Emperor Aleodor, Aleodor Imparat, is a Romanian folktale gathered by Romanian folklorist and writer Petre Ispirescu in 1875 and translated into English in 19th by historian and linguist Robert Nisbet Bain. I did very little to edit Nisbet Bain’s skillful translation. I liked his choice of early modern English, I thought it gives Emperor Aleodor a charming old-fashioned patina.
Read part one here and part two here.
Emperor Aleodor, a Romanian folktale, The End
“On the second day, Aleodor bethought him of the crow, and immediately the crow stood before him, and said to him: “What dost thou want, my master?”
“Look now, senseless one, what has happened to me. Canst thou not show me a way out of it?”
“Let us try!” and with that, it struck him with its wing and turned him into a young crow, and placed him in the midst of a flock of crows that were flying high in the air in the teeth of a fierce tempest.
As soon as the damsel woke up that morning she reached for her eye-glass and searched for him in every direction. He was nowhere to be found. She looked for him on the earth, but he was not there. She looked for him in the rivers and in the sea, but he was not there either.
The damsel grew pensive. She searched and searched till mid-day when it occurred to her to look upwards also. And perceiving him in the glory of the sky, in the midst of a swarm of crows, she pointed him out with her finger and cried:
“Look! look! Rogue that thou art! Come down from there, man, that hast made thyself into a bit of a bird! Nothing in the fields of heaven can escape my eye!”
Then he came down, for what else could he do? Even the Emperor himself now began to be amazed at the skill and cunning of Aleodor and lent an ear to the prayers of his daughter. Inasmuch, however, as the deal declared that Aleodor was to hide three times, the Emperor said to his daughter: “Wait once more, for I am curious to see what place he will find to hide himself in next.”
The third day, early in the morning, he thought of the ant, and—whisk!— the ant was by his side. When she had found out what he wanted she said to him: “Leave it to me, and if she doth find thee I am here to help thee.”
So the ant turned him into a flower-seed and hid him in the very plate of the damsel, without her perceiving it.
Then the Emperor’s daughter rose up, took her eye-glass, and sought for him all day long, but look where she would, she could not find him. She plagued herself almost to death in her search, for she felt that he was close at hand, though see him she could not. She looked through her eye-glass on the ground, and in the sea, and up in the sky, but she could see him nowhere, and towards evening, tired out by so much searching, she exclaimed:
“Show thyself then, this once! I feel that thou art close at hand, and yet I cannot see thee. Thou hast conquered, and I am thine.”
Then when he heard her say that he had conquered, he slipped slowly down from her plate and revealed himself. The Emperor had now nothing more to say, so he gave the youth his daughter, and when they departed, he escorted them to the boundaries of his empire with great pomp and ceremony.
While they were on the road they stopped at a place to rest, and after they had refreshed themselves somewhat with food, he laid his head in her lap and fell asleep. The daughter of the Emperor could not forbear from looking at him, and her eyes filled with tears as they feasted on his comeliness and beauty. Then her heart grew soft within her, and she could not help kissing him. But Aleodor, when he awoke, gave her a buffet with the palm of his hand that awoke the echoes.
“Nay but, my dear Aleodor!” cried she, “thou hast indeed a heavy hand.”
“I have slapped thee,” said he, “for the deed thou hast done, for I have not taken thee for myself, but for him who bade me seek thee.”
“Good, my brother! but why didst thou not tell me so at home? for then I also would have known what to do. But let be now, for all that is past, yet nothing is lost.”
Then they set out again till they came alive and well to the Half-man-riding-on-the-worse-half-of-a-lame-rabbit.
“Lo, now! I have done my service,” said Aleodor, and with that he would have departed. But when the girl beheld the monster, she shivered with disgust, and would not stay with him for a single moment. The hideous cripple drew near to the maiden and began to caress her with honeyed words, that so she might go with him willingly. But the girl said to him: “Depart from me, Satan, and go to thy mother Hell, who hath cast thee upon the face of the earth!”
Then the half-monster half-man was near to melting for the love he had for the damsel, and, writhing away on his belly, he murmured fair words and sweet nothings hoping it might help to persuade the maid to be his wife. But meanwhile, the damsel had dug a little trench all round herself and stood rooted to the spot with her eyes fixed on the ground. The hideous Satanic skeleton of a monster could not get at her.
“Depart from the face of the earth, thou abomination!” cried she piercing him with her beautiful eyes one last time, “the world is well rid of such a pestilential monster as thou art!”
Still, he strove and strove to get at her, but finding at last he could not reach her, he burst with rage and fury that a mere woman should have so covered him with shame and reproach.
Then Aleodor added the domain of the Half-man-riding-on-the-worse-half-of-a-lame-rabbit to his own possessions, took the daughter of the Green Emperor to wife, and returned to his own empire.
And when his people saw him coming back in the company of a smiling spouse as beautiful as the stars of heaven, they welcomed him with great joy, and, mounting once more his imperial throne, he ruled his people in peace and plenty till the day of he felt tired of life.
And now I’ll mount my horse again, and say an “Our Father” before I go. And I’ll mount my horse once more and hope the story was not a bore.”
I hope yo enjoyed Emperor Aleodor, a Romanian folktale.
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