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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

The king was delighted and made Plavachek a present of twelve horses, black as ravens, laden with as much riches as they could carry.

Plavachek traveled on and when he came to the black sea, the boatman asked him had he the answer to his question.

“Yes, I have,” said Plavachek, “but you must ferry me over before I tell you.”

The boatman wanted to hear the answer at once, but Plavachek was firm. So the old man ferried him across with his twelve white horses and his twelve black horses.

When Plavachek was safely landed, he said: “The next person who comes to be ferried over, thrust the oar into his hand and do you jump ashore. Then the other man will have to be boatman in your place.”

Plavachek traveled home to the palace. The king could scarcely believe his eyes when he saw the three golden hairs of Grandfather Knowitall. The princess wept again, not for sorrow this time but for joy at her bridegroom’s return.

“But, Plavachek,” the king gasped, “where did you get these beautiful horses and all these riches?”

“I earned them,” said Plavachek proudly. Then he related how he helped one king who had a tree of the apples of youth and another king who had a well of the water of life.

“Apples of youth! Water of life!” the king kept repeating softly to himself. “If I ate one of those apples I should become young again! If I were dead the water of life would restore me!”

He lost no time in starting out in quest of the apples of youth and the water of life. And do you know, he hasn’t come back yet!

So Plavachek, the charcoal-burner’s son, became the king’s son-in-law as the old Fate foretold.

As for the king, well, I fear he’s still ferrying that boat across the black sea!

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