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Main > Slavic Folktale > Fairy tale "The Little Lame Fox - The Story of the Youngest Brother Who Found the Magic Grape-Vine and Married the Golden Maiden"

The Little Lame Fox - The Story of the Youngest Brother Who Found the Magic Grape-Vine and Married the Golden Maiden

Then she turned and trotted off into the woods and Janko rode homewards without her.

When he reached the crossroads where he had parted from his brothers just one year before he came upon a crowd of angry farmers belaboring two men who had been robbing their barns. Janko found that the two men were his own brothers who since he had seen them had fallen into bad company, lost all their money at cards, and had finally taken to thieving. Janko paid the farmers for the damage his brothers had done them and took his brothers home with him.

You can imagine the old farmer's happiness at seeing all three of his sons after a whole year's absence. It was even greater than his delight at getting back his Magic Grape-Vine. But that doesn't mean that he wasn't delighted to have back the Grape-Vine. At the first cup of wine that the Vine poured him, his left eye ceased weeping and it was never known to weep again.

He was delighted, too, at having the Golden Maiden in the house and pleased when people came from far and near to see the Maiden's Golden Horse and Golden Apple-Tree and Golden Cradle. He even began to hope that she might marry one of his sons before some prince came along and snatched her away. He thought the Maiden would make a wonderful bride for the oldest. Unfortunately Janko had not told him what reprobates the two older sons were, and the older brothers themselves had given their father to understand that it was really they who had found the Magic Grape-Vine and rescued the Golden Maiden. You see instead of being grateful to Janko for having saved their necks from the angry farmers, they hated him worse than ever.

"That Booby!" the older brother growled. "Just because he took the left-hand road and found the Magic Grape-Vine he thinks himself so much better than us! It was just luck—that's all it was! Any one who took the left-hand road could have found the old Grape-Vine!"

"And do you notice the way the Golden Maiden always smiles on him?" the other said. "The first thing we know she'll be marrying him and giving him the Golden Horse and the Golden Apple-Tree and the Golden Cradle!

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