From Vlachovo to Betliar

I didn`t stay in Vlachovo, and there was no guarding of the mill at all. Why so? – as long as you have read the tale The road to happiness, you should know. So I went back to Krásna Hôrka where a lot of unread fairy tales and stories are still waiting for me. I had no idea, however, what adventure I would experience on my way home... As the bell-ringer Andriš, who had a very good heart, like that bell in Vlachovo, had advised me, I was going in the direction of the river Slaná as it was flowing down Gemer. I went past villages Gočovo, Nižná Slaná and Henckovce... and I would have stayed there if it hadn`t been for a coachman crying out at me from a big wooden coach: – Hey..., hey, bro, you`re not just any stray dog! – – Me, and a stray dog?! No way! Even though I wander different places in quest for adventure, my clan was and is noble, and still highly regarded! – I barked back to explain. The guy burst out laughing and halted his horses. – Get up on the coach if you`re really such a noble dog, you`ll go with me to the manor house. Not far, just to Betliar. –  Before long we stopped in front of a lovely iron gate behind which there was a wonderful garden and the manor house...! I had never seen anything like that! – That`s the sight! – the coachman giggle quietly. Jump down from the coach and have no fear. It may be here that you`ll find happiness... – he counselled and clattered away down the village. I slipped through the gate which was ajar to the courtyard. My sniffing muzzle showed me the way at once. The smell of roasted pig was coming out from the kitchen and I almost had tears in my eyes because of hunger. – Girl, girls, come and look! A certain small dachshund has come to us... quite the same as Tascherl, a loyal dog of the Andrássy family...! – two or three maids with bonnets on their heads ran out of the kitchen. They would stroke me and talk to me one by one. Their delicacy gave me courage, so without much embarrassment I stayed in the kitchen. I got under the table not to hinder them from their work. – Hopefully, they would give me some water and throw me a piece of neck of that pig... – I was envisaging according to the fragrance. The girls were working as hard as bees. They were cooking, baking, kneading the dough for cakes, washing up pots and bowls while singing or chatting. In the evening they swept the corners and sat down on small tables to relax. A glass of milk in one hand, still warm bread smelling nice in the other. They had just baked it in a large oven, larger than any other I had seen before... – „Marinka, you promised to tell us a tale which your grandmother would relate to you...“ – a freckled servant Zuzka was pleading. Marína stood up, with her arms akimbo, and began: – Aren`t you going to be afraid when I tell you about witches?! – – You better not, for Jula will be shrieking with fear, you better talk about the beggar... – Zuzka requested. – About Betler? You have heard the tale a hundred times...! – the girl wondered. – But our small guest hasn`t..., what is your name by the way? –  – My name is Taši and I`m from the same clan as uncle Tascherl – ... I peeped out for a second and then listened quietly: – And old beggar used to roam the surrounding mountains and villages. They called him Betler. One evening he was passing through Volovec, the hill which he knew well, but because he was tired and so hungry that he could barely see something, he got lost in the dark mountains. After a while he caught a glimpse of a glimmer of light among trees. Good lord, hopefully, some hospitable people live there ?! – the poor man thought and crawled on his last legs to the door of the modest house. He didn`t know what happened next... He didn`t find out who had saved his life before next morning. They were tough but generous men – the Gemer miners digging deep every day, taking out from earth depths gold and copper, others would take out the iron ore. And they built him a small hut by a stream of pristine water. Old Betler remained grateful forever. He cared for the stream and protected it like the pupil of his eye so that it would never dry out and people could drink from it after hard work. And after he passed away they would remember him with reverence and even named the village after him – Betliar! – Well, that was a sad and a nice story at the same time – I sighed, not able to hold back a single tear. The girls made the bed for me by the kitchen – the burrow large enough for a small dachshund. – Sleep well, Taši, tomorrow will be a festive but not easy day – Marinka caressed me. – Not easy, but merry..., – Zuzka chuckled, with freckles hopping on her little nose. – What`s happening? – I leapt out of curiosity. – What is it?! You don`t know? The Andrássy family were passionate huntsmen, so as it is always the case at this time, the park will be teeming with hunters, wonderful horses brought from far Arabia, as well as full-blooded hunting dogs – Zuzka was explaining importantly, preparing something for me from manorial delicacies while speaking. – Here you are Taši, there will be some real hustle here tomorrow! For Hubert`s ride is a great festival, and not only in the Betliar manor house! – And indeed... – I can tell you that this Hubert`s ride is a real finery! –  Early in the morning horses got some oats, riders proposed a toast, clinked their glasses, and fox hunting could begin. Sparky well-dressed dudes – young hussars, lords from the surrounding manor houses sitting on well-harnessed steeds, stallions and colts of different colours, as well as fillies and mares as white as snow, followed the rider who had a fox tail fixed to his coat. No one must lose a cap or fall down from a horse during this chase. Because if this happens, the awkward rider can expect „final judgement“ in the evening. It will be decided who or what can redeem him. – Woof, woof, howl...! – I couldn`t resist as I really am a hunting dog... and I shot with them as a flash of lightning! My heart was pounding with excitement...     So many fantastic experiences in one day! Although everybody was in the fully lighted hall, I was running up and down the park... – Maybe I`ll scare the whole fox away from the bushes, not just its tail, I deliberated when some boots stood beside me. I could see them well, also yellow and red leaves stuck to it, but I couldn`t see who was wearing them, I was only suspecting that as it was quite dark. – What are you up to, running here, you should have slept by now! – a gardener said in a serious voice and wiped the trails of horse hoofs with a rake. – Come over here tomorrow, I`ll show you various precious things! – – Precious things in the park?! – I asked surprised. – Sure; have a look at this bush! You can`t find another bush comparable to it as for its beauty or size anywhere around here; maybe behind the sea! – he says proudly and points his hand towards a certain bare tree. Just branches, not a single leaf on it! He must have seen disappointment in my eyes, because as he was leaving he added: – You see it`s autumn, wait till spring! Then you`ll see what flowers a magnolia has! – – Ok then, I`ll be waiting... – I said, turning to the black trunk in order to guard it till spring so that no one would dig it out... But I was rather weary after that Hubert`s ride, I closed my for a moment. I don`t know how long the moment was, or whether I dozed off in the dusk, but when my ears heard a familiar voice calling me from distance, it was completely dark. I sprang to my paws: – Uncle Tascherl! Did anything happen to him?! – at that moment I forgot about my exhaustion and ran after the voice. And because my muzzle snuffed the right direction, I didn`t take long to get to the place. It was before dawn when I reached the Krásna Hôrka castle. – And what now? – I told myself. – I can`t disturb the uncle so early! I`d do better to wait at the wall until I see the sun rising... – I don`t know if I was awake or asleep, but suddenly I heard the bang, racket, clatter, strange voices coming from all directions... – Was I among the Turkish?! – I jumped up and wanted to run for the armour, but then I could see... or couldn`t see?! Not a single trace of the burnt place! High on the castle walls are plenty of men, as many of them as poppy seeds, but they are not the Turkish! They are not brandishing their sabres, but passing heavy wooden beams, cutting, sawing, hammering nails... I can`t believe my eyes: there are new roof tiles glistening on the broach spire! – Uncle, uncle! – I ran after Tascherl with good news, leaving a swirl of dust in my wake... but I could see his old eyes shining with happiness. We didn`t need to explain anything to each other..., we both simply turned our heads to the castle. We were looking in that direction for quite a long time... at the seventh hillock of Bebek where this proud castle has been standing since time indefinite. Uncle Tascherl broke the silence as first : – Well, my little nephew, you`ve seen a lot in the surroundings, you`ve learnt a lot. You are brave, and smart too; I see I don`t need to be unduly worried about you once you set out... on more journeys and travels... to see and get to know other regions where you can find even more tales and adventures. – The uncle shouldn`t have uttered those last words...! Hardly had I thanked for everything and wagged my tail to say good bye when I shot like an arrow to the secret chamber. Without thinking twice I put as many magical things in my rucksack as possible... and let`s go... but where? Well, I`ll tell you another time...!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gros en > Fairytales > From Vlachovo to Betliar

This project is co-financed by ERDF - „Investing in your future“

ROP Znak SR Vlajka EU KSK

Implementing partner: Košický samosprávny kraj
Website: e-volution, s.r.o.
Fairytales writer: © Štúdio Harmony/Daniela Hroncová-Faklová, Ľubica Škrinárová
fairytales illustrations: © Štúdio Harmony/Róbert Šandor
Realisation 2012