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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 at once started in pursuit of the poor traveller, whom it began to beat, at the same time crying out:

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

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

The man was scared out of his wits, and tried to escape the wand’s blows, but it was of no use, so he was forced to throw the tablecloth away and run at the top of his speed. The wand brought the tablecloth back to his master. The latter hid it under his coat, rearranged the waistband, and taking the faithful wand in his hand, again went towards home. As he walked he rejoiced to think of the pleasure he should have in exercising the wand on his wicked brothers, of his father’s satisfaction when, by the help of the waistband, he could always have water for the king’s flocks, even in the driest weather, and of his mother’s joy on witnessing the wonders of the feast-giving tablecloth. These pleasant thoughts were interrupted by a soldier, lame, clothed in rags, and covered with wounds. He had once been a famous warrior.

“I am pursued by misfortunes,” said he to the fool. “I was once a brave soldier, and fought valiantly in my youth. Now I am lamed for life, and on this lonely road have found no one to give me a morsel of food. Have pity on me and give me a little bread.”

The fool sat down on the grass, and spreading out his tablecloth, 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 bright shone overhead, and then before them stood a table, spread as for a royal feast, loaded with dainty dishes, mead, and costly wines. When they had eaten and drunk as much as they wanted the whistling was again heard, and then everything vanished.

The fool was folding up his tablecloth, when the soldier said:

“Will you give me your tablecloth in exchange for this six-horned helmet? It will fire itself off and instantly destroy the object pointed out.

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