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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

In spite of going so quickly it took them a long time but whether it was weeks or months I don't know. Whichever it was when they stopped Janko didn't feel in the least tired or breathless.

"Now, brother," the Little Fox said, "here we are in another country close to the king's garden where the Golden Apple-Tree grows. To reach it you will have to pass twenty-four watches of twelve guards each. Take care that you pass each guard as before when his eyes are wide open and staring straight at you for that means he is asleep. When you reach the Golden Apple-Tree you will see two long poles on the ground—a wooden pole and a golden pole. Take the wooden pole and beat down some of the golden fruit. Don't touch the golden pole. Remember!"

So Janko crept into the second garden and succeeded in passing all the guards of the twenty-four watches when their eyes were wide open and staring straight at him. He reached the Golden Apple-Tree and saw at once the two long poles that were lying near it on the ground. Now whether because he was excited or because he forgot what the Fox said—he had a good heart, Janko had, but he was a little careless sometimes—I don't know. But I do know that instead of taking the wooden pole as the Fox had told him, he took the golden pole. At the first stroke of the golden pole against the golden branches of the tree, the golden branches sent out a loud clear whistle that woke all the sleeping guards. Every last one of them came running to the Apple-Tree and in no time at all they had captured poor Janko and carried him to their master, the king.

"Trying to steal my Golden Apple-Tree, is he?" roared the king in a great rage. "What do you want with my Golden Apple-Tree, young man?"

"Well, you see," Janko answered simply, "I have to have the Golden Apple-Tree to exchange it for the Magic Grape-Vine that 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 Golden Apple-Tree, O king, for if you don't I shall have to come back and try again to steal it.

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