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The Little Old Man's Goddaughter

There was a couple who had so many children that there was no man left in that part of the country to be godfather. Then another child was born to them. The father, not knowing who else he could ask to be godfather, went out to walk along the high road. There he met a little old man who was poorly dressed.

When the little pauper saw the man he asked him: "What are you doing here?"

The man answered, much distressed: "I have had so many children that now I cannot find any one to stand godfather to my youngest child."

The old man said: "Well, then, I shall be the child's godfather. You shall name the child Peter. When the child becomes seven years, you must bring it here to this spot."

The little old man then gave him a purse with money and departed.

The man returned home. He felt very happy and told his wife what had happened to him with the old man he had met on the road, and showed her the bag of money the little old man had given him. When the girl grew to be seven years old her father, who had become so rich, did not like to take the girl to the spot agreed on, but he had promised to do it, so he took her there. When he reached the place he found the godfather waiting for them. The godfather said to the man:

"Now go back home and leave her with me. I shall take care of her."

The man returned home without his daughter, while the little old man took the girl by a road where there was a pear-tree loaded with fruit. The old man asked the girl: "Do you see those pears?"

"I do," answered the girl.

"And do you like that sort of fruit?" asked the little old pauper.

"Yes, very much, godfather," answered the girl.

They went on further and passed grazing sheep in different kinds of pastures. They walked still further, and at a great distance they saw a great blaze and a dark column rising from it.

The little old man said to the girl: "Do you see that blaze? It is place for a thorough cleansing. Some bad persons and sent there for a long while, but wicked persons are sent to a hell.

The pears we saw earlier are good angels. They do not enter smoke and belching fire."

The girl stayed in the home of her godfather for seven years. He told her many things, and also to call on him whenever she should find herself in great trouble. "I hear so very, very well," he said. "And never dress as a woman," he added. He then sent her out in the world to do good.

The girl at once went to the king's palace and offered herself as a servant. One of the chamberlains went to inform the king of what she had asked for, and the king sent him to say that she might become a servant. They asked her what her name was. "It's Peter," she said.

Her duty at the palace was to tend the ducks. One night when Peter went to bed, the queen went into Peter's room. "It is such a pretty boy," she thought. But Peter ran away, and the queen felt vexed. So when she rose up next morning she threw a ring into the sea and then went to the king and said: "Do you know what has happened to me! I let fall a ring into the sea, and Peter says he is sure he can dive to the bottom and find it."

The king sent for Peter and said: "Oh! Peter, the queen has told me that you say you are able to dive to the bottom of the sea and search for the ring she let fall into the water this morning. Are you really able to do so?"

The poor girl Peter answered: "I suppose that if the queen says so, it is because I am able."

She then went to her room and began to cry bitterly, for she had not said such a thing, and she did not feel she could dive for it either. So she called: "Come to help me, godfather!"

The little fellow came at once and asked: "Why are you in tears?" The girl told him what had happened to her with the queen, and what her majesty had told the king out of revenge to try and disgrace her.

The little old man then said to her: "Very well, then. Tomorrow they will buy some fish. You must go and ask the servant that has as his duty to prepare and open the fish, to let you do it."

The girl did as her godfather told her to. Next day some fish was brought into the palace, and she asked the servant to let her to prepare the fish for the cook. She opened the fish's belly and there she found the ring. She took it to the queen and gave it to her. The queen felt very much annoyed at this, but made no remark, and kept her displeasure to herself.

Next day she again went into Peter's chamber, but Peter again ran out of the room. The queen feeling piqued and annoyed at this conduct, and again went to the king to make mischief, saying: "Do you know that Peter says that he is able to grind three quarters of wheat this evening?"

The king sent for Peter and said: "Oh! Peter, the queen has told me that you say that you are able to grind three quarters of wheat this night. Is it so?"

Peter answered: "If the queen says so, it must be because I can do it." Then Peter went to her room to grieve and call on her godfather again with closed eyes: "Oh, godfather, please come and help me again."

When she opened her eyes, the little old man stood in front of her. He asked. "What is the matter? Why do you weep?"

The girl told him about her troubl, and what had taken place. The little old man then said: "Here's what to do. Ask for the needed machine for grinding the wheat, take it to your room, and lie down to sleep. In the morning get up and look for the flour."

The girl did as he told her. She asked for the needed things to grind the wheat. She put everything in the room and laid down to sleep. When she arose next morning she found the flour already ground, and went with it to the king.

This med the queen still more annoyed and angry with Peter, but she remained silent and did not show how displeased she was. At night she again went into Peter's chamber, and Peter ran away as two nights before. Now, the king had a daughter who was spell-bound in Moirama. The queen came to remember this, went to the king and said to him: "Do you know that Peter says that he is able to disenchant our daughter in Moirama?"

On hearing this the king summoned Peter again and asked: "Oh! Peter, the queen informs me that you say you trust you can disenchant our beloved daughter who is in Moirama - can you really do so?"

Peter answered: "I suppose that if the queen says so it is because I can."

Peter returned to her room to have a good cry, for she thought that this would be impossible for her to accomplish. But she remembered her godfather and called with closed eyes: "Come and help me, godfather!"

When she opened her eyes, the litle old man stood before her and asked: "What is the matter now? Why are you grieving?"

The girl told him all the impossible things the queen had told the king out of spite.

The little old man answered: "Take these, three tubes. Ask to have two horses saddled for your journey, and travel on and on. Where your horses shall stop there you will find the princess waiting for you to come. On your return to the palace, look back, and you will find that the Moors are chasing you. Then is the time for your to throw the first tube. It they continue to pursue you throw the second. After that the third tube."

The girl did as she was told to. She asked the king to let her have two paddle-horses and started off, travelling until she arrived at a certain spot where the horses of their own accord suddenly stopped and refused to go any further. And there she found the princess waiting for her.

When Peter was returning to the palace with the princess she looked behind her and saw the Moors pursuing them. She had hardly seen them when she threw at them the first tube; and at once a great fog came on. The girl and the princess could see their way, but the Moors could barely see the road and follow them.

When they had left the land of Moirama the princess, who had been dumb, exclaimed "Ah!" Further on the girl again looked back and saw the Moors still pursuing them. She threw the second tube to them while they were in a mountain pass, and a thick bush grew up from one side of the pass to the other. It was almost impossible to get through it. The girl and the princess could ride on easily and quickly, but the Moors found it difficult to get a path through it.

When the two had reached halfway on their road home, the dumb princess exclaimed "Ah!" a second time.

Further on the girl again looked behind her and saw the Moors were still behind. She threw out the third tube and a sea was formed behind the girls. This time the Moors found it impossible to follow the fugitives.

When the girl and the princess came to the palace, the princess exclaimed "Ah!" for the third time.

When the queen saw her daughter she got strangely angry and went to the king to say that Peter said he could give speech to the princess, who was dumb. The king called up Peter and asked if it was true.

The girl answered as before, that if the queen had said so it was because she could do so. But she went to her room to weep, and while still weeping she called out to her godfather with closed eyes: "Oh, godfather, come to my help."

When she opened her eyes he was there and asked her: "Why are you weeping?"

The girl told him everything, and he told her what to do.

The girl went up to the king and told him that if he chose to put her to death, the princess might speak.

The queen was delighted to hear her say this, and it was decided that Peter should be hung. When the rope was already round her neck, she asked leave in the presence of all the court assembled in front of the scaffold to publish three things to the world.

The king gave the desired permission and she then asked the princess:

"Anna Deladana, why did you exclaim 'Ah!' as we left Moirama?"

The princess answered: "Because my mother went to seek for you in your bed."

The girl again asked: "Anna Deladana, why did you exclaim 'Ah!' a second time when halfway home?"

The princess answered: "Because the little old man is quite a godfather!"

The girl again asked: "Anna Deladana, why did you utter 'Ah!' as we entered the palace?"

The princess answered: "Because you are a woman and they believe you are a man!"

The king then saw that Peter was a girl and his queen was false and wicked, and ordered Peter to be taken down from the scaffold. Then he had his queen put there instead, for all her evil scheming. And very soon he married the girl named Peter.



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