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Main > Czechoslovak folktale > Fairy tale "The Three Golden Hairs: The Story of a Charcoal-Burner's Son Who Married a Princess"

The Three Golden Hairs: The Story of a Charcoal-Burner's Son Who Married a Princess

“Is he your own son?”

“He is, yet he isn’t,” the fisherman answered. “Just twenty years ago a little baby in a basket floated down the river. We took him in and he has been ours ever since.”

A mist rose before the king’s eyes and he went deathly pale, for he knew at once that Plavachek was the child that he had ordered drowned.

Soon he recovered himself and jumping from his horse he said: “I need a messenger to send to my palace and I have no one with me. Could this youth go for me?”

“Your majesty has but to command,” the fisherman said, “and Plavachek will go.”

The king sat down and wrote a letter to the queen. This is what he said:

“Have the young man who delivers this letter run through with a sword at once. He is a dangerous enemy. Let him be dispatched before I return. Such is my will.”

He folded the letter, made it secure, and sealed it with his own signet.

Plavachek took the letter and started out with it at once. He had to go through a deep forest where he missed the path and lost his way. He struggled on through underbrush and thicket until it began to grow dark. Then he met an old woman who said to him:

“Where are you going, Plavachek?”

“I’m carrying this letter to the king’s palace and I’ve lost my way. Can you put me on the right road, mother?”

“You can’t get there today,” the old woman said. “It’s dark now. Spend the night with me. You won’t be with a stranger, for I’m your old godmother.”

Plavachek allowed himself to be persuaded and presently he saw before him a pretty little house that seemed at that moment to have sprung out of the ground.

During the night while Plavachek was asleep, the old woman took the letter out of his pocket and put in another that read as follows:

“Have the young man who delivers this letter married to our daughter at once. He is my destined son-in-law. Let the wedding take place before I return. Such is my will.”

The next day Plavachek delivered the letter and as soon as the queen read it, she gave orders at once for the wedding.

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