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Main > Slavic Folktale > Fairy tale "The sluggard"

The sluggard

His majesty, amazed at the sluggard’s refusal, sent another messenger. This man was ’cuter than his comrade, and first made inquiries as to the sluggard’s tastes. Then he went up to him and said, “Good-day, my friend; will you come with me to see the king? He wishes to present you with a cap, a waistband, and a pair of red boots.”

“With the greatest pleasure; you go on, I will soon overtake you.”

Then he ate as much as he could of his favourite dishes and went to sleep on the stove. He slept so long that at last his sisters-in-law woke him up and told him he would be late if he did not at once go to see the king. The lazy fellow said nothing but these words:

“At my behest, and by the orders of the pike,

This stove to carry me before the king I’d like.”

At the very same instant the stove moved from its place and carried him right up to the palace door. The king was filled with amazement, and running out, followed by the whole court, asked the sluggard what he would like to have.

“I have merely come to fetch the hat, waistband, and red boots you promised me.”

Just then the charming princess Gapiomila came to find out what was going on. Directly the sluggard saw her, he thought her so enchanting that he whispered to himself:

“At my behest, and by the orders of the pike,

That this princess so fair may love me, I should like.”

Then he ordered his stove to take him back home, and when there he continued to eat onions and soup and to drink cider.

Meanwhile the princess had fallen in love with him, and begged her father to send for him again. As the sluggard would not consent, the king had him bound when asleep, and thus brought to the palace. Then he summoned a celebrated magician, who at his orders shut the princess and sluggard up in a crystal cask, to which was fastened a balloon well filled with gas, and sent it up in the air among the clouds. The princess wept bitterly, but the fool sat still and said he felt very comfortable. At last she persuaded him to exert his powers, so he said:

“At my behest, and by the orders of the pike,

This cask of crystal earth at once must strike

Upon the friendly island I should like.

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