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Main > Portuguese folktales > Fairy tale "Trouble When One's Young"

Trouble When One's Young

Long ago there lived a beautiful maiden whose name was Clarinha. She had been betrothed to a prince whom she had never seen. When at last he should be old enough to receive the rule of the kingdom he was coming to claim her as his bride.

Clarinha lived in a magnificent palace surrounded by a beautiful garden. Every day she spent many hours among the lovely flowers and trees.

One day an eagle alighted on the tallest tree in the garden.

"Good morning, fair Clarinha," he said to her.

"Good morning," she replied in surprise. Never before had an eagle spoken to her.

"Which do you prefer, trouble when you are young or when you are old?" asked the eagle.

Clarinha did not know what to say. That night she asked her mother which would be better to choose.

"Choose trouble when you're young, dear child," advised her mother. "When you are young it is easy to bear anything, but when you are old you can endure nothing."

She remembered her mother's words. Next day when the eagle again addressed the same question to her, she answered: "Trouble when I'm young."

Clarinha had hardly said these words when the eagle lifted her up by the pink skirt she was wearing and carried her away. On he flew over seas and mountains. Clarinha was frightened nearly to death.

At last the eagle set her down in a strange land. She was hungry, and, accordingly, hired out in a bakeshop to earn her living. She would have been happier if the eagle had flown away, but he remained in a nearby tree-top.

The baker went out, leaving Clarinha to bake the dough which he had left ready to put into the oven. The little maid carefully closed the door and all the windows so that the eagle would not be able to get inside. As soon as the baker was out of sight, however, he flew down the chimney. He tore about the bakeshop, spilling all the dough on the floor and breaking the dishes. Then he went back up the chimney when he had completed all the damage there was to be done.

When the baker returned he flew into a terrible rage.

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