ENGLISH

The queen bee

ROMÂNĂ

Craiasa albinelor


Two king's sons once started to seek adventures, and fell into a wild, reckless way of living, and gave up all thoughts of going home again. Their third and youngest brother, who was called Witling, and had remained behind, started off to seek them; and when at last he found them, they jeered at his simplicity in thinking that he could make his way in the world, while they who were so much cleverer were unsuccessful.

But they all three went on together until they came to an ant-hill, which the two eldest brothers wished to stir up, that they might see the little ants hurry about in their fright and carrying off their eggs, but Witling said, "Leave the little creatures alone, I will not suffer them to be disturbed."

And they went on farther until they came to a lake, where a number of ducks were swimming about. The two eldest brothers wanted to catch a couple and cook them, but Witling would not allow it, and said, "Leave the creatures alone, I will not suffer them to be killed."

And then they came to a bee's-nest in a tree, and there was so much honey in it that it overflowed and ran down the trunk. The two eldest brothers then wanted to make a fire beneath the tree, that the bees might be stifled by the smoke, and then they could get at the honey. But Witling prevented them, saying, "Leave the little creatures alone, I will not suffer them to be stifled."

At last the three brothers came to a castle where there were in the stables many horses standing, all of stone, and the brothers went through all the rooms until they came to a door at the end secured with three locks, and in the middle of the door a small opening through which they could look into the room. And they saw a little grey-haired man sitting at a table. They called out to him once, twice, and he did not hear, but at the third time he got up, undid the locks, and came out. Without speaking a word he led them to a table loaded with all sorts of good things, and when they had eaten and drunk he showed to each his bed-chamber.

The next morning the little grey man came to the eldest brother, and beckoning him, brought him to a table of stone, on which were written three things directing by what means the castle could be delivered from its enchantment The first thing was, that in the wood under the moss lay the pearls belonging to the princess - a thousand in number - and they were to be sought for and collected, and if he who should undertake the task had not finished it by sunset, if but one pearl were missing, he must be turned to stone. So the eldest brother went out, and searched all day, but at the end of it he had only found one hundred; just as was said on the table of stone came to pass and he was turned into stone. The second brother undertook the adventure next day, but it fared with him no better than with the first; he found two hundred pearls, and was turned into stone. And so at last it was Witling's turn, and he began to search in the moss; but it was a very tedious business to find the pearls, and he grew so out of heart that he sat down on a stone and began to weep. As he was sitting thus, up came the ant-king with five thousand ants, whose lives had been saved through Witling's pity, and it was not very long before the little insects had collected all the pearls and put them in a heap.

Now the second thing ordered by the table of stone was to get the key of the princess's sleeping-chamber out of the lake. And when Witling came to the lake, the ducks whose lives he had saved came swimming, and dived below, and brought up the key from the bottom.

The third thing that had to be done was the most difficult, and that was to choose out the youngest and loveliest of the three princesses, as they lay sleeping. All bore a perfect resemblance each to the other, and only differed in this, that before they went to sleep each one had eaten a different sweetmeat, the eldest a piece of sugar, the second a little syrup, and the third a spoonful of honey. Now the Queen-bee of those bees that Witling had protected from the fire came at this moment, and trying the lips of all three, settled on those of the one that had eaten honey, and so it was that the king's son knew which to choose.

Then the spell was broken; every one awoke from stony sleep, and took their right form again. And Witling married the youngest and loveliest princess, and became king after her father's death. But his two brothers had to put up with the two other sisters.
Au fost odata doi feciori de imparat, care au pornit sa-si incerce norocul prin lume. Si feciorii astia au ajuns sa duca o viata atat de ticaloasa si desarta, ca n-au mai avut indrazneala sa calce pragul casei parintesti. Si cum trecuse vreme, nu gluma, si nu venise nici o veste de la ei, fratele lor mai mic, pe care-l poreclisera Prostila, pleca in cautarea lor.

Dar cand dadu in sfarsit de fratii sai, acestia incepura sa-si bata joc de dansul:

- Auzi, prostanacul, sa creada c-o sa poata razbi prin lume, cand noi, mai isteti decat el, n-am prea facut isprava mare! Totusi pornira la drum catestrei si, tot mergand ei asa, iata ca dadura peste un musuroi de furnici. Cei doi frati mai varstnici voira pe data sa-l surpe si sa-l rascoleasca, pentru a vedea cum micile fapturi o vor lua la goana inspaimantate de moarte. Dar Prostila ii opri, strigandu-le:

- Lasati ganganiile in pace! N-o sa ingadui sa le tulburati linistea! Pornira ei mai departe si, dupa un cot de deal, dadura peste un lac, pe luciul caruia inotau o multime de rate. Cei doi frati mai mari se repezira sa prinda cateva, ca tare ar fi avut pofta sa le friga. Dar Prostila se impotrivi si de data asta:

- Lasati zburatoarele in pace! N-o sa ingadui sa le ucideti!

Mersera ei mai departe si, intr-o buna zi, numai ca nimerira langa un roi de albine, aflat intr-o scorbura de copac. Si avea roiul acesta atata miere, ca se prelingea pe trunchi, de-ai fi zis ca este un izvoras... Cei doi frati mai mari isi pusera in gand sa dea foc copacului si sa inabuse albinele, ca sa poata lua mierea. Dar Prostila se impotrivi cu si mai multa tarie:

- Lasati albinele in pace! N-o sa ingadui sa le dati foc!

In cele din urma, cei trei frati dadura peste un palat si avea palatul asta grajduri, cate n-ai fi gasit nici in zece palate imparatesti. Si-n ele se aflau o multime de cai, toti de piatra. Cat despre oameni, nu se zarea unul pe nicaieri. Strabatura ei toate salile palatului si intr-un sfarsit se pomenira in dreptul unei usi zavorate cu trei lacate.

Si avea usa asta o ferestruica, taiata taman la mijloc. Cei trei catara prin ea si ce crezi ca le fu dat sa vada: in fundul unei camere se afla un mosneag care statea aplecat deasupra unei mese!...

Strigara la el o data, strigara a doua oara, dar mosneagul nu-i auzi. Mai strigara a treia oara si abia atunci se trezi mosul, descuie lacatele si se ivi in prag.... Si fara sa spuna o vorba, ii pofti sa se aseze la masa incarcata cu fel si fel de bunatati.

Dupa ce mancara si baura dupa pofta inimii, mosneagul ii duse in cate un iatac, ca sa se odihneasca. A doua zi, batranul intra in odaia celui mai mare dintre frati si, facandu-i semn sa-l urmeze, il duse pana in dreptul unei mese de piatra. Pe masa asta se aflau scrise trei incercari care, de-ar fi fost dezlegate, ar fi avut darul sa smulga palatul de sub puterea blestemului. Prima incercare glasuia astfel: "Sub covorul de muschi al padurii stau ascunse cele o mie de boabe de margaritar ale fiicei imparatului, care toate trebuie gasite intr-o singura zi. Daca la asfintitul soarelui va lipsi macar una dintre ele, cal care s-a incumetat sa le caute se va preface in stana de piatra!"

Cel mai mare dintre frati porni in padure si cauta toata ziua, dar cand fu sa apuna soarele, baga de seama ca toata truda i-a fost in zadar si ca n-a putut sa adune mai mult de o suta de boabe de margaritar. Si atunci se intampla asa cum sta scris pe tablia mesei: flacaul se prefacu in stana de piatra!

In ziua urmatoare isi incerca norocul si fratele cel mijlociu, dar nici lui nu-i merse mai bine. Si oricat se stradui el, nu fu in stare sa gaseasca mai mult ca doua sute de boabe de margaritar. Si se prefacu si el in stana de piatra.

Iata ca veni si randul lui Prostila... se apuca el sa caute in desimea covorului de muschi, dar gasea cu atata anevoie cate un bob de margaritar, totul mergea atat de incet, ca-l cuprinse deznadejdea.

Si cum nu stia in ce chip s-o scoata la capat, se aseza pe o piatra si incepu sa planga. Si cum plangea el asa, numai ce i se infatisa craiasa furnicilor, insotita de cele cinci mii de slujitoare ale sale. Erau tocmai furnicile pe care flacaul le scapase de la pieire. Nu trecu mult si micile ganganii izbutira sa adune toate cele o mie de boabe de margaritar si facura din ele o gramada bunicica.

A doua incercare era mult mai grea: trebuia sa fie scoasa din fundul lacului cheia de la iatacul domnitei. De indata ce Prostila ajunse la marginea acului, se ivi inotand un card de rate. Erau tocmai ratele pe care el le scapase de la pieire. Si lasandu-se in adanc, ele ii adusera cheia care zacea pe fundul malos al lacului.

Cea de a treia incercare era insa cea mai grea: dintre cele trei domnite adormite, flacaul trebuia sa o recunoasca pe cea mai tanara si mai frumoasa.

Ei, dar cum naiba s-o recunoasca, cand semanau catestrele ca picaturile de apa! Ca doar numai un singur lucru le deosebea: mai inainte de a fi adormit, fiecare gustase ceva dulce -cea mai mare rontaise o bucata de zahar, cea mijlocie bause o cescuta cu sirop, iar cea mica luase o lingurita de miere. "Ei, acu sa te vedem pe unde scoti camasa!" se gandi Prostila in sinea lui. Si iata ca veni in zbor o albina.

Era chiar regina roiului pe care flacaul o scapase de la pieire. Se roti ea de cateva ori prin iatac, cerceta pe rand buzele celor trei domnite adormite si se aseza in cele din urma pe gura aceleia care gustase din miere. Si astfel putu Prostila sa o recunoasca dintr-o data pe cea mai tanara si mai fumoasa dintre domnite.

Si numaidecat se risipi vraja, de parca nici n-ar fi fost. Castelul se smulse din somnul cel adanc si toti acei care fusesera prefacuti in stane de piatra isi recapatara infatisarea omeneasca.

Prostila o lua de nevasta pe cea mai tanara si mai frumoasa dintre domnite si, dupa moartea craiului, urca pe scaunul domnesc. Iar fratii lui mai mari socotira ca nici celalalte domnite nu erau chiar asa de lepadat si traira cu totii ani multi in belsug si fericire.




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