Cor Hendriks – The Macaws (34): The Wooden Garuda and the Flying Horse

Incrediblefactory – Garuda Vahana of Lord Vishnu (foto flipkart)

The Macaws (34): The Wooden Garuda and the Flying Horse

The bird Garuda is used in a tale from an Indian tale collection, called the Panchakhanaka, an adaptation made between 1000 and 1100 of the Panchatantra. To get to his beloved, locked in a heavily guarded palace, the hero, a weaver, turned to a wagonmaker, who made in the turn of a hand from wajudja wood a Garuda (eagle), that could be set in motion with the elbows. He made also [two extra] arms, a horn, a discus, a club, a lotus flower, a garland of flowers, a diadem, and a jewel like the one Vishnu is wearing on his breast. On this Garuda the hero, equipped with all the paraphernalia of Vishnu, was seated by the wagon maker, who showed him how to work the device with his elbows, and said ‘Alright, my friend, around midnight the princess will be in the upper part of the seven storied palace.’ The weaver flew to the princess, who thought that he was Vishnu and gave herself willingly to him. The king though discovered the matter and decided to destroy his enemy. At that moment Vishnu intervened, because he could not have the people think that they have beaten him. Then he would lose his esteem for good. Therefore he let the weaver on his wooden Garuda win the battle, so that he can marry the princess, and the secret of the mechanical bird remained intact [Leeuwen, 1999, p. 272f (lemma Machines)].

The story is more elaborately told in the Panchatantra, an older Indian book of life lessons. The teacher claims that the gods even make friends with those who always strive forwards. The story goes that

The gods befriend him
Who climbs till the summit of determination:
That way Vishnu with the disk and Garuda supported
The weaver in his combat.

And also:

Even Brahma does not understand the reason
Of well thought deception:
The weaver who took on Vishnu’s appearance
Conquered in the end the princess.

The story is set in Sugarcane town in the Molasses belt, and the two friends, the weaver and the carpenter, were both masters in their trade, had made a lot of money, and went about dressed in the finest of cloths. One day there was a feast in the palace, where everyone was invited, and our friends also went there in their finest cloths. And while they were sight seeing in the palace, they caught a glimpse of a princess, sitting before her window. She was more than beautiful, and the weaver was hit by the god of love with no less than five arrows in his heart .He could think of nothing else than the princess. When his friend came by his house the next day, dressed sharp as always, the weaver was in a state of disarray, lying sighing on his bed, and the carpenter asked him what was wrong. The poor weaver couldn’t say a word, but his friend quoted some proverbs, after which the weaver confessed his love for the princess. First of course, his friend spoke about the class difference. The king was a Kshatriya, and they were Vaisyas, but the weaver brushed that aside. Seeing how determined his friend was, the carpenter promised to help him. The next day he came by with a brand new mechanical bird, looking like Garuda, made of wood and painted in bright colors, and equipped with an ingenious construction of pins. He explained the weaver how to operate the bird. ‘When you go sit on the back of the bird and stick a pin in it, it brings you exactly where you want to go. And it lands, when you pull the pin out of it. Tonight, when everyone is asleep, you must dress up yourself like Vishnu, climb on this bird and land on her balcony at the palace, where she sleeps alone.’ The weaver made himself look like Vishnu and did as the carpenter had told him. He landed on the balcony, and the princess thought he was Vishnu and fell down kissing his feet. On her question what she could do for him, he told her that she was the reason of his visit. She had been his wife, but as the result of a curse she had fallen down to earth. He proposed to marry her according to the usual heavenly way (the so called Ghandarve marriage). She agreed as it surmounted her expectations, and had the ceremony. This way night after night they spent making love, and before daybreak the carpenter mounted his eagle and flew home without being seen.

But of course the behavior of the princess did not go by unnoticed, and report was made to the king, who asked his wife to go check up on their daughter, Princess Lovely. It turned out that her lips were swollen from all the kissing and on her body were undeniable love marks. Her mother started screaming that she stained their good name and brought disgrace on the family, but the daughter defended herself by telling the story of her marriage with Vishnu. Her mother was thrilled and went to tell the king the good news, and suggested to spy on their daughter. So that night, hiding in a side room, they saw the weaver land on the balcony, seated on the wooden Garuda, with in his hands the conch shell, disk and club, and his body marked with the usual signs. Vishnu is represented as a comely youth of a dark blue color, and dressed like an ancient king. He has four hands. One holds the Panchajanya, a Śankha or conch shell; another the Su darśana or Vajra nābha, a chakra or quoit weapon; the third, a Gadā or club called Kaumodakt, and the fourth, a Padma or lotus. On his breast are the peculiar mark or curl called Śrī vatsa and the jewel Kaustubha, and on his wrist is the jewel Syamantaka [Dowson 1973, 361]). The king felt as if douched by nectar, and felt blessed, and thinks he can subjugate the whole world. But just at that time emissaries from Heroes’ Courage, the king of the South, came to collect the yearly tribute. The king, proud of his relationship with Vishnu, refused to pay the usual respect to the emissaries, and when they said something about it, he showed them his bare buttocks. Furious they went back and reported the case to their king, who was not amused and went with his whole army up against the father of Princess Lovely, turning the country into ruin and slaughtering the people in it. He surrounded Sugarcane town and the king went to his daughter and asked her to speak to lord Vishnu, when he came that night. Lovely told this the weaver, and he said her not to worry. In the past he had beaten many enemies, the most powerful demons, Hiranyakashipu, Kansa, Madhu and Kaithaba, to name but a few. She informed the king, and he, already sure of the victory made a proclamation, that the citizens had a right to a share of the spoils. The weaver was less sure of his case, but decided it was better to be killed in the battle than to be killed by the king and hoped to scare the enemy by showing up in his bird. Here the real Garuda intervened. He went to Vishnu and told him about the weaver, who had pretending to be him, Vishnu, married the princess, and was now in this predicament. When he would lose the battle, people would think that Vishnu had been killed and that would be a disgrace. Nobody would sacrifice anymore and atheists would destroy the temples. Vishnu answered that he was right and that he as the weaver, who had in him a divine spark, had to kill the enemy king. Garuda agreed and the weaver, inspired by Vishnu, instructed Princess Lovely. ‘My dear, when I go into the combat, let prepare all those things that are necessary for the blessing.’ And he summed up some much promising rituals, brought the ornaments that might be of use in the battle, and accepted the reverential offerings like yellow paint, black mustard and flowers. When the friend of the by day flowering lotuses, the blessed thousand beamy Sun, arose above the horizon and painted the bridal appearance of the eastern sky, the king left with the victoriously roll of the battle drums the town and went to the battle field. Both armies aligned in perfect battle order and the infantry started the fight. At that moment the weaver climbed on his Garuda and dispersed rich gifts of gold and jewels and flew up from the roof of the palace towards the dome of the sky, while the citizens adored him trembling with amazement and wide open mouths. When he had passed the city walls, he remained hovering above his army and blew on Vishnu’s conch shell. When the elephants, horses, battle cars and foot soldiers heard the sound of the horn, they lost all courage and many a cloth was soiled. Some ran of screaming, others rolled as paralyzed on the ground, or stood stiff as a stick staring at the sky. At that moment the gods came to witness the battle, and Indra said to Brahma ‘Brahma, is this some kind of devil or demon that needs to be killed? Because the blessed Vishnu, on the back of Garuda, has gone personally into the battle.’ Brahma considered this.

The discus of Lord Vishnu drinks in great sips
The down pouring blood of the enemy demons,
But against a mortal he doesn’t go to battle:
The lion in the wood who has the capacity
To kill with his claws an elephant
Leaves a mosquito also unhindered.

So Brahma was surprised about this miracle. And while the gods with great attention thought about the situation, the weaver threw the discus toward Heroes’ Courage. The discus returned, after cleaving the king in twain, to his hand. When the kings [the allies of Heroes’ Courage] saw that, they all jumped from their battle cars and threw themselves face down flat on the ground, and begged the man who looked like Vishnu. ‘O lord, an army without guidance is already beaten. Please spare our lives.’ He commanded them to follow the orders of king Brave Shield, and gave the king the spoils of war, while he himself, because he had received the special royal state that befits the victorious hero, enjoyed every imaginable pleasure with the princess [Ryder, 1992, p. 75 – 86 (Panchatantra 1:5)].

This story was well known in medieval Europe, where it was told about a wooden horse [compare Clouston, 1887, I, Nº1 7, p. 374 – 376, Chaucer, ‘The Squire’s Tale’ (horse of brass) Clavileño Aligero (wooden pin wing bearer), after the French Romance Cléomades, 13th century by Adanès li Rois in Valentin et Orson, Le cheval de fust (wooden horse), compare 1001 Nights. Compare BP, II, p. 134, N° 1, Chauvin, BOA, V, 227-231]. It is taken up in the Aarne Thompson Uther Index as type ATU 575, The Prince’s Wings. Contest in the preparation of the most wonderful object. Wings. The prince buys the wings from a clever workman. The hero flies to the princess in the tower. They fly away together from the stake where they are to be burnt. After they have flown away the father offers half his kingdom as reward to the one [who] will return her. The prince flies back with her and enforces the bargain. According to the motifs, the hero flies to the maiden’s room (K1346), on artificial wings (F1021.1). A reward is offered for the stolen object (princess) (K442.1), half the kingdom (Q112). The lowly hero marries the princess (L161) [Thompson, 1961, p. 213].

A version of the story was part of the Grimm edition of 1812 as Nº77, ‘Vom Schreiner und Drechsler’. A carpenter and a turner both made a masterpiece, the first a table (in German Tisch, maybe a mistake for Fisch = fish), that could swim by itself, the turner wings, that enabled a man to fly. Everyone declared the carpenter the winner, so the turner put on his wings and flew away from morning till evening and came to a country, where a prince saw him flying and asked him to borrow him the wings for a substantial reward. The prince got the wings and flew, till he came in another kingdom, where in a tower burned many lights. He landed and made inquiries. There lived the most beautiful princess of the world. He was curious and in the evening he flew through an open window. After a while the case was betrayed and the prince and princess were put on a pyre to die. But the prince had taken his wings with him on the pile, and amidst the flames he put on the wings and flew away with the princess to his own country, where he was made king. After a while he heard that the father of the princess had put up as reward half his kingdom, so he went there with an army, brought the princess to her father and enforced him to fulfill his promise [BP II, p. 131f, without source information. Only partially conserved; already the fact that the tale jumps away from the turner, who also could have experienced it himself, is not correct.]

A more elaborate version is preserved in the Grimm heritage, called ‘The wooden horse’, probably recorded by Mone about 1820 around Baden. A king holds every birthday a competition for artisans and rewards the best masterpiece. Once there comes a man with a wooden horse and on command of the king he goes to get something within an hour in a town twelve hours away. The man on the horse flies away and comes back with the proof. The king takes him inside to reward him, and the king’s son flies away on the unattended wooden horse after discovering and turning a screw. After a while he discovered how to work the horse and he comes down on a tower in a strange country. He has become hungry from the long flight and goes into the tower to search for food. Going down a staircase he comes in a room, where an extremely beautiful girl looks at him with fright. He asks for food and she gives him something. He tells her how he got there and she asks him to come back, which he does the next night, and the night thereafter they fly together on the horse and land after a long flight in a meadow. While the prince is sleeping, twelve robbers come and take princess and horse away to Heathen country. The prince comes to this town and hears about the girl and the horse. The girl is locked in a big castle and the horse stands in the courtyard. He goes to the heathen in the castle and gets a job, first as handyman, which he does so good that soon he becomes the room servant of the girl, who doesn’t recognize him [because of his disguise]. After a while he reveals himself to her, and they plan their escape. The heathens want to know how to employ the horse, but the princess keeps quiet. Then the room servant says he wants to demonstrate it, but the girl has to be on the horse. The heathens are okay with that, but they may not leave the courtyard. But as soon as they are seated on the horse, they fly away, and the heathen are foiled. They go to the land of the prince, where they get married, and the prince becomes king after the dead of his father [BP II, p. 132f].

The story has also been recorded (10 times) in Bulgaria and the type description of ‘The Flying Wooden Horse’ is (1) A goldsmith wants to take the joiner’s wife, both go to court and the judge (king, general) says, he will give the woman to the one who brings the most ingenious object (or beautiful gift). The goldsmith forges a chicken with golden chicks. The joiner makes a wooden horse that can fly. The wife is given to the joiner. (2) The son of the king (judge) takes the wooden horse and goes on it looking for a bride. He arrives at a king’s daughter who is held captive in a tower (castle, high balcony). His visits to the princess are discovered. He is caught and convicted to death. Before they hang him he flies away with her on the wooden horse. (3) On the road he goes looking for fire. His horse catches fire and burns to ashes. He cannot go back to his bride and remains alone in the forest [Daskalova among others, 1995, p.126].

A similar story has also been recorded in Turkey. A prince buys a miracle horse that flies with him into a palace, where he is with a princess. She marks him one night. The people have to parade by and he is recognized by the mark. He flees with the girl, flying away on the horse. They arrive at a witch, where they take a kettle from the fire. Sparks set the horse on fire, the girl has disappeared and gives later birth to two sons in a cave [EB type 136, III, version N (Adana ,1, p. 13 from Malatya), hereafter follows type 136] In another type, a benefactor of the poor receives from a ‘man’ an airplane. With it he visits at night a princess, pretending to be a peri prince. A counteraction of the vizier has no result, the benefactor engages himself with the princess. Then he goes up against the enemy, by bombarding them with stones out of the air and is victorious. But one day the airplane burns to ashes and he cannot visit the princess anymore [EB type 175, IV, version K (Caferoğlu, 4, p. 3 – 13 from Malatya) followed by AT 566 (fruit > animal)]. In a third version a carpenter and a goldsmith argue, because the goldsmith claims the wife of the carpenter. To prove their abilities they have to make masterpieces. The carpenter makes a flying wooden horse, the goldsmith a flying gold bird. The carpenter wins. The prince flies away on the horse and makes a faraway lover pregnant [EB, type 291.V (Bergama 1, 4 from Izmir), followed by other complications].

In the version from the Arabian Nights, three scientists bring gifts to a king: a golden peacock, a messing horn and a horse from ebony and ivory, that flies through the air. The king’s son climbs on the horse, turns the knob and flies to a faraway country, lands on the roof of a castle and comes to a princess, whom he marries and later abducts on his wooden horse [BP II, p. 134]. A King with three daughters and a son is visited one day by three scientists, one with a golden peacock, that cries at the hours, the second with a trumpet, that sounds when an enemy enters the city, and the third with a magic horse of ebony wood. They ask in return for the hand of the princesses. The king accepts the peacock and the trumpet. His son, to whom the scientist tells to touch a knob for flying up, tests the horse and flies away. Eager to descend he examines the horse and discovers he has to touch the knob on the left shoulder. He comes down on the balcony of a beautiful castle, that seems empty, but it comes to life when the daughter of the king arrives, for whom it serves as a pleasure place. The prince throws himself on the eunuch and throws him down; the princess, who thinks he is the son of the king of India, who has come to ask for her hand and who was sent away because of his ugliness, but whom she finds beautiful, throws herself in his arms. The king, alarmed by the eunuch, comes rushing in. First he is furious, then full of awe, he reproaches the prince not to have asked openly for the hand of his daughter and threatens to have him killed. The prince offers to do a single combat or a battle against the whole army; if he wins, he will be worthy to be his son in law. Next morning the army assembles. The prince asks for his horse. Everyone is surprised to see it on the roof and that it is of wood. The prince, having placed the troops at a distance, climbs in the saddle and disappears in the air; they think he is a magician. But the princess is very sorry about his departure and her father is not able to console her. After the return to his country he has the scientist released from jail, where he had been locked up; he was overwhelmed with presents, but he is refused the hand of the king’s daughter, to his regret. In love with the princess, he ignores his father’s commands, who doesn’t want him to risk his life on the dangerous horse, and leaves that evening. He flies to the princess, who is sick, and persuades her to leave with him. Back in his country the prince leaves the princess in the garden with the horse. He announces his arrival to his father, who has a great escort prepared to receive his daughter-in-law. But when the prince returns in the garden, his girlfriend is gone and he hears from the guards that only the Persian wise man has been there, looking for useful herbs. (He has taken her on the horse to the country Rûm (Byzantine), where he was thrown in prison.) The prince went from country to country looking for his fiancée, and came at last in the kingdom of Rûm, where he heard in a khan (tavern) about the arrival of the wise man and his beautiful victim. He went to the indicated place and arrived there in the evening. Because of the late hour he is put in jail, but the guards are so charmed by his beauty, that they let him join them in their meal. When they hear that he is a Persian, they tell about the Persian girl, who can’t stop crying. Maybe he can cure her. The next day at the audience before the king, he pretends to be a doctor. To cure her he has the wooden horse brought and then escapes with the princess on the horse to Persia, where they get married [Chauvin, BOA, V, p. 222 – 224 (Egyptian text)].

In the second version the Persian king is called Sâboûr. The first scientist with the trumpet is Indian, the second with the golden peacock is Greek, and the third with the ebony horse is Persian. He gives them in exchange for their inventions his three daughters in marriage. But the marriage of the Persian is not as expected, because he is old and ugly. The prince helps his sister, which makes the Persian hate him and he tells the prince when he is on the horse to touch the knob and the prince disappears in the air. The Persian is thrown in jail. The prince discovers the knob to make him descend. He lands on the balcony, and sees inside a sleeping princess, whom he awakes with a kiss and tells, that her father has engaged her with him. But he is caught by the king and proposes to fight against the army. The next morning the prince takes off on his horse and goes to his father, who holds a big party for several days. But after a few days the prince returns on his horse to the princess. She wants to go with him and they go together to Persia, where he leaves her in the garden. The released sorcerer stumbles upon the princess, sees his chance to avenge himself on the prince, and flies with her to China, where he meets the king and is put in prison. The king wants to marry the princess, who to avoid this pretends to be crazy. No one can cure her. The prince wanders through many countries, and then hears about the crazy princess. Disguised as an astrologer he suggest to the king, that he can cure her. He talks to her and after a bath she is much more agreeable. Then he has the horse brought, climbs on it with the princess. In a cloud of incense to chase away the bad demons he disappears in the air and lands at the palace of his father, where the marriage is celebrated [Chauvin, BOA, V, p. 225 – 227].

Also the stories of the Flying Chair and of Malek are related to our theme. In the first a workman acquires a Flying Chair thanks to which he becomes the son in law of the sultan, by pretending to be the Angel of Death. While he is with the princess, the cook burns by accident the Chair. The workman is much distressed. The genie that had lived in the chair appears to him and first wants to kill him, but he pities him and gives him, with a bonnet that makes invisible, a ring, that obliges him to come to his rescue when the wearer presses it. Now the workman is able to do certain things his father in law wants and vanquishes his enemy. Then the sultan abdicates and his son in law takes his places [Chauvin, BOA, V, 232 Nº, p. 131].

The second story is about Malek, the son of a rich merchant, who loses his money and buys (with his last money?) a suitcase with the ability to fly. He flies to Gazna, where he hears that the daughter of the king is locked up in a palace in order to escape from the trickery of a man as foretold in a horoscope. Thanks to his suitcase he visits a few times the palace and pretends to Shirine to be Mahomet. The king, who discovers the truth and shares, as result of a thunderstorm, the illusion of his daughter, refuses an alliance with a neighbor king, who declares war. Malek arms himself with stones and aided by his suitcase kills the king and chases the soldiers away. The marriage is celebrated and Malek amuses the people by making artificial fire in the air. But a spark falls on the suitcase and it burns to ashes. Malek flees to Cairo, where he becomes a weaver [Chauvin, BOA, V, p. 232f, Nº1, p.32].

Eberhard and Boratav have this tale as part of the extensions of type 175. A benefactor of the poor receives from a ‘man’ a airplane. With it he visits every night a princess and pretends to be a Peri prince. A counteraction of the vizier has no result, the benefactor gets engaged with the princess. He then goes up against the enemies, by bombarding them with stones out of the air, and he is victorious. One day though the airplane burns, and he cannot visit the princess anymore. [Eberhard & Boratav 1953, p. 199f] The story is also part of type 136.III.N. A prince buys a magic horse, that flies with him into a palace, where he is with a princess. She marks him one night. All the people have to parade by and she recognizes him from the sign. He escapes with the girl by flying away on the horse. They come to a witch, where they take a kettle from the fire. Through a spark the horse burns, the girl has disappeared and gives birth later in cave to two sons [Eberhard & Boratav, 1953, p. 152] A very similar introduction has Bergama 1, p. 4 (from Izmir). A carpenter and a goldsmith get into a fight, for the goldsmith claims the wife of the carpenter. To prove their capabilities they each make a work of art. The carpenter makes a flying wooden horse, the goldsmith a flying golden bird. The carpenter wins. The prince then flies away on the horse and impregnates a faraway beloved [Eberhard & Boratav 1953, p. 336, type 291.V. A reference is made to type 63, where stories are told (variation J)].

The story of the wooden horse has also been collected in India. The introduction is familiar. A goldsmith and a carpenter quarrel and are brought before the king, who asks them each to present him with an example of their ability. So on the appointed day the goldsmith comes with a golden fish, that swims, dives and eats in water just like a real fish. The carpenter opens a bundle and puts together a magic horse that he saddles and bridles, and the horse walks. The carpenter request someone to climb on it, but nobody dares until the son of the king runs to the horse, and jumps on it. The horse flies up in the air [because the prince has inadvertently touched the flying pin] with great speed till the prince touches inadvertently the silver button between the ears of the horse; this makes the horse go down and he lands in a garden. It is dark, so he takes the horse apart and lays himself down to sleep with the bundle as pillow. The next morning he is discovered by the widow of the chief gardener of the king, who has to weigh each morning the daughter of the king against a bouquet. The king doesn’t want his daughter to fall in love against his wish, and as long as she hasn’t seen a man’s face, the bouquet is heavier. The widow pities the prince and gives him shelter and food in his own house. He asks her about the bouquets, that she daily weaves, and finally she tells the story, and he is filled with desire to see the princess. One night he climbs on his horse, that brings him to the palace of the princess [hanging in the air?]; he sees her sleeping and leaves behind
a handkerchief upon which he has written with his blood ‘O lady, I love you!’ He does this seven nights. The princess is surprised and on the eighth night she decides to stay awake, scratches open a finger, dips it in salt, so that the pain would prevent her from fallen asleep. They converse and in the morning the princess is heavier than the bouquet. The widow is scared and tells it after a day of two, three to the queen. The king consults his council, who advise to make known that the princess has lost a jewel and so have the palace searched for the thief, but no way of entering can be discovered. Then they recommend that a great feast is approaching on which the ordinary people throw colored powder over each other and that the king has to send the princess a special kind of powder, that she, when she has a lover, will throw over him. The stains will reveal him. The princess is according to the plan equipped with powder of saffron and gold dust. She and her maidens amuse themselves with it during the day and at night, when the prince comes, she throws handfuls over him. Fearing betrayal by what she says, he takes his clothes to washers at the river. The washer, who wants to join the festivities, puts on the clothes of the prince, and rides on his donkey into the town, where he is arrested. Hen is brought before the first minister, who believes the man’s story and lays a trap for the prince, who is caught, but has opportunity to take the bundle with his magic horse with him. The princess, looking down from her bower on the execution square decides to jump from the tower and die together with him. It is hot. They hold still under the tree at the well and the prince asks if he may meditate on the tree. The captain agrees, and the prince climbs in the tree, drops money, and while the soldiers grab for it, he puts his magic horse together and flies up to the princess. Takes her behind him and brings her safely to his father’s palace, where they marry with much pomp. The carpenter and the goldsmith each receive great gifts and the carpenter is proclaimed the best. Horse and fish are placed in the royal treasury, but the pin to control the horse is removed for safety. The horse flew in one night a journey that takes the embassy to the parents of the princess a whole year [summary by Edith Mendham, in Folk Lore, I, p. 131f, Nº49 after Mark Thornhill, Indian Fairy Tales, London, 1882, p. 108 – 145, Nº3, ‘The Magic Horse’].

In a Chinese (Uygur) version the king proposes a master test for the quarrelling smith and joiner. So after the ten days the smith comes with an enormous iron fish, with which great quantities of grain can be transported very rapidly over water. The joiner has made a horse with 26 pins (or screws to control the speed) that flies through the air. The prince gets after much begging permission to take a test flight and flies off, finally landing in a country very far from his own, where he takes a room in an inn after hiding his horse. The next day he goes sight seeing and comes to a square where people are standing looking up in the air. The prince sees nothing special up in the sky, so he asks, immediately revealing that he is stranger, because everyone knows that the princess lives in a castle above the clouds (built by spirits). The king visits her daily and is about to return. That night the prince flies up on his horse and discovers after a while the castle rising up from the clouds. The princess hears his steps, thinks her father has returned, but then sees this strange young man and she thinks he is an Angel from Heaven. The prince is immediately in love and before long they are lying in each other’s arms till the morning arrives and the prince returns to the inn. The king weighs his daughter everyday and notices that she has gained two pounds, which as he knows can only be the result of love for a man. He gathers his council, and they suggest to post four soldiers to guard the corners of the palace. But the guards fall asleep, and again the weight of the princess has increased. Then the bed and chair of the princess are painted red. Returning from his visit the prince notices the red stains on his fanciful coat and lets it fall down. It passes a muezzin just standing ready for morning prayer and he catches it, and seeing the jewels on it, he thinks it a gift from Allah and puts it on. But in the street he is caught by the soldiers that the king has sent to catch the man with the red paint. As the man keeps saying that it was a gift from Allah, he is convicted to die by the rope, but at the last moment the prince steps forward and reveals himself. The king orders his hanging, but the prince escapes on his horse, cheered on by the crowd. He immediately goes to the princess, giving her a choice between fleeing with him or staying without him, and he brings her to his father. But halfway she starts complaining about some jewels she has left behind, and the prince lands and lets her return to the castle on the horse, where she is caught by the king, who takes her back to earth and locks her up, while the horse is tossed in the royal lumber room. The prince has been left behind in a desert with nothing than sand dunes. He climbs up a high dune to look around, but when he has reached the top, the sand mountain starts to slide and the prince slides down with it and finally comes to rest in a big vegetable garden. The story turns into a version of the last part of AT 566, The Three Magic Objects and the Wonderful Fruits (Fortunatus), where in episode III, The Magic Apple, the hero eats an apple (here peaches and pears) that causes horns to grow (here also plus a white beard) on his head. Later he finds a fruit (here after a dream of a wise man who tells him he has eaten the devil’s fruit and that he must eat the ones that have fallen on the ground. That removes them [Thompson, 1961, p. 207]. The prince uses the fruits to eliminate his rival who has come from a far away country, and take his place as suitor. When he arrives with the bride in the capital of the horned prince she throws gold coins in the crowd. In the turmoil the prince and the princess fly away on the wooden horse that the princess has insisted on as dowry. Back in his own country the prince has the joiner released who has been nailed to a bridge and was hanging there already for three days. He is restored to health and amply rewarded and given a high position, while the prince marries his princess with much pomp [Guter 1977, p. 133 – 158].

Cervantes (1547 – 1615) made a persiflage of the wooden horse in his famous Don Quixote. In his days there was much talk about witches and magicians flying through the air. In Spain there was (in the same time as in Germany Dr  Faust) Dr  Torralba, court physician of the Admiral of Castile. He flew on May the sixth 1527 on a stick through the air to Rome and immediately back again to Spain, where he reported the tumultuous battle actions he had seen in the streets. A few days later through conventional channels the first reports came in that Rome had been conquered and plundered on May the sixth by the troops of Charles V. This was not the first time that Torralba made this air trip, because with the help of his spirit Zequiel (cf. Ezekiel) he had often flown to Rome, where he had studied as a young man. The story can be compared with that of Faust, at his height at the same time, who used to make air-trips with the help of his spirit Mephistopheles on a flying cloak, on which he also transported several of his guests. In the Orient the magicians used for this purpose a flying carpet (already known from Solomon), compared to which the stick of Torralba is a somewhat suspect means of transportation, reminding in an unpleasant way of the broomstick of the witches [Baschwitz 1981, p. 28f, see for more].

Cervantes had also heard of Dr Torralba and has Don Quixote talk about him, while he is made fun of together with Sancho Panza. Seated on a wooden horse and both blindfolded, it is suggested to them that they are making a wonderful air trip. When Sancho fears, that they are reaching ‘the region of fire’, he wants to pull off the blindfold, but Don Quixote warns him. ‘Remember the true story of Doctor Torralva, whom the devils took flying through the air riding on a broomstick, with his eyes shut. In twelve hours he reached Rome and got down at the Torre di Nona, which is a street in that city, and saw all the turmoil, and the attack and the death of Bourbon, and by morning he was back in Madrid, where he gave an account of all that he had seen. He also said that, as he was going through the air, the Devil bad him open his eyes, which he did and found himself, it seemed to him, so near the body of the moon that he could have taken hold of it with his hands; and he dared not look down to the earth for fear of turning giddy’ [Cervantes, Don Quixote, II, p. 41 (1979, p. 731f)].

La aventura de Clavileño (foto insulabaranaria)

The wooden horse Clavileño (clavija ‘peg’, leñowooden’) which reminds with his cavity filled with fireworks of the Trojan horse, is obviously more related to the broom of Torralva, as the Trojan horse did not fly. The whole scene has the appearance of a Carnival ritual. The tableau vivant looks as follows. It is night time and everyone awaits in excitement the arrival of the famous horse Clavileño. All of a sudden there enter through the garden four savages (woodmen), all dressed in green ivy, bearing a great wooden horse on their shoulders. This they put on its feet on the ground, and one of them cried ‘Let the knight who has courage enough climb upon this machine.’ Don Quixote has to make the journey to release the women under the spell of the giant Malambruno of their beards. Together with Sancho Panza he climbs on the horse, blindfolded as not to get giddy. The horse has in its neck a peg (from which it has its name), that can be moved (like a joy stick) for the control, and as soon as Don Quixote grabs the peg, all those present (especially the bearded women) cry. ‘God guide you, valorous knight!’ ‘God be with you, dauntless squire!’ ‘Now you are in the air already, cleaving it more swiftly than an arrow.’ ‘Now you are beginning to mount and soar to the astonishment of all of us below,’ ‘Hold on, valorous Sancho, you are swaying. Be careful not to tumble. For your fall would be worse than that rash youth’s who sought to drive the chariot of his father the sun (= Phaethon).’ Sancho presses closer to his master and asks how it can be that he hears their voices as if they are standing next to him, but Don Quixote tells him to pay no attention to that. For these matters of flights are out of the ordinary course of things. Sancho also doesn’t have to press so tight, for never in all the days of his life has he ridden an easier paced mount. It looks as if they are not moving at all. Meanwhile some have taken several large bellows to create a firm wind, and Don Quixote declares that without a doubt they have come to the second region of the air, where the hail and snow are born. ‘Thunder, lightning and thunderbolts are engendered in the third region. If we go on climbing at this rate we shall soon strike the region of fire,’ whereupon several pieces of easy burning rope are lit, that warm the faces of the riders. Then Don Quixote tells the story of Torralva on his broom, after which the tail of Clavileño is lit, that set off the fireworks inside the horse with a tremendous bang and throws Don Quixote and Sancho Panza to the ground, half scorched. Meanwhile the bearded waiting ladies have disappeared from the garden (the ‘stage’), while the others have thrown themselves on the ground as if unconscious. When the two travelers take off their blindfolds, they see everyone lying on the ground and a lance planted in a corner of the garden, and hanging from it by two green silk cords a parchment from Malambruno, saying that the assignment was accomplished and the spell lifted. Then they wake up the ‘sleepers’.

While chatting afterwards about the adventure Sancho brags that during the flight – it was all magic anyway – he pushed the blindfold up and looked down towards the earth. ‘And the whole of it looked to me no bigger than a grain of mustard seed.’ When he looks up, he sees himself so near the sky that there wasn’t a hand’s breadth and a half between him and it. It was mighty big too. They came to the place where the seven little she goats are and, having been a goatherd when he was young, as soon as he saw them, he had to play with them for a bit. So he climbed softly and gently down from Clavileño and played with the kids – which are sweet as gillyflowers – for almost three quarters of an hour, and Clavileño didn’t stir from the spot. Don Quixote doesn’t believe it for a bit, because although they passed through the regions of air and even touched the region of fire, which is between the region of the moon and the farthest region of air, they did not reach the sky, where the seven kids are that Sancho speaks of, without being scorched. [Cervantes, Don Quixote, II, p. 41 (1979, p. 726 – 735). An air trip as described by Don Quixote was made by Enoch in The Book of the Secrets of Enoch. He is taken by two angels on their wings through ten heavens. We meet here the treasure rooms of snow, be it already in the first heaven].

In ‘The Squire’s Tale’ in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales all the ingredients and more are present but the tale doesn’t come forth. The scene is set at Sarai in the land of Tartary at the court of the great king Cambyuskan (Genghis Khan), where one day (after the third course), while the king was seated royally at table, suddenly a knight burst in upon a horse of brass, in his hand a mirror of glass, and on his thumb a gold ring, and by his side a naked sword hanging. He said ‘The king of Arabia and of India, my liege lord, on this solemn day, sends you in honor of your feast this horse of brass that can easily in the space of a day (this is in 24 hours) bring you to any place you want, by flying high through the air like an eagle.’ It is even possible to sleep on its back, and return at the twisting of a pin. He that made it knew many a trick. He waited many a constellation before he did this operation and knew a lot about magic seals and binding spells. Then the knight goes on about the mirror in which can be seen if enemies attack, a device that also the magician Virgil is accredited to have invented. Also a lady can see in it if her lover is true or false; and so it is meant as a gift to the Khan’s daughter Canacee, together with a ring with which she can understand the song of birds [placed on her thumb, the wisdom thumb of Finn], and gives knowledge of herbs. The sword cuts through anything, and wounds made by it never heal unless rubbed by the flat of the sword. Then the knight rides out of the hall, and dismounts. His steed, that shone bright as the sun, stands in the courtyard, as still as a stone. It stands as it were glued to the ground; no man can move it not even with a windlass or pulley. Great was the crowd that swarmed to and fro to gape at this horse, because it was so high, broad and long, well proportioned and strong, as if it was a steed from Lombardy. It is very lifelike from tail to the ear, but everyone wondered how it could move, being of brass. One compares it with Pegasus, another with the Trojan horse and wonder if there are men inside. Again another one thinks it is all illusion done by magic as jugglers perform at great feasts. After supper (after a dance of the knight with lady Canacee) King Cambuyskan went outside to have a look upon the brazen horse with his lords and ladies. The horse at once began to trip and dance (= frisk and curvet), when the knight laid his hand upon its rein. He explains that to operate the horse ‘ye mooten trille a pyn, stant in his ere (you must twist the pin that is fixed inside its ear)’. Then the horse must be told where to go [destination, like the wishing boots]. Arrived at the destination you must bid the horse to descend and twist another pin. That is all there is to it. The horse cannot be removed against your wish, but if you wish to bid it to go away, then twist another pin, and it vanishes at once, and it comes again whenever you wish in a way the knight will tell the king when they are alone. As the tale is incomplete, we are not going to hear this, but a clue is given. The bridle is brought into the tower and kept among the most treasured jewels, while the horse has vanished. So probably waving with the bridle will recall the horse (like the fairytale magic horses). So far the first part of the squire’s tale. The second part is devoted to Canacee and the magic ring, but at the end Chaucer unfolds his plan for the rest of the story that he (probably) never wrote. He seems to have a book with the tale and says ‘But henceforth I will proceed to speak of adventures and of battles that never before was heard such great miracles. First I will tell you of Cambyuskan, who in his time many a city won; and after that I will speak of Algarsif, how he won Theodora as his wife, for which he was very often in great danger, had he not been helped by the steed of brass. And after that I will speak of Cambalo [the king’s son] who fought in the lists with the two brothers for Canacee before he won her in the end.’ And with this the second part ends, while the third part has only two lines [Chaucer, 1958, p. 290 – 309 (text), 1986, p. 344 – 361 (translation)].

Baschwitz, Kurt, Heksen en heksenprocessen, De geschiedenis van een massawaan en zijn bestrijding, Amsterdam, 1981 (= 1964 = München, 1963).
Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de, Don Quixote, Harmondsworth, 1979 (= 1950).
Chaucer, Geoffrey, Canterbury Tales, London, 1994 (= 1958).
Chaucer, Geoffrey, Canterbury Tales, Oxford, New York, 1986 (= 1985).
Chauvin, Victor, Bibliothèque des Ouvrages Arabes (BOA), Paris, 1892 – 1922.
Daskalova, among others, Typenverzeichnis der bulgarischen Volksmärchen, Helsinki, 1995 (FFC 257).
Eberhard, Wolfram & Pertev Naili Boratav, Typen Türkischer Volksmärchen, Wiesbaden, 1953.
Guter, Josef (edited by), Volkssprookjes en Legenden uit China, Delft, 1977.
Leeuwen, Richard van (vertaling), De Vertellingen van duizend en één nacht, drie delen, Amsterdam, 2000 (= 1993 – 1999).
Ryder, Arthur W (translation), Panchatantra. Het klassieke boek met fabels uit India, Deventer, 1992 (= 1953 = Chicago, 1925).
Thompson, Stith, The Types of the Folktale, Helsinki, 1961 (FFC 184).
BP = Bolte, Johannes & Polivka, Georg, Anmerkungen zu den Kinder und Hausmärchen der Gebrüder Grimm, I – V, Leipzig, 1913 – 1930.

Meer informatie