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

The pea emperor

The interior of the palace was adorned with real gems. A magnificent banquet was hastily prepared, and they drank the finest wine.

After the emperor had wished his son-in-law every happiness, he returned to his own home greatly delighted with the riches he had seen. But the Pea Emperor was almost dead with anxiety.

Evening came. The old servant said to his master:

"Master, what you have seen of me since I entered your service must have convinced you of my fidelity. Now I assure you that I can help you still more."

"Are you telling the truth?" asked the Pea Emperor.

"Do not doubt me for an instant, master! And I ask one thing besides: let me spend the night in some corner of the chamber where you are sleeping, even if it is behind the door. Moreover, I advise you not to answer a single word, no matter who calls you by name or how great a noise is made."

"Be it so!" said the Pea Emperor. And so it was.

After they had lain down and put out the light, they heard a dull, rumbling noise like an approaching thunder storm. Then a hoarse, rough voice said:

"Pea Emperor, Pea Emperor!"

"What do you want?" replied the old man.

"I'm not calling you," it replied, "I'm calling the Pea Emperor."

"That's just the same thing," replied the old man, "my master is asleep, he's tired."

Then the noise of many voices was heard, as if people were quarreling! Again the first one repeated: "Pea Emperor, Pea Emperor!"

"What is it?" the old man answered.

"What is one?"

"The moon is one."

"Is it you, master?"

"Burst, dragon!"

Then a terrible wailing arose, as if all the spirits of evil were abroad, and another voice said:

"What is two?"

"Two eyes in the head see well."

"Is it you, master?"

"Burst, dragon!"

"What is three?"

"Where there are three grown daughters in a house, beware of putting your head in."

"Is it you, master?"

"Burst, dragon!"

"What is four?"

"The cart with four wheels runs well."

"Is it you, master?"

"Burst, dragon!"

"What is five?"

"Five fingers on the hand hold well.

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