Csakhamar elï¿½ is ï¿½llt egy kirï¿½lyfi, hogy ï¿½ minden
kockï¿½zatot vï¿½llal. Nagy tisztessï¿½ggel fogadtï¿½k az udvarban, estig
minden jï¿½val tartottï¿½k, aztï¿½n mikor a nap leï¿½ldozott, bevezettï¿½k a
hï¿½lï¿½helyï¿½re. Amolyan kis elï¿½szobafï¿½le volt ez, innï¿½t nyï¿½lt a lï¿½nyok
hï¿½lï¿½terme; azï¿½rt vetettï¿½k meg ide a kirï¿½lyfi ï¿½gyï¿½t, hogy belï¿½thasson a
lï¿½nyokhoz, kileshesse, hovï¿½ mennek, hol tï¿½ncolnak ï¿½jszaka.
Mielï¿½tt a kirï¿½lyfi lefekï¿½dt, a legidï¿½sebbik
kirï¿½lylï¿½ny bevitt neki egy kupa bort, megkï¿½nï¿½lta vele, illendï¿½en
megvï¿½rta, mï¿½g az ifjï¿½ iszik egy-kï¿½t kortyot, aztï¿½n magï¿½ra hagyta.
A kirï¿½lyfi jï¿½l kinyitotta a szemï¿½t, olyan ï¿½beren
figyelt a sï¿½tï¿½tsï¿½gben, hogy az erdei hiï¿½z sem lesheti kï¿½lï¿½nben a
zsï¿½kmï¿½nyt. Hanem egy idï¿½ mï¿½lva elbï¿½gyadt, elnehezedett a feje, ï¿½s
mintha ï¿½lommï¿½ vï¿½lt volna a pillï¿½ja. Vï¿½gigdï¿½lt az ï¿½gyï¿½n, ï¿½s elaludt.
Mikor aztï¿½n reggel felï¿½bredt, nyomban lï¿½tta, hogy a lï¿½nyok megint
tï¿½ncolni voltak az ï¿½jjel, mert minden cipellï¿½nek lyukas volt a talpa.
ï¿½gy tï¿½rtï¿½nt ez a mï¿½sodik meg a harmadik ï¿½jszakï¿½n is.
Negyednap aztï¿½n irgalom nï¿½lkï¿½l lenyakaztï¿½k a kirï¿½lyfit. Utï¿½na mï¿½g sok
kï¿½rï¿½ jelentkezett a prï¿½bï¿½ra, de mindegyiknek rï¿½ment az ï¿½lete.
Tï¿½rtï¿½nt akkoriban, hogy egy szegï¿½ny kiszolgï¿½lt
katona, aki a sok sebe miatt mï¿½r alkalmatlan lett a tï¿½bori ï¿½letre,
ï¿½ppen ï¿½ton volt a kirï¿½ly fï¿½vï¿½rosa felï¿½, hogy ott valamilyen csendes,
kï¿½nnyï¿½ munkï¿½t keressen magï¿½nak. Talï¿½lkozott egy ï¿½regasszonnyal, szï¿½ba
elegyedtek, meghï¿½nytï¿½k-vetettï¿½k a vilï¿½g sorï¿½t; aztï¿½n egy keresztï¿½tnï¿½l
az anyï¿½ka megï¿½llt, azt mondta:
- ï¿½n erre letï¿½rek. Hï¿½t te hovï¿½ tartasz, mi a szï¿½ndï¿½kod?
- Magam sem tudom - szï¿½lt a katona, ï¿½s vï¿½llat vont.
ï¿½s csak ï¿½gy trï¿½fï¿½bï¿½l hozzï¿½tette: - Kedvem volna kitalï¿½lni, hol
tï¿½ncoljï¿½k szï¿½t a kirï¿½ly lï¿½nyai ï¿½jszakï¿½nkï¿½nt a cipellï¿½jï¿½ket. Bezzeg
akkor nem volna tï¿½bbï¿½ semmi gondom, kirï¿½lykodhatnï¿½m ï¿½letem fogytï¿½ig!
- Nem is olyan nehï¿½z dolog - mondta az ï¿½regasszony.
- Nem kell ahhoz semmi egyï¿½b, csak ennyi: ne idd meg a bort, amivel
este a kirï¿½lykisasszonyok megkï¿½nï¿½lnak, aztï¿½n tï¿½gy ï¿½gy, mintha aludnï¿½l,
de azï¿½rt jï¿½l figyelj mindenre. A tï¿½bbihez aztï¿½n mï¿½r megvan a magadhoz
valï¿½ eszed.
Egy kï¿½pï¿½nyeget szedett elï¿½ a kosarï¿½bï¿½l, ï¿½s ï¿½tnyï¿½jtotta a katonï¿½nak.
- Ha ezt a kï¿½pï¿½nyeget magadra veszed, egyszeriben lï¿½thatatlannï¿½ vï¿½lsz, ï¿½s a tizenkï¿½t lï¿½ny utï¿½n lopakodhatol.
Azzal eltipegett az ï¿½ltalï¿½ton, s egykettï¿½re eltï¿½nt a katona szeme elï¿½l. A kiszolgï¿½lt vitï¿½z meg fontolï¿½ra vette a dolgot.
"ï¿½n mï¿½r ï¿½gysem sokat veszthetek!" - gondolta, ï¿½s mï¿½snap jelentkezett kï¿½rï¿½nek a kirï¿½lynï¿½l.
Jï¿½l fogadtï¿½k ï¿½t is, akï¿½rcsak leï¿½nykï¿½rï¿½ elï¿½deit.
Felï¿½ltï¿½ztettï¿½k pompï¿½s ruhï¿½ba, estï¿½lig szï¿½p szï¿½val tartottï¿½k, aztï¿½n
mikor a nap lebukott, bevezettï¿½k a kis elï¿½szobï¿½ba.
ï¿½ppen nekikï¿½szï¿½lt a vetkï¿½zï¿½snek, amikor nagy nyï¿½jasan bement hozzï¿½ a legidï¿½sebbik kirï¿½lykisasszony.
- Egy kis bort hoztam, idd meg az egï¿½szsï¿½gï¿½nkre!
A fortï¿½lyos katona azonban mï¿½r elï¿½re szï¿½mï¿½tott a
dologra. Mielï¿½tt bevezettï¿½k a hï¿½lï¿½helyï¿½re, ï¿½gyesen egy szivacsot
kï¿½tï¿½zï¿½tt az ï¿½lla alï¿½; most aztï¿½n mind abba ï¿½ntï¿½tte a bort, egy csï¿½pp
nem sok, annyit sem ivott belï¿½le. Hamarosan lefekï¿½dt, hevert egy
darabig a hï¿½tï¿½n, majd mint akit elnyomott az ï¿½lom, horkolni kezdett. A
kirï¿½lylï¿½nyok jï¿½t kacagtak rajta.
- Ez is megkï¿½mï¿½lhette volna az ï¿½letï¿½t! - mondta a
legnagyobbik. Fï¿½lkeltek, szekrï¿½nyt-lï¿½dï¿½t kinyitottak, pompï¿½s ruhï¿½kat
vettek elï¿½, a tï¿½kï¿½r elï¿½ ï¿½ltek, szï¿½pï¿½tgettï¿½k magukat, tipegtek-topogtak,
ï¿½rï¿½ltek elï¿½re a tï¿½ncnak.
- Ti csak vigadoztok, de ï¿½n valahogy olyan furcsï¿½n ï¿½rzem magam; meglï¿½tjï¿½tok, valami baj ï¿½r minket - szï¿½lt a legkisebbik.
- Te kis dunnalï¿½d, mindig riadozol - mondta a
legidï¿½sebb. - Elfelejted, hï¿½ny kirï¿½lyfi vigyï¿½zott mï¿½r rï¿½nk hiï¿½ba? Ennek
a katonï¿½nak mï¿½g csak ï¿½lomitalt sem kellett volna adnom; ï¿½gysem ï¿½bredne
fï¿½l a mihaszna.
Mikor elkï¿½szï¿½ltek, mï¿½g egyszer megnï¿½ztï¿½k a katonï¿½t,
de az jï¿½l becsukta a szemï¿½t, ï¿½s meg se moccant, ï¿½gy tett, mintha
aludnï¿½k, akï¿½r a bunda. A lï¿½nyok egï¿½szen megnyugodtak, ahogy ezt lï¿½ttï¿½k.
A legidï¿½sebb odament az ï¿½gyï¿½hoz, ï¿½s megkopogtatta. Abban a pillanatban
megnyï¿½lott a fï¿½ld, ï¿½s az ï¿½gy elsï¿½llyedt. Mï¿½ly ï¿½reg nyï¿½lt a helyï¿½n. A
lï¿½nyok egymï¿½s utï¿½n leereszkedtek az ï¿½regbe, ï¿½s elindultak szaporï¿½n
lefelï¿½ egy fï¿½ld alatti lï¿½pcsï¿½n, elï¿½l a legidï¿½sebbik, utï¿½na sorban a
tï¿½bbi.
A katona vï¿½gignï¿½zte a dolgot; nem sokat tï¿½tovï¿½zott, nyakï¿½ba kerï¿½tette a kï¿½pï¿½nyeget, ï¿½s a legkisebbik kirï¿½lylï¿½ny utï¿½n surrant.
A lï¿½pcsï¿½ kï¿½zepï¿½n jï¿½rhattak, mikor vï¿½letlenï¿½l rï¿½hï¿½gott a kirï¿½lylï¿½ny szoknyï¿½jï¿½ra.
- Jaj, ki kapaszkodott a ruhï¿½mba?! - sikoltott fel ijedten a kirï¿½lykisasszony.
- Ugyan ne lï¿½gy mï¿½r olyan egyï¿½gyï¿½ - szï¿½lt rï¿½ a legidï¿½sebb nï¿½nje -, biztosan valami kampï¿½sszï¿½gbe akadtï¿½l.
Csakhamar mindannyian leï¿½rtek a lï¿½pcsï¿½n. A katona
csak ï¿½mult-bï¿½mult, mert olyan gyï¿½nyï¿½rï¿½ fasorba jutottak, amilyet ï¿½ mï¿½g
ï¿½letï¿½ben sosem lï¿½tott. Szï¿½nezï¿½stbï¿½l volt a fï¿½k levele;
csillogtak-villogtak, ahogy a kï¿½nnyï¿½ kis fuvalom mozgatta ï¿½ket.
"Nem ï¿½rt, ha valami emlï¿½ket viszek innï¿½t, ki tudja, mire lesz mï¿½g az jï¿½!" - gondolta a katona.
Odalï¿½pett az egyik fï¿½hoz, ï¿½s letï¿½rt rï¿½la egy ï¿½gat.
Abban a pillanatban nagyot kondult a fa, mint az ï¿½reg harang. A legkisebbik kirï¿½lylï¿½ny megint felkiï¿½ltott:
- Itt valami nincs rendjï¿½n! Hallottï¿½tok ezt a kondulï¿½st?
- Ugyan ne ijedezzï¿½l - nyugtatta meg a legidï¿½sebbik
nï¿½nje -, nyilvï¿½n a kirï¿½lyfiak kastï¿½lyï¿½ban hï¿½ztï¿½k meg a nagyharangot;
ï¿½rvendeznek a jï¿½vetelï¿½nknek, azï¿½rt harangoznak.
Tovï¿½bbmentek, befordultak egy mï¿½sik fasorba. Az mï¿½g
sokkal szebb, sokkal ragyogï¿½bb volt, aranylevelek remegtek a fï¿½kon a
szelï¿½d fuvallatban. A katona ott is letï¿½rt egy gallyat emlï¿½kï¿½l, s ez a
fa is kondult egyet de mï¿½g szebben, mï¿½g tisztï¿½bb hangon, mint az ezï¿½st
fasorban.
A legkisebbik kirï¿½lykisasszony ï¿½sszerezzent, halkan
felsikoltott, riadtan tekintgetett jobbra-balra, de hï¿½t senkit sem
lï¿½thatott, mert a katonï¿½t eltï¿½ntette a varï¿½zskï¿½pï¿½nyeg. A nï¿½nje meg
ismï¿½t ï¿½sszeszidta, hogy mindig csak rï¿½mï¿½ldï¿½zik, pedig tudhatnï¿½, hogy a
kirï¿½lyfiak harangoznak ï¿½rï¿½mï¿½kben.
Mikor a harmadik fasorba ï¿½rtek, a katona egy percre
egï¿½szen elhï¿½lt az ï¿½mulattï¿½l, mert mï¿½g csak elkï¿½pzelni sem tudott volna
soha olyat, ami itt tï¿½rult elï¿½je. Gyï¿½mï¿½ntbï¿½l volt a fï¿½k lombja, s a
levelek ï¿½gy tï¿½ndï¿½kï¿½ltek, hogy belekï¿½prï¿½zott az ember szeme.
Itt is minden ï¿½gy tï¿½rtï¿½nt, mint az ezï¿½st meg az
arany fasorban: a katona letï¿½rt egy ï¿½gat emlï¿½kï¿½l, a fa kondult egyet, a
legkisebbik kirï¿½lykisasszony felsikoltott ijedtï¿½ben a legidï¿½sebb nï¿½nje
pedig megnyugtatta, hogy csak a kirï¿½lyfiak kastï¿½lyï¿½nak a harangja szï¿½l.
A gyï¿½mï¿½nt fasor egyenesen egy tï¿½hoz vezetett.
Tizenkï¿½t csï¿½nak ringott a vï¿½zen. Mindegyikben egy nyalka kirï¿½lyfi ï¿½lt:
a tizenkï¿½t kirï¿½lykisasszonyt vï¿½rtï¿½k.
Mindegyik lï¿½ny beszï¿½llt egy-egy csï¿½nakba. Mikor mï¿½r
mind elhelyezkedtek, a katona is beï¿½lt lï¿½thatatlanul a tizenkettedikbe
a legkisebbik kirï¿½lylï¿½ny mellï¿½.
Mikor a tï¿½ kï¿½zepï¿½n jï¿½rtak, egyszer csak azt mondta a kirï¿½lyfi:
- Nem tudom, mi ez, de ma olyan nehï¿½z ez a csï¿½nak!
Teljes erï¿½mbï¿½l hï¿½zom az evezï¿½t, mï¿½gis alig haladunk! Mintha valami
terhet vonszolnï¿½nk.
- Biztosan a nagy meleg miatt van - felelte a kirï¿½lykisasszony. - Engem is ï¿½gy fojtogat a hï¿½sï¿½g.
Szï¿½p fï¿½nyes kastï¿½ly ï¿½llt a tï¿½lparton, vï¿½g muzsika
szï¿½llt belï¿½le, trombitaszï¿½, dobszï¿½. Kikï¿½tï¿½ttek, bementek a kastï¿½lyba,
ï¿½s tï¿½ncba fogtak, ki-ki a pï¿½rjï¿½val.
Velï¿½k ropta a katona is, csakhogy lï¿½thatatlanul.
Egyszer az egyik lï¿½ny megszomjazott, inni kï¿½rt. A
kirï¿½lyfi, aki a pï¿½rja volt, egy teli boroskelyhet nyï¿½jtott oda neki.
Hanem a katona ott termett, s mind egy cseppig kiitta a bort. A lï¿½ny
nem tudta mire vï¿½lni a dolgot, egy kicsit elcsodï¿½lkozott rajta, de
azï¿½rt csak tovï¿½bb tï¿½ncolt.
Mikor a katona a legkisebbik kirï¿½lykisasszony
kelyhï¿½bï¿½l is kihï¿½rpintette a bort, egy kis riadalom tï¿½madt, mert a
leï¿½ny felsikoltott, ï¿½s vï¿½ltig hangoztatta: itt valami nincs rendjï¿½n, ï¿½
mï¿½r egï¿½sz este olyan furcsï¿½n ï¿½rzi magï¿½t, mï¿½g utï¿½bb valami baj ï¿½ri ï¿½ket.
A legidï¿½sebb nï¿½nje azonban most is csak ï¿½sszeszidta.
- Ne adjatok rï¿½ - mondta -, ez a kis ostoba mindig riadozik!
Hajnali hï¿½romig ï¿½llt a tï¿½nc; akkorra mind
kilyukadtak a cipellï¿½k, abba kellett hagyni. A kirï¿½lyfiak visszavittï¿½k
a lï¿½nyokat a tavon ï¿½t. A katona most az elsï¿½ csï¿½nakba szï¿½llt, a
legidï¿½sebbik kirï¿½lykisasszony mellï¿½. A parton a lï¿½nyok bï¿½csï¿½t vettek a
kirï¿½lyfiaktï¿½l, ï¿½s megï¿½gï¿½rtï¿½k, hogy mï¿½snap ï¿½jjel ï¿½jra eljï¿½nnek.
Ahogy a lï¿½pcsï¿½hï¿½z ï¿½rtek, a katona elï¿½reszaladt, ï¿½s
befekï¿½dt az ï¿½gyï¿½ba. Mire a lï¿½nyok lassan, fï¿½radtan fï¿½lvï¿½nszorogtak, ï¿½
mï¿½r javï¿½ban hï¿½zta a lï¿½bï¿½rt, ï¿½gy hortyogott, hogy mï¿½r messzirï¿½l
meghallottï¿½k.
- Ettï¿½l ugyan bï¿½kï¿½n lehetï¿½nk - mondtï¿½k.
Azzal levetettï¿½k s elraktï¿½k a szï¿½p ruhï¿½jukat, a szï¿½ttï¿½ncolt cipellï¿½ket meg az ï¿½gy vï¿½gï¿½be raktï¿½k, ï¿½s lefekï¿½dtek.
Mï¿½snap a katona nem szï¿½lt egy kukkot sem, mert mï¿½g
egyszer vï¿½gig akarta nï¿½zni ezt a csodï¿½latos dolgot. A mï¿½sodik ï¿½jszaka
is velï¿½k tartott. Akkor is ï¿½gy tï¿½rtï¿½nt minden, mint az elsï¿½ alkalommal:
tï¿½ncoltak, mï¿½g szï¿½t nem tï¿½ncoltï¿½k a cipï¿½jï¿½ket.
S ï¿½gy volt a harmadik ï¿½jszakï¿½n is. De akkor a katona emlï¿½kï¿½l egy kelyhet is elhozott magï¿½val.
Reggel a kirï¿½ly hï¿½vatta a katonï¿½t.
- Elmï¿½lt a hï¿½rom ï¿½jszaka; halljuk, meg tudsz-e felelni a fï¿½ltett kï¿½rdï¿½sre.
- Tï¿½stï¿½nt, uram kirï¿½lyom - mondta a katona -, csak magamhoz veszem a bizonysï¿½gaimat.
Beszaladt a kis elï¿½szobï¿½ba, kivette a pï¿½rnï¿½ja alï¿½l
az ezï¿½stï¿½gat, aranyï¿½gat, gyï¿½mï¿½ntï¿½gat meg az aranykelyhet. A lï¿½nyok majd
a szemï¿½ket kinï¿½ztï¿½k, ï¿½gy lestï¿½k, mit mï¿½vel; a katona azonban ï¿½gyes
volt, hï¿½tat fordï¿½tott a lï¿½nyoknak, ï¿½gy rejtette a kabï¿½tja alï¿½ a
kincseit.
Visszament a trï¿½nterembe; a tizenkï¿½t kirï¿½lykisasszony meg az ajtï¿½ mï¿½gï¿½tt lapult ï¿½s hallgatï¿½dzott.
- Mondd meg hï¿½t, hol tï¿½ncoljï¿½k szï¿½t a lï¿½nyaim ï¿½jszakï¿½nkï¿½nt a cipï¿½jï¿½ket - kï¿½rdezte a kirï¿½ly.
- Egy fï¿½ld alatti kastï¿½lyban - felelte a katona -, ott mulatnak tizenkï¿½t kirï¿½lyfival.
Azzal elmondta, hol jï¿½rt, mit lï¿½tott, ï¿½s kirakta a
kirï¿½ly asztalï¿½ra a bizonyï¿½tï¿½kait: az ezï¿½stï¿½gat, az aranyï¿½gat, a
gyï¿½mï¿½ntï¿½gat meg a kelyhet.
A kirï¿½ly erre behï¿½vatta a lï¿½nyait.
- Feleljetek nekem: igazat szï¿½lt-e ez a katona? - kï¿½rdezte.
Azok lï¿½ttï¿½k, hogy lelepleztï¿½k ï¿½ket; s ï¿½gyis hiï¿½ba tagadnï¿½nak; bevallottak hï¿½t mindent tï¿½redelmesen.
A kirï¿½ly a katonï¿½hoz fordult:
- Megtetted, amire vï¿½llalkoztï¿½l; ï¿½n is megtartom, amit ï¿½gï¿½rtem. Itt a tizenkï¿½t leï¿½nyom, melyiket akarod felesï¿½gï¿½l?
- Nem vagyok mï¿½r mai legï¿½ny - sodort egyet a katona a bajuszï¿½n -, a legidï¿½sebbik illik hozzï¿½m a legjobban.
Mï¿½g aznap megï¿½ltï¿½k a lakodalmat, ï¿½s a kirï¿½ly ï¿½rï¿½kï¿½sï¿½vï¿½ fogadta a katonï¿½t. |