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Lovely Ilonka
There was once a king's son who told his father that he wished to marry.
'No, no!' said the king; 'you must not be in such a hurry. Wait till you
have done some great deed. My father did not let me marry till I had won
the golden sword you see me wear.'
The prince was much disappointed, but he never dreamed of disobeying his
father, and he began to think with all his might what he could do. It
was no use staying at home, so one day he wandered out into the world to
try his luck, and as he walked along he came to a little hut in which he
found an old woman crouching over the fire.
'Good evening, mother. I see you have lived long in this world; do you
know anything about the three bulrushes?'
'Yes, indeed, I've lived long and been much about in the world, but I
have never seen or heard anything of what you ask. Still, if you will
wait till to-morrow I may be able to tell you something.'
Well, he waited till the morning, and quite early the old woman appeared
and took out a little pipe and blew in it, and in a moment all the crows
in the world were flying about her. Not one was missing. Then she asked
if they knew anything about the three bulrushes, but not one of them
The prince went on his way, and a little further on he found another hut
in which lived an old man. On being questioned the old man said he knew
nothing, but begged the prince to stay overnight, and the next morning
the old man called all the ravens together, but they too had nothing to
The prince bade him farewell and set out. He wandered so far that he
crossed seven kingdoms, and at last, one evening, he came to a little
house in which was an old woman.
'Good evening, dear mother,' said he politely.
'Good evening to you, my dear son,' answered the old woman. 'It is
lucky for you that you spoke to me or you would have met with a horrible
death. But may I ask where are you going?'
'I am seeking the three bulrushes. Do you know anything about them?'
'I don't know anything myself, but wait till to-morrow. Perhaps I can
tell you then.' So the next morning she blew on her pipe, and lo!
and behold every magpie in the world flew up. That is to say, all the
magpies except one who had broken a leg and a wing. The old woman sent
after it at once, and when she questioned the magpies the crippled one
was the only one who knew where the three bulrushes were.
Then the prince started off with the lame magpie. They went on and on
till they reached a great stone wall, many, many feet high.
'Now, prince,' said the magpie, 'the three bulrushes are behind that
The prince wasted no time. He set his horse at the wall and leaped over
it. Then he looked about for the three bulrushes, pulled them up and
set off with them on his way home. As he rode along one of the bulrushes
happened to knock against something. It split open and, only think! out
sprang a lovely girl, who said: 'My heart's love, you are mine and I am
yours; do give me a glass of water.'
But how could the prince give it her when there was no water at hand?
So the lovely maiden flew away. He split the second bulrush as an
experiment and just the same thing happened.
How careful he was of the third bulrush! He waited till he came to a
well, and there he split it open, and out sprang a maiden seven times
lovelier than either of the others, and she too said: 'My heart's love,
I am yours and you are mine; do give me a glass of water.'
This time the water was ready and the girl did not fly away, but she
and the prince promised to love each other always. Then they set out for
They soon reached the prince's country, and as he wished to bring his
promised bride back in a fine coach he went on to the town to fetch one.
In the field where the well was, the king's swineherds and cowherds were
feeding their droves, and the prince left Ilonka (for that was her name)
in their care.
Unluckily the chief swineherd had an ugly old daughter, and whilst the
prince was away he dressed her up in fine clothes, and threw Ilonka into
the well.
The prince returned before long, bringing with him his father and mother
and a great train of courtiers to escort Ilonka home. But how they all
stared when they saw the swineherd's ugly daughter! However, there was
nothing for it but to take her home; and, two days later, the prince
married her, and his father gave up the crown to him.
But he had no peace! He knew very well he had been cheated, though he
could not think how. Once he desired to have some water brought him from
the well into which Ilonka had been thrown. The coachman went for it
and, in the bucket he pulled up, a pretty little duck was swimming.
He looked wonderingly at it, and all of a sudden it disappeared and he

Link to original dataset is Link to merged and cleaned version is


  • found language_creators:
  • found languages:
  • en licenses:
  • cc0-1.0 multilinguality:
  • monolingual pretty_name: Folklore and Mythology Electronic Texts size_categories:
  • unknown

Dataset Card for folk-mythology-tales

Dataset Summary

Folklore and Mythology Electronic Texts dataset, original dataset is found

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Dataset Structure

Data Instances

Plain text with no json structure

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Citation Information

[Needs More Information]--- annotations_creators:

  • found language_creators:
  • found languages:
  • en licenses:
  • cc0-1.0 multilinguality:
  • monolingual pretty_name: Folklore and Mythology Electronic Texts size_categories:
  • unknown source_datasets: [] task_categories: [] task_ids: []

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