The Red Ettin 1
THERE was once a poor widow, and she
had two sons. The sons grew up, and it was time for the woman to send them
away to seek their fortune. So one day she said to her eldest son, "Take a jar
and bring me some water from the well, I'll bake a cake for you. If you bring
a lot of water, your cake will be large. If you bring only a little, it will
be small. I can give you only one cake and nothing else, you must understand."
The young man went off with the jar to
the well, and filled it with water, but there were cracks in the jar, and most
of the water had run out before he got back home. So his cake was very small.
Then the mother said to her eldest
son, "You may take the half of the cake with my blessing 2 or
the whole cake without my blessing. Which would you like?"
The young man thought, "I shall have
to travel far, and I do not know when or how I shall get other food." So he
said, "I'd like to have the whole cake," and she gave him the whole cake
without her blessing.
Then he took his brother aside,
3 gave him a knife and said, "Keep my knife till I come back.
Look at it every morning, and as long as it shines I am well; but if it grows
rusty, 4 then know that I am in trouble and want your help."
So the young man went to seek his
fortune. He walked all that day, and all the next day; and on the third day,
in the afternoon, he saw a man in a field who was looking after a lot of
sheep. He went up to the man and asked him who the sheep belonged to. The man
said, "They belong to the Red Ettin. He is a terrible, cruel giant and
magician with three heads. He stole King Malcolm's daughter, and he beats her
every day. The Red Ettin's castle is not far away. If you want to go farther,
be careful. You may meet some strange-looking beasts. You have never seen
beasts like them. I know very well that they are very dangerous."
So the young man went on, and soon he
saw a lot of very dreadful beasts, with two heads, and on each head there were
four horns. He was so frightened that he ran away from them as fast as he
could. He was glad when he came to a castle. It stood on a hill, and its door
was wide open. So the young man went into the castle to hide from those
dreadful beasts, and there he saw an old woman. She was sitting beside the
kitchen fire. "May I stay here for the night?" he asked her. "I am very tired
after a long journey."
And the woman said, "Yes, you may, but
this is not a good place to be in, it belongs to the Red Ettin, and he kills
everyone he finds."
The young man wanted to go away, but
he was afraid of the beasts outside of the castle. So he begged the old woman
to hide him and not tell the Red Ettin he was there, and he promised to go
away in the morning.
But he had not been long in his
hiding-place before the terrible Ettin came and cried, "I smell a man! Living,
or dead, 5 I'll eat him!"
The giant soon found the poor young
man, and pulled him out of his hiding-place. Then he told him, "If you can
answer my three questions, I'll spare your life."
So the first head asked, "A thing
without an end, what's that?" But the young man did not know.
Then the second head said, "The
smaller, the more dangerous, 6 what's that?" But the young
man did not know.
And then the third head asked, "The
dead carries the living. 7 Can you guess that?" But the young
man could not guess. He could not answer the three questions, and the Red
Ettin took a magic wand, 8 knocked him on the head, and
turned him into a large piece of stone.
On the morning after this happened,
the younger brother took out his brother's knife to look at it, and he was
very sorry to find that it was rusty. He told his mother that he must go away
also to seek his fortune. So she said that she was going to make a cake for
him and asked him to take the jar and go to the well for water.
And he went, and as he was bringing
home the water, a bird over his head cried out to him, "Look! The water is
running out!" And he saw, that the water was running out of the jar because
there were cracks in it. But he was a clever young man; he took some clay and
patched up the cracks, 9 so that he brought home enough water
to bake a large cake.
When his mother had made the cake, she
said, "You may take the half of the cake with my blessing or the whole cake
without my blessing. Which would you like?"
The younger brother chose the half of
the cake, but it was bigger than the whole cake of his brother.
So he went off on his journey. After
he had travelled a long way, he met an old woman who asked him to give her a
piece of his cake. "I'll be glad to do that," he said and gave her a piece of
the cake; and for that she gave him a magic wand.
She said, "This wand may be useful to
you, if you take care to use it rightly." And the old woman, who was a fairy,
told him what would happen to him and what he had to do in future. Then she
He went on his way farther, and then
he came up to the old man with the sheep. When he asked whose sheep they were,
the answer was: "They are the Red Ettin's sheep." Then the old man told him
everything about the Red Ettin.
When he came to the place where the
terrible beasts were standing, he did not stop nor run away, but went bravely
past them. When one came up roaring with open mouth ready to kill him, the
young man hit it with the wand, and the beast fell down dead at his feet.
He soon reached the Ettin's castle. He
knocked at the door and entered. The old woman who sat by the fire told him
about the terrible Ettin and about the fate of his brother. But the young man
was not afraid. The Red Ettin soon came in and shouted, "I smell a man!
Living, or dead, I'll eat him!"
He saw the young man, and told him to
come nearer. And then he put the three questions to him, but the young man
could answer all the questions: the good fairy had told him the answers.
So when the first head asked, "What's
the thing without an end?" he said, "A bowl."
And when the second head said, "The
smaller the more dangerous; what's that?" he said at once, "A bridge."
And last, the third head said,."When
does the dead carry the living? Can you guess that?" The young man answered at
once, "When a ship sails on the sea with men on board." 10
When the Ettin heard this, he knew
that his power was gone. 11 The young man took up an axe and
cut off the giant's three heads. Then he asked the old woman to show him where
King Malcolm's daughter was. And the old woman took him upstairs, and opened a
lot of doors, and out of every door came a beautiful lady; and one of the
ladies was the king's daughter.
Then the old woman also took him down
into a low room, and there lay a large piece of stone. He touched it with his
wand, and his brother came to life again. 12
The captives were happy to be free
again, and they all thanked the young man. Next day they all set out for King
Malcolm's court. And the king married his daughter to the young man who had
saved her, and gave a rich gentleman's daughter to his elder brother. And so
they all lived happily all their days.
1 The Red Ettin —
2 with my blessing — с
took his brother aside
— отвел своего брата в сторону
4 if it grows rusty —
если он заржавеет
— ад. Живой он или мертвый
6 The smaller, the
more dangerous — Чем меньше, тем опаснее
7 The dead carries the
living. — Мертвое несет живое.
8 a magic wand —
9 he took some clay
and patched up the cracks - он взял глину и замазал трещины
10 When a ship sails
on the sea with men on board.— Когда корабль
с людьми плывет по морю.
his power was gone — что пришел конец его
12 and his brother
came to life again — и его брат снова ожил