ENGLISH

The lambkin and the little fish

ESPAÑOL

El corderillo y el pececillo


There were once a little brother and a little sister, who loved each other with all their hearts. Their own mother was, however, dead, and they had a stepmother, who was not kind to them, and secretly did everything she could to hurt them. It so happened that the two were playing with other children in a meadow before the house, and there was a pond in the meadow which came up to one side of the house. The children ran about it, and caught each other, and played at counting out.

"Eneke Beneke, let me live,
And I to thee my bird will give.
The little bird, it straw shall seek,
The straw I'll give to the cow to eat.
The pretty cow shall give me milk,
The milk I'll to the baker take.
The baker he shall bake a cake,
The cake I'll give unto the cat.
The cat shall catch some mice for that,
The mice I'll hang up in the smoke,
And then you'll see the snow."

They stood in a circle while they played this, and the one to whom the word 'snow' fell, had to run away and all the others ran after him and caught him. As they were running about so merrily the stepmother watched them from the window, and grew angry. And as she understood arts of witchcraft she bewitched them both, and changed the little brother into a fish, and the little sister into a lamb. Then the fish swam here and there about the pond and was very sad, and the lambkin walked up and down the meadow, and was miserable, and could not eat or touch one blade of grass. Thus passed a long time, and then strangers came as visitors to the castle. The false step-mother thought: "This is a good opportunity," and called the cook and said to him: "Go and fetch the lamb from the meadow and kill it, we have nothing else for the visitors." Then the cook went away and got the lamb, and took it into the kitchen and tied its feet, and all this it bore patiently. When he had drawn out his knife and was whetting it on the door-step to kill the lamb, he noticed a little fish swimming backwards and forwards in the water, in front of the kitchen-sink and looking up at him. This, however, was the brother, for when the fish saw the cook take the lamb away, it followed them and swam along the pond to the house; then the lamb cried down to it:

"Ah, brother, in the pond so deep,
How sad is my poor heart!
Even now the cook he whets his knife
To take away my tender life."

The little fish answered:

"Ah, little sister, up on hig
How sad is my poor heart
While in this pond I lie."

When the cook heard that the lambkin could speak and said such sad words to the fish down below, he was terrified and thought this could be no common lamb, but must be bewitched by the wicked woman in the house. Then said he: "Be easy, I will not kill thee," and took another sheep and made it ready for the guests, and conveyed the lambkin to a good peasant woman, to whom he related all that he had seen and heard. The peasant was, however, the very woman who had been foster-mother to the little sister, and she suspected at once who the lamb was, and went with it to a wise woman. Then the wise woman pronounced a blessing over the lambkin and the little fish, by means of which they regained their human forms, and after this she took them both into a little hut in a great forest, where they lived alone, but were contented and happy.
Éranse dos hermanitos, un niño y una niña, que se querían tiernamente. Su madre había muerto, su madrastra los odiaba y procuraba siempre causarles todo el mal posible. Sucedió que un día estaban los dos hermanos jugando en un prado, delante de su casa, en compañía de otros niños. Y junto al prado extendíase un estanque, el cual llegaba hasta uno de los lados de la casa. Corrían los chiquillos, y jugaban a alcanzarse, y cantaban:

"Patito, quiéreme un poquito,
y te daré mi pajarito.
El pajarito me buscará pajita;
la paja la daré a mi vaquita;
la vaca me dará leche rica;
la leche la daré al pastelero;
el pastelero me cocerá pasteles;
los pasteles los daré al gatito;
el gato me cazará ratoncitos;
los ratoncitos los colgaré a la espalda...
¡y te morderán!."

Y se ponían en corro, y al que le tocaba la palabra "morderán" debía echar a correr, persiguiéndole los demás hasta que lo alcanzaban. La madrastra, al verlos desde la ventana saltar tan alegremente, se enojó y, como era bruja, encantó a los dos hermanitos, convirtiendo, al niño, en pez, y a la niña, en cordero. He aquí que el pez nadaba tristemente en el estanque, y el corderillo corría por el prado, triste también, sin comer ni tocar una hierbecita. Así transcurrió algún tiempo, hasta que un día llegaron forasteros al palacio, y la malvada madrastra pensó: "Ésta es una buena ocasión," y llamó al cocinero y le dijo:
- Ve al prado a buscar el cordero y mátalo, pues no tenemos nada para ofrecer a los huéspedes.
Bajó el cocinero, cogió al animalito, y se lo llevó a la cocina, atado de patas; y todo lo sufrió con paciencia la bestezuela. Pero cuando el hombre, sacando el cuchillo, salió al umbral para afilarlo, reparó en un pececito que, con muestras de gran agitación, nadaba frente al vertedero y lo miraba. Era el hermanito, que, al ver que el cocinero se llevaba al corderillo, había acudido desde el centro del estanque. Baló entonces el corderillo desde arriba:

"Hermanito que moras en el estanque,
mi pobre alma, dolida está y sangrante.
Muy pronto el cocinero sin compasión,
me clavará el cuchillo en el corazón."

Respondió el pececillo:

"¡Ay, hermanita, que me llamas desde lo alto!
Mi pobre alma, dolida está y sangrante
en las aguas profundas del estanque."

Al oír el cocinero hablar al corderillo y dirigir al pececito aquellas palabras tan tristes, asustóse y comprendió que no debía ser un cordero natural, sino la víctima de algún hechizo de la mala bruja de la casa.
Dijo:
- Tranquilízate, que no te mataré - y, cogiendo otra res, la sacrificó y guisó para los invitados. Luego condujo el corderillo a una buena campesina, y le explicó cuanto había oído y presenciado. Resultó que precisamente aquella campesina había sido la nodriza de la hermanita, y, sospechando la verdad, fue con el animalito a un hada buena. Pronunció ésta una bendición sobre el corderillo y el pececillo, y ambos recobraron en el acto su figura humana propia. Luego los llevó a una casita situada en un gran bosque, donde vivieron solos, pero felices y contentos.




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