Juan and His Six Companions.
Narrated by Vicente M. Hilario, a Tagalog from Batangas, who heard the story from an old woman from Balayan.
Not very long after the death of our Saviour on Calvary, there lived in a far-away land a powerful king named Jaime. By judicious usurpations and matrimonial alliances, this wise monarch extended his already vast dominions to the utmost limits. Instead of ruling his realm as a despot, however, he devoted himself to the task of establishing a strong government based on moderation and justice. By his marvellous diplomacy he won to his side counts, dukes, and lesser princes. To crown his happiness, he had an extremely lovely daughter, whose name was Maria. Neither Venus nor Helen of Troy could compare with her in beauty. Numerous suitors of noble birth from far and near vied with one another in spending fortunes on this pearl of the kingdom; but Maria regarded all suitors with aversion, and her father was perplexed as to how to get her a husband without seeming to show favoritism.
After consulting gravely with his advisers, the monarch gave out this proclamation: “He who shall succeed in getting the golden egg from the moss-grown oak in yonder mountain shall be my son-in-law and heir.”
This egg, whose origin nobody knew anything about, rendered its possessor very formidable. When the proclamation had been made public, the whole kingdom was seized with wild enthusiasm; for, though the task was hazardous, yet it seemed performable and easy to the reckless. For five days and five nights crowds of lovers, adventurers, and ruffians set sail for the “Mountain of the Golden Egg,” as it was called; but none of the enterprisers ever reached the place. Some were shipwrecked; others were driven by adverse winds and currents to strange lands, where they perished miserably; and the rest were forced to return because of the horrible sights of broken planks and mangled bodies.
Some days after the return of the last set of adventurers, three brothers rose from obscurity to try their fortunes in this dangerous enterprise. They were Pedro, Fernando, and Juan. They had been orphans since they were boys, and had grown up amid much suffering and hardship.
The three brothers agreed that Pedro should try first; Fernando second; and Juan last, provided the others did not succeed. After supplying himself with plenty of food, a good boat, a sword, and a sharp axe, Pedro embraced his brothers and departed, never to return. He took a longer and safer route than that of his predecessors. He had no sooner arrived at the mountain than an old gray-headed man in tattered clothes came limping towards him and asking for help; but the selfish Pedro turned a deaf ear to the supplications of the old man, whom he pushed away with much disrespect. Ignorant of his doom, and regardless of his irreverence, Pedro walked on with hasty steps and high animal spirits. But lo! when his axe struck the oak, a large piece of wood broke off and hit him in the right temple, killing him instantly.
Fernando suffered the same fate as his haughty brother.
Juan alone remained. He was the destined possessor of the egg, and the conqueror of King Jaime. Juan’s piety, simplicity, and goodness had won for him the good-will of many persons of distinction. After invoking God’s help, he set sail for the mountain, where he safely arrived at noon. He met the same old man, and he bathed, dressed, and fed him. The old man thanked Juan, and said, “You shall be amply requited,” and immediately disappeared. With one stroke of his axe Juan broke the oak in two; and in a circular hole lined with down he found the golden egg. In the afternoon he went to King Jaime, to whom he presented the much-coveted egg.
But the shrewd and successful monarch did not want to have a rustic son-in-law. “You shall not marry my daughter,” he said, “unless you bring me a golden ship.”
The next morning Juan, very disconsolate, went to the mountain again. The old man appeared to him, and said, “Why are you dejected, my son?”
Juan related everything that had happened.
“Dry your eyes and listen to me,” said the old man. “Not very far from this place you will find your ship all splendidly equipped. Go there at once!”
The old man disappeared, and Juan ran with all possible speed to where the ship was lying. He went on deck, and a few minutes later the ship began to move smoothly over stumps and stones.
While he was thus travelling along, Juan all of a sudden saw a man running around the mountain in less than a minute. “Corrin Corron,1 son of the great runner!” shouted Juan, “what are you doing?” The man stopped, and said, “I’m taking my daily exercise.”
“Never mind that!” said Juan, “come up here and rest!” And Corrin Corron readily accepted the offer.
Pretty soon Juan saw another man standing on the summit of a high hill and gazing intently at some distant object. “Mirin Miron,2 son of the great Farsight!” said Juan, “what are you doing?”
“I’m watching a game of tubigan3 seven miles away,” answered the other.
“Never mind!” said Juan, “come up here and eat with me!” And Mirin Miron gladly went on deck.
After a while Juan saw a hunter with gun levelled. “Puntin Punton,4 son of the great Sureshot!” said Juan, “what are you doing?”
“Three miles away there is a bat-fly annoying a sheep. I want to kill that insect.”
“Let the creature go,” said Juan, “and come with me!” And Puntin Punton, too, joined the party.
Not long after, Juan saw a man carrying a mountain on his shoulders. “Carguin Cargon,5 son of the great Strong-Back!” shouted Juan, “what are you doing?”
“I’m going to carry this mountain to the other side of the country to build a dam across the river,” said the man.
“Don’t exert yourself so much,” said Juan. “Come up here and take some refreshment!” The brawny carrier threw aside his load; and, as the mountain hit the ground, the whole kingdom was shaken so violently that the inhabitants thought that all the volcanoes had simultaneously burst into eruption.
By and by the ship came to a place where Juan saw young flourishing trees falling to the ground, with branches twisted and broken. “Friends,” said Juan, “is a storm blowing?”
“No, sir!” answered the sailors, amazed at the sight.
“Master Juan,” shouted Mirin Miron, “sitting on the summit of yonder mountain,” pointing to a peak three miles away, “is a man blowing with all his might.”
“He is a naughty fellow,” muttered Juan to himself; “he will destroy all the lumber-trees in this region if we do not stop him.” Pretty soon Juan himself saw the mischievous man, and said, “Soplin Soplon,6 son of the great Blast-Blower, what are you doing?”
“Oh, I’m just exercising my lungs and trumpeter’s muscles,” replied the other.
“Come along with us!” After blowing down a long line of trees like grain before a hurricane, Soplin Soplon went on board.
As the ship neared the capital, Juan saw a man lying on a bed of rushes, with his ear to the ground. “What are you doing, friend?” said Juan.
“I’m listening to the plaintive strains of a young man mourning over the grave of his deceased sweetheart, and to the touching love-ditties of a moonstruck lover,” answered the man. “Where are those two men?” asked Juan.
“They are in a city twelve miles away,” said the other. “Never mind, Oirin Oiron,7 son of the great Hear-All!” said Juan. “Come up and rest on a more comfortable bed! My divans superabound.” When Oirin Oiron was on board, Juan said to the helmsman, “To the capital!”
In the evening the magnificent ship, with sails of silk and damask, masts of gold heavily studded with rare gems, and covered with thick plates of gold and silver, arrived at the palace gate.
Early in the morning King Jaime received Juan, but this time more coldly and arrogantly than ever. The princess bathed before break of day. With cheeks suffused with the rosy tint of the morning, golden tresses hanging in beautiful curls over her white shoulders, hands as delicate as those of a new-born babe, eyes merrier than the humming-bird, and dressed in a rich outer garment displaying her lovely figure at its best, she stood beside the throne. Such was the appearance of this lovely mortal, who kindled an inextinguishable flame in the heart of Juan.
After doffing his bonnet and bowing to the king, Juan said, “Will you give me the hand of your daughter?” Everybody present was amazed. The princess’s face was successively pale and rosy. Juan immediately understood her heart as he stood gazing at her.
“Never!” said the king after a few minutes. “You shall never have my daughter.”
“Farewell, then, until we meet again!” said Juan as he departed.
When the ship was beyond the frontier of Jaime’s kingdom, Juan said, “Carguin Cargon, overturn the king’s realm.” Carguin Cargon obeyed. Many houses were destroyed, and hundreds of people were crushed to death. When the ship was within seven miles of the city, Oirin Oiron heard the king say, “I’ll give my daughter in marriage to Juan if he will restore my kingdom.” Oirin Oiron told Juan what he had heard.
Then Juan ordered Carguin Cargon to rebuild the kingdom; but when the work was done, Jaime again refused to fulfil his promise. Juan went away very angry. Again the kingdom was overturned, and more property and lives were destroyed. Again Oirin Oiron heard the king make a promise, again the kingdom was rebuilt, and again the king was obstinate.
Juan went away again red with anger. After they had been travelling for an hour, Oirin Oiron heard the tramp of horses and the clash of spears and shields. “I can see King Jaime’s vast host in hot pursuit of us,” said Mirin Miron. “Where is the army?” said Juan. “It is nine miles away,” responded Mirin Miron.
“Let the army approach,” said Soplin Soplon. When the immense host was within eight hundred yards of the ship, Soplin Soplon blew forcible blasts, which scattered the soldiers and horses in all directions like chaff before a wind. Of this formidable army only a handful of men survived, and these were crippled for life.
Again the king sued for peace, and promised the hand of his daughter to Juan. This time he kept his word, and Juan and Maria were married amidst the most imposing ceremonies. That very day King Jaime abdicated in favor of his more powerful son-in-law. On the site of the destroyed houses were built larger and more handsome ones. The lumber that was needed was obtained by Soplin Soplon and Carguin Cargon from the mountains: Soplin Soplon felled the trees with his mighty blasts, and Carguin Cargon carried the huge logs to the city. Juan made Corrin Corron his royal messenger, and Soplin Soplon commander-in-chief of the raw troops, which later became a powerful army. The other four friends were assigned to high positions in the government.
The royal couple and the six gifted men led a glorious life. They conquered new lands, and ruled their kingdom well.
The Story of King Palmarin.
Paraphrased from the vernacular by Anastacia Villegas of Arayat, Pampanga.
[NOTE.—While the following story is not, strictly speaking, a folk-tale, since it is a native student’s close paraphrase of a Pampango corrido, or metrical romance, it is typically Filipino in many respects, and is closely connected with the two foregoing folk-tales. Moreover, it presents significant features lacking in the other stories. As it is too long to be relegated to the notes, I take the liberty of printing it here in full. My justification is the fact that, after all, sagas, or printed folk-tales, are only the crystallized sources—or products, as the case may be—of folk-tales.]
Long, long ago, the kingdom of Marsella was ruled over by the worthy King Palmarin and his wife Isberta. They were attentive to their duty, and kind to their subjects, whose love they won. All Marsella admired the goodness and generosity of the king. To whatever he wanted, his counsellors agreed; and because of his good judgment, his reign was peaceful.
Time came when the queen gave birth to a child. The whole kingdom rejoiced, and a great feast was prepared. “Let the feast last six months,” said Zetnaen, chief adviser. The new baby was a girl of peerless beauty. The holy bishop was summoned to baptize the child. As the Virgin Mary was the patron saint of the king and queen, they asked the worthy prelate to name the little princess Maria; and so she was named.
One day the king went to hunt in the mountains. There was no forest or cave that the party did not visit. All the animals in the mountains were thrown into confusion when they heard the great noise. Bears, tigers, and lions came out of their dens. As soon as these wild beasts reached the plain, they began to pursue the king and his men. The noise and confusion cannot be imagined. By the help of God, the king and his men put to flight their savage foes; and when the chase was ended, nobody had been hurt. After the hunters had been gathered together by the sound of the trumpet, they all returned home, thankful that no one had been injured. The king, however, had unwittingly lost his favorite reliquary.
When King Palmarin reached Marsella and discovered that his locket was missing, he at once sent many of his soldiers back to look for it. They searched all parts of the mountain and even the valley. At last they returned to the capital, and said to the king, “We, whom your Majesty commanded to look for the reliquary, have come to tell you that, after a thorough search through the entire forest and valley, we have not been able to find it.” The king was very sad to hear this report; but he kept his sorrow to himself, and did not reveal his heart to his counsellors. He grieved, not because of the value of the reliquary, but because it had been handed down to him by his father, whose will and recommendations it contained.
As time went on, the king forgot his lost reliquary. He ceased looking for it. His daughter the princess was now grown up. She was beautiful, happy, good-natured, and modest. Those who saw her said that she was not inferior even to Elsa, Judith, or Anne Boleyn. Now, the king wished his daughter to marry, so that there might be some one to inherit his throne when he died. He made his desire known to his counsellors. He told them that, if they agreed, he would issue proclamations throughout the whole kingdom and the neighboring cities, towns, and villages. While this meeting with his council was going on, the king stood up to powder his face. He took his powder-case out of his pocket; but when he opened it, there inside he found, to his surprise, atuma.8 He could not imagine how this tiny insect had got into his box to eat the powder. Feeling very much ashamed, he did not powder his face: he merely closed the box. The meeting was adjourned without being finished; for when the king stood up, the counsellors rose from their seats and silently left the room.
The king retired to his room, and opened his powder-case to look at the tuma again. He was thoroughly astonished to find that what had been but a tiny insect a moment before now filled the whole box. He was indeed perplexed; so he consulted God. Then it came to his mind to take the tuma from the box and place it in the cellar of the palace.
After three days the king found that a miracle had happened. The cellar was filled with the tuma. He was not a little surprised. He said to himself, “What a wonderful animal it is! In three days it has grown to such an enormous size! If I let it live, I fear that it will destroy the whole kingdom.”
Then he heard a voice saying, “You need not fear, for the tuma you nourish shall not produce bad fruit. But if you let it live, it will have a long life, and will fill all of Marsella with its huge body. Listen to me, and obey what I tell you! Let the tuma be killed. Burn all its flesh, but save its skin. Use the skin for the covers of a drum. When you have done all these things, write to all your neighboring kingdoms and bet with them. Let them guess the kind of skin out of which the heads of the drum are made. If you will but obey me, and take care not to let any one know what I have told you, you will become very rich.” Then the voice ceased.
The king comprehended well all that the voice had told him: so he called his Negro servant, and led him secretly into his room. The king then said softly, “Let no one know of the secret that I am to disclose to you, and you shall profit by it. I have a tuma which accidentally got into my powder-case. One day I put the insect into the cellar, where it has grown to an enormous size. Now, my command to you is to kill the tuma, burn all its flesh, and clean its skin. Then have the skin made into a drum. When everything is done perfectly, I will repay you.”
Accordingly the Negro servant killed the tuma. He followed minutely the king’s directions. When the drum was finished, he presented it to the king. Instead of receiving the promised reward, however, the poor Negro was instantly put to death, for the king feared that he might betray the secret.
King Palmarin then summoned all his counsellors. He said to them, “I want you to spread the news of my desire.” Taking out the drum and putting it on the table, he continued: “Let all the villages, cities, and kingdoms know of the wager. Any one who can guess of what skin the covers of this drum are made, be he rich or poor, if he is unmarried, he shall be my son-in-law. But if he fails to guess aright, his property shall be forfeited to the crown if he is rich; he shall lose his head if he is poor.”
The counsellors proclaimed the edict. Many rich nobles, lords, princes, and knights heard of it. All those who ventured lost their fortune, for they could not guess what the drum was made of. So the king gained much wealth. Among them there was one particularly rich, who declared to the king his great desire to win the princess’s hand. King Palmarin said to this knight, “Examine the drum carefully.” After looking at it closely, he said, “This drum is made of sheep’s hide.”—“Your observation has deceived you,” said the king. “Now all the wealth you have brought with you shall be mine.”
“What can I do if fortune turns against me?” said the knight.
“Let your Majesty send his servants to get all my property from the ship.”
The names of the hides of all known animals were given, but no one guessed correctly. At last some of those who had been defeated said to the king, “Of what is the drum made?”
“I cannot tell you yet,” replied the king.
In one of the villages where the edict was proclaimed there lived a young man named Juan. He was an orphan. After the death of his parents, the property he had inherited from them he gave to the poor. One day me met the king’s messengers, who explained the edict minutely to him, so that he might tell about it to others. Don Juan then went away. He was sad, for he had no wealth to take with him to Marsella. Though he had inherited much property, he had given away most of it, so that now very little was left to him.
One day, while he was looking about his farm, he saw all of a sudden some dead persons lying prostrate in the thicket. They had been murdered by bandits. He hired men to bury these corpses decently in the sacred ground, and paid the priest to celebrate masses for their souls. He then returned home sad, meditating on his bad luck.
At midnight, while he was sleeping soundly, he heard a voice saying to him, “Go to Marsella and take part in the wager of King Palmarin. Do not be troubled because you have no riches. Your horses are enough. Equip them in the best way you can.” Then the voice ceased.
Don Juan felt very glad. The next morning he prepared materials for equipping his horses, and hired laborers, whom he paid double so as to hasten the work. The harnesses were of pure gold, decorated with pearls and rubies. The saddle-cloths were embroidered. Two of the horses (they were all very fat, and had long manes) were hazel-colored, two were spotted, two were orange-colored, and one was white. When everything was ready, Don Juan mounted the white one, and loaded on the other six his baggage.
God rewarded Don Juan for what he had done to the dead bodies. He called St. Michael, and said to him, “Go to purgatory and get six of the souls who were benefited by Don Juan, for now is the time for them to repay him. They shall go back to the world to meet Don Juan on his way, follow him to Marsella, and provide him with everything he needs. They must not leave him until you call them back, for there are many serious dangers on his way.” The angel went on his errand. He selected six souls, and told them to return to the world to help Don Juan. The spirits were glad to go, for they longed to repay their benefactor.
Don Juan was now on his journey. As he rode along, the birds in the forest sang to cheer him, so that the long journey might not tire him. By and by he saw a man in the middle of the forest, lying on his face. “Grandpa, what are you doing there?” said Juan.
“I am observing the world. Are you not a nobleman? Whither are you bound?”
“To Marsella,” replied Don Juan.
“To bet? If that is your purpose, you are sure to lose, for it is certain that you cannot guess of what the drum is made,” interrupted the man.
“I entreat you to tell me the right answer, if you know it,” said Don Juan.
“I will not only tell it to you, but I will also accompany you. That is why I am here. I was waiting for you to pass,” said the man.
“Grandpa, I’m astonished. You must be a prophet.”
“You are right. I am the sage prophet Noet Noen,9 who will go with you to King Palmarin.”
“I appreciate your help and am grateful to you, grandpa,” said Don Juan. “You had better ride on one of the horses.”
Noet Noen and Don Juan rode on together. The prophet then related to Juan the whole story of the tuma that had got into the powder-case of the king. While the two travellers were talking, they saw a man sitting under a tree. As it was very hot, they dismounted so that their horses might rest. Don Juan was surprised at the stranger. He was whistling; and every time he whistled, the wind blew strong, so that the trees in the forest were broken off. This man was Supla Supling, a companion and friend of Noet Noen.
“Supla Supling, why are you here?” said Noet Noen.
“To follow you,” was the reply.
“If that is your desire,” said Don Juan, “you will please mount one of the horses.” So the three men went on their journey. They had not gone far when they met a man walking alone. Noet Noen said to him, “What are you here for? Come along with us!” This man was Miran Miron, who had a wonderfully loud voice. When he shouted, his sound was more sonorous than thunder. He also had very keen sight. He could see clearly an object, though it were covered with a cover a hundred yards thick.
When the four travellers had gone a little farther, they saw a man walking swiftly on one leg. They spurred up their horses to overtake him, but in vain. At last Noet Noen said, “I think that is my friend Curan Curing, so there is little hope of our catching him.”
“Let me call him!” said Miran Miron, and he shouted.
When Curan Curing heard the voice, he stopped, so they reached him. Miran Miron said to him, “You are in a great hurry. Where are you going?”
“You know that I cannot stop my feet when I walk,” said Curan Curing.
“Why do you hold up one of your legs as if it were in pain?” said Don Juan.
“Do not be surprised at my walking on one foot; for, if I should let loose the other one, I should walk straight out of the world.”
“Will you join us, Curan Curing?” said Noet Noen.
“Oh, yes! Let me have a horse! If I should walk, you might lose me on account of my speed,” replied Curan Curing.
So the five adventurers went on together. As it soon grew very warm, they stopped to rest under a tree.
Then they saw a wounded deer coming toward them. As they were hungry, they killed it and cooked it. While they were eating, the hunter Punta Punting came. He said, “Have you seen a wounded deer?”
“Oh, yes! here it is. We are eating it already,” said Supla Supling, “for we are very hungry.”
“I’m glad that the deer I wounded relieves your hunger,” said Punta Punting. “What are you all doing here? Where are you going? Why don’t you take me with you?”
“If that is your wish, we are very glad to have you,” said Don Juan.
The little party rode on, but suddenly stopped; for a mountain was walking toward them. As it approached, they saw that a man was carrying the mountain. Don Juan was not a little surprised at this astonishing feat of strength. “Where have you been, Carguen Cargon? Where did you get that mountain?” said Noet Noen.
“I took it from behind the church of Candaba, for I want to transfer it here, where the land is level. This mountain is not fitted for Candaba; for the natives, rich or poor, build their houses out of wood,—even the poorest, who cannot afford such luxury. They desolate its forests, for they cut down even the young trees.” Then with a great thunder Carguen Cargon dropped his burden on the land of Arayat, just behind the church. On account of its immense size, this mountain reached clear to de la Paz. The slopes reached Calumpit, and its base was in view of Apalit. Thus we see that Mount Alaya (Arayat) has come from Candaba. The original site of this mountain became a river, swamps, and brooks. Now Candaba has many ponds.
“Friend, I entreat you to come with us!” said Noet Noen.
“I shall be glad to go with you, if I shall only have the opportunity of serving you with my strength,” replied Carguen Cargon.
Now the little band of seven travelled on. When they came near the gates of Marsella, Noet Noen said, “Let us rest here first!” There they hired a house, where they staid at the expense of Don Juan.
The next morning Don Juan made himself ready to go on alone. Leading his horses, he was about to start for the palace, when Noet Noen called to him, and said, “Be sure not to forget the name of the skin I told you. Put it in the depths of your heart.”
“Have no fear that I shall forget,” said Don Juan. “Furthermore, Don Juan, I want you to undertake to do whatever the king may ask of you. Do not refuse. No matter how hard the task the king may impose on you, do not hesitate to undertake it; for God Almighty is ever merciful, and will help you. If the king requires you to do anything, just come back here and let me know of it. Now you may go. Take courage, for God loves a person who suffers,” said Noet Noen.
“Good-by to every one of you!” said Don Juan to his companions. Then he went on his journey. When he reached the palace, he asked the soldier who was on guard to announce him to the king. When the king heard of the message, he said to the soldier, “Let him come in, if his purpose is to bet; but assure him that, if he loses, he shall also lose his life.”
Then the soldier went back to the gate, and said to the stranger, “The king admits you into his presence.”
Don Juan entered the palace. He saluted the king. “What is it that you want? Tell it to me, so that I may know,” said the king.
“O king! pardon me for disturbing your Majesty. It is the edict your Highness issued that gives me the right to come here, and that has made me forget my inferiority; for I do rely entirely on the fact that your word in the proclamation will never be broken. So now I hope, that, if fortune goes with me, your Majesty will carry out his promise.”
These words made the king laugh, for he was sure that there was no one who could beat him in the wager: so he said, “What property have you with you that you wish to risk?”
Don Juan replied, “Six horses, of which your Highness can make use.”
The king looked out the window, and there he saw Don Juan’s horses. King Palmarin was much pleased at their beauty, sleekness, and elegance of equipment. Turning to Don Juan, he said, “Do you really wish to bet? I feel as if you were already beaten. Princes and wise kings have taken part in the wager, and all have lost. I tell you about them because I do not want you to repent in the end. Moreover, I have pity for your life and your property.”
“What can I do if fortune turns against me? I will never lay the fault on anybody.”
“Well,” said the king, leading Don Juan to the table where the drum was, “try your skill.”
Holding and sounding the drum, and pretending to examine it carefully, Juan said softly to the king, “I think that it is made of the skin of a tuma,” and he went on relating to the king the whole story of the tuma from the time it got into his powder-case, until the king finally interrupted,
“Enough! You have beaten me.”
“I am glad if I have. I hope that the terms of the proclamation will be fulfilled,” said Don Juan.
The king remarked, “You are not fitted to join my royal family. Such a low person as you would disgrace me, and humble my dynasty. So take your horses with you and go back to your country.”
“O king! I am not at fault in the least. It is your Majesty who issued the edict that any one, rich or poor, who could beat you in the wager, should be wedded to your daughter. Now I only cling to the right your Majesty has given me,” returned Don Juan. “I had been thinking that the proclamation your Highness signed would be kept; for it is known far and wide that you are a king.”
By this answer King Palmarin was perplexed. He stopped for a moment to consider the matter. Then the thought of getting rid of Don Juan—that is, of killing him—came into his mind: so he said, “Though you are far below my family, if you can do what I shall ask you to do now, I will admit you into the royal line.”
“I am always ready to obey your Majesty’s command,” said Don Juan.
“I had a reliquary, which I inherited from my royal father. I lost it while I was hunting once in the forest twenty years ago. Now I want you to look for it. I will give you three days. If you do not find it in that time, you shall be severely punished,” said the king.
Don Juan left the court and returned to his companions. He told them what had passed between him and the king in the palace. Noet Noen encouraged him, and said, “Do not be sad! for by the aid of God the reliquary shall be found. Remember, there is nothing difficult if you call on God.—What do you say, comrades? It is now time for you to help Don Juan, so as to distract him from his sorrow.—Miran Miron, as you have keen eyes, it will not take you long to find it. Try your best, and look everywhere.”
“Trust me; I’ll be responsible for finding it,” said Miran Miron. “To-morrow I will set out in quest of it.”
As to the king, he was at ease, for he was sure that Don Juan could not find the reliquary.
The next day Miran Miron set out in search of the reliquary, which he found covered with thirty yards of earth. He dug out the earth until he reached the locket; then he returned to his companions, and delivered it to Don Juan. His comrades, seeing him rejoice at the sight of the reliquary, said, “Again we have beaten the king.”
Noet Noen said, “Don Juan, to-morrow take King Palmarin his reliquary.”
The next day Don Juan set out for the court. When he reached the palace, he saluted the king, who was astonished. “How! Don Juan, have you given up so soon? How goes the quest?”
“Here, I have found the reliquary,” said Don Juan, taking it out and putting it on the table. Then he continued, “Let your Majesty examine to see if it is the right one.”
The king looked at it carefully. Indeed, it was his own reliquary. He said to himself, “What a wonder Don Juan is! In two days without any difficulty he has found the reliquary. I did not even tell him the exact place where I lost it, and many people failed to come across it as soon as it was missed. Here in Marsella he has no equal.” Then he said to Don Juan, “I am astonished at the ability you have shown. There is no tongue that can express my gratitude to you for bringing me back my reliquary, the delight of my heart.”
Don Juan replied, “If there is yet something to be done, let your Highness command his loyal vassal, who is always ready to obey.”
“If that is so, in order that you may obtain what you wish,” said the king, “go to Rome and take my letter to the Pope. Wait for his answer. I will also send another person to carry the same message. The one who comes after the other shall receive death as a punishment,” said the king.
“Your loyal subject will try to obey you,” said Don Juan.
So the king wrote two letters to the holy Pope, and gave one to Don Juan, who immediately left the palace and went to his friends. He was sad, meditating on his fate.
The king’s messenger, Bruja,10 set out for Rome that very moment. He was told to use his charm and to hurry up. So he went flying swiftly, like an arrow shot from a bow.
When Don Juan reached his comrades, he said, “I gave the reliquary to the king. Now he wants me to go to Rome to deliver this letter to the Pope and wait for his answer. At the same time the king has sent another messenger. If I come after his arrival in Marsella, I shall lose my life. You see what a hard task the king has given me. I do not know very well the way to Rome, and, besides, the wise Bruja is winged.”
“Do not worry,” said Noet Noen. “If God will, we shall defeat the king. Even if he has Bruja to send, you have some one also: so pluck up your courage!”
“What do you say, Curan Curing? Show your skill, and go to Rome flying like the wind,” said Noet Noen.
“Do not be troubled, Don Juan,” said Curan Curing. “I will carry the letter even to the gates of heaven. For me a journey to Rome is not far—in just one leap I shall be there. Give me the letter. To-morrow I will set out. To-day I will rest, so that I can walk fast.” Don Juan gave Curan Curing the letter, and they all went to sleep. Perhaps by this time Bruja had already arrived at Rome.
The next morning Curan Curing started on his journey to deliver the letter to the Pope. When he was half way to Rome, he met Bruja walking very swiftly, and already returning to Marsella. “Are you Don Juan?” said Bruja, “and are you just going to Rome now? You are beaten. Do not waste your energy any more. If you walk like that, you cannot reach Rome in two months.”
Bruja spoke so, because Curan Curing was walking on only one leg. But when he heard these words, he let loose his other leg and went faster than a bullet. He arrived almost instantly at Rome, and delivered the letter to the holy Pope, who, after reading it, wrote an answer and gave it to the messenger.
Curan Curing then made his way back towards his companions. He went as fast as the wind, and overtook Bruja on the road. “What! Are you still here? What is the matter? How is it that you have not reached Marsella yet? Where is that boast of yours, that I am already beaten? Now I am sure that you will disappoint your king, who relies too much upon your skill,” said Curan Curing.
Bruja, fearing that he should be defeated, for Don Juan’s messenger was very spry, planned to trick Curan Curing. So Bruja said, “Friend, let us rest here a while! I have a little wine with me. We will drink it, if it pleases you, and take a little rest while the sun is so hot.”
“Oh, yes! if you have some wine. It will be a fine thing for us to drink to quench our thirst,” replied Curan Curing.
The wine was no sooner handed to him than he fell asleep. Then Bruja put on one of Curan Curing’s fingers a ring, so as to insure victory for the king. Whoever had Bruja’s ring would sleep soundly and never wake as long as the charmed ring was on his finger. So Bruja, with a light heart, flew away and left the sleeping messenger. Bruja flew so swiftly, that in a moment he was seen by Curan Curing’s companions. When they saw the king’s messenger coming swiftly near them, they felt very sad. But as soon as Supla Supling was sure that it was Bruja flying through the air toward them, he said, “Let me manage him! I will make his journey longer. I will blow him back, so that he will not win.” Supla Supling then breathed deeply and blew. Bruja was carried back beyond Rome. How Don Juan’s companions rejoiced! Bruja did not sleep during the whole night: he was trying his best to reach Marsella.
The next morning Noet Noen said, “I never thought that our friend Curan Curing would be so slow. He has not come yet. Bruja has made him drink wine and has put him to sleep. The trickish fellow has placed on one of Curan Curing’s fingers a magic ring, which keeps him in a profound sleep.”
When Punta Punting heard Noet Noen’s words, he shot his arrow, though he could not see the object he was aiming at. But the ring was hit, and the arrow returned to its master with the magic ring on it. Such was the virtue of Punta Punting’s arrow. As for Curan Curing, he was awakened. He felt the ring being moved from his finger; but the charm was still working in him, and he fell asleep again.
Noet Noen, knowing that Curan Curing was again asleep, called Miran Miron, and said, “Pray, wake the sleeper under the tree !”
Miran Miron then shouted. Curan Curing awoke suddenly, frightened at the noise. Now, being wide awake, he realized the trick Bruja had played on him. He looked to see if he still had the Pope’s letter. Luckily Bruja had not stolen it. Curan Curing then began his journey. Though he went faster than the lightning, he could not overtake Bruja, who was very far ahead of him. In the mean time Bruja was seen by Miran Miron. He was enraged, and cried out loud. When Supla Supling heard his friend shout, he blew strongly. Bruja got stuck in the sky: he was scorched by the glowing sun. Not long afterwards Curan Curing arrived, and gave the letter to Don Juan.
Don Juan at once set out for Marsella. When he reached the palace, he delivered the Pope’s letter to the king. The king, realizing that he was beaten, said to Don Juan, “Though you have won, I will not grant your request, for you are too inferior. You may go.”
Don Juan replied, “Great King, nobody ordered your Highness to issue the decree to which your hand did sign your name. I trusted your word, and I ventured to take part in the wager. Now, honorable king, my complaint is that your Majesty breaks his word.”
The king was meditating as to what to do next to check Don Juan. At last he said, “I want you to show me some more of your wisdom. If you can sail on dry land, and I can see your ship to-morrow morning moored here in front of the palace, I will believe in your power and wisdom. So you may go. My subjects, the queen, and I will be here to see you sail on dry land to-morrow morning.”
Don Juan did not complain at all. He rose from his seat, sad and melancholy, and bade the king good-by. When he reached his companions, Noet Noen said, “You need not speak. I know what is the matter. I will manage the business, and all our comrades will help, so that our sailing on dry land to-morrow will not be delayed.—Carguen Cargon, my friend, go to the inn and fetch a large strong ship.”
Carguen Cargon went on his errand. It was not long before he found the right ship. So, shouldering it, he brought it back to his companions.
The next day everything was ready for the journey. Noet Noen said, “You will be in charge of the rudder, Carguen Cargon, so that the ship may go smoothly.—Supla Supling, sit at the stern and blow the sails, so that we may go fast.—The rest of us will serve as mariners. Cry ‘Happy voyage!’ as soon as we enter the city.”
Accordingly Supla Supling blew the sails. The wind roared, and many trees fell down. The little band sailed through the kingdom. All the people who saw them were wondering. They said, “Were this deed not by enchantment, they could not sail on dry land. Where do you think this ship came from, if not from the land of enchanters?”
When the sailors reached the city, they found King Palmarin looking out of the window of his palace. Don Juan then disembarked from his ship and went before the king to greet him. Don Juan said, “Your Majesty’s servant is here. He is ready to obey your will: so, if there is anything more to be done, let your Highness order him.”
The king felt ashamed for being a liar, and did not ask Don Juan to perform any more miracles. “Don Juan, I have now seen your wonderful wisdom. You may return to your country, for I will not give you the hand of my daughter,” said King Palmarin.
“Farewell, O king! Your own order has caused all that has happened. Though I have not succeeded in accomplishing my purpose, I have no reason to be ashamed to face anybody. What troubles me is, that, in spite of your widespread reputation for honor, you do not keep even one of your thousand million words. After some one has done you some service, you turn him away. Farewell, king! To my own country I will return,” said Don Juan as he left the palace.
The king did not say anything, for he realized the truth of the knight’s statement. Don Juan went to the boat. He and his companions sailed back to their station. As they passed out of the city, the people hailed them. His companions cheered him up and encouraged him. When they arrived at their lodging-place, Noet Noen said, “Let us stay a little longer and wait for God’s aid, which He always gives to the humble! All that has happened is God’s will, so do not worry, Don Juan.”
“I will do whatever you wish,” said Don Juan.
So they staid in the ship. Several months passed by, but nothing was heard. At last the Moors invaded Marsella. They put to death many of the inhabitants, and shut up the king and the rest of his men in jail. He, the queen, and the princess grieved very much, for they suffered many hardships in their narrow prison. When news of this conquest reached the seven, Noet Noen said to his companions, “Now is our turn to help Marsella. Use all your skill; for in driving away the Moors we serve a double purpose: first, we help the Christians; second, Don Juan.”
“Let me be general!” said Curan Curing. “If I rush at the Moors, they will not know what to do.”
Supla Supling said, “As for me, no Moor can stay near me, for I will blow him away, and he will be lost in the air.”
“Though I have no weapons, no one can face me in battle without tumbling down in fear,” said Miran Miron.
Carguen Cargon joined in. “I will pull up a tree and carry it with me; so that, even if all the Moors unite against me, they shall lie prostrate before me.”
“My arrow is enough for me to face Moors with,” said Punta Punting.
At the command of Noet Noen they set out. Curan Curing walked with one leg; still he was far ahead of his companions. He then would stop, return to his friends, and say impatiently, “Hurry up!”
At last they told him that he would be overtired. “The general ought to get weary if he commands,” said Curan Curing. “But I shall never get tired from walking at this rate!”
When they arrived at Marsella, Noet Noen encouraged his companions. Carguen Cargon pulled up a tree fifteen yards tall and six yards in circumference. He rushed at the Moors, and, by swinging the tree constantly, he swept away the enemy. Curan Curing walked with both his legs. He crushed the enemy, who fell dead as he stepped on them. Miran Miron shouted. His loud voice frightened the Moors. Punta Punting shot with his arrow. Whenever it had killed a Moor, it returned to its master. After many Moors had fallen, the rest could not maintain the fight, and they fled. Noet Noen then gathered together his men, and said, “Let us look for the king!”
They opened all the jails and freed the prisoners. The six victors cried, “Hurrah for Don Juan!” and said to the released persons, “All of you who have been held prisoners must thank Don Juan; for, were it not for him, we should not have come to your aid.”
“Who is this benefactor? We wish to know to whom we owe our lives,” said the king.
Noet Noen said, “By God’s will we gained the victory. It is Don Juan who brought us here to save you from the hands of the infidels. So he is indeed the benefactor.”
“Don Juan!” the crowd then shouted. “Our lives we owe to you.—Hurrah for our savior! Hurrah for the whole kingdom!”
The king, queen, princess, counsellors, and the victors went to the palace. They were all happy. When they had taken their seats, the king spoke thus: “What shall we give the victor? As for me, even the whole kingdom is too small a reward for saving us. Lend me your advice.”
Noet Noen answered, “Let me make a suggestion, O king! You already know what Don Juan desires. Do him justice, for he not only beat you in the wager, but also succeeded in accomplishing all your commands. Now he saves you and your kingdom, and restores you to power. Let your issued decree be carried out.” The king then consulted the queen, and said that the stranger was right.
The counsellors said, “King, Don Juan deserves the reward named in the edict; for, were it not for him, your people and even you would now be slaves.”
So at last the king agreed, and, as a bishop was present, the marriage was performed immediately. After the marriage ceremony, the king said, “Hear me, counsellors! As I am now too old to rule, and can no longer perform the duty of king, I am going to abdicate in favor of my son-in-law.—Don Juan, on your head I lay the crown with its sceptre. Do whatever you will, for you are now full king.”
The queen rose from her seat, and, taking off the diadem from her head, she placed it on her daughter, saying, “My darling, receive the diadem of the kingdom, so that all may recognize you as their new queen.” All the counsellors then rose, and shouted, “Hurrah for the new couple! May God give them long lives! May they be successful!” The entire kingdom rejoiced, and held banquets.
When Don Juan had become king, he made a trip with his six companions throughout the entire kingdom, giving alms to the needy and sick. When the royal visit was over, he returned with his friends to the palace. Then Noet Noen said to the king, “Our king, Don Juan, do not be astonished at what I am going to tell you. Since you have now got what you wanted, we now bid you farewell.”
“Why are you going away? What is there in me that you do not like? Pray do not leave me until I have repaid you!” He then called each of the six, and expressed his great gratitude to him, and begged him not to go away. “I will even abdicate the throne if you want me to,” Don Juan said, “for your departure will kill me.” The queen also begged the six men not to leave.
At last Noet Noen said, “Don Juan, long have we lived together; yet you know not whence we come, for we have never told you. We cannot be absent from there much longer.” The prophet then related minutely to the king who they were, and why they had come to his aid. Then the six men disappeared.