ESPAÑOL

El acertijo

ENGLISH

The riddle


Érase una vez el hijo de un rey, a quien entraron deseos de correr mundo, y se partió sin más compañía que la de un fiel criado. Llegó un día a un extenso bosque, y al anochecer, no encontrando ningún albergue, no sabía dónde pasar la noche. Vio entonces a una muchacha que se dirigía a una casita, y, al acercarse, se dio cuenta de que era joven y hermosa. Dirigióse a ella y le dijo:
- Mi buena niña, ¿no nos acogerías por una noche en la casita, a mí y al criado?
- De buen grado lo haría -respondió la muchacha con voz triste-; pero no os lo aconsejo. Mejor es que os busquéis otro alojamiento.
- ¿Por qué? -preguntó el príncipe.
- Mi madrastra tiene malas tretas y odia a los forasteros ­contestó la niña suspirando.
Bien se dio cuenta el príncipe de que aquella era la casa de una bruja; pero como no era posible seguir andando en la noche cerrada, y, por otra parte, no era miedoso, entró. La vieja, que estaba sentada en un sillón junto al fuego, miró a los viajeros con sus ojos rojizos:
- ¡Buenas noches! -dijo con voz gangosa, que quería ser amable-. Sentaos a descansar-. Y sopló los carbones, en los que se cocía algo en un puchero.
La hija advirtió a los dos hombres que no comiesen ni bebiesen nada, pues la vieja estaba confeccionando brebajes nocivos. Ellos durmieron apaciblemente hasta la madrugada, y cuando se dispusieron a reemprender la ruta, estando ya el príncipe montado en su caballo, dijo la vieja:
- Aguarda un momento, que tomarás un trago, como despedida.
Mientras entraba a buscar la bebida, el príncipe se alejó a toda prisa, y cuando volvió a salir la bruja con la bebida, sólo halló al criado, que se había entretenido arreglando la silla.
- ¡Lleva esto a tu señor! -le dijo. Pero en el mismo momento se rompió la vasija, y el veneno salpicó al caballo; tan virulento era, que el animal se desplomó muerto, como herido por un rayo. El criado echó a correr para dar cuenta a su amo de lo sucedido, pero, no queriendo perder la silla, volvió a buscarla. Al llegar junto al cadáver del caballo, encontró que un cuervo lo estaba devorando.
"¿Quién sabe si cazaré hoy algo mejor?," se dijo el criado; mató, pues, el cuervo y se lo metió en el zurrón.
Durante toda la jornada estuvieron errando por el bosque, sin encontrar la salida. Al anochecer dieron con una hospedería y entraron en ella. El criado dio el cuervo al posadero, a fin de que se lo guisara para cenar. Pero resultó que había ido a parar a una guarida de ladrones, y ya entrada la noche presentáronse doce bandidos, que concibieron el propósito de asesinar y robar a los forasteros. Sin embargo, antes de llevarlo a la práctica se sentaron a la mesa, junto con el posadero y la bruja, y se comieron una sopa hecha con la carne del cuervo. Pero apenas hubieron tomado un par de cucharadas, cayeron todos muertos, pues el cuervo estaba contaminado con el veneno del caballo.
Ya no quedó en la casa sino la hija del posadero, que era una buena muchacha, inocente por completo de los crímenes de aquellos hombres. Abrió a los forasteros todas las puertas y les mostró los tesoros acumulados. Pero el príncipe le dijo que podía quedarse con todo, pues él nada quería de aquello, y siguió su camino con su criado.
Después de vagar mucho tiempo sin rumbo fijo, llegaron a una ciudad donde residía una orgullosa princesa, hija del Rey, que había mandado pregonar su decisión de casarse con el hombre que fuera capaz de plantearle un acertijo que ella no supiera descifrar, con la condición de que, si lo adivinaba, el pretendiente sería decapitado. Tenía tres días de tiempo para resolverlo; pero eran tan inteligente, que siempre lo había resuelto antes de aquel plazo. Eran ya nueve los pretendientes que habían sucumbido de aquel modo, cuando llegó el príncipe y, deslumbrado por su belleza, quiso poner en juego su vida. Se presentó a la doncella y le planteó su enigma:
- ¿Qué es -le dijo- una cosa que no mató a ninguno y, sin embargo, mató a doce?
En vano la princesa daba mil y mil vueltas a la cabeza, no acertaba a resolver el acertijo. Consultó su libro de enigmas, pero no encontró nada; había terminado sus recursos. No sabiendo ya qué hacer, mandó a su doncella que se introdujese de escondidas en el dormitorio del príncipe y se pusiera al acecho, pensando que tal vez hablaría en sueños y revelaría la respuesta del enigma. Pero el criado, que era muy listo, se metió en la cama en vez de su señor, y cuando se acercó la doncella, arrebatándole de un tirón el manto en que venía envuelta, la echó del aposento a palos. A la segunda noche, la princesa envió a su camarera a ver si tenía mejor suerte. Pero el criado le quitó también el manto y la echó a palos.
Creyó entonces el príncipe que la tercera noche estaría seguro, y se acostó en el lecho. Pero fue la propia princesa la que acudió, envuelta en una capa de color gris, y se sentó a su lado. Cuando creyó que dormía y soñaba, púsose a hablarle en voz queda, con la esperanza de que respondería en sueños, como muchos hacen. Pero él estaba despierto y lo oía todo perfectamente.
Preguntó ella:
- Uno mató a ninguno, ¿qué es esto?
Respondió él:
- Un cuervo que comió de un caballo envenenado y murió a su vez.
Siguió ella preguntando:
- Y mató, sin embargo, a doce, ¿qué es esto?
- Son doce bandidos, que se comieron el cuervo y murieron envenenados.
Sabiendo ya lo que quería, la princesa trató de escabullirse, pero el príncipe la sujetó por la capa, que ella hubo de abandonar. A la mañana, la hija del Rey anunció que había descifrado el enigma y, mandando venir a los doce jueces, dio la solución ante ellos. Pero el joven solicitó ser escuchado y dijo:
- Durante la noche, la princesa se deslizó hasta mi lecho y me lo preguntó; sin esto, nunca habría acertado.
Dijeron los jueces:
- Danos una prueba.
Entonces el criado entró con los tres mantos, y cuando los jueces vieron el gris que solía llevar la princesa, fallaron la sentencia siguiente:
- Que este manto se borde en oro y plata; será el de vuestra boda.
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.




Compare dos idiomas:













Donations are welcomed & appreciated.


Thank you for your support.