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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


"We are the servants," the captain said, "of whoever holds the pitcher."

At that Peerless Beauty laughed loud and scornfully until the castle rang with her merriment.

"Seize that wretch!" she said, pointing to Danilo. "Tie his hands and drive him out in exile to the Donkeys' Paradise! Let him stay there until he has another treasure to present me!"

So they drove Danilo out to the wilderness and left him there.

He wandered about for many days hungry and thirsty, subsisting on roots and berries, and having for drink only the water that collected in the hoof prints of the wild beasts.

"See what I've come to!" he cried aloud. "Why didn't I heed the old woman's warning! If I had, I should have broken the evil enchantment that binds my Peerless Beauty and all would have been well!"

One day as he wandered about he came upon a vine that was laden with great clusters of luscious red grapes. He fell upon them ravenously and ate bunch after bunch. Suddenly he felt something in his hair and lifting his hands he found that horns had grown out all over his head.

"Fine grapes these are!" he exclaimed, "to bring out horns on a person's head!"

However, he was so hungry that he kept on eating until his head was one mass of horns.

The next day he found a vine that had clusters of white grapes. He began eating the white grapes and he hadn't finished a bunch before the horns all fell off his head.

"Ha!" he said. "The red grapes put horns on and the white grapes take them off! That's a trick worth knowing!"

He took some reeds and fashioned two baskets one of which he filled with red grapes and the other with white grapes. Then staining his face with the dark juice of a leaf until he looked brown and sunburned like a countryman, he went back to Peerless Beauty's castle. There he marched up and down below the Peerless one's window crying his wares like a huckster:

"Sweet grapes for sale! Who wants my fresh sweet grapes!"

Now it was not the season for grapes, so Peerless Beauty when she heard the cry was surprised and said to her serving maid:

"Go quickly and buy me some grapes from that huckster and mind you don't eat one yourself!

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