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Gypsy Folk Tales, by Francis Hindes Groome, [1899], at

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No. 6.--God's Godson

There was a queen. From youth to old age that queen never bore but one son. That son was a hero. So soon as he was born, he said to his father, 'Father, have you no sword or club?'

'No, my child, but I will order one to be made for you.'

The son said, 'Don't order one, father: I will go just as I am.'

So the son took and departed, and journeyed a long while, and took no heed, till he came into a great forest. So in that forest he stretched himself beneath a tree to rest a bit, for he was weary. And he sat there a while. Then the holy God and St. Peter came on the lad; and he was unbaptized. So the holy God asked him, 'Where are you going, my lad?'

'I am going in quest of heroic achievements, old fellow.'

Then the holy God thought and thought, and made a church. And he caused sleep to fall on that lad, and bade St. Peter lift him, and went with him to the church, and gave him the name Handak. And the holy God said to him, 'Godson, a hero like you there shall never be any other; and do you take my god-daughter.'

For there was a maiden equally heroic, and equally baptized by God. And she was his god-daughter, and he told his godson to take her. And he gave him a wand of good fortune and a sword. And he endowed him with strength, and set him down. And his godfather departed to heaven, like the holy God that he was.

And Handak perceived that God had endowed him with strength, and he set out in quest of heroic achievements, and journeyed a long while, and took no heed. So he came into a great forest. And there was a dragon three hundred years old. And his eyelashes reached down to the ground, and likewise his hair. And the lad went to him and said, 'All hail.'

'You are welcome.'

Soon as that hero [the dragon] heard his voice, he knew that it was God's godson.

And the lad, Handak, asked him, 'Does God's god-daughter dwell far hence?'

'She dwells not far; it is but a three days' journey.'

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And the lad took and departed, and journeyed three days until he came to the maiden's. Soon as the maiden saw him, she recognised him for her godfather's godson. And she let him into her house, and served up food to him, and ate with him and asked him, 'What seek you here, Handak?'

He said, 'I have come on purpose to marry you.'

'With whom?'

'With myself an you will.'

She said, 'I will not have it so without a fight.'

And the lad said, 'Come let us fight.'

And they fell to fighting, and fought three days; and the lad vanquished her. And he took her, and went to their godfather. And he crowned them and made a marriage. And they became rulers over all lands. And I came away, and told the story.

This story, though poor as a story, is yet sufficiently curious. Tweedledum and Tweedledee, in Alice in Wonderland, are suggested by the 'not without a fight'; but I can offer no real variant or analogue of 'God's Godson.' It is noteworthy, however, that the holy God and St. Peter occur in another of Barbu Constantinescu's Roumanian-Gypsy stories,. 'The Apples of Pregnancy,' No. 16, and baptize another boy in Miklosich's Gypsy story from the Bukowina, No. 9, 'The Mother's Chastisement'; whilst we get Christ and St. Peter in a Catalonian-Gypsy story (cited under No. 60). For the nuptial crown in the last line but two, cf. Ralston's Songs of the Russian People, pp. 198, 270, 306. See also the Roumanian-Gypsy story of 'The Prince and the Wizard,' No. 15, for an heroic hero, nought-heeding, who sets out in quest of heroic achievements.

Next: No. 7.--The Snake who became the King's Son-in-law