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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 needed no second bidding, and darting out of his hand began to thrash the brothers soundly, crying out like a reasoning creature:

“Your brother has often your blows felt, alack!

Now taste it yourselves; hope you like it, whack, whack.”

The brothers were overpowered, and felt all the while as if boiling water were being poured over their heads. Yelling with pain they began to run at full speed, and soon disappeared with clouds of dust flying round them.

The wand then came back to the fool’s hand. He went into the house, climbed on the stove, and told his mother all that had happened. Then he cried:

“O Tablecloth, who for the poor,

The hungry, and thirsty, makes cheer,

Let us within our cottage door

Feed off you without stint or fear.”

A whistling was heard in the air, something bright shone overhead, and then a table, laid as for a royal banquet, was placed before them, covered with dainty meats, glasses, and bottles of mead and wine. The whole service was of gold and silver. As the fool and his mother were about to begin the feast the herdsman entered. He stopped, dumb with amazement, but when invited to partake, began to eat and drink with great enjoyment.

At the end of the meal the whistling was again heard, and everything vanished completely.

The herdsman set off in hot haste to the court, to tell the king of this new marvel. Thereupon his majesty sent one of his heroes in search of the fool, whom he found stretched on the stove.

“If you value your life, listen, and obey the king’s orders,” said the paladin. “He commands you to send him by me your tablecloth, then you shall have your share of his royal favour. But if not you will always remain a poor fool, and will, moreover, be treated as a refractory prisoner. We teach them how to behave; you understand?”

“Oh yes, I understand.” And then he pronounced the magic words:

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

Go, soundly thrash that man—

The most deceiving, dangerous wretch in all the land,

So hurt him all you can.

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