AS there are many in the world, and as there will be, there was a mother and her son. They had a small fortune. Nothing would please the boy but that he should go and learn to be a sailor. The mother allows him to do so, and when he was passed as captain she gives him a ship with a valuable cargo. The lad starts off and comes to a city. While he was there he sees a crowd of men on a dung-heap, who were dragging an object, some on one side and others on the other. He approaches and sees that they have a dead man there. He asks what they are doing like that for, and why they do not bury him. They tell him that he has left debts, and that they will not bury him, even though he should fall to pieces.
Juan de Kalais asks, "And if anyone should pay his debts, would you bury him then?" They say, "Yes."
Juan de Kalais has it cried throughout the city that whoever has to receive anything of that man should show himself. As you may suppose, many came forward, even those who had nothing to receive. Our Juan de Kalais sold his cargo, and still, not having enough, he sold his ship too.
He returns home and tells his mother what he has done. His mother was very angry, and said that he would never grow rich if he acted like that. But, as he wished much to go again, his mother bought for him a wretched little ship and loads it with oakum, and tar, and resin, and he goes on his voyage. He meets with a large man-of-war, and the captain tells him that he must buy of him a charming young lady. Juan de Kalais tells him that he has no money, but the other captain (he was an Englishman) tells him to give him his cargo at least. Juan de Kalais says to him:
That is not worth much."
But the English captain says to him that it is, that it just happens to be most valuable to him, and they make the exchange. Our Juan de Kalais goes to his mother's house, and his mother was more angry than before, saying she had nothing now with which to load his ship. She had nothing, and would give him nothing; that instead of getting rich they had become poor, and that it would have been better if he had stopped at home. After some days he married the young lady whom the captain had given him, and as Juan de Kalais was in poverty and distress, not having any cargo, his wife told him that he had no need of cargo--that she will give him a flag and a handkerchief, and she gave him her ring and told him to go to the roadstead of Portugal and to fire three rounds of cannon; and, when people came, to tell them that he must see the king. (She added) that she was called Marie Madeleine. Our Juan de Kalais sets off and arrives in the roadstead of Portugal, and fires his three rounds of cannon. Everybody is astonished at hearing this noise. The king himself comes on board the ship and asks how they dared to fire, and that everyone is a prisoner.-- 1 He answers that he brings news of Marie Madeleine, and he shows him the flag with her portrait and the handkerchief. The king did not know where he was with joy, and he tells him that he must go directly and fetch her.
The king had with him an old general 2 who had wished to marry Marie Madeleine, but she would not; and he asks the king if he might not go too with him--that he would do it quicker. The king told him to go then if he wished, and they set out.
When they were at sea the old general said to Juan de Kalais one day:
"Look, Juan de Kalais, what a fine fish there is here!"
He looks and does not see anything. The old general. says to him again:
"Stoop down your head, and look here."
And at the same time he throws him into the sea. The old general goes on his voyage, and takes the young lady and goes back to the king, and makes him believe that Juan de Kalais was drowned, and he still wished to marry Marie Madeleine; but she would by no means consent, (saying) that she had been married to Juan de Kalais, and that she was so deeply sorry for him that she would remain seven years without going out of her room. As her father wished her to marry this general she decided to do so then.
Let us now go to the poor Juan de Kalais. He remained seven years on a rock, eating sea-weed and drinking the seawater. There came to him a fox, 1 who said to him:
"You do not know, Juan de Kalais, the daughter of the King of Portugal is going to be married to-morrow. What would you give to go there?"
"The half of what I have at present, and the half of what I shall have later on."
The fox takes him and carries him to the door of the house of the King of Portugal, and leaves him there. Juan de Kalais asks if they want a servant. They tell him that they will have work for him too-that they will have a wedding in the house to-morrow. The lady's maid recognised Juan de Kalais, and goes running to tell it to the queen, who will not believe it--(she says) that he was drowned. The servant, after having looked at him again, assures her that it is he; and the princess, to put an end to the dispute, goes off to see him, and quickly assures herself that it is he, seeing the ring that she had given him. She throws herself into his arms, and makes him come with her to the king. The king said to her that they would have the wedding feast just the same. While they were at table the king asked Juan de Kalais to tell them some story. Juan de Kalais says "Yes," and takes out his sword, and puts it on the table, saying, "Whoever speaks shall have news of my sword." He begins to tell how he had saved a man by selling all
that he had and paying his debts; how afterwards he had made an exchange for a young lady--that in order to save her he had given all his cargo; then how he had been betrayed by one of his friends and thrown into the water, and that he had lived on sea-weed and sea-water.
When the king had heard that he ordered the old general to be arrested, and has him burnt immediately in the midst of the market-place.
The king gives Juan de Kalais all his riches, and they lived very happily. At the end of a year they had a fine boy, and lo! the fox comes and tells him that he has come to look for what he has promised him, and he begins to make a division. If there were two gold chains he put one aside, and of all that there was the same thing. When they had finished the division the fox said to him that there was still something--that he had told him it was to be the half of all he might possess. He remembers then his child, and takes out his sword to cut it in half, when the fox with his paw knocks the sword out of his hand, saying that it is enough; that he sees what a sterling good man he is, and that he wants nothing; that he (the fox) is the soul which he had saved by paying his debts, and that he is now in Heaven, thanks to him, and that he will keep his place and that of all his family ready there; and having said that he flew away, taking the form of a pigeon.
Learnt it from her mother.
151:1 This is, of course, "Jean de Calais"--"John of Calais"--and would seem to show that it was through some French, and not Spanish, versions that the Basques learnt it.
152:1 This seems inserted from "Mahistruba," p. 105.
152:2 In the Gaelic it is a general, as here, and not a lame second officer, as in "Juan Dekos," who wants to marry the lady, and who sets the hero on a desert island.--Campbell, Vol. II., p. 118.
153:1 See note on page 1