The Goat's Ears of the Emperor Trojan

The Goat's Ears of the Emperor Trojan (У цара Тројана козје уши) is a South Slavic fairy tale published by Serbian author Vuk Karadžić in 1870.[1] Andrew Lang included it in The Violet Fairy Book. It was translated from a German version of Vuk Karadžić's Serbian Fairy Tales.[2] The tale was also translated by John Naake as The Emperor Trojan's Goat's Ears and published in Slavonic Fairy Tales.[3]

The incident appears as part of the legends of Midas in classical times, but not all of the legend appears in the fairy tale.

SynopsisEdit

The emperor Trojan had goat's ears, but kept this fact a secret from the populace. Every day, he had a new barber whom he would ask if he noticed anything strange; when the man answered that he had goat's ears, he was put to death. One day, an apprentice went, and said that he saw nothing strange, so he remained as the emperor's barber. The apprentice found his secret troubling him. His master advised him to tell him, the master, or his pastor, or to whisper it into a hole in the ground.

The apprentice dug a hole, whispered into it that the emperor had goat's ears, and filled it up again. An elder tree grew there, someone cut a branch and made a flute, but the only thing the flute would play was "The Emperor Trojan has goat's ears."

The news spread, and the emperor discovered it and wormed the secret out of the apprentice. He had the last branch cut and found the flute made from it was the same. He spared the apprentice's life but did not keep him on as his barber.

TranslationsEdit

Another translation of the tale indicated its origin as Serbia and titled it The Emperor Has Goat’s Ears.[4]

AnalysisEdit

ClassificationsEdit

The tale is classified in the Aarne-Thompson-Uther Index as type ATU 782, "Midas and the Donkey's Ears".[5] The type is characterized by a figure of authority (e.g., a king) having strange physical traits (an animal's ears) which his personal servants take notice and lose their lives because of it.[6]

PredecessorsEdit

French scholar Marie-Louise Teneze pointed to a mediaeval and Celtic origin for the tale type.[7]

The tale type also appears in Irish manuscripts of the 10th and 14th century, with horse-eared characters (namely, Labhraidh Loingseach and King Mark of Cornwall),[8] but its legends are presumed to be much older.[9]

DistributionEdit

As cited by Zeljko Jovanovic, Croatian folklorist Maja Bošković-Stulli located variants from four continents, in "Korea, Tibet, India, Israel, Egypt, Russia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Chile, Argentina, Cuba and the Dominican Republic". The ass's ears seem to be the more prevalent secret, but variants also exist with horse's ears, horse's head, or some animal horn.[10]

According to Jurjen van der Kooi, variants of the tale type can be found in Southern and Southeastern Europe, North Africa and South America.[11] In the Islamic cultural area, the kingly character is named Iskander and has two horns.[12]

In the 19th century, German philologist Bernhard Schmidt noted that the story of Midas's ears could be found in Welsh, Irish and Breton sagas, as well as in Servia and in Mongolia.[13]

Further studies show that variants of the tale type exist in Central Asia and India, as well as in an Ancient Korean written source (the Samguk yusa), about King Gyeongmun of Silla.[14][15]

VariantsEdit

A Bulgarian variant was collected with the name "Царь Троян - Козлиные уши" ("Tsar Troyan - Goat's Ears").[16]

Croatian folklorist Maja Bošković-Stulli noted that in Serbo-Croatian territory there exist "no homogeneous redaction", but many "local" versions of Midas's legend.[17]

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ Караџић, В. С. Српске народне приповијетке, друго умножено издање. Беч, у наклади Ане, удовице В.С. Караџића. 1870. pp. 150–152.
  2. ^ Volksmärchen der Serben: Kaiser Trojan hat Ziegenohren, on zeno.org.
  3. ^ Naaké, John Theophilus. Slavonic Fairy Tales. London: Henry S. King & Co. 1874. pp. 61-67.
  4. ^ Sherman, Josepha (2008). Storytelling: An Encyclopedia of Mythology and Folklore. Sharpe Reference. pp. 133-134. ISBN 978-0-7656-8047-1
  5. ^ The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales: G-P. Edited by Donald Haase. Greenwood Press. 2008. p. 542. ISBN 978-0-313-33443-6.
  6. ^ Kooi, Jurjen van der. "Koning Midas". In: Van Aladdin tot Zwaan kleef aan. Lexicon van sprookjes: ontstaan, ontwikkeling, variaties. 1ste druk. Ton Dekker & Jurjen van der Kooi & Theo Meder. Kritak: Sun. 1997. p. 199.
  7. ^ Bojović, Boško. "À l'occasion de la parution des Contes populaires serbes de Vuk Karadžič en français: point de vue sur la dimension chrétienne des Contes populaires serbes". In: Revue des études slaves, tome 60, fascicule 4, 1988. p. 875. [DOI: https://doi.org/10.3406/slave.1988.5804]; www.persee.fr/doc/slave_0080-2557_1988_num_60_4_5804
  8. ^ Kooi, Jurjen van der. "Koning Midas". In: Van Aladdin tot Zwaan kleef aan. Lexicon van sprookjes: ontstaan, ontwikkeling, variaties. 1ste druk. Ton Dekker & Jurjen van der Kooi & Theo Meder. Kritak: Sun. 1997. pp. 199-200.
  9. ^ Harf-Lancner, Laurence. "Gaël Milin, Le roi Marc aux oreilles de cheval [compte-rendu]". In: Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales. 51ᵉ année, N. 1, 1996. pp. 158-160. www.persee.fr/doc/ahess_0395-2649_1996_num_51_1_410836_t1_0158_0000_002
  10. ^ Jovanovic, Zeljko (2018). «Two Stories of King Midas in the Judeo-Spanish Speaking World: Isak Papo and Matilda Koén-Sarano’s Versions of the ATU782 «Midas and the Donkey’s Ears», and ATU775 «Midas’ Short-Sighted Wish» [Dos Cuentos Del Rey Midas En La tradición Oral judeoespañola: Las Versiones De Isak Papo Y Matilda Koén-Sarano Del ATU782 «Midas Y Las Orejas De Asno» Y ATU775 “El Rey Midas Y El Toque De Oro”»]. In: Boletín De Literatura Oral 8 (julio): 14, 16. https://doi.org/10.17561/blo.v8.1.
  11. ^ Kooi, Jurjen van der. "Koning Midas". In: Van Aladdin tot Zwaan kleef aan. Lexicon van sprookjes: ontstaan, ontwikkeling, variaties. 1ste druk. Ton Dekker & Jurjen van der Kooi & Theo Meder. Kritak: Sun. 1997. p. 199.
  12. ^ Kooi, Jurjen van der. "Koning Midas". In: Van Aladdin tot Zwaan kleef aan. Lexicon van sprookjes: ontstaan, ontwikkeling, variaties. 1ste druk. Ton Dekker & Jurjen van der Kooi & Theo Meder. Kritak: Sun. 1997. p. 201.
  13. ^ Schmidt, Bernhard. Griechische Märchen, Sagen und Volkslieder. Leipzig: Teubner, 1877. p. 223.
  14. ^ SCOBIE, ALEX. "SOME FOLKTALES IN GRAECO-ROMAN AND FAR EASTERN SOURCES". In: Philologus 121, no. 1-2 (1977): 2-4. https://doi.org/10.1524/phil.1977.121.12.1
  15. ^ "Des Königs Ohren". In: Zaborowski, Hans-Jürgen. Märchen aus Korea. Eugen Diederichs Verlag. 1988. pp. 212-217. ISBN 3424009407.
  16. ^ "Болгарские народные сказки" [Bulgarian Folk Tales]. Moscow: Государственное издательство художественной литературы. 1951. pp. 78-79.
  17. ^ Bošković-Stulli, Maja. “Regional Variations in Folktales.” In: Journal of the Folklore Institute 3, no. 3 (1966): 300. https://doi.org/10.2307/3813803.

Further readingEdit

  • Crooke, William B.A. (1911). "King Midas and his Ass's Ears". In: Folklore, 22:2, 183-202. DOI: 10.1080/0015587X.1911.9719473
  • Milli, Gaël. Le roi Marc aux oreilles de cheval. Volume 197 de Publications romanes et françaises. Librairie Droz, 1991. ISBN 9782600028868.
  • Scobie, Alex (1977). "A Korean Midas Tale". In: Folklore, 88:1, 88-90. DOI: 10.1080/0015587X.1977.9716055

External linksEdit