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Main > Brazilian folktales > Fairy tale "Why the Sea Moans"

Why the Sea Moans

Once upon a time there was a little princess who lived in a magnificent royal palace. All around the palace there was a beautiful garden full of lovely flowers and rare shrubs and trees. The part of the garden which the princess liked most of all was a corner of it which ran down to the sea. She was a very lonely little princess and she loved to sit and watch the changing beauty of the sea. The name of the little princess was Dionysia and it often seemed to her that the sea said, as it rushed against the shore, "Di-o-ny-si-a, Di-o-ny-si-a."

One day when the little princess was sitting all alone by the sea she said to herself, "O! I am so lonely. I do so wish that I had somebody to play with. When I ride out in the royal chariot I see little girls who have other little boys and girls to play with them. Because I am the royal princess I never have anybody to play with me. If I have to be the royal princess and not play with other children I do think I might have some sort of live thing to play with me."

Then a most remarkable thing happened. The sea said very slowly and distinctly and over and over again so there couldn't be any mistake about it, "Di-o-ny-si-a, Di-o-ny-si-a."

The little princess walked up close to the sea, just as close as she dared to go without danger of getting her royal shoes and stockings wet. Straight out of the biggest wave of all there came a sea serpent to meet her. She knew that it was a sea serpent from the pictures in her royal story books even though she had never seen a sea serpent before, but somehow this sea serpent looked different than the pictures. Instead of being a fierce monster it looked kind and gentle and good. She held out her arms to it right away.

"Come play with me," said Dionysia.

"I am Labismena and I have come to play with you," replied the sea serpent.

After that the little princess was very much happier. The sea serpent came out of the sea to play with her every day when she was alone. If any one else came near Labismena would disappear into the sea so no one but Dionysia ever saw her.

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