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Main > Serbia folktales > Fairy tale "The Prince & the Wild Man"

The Prince & the Wild Man

The king was very glad to find a way of getting out of the dilemma. So he ordered his son to leave the country, and never to come back. At the same time he gave his son many letters of recommendation to the king of a very distant kingdom. He also directed one of the court servants to go with the young prince. Then the unhappy young prince and his servant started on their long journey.

After traveling some time, the young prince became very thirsty. Seeing a well not far off, he went up to it to have a drink. However, there happened to be no bucket at the well, nor anything in which to draw water, though the well was pretty full. Seeing this, the young prince said to his servant, "Hold me by my ankles, and let me down into the pit that I may drink. Then I shall hold you by your ankles and you may drink." So saying, he bent over the well. The servant held his ankles and let him down as he was directed.

When the prince had quenched his thirst and wished to be pulled back, the servant said, "Well now, my good master, I could let go of you and you would fall and drown in the well. Or you can agree to change clothes and places with me. Agree that from now on, I will be the prince and you will be my servant. Then I will pull you back up."

The king's son, seeing that he had foolishly placed himself in the power of the servant, promised to do everything his servant asked, and begged only to be drawn up.

The servant then drew him up, and they changed clothes. The wicked servant dressed himself in his master's fine clothes, mounted his master's horse, and rode forward on the journey, while the unfortunate prince, disguised in his servant's humble clothes, walked beside him.

In this way they went on until they came to the court of the king to which the exiled son had been recommended by his father.

Faithful to his promise, the unfortunate prince had no choice but to watch as the false servant was received at court with great honors as the son of a king.

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