By Robert Elsie
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Extra resources for Albanian folktales and legends
This one? Fine. Or that one? All the better. Or shall I give you the third one? She would be best. ” “No,” insisted the youth, “I want one of the wives. ” The king could not bring himself to give one of his wives up and said to the shepherd, “Let us wait for a moment. Before we decide, we’ll go through the rooms and see how they are decorated. ” So they got up and visited all the rooms. The Stirrup Moor had put the oven on and by the time they had gone through all the palace, it was very hot indeed.
After a while, the bear became hungry and asked the dervish to bring him an ox while he cut wood in the forest. The dervish replied, “You go ahead and get your ox, that’s nothing for me. ” With this trick, the dervish succeeded in not having to get the ox, and went into the forest to cut wood. The bear sauntered off to a herd, seized an ox and heaved it over his shoulder. The dervish went into the forest, took a rope and tied all the trees up into one as if he wanted to pull them all out together.
On entering the house, he encountered the maiden all alone. She asked him, “Who are you and how did you get in here? There is a mighty king who has been fighting with my brothers for five years. ” The youth replied, “I haven’t come to do you any harm. I just want to see what’s going on. ” She replied, “My brothers are at the beach because some ships full of soldiers are coming tomorrow to do battle with them. The youth went out and struck the wall again, and the doorway disappeared. He went off to find the seven brothers.