ENGLISH

The riddle

PORTUGUÊS

O enigma


There was once a King's son who was seized with a desire to travel about the world, and took no one with him but a faithful servant. One day he came to a great forest, and when darkness overtook him he could find no shelter, and knew not where to pass the night. Then he saw a girl who was going towards a small house, and when he came nearer, he saw that the maiden was young and beautiful. He spoke to her, and said, "Dear child, can I and my servant find shelter for the night in the little house?" - "Oh, yes," said the girl in a sad voice, "that you certainly can, but I do not advise you to venture it. Do not go in." - "Why not?" asked the King's son. The maiden sighed and said, "My step-mother practises wicked arts; she is ill-disposed toward strangers." Then he saw very well that he had come to the house of a witch, but as it was dark, and he could not go farther, and also was not afraid, he entered. The old woman was sitting in an armchair by the fire, and looked at the stranger with her red eyes. "Good evening," growled she, and pretended to be quite friendly. "Take a seat and rest yourselves." She blew up the fire on which she was cooking something in a small pot. The daughter warned the two to be prudent, to eat nothing, and drink nothing, for the old woman brewed evil drinks. They slept quietly until early morning. When they were making ready for their departure, and the King's son was already seated on his horse, the old woman said, "Stop a moment, I will first hand you a parting draught." Whilst she fetched it, the King's son rode away, and the servant who had to buckle his saddle tight, was the only one present when the wicked witch came with the drink. "Take that to your master," said she. But at that instant the glass broke and the poison spirted on the horse, and it was so strong that the animal immediately fell down dead. The servant ran after his master and told him what had happened, but would not leave his saddle behind him, and ran back to fetch it. When, however, he came to the dead horse a raven was already sitting on it devouring it. "Who knows whether we shall find anything better to-day?" said the servant; so he killed the raven, and took it with him. And now they journeyed onwards into the forest the whole day, but could not get out of it. By nightfall they found an inn and entered it. The servant gave the raven to the innkeeper to make ready for supper. They had, however, stumbled on a den of murderers, and during the darkness twelve of these came, intending to kill the strangers and rob them. Before they set about this work, they sat down to supper, and the innkeeper and the witch sat down with them, and together they ate a dish of soup in which was cut up the flesh of the raven. Hardly, however, had they swallowed a couple of mouthfuls, before they all fell down dead, for the raven had communicated to them the poison from the horse-flesh. There was no no one else left in the house but the innkeeper's daughter, who was honest, and had taken no part in their godless deeds. She opened all doors to the stranger and showed him the heaped-up treasures. But the King's son said she might keep everything, he would have none of it, and rode onwards with his servant.
After they had traveled about for a long time, they came to a town in which was a beautiful but proud princess, who had caused it to be proclaimed that whosoever should set her a riddle which she could not guess, that man should be her husband; but if she guessed it, his head must be cut off. She had three days to guess it in, but was so clever that she always found the answer to the riddle given her, before the appointed time. Nine suitors had already perished in this manner, when the King's son arrived, and blinded by her great beauty, was willing to stake his life for it. Then he went to her and laid his riddle before her. "What is this?" said he, "One slew none, and yet slew twelve." She did not know what that was, she thought and thought, but she could not find out, she opened her riddle-books, but it was not in them -- in short, her wisdom was at an end. As she did not know how to help herself, she ordered her maid to creep into the lord's sleeping-chamber, and listen to his dreams, and thought that he would perhaps speak in his sleep and discover the riddle. But the clever servant had placed himself in the bed instead of his master, and when the maid came there, he tore off from her the mantle in which she had wrapped herself, and chased her out with rods. The second night the King's daughter sent her maid-in-waiting, who was to see if she could succeed better in listening, but the servant took her mantle also away from her, and hunted her out with rods. Now the master believed himself safe for the third night, and lay down in his own bed. Then came the princess herself, and she had put on a misty-grey mantle, and she seated herself near him. And when she thought that he was asleep and dreaming, she spoke to him, and hoped that he would answer in his sleep, as many do, but he was awake, and understood and heard everything quite well. Then she asked, "One slew none, what is that?" He replied, "A raven, which ate of a dead and poisoned horse, and died of it." She inquired further, "And yet slew twelve, what is that?" He answered, "That means twelve murderers, who ate the raven and died of it."

When she knew the answer to the riddle she wanted to steal away, but he held her mantle so fast that she was forced to leave it behind her. Next morning, the King's daughter announced that she had guessed the riddle, and sent for the twelve judges and expounded it before them. But the youth begged for a hearing, and said, "She stole into my room in the night and questioned me, otherwise she could not have discovered it." The judges said, "Bring us a proof of this." Then were the three mantles brought thither by the servant, and when the judges saw the misty-grey one which the King's daughter usually wore, they said, "Let the mantle be embroidered with gold and silver, and then it will be your wedding-mantle.
Era uma vez um príncipe que sentiu desejo de sair pelo mundo e não levou junto consigo senão um criado fiel. Um dia, ele cavalgava em uma grande floresta e, quando escureceu, vendo que não havia por ali nenhuma hospedaria, ficou sem saber onde passaria a noite. Então avistou uma moça que se dirigia a um casebre e, quando ele chegou mais perto, viu que a moça era jovem e bonita. Iniciou a conversa com estas palavras! "Cara criança, será que eu e meu criado podemos encontrar abrigo nesta casa por esta noite?" - "Claro," disse a moça, com voz triste. "Mas eu não aconselho; não entrem ali!" - "Por que não?" perguntou o príncipe. "A moça disse suspirando!" - "Minha madrasta pratica artes maléficas e não simpatiza com estranhos."

Então ele compreendeu que tinha chegado à casa de uma feiticeira, mas, como estava escuro e ele não poderia prosseguir viagem nem tinha medo, entrou. A velha estava sentada em uma poltrona junto à lareira e examinou os estranhos com seus olhos vermelhos. "Boa noite!" murmurou ela, fingindo cordia lidade. "Acomodem-se e descansem." Depois soprou o carvão sobre o qual, em uma grande panela, estava cozinhando alguma coisa. A filha avisou-os de que tomassem cuidado para nada comer e também nada beber naquela casa, pois a velha preparava bebidas maléficas.

Dormiram tranqüilamente até o raiar do dia. Quando se preparavam para a partida e o príncipe já estava sentado em seu cavalo, a velha disse! "Espere um momento, desejo fazer um brinde à sua partida." Enquanto ela foi buscar a bebida, o príncipe partiu a cavalo e o criado, que tinha de prender sua sela, ficou sozinho, quando eis que a feiticeira volta com a bebida. "Leve-a a seu patrão," disse ela, mas naquele momento o copo quebrou e o veneno derramou sobre o cavalo, e era tão poderoso que o animal morreu na hora. O criado correu até seu patrão e contoulhe o que tinha acontecido, mas não queria deixar para trás sua sela e correu de volta para pegála. Mas, quando chegou junto ao cavalo morto, um corvo já estava sentado sobre ele e o devorava. "Quem sabe se hoje encontraremos algo melhor?" disse o criado. Matou o corvo e levou-o consigo.

Percorreram a floresta o dia todo, mas não conseguiram sair dela. Ao cair da noite, toparam com uma hospedaria e nela entraram. O criado deu ao dono o corvo, a fim de que ele o preparasse para o jantar. Eles, porém, tinham ido parar num covil de assassinos; com a escuridão, chegaram doze bandidos e sentiram vontade de matar e roubar os estranhos. Mas, antes de pôr mãos à obra, sentaram-se à mesa, e o dono da hospedaria e a feiticeira se uniram a eles.

Comeram juntos um prato de sopa na qual se tinha picado a carne do corvo. Mal tinham engolido alguns bocados e caíram mortos, pois o corvo os tinha contaminado com o veneno da carne do cavalo. Não restava ninguém naquela casa senão a filha do hospedeiro, que era uma moça honesta e não tinha tido nenhuma participação nas coisas terríveis que ali aconteciam. Ela abriu todas as portas para os estranhos e mostrou-lhes tesouros incontáveis. O príncipe, porém, disse que ela poderia ficar com tudo, pois ele não queria nada, e partiu com seu criado.

Depois de terem cavalgado por muito tempo, chegaram a uma cidade onde havia uma princesa bela mas muito convencida; ela tinha feito proclamar que quem propusesse um enigma que ela não fosse capaz de decifrar se tornaria seu marido. Mas, se ela o decifrasse, ele seria decapitado. Ela tinha três dias para refletir; mas era tão esperta que sempre acabava decifrando o enigma antes do prazo. Já nove tinham morrido daquela maneira, quando chegou o príncipe e, deslumbrado com a beleza da moça, quis arriscar sua vida.

Então, apresentou-se diante dela e propôs seu enigma! "O que é?: um não matou nenhum, mas matou doze." Ela não sabia do que se tratava, pensou e pensou, mas não conseguiu desvendar o enigma. Consultou seu livro de enigmas, mas nada encontrou ali. Em resumo, sua esperteza chegara ao fim. Não sabendo mais o que fazer, mandou sua criada ir até o quarto do senhor para espioná-lo enquanto dormia! talvez ele falasse durante o sono e revelasse o enigma... Mas o esperto criado tinha-se deitado na cama no lugar de seu patrão e, quando a criada chegou, arrancou-lhe o manto em que ela estava envolvida e expulsou-a do quarto a chicotadas.

Na segunda noite, a princesa enviou sua camareira na esperança de que ela tivesse melhor sorte. Mas o criado também arrancou-lhe o manto e expulsou-a a chicotadas. Na terceira noite, o príncipe julgou-se em segurança e deitou-se em sua cama. Eis que vai até lá a princesa em pessoa, envolta num manto cinzento, e se senta perto dele. Quando pensou que ele estava dormindo e sonhando, pôs-se a lhe falar, na esperança de que ele lhe respondesse durante o sono, como muitos fazem.

Mas ele estava bem acordado e compreendeu e ouviu tudo muito bem. Ela perguntou! "Um matou nenhum, o que isso significa?" - "Um corvo, que se alimentou de um cavalo morto e envenenado e por isso morreu," foi a resposta do príncipe. "E matou doze... como assim?" perguntou a princesa. "São doze assassinos que provaram do corvo e por isso morreram."

Ao saber a chave do enigma, a princesa quis sair de fininho, mas o príncipe segurou-lhe o manto bem firmemente, de tal forma que ela teve de deixá-lo para trás. Na manhã seguinte, a princesa fez saber que decifrara o enigma, mandou chamar os doze juizes e disse a eles qual era a solução. Mas o jovem pediu permissão para falar e disse! "Ela foi de fininho até meu quarto à noite e me perguntou, caso contrário não teria decifrado o enigma." Os juizes pediram uma prova. Então o criado trouxe os três mantos. Quando os juizes viram o manto cinzento que a princesa costumava vestir, disseram: "Que se borde o manto com ouro e prata! Será seu vestido de casamento."




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