Spanish Fairy Tales | Annotated Tale

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

Carlanco, The

ONCE upon a time there was a goat of domestic habits, that had three little kids, all well brought up, and well behaved.

                One day when the mother had to go to the mountains, she saw a wasp drowning in a stream; so she held out a branch to it, which the wasp got hold of and was saved.

                “Heaven reward you! You have done me a work of real mercy/’ said the wasp to the goat. “If ever you have any need of me, go to that ruined wall, where my convent is. I have many little cells there, but they are very ruinous as our community is very poor, and has no means to furnish them. Inquire for the Abbess, that is for me, and I will at once come to your assistance, and do for you all that lies in my power.”

                On saying this, the wasp flew away singing her matins.

                A few days later, early in the morning, the goat said to her little ones:—

                “I am going to the mountain for a bundle of wood; shut yourselves in, bar up the door, and be very careful not to open to any one, because the Carlanco [1] is roving about here. Do not open the door until I say to you:—

“‘Open, my darlings, open!
I am your own fond mother!’”

                The little kids, who were very dutiful, did exactly what their mother had told them to do. They heard some one calling at the door, with a voice like a calf’s, saying:—

“Open, I am the Carlanco!
And can break down rocks and mountains!”

                The kids had barred the door up very strongly; so they answered from within:—

“Open it, strong one!”

                And as the Carlanco was not able to do that, it went away in a passion, promising them that it would pay them out yet. The following morning it hid itself, and heard what the mother said to the little kids, which was the same as the day before. Directly it thought enough time had passed, it went to the door, and, imitating the goat’s voice, said:—

“Open, my darlings, open!
I am your own fond mother.”

                The little kids, believing that it was their mother, went to the door and opened it, and saw that the Carlanco itself was there. They scampered off with all their might, and by means of the ladder, which they pulled up after them, they got on the roof, where the Carlanco could not get at them. The monster was in a passion at this; it closed the door, and began raging about, and snorting in such a manner that the poor little kids shivered with fright. Presently the mother arrived, and called to them to open the door, when they cried out to her from the roof, that they could not, as the Carlanco was in the house.

                When the goat heard this, she flung down her bundle of wood, and with the speed of lightning flew to the convent of wasps, and knocked at the door.

                “Who is it?” inquired the door-keeper.

                “Mother, I am a little goat, at your service.” “A goat here, in this convent of devout and indigent wasps,? Go off! I have no alms to give. Go your way, and Heaven protect you,” said the door-keeper.

                “Call the Abbess to come quickly,” said the goat; “if not, I will go for the bee-hunter, whom I saw near here.”

                The door-keeper was frightened at this threat, so she went and called the Abbess, who came, and to whom the goat recounted what had happened.

                “Be of good heart, goat,” said she; “I will help you. Let us be off to your house.”

                When they arrived, the wasp crept into the house: through the keyhole, and began to sting the Carlanco, now in the eyes, now on the nose, in such a manner that it was quite bewildered, and opened the door and ran off like the whirlwind.

Another Version

THREE little lambs assisted one another in building a little house; building it with branches and bushes. When it was finished, the eldest one went into it, shut the door, and kept the other two outside. There was nothing else for the others to do but to build another house, and this they did; but when it was finished, the elder of the two went into it, shut the door, and left the youngest outside by itself. Whilst this poor little forsaken one was weeping, a mason went by, and he asked what was the matter; so the little lamb told him the whole story. Then the mason built it a very good house, with strong stone walls and a slate roof; moreover he strengthened the door with iron spikes, so that if the Carlanco came he would impale himself on them.

                The Carlanco came, and on arriving at the little house of the eldest lamb, said:—

“Open the door to the Carlanco,
Else I will kill you.”

                The little lambkin responded:—

 “Open it yourself, strong one.”

                Then he broke open the door, which was only made of boughs, and ate her up; and the same thing also happened to the second lamb; but when he arrived at the house of the third, he said:—

“Open the door to the Carlanco,
Else I will kill you.”

                The little lambkin responded:—

 “Open it yourself, strong one.”

                Then he dashed so furiously against the door that he impaled himself upon the iron spikes, and was killed.



[1]: Carlanco: A mystical monster, equivalent to Bogie.

SurLaLune Note

This tale has multiple ATU classifications:

ATU 124: Blowing the House In      

ATU 333: Little Red Riding Hood

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Carlanco, 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 124: Blowing the House In

Back to Top