Ferdinand the faithful


Fernando fiel e Fernando infiel

Once on a time lived a man and a woman who so long as they were rich had no children, but when they were poor they had a little boy. They could, however, find no godfather for him, so the man said he would just go to another place to see if he could get one there. As he went, a poor man met him, who asked him where he was going. He said he was going to see if he could get a godfather, that he was poor, so no one would stand as godfather for him. "Oh," said the poor man, "you are poor, and I am poor; I will be godfather for you, but I am so ill off I can give the child nothing. Go home and tell the nurse that she is to come to the church with the child."
When they all got to the church together, the beggar was already there, and he gave the child the name of Ferdinand the Faithful.

When he was going out of the church, the beggar said, "Now go home, I can give you nothing, and you likewise ought to give me nothing." But he gave a key to the nurse, and told her when she got home she was to give it to the father, who was to take care of it until the child was fourteen years old, and then he was to go on the heath where there was a castle which the key would fit, and that all which was therein should belong to him. Now when the child was seven years old and had grown very big, he once went to play with some other boys, and each of them boasted that he had got more from his godfather than the other; but the child could say nothing, and was vexed, and went home and said to his father, "Did I get nothing at all, then, from my godfather?" - "Oh, yes," said the father, "thou hadst a key if there is a castle standing on the heath, just go to it and open it." Then the boy went thither, but no castle was to be seen, or heard of.

After seven years more, when he was fourteen years old, he again went thither, and there stood the castle. When he had opened it, there was nothing within but a horse, a white one. Then the boy was so full of joy because he had a horse, that he mounted on it and galloped back to his father. "Now I have a white horse, and I will travel," said he. So he set out, and as he was on his way, a pen was lying on the road. At first he thought he would pick it up, but then again he thought to himself, "Thou shouldst leave it lying there; thou wilt easily find a pen where thou art going, if thou hast need of one." As he was thus riding away, a voice called after him, "Ferdinand the Faithful, take it with thee." He looked around, but saw no one, then he went back again and picked it up. When he had ridden a little way farther, he passed by a lake, and a fish was lying on the bank, gasping and panting for breath, so he said, "Wait, my dear fish, I will help thee get into the water," and he took hold of it by the tail, and threw it into the lake. Then the fish put its head out of the water and said, "As thou hast helped me out of the mud I will give thee a flute; when thou art in any need, play on it, and then I will help thee, and if ever thou lettest anything fall in the water, just play and I will reach it out to thee." Then he rode away, and there came to him a man who asked him where he was going. "Oh, to the next place." Then what his name was? "Ferdinand the Faithful." - "So! then we have got almost the same name, I am called Ferdinand the Unfaithful." And they both set out to the inn in the nearest place.

Now it was unfortunate that Ferdinand the Unfaithful knew everything that the other had ever thought and everything he was about to do; he knew it by means of all kinds of wicked arts. There was, however, in the inn an honest girl, who had a bright face and behaved very prettily. She fell in love with Ferdinand the Faithful because he was a handsome man, and she asked him whither he was going. "Oh, I am just travelling round about," said he. Then she said he ought to stay there, for the King of that country wanted an attendant or an outrider, and he ought to enter his service. He answered he could not very well go to any one like that and offer himself. Then said the maiden, "Oh, but I will soon do that for you." And so she went straight to the King, and told him that she knew of an excellent servant for him. He was well pleased with that, and had Ferdinand the Faithful brought to him, and wanted to make him his servant. He, however, liked better to be an outrider, for where his horse was, there he also wanted to be, so the King made him an outrider. When Ferdinand the Unfaithful learnt that, he said to the girl, "What! Dost thou help him and not me?" - "Oh," said the girl, "I will help thee too." She thought, "I must keep friends with that man, for he is not to be trusted." She went to the King, and offered him as a servant, and the King was willing.

Now when the King met his lords in the morning, he always lamented and said, "Oh, if I had but my love with me." Ferdinand the Unfaithful was, however, always hostile to Ferdinand the Faithful. So once, when the King was complaining thus, he said, "You have the outrider, send him away to get her, and if he does not do it, his head must be struck off." Then the King sent for Ferdinand the Faithful, and told him that there was, in this place or in that place, a girl he loved, and that he was to bring her to him, and if he did not do it he should die.

Ferdinand the Faithful went into the stable to his white horse, and complained and lamented, "Oh, what an unhappy man I am!" Then someone behind him cried, "Ferdinand the Faithful, why weepest thou?" He looked round but saw no one, and went on lamenting; "Oh, my dear little white horse, now must I leave thee; now must I die." Then some one cried once more, "Ferdinand the Faithful, why weepest thou?" Then for the first time he was aware that it was his little white horse who was putting that question. "Dost thou speak, my little white horse; canst thou do that?" And again, he said, "I am to go to this place and to that, and am to bring the bride; canst thou tell me how I am to set about it?" Then answered the little white horse, "Go thou to the King, and say if he will give thou what thou must have, thou wilt get her for him. If he will give thee a ship full of meat, and a ship full of bread, it will succeed. Great giants dwell on the lake, and if thou takest no meat with thee for them, they will tear thee to pieces, and there are the large birds which would pick the eyes out of thy head if thou hadst no bread for them." Then the King made all the butchers in the land kill, and all the bakers bake, that the ships might be filled. When they were full, the little white horse said to Ferdinand the Faithful, "Now mount me, and go with me into the ship, and then when the giants come, say,

"Peace, peace, my dear little giants,
I have had thought of ye,
Something I have brought for ye;"
and when the birds come, thou shalt again say,

"Peace, peace, my dear little birds,
I have had thought of ye,
Something I have brought for ye;"
then they will do nothing to thee, and when thou comest to the castle, the giants will help thee. Then go up to the castle, and take a couple of giants with thee. There the princess lies sleeping; thou must, however, not awaken her, but the giants must lift her up, and carry her in her bed to the ship." And now everything took place as the little white horse had said, and Ferdinand the Faithful gave the giants and the birds what he had brought with him for them, and that made the giants willing, and they carried the princess in her bed to the King. And when she came to the King, she said she could not live, she must have her writings, they had been left in her castle. Then by the instigation of Ferdinand the Unfaithful, Ferdinand the Faithful was called, and the King told him he must fetch the writings from the castle, or he should die. Then he went once more into the stable, and bemoaned himself and said, "Oh, my dear little white horse, now I am to go away again, how am I to do it?" Then the little white horse said he was just to load the ships full again. So it happened again as it had happened before, and the giants and the birds were satisfied, and made gentle by the meat. When they came to the castle, the white horse told Ferdinand the Faithful that he must go in, and that on the table in the princess's bed-room lay the writings. And Ferdinand the Faithful went in, and fetched them. When they were on the lake, he let his pen fall into the water; then said the white horse, "Now I cannot help thee at all." But he remembered his flute, and began to play on it, and the fish came with the pen in its mouth, and gave it to him. So he took the writings to the castle, where the wedding was celebrated.
The Queen, however, did not love the King because he had no nose, but she would have much liked to love Ferdinand the Faithful. Once, therefore, when all the lords of the court were together, the Queen said she could do feats of magic, that she could cut off any one's head and put it on again, and that one of them ought just to try it. But none of them would be the first, so Ferdinand the Faithful, again at the instigation of Ferdinand the Unfaithful, undertook it and she hewed off his head, and put it on again for him, and it healed together directly, so that it looked as if he had a red thread round his throat. Then the King said to her, "My child, and where hast thou learnt that?" - "Yes," she said, "I understand the art; shall I just try it on thee also?" - "Oh, yes," said he. But she cut off his head, and did not put it on again; but pretended that she could not get it on, and that it would not keep fixed. Then the King was buried, but she married Ferdinand the Faithful.

He, however, always rode on his white horse, and once when he was seated on it, it told him that he was to go on to the heath which he knew, and gallop three times round it. And when he had done that, the white horse stood up on its hind legs, and was changed into a King's son.
Houve, uma vez, um homem e uma mulher que, enquanto eram muito ricos, não tinham filhos, mas, depois que se tomaram extremamente pobres, nasceu-lhes um menino.
Agora, justamente porque eram muito pobres, não conseguiram arranjar padrinho para o filho. O marido então resolveu ir até povoado vizinho para ver se lá arranjava um.
Ia andando pela estrada fora, quando se lhe aproximou um mendigo, que lhe perguntou para onde ia. O homem respondeu que se dirigia ao povoado vizinho a fim de arranjar um padrinho para seu filho, porquanto, como se havia tomado muito pobre, ninguém queria aceitar tal encargo.
- Oh, - disse o outro - se tu és pobre, eu também o sou; todavia, terei prazer em ser teu compadre. Entretanto, como sou paupérrimo, não me é possível oferecer nem um presentinho ao meu afilhado. Volta, pois, para casa e dize à comadre que o leve à igreja.
Pouco depois rumaram todos para a igreja e lá já estava o mendigo, o qual deu ao menino o nome de Fernando fiel.
Ao sair da igreja, após o batizado, disse o padrinho:
- Podeis voltar para vossa casa. Eu nada tenho para vos dar, e vós também não me deveis dar coisa alguma.
Contudo, entregou uma chave à sua comadre, pedindo-lhe que a desse ao pai da criança para guardar cuidadosamente até o afilhado completar catorze anos. Ao atingir essa idade, êle deveria ir a uma determinada planície onde encontraria um castelo, cuja porta seria aberta mediante aquela chave. Tudo o que êle encontrasse lá dentro, lhe pertenceria.
Passaram-se os anos e, quando o menino completou sete, estando já bem crescido, foi um dia brincar com outras crianças. Estas, uma após outra, contavam as maravilhas que haviam ganho de seus respectivos padrinhos. Fernando, porém, não podia dizer o mesmo do seu; e, magoado com isto, foi chorando para casa a perguntar aos pais:
- Meu padrinho não me deu mesmo nada, no dia do meu batizado?
- Oh. sim, - disse o pai. - Deu-te uma chave. Disse que lá naquela planície encontrarás um castelo e com ela poderás abrir a porta; disse mais: que tudo o que vires lá dentro será teu.
O menino foi, cheio de esperanças, mas não encontrou nenhum castelo. Decorridos outros sete anos, quando ele completou os catorze, tornou a voltar à planície e desta vez viu o castelo. Introduziu a chave na fechadura e abriu a porta, mas, ao entrar, viu somente um cavalo branco; ficou tão contente de possuir um cavalo, que lhe saltou imediatamente na garupa e saiu, a galope, em procura do pai.
- Papai, agora que tenho tão belo cavalo, quero viajar pelo mundo! - disse ele.
Alguns dias depois, despediu-se dos pais e partiu. Ia trotando calmamente pela estrada e, abaixando os olhos, viu no chão uma pena de escrever. Teve o impulso de apanhá-la mas, refletindo um pouco, disse: "Deixa-a ficar; se precisares de uma pena, sempre a encontrarás no lugar aonde fores." E continuou para diante.
Mal se distanciara um pouco ouviu uma voz sussurrar-lhe:
- Fernando fiel leva-a contigo!
Ele olhou para todos os lados e não viu quem assim falava; então retrocedeu e apanhou a pena guardando-a cuidadosamente.
Após ter viajado bastante e quando beirava um grande rio viu na margem, debatendo-se, semi-asfixiado, um peixe prestes a morrer. Condoendo-se do infeliz animalzinho, desceu do cavalo, dizendo:
- Meu pobre peixinho, ajudar-te-ei a voltares para dentro da água.
Apanhou-o, delicadamente, pela cauda e lançou-o dentro do rio. Imediatamente o peixe botou a cabeça de fora e disse:
Salvaste-me a vida; como recompensa pela tua
bondade, quero dar-te esta gaitinha. Em caso de necessidade, toca-a e eu virei em teu auxílio. E, se por acaso, deixares cair alguma coisa dentro da água, não tens mais que tocar a gaitinha para que eu ta restitua.
O jovem agradeceu e continuou o caminho. Mais adiante, encontrou um homem que lhe perguntou para onde ia.
- Vou até à aldeia mais próxima.
- Como te chamas?
- Chamo-me Fernando fiel.
- Ora, veja só! temos quase o mesmo nome; eu chamo-me Fernando infiel.
E foram andando juntos, até chegar à hospedaria da localidade vizinha.
O pior da história é que Fernando infiel adivinhava tudo o que os outros pensavam e pretendiam fazer e utilizava-se dessa peculiaridade para fins muito maus.
Entretanto, na hospedaria, deram com u'a moça, muito bonita, de rosto alegre e sorridente e de maneiras bastante gentis. Assim que viu Fernando fiel, o qual era realmente um belo rapaz, a moça apaixonou-se por ele e perguntou-lhe para onde é que se dirigia.
Não tinha rumo certo, disse ele, só queria conhecer o mundo. Ela, então, aconselhou-o a permanecer aí, dizendo que o rei desse país estava interessado em arranjar um bom criado ou um batedor de estrada. Ele bem poderia entrar ao serviço do rei.
O jovem respondeu que não ficava bem oferecer-se. Mas ela retrucou:
Deixa isso por minha conta; eu mesma falarei ao rei.
E dirigiu-se imediatamente ao palácio, falando do belo jovem que conhecia e que poderia, perfeitamente, ocupar o cargo que se oferecia. O rei, muito satisfeito, mandou que o rapaz se apresentasse querendo tomá-lo como criado. O rapaz, porém, declarou que só aceitaria o cargo de batedor de estradas, pois não queria de maneira alguma separar-se do seu cavalo. E assim, nessa condição, ficou servindo no palácio.
Fernando infiel logo ficou sabendo do ocorrido, e, então, disse à moça:
- Como é isso? A ele tu ajudas e a mim não?
- Oh, - disse ela - ajudar-te-ei também.
E ia pensando consigo mesma: "Não convém que o tornes teu inimigo; pois nele não se pode confiar!" E, no dia seguinte, foi ao palácio, pedindo ao rei que tomasse Fernando infiel como criado particular. O rei aceitou com grande alegria.
Todas as manhãs, quando Fernando infiel ajudava o rei a vestir-se, ouvia-o exclamar, entre suspiros:
- Ai, se eu pudesse ter comigo a minha querida noiva!
Ouvindo isto, Fernando infiel que se vinha ralando de inveja do companheiro, disse um dia ao rei, quando ele assim se lastimava:
- Majestade, tendes à vossa disposição o batedor de estradas; porque não lhe ordenais que vá em busca de vossa noiva? Se ele não a trouxer, mandai cortar-lhe a cabeça.
O rei achou ótimo o alvitre; mandou, pois chamar o batedor e disse-lhe que sua noiva estava num lugar assim e assim; ordenava-lhe que a fosse buscar e, se não a trouxesse, seria condenado à morte.
Ouvindo isso, Fernando fiel ficou acabrunhado, pois não sabia como haveria de fazer. Dirigiu-se á cavalariça, onde estava o seu cavalo branco e, chorando, começou a lastimar-se:
- Ai de mim! que desventura a minha!
Nisto ouviu uma voz sussurrar-lhe:
- Por quê choras, Fernando fiel?
Ele olhou para todos os lados, mas não viu ninguém. Então continuou a chorar e a lastimar-se:
- Oh, meu querido cavalinho branco, sou obrigado a deixar-te; em breve terei de morrer!
A voz tornou a sussurrar, agora mais alto:
- Por quê choras assim, Fernando fiel?
Só, então, ele percebeu que era o cavalo branco quem assim falava.
- Oh, és tu, meu cavalinho? então sabes falar? - E prosseguiu: - Tenho de ir para um lugar longe, assim e assim, buscar a noiva do rei. Não sabes como devo fazer?
O cavalinho branco respondeu:
- Apresenta-te ao rei e dize-lhe que, se ele te der o que desejas, tu lhe trarás a noiva. Em seguida, pede-lhe que te dê um navio carregado de carne e outro carregado de pão. Encontrarás no mar uns gigantes medonhos, os quais, se não tiveres carne para lhes dar, far-te-ão em pedaços. Há, também, aves de rapina ferozes, que te arrancarão os olhos se não tiveres pão para lhes dar.
O rei atendeu-lhe o pedido e ordenou n todos os magarefes da cidade que rnatassem o gado necessário; e aos padeiros mandou que cozessem pão suficiente; depois mandou carregar os navios e, quando tudo ficou pronto, o cavalo disse a Fernando fiel:
- Agora monta na minha garupa e embarquemos juntos no navio; assim que avistares os gigantes, dize-lhes:

- Calma, calma, gigantinhos;
de vós não me esqueci,
pois coisa gostosa, trago-vos aqui!

E quando chegarem as aves de rapina, dize-lhes:

- Calma, calma, passarinhos!
de vós não me esqueci,
pois coisa gostosa, trago-vos aqui!

Assim eles te deixarão em paz, e, quando chegares ao castelo, os gigantes te ajudarão. Acompanhado por dois deles, penetra no castelo; lá dentro encontrarás a princesa deitada em uma cama, profundamente adormecida; não a despertes. Encarrega os gigantes de transportá-la tal qual está em leito, até o navio.
Tudo decorreu exatamente de acordo com o que dissera o cavalo branco. Depois que os gigantes transportaram a princesa para o navio e dali até o palácio do rei, Fernando fiel deu-lhes a carne e deu o pão às aves, que se mantiveram tranquilas.
Ao chegar ao palácio do rei, a princesa despertou, mas disse que não poderia viver ali se não recuperasse seus papéis que haviam ficado no castelo, além do mar perigoso.
Mais uma vez, por sugestão de Fernando infiel, o rei ordenou a Fernando fiel que fosse, quanto antes, buscar os tais papéis; caso não os trouxesse, seria condenado à morte.

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