LIKE many others in the world, there was a lad who wished to travel, and off he went. He finds a snuff-box, and opens it. And the snuff-box said to him--
"Que quieres?" ("What do you wish for?")
He is frightened, and puts it at once into his pocket. Luckily he did not throw it away. He goes on, and on, and on, and at last he said to himself,
"(I wonder) if it would say to me again, 'Que quieres?' I should well know what to answer."
He takes it out again, and opens it, and it says to him again,
The lad says to it, "My hat full of gold."
And it is filled!
He is astounded, and he said to himself that he would never want anything any more. He goes on, and on, and on; and, after he had passed some forests, he arrives at a fine castle. The king lived there. He goes round, and round, and round it, looking at it with an impudent air. The king says to him--
"What are you looking for?"
"To see your castle."
"You would wish, too, to have one like it?"
The lad does not answer. When the evening came, our lad takes out his snuff-box, and it said to him,
"Build here, on this very spot, a castle, with laths of gold and silver, and diamond tiles, and with all its furniture of gold and silver." 1
As soon as he has said it, he sees in front of the king's castle a castle like what he had asked for. When the king gets up in the morning, he was astonished at this dazzling castle. His eyes were blinded by the (reflection of the) rays of the sun which fell upon it. The king went and said to him--
You must be a man of great power, 2 and you must come
to our house, where we will live together. I have a daughter, too, and you shall marry her."
They do as the king had said, and they lived all together in the dazzling house. He was married to the king's daughter, and lived happily.
Now, the king's wife was very envious of the lad and of his wife. She knew, by her daughter, how that they had a snuff-box, and that it did all that they wished. She intrigued with one of the servants to try and take it from them; but they take great care (to conceal) where they put the snuff-box away every evening. Nevertheless, at last she sees where it is put, and in the middle of the night, while they slept, she takes it from them, and carries it to her old mistress. What a joy for her!
She opens it, and the snuff-box says to her, "Que quieres?"
"You must take myself and my husband, and my servants, and this beautiful house, to the other side of the Red Sea, 1 and leave my daughter and her husband here."
When the young couple awoke in the morning, they found themselves in the old castle, and their snuff-box was gone. They look for it everywhere, but it is useless.
The young man will not wait an instant longer at home. He must start off at once to find his castle and his snuff-box. He takes a horse, and as much gold as the horse can carry, and he goes on, and on, and on, and on. He searches through all the towns in the neighbourhood until he had finished all his money. He searched, but he did not find it anywhere. But he went looking out still, feeding his horse as best he could, and begging for himself. Some one told him that he ought to go to the moon--that he makes a very long journey, and that he might guide him. He goes far, far, far away, on, and on, and on, and at last he arrives. He finds an old woman, who says to him--
"What do you come to do here? My son devours all creatures of all sorts; and, if you will trust me, You will be off before his arrival."
He tells her his misfortunes--how that he had a snuff-box of great power, which has been stolen from him, and that he is now without anything, far from his wife, and stripped of everything, "and perhaps your son, in his journeys, has seen my palace, with its golden laths and tiles of diamonds, and the other ornaments of gold and silver."
At that moment the moon appeared, and said to his mother that he smelt some one. His mother told him how that there was a wretched man who had lost everything; that he was come to him (for help), and that he would guide him. The moon told him to show himself. He comes, and asks him if he has not seen a house with beams of gold and with tiles of diamonds, and the rest of gold and silver; and he tells him how it was taken away from him.
He answers, "No;" that he has not seen it, but that the sun makes longer journeys than he, and of greater extent, and that he would do better to go to him.
He goes off again, on, and on, and on, with his horse, whom he nourished as he could, and begging for himself. At length he arrives at the sun's house. He finds an old woman, who said to him,
"Where do you come from? Be off from here! Do you not know that my son eats all Christians?"
He said to her, "No! I will not go away. I am so wretched that I do not care if he does eat me."
And he tells her how he has lost everything; that he had a house, which had not its equal, with beams of gold and tiles of diamonds, and all the ornaments of gold and precious stones; and that he had been going about looking for it so long a time, and that there was no man so wretched as he. This woman hides him. The sun comes out and says to his mother--
"I smell the smell of a Christian, and I must eat him."
The mother tells him that it was an unfortunate man who had lost his all, that he had come to speak to him, and begs him to take pity on him. He tells her to bring him out. Then the young man comes and asks the sun if he has seen a palace which has its equal nowhere, with its laths of gold and its tiles of diamonds, and the rest of gold and silver. The sun says to him:
"No, but the south wind searches everything that I cannot see. He enters into every corner, he does, and if any one ought to know he will know."
Our poor man then sets off again, feeding his horse how he could and begging for himself, and he comes at length to the house of the south wind. 1 He finds an old woman carrying water, and who was filling a great many barrels. She said to him:
"What are you thinking of to come here? My son eats up everything when he arrives hungry and furious. You must beware of him."
He says to her, "It is all the same to me. Let him eat me; I am so wretched that I fear nothing."
And he tells her how he had a beautiful house which had not its equal in all the world, and with it all sorts of riches, and that, "Having abandoned my wife, I am seeking it, and I am come to consult your son, being sent by the sun."
She hides him under the staircase. The south wind arrives as if he meant to tear the house up, and very thirsty. Before beginning to drink he smells the smell of the race of Christians, and said to his mother:
"Out with what you have hidden," and that he must begin by eating him.
His mother said to him, "Eat and drink what is before you."
And she tells him the misfortunes of this man, and how that the sun has spared his life that he might come and consult him.
Then he makes the man come out, and the man tells him how that he is going about trying to find a house) and that if anybody ought to know it is he, and that they had robbed him of his house, which had laths of gold, tiles of diamonds, and all the rest of gold and silver, and if he has not seen it anywhere?
He tells him, "Yes, yes, and all to-day I have been passing over it, and have not been able to take away one of its tiles."
"Oh! if you will tell me where it is!"
He says that it is on the other side of the Red Sea, very, very far away.
When our man heard that, the length of the road did not frighten him--he had already travelled over so much. He sets out then, and at last arrives at that city. He asks if anyone is in want of a gardener. They tell him that the gardener of the castle has gone away, and that perhaps they will take him. He goes off, and recognises his house--judge with what joy and delight! He asks if they are in want of a gardener. They tell him "Yes," and our lad is very pleased. He passes some time tolerably happily--middling. He talks with a servant about the riches of the masters and of the power which they had. He flattered and cajoled this young girl very much to get from her the history of the snuff-box, and he told her once that he very much wished to see it. One evening she brought it to him to look at, and our lad, very much pleased, pays great attention to where it was hidden in the room of the mistress. At night, when everybody is asleep, he goes and takes the snuff-box. You will understand with what joy he opens it.
It says to him, "Que quieres?"
And the lad says to it, "Que quieres, Que quieres, 1 carry me with my castle to the same place as (we were in) formerly, and drown the king and the queen and all the servants in this Red Sea."
As soon as he had said it, he was carried to his wife, and they lived happily, and the others all perished in the Red Sea. 1
94:1 We were also told, in Basque, "The Powerful Lantern," which was the story of Aladdin's lamp, with only one incident omitted. The present is much more like the Gaelic, but there (Campbell, Vol. II., 297-9) it is a lady who gives the snuff-box, which says, "Eege gu djeege," on being opened. Campbell's note is:--"The explanation of these sounds was, that it was 'as if they were asking.' The sounds mean nothing, that I know of, in any language." "Que quieres?" is pure Spanish--"What dost thou want?"
95:1 Cf. MacCraw's variation in Campbell, note, Vol. II., p. 301, for the rest of the story.
95:2 "Power" in these tales, in the Basque, seems always to mean "magic power," some wonder-working gift or charm.
96:1 In Campbell's versions it is "the realm of the king under the waves," or "the realm of the rats;" but a voyage has to be made to that, and a rat takes the place of the servant in stealing the box again for the hero. "The Deccan Tales" mention the Red Sea.
98:1 The south wind is the most dreaded local wind in the Pays Basque. It is always hot, and sometimes very violent. After two or three days it usually brings on a violent thunderstorm and rain.
99:1 The lad here calls his snuff-box affectionately "Que quieres," as if that were its name.
100:1 The likeness and the variation of this tale from Campbell's Gaelic one, "The Widow's Son," etc., Vol. II., pp. 293-303; prove that both must be independent versions of some original like Aladdin's lamp, but not mere copies of it.