THE BEGGAR HANDKERCHIEF
Many, many years ago, there lived a wealthy man in the country. It is known since always that the rich men are greedy and evil, but this one was so much greedy and evil, that there was no one worse than him in the world. The wife of this wealthy man was as greedy and as evil as her husband. If anyone poor knocked at their gate for a piece of bread, they coursed the dogs they had. These rich people, decided one day to buy a slave. Of course, they were looking for the cheapest slave because they didn’t want to spend too much money, and the cheapest slave was the ugliest one. The rich couple called their servant ‘monkey’. All over the house you could hear: - Monkey, clean up! Monkey, bring us this! Monkey, bring us that!
If the girl didn’t show deftness, the rich couple would beat her with large sticks or wouldn’t give her something to eat. One time they went on a junket, a beggar came to their house. He raised his hands up to the sky and said:
- I am dying of hunger! Help!
The servant heard the groan and took the beggar inside. She had been taking rice for a long time to a bag. Then she gave the bag to the beggar and said to him: - I took this rice at the straw where I lit the fire. But if the master notices that I gave you something, he will kill us both.
The beggar put the rice to the bag very quickly and when he was parting from the good slave, he gave her a small pink handkerchief. Wipe your face at dawn with this handkerchief, - he told her and was going to leave the house.
But just as he was leaving the house, the rich couple returned from the junket. When they saw the beggar inside their house, the rich man began to shout at the servant:
- How dare you take a beggar inside our house, you dirty monkey! I will beat both of you to death, you and this ragman.
Just as he finished saying that, he turned to catch the beggar but he was disappeared.
No one could see the beggar then he ran away. The narrow wealthy man got angrier when he noticed the beggar wasn’t there anymore. So he took a cudgel that he used to beat the dogs and began to beat the servant. The girl begged for mercy, but the man beat her without feeling sorry. The poor girl woke up only the next morning and she remembered the handkerchief the beggar had given to her, so she took it out and wiped her face. The girl wiped her ugly face for three days, in the mornings. On the fourth day, when the girl went to the mirror, she screamed surprised; she saw that a beautiful girl was watching her from the mirror. The pink handkerchief had done a great miracle: the ugly girl had turned into an unusual beauty. When the rich man and his wife saw that their ugly servant had turned into a beautiful girl, they couldn’t collect themselves for a long time from anger.
- Tell us the secret and you’ll earn your freedom, - the sly wealthy man told her.
The servant’s heart began to beat so fast! To have her freedom back, she gave the handkerchief to her torturers, showing them how to use it. Even they needed that too much because their beauty was fading away. They took the servant to the kitchen and set their dogs free so that she couldn’t go away. At dawn, the rich man and his wife wiped their faces with the pink handkerchief and slept a lot. They opened their eyes when the sun was at the canonry. When they saw each-other, they began to scream and went terrified immediately in front of the mirror. They were two ugly monkeys full of hair.
-The slave lied! –the wealthy man was screaming.
- Let’s go to the kitchen, I will smash her into pieces and throw them to the dogs.
Both of the monkeys ran into the kitchen, but the dogs saw them and attacked the monkeys barking madly. The terrified monkeys jumped out of the window and climbed over the fence of the house. When the other dogs saw the dogs of the house going after the monkeys, they ran all to catch the monkeys and rip them out. The wealthy couple was terrified and couldn’t see what was behind them. The dogs’ barks had stopped already, but they ran flat-out to save themselves from a terrible death. When they collected themselves, they noticed they were in the middle of a dense forest amongst other monkeys. And they lived there till the day they died.