The Lord Who Became a Blacksmith

A Latvian folk tale, this version is from Tales of The Amber Sea, compiled and translated by Irina Zheleznova in 1974.

Once a lord was journeying to a certain place on business. On the way his coach broke down. Luckily, there happened to be a smithy nearby, so the lord ordered the coach to be repaired without delay. That was all right with the blacksmith who went to work at once and was done before you could count to two. He asked a ruble in payment, and the lord gave it him, for he could not very well do anything else, but the sum seeming much too high to him, became very angry.

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The Orphan Boy and The Hell-Hounds

An Estonian folktale, this version is taken from The Hero of Esthonia, compiled by W. F. Kirby and published in 1895.

OnceĀ upon a time there lived a poor labourer and his wife, who dragged on a wretched existence from day to day. They had three children, but only the youngest survived. He was a boy of nine years old when he buried first his father and then his mother, and he had no other resource than to beg his bread from door to door. A year afterwards he happened to come to the house of a rich farmer just when they wanted a herdboy. The farmer himself was not such a bad man to deal with, but his wife had control of everything, and she was a regular brute. It may easily be imagined how much the poor orphan boy suffered. The blows that he received daily were three times more than sufficient, but he never got enough bread to eat. But as the orphan had nothingĀ better to look forward to, he was forced to endure his misery.

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The Royal Herd-Boy

An Estonian folktale, this version is taken from The Hero of Esthonia, compiled by W. F. Kirby and published in 1895.

Once upon a time there lived a king who was so mild and good to his subjects that there was no one who did not bless him, and pray to the Heavenly Father to grant him a long life.

The king had lived happily with his wife for many years, but as yet no child had blessed his marriage. Great was the rejoicing of the king and all his subjects when at length the queen brought a fair child into the world. But their happiness was short-lived, for three days after the birth of the prince, the mother closed her eyes for ever, leaving her child an orphan and her husband a widower. The king mourned grievously for the loss of his dear consort, and his subjects mourned with him, and there was not a cheerful face to be seen anywhere. Three years afterwards the king married again, in deference to the wishes of his subjects, but he was unfortunate in his second choice.

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