Herr Lazarus and the Draken by Andrew Lang
Once upon a time there was a cobbler called Lazarus, who was very
fond of honey. One day, as he ate some while he sat at work, the flies
collected in such numbers that with one blow he killed forty. Then he
went and ordered a sword to be made for him, on which he had written
these words: 'With one blow I have slain forty.' When the sword was
ready he took it and went out into the world, and when he was two days'
journey from home he came to a spring, by which he laid himself down
Now in that country there dwelt Draken, one of whom came to the
spring to draw water; there he found Lazarus sleeping, and read what
was written on his sword. Then he went back to his people and told them
what he had seen, and they all advised him to make fellowship with this
powerful stranger. So the Draken returned to the spring, awoke Lazarus,
and said that if it was agreeable to him they should make fellowship
Lazarus answered that he was willing, and after a priest had blessed
the fellowship, they returned together to the other Draken, and Lazarus
dwelt among them. After some days they told him that it was their
custom to take it in turns to bring wood and water, and as he was now
of their company, he must take his turn. They went first for water and
wood, but at last it came to be Lazarus's turn to go for water. The
Draken had a great leathern bag, holding two hundred measures of water.
This Lazarus could only, with great difficulty, drag empty to the
spring, and because he could not carry it back full, he did not fill it
at all, but, instead, he dug up the ground all round the spring.
As Lazarus remained so long away, the Draken sent one of their
number to see what had become of him, and when this one came to the
spring, Lazarus said to him: 'We will no more plague ourselves by
carrying water every day. I will bring the entire spring home at once,
and so we shall be freed from this burden.'
But the Draken called out: 'On no account, Herr Lazarus, else we
shall all die of thirst; rather will we carry the water ourselves in
turns, and you alone shall be exempt.'
Next it comes to be Lazarus's turn to bring the wood. Now the
Draken, when they fetched the wood, always took an entire tree on their
shoulder, and so carried it home. Because Lazarus could not imitate
them in this, he went to the forest, tied all the trees together with a
thick rope, and remained in the forest till evening. Again the Draken
sent one of them after him to see what had become of him, and when this
one asked what he was about, Lazarus answered: 'I will bring the entire
forest home at once, so that after that we may have rest.'
But the Draken called out: 'By no means, Herr Lazarus, else we shall
all die of cold; rather will we go ourselves to bring wood, and let you
be free.' And then the Draken tore up one tree, threw it over his
shoulder, and so carried it home.
When they had lived together some time, the Draken became weary of
Lazarus, and agreed among themselves to kill him; each Draken, in the
night while Lazarus slept, should strike him a blow with a hatchet. But
Lazarus heard of this scheme, and when the evening came, he took a log
of wood, covered it with his cloak, laid it in the place where he
usually slept, and then hid himself. In the night the Draken came, and
each one hit the log a blow with his hatchet, till it flew in pieces.
Then they believed their object was gained, and they lay down again.
Thereupon Lazarus took the log, threw it away, and laid himself down
in its stead. Towards dawn, he began to groan, and when the Draken
heard that, they asked what ailed him, to which he made answer: 'The
gnats have stung me horribly.' This terrified the Draken, for they
believed that Lazarus took their blows for gnat-stings, and they
determined at any price to get rid of him. Next morning, therefore,
they asked him if he had not wife or child, and said that if he would
like to go and visit them they would give him a bag of gold to take
away with him. He agreed willingly to this, but asked further that one
of the Draken should go with him to carry the bag of gold. They
consented, and one was sent with him.
When they had come to within a short; distance of Lazarus's house,
he said to the Draken: 'Stop here, in the meantime, for I must go on in
front and tie up my children, lest they eat you.'
So he went and tied his children with strong ropes, and said to
them: 'As soon as the Draken comes in sight, call out as loud as you
can, “Drakenflesh! Drakenflesh!”'
So, when the Draken appeared, the children cried out: 'Drakenflesh!
Drakenflesh!' and this so terrified the Draken that he let the bag fall
On the road he met a fox, which asked him why he seemed so
frightened. He answered that he was afraid of the children of Herr
Lazarus, who had been within a hair-breadth of eating him up. But the
fox laughed, and said: 'What! you were afraid of the children of Herr
Lazarus? He had two fowls, one of which I ate yesterday, the other I
will go and fetch now—if you do not believe me, come and see for
yourself; but you must first tie yourself on to my tail.'
The Draken then tied himself on to the fox's tail, and went back
thus with it to Lazarus's house, in order to see what it would arrange.
There stood Lazarus with his gun raised ready to fire, who, when he saw
the fox coming along with the Draken, called out to the fox: 'Did I not
tell you to bring me all the Draken, and you bring me only one?'
When the Draken heard that he made off to the rightabout at once,
and ran so fast that the fox was dashed in pieces against the stones.
When Lazarus had got quit of the Draken he built himself, with their
gold, a, magnificent house, in which he spent the rest of his days in