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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

For twenty years I have been ferrying people across this black sea and nobody has come to relieve me. If you promise to ask Grandfather Knowitall when my work will end, I’ll ferry you over.”

Plavachek promised and the boatman took him across.

Plavachek traveled on until he came to a great city that was in a state of decay. Before the city he met an old man who had a staff in his hand, but even with the staff he could scarcely crawl along.

“God bless you, old grandfather!” Plavachek said.

“May God grant that prayer, handsome youth! Where are you going?”

“I am going to old Grandfather Knowitall to get three of his golden hairs.”

“Indeed! We have been waiting a long time for just such a messenger as you! I must lead you at once to the king.”

So he took him to the king and the king said: “Ah, so you are going on an errand to Grandfather Knowitall! We have an apple-tree here that used to bear apples of youth. If any one ate one of those apples, no matter how aged he was, he’d become young again. But, alas, for twenty years now our tree has borne no fruit. If you promise to ask Grandfather Knowitall if there is any help for us, I will reward you handsomely.”

Plavachek gave the king his promise and the king bid him godspeed.

Plavachek traveled on until he reached another great city that was half in ruins. Not far from the city a man was burying his father, and tears as big as peas were rolling down his cheek.

“God bless you, mournful grave-digger!” Plavachek said.

“May God grant that prayer, kind traveler! Where are you going?”

“I’m going to old Grandfather Knowitall to get three of his golden hairs.”

“To Grandfather Knowitall! What a pity you didn’t come sooner! Our king has long been waiting for just such a messenger as you! I must lead you to him.”

So he took Plavachek to the king and the king said to him: “So you’re going on an errand to Grandfather Knowitall. We have a well here that used to flow with the water of life. If any one drank of it, no matter how sick he was, he would get well.

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