Spanish Fairy Tales | Annotated Tale

COMPLETE! Entered into SurLaLune Database in August 2018 with all known ATU Classifications.

Singing Sack, The

THERE was once a mother who had an only daughter whom she loved very dearly; and because the girl was very good she had given her a pretty coral necklace. One day the child went to fill her pitcher with water at a fountain near the cottage. When she reached the fountain, she took off her coral necklace and put it down, so that It should not fall into the water as she filled her pitcher. A very hideous old beggar-man with a sack was seated at the fountain, and he gave the child such a terrible look that she was afraid, and scarcely stayed to fill her pitcher before she ran away, quite forgetting the necklace in her fright.

                When she reached home the girl remembered her necklace, and ran back to the fountain to seek it; but when she arrived the old beggar who was still seated there, seized her and thrust her into his sack. He then went on his way begging alms from door to door, saying that he carried a wonderful thing with him, a sack that could sing. The folks wished to hear it, so the old rogue cried out with a voice of thunder:—

“Sing, sack, sing;
Or your neck I will wring!”


                 The poor girl, half dead with fear, had no help but to sing, which she weepingly did, as follows:—


“I went to the well for water—
     The well near by my home,
And I lost my coral necklace.
     That came from far off Rome.
Alas! my darling mother,
     How troubled you will be!


“I went to the well to seek it—
     But could not find it there:
I have lost my coral necklace;
     My necklace rich and rare!
Alas! my darling mother,
     How saddened you will be!


“Oh, I could not find my necklace—
     My mother’s gift to me!
Oh, I could not find my necklace—
     And I lost my liberty!
Alas! my darling mother,
     How wretched you will be!”


                 The poor child sang this so well, that the people were very glad to listen to her; and everywhere much money was given to the old man to hear the sack sing.


                Going thus from house to house, at last he arrived at the heme of the girl’s mother, who at once recognised her daughter’s voice, and therefore said to the beggar:—

                “Father, the weather is very bad; the wind increases and the rain falls; shelter yourself here to-night, and I will give you some supper.” The old rascal was very willing; and the girl’s mother gave him so much to eat and drink that he became stupid, and after his supper went to sleep, and slept as sound as a top. Then the mother drew her little darling out of the sack, where she was nearly frozen, and gave her many kisses and a good warm supper, and put her to bed. She then put a dog and a cat into the sack.

                The following morning the old beggar thanked her, and went away. On arriving at the next house, he said his usual say of:—

“Sing, sack, sing,
Or your neck I will wring;”


 when the dog answered,—


“Old rogue, bow-wow;”


 and the cat added,—


 “Old thief, mieau-mieau.”


                 In a rage, the beggar, thinking it was the girl who said this, opened the sack to punish her, when the dog and cat sprang out furiously; and the cat jumped at his face and clawed out his eyes, whilst the dog bit a piece out of his nose.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Singing Sack, The
Tale Author/Editor: Caballero, Fernan
Book Title: Spanish Fairy Tales
Book Author/Editor: Caballero, Fernan
Publisher: International Book Company
Publication City: New York
Year of Publication: 1920
Country of Origin: Spain
Classification: ATU 311B*: The Singing Bag

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