THE KING AND THE BALD MAN
Once upon a time, there was a king who had forty wild rabbits. He needed a herder to take care of his rabbits so he asked everywhere in his kingdom. But what was strange about it, were the conditions the king had given for the man who would take care of the rabbits. The one who would take the rabbits out in the morning and bringing them in the evening without one missing, could take the kingdom and the throne, and marry his daughter, which was the only one the king had. But if one the hares would miss, then they would cut off the herder’s head. Lots of people wanted to give it a try, but they never turned back. One day, a bald man was walking through the lands of the kingdom, and he saw the proclamation of the king. He read it, thought for a while and said: ‘‘I am going to try, whatever it takes’’.
He went to the king’s palace at once. As soon as he arrived, what he saw was horrible…. There was a mountain of the people who couldn’t look after the hares. He encouraged himself and entered the palace, and the guards took him to the king. The bald man told the king why he had come, so the king said him instantly to come again the next morning before dawn to take the rabbits out. The sun hadn’t set yet when the bald man took the rabbits and took them to a meadow outside the kingdom’s area. Just as they got at the meadow, the rabbits became like the wind and spread out very quickly. The bald man panicked and began to cry. He was depicturing his head on top of the pile. Then he heard a voice that seemed too mild:
- Why are you crying, my son?
The bald man perked and saw an old lady who had put her hand on his shoulder.
- Oh, don’t even ask me. – the bald man began to tell her his story.
The old lady took out a fife from her bag and held it out to the bald man, then without even saying a word, she disappeared trackless.
The bald man was very surprised and wondered: ‘‘I am getting crazy right now, while she gives me a fife to feast.
Even though he was very upset, he put the fife to his lips and began to pipe. Right then, in front of his goggled eyes, the forty rabbits gathered one by one. It was getting dark and the bald man took the way back to the king’s palace. The king counted them from the first to the last one and no rabbit was missing.
The next morning, when the bald man got out of the palace to herd the rabbits, the king took some rags and dressed as a beggar. Then he bestrode a lame donkey and went instantly to the meadow where the bald man was staying. He recognized from far away, but feigned and acted like he didn’t know him. He said to the bald man:
- Dear son, could you please give me away one of your rabbits because I am dying of hunger.
The bald man answered back: I will give it away only if you kiss the donkey on his butt.
He had to do what the bald man asked. Then he took the hare and left as fast as the wind, thinking he had him in the palm of his hand, so the price the bald man would pay was his own head.
It got dark and the bald man took the fife out and began to pipe. All of the rabbits gathered at once, and none of them was missing, even the one which the king took away.
The king came to count the rabbits one by one, but he raged so much when he noticed that the bald man could bail out even this time.
The bald man said: - As you promised, you should devolve me the kingdom and I can marry your daughter too.
The king told him: - You can marry my daughter, but don’t hasten about the kingdom. You should prove me one last thing. You should give me a sack full of words, and you cannot do that, you should know they will cut your head off.
That’s all he said to the bald man, then he left.
The next morning, the king had invited all of his courtiers and the rich men from all over the kingdom, which were expecting for the bald man to fail. The moment came and the bald man told: - Your Majesty, I would like you to hold the sack.
The king got up and went closer to hold the sack, and the bald man began to tell him what had happened: Once upon a time, there was a cruel king…When he came to the part that the king was dressed as a beggar to take the rabbit away, and he had to kiss the donkey on his butt too, the king changed expression and stopped him: - Stop it bald man, the sack is full.
Watch carefully, your majesty, maybe it needs a little bit, - said the bald man.
The king was thinking: - Oh no, this man is so vixenish! If he doesn’t stop, he would embarrass him in front of everybody.
The king wrapped the sack up at once and told: - Oh, my son, it is so full that it has begun to flow instead.
Even though he hated to do what he did next, he gave away his kingdom and his daughter.
The bald man became a king and rich, while the king lost everything he had.