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Main > Czechoslovak folktale > Fairy tale "Grandfather's Eyes: The Story of Three Wicked Yezinkas"

Grandfather's Eyes: The Story of Three Wicked Yezinkas

There the goats scattered this way and that and Yanechek sat down on a stone in the shade. He was hardly seated when he looked up and there before him, dressed all in white, stood the most beautiful maiden in the world. Her skin was red as roses and white as milk, her eyes were black as sloe berries, and her hair, dark as the raven’s wing, fell about her shoulders in long waving tresses. She smiled and offered Yanechek a big red apple.

“God bless you, shepherd boy,” she said. “Here’s something for you that grew in my own garden.”

But Yanechek knew that she must be a Yezinka and that, if he ate the apple, he would fall asleep and then she would gouge out his eyes. So he said, politely: “No, thank you, beautiful maiden. My master has a tree in his garden with apples that are bigger than yours and I have eaten as many as I want.”

When the maiden saw that Yanechek was not to be coaxed, she disappeared.

Presently a second maiden came, more beautiful, if possible, than the first. In her hand she carried a lovely red rose.

“God bless you, shepherd boy,” she said. “Isn’t this a lovely rose? I picked it myself from the hedge. How fragrant it is! Will you smell it?”

She offered him the rose but Yanechek refused it.

“No, thank you, beautiful maiden. My master’s garden is full of roses much sweeter than yours and I smell roses all the time.”

At that the second maiden shrugged her shoulders and disappeared.

Presently a third one came, the youngest and most beautiful of them all. In her hand she carried a golden comb.

“God bless you, shepherd boy.”

“Good day to you, beautiful maiden.”

She smiled at Yanechek and said: “Truly you are a handsome lad, but you would be handsomer still if your hair were nicely combed. Come, let me comb it for you.”

Yanechek said nothing but he took off his hat without letting the maiden see what was hidden in its crown. She came up close to him and then, just as she was about to comb his hair, he whipped out one of the long blackberry switches and struck her over the hands.

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