Roman charity : the daughter who was breastfeeding her old father

Picture of young girl who breastfeeds her father

Here is the transcript (rough machine translation) of a text found in Collection of Popular Greek songs and stories (see page 47 of the book). It definitely needs a lot of improvements from a native English speaking person. Should you want to help, please use the comments section.

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Once upon a time, there was a king. This king had an elder brother who was married, and had a daughter who was as beautiful as a day full of hope. The devil inspired the King his brother was trying to kill him to steal his kingdom. As soon as the idea occurred to him, he ordered immediately to his soldiers to throw the poor guy in a dark cell where he would not be given neither bread, nor water, giving him no choice but starving. Guards seized him and threw him in jail to make sure he could no longer threaten his brother the king.

The  daughter of the king's brother, seeing that his father had been imprisoned without a reason, immediately suspected evil wills of the monarch. She eventually learns that the king has decided to let her father die in prison. As soon as she learns this, she runs to see the king , and falling to his feet, says :

"King, my master, the only thing I ask you is to let me visit my father twice a day in the prison where you put him."

The king to whom the request did not cause any damage, gives her what she wants. He however enjoins his soldiers to check the young girl when she enters the prison, in case she would try to bring bread or other food to her father. He also orders to make a hole into the  wall of the cell through by which the father and daughter will be able to talk.

The girl, seeing that she has managed to wrest his father's death, goes to the bathroom and washes herself; which gives her milk. Then she goes to see her father in prison. Through the hole, she gives him one of her breasts and tells her father to suck and feed himself. She does so every day, and her father does not need any other food. Seeing that after such a long time his brother is still alive, the king suspects his niece to use witchcraft to feed her father. He therefore orders his soldiers not to let the daughter approach her father.

The girl at the news that the King is forbidding her to see her father, feels pain because she sees that her plans are about to fail and her father will die sooner or later. She does not know what to do. She leaves the little town and sees a smith who tries to open the belly of a dead mare.

"Hello," she says. "What are you doing?"

"Damsel," he answers, "I am a poor man. Yesterday, my mare died as it was about to give life to a foal, and here I am now busy trying to pul the foal from the cold body. After I will remove the skin of the mare, sell it and with the money, I will buy another mare."

"But, she asks, do you think the foal has survived?"

"Bah!" he answers, "do you see down there a little horse that runs like a deer? Four years from now, I was drewing it the same way from the womb of its mother. "

The girl, clever, almost flies for joy as she finds immediately a ruse to save her father.

She therefore gives one hundred sequins to the blacksmith, and takes the small horse which has been taken out the belly of the mare.

She also takes the skin of the mother, and offers as a gift to the king's the horse to ride and the skin to be used as a blanket on a bed. In return, she asks the monarch the permission to go and see her father again.

The king, at the sight of the pretty little horse, gives the permission she is asking for. One day the king is out, riding the horse, the girl comes to him, takes the little horse by the bridle, stops him and tells the king:

"You're sitting on a beast that is not born and you sleep on its mother."

The king, hearing these words, cannot understand their meaning, and begs the woman to explain.

Then she answers:

"O my king, I will explain, when you will have given me my child, the child of my mother, and when you've given him to me, he will become my father, but if you do not give me, he will again be my child "

Being embarrassed again, the king tells her that the favor she asks for will be accepted if she explains her words.

Then she demands the release of her father whom the king has locked up in prison for long without a reason and without saying a word.

The monarch, who cannot fail to his word sets the father free.

Then, his niece sits down and begins to tell the king the whole story in its smallest details. The king is delighted with her intelligence and is sorry to have imprisoned his brother, as he understands that all reports that have been made to him were lies and calumnies.

Since then, they remained perfectly well, and we do even better.

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J-L Trintignant & Jane Birkin - Le Mouton enragé

Imprisoned by Dériadès, Tectaphos, Indian prince, was locked in a dungeon and condemned to starve to death. Her daughter, who had just become a mother, asked the guards to let her enter the jail to make a last consolation. They let her go, and there, she gave his father the milk from her breast. Deriades, when he learnt the daughter's piety, decided to release his enemy.