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Main > Portuguese folktales > Fairy tale "The Necklace of Pearls"

The Necklace of Pearls

She not only missed her boy's loving smile, but she also missed the fish he caught so skillfully. There was little for the poor woman to eat if she had any appetite for food.

"Why don't you go to the Wiseman of the Sea and tell him your troubles?" asked one of the neighbors.

Francisco's mother knew that it was a long and difficult journey to reach the Wiseman of the Sea. She decided, however, it would be worth the effort just to gaze into his wise eyes. He knew so much, perhaps he would know how to say something to comfort her in her great sorrow and loneliness. She had shrugged her shoulders when her neighbor had spoken of it but she could not get the idea out of her mind. She knew that she would never rest in peace until she had made this journey. Accordingly, she launched Francisco's fishing boat, and, thanks to smooth seas, reached the little rocky island in the midst of the sea where the Wiseman of the Sea lived.

His tall form was outlined above the cliff even as she tied her little boat. He was very tall, far taller than anybody she had ever seen, and his snow-white beard fell to his feet. He was clothed in fish scales which gleamed in the sunlight.

"Well, little mother, what can I do for you to-day?" he asked, as she came up the path to the summit of the rock.

The eyes of the Wiseman of the Sea were very kind as well as full of great wisdom. Francisco's mother forgot to be afraid of him as she had expected to be. She told him the story of her lost son. The Wiseman listened carefully to her words and then he said:

"Good mother, I am glad to tell you that I know where your Francisco is. He is in the power of a water-nymph who has carried him away to her castle of mother-of-pearl in the depths of the sea."

Francisco's mother felt the tears of joy well up into her eyes. "Is my boy happy there and is he well?" she asked eagerly.

"He is entirely well and happy. The water-nymph gave him a philtre which has made him forget his past life entirely."

"I'm glad you told me that," said the boy's mother.

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