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Main > Slavic Folktale > Fairy tale "The story of the plentiful tablecloth, the avenging wand, the sash that becomes a lake and the terrible helmet"

The story of the plentiful tablecloth, the avenging wand, the sash that becomes a lake and the terrible helmet

Take then my cap.” And, throwing his arms round the dead stump, he wept and embraced it tenderly. At that moment an oak which stood near began to walk towards him as if it were alive. The poor fellow was frightened, and about to run away, but the oak spake like a human being and said, “Do not fly; stop a moment and listen to me. This withered tree is my son, and up to this time no one has grieved for his dead youth but me. You have now watered him with your tears, and in return for your sympathy you shall henceforward have anything you ask of me, on pronouncing these words:

“‘O Oak Tree so green, and with acorns of gold,

Your friendship to prove I will try;

In Heaven’s good name now to beg I’ll make bold,

My needs, then, oh kindly supply.’”

At the same moment a shower of golden acorns fell. The fool filled his pockets, thanked the oak, and bowing to her returned home.

“Well, stupid, where are the mushrooms?” cried one of his brothers.

“I have some mushrooms off the oak in my pockets.”

“Eat them yourself then, for you will get nothing else, you good-for-nothing. What have you done with your cap?”

“I put it on a poor stump of a tree that stood by the wayside, for its head was uncovered, and I was afraid it might freeze.”

He then scrambled on to the top of the stove, and as he lay down some of the golden acorns fell out of his pocket. So bright were they, they shone like sunbeams in the room. In spite of the fool’s entreaties the brothers picked them up and gave them to their father, who hastened to present them to the king, telling him that his idiot son had gathered them in the wood. The king immediately sent a detachment of his guards to the forest to find the oak which bore golden acorns. But their efforts were fruitless, for, though they hunted in every nook and corner of the forest, they found not a single oak that bore acorns of gold.

At first the king was very angry, but when he grew calmer he sent for his herdsman and said to him, “Tell your son, the fool, that he must bring me, by this evening, a cask filled to the brim with these precious golden acorns.

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