Site Map
Austrian Folktales
Section › 30 Set Search Previous Next

Reservations Contents  

The Tailor and the Hunter

A tailor who was weary of his occupation, wandered off into the world. After waling a whole day he came into a dark forest. There he here heard someone singing. He went closer and saw a hunter sitting by a tree and singing to himself a little song.

The tailor asked the hunter why he sat here idle in the forest instead of attending to his business.

"I am tired of it," said the hunter; "'it would be better for me if I could go in search of adventures."

Rejoiced at these words, the tailor invited the hunter to keep him company. The hunter agreed and the two roamed through the forest. But night surprised them before they could get out of the forest, and therefore they had to pass the night where they were.

Both got into a high tree and slept till the break of day. Then they woke up and went on again with new strength. After a long march through the forest, talking with one another, they were suddenly disturbed by loud laughter. Looking up, they saw a few steps before them a little man who beckoned to them with his finger to follow.

They did so, and soon stood before a very strong castle. The little man knocked with a little rod at the great iron gate, and it opened. The little man pointed to a door in the court and vanished. The tailor thought that the little man meant by this to point out that they were to go through that door. So he took the hunter by the hand and led him through the door. It opened into a kitchen with a small hearth on the left and on the right another door. Through this they went into a roomy apartment that contained two beds, a table, and two chairs. All this seemed as if made ready for them. The hunter was bold and spirited, but the tailor was not. He was more prudent than brae, and thought the best plan would be for only one to go to bed by night, and for the other to keep watch. He felt there was something uncanny in this castle ever since the little man had vanished.

The first night the tailor kept watch. He placed a stool by the hearth in the kitchen and warmed himself, for it was late in autumn and cold. The hunter had meanwhile laid himself down in one of the beds that were in the room and was sleeping soundly, when the hour of midnight approached. Then softly the door opened and a dwarf clad in green came in. He went to the hearth, held his hands over the fire and looked at the tailor with a sorrowful glance. When the tailor saw this, he put a piece of wood on the fire, thinking in this way he had done something that could please the little man. And in fact the dwarf was rejoiced, for he clapped the tailor on the shoulder and then left with a cheerful look.

Soon after the hunter woke up, for it was daybreak. As he sat up in bed to call the tailor from his watch, he saw on the table a number of dishes. Highly delighted, he jumped out of bed and fetched the tailor. In wonder they fell to; and the food was delicious, for they were hungry. After the meal they entertained one another for some time with their journey and the adventures that were still in store for them.

As night came on, the hunter prepared to take his turn at watching.

Full of fears the tailor went to bed while the hunter fearlessly went into the kitchen and made up a capital fire on the hearth. This night again came the little man and was going to warm himself, but there was no good-natured tailor this time. The hunter, a rough, thoughtless fellow, was not a bit pleased that so little a sprig should dare to warm himself at his fire. So he took a stick of wood and struck the poor little man's fingers smartly with it. Enraged at this rudeness and hard-heartedness, the little man departed, saying, "you shall regret it!" in a threatening tone.

The tailor had said nothing to the hunter about what had happened the night before, for he wished to wait for the watch-night of the hunter to see whether he too would get such a visit. When the hunter told him of the matter, the tailor told his own story and reproached the hunter for having been so rough and rude.

When evening came, he went to watch with still greater fear than the first time. At the regular hour the little man again appeared and warmed himself. The tailor wished to make up for the ill behaviour of the hunter, so he put several pieces of wood on instead of one. The little man was evidently rejoiced at this, took a ring from his finger and put it on the finger of the tailor, saying, "Would you have any wish fulfilled, you have only to turn the ring on your finger and I will be at once at your service." Then the dwarf bowed and vanished.

In the morning the tailor told the hunter again what had occurred, except that he kept silent about the ring. The hunter only laughed at him and said, "You are a soft fellow; wait a bit and I'll tackle the little one."

The tailor warned him against it; for he had the firm conviction that they were in a dwarfs castle and thought that if they behaved rudely, they would fare ill in the future. So he tried to stir up the hunter to a hasty flight. That was possible, for the tailor had the magical ring. But the hunter wanted to give the poor dwarf a beating once more, in case he should venture into the kitchen again.

The hunter went to his watch; the tailor lay restlessly in bed and could not sleep, for he thought of the flogging they would soon get. At the regular hour the little man came as before and was about to warm himself. The hunter did as he had resolved and struck with all his might on the back of the little one. But now the dwarf was not so patient and quiet as before; he raised a loud cry. At this the kitchen at once swarmed with dwarfs who all fell on the hunter and gave him a long and sound thrashing, till at last he rushed through the door into the open air. The tailor had leapt out of bed and happily reached the open air without a blow.

The two ran a long stretch before they could trust themselves to stand still to take breath. Now for the first time the hunter felt the pain of the wounds inflicted on him by the dwarfs. But he could not help laughing at the tailor, for the latter stood before him stripped to his shirt and stockings; for in his haste he had forgotten to put on his clothes and had run away straight from his bed. But now it occurred to him that he had the magical ring. Turning it, in an instant two dwarfs stood before him, and they had brought with them his garments. The tailor took them and put them on. Meanwhile the two dwarfs disappeared.

The hunter was almost beside himself with astonishment and thought the tailor had made a secret treaty with the dwarfs. From this time he became more and more distrustful towards the tailor and sought to get rid of him.

They had gone another long stretch, when they came to a tree and sat down to rest from their toils and troubles. They were tormented by hunger and a well-spread table would not have been out of place there. The tailor, always thinking of his ring, turned it and at once a great gulf yawned before them in the earth. Out of this cleft came first four dwarfs with a table, which they placed before the two wanderers, then came seven dwarfs with dishes and after these seven, five more, bearing plates, vessels and chairs; and there was no want of wine. As the whole dwarf company had come, so did they vanish again.

This time the hunter was not astonished, so greatly was he tormented by hunger. Instead of wondering, he fell on the dishes and ate all that he could lay hands on. When they were both satisfied, the table with all its dishes and vessels disappeared.

And now for the first time it occurred to the hunter that the dishes and all the vessels had been brought by the dwarfs. He also called to mind the two dwarfs who had brought the tailor his clothes and he now believed even more firmly that the tailor was in league with the dwarfs, and his distrust continued to increase. But the good-humoured tailor noticed nothing of all this. It was remarkable that after he received the magic ring all fear had passed away from him and now his courage surpassed that of the hunter.

At last they came out of the forest and found a highroad which led them on and on till they came to a city. As they entered, they observed signs of sadness on the faces of the people. When they asked why, they were told the following story:

Once there ruled in the city a very hard-hearted king. His daughter was about to be married, and he gave orders that all the tailors of the city should one after the other make a fine and becoming one dress for his daughter according to the fancy of the king. If a tailor could do this, a great reward was offered him, but if not, he was to make ready to die.

The tailor thought to himself, "See, perhaps you may save the tailors of this city from their distress!" So saying, he went into the house of one of the tailors.

It so happened that this tailor was the very man who had had the task first imposed on him and as they went in they met only mourners, for the tailor was bound to bring the dress to the king on the following morning and should it not please him, he would no more return home to wife and child. When the two companions heard this, the wandering tailor promised to deliver his distressed fellow-craftsman. So he asked fur the material, but this had already been cut by the tailor in pieces and (he deliverance now seemed to be impossible. But our friend, the journeyman, took the material, thinking that did not matter and went with the hunter into the room intended for them. In the evening the journeyman laid the cloth on the table and then turned his ring with the wish that the dwarfs, white the tailor was sleeping with his family, should come along and make up the dress. He then lay down to sleep.

About twelve o'clock at night he woke up and already two dwarfs stood by his bedside who handed to him the finished garment. The journeyman rose and handed over the garment to the tailor who went with it trembling to the king. The princess put it on and it fitted so well that hardly no other tailor could have made it better. The tailor got the promised reward, and ran home joyously. But here he no longer found the two wanderers, for they had journeyed on while the tailor was with the king.

Greatly did our friend the journeyman rejoice in the thought that he had made the tailor happy and perhaps had saved many from death. But the hunter was still more jealous of the tailor than before.

Again they had gone a long way, when they came to a large, beautiful meadow. In the middle of it lay a monstrous stone. They went up to examine what might be under the stone. But how could they bring away the stone? They did not manage to roll it over and move it in any other way. But the tailor turned his ring and at once the stone rolled from its position and they saw a great hollow in the earth. As they were both very curious, they wanted to know what could possibly be in this hollow. So they agreed that one of them should be let down by the other. The hunter wove ropes out of straw and bound them together into a fresh rope that should serve for lowering. First the hunter let down the tailor.

Down there the tailor thought he had entered a new world; the beauty that reigned there surpassed all that he had ever seen. He went through a lovely garden and came to a castle. As he stood looking on in wonder, three princesses came out of it. They were sisters and had been carried off by a dragon. So they had come into this castle, and their friends did not have an idea of where they were. Daily the dragon flew away, and when he came back they had to wait on him in the garden. Then he lay on their bosom and they had to stroke his back while he was fast asleep. The father of the princesses had promised the hand of his youngest daughter and his kingdom to the man who freed his daughters.

All three now greeted the tailor and asked him whether he would deliver them. He would have to fight the dragon, they added. The tailor agreed. The princesses gave him a sword and bade him wait behind a bush till the dragon came there, while the princesses sat down on a bank.

It was not long before the tailor heard a roaring and flames sparkling in the air. The dragon came snorting into the garden and lay down on the bosoms of the princesses. While they stroked him, he fell asleep.

Then the tailor came forth with the sword and thrust it into the neck of the dragon, thus slaying him and delivering the princesses. Quickly the tailor brought the princesses to the opening, and called to the hunter to draw up the princesses first, and then himself. The hunter did so; but when he had drawn the tailor half-way up, he cut the rope and the tailor fell back again.

The tailor had forgotten his ring for a while, and therefore had to remain for some time in the cavern. Meanwhile his false comrade had gone with the princesses to the king and had given himself out as their deliverer.

Soon the wedding day was at hand. But by then the tailor had recalled his ring. He turned it and in a moment hundreds of dwarfs were busy building a flight of stairs to lead to the opening of the hollow. When this was ready, the tailor went up and this escaped. Now he turned the ring with the wish that a dwarf might come and show him the way to the king. A dwarf appeared at once and led him to the king. In front of the king the tailor maintained that he was the one who had saved the princesses, and the princesses confirmed it. The hunter was then given a casket of gold, but banished from the land. The tailor married a daughter of the king and ruled happily and wisely over his subjects. Whether he is still alive I cannot tell.

The Little Tailor

Once there was a poor day-labourer who, with his wife and three children, found it hard to make both ends meet. When the eldest son was fourteen years old, he was apprenticed to a locksmith; and the next in like manner. But when the turn came to the youngest, Hans, he was much too weak to learn a trade, and was therefore made to take care of his father's geese.

One day there came an old wife to the labourer's cottage. She was a witch or sorceress; and knowing this, the mother asked her what they were to do with little Hansel. The old woman said, "Why, let him be a tailor; that's a trade which has a gold mine in it. And do you know what? There's a little thimble for you; give it to Hans. Very well; and now, God bless you!"

Saying this, she gave the mother a little thimble, and the mother handed this over to Hans who was just returning from his geese-keeping. He thanked the old wife heartily, and she, pleased with his great gratitude, gave him a pair of scissors into the bargain, and bade him never work with another thimble or pair of scissors than her own.

Next week Hans went to a tailor in the village. Having the enchanted thimble, he could soon sew better than any tailor had ever been able to sew before. Then he had to learn to cut out; and he succeeded equally well with his magic scissors, and so his apprenticeship was soon declared to be finished.

He now went to the next town, but there no one would take him because he was so small; for he looked like a boy of only six years old. At last he found work with a tailor's widow. For his cleverness she soon made him foreman over her ten workmen. They were almost ready to burst with envy, for they were much older and had already been a long time in the widow's service. So they said to one another, "We must play this yellow beak (young bird) a trick; we can't put up with it that the little chap should be our foreman."

They had noticed that Hans never used any scissors but his own, and they resolved therefore to take his scissors from him and use them themselves. No sooner said than done. One of the journeymen took his scissors one day and cut out a coat with them. He soon saw the scissors went on and on, cutting of themselves, and how his hand followed after. But when he unfolded the coat, it was cut out for a hunchback, and one of the arms was half a meter longer than the other. Swearing and cursing, he flung the scissors away and consulted with his mates about accusing Hans of witchcraft.

But Hans got an inkling of it, and ran away.

When he had travelled for two days, he came to a town where all the people were clothed in meal sacks. He entered the gate of the town and was seized by a couple of men clothed in red flour-sacks and pushed into a house where there was a number of men clothed in black flour-sacks. One of them struck the table with his fist till it cracked, and cried out, "In what clothing did you come to this town, and who are you?" Hans replied, "I am a tailor; and as for my clothing, it is after the latest fashion."

"Ha! Unlucky one," cried the judge, for that the man was, "Don't you know that everyone who enters this town must put on a sack, and that for transgressing this law you must receive a hundred stripes? And don't you know that every tailor who enters this town must fight with a giant for the king's daughter?"

"No, how should I know?" said Hans, quite stupefied. "Ignorance is no excuse," answered the judge; "you must fight with the giant, but the flogging shall be remitted, for you will certainly come to an end in the battle with the giant."

"Good," thought Hans, "I am spared something." He was now led by two soldiers into a prison where he was to remain till the next day. The jailer felt grief for the poor little tailor, and stayed up with him the whole night chatting with him.

"I say," said Hans, "tell me, now, why do you go about in sacks, and why do you hate tailors so much? I can't understand why it is a crime to carry on the honourable trade of tailor."

"Now, said the jailer, "I'll tell you the whole story. Our queen was very vain, and this vanity went so far that she wore seven new dresses every day. Although this cost a fearful lot of money, it would not have mattered so much had not the luxurious habit passed on to the queen's daughter. But she carried it much further than her mother, for she did nothing all day but put her dresses off and on.

"At last the king's patience was at an end; he turned the queen out, shut up his daughter in a tower, and had her watched by a giant. Then he proclaimed it to be law that all the dwellers in the city should wear sacks, and drove the tailors, as the cause of his misfortune, out of his kingdom, and forbade them ever to return."

Next morning early, Hans went to the forest. He was accompanied by soldiers and police. When they came near enough to hear the giant snoring, the policemen left Hans and told him he was now to go straight forward. Suddenly the old wife who had given him the thimble stood before him, and said, "Here is a hedgehog and a bird, take care of both; you will find good use for them both." So saying, she disappeared.

Hans went on, till suddenly he heard the giant's voice, and saw his dreadful form appearing from behind a tree. "You wretched little manikin, will you measure yourself with me? See, now, which can send the bowl furthest, I or you; here is a bowling-green."

He took a bowl from the sack and sent it a long, long way. But Hans made his hedgehog run, and the hedgehog never stopped till he was ahead of the giant's bowl. Angrily the giant cried, "Very well, this time you won; but now come here. Do you see that this tower has fifteen floors? Now I will strike the last." He then threw his stone into the twelfth floor, telling, "Now, try your cast!"

Hans made his bird fly up, and it flew far away above the tower.

"You have won again; now we shall try who can leap highest," said the giant, and jumped over an oak.

"Good," said Hans; "now be so good as to bend down this poplar for me, that I may measure it."

The giant bent it, and Hans held fast to the top of it. "You can let go," he cried to the giant; "I know how long it is."

The giant let go, and Hans flew from the poplar over some trees which were higher than the oak that the giant had leapt over.

Then the giant cried, "You have saved your life and won the king's daughter besides!" Then he lifted Hans up, so that on the third floor he could see the princess through a window. Soon Hans entered there through the window.

Then Hans and the princess went to the king and told him that the giant had been conquered. The king abdicated in favour of Hans, and Hans lived with his queen many long years.

But what did the new king do with the magic things? With the scissors he cut good men out of bad, and with the thimble he sewed on his soldiers' chopped-off heads, arms, and feet, and all were then as fresh and well as before. And if you don't believe it, you don't have to.

Sepple with the Golden Hair

Once there was a poor peasant and his wife who had a son named Sepple. In course of time they became better off, and Sepple went to the town to buy a horse. When he came to the horse-market he found a rich lord there bought up all the finest horses, so that there were none left for Sepple. But the rich lord wanted a servant, and so he hired Sepple, who was a fine stout fellow.

Joyfully Sepple rode home with his master. Soon they came into a forest, so wild and gloomy that Sepple began to wish they might soon get out of it. The further they went, the darker it became. After two days' riding, suddenly they were at the end of the forest, and it was like a weight fallen from Sepple's neck when he saw their destination before them. In the middle of a beautiful pasture stood a splendid castle, and he had never set eyes on the like of it. When they went in, he was no longer surprised at the fine rooms and the fine things in them. Having looked at them all, he was led by his master into the stable and shown a fine white horse.

"Sepple," said the lord, "you have nothing to do but feed this horse every day. You shall have meat and drink and want nothing."

Sepple was well pleased, thinking nothing could suit him better. When the lord was gone, the white horse told Sepple to go into the court. There he would find a spring, and bring back a glass of water. Sepple went and brought back the water, and the horse took it and poured a little on Sepple's head. Suddenly his hair turned to gold.

Then Sepple leaped on the horse's back and rode away for home like the wind. When he got there, the white horse said he must not go to his father and mother, he must give him some of the water to sip. Sepple did so, and suddenly a beautify princess with long golden hair stood before him.

Sepple wedded her, and became a great king.

His father and mother, who had been in great fear about Sepple, he took to his castle, and the wicked wizard, who had bewitched the princess, was burned. Sepple prospered, and there was no better king than him.

For a Penny a Hundred

There was once a widow who had a son. She often sent him to church. There the boy once heard the words in the sermon: "Who gives something to the poor, God will return it back a hundredfold." At once the boy offered a small copper coin in the collection box and hoped every day that God would come to him to repay him a hundred copper coins.

But he waited in vain. At last he went to the priest and told him everything. The priest explained to him that the words were to be understood quite differently, but the boy was not satisfied with that explanation. To get rid of him, the priest gave him the advice that he should go out and seek the Almighty. He might meet him, and then God would repay him the hundred coins. The boy at once went home, packed up his bundle, bade farewell to his mother and walked away.

When it was evening, he saw a hut. He went in there and asked the peasant family for bread and a bed. They asked him where he was going.

"I seek the Almighty," he said.

The husband was surprised and promised him supper and bed if he would bring a greeting from him to the Almighty, and ask him why his apple tree, which had previously borne so much fruit, now had nothing. The boy promised to do so, and wandered off in the morning.

In the evening he came into a great city. In the middle of the city was the royal palace. He went in and asked to stay overnight and for bread once again, as he told why he was on his journey. The king was told about it, and called for the boy and finally gave him the task of asking the Lord why the water from the palace well, which used to be so pure and healthy, now was polluted and stinking. The boy promised this too and went on next morning, to heartfelt thanks.

In the evening he felt very, very tired. Luckily, he saw a monastery and went in. Again he asked for bread and a bed and told the gatekeeper who he was looking for. He reported it to the prior, and the prior gave him the job, in case he should meet the Almighty, to ask why there now was quarreling in the formerly peaceful monastery around noon every day.

The boy promised this too, and went on his way. But it had rained the whole night, and in the morning the rain poured down in torrents. The boy was already wet to the skin, when all of a sudden he saw a man with a big red umbrella before him. He hastened to overtake him, and begged that he might walk under the umbrella. This was permitted, and as they went the boy told the stranger why he had undertaken the journey. The stranger smilingly listened, and said to him,

"You may have far yet to go before you meet the Lord; but if you will follow me, turn round and say to that peasant: In former times the branches of the tree hung over the hedge, and the poor got much good from its fruit, but lately he has moved the hedge further up. Move the hedge back, and the tree will become fruitful again. But only say this to the peasant when he has promised you a hundred silver coins.

"Say to the king: Since he took the water of the brook from other men, it became so bad. Let him open the well to public use again, and the water will recover its former sweetness. But only say this when he has promised you a hundred florins for the explanation.

"And in the monastery say that the cook is the devil of dissension, and they must get rid of him as quickly as possible. But first the prior must pay out a hundred gold coins."

So saying, the stranger disappeared, and the boy turned back and did as the stranger had bidden him. And thus he gained more than a hundredfold reward.

Money talk

The Austrian Gulden (florin) was initially divided into 60 Kreuze. When the Gulden was decimalised in 1857, new coins were issued, and 100 Kreuzer amounted to 1 Gulden afterwards.

Generally speaking, copper coins were less worth than silver coins, and silver coins less worth than florins, which were less worth than "pure" gold coins.

The Enchanted Sleep

Once there lived a count that was very rich. One day he rode with his wife to the fields to view the crops. All were, to his great satisfaction, in good order, and the pair rode back home. On the way a great storm arose and drove so much dust into the count's eyes so that he could see nothing. He sent for the doctor to cure his eyes, but the doctor said he could not help him, for the dust had got too deeply into his eyes.

One day he learned that in the neighbouring land there was a spring which healed any sufferer who bathed in its waters.

The count had three sons, who were already tall fellows. When the eldest son heard of this he begged his father to let him seek the spring. The father gave him at once a fine horse, filled his pockets with money, and sent him off with his blessing.

In the evening the son came into a great forest where there was an inn, where black men were playing at cards. They invited him to join. He agreed, but lost all his money, and got into debt besides. The black men locked him up, and he had to serve them.

After a half-year the second brother set out, and he fared no better than the first.

A year had already elapsed, and the father waited in vain for his sons to return. He was troubled at this, and when the youngest noticed that, he begged for permission to go forth also. Much better provided than the other two, he set out with his father's blessing, came into the forest, and the inn where his two brothers remained. The black men invited him to play too, but he would not. There he passed the night, and set out early in the morning.

As he came out, he saw a number of men at work making a ditch round the inn. He was for riding on, when he saw a man among the labourers who looked very like his eldest brother. He spoke to him, and found that it was so. Then at the entreaty of his brother he paid their debts, and all were at liberty to go.

Three days and nights they rode without stopping, and ate their food on horseback. Then they came to a hut where no one lived, and they resolved to stop there a few days.

The third day the youngest went alone into the forest to hunt. There he saw a stag, and as he was about to fire his piece, the stag stood still and said, "Don't shoot me. Perhaps one day I may help you!"

The stag tore out one of his hairs and gave it to the youth, and said, "If you find yourself in deadly danger, burn this hair and I will come to help you."

He now went further, and saw a great eagle sitting on a tree. As he was about to shoot it, the bird cried out and prayed him to spare its life, and some day he would be helpful to him.

The count's son was quite astonished, for such a thing had never happened to him before. The eagle flew down from the tree, bringing in his beak a feather, and said, "If you should find yourself in deadly danger at any time, burn this feather, and I will come to help you."

He let the eagle fly away and went on, but had hardly made ten steps when he noticed a wild boar in the bushes. In alarm he cocked his gun, but the beast began to beg him to spare his life. The boar gave him as sign a bristle, and said, "If you are in danger, you need only to burn the bristle, and I will come to help you."

He now went back to his brothers, but told them nothing of what had happened to him. They did not question him, because they troubled themselves very little about him, and both only thought of taking his life.

Next morning they rode on, and came in the course of the day to a great castle with a garden, and in it they saw a spring.

The eldest wanted to go into the castle. Coming to the door, he found a billet fixed to it with the inscription, "The spring in this garden heals all sicknesses." Opening the door, he would have gone in, but was frightened and turned back. His brothers asked him what was the cause of his alarm, but he could give them no answer.

Then the second brother went to the door and opened it, but scarce had he taken a step forward when he was so frightened that he fell down.

Now the third went to the door, opened it, and went bravely in. Coming into the first room he found a number of soldiers, all asleep. He glided into the second room, and found the king sitting on the throne, the queen lying on the sofa, both asleep.

He dared not go nearer to the king, and glided into the third room. Here he saw a beautiful princess sleeping on a chair. Before her stood a table loaded with diamonds, and on it was a small basket containing needles and thread. On her lap lay a cushion, not yet quite finished, and by her on another chair there was wool. Further off stood another table, where paper and pencil lay. On the other side was a diamond inkstand.

The third brother plucked up heart, set himself at the table, took a pen and began to write. He wrote in brief his whole story, whose son he was, and how and why he had come. He was then about to depart, but observed on the wall a very small picture. He took it down and saw that it was of the princess. He went up and kissed her, and then hastily departed.

Going back to his brothers, he told them the castle was defunct.

They now wanted to take water out of the spring and carry it home. The eldest was going to fill his flask, but the water vanished, and as he took away the flask the water appeared again. Again he tried to dip, but the water vanished at the very moment that he was going to plunge the flask in. He now left the flask lying in the hollow, and thought if the water again appeared the flask would be filled, and then he could quickly take it out. But hardly had he let go the flask than the bubbling spring tossed it high in the air, and it was dashed to pieces.

The second brother now tried to dip his flask, but fared like the first.

Finally, the youngest went to the spring, dipped his flask in the water, and filled it quite full. The other brothers made a wry face, and their ill-will to their deliverer was increased. They held secret counsel, and when they came into the forest where they had served as slaves, they fell on their brother and murdered him. That no trace of the murder might be found they made a fire and cast him in. They then took all his belongings and hastened home.

But as the fire burned on, the hair, the feather, and the bristle were seized by the flames, and at once the stag, the eagle, and the boar appeared. They drew him out of the fire, brought all kinds of salves and herbs, and at the end of half an hour he again stood up, sound and well.

They brought him a garment too. He thanked the beasts and went on, not to his father, but to a village to take service with a farmer.

After a year the father got a letter from the princess, who, with all her family, had been set free by the youngest son when he kissed her. After a few hours she had come to and so had all the others in the castle. Her letter contained the request that the one who had been in her room should come to her. At the same time she had strewed a patch of the road near the castle with diamonds, thinking that by this test she should recognise the right youth, for he would certainly not mind the diamonds, but ride right over them to her.

First came the eldest brother, and she asked him what he had seen when he was in the room. He could not say, and so was sent away.

The same thing happened to the second.

The father now wrote that he had no more sons, for the third was dead. Then she demanded his body, but he could not send it.

Rumours of the whole affair were spread, and our young peasant heard of it. At once he begged his master for leave of absence for a few days, and got it. Then he rode in his peasant dress to the castle. He did not spare the diamonds, but rode over all the jewels. When he presented himself to the princess, he could tell her what he had seen in the room too, and she greeted him as her deliverer and consort.

Soon the wedding was celebrated, and the father and brothers were invited. The son told the father about the treacherous brothers, and the father had them executed without mercy.

Contents


Austrian Fairy Tales and Legends, Literature  

Austrian Fairy Tales and Legends, To top Section Set Next

Austrian Fairy Tales and Legends USER'S GUIDE: [Link]
© 2006–2017, Tormod Kinnes. [Email]  ᴥ  Disclaimer: [Link]