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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

The fool spread his tablecloth on the grass, and inviting the beggar to sit down, said:

“O Tablecloth, who for the poor,

The hungry, and thirsty, makes cheer,

May he who begs from door to door

Feed off you without stint or fear.”

Then a whistling was heard in the air, and overhead something shone brightly. At the same instant a table, spread as for a royal banquet, appeared before them. Upon it were many different kinds of food, flasks of mead, and glasses of the choicest wine. The plate was of gold and silver.

The fool and the beggar man crossed themselves and began to feast. When they had finished the whistling was again heard, and everything vanished. The fool folded up his tablecloth and went on his way. But the old man said, “If you will give me your tablecloth you shall have this wand in exchange. When you say certain words to it, it will set upon the person or persons pointed out, and give them such a thrashing, that to get rid of it they will give you anything they possess.”

The fool thought of his brothers and exchanged the tablecloth for the wand, after which they both went on their respective ways.

Suddenly the fool remembered that the oak had ordered him to keep the tablecloth for his own use, and that by parting with it he had lost the power of giving his mother an agreeable surprise. So he said to the wand:

“Thou self-propelling, ever willing, fighting Wand,

Run quick and bring

My feast-providing tablecloth back to my hand,

Thy praise I’ll sing.”

The wand went off like an arrow after the old man, quickly overtook him, and throwing itself upon him began to beat him dreadfully, crying out in a loud voice:

“For others’ goods you seem to have a liking,

Stop, thief, or sure your back I’ll keep on striking.”

The poor beggar tried to run away, but it was of no use, for the wand followed him, striking all the time and repeating the same words over and over again. So in spite of his anxiety to keep the tablecloth he was forced to throw it away and flee.

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