Cor Hendriks – The Macaws (22): The Magic Horse | ATU 531 (4) + PDF

That Johanan understood the language of animals is a motif also present in a Greek version (of ATU 531), called ‘The Beardless One and the Godson of the King’. The hero, the godson of the king, has been cheated out of his ‘title’ (and is not to reveal it unless he dies and relives) by the beardless person he took with him as travel companion against the advice of his godfather, written down in a letter, that he has to show together with a ring as signs of recognition. The Beardless shows these objects to the king, who is frightened by the ugly appearance of the Beardless, but accepts him and makes the boy, beautiful as an angel, a cowherd. One day the cowherd laughs over some quarreling swallows and the Beardless says to the king that he laughs over him, the king, but the boy says that it was over the swallows. ‘So he understands the language of the animals,’ says the Beardless, ‘then he can also get the bird of Pipiris from India’ [no explanation is given how the boy has come to understand the animal-languages]. In order not to have his head chopped off the boy sets out and takes on the advice of an old female servant of the king [cf. the grandmother in the Bororo key myth] a certain mare, that can fly and enables him to catch the bird. But then the Beardless says: ‘Godfather, let’s send the boy for the girl Blond-Hair.’ Again the old servant gives advice and the boy goes on his way with 40 leather bags with honey, 40 bags of millet and a backpack full of gold-pieces received from the king on his [! the mare] horse. While sleeping near a well the boy is awoken in the middle of the night by his horse (to save ‘life’), and sees a snake on the verge of eating the young of an eagle. He kills the snake with his sword. The eagle is withheld by the young from swallowing the hero [see above] and rewards him with a feather [he has to burn and the eagle will be there: cf. Simorgh]. In a wood he gives the millet to hungry ants and receives an ant-wing, after which he throws a fish back in the water and receives a fish-scale. Finally he revives a bee-colony with the 40 bags of honey and receives from the bee-queen a sting. The king, the father of Blond-Hair, throws his ring in the water and gives him three days to find it. The horse points the boy to the scale and the king of the Fishes sends out his subjects, that bring the ring in three hours. But the king has a new assignment: sorting out a mountain of grain, which is done (again on advice of the horse) by the ants within two hours. Then the king wants [on advice of the Beardless?] the ‘water of immortality’. The eagle is called, goes with the boy [riding his horse?] and a golden cup to the mountain ‘that opens and closes’, flies with the cup through the aperture in the mountain, fills the cup and brings it to the boy. The king commands a shepherd to kill a Moor and brings him back to life with the water. Now the king wants to give him his daughter, if he can pick her out of 40 maidens. This time the bee-queen comes to his rescue, seats herself on the first girl. As soon as the boy arrives with Blond-Hair at the king, the Beardless wants the boy to climb in the apple-tree to pick the red apples that are hanging in the top, but the king thinks it is too dangerous. When he is gone, the Beardless commands the boy to climb in the tree, and just when he wants to pick the highest apple, the branch breaks and he tumbles down with the apple. The Beardless digs quickly a hole, hides the corpse and brings the apple to Blond-Hair, who starts screaming and says to the in-dashing king that she couldn’t stand the look of that Beardless person, and asks for the man who brought her. The king asks the Beardless. ‘He dropped out of the apple-tree and is dead.’ – ‘Bring him here,’ says Blond-Hair, and the boy is dug up and revived by her with the ‘water of immortality. – ‘Well, Beardless, now I am relieved of my oath,’ and the boy tells the king everything, whereupon the king had the Beardless bound to the tail of a horse and dragged to pieces. Then he marries the boy and Blond-Hair and puts him on his throne [Megas 1978, 89f nº27].

Almost identical is the version from the Greek island Kassos. Here the boy is after the arrival at the king put in the army, and the king notices that he is very clever, and promotes him quickly. This alarms the Beardless, and out on a walk with the king in his garden, he remarks that something is missing in the king’s garden, namely an apple-tree with speaking apples and laughing leaves.He that I brought with me, knows where to find this tree.’ In order not to lose his head the boy goes in tears on his way, into the woods, into the mountains – what does he know – and meets an old woman. ‘God bless you, you mother loaded with a cross!’ – ‘Welcome here, where even the birds don’t fly to.’ The old woman tells that the apple-tree is guarded by an almost never sleeping dragon. On his way he will come to a dirty river, from which he must drink a little and say ‘What a nice water!’, then he comes to a tree with wormy figs, of which he must eat one and say: ‘What a nice fig!’ Then he will see a donkey with bones and a lion with hay, that he must switch. Then he arrives at the stronghold of the man-dragon who sleeps with eyes open [see above Chilean]. This is the case on the second day. Then the boy uproots the apple-tree [he could have taken a twig] and the Dragon-Giant awakes and calls the lion and donkey to stop the boy, but they have eaten for the first time properly. The boy runs on, and also the fig-tree and the river won’t stop him. The tree is planted in the garden of the king and right away the apples talk and the leaves laugh. But the false godson has more to remark; the king doesn’t have the nightingale that flies and sings in the tree; this also the boy can deliver, and the king sends the boy out, who goes to the old woman, who sends him to her older sister (in a hole further on). She tells him that the nightingale is in the possession of a Dragon-man, who has hid his life in three pigeons, that are hidden in a wild sow (she-boar) [ATU 302]. After killing the sow, he goes with the three pigeons to the giant, killing one by one the birds, while in the distance the giant roars and finally drops dead. With the nightingale the boy arrives at the king, who puts the bird in the tree, where it sings wonderful. That evening the king wants the boy to tell a story, which was a custom there; he will do that if all the doors are locked. Halfway the Beardless wants to leave, but is made to stay to hear the whole story, after which the king lets him tear apart by two horses [Klaar 1977, p. 35-48]. The translator, Marianne Klaar, notices, that the oath the boy gave to the Beardless stipulated that the boy would reveal the crime only after he had died and revived; in fuller versions the Beardless kills the boy, because he has brought also the fivefold Beauty; she brings him back to life and marries him [Klaar 1977, 188. Both Megas and Klaar point to the resemblance with ATU 531].

We saw that the feather could have a portrait on it, or could be a portrait; in a Rumanian version (of ATU 531) it is a crown. The hero Petru finds on the road a crown with the letters J. K. engraved on it and asks the horse if he shall take it. ‘If you take it, you’ll be sorry; if you don’t take it also.’ So Petru takes the crown, arrives in a city and goes on advice of the horse in the service of the king. A colleague sees the crown and tells about it to the king, who recognizes the crown: it belongs to princess Juliana. Petru says he has found it and is sent to collect the princess or else his head gets chopped off. Distressed he comes to the horse that promises to help him prevent that the princess will fall in the hands of this tyrant. The point is, that Petru was on the brink of marrying Juliana Kosseshana, whom he had conquered with much trouble, and had gone to get his parents for the wedding, when he came to this king (where he stayed to give the horse some rest). On the horse he fetches the princess, against her wishes, and is back in a flash. The king wants to embrace his bride, but she says:We will only be man and wife, after we have taken a bath in the milk of wild mares.’ Petru is the one who has to go get the mares, and he helps the horse in his fight against the stallion, who, bound by Petru to his horse, drags along the whole herd of mares, that he milks aided by the horse. When the milk boils, he has to bathe first (all on command of Juliana), and is assisted by his horse, that blows the milk cool. Then the king has to go, but his horse doesn’t blow and he burns his legs and drowns. Then Petru and Juliana reconcile and Petru is elected king. [Schott 1975, 126-136 nº17].

The feather is a ‘stone’ in a version of ATU 531, collected by Radloff from Tartars in South Siberia, called ‘The Orphan’. The introduction resembles the story of the Garguf (see ch. 11): children are going into the forest to get wood, followed by an orphan. The children don’t want the orphan to go with them: ‘You will steal our wood from us.’ So they leave him behind and the orphan gets lost in the forest and is found by a Bizin (wood-spirit?) who takes him to his children, who like the child: ‘He may be our servant.’ The Bizin gives him black cows to herd. The orphan drives [one day] the cows high up on the mountain, and the Bizin is afraid they will fall down and perish and calls him to return home. The child refuses, and the Bizin promises something good and to let him go free. The child brings the cows back and the Bizin gives him a precious stone and sets him free. Again the child wanders through the forest and arrives at another city, looks up the king and gets hired as groom: the king has three horses that he has groomed by two, now three servants, and the one who makes his horse the fattest, he will appoint as his adviser. So it is a contest. Each of the three servants are given a horse, a stable, oats, hay and water, and all three make their horse fat. All three horses are just as fat. Then the orphan-child strokes the hairs of the horse with his stone, and the dark stable becomes light as day. The other two servants are jealous of the child [because he is going to win]. ‘He is better than us. We must speak to the king and say that he has vaunted to know the daughter of the peri-king on an island in the sea.’ One of them goes to the king and tells him this, whereupon the king orders the child to bring him this peri-princess. The child goes weeping back to his horse [this is the horse he got from the king], hangs weeping around its neck, and the horse asks why he is weeping. The boy tells about the assignment, and the horse advises him to ask the king for a tent and a coat that are both fantastic: when the tent is opened on one side there is a frozen lake, on the other side open water, etc. On the coat the moon comes out, while the sun sets; the stars pass over, from the right pocket comes a river, from which ducks fly up, pursued by hunting birds, while in it čabaks (fish) swim, pursued by pikes. Of course these are not easy to find or make, and the king has his whole country searched for someone and they finally find the three daughters of a poor old woman, who make the coat and tent. The king gives the child tent and coat, and also the horse and a saddle. So the child (as he is called) saddles his horse and sets out [the stone doesn’t come back, has turned into the horse!]. The horse is a wonderful horse, expressed in a formula: on a month’s way he lets the horse step on six times, on a year’s way he lets the horse step on seven times. He arrives at the sea. Here follows another formulaic episode how to turn the horse into a flying horse. The horse says: ‘Hit me three times without pity. The whip should cut my flesh and pierce it unto the bones. Close thereupon your eyes, don’t look around, you will freeze on the way, you will get hot! [cf. eyes closed: witch’s flight: infra; hot and cold: ATU 301: descend in the hole]. The youth (from now on) hits the horse, crushes the flesh and the whip pierces through to the bone, the horse takes him away, the youth closes his eyes. He freezes on the way, then it becomes hot, too hot to stand, and he peeps a little bit, and he plummets down with the horse on the shore [cf. Icarus’ fall]. The horse is very angry at the youth for not obeying him. They ride on and come to a town, where the youth has to set up his tent, put on the coat, and seat himself in the tent. Girls come to the water, see the tent and the youth, return home and tell it the daughter of the peri-king, who orders to bring the tent to her. He gives the girls the tent, and they tell the peri-princess about the wonderful coat. She orders to bring the coat also, but he will give it only if she invites him into her house. She does this, and he is received by her, flanked by 40 girls with lances. He invites her to open the buttons and she comes down from her throne and starts to unbutton him. He says that he is afraid and is beginning to sweat: ‘Let’s go outside, take the coat off there.’ She has a carpet spread outside, then goes outside and starts to take off his coat, watched over by the 40 girls with lances. Invisibly the black (from here) horse comes to her side, the youth takes the girl under her arm, mounts the horse and takes her away, and the 40 girls don’t know where she has gone. The storyteller informs us that the sea had only been there by magic, so they return over land, which is of course a bit nonsense for a flying horse. He gives the girl to the king, but she has wedding-conditions: her ring must be brought from the youth who drives the sun. Again the youth comes weeping to the horse, who consoles him with the words: ‘You will find it, because the king has sent you.’ Now the story combines with a version of ATU 460/461. He comes to a house, where an old woman collects ashes. On his question why she does this, she tells him that she used to be rich, but has lost all her wealth. On her question he tells that he is seeking the youth who drives the sun, whereupon she asks him to ask that youth why she is collecting ashes. The youth makes a month’s way in six jumps, a year’s way in seven jumps, and meets a youth mowing hay, who wants to know why his hay is so withered. The youth journeys on and comes after a long ride to a sea, where a pike lies as a bridge. Quickly he rides over it, but the pike also has a question for the youth who drives the sun, namely, why he has to lie there as a road. Continuing the journey the hero arrives at a city, where the muezzin utters the call for prayer. He also has a question: where will be his place in Paradise? In the next city two drunken youths want to know where their place in Hell will be. Going on he finally reaches the people of the youth who drives the sun and goes into his house. There is an old woman, who can see that he is not from there; and he tells her that he has come for the silver ring of the daughter of the peri-king. The old woman warns him for her son: ‘He is a truly horrible person: when he sees you, he will do you no good. I will hide you.’ He tells about the questions, and she promises to ask her son about it. In the morning at breakfast she tells her son about her ‘dream’ and asks him the questions. The giving of the answers so distracts the son that he forgets to take the ring with him and leaves it on the windowsill. With the ring and the answers the youth returns to the king (on the way giving the answers). Now the girl wants the vari colored stallion that runs at the head of the herd [the next scene is the subject of a monograph by Cosquin: ‘Le Cheval au Manteau de Peaux de Buffles’]. The youth slaughters 30 horses, takes their skins and puts them over the black horse, when it confronts the vari colored horse. When the latter has bitten through 29 skins in a terrible fight, it is exhausted and can be captured and brought to the king [then follows the ‘Medea’-episode]. The girl orders the king to put a kettle with 90 handles in the steppe, fill it with water and make it boil. Then he has to beat the drums and collect all the people. After this is done she orders the king to swim in the kettle, but the king orders the youth with the black horse to swim. He again comes weeping to his horse. He has to tie the horse next to the kettle [in other versions it is explained that the horse blows the water cold]. The boy swims, comes out unharmed, and the king asks if she now wants to marry him; but she objects that he did not himself swim in the kettle, so he also descents into the kettle and is cooked, where upon the youth marries the daughter of the peri-king and becomes the king, and she his queen [Radloff 1872, 4, 373-383 nº3: ‘Die Waise’; Cosquin 1922, p. 418, the episode is also present in the versions ‘The Magic Horse’ and ‘Juliana Kosseshana’].

The scene with the many skins is also part of a Transylvanian version, collected by Haltrich, wherein the mysterious stone has become the gift from the snake-king, as familiar from many versions of ATU 560. The version is called ‘The boy and the Snake’, already indicating this affiliation with ATU 560: The Magic Ring. A poor woman has her spindle sold by her son and from the money he buys a young snake from boys who torment it. The mother is not happy, but the boy takes care of the snake and it becomes big and strong. It says it is the daughter of the king of the snakes:Go sit on my back, and I will bring you to my land, then my father will reward you.’ The boy seats himself and soon they are far away in a big forest, where the boy has to sit on a tree, while the snake whistles terribly, after which it swarms with snakes. Finally her father arrives, the biggest snake of all, with in his crown a radiating carbuncle. When the king has promised to give the boy anything he wishes, she has him come out of the tree and ask for the eight-legged horse and the carbuncle. The king is very reluctant to part with these, but pressured by his daughter he says: When you are in trouble, tell it the horse and it will help you; and at night put the carbuncle in the forehead of the horse and it will always be day for you.’ The boy rides away and the horse goes faster than the morning-wind, jumping from mountaintop to mountaintop. Finally they arrive in a land, where a rich and proud king rules. The boy takes service as stable-boy and is soon in his favor because of his success at the hunt. The king gives him the pay of the other servants, who decide to ruin the hero, and tell the king that the boy has vaunted to be able to capture the wild Kräm (sow) with golden bristles with her 12 piglets. Despite his protests the boy is sent on pain of death. He comes weeping to his horse, that advises him to ask the king for a big bag (20 Kübel) on the inside covered with pitch. This bag they take to the marsh, where the beast houses, set it up and lure the beast inside [cf. the brave tailor with the wild boar and the chapel, KHM 20] that is followed by its piglets. Next he has to bring the princess from over the sea, who has rejected many suitors. She is abducted in a ship full of precious things (lured aboard after which the ship leaves). But she wants her mares and the colt (wild stallion foal) that guards them. Here the horse asks for a mantle made of seven buffalo-skins, that are torn one by one to pieces by the colt, that is then so exhausted that it can be brought easily by the boy, followed by the mares. Now the mares have to be milked: the horse blows with its left nostril and the ground freezes so the boy can milk the mares. When the milk is boiling and the king has to take a swim, the boy has to try it out; again the horse blows with its left nostril and the milk is lukewarm and the boy becomes wonderfully white. Quickly the king takes him out and jumps in himself, but now the horse blows with his right nostril and the king dissolves and only his white bones are left. The youth asks the princess to marry him and he looks so good, that she wants no other. And he becomes king [Haltrich 1971 (= 1882), 97-105 nº21 = Zaunert, Donauland, 1926, 288 (cf. Beit 1, p. 449)].

In the Hungarian version ‘The Fairytale of Prince Brunzik’ [when the hero in the beginning of the story leaves his birth-town on his terribly bad horse, everyone laughs (as in ATU 502), and someone shouts: ‘He looks just like prince Brunzik in the fairytale’, whereupon he takes on this name]. The hero flies on his flying six-legged horse over a thick dark wood and he sees on the ground a golden horse-shoe. The horse gives him permission to take it, but before it had already warned him not to speak about things. Next he sees a golden feather and then in a very high wood a golden hair. Brunzik then takes service with the king of the Moors, who is a friend of Brunzik’s father, the Red king, and favors him, which arouses the jealousy of the other servants who organize a party, where everyone has to tell something. When it is Brunzik’s turn he says he knows nothing, but pressed he tells about the golden horse-shoe and shows it. One of the servants reports it to the king, who gives Brunzik six days to bring the horse or else his head goes off. On the fifth day, when Brunzik is about to shoot himself through the head, the horse takes him over valleys and hills to a golden castle, where he has to steal the stallion that will neigh as soon as someone strange comes into its presence. The prince has to hide as a oat in the ear of the stallion. The soldiers cannot find him, and they thrash the stallion for giving a false alarm. So when Brunzik comes out of the stallion’s ear it doesn’t neigh anymore, and he can throw the hair of the magic horse over the stallion and abduct it. But when they fly over the walls of the castle, the magic horse touches with his leg the wall and immediately the alarm is raised, but too late. Soon there is a new party of the servants, and this time Brunzik shows the golden feather and has to bring the bird. The horse takes him again to the golden castle, where he has to cross all 99 rooms without touching anything (which is not easy, because he passes a girl with copper, one with silver, and one with gold hair, who have exposed body-parts that he wants to cover) and finally comes to the golden bird in a golden cage in the 100th room. He puts the hair of the magic horse around the cage and takes it back through all the rooms, but by accident bumps against the door-post, setting off the alarm, but on his flying horse he is away before the soldiers can reach him (the king of the Moors hangs the cage on a tree, but the bird doesn’t sing). At a third party of the servants Brunzik shows the golden hair and has to bring the girl (or else the king of the Moors will not only kill him but also his father and brothers and take over his land). The horse orders him to ask the king for a golden coach with six white horses, a regiment soldiers and 100 girls all dressed in white. When it is all ready, they leave, travel a week, and then the horse commands them to clear the road and give passage to the wild boars. The grateful king of the boars promises his help in times of need (he only has to think of him). The same with a army of devils, returning from a war, led by Pluto, as well as an army of bees, that had been fighting the hornets [this clearing the road is already part of the tale of Solomon in the Valley of the Ants]. Then they arrive at the golden castle, where the horse tells Brunzik to pass himself off as the son of the Green king, and he is received cordially. When the gold-haired daughter of the king sees the hero, she is immediately in love with him (cf. Medea). But the king has two demands and points to a meadow where he wants to have a vineyard with ripe grapes, and he also wants a barrel of two aum filled with honey. These tasks are performed by the grateful animals (cf. ATU 554): the boars uproot the meadow, the devils take care of the grapes, and the bees provide the honey. The king gives his daughter, and they leave in the golden coach. On the road the girl discovers that Brunzik is bringing her to the king of the land of Moors, a great disappointment. When the king sees her, he wants to kiss her, but she shrinks back (the golden bird starts to sing as soon as he hears her voice). She wants the king to bring her the herd of 100 milk-mares from her father. The king cannot do that. Of course not; he is a coward, she says (cf. Eurystheus), so the one who brought her must bring the wild horses. The king orders Brunzik, and the horse tells him to ask the king for six bags filled with ashes, and shovels, and to bind them on his back. He takes Brunzik to a great meadow [of course near the gold castle], where the magic horse does battle with the wild stallion, who bites five ash-bags, and is then beaten, and can be led away with a hair of the magic horse, and is followed by the 100 mares. The king now wants her to be his wife, but the girl wants him to milk the wild mares, and take a bath in their milk. Of course Brunzik has to milk the horses, which he does with the help of the horse, and the milk is boiling like hot lava. The girl wants the Moor to go in the bath, he orders Brunzik, and the magic horse blows over the milk and it is lukewarm, so Brunzik comes out unharmed (not said that he is more beautiful, just cleaned up). The Moor also wants to try, but the magic horse blows hot air, and the milk is boiling again. The Moor puts in one toe, and then runs off ashamed (because naked). But the girl marries Brunzik, and together they go home to the Red king [Kiadó 1984, 232-246: ‘Das Märchen vom Prinzen Brunzik’].

The Albanian tale ‘The Blind King’ is a combination of ATU 551 and ATU 531. The prince asks his blind father for a horse, stuffs the saddle-bags full of gold and goes looking for a cure. He finds a beautiful feather. The horse says: ‘When you take, you will be sorry, but otherwise also!’ He takes it, asks whom it belongs to. ‘The nightingale, called Khuhzar.’ – ‘Who has it?’ – ‘She has a sister; when she sees you she will eat you; when she doesn’t see you, then grab her left boob.’ The lad goes there, puts his hand on her boob. ‘Who are you looking for, son of man?’ He gives the feather. ‘What kind of reward do you want?’ –My father is blind.’To make him see he needs roe-milk from there, where the mountains close and open. You have to go to the big plane-tree at the lake, out of it come the wild mares.’ The king’s son tells it his horse, that says: ‘Buy for me five buffalo-skins and a rope. Tie me in the skins and seat yourself on the plane-tree. When I whine the leaves will fall off on the ground. When smoke comes out of me, flames will come out of the stallion of the wild mares. When I win, then come down.’ The stallion starts the battle, tears off the buffalo-skins, but is in the end beaten and dies. The mares ask afraid what he wants. ‘I want the eyes of my father healed.’ – ‘Mount me,’ one of the mares says, ‘hold on tight, fill out there the bottle from the kettle with roe-milk.’ He mounts the wild mare and fills the bottle with roe-milk and comes back out. The mountains close in order to catch him, but only catch the tip of the tail of the horse. The eyes of the father are healed [Camaj, Martin & Uta Schier-Oberdorffer, Albanische Märchen, Düsseldorf-Köln 1974, p. 89-91 nº26].

In the Mongolian version ‘The Son of the Mountain’, it is the cruel wife of the king who is the evil genius behind the mission the hero has to accomplish. First he plays a big role in the making of a coat for the king, but the queen thinks the king should also have ‘the magic hat of the giant’ and suggest that the hero is sent. He goes there on his fiery wild horse and comes over a narrow path to a grey yurt where three beautiful maidens are, one crying, one singing and one laughing. They are the three remaining ones of the 13 daughters of Khan Garudi, about to be eaten by the giant snake from the northwest (today, tomorrow and the day thereafter). He promises to save them, rides to the northwest and lays in wait. Then dust arises to the sky, trees and stones move, after which the snake arrives with wide open jaws. The hero shoots an arrow in the mouth that makes the snake jump ten fathoms in the air and fall down dead. Then a white clouds comes that changes in the queen-Garudi, who calls the hero son and offers help. He tells about the magic hat. She takes him on her wings and tells him what to do, which is to hold on tight to her wings and when she lands in the house of the giant, to shout: ‘Lord giant, come see how the sun goes up in the west!’ The giant comes outside, the Garudi-queen grabs his hat from his head and flies in one jump ten thousand feet high. But the giant is still attached to the hat and the hero strikes him with his bow, so that the head-band breaks and the giant falls. Furious he runs back to get his bow, but he is too late. Khan Garudi brings the hero back to his house, gives him the hat, and he goes with it to the king, whose wife thinks that he should take now a heavenly fairy as second wife, again something for ‘the son of the mountain’. He goes for advise to the Khan Garudi, who takes him via three old couples to the main gate of heaven and the Khan Garudi advises him to go drink tea with the mother of the heavenly fairies, then to lure a daughter outside, where he will stand ready to fly away with them. This succeeds, and they fly past the three old couples, taking a daughter of each of them along as wife of the hero. With the five of them on the back of the Khan Garudi they land past the west-river of the residence of the king, where the heaven-fairy with her hair-pin points to an empty spot and a travel-yurt arises, where they eat. The hero goes to the king who orders him on advice of his wife to build a city of glass. The hero goes to the heaven-fairy, who builds with the three wives of the hero the city. When the king and queen are in the glass city and again order to bring ‘the son of the mountain’, the fairy commands the hero to shoot an arrow at the glass city. This changes into water, wherein the king and queen drown. The hero marries the fairy and becomes khan [Heissig 1963, 16-25 nº3: ‘Der Sohn vom Berg’].

The three girls, one weeping, one laughing and one singing, have become three boys in the epos Boroldoi Mergen. After eliminating his enemies in many adventures, Boroldoi is living in peace, honored by all. Then one day his horse come to him and reminds him of the three heavenly fairies who saved him from the sea and whom he owns thanks. So the hero makes ready for a long journey and sets out, the distance of 30 years shortening to one of three months, and then reaches the end of the world. He sees on the top of a mighty pine-tree the great nest of an owl-bird [= Garuda], wherein three children are sitting, who flee when the hero approaches. Boroldoi goes round the tree and finds a boy who is weeping, a second one singing, and a third one laughing. On his question, one of the boys says that they are three brothers whose mother lost the battle with the world-burning fire-poison-snake, after which the snake fattens the three boys to eat them. The weeping one is the oldest son, who will be eaten now, the singing one tomorrow and the laughing one the day after that. The snake is living in the northwest. The hero prepares himself for the battle with the snake, hides under leaves at the foot of the tree, waiting for the snake. When it comes crawling, the hero conjures his arrow, shoots, hits and splits the poisonous fire-snake in two parts that fall between the mountains. The three boys are now free and ask the hero for his name. He gives it, but then takes off; at night though he returns and hides in a leave-covered hole at the foot of the tree. From the north comes the mother of the three boys, Qan Γarudi, flying towards the tree, sees her children save and asks who saved them. She flies after the hero, but is not able to find him. Returned, she finally discovers him in the hole at the foot of the tree, thanks him and offers him a brother-bond and they become as blood-related brothers. When Boroldoi declares that he is looking for the three heavenly fairies, Qan Γarudi gives him a cloth with knots at three ends; when in danger he must open a knot and help will arrive. The three sons of Garuda will protect him. This cloth he uses to overcome a sudden outbreak of water, an extreme cold, and an extreme heat; finally he shakes the cloth when his road is blocked by mountains, and they crumble. He then arrives at the three fairies (compared with the Pleiades). They are called firmament-fairies and play dice with the hero (cf. Fates). With them he returns, passing the heat and cold area without problems, and arrives at the support of the firmament, the Tuluma-tree, where the three sons of Qan Γarudi accompany them. The seven of them reach the homeland, where the marriage of the three sons of Garuda with the three fairies is celebrated. After this Boroldoi goes alone in search for his sister, but during the final battle with the mangus the three boys come as support for the hero flying on Qan Γarudi, and help overpower the mangus and search for the sister, who is hidden in one of the mangus’s boots, and the fairies restore her former beauty, after which they hold a great feast [Heissig 1988, 184-194 nº20: Boroldoi Mergen].

Cor Hendriks – The Macaws – Myth and Folktale (1)

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