Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/159

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151
THE PHILOSOPHY OF RUMPELSTILTSKIN.

prettiness made her indolent. The usual incidents of the girl being offered marriage if she can do a certain amount of work within a given time, and of a witch who comes to her aid and bargains to complete the task if the girl can remember her name, Marie Kirikitoun, in a year and a day, follow. The wedding takes place, but sadness falls upon the bride as the year end draws near, despite grand festivals held to gladden her spirits. At one of these an old woman knocks at the door, when the servant tells her why so many feasts are given, and the woman says that if the lady had seen what she had seen she would laugh free enough. So the old woman is brought before the company and tells how she had seen an old woman leaping and bounding from one ditch to another, and singing all the time, "Houpa, houpa, Marie Kirikitoun, nobody will remember my name." Whereupon the bride became merry-hearted, rewarded the old woman, and told the witch her name when she came for fulfilment of the bargain.

Tracking certain common elements eastward, we have in Sagas from the Far East[1], a tale entitled "The Use of Magic Language," in which a king sends his son on travel that he may gain all kinds of knowledge. The prince is accompanied by the son of his father's chief minister, who, on their return, envious at the superior wisdom of the prince, entices him into a forest and kills him, the dying prince uttering one word Abaraschika. When the murderer reaches the palace he tells the king how the prince fell sick and died, and that he had but time to utter the above word. Thereupon the king summons his seers and magicians and threatens them with death if they do not within seven days interpret the meaning of Abaraschika. The time granted them had wellnigh expired when a student came beckoning to them, bidding them to weep not, for he had, while sleeping beneath a tree, heard a bird telling his young ones not to cry for food, since the Khan would slay a thousand men on the morrow, because they could not tell him the meaning of Abaraschika, which was this: "My bosom friend hath enticed me into a thick grove and hath taken away

  1. P. 157.