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Main > Czechoslovak folktale > Fairy tale "The Shepherd's Nosegay: The Story of the Princess Who Learned to say "Please""

The Shepherd's Nosegay: The Story of the Princess Who Learned to say "Please"

He planted his shepherd's ax in the midst of a meadow and, leaving his sheep to graze about it, he went off into the forest hunting adventures. There he came upon a castle where a giant was busy cooking his dinner in a big saucepan.

"Good-day to you," Yan said politely.

The giant, who was a rude, unmannerly fellow, bellowed out:

"It won't take me long to finish you, you young whippersnapper!"

He raised a great iron club to strike Yan but Yan, quick as thought, flicked the giant with his whip and the huge fellow toppled over dead.

The next day he returned to the castle and found another giant in possession.

"Ho, ho!" he roared on sight of Yan. "What, you young whippersnapper, back again! You killed my brother yesterday and now I'll kill you!"

He raised his great iron club to strike Yan, but Yan skipped nimbly aside. Then he flicked the giant with his whip and the huge fellow toppled over dead.

When Yan returned to the castle the third day there were no more giants about. So he wandered from room to room to see what treasures were there.

In one room he found a big chest. He struck it smartly and immediately two burly men jumped out and, bowing low before him, said:

"What does the master of the castle desire?"

"Show me everything there is to be seen," Yan ordered.

So the two servants of the chest showed him everything—jewels and treasures and gold. Then they led him out into the gardens where the most wonderful flowers in the world were blooming. Yan plucked some of these and made them into a nosegay.

That afternoon, as he drove home his sheep, he played on his magic pipe and the sheep, pairing off two by two, began to dance and frisk about him. All the people in the village ran out to see the strange sight and laughed and clapped their hands for joy.

The princess ran to the palace window and when she saw the sheep dancing two by two she, too, laughed and clapped her hands. Then the wind whiffed her a smell of the wonderful nosegay that Yan was carrying and she said to her serving maid:

"Run down to the shepherd and tell him the princess desires his nosegay.

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