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Abela Publishing, London United Kingdom 2012 ISSN: 2049-4750
email Books@AbelaPublishing.com www.AbelaPublishing.com/almanac.html
TABLE of CONTENTS
Introduction................................................................................................ 4 1. The Palace In The Clouds ..................................................................... 5 2. Ara And Semiramis ............................................................................. 13 3. Gulambara And Sulambara ............................................................... 16 4. Ameen And The Ghool ....................................................................... 24 5. The Vampire ......................................................................................... 32 6. The Pyhrqan's Son ............................................................................... 39 7. The Story Of Hok Lee And The Dwarfs ........................................... 43 8. The Tears Of Araxes (Finding Home ) ............................................. 49 9. The Magic Egg ..................................................................................... 54 10. A Hundred Verses From Old Japan ............................................... 64 11. How A Small Kamak Was Transformed Into A Harpoon-Line . 68 12. Fish-Hawk And His Daughter ........................................................ 72 13. Maui And Tuna.................................................................................. 74 14. The Origin Of The Narran Lake ...................................................... 83 15. The Art Of Netting (Learned By Kahukura From The Fairies) ... 87 16. Thunder-Boy And Lizard-Man ....................................................... 90 17. Rosanella ............................................................................................. 93 18. The Pö'okongs And The Bálölöokong 1 ........................................ 100 19. Why The Kingfisher Always Wears A War-Bonnet ................... 105 20. Shooting Of The Red Eagle ............................................................ 109 21. Why The Sea Is Salt ......................................................................... 114 22. The Star Maiden............................................................................... 120 23. Akiti The Hunter ............................................................................. 123 24. The Brother And His Sisters .......................................................... 125
This almanac of folklore, folk tales, fairy tales and other children’s stories will be published once monthly commencing with the issue for January 2012. It is our intent to keep alive the fairy tales, folklore, folk tales and stories our grandparents and great-grandparents were told as children from their Victorian and Edwardian grandparents. We will strive to reintroduce this forgotten world of fairydom and tales back into the lives of the children of the 21st Century allowing them to experience a little of the magic of childhoods from yesteryear. These tales are taken from old and forgotten books republished by Abela Publishing of London which have been republished with the sole purpose of raising funds for charities around the world. So, enough from me, on with the stories……..
John Halsted Abela Publishing
ABELA (Zulu): To share or distribute Email: books@AbelaPublishing.com
1. THE PALACE IN THE CLOUDS
A Jewish Fairy Tale Ikkor, the Jewish vizier of the king of Assyria, was the wisest man in the land, but he was not happy. He was the greatest favourite of the king who heaped honours upon him, and the idol of the people who bowed before him in the streets and cast themselves on the ground at his feet to kiss the hem of his garment. Always he had a kindly word and a smile for those who sought his advice and guidance, but his eyes were ever sad, and tears would trickle down his cheeks as he watched the little children at play in the streets. His fame as a man of wisdom was known far beyond the borders of Assyria, and rulers feared to give offense to the king who had Ikkor as the chief of his counsellors to assist in the affairs of state. But Ikkor would oft sit alone in his beautiful palace and sigh heavily. No sound of children's laughter was ever heard in the palace of Ikkor, and that was the cause of his sorrow. Ikkor was a pious man and deeply learned in the Holy Law; and he had prayed long and devoutly and had listened unto the advice of magicians that he might be blessed with but one son, or even a daughter, to carry down his name and renown. But the years passed and no child was born to him. Every year, on the advice of the king, he married another wife, and now he had in his harem thirty wives, all childless. He determined to take unto himself no more wives, and one night he dreamed a dream in which a spirit appeared to him and said: "Ikkor, thou wilt die full of years and honour, but childless. Therefore, take Nadan, the son of thy widowed sister and let him be a son to thee."
Nadan was a handsome youth of fifteen, and Ikkor related his dream to the boy's mother who permitted him to take Nadan to his palace and there bring him up as his own son. The sadness faded from the vizier's eyes as he watched the lad at his games and his lessons, and Ikkor himself imparted wisdom to Nadan. But, first to his surprise, and then to his grief, Nadan was not thankful for the riches and love lavished upon him. He neglected his lessons and grew proud, haughty and arrogant. He treated the servants of the household harshly and did not obey the wise maxims of Ikkor. The vizier, however, was hopeful that he would reform and gain wisdom with years, and he took him to the palace of the king and appointed him an officer of the royal guard. For Ikkor's sake, the king made Nadan one of his favourites, and all in the land looked upon the young man as the successor of Ikkor and the future vizier. This only served to make Nadan still more arrogant, and a wicked idea entered his head to gain further favour with the king and supplant Ikkor at once. "O King, live forever!" he said one day, when Ikkor was absent in a distant part of the land; "it grieves me to have to utter words of warning against Ikkor, the wise, the father who has adopted me. But he conspires to destroy thee." The king laughed at this suggestion, but he became serious when Nadan promised to give him proof in three days. Nadan then set to work and wrote two letters. One was addressed to Pharaoh, King of Egypt, and read as follows: "Pharaoh, son of the Sun and mighty ruler on earth, live forever! Thou wouldst reign over Assyria. Give ear then to my words and on the tenth day of the next month come with thy troops to the Eagle Plain beyond the city, and I, Ikkor, the grand vizier, will deliver thine enemy, the King of Assyria, into thy hands."
To this letter he forged Ikkor's name; then he took it to the king. "I have found this," he said, "and have brought it to thee. It shows thee that Ikkor would deliver this country to thine enemy." The king was very angry and would have sent for Ikkor at once, but Nadan counseled patience. "Wait until the tenth of next month, the day of the annual review, and thou wilt see what will surprise thee still more," he said. Then he wrote the second letter. This was to Ikkor and was forged with the king's name and sealed with the king's seal which he obtained. It bade Ikkor on the tenth of the next month to assemble the troops on the Eagle Plain to show how numerous they were to the foreign envoys and to pretend to attack the king, so as to demonstrate how well they were drilled. The vizier returned the day before the review, and while the king stood with Nadan and the foreign envoys, Ikkor and the troops, acting on their instructions, made a pretence of attacking his majesty.
"Do you not see?" said Nadan. "The king of Egypt not being here, Ikkor threatens thee," and he immediately gave orders to the royal trumpeters to sound "Halt!" Ikkor was brought before the king and confronted with the letter to Pharaoh. "Explain this, if thou canst," exclaimed the king, angrily. "I have trusted thee and loaded thee with riches and honours and thou
wouldst betray me. Is not this thy signature, and is not thy seal appended?" Ikkor was too much astounded to reply, and Nadan whispered to the king that this proved his guilt. "Lead him to the execution," cried the king, "and let his head be severed from his body and cast one hundred ells away." Falling on his knees, Ikkor pleaded that at least he should be granted the privilege of being executed within his own house so that he might be buried there. This request was granted, and Nabu Samak, the executioner, led Ikkor a prisoner to his palace. Nabu Samak was a great friend to Ikkor and it grieved him to have to carry out the king's order. "Ikkor," he said, "I am certain that thou art innocent, and I would save thee. Hearken unto me. In the prison is a wretched highwayman who has committed murder and who deserves death. His beard and hair are like thine, and at a little distance he can easily be mistaken for thee. Him will I behead and his head will I show to the crowd, whilst thou canst hide and live in secret." Ikkor thanked his friend and the plan was carried out. The robber's head was exhibited to the crowd from the roof of the house and the people wept because they thought it was the head of the good Ikkor. Meanwhile, the vizier descended into a cellar deep beneath his palace and was there fed, while his adopted son, Nadan, was appointed chief of the king's counsellors in his stead. Now, when Pharaoh, king of Egypt, heard that Ikkor, the wise, had been executed, he determined to make war upon Assyria. Therefore,
he dispatched a letter to the king, asking him to send an architect to design and build a palace in the clouds. "If this thou doest," he wrote, "I, Pharaoh, son of the Sun, will pay thee tribute; if thou failest, thou must pay me tribute." The king of Assyria was perplexed when he received this letter which had to be answered in three months. Nadan could not advise him what to do, and he bitterly regretted that Ikkor, the man of wisdom, was no longer by his side to advise him. "I would give one-fourth of my kingdom to bring Ikkor to life again," he exclaimed. Hearing these words, Nabu Samak, the executioner, fell on his knees and confessed that Ikkor was alive. "Bring him hither at once," cried the king. Ikkor could scarcely credit the truth when his friend came to him in the cellar with the news, and the people wept tears of joy and pity when the old vizier was led through the streets. He presented a most extraordinary spectacle. For twelve months he had been immured in the cellar and his beard had grown down to the ground, his hair descended below his shoulders and his finger nails were several inches long. The king wept, too, when he saw his old vizier. "Ikkor," he said, "for months have I felt that thou wert innocent, and I have missed thy wise counsels. Help me in my difficulty and thou shalt be pardoned."
"Your majesty," said Ikkor, "I desire nothing more than to serve thee. I am innocent. Time will prove me guiltless." When he saw Pharaoh's demand, he smiled. "’Tis easy," he said. "I will go to Egypt and outwit Pharaoh." He gave orders that four of the tame eagles in the gardens of the palace should be brought to him with cords five hundred ells long attached to their claws. Then he selected four youths, lithe of figure, and trained them to sit on the backs of the eagles and soar aloft. This done, he set out for Egypt with a big caravan and a long retinue of slaves. "What is thy name?" asked Pharaoh, when he presented himself. "My name is Akbam, and I am but the lowest of my king's advisers." "Does thy master then think my demand so simple?" asked Pharaoh. Ikkor bowed to indicate that this was so, and Pharaoh was much annoyed and puzzled. "Perform thy task and at once," he commanded. At a sign from Ikkor, the four youths mounted the eagles which flew aloft to the extremity of their cords. The birds remained in the air two hundred ells apart, as they had been trained, and the lads held cords in the form of a square. "That is the plan of the palace in the clouds," said Ikkor, pointing aloft. "Bid your men carry up bricks and mortar. The task is so simple that the boys will build."
Pharaoh frowned. He had not expected to be thus outwitted, but he would not immediately acknowledge this. "In this land," he said, sarcastically, "we use no mortar. We sew the stones together. Canst thou do this?" "Easily," replied Ikkor, "if your wise men can make me a thread of sand." "And canst thou weave a thread of sand?" asked Pharaoh. "I can," responded Ikkor. Noting the direction of the sun, he bored a tiny hole in the wall, and a thin sunbeam gleamed through. Then, taking a few grains of sand he blew them through the hole and in the sunbeam they seemed like a thread. "Take it, quickly," he cried, but of course nobody could do this. Pharaoh looked long and earnestly at Ikkor. "Truly, thou art a man of wisdom," he said. "If he were not dead I should say thou wert Ikkor, the wise." "I am Ikkor," answered the vizier, and he told the story of his escape. "I will prove thy innocence," exclaimed Pharaoh. "I will write a letter to your royal master." Not only did he do so, but he gave Ikkor many valuable presents and the vizier returned to Assyria, resumed his place by the king's side, and became a greater favourite than before. Nadan was banished and was never heard of again.
------From Jewish Fairy Tales and Legends ISBN 978-1-907256-14-1
The four youths mounted the eagles which flew aloft to the extremity of their cords
2. ARA AND SEMIRAMIS
A Tale from the History of Armenia by MOSES of KHORENE FOR a few years before the death of Ninus, Ara reigned over Armenia under his Protectorate, and found the same favour in his eyes as his father Aram had done. But that wanton and lustful woman Semiramis, having heard speak for many years of the beauty of Ara, wished to possess him; only she ventured not to do anything openly. But after the death or the escape to Crete of Ninus, as it hath been affirmed unto me, she discovered her passion freely, and sent messengers to Ara the Beautiful with gifts and offerings, with many prayers and promises of riches; begging him to come to her to Nineveh and either wed her and reign over all that Ninus had possessed, or fulfil her desires and return in peace to Armenia, with many gifts. And when the messengers had been and returned many times and Ara had not consented, Semiramis became very wroth; and she arose and took all the multitude of her hosts and hastened to the land of Armenia, against Ara. But, as she had beforehand declared, it was not so much to kill him and persecute him that she went, as to subdue him and bring him by force to fulfil the desires of her passion. For having been consumed with desire by what she had heard of him, on seeing him she became as one beside herself. She arrived in this turmoil at the plains of Ara, called after him Aïrarat. And when the battle was about to take place she commanded her generals to devise some means of saving the life of Ara. But in the fighting the army of Ara was beaten, and Ara died, being slain by the warriors of Semiramis. And after the battle the Queen sent out to the battlefield to search for the body of her beloved amongst those who had died. And they found the body of Ara
amongst the brave ones that had fallen, and she commanded them to place it in an upper chamber in her castle.
Ara was placed in the upper chamber of the castle But when the hosts of Armenia arose once more against Queen Semiramis to avenge the death of Ara, she said: "I have commanded the gods to lick his wounds, and he shall live again." At the same time she thought to bring Ara back to life by witchcraft and charms, for she was maddened by the intensity of her desires. But when the body began to decay, she commanded them to cast it into a deep pit, and to cover it. And having dressed up one of her men in secret, she sent forth the fame of him thus: "The gods have licked Ara and have brought him back to life again, thus fulfilling our prayers and our
pleasure. Therefore from this time forth shall they be the more glorified and worshipped by us, for that they are the givers of joy and the fulfillers of desire." She also erected a new statue in honour of the gods and worshipped it with many sacrifices, showing unto all as if the gods had brought Ara back to life again. And having caused this report to be spread over all the land of Armenia and satisfied the people she put an end to the fighting. And she took the son of Ara whom his beloved wife Nouvart had borne unto him and who was but twelve years old at the time of his father's death. And she called his name Ara in memory of her love for Ara the Beautiful, and appointed him ruler over the land of Armenia, trusting him in all things. ------From “Armenian Poetry and Legends” ISBN: 978-1-907256-18-9
3. GULAMBARA AND SULAMBARA
A Tale from the Republic of Georgia
THERE was and there was not at all, there was a blind monarch; all the doctors in the kingdom had been applied to, but the king could not be cured. At last one doctor said: 'In a certain sea is a fish red as blood. If this is caught, killed, and its blood sprinkled on your eyes, it may do good-the light will come back into your eyes--if not, there can be no other cure for you.' Then the king assembled every fisherman in his realm, and commanded: 'Go wherever it may be or may not be, catch such a fish as this, and I shall give you a rich reward.' Some time passed by. An old fisherman caught just such a crimson fish, and took it to the king. The king was asleep, and they did not dare to wake him, so they put the fish into a basin full of water. Just then his son returned from his lessons. He saw the blood-red fish swimming in the basin. He took it up in his hands, caressed it, and said: 'What do you want with the pretty fish in the basin?' They said to him: 'This is good for your father, it must be killed, its blood sprinkled on his eyes, and he will regain his sight.' 'But is it not a sin to kill it?' asked the prince; and he took the fish out to a stream in the meadow, and gave it freedom.
A little while after, the king awoke; his viziers said to him: 'An old fisherman brought to you a blood-red fish, but your son, who had just returned from his lessons, let it away.' The king was very angry, and sent his son from the house. 'Go hence, I shall be well when thou art no longer remembered in the kingdom; with my eyes I cannot look upon thee, but never let me hear thine unpleasant voice again.' The boy was grieved, rose, and went away. He went, he went, and he knew not whither he went. On the way he saw a stream. He was weary and sat down to rest on the bank. Behold, a boy of his own age came out of the water. He came to the prince, greeted him, and said: 'Whence comest thou? and what troubles thee?' The prince went to him and told him all that had happened to him. His new acquaintance said: 'I also am discontented with my lot, so let us become brothers, and live together.' The prince agreed, and they went on their way. They travelled on some distance, when they came to a town, and they dwelt there. When the next day dawned, his adopted brother said to the prince: 'Stay thou at home, do not go out of doors, lest they eat thee, for such is the custom here.' The prince promised, and from morning until night he sat indoors. The other boy was away in the town all day. At twilight, when he came home, he had a handkerchief quite full of provisions. Several days slipped by. The prince stayed in all day, and his brother brought the food and drink. At last the prince said to himself: 'This is shameful! My adopted brother goes out and brings in food and drink. Why do I not do something? What an idle fellow I am! I will go and do something!' And so it happened that one day the king's son went into the town; he wandered here and there, and in one place saw his brother, who was
sitting cross-legged on the ground, at his feet was stretched a pocket handkerchief, in his hand he held a chonguri (a stringed instrument), which he played, and he chanted to it with a sweet voice. Whoever passed by placed money in the handkerchief. The king's son listened and listened, and said: 'No, this must not be; this is not my business.' So he turned and went back.
Chonguri Near there he saw a tower. Outside was a wall, and on the top were arranged in rows men's heads: some were quite shrivelled up, some had an unpleasant odour of decay, and some had just been placed there. He looked and looked, and could not understand what it meant. He asked a man: 'Whose tower is this, and why are men's heads arranged in rows in this way?' He was told: 'In this tower dwells a maiden beautiful as the sun. Any king's son may ask her in marriage. She asks him a question: if he cannot answer it his head is cut off, but if he can he may demand her in marriage. No one has yet been able to answer her question.' The prince thought and thought, and said to himself: 'I will go. I will ask this maiden in marriage: I will know if this is my fate. What is to
be will be. What can she ask me that I shall not know?' So he rose and went. He came to the sunlike maiden and asked her in marriage. She answered: 'It is well, but first I have a question to ask thee; if thou canst answer, then I am thine, if not, I shall cut off thy head.' 'So let it be,' said the prince. 'I ask thee this, Who are Gulambara and Sulambara?' enquired the beautiful maiden. The king's son said to himself: 'I know indeed that Gulambara and Sulambara are names of flowers, but I never heard in all my life of human beings thus named.' He asked three days grace and went away. He went home and told his brother what had happened, and said: 'If thou canst not help me now, in three days I shall lose my head.' His brother reproached him, saying: 'Did I not tell thee to stay indoors? This is a wicked town.' But then he comforted him, saying: 'Go now, buy a pennyworth of aromatic gum and a candle. I have a grandmother, I shall take thee to her, and she will help thee. But at the moment when my grandmother looks at us, give her the gum and the candle, or she will eat thee.' He bought the gum and the candle, and they set out. The grandmother was standing in her doorway; the prince immediately gave her the gum and the candle. 'What is it? what is the matter with thee?' enquired the grandmother of the prince's adopted brother. He came forward, and told everything in detail. Then he added: 'This is my good brother, and certainly thou shouldst help him.' 'Very well,' said the old woman to the prince; 'sit down on my back.' The prince seated himself on her back. The old woman flew up high, and then, in the twinkling of an eye, she flew down into the depths. She took him into a town there, and went to the entrance of a bazaar. She pointed out a shopkeeper and said: 'Go and engage thyself as assistant to this shopkeeper; but in the evening, when he leaves
business and goes home, tell him that he must take thee with him, and must not leave thee in the shop. Where thou goest with him thou wilt learn the story of Gulambara and Sulambara. Then when thou hast need of me, whistle and I shall be there.' The prince did exactly as the old woman had instructed him; he went to the butcher, as his assistant. At twilight, when the butcher spoke of going home, the prince said to him: 'Do not leave me here; I am a stranger in this land. I am afraid; take me with thee.' The butcher objected strongly, but the prince entreated him until he agreed. The butcher went home, and took the prince with him. They came to a wall, opened a door, went in, and it closed. Inside that, was another wall; they went through that, and it closed. They passed thus through nine walls, and then they entered a house. The butcher opened a cupboard door, took out a woman's head, and then an iron whip. He put down the decaying head and struck it. He struck and struck until the head was completely gone. When the prince saw this he was astonished, and enquired: 'Tell me, why do you strike this head that is so mutilated, and whose head is this?' The butcher made answer: 'I tell this to no one, this is my secret, but if I do tell anyone he must then lose his head.' 'I still wish to know,' said the prince. The butcher rose, took a sword, prepared himself, and said to the prince. 'I had a wife who was so lovely that she excelled the sun; her name was Gulambara. I kept her under these nine locks, and I took care of her so that not even the wind of heaven blew on her. Whatever she asked me I gave her at once. I loved her to distraction, and trusted her, and she told me that she loved no one in the world but me. At that time I had an assistant who was called Sulambara, and my wife loved him and deceived me. Once I found them together, and seized them. I locked one in one cupboard and the other in another. Whenever I came home from business I went to the cupboards, and took out first one and then the other, and beat them as hard as I could.
I struck so hard that Sulambara crumbled away yesterday, and only Gulambara's head remained, and that has just now crumbled away before thine eyes.'
The butcher had a beautiful wife The story ended, he took his sword and said to the prince: 'Now I am going to fulfil my threat, so come here and I shall cut off thy head.' The prince entreated him: 'Give me a little time. I will go to the door and pray to my God, and then do to me even as thou wishest.' The butcher thought: 'It can do no harm to let him go to the door for a short time, for he certainly cannot open the nine doors; let him pray to his God and have his wish.' The prince went to the gate and whistled. Immediately the old woman flew down, took him on her back, and flew off. The youth went to the town where the beautiful maiden dwelt, and told the sunlike one the story of Gulambara and Sulambara. The maiden was very much
surprised; when she had heard all, she agreed to marry him. They were married; she collected all her worldly possessions, and set out with the prince for his father's kingdom. When he came to the brook, his adopted brother appeared before him, and said: 'In thy trouble I befriended thee, and now, when thou art happy, shall this friendship cease? Whatever thou hast obtained has been by my counsel, therefore thou shouldst share it with me.' The prince divided everything in halves, but still his adopted brother was not pleased. 'It is all very well to share this with me, whilst thou hast the beautiful maiden.' The prince arose and gave up his own share of the goods. His adopted brother would not take it, and spoke thus: 'If thou holdest fast to our friendship thou shouldst share with me this maiden, the most precious of thy possessions!' As he said this he seized the maiden's hand, bound her to a tree, stretched forth his sword, and, as he was about to strike, a green stream flowed from the terror-stricken maiden's mouth. Again the youth raised his sword. The same thing happened. A third time he prepared to strike, with the same result. Then he came, unbound her from the tree, gave her to the prince, and said: 'Although this maiden was beautiful, yet she was venomous, and, sooner or later, would have killed thee. Now whatever poison was in her is completely gone, so do not fear her in the slightest degree. 1 Go! and God guide thee. As for these possessions, they are thine; I do not want them. May God give thee His peace.' From his pocket he took out a handkerchief, gave it to the prince, and said: 'Take this handkerchief with thee; when thou reachest home wipe thy father's eyes with it and he will see. I am the fish that was in the basin, and thou didst set me free. Know, then, that kindness of heart is never lost.' So saying, the prince's adopted brother disappeared. The prince remained astonished. Before he had time to express his gratitude the young man had suddenly disappeared. At last, when he
had recovered himself, he took his wife and went to his father. He laid the handkerchief on the king's eyes, and his sight came back to him. When he saw his only son and his beautiful daughter-in-law his joy was so great that his eyes filled with tears. His son sat down and told him all that had happened since he left him. ------From Georgian Folk Tales ISBN: 978-1-907256-12-7
4. AMEEN AND THE GHOOL
A Tale from Persia
There is a dreadful place in Persia called the "Valley of the Angel of Death." That terrific minister of God's wrath, according to tradition, has resting-places upon the earth and his favourite abodes. He is surrounded by ghools, horrid beings who, when he takes away life, feast upon the carcasses.
The natural shape of these monsters is terrible; but they can assume those of animals, such as cows or camels, or whatever they choose, often appearing to men as their relations or friends, and then they do not only transform their shapes, but their voices also are altered. The
frightful screams and yells which are often heard amid these dreaded ravines are changed for the softest and most melodious notes. Unwary travellers, deluded by the appearance of friends, or captivated by the forms and charmed by the music of these demons, are allured from their path, and after feasting for a few hours on every luxury, are consigned to destruction. The number of these ghools has greatly decreased since the birth of the Prophet, and they have no power to hurt those who pronounce his name in sincerity of faith. These creatures are the very lowest of the supernatural world, and, besides being timid, are extremely stupid, and consequently often imposed upon by artful men. The natives of Isfahan, though not brave, are the most crafty and acute people upon earth, and often supply the want of courage by their address. An inhabitant of that city was once compelled to travel alone at night through this dreadful valley. He was a man of ready wit, and fond of adventures, and, though no lion, had great confidence in his cunning, which had brought him through a hundred scrapes and perils that would have embarrassed or destroyed your simple man of valour. This man, whose name was Ameen Beg, had heard many stories of the ghools of the "Valley of the Angel of Death," and thought it likely he might meet one. He prepared accordingly, by putting an egg and a lump of salt in his pocket. He had not gone far amidst the rocks, when he heard a voice crying, "Holloa, Ameen Beg Isfahânee! you are going the wrong road, you will lose yourself; come this way. I am your friend Kerreem Beg; I know your father, old Kerbela Beg, and the street in which you were born." Ameen knew well the power the ghools had of assuming the shape of any person they choose; and he also knew their skill as genealogists, and their knowledge of towns as well as families; he had therefore little doubt this was one of those
creatures alluring him to destruction. He, however, determined to encounter him, and trust to his art for his escape. "Stop, my friend, till I come near you," was his reply. When Ameen came close to the ghool, he said, "You are not my friend Kerreem; you are a lying demon, but you are just the being I desired to meet. I have tried my strength against all the men and all the beasts which exist in the natural world, and I can find nothing that is a match for me. I came therefore to this valley in the hope of encountering a ghool, that I might prove my prowess upon him." The ghool, astonished at being addressed in this manner, looked keenly at him, and said, "Son of Adam, you do not appear so strong." "Appearances are deceitful," replied Ameen, "but I will give you a proof of my strength. There," said he, picking up a stone from a rivulet, "this contains a fluid; try if you can so squeeze it that it will flow out." The ghool took the stone, but, after a short attempt, returned it, saying, "The thing is impossible." "Quite easy," said the Isfahânee, taking the stone and placing it in the hand in which he had before put the egg. "Look there!" And the astonished ghool, while he heard what he took for the breaking of the stone, saw the liquid run from between Ameen's fingers, and this apparently without any effort. Ameen, aided by the darkness, placed the stone upon the ground while he picked up another of a darker hue. "This," said he, "I can see contains salt, as you will find if you can crumble it between your fingers; "but the ghool, looking at it, confessed he had neither knowledge to discover its qualities nor strength to break it. "Give it me," said his companion impatiently; and, having put it into the same hand with the piece of salt, he instantly gave the latter all crushed to the ghool, who, seeing it reduced to powder, tasted it, and remained in stupid astonishment at the skill and strength of this wonderful man. Neither was he without alarm lest his strength should be exerted against himself, and he saw no safety in resorting to the shape of a
beast, for Ameen had warned him that if he commenced any such unfair dealing, he would instantly slay him; for ghools, though longlived, are not immortal. Under such circumstances he thought his best plan was to conciliate the friendship of his new companion till he found an opportunity of destroying him. "Most wonderful man," he said, "will you honour my abode with your presence? it is quite at hand there you will find every refreshment; and after a comfortable night's rest you can resume your journey." "I have no objection, friend ghool, to accept your offer; but, mark me, I am, in the first place, very passionate, and must not be provoked by any expressions which are in the least disrespectful; and, in the second, I am full of penetration, and can see through your designs as clearly as I saw into that hard stone in which I discovered salt. So take care you entertain none that are wicked, or you shall suffer." The ghool declared that the ear of his guest should be pained by no expression to which it did not befit his dignity to listen; and he swore by the head of his liege lord, the Angel of Death, that he would faithfully respect the rights of hospitality and friendship. Thus satisfied, Ameen followed the ghool through a number of crooked paths, rugged cliffs, and deep ravines, till they came to a large cave, which was dimly lighted. "Here," said the ghool, "I dwell, and here my friend will find all he can want for refreshment and repose." So saying, he led him to various apartments, in which were hoarded every species of grain, and all kinds of merchandise, plundered from travellers who had been deluded to this den, and of whose fate Ameen was too well informed by the bones over which he now and then stumbled, and by the putrid smell produced by some half-consumed carcasses. "This will be sufficient for your supper, I hope," said the
ghool, taking up a large bag of rice; "a man of your prowess must have a tolerable appetite." "True," said Ameen, "but I ate a sheep and as much rice as you have there before I proceeded on my journey. I am, consequently, not hungry, but will take a little lest I offend your hospitality." "I must boil it for you," said the demon; "you do not eat grain and meat raw, as we do. Here is a kettle," said he, taking up one lying amongst the plundered property. "I will go and get wood for a fire, while you fetch water with that," pointing to a bag made of the hides of six oxen. Ameen waited till he saw his host leave the cave for the wood, and then with great difficulty he dragged the enormous bag to the bank of a dark stream, which issued from the rocks at the other end of the cavern, and, after being visible for a few yards, disappeared underground. "How shall I," thought Ameen, "prevent my weakness being discovered? This bag I could hardly manage when empty; when full, it would require twenty strong men to carry it; what shall I do? I shall certainly be eaten up by this cannibal ghool, who is now only kept in order by the impression of my great strength." After some minutes' reflection the Isfahânee thought of a scheme, and began digging a small channel from the stream towards the place where his supper was preparing. "What are you doing?" vociferated the ghool, as he advanced towards him; "I sent you for water to boil a little rice, and you have been an hour about it. Cannot you fill the bag and bring it away?" "Certainly I can," said Ameen; "if I were content, after all your kindness, to show my gratitude merely by feats of brute strength, I could lift your stream if you had a bag large enough to hold it. But here," said he, pointing to the channel he had begun," here is the commencement of a work in which the mind of a man is employed to lessen the labour of his body. This canal, small as it may appear, will carry a stream to the other end
of the cave, in which I will construct a dam that you can open and shut at pleasure, and thereby save yourself infinite trouble in fetching water. But pray let me alone till it is finished," and he began to dig. "Nonsense!" said the ghool, seizing the bag and filling it; "I will carry the water myself, and I advise you to leave off your canal, as you call it, and follow me, that you may eat your supper and go to sleep; you may finish this fine work, if you like it, tomorrow morning." Ameen congratulated himself on this escape, and was not slow in taking the advice of his host. After having ate heartily of the supper that was prepared, he went to repose on a bed made of the richest coverlets and pillows, which were taken from one of the store-rooms of plundered goods. The ghool, whose bed was also in the cave, had no sooner laid down than he fell into a sound sleep. The anxiety of Ameen's mind prevented him from following his example; he rose gently, and having stuffed a long pillow into the middle of his bed, to make it appear as if he was still there, he retired to a concealed place in the cavern to watch the proceedings of the ghool. The latter awoke a short time before daylight, and rising, went, without making any noise, towards Ameen's bed, where, not observing the least stir, he was satisfied that his guest was in a deep sleep; so he took up one of his walking-sticks, which was in size like the trunk of a tree, and struck a terrible blow at what he supposed to be Ameen's head. He smiled not to hear a groan, thinking he had deprived him of life; but to make sure of his work, he repeated the blow seven times. He then returned to rest, but had hardly settled himself to sleep, when Ameen, who had crept into the bed, raised his head above the clothes and exclaimed, "Friend ghool, what insect could it be that has disturbed me by its tapping? I counted the flap of its little wings seven times on the coverlet. These vermin are very annoying, for, though they cannot hurt a man, they disturb his rest!" The ghool's dismay on hearing Ameen speak at all was great, but that was increased to perfect fright when he heard him describe seven
blows, any one of which would have felled an elephant, as seven flaps of an insect's wing. There was no safety, he thought, near so wonderful a man, and he soon afterwards arose and fled from the cave, leaving the Isfahânee its sole master. When Ameen found his host gone, he was at no loss to conjecture the cause, and immediately began to survey the treasures with which he was surrounded, and to contrive means for removing them to his home. After examining the contents of the cave, and arming himself with a matchlock, which had belonged to some victim of the ghool, he proceeded to survey the road. He had, however, only gone a short distance when he saw the ghool returning with a large club in his hand, and accompanied by a fox. Ameen's knowledge of the cunning animal instantly led him to suspect that it had undeceived his enemy, but his presence of mind did not forsake him. "Take that," said he to the fox, aiming a ball at him from his matchlock, and shooting him through the head,—"Take that for your not performing my orders. That brute," said he, "promised to bring me seven ghools, that I might chain them, and carry them to Isfahan, and here he has only brought you, who are already my slave." So saying, he advanced towards the ghool; but the latter had already taken to flight, and by the aid of his club bounded so rapidly over rocks and precipices that he was soon out of sight. Ameen having well marked the path from the cavern to the road, went to the nearest town and hired camels and mules to remove the property he had acquired. After making restitution to all who remained alive to prove their goods, he became, from what was
unclaimed, a man of wealth, all of which was owing to that wit and art which ever overcome brute strength and courage. ------From Oriental Folklore and Legends – Tales from Along the Silk Route. ISBN: 978-1-907256-10-3
5. THE VAMPIRE
A Tale from Romanian Gypsies THERE was an old woman in a village. And grown-up maidens met and span, and made a 'bee.' And the young sparks came and laid hold of the girls, and pulled them about and kissed them. But one girl had no sweetheart to lay hold of her and kiss her. And she was a strapping lass, the daughter of wealthy peasants; but three whole days no one came near her. And she looked at the big girls, her comrades. And no one troubled himself with her. Yet she was a pretty girl, a prettier was not to be found. Then came a fine young spark, and took her in his arms and kissed her, and stayed with her until cock-crow. And when the cock crowed at dawn he departed. The old woman saw he had cock's feet. And she kept looking at the lad's feet, and she said, 'Nita, my lass, did you see anything?' 'I didn't notice.' 'Then didn't I see he had cock's feet?' 'Let be, mother, I didn't see it.' And the girl went home and slept; and she arose and went off to the spinning, where many more girls were holding a 'bee.' And the young sparks came, and took each one his sweetheart. And they kissed them, and stayed a while, and went home. And the girl's handsome young spark came and took her in his arms and kissed her and pulled her about, and stayed with her till
midnight. And the cock began to crow. The young spark heard the cock crowing, and departed. What said the old woman who was in the hut, 'Nita, did you notice that he had horse's hoofs?' 'And if he had, I didn't see.' Then the girl departed to her home. And she slept and arose in the morning, and did her work that she had to do. And night came, and she took her spindle and went to the old woman in the hut. And the other girls came, and the young sparks came, and each laid hold of his sweetheart. But the pretty girl looks at them. Then the young sparks gave over and departed home. And only the girl remained neither a long time nor a short time. Then came the girl's young spark. Then what will the girl do? She took heed, and stuck a needle and thread in his back. And he departed when the cock crew, and she knew not where he had gone to. Then the girl arose in the morning and took the thread, and followed up the thread, and saw him in a grave where he was sitting. Then the girl trembled and went back home. At night the young spark that was in the grave came to the old woman's house and saw that the girl was not there. He asked the old woman, 'Where's Nita?' 'She has not come.' Then he went to Nita's house, where she lived, and called, 'Nita, are you at home?' Nita answered, ['I am']. 'Tell me what you saw when you came to the church. For if you don't tell me I will kill your father.' 'I didn't see anything.' Then he looked, and he killed her father, and departed to his grave.
Next night he came back. 'Nita, tell me what you saw.' I didn't see anything.' 'Tell me, or I will kill your mother, as I killed your father. Tell me what you saw.' 'I didn't see anything.' Then he killed her mother, and departed to his grave. Then the girl arose in the morning. And she had twelve servants. And she said to them, 'See, I have much money and many oxen and many sheep; and they shall come to the twelve of you as a gift, for I shall die to-night. And it will fare ill with you if you bury me not in the forest at the foot of an apple-tree.' At night came the young spark from the grave and asked, Nita, are you at home?' 'I am.' 'Tell me, Nita, what you saw three days ago, or I will kill you, as I killed your parents.' 'I have nothing to tell you.' Then he took and killed her. Then, casting a look, he departed to his grave. So the servants, when they arose in the morning, found Nita dead. The servants took her and laid her out decently. They sat and made a hole in the wall and passed her through the hole, and carried her, as she had bidden, and buried her in the forest by the apple-tree.
And half a year passed by, and a prince went to go and course hares with greyhounds and other dogs. And he went to hunt, and the hounds ranged the forest and came to the maiden's grave. And a flower grew out of it, the like of which for beauty there was not in the whole kingdom. So the hounds came on her monument, where she was buried, and they began to bark and scratched at the maiden's grave. Then the prince took and called the dogs with his horn, and the dogs came not. The prince said, 'Go quickly thither.' Four huntsmen arose and came and saw the flower burning like a candle. They returned to the prince, and he asked them, 'What is it?' 'It is a flower, the like was never seen.' Then the lad heard, and came to the maiden's grave, and saw the flower and plucked it. And he came home and showed it to his father and mother. Then he took and put it in a vase at his bed-head where he slept. Then the flower arose from the vase and turned a somersault, and became a full-grown maiden. And she took the lad and kissed him, and bit him and pulled him about, and slept with him in her arms, and put her hand under his head. And he knew it not. When the dawn came she became a flower again. In the morning the lad rose up sick, and complained to his father and mother, 'Mammy, my shoulders hurt me, and my head hurts me.'
His mother went and brought a wise woman and tended him. He asked for something to eat and drink. And he waited a bit, and then went to his business that he had to do. And he went home again at night. And he ate and drank and lay down on his couch, and sleep seized him. Then the flower arose and again became a full-grown maiden. And she took him again in her arms, and slept with him, and sat with him in her arms. And he slept. And she went back to the vase. And he arose, and his bones hurt him, and he told his mother and his father. Then his father said to his wife, 'It began with the coming of the flower. Something must be the matter, for the boy is quite ill. Let us watch to-night, and post ourselves on one side, and see who comes to our son.' Night came, and the prince laid himself in his bed to sleep. Then the maiden arose from the vase, and became there was never anything more fair--as burns the flame of a candle. And his mother and his father, the king, saw the maiden, and laid hands on her. Then the prince arose out of his sleep, and saw the maiden that she was fair. Then he took her in his arms and kissed her, and lay down in his bed, slept till day. And they made a marriage and ate and drank. The folk marvelled, for a being so fair as that maiden was not to be found in all the realm. And he dwelt with her half a year, and she bore a golden boy, two apples in his hand. And it pleased the prince well. Then her old sweetheart heard it, the vampire who had made love to her, and had killed her. He arose and came to her and asked her, 'Nita, tell me, what did you see me doing?' 'I didn't see anything.' 'Tell me truly, or I will kill your child, your little boy, as I killed your father and mother. Tell me truly.'
'I have nothing to tell you.' And he killed her boy. And she arose and carried him to the church and buried him. At night the vampire came again and asked her, 'Tell me, Nita, what you saw.' 'I didn't see anything.' 'Tell me, or I will kill the lord whom you have wedded.' Then Nita arose and said, 'It shall not happen that you kill my lord. God send you burst.' The vampire heard what Nita said, and burst. Ay, he died, and burst for very rage. In the morning Nita arose and saw the floor swimming two hand's-breadth deep in blood. Then Nita bade her father-in-law take out the vampire's heart with all speed. Her father-in-law, the king, hearkened, and opened him and took out his heart, and gave it into Nita's hand. And she went to the grave of her boy and dug the boy up, applied the heart, and the boy arose. And Nita went to her father and to her mother, and anointed them with the blood, and they arose. Then, looking on them, Nita told all the troubles she had borne, and what she had suffered at the hands of the vampire. ------From “Gypsy Folk Tales – Book One” ISBN: 978-0-956058-47-8
6. THE PYHRQAN'S SON
A Uighur Tale from Central Asia
A great Beg (chieftan) had a daughter. She went to dig out vegetables. After she had gone and dug out vegetables, she got near a stone pyhrqan (shape-shifter). As she got there, she rested. She rested, and the girl's foot hurt. As it hurt: "If you take the vegetables and deliver them home, I will be your wife!" Thus the girl said to the pyhrqan. Then the pyhrqan said: "All right, I will send you." And after he had said thus, he sent her. When he had send her, he came near the girl at night. He slept at the girl's side at night. The girl used to kowtow to her father on the fifteenth of the month. As she kowtowed, her belly had become big, she was pregnant. Then her father noticed it, and was about to kill her. The girl kowtowed again for her father, imploring him. Her father still wanted to kill her, but her mother did not let her get killed. The girl said thus to her mother: "After I dug out vegetables, a pyhrqan came to me, and I got pregnant." But her father still wanted to kill her. There was also the girl's maternal uncle. The girl's uncle came and took the girl away with him. In her uncle's house she gave birth to a boy.
When the boy had become six years old, this boy was able to take up whatever other people could not take up because of the weight. One day a tiger there used to eat the people who tended the sheep. This boy went to tend sheep. As he had gone, the tiger came to eat this boy. Then he killed the tiger with one blow. Then the khan's people heard about it, and intended to take this boy. Thereupon two horsemen of the khan came and said to this boy: "Why have you killed the tiger?" "It was about to eat me. So I killed it." "In that case, put this tiger down on my horse for me!" "Certainly!" said the boy. Thereupon the boy took up the tiger and threw him on the horse. Then he killed the horse, as the tiger pressed it down. Thereupon: "Give me another horse, you have killed my horse." Thereupon the boy said thus: "Certainly; you go to my home." Thereupon he said thus to his grandfather: "I have killed my tiger, and two people of the khan will bring me to the khan's place," he said. "Give me a horse, as I have killed their horse." "If that is the case, catch a blue horse among my horses for him," he said. The khan's people took the horse, and said to his grandfather: "Give this boy to me!" "Certainly," he said. The khan's people set off, taking the boy with them. But while the boy was walking, as they stayed the night, he ran away during the night.
He walked and got at a temple. As he got at the temple, there was an old monk. Thereupon the boy said thus to the monk: "Let me be your adopted son, I will become a novice." "Certainly," said the monk, and he dressed him in a yellow garment. Thereupon, on the fifteenth of the month, he used to teach scriptures every day. When he had taught for two days, this boy had learned all the scriptures. "Sweep the temple's inside on the fifteenth of the month," said he. There was also an older novice. "You sweep the other temple's outside. Let this young novice sweep underneath the pyhrqans." This young novice said to the pyhrqan: "Lift up your foot! Let me sweep." Thereupon, when he had said thus, the pyhrqan lifted up his foot. And after he had swept: "Put down your foot." Thereupon he got at a sleeping pyhrqan. "Lift up your head! Let me sweep," he said. He lifted up his head. But after he had swept, he did not say 'sleep!' The older novice saw that the pyhrqan was not sleeping. He saw it and told it his monk. As he told it his monk: "Don't you lie!" "Go see that it is true: the sleeping pyhrqan has got up!" Thereupon the old monk went to see. As he went, the sleeping pyhrqan had truly got up. As this was the case, the old monk reproached his novice. As he reproached him, the novice killed him. Then the novices of this temple were many. As they were many, they tucked this young novice in a box and threw him away into the water.
Thereupon, as a monk of the Chinese went near that water, a red box floated by. Thereupon the Chinese said: "If you are a pyhrqan, come, and I will get you out!" The red box came floating hither. He got it out, and as he opened the box, there was a novice in it. He took him with him. After the Chinese had taken him to the temple, these Chinese novices used to tease the young novice. So these Chinese novices said thus: "We have taken you out of the water. You have no father, and you have no mother!" This young novice cried. While he was crying, he made the temple's door collapse. Thereupon the temple's monk said: "You made this door collapse." As the monk intended to beat him, the small six-year-old novice killed this monk. The Chinese novices send a letter to the khan. As they had send a letter, then the deity Sunwukun knew. He came to kill this novice. But come as he may, this novice also killed Sunwukun. The khan ordered this small novice to come to the khan's place. As he came, the novice was a strong man. Thereupon the khan said: "Stay here, I will give you a great beg's office." He also became the son of the khan. And after the khan had died, this novice became khan. ------From “Uyghur Folk-lore and Legend” ISBN: 978-1-907256-11-0
7. THE STORY OF HOK LEE AND THE DWARFS
A Tale from China
There once lived in a small town in China a man named Hok Lee. He was a steady industrious man, who not only worked hard at his trade, but did all his own house-work as well, for he had no wife to do it for him. 'What an excellent industrious man is this Hok Lee!' said his neighbours; 'how hard he works: he never leaves his house to amuse himself or to take a holiday as others do!' But Hok Lee was by no means the virtuous person his neighbours thought him. True, he worked hard enough by day, but at night, when all respectable folk were fast asleep, he used to steal out and join a dangerous band of robbers, who broke into rich people's houses and carried off all they could lay hands on. This state of things went on for some time, and, though a thief was caught now and then and punished, no suspicion ever fell on Hok Lee, he was such a very respectable, hard-working man. Hok Lee had already amassed a good store of money as his share of the proceeds of these robberies when it happened one morning on going to market that a neighbour said to24 him: 'Why, Hok Lee, what is the matter with your face? One side of it is all swelled up.' True enough, Hok Lee's right cheek was twice the size of his left, and it soon began to feel very uncomfortable.
'I will bind up my face,' said Hok Lee; 'doubtless the warmth will cure the swelling.' But no such thing. Next day it was worse, and day by day it grew bigger and bigger till it was nearly as large as his head and became very painful. Hok Lee was at his wits' ends what to do. Not only was his cheek unsightly and painful, but his neighbours began to jeer and make fun of him, which hurt his feelings very much indeed. One day, as luck would have it, a travelling doctor came to the town. He sold not only all kinds of medicine, but also dealt in many strange charms against witches and evil spirits. Hok Lee determined to consult him, and asked him into his house. After the doctor had examined him carefully, he spoke thus: 'This, O Hok Lee, is no ordinary swelled face. I strongly suspect you have been doing some wrong deed which has called down the anger of the spirits on you. None of my drugs will avail to cure you, but, if you are willing to pay me handsomely, I can tell you how you may be cured.' Then Hok Lee and the doctor began to bargain together, and it was a long time before they could come to terms. However, the doctor got the better of it in the end, for he was determined not to part with his secret under a certain price, and Hok Lee had no mind to carry his huge cheek about with him to the end of his days. So he was obliged to part with the greater portion of his ill-gotten gains. When the Doctor had pocketed the money, he told Hok Lee to go on the first night of the full moon to a certain wood and there to watch by a particular tree. After a time he would see the dwarfs and little sprites who live underground come out to dance. When they saw him they would be sure to make him dance too. 'And mind you dance your very best,' added the doctor. 'If you dance well and please them they will
grant you a petition and you can then beg to be cured; but if you dance badly they will most likely do you some mischief out of spite.' With that he took leave and departed. Happily the first night of the full moon was near, and at the proper time Hok Lee set out for the wood. With a little trouble he found the tree the doctor had described, and, feeling nervous, he climbed up into it. He had hardly settled himself on a branch when he saw the little dwarfs assembling in the moonlight. They came from all sides, till at length there appeared to be hundreds of them. They seemed in high glee, and danced and skipped and capered about, whilst Hok Lee grew so eager watching them that he crept further and further along his branch till at length it gave a loud crack. All the dwarfs stood still, and Hok Lee felt as if his heart stood still also. Then one of the dwarfs called out, 'Someone is up in that tree. Come down at once, whoever you are, or we must come and fetch you.' In great terror, Hok Lee proceeded to come down; but he was so nervous that he tripped near the ground and came rolling down in the most absurd manner. When he had picked himself up, he came forward with a low bow, and the dwarf who had first spoken and who appeared to be the leader, said, 'Now, then, who art thou, and what brings thee here?' So Hok Lee told him the sad story of his swelled cheek, and how he had been advised to come to the forest and beg the dwarfs to cure him. 'It is well,' replied the dwarf. 'We will see about that. First, however, thou must dance before us. Should thy dancing please us, perhaps we may be able to do something; but shouldst thou dance badly, we shall assuredly punish thee, so now take warning and dance away.'
With that, he and all the other dwarfs sat down in a large ring, leaving Hok Lee to dance alone in the middle. He felt half frightened to death, and besides was a good deal shaken by his fall from the tree and did not feel at all inclined to dance. But the dwarfs were not to be trifled with. 'Begin!' cried their leader, and 'Begin!' shouted the rest in chorus. So in despair Hok Lee began. First he hopped on one foot and then on the other, but he was so stiff and so nervous that he made but a poor attempt, and after a time sank down on the ground and vowed he could dance no more. The dwarfs were very angry. They crowded round Hok Lee and abused him. 'Thou to come here to be cured, indeed!' they cried, 'thou hast brought one big cheek with thee, but thou shalt take away two.' And with that they ran off and disappeared, leaving Hok Lee to find his way home as best he might. He hobbled away, weary and depressed, and not a little anxious on account of the dwarfs' threat. Nor were his fears unfounded, for when he rose next morning his left cheek was swelled up as big as his right, and he could hardly see out of his eyes. Hok Lee felt in despair, and his neighbours jeered at him more than ever. The doctor, too, had disappeared, so there was nothing for it but to try the dwarfs once more. He waited a month till the first night of the full moon came round again, and then he trudged back to the forest, and sat down under the tree from which he had fallen. He had not long to wait. Ere long the dwarfs came trooping out till all were assembled.
'I don't feel quite easy,' said one; 'I feel as if some horrid human being were near us.' When Hok Lee heard this he came forward and bent down to the ground before the dwarfs, who came crowding round, and laughed heartily at his comical appearance with his two big cheeks. 'What dost thou want?' they asked; and Hok Lee proceeded to tell them of his fresh misfortunes, and begged so hard to be allowed one more trial at dancing that the dwarfs consented, for there is nothing they love so much as being amused. Now, Hok Lee knew how much depended on his dancing well, so he plucked up a good spirit and began, first quite slowly, and faster by degrees, and he danced so well and gracefully, and made such new and wonderful steps, that the dwarfs were quite delighted with him. They clapped their tiny hands, and shouted, 'Well done, Hok Lee, well done, go on, dance more, for we are pleased.' And Hok Lee danced on and on, till he really could dance no more, and was obliged to stop. Then the leader of the dwarfs said, 'We are well pleased, Hok Lee, and as a recompense for thy dancing thy face shall be cured. Farewell.' With these words he and the other dwarfs vanished, and Hok Lee, putting his hands to his face, found to his great joy that his cheeks were reduced to their natural size. The way home seemed short and easy to him, and he went to bed happy, and resolved never to go out robbing again. Next day the whole town was full of the news of Hok's sudden cure. His neighbours questioned him, but could get nothing from him,
except the fact that he had discovered a wonderful cure for all kinds of diseases. After a time a rich neighbour, who had been ill for some years, came, and offered to give Hok Lee a large sum of money if he would tell him how he might get cured. Hok Lee consented on condition that he swore to keep the secret. He did so, and Hok Lee told him of the dwarfs and their dances. The neighbour went off, carefully obeyed Hok Lee's directions, and was duly cured by the dwarfs. Then another and another came to Hok Lee to beg his secret, and from each he extracted a vow of secrecy and a large sum of money. This went on for some years, so that at length Hok Lee became a very wealthy man, and ended his days in peace and prosperity.
-----------------------------------------From Andrew Lang’s “Green Fairy Book” ISBN: 978-1-907256-79-0
8. THE TEARS OF ARAXES (FINDING HOME )
BY RAPHAEL PATKANIAN A Poem from Armenia I WALK by Mother Arax With faltering steps and slow, And memories of past ages Seek in the waters' flow. But they run dark and turbid, And beat upon the shore In grief and bitter sorrow, Lamenting evermore. "Araxes! with the fishes Why dost not dance in glee? The sea is still far distant, Yet thou art sad, like me. "From thy proud eyes, O Mother, Why do the tears downpour? Why dost thou haste so swiftly Past thy familiar shore? "Make not thy current turbid; Flow calm and joyously. Thy youth is short, fair river; Thou soon wilt reach the sea.
"Let sweet rose-hedges brighten Thy hospitable shore, And nightingales among them Till morn their music pour. "Let ever-verdant willows Lave in thy waves their feet, And with their bending branches Refresh the noonday heat. "Let shepherds on thy margin Walk singing, without fear; Let lambs and kids seek freely Thy waters cool and clear." Araxes swelled her current, Tossed high her foaming tide, And in a voice of thunder Thus from her depths replied:-"Rash, thoughtless youth, why com’st thou My age-long sleep to break, And memories of my myriad griefs Within my breast to wake? "When hast thou seen a widow, After her true-love died, From head to foot resplendent With ornaments of pride?
"For whom should I adorn me? Whose eyes shall I delight? The stranger hordes that tread my banks Are hateful in my sight. "My kindred stream, impetuous Kur, Is widowed, like to me, But bows beneath the tyrant's yoke, And wears it slavishly. "But I, who am Armenian, My own Armenians know; I want no stranger bridegroom; A widowed stream I flow. "Once I, too, moved in splendour, Adorned as is a bride With myriad precious jewels, My smiling banks beside. "My waves were pure and limpid, And curled in rippling play; The morning star within them Was mirrored till the day. "What from that time remaineth? All, all has passed away. Which of my prosperous cities Stands near my waves to-day?
"Mount Ararat doth pour me, As with a mother's care, From out her sacred bosom Pure water, cool and fair. "Shall I her holy bounty To hated aliens fling? Shall strangers' fields be watered From good Saint Jacob's spring? "For filthy Turk or Persian Shall I my waters pour, That they may heathen rites perform Upon my very shore, "While my own sons, defenceless, Are exiled from their home, And, faint with thirst and hunger, In distant countries roam? "My own Armenian nation Is banished far away; A godless, barbarous people Dwells on my banks to-day. "Shall I my hospitable shores Adorn in festive guise For them, or gladden with fair looks Their wild and evil eyes?
"Still, while my sons are exiled, Shall I be sad, as now. This is my heart's deep utterance, My true and holy vow." No more spake Mother Arax; She foamed up mightily, And, coiling like a serpent, Wound sorrowing toward the sea.
------Translated by Alice Stone Blackwell. From “Armenian Poetry and Legends” compiled and illustrated by Zabelle Boyajian. ISBN 978-1-907256-18-9
9. THE MAGIC EGG
A Cossack Fairy Tale
There was once upon a time a lark who was the Tsar among the birds, and he took unto himself as his Tsaritsa a little shrew-mouse. They had a field all to themselves, which they sowed with wheat, and when the wheat grew up they divided it between them, when they found that there was one grain over! The mouse said, “Let me have it!” But the lark said, “No, let me have it!”––“What’s to be done?” thought they. They would have liked to take counsel of some one, but they had no parents or kinsmen, nobody at all to whom they could go and ask advice in the matter. At last the mouse said, “At any rate, let me have the first nibble!” The lark Tsar agreed to this; but the little mouse fastened her teeth in it and ran off into her hole with it, and there ate it all up. At this the Tsar lark was wrath, and collected all the birds of the air to make war upon the mouse Tsaritsa; but the Tsaritsa called together all the beasts to defend her, and so the war began. Whenever the beasts came rushing out of the wood to tear the birds to pieces, the birds flew up into the trees; but the birds kept in the air, and hacked and pecked the beasts wherever they could. Thus they fought the whole day, and in the evening they lay down to rest. Now when the Tsaritsa looked around upon her forces, she saw that the ant was taking no part in the war. She immediately went and commanded the ant to be there by evening, and when the ant came, the Tsaritsa ordered her to climb up the trees with her kinsmen and bite off the feathers round the birds’ wings. Next day, when there was light enough to see by, the mouse Tsaritsa cried, “Up, up, my warriors!” Thereupon the birds also rose up, and
immediately fell to the ground, where the beasts tore them to bits. So the Tsaritsa overcame the Tsar. But there was one eagle who saw there was something wrong, so he did not try to fly, but remained sitting on the tree. And lo! there came an archer along that way, and seeing the eagle on the tree, he took aim at it; but the eagle besought him and said, “Do not kill me, and I’ll be of great service to thee!” The archer aimed a second time, but the eagle besought him still more and said, “Take me down rather and keep me, and thou shalt see that it will be to thy advantage.” The archer, however, took aim a third time, but the eagle began to beg of him most piteously, “Nay, kill me not, but take me home with thee, and thou shalt see what great advantage it will be to thee!” The archer believed the bird. He climbed up the tree, took the eagle down, and carried it home. Then the eagle said to him, “Put me in a hut, and feed me with flesh till my wings have grown again.” Now this archer had two cows and a steer, and he at once killed and cut up one of the cows for the eagle. The eagle fed upon this cow for a full year, and then he said to the archer, “Let me go, that I may fly. I see that my wings have already grown again!” Then the archer let him loose from the hut. The eagle flew round and round, he flew about for half a day, and then he returned to the archer and said, “I feel I have but little strength in me, slay me another cow!” And the archer obeyed him, and slew the second cow, and the eagle lived upon that for yet another year. Again the eagle flew round and round in the air. He flew round and about the whole day till evening, when he returned to the archer and said, “I am stronger than I was, but I have still but little strength in me, slay me the steer also!” Then the man thought to himself, “What shall I do? Shall I slay it, or shall I not slay it?” At last he said, “Well! I’ve sacrificed more than this before, so let this go too!” and he took the steer and slaughtered it for the eagle. Then the eagle lived upon this for another whole year longer, and after that he took to flight, and flew high up right to the very clouds. Then he flew down again to the man and said to him, “I thank thee, brother, for that thou hast been the saving of me! Come now and sit upon me!”––“Nay, but,”
said the man, “what if some evil befall me?”––“Sit on me, I say!” cried the eagle. So the archer sat down upon the bird. Then the eagle bore him nearly as high as the big clouds, and then let him fall. Down plumped the man; but the eagle did not let him fall to the earth, but swiftly flew beneath him and upheld him, and said to him, “How dost thou feel now?”––“I feel,” said the man, “as if I had no life in me.”––Then the eagle replied, “That was just how I felt when thou didst aim at me the first time.” Then he said to him, “Sit on my back again!” The man did not want to sit on him, but what could he do? Sit he must. Then the eagle flew with him quite as high as the big clouds, and shook him off, and down he fell headlong till he was about two fathoms from the ground, when the bird again flew beneath him and held him up. Again the eagle asked him, “How dost thou feel?” And the man replied, “I feel just as if all my bones were already broken to bits!”––“That is just how I felt when thou didst take aim at me the second time,” replied the eagle. “But now sit on my back once more.” The man did so, and the eagle flew with him as high as the small fleecy clouds, and then he shook him off, and down he fell headlong; but when he was but a hand’s-breadth from the earth, the eagle again flew beneath him and held him up, and said to him, “How dost thou feel now?” And he replied, “I feel as if I no longer belonged to this world!”––“That is just how I felt when thou didst aim at me the third time,” replied the eagle. “But now,” continued the bird, “thou art guilty no more. We are quits. I owe thee naught, and thou owest naught to me; so sit on my back again, and I’ll take thee to my master.” They flew on and on, they flew till they came to the eagle’s uncle. And the eagle said to the archer, “Go to my house, and when they ask thee, ‘Hast thou not seen our poor child?’ reply, ‘Give me the magic egg, and I’ll bring him before your eyes!’” So he went to the house, and there they said to him, “Hast thou heard of our poor child with thine ears, or seen him with thine eyes, and hast thou come hither willingly or unwillingly?”––And he answered, “I have come hither willingly!”––
Then they asked, “Hast thou smelt out anything of our poor youngster? for it is three years now since he went to the wars, and there’s neither sight nor sound of him more!”––And he answered, “Give me the magic egg, and I’ll bring him straightway before your eyes!”––Then they replied, “’Twere better we never saw him than that we should give thee the magic egg!”––Then he went back to the eagle and said to him, “They said, ‘’Twere better we never saw him than that we should give thee the magic egg.’”––Then the eagle answered, “Let us fly on farther!” They flew on and on till they came to the eagle’s brother, and the archer said just the same to him as he had said to the eagle’s uncle, and still he didn’t get the egg. Then they flew to the eagle’s father, and the eagle said to him, “Go up to the hut, and if they ask for me, say that thou hast seen me and will bring me before their eyes.”––So he went up to the hut, and they said to him, “O Tsarevich, we hear thee with our ears and see thee with our eyes, but hast thou come hither of thine own free will or by the will of another?”––And the archer answered, “I have come hither of my own free will!”––Then they asked him, “Hast thou seen our son? Lo, these four years we have not had news of him. He went off to the wars, and perchance he has been slain there.”––And he answered them, “I have seen him, and if you will give me the magic egg, I will bring him before your eyes.”––And the eagle’s father said to him, “What good will such a thing do thee? We had better give thee the lucky penny!”––But he answered, “I don’t want the lucky penny, give me the magic egg!”––“Come hither then,” said he, “and thou shalt have it.” So he went into the hut. Then the eagle’s father rejoiced and gave him the egg, and said to him, “Take heed thou dost not break it anywhere on the road, and when thou gettest home, hedge it round and build a strong fence about it, and it will do thee good.” So he went homeward. He went on and on till a great thirst came upon him. So he stopped at the first spring he came to, and as he stooped to drink he stumbled and the magic egg was broken. Then he perceived
that an ox had come out of the egg and was rolling away. He gave chase to the ox, but whenever he was getting close to one side of it, the other side of it got farther away from him. Then the poor fellow cried, “I shall do nothing with it myself, I see.”––At that moment an old shedragon came up to him and said, “What wilt thou give me, O man, if I chase this ox back again into the egg for thee?”––And the archer replied, “What can I give?”––The dragon said to him, “Give me what thou hast at home without thy will and wit!”––“Done!” said the archer. Then the dragon chased the ox nicely into the egg again, patched it up prettily and gave it into the man’s hand. Then the archer went home, and when he got home he found a son had been born to him there, and his son said to him, “Why didst thou give me to the old she-dragon, dad? But never mind, I’ll manage to live in spite of her.” Then the father was very grieved for a time, but what could he do? Now the name of this son was Ivan. So Ivan lost no time in going to the dragon, and the dragon said to him, “Go to my house and do me three tasks, and if thou dost them not, I’ll devour thee.” Now, round the dragon’s house was a large meadow as far as the eye could reach. And the dragon said to him, “Thou must in a single night weed out this field and sow wheat in it, and reap the wheat and store it, all in this very night; and thou must bake me a roll out of this self-same wheat, and the roll must be lying ready for me on my table in the morning.” Then Ivan went and leaned over the fence, and his heart within him was sore troubled. Now near to him there was a post, and on this post was the dragon’s starveling daughter. So when he came thither and fell a-weeping, she asked him, “Wherefore dost thou weep?”––And he said, “How can I help weeping? The dragon has bidden me do something I can never, never do; and what is more, she has bidden me do it in a single night.”––“What is it, pray?” asked the dragon’s daughter. Then he told her. “Not every bush bears a berry!” cried she. “Promise to take me to wife, and I’ll do all she has bidden thee do.” He
promised, and then she said to him again, “Now go and lie down, but see that thou art up early in the morning to bring her her roll.” Then she went to the field, and before one could whistle she had cleaned it of weeds and harrowed it and sown it with wheat, and by dawn she had reaped the wheat and cooked the roll and brought it to him, and said, “Now, take it to her hut and put it on her table.” Then the old she-dragon awoke and came to the door, and was amazed at the sight of the field, which was now all stubble, for the corn had been cut. Then she said to Ivan, “Yes, thou hast done the work well. But now, see that thou doest my second task.” Then she gave him her second command. “Dig up that mountain yonder and let the Dnieper flow over the site of it, and there build a store-house, and in the store-house stack the wheat that thou hast reaped, and sell this wheat to the merchant barques that sail by, and everything must be done by the time I get up early next morning!” Then he again went to the fence and wept, and the maiden said to him, “Why dost thou weep?” and he told her all that the she-dragon had bidden him do. “There are lots of bushes, but where are the berries? Go and lie down, and I’ll do it all for thee.” Then she whistled, and the mountain was levelled and the Dnieper flowed over the site of it, and round about the Dnieper store-houses rose up, and then she came and woke him that he might go and sell the wheat to the merchant barques that sailed by that way, and when the she-dragon rose up early in the morning she was amazed to see that everything had been done which she had commanded him. Then she gave him her third command. “This night thou must catch the golden hare, and bring it to me by the morning light.” Again he went to the fence and fell a-weeping. And the girl asked him, “Why art thou weeping?”––He said to her, “She has ordered me to catch her the golden hare.”––“Oh, oh!” cried the she-dragon’s daughter, “the berries are ripening now; only her father knows how to catch such a hare as that. Nevertheless, I’ll go to a rocky place I know of, and there
perchance we shall be able to catch it.” So they went to this rocky place together, and she said to him, “Stand over that hole. I’ll go in and chase him out of the hole, and do thou catch him as he comes out; but mind, whatever comes out of the hole, seize it, for it will be the golden hare.” So she went and began beating up, and all at once out came a snake and hissed, and he let it go. Then she came out of the hole and said to him, “What! has nothing come out?”––“Well,” said he, “only a snake, and I was afraid it would bite me, so I let it go.”––“What hast thou done?” said she; “that was the very hare itself. Look now!” said she, “I’ll go in again, and if any one comes out and tells you that the golden hare is not here, don’t believe it, but hold him fast.” So she crept into the hole again and began to beat for game, and out came an old woman, who said to the youth, “What art thou poking about there for?”––And he said to her, “For the golden hare.”––She said to him, “It is not here, for this is a snake’s hole,” and when she had said this she went away. Presently the girl also came out and said to him, “What! hast thou not got the hare? Did nothing come out then?”––“No,” said he, “nothing but an old woman who asked me what I was seeking, and I told her the golden hare, and she said, ‘It is not here,’ so I let her go.”––Then the girl replied, “Why didst thou not lay hold of her? for she was the very golden hare itself, and now thou never wilt catch it unless I turn myself into a hare and thou take and lay me on the table, and give me into my mother’s, the she-dragon’s hands, and go away, for if she find out all about it she will tear the pair of us to pieces.” So she changed herself into a hare, and he took and laid her on the table, and said to the she-dragon, “There’s thy hare for thee, and now let me go away!” She said to him, “Very well––be off!” Then he set off running, and he ran and ran as hard as he could. Soon after, the old she-dragon discovered that it was not the golden hare, but her own daughter, so she set about chasing after them to destroy them both, for the daughter had made haste in the meantime to join Ivan. But as the
she-dragon couldn’t run herself, she sent her husband, and he began chasing them, and they knew he was coming, for they felt the earth trembling beneath his tread. Then the she-dragon’s daughter said to Ivan, “I hear him running after us. I’ll turn myself into standing wheat and thee into an old man guarding me, and if he ask thee, ‘Hast thou seen a lad and a lass pass by this way?’ say to him, ‘Yes, they passed by this way while I was sowing this wheat!’” A little while afterward the she-dragon’s husband came flying up. “Have a lad and a lass passed by this way?” said he. “Yes,” replied the old man, “they have.”––“Was it long ago?” asked the she-dragon’s husband.––“It was while this wheat was being sown,” replied the old man.––“Oh!” thought the dragon, “this wheat is ready for the sickle, they couldn’t have been this way yesterday,” so he turned back. Then the she-dragon’s daughter turned herself back into a maiden and the old man into a youth, and off they set again. But the dragon returned home, and the she-dragon asked him, “What! hast thou not caught them or met them on the road?”––“Met them, no!” said he. “I did, indeed, pass on the road some standing wheat and an old man watching it, and I asked the old man if he had seen a lad and a lass pass by that way, and he said, ‘Yes, while this wheat was being sown,’ but the wheat was quite ripe for the sickle, so I knew it was a long while ago and turned back.”––“Why didst thou not tear that old man and the wheat to pieces?” cried the she-dragon; “it was they! Be off after them again, and mind, this time tear them to pieces without fail.” So the dragon set off after them again, and they heard him coming from afar, for the earth trembled beneath him, so the damsel said to Ivan, “He’s coming again, I hear him; now I’ll change myself into a monastery, so old that it will be almost falling to pieces, and I’ll change thee into an old black monk at the gate, and when he comes up and asks, ‘Hast thou seen a lad and a lass pass this way?’ say to him, ‘Yes, they passed by this way when this monastery was being built.’” Soon afterward the dragon came flying past, and asked the monk, “Hast
thou seen a lad and a lass pass by this way?”––“Yes,” he replied, “I saw them what time the holy fathers began to build this monastery.” The dragon thought to himself, “That was not yesterday! This monastery has stood a hundred years if it has stood a day, and won’t stand much longer either,” and with that he turned him back. When he got home, he said to the she-dragon, his wife, “I met a black monk who serves in a monastery, and I asked him about them, and he told me that a lad and a lass had run past that way when the monastery was being built, but that was not yesterday, for the monastery is a hundred years old at the very least.”––“Why didst thou not tear the black monk to pieces and pull down the monastery? for ’twas they. But I see I must go after them myself, thou art no good at all.” So off she set and ran and ran, and they knew she was coming, for the earth quaked and yawned beneath her. Then the damsel said to Ivan, “I fear me ’tis all over, for she is coming herself! Look now! I’ll change thee into a stream and myself into a fish––a perch.” Immediately after the she-dragon came up and said to the perch, “Oh, oh! so thou wouldst run away from me, eh!” Then she turned herself into a pike and began chasing the perch, but every time she drew near to it, the perch turned its prickly fins toward her, so that she could not catch hold of it. So she kept on chasing it and chasing it, but finding she could not catch it, she tried to drink up the stream, till she drank so much of it that she burst. Then the maiden who had become a fish said to the youth who had become a river, “Now that we are alive and not dead, go back to thy lord-father and thy father’s house and see them, and kiss them all except the daughter of thy uncle, for if thou kiss that damsel thou wilt forget me, and I shall go to the land of Nowhere.” So he went home and greeted them all, and as he did so he thought to himself, “Why should I not greet my uncle’s daughter like the rest of them? Why, they’ll think me a mere pagan if I don’t!” So he kissed her, and the moment he did so he forgot all about the girl who had saved him.
So he remained there half a year, and then bethought him of taking to himself a wife. So they betrothed him to a very pretty girl, and he accepted her and forgot all about the other girl who had saved him from the dragon, though she herself was the she-dragon’s daughter. Now the evening before the wedding they heard a young damsel crying Shishki in the streets. They called to the young damsel to go away, or say who she was, for nobody knew her. But the damsel answered never a word, but began to knead more cakes, and made a cock-dove and a hen-dove out of the dough and put them down on the ground, and they became alive. And the hen-dove said to the cockdove, “Hast thou forgotten how I cleared the field for thee, and sowed it with wheat, and thou mad’st a roll from the corn which thou gavest to the she-dragon?”––But the cock-dove answered, “Forgotten! forgotten!”––Then she said to him again, “And hast thou forgotten how I dug away the mountain for thee, and let the Dnieper flow by it that the merchant barques might come to thy store-houses, and that thou mightst sell thy wheat to the merchant barques?” But the cockdove replied, “Forgotten! forgotten!”––Then the hen-dove said to him again, “And hast thou forgotten how we two went together in search of the golden hare? Hast thou forgotten me then altogether?”––And the cock-dove answered again, “Forgotten! forgotten!” Then the good youth Ivan bethought him who this damsel was that had made the doves, and he took her to his arms and made her his wife, and they lived happily ever afterward. ------From “Cossack Folk Tales and Fairy Tales” ISBN: 978-1-907256-30-1
10. A HUNDRED VERSES FROM OLD JAPAN
For this entry, we deviate from our theme and I have selected two poems from the Hyaku-nin-isshiu, or 'Single Verses by a Hundred People', which were collected together in A.D. 1235 by Sadaiye Fujiwara. The poems are in approximately chronological order, and range from about the year 670 to the year of compilation. Japanese poetry differs very largely from anything we Westerners are used to; it has no rhyme or alliteration, and little, if any, rhythm, as we are used to. The verses in this collection are all what are called Tanka, which was for many years the only form of verse known to the Japanese. A tanka verse has five line and thirty-one syllables, arranged thus: 5-7-5-7-7. As this is an unusual metre in our ears, the translator, William N. Porter, adopted a five-lined verse of 8-6-8-6-6 metre for the translation, with the second, fourth, and fifth lines rhyming, in the hope of retaining at least some resemblance to the original form, while making the sound more familiar to English readers. The Japanese section of each tanka has been written phonetically so western readers may at least be able to get a feel for what the poem would have sounded like in it’s native Japanese. The Emperor Tenchi reigned from A.D. 668 to 671, his capital was Otsu, not far from Kyōto, and he is chiefly remembered for his kindness and benevolence. It is related, that one day he was scaring birds away, while the harvesters were gathering in the crop, and, when a shower of rain came on, he took shelter in a neighbouring hut; it was, however, thatched only with coarse rushes, which did not afford him much protection, and this is the incident on which the verse is founded.
The picture shows the harvesters hard at work in the field, and the hut where the Emperor took shelter.
1 THE EMPEROR TENCHI or TENCHI TENNŌ Aki no ta no Kari ho no iho no Toma wo arami Waga koromode wa Tsuyu ni nure-tsutsu. OUT in the fields this autumn day They're busy reaping grain ; I sought for shelter ’neath this roof, But fear I sought in vain,— My sleeve is wet with rain.
Because the tanka are so short I feel it only right to spoil you with a second. I have selected the tanka from the compiler of this volume which is listed at number 97. Sada-iye, of the Fujiwara family, was the Compiler of this Collection of verses; he was the son of Toshi-nari, the writer of verse No. 83, and he entered the priesthood, dying in the year 1242, at the age of eighty. Matsu-hō is on the north coast of the Island of Awaji, in the Inland Sea; but the word also means 'a place of waiting and longing for somebody'. Kogare means 'scorching or evaporating' (sea-water in the saltpans), but it also has the meaning 'to long for, or to love ardently.'
97 THE ASSISTANT IMPERIAL ADVISER SADA-IYE or GON CHU-NAGON SADA-IYE Konu hito wo Matsu-hō no ura no Yūnagi ni Yaku ya moshio no Mi mo kogare-tsutsu. UPON the shore of Matsu-hō For thee I pine and sigh; Though calm and cool the evening air, These salt-pans caked and dry Are not more parched than I! The illustration shows two men carrying pails of sea-water to the salt-pans. From “A Hundred Verses from Old Japan” translated by William N. Porter ISBN: 978-1-907256-19-6
11. HOW A SMALL KAMAK WAS TRANSFORMED INTO A HARPOON-LINE
A Koryak tale from Kamchatka in Eastern Russia
A small kamak said to his mother, "I am hungry." She said to him, "Go and eat something in the storeroom behind the sleeping-room!" He said, "I do not want to. I want to, go to Big-Raven's house." The mother said, "Do not do it! You will die. You will be caught In a snare." She said, "Go to the upper storeroom (in the porch) and eat something!" He said, "What for? Those provisions taste of the upper storeroom." She said, "Go to the cache and eat something!" He said, "What for? Those provisions taste of the cache." Big-Raven spread a snare close to his elevated storehouse (raised on supports). The small kamak ran there, and was caught in a snare. He began to whimper; "Oh, oh, I am caught, I am caught!" Big-Raven said, "It came to my mind to go and to look at this snare." He came to it, and wanted to enter the storehouse, but stumbled over something lying in the way. "What now, what is it?"--" It is I. I am caught." The small kamak was crying, and brushing away his tears with his small fist. "Stop blubbering! I will take you to Miti'." He brought the small kamak to his house, and said, "O, Miti! dance in honor of (our) catch!" She began to dance, "We have a small kamak, we have a small kamak!" Big-Raven said, "You dance in a wrong way. Ġa'na, step forth and dance in honor of (our) catch!" She came out and began to dance, "We have a small ma'kak, we have a small ma'kak!" Big-Raven said, "Really this is right." They took him into the house. The house-master said, "What shall we make out of you, a cover for the roof-hole?"--"Not this. If I am made
into a cover for the roof-hole, I shall feel smoky, I shall feel cold." The house-master said, "What shall we make out of you, a plug for the vent-hole?"--"Not this. If I am made into a plug for the vent-hole, I shall be afraid of evil spirits passing by." The house-master said, "What, then, do you wish us to make of you? Perhaps a work-bag for Miti'." He said, "Not this. I shall feel smothered." The house-master said, "We shall make you into a thong." The small kamak began to laugh and said, "Yes!" They made him into a thong, they cut him duly, then they carried the line out and began to stretch it (tightly). Thus stretched, they (left it there). Big-Raven's people went to sleep. Frost-Man and his people said, "Big-Raven has caught a small kamak. They made him into a thong. Let us go and steal it!" They found it, and began to untie it. Then it cried aloud, "Quick, get up! Already they are untying me!" Big-Raven said, "What is the matter with our small line? It wants to awaken us. Quick, let us get up!" They woke up, and said to the small kamak, "What is the matter with you? Why were you crying so loudly?" The small kamak said, "Frost-Man's people wanted to carry me away." The people living down the coast heard (about the thing),--how BigRaven caught a small kamak; and how they made him into a thong; and how no one succeeded in carrying it away, it was so watchful. Those people began to say, "We will go and carry it away." They said, "Surely we will carry it away." Big-Raven's people went to sleep. The people living down the coast came and took the line. It wanted to awaken the other people, but it was unable to awaken them. "Oh, they are untying me already, they are carrying me away!" Indeed, they untied it and carried it away; they stole the line.
The others woke up, but there was no line whatever. It had been taken away. Big-Raven said, "People living down the coast have committed this theft. Indeed, they took it, nobody else." Eme'mqut said, "A very good line was taken away, still we will bring it back." Eme'mqut made a wooden whale and entered it. He went away and came to the people living down the coast. Those people were walking around. They were saying, "This is the first time that such a whale has come near to us. It is a very good whale." They attacked the whale, came near to it, and threw at it a harpoon with a new line. The small kamak lustily bit into the whale. Eme'mqut said to him under his breath, "Why are you biting me? I have come to fetch you home." Eme'mqut threw into the boat of the whale-hunters some berries of Rubus Arcticus, and they began to eat them. Meanwhile Eme'mqut fled in all haste to his house. He carried away the new line, and took it home. They ceased carrying the line out of the house. They kept it always in the inner room, so the others could not steal it. That is all. ------From Koryak Texts ISBN: 978-1-907256-43-1 NOTE: The name Koryak was from the exonym word 'Korak' meaning 'with the reindeer (kor)'. Koryaks practice a form of animist belief system especially via shamanism similar in concept to the North American Indians. Koryak mythology centres around the supernatural shaman Quikil (BigRaven) who was the first man and protector of the Koryak and who features prominently in their stories. Big Raven myths are also found in the Tlingit, Tsimshian, and other Northwest Coast Amerindians (Canada and Alaska) suggesting a broader monoculture cultural area stretching from current day Kamchatka across the Bering Strait into Alaska and Canada.
Their cultures only really started diverging when the land bridge across the Bering Strait between Russia and Alaska was submerged. At about the same time the land bridge between England and France disappeared also leading to a divergence between the European cultures. Coincidentally the land bridge between New Zealand’s North and South Islands also disappeared with the rise in sea levels at this time but this did not have the same divergent effect on the Polynesian-Maori culture.
12. FISH-HAWK AND HIS DAUGHTER
An Achomawi Myth
Fish-Hawk lived down at Pit River. When Sun travelled in winter, he left his daughter at home, but he carried her about with him in summer. Sun did not want his daughter to marry any poor person, but a great man, like Pine-Marten, Wolf, or Coyote. Fish-Hawk got angry at Sun because he talked in this way of poor people, so he started and went down to the ocean, to Sun's place, and slipped into the sweathouse. It was winter now, and Sun's daughter was put away inside the house in a basket. Fish-Hawk stole her, carried her on his back to Coyote's house, and hid her away. He made the journey in one night. Next morning Sun could not find his daughter, and did not know where she had gone. That morning Fish-Hawk took the basket with the woman in it, and put it away under the rocks in muddy water, to hide it so that Sun could not see and could not find his daughter. Sun searched everywhere in the air and on the ground, but could not find her. Then he hired all men who were good divers or swimmers to hunt in the water, for he thought she was hidden in the water. All searched until they came to Pit River. One would search part of the way, then another. Kingfisher was the last man to go in search of her. He went along slowly to look where the water was muddy. At last he thought he saw just a bit of something under the water. Then he went over the place carefully again and again. Many people were going along the river, watching these men looking for Sun's daughter. Kingfisher filled his pipe, smoked, and blew on the water to make it clear, for he was a great shaman. Then he went up in
the air and came down over the place. The people were all excited, and thought surely he would find something. He came along slowly, and sat and smoked again, and blew the smoke over the water. Then he rose, rolled up his pipe and tobacco, and put them away. Then he took a long pole, stood over the water, pushed his pole down deep, and speared with it until he got hold of the basket and pulled it out. Old Sun came, untied the basket, took his daughter out, washed her, then put her back. He paid each of the men he had hired. Part of their pay was in shells. Kingfisher said that it was Fish-Hawk who had hidden the basket. Sun put the basket on his back and started home. He was so happy to get his daughter back that he did no harm to Fish-Hawk for stealing her. ------From Achomawi and Atsugewi Myths and Legends ISBN 978-1-907256-24-0 NOTE: Just who are the Achomawi or Atsugewi? Ask most people and they would shrug their shoulders or return blank stares. But ask the residents of Northern California or Northern Nevada and they will tell you. Both are Native American tribes and form part of the Shastan stock of which the Shasta are probably the best known. This myth was recorded in the early 1900’s in the Pit River area.
13. MAUI AND TUNA
A Tale from Polynesia
WHEN Maui returned from the voyages in which he discovered or "fished up" from the ocean depths new islands, he gave deep thought to the things he had found. As the islands appeared to come out of the water he saw they were inhabited. There were houses and stages for drying and preserving food. He was greeted by barking dogs. Fires were burning, food cooking and people working. He evidently had gone so far away from home that a strange people was found. The legend which speaks of the death of his brothers, "eaten" by the great fish drawn up from the floor of the sea, may very easily mean that the new people killed and ate the brothers. Maui apparently learned some new lessons, for on his return he quickly established a home of his own, and determined to live after the fashion of the families in the new islands. Maui sought Hina-a-te-lepo, "daughter of the swamp," and secured her as his wife. The New Zealand tribes tell legends which vary in different localities about this woman Hina. She sometimes bore the name Rau-kura--"The red plume." She cared for his thatched house as any other Polynesian woman was in the habit of doing. She attempted the hurried task of cooking his food before he snared the sun and gave her sufficient daylight for her labors. They lived near the bank of a river from which Hina was in the habit of bringing water for the household needs.
One day she went down to the stream with her calabash. She was entwined with wreaths of leaves and flowers, as was the custom among Polynesian women. While she was standing on the bank, Tunaroa, "the long eel," saw her. He swam up to the bank and suddenly struck her and knocked her into the water and covered her with slime from the blow given by his tail. Hina escaped and returned to her home, saying nothing to Maui about the trouble. But the next day, while getting water, she was again overthrown and befouled by the slime of Tuna-roa. Then Hina became angry and reported the trouble to Maui. Maui decided to punish the long eel and started out to find his hiding place. Somie of the New Zealand legends as collected by White, state that Tuna-roa was a very smooth skinned chief, who lived on the opposite bank of the stream, and, seeing Hina, had insulted her. When Maui saw this chief, he caught two pieces of wood over which he was accustomed to slide his canoe into the sea. These he carried to the stream and laid them from bank to bank as a bridge over which he might entice Tuna-roa to cross. Maui took his stone axe, Ma-Tori-Tori, "the severer," and concealed himself near the bank of the river. When "the long eel" had crossed the stream, Maui rushed out and killed him with a mighty blow of the stone axe, cutting the head from the body.
New Zealand (Aotearoa) Stamp celebrating the story
Other legends say that Maui found Tuna-roa living as an eel in a deep water hole, in a swamp on the seacoast of Tata-a, part of the island Aotearoa (ay-oh-tee-ah-roh-ah – New Zealand). Other stories located Tuna-roa in the river near Maui's home.
Maui saw that he could not get at his enemy without letting off the water which protected him. Therefore into the forest went Maui, and with sacred ceremonies, selected trees from the wood of which he prepared tools and weapons. Meanwhile, in addition to the insult given to Hina, Tuna-roa had caught and devoured two of Maui's children, which made Maui more determined to kill him. Maui made the narrow spade (named by the Maoris of New Zealand the "ko," and by the Hawaiians "o-o") and the sharp spears, with which to pierce either the earth or his enemy. These spears and spades were consecrated to the work of preparing a ditch by which to draw off the water protecting "the long eel." The work of trench-making was accomplished with many incantations and prayers. The ditch was named "The sacred digging," and was tabooed to all other purposes except that of catching Tuna-roa. Across this ditch Maui stretched a strong net, and then began a new series of chants and ceremonies to bring down an abundance of rain. Soon the flood came and the overflowing waters rushed down the sacred ditch. The walls of the deep pool gave way and "the long eel" was carried down the trench into the waiting net. Then there was commotion. Tuna-roa was struggling for freedom. Maui saw him and hastened to grasp his stone axe, "the severer." Hurrying to the net, he struck Tuna-roa a terrible blow, and cut off the head. With a few more blows, he cut the body in pieces. The head and tail were carried out into the sea. The head became fish and the tail became the great conger-eel. Other parts of the body became sea monsters. But some parts which fell in fresh water became the
common eels. From the hairs of the head came certain vines and creepers among the plants. After the death of Tuna-roa the offspring of Maui were in no danger of being killed and soon multiplied into a large family. Another New Zealand legend related by White says that Maui built a sliding place of logs, over which Tuna-roa must pass when coming from the river. Maui also made a screen behind which he could secrete himself while watching for Tuna-roa. He commanded Hina to come down to the river and wait on the bank to attract Tuna-roa. Soon the long eel was seen in the water swimming near to Hina. Hina went to a place back of the logs which Maui had laid down. Tuna-roa came towards her, and began to slide down the skids. Maui sprang out from his hiding place and killed Tuna-roa with his axe, and cut him in pieces. The tail became the conger-eel. Parts of his body became fresh-water eels. Some of the blood fell upon birds and always after marked them with red spots. Some of the blood was thrown into certain trees, making this wood always red. The muscles became vines and creepers. From this time the children of Maui caught and ate the eels of both salt and fresh water. Eel traps were made, and Maui taught the people the proper chants or incantations to use when catching eels. ------78
From “The Legends of Ma-ui” ISBN: 978-1-907256-95-0 NOTE: Maui is a Polynesian demi god and has an island in the Hawaiian islands chain named after him. What is interesting about Polynesian folklore and mythology is that from Hawaii to Fiji to the Maori of Aotearoa, or New Zealand, to the Samoan islands and all of Polynesia and Micronesia, the Polynesian legends are almost without fault uniform. This legend of Maui and the long eel was found by White in a number of forms among the different tribes of New Zealand, but does not seem to have had currency in many other island groups. In Turner's "Samoa" a legend is related which was probably derived from the Maui stories and yet differs in its romantic results. The Samoans say that among their ancient ones dwelt a woman named Sina. Sina among the Polynesians is the same as Hina--the "h" is softened into "s". She captured a small eel and kept it as a pet. It grew large and strong and finally attacked and bit her. She fled, but the eel followed her everywhere. Her father came to her assistance and raised high mountains between the eel and herself. But the eel passed over the barrier and pursued her. Her mother raised a new series of mountains. But again the eel surmounted the difficulties and attempted to seize Sina. She broke away from him and ran on and on. Finally she wearily passed through a village. The people asked her to stay and eat with them, but she said they could only help her by delivering her from the pursuing eel. The inhabitants of that village were afraid of the eel and refused to fight for her. So she ran on to another place. Here the chief offered her a drink of water and promised to kill the eel for her. He prepared awa, a stupefying drink, and put poison in it. When the eel came along the chief asked him to
drink. He took the awa and prepared to follow Sina. When he came to the place where she was the pains of death had already seized him. While dying he begged her to bury his head by her home. This she did, and in time a plant new to the islands sprang up. It became a tree, and finally produced a cocoanut, whose two eyes could continually look into the face of Sina. Tuna, in the legends of Fiji, was a demon of the sea. He lived in a deep sea cave, into which he sometimes shut himself behind closed doors of coral. When he was hungry, he swam through the ocean shadows, always watching the restless surface. When a canoe passed above him, he would throw himself swiftly through the waters, upset the canoe, and seize some of the boatmen and devour them. He was greatly feared by all the fishermen of the Fijian coasts. Roko-a mo-o or dragon god-in his journey among the islands, stopped at a village by the sea and asked for a canoe and boatmen. The people said: "We have nothing but a very old canoe out there by the water." He went to it and found it in a very bad condition. He put it in the water, and decided that he could use it. Then he asked two men to go with him and paddle, but they refused because of fear, and explained this fear by telling the story of the water demon, who continually sought the destruction of this canoe, and also their own death. Roko encouraged them to take him to wage battle with Tuna, telling them he would destroy the monster. They paddled until they were directly over Tuna's cave. Roko told them to go off to one side and wait and watch, saying: "I am going down to see this Tuna. If you see red blood boil up through the water, you may be sure that Tuna has been killed. If the blood is black, then you will know that he has the victory and I am dead." Roko leaped into the water and went down-down to the door of the cave. The coral doors were closed. He grasped them in his strong hands and tore them open, breaking them in pieces. Inside he found
cave after cave of coral, and broke his way through until at last he awoke Tuna. The angry demon cried: "Who is that?" Roko answered: "It is I, Roko, alone. Who are you?" Tuna aroused himself and demanded Roko's business and who guided him to that place. Roko replied: "No one has guided me. I go from place to place, thinking that there is no one else in the world." Tuna shook himself angrily. "Do you think I am nothing? This day is your last." Roko replied: "Perhaps so. If the sky falls, I shall die." Tuna leaped upon Roko and bit him. Then came the mighty battle of the coral caves. Roko broke Tuna into several pieces--and the red blood poured in boiling bubbles upward through the clear ocean waters, and the boatmen cried: "The blood is red the blood is red-Tuna is dead by the hand of Roko." Roko lived for a time in Fiji, where his descendants still find their home. The people use this chant to aid them in difficulties: My load is a red one. It points in front to Kawa (Roko's home). Behind, it points to Dolomo--(a village on another island)." In the Hawaiian legends, Hina was Maui's mother rather than his wife, and Kuna (Tuna) was a mo-o, a dragon or gigantic lizard possessing miraculous powers. Hina's home was in the large cave under the beautiful Rainbow Falls near the city of Hilo. Above the falls the bed of the river is along the channel of an ancient lava flow. Sometimes the water pours in a torrent over the rugged lava, sometimes it passes through
underground passages as well as along the black river bed, and sometimes it thrusts itself into boiling pools. Maui lived on the northern side of the river, but a chief named Kunamoo-a dragon-lived in the boiling pools. He attacked Hina and threw a dam across the river below Rainbow Falls, intending to drown Hina in her cave. The great ledge of rock filled the river bed high up the bank on the Hilo side of the river. Hina called on Maui for aid. Maui came quickly and with mighty blows cut out a new channel for the river--the path it follows to this day. The waters sank and Hina remained unharmed in her cave. The place where Kuna dwelt was called Wai-kuna -the Kuna water. The river in which Hina and Kuna dwelt bears the name Wailuku-"the destructive water." Maui went above Kuna's home and poured hot water into the river. This part of the myth could easily have arisen from a lava outburst on the side of the volcano above the river. The hot water swept in a flood over Kuna's home. Kuna jumped from the boiling pools over a series of small falls near his home into the river below. Here the hot water again scalded him and in pain he leaped from the river to the bank, where Maui killed him by beating him with a club. His body was washed down the river over the falls under which Hina dwelt, into the ocean. The story of Kuna or Tuna is a legend with a foundation in the enmity between two chiefs of the long ago, and also in a desire to explain the origin of the family of eels and the invention of nets and traps.
14. THE ORIGIN OF THE NARRAN LAKE
A Tale from Australia
OLD BYAMEE said to his two young wives, Birrahgnooloo and Cunnunbeillee, "I have stuck a white feather between the hind legs of a bee, and am going to let it go and then follow it to its nest, that I may get honey. While I go for the honey, go you two out and get frogs and yams, then meet me at Coorigel Spring, where we will camp, for sweet and clear is the water there." The wives, taking their goolays and yam sticks, went out as he told them. Having gone far, and dug out many yams and frogs, they were tired when they reached Coorigel, and, seeing the cool, fresh water, they longed to bathe. But first they built a bough shade, and there left their goolays holding their food, and the yams and frogs they had found. When their camp was ready for the coming of Byamee, who having wooed his wives with a nullah-nullah, kept them obedient by fear of the same weapon, then went the girls to the spring to bathe. Gladly they plunged in, having first divested themselves of their goomillahs, which they were still young enough to wear, and which they left on the ground near the spring. Scarcely were they enjoying the cool rest the water gave their hot, tired limbs, when they were seized and swallowed by two kurreahs. Having swallowed the girls, the kurreahs dived into an opening in the side of the spring, which was the entrance to an underground watercourse leading to the Narran River. Through this passage they went, taking all the water from the spring with them into the Narran, whose course they also dried as they went along. Meantime Byamee, unwitting the fate of his wives, was honey hunting. He had followed the bee with the white feather on it for some
distance; then the bee flew on to some budtha flowers, and would move no further. Byamee said, "Something has happened, or the bee would not stay here and refuse to be moved on towards its nest. I must go to Coorigel Spring and see if my wives are safe. Something terrible has surely happened." And Byamee turned in haste towards the spring. When he reached there he.saw the bough shed his wives had made, he saw the yams they had dug from the ground, and he saw the frogs, but Birrahgnooloo and Cunnunbeillee he saw not. He called aloud for them. But no answer. He went towards the spring; on the edge of it he saw the goomillahs of his wives. He looked into the spring and, seeing it dry, he said, "It is the work of the kurreahs; they have opened the underground passage and gone with my wives to the river, and opening the passage has dried the spring. Well do I know where the passage joins the Narran, and there will I swiftly go." Arming himself with spears and woggarahs he started in pursuit. He soon reached the deep hole where the underground channel of the Coorigel joined the Narran. There he saw what he had never seen before, namely, this deep hole dry. And he said: "They have emptied the holes as they went along, taking the water with them. But well know I the deep holes of the river. I will not follow the bend, thus trebling the distance I have to go, but I will cut across from big hole to big hole, and by so doing I may yet get ahead of the kurreahs." On swiftly sped Byamee, making short cuts from big hole to big hole, and his track is still marked by the morilla ridges that stretch down the Narran, pointing in towards the deep holes. Every hole as he came to it he found dry, until at last he reached the end of the Narran; the hole there was still quite wet and muddy, then he knew he was near his enemies, and soon he saw them. He managed to get, unseen, a little way ahead of the kurreahs. He hid himself behind a big dheal tree. As the kurreahs came near they separated, one turning to go in another direction. Quickly Byamee hurled one spear after another, wounding both kurreahs, who writhed with pain and lashed their tails furiously, making great hollows in the ground, which the water they had brought with them quickly filled. Thinking they might again escape
him, Byamee drove them from the water with his spears, and then, at close quarters, he killed them with his woggarahs. And ever afterwards at flood time, the Narran flowed into this hollow which the kurreahs in their writhings had made. When Byamee saw that the kurreahs were quite dead, he cut them open and took out the bodies of his wives. They were covered with wet slime, and seemed quite lifeless; but he carried them and laid them on two nests of red ants. Then he sat down at some little distance and watched them. The ants quickly covered the bodies, cleaned them rapidly of the wet slime, and soon Byamee noticed the muscles of the girls twitching. "Ah," he said, there is life, they feel the sting of the ants." Almost as he spoke came a sound as of a thunder-clap, but the sound seemed to come from the ears of the girls. And as the echo was dying away, slowly the girls rose to their feet. For a moment they stood apart, a dazed expression on their faces. Then they clung together, shaking as if stricken with a deadly fear. But Byamee came to them and explained how they had been rescued from the kurreahs by him. He bade them to beware of ever bathing in the deep holes of the Narran, lest such holes be the haunt of kurreahs. Then he bade them look at the water now at Boogira, and he said: "Soon will the black swans find their way here, the pelicans and the ducks; where there was dry land and stones in the past, in the future there will be water and water-fowl, from henceforth; when the Narran runs it will run into this hole, and by the spreading of its waters will a big lake be made." And what Byamee said has come to pass, as the Narran Lake shows, with its large sheet of water, spreading for miles, the home of thousands of wild fowl. ------85
From Australian Legendary Tales ISBN: 978-1-907256-41-7
The Narran Lake Nature Reserve is around 75 km north west of Walgett and 50km north east of Brewarrina in New South Wales, Australia.
15. THE ART OF NETTING LEARNED BY KAHUKURA FROM THE FAIRIES
A Maori Tale from New Zealand
This tale hails from Maori folklore and is titled "The Art of Netting Learned by Kahukura from the Fairies". It translates into Maori as "Ko Te Korero Mo Nga Patupaiarehe" ONCE upon a time, a man of the name of Kahukura wished to pay a visit to Rangiaowhia, a place lying far to the northward, near the country of the tribe called Te Rarawa. Whilst he lived at his own village, he was continually haunted by a desire to visit that place. At length he started on his journey, and reached Rangiaowhia, and as he was on his road, be passed a place where some people had been cleaning mackerel, and he saw the inside of the fish lying all about the sand on the sea-shore: surprised at this, he looked about at the marks, and said to himself: 'Oh, this must have been done by some of the people of the district.' But when he came to look a little more narrowly at the footmarks, he saw that the people who had been fishing had made them in the night-time, not that morning, nor in the day; and he said to himself: 'These are no mortals who have been fishing here-spirits must have done this; had they been men, some of the reeds and grass which they sat on in their canoe would have been lying about.' He felt quite sure from several circumstances, that spirits or fairies had been there; and after observing everything well, he returned to the house where he was stopping. He, however, held fast in his heart what he had seen, as something very striking to tell all his friends in every direction, and as likely to be the means of gaining knowledge which might enable him to find out something new.
So that night he returned to the place where he had observed all these things, and just as he reached the spot, back had come the fairies too, to haul their net for mackerel; and some of them were shouting out: 'The net here! the net here!' Then a canoe paddled off to fetch the other in which the net was laid, and as they dropped the net into the water, they began to cry out: 'Drop the net in the sea at Rangiaowhia, and haul it at Mamaku.' These words were sung out by the fairies, as an encouragement in their work and from the joy of their hearts at their sport in fishing. As the fairies were dragging the net to the shore, Kahukura managed to mix amongst them, and hauled away at the rope; he happened to be a very fair man, so that his skin was almost as white as that of these fairies, and from that cause he was not observed by them. As the net came close in to the shore, the fairies began to cheer and shout: 'Go out into the sea some of you, in front of the rocks, lest the nets should be entangled at Tawatawauia by Teweteweuia', for that was the name of a rugged rock standing out from the sandy shore; the main body of the fairies kept hauling at the net, and Kahukura pulled away in the midst of them. When the first fish reached the shore, thrown up in the ripple driven before the net as they hauled it in, the fairies had not yet remarked Kahukura, for he was almost as fair as they were. It was just at the very first peep of dawn that the fish were all landed, and the fairies ran hastily to pick them up from the sand, and to haul the net up on the beach. They did not act with their fish as men do, dividing them into separate loads for each, but everyone took up what fish he liked, and ran a twig through their gills, and as they strung the fish, they continued calling out: 'Make haste, run here, all of you, and finish the work before the sun rises.' Kahukura kept on stringing his fish with the rest of them. He had only a very short string, and, making a slip-knot at the end of it, when he
had covered the string with fish, he lifted them up, but had hardly raised them from the ground when the slip-knot gave way from the weight of the fish, and off they fell; then some of the fairies ran goodnaturedly to help him to string his fish again, and one of them tied the knot at the end of the string for him, but the fairy had hardly gone after knotting it, before Kahukura had unfastened it, and again tied a slip-knot at the end; then he began stringing his fish again, and when he had got a great many on, up he lifted them, and off they slipped as before. This trick he repeated several times, and delayed the fairies in their work by getting them to knot his string for him, and put his fish on it. At last full daylight broke, so that there was light enough to distinguish a man's face, and the fairies saw that Kahukura was a man; then they dispersed in confusion, leaving their fish and their net, and abandoning their canoes, which were nothing but stems of the flax. In a moment the fairies started for their own abodes; in their hurry, as has just been said, they abandoned their net, which was made of rushes; and off the good people fled as fast as they could go. Now was first discovered the stitch for netting a net, for they left theirs with Kahukura, and it became a pattern for him. He thus taught his children to make nets, and by them the Maori race were made acquainted with that art, which they have now known from very remote times. ------From “Polynesian Mythology Ancient Traditional History Of The New Zealanders” (Maori Folklore and Legends) by Sir George Grey ISBN: 978-1-907256-31-8
16. THUNDER-BOY AND LIZARD-MAN
A Maidu Tale from the central Sierra Nevada
In the north, it is said, there were many first people. One house was full of people, and they went hunting. One man went off and did not return by night. Then next day his brother went to look for him. And he went off, going along the ridge; and in the morning, again he had not come back. Then again someone went to look for him; and he, not returning, they ceased (going off). "I don't know what is the trouble! I again (also) will go and look for him," said one. And he, in the morning, after he had had his breakfast and made ready his bow, went off. And he did not return. "What can be the trouble?" said one. "Do you go and look for him, taking good care." Then (another) went. Again he did not come back. "They are trying to destroy us," they said; and again one went to search, and did not return at night. Then, "You must be careful," said his father. Again one went off, and did not return at night. The people were half gone. "Do the best you can, live through it," said he. "Whatever can be the trouble? I will go and see," he said. "If I do not get back, do the best you can, ye people. What can be the trouble? While we are out hunting for food, for game, (someone) I don't know who it is, sees us, and troubles us. What man can it be?" he said. So he went off, and did not return. Another one went off afterwards, and he also did not return. Then the old man said, "I will go last. Do you go first," said he. So the last and only one left alive went. And at
night again he was not apparent. Then again the old man went. "Do ye stay," said he. "Don't let the child run about." So (the latter) and his elder sister staid there. The old man did not come back. Then they two remained there alone. "You must remain without crawling outside," said she. "What is it that is destroying us people? Do you know "Do not go out! You must play about close by here, not going far away," said she. Then be replied, "Very well." Then she said, "Bring some wood!" and he went to bring it. By and by he brought some back. He carried a large piece, although he was small, he carried a large piece. She sent him again. "You must not carry a large piece! It might hurt you," she said. Then he went for wood. "Do not go far," she said. But he went a little farther, and brought back a very large, very pitchy (log). "Didn't I tell you not to carry (such a large one)?" said she. "You might hurt yourself in the chest. That is what I told you," she said. He had big eyes, they say; and, "Although (I am) small, I am going to see," he thought. "What, I wonder, does this!" he said. "Look here, my sister! I want to go and look."--"I have told you not to say such things," she said. Next morning she sent him to get wood, and he went. He brought back a pitch stump, a whole one. Then, "I wonder how it is that carrying such loads . . .," thought his sister. "Although he is indeed very small, (yet) he carries great loads," she thought. Next morning he went off. He went, going along the ridge, and came to a great flat place. And human bones were many there. Standing there, he looked all about. By and by a man approached. "What are you doing?" said he. "Nothing," (the boy) replied. "Do you want to fight?" said he. "Yes," said the boy. Thereupon they two wrestled, and the boy killed Lizard-Man.
Thereupon he returned, and arrived at the house. He bathed in warm water, and then spoke. "I am going off above," said he. "You must remain, you must stay here. Rising from here, I shall go over up to the Above-Valley; and when I reach there, I will thunder," said he. "I shall roar, and you shall hear me." Whereupon, having finished speaking to his sister, he started and went off. And a while after he had gone, it thundered. He was roaring, they say. He it was who was to be the Thunder-Man. His sister recognized him again. At that time he said, "I shall have my country there. You must remain here. Meanwhile I shall be continually travelling about in the Above-Valley." So he spoke. That is all. "There are many squinting women gathering tules." 1
Footnote This is a common way of ending a tale. The sentence has no application to the rest of the story.
NOTE: The Maidu are an American Indian tribe who traditionally live in the central Sierra Nevada of California, to the north of Yosemite. ------From “Maidu Texts” – Maidu folklore and legends ISBN: 978-1-907256-35-6
A Fairy Tale from the Comte de Caylus
Everybody knows that though the fairies live hundreds of years they do sometimes die, and especially as they are obliged to pass one day in every week under the form of some animal, when of course they are liable to accident. It was in this way that death once overtook the Queen of the Fairies, and it became necessary to call a general assembly to elect a new sovereign. After much discussion, it appeared that the choice lay between two fairies, one called Surcantine and the other Paridamie; and their claims were so equal that it was impossible without injustice to prefer one to the other. Under these circumstances it was unanimously decided that whichever of the two could show to the world the greatest wonder should be Queen; but it was to be a special kind of wonder, no moving of mountains or any such common fairy tricks would do. Surcantine, therefore, resolved that she would bring up a Prince whom nothing could make constant. While Paridamie decided to display to admiring mortals a Princess so charming that no one could see her without falling in love with her. They were allowed to take their own time, and meanwhile the four oldest fairies were to attend to the affairs of the kingdom. Now Paridamie had for a long time been very friendly with King Bardondon, who was a most accomplished Prince, and whose court was the model of what a court should be. His Queen, Balanice, was also charming; indeed it is rare to find a husband and wife so perfectly of one mind about everything. They had one little daughter, whom they had named 'Rosanella,' because she had a little pink rose printed upon her white throat. From her earliest infancy she had shown the
most astonishing intelligence, and the courtiers knew her smart sayings by heart, and repeated them on all occasions. In the middle of the night following the assembly of fairies, Queen Balanice woke up with a shriek, and when her maids of honour ran to see what was the matter, they found she had had a frightful dream. 'I thought,' said she, 'that my little daughter had changed into a bouquet of roses, and that as I held it in my hand a bird swooped down suddenly and snatched it from me and carried it away.' 'Let some one run and see that all is well with the Princess,' she added. So they ran; but what was their dismay when they found that the cradle was empty; and though they sought high and low, not a trace of Rosanella could they discover. The Queen was inconsolable, and so, indeed, was the King, only being a man he did not say quite so much about his feelings. He presently proposed to Balanice that they should spend a few days at one of their palaces in the country; and to this she willingly agreed, since her grief made the gaiety of the capital distasteful to her. One lovely summer evening, as they sat together on a shady lawn shaped like a star, from which radiated twelve splendid avenues of trees, the Queen looked round and saw a charming peasant-girl approaching by each path, and what was still more singular was that everyone carried something in a basket which appeared to occupy her whole attention. As each drew near she laid her basket at Balanice's feet, saying: 'Charming Queen, may this be some slight consolation to you in your unhappiness!' The Queen hastily opened the baskets, and found in each a lovely baby-girl, about the same age as the little Princess for whom she sorrowed so deeply. At first the sight of them renewed her grief; but presently their charms so gained upon her that she forgot her
melancholy in providing them with nursery-maids, cradle-rockers, and ladies-in-waiting, and in sending hither and thither for swings and dolls and tops, and bushels of the finest sweetmeats. Oddly enough, every baby had upon its throat a tiny pink rose. The Queen found it so difficult to decide on suitable names for all of them, that until she could settle the matter she chose a special colour for everyone, by which it was known, so that when they were all together they looked like nothing so much as a nosegay of gay flowers. As they grew older it became evident that though they were all remarkably intelligent, and profited equally by the education they received, yet they differed one from another in disposition, so much so that they gradually ceased to be known as 'Pearl,' or 'Primrose,' or whatever might have been their colour, and the Queen instead would say: 'Where is my Sweet?' or 'my Beautiful,' or 'my Gay.' Of course, with all these charms they had lovers by the dozen. Not only in their own court, but princes from afar, who were constantly arriving, attracted by the reports which were spread abroad; but these lovely girls, the first Maids of Honour, were as discreet as they were beautiful, and favoured no one. But let us return to Surcantine. She had fixed upon the son of a king who was cousin to Bardondon, to bring up as her fickle Prince. She had before, at his christening, given him all the graces of mind and body that a prince could possibly require; but now she redoubled her efforts, and spared no pains in adding every imaginable charm and fascination. So that whether he happened to be cross or amiable, splendidly or simply attired, serious or frivolous, he was always perfectly irresistible! In truth, he was a charming young fellow, since the Fairy had given him the best heart in the world as well as the best head, and had left nothing to be desired but—constancy. For it cannot be denied that Prince Mirliflor was a desperate flirt, and as fickle as the
wind; so much so, that by the time he arrived at his eighteenth birthday there was not a heart left for him to conquer in his father's kingdom—they were all his own, and he was tired of everyone! Things were in this state when he was invited to visit the court of his father's cousin, King Bardondon. Imagine his feelings when he arrived and was presented at once to twelve of the loveliest creatures in the world, and his embarrassment was heightened by the fact that they all liked him as much as he liked each one of them, so that things came to such a pass that he was never happy a single instant without them. For could he not whisper soft speeches to Sweet, and laugh with Joy, while he looked at Beauty? And in his more serious moments what could be pleasanter than to talk to Grave upon some shady lawn, while he held the hand of Loving in his own, and all the others lingered near in sympathetic silence? For the first time in his life he really loved, though the object of his devotion was not one person, but twelve, to whom he was equally attached, and even Surcantine was deceived into thinking that this was indeed the height of inconstancy. But Paridamie said not a word. In vain did Prince Mirliflor's father write commanding him to return, and proposing for him one good match after another. Nothing in the world could tear him from his twelve enchantresses. One day the Queen gave a large garden-party, and just as the guests were all assembled, and Prince Mirliflor was as usual dividing his attentions between the twelve beauties, a humming of bees was heard. The Rose-maidens, fearing their stings, uttered little shrieks, and fled all together to a distance from the rest of the company. Immediately, to the horror of all who were looking on, the bees pursued them, and, growing suddenly to an enormous size, pounced each upon a maiden and carried her off into the air, and in an instant they were all lost to view. This amazing occurrence plunged the whole court into the
deepest affliction, and Prince Mirliflor, after giving way to the most violent grief at first, fell gradually into a state of such deep dejection that it was feared if nothing could rouse him he would certainly die. Surcantine came in all haste to see what she could do for her darling, but he rejected with scorn all the portraits of lovely princesses which she offered him for his collection. In short, it was evident that he was in a bad way, and the Fairy was at her wits' end. One day, as he wandered about absorbed in melancholy reflections, he heard sudden shouts and exclamations of amazement, and if he had taken the trouble to look up he could not have helped being as astonished as everyone else, for through the air a chariot of crystal was slowly approaching which glittered in the sunshine. Six lovely maidens with shining wings drew it by rose-coloured ribbons, while a whole flight of others, equally beautiful, were holding long garlands of roses crossed above it, so as to form a complete canopy. In it sat the Fairy Paridamie, and by her side a Princess whose beauty positively dazzled all who saw her. At the foot of the great staircase they descended, and proceeded to the Queen's apartments, though everyone had run together to see this marvel, till it was quite difficult to make a way through the crowd; and exclamations of wonder rose on all sides at the loveliness of the strange Princess. 'Great Queen,' said Paridamie, 'permit me to restore to you your daughter Rosanella, whom I stole out of her cradle.' After the first transports of joy were over the Queen said to Paridamie: 'But my twelve lovely ones, are they lost to me forever? Shall I never see them again?' But Paridamie only said: 'Very soon you will cease to miss them!' in a tone that evidently meant 'Don't ask me any more questions.' And then mounting again into her chariot she swiftly disappeared.
The news of his beautiful cousin's arrival was soon carried to the Prince, but he had hardly the heart to go and see her. However, it became absolutely necessary that he should pay his respects, and he had scarcely been five minutes in her presence before it seemed to him that she combined in her own charming person all the gifts and graces which had so attracted him in the twelve Rose-maidens whose loss he had so truly mourned; and after all it is really more satisfactory to make love to one person at a time. So it came to pass that before he knew where he was he was entreating his lovely cousin to marry him, and the moment the words had left his lips, Paridamie appeared, smiling and triumphant, in the chariot of the Queen of the Fairies, for by that time they had all heard of her success, and declared her to have earned the kingdom. She had to give a full account of how she had stolen Rosanella from her cradle, and divided her character into twelve parts, that each might charm Prince Mirliflor, and when once more united might cure him of his inconstancy once and for ever. And as one more proof of the fascination of the whole Rosanella, I may tell you that even the defeated Surcantine sent her a wedding gift, and was present at the ceremony which took place as soon as the guests could arrive. Prince Mirliflor was constant for the rest of his life. And indeed who would not have been in his place? As for Rosanella, she loved him as much as all the twelve beauties put together, so they reigned in peace and happiness to the end of their long lives. ------From “The Green Fairy Book” collated and edited by Andrew Lang ISBN: 978-1-907256-79-0
Illustration for "Rosanella" by Henry Justice Ford 1892. From Lang's The Red Green Fairy Book
18. THE PÖ'OKONGS AND THE BÁLÖLÖOKONG
A Hopi Tale from the American Southwest
Alíksai! In Mishóngnovi where now are the ruins, the people lived, and there lived a family consisting of a father, mother, a youth, and a maiden. One day at noon the latter went after water to Toríva. There was a great deal of water in the spring at that time. As she was dipping out the water it began to move and a Bálölöokong came out. He at once began to draw the maiden with strong inhalations towards him, embraced her, and disappeared with her into the water. Her mother was waiting for her to return, but she did not come. When she did not return the mother began to worry and said she would go and look for her. Following her tracks and not meeting her on the way, she went down to the spring. There she hunted for her tracks but only found them descending to the water. The jug was standing there, but the daughter could not be found, so she finally picked up the jug and the old blanket in which the jug had been carried and went home. "I have found the tracks," she said to her husband, "but they simply lead to the edge of the water, and cannot find our child anywhere." "Oh!" the father replied; so the father bestirred himself and made a ball and an arrow: to the latter he tied some blue-bird feathers. These he took to the house of Pöokónghoya and his younger brother Balö'ongahoya, who lived somewhat higher up, north of the village. When he arrived at their house the two youths were romping about. "Be quiet," their grandmother, Spider Woman, said, "be quiet, somebody has come here." So they were quiet. "Sit down, sit down," she said to the man, and then set some hurúshiki 2 before him, of
which he ate. It was just a small ball, but as he ate from it it kept increasing again. When he was done she said to him, "Now why do you come? What is the matter?" "Yes," he said, "yes, yesterday our daughter went after water and she did not return. Her foot tracks only lead to the edge of the stream, and now I came here, as you have a strong heart, and thought that may be you could do something for us." Hereupon he handed two bows to the youths and an eagle nakwákwosi, which he had also prepared, to Spider Woman. They were all happy over these things. "Askwalí," she said, "yes, these, my youths, know about it, for they have seen it. Bálölöokong dragged your daughter into the water, and to-morrow we will bestir ourselves and we shall go there. Now, you go back and invite your friends and you must also go to work making nakwákwosis." Spider Woman also instructed him that they should then dress up the brother of the maiden. So he went home, invited his friends, and they made many nakwákwosis which they placed into a handsome tray. Early the next morning Spider Woman and the two youths repaired to the village. When they had arrived there they dressed up the brother of the lost maiden, putting a kilt, sash, bunch of breath feathers, numerous strands of beads, and ear pendants on him. He took a ball in his right hand, and the taláwayi (a stick with two eagle feathers and a string of horse hair attached to it) in his left hand. The father took the tray with prayer-offerings, and the chief of the village also went along. Spider Woman told the young man not to be afraid. While the Pö'okong and his younger brother would sing at the spring he should dance, and if the Bálölöokong pitied them and would come out With his sister, he should not be afraid and he should not cry, but should grab his sister and then strike the Bálölöokong with the tonípi (a club with a stone attached to it), which the Pö'okongs had handed to him.
When they had arrived at the spring they stood there. "Now we are ready," the young man said. Hereupon the Pö'okongs sing the following song: Slowly: Aha'naha vuyuna ha Aha'naha yuyuna ha Aha'naha yuyuna ha hahahaia Ahainahai vuyuna ha (Words are all archaic) Ahainahai vuyuna ha Ahainahai vuyuna ha hahahaina.
While they were singing the young man was shaking his ball and holding the taláwayi in his left arm, dancing at the edge of the spring to the time of the singing. All at once the water began to move and the Bálölöokong came out holding the maiden in his left arm. She was still nicely dressed, having her turquoise ear-pendants still in her ears. "My elder brother," she said, to her brother, "take me. ''Yes, you go nearer now, and have a big heart, but do not cry," Spider Woman urged him. So he approached the edge of the spring and reached for his sister. But as he did so he began to cry and immediately the Bálölöokong disappeared in the water with the maiden. "Oh!" they all said. "Now let us try it again," Spider Woman suggested. "Let us try, it once more, but you must not be afraid; you must have a big heart; you must not cry. I did not tell you you must do this way, but have a big heart this time." And now they were ready again. As they were singing the same song that they had sung before, the young man again shaking his ball and dancing at the edge of the water, the water again began to move and the Bálölöokong once more came out, again holding the mána in his left arm. ''Now go nearer, close to the edge," Spider Woman urged him, "do not be afraid now" So he danced slowly to the edge of the water and again his sister
reached out her hands towards him and said: "My elder brother, take me." So when he was still dancing he held out his hand, grasped the maiden and struck the Bálölöokong on the head with the club. Immediately the serpent released the maiden and only his skin was floating on the water like a sack. "Thanks the maiden said, "thanks! You were slow in taking me, you cried." Hereupon he drew her out of the water. "Thanks!" Spider Woman said, "thanks that you were not too late." Hereupon they put other clothes on the maiden and laid a pûhu of red feathers for her on the path. 3 The tray with all the nakwákwosis they threw into the spring for the maiden, because with this price they had purchased the mána back from the water serpent. And they threw the prayer-offerings into the spring that nothing further should befall the mána. They then returned to the village, but it seems that Bálölöokong just left his skin and slipped back into the water when he was struck, because he is still there and is occasionally seen by women, and whoever sees him becomes sick. Only lately, the narrator continued, he was seen by a woman, Corn-Ear (Káö), but the women that have seen him say that he now is just small. One time he was also seen by a man. Sometimes those who see him get sick, because he is dangerous. After they had returned to the village Spider Woman and the two Pö'okongs returned to their house. And so that way they were in time to save the mána.
Footnotes 1 Told by Sik'áhpiki (Shupaúlavi). 2 Prepared of corn-meal and water and sometimes formed into balls. 3 A pû'hu (road or path) consists of one or more small feathers-usually eagle feathers-to the stub end of which are fastened a single and a twisted string. These feathers are placed near springs, in front of
shrines, altars, on paths and near graves, as paths for clouds, spirits, deities, etc., Whom the Hopi wish to follow the paths.
------From “Traditions of the Hopi” collated and edited by H R Voth (1905) ISBN 978-1-907256-39-4
19. WHY THE KINGFISHER ALWAYS WEARS A WAR-BONNET
A Tale from the American Northwest told by War Eagle
AUTUMN nights on the upper Missouri river in Montana are indescribably beautiful, and under their spell imagination is a constant companion to him who lives in wilderness, lending strange, weird echoes to the voice of man or wolf, and unnatural shapes in shadow to commonplace forms. The moon had not yet climbed the distant mountain range to look down on the humbler lands when I started for War Eagle's lodge; and dimming the stars in its course, the milky-way stretched across the jewelled sky. "The wolf's trail," the Indians call this filmy streak that foretells fair weather, and to-night it promised much, for it seemed plainer and brighter than ever before. "How -- how!" greeted War Eagle, making the sign for me to be seated near him, as I entered his lodge. Then he passed me his pipe and together we smoked until the children came. Entering quietly, they seated themselves in exactly the same positions they had occupied on the previous evenings, and patiently waited in silence. Finally War Eagle laid the pipe away and said: "Ho! Little Buffalo Calf, throw a big stick on the fire and I will tell you why the Kingfisher wears a war-bonnet."
The boy did as he was bidden. The sparks jumped toward the smokehole and the blaze lighted up the lodge until it was bright as daytime, when War Eagle continued: "You have often seen Kingfisher at his fishing along the rivers, I know; and you have heard him laugh in his queer way, for he laughs a good deal when he flies. That same laugh nearly cost him his life once, as you will see. I am sure none could see the Kingfisher without noticing his great head-dress, but not many know how he came by it because it happened so long ago that most men have forgotten. "It was one day in the winter-time when Old-man and the Wolf were hunting. The snow covered the land and ice was on all of the rivers. It was so cold that Old-man wrapped his robe close about himself and his breath showed white in the air. Of course the Wolf was not cold; wolves never get cold as men do. Both Old-man and the Wolf were hungry for they had travelled far and had killed no meat. Old-man was complaining and grumbling, for his heart is not very good. It is never well to grumble when we are doing our best, because it will do no good and makes us weak in our hearts. When our hearts are weak our heads sicken and our strength goes away. Yes, it is bad to grumble. "When the sun was getting low Old-man and the Wolf came to a great river. On the ice that covered the water, they saw four fat Otters playing. "'There is meat,' said the Wolf; 'wait here and I will try to catch one of those fellows.' "'No! -- No!' cried Old-man, 'do not run after the Otter on the ice, because there are air-holes in all ice that covers rivers, and you may fall in the water and die.' Old-man didn't care much if the Wolf did drown. He was afraid to be left alone and hungry in the snow -- that was all.
"'Ho!' said the Wolf, 'I am swift of foot and my teeth are white and sharp. What chance has an Otter against me? Yes, I will go,' and he did. "Away ran the Otters with the Wolf after them, while Old-man stood on the bank and shivered with fright and cold. Of course the Wolf was faster than the Otter, but he was running on the ice, remember, and slipping a good deal. Nearer and nearer ran the Wolf. In fact he was just about to seize an Otter, when SPLASH! -- into an air-hole all the Otters went. Ho ! the Wolf was going so fast he couldn't stop, and SWOW! into the airhole he went like a badger after mice, and the current carried him under the ice. The Otters knew that hole was there. That was their country and they were running to reach that same hole all the time, but the Wolf didn't know that. "Old-man saw it all and began to cry and wail as women do. Ho! but he made a great fuss. He ran along the bank of the river, stumbling in the snowdrifts, and crying like a woman whose child is dead; but it was because he didn't want to be left in that country alone that he cried -- not because he loved his brother, the Wolf. On and on he ran until he came to a place where the water was too swift to freeze, and there he waited and watched for the Wolf to come out from under the ice, crying and wailing and making an awful noise, for a man. "Well -- right there is where the thing happened. You see, Kingfisher can't fish through the ice and he knows it, too; so he always finds places like the one Old-man found. He was there that day, sitting on the limb of a birch-tree, watching for fishes, and when Old-man came near to Kingfisher's tree, crying like an old woman, it tickled the Fisher so much that he laughed that queer, chattering laugh. "Old-man heard him and -- Ho! but he was angry. He looked about to see who was laughing at him and that made Kingfisher laugh again, longer and louder than before. This time Old-man saw him and
SWOW! he threw his war-club at Kingfisher; tried to kill the bird for laughing. Kingfisher ducked so quickly that Old-man's club just grazed the feathers on his head, making them stand up straight. "'There,' said Old-man, 'I'll teach you to laugh at me when I'm sad. Your feathers are standing up on the top of your head now and they will stay that way, too. As long as you live you must wear a headdress, to pay for your laughing, and all your children must do the same. "This was long, long ago, but the Kingfishers have not forgotten, and they all wear war-bonnets, and always will as long as there are Kingfishers. "Now I will say good night, and when the sun sleeps again I will tell you another story. Ho!" ------From “Indian Why Stories” ISBN: 978-1-907256-26-4
20. SHOOTING OF THE RED EAGLE
A Story from the Dakotas as told by Zitkala Sa
A MAN in buckskins sat upon the top of a little hillock. The setting sun shone bright upon a strong bow in his hand. His face was turned toward the round camp ground at the foot of the hill. He had walked a long journey hither. He was waiting for the chieftain's men to spy him. Soon four strong men ran forth from the center wigwam toward the hillock, where sat the man with the long bow. "He is the avenger come to shoot the red eagle," cried the runners to each other as they bent forward swinging their elbows together. They reached the side of the stranger, but he did not heed them. Proud and silent he gazed upon the cone-shaped wigwams beneath him. Spreading a handsomely decorated buffalo robe before the man, two of the warriors lifted him by each shoulder and placed him gently on it. Then the four men took, each, a corner of the blanket and carried the stranger, with long proud steps, toward the chieftain's teepee. Ready to greet the stranger, the tall chieftain stood at the entrance way. "How, you are the avenger with the magic arrow!" said he, extending to him a smooth soft hand. "How, great chieftain!" replied the man, holding long the chieftain's hand. Entering the teepee, the chieftain motioned the young man to the right side of the doorway, while he sat down opposite him with a center fire burning between them. Wordless, like a bashful Indian
maid, the avenger ate in silence the food set before him on the ground in front of his crossed shins. When he had finished his meal he handed the empty bowl to the chieftain's wife, saying, "Mother-in-law, here is your dish!" "Han, my son!" answered the woman, taking the bowl. With the magic arrow in his quiver the stranger felt not in the least too presuming in addressing the woman as his mother- in-law. Complaining of fatigue, he covered his face with his blanket and soon within the chieftain's teepee he lay fast asleep. "The young man is not handsome after all!" whispered the woman in her husband's ear. "Ah, but after he has killed the red eagle he will seem handsome enough!" answered the chieftain. That night the star men in their burial procession in the sky reached the low northern horizon, before the center fires within the teepees had flickered out. The ringing laughter which had floated up through the smoke lapels was now hushed, and only the distant howling of wolves broke the quiet of the village. But the lull between midnight and dawn was short indeed. Very early the oval-shaped door- flaps were thrust aside and many brown faces peered out of the wigwams toward the top of the highest bluff. Now the sun rose up out of the east. The red painted avenger stood ready within the camp ground for the flying of the red eagle. He appeared, that terrible bird! He hovered over the round village as if he could pounce down upon it and devour the whole tribe.
When the first arrow shot up into the sky the anxious watchers thrust a hand quickly over their half-uttered "hinnu!" The second and the third arrows flew upward but missed by a wide space the red eagle soaring with lazy indifference over the little man with the long bow. All his arrows he spent in vain. "Ah! my blanket brushed my elbow and shifted the course of my arrow!" said the stranger as the people gathered around him. During this happening, a woman on horseback halted her pony at the chieftain's teepee. It was no other than the young woman who cut loose the tree- bound captive! While she told the story the chieftain listened with downcast face. "I passed him on my way. He is near!" she ended. Indignant at the bold impostor, the wrathful eyes of the chieftain snapped fire like red cinders in the night time. His lips were closed. At length to the woman he said: "How, you have done me a good deed." Then with quick decision he gave command to a fleet horseman to meet the avenger. "Clothe him in these my best buckskins," said he, pointing to a bundle within the wigwam. In the meanwhile strong men seized Iktomi and dragged him by his long hair to the hilltop. There upon a mock-pillared grave they bound him hand and feet. Grown-ups and children sneered and hooted at Iktomi's disgrace. For a half-day he lay there, the laughing-stock of the people. Upon the arrival of the real avenger, Iktomi was released and chased away beyond the outer limits of the camp ground. On the following morning at daybreak, peeped the people out of halfopen door- flaps. There again in the midst of the large camp ground was a man in beaded buckskins. In his hand was a strong bow and red-tipped
arrow. Again the big red eagle appeared on the edge of the bluff. He plumed his feathers and flapped his huge wings. The young man crouched low to the ground. He placed the arrow on the bow, drawing a poisoned flint for the eagle. The bird rose into the air. He moved his outspread wings one, two, three times and lo! the eagle tumbled from the great height and fell heavily to the earth. An arrow stuck in his breast! He was dead! So quick was the hand of the avenger, so sure his sight, that no one had seen the arrow fly from his long bent bow. In awe and amazement the village was dumb. And when the avenger, plucking a red eagle feather, placed it in his black hair, a loud shout of the people went up to the sky. Then hither and thither ran singing men and women making a great feast for the avenger. Thus he won the beautiful Indian princess who never tired of telling to her children the story of the big red eagle. ------From “Old Indian Legends” an Iktomi Legend of the Dakotas told by Zitkala Sa ISBN: 978-1-907256-25-7
21. WHY THE SEA IS SALT
A Norse tale adopted from Asbjornsen and Moe by Andrew Lang
Once upon a time, long, long ago, there were two brothers, the one rich and the other poor. When Christmas Eve came, the poor one had not a bite in the house, either of meat or bread; so he went to his brother, and begged him, in God's name, to give him something for Christmas Day. It was by no means the first time that the brother had been forced to give something to him, and he was not better pleased at being asked now than he generally was. "If you will do what I ask you, you shall have a whole ham," said he. The poor one immediately thanked him, and promised this. "Well, here is the ham, and now you must go straight to Dead Man's Hall," said the rich brother, throwing the ham to him. "Well, I will do what I have promised," said the other, and he took the ham and set off. He went on and on for the livelong day, and at nightfall he came to a place where there was a bright light. "I have no doubt this is the place," thought the man with the ham. An old man with a long white beard was standing in the outhouse, chopping Yule logs. "Good-evening," said the man with the ham.
"Good-evening to you. Where are you going at this late hour?" said the man. "I am going to Dead Man's Hall, if only I am on the right track," answered the poor man. "Oh! yes, you are right enough, for it is here," said the old man. "When you get inside they will all want to buy your ham, for they don't get much meat to eat there; but you must not sell it unless you can get the hand-mill which stands behind the door for it. When you come out again I will teach you how to stop the hand-mill, which is useful for almost everything." So the man with the ham thanked the other for his good advice, and rapped at the door. When he got in, everything happened just as the old man had said it would: all the people, great and small, came round him like ants on an ant-hill, and each tried to outbid the other for the ham. "By rights my old woman and I ought to have it for our Christmas dinner, but, since you have set your hearts upon it, I must just give it up to you," said the man. "But, if I sell it, I will have the hand-mill which is standing there behind the door." At first they would not hear to this, and haggled and bargained with the man, but he stuck to what he had said, and the people were forced to give him the hand-mill. When the man came out again into the yard, he asked the old wood-cutter how he was to stop the hand-mill, and when he had learned that, he thanked him and set off home with all the speed he could, but did not get there until after the clock had struck twelve on Christmas Eve.
"Where in the world have you been?" said the old woman. "Here I have sat waiting hour after hour, and have not even two sticks to lay across each other under the Christmas porridge-pot." "Oh! I could not come before; I had something of importance to see about, and a long way to go, too; but now you shall just see!" said the man, and then he set the hand-mill on the table, and bade it first grind light, then a table-cloth, and then meat, and beer, and everything else that was good for a Christmas Eve's supper; and the mill ground all that he ordered. "Bless me!" said the old woman as one thing after another appeared; and she wanted to know where her husband had got the mill from, but he would not tell her that. "Never mind where I got it; you can see that it is a good one, and the water that turns it will never freeze," said the man. So he ground meat and drink, and all kinds of good things, to last all Christmas-tide, and on the third day he invited all his friends to come to a feast. Now when the rich brother saw all that there was at the banquet and in the house, he was both vexed and angry, for he grudged everything his brother had. "On Christmas Eve he was so poor that he came to me and begged for a trifle, for God's sake, and now he gives a feast as if he were both a count and a king!" thought he. "But, for heaven's sake, tell me where you got your riches from," said he to his brother. "From behind the door," said he who owned the mill, for he did not choose to satisfy his brother on that point; but later in the evening, when he had taken a drop too much, he could not refrain from telling how he had come by the hand-mill. "There you see what has brought me all my wealth!" said he, and brought out the mill, and made it grind first one thing and then another. When the brother saw that, he insisted on having the mill, and after a great deal of persuasion got it; but he had to give three hundred dollars for it, and the poor brother was to keep it till the haymaking was over, for he thought: "If I keep it
as long as that, I can make it grind meat and drink that will last many a long year." During that time you may imagine that the mill did not grow rusty, and when hay-harvest came the rich brother got it, but the other had taken good care not to teach him how to stop it. It was evening when the rich man got the mill home, and in the morning he bade the old woman go out and spread the hay after the mowers, and he would attend to the house himself that day, he said. So, when dinner-time drew near, he set the mill on the kitchen-table, and said: "Grind herrings and milk pottage, and do it both quickly and well." So the mill began to grind herrings and milk pottage, and first all the dishes and tubs were filled, and then it came out all over the kitchenfloor. The man twisted and turned it, and did all he could to make the mill stop, but, howsoever he turned it and screwed it, the mill went on grinding, and in a short time the pottage rose so high that the man was like to be drowned. So he threw open the parlour door, but it was not long before the mill had ground the parlour full too, and it was with difficulty and danger that the man could go through the stream of pottage and get hold of the door-latch. When he got the door open, he did not stay long in the room, but ran out, and the herrings and pottage came after him, and it streamed out over both farm and field. Now the old woman, who was out spreading the hay, began to think dinner was long in coming, and said to the women and the mowers: "Though the master does not call us home, we may as well go. It may be that he finds he is not good at making pottage and I should do well to help him." So they began to straggle homeward, but when they had got a little way up the hill they met the herrings and pottage and bread, all pouring forth and winding about one over the other, and the man himself in front of the flood. "Would to heaven that each of you had a hundred stomachs! Take care that you are not drowned in the pottage!" he cried as he went by them as if Mischief were at his heels, down to where his brother dwelt. Then he begged him, for God's sake,
to take the mill back again, and that in an instant, for, said he: "If it grind one hour more the whole district will be destroyed by herrings and pottage." But the brother would not take it until the other paid him three hundred dollars, and that he was obliged to do. Now the poor brother had both the money and the mill again. So it was not long before he had a farmhouse much finer than that in which his brother lived, but the mill ground him so much money that he covered it with plates of gold; and the farmhouse lay close by the sea-shore, so it shone and glittered far out to sea. Everyone who sailed by there now had to be put in to visit the rich man in the gold farmhouse, and everyone wanted to see the wonderful mill, for the report of it spread far and wide, and there was no one who had not heard tell of it. After a long, long time came also a skipper who wished to see the mill. He asked if it could make salt. "Yes, it could make salt," said he who owned it, and when the skipper heard that, he wished with all his might and main to have the mill, let it cost what it might, for, he thought, if he had it, he would get off having to sail far away over the perilous sea for freights of salt. At first the man would not hear of parting with it, but the skipper begged and prayed, and at last the man sold it to him, and got many, many thousand dollars for it. When the skipper had got the mill on his back he did not stay there long, for he was so afraid that the man would change his mind, and he had no time to ask how he was to stop it grinding, but got on board his ship as fast as he could. When he had gone a little way out to sea he took the mill on deck. "Grind salt, and grind both quickly and well," said the skipper. So the mill began to grind salt, till it spouted out like water, and when the skipper had got the ship filled he wanted to stop the mill, but whichsoever way he turned it, and howmuchsoever he tried, it went on grinding, and the heap of salt grew higher and higher, until at last the ship sank. There lies the mill at the bottom of the sea, and still, day by day, it grinds on; and that is why the sea is salt.
------From The Blue Fairy Book compiled and edited by Andrew Lang ISBN: 9781907256905
And the Salt Mill still grinds on……
22. THE STAR MAIDEN
An Ojibway, or Chippewa, tale from the Prairies of Canada
THE Ojibways were a great nation whom the fairies loved. Their land was the home of many spirits, and as long as they lived on the shores of the great lakes the woods in that country were full of fairies. Some of them dwelt in the moss at the roots or on the trunks of trees. Others hid beneath the mushrooms and toadstools. Some changed themselves into bright-winged butterflies or tinier insects with shining wings. This they did that they might be near the children they loved and play with them where they could see and be seen. But there were also evil spirits in the land. These burrowed in the ground, gnawed at the roots of the loveliest flowers and destroyed them. They breathed upon the corn and blighted it. They listened whenever they heard men talking, and carried the news to those with whom it would make most mischief. It is because of these wicked fairies that the Indian must be silent in the woods and must not whisper confidences in the camp unless he is sure the spirits are fast asleep under the white blanket of the snow. The Ojibways looked well after the interests of the good spirits. They shielded the flowers and stepped carefully aside when moss or flower was in their path. They brushed no moss from the trees, and they never snared the sunbeams, for on them thousands of fairies came down from the sky. When the chase was over they sat in the doorways of their wigwams smoking, and as they watched the blue circles drift and fade into the darkness of the evening, they listened to the voices of
the fairies and the insects' hum and the thousand tiny noises that night always brings. One night as they were listening they saw a bright light shining in the top of the tallest trees. It was a star brighter than all the others, and it seemed very near the earth. When they went close to the tree they found that it was really caught in the topmost branches. The wise men of the tribe were summoned and for three nights they sat about the council fire, but they came to no conclusion about the beautiful star. At last one of the young warriors went to them and told them that the truth had come to him in a dream. While asleep the west wind had lifted the curtains of his wigwam and the light of the star fell full upon him. Suddenly a beautiful maiden stood at his side. She smiled upon him, and as he gazed speechless she told him that her home was in the star and that in wandering over all the earth she had seen no land so fair as the land of the Ojibways. Its flowers, its sweet-voiced birds, its rivers, its beautiful lakes, the mountains clothed in green, these had charmed her, and she wished to be no more a wanderer. If they would welcome her she would make her home among them, and she asked them to choose a place in which she might dwell. The council were greatly pleased; but they could not agree upon what was best to offer the Star Maiden, so they decided to ask her to choose for herself. She searched first among the flowers of the prairie. There she found the fairies’ ring, where the little spirits danced on moonlight nights. "Here," thought she, "I will rest." But as she swung herself backwards and forwards on the stem of a lovely blossom, she heard a terrible noise and fled in great fear. A vast herd of buffaloes came and took possession of the fairies' ring, where they rolled over one another, and
bellowed so they could be heard far on the trail. No gentle star maiden could choose such a resting-place. She next sought the mountain rose. It was cool and pleasant, the moss was soft to her dainty feet, and she could talk to the spirits she loved, whose homes were in the stars. But the mountain was steep, and huge rocks hid from her view the nation that she loved. She was almost in despair, when one day as she looked down from the edge of the wild rose leaf she saw a white flower with a heart of gold shining on the waters of the lake below her. As she looked a canoe steered by the young warrior who had told her wishes to his people, shot past, and his strong, brown hand brushed the edge of the flower. "That is the home for me," she cried, and half-skipping, half-flying down the side of the mountain, she quickly made her way to the flower and hid herself in its bosom. There she could watch the stars as well as when she looked upward from the cup of the mountain rose; there she could talk to the star spirits, for they bathed in the clear lake; and best of all, there she could watch the people whom she loved, for their canoes were always upon the water. ------From American Indian Fairy Tales ISBN: 978-1-907256-15-8
23. AKITI THE HUNTER
A Yoruba tale from West Africa
A FAMOUS hunter and wrestler named Akiti boasted that he was stronger than any other man or animal. He had easily overcome a giant, a leopard, a lion, a wolf, and a boa-constrictor, and as nobody else opposed his claim, he called himself “the King of the forest.” Wherever he went, he sang his triumphant wrestling-song, and everyone feared and respected him. But he had forgotten the Elephant, who is a very wise animal and knows many charms. One day the Elephant challenged him and declared that he had no right to call himself “King,” as the Elephant himself was the monarch of the forest and could not be defeated. Akiti thereupon flung his spear at his enemy, but because of the Elephant’s charm, the weapon glanced off his hide and did him no harm. Akiti next tried his bow and poisoned arrows, and his huntingknife, but still without effect. However, the hunter also possessed a charm, and by using it, he changed himself into a lion and flew at the Elephant, but the Elephant flung him off. Next he became a serpent, but he could not succeed in crushing the Elephant to death.
At last he changed himself into a fly, and flew into the Elephant’s large flapping ear. He went right down inside until he came to the heart, and then he changed himself into a man again and cut up the heart with his hunting-knife. At last the Elephant fell dead, and Akiti stepped out of his body in triumph, for he was now without question “the King of the forest.” ------From Yoruba Legends ISBN: 978-1-907256-33-2
24. THE BROTHER AND HIS SISTERS
An Anansi “Spider” tale from West Africa
THERE were once upon a time three sisters and a brother. The sisters were all proud, and one was very beautiful, and she did not like her little brother, “because,” she said, “he was dirty.” Now, this beautiful sister was to be married, and the brother begged their mother not to let her marry, as he was sure the man would kill her, for he knew his house was full of bones. So the mother told her daughter, but she would not believe it, and said, “she wouldn’t listen to anything that such a dirty little scrub said,” and so she was married. Now, it was agreed that one sister was to remain with her mother, and the other was to go with the bride, and so they set out on their way. When they got to the beach, the husband picked up a beautiful tortoise-shell comb, which he gave to his bride. Then they got into his boat and rowed away over the sea, and when they reached their home, they were so surprised to see their little brother, for the comb had turned into their brother. They were not at all glad to see him, and the husband thought to himself he would kill him without telling his wife. When night came the boy told the husband that at home his mother always put him to sleep in the blacksmith’s shop, and so the husband said he should sleep in the smithy. In the middle of the night the man got up, intending to kill them all, and went to his shop to get his irons ready, but the boy jumped up as soon as he went in, and he said, “Boy, what is the matter with you?” So the boy said, when he was at home his mother always gave him two bags of gold to put his head on. Then the man said, he should have them, and went and fetched him two bags of gold, and told him to go to sleep.
But the boy said, “Now, mind, when you hear me snore I’m not asleep, but when I am not snoring then I’m asleep.” Then the boy went to sleep and began to snore, and as long as the man heard the snoring, he blew his bellows; but as soon as the snoring stopped, the man took his irons out of the fire, and the boy jumped up. Then the man said, “Why, what’s the matter? why can’t you sleep?” The boy said, “No; for at home my mother always gave me four bags of money to lie upon.” Well, the man said he should have them, and brought four bags of money. Then the boy told him again the same thing about his snoring, and the man bade him go to sleep, and he began to snore, and the man to blow his bellows until the snoring stopped. Then the man took out his irons again, and the boy jumped up, and the man dropped the irons, saying, “Why, what’s the matter now that you can’t sleep?” The boy said, “At home my mother always gave me two bushels of corn.” So the man said he should have the corn, and went and brought it, and told him to go to sleep. Then the boy snored, and the man blew his bellows till the snoring stopped, when he again took out his irons, and the boy jumped tip, and the man said, “Why, what’s it now?” The boy said, “At home my mother always goes to the river with a sieve to bring me some water.” So the man said, “Very well, I will go, but I have a cock here, and before I go I must speak to it.”
Then the man told the cock if he saw any one moving in the house he must crow; that the cock promised to do, and the man set off. Now when the boy thought the man was gone far away, he got up, and gave the cock some of the corn; then he woke up his sisters and showed them all the bones the man had in the house, and they were very frightened. Then he took the two bags of gold on his shoulders, and told his sisters to follow him. He took them to the bay, and put them into the boat with the bags of gold, and left them whilst he went back for the four bags of money. When he was leaving the house he emptied the bags of corn to the cook, who was so busy eating, he forgot to crow, until they had got quite away. When the man returned home and could not find them in the house, he went to the river, where he found his boat gone, and so he had no way of going after them. When they landed at their own place the boy turned the boat over and stove it in, so that it was of no use any more; and he took his sisters home, and told their mother all that had happened, and his sisters loved him, and they lived very happily together ever afterwards, and do so still if they are not dead. NOTE: ANANZI or Ahnansi (Ah-nahn-see) “the trickster” is a cunning and intelligent spider and is one of the most important characters of West African and Caribbean folklore. The Anansi tales are believed to have originated in the Ashanti tribe in Ghana. (The word Anansi is Akan and means, simply, spider.) They later spread to other Akan groups and then to the West Indies, Suriname, and the Netherlands Antilles. On Curaçao, Aruba, and Bonaire he is known as Nanzi, and his wife as Shi Maria. He is also known as Ananse, Kwaku Ananse, and Anancy; and in the Southern United States he has evolved into Aunt Nancy. He is a spider, but often acts and appears as a man. The story of Anansi is akin to the Coyote or Raven the trickster found in many Native American cultures. ------127
From: Ananzi Stories by Sir George Webbe Dasent ISBN: 978-1-907256-52-3
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