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By Robert Elsie

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Sample text

Not noticing it, the old woman heaved the wood over her shoulder and returned home. When she dropped the wood on the floor, the snake crawled out and began to play with the cat. The old woman left the snake alone and kept it for a son because she had no children. ” She replied, “All right, my son, but how do you expect the king to give you his only daughter. ” The old woman did as the snake had said and went to see the king. But the guards at the palace gate, having asked her what she wanted and what her business with the king was, would not let her enter.

The priest asked where he had the shepherd. “Here in my trousers,” replied the dervish and gave the trousers to the priest who took them home. The dervish departed leaving the priest his shepherd. The next morning the priest opened his window to see if the new shepherd had already taken the sheep out to pasture. But there was nothing to be seen, because the shepherd, who was of course a wolf, had not left behind a single sheep. The priest went out to the pen where he kept his animals, but there were no more sheep there either.

The old man said, “Here, take this apple. Go home and peel it, and give the apple to the queen and the peelings to the mare. ” The king took the apple and returned to his palace. He gave the apple to the queen and the peelings to the mare, as the old man had told him to do. Both became pregnant and gave birth: the queen had a son with a star on his forehead and the mare had a foal with a star on its forehead. The king gave the stallion to his son and no one else was allowed to ride it. Everyone marvelled when the two rode out together.

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Albanian folktales and legends by Robert Elsie


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