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Anthony R. (Anthony Reubens) Montalba.

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under the windows of the castle that lay eastward of the Sun, and
westward of the Moon. When he did get there, however, he was so weary
and faint, that he was obliged to rest many days before he could
return home.

In the morning the maiden seated herself under the windows of the
castle, and played with her golden apple, and the first person who saw
her, was the long-nosed princess whom the prince was to marry.

"What do you ask for your golden apple?" inquired the princess, as she
opened her window.

"It is not to be had for gold nor for gain;" said the maiden.

"If you will not part with it for gold nor for gain, what will you
take for it?" demanded the princess: "I will give whatever you ask."

"Well, then, if you will let me pass a night by the prince's side, you
shall have it," said the maiden.

"Oh! that you are quite welcome to do," said the princess, and took
the golden apple.

But when at night the maiden came into the prince's chamber, he was
fast asleep; she called to him and shook him, and cried and moaned,
but she could not awaken him, and as soon as the morning dawned, the
princess with the long nose came and drove her out of the room.

That day the maiden again placed herself under the castle windows, and
unwound the yarn from the golden reel, and the long-nosed princess
spoke to her as on the day before. She asked her what she would take
for the reel, but the maiden said it was not to be had for gold nor
gain, but that if she might pass another night beside the prince, the
princess should have it. She agreed, and took the golden reel. But
when the maiden entered the chamber the prince was fast asleep; and,
let her call and shake him, and weep and wail as she might, she could
not rouse him; and when the morning dawned, the princess with the long
nose again came and drove her away.

This day the maiden seated herself as before with her golden distaff
and span. When the princess saw the distaff, she wanted that also, and
opened the window, and asked what she would sell it for. The maiden
replied as before, neither for gold nor gain; but if the princess
would let her pass another night with the prince, she should have it.
Yes, she was very welcome, said the princess, and took the distaff.
Now it happened that some persons who slept close to the prince's
apartment, had heard the lamentations and melancholy cries of the
maiden during the two nights, and that morning they told the prince of
it. So in the evening when the princess brought the drink which the
prince was accustomed to take before he went to bed, he pretended to
drink it, but in reality he poured it on the ground behind him, for he
suspected strongly that the princess had mixed a sleeping potion with
it. Now when the maiden went into his room that night, he was wide
awake, and was overjoyed at seeing her, and he made her tell him all
that had happened to her, and how she had contrived to get to the
castle. When she had related all he said: -

"You are come just at the right moment; for to-morrow is to be my
wedding with the princess; but I want nothing of her and her long
nose, for you are the only one I will wed. I shall therefore say,
that I want to know what my bride is fit for, and I shall require her
to wash the three spots of oil out of my shirt. This she will
willingly undertake to do, but I know that she will not succeed; for
the spots were made by your hand, and can only be washed out again by
Christian hands, and not by the hands of such a pack of sorcerers as
she belongs to. I shall, however, say, that I will have no other bride
than she who can succeed, and when they have all tried and failed, I
shall call you, and desire you to try." So the night passed happily
away, and on the bridal day the prince said: -

"I should like vastly to see what my bride is fit for."

"That is no more than fair," said the step-mother.

"I have such a beautiful shirt," said the prince, "that I should like
to wear it on my bridal day, but there are spots of grease on it, and
I would willingly have them washed out; I have in consequence resolved
to wed none but her who is able to wash them out."

Truly, that was no such mighty matter, thought the women, and
immediately set to work; and the princess with the long nose began to
wash away as fast as she could. But the longer she washed, the larger
and darker grew the spots.

"Oh! you do not know much about the matter," said the old sorceress,
her mother: "give it to me."

But when she got hold of the shirt, it grew darker still, and the more
she washed and rubbed, the larger grew the spots. Now the other
witches of the establishment all tried their hands on the shirt, and
the longer they washed the worse it grew, and at last the whole shirt
looked as if it had been put up the chimney.

"Ah! you are all good for nothing," cried the prince; "there sits a
poor beggar wrench under the windows; I'll lay any wager she knows
more about washing than all of you put together. Come hither, wench!"
cried he; and when she came, he asked her: -

"Can you wash that shirt clean?"

"I don't know," said the maiden; "but I think I can."

So the maiden took the shirt, and under her hands it soon became as
white as the falling snow.

"Ah, I will have thee for my bride!" cried the prince, and when the
old sorceress heard that, she fell into such a tremendous rage, that
it killed her; and I think that the princess with the long nose, and
the whole pack of witches, must have expired also, for I have never
heard of them since. Then the prince and his bride set free all the
Christians who were confined in the castle; and they took as much gold
and silver as they could carry away, and went far away from the castle
that lies eastward of the Sun, and westward of the Moon. But how they
contrived to get away, and whither they went, I do not know; if,
however, they are what I take them for, they are at no very great
distance from here.




THE LITTLE MAN IN GREY.

[Upper Lusatia.]


A miner, a blacksmith, and a nun were travelling together through the
wide world. One day they were bewildered in a dark forest, and were so
wearied with wandering that they thought themselves right fortunate
when they saw, at a distance, a building wherein they hoped to find
shelter. They went up to it, and found that it was an ancient castle,
which, although half in ruins, still was in condition to afford a
habitation for such distressed pilgrims as they. They resolved
therefore to enter, and held a council how they might best establish
themselves in it, and they very soon agreed that it would be best that
one of them should always remain at home whilst the other two went out
in search of provisions. They then cast lots who should first stay
behind, and the lot fell on the nun.

So when the miner and the blacksmith were gone out into the forest,
she prepared the food, and when noon arrived, and her companions did
not return, she ate her share of the provisions. As soon as she had
finished her meal a little man, clad in grey, came to the door, and
shivering, said: "Oh, I am so cold!"

Then the nun said to him: "Come to the fire and warm thyself."

The little man did as the nun desired him, but presently after he
exclaimed: "Oh, how hungry I am!"

Then the nun said to him: "There is food by the fire; eat some of it."

The little man fell upon the food, and in a very short time devoured
it all. When the nun saw what he had done she was very angry, and
scolded him for not having left any food for her companions. Upon this
the little man flew into a great passion, seized the nun, beat her,
and threw her from one wall to the other. He then quitted the castle
and went his way, leaving the nun on the floor. Towards evening the
two companions returned home very hungry, and when they found no food
they reproached the nun bitterly, and would not believe her when she
told them what had happened.

The following day the miner proposed to keep watch in the castle, and
said he would take good care that no one should have to go to bed
fasting. So the two others went into the forest, and the miner looked
after the cooking, ate his share, and put the rest by on the oven. The
little grey clad man came as before, but how terrified was the miner
when he perceived that this time the little man had two heads. He
shivered as on the preceding day, saying: "Oh, how cold I am!"

Much frightened, the miner pointed to the hearth. Then the little man
said: "Oh, how hungry I am!"

"There is food on the oven," said the miner; "eat some."

Then the little man fell to with both his heads, and soon ate it all
up, and licked the plates clean. When the miner reproached him for
eating all up, he got for his pains just the same treatment as the
nun. The little man beat him black and blue, and flung him against the
walls till they cracked; the poor miner lost both sight and hearing,
and at last the little man left him lying there, and went his way.

[Illustration]

When the blacksmith and the nun returned hungry in the evening, and
found no supper, the blacksmith fell into a great rage with the miner,
and declared that when his turn should come next day to watch, the
castle, no one should want a supper. The next day, at meal time, the
little man appeared again but this time he had three heads. He
complained of cold, and was bidden by the blacksmith to sit by the
hearth. When he said he was hungry, the blacksmith gave him a portion
of the food. The little man soon dispatched that, and looked greedily
round with his six eyes, asking for more food, and when the blacksmith
hesitated to give it him, he tried to treat him as he had done the
nun and the miner; the blacksmith, however, was no coward, and seizing
a great smith's hammer, he rushed on the little man, and struck off
two of his heads, so that he made off as fast as he could with his
remaining head. But the blacksmith chased him through the forest along
many a pathway, till at last he suddenly disappeared through an iron
door. The blacksmith was thus obliged to give up the pursuit, but
promised himself not to rest until, with the aid of his two
companions, he should have brought the matter to a satisfactory
conclusion.

Meantime the nun and the miner had returned home. The smith set their
supper before them as he had undertaken to do, and then related his
adventure, showing them the two heads he had cut off, with their
staring glazed eyes. They then all three resolved to free themselves
altogether, if possible, from the little grey man, and the very next
day they set to work. They searched a long time before they could find
the iron door through which he had disappeared the preceding day, and
great toil did it cost them before they were able to break it open.
They then found themselves in a great vaulted chamber wherein sat a
beautiful maiden at a table, working. She started up, and threw
herself at their feet, thanking them as her deliverers, and told them
that she was the daughter of a king, and had been confined there by a
powerful sorcerer. Yesterday afternoon she had suddenly felt that the
spell was loosened, and from that moment she had hourly expected her
freedom, but that besides herself there was the daughter of another
king confined in the same place. They then went in search of the other
king's daughter and set her at liberty also. She thanked them joyfully
in like manner, and said that she also had felt since yesterday
afternoon that the spell was unbound. The two royal maidens now
informed their liberators that in concealed caves of the castle great
treasures were hoarded, which were guarded by a terrible dog. They
went in search of them and at length came upon the dog, whom the
blacksmith slew with his hammer, although he endeavoured to defend
himself.

The treasure consisted of whole tons of gold and silver, and a
handsome young man sat beside them as if to guard them. He came to
meet them and thanked them for setting him free. He was the son of a
king, but had been transformed by a sorcerer into the three-headed
little man and banished to that castle. By the loss of two of his
heads the spell was taken off the two royal maidens, and when the
blacksmith slew the terrible dog he himself was delivered from it. For
that service the whole of the treasure should be theirs.

The treasure was then divided, and it was a long time before they
could complete the distribution. The two princesses, however, out of
gratitude to their deliverers, married the miner and the blacksmith,
and the handsome prince married the nun; and so they passed the rest
of their lives in peace and joy.




RED, WHITE, AND BLACK.

[Normandy.]


The eldest son of a mighty monarch was once walking alone in a field,
which, as it was the depth of winter, happened to be covered with
snow. He perceived a raven flying by, and shot him. The bird fell dead
on the ground and the snow was sprinkled with his blood. The glossy
black of his plumage, the dazzling white of the snow, and the red
blood, formed a combination of colours which delighted the eyes of the
prince. The impression did not pass away from his memory; the colours
seemed perpetually to float before his eyes, and at length he
conceived in his heart an intense desire to possess a wife who should
be as rosy as that blood, as white as that snow, and have hair as
black as the plumage of that raven.

One day as he sat profoundly musing on the object of his desires, a
voice said to him: - "My prince, go travel into Marvel-land, and there
in the centre of an immense forest you will find an apple-tree,
bearing larger and fairer fruit than you have ever yet beheld; pluck
three of the apples, but forbear to open them until you shall be again
at home; they will present you with a bride exactly such as you
covet."

Marvel-land was very remote from the prince's home, and very difficult
of access, but nothing could deter him from undertaking the journey.
He started forthwith, travelled over land and sea, and searched the
forest with the utmost diligence, till at length he found the tree. He
broke off three fine apples, and as, in the first transports of his
joy, he could not resist the curiosity which urged him, he opened one
of them on the spot. A lovely maiden came out of it so enchantingly
fair, and so exactly corresponding to the image he had formed, that he
was lost in admiration. But the maiden, so far from being well
disposed towards him, gazed on him with looks of scorn, and bitterly
reproaching him for having carried her off, vanished from his sight.

This great disappointment might naturally have reduced him to despair;
but as he was of a disposition to be easily consoled, he soon
comforted himself with the trust that the two remaining apples would
give him compensation for his loss. Full of this sweet hope, he
resolved not to open them until he should reach his own country. But
even the saddest experience does not always suffice to enable us to
resist temptation. The prince's impatience was stronger than his
reason, and a second time he yielded to his desire of opening one of
the remaining apples.

He was at that time on the sea, and as there is very little amusement
to be had during a voyage on that element, perhaps very few persons
would have acted otherwise than he did. He persuaded himself that if
he caused the whole of the deck to be covered with an awning, the fair
one could not escape him. He therefore opened the second apple, and as
before, a maiden of unequalled beauty stood before him; she manifested
the same displeasure as the former one, and notwithstanding the
precautions he had taken, disappeared in like manner. But even these
two experiences barely sufficed to render the prince prudent.

At length however he reached his native country, and on opening the
remaining apple, a third maiden as lovely as the others, but far more
gentle, appeared. He immediately married her, and they were the
happiest couple in the world.

After a time he was obliged to go out to war against a neighbouring
potentate, and thus to quit his beloved. The queen-mother, in whose
power the young bride now found herself, had never approved the
marriage. She caused her daughter-in-law to be murdered in a barbarous
manner, flung the corpse into the moat that surrounded the castle, and
to complete her guilty deed, she substituted for the unhappy queen a
person who was entirely devoted to herself.

When the prince returned he was greatly astonished to find a wife so
different from the one he had left. But the queen his mother assured
him confidently that the person she presented to him was his wife. She
did not attempt to deny the great alteration in her appearance, but
she ascribed the transformation to the effect of magic.

In truth, the mode by which the prince had obtained his wife did give
some appearance of probability to the queen's assertion, and at all
events, whether from softness of disposition, or absence of distrust,
the prince believed what he was told. But all was unavailing to make
him forget his first passion. Night and day he mused upon the past,
and would pass whole hours leaning against the window of his palace.

One day as he was thus musing in deep melancholy, he perceived in the
castle moat a fish whose shining scales were red, white, and black. He
was so struck by the sight that he never withdrew his eyes from the
fish. The old queen, who considered this extraordinary attention to
the fish as a consequence of his early passion, resolved to destroy
every object that might tend to recall it to his memory. She therefore
commanded the false princess to feign the most vehement longing to eat
the very fish which had so attracted her husband's attention. He could
not deny a request which in the opinion of all others was so innocent.
The fish was caught, served at the table of the supposed princess, and
the prince relapsed into his usual melancholy.

Not very long after he was comforted by the appearance of a tree which
was red, white, and black. The tree was of an unknown genus, no one
had planted it, nor sown any seed; it had suddenly grown up on the
spot where the scales of the fish had been thrown away.

This fair tree gave the prince great pleasure and the queen equal
displeasure; she at once resolved on its destruction in spite of the
sad prince's remonstrances. It was uprooted and burnt; but from its
ashes suddenly arose a magnificent palace constructed of red rubies,
white pearls, and black ebony. The three colours which the prince so
loved, produced now an enchanting effect. Long did he endeavour in
vain to enter that fair palace; the gates remained fast closed, and at
last he contented himself with incessantly contemplating it, and
passed day after day in this occupation which recalled to him the
object of his wishes.

His constancy was at last rewarded; the gates flew open; he entered
the palace, and after traversing numerous apartments, he found in a
small chamber his first wife whom he had so tenderly loved, and whose
memory was so dear to him. She reproached him for having by his
yielding disposition caused her so much suffering, but at the same
time testified the vivid joy which she felt as she perceived that he
was so deserving of the forgiveness she bestowed on him.

The happiness of the re-united pair was not again disturbed, and they
lived together perfectly satisfied with their destiny.




THE TWELVE LOST PRINCESSES AND THE WIZARD KING.

[African.]


Once upon a time there lived a king who had twelve daughters, whom he
loved so tenderly that he could not bear that they should be out of
his presence, except when he was sleeping in the afternoon, and then
they always took a walk. On one occasion, it happened that whilst the
king was enjoying his afternoon's nap, the princesses went out as
usual, but they did not return home. This threw all the inhabitants of
the country into the greatest trouble and affliction, but the king was
still more grieved than any of his subjects. He sent messengers to
every corner of his kingdom, and into all the foreign lands he had
ever heard mentioned, causing search to be made for his daughters; but
no tidings could he get of them.

So, after a time, it became quite clear to everybody that they had
been carried off by some wizard. The report of this soon spread from
city to city, and from country to country, till at last it reached the
ears of another king, who lived far, far away, and this king happened
to have twelve sons. When the twelve princes heard the marvellous tale
about the twelve princesses, they begged their father to permit them
to travel in search of the missing royal maidens. The old king,
however, for a long time would not hear of any such thing, for he
feared that he might never see his sons again; but they threw
themselves at his feet, and besought him so long and earnestly that at
last he yielded, and gave them leave to set out on their travels. He
caused a vessel to be equipped for them, and gave the charge of it to
one of his courtiers, called Commander Rod. Long, long did they sail,
and whenever they touched on the coast of any country, they made every
inquiry about the princesses, but could not discover the least trace
of them.

They had nearly completed the seventh year since they first set sail,
when a violent storm arose. It blew such a gale that they thought they
never should reach the shore; but on the third day the tempest
subsided, and suddenly it became quite calm. All on board were now so
fatigued by the hard work they had done during the tempest that they
all went to sleep at once, excepting only the youngest prince, who
became very restless, and could not sleep at all. Now whilst he was
pacing the deck, the vessel neared an island, and on the shore was a
little dog running backwards and forwards, and howling and barking
towards the ship as if it wanted to be taken on board. The king's son
whistled to it, and tried to entice it to him, but it seemed afraid to
leave the shore, and only barked and howled louder still. The prince
thought it would be a sin to leave the poor dog to perish, for he
supposed it had escaped there from some ship that had foundered during
the storm. He therefore set to work to lower the boat, and after
having rowed to the shore, he went towards the little dog, but
whenever he was about to lay hold of it, it sprang from him, and so
lured him onward, till at last he found himself unexpectedly in the
court of a great and magnificent castle, when the little dog suddenly
changed into a beautiful princess.

The prince then noticed, sitting on the beach, a man so gigantic and
frightful that he was quite alarmed. "You have no cause for
uneasiness," said the man; but when the prince heard his voice he was
more frightened still.

"I know very well what you want; you are one of the twelve princes who
are in search of the twelve lost princesses. I know also where they
are. They are beside my master, each sitting on her own chair, and
combing the hair of one of his heads, for he has twelve. You have now
been sailing about for seven years, and you have to sail for seven
years more before you will find them. As to what concerns yourself,
individually, you should be welcome to remain here and marry my
daughter, but you must first kill my master, for he is very harsh to
us, and we have long been quite tired of him: and when he is dead I
shall be king in his place. Try now if you can wield this sword," said
the wizard, for such he was.

The prince tried to grasp a rusty sword which hung against the wall,
but could not stir it from the spot.

"Well, then you must take a draught out of this flask," said the
wizard.

The prince did so, and was then able to unhang the sword from the
wall; after a second draught he could raise it, and the third enabled
him to wield it with as much ease as his own.

"When you return on board the vessel," said the wizard prince, "you
must conceal the sword in your hammock, so that Commander Rod may not
see it. He cannot wield it, I know, but he will hate you on that
account, and try to kill you. When seven more years all but three days
shall have passed away," he continued, "the same that has befallen you
now will again occur: a violent gale will arise, with storm and hail,
and when it is over, all will be again fatigued, and lie down in their
hammocks. You must then take the sword, and row to land. You will
arrive at a castle guarded by wolves, bears, and lions, but you need
not fear them; they will crawl at your feet. As soon as you enter the
castle, you will see the giant sitting in a splendidly adorned


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Online LibraryAnthony R. (Anthony Reubens) MontalbaFairy tales from all nations → online text (page 11 of 19)