The Wonderful Man who overcame the Chan
When the Son of the Chan had proceeded as formerly to seize the dead one, then spake he the threatening words, seized upon Ssidi, thrust him into the sack, tied the sack fast, ate of the butter-cakes, and journeyed forth with his burden. After Ssidi had as before asked who should tell the tale, and the Son of the Chan had replied by merely shaking his head, Ssidi began the following relation:—
“A long, long time ago there lived in the land of Barschiss, a wild, high-spirited man, who would not allow any one to be above him. Then spake the Chan of the kingdom to him, full of displeasure, ‘Away with thee, thou good-for-nothing one! Away with thee to some other kingdom!’ Thus spake he, and the wild man departed forth out of the country.
“On his journey he arrived about mid-day at a forest, where he found the body of a horse, which had been somehow killed, and he accordingly cut off its head, fastened it to his girdle, and climbed up a tree.
“About midnight there assembled a host of Tschadkurrs (evil spirits) mounted upon horses of bark, wearing likewise caps of bark, and they placed themselves around the tree. Afterwards there assembled together other Tschadkurrs, mounted upon horses of paper, and having caps of paper on their heads, and they likewise placed themselves around the tree.
“During the time that those who were assembled were partaking of various choice wines and liquors, the man peeped anxiously down from the tree, and as he was doing so, the horse’s head fell down from his belt. The Tschadkurrs were thereby exceedingly alarmed; so much that they fled hither and thither uttering fearful cries.
“On the following morning the man descended from the tree, and said, ‘This night there was in this spot many choice viands and liquors, and now they are all vanished.’ And while he was thus speaking, he found a brandy flask, and as he was anxious for something to drink, he immediately applied the flask which he had found to his lips; when suddenly there sprang out of it meat and cakes and other delicacies fit for eating. ‘This flask,’ cried he, ‘is of a surety a wishing flask, which will procure him who has it everything he desires. I will take the flask with me.’
“And when he had thus spoken, he continued his journey until he met with a man holding a sword in his hand. ‘Wherefore,’ cried he, ‘dost thou carry that sword in thine hand?’ And the man answered, ‘This sword is called Kreischwinger; and when I say to it, “Kreischwinger, thither goes a man who has taken such a thing from me, follow him and bring it back,” Kreischwinger goes forth, kills the man, and brings my property back again.’ To this the first replied, ‘Out of this vessel springeth everything you desire; let us exchange.’ So accordingly they made an exchange; and when the man went away with the flask, he who now owned the sword said, ‘Kreischwinger, go forth now and bring me back my flask.’ So the sword went forth, smote his former master dead, and brought the golden vessel back again.
“When he had journeyed a little further, he met a man holding in his hand an iron hammer. ‘Wherefore,’ cried he, ‘dost thou hold this hammer in thy hand?’ To this question the other replied, ‘When I strike the earth nine times with this hammer, there immediately arises a wall of iron, nine pillars high.’ Then said the first, ‘Let us make an exchange.’ And when the exchange was made, he cried out, ‘Kreischwinger, go forth and bring me back my golden vessel!’
“After Kreischwinger had slain the man, and brought back the golden vessel, the man journeyed on until he encountered another man, carrying in his bosom a sack, made of goatskin, and he asked him, ‘Wherefore keepest thou that sack?’ To this question the other replied, ‘This sack is a very wonderful thing. When you shake it, it rains heavily; and if you shake it very hard, it rains very heavily.’ Hereupon the owner of the flask said, ‘Let us change,’ and they changed accordingly; and the sword went forth, slew the man, and returned back to its master with the golden vessel.
“When the man found himself in the possession of all these wonderful things, he said unto himself, ‘The Chan of my country is indeed a cruel man; nevertheless I will turn back unto my native land.’ When he had thus considered, he turned back again, and concealed himself in the neighbourhood of the royal palace.
“About midnight he struck the earth nine times with his iron hammer, and there arose an iron wall nine pillars high.
“On the following morning the Chan arose, and said, ‘During the night I have heard a mighty tock, tock at the back of the palace.’ Thereupon the wife of the Chan looked out, and said, ‘At the back of the palace there stands an iron wall nine pillars high.’ Thus spake she; and the Chan replied, full of anger, ‘The wild, high-spirited man has of a surety erected this iron wall; but we shall see whether he or I will be the conqueror.’
“When he had spoken these words the Chan commanded all the people to take fuel and bellows, and make the iron wall red-hot on every side. Thereupon there was an immense fire kindled, and the Wonderful Man found himself, with his mother, within the wall of iron. He was himself upon the upper pillars, but his mother was on the eighth. And because the heat first reached the mother, she exclaimed unto her son, ‘The fires which the Chan has commanded the people to kindle will destroy the iron wall, and we shall both die.’ The son replied, ‘Have no fear, mother, for I can find means to prevent it.’
“When he had spoken these words he shook the sack of goatskin, and there descended heavy rain and extinguished the fire. After that he shook the sack still more forcibly, and there arose around them a mighty sea, which carried away both the fuel and the bellows which the people had collected.”
“Thus, then, the Wonderful gained the mastery over the Chan,” exclaimed the Son of the Chan.
“Ruler of Destiny, thou hast spoken words! Ssarwala missdood jakzang!” Thus spake Ssidi, and burst from the sack through the air.
Thus Ssidi’s sixth relation treats of the Wonderful Man who overpowered the Chan.
Notes: Contains 13 folktales from the Orient.
Author: Charles John Tibbitts
Publisher: W. W. Gibbings, London