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YASHPEH
International Folktales Collection

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Story No. 72


It all comes to Light

Book Name:

Gypsy Folk Tales

Tradition: Gypsy, Roumania, Bukovina, Ukraine

There was a man with as many children as ants in an anthill. And three of the girls went to reap corn, and the emperor's son came by. And the eldest girl said, 'If the emperor's son will marry me, I will clothe his whole army with one spindleful of thread.' And the middle girl said, 'I will feed his army with a single loaf.' And the youngest girl said, 'If he will marry me, I will bear him twins clever and good, with hair of gold and teeth like pearls.'

His servant heard them. 'Emperor, the eldest girl said, if you will marry her, she will clothe your army with one spindleful of thread; the middle girl said, if you will marry her, she will feed your army with a single loaf; the youngest girl said, if you will marry her, she will bear you twins clever and good, with golden hair.'

'Turn back,' he cried, 'take the youngest girl, put her in the carriage.'

He brought her home; he lived with her half a year; and they summoned him to the army to fight. He remained a year at the war. His empress brought forth two sons. The servant took them, and flung them into the pigstye; and she put two whelps by the mother.

At evening the pigs came home, and the eldest sow cried, 'Hah! here are our master's sons; quick, give them the teat to suck, and keep them warm.'

The pigs went forth to the field. The servant came, saw that the boys are well, not dead; she flung them into the stable. At evening the horses came home, and the eldest mare cried, 'Hah! here are our master's sons; quick, give them the teat to suck.'

In the morning the horses went forth to the field. The servant took them, and buried them in the dunghill. And two golden fir-trees grew.

The emperor came from the war. The servant went to meet him. 'Emperor, the empress has borne you a couple of whelps.'

The emperor buried the empress behind the door up to the waist, and set the two whelps to suck her. He married the servant. This servant said to the emperor, 'Fell these fir-trees, and make me a bed.'

'Fell them I will not; they are of exquisite beauty.'

'If you don't, I shall die.'

The emperor set men to work, and felled the firs, and gathered all the chips, and burned them with fire. He made a bed of the two planks, and slept with his new empress in the bed.

And the elder boy said, 'Brother, do you feel it heavy, brother?'

'No, I don't feel it heavy, for my father is sleeping on me; but you, do you feel it heavy, brother?'

'I do, for my stepmother is sleeping on me.'

She heard, she arose in the morning. 'Emperor, chop up this bed, and put it in the fire, that it be burnt.'

'Burn it I will not.'

'But you must put it in the fire, else I shall die.'

The emperor bade them put it in the fire. She bade them block up the chimney, that not a spark should escape. But two sparks escaped, and fell on a couple of lambs: the lambs became golden. She saw, and commanded the servants to kill the lambs. She gave the servants the chitterlings to wash them, and gave the chitterlings numbered. They were washing them in the stream; two of the chitterlings fell into the water. They cut two chitterlings in half, and added them to the number, and came home. From those two chitterlings which fell into the water came two doves; and they turned a somersault, [See footnote 2 on p. 16. Dá pes pe sherésti, lit. gave, or threw, herself on her head. In Gypsy stories this undignified proceeding almost invariably precedes every transformation. Cf. 'The Red King and the Witch,' 'The Snake who became the King's Son-in-law,' 'Tropsyn,' etc] and became boys. And they went to a certain lady. This lady was a widow, and she took the boys in, and brought them up seven years, and clothed them.

And the emperor made proclamation in the land that they should gather to him to a ball. All Bukowina assembled. They ate and drank. The emperor said, 'Guess what I have suffered.' Nobody guessed. These two boys also went, and sat at the gate. The emperor saw them. 'Call also these two boys.'

They called them to the emperor. 'What are you come for, boys?'

'We came, emperor, to guess.'

'Well, guess away.'

There was a man with children as many as ants in an anthill. And three of the girls went to reap corn, and the emperor's son came by. And the eldest girl said, "If this lad will marry me, I will clothe his army with one spindleful of thread." The middle girl said, "If he will marry me, I will feed his army with a single loaf." The youngest girl said, "If this emperor's son will marry me, I will bear him twins clever and good, with hair of gold and teeth like pearls." His servant said to the emperor, "Emperor, the eldest girl said that, if you will marry her, she will clothe your army with one spindleful of thread; and the middle girl said, if you will marry her, she will feed your army with a single loaf; and the youngest girl said, if you will marry her, she will bear you twins clever and good, with hair of gold and teeth like pearls." Come forth, pearl [The meaning of these three words is obscure. According to Miklosich, they are a magic formula with which the boy summons the empress from her grave behind the door. Or, perhaps, at this point the boy shows his pearly teeth]. The emperor lived with her half a year, and departed to war, and remained a year. The empress brought forth two sons. The servant took them, flung them into the pigstye, and put two whelps by her. At evening the pigs came home, and the eldest sow cried, "Hah! here are our master's sons; you must give them the teat." In the morning the pigs went forth to the field. The servant came, saw that they are well, flung them into the stable. At evening the horses came; the eldest horse cried, "Hah! here are our master's sons; you must give them the teat." In the morning the horses went forth to the field. She came and saw that they are well. She buried them in the horses' dunghill, and two golden fir-trees grew. The emperor came from the army. The servant went to meet him. "Emperor, the empress has borne a couple of whelps." The emperor buried her behind the door, and set the two whelps to suck. The emperor married the servant. The new empress said, "Fell the fir-trees, and make a bed." "Fell them I will not, for they are beautiful." "If you don't fell them, I shall die." The emperor commanded, and they felled them, and he gathered all the chips and flung them in the fire, and he made a bed. And the emperor was sleeping in the bed with the servant. And the elder brother said, "Do you feel it heavy, brother?" "No, I don't feel it heavy, for my true father is sleeping on me; but do you feel it heavy, brother?" "I do, for my stepmother is sleeping on me." She heard, she arose in the morning. "Emperor, chop up this bed, and put it in the fire." "Chop it up I will not, for it is fair." "If you don't, I shall die." The emperor commanded, and chopped up the bed, and they put it in the fire; and she told them to block up the chimney. But two sparks jumped out on two lambs, and the lambs became golden. She saw, and commanded the servants to kill them, and gave the chitterlings to two girls to wash. And two chitterlings escaped, and they cut two chitterlings, and made up the proper number. From those chitterlings .came two doves; and they turned a somersault, and became two boys. And they went to a certain widow lady, and she took them in, and brought them up seven years. The emperor gathered Bukowina to a ball, and they ate and drank. The emperor told them to guess what he had suffered. Nobody guessed, but I have. And if you believe not, we are your sons, and our mother is buried behind the door.'

Then came his mother into the hall. 'Good-day to you, my sons.'

'Thank you, mother.'

And they took that servant, and bound her to a wild horse, and gave him his head, and he smashed her to pieces.

Comments:

Dr. Barbu Constantinescu furnishes this Roumanian-Gypsy variant: – No. 18. – 'The Golden Children'.

Abstract:

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