Eastward Of The Sun And Westward Of The Moon
Category: Upper Lusatia
Source: Fairy Tales From All Nations
In days of yore there lived a poor charcoal-burner who had many
children. His poverty was so great, that he knew not how to feed them
from day to day, and they had scarcely any clothes to cover them.
Nevertheless all the children were very beautiful, but the youngest
daughter was the most beautiful of them all.
Now it happened on a Thursday evening, late in the autumn, that a
terrible storm came on. It was dark as pitch, the rain came down in
torrents, and the wind blew till the windows cracked again. The whole
family sat round the hearth, busy with their different occupations;
suddenly some one gave three loud knocks at the window; the man went
out to see whom it could be, and when he got outside the door, he saw
standing by it, a great white bear.
"Good evening to you!" said the bear.
"Good evening!" said the man.
"I have called," said the bear, "to say that if you will give me your
youngest daughter in marriage, I will make you as rich as you now are
The man thought that would not be amiss, but he considered that he
must first consult his daughter on the subject; so he stepped in, and
told her that a great white bear was outside the door, who had
promised to make him as rich as he was now poor, provided he would
give him his youngest daughter in marriage. The maiden, however, said
"No," and would hear nothing at all about the matter; so the man went
out again, spoke very civilly to the bear, and told him to call again
next Thursday evening, and in the mean time he would try what could be
done. During the week they tried to persuade the maiden, and told her
all kinds of fine things as to the riches they were to have, and how
well she herself would be provided for, till at last she consented. So
she washed the two or three things she had, dressed herself as well as
she could, and made herself ready for the journey.
When the bear returned the following Thursday evening, all was ready:
the maiden took her bundle in her hand, seated herself on his back,
and off they went. When they had gone a good way, the bear asked her:
"Do you feel sad?"
No, that she did not in the least.
"Mind you hold fast by my shaggy coat," said the bear, "and then there
will be nothing to fear."
Thus she rode on the bear's back far far away--indeed nobody can say
precisely how far it was--and at last they arrived at a great rock.
The bear knocked, and a door opened, through which they entered a
large castle, in which were a great many rooms, all lighted with
lamps, and glittering with gold and silver: there was also a grand
saloon, and in the saloon stood a table covered with the most costly
viands. The bear then gave her a silver bell, which he told her to
ring when she wanted anything, and it would immediately be brought to
her. Now after she had eaten and drunk, and towards evening grew
tired, and wished to go to bed, she rang her bell, and immediately a
door opened into a chamber, where there was as beautiful a bed as she
could wish for, ready prepared for her; the pillows were covered with
silk, and the curtains fringed with gold, and all her toilette
utensils were of silver and gold. As soon, however, as she had
extinguished the light, and lay down in her bed, some one came and
lay down by her side, and this happened every night; but she could
never see who it was, as the person never came till after the light
was put out, and always went away before day-break.
Thus she lived for some time, contented and happy, till at length she
felt so great a desire to see her parents, and brothers and sisters,
that she grew quite dull and melancholy. Then the bear asked her one
day why she was always so still and thoughtful.
"Ah!" replied she, "I feel so lonely here in the castle, for I so much
wish to see my parents, and brothers and sisters, once more."
"That you can easily do," said the bear, "but you must promise me that
you will never converse with your mother alone, but only when all the
others are present; for she will try to take you by the hand and lead
you into another room, in order to speak to you alone, but do not
consent to it, for if you do, she will make both you and me unhappy."
The maiden said she would be very careful to do as he desired her.
The following Sunday the bear came to her, and said she might now
begin her journey to her parents. She seated herself on his back, and
they commenced their journey. After they had travelled a very long
time, they came to a great white castle, and she saw her sisters going
in and out, and all was so beautiful and grand, it was quite a
pleasure to behold it.
"That is where your parents dwell," said the bear, "now do not forget
what I have said to you, or you will make yourself and me very
She would not forget, repeated the maiden, and she entered the castle;
the bear, however, went back again. When her parents saw their
daughter, they were more delighted than it is possible to express.
They could not thank her enough for what she had done for them, and
they told how wonderfully comfortable they were now, and inquired how
matters went with her. Oh, she also was very happy, returned the
maiden, she had everything she could desire. What else she told them,
I do not exactly know, but I believe it was no every-day tale that she
told them. In the afternoon, when they had dined, it happened exactly
as the bear had foretold; the mother wanted to talk with her daughter
in private, but the maiden remembered what the bear had said, and
would not go with her, but said: "Oh, we can say what we have got to
say, quite as well here."
Now, how it happened, I cannot tell, but all I know is, that her
mother persuaded her at last, and then she got the whole history from
her. The maiden related how some one came into her bed every night,
but that she had never seen who it was, and that made her so uneasy,
and the day seemed very long to her, because she was always alone.
"Who knows!" said the mother, "surely it must be some wizard who
sleeps by you; but if you will take my advice, when he is fast asleep,
get up and strike a light, and see who it is; but be careful not to
let any grease drop upon him."
In the evening the bear came to fetch the maiden home. When they had
gone a good way he asked her if it had not happened as he had told
"Yes," she could not deny that it had.
"Have you listened to your mother's counsel?" said the bear; "if you
have, you have ruined yourself and me, and our friendship is at an
"No," she had not done so, replied she.
Now when they had got home, and the maiden had gone to bed, the same
happened as usual, some one came and lay down by her. During the
night, however, when she heard that he was asleep, she rose and
kindled a light, and then she saw lying in her bed the handsomest
prince that can be imagined, and she immediately loved him so well,
that she could not refrain from kissing him that very moment. But as
she did this, she accidentally let three drops of oil fall from her
lamp, upon his shirt, and thereupon he awoke.
"What have you done?" cried he, as he opened his eyes; "now you have
made yourself and me unhappy for ever. If you had but held out for a
year, I should have been delivered; for I have a step-mother who has
enchanted me, so that by day I am a bear, but at night I become a man
again. But all is over for us both, for I must now leave you, and
return to her. She dwells in a castle which lies eastward of the
Sun, and westward of the Moon, and there I shall be obliged to
marry a princess who has a nose three ells long."
The maiden then began to weep and bemoan herself; but it was too late,
the prince was obliged to go. She asked him if she might not accompany
"No," said he, "that must not be."
"Can you not then tell me the road that I may find you?" inquired
she; "for I suppose I may be allowed that."
"Yes, that you are right welcome to do," said he; "but there is no
road that leads to it; for the castle lies eastward of the Sun, and
westward of the Moon, and you will never get there."
In the morning when she awoke, the prince and the castle had both
vanished, and she found herself lying on the bare earth, in a thick
dark forest, and she was dressed in her old clothes, and near her lay
the same bundle that she had brought with her from her former home.
When she had rubbed her eyes till she was quite awake, and had cried
till she could cry no longer, she began her journey, and wandered for
many a long day, till at last she came to a great mountain. At the
foot of the mountain sat an old woman, playing with a golden apple;
the maiden asked her if she could tell her the way to where the prince
lived with his step-mother, in a castle which was situated eastward of
the Sun, and westward of the Moon, and who was to marry a princess who
had a nose three ells long.
"How come you to know him?" asked the woman. "Can you be the maiden
whom he wished to marry?"
"Yes," she replied, "she was that maiden."
"So! then you are the chosen one!" resumed the woman; "ah! my child,"
continued she, "I would willingly help you, but I myself know nothing
more of the castle than that it lies eastward of the Sun, and westward
of the Moon, and that you are almost certain never to get there; I
will, however, lend you my horse, and you may ride on him to my next
neighbour; perhaps she may be able to tell you the way thither, but
when you have reached her, just give the horse a pat under the left
ear, and bid him go home again; and now take this golden apple, for
perhaps you may find a use for it."
The maiden mounted the horse, and rode for a long, long, time; and at
last arrived at another mountain, where sat an old woman with a golden
reel. The maiden asked her if she could tell her the way to the
castle, which lay eastward of the Sun, and westward of the Moon. This
old woman, however, said just like the other, that she knew nothing
more about the castle than that it lay eastward of the Sun, and
westward of the Moon, "and you are almost sure never to find it,"
added she, "but I will lend you my horse to ride upon to my next
neighbour, and perhaps she may tell you the way; when you get there,
however, just give the horse a pat under his left ear, and tell him
to go home; now take this reel, for perhaps you may find some use for
The maiden seated herself on the horse, and rode for many days and
weeks; at last she again arrived at a mountain where an old woman sat
spinning with a golden distaff. The maiden now again inquired about
the prince, and the castle which was situated eastward of the Sun, and
westward of the Moon.
"Are you she whom the prince wished to marry?" asked the woman.
"Yes," replied the maiden.
But this old woman knew no more about the castle than the two others.
"Eastward of the Sun, and westward of the Moon, lies the castle, and
you are almost certain never to get there. But I will lend you my
horse, and you may ride upon him to the East Wind; perhaps he may be
able to tell you the way, but when you get to him, give the horse a
pat under the left ear, and bid him go home, and now take this golden
distaff, you will probably have occasion for it."
She rode now a very long time, and at last arrived where the East Wind
dwelt, and asked him if he could not tell her how to get to the
prince who lived in the castle which lay eastward of the Sun, and
westward of the Moon.
"Truly, I have often heard tell of the prince, and of the castle too,"
said the East Wind, "but I cannot tell you the way, for I have never
blown so far; but I will carry you to my brother, the West Wind;
perhaps he may know, for he is much stronger than I am. You have only
to seat yourself on my back, and I will bear you thither."
The maiden seated herself on his back, and off they went. When they
reached the West Wind, the East Wind told him that he had brought a
maiden who was to marry the prince who dwelt in the castle that lay
eastward of the Sun, and westward of the Moon, and asked if he could
tell the way thither.
"No," answered the West Wind. "I have never blown so far. But," said
he, addressing the maiden, "you may seat yourself on my back, and I
will carry you to the South Wind; he may be able to tell you, for he
is much stronger than I, and blows and blusters every where."
So the maiden seated herself on his back, and when they had reached
the South Wind, the West Wind asked him if he did not know the way to
the castle which lay eastward of the Sun, and westward of the Moon,
for the maiden whom he had brought with him, said he, was to marry the
prince who dwelt there.
"I have blown pretty far, and pretty strong in my time," said the
South Wind, "but I never went so far as that. If, however, you desire
it," said he to the maiden, "I will carry you to my brother, the North
Wind, who is the eldest and strongest of us all, and if he cannot tell
you the way, you may rest assured you will never find it."
The maiden seated herself on his back, and off they went at such a
rate that the plain heaved again.
In a very short time they reached the North Wind; but he was so wild
and turbulent that long before they got up to him, he blew, I know not
how much snow and ice, in their faces.
"What do you want?" cried he, in a voice that made their skin creep.
"Oh, you must not be so rough with us," said the South Wind; "for here
am I, your own brother, and this is the maiden who is to marry the
prince who dwells in the castle which lies eastward of the Sun, and
westward of the Moon, and she is very desirous to ask you if you
cannot give her some information about it."
"Yes, I know full well where it lies," said the North Wind; "I wafted
an aspen leaf thither, once; but I was so fatigued that I could not
blow for many a long day afterwards. If, however, you are resolved to
go," said he to the maiden, "and are not afraid, I will take you on my
back and try whether I can waft you so far."
"Yes," said the maiden, "there I must and will go, by all possible
means, and I will not be frightened either, let it be as bad as it
"In that case you must pass the night here," said the North Wind; "for
we must have the whole day before us, if we are to go there."
Early the next morning the North Wind awakened her, got himself into
breath, and grew so large and strong, that it was terrible to behold;
and off they dashed through the air, as if the world were coming to an
end. Then arose such an awful storm, that whole villages and forests
were overturned, and as they passed over the ocean, the ships sank by
hundreds. On they went still over the water, so far as no one would
believe, but the North Wind became weaker and weaker, and so weak did
he become, that he could scarcely blow any more, and he sank lower and
lower, and at last got so low, that the waves flowed over his heels.
"Are you frightened?" inquired he of the maiden.
"No, not in the least," said she.
Now they were only a very little way from land, and the North Wind had
scarcely any strength remaining, to enable him to reach the shore
under the windows of the castle that lay eastward of the Sun, and
westward of the Moon. When he did get there, however, he was so weary
and faint, that he was obliged to rest many days before he could
In the morning the maiden seated herself under the windows of the
castle, and played with her golden apple, and the first person who saw
her, was the long-nosed princess whom the prince was to marry.
"What do you ask for your golden apple?" inquired the princess, as she
opened her window.
"It is not to be had for gold nor for gain;" said the maiden.
"If you will not part with it for gold nor for gain, what will you
take for it?" demanded the princess: "I will give whatever you ask."
"Well, then, if you will let me pass a night by the prince's side, you
shall have it," said the maiden.
"Oh! that you are quite welcome to do," said the princess, and took
the golden apple.
But when at night the maiden came into the prince's chamber, he was
fast asleep; she called to him and shook him, and cried and moaned,
but she could not awaken him, and as soon as the morning dawned, the
princess with the long nose came and drove her out of the room.
That day the maiden again placed herself under the castle windows, and
unwound the yarn from the golden reel, and the long-nosed princess
spoke to her as on the day before. She asked her what she would take
for the reel, but the maiden said it was not to be had for gold nor
gain, but that if she might pass another night beside the prince, the
princess should have it. She agreed, and took the golden reel. But
when the maiden entered the chamber the prince was fast asleep; and,
let her call and shake him, and weep and wail as she might, she could
not rouse him; and when the morning dawned, the princess with the long
nose again came and drove her away.
This day the maiden seated herself as before with her golden distaff
and span. When the princess saw the distaff, she wanted that also, and
opened the window, and asked what she would sell it for. The maiden
replied as before, neither for gold nor gain; but if the princess
would let her pass another night with the prince, she should have it.
Yes, she was very welcome, said the princess, and took the distaff.
Now it happened that some persons who slept close to the prince's
apartment, had heard the lamentations and melancholy cries of the
maiden during the two nights, and that morning they told the prince of
it. So in the evening when the princess brought the drink which the
prince was accustomed to take before he went to bed, he pretended to
drink it, but in reality he poured it on the ground behind him, for he
suspected strongly that the princess had mixed a sleeping potion with
it. Now when the maiden went into his room that night, he was wide
awake, and was overjoyed at seeing her, and he made her tell him all
that had happened to her, and how she had contrived to get to the
castle. When she had related all he said:--
"You are come just at the right moment; for to-morrow is to be my
wedding with the princess; but I want nothing of her and her long
nose, for you are the only one I will wed. I shall therefore say,
that I want to know what my bride is fit for, and I shall require her
to wash the three spots of oil out of my shirt. This she will
willingly undertake to do, but I know that she will not succeed; for
the spots were made by your hand, and can only be washed out again by
Christian hands, and not by the hands of such a pack of sorcerers as
she belongs to. I shall, however, say, that I will have no other bride
than she who can succeed, and when they have all tried and failed, I
shall call you, and desire you to try." So the night passed happily
away, and on the bridal day the prince said:--
"I should like vastly to see what my bride is fit for."
"That is no more than fair," said the step-mother.
"I have such a beautiful shirt," said the prince, "that I should like
to wear it on my bridal day, but there are spots of grease on it, and
I would willingly have them washed out; I have in consequence resolved
to wed none but her who is able to wash them out."
Truly, that was no such mighty matter, thought the women, and
immediately set to work; and the princess with the long nose began to
wash away as fast as she could. But the longer she washed, the larger
and darker grew the spots.
"Oh! you do not know much about the matter," said the old sorceress,
her mother: "give it to me."
But when she got hold of the shirt, it grew darker still, and the more
she washed and rubbed, the larger grew the spots. Now the other
witches of the establishment all tried their hands on the shirt, and
the longer they washed the worse it grew, and at last the whole shirt
looked as if it had been put up the chimney.
"Ah! you are all good for nothing," cried the prince; "there sits a
poor beggar wrench under the windows; I'll lay any wager she knows
more about washing than all of you put together. Come hither, wench!"
cried he; and when she came, he asked her:--
"Can you wash that shirt clean?"
"I don't know," said the maiden; "but I think I can."
So the maiden took the shirt, and under her hands it soon became as
white as the falling snow.
"Ah, I will have thee for my bride!" cried the prince, and when the
old sorceress heard that, she fell into such a tremendous rage, that
it killed her; and I think that the princess with the long nose, and
the whole pack of witches, must have expired also, for I have never
heard of them since. Then the prince and his bride set free all the
Christians who were confined in the castle; and they took as much gold
and silver as they could carry away, and went far away from the castle
that lies eastward of the Sun, and westward of the Moon. But how they
contrived to get away, and whither they went, I do not know; if,
however, they are what I take them for, they are at no very great
distance from here.
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