Three Magic Gifts

tales of Aarne-Thompson type 563

translated and/or edited by

D. L. Ashliman

© 1999


  1. The Story of the Ogre (Italy, Giambattista Basile).

  2. The Ass That Lays Money (Italy).

  3. Table-Be-Set, Gold-Donkey, and Cudgel-out-of-the-Sack (Germany, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm).

  4. The Lad Who Went to the North Wind (Norway, Peter Christian Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe).

  5. The Wish Rag, the Gold-Goat, and the Hat Soldiers (Austria).

  6. The Good-for-Nothing (Georgia).

  7. The Adventures of Juan (Philippines).

Return to D. L. Ashliman's index of folklore and mythology electronic texts.

The Story of the Ogre

Italy, Giambattista Basile

Antuono of Marigliano is turned out by his mother for being the prince of fools, and enters the service of an ogre. On wishing to return home he several times receives from this latter different presents, of which he always lets an innkeeper rob him. But at last, receiving a stick which punishes his inexperience, he makes the innkeeper pay for all the tricks he played him, and enriches his home.

They relate that once in the town of Marigliano there was a respectable woman named Masella, who, besides possessing six marriageable daughters, like six poles, had an only son so churlish and ignorant that he was no good even at the snow game [that is to say, at the simplest of games, like that of throwing snowballs]; so that she was like a sow with a headache in her mouth, and not a day passed without her saying, "What are you doing in this house, cursed good-for-nothing? Out with you, you great rascal! Clear off, Maccabeus! Vanish, bringer of bad luck! Out of my sight, chestnut eater! Would you had been changed in your cradle and instead of a little boy, of a pretty child, of a fine little lad, I had had a fine great pig!"

But with all that, Masella spoke, and he only whistled. Seeing that there was no hope of Antuono (for so was the child called) turning his mind to any good purpose, one fine day she began to wash his head without soap, and seizing a rolling pin started to take the measure of his jacket. Antuono, when he least expected it, finding himself well staked, combed, and lined, took to his heels as soon as he could escape from her hands.

So long did he journey that after twenty-four hours, when the little lamps began to illuminate the shops of Cinzia, he arrived at the foot of a mountain so high that it hit the clouds. There, by the roots of a poplar tree, near a grotto worked in pumice stone, was sitting an ogre. Gracious! How hideous he was! His body was dwarfed and deformed with a head bigger than an Indian pumpkin, a forehead full of bumps, eyebrows knitted, squint eyes, a flat nose as big as a millstone, from which came two tusks that reached his ankles, a hairy chest, arms like turning-frames, bandy-legged and broad-footed like a goose. Altogether he resembled a devil, a fiend, a hideous beggar, and an evil spirit incarnate that would have scared an Orlando, alarmed a Scannarebecco, and made the most able swordsman fall into a swoon.

But Antuono, who had not moved a sling's throw, nodded to him, and said, "Good-bye, sir! What's doing? How are you? Don't you want anything? How far is it from here to where I'm going?"

The ogre, hearing these ridiculous questions, began to laugh, and as he liked the look of the blockhead, said to him, "Do you want a master?"

Antuono replied, "How much do you want a month?"

And the ogre, "See that you serve me properly, and we shall come to terms, and you will live like a lord."

So having made this agreement, Antuono entered the service of the ogre, in whose house the food was thrown at you, and as to work, one lived like a sluggard. Thus in four days he got as fat as a Turk, as round as an ox, as bold as a cock, as red as a lobster, as green as garlic, and as large as a whale, and so sturdy and with his skin so stretched that he could hardly open his eyes.

Two years had not yet passed when all this abundance began to weary him, and there was born in him a wish and strong urge to pay a visit to Marigliano. And in pining for his little home he wasted away and nearly took on his former appearance.

The ogre, who saw into his very entrails and knew of the itch which made him go about like an unsatisfied bride, called him aside and said, "Antuono, my boy, I know you have a great longing to see your own flesh and blood again. And therefore, as I love you like the apple of my eye, I am well content that you should make this trip and satisfy your wish. Take, therefore, this ass, which will spare you the fatigue of the journey, but by careful not to say 'Hey! Void!' or by the soul of my grandfather, you will be sorry for it."

Antuono took the ass, and without even saying, "good night" jumped on it and went off at a gallop. He had not gone more than a hundred yards, however, before he dismounted from the beast and cried, "Hey! Void!"

No sooner had he opened his mouth than the little beast began to relieve itself of pearls, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds, each as big as a walnut. Antuono stood with his mouth open a palm's breadth, gazing at this fine discharge, this superb flux, this magnificently rich dysentery of the ass. Then with great rejoicing he filled a wallet with these jewels, climbed once more into the saddle, and setting off with great energy, arrived at an inn.

On dismounting, the first thing he said to the innkeeper was, "Tie up this ass to the manger. Give it plenty to eat; but be careful not to say 'Hey! Void!' or you will regret it. And keep these trifles in a safe place."

The innkeeper, who was one of the "four of the craft" [the head of a trade corporation], and a master in cunning, when he heard this unexpected warning and saw the jewels worth millions, became curious to learn what effect these words would have. He therefore placed before Antuono an excellent dinner and gave him as much to drink as he could carry, and then had him thrust in between a straw mattress and a rough quilt. As soon as he saw him close his eyes and heard him snoring with all his might, he ran to the stable and said to the ass, "Hey! Void!" And the ass, with the medicine of these words, carried out the usual operation, relieving itself of a flux of gold and purging of jewels.

At the sight of this precious discharge, the innkeeper planned to change asses and gull that idiot of an Antuono, thinking it an easy matter to blind, deceive, bamboozle, perplex, hoodwink, throw dust in the eyes, confound, and fool a hog, blunderer, booby, dolt, simpleton such as was this fellow he had to deal with.

Antuono woke up next morning when Aurora went to empty the chamber pot of her old man, full of fine red sand, at the eastern window, and rubbing his eyes with his fists and stretching his arms for half an hour with threescore yawnings and farts by way of accompaniment, called the innkeeper, saying, "Come here, my friend: a short account and a long friendship. Friends we shall be, and war to the purses. Make out the bill and pay yourself."

Thus with so much for the bread, so much for the wine, this for the broth, that for the meat, five for the stabling, ten for the bed, and fifteen for the tip, he laid out the money. Then taking the false ass with a pouch of pumice stone in place of the precious jewels, he left at a good trot for his own town.

Arriving at Marigliano, before setting foot inside his house, he started to cry out, as if stung by nettles, "Run, mother, run, for we are rich! Unfold towels, spread out sheets, lay down coverlets, for you will now see treasures!"

The mother, full of joy, opened the chest where she kept her daughters' trousseaux and took out sheets so fine that they blew away if you but breathed, cloths of sweet-scented linen, coverlets of colors that catch the eye, and made a fine spread.

Antuono led in the ass and started so sing out, "Hey! Void!" But for all the "Hey! Voids!" he said, the ass took as much notice as of the strains of the lyre. However, he continued to repeat these words two or three times, and as they were all thrown to the winds he took up a heavy club and began to belabor the ill-starred beast. He flogged and thrashed the poor animal so much till its body began to loosen, and it emitted a fine yellow discharge on the white sheets.

At this sight the unfortunate Masella, who had hoped fundamentally to alleviate her poverty, and now found instead another kind of fundament so liberal that it scented the whole house, took up a stick and without giving Antuono time to show her the pumice stone, administered to him a sound thrashing.

He fled as fast as he could in the direction of the ogre. The ogre saw him coming more at a trot than walking and, being a magician, knew what had happened. So he gave him a good scolding for letting himself be cheated by an innkeeper, calling him feeble minded, only fit to be tied to his mother's apron strings, idiot, dunce, fool, ninny, boor, who in exchange for an ass rich in treasure had accepted a beast prolific of ordinary excrement. Antuono swallowed the pill, and swore that never never again would he let himself be mocked or cheated by any living soul.

After a year, however, there was renewed in him the same painful longing, and he languished with the desire to see his people again. The ogre, who was ugly of face but kindly of heart, gave him leave this time too, and made him a present of a fine napkin, saying, "Take this to your mother, but mind now, don't behave like a dolt as you did about the ass. And until you reach home don't say either 'Open' or 'Shut, napkin,' for if some misfortune befalls you, it will be your own fault. Now go, and good luck go with you. Come back soon."

Antuono departed, but he had not gone far from the grotto before he put the napkin on the ground, and said, "Open, napkin!" And it opened, and at once there appeared a whole heap of costly objects, finery, and precious things of all kinds, the most beautiful and wonderful imaginable. Antuono then exclaimed, "Shut, napkin!" and folding everything up in it, he made his way to the same inn as the time before. Arriving there, he said to the innkeeper, "Take this napkin and look after it for me, but be careful not to say 'Open' or 'Shut, napkin.'"

The latter, who was a sly knave, answered, "Leave it to me," and having given him plenty to eat and making him catch the monkey by the tail [getting him drunk], sent him off to sleep. Then he took the napkin and uttering the words found himself looking at enough precious things to amaze him. He therefore found another napkin so alike as to appear exactly the same, and made the exchange.

Antuono, having woken up, set off at a good trot and arrived as his mother's house, where he started to cry out, "Now at last we shall be able to laugh at the whole of beggardom! Now shall we put an end to our wants, our rags and tatters!" and spreading the napkin on the ground, said, "Open, napkin!" But he could go on repeating it from today till tomorrow, for, as it gave not the slightest sign of opening, it was all a waste of time.

Then, seeing that things were going wrong, he said to his mother, "May the heavens be blessed! The innkeeper has done me again. But let it be, for he and I make two. Better for him that he had never been born. Better that he had fallen under cart wheels. May I lose my greatest treasure if the next time I pass his inn I don't smash his glasses, plates, and dishes to atoms to pay for his having stolen my ass and jewels."

But his mother, hearing these fresh stupidities, flamed up in anger, crying, "Go, break you neck, accursed son! Fracture your collarbone! Away, out of my sight! for I see my entrails, and I can stand you no longer, as my gorge rises each time you come near me! Be off with you, and may this house burn you like fire! I wash my hands of you, and think of you as if I had never brought you into the world."

The unfortunate Antuono, seeing the lightning, had no wish to wait for the thunder. And like one who has stolen clothes from a heap of washing, lowering his head and raising his heels, he vanished in the direction of the ogre.

When the ogre saw him creeping in slowly as slowly and softly as softly he gave him another good dressing down, saying, "I don't know what keeps me from tearing out your eyes, gasbag, windy mouth, lump of putrid flesh, hen's arse, tattle, trumpet of the Vicaria [a town crier], noising every blessed thing abroad, vomiting whatever is in you without ever being able to retain the husks! If you had kept quiet at the inn, all this would not have happened to you. But you've got a tongue like the sail of a windmill, and now you've crushed the prosperity that was once yours."

The miserable Antuono put his tail between his legs and swallowed the music, and for over three years remained quietly in the service of the ogre, thinking no more of his home than of becoming a lord. However, after this period, he was seized with another attack of tertian fever, with a longing to return home, and begged the ogre to give him leave. And the ogre, overruled by his importunities, consented to let him go and gave him a finely worked club with the warning, "Take this club in memory of me. But remember not to say, 'Up, stick!' or 'Down stick!' for my only wish is to share things with you."

Antuono, taking it, replied, "Enough, for now I have grown my wisdom teeth and know how many pairs make three oxen. I am a boy no longer, and anyone who wants to cheat Antuono must kiss his own elbow first."

The ogre answered, "The work praises the worker. Words are women and deeds are men. We shall see! You have heard me more than a deaf man. A man forewarned is a man half saved!"

The ogre was still talking when Antuono hurried off to his home. He had not gone half a mile before he cried, "Up, stick!"

It was not mere word but a magic charm! The club, as if it had an imp in its marrow, started to work at once like a turner's lathe about the shoulders of the unhappy Antuono. The blows fell from an open sky one after the other without stopping. The poor fellow, seeing himself drubbed and beaten like a Cordovan hide, cried out, "Down, stick!" and the club stopped playing its counterpoint on the staff-lines of his spine.

So, having learnt at his own expense, he said, "Bad luck to anyone that flies! I won't let it escape me this time! The one that's in for a bad time hasn't gone to bed yet!"

With these thoughts he arrived at the same inn and was received with the best welcome in the world, for the innkeeper knew what sauce was to be had from that pigskin.

Antuono said to him, "Here, keep this stick for me, but be careful not to say 'Up, stick!' or it will be the worse for you. Take heed. Don't complain any more of Antuono, for I warn you, and make the bed beforehand."

The innkeeper, well content as this third piece of good luck, crammed him full of soup and made him see the bottom of the pitcher. And as soon as he had put him to bed, half asleep already, he ran to take the stick, calling to his wife to come and see the show.

"Up, stick!" he cried, and at once it began to test the ballast of the innkeepers, with a whack here and a whack there, administering a sound beating of the first order. Finally, finding themselves in such a bad way, the husband and wife, pursued by the stick, ran off to wake Antuono and beg him for mercy.

Antuono, who saw that the affair had been a huge success, that the macaroni had fallen into the cheese and the broccoli into the lard, said, "There's no way of stopping it! You'll be beaten to death with blows unless you return my things to me."

The innkeeper, who was a mass of bruises, cried, "Take everything I have, only deliver me from this cursed plague on my shoulders." And in order to prove his words, he had all the things fetched that he had stolen from him.

When Antuono had go the lot, he cried "Down, stick!" and it lay quietly on one side.

Then taking with him the donkey and the other things, Antuono returned to his mother's house, where he made a right royal trial of the ass's backside and a sure test of the napkin. He amassed a pile of money, married off his sisters, enriched his mother, and proved the truth of the saying:

God helps boys and madmen.

The Ass That Lays Money


There was once a poor widow with an only son, and whose brother-in-law was a steward. One day she said to her child, "Go to your uncle and ask him to give you something to keep you from starving."

The boy went to the farm and asked his uncle to help him a little. "We are dying of hunger, uncle. My mother earns a little by weaving, and I am too small to find anything. Be charitable to us, for we are your relatives."

The steward answered, "Why not? You should have come sooner, and I would have helped you the sooner. But now I will give you something to support you always, without need of anything more. I will give you this little ass that lays money. You have only to put a cloth under him, and he will fill it for you with handsome coins. But take care! Don't tell it, and don't leave this animal with anyone."

The youth departed in joy, and after he had traveled a long way, he stopped at an inn to sleep, for his house was distant. He said to the landlord, "Give me a lodging, but look! my ass spends the night with me."

"What!" said the landlord. "What are you thinking about! It cannot be."

The youth replied, "Yes it can be, because my ass does not leave my side."

They disputed a while, but the landlord finally consented. But he had some suspicions; and when the boy and his beast were shut in the room, he looked through the keyhole, and saw that wonder of an ass that laid money in abundance.

"Bless me!" cried the host. "I should be a fool, indeed, if I let this piece of good fortune escape my hands!"

He at once looked for another ass of the same color and size, and while the lad was asleep, exchanged them. In the morning the boy paid his bill and departed, but on the way, the ass no longer laid any money. The stupefied child did not know what to think at first, but afterward examining it more closely, it appeared to him that the ass was not his, and straightway he returned to the innkeeper, to complain of his deception.

The landlord cried out, "I wonder at your saying such a thing! We are all honest people here, and don't steal anything from anybody. Go away, blockhead, or you will find something to remember a while."

The child, weeping, had to depart with his ass, and he went back to his uncle's farm, and told him what had happened. The uncle said, "If you had not stopped at the innkeeper's, you could not have met with this misfortune. However, I have another present to help you and you mother. But take care! Do not mention it to anyone, and take good care of it. Here it is. I give you a tablecloth, and whenever you say, 'Tablecloth, make ready,' after having spread it out, you will see a fine repast at your pleasure."

The youth took the tablecloth in delight, thanked his uncle, and departed. But like the fool he was, he stopped again at the same inn. He said to the landlord, "Give you a room, and you need not prepare anything to eat. I have all I want with me."

The crafty innkeeper suspected that there was something beneath this, and when the lad was in his room, he looked through the keyhole, and saw the tablecloth preparing the supper. The host exclaimed, "What good luck for my inn! I will not let it escape me."

He quickly looked for another tablecloth like this one, with the same embroidery and fringe, and while the child was sleeping, he exchanged it for the magic one, so that in the morning the lad did not perceive the knavery.

Not until he had reached a forest where he was hungry, did he want to make use of the tablecloth. But it was in vain that he spread it out and cried, "Tablecloth, make ready." The tablecloth was not the same one, and made nothing ready for him. In despair the boy went back to the innkeeper to complain, and the landlord would have thrashed him if he had not run away, and he ran until he reached his uncle's.

His uncle, when he saw him in such a plight, said, "Oh! What is the matter?"

"Uncle!" said the boy, "the same innkeeper has changed the tablecloth, too, for me."

The uncle was on the point of giving the dunce a good thrashing; but afterward, seeing that it was a child, he calmed his anger, and said, "I understand. But I will give you a remedy by which you can get back everything from that thief of a landlord. Here it is! It is a stick. Hide it under your bolster, and if anyone comes to rob you of it, say to it, in a low voice, 'Beat, beat!' and it will continue to do so until you say to it, 'Stop.'"

Imagine how joyfully the boy took the stick! It was a handsome polished stick, with a gold handle, and delighted one only to see it. So the boy thanked his uncle for his kindness, and after he had journeyed a while, he came to the same inn. He said, "Landlord, I wish to lodge here tonight."

The landlord at once drew his conclusions about the stick, which the boy carried openly in his hands, and at night when the lad appeared to be sound asleep, but really was on the watch, the landlord felt softly under the bolster and drew out the stick.

The boy, although it was dark, perceived the theft, and said in a low voice, "Beat, beat, beat!"

Suddenly blows were rained down without mercy; everything broken to pieces, the chest of drawers, the looking glass, all the chairs, the glass in the windows; and the landlord, and those that came at the noise, beaten nearly to death. The landlord screamed to split his throat, "Save me, boy, I am dead!"

The boy answered, "What! I will not deliver you, if you do not give me back my property -- the ass that lays gold and the tablecloth that prepares dinner." And if the landlord did not want to die of the blows, he had to consent to the boy's wishes.

When he had his things back, the boy went home to his mother and told her what had happened to him, and then said, "Now we do not need anything more. I have an ass that lays money, a tablecloth that prepares food at my will, and a stick to defend me from whoever annoys me."

So that woman and her son, who, from want had become rich enough to cause everyone envy, wished from pride to invite their relatives to a banquet, to make them acquainted with their wealth. On the appointed day the relatives came to the woman's new house. But noon strikes, and one o'clock strikes. It is almost two, and in the kitchen the fire is seen extinguished, and there were no provisions anywhere.

"Are they playing a joke on us?" said the relatives. "We shall have to depart with dry teeth."

At that moment, however, the clock struck two, and the lad, after spreading the cloth on the table, commanded, "Tablecloth, prepare a grand banquet." In short, those people had a fine dinner and many presents in money, and the boy and his mother remained in triumph and joy.

Table-Be-Set, Gold-Donkey, and Cudgel-out-of-the-Sack

Germany, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

There was once upon a time a tailor who had three sons, and only one goat. But as the goat supported all of them with her milk, she was obliged to have good food, and to be taken every day to pasture. The sons did this, in turn.

Once the eldest took her to the churchyard, where the finest herbs were to be found, and let her eat and run about there. At night when it was time to go home he asked, "Goat, have you had enough?"

The goat answered,

I have eaten so much,
Not a leaf more I'll touch;
Meh, meh!

"Come home, then," said the youth, and took hold of the cord around her neck, led her into the stable, and tied her up securely.

"Well," said the old tailor, "has the goat had as much food as she ought?"

"Oh," answered the son, "she has eaten so much, not a leaf more she'll touch."

But the father wished to satisfy himself, and went down to the stable, stroked the dear animal, and asked, "Goat, are you satisfied?"

The goat answered,

How should I be satisfied?
Among the ditches I leapt about,
Found no leaf, so went without;
Meh, meh!

"What do I hear?" cried the tailor, and ran upstairs and said to the youth, "Hey, you liar, you said the goat had had enough, and have let her hunger." And in his anger he took the yardstick from the wall, and drove him out with blows.

Next day it was the turn of the second son, who sought a place next to the garden hedge where nothing but good herbs grew, and the goat gobbled them all up. At night when he wanted to go home, he asked, "Goat, are you satisfied?"

I have eaten so much,
Not a leaf more I'll touch;
Meh, meh!

"Come home then," said the youth, and led her home, and tied her up in the stable.

"Well," said the old tailor, "has the goat had as much food as she ought?"

"Oh," answered the son, "she has eaten so much, not a leaf more she'll touch."

The tailor would not rely on this, but went down to the stable and said, "Goat, have you had enough?"

The goat answered,

How should I be satisfied?
Among the ditches I leapt about,
Found no leaf, so went without;
Meh, meh!

"The godless wretch!" cried the tailor, to let such a good animal hunger, and he ran up and drove the youth out of doors with the yardstick.

Now came the turn of the third son, who wanted to do his duty well, and sought out some bushes with the finest leaves, and let the goat devour them. In the evening when he wanted to go home, he asked, "Goat, have you had enough?"

The goat answered,

I have eaten so much,
Not a leaf more I'll touch;
Meh, meh!

"Come home then," said the youth, and led her into the stable, and tied her up.

"Well," said the old tailor, "has the goat had her full share of food?"

"She has eaten so much, not a leaf more she'll touch."

The tailor was distrustful, went down, and asked, "Goat, have you had enough?"

The wicked beast answered,

How should I be satisfied?
Among the ditches I leapt about,
Found no leaf, so went without;
Meh, meh!

"Oh, the brood of liars!" cried the tailor, "Each as wicked and forgetful of his duty as the other. You shall no longer make a fool of me!" And quite beside himself with anger, he ran upstairs and tanned the poor young fellow's back so vigorously with the yardstick that he leaped out of the house.

The old tailor was now alone with his goat. Next morning he went down into the stable, stroked the goat and said, "Come, my dear little animal, I myself will take you to feed." He took her by the rope and led her to green hedges, and amongst yarrow and whatever else goats like to eat. "Here you may for once eat to your heart's content," he said to her, and let her browse till evening. Then he asked, "Goat, are you satisfied?"

She answered,

I have eaten so much,
Not a leaf more I'll touch;
Meh, meh!

"Come home then," said the tailor, and led her into the stable, and tied her fast. When he was going away, he turned around again and said, "Well, are you satisfied for once?"

But the goat behaved no better for him, and cried,

How should I be satisfied?
Among the ditches I leapt about,
Found no leaf, so went without;
Meh, meh!

When the tailor heard that, he was shocked, and saw clearly that he had driven away his three sons without cause. "Wait, you ungrateful creature," he cried, "it is not enough to drive you away, I will brand you so that you will no more dare to show yourself amongst honest tailors." He quickly ran upstairs, fetched his razor, lathered the goat's head, and shaved her as clean as the palm of his hand. And as the yardstick would have been too honorable for her, he grabbed a whip, and gave her such blows with it that she bounded away with tremendous leaps.

When the tailor was thus left quite alone in his house he fell into great grief, and would gladly have had his sons back again, but no one knew where they were gone.

The eldest had apprenticed himself to a joiner, and learned industriously and tirelessly, and when the time came for him to be on his way, his master presented him with a little table which was not particularly beautiful, and was made of common wood, but which had one good property. If anyone set it out, and said, "table be set," the good little table was at once covered with a clean little cloth, and a plate was there, and a knife and fork beside it, and dishes with boiled meats and roasted meats, as many as there was room for, and a great glass of red wine shone, so that it made the heart glad.

The young journeyman thought, "With this you have enough for your whole life," and went joyously about the world and never troubled himself at all whether an inn was good or bad, or if anything was to be found in it or not. When it suited him, he did not enter an inn at all, but either on the plain, in a wood, a meadow, or wherever he fancied, he took his little table off his back, set it down before him, and said, "table be set," and then everything appeared that his heart desired.

At length he took it into his head to go back to his father, whose anger would now be appeased, and who would now willingly receive him with his magic table. It came to pass that on his way home, he came one evening to an inn which was filled with guests. They bade him welcome, and invited him to sit and eat with them, for otherwise he would have difficulty in getting anything.

"No," answered the joiner, "I will not take the few morsels out of your mouths. Rather than that, you shall be my guests."

They laughed, and thought he was jesting with them. He but placed his wooden table in the middle of the room, and said, "Table be set." Instantly it was covered with food, so good that the host could never have procured it, and the smell of it ascended pleasantly to the nostrils of the guests.

"Fall to, dear friends," said the joiner, and the guests when they saw that he meant it, did not need to be asked twice, but drew near, pulled out their knives and attacked it valiantly. And what surprised them the most was that when a dish became empty, a full one instantly took its place of its own accord.

The innkeeper stood in one corner and watched the affair. He did not at all know what to say, but thought, "You could easily find a use for such a cook as that in your household."

The joiner and his comrades made merry until late into the night. At length they lay down to sleep, and the young journeyman also went to bed, and set his magic table against the wall. The host's thoughts, however, let him have no rest. It occurred to him that there was a little old table in his backroom which looked just like the journeyman's and he brought it out, and carefully exchanged it for the wishing table. Next morning the joiner paid for his bed, took up his table, never thinking that he had got a false one, and went his way.

At midday he reached his father, who received him with great joy. "Well, my dear son, what have you learned?" he said to him.

"Father, I have become a joiner."

"A good trade," replied the old man. "But what have you brought back with you from your apprenticeship?"

"Father, the best thing which I have brought back with me is this little table."

The tailor inspected it on all sides and said, "You did not make a masterpiece when you made this. It is a bad old table."

"But it is a table-be-set," replied the son. "When I set it out, and tell it to set itself, the most beautiful dishes immediately appear on it, and wine also, which gladdens the heart. Just invite all our relatives and friends. They shall refresh and enjoy themselves for once, for the table will fill them all."

When the company was assembled, he put his table in the middle of the room and said, "Table be set," but the little table did not move, and remained just as bare as any other table which does not understand language. Then the poor journeyman became aware that his table had been changed, and was ashamed at having to stand there like a liar. The relatives, however, mocked him, and were forced to go home without having eaten or drunk.

The father brought out his scraps again, and went on tailoring, but the son found work with a master joiner.

The second son had gone to a miller and had apprenticed himself to him. When his years were over, the master said, "As you have conducted yourself so well, I give you a donkey of a peculiar kind, which neither draws a cart nor carries a sack."

"What good is he then?" asked the young journeyman.

"He spews forth gold," answered the miller. "If you set him on a cloth and say 'Bricklebrit,' the good animal will spew forth gold pieces for you from back and front."

"That is a fine thing," said the journeyman, and thanked the master, and went out into the world. When he had need of gold, he had only to say "Bricklebrit" to his donkey, and it rained gold pieces, and he had nothing to do but pick them off the ground. Wherever he went, the best of everything was good enough for him, and the more expensive the better, for he had always a full purse. When he had looked about the world for some time, he thought, "You must seek out your father. If you go to him with the gold-donkey he will forget his anger, and receive you well."

It came to pass that he came to the same inn in which his brother's table had been exchanged. He led his donkey by the bridle, and the host was about to take the animal from him and tie him up, but the young journeyman said, "Don't trouble yourself, I will take my nag into the stable, and tie him up myself too, for I must know where he is."

This struck the host as odd, and he thought that a man who was forced to look after his donkey himself, could not have much to spend. But when the stranger put his hand in his pocket and brought out two gold pieces, and said he was to provide something good for him, the host opened his eyes wide, and ran and sought out the best he could muster. After dinner the guest asked what he owed. The innkeeper did not see why he should not double the bill, and said the journeyman must give two more gold pieces. He felt in his pocket, but his gold was just at an end.

"Wait an instant, sir," said he, "I will go and fetch some money." But he took the tablecloth with him. The innkeeper could not imagine what this meant, and being curious, stole after him, and as the guest bolted the stable door, he peeped through a hole left by a knot in the wood.

The stranger spread out the cloth under the animal and cried, "Bricklebrit," and immediately the beast began to let gold pieces fall from back and front, so that it fairly rained down money onto the ground.

"Eh, my word," said the innkeeper. "Ducats are quickly coined there. A purse like that is not bad." The guest paid his bill and went to bed, but in the night the innkeeper stole down into the stable, led away the master of the mint, and tied up another donkey in his place.

Early next morning the journeyman traveled away with his donkey, and thought that he had his gold-donkey. At midday he reached his father, who rejoiced to see him again, and gladly took him in.

"What have you made of yourself, my son?" asked the old man.

"A miller, dear father," he answered.

"What have you brought back with you from your travels."

"Nothing else but a donkey."

"There are donkeys enough here," said the father, "I would rather have had a good goat."

"Yes," replied the son, "but it is no common donkey, but a gold-donkey. When I say 'Bricklebrit' the good beast spews forth a whole sheetful of gold pieces. Just summon all our relatives here, and I will make them rich folks."

"That suits me well," said the tailor, "for then I shall have no need to torment myself any longer with the needle," and he himself ran out and called the relatives together. As soon as they were assembled, the miller bade them make way, spread out his cloth, and brought the donkey into the room.

"Now watch," said he, and cried, "Bricklebrit," but what fell were not gold pieces, and it was clear that the animal knew nothing of the art, for not every donkey attains such perfection. Then the poor miller made a long face, saw that he had been betrayed, and begged pardon of the relatives, who went home as poor as they came. There was no help for it, the old man had to take up his needle once more, and the youth hired himself to a miller.

The third brother had apprenticed himself to a turner, and as that is skilled labor, he was the longest in learning. His brothers, however, told him in a letter how badly things had gone with them, and how the innkeeper had cheated them of their beautiful wishing gifts on the last evening before they reached home. When the turner had served his time, and was about to set forth, as he had conducted himself so well, his master presented him with a sack saying, "There is a cudgel in it."

"I can take the sack with me," said he, "and it may serve me well, but why should the cudgel be in it. It only makes it heavy."

"I will tell you why," replied the master. "If anyone has done anything to injure you, do but say, 'Cudgel out of the sack,' and the cudgel will leap forth among the people, and play such a dance on their backs that they will not be able to stir or move for a week. And it will not quit until you say, 'Cudgel into the sack.'"

The journeyman thanked him, and put the sack on his back, and when anyone came too near him and wished to attack him, he said, "Cudgel out of the sack," and instantly the cudgel sprang out and beat the dust out of their coats and jackets, right on their backs, not waiting until they had taken them off, and it was done so quickly, that before anyone was aware, it was already his own turn.

In the evening the young turner reached the inn where his brothers had been cheated. He laid his sack on the table before him, and began to talk of all the wonderful things which he had seen in the world. "Yes," said he, "table-be-sets, gold-donkeys, and things of that kind -- extremely good things which I by no means despise -- but these are nothing in comparison with the treasure which I have obtained and am carrying about with me here in my sack."

The innkeeper pricked up his ears. "What in the world can that be?" he thought. "The sack must be filled with nothing but jewels. I ought to get them cheap too, for all good things come in threes."

When it was time for sleep, the guest stretched himself out on the bench, laying his sack beneath him for a pillow. When the innkeeper thought his guest was lying in a sound sleep, he went to him and pushed and pulled quite gently and carefully at the sack to see if he could possibly take it away and lay another in its place.

The turner, however, had been waiting for this for a long time, and now just as the innkeeper was about to give a hearty tug, he cried, "Cudgel out of the sack!"

Instantly the little cudgel came forth, and falling on the innkeeper gave him a sound thrashing. The innkeeper cried for mercy, but the louder he cried, the harder the cudgel beat the time on his back, until at length he fell to the ground exhausted.

Then the turner said, "If you do not give back the table-be-set and the gold-donkey, the dance shall start again from the beginning."

"Oh, no!" cried the innkeeper, quite humbly, "I will gladly give everything back, only make the accursed kobold creep back into the sack."

Then the journeyman said, "I will let mercy take the place of justice, but beware of getting into mischief again" Then he cried, "Cudgel into the sack," and let him rest.

Next morning the turner went home to his father with the table-be-set, and the gold-donkey. The tailor rejoiced when he saw him once more, and asked him likewise what he had learned in foreign parts. "Dear father," said he, "I have become a turner."

"A skilled trade," said the father. "What have you brought back with you from your travels?"

"A precious thing, dear father," replied the son, "a cudgel in the sack."

"What!" cried the father, "A cudgel! That's worth your trouble! From every tree you can cut yourself one."

"But not one like this, dear father. If I say, 'Cudgel out of the sack,' the cudgel springs out and leads anyone ill-disposed toward me a weary dance, and never stops until he lies on the ground and prays for fair weather. Look you, with this cudgel have I rescued the table-be-set and the gold-donkey which the thievish innkeeper took away from my brothers. Now let them both be sent for, and invite all our relatives. I will give them to eat and to drink, and will fill their pockets with gold as well."

The old tailor had not much confidence. Nevertheless he summoned the relatives together. Then the turner spread a cloth in the room and led in the gold-donkey, and said to his brother, "Now, dear brother, speak to him."

The miller said, "Bricklebrit," and instantly the gold pieces rained down on the cloth like a cloudburst, and the donkey did not stop until every one of them had so much that he could carry no more. (I can see by your face that you would have liked to be there as well.)

Then the turner brought out the little table and said, "Now, dear brother, speak to it." And scarcely had the joiner said, "Table be set," than it was spread and amply covered with the most exquisite dishes. Then such a meal took place as the good tailor had never yet known in his house, and the whole party of relatives stayed together until after nightfall, and were all merry and glad. The tailor locked his needle and thread and yardstick and pressing iron into a chest, and lived with his three sons in joy and splendor.

What, however, happened to the goat who was to blame for the tailor driving out his three sons? That I will tell you.

She was ashamed that she had a bald head, and ran to a fox's hole and crept into it. When the fox came home, he was met by two great eyes shining out of the darkness, and was terrified and ran away. A bear met him, and as the fox looked quite disturbed, he said, "What is the matter with you, Brother Fox, why do you look like that?"

"Ah," answered Redskin, "a fierce beast is in my cave and stared at me with its fiery eyes."

"We will soon drive him out," said the bear, and went with him to the cave and looked in, but when he saw the fiery eyes, fear seized on him likewise. He would have nothing to do with the furious beast, and took to his heels.

The bee met him, and as she saw that he was ill at ease, she said, "Bear, you are really pulling a very pitiful face. What has become of all your cheerfulness?"

"It is all very well for you to talk," replied the bear. "A furious beast with staring eyes is in Redskin's house, and we can't drive him out."

The bee said, "Bear, I pity you. I am a poor weak creature whom you would not turn aside to look at, but still, I believe I can help you." She flew into the fox's cave, lit on the goat's smoothly shorn head, and stung her so violently, that she sprang up, crying "meh, meh," and ran forth into the world as if mad, and to this hour no one knows where she has gone.

The Lad Who Went to the North Wind

Norway, Peter Christian Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe

Once upon a time there was an old widow who had one son; and as she was poorly and weak, her son had to go up into the storehouse to fetch meal for cooking; but when he got outside the storehouse, and was just going down the steps, there came the North Wind, puffing and blowing, caught up the meal, and so away with it through the air. Then the lad went back into the storehouse for more; but when he came out again on the steps, if the North Wind didn't come again and carry off the meal with a puff; and more than that, he did so the third time. At this the lad got very angry; and as he thought it hard that the North Wind should behave so, he thought he'd just look him up, and ask him to give up his meal. So off he went, but the way was long, and he walked and walked; but at last he came to the North Wind's house.

"Good day!" said the lad, and "Thank you for coming to see us yesterday."

"Good day!" answered the North Wind, for his voice was loud and gruff, "and thanks for coming to see me. What do you want?"

"Oh!" answered the lad, "I only wished to ask you to be so good as to let me have back that meal you took from me on the storehouse steps, for we haven't much to live on; and if you're to go on snapping up the morsel we have there'll be nothing for it but to starve."

"I haven't got your meal," said the North Wind; "but if you are in such need, I'll give you a cloth which will get you everything you want, if you only say, 'Cloth, spread yourself, and serve up all kind of good dishes!'"

With this the lad was well content. But, as the way was so long he couldn't get home in one day, so he turned into an inn on the way; and when they were going to sit down to supper, he laid the cloth on a table which stood in the corner and said, "Cloth, spread yourself, and serve up all kinds of good dishes."

He had scarce said so before the cloth did as it was bid; and all who stood by thought it a fine thing, but most of all the landlady. So, when all were fast asleep, at dead of night, she took the lad's cloth, and put another in its stead, just like the one he had got from the North Wind, but which couldn't so much as serve up a bit of dry bread.

So, when the lad woke, he took his cloth and went off with it, and that day he got home to his mother.

"Now," said he, "I've been to the North Wind's house, and a good fellow he is, for he gave me this cloth, and when I only say to it, 'Cloth, spread yourself, and serve up all kind of good dishes,' I get any sort of food I please."

"All very true, I daresay," said his mother; "but seeing is believing, and I shan't believe it till I see it."

So the lad made haste, drew out a table, laid the cloth on it, and said, "Cloth, spread yourself, and serve up all kind of good dishes." But never a bit of dry bread did the cloth serve up.

"Well," said the lad, "there's no help for it but to go to the North Wind again," and away he went.

So he came to where the North Wind lived late in the afternoon.

"Good evening!" said the lad.

"Good evening!" said the North Wind.

"I want my rights for that meal of ours which you took," said the lad; "for as for that cloth I got, it isn't worth a penny."

"I've got no meal," said the North Wind; "but yonder you have a ram which coins nothing but golden ducats as soon as you say to it, 'Ram, ram, make money!'"

So the lad thought this a fine thing; but as it was too far to get home that day, he turned in for the night to the same inn where he had slept before.

Before he called for anything, he tried the truth of what the North Wind had said of the ram, and found it all right; but when the landlord saw that, he thought it was a famous ram, and, when the lad had fallen asleep, he took another which couldn't coin gold ducats, and changed the two.

Next morning off went the lad, and when he got home to his mother, he said, "After all, the North Wind is a jolly fellow; for now he has given me a ram which can coin golden ducats if I only say, 'Ram, ram, make money!'"

"All very true, I daresay," said his mother, "but I shan't believe any such stuff until I see the ducats made."

"Ram, ram, make money!" said the lad; but if the ram made anything it wasn't money.

So the lad went back again to the North Wind, and blew him up, and said the ram was worth nothing, and he must have his rights for the meal.

"Well," said the North Wind, "I've nothing else to give you but that old stick in the corner yonder; but it's a stick of that kind that if you say, 'Stick, stick, lay on!' it lays on till you say, 'Stick, stick, now stop!'"

So, as the way was long, the lad turned in this night too to the landlord; but as he could pretty well guess how things stood as to the cloth and the ram, he lay down at once on the bench and began to snore, as if he were asleep.

Now the landlord, who easily saw that the stick must be worth something, hunted up one which was like it, and when he heard the lad snore, he was going to change the two, but just as the landlord was about to take it, the lad bawled out, "Stick, stick, lay on!"

So the stick began to beat the landlord, till he jumped over chairs and tables and benches, and roared, "Oh my! Oh my! Bid the stick be still, else it will beat me to death, and you shall have back both your cloth and your ram."

When the lad thought the landlord had got enough, he said, "Stick, stick, now stop!"

Then he took the cloth and put it into his pocket, and went home with his stick in his hand, leading the ram by a cord around its horns, and so he got his rights for the meal he had lost.

The Wish Rag, the Gold-Goat, and the Hat Soldiers


Once upon a time there was a cobbler who was very poor, having nothing but a wife and an old goat. Unable to earn anything in his homeland, he decided to travel elsewhere. "Listen, dear wife," he said one day to her, "you see that I can earn nothing here. Therefore I am ready to leave tomorrow for somewhere else. Slaughter our goat so I can have something to eat on my way."

The next day the goat was slaughtered. The cobbler took a portion of it with him and set forth. He walked the entire day, but was able to reach neither a village nor a town. Exhausted, the poor man sat down to rest a while beneath a statue that stood at the end of the path. He was about to unpack his meat when the statue began to speak, asking the cobbler, "Tell me, what do you have in your bundle?"

"A piece of goat meat," was the startled man's answer.

"My dear man, do you see the little wooden hut at the end of the path?"

"Yes, I see it," he answered.

"Go there and throw your meat inside. The devils have their workshop there. When they ask you what you demand in return, answer them, 'that old rag that is lying on the bed.'"

The cobbler immediately went to the hut, threw his meat inside, and demanded in return the rag described by the statue. Only after much arguing back and forth did they give it to him. The cobbler went away with it. Examining his reward, he saw that it was substantially worse than any he had at home.

Returning to the statue, the cobbler expressed his displeasure at its advice. But the statue said, "Take this little stick from my hand and strike the rag three times with it."

The cobbler did what he was told to do, and the finest foods appeared on the rag. Thus the cobbler, who for a very long time had not had such fare, was able to eat a delicious meal. When the feast was over, he thanked the statue, took the rag, and decided to return home.

On the way he spent the night at an inn, where he demonstrated his magic item to the other guests. The innkeeper and the innkeeper's wife were amazed, and they secretly desired to possess such a rag themselves. That night the innkeeper stole the cobbler's rag, putting another one in its place near his bed. The next day the deceived man paid his bill and set off for home with the rag he presumed was genuine.

Immediately after his arrival, he invited all of his relatives to a joyous feast. The guests all appeared and were awaiting the food that was to be served. The cobbler entered, the rag in his hand, and told everyone what had happened during the past few days.

Then the cobbler brought forth the little stick and slowly struck the rag three times. But no food appeared. The cobbler struck repeatedly, and more and more vigorously, but the rag lay there dead, and the hungry guests went away unsatisfied. The poor man thought that the statue was the cause of his misfortune.

Soon afterward the cobbler set forth a second time, again taking with him a portion of his goat. Again he came to the statue, who told him to once more give his meat to the devils and to demand in return the old goat that was hanging on the door. The cobbler did this, and received the old goat, which was much worse off than the one he had slaughtered before his journey. Returning to the statue, he complained to it about the old animal he had received. But the statue placed a little stick in his hand and told the man to strike the goat on the back with it. The cobbler did what he was told, and to his amazement gold pieces fell from the goat's ears. How happy our man was when he saw the gold! Quickly thanking the statue, he hurried homeward with the old goat.

On his way he felt hungry and thirsty, so he turned in at the same inn where he had previously spent the night. After eating and drinking he wanted to pay his bill, but he had no money. In order to get some, he led the goat into the room, and with the little stick he hit it on the back three times. It shook gold out of its ears, with which the cobbler paid his bill. The innkeeper had scarcely seen this happen before he began to make plans to take possession of the goat.

Now the innkeeper owned a goat that looked exactly like the one in question. Therefore he decided to exchange his goat with the cobbler's goat during the night. And the plot was soon realized. He exchanged the goats.

The cobbler awoke the next morning and went on his way in good cheer, for he had no idea about the exchange. Upon his arrival home, he sent his wife to get a pork roast for a delicious midday meal, saying that he would provide the money for it.

After they had eaten the meal, our cobbler wanted to try his magic trick. He led the goat into the room and struck it three times on the back with his little stick. But no one saw any gold fall out. The cobbler struck more and more vigorously, but without success. The mysterious silence was broken only by the poor animal's weak bleating. All attempts were for nothing. To be sure, the animal sadly shook its head, but no money fell from its ears. The poor cobbler saw that he had been cheated once again, and he set forth for the third and final time.

Again he returned to the statue, which once more advised him to give the goat meat to the devils, and this time to demand in return an old hat that was lying next to the bed. The cobbler did as he was told, and did indeed receive the old hat, which -- however -- was in very poor condition.

The cobbler returned to the statue, which gave him a little stick. He was to strike the hat three times with it. The man did this, and to his amazement, an entire regiment of soldiers emerged from it. He did not tire of looking at the little army, but he struck the hat once again, and all the soldiers took their places inside.

The statue then explained to the cobbler how the innkeeper where he had spent the night had stolen the magic items he had previously won. The cobbler resolved to gain them back, and, after thanking the statue, he left for the inn. Arriving there, he demanded his rag and his goat from the innkeeper, but the innkeeper refused to give them back. Then the cobbler struck his hat, and immediately the entire room was filled to overflowing with soldiers, who threatened the innkeeper with death if he did not give back the magic items. Filled with fear, he gave back the items, and the cobbler returned home as a wealthy man.

After arriving home he immediately invited the king of the land to visit him, promising to show him all kinds of interesting things. The king came and saw the goat and the rag, and the food served by it tasted wonderful to him. However, as he was leaving, he ordered his servants to steal the rag as well as the goat. And they did so.

The cobbler demanded the return of his property, but to no avail. The king only laughed at him. Then the cobbler, trusting in his hat, declared war against the king. The latter received the declaration with a laugh. Together they decided on a place and a time for the battle. When the day arrived, the cobbler was the first one on the battlefield. Soon the king arrived with ten of his best soldiers. When the cobbler saw them he had his army march out of the hat, ordering them to capture the king and the others. The king was amazed at the army and attempted to flee, for he felt that he was too weak. However, the opposing horde had already surrounded him. He had to surrender, and he was brought before the cobbler, who promised him freedom as soon as he gave back his goat and his rag.

Thus even a king was once defeated by a cobbler.

The Good-for-Nothing


There was once a good-for-nothing man, who had a shrewish wife. This wife would give him no rest. She importuned him, saying, "You must go away, travel forth and seek for something. You see how poor we are."

At last the husband could no longer bear her reproaches, so he arose and went.

He went forth. He himself knew not whither he was going. He traveled on, and when he had ascended the ninth mountain from where he started, he saw a large house, and in this house devis dwelt. He came near and saw in the middle of the room a fire, round which the devis were sitting, warming their hands. He went in and spoke in a friendly manner to them, and sat down by the fire. The devis treated him well, for he had spoken them fair. He stayed with them by day and by night. He ate with them. He drank with them. He slept with the. He was like their youngest brother.

These devis possessed a wishing stone. When they were assembled together, they took out the stone. If they wished for dinner, dinner appeared. If they wanted supper, they wished for supper, and lo! what they wished for heartily appeared before their eyes. They lived thus without care. They had no kind of sorrow, and this was just what our good-for-nothing liked. He approved of this life and wanted to steal the wishing stone.

Once when the devis were in a deep sleep, the good-for-nothing silently stole out of the bedroom, took the wishing stone, and came to the door. He wished the door to open, and sure enough it began to creak. It creaked and called out, "The guest has stolen the wishing stone."

The good-for-nothing turned back, put the stone in its place, went into the bedroom, and pretended to be asleep. The creaking of the door awoke the devis. They jumped up and looked. They found the wishing stone in its place and the good-for-nothing in a sweet slumber. They rejoiced, closed the door, and went to sleep again. When they had fallen into a profound sleep, the good-for-nothing rose up, took the stone, came to the door, and, when he wished it to open, it began to creak out, "The guest has stolen the wishing stone."

The good-for-nothing turned back, again put the wishing stone in its place, went into the bedroom, and began to snore as if he were asleep. The devis awoke and looked, but the stone was in its place, and the good-for-nothing did this trick over and over again. The devis were angry and furiously jumped up, pulled down the door, and put it in the fire. When the door was burned, and the devis slept again, the good-for-nothing rose up, put the wishing stone in his pocket, and left the house.

The next morning, when the devis awoke, they saw that neither the good-for-nothing nor the wishing stone was there any longer. They looked everywhere, but could not tell whether heaven or earth had swallowed them, so they learned nothing.

The good-for-nothing went on his way joyfully. He no longer had any care or thought. He rejoiced that now he could live without trouble. He went on, and met on the road a man with a big stick. This man said, "Brother, give me something to eat."

The good-for-nothing put his hand in his pocket, and took out the wishing stone. He wished, and there appeared before them everything ready for eating. When they had finished their meal, the man with the stick said, "Come, I will exchange my stick with you for this stone."

"What is the use of your stick?" inquired the good-for-nothing.

"If anyone stretches out his hand and calls, "Out, stick!" the stick will fall upon the person in front of its master."

The good-for-nothing made the exchange and went away a short distance. Then he said, "Out, stick!" and stretched it out towards its former master. It struck him until all his bones were made soft. When he had been well beaten, the good-for-nothing came, took his stone, and went on his way with the stick.

He went on and saw a man with a sword, who said, "Brother, give me something to eat."

The good-for-nothing took out his wishing stone, and immediately meat and drink appeared before them. When he had eaten sufficiently, the man said, "Come, I will give you this sword in exchange for the stone."

"What is the use of your sword?" inquired the good-for-nothing."

"Whoever possesses it can, if he choose, cut off a hundred thousand heads."

He exchanged his wishing stone for the sword, and went away. After waiting a short time, he said, "Out, stick!" and pointed to the former owner of the sword. The stick approached and beat the man mercilessly. Then the good-for-nothing took the wishing stone and went away.

He went on again until he met a man with a piece of felt, who said, "Brother, give me something to eat."

The good-for-nothing took out his wishing stone, wished, and immediately a delicious repast appeared. When he had eaten all he wanted, the man said, "Come, I will give you my felt in exchange for this stone."

"What is the use of your felt?" inquired the good-for-nothing.

"If a man's head is cut off, one only has to take a piece of this felt and apply it. His head will stick on again, and he will live."

The good-for-nothing gave him the stone, took the felt, and went away. When he had gone a little way, he said, "Out, stick!" and the stick beat the man till he was like a wrinkled quince. The good-for-nothing took his stone and traveled on.

At last he came to his home. He placed the stick behind the door, greeted his wife and spoke thus, "Wife, see what I have brought," and showed her the sword, felt, and wishing stone. His wife looked on him with contempt, opened her mouth, and cast all the dirt in the world on his head.

The good-for-nothing bore it till he could bear it no longer, so he called, "Out, stick!"

The stick beat her woefully. Then he made his little children sit down, took out his wishing stone, wished the table to be laid, and the rarest delicacies were placed on the cloth. They enjoyed their dinner, while the beaten wife silently looked down and sulked. She bore it for a time, but at last she could bear it no longer and came and embraced her husband's knees. Her husband forgave her, and they caressed one another lovingly.

After some time, this wishing stone made him quite rich, so that all their dishes were made of gold. Once the wife said to her husband, "You must invite the king and give him a great banquet."

Her husband said, "Do you not know, the king is an envious man. When he sees these things, he will take them from us and put us in prison."

His wife pleaded and whined until her husband consented.

They invited the king and made ready a magnificent banquet. When the feast was finished, the king demanded the wishing stone. The good-for-nothing said he could not spare it. The king was enraged and sent his whole army to take it away by force.

"This will not do at all," said the good-for-nothing to himself. "Since they are going to try and force me, I shall show my strength."

While he spoke, he pointed the sword at the army, and the stick at the king. The heads of all the army were cut off, and the stick beat the envious king.

The king begged and prayed for mercy, "Only bring my soldiers back to life again, and I swear I will leave you in peace."

Then the good-for-nothing arose, took the felt and laid a piece on the neck of each soldier, and the army was restored to life. The king no longer dared to show his enmity, the good-for-nothing's wife obeyed him in everything, and they lived happily ever afterwards.

The Adventures of Juan

Philippines (Tagalog)

Juan was always getting into trouble. He was a lazy boy, and more than that, he did not have good sense. When he tried to do things, he made such dreadful mistakes that he might better not have tried.

His family grew very impatient with him, scolding and beating him whenever he did anything wrong. One day his mother, who was almost discouraged with him, gave him a bolo [a long knife] and sent him to the forest, for she thought he could at least cut firewood. Juan walked leisurely along, contemplating some means of escape. At last he came to a tree that seemed easy to cut, and then he drew his long knife and prepared to work.

Now it happened that this was a magic tree, and it said to Juan, "If you do not cut me I will give you a goat that shakes silver from its whiskers."

This pleased Juan wonderfully, both because he was curious to see the goat, and because he would not have to chop the wood. He agreed at once to spare the tree, whereupon the bark separated, and a goat stepped out. Juan commanded it to shake its whiskers, and when the money began to drop, he was so delighted that he took the animal and started home to show his treasure to his mother.

On the way he met a friend who was more cunning than Juan, and when he heard of the boy's rich goat he decided to rob him. Knowing Juan's fondness for tuba [fermented coconut juice], he persuaded him to drink, and while he was drunk, the friend substituted another goat for the magic one.

As soon as he was sober again, Juan hastened home with the goat and told his people of the wonderful tree, but when he commanded the animal to shake its whiskers, no money fell out. The family, believing it to be another of Juan's tricks, beat and scolded the poor boy.

He went back to the tree and threatened to cut it down for lying to him, but the tree said, "No, do not cut me down, and I will give you a net which you may cast on dry ground, or even in the treetops, and it will return full of fish."

So Juan spared the tree and started home with his precious net, but on the way he met the same friend who again persuaded him to drink tuba. While he was drunk, the friend replaced the magic net with a common one, so that when Juan reached home and tried to show his power, he was again the subject of ridicule.

Once more Juan went to his tree, this time determined to cut it down. But the offer of a magic pot, always full of rice, and spoons which provided whatever he wished to eat with his rice, dissuaded him, and he started home happier than ever. Before reaching home, however, he met with the same fate as before, and his folks, who were becoming tired of his pranks, beat him harder than ever.

Thoroughly angered, Juan sought the tree a fourth time and was on the point of cutting it down when once more it arrested his attention. After some discussion, he consented to accept a stick to which he had only to say, "Boombye, Boomba," and it would beat and kill anything he wished.

When he met his friend on this trip, he was asked what he had, and he replied, "Oh, it is only a stick, but if I say 'Boombye, Boomba' it will beat you to death."

At the sound of the magic words the stick leaped from his hands and began beating his friend until he cried, "Oh, stop it, and I will give back everything that I stole from you."

Juan ordered the stick to stop, and then he compelled the man to lead the goat and to carry the net and the jar and spoons to his home.

There Juan commanded the goat, and it shook its whiskers until his mother and brothers had all the silver they could carry. Then they ate from the magic jar and spoons until they were filled. And this time Juan was not scolded. After they had finished Juan said, "You have beaten me and scolded me all my life, and now you are glad to accept my good things. I am going to show you something else, 'Boombye, Boomba.'"

Immediately the stick leaped out and beat them all until they begged for mercy and promised that Juan should ever after be head of the house.

From that time Juan was rich and powerful, but he never went anywhere without his stick. One night, when some thieves came to his house, he would have been robbed and killed had it not been for the magic words "Boombye, Boomba," which caused the death of all the robbers.

Some time after this he married a beautiful princess, and because of the kindness of the magic tree they always lived happily.

Return to D. L. Ashliman's index of folklore and mythology electronic texts.

Revised March 22, 2013.