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Main > Romanian folktales > Fairy tale "The morning star and the evening star"

The morning star and the evening star

Once upon a time something extraordinary happened. If it had not happened it would not be told.

There was once an emperor and empress who were childless. So they sought out all the wizards and witches, all the old women and astrologers; but their skill proved vain, no one knew how to help them. At last the royal pair devoted themselves to almsgiving, praying, and fasting, until one night the empress dreamed that the Lord had taken pity on her, and appearing to her, said: "I have heard your prayers, and will give you a child whose like can not be found on earth. Your husband, the emperor, must go to the brook to-morrow with a hook and line, then you are to prepare with your own hands the fish he catches, and eat it."

Before it was fairly daylight, the empress went to the emperor and woke him, saying: "Rise, my royal husband, it is morning."

"Why, what ails you to-day, wife, that you wake me so early?" the emperor replied. "Has any foe crossed the frontiers of my country?"

"Heaven forbid. I've heard nothing of that sort, but listen to my dream."

And she told him about it.

When the emperor heard her story he jumped out of bed, dressed, took the hook and line, and, gasping for breath, went to the brook. He threw in the hook and soon saw the cork on the line bob. He pulled it out, and what did he see? A big fish, made entirely of gold. It was a wonder that he did not die of joy. But what did the empress say when she saw it? She was still more out of her wits.

The empress cooked the fish with her own hands, the royal couple ate it, and the empress instantly felt that the promise would be fulfilled.

The maid-servant who cleared away the table saw a fish-bone on the empress' plate, and thought she would suck it, to know how food tastes when prepared by royal hands.

One day the empress received the gift of a beautiful boy, as handsome as a little angel. That same night the maid-servant, too, had a son who looked so exactly like the prince that they could not be distinguished from each other.

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