An Old Scottish Tale thought to have been brought over by the Vikings.
Once upon a time there was a lady who had three daughters, who she sent to an old washer woman to learn their fortunes. The oldest two wanted gold & riches galore. Each were told to go into their back garden to find what they were looking for.
The oldest daughter saw a coach coming along the road. It stopped. She hopped in it and it drove away. The second daughter then went into the garden and she too saw a coach waiting for her. She climbed aboard and was gone. Both never to be seen again.
The youngest daughter told the washer woman she wanted a man to love her, as she loved him. She too was told to look out her back door. The first day revealed nothing. On the second day, still there was nothing. On the third day the daughter saw to her horror, a big black bull, and was terrified when the old woman told her to go with the bull.
The young maid travelled a long way with the bull and became tired & hungry. “Eat out of my right ear,” said the bull, “and drink out of my left”. She did, and was so refreshed they ventured further afield until they came to a beautiful castle. My older brother lives here said the bull, so we will rest for the night. In the morning the young maid was given a large shiny red apple, but told to keep it by her until it was absolutely needed. Then they travelled on.
Soon they came to a larger castle. My second brother lives here said the bull, so we will stop here for the night. Which they did and in the morning, the young maid, was given the biggest golden pear she had ever seen. Again she was told to keep it safe until she desperately wanted it.
And on they went until there before them, was this huge magnificent castle. My youngest brother lives nearby said the bull, so we stay here the night. In the morning the lady received the blackest, roundest plum she had ever set eyes on. But still she was told to hold on to it until she could resist it no more.
Still they journeyed together until they came to a dark, dank, ugly glen. Here they stopped. The bull told her to wait for him, as he had to go and fight the devil. She would know he was victorious – if everything around her turned blue. But if things became red then he had failed. She was not to move a single arm or leg, while he was gone, or he would never find her again.
She sat patiently waiting and was so delighted when things turned blue that unthinking, she crossed one leg over the other. The bull returned but could not find her.
The maid grew lonely and cold. Believing the bull had forgotten her, she began to wander around. She came across this huge glass hill but try as she might, she could not climb it. Looking for a way around it she came upon a blacksmith’s house. He offered to make her an iron shoe to get over the hill if she would serve him for seven years. True to his word, after the time passed, he made her the shoe and she climbed over the hill. And she found, the house of the old fortune-teller washer woman.
A knight had just given his filthy socks to the woman to wash, with a promise, that he would marry whoever made them clean. Both the old woman & her daughter had tried to no avail. The maid was asked, if she would like to try.
The socks became gleaming white in the maid’s hands. So the old woman, told the knight, it was her own daughter, who had washed them. The two were to be married. The maid was so upset as she herself had fallen in love with him.
The maid took her apple and boke it in two. It was filled with precious rubies & pearls. She offered them to the daughter, in exchange, for one night with her dashing husband-to-be. But that night the old woman had given him a sleeping pill. So he did not hear the maid’s mournful song:-
“Seven long years I served for thee, the glassy hill I climbed for thee, the bloody socks I scrubbed for thee. And wilt thou no awaken, and turn to me ?
The next morning the maid halved her pear, it contained gold & silver. Again, she offered it to the daughter, for a night, with her betrothed. But again the old woman had drugged him to sleep, and he did not hear the maid’s soulful song.
The following morning the knight went out hunting and was asked about the wonderful noise in his room at night. Determined to find out about it, the knight refused anything to eat or drink from the old woman.
The maid opened her remaining plum. Please, delay your wedding she begged, the daughter, and I will give you all these diamonds, for one more night.
The knight saw this beautiful woman appear in his room, and heard her enchanting voice and he fell in love.
He had the old woman & her daughter sent away.
So, set your goals and persever, for what you want. And you will live happily ever after.