GERZHETA

Once upon a time there were four brothers, and the three of them did farming, while the youngest of them herded the sheep. The four of them had a good time together and all they wanted was peace and a quiet life. Little time passed and the oldest brother got married, then the second, and the third at last. It was the youngest brother’s time to get married, but he didn’t want to, so they didn’t bother him anymore because they were thinking he was shy to tell them the truth. In fact, he was really thinking of something that none of them could guess. Every day he took the sheep to the pasture where the grass was very long and came up to his knees. In the middle of the field, there was a lake and there lived Gerzheta, the most beautiful girl in the world.

Without being noticed, he went to the lake every time, hid behind a bush and was amused looking at Gerzheta in the water, and combing her hair near the shore.

He loved her very much and said he was only his and no one could take her. He didn’t sleep at nights, but tried to find the way how to entice the beautiful girl. His brothers saw him sad and asked him what was going on. But he didn’t talk to them, so they tied him. So he was forced to tell the truth:

Brothers, every time I take the sheep to the pasture, I see a very beautiful girl at the lake, the most beautiful girl in the world. She swims in the water, then comes out and combs her hair, but no one goes to her because she disappears in the water. But I am so in love with her and I will die alone if I don’t marry her.

- Don’t talk like that, - the oldest brother told him, - she is Gerzheta and you can’t touch her, how can you take her home?!

I made up my mind, - the boy said, - will you help me or not?

We will help you, but we’re afraid we won’t take her home. –they said. –what do you have in mind?

Then the boy began to tell them:

- I have thought to leave a shirt patchwork at the neck and the sleeves, a comb and a mirror at the lakeside. Then, let’s open four holes and hid inside them. When she comes to get the shirt, we’ll jump and catch her.

You’ve though it very well. –his brothers said.

They took the shirt and the pickaxes to dig the holes, and waited for her to show up.  When the morning came and the sun made the lake water war, she came out and looked around if anyone was looking at her. Then, she be swam in the lake, and just as she was sitting down to comb her hair, she saw the shirt and the mirror, and took them one by one in her hands. She was keeping the comb in one hand and the mirror in the other, then she was ready to wear the shirt. When they saw she couldn’t get her head and hands out, they jumped and caught her, then took he home. She understood she couldn’t escape, so she did what they told her to do. She took off her clothes and put on what they gave her, and a few days later she got married with the youngest brother. She did all the housework with no complaints, they didn’t bother her and she didn’t spoke. A year later she gave birth to a healthy and beautiful boy. Her husband tried to make her talk, but she didn’t say a word even then.

So, he took his sword, grabbed the baby boy and told her:

- I swear I will kill our son if you don’t talk to me.

She was afraid that he would do that and said:

- Don’t kill my son!

Then she continued:

If I stood four other days speechless, then we could get out all the fortune I had in there, but now you forced me to speak and they are lost forever.

- I am so sorry, - her husband said, - but we don’t have to worry, we can live with the things we have.

His brothers were afraid she would escape one day, so they always kept their eyes on her. Now that she gave birth to the child, they let her free. She noticed that and asked her husband one day:

- Hey, can I ask you something, where do you keep the clothes I had when I lived in the lake?

Why, why do you ask for them? –her husband asked.

Nothing, I just remembered. –the girl said.

He didn’t think too much about what would happen later, so he showed her the box where he had put her clothes, then he went outside. Gerzheta took the clothes, put them on and went secretly to the lake. Then she went into the water and disappeared for ever. When everyone got back home they understood what had happened, but they knew they could do nothing.