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 The wild swans

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MessaggioTitolo: The wild swans   Ven Mar 04, 2011 11:19 pm




Once there lived a king who had eleven sons, and one daughter, named Lisa. He loved them all well, and played with them often. They were lucky children. But their happiness didn’t last. Their father married a queen who hated children. As soon as she could, she sent Lisa to live with a farmer. She told lies about the boys, and blamed them for everything, until soon the king didn’t care for his sons at all. One day the queen sent for the boys. She said, “Boys you are, but birds you’ll be. The boys turned into eleven splendid white swans. They opened their great wings and flew out of the window with a strange, sad cry. Lisa wasn’t allowed out of the farmhouse. She had no toys or friends.


Lisa wandered through a forest, thinking of her brothers. She didn’t know they were swans. She hoped to find them somehow. Lisa walked on through the quiet forest. A woman came by with a bucket of raspberries. She gave some to Lisa. “Please, have you seen eleven princes anywhere?” asked Lisa. “No,” said the woman. “But I’ve seen eleven crowned swans in the river near here.” She led Lisa to a high river bank. The swans settled on the river bank with a clatter of their big wings. The moment the sun set beyond the sea the swans rose up from their feathers, and changed into men. They were Lisa’s eleven brothers.


She came to them with a happy cry. They hugged her. What a good talk they had, all of them together once Again! One day Lisa did dream. In her dream she met a woman. “You can save your brothers,” said the woman. “Here’s what must be done. Near this grotto grow many nettles. They burn and sting like fire if you touch them. You must pick every last one. Only these nettles, or nettles that grow in cemeteries, will do this work. Pick them, crush them, and spin them into green thread. Then knit eleven coats. The moment you put the coats on your brothers, they’ll be free from their spell. The hardest part is this: from start to finish, you must work without speaking. If you say one word, it will be like plunging a knife into your brothers’ hearts. They will die. Remember!” She was determined to free her brothers. When her brothers came that night, they saw her hard at her work. She shook her head, a finger on her lips. They knew then that she was trying to help them. Lisa was in such hurry she worked all night. Next day, she kept on working. She made one coat, and part of a second, when suddenly Lisa heard the sound of hunters’ horns. The handsomest hunter was the king of that country. “How did you get here, lovely child?” he asked. She knew that one word would kill the swans.


“Come with me,” said the king. “If you’re as good as you are lovely, I’ll make you my queen.” Lisa did not dare speak. The king led her into the palace. His maids cared for Lisa, and dressed her royally. But Lisa could think only of her brothers. The king sat next to her at dinner. Then the king showed her a room next to his own. On the ground was the bundle of nettles and the coats that she had knitted, just as she had left them when the hunters came. She smiled, and kissed the good king’s hand. Her work was almost done. Ten cots were ready. But she had no more nettles. She would have to go once more to the cemetery.

That night when Lisa went to the cemetery, the king was following. He saw the witches gathered in the shadows. Then he was sure that his beloved Lisa must be a witch. Poor Lisa was put into a dungeon. Her bed was the bundle of nettles and the finish coats. She needed no more to be content. Near sunset time a shadow of wings fell across the window. It was a swan. Her youngest brother had found her. Now Lisa was calm, and she continued her work all through the night. When she finished Lisa tossed the coats over the swans’ head. They became eleven splendid princes. “Now I may speak!” she said. But she fainted away, too worn out to speak. Her elder brother told the story for her. No king ever had so splendid a celebration as nature made for Lisa and her lord that day.
(The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen)
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MessaggioTitolo: Re: The wild swans   Mer Mar 16, 2011 12:27 pm

Bella.. io da piccola un po' le leggevo da sola un po' avevo mia nonna che mi leggeva le favole.. e questa la ricordo.. come tutte le favole Christian Andersen e dei fratelli Grimm sono stupende!Grazie di averla postata!Mi ha fatto fare un tuffo nel mio passato!
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