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Main > Spain folktales > Fairy tale "Barbara, the Grazier's Wife"

Barbara, the Grazier's Wife

The oxen were sold, and Sebastian hurried away with the money to the shrine of little St. Francis; and after devoutly praying, he proceeded to count out the gold pieces one by one; and great was his joy when he noticed the saint commence to move, open his eyes, stretch out his hands, and declare that Sebastian’s petition should be granted.

That very night when Sebastian and his wife were in bed, and the latter was delivering a lengthy lecture on the coarseness and want of breeding in snoring when a lady was speaking, little St. Francis appeared at the bedside with a mirror in his hand.

“Barbara,” said the saint, “thy virtues are known to us, and as a reward we have decreed that thou shalt be restored to youth and beauty, which thou shalt thyself behold when looking into this mirror; but beware no angry or vain words pass thy lips, for then will thy lack of modesty be punished by hideous old age and infirmity, therefore, beware!” And saying this, he left the now happy pair—Barbara admiring herself in the mirror by the light of a cruse, and Sebastian enjoying that unbroken sleep which he had not known for years.

The mirror never passed out of D. Barbara’s possession, and was never known to leave her hand until her frame, gradually tired out by want of rest, succumbed to the fascination of little St. Francis’s gift and the wisdom of the friendly Moor.

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