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Main > Canada folktales > Fairy tale "Great Heart and the Three Tests"

Great Heart and the Three Tests

Somewhere near the sea in olden times a boy was living with his father and mother. He had no brothers or sisters. His father was a great hunter and the boy inherited something of his power, for he was always very successful in the killing of game. And his mother said, "Some day he will be a great man, for before his birth a vision came to me in the night and told me that my son would win wide fame. And fairy gifts were laid by the fairies in his cradle." And his father, listening to her boasting, said, "Time will tell; time will tell; but if he is to be a great man it is his own deeds and not your boasting that must prove it." As the boy grew up he became strangely beautiful and he had great strength. And his father said, "It is time he set out to seek his fortune. I was in the forest doing for myself when I was no older than he." And his mother said, "Wait a little and be not so impatient. He is yet young and there is yet much time." So the boy remained at home a while longer.

Now it happened that far away in a distant village there lived a young girl of very great beauty and grace. Her father had been a great Chief, but he was now dead. Her mother too was dead, and she was all alone in the world. But her parents had left her vast lands and a great store of goods and many servants, and because of her treasures and her great beauty she had many suitors. But she was not easily pleased by men and on all who came to seek her hand she imposed severe feats of skill to test their sincerity and their worth. She was carefully guarded by an old woman and many servants who kept troublesome and meddlesome people away.

Soon the fame of the girl's wealth and beauty spread through all the land. It reached the sea coast village where the young man dwelt. His father thought to himself, "Here is a good chance for my son to prove his worth." So he called his boy to him and said, "It is time you were setting out to seek your fortune in the world and to find a wife, for your spring-time is passing and your summer of life will soon be here, and before you know it your autumn will be upon you and your winter will be near.

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