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Main > Slavic Folktale > Fairy tale "The Laughing Prince: The Story of the Boy Who Could Talk Nonsense"

The Laughing Prince: The Story of the Boy Who Could Talk Nonsense

There was once a farmer who had three sons and one little daughter. The eldest son was a studious boy who learned so much out of books that the farmer said:

"We must send Mihailo to school and make a priest of him."

The second boy was a trader. Whatever you had he would get it from you by offering you something else for it. And always what he gave you was worth less than what you gave him.

"Jakov will make a fine peddler," the farmer said. "He's industrious and sharp and some day he will probably be a rich man."

But Stefan, the farmer's youngest son, had no special talent and because he didn't spend all his time with his nose in a book and because he never made the best of a bargain his brothers scorned him. Militza, his little sister, loved him dearly for he was kind and jolly and in the evening he was always ready to tell her stories and play with her. But the farmer, of course, listened to the older brothers.

"I don't know about poor Stefan," he used to say. "He's a good boy but he talks nonsense. I suppose he'll have to stay on the farm and work."

Now the truth is the farm was a fine place for Stefan for he was strong and lusty and he liked to plow and harvest and he had a wonderful way with the animals. He talked to them as if they were human beings and the horses all whinnied when he came near, and the cows rubbed their soft noses against his shoulder, and as for the pigs—they loved him so much that whenever they saw him they used to run squealing between his legs.

"Stefan is nothing but a farmer!" Mihailo used to say as though being a farmer was something to be ashamed of.

And Jakov said:

"If the village people could see the pigs following him about, how they'd laugh at him! I hope when I go to the village to live he won't be visiting me all the time!"

Another thing the older brothers couldn't understand about Stefan was why he was always laughing and joking. He did the work of two men but whether he was working or resting you could always hear him cracking his merry jokes and laughing his jolly laugh.

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