when she
remembered her promise to the sorceress, a strange sensation oppressed
her heart, and she sent for a silversmith, and commanded him to make
twelve silver spoons, one for each of the princes; she had one made
for the princess also. On the day that the princess was baptized, the
twelve princes were transformed into twelve wild ducks, and flew away,
and were no more seen. The princess, however, grew up, and became
wonderfully beautiful; but she was always wrapped in her own thoughts,
and so melancholy, that no one could guess what was the matter with
her.

One evening, when the queen was also in a very melancholy mood,
thinking on her lost sons, she said to Snow-white and Rosy-red, "Why
are you always so sad, my daughter? If there is anything the matter
with you, tell it me. If there is anything you wish for, you shall
have it."

"Oh, dear mother," she replied, "all around me seems so desolate;
other children have brothers and sisters, but I have none, and that is
why I am so sad."

"My daughter," said the queen, "you also once had brothers, for I had
twelve sons, but I gave them all up in order to have you;" and
thereupon she related to her all that had occurred.

When the princess heard what had befallen her brothers, she could no
longer remain at home in peace, and notwithstanding all her mother's
tears and entreaties, nothing would satisfy her but she must and would
set off in search of her brothers, for she thought that she alone was
guilty of causing their misfortune; so she secretly left the palace.
She wandered about the world, and went so far that you would not
believe it possible that such a delicate maiden could have gone to
such a distance. Once she strayed about a whole night in a great
forest, and towards the morning she was so tired that she lay down on
a bank and slept. Then she dreamed that she penetrated still farther
into the forest, till she came to a little wooden hut, and therein she
found her brothers. When she awoke, she saw before her a little beaten
path through the moss, and she followed it till in the thickest of the
forest she saw a little wooden hut, just like that she had dreamed
of.

She entered it, but saw no one. There were, however, twelve beds and
twelve chairs, and on the table lay twelve spoons, and, in fact, there
were twelve of every article she saw there. The princess was
overjoyed, for she could not but fancy that her twelve brethren dwelt
there, and that it was to them that the beds, and the chairs, and the
spoons belonged. Then she made a fire on the hearth, swept the room,
and made the beds; afterwards she cooked a meal for them, and set
everything out in the best order possible. And when she had finished
her cooking and had prepared everything for her brothers, she sat down
and ate something for herself, laid her spoon on the table, and crept
under the bed belonging to her youngest brother.

She had scarcely concealed herself there, when she heard a great
rustling in the air, and presently in flew twelve wild ducks; but the
moment they crossed the threshold, they were instantly transformed
into the princes, her brothers!

"Ah, how nicely everything is arranged here, and how delightfully warm
it is already," they exclaimed.

"Heaven reward the person who has warmed our room so nicely, and
prepared such an excellent repast for us;" and hereupon each took his
silver spoon in order to begin eating. But when each prince had taken
his own, there was still one remaining, so like the others that they
could not distinguish it. Then the princes looked at each other, and
were very much astonished.

"That must be our sister's spoon," said they; "and since the spoon is
here, she herself cannot be far off."

"If it is our sister, and if she is here," said the eldest, "she shall
be killed, for she is the cause of our misfortune."

"Nay," said the youngest, "it would be a sin to kill her; she is not
guilty of what we suffer; if any one is in fault, it is no other than
our own mother."

Then they all began to search high and low, and at last they looked
under all the beds, and when they came to the bed of the youngest
prince, they found the princess, and drew her from under it.

The eldest prince was now again for killing her, but she entreated
them earnestly to spare her life, and said, "Ah, do not kill me; I
have wandered about so long seeking for you, and I would willingly
give my life if that would disenchant you."

"Nay, but if you will disenchant us," said they, "we will spare your
life; for you can do it if you will."

"Indeed; only tell me then what I am to do, for I will do anything you
wish," said the princess.

"You must collect the down of the dandelion flowers, and you must
card, and spin, and weave it; and of that material you must cut out
and make twelve caps, and twelve shirts, and twelve cravats, a set for
each of us; but during the time that you are occupied in doing so, you
must neither speak, nor weep, nor smile. If you can do that, we shall
be disenchanted."

"But where shall I be able to find sufficient down for all the caps,
and shirts, and cravats?" asked she.

"That you shall soon see," said the princes; and then they led her out
into a great meadow, where were so many dandelions with their white
down waving in the wind and glittering in the sun, that the glitter of
them could be seen at a very great distance. The princess had never in
all her life seen so many dandelions, and she began directly to pluck
and collect them, and she brought home as many as she could carry; and
in the evening she began to card and spin them into yarn. Thus she
continued doing for a very long time; every day she gathered the down
from the dandelions, and she attended on the princes also; she cooked
for them, and made their beds; and every evening they flew home as
wild ducks, became princes again during the night, and in the morning
flew away again, as wild ducks.

Now it happened one day when Snow-white and Rosy-red had gone to the
meadow to collect the dandelion-down - if I do not mistake, that was
the last time that she required to collect them - that the young king
of the country was hunting, and rode towards the meadow where
Snow-white and Rosy-red was collecting her material. The king was
astonished to see such a beautiful maiden walking there, and gathering
the dandelion-down. He stopped his horse and addressed her; but when
he could get no answer from her, he was still more astonished, and as
the maiden pleased him so well, he resolved to carry her to his royal
residence, and make her his wife. He commanded his attendants,
therefore, to lift her upon his horse; but Snow-white and Rosy-red
wrung her hands, and pointed to the bag wherein she had her work. So
the king understood at last what she meant, and bade his attendants
put the bag also on his horse. That being done, the princess, by
degrees, yielded to his wish that she should go with him, for the king
was a very handsome man, and spoke so gently, and kindly, to her. But
when they arrived at the palace, and the old queen, who was the
king's step-mother, saw how beautiful Snow-white and Rosy-red was, she
became quite jealous and angry; and she said to the king: - "Do you not
see, then, that you have brought home a sorceress with you? for she
can neither speak, nor laugh, nor cry." The king, however, heeded not
his step-mother's words, but celebrated his nuptials with the fair
maiden, and lived very happily with her. She, however, did not cease
to work continually at the shirts.

Before the year was out, Snow-white and Rosy-red brought a little
prince into the world. This made the old queen still more envious and
spiteful than before; and when night came, she slipped into the
queen's room, and whilst she slept, carried off the infant, and threw
it into a pit which was full of snakes. Then she returned, made an
incision in one of the queen's fingers, and having smeared her mouth
with the blood, she went to the king, and said: - "Come now, and see
what sort of a wife you have got; she has just devoured her own
child." Thereupon the king was so distressed that he very nearly shed
tears, and said: - "Yes, it must be true, since I see it with my own
eyes; but she surely will not do so again; this time I will spare
her." Before the year was out the queen brought into the world
another prince, and the same occurred this time, as before. The
step-mother was still more jealous and spiteful; she again slipped
into the young queen's room, during the night, and, whilst she slept,
carried off the babe, and threw it into the pit to the serpents. Then
she made an incision in the queen's finger, smeared her lips with the
blood, and told the king that his wife had again devoured her own
child. The king's distress was greater than can be imagined, and he
said: - "Yes, it must be so, since I see it with my own eyes; but
surely she will never do so again; I will spare her this once more."

Before that year was out, Snow-white and Rosy-red brought a daughter
into the world, and this also the old queen threw into the serpent
hole, as she had done the others, made an incision in the young
queen's finger, smeared her lips with the blood, and then again said
to the king: "Come and see if I do not say truly, she is a sorceress:
for she has now devoured her third child," Then the king was more
distressed than can be described, for he could no longer spare her,
but was obliged to command that she should be burnt alive. Now when
the pile of faggots was blazing, and the young queen was to ascend,
she made signs that twelve boards should be laid round the pile. This
being done she placed on them, the shirts, caps, and cravats, she had
made for her brothers; but the left sleeve of the youngest brother's


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Online LibraryAnthony R. (Anthony Reubens) MontalbaFairy tales from all nations → online text (page 1 of 19)