The singing bone



In a certain country there was once great lamentation over a wild boar that laid waste the farmer's fields, killed the cattle, and ripped up people's bodies with his tusks. The King promised a large reward to anyone who would free the land from this plague; but the beast was so big and strong that no one dared to go near the forest in which it lived. At last the King gave notice that whosoever should capture or kill the wild boar should have his only daughter to wife.

Now there lived in the country two brothers, sons of a poor man, who declared themselves willing to undertake the hazardous enterprise; the elder, who was crafty and shrewd, out of pride; the younger, who was innocent and simple, from a kind heart. The King said, "In order that you may be the more sure of finding the beast, you must go into the forest from opposite sides." So the elder went in on the west side, and the younger on the east. When the younger had gone a short way, a little man stepped up to him. He held in his hand a black spear and said, "I give you this spear because your heart is pure and good; with this you can boldly attack the wild boar, and it will do you no harm." He thanked the little man, shouldered the spear, and went on fearlessly. Before long he saw the beast, which rushed at him; but he held the spear towards it, and in its blind fury it ran so swiftly against it that its heart was cloven in twain. Then he took the monster on his back and went homewards with it to the King.

As he came out at the other side of the wood, there stood at the entrance a house where people were making merry with wine and dancing. His elder brother had gone in here, and, thinking that after all the boar would not run away from him, was going to drink until he felt brave. But when he saw his young brother coming out of the wood laden with his booty, his envious, evil heart gave him no peace. He called out to him, "Come in, dear brother, rest and refresh yourself with a cup of wine." The youth, who suspected no evil, went in and told him about the good little man who had given him the spear wherewith he had slain the boar.

The elder brother kept him there until the evening, and then they went away together, and when in the darkness they came to a bridge over a brook, the elder brother let the other go first; and when he was half-way across he gave him such a blow from behind that he fell down dead. He buried him beneath the bridge, took the boar, and carried it to the King, pretending that he had killed it; whereupon he obtained the King's daughter in marriage. And when his younger brother did not come back he said, "The boar must have killed him," and every one believed it.

But as nothing remains hidden from God, so this black deed also was to come to light. Years afterwards a shepherd was driving his herd across the bridge, and saw lying in the sand beneath, a snow-white little bone. He thought that it would make a good mouth-piece, so he clambered down, picked it up, and cut out of it a mouth-piece for his horn. But when he blew through it for the first time, to his great astonishment, the bone began of its own accord to sing:

"Ah, friend,
Thou blowest upon my bone!
Long have I lain beside the water;
My brother slew me for the boar,
And took for his wife
The King's young daughter."

"What a wonderful horn!" said the shepherd; "it sings by itself; I must take it to my lord the King." And when he came with it to the King the horn again began to sing its little song. The King understood it all, and caused the ground below the bridge to be dug up, and then the whole skeleton of the murdered man came to light. The wicked brother could not deny the deed, and was sewn up in a sack and drowned. But the bones of the murdered man were laid to rest in a beautiful tomb in the churchyard.
从前有个国家来了一头野猪。 它践踏耕地、咬杀牲畜,还用尖利的獠牙咬人,人们为此痛苦不堪。 国王宣布只要有人能将王国从这一灾难中拯救出来,他就会大大地赏赐他。 可是野猪太大了,而且强不可敌,因此谁也不敢接近它藏身的那片森林。 最后国王宣布:谁若能捕获或者杀死那头野猪,他就能娶国王的独生女为妻。
在乡下住着两兄弟,是穷人家的孩子。 老大狡猾精明却缺乏勇气;弟弟单纯而心地善良。 两兄弟说他们愿意接受这个危及生命的使命。 国王对他们说:"为了让你们能确实找到那头野兽,你们两人必须分头从两个方向进森林。"于是,哥哥从西头走,弟弟从东边进。
弟弟走了没多远就遇到一个小个子男人。 他手里握着一支黑色长矛,对弟弟说:"我把这支长矛给你,因为你心地纯洁善良;你拿着这长矛,只管大胆去斗那野猪,长矛会帮你的。"
不久,他看到了那头野猪,便用长矛对准了朝他扑来的野兽。 野猪气疯了,它冲得太快太猛,结果长矛把它的心脏划成了两半。 弟弟扛起巨兽往回走。
森林另一端的入口处有座房子,人们在那里饮酒、跳舞作乐。 弟弟来到那儿时,哥哥早已坐在里面了,他以为野猪反正逃不出他的手心,于是先喝点酒壮胆。 当他看到弟弟带着战利品从森林里返回时,邪恶的心里充满了嫉妒,无法平息。 他对弟弟喊道:"进来吧,亲爱的弟弟,喝杯酒歇歇。"
哥哥留弟弟一起喝酒直到天色将晚,然后一道离开了小屋,在黑暗中赶路。 他们来到小河上的一座桥跟前,哥哥让弟弟走在前面,走到桥心时,哥哥对准弟弟的后脑勺狠狠一击,弟弟倒下死了。 哥哥将弟弟埋在桥下,自己扛起野猪去向国王领赏,似乎野猪是他猎杀的。 他娶了国王的独生女为妻。 当有人问他为什么弟弟没有回来时,他说:"准是野猪把他给吃了。"人们也就信以为真了。
几年以后,有个牧羊人赶着羊群过桥,一眼看到沙子下面有根雪白的骨头。 他觉得这是做口吹乐器的好材料,于是爬下桥,将骨头捡了起来。 他用骨头给自己的号角做了个吹口。 可他第一次用它吹响号角时大吃了一惊,因为骨头吹口自顾自唱起了小调:
娶的妻子是国王之女。 "
国王一听就明白了,于是派人到桥下挖出了被害人的尸骨。 罪孽深重的哥哥无法抵赖他的所作所为,因此被缝进一个麻袋,沉到河里去了。 被害人的尸骨则被安葬在教堂墓地里一座漂亮的墓冢里了。

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