Unborn Petko

Unborn Petko

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    A peasant was going to go plough his field, but before leaving he asked his wife to come at lunch time and bring him a meal. Some hours later the woman sent her daughter to the field with the lunch for her father. When the girl reached the middle of the path, she saw a willow and decided to stop and take a rest.

    The daughter became thoughtful and started daydreaming about her near future. She would get married. After that she would bear a baby boy, they would name him Petko and place him in a cradle near the fireplace. Unfortunately, an axe would hang over the fireplace – it would probably fall upon Petko’s head and…”Ooh, mothe-e-r, how I will cry and scream for him!” said the girl to herself and started crying.

     Her mother was waiting for her to come back. When too much time passed the woman decided to go to the field. She found the damsel under the willow and asked,”What happened, daughter, why are you crying? Why didn’t you bring the lunch to your father?” The girl recounted how harsh and predetermined the fate was. The story made the mother share her despair and she also started crying for her grandson.

     The man waited for the women to bring him lunch, but at some point the hunger was so strong that he headed for the village. He saw them weeping in the shade of the willow and asked,”What happened? Why are you sitting here crying?” They told him about the unfortunate destiny of the infant Petko and continued weeping with even greater intensity. “You are mad women!” he said.”How could you cry for unborn Petko! I will set out on a journey around the world to see if there are other mad people like you two. I will only return if I find others.”

     And the father set off to explore the broad world. He reached a small village. Several peasants were struggling to lift an ox and place it on a stone wall. The man asked them why they were doing that. The villagers responded that the ox had to eat the grass which had grown on the wall. They were considering cutting off the ox’s head and lifting it up instead of the heavy animal. “These people are madder than my women,” the man said to himself, climbed on the wall, plucked the grass and threw it on the ground. The peasants blessed him for his wise deed and he was wined and dined.

     The traveller went on his way. He entered another village and saw a house without windows. Two women were standing the house, holding an open sack. He asked them what they were doing. The women emphasized the obvious – they were filling the sack with sunshine so as to bring it home and have light. “These women are madder than mine,” the man sighed with relief, got to work and built windows in the house for the sunlight to enter. The grateful owners of the house rewarded him generously.

     In the third village he visited the man saw a large crowd. An old woman stood with one hand squeezed through the hedge of a fence. People were shouting and quarreling, but she  wasn’t moving. The stranger approached her and asked her why she was standing like that. The hag started complaining. She had decided to ask her neighbour for salt, squeezed her hand through the hedge to receive it, but when she clenched her fist, she didn’t manage to get her hand out . ”These people are madder than my women,” the man reassured himself. He asked for a bowl in which the old woman could drop the salt in order to pull her hand out. The traveller was blessed and rewarded.

     In the following village there was a wedding. However, the bride was standing on the doorstep and wouldn’t enter her future home. The people around her were arguing. She was crying. Somebody suggested cutting off her feet, others – her head, others – returning her to her parents. The stranger approached them. He wanted to know why the bride was standing outside the house. They said that the door was too low for her to go through. The father thought that those people were also stupider than his wife and daughter. He advised the bride to bend and she entered the house. The wedding guests rewarded him profusely for his wisdom.

     The man continued his journey. On the road he saw two women leading a dolled up pig. He asked where they were going with that pig. The women explained that they had been invited to a wedding but their men didn’t let them go. They requested the stranger to take the pig to the celebration. By doing so, at least the animal would have fun.”These are madder than my women,” the man took the lead and the women went back to the village to tell their husbands what a clever solution they have found. The peasants got angry because the pig with all its jewels had been given to a complete stranger. One of the men mounted his horse and galloped down the road. Meanwhile, our traveller took the jewels from the pig and left it in a field near the road. The villager caught up with him and asked if he had seen a man with a pig. The stranger pointed at the pig. He advised the peasant to leave his horse to him while catching it in order to avoid stumbling over in the field. The man left his horse and ran after the pig.

     In the meantime, our traveller mounted the horse and ran away. “I witnessed so much madness in the world! My women are not bad at all,” he said to himself and returned home.

Tags: folklorestory, fate, future, stupidity

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