Armenian Fairy Tales “Hekiats”

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Some of the childhood memories were the happy times spent listening to the wonderful fairy tales, or hekiats, that our mothers and grandmothers told.

armenian fairy tales

The Gold Piece (a moralistic tale)
There was once a boy who wanted to get married so he told his parents of his intentions. “Very well, son, you can get married if you bring me a gold piece which you have earned by your labor,” the father said.

The boy smiled, thinking that this was indeed an easy test. The next day he gave his father the necessary gold piece. The father took the money and threw it into the river.

“Well, father, now may I get married?” the boy asked. “No, my son. I told you that you must earn the gold piece. You have not earned this money.”

The boy was surprised that his father knew the truth; but the next day, he borrowed a gold piece from his mother and took it to his father.

Again the father took the gold piece and threw it into the river. The boy was surprised but asked again, “Why do you do this? I have brought you a gold piece, may I get married now?” Again the father refused permission saying, “You did not earn the gold piece.”

The boy started to think that this could go on for a long time and that he might never get married, so he decided to find work and earn the gold piece. After many days the boy took the gold piece he had earned to his father. When the father started to throw the money into the river, the boy threw his arms around him and cried, “No, father, don’t throw it away. I have spent many back-breaking days earning it.”

“Now, my son, you can get married,” the father said. “At last you know the value of money, and you will spend it with wisdom.”

So the boy got married and never spent his money foolishly.

Thank you to Mrs. Hripsime Hoogasian for sharing this tale.

 

Retribution (a saga and Legend)
At one time a bridal party was moving toward our village from a far-off town. The people were very thirsty, and the groom said, “If God would grant us a nice cool drink, I would offer Him a Madagh (sacrifice).” Suddenly, a clear, cool spring appeared at the entrance of the village, and the people drank abundantly of the good water. They looked about, and, across the river, which the spring gushed from, saw an old shepherd with his many sheep and greeted him.

When they were refreshed, they sat on their horses and crossed to the other side of the river. The groom completely forgot his promise, and had no intention of making a sacrifice. God read his mind and decided to punish him, so he turned the whole company into stone. The bride on her horse, the groom on his horse, the parents, the visitors, the gifts and the shepherd with his sheep, were all transformed into stone.

A beautiful cross-made of stone appeared at the spring. These stone figures have remained to this day and remind us of the ingratitude of man.

Thank you to Katoon Mouradian for sharing this tale.

The Seven Stars (a myth)
There were once six brothers, the youngest of whom was a very handsome youth. One day he went hunting and fell asleep by a brook. A beautiful girl had been sent by her mother to the brook for water. There she saw the handsome boy and fell in love with him. The boy woke up and seeing her fell in love with her. “Let’s go away together and get married and set up our own house,” the boy said. Fine, said the girl, “but let me take this water back to my family first.”

So the girl took the water home and told her family that she was going to marry the boy at the brook and that, together, they were going away. The family, seeing that the girl was in love, knew that she could not be discouraged from following her plans. So they carried her away with them to a far-off land. The boy, meanwhile, fell into a deep sleep from the moment his beloved left home.

The family traveled for several years before returning to their old home. One day, the girl was again sent to the brook, and there she saw the handsome young boy still asleep. She called his name, and he awoke, but he became an angel and started to fly away. No sooner had he left the ground, however, that he fell down and died immediately. Seeing that her lover had died, the girl also killed herself, and the two young people were buried together. They both became stars.

When they learned that their youngest brother had died so tragically, the five brothers also killed themselves, and all five of them became stars. They joined their young brother and the beautiful girl in heaven. Now there are seven stars grouped together in heaven. Some day look for the seven stars and you will see them.

Thank you to Katoon Mouradian for sharing this tale.

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