Read on line
Listen on line
Main > Slavic Folktale > Fairy tale "Kinkach Martinko"

Kinkach Martinko

Once upon a time there was a poor woman who had an only daughter, named Helen, a very lazy girl. One day when she had refused to do a single thing, her mother took her down to the banks of a stream and began to strike her fingers with a flat stone, just as you do in beating linen to wash it.

The girl cried a good deal. A prince, Lord of the Red Castle, happened at that moment to pass by, and inquired as to the cause of such treatment, for it horrified him that a mother should so ill-use her child.

“Why should I not punish her?” answered the woman. “The idle girl can do nothing but spin hemp into gold thread.”

“Really?” cried he. “Does she really know how to spin gold thread out of hemp? If that be so, sell her to me.”

“Willingly; how much will you give me for her?”

“Half a measure of gold.”

“Take her,” said the mother; and she gave him her daughter as soon as the money was paid.

The prince placed the girl behind him on the saddle, put spurs to his horse, and took her home.

On reaching the Red Castle, the prince led Helen into a room filled from floor to ceiling with hemp, and having supplied her with distaff and spinning-wheel, said, “When you have spun all this hemp into gold thread I will make you my wife.”

Then he went out, locking the door after him.

On finding herself a prisoner, the poor girl wept as if her heart would break. Suddenly she saw a very odd-looking little man seated on the window-sill. He wore a red cap, and his boots were made of some strange sort of material.

“Why do you weep so?” he asked.

“I cannot help it,” she replied, “I am but a miserable slave. I have been ordered to spin all this hemp into gold thread, but it is impossible, I can never do it, and I know not what will become of me.”

“I will do it for you in three days, on condition that at the end of that time you guess my right name, and tell me what the boots I am wearing now are made of.”

Without for one moment reflecting as to whether she would be able to guess aright she consented.

Also read
Read
Read
Read
The Lucky Fisherman
Category: Nigerian folktales
Read times: 47