Armenian Tales of Faerie


A CERTAIN hunter who went into the forest in quest of game searched unsuccessfully till nightfall, and then returned homewards. Hearing, on the way, the sounds of a drum and a lute, he walked in their direction and beheld a wedding of wood spirits. With his gun ready, the hunter chose a spot not far off, and sat down to observe. All the wood-spirits danced in turn at the wedding.

While the dance was in progress the hunter remarked that one of the wood-spirits wore a dress much resembling that of the hunter's wife. Later the wood-spirits sat at table to feast. They served a profusion of dishes and passed to the hunter some pilau, the rib of an ox and portions of other dishes; he accepted everything that was offered, but did not eat. After the conclusion of the feast the wood-spirits came to the hunter and asked him to return the rib of the ox, but he did not give it. So, when the wood-spirits were assembling together all the ribs and other bones for the revivification of the slaughtered ox they added to the heap the twig of a walnut tree, in place of the missing rib. Having witnessed the ox's revivification, the hunter fired a shot from his gun and everything vanished. He arrived home, and convinced himself by examining his wife's dress that the scene had actually occurred. He also insistently declared to the animal's owner that a walnut twig had been substituted for the missing rib, and when, because of his constant assertions, the ox was slaughtered, one of its ribs was found to be shaped like a twig.

From Siberian and other Folk Tales

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