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Transformation into a Nightingale and a Cuckoo


A DAMSEL fell in love with a snake, and was also beloved by him. He took her to wife. His dwelling was of pure glass, all crystal. This dwelling was situated underground, in a kind of mound, or something of the sort. Well, it is said that her old mother at first grieved over her. How could she help doing so? Well, when the time came, the snake's wife became the mother of twins, a boy and a girl; they looked, as they lay by their mother, as if they were made of wax. And she was herself as beautiful as a flower. Well, God having given her children, she said: 'Now, then, since they have been born as human beings, let us christen them among human beings.' She took her seat in a golden carriage, laid the children on her knees, and drove off to the village to the pope. [1] The carriage had not got into the open country, when sadness was brought to the mother. The old woman had made an outcry in the whole village, seized a sickle, and rushed into the country. She saw she had manifest death before her, when she called to her children, and went on to say: 'Fly, my children, as birds about the world: you, my little son, as a nightingale, and you, my daughter, as a cuckoo.' Out flew a nightingale from the carriage by the right-hand, and a cuckoo by the left-hand window. What became of the carriage and horses and all nobody knows. Nor did their mistress remain, only a dead nettle sprang up by the roadside.



(Prevrastenye v Solovya i kukushku). P. Kulish, ‘Memoirs of Southern Russia,’ ii. 33.


[1] The orthodox Greek priests are always designated 'popes.'

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Transformation into a Nightingale and a Cuckoo
Tale Author/Editor: Wratislaw, Albert Henry
Book Title: Sixty Folk-Tales from Exclusively Slavonic Sources
Book Author/Editor: Wratislaw, Albert Henry
Publisher: Elliot Stock
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1889
Country of Origin: Ukraine
Classification: ATU 433B: King Lindorm

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