Posts filed under ‘The Tale of the Golden Lamb’

King Matthias and the Shepherd Who Never Lied

The Lamb with Golden Fleece – Hungarian folk legend (pdf)

Once upon a time, the Prussian king was a guest in the court of the Hungarian king Matthias. They were good friends.
– “I hear you have a lamb with golden fleece” – he says. “Is this true?” – asks the Prussian king.
– “Yes” – says Matthias. “And I have a very good shepherd, too. He never lies.” replied Matthias.
– “I can make him lie” – said the king of Prussia with a smile.
– “I don’t think so” – doubted king Matthias.
– “Do that, and half of Hungary is yours” – Matthias says. “But I know my shepherd well, and no one can make him lie.”
– “I can” – says the Prussian king. “Or half of Prussia is yours, Matthias.”
– “Very well” – says the Hungarian king.

They agreed. The Prussian king left to find the shepherd. But first, he changed his clothes and dressed as a peasant. Then he went to look for the shepherd. The Prussian king said hello to the shepherd.
– “Greetings, Lord King!” the shepherd answers.
– “How do you know me in these clothes?”
– “I can hear your voice, and it’s in the way you speak” – answered the shepherd. “What do you want?”
– “I have six horses for you” – says the Prussian king. “But first you must give me the lamb with the golden fleece.”
– “No!” – says the shepherd. “I can’t steal from king Matthias.”
– “I’ll give you a lot of gold if you give me the lamb with the golden fleece” bargained the king.
– “I’m not interested in money, and I can’t give you the lamb. King Matthias will execute me” – the shepherd replied.
– “What about ten horses?” – asks the Prussian king.
– “No!” – answers the shepherd.

So the king goes back home to Prussia. He tells his daughter about the shepherd.
– “I’d like to meet him” – she says. And she takes a bag of gold and a bottle of wine with her.
– “Look!” – she says to the shepherd. “I can give you a bag of gold for your sheep with the fleece of gold!”
– “Never!” – says the shepherd. “I don’t need your money!”
– After drinking some wine, he begins to feel very happy. “All right” – he says.
“Take the sheep with the fleece of gold. But first you must give me a kiss and be my wife.”
– “Very well. But I want only the sheep’s fleece, not the meat” – she answers.

The girl takes the fleece back to her father. And the Prussian king is very happy. The next day, the shepherd was very upset. He didn’t know how to explain this to King Matthias. He came up with many lies in his mind, but they were all doomed. Finally, he arrived at the throne room. What can I tell him about the fleece? He thinks. I don’t want to lie.
– “Good morning!” Says King Matthias to him. “What is the news from the field? Where’s the lamb with the fleece of gold?”
– “I don’t have it any more” – says the shepherd. “I changed it for a black one. Now I have a black lamb.”
– “I see. And where is this black lamb?” – Asks Matthias angrily.
– “She is sitting next to you!” – says the shepherd. And he looks at the Prussian king’s daughter.
– “You told the truth!” – King Matthias said. “As a reward, I’ll give you the Prussian king’s half kingdom that I have won.”
– “And I give you my daughter” – promised the Prussian king. “I can see you’re in love with her.”
And so, the good shepherd becomes the next Prussian king.


June 14, 2016 at 8:25 pm Leave a comment