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Main > Brazilian folktales > Fairy tale "The Quest of Cleverness"

The Quest of Cleverness

Then a butterfly was offered for sale. “What is the special advantage of owning this butterfly?” asked the prince.

“This butterfly is strong enough to bear upon its wings any weight which is put upon them,” was the answer.

The prince bought the butterfly. With his bird and beetle and butterfly he travelled on and on until he became lost in the jungle. The foliage was so dense that he could not see his way, so he climbed to the top of the tallest tree he saw. From its summit he spied in the distance what looked like a mountain; but, when he had journeyed near to it, he saw that it was really the wall which surrounds the land of the giants.

A great giant whose head reached to the clouds stood on the wall as guard. A song from the singing bird put this guard to sleep immediately. The beetle soon had gnawed an entrance through the wall. Through this opening the prince entered the land of the giants.

The very first person whom the prince saw in the land of the giants was a lovely captive princess. The opening which the beetle had made in the wall led directly to the dungeon in which she was confined.

The prince had learned many things on his journey, and among the lessons he had learned was this one: “Always rescue a fair maiden in distress.” He immediately asked what he could do to rescue the beautiful captive princess.

“You can never succeed in rescuing me, I fear,” replied the princess. “At the door of this palace there is a giant on guard who never sleeps.”

“Never mind,” replied the prince. “I’ll put him to sleep.”

Just at that moment the giant himself strode into the dungeon. He had heard voices there. “Sing, my little bird, sing,” commanded the prince to his singing bird.

At the first burst of melody the giant went to sleep there in the dungeon, though he had never before taken a wink of sleep in all his life.

“This beetle of mine has gnawed an entrance through the great wall which surrounds the land of the giants,” said the prince to the captive princess.

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