The Orange Fairy Book
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The Orange Fairy Book is the eighteenth volume in Andrew Lang's Fairy Books. It contains 33 stories from Jutland, Rhodesia, Uganda, and other European traditions: The Story Of The Hero Makoma From The Senna (Oral Tradition); The Magic Mirror From The Senna; Story Of The King Who Would See Paradise; How Isuro The Rabbit Tricked Gudu; Ian, The Soldier’s Son; The Fox And The Wolf; How Ian Direach Got The Blue Falcon; The Ugly Duckling; The Two Caskets; The Goldsmith’s Fortune; The Enchanted Wreath; The Foolish Weaver; The Clever Cat; The Story Of Manus; Pinkel The Thief; The Adventures Of A Jackal; The Adventures Of The Jackal’s Eldest Son; The Adventures Of The Younger Son Of The Jackal; The Three Treasures Of The Giants; The Rover Of The Plain; The White Doe; The Girl-Fish; The Owl And The Eagle; The Frog And The Lion Fairy; The Adventures Of Covan The Brown-Haired; The Princess Bella-Flor; The Bird Of Truth; The Mink And The Wolf; Adventures Of An Indian Brave; How The Stalos Were Tricked; Andras Baive; The White Slipper; and, The Magic Book.
№ 18 in Lang's Fairy Books series.
This book has 181 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1906.
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Excerpt from 'The Orange Fairy Book'
Once upon a time, at the town of Senna on the banks of the Zambesi, was born a child. He was not like other children, for he was very tall and strong; over his shoulder he carried a big sack, and in his hand an iron hammer. He could also speak like a grown man, but usually he was very silent.
One day his mother said to him: ‘My child, by what name shall we know you?’
And he answered: ‘Call all the head men of Senna here to the river’s bank.’ And his mother called the head men of the town, and when they had come he led them down to a deep black pool in the river where all the fierce crocodiles lived.
‘O great men!’ he said, while they all listened, ‘which of you will leap into the pool and overcome the crocodiles?’ But no one would come forward. So he turned and sprang into the water and disappeared.
The people held their breath, for they thought: ‘Surely the boy is bewitched and throws away his life, for the crocodiles will eat him!’ Then suddenly the ground trembled, and the pool, heaving and swirling, became red with blood, and presently the boy rising to the surface swam on shore.
But he was no longer just a boy! He was stronger than any man and very tall and handsome, so that the people shouted with gladness when they saw him.
‘Now, O my people!’ he cried, waving his hand, ‘you know my name — I am Makoma, “the Greater”; for have I not slain the crocodiles into the pool where none would venture?’
Then he said to his mother: ‘Rest gently, my mother, for I go to make a home for myself and become a hero.’ Then, entering his hut he took Nu-endo, his iron hammer, and throwing the sack over his shoulder, he went away.
Makoma crossed the Zambesi, and for many moons he wandered towards the north and west until he came to a very hilly country where, one day, he met a huge giant making mountains.
‘Greeting,’ shouted Makoma, ‘you are you?’
‘I am Chi-eswa-mapiri, who makes the mountains,’ answered the giant; ‘and who are you?’
‘I am Makoma, which signifies “greater,”’ answered he.
‘Greater than who?’ asked the giant.
‘Greater than you!’ answered Makoma.
The giant gave a roar and rushed upon him. Makoma said nothing, but swinging his great hammer, Nu-endo, he struck the giant upon the head.
He struck him so hard a blow that the giant shrank into quite a little man, who fell upon his knees saying: ‘You are indeed greater than I, O Makoma; take me with you to be your slave!’ So Makoma picked him up and dropped him into the sack that he carried upon his back.
He was greater than ever now, for all the giant’s strength had gone into him; and he resumed his journey, carrying his burden with as little difficulty as an eagle might carry a hare.
Before long he came to a country broken up with huge stones and immense clods of earth. Looking over one of the heaps he saw a giant wrapped in dust dragging out the very earth and hurling it in handfuls on either side of him.
‘Who are you,’ cried Makoma, ‘that pulls up the earth in this way?’
‘I am Chi-dubula-taka,’ said he, ‘and I am making the river-beds.’
‘Do you know who I am?’ said Makoma. ‘I am he that is called “greater”!’
‘Greater than who?’ thundered the giant.
‘Greater than you!’ answered Makoma.
With a shout, Chi-dubula-taka seized a great clod of earth and launched it at Makoma. But the hero had his sack held over his left arm and the stones and earth fell harmlessly upon it, and, tightly gripping his iron hammer, he rushed in and struck the giant to the ground. Chi-dubula-taka grovelled before him, all the while growing smaller and smaller; and when he had become a convenient size Makoma picked him up and put him into the sack beside Chi-eswa-mapiri.
He went on his way even greater than before, as all the river-maker’s power had become his; and at last he came to a forest of bao-babs and thorn trees. He was astonished at their size, for every one was full grown and larger than any trees he had ever seen, and close by he saw Chi-gwisa-miti, the giant who was planting the forest.
Chi-gwisa-miti was taller than either of his brothers, but Makoma was not afraid, and called out to him: ‘Who are you, O Big One?’
‘I,’ said the giant, ‘am Chi-gwisa-miti, and I am planting these bao-babs and thorns as food for my children the elephants.’
‘Leave off!’ shouted the hero, ‘for I am Makoma, and would like to exchange a blow with thee!’
The giant, plucking up a monster bao-bab by the roots, struck heavily at Makoma; but the hero sprang aside, and as the weapon sank deep into the soft earth, whirled Nu-endo the hammer round his head and felled the giant with one blow.
So terrible was the stroke that Chi-gwisa-miti shrivelled up as the other giants had done; and when he had got back his breath he begged Makoma to take him as his servant. ‘For,’ said he, ‘it is honourable to serve a man so great as thou.’
Makoma, after placing him in his sack, proceeded upon his journey, and travelling for many days he at last reached a country so barren and rocky that not a single living thing grew upon it — everywhere reigned grim desolation. And in the midst of this dead region he found a man eating fire.
‘What are you doing?’ demanded Makoma.
‘I am eating fire,’ answered the man, laughing; ‘and my name is Chi-idea-moto, for I am the flame-spirit, and can waste and destroy what I like.’
Production notes: This edition of The Orange Fairy Book was published by Global Grey ebooks on the 25th August 2018, and updated on the 14th April 2021. The artwork used for the cover is an illustration from the book.