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Martin's Eve

Once tomcat Braunz went to a feast in November. It was the feast of Saint Martin's Eve.

Tomcat Braunz thought to himself as he went that if he were to meet somebody, they could make company. Then the time would not pass so slowly.

Suddenly a dog appeared. "Tomcat Braunz," said he, "where are you going?"

"To Martinmas."

"Let me go with you."

"Very well." So they went on together.

"Look over there," said the dog after a while, "there goes Mother Goose."

Just so; and soon she came up to them. "Where are you two going?"

"To Martinmas."

"Let me go with you."

"Very well."

When they had gone some way, an ox, a cock, and a pig joined them. Then they came into a great forest, and had not gone far before tomcat Braunz said, "Listen, I don't know where we are. We have lost our way. Let us turn back." So they turned back, but could not find the way they had come by. At last they were all so tired that they lay down on the ground.

Suddenly the ox saw a light quite far off. Tomcat Braunz said, "I can climb up a high tree and find out where the light is." This he did; and when he came down, they all set out towards the light. It became larger and larger, and finally they saw a house lighted up from top to bottom. The windows were all open. In slipped the cock and took a peep, and when he came back, he said he had seen thieves counting money through the whole house.

"Wait," said the ox, "I will manage it. First I will leap in at the window. They will all be frightened, and run away and leave us the money. When they are gone, you jump in after me. The ox went to the window and leaped plump in. Then the thieves left everything as it was, and fled.

The animals seized the money and divided it, and then prepared to sleep. Thinking the thieves might come during the night for their booty, the dog said, "I will lie by the door." Tomcat Braunz said he would lie before the hearth-fire. The ox lay on a straw-heap, the goose got on a table, the pig lay in the yard, and the cock perched on the roof.

The thieves did come back that night. The dog at the door gave them a bite. Then they tried to strike a light at the fire, but tomcat Braunz scratched their faces. And when they were trying to take the money from the table, the goose gave their fingers a good nipping. At last they got out by the door and tried to run through the yard. Then they tumbled down over the pig, and the ox gored them with his long horns.

The cock cried from the roof, "Why don't you take the money with you?"

The thieves ran away, covered with blood, leaving their booty behind. Next day the beasts took it with them and lived right merrily.

* Martinmas, November 11, is the feast day of Martin of Tours (born 316 or 336, dead 397). Martin was first a soldier in the Roman army, and then became a monk. The most famous legend about him was that when he still was in the army and stationed in Gaul (in today's France), in a vision he once cut his cloak in half to share with a scantily clad beggar outside the gates of the city of Amiens during a snowstorm.

According to legend, after being a soldier, Martin became a hermit, and was later called to become a bishop. He was reluctant to become one, and hid in a stable filled with geese - about the worst place to hide if you really mean to - The noise made by the geese led the the people who were looking for him to him.

His saint-attributes (Church-established signs to know him in pictures) thus are: a man on horseback sharing his cloak with a beggar; a man cutting cloak in half; and a goose (especially in English art). Attributes of Catholic saints relate to stories told of him.

On the feast day of St. Martin, the traditional food eaten is goose. On that day, children in Austria, the Catholic areas of Germany, in Flanders, and the southern and north-western parts of the Netherlands participate in paper lantern processions. Often, a man dressed as St. Martin rides on a horse in front of the procession. The children sing songs about St. Martin and about their lanterns. Or children go to houses with paper lanterns and candles, and sing songs about St. Martin in return for treats. (More: Wikipedia, "St. Martin's Day")


Sweet Porridge

There was a poor but good little girl who lived alone with her mother. They no longer had anything to eat, so the child went into the forest in the hope of finding some. There she met with an aged woman who felt for the hungry child, and gave her a little pot. The woman said, "When you tell the pot, 'Cook, little pot, cook,' it will cook good, sweet porridge, and when you say, 'Stop, little pot,' it will stop cooking."

The girl took the pot home to her mother and set it to work. Now they were freed from poverty and hunger and had sweet porridge as often as they chose.

Once when the girl had gone out, her mother said, "Cook, little pot, cook' all by herself.The pot cooked porridge for her and she ate till she was satisfied, but when she wanted the pot to stop cooking, she did not know the words to say. So the pot kept on cooking and the porridge rose over the edge of the pot, and still it cooked on, until the kitchen and whole house were full. Then the porridge streamed to the house next door, and then the whole street. There was the greatest distress, for no one around knew how to stop the pot but the little girl, and she was not around.

At last, when only one single house remained, the child came home. She said, "Stop, little pot," and it stopped cooking. All who wished to go back to the town had to eat their way back.



Once there was a king who wished to marry and had decided to take none other to wife than one who had jet black hair and eyes. Whether she were high or low born did not matter to him. So he had proclaimed through the land that all maidens with these qualifications should appear before him.

Many announced themselves, but some were not as black as the king desired, and others wore false hair; in short, there was something lacking in everyone.

A charcoal-burner now came with his daughter. As she noticed the throng before the king's palace, she asked her father what it meant. He answered that the king desired to marry a maiden with black hair and black eyes, but none so far were just as the king desired.

The charcoal-burner's daughter had both. So she said to her father, "May I go?"

But he answered, "I think you are stupid to think the king will take you to wife."

She said that she only wanted to go that she might see a little of the castle. Her father gave her leave to go, and she went. On the way she met a little man who called to her, "Ho! maiden; what will you give me if you become queen?"

"Why, my little man, what can I give you? I have nothing, she replied.

Then began the dwarf again, "You will be queen, but you must know at the end of three years that my name is Kruzimügeli; if not, you are mine."

"Well, if that is all, I will attend to it," she said, and ran to the castle, without thinking any more of the dwarf who rubbed his hands with glee as he looked after her.

When the king looked on the maiden, he resolved at once to make her his queen, for her hair shone and her eyes sparkled with blackness. So the wedding took place, and they lived very happily. She had almost forgotten that the three years were drawing to a close, and oh! horror! she had forgotten the name of the dwarf! She got depressed and wept the whole day. The king who loved her dearly, caused celebrations to be held to amuse her, but all in vain. If he asked why she was so sad, she always answered she could not tell him.

One day the king's forester went into the forest for game for the royal table. Deep in the forest he saw a dwarf who had made a fire, and who was leaping about it with malicious joy, singing,

She does not know - oh, what jollity!
My name is Kruzimügeli."
The huntsman heard this and went home. He met the queen in the castle garden where she was walking, plunged in grief. He at once told her of the adventure in the forest, and when she heard the name Kruzimugelli she was almost beside herself for joy, for next day was the last of the third year, and the dwarf would come to ask the queen his name.

Next day he came and asked the queen, "Now, queen, do you know my name? You have only three guesses, and if you do not guess right, you belong to me."

The queen answered, " It seems to me it is Steffel."

When the dwarf heard this he leaped for joy, and cried with all his might, "Missed!"

Then the queen said, "Then it is Beitle."

Again he made a bound, and cried again, "Missed!"

Then the queen said quite carelessly, "Then it is Kruzimügeli."

When he heard this, he burst, without a word, through the wall into the open air. All endeavours to close up the hole made in the wall proved fruitless.

The queen lived with her consort long and happily.



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