The Seven Sheepfolds

Then he went down to the city again, and summoned his nobles who came eager to hear what punishment was to be given the presumptuous shepherd. But King Bela said, “I have gathered you together to tell you I have to-day made Bebeck the greatest noble of you all, for there is no person more worthy of honour in my kingdom; now I wish you all to hear the story of the seven sheepfolds and how they have come to be built.”

Then he told them and the nobles bowed their heads abashed, for none of them had done for Hungary what the shepherd Bebeck had been able to do. The King then had a fine shield painted with a device of Seven Sheepfolds, and sent it to Bebeck, saying this was to be his coat-of-arms. And if Bebeck for the first minute regretted leaving his simple shepherd life and his dear little hut, he soon saw that now he had built the sheepfolds he must see that they were properly kept up, and used to the best advantage.

Soon that mountainous district became populated and prosperous, for the fine stout sheepfolds attracted many shepherds, and their good sheep-dogs kept the forests clear of wild beasts, and Bebeck taught the shepherds how to carve and paint and embroider, so that all were busy of an evening and good and happy.

The flocks of sheep increased so much that they overflowed into the plains and the sheep of Hungary became famous; but more famous still became the beautiful peasant work which is now sold all over the world and is hung in great mansions and palaces.

Thus the beauty of the mountain flowers and streams and forests seen by a simple shepherd, has been spread abroad until it delights the whole world, and many a home is gay with it.

From Wonder Tales of the World, Constance Armfield, New York: Harcourt, Brace and Howe, 1920.

Fairy tales


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