Basque Legends, by Wentworth Webster - Read online
You can also download Basque Legends, completely free, in either PDF, epub, or Kindle ebook formats.
THE study of the recent science of Comparative Mythology is one of the most popular and attractive of minor scientific pursuits. It deals with a subject-matter which has interested most of us at one period of our lives, and turns the delight of our childhood into a charm and recreation for maturer age. Nor is it without more useful lessons. In it we see more clearly than perhaps elsewhere the reciprocal influence, which none can wholly escape, of words and language upon thought, and again of thought and fancy upon words and language; how mere words and syllables may modify both conception and belief; how the metaphor, which at first presented an object more clearly and vividly to the mind than any more direct form of speech could do, soon confuses and at last wholly distorts the original idea, and buries its meaning under a new and foreign superstructure. We may mark here, too, by numerous examples, how slowly the human mind rises to the conception of any abstract truth, and how continually it falls back upon the concrete fact which it is compelled to picture to itself in order to state in words the simplest mental abstraction. The phrase, "The dawn flies before the sun," passing into the myth of Daphne and Apollo, is a lesson in psychology no less than in philology and in comparative mythology.
Now, both the interest and the value of these studies are enhanced in proportion as they become complete. Our conclusions approach nearer to certainty, and will gradually pass from theory to demonstration, as we find the same legends and modes of thought and expression on natural phenomena constantly reappearing among the most distant and the most isolated peoples, in languages which in their complex forms tell of the infancy of human speech, and also in those whose worn-down frame speaks of the world's old age.
Of the peoples now settled in Western Europe, the Basques are those which are the most separate from other populations; distinct in language, they represent, in a more or less mixed state, some older stratum of European ethnology. Their language, too, as regards the mass of the people, is still practically unwritten. Here there is a chance of finding legends in a purer and older form than among any other European people; and in what they have borrowed from others, we may have an almost unique crucial test of the time which it takes for such traditions to pass orally from people of one language to another and totally different one. None of these legends have been published or even noticed till within the last two years, when M. d'Abbadie read the legend of the Tartaro, before the Société des Sciences et des Arts de Bayonne, and M. Cerquand his "Légendes et Récits Populaires du Pays Basque," before the sister society at Pau.
Of course, we must expect to find such legends very much altered, and in a state of almost inextricable confusion, and this not only through forgetfulness, and through the lapse of time since their origin, not only by the influence of a total change of religion, but they are also mingled and interpenetrated with totally new ideas; the old and the new will be found side by side in striking and sometimes grotesque contrast. As in Campbell's "Tales of the West Highlands," personages of mythical antiquity go to kirk, and indulge in other decidedly post-Reformation practices, so in these Basque tales the reader must not be startled by the introduction of maize and tobacco, of cannon and gunpowder, of dances at the mairie, and the use of the guillotine, in stories which, perhaps, originally told of the movements of the stars, of the wars of the forces of the atmosphere, of the bright beauty of the rising, or of the glowing glory of the setting sun. The body is the same in all ages, but the dress varies with the changing fashions. To borrow an illustration from a slightly older science, this is not a simple case of contorted and overlying strata to be restored to their original order, but rather of strata worn down, reconstructed, and deposited anew, and even modified in their latest stage by the interference of human action. And thus our problem becomes an exceedingly complex and difficult one, and our readers must not be disappointed if our conclusions are not so clear and positive as might be wished. The present is merely a tentative, and not, in any sense, a final essay towards its solution.
How are these legends told now, and how have they been preserved? They are told by the Basque peasants, either when neighbours meet--after the fashion made familiar to us by American novelists in the "Husking Bee"--for the purpose of stripping the husks from the ears of maize, an operation generally performed in one or two long sessions; or at the prolonged wedding and other feasts, of which we have evidence in the tales themselves, or else in the long nights round the wintry hearth of their lonely dwellings. For it is one of the charms of the Basque land that the houses are scattered all over the face of the country, instead of being collected into crowded villages; and it is, perhaps, to this fact chiefly that we owe the preservation of so much old-world lore, and of primitive ideas, among this people. The reader must not be surprised at the length of some of our specimens. The details of the incidents of the longest are religiously preserved, and, as told at home, they are probably more lengthy (as anyone will understand who has ever taken anything down from recitation) than as here given. Many an unlettered Basque peasant could serve an irritable stranger as Glendower did Hotspur, when he kept him "at least nine hours in reckoning up the several devils' names that were his lackeys."
In La Soule the "Pastorales," or Basque dramas, which last from six to eight hours of uninterrupted action, are learnt in the same way by word of mouth during the long evenings of winter.
These legends are still most thoroughly believed in. They still form part of the faith of these simple people--not at all, we need hardly say, in, the use of mythological or atmospheric allegory, but as narratives of veritable fact. They believe them as they do the histories of the Bible or the "Lives of the Saints." In fact, the problem of reconciling religion and science presents itself to their minds in this strange guise--how to reconcile these narratives with those of the Bible and of the Church. The general solution is that they happened before the time of which the Bible speaks, or before Adam fell. They are "Lege zaharreko istorriguak"--"histories of the ancient law"--by which is apparently meant the time before Christianity. "This happened, sir, in the time when all animals and all things could speak," was said again and again by our narrators at the commencement of their story; not one doubted the literal truth of what they told. Their naive good faith occasionally severely tested our own gravity. Appeal was often made to our supposed superior knowledge to confirm the facts. The varying tone of the voice told how truly the speakers sympathised with what they uttered. At times sobs almost interrupted utterance, when the frequent apostrophe came: "Think how this poor so-and-so must have suffered!" More often bursts of laughter at traditional jokes, too poor to raise a smile on less unsophisticated lips, broke the recital. Very determined, too, is their adherence to what they believe to be the genuine text of these old tales. "I don't understand it, but the history says so;" "It is so;" "The story says so," was positively affirmed again and again--e.g., in one of the Peau d'Ane or Cinderella stories, when the lady has dazzled her admirer by her dress of silver (moonlight?) then of gold (sunlight?), then of diamonds (dew-drops?) at last, on the wedding-day, the bride and bridegroom dress each other. "I don't know why," interrupted the story-teller, "but the story says so." Could anything tell more quaintly of the marriage of the sun and dawn? The sun decking the morning clouds with his light and beauty, and they again robing him in their soft and tender colouring.
But we must pass on to the tales themselves. None of these, we think, will be found to be genuinely or exclusively Basque; the oldest we take to be those most widely known, and which are most distorted. The heads under which we have arranged them are: (1) Legends of the Tartaro, or Cyclops; (2) of the Heren-Suge, the Seven-Headed Serpent; (3) of purely Animal Tales, which are neither fables nor allegories; (4) of Basa-Jauna, Basa-Andre, and of the Lamiñak, or Fairies; (5) Tales of Witchcraft; (6) those which, for want of a better name, we have entitled Contes des Fées, in which the fairy is an Eastern magician--these we have divided into sections, (a) those which resemble the Keltic and other tales, and (b) those which are probably borrowed directly from the French; our last division (7), Religious Tales and Legends, are probably from mediæval sources common to Latin Christianity, but they are interesting as specimens of the tales which probably delighted the highest born of our own ancestors in the middle ages, and now linger only among the peasantry in out-of-the-way corners of Europe. Some of these tales seem to us to be more gracefully told, and have more of human interest in them, than any of the others.
We fear scientific men will be disappointed in this collection. Notwithstanding that we have been careful to collect from those who know the Basque only, or who certainly knew only Basque when they first learnt these tales, yet they are evidently much mixed with French and Spanish. Our translations are literal to baldness; the only liberty we have taken is in softening down the exceeding directness and grossness of some portions. Not one tale is in the least licentious--but the Basque language calls a spade a spade, and not an implement of husbandry. The Carlist war of the last four years has prevented our getting any legends from the Spanish Basque provinces, and has even to some extent hindered our work in the French Pays Basque, by providing an almost exclusive object of interest. In the more remote districts of the Pays Basque itself, which we have not been able to revisit since we commenced this collection, purer forms of some of these legends may be found, and others of which we have no example; but these which we give are really representative. Though collected mainly in the neighbourhood of St. Jean de Luz, we have tested them by enquiry of natives of all the provinces, and find that they are equally well known in La Soule and in Basse Navarre as in the Labourd. We never met with a Basque peasant who could not tell us what are the Tartaro, the Heren-Suge, Basa-Jaun, and the Lamiñak.
As a curious coincidence, we may notice how closely some of the Basque names of the stars parallel those given in Miss Frere's delightful "Old Deccan Days." In the narrator's narrative, pp. 27, 28, we read, "She (the grandmother) would show us the hen and chickens" (the Pleiades)--the same in Basque, "Oiloa chituekin;" "The three thieves climbing up to rob the Ranee's silver bedstead"--the three stars in Orion's belt, in Basque, the three kings, or brothers, or robbers; the milky way, "the great pathway of light on which He went up to heaven," has also obtained in Basque a Christianized name--"Erromako zubia, or Bidea," "the bridge or road to Rome." Again, "All the cobras in my grandmother's stories were seven-headed," so the Heren-Suge in the Basque country is always seven-headed. Little or nothing can be gathered from the names of the actors, the heroes or heroines of these tales. They are mostly anonymous, but the name, when given, is almost always borrowed from the French. This is disappointing, and much increases the difficulty of tracing the origin; but it is analogous to the fact that scarcely a single purely Basque name is to be found among the so-called kings and chieftains of the Basques during the early middle ages. Among the classic writers, too, and among the soldiers and followers of our Anglo-Gascon princes, hardly a name indubitably Basque is to be found.
For all more special details and discussions we refer to the Introductions to the separate sections. The few references given to the parallel legends of other countries are not intended to be at all complete, much less exhaustive. The Pays Basque is not a land of libraries, and it is not easy to collect these legends on the spot, and at the same time to get together the books necessary for a comparison of them with those of other countries. The few we offer are only those which have fallen in our way, and though worthless to the specialist, may be of some little aid as suggestions to the ordinary reader. For the same purpose we annex a list of the first publication of the chief collections of foreign legends in France. It is curious to remark that, while the masterpieces of French literature seem never to have penetrated beyond the surface of society, these legends have pierced to the very bottom of the social mass, and have become real living household words, even to those many millions of Frenchmen who do not understand one word of French.
There remains the pleasant task of thanking some of the many friends who have assisted us in this collection. I had hoped to have joined the name of M. J. Vinson, the well-known Basque and Dravidian scholar, to my own as joint-author of this simple work. I should hardly have had the courage to have undertaken it had I not been assured of his invaluable assistance in difficulties about the language of the originals. Unavoidable circumstances have, however, prevented his seeing the Basque of many of the later tales, and he therefore prefers that the "Essay on the Basque Language" should alone bear his name. I cannot but accede to his wishes; but, at the same time, I offer him my most grateful thanks for the, unfailing and unwearied help which he so kindly afforded me for many months. The legends contributed by him are noticed in their proper place. Our first acknowledgments are due to M. d'Abbadie, of Abbadia, the well-known "Membre de l'Institut," for his kind assistance and ready communication of the legends in his possession, and which were the starting point of our work. Next, and even more, to Madame M. Bellevue, of Dajieu-baita, through whose kind intervention the majority of these tales were collected, and who assisted in the translation of almost all. And then to the sisters Estefanella and Gagna-haurra Hirigaray, who contributed more than twenty tales; to Dr. Guilbeau and other friends at St. Jean de Luz who have taken a friendly interest in our work, and to all those whose names are appended to the tales they furnished. It would be presumptuous to hope that our readers will find as much pleasure in perusing these tales as we have had in collecting them.
WHO, or what is the Tartaro? "Oh! you mean the man with one eye in the middle of his forehead," is the prompt and universal answer. The Tartaro is the Cyclops, the sun's round eye, κύκλωψ. But the word Tartaro has apparently nothing to do with this. M. Cerquand, in his "Legendes et Récits Populaires du Pays Basque," derives the word from Tartare, Tartar, in the same way as the French word Ogre is said to be derived from Hongrois, Ugri. The only objection to this highly probable derivation (made still more probable by a Souletin variation, Moiriak) is the comparatively late date (the 13th century) of the first appearance of the Tartars in Europe. It is besides perfectly true that in many tales the Tartaro replaces, and is identical with the giant or ogre; but this does not appear to us to be the original conception of this mythological monster, nor have we ever heard from an unlettered Basque such a description of him. To them he is simply a Cyclops--a huge man, with an eye in the centre of his forehead.
It is an interesting question--Is there any connection between the Basque Tartaro and the Cyclops of the Odyssey and of the classics? First, we must remark that the Cyclops legend is not peculiar either to the Greek and Latin writers, or even to the Aryan nations; e.g., in his communication of the Tartaro legends to the Société des Sciences de Bayonne, M. d'Abaddie relates how he heard the tale told in June, 1843, in Eastern Africa, in Lat. N. 9.2, E. Lon. 34.48, by a man who had never before quitted the country. It is then only the special form of the legend, and not the primary idea, that the Greeks may have borrowed from the Basques. But there is this to observe--that, with both Greeks and Latins, the Cyclops myth is an occidental and not an oriental one, and is more strictly localised than almost any other. This may be accounted for by saying that the sun's great fiery eye is rather that of the setting than of the rising sun; that the red-hot stake is the ruddy mountain peak, or the tall fir-trunk, seen against the western horizon, and illumined by his descending rays. But in the stories of Theocritus and Ovid, where the sun-myth is not so apparent, the home of the Cyclops is still Sicily. Our first Tartaro legend reads very like a rough outline of Ovid's story of "Acis and Galatea." Now, W. Von Humboldt in his "Prüfung der Untersuchung über die Urbewohner Hispaniens vermittelst der Vaskischen Sprache" (Berlin, 1821), in cap. xlv., p. 167, and, again, con. vii., p. 178, arguing on quite different grounds, places Sicily as the most easterly habitation of the Basques within historic times. We leave it then to classical scholars to consider whether the Italic races in Magna Græcia and Sicily may not have come in contact with the Basques there, and from them have adopted their special form of the Cyclops legend.
As we said above, the Tartaro sometimes replaces the giant or the ogre; at other times we find him as Basa-Jaun, or even as an animal, substituted for Acheria, the fox. He is, in his proper form, a huge one-eyed giant, occasionally a cannibal, but not without a rough "bonhomie" when satiated with food and drink. Intellectually far below the feebler race of mankind, he is invariably beaten in his contests with them, notwithstanding his enormous strength; he loses all his wagers, and is generally lured on to commit involuntary suicide. In some aspects he reminds one of Milton's "Lubbar Fiend," and in his constant defeats and being constantly outwitted, recals one of the types of the Devil in mediæval story. At times he appears in gentler guise, as when he aids the young prince to his rights, and supplies Petit Yorge with the means of victory over the Heren-Suge. What the talking ring is which appears in so many of these stories we confess ourselves unable to interpret; it is found in the Keltic, but, as far as we are aware, not in the classic legends.
One peculiarity of the Basque, and especially of the Tartaro legends, is that the hero of them is so often a madman, an idiot, or a fool. If we can trust our memory, the case is the same in the Slavonic representatives of Odysseus. But the Basques seem to dwell upon and to repeat the idea in a peculiar way; they ring the changes on all states, from the wild madman, like the Scandinavian Berserker, through the idiot and fool, to the mere blockhead and ninny. Errua, Enuchenta, Ergela, Sosua, Tontua, are terms employed to designate the heroes who have sometimes, to our modern apprehension, little of the idiot or fool, except the name. Can it be that the power which put out the sun's fiery eye was looked upon as a beneficent being in a burning tropic land, while, as the legend travelled northward, the act seemed more like that of madness, or of senseless stupidity?
One type of these Tartaro tales will at once recal Grimm's "Valiant Little Tailor," and some of the more modern versions of "Jack the Giant-Killer." But though the incidents are identical, it is hardly possible that they can be thus borrowed. Several of our narrators were utterly ignorant of French, and learnt the tale as children from old people, who died a few years since at upwards of 80. The first translation of Grimm's Tales into French was published in the year 1845.
ONCE upon a time there was the son of a king who for the punishment of some fault became a monster. He could become a man again only by marrying. One day he met a young girl who refused him, because she was so frightened at him. And the Tartaro wanted to give her a ring, which she would not accept. However, he sent it her by a young man. As soon as the ring was upon her finger it began to say, "Thou there, and I here." It kept always crying out this, and the Tartaro pursued her continually; and, as the young girl had such a horror of him, she cut off her finger and the ring, and threw them into a large pond, and there the Tartaro drowned himself.
OUR next story was communicated by M. d'Abbadie to the Société des Sciences et des Arts de Bayonne. The narrator is M. l'Abbe Heguiagaray, the Parish Priest of Esquiule in La Soule:--
In my infancy I often heard from my mother the story of the Tartaro. He was a Colossus, with only one eye in the middle of his forehead. He was a shepherd and a hunter, but a hunter of men. Every day he ate a sheep; then, after a snooze, every one who had the misfortune to fall into his hands. His dwelling was a huge barn, with thick walls, a high roof, and a very strong door, which he alone knew how to open. His mother, an old witch, lived in one corner of the garden, in a hut constructed of turf.
One day a powerful young man was caught in the snares of the Tartaro, who carried him off to his house. This young man saw the Tartaro eat a whole sheep, and he knew that he was accustomed to take a snooze, and that after that his own turn would come. In his despair he said to himself that he must do something. Directly the Tartaro began to snore he put the spit into the fire, made it red-hot, and plunged it into the giant's one eye. Immediately he leapt up, and began to run after the man who had injured him; but it was impossible to find him.
"You shall not escape. It is all very well to hide yourself," said he; "but I alone know the secret how to open this door."
The Tartaro opened the door half-way, and let the sheep out between his legs. The young man takes the big bell off the ram, and puts it round his neck, and throws over his body the skin of the sheep which the giant had just eaten, and walks on all fours to the door.
The Tartaro examines him by feeling him, perceives the trick, and clutches hold of the skin; but the young man slips off the skin, dives between his legs, and runs off.
Immediately the mother of the Tartaro meets him, and says to him:
"O, you lucky young fellow! You have escaped the cruel tyrant; take this ring as a remembrance of your escape."
He accepts, puts the ring on his finger, and immediately the ring begins to cry out, "Heben nuk! Heben nuk!" ("Thou hast me here! Thou hast me here!")
The Tartaro pursues, and is on the point of catching him, when the young man, maddened with fright, and not being able to pull off the ring, takes out his knife, and cuts off his own finger, and throws it away, and thus escapes the pursuit of the Tartaro.
In other versions the young man goes into the forest with some pigs, meets the Tartaro there, is carried by him home, blinds him with the red-hot spit, and escapes by letting himself down through a garret window, The Tartaro pursues, guided by his ring, which at last he throws to the young man to put on, when it cries out as above, and the young man cuts off his finger, and throws it down a precipice or into a bog, where the ring still cries out, and the Tartaro following, is dashed to pieces and drowned.
LIKE many others in the world, there was a man and woman who had a. son. He was very wicked, and did nothing but mischief, and was of a thoroughly depraved disposition. The parents decided that they must send him away, and the lad was quite willing to set off.
He set out then, and goes far, far, far away. He comes to a city, and asks if they want a servant. They wanted one in a (certain) house. He goes there. They settle their terms at so much a month, and that the one who is not satisfied should strip the skin off the other's back.
The master sends his servant to the forest to get the most crooked pieces of wood that he can find. Near the forest there was a vineyard. What does the servant do but cut it all up, and carries it to the house. The master asks him where the wood is. He shows him the vine-wood cut up. The master said nothing to him, but he was not pleased.
Next day the master says to him, "Take the cows to such a field, and don't break any hole in the fence."
What does the lad do? He cuts all the cows into little pieces, and throws them bit by bit into the field. The master was still more angry; but he could not say anything, for fear of having his skin stripped off. So what does he do? He buys a herd of pigs, and sends his servant to the mountain with the herd.
The master knew quite well that there was a Tartaro in this mountain, but he sends him there all the same.
Our madman goes walking on, on, on. He arrives at a little hut. The Tartaro's house was quite close to his. The Pigs of the Tartaro and those of the madman used to go out together. The Tartaro said one day to him--
"Will you make a wager as to who will throw a stone farthest?"
He accepted the wager. That evening our madman was very sad. While he was at his prayers, an old woman appeared to him, and asks him--
"What is the matter with you? Why are you so sad?"
He tells her the wager that he has made with the Tartaro. The old woman says to him--
"If it is only that, it is nothing,"
And so she gives him a bird, and says to him--
"Instead of a stone, throw this bird."
The madman was very glad at this. The next day he does as the old woman told him. The Tartaro's stone went enormously far, but at last it fell; but the madman's bird never came down at all.
The Tartaro was astonished that he had lost his wager, and they make another--which of the two should throw a bar of iron the farthest. The madman accepted again. He was in his little house sadly in prayer. The old woman appears again. She asks him--
"What's the matter with you?"
"I have made a wager again, which of the two will throw the bar of iron the farthest, and I am very sorry."
"If it is only that, it is nothing. When you take hold of the bar of iron, say, 'Rise up, bar of iron, here and Salamanca.'" (Altchaala palenka, hemen eta Salamanka.)
Next day the Tartaro takes his terrible bar of iron, and throws it fearfully far. The young man could hardly lift up one end, and he says--
"Rise up, bar of iron, here and Salamanca."
When the Tartaro heard that (he cried out)--
"I give up the wager--you have won," and he takes the bar of iron away from him. "My father and my mother live at Salamanca; don't throw, I beg of you, I implore you--you will crush them."
Our madman goes away very happy.
The Tartaro says to him again:
"I will pull up the biggest oak in the forest, and you pull up another."
He says, "Yes." And the later it grew in the day, the sadder he became. He was at his prayers. The old woman comes to him again, and says to him--
"What's the matter with you?"
He tells her the wager he has made with the Tartaro, and how he will pull up an oak. The old woman gives him three balls of thread, and tells him to begin and tie them to all the oaks in the forest.
Next day the Tartaro pulls up his oak, an enormously, enormously big one; and the madman begins to tie, and to tie, and to tie.
The Tartaro asks him:
"What are you doing that for?"
"You (pulled up) one, but I all these."
The Tartaro replies,
"No! No! No! What shall I do to fatten my pigs with without acorns? You have won; you have won the wager."
The Tartaro did not know what to think about it, and saw that he had found one cleverer than himself, and so he asks him if he will come and spend the night at his house.
The madman says, "Yes."
He goes to bed then with the Tartaro. But he knew that there was a dead man under the bed. When the Tartaro was asleep what does the madman do? He places the dead man by the Tartaro's side, and gets under the bed himself. In the middle of the night the Tartaro gets up, and takes his terrible bar of iron and showers blows upon blows, ping pan, ping pan, as long and as hard as he could give them.
The Tartaro gets up as usual, and goes to see his pigs, and the madman also comes out from under the bed; and he goes to see the pigs too. The Tartaro is quite astounded to see him coming, and does not know what to think of it. He says to himself that he has to do with a cleverer than he; but he asks him if he has slept well.
He answers, "Yes, very well; only I felt a few flea-bites."
Their pigs had got mixed, and as they were fat, he had to separate them in order to go away with his. The Tartaro asked the madman what mark his pigs had.
The madman says to him, "Mine have some of them one mark, some of them two marks."
They set to work to look at them, and they all had these same marks.
Our madman goes off then with all the hogs. He goes walking on, on, on, with all his pigs. He comes to a town where it was just market day, and sells them all except two, keeping, however, all the tails, which he put in his pockets. As you may think, he was always in fear of the Tartaro. He sees him coming down from the mountain. He kills one of his hogs, and puts the entrails in his own bosom under his waistcoat. There was a group of men near the road. As he passed them he took out his knife, and stabs it into his chest, and takes out the pig's bowels, and our mad man begins to run very much faster than before, with his pig in front of him.
When the Tartaro comes up to these men, he asks if they have seen such a man.
"Yes, yes, he was running fast, and in order to go faster just here he stabbed himself, and threw away his bowels, and still he went on all the faster."
The Tartaro, too, in order to go faster, thrusts his knife into his body, and falls stark dead.
The madman goes to his master's. Near the house there was a marsh quite full of mud. He puts his live pig into it, and all the tails too. He enters the house, and says to the master that he is there with his pigs. The master is astounded to see him.
He asks him, "Where are the pigs, then?"
He says to him, "They have gone into the mud, they were so tired."
Both go out, and begin to get the real pig out, and between the two they pull it out very well. They try to do the same thing with the others; but they kept pulling out nothing but tails.
The madman says, "You see how fat they are; that is why the tails come out alone."
He sends the servant to fetch the spade and the hoe. Instead of bringing them he begins to beat the mistress, whack! whack! and he cries to the master, "One or both?"
The master says to him, "Both, both."
And then he beats the servant maid almost to pieces. He goes then to the master, taking with him the spade and the hoe, and he sets to beating him with the spade and the hoe, until he can no longer defend himself, and then he thrashes the skin off his back, and takes his pig and goes off home to his father and mother; and as he lived well he died well too.
PIERRE BERTRAND learnt it from his Grandmother,
who died a few years since, aged 82.
WE have several variations of this tale, some like the above, very similar to Grimm's "Valiant Little Tailor," other's like Campbell's "Highland Tales." In one tale there are two brothers, an idiot and a fool (Enuchenta eta Ergela). The idiot goes out to service first, and gets sent back for his stupidity. Then the fool goes, and outwits both his master and the Tartaro, whose eye he burns out with a red-hot spit, as in the first instance. In another the servant frightens the Tartaro at the outset by cracking two walnuts, and saying that they were bones of Christians he was cracking. Another wager is as to which shall carry most water from a fountain. The Tartaro fills two hogsheads to carry, but the lad says to him, "Only that; I will take the whole fountain;" and he begins to stir the water about with a stick. But the Tartaro, cries out, "No! No! No! I give up. Where shall I go and drink if you carry away all my water?" Another variation is as follows:--
LIKE many others in the world, there lived a mother with her three sons. They were not rich, but lived by their work. The eldest son said one day to his mother--
"It would be better for us if I should go out to service."
The mother did not like it, but at last she let him go. He goes off, far, far, far away, and comes to a house, and asks if they want a servant. They say "Yes," and they make their agreement.
The master-was to give a very high salary--100,000 francs--but the. servant was to do everything that the master ordered him, and, if he did not do it, the master was to tear the skin off his back at the end of the year, and to dismiss him without pay.
The servant said to him,
"All right; I am strong, and I will work."
On the morrow the master gives him a great deal of work, but he does it easily. The last months of the year the master presses him much more, and one day he sends him into a field to sow fourteen bushels of wheat in the day. The lad goes sadly, taking with him a pair of oxen. He returns to the house very late in the evening. The master says to him,
"Have you done your work
He says, "No."
"Do you remember the agreement we made? I must tear the skin off your back: that is your salary."
He tears the skin off, as he had said, and sends him away home without anything. His mother was in great grief at seeing him come home so thin and weak, and without any money.
He tells what has happened, and the second brother wishes to start off at once, saying that he is strong, and that he will do more work. The mother did not like it, but she was obliged to let him go.
He goes to the same house as his brother, and makes the same terms with the master. When he had almost finished his year, his master sends him too to sow fourteen bushels of wheat. He starts very early in the morning, with two pair of oxen; but the night came before he had sown it all. The master was very glad at the sight of that. He strips his skin off his back also, and sends him away without any money. Think of the vexation of this mother in seeing both her sons return in this fashion.
The third wishes to start off at once. He assures his mother that he will bring back both the money and the skin of his back. He goes to this same gentleman. He tells this one, too, that he will give him a high salary, on condition that he will do all that he shall tell him to do, otherwise he shall have the skin torn off his back, and be sent away without anything, at the end of the year.
He had made him work hard and well for ten months, and then wished to try him. He sent him to the field, and told him to sow fourteen bushels of wheat before night. He answers, "Yes."
He takes two pairs of oxen, and goes off to the field. He ploughs a furrow all round the field, and throws his fourteen bushels of wheat into it. He then makes another furrow, to cover it up, and at night time he goes home to the house. The master is astonished. He asks him if he has sown it.
"Yes, it is all under ground; you may be sure of it."
The master was not pleased; he had his fears.
The next day he sends him with sixteen head of cattle to such a field, and says to him,
"You must take all these cattle into the field without unlocking the gate or making a gap."
Our lad takes a hatchet, a hoe, and a fork. Off he goes, and when he gets to the field he kills them all, one by one. He cuts them up with the hatchet, and throws them with the fork into the field.
He comes home at nightfall, and says to his master that all the cattle are in the field as he had told him. The master was not pleased, but he said nothing.
The next day he told him to go to such a forest and to bring a load of wood from there, but all the sticks quite, quite straight. Our lad goes off and cuts down in the chestnut copse all the young chestnut trees which his master had planted, and which were very fine ones; and he comes home. When the master saw that, he was not pleased, and said to him,
"To-morrow you shall go again with the oxen; and you must bring a load of wood quite crooked, all quite crooked if you bring only one straight, so much the worse for you."
The lad goes off, and pulls up a fine vineyard. After he had loaded his cart, he comes home. When the master saw that, he could not say anything; but he did not know what to think of it.
He sends him into a forest. There was a Tartaro, there; and all the persons, and all the animals who went there, he ate them all. The master gives him ten pigs, and also food for ten days, telling him that the hogs would fatten themselves well there, because there were plenty of acorns, and that he must return at the end of ten days.
Our lad begins, and he goes on, and on, and on. He meets an old woman, who says to him:
"Where are you going to, lad?"
"To such a forest, to fatten these pigs."
The woman says to him:
"If you are not a fool, you will not go there. That horrible Tartaro will eat you."
This woman was carrying a basket of walnuts on her head, and he said to her:
"If you will give me two of these walnuts I will beat the Tartaro."
She willingly gives them to him, and he goes on, and on, and on. He meets another old woman, who was winding thread. She says to him:
"Where are you going, lad?
"To such a forest."
"Don't go there. There is a horrible Tartaro there, who will be sure to eat you, and your pigs as well."
"I must go there all the same, and I will conquer him, if you will give me two of your balls of thread."
She gives him them, willingly; and he goes on farther, and finds a blacksmith, and he, too, asks him where he is going? And he answers, "To such a forest, to fatten my pigs."
"You may just as well go back again. There is a terrible Tartaro there, who will be sure to eat you."
"If you will give me a spit, I will beat him."
"I will give it you, willingly," and he gives it him with goodwill.
Our lad goes on, and comes to this forest. He cuts off the tails of all his pigs, and hides them in a safe place. The Tartaro appears, and says to him:
"How did you come here? I am going to eat you."
The lad says to him:
"Eat a pig if you like, but don't touch me."
He takes his two nuts, and rubs them one against the other. "I have two balls here, and if one of them touches you, you are dead."
The Tartaro is frightened, and goes away in silence. After having eaten a pig, he comes back again, and says to him:
"We must make a wager--which of the two will make the greatest heap of wood?"
The Tartaro begins to cut and to cut. Our lad leaves him alone, and when he has made a. terrible big heap, he begins to go round all the trees with his balls of thread, and says to him.
"You, that; but I, all this;" and he goes on tying and tying. The Tartaro gives in, saying "that he is more clever than he." As he had stopped his ten days, he makes in the night a great fire, and makes his spit red-hot in it and while the Tartaro was sleeping, he plunges this spit into his only eye. After having taken his pigs' tails, he goes away from the forest without any pigs, because the Tartaro had eaten one every day. Near his master's house there was "a well of the fairy." Our lad sticks in there the tails of all his hogs, excepting one, as well as he could. He then goes running to his master, telling him that all the pigs were coming home very gaily, and that they had got so hot in coming so fast that they had all gone under the mud. "I wished to drag one out by pulling, but only the tail came away; here it is."
He goes off then with the master to this marsh; but the master did not dare go in there to pull them out. He goes off sadly with his servant home, not knowing what to think about it. There he counts him out his 100,000 francs, and he went home proudly to his mother and his brothers. There they lived happily, and their master was left with 100,000 francs less. That served him right for having so much.
LIKE many others in the world, there was a mother and her son. They were very wretched. One day the son said to his mother that he must go away, to see if he could do anything. He goes far, far, far away. He traverses many countries, and still goes on and on. He arrives in a great city, and asks if they know of a place for a servant. They tell him that there is one in the king's house. There they tell him that he is to be gardener. But he tells them that he does not know how to use a hoe at all, but that, all the same, he would learn it with the others. He was very nice-looking. He soon learnt it, and was liked by everybody.
This king had a daughter, and she often noticed Petit Perroquet, because he was polite to everybody. In this city there was a prince, and he was paying court to this young princess, and he was seized with dislike and jealousy of Petit-Perroquet. One day this prince went to find the king. He said to him,
"You do not know what Petit Perroquet says?-that he could bring the Tartaro's horse here."
The king sends for Petit Perroquet, and says to him,
"It seems that you have said that you could bring the Tartaro's horse here?"
"I certainly did not say it."
"Yes, yes," said the king, "you said it."
"If you will give me all that I ask for, I will try."
He asks for a great deal of money, and sets off. He travels on, and on, and on, and he had to pass a wide river. He speaks to the ferryman, and pays the passage money, and tells him that perhaps he will have a heavy load on his return, but that he will be well paid.
He lands on the other side; but he had yet a long way to go in the forest, because the Tartaro lived in a corner of the mountain. At last he arrives, and knocks at the door. An . old, old woman comes to him, and says to him,
"Be off from here as quickly as possible; my son smells the smell of a Christian a league off."
"To eat me here, or to eat me elsewhere, it is all the same to me."
But he goes outside, and hides himself under a great heap of cut ferns. He had scarcely been there a moment, when he hears a deep breathing and a grinding of teeth, which sounded like thunder. He stops where he is, trembling. The Tartaro goes to his house, and asks his mother if there is not some Christian or other hidden here.
"No, no," says she. "But eat away, your dinner is all ready."
"No, no! I must eat this Christian first."
He goes hunting, looking, looking into every corner. He goes to the heap of ferns, and pulls off some to put them on one side; but our Petit Perroquet was quite, quite at the bottom. The Tartaro was just on the point of finding him, but he grew tired, and went indoors, and began to eat and to drink enormously. Our Petit Perroquet creeps out of his ferns, and goes off to the stable. The horse had a big bell round his neck, but he fills it with ferns (this bell was as large as the big bell in the church of St. Jean de Luz). He mounts on the horse's back, and very soon he arrives at the ferry, and the ferryman comes to meet him. Together they get the horse into the ferry-boat as well as they could, and they cross over. He gave him a handsome reward. As soon as he was on the other side, the Tartaro appeared, crying out to him to give him his horse back again, and that he would give him all he could wish for. He replies, "No," and goes off full gallop. When he came near the king's palace he took the fern out of the bell, and everybody comes running out of doors or to the windows. All the world was astonished to see Petit Perroquet return.
The king was in ecstasy. He did not know what to say, but he liked him even more than he did formerly, and the princess did also. The other prince was not at all pleased, and he begins to think of some other plot. He goes off to find the king, and he says to him,
"Do you not know that Petit Perroquet says that he could bring the Tartaro's diamond?"
The king sends for Petit Perroquet, and says to him,
"It seems that you say you can get the Tartaro's diamond?"
"I certainly did not say any such thing."
"Yes, yes--you said it."
"No, no! I did not say it; but I will try, if you give me all I shall ask for."
And he asks for a great deal of money.
He goes off, and reaches the ferry, and pays the ferryman well, and goes far, far, far away into the forest, till he gets to the house of the Tartaro. The old woman tells him to be off from there; and he goes and hides himself again in the ferns. And he stops there until the Tartaro comes to the house, just as he did the first time. He turns over nearly all the ferns, and leaves him scarcely covered. He stops quietly there all the time that the Tartaro was having his huge supper, and when he thinks he has finished, and is taking his nap, he creeps out very, very gently. The Tartaro always put his diamond under his pillow, and he takes it away without waking him, and escapes, running off as fast as if to break his feet. The ferryman is there, and he crosses him over, and he pays him well. The Tartaro appears on the other side again, and calls out to him telling him to give him back his diamond, and that he would give him all that he could wish for. He answers, "No, no!" and runs on to the king's house.
When he arrived there, the king did not know what to do. One feasted him, and another feasted him, and all the world was busied about him, and everyone loved him more and more, and the princess as well as the rest. The wicked prince did not know what to think of it. He was eaten up with jealousy, and he thought of something else, and said to the king:
"Petit Perroquet says that he can bring the Tartaro himself."
The king sends for Petit Perroquet, and says to him
"It appears that you have said that you will bring the Tartaro himself here."
"No, no, no, I did not say anything at all like that; but if you will give me all I ask for, I will try. You must have a carriage made of iron, half-a-yard thick, and three horses to draw it, and lots of money. When all that is ready, I will set out."
He asks, also, for a barrel of honey, another of feathers, and two horns, and starts off.
When he comes to the ferry, it was no easy thing to get this carriage into the boat. When he has got to the other side, he first puts himself into the barrel of honey, and then into the barrel of feathers, and ties the horns on to his head, and then mounts as postilion. He then comes to the Tartaro's house, and just then he happened to be at home. Petit Perroquet knocks at the door. The Tartaro himself comes to open, and asks:
"Who are you? You!"
"I!!--I am the oldest of all the devils in hell."
He opens the carriage door for him, and says:
"Get in there."
The Tartaro gets in, and Petit Perroquet, very glad, starts off, and arrives at the ferry.
He crosses, as he best can, with his carriage and horses. He pays the ferryman generously, and comes to the king's palace. They were all terrified when they saw that he had the Tartaro there.
They tried to shoot him with cannon, but he caught the bullets, and sent them back as if they had been balls to play with. They could not kill him in that way, so they finished him with other arms.
As Petit Perroquet had well gained her, they gave him the princess in marriage. He sent for his mother to the court, and as they lived well, so they died happily.
IT would only be spoiling good work by bad to attempt to re-write the exhaustive essay which appears, under the heading of "St. George," in Baring Gould's "Curious Myths of the Middle Ages." He there traces the atmospheric myth in which the Dragon is the storm-cloud, the Maiden the earth, and the Hero the sun, through all the forms of the great Aryan legend, in Indian, Egyptian, Phoenician, Italic, Keltic, Teutonic, and Scandinavian mythology. He shows that it was merely by a mistaken metaphor that St. George came to assume the place, and wear the glories of the solar hero; and that England only followed in the wake of other countries, in making him her national Saint and Patron.
We will, therefore, now only glance at some of the Basque and Pyrenean forms of this wide-spread myth. M. Cerquand boldly places one form of the story, which is attached to the house of Belzunce, among historical legends. But the history of Belzunce and the Dragon stands in the same relation to the original myth as does that of Guy, Earl of Warwick, Moor of Moor Hall, and of scores of other heroes. In a Basque version, collected by ourselves, the concluding words show that in this form it is simply an Eponymous legend, to account for the name, "and that is whence comes the name of Belzunce." The oldest Pyrenean version with which we are acquainted is that of the "Serpent d'Isabit." We give the outlines of it from memory, as we heard, and read it, at Bagnères de Bigorre.
The serpent lay with his head resting on the summit of the Pic du Midi de Bigorre, his neck stretched down towards Barèges, while his body filled the whole valley of Luz, St. Sauveur, and Gédres, and his tail was coiled in the hollow below the cirque of Gavarnie. He fed but once in three months, or the whole country would have been desolate. With a strong inspiration of his breath, he drew into his capacious maw, across the valleys, whole flocks of sheep and goats, herds of oxen, men, women, children, the population of whole villages at once. He was now asleep, and inert, after such a repast. The whole male population of several valleys assembled to consult on what should be done. After long and fruitless debate an old man arose and spoke:--"We have nearly three months yet before he will wake; let us cut down all the forests on the opposite hills; then let us bring all our forges and all the iron we possess, and with the wood thus cut down let us melt it all into the red-hot fiery mass; then we will hide ourselves behind the rocks, and make all the noise we can to try and awaken the monster." So said, so done. The serpent awoke in a rage at having his slumbers broken, he saw something bright on the opposite side of the valley, and drew in a long breath, and the fiery mass, with a roar like a thunderbolt, flew across the valley, right down the monster's throat. Then, what convulsions ensued; rocks were uptorn or split open, the mountains were shattered, the glaciers beaten into dust as the serpent twisted and lashed about in his agony. To quench his agony of thirst he descended to the valley, and drank up all the streams from Gavarnie to Pierrefitte. Then, in his last convulsion, he threw himself back upon the mountain side and expired; his head rested in a deep hollow; as the fire within him slowly cooled, the water he had swallowed poured out of his mouth, and formed the present Lac d'Isabit. In M. Cerquand's legend of the Dragon d'Alçay, the red-hot iron is replaced by "a cow's skin full of gunpowder." In all the Basque legends of this class the hero dies.
But these legends differ widely from the following tales; there is in them no princess to be rescued, no charcoal-burner, no marriage, or any other wonders. Were it not for their still closer resemblance to the Gaelic tales, we should suspect the following legends to be simply translations of some French legend of St. George. As we remarked before, like the Deccan cobras, the Heren-Suge is always seven-headed. It is strange, too, to notice that the princess always behaves in the same chivalrous way. "One is enough to die." The union, too, of Tartaro and Heren-Suge in the same tale is curious.
LIKE many of us who are, have been, and shall be in the world, there was a king, and his wife, and three sons. The king went out hunting one day, and caught a Tartaro. He brings him home, and shuts him up in prison in a stable, and proclaims, by sound of trumpet, that all his court should meet the next day at his house, that he would give them a grand dinner, and afterwards would show them an animal such as they had never seen before.
The next day the two sons of the king were playing at ball against (the wall of) the stable where the Tartaro was confined, and the ball went into the stable. One of the boys goes and asks the Tartaro--
"Throw me back my ball, I beg you."
He says to him, "Yes, if you will deliver me."
He replies, "Yes, yes," and he threw him the ball.
A moment after, the ball goes again to the Tartaro. He asks for it again; and the Tartaro says:
"If you will deliver me, I will give it you."
The boy says, "Yes, yes," takes his ball, and goes off.
The ball goes there for the third time, but the Tartaro will not give it before he is let out. The boy says that he has not the key. The Tartaro says to him:
"Go to your mother, and tell her to look in your right ear, because something hurts you there. Your mother will have the key in her left pocket, and take it out."
The boy goes, and does as the Tartaro had told him. He takes the key from his mother, and delivers the Tartaro. When he was letting him go, he said to him:--
"What shall I do with the key now? I am undone."
The Tartaro says to him:
"Go again to your mother, and tell her that your left ear hurts you, and ask her to look, and you will slip the key into her pocket."
The Tartaro tells him, too, that he will soon have need of him, and that he will only have to call him, and he will be his servant for ever.
He puts the key back; and everyone came to the dinner. When they had eaten well, the king said to them that they must go and see this curious thing. He takes them all with him. When they are come to the stable, he finds it empty. Judge of the anger of this king, and of his shame. He said:
"I should like to eat the heart, half cooked, and without salt, of him who has let my beast go."
Some time afterwards the two brothers quarreled in presence of their mother, and one said to the other:
"I will tell our father about the affair of the Tartaro."
When the mother heard that, she was afraid for her son, and said to him:
"Take as much money as you wish."
And she gave him the Fleur-de-lis. "By this you will be known everywhere as the son of a king."
Petit Yorge goes off, then, far, far, far away. He spends and squanders all his money, and does not know what to do more. He remembers the Tartaro, and calls him directly. He comes, and Petit Yorge tells him all his misfortunes; that he has not a penny left, and that he does not know what will become of him. The Tartaro says to him:
"When you have gone a short way from here you will come to a city. A king lives there. You will go to his house, and they will take you as gardener. You will pull up everything that there is in the garden, and the next day everything will come up more beautiful than before. Also, three beautiful flowers will spring up, and you will carry them to the three daughters of the king, and you will give the most beautiful to the youngest daughter."
He goes off, then, as he had told him, and he asks them if they want a gardener. They say, "Yes, indeed, very much." He goes to the garden, and pulls up the fine cabbages, and the beautiful leeks as well. The youngest of the king's daughters sees him, and she tells it to her father, and her father says to her:
"Let him alone, we will see what he will do afterwards." And, indeed, the next day he sees cabbages and leeks such as he had never seen before. Petit Yorge takes a flower to each of the young ladies. The eldest said:
"I have a flower that the gardener has brought me, which has not its equal in the world."
And the second says that she has one, too, and that no one has ever seen one so beautiful. And the youngest said that hers was still more beautiful than theirs, and the others confess it, too. The youngest of the young ladies found the gardener very much to her taste. Every day she used to bring him his dinner. After a certain time she said to him,
"You must marry me."
The lad says to her,
"That is impossible. The king would not like such a marriage."
The young girl says, too,
"Well, indeed, it is hardly worth while. In eight days I shall be eaten by the serpent."
For eight days she brought him his dinner again. In the evening she tells him that it is for the last time that she brought it. The young man tells her, "No," that she will bring it again; that somebody will help her.
The next day Petit Yorge goes off at eight o'clock to call the Tartaro. He tells him what has happened. The Tartaro gives him a fine horse, a handsome dress, and a sword, and tells him to go to such a spot, and to open the carriage door with his sword, and that he will cut off two of the serpent's heads. Petit Yorge goes off to the said spot. He finds the young lady in the carriage. He bids her open the door. The young lady says that she cannot open it--that there are seven doors, and that he had better go away; that it is enough for one person to be eaten.
Petit Yorge opens the doors with his sword, and sat down by the young lady's side. He tells her that he has hurt his ear, and asks her to look at it; and at the same time he cuts off seven pieces of the seven robes which she wore, without the young lady seeing him. At the same instant comes the serpent, and says to him,
"Instead of one, I shall have three to eat."
Petit Yorge leaps on his horse, and says to him,
"You will not touch one; you shall not have one of us."
And they begin to fight. With his sword he cuts off one head, and the horse with his feet another; and the serpent asks quarter till the next day. Petit Yorge leaves the young lady there. The young lady is full of joy; she wishes to take the young man home with her. He will not go by any means (he says); that he cannot; that he has made a vow to go to Rome; but he tells her that "to-morrow my brother will come, and he will be able to do something, too." The young lady goes home, and Petit Yorge to his garden. At noon she comes to him with the dinner, and Petit Yorge says to her,
"You see that it has really happened as I told you--he has not eaten you."
"No, but to-morrow he will eat me. How can it be otherwise?"
"No, no! To-morrow you will bring me my dinner again. Some help will come to you."
The next day Petit Yorge goes off at eight o'clock to the Tartaro, who gives him a new horse, a different dress, and a fine sword. At ten o'clock he arrives where the young lady is. He bids her open the door. But she says to him that she cannot in any way open fourteen doors; she is there, and that she cannot open them, and he should go away; that it is enough for one to be eaten; that she is grieved to see him there. As soon as he has touched them with his sword, the fourteen doors fly open. He sits down by the side of the young lady, and tells her to look behind his ear, for it hurts him. At the same time he cuts off fourteen bits of the fourteen dresses she was wearing. As soon as he had done that, the serpent comes, saying joyfully,
"I shall eat not one, but three."
Petit Yorge says to him, "Not even one of us."
He leaps on his horse, and begins to fight with the serpent. The serpent makes some terrible bounds. After having fought a long time, at last Petit Yorge is the conqueror. He cuts off one head, and the horse another with his foot. The serpent begs quarter till the next day. Petit Yorge grants it, and the serpent goes away.
The young lady wishes to take the young man home, to show him to her father; but he will not go by any means.
He tells her that he must go to Rome, and set off that very day; that he has made a vow, but that to-morrow he will send his cousin, who is very bold, and is afraid of nothing.
The young lady goes to her father's, Petit Yorge to his garden. Her father is delighted, and cannot comprehend it at all. The young lady goes again with the dinner. The gardener says to her,
"You see you have come again to-day, as I told you. To-morrow you will come again, just the same."
"I should be very glad of it."
On the morrow Petit Yorge went off at eight o'clock to the Tartaro. He said to him that the serpent had. still three heads to be cut off, and that he had still need of all his help. The Tartaro said to him,
"Keep quiet, keep quiet; you will conquer him."
"The serpent will say to you, 'Ah! if I had a spark between my head and my tail, how I would burn you and your lady, and your horse and your dog.' And you, you will say to him then, 'I, if I had the good-scented water to smell, I would cut off a head from thee, the horse another, and the dog another.' You will give this bottle to the young lady, who will place it in her bosom, and, at the very moment you shall say that, she must throw some in your face, and on the horse and on the dog as well."
He goes off then without fear, because the Tartaro had given him this assurance. He comes then to the carriage. The young lady says to him,
"Where are you going? The serpent will be here directly. It is enough if he eats me."
He says to her, "Open the door."
She tells him that it is impossible; that there are twenty-one doors. This young man touches them with his sword, and they open of themselves. This young man says to her, giving her the bottle,
"When the serpent shall say, 'If I had a spark between my head and my tail, I would burn you,' I shall say to him, 'If I had a drop of the good-scented water under my nose;' you will take the bottle, and throw some over me in a moment."
He then makes her look into his ear, and, while she is looking, he cuts off twenty-one pieces from her twenty-one dresses that she was wearing. At the same moment comes the serpent, saying, with joy,
"Instead of one, I shall have four to eat."
The young man said to him,
"And you shall not touch one of us, at any rate."
He leaps on his spirited horse, and they fight more fiercely than ever. The horse leaped as high as a house, and the serpent, in a rage, says to him,
"If I had a spark of fire between my tail and my head, I would burn you and your lady, and this horse and this terrible dog."
The young man says,
"I, if I had the good-scented water under my nose, I would cut off one of your heads, and the horse another, and the dog another."
As he said that, the young lady jumps up, opens the bottle, and very cleverly throws the water just where it was wanted. The young man cuts off a head with his sword, his horse another, and the dog another; and thus they make an end of the serpent. This young man takes the seven tongues with him, and throws away the heads. Judge of the joy of this young lady. She wanted to go straight to her father with her preserver (she says), that her father must thank him too; that he owes his daughter to him. But the young man says to her that it is altogether impossible for him; that he must go and meet his cousin at Rome; that they have made a vow, and that, on their return, all three will come to her father's house.
The young lady is vexed, but she goes off without losing time to tell her father what has happened. The father is very glad that the serpent was utterly destroyed; and he proclaims in all the country that he who has killed the serpent should come forward with the proofs of it.
The young lady goes again with the dinner to the gardener. He says to her,
"I told you true, then, that you would not be eaten?
Something has, then, killed the serpent?"
She relates to him what had taken place.
But, lo! some days afterwards there appeared a black charcoal-burner, who said that he had killed the serpent, and was come to claim the reward. When the young lady saw the charcoal -burner, she said immediately, that most certainly it was not he; that it was a fine gentleman, on horseback, and not a pest of a man like him. The charcoal-burner shows the heads of the serpent; and the king says that, in truth, this must be the man. The king had only one word to say, she must marry him. The young lady says, she will not at all; and the father began to compel her, (saying) that no other man came forward. But, as the daughter would not consent, to make a delay, the king proclaims in all the country, that he who killed the serpent would be capable of doing something else, too, and that, on such a day, all the young men should assemble, that he would hang a diamond ring from a bell, and that whosoever riding under it should pierce the ring with his sword, should certainly have his daughter.
From all sides arrive the young men. Our Petit Yorge goes off to the Tartaro, and tells him what has happened, and that he has again need of him. The Tartaro gives him a handsome horse, a superb dress, and a splendid sword. Equipped thus, Petit Yorge goes with the others. He gets ready. The young lady recognizes him immediately, and says so to her father. He has the good luck to carry off the ring on his sword; but he does not stop at all, but goes off galloping as hard as his horse can go. The king and his daughter were in a balcony, looking on at all these gentlemen. They saw that he still went on. The young lady says to her father:
"Papa, call him!"
The father says to her, in an angry tone,
"He is going off, because apparently he has no desire to have you." And he hurls his lance at him. It strikes him on the leg. He still rides on. You can well imagine what chagrin for the young lady.
The next day she goes with the gardener's dinner. She sees him with his leg bandaged. She asks him what it is.
The young lady begins to suspect something, and goes to tell to her father how the gardener had his leg tied up, and that he must go and ask him what is the matter. That he had told her that it was nothing.
The king did not want to go, (and said) that she must get it out of the gardener; but to please his daughter, he says he will go there. He goes then, and asks him, "What is the matter?" He tells him that a blackthorn has run into him. The king gets angry, and says "that there is not a blackthorn in all his garden, and that he is telling him a lie."
The daughter says to him,
"Tell him to show it us."
He shows it to them, and they are astonished to see that the lance is still there. The king did not know what to think of it all. This gardener has deceived him, and he must give him his daughter. But Petit Yorge, uncovering his. bosom, shows the "fleur-de-lis" there. The king did not know what to say; but the daughter said to him,
"This is my preserver, and I will marry no one else than him."
Petit Yorge asks the king to send for five dressmakers, the best in the town, and five butchers. The king sends for them.
Petit Yorge asks the dressmakers if they have ever made any new dresses which had a piece out; and on the dressmakers saying "No," he counts out the pieces and gives them to the dressmakers, asking if it was like that that they had given the dresses to the princess. They say, "Certainly not."
He goes, then, to the butchers, and asks them, if they have ever killed animals without tongues? They say, "No!" He tells them, then, to look in the heads of the serpent. They see that the tongues are not there, and then he takes out the tongues he has.
The king, having seen all that, has nothing more to say. He gives him his daughter. Petit Yorge says to him, that he must invite his father to the wedding, but on the part of the young lady's father; and that they must serve him up at dinner a sheep's heart, half cooked, and without salt. They make a great feast, and place this heart before this father. They make him carve it himself, and he is very indignant at that. The son then says to him:
"I expected that;" and he adds, "Ah! my poor father, have you forgotten how you said that you wished to eat the heart, half cooked, and without salt, of him who let the Tartaro go? That is not my heart, but a sheep's heart. I have done this to recal to your memory what you said, and to make you, recognize me."
They embrace each other, and tell each other all their news, and what services the Tartaro had done him. The father returned happy to his house, and Petit Yorge lived very happily with his young lady at the king's house; and they wanted nothing, because they had always the Tartaro at their service.
In a variation of the above tale, from the narration of Marino Amyot, of St. Jean Pied de Port, the young prince, as a herdsman, kills with a hammer successively three Tartaros who play at cards with him; he then finds in their house all their riches and horses, barrels full of gold and silver, etc., and also three "olano," which is described as an animal who serves the Tartaro, like a dog, but much larger and more terrible, but also more intelligent and able to do any message. He kills the serpent with the aid of the "olanos," and the princess helps by striking the serpent's tail with a sword, instead of sprinkling the "sweet-scented water." The "olano" then steals dishes off the king's table for the prince. The charcoal-burner comes; but at last the prince shows the tongues and pieces of dress, and ill ends happily, except for the charcoal-burner, who is placed on the top of seven barrels of powder, and fire is applied beneath, and then nobody sees him any more.
The commencement of the next is so different that we give it at length.
LIKE many others in the world, there was a mother with her three sons. The eldest said to her that he wished to go from country to country, until he should find a situation as servant, and that she should give him a cake.
He sets out. While he is going through a forest he meets an old woman, who asks him for a morsel of his cake. He says to her, "No!" that he would prefer to throw it into the muddy clay. And the lad asks her if she knows of a servant's place. She says, "No." He goes on from forest to forest, until the night overtakes him. There comes to him a bear. He says to him,
"Ant of the earth! who has given you permission to come here?"
"Who should give it me? I have taken it myself."
And the bear devours him.
The second son asks his mother to give him a cake, for he wishes to go as a servant, like his brother. She gives him one, and he goes away like his brother. He meets an old woman, who says to him,
"Give me a little of your cake."
"I prefer to throw it into this muddy clay rather than to give you any of it."
He asks her if she knows of a servant's place. She replies, "No." And on he goes, on, on, on, deeper into the forest. He meets a huge bear. He says to him,
"Ant of the earth! Who has given you permission to come here?"
"Who should give it me? I have taken it myself."
And the bear devours him.
The third son asks his mother to give him a cake, for he wishes to go off, like his brothers. He sets off, and walks on, and on, and on. And he finds an old woman. She asks him,
"Where are you going?"
"I want a situation as servant."
"Give me a little bit of your cake."
"Here! Take the whole as well, if you like."
"No, no! A little bit is enough for me."
And he asks her if she knows of a servant's place. She says to him,
"Yes; you will find it far beyond the forest. But you will meet an enemy here; but I will give you a stick, with the touch of which you may kill him."
He goes on, and on, and on. There comes to him a bear, and says to him,
"Ant of the ground! Who has given you permission to come here?"
"Who has given it me? I have taken it myself."
The lad gives him a little blow with his stick, and the bear gives a howl--
"Oy, oy, oy!--spare my life! Oy, oy, oy!--spare my life!"
But he said to him,
"Tell me, then, how many you are in the place where you live?"
He gives him another blow, and he falls stark dead.
He goes on, on, on, until he finds a palace. He goes in, and asks,
"Do you want a servant?"
They say to him,
"Yes, yes; our shepherd has gone away, and we want one."
They send him to bed; and the next day they give him a fine flock of sheep, and tell him not to go on the mountain, because it is full of large and savage animals, and to pay great attention, because the sheep always want to go there. The next day he goes off with his sheep, and all of them run away to this mountain, because the herbage was very good there. Our shepherd had, fortunately, not forgotten his stick, for at that moment there appeared before him a terrible bear.
Who has given you permission to come here?"
"I have taken it myself."
"I must eat you."
He approaches, but our shepherd gives him a little blow with his stick, and he begins to cry out,
"Oy, oy, oy!--spare my life!"
"Tell me, then, how many you are where you live?"
"We were seven yesterday, but to-day we are only six, with me."
He gives him another blow, and he falls stark dead. And the shepherd hides him as well as he can in a hedge, and then he returns home with his sheep, well filled. That evening the sheep gave him a great deal of milk, and he made fine cheeses with it. The master and mistress were delighted to have such a servant. The next day he goes off again. As soon as he opened the stable-door the sheep start off running to the good pasture and fine herbage, and the same things (happen again). At the end of a moment there appears a bear, who asks him why he comes there into those parts. Our shepherd, with his stick, gives him a little blow on the neck, and the bear begins to cry,
"Ay, ay, ay!--spare my life!"
He asks him,
"How many are you there where you live?"
"We were seven, but at present we are five with me."
And he gives him a little blow, and he falls stiff and dead. And in five days he kills all the bears in the same way; and when he saw the last one come, he was frightened to see a beast so immense and so fearful, and which came dragging himself along, he was so old. He says to him,
"Why have you come into these parts?"
And at the same time the shepherd gives him a little blow. He begins to cry out to him to spare his life, and that he would give him great riches and beautiful apartments, and that they should live together. He spares his life, and sends the flock back to the house. They go through hedges and hedges, and "through the fairies' holes," and arrive at last at a fine palace. There they find the table set out with every kind of food and drink. There were also servants to attend on them, and there were also horses all ready saddled, and with harness of gold and silver. There was nothing but riches there. After having passed some days there like that, our shepherd said to himself that it would be better to be master and owner of all that fortune. So he gives a blow to the bear, and kills him stark dead.
After having dressed himself splendidly, he gets on horseback, and goes from country to country, and comes to a city, and hears the bells sounding, dilin-don, dilin-don, and all the people are in excitement. He asks, "What is the matter?" They tell him how that there is in the mountain a serpent with seven heads, and that one person must be given to him every day. This serpent has seven heads. They draw lots to know who must be given to the serpent. The lot had fallen on the king's daughter, and every one was in grief and distress, and all were going, with the king at their head, to accompany her to the mountain. They left her at the foot of the mountain, and she went on mounting alone to the top. This young man goes after her, and says to her,
"I will accompany you."
The king's daughter says to him,
"Turn back, I beg you. I do not wish you to risk your life because of me."
He says to her,
"Have no fear for me. I have a charm of might."
At the same time they hear an extraordinary noise and hissing, and he sees the serpent coming like the lightning. As our man has his stick with him, he gives him a little blow on one of his heads, and one by one the seven heads fall off, and our princess is saved.
In order to go to the mountain, she was dressed in her most beautiful robes. She had seven of them on. He took a little piece from each of the seven robes, and he likewise takes the tongue from each of the heads, and puts them in these little pieces of silk. He then takes the king's daughter on his horse, and descends the mountain. The daughter goes home to her father, and our gentleman to the bear's house. The news that the seven-headed serpent is killed spreads quickly. The king had promised his daughter, and the half of his kingdom, to the man who should have killed him. The serpent was killed, as we have said. Three charcoal-burners, passing by on the mountain, see the serpent, and take the seven heads, and go to the king, asking to have a reward. But, as they were three, they were in a difficulty; and they were sent away until the council was assembled, and to see if any other person would come. As nobody appeared, they were going to draw lots who should be the husband of the king's daughter. There was great excitement that day, and there was also a great stir when this young man arrived in the city. He asks what it is. They tell him what it is. He was splendidly dressed, and had a magnificent horse. He asks to see the king, and, as he was handsomely dressed, he is received immediately.
He asks if the seven heads of the serpent had seven tongues in them; and they cannot find them. Then he shows the seven tongues. He sends, too, for the princess' seven robes, and he shows the seven pieces that are wanting, as well as the seven tongues. When they see that, all exclaim--
"This is the true saviour of the king's daughter!"
And they are married.
The three charcoal-burners, after having been dressed in a coat of sulphur, ware burnt alive in the midst of the market-place.
Our gentleman and lady lived very happily, sometimes at her father's house and at other times at their own bear's house; and, as they had lived well, they died happily. Then I was there, and now I am here.
Our next tale will show the serpent in a new character, and might have been included under the variations of "Beauty and the Beast."
LIKE many others in the world, there was a widower who had three daughters. One day the eldest said to her father, that she must go and see the country. She walked on for two hours, and saw some men cutting furze, and others mowing hay.
She returned to the house, astonished at having seen such wonderful things. She told her father what wonderful things she had seen, and her father replied:
"Men cutting furze! Men mowing hay!!"
The second daughter asks, too, to go like her sister, and she returned after having seen the same things. And the third daughter said that she ought to go, too.
"Child, what will you see?"
"I, like my sisters, something or other."
She set off on the same road as the others; and she, like the others, saw men cutting furze, and men mowing hay. She went on further, and she saw some washerwomen; and she went still a little further on till she had walked for three hours, and she saw some wood-cutters cutting firewood. She asked them if she should see anything more if she went a little further. They told her that she would see some more wood-cutters cutting firewood.
She went very much farther into the wood, and she was caught, and kept prisoner by a serpent. She remained there crying, and not able to eat anything; and she remained like that eight days, very sad; then she began to grow resigned, and she remained there three years. At the end of three years she began to wish to return home. The serpent told her to come back again at the end of two days; that his time was nearly finished, and that he was a king's son condemned for four years (to be a serpent). He gave her a distaff and spindle, of silver-gilt, and a silk handkerchief. He said to her:
"If you do not find me here on your return, you will have to wear out seven pairs of shoes, six of leather and one pair of iron ones (before you will be able to find me)."
When she came home, her father would not let her go back to the house where she had passed such a long time with a son of a king, condemned to be a serpent. She said that his time was almost finished, and that in gratitude she ought to return; that he had said that he would marry her. The father had her put in prison, confined in a room very high up. The fourth day she escaped, and went to the place, but she did not find the king's son. She had already shoes on her feet. She had almost worn them out. After that she bought another pair. She kept journeying on and on, and asking if it were far, and they told her that it was very far. She bought still another pair of shoes, and these, too, got worn out on the road. She bought a fifth pair, and after them the sixth also. She then asked if she were near yet, and they told her that she was still very far. Then she bought the seventh pair of shoes, of iron. And when she had gone a short way in these shoes, she asked if it were far from there to the son of the king. The seventh pair of shoes were almost worn out when she came to a city, and heard sounds of music. She inquired what was happening in the city.
"Such a king's son is being married to-day."
She went to the house, and knocked at the door. A servant came.
"What do you want?"
She asked if there were any work to spin, and she would spin it.
And the servant went to tell it to the mistress. The lady ordered the servant to bring her in. She brought her in. And when she was in the kitchen, she showed the silk handkerchief which the king's son had given her; and she began to blow her nose with that. The lady was quite astonished to see the girl blow her nose with such a beautiful handkerchief, as if it were nothing, when her son had one just like it for his marriage-day. So she told her son, when he came back from the church, that she had a spinster who came from a great distance, and said to him:
"She has a silk handkerchief just like yours!"
And the king's son said to his mother:
"I, too, must see this spinster that you have there." And he began to go there.
And his mother said to him,
"But why must you see her?"
"I wish to see her."
He went to the kitchen, and in his presence she used her silk handkerchief.
He said to her,
"Show me that."
She said to him,
"It is too dirty to put into your hands, sir."
The gentleman says to her,
"I wish to see it, and show it to me."
(Then) he recognised the young girl. She showed him (too) the distaff and spindle.
At table, when everybody was engaged telling stories, this king said:
"I also have a story to tell."
Everybody was silent, and turned to look at him, and he said:
"Formerly, I had a key to a chest of drawers, and I lost it, and had a new one made. (After that, I found the old one.)"
And he turned to his wife:
"Should I use the old one or the new one?"
And she replied:
"If the first was a good one, why should you make use of the new one?"
Then he gave her this answer
"Formerly, I had a wife, and now I have taken you. I leave you, and take the former one. Do you go off, then, to your own house."
(Learnt at Guethary.)
For the version of the Heren-Suge tales which most closely approaches the Gaelic, see below, "Keltic Legends," "The Fisherman and his Sons."
WE give two stories as specimens of animal tales, which are neither allegories, nor fables, and still less satires. The reader must remember the phrase, "This happened when animals and all things could talk." So thoroughly is this believed, that the first tale of this class recited to us completely puzzled us. The animals are in them placed so fully on a footing with human beings--not in the least as our "poor relations," but rather as sharper-witted, and quite as happy and well off as ourselves--that it is difficult at times to determine whether it is the beast or the man who is the speaker.
Of the latter part of our first story we have heard many variations. In one given by M. Cerquand, p. 29, note, the fox is represented by Basa-Jauna; in a version from Baigorry, by the Tartaro; but in three others, from separate localities, he is a fox. The first two truths are the same in all the versions. In that here given, the fun is heightened by the fox talking and lisping throughout like a little child. All these versions we take to be merely fragments of a much longer story.
In M. Cerquand's "The Chandelier of St. Sauveur," p. 22, the hero's name is Acherihargaix--"the fox difficult to be caught;" and we suspect that he, too, was originally merely an animal.
ONE day a fox was hungry. He did not know what to think. He saw a shepherd pass every day with his flock, and he said to himself that he ought to steal his milk and his cheese, and to have a good feast; but he needed some one to help him in order to effect anything. So he goes off to find a wolf, and he says to him,
"Wolf, wolf! we ought to have a feast with such a shepherd's milk and cheese. You, you shall go to where the flocks are feeding, and from a distance you must howl, 'Uhur, uhur, uhur.' The man, after having milked his sheep, drives them into the field, with his dog, very early in the morning, and he stops at home to do his work, and then he makes his cheese; and, when you have begun to howl 'Uhur, uhur,' and the dog to bark, the shepherd will leave everything else, and will go off full speed. During this time I will steal the milk, and we will share it when you come to me."
The wolf agreed to have a feast, and set out. He did just what the fox had told him. The dog began to bark when the wolf approached. And when the man heard that he went off, leaving everything, and our fox goes and steals the vessel in which the curdled milk was. What does he do then, before the arrival of the wolf? He gently, gently takes off the cream, thinly, thinly, and he eats all the contents of the jug. After he has eaten all, he fills it up with dirt, and puts back the cream on the top, and he awaits the wolf at the place where he had told him. The fox says to him, since it is he who is to make the division, that as the top is much better than the underneath part, the one who should choose that should have only that, and the other all the rest. "Choose now which you would like."
The wolf says to him,
"I will not have the top; I prefer what is at the bottom."
The fox then takes the top, and gives the poor wolf the vessel full of dirt. When he saw that, the wolf got angry; but the fox said to him,
"It is not my fault. Apparently the shepherd makes it like that."
And the fox goes off well filled.
Another day he was again very hungry, and did not know what to contrive. Every day he saw a boy pass by on the road with his father's dinner. He says to a blackbird,
"Blackbird, you don't know what we ought to do? We ought to have a good dinner. A boy will pass by here directly. You will go in front of him, and when the boy goes to catch you, you will go on a little farther, limping, and when you shall have done that a little while the boy will get impatient, and he will put down his basket in order to catch you quicker. I will take the basket, and will go to such a spot, and we will share it, and will make a good dinner."
The blackbird says to him, "Yes."
When the boy passes, the blackbird goes in front of the boy, limping, limping. When the boy stoops (to catch him), the blackbird escapes a little further on. At last the boy, getting impatient, puts his basket on the ground, in order to go quicker after the blackbird. The fox, who kept watching to get hold of the basket, goes off with it, not to the place agreed upon, but to his hole, and there he stuffs himself, eating the blackbird's share as well as his own.
Then he says to himself,
"I shall do no good stopping here. The wolf is my enemy, and the blackbird, too. Something will happen to me if I stay here. I must go off to the other side of the water."
He goes and stands at the water's edge. A boatman happened to pass, and he said to him:
"Ho! man, ho! Will you, then, cross me over this water? I will tell you three truths."
The man said to him, "Yes."
The fox jumps (into the boat), and he begins to say:
"People say that maize bread is as good as wheaten bread. That is a falsehood. Wheaten bread is better. That is one truth."
When he was in the middle of the river, he said:
"People say, too, 'What a fine night; it is just as clear as the day!' That's a lie. The day is always clearer. That is the second truth."
And he told him the third as they were getting near the bank.
"Oh! man, man, you have a bad pair of trousers on, and they will get much worse, if you do not pass over people who pay you more than I."
"That's very true," said the man; and the fox leapt ashore.
Then I was by the side of the river, and I learnt these three truths, and I have never forgotten them since.
ASTOA ETA OTSOA.
LIKE many others in the world, there was an ass. He was going along a ravine, laden with Malaga wine. (You know that asses are very much afraid of wolves, because the wolves are very fond of the flesh of asses.) While he was journeying along in that fashion, he sees a wolf coming at some distance; he could not hide himself anywhere. The wolf comes up, and the ass says to him:
"Good morning, good morning, Mr. Wolf; in case you should be thirsty, I have some excellent Malaga to drink."
"I am not thirsty; no!--but astoundingly hungry; yes! My dinner to-day shall be your head and ears."
"Mr. Wolf, if you were good enough to let me go and hear one mass ------?"
He says to him, "Well! yes."
Our ass goes off then. When he gets into the church he shuts the door inside with his foot, and stops quietly there.
When the wolf began to get impatient at waiting, he said:
"Ay, ay, what a long mass! one would say it was Palm Sunday."
The ass said to him:
"Dirty old wolf, have patience. I am staying here with the angels, and I have my life (safe) for to-night."
"Ay, ay, you bad ass, you are too, too, filthy, you know. If ever you meet with me again, mass you shall not hear."
The ass said to him:
"There are no dogs round the fold of Alagaia; if you go there you would get lots of sheep."
The wolf gives it up, and sets off for the flock where the ass had told him to go. When the ass saw that he had gone away he came out of the church, and went home, and took good care not to come near the wolf's place any more.
IT is somewhat difficult to get a clear view of what Basa-Jaun and Basa-Andre, the wild man and the wild woman, really are in Basque mythology. In the first tale here given Basa-Jaun appears as a kind of vampire, and his wife, the Basa-Andre, as a sorceress, but we know of no other such representation of the former. Basa-Jaun is usually described by Basque writers as a kind of satyr, or faun, a wood-sprite; and Basques, in speaking of him to us, have frequently used the French term, "Homme de Bouc," "He-goat-man," to describe him. In some tales he appears rather as a species of brownie, and has received the familiar sobriquet of Ancho, from the Spanish Sancho. In this character he haunts the shepherds' huts in the mountains, warms himself at their fires, tastes their clotted milk and cheese, converses with them, and is treated with a familiarity which, however, is never quite free from a hidden terror. His wife, the Basa-Andre, appears sometimes as a sorceress, sometimes as a kind of land-mermaid, as a beautiful lady sitting in a cave and "combing her locks with a comb of gold," in remote mountain parts.
The Lamiñak are true fairies, and do not differ more from the general run of Keltic fairies than the Scotch, Irish, Welsh, and Cornish fairies do from each other. In fact, the legends are often identical. The Lamiñak were described to us by one who evidently believed in, and dreaded them, as little people who lived underground. Another informant stated that they were little people who came down the chimney. They long to get possession of human beings, and change and carry off infants unbaptized, but they do not seem to injure them otherwise. They bring good luck to the houses which they frequent; they are fond of cleanliness, but always speak and give their orders in words exactly the opposite of their meaning. In common with Basa-Jaun and Basa-Andre they hate church bells, and though not actively hostile to Christianity, are driven away as it advances. They were formerly great builders of bridges, and even of churches, but were usually defrauded of their wage, which was to have been power over some human soul at the completion of the contract. Fairies' wells and fountains are common in the Landes and neighbouring Gascon provinces, but we know of none in the Pays Basque. We failed distinctly to make out what are the "fairies' holes (Lamiña-ziloak)," spoken of in the Heren-Suge tale (p. 36); as far as we could gather from the narrator they are simply bare places in hedges, when covered by the web of the gossamer spider. We know of no dances by moonlight on fairy rings of green herbage; but if the reader will carefully eliminate from his memory the rare fancies of Shakespeare and Ben Jonson about Puck, Oberon, and Titania, he will find little otherwise to differentiate between the Basque Lamiñak and the fairies of Sir Walter Scott, of Campbell, and of Croker's "Irish Legends." One peculiarity certainly is that all the Basque Lamiñak are sometimes said to be all called "Guïllen," which appears to be the same as the French Guillaume, and our William.
It must be a sign of a failing belief and interest that witches and fairies are so often confounded. In these few stories it is evident that the witch is often a fairy, and the fairy a witch.
ONCE upon a time there lived in one house the landlady and the farmer's wife. The farmer's wife had three sons; one day they said to their mother to give each of them a ball and a penny roll, that they wished to go from country to country. The mother was sorry to part with her three much-loved sons; but all three started off.
When they were in the midst of a forest they saw that night was coming on, and the eldest brother said that he would climb up the first tree. He finds a tall tree, and climbs up to the top, to the very tip-top, and the second says to him:
"Do you see nothing?"
He says, "No, no; there's nothing to be seen, nothing; not a feather! nothing!"
"Come down then; you are an old donkey."
And the second climbs, and he sees nothing. The third says to him:
"You are no good at all, you others. I will climb up."
And he climbs, to the top, to the very tip-top. The others say to him:
"And do you not see anything?"
He says to them:
"Yes; I see a long column of smoke, but very, very thin, and far, very far away. Let us go towards that."
And the three brothers set out together. At eight o'clock in the evening they come to a grand castle, and they knock at the door, and the Basa-Andre (wild woman) comes to answer. She asks:
"Who is there?"
And they reply, "It is we who are here."
"What do you want, young children? Where are you going to at this time of night?"
"We ask and beg of you to give us shelter for to-night; we will be satisfied with a corner of the floor, poor wretches as we are."
"I have my husband, the Basa-Jaun, and if he catches you he will eat you; that's certain."
"And if he catches us outside he will eat us all the same."
Then she let these three brothers come in, and she hides the three in three different corners. Afterwards, at nine o'clock, the Basa-Jaun comes. He made a great noise and blustering, and then the Basa-Andre goes out, and says to him:
"There is nobody here."
"Yes, you have somebody; bring them out, or else I will eat you myself."
And she goes and brings out the eldest brother, trembling with fright. The Basa-Jaun says to him,
"Will you be my servant?"
He says to him, "Yes."
And Basa-Jaun begins again to sniff about.
"You have still somebody else here?"
And she brings out the second, and he says to him:
"Will you be servant to me?"
And he said, "Yes."
Again, he smelled the smell of some one, and at the third time she brings out the third, and he says to him:
"All three of you shall sup with me to-night, and afterwards we shall go to bed. But to-morrow we will all go hunting."
And they go hunting the next day until eight o'clock in the evening.
Now they had at home a little sister. She was little then, but in time she grew up. One day the landlady and the farmer's wife had put out the new maize in the garden to dry; and when no one saw her, the little girl took some from her mistress' heap, and put it to her own. When the mistress saw that, she began to cry out, saying to her,
"Bold hussey that you are, there is no one like you! You will come to a bad end like your brothers."
And the young girl began to cry, and goes to find her mother, and says to her,
"Mother, had I any brothers?"
She says to her, "Yes, my child."
"What were they?"
"Child, they went away a long time ago," she said to her.
This little girl says,
"I, too, must be off to-day. Give me a distaff to spin with, and a penny cake."
She sets off, and comes to the house of the Basa-Jaun, and she knocks at the door, and she lets her in. While his wife was telling her that it is the house of the Basa-Jaun, the elder brother comes in; but they did not recognise one another at all. And afterwards Basa-Jaun comes, and says, as he enters the house:
"You have something here for me," says he.
"No," says she.
And immediately she shows her. Basa-Jaun says to her:
"Will you engage yourself as my servant?"
She says to him, "Yes, sir."
Some days afterwards the brothers recognised their sister, and they embraced each other very much. And this young girl who was so well before began to grow thin. And one day one of her brothers asked her:
"What is the matter with you that you are getting thin like this?"
And she answered:
"The master every evening asks me to put my little finger through the door, and he sucks the finger through the door, and I become every day more sad and more languid."
One day, when the Basa-Andre was not at home, these brothers and the sister plotted together to kill Basa-Jaun, if they could catch him in a ravine in a certain place. And they kill him.
One day the wife asks,
"Where is Basa-Jaun?"
And Basa-Andre takes out three large teeth, and brings them to the house, and tells this young girl herself, when she beats the water for her brothers' feet in the evening, to put one tooth in the water of each. And as soon as the third had finished washing the three brothers became oxen; and this young girl used to drive all three into the fields. And this young girl lived there on the birds they (the oxen) found, and nothing else.
One day, as she was passing over a bridge, she sees Basa-Andre under, and says to her:
"If you do not make these three oxen men as they were before, I will put you into a red-hot oven."
She answers her:
"No! go to such a dell, and take thence three hazel sticks, and strike each of them three blows on the back."
And she did what she told her, and they were changed into men the same as they were before; and all the brothers and the sister lived happily together in Basa-Jaun's castle, and as they lived well they made a good end also.
ONCE upon a time there was a woman who had three daughters. One day the youngest said to her that she must go out to service. And going from town to town, she met at last a fairy who asked her:
"Where are you going to, my child?"
And she answered, "Do you know a place for a servant?"
"Yes; if you will come to my house I will take you."
She said, "Yes."
She gave her her morning's work to do, and said to her:
"We are fairies. I must go from home, but your work is in the kitchen; s mash the pitcher, break all the plates, pound the children, give them breakfast (by themselves), dirty their faces, and rumple their hair."
While she was at breakfast with the children, a little dog comes to her and says:
"Tchau, tchau, tchow; I too, I want something."
"Be off from here, silly little dog; I will give you a kick."
But the dog did not go away; and at last she gave him something to eat--a little, not much.
"And now," says he, "I will tell you what the mistress has told you to do. She told you to sweep the kitchen, to fill the pitcher, and to wash all the plates, and that if it is all well done she will give you the choice of a sack of charcoal or of a bag of gold; of a. beautiful star on your forehead, or of a donkey's tail hanging from it. You must answer, 'A sack of charcoal and a donkey's tail.'"
The mistress comes. The new servant had done all the work, and she was very well satisfied with her. So she said to her:
"Choose which you would like, a sack of charcoal or a bag of gold?"
"A sack of charcoal is the same to me."
"A star for your forehead, or a donkey's tail?"
"A donkey's tail would be the same to me."
Then she gives her a bag of gold, and a beautiful star on her forehead. Then the servant goes home. She was so pretty with this star, and this bag of gold on her shoulders, the whole family was astonished at her. The eldest daughter says to her mother:
"Mother, I will go and be a servant too."
And she says to her, "No, my child, you shall not do so."
But as she would not leave her in peace (she assented), and she goes off like her sister. She comes into the city of the fairies, and meets the same fairy as her sister did. She says to her:
"Where are you going, my girl?"
"To be a servant."
"Come to us."
And she takes her as servant. She tells her like the first one:
"You will dig up the kitchen, break the plates, smash the pitcher, give the children their breakfasts by themselves, and dirty their faces."
There was some of the breakfast left over, and the little dog comes in, and he went:
"Tchow! tchow! tchow! I too, I should like something."
And he follows her everywhere, and she gives him nothing; and at last she drove him off with kicks. The mistress comes home, and she finds the kitchen all dug up, the pitcher and all the plates broken. And she asks the servant:
"What do you ask for wages? A bag of gold or a sack of charcoal? a star on your forehead, or a donkey's tail there?"
She chose the bag of gold and a star on her forehead; but she gave her a sack of charcoal, and a donkey's tail for her forehead. She goes away crying, and tells her mother that she comes back very sorry. And the second daughter also asks permission to go.
"No! no!" (says the mother), and she stops at home.
THERE was once upon a time a gentleman and lady. And the lady was spinning one evening. There came to her a fairy, and they could not get rid of her; and they gave her every evening some ham to eat, and at last they got very tired of their fairy.
One day the lady said to her husband:
"I cannot bear this fairy; I wish I could drive her away."
And the husband plots to dress himself up in his wife's clothes just as if it was she, and he does so. The wife goes to bed, and the husband remains in the kitchen alone, and the fairy comes as usual. And the husband was spinning. The fairy says to him:
"The same to you too; sit down."
"Before you made chirin, chirin, but now you make firgilun, fargalun."
The man replies, "Yes, now I am tired."
As his wife used to give her ham to eat, the man offers her some also.
"Will you take your supper now?"
"Yes, if you please," replies the fairy.
He puts the frying-pan on the fire with a bit of ham. While that was cooking, and when it was red, red-hot, he throws it right into the fairy's face. The poor fairy begins to cry out, and then come thirty of her friends.
"Who has done any harm to you?"
"I, to myself; I have hurt myself."
"If you have done it yourself, cure it yourself."
And all the fairies go off, and since then there came no more fairies to that house. This gentleman and lady were formerly so well off, but since the fairy comes no longer the house little by little goes to ruin, and their life was spent in wretchedness. If they had lived well they would have died well too.
ONCE upon a time there was a mother who had a very beautiful daughter. The mother was always bustling about, but the daughter would not do anything. So she gave her such a good beating that she sat down on a flat stone to cry. One day the young owner of the castle went by. He asks:
"What makes such a pretty girl cry like that?"
The woman answers him:
"As she is too pretty she will not work."
The young man asks if she knows how to sew.
She answers, "Yes; if she liked she could make seven shirts a day."
This young gentleman is much smitten with her. He goes home, and brings a piece of linen, and says to her:
"Here are seven shirts, and if you finish them by such a time we will marry together."
She sat thinking without doing anything, and with tears in her eyes. Then comes to her an old woman, who was a witch, and says to her:
"What is it makes you so sad?"
She answers, "Such a gentleman has brought me seven shirts to sew, but I cannot do them. I am sitting here thinking."
This old woman says to her:
"You know how to sew?"
"I know how to thread the needle; (that is all)."
This woman says to her:
"I will make your shirts for you when you want them, if you remember my name in a year and a day." And she adds, "If you do not remember I shall do with you whatever I like. Marie Kirikitoun--nobody can remember my name."
And she agreed. She makes her the seven shirts for the appointed time. When the young man came the shirts were made, and he takes the young girl with joy and they are both married. But this young girl grew continually sadder and sadder; though her husband made great feasts for her she never laughed. One day they had a frightfully grand festival. There came to the door an old woman, and she asks the servant: "What is the reason that you have such grand feastings?"
She answers, "Our lady never laughs at all, and her husband has these grand feasts to make her gay."
The old woman replied:
"If she saw what I have heard this day she would laugh most certainly."
The servant said to her, "Stay here; I will tell her so at once."
They call the old woman in, and she told them that she had seen an old woman leaping and bounding from one ditch to another, and saying all the time:
"Houpa, houpa, Marie Kirikitoun; nobody will remember my name."
When this young lady heard that, she was merry at once, and writes down this name at once. She recompensed highly the old woman, and she was very happy; and when the other old woman came she knew her name.
THERE was a gentleman and lady who were very poor. This man used to sit sadly at a cross-roads. There came to him a gentleman, who asked: "Why are you so sad?"
"Because I have not wherewith to live."
He said to him, "I will give you as much money as you like, if at such a time you tell the age of the devil."
Our man goes off happy. He leads a merry life with his wife, for they wanted for nothing. They lived at a great rate. But time went on, and, the time was approaching. This man recollected that he had not busied himself at all about the devil's age. He became pensive. His wife asked him what was the matter with him then? why is he not happy? that they wanted for nothing; why is he so sad? He tells her how it is that he got rich, and what compact he had made with a gentleman. His wife said to him:
"If you have nothing but that, it is nothing at all. Get into a barrel of honey, and when you come out of it get into another barrel of feathers, and dressed like that go to the cross-roads and wait for the devil there. You will put yourself on all fours, and walk backwards and forwards, and go between his legs, and walk all round him."
The man does as his wife had told him. The devil comes, and draws back (when he sees him); and our man goes up quite close to the devil. The devil being frightened said to him:
"I am so many years old, and I have never seen any animal like that, and such a frightful one."
Our man had heard enough. He went off home at full speed, and told his wife that they would want for nothing, that he had done as she had told him, just as if she had been a witch, and that he was no longer afraid of the devil. They lived rich and happily, and if they lived well, they died well too.
This tale, or at least this version of it, with the names Rose and Bellarose, must come from the French.
THERE were, like many others in the world, a man and a woman over-burthened with children, and very poor. The woman no more knew what to do. She said that she would go and beg. She goes off, far, far, far away, and she arrives at the city of the fairies. After she had told them how many children she had, all give her a great many alms--she was laden with them.
The queen of the fairies gives her besides twenty pounds in gold, and says to her:
"If you will give me your child when you are confined--you shall bring it up in your law--I will give you a great deal of money, if you will do that."
She told her that the godmother was already decided upon, but that she would speak about it to her husband. The queen told her to go home, and to return with the answer in a week.
She gets home as she best can, very much fatigued by her burthen. Her husband was astonished that she could have carried so much. She tells him what had happened with the queen of the fairies. He says to her:
"Certainly, we will make her godmother."
And she returns at the end of a week to tell the queen that she accepts her. She tells her not to send and tell her when she is confined, that she will know it herself, and that she will come all right. At the end of a week she is confined of a daughter. The queen arrives, as she had said, with a mule laden with gold. When they came back from the christening, the godmother and the child fly away; and the parents console themselves with their other children, thinking that she will be happier in the house of the queen of the fairies.
The queen takes her to a corner of a mountain. It is there where her house was. She had already another goddaughter; this was a little dog, whose name was Rose, and she named this last god-daughter Pretty-Rose. She gave her, too, a glint of diamonds in the middle of her forehead. She was very pretty. She grew up in the corner of the mountain, amusing herself with this dog. She said to her one day:
"Has the queen no other houses? I am tired of being always here."
The dog said to her: "Yes, she has a very fine one by the side of the king's highway, and I will speak to my godmamma about it."
And the dog then told her how Pretty-Rose was bored, and (asked her) if she would not change her house. She said to her, "Yes," and off they go. While they were there one day Pretty-Rose was on the balcony, and a king's son passes, and he was astonished at the beauty of Pretty-Rose; and the king begged and prayed her to look at him again, and (asked her) if she would not go with him. She told him, "No, that she must tell it to her godmamma." Then the dog said, aside:
"No, without me she shall not go anywhere."
This king says to her: "But I will take you, too, willingly; but how shall I get you?"
Rose says to him: "As I give every evening to my godmother always a glass of good liqueur to make her sleep well, as if by mistake, instead of half a glass, I will give her the glass full, and as she will not be able to rise any more to shut the door as usual, I, I will go and take the key to shut it. I will pretend to, and will give her back the key, leaving the door open, and you will open it when you come. She will not hear anything; she will be in a deep sleep."
The king's son said that he would come at midnight, in his flying chariot.
When night came, Rose gave her godmother the good drink in a glass, brim, brim-full. The godmother said:
"What! what! child!"
"You will sleep all the better, godmamma."
"You are right," and she drinks it all.
But she could not any more get up to shut the door, she had become so sleepy.
Rose said to her: "Godmamma! I will shut the door today; stop where you are."
She gave her the key, and Rose turns and turns it back again and again in the keyhole as if she had locked it; and leaving it unlocked she gave the key to her godmother, and she puts it in her pocket. She goes to bed; but Rose and Pretty-Rose did not go to bed at all. At midnight the son of the king arrives with his flying chariot. Rose and Pretty-Rose get into it, and go to this young man's house. The next day Rose says to Pretty-Rose:
"You are not so pretty as you were yesterday;" and looking at her closely, "I find you very ugly to-day."
Pretty-Rose said to her: "My godmamma must have taken away my diamond glint."
And she said to Rose, "You must go to my godmamma, and ask her to give me back the glint that I had before."
Rose did not want to go there-she was afraid; but Pretty-Rose prayed her so much, that she took off the silver dress and set out. When she came to the mountain, she began to call out:
"Godmamma! godmamma! Give Pretty-Rose her beautiful glint as before. I shall be angry with you for always (if you do not), and you will see what will happen to you."
The godmother said to her:
"Come here, come in, I will give you breakfast."
She said, "I am afraid you will beat me."
"No! no! come quickly, then."
"You will give Pretty-Rose her glint?"
"Yes, yes, she has it already."
She then goes in. The queen washes her feet and wipes them, and puts her upon the velvet cushion, and gives her some chocolate; and says to her, that she knows where Pretty-Rose is, and that she will be married, and to tell her from her not to trouble herself about her toilet, nor about anything that is necessary for the wedding and feast, that she would come on the morning of the day.
Rose goes off then. While she is going through the city where Pretty-Rose is, she hears two ladies, who were saying to two gentlemen, "What kind of wife is it that our brother is going to take? Not like us, because he keeps her shut up so close. Let us go and see her."
The little dog said to them, "Not a bit like you, you horrible blubber-lips, as you are. You shall see her--yes."
When the young kings heard that, they were ready to run their swords through the poor little dog. When she gets to Pretty-Rose's house she hides herself, and tells her all that has happened. Pretty-Rose gives her some good liqueur to drink, and she comes to herself. The king makes a proclamation that whoever shall (merely) spit where the little dog shall have placed her feet shall be killed, and to mind and pay attention to it.
When the marriage day had arrived, came the queen. She brought for the wedding-day a robe of diamonds; for the next day, of gold; and for the third day, of silver. Judge how beautiful she was with her glint of diamonds, and her dress of diamonds, too. They could not look at her. Her godmother told her to have her sisters-in-law there, and not to be afraid of them; that they could not come near her in beauty. When she went out (of her room) on the wedding-day, her sisters-in-law could not look at her, she dazzled them so much. They said to each other:
"The little dog was right when she said she was beautiful, this lady."
And for three days Pretty-Rose walked about, and every one was astounded at her beauty. When the feast was over, the godmother went home. Rose would not leave Pretty-Rose. The godmother told Pretty-Rose that she was born of poor parents, and that she had once helped them, but that what she had given them must be already exhausted. Pretty-Rose gave them enough for all to live grandly. She herself had four children, two boys and two girls; and if they had lived well, they had died well.
Learnt it from her mother.
OUR legends of witchcraft and sorcery are very poor, and in some of these, as said above, the witch is evidently a fairy. The reason of this is not that the belief in witchcraft is extinct among the Basques, but because it is so rife. Of stories of witchcraft (as matters of fact), and some of them very sad ones, we have heard plenty; but of legends, very few. In fact, witchcraft among the Basques has not yet arrived at the legendary stage. The difference is felt at once in taking down their recitations. In the legends they are reciting a text learnt by heart. It is "the story says so." "It is so," whether they understand it or not. But they tell their stories of witchcraft in their own words, just as they would narrate any other facts which they supposed had happened to themselves or to their neighbours. One woman told us, as a fact within her own knowledge, and persisted in it, a tale which appears both in M. Cerquand's pages and in Fr. Michel's "Pays Basque." It was only after cross-examination that we could discover that it had not really happened to her own daughter, but that she had only seen the cottage and the chapel which are the scene of the alleged occurrence. We have, too, been informed on undoubted authority that, only a year or two back, a country priest was sorely puzzled by one of his parishioners, in his full senses, seriously and with contrition confessing to him that he frequented the "Sabbat."
But what is strange and unexpected is, that with this prevalence of belief in witchcraft and sorcery, and which can be traced back to our earliest notices of the Basques, there is nothing to differentiate their belief on this subject from the current European belief of three centuries back. All the Basque words for witchcraft and sorcery are evidently borrowed. The only purely Basque term is Asti, which seems to be rather a diviner than a sorcerer. The term for the "Sabbat" is "Akhelarre"--"goat pasture"--and seems to be taken from the apparition of the devil there in form of a goat, which is not uncommon elsewhere. Pierre de Lancre, by the terrors of his hideous inquisition in 1609, produced a moral epidemic, and burnt numerous victims at St. Jean de Luz; but there is not a single Basque term in all his pages. Contrary to general opinion, both the Spanish Inquisition and the French ecclesiastical tribunals were more merciful and rational, and showed far less bigotry and barbarity than the two doctrinaire lawyers and judges of Bordeaux. The last person burnt for witchcraft at St. Jean de Luz was a Portuguese lady, who was accused of having secreted the Host for purposes of magic, in 1619. While her case was being investigated before the Bishop of Bayonne, in the crypt of the church, a mob of terrified fishermen, on the eve of starting for Newfoundland, burst in, tore her out of the church, and burnt her off-hand, in the midst of the "Place." "They dared not," they said, "sail while such a crime was unpunished." The Bishop's procés-verbal of the occurrence is still extant in the archives of the Mairie.
The magic wand in all our tales is now said to be made from the hazel. In De Lancre's time it was from the "Souhandourra"--"the cornus sanguinea"--or dog-wood. This was then the witches' tree.
"Akhelarre," literally "goat pasture." This was the name in the 16th century.
ONCE upon a time, like many others in the world, there was a young lad. He was one day in a lime-kiln, and the witches came at night. They used to dance there, and one pretended to be the mistress of a house, who was very ill; and one day, is she was going out of the church, she let the holy wafer fall on the ground, and a toad had picked it up; and this toad is still near the door, under a stone, with the bread in his mouth. And again, this same witch said that, until they took away this bread out of the toad's mouth, this lady will not be cured. This young lad had heard it all. When they had danced their rounds, the witches go away home, and our lad comes out of the lime-kiln, and goes to the house of this lady who is ill, and says to her,
"I know what must be done to cure you," and he told her all that he had heard from the witch.
The sick lady did what they told her, and the same day she was cured, and the young man was well paid.
And that very evening there came to him a hunch-backed girl, and said to him,
"I have heard that you know where the witches hold their Sabbat."
He says, "Yes."
"To-morrow I think I should like to hear what the witches say."
And he points out to her the hole of the lime-kiln. And at midnight all the witches came, some from one quarter, some from another-some laughing, and others cutting capers. The witches said one to another,
"We must look in the lime-kiln, to see what may be there."
They go to look, and they find the hunchback girl, and they send her off--
"Go, go--through hedges and hedges, through thorns and thorns, through furze-bushes and furze-bushes, scratches and pricks."
And in no way could our poor hunchback find her way home. All torn to pieces and exhausted, at last, in the morning, she arrived at her house.
The second part of this story is evidently a blundered, version, transferred from fairies to witches, of, Croker's "Legend of Knochgrafton" ("Fairy Legends of South of Ireland," p. 10); and M. Cerquand, Part II., p. 17, has a Basque version, "Les Deux Bossus," almost identical with this Irish legend. The tale, as given in Croker, is found in the Bearnais Gascon, in Spanish, Italian, and German. It is evident, we think, that the Basque land is not its home, but that it has travelled there. We have also another Basque variation of the first part, in which two lads hear the witches at the Sabbat say that a king's daughter can only be cured by eating an ox's heart. The opening of this story is so different, that we here give it:--
ONCE upon a time there were two brothers, the one an idiot, and the other a fool. They had an old mother, old, old, very old. One morning early the elder arranges to go with his sheep to the mountain, and he leaves the fool at home with his old, old, mother, and said to him:
"I will give my mother some chocolate now, and you will give her a hot bath (afterwards), quite, quite, hot."
He goes to the mountain with his sheep. The second son put the water on to boil, and said to his mother:
"My mother, the water is hot, what bath would you like?"
She says to him:
"A bath with wood-ashes."
And he carries it to the bed while it is boiling; and as she did not get up, he said to her:
"Would you like a little broth?" And she said "Yes."
"My mother, get up quickly!" and she did not get up.
He takes her, and puts her himself into this boiling water, so that he boiled his poor mother. And he said to her,
"My mother, get up again; the water is not cold."
She did not answer. The night comes, and the other brother returns from the mountains, and says to him
"How is our mother?"
"Have you given her the bath?"
"Yes; but she is still there, and she is asleep in her bath."
"Go and see if she is still asleep."
He goes, and says, "No, no; she is laughing--she keeps on laughing."
The other brother goes there, and perceives that their mother is quite dead. He did not know what to do. They both go into the garden, and there they make a great hole and bury her.
They then burn the house, go into the woods, see the witches, cure the king's daughter, whom one of them marries, and they live happily.
It is possible that this first part may be a narrative of fact. We knew at Asté, near Bagnères de Bigorre, a brother, an idiot "crétin," who deliberately began to chop up his sister (also an idiot and "crétin"), who offered no resistance. He had chopped off several of her fingers, when they were accidentally interrupted. In spite of the blood and pain, she was only laughing at it.
We have another tale of this kind, which may be also founded on fact, so sad is often the condition of the crétins in the mountains. It is of a mother and her imbecile son; he nearly kills himself by chopping off the branch of the tree on which he was sitting. Then he believes himself dead, and commits various other follies. His mother thinks a wife might be able to take care of him, and tells him to cast sheeps' eyes at the young girls coming out of church after mass. He takes this literally, cuts out the eyes of all their flock, and so kills their sheep, the only thing they had, and throws these at the girls, who are disgusted, and quarrel with him. He goes home, and mother and son end their lives together in wretchedness.
LIKE many others in the world, there was a man and woman, labourers, who lived by their toil. They were at case. They had a mule, and the man lived by his mule carrying wine. Sometimes he was a week away from home. He always went to the same inn, where there was a woman and her daughter. One day the labourer sets off with his loaded mule, and his wife was very near her confinement. She was expecting it hourly; but, as he had orders upon orders, he was obliged to set off. He goes then, and comes to this inn. It was a market-day, and they had not kept a bedroom for him as usual, because there were so many people there, and he is put into a dark room without windows near the kitchen. He had not yet gone to sleep, when he hears the woman say to her daughter,
"You are not aware that the wife of the man who is there is confined? Go and see if he is asleep."
When the man heard that, he began to snore; and when the young girl heard through a slit in the door that he was snoring, she said to her mother,
"Yes, yes, he is asleep."
The mother said to her then (you may guess whether he was listening)--
"I must go and charm this newly-born infant."
She takes up a stone under the hearth, and takes from under it a saucepan, in which there was an ointment. She takes a brush, and well rubs herself over her whole body, saying,
"Under all the clouds and over all the hedges, half an hour on the road, another half-hour there, and another to return."
As soon as she had said that, off she went. When the man saw that she was gone, he comes out of his room. He had seen what she did. He anoints himself like her, and says,
"Over the clouds, and under the hedges"--(he made a blunder there)--"a quarter of an hour to go there, half an hour to stop, and a quarter of an hour for the return."
He arrives at his house, but torn to pieces by the thorns, and his clothes in strips, but that was all the same to him; he places himself behind the door of his wife's bedroom with a big stick. There comes a great white cat, "Miau, miau!" When the man heard that, he goes out of the place where he was hiding, and with his stick he almost killed this cat, and set out directly afterwards for the inn, but not easily, under all the hedges. In, spite of that, he arrives at the woman's house. He goes to bed quickly. The next day, when he gets up, he sees only the daughter. He asks her where her mother is. "She is ill, and you must pay me."
"No! I prefer to see your mother."
He goes to the mother, and finds her very ill. From this day he goes no more to that inn. When he gets home, he tells his wife what had happened, and how he had saved the child. But all was not ended there. They had misfortune upon misfortune. All their cows died, and all their other animals too. They were sinking into the deepest misery. They did not know what would become of them. This man was brooding sadly in thought, when he met an old woman, who asked him what was the matter with him., He told her all his troubles, how many misfortunes they had had all his cows lost. He had bought others, and they too had died directly. He is charmed by witches.
"If you are like that you have only to put a consecrated taper under the peck measure, in the stable, and you will catch her."
He does as the old woman told him, and hides himself in the manger. At midnight she comes under the form of a cat, and gets astride the ox, saying:
"The others before were fine, but this is very much finer."
When our man heard that he comes out from where he was hiding, and with his stick he leaves her quite dead; although when he had done that our man was without any resources; (he had) neither bread, nor maize, nor cows, nor pigs, and his wife and children were starving.
He goes off to see if he can do anything. There meets him a gentleman, who says to him:
"What is the matter, man, that you are so sad?"
"It is this misery that I am in that torments me so."
"If you have only that, we will arrange all that if you like. I will give you as much money as you wish, if at the end of the year you can guess, and if you tell me with what the devil makes his chalice; and if you do not guess it then your soul shall be for us."
When our man has got his money, he goes off home without thinking at all of the future. He lived happily for some time with his wife and child; but as the time approached he grew sad, and said nothing to his wife. One day he had gone a long way, wishing and trying to find out his secret, and the night overtakes him. He stops at a cross-roads, and hides himself. (You know that the witches come to the cross-roads to meet together.) They come then, "hushta" from one side, "fushta" from the other, dancing. When they had well amused themselves like that, they begin to tell each other the news. One says:
"You do not know, then, such a man has sold his head to the devil; certainly he will not guess with what the devil makes his chalice. I do not know myself; tell it me."
"With the parings of the finger-nails which Christians cut on the Sunday."
Our man with difficulty, with great difficulty, kept from showing himself, through his joy and delight. As soon as the day appeared all the witches went off to their homes, and our man too went off to his. He was no more sad. He waited till the day arrived, and went to the cross-roads. This gentleman was already there, come with a lot of devils, thinking that he would be for hell. He asks him:
"You know what the devil makes his chalice of?"
"I do not know, but I will try. With the parings of the finger-nails which Christians cut on Sundays?"
As soon as he heard that, the devil goes off with all the others in fire and flame to the bottom of hell. Our man went off home, and lived a long time with his wife and daughter. If they had lived well, they would have died well too.
LIKE many others in the world, there was a gentleman and lady. They were very well off, but they could not keep any of their children. They had had ever so many, and all died. The lady was again in a hopeful condition. At the beginning of the night she was confined of a fine boy.
Two young men heard this news, and they said to each. other:
"We ought to have a feast; we must steal a sheep out of this house. They will not pay attention to us with all their bustle and their joy."
One of the lads then goes after eleven o'clock towards the house. He meets an old woman, who said to him:
"Where are you off to, lad? There is nothing like the truth."
"I was going, then, to such a house; the lady has been confined, and I wish to take advantage of it to steal a sheep. They will not pay any attention to-day. And you, where are you going.
"I too am going to the house. I am a witch, and it is I who have killed all their children."
"And how do you do that?"
"Easily. When the infant sneezes nobody says, 'Domine stekan,' and then I become mistress of the child."
The witch enters, doubtless as she liked, much more easily than our lad; but nevertheless he got in himself too. He was busy choosing his sheep, when he bears the infant sneeze. He says very, very loudly:
"Domine stekan; even if I should not get my sheep."
They go to see who is there, and what he was saying. The lad relates what the old woman had told him. As you may imagine they thanked him well, and told him to choose the finest sheep. The father and mother were delighted that they would save this child; but, poor wretches, they had not seen everything. A devil had come, who took their child and carried it to the roadside, and left it there. A coachman passing by sees this child, and takes it with him. He was married, but had no children. They had a great desire to have one. They were very well off also. His wife was delighted to see this fine child; they gave it a good nurse, and the child grew fast and became wonderfully handsome. The devil had placed himself in the child's cradle. This mother gave him suck, and, contrary to the other, he did not grow at all. The parents were vexed at having such a child; they did not know what to think of it. Their true child was more than extraordinarily clever. The coachman and his wife were dazed with joy, and they loved him as (if he were) their own child. When he was twelve years old, he said to his father and mother that he wished to become a monk. The coachman and his wife were very sorry, and they asked him to become only a priest. But after having seen his great desire they allow him to do as he wished.
He went away then, and at the age of eighteen years he was able to say mass. When he was there, one day two men were passing in front of the garden of his real father, and they began to quarrel. They got so enraged that one killed the other, and threw him into his father's garden. This father was tried and condemned to death for having killed this man.
While this young monk was saying mass, there comes to him a white pigeon and tells him what was taking place in his father's house, and that the pigeon will assume the form of the monk, "and you shall go off in my shape." The monk willingly does what he tells him, and arrives when they are leading his father to execution. He was being followed by the judges and by a crowd of people. He asks what he has done. They tell him that he has killed a man. He asks if they would do him a favour before they put him to death-if they would accompany him to the grave of the man whom he has killed. They tell him, "Yes."
They all go off then. The monk has the grave opened, restores him to life, and asks him, pointing to his father:
"Is this the man who has killed you?"
The dead man says to him, "No!"
After having said that he dies again. The monk did not wish to know who had killed him; he knew all he wanted with that. The father wished to take the monk home with him to dinner, but he would not go that day. He said to him:
"I will come on such a day."
As you may fancy they made a splendid dinner; nothing was wanting there. They invited all their friends and acquaintances to rejoice with them. When the monk arrives, the lady, before sitting down to table, wished to show him her child, how she had suckled him with her own milk eighteen years, and that he did not grow at all, but was always just as he was when he was born. The monk betook himself to prayer, and he saw that which they believed to be a child fly away under the shape of a devil in fire and flame, and he carried off with him part of the house. He told his mother not to vex herself because she had had the devil there, and that she would be happier without such a child.
All the world was astonished at the power of this monk; but the mother was still grieved. The monk, to console her, told her his history; how he was her true child; how the devil had taken him and carried him to the roadside how he had been found and brought up by a coachman; and that it was he himself who had been made priest, and her son. All were astounded at his words. After they had well dined, the monk went back into his convent, and the father and mother lived honourably, as they did before; and as they lived well, they died well too.
UNDER this head, we include all those legends which do not readily fall under our other denominations. Fée and fairy are not synonymous. All such tales as those of the "Arabian Nights" might come within the designation of Contes des Fées, but they could hardly be included under Fairy Tales, though the former may be said to embrace the latter. We have divided our legends of this kind into two sections:--(A) Those which have a greater or less similarity to Keltic legends, as recorded in Campbell's "Tales of the West Highlands," and elsewhere; (B) Those which we believe to be derived directly from the French.
We have chosen the designation Keltic, because the burning question concerning the Basques at present is their relation to the Keltic race. Anything that can throw light upon this will have a certain interest for a small portion of the scientific world.
That these legends do in some degree resemble the Keltic ones will, we think, be denied by no one. Whether they have a closer affinity with them than with the general run of Indo-European mythology may be an open question. Or, again, whether the Basques have borrowed from the Kelts, or the Kelts from the Basques, we leave undetermined.
One legend here given, that of "Juan Dekos," has clearly been borrowed from the Gaelic, and that since the Keltic occupation of the Hebrides. The very term Keltiberi, as used by the classical writers, shows some contact of the Kelts with the Basques in ancient times, whether we take Basque and Iberi to be co-extensive and convertible terms or not. What the rôle of the "White Mare" is in these tales we do not understand.
Can it be connected with the figure of a horse which appears so frequently on the so-called Keltiberian coins, or is it a mere variation of the Sanscrit "Harits, or horses of the sun?" Campbell, Vol. I., p. 63, says these "were always feminine, as the horses in Gaelic stories are."
It may be, perhaps, as well to mention that we did not see Campbell's "Tales of the West Highlands" till after these legends had been written down.
I think this word (Malbrouk) occurs in some "Chanson de Gestes," and in the Basque "Pastorales," as a Mahommedan devil. If not, it is probably our own "Duke of Marlborough" thus transformed. Cf. the song, "Malbrouk s'en va en guerre."
LIKE many others in the world, there was a man and a woman who were over-burdened with children, and were very poor. The man used to go to the forest every day to get wood for his family. His wife was on the point of being confined. One day he was in the forest, and a gentleman comes to him, and says:
"What are you doing, friend?"
"I am looking for wood to support my family."
"You are very poor, then?"
"If you will make me godfather to your next child according to your law, I will give you a great deal of money."
He says to him, "Yes, I will do so."
He gives him, then, a great deal of money, and he goes home. His wife is confined shortly afterwards, and they were waiting, not knowing what to do to tell it to the godfather, since they did not know where he lived. He himself appeared from somewhere. They go to the church, and he gives him the name Malbrouk. While they were returning to the house, the godfather disappears with the child like smoke. The father and mother were distressed about it, though they had plenty of money; but in time their grief faded away.
The old Malbrouk went to his house. His wife was a witch, and they had three daughters. The little Malbrouk grew fast, and at seven years' old he was as tall as a tall man. His godfather said to him --
"Malbrouk, would you like to go to your own home?"
He said to him, "Am I not here in my own home?"
He told him, "No," and that he might go there for three days.
"Go to such a mountain, and the first house that you will see there will be yours."
He goes, then, to the mountain, and sees the house, and goes to it. He finds his two brothers at the door cutting wood. He tells them that he is their brother; but they will not believe him. They take him indoors, and he tells his father and mother that he is Malbrouk. They are astonished to see such a big man for seven years' old. They pass these three days in great delight; and he said to his brothers:
"There is plenty of room at my godfather's for you too, and you must come with me."
They go off, then, all three together. When they arrive, the witch was not at all contented. She said to her husband:
"I don't know. These three men will do us some mischief, and we must kill them."
Malbrouk did not wish to; but as the witch gave him no rest, he told her that at the end of three days he would kill them. What. does the little Malbrouk do? At night their daughters used to put crowns on their heads, and the little Malbrouk and his brothers cotton night-caps. The little Malbrouk says to them:
"We must make an exchange; it is now our turn to have the crowns."
The girls were just as well pleased, and they gave them to them. One night (old) Malbrouk goes there, and after having felt their heads, when he perceived that they had the night-caps, he kills the three. After the little Malbrouk saw that he woke his brothers, took his godfather's seven-leagued boots, and goes off, far, far, far away. The witch said to (the old Malbrouk):
"You have taken good care whom you have killed--I am not at all satisfied that you have not done some donkey-trick."
The witch goes, and sees her three daughters dead. She was terribly angry, and there was no help for it.
Malbrouk and his brothers come to a place where a king lives, and he remarks that everything is sad. He asks what it is? They tell him that the king has lost his three daughters, and that nobody can find them. Malbrouk says to them.
"I will find them."
'They tell that quickly to the king, and bring them before him, and Malbrouk tells him, too, that he will find them. All three set out. When they have gone a little way they find an old woman, who says to them:
"Where are you going to in that fashion?"
"To look for the king's three daughters."
This old woman says to them:
"Go to the king, and ask him for three hundred fathoms of new rope, a bucket, and a bell."
They go, and the king gives to them immediately what they ask for. They go, then, to the woman, and she says to them, pointing to a well, that they are in that well. The eldest put himself into the bucket, and says to them:
When I am afraid, I will ring the bell."
When he has gone only a little way he is frightened, and rings. They pull him up. The second goes; and when he has gone a little farther down he is frightened, and rings. Malbrouk then gets in, and he says to them:
"When I shall give a pull at the bucket from below, then you will pull it up."
He goes down, then, and at last he sees that there is a beautiful house underground, and he sees there a beautiful young lady, who is sitting with a serpent asleep in her lap. When she sees Malbrouk, she says to him:
"Be off, I pray you, from here; he has only three-quarters of an hour to sleep, and if he wakes, it is all over with you and me."
He says to her, "No matter; lay the head of the serpent on the ground, gently, gently, without waking him."
She lays it there, and he carries off this young lady in the bucket, after having pulled the cord. He goes into another chamber, and he sees another young lady, still more beautiful, with the head of a lion asleep on her lap. She also says to him:
"Be off quickly from here. He has only half-an-hour to sleep, and if he wakes, it is all up with you and me."
Malbrouk says to her, "Place gently, gently, without waking him, the head of the lion on the ground."
She does so. Malbrouk takes her, gets into the bucket with her, and his brothers pull them both up. They write at once to the king to come and fetch them, that they have found two of his daughters. As you may suppose, the king sends a carriage directly to fetch them, and he makes great rejoicings. The king tells him to choose whichever of the two he likes for his wife. Malbrouk says to him:
"When I shall have found your third daughter she shall be my wife, and my two brothers may take these two young ladies for their wives."
They do as Malbrouk said, and he sets out to see his sweetheart. He goes on, and on, and on. All the fowls of the air know Malbrouk. As he was going along he finds a wolf, a dog, a hawk, and an ant, and in their language they cry out:
"Oyhu! Malbrouk, Malbrouk!" and saying to him, "Where are you going, Malbrouk? these three days we have been here before this sheep, and cannot agree how to divide it; but you, you shall divide it."
Malbrouk goes to them, then, trembling lest they should make a division of him, too. He cuts off the head, and gives it to the ant.
"You will have enough to eat, and for your whole household."
He gives the entrails to the hawk, and for the dog and the wolf he cuts the carcase in half. He left them all well satisfied; and Malbrouk goes on his way in silence, in silence. When he had gone a little way, the ant says:
"We have not given Malbrouk any reward."
The wolf calls to him to come back. Malbrouk comes trembling, thinking that it was his turn, and that they are going to eat him, without doubt. The ant says to him:
"We have not given you anything, after that you have made such a good division for us; but whenever you wish to become an ant, you have only to say, 'Jesus, ant!' and you will become an ant."
The hawk says to him: "When you wish to make yourself a hawk, you will say, 'Jesus, hawk!' and you will be a hawk."
The wolf says to him: "When you shall wish to become a wolf, you shall say, 'Jesus, wolf!' and you shall be a wolf."
And the dog, he said to him the same thing, too. He goes off, then, well pleased, further into the forest. A woodpecker says to him:
"Malbrouk, where are you going?"
"To fetch such a daughter of a king."
"You will not find her easily. Since they have delivered her sisters, he has carried her to the farther side of the Red Sea, in an island, and keeps her there in prison, in a beautiful house, with the doors and windows so closely shut that only the ants can get into that house."
Malbrouk goes off happy at hearing this news, and that he would find the princess. He goes on, and on, and on, and he arrives opposite to this island, and remembering what the hawk had said to him, he said, "Jesus, hawk!" and immediately he becomes a hawk. He flies away, and goes on until he comes to the island of which the woodpecker had told him; he sees that he can only get in there like an ant, and be says, "Jesus, ant!" and he gets through the little lattice-work. He is dazed at the sight of the beauty of this young lady. He says, "Jesus, man!" and he becomes a man again. When the young lady sees him, she says to him:
"Be off quickly from here. It is all over with your life. He is about to come, this horrible body without a soul, before a quarter of an hour, and you will be done away with."
"I will become an ant again, and I will place myself in your bosom; but do not scratch yourself too hard, else you will crush me."
As soon as he has said that the monster comes. He gives her partridges and pigeons for her dinner) but he himself eats serpents and horrible vermin. He tells her that he has a slight headache, and to take the hammer and rap him on the head. She could not lift it, it was so big; but she knocks him as well as she is able. The monster goes off. The ant comes out from where he was, and prepares to eat the partridges and pigeons with the young lady. Malbrouk said to her:
"You must ask him, as if you were in great trouble about it, what would have to be done to kill him? and you will tell him how unhappy you would be if he should be killed--that you would die of hunger in prison in this island."
The young lady says, "Yes," she will do so.
The monster comes again, and says to her:
"Ay! ay! ay! my head. Take the hammer, and hit me hard."
The young lady does it until she is tired, and then she says:
"How unfortunate I shall be if you die."
He answers, "I shall not die. He who will know that will know a great secret."
"Most certainly I would not wish you to die. I should die of hunger in this island without you, and I should get no benefit by it. You ought to tell me what would kill you."
He says to her, "No! Before this, too, a woman has deceived a man, and I will not tell you."
"You can tell it to me--yes, to me. To whom shall I tell it? I see nobody. Nobody is able to come here."
At last, at last, he tells her then:
"You must kill a terrible wolf which is in the forest, and inside him is a fox, in the fox is a pigeon; this pigeon has an egg in his head, and whoever should strike me on the forehead with this egg would kill me. But who will know all that? Nobody."
The princess said to him, "Nobody, happily. I, too, I should die."
The monster goes out as before, and the ant too, as you may think, happy in knowing the secret. On the very next day he sets out for the forest. He sees a frightful wolf. He says, directly, "Jesus, wolf!" and he immediately becomes a wolf. He then goes to this wolf, and they begin to fight, and he gets him down and chokes him. He leaves him there, and goes off to the young lady in the island, and says to her:
"We have got the wolf; I have killed him, and left him in the forest."
The monster comes directly afterwards, saying
"Ay! ay! ay! my head! Strike my head quickly."
She hits his head till she is tired. He says to the princess:
"They have killed the wolf; I do not know if anything is going to happen to me. I am much afraid of it."
"You have nothing to be afraid of. To whom could I have told anything? Nobody can get in here."
When he has gone, the ant goes to the forest. He opens the wolf, and out of him comes a fox, who escapes at full speed. Malbrouk says, "Jesus, dog!" and he becomes a dog. He, too, sets off running, and catches the fox. They begin to fight, and he kills him, too. He opens him, and there comes out of him a pigeon. Malbrouk says, at once, "Jesus, hawk!" and he becomes a hawk. He flies off to catch the pigeon, seizes him in his terrible talons, and takes out of his head this precious egg, and goes proudly with it into the chamber of the young lady. He tells how he has very happily accomplished his business, and says to her:
"At present, it is your turn; act alone."
And again he makes himself an ant. Our monster comes, crying, that it is all up with him, that they have taken the egg out of the pigeon, and that he does not know what must become of him. He tells her to strike him on the head with the hammer.
The young lady says to him:
"What have you to fear? Who shall have got this egg? And how should he strike your forehead?"
He shows her how, saying, "Like that."
As the young lady had the egg in her hand, she strikes the monster as he had told her, and he falls stark dead. In an instant the ant comes out joyously (from his hiding-place), and he says to her:
"We must set out instantly for your father's house."
They open a window, and the young man makes himself a hawk, and he says to the young lady:
"Cling firmly to my neck."
And he flies off, and they arrive at the other side of the island. He writes immediately to the king his lord, to send and fetch them as quickly as possible. The king sent; and judge what joy and what feasts there were in that court. The king wished them to marry directly, but Malbrouk would not do so. (He said) that he ought to bring his dowry. The king said to him:
"You have gained enough already."
He will not hear of that, but goes off far, far, far away, to the house of his godfather.
They had there a cow with golden horns, and these horns bore fruits of diamonds. A boy used to guard her in the field. Malbrouk said to him:
"What! do you not hear that the master is calling you? Go, quickly, then, and learn what he wants of you."
The boy, (believing it), goes off. The master calls to him from the window:
"Where are you going to, leaving the cow? Go quickly; I see that Malbrouk is about there."
The boy sets off running back, but he cannot find the cow. Malbrouk had got off proudly with his cow, and he gives it to his future wife, who was very much pleased with it.
The king wished him, then, to marry, (saying) that he was quite rich enough. Malbrouk would not yet. He must make a present to the king. He goes again to his god. father's house. He wished to steal from him a moon, which lighted for seven leagues round. Old Malbrouk used to drink a barrel of water every night. Young Malbrouk goes and empties this barrel. When night came, Malbrouk goes to drink at his barrel, and finds it empty. He goes to find his wife, and says to her:
"I have not got a drop of water; go directly, and fetch me some. I cannot bear this thirst."
His wife said to him, "It is night, light your moon." He lights it, and puts it by the chimney, on the roof. When everyone has gone to the fountain, young Malbrouk goes and takes this moon, and carries it to the king. And he, astonished, said to him:
"Now you have done grandly; now be married."
But he would not; (he said) that he ought to bring something more. His godfather had a violin, which it was enough only to touch for it to play, no matter what beautiful music, and it would be heard seven leagues off. He goes into his godfather's house to take the violin, and as soon as he has touched it, it begins to play music. Old Malbrouk rushes off, and catches his godson in the act. He seizes him, and puts him into an iron cage. He and his wife are right well pleased. They say to him:
"This evening we are going to roast you, and eat you.
Old Malbrouk goes to the forest to fetch wood, and his wife was busy cutting some small-she was taking a great deal of trouble about it. Malbrouk says to her:
"Let me get out of here; I will cut that wood for you. You can kill me all the same this evening."
She lets him out. After having cut up some, he takes one of the largest pieces and strikes the wife of Malbrouk, and kills her. He makes a great fire, and puts her in the caldron to boil. He takes the violin, and leaves the house. When old Malbrouk hears the violin, he says to himself:
"My wife, not being able to hold out any longer, has, doubtless, killed Malbrouk, and to show me her joy she has taken the violin."
And he does not trouble himself any more about it. When he approaches the house he stands, well pleased, looking at the caldron on the fire, but, on coming nearer, he sees some long hairs. He pulls out a little more, and perceives that it is his wife, who is there already, half-boiled. Think what a rage he was in. The young Malbrouk went to the king's house, and married his well-beloved princess. They made great rejoicings. As the king was somewhat aged, he gives his crown to Malbrouk, saying that he had well gained it. They all lived happily, and he made his two brothers kings also.
About 35 years old; learnt it from her mother.
LIKE many others in the world, there was a fisherman who lived with his wife. One day he was fishing and caught a fine fish (at that time all the animals and everything used to speak), and the fish said to him:
"Spare my life! Spare my life! I will give you all that you shall desire."
And this poor man spared its life, and went home without having caught anything else. When he came home his wife asks him:
Where are your fish?"
He tells her how that he had caught a fish, and that it had begged him to spare its life, and that he had left it in the water. His wife says to him:
"Have you lost your head then? After having caught a fish to put it back again into the water!"
And she called him all sorts of names, even "big donkey."
The next day he goes fishing again, and (what a chance!) the same fish came again. It asks him again to spare its life. But the man answers:
"No! My wife loaded me with abuse last evening."
The fish said to him that he would give him as much money as he wished if he would but spare him. And our fisherman lets him go again. He remains there again all day, but nothing comes to his hook. Again he goes off home without anything at all. His wife is furious at seeing that he has nothing. He gives her some money, but she was not satisfied, and told her husband that he ought to have brought the fish.
He goes fishing again for the third time, and again the same fish returns, and says to him, "Let me go into the water."
But our man will not let him go again; his wife had scolded him so much last night. He must carry him home.
"Well, then, since you will carry me home, I will tell you how you must divide me. You must give my tail to the dog, my head to the mare, and my trunk to your wife. At the end of a certain time your wife will bear three sons, and they will all be exactly like each other, exactly alike. The mare will have three colts, but all three alike, and the bitch three puppies, all exactly alike too. And if any misfortune should happen to any of the three children, the well which is behind the house will begin to boil."
The woman did as the fish had said, and she gave birth to three wonderfully fine boys, who were all exactly, exactly alike, and the mare had three colts exactly alike, and the bitch three puppies exactly alike too.
When these children grew big, one of them said to his parents that he wished to go from country to country to see the world. His parents did not wish it. But he had such a desire that at last they gave him leave. He takes a horse and a dog, extraordinarily large and handsome, a sword also, and off he starts. He goes on, and on, very, very far. He comes to a city and goes to an inn. They were lamenting loudly there, and everybody was sad. He asks, "What is it?" They tell him how that a serpent with seven heads lived in the mountain, and that every day they drew lots to know who should go to him, because he must eat one person every day; and that to-day the lot has fallen on the king's daughter, and that everyone was in mourning, and that the next day this princess must go very early to the mountain.
Our young man takes his horse, his dog, and his sword, and starts off before the princess. He keeps himself hidden until the princess was alone at the top. Then our lad comes out, and the princess says to him:
"Where do you come from here? Go down quickly, else you will be eaten as well as I. It is quite enough for one (to die)."
And she entreats him to go down, but our lad will not. He wishes to try if he can do anything. At the same moment they hear a shrill hissing, and with that the serpent comes. The lad says to the dog:
"Do your duty."
And the dog leaps upon the serpent and holds him. He takes his sword and cuts off his seven heads as best he can. When he has done that he takes the seven tongues out of the seven heads and puts them in his pocket. This princess had on seven robes, each more beautiful than the others, and he cuts seven pieces out of them severally. The princess does not know what to do to thank him. She wishes to take the lad home with her, but he will not go. And he returns to the inn.
The king proclaims that the man who has killed the serpent has gained the half of his kingdom, and his daughter; that he should make himself known. Our lad does not show himself at all, but a charcoal-burner passing by on the mountain found the seven heads. He presents himself before the king as if he had killed the serpent. But the princess does not recognise him, and says that it is not he who has saved her. But as no one else came the marriage was about to be celebrated, when the princess pointed out to her father from a distance her rescuer. The king would not believe her. But they send and fetch him, and tell the charcoal-burner to show the seven heads of the serpent, and he shows them with great boldness. Our young man tells him to open their mouths. He does so, and the mouths had no tongues. Then he who had killed the serpent shows the seven tongues, and the seven pieces of the princess' robes, and they were all convinced that he had killed the serpent; and they burned the charcoal-burner alive in the middle of the market-place.
Our young man marries the princess, and they had many and great rejoicings because he had delivered all the world from the terrible serpent. In the evening, when they retired to their chamber, the wife knelt down to say her prayers, and the husband went and looked out of the window, and he saw by the moonlight a magnificent castle, which he had never seen before.
He asks his wife:
"What is that?"
His wife says to him:
"Nobody goes to that castle, for they who go there never. return."
The husband said to her that he must go there. His wife did not wish it, but he had such a desire to do so that he takes his horse, his dog, and his sword, and goes off. He looks round and round (the castle), but he cannot find the door. At last he finds a little door half hidden, very small. He knocks. An old woman comes to him, and asks him what he wants.
He says, "I have seen this castle so beautiful outside, that I am anxious to see the inside."
She shows him in. He sees a table splendidly laid out. There was nothing that there was not on the table. This woman invites him to take something. He says that he does not want anything, but she insists so much that he ends by taking something. As soon as he has eaten the first mouthful he becomes a terrible monster, and by no means could he get out of that house.
The water begins to boil at home, as the fish had said. All those in the house are grieved because some misfortune has happened to the son. One of the brothers at home said that he would immediately set out to the help of his brother. Those at home are very sorry, but they let him go. He takes a horse and a dog. The father and mother give him all the money that they can give him, and he starts off. He goes on, and on, and on, and, as was fated, he comes to the same inn as his brother. There they recognise him. They inform the king that the gentleman is at the house, because he had had a search made for him through all the neighbourhood. They come and fetch him out of his corner, and he lets them do as they wish. A great supper was made, and he goes off with the princess. As before, the princess knelt down to pray. The young man goes to look out of the window, and sees this palace. He asks her what this beautiful castle is. She says to him:
"You do not know what takes place there! They who go there never return."
He says that he will start off directly. His wife asks him if he will return to that castle as before. "Do not go, I pray you."
But nothing could have stopped him, and off he goes with his horse and his dog. Like the other brother, he goes wandering round and round the house without finding the door. At last he sees a very little door half hidden. He knocks at it, and the old woman comes and says to him:
"What do you want?"
"I have seen the outside of this castle, and I wish to see the inside."
She tells him to come in. He leaves his horse and his dog outside, and he sees a table splendidly set out; one could not mention anything that was wanting, there was something of everything. She tells him to eat something. He did not wish to, but at last he takes something, (so little, that it was) almost nothing. At the first mouthful he becomes a terrible monster, and cannot in any way get out.
The water at home begins to boil, and they know that some misfortune has happened to him.
The third brother said that he must set out as quickly as possible. The parents did not wish it, but he said to them
"Perhaps I shall save them; let me go."
They give him as much money as they can. He takes a horse and a dog, and off he starts. He goes on, and on, and on. He also goes to the same inn as his other brothers. He is recognised immediately, and the king is informed that this young gentleman is there. He sends to fetch him immediately, and makes great feastings and rejoicings, thinking that it is always the same as their first young gentleman. In the evening he is conducted to the princess. The princess kneels down to say her evening prayers, and her husband, wishing to see a little more of the festival, placed himself at the window. He also sees the beautiful castle. He asks his wife:
"What is this beautiful house?"
She says to him, "What! You! Do not you know what it is? No one returns from there. You know yourself what happens there, since you have been there yourself."
He said to her, "I must go and see it again."
The princess would not let him go; but he broke away from her. He takes his horse and his dog, and starts off. He looks, and looks all round, and cannot find the door. An old woman appears to him, and says to him--
"What do you think will become of you here? They who go in there do not come out."
"But that is why I wish to go in, to know what passes within."
Then the old woman gives him a pigeon, cooked and prepared for eating, and said to him,
"Inside there is an old woman. She will try and force you to eat; but, if you are wise, you will not eat. You will show her the pigeon that you have in your pocket which remains after your repast, and you must make her eat some of the pigeon, and you will have full power over her."
When he has found the door, he knocks. This old woman comes, and asks him what he wants. He says that he only wishes to see this house. She lets him in. He takes his dog, also, with him. He sees this splendid table. She wishes absolutely to make him eat; but he says that it is altogether impossible--that he has in his pocket a pigeon which he has not been able to eat, and that she must eat some of that. The old woman says she will not. He compels her, and tells her she must; and at last she eats it. He then asks her what she has done with his brothers. She says that she knows nothing about them; that she does not know what he means. He forces her to tell him, and says to her,
"I will make my dog strangle you if you do not tell me."
He frightens her so, that she shows him some terrible monsters. He tells her to restore them as they were before, otherwise some misfortune shall happen to her, and to mind what she is about. At last she set to work to change them as they were before, and their horses and dogs as well.
They all go to the king's palace, where everyone is immensely astonished to see three gentlemen arrive exactly alike in all respects. They ask the princess which is her husband. But the poor young lady is greatly embarrassed. She could not distinguish them, because they were exactly alike. At last he who had killed the serpent said that he was her husband. They make great rejoicings, and give a great deal of money to the two brothers, and to their parents, and they went off. They burnt the old woman in the midst of the market-place, and this handsome castle was given to the newly-married pair, and they lived happily at court; and, as they lived well, so they died happily.
All the latter part of this tale is much more detailed than in the Gaelic, and it is singular to read this note from Campbell's collector:--"The Gaelic is given as nearly as possible in the words used by Mackenzie; but he thinks his story rather shortened." Of the identity of the two stories there can be no doubt, although each supplies what is wanting to the other.
We were also told, in Basque, "The Powerful Lantern," which was the story of Aladdin's lamp, with only one incident omitted. The present is much more like the Gaelic, but there (Campbell, Vol. II., 297-9) it is a lady who gives the snuff-box, which says, "Eege gu djeege," on being opened. Campbell's note is:--"The explanation of these sounds was, that it was 'as if they were asking.' The sounds mean nothing, that I know of, in any language." "Que quieres?" is pure Spanish--"What dost thou want?"
LIKE many others in the world, there was a lad who wished to travel, and off he went. He finds a snuff-box, and opens it. And the snuff-box said to him--
"Que quieres?" ("What do you wish for?")
He is frightened, and puts it at once into his pocket. Luckily he did not throw it away. He goes on, and on, and on, and at last he said to himself,
"(I wonder) if it would say to me again, 'Que quieres?' I should well know what to answer."
He takes it out again, and opens it, and it says to him again,
The lad says to it, "My hat full of gold."
And it is filled!
He is astounded, and he said to himself that he would never want anything any more. He goes on, and on, and on; and, after he had passed some forests, he arrives at a fine castle. The king lived there. He goes round, and round, and round it, looking at it with an impudent air. The king says to him--
"What are you looking for?"
"To see your castle."
"You would wish, too, to have one like it?"
The lad does not answer. When the evening came, our lad takes out his snuff-box, and it said to him,
"Build here, on this very spot, a castle, with laths of gold and silver, and diamond tiles, and with all its furniture of gold and silver."
As soon as he has said it, he sees in front of the king's castle a castle like what he had asked for. When the king gets up in the morning, he was astonished at this dazzling castle. His eyes were blinded by the (reflection of the) rays of the sun which fell upon it. The king went and said to him--
You must be a man of great power, and you must come to our house, where we will live together. I have a daughter, too, and you shall marry her."
They do as the king had said, and they lived all together in the dazzling house. He was married to the king's daughter, and lived happily.
Now, the king's wife was very envious of the lad and of his wife. She knew, by her daughter, how that they had a snuff-box, and that it did all that they wished. She intrigued with one of the servants to try and take it from them; but they take great care (to conceal) where they put the snuff-box away every evening. Nevertheless, at last she sees where it is put, and in the middle of the night, while they slept, she takes it from them, and carries it to her old mistress. What a joy for her!
She opens it, and the snuff-box says to her, "Que quieres?"
"You must take myself and my husband, and my servants, and this beautiful house, to the other side of the Red Sea, and leave my daughter and her husband here."
When the young couple awoke in the morning, they found themselves in the old castle, and their snuff-box was gone. They look for it everywhere, but it is useless.
The young man will not wait an instant longer at home. He must start off at once to find his castle and his snuff-box. He takes a horse, and as much gold as the horse can carry, and he goes on, and on, and on, and on. He searches through all the towns in the neighbourhood until he had finished all his money. He searched, but he did not find it anywhere. But he went looking out still, feeding his horse as best he could, and begging for himself. Some one told him that he ought to go to the moon--that he makes a very long journey, and that he might guide him. He goes far, far, far away, on, and on, and on, and at last he arrives. He finds an old woman, who says to him--
"What do you come to do here? My son devours all creatures of all sorts; and, if you will trust me, You will be off before his arrival."
He tells her his misfortunes--how that he had a snuff-box of great power, which has been stolen from him, and that he is now without anything, far from his wife, and stripped of everything, "and perhaps your son, in his journeys, has seen my palace, with its golden laths and tiles of diamonds, and the other ornaments of gold and silver."
At that moment the moon appeared, and said to his mother that he smelt some one. His mother told him how that there was a wretched man who had lost everything; that he was come to him (for help), and that he would guide him. The moon told him to show himself. He comes, and asks him if he has not seen a house with beams of gold and with tiles of diamonds, and the rest of gold and silver; and he tells him how it was taken away from him.
He answers, "No;" that he has not seen it, but that the sun makes longer journeys than he, and of greater extent, and that he would do better to go to him.
He goes off again, on, and on, and on, with his horse, whom he nourished as he could, and begging for himself. At length he arrives at the sun's house. He finds an old woman, who said to him,
"Where do you come from? Be off from here! Do you not know that my son eats all Christians?"
He said to her, "No! I will not go away. I am so wretched that I do not care if he does eat me."
And he tells her how he has lost everything; that he had a house, which had not its equal, with beams of gold and tiles of diamonds, and all the ornaments of gold and precious stones; and that he had been going about looking for it so long a time, and that there was no man so wretched as he. This woman hides him. The sun comes out and says to his mother--
"I smell the smell of a Christian, and I must eat him."
The mother tells him that it was an unfortunate man who had lost his all, that he had come to speak to him, and begs him to take pity on him. He tells her to bring him out. Then the young man comes and asks the sun if he has seen a palace which has its equal nowhere, with its laths of gold and its tiles of diamonds, and the rest of gold and silver. The sun says to him:
"No, but the south wind searches everything that I cannot see. He enters into every corner, he does, and if any one ought to know he will know."
Our poor man then sets off again, feeding his horse how he could and begging for himself, and he comes at length to the house of the south wind. He finds an old woman carrying water, and who was filling a great many barrels. She said to him:
"What are you thinking of to come here? My son eats up everything when he arrives hungry and furious. You must beware of him."
He says to her, "It is all the same to me. Let him eat me; I am so wretched that I fear nothing."
And he tells her how he had a beautiful house which had not its equal in all the world, and with it all sorts of riches, and that, "Having abandoned my wife, I am seeking it, and I am come to consult your son, being sent by the sun."
She hides him under the staircase. The south wind arrives as if he meant to tear the house up, and very thirsty. Before beginning to drink he smells the smell of the race of Christians, and said to his mother:
"Out with what you have hidden," and that he must begin by eating him.
His mother said to him, "Eat and drink what is before you."
And she tells him the misfortunes of this man, and how that the sun has spared his life that he might come and consult him.
Then he makes the man come out, and the man tells him how that he is going about trying to find a house) and that if anybody ought to know it is he, and that they had robbed him of his house, which had laths of gold, tiles of diamonds, and all the rest of gold and silver, and if he has not seen it anywhere?
He tells him, "Yes, yes, and all to-day I have been passing over it, and have not been able to take away one of its tiles."
"Oh! if you will tell me where it is!"
He says that it is on the other side of the Red Sea, very, very far away.
When our man heard that, the length of the road did not frighten him--he had already travelled over so much. He sets out then, and at last arrives at that city. He asks if anyone is in want of a gardener. They tell him that the gardener of the castle has gone away, and that perhaps they will take him. He goes off, and recognises his house--judge with what joy and delight! He asks if they are in want of a gardener. They tell him "Yes," and our lad is very pleased. He passes some time tolerably happily--middling. He talks with a servant about the riches of the masters and of the power which they had. He flattered and cajoled this young girl very much to get from her the history of the snuff-box, and he told her once that he very much wished to see it. One evening she brought it to him to look at, and our lad, very much pleased, pays great attention to where it was hidden in the room of the mistress. At night, when everybody is asleep, he goes and takes the snuff-box. You will understand with what joy he opens it.
It says to him, "Que quieres?"
And the lad says to it, "Que quieres, Que quieres, carry me with my castle to the same place as (we were in) formerly, and drown the king and the queen and all the servants in this Red Sea."
As soon as he had said it, he was carried to his wife, and they lived happily, and the others all perished in the Red Sea.
LIKE many others in the world, there was a master mariner. Having had many losses and misfortunes in his life he no longer made any voyages, but every day went down to the seaside for amusement, and every day he met a large serpent, and every day he said to it:
"God has given thy life to thee; live then."
This master mariner lived upon what his wife and daughter earned by sewing. One day the serpent said to him:
"Go to such a shipbuilder's, and order a ship of so many tons burden. Ask the price of it, and then double the price they tell you."
He does as the serpent told him, and the next day he goes down to the shore, and he tells the serpent that he has done as he had told him. The serpent then bids him go and fetch twelve sailors, very strong men, and to double whatever they shall ask. He goes and does what he was told to do. He returns to the serpent and tells him that he has twelve men. The serpent gives him all the money which he needed to pay for the ship. The shipbuilder is astonished to find that he is paid so large a sum of money in advance by this miserable man, but he hastens to finish his work as quickly as possible. The serpent again bids him have made in the hold of the ship a large empty space and a huge chest, and tells him to bring this down himself. He brings it, and the serpent gets into it. The ship was quickly ready, he embarks the chest in the ship, and they set out.
This captain used to go every day to the serpent, but the sailors did not know what he went (into the hold) to do, nor what there was in the chest. The ship had already gone some distance, and nobody knew its destination. One day the serpent told the captain that there was going to be a frightful storm, that the earth and sky would mingle together, and that at midnight a large black bird would pass over the ship, and that it must be killed, and (he tells him) to go and see if there is any sportsman among his sailors. He goes and asks the sailors if there is any sportsman among them.
One of them answers, "Yes; I can kill a swallow in its flight."
"All the better, all the better; that will be of use to you."
He goes down to tell the serpent that there is a sportsman who can kill a swallow in its flight. And at the same moment the weather becomes black as night, and earth and sky are mingled together, and all are trembling with fright. The serpent gives the captain a good drink for the sportsman, and they bind him to the mast. At midnight a piercing cry was heard. It was the bird which was passing over, and our sportsman has the good luck to kill him. At the very instant the sea becomes calm. The captain goes to the serpent, and tells him that the bird is killed.
The serpent answers him, "I know it."
When they had gone a little further without anything happening, the serpent said one day:
"Are we not near such a port?"
The captain says to him, "It is in sight."
"Very well, then, we are going there."
He tells him to go again, and ask his sailors if there is a fast runner among them. The captain goes and asks his sailors if there is, any fast runner among them.
One of them says to him, "As for me, I can catch a hare running."
"So much the better, so much the better; that will be of use to you."
The captain goes to tell the serpent that there is one who can catch a hare running. The serpent says to him:
"You will land the runner at this port, and you will tell him that he must go to the top of a little mountain; that there is a little house there, and an old, old woman in it; and that there is there a steel, a flint, and a tinder-box; and that he must bring these three things on board one by one, making a separate journey each time."
Our runner goes off, and comes to this house. He sees the old woman, with red eyes, spinning at the threshold of her door. He asks her for a drop of water, that he has walked a long way without finding any water, and will she give him a little drop? The old woman says to him, "No." He begs her again, telling her that he does not know the roads in the country, nor where he is going to. This old woman kept constantly looking at the chimney-piece, and she said to him:
"I am going to give you some, then."
While she went to the pitcher, our runner takes the steel off the chimney-piece, and goes off at full speed, like the lightning; but the old woman is after him. At the very instant that he is about to leap into the ship the old woman catches him, and snatches off a bit of his coat, and a piece of the skin of his back with it. The captain goes to the serpent, and says to him:
"We have got the steel, but our man has got the skin of his back torn off."
He gives him a remedy, and a good drink, and tells him that the man will be cured by to-morrow, but that he must go again next day.
He says, "No, no; the devil may carry off this old woman, if he likes, but I will not go there any more."
But, as he was cured next day by giving him that good drink again, he sets off. He dresses himself in a shirt without arms, and in an old torn pair of trousers, and goes to the old woman's, saying that his ship is wrecked on the shore, that he has been wandering about for forty-eight hours, and he begs her to let him go to the fire to light his pipe.
She says, "No."
"Do have pity--I am so wretched; it is only a little favour I ask of you."
"No, no, I was deceived yesterday."
But the man answered, "All the world are not deceivers. Don't be afraid."
The old woman rises to go to the fire, and as she stoops to take it, the man seizes the flint and escapes, running as if he would break his feet. But the old woman runs as fast as our runner; but she only catches him as he is jumping into the ship; she tears off the shirt, and the skin of his neck and back with it, and he falls into the ship.
The captain goes directly to the serpent: "We have got the flint."
He says to him, "I know it."
He gives him the medicine and the good drink, in order that the man may be cured by the morrow, and that he may go again. But the man says, "No," that he does not want to see that red-eyed old woman any more. They tell him that they still want the tinder-box. The next day they give him the good drink. That gives him courage, and the desire to return again.
He dresses himself up as if he had been shipwrecked, and goes off half naked. He comes to the old woman's, and asks for a little bread, as he has not eaten for a long time, (and begs her) to have pity on him--that he does not know where to go to.
The old woman says to him: "Be off, where you will; you shall get nothing at my house, and nobody shall come in here. Every day I have enemies."
"But what have you to fear from a poor man who only wants a little bread, and who will be off immediately afterwards?"
At last the old woman rises to go to her cupboard, and our man takes her little tinder-box. The old woman runs after him, wishing to catch him, but our man is ahead. She overtakes him just as he is leaping into the ship. The old woman takes hold of the skin of his neck, and tears it all right down to the soles of his feet. Our runner falls down, and they do not know whether he is alive or dead; and the old woman says:
"I renounce him, and all those who are in this ship."
The captain goes to the serpent, and says to him:
"We have the tinder-box, but our runner is in great danger. I do not know whether. he will live; he has no skin left from his neck to the soles of his feet,"
"Console yourselves, console yourselves, he will be cured by to-morrow. Here is the medicine and the good drink. Now, you are saved. Go on deck, and fire seven rounds of cannon."
He mounts on deck and fires the seven rounds of cannon, and returns to the serpent, and says to him
"We have fired the seven rounds."
He says to him, "Fire twelve rounds more; but do not be afraid. The police will come here; they will handcuff you. You will be put in prison, and you will ask, as a favour, not to be executed before that they have visited the ship, in order to prove that there is nothing in it to merit such a chastisement."
The captain goes on deck, and fires the twelve rounds of cannon. As soon as he has fired them, the magistrates and the police arrive; they handcuff the men, the sailors, and the captain, and they put them in prison. The sailors were not pleased; but the captain said to them:
"You will soon be delivered."
The next day the captain asks to go and speak to the king. He is brought before the king, and the king says
"You are condemned to be hanged."
The captain says to him, "What! because we have fired some cannon-shots you are going to hang us!!"
"Yes, yes, because for seven years we have not heard the cannon in this city. I am in mourning--I and my people. I had an only son, and I have lost him. I cannot forget him."
The captain says to him: "I did not know either this news or this order, and I beg you not to kill us before going and seeing if there is anything in the ship which condemns us justly."
The king goes with his courtiers, his soldiers, and his judges-in a word, with everybody. When he has mounted on deck, what a surprise! The king finds his dearly-loved son, who relates to him how he has been enchanted by an old woman, and that he remained a serpent seven years. How the captain every day went to walk by the seaside, and every day left him his life, saying to him, "The good God has made you too;" and having seen the captain's good heart, "I thought he would spare me, and it is to him that I owe my life."
He goes to the court. The men are let out of prison, and they give the captain a large sum of money for a dowry for his two daughters, and the ship for himself. To the sailors they give as much as they like to eat and drink for all the time they wish to stop there, and afterwards enough to live upon for the rest of their lives. The king and his son lived happily, and as they had lived well, they died happily also.
A KING had a son who was called Dragon. He was as debauched as it is possible to be. All the money that he had he had spent, and still more; not having enough, he demanded his portion from his father. The father gives it him immediately, and he goes off, taking with him a companion who had been a soldier, and who was very like himself. Very quickly they spent all their money. While they were travelling in a forest they see a beautiful castle. They enter and find there a table ready set out, and a magnificent supper prepared. They sit down to table and sup. Nobody appears as yet, and they go up-stairs to see the house, and they find the beds all ready, and they go to bed. They pass a very good night. The next morning Dragon gets up and opens the shutters, and sees a dazzling garden.
He goes down into the garden, still without seeing anybody; but in passing under a fig tree, a voice says to him:
"Ay! ay! ay! what pain you have put me to, and what suffering you are causing me!"
He turns on all sides and finds nothing. He says:
"Who are you? You I do not understand it. Appear!"
The voice says to him, "I cannot to-day; but perhaps to-morrow you will see me. But in order to do that you will have to suffer severely."
He promises to suffer no matter what for her. The voice says to him:
"To-morrow night they will make you suffer every kind of torture, but you must not say anything; and if you do that, you will see me to-morrow."
They had spoken all this before the soldier friend, but he had heard nothing of it.
They go to the house and find the dinner quite ready. Dragon would have wished that night had already come, to know what it was he was to see. He goes off to bed then, and after eleven o'clock he feels that something is coming, and his whole body is pricked all over. He keeps quite silent, because he wished to see the voice. And when the cock crew "Kukuruku!" he was released (from his torture). He lies waiting for daybreak to go to the fig tree. Day did not appear as soon as he would have wished it, and he goes running to the garden and sees under the fig tree, coming out of the ground as high as her shoulders, a young girl, and she says to him:
"Last night you have suffered in silence, but the next night they will make you suffer much more. I do not know if you can bear it without speaking."
He promises her that he will suffer still more in order to save her.
As usual, they find the table ready for dinner and for supper. He goes off to bed. There happens to him the same thing as in the preceding night, but they do him still more harm. Happily he lies still without speaking. The cock crows "Kukuruku!" and they leave him quiet. As soon as daylight has come he goes off to the garden, and he sees the young lady visible as far as the knees. Dragon is delighted to save this beautiful girl, but she says sadly to him:
"You have seen nothing up to this time. They will make you suffer twice as much."
He says that he has courage to endure anything, because he wishes to get her out of that state. When night comes, he perceives that two are coming instead of one. One of them was lame, and he says to him (and you know lame people and cripples are the most cruel). He says then to the other:
"What! You have not been able to make this wretched boy speak! I will make him speak, I will."
He cuts off his arms and then his legs, and our Dragon does not say anything. They make him suffer a great deal, but happily the cock crows "Kukuruku!" and he is delivered. He was much afraid what would become of him without hands and without feet; but on touching himself he feels with pleasure that all that is made right again. While he is in bed he hears a great noise. He lies without saying anything, being frightened, and. not knowing what might happen to him, when all of a sudden this young lady appears and says to him:
"You have saved me; I am very well pleased with you. But this is not enough; we must be off from here immediately."
All the three go off together, and travel far, far, far away, and they arrive in a city. The young lady did not think it proper to lodge in the same hotel with them. Next morning the young lady gets up very early, and goes in search of the landlord of the hotel, and says to him:
"A gentleman will come here to ask for me. You will tell him that I have gone out, and if he wishes to see me he must come to the fountain at the Four Cantons --but fasting--and he is to wait for me there."
The next morning the young gentleman goes to the hotel, and they tell him what the young lady has said. On that very day he goes to the fountain, taking his comrade with him, and fasting; but as the young lady had not yet arrived, forgetting himself, he put his hand in his pocket, and finding there a small nut, he eats it. As soon as he has eaten it he falls asleep. The young lady arrives. She sees that he is asleep. She says to his companion:
"He has eaten something. Tell him that I will return, but tell, tell him, I beg you, to eat nothing."
She leaves him a beautiful handkerchief. Dragon wakes up as soon as the young lady is gone. His comrade tells him that she had come, and that she had told him not to eat anything. And he shows Dragon the handkerchief. He was very vexed at having eaten, and would have wished that it was already the next day. He starts then very, very early, and waits for the young lady, and, as was fated to happen, finding a walnut in his pocket, he eats it. He immediately falls asleep. The young lady appears and finds him sleeping. She says that she will return again the next day, but that he must not eat anything. She leaves him another handkerchief. Dragon awakes as soon as she has gone. Judge with what vexation. His friend tells him that she said that she would return the next day, but that he must do his best not to eat anything. He goes then the third day without eating anything, but, as was to happen, despairing of seeing the young lady, who was late, arrive, he takes an apple from an apple tree and eats it. He falls asleep immediately. The young lady comes and finds him asleep. She gives his comrade a ring to give to Dragon, telling him that if Dragon wishes to see her he will find her in the City of the Four Quarters. Dragon is very vexed, and he says to his friend:
"The good God knows when I shall find this city, and it is better for you to go in one direction (and I in another)."
Thereupon they separate. Dragon goes off, far, far, far away. He comes to a mountain; there he sees a man, who had before his door holy water, and whoever made use of it was well received. He goes in, therefore, and asks him if he knows where is the City of the Four Quarters. He tells. him--
"No; but there are the animals of the earth and of the air, and that the latter might perhaps guide him there."
He whistles to them. They come from all quarters, and he asks them if they know where is the City of the Four Quarters? They tell him "No." Then the man says to him--
"I have a brother on such a mountain, who has many more animals than I have; he has them all under his power, that man has."
Dragon goes off then, and arrives there; he asks of that man if he knows where the City of the Four Quarters is? He tells him "No," but that he has animals which will know it, if anyone ought to know it. He whistles to them. He sees the animals, small and great, coming from all quarters. Dragon was trembling with fright. He asks them one by one if they know where the City of the Four Quarters is. They tell him "No;" but the man sees that one animal is wanting, and that is the eagle. He whistles, and he comes. He asks him, too, if he knows where the City of the Four Quarters is. He says to him--
"I am just come from there."
The man says to him,
"You must, then, guide this young gentleman there."
The eagle says to him, "Willingly, if he will give me a morsel of flesh each time that I open my mouth."
Dragon replies, "Yes, willingly."
He then buys an ox. The eagle tells him to get upon his back. The man climbs up there with his ox, and when he opens his mouth he gives him a morsel of the ox, which kept gradually diminishing.
They were obliged to cross over the sea, and there was no bridge to it there. The ox was finished when they were in the middle of the sea, and there was a great rock there. The eagle opens his mouth again, and, as there was no more beef, what does he do? As he was afraid of being left upon that rock, he cuts a morsel from the back of his own thighs, and puts it in his mouth. They arrive on the other side of the sea. The eagle leaves him there, saying to him,
"You are in the City of the Four Quarters. Do your own business here. I am going off to my own home."
This young gentleman asks what is the news in this city. They tell him that the king's daughter is going to be married to-day. In this city it was permitted only to the wedding party to enter the church, but Dragon had bribed one of the keepers with money, (saying) that he would stop quiet in a corner of the church. It was also the custom in this city to publish the banns at the moment of marriage. When the priest began to publish them, Dragon came out of his comer, and said--
"I make an objection."
He goes to the young lady, who recognises him; and he shows her the ring and the kerchiefs, and asks her in marriage. She says--
"This shall be my husband; he has well deserved it."
He was still lame, as a piece of his flesh was still wanting. They were married then. The other bridegroom went back home quite ashamed. The others lived very happily, because both had suffered much. Then I was there, now I am here.
St. Jean Pied de Port.
As there are many in the world, and as we are many of us, there was a mother who had a son. They were very poor. The son wished to go off somewhere, in order to better himself, (he said); that it was not living to live like that. The mother was sorry; but what could she do? In order that her son may be better off, she lets him go. He goes then, travelling on, and on, and on. In a forest he meets with a gentleman, who asks him where he is going. He tells him that, wishing to better himself, he had gone away from home to do something. This gentleman asks him if he is willing to be his servant. He replies, "Yes." They go off then together, and come to a beautiful place. After having entered, the gentleman gives him all the keys of the house, saying that he has a journey he must make, and that he must see the whole house--that he will find in it everything he wants to eat, and to take care of the horses in the stable. The gentleman goes away as soon as he had seen all the house and the stable. There were a lot of horses there, and in the midst of them all a white mare, who said to him,
"Ay! ay! Fidel, save me, I pray you, from here, and get me outside. You will not be sorry for it."
Fidel stops at the place whence this voice came. A moment after, the white mare says to him,
"Come near the white mare; it is she who is speaking to you."
Fidel goes up to her, and says to her that he cannot let her go--that the master has not given him any other work to do (than to take care of the horses), and that he certainly will not do any such thing. The mare said to him,
"Go and fetch a saucepan, and when I shall have filled it with water, you will wash your hands and your head."
Fidel does as the mare told him, and is quite astonished at seeing his hands shine, and he says to her that he does not wish to have them like that, but that, as to his head, he could hide it. The mare told him to wash his hands in the water, and that they would become again as they were before.
The time goes on, and the time returns. A long time had passed, and the master had never returned. And one day the mare said to him,
"Fidel, do you know how long you have been here?"
He says to her, "I don't know at all--six months, perhaps?"
The mare says to him, "Six years have passed, and if the master arrives when seven years shall have passed, you will be enchanted--you, too, as we all are here--and the master is a devil."
After that he heard that, Fidel is frightened, and he says to himself that it would be better to do what the white mare had said--to get on her back, and both to escape from there. They go off then, both of them. When they had gone some little distance, the mare asks him if he sees anything behind him.
He says, "Yes," that he sees something terrible, but in the clouds; but that it is something terrific. The mare gives the earth a kick with her foot, and says to it,
"Earth, with thy power form a dense, terrible fog where he is."
They go on again, and the mare says again--
"Look back again, if you see anything."
Fidel says to her, "Yes, I see again this terrible thing; it is coming after us quickly, and is going to catch us."
The mare at the same time says again to the earth, in striking it with her foot, "Let it hail stones, and hail there where he is as much as can possibly fall."
They go on. The mare says again,
"Look back, if you see anything."
He says to her again, "He is here, this terrible monster. It is all up with us now--we cannot escape him; he is quite near, and he comes with speed."
The mare strikes the earth with her foot, and says to it--
"Form before him a river, and let him drown himself there for evermore."
He sees him drown himself there. The mare says to him,
"Now you shall go to such a spot. The king lives there. You will ask if they want a gardener, and they will tell you 'Yes.' You will stay there without doing anything, and the work will do itself by itself, without your doing anything. Every day three beautiful flowers will come up in this garden. You will carry them to the three daughters of the king, but you will always give the finest to the youngest."
It was the custom to carry the dinner to the gardener, but it was the youngest of the daughters who carried it to him. From the first day the gardener pleased the young lady, and she said to him one day that he must marry her. The lad said to her that that cannot be, that she ought not to think of marrying with a person of low birth and who has nothing, and that she must not dream any such dreams. This young lady falls ill. The father sends for the doctor, who says, after having touched her pulse, that she is ill of love; and the doctor goes to tell it to the king. The father goes to the young lady and tells her what the physician has said to him--that she is not so very ill. The daughter says to him:
"In order to cure me you must send and fetch the gardener. Let him give me some broth and I shall be cured."
The father sends to fetch him directly, has him washed and properly dressed, and makes him carry the broth. There was among the court an old, old nurse; she was a witch, and as she knew what the physician had said, she goes and hides herself in the young lady's bedroom before the gardener came there, in order to know what the young lady would say to him. The young lady said to him:
"Yes, and you shall marry me; I will not marry anybody else but you, whatever you may say."
The lad said to her. "No, no, I will not hear that mentioned."
The nurse had heard all that had passed, and she goes and tells it immediately to the king. The young lady was cured, and goes to carry the dinner to Fidel. Fidel had a habit of always giving the first spoonful of the soup to the dog. He gives it him that day too, and as soon as the dog has eaten it he falls stark dead. When the young lady saw that she goes and tells it to her father. The father sends for a big dog, and gives him some of the soup, and as soon as he has eaten it he falls dead. Judge of the anger of that young lady. She goes and takes this old witch and has her burnt. She goes to look for Fidel in a little house which was at the bottom of the garden, and she sees his head bare. It was shining like the sun, and she entirely lost her own head for it, and she said to him, that he must marry her. As she left him no peace, her father said to her:
"If you will marry him, do so; but I will not give you anything. You must go and live in a corner of the mountain with your husband; there is a house there, and there you must stop. You may come only one day a week to see me."
That was all the same to this young lady, (and they are married), and go off there. As the king had given her no money, when Fidel's hair grew she went from time to time to the goldsmiths, who said to her that they had not money enough belonging to them to pay for the gold that she brought them. And they lived there very happily.
One day Fidel heard that the king was engaged in a great war, and he told his wife to go to her father and tell him that he too wished to go to this war. This young lady goes to tell her father her husband's commission. Her father says to her:
"What is the use of a young man like that who has never killed anything but mole-crickets? Let him stop at home."
His daughter says to him: "At least he is your son-in-law!"
The father then says to her: "He may come on such a day."
Fidel goes as they had told him. He asks the king for a horse and a sword. The king gives him a horse blind and lame. Fidel was not pleased with it. He begins his march, wishing to get on as quickly as possible, but when he had gone a little distance, the horse sticks in the mud, and cannot in any way get out of it. While he is there, the white mare comes to him. She gives him a beautiful horse, and a lance and a sword, and tells him that he will see his brothers-in-law encamped round a city, but not to stop there with them, but to ride straight to the city; that the gates will be shut, but as soon as he shall have touched them with his lance they will be broken to pieces, and that they will make peace with him. He does as she told him, and starts off on his horse like the lightning, without paying the slightest attention to his brothers-in-law. He goes up to the city, and as soon as he has touched the gates with his sword they are in pieces. He enters the city, and all the world comes out and makes him a thousand fêtes. They declare that they wish for no more war. They give him the key of the treasury and all the papers, and he retires from there with all the honours, When he returns he tells his brothers-in-law to retire--that the war is finished. They go back again. He stops at the place where he had left his old horse in the mud. He sends away his beautiful horse with all his things, and Fidel stops there, not being able to drag his old horse out of the mud. When his brothers-in-law pass, they mock at him (and ask him) if it is there that he has passed all his time. He tells them, "Yes." The others go on ahead, and at length he also arrives at the king's house. He leaves his old horse there and goes off home. He does not tell his wife what has happened, and they live in their hole.
The king was getting old, and he had entirely lost his sight. Somebody gave him to understand that there was a water which made people young again, and another which restored sight. He told his sons-in-law that they must go (and look for it)--that he could not live long like that. And both of them start off. Their wives, at starting, had given each a golden apple. They go far away; but they find nothing. Tired at last, they stop in a beautiful city. They take each of them a wife, and they live according to their fancy. When Fidel saw that his brothers-in-law did not arrive, he said to his wife that he must go off; perhaps he might be able better to find the waters, which his father wanted. He goes off without saying anything to the king, and travels on, and on, and on.
He meets an old woman, who says to him, "Where are you going to?" He tells her how he wants a water which gives sight to the blind and makes the old young, and that he would not go back home without finding it. This old woman says to him:
"You will see two animals fighting close to you, and you will gather the herb which makes the dead to live; you will have it boiled, and you will keep this water for yourself."
This lad goes on a little farther, and he sees two lizards fighting so fiercely that one kills the other. The one who was left alive takes a blade of grass and touches the dead and rekindles his life. Fidel gathers this grass, and goes off to this old woman. The old woman gives him two bottles, telling him that the one is for giving sight to the blind, and the other for making old men young; that he must not sell these waters for money, but must make an exchange of them for two golden apples which his brothers-in-law have in this very city, and that it is to them that he must give this water.
Fidel goes into the city, and as soon as he has entered, he cries:
"Who wishes to buy the water that gives sight to the blind, and the water which makes old men young?"
His two brothers-in-law appear, and say that they must have some of this water, and ask what it costs. And he tells them that he does not sell it, but only gives it in exchange for golden apples. These gentlemen willingly make the exchange. But they wish to make trial of it directly; they bring an old blind dog, and immediately he grows young again. Judge how pleased they were with their water of power. They set off to the king, and this water makes him become very young and gives him sight. The king wishes to have great rejoicings, and invites all his friends in the neighbourhood. Fidel arrives at home, and says nothing to his wife. When he hears that the king is going to have rejoicings, he sends his wife to ask the king if he would not like them to go there too; that they would help, one in cutting the wood, and the other in serving at table. She did not wish to go there at all. She told her husband that she would a hundred times sooner stop at home; but her husband sends her off by force, (saying) that they ought to be there on that day. She goes, then, the poor woman, against her wish. She asks her father if he does not want some one to help on the feast day. The father says, "No!"--they have servants enough. An old general who was sitting by his side said to him:
"Why do you not let them come?"
Then the king said, "Come then on such a day."
Fidel and his wife go. While they are at breakfast the old general asks Fidel if he also does not know something to relate? He replies "Yes," that he knows some (stories), but more than one would not be pleased with what he would tell. Then the king says, placing his sword upon the table:
"The point of my sword shall know news of the heart of him who shall speak."
Fidel begins then, how he went to the war with an old horse, blind and lame, but that in spite of that he had carried off the keys of the treasure and the papers. The king says to him that he has not seen them yet--that he is still expecting them. Fidel takes out the papers and gives them to the king. He gives also the keys of the treasury. The king assures himself that they are the real ones. He then narrates how he has sold in exchange for two golden apples that precious water. At this instant his wife rises and says to him:
"Where have you these golden apples--you?"
As it is she who has spoken the first words, Fidel takes up the king's sword and strikes his wife dead. The king was grieved to see that, but Fidel says to him:
"Do not disturb yourself for that; as I have taken away her life I will give it her again."
He takes out his water which rekindles dead men, and rubs some on her temple, and she suddenly returns to life. Everyone is astounded at this great deed, and at all that he has already done. The king tells him that he has already gained the crown, but that he must be cured of this terrible scab first. His wife rises, takes off his kerchief which he had upon his head, and shows the shining head of her husband, saying:
"See, this is the scab of my husband
The king says that the crown will shine much better on his head. He goes to fetch it, and places it upon this precious head. He banishes his sons-in-law with his two daughters to the same desert place where Fidel formerly lived. And Fidel and his wife lived much richer than the king was. His precious head gave him this power; and as they lived well they died well too.
We have another version almost identical with the above, except at the commencement. Ezkabi really has the scab. On his journey, after leaving his home, he pays the debts of a poor man whose corpse is being beaten in front of the church, and buries him. There is nothing about a white mare. An old woman is the good genius of the tale. He goes as gardener, and the king's daughter falls in love with him, from catching a sight of his golden hair from her window; for the rest the stories are identical, except that this is a shorter form than the above.
Cf. with the whole of this tale, Campbell's second tale, "The Battle of the Birds," and the variations, especially the one of "Auburn Mary," Vol. I. pp. 52-58.
LIKE many others in the world, there was a mother and her son; they were very poor. This son wished to leave his mother and go away, (saying) that they were wretched as they were. He goes off then far, far, far away. He finds a castle in a forest, and goes in and asks if they want a servant, and it is a Tartaro who comes to him. He asks him:
"Where are you going to like that, ant of the earth?"
He says that, being very poor at home, he wished to work to better himself.
The Tartaro says to him, "As you have told the truth I spare your life, ant of the earth, and in a few days you will go away from here. Three young ladies will come to bathe in the water in my garden. They will leave their pigeon-robes under a large stone, and you will take the pigeon's skin which is in the middle. The two young ladies will come out of the water and will take their skins. She who stops in the water will ask you for her skin, but you shall not give it her before she shall promise to help you always."
The next day our lad sees that the young ladies are in the water. He goes and does as the Tartaro tells him; he takes the middle one of the three skins, the two young ladies take their skins, and the third asks him to give her hers. The lad will not give it her without her promise. The young lady will not give her word. He then says to her that he will not give it her at all. The young lady then says to him that he may reckon upon her, that she gives him her word, and that he shall go to-morrow to her father's house, that he will take him as servant, and that he lives in such a place. The lad goes off then the next day and finds this beautiful house in a forest.
He asks if they want a servant? They tell him, "Yes," but that there is a great deal of work to do there. The next morning (the father) takes him into the forest and says to him:
"You must pull up all these oaks with their roots, you must cut them into lengths, and put the trunks on one side, the branches on another, and the roots by themselves, each in their place. Afterwards you will plough the ground, then you will harrow it, then sow the wheat; you will then cut it, and you bring me at, noon a little cake made out of this wheat, otherwise you will be put to death."
The lad says to him, "I will try."
He goes then to the forest and sits down pensive. It was already eleven o'clock when the young lady appears to him. She says to him:
"Why are you like that, so sad? Have not I promised that I would help you? Shut your eyes, but all the worse for you if you shall open them."
She throws a comb into the air, and says
"Comb, with thy power tear up these oaks with their roots, cut them into lengths, put the trunks together, and the branches, and the roots too by themselves."
As soon as it was said it was done. She throws another comb, and says to it:
"Comb, with thy power turn up this ground, harrow it, and sow the wheat."
As soon as it was said it was done. She throws another comb, and says:
"Comb, with thy power make a cake of this wheat when you have cut it."
Our lad was curious to know what was taking place, but the young lady said to him:
"Woe to you and to me if you open (your eyes). Nothing will be finished for us."
He does not open them, and the cake is cooked. Twelve o'clock was going to strike. She says to him:
"Go with speed, you have no time to lose."
The lad goes to the king and brings him the cake. The king is astonished. He says (to himself), "That is a clever lad, that," and he wishes to be assured of it by looking out of window; and, after having seen that this huge forest had been torn up, he is astonished, He sends away the lad, and goes and tells it to his wife. His wife says to him, "Take care that he is not in league with your daughter."
The husband says to her, "What do you mean? They have never seen each other."
This husband was a devil. The young lady told our lad that her father is going to send him to fetch a ring in a river far away. "He will tell you to choose a sword from the midst of ever so many others, but you will take an old sabre and leave the others."
The next day his wife told him that he ought to send him to fetch a ring which he had lost in the bed of a river. He sends him then, and tells him that he must choose a sword; that he will have quantities of evil fish to conquer. The lad says to him that he will not have those fine swords, that he has enough with this old sabre, which was used to scrape off the dirt.
When he arrived at the bank of the river he sat there weeping, not knowing what to do. The young lady comes to him, and says:
"What! You are weeping! Did not I tell you that I would always help you?"
It was eleven o'clock. The young lady says to him
"You must cut me in pieces with this sabre, and throw all the pieces into the water."
The lad will not do it by any means. He says to her:
"I prefer to die here on the spot than to make you suffer."
The lady says to him, "It is nothing at all what I shall suffer, and you must do it directly--the favourable moment is passing by like this, like this."
The lad, trembling all over, begins with his sabre. He throws all the pieces into the river; but, lo I a part of the lady's little finger sticks to a nail in his shoe. The young lady comes out of the water and says to him:
"You have not thrown everything into the water. My little finger is wanting."
After having looked for it, he sees that he has it under his foot, hooked on to a nail. The young lady gives him the ring. She tells him to go without losing a moment, for he must give it to the king at noon. He arrives happily (in time). The young lady, as she goes into the house, bangs the door with all her might and begins to cry out:
"Ay! ay! ay! I have crushed my little finger."
And she makes believe that she has done it there. The king was pleased. He tells him that on the morrow he must tame a horse and three young fillies. The lad says to him:
"I will try."
The master gives him a terrible club. The young lady says to him in the evening:
"The horse which my father has spoken to you about will be himself. You will strike him with all your might with your terrible club on the nose, and he will yield and be conquered. The first filly will be my eldest sister. You will strike her on the chest with all your force, and she also will yield and will be conquered. I shall come the last. You will make a show of beating me too, and you will hit the ground with your stick, and I too will yield, and I shall be conquered."
The next day the lad does as the young lady has told him. The horse comes. He was very high-spirited, but our lad strikes him on the nose, he yields, and is conquered. He does the same thing with the fillies. He beats them with his terrible club, they yield, and are conquered; and when the third comes he makes a show of hitting her, and strikes the earth. She yields, and all go off..
The next day he sees the master with his lips swollen, and with all his face as black as soot. The young ladies had also pain in the chest. The youngest also gets up very late indeed in order to do as the others.
The master says to him that he sees he is a valuable servant, and very clever, and that he will give him one of his daughters for wife, but that he must choose her with his eyes shut. And the young lady says to him:
"You will choose the one that will give you her hand twice, and in any way you will recognise me, because you will find that my little finger is wanting. I will always put that in front."
The next day the master said to him:
"We are here now; you shall now choose the one you wish for, always keeping your eyes shut."
He shuts them then; and the eldest daughter approaches, and gives him her hand. He says to the king:
"It is very heavy, (this hand); too heavy for me. I will not have this one."
The second one approaches, she gives him her hand, and he immediately recognises that the little finger is wanting. He says to the king:
"This is the one I must have."
They are married immediately. They pass some days like that. His wife says to him;
"It is better for us to be off from here, and to flee, otherwise my father will kill us."
They set off, then, that evening at ten o'clock, and the young lady spits before the door of her room, saying:
"Spittle, with thy power, you shall speak in my place." And they go off a long way. At midnight, the father goes to the door of the lad and his wife, and knocks at the door.; they do not answer. He knocks harder, and then the spittle says to him:
"Just now nobody can come into this room."
The father says, "It is I. I must come in."
"It is impossible," says the spittle again.
The father grows more and more angry; the spittle makes him stop an hour like that at the door. At last, not being able to do anything else, he smashes the door, and goes inside. What is his terrible rage when he sees the room empty. He goes off to his wife, and says to her:
"You were not mistaken; they were well acquainted, and they were really in league with one another, and they have both escaped together; but I will not leave them like that. I will go off after them, and I shall find them sooner or later."
He starts off. Our gentleman and lady had gone very far, but the young lady was still afraid. She said to her husband:
"He might overtake us even now. I--I cannot turn my head; but (look) if you can see something."
The husband says to her: "Yes, something terrible is coming after us; I have never seen a monster like this."
The young lady throws up a comb, and says:
"Comb, with thy power, let there be formed before my father hedges and thorns, and before me a good road."
It is done as she wished. They go a good way, and she says again:
"Look, I beg you, if you see anything again."
The husband looks back, and sees nothing; but in the clouds he sees something terrible, and tells so to his wife. And his wife says, taking her comb:
"Comb, with thy power, let there be formed where he is a fog, and hail, and a terrific storm."
It happens as they wish. They go a little way farther, and his wife says to him:
"Look behind you, then, if you see anything."
The husband says to her: "Now it is all over with us. We have him here after us; he is on us. Use all your power."
She throws again a comb immediately, and says:
"Comb, with thy power, form between my father and me a terrible river, and let him be drowned there for ever."
As soon as she has said that, they see a mighty water, and there their father and enemy drowns himself.
The young lady says, "Now we have no more fear of him, we shall live in peace."
They go a good distance, and arrive at a country into which the young lady could not enter. She says to her husband:
"I can go no farther. It is the land of the Christians there; I cannot enter into it. You must go there the first. You must fetch a priest. He must baptize me, and afterwards I will come with you; but you must take great care that nobody kisses you. If so, you will forget me altogether. Mind and pay great attention to it; and you, too, do not you kiss anyone."
He promises his wife that he will not. He goes, then, on, and on, and on. He arrives in his own country, and as he is entering it an old aunt recognises him, and comes behind him, and gives him two kisses. It is all over with him. He forgets his wife, as if he had never seen her, and he stays there amusing himself, and taking his pleasure.
The young lady, seeing that her husband never returned, that something had happened to him, and that she could no longer count upon him, she takes a little stick, and striking the earth, she says:
"I will that here, in this very spot, is built a beautiful hotel, with all that is necessary, servants, and all the rest."
There was a beautiful garden, too, in front, and she had put over the door:
"Here they give to eat without payment."
One day the young man goes out hunting with two comrades, and while they were in the forest they said one to the other:
"We never knew of this hotel here before. We must go there too. One can eat without payment."
They go off then. The young lady recognises her husband very well, but he does not recognise her at all. She receives them very well. These gentlemen are so pleased with her, that one of them asks her if she will not let him pass the night with her. The young lady says to him, "Yes." The other asks also, "I, too, was wishing it." The young lady says to him:
"To-morrow then, you, if you wish it, certainly."
And her husband says to her: "And I after to-morrow then."
The young lady says to him, "Yes." One of the young men remains then. He passes the evening in great delight, and when the hour comes for going to bed, the young lady says to him:
"When you were small you were a choir-boy, and they used to powder you; this smell displeases me in bed. Before coming there you must comb yourself. Here is a comb, and when you have got all the powder out, you may come to bed."
Our lad begins then to comb his hair, but never could he get all the powder out, such quantities came out, and were still coming out of his head; and he was still at it when the young lady rose. The lad said to her:
"What! you are getting up before I come."
"And do you not see that it is day? I cannot stop there any longer. People will come."
Our young man goes off home without saying a word more. He meets his comrade who was to pass the night with this young lady. He says to him:
"You are satisfied? You amused yourself well?"
"Yes, certainly, very well. If the time flies as fast with you as it did with me you will amuse yourself well."
He goes off then to this house. The young lady says to him, after he had had a good supper:
"Before going to bed you must wash your feet. The water will be here in this big copper; when you have them quite clean you may come to bed."
Accordingly he washes one, and when he has finished washing the other, the first washed is still black and dirty. He washes it again, and finds the foot that he has just well washed very dirty again. He kept doing like that for such a long time. When the young lady gets up, the gentleman says to her:
"What! You are getting up already, without me coming?"
"Why did you not then come before day? I cannot stay any longer in bed. It is daylight, and the people will begin (to come)."
Our young man withdraws as the other had done. Now it is the turn of her husband. She serves him still better than the others; nothing was wanting at his supper. When the hour for going to bed arrives, they go to the young lady's room; when they are ready to get into bed, the young lady says to him:
"Put out the light."
He puts it out, and it lights again directly. He puts it out again, and it lights again as soon as it is put out. He passes all the night like that in his shirt, never being able to put out that light. When daylight is come, the young lady says to him:
"You do not know me then? You do not remember how you left your wife to go and fetch a priest?"
As soon as she had said that he strikes his head, and says to her:
"Only now I remember all that--up to this moment I was as if I had never had a wife at all--how sorry I am; but indeed it is not my fault, not at all. I never wished it like that, and it is my old aunt who kissed me twice without my knowing it."
"It is all the same now. You are here now. You have done penance enough; your friends have done it too. One passed the whole night getting powder out of his head, and the other in washing his feet, and they have not slept with me any more than you have. At present you must go into your country, and you must get a priest. He shall baptize me, and then we will go into your country."
The husband goes off and returns with the priest, and she is baptized, and they set out for his country. When they have arrived there, she touched the earth with her stick, and says to it:
"Let there be a beautiful palace, with everything that is needed inside it, and a beautiful garden before the house."
As soon as it is said, it is done. They lived there very rich and very happy with the old mother of the lad, and as they lived well they died well too.
THIS legend seems to us to be one of the best examples in our collection of what may be called atmospherical, or climatological myths.
The story opens with man in misery, without the aid of cultivation and agriculture. The old king we take to be a personification of winter; his daughter of spring, warmth, and fertility--of what the French call "la belle saison." The comb, with which she does her, marvels, is the power which draws out her golden hair, the sun's bright rays. The young man, who, without her aid, can effect nothing, is man in relation to the frozen ground, which needs her aid to quicken it into fertility. It is the old Sun-god, the Cyclops, who tells him where to find, and how to woo, his fairy bride. But spring and earth are as yet both fast bound in winter's dominions. There he must go, and learn what he must do, if they are to be married. The felling of the forest, the sowing and ripening corn, and the cooked cake, teach him that he can only succeed by her help; and yet he does not see how she does it--man cannot see the corn grow, etc. The summer warmth and fertilizing power, typified by the ring, still lies buried in the frozen waters. The taming of the horses shows the need and help of domestic animals in agriculture. These things are necessary to be known ere spring can free herself from winter's dominion and marry her chosen lover. Winter would still hold her fast; but even in his own home her influence works secretly against him. He does not suspect that she is in league with her lover. But at length they are joined together; they flee, and the great struggle between winter and spring has fairly set in. She is able to hide her flight a little while; but he discovers it, and pursues and nearly overtakes her. But, by means of her comb, scattering abroad her warm rays, she works wonders. He is stopped by rough, wintry roads. Her path is through fair and pleasant ways; the storms, and hail, and rain of early spring assist her, but it is the mighty inundation of the swollen rivers which finally overwhelms him, and sweeps him for ever away.
But their union is not complete yet. She cannot enter the Christians' land. The natural powers of earth and sky have need of agriculture and civilization for their full expansion. And man, frightened at the toil, is lured back again to the nomad hunter life. He forgets his bride in the pleasures of the chase. He spends the winter thus, but is drawn back by the attraction of his waiting bride in spring. She has food in abundance; he is hungry. Other wooers come; she cheats and deludes them, till her true husband appears, and submits to her once more. Then is the full marriage of earth and husbandry, and man wedded to the summer's warmth and glow.
All parts of the tale are not equally clear, nor do we positively affirm that we have interpreted it aright. But there can be no doubt that we have here a nature allegory; and, told as it is by those who have not the most remote suspicion of its meaning, many things in it must needs be confused; the wonder is that the details are still so clear and so little distorted as they are. And, if this be the interpretation, or even if this kind of interpretation be allowed in this case, then we must consider if it is not to be extended to every case in which the several incidents occur, though they are now mingled and confused with circumstances with which they had no original connection.
Cf. Campbell's "The Chest," Vol. II., p. 1. The tales seem almost identical.
THERE was a man who was very rich. He wished to get married, but the young girls of this country would not marry him, because he had such a bad reputation. One day he sent for a vine-dresser, who had three daughters, and said to him,
"I want to marry one of your three daughters; if I do not marry them, so much the worse for you--I will have you killed."
This vine-dresser goes away home in sadness. He tells his two eldest daughters what Mr. Laur-Cantons had said to him. The daughters tell him that they will not marry; it is useless to ask them. The father stays indoors in his grief, and his youngest daughter comes home. He tells her, too, what has happened, and this one says to her father,
"Do not be so sad; as for me, I will marry him, and nothing shall happen to you."
The father and the daughter go off then. He marries this young girl. And, as Mr. Laur-Cantons was very rich, he had quantities of beautiful dresses made for her. He had gold by hogsheads full, and this young girl was very happy with this gentleman.
After some time the king summoned him to go to the army, and he was obliged to go. He said to his wife, "Amuse yourself well," and he leaves her plenty of money.
His wife says, "No," she will remain at home till he comes back, and will not see anybody until, his return. Mr. Laur-Cantons set off for the court. When he was there, a merchant attacks him on purpose to vex him and put him in a Passion, and tells him that he will get into his wife's house, and he wagers all that he has in his shop, and Mr. Laur-Cantons bets 100,000 francs that he will not get in. This merchant then goes off to the lady's house. He knocks at the door, and says that he comes with a letter from her husband, and begs her to open the door. But they do not open it. They tell him to put the letter in the hole; and, after having remained all night at the door in vain, he goes off to the forest in a rage, kicking and stamping about with his feet, because he had lost all that he possessed. An old woman passes by there, and says to him,
"What is the matter with you, that you are in such great trouble?"
"Be off with you, quickly, or I will give you two good boxes on the ear." This woman was a witch. This man was sorry a moment afterwards for not. having listened to this old woman, and he goes off after her:
"Just now I treated you very badly, but I must now tell you my trouble. I have lost all that I possess in a bet with Mr. Laur-Cantons that I would get into his wife's house, but I have passed the whole night there, and have not been able to get in."
"If you have only that it is nothing, and I will arrange that."
She goes with a basket of apples and knocks at the door, and says that she is the lady's nurse, and asks them to open. They open for her. The young lady shows her her dresses for the marriage day and for the next day too, her gold chain, and all her pretty things. While she is putting by her dresses the witch takes her gold chain, which had the lady's name on it; and the lady did not observe it, and did not miss anything when she shut up the others, because she had full confidence in her, believing that she was really her nurse, since she said so.
The witch goes off to find the merchant and gives him the gold chain. The merchant gives her as a reward a complete set of new clothes. The merchant goes off joyfully to find Mr. Laur-Cantons, and shows him from a distance the gold chain. Imagine what was the rage of the gentleman. He goes off home immediately. He knocks at the door, saying that it is the master who is there; he enters, and says to his wife, with harsh voice, to go upstairs and put on her wedding dress and her gold ornaments. She comes down without putting it on at all, and he says to her:
"Where are your gold ornaments?"
"Not being able to find them, I have put on those of the next day."
When he has got on horseback he tells her to get up behind him. This young lady, having suspected something, had taken a great deal of money with her. When they had gone a short way he dismounts. He puts his wife into a. chest and throws her into the sea. On the sea-shore there are always people looking about, and when the chest was seen they caught hold of it as best they could. They begin to knock it, wishing to open it. She says to them from inside:
"Gently, gently, there is someone alive inside here."
After they had opened it she gave them a handsome present, and goes to an hotel, and dresses herself like a gentleman. She asks if there is anyone seriously ill in the town. They say to her:
"For the last seven years the king's daughter is so."
She goes off to seek flowers and herbs in the fields, and she makes acquaintance with the king's physicians; and one day she goes with them to the king's house, and as they come out she says to one of them:
"I, I could cure that young lady."
The king hears that, and bids her to come as soon as, possible. At the first visit she gives her something to drink. As soon as she has drunk she moves her head. She gives her to drink a second time, and she sits up on the bed. The third time she gives her to drink she leaps right out of bed. Think what rejoicings there were in the house of the king! He did not know what to do to reward her, but she says to him that she wishes nothing, only she would be made governor of this city. She asks the names of the people at the court. They tell her a great many names, and that of Mr. Laur-Cantons among others. When she has got installed in her palace, she has Mr. Laur-Cantons brought up before her between two policemen. She asks him what he has done with his wife. He says to her that he knows nothing about her.
She points to the gallows:
"If you do not tell the truth, that shall be your reward."
He tells her then how that a merchant had come to tempt him; how he had made a bet, and that he had come back with her gold chain, and then, having got into a passion, he had thrown her into the sea in a chest. She sends to fetch this merchant. He, too, tells how, in order not to lose all he had, and not being able to get into the house, a woman had brought him the chain. The merchant did not tell the truth at the first questioning--it was after having been threatened that he confessed it. She sends for the witch between eight policemen, and asks her how she had got the gold chain from the lady's house. She tells the whole truth as it had happened. As the governor had had seven barrels of powder placed one above the other, they put the witch on the top, and set fire to the barrels from below. The witch goes up in the air with the fire, and nobody sees her any more. They hang the merchant as well. Mr. Laur-Cantons was on his knees before the governor, begging pardon of him for his wicked actions. She pardons him, and made him governor and she remained governess. She sent for her father, and they lived very happily.
If that is not true, may it happen (to me) like that.
more than 70 years old.
ONCE upon a time there was a gentleman and lady. They had a child. The father was captain of a ship. The mother regularly sent her son to school, and when the father came back from his voyages he asked his child if he had learnt much at school. The mother answered, "No, no! not much."
The father went off for another voyage. He comes home the second time. "My child, what have you learnt at school?"
The child answers his father, "Nothing."
"You have learnt nothing?"
The captain goes to find the schoolmaster, and asks him if his child does not learn anything.
"I cannot drive anything into that child's head."
The boy comes up, and the father asks him again what he has learnt at school.
"This is all. (To understand) the song of the birds."
"O, my son, the song of the birds! the song of the birds Come, come on board ship with me."
And he carries him off. While they were on the voyage a bird comes and settles on the end of the ship, singing, "Wirittitti, kirikiriki."
"My son, come, come, instead of beginning by learning the art of a captain you have learned the song of birds. Do you know what this bird sings?"
"Yes, my father. I know he sings that I am now under your orders, but you shall also be under mine."
What does this captain do? He takes a barrel, knocks out the head, and puts his son into it. He closes up the barrel and throws it into the sea, and a storm casts it ashore.
A king was walking there just at that moment, and he finds this barrel and sends for his men. They begin to try and break open the barrel, and the boy cries out from inside:
"Gently, gently, there is someone inside."
They open the barrel, and the boy comes out from inside. The king takes him home, and he marries the king's daughter.
One day the father of this boy was caught in a great storm, and the captain is thrown by the tempest on the seashore. He went to the king, and saw his son. The son recognised the father, but the father did not recognise the son at all, and he became his own son's servant. One day he said to him:
"Do you know who I am?"
"I am such an one, your son. At such a time you threw me into the sea in a barrel, and now the bird's song has come true."
And after that the father and the son lived together very happily.
The following seems to be a variation of the same:--
Like many others in the world, there was a gentleman and lady. They had several children. There was one whom they did not love so much as they did the others, because he said that he heard a voice very often. He said also that this voice had told him that a father and a mother would be servants to their son, but without saying that it was they. When the mother heard that she got very angry, taking it for herself. They were very rich, and they had two men-servants. This mother told these servants to go with her son and kill him, and bring his heart back to the house.
The next day she said to her son:
"You must go for a walk to such a place with these servants, and you may stop there till twelve o'clock."
The lad goes off quietly with the servants, and when they had gone a little distance, the two servants begin to talk loudly, and to dispute, and get angry. He goes up to them, and sees what they are quarrelling about. The one wished to kill him, and the other did not. They fought, and the one who did not wish to kill him got the better of the other. And they said that they would kill a big dog which they had with them, and that they would carry his heart to their mistress. Before the servants returned the mother had already begun to be sorry.
Our young man wandered from place to place, and wandering like that, he said to himself that he must go to Rome. He meets with two men who tell him that they are going to Rome too, and they will make the journey together. They loved this young lad very much, because they saw that there was something in him different from the rest. When night came they all go to a house hidden in a thick forest. They ask shelter for the night. They tell them to enter, and give them a good supper. Our young lad hears the voice, and it says to him:
"You are in a very unhappy place here. It would have been better if you had not come here."
The other men said to him, "What is that? What is that?"
"Nothing at all. It would have been better to have gone elsewhere."
When they had finished supper, they show them to bed, but our young gentleman does not go to sleep. He hears in the middle of the night a great noise made by the robbers, who were returning home laden with silver. The woman said to them:
"Go gently. We have three men here, and they say that one of them is very rich."
Our young man hears that. He wakes his comrades, and they jump out of the window and escape. They walk on the whole day. When night comes they see a beautiful house, and they ask to be lodged there that night. They said to them:
"Certainly, with pleasure, but you will not have much rest; we have a daughter who for seven years shrieks out in pain night and day."
These men say to the young man: "Will not you cure her--you?"
He said to them: "I will try."
(The narrator had forgotten how this was done).
They were very rich. When he had cured the young girl, this poor father said to him:
"Sir, it is you who are now the master of this house. Give your orders, and whatever you wish shall be done."
Our young gentleman thanks him very much, and tells him that he is going to Rome, but that he cannot say what he will do later after that. This young lady had a beautiful ring on her finger. The father cut this ring in two, and gave him one-half. They depart, and at length they arrive close to Rome, and as they come near all the bells begin to ring of themselves. Everyone comes out:
"Where is he? What is this? It is the Holy Father who must be coming!"
They take our young gentleman and make him the Holy Father.
The mother of this man was growing sadder and sadder, she was slowly languishing away, and they could no longer recognise her. She had never told her husband what she had done, but she asked him to go to Rome; and she ended by telling him what a terrible thing she had done, and that she believes that she will get pardon there, if he would go with her with the two servants who had also sinned. They arrive at Rome. This poor mother had such great grief, and such a weight at her heart that she wished to make her confession aloud in the middle of the church at Rome. Chance willed it that her son was in this church. When he hears that he goes opening his arms to the arms of his mother, saying to her:
"I forgive you, I am your son."
The joy and the happiness kill the father and mother on the spot. He takes the two servants home with him, and gives to him who did not wish to kill him the half of the young lady's ring, and he married her, and lived happily in the midst of riches. He told the servant who wished to kill him to go to the mountain and to be a charcoal-burner, and he is still there making charcoal; and this charcoal which you see here was brought from his house.
This is a very old and wide-spread story. The Gaelic versions are given in Campbell, Vol. II., p. 239, seq. Cf. also Cox, "Aryan Mythology," Vol. I., p. iii, seq.
LIKE many others in the world, there were a mother and her son; they were poor, and the young man, when he grew up, wished to go from home, to see if he could better his position. His mother lets him go with great reluctance. He goes on, and on, and on through terrible forests. He comes to a beautiful house, and asks if they want a servant. They tell him "Yes," and to come in; and then they tell him how they go at night to rob people, and sometimes to kill them; and they ask if he would go too. He says "Yes," and in the middle of the night he sees the chief of the robbers arrive, with all his company, laden with gold and silver; and he remained a long time with them.
One day the chief said to him, "At such an hour a rich gentleman on horseback will pass by such a place, and you must go and rob him; and, if he will not give it up willingly, you must kill him."
Our lad had had enough of this trade; but he told the chief that he would do it. He stays then, waiting for this gentleman, and at last he sees him coming. He presents. himself before him, and says,
"Your purse or your life!"
The gentleman gives him his purse and all the money that he had, and he had a great deal. He said to him, "It is not enough yet. You must give me your fine clothes too, and your horse."
They exchange clothes, and the gentleman goes off, very glad, although he had old clothes on, because he had spared him his life. Instead of returning to the robbers' house, what does our lad do? He goes off on horseback with his money to his mother's house. Everyone was astonished at his arrival, and that he had made his fortune so quickly. He goes to his mother, and judge of her joy! He tells her how it is that he has become so rich, and that it all happened far, far away. His mother told it to others, and at last this news comes to the ears of the mayor, who sends his servant to this young man to tell him to come to his house on the morrow without fault.
He goes then, leaving his mother in tears. His mother told him to tell the mayor how he had made his fortune so quickly. He tells him what business he had pursued, but that it was very far away, and that he had never killed anybody. The mayor said to him,
"If you do not steal my finest horse from my stable this very night, I will have you killed to-morrow."
This mayor was very rich, and he had a great many servants and a great many horses. There were three of them finer and more valuable than the others. Our lad goes home and consoles his mother. He asks her to give him his old clothes which he wore formerly, and, putting them over the others, he takes a big stick, and goes off to the mayor's, crawling along like an old man. He knocks at the door, and asks shelter for the night. A lad comes to him, and says--
"We shall not give you shelter in this house to-night. You may go on farther."
But he begs so much, and asks him to give him at least a corner of the stable--that he does not know where to go to--that at last they let him enter, and give him a little straw (to lie down on). Our lad hears what they say to each other. Three lads were to stop till midnight on the three finest horses, and at midnight three other servants were to take their places. What does our lad do? They were asleep on their horses. As soon as he hears midnight, he goes and gives one of them a knock, and says to him,
"It is midnight; go to bed."
Half asleep, the lad goes off to bed; the others were still asleep on their horses. He mounts on the horse--he had chosen the finest--and opens the doors very gently, and goes off at a trot, without looking behind him. He goes home, and his mother is very delighted to see her son.
The next day he goes to market to sell his horse. When the mayor gets up he goes to the stable, and sees that his finest horse is missing. The servants were sleeping on their horses, and the others in bed. He gets into a rage, and does not know what to do. He sends to the mother's to ask her where her son is. She replies that he is gone to sell a horse. They tell her that the mayor summonses him immediately. The mother grows sad again, and tells her son what they have said to her, and off he goes.
The mayor says to him, "What a fellow you are! You won the game yesterday, but if you do not steal from our oven to-night all the bread that is in it, it shall be all over with you.
The mayor assembles all the municipal council and all his friends, thinking he would have some fun while guarding his oven. They had dances, and music, and games, and brilliant lights, and all sorts of amusements, and all this in front of the oven. What does our lad do? He takes a little hammer, and goes behind the oven. He makes a hole, and by that takes out all the loaves, and puts them in his basket, and goes home.
The next day the mayor was proud because they had not stolen his loaves, and because they had so well guarded the door of the oven, and he sends his servant to fetch a loaf for breakfast. When she opens the door of the oven, she sees the sun through the other end of the oven. Judge of their astonishment! The mayor was in a red-hot passion. He sends to fetch the lad. They go and ask his mother where her son is. She answers, "Selling bread." And they tell the mayor. He sends to tell her to tell her son to come to him as soon as he comes home. The poor mother is again in great distress. When her son arrives, she tells him the message, and off he goes.
The mayor says to him, "Yesterday, too, you have hit the mark; but you have not finished yet. This very night you must steal the sheets which we have under us in our bed, otherwise your life shall be put an end to."
He goes home, and he makes an image of himself from his old clothes; and, when night is come, he goes off dragging it to the mayor's. The mayor had placed guards at all the windows and doors, with arms. Our lad ties his image to a long stick, and, by drawing a cord, he hoists it against the wall. When the guards see a man climbing up the wall near a window, they fire, and all begin to cry out "Hurrah!" At this noise the mayor leaps out of bed, thinking that they have killed him, and that he must go and see him too. Our lad takes advantage of this moment to enter the house, and he goes to the mayor's bed, and says--
"It is cold, it is cold;" and keeps pulling and pulling all the bed-clothes to his side. When he has all, he says to the lady:
"I must go and look again, to be quite sure, and to see if they have buried him."
The wife said to him, "Stop here then; you will come back dead of cold."
He goes off, and escapes very quickly, as well as he can, with the sheets. The others are out-doing each other, one beating, the other stabbing, the other pulling about (the image). At last they go in-doors, quite out of breath. All are pleased, and proud that they have their lad at last down there.
The mayor goes to bed, and his wife says to him:
"Now, at least, you will remain here without any more of this going and coming down there, and making me all cold."
"I have not been going and coming. I!"
"Yes, yes; you were certainly here just now, you too."
He gets into bed, and he keeps turning and moving about, not being able to find the sheets. At last, getting impatient, he lights the candle, and he sees that the sheets are not there. Judge of their anger; they did not know what to do. The wife said to him:
"You had better leave that man alone, or some misfortune will happen to us."
He will not listen to anything, and goes off. He sends to fetch him as soon as daylight comes. They find his mother, and ask her where her son is. She answers:
"He has gone to sell some sheets."
They say to her, "You will send him to the mayor's when he comes home." And this poor woman is again in great trouble, for at last (she thinks) they will make an end of her son. She sends him again to the mayor's, who says to him:
"This time you shall not escape me. If you do not steal all the money of my brother the priest, you are done for."
The brother of the mayor was rector of this town. When evening came our lad hides himself in the church, and dresses himself in the finest of the church robes, (used only) for the highest festivals. He lights all the candles and the lamps, and at midnight he begins to ring all the bells at full swing--dilin, don; dilin, don, don; dilin, don. The rector comes running with his servant to see what is happening in the church, and they see on the high altar someone, who says to them:
"Prostrate yourselves. I am the good God. I am come to fetch you. You must die; but before dying you must bring here all the money, and all the riches that you have in your houses."
The priest goes and brings everything. He makes the priest go to the top of the tower, and says to him:
"You are now going into purgatory, but afterwards you will go to heaven."
He makes him get into a sack, takes hold of one end, and drags him down the stairs, bumping, zimpi eta zampa, on all the steps. He cried, "Ay! ay!" and he says to him:
"This is nothing; soon you will be in heaven."
And he carries him like that to his brother's chicken-house, and leaves him there. The next morning the maid goes to feed the fowls. She sees a sack, and touches it, and the sack moves. The girl goes off running to tell her mistress what she has seen. Her mistress goes and touches it, and the sack does the same thing. She is frozen with fright, and goes to her husband, and says:
"You see that I told you right to let that man alone. At present, what will become of us? What can there be in that sack?"
The gentleman immediately sends someone to fetch this lad. He was just at that moment at home, and they tell him that the mayor orders him to come directly. They tell him to open the sack. He touches it, and the sack gives a leap; and he says that he will not open it, not for ten thousand francs.
"I will give you ten thousand francs."
"No! not for twenty thousand."
"I will give them you."
"No, no, no I not even for forty thousand."
"I will give you thirty thousand."
"No, no, no, no I not even for forty thousand."
"And for fifty thousand?"
He agreed to open it, and he hands them their brother, the priest, whom he had left without a sou. After having got his fifty thousand francs, our lad went off well satisfied to his home, and lived there rich with his mother; and the mayor lived with his brother, the priest, poorer than he was before. And if they had lived well, they would have died well too.
This name was written thus phonetically from the Basque, and it was not till I saw the Gaelic tale that it struck me that it is simply "Jean d'Ecosse"--"John of Scotland," or "Scotch John." In the analogous tale in Campbell, "The Barra Widow's Son," Vol. II., p. iii, we read--"It was Iain Albanach" (literally, Jean d'Ecosse) "the boy was called at first; he gave him the name of Iain Mac a Maighstir" (John, master's son) "because he himself was master of the vessel." This seems decisive that in some way the Basques have borrowed this tale from the Kelts since their occupation of the Hebrides. The Spanish versions, too, are termed "The Irish Princess" (Patrañas, p. 234).
LIKE many others in the world, there was a gentleman and lady who had a son. When he was grown up his father found that (his intellect) was not awakened, although he had finished his education. What does he do? He buys a ship for him, and takes a captain and a crew, and loads the ship with sand, and sends his son in it as master. They all set off, and go very, very far away, and they come to a country where there was no sand. They sell theirs very dear, and our Juan Dekos went to take a walk in that place.
One day, passing before the door of the church, he sees that all passers-by used to spit on something; he goes up and asks why they do that, They say to him:
"It is a dead man who is there, and if no one pays his debts, he will remain there until he rots away."
What does Juan Dekos do? With all the money that he had he pays this man's debts. The whole crew and the officers were in a red-hot rage, because they had all their money there. He goes back again with his ship, and they arrived in their own city. The father from a distance had recognised his son's ship, and comes to meet him. The sailors from a long way off shout out to him what he had done with the money. The father was not pleased, but he sends the ship off again loaded with iron. They go on, and at length arrive at a place where he sells his iron for a great deal of money. When they were walking about in this city, he sees Christians being sold by the savages in the marketplace. There were eight of them for sale; and he buys all the eight, and employs all the money which he had made with his iron in buying them. He sends seven of them to their own homes, and keeps with him a young girl whose name was Marie Louise. She was very beautiful. He returns home with his ship, and his crew, and Marie Louise. The father comes to meet him, and the sailors tell him before Juan Dekos what he had done with the money. His father was very angry, and will not give anything more to his son; he may do what he likes.
Juan Dekos had a portrait of Marie Louise made for the figure-head of his ship; and the men agree to go to the country of Marie Louise. They set out then. The second in command of the ship was lame, and he was very jealous of Juan Dekos and of Marie Louise. He did not know what to do.
One day he sent for Juan Dekos on deck, saying that he wished to show him a strange fish that was in the water. When he had got him quite close to him, he throws him into the sea. Nobody was there when he did that. When the meal-time comes they all asked where Juan Dekos was, and nobody knew what was become of him. The lame man was delighted, thinking that Marie Louise would be his. He pays her all sorts of attention.
Juan Dekos was taken by an angel and placed upon a rock, and he brought him there every day what was necessary for his maintenance. The ship at length arrived in the country of Marie Louise. As she was the king's daughter everybody recognised her, and that easily, from a distance by her portrait. The king was quickly told of it, and goes to meet his daughter, and you may imagine what rejoicings he made. He has all the men conducted to his house and treats them all well. Marie Louise tells how she had been bought by Juan Dekos, and how good he had been to her, and that she does not know what had become of him. She said also that the second officer had taken very great care of her. This second officer wished beyond all things to marry her, and the father wished it too, to show his gratitude, because it was he who had brought his daughter back to him, and because he had not known Juan Dekos. They tormented Marie Louise so much that she promised that, at the end of a year and a day, if Juan Dekos did not make his appearance, she would marry him.
A year and a day passed, and there was no news of Juan Dekos. They were to be married then, and Juan Dekos was still upon his rock. The sea-weed was growing upon his clothes, and he had a monstrous beard. And the angel said to him:
"Marie Louise is married to-day. Would you like to be there?"
He says, "Yes."
"You must give me your word of honour that, at the end of a year, you will give me half the child that Marie Louise will bear to you."
He promises it, and he takes him and carries him to the door of Marie Louise's house. This angel was the soul which he had saved of the man who was lying at the gates of the church for his debts. He asks for alms. Marie Louise's father was very charitable; they therefore give him something. He asks again if they would not let him go in to warm himself at the fire. They tell him "No," that he would be in the way on that day. They go and ask the master, and the master bids them to let him come in and to give him a good dinner.
Marie Louise was already married when Juan Dekos arrived. He had a handsome handkerchief which Marie Louise had given him, and when she passed he showed it in such a way that she could not help seeing it. She saw it clearly, and after looking closely at him she recognises Juan Dekos. Marie Louise goes to find her father, and says to him:
"Papa, you must do me a pleasure."
"Yes, yes, if I can do so."
"You see that poor man? I wish to have him to dine with us to-day."
The father says, That cannot be; he is filthy and disgusting."
"I will wash him, and I will put him some of your new clothes on."
The father then says, "Yes," and he makes them do as Marie Louise wished. They place him at table, but Marie Louise alone recognised him. After dinner they asked Juan Dekos to tell a story in his turn like the rest.
He says, "Yes, but if you wish to hear my story you must shut all the doors and give me all the keys."
They give them to him.
He begins: "There was a father and a mother who had a son who was not very bright, and they decide that they must send him to sea. They load a ship with sand for him. He sells this sand very well, and pays the heavy debts of a dead man whom they were keeping at the church doors (without burial)."
When the second officer saw and heard that, he perceived that his life was in danger, and that it was all up with him, and he begs the king for the key of the door, saying that he must go out; but he could not give it him, so he was forced to remain, and not at all at his ease. Juan Dekos begins again:
"His father loaded the ship again with iron, and he sells it and bought with this money seven Christians, and," pointing to the king's daughter, "there is the eighth."
The King knew this story already from his daughter. What do they do then? When they see how wicked the second officer had been, they had a cartload of faggots brought into the middle of the market-place, they put a shirt of sulphur upon him, and burn him in the midst of the place.
Juan Dekos and Marie Louise marry and are very happy. They had a child, and at the end of a year an angel comes to fetch the half of it. Juan Dekos was very sorry, but as he had given his word he was going to cut it in half. The angel seizes him by the arm, and says to him:
"I see your obedience; I leave you your child."
If they lived well, they died well too.
This is, of course, "Jean de Calais"--"John of Calais"--and would seem to show that it was through some French, and not Spanish, versions that the Basques learnt it.
AS there are many in the world, and as there will be, there was a mother and her son. They had a small fortune. Nothing would please the boy but that he should go and learn to be a sailor. The mother allows him to do so, and when he was passed as captain she gives him a ship with a valuable cargo. The lad starts off and comes to a city. While he was there he sees a crowd of men on a dung-heap, who were dragging an object, some on one side and others on the other. He approaches and sees that they have a dead man there. He asks what they are doing like that for, and why they do not bury him. They tell him that he has left debts, and that they will not bury him, even though he should fall to pieces.
Juan de Kalais asks, "And if anyone should pay his debts, would you bury him then?" They say, "Yes."
Juan de Kalais has it cried throughout the city that whoever has to receive anything of that man should show himself. As you may suppose, many came forward, even those who had nothing to receive. Our Juan de Kalais sold his cargo, and still, not having enough, he sold his ship too.
He returns home and tells his mother what he has done. His mother was very angry, and said that he would never grow rich if he acted like that. But, as he wished much to go again, his mother bought for him a wretched little ship and loads it with oakum, and tar, and resin, and he goes on his voyage. He meets with a large man-of-war, and the captain tells him that he must buy of him a charming young lady. Juan de Kalais tells him that he has no money, but the other captain (he was an Englishman) tells him to give him his cargo at least. Juan de Kalais says to him:
That is not worth much."
But the English captain says to him that it is, that it just happens to be most valuable to him, and they make the exchange. Our Juan de Kalais goes to his mother's house, and his mother was more angry than before, saying she had nothing now with which to load his ship. She had nothing, and would give him nothing; that instead of getting rich they had become poor, and that it would have been better if he had stopped at home. After some days he married the young lady whom the captain had given him, and as Juan de Kalais was in poverty and distress, not having any cargo, his wife told him that he had no need of cargo--that she will give him a flag and a handkerchief, and she gave him her ring and told him to go to the roadstead of Portugal and to fire three rounds of cannon; and, when people came, to tell them that he must see the king. (She added) that she was called Marie Madeleine. Our Juan de Kalais sets off and arrives in the roadstead of Portugal, and fires his three rounds of cannon. Everybody is astonished at hearing this noise. The king himself comes on board the ship and asks how they dared to fire, and that everyone is a prisoner.-- He answers that he brings news of Marie Madeleine, and he shows him the flag with her portrait and the handkerchief. The king did not know where he was with joy, and he tells him that he must go directly and fetch her.
The king had with him an old general who had wished to marry Marie Madeleine, but she would not; and he asks the king if he might not go too with him--that he would do it quicker. The king told him to go then if he wished, and they set out.
When they were at sea the old general said to Juan de Kalais one day:
"Look, Juan de Kalais, what a fine fish there is here!"
He looks and does not see anything. The old general. says to him again:
"Stoop down your head, and look here."
And at the same time he throws him into the sea. The old general goes on his voyage, and takes the young lady and goes back to the king, and makes him believe that Juan de Kalais was drowned, and he still wished to marry Marie Madeleine; but she would by no means consent, (saying) that she had been married to Juan de Kalais, and that she was so deeply sorry for him that she would remain seven years without going out of her room. As her father wished her to marry this general she decided to do so then.
Let us now go to the poor Juan de Kalais. He remained seven years on a rock, eating sea-weed and drinking the seawater. There came to him a fox, who said to him:
"You do not know, Juan de Kalais, the daughter of the King of Portugal is going to be married to-morrow. What would you give to go there?"
"The half of what I have at present, and the half of what I shall have later on."
The fox takes him and carries him to the door of the house of the King of Portugal, and leaves him there. Juan de Kalais asks if they want a servant. They tell him that they will have work for him too-that they will have a wedding in the house to-morrow. The lady's maid recognised Juan de Kalais, and goes running to tell it to the queen, who will not believe it--(she says) that he was drowned. The servant, after having looked at him again, assures her that it is he; and the princess, to put an end to the dispute, goes off to see him, and quickly assures herself that it is he, seeing the ring that she had given him. She throws herself into his arms, and makes him come with her to the king. The king said to her that they would have the wedding feast just the same. While they were at table the king asked Juan de Kalais to tell them some story. Juan de Kalais says "Yes," and takes out his sword, and puts it on the table, saying, "Whoever speaks shall have news of my sword." He begins to tell how he had saved a man by selling all that he had and paying his debts; how afterwards he had made an exchange for a young lady--that in order to save her he had given all his cargo; then how he had been betrayed by one of his friends and thrown into the water, and that he had lived on sea-weed and sea-water.
When the king had heard that he ordered the old general to be arrested, and has him burnt immediately in the midst of the market-place.
The king gives Juan de Kalais all his riches, and they lived very happily. At the end of a year they had a fine boy, and lo! the fox comes and tells him that he has come to look for what he has promised him, and he begins to make a division. If there were two gold chains he put one aside, and of all that there was the same thing. When they had finished the division the fox said to him that there was still something--that he had told him it was to be the half of all he might possess. He remembers then his child, and takes out his sword to cut it in half, when the fox with his paw knocks the sword out of his hand, saying that it is enough; that he sees what a sterling good man he is, and that he wants nothing; that he (the fox) is the soul which he had saved by paying his debts, and that he is now in Heaven, thanks to him, and that he will keep his place and that of all his family ready there; and having said that he flew away, taking the form of a pigeon.
Learnt it from her mother.
We had put this tale aside, with some others, as worthless, until we found from Campbell how widely it is spread. The earliest version seems to be the Italian of Straparola, 1567. The first incident there, persuading that a pig is an ass, we have in another Basque tale; the last two incidents are identical. They are found, too, in the Gaelic, p. 155 though in separate versions. For killing the wife, see Campbell, Vol. II., p. 232; for the last, pp. 222 and 234. Cf. also "The Three Widows," with all the variations and notes, Vol. II., pp. 218-238. Is this a case of transmission from one people to another of the Italian of Straparola? or do all the versions point back to some lost original? and is there, or can there be, any allegorical meaning to such a tale? The answer to these questions seems of great importance, and the present tale to be a good instance to work upon. Petarillo seems an Italian name.
LIKE many others in the world, there was a man and his wife. The man's name was Petarillo. He was fond of sporting. One day he caught two leverets, and the parish priest came to see him. The husband said to his wife--"If the priest comes again you will let one of the hares go, as if to meet me, tying, at the same time, a letter round its neck, and I will tie another letter to the other hare."
The priest goes to the house one day, and asks where the husband is. The woman says:
"I will send one of the hares with a letter to fetch him. No matter where he is, she will find him; he has trained them so well."
And she lets one of the hares loose. They grew impatient at the long delay, and had given it up, when at last the husband came. His wife says to him, "I sent the hare."
He answers, "I have it here."
The astonished priest says to him, "You must sell me that hare, I beg you; you have trained it so well."
A second time he says, "You must sell it to me."
And the man said to him, "I will not give it you for less than five hundred francs."
Oh! you will give it me for three hundred?"
At last he gives it him for four hundred. The priest tells his housekeeper:
"If any one comes, you will let the hare loose; she will find me, no matter where I may be."
A man comes to the parsonage to say that a sick person is asking for the priest. She immediately lets the hare loose, being quite sure that that would be enough. But the priest did not return. The man got tired of waiting, and went off. The housekeeper told the priest that she had let the hare loose, and that she had seen nothing more of it.
In a rage, he goes to the huntsman's house. But Petarillo, seeing him coming in a rage, gives a wine-skin to his wife, and says to her:
"Put this under your jacket. When the priest is here, I will plunge a knife into you in a rage, and you will fall as if you were dead; and when I shall begin to play the flute, you will get up as if you were alive."
The priest arrives in a great rage, (they all three dispute), and the man stabs his wife. She falls on the ground, and the priest says to him:
"Do you know what you have done?
He replies, "It is nothing; I will soon put it to rights."
And he takes his flute, and begins to play. She gets up all alive again, and the priest says to him:
"Do sell me that flute, I beg you."
He answers that it is of great value, and that he will not sell it.
"But you must sell it me. How much do you want for it? I will give you all you ask."
"Five hundred francs." And he gives it him.
The priest's housekeeper used sometimes to laugh at him. So when he came home he wanted to frighten her a little; and, as usual, she begins to make fun of him; and he stabs her with the large carving-knife. His sister says to him,
"Do you know what you have done? You have killed your housekeeper!"
"No, no! I can put that to rights."
He begins to play on the flute, but it does no good at all. He rushes off in a rage to the huntsman's house, and he ties the huntsman in a sack, and hauls him off to throw him into the sea. As he passes near the church, the bell begins to ring for Mass, and he leaves the man there till he has said Mass. Meanwhile a shepherd passes. He asks him what he is doing there. He says to him, "The priest is going to throw me into the sea because I will not marry the king's daughter."
The other said to him, "I will put myself in your place, and I will deliver you. When you have tied me up, go away with my flock."
When the priest returned, after having said Mass, he takes up the sack, and the man says,
"I will marry the king's daughter."
"I will marry you presently."
And he throws him into the sea.
The good priest was returning home, when he sees the man with the sheep, and says to him,
"Where did you get that flock from?"
"From the bottom of the sea. There are plenty there. Don't you see that white head, how it lifts itself above the sea?"
"Yes; and I, too, must have a flock like that."
"Come close to the edge, then."
And our huntsman pushes him into the sea.
We have other tales about priests, all in the same spirit as this. The Basques are a deeply religious people, and are generally on the best terms with the clergy; but they will not be dominated by them. Any attempt at undue interference in their national games or customs is sure to be resented; of this we have known several instances--some rather amusing ones. G. H., the narrator of the above tale, did not know a word of French.
Some of Campbell's stories begin a little like these, e.g., Vol. I., p. 95, Macdonald's tale--"There was a king and a knight, as there was and will be, and as grows the fir tree, some of it crooked and some of it straight, and he was King of Eirinn." The ending, "If they had lived well, they would have died well too," recals a Latin inscription still occasionally to be seen on Basque houses:--
Memento tua novissima,
Et non peccabis in æternum."
This is on two houses in Baigorry, and on one at Ascarrat, and probably on many others.
WE do not suppose that the tales here given are the only ones in our collection which are derived more or less directly from or through the French. Several of those previously given under different heads we believe to have been so. The question, however, still remains: Whence did Madame d'Aulnoy, Perrault, and the other writers of the charming "Contes des Fées," derive their materials? Place their talent as high as we may, we still believe them to have been incapable of inventing them. Combine, transpose, dress up, refine--all this they did in an incomparable manner. Some portions they may have culled, directly or indirectly, from Eastern stories; their own imagination may have filled up many a blank, expanded many a hint, clothed many a half-dressed body in the habit of their own times--as heraldic painters formed grotesque monsters by selecting and putting together parts from many diverse animals; but to create, even in fancy, was beyond their line, if it is not altogether beyond the power of man. Therefore, when we hear these tales related by peasants ignorant of French, we may still ask how far they have learnt them at second or third hand from the printed works, and how far they are reciting the crude materials out of which those works were originally composed? This is a question which can only be fully answered when all the legends in all the languages and patois of France shall have been collected and compared. Meanwhile, we beg our readers to accept these few tales as a small and not very valuable stone contributed towards the erection of so vast an edifice.
LIKE many others in the world, there was a king and a queen. One day there came to them a young girl who wished for a situation. They asked her her name, and she said "Faithful." The king said to her, "Are you like your name?" and she said "Yes."
She stopped there seven years. Her master gave her all the keys, even that of the treasure. One day, when the king and queen were out, Faithful goes to the fountain, and she sees seven robbers coming out of the house. Judge what a state this poor girl was in! She runs straight to the treasury, and sees that more than half the treasure is missing. She did not know what would become of her--she was all of a tremble. When the king and queen came home she told them what had happened, but they would not believe her, and they put her in prison. She stays there a year. She kept saying that she was not in fault, but they would not believe her. The king condemns her to death, and sends her with four men to the forest to kill her, telling them to bring him her heart.
They go off, but these men thought it a pity to kill this young girl, for she was very pretty, and she told them that she was innocent of this robbery; and they say to her:
"If you will, not come any more into this land, we will spare your life."
She promises them that she will not be seen again in those parts. The men see an ass, and they tell her that they will carry its heart to the king. The young girl said to them:
"Flay this ass, I pray you; and, in order that no one may know me, I will never take this skin off me."
The men (do so), and go off to the king, and the young girl goes to look for some shelter. At nightfall she finds a beautiful house. She asks if they want some one to keep the geese. They tell her, "Yes, yes, yes." They put her along with the geese, and tell her that she must go with them every day to such a field. She went out very early in the morning and came back late. It was the king's house, and it was the queen-mother and her son who lived there.
After some time there appeared to her one day an old woman, who called to her:
"Faithful, you have done penance enough. The son of the king is going to give some grand feasts, and you must go to them. This evening you will ask madame permission, and you will tell her that you will give her all the news of the ball if she will let you go for a little while. And, see, here is nut. All the dresses and things you want will come out of that. You will break it as you go to the place of the festival."
That evening she asked permission of her mistress to go and see the festival which the king is going to give, for a short time only, and that she will return directly and tell her all that she has seen there. Her mistress said, "Yes." That evening she goes then. On her way she breaks the nut, and there comes out of it a silver robe. She puts it on, and goes there, and immediately she enters all the world looks at her. The king is bewitched, he does not quit her for an instant, and they always dance together. He pays no attention at all to the other young ladies. They enjoy the refreshments very much. Some friends of the king call him, and he has to-go there; and in this interval Faithful makes her escape to the house.
She tells the queen how that a young girl had come to the ball, how she had dazzled everybody, and especially the king, who paid attention to her alone, but that she had escaped.
When the son comes to the house, his mother says to him:
"She escaped from you then, your young lady? She did not care for you, doubtless."
He says to his mother, "Who told you that?"
"Ass'-skin; she wished to go and see it."
The king goes to where Faithful was and gives her two blows with his slipper, saying to her:
"If you return there again I will kill you on the spot."
The next day Ass'-skin goes with her geese, and there appears to her again the old woman. She tells her that she ought to go to the ball again this evening--that her mistress would give her permission. "Here is a walnut; you have there all that is necessary to dress yourself with. The king will ask you your name--Braf-le-mandoufle."
In the evening she asks permission of her mistress, but she is astonished (at her asking), and says to her:
"You do not know what the king has said--that if he catches you he will kill you on the spot?"
"I am not afraid. He will be sure not to catch me."
She goes off, and on the way she breaks the walnut, and there comes out of it a golden robe. She goes in. The king comes with a thousand compliments, and asks her how she had escaped the evening before without saying anything to him, and that he had been very much hurt at it.
They amuse themselves thoroughly. The king has eyes for her alone. He asks her her name. She tells him, "Braf-le-mandoufle." They feast themselves well, and some friends having called to him he goes to them, and the young lady escapes.
Ass'-skin goes to tell the queen that yesterday evening's young lady had come, but still more beautiful--that she had escaped in the very middle of the ball. She goes off to her geese. The king comes to his house. His mother says to him:
"She came then, the young lady you love? but she only loves you so-so, since she has gone off in this fashion."
"Who told you that?"
He goes off to her and gives her two kicks with his slipper, and says to her:
"Woe to you if you go there again; I will kill you on the very spot."
She goes off to her geese, and the old woman comes to her again and tells her to ask permission again for this evening--that she must go to the dance. She gives her a peach, and tells her that she will have there all that is necessary to dress herself with. She goes then to ask her mistress if she will give her permission, like last night, to go to the ball. She says to her:
"Yes, yes, I will give you leave. But are you not afraid lest the king should catch you? He has said that he will kill you if you go there."
"I am not afraid, because I am sure that he will not catch me. Yesterday he looked for me again, but he could not catch me."
She goes off then. On the way she opens her peach, and finds there a dress entirely of diamonds, and if she was beautiful before, judge what she is now! She shone like the sun. The king was plunged into joy when he saw her. He was in an ecstasy. He did not wish to dance, but they sat down at their ease on beautiful arm-chairs, and with their refreshments before them they passed such a long time together. The king asked her to give him her promise of marriage. The young lady gives him her word, and the king takes his diamond ring off his finger and gives it to her. His friends call him away to come quickly to see something very rare, and off he goes, leaving his lady. She takes advantage of this opportunity to escape. She tells her mistress all that has passed--how that this young lady had come with a dress of diamonds, that all the world was dazzled by her beauty, that they could not even look at her she shone so brightly, that the king did not know where he was for happiness, that they had given each other their promise of marriage, and that the king had given her his diamond ring, but that the best thing of all was that to-day again she has escaped him.
The king comes in at that very instant. His mother says to him:
"She has not, she certainly has not, any wish for you. She has gone off with your diamond ring. Where will you go and look for her? You do not know where she lives. Where will you ask for a young lady who has such a name as 'Braf-le-mandoufle!' She has given you her promise of marriage too; but she does not wish to have you, since she has acted like that."
Our king did not even ask his mother who has told her that. He went straight to bed thoroughly ill, and so Ass'-skin did not have her two kicks that evening.
The queen was in great trouble at seeing her son ill like that. She was continually turning over in her head who this young lady might be. She said to her son, "Is this young lady our Ass'-skin? How else could she have known that you had given your promise to one another, and that you had given her the ring too? She must have been very, close to you. Did you see her?"
He says, "No," but remains buried in thought.
His mother says, "She has a very pretty face under her ass'-skin."
And she says that she must send for her, and that he must have a good look at her too; that he shall have some broth brought up by her.
She sends for Ass'-skin to the kitchen, has the broth made for her son, and Ass'-skin puts in the middle of the bread the ring which the king had given her. The lady had her well dressed, and she goes to the king. The king, after having seen her, was still doubtful. He drank his broth; but when he puts the bread into his mouth he finds something (hard), and is very much astonished at seeing his ring. He was ill no longer. He goes and runs to his mother to tell her his joy that he has found his lady. He wishes to marry directly, and all the kings of the neighbourhood are invited to the feast; and, while they were dining, everyone had some fine news to relate. They ask the bride, too, if she had not something to tell them. She says "Yes," but that she cannot tell what she knows--that it would not please all at the table. Her husband tells her to speak out boldly; he draws his sword, and says,
"Whosoever shall speak a word shall be run through with this sword."
She then tells how a poor girl was servant at a king's house; how she remained there seven years; that they liked her very much, and treated her with confidence, even to giving her the keys of the treasure. One day, when the king and his wife were out, robbers entered, and stole almost all the treasure. The king would not believe that robbers had come. He puts the young girl in prison for a whole year, and at the end of that time he sends her to execution, telling the executioners to bring her heart to the house. The executioners were better than the king; they believed in her innocence, and, after having killed an ass, they carried its heart to the king; "and for the proof, it is I who was servant to this king."
The bridegroom says to her, "Who can this king be? Is it my uncle?"
The lady says, "I do not know if he is your uncle, but it is that gentleman there."
The bridegroom takes his sword and kills him on the spot, saying to his wife,
"You shall not be afraid of him any more."
They lived very happily. Some time afterwards they had two children, a boy and a girl. When the elder was seven years old he died, telling his father and mother that he was going to Heaven to get a place there ready for them. At the end of a week the other child dies too, and she says to them that she, too, is going to Heaven, and that she will keep their place ready; that they, too, would quickly go to them.
And, as she had said, at the end of a year, at exactly the very same time, both the gentleman and lady died, and they both went to Heaven.
We have four other variations of the above story, written down, with others, that we heard, but did not copy out. One, which much resembles the above, excepting in the commencement, opens with the proposal of a king's son to marry one of the three daughters of another king. This king asks his three daughters (like King Lear) how much they love him. The eldest says, "As much as I do my little finger." That did not please him. The second says, "As much as my middle finger." The youngest says, "As much as the bread loves the salt." In a rage the father sends her into the forest, with two servants, to be killed. They spare her, and carry the horse's heart to the king, and the girl lives in the forest "on the plants which the birds brought her, and on the flowers which the bees brought her." The king's son finds her there while hunting, takes her home, and marries her. At the wedding feast she gives her father bread without salt, and then discovers herself, and all is made right, and they live all happily, except the two sisters, who remain old maids.
Two others open like Campbell's "The King who Wished to Marry his Daughter." A king loses his wife, who on her deathbed makes him promise only to marry some one just like her. This is, of course, her daughter. The daughter will not, and takes counsel of her godmother. She bids her ask for a wedding dress made of the wings of flies; but this impossibility is performed. Then the daughter escapes--in the one tale in a ship, in the other on foot--and takes a place as servant. The king has a ball; the old woman appears, and gives her the nut with the dresses, etc. But in one of these tales, on the wedding-day she was more handsomely dressed than ever before, "and think! they had their dresses made for each other"--i.e., they dress each other! "I don't understand how it is," said the narrator, "but the story says so."
Our fifth version is short, and, as it puts the step-mother in an unusual light, we give it entire:--
A FATHER and his daughter were living together. The daughter told her father to marry again. The father said, "Why? you will be unhappy." "It is all the same to me; I prefer to see you happy." And after some time he marries again. This lady asked her husband to give her full power over this young girl to do what she will with her. The husband consents, and does not think any more about her; he did not even see her again. This lady says to the young girl, "If you do all I tell you, you will be the better for it." The king lived near their house, and one day her stepmother gave her the keys of the king's house and told her to go at such an hour of the night into the king's bed-room, "and without waking him you will bring me back his sash." The daughter did not like it at all, but in spite of that she goes off, and without any person seeing her, she returns home with the king's girdle. The next day the step-mother says to her step-daughter, "You must go again, and you must bring the king's watch chain." While she was taking it, the king moved in his bed, and the young girl is so frightened that she runs off, and loses her shoe at the door of the king's room. At the end of some days they hear that the king has made a proclamation that he will go from house to house with a shoe, and that she whom it fits perfectly shall be his wife. The king goes looking and looking, first of all, in the houses of the rich; but he had said that he would go into all the houses. He goes then to this gentleman's who had married again, because it was close at hand. The persons of his suite asked him why he went there, for they were only poor people. The king will go all the same. He finds this lady, who says that they are poor, and that she is ashamed to receive the king in her bed-room; but it was there she had her step-daughter very nicely dressed, with only one shoe on her feet. She was dazzling with beauty, and the king finds her very much to his taste. They are married immediately; he takes the father and step-mother to his house, and they all live happily, and this step-daughter owed her good fortune to her step-mother.
There are two curious versions of these tales in Bladé's "Contes Populaires Recueillis en Agenais" (Paris, Baer, 1874), Nos. I. and VIII. Those who wish to compare others may follow up the references there given by Reinhold Köhler, on pp. 145 and 153; also those given at pp. 44 and 47 of Brueyre's "Contes Populaires de la Grande Bretagne" (Paris, Hachette, 1875).
As there are many in the world in its state now, there was a king who had three daughters. He used continually to bring handsome presents to his two elder daughters, but did not pay any attention at all to his youngest daughter, and yet she was the prettiest and most amiable.
The king kept going from fair to fair, and from feast to feast, and from everywhere he used to bring something for the two eldest daughters. One day, when he was going to a feast, he said to his youngest daughter --
"I never bring anything home for you; tell me then what you want and you shall have it."
She said to her father: "And I do not want anything."
"Yes, yes, I am going to bring you something."
"Very well then, bring me a flower."
He goes off, and is busy buying and buying; for one a hat, for the other a beautiful piece of stuff for a dress, and for the first again a shawl; and he was returning home, when in passing before a beautiful castle, he sees a garden quite full of flowers, and he says to himself:
"What! I was going home without a flower for my daughter; here I shall have plenty of them."
He takes some then, and as soon as he has done so, a voice says to him:
"Who gave you permission to take that flower? As you have three daughters, if you do not bring me one of them before the year be finished, you shall be burnt wherever you are--you, and your whole kingdom."
The king goes off home. He gives his elder daughters their presents, and her nosegay to the youngest. She thanks her father. After a certain time this king became sad. His eldest daughter said to him:
"What is the matter with you?"
He says to her: "If one of my daughters will not go to such a spot before the end of the year, I shall be burned."
His eldest daughter answers him, "Be burned if you like; as for me, I shall not go. I have no wish at all to go, there. Settle it with the others."
The second also asks him, "You seem very sad, papa; what is the matter with you?"
He told her how he is bound to send one of his daughters, to such a place before the end of the year, otherwise he should be burned.
This one too says to him, "Manage your own business as you like, but do not reckon upon me."
The youngest, after some days, said to him, "What is the matter with you, my father, that you are so sad? Has someone done you some hurt?"
He said to her, "When I went to get your nosegay, a voice said to me, 'I must have one of your daughters, before the year be completed,' and now I do not know what I must do. It told me that I shall be burned."
This daughter said to him, "My father, do not be troubled about it. I will go."
And she sets out immediately in a carriage. She arrives at the castle and goes in, and she hears music and sounds of rejoicing everywhere, and yet she did not see anyone. She finds her chocolate ready (in the morning), and her dinner the same. She goes to bed, and still she does not see anyone. The next morning a voice says to her:
Shut your eyes; I wish to place my head on your. knees for a moment."
"Come, come; I am not afraid."
There appears then an enormous serpent. Without intending it, the young lady could not help giving a little shudder. An instant after the serpent went away; and the young lady lived very happily, without lacking anything. One day the voice asked her if she did not wish to go home.
She answers, "I am very happy here. I have no longing for it."
"Yes, if you like, you may go for three days."
He gives her a ring, and says to her, "If that changes colour, I shall be ill, and if it turns to blood, I shall be in great misery."
The young lady sets out for her father's house. Her father was very glad (to see her). Her sisters said to her:
"You must be happy there. You are prettier than you were before. With whom do you live there?"
She told them, "With a serpent." They would not believe her. The three days flew by like a dream, and she forgot her serpent. The fourth day she looked at her ring, and she saw that it was changed. She rubs it with her finger, and it begins to bleed. Seeing that she goes running to her father, and says to him that she is going. She arrives at the castle, and finds everything sad. The music will not play--everything was shut up. She called the serpent (his name was Azor, and hers Fifine). She kept on calling and crying out to him, but Azor appeared nowhere. After having searched the whole house, after having taken off her shoes, she goes to the garden, and there too she cries out. She finds a corner of the earth in the garden quite frozen, and immediately she makes a great fire over this spot, and there Azor comes out, and he says to her:
"You had forgotten me, then. If you had not made this fire, it would have been all up with me."
Fifine said to him, "Yes, I had forgotten you, but the ring made me think of you."
Azor said to her, "I knew what was going to happen; that is why I gave you the ring."
And coming into the house, she finds it as before, all full of rejoicings--the music was playing on all sides. Some days after that Azor said to her:
"You must marry me."
Fifine gives no answer. He asks her again like that three times, and still she remained silent, silent. The whole house becomes sad again. She has no more her meals ready. Again Azor asks her if she will marry him. Still she does not answer, and she remains like that in darkness several days without eating anything, and she said to herself, "Whatever it shall cost me I must say, Yes."
When the serpent asks her again, "Will you marry me?" she answers, "Not with the serpent, but with the man." As soon as she had said that the music begins as before. Azor says to her that she must go to her father's house and get all things ready that are necessary, and they will marry the next day. The young lady goes as he had told her. She says to her father that she is going to be married to the serpent to-morrow, (and asks him) if he will prepare everything for that. The father consents, but he is vexed. Her sisters, too, ask her whom she is going to marry, and they are astounded at hearing that it is with a serpent. Fifine goes back again, and Azor says to her:
"Which would you prefer, from the house to the church, serpent, or from the church to the house, (serpent)?"
Fifine says to him, "From the house to the church, serpent."
Azor says to her, "I, too."
A beautiful carriage comes to the door. The serpent gets in, and Fifine places herself at his side, and when they arrive at the king's house the serpent says to her:
"Shut the doors and the curtains, that nobody may see."
Fifine says to him, "But they will see you as you get down."
"No matter; shut them all the same."
She goes to her father. Her father comes with all his court to fetch the serpent. He opens the door, and who is astonished? Why, everybody. Instead of a serpent there is a charming young man; and they all go to the church. When they come out there is a grand dinner at the king's, but the bridegroom says to his wife:
"To-day we must not make a feast at all. We have a great business to do in the house; we will come another day for the feast."
She told that to her father, and they go on to their house. When they are come there her husband brings her in a large basket a serpent's skin, and says to her:
"You will make a great fire, and when you hear the first stroke of midnight you will throw this serpent's skin into the fire. That must be burnt up, and you must throw the ashes out of window before the last stroke of twelve has ceased striking. If you do not do that I shall be wretched for ever."
The lady says to him, "Certainly; I will do everything that I can to succeed."
She begins before midnight to make the fire. As soon as she heard the first stroke she throws the serpent's skin (on the fire), and takes two spits and stirs the fire, and moves about the skin and burns it, till ten strokes have gone.
Then she takes a shovel, and throws the ashes outside as the last twelfth stroke is ending. Then a terrible voice says:
"I curse your cleverness, and what you have just done."
At the same time her husband comes in. He did not know where he was for joy. He kisses her, and does not know how to tell his wife what great good she has done him.
"Now I do not fear anything. If you had not done as I told you, I should have been enchanted for twenty-one years more. Now it is all over, and we will go at our ease tomorrow to your father's house for the wedding feast."
They go the next day and enjoy themselves very much. They return to their palace to take away the handsomest things, because they did not wish to stop any more in that corner of the mountain.
They load all their valuable things in carts and waggons, and go to live with the king. This young lady has four children, two boys and two girls, and as her sisters were very jealous of her, their father sent them out of the house.
The king gave his crown to his son-in-law, who was already a son of a king. As they had lived well, they died well too.
We have another version of this tale, which is a little more like its prototype, the "Cupid and Psyche" of Apuleius. In this the monster comes only at night. At first she is horribly frightened at it, but little by little she becomes accustomed to it, and loves it. At last, after having been left alone for some days, a magnificent young man appears to her, a king's son, who had been bewitched into the monster until some one should love him. Of course they marry and are happy.
In a third version, which was not taken down, the father was a sailor instead of a king.
LIKE many others in the world, there was a cobbler who had three daughters. They were very poor. He only earned enough just to feed his children. He did not know what would become of him. He went about in his grief, walking, walking sadly on, and he meets a gentleman, who asks him where he is going, melancholy like that. He answers him,
"Even if I shall tell you, I shall get no relief."
"Yes, yes; who knows? Tell it,"
"I have three daughters, and I have not work enough to maintain them. I have famine in the house."
"If it is only that, we will manage it. You will give me one of your daughters, and I will give you so much money."
The father was very grieved to make any such bargain; but at last he comes down to that. He gives him his eldest daughter. This gentleman takes her to his palace, and, after having passed some time there, he said to her that he has a short journey to make--that he will leave her all the keys, that she might see everything, but that there is one key that she must not make use of--that it would bring misfortune on her. He locks the door on the young lady. This young girl goes into all the rooms, and finds them very beautiful, and she was curious to see what there was in that which was forbidden. She goes in, and sees heaps of dead bodies. Judge of her fright! With her trembling she lets the key fall upon the ground. She trembles for the coming of her husband. He arrives, and asks her if she has entered the forbidden chamber. She tells him "Yes." He takes her and puts her into an underground dungeon; hardly, hardly did he give her enough to eat (to live on), and that was human flesh.
This cobbler had finished his money, and he was again melancholy. The gentleman meets him again, and says to him,
"Your other daughter is not happy alone; you must give me another daughter. When she is happy, I will send her back; and I will give you so much money."
The father did not like it; but he was so poor that, in order to have a little money, he gives him his daughter. The gentleman takes her home with him, like the other. After some days he said to her too,
"I must take a short journey. I will give you all the keys of the house, but do not touch such a key of such a room."
He locks the house-door, and goes off, after having left her the food she needed. This young girl goes into all the rooms, and, as she was curious, she went to look into the forbidden chamber. She was so terribly frightened at the sight of so many dead bodies in this room, that she lets the key fall, and it gets stained. Our young girl was trembling as to what should become of her when the master should come back. He arrives, and the first thing he asks--
"Have you been in that room?"
She told him "Yes." He takes her underground, like her other sister.
This cobbler had finished his money, and he was in misery; when the gentleman comes to him again, and says to him,
"I will give you a great deal of money if you will let your daughter come to my house for a few days; the three will be happier together, and I will send you the two back again together."
The father believes it, and gives him his third daughter. The gentleman gives him the money, and he takes this young girl, like the others. At the end of some days he leaves her, saying that he is going to make a short journey. He gives her all the keys of the house, saying to her--
"You will go into all the rooms except this one," pointing out the key to her. He locks the outside door, and goes off. This young girl goes straight, straight to the forbidden chamber; she opens it, and think of her horror at seeing so many dead people. She thought that he would kill her too, and, as there were all kinds of arms in this chamber, she takes a sabre with her, and hides it under her dress. She goes a little further on, and sees her two sisters almost dying with hunger, and a young man in the same condition. She takes care of them as well as she can till the gentleman comes home. On his arrival, he asks her--
"Have you been in that room?"
She says, "Yes;" and, in giving him back the keys, she lets them fall on the ground, on purpose, and at the instant that this gentleman stoops to pick them up, the young lady cuts off his head (with her sword). Oh, how glad she was! Quickly she runs to deliver her sisters and that young man, who was the son of a king. She sends for her father, the cobbler, and leaves him there with his two daughters, and the youngest daughter goes away with her young gentleman, after being married to him. If they lived well, they died well too.
In another version, by Estefanella Hirigaray, we have the more ordinary tale of "Blue Beard"--that of a widower who has killed twenty wives, and marries a twenty-first, who has two brothers. She drops the key in the forbidden chamber, and is detected by the blood on it. She manages to write to her brothers, and the dialogue by which she endeavours to gain time is rather spirited. She is allowed to put oh her wedding-dress, etc., to die in. She goes to get ready, and she hears the cries of her husband, "Are you ready?" "I am putting on my dress." He bawls out again, "Are you ready?" "Give me a moment more." "Are you ready?" "I am fastening my dress." "Are you ready yet?" "I am putting on my stockings." And she kept constantly looking out of window to see if her brothers were coming. "Are you ready?" "Stop one moment; I am putting on my shoes." "Are you ready?" "I am brushing my hair." "Are you ready?" "Let me put on my wreath." And she sees her brothers coming on horseback in the forest, but a very long way off. She hears again, "Are you ready?" "I am coming in an instant." "You are coming?" "I'll come, if you do not come down." "Don't come; I will come down myself, without you." He seizes her on the stairs to kill her; but the brothers rush in just in time to prevent her death, and they put him in prison.
We heard, also, another version, which, unfortunately, we did not take down. It had something about a horse in it, and was like "The Widow and her Daughters," in Campbell, Vol. II., Tale xli., p. 265.
LIKE many others in the world, there were three young girls. They were spinning together, and as girls must always talk about something while they are spinning, the eldest said:
"You will not guess what I am thinking about?"
"Tell it us, tell it us," (said the other two).
"That I should like to be married to the king's valet."
"And I with his son-in-law," said the second.
And the third said: "And I with the king himself."
Now, the king lived not far from these girls, and just at that moment he was passing before the door of their house, and heard what they said. The next day the king asked the eldest:
"What were you saying yesterday at such a time?"
And she was ashamed to tell him, but the king pressed her so much that at last she told it:
"I said that I wished to be married to your servant."
He made the second come, and asked her the same question: "What were you talking about yesterday?"
She would not tell; but, the king pressed her so much that she said:
"I--I was saying that I wished to marry your son-in-law."
He sends them back home, and sends for the third, and asks her what she said the evening before. She never dared to tell it, because that would have been too great an impudence, but at the last she told it him; and the king told her that they must really be married together, because she was so very pretty. This young girl goes running off home. She told her sisters that she is to marry the king, and all three go to live in the king's house. The two sisters were very jealous. The princess became in the family-way; and the king was obliged to go to another kingdom. His poor wife was confined of a fine girl. But her sisters made the queen believe that she had given birth to a cat, and they wrote this too to the king. The king wrote back to them:
"If it be a cat, take all possible care of it."
When the king returned he did not mention the cat at all. She became pregnant a second time, and the king was obliged to, go to another kingdom, and when the princess was confined her sisters made her believe that she had given birth to a dog. Think what grief and pain this poor queen suffered. Her sisters wrote to the king that his wife had given birth to a dog, and that without doubt she had something to do with animals. He wrote again: "If it be a dog, take all possible care of it." But they said that they had already thrown it into the water, as they had done with the cat.
Fortunately a gardener was there, the same that had been there the first time. He caught hold of the basket, and finds a beautiful child inside. He is very glad, and carries the child to his wife, who puts the infant out to nurse.
The princess became pregnant the third time. The king had intended to stop at home; but at the moment of the confinement he was obliged to go away somewhere, and the sisters wrote to the king that she had been confined of a bear. The king flew into a great rage, and ordered her to be put into a dungeon underground. They gave her a little food through a hole, so that she might not die of starvation; and nevertheless she had given birth to a handsome boy. The same gardener found this basket too, which they had thrown into the water. He carries it to his wife, and she gave it to the same nurse. They were very happy with it, and said that Heaven had sent them these three children, and they loved their father and mother very much; but when they were very old they both died.
The two brothers and their sister got on very well together. They loved each other very much. The boys used to go out hunting and shooting, and they were so well off that they had something to give to the poor. One day there came an old woman begging, and she said to them:
"You cannot be happy."
"Yes, yes, we certainly are," they answered.
And the woman said to them: "No, no, you want three things before you can be happy--the tree which sings, the bird which tells the truth, and the water which makes young again."
The young girl grows sad at that. Her brothers remarked it immediately, and they asked her what was the matter with her. But she would not tell them. At last they forced her to tell it to them. She told them what this woman had told her.
The elder of the brothers sets out immediately, taking with him a horse and a little money. He gives an apple to his sister, saying to her:
"If this apple changes I shall be in some trouble, and if it turns rotten I shall be dead."
And he starts off, and travels on, and on, and on. He finds a monk who tells him to retrace his steps, that there are great dangers before him; but he will go on notwithstanding. He meets again another monk, who tells him that he will never return. He confesses himself and prepares for death, such great dangers will he have to pass through. He said to him:
"You will hear terrible cries. It will seem to you as if they will pull you by your clothes, but never turn your head round."
But our lad grew frightened and turned his head round, and was changed into stone.
After some days the apple begins to get bad, and they fall into great sorrow because something must have happened to their brother, and the second brother said that he must go off too; and off he goes with a horse and a little money. Like the other brother he meets a monk, who wishes to stop him; but he said to him that it was all the same to him. He goes on till he meets another monk. This one also said to him:
"Return on your steps. You will not be able to pass, you will hear cries and see horrors and terrible things--you will never be able to pass through."
But he prepares himself to go forward. He warned him well not to look round. He leaves his horse and sets out. When he has gone a short distance he hears frightful cries, and (sees) terrible things; and after having gone some distance further he looks on one side, and is changed into stone.
The apple which he had left with his sister first changes, then goes quite rotten. You may judge of the sorrow and the grief of this poor girl. She says to herself that she must dress herself like a man. She locks the door (of their house), and sets out on horseback. The same monk wishes to prevent her going on. But she has a still greater desire to do so, and, notwithstanding all she hears, she will go on. She arrives at the last monk, who was a great saint. He did not recognise that it was a young girl. For a hundred years past he had been on the same spot, until someone should get to the end of the mountain, and he hoped that this young girl might pass. He gives her a bottle into which she might put the water that makes young again, and says to her:
"You will sprinkle one drop on each stone, and they will live."
She sets off. The horrible cries did not frighten her. All kinds of things were said to her. She goes on and on, constantly running, and gets to the top of the mountain, and she is saved.
At the same instant she hears a thrilling song from a tree, which was warbling like a bird. A bird, too, flies on to her shoulder, and tells her so many things that she is quite astounded. But she does not lose her time--she takes out her bottle and fills it with water. She pours a drop on each stone, and finds her brothers at last. Think, think how they all three rejoiced together! They take their horses (they too had been changed into stones) and go home with their tree, and the bird, and the water.
They lived very happily. The brothers went out hunting every day, and sometimes they met the king. One day the king invited them to dine with him, but they said that they must first ask permission of their sister. When they came home they asked her, and the bird answered immediately:
"On condition that the king will come here to-morrow."
They go with this answer to the king, and he says, "Yes."
They dine very well with the king, but their sister was not at all pleased; she did not know how to receive the king. The bird says to her:
"Lay the table with a fine cloth, and three dishes; put lentils into one, parched peas into the other, and haricot beans into the other."
Next day the king comes with his two brothers. The king is astonished to hear this beautiful tree and this fine singing. He had never heard anything so wonderful. He was surprised to see these three dishes, and he said to them --
"Is it not strange to receive a king like this?"
And the bird, hopping out of its cage, begins, "It is not more strange than to see this young woman pass for a cat. Is she a cat?"
In the same way it points to the elder brother, "Is this a dog, this young man? Is not this a thing more astonishing?"
The king is confounded. And the same thing for the third time, pointing to the second son, "Is this a bear, this one? Is this not an astonishing thing?"
The king, in his amazement, does not know what to answer to the bird; but it continues:
"Is it not a shame to leave one's wife, and make her live eighteen years in a dungeon underground?"
The king is terribly frightened, and off he goes with his sons and his daughter, intending to free their mother; but they did not forget the precious water, and they wash this princess in it, and she becomes as young as at eighteen years old. Judge of the joy of the king, of the queen, and of their children! The king fell into a great rage, and condemns the queen's sisters to be burnt alive in the midst of the market-place, with shirts of sulphur on them.
We have also the more common version of this story--of an aged king with three sons. He reads of this water, and the three sons successively set out to fetch it. The two first fail, and stop, drinking, &c., in a certain city. The youngest meets an old woman, who tells him how to charm all the beasts in a forest he has to pass through, and how to get the water, but he is not to take anything else. But he steals the bird, and the magic horse as well, and when he gets to the forest finds all the animals awake. The old woman appears again, and gives him a magic stick, with the aid of which he passes. He finds his brothers against the advice of the old lady, and they throw him into a pit and take away the water, the horse, and the bird; but the water has no effect in their hands. The old woman appears, and sends a fox to help him out of the pit. He comes home, the horse neighs, the bird sings, he gives the water to his father, and from one hundred years old he becomes twenty.
LIKE many others in the world, there was a king who had three sons. This king was blind, and he had heard one day that there was a king who had a white blackbird, which gave sight to the blind. When his eldest son heard that, he. said to his father that he would go and fetch this white blackbird as quickly as possible.
The father said to him, "I prefer to remain blind rather than to separate myself from you, my child."
The son says to him, "Have no fear for me; with a horse laden with money I will find it and bring it to you."
He goes off then, far, far, far away. When night came he stopped. One evening he stopped at an inn where there were three very beautiful young ladies. They said to him. that they must have a game of cards together. He refuses; but after many prayers and much pressing they begin. He loses all his money, his horse, and also has a large debt against his word of honour. In this country it was the custom for persons who did not pay their debts to be put in prison, and if they did not pay after a given time they were put to death, and then afterwards they were left at the church doors until someone should pay their debts. They therefore put this king's son in prison.
The second son, seeing that his brother did not return, said to his father that he wished to go off, (and asked him) to give him a horse and plenty of money, and that certainly he would not lose his time. He sets off, and, as was fated to occur, he goes to the inn where his brother had been ruined. After supper these young ladies say to him:
"You must have a game of cards with us."
He refuses, but these young ladies cajole him so well, and turn him round their fingers, that he ends by consenting. They begin then, and he also loses all his money, his horse, and makes a great many debts besides. They put him in prison like his brother.
After some time the king and his youngest son are in deep grief because some misfortune must have happened to them, and the youngest asks leave to set out.
"I assure you that I will do something. Have no anxiety on my account."
This poor father lets him go off, but not with a good will. He kept saying to him that he would prefer to be always blind; but the son would set off. His father gives him a beautiful horse, and as much gold as his horse could carry, and his crown. He goes off far, far, far away. They rested every night, and he happened, like his brothers, to go to the same inn. After supper these young ladies say to him:
"It is the custom for everyone to play at cards here."
He says that it is not for him, and that he will not play. The young ladies beg him ever so much, but they do not succeed with this one in any fashion whatever. They cannot make him play. The next morning he gets up early, takes his horse, and goes off. He sees that they are leading two men to death. He asks what they have done, and recognises his two brothers. They tell him that they have not paid their debts within the appointed time, and that they must be put to death. But he pays the debts of both, and goes on. Passing before the church he sees that they are doing something. He asks what it is. They tell him that it is a man who has left some debts, and that until someone pays them he will be left there still. He pays the debts again.
He goes on his journey, and arrives at last at the king's house where the blackbird was. Our king's son asks if they have not a white blackbird which restores sight. They tell him, "Yes." Our young gentleman relates how that his father is blind, and that he has come such a long way to fetch it to him.
The king says to him, "I will give you this white blackbird, when you shall have brought me from the house of such a king a young lady who is there."
Our young man goes off far, far, far away. When he is near the king's house a fox comes out and says to him,
"Where are you going to?"
He answers, "I want a young lady from the king's house."
He gives his horse to the fox to take care of, and the fox says to him:
"You will go to such a room; there will be the young lady whom you need. You will not recognise her because she has old clothes on, but there are beautiful dresses hanging up in the room. You will make her put on one of those. As soon as she shall have it on, she will begin to sing and will wake up everybody in the house."
He goes inside as the fox had told him. He finds the young lady. He makes her put on the beautiful dresses, and as soon as she has them on she begins to sing and to carol. Everyone rushes into this young lady's room. The king in a rage wished to put him in prison, but the king's son shows his crown, and tells how such a king sent him to fetch this young lady, and when once he has brought her he promises him the white blackbird to open his father's eyes.
The king then says to him, "You must go to the house of such a king, and you must bring me from there a white horse, which is very, very beautiful."
Our young man sets out, and goes on, and on, and on. As he comes near the house of the king, the fox appears to him and says to him:
"The horse which you want is in such a place, but he has a bad saddle on. You will put on him that which is hanging up, and which is handsome and brilliant. As soon as he shall have it on he will begin to neigh, so much as not to be able to stop. All the king's people will come to see what is happening, but with your crown you will always get off scot free."
He goes off as the fox had said to him. He finds the horse with the bad saddle, and puts on him the fine one, and then the horse begins to neigh and cannot stop himself. People arrive, and they wish to put the young man in prison, but he shows them his crown, and relates what king had sent him to fetch this horse in order to get a young lady. They give him the horse, and he sets off.
He comes to the house of the king where the young lady was. He shows his horse with its beautiful saddle, and asks the king if he would not like to see the young lady take a few turns on this beautiful horse in the courtyard. The king says, "Yes." As the young lady was very handsomely dressed when she mounted the horse, our young man gives the horse a little touch with his stick, and they set off like the lightning. The king's son follows them, and they go both together to the king who had the white blackbird. They ask him for the blackbird, and the bird goes of itself on to the knees of the young lady, who was still on horseback. The king's son gives him a blow, and they set off at full gallop; he also escapes in order to rejoin them. They journey a long, long time, and approach their city.
His brothers had heard the news how that their brother was coming with the white blackbird. These two brothers had come back at last to their father's house, and they had told their father a hundred falsehoods; how that robbers had taken away their money, and many things like that. The two brothers plotted together, and said that they must hinder their brother from reaching the house, and that they must rob him of the blackbird.
They keep expecting him always. One day they saw him coming, and they say that they must throw him into a cistern, and they do as they say. They take the blackbird and throw him and the lady into the water, and leave the horse outside. The fox comes to them on the brink of the cistern, and says to them:
"I will leap in there; you will take hold of my tail one by one, and I will save you."
The two wicked brothers had taken the blackbird, but he escaped from them as they entered the house, and went on to the white horse. Judge of the joy of the youngest brother when he sees that nothing is wanting to them! They go to the king. As soon as they enter the young lady begins to carol and to sing, the bird too, and the horse to neigh. The blackbird of its own accord goes on to the king's knees, and there by its songs restored him to sight. The son relates to his father what labours he underwent until he had found these three things, and he told him how he had saved two men condemned to death by paying their debts, and that they were his two brothers; that he had also paid the debts of a dead man, and that his soul (the fox was his soul) had saved him from the cistern into which his brothers had thrown him.
Think of the joy of the father, and his sorrow at the same time, when he saw how wisely this young son had always behaved, and how wicked his two brothers had been. As he had well earned her, he was married to the young lady whom he had brought away with him, and they lived happily and joyfully. The father sent the two brothers into the desert to do penance. If they had lived well, they would have died well.
THERE was a man and a woman very poor, and overburdened with children. They had seven boys. When they had grown up a little, they said to their mother that it would be better that they should go on their own way--that they would get on better like that. The mother let them go with great regret. After their departure she gave birth to a little girl, and when this little girl was grown up a little she went one day to a neighbour's to amuse herself, and having played some childish trick the neighbour said to her:
"You will be a good one, you too, as your brothers have been."
The child goes home and says to her mother, "Mother, have I some brothers?"
The mother says, "Yes."
"Where are they?"
"Oh, gone off somewhere."
The daughter said to her, "I must go too, then. Give me a piece of linen enough to make seven shirts."
And she would go off at once. The mother was very sorry for it, having already seven children away from home, and the only one she had wished to go away. She let her go then.
This young girl went off, far, far, far away. She asks in a town if they know seven brothers who work together. The tell her "No." She goes off to a mountain and asks there too, and they tell her in what house they live. She goes to this house, and sees that all the household work is to be done, and that there is nobody at home. She makes the beds, and cleans the whole house, and puts it in order. She prepares the dinner, and then hides herself in the dust-hole. Her brothers come home, and are astonished to see all the household work done and the dinner ready. They begin to look if there is anyone in the house, but they never think of looking in the dust-hole, and they go off again to their work. Before night this young girl does all the rest of the work, and had the supper ready against the return of her brothers, and hides herself again in the dust-hole. Her brothers are astonished, and again search the house, but find nothing.
They go to bed, and this young girl takes to sewing and sews a whole shirt. She gives it to her eldest brother, and in the same way she made a shirt every night, and took it to one of her brothers. They could not understand how that all happened. They always said that they would not go to sleep, but they fell asleep as soon as they were in bed. When the turn of the youngest came to have the shirt, he said to them, "Certainly I will not fall asleep." After he is in bed the young girl goes and says to him, thinking that he is asleep:
"Your turn has come now at last, my dearly loved brother."
And she begins to put the shirt on him on the bed, when her brother says to her:
"You are then my sister, you?
And he kisses her. She tells him then how she had heard that she had brothers, and how she had wished to go to them to help them. The other brothers get up and rejoice, learning that it was their sister who had done all the household work.
The brothers forbad her ever to go to such a neighbour's, whatever might happen. But one day, without thinking about it, when she was behindhand with her work, she went running to the house to ask for some fire, in order to make the supper ready quicker. She was very well received; the woman offered to give her everything she wanted, but she said she was satisfied with a little fire. This woman was a witch, and gives her a parcel of herbs, telling her to put them as they were into the footbath--that they relieved the fatigue very much. Every evening the seven brothers washed their feet at the same time in a large copper. She therefore put these herbs into the copper, and as soon as they had dipped their feet in they became six cows, and the seventh a Breton cow. This poor girl was in such trouble as cannot be told. The poor cows all used to kiss their sister, but the young girl always loved much best the Breton one. Every day she took them to the field, and stopped with them to guard them.
One day when she was there the son of a king passes by, and is quite astonished to see so beautiful a girl there. He speaks to her, and tells her that he wishes to marry her. The young girl says to him that she is very poor, and that that cannot be. The king says, "Yes, yes, yes, that makes no difference."
The young girl makes as conditions that, if she marries him, he must never kill these cows, and especially this little Breton one. The king promises it her, and they are married.
The princess takes these cows home with her; they were always well treated. The princess became pregnant, and was confined while the king was absent. The witch comes, and takes her out of her bed, and throws her down a precipice that there was in the king's grounds, and the witch puts herself into the princess' bed. When the king comes home, he finds her very much changed, and tells her that he would not have recognised her. The princess tells him that it was her sufferings that had made her thus, and, in order to cure her more quickly, he must have the Breton cow killed.
The king says to her--
"What! Did you not make me promise that she should never be killed? How is it you ask me that?"
The witch considered that one her greatest enemy; and, as she left him no peace, he sent a servant to fetch the cows. He finds them all seven by the precipice; they were lowing, and he tried to drive them to the house, but he could not do it in any way; and he hears a voice, which says,
"It is not for myself that I grieve so much, but for my child, and for my husband, and for my dearly-loved cows. Who will take care of them?"
The lad could not succeed (in driving them), and goes and tells to the king what is taking place. The king himself goes to the precipice, and hears this voice. He quickly throws a long cord down, and, when he thinks that she has had time to take hold of it, he pulls it up, and sees that they have got the princess there. Judge of the joy of the king! She relates to her husband all that the witch had done to her, both formerly and now. The king goes to the witch's bed, and says to her,
"I know your villanies now; and, if you do not immediately change these cows, as they were before, into fine boys, I will put you into a red-hot oven."
The witch makes them fine men, and, notwithstanding that, the king had her burnt in a red-hot oven, and threw her ashes into the air. The king lived happily with his wife, and her seven brothers married ladies of the court, and sent for their mother, and they all lived happily together.
We have also, in Basque, a version of Madame d'Aulnoy's "Abenan." It seems to be a mixture of various legends strung together by this fanciful writer; but we do not think it worth either our own or our readers' while to try to disentangle its separate parts. The pretty little tale of "The Faded Roses" has been told us from two quite different sources. This tale, though without doubt derived from the French, we can trace up in Basque further than any other. It was told us by a lady of between seventy and eighty, who heard it as a child from an old nurse, whom she distinctly remembers to have told her that she learnt it as a child from her mother. It must thus have existed in Basque over a century.
We have also two versions of Tom Thumb, who is called in the one "Ukhailtcho," or "Baratchuri"--"a clove of garlic;" in the other, "Mundua-mila-pes," both containing the episode of his being swallowed by an ox; in the last, he himself is swallowed, as they are washing out the ox' entrails, by "a thief of a dog"--"Ohoñ chakhurra." It is singular that the same episode is preserved in the Gaelic; cf. Campbell, Vol. III., p. 114.
We have in MS. a long Rabelesian legend, which opens like Cenac-Moncaut's tale of "Le Coffret de la Princesse," in his "Littérature Populaire de la Gascogne" (Paris, 1868). A king will give one of his daughters to whoever can guess what the skin of a certain animal is. It is the devil who guesses it, and who marries the princess. She is saved by the "white mare," which appears in so many of our tales. She then dresses as a man, but, nevertheless, a prince falls in love with her; and then follow a lot of scenes, the converse of the adventure of Achilles in Scyros. They marry; but, after seven years, the devil-husband reappears. After strange adventures, they are again succoured and united by the "white mare," who binds the devil for ever, and then flies to heaven-as a white pigeon, and the rest live happily ever after. This legend is from "Laurentine, Sister of Toutou," and may be mingled with Cascarrot legends. We have given it as derived from the French, partly because the heroine's name is Fifine, and because this, and "Petit Perroquet and the Tartaro," are the only tales in our collection in which the term "prince" is employed in the Basque instead of "the king's son." Cf. Campbell's "Highland Tales," passim.
We owe the following notes to the kindness of M. H. Vinson, judge at La Réole, Gironde. They may be of assistance to some of our readers in the endeavour to trace out the length of time which is required for the translations of exotic legends to become popular traditions among a people who know the language of the translation only by "social contact."
Premières Editions de la Première Traduction en Français des Mille et une Nuits.
Les Mille et une Nuits, Contes Arabes, trad. Par Galland. Paris, 12 vols. in 12mo.
Les Mille et une Nuits, Contes Arabes, trad. par Galland. Paris, 6 vols. in 12mo.
Les Mille et une Nuits, Revues et Corrigées par M. Caussin de Percival. Paris, Lenormant, 9 vols. 8vo.
Première Traduction de Bidpai et Loqman.
Contes et Fables Indiennes de Bidpai et de Loqman, trad. (posth.) par Ante Galland. Paris, 2 vols. in 12mo.
Contes et Fables Indiennes, Traduction d'après la Version Turque d'Ali-Tchelebt-ben-Salet, par Galland, terminée et publiée par D. Gardonne. Paris, 3 vols. 12mo.
Fables de Loqman, Édition Arabe, accomp. d'une Traduction Franc: (par M. Mariel) au Caire, de l'imp. Nation, au VII. 8vo.
Contes de Grimm.
Contes de la Famille, par les Frères Grimm, traduit de l'Allemand, par M. Martin et Pitre-Chevalier. Paris, Renouard, 12mo.
Edition Originale, Kinder und Hausmärchen. Berlin, 2 vols. 16mo.
Les Plus Anciens Recueils de Contes en Français.
Les Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles. Paris, Ant. Verard, pet. in fol. Goth.
Le Parangon de Nouvelles Honnestes. Lyon, in 8vo.
Les Nouvelles Récreations de Bonaventure des Periers. Lyon, in 4to.
L'Heptameron de Margaret de Valois. Paris, 8vo.
Baliverneries ou Contes Nouveaux d'Entrapel, publ. par Noel Du Fail. Paris, 16mo.
Les Serées de Guillaume Bouchet. Poitiers, 4to.
Paris, 3 vols. 12mo.
Nouvelles Choisies, par Ch. Sorel. Paris, 2 vols. 8vo.
Contes des Fées, par Madame d'Aulnoy.
Contes des Fées, par Ch. Perrault.
WE give these tales simply as specimens of a literature which in mediæval times rivalled in popularity and interest all other kinds of literature put together. That even yet it is not without attraction, and that to minds which in some aspects seem most opposed to its influence, the preface of the late Charles Kingsley to "The Hermits" conclusively shows. Such tales have, too, a deeper interest to all who study the manner in which at a certain stage of intellectual cultivation the human mind seems alone able to take hold upon religious truth; or, at least, the side on which it is then most susceptible to its impressions. It is easy enough to laugh at these legends, and to throw them aside in contempt, as alternately irreverent or superstitious; but their very existence has an historical value which no ecclesiastical historian should neglect. Their grossness and rudeness to a great extent hide from us their real tenderness and true religious feeling; but they were, doubtless, to those who first heard them, and are still to those who now recite them, fully as instructive, and have quite as beneficial, purifying, and ennobling influence on them as the most polished and refined of the religious tales of the present day have on the young of our own generation.
The first portion of this tale is told of the Tartaro as "Twenty-Four." We suspect that it is an old Tartaro tale joined on to a Christopheros legend, unless indeed this be the very peculiarity and meaning of the Christopheros legend--the enlisting of the old gods into the service of Christ, and including the most human of them in His salvation. The last part of the tale is very widely spread. It is given by F. Caballero in the Spanish, and by Cenac-Moncaut, "Le Sac de la Ramée," p. 57--"Littérature Populaire de la Gascogne." There is something like it in Campbell's "Tale of the Soldier," Vol. II., p. 276.
LIKE many others in the world, there was a mother and her son. The lad was as strong as fourteen men together, but he was also obliged to eat as much as fourteen men. They were poor, and on that account he often suffered from hunger. He said one day to his mother, that it would be better for him to try and go somewhere else to see if he could be any better off; that he could not bear it any longer like this; that he was pained to see how much it cost her to feed him.
The mother with regret allows him to depart. He goes off then far, far, far away, and comes to a large house. He asks if they want a servant there, and they answer that they will speak to the master. The master himself comes and says to him, "I employ experienced labourers generally, but I will take you nevertheless."
The lad answers, "I must forewarn you, that I eat as much as fourteen men, but I do work in proportion."
He asks him, "What do you know how to do?"
He says to him, "I know a little of everything."
The next day the master takes him into a field, and says to him:
"You must mow all this meadow." He says to him, "Yes."
The master goes away. At eight o'clock the servant comes with the breakfast. She had a basket full of provisions; there were six loaves, half a ham, and six bottles of wine. Our lad was delighted. The servant was astonished to see that all the meadow was mown, and she goes and tells it to the master. He too was pleased to see that he had such a valuable servant. He tells him to go and cut another meadow. Before mid-day he had it all down. The servant comes with the dinner, and was astonished to see how much work he had done. She brought him seven loaves, seven bottles of wine, and ever so much ham, but he cleared it all off. The master gives him again another field of grass to cut. Before night he had done it easily. Our master was delighted at it, and gave him plenty to eat. The servant too was highly pleased.
As long as he had work the master said nothing, but afterwards, when he saw that all the harvest served only for the servant to eat, he did not know how to get rid of him. He sends him to a forest in which he knew that there were terrible beasts, and told him to bring wood from there. As soon as he has arrived a bear attacks him. He takes him by the nostrils and throws him on the ground, and twists his neck. He keeps pulling up all the young trees, and again a wolf attacks him; he takes him like the bear by the nostrils, throws him down, and twists his neck.
In the evening he arrives at the house, and the master is astonished to see him return. He gave him a good supper; but he was not pleased, because he had torn up all the young trees. At night the master turns over in his head what he could do with his servant, and he determines to send him into a still more terrible forest, in the hope that some animal will devour him. Our lad goes off again. He tears up many large trees, when a lion attacks him. He kills him in a moment. There comes against him another terrible animal, and he finishes him off too. In the evening, when he comes home, he said to himself:
"Why does my master send me into the forest? Perhaps he is tired of me."
And he resolves to tell him that he will leave the house. When he arrives his master receives him well, but cannot understand how it is that he comes back. He gives him a good supper, and our lad says to him:
"It is better for me to go off somewhere. There is no more work for me here."
You may reckon how pleased the master was. He gives him his wages at once, and he goes away. He goes off, far, far, far away; but soon his money is exhausted, and he does not know what is to become of him.
He sees two men standing on the bank of a river. He went up to them, and the men ask him if he will cross them over to the other side of the water. He answers, "Yes," and takes them both at once on his back; and these men were our Lord and St. Peter. Our Lord says to him in the middle of the stream
"I am heavy."
"I will throw you into the water if you do not keep quiet, for I have quite enough to do."
When they had come to the other side, the Lord said to him,
"What must I give you as a reward?
"Whatever you like; only give it quickly, for I am very hungry."
He gives him a sack, and says to him, "Whatever you wish for will come into this sack."
And he goes off, far away. He comes to a town, and passing before a baker's shop he smells an odour of very good hot loaves, and he says to them, "Get into my sack," and his sack is quite full of them. He goes off to a comer of a forest, and there he lives by his sack. He returns again into the town, and passes before a pork-butcher's. There were there black puddings, sausages, hams, and plenty of good things. He says, "Come into my sack," and as soon as he has said it the sack is full. He goes again to empty it as he had done with the loaves, and he returns into the town. In front of an inn he says, "Come into my sack." There were there bottles of good wine and of liqueurs, and to all these good things he says, "Come into my sack," and his sack was filled.
He goes off to his comer of the forest, and there he had provision for some days; and, when he had well stuffed himself, he went out for a walk. One day he saw some young girls weeping, and he asks them, "What is the matter with you?" They answer that their father is very ill. He asks if he can see him. They tell him, "Yes."
He goes there then, and the poor man tells him how he has given his soul to the devil, and that he was expecting him that very day, and he was trembling even then. Our Fourteen asks if he will let him be on a comer of the bed, that he might see the devil. He tells him, "Yes." He then hides himself with his sack. A moment after the devil arrives, and our lad says to him:
"Come into my sack."
And as soon as he had said it, in goes the devil. Judge of the joy of our man! Our lad goes off to some stone-breakers, and says to them:
"Hit hard! the devil is in this sack."
They went at it, blow upon blow, stroke upon stroke, and the devil went:
"Ay! ay! ay! let me out! let me go! ay! ay! ay!"
The lad said, "You shall bring me, then, a paper, signed by all the devils of hell, that you have no rights over this man." The devil agrees, and he lets him go. In a moment he comes back with the paper, and the lad makes him. go into the sack again, and has him beaten by the stone-breakers, while he carries the precious paper to the former man; and think how happy they were in that house!
Our man goes off, walking, walking, on, and on, and always on, and he grew tired of this world. He said to himself, "I should like to go to Heaven." He goes on, and on, and on, but he comes to hell; but as soon as ever the devils saw that it was Fourteen they shut all the gates. He goes off again, far, far, very far, and comes to Heaven. There the gates are shut against him. What does Fourteen do? He put his sack in through the keyhole, and says to himself:
"Go into the sack."
As soon as he has said it he finds himself inside, and he is there still behind the door; and when you go to Heaven, look about well, and you will see him there.
We add another version of this popular tale, collected by M. Vinson from M. Larralde de Lesaca, of St. Pée-sur-Nivelle:--
ONCE upon a time, when Jesus Christ was going with His disciples to Jerusalem, He met an old man, and asked alms of him. The old man said to Him:
"I am an old soldier, and they sent me away from the army with only two sous, because I was no longer good for anything. I have already given away one sou on the road; I have only one left, and I give that to you."
Then our Lord says to him, "Which would you prefer, a sack of gold or Paradise?"
St. Peter gently nudges the old man in the ribs, "Say Paradise."
"What! Paradise!" says the old soldier. "Afterwards we shall have Paradise as well. I prefer a sack of gold."
And our Lord gives him the sack of gold, and He said as He gave it to him:
"When this sack is empty it will be sufficient to say, 'Artchila murtchila! go into my sack,' and everything you wish for will go into the sack."
Our man takes the sack and goes on his road. When he had gone a little way he passed before the door of an inn, and sees a fine leg of mutton on the table. He was hungry, and, opening his sack, he said:
"Artchila murtchila! fine leg of mutton, come into my sack!" and in an instant it was in it; and in the same way he had everything he wished for.
One day the devil came to tempt this old man, but, as soon as he heard him, he opened his sack and said:
"Artchila murtchila! go into my sack!"
And the devil himself entered into the sack. He takes the sack with the devil in it to a blacksmith, and for a long time and very vigorously he pounded it with his sledgehammer.
When the old soldier died he went to Paradise. When he arrived there St. Peter appears, and says to him:
"Why are you standing there? And what are you asking for?"
"What! Paradise!! Did not you prefer to have a sack of gold when God gave you the choice? Be off from here. Be off to hell. There are the gates, there."
Our old man, in deepest sadness, goes to the door of hell, and knocks; but as soon as the door was opened the devil recognised his soldier, and began to cry out:
"Don't let him come in! Don't let him come in! He will cause us too much trouble, and too many misfortunes. He is so very vicious!"
And he will not receive him; so he returns again to Paradise, and God commanded St. Peter to let this man enter who had been such a foe to the devil.
LIKE many others in the world, there was a man and his wife. They had an only son. The time for the conscription arrived. He went away with much regret . At the end of the seven years he was returning home with five sous in his pocket. As he was walking along a poor man came up to him, and asked charity in the Name of God. He gave him a sou, telling him that he had only five sous, but that he could not refuse at the Name of God. A moment after another poor man presents himself, and asks charity in the Name of God. He gives to him, telling him repeatedly:
"I, who had only five sous to take home after seven years of service--I have already given away one of them; but I cannot refuse you--I shall have still enough left to get a. breakfast with."
And he goes on, but a moment after comes another poor man, and he gives again. This poor man says to him:
"You will go to such a house, and you must ask charity of M. Tahentozen in the Name of God. He gives charity to no one; but he will ask you in from curiosity, and to hear the news. When you have told him all that you have seen, he will ask you where you have come from. You must say that you come from Heaven, but that you have seen nothing there but poor and maimed people, and that in hell there was nothing but rich men; and that at the gate of hell there are two devils sitting in arm-chairs, 'and I saw one armchair empty, and I went and asked whom it was for; and there came two devils from the gate, limping as if they were lame, and they said: 'This is for M. Tahentozen. He never gives anything in charity, and, if he does not change, his place is there."'"
Our soldier goes as he has been told, and asks charity in the Name of God. But the servant, as she always did, sent him away. The master, having heard someone, asks the servant who is there. The servant answers that it is a. soldier who asks for charity. He tells her to bring him up, in order to ask the news. Our soldier tells him all that the poor man had told him to say. And thereupon the rich man begins to reflect, and he keeps the soldier at his house, and makes him rich, and the rest (of his money) he divides among the poor.
GACHINA, the Net-maker.
This seems to be one of the many variations of the "Golden Legend," the "Aurea Legenda" which Longfellow has so well versified.
ONCE upon a time, and like many others in the world, there was a widow who had a son. This son was so good to his mother that they loved one another beyond all that can be told. One day this son said to his mother that he must go to Rome. The mother was in the greatest distress, but she let him go. (At parting) she gave him three apples, and said to him:
"If you make acquaintance (with anyone) on the road, and if you are thirsty, give him one of these apples to divide; and he who will give you back the largest part, he will be a good friend to you for the journey."
He set out then. When he has gone a little way he falls in with three men. They made acquaintance, and they told him that they were going to Rome. They went on, and on, and on, and as talking makes one thirsty, the widow's son said to them:
"I have in my pocket an apple which my mother gave me at starting; we will eat it. Here, take and divide it."
One of them divides it, and gives him the smallest part. When he saw that he made some excuse and quitted his companions. He goes travelling on, on, on, along the road, when he meets with three monks. They tell him that they are going to Rome, and offer to make their journey together. When they had gone a little way, they get thirsty also. The widow's son says to them:
"I have an apple which my mother gave me at starting. Here it is; take and divide it."
They, too, were no better comrades than the others. They give him only a small piece. Fortunately he remembers the advice of his mother, and he leaves them. He goes on a short way alone, and sees in the distance something shining under an oak; as he approaches he sees that it is a king. He tells him where he is going, and learns that he too is going to Rome. The king engages him to rest himself along with him, and he stays there a long time; and at length they get thirsty, and the son of the widow gives him the last apple, telling him that it is his mother who gave it him at starting. The king's son divides it, and gives him the largest piece. The son of the widow is rejoiced that he has found a good comrade, and they vow great friendship under the oak. The son of the widow engages himself to bring the king's son to Rome alive or dead, and the other binds himself to serve and aid him as long as he has a drop of blood in his veins. Resuming their journey they go on, and on, and on, and at length night surprises them, and they do not know where to go to. They meet a young girl who was going to the fountain. They ask her if shelter would be given them in the house which they see there.
She answers "Yes;" and then, lowering her voice, she adds, "Yes, to your misfortune."
It was only the widow's son who heard these last words. So they go there, and enter, and are very well received. They had a good supper given them, and a good bed on the third story. The widow's son puts the prince on the outside of the bed, and he himself goes next the wall. The former falls asleep immediately, because he was very tired; but the widow's son was kept awake by his fear, and, just as twelve o'clock struck, he hears someone coming up stairs, and sees the owner come into the bed-room with a large knife in his hand. The mistress held the light and the servant a basin. They come near and cut the throat of the king's son, and carry him down stairs. While they are doing this the widow's son gets out on the roof, and from there he shouts and cries out for the justice. When he had made himself heard, he told the people what had taken place. As they had never before heard anything like this of the people in the house, they would not believe him, and put him in prison. The next day he was condemned to death.
Before dying he asks one favour. It is granted him. He then asks for two blood-hounds to go and search the house with. They grant him that, and he goes with the servants of the justice. After having gone over the whole castle, without having found one drop of blood, they go down to the cellar. The dogs kept smelling about, but the master refused to open the door, saying there was nothing there but dirt and rubbish. They told him that he must open it all the same, and there they found the king's son with his crown. This was all they wanted.
They set the widow's son at liberty; and he asks for the body of the king's son, and puts it into a sack. He takes the sack on his shoulders, and starts for Rome, where he arrives fatigued and worn out; but he has kept his word.
He goes to see the Holy Father, and told him all that had taken place, and what had happened to his friend.
Our Holy Father says to him, "To-morrow, at the moment of the Elevation, you will place the head on the body."
He does so, and at the very same moment the body of the king's son is seized with a trembling, and he calls out--
"Where am I?"
The widow's son answers, "At Rome. Do you not remember how your throat was cut yesterday? And I myself have carried you, as I promised, to Rome."
The king's son went to pay his visit to our Holy Father, and (after that) they set out (home). And when they had gone a long way, they come to the oak where they had (first) made each other's acquaintance, and it is there, too, that they must part.
They renew their promises (to each other). The king's son takes off his ring, and gives it to the other as a keepsake to remember him by. And the king's son, on counting his money, remarks that he has just the same sum as he had when he was under the oak the last time. And they quit each other, each to go to his own home.
When the widow's son reaches home, the mother is delighted to see her son again, and the son also (to see his mother). But the next day he was covered with a frightful disease, which was very like leprosy, and it had an infectious smell; but, fortunately, the mother did not smell it. The poor mother did all that she could to cure her son, but nothing relieved him. She heard that there was a monk in the neighbourhood, a great saint, who cured diseases. She sends for him, and the widow's son relates to him his journey to Rome, and all that had taken place there, and he tells also the promises which they had made to each other.
Then the monk says to him, "If you wish to be cured, there is only one remedy--you must wash yourself in the blood of this king."
This news made the young man very sad, but his mother would start the very next day; and they set out on their journey in an old carriage. Everyone where they passed stopped their noses, and said, "Pheu! pheu!" After some time they came to the king's house. The mother asks leave to speak to the king, but a servant drives her far away, because of the smell, telling her not to approach nearer. So she could not say anything to the king. But one day the king goes out, and sees the carriage, and he asks what it is. They tell him that it is a sick man, who smells like putrid fish, and who wishes to see the king. The king is angry because they had not told him of it before.
Now this king was married, and already he had a son. He orders the people in the carriage to come to him, and the widow's son told him who he was, and showed him the ring which he had formerly given him. Without paying the least attention to his malady, the king takes him in his arms and embraces him. The widow's son tells him the grief that he had felt at what the monk had told him.
The king goes to find his wife, and tells her what has happened about the sick man at the gate, and how this sick man had already restored him to life, and that now it was his turn, and that he could not be cured except by washing in his blood; and (he bids her) choose between her child and himself. This poor mother sacrifices her son. They kill him. The sick man washes himself immediately (in the blood), and is cured at the same instant. The queen, in her grief, goes into her child's bedroom, and there she finds her son full of life again. Overflowing with joy, she takes up her son, and goes out crying to everyone, and showing them her infant. Judge what a delight for them all! The widowed mother and her son lived in the king's palace so happily, and never left him more.
ONCE upon a time, like many others in the world, there was a gentleman and a lady. They had no children, but they longed for one above everything. They made a vow to go to Rome. As soon as they had made the vow, the woman became pregnant.
The husband said to her, "We shall do well to go there at once."
The wife said, "We have not time enough now; we can go afterwards just as well."
The lady was confined of a boy. The boy grows up and he sees that his father is constantly sad, and he finds him often crying in all the corners. The little boy was now seven years old, and the mother had not yet decided to go to Rome. One day this young boy goes into his father's bed-room, and finds him weeping again. He therefore said to him:
"What is the matter with you, father?"
But he will not answer him, and the child takes a pistol, and says to his father:
"If you will not tell me what is the matter with you, I will shoot first you and myself afterwards."
The father then said that he would tell him, (and he told him) how that his mother and he had made a vow to go to Rome if they had a child, and that they had never been there.
The child said to him, "It is for me that this vow was made, and it is I who will go and fulfil it."
He says "Good-bye," and sets out.
He was seven years on the road, and begged his bread. At last he comes to the Holy Father, and tells him what has brought him there. Our Holy Father puts him in a room alone for an hour.
When he comes out, he says to him, "Oh, you have made a mistake; you have made me stay there two hours at least."
Our Holy Father tells him "No!"--that he has been there only one hour. And he puts him into another room for two hours.
When he came out from there he said, "You have made me stop more than two hours."
He says to him, "No," and puts him in another room for three hours.
When he came out of that he said, "You have only left me there three minutes."
And he said to him, "Yes, yes, yes; you have been there three hours."
And our Holy Father told him that the first room was Hell; that the second was Purgatory; and that the last was Heaven.
The child says to him, "Where am I? I in Paradise! And my father?"
"In Paradise too."
"And my mother?"
The boy was grieved, and said to him, "Can I not save my mother? I would let my blood flow for her for seven years long."
Our Holy Father tells him that he can, and he puts on him a hair-cloth shirt with a padlock, and throws the key into the water.
And our Holy Father says to him, "When you shall find this key, your mother will be saved."
He starts off, begging his way as before, and takes seven more years before arriving in his own country. He goes from house to house asking alms. His father meets him and asks him where he comes from. He says, "From Rome." He asks him if he has not seen on the road a boy of his own age. He says to him, "Yes, yes," and tells him that he has gone on walking for seven years, shedding his blood, to save his mother. And he keeps on talking about his son. His mother comes out on the staircase and tells her husband to send that poor man away--that he must be off from there. But he pays no attention to her. He brings him in, and tells her that he is going to dine with them. His wife is not pleased. He sends the servant to market, telling her to buy the finest fish that she can find. When the young girl comes back, she goes to the poultry yard to clean the fish. The young man follows her, and as she was cleaning the fish she found a key inside it.
The young man said to her, "That key belongs to me."
And she gives it to him.
The lady could not endure this young man, and she gives him a push, and he falls into the well. All on a sudden the water of the well overflows, and the young man comes out all dripping. The husband had not seen that his wife had pushed him into the well, and the young man told him that he had fallen into it. This poor man wishes to give him some clothes, but he will not accept them, saying that he will dry himself at the fire. At table the lady is not at all polite to him. The young man asks her if she would recognise her son.
She says, "Yes, yes; he has a mark between his two breasts."
And the young man opens his clothes, and shows the mark. At the same time he gives the key to his mother that she may open his hair-cloth shirt, and the mother sees nothing but blood and gore. He has suffered for her. The three die. And the servant sees three white doves fly away. I wish I could do like them in the same way.
GACHINA, the Net-maker.
THERE was a young girl who lived far from the world, alone, in sanctity. Every day a dove brought her her food.
One day she saw a young girl whom two gens-d'armes were taking to prison or to execution. The orphan said to herself:
"If she had lived like me, they would not have taken her to prison." And thereupon she had a thought of pride, and from that day the dove no longer brought her anything to eat. She goes to seek a priest, and tells him what has happened, and since when she does not receive any more food. This priest tells her that she has been punished on account of that thought, and that she must be present at the birth of three children, and see what their gifts would be. The first was the son of a king. She asks the queen permission to remain in the bed-chamber, no matter in what corner; all would be the same to her if she would only give her leave. She consents to it. When this queen gives birth to a boy, the infant has round its neck a white cord, and this orphan understood that he would be guillotined when he was eighteen years old. She sees the birth of another child; a girl with a red cord round her neck, and she sees that she will turn out badly, and that she would go to ruin. She sees a third; this was a boy, and he had blue cord on, which meant that he would be very good.
After having seen that this orphan goes back to the house of the queen. There she lived happily, busying herself especially about this child. As she caressed it she often used to say in a sad tone:
The mother remarked that, and one day she said: "One would say that this child was very unfortunate. Do you always act thus when you caress a child, as if it were very wretched, or as if something were going to happen to it?"
She said that to her more than once. And when the (fated) age was drawing near, this orphan told the queen what must happen at the age of eighteen. I leave you to judge of the distress of this queen. She told it to her husband, and the father and mother told it to their son; and he said that he must leave the house immediately. He goes then a long way off to another town. And as he was a pretty good scholar, he got a place in a house where there was a large shop. They sold everything there; and as this lad was very good everybody loved him. They heard him go out of the house every night, but they did not know where. The master was curious (to learn this), and he made a hole above the shop, for he went there too in the night. He sees him take a wax candle, and put the price of this candle into the cash-box by the hole, counting the money aloud. Taking the candle with him he falls on his knees, and went a considerable distance to a chapel, walking still on his knees. The master follows him during a whole week, and the boy did always the same thing; and on the eighth day the master looks through the key-hole of the chapel, and sees an angel descend and throw a chain to our lad, and the angel lifted him up in the air. A moment after he comes down again, and goes back to his master's house. The master tells him that he has seen all, and the boy says that his penance is also finished, and that he must go home. The master does not wish it.
"You shall go afterwards, if you wish it; but first you must marry my daughter."
He tells him that he has a father and mother, and that he cannot do it without telling them; but if they wish it, he will do so willingly. He starts home then at once. You may imagine what joy for the king and the queen. They were constantly trembling lest they should hear that their dearly loved son had been hanged. They did not know what to do for joy. He told them how he had done penance, and that without doubt the good God had pardoned him; and how his old master wished him to marry his daughter. He does so, and all live happily and die well.
LIKE many others of us in the world, there was a mother and her daughter. They were very poor, and the daughter said that she wished to go out to service, in order to do something for her mother. The mother will not listen to it; what would become of her without her daughter? She prefers to be poor with her to being rich alone. The young girl stays at home. She used to go out as needlewoman; but suddenly her mother falls ill, and quickly she dies.
This poor young girl had the deepest sorrow, and she continued to go out to work as before. One day, while she was at work in a house, some acquaintance came and said to them--
"What! you have this young girl here to work! She is a bad girl; she is not at all what she ought to be. You should not take her."
In the evening they give her her day's wages, and say that they do not want her any more. She goes to another house, and there the same thing happens. Some people come and say in the same way--
"You have that young girl to work! She will come to a bad end, that girl will. She is even a thief; do not have her again."
In the evening they give her her day's wages, and say to her that they do not want her any more. No one asked her to work any more, and she remained at home. By charity and pity, some neighbours, without any necessity, let her come to work for them, because they were pained to see her distress. But there, too, someone comes and says,
"I am astonished to see that young girl here. She is a worthless girl. How is it that you have her here?"
They answer, "Moved by charity, just to help her."
"Do not have her any more; she is a thief, and as bad as can be."
After having given her her day's wages, they send her off, and say that they do not want her any more.
This poor young girl was in the greatest distress; if she wished to eat, she must beg. She set to work begging then, and everyone disliked her so much that, when they saw her, they used to spit at her.
There came home from one of his voyages a ship's captain, and, while he was amusing himself with his friends, this young girl asks for charity. His friends tell him that she was a bad girl, and they spit at her, and he does like the rest. Our captain goes off for another voyage; but he was overtaken by a terrible tempest. The storm was so violent, and the rain came down as if it would never leave off; it made them all tremble. In the midst of his prayers the captain made a vow that, if he escaped, he would marry the worst and most despised girl that he could find. Immediately the weather became fine. He makes a very successful voyage, and one which brought him plenty of money; but, when he reached land, he forgot his vow, and began to amuse himself as much as possible.
This same young girl asks charity, and, after his friends have told him that she was a bad girl, they spat at her, and he did so too.
Again he goes to sea, and he is overtaken by a storm, much worse than the former one. The wind was most violent, and the lightning terrible; they saw nothing but that. All trembled, and were praying. The captain again makes a vow of marrying, if he should get safe home, with the most abandoned and the poorest girl he can find, and he regrets that he has not kept his vow. He said to himself,
"If I had kept it, perhaps I should not have had such weather as this; but nothing now shall make me forget my promise."
Immediately the weather becomes fine; he has immense good fortune, and gains as much money as he wishes.
When he comes home, he sees this young girl again. His friends spit at her, but he says to them,
"I will not spit at her--I wish to marry her."
His friends burst out into roars of laughter, "Ha! ha! ha!" The sailor goes home to his mother, and tells her that he is going to be married. His mother answers him,
"If you make a good and rich marriage, very well."
The son said to her, "She is not at all rich. She is that girl there."
The mother was not pleased. "Leave that bad girl alone."
He said, "It is all the same to me; I will marry none but her."
He asks his friends where she lives. They point to an old house. The captain goes there in the evening and knocks at the door. The girl says, "Who is there?"
The man says, "Open the door for me. It is I."
The young girl says, "I will not open the door--I am in bed."
"Never mind, open it."
"No! I will not do it."
"I am going to break in the door."
"Do what you will, but I will not open it."
He breaks open the door, as he said, and goes in. He sees this young girl on a little straw, covered only by her dress. The man wants to go near her. The girl says:
"You may kill me if you like, but you shall not come near me."
They were like that a long time. The man says to her:
"Give me your promise of marriage, then?"
The young girl says, "What do you mean? I so poor and you so rich--how can we marry?"
The man says that they will do so. The young girl will not believe him, and the gentleman says to her:
"If you will give me your promise I will go away at once." And the young girl says "Yes," in order to make him go away. Then he goes away.
The next day he goes to a priest and tells him what has taken place, and gives him forty thousand francs, and tells him to build a fine house with it, and to furnish it, and if anything more is wanting he will pay it at his next voyage. The young girl, too, goes to the priest, for before this she had been helped and comforted by him. The priest tells her how the captain had given him forty thousand francs for her to build a fine house with, and for her to make use of for all she wanted. The priest said that he would undertake building the house, and she said that she would see to all that was wanting for herself.
The captain goes off, and has as successful a voyage as could be made--he had nothing but fair weather. He brought back plenty of money, and they were married soon after his arrival. His mother and his brothers and sister were at the wedding. After some time the captain wished to go and make another voyage. He left his fine house to take his wife to his mother's house, and he said to her:
"My wife will be better with you than all alone. You will have her always dressed as becomes her position, and keep a good table for her, and take good care of her."
The husband went to sea. He often wrote to his wife; but what do the captain's mother and her daughter do after he is gone? They take away from this lady all her pretty dresses, and make her put on old ones, and wooden shoes too with straw inside, and send her off to keep the geese with a bit of bread, telling her that she must bring home a load of small wood (to light the fire with), and that she must keep spinning while she is watching the geese. This poor young girl says nothing. She goes off with her flock of geese. When night comes she returns with four skeins of thread spun and a load of small wood. Every day she does the same. They do not even tell her that her husband has written to her.
The captain has a fine voyage. He had some fears about his mother and his sister, and he thought to himself that it would be best to come home secretly, in silence, and see how they were treating his wife. He comes then as a foreigner, in the dress of a captain. He says that he comes from a distance, and that he wishes to pass a week in their house. The mother and the daughter receive him very well. They tell him to choose his own room, and he chooses his own wedding-chamber. At nightfall the geese come home, cackling, cackling, and with them the young girl. This gentleman tells them that it is his habit to have some young girl with him when he travels like that, and asks them if they can get him one. They tell him "Yes," that there would be none more glad than this young girl, and that they will give her to him. They go and tell it to the goose girl.
She says that certainly she will not go. They say to her that he has chests full of gold, and that they would willingly go, but that he has chosen her; and they push her by force into the room. The gentleman orders an excellent supper, and says that he has the habit of supping well. The goose girl stands sadly before the table. She would not eat anything; the gentleman presses her, and she kept saying that she was not hungry--that she had eaten as much as she usually did. He asks her:
"Where have you eaten? and what have you eaten?"
"A piece of bread that I took with me in the morning."
He tells her again to eat these good things. She says that she does not want anything, and that the greatest pleasure he can give her is to let her go off to her geese. The gentleman says to her:
"You do not know then why you have come here? You are to sleep with me."
The young girl says: "You shall cut me in pieces on the spot before I will go to your bed. I have a husband, and I wish to be faithful to him."
And she tells, on his asking her, how that she was very poor, and no one loved her, and how a rich gentleman had wished to marry her--how very good he had been to her even after the marriage, and how when he went on a voyage he had left her at his mother's house, thinking that she would be best there, and that since he was gone she had had no news of her husband. The gentleman said to her:
"Would you recognise your husband?" She says,
"Has he any marks?"
The young girl says, "Yes; he has a mole between his two breasts with three hairs on it."
The gentleman opens his shirt and shows her his birthmark.
This young girl was seized with such joy that she fainted away, and fell down on the floor. As this gentleman knew the ways of the room he burst open the closet, and took a bottle of liqueur to bring his wife round again, and at last she came to herself, and passes a sweet night with her husband.
The next morning the geese come, cackle, cackle, before the door, and the mistress of the house and her daughter come to the gentleman's door, calling out, if they have not stopped there long enough, that it is time to set off, and that it is a shame to be in bed at that hour. The gentleman gets up and says to his mother:
"What, mother, was this the way that you ought to have treated my dearly-loved wife?"
And he was in such a rage that, if his wife had not begged him to forgive her, he would even have beaten her; but his wife prevented him. He sent his mother and his sister out of the house, and he and his wife lived for many years happy and pleased with each other; and as they lived well they died well too.
THE SISTER OF LAURENTINE.
This may be Toutou, but in the Basque country it is sometimes difficult to get hold of a person's surname. "Who is Laurentine?" you ask. "She is Toutou's sister," is the reply. "But who is Toutou?" "She is Laurentine's sister." If you want to get anything more out you have to cross-examine for half-an-hour. Some of our tales are not signed; we believe these are to be divided between Catherine Elizondo and Laurentine Kopena. Fresh names we think we always put down, but these brought so many tales that we sometimes omitted it with them, and in the rearrangement for printing we have lost our clue.
We have some thirteen other tales of all kinds, beside variations, which we have not given. They are mostly short, and not very different in character from those given above, except in being more stupid in two or three cases and a few of them are to be found in M. Cerquand's collection.
By M. JULIEN VINSON.
THE Basque Language is one which is particularly attractive to specialists. Its place in the general series of idioms has at last been well defined--it is an agglutinative and incorporating language, with some tendency to polysynthetism. It consequently finds a place in the second great morphological linguistic group, between the Finnic and the North American family of languages. I shall now attempt a very short sketch of its general features; but I must ask permission, first, briefly to state some of the most essential principles of the science of language.
It is acknowledged that the science of language--that is to say, the science of the characteristic phenomenon of the human species, is a purely natural science. It has nothing in common with philology, which is mainly a historical study. Whether it be called linguistique, glottology, phonology, or even, by a too common abuse, comparative philology, the science of language follows the same method as the other natural sciences, and advances by observation and experience. The direct subject-matter of this science is those vocal organisms which express, by sensible sounds, thought and its divers modes of existence. These organisms are the spontaneous and unconscious product of organs which, as natural phenomena, fall under the general law of perpetual variation, acted on by their surroundings, climate, &c.; but as incapable of being modified by the external or internal exercise of human volition as any other of the organized beings which surround us.
But as the object of language is to express thought in all its niceties, both the fact that gives rise to it, and the modifications of it caused by time and space, so it is seen that different idioms have adopted different methods of expressing, in the best and readiest manner, the idea, the conception or intuition, with its variable forms, in order to translate with precision its signification, and its relations. From this point of view language has been divided into three great groups: the first, that of isolating languages, wherein the monosyllabic roots all retain their meaning, and wherein the relations are only expressed conventionally, i.e., were not originally expressed at all; the second, that of agglutinative languages, in which the relations are expressed by roots once significative, but now reduced to a secondary and subordinate office; lastly, the third, that of inflectional languages, in which the change of relations is expressed by a modification in the root itself, and even in the radical vowel. It is clear that the idioms of the second group were once isolating, and that inflectional idioms have passed through both the former states. We conclude from this that language is essentially progressive and variable in the sense of a constant improvement in the expression of relations. And yet, in the study of existing languages we find, on the contrary, that they are often in this respect inferior to their ancestors.
This contradiction, however, is only an apparent one. Thus, as Schleicher has demonstrated, languages are born, grow up, become stationary, decline and die; in a word, live after the same fashion as do organized beings. There are in every language two principal periods--that, of formal development, during which the idiom passes from the first (monosyllabic) stage to the second (agglutinative) by reducing certain roots to a secondary and dependent office, then from the second to the third (inflectional) by a new effort to express simultaneously signification and relation; and that of formal decay, during which the original meaning of the relative affixes is more and more forgotten, they get worn out, change by degrees, and often end by perishing altogether. Formal decay begins when a language becomes historical, and it often gives rise to remarkable cases of regressive metamorphosis. One remark which we must make on this subject is that the known agglutinative languages have not spontaneously arrived at historical life--that is to say, have not commenced their decay, except under the influence of a foreign idiom either isolating or inflectional. Nevertheless, during their decay, languages can adopt fresh forms, but these are merely composed, of words already in use; man in the historical period has no longer bare roots at his service.
These linguistic elements are, moreover, subject to the terrible law of the struggle for existence, and of vital competition. Many of them have perished and have left no trace; others are preserved to us merely in some scanty records. The Basque, pressed hard by Latin and its derived languages, has lost ground, especially in Spain. Beyond its actual limits, there are in Navarre many villages, the names of which are Basque, but in which Spanish only is spoken; and all along the frontiers of the actual region of the Basque in the Spanish provinces this idiom is spoken only by a minority of the inhabitants. It is, moreover, undergoing modification everywhere; the children often replace the old expressive native terms by a vocabulary drawn from the Romance tongues. In those places which are most in contact with strangers, and in which the movement of modern life is most keenly felt--at St. Sebastian and at St. Jean de Luz, for instance--the language has become exceedingly debased and incorrect. Everything presages the speedy extinction of the Escuara or Euscara, which is the name given to the Basque by those who speak it. The word, apparently, means merely "manner of speaking." All people have, in a greater or less degree, the pretension which caused the Greeks to treat all foreigners as barbarians--that is, as not properly-speaking men.
Prince L. L. Bonaparte reckons the actual number of the Basques, not including emigrants established in Mexico, at Monte Video, and at Buenos Ayres, at 800,000, of whom 660,000 are in Spain, and 140,000 in France.
The phonetic laws of the Escuara are simple; the sounds most frequently employed are the sibilants, nasals, and hard gutturals; the soft consonants are often suppressed between two vowels. The mixed sounds, between palatals and gutturals, characteristic of the second large group of languages, are also frequently met with. One of the predominant features is the complete absence of reduplication of consonants, the aversion to groups of consonants, and the care taken to complete the sound of final mute consonants by an epenthetic vowel. It is probable that originally the words were composed of a series of syllables formed regularly of a single consonant and a vowel. We must mention, besides, the double form of the nominatives, one of which is used only as the subject of an active verb; the other serves equally for the subject of the intransitive, and the object of the active verb. This is absolutely the same distinction remarked by M. Fried. Müller in the Australian languages between the subjective and the predicative nominative.
Formal derivation is accomplished by means of suffixing the elements of relations; pronominal signs are nevertheless not only suffixed, but also prefixed to verbs. Except in this respect, nouns and verbs are not treated in two distinct manners; they are both equally susceptible of receiving suffixes which mark the relations of time and space, and many of which have preserved in their integrity both their proper signification and their primitive sonorous form. The article is the remote demonstrative pronoun. The pronouns "we" and "ye" are not the plurals of "I" and "thou," but have the appearance of special individualities. There are no possessive derivative terms; "my house," for example, is expressed by "the house of me," and has no analogy with "I eat," or any other verbal expression. There are no genders, although some suffixes are specially replaced by others in the names of animate beings; and in the verb there are special forms to indicate if a man or woman is being spoken to. There is no dual. The sign of the plural is interposed between the article and the suffixes. In the singular alone can there be an indefinite or indeterminate declension without the article.
The conjugation is exceedingly complicated. The Basque verb includes in a single verbal expression the relations of space; of one person to another--(1) subjective (the idea of neutrality, of action limited to its author), (2) objective (the idea of action on a direct object), and (3) attributive (the idea of an action done to bear on an object viewed indirectly, the idea of indirect action); the relations of time; the relations of state, corresponding to as many distinct moods; the variations of action, expressed by different voices; the distinctions of subject or object, marked by numerous personal forms;. the conditions of time and state which are expressed by conjunctions in modem languages to each of these relations is appropriated an affix, often considerably abbreviated and condensed, but almost always recognisable.
The primitive Basque verb--that is to say, in its full development--did not differ from that of other languages of the globe. It comprised only two moods, the indicative, and the conjunctive, which was derived from the indicative by a suffix; and three tenses, the present, the imperfect, and a kind of aorist indicating eventual possibility. There was only one secondary voice, the causative, formed by a special affix. To these forms it joined the signs of the direct and indirect object, which is the essential characteristic of incorporating idioms.
During its historic life, during its period of formal decay, the verb has experienced in Basque modifications which are not found to a similar extent elsewhere. The primitive conjugation, or, so to say, the simple and direct one of verbal nouns, has little by little fallen into disuse, and has been replaced by a singular combination of verbal nouns, of adjectives, and of some auxiliary verbs. Thus it is that the Escuara, in all its dialects, has developed eleven moods and ninety-one tenses (each of which has three persons in each number), variable according to the sex or rank of the person addressed; it receives besides a certain number of terminations, which perform the office of our conjunctions. Moreover, from the totality of these auxiliaries two parallel series have been formed, which, joined alternatively to nouns of action, produce the active and middle voices, or rather the transitive and intransitive. The auxiliaries of the periphrastic conjugation are almost the only verbs that have been preserved belonging to the simple primitive system.
With regard to syntax, the Basque resembles all agglutinative languages. The sentence is always simple. The phrases are generally short; relative pronouns are unknown. The complexity of the verb, which unites many ideas in a single word, contributes to this simplicity of the sentence, in which the subject and the attribute, with their respective complements, tend to form but one expression. This object is attained by the invariability of the adjectives, and especially by composition.
The adjective is placed after the noun it qualifies, whilst the genitive, on the contrary, precedes the governing noun.
Composition is of such common use in Basque, that it has caused several juxta-posed words to be contracted and reduced, so as to be partially confounded one with the other. This phenomenon is familiar to languages of the New World; it is this which properly constitutes polysynthetism, and which we must carefully distinguish from incorporation. This last word should be reserved to designate more particularly the phenomena of objective or attributive conjugation common to idioms of the second form.
The Basque vocabulary appears to be very poor. Although it is still imperfectly known (for the old books, and the names of places, as well as certain little studied dialectic variations, must have retained some words generally forgotten), we are yet able to assert that pure Basque terms do not express abstract ideas. Except in words borrowed from the Gascon, French, Spanish, and Latin, we find no trace of any advanced civilization, and we can discover but very few expressions which imply collectivity or generalization--e.g., there is no word which has the wide signification of our word "tree," of our "animal." "God" is simply, by anthropomorphism, "the Master on High." One and the same Word translates our ideas of "will, desire, fancy, thought." Borrowed words are more numerous, from the fact that the influence of Aryan dialects has been felt through many ages; it is probably owing to their contact with the Indo-European races that the Basques, or those who used to speak the Basque, have any historical existence.
Thus, in order to study this singular idiom, it is necessary to understand thoroughly the history of the intervention of Latin in the Pyrenean region. No assistance is to be obtained from written documents, for there is not (and there cannot have been) any primitive Basque literature. The oldest book was published in 1545. The second is the Protestant version of the New Testament, printed at La Rochelle by order of Jeanne d'Albret, in 1571.
Another difficulty arises from the extreme variability of the language. There are, perhaps, not two villages where it is spoken absolutely in the same manner. This is natural enough among an unlettered people, and one which can only rise to the level of the surrounding civilization by forgetting its ancient language. These different varieties are easily grouped into secondary dialects. Prince L. L. Bonaparte recognises twenty-five of them, but they are reduced without difficulty to eight great dialects. A closer inspection further reduces these eight divisions to three; that is to say, the differences between the eight principal dialects are unequal, and admit of partial resemblances.
The eight dialects are: (1) The Labourdine, (2) The Souletine, (3) The Eastern Lower-Navarrese, (4) The Western Lower-Navarrese, (5) The Northern Upper-Navarrese, (6) The Southern Upper-Navarrese, (7) The Guipuzcoan, (8) The Biscayan. The Souletine and the two Lower-Navarrese dialects form the first group, which may be called the Oriental division. The Biscayan alone forms the Western, and the four others form the Central group. These names are taken from territorial divisions. La Soule was formerly a province feudatory to Navarre, and now embraces, within the French department of the Basses-Pyrénées, the cantons of Mauléon and Tardets, as well as some parishes of the canton of St. Palais, in the arrondissement of Mauléon. The Labourd, a viscounty, vassal of the Duchy of Aquitaine, corresponded to the cantons of Bayonne (excepting the city itself and three other parishes), of St. Jean de Luz, of Ustaritz, of Espelette, and part of Hasparren, in the arrondissement of Bayonne. The remaining part of the two French arrondissements which we have just named composes Lower Navarre, which is again subdivided into the districts of Cize, Mixe, Arberoue, Ostabaret, and the valleys of Osses and Baigorry. This was originally the sixth merindad of Navarre, a kingdom which extended into Spain as far as the Ebro, from Garde and Cortés on the one side to Vera and Viana on the other. Basque is still spoken along the French frontier and in several valleys forming the upper part of the territory. Guipuzcoa contains the cantons (partidos) of St. Sebastian, Tolosa, Azpeitia, and Vergara. Biscay comprises all the territory between Ondarroa and the river of Sommorostro, between La Carranza and the Peña de Gorbea.
The dialects do not correspond exactly to the territorial subdivisions whose names they bear. Thus the Western Lower-Navarrese is spoken in a part of the ancient Labourd; the Biscayan in Guipuzcoa. Lastly, on the Spanish maps, there is another Basque province, Alava; but Basque is scarcely spoken there, excepting in a narrow strip along the northern frontier. The dialect of these Alavese districts is included in the Biscayan. To resume, the Biscayan dialect is now spoken in Alava, Biscay, and the western third part of Guipuzcoa, in Vergara, and in Las Salinas; the Guipuzcoan in almost all the rest of Guipuzcoa; the Northern Upper-Navarrese in some villages of Guipuzcoa on the French frontier, in Fontarabie, Irun, and in the northern part of Navarre; the Southern Upper-Navarrese in the rest of Basque Navarre; the Labourdine in the south-western part of the arrondissement of Bayonne; the Western Lower-Navarrese in the north-eastern part of the same arrondissement; the Souletine is spoken in the two cantons of Mauléon and Tardets, and at Esquiule in the arrondissement of Oloron; the Eastern Lower-Navarrese extends into the arrondissement of Bayonne as far as St. Pierre d'Irube, by Meharrin, Ayherre, Briscous, Urcuit.
Of these arrondissements, of these provinces, none is entirely Basque in a linguistic point of view, except Guipuzcoa, Navarre is only half so, Alava only a tenth part. A little less than a fourth part has to be subtracted from Biscay, and certain Gascon villages from the arrondissements of Mauléon and Bayonne in France. Neither Bayonne, nor Pampeluna, nor Bilbao are Basque. And, moreover, skirting the districts where the Basque is the native idiom of the majority of the inhabitants, on many points there is an intermediate zone in which Basque is known only by a minority of the population; nevertheless, this zone must be included in the geographical area of the idiom, since the persons who speak Basque in it know it as their native language, and have never learnt it. This zone is most extensive in Navarre, but exists also in Alava and in Biscay. In France there is no analogous mixed zone; and, as M. P. Broca remarks ("Sur l'Origine et la Repartition de la, Langue Basque," Paris, 1875, p. 39), "the demarcation is brusque, and may be indicated by a single line." The Basques, moreover, in this respect, present some curious points for study. "In the valley of Roncal the men speak Spanish together; with the women they speak Basque, as do the women to each other. A similar state of things is to be observed at Ochagavia in Salazar. But this custom is not observed in the Roncalese villages of Uztarroz and Isaba, where the men among themselves speak indifferently Basque or Spanish." (Prince L. L. Bonaparte, "Etudes sur les Dialects d'Aezcoa," &c.) p. 3).
The preceding description justifies the opinion advanced at the beginning of this notice. The Basque is an agglutinative idiom, and must be placed, in a morphological point of view, between the Finnic family, which is simply incorporating, and the North American incorporating and polysynthetic families. But we must not conclude thence that the Escuara, is a near relation either of the Finnic or of the Magyar, of the Algonquin or of the Irokese. The relationship of two or more languages cannot, in fact, be concluded merely from a resemblance of their external physiognomy. To prove a community of origin, it is indispensable that (if compared at the same stage of development) their principal grammatical elements should not only be analogous in their functions, but should also have a certain phonetic resemblance, in order to render the hypothesis of their original identity admissible. It is better to abstain from asserting that such languages are derived from the same source, if the significant roots--which, after all, constitute the proper basis, the true originality of a language--should be found to be totally different. At present, no language has been discovered which presents any root-likeness to the Basque, analogous to that which exists between the Sanscrit, Greek, and Gothic, or between Arabic and Hebrew.
Nevertheless, there are in the world minds so devoted to the worship of their own fixed ideas, so smitten with their own metaphysical dreams, so full of faith in the necessity of the unity of language, that they have acquired the habit of torturing the radical elements of a language, and of making them flexible and variable to an inconceivable degree. They pass their lives in seeking etymologies, such as those which Schleicher calls "Etymologizerungen ins blanc hinein," and in discovering phonetic miracles--worthy children of those students of the last centuries who, in the general ignorance of the science of language, traced up all languages to Hebrew. The adventurous spirits to whom I allude have invented a theory of languages in which the vocabulary is incessantly renewed, and have formed the great "Turanian" family, in which everything which is neither Aryan, nor Semitic, nor Chinese, must be perforce included. In this olla podrida, where the Japanese elbows the Esquimaux, and the Australian shakes hands with the Turkish, where the Tamul fraternizes with the Hungarian, a place is carefully reserved for the Basque. Many amateurs, more daring still, have wedded the Escuara, or at least those who speak it, to the soi-disant Khamitic tribes of Egypt; others have united them to the ancient Phoenicians; others have seen in them the descendants of the Alans; others again, thanks to the Atlantides, make them a colony of Americans. It is not long since it was seriously affirmed, and in perfect good faith, that the Basques and the Kelts, the Welsh or Bretons, understood each other, and could converse at length, each using his native tongue. I refer these last to the poet Rulhière:
La contrariété tient souvent au langage:
On peut s'entendre moins parlant un même son,
Que si l'un parlait Basque et l'autre Bas-Breton."
The more serious of these foes of negative conclusions, of these refiners of quintessences, assert that the ancestors of the Basques are incontestably the Iberians. In the first place I will remark that, supposing this proved, the Basques, or, if you will, the Iberians, would not be the less isolated; for how could the Iberian, any more than the Basque, be allied to the Keltic or to the Carthaginian? But this Iberian theory is not yet at all proved, and it will be easy to show it to be so in a few words. It reposes first of all on the following a à priori--the Iberians have occupied all Spain and the south of Gaul, but the Escuara lives still at the foot of the Pyrénées; therefore the Escuara is a remnant of the language of the Iberians. The error of the syllogism is patent; the conclusion does not follow, and is wrongly deduced from the premises. As to the direct proofs, they are reduced to essays of interpretation, either of inscriptions called Iberian or Keltiberian, or of numismatic legends, or of proper, and especially of topographical names. The inscriptions and legends are written in characters evidently of Phoenician origin, but their interpretation is anything but certain. All the readings, all the translations into Basque, proposed by MM. Boudard, Phillips, and others, are disputed by the linguists who are now studying the Basque. The names collected from ancient authors form a more solid basis; but the explanations proposed by W. von Humboldt, and after him by many etymologists without method, are equally for the most part inadmissible. The Iberian theory is not proved, though it is perfectly possible.
The Basques do not present, in an anthropological point of view, as far as we know at present, any original and well-defined characteristic other than their language. Nothing in their manners or customs is peculiar to them. It is in vain that some writers have tried to discover the strange custom of the "couvade" among them, a custom still observed, it is said, by the natives of South America and in the plains of Tartary. It consists in the husband, when his wife is confined, going to bed with the new-born infant, and there he "couve," "broods over it," so to say. No modern or contemporaneous writer has found this custom among the Basques; and as to historical testimony, it is reduced to a passage of Strabo--which nothing proves to be applicable to the ancestors of the present Basques--and to certain allusions in writers of the last two centuries. These allusions always refer to the Béarnais, the dialect whence the word "couvade" is borrowed.
Prince L. L. Bonaparte has discovered that in the Basque dialect of Roncal the moon is called "Goicoa;" Jaungoicoa is the word for "God" in Basque, and would mean "the Lord Moon," or rather "our Lord the Moon." He cites, with reference to this, "the worship of the moon by the ancient Basques." The only evidence in favour of this worship is a passage of Strabo (Lib. iii., iv. 16), where it is said that the Keltiberians, and their neighbours to the north, honour a certain anonymous God by dances before their doors at night during the full moon. But it must be proved that the Keltiberians and their neighbours to the north were Basques.
Another passage of Strabo has furnished arguments to the "Iberists." He says (Lib. iii., iv. 18) that among the Cantabrians the daughters inherited, to the detriment of their brothers. M. Eugène Cordier has endeavoured, after Laferrière ("Histoire du Droit Français"), to establish that this arrangement is the origin of the right of primogeniture without distinction of sex, and which is found more or less in all the "coutumes" of the Western Pyrénées. He has developed this theory in an interesting essay, "Sur l'Organisation de la Famille chez les Basques" (Paris, 1869). But an able lawyer of Bayonne, M. Jules Balasque, has shown in Vol. II. of his remarkable "Etudes Historiques sur la Ville de Bayonne" (Bayonne, 1862-75) that there is nothing peculiar to the Basques in this fact; and we can only recognise in it, as in the opposite custom of "juveignerie" in certain northern "coutumes," an application of a principle essentially Keltic or Gallic for the preservation of the patrimony.
In conclusion, I beg my readers to excuse the brevity of the preceding notes; but, pressed for time, and overwhelmed with a multitude of occupations, it has not been possible for me to do more. If I am still subject to the reproach which Boileau addresses to those who, in striving to be concise, become obscure, I have at least endeavoured to conform to the precept of the Tamul poet, Tiruvalluva--"To call him a man who lavishes useless words, is to call a man empty straw" (I. Book, xx. chap., 6th stanza).
Bayonne, August 28, 1876.
PERHAPS there is no people among whom versification is so common, and among whom really high-class poetry is so rare, as among the Basques. The faculty of rhyming and of improvisation in verse is constantly to be met with, Not unusually a traveller in one of the country diligences, especially on a market-day, will be annoyed by the persistent crooning of one of the company, like Horace of old, more or less under the inspiration of Bacchus; and if he enquire what the man is about, he will be told that he is reciting a narrative in verse of all the events of the past day, mingled probably with more or less sarcastic reflections on the present company, and with especial emphasis on the stranger. At the yearly village fêtes, when the great match of Jeu de Paume au Rebot has been lost or won, prizes are sometimes given for improvisation on themes suggested at the moment, and the rapidity of the leading improvisatori is something marvellous. Moreover, there are two species of native Drama., One, the Pastorale, the more regular and important, is now confined to the Vallée of La Saison and the Souletin district. The other, the Charivari, or Mascarade, more unfettered and impromptu, giving free rein to the invention of the actors, is occasionally, but rarely, acted in all districts of the Pays Basque.
The Pastorale, or Tragedy, is certainly a representative and survival of the Mediæval Mystery, or Miracle Play; and in the remoter districts is acted almost as seriously as is the Ammergau Passion Play. It is an open-air performance, which unites in interminable length, and in the same piece, tragedy and comedy, music, dancing, and opera. Though undoubtedly the oldest form in which Basque poetry of any kind is preserved, it can have no claim to be an indigenous product. The subjects of the older Pastorales are drawn from three sources--from the Bible; from the lives of the Saints, or Hagiology; from the Chansons de Geste and Romances of Chivalry. None of the extant Pastorales, even in their earliest form, would, we think, be anterior to the thirteenth century. The anachronisms, the prejudices, the colouring, the state of education evinced, are all those of the date when the Chansons de Geste and the Legenda Aurea were the favourite literature of high and low; the epoch at the close of which flourished the brilliant petty courts of Gaston de Foix at Orthez, and of the Black Prince at Bordeaux. The anachronisms make Charlemagne a contemporary of the Crusaders; Mahomet is an idol, and in the shape of a wooden puppet sits on a cross-bar over one of the stage-entrances, where he is worshipped by all his followers as they pass in and out. The make-up of the characters and the dresses are conventional. But though we cannot .assign any higher antiquity even to the original form of any of the extant Pastorales--we say original form, because they have been edited and re-edited generation after generation by almost every prompter at each successive representation--yet several of the accessories and part of the stage-business point to possibly older traditions. The stage, at least in the more inaccessible villages, where alone the Pastorales are now to be seen in anything like their genuine form, may still be described as "modicis pulpita tignis." It is generally constructed against a house in the "Place" of the village, and is composed of boards resting on inverted barrels; one or more sheets, suspended from cross-bars, hide the house walls, and form the background; to this drapery bunches of flowers and flags are affixed, and thus is formed the whole "scenery"; the rest is open air and sky. Usually behind the sheet, though sometimes in front on a chair, sits the prompter, or stage-director; at the corners and sides of the stage are the stage-keepers, armed with muskets, which are fired off at certain effective moments, and always at the end of a fight. But there are four points in which a Pastorale recals more ancient traditions: (1) The sexes are never mingled; the Pastorale being played either entirely by men, or entirely by women. (2) The speech is always a kind of recitative or chant, varying in time according to the step of the actors. (3) There is a true chorus. (4) The feet and metre of the verse correspond to the step and march of the actors, and to the dancing of the chorus.
Now, as to (1), the effect is not unpleasing; the boy-lady or the boy-angel is often one of the most successful actors, and makes an excellent substitute for the real lady. There is no coarseness in his acting; on the contrary, there is a certain reserve of movement caused by the unwonted dress, which looks like a pleasing modesty, and makes the boy appear really lady-like. His get-up is generally unexceptionable.
We have once only had an opportunity of seeing a girl's Pastorale, "Ste. Helène," at Garindein, in April of the present year, 1879. Unfortunately it was interrupted, almost as soon as commenced, by violent rain. The costumes were very modest and pretty. The heroines of the piece wore blue or scarlet-jackets, with long white skirts; the lady-heroes had shorter skirts and white unmentionables. The Pastorale of "Ste. Helène" has nothing to do with the mother of Constantine the Great, or with the Invention of the Cross. It is an olla podrida of old legends. The opening scene is taken from "The King who wished to marry his own daughter" (see above, p. 165.) A King Antoina wishes to marry his daughter Helène, and for that purpose procures a dispensation from the Pope, who appears on the scene, attended by an angel. Helène, however, still refuses, and escapes; she embarks for England, but the captain of the vessel falls outrageously in love with her (cf. "Juan Dekos," p. 148). A shipwreck saves her from his persecutions; she lands alone in England, is seen by Henry, King of England, who falls in love with her and forthwith marries her, in spite of his mother's objections. He is forced to go to the wars; Helène gives birth to twin boys, but the queen-mother changes the letter, and sends word to the King that she is confined of two puppies (cf. "The singing tree, the bird which tells the truth, and the water that makes young," p. 177). Ste. Helène is condemned to death; Clarice, her maid, offers to die in her stead, but both escape; the boys, who were supposed to have been murdered, at last reappear, and all ends happily as in the legends. The part of the "Satans" was taken by three middle-aged men, in buff breeches and white stockings, who danced very well. The preliminary procession on horseback, and the opening scene on the stage, were exceedingly pretty.
(:2) The recitative is always accompanied by music; generally a violin or two, a flute, the chirola, and the so-called Basque tambourine, a species of six-stringed guitar, beaten by a short stick, or plectrum. The tune is almost a monotone, but differs in time, being faster or slower according to the action of the piece; with the exception of those parts in which the chorus alone has possession of the stage, when the Saut Basque or other lively dancing airs are played. The strong, clear chant of the actor accompanying this music, which is never overpowering in its loudness, is heard much better and to a greater distance in the open air than any mere speaking would be; and, moreover, it prevents rant, without altogether effacing vivacity. For (3) there is a singular idea running through all these Basque Pastorales, according to which sanctity and nobility of character are associated with calmness of demeanour and tone, and villany and devilry of all kinds with restlessness and excitement. The angels and saints, the archbishops and bishops, move with folded hands and softly gliding steps; the heroes walk majestically slow; the common soldiers are somewhat more animated and careless in their gestures; the Saracens, the enemies, the villains, rush wildly about; but the chorus, or "Satans," are ever in restless, aimless, agitated movement, except when engaged in actual dancing. It is on these last, the chorus--of whom there should be three, or two at least--that the great fatigue and burden of the acting weighs. None but the most active and well-knit lads can play the part, and even them it tries severely. This chorus is invariably called "Satans;" their dress is always rigidly the same, and a pretty one it is--red beret or cap, red open jacket, white trousers with red stripes, red sashes, spartingues (hempen sandals) bound with red ribands; and they carry a little wand ornamented with red ribands and terminating in a three-forked hooked prong. Blue is the colour consecrated to the good and virtuous; red to the enemy and the vicious, to the English, Saracens, and "Satans." The task of the "Satans" is not only to take part among the actors, but the difficulty of their utterance is much heightened by the compelled rapidity of their movements, while at intervals, when the stage is empty of other actors, they occupy the front corners of it, and dance the wild Saut Basque, singing at the same time some reflections on, or anticipations of, the action of the piece played, much like the chorus of a Greek tragedy; but, in addition to this, there is generally a comic interlude, more or less impromptu, and very slightly, if at all, connected with the main piece, wherein the "Satans" take the principal rôle, together with the best comedian of the other actors. This is done to relieve the tedium of the heavy tragedy, and, oddly enough, is often spoken partly in Gascon or in French, while only Basque is used in the Pastorale proper. (4) As will be judged from the above remarks, there is, perhaps, no spectacle in Europe from which the original relations of feet, line, pause, metre, verse, strophe, antistrophe, and rhythm in music, dance, and poetry can be better studied than at a Basque Pastorale. It will be seen there at a glance how far these terms are from being mere metaphors.
Now, when we add that many of the actors in these Pastorales cannot--scarcely any could before the present generation--read or write; that the Pastorales extend from three to seven thousand lines, distributed in ballad verses of four lines each, the second and fourth rhyming; and that the representations last from six to eight hours, our readers may imagine the amount of serious preparation required where every sentence has to be learned by heart from repetition of a reader or reciter. Consequently, to get up a Pastorale, a whole winter is not too long. The task is generally performed at home in the actor's family, or in a house where two or three meet together for the study, if neighbours. We have seen some pleasing instances of the pride the whole family take in the success of the actor. Asking once a pretty boy where he could have learnt to play his part of lady in so very ladylike a manner, he answered, "From my father and my mother in the winter." At another time we had as companion in a long day's walk a man upwards of sixty, who had been a "Satan" in his youth. He explained how very trying it is both to dance well and to sing at the same time so as to be clearly heard. His father had been a "Satan" before him, and had trained him for the occasion, and had made him eat two raw eggs before commencing. He spoke of the joy of the whole family when his performance was successful, though he lost his voice for several days afterwards. To show what his former agility must have been, he cleared every fence and obstacle in our path gallantly, despite his sixty years. These Pastorales are seldom, if ever, acted as a money speculation, but during the acting of them one or two young men, accompanied by a pretty girl, make the round of the spectators, offering a glass of wine, in quasi-payment for which you are expected to place a coin in the plate which the maiden carries. The amount collected is seldom much beyond what is required for the necessary expenses; more often it is below, but if anything remains it is spent on a grand feast to all the actors. The number of Pastorales in existence is variously stated at from seventy to two hundred. The former number we believe to be the nearer to the fact. The names of those best known are as follows:--
FROM THE BIBLE AND HAGIOLOGY.
Abraham, avec Sara and Agar
S. Claudieus et Ste. Marsimissa
CHANSONS DE GESTE, ETC.
Napoleon--(1) Le Consulat
(3) Ste. Helène
We will now give a brief epitome of "Abraham" as a specimen, not of the best, but of the only one which we have at hand in MS., for none of the Pastorales, we believe, have ever been printed in extenso. The dramatis personæ are:
The Eternal Father, who speaks chiefly in Latin quotations from the Vulgate, and always from behind the scenes, i.e., the suspended sheets mentioned above.
Three Angels--Michael, Raphael, Gabriel--all of whom mingle quotations from the Vulgate with their Basque.
Abraham, Sara, Agar, Isaac, and Ismael. Lot, and Uxor (sic) Lot's wife. Tina and Mina, Lot's daughters.
Salamiel and Nahason, shepherds of Abraham. Sylva and Milla, shepherds of Lot.
Escol, a companion of Abraham.
All these names are from the Vulgate:
Kings of the Turks (Turcac).
Pharaon, King of Egypt.
Corion and Gober, Pharaon's courtiers.
Good Soldiers, defenders of the Holy Religion.
Chavoq and Chorre, good giants, killed by the Turkish kings.
Cocor, Patar; Maneton, and Catilie, inhabitants of Sodom. The last two are ladies. Maneton is a diminutive from Marie--Manon, Manette, Maneton; like Jeannette, Jeanneton, from Jeanne.
"Satans"--Satan and Bulgifer--who swear most frightfully in French, on the principle, perhaps, of omne ignotum pro magnifico, and because swearing, while more terrible, is less mischievous when uttered in a tongue "not understanded of the people."
Abraham is the model of a Christian, and Abraham and Pharaon both address their followers as "barons." Satan flatteringly addresses the shepherds by the Spanish title "Caballeros" when he wants to lead them into mischief. The actors are by no means so numerous as the "rôles"; one takes several successive parts, often without change of dress, a custom which heightens not a little the difficulty of following an acted Pastorale.
There is more dramatic unity in "Abraham," and the main plot is more skilfully conducted than might be expected from its title. The key-note of the action is given at once when Satan and Bulgifer appear on horseback in the "Place" in front of the stage, and announce their project of "tormenting Abraham," and of "weakening the Christian Faith." The plot then follows pretty closely the Bible narrative. Only it is Satan and Bulgifer who are the authors of all Abraham's misfortunes and vexations; although the angels constantly appear to save him when matters are at their worst. It is the "Satans" who inflame Pharaon in Egypt with the report and sight of Sara's beauty; it is they who stir up strife between Abraham's and Lot's herdsmen; they are delighted with the wickedness of the inhabitants of Sodom, which they direct to suit their own purposes; they stir up war against Abraham and Lot in the persons of the Turkish kings with Biblical names. These at first conquer Lot, and one by one slay all. his partisans, including the good giants Chavoq and Chorre, whose corpses are carried off by Satan to be feasted upon, with the licorish exclamation: "O what cutlets! what a fine leg!!" Then they tempt Agar, and make her quarrel with Sara. In the scene preceding the destruction of Sodom, although the angels are present, the inhabitants round Lot's door are blinded, not by them, but "by some magician." Lot's wife, Uxor, when to be changed into a pillar of salt, ingeniously falls under the stage, and there the transformation takes place unseen. When Isaac is born, he is forthwith baptised. Agar and Ismael are driven into the desert, and are saved by the angel Gabriel. The play then gradually works up to the climax, the sacrifice of Isaac--the last and terrible temptation--in which the "Satans" tempt the "two Christians," Abraham and Isaac, to unbelief and disobedience, and are foiled as ever. After this, the action languishes, Abraham dies, and the Pastorale comes to an end. All the actors appear on the stage and chant the De Profundis, then the angels sing, and all unite in a concluding chant. We give a few verses from the scene of the sacrifice as a specimen of the whole:--
SATAN AND BULGIFER; ABRAHAM AND ISAAC.
Abraham, art thou ignorant?
What art thou thinking of?
Leave him in life;
Thou hast some wise hairs.
I tell thee to return
To the house with the child
And there you shall live
With very great joy.
Ah! alas! wretched torment!
Always thus on this earth
Satan doth vex me
In all my doings.
Nevertheless, I take courage
Yes, even now
To slay Isaac
I am ready on the instant.
He has given me the order,
The good God Himself,
That I sacrifice Isaac
On this mountain myself.
He who gave you this order
Was not God. No!
Go off to your house,
And take your young son.
. . . . .
My only son Isaac,
If I sacrifice him,
All of my race
I quickly destroy.
The good God had told me
That he would marry;
But if he dies now,
How can that be?
I trust, nevertheless,
On our Lord God;
I am willing to offer to Him,
To Him alone, my son.
. . . . .
At last Satan and Bulgifer go off, exclaiming:--
O, you accursed one!
You always overcome us;
To confusion always
You do put us.
But, if we no more tempt you,
We will tempt some one else;
And we will even take down
To hell some soul.
In despair we depart
For ever from thee;
And we leave you now
In a very sad case.
After a few words between father and son, Isaac then offers himself, and prays as follows:--
People, I pray you, look
On this poor innocent child;
I am about to leave the world,
And have done harm to none.
O King of Heaven!
Who art powerful
Above all other,
Wise and triumphant. (Music)
O Lord ! our Saviour!
Lord, I must also
Soon leave this world. (Music.)
I ask pardon of Thee
For all my sins,
Wherewith I oft have offended
Thee from my birth.
He binds himself, and goes on:--
All those, O Lord!
Blot from remembrance;
To Thy glory, I pray,
Receive me immediately.
King of the Angels,
Prince of the Heaven,
May'st Thou grant me,
I pray Thee, Thy rest.
I ask Thee pardon
From my whole heart;
Succour me, O Lord!
With Thy holy hand.
I have not enough wit
To thank Thee therewith;
But if to Heaven I should go,
There will I praise Thee.
O Lord! I pray Thee, have pity!
Thou shouldest grant it me;
For to leave this world
I am determined.
Angel of the Lord,
Grant me strength,
Since Thou art
Lord, I commend
To Thee my spirit;
It is Thou Who first
Hast created me.
And O! great God! I pray,
If it be Thy will,
In the repose of the blessed
Place my soul.
Father,--whenever You will,--
Sacrifice me now;--
To find my God
I would depart.
Abraham is in the act of sacrificing when the Angel Gabriel seizes him from behind, and bids him not do it, &c., &c. Any foreigner who, unless he has a most charming interpreter or interpretress, can sit out a whole Pastorale would surely deserve the first prize in the school of patience.
The other kind of dramatic performance is much more irregular, and may assume various forms according to the circumstances which give occasion to it. It may be only a wild kind of carnival procession, the Mascarade, where each gesticulates as the character he represents; or a charivari in honour (?) of a dotard's marriage, wherein the advantages of celibacy over married life are sarcastically set forth; or it may take the form of a really witty impromptu comedy played on a tiny stage in honour of the marriage or the good fortune of the most popular persons of the village. One of the first kind is excellently described in Chaho's "Biarritz, entre les Pyrénées et l'Océan," vol. ii. pp. 84-121, to which we refer the reader. One of the last kind was acted at Louhossoa about 1866, on the double occasion of some marriages, and of the return of some young men from South America. There were three actors; the piece was witty and well played, and seemed to give the greatest satisfaction to the audience.
IF we except the Pastorales, the whole of Basque poetry may be described as lyrical; either secular, as songs, or religious, as hymns and noëls. There is no epic in Basque, and scarcely any narrative ballads; even those chiefly are of uncertain date. A few sonnets exist, but they are almost exclusively translations or imitations of French, Spanish, or classical poems, and cannot be considered as genuine productions of the Basque muse. Some of the religious poetry may be described as didactic, but this again is mostly paraphrase or translation. All that is really native is lyrical. But even in song the Basques show no remarkable poetical merit. The extreme facility with which the language lends itself to rhyming desinence has a most injurious effect upon versification. There are not verses only, but whole poems, in which each line terminates with the same desinence. Instead of striving after that perfection of form which the change of a single word or even letter would affect injuriously, the Basques are too often satisfied with this mere rhyme. Their compositions, too, if published at all, are usually printed only on single sheets of paper, easily dispersed and soon lost. Hence the preservation of Basque poetry is entrusted mainly to the memory, and, thus it happens that one scarcely meets with two copies of the same song exactly alike. If the memory fails, the missing words and rhymes are so easily supplied by others that it is not worth the effort to recal the precise expression used. And so it comes to pass that, while versification is very common among the Basques, high-class poetry is extremely rare. They have no song writers to compare with Burns or with Béranger. And if it be alleged that poets like these are, rare, even among people far more numerous and more cultivated, the Basques still fall short, when measured by a much lower standard. They have no poets to rival the Gascon, Jasmin, or to compare with the Provençal or the Catalan singers at the other end of the Pyrenean chain. There is no modern Basque song which can be placed by the side of "Le Demiselle" and others of the Biarritz poet, Justin Larrebat; and among the older poets neither Dechepare nor Oyhenart is equal to the Béarnais, Despourrins. While the Jacobite songs of Scotland are among the finest productions of her lyric muse, the Carlist songs, on the contrary, though telling of an equally brave and romantic struggle, are one and all below mediocrity. But, while fully admitting this, there is yet much that is pleasing in Basque poetry. If it has no great merits, it is still free from any very gross defects. It is always true and manly, and completely free from affectation. It is seldom forced, and the singer sings just because it pleases him to do so, not to satisfy a craving vanity or to strain after the name and fame of a poet. The moral tone is almost always good. If at times, as in the drinking songs, and in some few of the amatory, the expression is free and outspoken, vice is never glossed over or covered with a false sentimentality. The Basque is never mawkish or equivocal--with him right is right, and wrong is wrong, and Basque poetry leaves no unpleasant after-taste behind.
The only peculiarity, in a poetical sense, is the extreme fondness for, and frequent employment of, allegory. In the love songs the fair one is constantly addressed under some allegorical disguise. It is a star the lover admires, or it is the nightingale who bewails his sad lot. The loved one is a flower, or a heifer, a dove or a quail, a pomegranate or an apple, figures common to the poets of other countries; but the Basques, even the rudest of them, never confuse these metaphors, as more famous poets sometimes do--the allegory is ever consistently maintained throughout. Even in prose they are accustomed to this use of allegory, and catch up the slightest allusion to it; but to others it often renders their poetry obscure, and very difficult of successful translation. The stranger is in doubt whether a given poem is really meant only for a description of the habits of the nightingale, or whether the bird is a pseudonym for the poet or the poet's mistress. Curiously enough, sometimes educated Basques seem to have almost as much difficulty in seizing this allegory as have foreigners. Thus, in a work now in course of publication, one of the most famous of these allegorical complaints is actually taken for a poetical description of the nightingale itself.
The historical songs, like all other historical remains among the Basques, are few and doubtful. There are two songs, however, for which are claimed a greater historical importance and a higher antiquity than any others can pretend to. These are the so-called "Leloaren Cantua" and the "Altabiskarco Cantua." Both these are reputed by some writers to be almost contemporaneous with the events which they relate. The first is said to be founded on the wars of the Roman Emperor Augustus with the Cantabri; the second is an account of the defeat of Charlemagne's rear-guard at Roncesvalles, A.D. 778. The former may be some three hundred years old, but the latter is certainly a production of the nineteenth century, though none the less it is the most spirited offspring of the Basque muse. We will give the text and translation of each, and then justify our conclusions.
lelo. yl lelo
SONG OF LELO.
Lelo, dead (is) Lelo
The arms of Rome
The dry plains
In favourable ground
For five years,
One of ours
They many and
In our land
(It is) impossible more.
Tiber the place
The great oaks
The history of the above song is as follows: At the close of the sixteenth century a notary of Zornoza, J. Iñiguez de Ibargüen, was commissioned by the junta of Biscay to search the principal libraries of Spain for documents relating to the Basques. In the archives of Simancas he discovered an ancient MS. on parchment, containing verses in Basque, some almost, others wholly obliterated. Of these he copied what he could, and inserted them in p. 71 of his "Cronica general de España y sumaria de Vizcaya," a work which still exists in manuscript in the town of Marquina. From this history of Ibargüen the song was first reproduced by the celebrated Wilhelm von Humboldt, and published by him in 1817 in a supplement to Vater's "Mithridates." The text above given is taken from that of the "Cancionero Vasco," Series 2, iii., pp. 18, 20, and claims to be a new and literal copy from the MS. "Cronica" of Ibargüen. From the date of its publication by Humboldt, this piece has been the subject of much discussion. That it is one of the oldest fragments of Basque poetry hardly admits of doubt. But, when asked to believe that it is contemporary with Augustus, we must hesitate. The question arises: Did Ibargüen copy the almost defaced original exactly as it was, or did he suffer his declared predilections unconsciously to influence his reading of it? Many of the words are still very obscure, and the translation of them is almost guess work. The first verse has little or no apparent connection with the rest of the poem, and has given rise to the most fanciful interpretations. Lelo has been imagined by some to be the name of a Basque hero; Zara, or Zarat, who kills him, the name of another; and the two reproduce the story of Agamemnon and Ægisthus. Others, with more probability, take Lelo, as is certainly the case in other poems, for a mere refrain (the everlasting Lelo, as a Basque proverb has it) used by the singer merely to give the key to the tune or rhythm to which he modulates the rest. Chaho, with his usual audacity, would translate it "glory," and render it thus:--
Finished is the glory! dead is the glory,
Old age has killed the glory,
But it has been very plausibly suggested that the verse bears a suspicious likeness to a vague reminiscence of the Moslem cry "Lâ Êlah Ulâ Allah!" &c.; and if so, this, in the north of Spain, would at one bound place the poem some eight centuries at least after the time of Augustus. The proper names have a too correct look. Octabiano, Roma, and Tiber are far too much like the Latin; for if Greeks and Romans complained, as do Strabo and Mela, of the difficulty of transcribing Basque or Iberian names into their own language, the Basques might possibly find a somewhat corresponding difficulty in transcribing Greek and Latin names into Basque. Moreover, in a later verse appears "Uchin," a sobriquet for "Augustino," as a baptismal name in use among the Spanish Basques to this day. What the poem really refers to we dare not assert. We present the "Leloaren Cantua" to our readers simply as one of the oldest curiosities of Basque verse, without pledging ourselves to any particular date or interpretation thereof.
Fortunately, we shall be able to speak with much more decision of the "Altabiskarco Cantua," of which the following is the latest text:--
Oyhu bat aditua izan da
Escualdunen mendien artetic,
Eta etcheco jaunac, bere athearen aitcinean chutic
Ideki tu beharriac, eta erran du: "Nor da hor? Cer nahi dautet?
Eta chacurra, bere nausiaren oinetan lo zagüena,
Altchatu da, eta karrasiz Altabiscarren inguruac bethe ditu.
Ibañetaren lepoan harabotz bat aghertcen da,
Urbiltcen da, arrokac ezker eta ezcuin jotcen dituelaric;
Hori da urrundic heldu den armada baten burrumba.
Mendien copetetaric guriec errespuesta eman diote;
Beren tuten soinua adiaraci dute,
Eta etcheco jaunac bere dardac zorrozten tu.
Heldu dira! heldu dira! cer lantzazco sasia!
Nola cer nahi colorezco banderac heien erdian aghertcen diren
Cer simistac atheratcen diren heien armetaric!
Cembat dira? Haurra condatzic onghi!
Bat, biga, hirur, laur, bortz, sei, zazpi, zortzi, bederatzi, hamar, hameca, hamabi,
Hamahirur, hamalaur, hamabortz, hamasei, hamazazpi, hemezortzi, hemeretzi, hogoi.
Hogoi eta milaca oraino!
Heien condatcea demboraren galtcea liteque.
Urbilditzagun gure beso zailac, errotic athera ditzagun arroca horiec,
Botha ditzagun mendiaren patarra behera
Hein buruen gaineraino;
Leher ditzagun, herioz jo ditzagun.
Cer nahi zuten gure mendietaric Norteco guizon horiec?
Certaco jin dira gure bakearen nahastera?
Jaungoicoac mendiac eguin dituenean nahi izan du hec guizonec ez pasatcea.
Bainan arrokac biribilcolica erortcen dira, tropac lehertcen dituzte.
Odola churrutan badoa, haraghi puscac dardaran daude.
Oh! cembat hezur carrascatuac! cer odolezco itsasoa!
Escapa! escapa! indar eta zaldi dituzeneac!
Escapa hadi, Carlomano erreghe, hire luma beltzekin eta hire capa gorriarekin;
Hire iloba maitea, Errolan zangarra, hantchet hila dago;
Bere zangartasuna beretaco ez tu izan.
Eta orai, Escualdunac, utz ditzagun arroca horiec,
Jauts ghiten fite, igor ditzagun gure dardac escapatcen direnen contra.
Badoazi! badoazi! non da bada lantzazco sasi hura?
Non dira heien erdian agheri ciren cer nahi colorezco bandera hec?
Ez da gheiago simiztarik atheratcen heien arma odolez bethetaric.
Cembat dira? Haurra, condatzac onghi.
Hogoi, hemeretzi, hemezortzi, hamazazpi, hamasei, hamabortz, hamalaur, hamairur,
Hamabi, hameca, hamar, bederatzi, zortzi, zazpi, sei, bortz, laur, hirur biga, bat.
Bat! ez da bihiric aghertcen gheiago. Akhabo da!
Etcheco jauna, joaiten ahal zira zure chacurrarekin,
Zure emaztearen eta zure haurren besarcatcera,
Zure darden garbitcera eta alchatcera zure tutekin,
Eta ghero heien gainean etzatera eta lo gitera.
Gabaz, arranoac joainen dira haraghi pusca lehertu horien jatera,
Eta hezur horiec oro churituco, dira eternitatean.
SONG OF ALTABISCAR.
A CRY is heard
From the Basque mountain's midst.
Etcheco jauna, at his door erect,
Listens, and cries, "What want they? Who goes there?"
At his lord's feet the dog that sleeping lay
Starts up, his bark fills Altabiscar round.
Through Ibañeta's pass the noise resounds,
Striking the rocks on right and left it comes
'Tis the dull murmur of a host from far,
From off the mountain heights our men reply,
Sounding aloud the signal of their horns
Etcheco jauna whets his arrows then.
They come! They come! See, what a wood of spears
What flags of myriad tints float in the midst!
What lightning-flashes glance from off their arms!
How many be they? Count them well, my child.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12,
13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20.
Twenty, and thousands more!
'Twere but lost time to count.
Our sinewy arms unite, tear up the rocks,
Swift from the mountain tops we hurl them down
Right on their heads,
And crush, and slay them all.
What would they in our hills, these Northern men?
Why come they here our quiet to disturb?
God made the hills intending none should pass.
Down tall the rolling rocks, the troops they crush!
Streams the red blood! Quivers the mangled flesh!
Oh! what a sea. of blood! What shattered bones!
Fly, to whom strength remaineth and a horse!
Fly, Carloman, red cloak and raven plumes!
Lies thy stout nephew, Roland, stark in death;
For him his brilliant courage naught avails.
And, now, ye Basques, leaving awhile these rocks,
Down on the flying foe your arrows shower!
They run! They run! Where now that wood of spears ?
Where the gay flags that flaunted in their midst?
Rays from their bloodstained arms no longer flash!
How many are they? Count them well, my child.
20, 19, 18, 17, 15, 15, 14, 13,
12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
One! There is left not one. 'Tis o'er!
Etcheco Jauna home with thy dog retire.
Embrace thy wife and child,
Thine arrows clean, and stow them with thine horn;
And then, lie down and sleep thereon.
At night yon mangled flesh shall eagles eat,
And to eternity those bones shall bleach.
(This translation is due to the kindness of a friend.)
The history of this song is very curious, and shows the little value of subjective criticism in any but the most competent hands. The MS. of it is alleged to have been found on the 5th of August, 1794, in a convent at Fuenterrabia, by La Tour d'Auvergne, the celebrated "premier grenadier" of the French Army. It was printed about the year 1835, by Monglave, and accepted as a genuine contemporary document by Fauriel, Chaho, Cenac-Moncaut, and many other French writers; by Lafuente, Amador de los Rios, and other Spanish authors; by Araquistain, and by the Editors of the "Revista Euskara" and of the "Cancionero Vasco" among the Basques. It is needless to say that all guidebooks, tourist sketches, et hoc genus omne, have adopted it. It was inserted as genuine by Fr. Michel, in the Gentleman's Magazine, in 1858, and in more recent years a translation appeared in another London magazine. In the "Basques et Navarrais" of M. Louis Lande, lately published, it is alluded to as genuine; and the Saturday Review of the 17th of August, 1878, quotes it as a corroboration of the "Chanson de Roland." There have been some, however, who have stoutly opposed these claims; among them M. Barry, of Toulouse, M. Gaston Paris, and M. J. F. Blade, which last writer, both in a separate pamphlet and in his "Etudes sur l'Origine des Basques" (Paris, 1859), has shown from internal grounds its want of authenticity. M. Alexandre Dihinx, a Basque, in a series of articles in the Impartial, of Bayonne, for 1873, which have since been reprinted by M. J. Vinson, in L'Avenir, of Bayonne, May of the present year, conclusively proved both the incorrectness and the modern character of its Basque. But all these authors seem either to have been unaware of, or to have unaccountably overlooked, the true history of the piece. When M. Fr. Michel published this, and another song called "Abarcaren Cantua," in the Gentleman's Magazine, in 1858, as specimens of ancient Basque poetry, a letter from M. Antoine d'Abbadie, Membre de l'Institut, appeared forthwith in the number for March, 1859, stating that the Abarca song had actually been among the unsuccessful pieces submitted for the prize in the poetical competition at Urrugne, of the previous August; and he adds:--
"I am sorry that the Altabiscarraco cantua, mentioned in your same number, is acknowledged as a gem of ancient popular poetry. Truth compels me to deny that it is universally admitted as such, for one of my Basque neighbours has often named the person who, about twenty four years ago, composed it in French, and the other person, who translated it into modern but indifferent Basque. The latter idiom, on purely philological ground, stands peerless among the most ancient languages in Europe, and I have felt it my duty to disclaim unfounded pretensions of which it has no need.--I am, etc.,
Correspond. de l'Institut de France.
"London, Jan. 31, 1859."
In the next number M. Fr. Michel writes, "henceforth I will believe that the songs called Abarcaren Cantua, and Altabiscarraco Cantua are forgeries"; this testimony is decisive. It has often been repeated by M. d'Abbadie, with the additional assurance that he knows not only the house, but the very room in which the song was first composed. That the language is modern and indifferent Basque is very evident in the text given by M. Fr. Michel in "Le Pays Basque, Paris, 1857," That above, taken from the "Cancionero Vasco" of the present year, is considerably corrected and improved. All attempts, and many efforts have been made, to force these irregular lines into any known form of Basque rhythm have hitherto signally failed. For the amusement of some of our readers we give below a list of the more evident foreign words in this and in the "Leloaren Cantua." The relative antiquity will thus be seen at a glance:--
L, Latin; S, Spanish; F, French; G, German words.
SONG OF LELO.
SONG OF ALTABISCAR.
With reference to the above list we may observe that the Basque never begins a word with r, but always prefixes a euphonic er, ar, ir; hence er-respuesta, ar-roca, Er-rolan, er-rege, hir-risko, risque, F. In later copies editors have altered "Romaco," in the "Song of Lelo," into "Er-romaco," to give it more of a Basque look. Aren, or aen, eco-aco-co, are case terminations; tcea-cea marks the verbal noun. Carlomann was never the name of Charlemagne, but of his brother and his uncle. Er-rolan is evidently from the French Roland; neither from the Hruotlandus of Einhardus, nor from the Spanish Roldan. Defenders of the authenticity of the piece allege that these words are only corruptions, introduced in the course of ages; but our readers can judge for themselves how far they enter into the very structure of the composition.
The first book printed in Basque, the "Linguæ Vasconum Primitiæ, per Dominum Bernardum Echepare" (Bordeaux, 1345), is a collection of his poems, religious and amatory, the latter predominating. Echepare was the parish priest of the pretty little village of St. Michel, on the Béhérobie Nive, above St. Jean Pied de Port; and, if Nature alone could inspire, a poet, he ought at least to have rivalled those of our own English Lakes. But, in truth, his verses are of scant poetical merit, and of little interest save as a philological curiosity. They belong so distinctly to that irritating mediocrity which never can be excused in a poet. After Echepare the next author is Arnauld Oyhenart, of Mauléon, who published a collection of his youthful Basque poems in Paris, 1657. These have, if anything, less poetical value than Echepare's; but Oyhenart's collection of proverbs and his "Notitia Utriusque Vasconiæ" will always make his name stand high among Basque writers. Except hymns and noëls (Christmas carols), of which many collections and editions have been published from 1630 downwards, and some of which are noteworthy on account of higher than mere poetical merit, the deep and evidently genuine spirit of piety they evince, little else is preserved much older than the present century. One ballad indeed there is, "The Betrothed of Tardetz," which may be somewhat older. No two versions of it are exactly alike, though the outline of the story is always the same. The Lord of the Castle of Tardetz wishes to give the elder of his two daughters in marriage to the King of Hungary, or of Portugal, as some have it. But the lady's heart has been already won by Sala, the son of the miller of Tardetz, and she bitterly bewails being "sold like a heifer." The bells which, ring for her wedding will soon toll for her funeral. The romance in its present form is evidently incomplete, but apparently ended with the corpse of the bride being brought back to her father's castle.
Most of the Basque songs, except the drinking ones, are set, more or less, in a minor key. The majority of the love songs would have been described by our forefathers as "complaints." One of the prettiest, both in words and music, is the fragment entitled "The Hermitage of St. Joseph":--
Chorittua, nurat hua
Little bird, where goest thou
The Hermitage of Saint Joseph
The songs of the Agots, or Cagots, those Pariahs of the Pyrénées, who dwelt apart shunned and despised by all, are, as might be expected, uniformly sad. The misery of the labourer's lot, and even of that of the contrabandista, is more frequently dwelt upon than the compensations to the poverty of the one, or the transient gleams of good fortune of the other. At least, such is the case in all those which are really songs of the people. In these there are not many delights of "life under the greenwood tree," as in Robin Hood, or our factitious gipsies' songs. The forest is an object of dread to the Basque poet, and it requires courage and all the powerful attraction of a loved one to induce him to traverse by night its gloomy shades; but then--
Mortu, oihan illuna
Deserts and forests dark
The following is an illustration of the Cagots' or Agots' songs. This piece, of which the author was the hero, was written about 1783, when he was eighteen years old. Cf. Fr. Michel, "Les Races Maudites de France et de l'Espagne," vol. ii. p. 150, and "Le Pays Basque," p. 270; and, for the music, Sallaberry, "Chants Populaires du Pays Basque," p. 172.
--Argi askorrian jinik ene arresekila,
Since daybreak arrived here with my flock,
--Ene aitaren ichilik jin nüzü zure gana,
Unknown to my father I have come towards you,
--Gor niza, ala entzün düt? erran deitadazia?
Am I deaf, or have I heard it? Did you say it?
--Atzo nurbait izan düzü ene ait' ametara,
Yesterday some one came to my father and mother
--Agotak badiadila badizüt entzütia;
That there are Agots I have heard tell;
--Jentetan den ederrena ümen düzü Agota:
Of all men, they say, the Agot is the handsomest;
--So' izü nuntik ezagützen dien zuiñ den Agota:
It is by this one recognises who is an Agot--
--Hori hala balimbada haietarik etzira,
If that is so, you are not of those folk;
--Agot denak bürüa aphal, eta dizü begia
The Agot walks with his head low, and his eye
There are, too, verses of grim and bitter humour, which tell better than the pen of the historian how wretched was formerly the lot of the peasant, even in this favoured corner of France. Famine is personified, and has a name given it, drawn in biting irony from that of the highest Saint of the Church Calendar, Petiri Sanz (S. Peter). He wanders round the country seeking where to settle permanently; at one place he is driven off by (the sale of) rosin, at another he is repulsed by (the sale of) a little wood, at another by a little maize, at another by cheese and cherries; but at last he fixes his abode definitively at St. Pée (another form of Peter), on the Nivelle, where they have nothing at all to sell, and where he torments the inhabitants by forcing them to keep many a fast beyond those of ecclesiastical obligation. The same strain of gloomy humour appears in another form in a poem entitled "Mes Méditations," in which a young priest of Ciboure, slowly dying of consumption, traces in detail all the physical and mental agonies of his approaching dissolution. A much less grim example, however, is contained in the following, which we quote mainly because of its brevity. It may remind some of our readers of a longer but similar strain which used often to be sung at harvest-homes in the Midland Counties:--
Aitac eman daut dotia,
THE LOST DOWRY.
My father has given me my dowry,
Oxuac jan daut urdia,
But the wolf has devoured my sow,
My father has given me the dowry, Mine, mine, mine;
The wolf has eaten my sow, Mine, mine, mine;
The lack of good poetry in Basque is certainly not due to want of encouragement. Moreover, the wish to produce it is there, but the power seems lacking. For over twenty years prizes have been annually given, first at Urrugne, and then at Sare, by M. Antoine d'Abbadie, of Abbadia. But among the multitude of competing poems few have been of any real value, and both in merit and in the number presented they seem to diminish annually. The best of them have been written by men of the Professional class, whose taste has been formed on French, or Spanish, or classical, rather than on native models. The following is considered by native critics to be among the best, though several others are very little, if at all, inferior:--
Etchola bat da ene jauregia
THE HAPPY SHEPHERD.
A cottage my castle is,
Goiz-arratsak bethi deskantsu ditut,
Tranquil I live by night and day,
Goizetan jaikirik argialdera,
Almost at daybreak each morn I rise,
Aitoren semeak gasteluetan,
The sons of the nobles in the castles,
Jan onegiak barnea betherik,
Eating too much, and ever full,
Noizbait Jaunari nik dainu egunik,
Once on a time I grieved the Lord,
A pretty cradle song, "Lo! Lo! ene Maitea" ("Sleep! Sleep! my Darling"), by M. Larralde, a physician of St. Jean de Luz, won the prize at Urrugne in 1859. It is written to a tune composed by the Vicomte de Belzunce; the words have been printed in the "Lettres Labourdines," par H. L. Fabre (Bayonne, 1869).
Lo! Lo! nere maitea!
Sleep! Sleep! my darling!
Lo! nik zaitut higitzen,
Sleep! I am rocking thee,
Lo! Lo! nere aingerua!
Sleep! Sleep! my angel!
Lo! Lo! zeruetarat
Sleep! Sleep! toward the heavens
Lo! Lo! gauak oraindik,
Sleep! Sleep! now it is night,
Lo! Lo! dembora dela!
Sleep! Sleep! while there is time!
Bainan atzarri zare
But thou art waking
The following belongs to a more quaint and popular class of lullaby, or cradle songs; as it is so simple we do not give the Basque:--
Ah, my little Peter,
I am sleepy, and--
Shall I go to bed?
Go on spinning, and--
Then, then, then,
Go on spinning, and--
Then, then, yes.
Dear little Peter,
I have spun, and--
Shall I go to bed?
Put the thread up in skeins, and--
Then, then, then,
Put the thread up in skeins, and--
Then, then, yes.
Dear little Peter,
I have put it in skeins, and--
Shall I go to bed?
Wind off the thread, and--
Then, then, then,
Wind off the thread, and--
Then, then, yes.
Dear little Peter,
I have wound it off, and--
Shall I go to bed?
Bleach it, and--
Then, then, then,
Bleach it, and--
Then, then, yes.
Dear little Peter,
I have bleached it, and--
Shall I go to bed ?
Weave it, and--
Then, then, then,
Weave it, and--
Then, then, yes.
Dear little Peter,
I have woven it, and--
Shall I go to bed?
Cut it, and--
Then, then, then,
Cut it, and--
Then, then, yes.
Dear little Peter,
I have cut it, and--
Shall I go to bed?
Sew it, and--
Then, then, then,
Sew it, and--
Then, then, yes.
Oh! my little Peter,
I have sewn it, and--
Shall I go to bed?
It is daylight I and--
Then, then, then,
It is daylight! and--
Then, then, yes!
The best living Basque poets are--on the French side, Captain Elisamboure, of Hendaye; and Iparraguirre, of San Sebastian, among the Spanish Basques. Iparraguirre is now very old, He is the author of the song "Guernicaco Arbola." ("The Tree of Guernica," in Biscay), an oak under which the Lords of Biscay swore fidelity to the Fueros. This has become almost the national song of the Basques. A few words on two other classes of songs, the drinking and the macaronic, must conclude our remarks. The most spirited drinking song is the following. It must be remembered, in excuse, that the shepherds live a very hard life on the mountains the greater part of the year, and taste little wine there.
Tam, tam, tam, tam,
THE OLD SHEPHERDS.
Tam, tam, tam, tam,
Tam, tam, tam, tam,
Tam, tam, tam, tam,
Tam, tam, tam, tam,
Tam, tam, tam, tam,
Tam, tam, tam, tam,
Tam, tam, tam, tam,
Tam, tam, tam, tam,
Tam, tam, tam, tam,
Tam, tam, tam, tam,
Tam, tam, tam, tam,
Tam, tam, tam, tam,
Tam, tam, tam, tam,
Tam, tam, tam, tam,
Tam, tam, tam, tam,
Tam, tam, tam, tam,
Tam, tam, tam, tam,
It is not at all uncommon in a country where, within the space of some twenty miles, the traveller may hear at least four languages--French, Gascoun, Basque, and Spanish--to find two or more of these mixed in the same poem, and sometimes with a little Latin as well. This occurs frequently in the noëls, where the angel speaks in French or Latin, and the shepherds reply in Gascoun or Basque; also sometimes in the love songs, where the French or Spanish lover will try to soften the heart of a Basque maiden by compliments in French or Spanish, while she archly replies with coquettish refusals in Basque. The greatest tour de force of this kind we know, both as to language and rhyme, is the song given in Fr. Michel's "Le Pays Basque," p. 429. We quote the first verse only; but the song continues with twenty-eight successive Basque rhymes in "in," and the last seven in "en."
Sed libera nos a malo. Sit nomen Domini.
Deliver us from evil. God's holy Name be praised;
Vamos á cantar un canto para diverti.
Let's sing a song, my friends, and a joyous clamour raise;
Jan dugunaz gueroz chahalki houneti
For we of rare good meat have eaten to our fill,
Eta edan ardoa Juranzouneti.
And the good wine of Jurançon have drunken at our will.
Chantons, chantons, mes chers amis, je suis content pardi!
Then sing, friends, sing, faith, I'm right well pleased!
Trinquam d'aquest boun bi,
Let's hear the glasses ring,
Eta dezagun canta cantore berri.
And our new song, my friends, let's all together sing.
Almost every one of these Basque songs, like all true lyrics, has been adapted to some tune, either older than the words, or composed specially by the author. The music is often superior to the words. In the Nineteenth Century for August, 1878, Grant-Duff speaks of some of the Basque airs sung by the Béarnais tenor, Pascal Lamazou, as "extraordinarily beautiful." Lamazou died at Pau in May, 1878. His répertoire consisted of fifty Pyrenean songs, of which thirty-four are Béarnais, fourteen Basque, and two are from the "Pyrénées Orientales." One of the Basque airs "Artzaina," has somehow got attached to the popular American hymn, "I want to be an angel." Another, and larger collection, including more correct renderings of some of Lamazou's fourteen, is that of Sallaberry, "Chants Populaires du Pays Basque" (Bayonne, 1870). But, long before this, a collection of Basque Songs, Zorzicos, and dance music was published in San Sebastian, by J. D. Iztueta, in 1824 and 1826. Excellent reviews of these two works, with translations of some of the words, appeared in the Foreign Review and Continental Miscellany, vol. ii., pp. 338, 1828; and in vol. iv., p. 198. Some specimens of music are to be found at the end of Michel's "Le Pays Basque," in the "Cancionero Vasco"--now in course of publication, and so often referred to--and in other local publications, besides those in private hands. Basquophiles love to narrate that Rossini passed a summer in the Basque village of Cambo, and believe that they can recognise the influence of Basque airs in some of his subsequent operas. However this may be, let no one judge of Basque music by the noëls usually howled in the streets at Christmas and the New Year, or by the doleful productions of the last Carlist War. It would be equally fair to judge of English music by the serenades of the waits at Christmas. We refer those who wish to investigate further the subject of this chapter to the excellent work, "Le Pays Basque," par M. Fr. Michel (Paris and London, 1857), for the French, to the "Cancionero Vasco," by Don José Manterola, now in course of publication at San Sebastian, for the Spanish, Basque; and to M. Sallaberry's Chants Populaires du Pays Basque" for the music.
You can also download Basque Legends, completely free, in either PDF, epub, or Kindle ebook formats.
 See on this head M. Vinson's Essay in Appendix.
 The second part of M. Cerquand's "Légendes et Récits Populaires du Pays Basque" (Pau, 1876), appeared while the present work was passing through the press. It is chiefly occupied with legends of Basa-Jaun and Lamiñak.
 Not that we suppose all these tales to be atmospheric myths; we adopt this only as the provisional hypothesis which appears at present to cover the largest amount of facts. It seems certainly to be a "vera causa" in some cases; but still it is only one of several possible "vere causæ," and is not to be applied to all.
 Cf. Campbell's "Introduction," p. xxviii.:--"I have never heard of a story whose point was obscenity publickly told in a Highland cottage; and I believe such are rare. If there was an occasional coarse word spoken, it was not coarsely meant."
 One class, of which we have given no example, is that of the Star Legend given by M. Cerquand, "Légendes et Récits Populaires du p. xiv Pays Basque," p. 19, and reprinted, with variations, by M. Vinson, "Revue de Linguistique," Tom. VIII., 741-5, January, 1876.
 Cf. "Etudes Historiques sur la Ville de Bayonne, par MM. Balasque et Dulaurens," Vol. I., p. 49.
 We have purposely omitted references to Greek and Latin mythology, as these are to be found "passim," in the pages of Max Muller and of Cox. The preparation for the Press was made at a distance from our own library, or more references to Spanish and patois sources would have been given.
 There seems to be a Basque root "Tar," which appears in the words, "Tarro, Tarrotu, v., devenir un peu grand. Tarrapataka, adv., marchant avec précipitation et en faisant du bruit."--Salaberry's "Vocabulaire Bas-Navarrais," sub voce. Cf. Campbell's "Tales of the Western Highlands," Vol. II., 94:--"He heard a great Tartar noise," Tartar being printed as if it were a Gaelic word.
 Cf. also Willer's "Fragmenta Historicorum Græcorum" (Didot, Paris, 1841), Vol. I., p. 246. "Ephori Fragmenta," 51, with the references there given.
 Cf. also the Gaelic, "The Story and the Lay of the Great Fool," Campbell, Vol. III., pp. 146-154.
 This talking giant's ring appears in Campbell's "Popular Tales of the West Highlands," Vol. I., p. 111, in the tale called "Conall cra Bhuidhe." He also refers (p. 153) to Grimm's tale of the "Robber and his Sons," where the same ring appears:--"He puts on the gold ring which the giant gave him, which forces him to cry out, 'Here I am!' He bites off his own finger, and so escapes."
 Cf. Campbell's "Mac-a-Rusgaich," Vol. II., 305:--"I am putting it into the covenant that if either one of us takes the rue, that a thong shall be taken out of his skin, from the back of his head to his heel."
 Salamanca was the reputed home of witchcraft and devilry in De Lancre's time (1610). He is constantly punning on the word. It is because "Sel y manque," etc. See also the story of Gerbert, Pope Sylvester II., in the 10th century.
 This incident is found in Cenac-Moncaut's Gascon tale, "Le Coffret de la Princesse." "Litterature Populaire de la Gascogne," p. 193 (Dentu, Paris, 1868).
 For this incident compare the death of the giant in one of the versions of "Jack the Giant-Killer;" and especially "the Erse version of Jack the Giant-Killer." Campbell, Vol. II., p. 327.
 This agreement is found also in the Norse and in Brittany. See Contes Populaires de la Grande Bretagne," by Loys Brueyre, pp. 25, 26. This is an excellent work. The incident of Shylock, in the "Merchant of Venice," will occur to every one.
 Literally, "Marsh of the Basa-Andre." The "Puits des Fées" are common in France, especially in the Landes and in the Gironde.
 Only in this, and one other tale, is the word "prince" used instead of "king's son." Compare the Gaelic of Campbell in this respect. This tale is probably from the French, and the Tartaro is only a giant.
 One of the oddest instances of mistaken metaphors that we know of occurs in "La Vie de St. Savin, par J. Abbadie, Curé de la Paroisse" (Tarbes, 1861). We translate from the Latin, which is given in a note:--"Intoxicated with divine love, he was keeping vigil according to his custom, and when he could not find a light elsewhere, he gave light to his eyes from the light that was in his breast. The small piece of wax-taper thus lit passed the whole night till morning without being extinguished."-Off. S. Savin.
 This Fleur-de-lys was supposed by our narrator to be some mark tattooed or impressed upon the breast of all kings' sons.
 This, of course, is "Little George," and makes one suspect that the whole tale is borrowed from the French; though it is just possible that only the names, and some of the incidents, may be.
 Cf. "Ezkabi Fidel,"
 In Campbell's "Tale of the Sea-Maiden," instead of looking in his ear, the king's daughter put one of her earrings in his ear, the last two days, in order to wake him; and it is by these earrings and her ring that she recognises him afterwards, instead of by the pieces of dress and the serpent's tongues.
 Campbell, Vol. I., lxxxvii., 8, has some most valuable remarks on the Keltic Legends, showing the Kelts to be a horse-loving, and not a seafaring race--a race of hunters and herdsmen, not of sailors. The contrary is the case with these Basque tales. The reader will observe that the ships do nothing extraordinary, while the horses behave as no horse ever did. It is vice versâ in the Gaelic Tales, even when the legends are identical in many particulars.
 The three days' fight, and the dog, appear in Campbell's "Tale of the Sea-Maiden," Vol. I., pp. 77-79.
 The Basque word usually means "Eau de Cologne."
 This is a much better game than the ordinary one of tilting at a ring with a lance, and is a much more severe test of horsemanship. The ring, an ordinary lady's ring, is suspended by a thread from a cross-bar, at such a height that a man can just reach it by standing in his stirrups. Whoever, starting from a given point, can put a porcupine's quill, or a small reed, through the ring, and thus carry it off at a hand-gallop, becomes possessor of the ring. We have seen this game played at Monte Video, in South America; and even the Guachos considered it a test of good horsemanship. Formerly, it seems, the ring was suspended from the tongue of a bell, which would be set ringing when the ring was carried away. The sword, of course, was the finest rapier.
 One of those present here interrupted the reciter--"What did she hit the serpent on the tail for?" "Why, to kill him, of course," was the reply; "ask Mr. Webster if serpents are not killed by hitting them on the tail?"
 I have a dim recollection of having read something very similar to this either in a Slavonic or a Dalmatian tale.
 This incident is in the translation of a tale by Chambers, called "Rouge Etin," in Brueyre's "Contes de la Grande Bretagne," p. 64. See notes ad loc.
 In the Pyrénées the ewes are usually milked, and either "caillé"--a kind of clotted cream--or cheese is made of the milk. The sheep for milking are often put in a stable, or fold, for the night.
 For the "fairies' holes," see introduction to the "Tales of the Lamiñak,"
 Cf. "Mahistruba," and "Beauty and the Beast,"
 Silk kerchiefs are generally used, especially by women, as headdresses, and not as pocket-handkerchiefs, all through the south of France.
 "Légendes et Récits Populaires du Pays Basque," par M. Cerquand. Part I., Pau, 1875, and Part II., p. 28, Pau, 1876.
 Cf. Campbell's tale, "The Keg of Butter," Vol. III., 98, where the fox cheats the wolf by giving him, the bottoms of the oats and the tops of the potatoes. See also the references there given.
 Cf. Cerquand, Part I., p. 27, Ancho et les Vaches," and notes. Also Part II., 341 et seq.
 Cf. Cerquand, Part I., pp. 33, 34, "La Dame au Peigne d'Or."
 Cerquand, Part I., p. 30, "Basa-Jauna et le Salve Regina."
 Cerquand, "L'Eglise d'Espés." "Le Pont de Licq," Part I., pp. 31, 32, and Part II., pp. 50-52.
 But compare the well or marsh of the Basa-Andre in the Tartaro tale
 Cerquand, Part I., pp. 32, 33.
 The owner of the farm and the "métayère," or tenant's wife. Under the "métayer" system the landlord and tenant divide the produce of the farm. This is the case almost universally in South-Western France, as elsewhere in the South. The "métayer's" residence often adjoins the landlord's house.
 Cf. "The Sister and her Seven Brothers."
 This is the only representation that we know of Basa-Jaun as a vampire.
 As the Basques commonly go barefooted, or use only hempen sandals, the feet require to be washed every evening. This is generally done before the kitchen fire, and in strict order of age and rank. Cf. also "The Sister and her Seven Brothers."
 The running water, we suspect, gives the girl power over the witch.
 "Hazel sticks." In the sixteenth century the dog-wood, "cornus sanguinea," seems to have been the witches' wood. In the "Pastorales," all the enchantments, etc., are done by the ribboned wands of the Satans. This tale ends rather abruptly. The reciter grew very tired at the last.
 Basque Lamiñak always say exactly the contrary to what they mean.
 Cf. Bladé's "Contes Agenais," "Les Deux Filles," and Köhler's "Notes Comparatives" on the tale, p. 149.
 That is, the wife span evenly with a clear steady sound of the wheel, but the man did it unevenly.
 Cf. Campbell's "The Brollachan," Vol. II., p. 189, with the notes and variations. "Me myself," as here, seems the equivalent of the Homeric "οὔτις".
 This is a very widely spread legend. Cf. Patrañas, "What Ana saw in the Sunbeam;" "Duffy and the Devil," in Hunt's "Popular Romances of the West of England," p. 239; also Kennedy's "Idle Girl and her Aunts," which is very close to the Spanish story; and compare the references subjoined to the translation of the Irish legend in Brueyre's "Contes Populaires de la Grande Bretagne," p. 159.
 Cf. "The Brewery of Egg-shells," in Croker's "Fairy Legends of the South of Ireland," pp. 32-36.
 A little dog" is mentioned in Campbell's "The Daughter of the Skies," Vol. I., 202, and notes.
 "Kopetaen erdian diamanteko bista batez"--"a view of diamonds in the middle of the forehead."
 Nothing has been said about this dress before. Something must have dropped out of the story.
 At a Pyrenean wedding the bride and bridegroom, with the wedding party, spend nearly the whole day in promenading through the town or village. The feast often lasts several days, and the poor bride is an object of pity, she sometimes looks so deadly tired.
 Cerquand, Part I., p. 29, notes to Conte 8; Fr. Michel, "Le Pays Basque," p. 152 (Didot, Paris, 1857).
 This belief in a toad sitting at the church door to swallow the Host is found in De Lancre.
 That is, one with bran, or herbs, wood-ashes, &c., or plain water.
 M. Cerquand gives this tale at length, Part II., pp. 10, 11. The incidents are very slightly changed.
 Compare this with the scene in Apuleius, "De Asino Aureo;" and, for a somewhat similar "fairy ointment," see Hunt's "Popular Romances of the West of England," pp. 110-113.
 The blunder is confounding "dessus," over, and "dessous," under. This shows that the tale is originally French, or, at least, the witch's part of it; for this punning mistake could not be made in Basque. The two words are not in the least similar in sound. "Gaiñetik" and "azpetik" are the words here used.
 Witches still appear in the shape of cats, but generally black ones. About two years ago we were told of a man who, at midnight, chopped off the ear of a black cat, who was thus bewitching his cattle, and lo! in the morning it was a woman's ear, with an earring still in it. He deposited it in the Mairie, and we might see it there; but we did not go to look, as it was some distance off.
 Literally, "red misery." In Basque the most intense wretchedness of any kind is always called "red."
 here are several superstitions connected with cross-roads in the Pays Basque. When a person dies, the bedding or mattress is sometimes burnt at the nearest cross-roads, and every passer-by says a "Paternoster" for the benefit of the deceased. This custom is becoming extinct, but is still observed in old families.
 This is, of course, only a mispronunciation of "Dominus tecum"--The Lord be with you." Compare the opposite effect of "God save Us," in Croker's tale of "Master and Man," pp. 96, 97.
 See notes to "Juan Dekos,"
 This is again, "red, angry."
 Cf. Campbell, "The Tale of Connal," Vol. I., p. 142.
 This looks uncommonly like "Ho, you!" but it is given by Salaberry as a Basque cry, "Appel par un cri fort, par la voix élevée." "Play," as an exclamation to begin at games of ball, has no meaning in Basque, and is believed to come from the English. We have borrowed "jingo," "by jingo," from "Jinkoa," "the deity."
 In Campbell's first tale, "The Young King of Easaidh Ruadh," the hero is assisted by a dog, a falcon, and an otter. Cf. the notes in the translation of this tale in Brueyre's "Contes de la Grande Bretagne;" cf. also, "The Sea-Maiden," pp. 73 and 94, for a still closer resemblance.
 Cf. "Tabakiera," p. 94, and "Old Deccan Days," pp. 83-91. It is curious to hear of the Red Sea from narrators so far apart, on opposite sides, as the Lingaets of the Deccan and the Basques, neither of whom, probably, had the most distant idea of its geographical position; certainly our Basque narrators had not.
 In Campbell's "Sea-Maiden," the hero has only to think of the animals, and they are at his side; but he is not transformed into them.
 Campbell refers to "The Giant who had no Heart in his Body," "Norse Tales," 1859. See his references, and those in the "Contes Populaires de la Grande Bretagne," cited above. M. d'Abbadie has also communicated to us the outlines of a wild Tartaro story, told in Basque, in which the hero "fights with a body without a soul."
 Cf. Campbell's "Tales," before quoted, and "Old Deccan Days" ("Punchkin"), pp. 14, 15, for the whole of this incident.
 Malbrouk seems now to assume the character of "Hermes, the clever thief." If we mistake not, this cow appears also in Indian mythology.
 For the whole of this tale compare Campbell's "Sea Maiden," Vol. I., p. 71. The sea-maiden takes the place of the fish. Besides the three sons, the three foals, and the three puppies, three trees grow behind the house, and serve as a sign like the well boiling Bladé's "Les Deux Jumeaux," in his "Contes Agenais," is identical with this; cf. also Köhler's notes, p. 148.
 Much more is made of the sword in the Gaelic tales. In them it is always a magic or a mystic weapon.
 This episode of the fight with the seven-headed beast is introduced in the same way in the Gaelic--"The Sea-Maiden," pp. 76, 77. Cf. also "Rouge Etin," in Brueyre.
 In the Gaelic the charcoal-burner is a general.
 This takes place not on the wedding night, but some time after in the "Sea-Maiden," p. 82. The wife at prayers and the husband standing by indifferent is but too true a picture, we fear.
 The "Sea-Maiden," p. 82--"Go not, go not," said she, "there never went man to this castle that returned." See below.
 Basque, "as must needs be."
 Cf. MacCraw's variation in Campbell, note, Vol. II., p. 301, for the rest of the story.
 "Power" in these tales, in the Basque, seems always to mean "magic power," some wonder-working gift or charm.
 In Campbell's versions it is "the realm of the king under the waves," or "the realm of the rats;" but a voyage has to be made to that, and a rat takes the place of the servant in stealing the box again for the hero. "The Deccan Tales" mention the Red Sea.
 The south wind is the most dreaded local wind in the Pays Basque. It is always hot, and sometimes very violent. After two or three days it usually brings on a violent thunderstorm and rain.
 The lad here calls his snuff-box affectionately "Que quieres," as if that were its name.
 The likeness and the variation of this tale from Campbell's Gaelic one, "The Widow's Son," etc., Vol. II., pp. 293-303; prove that both must be independent versions of some original like Aladdin's lamp, but not mere copies of it.
 This doubling of a price is to get a thing more quickly done--in half the usual time. At least, that was the narrator's explanation.
 These three clever men are found in Gascon (Bladé's "Armagnac Tales," p. 10), in Spanish, in Campbell's "The King of Lochlin's Three Daughters," Vol. I.) p. 238, and in many others. Cf. Brucyre, pp. 113-120, and notes.
 Cf. The tale from the Servian, in Naaké's "Slavonic Fairy Tales," p. 7.
 i.e., the piece of "braise," or glowing ember from the wood fire, which is always nearly on a level with the floor in a Basque house.
 Through the whole of the South of Europe, in Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, etc., the firing of guns, pistols, crackers, is universal at all kinds of "fêtes," especially religious ones; the half-deafened foreigner often longs for some such law as that infringed by "Mahistruba;" but cf. "Juan de Kalais," p. 151.
 Cf. supra, "The Serpent in the Wood."
 This tale is somewhat like Campbell's "Three Soldiers," with the variations, Vol. I., p. 176. It is said to be very widely spread.
 This is an interpolation by the narrator.
 At Bayonne one part of the town is called "Les Cinq Cantons."
 For like involuntary sleep, where the lady cannot awaken her lover, cf. Campbell, "The Widow's Son," Vol. II., p. 296.
 For the incident of the eagle, cf. Campbell, "The King of Lochlin's Three Daughters," Vol. I., pp. 238-9:--"When they were at the mouth of the hole, the stots were expended, and she was going to turn back; but he took a steak out of his own thigh, and he gave this to the eagle, and with one spring she was on the surface of the earth."
 Cf. the horse in Naaké's "Slavonic Fairy Tales," "Ivan Kruchina" (from the Russian), p. 117, and "the dun shaggy filly," in Campbell's "The Young King of Easaidh Ruadh," Vol. I., p. 5, and elsewhere; also the horse in the "Uso-Andre," and "The Unknown Animal," below. Campbell, Vol. I., p. 63, remarks that the horses in Gaelic stories are always feminine; but they are red as well as grey.
 In this, and the following tale, Ezkabi's golden hair is evidently like "Diarmaid's" beauty spot. "He used to keep his cap always down on the beauty-spot; for any woman that might chance to see it, she would be in love with him."--Campbell's "Diarmaid and Grainne," Vol. III., p. 39, notes and variations.
 Compare the following legend, and "Old Deccan Days" ("Truth's Triumph"), pp. 62, 63.
 Cf. above, "The Grateful Tartaro and the Heren-Suge," .
 Cf. note, supra, p. 113, and Grainne seeing Diarmaid as he lifts his cap or helmet, These beauty-spots seem to be the counterpart of Aphrodite's cestus.
 Cf. the two golden pears in the Spanish "Juanillo el Loco," Patrañas, p. 38, given in exchange for the same water.
 Cf. below, "The Singing Tree," etc
 Cf. "Old Deccan Days," p. 139; and Cox, "Aryan Mythology," Vol. I., p. 160, seq.
 The word "Ezkabi" is "the scab;" he either really had it, as in the next version, or was supposed to have it from keeping his head covered, as in this. In both cases the hair is most beautiful, precious, golden, and love-compelling.
 Cf. Baring Gould's chapter, "Swan-Maidens"--"Curious Myths of the Middle Ages," p. 561, seq.
 In the Gaelic the labours are more like those of Herakles--to clean out a byre, to shoot birds, and to rob a magpie's nest. The Basque incidents seem to fit better into a climatological myth.
 In "Old Deccan Days" ("Truth's Triumph") it is the hair and not the comb that does the wonders. In M. Cerquand's "Récits" the comb is an attribute of the Basa-Andre.
 In Campbell's "Battle of the Birds" the hero always sleeps while the giant's daughter does his task for him.
 Here the narrator interposed, "You see it is just as it happens; the women are always the worst." But in Campbell it is the giant himself who says, "My own daughter's tricks are trying me."
 In Campbell the finger is lost in climbing the tree to get the magpie's nest; but, as here, the bride is recognised by the loss of it.
 In "Auburn Mary" the hero has to catch a young filly, "with an old, black, rusty bridle."--Campbell, Vol. I., p. 55.
 See below for a second marriage. In Campbell, p. 37, there is a double marriage.
 In Campbell, p. 55, "Auburn Mary," there is the same "talking spittle."
 Cf. "Truth's Triumph," in "Old Deccan Days;" and Campbell, pp. 331 34; and supra, "Ezkabi-Fidel,"
 Campbell, pp. 34 and 56.
 In Campbell, it is an old greyhound that kisses him, but with the same result, pp. 34 and 56.
 In one of Campbell's "Variations," pp. 51, 52, the ending is something like this. In more than one, the hero marries another bride in his period of oblivion.
 The usual term for "the Pope;" the French, "Le Saint-Père."
 This is a curious testimony to an ancient practice. In the same way the Basques call "La Fête Dieu," "Corpus Christi Day;" "Phestaberria," "The New Feast," though it was instituted in the thirteenth century.
 In the Gaelic it is the bishop's horse.
 This is in the Norse and Teutonic versions.
 This, again, is more like the Gaelic.
 See note on preceding page, and Campbell, Vol. II., p. 3.
 Whether this refers to any real custom about dead men's debts, we cannot say. It occurs in the Gaelic, in "Ezkabi," and in other tales and. versions, notably in the Spanish; see as above, and "The White Blackbird,"
 In other versions it is the soul of the man whose debts he had paid, either in the shape of a hermit or a fox. In the Gaelic it is left vague and undetermined. He is called "one," or "the asker." (Campbell, Vol. II., pp. 119 and 121.) The same contract is made in each case, and with the same result.
 This seems inserted from "Mahistruba,"
 In the Gaelic it is a general, as here, and not a lame second officer, as in "Juan Dekos," who wants to marry the lady, and who sets the hero on a desert island.--Campbell, Vol. II., p. 118.
 The narrator was here asked "if the place of the dance was at the king's palace." "No," she gravely replied, "it was at the mairie." In other tales it is on the "place," i.e., the open square or market-place which there is in most French towns and villages in the south. It is generally in front either of the church or of the mairie.
 This was explained as meaning "Beaten with the Slipper." This version came from the Cascarrot, or half-gipsy quarter of St. Jean de Luz, and may not be purely Basque. Except in one or two words the language is correct enough--for St. Jean de Luz.
 At an exclamation of surprise from one of the auditors, the narrator piously said, "It is the Holy Virgin who permitted all that."
 Literally, "be full."
 Cf. the well behind the house in the "Fisherman and his Three Sons,"
 Cf. "Dragon,"
 Here the narrator evidently forgot to tell about the child's being exposed, and the gardener finding it, as appears by the sequel.
 Cf. the well that boils in "The Fisherman and his Three Sons," and the ring in "Beauty and the Beast."
 Can Bunyan have taken his description of the "Valley of the Shadow of Death," in the "Pilgrim's Progress," partly from such tales as this?
 Cf. above in "Ezkabi" and "Juan Dekos." There is some similarity between this tale and Campbell's "Mac Ian Direach," Vol. II., p. 328. Compare also "The Greek Princess and the Young Gardener," in Kennedy's "Fireside Stories of Ireland." We know only the French translation of this last in Brueyre, p. 145. "Le Merle Blanc" is one of the best known of French stories.
 Cf. "Juan Dekos" for paying the debts, and the fox. In the Gaelic the fox is called "An Gille Mairtean," "the fox." (Campbell, Vol. II., p. 329, seq.)
 Cf. the stealing of the bay filly in Campbell's "Mac Iain Direach," Vol. II., p. 334
 Huge cisterns, partly underground, for holding rain water, are common in the Pays Basque. They are, of course, near the houses off which the water drains.
 Cf. "Basa-Jauna,"
 A piece of the braise, or burnt stick. This is constantly done all through the South of France, where wood is burnt. If your lire is out you run to get a stick from your neighbour's fire.
 Cf. note to "Basa-Jauna,"
 "Old Deccan Days" ("Truth's Triumph"), pp. 57-58. The little girl is the rose tree there among the mango trees, her brothers. Cows are very gentle in the Pays Basque, and are often petted, especially the tiny black and white Breton ones. We have known a strong man weep at the death of a favourite cow, and this one of ten others.
 The Ranee makes the same conditions in "Truth's Triumph"--"You will let me take these crows" (her brothers) "with me, will you not? for I love them dearly, and I cannot go away unless they may come too."--"Old Deccan Days," p. 59.
 This was recited to M. Vinson, and has been published by him in the "Revue de Linguistique," p. 241 (Janvier, 1876). We have since heard of a longer form preserved at Renteria, in Guipuzcoa.
 To these should perhaps be added the Latin of the Dolopathos and "Gesta Romanorum" of the 12th or 13th century.
 The idea of this incident is not confined to Christianity; a similar story is told of a Mahommedan saint, and a caliph or king. The scene of the story is Cairo.
 As is plain by the sequel, where the angel hangs him for a moment, the original story must have had "hanged." This is a good example of the way in which the dress of a story gets gradually altered, as old customs are forgotten among a people.
 This whole picture is, unhappily, more true to life than one would think at first sight. The whole history of the Cagots, and a good deal of that of witchcraft, shows how virulent this kind of irrational dislikes is, and how difficult to deal with and to overcome when once they have been introduced into a rural population.
 I am not unaware that certain portions of the theory above stated have been recently disputed, especially by Mr. Sayce ("Principles of Comparative Philology," Trübner, London, 1874). But I am unable, for the present at least, to accept all these criticisms, and I have here no opportunity of discussing them fully, or to good purpose.
 "Poésies Basques de Bernard Dechepare." A most careful reprint, word for word, was published by Cazals, Bayonne, in 1874.
 An exact reprint of the Gospel of St. Mark in this version, with notes, &c., by M. J. Vinson, was also published at Bayonne (Cazals), 1874.
 For more minute and complete topographical details, see the excellent linguistic maps of Prince L. L. Bonaparte, which are models of the application of geography to the aid of philological study. The peculiar dialect spoken in every village, and, in some instances, in almost every house, may be there traced.
 M. Van Eys has consecrated an excellent article to these etymologies in the "Revue de Linguistique," Juillet, 11874, pp. 3-15.
 It must, however be acknowledged that M. Luchaire, in various pamphlets relating to the ancient toponymy of Spain, has made certain of these explanations more acceptable.
 A form of skull, postero-dolichocephalous, with good facial angle, ortho- or opistho-gnathous, but of comparatively small cerebral content, is claimed by some as peculiar to the Basques.--W. W.
 The names of some of the most famous improvisatori, or Coblacaris, as they are called in Basque, have been preserved: Fernando Amezquetarra, in the Spanish Provinces; and Pierre Topet dit Etchehun, and Bernard Mardo of Barcus, in the French Pays Basque.
 An exception is occasionally made in the case of the "Satans," as the part is almost too fatiguing for girls.
 This little wand plays an important part of its own. In many of its uses it resembles the Caduceus of Mercury; a touch from it renders invisible, puts to death, or restores to life at the will of the Satanic possessor. It appears also as given to the hero in many of the "Legends;"
 An account of the acting of Richard Sans Peur, at Larrau, in June 1864, is given in Macmillan's Magazine, January, 1865.
 Cf. Legends above
 This MS. was kindly lent by M. J. Vinson, to whom we have been so often indebted.
 Ercilla, the author of the "Araucana," was however of Basque blood, and Basque names occur frequently among the poets and dramatists of Spain, especially in recent years.
 The claim put forth in the "Revista Euskara," p. 61, April, 1878, may be fully conceded:--"Si; éste es el carácter distintivo de la poesía euskara; su exquisita moralidad. Jamás se encuentra en ella nada que se parezca, ni á una apologia del vicio, ni á una excusa del crimen."
 "Cancionero Vasco, acompañado de traducciones castellanas, juicios criticos," etc., por José Manterola. San Sebastian. 1877-8. Serie I., 2, p. 39.
 The reader will remark that there is really no authority for treating these words as proper names. This, however, is the universal interpretation among Basques.
 Ibargüen's words after quoting the song are: "Por este órden referidas yba este cantar contando toda esta historia que habemos dicho atrás en este capitulo de las guerras ceviles que en cinco años Octaviano Cesar Augusto hizo en esta Provincia Cantábrica, y aunque esta hereciat (historical song) tenga otros muy muchos versos rodados tan solamente dellos he tornado los diez e seis primeros, porque los demas estaban carcomidos, y los pongo aquí para el qua fuere bascongado, contentándome con solo ellos ebitando largueza importuna de los demás, que el pergamino está muy roñoso e viejo," cited in the "Cancionero Vasco," 2, iii. pp. 4,5.
 Cf. Alexandre Dihinx in the Impartial de Bayonne, in 1873. These articles have been reprinted by M. J. Vinson in L'Avenir de Bayonne, May, 1878.
 The master of the house," the usual respectful address to a Basque proprietor of any rank. His wife is "Etcheco Anderea," "The mistress of the house."
 Altabiscar is the mountain on the East, Ibañeta that on the West of the supposed scene of conflict.
 Of course it ought to be "vultures." The Basque is distinctly "eagles;" an error which no Basque shepherd could have made.
 The use of rocks "is confirmed by the Basque ballad of Altabiscar, in which, however, there is no allusion to the powerful inducement of booty."
 There are other examples of similar mystification in later Basque literature. "Les Échos du Pas de Roland," par J. B. Dasconaguerre, Bayonne, 1868, professes on the title to be "traduit du Basque"; but the "Atheko-gaitzeko Oiharzunak" (the echoes of the bad door or pass), Bayonan, 1870, is really a translation from the French. To the Basques the name of Roland is unknown in connection with this beautiful ravine. M. Fr. Michel's "Le Romancero du Pays Basque," Didot, Paris, 1859, is scarcely less an embroidery on themes of which the ground only is Basque.
 Cf. lorea, from the Latin flos flore.
 An exact reprint of Echepare's "Poems," edited by M. Vinson, was published by Cazals, Bayonne, 1874.
 The most curious fact to notice in these hymns is, how very soon after their death the Jesuit Fathers, Ignatius de Loyola and François de Xavier, were celebrated and addressed as saints in Basque verse.
 This song is prettily translated in Miss Costello's "Béarn and the Pyrénées," London, 1844, where are also translations of some other Basque songs, the originals of which I have failed to trace.
Borne on thy wings amidst the air,
Sweet bird, where wilt thou go?
For if thou wouldst to Spain repair,
The ports are filled with snow.
Wait, and we will fly together,
When the Spring brings sunny weather.
St. Joseph's Hermitage is lone,
Amidst the desert bare,
And when we on our way are gone,
Awhile we'll rest us there;
As we pursue our mountain track,
Shall we not sigh as we look back?
Go to my love, oh! gentle sigh,
And near her chamber hover nigh;
Glide to her heart, make that thy shrine,
As she is fondly kept in mine.
Then thou may'st tell her it is I
Who sent thee to her, gentle sigh!
 For the most recent theory on the Cagots, see "Les Parias de France et de l'Espagne," par M. de Rochas (Hachette, Paris, 1876).
 More often the Cagots' ears were said to be either completely round or with very long lobes, or with the lobes adhering. We have found examples of all of these in the Basque country, but not confined or peculiar to the Cagots. A case like that described in the verse above we have never seen.
 Michel, "Le Pays Basque," p. 352.
 Michel, "Le Pays Basque," p. 44.
 I owe the MS. of this song to the kindness of M. Achille Fouquier, author, sportsman, and artist.
 A line has dropped out of the MS. here. We supply the probable meaning. The composer is one P. Mendibel, 1859.
 Taken down by M. J. Vinson, February 21, 1874. Cf. "Proverbes du Pays de Béarn," par V. Lespy (Montpellier, 1876), p. 84, for another song on "Little Peter" in Gascoun.
 Cf. Fr. Michel, "Le Paya Basque," p. 160. "Cancionero Vasco," Series 2, iii., 82, etc.
 From the MS. of M. A. Fouquier. This song took the prize at Urrugne, 1858.
 The latest traveller in the Basque countries corroborates this. Major Campion writes, "I had no idea how fine were the old Basque songs, or, more correctly speaking, chants; some of them being perfectly charming."--"On Foot in Spain," by J. S. Campion, p. 73 (Chapman and Hall, 1879.)
 These are to be obtained chez Ribaut, Pau, and the other booksellers at Biarritz and Pau.
⇧ Back to top