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Authors: The Brown Fairy Book

Andrew Lang_Fairy Book 09

BOOK: Andrew Lang_Fairy Book 09
12.72Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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Edited by
The Brown Fairy Book
First published in 1904
ISBN 978-1-62011-278-6
Duke Classics
© 2012 Duke Classics and its licensors. All rights reserved.
While every effort has been used to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information contained in this edition, Duke Classics does not assume liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in this book. Duke Classics does not accept responsibility for loss suffered as a result of reliance upon the accuracy or currency of information contained in this book.
What the Rose did to the Cypress
Ball-carrier and the Bad One
How Ball-carrier Finished His Task
The Bunyip
Father Grumbler
The Story of the Yara
The Cunning Hare
The Turtle and His Bride
How Geirald The Coward Was Punished
How the Little Brother Set Free His Big Brothers
The Sacred Milk of Koumongoe
The Wicked Wolverine
The Husband of the Rat's Daughter
The Mermaid and the Boy
Pivi and Kabo
The Elf Maiden
How Some Wild Animals Became Tame Ones
Fortune and the Wood-Cutter
The Enchanted Head
The Sister of the Sun
The Prince and the Three Fates
The Fox and the Lapp
Kisa the Cat
The Lion and the Cat
Which was the Foolishest?
Asmund and Signy
Story Of The King Who Would Be Stronger Than Fate
Story of Wali Dad the Simple-Hearted
Tale of a Tortoise and of a Mischievous Monkey
The Knights of the Fish

Diana Scott Lang


The stories in this Fairy Book come from all quarters of the
world. For example, the adventures of 'Ball-Carrier and the Bad
One' are told by Red Indian grandmothers to Red Indian children
who never go to school, nor see pen and ink. 'The Bunyip' is
known to even more uneducated little ones, running about with no
clothes at all in the bush, in Australia. You may see
photographs of these merry little black fellows before their
troubles begin, in 'Northern Races of Central Australia,' by
Messrs. Spencer and Gillen. They have no lessons except in
tracking and catching birds, beasts, fishes, lizards, and snakes,
all of which they eat. But when they grow up to be big boys and
girls, they are cruelly cut about with stone knives and
frightened with sham bogies all for their good' their parents
say and I think they would rather go to school, if they had their
choice, and take their chance of being birched and bullied.
However, many boys might think it better fun to begin to learn
hunting as soon as they can walk. Other stories, like 'The
Sacred Milk of Koumongoe,' come from the Kaffirs in Africa, whose
dear papas are not so poor as those in Australia, but have plenty
of cattle and milk, and good mealies to eat, and live in houses
like very big bee-hives, and wear clothes of a sort, though not
very like our own. 'Pivi and Kabo' is a tale from the brown
people in the island of New Caledonia, where a boy is never
allowed to speak to or even look at his own sisters; nobody knows
why, so curious are the manners of this remote island. The story
shows the advantages of good manners and pleasant behaviour; and
the natives do not now cook and eat each other, but live on fish,
vegetables, pork, and chickens, and dwell in houses. 'What the
Rose did to the Cypress,' is a story from Persia, where the
people, of course, are civilised, and much like those of whom you
read in 'The Arabian Nights.' Then there are tales like 'The Fox
and the Lapp ' from the very north of Europe, where it is dark
for half the year and day-light for the other half. The Lapps
are a people not fond of soap and water, and very much given to
art magic. Then there are tales from India, told to Major
Campbell, who wrote them out, by Hindoos; these stories are 'Wali
Dad the Simple-hearted,' and 'The King who would be Stronger than
Fate,' but was not so clever as his daughter. From Brazil, in
South America, comes 'The Tortoise and the Mischievous Monkey,'
with the adventures of other animals. Other tales are told in
various parts of Europe, and in many languages; but all people,
black, white, brown, red, and yellow, are like each other when
they tell stories; for these are meant for children, who like the
same sort of thing, whether they go to school and wear clothes,
or, on the other hand, wear skins of beasts, or even nothing at
all, and live on grubs and lizards and hawks and crows and
serpents, like the little Australian blacks.

The tale of 'What the Rose did to the Cypress,' is translated out
of a Persian manuscript by Mrs. Beveridge. 'Pivi and Kabo' is
translated by the Editor from a French version; 'Asmund and
Signy' by Miss Blackley; the Indian stories by Major Campbell,
and all the rest are told by Mrs. Lang, who does not give them
exactly as they are told by all sorts of outlandish natives, but
makes them up in the hope white people will like them, skipping
the pieces which they will not like. That is how this Fairy Book
was made up for your entertainment.

What the Rose did to the Cypress


Once upon a time a great king of the East, named
had three brave and clever sons—Tahmasp,
Qamas, and Almas-ruh-baksh.
One day, when the king was
sitting in his hall of audience, his eldest son, Prince Tahmasp,
came before him, and after greeting his father with due respect,
said: 'O my royal father! I am tired of the town; if you will
give me leave, I will take my servants to-morrow and will go into
the country and hunt on the hill-skirts; and when I have taken
some game I will come back, at evening-prayer time.' His father
consented, and sent with him some of his own trusted servants,
and also hawks, and falcons, hunting dogs, cheetahs and leopards.

At the place where the prince intended to hunt he saw a most
beautiful deer. He ordered that it should not be killed, but
trapped or captured with a noose. The deer looked about for a
place where he might escape from the ring of the beaters, and
spied one unwatched close to the prince himself. It bounded high
and leaped right over his head, got out of the ring, and tore
like the eastern wind into the waste. The prince put spurs to
his horse and pursued it; and was soon lost to the sight of his
followers. Until the world-lighting sun stood above his head in
the zenith he did not take his eyes off the deer; suddenly it
disappeared behind some rising ground, and with all his search he
could not find any further trace of it. He was now drenched in
sweat, and he breathed with pain; and his horse's tongue hung
from its mouth with thirst. He dismounted and toiled on, with
bridle on arm, praying and casting himself on the mercy of
heaven. Then his horse fell and surrendered its life to God. On
and on he went across the sandy waste, weeping and with burning
breast, till at length a hill rose into sight. He mustered his
strength and climbed to the top, and there he found a giant tree
whose foot kept firm the wrinkled earth, and whose crest touched
the very heaven. Its branches had put forth a glory of leaves,
and there were grass and a spring underneath it, and flowers of
many colours.

Gladdened by this sight, he dragged himself to the water's edge,
drank his fill, and returned thanks for his deliverance from

He looked about him and, to his amazement, saw close by a royal
seat. While he was pondering what could have brought this into
the merciless desert, a man drew near who was dressed like a
faqir, and had bare head and feet, but walked with the free
carriage of a person of rank. His face was kind, and wise and
thoughtful, and he came on and spoke to the prince.

'O good youth! how did you come here? Who are you? Where do you
come from?'

The prince told everything just as it had happened to him, and
then respectfully added: 'I have made known my own circumstances
to you, and now I venture to beg you to tell me your own. Who
are you? How did you come to make your dwelling in this

To this the faqir replied: 'O youth! it would be best for you to
have nothing to do with me and to know nothing of my fortunes,
for my story is fit neither for telling nor for hearing.' The
prince, however, pleaded so hard to be told, that at last there
was nothing to be done but to let him hear.

'Learn and know, O young man! that I am King Janangir
Babylon, and that once I had army and servants, family and
treasure; untold wealth and belongings. The Most High God gave
me seven sons who grew up well versed in all princely arts. My
eldest son heard from travellers that in Turkistan, on the
Chinese frontier, there is a king named Quimus, the son of Timus,
and that he has an only child, a daughter named Mihr-afruz,
who, under all the azure heaven, is unrivalled for beauty.
Princes come from all quarters to ask her hand, and on one and
all she imposes a condition. She says to them: "I know a riddle;
and I will marry anyone who answers it, and will bestow on him
all my possessions. But if a suitor cannot answer my question I
cut off his head and hang it on the battlements of the citadel."
The riddle she asks is, "What did the rose do to the cypress?"

'Now, when my son heard this tale, he fell in love with that
unseen girl, and he came to me lamenting and bewailing himself.
Nothing that I could say had the slightest effect on him. I
said: "Oh my son! if there must be fruit of this fancy of yours,
I will lead forth a great army against King Quimus. If he will
give you his daughter freely, well and good; and if not, I will
ravage his kingdom and bring her away by force." This plan did
not please him; he said: "It is not right to lay a kingdom waste
and to destroy a palace so that I may attain my desire. I will
go alone; I will answer the riddle, and win her in this way." At
last, out of pity for him, I let him go. He reached the city of
King Quimus. He was asked the riddle and could not give the true
answer; and his head was cut off and hung upon the battlements.
Then I mourned him in black raiment for forty days.

After this another and another of my sons were seized by the same
desire, and in the end all my seven sons went, and all were
killed. In grief for their death I have abandoned my throne, and
I abide here in this desert, withholding my hand from all State
business and wearing myself away in sorrow.'

Prince Tahmasp listened to this tale, and then the arrow of love
for that unseen girl struck his heart also. Just at this moment
of his ill-fate his people came up, and gathered round him like
moths round a light. They brought him a horse, fleet as the
breeze of the dawn; he set his willing foot in the stirrup of
safety and rode off. As the days went by the thorn of love
rankled in his heart, and he became the very example of lovers,
and grew faint and feeble. At last his confidants searched his
heart and lifted the veil from the face of his love, and then set
the matter before his father, King Saman-lal-posh. 'Your son,
Prince Tahmasp, loves distractedly the Princess Mihr-afruz,
daughter of King Quimus, son of Timus.' Then they told the king
all about her and her doings. A mist of sadness clouded the
king's mind, and he said to his son: 'If this thing is so, I will
in the first place send a courier with friendly letters to King
Quimus, and will ask the hand of his daughter for you. I will
send an abundance of gifts, and a string of camels laden with
flashing stones and rubies of Badakhsham In this way I will bring
her and her suite, and I will give her to you to be your solace.
But if King Quimus is unwilling to give her to you, I will pour a
whirlwind of soldiers upon him, and I will bring to you, in this
way, that most consequential of girls.' But the prince said that
this plan would not be right, and that he would go himself, and
would answer the riddle. Then the king's wise men said: 'This is
a very weighty matter; it would be best to allow the prince to
set out accompanied by some persons in whom you have confidence.
Maybe he will repent and come back.' So King Saman ordered all
preparations for the journey to be made, and then Prince Tahmasp
took his leave and set out, accompanied by some of the courtiers,
and taking with him a string of two-humped and raven-eyed camels
laden with jewels, and gold, and costly stuffs.

BOOK: Andrew Lang_Fairy Book 09
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