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Main > Portuguese folktales > Fairy tale "Why the Owl Flies at Night"

Why the Owl Flies at Night

He remembered, too, the new suit of clothes he was wearing.

"Luck is with me to-day!" he cried as he filled the water jars. "The good saint Anthony is my friend. He it is who has given me my handsome clothing and he it is who has blessed the spring for me."

When he returned home with the jars full of water his stepmother stared at him in amazement. He had not been gone long enough to obtain it from the farther spring.

"Where did you get this water?" she asked, as soon as she could find words with which to speak.

Pedro told her that it came from the spring just as it always did.

"That spring is dry to-day!" she cried. "Now I know that you are a liar as well as a thief. Just wait until your father comes home! I'll see that you get the beating you deserve."

Pedro wondered why she had sent him to the spring if she had believed it to be dry, and while he was thinking of this the angry woman gave him a big basket.

"Here," she said. "Go out in the garden and pick up some wood for me. Hurry. Don't keep me waiting. Your slow ways drive me mad."

Pedro knew that all the wood in the garden had been picked up long ago. Now there was nothing in the garden except roses. There were red roses and pink roses and yellow roses and white roses, but not a single stick of wood. High up on the steep slopes of Monte Brasil there might be wood to gather, but the night was dark and the path was steep and long. Little Pedro was very tired, so tired that two great tears rolled down his cheeks.

Suddenly the good saint Anthony from the little chapel stood before him. He smiled kindly at the child. "Why are you crying, my boy?" asked the saint. "I have watched you carefully for a long time and I know you seldom give way to tears, though often your burdens are so heavy that a boy less brave would do little else than weep."

"I have to fill my basket with wood and there is nothing except roses in our garden," replied Pedro. "I'm tired and it is very dark on Monte Brasil to search there for wood.

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