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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

You have but to turn it round on your head and repeat these words:

“‘O Magic Helmet, never thou

Dost want for powder nor shot;

Allay my fears and fire now

Just where I point. Fail not.’

You will see that it fires off immediately: and even if your enemy were a mile away he would fall.”

The fool was delighted with the idea, and thought how useful such a hat would be in any sudden danger; it would even serve him to defend his country, the king, or himself. So he handed the tablecloth to the soldier, put the helmet on his head, took his wand in his hand, and again set his face towards home.

When he had gone some distance, and the soldier was almost out of sight, he began to think of what the oak had said about not parting with the tablecloth, and of how his dear mother could not now enjoy the pleasant surprise he had been dreaming about. 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 dashed after the soldier, and having reached him began to beat him, crying out:

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

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

The soldier was still a powerful man, and in spite of his wound turned right about face, intending to give blow for blow. But the wand was too much for him, and he soon found resistance useless. So, overcome by pain rather than fear, he threw away the tablecloth and took to his heels.

The faithful wand brought the tablecloth back to his master, who, glad to have it again, once more turned towards home.

He soon left the forest, crossed the fields, and came in sight of his father’s house. At a little distance therefrom his brothers met him, and said crossly, “Well, stupid, where are the golden acorns?”

The fool looked at them and laughed in their faces. Then he said to his wand:

“O self-propelling, ever willing, fighting Wand

Strike with thy usual fire

My ever-scolding, teasing, worrying brother band,

For they have roused my ire.

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