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Main > Czechoslovak folktale > Fairy tale "Longshanks, Girth, and Keen: The Story of Three Wonderful Serving Men"

Longshanks, Girth, and Keen: The Story of Three Wonderful Serving Men

By all means join me.”

They went across the plain and as they neared the rocks they met a man whose eyes were bandaged with a handkerchief.

“Master,” said Longshanks, “there is my other comrade. Take him into your service, too, and I can tell you you won’t regret the bread he eats.”

“Who are you?” the prince asked. “And why do you keep your eyes bandaged? You can’t see where you’re going.”

“On the contrary, master, it is just because I see too well that I have to bandage my eyes. With bandaged eyes I see as well as other people whose eyes are uncovered. When I take the handkerchief off, my sight is so keen it goes straight through everything. When I look at anything intently it catches fire, and if it can’t burn, it crumbles to pieces. On account of my sight I’m called Keen.”

He untied the handkerchief, turned to one of the rocks opposite, and gazed at it with glowing eyes. Soon the rock began to crumble and fall to pieces. In a few moments it was reduced to a heap of sand. In the sand something gleamed like fire. Keen picked it up and handed it to the prince. It was a lump of pure gold.

“Ha, ha!” said the prince. “You are a fine fellow and worth more than wages! I should be a fool not to take you into my service. Since you have such keen eyes, look and tell me how much farther it is to the Iron Castle and what is happening there now.”

“If you rode there alone,” Keen answered, “you might get there within a year, but with us to help you, you will arrive this very day. Our coming is not unexpected, either, for at this very moment they are preparing supper for us.”

“What is the captive princess doing?”

“She is sitting in a high tower behind an iron grating. The magician stands on guard.”

“If you are real men,” the prince cried, “you will all help me to free her.”

The three comrades promised they would.

They led the prince straight through the gray rocks by a defile which Keen made with his eyes, and on and on through high mountains and deep forests. Whatever obstacle was in the way one or another of the three comrades was able to remove it.

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