Folktales, Legends, and Stories

An Egg Went Wandering

 ako išlo vajce na vandrovku


An egg thought that it would like to go out and see the world. So it rolled across the meadow and set off on the road that seemed the most inviting. The egg met a lobster and asked,  “Where are you going?” 

“Where are you going?” replied the lobster.

 “I’m wandering.”

 “Well, I won’t be different. I’ll come with you.”

 As they walked along they met a duck. “Where are you going?” asked the egg.

 “And you?” inquired the duck.

 “We’re wandering. Why don’t you come with us?”

 The duck agreed, and so they became a lucky threesome.

 Soon they met a turkey. “Where are you off to?” asked the egg.

 “And you?” asked the turkey.

 “We’re off to see the world. Come with us.”

 So the turkey joined them. Before long they met a horse.

 “Where are you going?” asked the egg.

 “Where are you all going?” said the horse.

 “We’re going wandering. Join us.”

 The horse didn’t have to think twice. Now there were as many of them as there are fingers on a hand.

 Next they met an ox. They persuaded him to join their group, which had grown fairly big.

Finally, they encountered a rooster. It didn’t take long to persuade him, and he too decided to go wandering with them.

The seven friends continued on their journey, but when night fell and they found themselves in a dark forest, they didn’t know which way to go. They were very hungry and very sleepy.

The egg said, “Brother rooster, fly up to the top of that spruce tree and see if you can spot the road”.

Soon the rooster crowed with joy because he caught sight of a light in the distance.

The egg was overjoyed, as were his friends, and they all followed the rooster, who led them to a cottage where the windows were shining brightly.

The egg asked the horse to knock on the door. An old woman came out and began at once to scold them. “What do you want here? Why are you banging? Get yourselves out of here fast! Otherwise, my boys will grind you to a pulp when they come home!”

“They can grind or not grind. Who cares?” answered the egg. “But give the seven of us something to eat!”

“I have nothing for tramps like you!” grumbled the witch.

The egg ordered the ox to lift the old witch onto his horns and carry her off to the forest. The ox did as he was told. He tossed the hag into a hole and came right back.

The friends entered the cottage and, much to their delight, found a table set for seven, with food piled higher than their heads. The cottage was actually the home of seven thieves for whom the old woman cooked supper. At that very moment they were returning home and making enough noise to put a crack in the mountain.

But the egg wasn’t frightened and knew immediately what to do. It told the rooster to fly up onto the roof, the ox to stand in the entry way, the horse to wait behind the door into the room, the turkey to get up on the stove, the duck to hide under the bench, and the lobster to crawl into the water basin. They put out the light, and the egg buried itself in the cinders of the fireplace.

The thieves were surprised to see that the cottage was dark. “Is the old woman asleep?”

The most powerful of them said, “We’ll soon find out what’s going on here!”  And he went inside.

As soon as he entered, the ox scooped him up with his horns and heaved him into the room. From behind the door the horse gave him a good kick with its hooves.

“Hey! What kind of devil is here? Wait till I get a light!” shouted the thief. And he jumped to the cinders so he could kindle a little fire.

As soon as he blew on the cinders he also singed one side of the egg. The egg popped up and blew a cloud of hot cinders into the thief’s face. He ran to the basin so he could wash his face and eyes. But when he dipped his hand into the water, the lobster pinched his fingers tightly with its claws.

The thief upset the water basin and made a real commotion. The duck began flapping its wings, calling out. “Quack! Quack! Quack!” The turkey started banging spoons and ladles on the stove, repeating. “Gobble, gobble, gobble.

The horse again raised its hind legs and kicked the thief into the entryway, where the ox lifted him on his horns and heaved him outside. On the roof the rooster crowed loudly, “Cock-a-doodle-doodle-doo!”

Like someone without a soul, the bruised and frightened thief ran to his friends.

“What’s going on in there?” They asked him.

“My friends, there’s a bad bunch in there. I wanted to go into the cottage but they pushed and shoved and threw me from one to the other. I went to the fireplace to get a light so I could see what was happening, and a marksman fired at me from under the chimney, and almost knocked my eyes out! I reached into the water basin so I could wash my eyes, and a tailor nearly snipped off my fingers with a pair of sharp scissors! A weaver was lurking near the bench and used his shuttle to knock me on the head, saying, ‘Take that! Take that! Take that!’ And a baker near the stove took a paddle to me, saying, ‘Grovel, grovel, grovel.’ Then a cobbler jumped out from behind the door and booted me into the entryway, where a peasant with a pitchfork was waiting to pitch me out the door. It’s a good thing I didn’t go near the roof because an executioner was waiting there, saying. “This nice strong noose will do, will do!”

The thieves were so terrified that they abandoned all the gold they had stolen, and took off in a mighty cloud of dust.

The seven friends sat down to the dinner that was waiting for them. They ate, and drank and enjoyed themselves to their hearts’ content. Then they shared all of the thieves’ abandoned gold, said good-bye to one another, and headed for their homes.


This story was taken from Slovak Tales for Young and Old by Pavol Dobsinsky in English and Slovak, translated by Lucy Bednar. Published by Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc. Wauconda, Illinois, in 2001.