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buber.net > Basque > Folklore > EHL > Euskal Herriko Leiendak: The Lamia and the Stone Cutter
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Euskal Herriko Leiendak: The Lamia and the Stone Cutter

by chris

The following Basque Legend was translated by chris from the book "Euskal Herriko Leiendak". He originally posted these stories in the Forum.

Once, a long time ago, a stonecutter lived in a tiny village in Zuberoa, in Zuraide. His work was well thought of and necessary also, but the stone cutter wasn't at all happy, because, as he used to say, his work was hard and tiring.

At that time there were many lamia in the Basque Country. One of them heard the complaints of the man and appeared to him.

"What's up?" it asked him. "Aren't you happy?"

"Well, look, cutting this stone is very tiring and I scarcely made enough to live on. Perhaps I will never be rich!"

"If that's what you want" said the lamia, "well, you will be rich!"

And the lamia made him rich.

At first, it seemed to the stone cutter that he was in a dream, but he soon got used to it! Enough money, a beautiful house, servants... life was truly comfortable! But, after a time, he became bored with his new life.

"Now I'm rich, it's true" he thought "but I'm not powerful."

The lamia appeared again.

"And now what are you moaning about?"

"Well, now I'm rich and that is good, but I would like to be more powerful than I am... If only I were an emperor!"

And the lamia made him emperor. The stone cutter was happy! He was emperor! He had all that he wanted and all listened when he spoke...

Summer arrived and it became dreadfully hot. The emperor couldn't find anywhere cool in his entire kingdom.

"To tell the truth" he thought to himself "the sun can harm the emperor since it is even more powerful. If only I were the sun!"

The lamia was around and heard everything. And she made him the sun!

The stone cutter was happy since he was the sun, but, one day, a cloud moved in front of him and covered him.

The sun-emperor-rich man thought, if that cloud could cover him, then it must be more powerful than him. The desire to be a cloud entered him.

And the lamia made him a cloud.

The stone cutter was delighted with his new life. Being a cloud was very comfortable, he could throw rain and lightening down to the earth, wet people and force them to return to their homes... but he saw a rock, easily taking the rain, and he thought that the rock was more powerful since clouds couldn't do anything to it. And he wanted to become rock.

And the lamia made him rock. But soon after becoming rock he felt the blow of hammers hitting him. They cut him into a thousand pieces, and he cried:

"A stonecutter is the most powerful, since they can cut stone into a thousand pieces! Oh, if only I were a stonecutter!"

And the lamia turned him back into a stone cutter. Then she said:

"When you're one thing, you want to be something else! Since that is true... you are as you were. Still, we will be better carrying on as before: I a lamia, and you a stone cutter.

And then the lamia disappeared. And she never appeared to the stone cutter ever again.

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