The Flying Trunk
The Flying Trunk
Once upon a time, many years ago in Copenhagen, Denmark, there lived a very rich merchant. This man was quite content and believed in working hard and enjoying his life. He did, though, have one regret: His only child had grown up to be rather slothful.
The child's name was Erik. The lad was extremely handsome, personable, and smart; but to the merchant's never-ending frustration, he was also very lazy.
His father tried coaxing and cajoling the boy to be productive. He made threats on the one hand and bribes with the next, hoping to induce the lad to end his lazy ways. It was of no avail, though.
Instead of studying or working, the boy liked to spend his days running around. He kept himself busy, amusing himself playing tricks on his friends and frittering away his father's money on things he didn't need.
When Erik was a young man, the wealthy merchant died. Having no other children, he left all of his vast fortune to Erik. This rich reward just led to increased laziness, and Erik spent the merchant's immense fortune quickly, entertaining friends and buying silly, worthless things.
One day, Erik realized he'd spent all of the money, and he was rather alarmed. He went to some friends for advice, but they weren't so friendly now that he had no money or gifts to offer them. He thought about looking for work, but this prospect was truly appalling to a lazy bloke like Erik.
There was, though, one item left from his father's estate: a magic trunk. The trunk was nothing special to look at, but it had very magical properties. The minute anyone stepped inside, it rose into the air, taking the occupant to the place of his dreams.
It seemed to Erik, who had decided he had no intention of ever working for a living, that his only choice in the matter was to hop into the magic trunk and see where fate would take him. He decided that facing the unknown was superior to going to work. So he clambered into the trunk, sat down, and went soaring into the skies to seek his fortune. For almost a year, he flew around the world in the magic trunk. He flew across glittering seas and over dense forests, arid deserts, and lush jungles.
At last, though, he tired of his journey and decided to find a place to land the magic trunk. He found himself above a large city in the East and ordered the trunk to land on the grand marble terrace of a wonderful palace.
The trunk complied and smoothly touched down. Then, Erik hastily stepped out of the trunk. There in front of him stood an incredibly beautiful girl, staring at Erik in amazement.
“I'm Tamara, the sultan's daughter,” she said. “Who are you?”
Although physically lazy, Erik was a quick thinker. He replied, “I'm the god of your people, and I want to marry you.” He felt sure she would believe him because who, other than a god, would arrive in a flying trunk?
His plan worked. Fascinated by the handsome stranger and certain that he really was a god from the skies, she happily agreed to his proposal. She immediately called for her family to come meet this mysterious sky god.
The sultan was a believing fellow like his daughter and warmly welcomed the devious youth, as did the rest of the sultan's family.
All of the sultan's servants began to make elaborate plans for a grand wedding ceremony. They worked day and night for a month, preparing for the wedding celebration.
This gave Erik time to come up with a plan for making off with much of the sultan's wealth. As the staff and family planned the ceremony and wedding feast, Erik surveyed the palace and compiled a list of its valuables.
The night before the ceremony, as all of the palace inhabitants slept, Erik crept about with a large burlap sack, packing up rubies, emeralds, diamonds, gold, fine silks, and anything else of value he could stuff into his bulging sack. Then, the naughty, thoughtless lad stuffed the trunk full of the stolen loot and commanded it to fly away from the palace toward his home.
This is where Erik's plan failed, though. As nimble as his brain was, he couldn't devise a scheme to overcome his own greed. The magical flying trunk, weighed down by its valuable, stolen cargo, crashed abruptly into a churning, angry sea off the Danish coast, just miles from Erik's home. Erik managed to swim ashore and get home.
Once there, he sang sad songs at street corners for a living, hoping passersby would toss him a coin or two. His clothes became tattered and he had no shoes. He often went without enough to eat. But the lazy boy still couldn't accept the thought of getting a job. So he continued with his wistful songs, while in a city in the East, on the grand marble terrace of a magnificent palace, a young girl sadly glanced at the sky from time to time, hoping that the god, who had suddenly disappeared, would come back again.