A KING had a son who was called Dragon. He was as debauched as it is possible to be. All the money that he had he had spent, and still more; not having enough, he demanded his portion from his father. The father gives it him immediately, and he goes off, taking with him a companion who had been a soldier, and who was very like himself. 1 Very quickly they spent all their money. While they were travelling in a forest they see a beautiful castle. They enter and find there a table ready set out, and a magnificent supper prepared. They sit down to table and sup. Nobody appears as yet, and they go up-stairs to see the house, and they find the beds all ready, and they go to bed. They pass a very good night. The next morning Dragon gets up and opens the shutters, and sees a dazzling garden.
He goes down into the garden, still without seeing anybody; but in passing under a fig tree, a voice says to him:
"Ay! ay! ay! what pain you have put me to, and what suffering you are causing me!"
He turns on all sides and finds nothing. He says:
"Who are you? You I do not understand it. Appear!"
The voice says to him, "I cannot to-day; but perhaps
to-morrow you will see me. But in order to do that you will have to suffer severely."
He promises to suffer no matter what for her. The voice says to him:
"To-morrow night they will make you suffer every kind of torture, but you must not say anything; and if you do that, you will see me to-morrow."
They had spoken all this before the soldier friend, but he had heard nothing of it.
They go to the house and find the dinner quite ready. Dragon would have wished that night had already come, to know what it was he was to see. He goes off to bed then, and after eleven o'clock he feels that something is coming, and his whole body is pricked all over. He keeps quite silent, because he wished to see the voice. And when the cock crew "Kukuruku!" he was released (from his torture). He lies waiting for daybreak to go to the fig tree. Day did not appear as soon as he would have wished it, and he goes running to the garden and sees under the fig tree, coming out of the ground as high as her shoulders, a young girl, and she says to him:
"Last night you have suffered in silence, but the next night they will make you suffer much more. I do not know if you can bear it without speaking."
He promises her that he will suffer still more in order to save her.
As usual, they find the table ready for dinner and for supper. He goes off to bed. There happens to him the same thing as in the preceding night, but they do him still more harm. Happily he lies still without speaking. The cock crows "Kukuruku!" and they leave him quiet. As soon as daylight has come he goes off to the garden, and he sees the young lady visible as far as the knees. Dragon is delighted to save this beautiful girl, but she says sadly to him:
"You have seen nothing up to this time. They will make you suffer twice as much."
He says that he has courage to endure anything, because
he wishes to get her out of that state. When night comes, he perceives that two are coming instead of one. One of them was lame, and he says to him (and you know lame people and cripples are the most cruel). 1 He says then to the other:
"What! You have not been able to make this wretched boy speak! I will make him speak, I will."
He cuts off his arms and then his legs, and our Dragon does not say anything. They make him suffer a great deal, but happily the cock crows "Kukuruku!" and he is delivered. He was much afraid what would become of him without hands and without feet; but on touching himself he feels with pleasure that all that is made right again. While he is in bed he hears a great noise. He lies without saying anything, being frightened, and. not knowing what might happen to him, when all of a sudden this young lady appears and says to him:
"You have saved me; I am very well pleased with you. But this is not enough; we must be off from here immediately."
All the three go off together, and travel far, far, far away, and they arrive in a city. The young lady did not think it proper to lodge in the same hotel with them. Next morning the young lady gets up very early, and goes in search of the landlord of the hotel, and says to him:
"A gentleman will come here to ask for me. You will tell him that I have gone out, and if he wishes to see me he must come to the fountain at the Four Cantons 2--but fasting--and he is to wait for me there."
The next morning the young gentleman goes to the hotel, and they tell him what the young lady has said. On that very day he goes to the fountain, taking his comrade with him, and fasting; but as the young lady had not yet arrived, forgetting himself, he put his hand in his pocket, and finding there a small nut, he eats it. As soon as he has eaten it he
falls asleep. 1 The young lady arrives. She sees that he is asleep. She says to his companion:
"He has eaten something. Tell him that I will return, but tell, tell him, I beg you, to eat nothing."
She leaves him a beautiful handkerchief. Dragon wakes up as soon as the young lady is gone. His comrade tells him that she had come, and that she had told him not to eat anything. And he shows Dragon the handkerchief. He was very vexed at having eaten, and would have wished that it was already the next day. He starts then very, very early, and waits for the young lady, and, as was fated to happen, finding a walnut in his pocket, he eats it. He immediately falls asleep. The young lady appears and finds him sleeping. She says that she will return again the next day, but that he must not eat anything. She leaves him another handkerchief. Dragon awakes as soon as she has gone. Judge with what vexation. His friend tells him that she said that she would return the next day, but that he must do his best not to eat anything. He goes then the third day without eating anything, but, as was to happen, despairing of seeing the young lady, who was late, arrive, he takes an apple from an apple tree and eats it. He falls asleep immediately. The young lady comes and finds him asleep. She gives his comrade a ring to give to Dragon, telling him that if Dragon wishes to see her he will find her in the City of the Four Quarters. Dragon is very vexed, and he says to his friend:
"The good God knows when I shall find this city, and it is better for you to go in one direction (and I in another)."
Thereupon they separate. Dragon goes off, far, far, far away. He comes to a mountain; there he sees a man, who had before his door holy water, and whoever made use of it was well received. He goes in, therefore, and asks him if
he knows where is the City of the Four Quarters. He tells. him--
"No; but there are the animals of the earth and of the air, and that the latter might perhaps guide him there."
He whistles to them. They come from all quarters, and he asks them if they know where is the City of the Four Quarters? They tell him "No." Then the man says to him--
"I have a brother on such a mountain, who has many more animals than I have; he has them all under his power, that man has."
Dragon goes off then, and arrives there; he asks of that man if he knows where the City of the Four Quarters is? He tells him "No," but that he has animals which will know it, if anyone ought to know it. He whistles to them. He sees the animals, small and great, coming from all quarters. Dragon was trembling with fright. He asks them one by one if they know where the City of the Four Quarters is. They tell him "No;" but the man sees that one animal is wanting, and that is the eagle. He whistles, and he comes. He asks him, too, if he knows where the City of the Four Quarters is. He says to him--
"I am just come from there."
The man says to him,
"You must, then, guide this young gentleman there."
The eagle says to him, "Willingly, if he will give me a morsel of flesh each time that I open my mouth."
Dragon replies, "Yes, willingly."
He then buys an ox. The eagle tells him to get upon his back. The man climbs up there with his ox, and when he opens his mouth he gives him a morsel of the ox, which kept gradually diminishing.
They were obliged to cross over the sea, and there was no bridge to it there. The ox was finished when they were in the middle of the sea, and there was a great rock there. The eagle opens his mouth again, and, as there was no more beef, what does he do? As he was afraid of being left
upon that rock, he cuts a morsel from the back of his own thighs, and puts it in his mouth. 1 They arrive on the other side of the sea. The eagle leaves him there, saying to him,
"You are in the City of the Four Quarters. Do your own business here. I am going off to my own home."
This young gentleman asks what is the news in this city. They tell him that the king's daughter is going to be married to-day. In this city it was permitted only to the wedding party to enter the church, but Dragon had bribed one of the keepers with money, (saying) that he would stop quiet in a corner of the church. It was also the custom in this city to publish the banns at the moment of marriage. When the priest began to publish them, Dragon came out of his comer, and said--
"I make an objection."
He goes to the young lady, who recognises him; and he shows her the ring and the kerchiefs, and asks her in marriage. She says--
"This shall be my husband; he has well deserved it."
He was still lame, as a piece of his flesh was still wanting. They were married then. The other bridegroom went back home quite ashamed. The others lived very happily, because both had suffered much. Then I was there, now I am here.
St. Jean Pied de Port.
106:1 This tale is somewhat like Campbell's "Three Soldiers," with the variations, Vol. I., p. 176. It is said to be very widely spread.
108:1 This is an interpolation by the narrator.
108:2 At Bayonne one part of the town is called "Les Cinq Cantons."
109:1 For like involuntary sleep, where the lady cannot awaken her lover, cf. Campbell, "The Widow's Son," Vol. II., p. 296.
111:1 For the incident of the eagle, cf. Campbell, "The King of Lochlin's Three Daughters," Vol. I., pp. 238-9:--"When they were at the mouth of the hole, the stots were expended, and she was going to turn back; but he took a steak out of his own thigh, and he gave this to the eagle, and with one spring she was on the surface of the earth."