The Blue Mountainspage 1 / 9
There were once a Scotchman and an Englishman and an Irishman serving in the army together, who took it into their heads to run away on the first chance they could get. The chance came, and they took it. They went on traveling for two days through a great forest, without food or drink and without coming across a single house. Every night they had to climb up into the trees for fear of the wild beasts that were in the wood.
On the second morning the Scotchman saw from the top of his tree a great castle far away. He said to himself that he would certainly die if he stayed in the forest without anything to eat but the roots of grass, which would not keep him alive very long. As soon, then, as he got down out of the tree he set off toward the castle, without so much as telling the other two that he had seen it at all. He traveled on most of day, so that it was quite late when he reached the castle and, to his great disappointment, found nothing but closed doors and no smoke rising from the chimneys. He thought there was nothing for it but to die, after all, and he had lain down beside the wall, when he heard a window being opened high above him. At this he looked up and saw the most beautiful woman he had ever set eyes on.
"Oh, it is fortune that has sent you to me!" he said. "It is indeed," said she. "What are you in need of, or what has sent you here?" Said he, "I am dying for want of food and drink." "Come inside, then," she said; there is plenty of both here."
So he went in to where she was, and she opened a large room for him, where he saw a number of men lying asleep. She then set food before him, where he saw a large number of men lying asleep. She then set food before him, and after that showed him to the room where the others were. He lay down on one of the beds and fell sound asleep. And now we must go back to the two that he left behind him in the wood.
When nightfall and the time of the wild beasts came, the Englishman happened to climb up into the very same tree on which the Scotchman was when he got sight of the castle; and as soon as the day began to dawn and the Englishman looked to the four quarters of heaven, what did he see but the castle too! Off he went without saying a word to the Irishman, and everything happened to him just as it had done to the Scotchman.