Once upon a time there was a time when there was no one but God.
One day a man came home to his house and said to his wife: "Cook me a little ash, my dear, and let some one bring it down to the shop for me." When the wife had finished cooking the ash, she poured it into a bowl, and said to herself: "Oh dear, oh dear, if only I had a little son now! He could have carried the bowl of ash to his father."
All of a sudden, while she was still speaking, a pea hopped out of the broth and said: "I am your son. Fill the bowl and I'll carry it to the shop for my father." So she filled the bowl, and he put it on his head and carried it off to the door of his father's shop. The man said: "Who are you?" Master Pea answered: "I am your son, and my name is Nukhudu." Then his father said: "Well, if you are my son, why don't you go and get my farthing for me from the King?" And Master Pea said: "Right you are."
Then he ran and he ran and started out and began to travel. He came first to the edge of a stream and found a woman washing clothes. "Come along," cried he, "and wash this cap for me that I have on my head." "I've no more soap," said she. "Then I'll drink up all your water," said he. As he spoke he put one foot on one bank of the stream and one foot on the other, and stooped and drank up all the water in the stream. Then he started out again and began to travel.
When he had gone a little way, a leopard suddenly sprang out in front of him and called: "Master Pea, where are you off to?" - "I'm going to get my father's farthing from the King." "Then," said the leopard, "I'll come with you too." "No," said Nukhudu, "you'll only get tired." "Not a fear," said the leopard, "I'll come." - "All right, come and let's go ahead." They had hardly gone more than two or three steps when the leopard said: "I'm tired, Master Pea," and Nukhudu said: "Take out your teeth and hop inside," and with that he opened his mouth very wide and in jumped the leopard.
When he had gone on another few yards, a wolf popped out in front of him and cried: "Where are you off to, Master Pea?" and he said: "I'm going to fetch my father's farthing from the King." "Then," said the wolf, "I'll come with you too." - "No, you'll only get tired." "Not a fear," said the wolf, "I'll come." - "All right, come and let's get on." But they had hardly gone more than two or three steps when the wolf said: "I'm tired, Master Pea." "Take out your teeth and hop inside," said Nukhudu, and with that he opened his mouth very wide and in jumped the wolf.
When he had gone on another few yards, there appeared a jackal in front of him and cried: "Where are you off to, Master Pea?" And he said: "I'm going to get my father's farthing from the King." "Then," said the jackal, "I'll come too." - "No, you'll only get tired." "Not a fear," said the jackal, "I'll come." - "All right, come and let's get on." But hardly had they gone more than two or three steps when the jackal said: "I'm tired, Master Pea." "Take out your teeth and hop inside," said Nu-khudu, and with that he opened his mouth very wide and in jumped the jackal.
"Who are you?"
Then he went on till he came to the King's court, and he called out: "I've come and I want my father's farthing from you." "Oh ho," said the King, "what tomfoolery are you up to, you son of a burnt father! What way is this to address a king?" and he turned to his courtiers and retainers and said: "Here, take him away and throw him tonight to my fighting-cocks that they may pick him to bits."
So they carried off Master Pea and threw him to the fighting-cocks. As soon as he was left alone, Nukhudu opened his mouth and called to the jackal and said: "Come along and strangle these cocks for me." Out sprang the jackal and strangled all the cocks, and went off to his own home. When the King's messengers came in the morning they saw that all the cocks were dead, and there was Master Pea alive and kicking.
They brought the news to the King, and he said: "Take him to the stables and throw him to the wild horses." So they carried him off and turned him loose in the stable of the wild horses. Then Master Pea called to the wolf and said: "Come along out and eat up the horses." And out sprang the wolf and ate up all the horses, and went back to his own home. When the King's servants came in the morning they saw that all the horses were torn into little bits, and Master Pea was sitting there safe and sound.
When they brought the news to the King, he said:
"Take him away and throw him into the garden of my wild beasts." As soon as he was left alone there, Master Pea called out to the leopard: "Come along out and tear all these wild beasts to pieces for me." And out sprang the leopard and tore all the wild beasts to pieces, and went back to his own home.
In the morning when the King's servants came they saw that all the wild beasts had been torn to pieces, and Master Pea was sitting there well and happy. They brought this news also to the King, and he was very wroth and said: "Go and fill a room full of straw and set fire to it, and throw him into it so that he may be suffocated by the smoke." They did as the King said, but when Nukhudu was left alone he squirted out all the water that he had drunk up out of the stream and put out the fire, and then sat down on the floor and went to sleep. In the morning they brought the news to the King: "Master Pea is still alive."
Now the King had a Wazir who was very wise, so he sent for him and said: "What shall we do about this?" "It doesn't look as if we'd ever get the better of him," said the Wazir. "I think perhaps the best thing would be to send him to the Treasury and let him find his father's farthing and be gone." So the King gave the order, and they took Master Pea to the Treasury and said: "Come along, go in and take your father's farthing, and then be off with you." As soon as Nukhudu found himself alone he opened his mouth and popped in all the money and jewels and precious stones and costly things in the King's Treasury, then he took one little piece of money in his fingers and came out saying: "See, I've taken my father's farthing and I'm gone!"
Then he went back to his father's shop and said: "Look, I've brought back your farthing from the King," and he gave the piece of money to his father. Then he went on home to his mother and said: "Mummy, dear, cook me some nice broth and give it to me to eat, and then please hang me up upside down and beat me with a little stick." So his mother cooked the broth for him, and when he had eaten it she tied him upside down to the leg of her spinning-wheel and beat him ever so gently with a little stick, and out poured all the King's gold and silver and jewels and precious stones. So they became very rich, and sat down to live their lives together, the father, the mother, and Master Pea.
And now my story has come to an end, but the sparrow never got home.