The golden goose


Gasca de aur

There was a man who had three sons, the youngest of whom was called the Simpleton, and was despised, laughed at, and neglected, on every occasion. It happened one day that the eldest son wished to go into the forest to cut wood, and before he went his mother gave him a delicious pancake and a flask of wine, that he might not suffer from hunger or thirst. When he came into the forest a little old grey man met him, who wished him good day, and said, "Give me a bit of cake out of your pocket, and let me have a drink of your wine; I am so hungry and thirsty." But the prudent youth answered, "Give you my cake and my wine? I haven't got any; be off with you." And leaving the little man standing there, he went off. Then he began to fell a tree, but he had not been at it long before he made a wrong stroke, and the hatchet hit him in the arm, so that he was obliged to go home and get it bound up. That was what came of the little grey man.

Afterwards the second son went into the wood, and the mother gave to him, as to the eldest, a pancake and a flask of wine. The little old grey man met him also, and begged for a little bit of cake and a drink of wine. But the second son spoke out plainly, saying, "What I give you I lose myself, so be off with you." And leaving the little man standing there, he went off. The punishment followed; as he was chopping away at the tree, he hit himself in the leg so severely that he had to be carried home.

Then said the Simpleton, "Father, let me go for once into the forest to cut wood; and the father answered, "Your brothers have hurt themselves by so doing; give it up, you understand nothing about it." But the Simpleton went on begging so long, that the father said at last, "Well, be off with you; you will only learn by experience." The mother gave him a cake (it was only made with water, and baked in the ashes), and with it a flask of sour beer. When he came into the forest the little old grey man met him, and greeted him, saying, "Give me a bit of your cake, and a drink from your flask; I am so hungry and thirsty." And the Simpleton answered, "I have only a flour and water cake and sour beer; but if that is good enough for you, let us sit down together and eat." Then they sat down, and as the Simpleton took out his flour and water cake it became a rich pancake, and his sour beer became good wine; then they ate and drank, and afterwards the little man said, "As you have such a kind heart, and share what you have so willingly, I will bestow good luck upon you. Yonder stands an old tree; cut it down, and at its roots you will find some thing," and thereupon the little man took his departure.

The Simpleton went there, and hewed away at the tree, and when it fell he saw, sitting among the roots, a goose with feathers of pure gold. He lifted it out and took it with him to an inn where he intended to stay the night. The landlord had three daughters who, when they saw the goose, were curious to know what wonderful kind of bird it was, and ended by longing for one of its golden feathers. The eldest thought, "I will wait for a good opportunity, and then I will pull out one of its feathers for myself;" and so, when the Simpleton was gone out, she seized the goose by its wing - but there her finger and hand had to stay, held fast. Soon after came the second sister with the same idea of plucking out one of the golden feathers for herself; but scarcely had she touched her sister, than she also was obliged to stay, held fast. Lastly came the third with the same intentions; but the others screamed out, "Stay away! for heaven's sake stay away!" But she did not see why she should stay away, and thought, "If they do so, why should not I?" and went towards them. But when she reached her sisters there she stopped, hanging on with them. And so they had to stay, all night.

The next morning the Simpleton took the goose under his arm and went away, unmindful of the three girls that hung on to it. The three had always to run after him, left and right, wherever his legs carried him. In the midst of the fields they met the parson, who, when he saw the procession, said, "Shame on you, girls, running after a young fellow through the fields like this," and forthwith he seized hold of the youngest by the hand to drag her away, but hardly had he touched her when he too was obliged to run after them himself. Not long after the sexton came that way, and seeing the respected parson following at the heels of the three girls, he called out, "Ho, your reverence, whither away so quickly? You forget that we have another christening to-day," and he seized hold of him by his gown; but no sooner had he touched him than he was obliged to follow on too. As the five tramped on, one after another, two peasants with their hoes came up from the fields, and the parson cried out to them, and begged them to come and set him and the sexton free, but no sooner had they touched the sexton than they had to follow on too; and now there were seven following the Simpleton and the goose.

By and by they came to a town where a king reigned, who had an only daughter who was so serious that no one could make her laugh; therefore the king had given out that whoever should make her laugh should have her in marriage. The Simpleton, when he heard this, went with his goose and his hangers-on into the presence of the king's daughter, and as soon as she saw the seven people following always one after the other, she burst out laughing, and seemed as if she could never stop.

And so the Simpleton earned a right to her as his bride; but the king did not like him for a son-in-law and made all kinds of objections, and said he must first bring a man who could drink up a whole cellar of wine. The Simpleton thought that the little grey man would be able to help him, and went out into the forest, and there, on the very spot where he felled the tree, he saw a man sitting with a very sad countenance. The Simpleton asked him what was the matter, and he answered, "I have a great thirst, which I cannot quench: cold water does not agree with me; I have indeed drunk up a whole cask of wine, but what good is a drop like that?" Then said the Simpleton, "I can help you; only come with me, and you shall have enough." He took him straight to the king's cellar, and the man sat himself down before the big vats, and drank, and drank, and before a day was over he had drunk up the whole cellar-full.

The Simpleton again asked for his bride, but the king was annoyed that a wretched fellow, called the Simpleton by everybody, should carry off his daughter, and so he made new conditions. He was to produce a man who could eat up a mountain of bread. The Simpleton did not hesitate long, but ran quickly off to the forest, and there in the same place sat a man who had fastened a strap round his body, making a very piteous face, and saying, "I have eaten a whole bakehouse full of rolls, but what is the use of that when one is so hungry as I am? My stomach feels quite empty, and I am obliged to strap myself together, that I may not die of hunger." The Simpleton was quite glad of this, and said, "Get up quickly, and come along with me, and you shall have enough to eat." He led him straight to the king's courtyard, where all the meal in the kingdom had been collected and baked into a mountain of bread. The man out of the forest settled himself down before it and hastened to eat, and in one day the whole mountain had disappeared. Then the Simpleton asked for his bride the third time. The king, however, found one more excuse, and said he must have a ship that should be able to sail on land or on water. "So soon," said he, "as you come sailing along with it, you shall have my daughter for your wife." The Simpleton went straight to the forest, and there sat the little old grey man with whom he had shared his cake, and he said, "I have eaten for you, and I have drunk for you, I will also give you the ship; and all because you were kind to me at the first." Then he gave him the ship that could sail on land and on water, and when the king saw it he knew he could no longer withhold his daughter.

The marriage took place immediately, and at the death of the king the Simpleton possessed the kingdom, and lived long and happily with his wife.
A fost odata un om si omul acela avea trei feciori. Pe cel mai mic dintre ei il poreclisera Prostila si-l luau in ras si-l umpleau de ocari ori de cate ori aveau prilejul. Intr-o buna zi, cel mai mare dintre frati vru sa se duca in padure sa taie lemne si, mai inainte de a pleca, maica-sa ii puse in traista un cozonac bine rumenit si tare gustos si-o sticla cu vin ca sa aiba cu ce-si potoli setea si foamea. Si cum ajunse in padure, flacaul se si intalni cu un omulet batran si tare carunt. Dupa ce-i dadu binete, omuletul prinse a se ruga de el:
- Mai baiete, da-mi si mie o bucatica din cozonacul tau si lasa-ma sa sorb o inghititura de vin, ca nu mai pot de foame si sete si ma simt sleit! Vezi insa ca flacaul se tinea ca-i destept si se rasti la omulet:
- Da stii ca n-ai pretentii mari!...Pai daca ti-oi da din cozonacul si din vinul meu, mie ce-mi mai ramane? Vezi-ti de drum si nu mai supara oamenii cersind!... Si lasandu-l in plata domnului pe omulet, isi vazu de drum mai departe. Ajunse la locul cu pricina si se apuca imediat de lucru. Dar in timp ce se caznea sa doboare un copac, loviturile cadeau anapoda; si ca un facut ii scapa securea din mana si nimeri cu taisul in brat, de trebui s-o porneasca din nou spre casa, sa-si lege rana. Vezi ca patania asta i se trasese de la omuletul cel carunt. Cind fu sa plece la padure cel de-al doilea fecior, maica-sa ii puse-n traista, ca si celuilalt, un cozonac gustos si o sticla cu vin. Omuletul cel carunt indata-i iesi in cale si-i ceru si lui o bucata de cozonac si o inghititura de vin. Dar mijlociul se rasti la el ca si fratele sau cel mare:
- Ei, asta-i buna!... Pai daca ti-oi da si tie n-o sa-mi mai ramana nici pe-o masea, asa ca vezi-ti de drum si nu mai supara oamenii degeaba! Si lasandu-l in plata domnului pe omulet, nici ca se mai sinchisi de el si-si vazu de drum mai departe. Dar pedeapsa nu intarzie sa vina: dupa ce izbi de cateva ori cu securea in trunchiul unui copac, se vatama asa de rau la un picior, ca trebui sa se duca acasa. Vazand ce se intamplase cu fratii sai, Prostila isi puse in gind sa incerce si el. Si incepu a se ruga de taica-sau: - Taica, lasa-ma si pe mine sa ma duc o data in padure la taiat lemne! Si taica-sau ii raspunse:
- N-ai vazut ce au patimit fratii tai de pe urma asta? Lasa-te pagubas, baiete, ca nu ai tu cap pentru astfel de treburi!... Dar Prostila, nu si nu, ca el vrea sa se duca. Statui intr-atata, ca pana la urma taica-sau trebui sa incuviinteze.:
- Ei, atunci du-te! Ca de cate-i patimi, poate-o sa-ti vina si tie minte la cap! Maica-sa ii dadu si lui un cozonac, dar vezi ca il plamadise numai cu apa si il copsese in spuza! Si-i mai puse in traista si o sticla cu bere inacrita!... Cand ajunse praslea in padure, se intalni si el cu omuletul cel batran si carunt. Dupa ce-i dadu binete, mosneagul prinse a se ruga de el:
- Mai, flacaias, mai, da-mi si mie o bucata din cozonacul tau si lasa-ma sa sorb o inghititura de vin din sticla ta, ca nu mai pot de foame si de sete! Prostila lua aminte la vorbele omuletului si-i raspunse cu blandete:
- Mosnegelule draga, n-am in traista decat un cozonac copt in spuza si o sticla de bere acra, dar daca-ti suunt pe plac bucatele astea, n-ai decat sa te asezi colea langa mine, sa ne ospatam impreuna. Se asezara ei pe iarba si cand scoase Prostila merindele din traista, odata-mi facu niste ochi, si cum sa nu faca!- daca vazu dinainte-i un cozonac galben-galben, de parca ar fi fost plamadit numai cu oua, si daca baga de seama ca berea se preschimbase in vinul cel mai de soi!... Mancara ei si baura pana ce se saturara si la sfarsit omuletul zise:
- Fiindca mi-ai dovedit inima buna si din putinul tau esti bucuros sa imparti cu altii, sa stii ca am sa te fac fericit! Uite, vezi copacul cel batran de colo? Apuca-te de-l doboara si vei gasi ceva la radacina lui. Acestea zicand, omuletul isi lua ramas bun si-si vazu de drum. Prostila dobori copacul si gasi la radacina lui o gasca cu penele numai si numai de aur.
O lua sub brat si se indrepta cu ea spre hanul unde gandea sa ramana peste noapte. Hangiul avea trei fete, care, de indata ce vazura gasca, nu-si mai aflara locul de curioase ce erau. Ardeau de nerabdare voind sa afle cat mai degraba ce sart are pasarea asta minunata si de soi. Si ar fi dat tustrele orice, numai sa se aleaga fiecare cu cate o pana de aur. Fata cea mare privea la gasca cu jind si zicea in sinea ei: "Lasa ca gasesc eu prilej sa pot smulge o pana." Si cand Prostila iesi afara pentru o clipa, fata isi lua inima-n dinti si apuca gasca de-o aripa. Dar vezi dracie: degetele ii ramasera prinse de pene!... Putin dupa aceea veni si cea mijlocie, cu gand sa smulga si ea o pana de aur. Dar abia se atinse de sora-sa, ca si ramase agatata de ea. Cand o vazu venind si pe cea de-a treia, care nutrea si ea acelasi gand, cele doua surori mai mari strigara la ea:
- Nu te apropia, pentru numele Domnului, nu te apropia!... Dar fata nu pricepu de ce ii tot strigau surorile ei sa nu se apropie de gasca si gandea in sinea ei: "Daca ele s-au putut duce, de ce nu m-as putea duce si eu?" si se repezi spre gasca. Dar abia o atinse pe una dintre surorile ei, ca si ramase agatata de ea. Astfel, catestrele trebuira sa-si petreaca noaptea alaturi de zburatoarea cu pene de aur. A doua zi, Prostila isi lua gasca la subsoara si o porni la drum , fara sa se sinchiseasca de cele trei fete care erau agatate de ea. Si bietele fiice ale hangiului trebuia sa o tina tot intr-o fuga dupa Prostila, fie c-o lua la dreapta, fie c-o lua la stanga, oriincotro il duceau picioarele. ... Cand ajunsera in mijlocul unei campii, numai ce se intalnira cu-n popa care tocmai trecea si el pe acolo. Zarind popa o asemenea blestematie, incepu sa strige ca in gura de sarpe:
- Necuviincioaselor, nu va e rusine sa va tineti scai dupa un flacau? Oare se cuvine sa faceti una ca asta?... Si dupa ce le mustrului in lege, o apuca pe cea mai mica de mana cu gand s-o opreasca. Dar de indata ce o atinse, ramase si el agatat si, de voie, de nevoie, trebui sa alerge si el in rand cu catestrele. Merse ei ce mersera, dar nu prea mult si in calea lor se ivi dascalul, care se minuna grozav cand il vazu pe preot alergand cat il tineau picioarele in urma a trei fete...
- Ei, parinte, incotro grabesti asa tare?!... ii striga el. Nu cumva sa te iei cu altele si sa uiti ca mai avem azi un botez!... Acestea zicand se repezi la preot sa-l traga de maneca, dar ramase si el agatat... Cum alergau ei asa toti cinci, agatati unul de altul de parca ar fi fost insirati pe-o sfoara, numai ce le trecura pe dinainte doi tarani ce veneau de pe camp, cu sapele pe umeri. Preotul ii stiga de departe, rugandu-i sa-l scape pe el si pe dascal de pacostea asta. Dar indata ce-l atinsera taranii pe dascal, ramasera si ei agatati. Ei, comedie mare, sapte insi se insirau acum dupa Prostila, care zorea cu gasca la subsuoara!...Mersera ei ce mersera si intr-un sfarsit ajunsera intr-o cetate mare, unde domnea un imparat care avea o fiica, numai buna de maritat. Si era fiica imparatului atat de sanchie si de ursuza din fire, ca nimeni pana atunci n-o putuse face sa rada. Din aceasta pricina imparatul daduse o pravila in care sta scris ca acela care o va face pe domnita sa rada, o va lua de sotie. Auzind acestea, Prostila se infatisa inaintea fetei, cu gasca la subsoara si cu tot alaiul nastrusnic dupa el. Si cand ii vazu domnita pe toti sapte alergand in urma lui Prostila, de parca ar fi fost insirati pe-o sfoara, odata izbucni intr-un hohot de ras, si rase cu atata pofta, ca nu mai fu chip sa se opreasca. Si daca vazu Prostila ca implinise porunca imparatului, cuteza sa-i ceara fata de nevasta, asa cum sta scris in pravila. Numai ca imparatului nu-i prea era pe plac ginerele si nascocea fel si fel de chichite ca sa scape de el. Pina la urma ii zise ca i-o va da de nevasta pe fie-sa numai atunci cand ii va aduce pe cineva care sa fie in stare sa bea tot vinul care ar incapea intr-o pivnita. Prostila se gandi ca omuletul din padure i-ar putea veni in ajutor cu un sfat de folos. Pori deci intr-acolo si cand ajunse zari un om care sedea jos , taman pe locul unde doborase copacul, si parea sa fie tare amarat. Prostila il intreba ce tot are pe inima de sta catranit si omul raspunse:
- Cum as putea sa fiu altfel daca ma chinuie o amarnica de sete si n-am cu ce o stinge? Iar de apa, cat ar fi ea de rece, nu ma pot atinge, pentru ca nu-mi prieste defel! E drept ca adineauri am golit un butoi cu vin, dar ce inseasmna o picatura la setea care ma frige pe mine? E taman ca o picatura de apa pe o piatra infierbantata, zau, asa! - Pai daca-i numai asta, atunci afla ca-mi sta in putinta sa-ti astampar setea, ii zise Prostila. Hai, fratioare cu mine, si o sa bei pana n-o sa mai poti!... Il duse apoi in pivnita imparatului si omul nostru se infipse langa butoaiele cele mari si, luandu-le la rand, bau de stinse, pana ce incepura a-l durea salele, nu alta... Nici nu trecuse bine ziua si secase vinul din toate butoaiele. Prostila se duse la curte si-i ceru din nou imparatului sa-i dea fata de nevasta. Dar ti-ai gasit sa i-o dea! ...Sadea catranit toata vremea si nu-i venea deloc sa-si marite odrasla dupa un neispravit ca acesta, caruia toata lumea ii zicea Prostila. Si ca sa scape de el, il mai puse la o incercare. Cica trebuia sa gaseasca un om care sa fie-n stare sa manance un munte de paine. Prostila nu statu mult pe ganduri, ci porni imediat la drum. Cand ajunse in padure, in acelasi loc unde doborase copacul, zari un om cu o mutra necajita, care-si tot strangea cureaua peste burta, vaicarindu-se intruna: - vai de maiculita mea, am infulecat un cuptor intreg de paine, dar ce-mi poate ajunge doar un cuptoras cand sunt lihnit de foame?!... Prin burta imi fluiera vantul si trebuie sa-mi strang tot mereu cureaua ca sa nu cad de-a-n picioarelea!... Auzind acestea, prostila se bucura tare mult si-i zise:
- Mai, frate-miu, hai de te scoala si vino cu mine , c-o sa-ti dau sa mananci pana te-i ghiftui!... Ajunsera ei in cetatea imparateasca si ce sa vezi acolo: din faina care se stransese din intreaga imparatie, imparatul daduse porunca sa se faca un munte urias de paine. Paduretul cel hamesit de foame se aseza la poalele muntelui de paine si incepu sa infulece din el , de parca se bateau turcii la gura lui. Intr-o singura zi n-avu ce alege din muntele de paine; si cand se lasase seara nu mai ramasese din el nicio faramita... Daca vazu asta Prostila, ii ceru pentru a treia oara imparatului sa-i dea fata de nevasta, dar acesta cauta sa umble si de asta-data cu fofarlica, doar, doar o scapa de el. Si in cuvinte mieroase il indemna sa-i aduca la curte o corabie atat de nazdravana, incat sa pluteasca si pe apa si pe uscat.
- Cand te-oi vedea venind cu corabia la curtea palatului, ii mai zise el voind sa dea vorbelor un anume inteles, sa stii ca nu voi mai avea nicio pricina de impotrivire si ti-oi da fata de nevasta pe loc.
Prostila porni iar in padure spre locul cu pricina si aici il gasi pe omuletul cel batran si carunt pe care-l ospatase din putinele lui bucate. Si batranul, ascultandu-i pasul, ii grai astfel:
- Am mancat si am baut, acum am sa-ti dau si corabia! Acestea toate ti s-au cuvenit pe drept, fiindca n-am putut sa-ti uit bunatatea si mila pe care mi le-ai aratat la nevoie. Si omuletul cel batran si carunt ii darui corabia nazdravana, care, pasamite, plutea si pe apa, si pe uscat. In clipa cand Prostila i-o aduse pesches imparatului, acesta nu mai avu ce sa zica - vezi bine ca i se dusesera pe apa sambetei toate siretlicurile - si-i dadu fata de nevasta. Si se facu o nunta ca-n povesti; iar dupa moartea imparatului, Prostila urca in scaunul domnesc si trai in fericire, pana la adanci batraneti, alaturi de nevasta lui.

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