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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 wand brought the cloth back to the fool, who again went on his way towards home, thinking of the surprise in store for his mother and brothers. He had not gone very far when a traveller, carrying an empty wallet, accosted him, saying, “For the love of God, give me a small coin or a morsel of food, for my bag is empty and I am very hungry. I have, too, a long journey before me.”

The fool again spread his tablecloth on the grass and 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.”

A whistling was heard in the air, something shone brightly overhead, and a table, spread as for a royal feast, placed itself before them. It was laid with a numerous variety of dishes, hydromel and costly wines. The fool and his guest sat down, crossed themselves, and ate to their hearts’ content. When they had finished whistling was again heard, and everything vanished. The fool folded the cloth up carefully, and was about to continue his journey when the traveller said, “Will you exchange your tablecloth for my waistband? When you say to it certain words it will turn into a deep lake, upon which you may float at will. The words run thus:

“‘O marvellous, wonderful, lake-forming Band,

For my safety, and not for my fun,

Bear me in a boat on thy waves far from land,

So that I from my foes need not run.’”

The fool thought his father would find it very convenient always to have water at hand for the king’s flocks, so he gave his tablecloth in exchange for the belt, which he wound round his loins, and taking the wand in his hand, they went off in opposite directions. After a little while the fool began to reflect on what the oak had told him about keeping the tablecloth for his own use, and he remembered, too, that he was depriving himself of the power of giving his mother a pleasant surprise. Thereupon he said the magic words to his 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.

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