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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

He passed watch after watch in the same way and at last reached the center of the garden. He saw the Grape-Vine at once. There was no mistaking it for at that very moment it was pouring out wine of itself into a golden bucket. Near it were two spades, Janko in great excitement snatched up the first that came to his hand and began to dig. Alas, it was the golden spade and as Janko drove it into the earth it sent out a loud ringing sound that instantly woke the guards. They came running from all directions with their eyes tightly closed for now, of course, they were awake. They caught Janko and dragged him to the king to whom they said:

"A thief! A thief! We found him trying to steal your Magic Grape-Vine!"

"My Magic Grape-Vine!" thundered the king. "Young man, what do you mean trying to steal my Magic Grape-Vine?"

"Well, you see," Janko answered simply, "the Grape-Vine really belongs to my father. It was stolen from him years ago and ever since then his left eye has wept over the loss of it. Give me the Vine, O king, for if you don't I shall have to come back and try again to steal it for it belongs to my father and I have sworn to get it!"

The king frowned in thought and at last he said:

"I can't give away my precious Grape-Vine for nothing, young man, but I tell you what I'll do: I'll give it to you provided you get for me the Golden Apple-Tree that bears buds, blossoms, and golden fruit every twenty-four hours."

With that Janko was dismissed and turned out of the garden.

The Little Fox was waiting for him and Janko had the shame of confessing that he had forgotten the warning about the golden spade and had been caught.

"But the king says he will give me the Grape-Vine provided I get for him the Golden Apple-Tree that bears buds, blossoms, and golden fruit every twenty-four hours."

"Well, brother," the Little Fox said, "you were good to me, so I'll help you again. Take hold of my tail and away we'll go."

Janko took hold of the Little Fox's tail and away they went a greater distance than before.

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