Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/217

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King Midas and his Ass's Ears.

me that M. Sébillot, who collected this tale in Brittany, remarks that, in another version, the scene of which is laid at Crozon, the reeds grow and are, as in the Welsh tale, made into pipes, which can only repeat,—"Portzmarch, King Portzmarch has horse's ears." In the Museum at Quinper there is a stone bearing a bas-relief of a human head with horse's ears and holes in the forehead surmounted by a small boss and the remains of horns, which M. Luzel explains by the king's unfortunate marital experiences. The people call it the head of King March with the ears of a horse.[1]

A similar tale is that known as Ar Rouè Guivarch, in which the king covers his horse's ears with a cap. The barber, sworn to secrecy, confided the fact to a clump of elder-trees growing on a slope. Next year a new threshing-floor was laid down in a neighbouring village, and there was to be a grand dance in honour of the occasion. The bagpipe player, passing the elder clump, cut a branch to repair the reed of his instrument. While the dance was going on, the pipe, instead of giving out the usual sound, repeated,—"King Guivarch has horse's ears." The king, who was present at the sports, was no little surprised to hear the pipe make this indiscreet revelation. His anger fell upon the musician, who protested that he could make the instrument produce no other sound, and, passing it to the king, said,—"Try it yourself." The result was the same, and the king said,—"Ah well! Since this possessed bagpipe has told you my secret, judge for yourselves," and he took off his cap, so that every one could see his horse's ears. Mr. Hartland informs me that, when this tale was told at a meeting of the Societé des Traditions Populaires, M. Allain described it as a Breton tale which he had heard from his father. He added an interesting detail, or rather a fragment of a variant. One of the king's barbers for his

  1. Revue des Traditions Populaires, vol. vii., p. 356; see also the remarks of Sébillot on this class of tales, Le Folklore de France, vol. iii., pp. 431, 527.