Cor Hendriks – The Macaws | Myth and Folktale (8): The Flight on the Eagle in ATU 301

The story told by Konon is part of a series of stories Panzer collected for his research into the folktale origin of the story of Beowulf, that he puts in the tradition of ATU 301. In most variants, according to Panzer, the kingdom of the demon lies under the earth, at the bottom of a well, in a deep hole, a hole in a mountain, or on top of a mountain, but there are also versions, where the monster lives in a hole underneath the sea. Also there are variants, where the world of the demon is on a mountain or even in the sky. In a Serbian version (155) the dragon has carried the daughter of the emperor ‘into the clouds’. The brothers find on their quest a castle built in the air; to get there the youngest kills his horse, cuts a long line from the skin and shoots an end of it with an arrow in the castle and climbs up (which is of course very much like Jack and the beanstalk). [Panzer 1910, 116, 121. BP 2, 306: Wuk nº2: ‘Das Luftschloß’ = Ostojić, 148 nº22: The hero shoots an arrow with a leather rope to the castle floating in the air and climbs up; the sister takes him to 3 other maidens; cf. Hahn nº26: ‘Vom jüngsten Bruder, der seine geraubte Schwester vom Drakenberge holt = Pio, 44 = Geldart, 55: The sister is abducted on a high mountain, a snake carries the hero up, who liberates the 3 princesses, and is brought down by a horse of the dragon. (See also Allan 1999b, 86-89: De rijken van koper, zilver en goud).] In the Scottish version ‘Ian, the soldier’s son’, Ian and his two brothers come to a place where a number of men are working on a rock, and they ask what this place is. ‘This is where dwell the three daughters of the knight of Grianaig, who are to be wedded tomorrow to three giants. To reach them you must get into this basket, and be drawn by a rope up the face of this rock.’ The eldest goes first, but halfway he is attacked by a fat black raven that pecked him nearly blind, so he has to go back; the second brother fares no better. Ian manages to get up, where the raven turned out to be helpful for some tobacco. [Lang, Orange, 1968, 37-55 (from Tales of the West Highlands).]

In ATU 301 the hero is, in most of the variants, left behind by his treacherous brothers after the hauling up of the princesses. There are of course numerous ways to go back to the upper-world and the most famous one is the ride on a bird, which was used by Carlo Ginzburg in his Ecstasies. Deciphering the Witches’ Sabbath. What Ginzburg didn’t realize was, that the story of Sbadillon is part of the internationally very extended tale-complex ATU 301, that sheds a very different light on this whole episode about the Armenian hero Amirani, who while flying up on the eagle cuts a piece from his flesh to insure that the eagle brings him to the upper-world, just like the Italian hero Sbadillon (‘heavy shovel’, a type as Strong John) does. [Ginzburg 1992, 255f. The part Amirani cuts of his body is not specified, and Ginzburg is of the opinion that this part can be specified from the same motif in Sbadillon, who cuts off a piece of his foot. But there are more and better solutions as we will see; these are called ‘allomotifs’ (allo = other).] The trait is even incorporated in the definition of the type by Thompson: V. Betrayal of Hero. (a). He (the hero) himself is left below by his treacherous companions, but he reaches the upper world through the help of (b) a spirit whose ear he bites to get magic power to fly or (c) a bird, (d) to whom he feeds his own flesh; or (e) he is pulled up. And in his motif list he mentions B332.1. Hero feeds own flesh to helpful animal. The hero is carried on the back of an eagle who demands food. The hero feeds part of his own flesh. [Thompson 1961, 91f.] Also Bolte and Polivka have this trait as (E1) ‘[The hero is brought back by] a bird (that he feeds with his own flesh) to the upper-world.’ And in their notes they make mention of the Danish version ‘Historia om sju prinsar ock sju prinsessor’, noted down in 1701, which already has the rescue of the left-behind youngest prince by the bird Griffin. [BP 2, 301 (the caption E1 has fallen out), 303 after Ahlström, in: Sv. Landsmålen 11, 1, 100.]

Amirani by Dustin S. Stoltz (foto georgiacom)

Amirani by Dustin S. Stoltz (foto georgiacom)

The hero from Lévi-Strauss’s key-myth ‘remembered a tale told him by his grandmother, in which the hero solved the same problem (of having no bottom) by moulding for himself an artificial behind out of dough made from pounded tubers.’ When Sbadilon, whose real name is Giovanni, so another John, arrives in the upper world he complains: ‘Oh god, how this foot stings.’ Whereupon the eagle says: ‘Be quiet, I’ve got a little bottle here that makes heels grow back.’ And Amirani after alighting from the eagle receives a piece of its wing, telling him to rub it on the wound. The wound heals immediately. [Ginzburg 1992, 256.] In a West-Flemish version (from before 1889, so 40 years before the recording of the story of Amirani) the hero (David) forces the little man, the master of the monsters David slew to free the princesses, to admit he has a big crow, who can bring David up when he takes two slaughtered oxen with him. The crow turns out to be as big as an elephant, and David loads the meat on the crow. ‘If you don’t have enough, give him a piece of your buttocks,’ says the little man and gives him a bottle with healing-ointment. The crow flies up and every time he says ‘Quack!’, David throws a piece of meat in his beak. Almost at the top the meat stash is finished and when the crow begins to sink, David quickly cuts a piece from his buttocks and after that another two pieces until they have finally arrived and the crow throws him off his back. Quickly David smears the ointment and is healed. [Sprookjes der Lage Landen, 279-286.] This motif can take on strange forms like in the Polish tale ‘The Bird of Compassion’. This bird has wings in the colour of the rainbow, a silver breast and golden tail, while its back is full of peacock-feathers, and its crest shines like brilliants. It carries the released princess and her brother out of the underworld, whereby she feeds it with miracle bread, at the end with both of her cut-off breasts; after touch-down it heals her. [Peuckert, in: HDM I, 572 after Godin, Poln. Vm., 7f.] In a Flemish version Kobe, Peer and Sus go deep into the forest to pick nuts, find a cabin, stay there and Kobe makes soup and gets a visitor, a little old woman, that warms herself at the fire and then spits in the soup. He gives her a smack, so that she sticks with her head to the wall. A little old man comes with a feather and a bottle, smears the little woman, who awakes (is healed). He also spits in the soup, gets smacked by Kobe and disappears with his wife in a deep hole. The two companions come home and Sus is lowered down in a basket on a cord into the hole. The cord breaks and he falls into the hell with the devil and she-devil [meaning in the world below with the little man and woman]. The little man offers him an eagle and meat to feed him on the way up. It turns out to be not enough and Sus cuts a piece from his buttocks and arrives safely above ground. [Lenaard Lehembre, from Schelle, in: Ons Volksleven 4, 1892, 154-156 nº40: ‘Van de drij Houtrapers’.] The healing is forgotten, but the storyteller forgot to tell, that the heroes have taken the bottle and feather from the little man, a detail that is present in other versions. In the Danish version ‘Strong Hans’ an old woman comes into the house, where our heroes have taken their abode. After she has eaten, she beats the cook till he is half dead and shoves him under a hatch in the floor. After two days Hans is the only one left. He also is visited by the old woman and it comes to blows. He sees that she rubs herself with wound-healing salve. He manages to take it from her, and then it is quickly over for the woman. She shows him where the companions are, and he makes them alive with the salve. [Bødker 1964, 114ff.] In the French version ‘Hachko’ the cook, Blower, is visited by an old beggar. Blower gives him a piece of bread, that the old man drops. When Blower bents over to pick it up, the old man starts beating him till Blower drops down, and then chops him with a big kitchen-knife in pieces in the pan. The companions, hunting in the forest, are waiting in vain for the bell to ring that the food was ready, and finally decide to go home. They find their companion in pieces, that Hachko puts together and brings to life with a spell. Blower tells what has happened but despite that the same thing happens to his buddy Plug, but he is also revived by Hachko. [Soupault 1963, 242f.] More often the healing salve is received in the underworld. In the Swiss version ‘Bärenhans’ the hero with the same name notices that the rope is too short, lets himself fall down and breaks his leg. He drags himself with difficulty to a door, opens it and comes to a toothless old hag, grabs her and demands that she heals his leg or he will kill her. Promptly the old woman brings out a bottle of salve that Hans smears on his leg and he is healed. [Treichler 1989, 158f.] In the investigation of Maurits de Meyer the hero gets in 10 versions (7 French) an ointment to heal his wounds. [Meyer 1942, 20-31. He investigated 24 French, 2 Wallonian, 30 Flemish, 2 Dutch, and 45 German versions.] In the Russian version ‘The Three Kingdoms’ from the collection of Afanassiev the treacherous brothers cut the rope and Ivachka (nicknamed ‘from behind the stove’) falls down into the underworld. Crying he comes to a little old man with a long beard, who points him to a cabin, where a long man lies from one corner to the other. This ‘mighty monster’ sends him to the 30th lake, where a cabin is standing on chicken feet, wherein lives a baba-yaga, who has an eagle in her garden behind 7 doors. The bird carries him up, fed on the way with meat, that at last is finished: the eagle takes a piece of Ivachka’s belly [!] and puts him outside the hole in Russia, vomits out the piece of flesh again, puts it on Ivachka’s belly and it grows back on. [Bozoki 1978, 55-58 nº20: ‘Les trois royaumes’ (Afan. 128/71a), distr. Pinej, prov. Arkhangelsk = Guterman 1975, 49-53.] In the Estonian version about the Pea-hero, he is left behind by his companions, who have thrown the rope down. He searches for a way out of the Underworld over the Sea of Fire, protects the young of an eagle for a hail-storm, and the grateful eagle is willing to bring him to the upper-world if he provides 3 barrels of birds. Pea-hero shoots that many birds, feeds them all on the way to the eagle, gives him on his request a finger, a toe, the calf, and saves them both from the fire-death. A raven brings him the Water of Life that restores the lost body-parts. [Kallas 1900, 120f nº9: ‘Erbsenheld, Eichenbieger, Bergewälzer’.] In the Hungarian version ‘Tree-uprooter, Iron-moulder, and Mountain-roller’ the hero Tree-uprooter, who has put a stone in the basket that comes plummeting down, still has the cut-off beard of the dwarf of the underworld, called Seven-Cubits (the length of his beard), and promises to give it back when the dwarf shows him a way to get out of the underworld. The dwarf points him to a nearby high mountain with on the summit the nest of the enormous bird Griffin. A bit ahead of the story the hero requires from the dwarf 12 loafs of bread, 12 barrels of wine and 12 oxen. Then he climbs the mountain, where a great storm is blowing. On the top he sees the nest with the two young exposed to the elements and he makes a tent over the nest from his coat, protecting the birds from the hailstones the size of a head. As soon as the storm is over, the old bird comes and wants to eat the Tree-uprooter, but the bird-young tell the mother, that the man has saved their lives from the hailstorm. The griffin wants to reward him and needs for the flight the amount of food he already has, so after a little rest the bird starts flying and every time it turns its head to the right the hero has to feed it with a bread, to the left with an ox, and when it throws its head back he has to pour a barrel of wine in its throat. A few 100 meter from the edge the food is gone and when the bird starts to drop he quickly cuts a piece of his thigh, which makes the bird so strong it arrives with two beats of his wings. When the hero climbs from its back the bird wants to know what kind of meat he gave at the end, says then that if he known that it tasted so good he would have eaten him completely, but then gives the piece back that Tree-uprooter puts back on his thigh. Then the bird tells him to pull out a feather from its left wing: ‘It contains a certain ointment; when you strike a wound or cut it will heal immediately without leaving a trace.’ [Kiadó 1984, 189f.]

In Italy, Crane notes, that in some versions [of ATU 301] the boy is brought up by an eagle. In a Sicilian version the hero gives, when the eagle is almost above ground and the meat to feed it is finished, his leg; when the journey is over, the bird vomits it out, the hero attaches it to his body and is healed. [Crane 1885, 40 (notes to nº7), version Pitrè 2, 208.] Schneller has several versions from Welsh-Tyrol. In the first one, called ‘The Son of the She-ass’, the hero with this name Fillomusso is betrayed by his comrades, who cut the rope halfway. He has a painful drop, walks around cursing, finds the little man, grabs him by the beard, and the little man tells him to catch an eagle and feed it with meat before and during the flight. Almost at the top the meat is finished, and the smith cuts off a piece of his thigh (nothing about a cure). In a second version, the hero Gian dall’ Orso (John of the Bear) is left behind by his treacherous comrades in the underworld, sees something gleaming, it is a ring, and when he rubs it against the wall [cf. ATU 560: Juan with the ring], two Moors appear, who ask for his commands. He wants an eagle to carry him up. They bring an eagle that has to be fed; he orders for two fat cow-thighs and flies up. In a third version the left-behind hero forces the two old folks to provide him with a means to get up. The old man blows a whistle, all kinds of birds come, and an eagle, that he feeds a lamb on the way, brings him up. [Schneller 1867, 113-117 nº39: ‘Der Sohn der Eselin’, from J. Zacchia, from Fassa; ID., 188f nº39a, from Nonsberg; ID., 190-192 nº39c, from Vallasa.] In a Wallonian version, called Jean de l’Ours, the rope is cut. The old woman has him wrap the 7 snake-tongues in a kerchief of the princess and kill 4 cows, and gives him a box of curing unguent (for the wounds of the snake), and calls a gigantic raven that he has to give meat at ‘Couac’. Almost at the top he cuts off his both calves, which he after arrival heals with the unguent (the tongues he needed as proof). [Polain, Contes populaires entendu en français à Liège, 1947, 78-87 nº11.] In a Serbian version the jealous brothers cut the rope. The left-behind youngest finds a small door, wrings himself through it and comes in the open air, where he kills the snake, that is on the verge of eating the young of an eagle. He is sleeping close by, when the eagle (-mother) returns and wants to peck out his eyes, but is withheld by the young, and wants to fulfil his wish, which is to go back to his city. The eagle wants a roasted lamb and a leather bag of wine. Near the city the meat is finished and in fear of falling he cuts off a piece of his heel and gives it to the eagle, who notices it and keeps it under his tongue and puts him down close to the city, sees him limping, has him lift up his foot and glues on the heel. [Eschker 1992, 190-194 nº27: ‘Der Zarensohn’ = EZSANU, 4-3, Text nº16, told by Zarija Konstantinović, student of the 5th Gymnasium class at Šiševac (South Serbia).]

The motif is also part of certain versions of ATU 400: The Man on a Quest for his Lost Wife. In a Breton version, collected by F.M. Luzel from an old beggar woman of Plouaret and published in 1888 under the title ‘Jannac aux Deux Sous’ (translated as ‘Penny Jack’), the hero sets out to search for his lost wife in the Golden Castle. After long travel and vain inquiries, he meets with an old hermit, who refers him to an elder brother-hermit, who commands all the beasts, from whom he receives an ointment that can heal any wound, and a ball which rolls before him when the anchorite says: ‘Go, my ball; go straight to my brother, the hermit – to his hermitage two hundred leagues hence.’ Jack follows. When the ball strikes against the door, out comes the elder [= 2nd] hermit, who recognizes the ball, but knows nothing of the Golden Castle, nor do the beasts, whom he summons. Jack is sent by him 300 leagues off to his [oldest] brother-hermit, who commands all the feathered tribes. He follows a conducting-ball [= ball or thread of Ariadne], as before, and feels very tired when it raps at the door of the 3rd hermit. Out comes a man of great age, who is so wise that he knows all Jack’s history and his mission, but confesses he knows not the Golden Castle. He summons his birds, from the wren to the eagle. It is only after 2 calls that the eagle appears, last of all, and, when questioned as to the cause of his delay, he says that he was far away at the Golden Castle of the Red Sea, where the princess was next day to be married. The eagle undertakes to carry Jack to the Castle, on condition of having a supply of fresh meat all the way. 12 sheep are killed, and the quarters and Jack are fastened on the eagle’s back. Whenever the bird cries ‘Oak!’ Jack gives him a quarter of a sheep. The provision is all consumed as the Red Sea appears. ‘Oak! Oak!’, cries the eagle. ‘You’ve eaten the whole,’ says Jack. ‘Give me meat,’ rejoins the eagle, ‘or my strength is gone.’ Jack has to give the eagle the bird 4 more successive supplies, taken from the calves of his legs and his thighs. He is at length set down on the Castle wall, nearly dead from the loss of blood, but the ointment restores him, and he is as well as ever. [W.A. Clouston, ‘The Story of the “Frog Prince”’, in: Folk-Lore 1, 493-496, after Luzel, in: Mélusine 1888.] In his notes Clouston mentions an Albanian story, in which the young hero in quest of a sister bridles a huge falcon, and supplies him with flesh from his thigh when the provision he had taken with him is exhausted, and on arriving at their destination, when the bird discovers that he is bleeding it disgorges the pieces, and, replacing them in his thigh, the youth is at once healed. [Clouston, a.c., 505 after Dozon, Contes Albanais, nº15.]

For the story the motif is dispensable, as for instance in the Russian version of ATU 301 ‘The Monster Norka’. After killing the monster Norka (= Mink) and the hoisting up of the princesses, Ivan puts a stone to the rope. The brothers cut halfway the rope, leaving a weeping Ivan behind. He walks away, when suddenly a thunderstorm breaks out. He hides under a tree, sees young birds in a nest and makes from his coat a cover over the nest. Then comes a bird, darkening everything, who is grateful and asks the prince what he wants. Up. ‘Build a chest with two compartments; fill one side with water, the other with meat.’ With the chest and the prince on his back the bird flies up and brings the prince to the upper-world. [Ralston 1874, 77-86 (nº15) = Bozoki 1978, 61-65 nº22: ‘Le vison’ (Afan. 132/73); rec. town Pogar, province Briansk, by teacher N. Matrosov. (Also Lang, Red, 1966, 116-122: ‘The Norka’).] In the Hungarian version ‘Shepherd Paul’, the friends leave Paul behind, and he sets about finding a way of getting back, wanders for months underground, till, one day, he happens to pass the nest of a huge griffin, who has left her young ones alone. Just as Paul comes along a cloud containing fire instead of rain bursts overhead, and all the little griffins would have been killed had not Paul spread his cloak over the nest and saved them. When their father returns the young ones tell him what Paul has done, and he loses no time in flying after Paul, and asking him how he can reward him for his goodness. ‘By carrying me up to the earth.’ The griffin agrees, but first goes to get some food to eat on the way. He tells Paul to sit on his back and when he turns his head to the right to cut a slice off the bullock that hangs on that side, and when he turns his head to the left to draw a cupful of wine from the cask hanging on that side, and give it to him. For three days and nights the griffin flies up and on the fourth morning it touches the ground just outside the city. [Lang, Crimson, 1967, 295-305 (after Ungarische Märchen).]

In the Latvian version ‘The Numbskull’, the hero, called Numbskull, ties a stone on the rope that is halfway cut. He goes back to the crossroad, goes to the left into the woods, comes to a gigantic oak with an eagle’s nest, sleeps under it, sees at midnight a snake crawling towards the nest, and kills it. The young tell their parents about their rescue. They call Numbskull, ask what he wishes. He wants over the wide sea (!) to his country; the eagle wants 12 casks of wine and 12 fat oxen. He comes to a fisherman, with whom he can earn it, comes with fish in the town, where the king has to give his oldest daughter the next day to the devil. [This is followed by ATU 300A: The Fight on the Bridge.] At night the Numbskull places himself on guard under the bridge. At midnight a 3-headed devil comes with dogs that stand still [on the bridge] and the devil roars to Numbskull to come out, and the hero slays the dogs with one stroke, with a second the devil. The next day he hears of the second daughter, vanquishes at night the 6-headed devil and the night after that the 12-headed dragon, coming for the youngest princess. The happy king promises him a princess, but he wants the wine and the oxen, goes with it to the eagle, loads meat on the left, wine on the right side, with himself in the middle (head to the left, meat). They fly over the sea for days on end, but then the provisions are finished, and the bird is on the brink of crashing down, so he cuts a piece off of his calf, but a mile of the coast the eagle falls in the sea anyway, not deep, and at the shore the eagle sees the hero limping, breathes on the wound, and it heals. After feeding they take leave. [Ambainis, Ojârs, Lettische Volksmärchen, 1990, 169-179 nº56: ‘Der Dummkopf’ (recorded in 1865 by A. Bielenstein in district Talsi, Kurzeme), who for the name Muļķis ‘Dummkopf’ refers to something like a justification of this paradoxical name of the hero given in other tales: ‘A father has three sons, two smart and the third a numbskull. If he really was a numbskull, who knows? But that is how it is said in fairytales, and that is how his two elder brothers and his father called him, but not his mother’ (ID., 302).] In the Finnish version ‘The miraculous flute’, the three men from the court cut the rope and the hero, a stable-boy, crashes down. He cures himself with element-water and blows on the flute he both had received from the old man, who immediately appears and gives a raven that brings the hero up. [Schreck, Emmy, Finnische Märchen, Weimar 1887, 137-151 nº16: ‘Die wunderbare Flöte’ (from Satakunta).]

In a North-African story, Hamou is in love with a fairy, marries her, loses her and wants to find her back. He helps the king of the eagles by taking care of his young, and the king says: ‘I know the place. I will take you there. Bring a camel, cut its throat. Take 7 reed-tubes filled with its blood and 7 pieces of meat without bones.’ The king flies up with on his back Hamou Ou-Namir. They arrive in the first heaven. ‘Give me,’ said the king of the eagles, ‘a tube with blood and a piece of meat.’ He does the same in the next 6 heavens. Thanks to this drink and food the bird has the strength to reach the 7th heaven. [Ct. Justinard, ‘Poèmes chleuhs recueillis au Sous’, in: Revue du Monde Musulman, 3rd trim. 1925, 77: ‘Hamou ou Namir’ (Justinard & Laoust, o.c., 395: ‘Hamou-agnaou’.]

But all too often the teller forgets to heal the hero. In a version of the border area between Italy and Austria the hero is called ‘Son of the Jenny-Ass’, because his parents has made him drink from a jenny-ass. He is strong as 6 man, hooks up with 3 strong men, called giants, who are all beaten by the hero and taken as friends. After he has gone down to the Underworld, where he delivers 3 maidens from dragons, he has them pulled up, but when it is his turn, the comrades cut halfway the rope, and the hero has a painful fall. Cursing he walks around, finds the little man, grabs him by the beard, and he tells him to catch an eagle and feed it with meat beforehand and during the flight. Almost above the meat is finished and the smith (hero) cuts a piece from his thigh, and arrives in the upper-world. [Schneller 1867, 113-117 nº39: ‘Der Sohn der Eselin’ (Al fillomusso; Lat. Filius mussae]), told by J. Zacchia. In the variant from Vallasa the rope is also cut halfway by the brothers of the prince, who lives a while in the underground palace, hunts, gets bored, forces the two old folks to give him some means. The old man blows a flute, many birds come; finally an eagle, that he feeds a lamb on the way, brings him up (ID., 190-192 nº39c).] In another story from the same area, of the type ATU 400, the boy looking for his lost bride arrives after a long journey at a hermit, who gives him a whistle that he has to blow on the beach and many birds come that he has to kill and collect the marrow. Finally a pigeon comes, he has to sit on one wing and put the marrow on the other and feed the pigeon during the flight. Finally the marrow is finished and the bird is on the brink of crashing into the sea. Then Girardim hands over his leg, the bird sucks out the marrow, and they arrive. [Schneller 1867, 109-113 nº38: ‘La regina delle tre montagne d’oro’.] In a Hungarian version (of ATU 301) the hero has tied a stone to the rope and halfway the rope is cut. Roaming around down there a big bird lands in front of him and offers to help him, as he has released him from the 3 dragons. He has to kill a cow and feed pieces during the flight. Almost above the meat is finished, and the shepherd cuts a piece from his thigh. When they have arrived, the bird says that the last piece tasted much nicer, but no mention is made of a cure. [Klimo, 182-186: ‘Le jeune berger et les trios étrangers’ (collected by B. Orban). This is a short version of the Hungarian version we saw above (Kiadó 1984, 188f).] In the Mokshan version ‘The Hero Kentenit and his adventure in the Underworld’ the hero passes an oak on his way through the Underworld, with at the top an eagle’s nest with very small eagle-young. A hailstorm breaks out and he covers the eagle’s young. The eagle comes flying and asks his young: ‘Who has protected you from this storm?’ ‘We were protected by a man not from this world, the not big, not small Kentenit.’ ‘Come out, Kentenit, you are here, aren’t you?’ And Kentenit approaches. ‘Well, thanks,’ says the eagle, ‘if you ever are in need, then just say it to me. Live well until then!’ And he flies away. Kentenit continues his way, kills the old man with the bark-shoes, and takes his seven pud cap. With the three liberated girls he comes to the hole with the rope, has the girls pulled up by his brothers, and then has himself pulled up with the cap on his head. When his brothers see the cap, they think it is the old man with the bark-shoes, cut the rope, and their brother falls down [nothing about a cure]. He walks around the whole time weeping, passes the oak where he covered the eagle’s young, and the eagle asks why he is weeping. ‘I can’t climb up to my own world!’ ‘Well,’ the eagle says, ‘you have done me good, so I will do you good too. Just catch for me as many birds as are needed to take you up.’ He catches sparrows and the eagle takes him on its back. He throws them into its beak, but when there is only a fathom left to go, the sparrows are finished. ‘Ah, my lad, you cannot be brought up!’ He quickly cuts off his finger, shoves it into the eagle’s beak and is brought up in a jiffy [but nothing about healing, the tale ends here abruptly]. [Paasonen 1947, 851-858: ‘Der Held Kerentit und sein Abenteuer in der Unterwelt’.]

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