Portugal | Pedroso: May you vanish like the Wind

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May you vanish like the Wind

THERE was once a king who had a daughter whom he dearly loved. The princess had the habit of combing herself, and on being ready dressed would go to the garden for a flower to place in her hair. But when she was there she invariably heard a voice which said, "When will you have your troubles, when you are young or when you are old?" This happened several times, and the princess, full of curiosity and tired of hearing always the same question, went one day into the palace and said to her maid of honour, "Do you know what has happened to me the last few days? I hear always a voice which says to me, when I go and gather a flower, 'Which will you do, go through your troubles in your youth or in your old age?'" The maid of honour replied, "Listen, royal lady; for my part I should say that I prefer having my troubles when young; with my old age I would acquire more power." The princess combed and dressed herself next day, and went to the garden. She heard the same Voice which always spoke to her, and when it asked her the usual question the princess replied that she would rather go through her troubles in her youth than in her old age. Then the voice rejoined, "Take leave here of every thing that is yours." The princess took leave of the palace, of her father, of her mother, and of the servants. After this the voice led her through the air, and placed her on the top of a windmill. The owner of the windmill said that he missed the flour, and he began to throw stones at the princess. Next day the voice came for her at the same hour as the day before, and again took her through the air, and went and placed her on the banks of a river where some washerwomen were washing their clothes. The washerwomen began to say one to the other, "Just see, there goes the thief who steals the clothes which we have missed." And they all commenced to throw stones at her. The next day the same voice came for her at the same hour, and again led her through the air, and placed her at the gate of a garden. The gardener had hardly seen her when he began to say that it was she who was in the habit of stealing his fruit, and went in and began to pelt 11cr with stones. Next day at the same hour the voice came back for her and took her through the air, and placed her at the door of a beautiful garden close to a palace. The voice then asked the princess if she remembered the time when she used to go to the garden. She replied that she did not recollect. A while after the cook looked out of a window of the palace, and seeing there a maiden that appeared to him to be very beautiful, in spite of her being now so unrecognizable, went in and told the prince that there was a most lovely maiden in the garden. The prince bade him call her in, but the princess said she would not go in, because she was waiting that the voice should come for her as it always did. The prince again said, "Go and call her, for she will recognise me!" The princess then remembered a lover she had had, and she said, "Perhaps it is he;" and, rising quickly, she entered the palace. When the prince saw her he said to her, "Do you not recollect how one day you said to me, 'May you vanish like the wind.' It is that you might know what troubles I went through that you have now passed through the same, but I was fortunate because I became enchanted. It was not I in person, but it was my voice that spoke to you in the garden." The princess replied, "It is true that I often wondered to hear a voice without seeing any one, but I soon found out that it was enchantment." The prince then asked her, "Now, tell me, do you wish to return to your father's house?" The princess replied, "No, now I shall remain in your company." "But listen," said the prince, "I shall not marry you before twenty years' time, because if I marry before then I shall dispel my enchantment." "I shall wait for you even if it should be thirty years," said the princess; and she asked him what he did all the time, and he answered that he eat, and walked, and sauntered about. The prince then said, "It is now three years since you left your father's house. The day after to-morrow we must go there, for he and your family are badly off. Here you have this pin; do not lose it or give it to any one, for you would break my enchantment." The day arrived when they were to take their departure, and they proceeded through the air to their destination. The prince went and placed her in the very same spot from whence he had sought and carried her away, and said to her, "Now bear in mind that you are only to stay here two days." When the princess was about to ascend the stairs of the palace, her father was then sitting at table. She gave a rap at the door, and asked if they required a maid to dress the queen. The king, who was sitting down, imagined that he heard the voice of his daughter, and on rising, as he was very weak, he fell and broke his head. The princess, in great distress, said, deliberately and slowly, "Oh, pin! help me here." That moment the voice appeared to her, which was the lover in enchantment, and he said to her, "What is the matter?" The princess told him what ailed her father. The voice then said, "It is better that you should come away with me;" and he took her through the air. When the princess arrived at the palace she received news that her father had died.

One day the prince said to her, "Remember, that to-morrow is to be the day of our marriage." "Then to-morrow it will be twenty years since I came here?" asked the princess. "Yes, that is so," replied the prince. After this he ordered all the kings to be invited, whilst the father of the princess was also asked, and came. The father had hardly set his eyes upon the princess when he said, "Is this the way you have repaid me, you ungrateful girl? On your account I broke my head, and you left me and went away." "Yes, my father," said the princess, "I came away because I did not wish to break the prince's enchantment, and you had already seen the pin, and you broke your head on purpose, so that I should remain longer than the two days, and the spell should be broken." The father said that it was not so; and then he gave her a walnut. "Here you have this walnut, do not break it open before your husband." The princess replied, "I shall neither break it open, nor shall I eat it." The father, much annoyed, hurriedly went away from the palace. After the marriage the prince ordered another palace to be built in another spot. The princess had the walnut which her father gave her always well guarded; but when everything was taken away from the palace they were in, to remove to the other one newly erected, the princess, who had the walnut in her hands, allowed it to fall to the ground. At that moment the palace was set on fire, and everything was burned. Being very much alarmed, she went and told everything to the prince. "Do you see now, yourself, how your father wished to harm us all?" The princess was with child, and the prince said that what the father wished was to kill the child.

After a time the princess gave birth to a prince-a very pretty boy. A great banquet was given, and the prince was on the point of inviting the father to it, but, fearing that he should kill the child, did not do so. One day, when the child was older, they took it out for a walk. As they proceeded through a certain road, they met a servant of the princess's father. "Where are you going to?" asked the princess to the servant. "I came to kill the child," answered the servant. The prince then asked him who it was had sent him, and the servant confessed that it was the princess's father. She asked him not to kill the child, but go and be her servant; and he therefore joined them to go to the palace. The princess now returned home, and every river they crossed presented a different appearance to her,-- the first was a river of milk, the next one further on was of water covered with a mist, and further on still she came to another filled with blood. The princess, very much alarmed, asked the prince, "What can all this mean?" The servant answered her question instead, "It is the blood of the child you see." The prince on hearing this said, "Then it shall be yours!" . . . and aiming at him, fired, and shot him dead; then turning round to the princess he said,

"I went out shooting, I made a good bag,
Instead of shooting little birds
I killed a bird of prey."

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.]
Amazon.com: Buy the book in paperback.


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