The singing, springing lark



There was once on a time a man who was about to set out on a long journey, and on parting he asked his three daughters what he should bring back with him for them. Whereupon the eldest wished for pearls, the second wished for diamonds, but the third said, "Dear father, I should like a singing, soaring lark." The father said, "Yes, if I can get it, you shall have it," kissed all three, and set out. Now when the time had come for him to be on his way home again, he had brought pearls and diamonds for the two eldest, but he had sought everywhere in vain for a singing, soaring lark for the youngest, and he was very unhappy about it, for she was his favorite child. Then his road lay through a forest, and in the midst of it was a splendid castle, and near the castle stood a tree, but quite on the top of the tree, he saw a singing, soaring lark. "Aha, you come just at the right moment!" he said, quite delighted, and called to his servant to climb up and catch the little creature. But as he approached the tree, a lion leapt from beneath it, shook himself, and roared till the leaves on the trees trembled. "He who tries to steal my singing, soaring lark," he cried, "will I devour." Then the man said, "I did not know that the bird belonged to thee. I will make amends for the wrong I have done and ransom myself with a large sum of money, only spare my life." The lion said, "Nothing can save thee, unless thou wilt promise to give me for mine own what first meets thee on thy return home; and if thou wilt do that, I will grant thee thy life, and thou shalt have the bird for thy daughter, into the bargain." But the man hesitated and said, "That might be my youngest daughter, she loves me best, and always runs to meet me on my return home." The servant, however, was terrified and said, "Why should your daughter be the very one to meet you, it might as easily be a cat, or dog?" Then the man allowed himself to be over-persuaded, took the singing, soaring lark, and promised to give the lion whatsoever should first meet him on his return home.
When he reached home and entered his house, the first who met him was no other than his youngest and dearest daughter, who came running up, kissed and embraced him, and when she saw that he had brought with him a singing, soaring lark, she was beside herself with joy. The father, however, could not rejoice, but began to weep, and said, "My dearest child, I have bought the little bird dear. In return for it, I have been obliged to promise thee to a savage lion, and when he has thee he will tear thee in pieces and devour thee," and he told her all, just as it had happened, and begged her not to go there, come what might. But she consoled him and said, "Dearest father, indeed your promise must be fulfilled. I will go thither and soften the lion, so that I may return to thee safely." Next morning she had the road pointed out to her, took leave, and went fearlessly out into the forest. The lion, however, was an enchanted prince and was by day a lion, and all his people were lions with him, but in the night they resumed their natural human shapes. On her arrival she was kindly received and led into the castle. When night came, the lion turned into a handsome man, and their wedding was celebrated with great magnificence. They lived happily together, remained awake at night, and slept in the daytime. One day he came and said, "To-morrow there is a feast in thy father's house, because your eldest sister is to be married, and if thou art inclined to go there, my lions shall conduct thee." She said, "Yes, I should very much like to see my father again," and went thither, accompanied by the lions. There was great joy when she arrived, for they had all believed that she had been torn in pieces by the lion, and had long ceased to live. But she told them what a handsome husband she had, and how well off she was, remained with them while the wedding-feast lasted, and then went back again to the forest. When the second daughter was about to be married, and she was again invited to the wedding, she said to the lion, "This time I will not be alone, thou must come with me." The lion, however, said that it was too dangerous for him, for if when there a ray from a burning candle fell on him, he would be changed into a dove, and for seven years long would have to fly about with the doves. She said, "Ah, but do come with me, I will take great care of thee, and guard thee from all light." So they went away together, and took with them their little child as well. She had a chamber built there, so strong and thick that no ray could pierce through it; in this he was to shut himself up when the candles were lit for the wedding-feast. But the door was made of green wood which warped and left a little crack which no one noticed. The wedding was celebrated with magnificence, but when the procession with all its candles and torches came back from church, and passed by this apartment, a ray about the bredth of a hair fell on the King's son, and when this ray touched him, he was transformed in an instant, and when she came in and looked for him, she did not see him, but a white dove was sitting there. The dove said to her, "For seven years must I fly about the world, but at every seventh step that you take I will let fall a drop of red blood and a white feather, and these will show thee the way, and if thou followest the trace thou canst release me." Thereupon the dove flew out at the door, and she followed him, and at every seventh step a red drop of blood and a little white feather fell down and showed her the way.

So she went continually further and further in the wide world, never looking about her or resting, and the seven years were almost past; then she rejoiced and thought that they would soon be delivered, and yet they were so far from it! Once when they were thus moving onwards, no little feather and no drop of red blood fell, and when she raised her eyes the dove had disappeared. And as she thought to herself, "In this no man can help thee," she climbed up to the sun, and said to him, "Thou shinest into every crevice, and over every peak, hast thou not seen a white dove flying?" - "No," said the sun, "I have seen none, but I present thee with a casket, open it when thou art in sorest need." Then she thanked the sun, and went on until evening came and the moon appeared; she then asked her, "Thou shinest the whole night through, and on every field and forest, hast thou not seen a white dove flying?" - "No," said the moon, "I have seen no dove, but here I give thee an egg, break it when thou art in great need." She thanked the moon, and went on until the night wind came up and blew on her, then she said to it, "Thou blowest over every tree and under every leaf, hast thou not seen a white dove flying?" - "No," said the night wind, "I have seen none, but I will ask the three other winds, perhaps they have seen it." The east wind and the west wind came, and had seen nothing, but the south wind said, "I have seen the white dove, it has flown to the Red Sea, where it has become a lion again, for the seven years are over, and the lion is there fighting with a dragon; the dragon, however, is an enchanted princess." The night wind then said to her, "I will advise thee; go to the Red Sea, on the right bank are some tall reeds, count them, break off the eleventh, and strike the dragon with it, then the lion will be able to subdue it, and both then will regain their human form. After that, look round and thou wilt see the griffin which is by the Red Sea; swing thyself, with thy beloved, on to his back, and the bird will carry you over the sea to your own home. Here is a nut for thee, when thou are above the center of the sea, let the nut fall, it will immediately shoot up, and a tall nut-tree will grow out of the water on which the griffin may rest; for if he cannot rest, he will not be strong enough to carry you across, and if thou forgettest to throw down the nut, he will let you fall into the sea."

Then she went thither, and found everything as the night wind had said. She counted the reeds by the sea, and cut off the eleventh, struck the dragon therewith, whereupon the lion overcame it, and immediately both of them regained their human shapes. But when the princess, who had before been the dragon, was delivered from enchantment, she took the youth by the arm, seated herself on the griffin, and carried him off with her. There stood the poor maiden who had wandered so far and was again forsaken. She sat down and cried, but at last she took courage and said, "Still I will go as far as the wind blows and as long as the cock crows, until I find him," and she went forth by long, long roads, until at last she came to the castle where both of them were living together; there she heard that soon a feast was to be held, in which they would celebrate their wedding, but she said, "God still helps me," and opened the casket that the sun had given her. A dress lay therein as brilliant as the sun itself. So she took it out and put it on, and went up into the castle, and everyone, even the bride herself, looked at her with astonishment. The dress pleased the bride so well that she thought it might do for her wedding-dress, and asked if it was for sale? "Not for money or land," answered she, "but for flesh and blood." The bride asked her what she meant by that, so she said, "Let me sleep a night in the chamber where the bridegroom sleeps." The bride would not, yet wanted very much to have the dress; at last she consented, but the page was to give the prince a sleeping-draught. When it was night, therefore, and the youth was already asleep, she was led into the chamber; she seated herself on the bed and said, "I have followed after thee for seven years. I have been to the sun and the moon, and the four winds, and have enquired for thee, and have helped thee against the dragon; wilt thou, then quite forget me?" But the prince slept so soundly that it only seemed to him as if the wind were whistling outside in the fir-trees. When therefore day broke, she was led out again, and had to give up the golden dress. And as that even had been of no avail, she was sad, went out into a meadow, sat down there, and wept. While she was sitting there, she thought of the egg which the moon had given her; she opened it, and there came out a clucking hen with twelve chickens all of gold, and they ran about chirping, and crept again under the old hen's wings; nothing more beautiful was ever seen in the world! Then she arose, and drove them through the meadow before her, until the bride looked out of the window. The little chickens pleased her so much that she immediately came down and asked if they were for sale. "Not for money or land, but for flesh and blood; let me sleep another night in the chamber where the bridegroom sleeps." The bride said, "Yes," intending to cheat her as on the former evening. But when the prince went to bed he asked the page what the murmuring and rustling in the night had been? On this the page told all; that he had been forced to give him a sleeping-draught, because a poor girl had slept secretly in the chamber, and that he was to give him another that night. The prince said, "Pour out the draught by the bed-side." At night, she was again led in, and when she began to relate how ill all had fared with her, he immediately recognized his beloved wife by her voice, sprang up and cried, "Now I really am released! I have been as it were in a dream, for the strange princess has bewitched me so that I have been compelled to forget thee, but God has delivered me from the spell at the right time." Then they both left the castle secretly in the night, for they feared the father of the princess, who was a sorcerer, and they seated themselves on the griffin which bore them across the Red Sea, and when they were in the midst of it, she let fall the nut. Immediately a tall nut-tree grew up, whereon the bird rested, and then carried them home, where they found their child, who had grown tall and beautiful, and they lived thenceforth happily until their death.
从前,有一个商人准备出门作一次短途旅行。 他有三个女儿,出门前,他问他的女儿们想要自己给她们带什么礼物回来。 大女儿说她想要珍珠,二女儿说想要宝石,但小女儿却说道:"亲爱的爸爸,给我带一枝玫瑰花来吧。"当时正是冬天寒冷时节,要买到玫瑰花可以说是一件不可能的事。 爸爸知道这个最漂亮的女儿对花儿情有独钟,所以,他还是答应她尽一切努力为她带一枝玫瑰花回来。 亲吻了三个女儿之后,父亲告别她们出发了。
当商人返程回家时,他为二个大女儿买到了他们所要的珍珠和宝石,可不管他到哪个地方,要想为小女儿找到玫瑰花却是白费气力。 当他到各地的花园寻求玫瑰花时,人们都嘲笑他,问他是不是认为玫瑰花是在冬天里生长开花的。 受到嘲弄,他感到很伤心,但为了他那最可爱的小女儿,他并不在乎,心里仍然想着回去该给她带点什么东西。 最后他来到了一座美丽的城堡,城堡四周都被花园环绕着。 非常奇特的是花园一半似乎是春暖花开的季节,另一半却是严冬的景象;一边是满园最美丽的鲜花竞相开放,一边是花草荒芜,白雪覆盖。 商人不由得对他的仆人说:"啊!真是太幸运了!"说完,就让仆人到玫瑰花圃那儿去为他采一枝玫瑰花。 拿到了玫瑰花,他们格外高兴,正准备离开时,一头凶猛的狮子跳了出来,咆哮着说道:"无论是谁敢偷摘我的玫瑰花,我就要吃掉谁。"商人吓坏了,他战战兢兢地说道:"我不知道这花园是属于你的,有什么办法能救我一命吗?"狮子说道:"不能!没有什么办法能救你,除非你答应把你回家时最先看到的东西送给我。如果你同意这个条件,我就不吃你,连玫瑰花也送给你的女儿。"但商人不愿意答应这条件,他说道:"我的小女儿最爱我,每次回家她总是最先跑出来迎接我,我回家最先遇到的可能正是我的小女儿。"此时,他的仆人吓得不得了,说道:"也许最先遇见的是一只猫,或者是一只狗。"最后,商人怀着一种侥幸的心理和沉重的心情,被迫同意了。 他拿着玫瑰花,答应狮子把他回去时最先遇到的东西送来。
就在商人回到家门前时,他那最小最可爱的女儿首先看到了他,马下飞跑出屋,迎上前来用亲吻欢迎他的归来。 她看到他带回给她的玫瑰花时,更加兴高采烈起来。 但她的爸爸心情却开始忧愁起来,悲叹着说道:"天哪!我最亲爱的孩子!这朵花是我用高价买来的,为了它,我已经答应把你送给一头凶猛的狮子了。它得到你时,一定会把你撕成碎片,然后将你吃掉。"说完,把事情的经过都告诉了她,说准备让她不去,最终的结果会怎样就听天由命吧。
第二天早晨,她问清楚去路,告别了父亲,大胆地踏进了森林。 其实,那头狮子是一个被施了魔法的王子,在大白天,他和他的大臣们都被变成狮子的形象,到了晚上又一起变回正常人的样子。 当这位少女来到城堡时,狮子非常有礼貌地迎接她的到来,并向少女求婚,少女同意了他的请求。 盛大的结婚宴会举行之后,他们在一起幸福地生活了很长一段日子。 每当夜晚降临,王子就来了,他召集大臣进见、和她相会,但天一亮就离开新娘,独自而去,她不知道他去了哪儿,但每到夜晚他又会回来,天天都是这样。
有天,王子对她说:"明天你的大姐姐结婚,你爸爸要在家里举行一个盛大的喜庆宴会,如果你想去看看他们,我就让我的狮子带你去那里。"这对时时刻刻都想去看看父亲的她来说,真是太高兴了。 第二天她和狮子们一道出发了,每个看到她的人都格外的高兴。 因为他们认为她被狮子咬死已经很久了,现在又看到她回来觉得真不容易。 她告诉他们自己现在生活得很幸福。 她在家一直待到婚宴结束才返回森林里去。
不久,二姐又要结婚了,她也被邀请去参加结婚典礼。 她对王子说:"这次你必须和我一同前往,我一个人是不会去的。"但他不同意,说这是一件非常危险的事情,因为只要有一丝灯火的光照着他,他身上的魔法就会更加邪恶,他会被变成一只鸽子,要被迫在世间到处飞行七年。 可她却不答应,还说她会细心照料,不会让一丝灯火的光线照到他身上的。 最后他俩一起出发了,还带上了他们的孩子。 到家后,她选择了一间墙壁很厚的大厅,让他待在里面。 但不幸的是厅门之上有一条裂缝,谁也没有发现。
盛大的婚礼举行了,就在结婚队伍从教堂返回经过这座大厅时,队伍里举着的火炬有一丝光线从厅门的裂缝射进了大厅,正好照在王子的身上。 刹那间,王子消失了,等他妻子进来找他时,只发现一只白色的鸽子。 他对她说:"我必须在世界各地到处飞行七年,而且时常会掉落一根白色的羽毛,那是我给你指出我去的方向,你跟着它,最终就会追上我,从而解救我,让我获得自由之身。"
说完,他飞出了大门,她紧跟着鸽子毫不犹豫地追去。 他飞啊! 不停地飞! 她追啊! 不停地追! 在天地之间的广阔世界里,她循着他不时掉落的白色羽毛指引之路,勇往直前;她心身合一,对世间万事不闻不问,决不旁顾;她也不休息,不睡觉。 整整七年终于就要过去了,她心情开始兴奋起来,以为一切艰难困苦和烦恼忧愁都会随着七年的到来而结束。 然而,现实却将她们美好的希望击得粉碎:一天,她正在路上追寻着,却怎么找也找不着白色羽毛了。 她抬眼在天空搜寻,别说是白鸽,就连鸟的影子都没看到。 "老天爷--,"她长叹一声,"没有人能帮助我了!"
于是,这可怜的人儿又踏上了追寻之路,来到了红海。 一切正如晚风所说的一样,她拔下第十一棵柳树枝,用力抽打那条飞龙。 刹那间,狮子变成了王子,飞龙也变成了一位公主。 惊喜之下,她竟把晚风给她的告诫忘了,结果让那个公主看准机会,用手臂挽着王子,带着他离去了。
这位远道而来的不幸女人又被抛弃了,孤独凄凉又伴随着她。 但是,她没有气馁,仍然鼓足勇气说道:"我要继续追寻他,只要是风能吹到的地方,有公鸡啼叫的地方,哪怕是天涯海角,我也去寻找,一定要再次找到他为止。"她又开始了艰难的跋涉。
功夫不负有心人,她终于来到了一座城堡,王子正是被公主带到了这里。 看来这儿正筹备着一个宴会,她向路人一打听,原来是要举行一个结婚宴会。 "啊!上帝保佑我!"她说道。 然后拿出太阳送给她的小匣子,打开一看,里面放着的是一套闪烁着阳光般光彩的令人眩目的礼服。 她穿上礼服,走进了王宫,所有的人都把目光移到了她身上。 新娘看见她穿的礼服,非常羡慕,问她是否愿意出卖,她回答说:"金子和银子是买不到的,除非用血和肉才能换取。"公主不懂她的话,问她是什么意思,她说:"今天晚上,让我在新郎的房内和他谈一次话,我就把这礼服送给你。"公主最后同意了。 但她吩咐她的仆人给王子喝一杯安眠药水,让他既不可能听到这个女人说话,也不可能看到她。
到了晚上,王子睡着了,她被带到他的房间里。 她在他靠近脚的一头坐下说道:"我追寻你有七年了,太阳、月亮、晚风都帮我寻找你,最后我帮你战胜了飞龙,难道你就把我完全给忘了吗?"可惜王子此时睡得正香,她的话传到他耳朵里,迷迷糊糊就好像是风拂过杉树的沙沙声响。
第二天早晨,她被带了出去,无可奈何之下,只得交出了那件金光闪闪的礼服。 看到自己的努力竟毫无结果,她走出王宫,伤心得跑到外面的草地上便瘫了下来,失声痛哭。 坐了一会儿,她想起了月亮送给自己的那个鸡蛋,马上将蛋拿出来打碎,从蛋里面立即跑出一只纯金的母鸡和十二只纯金的小鸡。 它们一出壳就在四周唧唧地闹着玩耍起来,又依偎在母鸡的翅膀下面,构成了一幅世间最美的画卷。 看着这群美丽可爱的金鸡,她站起来极不情愿地赶着它们向王宫走去。 听到小鸡诱人的叫声,新娘从窗户里探出头来看到了可爱的鸡群,便兴奋地跑出来,问她是不是愿意出卖这群金鸡。 "金子和银子是买不到的,除非用血和肉才能换取。"公主又想和昨天一样来欺骗她,就答应了她的要求。
但公主没有料到,晚上王子来到房间里时,他问仆人为什么昨晚风吹得沙沙地响。 仆人心虚,只好把一切都告诉了王子:他如何给王子服安眠药水,而一个可怜的少妇来到王子的房间里对他诉说不止,他却在呼呼大睡,今晚她还要来这儿等等。 王子听过之后,小心翼翼地倒掉了安眠药水,睡在了床上。 待那少妇到来又开始向他诉说自己的悲哀与不幸、诉说自己对他的爱是多么的忠贞不移时,他听出了这是他心爱的妻子的声音。 他一下子跳了起来,说道:"啊!你把我从梦魇中唤醒了,因为我被这个陌生的公主用咒语迷住,完全把你忘记了,在这幸福的时刻,我要感谢上帝又把你送回到我的身边。"
他们害怕被公主发现,于是,趁着黑夜悄悄地逃出王宫,夜以兼程地向自己的家园赶去。 他们终于又见到了自己的孩子了,孩子已经长大,看起来真是神采飘逸,俊美非常,人见人爱。 一家人终于又团聚在一起了,他们消除了魔障,过上了正常人的幸福生活,一辈子再也没有分离过。

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