Cor Hendriks – The Macaws (14): The Eagle and the Snake in AT 301 (conclusion)

In the Midrash Kohelet there is a story about a man returning from Babylon, who sees two birds quarrel, one killing the other. A third bird comes with a herb, puts it on the dead bird and it comes to life. The man takes the herb with him to revive the death in the land of Israël. He passes a dead fox, thrown down in the street, tries the herb on it, and the fox revives. Near Tyre he sees a dead lion, tries the herb on it, and the lion eats him [Richter 1986, 84f nº21 after Der Midrasch Kohelet, trans. A. Wünsche, Leipzig 1888, nº74. The moral: Don’t do good to evil, then nothing evil will happen to you; doing good to evil is bad. Cf. Ruben, 123]. This story is also told by Walter Ruben in his investigation of the stories of the Vetalapanchavimsati, story 22 (or 21), where there are four brothers who learn from Shiva (after a year’s apprenticeship) the art of reviving. They go into the jungle to make a test of their abilities, and find the bone of a lion. The oldest sprinkles with a magic formula holy water over the bone and restores the skeleton. The second restores flesh and blood, the third skin and life [?], and the fourth wakes him up, whereupon the tiger grabs and kills them. This is followed by the question, who is to blame for the death of the four Brahman brothers. The correct answer is the last one, which is of course debatable, making it acceptable for the decision-game, which is the frame of The 25 Tales of the Demon. An older version can be found in the Buddhist Jatakas (nº150). A student learns the art of reviving, goes with some other students in the jungle, wants to show his power there, and picks a dead tiger. His fellow students immediately climb in trees, but the foolish magician’s pupil doesn’t think about such precautions, and is killed by the tiger [Ruben, 121f. The moral is: Who likes to do evil, evil destroys just like the tiger his reviver]. In the version of the Panchatantra (4:4) four Brahman friends wander together, one was clever, but had not studied, the other three have studied, but are stupid. They find the bones of a lion. The first puts the bones together, the second adds skin, flesh and blood, the third wants to give him life, but the fourth, who has not studied, warns: ‘He will kill you!’ But the third wants to show off his abilities, revives the lion, and is together with his fellow students killed, while the fourth has saved himself in a tree [Ruben, 122, The moral: Cleverness is better than being learned].

The reviving scene is also part of a Georgian version of ATU 303 in a Grimm-like version of ‘The Two Brothers’ (KHM 60). The first brother has been turned to stone by the witch. The second brother has followed the same road and has managed to overcome the Circe-like witch by grabbing her by the throat, threatening to choke her if she doesn’t tell him how to revive his brother. She begs him: ‘Don’t kill me, and I will instruct you; go to the lake; on the shore a snake and a frog will come; the snake will try to catch the frog, but you, keep them apart so that one nor the other is being killed. Then the frog will go and tear off a certain grass, you, tear off that grass too, rub it in your brothers eyes and he will become alive again.’ The older brother goes to the lake, the frog comes out and he forces the snake to leave it in peace. The frog tears off a certain grass, he also tears it off, rubs his brothers eyes and he becomes alive [Bleichsteiner 1909, 94-115 nº5: ‘The Two Brothers’]. It is a garbled version of the story of the ‘snake-leaves’: one snake is hurt or killed and the other snake gets the herb (grass) that heals, as in the famous story from the Grimm-collection (KHM 16: ‘The Three Snake-Leaves’), by Thompson catalogued as ATU 612: The Three Snake-Leaves. A man has himself shut up in the grave of his dead wife. Example of the snakes. I. Death Pact. (a) The hero promises his bride that if she dies before him he will be buried with her. (b) This happens shortly after the wedding. II. Reconciliation. (a) In the grave he sees a snake revive another [snake, killed by the hero,] with leaves and in this way he resuscitates his wife. Thompson notes that this part (only half of the description) often appears alone (which is also the case for the other half, wherein III. the woman falls in love with the shipmaster and the two of them throw the husband into the sea. IV. A faithful servant [rescues and] resuscitates him with the snake-leaves. Then follows the punishment of the guilty pair; see further on: Arion, etc) [Thompson 1961, 220f; Grimm 1972, 94-97].

The revival can also be a small incident, as in the Hungarian tale of ‘The Sky-High Tree’ (infra). The hero is chopped by the ‘dragon’, who has abducted his wife, into pieces that are put in a bag on the hero’s horse. While the horse is going his way, he thinks about how to revive his master. He meets a snake holding a stalk of grass in his mouth, that he needs to revive his little son, who has been run over by a cart. The horse helps the snake’s son by bringing him to the snake, who cures the little snake. Then the horse shakes off the bag, shakes out the pieces, puts the puzzle together and the snake revives the hero with the grass. The hero not only revives, but is also much more beautiful. He says he has slept very good, whereupon the horse comments that he would have slept till the youngest day if it were not for the snake that provided the miracle herb with which they revived him [Kiadó 1984, 49].

In older stories the context is different. In the Eliduc of Marie de France (12th c.) Eliduc has come back from the other world with another woman, who is like Briar-Rose in a death-like sleep. He has put her in a chapel and visits her often, which is noticed by his wife, who goes in his absence to the chapel and discovers the girl, who is wonderfully beautiful. She understands Eliduc’s infatuation and is not jealous. Then she sees a weasel (musteile) come from under the altar and run over the body, whereupon her servant strikes the weasel dead with his stick. A moment later a second weasel comes, sees his dead female companion, runs out of the chapel into the forest and comes a while later back with a completely red flower, puts it in the mouth of the dead weasel and it revives. The woman sees this and commands the servant to stop the animal. He strikes it with his stick and the animal drops the flower. The wife of Eliduc picks it up and puts it in the mouth of the girl, who ‘revives’ and says: ‘Deus, tant ai dormi,’ as the revived one in modern tales says: ‘O, how long did I sleep!’ Whereupon the ‘reviver’ says: ‘Without me you would have slept forever,’ but in Eliduc the lady thanks God and asks the girl where she comes from. [Marie de France (ed. Corine Kisling & Paul Verhuyck); cf. Manfred Bambeck, ‘Die Wieselepisode im “Eliduc” der Marie de France”, in: ID., Wiesel und Werwolf. Typologische Streifzüge durch das romanische Mittelalter und die Renaissance (hgg. Friedrich Wolfzettel & Hans-Joachim Lotz), Stuttgart 1990, 41-56]

In the little Tartar epic Kara Tygan Kan and Suksagal Kan, Kara Tygan Kan has bragged to revive the two heroes, of whom only their right thumbs are left, as well as their horses from their right hooves. He sets out with his brother-in-law Olangar and tells him that old folks had told him when he was young that at the edge of the country of heaven an iron rock rises up to heaven on whose summit the six-fold white herb grows that make people alive. After a long or short ride they come to the iron rock on the Altai, at the foot of which they see a mountain pile of horses’ and men’s bones. In olden days when the earth came into being heroes were not able to take this white herb, and have all died there. Olangar worries about how they will get there [at the summit]. Kara Tygan Kan says: ‘We must turn our horses into swans that must bring us.’ They change their horses in swans, themselves into swallows that fly after them. When they reach the top of the rock they see that two varicolored ravens have built their nest by drawing the top of the nine-twigged iron larch together. These birds guard the white herb, give it to nobody. Flying around the heroes see in the nest the two young of the ravens asleep. The swallows pull out the herb from under the children and fly back to earth. Then they ride back home and revive the two heroes and their horses with the six-fold white herb [Radloff 1868, 2, 584-603 nº17 from Katschinzen on the Ui Tag]. In the Mongolian epic Cirig cagaan ingenij önčin cagaan bongo (The Resin-White Camel-mare’s Orphaned White Camel-young) the camel-mare has removed herself from the herd to give birth. But she is tracked down by the blind yellow camel-driver, who binds her, cuts the sinews of her legs, blinds her eyes, etc. The orphaned white camel-young runs around, weeping over his mother, and then sees a lame rat that is blind in one eye, that can see after drinking water from a certain source and a healthy leg after eating from a herb in a small ravine. The small camel takes some of the water in its mouth and brings it to its mother, who is then sufficiently recovered to follow her child to the source and the ravine to drink and eat and get completely healthy [Cerensodnom, in: Fragen 2, 67 from Epic-teller Gölögijn Chajnzang in the centre of the Uvs-aimak, 1973].

In a last minute note Ginzburg makes mention of another possibility than sacrificing a piece of his foot to the eagle: According to a legend (Russian or Vogul-Ostyakak) the bear-hero, when he has exhausted his reserves of food, feeds the eagle who is carrying him by cutting off his calf [Ginzburg 1992, 288 n. 197 bis. For Bear-Ear, see Avar-version Bérenger-Féraud 1885, 41, summarized by Macculloch, 388. The Bear-hero is also connected with other tales, see ‘Ivanko-Ourseau’ (Gruel-apert 1988, 194-196 nº66 = Afan. 152/89; rec. near Oufa, Prov. Orenburg = Bozoki 1978, 129-131 nº38: ‘Ivanka de l’ours’ = Löwis of Menar 160-163 nº24 = Guterman 1975, 221ff): The wife of a rich farmer seeks shelter in a bear-cave and is taken by the bear as wife and in due time gives birth to a son, half bear (below the belt), that she calls Ivanko-bear-son. Gruel-apert catalogues: ATU 650A + 1006* + 1009 + 1045 + 1072 + 1063 + 1082 + 1130]. This bear-hero is much more familiar than this minimal mention by Ginzburg might suggest. It is the Flemish Jan de Beer, the French Jean l’Ourse, in Sweden known as Bear-Ear (Bären-Öra), etc. Munkácsi has noted a Vogul-version told by Pavel Ignatich Simpaev in 1889. The hero is the son of a woman and a bear, who has abducted the woman; he is furry like a bear and very strong: when they have escaped the bear-cave and are overtaken by the bear, he kills his father. One day he sets out to find a woman, and meets two strange persons, a noseless and an earless man who become his companions. These three arrive (after a long or short time) at a mountain. Beneath it there is an opening. “The bear-boy says: ‘Go and braid a long rope and I will climb down into the pit.’ Had he walked underground for a long time or for a short time, he came upon a small house. In the small house there lies a three-headed dragon. The bear-boy entered. The dragon says: ‘God has given me something to eat and something to drink!’ The bear-boy replies: ‘Don’t eat me now. I will chop wood.’ As he began chopping wood, the shavings drop down through the chimney [into the house]. ‘Why are you chopping [so] hard?’ the dragon says, ‘all the shavings are dropping down into the house.’ The bear-boy went into the house, he cut through the dragon’s heads with the hatchet. There were three girls in the dragon’s house, they were most beautiful. The bear-boy says: ‘Why did you sit down to play like that? Stop playing, come on, let’s go upwards!’ The three girls gathered their things together and left. They reached the pit. The bear[-boy] tied the rope around one of the girls, and the earless man and the noseless man started to pull her up. Then the rope was let down again and the second girl was pulled up. Thereafter the rope was let down again for the third time and the third girl was pulled up. After the girls were pulled up, he tied the rope around himself, he himself began to be pulled upwards. They did not let him reach the mouth of the pit, his rope was cut in two with a hatchet and the bear-boy fell down again. ‘What shall I do now?’ the bear-boy thinks. ‘I will go back to the dragon’s house.’ He reached the dragon’s house, he went in. There is a weapon hanging on a nail. He took this weapon and went hunting. He killed some ducks and he killed some elks; there is, in one place, an eagle sitting. The bear-boy says: ‘Eagle, will you take me up to the bright world?’ The eagle replies: ‘Prepare some more meat!’ ‘I have been hunting, I have a lot of meat.’ ‘Get some buckets, fill the buckets with meat, so that it will be enough to last for three months!’ So the bear-boy did. The eagle says: ‘Come on, let’s go now: sit on me, let’s fly!’ The bear-boy sat on the eagle’s back, they flew upwards. Whenever the eagle started growing tired, the bear-boy stuck a piece of meat into its mouth and then the eagle’s strength returned. Three months passed and the bear-boy was brought [by the eagle] out of the pit into the bright world.” He chases his treacherous companions away and has a big wedding feast. [Sadovszky & Hoppál (eds.), Vogul Folklore (coll. B. Munkácsi), 118-120: ‘The bear-boy’s tale’ = VNGY IV, 1:356-360. The editors add: ‘This is highly comparable to one of the most important motives of the Hungarian folk tales “Son of the white horse”’. For this ‘Mare-Son’, see BP 2, 309 from Galicia (Ethn. Zb. 7, 146 nº70); Gouv. Jekaterinoslaw (Manzura 43 nº26); Gouv. Smolensk (Dobrovoljsjkij 1, 410 nº6; ID., 311); Gouv. Rjazan (Chudjakov 2, 39 nº45); also Miklosich nº2: ‘Der Säugling der Stute’ (BP 2, 312), a Gypsy-version from Rumania (= Massenbach 1956, 204-210 nº28) belongs to this: A priest rides on a mare to the town. Suddenly the horse jumps and says: ‘Hop, the priest rides me.’ Ashamed the priest leaves the mare in the woods behind, where she gives birth to a son, who is by the dear Lord baptized ‘Horse-Son’. There is no talk of horse-features clinging to the hero, as is the case with the bear-son, who has bear-ears (or is furry as a bear) or has the name ‘Bear-Ear’]

Even when it is not a bird that brings our hero up from the Underworld, the association with the bird can be there as can be seen in the Russian version ‘The Raven of the Ravens’ (also called ‘The Three Kingdoms III’), a mix with the theme of the Swan-Maiden (ATU 400), who is the daughter of the ‘Raven of the Raven’, an elative (French: Corbeau du Corbeau), meaning that he is some kind of super-raven. The hero, the son of the tsar, called Ivan as usual in Russian tales, is with his brothers looking for the kidnapped mother, Anastasia the Beautiful. Following a magic bird they discover the deep pit under an iron plate and lower Ivan down with a rope-ladder (which takes three years). He comes first to the copper kingdom, is sent on by the queen to her sister, queen of the silver kingdom, who sends him to her oldest sister, the queen of the golden kingdom, who sends him to the pearl-kingdom, where his mother is in the castle of the Raven of the Raven (who was her abductor). Instructed by the queen of the golden kingdom Ivan switches the tubs of Water of Strength and of Weakness (after drinking from the Water of Strength), so that the homecoming Raven of the Raven becomes weak, but strong enough to take Ivan, who has thrown himself on his back, over mountains and valleys, and offers him half his treasure, but Ivan only wants his magic feather. Again he is taken over mountains and valleys, but Ivan almost breaks his wings and the Raven of the Raven begs for mercy, gives the magic feather [thereby losing his power], and becomes an ordinary raven and flies away. Ivan now goes the same way back with his mother, taking along the three queens and their kingdoms rolled into balls. At the rope-ladder (which is just a rope) Ivan blows on his golden trumpet, and the brothers hoist up the princess of the copper kingdom (quarrel over her, she says there is a more beautiful one coming), of the silver, and of the golden kingdom and then their mother, but when it is Ivan’s turn they cut halfway the rope, so that he plummets down and lies half a year unconscious. When he regains his senses, he takes out the feather, hits the ground with it, and 12 fellows appear, who grab him by the shoulders and bring him to the upper-world [Gruel-apert 1988, 137-141 nº36: ‘Les trois royaumes III (Corbeau du Corbeau)’ (Afan. 130/71c)].

The motif is of course well-known in Russian folktales and an example combined with ATU 551 is called ‘The Water of Life and the Water of Death’. The hero, Ivan, the youngest of the three sons of the Tsar, brings these waters from the kingdom of Helene the Beauty. On the way back he first comes to a house where he liberates a girl, takes her on his horse through many countries, sees near a pit two men lying, who turn out to be his brothers. In the pit is a beautiful girl and Ivan gives to his brothers the waters (etc.) in safekeeping to lower himself down with a cord to the girl. He has her pulled up, after which the brothers depart with each a girl to their father and leave Ivan behind, who weeps a while and then goes on his way in the underworld. He soon arrives at an isba (Russian hut) with an ancient woman who gives him horse, sword and armor to fight against the three winged dragons, that come for the three daughters of the tsar. Then follows the dragon-fight with the false dragon-fighter, who cannot lift the stone under which Ivan has hidden the dragon-corpses. Instead of marrying one of the tsar’s daughters Ivan asks to let him return to the upper-world. The tsar gives this assignment to his falcon, who wants four tubs containing each 300 pounds of meat. During the flight Ivan throws each time a piece to the falcon, and when the meat is finished the tubs, his clothes, and when the falcon keeps shouting for more finally his calves, after which the falcon arrives in the upper-world and vomits back the calves and the clothes. [Gruel-apert 1990, 63-70 nº79: ‘L’eau de vie et l’eau de mort’ (Afan. 176/104f, from Zoubtsov, Prov. Tver).]

In a Persian version each year the apples from the tree of the Padishah are stolen, his sons stand in turn guard, the eldest fall asleep, but the youngest sees (in the third year) a dev come into the garden, shake the apples in a bag and leave. He follows him to a well in which the dev descends. In the morning he tells this his brothers and they go with a rope to the well and the oldest goes down, but soon calls to hoist him as he is burning, the second the same. Also the youngest calls this, but he has told his brothers to keep on lowering him, and he reaches the bottom, where a seven-headed dev lies that he cleaves with one hew of his sword. Then he sees a door and comes to three girls, daughters of the perî-Padishah, who are kept prisoner by the dev for seven years. They are beautiful, the youngest the most, and she becomes the bride of the youngest. He has the oldest hoist up for the oldest brother, the second one for the second brother. Then the youngest wants that he lets himself get hoist up first, but he doesn’t want that. She says that if his brothers see her, they don’t want to hoist him up, and gives him three [!] feathers; when he rubs them together on Friday night, two rams come, white and black. The brothers let go of the rope, so that the youngest plummets down, and they go with the girls to their father, but the youngest doesn’t want to marry, so they marry their destined brides. The youngest brother rubs on Friday night the two (sic!) feathers together and the two rams come. He wants to mount the white one [as advised], but slips and falls on the black one, who takes him seven zones deep under the earth in the Dark Realm. There he dismounts, sees an old woman spinning, asks for a drink, gets a glass of pee, asks what this salty water is. She tells him that the source is guarded by a dragon, who weekly gives water for a human sacrifice. It is right then the turn of the princess and the hero goes with her to the source. ‘Today I get two,’ chuckles the dragon, but the prince slices him with his saber. The girl dips her hand in the dragon’s blood and makes a sign on the back of the boy, and goes to the konak (palace, mansion) of her father. A herald goes round announcing: ‘Nobody may take water! A hero has killed the dragon; the water is polluted with dragon’s blood.’ The youth goes back to the old woman. The Padishah promises his daughter to the hero and summons all the youths before his daughter, but the hero is not with them. It turns out that a stranger has remained home with an old woman. He is brought and recognized by the sign on his back, but he doesn’t want to marry, he rather wants to go back to the Light World. The Padishah has never heard about that and the reward is kept in store. The boy, back at the old woman, goes one day hunting and kills a dragon [snake] that is on the brink of devouring the young of a phoenix (as he does each year). The boy was asleep under the tree with the nest, woke up from the screaming for help of the young birds; afterwards he continues his sleep, is seen by the returning mother-phoenix, who is just in time withheld by her young from devouring the hero. The bird asks how she can reward him, and is willing to take him up to the Light World for the meat of 40 sheep and 40 bags of water; the youth gets these from the grateful Padishah and flies up, each time giving it water when the bird says ‘ghak’, meat when it says ‘ghyk’. Almost at the top the meat is finished and the boy cuts off a piece of his foot; the bird notices that it is human flesh, keeps it under his tongue, and spits it out after arrival when she sees the boy limping, puts it on the foot, licks it and it is cured. After an absence of one or two years the youth arrives at his father, where his bride is still waiting, becomes cheerful now, after which a wedding of 40 days and nights is celebrated [Menzel 1924, 54-62 nº5: ‘Der Vogel Phönix’].

A second version, called ‘The history of the Emerald-Phoenix (or: emerald Anka-bird)’, is much the same: Each year the three apples, ripening on the tree in the Padishah’s garden, are stolen in the middle of the night by a seven-headed dev. The oldest runs away when he sees the dev come out of a cloud, just like the second. The third year the youngest may guard after long whining, shoots an arrow through all the seven heads, whereupon the dragon (sic!) takes off roaring, leaving a trail of blood behind, that the princes follow the next days to a well, that is covered with a big stone, that the eldest cannot move an inch, but the youngest throws it away with his little finger (to the surprise of his brothers). The oldest wants to go down first, calls pretty soon: ‘I’m burning!’ and is hoisted up; the second one goes, calls: ‘I’m freezing!’ The youngest tell them to lower him even when he calls, and he arrives at the bottom, unties the rope, and comes into a room, where a girl, beautiful as the full moon, sits and sews, in the second room a more beautiful, and in the third the most beautiful girl; he is immediately in love and asks if she is a human or a jinn; a human. She warns him for the dev, and points him to his room and he is as big as a minaret, and grabs, when he sees the prince, his 1000 batman heavy club and strikes with a heaven and earth shocking roar at the prince, who evades the strike and cuts off the dev’s head. Then he takes the three girls and all kinds of valuables to the pit, and has them pulled up by his brothers, the first girl for the oldest, the second for the second. The third girl wants him to go first, because his brothers will cut the rope, but when he refuses, she gives him three hairs that he must rub, when he falls down; then will come on the bottom a white and a black sheep: ‘When you fall on the white sheep, you’ll come back on the earth’s surface; when you fall on the black one, then you’ll sink to the bottom of the 7th earth.’ This last thing happens and while the brothers bring the girl to their father to whom they say that the dev has killed the youngest, this one comes down on the bottom of the seventh earth and sees a whole world before him. After a while he arrives at a city, gives an old woman gold-pieces for shelter, asks for water, gets something filthy and hears, that tomorrow there will be new water when the princess will be sacrificed to the water-guarding dragon, who once a year gives some water in exchange for a girl. The prince goes the next day to have a look, sees the totally red dressed princess being left behind near the source. He goes to her, and when the from the west coming fire-blazing seven-headed dragon sees them, he is glad to have two persons as his share. He tries to sniff them up, but the prince stands his ground; the dragon tries it again from close by and when he opens his mouth, the prince shoots his arrow in it, whereupon the dragon raises himself three times roaring in the air and at last crashes down, smudging everything with his blood. The girl dips her hand in it and makes a sign on the back of the prince and goes to the palace, where she tells that the dragon has been killed. The Padishah goes to take a look, and summons everyone under 70 to his palace. The old woman tells the prince to go too and he is recognized by the girl, who drops from her window her handkerchief on him. The guards bring him to the Padishah, whom he wishes a good health, asks for three days respite to reflect, and goes back to the old woman. Out of boredom he goes hunting on the mountain, falls asleep under the tree where the nest of the Emerald-Phoenix is, whose young each year are eaten by a snake. The enormous snake just then comes and the screams of the young awaken the prince, who sees a black snake above him and shoots it down (with an arrow). Then he continues sleeping, and the Emerald-Phoenix comes and dives down on the prince, but is withheld by the young, who point her to the cypress on which the snake is pinned. The bird spreads a wing above the prince against the sun and when he awakens, he may make a wish. ‘That you bring me to the earth’s surface.’ The bird needs for that 40 sheep and 40 bags of wine. ‘On the way, when I say “ghak”, give me meat, “ghok” wine.’ The prince asks these from the Padishah, puts the sheep on one wing, the bags of wine on the other with himself in the middle, after which the bird flies up. One day the meat is finished; two times the bird says ‘ghak’ without receiving something; the third time the prince cuts off a piece of his thigh and gives that; but the bird tastes that it is human flesh and keeps it in his mouth. Meanwhile they have arrived at the edge of the well, where the bird takes the meat out of his mouth and presses it on the thigh of the prince, after which his leg is better than ever before. The prince goes his way and arrives in his father’s town, where he buys from a butcher a ‘bladder’ (or some other fleece) that he puts on his head (to look like a baldhead), trades clothes (from the underworld) with a shepherd and forces himself as help on his father’s chief gardener. One day this man goes away and trusts the garden to the youth. The prince rubs the hairs, whereupon a Negro appears: ‘Command, my prince!’ ‘I want a red horse and red outfit.’ Dressed like this the prince thrashes the garden, gives the things back to the Negro, and goes on his post and weeps, when the gardener comes back, who launches at the baldhead, but the princesses cry to him from a window to calm himself because a red rider on a red horse has done it, not the boy. The gardener restores the garden, goes a few days later again away, and the prince does the same thing [as black rider on a black horse? See infra: Unknown Knight/Rider]. The princesses see him and recognize him and call to the gardener not to hit the boy. The third time [in white on a white horse?] the prince thrashes everything and this time the boy gets fired (for not having prevented it), and he forces himself onto a goldsmith (even if only to put coals on the fire). The princesses have until now managed to delay the wedding and now ask for a golden needle, that sews by itself, then for a golden dish with a golden chicken with 40 chicks, eating golden barley, and thirdly for a golden saucer with a golden greyhound chasing a golden hare. The Padishah summons all the goldsmiths and gives them 40 days. When the baldhead asks his master, what is troubling him, he first doesn’t want to say it (what good can he do?). The boy offers to make them and asks for 40 kantar hazelnuts, 40 kantar grapes and 40 okka wax-candles, locks himself in his room, has in the 40th night the Negro bring all the stuff and has them brought by his master to the palace. Then the prince forces himself onto a tailor; the girls asks the Padishah for wedding clothes, that are not cut by scissors or sewn with a needle and fit into a hazelnut. The tailors have 40 days and the pupil offers to do it (for 40 this and that) and has on the 41st [must be 40th] night the Negro bring the dresses. The wedding is prepared. The suitors go, as was then the habit, to the square to shoot, while everyone is watching. The tailor wants to go there, but the scabby boy is afraid to get hit on the head and stays behind, has the Negro bring a red horse, black dress, and a djerid (javelin), and rides to the square, where he hits the prince (his oldest brother) in the arm, the next day his second brother in the leg (on a yellow horse). The third day on a white horse he hits with his javelin the son of the vizier through the heart and is brought before the Padishah, who orders to execute him. ‘My brothers have left me in the pit; do you also want to kill me?’ The Padishah embraces his son and asks if he will kill his brothers. ‘Give them each a konak and marry the 1st girl with the 1st, the 2nd with the 2nd, and the youngest with me.’ 40 days and nights feast. [Menzel 1923, 115-142 nº8: ‘Die Geschichte vom Smaragd-Phönix’; Giese nº8: ‘Die Geschichte vom smaragden Ankavogel’; cf. TTV 72.]

The same story has been recorded in 1883 on Lesbos from the 20 year old Strati Pammia, servant in a house of commerce, and called ‘The Three Miraculous Dresses’. A king with three sons has a tree with three golden apples that when they are ripe are stolen in three consecutive nights by a monster. The sons guard in turn, the two eldest flee, the youngest wounds the monster. In the morning the three princes follow the blood-trail to a deep pit. The oldest descends, shouts: ‘Hot, hot!’ He is hoisted up, the second: ‘Cold, cold!’ The youngest goes all the way and comes in a miracle world, where he arrives at a palace. He goes through ever more beautiful rooms and finally comes at three princesses, who direct him to the monster that sleeps with eyes open. He kills it and has the princesses, who each give him a ring, hoisted up one by one. The third, most beautiful one, promises herself to him and gives him three nuts with three dresses. When she is hoisted up, the brothers quarrel and leave the youngest brother behind. He walks around and comes to an old gardener who points to two sheep, white and black; he grabs the black one and winds up even deeper in the earth near a small stream where he meets a weeping princess whose turn it is to be eaten by the seven-headed dragon, who guards the only source. The prince kills the dragon, cuts out the seven tongues, walks on, comes to a tree where an eagle’s nest is threatened by a serpent, kills the serpent and lays himself down to sleep. The eagle arrives, wants to eat him, is withheld by the young, protects the sleeper against the sunrays, asks the prince what he wants; up; then he needs 40 sheep and 40 barrels of water. The prince goes to the king, where he attests himself with the tongues (against charcoal-burners with chopped-off heads) and rejects the offer of the princess. All stuff is loaded on the eagle, who says ‘Crak!’ for meat and ‘Cruk!’ for water. Finally he cuts a piece off of his thigh, that is kept by the eagle under his tongue and put back. He goes in the service of a tailor, cracks in the night nuts and has the three dresses. He is called to the palace, marries the youngest; his brothers are exiled [Carnoy & Nicolaides 1888, 75-90 nº4: ‘Les Trois Robes Merveilleuses’].

The motif of the ram (sheep) that takes the hero to an even lower underworld is also present in the Chilean version ‘Lord Johannes Arcarpe’, the Strong Hans type hero, who has been left behind in the pit by his treacherous companions, who bring the hoisted up princesses and treasures to the king, who promises them his two eldest daughters, but the youngest will not eat, the bird will not sing and the horse will not neigh [cf. KHM 57: ‘The Golden Bird’]. The cut-off Hans has a ring, but says: ‘Seven realms down and not a inch up’ (he probably should have said: ‘Seven realms up and not an inch down’), and he arrives in the realm of the dwarfs. Here he becomes shepherd, first of mice, then of wethers and forgets about the princess, till one day an eagle comes to get him [because the princess is going to marry?]. In order to get up the eagle needs seven wethers to eat [one for each realm, so he is not 14 but only seven realms under the earth], but in his hurry he takes four too little. On the way he feeds the three wethers and then two times a piece of his thigh and two times an eye, but above ground he continues his journey as if nothing is the matter (at that moment the horse neighs, the bird sings and the princess laughs) [Pino-Saavedra 1974, 13-18 nº2].

The episode of the white and black rams has received special attention by Cosquin. In an Armenian version the girl is a bit cross with the hero for not going up before her (because it is a sign of distrust: while he goes up, she might run away; but it can also be seen a sign of care from the part of the hero because something might happen to her and he is not there to defend her) and says: ‘If you absolutely want to stay here: Friday-night there will come three rams, black, red, and white. You must jump on the back of the black one; he will jump on the red one, who will jump on the white one, and that one will jump with you to the Land of the Light.’ The prince jumps in his hurry on the white ram, who jumps on the red one, who jumps on the black one, who jumps with the prince to the Land of Darkness, where he has the dragon-fight and the flight on the bird. [Cosquin 1922, 491 after FL 1911, 355; same scene by Chalatianz, 29.] In a German version, recorded in Waldau, one of the two princesses the hero Sobeslav found in the underworld says (a bit confused) when they come to the rope: ‘You climb up first, sister; then I will go and then Sobeslav. But first you, Sobeslav, should try something else; when I’m above, there will come running 2two rams, white and black, that will pass by you. Try to grab the white one; when you make a mistake and grab the black one, he will take you to the hell and you will never see us again’ [Cosquin 1922, 492]. In a version from Mauretania, recorded by Desparmet in Blida (in Arabic) the three princes guard in turn the miracle apple-tree, whose apples are stolen by an afrît, who is wounded by the youngest. He descends into the pit. The youngest of the three liberated girls urges the hero to have himself pulled up before her, but he refuses. ‘Well, then take this ring; it will be of use to you. Now I’m going to recommend you something: when the rope breaks, while you are being pulled up, go then back to the castle. Open the closet, take out two roses, and throw them on the ground. Two bucks will come out of them, a black and a white one. Take care not to lay your hand on the black one or you’ll be banished to the lowest layer of the world.’ The black buck abducts the hero and throws him in the lowest layer of the world, where he drops in front of the hut of a good old woman. Then follows the scene with the bird, who doesn’t bring the prince up, but horizontally to the land of his father the sultan [Cosquin 1922, 493]. In a version from the Moroccan Berbers, the demon with seven heads is, when he is about to destroy the garden of the sultan, wounded by Muhammed, the youngest of the two sons of the sultan. The prince follows the blood-trail, comes to a pit and has himself lowered down by his brother. After having killed the monster and so having liberated two princesses, the youngest of them gives him a ring and a wand and says: ‘This ring has magic power; when you want to leave this pit, you have to turn the casing (of the stone); immediately a white dog appears that you have to mount and you will be carried up out of the pit. This wand has power over a jinn, who looks just like a black dog. But if you mount this black dog, he will throw you in the 3rd desert. So mount the white dog, that he will bring you out of the pit.’ In vain she warns Muhammed for his brother, who during his climbing cuts the rope. Muhammed takes the ring and the wand; immediately a white and a black dog appear who run toward him, and as the black one is the first to arrive, Muhammed jumps on it and the dog takes him with dizzying speed away and throws him in the third desert. [Cosquin 1922, 493 after Stumme, Schluh, 146ff.]

Also in Bulgaria the episode of the rams is included in the type description of ATU 301. I. A Lamia (monster, dragon) steals golden apples, or (a) causes other damage (destroys wine-mountain, hay harvest). II. Both elder brothers fall asleep at their post in consecutive nights (years), and do not notice the thief. The youngest brother (Kelco; Pepelasko [= Cendrillon]) is able to wound the Lamia, pursues her to a pit (dry source, well) into the underworld. There he finds girls (one girl) with magic objects; the youngest and most beautiful one gives him a ring. The hero kills the Lamia. The brothers pull up the girls and fight for the most beautiful one. III. Abandoned by his brothers under the earth, the hero jumps by mistake on the black [instead of the white] ram and comes in [an even deeper] underworld. IV. There he kills a snake (dragon, Lamia, monster), that every year eats the young of a bird (usually an eagle). The bird carries him to the upper-world and during the flight the hero feeds the bird also with flesh from his legs (feet, thighs, calves). V. The hero proves his identity by showing his ring or by getting (with the help of the ring) magic clothes, slippers or other magic objects; he marries the youngest of the rescued girls. [Daskalova e.a. 1995, 63f, type 301: Drei Brüder und der goldene Äpfel. 31 versions, not all containing all episodes; a lot of them also have ATU 300 in them.]

Additional literature:

Bleichsteiner, Robert, Kaukasische Forschungen (Georgische und Mingrelische Märchen), Wien 1909, LIX – CLVIII (inleiding: Aus dem Volksglauben)
Carnoy, E.H. et Jean Nicolaïdes, Traditions pop. de l’Asie Mineure, 1888
Daskalova, e.a., Typenverzeichnis der bulgarischen Volksmärchen, Helsinki 1995; FFC 257.
Ginzburg, Carlo, Ecstasies. Deciphering the Witches’ Sabbath, London 1992 (= 1991 = Storia notturna, Turin 1989)
Kiadó, Corvina, Der himmelhohe Baum. Ungarische Volksmärchen, 1984 (= Budapest 1974)
Massenbach, Sigrid von (ed.), Es war einmal… Märchen der Völker, Baden-Baden 1958
Menzel, Theodor, Der Zauberspiegel; Türkische Märchen, Hannover 1924
Pino-Saavedra, Yolando, Volkssprookjes uit Chili, Bruna Sprookjes, Mythen en Legenden 5, Utrecht-Antwerpen (= Düsseldorf-Köln), 1974 (1964)
Radloff, W., Proben … Türkische Stämme Süd-Siberiens 2, 1868
Richter, Dieter, Het Land Waar Niemand Dood Gaat, Leuven 1986
Ruben, Walter, Ozean der Märchenströme Teil 1: Die 25 Erzählungen des Dämons (Vetâlapancavimsati) + Dede Korkut, Helsinki 1944 (FFC 133)

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