Elijah’s Violin

There once was a king with three daughters.  He loved them all very much, and they had many lovely times together until he had to go to war.  Before he left, he asked each princess what she would like him to bring her back.  The eldest said a diamond shaped like a star and the middle sister a gown made out of gold.  The youngest, however, asked for nothing.  All she wanted was for her father to return safely.  Her father did not want her to be without a gift, so he gave her three days to think of what she wanted.

While the princess sat on a rock outside the palace, an old woman appeared.  When told of the princess’ problem, she said, “You must ask him for Elijah’s violin.”

Three days passed, and the king, who now had to hurry off to the war, asked his daughter what she wanted.  The princess asked for Elijah’s violin, and the king, planning to meet this request, left.

The king was victorious, and when the war was over, he began searching for his daughters’ gifts.  The golden gown and star-shaped diamond he found, but he could not find Elijah’s violin, and no one else could tell him where to find it.  So he looked everywhere he could, finally coming to a cave where an old man lived.  This man (who was really Elijah) told the king it was in possession of this country’s king.  When the king asked how he could get it, the old man told him that the king’s daughter was imprisoned in stone, and whoever managed to release her would be given anything he wanted.

“But how can I do that?” he asked.

“Take these three strings from Elijah’s violin, and burn them when in the presence of the princess,” said the old man.  The king did as he was told and ventured to the palace.  He announced his wish to save the princess and was brought to her right away.  Her body had indeed been turned to stone.  She couldn’t move, but she could talk, and she told him how she had been turned to stone by her reflection which had escaped from the mirror. Remembering what the old man said, he took the violin strings and threw them into the fire.  As soon as he did so, the princess changed back to flesh and blood.  The king advised her to blindfold herself and break the mirror her reflection escaped from.  She did this, and all were certain that such a thing would never happen again.

The king and queen rejoiced to see their daughter free, and asked the visiting king what he wanted as a reward.  He requested Elijah’s violin, which he soon had in his possession.  As soon as he got home, he gave it to his youngest daughter.

The princess was overjoyed to have this violin, and when she started playing it, lovely melodies flowed out.  As she played, though, she suddenly noticed a handsome young man standing beside her.  Startled, she asked him where he came from, and he explained that he was a kidnapped prince whom she had freed from his dungeon with the tunes of her magical violin.  The two of them talked for a long time, and soon they became friends.  Every time she wanted to see him, the princess played the violin and he appeared.  He visited her many, many times, and after awhile, they fell in love.  The prince gave her a ring and promised they be married someday.

One day her eldest sister heard her talking to a young man in her bedroom and became very jealous.  When the young princess wasn’t looking, this wicked girl snuck into her bedroom and searched through it.   She found the ring the prince gave her, and spitefully threw it out the window, breaking the window in the process.  She then took the violin and began to play, but it played a sad tune, since the ring had been lost and danger awaited the prince.  The prince arrived, but as he entered through the window, he wounded himself on the broken glass and was forced to turn back.

When the princess returned to her room, she knew something was wrong.  Wanting to see her true love, she began playing the violin, but he did not appear.  When she saw the broken window and the blood on the curtains, she guessed what her elder sister did.  She knew she must try to save her prince, so she began to think of what to do.  Suddenly, she had it!  She pretended to be ill, and admitted no one to her bedroom.  While in her room, she escaped through the window and set off on her quest, bringing the violin with her.

Along the way, she met the same old woman who advised her to ask for Elijah’s violin.  She told her what happened and asked if there was any way she could save the prince.  The old woman told her to pluck three strings from the violin and burn them while in his presence.

The princess journeyed until she was tired, then stopped to sleep.  In her dreams she all of a sudden understood the language of birds, and they told her a map could be found on the leaves of their tree.  When the princess woke up, she plucked a leaf from the tree and continued on her way, consulting the map until she found the palace.  When she got there, she presented herself to the king and asked to be alone with the prince.  As soon as she was with him, she plucked three strands from the violin and threw them into the fire.  While they burned, the prince’s wounds healed, and he opened his eyes.   He and the princess were soon married.  They lived happily ever after, playing Elijah’s violin and sometimes using it to heal people.

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Filed under Fairy Tale Retellings, Jewish Fairy Tales

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