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Main > Romanian folktales > Fairy tale "Tellerchen"

Tellerchen

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When the youth heard this, he began to weep so that he could not be quieted, and grieved so much all night long that he had no sleep.

Early the next morning he went with Tellerchen to the Copper Bridge, where the puny-looking bull awaited them. They began the struggle, and fought and fought until toward the afternoon. Sometimes the ox gored the bull, at others the bull the ox, and the victory still remained undecided. But when the afternoon was nearly over the ox's strength failed, and, while the bull was carrying him off and in the very act of hurling him under the bridge, the boy rushed up and wrenched off his left horn.

He wept,—Heaven knows how bitterly the poor lad wept by the bridge. But seeing that his Tellerchen did not come out again from under the bridge and it was growing dark, he set off with his horn, and a heart bleeding with grief. He spent the night on a hill. The next day hunger vexed him, and thinking he should find something to eat in the horn Tellerchen had left him, he opened it.

What, I beg to ask you, do you suppose happened then! Whence came the countless multitude of all sorts of cattle? How could he drive them home? and to get them back into the horn again was impossible. He owned this to himself and began to weep bitterly. While thus lamenting, lo and behold! a dragon came up to him and said:—

"What will you give me, boy, if I put all these beasts back into the horn for you?"

"Half of them," replied the lad.

"I've no fancy for that," said the dragon, "I want something else."

"Tell me what it is, and I'll see."

"When you love life best I am to be allowed to come and take the dearest thing you have, to devour it."

The lad, without exactly knowing what he was doing, agreed.

The dragon rapped three times with its tail and put all the cattle back in the horn, which the boy then took and went to his father, whom he found alone. No one knew what had become of the old woman and her daughter, they had vanished from the house.

When the peasant saw his son grown into a youth he almost lost his senses with joy, but managed to calm himself.

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