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Main > Romanian folktales > Fairy tale "Mother's darling Jack"

Mother's darling Jack

He heard his shout repeated from ten different directions, while his father drove on without noticing his cry. "Father!" he called again, and again he heard the word ten times. Jack was terribly frightened, and seeing that no place was as pleasant as home, began to run back there. Nothing but a cloud of dust could be seen behind him. He ran on and on toward home till he turned into the wrong road.

Now you can see how unfortunate it is for inexperienced people not to listen to the advice of wiser ones! Jack had done wrong in trying to run home when he did not know the way through the forest. He ran for a long time, then gradually slackened his pace and at last began to walk, but kept on through forest after forest, across a meadow, and through the woods again, then across another meadow, till he was completely tired out, and weary of his life.

"Lord, have mercy on me, I will always be obedient in future," he cried, at last—and his heart must have been very heavy when he uttered such words.

After that he did not walk much further. A short distance off, on the edge of the woods, stood a village. Jack jumped for joy when he saw it, and did not stop till he was in the middle of it. Then he went from house to house, and the further he went the more he wondered that he found all kinds of houses except his own home. He did not know what to do, and began to cry.

"What are you crying about, my son?" asked a man who was coming back from the fields in front of a cart drawn by four oxen.

Jack told his story, and the man pitied him. "What is your name?" asked the kind-hearted peasant. "Jack," replied the boy.

"But your father, what is his name?"

"His name is father," the lad answered.

"What is the village where you belong called?"

"Village!" he said.

So Jack could answer no questions, and the man could do nothing to help him. He therefore took him into his service as plow-boy, for he needed just such a lad to guide the oxen while he held the handles of the plow. Thus Jack became the servant of a worthy man in the village on the edge of the forest.

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