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Main > Romanian folktales > Fairy tale "Stan Bolovan"

Stan Bolovan

Just at midnight, when day and night, weary of strife, for a moment stood still, Stan felt that he was about to see something he had never beheld before. It was something that can not be described. It is a horrible thing to have a dragon come. It seemed as if the monster was hurling huge rocks at the trees, and thus forcing a way through primeval forests. Even Stan felt that he should be wise to take the quickest way off, and enter into no quarrel with a dragon. Ah! but his children at home were starving.

"I'll kill you or you shall kill me!" Stan said to himself, and remained where he was, close by the sheep-fold.

"Stop!" he cried, when he saw the dragon near the fold; and he shouted as though he was a person of importance.

"H'm," said the dragon: "where did you come from, that you screech at me so?"

"I am Stan Bolovan, who at night devours rocks and by day grazes on the trees of the primeval forests; and if you touch the flock, I'll cut a cross on your back, and bathe you in holy water."

When the dragon heard these words, he stopped in the midst of his career; for he saw that he had found his match.

"But you must first fight with me," replied the dragon, hesitatingly.

"I fight with you?" cried Stan. "Beware of the words that have escaped your lips. My breath is stronger than your whole body." Then, taking from his knapsack a piece of white cheese, he showed it to the dragon. "Do you see this stone?" he said. "Pick one up from the bank of yonder stream, and we'll try our strength."

The dragon took a stone from the shore of the brook.

"Can you squeeze buttermilk out of the stone?" asked Stan.

The dragon crushed the stone in his hand, so that he crumbled it into powder. But he squeezed no buttermilk from it.

"It can't be done," he said rather angrily.

"I'll show you whether it can be done," replied Stan, and then squeezed the soft cheese in his hand, till the buttermilk trickled down between his fingers.

When the dragon saw this, he began to look about him to find the shortest road to run away; but Stan placed himself before the forest.

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