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Main > Portuguese folktales > Fairy tale "The Master of Magic"

The Master of Magic

Once upon a time there lived a man who had three sons. The two older ones worked in the fields, but the youngest one went to school. He learned how to read and write and do sums and make drawings. At last he even learned magic.

The two elder brothers complained to their father about him one day. Their hearts were bitter against him.

"It is not fair, father," they said. "We work hard every day in the fields and bring home money to enrich the family. Why shouldn't our brother work, too? He does nothing except study."

The youngest son heard their words of complaint.

"Will you go hunting with me to-morrow, father?" he asked. "I have learned much magic. In fact, I have become a master of magic. I will turn myself into a hunting dog if you will go into the fields with me."

The next day the young man changed himself by magic into a hunting dog, and his father went into the fields with him. He bagged many rabbits that day. As they returned home, he met one of his friends.

"What luck to-day?" asked his friend.

The hunter proudly displayed the rabbits he had in his bag. "I have them, thanks to my dog," he said.

"I'd like to buy that dog of yours," said his friend. "What will you take for him?"

The father named an enormous price, and to his great surprise his friend accepted it. The money was passed over at once, and the hunting dog went home with his new master.

The next day they went on a hunting expedition into the deep forest. Suddenly the dog disappeared. His master called and whistled to him in vain. Finally he was obliged to return home without him. He had lost both the dog and the money he had paid for him.

"Have you seen my hunting dog?" were his words for many weeks to every one he met.

His hunting dog had fled into a deep forest and once more resumed his original form. He returned home and told his two brothers that in a single day he had earned for his father more than their combined efforts for many weeks. Indeed it was quite true.

The next day the young man said to his father: "Will you buy a saddle and bridle for me if I turn myself into a horse?

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