Baith in Een an Staun Tee (A Hungarian Folk Tale)
by: Wheeler, Les
Eence a lang, lang time ago, somewye farrer that far, there wis a sodjer. Haein served his time he left the sodjers an wint hame. But, like mony anither sodjer afore him, he hidna muckle tae come hame till. He wid hae bin happy eneuch if he’d jist hin a wee bit o siller or some land, but he hid neither een nor ither. Sae, efter a lot o thocht, he wint tae see the King.
The King bade in a gran palace at the far en o the toon. Thir wis a sentry guardin the yett an the sodjer tellt him he wintit tae spik tae the King.
“Jist haud on here a mintee an I’ll gyang an see fit he says,” said the sentry. The sentry wint tae the King an tellt him thir wis a chiel that eesed tae be a sodjer, ootside wintin tae spik tae him.
“Weel fetch him ben,” said the King, fa wisna a bad lad, an that wis fit wis deen for aabody dis fit a King says.
The sodjer chappit on the door an fin he heard the King say, “Come in,” in he gaed. He booed doon an then tellt the King fit he wis efter. “I’m a dischairged sodjer, Yir Majesty, an I’ve come seekin wirk here at the coort.” The King thocht for a filie syne said, “I’m in need o a horseman tae drive my coach. But first o aa ye’lI hae tae prove fu gweed a horseman ye are.” “I’ll seen dee that,” said the sodjer.
Sae the King took the sodjer doon tae the stables an showed him the twa maist miserable rickles o beens that ivver he’d seen. Thir heids hung doon, thir shoother, ribs an hunker banes wir near teetin throu thir skin an thir pins wir that shauchly they could barely staun up!
‘There ye are,” said the King, “get ye they horse yokit an drive that cairt oot tae the royal forest. If ye kin fetch me back a load o firin wi they horse, I’ll believe that yir a horseman an ye’ll get the job as heid coachman.”
The sodjer yokit the pairie an sat doon on the box o the cairt. He drave oot throu the yett o the palace an the peer craturs o horse set aft wi ilka fit trailin by the ither an their knees aye knockin thegither. The sodjer seen saa that even his ain wecht wis ower muckle for this pair sae he loupit aft the cairt an led them by the haun.
It wis gey near gloamin by the time he cam tae the royal forest. The widman showed him the timmer an he loaded the cairt for the journey back tae the palace. He priggit, fusselled an roared at the horse but it wis nae gweed at aa. The peer horse tchaaved at it, an ruggit at the theats, but the cairt jist widna shift.
Sae the sodjer pit his shouthers tae the job an the cairt began tae move, but thir wisna muckle progress. He wis a strang chiel but he wis seen in a dreep o sweat. Fan he got tae the main road he sat doon on a dyke tae rest an gie the horse a bit rest tee.
An, as he wis sittin, tryin tae get his breath, an aul man cam in aboot. “Gweed day tae ye,” said the aul man.
“Gweed day, sir,” said the sodjer.
“I’m fair beat,” complained the aul man, “I kin hardly waak. Can I hae a seat on yir cairt?”
The sodjer kent that the cairt an timmer wir ower muckle wecht for the horse as it wis, but he felt sorry for the aul man an he didna wint tae leave him at the side o the road at this time o nicht.
“Aye, fine that,” said the sodjer? CIim up on the cairt.”
The aul man got up on the box an said tae the sodjer, ”Come on up here, loon, an we kin stert.” “We kin stert,” said the sodjer,”But I’ll nae sit by ye. The horse are gey shilpit craturs an I hiv tae shuv the cairt tae keep it gyang.”
“Nivver mine shuvin,” said the aul man. “Thir’s nae need for that. I’ll drive an ye’lI seen see fu quickly we kin reach the toon.”
The sodjer gaed his heid a shak an said, “WeeI, sir, if ye think ye kin get mair oot o they horse jist ye hae a go at it. I’ll be fair gled if ye div.”
He got up on the box aside the aul man. The aul man took the rines an said tae the horse in a quaet voice, “Baith in een.”
As seen as the aul man spoke the horse lifted thin heids, tossed thir manes an set aff at siccan a rate that they wir like magic steeds an nae a pair o aul shauchlin cyards. The sodjer wis that fleggit he near fell aff o the cairt. He still hidna recovert fan they reached the ootskirts o the toon. The aul man stoppit the horse an said, “WeeI, there ye are. Yiv deen me a gweed turn sae, tae reward ye, I’ll tell ye the secret o gettin horse tae wirk for ye. If ye dee fit I tell ye ye’ll be the best horseman in the hale, wide warld. Nae maitter fit peer nags ye get landit wi - even deid eens - aa yiv tae say is, “Baith in een.” an they’ll set aft like the verra win. An fan ye wint them tae stop jist say, “Staun Tee!”
The sodjer wis jist awa tae thank the aul man fan he saa that there wis naebody tae thank. The aul man hid vanished like fusky at a heilan waddin.
Noo, the sodjer wis nae different fae us an he couldna wait tae try oot his new secret. He took the rines an syne said, “Baith in een!” Richt awa the cairt set aft as if it wis fleein.Nivver a dunt nor rummle wis felt. The King wis at the palace windae tae see fu the sodjer hid got on an couldna believe his een fan he saa the twa rickles o beens gallopin intae the palace yaird.
“Staun Tee!” said the sodjer and the horse stoppit an the King wis dumfoonert but fu o praise.
“Weel, loon, thirs nae doot that yir a born horseman. I’m an aul man but I’ve nivver seen drivin like it. I’ll keep my promise tae ye. I appint ye Heid Coachman. Ye winna hae tae cairt dung or even groom a horse - it’ll be eneuch if ye jist drive. Ye’ll hae a gweed livin, yiv earned it.” Syne the King teen the sodjer tae his new hame, gave him new claes, fine buits an tellt him tae bring the coach roon in the mornin an the hale femilie wad gyang for a drive.
The following mornin the sodjer brocht roon the coach tae the doors o the palace. The muckle doors opened. The King an Queen appeared wi the three princesses, ilk een bonnier that the een afore. The sodjer’s een stuck on the youngest dother an he gaed a promise tae himsel that ae day he wid mairry her or naebody at aa. The royal femilie. sat in the coach an the sodjer yarkit at the rines. He let the horse trot quaetly till the edge o the toon syne he fuspert, “Baith in een!”
The horse sprung forrit an flew like the verra win.The three princesses skirled wi pleesure, thin hair streamin oot in the win, thir faces rosy as aipples. Roon the country they wint till the sodjer drove them back tae the palace an syne fuspert, “Staun Tee!” The coach stoppit at eence.The King wis fair teen wi the hale thing. Nivver hid he kent a sic a horseman. He askit him in for some maet an the sodjer got aa the maet an drink he could tak an dannert roon the palace like a verra prince himsel.
But, forbye aa that, he wisna aa that happy. He kent thir wisna ony eese in speirin at the King if he could mairry his youngest dother. A horseman daurna mairry a princess.
Syne cam the saddest o aa days for the sodjer, for princes, dukes, earls an barons galore, fae aa the airts, cam tae the palace seekin a wife. Ilka princess pickit a husband for hersel an half the country wad be invited tae celebrate the comin waddins. The sodjer wis een o the servants an he wis fair heart-brukk as he wannert among the decorations an lichts.
Syne he saa the youngest Princess an her bridegroom haein thir maet. He cam up ahin them an fuspered, “Baith in een!”
At that the Princess an her man began tae ait sae fest that aabody stared at them in wunner. The servants wir at a rinl tryin tae keep thir plates fu as the pair stappit the maet intae thir mous. Fowk could see them gettin stooter an stooter an aye they ait on till they couldna get oot o thin chiers.
The Queen cam ower an tellt them aff, “Think black burnin shame tae yersels, stappin maet intae yirsels like yon. Hiv ye nae mainners? Yir meant tae be royalty nae swine. Stop that at eence or ye’Il be sorry.” The Queen blethered on an the sodjer come in ahin her an said, “Baith in een!” Michty! Noo the winds tummled oot o the Queen like a hurlygush in spate an naething could be heard in the place bit the Queen yabberin awa.
The King heard aa the din an wint tae tell the Queen tae stop makkin sic a racket but jist as he wis awa tae spik he hiccupped.
“Baith in een!” fuspered the sodjer an the King couldna stop hiccuppin. He got sic a fricht he thocht he wis gyan tae dee. “Get...hic...a doctor..hic!! I...hic!..am.. .Hic!” he tried tae say,”Gyan...hic..HIC!! tae dee!”
The doctor cam in an couldna believe his een. There wis the Princess an her man stappin themsels fu a maet an lookin like tae burst; the Queen wis roarin her heid aff an the King wis hiccuppin aa the time. Siccan a sicht! The doctor wis jist awa tae look at the King fan he sneezed an the sodjer said, “Baith in een!” an the doctor began tae sneeze an sneeze.
But the King heard the sodjer this time an shouted tae his General, “General..hic!! It’s aa the horse..hic!.man’s deein! Dinna hic! ..staun there! Dee something.. Hic! aboot it!”
The General pullt oot his sword, but the sodjer hidna bin a sodjer for naething, an he knockit the sword oot o the General’s haun. Fan the General bint doon tae pick it up the sodjer said, “Baith in een !” The General keepit bendin up an doon, up an doon; the King hiccupped awa, the Queen wis gabblin on an the Princess an the bridegroom wir aye stappin in the maet! They micht still hae bin daein that the day if the King hadna jaloused that it wis nae eese huddin oot any langer.
“Mercy..hic!..on us..hic!..sodjer..Hic!!” he cried. “Stop this..hic! for ony’s..hic!!..sake. Nae. .hic! ..mair. I’ll gie ye..hic!.. half o my.. .hic!. .kingdom.. .hic!..hic!
“I dinna wint half o yir kingdom,” said the sodjer.””It’ll be eneuch if ye lat me mairry yir youngest dother.”
“Dother..hic!..Dother!..hic!! Will ye..hic!..tak the sodjer..hic!..for yir. .hic!. . man?”
“Of coorse,” said the Princess atween moufaes, “if only I kin cease aitin. If he disna get on wi’t I’ll burst!”
The King turned tae the bridegroom. “An will ye..hic!..gie up..hic’ my..hic!..dother?”
“Onything as lang’s I can stop aitin aa this maet. Forbye yir dother’s nae near as bonnie noo as she eence wis!”
The king an the sodjer shook hauns on the deal an syne the sodjer said, “Staun Tee!”
The King’s hiccups stoppit an the sodjer lifted the spell fae each een in turn. The Queen stoppit gabblin (tho nae aathegither!): the doctor stoppit sneezin: the General stoppit bobbin up an doon: the Princess an her former groom stoppit aitin an sunk back tae near thir usual size.
Mair tae the pint, the sodjer mairried the youngest Princess. “Are ye happy?” he spiert at her.
“Verra happy,” said the Princess.
An at that the sodjer jist said, “Baith in een!”
An syne he wis nivver tae say, “Staun Tee!” sae they wir happy thegither forivver mair.