Sunday, 9 September 2012

The Witch and the Devil (Hungarian legend)

Anyone who has ever seen the hill of Nagyharsány is never going to forget its huge sugar-loaf top. This top is actually a bare limestone rock which looks like a field with ploughed deep furrows. 
Who could have ploughed these deep furrows into the hard rocks? Was it magic or is this place cursed? 

Once upon a time there lived an old witch at the foot of Harsányi hill. She had a beautiful stepdaughter.  By the time she got fifteen her beauty had been well-known far away.  One day the devil visited the witch and when he saw her stepdaughter, he fell in love with her.  

The devil said to the witch: "I want to marry your daughter!” The witch was frightened, because she really loved her stepdaughter, and didn’t want the devil to marry her. 
She answered: "I can’t give her to anyone! Prove me that you deserve her! She will be yours if you plough the Harsányi hill until sunrise, when the rooster crows. If you can’t do it, then you have to go back to hell!"

The devil liked the offer. He couldn’t wait for the night to come. He put thirteen magical goats in front of his plough and began ploughing. The witch was calm for a while, because she was sure that even the devil can’t plough the hard rocks. But when she looked out of the window after midnight, the devil was getting closer to the top of the hill and almost finished the ploughing. 

The witch was worried about her daughter as she was very scared that the devil could do what is impossible. She had a brilliant idea. She climbed into the hen house, where the hens and roosters were still asleep, because sunrise was far away. The witch began crowing loudly, and all the roosters woke up. 

There were only a few furrows for the devil to plough and then he heard a rooster crowing, then another, then another, and soon all the roosters were crowing. The devil was very angry because he couldn’t marry the girl. He ran down the hill with his firing magical goats. When he reached the bottom of the hill, he stamped his foot and disappeared into hell with his goats. In that place the hot spring water of Harkany gushed out. 

That’s how the tricky witch outsmarted the devil.

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