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Main > Romanian folktales > Fairy tale "Cunning Ileane"

Cunning Ileane

When the emperor saw the apple on Ileane's chest of drawers he could almost have devoured it with his eyes, it was so beautiful. "Where did you put the flower, and what have you done with the bird?" he asked Ileane.

Ileane did not answer, but hurried to her sisters and brought back a fresh flower and a merry little bird.

"May you prosper, my little daughter," said the emperor; "I see now that you have kept faith with me."

From Ileane the emperor went to his second daughter, and then to the eldest one.

When he questioned them about the three things he had trusted to their care, they hastily brought Ileane's flower, bird, and apple. But as God permits no falsehood to succeed, in their hands the flower withered, the bird moped, and only the apple remained fresh, rosy-cheeked, and eatable.

When the emperor saw this he understood every thing, and ordered the two older princesses to be buried to their breasts in the earth, and left there that they might be an example of the severity of an imperial punishment. But Ileane he praised, kissed, spoke to her in kind, fatherly words, and said: "May you have much happiness, my child, for you have been faithful to your duty."

After the neighboring emperor's son had recovered, he mounted his horse and set off to ask Ileane to be his wife. The old emperor, Ileane's father, after hearing for what purpose the prince had come, said to him kindly:

"Go and ask Ileane, my son and hero; whatever she wishes shall, with God's help, be done."

Ileane said nothing, but permitted the prince to kiss her. The emperor instantly understood the whole matter and said: "My dear children, I see that you ought to be husband and wife; may it prove for your good."

It was not long before Ileane married the bold, handsome, heroic youth. Her wedding was so magnificent that tidings of it spread through seven countries. Yes indeed! But Ileane had not forgotten the evil the prince had in his mind; she knew that he would try some trick upon her the first night after their marriage.

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