The Enchanted Watch

Once upon a time there lived a rich man who had three sons. When they grew up, he sent the eldest to travel and see the world, and three years passed before his family saw him again. The son returned, magnificently dressed, and his father was so delighted with his behavior, that he gave a great family feast in his honor.

When the rejoicing had ended, the second son begged to travel and see the world also. The father agreed willingly and sent him on his way with plenty of money, promising a similar party if the son returned as well dressed and with similar good manners. The second son conducted himself well and on his return, the celebrations were even more splendid.

The third and youngest brother was named Johnny, and he was considered foolish and lazy. He spent his days at the stove and dirtied himself with the ashes. Johnny begged to follow in his brothers’ footsteps and travel for three years.

“Go if you like, you idiot, but I don’t see what good it will do,” grumbled his father.

Johnny paid no attention to his father’s grumbling and was pleased to get permission to go. His father gave him money and was pleased to get rid of his foolish son.

Johnny had many adventures along the way. On one occasion he chanced to cross a meadow where some shepherds were just about to kill a dog. Johnny begged them to spare its life and let him have the dog, which they did. Johnny went on his way with the dog following after him.

A little further on, Johnny came upon a cat that someone was going to put to death. He implored them to spare it, which they did, and he went on his way with the dog and the cat following him. In another place, he came upon a snake about to be killed and he begged for its life to be spared. Johnny went on his way with the dog, the cat and the snake following him.

One day, the snake told Johnny to follow it. It was autumn, a time when snakes hid themselves in their holes. The snake was going in search of the king of snakes and said, “My king will scold me for being so late when everyone else is housed for the winter. I will explain how you saved my life. The king will ask what reward you would like so be sure you beg for the watch that hangs on the wall. This watch has all sorts of wonderful properties, you only need to rub it to get whatever you like.”

All happened as the snake promised and Johnny was given the watch by the king of snakes. Johnny was hungry so he decided to test the watch by asking for a meal of bread and meat and a flask of wine. No sooner had he asked than the meal appeared before him. Johnny continued on his way until evening and, tired and hungry, he touched the watch and asked for a good supper and a comfortable bed. That night he slept very well and in the morning he set off back to his father’s house.

When Johnny returned wearing the same old clothes he had set off in, his father flew into a rage and called him a fool. There was no celebration and Johnny returned to his place by the stove, dirtying himself in the ashes. After three days of sitting by the stove, Johnny was bored and thought it would be nice to see a three-story house filled with beautiful furniture and with vessels of silver and gold. Johnny rubbed the watch and there it all was.

He went to his father and said “You gave me no welcoming feast, but let me give you a feast. Come and see what is on MY plate.”

His father was astonished at the fine house and all the gold and silver and asked where all the wealth had come from. Johnny did not reply, but told his father to invite everyone for a grand banquet. All their friends and relatives were amazed at the fine house full of splendid things and the fine food (which Johnny also wished for from the watch).

After the first course Johnny asked his father to invite the king, queen and their daughter, the princess, to the feast. He rubbed the watch and wished for a fine gold and silver carriage drawn by six horses in jeweled harnesses. His father dared not ride in the carriage, but led it to the palace on foot. The king, queen and princess were surprised and impressed by the richness of the coach and at once agreed to attend Johnny’s banquet. Johnny rubbed the watch again and wished that the road to the house should be paved with fine, smooth marble. The king was astonished; he had never traveled over such a gorgeous road.

When Johnny heard the approaching carriage, he rubbed his watch and wished for a still more beautiful house, four stories high and hung with gold, silver and damask. It was filled with wonderful tables covered with exotic dishes that no king had ever eaten before. The royal family were speechless with surprise. They had never before seen such a splendid palace, nor such a high feast. At dessert the king offered Johnny the hand of the princess in marriage and they were married at once. The king and queen returned to their palace while Johnny and the princess lived in the enchanted house.

Though Johnny was not quite as foolish as his father believed, neither was a clever man. It was not long before his dullness began to bore the princess. The princess asked him how he had acquired such a beautiful palace and it was not long before she tricked the answer out of Johnny and learnt about the enchanted watch. As soon as she learnt of the watch she wanted it for herself. Johnny always slept well – the sleep of an honest man – and it was not hard for the princess to steal his magical watch.

The princess rubbed the watch and wished for a fine carriage drawn by four horses to take her to her father’s palace. Once there, she bade her own attendants follow her into the carriage. She then drove straight to the sea-side where she wished that the sea might be crossed by a bridge and that a magnificent palace might arise in the middle of the sea. No sooner had she wished it than it was done. As soon as she had entered the palace, she rubbed the watch and wished for the bridge to be gone. Then she wished for Johnny’s fine home to disappear.

Left alone and without his fine home, Johnny felt very miserable. His family and their neighbors and friends all laughed at him. He owned nothing but the cat and dog whose lives he had saved. Unable to bear living with his family, he took the cat and dog with him and traveled far away. By and by, Johnny reached a great desert where he saw some crows flying towards a mountain. One of the crows was a long way behind and when he caught up with the flock they asked why their brother crow was so late.

The late arrival told them that he had seen in the middle of the sea the most wonderful house that ever was built and had stopped to look at it. The fine house stood in the middle of the sea with no bridge to the land. On hearing this, Johnny realized where his wife was hidden. Johnny went to the shore with his dog and his cat.

When he arrived, he said to the dog and cat, “You are an excellent swimmer, and my friend the cat is very light. Cat, if you will jump on the dog’s back he will take you to the palace. Once there, dog, you must hide near the door so that the cat can sneak in and get back my watch. Then we can live comfortably again.”

The two animals crossed the sea and the dog hid near the house while the cat sneaked into it. However, the princess recognized the cat and guessed why it had come. She took the watch down to the cellar and locked it in a box. The cat wriggled its way into the cellar and the moment the princess turned her back, the cat scratched and scratched until there was a hole in the box. Taking the enchanted watch in its teeth, the cat waited quietly till the princess returned to admire the watch. The moment the princess opened the cellar door, the cat had dashed outside, carrying the watch in its teeth.

As soon as the cat reached the gates, she said to the dog “We are going to cross back to the shore – be very careful not to speak to me as I must carry the watch in my mouth for safety.”

The dog laid this to heart and said nothing, but when they approached the shore he could not help asking, “Have you got the watch?”

The cat did not answer, she was afraid she might drop the watch. As soon as they touched the shore the dog again asked “Have you got the watch?”

This time, believing them to be safely across, the cat said yes and the watch fell into the sea. Try as she might, the watch had fallen too deep for either animal to pull it out. The two animals began to accuse each other and both looked sorrowfully at the place where their treasure had fallen in. Suddenly a fish appeared near the edge of the sea. The cat immediately seized it and thought it would make a fine supper.

“I have nine little children,” cried the fish, “Spare the father of a family! Once we lived in the deep sea where there is more to eat, but someone has built a palace there and I am forced to find food closer to land.”

“Granted,” replied the cat, “but only on condition that you find our watch. Then we will ask our master to do something about the palace.”

Grateful to be spared from becoming supper, the fish dived to the bottom and retrieved the watch. The cat and dog returned to their master. Johnny rubbed the watch and wished that the palace, with the unfaithful princess and all her staff, should be swallowed up by the sea, making room for the fishes again. No sooner had he wished it than it was done. Johnny returned to his parents, and he and his watch, his cat and his dog, lived together happily to the end of their days and his parents never again called him a fool.

Found atMoggy Cat

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