DANSK

De tre lykkebørn

ENGLISH

The three children of fortune


Der var engang en mand, som kaldte på sine tre sønner og gav den ældste en hane, den anden en le og den tredie en kat. "Jeg er nu gammel og vil gerne sørge for jer, før jeg dør," sagde han. "Penge har jeg ikke, og det, jeg giver jer, har tilsyneladende ringe værdi, men det kommer blot an på at bære sig fornuftigt ad. Find et land, hvor sådanne ting ikke kendes, så er jeres lykke gjort." Da faderen var død vandrede den ældste af sted med sin hane, men den var godt nok kendt, hvor han kom frem. I lang afstand så han den sidde på byens tårne og dreje sig for vinden, i landsbyerne hørte han den gale og ikke et eneste menneske faldt på at undre sig over hans dyr, så det så rigtig nok ikke ud, som om han skulle gøre sin lykke dermed. Til sidst kom han dog ud på en ø, hvor folkene aldrig nogensinde havde set en hane og ikke engang kunne inddele tiden. De vidste nok, når det var morgen og aften, men når de ikke sov om natten, kunne de slet ikke hitte ud af tiden. "Sikken et dejligt dyr," sagde han, "det har en rubinrød krone på hovedet og sporer som en ridder. Om natten kalder det tre gange på bestemte tider, sidste gang lidt før solen står op. Og når det råber om dagen, kan I være vis på, at vejret forandrer sig." Folkene syntes godt om hanen og sov ikke en hel nat og morede sig kongeligt ved at høre hanen fortælle dem højt og lydeligt kl. to og fire og seks, hvordan tiden gik. De spurgte ham om dyret ikke var til salg, og hvad han forlangte for det. "Så meget guld, som et æsel kan bære," svarede han. "Det er jo en latterlig lille pris for sådan et kostbart dyr," råbte de allesammen og gav ham, hvad han ønskede.

Da han kom hjem med al den rigdom, blev hans brødre meget forundrede, og den næstældste sagde: "Jeg vil også ud og se, om min le kan meje ligeså meget af til mig." Det så imidlertid ikke ud til det, for alle vegne mødte han bønder som lige så godt havde en le på skulderen som han. Til sidst kom han til en ø, hvor folkene aldrig havde set en le. Når kornet var modent, kørte de kanoner ud på marken og skød det ned. Men det var jo slet ikke hensigtsmæssigt, nogle skud gik i luften, andre traf aksene i stedet for strået, og så gjorde det jo et forbistret spektakel. Manden gav sig så til at meje ganske stille så rask, han kunne, og folkene var lige ved at tabe næse og mund af forundring. De ville gerne give ham alt, hvad han ønskede, for leen, og han fik en hest belæsset med så meget guld, den kunne bære.

Den tredie bror ville nu også prøve sin lykke med katten. Det gik ham ligesom de andre, så længe han blev inde på fastlandet nyttede den ham ikke noget, for de havde katte alle vegne og der var oven i købet så mange, at ungerne blev kastet i vandet. Til sidst sejlede han over til en ø, og det traf sig så heldigt, at de slet ikke kendte katte. Musene havde udbredt sig ganske uhindret og dansede rundt på bænke og borde uden at bryde sig om, at folkene var hjemme. Alle mennesker var fortvivlet derover, og ikke engang kongen i sit slot kunne undgå denne plage. Musene peb i alle kroge og gnavede alt, hvad de kunne få fat i. Katten begyndte nu sin jagt og havde snart ryddet to store sale. Folkene bad kongen købe dette mærkelige dyr og den tredie bror forlangte og fik et muldæsel belæsset med guld og kom således hjem med de allerstørste skatte.

Katten gjorde sig rigtig til gode med musene og dræbte så mange, at de ikke var til at tælle. Til sidst blev den forpustet og tørstig af arbejdet og standsede, strakte hals og råbte: "Mjav." Dette løjerlige skrig forskrækkede kongen og hele hoffet sådan, at de styrtede ud af slottet. Udenfor holdt de råd om, hvad de skulle gøre, og blev til sidst enige om at sende bud til katten for at spørge, om den ville rømme slottet godvilligt eller om de skulle bruge magt. "Vi vil hellere plages af musene, det er vi jo dog vant til, end give vort liv til pris for sådan et uhyre," sagde de. En page blev sendt op til katten for at høre dens svar, men den var blevet endnu mere tørstig og svarede blot: "Mjav, mjav." Pagen syntes, at den sagde: "Nej, nej," og gik ned og fortalte det til kongen. "Så bruger vi magt," sagde rådsherrerne. Der blev så kørt kanoner op, og slottet blev skudt i brand. Da ilden nåede den sal, hvor katten var, sprang den ud ad vinduet og slap helskindet fra det, men folkene blev ved at skyde, lige til slottet var skudt i grus.
A father once called his three sons before him, and he gave to the first a cock, to the second a scythe, and to the third a cat. "I am already aged," said he, "my death is nigh, and I have wished to take thought for you before my end; money I have not, and what I now give you seems of little worth, but all depends on your making a sensible use of it. Only seek out a country where such things are still unknown, and your fortune is made."
After the father's death the eldest went away with his cock, but wherever he came the cock was already known; in the towns he saw him from a long distance, sitting upon the steeples and turning round with the wind, and in the villages he heard more than one crowing; no one would show any wonder at the creature, so that it did not look as if he would make his fortune by it.

At last, however, it happened that he came to an island where the people knew nothing about cocks, and did not even understand how to divide their time. They certainly knew when it was morning or evening, but at night, if they did not sleep through it, not one of them knew how to find out the time.

"Look!" said he, "what a proud creature! it has a ruby-red crown upon its head, and wears spurs like a knight; it calls you three times during the night, at fixed hours, and when it calls for the last time, the sun soon rises. But if it crows by broad daylight, then take notice, for there will certainly be a change of weather."

The people were well pleased; for a whole night they did not sleep, and listened with great delight as the cock at two, four, and six o'clock, loudly and clearly proclaimed the time. They asked if the creature were for sale, and how much he wanted for it? "About as much gold as an ass can carry," answered he. "A ridiculously small price for such a precious creature!" they cried unanimously, and willingly gave him what he had asked.

When he came home with his wealth his brothers were astonished, and the second said, "Well, I will go forth and see whether I cannot get rid of my scythe as profitably." But it did not look as if he would, for labourers met him everywhere, and they had scythes upon their shoulders as well as he.

At last, however, he chanced upon an island where the people knew nothing of scythes. When the corn was ripe there, they took cannon out to the fields and shot it down. Now this was rather an uncertain affair; many shot right over it, others hit the ears instead of the stems, and shot them away, whereby much was lost, and besides all this, it made a terrible noise. So the man set to work and mowed it down so quietly and quickly that the people opened their mouths with astonishment. They agreed to give him what he wanted for the scythe, and he received a horse laden with as much gold as it could carry.

And now the third brother wanted to take his cat to the right man. He fared just like the others; so long as he stayed on the mainland there was nothing to be done. Every place had cats, and there were so many of them that new-born kittens were generally drowned in the ponds.

At last he sailed over to an island, and it luckily happened that no cats had ever yet been seen there, and that the mice had got the upper hand so much that they danced upon the tables and benches whether the master were at home or not. The people complained bitterly of the plague; the King himself in his palace did not know how to secure himself against them; mice squeaked in every corner, and gnawed whatever they could lay hold of with their teeth. But now the cat began her chase, and soon cleared a couple of rooms, and the people begged the King to buy the wonderful beast for the country. The King willingly gave what was asked, which was a mule laden with gold, and the third brother came home with the greatest treasure of all.

The cat made herself merry with the mice in the royal palace, and killed so many that they could not be counted. At last she grew warm with the work and thirsty, so she stood still, lifted up her head and cried, "Mew. Mew!" When they heard this strange cry, the King and all his people were frightened, and in their terror ran all at once out of the palace. Then the King took counsel what was best to be done; at last it was determined to send a herald to the cat, and demand that she should leave the palace, or if not, she was to expect that force would be used against her. The councillors said, "Rather will we let ourselves be plagued with the mice, for to that misfortune we are accustomed, than give up our lives to such a monster as this." A noble youth, therefore, was sent to ask the cat "whether she would peaceably quit the castle?" But the cat, whose thirst had become still greater, merely answered, "Mew! Mew!" The youth understood her to say, "Most certainly not! most certainly not!" and took this answer to the King. "Then," said the councillors, "she shall yield to force." Cannon were brought out, and the palace was soon in flames. When the fire reached the room where the cat was sitting, she sprang safely out of the window; but the besiegers did not leave off until the whole palace was shot down to the ground.




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