King Thrushbeard


O rei Barba de Tordo

A King had a daughter who was beautiful beyond all measure, but so proud and haughty withal that no suitor was good enough for her. She sent away one after the other, and ridiculed them as well.
Once the King made a great feast and invited thereto, from far and near, all the young men likely to marry. They were all marshalled in a row according to their rank and standing; first came the kings, then the grand-dukes, then the princes, the earls, the barons, and the gentry. Then the King's daughter was led through the ranks, but to every one she had some objection to make; one was too fat, "The wine-cask," she said. Another was too tall, "Long and thin has little in." The third was too short, "Short and thick is never quick." The fourth was too pale, "As pale as death." The fifth too red, "A fighting-cock." The sixth was not straight enough, "A green log dried behind the stove."

So she had something to say against every one, but she made herself especially merry over a good king who stood quite high up in the row, and whose chin had grown a little crooked. "Well," she cried and laughed, "he has a chin like a thrush's beak!" and from that time he got the name of King Thrushbeard.

But the old King, when he saw that his daugher did nothing but mock the people, and despised all the suitors who were gathered there, was very angry, and swore that she should have for her husband the very first beggar that came to his doors.

A few days afterwards a fiddler came and sang beneath the windows, trying to earn a small alms. When the King heard him he said, "Let him come up." So the fiddler came in, in his dirty, ragged clothes, and sang before the King and his daughter, and when he had ended he asked for a trifling gift. The King said, "Your song has pleased me so well that I will give you my daughter there, to wife."

The King's daughter shuddered, but the King said, "I have taken an oath to give you to the very first beggar-man, and I will keep it." All she could say was in vain; the priest was brought, and she had to let herself be wedded to the fiddler on the spot. When that was done the King said, "Now it is not proper for you, a beggar-woman, to stay any longer in my palace, you may just go away with your husband."

The beggar-man led her out by the hand, and she was obliged to walk away on foot with him. When they came to a large forest she asked, "To whom does that beautiful forest belong?" - "It belongs to King Thrushbeard; if you had taken him, it would have been yours." - "Ah, unhappy girl that I am, if I had but taken King Thrushbeard!"

Afterwards they came to a meadow, and she asked again, "To whom does this beautiful green meadow belong?" - "It belongs to King Thrushbeard; if you had taken him, it would have been yours." - "Ah, unhappy girl that I am, if I had but taken King Thrushbeard!"

Then they came to a large town, and she asked again, "To whom does this fine large town belong?" - "It belongs to King Thrushbeard; if you had taken him, it would have been yours." - "Ah, unhappy girl that I am, if I had but taken King Thrushbeard!"

"It does not please me," said the fiddler, "to hear you always wishing for another husband; am I not good enough for you?" At last they came to a very little hut, and she said, "Oh goodness! what a small house; to whom does this miserable, mean hovel belong?" The fiddler answered, "That is my house and yours, where we shall live together."

She had to stoop in order to go in at the low door. "Where are the servants?" said the King's daughter. "What servants?" answered the beggar-man; "you must yourself do what you wish to have done. Just make a fire at once, and set on water to cook my supper, I am quite tired." But the King's daughter knew nothing about lighting fires or cooking, and the beggar-man had to lend a hand himself to get anything fairly done. When they had finished their scanty meal they went to bed; but he forced her to get up quite early in the morning in order to look after the house.

For a few days they lived in this way as well as might be, and came to the end of all their provisions. Then the man said, "Wife, we cannot go on any longer eating and drinking here and earning nothing. You weave baskets." He went out, cut some willows, and brought them home. Then she began to weave, but the tough willows wounded her delicate hands.

"I see that this will not do," said the man; "you had better spin, perhaps you can do that better." She sat down and tried to spin, but the hard thread soon cut her soft fingers so that the blood ran down. "See," said the man, "you are fit for no sort of work; I have made a bad bargain with you. Now I will try to make a business with pots and earthenware; you must sit in the market-place and sell the ware." - "Alas," thought she, "if any of the people from my father's kingdom come to the market and see me sitting there, selling, how they will mock me?" But it was of no use, she had to yield unless she chose to die of hunger.

For the first time she succeeded well, for the people were glad to buy the woman's wares because she was good-looking, and they paid her what she asked; many even gave her the money and left the pots with her as well. So they lived on what she had earned as long as it lasted, then the husband bought a lot of new crockery. With this she sat down at the corner of the market-place, and set it out round about her ready for sale. But suddenly there came a drunken hussar galloping along, and he rode right amongst the pots so that they were all broken into a thousand bits. She began to weep, and did now know what to do for fear. "Alas! what will happen to me?" cried she; "what will my husband say to this?"

She ran home and told him of the misfortune. "Who would seat herself at a corner of the market-place with crockery?" said the man; "leave off crying, I see very well that you cannot do any ordinary work, so I have been to our King's palace and have asked whether they cannot find a place for a kitchen-maid, and they have promised me to take you; in that way you will get your food for nothing."

The King's daughter was now a kitchen-maid, and had to be at the cook's beck and call, and do the dirtiest work. In both her pockets she fastened a little jar, in which she took home her share of the leavings, and upon this they lived.

It happened that the wedding of the King's eldest son was to be celebrated, so the poor woman went up and placed herself by the door of the hall to look on. When all the candles were lit, and people, each more beautiful than the other, entered, and all was full of pomp and splendour, she thought of her lot with a sad heart, and cursed the pride and haughtiness which had humbled her and brought her to so great poverty.

The smell of the delicious dishes which were being taken in and out reached her, and now and then the servants threw her a few morsels of them: these she put in her jars to take home.

All at once the King's son entered, clothed in velvet and silk, with gold chains about his neck. And when he saw the beautiful woman standing by the door he seized her by the hand, and would have danced with her; but she refused and shrank with fear, for she saw that it was King Thrushbeard, her suitor whom she had driven away with scorn. Her struggles were of no avail, he drew her into the hall; but the string by which her pockets were hung broke, the pots fell down, the soup ran out, and the scraps were scattered all about. And when the people saw it, there arose general laughter and derision, and she was so ashamed that she would rather have been a thousand fathoms below the ground. She sprang to the door and would have run away, but on the stairs a man caught her and brought her back; and when she looked at him it was King Thrushbeard again. He said to her kindly, "Do not be afraid, I and the fiddler who has been living with you in that wretched hovel are one. For love of you I disguised myself so; and I also was the hussar who rode through your crockery. This was all done to humble your proud spirit, and to punish you for the insolence with which you mocked me."

Then she wept bitterly and said, "I have done great wrong, and am not worthy to be your wife." But he said, "Be comforted, the evil days are past; now we will celebrate our wedding." Then the maids-in-waiting came and put on her the most splendid clothing, and her father and his whole court came and wished her happiness in her marriage with King Thrushbeard, and the joy now began in earnest. I wish you and I had been there too.
Houve, uma vez, um rei que tinha uma filha extraordinariamente linda, mas tão soberba e orgulhosa que pretendente algum lhe parecia digno dela; repelia-os todos, um após outro e, ainda por cima, fazia troça deles.
Certo dia, o rei organizou uma grande festa e convidou, das regiões vizinhas e distantes, todos os homens que desejassem casar. Foram colocados todos em fila, de acordo com as próprias categorias e nobreza: primeiro os reis, depois os duques, os príncipes, os condes, os barões e, por fim, os simples fidalgos. Em seguida, fizeram a princesa passar em revista a fila dos candidatos mas ela criticou um por um, em todos encontrando defeitos; um era muito gordo: - Que pipa! - dizia; o outro muito comprido: - Comprido e fino não dá destino! - o terceiro era muito pequeno: - Gordo e baixo graça não acho; - o quarto era pálido: - A morte pálida! - O quinto multo corado: - Peru de roda: - o sexto não era muito direito: - lenha verde secada atrás do forno; - e assim por diante. Punha defeitos em todos mas, especialmente, visou e divertiu-se a troçar de um bom rei que estava na primeira fila, o qual tinha o queixo um tanto recurvo.
- Oh, - exclamou, rindo-se abertamente, - esse tem o queixo igual ao bico de um tordo.
E daí por diante, o pobre rei ficou com o apelido de Barba de Tordo. Mas o velho rei, ao ver a filha caçoar do próximo e desprezar todos os pretendentes lá reunidos, encolerizou-se violentamente; e jurou que a obrigaria a casar-se com o primeiro mendigo que aparecesse à sua porta.
Decorridos alguns dias, um músico-ambulante parou sob a janela, cantando para ganhar uma esmola. Ouvindo-o, o rei disse:
- Mandai-o entrar.
O músico-ambulante entrou, vestido de andrajos imundos; cantou na presença do rei e da filha e, quando terminou, pediu-lhes uma esmolinha. O rei disse-lhe:
- Tua canção agradou-me tanto que vou dar-te minha filha em casamento.
A princesa ficou horrorizada, mas o rei disse:
- Jurei que te daria ao primeiro mendigo que aparecesse e cumprirei meu juramento.
De nada valeram os protestos e as lágrimas. Foram chamar o padre e ela teve de casar-se com o musico. Depois do casamento, o rei disse-lhe:
- Não é lógico que a mulher de um mendigo fique morando no palácio real; portanto, deves seguir teu marido.
O mendigo saiu levando-a pela mão, e, assim, ela teve de caminhar a pé, ao lado dele. Chegaram a uma grande floresta e então ela perguntou:

- A quem pertence esta bela floresta?
Pertence ao rei Barba de Tordo;
Se o tivesses querido, pertenceria a ti.
Ah! como fui tola, meu bem,
Porque não quis ao Rei
Que a Barba de Tordo tem!

Depois atravessaram um belo prado verde jante e ela novamente perguntou:

- A quem pertence este belo prado?
Pertence ao rei Barba de Tordo;
Se o tivesses querido, pertenceria a ti.
Ah! como fui tola, meu bem,
Porque não quis ao Rei
Que a Barba de Tordo tem!

Mais tarde chegaram a uma grande cidade e ela perguntou mais uma vez:

- A quem pertence esta grande e bela cidade?
Pertence ao Rei Barba de Tordo;
Se o tivesses querido, pertenceria a ti.
Ah! como fui tola, meu bem,
Porque não quis ao Rei
Que a Barba de Tordo tem!

O músico-ambulante, então, disse:
- Não me agrada nada ouvir lamentares-te por não teres outro marido: achas que não sou digno de ti?
Finalmente chegaram a uma pobre casinha pequenina e ela disse:

- Ah! meu Deus. que casinha pequenina
A quem pertence a pobrezinha?

O músico respondeu:
- É a minha casa e a tua; aqui residiremos juntos.
A porta era tão baixa que, para entrar, a princesa teve de curvar-se.
- Onde estão os criados? - perguntou ela.
- Qual o que criados! - respondeu o mendigo; - o que há a fazer deves fazê-lo tu mesma. Acende logo o fogo e põe água a ferver para preparar a ceia! Eu estou muito cansado e quase morto de fome.
Mas a princesa não sabia acender o fogo, e nem serviço algum de cozinha, e o mendigo teve de ajudá-la se queria ter algo para comer. Tenho engolido a mísera comida, foram deitar-se; na manhã seguinte, logo cedo, ele tirou-a da cama para que arrumasse a casa. E assim viveram, pobre e honestamente, diversos dias até se consumir a provisão que tinham. Então, o marido disse:
- Mulher, não podemos continuar assim, comendo sem ganhar. Tu deves tecer cestos.
Saiu a cortar juncos e trouxe-os para casa; ela pôs- se a tecê-los, mas os juncos muito duros feriam-lhe as mãos delicadas.
- Vejo que isso não vai, - disse o homem, - é melhor que fies! Talvez consigas fazer algo.
Ela sentou-se e tentou fiar, mas o fio duro cortou-lhe logo os dedos finos até escorrer sangue.
- Vês, - disse o marido, - não sabes fazer coisa alguma; contigo fiz mau negócio. Vou tentar o comércio de panelas e potes de barro: tu poderás vendê-los no mercado.
"Ah! - pensou ela, - se vier ao mercado alguém do reino de meu pai e me vir sentada lá a vender panelas, como irá escarnecer de mim!"
Mas não tinha remédio, ela foi obrigada a ir, se não quisesse morrer de fome. Da primeira vez, tudo correu bem; porque era muito bonita, a gente que ia ao mercado comprava prazerosa a mercadoria e pagava o que exigia; muitos, aliás, davam-lhe o dinheiro e não levavam objeto algum. Com o lucro obtido, viveram até que se acabou, depois o homem adquiriu novo estoque de pratos; ela foi ao mercado, sentou-se num canto e expôs a mercadoria. De repente, porém, chegou desenfreadamente um soldado bêbado, atirando o cavalo no meio da louça e quebrando tudo em mil pedaços. Ela desatou a chorar e na sua aflição não sabia o que fazer.
- Ah, que será de mim! - exclamava entre lágrimas; - que dirá meu marido?
Correu para casa e contou-lhe o sucedido.
- Mas, quem é que vai sentar-se no canto do mercado com louça de barro! - disse ele. - Deixa de choro, pois já vi que não serves para nada. Por isso estive no castelo do nosso rei e perguntei se não precisavam de uma criada para a cozinha; prometeram-me aceitar-te; em troca terás a comida.
Assim a princesa tornou-se criada de cozinha; era obrigada a ajudar o cozinheiro e a fazer todo o trabalho mais rude. Em cada bolso, trazia uma panelinha para levar os restos de comida para casa e era com o que viviam.
Ora, deu-se o caso que iam celebrar as bodas do filho primogênito do rei; a pobre mulher subiu pela escadaria e foi até a porta do salão para ver o casamento. Quando se acenderam as luzes e foram introduzidos os convidados, um era mais bonito que o outro; em meio a tanto luxo e esplendor ela pensava, tristemente, no seu destino e amaldiçoava a soberba e a arrogância que a haviam humilhado e lançado naquela miséria.
De quando em quando os criados atiravam-lhe alguma migalha daqueles acepipes que iam levando de um lado para outro, e cujo perfume chegava às suas narinas; ela apanhava-as, guardava-as nas panelinhas a fim de levá-las para casa. De repente, entrou o príncipe, todo vestido de seda e veludo, com lindas cadeias de ouro em volta do pescoço. Quando viu a linda mulher aí parada na porta, pegou-lhe a mão querendo dançar com ela; mas ela recusou espantada, pois reconhecera nele o rei Barba de Tordo, o pretendente que havia repelido e escarnecido. Mas sua recusa foi inútil, ele atraiu-a para dentro da sala; nisso rompeu-se o cordel que prendia os bolsos e caíram todas as panelinhas, esparramando- se a sopa e os restos de comida pelo chão. A vista disso, caíram todos na gargalhada, zombando dela; ela sentiu tal vergonha que desejou estar a mil léguas de distância. Saiu correndo para a porta, tentando fugir daí, mas um homem alcançou-a na escadaria e fê-la voltar, novamente, para a sala. Ela olhou para ele e viu que era sempre o rei Barba de Tordo, o qual, gentilmente, lhe disse:
- Nada temas, eu e o músico-ambulante que morava contigo no pequeno casebre, somos a mesma pessoa.
Por amor a ti disfarcei-me assim, e sou, também, o soldado que quebrou a tua louça. Tudo isto sucedeu com o fim de dobrar o teu orgulho e punir a arrogância com que me desprezaste.
Chorando, amargamente, ela disse:
- Eu fui injusta e má, portanto não sou digna de ser sua esposa.
Mas ele respondeu:
- Consola-te, os maus dias já acabaram; agora vamos celebrar as nossas núpcias!
Vieram, então, as camareiras e vestiram-na com os mais preciosos trajes; depois chegou o pai com toda a corte, a fim de apresentar-lhe congratulações pelo casamento com o rei Barba de Tordo e, só então, começou a verdadeira festa.
- Ah! como gostaria de ter estado lá contigo nessas bodas!

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