It is Hispanic Heritage Month Everybody! We have found some wonderful tales from Mexico and Spain to help you celebrate some of the characters you may not have heard before that come from two Spanish speaking countries.
Parents! Make sure you read these tales first before sharing with the little ones. These are not adapted but straight from the source. These are original folklore and fairytales (think Cinderella when the toes were actually cut off :-/...lol) these aren't that bad, but still require your perusal before sharing. I hope that you enjoy!
1. The Gypsy Queen
from www.americanfolklore.net There was a king who had one son. When the prince reached a marriageable age, he told his parents, "I want to marry the most beautiful woman in the whole world. Therefore, I am going to journey all over the world until I find her."
The prince left the palace and traveled until he came to a fountain where he stopped to take a drink. As the youth bent over to drink, he saw reflected in the water three oranges. Looking up, he saw three large and beautiful fruits on the branch of an orange tree.
"How tasty they look," said the prince. Climbing the tree, he removed the oranges from the branch. The prince cut the first orange in half and from its interior a beautiful maiden appeared. "Give me bread," said the maiden to the prince. "I can't," answered he, "because I don't have any." "Then to my orange I will return," said the maiden, and the orange became whole again.
The prince cut the second orange, and from this ruit also sprang a maiden, much more beautiful than the first. "Give me bread," the second maiden told the youth. "I can't," said the prince, "because I don't have any." "Then to my orange I will return," said the maden, and the orange became whole again. The prince thoughtfully considered the situation.
He decided to get some bread in case another maiden should appear asking for it. As the prince was making his plans, a gypsy went by in a cart. "Amigo," cried the prince, "I will give you a golden coin for a piece of bread." Hurriedly the gypsy left his cart, hastening to give the prince some bread. The prince, now happy and satisfied, cut the third orange. And from the orange sprang a maiden, much more beautiful than the other two. "Give me bread," the third maiden said. The prince, joyously, gave her bread.
The lady of the orange then exclaimed, "I am now yours. You can do as you please with me." "I will marry you," answered the prince. The maiden was utterly naked, and since the prince wanted to take her back to the palace he could not let her go as she was. He examined the gypsy's clothes but they were dirty. The prince then told the maiden, "Remain here with this gypsy while I go and bring some garments for you."
The gypsy had a daughter who had been asleep in the cart and who had not witnessed what had taken place. The daughter awoke when the prince was riding away, and at sight of him, she fell in love. The gypsy's daughter jumped from the cart and asked her father what had taken place. He told her all that had happened.
The gypsy girl saw the beautiful maiden and said to her, "Let me comb your hair so that you will be much more beautiful when the prince returns." The maiden agreed. As the gypsy girl began combing, she suddenly stuck a pin in the lady's head. Immediately the maiden turned into a dove. The gypsy girl then took her clothes off and sat where the maiden had been.
Soon the prince returned and, seeing the gypsy witch, exclaimed, "Señora, how dark you have become!" "The sun has burnt my skin," the witch answered. The prince, believing the witch was the maiden from the orange, took the gypsy woman to his palace and there married her.
One day a dove arrived at the garden of the king and asked the gardener, "Gardener to the king, how are the princess and his wife?" "Sometimes he sings, but more often does he cry," answered the gardener. From then on the little dove would come to the garden and ask the same question again and again. Finally, the gardener told the prince about the dove.
The prince then ordered him to capture the bird next time it came to the garden. The gardener limed the tree where the dove always rested. The next day, when it tried to fly away, it could not and the gardener captured it and took it to the prince. The prince fell in love with the little dove.
He took the bird in his hands and began stroking its head. Feeling the pin in the dove's head, he jerked it out. Immediately the dove changed back into the maiden of the orange. The beautiful maide told the prince all that had happened and the prince told the king the maiden's story.
The king became greatly angered and ordered that the gpsy witch be burned at the stake. And the prince and the maiden married and lived happily ever after.
2. The Garden of Health
from www.fairytalez.com Aboy of twelve years, named Enrique, was taking a walk one day in the outskirts of his village. He was very sad because his little sister was ill and the doctors said she would soon die. “Poor Luisa!” exclaimed the boy sobbing.
“So pretty and to have to leave this world so soon! ” Enrique sat down on some stones to weep over his sorrow, and there prayed to heaven for his sister’s life. A kid which was grazing near the spot heard the sound of his lamentations and drawing near the disconsolate boy said: “Calm yourself and I will try and save Luisa.” “How?” asked Enrique, startled at hearing the kid speak. “You have the remedy within reach of your hand.
Look there, to the right in that spring, and you will see a ring which was left there and forgotten by the magician Agrajes. Put it on and ask to go to the Garden of Health, and immediately it will take you there. Ask there for the Blue Ivy whose juice will cure your sister, and if they deny it to you, use the ring and you will see.” “Ay, little kid, anything to please you.
Will you tell me who you are?” “Well, you can see: a kid with its horns and all.” “But kids don’t speak, and you do.” “That is because I am a well-bred and compassionate kid. Anyway, I cannot tell you who I am. If you are grateful you will know. Meanwhile, don’t lose time, and do what I tell you.” Enrique saw, indeed, a gold ring which was on the edge of the spring: he seized it and on it saw certain mysterious signs engraved.
He put it on the ring finger of his left hand, and said in a loud voice: ” To the Garden of Health.” Scarcely had he finished saying these words than a cloud descended and carried him through the air at lightning speed. In a few minutes he found himself at the gates of a beautiful garden surrounded by a silver fence with golden ornaments. At the gate there were two maidens, one in white and the other in black.
The one in white had a fresh and smiling face; the other was sad and taciturn. The former carried an apple in her hand, the latter bore a scythe. “Who are you?” asked Enrique. “I am Life,” said the first. I, Death,” replied the second in dismal tones. “What have you come here for ?” they asked the boy. ” I have come for a branch of Blue Ivy to cure my sister with.” “I cannot give it to you without the permission of this maiden,” said Life, motioning towards Death. “I will not permit it, because Luisa belongs to me. She is a prize which Iwill not give up,” growled Death angrily.
Life smiled sadly and turning to Enrique said: ” I cannot give you what you wish, but bear in mind that you can take it without my giving it to you.” “Well, then, I will enter, cost what it may,” exclaimed the boy. “You shall not enter alive,” shouted Death, brandishing her scythe. “Oh, yes, he will, if he is quick/’ said Life provoked. ” Do not meddle with this boy who is mine for many years.” “We shall see now.” Enrique jumped over the threshold of the garden gate and Death dealt him a terrible blow with her scythe, which would have deprived him of existence if at that moment Life had not made him smell the apple which she held in her hand and which quite cured him.
So Enrique passed between Life and Death into the Garden of Health and once inside commenced his quest in order to see if he could find the famous ivy which was to cure his little sister.
It was difficult to find it among so many and such different plants as filled that beautiful garden where was medicine for every illness; but Enrique was resolved to find it, and passed through, one after another, the avenues of trees which crossed the park of health in all directions.
“I am the Red Celery, that cures all chest diseases,” said a highly coloured celery plant bowing to Enrique. “And I am the Spanish Onion, that cures the kidneys.” “And I am the Valerian, that cures the nerves.” “And I this, and I the other,” cried the other plants and trees.
“That’s enough! ” shouted Enrique, ” otherwise you will drive me mad.” “I cure madness,” cried a shrub from the bottom of the garden. “What I want is the Blue Ivy,” exclaimed the boy. “Here I am,” cried the plant alluded to, but I am kept closely guarded.” Enrique searched everywhere, without ascertaining where the precious plant was, but he always seemed to hear the noise in different places. The trees laughed at Enrique’s despair.
“And who keeps you so hidden?” said Enrique, stopping still for a moment. “Death hides me in order that you may not find me. You have passed near and have not seen me. Your sister will die if you cannot find me.” Enrique now did not know what to do, until he presently remembered his ring. “Ring of Agrajes, I want to see the Blue Ivy,” he exclaimed.
Instantly he saw, within reach of his hand, a lovely ivy that, clinging to an oak, displayed beautiful leaves to the winds. “Do not cut me now,” cried the Ivy, ” because your sister is going to die, and you will not arrive in time. Death is now close to her bedside.” “Ring of Agrajes” exclaimed Enrique at once, “bring Death to me tied up.” Hardly had he finished saying it than Death appeared quite dishevelled, without her scythe, her elbows tied together like a criminal. All the health giving plants began to applaud.
“Bravo, bravo!” they cried. “Don’t spare her; she is our enemy!” shouted some. “Don’t let her go, and the world will be grateful to you! ” said others. “What have you done to my sister t ” said Enrique, angrily. “Nothing yet, but as soon as you let me go you will see,” answered Death. Well, if you wait until you are free before killing her, my little sister will die of old age. Ring, give this shameful woman a thrashing.” Immediately a number of sticks came through the air and commenced to bestow a fine thrashing upon Death.
The latter screamed like a mouse whose tail has been trodden on, and heaped insults on the boy, threatening to kill him as soon as she was free. “Do not spare her ! ” said Enrique at each insult. And the blows again descended on Death like rain. One knocked an eye out, another knocked all her teeth out, although it must be admitted they were false, and another took her hair out by the roots, leaving her head quite bald.
Then Enrique cut a sprig of the Ivy and said to the ring, “Take me to my sister’s side.” Immediately he found himself at the bedside, where all the family were weeping over the approaching death of the girl. ” Here is something which will cure my little sister,’ said the boy. And drawing near her, he squeezed into her mouth the juice of the fresh ivy he had plucked in the Garden of Health.
The girl at once opened her eyes and called her mother, and, amidst the general surprise, asked to be dressed. The family would not do so until the doctor said that indeed she was well and sound. They all complimented Enrique enthusiastically, until at length the boy said: ” All this is due to a kid, and I must go and thank her.” He went to the same place where he had met the kid, but did not see her. In vain he ran about in all directions.
But he had not got the ring of Agrajes for nothing. ” Ring’ he said, “bring me the kid that was here a short time ago.” And the kid appeared. “What do you want of me, Enrique? ” asked the animal. “To thank you, and to ask how I may serve you,” answered Enrique. “I see that you are grateful, and I wish you to know who I am. I am called Atala, and am the daughter of Agrajes, the magician.
I put my father’s ring beside you with the object that you might be able to save your sister.” “I should like to know you in your real form and not in that of a kid.” “Well, here I am,” exclaimed Atala. And thereupon she transformed herself into a lovely girl of more or less Enrique’s age. “How pretty you are ! ” exclaimed the boy.
“Come home and play with my little sister, who is now quite well, thanks to you.” “I can deny you nothing while you wear this ring,” answered the girl. “No, take it, I beg of you.” Atala disappeared at once, and when Enrique thought she had gone never to return, she reappeared smiling, and said: ” I have been for a moment to ask my father’s permission to accompany you.”
They went to Enrique’s house together, and he introduced her to his parents as Luisa’s saviour. They feted her with cakes and sweets, and on saying good-bye she promised to come back every afternoon to play with her little friends. One day Agrajes himself visited Enrique’s home, to make the acquaintance of the family of which his daughter spoke so much, and on going away he touched in a special way an old chest.
“Open it, presently/’ he said on saying farewell. On opening it they found it full to the brim of gold coins. On it there was apaper which said: “A present from Agrajes to two very nice children.” With that money Enrique followed his career and Luisa had a splendid dowry, and with that and the love of their parents and friends they were two very happy beings.
3. The Wounded Lion
from www.fairytalez.com There was once a girl so poor that she had nothing to live on, and wandered about the world asking for charity. One day she arrived at a thatched cottage, and inquired if they could give her any work. The farmer said he wanted a cowherd, as his own had left him, and if the girl liked the place she might take it. So she became a cowherd.
One morning she was driving her cows through the meadows when she heard near by a loud groan that almost sounded human. She hastened to the spot from which the noise came, and found it proceeded from a lion who lay stretched upon the ground. You can guess how frightened she was! But the lion seemed in such pain that she was sorry for him, and drew nearer and nearer till she saw he had a large thorn in one foot.
She pulled out the thorn and bound up the place, and the lion was grateful, and licked her hand by way of thanks with his big rough tongue. When the girl had finished she went back to find the cows, but they had gone, and though she hunted everywhere she never found them; and she had to return home and confess to her master, who scolded her bitterly, and afterwards beat her.
Then he said, ‘Now you will have to look after the asses.’ So every day she had to take the asses to the woods to feed, until one morning, exactly a year after she had found the lion, she heard a groan which sounded quite human. She went straight to the place from which the noise came, and, to her great surprise, beheld the same lion stretched on the ground with a deep wound across his face.
This time she was not afraid at all, and ran towards him, washing the wound and laying soothing herbs upon it; and when she had bound it up the lion thanked her in the same manner as before. After that she returned to her flock, but they were nowhere to be seen.
She searched here and she searched there, but they had vanished completely! Then she had to go home and confess to her master, who first scolded her and afterwards beat her. ‘Now go,’ he ended, ‘and look after the pigs!’ So the next day she took out the pigs, and found them such good feeding grounds that they grew fatter every day.
Another year passed by, and one morning when the maiden was out with her pigs she heard a groan which sounded quite human. She ran to see what it was, and found her old friend the lion, wounded through and through, fast dying under a tree. She fell on her knees before him and washed his wounds one by one, and laid healing herbs upon them. And the lion licked her hands and thanked her, and asked if she would not stay and sit by him.
But the girl said she had her pigs to watch, and she must go and see after them. So she ran to the place where she had left them, but they had vanished as if the earth had swallowed them up. She whistled and called, but only the birds answered her. Then she sank down on the ground and wept bitterly, not daring to return home until some hours had passed away. And when she had had her cry out she got up and searched all up and down the wood. But it was no use; there was not a sign of the pigs.
At last she thought that perhaps if she climbed a tree she might see further. But no sooner was she seated on the highest branch than something happened which put the pigs quite out of her head. This was a handsome young man who was coming down the path; and when he had almost reached the tree he pulled aside a rock and disappeared behind it. The maiden rubbed her eyes and wondered if she had been dreaming. Next she thought, ‘I will not stir from here till I see him come out, and discover who he is.’ Accordingly she waited, and at dawn the next morning the rock moved to one side and a lion came out.
When he had gone quite out of sight the girl climbed down from the tree and went to the rock, which she pushed aside, and entered the opening before her. The path led to a beautiful house. She went in, swept and dusted the furniture, and put everything tidy. Then she ate a very good dinner, which was on a shelf in the corner, and once more clambered up to the top of her tree.
As the sun set she saw the same young man walking gaily down the path, and, as before, he pushed aside the rock and disappeared behind it. Next morning out came the lion. He looked sharply about him on all sides, but saw no one, and then vanished into the forest. The maiden then came down from the tree and did exactly as she had done the day before. Thus three days went by, and every day she went and tidied up the palace.
At length, when the girl found she was no nearer to discovering the secret, she resolved to ask him, and in the evening when she caught sight of him coming through the wood she came down from the tree and begged him to tell her his name. The young man looked very pleased to see her, and said he thought it must be she who had secretly kept his house for so many days.
And he added that he was a prince enchanted by a powerful giant, but was only allowed to take his own shape at night, for all day he was forced to appear as the lion whom she had so often helped; and, more than this, it was the giant who had stolen the oxen and the asses and the pigs in revenge for her kindness.
And the girl asked him, ‘What can I do to disenchant you?’ But he said he was afraid it was very difficult, because the only way was to get a lock of hair from the head of a king’s daughter, to spin it, and to make from it a cloak for the giant, who lived up on the top of a high mountain. ‘Very well,’ answered the girl, ‘I will go to the city, and knock at the door of the king’s palace, and ask the princess to take me as a servant.’
So they parted, and when she arrived at the city she walked about the streets crying, ‘Who will hire me for a servant? Who will hire me for a servant?’ But, though many people liked her looks, for she was clean and neat, the maiden would listen to none, and still continued crying, ‘Who will hire me for a servant? Who will hire me for a servant?’ At last there came the waiting-maid of the princess.
‘What can you do?’ she said; and the girl was forced to confess that she could do very little. ‘Then you will have to do scullion’s work, and wash up dishes,’ said she; and they went straight back to the palace. Then the maiden dressed her hair afresh, and made herself look very neat and smart, and everyone admired and praised her, till by-and-bye it came to the ears of the princess.
And she sent for the girl, and when she saw her, and how beautifully she had dressed her hair, the princess told her she was to come and comb out hers. Now the hair of the princess was very thick and long, and shone like the sun. And the girl combed it and combed it till it was brighter than ever.
And the princess was pleased, and bade her come every day and comb her hair, till at length the girl took courage, and begged leave to cut off one of the long, thick locks. The princess, who was very proud of her hair, did not like the idea of parting with any of it, so she said no. But the girl could not give up hope, and each day she entreated to be allowed to cut off just one tress.
At length the princess lost patience, and exclaimed, ‘You may have it, then, on condition that you shall find the handsomest prince in the world to be my bridegroom!’ And the girl answered that she would, and cut off the lock, and wove it into a coat that glittered like silk, and brought it to the young man, who told her to carry it straight to the giant. But that she must be careful to cry out a long way off what she had with her, or else he would spring upon her and run her through with his sword.
So the maiden departed and climbed up the mountain, but before she reached the top the giant heard her footsteps, and rushed out breathing fire and flame, having a sword in one hand and a club in the other.
But she cried loudly that she had brought him the coat, and then he grew quiet, and invited her to come into his house. He tried on the coat, but it was too short, and he threw it off, and declared it was no use. And the girl picked it up sadly, and returned quite in despair to the king’s palace. The next morning, when she was combing the princess’s hair, she begged leave to cut off another lock.
At first the princess said no, but the girl begged so hard that at length she gave in on condition that she should find her a prince as bridegroom. The maiden told her that she had already found him, and spun the lock into shining stuff, and fastened it on to the end of the coat. And when it was finished she carried it to the giant. This time it fitted him, and he was quite pleased, and asked her what he could give her in return.
And she said that the only reward he could give her was to take the spell off the lion and bring him back to his own shape. For a long time the giant would not hear of it, but in the end he gave in, and told her exactly how it must all be done. She was to kill the lion herself and cut him up very small; then she must burn him, and cast his ashes into the water, and out of the water the prince would come free from enchantment for ever.
But the maiden went away weeping, lest the giant should have deceived her, and that after she had killed the lion she would find she had also slain the prince. Weeping she came down the mountain, and weeping she joined the prince, who was awaiting her at the bottom; and when he had heard her story he comforted her, and bade her be of good courage, and to do the bidding of the giant.
And the maiden believed what the prince told her; and in the morning when he put on his lion’s form she took a knife and slew him, and cut him up very small, and burnt him, and cast his ashes into the water, and out of the water came the prince, beautiful as the day, and as glad to look upon as the sun himself. Then the young man thanked the maiden for all she had done for him, and said she should be his wife and none other.
But the maiden only wept sore, and answered that that she could never be, for she had given her promise to the princess when she cut off her hair that the prince should wed her and her only. But the prince replied, ‘If it is the princess, we must go quickly.
Come with me.’ So they went together to the king’s palace. And when the king and queen and princess saw the young man a great joy filled their hearts, for they knew him for the eldest son, who had long ago been enchanted by a giant and lost to them.
And he asked his parents’ consent that he might marry the girl who had saved him, and a great feast was made, and the maiden became a princess, and in due time a queen, and she richly deserved all the honours showered upon her.
4. Princess Mirabella and the Silver Bells
You know we had to put in a RainbowMe Approved story. Enjoy this wonderful Folk Fairytales podcast story. Just click the picture below!
Of course you can enjoy some more folklore and fairy tale characters from Spain, Mexico, Venezuala and many more countries with our Folk Fairytales Podcast: HERE.Thank you for joining us!