Read on line
Listen on line
Main > Czechoslovak folktale > Fairy tale "Batcha and the Dragon: The Story of a Shepherd Who Slept all Winter"

Batcha and the Dragon: The Story of a Shepherd Who Slept all Winter

"

Without another word Batcha hurried through the opening.

Once outside he looked about him in surprise. Everything seemed changed. It was autumn when he had followed the serpents into the cavern. Now it was spring!

"What has happened?" he cried in fright. "Oh, what an unfortunate fellow I am! Have I slept through the winter? Where are my sheep? And my wife—what will she say?"

With trembling knees he made his way to his hut. His wife was busy inside. He could see her through the open door. He didn't know what to say to her at first, so he slipped into the sheepfold and hid himself while he tried to think out some likely story.

While he was crouching there, he saw a finely dressed gentleman come to the door of the hut and ask his wife where her husband was.

The woman burst into tears and explained to the stranger that one day in the previous autumn her husband had taken out his sheep as usual and had never come back.

"Dunay, the dog," she said, "drove home the sheep and from that day to this nothing has ever been heard of my poor husband. I suppose a wolf devoured him, or the witches caught him and tore him to pieces and scattered him over the mountain. And here I am left, a poor forsaken widow! Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!"

Her grief was so great that Batcha leaped out of the sheepfold to comfort her.

"There, there, dear wife, don't cry! Here I am, alive and well! No wolf ate me, no witches caught me. I've been asleep in the sheepfold—that's all. I must have slept all winter long!"

At sight and sound of her husband, the woman stopped crying. Her grief changed to surprise, then to fury.

"You wretch!" she cried. "You lazy, good-for-nothing loafer! A nice kind of shepherd you are to desert your sheep and yourself to idle away the winter sleeping like a serpent! That's a fine story, isn't it, and I suppose you think me fool enough to believe it! Oh, you—you sheep's tick, where have you been and what have you been doing?"

She flew at Batcha with both hands and there's no telling what she would have done to him if the stranger hadn't interfered.

Also read
Read
Beth Gellert
Category: Celtic folktales
Read times: 14
Read
Andrew Coffey
Category: Celtic folktales
Read times: 18
Read
The battle of the birds
Category: Celtic folktales
Read times: 7