Anthony R. (Anthony Reubens) Montalba.

Fairy tales from all nations online

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crushed him with his heavy staff; but within a few minutes the bird
reappeared for the third time, again perching on the horn of the cow,
and repeating the same words.

"Ah, Demon!" cried Maszilo, choking with rage, "I will try a more
effectual way to silence thee;" whereupon he threw his staff at the
hated little bird, who in such doleful tunes had stirred up and
upbraided his conscience-stricken soul: he again killed it, and then
lighting a fire, in it he burnt the bird to ashes, which he scattered
in the winds.

[Illustration: THE GOBLIN BIRD. P. 207.]

Now convinced that the goblin-bird would return no more, Maszilo, full
of pride and hardiness, returned to his father's dwelling. On his
arrival there, he was surrounded by all the villagers, who, full of
curiosity, gathered around him, in admiration of the rich flock, and
praised his good fortune, but the first impulse of their curiosity
satiated, they almost with one voice inquired "Where is Mazziloniane?"

"I know not; we went different ways," answered he.

Many of his relations now surrounded the white cow, and exclaimed: "Oh
how beautiful she is! what fine hair! what a pure colour! happy the
man that owns such a treasure!"

Suddenly, their exclamations were changed into deep silence, for upon
one of the horns of the much-admired animal appeared a little bird,
singing in most melancholy strains, "Tsiri! tsiri! Maszilo killed
Mazziloniane, to get possession of the white cow which the murdered
brother so much loved."

"What! has Maszilo killed his brother?" all exclaimed, and, full of
horror, turned away from the murderer, unable to account to themselves
for the emotion he inspired, and the strangeness of the disclosure.
Infuriated, they drove Maszilo from their home, into the desert: in
the confusion this occasioned, the little bird flew to the murdered
man's sister, and whispered in her ear, "I am the soul of
Mazziloniane; Maszilo has killed me; my body lies in a well near the
desert, go bury it - " and then the bird flew back into the desert,
evermore to be the companion of the murderer.


[German, Traditional.]

In a peaceful, pleasantly situated little village, there once lived a
poor shepherd youth. Near the village was a valley, a lonely retired
spot, whither the youth always guided his flock; and it seemed as
though he had selected that quiet valley for his favourite retreat. He
never took his noon-day meal, nor lay down to repose in the cool
shade, except in that beloved place. Thither was he ever drawn by an
irresistible longing.

The place itself was simple enough - a rugged block of stone, beneath
which murmured a little rivulet, and a wild cherry-tree which
overshadowed the stone with its leafy branches, were all that was to
be seen there; but the youth felt happy when he spread his meal upon
that stone, and drank from that streamlet. When, after having partaken
of his meal, he stretched himself to rest upon the stone, he would
fancy he heard a mysterious singing, and sometimes a sighing too,
beneath it; he would then listen and watch, but would finally slumber
and dream. His spirit seemed to be ever wrapped in mysterious
unearthly happiness. On going forth with his flocks in the morning,
and returning home with them in the evening, this unaccountable
longing seemed always to take possession of him. He liked not to
accompany the throng of merry village youths and maidens who went
about singing and frolicking on festive evenings, but preferred to
walk alone, silent and even melancholy. But when the fair morning
dawned again, and he went forth with his lambs over heath and meadow,
his spirit grew ever more serene as he drew nearer to the beloved
stone and to the shade of the dear cherry-tree. It often happened,
too, that whilst he rested there and played upon his flute, a
silver-white serpent came out from under the stone, and after
wreathing herself caressingly at his feet, would then erect herself
and gaze upon the shepherd, until two big tears would roll from her
eyes, and then she softly slid back again: on these occasions a still
more peculiar and strange feeling filled the shepherd's heart.

At length he altogether ceased to associate with the merry band of
youths and maidens; their mirthsome noise was unpleasant to him;
whilst, on the contrary, the still solitude became more and more dear
to him.

One lovely Sunday in the spring time - it was Trinity Sunday, which the
peasants call "Golden Sunday," and which they always keep with
especial festivity - when the youth of the village were to have a merry
dance beneath the linden-trees, the pensive shepherd boy, drawn by
that inexpressible longing, directed his steps at mid-day to the
lonely valley of the stone and cherry-tree. He gazed serenely upon the
dear spot, and then sat down and listened musingly to the rustling of
the leaves and the mysterious sounds under the stone, when suddenly a
bright light shone before his eyes, a pang of terror shot through his
heart, and looking up he saw a beauteous form arrayed in white like an
angel, standing before him with a soft expression and folded hands,
whilst with transported senses he heard a sweet voice thus address
him: "O youth, fear not, but hear the supplication of an unhappy
maiden, and do not drive me from thee, nor flee from my misfortune. I
am a noble princess, and have immense treasures of pearls and gold;
but for many hundred years I have languished under enchantment, have
been banished beneath this stone, and am doomed to glide about in the
form of a serpent. In that shape I have often gazed on thee and
conceived the hope that thou mayest release me. Thou art still pure in
heart as a child. Only once throughout the whole year, this very hour
on Golden Sunday, am I permitted to wander on the earth in my own
form; and if I then find a youth with a pure heart, I may implore him
for my deliverance. Release me then, thou beloved one! release me, I
implore thee by all that is holy!" - The maiden sank at the shepherd's
feet, which she clasped as she looked up to him weeping. The heart of
the youth heaved with transport; he raised the angelic maiden and
faltered out: "Oh say only what I must do to free thee, thou fair
beloved one!"

"Return hither to-morrow at the same hour," replied she, "and when I
appear before thee in my serpent form, and wind myself around thee,
and thrice kiss thee, do not, oh! do not shudder, else must I again
languish enchanted here for another century!" She vanished, and again
a soft sighing and singing issued from beneath the stone.

On the following day, at the hour of noon, the shepherd, not without
fear in his heart, waited at the appointed place, and supplicated
Heaven for strength and constancy at the trying moment of the
serpent's kiss. Already the silver-white serpent glided from beneath
the stone, approached the youth, twined herself round his body, and
raised her serpent head, with its bright eyes, to kiss him. He
remained steady, and endured the three kisses. A mighty crash was then
heard, and dreadful thunders rolled around the youth, who had fallen
senseless on the ground. A magic change passed over him, and when he
was restored to his senses, he found himself lying on white cushions
of silk, in a richly-adorned chamber, with the beautiful maiden
kneeling by his couch, holding his hand to her heart. "Oh, thanks be
to Heaven!" exclaimed she, when he opened his eyes; "receive my
thanks, beloved youth, for my deliverance, and take as thy reward my
fair lands, and this palace with all its rich treasures, and take me
too as thy faithful wife: thou shalt henceforth be happy, and have
plenitude of joy!"

And the shepherd was happy and joyful; that longing of his heart which
had so often drawn him towards the stone, was gloriously satisfied. He
dwelt, remote from the world, in the bosom of happiness, with his
fair spouse; and he never wished himself back on earth, nor amongst
his lambs again. But in the village there was great lamentation for
the shepherd who had so suddenly vanished: they sought him in the
valley, and by the stone under the cherry-tree, whither he had last
gone, but neither the shepherd, nor the stone, nor the cherry-tree
were to be found any longer; and no human eye ever again beheld any
trace of either.



A fox came one day at full speed to a pond to drink. A frog who was
sitting there, began to croak at him. Then, said the fox, "Be off with
you, or I'll swallow you."

The frog, however, replied: "Don't give yourself such airs; I am
swifter than you!"

At this the fox laughed; but as the frog persisted in boasting of his
swiftness, the fox said at length: "Now, then, we will both run to the
next town, and we shall see which can go the faster."

Then the fox turned round, and as he did so, the frog leapt up into
his bushy tail. Off went the fox, and when he reached the gate of the
city, he turned round again to see if he could spy the frog coming
after him. As he did so, the frog hopped out of his tail on the
ground. The fox, after looking all about without being able to see the
frog, turned round once more in order to enter the city.

Then the frog called out to him: "So! you are come at last? I am just
going back again, for I really thought you meant not to come at all."



In days of yore there lived a poor charcoal-burner who had many
children. His poverty was so great, that he knew not how to feed them
from day to day, and they had scarcely any clothes to cover them.
Nevertheless all the children were very beautiful, but the youngest
daughter was the most beautiful of them all.

Now it happened on a Thursday evening, late in the autumn, that a
terrible storm came on. It was dark as pitch, the rain came down in
torrents, and the wind blew till the windows cracked again. The whole
family sat round the hearth, busy with their different occupations;
suddenly some one gave three loud knocks at the window; the man went
out to see whom it could be, and when he got outside the door, he saw
standing by it, a great white bear.

"Good evening to you!" said the bear.

"Good evening!" said the man.

"I have called," said the bear, "to say that if you will give me your
youngest daughter in marriage, I will make you as rich as you now are

The man thought that would not be amiss, but he considered that he
must first consult his daughter on the subject; so he stepped in, and
told her that a great white bear was outside the door, who had
promised to make him as rich as he was now poor, provided he would
give him his youngest daughter in marriage. The maiden, however, said
"No," and would hear nothing at all about the matter; so the man went
out again, spoke very civilly to the bear, and told him to call again
next Thursday evening, and in the mean time he would try what could be
done. During the week they tried to persuade the maiden, and told her
all kinds of fine things as to the riches they were to have, and how
well she herself would be provided for, till at last she consented. So
she washed the two or three things she had, dressed herself as well as
she could, and made herself ready for the journey.


When the bear returned the following Thursday evening, all was ready:
the maiden took her bundle in her hand, seated herself on his back,
and off they went. When they had gone a good way, the bear asked her:
"Do you feel sad?"

No, that she did not in the least.

"Mind you hold fast by my shaggy coat," said the bear, "and then there
will be nothing to fear."

Thus she rode on the bear's back far far away - indeed nobody can say
precisely how far it was - and at last they arrived at a great rock.
The bear knocked, and a door opened, through which they entered a
large castle, in which were a great many rooms, all lighted with
lamps, and glittering with gold and silver: there was also a grand
saloon, and in the saloon stood a table covered with the most costly
viands. The bear then gave her a silver bell, which he told her to
ring when she wanted anything, and it would immediately be brought to
her. Now after she had eaten and drunk, and towards evening grew
tired, and wished to go to bed, she rang her bell, and immediately a
door opened into a chamber, where there was as beautiful a bed as she
could wish for, ready prepared for her; the pillows were covered with
silk, and the curtains fringed with gold, and all her toilette
utensils were of silver and gold. As soon, however, as she had
extinguished the light, and lay down in her bed, some one came and
lay down by her side, and this happened every night; but she could
never see who it was, as the person never came till after the light
was put out, and always went away before day-break.

Thus she lived for some time, contented and happy, till at length she
felt so great a desire to see her parents, and brothers and sisters,
that she grew quite dull and melancholy. Then the bear asked her one
day why she was always so still and thoughtful.

"Ah!" replied she, "I feel so lonely here in the castle, for I so much
wish to see my parents, and brothers and sisters, once more."

"That you can easily do," said the bear, "but you must promise me that
you will never converse with your mother alone, but only when all the
others are present; for she will try to take you by the hand and lead
you into another room, in order to speak to you alone, but do not
consent to it, for if you do, she will make both you and me unhappy."

The maiden said she would be very careful to do as he desired her.

The following Sunday the bear came to her, and said she might now
begin her journey to her parents. She seated herself on his back, and
they commenced their journey. After they had travelled a very long
time, they came to a great white castle, and she saw her sisters going
in and out, and all was so beautiful and grand, it was quite a
pleasure to behold it.

"That is where your parents dwell," said the bear, "now do not forget
what I have said to you, or you will make yourself and me very

She would not forget, repeated the maiden, and she entered the castle;
the bear, however, went back again. When her parents saw their
daughter, they were more delighted than it is possible to express.
They could not thank her enough for what she had done for them, and
they told how wonderfully comfortable they were now, and inquired how
matters went with her. Oh, she also was very happy, returned the
maiden, she had everything she could desire. What else she told them,
I do not exactly know, but I believe it was no every-day tale that she
told them. In the afternoon, when they had dined, it happened exactly
as the bear had foretold; the mother wanted to talk with her daughter
in private, but the maiden remembered what the bear had said, and
would not go with her, but said: "Oh, we can say what we have got to
say, quite as well here."

Now, how it happened, I cannot tell, but all I know is, that her
mother persuaded her at last, and then she got the whole history from
her. The maiden related how some one came into her bed every night,
but that she had never seen who it was, and that made her so uneasy,
and the day seemed very long to her, because she was always alone.

"Who knows!" said the mother, "surely it must be some wizard who
sleeps by you; but if you will take my advice, when he is fast asleep,
get up and strike a light, and see who it is; but be careful not to
let any grease drop upon him."

In the evening the bear came to fetch the maiden home. When they had
gone a good way he asked her if it had not happened as he had told

"Yes," she could not deny that it had.

"Have you listened to your mother's counsel?" said the bear; "if you
have, you have ruined yourself and me, and our friendship is at an

"No," she had not done so, replied she.

Now when they had got home, and the maiden had gone to bed, the same
happened as usual, some one came and lay down by her. During the
night, however, when she heard that he was asleep, she rose and
kindled a light, and then she saw lying in her bed the handsomest
prince that can be imagined, and she immediately loved him so well,
that she could not refrain from kissing him that very moment. But as
she did this, she accidentally let three drops of oil fall from her
lamp, upon his shirt, and thereupon he awoke.

"What have you done?" cried he, as he opened his eyes; "now you have
made yourself and me unhappy for ever. If you had but held out for a
year, I should have been delivered; for I have a step-mother who has
enchanted me, so that by day I am a bear, but at night I become a man
again. But all is over for us both, for I must now leave you, and
return to her. She dwells in a castle which lies _eastward of the
Sun_, and _westward of the Moon_, and there I shall be obliged to
marry a princess who has a nose three ells long."

The maiden then began to weep and bemoan herself; but it was too late,
the prince was obliged to go. She asked him if she might not accompany

"No," said he, "that must not be."

"Can you not then tell me the road that I may find you?" inquired
she; "for I suppose I may be allowed that."

"Yes, that you are right welcome to do," said he; "but there is no
road that leads to it; for the castle lies eastward of the Sun, and
westward of the Moon, and you will never get there."

In the morning when she awoke, the prince and the castle had both
vanished, and she found herself lying on the bare earth, in a thick
dark forest, and she was dressed in her old clothes, and near her lay
the same bundle that she had brought with her from her former home.
When she had rubbed her eyes till she was quite awake, and had cried
till she could cry no longer, she began her journey, and wandered for
many a long day, till at last she came to a great mountain. At the
foot of the mountain sat an old woman, playing with a golden apple;
the maiden asked her if she could tell her the way to where the prince
lived with his step-mother, in a castle which was situated eastward of
the Sun, and westward of the Moon, and who was to marry a princess who
had a nose three ells long.

"How come you to know him?" asked the woman. "Can you be the maiden
whom he wished to marry?"

"Yes," she replied, "she was that maiden."

"So! then you are the chosen one!" resumed the woman; "ah! my child,"
continued she, "I would willingly help you, but I myself know nothing
more of the castle than that it lies eastward of the Sun, and westward
of the Moon, and that you are almost certain never to get there; I
will, however, lend you my horse, and you may ride on him to my next
neighbour; perhaps she may be able to tell you the way thither, but
when you have reached her, just give the horse a pat under the left
ear, and bid him go home again; and now take this golden apple, for
perhaps you may find a use for it."

The maiden mounted the horse, and rode for a long, long, time; and at
last arrived at another mountain, where sat an old woman with a golden
reel. The maiden asked her if she could tell her the way to the
castle, which lay eastward of the Sun, and westward of the Moon. This
old woman, however, said just like the other, that she knew nothing
more about the castle than that it lay eastward of the Sun, and
westward of the Moon, "and you are almost sure never to find it,"
added she, "but I will lend you my horse to ride upon to my next
neighbour, and perhaps she may tell you the way; when you get there,
however, just give the horse a pat under his left ear, and tell him
to go home; now take this reel, for perhaps you may find some use for

The maiden seated herself on the horse, and rode for many days and
weeks; at last she again arrived at a mountain where an old woman sat
spinning with a golden distaff. The maiden now again inquired about
the prince, and the castle which was situated eastward of the Sun, and
westward of the Moon.

"Are you she whom the prince wished to marry?" asked the woman.

"Yes," replied the maiden.

But this old woman knew no more about the castle than the two others.

"Eastward of the Sun, and westward of the Moon, lies the castle, and
you are almost certain never to get there. But I will lend you my
horse, and you may ride upon him to the East Wind; perhaps he may be
able to tell you the way, but when you get to him, give the horse a
pat under the left ear, and bid him go home, and now take this golden
distaff, you will probably have occasion for it."

She rode now a very long time, and at last arrived where the East Wind
dwelt, and asked him if he could not tell her how to get to the
prince who lived in the castle which lay eastward of the Sun, and
westward of the Moon.

"Truly, I have often heard tell of the prince, and of the castle too,"
said the East Wind, "but I cannot tell you the way, for I have never
blown so far; but I will carry you to my brother, the West Wind;
perhaps he may know, for he is much stronger than I am. You have only
to seat yourself on my back, and I will bear you thither."

The maiden seated herself on his back, and off they went. When they
reached the West Wind, the East Wind told him that he had brought a
maiden who was to marry the prince who dwelt in the castle that lay
eastward of the Sun, and westward of the Moon, and asked if he could
tell the way thither.

"No," answered the West Wind. "I have never blown so far. But," said
he, addressing the maiden, "you may seat yourself on my back, and I
will carry you to the South Wind; he may be able to tell you, for he
is much stronger than I, and blows and blusters every where."

So the maiden seated herself on his back, and when they had reached
the South Wind, the West Wind asked him if he did not know the way to
the castle which lay eastward of the Sun, and westward of the Moon,
for the maiden whom he had brought with him, said he, was to marry the
prince who dwelt there.

"I have blown pretty far, and pretty strong in my time," said the
South Wind, "but I never went so far as that. If, however, you desire
it," said he to the maiden, "I will carry you to my brother, the North
Wind, who is the eldest and strongest of us all, and if he cannot tell
you the way, you may rest assured you will never find it."

The maiden seated herself on his back, and off they went at such a
rate that the plain heaved again.

In a very short time they reached the North Wind; but he was so wild
and turbulent that long before they got up to him, he blew, I know not
how much snow and ice, in their faces.

"What do you want?" cried he, in a voice that made their skin creep.

"Oh, you must not be so rough with us," said the South Wind; "for here
am I, your own brother, and this is the maiden who is to marry the
prince who dwells in the castle which lies eastward of the Sun, and
westward of the Moon, and she is very desirous to ask you if you
cannot give her some information about it."

"Yes, I know full well where it lies," said the North Wind; "I wafted
an aspen leaf thither, once; but I was so fatigued that I could not
blow for many a long day afterwards. If, however, you are resolved to
go," said he to the maiden, "and are not afraid, I will take you on my
back and try whether I can waft you so far."

"Yes," said the maiden, "there I must and will go, by all possible
means, and I will not be frightened either, let it be as bad as it

"In that case you must pass the night here," said the North Wind; "for
we must have the whole day before us, if we are to go there."

Early the next morning the North Wind awakened her, got himself into
breath, and grew so large and strong, that it was terrible to behold;
and off they dashed through the air, as if the world were coming to an
end. Then arose such an awful storm, that whole villages and forests
were overturned, and as they passed over the ocean, the ships sank by
hundreds. On they went still over the water, so far as no one would
believe, but the North Wind became weaker and weaker, and so weak did
he become, that he could scarcely blow any more, and he sank lower and
lower, and at last got so low, that the waves flowed over his heels.

"Are you frightened?" inquired he of the maiden.

"No, not in the least," said she.

Now they were only a very little way from land, and the North Wind had
scarcely any strength remaining, to enable him to reach the shore

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Online LibraryAnthony R. (Anthony Reubens) MontalbaFairy tales from all nations → online text (page 10 of 19)