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Main > Czechoslovak folktale > Fairy tale "The Flaming Horse: The Story of a Country Where the Sun Never Shines"

The Flaming Horse: The Story of a Country Where the Sun Never Shines

“Good!” said the king. “I’ll be a cartwheel and you be a lighter wheel.”

“No, no,” the seer answered quickly. “You be the light wheel and I’ll be the cartwheel.”

To this the king agreed. So they went up the hill, turned themselves into wheels and started rolling down. The cartwheel went whizzing into the lighter wheel and broke its spokes.

“There!” cried the seer, rising up from the cartwheel. “I am victor!”

“Not so, brother, not so!” said the king, standing before the seer. “You only broke my fingers! Now I tell you what: let us change ourselves into two flames and let the flame that burns up the other be victor. I’ll be a red flame and do you be a white one.”

“Oh, no,” the seer interrupted. “You be the white flame and I’ll be the red one.”

The king agreed to this. So they went back to the road that led to the bridge, turned themselves into flames, and began burning each other mercilessly. But neither was able to burn up the other.

Suddenly a beggar came down the road, an old man with a long gray beard and a bald head, with a scrip at his side and a heavy staff in his hand.

“Father,” the white flame said, “get some water and pour it on the red flame and I’ll give you a penny.”

But the red flame called out quickly: “Not so, father! Get some water and pour it on the white flame and I’ll give you a shilling!”

Now of course the shilling appealed to the beggar more than the penny. So he got some water, poured it on the white flame and that was the end of the king.

The red flame turned into a man who seized the flaming horse by the bridle, mounted him and, after he had rewarded the beggar, called his servant and rode off.

Meanwhile at the royal palace there was deep sorrow for the murdered kings. The halls were draped in black and people came from miles around to gaze at the mutilated bodies of the two elder brothers which the horses had carried home.

The old witch was beside herself with rage. As soon as she had devised a plan whereby she could avenge the murder of her sons-in-law, she took her three daughters under her arm, mounted an iron rake, and sailed off through the air.

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