Speaking Grapes, Smiling Apples and Singing Peaches

This is the first traditional Hungarian fairy / folk tale I have translated. I hope I have caught all the typos; for a while, those peaches were sinning in true Freudian fashion. Enjoy.

Spotted a typo? Leave a comment.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Once upon a time, there lived a king who had three beautiful daughters. One day, before going to visit the market, the king asked his daughters what gifts they wanted him to bring back for them.

The eldest said: “Father dearest, please bring me a dress made of cloth of gold.”

The middle daughter said: “Father dearest, please bring me a dress made of cloth of silver.”

“What should I get for you?” asked the king his youngest daughter.

“Dearest father,” answered the youngest princess, “I would like you to bring me speaking grapes, smiling apples and singing peaches.”

“Hmm,” said the old king, shaking his head, “I have never heard of such things, but if they exist anywhere in the world, I will get them for you.”

The king went to the market and bought dresses made of cloth of gold and cloth of silver for his first two daughters, but he could not find speaking grapes, smiling apples or singing peaches, even though he went to every shop and market stall.

The king was saddened, because his youngest daughter was his favourite and he could not make her wish come true.

“Well,” he thought, “as soon as I get home, I will issue a proclamation that if anyone brings me speaking grapes, smiling apples or singing peaches, I will give them enough gold to make them a lord.”

As soon as he thought this, his carriage jerked violently and then sunk into the mud so deeply, his horses could not move it an inch. No matter how the coachman tried to coax them to move, the horses stood as if fixed to the ground.

Not surprisingly, the king was very angry, because usually his horses could have pulled a star out of the sky, but now they couldn’t even pull his lightest carriage out of the mud. He sent his servant for help and the whole village came to look when they heard that the king himself was stranded on the road, bringing their horses, oxen, cats and dogs with them.

Even so, no one could help; the whole crowd pushing and pulling together could not move the carriage an inch.

Suddenly, as they were struggling, a pig walked up to the king and said:

“Oink, oink, oink, your majesty, give me your youngest daughter’s hand in marriage and I will free your carriage and horses for you.”

The king was amazed: what the devil was this! However, without thinking, he said:

“Alright, show me what you can do. I’ll give you my word that if you can free my carriage, you can have my youngest daughter’s hand in marriage.”

The pig did not need any more encouragement, he stuck his nose under the axle between the two wheels, gave one of the wheels a push and lo! the carriage flew forward so suddenly, the horses started galloping so quickly, the carriage could not be stopped until they were all home.

As soon as he arrived home, the king gave his two eldest daughters their dresses of cloth of gold and cloth of silver. Then he told his youngest daughter sadly:

“Why could you not ask for a dress of cloth of gold or cloth of silver as well? I could not find speaking grapes, smiling apples or singing peaches anywhere in the market.”

He barely finished speaking, before he heard loud oinking from outside. Startled, he looked out the window and saw that the pig to whom he had promised his youngest daughter’s hand in marriage was standing there. The beast had even brought a wheelbarrow with him so that he could cart his favourite daughter away more easily!

The pig called up to the king:

“Oink, oink, oink, your majesty, I have come for your daughter. Oink, oink, oink, send her down, so I can take her away in my wheelbarrow.”

“Damn his impudence,” thought the king. “Well, we may as well send down a girl to get rid of him.”

They quickly dressed a poor peasant girl up in a dress of cloth of gold and sent her down to the pig. But this pig was not stupid! He called up to the king:

“Oink, oink, oink, your majesty, this isn’t your daughter.”

The king now really regretted being such a fool and giving his word to a dirty pig. Not to mention the youngest princess! Her cries and screams echoed through the palace and she said that she would rather die a thousand deaths than be married to a pig.

But all the crying and screaming did not avail her. She even threw herself flat on the floor and refused to get up, but nothing could help her, because the king said:

“Dearest daughter, I gave him my word. You have to go.”

The king decided to try one more trick and he sent his daughter down to the pig dressed in dirty rags. He hoped that the pig would not want her when he saw how filthy and bedraggled she was. Well, he was wrong!

The pig was overcome with joy when he saw the princess. He picked up the girl, sat her on the wheelbarrow and pushed her along, oinking all the while:

“Oink, oink, oink, don’t cry princess, I will treat you well.”

The princess cried as if her heart would break, but the pig continued:

“Oink, oink, oink, don’t cry princess, we are nearly home.”

The princess cried even louder when she saw that they stopped outside a pig sty. The pig led her inside and bade her sit on the dirty straw.

“Oink, oink, oink, this is my home, princess!

Then he offered her some corn on the cob.

“Oink, oink, oink, eat something, princess.”

The princess continued to cry until she cried herself to sleep.

“Oink, oink, oink” said the pig, “sleep princess and tomorrow all your sorrow will turn to joy.”

The princess slept for a long time, it was midday by the time she woke up the next day. She opened her eyes when the church bell rang noon and lo and behold! she was nearly blinded by the splendour around her. She fell asleep in a pig sty and she woke up in a palace. She lay down on a bed of straw, but now she was lying on a feather mattress. As she opened her eyes, a group of maidens came to her and asked her humbly:
“What are your orders, your ladyship?”

They brought her beautiful clothes to choose from, in cloths of gold and silver, embroidered with pearls and diamonds. They dressed her according to the latest fashion, then they led her into the next room.

There, by a table full of food, sat a handsome young man. He ran up to her, took her by the hand and led her to the table.

The handsome young man then said to her:

“Take a seat, beautiful princess. Everything you see here belongs to you. I am yours too, if you will not despise me.”

“Who are you?” asked the girl.

The youth said:

“I will tell you, beautiful princess, if you come into the garden with me.”

He took the princess by the hand and led her into the garden. When they stepped out the door, a bunch of grapes bent in front of them and said:

“Pick me, pick me, beautiful princess!”

“These are the speaking grapes,” said the youth.

They walked on and came to an apple tree full of small red apples beaming down on them.

“Look, here are the smiling apples,” said the youth.

They continued on and suddenly the whole garden was echoing with song. The princess looked this way and that and asked:

“Who is singing so beautifully?”

“Do you see that peach tree there?” asked the youth. “It grows singing peaches.”

The princess was so happy, she didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry with joy.

“You see,” the youth turned to her, “my garden holds the speaking grapes, the smiling apples and the singing peaches which you asked for. Will you stay with me and be my wife?”

He did not have to ask her twice, she threw herself into his arms and said:

“I will stay with you till death do us part.”

The youth then told her that he used to be a prince, until an evil fairy laid a curse on him, turning him into a pig until a girl came along who asked for speaking grapes, smiling apples and singing peaches.

The same day they sent a message to the king, asking him to attend the wedding with his court. They held a magnificent wedding banquet and lived happily ever after.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Watch a charming animation of this story:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Traditional folk tale, translated from Hungarian by Zsuzsanna Chappell.
The original tale was collected by Elek Benedek and is available copyright free here.
The translator owns the copyright of the translation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *