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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

He sniffed the air suspiciously.

“Phew! Phew!” he cried. “I smell human flesh! Have you any one here, mother?”

“Star of the day, whom could I have here without your seeing him? The truth is you’ve been flying all day long over God’s world and your nose is filled with the smell of human flesh. That’s why you still smell it when you come home in the evening.”

The old man said nothing more and sat down to his supper.

After supper he laid his head on the old woman’s lap and fell sound asleep. The old woman pulled out a golden hair and threw it on the floor. It twanged like the string of a violin.

“What is it, mother?” the old man said. “What is it?”

“Nothing, my boy, nothing. I was asleep and had a wonderful dream.”

“What did you dream about, mother?”

“I dreamt about a city where they had a well of living water. If any one drank of it, no matter how sick he was, he would get well. Nay, if he were already dead, this water, sprinkled on him, would bring him back to life. For the last twenty years the well has gone dry. Is there anything to be done to make it flow again?”

“Yes. There’s a frog sitting on the spring that feeds the well. Let them kill the frog and clean out the well and the water will flow as before.”

When he fell asleep again the old woman pulled out another golden hair and threw it on the floor.

“What is it, mother?”

“Nothing, my boy, nothing. I was asleep again and I had a wonderful dream. I dreamt of a city where they had an apple-tree that bore apples of youth. If any one ate one of those apples, no matter how aged he was, he’d become young again. But for twenty years the tree has borne no fruit. Can anything be done about it?”

“Yes. In the roots of the tree there is a snake that takes its strength. Let them kill the snake and transplant the tree. Then it will bear fruit as before.”

He fell asleep again and the old woman pulled out a third golden hair.

“Why won’t you let me sleep, mother?” he complained, and started to sit up.

“Lie still, my boy, lie still.

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