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The Lamb With The Golden Fleece

Source: The Folk-tales Of The Magyars

There was once a poor man who had a son, and as the son grew up his
father sent him out to look for work. The son travelled about looking
for a place, and at last met with a man who arranged to take him as a
shepherd. Next day his master gave him a flute, and sent him out with
the sheep to see whether he was fit for his work. The lad never lay down
all day, very unlike many lazy fellows. He drove his sheep from place to
place and played his flute all day long. There was among the sheep a
lamb with golden fleece, which, whenever he played his flute, began to
dance. The lad became very fond of this lamb, and made up his mind not
to ask any wages of his master, but only this little lamb. In the
evening he returned home; his master waited at the gate; and, when he
saw the sheep all there and all well-fed, he was very pleased, and
began to bargain with the lad, who said he wished for nothing but the
lamb with the golden fleece. The farmer was very fond of the lamb
himself, and it was with great unwillingness he promised it; but he gave
in afterwards when he saw what a good servant the lad made. The year
passed away; the lad received the lamb for his wages, and set off home
with it. As they journeyed night set in just as he reached a village, so
he went to a farmhouse to ask for a night's lodging. There was a
daughter in the house who when she saw the lamb with the golden fleece
determined to steal it. About midnight she arose, and lo! the moment she
touched the lamb she stuck hard-and-fast to its fleece, so that when the
lad got up he found her stuck to the lamb. He could not separate them,
and as he could not leave his lamb he took them both. As he passed the
third door from the house where he had spent the night he took out his
flute and began to play. Then the lamb began to dance, and on the wool
the girl. Round the corner a woman was putting bread into the oven;
looking up she saw the lamb dancing, and on its wool the girl. Seizing
the peel in order to frighten the girl, she rushed out and shouted, "Get
away home with you, don't make such a fool of yourself." As the girl
continued dancing the woman called out, "What, won't you obey?" and gave
her a blow on her back with the peel, which at once stuck to the girl,
and the woman to the peel, and the lamb carried them all off. As they
went they came to the church. Here the lad began to play again, the lamb
began to dance, and on the lamb's fleece the girl, and on the girl's
back the peel, and at the end of the peel the woman. Just then the
priest was coming out from matins, and seeing what was going on began to
scold them, and bid them go home and not to be so foolish. As words were
of no avail, he hit the woman a sound whack on her back with his cane,
when to his surprise the cane stuck to the woman, and he to the end of
his cane. With this nice company the lad went on; and towards dark
reached the royal borough and took lodgings at the end of the town for
the night with an old woman. "What news is there?" said he. The old
woman told him they were in very great sorrow, for the king's daughter
was very ill, and that no physician could heal her, but that if she
could but be made to laugh she would be better at once; that no one had
as yet been able to make her smile; and moreover the king had issued
that very day a proclamation stating that whoever made her laugh should
have her for his wife, and share the royal power. The lad with the lamb
could scarcely wait till daylight, so anxious was he to try his fortune.
In the morning he presented himself to the king and stated his business
and was very graciously received. The daughter stood in the hall at the
front of the house; the lad then began to play the flute, the lamb to
dance, on the lamb's fleece the girl, on the girl's back the peel, at
the end of the peel the woman, on the woman's back the cane, and at the
end of the cane the priest. When the princess saw this sight she burst
out laughing, which made the lamb so glad that it shook everything off
its back, and the lamb, the girl, the woman, and the priest each danced
by themselves for joy.

The king married his daughter to the shepherd; the priest was made
court-chaplain; the woman court bakeress; and the girl lady-in-waiting
to the princess.

The wedding lasted from one Monday to the other Tuesday, and the whole
land was in great joy, and if the strings of the fiddle hadn't broken
they would have been dancing yet!

Next: Fisher Joe

Previous: Stephen The Murderer

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