Thursday, 28 January 2016

The Box With Something Strange In

Some of the joke tales are very short. This one, for instance, took all of an hour to translate and proof-read. I find it somewhat strange that folktale collectors have taken the time and trouble to collect pointless tales, such as this. However, it is as much folklore as any other tale, and I’m sure it was entertaining enough in the right setting, and with a dram or two on board.

There was once a little boy who was walking along a road. When he had walked some way, he found a box.

“I’m sure there is something strange in the box,” he said to himself. But however he turned and twisted it, he did not manage to open it. “That's very strange, that,” he thought.

But when he had walked a while further, he found a small key. He grew weary and sat himself down, and then he began to think to himself what fun it would be if the key fit the box, for there was a small keyhole in it. So he took the key from his pocket. He blew first in the shaft of the key, and then he blew in the keyhole, and then he placed the key in the keyhole, and turned it around.

“Click,” went the lock. And when he took hold of the lid, the box was open.

But can you guess what there was, lying in the box?

It was a calf’s tail.

And were that tail any longer, then this tale would be longer, too.

According to D. L. Ashliman, “The Box With Something Strange In” “combines elements of Type 2260 (the boy finds a chest and a key) with type 2251 (if the tail had been longer,...).”

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