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Main > Romanian folktales > Fairy tale "The old woman and the old man"

The old woman and the old man

The old man left the house with tearful eyes and touzled beard; on the bough of a tree, in front of the hut, perched a magpie, which seeing him asked:

"Why have you pulled out your beard, old man?"

"Oh, my dear bird, how can I help tearing my beard, when my little child has drowned itself in the pot of porridge and is dead?"

When the magpie heard this, it tore out all its feathers, leaving nothing but the tail.

The old woman set off with her bald head to the well, to get a jug of water to wash the dead body of her child.

By the well stood a girl with a pitcher, who had come to draw water; when she saw the old woman she asked:

"My, old woman, why have you torn the hair out of your head till you are perfectly bald?"

"Alas, my darling, how can I help tearing my hair and making myself bald, when my little mouse is dead?"

The girl, in her grief, smashed her pitcher in two, then she hurried to the empress to tell her the story; the royal lady, as soon as she heard it, fell down from the balcony, broke her ankle, and died, while the emperor, out of love for his wife, went away and became a monk in the monastery of Lies, beyond the Country of Truth; while I

Acquaintance made with grandsires old, To whom this simple tale I told, It seemed to them such perfect chaff That its bare memory raised a laugh.

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