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Main > Slavic Folktale > Fairy tale "Beauty and the Horns - The Story of an Enchanted Maiden"

Beauty and the Horns - The Story of an Enchanted Maiden

There was once a rich man who when he was dying called his son to his bedside and said:

"Danilo, my son, I am leaving you my riches. The only thing I ask of you is this: close your ears to all reports of an enchanted maiden who is known as Peerless Beauty and when the time comes that you wish to marry choose for wife some quiet sensible girl of your native village."

Now if the father had not mentioned Peerless Beauty all might have been well. Danilo might never have heard of her and after a time he would probably have fallen in love with a girl of his native village and married her. As it was, after his father's death he kept saying to himself:

"Peerless Beauty, the enchanted maiden of whom my father warned me! I wonder is she really as beautiful as all that! I wonder where she lives!"

He thought about her until he could think of nothing else.

"Peerless Beauty! Peerless Beauty! Oh, I must see this enchanted maiden even if it costs me my life!"

His father had a brother, a wise old man, who was supposed to know everything in the world.

"I will go to my uncle," the young man said. "Perhaps he will tell me where I can find Peerless Beauty."

So he went to his uncle and said:

"My dear uncle, my father as he lay dying told me about a wonderful maiden called Peerless Beauty. Can you tell me where she lives because I want to see her for myself and judge whether she is as beautiful as my father said."

His uncle looked at him gravely and shook his head.

"My poor boy, how can I tell you where that enchanted maiden lives when I know it would mean death to you if ever you saw her? Think no more about her but go, find some suitable maid in the village, and marry her like a sensible young man."

But his uncle's words, far from dissuading Danilo, only excited him the more.

"If my uncle knows where Peerless Beauty lives," he thought, "other men also know."

So one by one he went to all the old men in the village and asked them what they knew of Peerless Beauty. One by one they shook their heads and told him that Peerless Beauty was no maiden for him to be thinking about.

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