The Wizard-Dervish (cont.)
When the woman came up she inquired: "Gardener, did not a maiden and a youth pass this way?"
The gardener answered: "My red turnips are not yet ripe — they are still small."
The witch retorted: "My dear Gardener, I do not ask about your turnips, but about a youth and a maiden."
But the gardener only replied: "I have set no spinach; it will not be up for a month or two." Seeing she was not understood, the woman turned and went away. When the woman was no longer in sight, the gardener knocked the garden, which became a youth again, and knocked herself and became a maiden once more.
They now walked on. The woman, turning back and seeing them together, hastened to overtake them. The maiden also turned round and saw her mother hurrying after them. Quickly she gave the youth a knock and turned him into an oven, knocked herself and became a baker.
The mother came up and asked: "Baker, have not a youth and a maiden passed this way?"
"The bread is not yet baked — I have just put it in; come again in half an hour, then you may have some" was the answer.
At this the woman said: "I did not ask you for bread; I inquired whether a youth and a maiden had passed this way."
The reply was as little to the point as before. "Wait a while; when the bread is ready, we will eat"
When the woman saw she was not understood, she went away again. As soon as the coast was clear, the baker knocked the oven, which became a youth, and knocked herself back into a maiden; then they pursued their way.
Looking back once more the woman again saw the youth and the maiden.
She now realised that the oven and the baker were the runaways in disguise and hurried after them. Seeing that her mother was coming, the maiden again knocked the youth and changed him into a pond; herself she changed into a duck swimming upon the water.
When the woman arrived at the pond, she ran to and fro, seeking a place whence she could reach the opposite side. At length, seeing she could go no further, she turned round and went home again.
The danger over, the duck struck the pond and changed it into the youth and transformed herself into a maiden as before, upon which they resumed their journey.
On the road he encountered the dervish, who seized him and transported him immediately to his father's palace, and set him down in the great hall where the wedding-guests were still waiting.
The Prince looked round at them all, and rubbed his eyes. Had he been dreaming? "What can it all mean?" he said to himself.
Meanwhile, the maiden at the inn, seeing that the youth returned not, said to herself: "The faithless one has forsaken me." Then she transformed herself into a dove and flew to the palace. Through an open window she entered the great hall and alighted on the Prince's shoulder.
"Faithless one!" she said reproachfully, "to leave me alone at the inn whilst you are making merry here!"
Saying this, she flew back immediately to the inn.
When the youth realised that it was no dream, but fact, he took a carriage and returned without delay to the inn, put the maiden into the coach, and took her to the palace.
By this time, the first bride had grown tired of waiting for so eccentric a bridegroom and had gone home. So the Prince married the dervish's daughter, and the wedding festivities lasted forty days and forty nights.
Next: The Fish-Peri