Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/322

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3 1 2 Colledmiea.

father, upon the trunk of an oak tree, making pots; but my father was breaking all the bad pots upon your father's head ! "'

"You lie ! " cried Half-a-Man.

" I know I lie ! " answered the Shepherd, " but what did I say I'd do if you told me that I did ? " and saying this, he hit Half-a-Man — Bang ! — on the head and killed him !

Then he freed his brothers, and, taking some fire, they went back into the wood, cooked their game, and had a good dinner.

" The Tale of Youth free from Age, and Life free from Death."'

A long, long time ago, — when violets grew on poplars, and bears had fights with their tails ; when wolves kissed lambs, calling them their brothers, — there lived a mighty Emperor with his Empress. Both were powerful, young and beautiful. But were all these things of any use, when their only wish, to have some children, wouldn't and wouldn't be fulfilled in spite of all they did? For they went to old Witches, and they went to all those Clever Men who can see your fate in the Stars, — but all had been in vain. At last, one blessed day, the Emperor heard that not far away, in a tiny little village, there lived a clever and wise old man. The Emperor sent at once for him, but the Old Man sent word by the Emperor's Messengers that whosoever needs him must come to him himself; and so both the Emperor and Empress set out on their way to go to him. When the Old Man saw them coming, he went to meet them, saying :

" Be welcome, both of you ! But what is it you want to know, Mighty Emperor ? For the wish you have will only bring sadness upon you."

"I haven't come to ask you this," said the Emperor, "I only want to know if you happen to have anything that would give us the great joy of having children."

" I have," said the Old Man, " But you will only have one child, a lovable prince, from whom you will get no joy."

And so the Emperor and the Empress, taking some herbs from the Old Man, went home, much relieved, and greatly rejoicing ; and not long after this the Empress knew that her wish was at last to be fulfilled.