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

The Necklace of Pearls

"I was just wondering how my dear lad could be happy while he was causing me so much sorrow. He has always been the best and kindest son with which a mother ever was blessed."

The Wiseman of the Sea started to say something, but the woman interrupted as a new thought flew into her mind. "Tell me," she cried, "is there no way of getting him back? With all your wisdom can't you think of some way to make him once more remember the mother who loves him and the little home in which we have passed so many happy days together? Do you not know some means of breaking the power which this water-nymph has over him?"

The Wiseman looked out across the sea in silence for at least a minute and a half. He thought hard. Francisco's mother watched him with eager eyes. She could hardly wait for his answer. At last these were the words which fell from his lips:

"You have shed many tears, good woman, but tears are still to flow if you are to bring back your son."

"Oh, must I suffer more?" cried the heart-broken mother. "It seems that I have already lived a lifetime since my dear lad kissed me in the moonlight. I have endured all that I can bear."

The Wiseman smiled gently as he raised his hand. "Listen, my child," he said. "Your tears must be shed upon the bosom of the waters. If, perchance, one of them should fall upon your son's heart there in the palace of the water-nymph in the depths of the sea, the power of her philtre will be broken."

"I'll shed whole oceans of tears if I can break the power of that water-nymph and bring back my Francisco," said his mother.

The fact is that she began to shed tears then and there, even before she had thanked the Wiseman of the Sea for what he had told her.

Now it happened that Francisco had grown to love the beautiful palace of mother-of-pearl in the depths of the sea. He never tired of all its beauty. About the palace there were lovely gardens filled with flowers made of precious gems. Each tiny bud of that garden was worth a king's ransom, so rich were the jewels which composed it.

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