Baker's Idle Son
THERE was a woman baker who had a
very indolent son. When the other boys went to gather firewood and he
was told to go also he never would go. The mother was very unhappy to
have such a lazy son, and really did not know what she should do with
him. As she one day insisted upon his joining the other boys he went along
with them, but the moment they reached the wood whilst the other boys
were collecting the sticks and small branches of trees for firewood he
went to lie down by the side of a brook and began to eat what he had brought
with Mm. While he was doing so a fish came close to him and began to eat
up all the crumbs he let fall, until at last he caught it. The fish entreated
him not to kill him, that he would do for him all he could wish for. The
lazy boy, who did not trust the fish, said to it, "In the name of
my God, and of my fish, I wish that this very moment a faggot of wood
larger than any of the ones held by the other boys, shall appear before
me, and that the bundle shall proceed without my being seen under it."
All at once a faggot made its appearance ready tied; and he then allowed
the fish to go back into the sea. He turned to go home, and as he passed
the palace, the king, who was at the window with the princess, was very
much astonished to see the faggot move along by itself; and the princess
was so very much amused at it that she laughed. The lazy boy then said:
"In the name of God, and of my fish, let the princess have a son
without its being known whose son he is." The princess then began
to feel that she was with child, and the king became very displeased with
her, and ordered her to be imprisoned in a tower with her maids of honour.
After a time she gave birth to a male child. The lazy boy returned to
the wood, and the fish again appeared and told hint that the princess
had given birth to a son. The lazy boy, being instructed by the fish,
ordered a palace to be erected which should be more splendid than the
one belonging to the king. There was a garden in this palace replete with
flowers of every colour and shade, and, wonderful to relate, there was
an orchard full of fruit trees in which grew an orange tree 'with twelve
golden oranges. All this was brought about by the fish and the fairies.
The lazy boy went to this palace transformed into a prince, and no one
knew him to be anything else. The king sent a message asking to see the
palace, and he replied that he would be most happy to show him over it,
and sent his majesty an invitation to breakfast and to all his court.
The king and his chamberlains were much surprised on their arrival to
see so much luxury and splendour. After they had inspected the whole palace
they went into the garden. They were charmed with the variety of flowers
in it, but were much more astonished to see an orange tree bearing golden
oranges. The lazy boy informed the king and his courtiers that they could
take of everything in the garden which they might desire, except gathering
any of the oranges. They all returned to the palace and sat down to the
breakfast. When the breakfast was over, and the king was taking his departure
to return to his own palace, the lazy boy told the king that he was much
surprised to find that after he had treated them so luxuriously they should
have gathered one of the golden oranges. The courtiers all commenced to
deny that any of them had taken the orange, and took off their coats that
he might see for himself that they had not been guilty of the accusation.
The king, who felt very much abashed, was now the only one who had not
been examined. He took off his coat and nothing was found on examination
in its pockets; but the lazy boy asked him to look carefully again when
he had put his coat on, because since his courtiers had not taken the
orange it must be himself who had. The king then put his hands again in
his pocket and drew out the orange, very much confused and ashamed, for
he could not imagine how it could have come there as he had not touched
the oranges. The lazy boy then said to him that the very same thing had
happened to the princess who had borne a son without knowing by whom.
The spell under which the fish was bound was then broken, and it was transformed
into a prince and married the princess. The lazy boy returned home a rich
text came from:
Folk Lore Society Publications, Vol. 9. Miss Henrietta Monteiro, translator.
New York: Folk Lore Society Publications, 1882.
[Reprinted: New York: Benjamin Blom, Inc., 1969.]
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