Multilingual Folk Tale Database


Author: Dobšinský Pavol - 1880

Translated into English
  by Spojená škola Tilgnerova

Original title (Slovak):
Zlatá podkova, zlatô pero, zlatý vlas

Country of origin: Slovakia


English - aligned

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The Golden Horseshoe the Golden Feather and the Golden Hair

Dobšinský Pavol / Spojená škola Tilgnerova

Once upon a time, there was a peasant who had twelve sons. The youngest of them, whose name was Johnny, was not only the cleverest, but also had the friendliest mind. One day they decided to go around the world to find work. They came to a kingdom, hired themselves to a king and stayed there for three years. They earned twelve bullocks during the first year, twelve cows during the second year and twelve horses during the third year. Johnny couldn’t find a horse for himself but at the end he chose a small, mangy one. This horse was not usual, because it could talk. He promised Johnny to help him and serve him. After returning home, the brothers said to their father, “Father, we have earned enough already, now it’s time to get married.” Father decided to go and find twelve brides for his sons. He found an old hag who had twelve daughters. They agreed that he would bring his sons and they would make a great wedding reception. On the appointed day the father came together with his sons. Johnny’s steed advised him to sit on the edge of the table and go out every time he knocked on the door. During the wedding reception the steed knocked three times and Johnny went out. Firstly, the steed advised him to pour water from the first cup under the table and a glass was created from it. Secondly, he poured the first spoon of the soup under the table and a brush was made from it.

Finally he threw the first piece of liver under the table and a comb was made from it. Johnny hid everything, ate the meals and went to sleep. After a while, the steed knocked again and told Johnny, “Move your brothers to the beds of girls and girls to the beds of brothers, quickly!” Johnny did everything and in a moment he could see the hag beheading her daughters instead of brothers. Johnny woke up his brothers and they ran home. Johnny shouted, “Hag, hag that murdered her own daughters, thanks for dinner.” When the hag saw what had happened she sat down on a shovel and flew on it. She wanted to catch Johnny and threw a golden horseshoe at him. Johnny picked it up and threw the comb to the ground. In that moment the dense mountain grew up and the hag was slowed. She threw a golden feather; Johnny picked it up and threw the brush to the ground. Sharp thorn bush was made from it and the hag was slowed again. She threw a golden hair. Johnny picked it up and threw the glass to the ground. A big sea was created and it stopped the hag definitely. Johnny saved himself and his brothers thanks to the steed’s advice. He decided to go around the world again and hire himself. On his way he saw a town and the steed told him: “In this town there lives a king, hire yourself to him.” Johnny started to work in a stable. Other servants were angry with him because the horses he took care of were the best brushed and cleaned and he didn’t spend any candles. Servants found out that he used golden horseshoe to have the light instead of the candles. They told this to the king and he ordered Johnny to bring the horse to whom that horseshoe belonged. Johnny went back to the old hag’s house and stole the golden horse. She tried to catch him but she failed. Johnny kept on taking care of horses and didn’t use any candles because the golden feather gave him the light. Servants reported it again and king ordered Johnny to bring him the golden duck. Johnny managed to steal it from the old Hag’s house again..

At the end, Johnny used the golden hair as the light while taking care of the horses. Servants saw it and told everything to the King. The King ordered Johnny to bring him the golden girl. It was not easy but Johnny was successful. He set the golden girl free from the hag’s house and brought her to the King. When the king saw the girl, he wanted to marry her. The golden girl refused him; she wanted to marry her saviour. The king was angry and decided to kill Johnny. Johnny had the right to choose how he should be killed. His steed advised him to let himself be boiled in the hot milk. Before Johnny jumped to the hot milk, Steed had breathed the heat in. Johnny jumped in and became golden. The king wanted to become golden too and jumped into the milk. Steed breathed the heat out and the king was boiled. Johnny became a new king and he married the golden girl. His steed stayed to live with them together. They lived together happily and if they are not dead, they are still alive and in love today.