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Main > Sweden folktales > Fairy tale "Queen Crane"

Queen Crane

Once upon a time there was a poor, poor boy. He went to the king and begged to be taken into service as a shepherd, and all called him "Sheep-Peter." While he was herding his sheep, he used to amuse himself with his crossbow. One day he saw a crane sitting in an oak-tree, and wanted to shoot her. The crane, however, hopped down further and further, and at last settled in the lowest branches. Then she said: "If you promise not to shoot me, I will help you whenever you are in trouble. You need only to call out: 'God aid me, and Queen Crane stay by me, and I will succeed!'" With that the bird flew away.

At length war broke out and the king had to take the field. Then Sheep-Peter came to the king and asked whether he might not be allowed to go along to war. They gave him an old nag to ride, and he rode into a swamp along the highway, and there the horse died. So he sat down and clicked with his tongue; but the horse would not move. And the people who rode by had their sport with him; while the youth pretended to feel sad.

When the people had all passed by, the youth went to the oak in which the Queen Crane dwelt. Here he was given a black steed, a suit of brazen armor, and a silver sword. Thus he rode to battle and got there as quickly as he could wish. Then he said: "God aid me, and Queen Crane stay by me, and I will succeed!" With that he killed all the enemy and rode away again. But the king thought that an angel had come to help him, and wanted to hold him back. The youth, however, rode quickly back to the oak, took off his armor, went down to the swamp, and once more began to click to his horse. When the people rode by they laughed and said: "You were not along to-day, so you missed seeing how an angel came and killed all the enemy." And the youth pretended to feel sad, so sad.

The following day the king once more had to take the field. And Sheep-Peter came to him and said he wanted to go along. So they gave him an old nag to ride, and he rode into a swamp beside the highway.

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