The Hind of the Golden Apple
THERE once lived a woman who had a son, and they were so poor that the boy went every day for wood to burn in the pine forest. One day when he was in the forest he saw a hind, which was very small and most beautiful, come towards him with a golden apple hanging from its neck. The pretty hind commenced to speak to the boy to know what he was doing there, and after a while she asked him: "Would you like to come with me to see my lair? If you do I will give you so much money!" The youth then heard a voice say: "Do not accept anything from her!" And he therefore replied to the hind that he did not want anything. The hind again said to him: "Come to my lair, oh youth, and I will give you much money, and I can make you very happy indeed!" The voice again said: "Do not on any account accept anything, but tell her you would like to have the golden apple that hangs from her neck." The youth followed the advice given, and said to the hind, "The only thing I wish to have is the golden apple you possess; I desire nothing else." The hind gave it to him as she said, "Here, take it then!" The boy took it and divided it in two, and instantly four giants came out, who said to him, "What is it you want?" "Well, I should very much wish to have all this wood taken to my mother's house until she had more than she wanted or knew where to store it." The youth again opened the apple and the giants appeared as before and asked him, "What can we do for you?" "I want a palace with a princess in it, and everything requisite." The giants at once set to, forming a magnificent palace, and a most comely princess was waiting for him inside; and the youth took possession of it and went to live in it.
There was a man who, seeing the youth's wealth and good fortune, was envious of him, and one day spoke to a witch he knew to ask her to devise some means by which she could take away the apple from the youth. The witch so managed it that she succeeded in taking it away from him; and instantly every thing disappeared, and the palace was changed into a beach; and the princess and the youth were seen without a rag of clothes upon them in the midst of the beach They began to cry and bewail their unfortunate existence. The boy, however, after a while looking about him, said to the princess: "You had better go to your father's house and I will remain here." The princess returned home, and the youth then began to saunter about the beech in an aimless manner, and he met a little old lady, who was the Virgin; but he did not know her. Our Lady asked him, "Where are you going to?" "I'm only loitering because I do not know what to do." She then said, "Well, listen to me; before many minutes have elapsed you will find a number of cats, who are very fat and sleek, but do not lay hold of any except the one that is covered with sores, and in a dreadful state, and that one you must take with you." The youth walked along and soon saw a quantity of fine-looking cats, but he left them alone; but after a while he saw one very thin and in a wretched condition. He took it up by the neck and went away with it. He walked on further along the beach and he saw a ship and went on board. The man who had stolen the apple, seeing the youth in the ship, had him apprehended and shut up in a tower. The youth took the cat with him to the tower. The man who provided him with food only gave him a bean each day, and the boy eat half and gave the other half to the cat; whilst the cat hunted for mice and rats, of which it caught many, laid them down before the youth, eat half of them up, and gave him the other half. One day, as the cat was peeping slyly through a chink watching for game, she saw a piece of paper folded. She commenced to mew desperately, calling the youth. He went to see what ailed her, and found a letter there from the king of the rats, asking him what he could do for him, so that the cat in recompense for his services should leave the rats in peace, and not catch any more. The youth sent to say that the only way that the king could serve him would be by trying to get the apple for him which had been stolen from him, The king of the rats formed his subjects into an army, and went to the place where the golden apple was to be found. The man had the apple hanging from his neck. The rats set to work with much prudence and caution, and waited until the man was asleep, and arranged themselves each side of the sleeping man, ready to act. One of the rats then began to tickle the man's nose, and to stop his breath with its tail; and the man awoke, feeling stifled, and he then raised his head. The rats, who were ready to take advantage of the first occasion, on seeing the man raise his head, took off the chain with the apple from his neck, and carried it off in triumph to their king, who himself took it to the youth in the tower. The moment the cat saw the apple coming she began to mew out, loudly calling the youth to come. He came and took possession of it once more in great delight, he opened it, and forthwith the giants came out of it, who said, "What do you want us to do?" And the youth replied, "I want a palace, and my princess back in it." instantly everything came back as before. The youth went to the king, and asked his majesty to order the man who had robbed him of his golden apple to be put to death; and he ever after lived happily with the princess.
The text came from:
Pedroso, Consiglieri. Portuguese Folk-Tales. Folk Lore Society Publications, Vol. 9. Miss Henrietta Monteiro, translator. New York: Folk Lore Society Publications, 1882.
[Reprinted: New York: Benjamin Blom, Inc., 1969.]
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