Gypsy Folk Tales, by Francis Hindes Groome, , at sacred-texts.com
There was a king, and he had an only son. Now, that lad was heroic, nought-heeding. And he set out in quest of heroic achievements. And he went a long time nought-heeding. And he came to a forest, and lay down to sleep in the shadow of a tree, and slept. Then he saw a dream, that he arises and goes to the hill where the dragon's horses are, and that if you 1 keep straight on you will come to the man with no kidneys, screaming and roaring. So he arose and departed, and came to the man with no kidneys. And when he came there, he asked him, 'Mercy! what are you screaming for?'
He said, 'Why, a wizard has taken my kidneys, and has left me here in the road as you see me.'
Then the lad said to him, 'Wait a bit longer till I return from somewhere.'
And he left him, and journeyed three more days and three nights. And he came to that hill, and sat down, and ate, and rested. And he arose and went to the hill. And the horses, when they saw him, ran to eat him. And the lad said, 'Do not eat me, for I will give you pearly hay 1 and fresh water.'
Then the horses said, 'Be our master. But see you do as you've promised.'
The lad said, 'Horses, if I don't, why, eat me and slay me.'
So he took them and departed with them home. And he put them in the stable, and gave them fresh water and pearly hay. And he mounted the smallest horse, and set out for the man with no kidneys, and found him there. And he asked him what was the name of the wizard who had taken his kidneys.
'What his name is I know not, but I do know where he is gone to. He is gone to the other world.'
Then the lad took and went a long time nought-heeding, and came to the edge of the earth, and let himself down, and came to the other world. And he went to the wizard's there, and said, 'Come forth, O wizard, that I may see the sort of man you are.'
So when the wizard heard, he came forth to eat him and slay him. Then the lad took his heroic club and his sabre; and the instant he hurled his club, the wizard's hands were bound behind his back. And the lad said to him, 'Here, you wizard, tell quick, my brother's kidneys, or I slay thee this very hour.'
And the wizard said, 'They are there in a jar. Go and get them.'
And the lad said, 'And when I've got them, what am I to do with them?'
The wizard said, 'Why, when you've got them, put them in water and give him them to drink.'
Then the lad went and took them, and departed to him.
[paragraph continues] And he put the kidneys in water, and gave him to drink, and he drank. And when he had drunk he was whole. And he took the lad, and kissed him, and said, 'Be my brother till my death or thine, and so too in the world to come.'
So they became brothers. And having done so, they took and journeyed in quest of heroic achievements. So they set out and slew every man that they found in their road. Then the man who had had no kidneys said he was going after the wizard, and would pass to the other world. Then they took and went there to the edge of the earth, and let themselves in. And they came there, and went to the wizard. And when they got there, how they set themselves to fight, and fought with him two whole days. Then when the lad, his brother, took and hurled his club, the wizard's hands were bound behind his back. And he cut his throat, and took his houses, made them two apples. 1
And they went further, and came on a certain house, and there were three maidens. And the lad hurled his club, and carried away half their house. And when the maidens saw that, they came out, and saw them coming. And they flung a comb on their path, and it became a forest--no needle could thread it. So when the lad saw that, he flung his club and his sabre. And the sabre cut and the club battered. And it cut all the forest till nothing was left.
And when the maidens saw that they had felled the forest, they flung a whetstone, and it became a fortress of stone, so that there was no getting further. And he flung the club, and demolished the stone, and made dust of it. And when the maidens saw that they had demolished the stone, they flung a mirror before them, and it became a lake, and there was no getting over. And the lad flung his sabre, and it cleft the water, and they passed through, and went there to the maidens. When they came there they said, 'And what were you playing your cantrips on us for, maidens?'
Then the maidens said, 'Why, lad, we thought that you were coming to kill us.'
Then the lad shook hands with them, the three sisters, and said to them, 'There, maidens, and will you have us?'
And they took them to wife--one for himself, and one for him who had lost his kidneys, and one they gave to another lad. And he went with them home. And they made a marriage.
And I came away, and I have told the story.
And a very quaint story it is; to the best of my knowledge, that rarest of all things, a new one. 'God's Godson,' No. 6, also offers an instance of an heroic hero, nought-heeding, who sets out in quest of heroic achievements; and we find the same notion in a good many folk-tales of South-east Europe, e.g. in the Croatian story of 'Kraljevitch Marko' (Wratislaw, No. 52, p. 266). For the comb, whetstone, and mirror, cf. Ralston, p. 142, and the Bukowina-Gypsy story, 'Made over to the Devil' (No. 34), where it is a whetstone, a comb, and a towel.
62:1 This change from the third to the second person is in the original.
63:1 What 'pearly hay' is I know not, but it stands so in the original.
64:1 The last four words fairly beat me, but such seems their literal meaning. In the Roumanian rendering, 'le-a facut doue mere.'