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Main > Portuguese folktales > Fairy tale "St. Anthony's Godchild"

St. Anthony's Godchild

Long ago there lived a man who had so many children that he could scarcely find godfathers for them all. He had requested so many of his friends to serve, that when his last baby was born, a little dark-eyed daughter, he vowed that he'd ask the first man he met upon the street.

As luck would have it, he happened to meet the good St. Anthony.

"Will you be godfather to my baby daughter?" he asked.

Kind St. Anthony gladly consented. He named the baby Antonia, and said to the father:

"Train up this child in the way she should go. Teach her all you can. When she is thirteen years old I'll come to get her and I'll give her a good start in life."

The years flew by and soon little Antonia was thirteen years old. The father was afraid that St. Anthony had forgotten his promise, but one day the saint appeared.

"Is this my godchild?" he asked as he looked at Antonia. "Surely she has grown prettier each year of her life."

Antonia blushed shyly and looked even more attractive than before.

"Dress yourself in your brother's garments," he said to her. "I am going to take you to the king's court and you are entirely too pretty to go there in your own dresses."

Accordingly, Antonia put on her brother's clothes and went to serve as a page to the king. She was now called Anthony instead of Antonia.

Now the king had a sister who grew very fond of the little page. She became angry that the page did not love her in return and plotted against him.

One day she went to the king and said:

"Your little page says that he can separate all the chaff from the wheat in a single night."

"Let him try," responded the king.

When Anthony heard what the king required he was decidedly worried. Then he remembered that he was the godchild of St. Anthony and that the saint was always ready to aid those in need. He called upon St. Anthony to help him fulfill the king's command. In the morning the king's wheat was entirely free from chaff.

The king loved his little page more and more, and the king's sister was angrier than before that she could not win the affection of the youth.

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