Listen, if you want,
And you will hear a pretty tale,
In which there are no lies,
If not, maybe, a word or two,
Here is the Horse of the World
The Horse of the World
There was once a young, rich penher named Riwall. His father had fourteen mares, and his greatest pleasure was to ride them, sometimes one, sometimes the other, and to accompany the servants who took them to the pasture.
When he was twelve, he was sent to school in town, and he very much regretted his games and running free on his father's mares. At the end of a year he returned home on leave, and his first care on arriving was to ask for news of the mares.
- I think they're fine, her father told him, because I haven't visited them for quite a while.
He ran to the meadow where they were and saw thirteen grazing mares, and beside each of them a beautiful filly, who was frolicking and frolicking, then a fourteenth mare with a very puny foal who appeared sick. He approached the latter and began to stroke him and scratch his forehead. The colt said to him, in the language of men:
- Kill the thirteen fillies and leave me alive, so that I can suckle, alone, the fourteen mares and thus acquire the strength of fourteen horses.
- How? 'Or' What ! replied Riwall, astonished, are you speaking then?
- Yes, I speak like you; but, do you want to do what I ask you?
- Kill thirteen beautiful fillies for a bad colt who will never be worth much, no doubt; no, I will not do that.
- I repeat, do as I ask you, and you will not have to repent, later,
- I will not do it ; it would be necessary to have lost the head to act in this way.
And Riwall went back to the house on it. But, all night that followed, he only thought of the colt's words. The next day, he went again to the meadow where the fourteen mares were with their fillies, and the puny foal repeated his request, and the same on the third day, so that he said to himself:
- This is very extraordinary, and I might do well to obey and follow the foal's advice? ...
Finally, he made up his mind to kill the thirteen fillies.
But, his leave expired, and he returned to school. He came home again at the end of a year, and ran, as soon as he arrived, to the meadow where the mares were with their foals. The fourteen mares had still had fourteen fillies; but the colt had benefited nothing. He ran to Riwall as soon as he saw him, and said to him again:
- Kill these fourteen fillies too, so that I still remain alone to suckle the fourteen mares.
- Gently ! replied Riwall; I was foolish enough to obey you the first time, but you won't take me a second, especially since you haven't taken advantage of anything by having suckled the fourteen mares for a whole year.
"I repeat," resumed the colt, "fixated on what I am telling you, and you will have no reason to regret it.
Riwall eventually gave in, and he killed the fourteen fillies again, then went back to school again, for a year.
When he [returned on leave for the third time, the fourteen mares had had fourteen fillies again, and the wicked colt still had nothing to do with it. He went up to him, in a rather bad mood, and said to him:
- I've never seen such a thing! How? 'Or' What ! You head alone, for two consecutive years, fourteen mares, and you remain puny and sickly like you are here! What does that mean ?
"I ask you to kill the fourteen fillies once again," replied the colt.
- Are you laughing at me, or do you take me for a fool?
- I am not making fun of you and I do not take you for a fool; it will be the last time; do as I tell you, and you will have no reason to regret it, I repeat.
After hesitating for a long time, Riwall ended up killing the fourteen fillies again. Then he went back to school, and came back after a year, but to stay at home now, his studies being over. He ran, as soon as he arrived, to the meadow where the fourteen mares were, and he saw them grazing quietly, without fillies around them this time. The three-year-old colt was alone with them, but as skinny and puny as ever. At this sight, Riwall got into a great anger, and cut a stick in the hedge and hit the wicked beast with all his might.
- Hello ! My master, said the colt, stop hitting me, I pray you, and listen to me; do exactly what I'm going to tell you, and you'll see what happens. Go home, take a bridle, saddle, and currycot from the stable, and bring them here.
Riwall went to the house and soon returned with a bridle, saddle and currycomb.
- Now, resumed the colt, put the bridle in my head, and the saddle on my back ... Good! ... Now take the curry and curry me strongly.
And Riwall began to curry the foal, which, with each stroke of the stranglehold, grew, grew, so much so that, in order to continue, the stringer was obliged to climb on a bank. When the foal had reached the size of three ordinary horses, he said:
- Quite. Now get on my back, and we'll travel.
And they left. You can judge Riwall's joy at seeing himself perched on such an animal; we had never seen his like, and we were ecstatic everywhere, as they passed. They go straight to Paris.
The King of Paris had nine horses, all of which had been sick for some time, and no one could find a cure for them, so he was very upset. Riwall's horse said to his master:
"I know very well what it would take to cure the king's horses." Go find him, and tell him that you are going to heal them, for a hundred books of oats he will give you, for each of them. When the oats have been delivered to you, you will bring them to me, then you will take a strong stick and beat the sick horses with it, until they are all covered with foam. You will collect this scum in a vase and rub me with it, and thus my strength will be increased by all that lost by the king's horses. Riwall goes to the king, and speaks to him thus:
- Hello, sire.
- Hello, good man.
- I have learned, sire, that your horses are sick, and I come to offer to cure them.
- If you do that, I will reward you generously.
- Give me only a hundred pounds of oats per horse, and I ask for nothing else.
- If all you need is that, it will be easy to be satisfied.
And the king commanded his first stable hand to deliver him immediately nine hundred pounds of oats. Riwall carried them to his horse and then returned to the royal stable, where he began to beat the horses with all his might, with a stick of holm oak which he had himself cut in a wood. He beat them so and so that they were soon covered with foam. He collected this scum in a pot and rubbed it on his horse, the strength of which was increased considerably, and the king's horses were also healed.
The king's daughter was a witch, and when she saw this she said to her father:
- You think you have beautiful horses, father, but if you saw the Horse of the World, you would think otherwise. Your horses are nothing but buggers next to that one, and until you own it in your stable you should never talk about it.
- Yes, but how to get this wonder, my daughter!
- The man who cured your horses can also get you the World Horse, if you order him.
The king sent for Riwall, and said to him:
- I want to have the World Horse in my stables, and I order you to get it for me.
"And how can I get it for you, sire, since I am neither a magician nor a sorcerer?"
- You must get it for me, or there is only death for you.
Riwall came back to his horse, his head bowed and quite sad.
- What happened to you, my master, asked the horse, to be so sad?
- Alas! I am lost, because I will never be able to do what the king asks of me, under pain of death.
- What does the king ask of you, my master?
- To bring him the Horse of the World in his stables.
- It is difficult thing, but not impossible nevertheless, and, if you do exactly as I will tell you, we will be able, between us, to get out of this ordeal to our honor. Go find the king again and tell him that, in order to succeed in your enterprise, he must make me shoe four irons of five hundred pounds each, with ten nails in each shoe, and that, in addition, he provide ninety-nine skins of oxen, with which you will garnish me the body, in order to cushion the blows of the Horse of the World.
You will bridle me, saddle me
And nails will examine.
Riwall went to the king and told him of the conditions under which he could succeed. The king granted him what he asked for.
When everything was ready, he set off with his horse. They go, they go, always in front of them, so much so that they end up arriving under the walls of the castle of the Horse of the World. The door was open.
'Climb up the wall,' said the horse to Riwall, 'by that oak tree which is right up against it, and from there you will see fine play, a little while ago.
Riwall climbed up the wall and his horse entered the yard.
The World Horse came immediately to meet him, neighing and his tail in the air. What a horse!… The fight began immediately. The World Horse kicked Riwall's horse, which tore off three oxhides from its flanks, which fell to the ground. The fight continued and soon became angry, to the point that the castle and the earth were shaking. The blows of the Horse of the World were terrible, and at each kick he detached two or three oxhides from the other's sides; but the latter also retaliated vigorously with his five hundred pound irons, and with each kick he stripped his enemy a scrap of bleeding flesh. The fight lasted three full hours, and Riwall, who attended it, from the top of the wall, and followed its vicissitudes with anxiety, trembled more than once for the life of his horse. He had only four or five skins left around his body, when the World Horse suddenly fell to the ground, all four irons in the air, exhausted and asking for quarter.
Riwall immediately descended from the wall and put a bridle over the head of the vanquished, who let himself be taken and followed him, all sad and docile as a sheep.
When the three of them arrived in Paris, all the people and the Court rushed to meet them. No one had ever seen two horses the same. The king welcomed Riwall with many compliments and invited him to dinner at his table, so great was his joy to have in his stables a marvel like the Horse of the World.
But the witch princess, who did not wish Riwall any good, no doubt because she thought he was not paying enough attention to her, said to the king again, a few days later:
- If you only knew, father, what the man with the big horse boasted about! ...
- What is he bragging about? asked the king.
- He has boasted of being able to bring you to your court the princess who is held captive by a serpent, in her castle, suspended by four gold chains between heaven and earth.
- Did he really say that?
- He said so, I assure you.
- Well, if he says Fa, he has to do it, or _there is only death for him. Let him come.
And, when Riwall was in the presence of the king:
`` Is it true, Riwall, '' asked the old monarch, `` that you have boasted of being able to bring to court the beautiful princess who is held captive by a serpent, in her castle, suspended by four gold chains between heaven and earth?
'I have never said anything like it, sire, and I would have to have completely lost my reason to say so.
- You said it, my daughter assured me, and you must do it, where there is only death for you.
- So, it only remains for me to try the adventure, and, dead for dead, it is as well to die elsewhere than here.
And he returned to his horse.
- What is still new, my master, asked the latter, that I see you so sad?
- Nothing good, he replied. The king orders me, under pain of death, to bring to his court the beautiful princess who is held captive by a serpent, in her castle, suspended by four gold chains between heaven and earth. I had never heard of this princess before, and I don't know where to look for her.
'I know where the princess and the castle are,' the horse continued, 'but it's a long way from here, and it's not easy to get there. Anyway, we have to try the adventure, and, if you do exactly what I tell you, we can still get by without too much trouble. Go back to the king and tell him to have me attach a five hundred pound silver iron to each foot, with ten nails of the same metal in each of them. Then, you will ask him again to provide you with a good steel sword dipped in asp venom, and which will cut For as easily as wood.
You will bridle me, saddle me,
And nails will examine.
The king supplies your silver irons with the nails and the sword, and Riwall and his horse set out. They walk and walk, night and day, without ever stopping, so that they end up arriving at the golden chains which held the castle in the air, so high, so high, that it was seen from behind. hardly like a point no bigger than a wren.
"Cut the chains with your sword, and strike hard," said the horse to his master.
Riwall cut a chain, then two, then three, but he couldn't stand the fatigue any longer.
- Courage! Said the horse; to the fourth chain, now, and quickly, or we're lost.
Finally, the fourth chain was also cut, and the castle fell to the ground, with a terrible noise. The princess came out at once, through a window, beautiful and shining like the sun, and ran to embrace Riwall, saying:
- Bless you for delivering me from this ugly monster! But, let's not waste time and leave quickly, lest he catch up with us.
And they both mounted the horse and resumed the road to Paris.
When the old king saw the princess, he was dazzled by her beauty, and fell in love with her so much that he wanted to marry her on the spot. The engagement took place, in fact, but the princess demanded that she be given, before the wedding, the golden apple that the king's daughter, the witch, praised to her as the most beautiful wonder in the world.
Riwall was further ordered to bring to court, under pain of death, the wonderful golden apple.
His horse said to him, at this news:
- This is our last test, and if we succeed, then we will be left alone. Go tell the king that I must shoe this time with gold irons of five hundred pounds each, with ten gold nails in each shoe.
You will bridle me, saddle me
And nails will examine.
The king gave all the gold in his treasury to make irons and nails, and when all was ready Riwall and his horse set out again. They walk and walk, night and day, and meet, in a large wood, a little old woman, who asks them:
- Where are you going like that?
- My faith! Grandmother, answers Riwall, I don't really know; the king ordered me to fetch the golden apple and bring it back to him, on pain of death, and I have no idea where it is.
'Well,' resumed the old woman, 'I know it, and I want to advise you and come to your aid. You will soon arrive under the walls of an old castle, so lost in the midst of trees, brambles, thorns and weeds that surround it and invade it from all sides, that access is impossible. For five hundred years, no one has ever entered this castle. But, here is a white wand that I give you (and she handed him a white wand which she had in her hand), and you will only have to strike with it the trees and the brambles and the thorns that will oppose it. your passage, and immediately a beautiful path will open in front of you and you will easily enter to the castle. In the courtyard you will see an apple tree with a single apple, the golden apple, which shines in the foliage. Here is another napkin (and she also gave her a napkin) that you will spread under the tree, then you will climb on the apple tree and shake the branch, so that the apple falls on the napkin. You will then go down and, with your wand, you will make a cross on the apple, which will split into four and reveal a small silver knife in the middle. You will take this knife and put it in your pocket, because you will need it, later. You will make a new cross on the apple with your wand, and it will close as before. Then you will return home, with the apple and the knife. When you arrive at the Court, the king's daughter, who is a witch, will ask you to give her the apple; but, do not give it to him. There will be a great dinner, and the golden apple will be placed on the table, in a golden dish. The king will try to cut it with his knife; but neither he nor any of the guests will be able to succeed. You will ask to try, in your turn, and your little golden knife will penetrate there easily, like in an ordinary apple. But immediately the king's daughter will fall dead, in front of everyone, and her heart will split into four pieces, like an apple.
"God bless you, grandmother," said Riwall.
And they continued on their way and soon found themselves in front of the inaccessible castle. Riwall struck the trees and brambles and thorns that stood in their way with his white wand, and a fine road enchanted open before them, and they made their way easily into the courtyard. They saw the apple tree and the golden apple shining in the foliage, and a crowd of little birds were singing and flitting around. Riwall spread his towel on the grass, climbed the tree, shook the branch, and the apple fell on the towel. He immediately went downstairs, made a cross on the apple with his wand, which split open and revealed a nice little golden knife hidden in its interior. He took it, put it in his pocket, closed the apple with a second cross of his wand, put it also in his pocket, mounted his horse and left. He again met the little old woman in the woods, who asked him:
- Well ! Did everything go well, my son?
- Very well, grandmother, thanks to you; I have the apple and the knife in my pocket.
- Well, return home, now, calm and without worry, because it is the end of your work, and the one who imposed on you so dreadful tests will soon be rewarded as she deserves.
And they quietly continued their journey.
The whole Court and the people had left Paris to meet them, and they entered the city with great pomp, to the sound of trumpets and bells ringing full blast.
The old king wanted his marriage to the princess to take place immediately. The next day there was a big meal, to which many people were invited, and Riwall was also there. The golden apple was on a golden platter in front of the king and his bride, and all eyes were on it. For dessert, several guests asked for it to be shared.
- Give it to me and I will share it, said the king's daughter, the witch.
"No, this honor should go to the king's fiancee," they replied.
And the king took the apple from the golden dish and presented it to the beautiful princess. But, this one tried in vain to divide it; his knife slipped over it like solid gold. The king tried in his turn, but without more success.
"Pass me the apple," said the king's daughter again; I will come to the end of it, me.
It was passed to her, and she was no more successful.
"Give it to me, sire," said Riwall also; I won it over for you and I also know how to open it.
The king passed him the apple, and with his little golden knife, which he drew from his pocket, he split it in four, as easily as possible.
But, immediately, we saw with astonishment the king's daughter fall under the table, and, on raising her, we saw that she was dead; his heart had broken and split into four pieces, like an apple.
- To each according to his works! said the other princess, for she had deserved what is happening to her, by wanting the death of my liberator.
Then, turning to the king:
- As for you, sire, you are too old for me; moreover, to the one who has had the trouble is also due the reward.
And, at the same time, she offered her hand to Riwall, with a gentle smile.
The marriage was celebrated with great pomp and solemnity, and for a whole month there were beautiful feasts and magnificent games and meals.
I was the cook,
I had a drop and a piece,
A blow of a pot spoon on the mouth,
And since then, I haven't been back;
With five hundred crowns and a blue horse,
I would have gone to see it tomorrow;
With five hundred crowns and a brown horse,
I would be back there in a week and a day.