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Main > Romanian folktales > Fairy tale "The pea emperor"

The pea emperor

Once upon a time something wonderful happened. If it hadn't happened, it wouldn't be told.

There was once a good for nothing fellow, who was so poor and needy that he had not even enough to eat to be able to drink water after it. When he had wandered through all the countries in the world, he returned home somewhat more sensible. He had passed through many perils abroad, knocked his head against the top of the door, been sifted through the coarse and the fine sieve. He would now gladly have pursued some trade, but he had no money. One day he found three peas. After picking them up from the ground he took them on the palm of his hand, looked at them, pondered a long time, and then said laughing: "If I plant these seeds in the ground, I shall have a hundred in a year; if I afterward plant the hundred, I shall have thousands, and if I put these thousands in the earth I shall reap who knows how many! Then, if I go on in this way, I shall finally become a rich man. But if I could help wealth to come quicker—let me see!"

He went to the emperor and begged him to order through the whole empire barrels in which to keep his peas.

When the emperor heard that he needed such a quantity of barrels, he thought he must be stifling in money, and was more and more convinced of it when he entered into conversation with him. What is true must remain true; he didn't keep his mouth shut, but opened it and bragged till it would have been supposed that real pearls fell from his lips.

He told the emperor what he had seen in foreign lands, related how things were here and there, spoke of this and that, till the emperor stood before him with his mouth wide open. When he saw that the emperor marveled at his statements, he bragged more and more, saying that he had palaces, herds, and other riches.

The sovereign believed the boaster's stories, and said to him:

"I see that you have traveled, know a great deal, and are cunning and experienced; if you wish, I will gladly give you my daughter in marriage.

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