THE BROTHER'S GRIMM - THE COMPLETE COLLECTION

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by The Brothers Grimm

THE BROTHERS GRIMM

 

FAIRY TALES

 

 

 

 

CONTENTS:

 

THE GOLDEN BIRD

HANS IN LUCK

JORINDA AND JORINDEL

THE TRAVELLING MUSICIANS

OLD SULTAN

THE STRAW, THE COAL, AND THE BEAN

BRIAR ROSE

THE DOG AND THE SPARROW

THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES

THE FISHERMAN AND HIS WIFE

THE WILLOW-WREN AND THE BEAR

THE FROG-PRINCE

CAT AND MOUSE IN PARTNERSHIP

THE GOOSE-GIRL

THE ADVENTURES OF CHANTICLEER AND PARTLET

1. HOW THEY WENT TO THE MOUNTAINS TO EAT NUTS

2. HOW CHANTICLEER AND PARTLET WENT TO VIST MR KORBES

RAPUNZEL

FUNDEVOGEL

THE VALIANT LITTLE TAILOR

HANSEL AND GRETEL

THE MOUSE, THE BIRD, AND THE SAUSAGE

MOTHER HOLLE

LITTLE RED-CAP [LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD]

THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM

TOM THUMB

RUMPELSTILTSKIN

CLEVER GRETEL

THE OLD MAN AND HIS GRANDSON

THE LITTLE PEASANT

FREDERICK AND CATHERINE

SWEETHEART ROLAND

SNOWDROP

THE PINK

CLEVER ELSIE

THE MISER IN THE BUSH

ASHPUTTEL

THE WHITE SNAKE

THE WOLF AND THE SEVEN LITTLE KIDS

THE QUEEN BEE

THE ELVES AND THE SHOEMAKER

THE JUNIPER-TREE

the juniper-tree.

THE TURNIP

CLEVER HANS

THE THREE LANGUAGES

THE FOX AND THE CAT

THE FOUR CLEVER BROTHERS

LILY AND THE LION

THE FOX AND THE HORSE

THE BLUE LIGHT

THE RAVEN

THE GOLDEN GOOSE

THE WATER OF LIFE

THE TWELVE HUNTSMEN

THE KING OF THE GOLDEN MOUNTAIN

DOCTOR KNOWALL

THE SEVEN RAVENS

THE WEDDING OF MRS FOX

FIRST STORY

SECOND STORY

THE SALAD

THE STORY OF THE YOUTH WHO WENT FORTH TO LEARN WHAT FEAR WAS

KING GRISLY-BEARD

IRON HANS

CAT-SKIN

SNOW-WHITE AND ROSE-RED

 

 

 

 

THE GOLDEN BIRD

 

A certain king had a beautiful garden, and in the garden stood a tree

which bore golden apples. These apples were always counted, and about

the time when they began to grow ripe it was found that every night one

of them was gone. The king became very angry at this, and ordered the

gardener to keep watch all night under the tree. The gardener set his

eldest son to watch; but about twelve o'clock he fell asleep, and in

the morning another of the apples was missing. Then the second son was

ordered to watch; and at midnight he too fell asleep, and in the morning

another apple was gone. Then the third son offered to keep watch; but

the gardener at first would not let him, for fear some harm should come

to him: however, at last he consented, and the young man laid himself

under the tree to watch. As the clock struck twelve he heard a rustling

noise in the air, and a bird came flying that was of pure gold; and as

it was snapping at one of the apples with its beak, the gardener's son

jumped up and shot an arrow at it. But the arrow did the bird no harm;

only it dropped a golden feather from its tail, and then flew away.

The golden feather was brought to the king in the morning, and all the

council was called together. Everyone agreed that it was worth more than

all the wealth of the kingdom: but the king said, 'One feather is of no

use to me, I must have the whole bird.'

 

Then the gardener's eldest son set out and thought to find the golden

bird very easily; and when he had gone but a little way, he came to a

wood, and by the side of the wood he saw a fox sitting; so he took his

bow and made ready to shoot at it. Then the fox said, 'Do not shoot me,

for I will give you good counsel; I know what your business is, and

that you want to find the golden bird. You will reach a village in the

evening; and when you get there, you will see two inns opposite to each

other, one of which is very pleasant and beautiful to look at: go not in

there, but rest for the night in the other, though it may appear to you

to be very poor and mean.' But the son thought to himself, 'What can

such a beast as this know about the matter?' So he shot his arrow at

the fox; but he missed it, and it set up its tail above its back and

ran into the wood. Then he went his way, and in the evening came to

the village where the two inns were; and in one of these were people

singing, and dancing, and feasting; but the other looked very dirty,

and poor. 'I should be very silly,' said he, 'if I went to that shabby

house, and left this charming place'; so he went into the smart house,

and ate and drank at his ease, and forgot the bird, and his country too.

 

Time passed on; and as the eldest son did not come back, and no tidings

were heard of him, the second son set out, and the same thing happened

to him. He met the fox, who gave him the good advice: but when he came

to the two inns, his eldest brother was standing at the window where

the merrymaking was, and called to him to come in; and he could not

withstand the temptation, but went in, and forgot the golden bird and

his country in the same manner.

 

Time passed on again, and the youngest son too wished to set out into

the wide world to seek for the golden bird; but his father would not

listen to it for a long while, for he was very fond of his son, and

was afraid that some ill luck might happen to him also, and prevent his

coming back. However, at last it was agreed he should go, for he would

not rest at home; and as he came to the wood, he met the fox, and heard

the same good counsel. But he was thankful to the fox, and did not

attempt his life as his brothers had done; so the fox said, 'Sit upon my

tail, and you will travel faster.' So he sat down, and the fox began to

run, and away they went over stock and stone so quick that their hair

whistled in the wind.

 

When they came to the village, the son followed the fox's counsel, and

without looking about him went to the shabby inn and rested there all

night at his ease. In the morning came the fox again and met him as he

was beginning his journey, and said, 'Go straight forward, till you come

to a castle, before which lie a whole troop of soldiers fast asleep and

snoring: take no notice of them, but go into the castle and pass on and

on till you come to a room, where the golden bird sits in a wooden cage;

close by it stands a beautiful golden cage; but do not try to take the

bird out of the shabby cage and put it into the handsome one, otherwise

you will repent it.' Then the fox stretched out his tail again, and the

young man sat himself down, and away they went over stock and stone till

their hair whistled in the wind.

 

Before the castle gate all was as the fox had said: so the son went in

and found the chamber where the golden bird hung in a wooden cage, and

below stood the golden cage, and the three golden apples that had been

lost were lying close by it. Then thought he to himself, 'It will be a

very droll thing to bring away such a fine bird in this shabby cage'; so

he opened the door and took hold of it and put it into the golden cage.

But the bird set up such a loud scream that all the soldiers awoke, and

they took him prisoner and carried him before the king. The next morning

the court sat to judge him; and when all was heard, it sentenced him to

die, unless he should bring the king the golden horse which could run as

swiftly as the wind; and if he did this, he was to have the golden bird

given him for his own.

 

So he set out once more on his journey, sighing, and in great despair,

when on a sudden his friend the fox met him, and said, 'You see now

what has happened on account of your not listening to my counsel. I will

still, however, tell you how to find the golden horse, if you will do as

I bid you. You must go straight on till you come to the castle where the

horse stands in his stall: by his side will lie the groom fast asleep

and snoring: take away the horse quietly, but be sure to put the old

leathern saddle upon him, and not the golden one that is close by it.'

Then the son sat down on the fox's tail, and away they went over stock

and stone till their hair whistled in the wind.

 

All went right, and the groom lay snoring with his hand upon the golden

saddle. But when the son looked at the horse, he thought it a great pity

to put the leathern saddle upon it. 'I will give him the good one,'

said he; 'I am sure he deserves it.' As he took up the golden saddle the

groom awoke and cried out so loud, that all the guards ran in and took

him prisoner, and in the morning he was again brought before the court

to be judged, and was sentenced to die. But it was agreed, that, if he

could bring thither the beautiful princess, he should live, and have the

bird and the horse given him for his own.

 

Then he went his way very sorrowful; but the old fox came and said, 'Why

did not you listen to me? If you had, you would have carried away

both the bird and the horse; yet will I once more give you counsel. Go

straight on, and in the evening you will arrive at a castle. At twelve

o'clock at night the princess goes to the bathing-house: go up to her

and give her a kiss, and she will let you lead her away; but take care

you do not suffer her to go and take leave of her father and mother.'

Then the fox stretched out his tail, and so away they went over stock

and stone till their hair whistled again.

 

As they came to the castle, all was as the fox had said, and at twelve

o'clock the young man met the princess going to the bath and gave her the

kiss, and she agreed to run away with him, but begged with many tears

that he would let her take leave of her father. At first he refused,

but she wept still more and more, and fell at his feet, till at last

he consented; but the moment she came to her father's house the guards

awoke and he was taken prisoner again.

 

Then he was brought before the king, and the king said, 'You shall never

have my daughter unless in eight days you dig away the hill that stops

the view from my window.' Now this hill was so big that the whole world

could not take it away: and when he had worked for seven days, and had

done very little, the fox came and said. 'Lie down and go to sleep; I

will work for you.' And in the morning he awoke and the hill was gone;

so he went merrily to the king, and told him that now that it was

removed he must give him the princess.

 

Then the king was obliged to keep his word, and away went the young man

and the princess; and the fox came and said to him, 'We will have all

three, the princess, the horse, and the bird.' 'Ah!' said the young man,

'that would be a great thing, but how can you contrive it?'

 

'If you will only listen,' said the fox, 'it can be done. When you come

to the king, and he asks for the beautiful princess, you must say, "Here

she is!" Then he will be very joyful; and you will mount the golden

horse that they are to give you, and put out your hand to take leave of

them; but shake hands with the princess last. Then lift her quickly on

to the horse behind you; clap your spurs to his side, and gallop away as

fast as you can.'

 

All went right: then the fox said, 'When you come to the castle where

the bird is, I will stay with the princess at the door, and you will

ride in and speak to the king; and when he sees that it is the right

horse, he will bring out the bird; but you must sit still, and say that

you want to look at it, to see whether it is the true golden bird; and

when you get it into your hand, ride away.'

 

This, too, happened as the fox said; they carried off the bird, the

princess mounted again, and they rode on to a great wood. Then the fox

came, and said, 'Pray kill me, and cut off my head and my feet.' But the

young man refused to do it: so the fox said, 'I will at any rate give

you good counsel: beware of two things; ransom no one from the gallows,

and sit down by the side of no river.' Then away he went. 'Well,'

thought the young man, 'it is no hard matter to keep that advice.'

 

He rode on with the princess, till at last he came to the village where

he had left his two brothers. And there he heard a great noise and

uproar; and when he asked what was the matter, the people said, 'Two men

are going to be hanged.' As he came nearer, he saw that the two men were

his brothers, who had turned robbers; so he said, 'Cannot they in any

way be saved?' But the people said 'No,' unless he would bestow all his

money upon the rascals and buy their liberty. Then he did not stay to

think about the matter, but paid what was asked, and his brothers were

given up, and went on with him towards their home.

 

And as they came to the wood where the fox first met them, it was so

cool and pleasant that the two brothers said, 'Let us sit down by the

side of the river, and rest a while, to eat and drink.' So he said,

'Yes,' and forgot the fox's counsel, and sat down on the side of the

river; and while he suspected nothing, they came behind, and threw him

down the bank, and took the princess, the horse, and the bird, and went

home to the king their master, and said. 'All this have we won by our

labour.' Then there was great rejoicing made; but the horse would not

eat, the bird would not sing, and the princess wept.

 

The youngest son fell to the bottom of the river's bed: luckily it was

nearly dry, but his bones were almost broken, and the bank was so steep

that he could find no way to get out. Then the old fox came once more,

and scolded him for not following his advice; otherwise no evil would

have befallen him: 'Yet,' said he, 'I cannot leave you here, so lay hold

of my tail and hold fast.' Then he pulled him out of the river, and said

to him, as he got upon the bank, 'Your brothers have set watch to kill

you, if they find you in the kingdom.' So he dressed himself as a poor

man, and came secretly to the king's court, and was scarcely within the

doors when the horse began to eat, and the bird to sing, and princess

left off weeping. Then he went to the king, and told him all his

brothers' roguery; and they were seized and punished, and he had the

princess given to him again; and after the king's death he was heir to

his kingdom.

 

A long while after, he went to walk one day in the wood, and the old fox

met him, and besought him with tears in his eyes to kill him, and cut

off his head and feet. And at last he did so, and in a moment the

fox was changed into a man, and turned out to be the brother of the

princess, who had been lost a great many many years.

 

 

 

 

HANS IN LUCK

 

Some men are born to good luck: all they do or try to do comes

right--all that falls to them is so much gain--all their geese are

swans--all their cards are trumps--toss them which way you will, they

will always, like poor puss, alight upon their legs, and only move on so

much the faster. The world may very likely not always think of them as

they think of themselves, but what care they for the world? what can it

know about the matter?

 

One of these lucky beings was neighbour Hans. Seven long years he had

worked hard for his master. At last he said, 'Master, my time is up; I

must go home and see my poor mother once more: so pray pay me my wages

and let me go.' And the master said, 'You have been a faithful and good

servant, Hans, so your pay shall be handsome.' Then he gave him a lump

of silver as big as his head.

 

Hans took out his pocket-handkerchief, put the piece of silver into it,

threw it over his shoulder, and jogged off on his road homewards. As he

went lazily on, dragging one foot after another, a man came in sight,

trotting gaily along on a capital horse. 'Ah!' said Hans aloud, 'what a

fine thing it is to ride on horseback! There he sits as easy and happy

as if he was at home, in the chair by his fireside; he trips against no

stones, saves shoe-leather, and gets on he hardly knows how.' Hans did

not speak so softly but the horseman heard it all, and said, 'Well,

friend, why do you go on foot then?' 'Ah!' said he, 'I have this load to

carry: to be sure it is silver, but it is so heavy that I can't hold up

my head, and you must know it hurts my shoulder sadly.' 'What do you say

of making an exchange?' said the horseman. 'I will give you my horse,

and you shall give me the silver; which will save you a great deal of

trouble in carrying such a heavy load about with you.' 'With all my

heart,' said Hans: 'but as you are so kind to me, I must tell you one

thing--you will have a weary task to draw that silver about with you.'

However, the horseman got off, took the silver, helped Hans up, gave him

the bridle into one hand and the whip into the other, and said, 'When

you want to go very fast, smack your lips loudly together, and cry

"Jip!"'

 

Hans was delighted as he sat on the horse, drew himself up, squared his

elbows, turned out his toes, cracked his whip, and rode merrily off, one

minute whistling a merry tune, and another singing,

 

'No care and no sorrow,

A fig for the morrow!

We'll laugh and be merry,

Sing neigh down derry!'

 

After a time he thought he should like to go a little faster, so he

smacked his lips and cried 'Jip!' Away went the horse full gallop; and

before Hans knew what he was about, he was thrown off, and lay on his

back by the road-side. His horse would have ran off, if a shepherd who

was coming by, driving a cow, had not stopped it. Hans soon came to

himself, and got upon his legs again, sadly vexed, and said to the

shepherd, 'This riding is no joke, when a man has the luck to get upon

a beast like this that stumbles and flings him off as if it would break

his neck. However, I'm off now once for all: I like your cow now a great

deal better than this smart beast that played me this trick, and has

spoiled my best coat, you see, in this puddle; which, by the by, smells

not very like a nosegay. One can walk along at one's leisure behind that

cow--keep good company, and have milk, butter, and cheese, every day,

into the bargain. What would I give to have such a prize!' 'Well,' said

the shepherd, 'if you are so fond of her, I will change my cow for your

horse; I like to do good to my neighbours, even though I lose by it

myself.' 'Done!' said Hans, merrily. 'What a noble heart that good man

has!' thought he. Then the shepherd jumped upon the horse, wished Hans

and the cow good morning, and away he rode.

 

Hans brushed his coat, wiped his face and hands, rested a while, and

then drove off his cow quietly, and thought his bargain a very lucky

one. 'If I have only a piece of bread (and I certainly shall always be

able to get that), I can, whenever I like, eat my butter and cheese with

it; and when I am thirsty I can milk my cow and drink the milk: and what

can I wish for more?' When he came to an inn, he halted, ate up all his

bread, and gave away his last penny for a glass of beer. When he had

rested himself he set off again, driving his cow towards his mother's

village. But the heat grew greater as soon as noon came on, till at

last, as he found himself on a wide heath that would take him more than

an hour to cross, he began to be so hot and parched that his tongue

clave to the roof of his mouth. 'I can find a cure for this,' thought

he; 'now I will milk my cow and quench my thirst': so he tied her to the

stump of a tree, and held his leathern cap to milk into; but not a drop

was to be had. Who would have thought that this cow, which was to bring

him milk and butter and cheese, was all that time utterly dry? Hans had

not thought of looking to that.

 

While he was trying his luck in milking, and managing the matter very

clumsily, the uneasy beast began to think him very troublesome; and at

last gave him such a kick on the head as knocked him down; and there he

lay a long while senseless. Luckily a butcher soon came by, driving a

pig in a wheelbarrow. 'What is the matter with you, my man?' said the

butcher, as he helped him up. Hans told him what had happened, how he

was dry, and wanted to milk his cow, but found the cow was dry too. Then

the butcher gave him a flask of ale, saying, 'There, drink and refresh

yourself; your cow will give you no milk: don't you see she is an old

beast, good for nothing but the slaughter-house?' 'Alas, alas!' said

Hans, 'who would have thought it? What a shame to take my horse, and

give me only a dry cow! If I kill her, what will she be good for? I hate

cow-beef; it is not tender enough for me. If it were a pig now--like

that fat gentleman you are driving along at his ease--one could do

something with it; it would at any rate make sausages.' 'Well,' said

the butcher, 'I don't like to say no, when one is asked to do a kind,

neighbourly thing. To please you I will change, and give you my fine fat

pig for the cow.' 'Heaven reward you for your kindness and self-denial!'

said Hans, as he gave the butcher the cow; and taking the pig off the

wheel-barrow, drove it away, holding it by the string that was tied to

its leg.

 

So on he jogged, and all seemed now to go right with him: he had met

with some misfortunes, to be sure; but he was now well repaid for all.

How could it be otherwise with such a travelling companion as he had at

last got?

 

The next man he met was a countryman carrying a fine white goose. The

countryman stopped to ask what was o'clock; this led to further chat;

and Hans told him all his luck, how he had so many good bargains, and

how all the world went gay and smiling with him. The countryman than

began to tell his tale, and said he was going to take the goose to a

christening. 'Feel,' said he, 'how heavy it is, and yet it is only eight

weeks old. Whoever roasts and eats it will find plenty of fat upon it,

it has lived so well!' 'You're right,' said Hans, as he weighed it in

his hand; 'but if you talk of fat, my pig is no trifle.' Meantime the

countryman began to look grave, and shook his head. 'Hark ye!' said he,

'my worthy friend, you seem a good sort of fellow, so I can't help doing

you a kind turn. Your pig may get you into a scrape. In the village I

just came from, the squire has had a pig stolen out of his sty. I was

dreadfully afraid when I saw you that you had got the squire's pig. If

you have, and they catch you, it will be a bad job for you. The least

they will do will be to throw you into the horse-pond. Can you swim?'

 

Poor Hans was sadly frightened. 'Good man,' cried he, 'pray get me out

of this scrape. I know nothing of where the pig was either bred or born;

but he may have been the squire's for aught I can tell: you know this

country better than I do, take my pig and give me the goose.' 'I ought

to have something into the bargain,' said the countryman; 'give a fat

goose for a pig, indeed! 'Tis not everyone would do so much for you as

that. However, I will not be hard upon you, as you are in trouble.' Then

he took the string in his hand, and drove off the pig by a side path;

while Hans went on the way homewards free from care. 'After all,'

thought he, 'that chap is pretty well taken in. I don't care whose pig

it is, but wherever it came from it has been a very good friend to me. I

have much the best of the bargain. First there will be a capital roast;

then the fat will find me in goose-grease for six months; and then there

are all the beautiful white feathers. I will put them into my pillow,

and then I am sure I shall sleep soundly without rocking. How happy my

mother will be! Talk of a pig, indeed! Give me a fine fat goose.'

 

As he came to the next village, he saw a scissor-grinder with his wheel,

working and singing,

 

'O'er hill and o'er dale

So happy I roam,

Work light and live well,

All the world is my home;

Then who so blythe, so merry as I?'

 

Hans stood looking on for a while, and at last said, 'You must be well

off, master grinder! you seem so happy at your work.' 'Yes,' said the

other, 'mine is a golden trade; a good grinder never puts his hand

into his pocket without finding money in it--but where did you get that

beautiful goose?' 'I did not buy it, I gave a pig for it.' 'And where

did you get the pig?' 'I gave a cow for it.' 'And the cow?' 'I gave a

horse for it.' 'And the horse?' 'I gave a lump of silver as big as my

head for it.' 'And the silver?' 'Oh! I worked hard for that seven long

years.' 'You have thriven well in the world hitherto,' said the grinder,

'now if you could find money in your pocket whenever you put your hand

in it, your fortune would be made.' 'Very true: but how is that to be

managed?' 'How? Why, you must turn grinder like myself,' said the other;

'you only want a grindstone; the rest will come of itself. Here is one

that is but little the worse for wear: I would not ask more than the

value of your goose for it--will you buy?' 'How can you ask?' said

Hans; 'I should be the happiest man in the world, if I could have money

whenever I put my hand in my pocket: what could I want more? there's

the goose.' 'Now,' said the grinder, as he gave him a common rough stone

that lay by his side, 'this is a most capital stone; do but work it well

enough, and you can make an old nail cut with it.'

 

Hans took the stone, and went his way with a light heart: his eyes

sparkled for joy, and he said to himself, 'Surely I must have been born

in a lucky hour; everything I could want or wish for comes of itself.

People are so kind; they seem really to think I do them a favour in

letting them make me rich, and giving me good bargains.'

 

Meantime he began to be tired, and hungry too, for he had given away his

last penny in his joy at getting the cow.

 

At last he could go no farther, for the stone tired him sadly: and he

dragged himself to the side of a river, that he might take a drink of

water, and rest a while. So he laid the stone carefully by his side on

the bank: but, as he stooped down to drink, he forgot it, pushed it a

little, and down it rolled, plump into the stream.

 

For a while he watched it sinking in the deep clear water; then sprang

up and danced for joy, and again fell upon his knees and thanked Heaven,

with tears in his eyes, for its kindness in taking away his only plague,

the ugly heavy stone.

 

'How happy am I!' cried he; 'nobody was ever so lucky as I.' Then up he

got with a light heart, free from all his troubles, and walked on till

he reached his mother's house, and told her how very easy the road to

good luck was.

 

 

 

 

JORINDA AND JORINDEL

 

There was once an old castle, that stood in the middle of a deep gloomy

wood, and in the castle lived an old fairy. Now this fairy could take

any shape she pleased. All the day long she flew about in the form of

an owl, or crept about the country like a cat; but at night she always

became an old woman again. When any young man came within a hundred

paces of her castle, he became quite fixed, and could not move a step

till she came and set him free; which she would not do till he had given

her his word never to come there again: but when any pretty maiden came

within that space she was changed into a bird, and the fairy put her

into a cage, and hung her up in a chamber in the castle. There were

seven hundred of these cages hanging in the castle, and all with

beautiful birds in them.

 

Now there was once a maiden whose name was Jorinda. She was prettier

than all the pretty girls that ever were seen before, and a shepherd

lad, whose name was Jorindel, was very fond of her, and they were soon

to be married. One day they went to walk in the wood, that they might be

alone; and Jorindel said, 'We must take care that we don't go too near

to the fairy's castle.' It was a beautiful evening; the last rays of the

setting sun shone bright through the long stems of the trees upon

the green underwood beneath, and the turtle-doves sang from the tall

birches.

 

Jorinda sat down to gaze upon the sun; Jorindel sat by her side; and

both felt sad, they knew not why; but it seemed as if they were to be

parted from one another for ever. They had wandered a long way; and when

they looked to see which way they should go home, they found themselves

at a loss to know what path to take.

 

The sun was setting fast, and already half of its circle had sunk behind

the hill: Jorindel on a sudden looked behind him, and saw through the

bushes that they had, without knowing it, sat down close under the old

walls of the castle. Then he shrank for fear, turned pale, and trembled.

Jorinda was just singing,

 

'The ring-dove sang from the willow spray,

Well-a-day! Well-a-day!

He mourn'd for the fate of his darling mate,

Well-a-day!'

 

when her song stopped suddenly. Jorindel turned to see the reason, and

beheld his Jorinda changed into a nightingale, so that her song ended

with a mournful _jug, jug_. An owl with fiery eyes flew three times

round them, and three times screamed:

 

 'Tu whu! Tu whu! Tu whu!'

 

Jorindel could not move; he stood fixed as a stone, and could neither

weep, nor speak, nor stir hand or foot. And now the sun went quite down;

the gloomy night came; the owl flew into a bush; and a moment after the

old fairy came forth pale and meagre, with staring eyes, and a nose and

chin that almost met one another.

 

She mumbled something to herself, seized the nightingale, and went away

with it in her hand. Poor Jorindel saw the nightingale was gone--but

what could he do? He could not speak, he could not move from the spot

where he stood. At last the fairy came back and sang with a hoarse

voice:

 

'Till the prisoner is fast,

And her doom is cast,

There stay! Oh, stay!

When the charm is around her,

And the spell has bound her,

Hie away! away!'

 

On a sudden Jorindel found himself free. Then he fell on his knees

before the fairy, and prayed her to give him back his dear Jorinda: but

she laughed at him, and said he should never see her again; then she

went her way.

 

He prayed, he wept, he sorrowed, but all in vain. 'Alas!' he said, 'what

will become of me?' He could not go back to his own home, so he went to

a strange village, and employed himself in keeping sheep. Many a time

did he walk round and round as near to the hated castle as he dared go,

but all in vain; he heard or saw nothing of Jorinda.

 

At last he dreamt one night that he found a beautiful purple flower,

and that in the middle of it lay a costly pearl; and he dreamt that he

plucked the flower, and went with it in his hand into the castle, and

that everything he touched with it was disenchanted, and that there he

found his Jorinda again.

 

In the morning when he awoke, he began to search over hill and dale for

this pretty flower; and eight long days he sought for it in vain: but

on the ninth day, early in the morning, he found the beautiful purple

flower; and in the middle of it was a large dewdrop, as big as a costly

pearl. Then he plucked the flower, and set out and travelled day and

night, till he came again to the castle.

 

He walked nearer than a hundred paces to it, and yet he did not become

fixed as before, but found that he could go quite close up to the door.

Jorindel was very glad indeed to see this. Then he touched the door with

the flower, and it sprang open; so that he went in through the court,

and listened when he heard so many birds singing. At last he came to the

chamber where the fairy sat, with the seven hundred birds singing in

the seven hundred cages. When she saw Jorindel she was very angry, and

screamed with rage; but she could not come within two yards of him, for

the flower he held in his hand was his safeguard. He looked around at

the birds, but alas! there were many, many nightingales, and how then

should he find out which was his Jorinda? While he was thinking what to

do, he saw the fairy had taken down one of the cages, and was making the

best of her way off through the door. He ran or flew after her, touched

the cage with the flower, and Jorinda stood before him, and threw her

arms round his neck looking as beautiful as ever, as beautiful as when

they walked together in the wood.

 

Then he touched all the other birds with the flower, so that they all

took their old forms again; and he took Jorinda home, where they were

married, and lived happily together many years: and so did a good many

other lads, whose maidens had been forced to sing in the old fairy's

cages by themselves, much longer than they liked.

 

 

 

 

THE TRAVELLING MUSICIANS

 

An honest farmer had once an ass that had been a faithful servant to him

a great many years, but was now growing old and every day more and more

unfit for work. His master therefore was tired of keeping him and

began to think of putting an end to him; but the ass, who saw that some

mischief was in the wind, took himself slyly off, and began his journey

towards the great city, 'For there,' thought he, 'I may turn musician.'

 

After he had travelled a little way, he spied a dog lying by the

roadside and panting as if he were tired. 'What makes you pant so, my

friend?' said the ass. 'Alas!' said the dog, 'my master was going to

knock me on the head, because I am old and weak, and can no longer make

myself useful to him in hunting; so I ran away; but what can I do to

earn my livelihood?' 'Hark ye!' said the ass, 'I am going to the great

city to turn musician: suppose you go with me, and try what you can

do in the same way?' The dog said he was willing, and they jogged on

together.

 

They had not gone far before they saw a cat sitting in the middle of the

road and making a most rueful face. 'Pray, my good lady,' said the ass,

'what's the matter with you? You look quite out of spirits!' 'Ah, me!'

said the cat, 'how can one be in good spirits when one's life is in

danger? Because I am beginning to grow old, and had rather lie at my

ease by the fire than run about the house after the mice, my mistress

laid hold of me, and was going to drown me; and though I have been lucky

enough to get away from her, I do not know what I am to live upon.'

'Oh,' said the ass, 'by all means go with us to the great city; you are

a good night singer, and may make your fortune as a musician.' The cat

was pleased with the thought, and joined the party.

 

Soon afterwards, as they were passing by a farmyard, they saw a cock

perched upon a gate, and screaming out with all his might and main.

'Bravo!' said the ass; 'upon my word, you make a famous noise; pray what

is all this about?' 'Why,' said the cock, 'I was just now saying that

we should have fine weather for our washing-day, and yet my mistress and

the cook don't thank me for my pains, but threaten to cut off my

head tomorrow, and make broth of me for the guests that are coming

on Sunday!' 'Heaven forbid!' said the ass, 'come with us Master

Chanticleer; it will be better, at any rate, than staying here to have

your head cut off! Besides, who knows? If we care to sing in tune, we

may get up some kind of a concert; so come along with us.' 'With all my

heart,' said the cock: so they all four went on jollily together.

 

They could not, however, reach the great city the first day; so when

night came on, they went into a wood to sleep. The ass and the dog laid

themselves down under a great tree, and the cat climbed up into the

branches; while the cock, thinking that the higher he sat the safer he

should be, flew up to the very top of the tree, and then, according to

his custom, before he went to sleep, looked out on all sides of him to

see that everything was well. In doing this, he saw afar off something

bright and shining and calling to his companions said, 'There must be a

house no great way off, for I see a light.' 'If that be the case,' said

the ass, 'we had better change our quarters, for our lodging is not the

best in the world!' 'Besides,' added the dog, 'I should not be the

worse for a bone or two, or a bit of meat.' So they walked off together

towards the spot where Chanticleer had seen the light, and as they drew

near it became larger and brighter, till they at last came close to a

house in which a gang of robbers lived.

 

The ass, being the tallest of the company, marched up to the window and

peeped in. 'Well, Donkey,' said Chanticleer, 'what do you see?' 'What

do I see?' replied the ass. 'Why, I see a table spread with all kinds of

good things, and robbers sitting round it making merry.' 'That would

be a noble lodging for us,' said the cock. 'Yes,' said the ass, 'if we

could only get in'; so they consulted together how they should contrive

to get the robbers out; and at last they hit upon a plan. The ass placed

himself upright on his hind legs, with his forefeet resting against the

window; the dog got upon his back; the cat scrambled up to the dog's

shoulders, and the cock flew up and sat upon the cat's head. When

all was ready a signal was given, and they began their music. The ass

brayed, the dog barked, the cat mewed, and the cock screamed; and then

they all broke through the window at once, and came tumbling into

the room, amongst the broken glass, with a most hideous clatter! The

robbers, who had been not a little frightened by the opening concert,

had now no doubt that some frightful hobgoblin had broken in upon them,

and scampered away as fast as they could.

 

The coast once clear, our travellers soon sat down and dispatched what

the robbers had left, with as much eagerness as if they had not expected

to eat again for a month. As soon as they had satisfied themselves, they

put out the lights, and each once more sought out a resting-place to

his own liking. The donkey laid himself down upon a heap of straw in

the yard, the dog stretched himself upon a mat behind the door, the

cat rolled herself up on the hearth before the warm ashes, and the

cock perched upon a beam on the top of the house; and, as they were all

rather tired with their journey, they soon fell asleep.

 

But about midnight, when the robbers saw from afar that the lights were

out and that all seemed quiet, they began to think that they had been in

too great a hurry to run away; and one of them, who was bolder than

the rest, went to see what was going on. Finding everything still, he

marched into the kitchen, and groped about till he found a match in

order to light a candle; and then, espying the glittering fiery eyes of

the cat, he mistook them for live coals, and held the match to them to

light it. But the cat, not understanding this joke, sprang at his face,

and spat, and scratched at him. This frightened him dreadfully, and away

he ran to the back door; but there the dog jumped up and bit him in the

leg; and as he was crossing over the yard the ass kicked him; and the

cock, who had been awakened by the noise, crowed with all his might. At

this the robber ran back as fast as he could to his comrades, and told

the captain how a horrid witch had got into the house, and had spat at

him and scratched his face with her long bony fingers; how a man with a

knife in his hand had hidden himself behind the door, and stabbed him

in the leg; how a black monster stood in the yard and struck him with a

club, and how the devil had sat upon the top of the house and cried out,

'Throw the rascal up here!' After this the robbers never dared to go

back to the house; but the musicians were so pleased with their quarters

that they took up their abode there; and there they are, I dare say, at

this very day.

 

 

 

 

OLD SULTAN

 

A shepherd had a faithful dog, called Sultan, who was grown very old,

and had lost all his teeth. And one day when the shepherd and his wife

were standing together before the house the shepherd said, 'I will shoot

old Sultan tomorrow morning, for he is of no use now.' But his wife

said, 'Pray let the poor faithful creature live; he has served us well a

great many years, and we ought to give him a livelihood for the rest of

his days.' 'But what can we do with him?' said the shepherd, 'he has not

a tooth in his head, and the thieves don't care for him at all; to

be sure he has served us, but then he did it to earn his livelihood;

tomorrow shall be his last day, depend upon it.'

 

Poor Sultan, who was lying close by them, heard all that the shepherd

and his wife said to one another, and was very much frightened to think

tomorrow would be his last day; so in the evening he went to his good

friend the wolf, who lived in the wood, and told him all his sorrows,

and how his master meant to kill him in the morning. 'Make yourself

easy,' said the wolf, 'I will give you some good advice. Your master,

you know, goes out every morning very early with his wife into the

field; and they take their little child with them, and lay it down

behind the hedge in the shade while they are at work. Now do you lie

down close by the child, and pretend to be watching it, and I will come

out of the wood and run away with it; you must run after me as fast as

you can, and I will let it drop; then you may carry it back, and they

will think you have saved their child, and will be so thankful to you

that they will take care of you as long as you live.' The dog liked this

plan very well; and accordingly so it was managed. The wolf ran with the

child a little way; the shepherd and his wife screamed out; but Sultan

soon overtook him, and carried the poor little thing back to his master

and mistress. Then the shepherd patted him on the head, and said, 'Old

Sultan has saved our child from the wolf, and therefore he shall live

and be well taken care of, and have plenty to eat. Wife, go home, and

give him a good dinner, and let him have my old cushion to sleep on

as long as he lives.' So from this time forward Sultan had all that he

could wish for.

 

Soon afterwards the wolf came and wished him joy, and said, 'Now, my

good fellow, you must tell no tales, but turn your head the other way

when I want to taste one of the old shepherd's fine fat sheep.' 'No,'

said the Sultan; 'I will be true to my master.' However, the wolf

thought he was in joke, and came one night to get a dainty morsel. But

Sultan had told his master what the wolf meant to do; so he laid wait

for him behind the barn door, and when the wolf was busy looking out for

a good fat sheep, he had a stout cudgel laid about his back, that combed

his locks for him finely.

 

Then the wolf was very angry, and called Sultan 'an old rogue,' and

swore he would have his revenge. So the next morning the wolf sent the

boar to challenge Sultan to come into the wood to fight the matter. Now

Sultan had nobody he could ask to be his second but the shepherd's old

three-legged cat; so he took her with him, and as the poor thing limped

along with some trouble, she stuck up her tail straight in the air.

 

The wolf and the wild boar were first on the ground; and when they

espied their enemies coming, and saw the cat's long tail standing

straight in the air, they thought she was carrying a sword for Sultan to

fight with; and every time she limped, they thought she was picking up

a stone to throw at them; so they said they should not like this way of

fighting, and the boar lay down behind a bush, and the wolf jumped

up into a tree. Sultan and the cat soon came up, and looked about and

wondered that no one was there. The boar, however, had not quite hidden

himself, for his ears stuck out of the bush; and when he shook one of

them a little, the cat, seeing something move, and thinking it was a

mouse, sprang upon it, and bit and scratched it, so that the boar jumped

up and grunted, and ran away, roaring out, 'Look up in the tree, there

sits the one who is to blame.' So they looked up, and espied the wolf

sitting amongst the branches; and they called him a cowardly rascal,

and would not suffer him to come down till he was heartily ashamed of

himself, and had promised to be good friends again with old Sultan.

 

 

 

 

THE STRAW, THE COAL, AND THE BEAN

 

In a village dwelt a poor old woman, who had gathered together a dish

of beans and wanted to cook them. So she made a fire on her hearth, and

that it might burn the quicker, she lighted it with a handful of straw.

When she was emptying the beans into the pan, one dropped without her

observing it, and lay on the ground beside a straw, and soon afterwards

a burning coal from the fire leapt down to the two. Then the straw

began and said: 'Dear friends, from whence do you come here?' The coal

replied: 'I fortunately sprang out of the fire, and if I had not escaped

by sheer force, my death would have been certain,--I should have been

burnt to ashes.' The bean said: 'I too have escaped with a whole skin,

but if the old woman had got me into the pan, I should have been made

into broth without any mercy, like my comrades.' 'And would a better

fate have fallen to my lot?' said the straw. 'The old woman has

destroyed all my brethren in fire and smoke; she seized sixty of them at

once, and took their lives. I luckily slipped through her fingers.'

 

'But what are we to do now?' said the coal.

 

'I think,' answered the bean, 'that as we have so fortunately escaped

death, we should keep together like good companions, and lest a new

mischance should overtake us here, we should go away together, and

repair to a foreign country.'

 

The proposition pleased the two others, and they set out on their way

together. Soon, however, they came to a little brook, and as there was

no bridge or foot-plank, they did not know how they were to get over

it. The straw hit on a good idea, and said: 'I will lay myself straight

across, and then you can walk over on me as on a bridge.' The straw

therefore stretched itself from one bank to the other, and the coal,

who was of an impetuous disposition, tripped quite boldly on to the

newly-built bridge. But when she had reached the middle, and heard the

water rushing beneath her, she was after all, afraid, and stood still,

and ventured no farther. The straw, however, began to burn, broke in

two pieces, and fell into the stream. The coal slipped after her, hissed

when she got into the water, and breathed her last. The bean, who had

prudently stayed behind on the shore, could not but laugh at the event,

was unable to stop, and laughed so heartily that she burst. It would

have been all over with her, likewise, if, by good fortune, a tailor who

was travelling in search of work, had not sat down to rest by the brook.

As he had a compassionate heart he pulled out his needle and thread,

and sewed her together. The bean thanked him most prettily, but as the

tailor used black thread, all beans since then have a black seam.

 

 

 

 

BRIAR ROSE

 

A king and queen once upon a time reigned in a country a great way off,

where there were in those days fairies. Now this king and queen had

plenty of money, and plenty of fine clothes to wear, and plenty of

good things to eat and drink, and a coach to ride out in every day: but

though they had been married many years they had no children, and this

grieved them very much indeed. But one day as the queen was walking

by the side of the river, at the bottom of the garden, she saw a poor

little fish, that had thrown itself out of the water, and lay gasping

and nearly dead on the bank. Then the queen took pity on the little

fish, and threw it back again into the river; and before it swam away

it lifted its head out of the water and said, 'I know what your wish is,

and it shall be fulfilled, in return for your kindness to me--you will

soon have a daughter.' What the little fish had foretold soon came to

pass; and the queen had a little girl, so very beautiful that the king

could not cease looking on it for joy, and said he would hold a great

feast and make merry, and show the child to all the land. So he asked

his kinsmen, and nobles, and friends, and neighbours. But the queen

said, 'I will have the fairies also, that they might be kind and good

to our little daughter.' Now there were thirteen fairies in the kingdom;

but as the king and queen had only twelve golden dishes for them to eat

out of, they were forced to leave one of the fairies without asking her.

So twelve fairies came, each with a high red cap on her head, and red

shoes with high heels on her feet, and a long white wand in her hand:

and after the feast was over they gathered round in a ring and gave all

their best gifts to the little princess. One gave her goodness, another

beauty, another riches, and so on till she had all that was good in the

world.

 

Just as eleven of them had done blessing her, a great noise was heard in

the courtyard, and word was brought that the thirteenth fairy was

come, with a black cap on her head, and black shoes on her feet, and a

broomstick in her hand: and presently up she came into the dining-hall.

Now, as she had not been asked to the feast she was very angry, and

scolded the king and queen very much, and set to work to take her

revenge. So she cried out, 'The king's daughter shall, in her fifteenth

year, be wounded by a spindle, and fall down dead.' Then the twelfth of

the friendly fairies, who had not yet given her gift, came forward, and

said that the evil wish must be fulfilled, but that she could soften its

mischief; so her gift was, that the king's daughter, when the spindle

wounded her, should not really die, but should only fall asleep for a

hundred years.

 

However, the king hoped still to save his dear child altogether from

the threatened evil; so he ordered that all the spindles in the kingdom

should be bought up and burnt. But all the gifts of the first eleven

fairies were in the meantime fulfilled; for the princess was so

beautiful, and well behaved, and good, and wise, that everyone who knew

her loved her.

 

It happened that, on the very day she was fifteen years old, the king

and queen were not at home, and she was left alone in the palace. So she

roved about by herself, and looked at all the rooms and chambers, till

at last she came to an old tower, to which there was a narrow staircase

ending with a little door. In the door there was a golden key, and when

she turned it the door sprang open, and there sat an old lady spinning

away very busily. 'Why, how now, good mother,' said the princess; 'what

are you doing there?' 'Spinning,' said the old lady, and nodded her

head, humming a tune, while buzz! went the wheel. 'How prettily that

little thing turns round!' said the princess, and took the spindle

and began to try and spin. But scarcely had she touched it, before the

fairy's prophecy was fulfilled; the spindle wounded her, and she fell

down lifeless on the ground.

 

However, she was not dead, but had only fallen into a deep sleep; and

the king and the queen, who had just come home, and all their court,

fell asleep too; and the horses slept in the stables, and the dogs in

the court, the pigeons on the house-top, and the very flies slept upon

the walls. Even the fire on the hearth left off blazing, and went to

sleep; the jack stopped, and the spit that was turning about with a

goose upon it for the king's dinner stood still; and the cook, who was

at that moment pulling the kitchen-boy by the hair to give him a box

on the ear for something he had done amiss, let him go, and both fell

asleep; the butler, who was slyly tasting the ale, fell asleep with the

jug at his lips: and thus everything stood still, and slept soundly.

 

A large hedge of thorns soon grew round the palace, and every year it

became higher and thicker; till at last the old palace was surrounded

and hidden, so that not even the roof or the chimneys could be seen. But

there went a report through all the land of the beautiful sleeping Briar

Rose (for so the king's daughter was called): so that, from time to

time, several kings' sons came, and tried to break through the thicket

into the palace. This, however, none of them could ever do; for the

thorns and bushes laid hold of them, as it were with hands; and there

they stuck fast, and died wretchedly.

 

After many, many years there came a king's son into that land: and an

old man told him the story of the thicket of thorns; and how a beautiful

palace stood behind it, and how a wonderful princess, called Briar Rose,

lay in it asleep, with all her court. He told, too, how he had heard

from his grandfather that many, many princes had come, and had tried to

break through the thicket, but that they had all stuck fast in it, and

died. Then the young prince said, 'All this shall not frighten me; I

will go and see this Briar Rose.' The old man tried to hinder him, but

he was bent upon going.

 

Now that very day the hundred years were ended; and as the prince came

to the thicket he saw nothing but beautiful flowering shrubs, through

which he went with ease, and they shut in after him as thick as ever.

Then he came at last to the palace, and there in the court lay the dogs

asleep; and the horses were standing in the stables; and on the roof sat

the pigeons fast asleep, with their heads under their wings. And when he

came into the palace, the flies were sleeping on the walls; the spit

was standing still; the butler had the jug of ale at his lips, going

to drink a draught; the maid sat with a fowl in her lap ready to be

plucked; and the cook in the kitchen was still holding up her hand, as

if she was going to beat the boy.

 

Then he went on still farther, and all was so still that he could hear

every breath he drew; till at last he came to the old tower, and opened

the door of the little room in which Briar Rose was; and there she lay,

fast asleep on a couch by the window. She looked so beautiful that he

could not take his eyes off her, so he stooped down and gave her a kiss.

But the moment he kissed her she opened her eyes and awoke, and smiled

upon him; and they went out together; and soon the king and queen also

awoke, and all the court, and gazed on each other with great wonder.

And the horses shook themselves, and the dogs jumped up and barked; the

pigeons took their heads from under their wings, and looked about and

flew into the fields; the flies on the walls buzzed again; the fire in

the kitchen blazed up; round went the jack, and round went the spit,

with the goose for the king's dinner upon it; the butler finished his

draught of ale; the maid went on plucking the fowl; and the cook gave

the boy the box on his ear.

 

And then the prince and Briar Rose were married, and the wedding feast

was given; and they lived happily together all their lives long.

 

 

 

 

THE DOG AND THE SPARROW

 

A shepherd's dog had a master who took no care of him, but often let him

suffer the greatest hunger. At last he could bear it no longer; so he

took to his heels, and off he ran in a very sad and sorrowful mood.

On the road he met a sparrow that said to him, 'Why are you so sad,

my friend?' 'Because,' said the dog, 'I am very very hungry, and have

nothing to eat.' 'If that be all,' answered the sparrow, 'come with me

into the next town, and I will soon find you plenty of food.' So on they

went together into the town: and as they passed by a butcher's shop,

the sparrow said to the dog, 'Stand there a little while till I peck you

down a piece of meat.' So the sparrow perched upon the shelf: and having

first looked carefully about her to see if anyone was watching her, she

pecked and scratched at a steak that lay upon the edge of the shelf,

till at last down it fell. Then the dog snapped it up, and scrambled

away with it into a corner, where he soon ate it all up. 'Well,' said

the sparrow, 'you shall have some more if you will; so come with me to

the next shop, and I will peck you down another steak.' When the dog had

eaten this too, the sparrow said to him, 'Well, my good friend, have you

had enough now?' 'I have had plenty of meat,' answered he, 'but I should

like to have a piece of bread to eat after it.' 'Come with me then,'

said the sparrow, 'and you shall soon have that too.' So she took him

to a baker's shop, and pecked at two rolls that lay in the window, till

they fell down: and as the dog still wished for more, she took him to

another shop and pecked down some more for him. When that was eaten, the

sparrow asked him whether he had had enough now. 'Yes,' said he; 'and

now let us take a walk a little way out of the town.' So they both went

out upon the high road; but as the weather was warm, they had not gone

far before the dog said, 'I am very much tired--I should like to take a

nap.' 'Very well,' answered the sparrow, 'do so, and in the meantime

I will perch upon that bush.' So the dog stretched himself out on the

road, and fell fast asleep. Whilst he slept, there came by a carter with

a cart drawn by three horses, and loaded with two casks of wine. The

sparrow, seeing that the carter did not turn out of the way, but would

go on in the track in which the dog lay, so as to drive over him, called

out, 'Stop! stop! Mr Carter, or it shall be the worse for you.' But the

carter, grumbling to himself, 'You make it the worse for me, indeed!

what can you do?' cracked his whip, and drove his cart over the poor

dog, so that the wheels crushed him to death. 'There,' cried the

sparrow, 'thou cruel villain, thou hast killed my friend the dog. Now

mind what I say. This deed of thine shall cost thee all thou art worth.'

'Do your worst, and welcome,' said the brute, 'what harm can you do me?'

and passed on. But the sparrow crept under the tilt of the cart, and

pecked at the bung of one of the casks till she loosened it; and than

all the wine ran out, without the carter seeing it. At last he looked

round, and saw that the cart was dripping, and the cask quite empty.

'What an unlucky wretch I am!' cried he. 'Not wretch enough yet!' said

the sparrow, as she alighted upon the head of one of the horses, and

pecked at him till he reared up and kicked. When the carter saw this,

he drew out his hatchet and aimed a blow at the sparrow, meaning to kill

her; but she flew away, and the blow fell upon the poor horse's head

with such force, that he fell down dead. 'Unlucky wretch that I am!'

cried he. 'Not wretch enough yet!' said the sparrow. And as the carter

went on with the other two horses, she again crept under the tilt of the

cart, and pecked out the bung of the second cask, so that all the wine

ran out. When the carter saw this, he again cried out, 'Miserable wretch

that I am!' But the sparrow answered, 'Not wretch enough yet!' and

perched on the head of the second horse, and pecked at him too. The

carter ran up and struck at her again with his hatchet; but away she

flew, and the blow fell upon the second horse and killed him on the

spot. 'Unlucky wretch that I am!' said he. 'Not wretch enough yet!' said

the sparrow; and perching upon the third horse, she began to peck him

too. The carter was mad with fury; and without looking about him, or

caring what he was about, struck again at the sparrow; but killed his

third horse as he done the other two. 'Alas! miserable wretch that I

am!' cried he. 'Not wretch enough yet!' answered the sparrow as she flew

away; 'now will I plague and punish thee at thy own house.' The

carter was forced at last to leave his cart behind him, and to go home

overflowing with rage and vexation. 'Alas!' said he to his wife, 'what

ill luck has befallen me!--my wine is all spilt, and my horses all three

dead.' 'Alas! husband,' replied she, 'and a wicked bird has come into

the house, and has brought with her all the birds in the world, I am

sure, and they have fallen upon our corn in the loft, and are eating it

up at such a rate!' Away ran the husband upstairs, and saw thousands of

birds sitting upon the floor eating up his corn, with the sparrow in the

midst of them. 'Unlucky wretch that I am!' cried the carter; for he saw

that the corn was almost all gone. 'Not wretch enough yet!' said the

sparrow; 'thy cruelty shall cost thee they life yet!' and away she flew.

 

The carter seeing that he had thus lost all that he had, went down

into his kitchen; and was still not sorry for what he had done, but sat

himself angrily and sulkily in the chimney corner. But the sparrow sat

on the outside of the window, and cried 'Carter! thy cruelty shall cost

thee thy life!' With that he jumped up in a rage, seized his hatchet,

and threw it at the sparrow; but it missed her, and only broke the

window. The sparrow now hopped in, perched upon the window-seat, and

cried, 'Carter! it shall cost thee thy life!' Then he became mad and

blind with rage, and struck the window-seat with such force that he

cleft it in two: and as the sparrow flew from place to place, the carter

and his wife were so furious, that they broke all their furniture,

glasses, chairs, benches, the table, and at last the walls, without

touching the bird at all. In the end, however, they caught her: and the

wife said, 'Shall I kill her at once?' 'No,' cried he, 'that is letting

her off too easily: she shall die a much more cruel death; I will eat

her.' But the sparrow began to flutter about, and stretch out her neck

and cried, 'Carter! it shall cost thee thy life yet!' With that he

could wait no longer: so he gave his wife the hatchet, and cried, 'Wife,

strike at the bird and kill her in my hand.' And the wife struck; but

she missed her aim, and hit her husband on the head so that he fell down

dead, and the sparrow flew quietly home to her nest.

 

 

 

 

THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES

 

There was a king who had twelve beautiful daughters. They slept in

twelve beds all in one room; and when they went to bed, the doors were

shut and locked up; but every morning their shoes were found to be quite

worn through as if they had been danced in all night; and yet nobody

could find out how it happened, or where they had been.

 

Then the king made it known to all the land, that if any person could

discover the secret, and find out where it was that the princesses

danced in the night, he should have the one he liked best for his

wife, and should be king after his death; but whoever tried and did not

succeed, after three days and nights, should be put to death.

 

A king's son soon came. He was well entertained, and in the evening was

taken to the chamber next to the one where the princesses lay in their

twelve beds. There he was to sit and watch where they went to dance;

and, in order that nothing might pass without his hearing it, the door

of his chamber was left open. But the king's son soon fell asleep; and

when he awoke in the morning he found that the princesses had all been

dancing, for the soles of their shoes were full of holes. The same thing

happened the second and third night: so the king ordered his head to be

cut off. After him came several others; but they had all the same luck,

and all lost their lives in the same manner.

 

Now it chanced that an old soldier, who had been wounded in battle

and could fight no longer, passed through the country where this king

reigned: and as he was travelling through a wood, he met an old woman,

who asked him where he was going. 'I hardly know where I am going, or

what I had better do,' said the soldier; 'but I think I should like very

well to find out where it is that the princesses dance, and then in time

I might be a king.' 'Well,' said the old dame, 'that is no very hard

task: only take care not to drink any of the wine which one of the

princesses will bring to you in the evening; and as soon as she leaves

you pretend to be fast asleep.'

 

Then she gave him a cloak, and said, 'As soon as you put that on

you will become invisible, and you will then be able to follow the

princesses wherever they go.' When the soldier heard all this good

counsel, he determined to try his luck: so he went to the king, and said

he was willing to undertake the task.

 

He was as well received as the others had been, and the king ordered

fine royal robes to be given him; and when the evening came he was led

to the outer chamber. Just as he was going to lie down, the eldest of

the princesses brought him a cup of wine; but the soldier threw it all

away secretly, taking care not to drink a drop. Then he laid himself

down on his bed, and in a little while began to snore very loud as if

he was fast asleep. When the twelve princesses heard this they laughed

heartily; and the eldest said, 'This fellow too might have done a wiser

thing than lose his life in this way!' Then they rose up and opened

their drawers and boxes, and took out all their fine clothes, and

dressed themselves at the glass, and skipped about as if they were eager

to begin dancing. But the youngest said, 'I don't know how it is, while

you are so happy I feel very uneasy; I am sure some mischance will

befall us.' 'You simpleton,' said the eldest, 'you are always afraid;

have you forgotten how many kings' sons have already watched in vain?

And as for this soldier, even if I had not given him his sleeping

draught, he would have slept soundly enough.'

 

When they were all ready, they went and looked at the soldier; but he

snored on, and did not stir hand or foot: so they thought they were

quite safe; and the eldest went up to her own bed and clapped her hands,

and the bed sank into the floor and a trap-door flew open. The soldier

saw them going down through the trap-door one after another, the eldest

leading the way; and thinking he had no time to lose, he jumped up, put

on the cloak which the old woman had given him, and followed them;

but in the middle of the stairs he trod on the gown of the youngest

princess, and she cried out to her sisters, 'All is not right; someone

took hold of my gown.' 'You silly creature!' said the eldest, 'it is

nothing but a nail in the wall.' Then down they all went, and at the

bottom they found themselves in a most delightful grove of trees; and

the leaves were all of silver, and glittered and sparkled beautifully.

The soldier wished to take away some token of the place; so he broke

off a little branch, and there came a loud noise from the tree. Then the

youngest daughter said again, 'I am sure all is not right--did not you

hear that noise? That never happened before.' But the eldest said, 'It

is only our princes, who are shouting for joy at our approach.'

 

Then they came to another grove of trees, where all the leaves were of

gold; and afterwards to a third, where the leaves were all glittering

diamonds. And the soldier broke a branch from each; and every time there

was a loud noise, which made the youngest sister tremble with fear; but

the eldest still said, it was only the princes, who were crying for joy.

So they went on till they came to a great lake; and at the side of the

lake there lay twelve little boats with twelve handsome princes in them,

who seemed to be waiting there for the princesses.

 

One of the princesses went into each boat, and the soldier stepped into

the same boat with the youngest. As they were rowing over the lake, the

prince who was in the boat with the youngest princess and the soldier

said, 'I do not know why it is, but though I am rowing with all my might

we do not get on so fast as usual, and I am quite tired: the boat

seems very heavy today.' 'It is only the heat of the weather,' said the

princess: 'I feel it very warm too.'

 

On the other side of the lake stood a fine illuminated castle, from

which came the merry music of horns and trumpets. There they all landed,

and went into the castle, and each prince danced with his princess; and

the soldier, who was all the time invisible, danced with them too; and

when any of the princesses had a cup of wine set by her, he drank it

all up, so that when she put the cup to her mouth it was empty. At this,

too, the youngest sister was terribly frightened, but the eldest always

silenced her. They danced on till three o'clock in the morning, and then

all their shoes were worn out, so that they were obliged to leave off.

The princes rowed them back again over the lake (but this time the

soldier placed himself in the boat with the eldest princess); and on the

opposite shore they took leave of each other, the princesses promising

to come again the next night.

 

When they came to the stairs, the soldier ran on before the princesses,

and laid himself down; and as the twelve sisters slowly came up very

much tired, they heard him snoring in his bed; so they said, 'Now all

is quite safe'; then they undressed themselves, put away their fine

clothes, pulled off their shoes, and went to bed. In the morning the

soldier said nothing about what had happened, but determined to see more

of this strange adventure, and went again the second and third night;

and every thing happened just as before; the princesses danced each time

till their shoes were worn to pieces, and then returned home. However,

on the third night the soldier carried away one of the golden cups as a

token of where he had been.

 

As soon as the time came when he was to declare the secret, he was taken

before the king with the three branches and the golden cup; and the

twelve princesses stood listening behind the door to hear what he would

say. And when the king asked him. 'Where do my twelve daughters dance at

night?' he answered, 'With twelve princes in a castle under ground.' And

then he told the king all that had happened, and showed him the three

branches and the golden cup which he had brought with him. Then the king

called for the princesses, and asked them whether what the soldier said

was true: and when they saw that they were discovered, and that it was

of no use to deny what had happened, they confessed it all. And the king

asked the soldier which of them he would choose for his wife; and he

answered, 'I am not very young, so I will have the eldest.'--And they

were married that very day, and the soldier was chosen to be the king's

heir.

 

 

 

 

THE FISHERMAN AND HIS WIFE

 

There was once a fisherman who lived with his wife in a pigsty, close

by the seaside. The fisherman used to go out all day long a-fishing; and

one day, as he sat on the shore with his rod, looking at the sparkling

waves and watching his line, all on a sudden his float was dragged away

deep into the water: and in drawing it up he pulled out a great fish.

But the fish said, 'Pray let me live! I am not a real fish; I am an

enchanted prince: put me in the water again, and let me go!' 'Oh, ho!'

said the man, 'you need not make so many words about the matter; I will

have nothing to do with a fish that can talk: so swim away, sir, as soon

as you please!' Then he put him back into the water, and the fish darted

straight down to the bottom, and left a long streak of blood behind him

on the wave.

 

When the fisherman went home to his wife in the pigsty, he told her how

he had caught a great fish, and how it had told him it was an enchanted

prince, and how, on hearing it speak, he had let it go again. 'Did not

you ask it for anything?' said the wife, 'we live very wretchedly here,

in this nasty dirty pigsty; do go back and tell the fish we want a snug

little cottage.'

 

The fisherman did not much like the business: however, he went to the

seashore; and when he came back there the water looked all yellow and

green. And he stood at the water's edge, and said:

 

'O man of the sea!

Hearken to me!

My wife Ilsabill

Will have her own will,

And hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!'

 

Then the fish came swimming to him, and said, 'Well, what is her will?

What does your wife want?' 'Ah!' said the fisherman, 'she says that when

I had caught you, I ought to have asked you for something before I let

you go; she does not like living any longer in the pigsty, and wants

a snug little cottage.' 'Go home, then,' said the fish; 'she is in the

cottage already!' So the man went home, and saw his wife standing at the

door of a nice trim little cottage. 'Come in, come in!' said she; 'is

not this much better than the filthy pigsty we had?' And there was a

parlour, and a bedchamber, and a kitchen; and behind the cottage there

was a little garden, planted with all sorts of flowers and fruits; and

there was a courtyard behind, full of ducks and chickens. 'Ah!' said the

fisherman, 'how happily we shall live now!' 'We will try to do so, at

least,' said his wife.

 

Everything went right for a week or two, and then Dame Ilsabill said,

'Husband, there is not near room enough for us in this cottage; the

courtyard and the garden are a great deal too small; I should like to

have a large stone castle to live in: go to the fish again and tell him

to give us a castle.' 'Wife,' said the fisherman, 'I don't like to go to

him again, for perhaps he will be angry; we ought to be easy with this

pretty cottage to live in.' 'Nonsense!' said the wife; 'he will do it

very willingly, I know; go along and try!'

 

The fisherman went, but his heart was very heavy: and when he came to

the sea, it looked blue and gloomy, though it was very calm; and he went

close to the edge of the waves, and said:

 

'O man of the sea!

Hearken to me!

My wife Ilsabill

Will have her own will,

And hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!'

 

'Well, what does she want now?' said the fish. 'Ah!' said the man,

dolefully, 'my wife wants to live in a stone castle.' 'Go home, then,'

said the fish; 'she is standing at the gate of it already.' So away went

the fisherman, and found his wife standing before the gate of a great

castle. 'See,' said she, 'is not this grand?' With that they went into

the castle together, and found a great many servants there, and the

rooms all richly furnished, and full of golden chairs and tables; and

behind the castle was a garden, and around it was a park half a

mile long, full of sheep, and goats, and hares, and deer; and in the

courtyard were stables and cow-houses. 'Well,' said the man, 'now we

will live cheerful and happy in this beautiful castle for the rest of

our lives.' 'Perhaps we may,' said the wife; 'but let us sleep upon it,

before we make up our minds to that.' So they went to bed.

 

The next morning when Dame Ilsabill awoke it was broad daylight, and

she jogged the fisherman with her elbow, and said, 'Get up, husband,

and bestir yourself, for we must be king of all the land.' 'Wife, wife,'

said the man, 'why should we wish to be the king? I will not be king.'

'Then I will,' said she. 'But, wife,' said the fisherman, 'how can you

be king--the fish cannot make you a king?' 'Husband,' said she, 'say

no more about it, but go and try! I will be king.' So the man went away

quite sorrowful to think that his wife should want to be king. This time

the sea looked a dark grey colour, and was overspread with curling waves

and the ridges of foam as he cried out:

 

'O man of the sea!

Hearken to me!

My wife Ilsabill

Will have her own will,

And hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!'

 

'Well, what would she have now?' said the fish. 'Alas!' said the poor

man, 'my wife wants to be king.' 'Go home,' said the fish; 'she is king

already.'

 

Then the fisherman went home; and as he came close to the palace he saw

a troop of soldiers, and heard the sound of drums and trumpets. And when

he went in he saw his wife sitting on a throne of gold and diamonds,

with a golden crown upon her head; and on each side of her stood six

fair maidens, each a head taller than the other. 'Well, wife,' said the

fisherman, 'are you king?' 'Yes,' said she, 'I am king.' And when he had

looked at her for a long time, he said, 'Ah, wife! what a fine thing it

is to be king! Now we shall never have anything more to wish for as long

as we live.' 'I don't know how that may be,' said she; 'never is a long

time. I am king, it is true; but I begin to be tired of that, and I

think I should like to be emperor.' 'Alas, wife! why should you wish to

be emperor?' said the fisherman. 'Husband,' said she, 'go to the fish!

I say I will be emperor.' 'Ah, wife!' replied the fisherman, 'the fish

cannot make an emperor, I am sure, and I should not like to ask him for

such a thing.' 'I am king,' said Ilsabill, 'and you are my slave; so go

at once!'

 

So the fisherman was forced to go; and he muttered as he went along,

'This will come to no good, it is too much to ask; the fish will be

tired at last, and then we shall be sorry for what we have done.' He

soon came to the seashore; and the water was quite black and muddy, and

a mighty whirlwind blew over the waves and rolled them about, but he

went as near as he could to the water's brink, and said:

 

'O man of the sea!

Hearken to me!

My wife Ilsabill

Will have her own will,

And hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!'

 

'What would she have now?' said the fish. 'Ah!' said the fisherman,

'she wants to be emperor.' 'Go home,' said the fish; 'she is emperor

already.'

 

So he went home again; and as he came near he saw his wife Ilsabill

sitting on a very lofty throne made of solid gold, with a great crown on

her head full two yards high; and on each side of her stood her guards

and attendants in a row, each one smaller than the other, from the

tallest giant down to a little dwarf no bigger than my finger. And

before her stood princes, and dukes, and earls: and the fisherman went

up to her and said, 'Wife, are you emperor?' 'Yes,' said she, 'I am

emperor.' 'Ah!' said the man, as he gazed upon her, 'what a fine thing

it is to be emperor!' 'Husband,' said she, 'why should we stop at being

emperor? I will be pope next.' 'O wife, wife!' said he, 'how can you be

pope? there is but one pope at a time in Christendom.' 'Husband,' said

she, 'I will be pope this very day.' 'But,' replied the husband, 'the

fish cannot make you pope.' 'What nonsense!' said she; 'if he can make

an emperor, he can make a pope: go and try him.'

 

So the fisherman went. But when he came to the shore the wind was raging

and the sea was tossed up and down in boiling waves, and the ships were

in trouble, and rolled fearfully upon the tops of the billows. In the

middle of the heavens there was a little piece of blue sky, but towards

the south all was red, as if a dreadful storm was rising. At this sight

the fisherman was dreadfully frightened, and he trembled so that his

knees knocked together: but still he went down near to the shore, and

said:

 

'O man of the sea!

Hearken to me!

My wife Ilsabill

Will have her own will,

And hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!'

 

'What does she want now?' said the fish. 'Ah!' said the fisherman, 'my

wife wants to be pope.' 'Go home,' said the fish; 'she is pope already.'

 

Then the fisherman went home, and found Ilsabill sitting on a throne

that was two miles high. And she had three great crowns on her head, and

around her stood all the pomp and power of the Church. And on each side

of her were two rows of burning lights, of all sizes, the greatest as

large as the highest and biggest tower in the world, and the least no

larger than a small rushlight. 'Wife,' said the fisherman, as he looked

at all this greatness, 'are you pope?' 'Yes,' said she, 'I am pope.'

'Well, wife,' replied he, 'it is a grand thing to be pope; and now

you must be easy, for you can be nothing greater.' 'I will think about

that,' said the wife. Then they went to bed: but Dame Ilsabill could not

sleep all night for thinking what she should be next. At last, as she

was dropping asleep, morning broke, and the sun rose. 'Ha!' thought she,

as she woke up and looked at it through the window, 'after all I cannot

prevent the sun rising.' At this thought she was very angry, and wakened

her husband, and said, 'Husband, go to the fish and tell him I must

be lord of the sun and moon.' The fisherman was half asleep, but the

thought frightened him so much that he started and fell out of bed.

'Alas, wife!' said he, 'cannot you be easy with being pope?' 'No,'

said she, 'I am very uneasy as long as the sun and moon rise without my

leave. Go to the fish at once!'

 

Then the man went shivering with fear; and as he was going down to

the shore a dreadful storm arose, so that the trees and the very rocks

shook. And all the heavens became black with stormy clouds, and the

lightnings played, and the thunders rolled; and you might have seen in

the sea great black waves, swelling up like mountains with crowns of

white foam upon their heads. And the fisherman crept towards the sea,

and cried out, as well as he could:

 

'O man of the sea!

Hearken to me!

My wife Ilsabill

Will have her own will,

And hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!'

 

'What does she want now?' said the fish. 'Ah!' said he, 'she wants to

be lord of the sun and moon.' 'Go home,' said the fish, 'to your pigsty

again.'

 

And there they live to this very day.

 

 

 

 

THE WILLOW-WREN AND THE BEAR

 

Once in summer-time the bear and the wolf were walking in the forest,

and the bear heard a bird singing so beautifully that he said: 'Brother

wolf, what bird is it that sings so well?' 'That is the King of birds,'

said the wolf, 'before whom we must bow down.' In reality the bird was

the willow-wren. 'IF that's the case,' said the bear, 'I should very

much like to see his royal palace; come, take me thither.' 'That is not

done quite as you seem to think,' said the wolf; 'you must wait until

the Queen comes,' Soon afterwards, the Queen arrived with some food in

her beak, and the lord King came too, and they began to feed their young

ones. The bear would have liked to go at once, but the wolf held him

back by the sleeve, and said: 'No, you must wait until the lord and lady

Queen have gone away again.' So they took stock of the hole where the

nest lay, and trotted away. The bear, however, could not rest until he

had seen the royal palace, and when a short time had passed, went to it

again. The King and Queen had just flown out, so he peeped in and saw

five or six young ones lying there. 'Is that the royal palace?' cried

the bear; 'it is a wretched palace, and you are not King's children, you

are disreputable children!' When the young wrens heard that, they were

frightfully angry, and screamed: 'No, that we are not! Our parents are

honest people! Bear, you will have to pay for that!'

 

The bear and the wolf grew uneasy, and turned back and went into their

holes. The young willow-wrens, however, continued to cry and scream, and

when their parents again brought food they said: 'We will not so much as

touch one fly's leg, no, not if we were dying of hunger, until you have

settled whether we are respectable children or not; the bear has been

here and has insulted us!' Then the old King said: 'Be easy, he shall

be punished,' and he at once flew with the Queen to the bear's cave, and

called in: 'Old Growler, why have you insulted my children? You shall

suffer for it--we will punish you by a bloody war.' Thus war was

announced to the Bear, and all four-footed animals were summoned to take

part in it, oxen, asses, cows, deer, and every other animal the earth

contained. And the willow-wren summoned everything which flew in the

air, not only birds, large and small, but midges, and hornets, bees and

flies had to come.

 

When the time came for the war to begin, the willow-wren sent out spies

to discover who was the enemy's commander-in-chief. The gnat, who was

the most crafty, flew into the forest where the enemy was assembled,

and hid herself beneath a leaf of the tree where the password was to be

announced. There stood the bear, and he called the fox before him

and said: 'Fox, you are the most cunning of all animals, you shall be

general and lead us.' 'Good,' said the fox, 'but what signal shall we

agree upon?' No one knew that, so the fox said: 'I have a fine long

bushy tail, which almost looks like a plume of red feathers. When I lift

my tail up quite high, all is going well, and you must charge; but if I

let it hang down, run away as fast as you can.' When the gnat had heard

that, she flew away again, and revealed everything, down to the minutest

detail, to the willow-wren. When day broke, and the battle was to begin,

all the four-footed animals came running up with such a noise that the

earth trembled. The willow-wren with his army also came flying through

the air with such a humming, and whirring, and swarming that every one

was uneasy and afraid, and on both sides they advanced against each

other. But the willow-wren sent down the hornet, with orders to settle

beneath the fox's tail, and sting with all his might. When the fox felt

the first string, he started so that he lifted one leg, from pain, but

he bore it, and still kept his tail high in the air; at the second

sting, he was forced to put it down for a moment; at the third, he could

hold out no longer, screamed, and put his tail between his legs. When

the animals saw that, they thought all was lost, and began to flee, each

into his hole, and the birds had won the battle.

 

Then the King and Queen flew home to their children and cried:

'Children, rejoice, eat and drink to your heart's content, we have won

the battle!' But the young wrens said: 'We will not eat yet, the bear

must come to the nest, and beg for pardon and say that we are honourable

children, before we will do that.' Then the willow-wren flew to the

bear's hole and cried: 'Growler, you are to come to the nest to my

children, and beg their pardon, or else every rib of your body shall

be broken.' So the bear crept thither in the greatest fear, and begged

their pardon. And now at last the young wrens were satisfied, and sat

down together and ate and drank, and made merry till quite late into the

night.

 

 

 

 

THE FROG-PRINCE

 

One fine evening a young princess put on her bonnet and clogs, and went

out to take a walk by herself in a wood; and when she came to a cool

spring of water, that rose in the midst of it, she sat herself down

to rest a while. Now she had a golden ball in her hand, which was her

favourite plaything; and she was always tossing it up into the air, and

catching it again as it fell. After a time she threw it up so high that

she missed catching it as it fell; and the ball bounded away, and rolled

along upon the ground, till at last it fell down into the spring. The

princess looked into the spring after her ball, but it was very deep, so

deep that she could not see the bottom of it. Then she began to bewail

her loss, and said, 'Alas! if I could only get my ball again, I would

give all my fine clothes and jewels, and everything that I have in the

world.'

 

Whilst she was speaking, a frog put its head out of the water, and said,

'Princess, why do you weep so bitterly?' 'Alas!' said she, 'what can you

do for me, you nasty frog? My golden ball has fallen into the spring.'

The frog said, 'I want not your pearls, and jewels, and fine clothes;

but if you will love me, and let me live with you and eat from off

your golden plate, and sleep upon your bed, I will bring you your ball

again.' 'What nonsense,' thought the princess, 'this silly frog is

talking! He can never even get out of the spring to visit me, though

he may be able to get my ball for me, and therefore I will tell him he

shall have what he asks.' So she said to the frog, 'Well, if you will

bring me my ball, I will do all you ask.' Then the frog put his head

down, and dived deep under the water; and after a little while he came

up again, with the ball in his mouth, and threw it on the edge of the

spring. As soon as the young princess saw her ball, she ran to pick

it up; and she was so overjoyed to have it in her hand again, that she

never thought of the frog, but ran home with it as fast as she could.

The frog called after her, 'Stay, princess, and take me with you as you

said,' But she did not stop to hear a word.

 

The next day, just as the princess had sat down to dinner, she heard a

strange noise--tap, tap--plash, plash--as if something was coming up the

marble staircase: and soon afterwards there was a gentle knock at the

door, and a little voice cried out and said:

 

'Open the door, my princess dear,

Open the door to thy true love here!

And mind the words that thou and I said

By the fountain cool, in the greenwood shade.'

 

Then the princess ran to the door and opened it, and there she saw

the frog, whom she had quite forgotten. At this sight she was sadly

frightened, and shutting the door as fast as she could came back to her

seat. The king, her father, seeing that something had frightened her,

asked her what was the matter. 'There is a nasty frog,' said she, 'at

the door, that lifted my ball for me out of the spring this morning: I

told him that he should live with me here, thinking that he could never

get out of the spring; but there he is at the door, and he wants to come

in.'

 

While she was speaking the frog knocked again at the door, and said:

 

'Open the door, my princess dear,

Open the door to thy true love here!

And mind the words that thou and I said

By the fountain cool, in the greenwood shade.'

 

Then the king said to the young princess, 'As you have given your word

you must keep it; so go and let him in.' She did so, and the frog hopped

into the room, and then straight on--tap, tap--plash, plash--from the

bottom of the room to the top, till he came up close to the table where

the princess sat. 'Pray lift me upon chair,' said he to the princess,

'and let me sit next to you.' As soon as she had done this, the frog

said, 'Put your plate nearer to me, that I may eat out of it.' This

she did, and when he had eaten as much as he could, he said, 'Now I am

tired; carry me upstairs, and put me into your bed.' And the princess,

though very unwilling, took him up in her hand, and put him upon the

pillow of her own bed, where he slept all night long. As soon as it was

light he jumped up, hopped downstairs, and went out of the house.

'Now, then,' thought the princess, 'at last he is gone, and I shall be

troubled with him no more.'

 

But she was mistaken; for when night came again she heard the same

tapping at the door; and the frog came once more, and said:

 

'Open the door, my princess dear,

Open the door to thy true love here!

And mind the words that thou and I said

By the fountain cool, in the greenwood shade.'

 

And when the princess opened the door the frog came in, and slept upon

her pillow as before, till the morning broke. And the third night he did

the same. But when the princess awoke on the following morning she was

astonished to see, instead of the frog, a handsome prince, gazing on her

with the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen, and standing at the head

of her bed.

 

He told her that he had been enchanted by a spiteful fairy, who had

changed him into a frog; and that he had been fated so to abide till

some princess should take him out of the spring, and let him eat from

her plate, and sleep upon her bed for three nights. 'You,' said the

prince, 'have broken his cruel charm, and now I have nothing to wish for

but that you should go with me into my father's kingdom, where I will

marry you, and love you as long as you live.'

 

The young princess, you may be sure, was not long in saying 'Yes' to

all this; and as they spoke a gay coach drove up, with eight beautiful

horses, decked with plumes of feathers and a golden harness; and behind

the coach rode the prince's servant, faithful Heinrich, who had bewailed

the misfortunes of his dear master during his enchantment so long and so

bitterly, that his heart had well-nigh burst.

 

They then took leave of the king, and got into the coach with eight

horses, and all set out, full of joy and merriment, for the prince's

kingdom, which they reached safely; and there they lived happily a great

many years.

 

 

 

 

CAT AND MOUSE IN PARTNERSHIP

 

A certain cat had made the acquaintance of a mouse, and had said so much

to her about the great love and friendship she felt for her, that at

length the mouse agreed that they should live and keep house together.

'But we must make a provision for winter, or else we shall suffer

from hunger,' said the cat; 'and you, little mouse, cannot venture

everywhere, or you will be caught in a trap some day.' The good advice

was followed, and a pot of fat was bought, but they did not know where

to put it. At length, after much consideration, the cat said: 'I know no

place where it will be better stored up than in the church, for no one

dares take anything away from there. We will set it beneath the altar,

and not touch it until we are really in need of it.' So the pot was

placed in safety, but it was not long before the cat had a great

yearning for it, and said to the mouse: 'I want to tell you something,

little mouse; my cousin has brought a little son into the world, and has

asked me to be godmother; he is white with brown spots, and I am to hold

him over the font at the christening. Let me go out today, and you look

after the house by yourself.' 'Yes, yes,' answered the mouse, 'by all

means go, and if you get anything very good to eat, think of me. I

should like a drop of sweet red christening wine myself.' All this,

however, was untrue; the cat had no cousin, and had not been asked to

be godmother. She went straight to the church, stole to the pot of fat,

began to lick at it, and licked the top of the fat off. Then she took a

walk upon the roofs of the town, looked out for opportunities, and then

stretched herself in the sun, and licked her lips whenever she thought

of the pot of fat, and not until it was evening did she return home.

'Well, here you are again,' said the mouse, 'no doubt you have had a

merry day.' 'All went off well,' answered the cat. 'What name did they

give the child?' 'Top off!' said the cat quite coolly. 'Top off!' cried

the mouse, 'that is a very odd and uncommon name, is it a usual one in

your family?' 'What does that matter,' said the cat, 'it is no worse

than Crumb-stealer, as your godchildren are called.'

 

Before long the cat was seized by another fit of yearning. She said to

the mouse: 'You must do me a favour, and once more manage the house for

a day alone. I am again asked to be godmother, and, as the child has a

white ring round its neck, I cannot refuse.' The good mouse consented,

but the cat crept behind the town walls to the church, and devoured

half the pot of fat. 'Nothing ever seems so good as what one keeps to

oneself,' said she, and was quite satisfied with her day's work. When

she went home the mouse inquired: 'And what was the child christened?'

'Half-done,' answered the cat. 'Half-done! What are you saying? I

never heard the name in my life, I'll wager anything it is not in the

calendar!'

 

The cat's mouth soon began to water for some more licking. 'All good

things go in threes,' said she, 'I am asked to stand godmother again.

The child is quite black, only it has white paws, but with that

exception, it has not a single white hair on its whole body; this only

happens once every few years, you will let me go, won't you?' 'Top-off!

Half-done!' answered the mouse, 'they are such odd names, they make me

very thoughtful.' 'You sit at home,' said the cat, 'in your dark-grey

fur coat and long tail, and are filled with fancies, that's because

you do not go out in the daytime.' During the cat's absence the mouse

cleaned the house, and put it in order, but the greedy cat entirely

emptied the pot of fat. 'When everything is eaten up one has some

peace,' said she to herself, and well filled and fat she did not return

home till night. The mouse at once asked what name had been given to

the third child. 'It will not please you more than the others,' said the

cat. 'He is called All-gone.' 'All-gone,' cried the mouse 'that is the

most suspicious name of all! I have never seen it in print. All-gone;

what can that mean?' and she shook her head, curled herself up, and lay

down to sleep.

 

From this time forth no one invited the cat to be godmother, but

when the winter had come and there was no longer anything to be found

outside, the mouse thought of their provision, and said: 'Come, cat,

we will go to our pot of fat which we have stored up for ourselves--we

shall enjoy that.' 'Yes,' answered the cat, 'you will enjoy it as much

as you would enjoy sticking that dainty tongue of yours out of the

window.' They set out on their way, but when they arrived, the pot of

fat certainly was still in its place, but it was empty. 'Alas!' said the

mouse, 'now I see what has happened, now it comes to light! You a true

friend! You have devoured all when you were standing godmother. First

top off, then half-done, then--' 'Will you hold your tongue,' cried the

cat, 'one word more, and I will eat you too.' 'All-gone' was already on

the poor mouse's lips; scarcely had she spoken it before the cat sprang

on her, seized her, and swallowed her down. Verily, that is the way of

the world.

 

 

 

 

THE GOOSE-GIRL

 

The king of a great land died, and left his queen to take care of their

only child. This child was a daughter, who was very beautiful; and her

mother loved her dearly, and was very kind to her. And there was a good

fairy too, who was fond of the princess, and helped her mother to watch

over her. When she grew up, she was betrothed to a prince who lived a

great way off; and as the time drew near for her to be married, she

got ready to set off on her journey to his country. Then the queen her

mother, packed up a great many costly things; jewels, and gold, and

silver; trinkets, fine dresses, and in short everything that became a

royal bride. And she gave her a waiting-maid to ride with her, and give

her into the bridegroom's hands; and each had a horse for the journey.

Now the princess's horse was the fairy's gift, and it was called Falada,

and could speak.

 

When the time came for them to set out, the fairy went into her

bed-chamber, and took a little knife, and cut off a lock of her hair,

and gave it to the princess, and said, 'Take care of it, dear child; for

it is a charm that may be of use to you on the road.' Then they all took

a sorrowful leave of the princess; and she put the lock of hair into

her bosom, got upon her horse, and set off on her journey to her

bridegroom's kingdom.

 

One day, as they were riding along by a brook, the princess began to

feel very thirsty: and she said to her maid, 'Pray get down, and fetch

me some water in my golden cup out of yonder brook, for I want to

drink.' 'Nay,' said the maid, 'if you are thirsty, get off yourself, and

stoop down by the water and drink; I shall not be your waiting-maid any

longer.' Then she was so thirsty that she got down, and knelt over the

little brook, and drank; for she was frightened, and dared not bring out

her golden cup; and she wept and said, 'Alas! what will become of me?'

And the lock answered her, and said:

 

'Alas! alas! if thy mother knew it,

Sadly, sadly, would she rue it.'

 

But the princess was very gentle and meek, so she said nothing to her

maid's ill behaviour, but got upon her horse again.

 

Then all rode farther on their journey, till the day grew so warm, and

the sun so scorching, that the bride began to feel very thirsty again;

and at last, when they came to a river, she forgot her maid's rude

speech, and said, 'Pray get down, and fetch me some water to drink in

my golden cup.' But the maid answered her, and even spoke more haughtily

than before: 'Drink if you will, but I shall not be your waiting-maid.'

Then the princess was so thirsty that she got off her horse, and lay

down, and held her head over the running stream, and cried and said,

'What will become of me?' And the lock of hair answered her again:

 

'Alas! alas! if thy mother knew it,

Sadly, sadly, would she rue it.'

 

And as she leaned down to drink, the lock of hair fell from her bosom,

and floated away with the water. Now she was so frightened that she did

not see it; but her maid saw it, and was very glad, for she knew the

charm; and she saw that the poor bride would be in her power, now that

she had lost the hair. So when the bride had done drinking, and would

have got upon Falada again, the maid said, 'I shall ride upon Falada,

and you may have my horse instead'; so she was forced to give up her

horse, and soon afterwards to take off her royal clothes and put on her

maid's shabby ones.

 

At last, as they drew near the end of their journey, this treacherous

servant threatened to kill her mistress if she ever told anyone what had

happened. But Falada saw it all, and marked it well.

 

Then the waiting-maid got upon Falada, and the real bride rode upon the

other horse, and they went on in this way till at last they came to the

royal court. There was great joy at their coming, and the prince flew to

meet them, and lifted the maid from her horse, thinking she was the one

who was to be his wife; and she was led upstairs to the royal chamber;

but the true princess was told to stay in the court below.

 

Now the old king happened just then to have nothing else to do; so he

amused himself by sitting at his kitchen window, looking at what was

going on; and he saw her in the courtyard. As she looked very pretty,

and too delicate for a waiting-maid, he went up into the royal chamber

to ask the bride who it was she had brought with her, that was thus left

standing in the court below. 'I brought her with me for the sake of her

company on the road,' said she; 'pray give the girl some work to do,

that she may not be idle.' The old king could not for some time think

of any work for her to do; but at last he said, 'I have a lad who takes

care of my geese; she may go and help him.' Now the name of this lad,

that the real bride was to help in watching the king's geese, was

Curdken.

 

But the false bride said to the prince, 'Dear husband, pray do me one

piece of kindness.' 'That I will,' said the prince. 'Then tell one of

your slaughterers to cut off the head of the horse I rode upon, for it

was very unruly, and plagued me sadly on the road'; but the truth was,

she was very much afraid lest Falada should some day or other speak, and

tell all she had done to the princess. She carried her point, and the

faithful Falada was killed; but when the true princess heard of it, she

wept, and begged the man to nail up Falada's head against a large

dark gate of the city, through which she had to pass every morning

and evening, that there she might still see him sometimes. Then the

slaughterer said he would do as she wished; and cut off the head, and

nailed it up under the dark gate.

 

Early the next morning, as she and Curdken went out through the gate,

she said sorrowfully:

 

 'Falada, Falada, there thou hangest!'

 

and the head answered:

 

'Bride, bride, there thou gangest!

Alas! alas! if thy mother knew it,

Sadly, sadly, would she rue it.'

 

Then they went out of the city, and drove the geese on. And when she

came to the meadow, she sat down upon a bank there, and let down her

waving locks of hair, which were all of pure silver; and when Curdken

saw it glitter in the sun, he ran up, and would have pulled some of the

locks out, but she cried:

 

'Blow, breezes, blow!

Let Curdken's hat go!

Blow, breezes, blow!

Let him after it go!

O'er hills, dales, and rocks,

Away be it whirl'd

Till the silvery locks

Are all comb'd and curl'd!

 

Then there came a wind, so strong that it blew off Curdken's hat; and

away it flew over the hills: and he was forced to turn and run after

it; till, by the time he came back, she had done combing and curling her

hair, and had put it up again safe. Then he was very angry and sulky,

and would not speak to her at all; but they watched the geese until it

grew dark in the evening, and then drove them homewards.

 

The next morning, as they were going through the dark gate, the poor

girl looked up at Falada's head, and cried:

 

 'Falada, Falada, there thou hangest!'

 

and the head answered:

 

'Bride, bride, there thou gangest!

Alas! alas! if they mother knew it,

Sadly, sadly, would she rue it.'

 

Then she drove on the geese, and sat down again in the meadow, and began

to comb out her hair as before; and Curdken ran up to her, and wanted to

take hold of it; but she cried out quickly:

 

'Blow, breezes, blow!

Let Curdken's hat go!

Blow, breezes, blow!

Let him after it go!

O'er hills, dales, and rocks,

Away be it whirl'd

Till the silvery locks

Are all comb'd and curl'd!

 

Then the wind came and blew away his hat; and off it flew a great way,

over the hills and far away, so that he had to run after it; and when

he came back she had bound up her hair again, and all was safe. So they

watched the geese till it grew dark.

 

In the evening, after they came home, Curdken went to the old king, and

said, 'I cannot have that strange girl to help me to keep the geese any

longer.' 'Why?' said the king. 'Because, instead of doing any good, she

does nothing but tease me all day long.' Then the king made him tell him

what had happened. And Curdken said, 'When we go in the morning through

the dark gate with our flock of geese, she cries and talks with the head

of a horse that hangs upon the wall, and says:

 

 'Falada, Falada, there thou hangest!'

 

and the head answers:

 

'Bride, bride, there thou gangest!

Alas! alas! if they mother knew it,

Sadly, sadly, would she rue it.'

 

And Curdken went on telling the king what had happened upon the meadow

where the geese fed; how his hat was blown away; and how he was forced

to run after it, and to leave his flock of geese to themselves. But the

old king told the boy to go out again the next day: and when morning

came, he placed himself behind the dark gate, and heard how she spoke

to Falada, and how Falada answered. Then he went into the field, and

hid himself in a bush by the meadow's side; and he soon saw with his own

eyes how they drove the flock of geese; and how, after a little time,

she let down her hair that glittered in the sun. And then he heard her

say:

 

'Blow, breezes, blow!

Let Curdken's hat go!

Blow, breezes, blow!

Let him after it go!

O'er hills, dales, and rocks,

Away be it whirl'd

Till the silvery locks

Are all comb'd and curl'd!

 

And soon came a gale of wind, and carried away Curdken's hat, and away

went Curdken after it, while the girl went on combing and curling her

hair. All this the old king saw: so he went home without being seen; and

when the little goose-girl came back in the evening he called her aside,

and asked her why she did so: but she burst into tears, and said, 'That

I must not tell you or any man, or I shall lose my life.'

 

But the old king begged so hard, that she had no peace till she had told

him all the tale, from beginning to end, word for word. And it was very

lucky for her that she did so, for when she had done the king ordered

royal clothes to be put upon her, and gazed on her with wonder, she was

so beautiful. Then he called his son and told him that he had only a

false bride; for that she was merely a waiting-maid, while the true

bride stood by. And the young king rejoiced when he saw her beauty, and

heard how meek and patient she had been; and without saying anything to

the false bride, the king ordered a great feast to be got ready for all

his court. The bridegroom sat at the top, with the false princess on one

side, and the true one on the other; but nobody knew her again, for her

beauty was quite dazzling to their eyes; and she did not seem at all

like the little goose-girl, now that she had her brilliant dress on.

 

When they had eaten and drank, and were very merry, the old king said

he would tell them a tale. So he began, and told all the story of the

princess, as if it was one that he had once heard; and he asked the

true waiting-maid what she thought ought to be done to anyone who would

behave thus. 'Nothing better,' said this false bride, 'than that she

should be thrown into a cask stuck round with sharp nails, and that

two white horses should be put to it, and should drag it from street to

street till she was dead.' 'Thou art she!' said the old king; 'and as

thou has judged thyself, so shall it be done to thee.' And the young

king was then married to his true wife, and they reigned over the

kingdom in peace and happiness all their lives; and the good fairy came

to see them, and restored the faithful Falada to life again.

 

 

 

 

THE ADVENTURES OF CHANTICLEER AND PARTLET

 

 

1. HOW THEY WENT TO THE MOUNTAINS TO EAT NUTS

 

'The nuts are quite ripe now,' said Chanticleer to his wife Partlet,

'suppose we go together to the mountains, and eat as many as we can,

before the squirrel takes them all away.' 'With all my heart,' said

Partlet, 'let us go and make a holiday of it together.'

 

So they went to the mountains; and as it was a lovely day, they stayed

there till the evening. Now, whether it was that they had eaten so many

nuts that they could not walk, or whether they were lazy and would not,

I do not know: however, they took it into their heads that it did not

become them to go home on foot. So Chanticleer began to build a little

carriage of nutshells: and when it was finished, Partlet jumped into

it and sat down, and bid Chanticleer harness himself to it and draw her

home. 'That's a good joke!' said Chanticleer; 'no, that will never do;

I had rather by half walk home; I'll sit on the box and be coachman,

if you like, but I'll not draw.' While this was passing, a duck came

quacking up and cried out, 'You thieving vagabonds, what business have

you in my grounds? I'll give it you well for your insolence!' and upon

that she fell upon Chanticleer most lustily. But Chanticleer was no

coward, and returned the duck's blows with his sharp spurs so fiercely

that she soon began to cry out for mercy; which was only granted her

upon condition that she would draw the carriage home for them. This she

agreed to do; and Chanticleer got upon the box, and drove, crying, 'Now,

duck, get on as fast as you can.' And away they went at a pretty good

pace.

 

After they had travelled along a little way, they met a needle and a pin

walking together along the road: and the needle cried out, 'Stop, stop!'

and said it was so dark that they could hardly find their way, and such

dirty walking they could not get on at all: he told them that he and his

friend, the pin, had been at a public-house a few miles off, and had sat

drinking till they had forgotten how late it was; he begged therefore

that the travellers would be so kind as to give them a lift in their

carriage. Chanticleer observing that they were but thin fellows, and not

likely to take up much room, told them they might ride, but made them

promise not to dirty the wheels of the carriage in getting in, nor to

tread on Partlet's toes.

 

Late at night they arrived at an inn; and as it was bad travelling in

the dark, and the duck seemed much tired, and waddled about a good

deal from one side to the other, they made up their minds to fix their

quarters there: but the landlord at first was unwilling, and said his

house was full, thinking they might not be very respectable company:

however, they spoke civilly to him, and gave him the egg which Partlet

had laid by the way, and said they would give him the duck, who was in

the habit of laying one every day: so at last he let them come in, and

they bespoke a handsome supper, and spent the evening very jollily.

 

Early in the morning, before it was quite light, and when nobody was

stirring in the inn, Chanticleer awakened his wife, and, fetching the

egg, they pecked a hole in it, ate it up, and threw the shells into the

fireplace: they then went to the pin and needle, who were fast asleep,

and seizing them by the heads, stuck one into the landlord's easy chair

and the other into his handkerchief; and, having done this, they crept

away as softly as possible. However, the duck, who slept in the open

air in the yard, heard them coming, and jumping into the brook which ran

close by the inn, soon swam out of their reach.

 

An hour or two afterwards the landlord got up, and took his handkerchief

to wipe his face, but the pin ran into him and pricked him: then he

walked into the kitchen to light his pipe at the fire, but when he

stirred it up the eggshells flew into his eyes, and almost blinded him.

'Bless me!' said he, 'all the world seems to have a design against my

head this morning': and so saying, he threw himself sulkily into his

easy chair; but, oh dear! the needle ran into him; and this time the

pain was not in his head. He now flew into a very great passion, and,

suspecting the company who had come in the night before, he went to look

after them, but they were all off; so he swore that he never again

would take in such a troop of vagabonds, who ate a great deal, paid no

reckoning, and gave him nothing for his trouble but their apish tricks.

 

 

2. HOW CHANTICLEER AND PARTLET WENT TO VIST MR KORBES

 

Another day, Chanticleer and Partlet wished to ride out together;

so Chanticleer built a handsome carriage with four red wheels, and

harnessed six mice to it; and then he and Partlet got into the carriage,

and away they drove. Soon afterwards a cat met them, and said, 'Where

are you going?' And Chanticleer replied,

 

'All on our way

A visit to pay

To Mr Korbes, the fox, today.'

 

Then the cat said, 'Take me with you,' Chanticleer said, 'With all my

heart: get up behind, and be sure you do not fall off.'

 

'Take care of this handsome coach of mine,

Nor dirty my pretty red wheels so fine!

Now, mice, be ready,

And, wheels, run steady!

For we are going a visit to pay

To Mr Korbes, the fox, today.'

 

Soon after came up a millstone, an egg, a duck, and a pin; and

Chanticleer gave them all leave to get into the carriage and go with

them.

 

When they arrived at Mr Korbes's house, he was not at home; so the mice

drew the carriage into the coach-house, Chanticleer and Partlet flew

upon a beam, the cat sat down in the fireplace, the duck got into

the washing cistern, the pin stuck himself into the bed pillow, the

millstone laid himself over the house door, and the egg rolled himself

up in the towel.

 

When Mr Korbes came home, he went to the fireplace to make a fire; but

the cat threw all the ashes in his eyes: so he ran to the kitchen to

wash himself; but there the duck splashed all the water in his face; and

when he tried to wipe himself, the egg broke to pieces in the towel all

over his face and eyes. Then he was very angry, and went without his

supper to bed; but when he laid his head on the pillow, the pin ran into

his cheek: at this he became quite furious, and, jumping up, would have

run out of the house; but when he came to the door, the millstone fell

down on his head, and killed him on the spot.

 

 

3. HOW PARTLET DIED AND WAS BURIED, AND HOW CHANTICLEER DIED OF GRIEF

 

Another day Chanticleer and Partlet agreed to go again to the mountains

to eat nuts; and it was settled that all the nuts which they found

should be shared equally between them. Now Partlet found a very large

nut; but she said nothing about it to Chanticleer, and kept it all to

herself: however, it was so big that she could not swallow it, and it

stuck in her throat. Then she was in a great fright, and cried out to

Chanticleer, 'Pray run as fast as you can, and fetch me some water, or I

shall be choked.' Chanticleer ran as fast as he could to the river, and

said, 'River, give me some water, for Partlet lies in the mountain, and

will be choked by a great nut.' The river said, 'Run first to the bride,

and ask her for a silken cord to draw up the water.' Chanticleer ran to

the bride, and said, 'Bride, you must give me a silken cord, for then

the river will give me water, and the water I will carry to Partlet, who

lies on the mountain, and will be choked by a great nut.' But the bride

said, 'Run first, and bring me my garland that is hanging on a willow

in the garden.' Then Chanticleer ran to the garden, and took the garland

from the bough where it hung, and brought it to the bride; and then

the bride gave him the silken cord, and he took the silken cord to

the river, and the river gave him water, and he carried the water to

Partlet; but in the meantime she was choked by the great nut, and lay

quite dead, and never moved any more.

 

Then Chanticleer was very sorry, and cried bitterly; and all the beasts

came and wept with him over poor Partlet. And six mice built a little

hearse to carry her to her grave; and when it was ready they harnessed

themselves before it, and Chanticleer drove them. On the way they

met the fox. 'Where are you going, Chanticleer?' said he. 'To bury my

Partlet,' said the other. 'May I go with you?' said the fox. 'Yes; but

you must get up behind, or my horses will not be able to draw you.' Then

the fox got up behind; and presently the wolf, the bear, the goat, and

all the beasts of the wood, came and climbed upon the hearse.

 

So on they went till they came to a rapid stream. 'How shall we get

over?' said Chanticleer. Then said a straw, 'I will lay myself across,

and you may pass over upon me.' But as the mice were going over, the

straw slipped away and fell into the water, and the six mice all fell in

and were drowned. What was to be done? Then a large log of wood came

and said, 'I am big enough; I will lay myself across the stream, and you

shall pass over upon me.' So he laid himself down; but they managed

so clumsily, that the log of wood fell in and was carried away by the

stream. Then a stone, who saw what had happened, came up and kindly

offered to help poor Chanticleer by laying himself across the stream;

and this time he got safely to the other side with the hearse, and

managed to get Partlet out of it; but the fox and the other mourners,

who were sitting behind, were too heavy, and fell back into the water

and were all carried away by the stream and drowned.

 

Thus Chanticleer was left alone with his dead Partlet; and having dug

a grave for her, he laid her in it, and made a little hillock over her.

Then he sat down by the grave, and wept and mourned, till at last he

died too; and so all were dead.

 

 

 

 

RAPUNZEL

 

There were once a man and a woman who had long in vain wished for a

child. At length the woman hoped that God was about to grant her desire.

These people had a little window at the back of their house from which

a splendid garden could be seen, which was full of the most beautiful

flowers and herbs. It was, however, surrounded by a high wall, and no

one dared to go into it because it belonged to an enchantress, who had

great power and was dreaded by all the world. One day the woman was

standing by this window and looking down into the garden, when she saw a

bed which was planted with the most beautiful rampion (rapunzel), and it

looked so fresh and green that she longed for it, she quite pined away,

and began to look pale and miserable. Then her husband was alarmed, and

asked: 'What ails you, dear wife?' 'Ah,' she replied, 'if I can't eat

some of the rampion, which is in the garden behind our house, I shall

die.' The man, who loved her, thought: 'Sooner than let your wife die,

bring her some of the rampion yourself, let it cost what it will.'

At twilight, he clambered down over the wall into the garden of the

enchantress, hastily clutched a handful of rampion, and took it to his

wife. She at once made herself a salad of it, and ate it greedily. It

tasted so good to her--so very good, that the next day she longed for it

three times as much as before. If he was to have any rest, her husband

must once more descend into the garden. In the gloom of evening

therefore, he let himself down again; but when he had clambered down the

wall he was terribly afraid, for he saw the enchantress standing before

him. 'How can you dare,' said she with angry look, 'descend into my

garden and steal my rampion like a thief? You shall suffer for it!'

'Ah,' answered he, 'let mercy take the place of justice, I only made

up my mind to do it out of necessity. My wife saw your rampion from the

window, and felt such a longing for it that she would have died if she

had not got some to eat.' Then the enchantress allowed her anger to be

softened, and said to him: 'If the case be as you say, I will allow

you to take away with you as much rampion as you will, only I make one

condition, you must give me the child which your wife will bring into

the world; it shall be well treated, and I will care for it like a

mother.' The man in his terror consented to everything, and when the

woman was brought to bed, the enchantress appeared at once, gave the

child the name of Rapunzel, and took it away with her.

 

Rapunzel grew into the most beautiful child under the sun. When she was

twelve years old, the enchantress shut her into a tower, which lay in

a forest, and had neither stairs nor door, but quite at the top was a

little window. When the enchantress wanted to go in, she placed herself

beneath it and cried:

 

'Rapunzel, Rapunzel,

Let down your hair to me.'

 

Rapunzel had magnificent long hair, fine as spun gold, and when she

heard the voice of the enchantress she unfastened her braided tresses,

wound them round one of the hooks of the window above, and then the hair

fell twenty ells down, and the enchantress climbed up by it.

 

After a year or two, it came to pass that the king's son rode through

the forest and passed by the tower. Then he heard a song, which was so

charming that he stood still and listened. This was Rapunzel, who in her

solitude passed her time in letting her sweet voice resound. The king's

son wanted to climb up to her, and looked for the door of the tower,

but none was to be found. He rode home, but the singing had so deeply

touched his heart, that every day he went out into the forest and

listened to it. Once when he was thus standing behind a tree, he saw

that an enchantress came there, and he heard how she cried:

 

'Rapunzel, Rapunzel,

Let down your hair to me.'

 

Then Rapunzel let down the braids of her hair, and the enchantress

climbed up to her. 'If that is the ladder by which one mounts, I too

will try my fortune,' said he, and the next day when it began to grow

dark, he went to the tower and cried:

 

'Rapunzel, Rapunzel,

Let down your hair to me.'

 

Immediately the hair fell down and the king's son climbed up.

 

At first Rapunzel was terribly frightened when a man, such as her eyes

had never yet beheld, came to her; but the king's son began to talk to

her quite like a friend, and told her that his heart had been so stirred

that it had let him have no rest, and he had been forced to see her.

Then Rapunzel lost her fear, and when he asked her if she would take

him for her husband, and she saw that he was young and handsome, she

thought: 'He will love me more than old Dame Gothel does'; and she said

yes, and laid her hand in his. She said: 'I will willingly go away with

you, but I do not know how to get down. Bring with you a skein of silk

every time that you come, and I will weave a ladder with it, and when

that is ready I will descend, and you will take me on your horse.' They

agreed that until that time he should come to her every evening, for the

old woman came by day. The enchantress remarked nothing of this, until

once Rapunzel said to her: 'Tell me, Dame Gothel, how it happens that

you are so much heavier for me to draw up than the young king's son--he

is with me in a moment.' 'Ah! you wicked child,' cried the enchantress.

'What do I hear you say! I thought I had separated you from all

the world, and yet you have deceived me!' In her anger she clutched

Rapunzel's beautiful tresses, wrapped them twice round her left hand,

seized a pair of scissors with the right, and snip, snap, they were cut

off, and the lovely braids lay on the ground. And she was so pitiless

that she took poor Rapunzel into a desert where she had to live in great

grief and misery.

 

On the same day that she cast out Rapunzel, however, the enchantress

fastened the braids of hair, which she had cut off, to the hook of the

window, and when the king's son came and cried:

 

'Rapunzel, Rapunzel,

Let down your hair to me.'

 

she let the hair down. The king's son ascended, but instead of finding

his dearest Rapunzel, he found the enchantress, who gazed at him with

wicked and venomous looks. 'Aha!' she cried mockingly, 'you would fetch

your dearest, but the beautiful bird sits no longer singing in the nest;

the cat has got it, and will scratch out your eyes as well. Rapunzel is

lost to you; you will never see her again.' The king's son was beside

himself with pain, and in his despair he leapt down from the tower. He

escaped with his life, but the thorns into which he fell pierced his

eyes. Then he wandered quite blind about the forest, ate nothing but

roots and berries, and did naught but lament and weep over the loss of

his dearest wife. Thus he roamed about in misery for some years, and at

length came to the desert where Rapunzel, with the twins to which she

had given birth, a boy and a girl, lived in wretchedness. He heard a

voice, and it seemed so familiar to him that he went towards it, and

when he approached, Rapunzel knew him and fell on his neck and wept. Two

of her tears wetted his eyes and they grew clear again, and he could

see with them as before. He led her to his kingdom where he was

joyfully received, and they lived for a long time afterwards, happy and

contented.

 

 

 

 

FUNDEVOGEL

 

There was once a forester who went into the forest to hunt, and as

he entered it he heard a sound of screaming as if a little child were

there. He followed the sound, and at last came to a high tree, and at

the top of this a little child was sitting, for the mother had fallen

asleep under the tree with the child, and a bird of prey had seen it in

her arms, had flown down, snatched it away, and set it on the high tree.

 

The forester climbed up, brought the child down, and thought to himself:

'You will take him home with you, and bring him up with your Lina.' He

took it home, therefore, and the two children grew up together. And the

one, which he had found on a tree was called Fundevogel, because a bird

had carried it away. Fundevogel and Lina loved each other so dearly that

when they did not see each other they were sad.

 

Now the forester had an old cook, who one evening took two pails and

began to fetch water, and did not go once only, but many times, out

to the spring. Lina saw this and said, 'Listen, old Sanna, why are you

fetching so much water?' 'If you will never repeat it to anyone, I will

tell you why.' So Lina said, no, she would never repeat it to anyone,

and then the cook said: 'Early tomorrow morning, when the forester

is out hunting, I will heat the water, and when it is boiling in the

kettle, I will throw in Fundevogel, and will boil him in it.'

 

Early next morning the forester got up and went out hunting, and when he

was gone the children were still in bed. Then Lina said to Fundevogel:

'If you will never leave me, I too will never leave you.' Fundevogel

said: 'Neither now, nor ever will I leave you.' Then said Lina: 'Then

will I tell you. Last night, old Sanna carried so many buckets of water

into the house that I asked her why she was doing that, and she said

that if I would promise not to tell anyone, and she said that early

tomorrow morning when father was out hunting, she would set the kettle

full of water, throw you into it and boil you; but we will get up

quickly, dress ourselves, and go away together.'

 

The two children therefore got up, dressed themselves quickly, and went

away. When the water in the kettle was boiling, the cook went into the

bedroom to fetch Fundevogel and throw him into it. But when she came in,

and went to the beds, both the children were gone. Then she was terribly

alarmed, and she said to herself: 'What shall I say now when the

forester comes home and sees that the children are gone? They must be

followed instantly to get them back again.'

 

Then the cook sent three servants after them, who were to run and

overtake the children. The children, however, were sitting outside the

forest, and when they saw from afar the three servants running, Lina

said to Fundevogel: 'Never leave me, and I will never leave you.'

Fundevogel said: 'Neither now, nor ever.' Then said Lina: 'Do you become

a rose-tree, and I the rose upon it.' When the three servants came to

the forest, nothing was there but a rose-tree and one rose on it, but

the children were nowhere. Then said they: 'There is nothing to be done

here,' and they went home and told the cook that they had seen nothing

in the forest but a little rose-bush with one rose on it. Then the

old cook scolded and said: 'You simpletons, you should have cut the

rose-bush in two, and have broken off the rose and brought it home with

you; go, and do it at once.' They had therefore to go out and look for

the second time. The children, however, saw them coming from a distance.

Then Lina said: 'Fundevogel, never leave me, and I will never leave

you.' Fundevogel said: 'Neither now; nor ever.' Said Lina: 'Then do you

become a church, and I'll be the chandelier in it.' So when the three

servants came, nothing was there but a church, with a chandelier in

it. They said therefore to each other: 'What can we do here, let us go

home.' When they got home, the cook asked if they had not found them;

so they said no, they had found nothing but a church, and there was a

chandelier in it. And the cook scolded them and said: 'You fools! why

did you not pull the church to pieces, and bring the chandelier home

with you?' And now the old cook herself got on her legs, and went with

the three servants in pursuit of the children. The children, however,

saw from afar that the three servants were coming, and the cook waddling

after them. Then said Lina: 'Fundevogel, never leave me, and I will

never leave you.' Then said Fundevogel: 'Neither now, nor ever.'

Said Lina: 'Be a fishpond, and I will be the duck upon it.' The cook,

however, came up to them, and when she saw the pond she lay down by it,

and was about to drink it up. But the duck swam quickly to her, seized

her head in its beak and drew her into the water, and there the old

witch had to drown. Then the children went home together, and were

heartily delighted, and if they have not died, they are living still.

 

 

 

 

THE VALIANT LITTLE TAILOR

 

One summer's morning a little tailor was sitting on his table by the

window; he was in good spirits, and sewed with all his might. Then came

a peasant woman down the street crying: 'Good jams, cheap! Good jams,

cheap!' This rang pleasantly in the tailor's ears; he stretched his

delicate head out of the window, and called: 'Come up here, dear woman;

here you will get rid of your goods.' The woman came up the three steps

to the tailor with her heavy basket, and he made her unpack all the pots

for him. He inspected each one, lifted it up, put his nose to it, and

at length said: 'The jam seems to me to be good, so weigh me out four

ounces, dear woman, and if it is a quarter of a pound that is of no

consequence.' The woman who had hoped to find a good sale, gave him

what he desired, but went away quite angry and grumbling. 'Now, this jam

shall be blessed by God,' cried the little tailor, 'and give me health

and strength'; so he brought the bread out of the cupboard, cut himself

a piece right across the loaf and spread the jam over it. 'This won't

taste bitter,' said he, 'but I will just finish the jacket before I

take a bite.' He laid the bread near him, sewed on, and in his joy, made

bigger and bigger stitches. In the meantime the smell of the sweet jam

rose to where the flies were sitting in great numbers, and they were

attracted and descended on it in hosts. 'Hi! who invited you?' said the

little tailor, and drove the unbidden guests away. The flies, however,

who understood no German, would not be turned away, but came back

again in ever-increasing companies. The little tailor at last lost all

patience, and drew a piece of cloth from the hole under his work-table,

and saying: 'Wait, and I will give it to you,' struck it mercilessly on

them. When he drew it away and counted, there lay before him no fewer

than seven, dead and with legs stretched out. 'Are you a fellow of that

sort?' said he, and could not help admiring his own bravery. 'The whole

town shall know of this!' And the little tailor hastened to cut himself

a girdle, stitched it, and embroidered on it in large letters: 'Seven at

one stroke!' 'What, the town!' he continued, 'the whole world shall hear

of it!' and his heart wagged with joy like a lamb's tail. The tailor

put on the girdle, and resolved to go forth into the world, because he

thought his workshop was too small for his valour. Before he went away,

he sought about in the house to see if there was anything which he could

take with him; however, he found nothing but an old cheese, and that

he put in his pocket. In front of the door he observed a bird which

had caught itself in the thicket. It had to go into his pocket with the

cheese. Now he took to the road boldly, and as he was light and nimble,

he felt no fatigue. The road led him up a mountain, and when he had

reached the highest point of it, there sat a powerful giant looking

peacefully about him. The little tailor went bravely up, spoke to him,

and said: 'Good day, comrade, so you are sitting there overlooking the

wide-spread world! I am just on my way thither, and want to try my luck.

Have you any inclination to go with me?' The giant looked contemptuously

at the tailor, and said: 'You ragamuffin! You miserable creature!'

 

'Oh, indeed?' answered the little tailor, and unbuttoned his coat, and

showed the giant the girdle, 'there may you read what kind of a man I

am!' The giant read: 'Seven at one stroke,' and thought that they had

been men whom the tailor had killed, and began to feel a little respect

for the tiny fellow. Nevertheless, he wished to try him first, and took

a stone in his hand and squeezed it together so that water dropped out

of it. 'Do that likewise,' said the giant, 'if you have strength.' 'Is

that all?' said the tailor, 'that is child's play with us!' and put his

hand into his pocket, brought out the soft cheese, and pressed it until

the liquid ran out of it. 'Faith,' said he, 'that was a little better,

wasn't it?' The giant did not know what to say, and could not believe it

of the little man. Then the giant picked up a stone and threw it so high

that the eye could scarcely follow it. 'Now, little mite of a man, do

that likewise,' 'Well thrown,' said the tailor, 'but after all the stone

came down to earth again; I will throw you one which shall never come

back at all,' and he put his hand into his pocket, took out the bird,

and threw it into the air. The bird, delighted with its liberty,

rose, flew away and did not come back. 'How does that shot please you,

comrade?' asked the tailor. 'You can certainly throw,' said the giant,

'but now we will see if you are able to carry anything properly.' He

took the little tailor to a mighty oak tree which lay there felled on

the ground, and said: 'If you are strong enough, help me to carry the

tree out of the forest.' 'Readily,' answered the little man; 'take you

the trunk on your shoulders, and I will raise up the branches and twigs;

after all, they are the heaviest.' The giant took the trunk on his

shoulder, but the tailor seated himself on a branch, and the giant, who

could not look round, had to carry away the whole tree, and the little

tailor into the bargain: he behind, was quite merry and happy, and

whistled the song: 'Three tailors rode forth from the gate,' as if

carrying the tree were child's play. The giant, after he had dragged the

heavy burden part of the way, could go no further, and cried: 'Hark

you, I shall have to let the tree fall!' The tailor sprang nimbly down,

seized the tree with both arms as if he had been carrying it, and said

to the giant: 'You are such a great fellow, and yet cannot even carry

the tree!'

 

They went on together, and as they passed a cherry-tree, the giant laid

hold of the top of the tree where the ripest fruit was hanging, bent it

down, gave it into the tailor's hand, and bade him eat. But the little

tailor was much too weak to hold the tree, and when the giant let it go,

it sprang back again, and the tailor was tossed into the air with it.

When he had fallen down again without injury, the giant said: 'What is

this? Have you not strength enough to hold the weak twig?' 'There is no

lack of strength,' answered the little tailor. 'Do you think that could

be anything to a man who has struck down seven at one blow? I leapt over

the tree because the huntsmen are shooting down there in the thicket.

Jump as I did, if you can do it.' The giant made the attempt but he

could not get over the tree, and remained hanging in the branches, so

that in this also the tailor kept the upper hand.

 

The giant said: 'If you are such a valiant fellow, come with me into our

cavern and spend the night with us.' The little tailor was willing, and

followed him. When they went into the cave, other giants were sitting

there by the fire, and each of them had a roasted sheep in his hand and

was eating it. The little tailor looked round and thought: 'It is much

more spacious here than in my workshop.' The giant showed him a bed, and

said he was to lie down in it and sleep. The bed, however, was too

big for the little tailor; he did not lie down in it, but crept into

a corner. When it was midnight, and the giant thought that the little

tailor was lying in a sound sleep, he got up, took a great iron bar,

cut through the bed with one blow, and thought he had finished off the

grasshopper for good. With the earliest dawn the giants went into the

forest, and had quite forgotten the little tailor, when all at once he

walked up to them quite merrily and boldly. The giants were terrified,

they were afraid that he would strike them all dead, and ran away in a

great hurry.

 

The little tailor went onwards, always following his own pointed nose.

After he had walked for a long time, he came to the courtyard of a royal

palace, and as he felt weary, he lay down on the grass and fell asleep.

Whilst he lay there, the people came and inspected him on all sides, and

read on his girdle: 'Seven at one stroke.' 'Ah!' said they, 'what does

the great warrior want here in the midst of peace? He must be a mighty

lord.' They went and announced him to the king, and gave it as their

opinion that if war should break out, this would be a weighty and useful

man who ought on no account to be allowed to depart. The counsel pleased

the king, and he sent one of his courtiers to the little tailor to offer

him military service when he awoke. The ambassador remained standing by

the sleeper, waited until he stretched his limbs and opened his eyes,

and then conveyed to him this proposal. 'For this very reason have

I come here,' the tailor replied, 'I am ready to enter the king's

service.' He was therefore honourably received, and a special dwelling

was assigned him.

 

The soldiers, however, were set against the little tailor, and wished

him a thousand miles away. 'What is to be the end of this?' they said

among themselves. 'If we quarrel with him, and he strikes about him,

seven of us will fall at every blow; not one of us can stand against

him.' They came therefore to a decision, betook themselves in a body to

the king, and begged for their dismissal. 'We are not prepared,' said

they, 'to stay with a man who kills seven at one stroke.' The king was

sorry that for the sake of one he should lose all his faithful servants,

wished that he had never set eyes on the tailor, and would willingly

have been rid of him again. But he did not venture to give him his

dismissal, for he dreaded lest he should strike him and all his people

dead, and place himself on the royal throne. He thought about it for a

long time, and at last found good counsel. He sent to the little tailor

and caused him to be informed that as he was a great warrior, he had one

request to make to him. In a forest of his country lived two giants,

who caused great mischief with their robbing, murdering, ravaging,

and burning, and no one could approach them without putting himself in

danger of death. If the tailor conquered and killed these two giants, he

would give him his only daughter to wife, and half of his kingdom as a

dowry, likewise one hundred horsemen should go with him to assist him.

'That would indeed be a fine thing for a man like me!' thought the

little tailor. 'One is not offered a beautiful princess and half a

kingdom every day of one's life!' 'Oh, yes,' he replied, 'I will soon

subdue the giants, and do not require the help of the hundred horsemen

to do it; he who can hit seven with one blow has no need to be afraid of

two.'

 

The little tailor went forth, and the hundred horsemen followed him.

When he came to the outskirts of the forest, he said to his followers:

'Just stay waiting here, I alone will soon finish off the giants.' Then

he bounded into the forest and looked about right and left. After a

while he perceived both giants. They lay sleeping under a tree, and

snored so that the branches waved up and down. The little tailor, not

idle, gathered two pocketsful of stones, and with these climbed up the

tree. When he was halfway up, he slipped down by a branch, until he sat

just above the sleepers, and then let one stone after another fall on

the breast of one of the giants. For a long time the giant felt nothing,

but at last he awoke, pushed his comrade, and said: 'Why are you

knocking me?' 'You must be dreaming,' said the other, 'I am not knocking

you.' They laid themselves down to sleep again, and then the tailor

threw a stone down on the second. 'What is the meaning of this?' cried

the other 'Why are you pelting me?' 'I am not pelting you,' answered

the first, growling. They disputed about it for a time, but as they were

weary they let the matter rest, and their eyes closed once more. The

little tailor began his game again, picked out the biggest stone, and

threw it with all his might on the breast of the first giant. 'That

is too bad!' cried he, and sprang up like a madman, and pushed his

companion against the tree until it shook. The other paid him back in

the same coin, and they got into such a rage that they tore up trees and

belaboured each other so long, that at last they both fell down dead on

the ground at the same time. Then the little tailor leapt down. 'It is

a lucky thing,' said he, 'that they did not tear up the tree on which

I was sitting, or I should have had to sprint on to another like a

squirrel; but we tailors are nimble.' He drew out his sword and gave

each of them a couple of thrusts in the breast, and then went out to the

horsemen and said: 'The work is done; I have finished both of them

off, but it was hard work! They tore up trees in their sore need, and

defended themselves with them, but all that is to no purpose when a man

like myself comes, who can kill seven at one blow.' 'But are you not

wounded?' asked the horsemen. 'You need not concern yourself about

that,' answered the tailor, 'they have not bent one hair of mine.' The

horsemen would not believe him, and rode into the forest; there they

found the giants swimming in their blood, and all round about lay the

torn-up trees.

 

The little tailor demanded of the king the promised reward; he, however,

repented of his promise, and again bethought himself how he could get

rid of the hero. 'Before you receive my daughter, and the half of my

kingdom,' said he to him, 'you must perform one more heroic deed. In

the forest roams a unicorn which does great harm, and you must catch

it first.' 'I fear one unicorn still less than two giants. Seven at one

blow, is my kind of affair.' He took a rope and an axe with him, went

forth into the forest, and again bade those who were sent with him to

wait outside. He had not long to seek. The unicorn soon came towards

him, and rushed directly on the tailor, as if it would gore him with its

horn without more ado. 'Softly, softly; it can't be done as quickly as

that,' said he, and stood still and waited until the animal was quite

close, and then sprang nimbly behind the tree. The unicorn ran against

the tree with all its strength, and stuck its horn so fast in the trunk

that it had not the strength enough to draw it out again, and thus it

was caught. 'Now, I have got the bird,' said the tailor, and came out

from behind the tree and put the rope round its neck, and then with his

axe he hewed the horn out of the tree, and when all was ready he led the

beast away and took it to the king.

 

The king still would not give him the promised reward, and made a third

demand. Before the wedding the tailor was to catch him a wild boar that

made great havoc in the forest, and the huntsmen should give him their

help. 'Willingly,' said the tailor, 'that is child's play!' He did not

take the huntsmen with him into the forest, and they were well pleased

that he did not, for the wild boar had several times received them in

such a manner that they had no inclination to lie in wait for him. When

the boar perceived the tailor, it ran on him with foaming mouth and

whetted tusks, and was about to throw him to the ground, but the hero

fled and sprang into a chapel which was near and up to the window at

once, and in one bound out again. The boar ran after him, but the tailor

ran round outside and shut the door behind it, and then the raging

beast, which was much too heavy and awkward to leap out of the window,

was caught. The little tailor called the huntsmen thither that they

might see the prisoner with their own eyes. The hero, however, went to

the king, who was now, whether he liked it or not, obliged to keep his

promise, and gave his daughter and the half of his kingdom. Had he known

that it was no warlike hero, but a little tailor who was standing before

him, it would have gone to his heart still more than it did. The wedding

was held with great magnificence and small joy, and out of a tailor a

king was made.

 

After some time the young queen heard her husband say in his dreams at

night: 'Boy, make me the doublet, and patch the pantaloons, or else I

will rap the yard-measure over your ears.' Then she discovered in what

state of life the young lord had been born, and next morning complained

of her wrongs to her father, and begged him to help her to get rid of

her husband, who was nothing else but a tailor. The king comforted her

and said: 'Leave your bedroom door open this night, and my servants

shall stand outside, and when he has fallen asleep shall go in, bind

him, and take him on board a ship which shall carry him into the wide

world.' The woman was satisfied with this; but the king's armour-bearer,

who had heard all, was friendly with the young lord, and informed him of

the whole plot. 'I'll put a screw into that business,' said the little

tailor. At night he went to bed with his wife at the usual time, and

when she thought that he had fallen asleep, she got up, opened the door,

and then lay down again. The little tailor, who was only pretending to

be asleep, began to cry out in a clear voice: 'Boy, make me the doublet

and patch me the pantaloons, or I will rap the yard-measure over your

ears. I smote seven at one blow. I killed two giants, I brought away one

unicorn, and caught a wild boar, and am I to fear those who are standing

outside the room.' When these men heard the tailor speaking thus, they

were overcome by a great dread, and ran as if the wild huntsman were

behind them, and none of them would venture anything further against

him. So the little tailor was and remained a king to the end of his

life.

 

 

 

 

HANSEL AND GRETEL

 

Hard by a great forest dwelt a poor wood-cutter with his wife and his

two children. The boy was called Hansel and the girl Gretel. He had

little to bite and to break, and once when great dearth fell on the

land, he could no longer procure even daily bread. Now when he thought

over this by night in his bed, and tossed about in his anxiety, he

groaned and said to his wife: 'What is to become of us? How are we

to feed our poor children, when we no longer have anything even for

ourselves?' 'I'll tell you what, husband,' answered the woman, 'early

tomorrow morning we will take the children out into the forest to where

it is the thickest; there we will light a fire for them, and give each

of them one more piece of bread, and then we will go to our work and

leave them alone. They will not find the way home again, and we shall be

rid of them.' 'No, wife,' said the man, 'I will not do that; how can I

bear to leave my children alone in the forest?--the wild animals would

soon come and tear them to pieces.' 'O, you fool!' said she, 'then we

must all four die of hunger, you may as well plane the planks for our

coffins,' and she left him no peace until he consented. 'But I feel very

sorry for the poor children, all the same,' said the man.

 

The two children had also not been able to sleep for hunger, and had

heard what their stepmother had said to their father. Gretel wept

bitter tears, and said to Hansel: 'Now all is over with us.' 'Be quiet,

Gretel,' said Hansel, 'do not distress yourself, I will soon find a way

to help us.' And when the old folks had fallen asleep, he got up, put

on his little coat, opened the door below, and crept outside. The moon

shone brightly, and the white pebbles which lay in front of the house

glittered like real silver pennies. Hansel stooped and stuffed the

little pocket of his coat with as many as he could get in. Then he went

back and said to Gretel: 'Be comforted, dear little sister, and sleep in

peace, God will not forsake us,' and he lay down again in his bed. When

day dawned, but before the sun had risen, the woman came and awoke the

two children, saying: 'Get up, you sluggards! we are going into the

forest to fetch wood.' She gave each a little piece of bread, and said:

'There is something for your dinner, but do not eat it up before then,

for you will get nothing else.' Gretel took the bread under her apron,

as Hansel had the pebbles in his pocket. Then they all set out together

on the way to the forest. When they had walked a short time, Hansel

stood still and peeped back at the house, and did so again and again.

His father said: 'Hansel, what are you looking at there and staying

behind for? Pay attention, and do not forget how to use your legs.' 'Ah,

father,' said Hansel, 'I am looking at my little white cat, which is

sitting up on the roof, and wants to say goodbye to me.' The wife said:

'Fool, that is not your little cat, that is the morning sun which is

shining on the chimneys.' Hansel, however, had not been looking back at

the cat, but had been constantly throwing one of the white pebble-stones

out of his pocket on the road.

 

When they had reached the middle of the forest, the father said: 'Now,

children, pile up some wood, and I will light a fire that you may not

be cold.' Hansel and Gretel gathered brushwood together, as high as a

little hill. The brushwood was lighted, and when the flames were burning

very high, the woman said: 'Now, children, lay yourselves down by the

fire and rest, we will go into the forest and cut some wood. When we

have done, we will come back and fetch you away.'

 

Hansel and Gretel sat by the fire, and when noon came, each ate a little

piece of bread, and as they heard the strokes of the wood-axe they

believed that their father was near. It was not the axe, however, but

a branch which he had fastened to a withered tree which the wind was

blowing backwards and forwards. And as they had been sitting such a long

time, their eyes closed with fatigue, and they fell fast asleep. When

at last they awoke, it was already dark night. Gretel began to cry and

said: 'How are we to get out of the forest now?' But Hansel comforted

her and said: 'Just wait a little, until the moon has risen, and then we

will soon find the way.' And when the full moon had risen, Hansel took

his little sister by the hand, and followed the pebbles which shone like

newly-coined silver pieces, and showed them the way.

 

They walked the whole night long, and by break of day came once more

to their father's house. They knocked at the door, and when the woman

opened it and saw that it was Hansel and Gretel, she said: 'You naughty

children, why have you slept so long in the forest?--we thought you were

never coming back at all!' The father, however, rejoiced, for it had cut

him to the heart to leave them behind alone.

 

Not long afterwards, there was once more great dearth throughout the

land, and the children heard their mother saying at night to their

father: 'Everything is eaten again, we have one half loaf left, and that

is the end. The children must go, we will take them farther into the

wood, so that they will not find their way out again; there is no other

means of saving ourselves!' The man's heart was heavy, and he thought:

'It would be better for you to share the last mouthful with your

children.' The woman, however, would listen to nothing that he had to

say, but scolded and reproached him. He who says A must say B, likewise,

and as he had yielded the first time, he had to do so a second time

also.

 

The children, however, were still awake and had heard the conversation.

When the old folks were asleep, Hansel again got up, and wanted to go

out and pick up pebbles as he had done before, but the woman had locked

the door, and Hansel could not get out. Nevertheless he comforted his

little sister, and said: 'Do not cry, Gretel, go to sleep quietly, the

good God will help us.'

 

Early in the morning came the woman, and took the children out of their

beds. Their piece of bread was given to them, but it was still smaller

than the time before. On the way into the forest Hansel crumbled his

in his pocket, and often stood still and threw a morsel on the ground.

'Hansel, why do you stop and look round?' said the father, 'go on.' 'I

am looking back at my little pigeon which is sitting on the roof, and

wants to say goodbye to me,' answered Hansel. 'Fool!' said the woman,

'that is not your little pigeon, that is the morning sun that is shining

on the chimney.' Hansel, however little by little, threw all the crumbs

on the path.

 

The woman led the children still deeper into the forest, where they had

never in their lives been before. Then a great fire was again made, and

the mother said: 'Just sit there, you children, and when you are tired

you may sleep a little; we are going into the forest to cut wood, and in

the evening when we are done, we will come and fetch you away.' When

it was noon, Gretel shared her piece of bread with Hansel, who had

scattered his by the way. Then they fell asleep and evening passed, but

no one came to the poor children. They did not awake until it was dark

night, and Hansel comforted his little sister and said: 'Just wait,

Gretel, until the moon rises, and then we shall see the crumbs of bread

which I have strewn about, they will show us our way home again.' When

the moon came they set out, but they found no crumbs, for the many

thousands of birds which fly about in the woods and fields had picked

them all up. Hansel said to Gretel: 'We shall soon find the way,' but

they did not find it. They walked the whole night and all the next day

too from morning till evening, but they did not get out of the forest,

and were very hungry, for they had nothing to eat but two or three

berries, which grew on the ground. And as they were so weary that their

legs would carry them no longer, they lay down beneath a tree and fell

asleep.

 

It was now three mornings since they had left their father's house. They

began to walk again, but they always came deeper into the forest, and if

help did not come soon, they must die of hunger and weariness. When it

was mid-day, they saw a beautiful snow-white bird sitting on a bough,

which sang so delightfully that they stood still and listened to it. And

when its song was over, it spread its wings and flew away before them,

and they followed it until they reached a little house, on the roof of

which it alighted; and when they approached the little house they saw

that it was built of bread and covered with cakes, but that the windows

were of clear sugar. 'We will set to work on that,' said Hansel, 'and

have a good meal. I will eat a bit of the roof, and you Gretel, can eat

some of the window, it will taste sweet.' Hansel reached up above, and

broke off a little of the roof to try how it tasted, and Gretel leant

against the window and nibbled at the panes. Then a soft voice cried

from the parlour:

 

'Nibble, nibble, gnaw,

Who is nibbling at my little house?'

 

The children answered:

 

'The wind, the wind,

The heaven-born wind,'

 

and went on eating without disturbing themselves. Hansel, who liked the

taste of the roof, tore down a great piece of it, and Gretel pushed out

the whole of one round window-pane, sat down, and enjoyed herself with

it. Suddenly the door opened, and a woman as old as the hills, who

supported herself on crutches, came creeping out. Hansel and Gretel were

so terribly frightened that they let fall what they had in their

hands. The old woman, however, nodded her head, and said: 'Oh, you dear

children, who has brought you here? do come in, and stay with me. No

harm shall happen to you.' She took them both by the hand, and led them

into her little house. Then good food was set before them, milk and

pancakes, with sugar, apples, and nuts. Afterwards two pretty little

beds were covered with clean white linen, and Hansel and Gretel lay down

in them, and thought they were in heaven.

 

The old woman had only pretended to be so kind; she was in reality

a wicked witch, who lay in wait for children, and had only built the

little house of bread in order to entice them there. When a child fell

into her power, she killed it, cooked and ate it, and that was a feast

day with her. Witches have red eyes, and cannot see far, but they have

a keen scent like the beasts, and are aware when human beings draw near.

When Hansel and Gretel came into her neighbourhood, she laughed with

malice, and said mockingly: 'I have them, they shall not escape me

again!' Early in the morning before the children were awake, she was

already up, and when she saw both of them sleeping and looking so

pretty, with their plump and rosy cheeks she muttered to herself: 'That

will be a dainty mouthful!' Then she seized Hansel with her shrivelled

hand, carried him into a little stable, and locked him in behind a

grated door. Scream as he might, it would not help him. Then she went to

Gretel, shook her till she awoke, and cried: 'Get up, lazy thing, fetch

some water, and cook something good for your brother, he is in the

stable outside, and is to be made fat. When he is fat, I will eat him.'

Gretel began to weep bitterly, but it was all in vain, for she was

forced to do what the wicked witch commanded.

 

And now the best food was cooked for poor Hansel, but Gretel got nothing

but crab-shells. Every morning the woman crept to the little stable, and

cried: 'Hansel, stretch out your finger that I may feel if you will soon

be fat.' Hansel, however, stretched out a little bone to her, and

the old woman, who had dim eyes, could not see it, and thought it was

Hansel's finger, and was astonished that there was no way of fattening

him. When four weeks had gone by, and Hansel still remained thin, she

was seized with impatience and would not wait any longer. 'Now, then,

Gretel,' she cried to the girl, 'stir yourself, and bring some water.

Let Hansel be fat or lean, tomorrow I will kill him, and cook him.' Ah,

how the poor little sister did lament when she had to fetch the water,

and how her tears did flow down her cheeks! 'Dear God, do help us,' she

cried. 'If the wild beasts in the forest had but devoured us, we should

at any rate have died together.' 'Just keep your noise to yourself,'

said the old woman, 'it won't help you at all.'

 

Early in the morning, Gretel had to go out and hang up the cauldron with

the water, and light the fire. 'We will bake first,' said the old woman,

'I have already heated the oven, and kneaded the dough.' She pushed poor

Gretel out to the oven, from which flames of fire were already darting.

'Creep in,' said the witch, 'and see if it is properly heated, so that

we can put the bread in.' And once Gretel was inside, she intended to

shut the oven and let her bake in it, and then she would eat her, too.

But Gretel saw what she had in mind, and said: 'I do not know how I am

to do it; how do I get in?' 'Silly goose,' said the old woman. 'The door

is big enough; just look, I can get in myself!' and she crept up and

thrust her head into the oven. Then Gretel gave her a push that drove

her far into it, and shut the iron door, and fastened the bolt. Oh! then

she began to howl quite horribly, but Gretel ran away and the godless

witch was miserably burnt to death.

 

Gretel, however, ran like lightning to Hansel, opened his little stable,

and cried: 'Hansel, we are saved! The old witch is dead!' Then Hansel

sprang like a bird from its cage when the door is opened. How they did

rejoice and embrace each other, and dance about and kiss each other! And

as they had no longer any need to fear her, they went into the witch's

house, and in every corner there stood chests full of pearls and jewels.

'These are far better than pebbles!' said Hansel, and thrust into his

pockets whatever could be got in, and Gretel said: 'I, too, will take

something home with me,' and filled her pinafore full. 'But now we must

be off,' said Hansel, 'that we may get out of the witch's forest.'

 

When they had walked for two hours, they came to a great stretch of

water. 'We cannot cross,' said Hansel, 'I see no foot-plank, and no

bridge.' 'And there is also no ferry,' answered Gretel, 'but a white

duck is swimming there: if I ask her, she will help us over.' Then she

cried:

 

'Little duck, little duck, dost thou see,

Hansel and Gretel are waiting for thee?

There's never a plank, or bridge in sight,

Take us across on thy back so white.'

 

The duck came to them, and Hansel seated himself on its back, and told

his sister to sit by him. 'No,' replied Gretel, 'that will be too heavy

for the little duck; she shall take us across, one after the other.' The

good little duck did so, and when they were once safely across and had

walked for a short time, the forest seemed to be more and more familiar

to them, and at length they saw from afar their father's house. Then

they began to run, rushed into the parlour, and threw themselves round

their father's neck. The man had not known one happy hour since he had

left the children in the forest; the woman, however, was dead. Gretel

emptied her pinafore until pearls and precious stones ran about the

room, and Hansel threw one handful after another out of his pocket to

add to them. Then all anxiety was at an end, and they lived together

in perfect happiness. My tale is done, there runs a mouse; whosoever

catches it, may make himself a big fur cap out of it.

 

 

 

 

THE MOUSE, THE BIRD, AND THE SAUSAGE

 

Once upon a time, a mouse, a bird, and a sausage, entered into

partnership and set up house together. For a long time all went well;

they lived in great comfort, and prospered so far as to be able to add

considerably to their stores. The bird's duty was to fly daily into the

wood and bring in fuel; the mouse fetched the water, and the sausage saw

to the cooking.

 

When people are too well off they always begin to long for something

new. And so it came to pass, that the bird, while out one day, met a

fellow bird, to whom he boastfully expatiated on the excellence of his

household arrangements. But the other bird sneered at him for being a

poor simpleton, who did all the hard work, while the other two stayed

at home and had a good time of it. For, when the mouse had made the fire

and fetched in the water, she could retire into her little room and rest

until it was time to set the table. The sausage had only to watch the

pot to see that the food was properly cooked, and when it was near

dinner-time, he just threw himself into the broth, or rolled in and out

among the vegetables three or four times, and there they were, buttered,

and salted, and ready to be served. Then, when the bird came home and

had laid aside his burden, they sat down to table, and when they had

finished their meal, they could sleep their fill till the following

morning: and that was really a very delightful life.

 

Influenced by those remarks, the bird next morning refused to bring in

the wood, telling the others that he had been their servant long enough,

and had been a fool into the bargain, and that it was now time to make a

change, and to try some other way of arranging the work. Beg and pray

as the mouse and the sausage might, it was of no use; the bird remained

master of the situation, and the venture had to be made. They therefore

drew lots, and it fell to the sausage to bring in the wood, to the mouse

to cook, and to the bird to fetch the water.

 

And now what happened? The sausage started in search of wood, the bird

made the fire, and the mouse put on the pot, and then these two waited

till the sausage returned with the fuel for the following day. But the

sausage remained so long away, that they became uneasy, and the bird

flew out to meet him. He had not flown far, however, when he came across

a dog who, having met the sausage, had regarded him as his legitimate

booty, and so seized and swallowed him. The bird complained to the dog

of this bare-faced robbery, but nothing he said was of any avail, for

the dog answered that he found false credentials on the sausage, and

that was the reason his life had been forfeited.

 

He picked up the wood, and flew sadly home, and told the mouse all he

had seen and heard. They were both very unhappy, but agreed to make the

best of things and to remain with one another.

 

So now the bird set the table, and the mouse looked after the food and,

wishing to prepare it in the same way as the sausage, by rolling in and

out among the vegetables to salt and butter them, she jumped into the

pot; but she stopped short long before she reached the bottom, having

already parted not only with her skin and hair, but also with life.

 

Presently the bird came in and wanted to serve up the dinner, but he

could nowhere see the cook. In his alarm and flurry, he threw the wood

here and there about the floor, called and searched, but no cook was to

be found. Then some of the wood that had been carelessly thrown down,

caught fire and began to blaze. The bird hastened to fetch some water,

but his pail fell into the well, and he after it, and as he was unable

to recover himself, he was drowned.

 

 

 

 

MOTHER HOLLE

 

Once upon a time there was a widow who had two daughters; one of them

was beautiful and industrious, the other ugly and lazy. The mother,

however, loved the ugly and lazy one best, because she was her own

daughter, and so the other, who was only her stepdaughter, was made

to do all the work of the house, and was quite the Cinderella of the

family. Her stepmother sent her out every day to sit by the well in

the high road, there to spin until she made her fingers bleed. Now it

chanced one day that some blood fell on to the spindle, and as the girl

stopped over the well to wash it off, the spindle suddenly sprang out

of her hand and fell into the well. She ran home crying to tell of her

misfortune, but her stepmother spoke harshly to her, and after giving

her a violent scolding, said unkindly, 'As you have let the spindle fall

into the well you may go yourself and fetch it out.'

 

The girl went back to the well not knowing what to do, and at last in

her distress she jumped into the water after the spindle.

 

She remembered nothing more until she awoke and found herself in a

beautiful meadow, full of sunshine, and with countless flowers blooming

in every direction.

 

She walked over the meadow, and presently she came upon a baker's oven

full of bread, and the loaves cried out to her, 'Take us out, take us

out, or alas! we shall be burnt to a cinder; we were baked through long

ago.' So she took the bread-shovel and drew them all out.

 

She went on a little farther, till she came to a free full of apples.

'Shake me, shake me, I pray,' cried the tree; 'my apples, one and all,

are ripe.' So she shook the tree, and the apples came falling down upon

her like rain; but she continued shaking until there was not a single

apple left upon it. Then she carefully gathered the apples together in a

heap and walked on again.

 

The next thing she came to was a little house, and there she saw an old

woman looking out, with such large teeth, that she was terrified, and

turned to run away. But the old woman called after her, 'What are you

afraid of, dear child? Stay with me; if you will do the work of my house

properly for me, I will make you very happy. You must be very careful,

however, to make my bed in the right way, for I wish you always to shake

it thoroughly, so that the feathers fly about; then they say, down there

in the world, that it is snowing; for I am Mother Holle.' The old woman

spoke so kindly, that the girl summoned up courage and agreed to enter

into her service.

 

She took care to do everything according to the old woman's bidding and

every time she made the bed she shook it with all her might, so that the

feathers flew about like so many snowflakes. The old woman was as good

as her word: she never spoke angrily to her, and gave her roast and

boiled meats every day.

 

So she stayed on with Mother Holle for some time, and then she began

to grow unhappy. She could not at first tell why she felt sad, but she

became conscious at last of great longing to go home; then she knew she

was homesick, although she was a thousand times better off with Mother

Holle than with her mother and sister. After waiting awhile, she went

to Mother Holle and said, 'I am so homesick, that I cannot stay with

you any longer, for although I am so happy here, I must return to my own

people.'

 

Then Mother Holle said, 'I am pleased that you should want to go back

to your own people, and as you have served me so well and faithfully, I

will take you home myself.'

 

Thereupon she led the girl by the hand up to a broad gateway. The gate

was opened, and as the girl passed through, a shower of gold fell upon

her, and the gold clung to her, so that she was covered with it from

head to foot.

 

'That is a reward for your industry,' said Mother Holle, and as she

spoke she handed her the spindle which she had dropped into the well.

 

The gate was then closed, and the girl found herself back in the old

world close to her mother's house. As she entered the courtyard, the

cock who was perched on the well, called out:

 

'Cock-a-doodle-doo!

Your golden daughter's come back to you.'

 

Then she went in to her mother and sister, and as she was so richly

covered with gold, they gave her a warm welcome. She related to them

all that had happened, and when the mother heard how she had come by her

great riches, she thought she should like her ugly, lazy daughter to go

and try her fortune. So she made the sister go and sit by the well

and spin, and the girl pricked her finger and thrust her hand into a

thorn-bush, so that she might drop some blood on to the spindle; then

she threw it into the well, and jumped in herself.

 

Like her sister she awoke in the beautiful meadow, and walked over it

till she came to the oven. 'Take us out, take us out, or alas! we shall

be burnt to a cinder; we were baked through long ago,' cried the loaves

as before. But the lazy girl answered, 'Do you think I am going to dirty

my hands for you?' and walked on.

 

Presently she came to the apple-tree. 'Shake me, shake me, I pray; my

apples, one and all, are ripe,' it cried. But she only answered, 'A nice

thing to ask me to do, one of the apples might fall on my head,' and

passed on.

 

At last she came to Mother Holle's house, and as she had heard all about

the large teeth from her sister, she was not afraid of them, and engaged

herself without delay to the old woman.

 

The first day she was very obedient and industrious, and exerted herself

to please Mother Holle, for she thought of the gold she should get in

return. The next day, however, she began to dawdle over her work, and

the third day she was more idle still; then she began to lie in bed in

the mornings and refused to get up. Worse still, she neglected to

make the old woman's bed properly, and forgot to shake it so that the

feathers might fly about. So Mother Holle very soon got tired of her,

and told her she might go. The lazy girl was delighted at this, and

thought to herself, 'The gold will soon be mine.' Mother Holle led her,

as she had led her sister, to the broad gateway; but as she was passing

through, instead of the shower of gold, a great bucketful of pitch came

pouring over her.

 

'That is in return for your services,' said the old woman, and she shut

the gate.

 

So the lazy girl had to go home covered with pitch, and the cock on the

well called out as she saw her:

 

'Cock-a-doodle-doo!

Your dirty daughter's come back to you.'

 

But, try what she would, she could not get the pitch off and it stuck to

her as long as she lived.

 

 

 

 

LITTLE RED-CAP [LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD]

 

Once upon a time there was a dear little girl who was loved by everyone

who looked at her, but most of all by her grandmother, and there was

nothing that she would not have given to the child. Once she gave her a

little cap of red velvet, which suited her so well that she would never

wear anything else; so she was always called 'Little Red-Cap.'

 

One day her mother said to her: 'Come, Little Red-Cap, here is a piece

of cake and a bottle of wine; take them to your grandmother, she is ill

and weak, and they will do her good. Set out before it gets hot, and

when you are going, walk nicely and quietly and do not run off the path,

or you may fall and break the bottle, and then your grandmother will

get nothing; and when you go into her room, don't forget to say, "Good

morning", and don't peep into every corner before you do it.'

 

'I will take great care,' said Little Red-Cap to her mother, and gave

her hand on it.

 

The grandmother lived out in the wood, half a league from the village,

and just as Little Red-Cap entered the wood, a wolf met her. Red-Cap

did not know what a wicked creature he was, and was not at all afraid of

him.

 

'Good day, Little Red-Cap,' said he.

 

'Thank you kindly, wolf.'

 

'Whither away so early, Little Red-Cap?'

 

'To my grandmother's.'

 

'What have you got in your apron?'

 

'Cake and wine; yesterday was baking-day, so poor sick grandmother is to

have something good, to make her stronger.'

 

'Where does your grandmother live, Little Red-Cap?'

 

'A good quarter of a league farther on in the wood; her house stands

under the three large oak-trees, the nut-trees are just below; you

surely must know it,' replied Little Red-Cap.

 

The wolf thought to himself: 'What a tender young creature! what a nice

plump mouthful--she will be better to eat than the old woman. I must

act craftily, so as to catch both.' So he walked for a short time by

the side of Little Red-Cap, and then he said: 'See, Little Red-Cap, how

pretty the flowers are about here--why do you not look round? I believe,

too, that you do not hear how sweetly the little birds are singing; you

walk gravely along as if you were going to school, while everything else

out here in the wood is merry.'

 

Little Red-Cap raised her eyes, and when she saw the sunbeams dancing

here and there through the trees, and pretty flowers growing everywhere,

she thought: 'Suppose I take grandmother a fresh nosegay; that would

please her too. It is so early in the day that I shall still get there

in good time'; and so she ran from the path into the wood to look for

flowers. And whenever she had picked one, she fancied that she saw a

still prettier one farther on, and ran after it, and so got deeper and

deeper into the wood.

 

Meanwhile the wolf ran straight to the grandmother's house and knocked

at the door.

 

'Who is there?'

 

'Little Red-Cap,' replied the wolf. 'She is bringing cake and wine; open

the door.'

 

'Lift the latch,' called out the grandmother, 'I am too weak, and cannot

get up.'

 

The wolf lifted the latch, the door sprang open, and without saying a

word he went straight to the grandmother's bed, and devoured her. Then

he put on her clothes, dressed himself in her cap laid himself in bed

and drew the curtains.

 

Little Red-Cap, however, had been running about picking flowers,

and when she had gathered so many that she could carry no more, she

remembered her grandmother, and set out on the way to her.

 

She was surprised to find the cottage-door standing open, and when she

went into the room, she had such a strange feeling that she said to

herself: 'Oh dear! how uneasy I feel today, and at other times I like

being with grandmother so much.' She called out: 'Good morning,' but

received no answer; so she went to the bed and drew back the curtains.

There lay her grandmother with her cap pulled far over her face, and

looking very strange.

 

'Oh! grandmother,' she said, 'what big ears you have!'

 

'The better to hear you with, my child,' was the reply.

 

'But, grandmother, what big eyes you have!' she said.

 

'The better to see you with, my dear.'

 

'But, grandmother, what large hands you have!'

 

'The better to hug you with.'

 

'Oh! but, grandmother, what a terrible big mouth you have!'

 

'The better to eat you with!'

 

And scarcely had the wolf said this, than with one bound he was out of

bed and swallowed up Red-Cap.

 

When the wolf had appeased his appetite, he lay down again in the bed,

fell asleep and began to snore very loud. The huntsman was just passing

the house, and thought to himself: 'How the old woman is snoring! I must

just see if she wants anything.' So he went into the room, and when he

came to the bed, he saw that the wolf was lying in it. 'Do I find you

here, you old sinner!' said he. 'I have long sought you!' Then just as

he was going to fire at him, it occurred to him that the wolf might have

devoured the grandmother, and that she might still be saved, so he did

not fire, but took a pair of scissors, and began to cut open the stomach

of the sleeping wolf. When he had made two snips, he saw the little

Red-Cap shining, and then he made two snips more, and the little girl

sprang out, crying: 'Ah, how frightened I have been! How dark it was

inside the wolf'; and after that the aged grandmother came out alive

also, but scarcely able to breathe. Red-Cap, however, quickly fetched

great stones with which they filled the wolf's belly, and when he awoke,

he wanted to run away, but the stones were so heavy that he collapsed at

once, and fell dead.

 

Then all three were delighted. The huntsman drew off the wolf's skin and

went home with it; the grandmother ate the cake and drank the wine which

Red-Cap had brought, and revived, but Red-Cap thought to herself: 'As

long as I live, I will never by myself leave the path, to run into the

wood, when my mother has forbidden me to do so.'

 

 

It also related that once when Red-Cap was again taking cakes to the old

grandmother, another wolf spoke to her, and tried to entice her from the

path. Red-Cap, however, was on her guard, and went straight forward on

her way, and told her grandmother that she had met the wolf, and that he

had said 'good morning' to her, but with such a wicked look in his eyes,

that if they had not been on the public road she was certain he would

have eaten her up. 'Well,' said the grandmother, 'we will shut the door,

that he may not come in.' Soon afterwards the wolf knocked, and cried:

'Open the door, grandmother, I am Little Red-Cap, and am bringing you

some cakes.' But they did not speak, or open the door, so the grey-beard

stole twice or thrice round the house, and at last jumped on the roof,

intending to wait until Red-Cap went home in the evening, and then to

steal after her and devour her in the darkness. But the grandmother

saw what was in his thoughts. In front of the house was a great stone

trough, so she said to the child: 'Take the pail, Red-Cap; I made some

sausages yesterday, so carry the water in which I boiled them to the

trough.' Red-Cap carried until the great trough was quite full. Then the

smell of the sausages reached the wolf, and he sniffed and peeped down,

and at last stretched out his neck so far that he could no longer keep

his footing and began to slip, and slipped down from the roof straight

into the great trough, and was drowned. But Red-Cap went joyously home,

and no one ever did anything to harm her again.

 

 

 

 

THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM

 

There was once a miller who had one beautiful daughter, and as she was

grown up, he was anxious that she should be well married and provided

for. He said to himself, 'I will give her to the first suitable man who

comes and asks for her hand.' Not long after a suitor appeared, and as

he appeared to be very rich and the miller could see nothing in him with

which to find fault, he betrothed his daughter to him. But the girl did

not care for the man as a girl ought to care for her betrothed husband.

She did not feel that she could trust him, and she could not look at him

nor think of him without an inward shudder. One day he said to her, 'You

have not yet paid me a visit, although we have been betrothed for some

time.' 'I do not know where your house is,' she answered. 'My house is

out there in the dark forest,' he said. She tried to excuse herself by

saying that she would not be able to find the way thither. Her betrothed

only replied, 'You must come and see me next Sunday; I have already

invited guests for that day, and that you may not mistake the way, I

will strew ashes along the path.'

 

When Sunday came, and it was time for the girl to start, a feeling of

dread came over her which she could not explain, and that she might

be able to find her path again, she filled her pockets with peas and

lentils to sprinkle on the ground as she went along. On reaching the

entrance to the forest she found the path strewed with ashes, and these

she followed, throwing down some peas on either side of her at every

step she took. She walked the whole day until she came to the deepest,

darkest part of the forest. There she saw a lonely house, looking so

grim and mysterious, that it did not please her at all. She stepped

inside, but not a soul was to be seen, and a great silence reigned

throughout. Suddenly a voice cried:

 

'Turn back, turn back, young maiden fair,

Linger not in this murderers' lair.'

 

The girl looked up and saw that the voice came from a bird hanging in a

cage on the wall. Again it cried:

 

'Turn back, turn back, young maiden fair,

Linger not in this murderers' lair.'

 

The girl passed on, going from room to room of the house, but they were

all empty, and still she saw no one. At last she came to the cellar,

and there sat a very, very old woman, who could not keep her head from

shaking. 'Can you tell me,' asked the girl, 'if my betrothed husband

lives here?'

 

'Ah, you poor child,' answered the old woman, 'what a place for you to

come to! This is a murderers' den. You think yourself a promised bride,

and that your marriage will soon take place, but it is with death that

you will keep your marriage feast. Look, do you see that large cauldron

of water which I am obliged to keep on the fire! As soon as they have

you in their power they will kill you without mercy, and cook and eat

you, for they are eaters of men. If I did not take pity on you and save

you, you would be lost.'

 

Thereupon the old woman led her behind a large cask, which quite hid her

from view. 'Keep as still as a mouse,' she said; 'do not move or speak,

or it will be all over with you. Tonight, when the robbers are

all asleep, we will flee together. I have long been waiting for an

opportunity to escape.'

 

The words were hardly out of her mouth when the godless crew returned,

dragging another young girl along with them. They were all drunk, and

paid no heed to her cries and lamentations. They gave her wine to drink,

three glasses full, one of white wine, one of red, and one of yellow,

and with that her heart gave way and she died. Then they tore of her

dainty clothing, laid her on a table, and cut her beautiful body into

pieces, and sprinkled salt upon it.

 

The poor betrothed girl crouched trembling and shuddering behind the

cask, for she saw what a terrible fate had been intended for her by

the robbers. One of them now noticed a gold ring still remaining on

the little finger of the murdered girl, and as he could not draw it off

easily, he took a hatchet and cut off the finger; but the finger sprang

into the air, and fell behind the cask into the lap of the girl who was

hiding there. The robber took a light and began looking for it, but he

could not find it. 'Have you looked behind the large cask?' said one of

the others. But the old woman called out, 'Come and eat your suppers,

and let the thing be till tomorrow; the finger won't run away.'

 

'The old woman is right,' said the robbers, and they ceased looking for

the finger and sat down.

 

The old woman then mixed a sleeping draught with their wine, and before

long they were all lying on the floor of the cellar, fast asleep and

snoring. As soon as the girl was assured of this, she came from behind

the cask. She was obliged to step over the bodies of the sleepers, who

were lying close together, and every moment she was filled with renewed

dread lest she should awaken them. But God helped her, so that she

passed safely over them, and then she and the old woman went upstairs,

opened the door, and hastened as fast as they could from the murderers'

den. They found the ashes scattered by the wind, but the peas and

lentils had sprouted, and grown sufficiently above the ground, to guide

them in the moonlight along the path. All night long they walked, and it

was morning before they reached the mill. Then the girl told her father

all that had happened.

 

The day came that had been fixed for the marriage. The bridegroom

arrived and also a large company of guests, for the miller had taken

care to invite all his friends and relations. As they sat at the feast,

each guest in turn was asked to tell a tale; the bride sat still and did

not say a word.

 

'And you, my love,' said the bridegroom, turning to her, 'is there no

tale you know? Tell us something.'

 

'I will tell you a dream, then,' said the bride. 'I went alone through a

forest and came at last to a house; not a soul could I find within, but

a bird that was hanging in a cage on the wall cried:

 

'Turn back, turn back, young maiden fair,

Linger not in this murderers' lair.'

 

and again a second time it said these words.'

 

'My darling, this is only a dream.'

 

'I went on through the house from room to room, but they were all empty,

and everything was so grim and mysterious. At last I went down to the

cellar, and there sat a very, very old woman, who could not keep her

head still. I asked her if my betrothed lived here, and she answered,

"Ah, you poor child, you are come to a murderers' den; your betrothed

does indeed live here, but he will kill you without mercy and afterwards

cook and eat you."'

 

'My darling, this is only a dream.'

 

'The old woman hid me behind a large cask, and scarcely had she done

this when the robbers returned home, dragging a young girl along with

them. They gave her three kinds of wine to drink, white, red, and

yellow, and with that she died.'

 

'My darling, this is only a dream.'

 

'Then they tore off her dainty clothing, and cut her beautiful body into

pieces and sprinkled salt upon it.'

 

'My darling, this is only a dream.'

 

'And one of the robbers saw that there was a gold ring still left on her

finger, and as it was difficult to draw off, he took a hatchet and cut

off her finger; but the finger sprang into the air and fell behind the

great cask into my lap. And here is the finger with the ring.' and

with these words the bride drew forth the finger and shewed it to the

assembled guests.

 

The bridegroom, who during this recital had grown deadly pale, up and

tried to escape, but the guests seized him and held him fast. They

delivered him up to justice, and he and all his murderous band were

condemned to death for their wicked deeds.

 

 

 

 

TOM THUMB

 

A poor woodman sat in his cottage one night, smoking his pipe by the

fireside, while his wife sat by his side spinning. 'How lonely it is,

wife,' said he, as he puffed out a long curl of smoke, 'for you and me

to sit here by ourselves, without any children to play about and amuse

us while other people seem so happy and merry with their children!'

'What you say is very true,' said the wife, sighing, and turning round

her wheel; 'how happy should I be if I had but one child! If it were

ever so small--nay, if it were no bigger than my thumb--I should be very

happy, and love it dearly.' Now--odd as you may think it--it came to

pass that this good woman's wish was fulfilled, just in the very way she

had wished it; for, not long afterwards, she had a little boy, who was

quite healthy and strong, but was not much bigger than my thumb. So

they said, 'Well, we cannot say we have not got what we wished for, and,

little as he is, we will love him dearly.' And they called him Thomas

Thumb.

 

They gave him plenty of food, yet for all they could do he never grew

bigger, but kept just the same size as he had been when he was born.

Still, his eyes were sharp and sparkling, and he soon showed himself to

be a clever little fellow, who always knew well what he was about.

 

One day, as the woodman was getting ready to go into the wood to cut

fuel, he said, 'I wish I had someone to bring the cart after me, for I

want to make haste.' 'Oh, father,' cried Tom, 'I will take care of that;

the cart shall be in the wood by the time you want it.' Then the woodman

laughed, and said, 'How can that be? you cannot reach up to the horse's

bridle.' 'Never mind that, father,' said Tom; 'if my mother will only

harness the horse, I will get into his ear and tell him which way to

go.' 'Well,' said the father, 'we will try for once.'

 

When the time came the mother harnessed the horse to the cart, and put

Tom into his ear; and as he sat there the little man told the beast how

to go, crying out, 'Go on!' and 'Stop!' as he wanted: and thus the horse

went on just as well as if the woodman had driven it himself into the

wood. It happened that as the horse was going a little too fast, and Tom

was calling out, 'Gently! gently!' two strangers came up. 'What an odd

thing that is!' said one: 'there is a cart going along, and I hear a

carter talking to the horse, but yet I can see no one.' 'That is queer,

indeed,' said the other; 'let us follow the cart, and see where it

goes.' So they went on into the wood, till at last they came to the

place where the woodman was. Then Tom Thumb, seeing his father, cried

out, 'See, father, here I am with the cart, all right and safe! now take

me down!' So his father took hold of the horse with one hand, and with

the other took his son out of the horse's ear, and put him down upon a

straw, where he sat as merry as you please.

 

The two strangers were all this time looking on, and did not know what

to say for wonder. At last one took the other aside, and said, 'That

little urchin will make our fortune, if we can get him, and carry him

about from town to town as a show; we must buy him.' So they went up to

the woodman, and asked him what he would take for the little man. 'He

will be better off,' said they, 'with us than with you.' 'I won't sell

him at all,' said the father; 'my own flesh and blood is dearer to me

than all the silver and gold in the world.' But Tom, hearing of the

bargain they wanted to make, crept up his father's coat to his shoulder

and whispered in his ear, 'Take the money, father, and let them have me;

I'll soon come back to you.'

 

So the woodman at last said he would sell Tom to the strangers for a

large piece of gold, and they paid the price. 'Where would you like to

sit?' said one of them. 'Oh, put me on the rim of your hat; that will be

a nice gallery for me; I can walk about there and see the country as we

go along.' So they did as he wished; and when Tom had taken leave of his

father they took him away with them.

 

They journeyed on till it began to be dusky, and then the little man

said, 'Let me get down, I'm tired.' So the man took off his hat, and

put him down on a clod of earth, in a ploughed field by the side of the

road. But Tom ran about amongst the furrows, and at last slipped into

an old mouse-hole. 'Good night, my masters!' said he, 'I'm off! mind and

look sharp after me the next time.' Then they ran at once to the place,

and poked the ends of their sticks into the mouse-hole, but all in vain;

Tom only crawled farther and farther in; and at last it became quite

dark, so that they were forced to go their way without their prize, as

sulky as could be.

 

When Tom found they were gone, he came out of his hiding-place. 'What

dangerous walking it is,' said he, 'in this ploughed field! If I were to

fall from one of these great clods, I should undoubtedly break my neck.'

At last, by good luck, he found a large empty snail-shell. 'This is

lucky,' said he, 'I can sleep here very well'; and in he crept.

 

Just as he was falling asleep, he heard two men passing by, chatting

together; and one said to the other, 'How can we rob that rich parson's

house of his silver and gold?' 'I'll tell you!' cried Tom. 'What noise

was that?' said the thief, frightened; 'I'm sure I heard someone speak.'

They stood still listening, and Tom said, 'Take me with you, and I'll

soon show you how to get the parson's money.' 'But where are you?' said

they. 'Look about on the ground,' answered he, 'and listen where the

sound comes from.' At last the thieves found him out, and lifted him

up in their hands. 'You little urchin!' they said, 'what can you do for

us?' 'Why, I can get between the iron window-bars of the parson's house,

and throw you out whatever you want.' 'That's a good thought,' said the

thieves; 'come along, we shall see what you can do.'

 

When they came to the parson's house, Tom slipped through the

window-bars into the room, and then called out as loud as he could bawl,

'Will you have all that is here?' At this the thieves were frightened,

and said, 'Softly, softly! Speak low, that you may not awaken anybody.'

But Tom seemed as if he did not understand them, and bawled out again,

'How much will you have? Shall I throw it all out?' Now the cook lay in

the next room; and hearing a noise she raised herself up in her bed and

listened. Meantime the thieves were frightened, and ran off a little

way; but at last they plucked up their hearts, and said, 'The little

urchin is only trying to make fools of us.' So they came back and

whispered softly to him, saying, 'Now let us have no more of your

roguish jokes; but throw us out some of the money.' Then Tom called out

as loud as he could, 'Very well! hold your hands! here it comes.'

 

The cook heard this quite plain, so she sprang out of bed, and ran to

open the door. The thieves ran off as if a wolf was at their tails: and

the maid, having groped about and found nothing, went away for a light.

By the time she came back, Tom had slipped off into the barn; and when

she had looked about and searched every hole and corner, and found

nobody, she went to bed, thinking she must have been dreaming with her

eyes open.

 

The little man crawled about in the hay-loft, and at last found a snug

place to finish his night's rest in; so he laid himself down, meaning

to sleep till daylight, and then find his way home to his father and

mother. But alas! how woefully he was undone! what crosses and sorrows

happen to us all in this world! The cook got up early, before daybreak,

to feed the cows; and going straight to the hay-loft, carried away

a large bundle of hay, with the little man in the middle of it, fast

asleep. He still, however, slept on, and did not awake till he found

himself in the mouth of the cow; for the cook had put the hay into the

cow's rick, and the cow had taken Tom up in a mouthful of it. 'Good

lack-a-day!' said he, 'how came I to tumble into the mill?' But he soon

found out where he really was; and was forced to have all his wits about

him, that he might not get between the cow's teeth, and so be crushed to

death. At last down he went into her stomach. 'It is rather dark,' said

he; 'they forgot to build windows in this room to let the sun in; a

candle would be no bad thing.'

 

Though he made the best of his bad luck, he did not like his quarters at

all; and the worst of it was, that more and more hay was always coming

down, and the space left for him became smaller and smaller. At last he

cried out as loud as he could, 'Don't bring me any more hay! Don't bring

me any more hay!'

 

The maid happened to be just then milking the cow; and hearing someone

speak, but seeing nobody, and yet being quite sure it was the same voice

that she had heard in the night, she was so frightened that she fell off

her stool, and overset the milk-pail. As soon as she could pick herself

up out of the dirt, she ran off as fast as she could to her master the

parson, and said, 'Sir, sir, the cow is talking!' But the parson

said, 'Woman, thou art surely mad!' However, he went with her into the

cow-house, to try and see what was the matter.

 

Scarcely had they set foot on the threshold, when Tom called out, 'Don't

bring me any more hay!' Then the parson himself was frightened; and

thinking the cow was surely bewitched, told his man to kill her on the

spot. So the cow was killed, and cut up; and the stomach, in which Tom

lay, was thrown out upon a dunghill.

 

Tom soon set himself to work to get out, which was not a very easy

task; but at last, just as he had made room to get his head out, fresh

ill-luck befell him. A hungry wolf sprang out, and swallowed up the

whole stomach, with Tom in it, at one gulp, and ran away.

 

Tom, however, was still not disheartened; and thinking the wolf would

not dislike having some chat with him as he was going along, he called

out, 'My good friend, I can show you a famous treat.' 'Where's that?'

said the wolf. 'In such and such a house,' said Tom, describing his own

father's house. 'You can crawl through the drain into the kitchen and

then into the pantry, and there you will find cakes, ham, beef, cold

chicken, roast pig, apple-dumplings, and everything that your heart can

wish.'

 

The wolf did not want to be asked twice; so that very night he went to

the house and crawled through the drain into the kitchen, and then into

the pantry, and ate and drank there to his heart's content. As soon as

he had had enough he wanted to get away; but he had eaten so much that

he could not go out by the same way he came in.

 

This was just what Tom had reckoned upon; and now he began to set up a

great shout, making all the noise he could. 'Will you be easy?' said the

wolf; 'you'll awaken everybody in the house if you make such a clatter.'

'What's that to me?' said the little man; 'you have had your frolic, now

I've a mind to be merry myself'; and he began, singing and shouting as

loud as he could.

 

The woodman and his wife, being awakened by the noise, peeped through

a crack in the door; but when they saw a wolf was there, you may well

suppose that they were sadly frightened; and the woodman ran for his

axe, and gave his wife a scythe. 'Do you stay behind,' said the woodman,

'and when I have knocked him on the head you must rip him up with the

scythe.' Tom heard all this, and cried out, 'Father, father! I am here,

the wolf has swallowed me.' And his father said, 'Heaven be praised! we

have found our dear child again'; and he told his wife not to use the

scythe for fear she should hurt him. Then he aimed a great blow, and

struck the wolf on the head, and killed him on the spot! and when he was

dead they cut open his body, and set Tommy free. 'Ah!' said the father,

'what fears we have had for you!' 'Yes, father,' answered he; 'I have

travelled all over the world, I think, in one way or other, since we

parted; and now I am very glad to come home and get fresh air again.'

'Why, where have you been?' said his father. 'I have been in a

mouse-hole--and in a snail-shell--and down a cow's throat--and in the

wolf's belly; and yet here I am again, safe and sound.'

 

'Well,' said they, 'you are come back, and we will not sell you again

for all the riches in the world.'

 

Then they hugged and kissed their dear little son, and gave him plenty

to eat and drink, for he was very hungry; and then they fetched new

clothes for him, for his old ones had been quite spoiled on his journey.

So Master Thumb stayed at home with his father and mother, in peace; for

though he had been so great a traveller, and had done and seen so many

fine things, and was fond enough of telling the whole story, he always

agreed that, after all, there's no place like HOME!

 

 

 

 

RUMPELSTILTSKIN

 

By the side of a wood, in a country a long way off, ran a fine stream

of water; and upon the stream there stood a mill. The miller's house was

close by, and the miller, you must know, had a very beautiful daughter.

She was, moreover, very shrewd and clever; and the miller was so proud

of her, that he one day told the king of the land, who used to come and

hunt in the wood, that his daughter could spin gold out of straw. Now

this king was very fond of money; and when he heard the miller's boast

his greediness was raised, and he sent for the girl to be brought before

him. Then he led her to a chamber in his palace where there was a great

heap of straw, and gave her a spinning-wheel, and said, 'All this must

be spun into gold before morning, as you love your life.' It was in vain

that the poor maiden said that it was only a silly boast of her father,

for that she could do no such thing as spin straw into gold: the chamber

door was locked, and she was left alone.

 

She sat down in one corner of the room, and began to bewail her hard

fate; when on a sudden the door opened, and a droll-looking little man

hobbled in, and said, 'Good morrow to you, my good lass; what are you

weeping for?' 'Alas!' said she, 'I must spin this straw into gold, and

I know not how.' 'What will you give me,' said the hobgoblin, 'to do it

for you?' 'My necklace,' replied the maiden. He took her at her word,

and sat himself down to the wheel, and whistled and sang:

 

'Round about, round about,

Lo and behold!

Reel away, reel away,

Straw into gold!'

 

And round about the wheel went merrily; the work was quickly done, and

the straw was all spun into gold.

 

When the king came and saw this, he was greatly astonished and pleased;

but his heart grew still more greedy of gain, and he shut up the poor

miller's daughter again with a fresh task. Then she knew not what to do,

and sat down once more to weep; but the dwarf soon opened the door, and

said, 'What will you give me to do your task?' 'The ring on my finger,'

said she. So her little friend took the ring, and began to work at the

wheel again, and whistled and sang:

 

'Round about, round about,

Lo and behold!

Reel away, reel away,

Straw into gold!'

 

till, long before morning, all was done again.

 

The king was greatly delighted to see all this glittering treasure;

but still he had not enough: so he took the miller's daughter to a yet

larger heap, and said, 'All this must be spun tonight; and if it is,

you shall be my queen.' As soon as she was alone that dwarf came in, and

said, 'What will you give me to spin gold for you this third time?'

'I have nothing left,' said she. 'Then say you will give me,' said

the little man, 'the first little child that you may have when you are

queen.' 'That may never be,' thought the miller's daughter: and as she

knew no other way to get her task done, she said she would do what he

asked. Round went the wheel again to the old song, and the manikin once

more spun the heap into gold. The king came in the morning, and, finding

all he wanted, was forced to keep his word; so he married the miller's

daughter, and she really became queen.

 

At the birth of her first little child she was very glad, and forgot the

dwarf, and what she had said. But one day he came into her room, where

she was sitting playing with her baby, and put her in mind of it. Then

she grieved sorely at her misfortune, and said she would give him all

the wealth of the kingdom if he would let her off, but in vain; till at

last her tears softened him, and he said, 'I will give you three days'

grace, and if during that time you tell me my name, you shall keep your

child.'

 

Now the queen lay awake all night, thinking of all the odd names that

she had ever heard; and she sent messengers all over the land to find

out new ones. The next day the little man came, and she began with

TIMOTHY, ICHABOD, BENJAMIN, JEREMIAH, and all the names she could

remember; but to all and each of them he said, 'Madam, that is not my

name.'

 

The second day she began with all the comical names she could hear of,

BANDY-LEGS, HUNCHBACK, CROOK-SHANKS, and so on; but the little gentleman

still said to every one of them, 'Madam, that is not my name.'

 

The third day one of the messengers came back, and said, 'I have

travelled two days without hearing of any other names; but yesterday, as

I was climbing a high hill, among the trees of the forest where the fox

and the hare bid each other good night, I saw a little hut; and before

the hut burnt a fire; and round about the fire a funny little dwarf was

dancing upon one leg, and singing:

 

'"Merrily the feast I'll make.

Today I'll brew, tomorrow bake;

Merrily I'll dance and sing,

For next day will a stranger bring.

Little does my lady dream

Rumpelstiltskin is my name!"'

 

When the queen heard this she jumped for joy, and as soon as her little

friend came she sat down upon her throne, and called all her court round

to enjoy the fun; and the nurse stood by her side with the baby in her

arms, as if it was quite ready to be given up. Then the little man began

to chuckle at the thought of having the poor child, to take home with

him to his hut in the woods; and he cried out, 'Now, lady, what is my

name?' 'Is it JOHN?' asked she. 'No, madam!' 'Is it TOM?' 'No, madam!'

'Is it JEMMY?' 'It is not.' 'Can your name be RUMPELSTILTSKIN?' said the

lady slyly. 'Some witch told you that!--some witch told you that!' cried

the little man, and dashed his right foot in a rage so deep into the

floor, that he was forced to lay hold of it with both hands to pull it

out.

 

Then he made the best of his way off, while the nurse laughed and the

baby crowed; and all the court jeered at him for having had so much

trouble for nothing, and said, 'We wish you a very good morning, and a

merry feast, Mr RUMPLESTILTSKIN!'

 

 

 

 

CLEVER GRETEL

 

There was once a cook named Gretel, who wore shoes with red heels, and

when she walked out with them on, she turned herself this way and that,

was quite happy and thought: 'You certainly are a pretty girl!' And when

she came home she drank, in her gladness of heart, a draught of wine,

and as wine excites a desire to eat, she tasted the best of whatever she

was cooking until she was satisfied, and said: 'The cook must know what

the food is like.'

 

It came to pass that the master one day said to her: 'Gretel, there is a

guest coming this evening; prepare me two fowls very daintily.' 'I will

see to it, master,' answered Gretel. She killed two fowls, scalded them,

plucked them, put them on the spit, and towards evening set them before

the fire, that they might roast. The fowls began to turn brown, and were

nearly ready, but the guest had not yet arrived. Then Gretel called out

to her master: 'If the guest does not come, I must take the fowls away

from the fire, but it will be a sin and a shame if they are not eaten

the moment they are at their juiciest.' The master said: 'I will run

myself, and fetch the guest.' When the master had turned his back,

Gretel laid the spit with the fowls on one side, and thought: 'Standing

so long by the fire there, makes one sweat and thirsty; who knows

when they will come? Meanwhile, I will run into the cellar, and take a

drink.' She ran down, set a jug, said: 'God bless it for you, Gretel,'

and took a good drink, and thought that wine should flow on, and should

not be interrupted, and took yet another hearty draught.

 

Then she went and put the fowls down again to the fire, basted them,

and drove the spit merrily round. But as the roast meat smelt so good,

Gretel thought: 'Something might be wrong, it ought to be tasted!'

She touched it with her finger, and said: 'Ah! how good fowls are! It

certainly is a sin and a shame that they are not eaten at the right

time!' She ran to the window, to see if the master was not coming with

his guest, but she saw no one, and went back to the fowls and thought:

'One of the wings is burning! I had better take it off and eat it.'

So she cut it off, ate it, and enjoyed it, and when she had done, she

thought: 'The other must go down too, or else master will observe that

something is missing.' When the two wings were eaten, she went and

looked for her master, and did not see him. It suddenly occurred to

her: 'Who knows? They are perhaps not coming at all, and have turned in

somewhere.' Then she said: 'Well, Gretel, enjoy yourself, one fowl has

been cut into, take another drink, and eat it up entirely; when it is

eaten you will have some peace, why should God's good gifts be spoilt?'

So she ran into the cellar again, took an enormous drink and ate up the

one chicken in great glee. When one of the chickens was swallowed down,

and still her master did not come, Gretel looked at the other and said:

'What one is, the other should be likewise, the two go together; what's

right for the one is right for the other; I think if I were to take

another draught it would do me no harm.' So she took another hearty

drink, and let the second chicken follow the first.

 

While she was making the most of it, her master came and cried: 'Hurry

up, Gretel, the guest is coming directly after me!' 'Yes, sir, I will

soon serve up,' answered Gretel. Meantime the master looked to see what

the table was properly laid, and took the great knife, wherewith he was

going to carve the chickens, and sharpened it on the steps. Presently

the guest came, and knocked politely and courteously at the house-door.

Gretel ran, and looked to see who was there, and when she saw the guest,

she put her finger to her lips and said: 'Hush! hush! go away as quickly

as you can, if my master catches you it will be the worse for you; he

certainly did ask you to supper, but his intention is to cut off your

two ears. Just listen how he is sharpening the knife for it!' The guest

heard the sharpening, and hurried down the steps again as fast as he

could. Gretel was not idle; she ran screaming to her master, and cried:

'You have invited a fine guest!' 'Why, Gretel? What do you mean by

that?' 'Yes,' said she, 'he has taken the chickens which I was just

going to serve up, off the dish, and has run away with them!' 'That's a

nice trick!' said her master, and lamented the fine chickens. 'If he had

but left me one, so that something remained for me to eat.' He called to

him to stop, but the guest pretended not to hear. Then he ran after him

with the knife still in his hand, crying: 'Just one, just one,' meaning

that the guest should leave him just one chicken, and not take both. The

guest, however, thought no otherwise than that he was to give up one of

his ears, and ran as if fire were burning under him, in order to take

them both with him.

 

 

 

 

THE OLD MAN AND HIS GRANDSON

 

There was once a very old man, whose eyes had become dim, his ears dull

of hearing, his knees trembled, and when he sat at table he could hardly

hold the spoon, and spilt the broth upon the table-cloth or let it run

out of his mouth. His son and his son's wife were disgusted at this, so

the old grandfather at last had to sit in the corner behind the stove,

and they gave him his food in an earthenware bowl, and not even enough

of it. And he used to look towards the table with his eyes full of

tears. Once, too, his trembling hands could not hold the bowl, and it

fell to the ground and broke. The young wife scolded him, but he said

nothing and only sighed. Then they brought him a wooden bowl for a few

half-pence, out of which he had to eat.

 

They were once sitting thus when the little grandson of four years old

began to gather together some bits of wood upon the ground. 'What are

you doing there?' asked the father. 'I am making a little trough,'

answered the child, 'for father and mother to eat out of when I am big.'

 

The man and his wife looked at each other for a while, and presently

began to cry. Then they took the old grandfather to the table, and

henceforth always let him eat with them, and likewise said nothing if he

did spill a little of anything.

 

 

 

 

THE LITTLE PEASANT

 

There was a certain village wherein no one lived but really rich

peasants, and just one poor one, whom they called the little peasant. He

had not even so much as a cow, and still less money to buy one, and

yet he and his wife did so wish to have one. One day he said to her:

'Listen, I have a good idea, there is our gossip the carpenter, he shall

make us a wooden calf, and paint it brown, so that it looks like any

other, and in time it will certainly get big and be a cow.' the woman

also liked the idea, and their gossip the carpenter cut and planed

the calf, and painted it as it ought to be, and made it with its head

hanging down as if it were eating.

 

Next morning when the cows were being driven out, the little peasant

called the cow-herd in and said: 'Look, I have a little calf there,

but it is still small and has to be carried.' The cow-herd said: 'All

right,' and took it in his arms and carried it to the pasture, and set

it among the grass. The little calf always remained standing like one

which was eating, and the cow-herd said: 'It will soon run by itself,

just look how it eats already!' At night when he was going to drive the

herd home again, he said to the calf: 'If you can stand there and eat

your fill, you can also go on your four legs; I don't care to drag you

home again in my arms.' But the little peasant stood at his door, and

waited for his little calf, and when the cow-herd drove the cows through

the village, and the calf was missing, he inquired where it was. The

cow-herd answered: 'It is still standing out there eating. It would not

stop and come with us.' But the little peasant said: 'Oh, but I must

have my beast back again.' Then they went back to the meadow together,

but someone had stolen the calf, and it was gone. The cow-herd said: 'It

must have run away.' The peasant, however, said: 'Don't tell me

that,' and led the cow-herd before the mayor, who for his carelessness

condemned him to give the peasant a cow for the calf which had run away.

 

And now the little peasant and his wife had the cow for which they had

so long wished, and they were heartily glad, but they had no food for

it, and could give it nothing to eat, so it soon had to be killed. They

salted the flesh, and the peasant went into the town and wanted to sell

the skin there, so that he might buy a new calf with the proceeds. On

the way he passed by a mill, and there sat a raven with broken wings,

and out of pity he took him and wrapped him in the skin. But as the

weather grew so bad and there was a storm of rain and wind, he could

go no farther, and turned back to the mill and begged for shelter. The

miller's wife was alone in the house, and said to the peasant: 'Lay

yourself on the straw there,' and gave him a slice of bread and cheese.

The peasant ate it, and lay down with his skin beside him, and the woman

thought: 'He is tired and has gone to sleep.' In the meantime came the

parson; the miller's wife received him well, and said: 'My husband is

out, so we will have a feast.' The peasant listened, and when he heard

them talk about feasting he was vexed that he had been forced to make

shift with a slice of bread and cheese. Then the woman served up four

different things, roast meat, salad, cakes, and wine.

 

Just as they were about to sit down and eat, there was a knocking

outside. The woman said: 'Oh, heavens! It is my husband!' she quickly

hid the roast meat inside the tiled stove, the wine under the pillow,

the salad on the bed, the cakes under it, and the parson in the closet

on the porch. Then she opened the door for her husband, and said: 'Thank

heaven, you are back again! There is such a storm, it looks as if the

world were coming to an end.' The miller saw the peasant lying on the

straw, and asked, 'What is that fellow doing there?' 'Ah,' said the

wife, 'the poor knave came in the storm and rain, and begged for

shelter, so I gave him a bit of bread and cheese, and showed him where

the straw was.' The man said: 'I have no objection, but be quick and get

me something to eat.' The woman said: 'But I have nothing but bread and

cheese.' 'I am contented with anything,' replied the husband, 'so far as

I am concerned, bread and cheese will do,' and looked at the peasant and

said: 'Come and eat some more with me.' The peasant did not require to

be invited twice, but got up and ate. After this the miller saw the skin

in which the raven was, lying on the ground, and asked: 'What have you

there?' The peasant answered: 'I have a soothsayer inside it.' 'Can

he foretell anything to me?' said the miller. 'Why not?' answered

the peasant: 'but he only says four things, and the fifth he keeps to

himself.' The miller was curious, and said: 'Let him foretell something

for once.' Then the peasant pinched the raven's head, so that he croaked

and made a noise like krr, krr. The miller said: 'What did he say?' The

peasant answered: 'In the first place, he says that there is some wine

hidden under the pillow.' 'Bless me!' cried the miller, and went there

and found the wine. 'Now go on,' said he. The peasant made the raven

croak again, and said: 'In the second place, he says that there is some

roast meat in the tiled stove.' 'Upon my word!' cried the miller, and

went thither, and found the roast meat. The peasant made the raven

prophesy still more, and said: 'Thirdly, he says that there is some

salad on the bed.' 'That would be a fine thing!' cried the miller, and

went there and found the salad. At last the peasant pinched the raven

once more till he croaked, and said: 'Fourthly, he says that there

are some cakes under the bed.' 'That would be a fine thing!' cried the

miller, and looked there, and found the cakes.

 

And now the two sat down to the table together, but the miller's wife

was frightened to death, and went to bed and took all the keys with

her. The miller would have liked much to know the fifth, but the little

peasant said: 'First, we will quickly eat the four things, for the fifth

is something bad.' So they ate, and after that they bargained how much

the miller was to give for the fifth prophecy, until they agreed on

three hundred talers. Then the peasant once more pinched the raven's

head till he croaked loudly. The miller asked: 'What did he say?' The

peasant replied: 'He says that the Devil is hiding outside there in

the closet on the porch.' The miller said: 'The Devil must go out,' and

opened the house-door; then the woman was forced to give up the keys,

and the peasant unlocked the closet. The parson ran out as fast as he

could, and the miller said: 'It was true; I saw the black rascal with my

own eyes.' The peasant, however, made off next morning by daybreak with

the three hundred talers.

 

At home the small peasant gradually launched out; he built a beautiful

house, and the peasants said: 'The small peasant has certainly been to

the place where golden snow falls, and people carry the gold home in

shovels.' Then the small peasant was brought before the mayor, and

bidden to say from whence his wealth came. He answered: 'I sold my cow's

skin in the town, for three hundred talers.' When the peasants heard

that, they too wished to enjoy this great profit, and ran home, killed

all their cows, and stripped off their skins in order to sell them in

the town to the greatest advantage. The mayor, however, said: 'But my

servant must go first.' When she came to the merchant in the town, he

did not give her more than two talers for a skin, and when the others

came, he did not give them so much, and said: 'What can I do with all

these skins?'

 

Then the peasants were vexed that the small peasant should have thus

outwitted them, wanted to take vengeance on him, and accused him of this

treachery before the major. The innocent little peasant was unanimously

sentenced to death, and was to be rolled into the water, in a barrel

pierced full of holes. He was led forth, and a priest was brought who

was to say a mass for his soul. The others were all obliged to retire to

a distance, and when the peasant looked at the priest, he recognized the

man who had been with the miller's wife. He said to him: 'I set you free

from the closet, set me free from the barrel.' At this same moment up

came, with a flock of sheep, the very shepherd whom the peasant knew had

long been wishing to be mayor, so he cried with all his might: 'No, I

will not do it; if the whole world insists on it, I will not do it!' The

shepherd hearing that, came up to him, and asked: 'What are you about?

What is it that you will not do?' The peasant said: 'They want to make

me mayor, if I will but put myself in the barrel, but I will not do it.'

The shepherd said: 'If nothing more than that is needful in order to be

mayor, I would get into the barrel at once.' The peasant said: 'If you

will get in, you will be mayor.' The shepherd was willing, and got in,

and the peasant shut the top down on him; then he took the shepherd's

flock for himself, and drove it away. The parson went to the crowd,

and declared that the mass had been said. Then they came and rolled the

barrel towards the water. When the barrel began to roll, the shepherd

cried: 'I am quite willing to be mayor.' They believed no otherwise than

that it was the peasant who was saying this, and answered: 'That is

what we intend, but first you shall look about you a little down below

there,' and they rolled the barrel down into the water.

 

After that the peasants went home, and as they were entering the

village, the small peasant also came quietly in, driving a flock of

sheep and looking quite contented. Then the peasants were astonished,

and said: 'Peasant, from whence do you come? Have you come out of the

water?' 'Yes, truly,' replied the peasant, 'I sank deep, deep down,

until at last I got to the bottom; I pushed the bottom out of the

barrel, and crept out, and there were pretty meadows on which a number

of lambs were feeding, and from thence I brought this flock away with

me.' Said the peasants: 'Are there any more there?' 'Oh, yes,' said he,

'more than I could want.' Then the peasants made up their minds that

they too would fetch some sheep for themselves, a flock apiece, but the

mayor said: 'I come first.' So they went to the water together, and just

then there were some of the small fleecy clouds in the blue sky, which

are called little lambs, and they were reflected in the water, whereupon

the peasants cried: 'We already see the sheep down below!' The mayor

pressed forward and said: 'I will go down first, and look about me, and

if things promise well I'll call you.' So he jumped in; splash! went

the water; it sounded as if he were calling them, and the whole crowd

plunged in after him as one man. Then the entire village was dead, and

the small peasant, as sole heir, became a rich man.

 

 

 

 

FREDERICK AND CATHERINE

 

There was once a man called Frederick: he had a wife whose name was

Catherine, and they had not long been married. One day Frederick said.

'Kate! I am going to work in the fields; when I come back I shall be

hungry so let me have something nice cooked, and a good draught of ale.'

'Very well,' said she, 'it shall all be ready.' When dinner-time drew

nigh, Catherine took a nice steak, which was all the meat she had, and

put it on the fire to fry. The steak soon began to look brown, and to

crackle in the pan; and Catherine stood by with a fork and turned it:

then she said to herself, 'The steak is almost ready, I may as well go

to the cellar for the ale.' So she left the pan on the fire and took a

large jug and went into the cellar and tapped the ale cask. The beer ran

into the jug and Catherine stood looking on. At last it popped into her

head, 'The dog is not shut up--he may be running away with the steak;

that's well thought of.' So up she ran from the cellar; and sure enough

the rascally cur had got the steak in his mouth, and was making off with

it.

 

Away ran Catherine, and away ran the dog across the field: but he ran

faster than she, and stuck close to the steak. 'It's all gone, and "what

can't be cured must be endured",' said Catherine. So she turned round;

and as she had run a good way and was tired, she walked home leisurely

to cool herself.

 

Now all this time the ale was running too, for Catherine had not turned

the cock; and when the jug was full the liquor ran upon the floor till

the cask was empty. When she got to the cellar stairs she saw what had

happened. 'My stars!' said she, 'what shall I do to keep Frederick from

seeing all this slopping about?' So she thought a while; and at last

remembered that there was a sack of fine meal bought at the last fair,

and that if she sprinkled this over the floor it would suck up the ale

nicely. 'What a lucky thing,' said she, 'that we kept that meal! we have

now a good use for it.' So away she went for it: but she managed to set

it down just upon the great jug full of beer, and upset it; and thus

all the ale that had been saved was set swimming on the floor also. 'Ah!

well,' said she, 'when one goes another may as well follow.' Then she

strewed the meal all about the cellar, and was quite pleased with her

cleverness, and said, 'How very neat and clean it looks!'

 

At noon Frederick came home. 'Now, wife,' cried he, 'what have you for

dinner?' 'O Frederick!' answered she, 'I was cooking you a steak; but

while I went down to draw the ale, the dog ran away with it; and while

I ran after him, the ale ran out; and when I went to dry up the ale

with the sack of meal that we got at the fair, I upset the jug: but the

cellar is now quite dry, and looks so clean!' 'Kate, Kate,' said he,

'how could you do all this?' Why did you leave the steak to fry, and the

ale to run, and then spoil all the meal?' 'Why, Frederick,' said she, 'I

did not know I was doing wrong; you should have told me before.'

 

The husband thought to himself, 'If my wife manages matters thus, I must

look sharp myself.' Now he had a good deal of gold in the house: so he

said to Catherine, 'What pretty yellow buttons these are! I shall put

them into a box and bury them in the garden; but take care that you

never go near or meddle with them.' 'No, Frederick,' said she, 'that

I never will.' As soon as he was gone, there came by some pedlars with

earthenware plates and dishes, and they asked her whether she would buy.

'Oh dear me, I should like to buy very much, but I have no money: if

you had any use for yellow buttons, I might deal with you.' 'Yellow

buttons!' said they: 'let us have a look at them.' 'Go into the garden

and dig where I tell you, and you will find the yellow buttons: I dare

not go myself.' So the rogues went: and when they found what these

yellow buttons were, they took them all away, and left her plenty of

plates and dishes. Then she set them all about the house for a show:

and when Frederick came back, he cried out, 'Kate, what have you been

doing?' 'See,' said she, 'I have bought all these with your yellow

buttons: but I did not touch them myself; the pedlars went themselves

and dug them up.' 'Wife, wife,' said Frederick, 'what a pretty piece of

work you have made! those yellow buttons were all my money: how came you

to do such a thing?' 'Why,' answered she, 'I did not know there was any

harm in it; you should have told me.'

 

Catherine stood musing for a while, and at last said to her husband,

'Hark ye, Frederick, we will soon get the gold back: let us run after

the thieves.' 'Well, we will try,' answered he; 'but take some butter

and cheese with you, that we may have something to eat by the way.'

'Very well,' said she; and they set out: and as Frederick walked the

fastest, he left his wife some way behind. 'It does not matter,' thought

she: 'when we turn back, I shall be so much nearer home than he.'

 

Presently she came to the top of a hill, down the side of which there

was a road so narrow that the cart wheels always chafed the trees

on each side as they passed. 'Ah, see now,' said she, 'how they have

bruised and wounded those poor trees; they will never get well.' So she

took pity on them, and made use of the butter to grease them all, so

that the wheels might not hurt them so much. While she was doing this

kind office one of her cheeses fell out of the basket, and rolled down

the hill. Catherine looked, but could not see where it had gone; so she

said, 'Well, I suppose the other will go the same way and find you; he

has younger legs than I have.' Then she rolled the other cheese after

it; and away it went, nobody knows where, down the hill. But she said

she supposed that they knew the road, and would follow her, and she

could not stay there all day waiting for them.

 

At last she overtook Frederick, who desired her to give him something to

eat. Then she gave him the dry bread. 'Where are the butter and cheese?'

said he. 'Oh!' answered she, 'I used the butter to grease those poor

trees that the wheels chafed so: and one of the cheeses ran away so I

sent the other after it to find it, and I suppose they are both on

the road together somewhere.' 'What a goose you are to do such silly

things!' said the husband. 'How can you say so?' said she; 'I am sure

you never told me not.'

 

They ate the dry bread together; and Frederick said, 'Kate, I hope you

locked the door safe when you came away.' 'No,' answered she, 'you did

not tell me.' 'Then go home, and do it now before we go any farther,'

said Frederick, 'and bring with you something to eat.'

 

Catherine did as he told her, and thought to herself by the way,

'Frederick wants something to eat; but I don't think he is very fond of

butter and cheese: I'll bring him a bag of fine nuts, and the vinegar,

for I have often seen him take some.'

 

When she reached home, she bolted the back door, but the front door she

took off the hinges, and said, 'Frederick told me to lock the door, but

surely it can nowhere be so safe if I take it with me.' So she took

her time by the way; and when she overtook her husband she cried

out, 'There, Frederick, there is the door itself, you may watch it as

carefully as you please.' 'Alas! alas!' said he, 'what a clever wife I

have! I sent you to make the house fast, and you take the door away, so

that everybody may go in and out as they please--however, as you have

brought the door, you shall carry it about with you for your pains.'

'Very well,' answered she, 'I'll carry the door; but I'll not carry the

nuts and vinegar bottle also--that would be too much of a load; so if

you please, I'll fasten them to the door.'

 

Frederick of course made no objection to that plan, and they set off

into the wood to look for the thieves; but they could not find them: and

when it grew dark, they climbed up into a tree to spend the night there.

Scarcely were they up, than who should come by but the very rogues they

were looking for. They were in truth great rascals, and belonged to that

class of people who find things before they are lost; they were tired;

so they sat down and made a fire under the very tree where Frederick and

Catherine were. Frederick slipped down on the other side, and picked up

some stones. Then he climbed up again, and tried to hit the thieves on

the head with them: but they only said, 'It must be near morning, for

the wind shakes the fir-apples down.'

 

Catherine, who had the door on her shoulder, began to be very tired;

but she thought it was the nuts upon it that were so heavy: so she said

softly, 'Frederick, I must let the nuts go.' 'No,' answered he, 'not

now, they will discover us.' 'I can't help that: they must go.' 'Well,

then, make haste and throw them down, if you will.' Then away rattled

the nuts down among the boughs and one of the thieves cried, 'Bless me,

it is hailing.'

 

A little while after, Catherine thought the door was still very heavy:

so she whispered to Frederick, 'I must throw the vinegar down.' 'Pray

don't,' answered he, 'it will discover us.' 'I can't help that,' said

she, 'go it must.' So she poured all the vinegar down; and the thieves

said, 'What a heavy dew there is!'

 

At last it popped into Catherine's head that it was the door itself that

was so heavy all the time: so she whispered, 'Frederick, I must throw

the door down soon.' But he begged and prayed her not to do so, for he

was sure it would betray them. 'Here goes, however,' said she: and down

went the door with such a clatter upon the thieves, that they cried

out 'Murder!' and not knowing what was coming, ran away as fast as they

could, and left all the gold. So when Frederick and Catherine came down,

there they found all their money safe and sound.

 

 

 

 

SWEETHEART ROLAND

 

There was once upon a time a woman who was a real witch and had two

daughters, one ugly and wicked, and this one she loved because she was

her own daughter, and one beautiful and good, and this one she hated,

because she was her stepdaughter. The stepdaughter once had a pretty

apron, which the other fancied so much that she became envious, and

told her mother that she must and would have that apron. 'Be quiet, my

child,' said the old woman, 'and you shall have it. Your stepsister has

long deserved death; tonight when she is asleep I will come and cut her

head off. Only be careful that you are at the far side of the bed, and

push her well to the front.' It would have been all over with the poor

girl if she had not just then been standing in a corner, and heard

everything. All day long she dared not go out of doors, and when bedtime

had come, the witch's daughter got into bed first, so as to lie at the

far side, but when she was asleep, the other pushed her gently to the

front, and took for herself the place at the back, close by the wall. In

the night, the old woman came creeping in, she held an axe in her right

hand, and felt with her left to see if anyone were lying at the outside,

and then she grasped the axe with both hands, and cut her own child's

head off.

 

When she had gone away, the girl got up and went to her sweetheart, who

was called Roland, and knocked at his door. When he came out, she said

to him: 'Listen, dearest Roland, we must fly in all haste; my stepmother

wanted to kill me, but has struck her own child. When daylight comes,

and she sees what she has done, we shall be lost.' 'But,' said Roland,

'I counsel you first to take away her magic wand, or we cannot escape

if she pursues us.' The maiden fetched the magic wand, and she took the

dead girl's head and dropped three drops of blood on the ground, one in

front of the bed, one in the kitchen, and one on the stairs. Then she

hurried away with her lover.

 

When the old witch got up next morning, she called her daughter, and

wanted to give her the apron, but she did not come. Then the witch

cried: 'Where are you?' 'Here, on the stairs, I am sweeping,' answered

the first drop of blood. The old woman went out, but saw no one on the

stairs, and cried again: 'Where are you?' 'Here in the kitchen, I am

warming myself,' cried the second drop of blood. She went into the

kitchen, but found no one. Then she cried again: 'Where are you?' 'Ah,

here in the bed, I am sleeping,' cried the third drop of blood. She went

into the room to the bed. What did she see there? Her own child,

whose head she had cut off, bathed in her blood. The witch fell into

a passion, sprang to the window, and as she could look forth quite far

into the world, she perceived her stepdaughter hurrying away with her

sweetheart Roland. 'That shall not help you,' cried she, 'even if you

have got a long way off, you shall still not escape me.' She put on her

many-league boots, in which she covered an hour's walk at every step,

and it was not long before she overtook them. The girl, however, when

she saw the old woman striding towards her, changed, with her magic

wand, her sweetheart Roland into a lake, and herself into a duck

swimming in the middle of it. The witch placed herself on the shore,

threw breadcrumbs in, and went to endless trouble to entice the duck;

but the duck did not let herself be enticed, and the old woman had to

go home at night as she had come. At this the girl and her sweetheart

Roland resumed their natural shapes again, and they walked on the whole

night until daybreak. Then the maiden changed herself into a beautiful

flower which stood in the midst of a briar hedge, and her sweetheart

Roland into a fiddler. It was not long before the witch came striding up

towards them, and said to the musician: 'Dear musician, may I pluck that

beautiful flower for myself?' 'Oh, yes,' he replied, 'I will play to

you while you do it.' As she was hastily creeping into the hedge and was

just going to pluck the flower, knowing perfectly well who the flower

was, he began to play, and whether she would or not, she was forced

to dance, for it was a magical dance. The faster he played, the more

violent springs was she forced to make, and the thorns tore her clothes

from her body, and pricked her and wounded her till she bled, and as he

did not stop, she had to dance till she lay dead on the ground.

 

As they were now set free, Roland said: 'Now I will go to my father and

arrange for the wedding.' 'Then in the meantime I will stay here and

wait for you,' said the girl, 'and that no one may recognize me, I will

change myself into a red stone landmark.' Then Roland went away, and the

girl stood like a red landmark in the field and waited for her beloved.

But when Roland got home, he fell into the snares of another, who so

fascinated him that he forgot the maiden. The poor girl remained there a

long time, but at length, as he did not return at all, she was sad, and

changed herself into a flower, and thought: 'Someone will surely come

this way, and trample me down.'

 

It befell, however, that a shepherd kept his sheep in the field and saw

the flower, and as it was so pretty, plucked it, took it with him, and

laid it away in his chest. From that time forth, strange things happened

in the shepherd's house. When he arose in the morning, all the work was

already done, the room was swept, the table and benches cleaned, the

fire in the hearth was lighted, and the water was fetched, and at noon,

when he came home, the table was laid, and a good dinner served. He

could not conceive how this came to pass, for he never saw a human being

in his house, and no one could have concealed himself in it. He was

certainly pleased with this good attendance, but still at last he was so

afraid that he went to a wise woman and asked for her advice. The wise

woman said: 'There is some enchantment behind it, listen very early some

morning if anything is moving in the room, and if you see anything, no

matter what it is, throw a white cloth over it, and then the magic will

be stopped.'

 

The shepherd did as she bade him, and next morning just as day dawned,

he saw the chest open, and the flower come out. Swiftly he

sprang towards it, and threw a white cloth over it. Instantly the

transformation came to an end, and a beautiful girl stood before him,

who admitted to him that she had been the flower, and that up to this

time she had attended to his house-keeping. She told him her story,

and as she pleased him he asked her if she would marry him, but she

answered: 'No,' for she wanted to remain faithful to her sweetheart

Roland, although he had deserted her. Nevertheless, she promised not to

go away, but to continue keeping house for the shepherd.

 

And now the time drew near when Roland's wedding was to be celebrated,

and then, according to an old custom in the country, it was announced

that all the girls were to be present at it, and sing in honour of the

bridal pair. When the faithful maiden heard of this, she grew so sad

that she thought her heart would break, and she would not go thither,

but the other girls came and took her. When it came to her turn to sing,

she stepped back, until at last she was the only one left, and then she

could not refuse. But when she began her song, and it reached Roland's

ears, he sprang up and cried: 'I know the voice, that is the true

bride, I will have no other!' Everything he had forgotten, and which had

vanished from his mind, had suddenly come home again to his heart. Then

the faithful maiden held her wedding with her sweetheart Roland, and

grief came to an end and joy began.

 

 

 

 

SNOWDROP

 

It was the middle of winter, when the broad flakes of snow were falling

around, that the queen of a country many thousand miles off sat working

at her window. The frame of the window was made of fine black ebony, and

as she sat looking out upon the snow, she pricked her finger, and three

drops of blood fell upon it. Then she gazed thoughtfully upon the red

drops that sprinkled the white snow, and said, 'Would that my little

daughter may be as white as that snow, as red as that blood, and as

black as this ebony windowframe!' And so the little girl really did grow

up; her skin was as white as snow, her cheeks as rosy as the blood, and

her hair as black as ebony; and she was called Snowdrop.

 

But this queen died; and the king soon married another wife, who became

queen, and was very beautiful, but so vain that she could not bear

to think that anyone could be handsomer than she was. She had a fairy

looking-glass, to which she used to go, and then she would gaze upon

herself in it, and say:

 

'Tell me, glass, tell me true!

Of all the ladies in the land,

Who is fairest, tell me, who?'

 

And the glass had always answered:

 

 'Thou, queen, art the fairest in all the land.'

 

But Snowdrop grew more and more beautiful; and when she was seven years

old she was as bright as the day, and fairer than the queen herself.

Then the glass one day answered the queen, when she went to look in it

as usual:

 

'Thou, queen, art fair, and beauteous to see,

But Snowdrop is lovelier far than thee!'

 

When she heard this she turned pale with rage and envy, and called to

one of her servants, and said, 'Take Snowdrop away into the wide wood,

that I may never see her any more.' Then the servant led her away; but

his heart melted when Snowdrop begged him to spare her life, and he

said, 'I will not hurt you, thou pretty child.' So he left her by

herself; and though he thought it most likely that the wild beasts would

tear her in pieces, he felt as if a great weight were taken off his

heart when he had made up his mind not to kill her but to leave her to

her fate, with the chance of someone finding and saving her.

 

Then poor Snowdrop wandered along through the wood in great fear; and

the wild beasts roared about her, but none did her any harm. In the

evening she came to a cottage among the hills, and went in to rest, for

her little feet would carry her no further. Everything was spruce and

neat in the cottage: on the table was spread a white cloth, and there

were seven little plates, seven little loaves, and seven little glasses

with wine in them; and seven knives and forks laid in order; and by

the wall stood seven little beds. As she was very hungry, she picked

a little piece of each loaf and drank a very little wine out of each

glass; and after that she thought she would lie down and rest. So she

tried all the little beds; but one was too long, and another was too

short, till at last the seventh suited her: and there she laid herself

down and went to sleep.

 

By and by in came the masters of the cottage. Now they were seven little

dwarfs, that lived among the mountains, and dug and searched for gold.

They lighted up their seven lamps, and saw at once that all was not

right. The first said, 'Who has been sitting on my stool?' The second,

'Who has been eating off my plate?' The third, 'Who has been picking my

bread?' The fourth, 'Who has been meddling with my spoon?' The fifth,

'Who has been handling my fork?' The sixth, 'Who has been cutting with

my knife?' The seventh, 'Who has been drinking my wine?' Then the first

looked round and said, 'Who has been lying on my bed?' And the rest came

running to him, and everyone cried out that somebody had been upon his

bed. But the seventh saw Snowdrop, and called all his brethren to come

and see her; and they cried out with wonder and astonishment and brought

their lamps to look at her, and said, 'Good heavens! what a lovely child

she is!' And they were very glad to see her, and took care not to wake

her; and the seventh dwarf slept an hour with each of the other dwarfs

in turn, till the night was gone.

 

In the morning Snowdrop told them all her story; and they pitied her,

and said if she would keep all things in order, and cook and wash and

knit and spin for them, she might stay where she was, and they would

take good care of her. Then they went out all day long to their work,

seeking for gold and silver in the mountains: but Snowdrop was left at

home; and they warned her, and said, 'The queen will soon find out where

you are, so take care and let no one in.'

 

But the queen, now that she thought Snowdrop was dead, believed that she

must be the handsomest lady in the land; and she went to her glass and

said:

 

'Tell me, glass, tell me true!

Of all the ladies in the land,

Who is fairest, tell me, who?'

 

And the glass answered:

 

'Thou, queen, art the fairest in all this land:

But over the hills, in the greenwood shade,

Where the seven dwarfs their dwelling have made,

There Snowdrop is hiding her head; and she

Is lovelier far, O queen! than thee.'

 

Then the queen was very much frightened; for she knew that the glass

always spoke the truth, and was sure that the servant had betrayed her.

And she could not bear to think that anyone lived who was more beautiful

than she was; so she dressed herself up as an old pedlar, and went

her way over the hills, to the place where the dwarfs dwelt. Then she

knocked at the door, and cried, 'Fine wares to sell!' Snowdrop looked

out at the window, and said, 'Good day, good woman! what have you to

sell?' 'Good wares, fine wares,' said she; 'laces and bobbins of all

colours.' 'I will let the old lady in; she seems to be a very good

sort of body,' thought Snowdrop, as she ran down and unbolted the door.

'Bless me!' said the old woman, 'how badly your stays are laced! Let me

lace them up with one of my nice new laces.' Snowdrop did not dream of

any mischief; so she stood before the old woman; but she set to work

so nimbly, and pulled the lace so tight, that Snowdrop's breath was

stopped, and she fell down as if she were dead. 'There's an end to all

thy beauty,' said the spiteful queen, and went away home.

 

In the evening the seven dwarfs came home; and I need not say how

grieved they were to see their faithful Snowdrop stretched out upon the

ground, as if she was quite dead. However, they lifted her up, and when

they found what ailed her, they cut the lace; and in a little time she

began to breathe, and very soon came to life again. Then they said, 'The

old woman was the queen herself; take care another time, and let no one

in when we are away.'

 

When the queen got home, she went straight to her glass, and spoke to it

as before; but to her great grief it still said:

 

'Thou, queen, art the fairest in all this land:

But over the hills, in the greenwood shade,

Where the seven dwarfs their dwelling have made,

There Snowdrop is hiding her head; and she

Is lovelier far, O queen! than thee.'

 

Then the blood ran cold in her heart with spite and malice, to see that

Snowdrop still lived; and she dressed herself up again, but in quite

another dress from the one she wore before, and took with her a poisoned

comb. When she reached the dwarfs' cottage, she knocked at the door, and

cried, 'Fine wares to sell!' But Snowdrop said, 'I dare not let anyone

in.' Then the queen said, 'Only look at my beautiful combs!' and gave

her the poisoned one. And it looked so pretty, that she took it up and

put it into her hair to try it; but the moment it touched her head,

the poison was so powerful that she fell down senseless. 'There you may

lie,' said the queen, and went her way. But by good luck the dwarfs

came in very early that evening; and when they saw Snowdrop lying on

the ground, they thought what had happened, and soon found the poisoned

comb. And when they took it away she got well, and told them all that

had passed; and they warned her once more not to open the door to

anyone.

 

Meantime the queen went home to her glass, and shook with rage when she

read the very same answer as before; and she said, 'Snowdrop shall die,

if it cost me my life.' So she went by herself into her chamber, and got

ready a poisoned apple: the outside looked very rosy and tempting, but

whoever tasted it was sure to die. Then she dressed herself up as a

peasant's wife, and travelled over the hills to the dwarfs' cottage,

and knocked at the door; but Snowdrop put her head out of the window and

said, 'I dare not let anyone in, for the dwarfs have told me not.' 'Do

as you please,' said the old woman, 'but at any rate take this pretty

apple; I will give it you.' 'No,' said Snowdrop, 'I dare not take it.'

'You silly girl!' answered the other, 'what are you afraid of? Do you

think it is poisoned? Come! do you eat one part, and I will eat the

other.' Now the apple was so made up that one side was good, though the

other side was poisoned. Then Snowdrop was much tempted to taste, for

the apple looked so very nice; and when she saw the old woman eat, she

could wait no longer. But she had scarcely put the piece into her mouth,

when she fell down dead upon the ground. 'This time nothing will save

thee,' said the queen; and she went home to her glass, and at last it

said:

 

 'Thou, queen, art the fairest of all the fair.'

 

And then her wicked heart was glad, and as happy as such a heart could

be.

 

When evening came, and the dwarfs had gone home, they found Snowdrop

lying on the ground: no breath came from her lips, and they were afraid

that she was quite dead. They lifted her up, and combed her hair, and

washed her face with wine and water; but all was in vain, for the little

girl seemed quite dead. So they laid her down upon a bier, and all seven

watched and bewailed her three whole days; and then they thought they

would bury her: but her cheeks were still rosy; and her face looked just

as it did while she was alive; so they said, 'We will never bury her in

the cold ground.' And they made a coffin of glass, so that they might

still look at her, and wrote upon it in golden letters what her name

was, and that she was a king's daughter. And the coffin was set among

the hills, and one of the dwarfs always sat by it and watched. And the

birds of the air came too, and bemoaned Snowdrop; and first of all came

an owl, and then a raven, and at last a dove, and sat by her side.

 

And thus Snowdrop lay for a long, long time, and still only looked as

though she was asleep; for she was even now as white as snow, and as red

as blood, and as black as ebony. At last a prince came and called at the

dwarfs' house; and he saw Snowdrop, and read what was written in golden

letters. Then he offered the dwarfs money, and prayed and besought them

to let him take her away; but they said, 'We will not part with her for

all the gold in the world.' At last, however, they had pity on him, and

gave him the coffin; but the moment he lifted it up to carry it home

with him, the piece of apple fell from between her lips, and Snowdrop

awoke, and said, 'Where am I?' And the prince said, 'Thou art quite safe

with me.'

 

Then he told her all that had happened, and said, 'I love you far better

than all the world; so come with me to my father's palace, and you shall

be my wife.' And Snowdrop consented, and went home with the prince;

and everything was got ready with great pomp and splendour for their

wedding.

 

To the feast was asked, among the rest, Snowdrop's old enemy the queen;

and as she was dressing herself in fine rich clothes, she looked in the

glass and said:

 

'Tell me, glass, tell me true!

Of all the ladies in the land,

Who is fairest, tell me, who?'

 

And the glass answered:

 

'Thou, lady, art loveliest here, I ween;

But lovelier far is the new-made queen.'

 

When she heard this she started with rage; but her envy and curiosity

were so great, that she could not help setting out to see the bride. And

when she got there, and saw that it was no other than Snowdrop, who, as

she thought, had been dead a long while, she choked with rage, and fell

down and died: but Snowdrop and the prince lived and reigned happily

over that land many, many years; and sometimes they went up into the

mountains, and paid a visit to the little dwarfs, who had been so kind

to Snowdrop in her time of need.

 

 

 

 

THE PINK

 

There was once upon a time a queen to whom God had given no children.

Every morning she went into the garden and prayed to God in heaven to

bestow on her a son or a daughter. Then an angel from heaven came to her

and said: 'Be at rest, you shall have a son with the power of wishing,

so that whatsoever in the world he wishes for, that shall he have.' Then

she went to the king, and told him the joyful tidings, and when the time

was come she gave birth to a son, and the king was filled with gladness.

 

Every morning she went with the child to the garden where the wild

beasts were kept, and washed herself there in a clear stream. It

happened once when the child was a little older, that it was lying in

her arms and she fell asleep. Then came the old cook, who knew that the

child had the power of wishing, and stole it away, and he took a hen,

and cut it in pieces, and dropped some of its blood on the queen's apron

and on her dress. Then he carried the child away to a secret place,

where a nurse was obliged to suckle it, and he ran to the king and

accused the queen of having allowed her child to be taken from her by

the wild beasts. When the king saw the blood on her apron, he believed

this, fell into such a passion that he ordered a high tower to be built,

in which neither sun nor moon could be seen and had his wife put into

it, and walled up. Here she was to stay for seven years without meat

or drink, and die of hunger. But God sent two angels from heaven in the

shape of white doves, which flew to her twice a day, and carried her

food until the seven years were over.

 

The cook, however, thought to himself: 'If the child has the power of

wishing, and I am here, he might very easily get me into trouble.' So

he left the palace and went to the boy, who was already big enough to

speak, and said to him: 'Wish for a beautiful palace for yourself with

a garden, and all else that pertains to it.' Scarcely were the words out

of the boy's mouth, when everything was there that he had wished for.

After a while the cook said to him: 'It is not well for you to be so

alone, wish for a pretty girl as a companion.' Then the king's son

wished for one, and she immediately stood before him, and was more

beautiful than any painter could have painted her. The two played

together, and loved each other with all their hearts, and the old cook

went out hunting like a nobleman. The thought occurred to him, however,

that the king's son might some day wish to be with his father, and thus

bring him into great peril. So he went out and took the maiden aside,

and said: 'Tonight when the boy is asleep, go to his bed and plunge this

knife into his heart, and bring me his heart and tongue, and if you do

not do it, you shall lose your life.' Thereupon he went away, and when

he returned next day she had not done it, and said: 'Why should I shed

the blood of an innocent boy who has never harmed anyone?' The cook once

more said: 'If you do not do it, it shall cost you your own life.' When

he had gone away, she had a little hind brought to her, and ordered her

to be killed, and took her heart and tongue, and laid them on a plate,

and when she saw the old man coming, she said to the boy: 'Lie down in

your bed, and draw the clothes over you.' Then the wicked wretch came in

and said: 'Where are the boy's heart and tongue?' The girl reached the

plate to him, but the king's son threw off the quilt, and said: 'You old

sinner, why did you want to kill me? Now will I pronounce thy sentence.

You shall become a black poodle and have a gold collar round your neck,

and shall eat burning coals, till the flames burst forth from your

throat.' And when he had spoken these words, the old man was changed

into a poodle dog, and had a gold collar round his neck, and the cooks

were ordered to bring up some live coals, and these he ate, until the

flames broke forth from his throat. The king's son remained there a

short while longer, and he thought of his mother, and wondered if she

were still alive. At length he said to the maiden: 'I will go home to my

own country; if you will go with me, I will provide for you.' 'Ah,'

she replied, 'the way is so long, and what shall I do in a strange land

where I am unknown?' As she did not seem quite willing, and as they

could not be parted from each other, he wished that she might be changed

into a beautiful pink, and took her with him. Then he went away to his

own country, and the poodle had to run after him. He went to the tower

in which his mother was confined, and as it was so high, he wished for

a ladder which would reach up to the very top. Then he mounted up and

looked inside, and cried: 'Beloved mother, Lady Queen, are you still

alive, or are you dead?' She answered: 'I have just eaten, and am still

satisfied,' for she thought the angels were there. Said he: 'I am your

dear son, whom the wild beasts were said to have torn from your arms;

but I am alive still, and will soon set you free.' Then he descended

again, and went to his father, and caused himself to be announced as a

strange huntsman, and asked if he could offer him service. The king said

yes, if he was skilful and could get game for him, he should come to

him, but that deer had never taken up their quarters in any part of the

district or country. Then the huntsman promised to procure as much game

for him as he could possibly use at the royal table. So he summoned all

the huntsmen together, and bade them go out into the forest with him.

And he went with them and made them form a great circle, open at one end

where he stationed himself, and began to wish. Two hundred deer and more

came running inside the circle at once, and the huntsmen shot them.

Then they were all placed on sixty country carts, and driven home to the

king, and for once he was able to deck his table with game, after having

had none at all for years.

 

Now the king felt great joy at this, and commanded that his entire

household should eat with him next day, and made a great feast. When

they were all assembled together, he said to the huntsman: 'As you are

so clever, you shall sit by me.' He replied: 'Lord King, your majesty

must excuse me, I am a poor huntsman.' But the king insisted on it,

and said: 'You shall sit by me,' until he did it. Whilst he was sitting

there, he thought of his dearest mother, and wished that one of the

king's principal servants would begin to speak of her, and would ask how

it was faring with the queen in the tower, and if she were alive still,

or had perished. Hardly had he formed the wish than the marshal began,

and said: 'Your majesty, we live joyously here, but how is the queen

living in the tower? Is she still alive, or has she died?' But the king

replied: 'She let my dear son be torn to pieces by wild beasts; I will

not have her named.' Then the huntsman arose and said: 'Gracious lord

father she is alive still, and I am her son, and I was not carried away

by wild beasts, but by that wretch the old cook, who tore me from her

arms when she was asleep, and sprinkled her apron with the blood of a

chicken.' Thereupon he took the dog with the golden collar, and said:

'That is the wretch!' and caused live coals to be brought, and these the

dog was compelled to devour before the sight of all, until flames burst

forth from its throat. On this the huntsman asked the king if he would

like to see the dog in his true shape, and wished him back into the form

of the cook, in the which he stood immediately, with his white apron,

and his knife by his side. When the king saw him he fell into a passion,

and ordered him to be cast into the deepest dungeon. Then the huntsman

spoke further and said: 'Father, will you see the maiden who brought me

up so tenderly and who was afterwards to murder me, but did not do it,

though her own life depended on it?' The king replied: 'Yes, I would

like to see her.' The son said: 'Most gracious father, I will show her

to you in the form of a beautiful flower,' and he thrust his hand into

his pocket and brought forth the pink, and placed it on the royal table,

and it was so beautiful that the king had never seen one to equal it.

Then the son said: 'Now will I show her to you in her own form,' and

wished that she might become a maiden, and she stood there looking so

beautiful that no painter could have made her look more so.

 

And the king sent two waiting-maids and two attendants into the tower,

to fetch the queen and bring her to the royal table. But when she was

led in she ate nothing, and said: 'The gracious and merciful God who has

supported me in the tower, will soon set me free.' She lived three days

more, and then died happily, and when she was buried, the two white

doves which had brought her food to the tower, and were angels of

heaven, followed her body and seated themselves on her grave. The aged

king ordered the cook to be torn in four pieces, but grief consumed the

king's own heart, and he soon died. His son married the beautiful maiden

whom he had brought with him as a flower in his pocket, and whether they

are still alive or not, is known to God.

 

 

 

 

CLEVER ELSIE

 

There was once a man who had a daughter who was called Clever Elsie. And

when she had grown up her father said: 'We will get her married.' 'Yes,'

said the mother, 'if only someone would come who would have her.' At

length a man came from a distance and wooed her, who was called Hans;

but he stipulated that Clever Elsie should be really smart. 'Oh,' said

the father, 'she has plenty of good sense'; and the mother said: 'Oh,

she can see the wind coming up the street, and hear the flies coughing.'

'Well,' said Hans, 'if she is not really smart, I won't have her.' When

they were sitting at dinner and had eaten, the mother said: 'Elsie, go

into the cellar and fetch some beer.' Then Clever Elsie took the pitcher

from the wall, went into the cellar, and tapped the lid briskly as she

went, so that the time might not appear long. When she was below she

fetched herself a chair, and set it before the barrel so that she had

no need to stoop, and did not hurt her back or do herself any unexpected

injury. Then she placed the can before her, and turned the tap, and

while the beer was running she would not let her eyes be idle, but

looked up at the wall, and after much peering here and there, saw a

pick-axe exactly above her, which the masons had accidentally left

there.

 

Then Clever Elsie began to weep and said: 'If I get Hans, and we have

a child, and he grows big, and we send him into the cellar here to draw

beer, then the pick-axe will fall on his head and kill him.' Then she

sat and wept and screamed with all the strength of her body, over the

misfortune which lay before her. Those upstairs waited for the drink,

but Clever Elsie still did not come. Then the woman said to the servant:

'Just go down into the cellar and see where Elsie is.' The maid went and

found her sitting in front of the barrel, screaming loudly. 'Elsie why

do you weep?' asked the maid. 'Ah,' she answered, 'have I not reason to

weep? If I get Hans, and we have a child, and he grows big, and has to

draw beer here, the pick-axe will perhaps fall on his head, and kill

him.' Then said the maid: 'What a clever Elsie we have!' and sat down

beside her and began loudly to weep over the misfortune. After a while,

as the maid did not come back, and those upstairs were thirsty for the

beer, the man said to the boy: 'Just go down into the cellar and see

where Elsie and the girl are.' The boy went down, and there sat Clever

Elsie and the girl both weeping together. Then he asked: 'Why are you

weeping?' 'Ah,' said Elsie, 'have I not reason to weep? If I get Hans,

and we have a child, and he grows big, and has to draw beer here, the

pick-axe will fall on his head and kill him.' Then said the boy: 'What

a clever Elsie we have!' and sat down by her, and likewise began to

howl loudly. Upstairs they waited for the boy, but as he still did not

return, the man said to the woman: 'Just go down into the cellar and see

where Elsie is!' The woman went down, and found all three in the midst

of their lamentations, and inquired what was the cause; then Elsie told

her also that her future child was to be killed by the pick-axe, when it

grew big and had to draw beer, and the pick-axe fell down. Then said the

mother likewise: 'What a clever Elsie we have!' and sat down and wept

with them. The man upstairs waited a short time, but as his wife did not

come back and his thirst grew ever greater, he said: 'I must go into the

cellar myself and see where Elsie is.' But when he got into the cellar,

and they were all sitting together crying, and he heard the reason, and

that Elsie's child was the cause, and the Elsie might perhaps bring one

into the world some day, and that he might be killed by the pick-axe, if

he should happen to be sitting beneath it, drawing beer just at the very

time when it fell down, he cried: 'Oh, what a clever Elsie!' and sat

down, and likewise wept with them. The bridegroom stayed upstairs alone

for along time; then as no one would come back he thought: 'They must be

waiting for me below: I too must go there and see what they are about.'

When he got down, the five of them were sitting screaming and lamenting

quite piteously, each out-doing the other. 'What misfortune has happened

then?' asked he. 'Ah, dear Hans,' said Elsie, 'if we marry each other

and have a child, and he is big, and we perhaps send him here to draw

something to drink, then the pick-axe which has been left up there might

dash his brains out if it were to fall down, so have we not reason to

weep?' 'Come,' said Hans, 'more understanding than that is not needed

for my household, as you are such a clever Elsie, I will have you,' and

seized her hand, took her upstairs with him, and married her.

 

After Hans had had her some time, he said: 'Wife, I am going out to work

and earn some money for us; go into the field and cut the corn that we

may have some bread.' 'Yes, dear Hans, I will do that.' After Hans had

gone away, she cooked herself some good broth and took it into the field

with her. When she came to the field she said to herself: 'What shall I

do; shall I cut first, or shall I eat first? Oh, I will eat first.' Then

she drank her cup of broth and when she was fully satisfied, she once

more said: 'What shall I do? Shall I cut first, or shall I sleep first?

I will sleep first.' Then she lay down among the corn and fell asleep.

Hans had been at home for a long time, but Elsie did not come; then said

he: 'What a clever Elsie I have; she is so industrious that she does not

even come home to eat.' But when evening came and she still stayed away,

Hans went out to see what she had cut, but nothing was cut, and she

was lying among the corn asleep. Then Hans hastened home and brought

a fowler's net with little bells and hung it round about her, and she

still went on sleeping. Then he ran home, shut the house-door, and sat

down in his chair and worked. At length, when it was quite dark, Clever

Elsie awoke and when she got up there was a jingling all round about

her, and the bells rang at each step which she took. Then she was

alarmed, and became uncertain whether she really was Clever Elsie or

not, and said: 'Is it I, or is it not I?' But she knew not what answer

to make to this, and stood for a time in doubt; at length she thought:

'I will go home and ask if it be I, or if it be not I, they will be sure

to know.' She ran to the door of her own house, but it was shut; then

she knocked at the window and cried: 'Hans, is Elsie within?' 'Yes,'

answered Hans, 'she is within.' Hereupon she was terrified, and said:

'Ah, heavens! Then it is not I,' and went to another door; but when the

people heard the jingling of the bells they would not open it, and she

could get in nowhere. Then she ran out of the village, and no one has

seen her since.

 

 

 

 

THE MISER IN THE BUSH

 

A farmer had a faithful and diligent servant, who had worked hard for

him three years, without having been paid any wages. At last it came

into the man's head that he would not go on thus without pay any longer;

so he went to his master, and said, 'I have worked hard for you a long

time, I will trust to you to give me what I deserve to have for my

trouble.' The farmer was a sad miser, and knew that his man was very

simple-hearted; so he took out threepence, and gave him for every year's

service a penny. The poor fellow thought it was a great deal of money to

have, and said to himself, 'Why should I work hard, and live here on bad

fare any longer? I can now travel into the wide world, and make myself

merry.' With that he put his money into his purse, and set out, roaming

over hill and valley.

 

As he jogged along over the fields, singing and dancing, a little dwarf

met him, and asked him what made him so merry. 'Why, what should make

me down-hearted?' said he; 'I am sound in health and rich in purse, what

should I care for? I have saved up my three years' earnings and have it

all safe in my pocket.' 'How much may it come to?' said the little man.

'Full threepence,' replied the countryman. 'I wish you would give them

to me,' said the other; 'I am very poor.' Then the man pitied him, and

gave him all he had; and the little dwarf said in return, 'As you have

such a kind honest heart, I will grant you three wishes--one for every

penny; so choose whatever you like.' Then the countryman rejoiced at

his good luck, and said, 'I like many things better than money: first, I

will have a bow that will bring down everything I shoot at; secondly,

a fiddle that will set everyone dancing that hears me play upon it; and

thirdly, I should like that everyone should grant what I ask.' The dwarf

said he should have his three wishes; so he gave him the bow and fiddle,

and went his way.

 

Our honest friend journeyed on his way too; and if he was merry before,

he was now ten times more so. He had not gone far before he met an old

miser: close by them stood a tree, and on the topmost twig sat a thrush

singing away most joyfully. 'Oh, what a pretty bird!' said the miser; 'I

would give a great deal of money to have such a one.' 'If that's all,'

said the countryman, 'I will soon bring it down.' Then he took up his

bow, and down fell the thrush into the bushes at the foot of the tree.

The miser crept into the bush to find it; but directly he had got into

the middle, his companion took up his fiddle and played away, and the

miser began to dance and spring about, capering higher and higher in

the air. The thorns soon began to tear his clothes till they all hung

in rags about him, and he himself was all scratched and wounded, so that

the blood ran down. 'Oh, for heaven's sake!' cried the miser, 'Master!

master! pray let the fiddle alone. What have I done to deserve this?'

'Thou hast shaved many a poor soul close enough,' said the other; 'thou

art only meeting thy reward': so he played up another tune. Then the

miser began to beg and promise, and offered money for his liberty; but

he did not come up to the musician's price for some time, and he danced

him along brisker and brisker, and the miser bid higher and higher, till

at last he offered a round hundred of florins that he had in his purse,

and had just gained by cheating some poor fellow. When the countryman

saw so much money, he said, 'I will agree to your proposal.' So he took

the purse, put up his fiddle, and travelled on very pleased with his

bargain.

 

Meanwhile the miser crept out of the bush half-naked and in a piteous

plight, and began to ponder how he should take his revenge, and serve

his late companion some trick. At last he went to the judge, and

complained that a rascal had robbed him of his money, and beaten him

into the bargain; and that the fellow who did it carried a bow at his

back and a fiddle hung round his neck. Then the judge sent out his

officers to bring up the accused wherever they should find him; and he

was soon caught and brought up to be tried.

 

The miser began to tell his tale, and said he had been robbed of

his money. 'No, you gave it me for playing a tune to you.' said the

countryman; but the judge told him that was not likely, and cut the

matter short by ordering him off to the gallows.

 

So away he was taken; but as he stood on the steps he said, 'My Lord

Judge, grant me one last request.' 'Anything but thy life,' replied the

other. 'No,' said he, 'I do not ask my life; only to let me play upon

my fiddle for the last time.' The miser cried out, 'Oh, no! no! for

heaven's sake don't listen to him! don't listen to him!' But the judge

said, 'It is only this once, he will soon have done.' The fact was, he

could not refuse the request, on account of the dwarf's third gift.

 

Then the miser said, 'Bind me fast, bind me fast, for pity's sake.' But

the countryman seized his fiddle, and struck up a tune, and at the first

note judge, clerks, and jailer were in motion; all began capering, and

no one could hold the miser. At the second note the hangman let his

prisoner go, and danced also, and by the time he had played the first

bar of the tune, all were dancing together--judge, court, and miser, and

all the people who had followed to look on. At first the thing was merry

and pleasant enough; but when it had gone on a while, and there seemed

to be no end of playing or dancing, they began to cry out, and beg him

to leave off; but he stopped not a whit the more for their entreaties,

till the judge not only gave him his life, but promised to return him

the hundred florins.

 

Then he called to the miser, and said, 'Tell us now, you vagabond, where

you got that gold, or I shall play on for your amusement only,' 'I stole

it,' said the miser in the presence of all the people; 'I acknowledge

that I stole it, and that you earned it fairly.' Then the countryman

stopped his fiddle, and left the miser to take his place at the gallows.

 

 

 

 

ASHPUTTEL

 

The wife of a rich man fell sick; and when she felt that her end drew

nigh, she called her only daughter to her bed-side, and said, 'Always be

a good girl, and I will look down from heaven and watch over you.' Soon

afterwards she shut her eyes and died, and was buried in the garden;

and the little girl went every day to her grave and wept, and was always

good and kind to all about her. And the snow fell and spread a beautiful

white covering over the grave; but by the time the spring came, and the

sun had melted it away again, her father had married another wife. This

new wife had two daughters of her own, that she brought home with her;

they were fair in face but foul at heart, and it was now a sorry time

for the poor little girl. 'What does the good-for-nothing want in the

parlour?' said they; 'they who would eat bread should first earn it;

away with the kitchen-maid!' Then they took away her fine clothes, and

gave her an old grey frock to put on, and laughed at her, and turned her

into the kitchen.

 

There she was forced to do hard work; to rise early before daylight, to

bring the water, to make the fire, to cook and to wash. Besides that,

the sisters plagued her in all sorts of ways, and laughed at her. In the

evening when she was tired, she had no bed to lie down on, but was made

to lie by the hearth among the ashes; and as this, of course, made her

always dusty and dirty, they called her Ashputtel.

 

It happened once that the father was going to the fair, and asked his

wife's daughters what he should bring them. 'Fine clothes,' said the

first; 'Pearls and diamonds,' cried the second. 'Now, child,' said he

to his own daughter, 'what will you have?' 'The first twig, dear

father, that brushes against your hat when you turn your face to come

homewards,' said she. Then he bought for the first two the fine clothes

and pearls and diamonds they had asked for: and on his way home, as he

rode through a green copse, a hazel twig brushed against him, and almost

pushed off his hat: so he broke it off and brought it away; and when he

got home he gave it to his daughter. Then she took it, and went to

her mother's grave and planted it there; and cried so much that it was

watered with her tears; and there it grew and became a fine tree. Three

times every day she went to it and cried; and soon a little bird came

and built its nest upon the tree, and talked with her, and watched over

her, and brought her whatever she wished for.

 

Now it happened that the king of that land held a feast, which was to

last three days; and out of those who came to it his son was to choose

a bride for himself. Ashputtel's two sisters were asked to come; so they

called her up, and said, 'Now, comb our hair, brush our shoes, and tie

our sashes for us, for we are going to dance at the king's feast.'

Then she did as she was told; but when all was done she could not help

crying, for she thought to herself, she should so have liked to have

gone with them to the ball; and at last she begged her mother very hard

to let her go. 'You, Ashputtel!' said she; 'you who have nothing to

wear, no clothes at all, and who cannot even dance--you want to go to

the ball? And when she kept on begging, she said at last, to get rid of

her, 'I will throw this dishful of peas into the ash-heap, and if in

two hours' time you have picked them all out, you shall go to the feast

too.'

 

Then she threw the peas down among the ashes, but the little maiden ran

out at the back door into the garden, and cried out:

 

'Hither, hither, through the sky,

Turtle-doves and linnets, fly!

Blackbird, thrush, and chaffinch gay,

Hither, hither, haste away!

One and all come help me, quick!

Haste ye, haste ye!--pick, pick, pick!'

 

Then first came two white doves, flying in at the kitchen window; next

came two turtle-doves; and after them came all the little birds under

heaven, chirping and fluttering in: and they flew down into the ashes.

And the little doves stooped their heads down and set to work, pick,

pick, pick; and then the others began to pick, pick, pick: and among

them all they soon picked out all the good grain, and put it into a dish

but left the ashes. Long before the end of the hour the work was quite

done, and all flew out again at the windows.

 

Then Ashputtel brought the dish to her mother, overjoyed at the thought

that now she should go to the ball. But the mother said, 'No, no! you

slut, you have no clothes, and cannot dance; you shall not go.' And when

Ashputtel begged very hard to go, she said, 'If you can in one hour's

time pick two of those dishes of peas out of the ashes, you shall go

too.' And thus she thought she should at least get rid of her. So she

shook two dishes of peas into the ashes.

 

But the little maiden went out into the garden at the back of the house,

and cried out as before:

 

'Hither, hither, through the sky,

Turtle-doves and linnets, fly!

Blackbird, thrush, and chaffinch gay,

Hither, hither, haste away!

One and all come help me, quick!

Haste ye, haste ye!--pick, pick, pick!'

 

Then first came two white doves in at the kitchen window; next came two

turtle-doves; and after them came all the little birds under heaven,

chirping and hopping about. And they flew down into the ashes; and the

little doves put their heads down and set to work, pick, pick, pick; and

then the others began pick, pick, pick; and they put all the good grain

into the dishes, and left all the ashes. Before half an hour's time all

was done, and out they flew again. And then Ashputtel took the dishes to

her mother, rejoicing to think that she should now go to the ball.

But her mother said, 'It is all of no use, you cannot go; you have no

clothes, and cannot dance, and you would only put us to shame': and off

she went with her two daughters to the ball.

 

Now when all were gone, and nobody left at home, Ashputtel went

sorrowfully and sat down under the hazel-tree, and cried out:

 

'Shake, shake, hazel-tree,

Gold and silver over me!'

 

Then her friend the bird flew out of the tree, and brought a gold and

silver dress for her, and slippers of spangled silk; and she put them

on, and followed her sisters to the feast. But they did not know her,

and thought it must be some strange princess, she looked so fine and

beautiful in her rich clothes; and they never once thought of Ashputtel,

taking it for granted that she was safe at home in the dirt.

 

The king's son soon came up to her, and took her by the hand and danced

with her, and no one else: and he never left her hand; but when anyone

else came to ask her to dance, he said, 'This lady is dancing with me.'

 

Thus they danced till a late hour of the night; and then she wanted to

go home: and the king's son said, 'I shall go and take care of you to

your home'; for he wanted to see where the beautiful maiden lived. But

she slipped away from him, unawares, and ran off towards home; and as

the prince followed her, she jumped up into the pigeon-house and shut

the door. Then he waited till her father came home, and told him that

the unknown maiden, who had been at the feast, had hid herself in the

pigeon-house. But when they had broken open the door they found no one

within; and as they came back into the house, Ashputtel was lying, as

she always did, in her dirty frock by the ashes, and her dim little

lamp was burning in the chimney. For she had run as quickly as she could

through the pigeon-house and on to the hazel-tree, and had there taken

off her beautiful clothes, and put them beneath the tree, that the bird

might carry them away, and had lain down again amid the ashes in her

little grey frock.

 

The next day when the feast was again held, and her father, mother, and

sisters were gone, Ashputtel went to the hazel-tree, and said:

 

'Shake, shake, hazel-tree,

Gold and silver over me!'

 

And the bird came and brought a still finer dress than the one she

had worn the day before. And when she came in it to the ball, everyone

wondered at her beauty: but the king's son, who was waiting for her,

took her by the hand, and danced with her; and when anyone asked her to

dance, he said as before, 'This lady is dancing with me.'

 

When night came she wanted to go home; and the king's son followed here

as before, that he might see into what house she went: but she sprang

away from him all at once into the garden behind her father's house.

In this garden stood a fine large pear-tree full of ripe fruit; and

Ashputtel, not knowing where to hide herself, jumped up into it without

being seen. Then the king's son lost sight of her, and could not find

out where she was gone, but waited till her father came home, and said

to him, 'The unknown lady who danced with me has slipped away, and I

think she must have sprung into the pear-tree.' The father thought to

himself, 'Can it be Ashputtel?' So he had an axe brought; and they cut

down the tree, but found no one upon it. And when they came back into

the kitchen, there lay Ashputtel among the ashes; for she had slipped

down on the other side of the tree, and carried her beautiful clothes

back to the bird at the hazel-tree, and then put on her little grey

frock.

 

The third day, when her father and mother and sisters were gone, she

went again into the garden, and said:

 

'Shake, shake, hazel-tree,

Gold and silver over me!'

 

Then her kind friend the bird brought a dress still finer than the

former one, and slippers which were all of gold: so that when she came

to the feast no one knew what to say, for wonder at her beauty: and the

king's son danced with nobody but her; and when anyone else asked her to

dance, he said, 'This lady is _my_ partner, sir.'

 

When night came she wanted to go home; and the king's son would go with

her, and said to himself, 'I will not lose her this time'; but, however,

she again slipped away from him, though in such a hurry that she dropped

her left golden slipper upon the stairs.

 

The prince took the shoe, and went the next day to the king his father,

and said, 'I will take for my wife the lady that this golden slipper

fits.' Then both the sisters were overjoyed to hear it; for they

had beautiful feet, and had no doubt that they could wear the golden

slipper. The eldest went first into the room where the slipper was, and

wanted to try it on, and the mother stood by. But her great toe could

not go into it, and the shoe was altogether much too small for her. Then

the mother gave her a knife, and said, 'Never mind, cut it off; when you

are queen you will not care about toes; you will not want to walk.' So

the silly girl cut off her great toe, and thus squeezed on the shoe,

and went to the king's son. Then he took her for his bride, and set her

beside him on his horse, and rode away with her homewards.

 

But on their way home they had to pass by the hazel-tree that Ashputtel

had planted; and on the branch sat a little dove singing:

 

'Back again! back again! look to the shoe!

The shoe is too small, and not made for you!

Prince! prince! look again for thy bride,

For she's not the true one that sits by thy side.'

 

Then the prince got down and looked at her foot; and he saw, by the

blood that streamed from it, what a trick she had played him. So he

turned his horse round, and brought the false bride back to her home,

and said, 'This is not the right bride; let the other sister try and put

on the slipper.' Then she went into the room and got her foot into the

shoe, all but the heel, which was too large. But her mother squeezed it

in till the blood came, and took her to the king's son: and he set her

as his bride by his side on his horse, and rode away with her.

 

But when they came to the hazel-tree the little dove sat there still,

and sang:

 

'Back again! back again! look to the shoe!

The shoe is too small, and not made for you!

Prince! prince! look again for thy bride,

For she's not the true one that sits by thy side.'

 

Then he looked down, and saw that the blood streamed so much from the

shoe, that her white stockings were quite red. So he turned his horse

and brought her also back again. 'This is not the true bride,' said he

to the father; 'have you no other daughters?' 'No,' said he; 'there is

only a little dirty Ashputtel here, the child of my first wife; I am

sure she cannot be the bride.' The prince told him to send her. But the

mother said, 'No, no, she is much too dirty; she will not dare to show

herself.' However, the prince would have her come; and she first washed

her face and hands, and then went in and curtsied to him, and he reached

her the golden slipper. Then she took her clumsy shoe off her left foot,

and put on the golden slipper; and it fitted her as if it had been made

for her. And when he drew near and looked at her face he knew her, and

said, 'This is the right bride.' But the mother and both the sisters

were frightened, and turned pale with anger as he took Ashputtel on his

horse, and rode away with her. And when they came to the hazel-tree, the

white dove sang:

 

'Home! home! look at the shoe!

Princess! the shoe was made for you!

Prince! prince! take home thy bride,

For she is the true one that sits by thy side!'

 

And when the dove had done its song, it came flying, and perched upon

her right shoulder, and so went home with her.

 

 

 

 

THE WHITE SNAKE

 

A long time ago there lived a king who was famed for his wisdom through

all the land. Nothing was hidden from him, and it seemed as if news of

the most secret things was brought to him through the air. But he had a

strange custom; every day after dinner, when the table was cleared,

and no one else was present, a trusty servant had to bring him one more

dish. It was covered, however, and even the servant did not know what

was in it, neither did anyone know, for the king never took off the

cover to eat of it until he was quite alone.

 

This had gone on for a long time, when one day the servant, who took

away the dish, was overcome with such curiosity that he could not help

carrying the dish into his room. When he had carefully locked the door,

he lifted up the cover, and saw a white snake lying on the dish. But

when he saw it he could not deny himself the pleasure of tasting it,

so he cut of a little bit and put it into his mouth. No sooner had it

touched his tongue than he heard a strange whispering of little voices

outside his window. He went and listened, and then noticed that it was

the sparrows who were chattering together, and telling one another of

all kinds of things which they had seen in the fields and woods. Eating

the snake had given him power of understanding the language of animals.

 

Now it so happened that on this very day the queen lost her most

beautiful ring, and suspicion of having stolen it fell upon this trusty

servant, who was allowed to go everywhere. The king ordered the man to

be brought before him, and threatened with angry words that unless he

could before the morrow point out the thief, he himself should be looked

upon as guilty and executed. In vain he declared his innocence; he was

dismissed with no better answer.

 

In his trouble and fear he went down into the courtyard and took thought

how to help himself out of his trouble. Now some ducks were sitting

together quietly by a brook and taking their rest; and, whilst they

were making their feathers smooth with their bills, they were having a

confidential conversation together. The servant stood by and listened.

They were telling one another of all the places where they had been

waddling about all the morning, and what good food they had found; and

one said in a pitiful tone: 'Something lies heavy on my stomach; as

I was eating in haste I swallowed a ring which lay under the queen's

window.' The servant at once seized her by the neck, carried her to the

kitchen, and said to the cook: 'Here is a fine duck; pray, kill her.'

'Yes,' said the cook, and weighed her in his hand; 'she has spared

no trouble to fatten herself, and has been waiting to be roasted long

enough.' So he cut off her head, and as she was being dressed for the

spit, the queen's ring was found inside her.

 

The servant could now easily prove his innocence; and the king, to make

amends for the wrong, allowed him to ask a favour, and promised him

the best place in the court that he could wish for. The servant refused

everything, and only asked for a horse and some money for travelling, as

he had a mind to see the world and go about a little. When his request

was granted he set out on his way, and one day came to a pond, where he

saw three fishes caught in the reeds and gasping for water. Now, though

it is said that fishes are dumb, he heard them lamenting that they must

perish so miserably, and, as he had a kind heart, he got off his

horse and put the three prisoners back into the water. They leapt with

delight, put out their heads, and cried to him: 'We will remember you

and repay you for saving us!'

 

He rode on, and after a while it seemed to him that he heard a voice in

the sand at his feet. He listened, and heard an ant-king complain: 'Why

cannot folks, with their clumsy beasts, keep off our bodies? That stupid

horse, with his heavy hoofs, has been treading down my people without

mercy!' So he turned on to a side path and the ant-king cried out to

him: 'We will remember you--one good turn deserves another!'

 

The path led him into a wood, and there he saw two old ravens standing

by their nest, and throwing out their young ones. 'Out with you, you

idle, good-for-nothing creatures!' cried they; 'we cannot find food for

you any longer; you are big enough, and can provide for yourselves.'

But the poor young ravens lay upon the ground, flapping their wings, and

crying: 'Oh, what helpless chicks we are! We must shift for ourselves,

and yet we cannot fly! What can we do, but lie here and starve?' So the

good young fellow alighted and killed his horse with his sword, and gave

it to them for food. Then they came hopping up to it, satisfied their

hunger, and cried: 'We will remember you--one good turn deserves

another!'

 

And now he had to use his own legs, and when he had walked a long

way, he came to a large city. There was a great noise and crowd in

the streets, and a man rode up on horseback, crying aloud: 'The king's

daughter wants a husband; but whoever seeks her hand must perform a hard

task, and if he does not succeed he will forfeit his life.' Many had

already made the attempt, but in vain; nevertheless when the youth

saw the king's daughter he was so overcome by her great beauty that he

forgot all danger, went before the king, and declared himself a suitor.

 

So he was led out to the sea, and a gold ring was thrown into it, before

his eyes; then the king ordered him to fetch this ring up from the

bottom of the sea, and added: 'If you come up again without it you will

be thrown in again and again until you perish amid the waves.' All the

people grieved for the handsome youth; then they went away, leaving him

alone by the sea.

 

He stood on the shore and considered what he should do, when suddenly

he saw three fishes come swimming towards him, and they were the very

fishes whose lives he had saved. The one in the middle held a mussel in

its mouth, which it laid on the shore at the youth's feet, and when he

had taken it up and opened it, there lay the gold ring in the shell.

Full of joy he took it to the king and expected that he would grant him

the promised reward.

 

But when the proud princess perceived that he was not her equal in

birth, she scorned him, and required him first to perform another

task. She went down into the garden and strewed with her own hands ten

sacksful of millet-seed on the grass; then she said: 'Tomorrow morning

before sunrise these must be picked up, and not a single grain be

wanting.'

 

The youth sat down in the garden and considered how it might be possible

to perform this task, but he could think of nothing, and there he sat

sorrowfully awaiting the break of day, when he should be led to death.

But as soon as the first rays of the sun shone into the garden he saw

all the ten sacks standing side by side, quite full, and not a single

grain was missing. The ant-king had come in the night with thousands

and thousands of ants, and the grateful creatures had by great industry

picked up all the millet-seed and gathered them into the sacks.

 

Presently the king's daughter herself came down into the garden, and was

amazed to see that the young man had done the task she had given him.

But she could not yet conquer her proud heart, and said: 'Although he

has performed both the tasks, he shall not be my husband until he had

brought me an apple from the Tree of Life.' The youth did not know where

the Tree of Life stood, but he set out, and would have gone on for ever,

as long as his legs would carry him, though he had no hope of finding

it. After he had wandered through three kingdoms, he came one evening to

a wood, and lay down under a tree to sleep. But he heard a rustling in

the branches, and a golden apple fell into his hand. At the same time

three ravens flew down to him, perched themselves upon his knee, and

said: 'We are the three young ravens whom you saved from starving; when

we had grown big, and heard that you were seeking the Golden Apple,

we flew over the sea to the end of the world, where the Tree of Life

stands, and have brought you the apple.' The youth, full of joy, set out

homewards, and took the Golden Apple to the king's beautiful daughter,

who had now no more excuses left to make. They cut the Apple of Life in

two and ate it together; and then her heart became full of love for him,

and they lived in undisturbed happiness to a great age.

 

 

 

 

THE WOLF AND THE SEVEN LITTLE KIDS

 

There was once upon a time an old goat who had seven little kids, and

loved them with all the love of a mother for her children. One day she

wanted to go into the forest and fetch some food. So she called all

seven to her and said: 'Dear children, I have to go into the forest,

be on your guard against the wolf; if he comes in, he will devour you

all--skin, hair, and everything. The wretch often disguises himself, but

you will know him at once by his rough voice and his black feet.' The

kids said: 'Dear mother, we will take good care of ourselves; you may go

away without any anxiety.' Then the old one bleated, and went on her way

with an easy mind.

 

It was not long before someone knocked at the house-door and called:

'Open the door, dear children; your mother is here, and has brought

something back with her for each of you.' But the little kids knew that

it was the wolf, by the rough voice. 'We will not open the door,' cried

they, 'you are not our mother. She has a soft, pleasant voice, but

your voice is rough; you are the wolf!' Then the wolf went away to a

shopkeeper and bought himself a great lump of chalk, ate this and made

his voice soft with it. Then he came back, knocked at the door of the

house, and called: 'Open the door, dear children, your mother is here

and has brought something back with her for each of you.' But the wolf

had laid his black paws against the window, and the children saw them

and cried: 'We will not open the door, our mother has not black feet

like you: you are the wolf!' Then the wolf ran to a baker and said: 'I

have hurt my feet, rub some dough over them for me.' And when the baker

had rubbed his feet over, he ran to the miller and said: 'Strew some

white meal over my feet for me.' The miller thought to himself: 'The

wolf wants to deceive someone,' and refused; but the wolf said: 'If you

will not do it, I will devour you.' Then the miller was afraid, and made

his paws white for him. Truly, this is the way of mankind.

 

So now the wretch went for the third time to the house-door, knocked at

it and said: 'Open the door for me, children, your dear little mother

has come home, and has brought every one of you something back from the

forest with her.' The little kids cried: 'First show us your paws that

we may know if you are our dear little mother.' Then he put his paws

in through the window and when the kids saw that they were white, they

believed that all he said was true, and opened the door. But who should

come in but the wolf! They were terrified and wanted to hide themselves.

One sprang under the table, the second into the bed, the third into the

stove, the fourth into the kitchen, the fifth into the cupboard, the

sixth under the washing-bowl, and the seventh into the clock-case. But

the wolf found them all, and used no great ceremony; one after the

other he swallowed them down his throat. The youngest, who was in

the clock-case, was the only one he did not find. When the wolf had

satisfied his appetite he took himself off, laid himself down under a

tree in the green meadow outside, and began to sleep. Soon afterwards

the old goat came home again from the forest. Ah! what a sight she saw

there! The house-door stood wide open. The table, chairs, and benches

were thrown down, the washing-bowl lay broken to pieces, and the quilts

and pillows were pulled off the bed. She sought her children, but they

were nowhere to be found. She called them one after another by name, but

no one answered. At last, when she came to the youngest, a soft voice

cried: 'Dear mother, I am in the clock-case.' She took the kid out, and

it told her that the wolf had come and had eaten all the others. Then

you may imagine how she wept over her poor children.

 

At length in her grief she went out, and the youngest kid ran with her.

When they came to the meadow, there lay the wolf by the tree and snored

so loud that the branches shook. She looked at him on every side and

saw that something was moving and struggling in his gorged belly. 'Ah,

heavens,' she said, 'is it possible that my poor children whom he has

swallowed down for his supper, can be still alive?' Then the kid had to

run home and fetch scissors, and a needle and thread, and the goat cut

open the monster's stomach, and hardly had she made one cut, than one

little kid thrust its head out, and when she had cut farther, all six

sprang out one after another, and were all still alive, and had suffered

no injury whatever, for in his greediness the monster had swallowed them

down whole. What rejoicing there was! They embraced their dear mother,

and jumped like a tailor at his wedding. The mother, however, said: 'Now

go and look for some big stones, and we will fill the wicked beast's

stomach with them while he is still asleep.' Then the seven kids dragged

the stones thither with all speed, and put as many of them into this

stomach as they could get in; and the mother sewed him up again in the

greatest haste, so that he was not aware of anything and never once

stirred.

 

When the wolf at length had had his fill of sleep, he got on his legs,

and as the stones in his stomach made him very thirsty, he wanted to

go to a well to drink. But when he began to walk and to move about, the

stones in his stomach knocked against each other and rattled. Then cried

he:

 

'What rumbles and tumbles

Against my poor bones?

I thought 'twas six kids,

But it feels like big stones.'

 

And when he got to the well and stooped over the water to drink, the

heavy stones made him fall in, and he drowned miserably. When the seven

kids saw that, they came running to the spot and cried aloud: 'The wolf

is dead! The wolf is dead!' and danced for joy round about the well with

their mother.

 

 

 

 

THE QUEEN BEE

 

Two kings' sons once upon a time went into the world to seek their

fortunes; but they soon fell into a wasteful foolish way of living, so

that they could not return home again. Then their brother, who was a

little insignificant dwarf, went out to seek for his brothers: but when

he had found them they only laughed at him, to think that he, who was so

young and simple, should try to travel through the world, when they, who

were so much wiser, had been unable to get on. However, they all set

out on their journey together, and came at last to an ant-hill. The two

elder brothers would have pulled it down, in order to see how the poor

ants in their fright would run about and carry off their eggs. But the

little dwarf said, 'Let the poor things enjoy themselves, I will not

suffer you to trouble them.'

 

So on they went, and came to a lake where many many ducks were swimming

about. The two brothers wanted to catch two, and roast them. But the

dwarf said, 'Let the poor things enjoy themselves, you shall not kill

them.' Next they came to a bees'-nest in a hollow tree, and there was

so much honey that it ran down the trunk; and the two brothers wanted to

light a fire under the tree and kill the bees, so as to get their honey.

But the dwarf held them back, and said, 'Let the pretty insects enjoy

themselves, I cannot let you burn them.'

 

At length the three brothers came to a castle: and as they passed by the

stables they saw fine horses standing there, but all were of marble, and

no man was to be seen. Then they went through all the rooms, till they

came to a door on which were three locks: but in the middle of the door

was a wicket, so that they could look into the next room. There they saw

a little grey old man sitting at a table; and they called to him once or

twice, but he did not hear: however, they called a third time, and then

he rose and came out to them.

 

He said nothing, but took hold of them and led them to a beautiful

table covered with all sorts of good things: and when they had eaten and

drunk, he showed each of them to a bed-chamber.

 

The next morning he came to the eldest and took him to a marble table,

where there were three tablets, containing an account of the means by

which the castle might be disenchanted. The first tablet said: 'In the

wood, under the moss, lie the thousand pearls belonging to the king's

daughter; they must all be found: and if one be missing by set of sun,

he who seeks them will be turned into marble.'

 

The eldest brother set out, and sought for the pearls the whole day:

but the evening came, and he had not found the first hundred: so he was

turned into stone as the tablet had foretold.

 

The next day the second brother undertook the task; but he succeeded no

better than the first; for he could only find the second hundred of the

pearls; and therefore he too was turned into stone.

 

At last came the little dwarf's turn; and he looked in the moss; but it

was so hard to find the pearls, and the job was so tiresome!--so he sat

down upon a stone and cried. And as he sat there, the king of the ants

(whose life he had saved) came to help him, with five thousand ants; and

it was not long before they had found all the pearls and laid them in a

heap.

 

The second tablet said: 'The key of the princess's bed-chamber must be

fished up out of the lake.' And as the dwarf came to the brink of it,

he saw the two ducks whose lives he had saved swimming about; and they

dived down and soon brought in the key from the bottom.

 

The third task was the hardest. It was to choose out the youngest and

the best of the king's three daughters. Now they were all beautiful, and

all exactly alike: but he was told that the eldest had eaten a piece of

sugar, the next some sweet syrup, and the youngest a spoonful of honey;

so he was to guess which it was that had eaten the honey.

 

Then came the queen of the bees, who had been saved by the little dwarf

from the fire, and she tried the lips of all three; but at last she sat

upon the lips of the one that had eaten the honey: and so the dwarf knew

which was the youngest. Thus the spell was broken, and all who had been

turned into stones awoke, and took their proper forms. And the dwarf

married the youngest and the best of the princesses, and was king after

her father's death; but his two brothers married the other two sisters.

 

 

 

 

THE ELVES AND THE SHOEMAKER

 

There was once a shoemaker, who worked very hard and was very honest:

but still he could not earn enough to live upon; and at last all he

had in the world was gone, save just leather enough to make one pair of

shoes.

 

Then he cut his leather out, all ready to make up the next day, meaning

to rise early in the morning to his work. His conscience was clear and

his heart light amidst all his troubles; so he went peaceably to bed,

left all his cares to Heaven, and soon fell asleep. In the morning after

he had said his prayers, he sat himself down to his work; when, to his

great wonder, there stood the shoes all ready made, upon the table. The

good man knew not what to say or think at such an odd thing happening.

He looked at the workmanship; there was not one false stitch in the

whole job; all was so neat and true, that it was quite a masterpiece.

 

The same day a customer came in, and the shoes suited him so well that

he willingly paid a price higher than usual for them; and the poor

shoemaker, with the money, bought leather enough to make two pairs more.

In the evening he cut out the work, and went to bed early, that he might

get up and begin betimes next day; but he was saved all the trouble, for

when he got up in the morning the work was done ready to his hand. Soon

in came buyers, who paid him handsomely for his goods, so that he bought

leather enough for four pair more. He cut out the work again overnight

and found it done in the morning, as before; and so it went on for some

time: what was got ready in the evening was always done by daybreak, and

the good man soon became thriving and well off again.

 

One evening, about Christmas-time, as he and his wife were sitting over

the fire chatting together, he said to her, 'I should like to sit up and

watch tonight, that we may see who it is that comes and does my work for

me.' The wife liked the thought; so they left a light burning, and hid

themselves in a corner of the room, behind a curtain that was hung up

there, and watched what would happen.

 

As soon as it was midnight, there came in two little naked dwarfs; and

they sat themselves upon the shoemaker's bench, took up all the work

that was cut out, and began to ply with their little fingers, stitching

and rapping and tapping away at such a rate, that the shoemaker was all

wonder, and could not take his eyes off them. And on they went, till the

job was quite done, and the shoes stood ready for use upon the table.

This was long before daybreak; and then they bustled away as quick as

lightning.

 

The next day the wife said to the shoemaker. 'These little wights have

made us rich, and we ought to be thankful to them, and do them a good

turn if we can. I am quite sorry to see them run about as they do; and

indeed it is not very decent, for they have nothing upon their backs to

keep off the cold. I'll tell you what, I will make each of them a shirt,

and a coat and waistcoat, and a pair of pantaloons into the bargain; and

do you make each of them a little pair of shoes.'

 

The thought pleased the good cobbler very much; and one evening, when

all the things were ready, they laid them on the table, instead of the

work that they used to cut out, and then went and hid themselves, to

watch what the little elves would do.

 

About midnight in they came, dancing and skipping, hopped round the

room, and then went to sit down to their work as usual; but when they

saw the clothes lying for them, they laughed and chuckled, and seemed

mightily delighted.

 

Then they dressed themselves in the twinkling of an eye, and danced and

capered and sprang about, as merry as could be; till at last they danced

out at the door, and away over the green.

 

The good couple saw them no more; but everything went well with them

from that time forward, as long as they lived.

 

 

 

 

THE JUNIPER-TREE

 

Long, long ago, some two thousand years or so, there lived a rich

man with a good and beautiful wife. They loved each other dearly, but

sorrowed much that they had no children. So greatly did they desire

to have one, that the wife prayed for it day and night, but still they

remained childless.

 

In front of the house there was a court, in which grew a juniper-tree.

One winter's day the wife stood under the tree to peel some apples, and

as she was peeling them, she cut her finger, and the blood fell on the

snow. 'Ah,' sighed the woman heavily, 'if I had but a child, as red as

blood and as white as snow,' and as she spoke the words, her heart grew

light within her, and it seemed to her that her wish was granted, and

she returned to the house feeling glad and comforted. A month passed,

and the snow had all disappeared; then another month went by, and all

the earth was green. So the months followed one another, and first the

trees budded in the woods, and soon the green branches grew thickly

intertwined, and then the blossoms began to fall. Once again the wife

stood under the juniper-tree, and it was so full of sweet scent that her

heart leaped for joy, and she was so overcome with her happiness, that

she fell on her knees. Presently the fruit became round and firm, and

she was glad and at peace; but when they were fully ripe she picked the

berries and ate eagerly of them, and then she grew sad and ill. A little

while later she called her husband, and said to him, weeping. 'If I

die, bury me under the juniper-tree.' Then she felt comforted and happy

again, and before another month had passed she had a little child, and

when she saw that it was as white as snow and as red as blood, her joy

was so great that she died.

 

Her husband buried her under the juniper-tree, and wept bitterly for

her. By degrees, however, his sorrow grew less, and although at times he

still grieved over his loss, he was able to go about as usual, and later

on he married again.

 

He now had a little daughter born to him; the child of his first wife

was a boy, who was as red as blood and as white as snow. The mother

loved her daughter very much, and when she looked at her and then looked

at the boy, it pierced her heart to think that he would always stand in

the way of her own child, and she was continually thinking how she could

get the whole of the property for her. This evil thought took possession

of her more and more, and made her behave very unkindly to the boy. She

drove him from place to place with cuffings and buffetings, so that the

poor child went about in fear, and had no peace from the time he left

school to the time he went back.

 

One day the little daughter came running to her mother in the

store-room, and said, 'Mother, give me an apple.' 'Yes, my child,' said

the wife, and she gave her a beautiful apple out of the chest; the chest

had a very heavy lid and a large iron lock.

 

'Mother,' said the little daughter again, 'may not brother have one

too?' The mother was angry at this, but she answered, 'Yes, when he

comes out of school.'

 

Just then she looked out of the window and saw him coming, and it seemed

as if an evil spirit entered into her, for she snatched the apple out

of her little daughter's hand, and said, 'You shall not have one before

your brother.' She threw the apple into the chest and shut it to. The

little boy now came in, and the evil spirit in the wife made her say

kindly to him, 'My son, will you have an apple?' but she gave him a

wicked look. 'Mother,' said the boy, 'how dreadful you look! Yes, give

me an apple.' The thought came to her that she would kill him. 'Come

with me,' she said, and she lifted up the lid of the chest; 'take one

out for yourself.' And as he bent over to do so, the evil spirit urged

her, and crash! down went the lid, and off went the little boy's head.

Then she was overwhelmed with fear at the thought of what she had done.

'If only I can prevent anyone knowing that I did it,' she thought. So

she went upstairs to her room, and took a white handkerchief out of

her top drawer; then she set the boy's head again on his shoulders, and

bound it with the handkerchief so that nothing could be seen, and placed

him on a chair by the door with an apple in his hand.

 

Soon after this, little Marleen came up to her mother who was stirring

a pot of boiling water over the fire, and said, 'Mother, brother is

sitting by the door with an apple in his hand, and he looks so pale;

and when I asked him to give me the apple, he did not answer, and that

frightened me.'

 

'Go to him again,' said her mother, 'and if he does not answer, give him

a box on the ear.' So little Marleen went, and said, 'Brother, give me

that apple,' but he did not say a word; then she gave him a box on the

ear, and his head rolled off. She was so terrified at this, that she ran

crying and screaming to her mother. 'Oh!' she said, 'I have knocked off

brother's head,' and then she wept and wept, and nothing would stop her.

 

'What have you done!' said her mother, 'but no one must know about it,

so you must keep silence; what is done can't be undone; we will make

him into puddings.' And she took the little boy and cut him up, made him

into puddings, and put him in the pot. But Marleen stood looking on,

and wept and wept, and her tears fell into the pot, so that there was no

need of salt.

 

Presently the father came home and sat down to his dinner; he asked,

'Where is my son?' The mother said nothing, but gave him a large dish of

black pudding, and Marleen still wept without ceasing.

 

The father again asked, 'Where is my son?'

 

'Oh,' answered the wife, 'he is gone into the country to his mother's

great uncle; he is going to stay there some time.'

 

'What has he gone there for, and he never even said goodbye to me!'

 

'Well, he likes being there, and he told me he should be away quite six

weeks; he is well looked after there.'

 

'I feel very unhappy about it,' said the husband, 'in case it should not

be all right, and he ought to have said goodbye to me.'

 

With this he went on with his dinner, and said, 'Little Marleen, why do

you weep? Brother will soon be back.' Then he asked his wife for more

pudding, and as he ate, he threw the bones under the table.

 

Little Marleen went upstairs and took her best silk handkerchief out of

her bottom drawer, and in it she wrapped all the bones from under the

table and carried them outside, and all the time she did nothing but

weep. Then she laid them in the green grass under the juniper-tree, and

she had no sooner done so, then all her sadness seemed to leave her,

and she wept no more. And now the juniper-tree began to move, and the

branches waved backwards and forwards, first away from one another, and

then together again, as it might be someone clapping their hands for

joy. After this a mist came round the tree, and in the midst of it there

was a burning as of fire, and out of the fire there flew a beautiful

bird, that rose high into the air, singing magnificently, and when it

could no more be seen, the juniper-tree stood there as before, and the

silk handkerchief and the bones were gone.

 

Little Marleen now felt as lighthearted and happy as if her brother were

still alive, and she went back to the house and sat down cheerfully to

the table and ate.

 

The bird flew away and alighted on the house of a goldsmith and began to

sing:

 

'My mother killed her little son;

My father grieved when I was gone;

My sister loved me best of all;

She laid her kerchief over me,

And took my bones that they might lie

Underneath the juniper-tree

Kywitt, Kywitt, what a beautiful bird am I!'

 

The goldsmith was in his workshop making a gold chain, when he heard the

song of the bird on his roof. He thought it so beautiful that he got

up and ran out, and as he crossed the threshold he lost one of his

slippers. But he ran on into the middle of the street, with a slipper on

one foot and a sock on the other; he still had on his apron, and still

held the gold chain and the pincers in his hands, and so he stood gazing

up at the bird, while the sun came shining brightly down on the street.

 

'Bird,' he said, 'how beautifully you sing! Sing me that song again.'

 

'Nay,' said the bird, 'I do not sing twice for nothing. Give that gold

chain, and I will sing it you again.'

 

'Here is the chain, take it,' said the goldsmith. 'Only sing me that

again.'

 

The bird flew down and took the gold chain in his right claw, and then

he alighted again in front of the goldsmith and sang:

 

'My mother killed her little son;

My father grieved when I was gone;

My sister loved me best of all;

She laid her kerchief over me,

And took my bones that they might lie

Underneath the juniper-tree

Kywitt, Kywitt, what a beautiful bird am I!'

 

Then he flew away, and settled on the roof of a shoemaker's house and

sang:

 

'My mother killed her little son;

My father grieved when I was gone;

My sister loved me best of all;

She laid her kerchief over me,

And took my bones that they might lie

Underneath the juniper-tree

Kywitt, Kywitt, what a beautiful bird am I!'

 

The shoemaker heard him, and he jumped up and ran out in his

shirt-sleeves, and stood looking up at the bird on the roof with his

hand over his eyes to keep himself from being blinded by the sun.

 

'Bird,' he said, 'how beautifully you sing!' Then he called through the

door to his wife: 'Wife, come out; here is a bird, come and look at it

and hear how beautifully it sings.' Then he called his daughter and the

children, then the apprentices, girls and boys, and they all ran up the

street to look at the bird, and saw how splendid it was with its red

and green feathers, and its neck like burnished gold, and eyes like two

bright stars in its head.

 

'Bird,' said the shoemaker, 'sing me that song again.'

 

'Nay,' answered the bird, 'I do not sing twice for nothing; you must

give me something.'

 

'Wife,' said the man, 'go into the garret; on the upper shelf you will

see a pair of red shoes; bring them to me.' The wife went in and fetched

the shoes.

 

'There, bird,' said the shoemaker, 'now sing me that song again.'

 

The bird flew down and took the red shoes in his left claw, and then he

went back to the roof and sang:

 

'My mother killed her little son;

My father grieved when I was gone;

My sister loved me best of all;

She laid her kerchief over me,

And took my bones that they might lie

Underneath the juniper-tree

Kywitt, Kywitt, what a beautiful bird am I!'

 

When he had finished, he flew away. He had the chain in his right claw

and the shoes in his left, and he flew right away to a mill, and the

mill went 'Click clack, click clack, click clack.' Inside the mill were

twenty of the miller's men hewing a stone, and as they went 'Hick hack,

hick hack, hick hack,' the mill went 'Click clack, click clack, click

clack.'

 

The bird settled on a lime-tree in front of the mill and sang:

 

 'My mother killed her little son;

 

then one of the men left off,

 

  My father grieved when I was gone;

 

two more men left off and listened,

 

  My sister loved me best of all;

 

then four more left off,

 

  She laid her kerchief over me,

  And took my bones that they might lie

 

now there were only eight at work,

 

  Underneath

 

And now only five,

 

the juniper-tree.

 

and now only one,

 

  Kywitt, Kywitt, what a beautiful bird am I!'

 

then he looked up and the last one had left off work.

 

'Bird,' he said, 'what a beautiful song that is you sing! Let me hear it

too; sing it again.'

 

'Nay,' answered the bird, 'I do not sing twice for nothing; give me that

millstone, and I will sing it again.'

 

'If it belonged to me alone,' said the man, 'you should have it.'

 

'Yes, yes,' said the others: 'if he will sing again, he can have it.'

 

The bird came down, and all the twenty millers set to and lifted up the

stone with a beam; then the bird put his head through the hole and took

the stone round his neck like a collar, and flew back with it to the

tree and sang--

 

'My mother killed her little son;

My father grieved when I was gone;

My sister loved me best of all;

She laid her kerchief over me,

And took my bones that they might lie

Underneath the juniper-tree

Kywitt, Kywitt, what a beautiful bird am I!'

 

And when he had finished his song, he spread his wings, and with the

chain in his right claw, the shoes in his left, and the millstone round

his neck, he flew right away to his father's house.

 

The father, the mother, and little Marleen were having their dinner.

 

'How lighthearted I feel,' said the father, 'so pleased and cheerful.'

 

'And I,' said the mother, 'I feel so uneasy, as if a heavy thunderstorm

were coming.'

 

But little Marleen sat and wept and wept.

 

Then the bird came flying towards the house and settled on the roof.

 

'I do feel so happy,' said the father, 'and how beautifully the sun

shines; I feel just as if I were going to see an old friend again.'

 

'Ah!' said the wife, 'and I am so full of distress and uneasiness that

my teeth chatter, and I feel as if there were a fire in my veins,' and

she tore open her dress; and all the while little Marleen sat in the

corner and wept, and the plate on her knees was wet with her tears.

 

The bird now flew to the juniper-tree and began singing:

 

 'My mother killed her little son;

 

the mother shut her eyes and her ears, that she might see and hear

nothing, but there was a roaring sound in her ears like that of a

violent storm, and in her eyes a burning and flashing like lightning:

 

  My father grieved when I was gone;

 

'Look, mother,' said the man, 'at the beautiful bird that is singing so

magnificently; and how warm and bright the sun is, and what a delicious

scent of spice in the air!'

 

  My sister loved me best of all;

 

then little Marleen laid her head down on her knees and sobbed.

 

'I must go outside and see the bird nearer,' said the man.

 

'Ah, do not go!' cried the wife. 'I feel as if the whole house were in

flames!'

 

But the man went out and looked at the bird.

 

She laid her kerchief over me,

And took my bones that they might lie

Underneath the juniper-tree

Kywitt, Kywitt, what a beautiful bird am I!'

 

With that the bird let fall the gold chain, and it fell just round the

man's neck, so that it fitted him exactly.

 

He went inside, and said, 'See, what a splendid bird that is; he has

given me this beautiful gold chain, and looks so beautiful himself.'

 

But the wife was in such fear and trouble, that she fell on the floor,

and her cap fell from her head.

 

Then the bird began again:

 

 'My mother killed her little son;

 

'Ah me!' cried the wife, 'if I were but a thousand feet beneath the

earth, that I might not hear that song.'

 

  My father grieved when I was gone;

 

then the woman fell down again as if dead.

 

  My sister loved me best of all;

 

'Well,' said little Marleen, 'I will go out too and see if the bird will

give me anything.'

 

So she went out.

 

She laid her kerchief over me,

And took my bones that they might lie

 

and he threw down the shoes to her,

 

Underneath the juniper-tree

Kywitt, Kywitt, what a beautiful bird am I!'

 

And she now felt quite happy and lighthearted; she put on the shoes and

danced and jumped about in them. 'I was so miserable,' she said, 'when I

came out, but that has all passed away; that is indeed a splendid bird,

and he has given me a pair of red shoes.'

 

The wife sprang up, with her hair standing out from her head like flames

of fire. 'Then I will go out too,' she said, 'and see if it will lighten

my misery, for I feel as if the world were coming to an end.'

 

But as she crossed the threshold, crash! the bird threw the millstone

down on her head, and she was crushed to death.

 

The father and little Marleen heard the sound and ran out, but they only

saw mist and flame and fire rising from the spot, and when these had

passed, there stood the little brother, and he took the father and

little Marleen by the hand; then they all three rejoiced, and went

inside together and sat down to their dinners and ate.

 

 

 

 

THE TURNIP

 

There were two brothers who were both soldiers; the one was rich and

the other poor. The poor man thought he would try to better himself; so,

pulling off his red coat, he became a gardener, and dug his ground well,

and sowed turnips.

 

When the seed came up, there was one plant bigger than all the rest; and

it kept getting larger and larger, and seemed as if it would never cease

growing; so that it might have been called the prince of turnips for

there never was such a one seen before, and never will again. At last it

was so big that it filled a cart, and two oxen could hardly draw it; and

the gardener knew not what in the world to do with it, nor whether it

would be a blessing or a curse to him. One day he said to himself, 'What

shall I do with it? if I sell it, it will bring no more than another;

and for eating, the little turnips are better than this; the best thing

perhaps is to carry it and give it to the king as a mark of respect.'

 

Then he yoked his oxen, and drew the turnip to the court, and gave it

to the king. 'What a wonderful thing!' said the king; 'I have seen many

strange things, but such a monster as this I never saw. Where did you

get the seed? or is it only your good luck? If so, you are a true child

of fortune.' 'Ah, no!' answered the gardener, 'I am no child of fortune;

I am a poor soldier, who never could get enough to live upon; so I

laid aside my red coat, and set to work, tilling the ground. I have a

brother, who is rich, and your majesty knows him well, and all the world

knows him; but because I am poor, everybody forgets me.'

 

The king then took pity on him, and said, 'You shall be poor no

longer. I will give you so much that you shall be even richer than your

brother.' Then he gave him gold and lands and flocks, and made him so

rich that his brother's fortune could not at all be compared with his.

 

When the brother heard of all this, and how a turnip had made the

gardener so rich, he envied him sorely, and bethought himself how he

could contrive to get the same good fortune for himself. However, he

determined to manage more cleverly than his brother, and got together a

rich present of gold and fine horses for the king; and thought he must

have a much larger gift in return; for if his brother had received so

much for only a turnip, what must his present be wroth?

 

The king took the gift very graciously, and said he knew not what to

give in return more valuable and wonderful than the great turnip; so

the soldier was forced to put it into a cart, and drag it home with him.

When he reached home, he knew not upon whom to vent his rage and spite;

and at length wicked thoughts came into his head, and he resolved to

kill his brother.

 

So he hired some villains to murder him; and having shown them where to

lie in ambush, he went to his brother, and said, 'Dear brother, I have

found a hidden treasure; let us go and dig it up, and share it between

us.' The other had no suspicions of his roguery: so they went out

together, and as they were travelling along, the murderers rushed out

upon him, bound him, and were going to hang him on a tree.

 

But whilst they were getting all ready, they heard the trampling of a

horse at a distance, which so frightened them that they pushed their

prisoner neck and shoulders together into a sack, and swung him up by a

cord to the tree, where they left him dangling, and ran away. Meantime

he worked and worked away, till he made a hole large enough to put out

his head.

 

When the horseman came up, he proved to be a student, a merry fellow,

who was journeying along on his nag, and singing as he went. As soon as

the man in the sack saw him passing under the tree, he cried out, 'Good

morning! good morning to thee, my friend!' The student looked about

everywhere; and seeing no one, and not knowing where the voice came

from, cried out, 'Who calls me?'

 

Then the man in the tree answered, 'Lift up thine eyes, for behold here

I sit in the sack of wisdom; here have I, in a short time, learned great

and wondrous things. Compared to this seat, all the learning of the

schools is as empty air. A little longer, and I shall know all that man

can know, and shall come forth wiser than the wisest of mankind. Here

I discern the signs and motions of the heavens and the stars; the laws

that control the winds; the number of the sands on the seashore; the

healing of the sick; the virtues of all simples, of birds, and of

precious stones. Wert thou but once here, my friend, though wouldst feel

and own the power of knowledge.

 

The student listened to all this and wondered much; at last he said,

'Blessed be the day and hour when I found you; cannot you contrive to

let me into the sack for a little while?' Then the other answered, as if

very unwillingly, 'A little space I may allow thee to sit here, if thou

wilt reward me well and entreat me kindly; but thou must tarry yet an

hour below, till I have learnt some little matters that are yet unknown

to me.'

 

So the student sat himself down and waited a while; but the time hung

heavy upon him, and he begged earnestly that he might ascend forthwith,

for his thirst for knowledge was great. Then the other pretended to give

way, and said, 'Thou must let the sack of wisdom descend, by untying

yonder cord, and then thou shalt enter.' So the student let him down,

opened the sack, and set him free. 'Now then,' cried he, 'let me ascend

quickly.' As he began to put himself into the sack heels first, 'Wait a

while,' said the gardener, 'that is not the way.' Then he pushed him

in head first, tied up the sack, and soon swung up the searcher after

wisdom dangling in the air. 'How is it with thee, friend?' said he,

'dost thou not feel that wisdom comes unto thee? Rest there in peace,

till thou art a wiser man than thou wert.'

 

So saying, he trotted off on the student's nag, and left the poor fellow

to gather wisdom till somebody should come and let him down.

 

 

 

 

CLEVER HANS

 

The mother of Hans said: 'Whither away, Hans?' Hans answered: 'To

Gretel.' 'Behave well, Hans.' 'Oh, I'll behave well. Goodbye, mother.'

'Goodbye, Hans.' Hans comes to Gretel. 'Good day, Gretel.' 'Good day,

Hans. What do you bring that is good?' 'I bring nothing, I want to have

something given me.' Gretel presents Hans with a needle, Hans says:

'Goodbye, Gretel.' 'Goodbye, Hans.'

 

Hans takes the needle, sticks it into a hay-cart, and follows the cart

home. 'Good evening, mother.' 'Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?'

'With Gretel.' 'What did you take her?' 'Took nothing; had something

given me.' 'What did Gretel give you?' 'Gave me a needle.' 'Where is the

needle, Hans?' 'Stuck in the hay-cart.' 'That was ill done, Hans. You

should have stuck the needle in your sleeve.' 'Never mind, I'll do

better next time.'

 

'Whither away, Hans?' 'To Gretel, mother.' 'Behave well, Hans.' 'Oh,

I'll behave well. Goodbye, mother.' 'Goodbye, Hans.' Hans comes to

Gretel. 'Good day, Gretel.' 'Good day, Hans. What do you bring that is

good?' 'I bring nothing. I want to have something given to me.' Gretel

presents Hans with a knife. 'Goodbye, Gretel.' 'Goodbye, Hans.' Hans

takes the knife, sticks it in his sleeve, and goes home. 'Good evening,

mother.' 'Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?' 'With Gretel.' What

did you take her?' 'Took her nothing, she gave me something.' 'What did

Gretel give you?' 'Gave me a knife.' 'Where is the knife, Hans?' 'Stuck

in my sleeve.' 'That's ill done, Hans, you should have put the knife in

your pocket.' 'Never mind, will do better next time.'

 

'Whither away, Hans?' 'To Gretel, mother.' 'Behave well, Hans.' 'Oh,

I'll behave well. Goodbye, mother.' 'Goodbye, Hans.' Hans comes to

Gretel. 'Good day, Gretel.' 'Good day, Hans. What good thing do you

bring?' 'I bring nothing, I want something given me.' Gretel presents

Hans with a young goat. 'Goodbye, Gretel.' 'Goodbye, Hans.' Hans takes

the goat, ties its legs, and puts it in his pocket. When he gets home it

is suffocated. 'Good evening, mother.' 'Good evening, Hans. Where have

you been?' 'With Gretel.' 'What did you take her?' 'Took nothing, she

gave me something.' 'What did Gretel give you?' 'She gave me a goat.'

'Where is the goat, Hans?' 'Put it in my pocket.' 'That was ill done,

Hans, you should have put a rope round the goat's neck.' 'Never mind,

will do better next time.'

 

'Whither away, Hans?' 'To Gretel, mother.' 'Behave well, Hans.' 'Oh,

I'll behave well. Goodbye, mother.' 'Goodbye, Hans.' Hans comes to

Gretel. 'Good day, Gretel.' 'Good day, Hans. What good thing do you

bring?' 'I bring nothing, I want something given me.' Gretel presents

Hans with a piece of bacon. 'Goodbye, Gretel.' 'Goodbye, Hans.'

 

Hans takes the bacon, ties it to a rope, and drags it away behind him.

The dogs come and devour the bacon. When he gets home, he has the rope

in his hand, and there is no longer anything hanging on to it. 'Good

evening, mother.' 'Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?' 'With

Gretel.' 'What did you take her?' 'I took her nothing, she gave me

something.' 'What did Gretel give you?' 'Gave me a bit of bacon.' 'Where

is the bacon, Hans?' 'I tied it to a rope, brought it home, dogs took

it.' 'That was ill done, Hans, you should have carried the bacon on your

head.' 'Never mind, will do better next time.'

 

'Whither away, Hans?' 'To Gretel, mother.' 'Behave well, Hans.' 'I'll

behave well. Goodbye, mother.' 'Goodbye, Hans.' Hans comes to Gretel.

'Good day, Gretel.' 'Good day, Hans, What good thing do you bring?' 'I

bring nothing, but would have something given.' Gretel presents Hans

with a calf. 'Goodbye, Gretel.' 'Goodbye, Hans.'

 

Hans takes the calf, puts it on his head, and the calf kicks his face.

'Good evening, mother.' 'Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?' 'With

Gretel.' 'What did you take her?' 'I took nothing, but had something

given me.' 'What did Gretel give you?' 'A calf.' 'Where have you the

calf, Hans?' 'I set it on my head and it kicked my face.' 'That was

ill done, Hans, you should have led the calf, and put it in the stall.'

'Never mind, will do better next time.'

 

'Whither away, Hans?' 'To Gretel, mother.' 'Behave well, Hans.' 'I'll

behave well. Goodbye, mother.' 'Goodbye, Hans.'

 

Hans comes to Gretel. 'Good day, Gretel.' 'Good day, Hans. What good

thing do you bring?' 'I bring nothing, but would have something given.'

Gretel says to Hans: 'I will go with you.'

 

Hans takes Gretel, ties her to a rope, leads her to the rack, and binds

her fast. Then Hans goes to his mother. 'Good evening, mother.' 'Good

evening, Hans. Where have you been?' 'With Gretel.' 'What did you take

her?' 'I took her nothing.' 'What did Gretel give you?' 'She gave me

nothing, she came with me.' 'Where have you left Gretel?' 'I led her by

the rope, tied her to the rack, and scattered some grass for her.' 'That

was ill done, Hans, you should have cast friendly eyes on her.' 'Never

mind, will do better.'

 

Hans went into the stable, cut out all the calves' and sheep's eyes,

and threw them in Gretel's face. Then Gretel became angry, tore herself

loose and ran away, and was no longer the bride of Hans.

 

 

 

 

THE THREE LANGUAGES

 

An aged count once lived in Switzerland, who had an only son, but he

was stupid, and could learn nothing. Then said the father: 'Hark you,

my son, try as I will I can get nothing into your head. You must go from

hence, I will give you into the care of a celebrated master, who shall

see what he can do with you.' The youth was sent into a strange town,

and remained a whole year with the master. At the end of this time,

he came home again, and his father asked: 'Now, my son, what have you

learnt?' 'Father, I have learnt what the dogs say when they bark.' 'Lord

have mercy on us!' cried the father; 'is that all you have learnt? I

will send you into another town, to another master.' The youth was taken

thither, and stayed a year with this master likewise. When he came back

the father again asked: 'My son, what have you learnt?' He answered:

'Father, I have learnt what the birds say.' Then the father fell into a

rage and said: 'Oh, you lost man, you have spent the precious time and

learnt nothing; are you not ashamed to appear before my eyes? I will

send you to a third master, but if you learn nothing this time also, I

will no longer be your father.' The youth remained a whole year with the

third master also, and when he came home again, and his father inquired:

'My son, what have you learnt?' he answered: 'Dear father, I have this

year learnt what the frogs croak.' Then the father fell into the most

furious anger, sprang up, called his people thither, and said: 'This man

is no longer my son, I drive him forth, and command you to take him

out into the forest, and kill him.' They took him forth, but when they

should have killed him, they could not do it for pity, and let him go,

and they cut the eyes and tongue out of a deer that they might carry

them to the old man as a token.

 

The youth wandered on, and after some time came to a fortress where he

begged for a night's lodging. 'Yes,' said the lord of the castle, 'if

you will pass the night down there in the old tower, go thither; but I

warn you, it is at the peril of your life, for it is full of wild dogs,

which bark and howl without stopping, and at certain hours a man has to

be given to them, whom they at once devour.' The whole district was in

sorrow and dismay because of them, and yet no one could do anything to

stop this. The youth, however, was without fear, and said: 'Just let me

go down to the barking dogs, and give me something that I can throw to

them; they will do nothing to harm me.' As he himself would have it so,

they gave him some food for the wild animals, and led him down to the

tower. When he went inside, the dogs did not bark at him, but wagged

their tails quite amicably around him, ate what he set before them, and

did not hurt one hair of his head. Next morning, to the astonishment of

everyone, he came out again safe and unharmed, and said to the lord of

the castle: 'The dogs have revealed to me, in their own language, why

they dwell there, and bring evil on the land. They are bewitched, and

are obliged to watch over a great treasure which is below in the tower,

and they can have no rest until it is taken away, and I have likewise

learnt, from their discourse, how that is to be done.' Then all who

heard this rejoiced, and the lord of the castle said he would adopt him

as a son if he accomplished it successfully. He went down again, and

as he knew what he had to do, he did it thoroughly, and brought a chest

full of gold out with him. The howling of the wild dogs was henceforth

heard no more; they had disappeared, and the country was freed from the

trouble.

 

After some time he took it in his head that he would travel to Rome. On

the way he passed by a marsh, in which a number of frogs were sitting

croaking. He listened to them, and when he became aware of what they

were saying, he grew very thoughtful and sad. At last he arrived in

Rome, where the Pope had just died, and there was great doubt among

the cardinals as to whom they should appoint as his successor. They at

length agreed that the person should be chosen as pope who should be

distinguished by some divine and miraculous token. And just as that was

decided on, the young count entered into the church, and suddenly two

snow-white doves flew on his shoulders and remained sitting there. The

ecclesiastics recognized therein the token from above, and asked him on

the spot if he would be pope. He was undecided, and knew not if he were

worthy of this, but the doves counselled him to do it, and at length he

said yes. Then was he anointed and consecrated, and thus was fulfilled

what he had heard from the frogs on his way, which had so affected him,

that he was to be his Holiness the Pope. Then he had to sing a mass, and

did not know one word of it, but the two doves sat continually on his

shoulders, and said it all in his ear.

 

 

 

 

THE FOX AND THE CAT

 

It happened that the cat met the fox in a forest, and as she thought to

herself: 'He is clever and full of experience, and much esteemed in the

world,' she spoke to him in a friendly way. 'Good day, dear Mr Fox,

how are you? How is all with you? How are you getting on in these hard

times?' The fox, full of all kinds of arrogance, looked at the cat from

head to foot, and for a long time did not know whether he would give

any answer or not. At last he said: 'Oh, you wretched beard-cleaner, you

piebald fool, you hungry mouse-hunter, what can you be thinking of? Have

you the cheek to ask how I am getting on? What have you learnt? How

many arts do you understand?' 'I understand but one,' replied the

cat, modestly. 'What art is that?' asked the fox. 'When the hounds are

following me, I can spring into a tree and save myself.' 'Is that all?'

said the fox. 'I am master of a hundred arts, and have into the bargain

a sackful of cunning. You make me sorry for you; come with me, I will

teach you how people get away from the hounds.' Just then came a hunter

with four dogs. The cat sprang nimbly up a tree, and sat down at the top

of it, where the branches and foliage quite concealed her. 'Open your

sack, Mr Fox, open your sack,' cried the cat to him, but the dogs had

already seized him, and were holding him fast. 'Ah, Mr Fox,' cried the

cat. 'You with your hundred arts are left in the lurch! Had you been

able to climb like me, you would not have lost your life.'

 

 

 

 

THE FOUR CLEVER BROTHERS

 

'Dear children,' said a poor man to his four sons, 'I have nothing to

give you; you must go out into the wide world and try your luck. Begin

by learning some craft or another, and see how you can get on.' So the

four brothers took their walking-sticks in their hands, and their little

bundles on their shoulders, and after bidding their father goodbye, went

all out at the gate together. When they had got on some way they came

to four crossways, each leading to a different country. Then the eldest

said, 'Here we must part; but this day four years we will come back

to this spot, and in the meantime each must try what he can do for

himself.'

 

So each brother went his way; and as the eldest was hastening on a man

met him, and asked him where he was going, and what he wanted. 'I am

going to try my luck in the world, and should like to begin by learning

some art or trade,' answered he. 'Then,' said the man, 'go with me, and

I will teach you to become the cunningest thief that ever was.' 'No,'

said the other, 'that is not an honest calling, and what can one look

to earn by it in the end but the gallows?' 'Oh!' said the man, 'you need

not fear the gallows; for I will only teach you to steal what will be

fair game: I meddle with nothing but what no one else can get or care

anything about, and where no one can find you out.' So the young man

agreed to follow his trade, and he soon showed himself so clever, that

nothing could escape him that he had once set his mind upon.

 

The second brother also met a man, who, when he found out what he was

setting out upon, asked him what craft he meant to follow. 'I do not

know yet,' said he. 'Then come with me, and be a star-gazer. It is a

noble art, for nothing can be hidden from you, when once you understand

the stars.' The plan pleased him much, and he soon became such a skilful

star-gazer, that when he had served out his time, and wanted to leave

his master, he gave him a glass, and said, 'With this you can see all

that is passing in the sky and on earth, and nothing can be hidden from

you.'

 

The third brother met a huntsman, who took him with him, and taught him

so well all that belonged to hunting, that he became very clever in the

craft of the woods; and when he left his master he gave him a bow, and

said, 'Whatever you shoot at with this bow you will be sure to hit.'

 

The youngest brother likewise met a man who asked him what he wished to

do. 'Would not you like,' said he, 'to be a tailor?' 'Oh, no!' said

the young man; 'sitting cross-legged from morning to night, working

backwards and forwards with a needle and goose, will never suit me.'

'Oh!' answered the man, 'that is not my sort of tailoring; come with me,

and you will learn quite another kind of craft from that.' Not knowing

what better to do, he came into the plan, and learnt tailoring from the

beginning; and when he left his master, he gave him a needle, and said,

'You can sew anything with this, be it as soft as an egg or as hard as

steel; and the joint will be so fine that no seam will be seen.'

 

After the space of four years, at the time agreed upon, the four

brothers met at the four cross-roads; and having welcomed each other,

set off towards their father's home, where they told him all that had

happened to them, and how each had learned some craft.

 

Then, one day, as they were sitting before the house under a very high

tree, the father said, 'I should like to try what each of you can do in

this way.' So he looked up, and said to the second son, 'At the top of

this tree there is a chaffinch's nest; tell me how many eggs there are

in it.' The star-gazer took his glass, looked up, and said, 'Five.'

'Now,' said the father to the eldest son, 'take away the eggs without

letting the bird that is sitting upon them and hatching them know

anything of what you are doing.' So the cunning thief climbed up the

tree, and brought away to his father the five eggs from under the bird;

and it never saw or felt what he was doing, but kept sitting on at its

ease. Then the father took the eggs, and put one on each corner of the

table, and the fifth in the middle, and said to the huntsman, 'Cut all

the eggs in two pieces at one shot.' The huntsman took up his bow, and

at one shot struck all the five eggs as his father wished.

 

'Now comes your turn,' said he to the young tailor; 'sew the eggs and

the young birds in them together again, so neatly that the shot shall

have done them no harm.' Then the tailor took his needle, and sewed the

eggs as he was told; and when he had done, the thief was sent to take

them back to the nest, and put them under the bird without its knowing

it. Then she went on sitting, and hatched them: and in a few days they

crawled out, and had only a little red streak across their necks, where

the tailor had sewn them together.

 

'Well done, sons!' said the old man; 'you have made good use of your

time, and learnt something worth the knowing; but I am sure I do not

know which ought to have the prize. Oh, that a time might soon come for

you to turn your skill to some account!'

 

Not long after this there was a great bustle in the country; for the

king's daughter had been carried off by a mighty dragon, and the king

mourned over his loss day and night, and made it known that whoever

brought her back to him should have her for a wife. Then the four

brothers said to each other, 'Here is a chance for us; let us try

what we can do.' And they agreed to see whether they could not set the

princess free. 'I will soon find out where she is, however,' said the

star-gazer, as he looked through his glass; and he soon cried out, 'I

see her afar off, sitting upon a rock in the sea, and I can spy the

dragon close by, guarding her.' Then he went to the king, and asked for

a ship for himself and his brothers; and they sailed together over the

sea, till they came to the right place. There they found the princess

sitting, as the star-gazer had said, on the rock; and the dragon was

lying asleep, with his head upon her lap. 'I dare not shoot at him,'

said the huntsman, 'for I should kill the beautiful young lady also.'

'Then I will try my skill,' said the thief, and went and stole her away

from under the dragon, so quietly and gently that the beast did not know

it, but went on snoring.

 

Then away they hastened with her full of joy in their boat towards the

ship; but soon came the dragon roaring behind them through the air; for

he awoke and missed the princess. But when he got over the boat, and

wanted to pounce upon them and carry off the princess, the huntsman took

up his bow and shot him straight through the heart so that he fell down

dead. They were still not safe; for he was such a great beast that in

his fall he overset the boat, and they had to swim in the open sea

upon a few planks. So the tailor took his needle, and with a few large

stitches put some of the planks together; and he sat down upon these,

and sailed about and gathered up all pieces of the boat; and then tacked

them together so quickly that the boat was soon ready, and they then

reached the ship and got home safe.

 

When they had brought home the princess to her father, there was great

rejoicing; and he said to the four brothers, 'One of you shall marry

her, but you must settle amongst yourselves which it is to be.' Then

there arose a quarrel between them; and the star-gazer said, 'If I had

not found the princess out, all your skill would have been of no use;

therefore she ought to be mine.' 'Your seeing her would have been of

no use,' said the thief, 'if I had not taken her away from the dragon;

therefore she ought to be mine.' 'No, she is mine,' said the huntsman;

'for if I had not killed the dragon, he would, after all, have torn you

and the princess into pieces.' 'And if I had not sewn the boat together

again,' said the tailor, 'you would all have been drowned, therefore she

is mine.' Then the king put in a word, and said, 'Each of you is right;

and as all cannot have the young lady, the best way is for neither of

you to have her: for the truth is, there is somebody she likes a great

deal better. But to make up for your loss, I will give each of you, as a

reward for his skill, half a kingdom.' So the brothers agreed that this

plan would be much better than either quarrelling or marrying a lady who

had no mind to have them. And the king then gave to each half a kingdom,

as he had said; and they lived very happily the rest of their days, and

took good care of their father; and somebody took better care of the

young lady, than to let either the dragon or one of the craftsmen have

her again.

 

 

 

 

LILY AND THE LION

 

A merchant, who had three daughters, was once setting out upon a

journey; but before he went he asked each daughter what gift he should

bring back for her. The eldest wished for pearls; the second for jewels;

but the third, who was called Lily, said, 'Dear father, bring me a

rose.' Now it was no easy task to find a rose, for it was the middle

of winter; yet as she was his prettiest daughter, and was very fond of

flowers, her father said he would try what he could do. So he kissed all

three, and bid them goodbye.

 

And when the time came for him to go home, he had bought pearls and

jewels for the two eldest, but he had sought everywhere in vain for the

rose; and when he went into any garden and asked for such a thing, the

people laughed at him, and asked him whether he thought roses grew in

snow. This grieved him very much, for Lily was his dearest child; and as

he was journeying home, thinking what he should bring her, he came to a

fine castle; and around the castle was a garden, in one half of which it

seemed to be summer-time and in the other half winter. On one side the

finest flowers were in full bloom, and on the other everything looked

dreary and buried in the snow. 'A lucky hit!' said he, as he called to

his servant, and told him to go to a beautiful bed of roses that was

there, and bring him away one of the finest flowers.

 

This done, they were riding away well pleased, when up sprang a fierce

lion, and roared out, 'Whoever has stolen my roses shall be eaten up

alive!' Then the man said, 'I knew not that the garden belonged to you;

can nothing save my life?' 'No!' said the lion, 'nothing, unless you

undertake to give me whatever meets you on your return home; if you

agree to this, I will give you your life, and the rose too for your

daughter.' But the man was unwilling to do so and said, 'It may be my

youngest daughter, who loves me most, and always runs to meet me when

I go home.' Then the servant was greatly frightened, and said, 'It may

perhaps be only a cat or a dog.' And at last the man yielded with a

heavy heart, and took the rose; and said he would give the lion whatever

should meet him first on his return.

 

And as he came near home, it was Lily, his youngest and dearest

daughter, that met him; she came running, and kissed him, and welcomed

him home; and when she saw that he had brought her the rose, she was

still more glad. But her father began to be very sorrowful, and to weep,

saying, 'Alas, my dearest child! I have bought this flower at a high

price, for I have said I would give you to a wild lion; and when he has

you, he will tear you in pieces, and eat you.' Then he told her all that

had happened, and said she should not go, let what would happen.

 

But she comforted him, and said, 'Dear father, the word you have given

must be kept; I will go to the lion, and soothe him: perhaps he will let

me come safe home again.'

 

The next morning she asked the way she was to go, and took leave of her

father, and went forth with a bold heart into the wood. But the lion was

an enchanted prince. By day he and all his court were lions, but in the

evening they took their right forms again. And when Lily came to the

castle, he welcomed her so courteously that she agreed to marry him. The

wedding-feast was held, and they lived happily together a long time. The

prince was only to be seen as soon as evening came, and then he held his

court; but every morning he left his bride, and went away by himself,

she knew not whither, till the night came again.

 

After some time he said to her, 'Tomorrow there will be a great feast in

your father's house, for your eldest sister is to be married; and if

you wish to go and visit her my lions shall lead you thither.' Then she

rejoiced much at the thoughts of seeing her father once more, and set

out with the lions; and everyone was overjoyed to see her, for they had

thought her dead long since. But she told them how happy she was, and

stayed till the feast was over, and then went back to the wood.

 

Her second sister was soon after married, and when Lily was asked to

go to the wedding, she said to the prince, 'I will not go alone this

time--you must go with me.' But he would not, and said that it would be

a very hazardous thing; for if the least ray of the torch-light should

fall upon him his enchantment would become still worse, for he should be

changed into a dove, and be forced to wander about the world for seven

long years. However, she gave him no rest, and said she would take care

no light should fall upon him. So at last they set out together, and

took with them their little child; and she chose a large hall with thick

walls for him to sit in while the wedding-torches were lighted; but,

unluckily, no one saw that there was a crack in the door. Then the

wedding was held with great pomp, but as the train came from the church,

and passed with the torches before the hall, a very small ray of light

fell upon the prince. In a moment he disappeared, and when his wife came

in and looked for him, she found only a white dove; and it said to her,

'Seven years must I fly up and down over the face of the earth, but

every now and then I will let fall a white feather, that will show you

the way I am going; follow it, and at last you may overtake and set me

free.'

 

This said, he flew out at the door, and poor Lily followed; and every

now and then a white feather fell, and showed her the way she was to

journey. Thus she went roving on through the wide world, and looked

neither to the right hand nor to the left, nor took any rest, for seven

years. Then she began to be glad, and thought to herself that the time

was fast coming when all her troubles should end; yet repose was still

far off, for one day as she was travelling on she missed the white

feather, and when she lifted up her eyes she could nowhere see the dove.

'Now,' thought she to herself, 'no aid of man can be of use to me.' So

she went to the sun and said, 'Thou shinest everywhere, on the hill's

top and the valley's depth--hast thou anywhere seen my white dove?'

'No,' said the sun, 'I have not seen it; but I will give thee a

casket--open it when thy hour of need comes.'

 

So she thanked the sun, and went on her way till eventide; and when

the moon arose, she cried unto it, and said, 'Thou shinest through the

night, over field and grove--hast thou nowhere seen my white dove?'

'No,' said the moon, 'I cannot help thee but I will give thee an

egg--break it when need comes.'

 

Then she thanked the moon, and went on till the night-wind blew; and she

raised up her voice to it, and said, 'Thou blowest through every tree

and under every leaf--hast thou not seen my white dove?' 'No,' said the

night-wind, 'but I will ask three other winds; perhaps they have seen

it.' Then the east wind and the west wind came, and said they too had

not seen it, but the south wind said, 'I have seen the white dove--he

has fled to the Red Sea, and is changed once more into a lion, for the

seven years are passed away, and there he is fighting with a dragon;

and the dragon is an enchanted princess, who seeks to separate him from

you.' Then the night-wind said, 'I will give thee counsel. Go to the

Red Sea; on the right shore stand many rods--count them, and when thou

comest to the eleventh, break it off, and smite the dragon with it; and

so the lion will have the victory, and both of them will appear to you

in their own forms. Then look round and thou wilt see a griffin, winged

like bird, sitting by the Red Sea; jump on to his back with thy beloved

one as quickly as possible, and he will carry you over the waters to

your home. I will also give thee this nut,' continued the night-wind.

'When you are half-way over, throw it down, and out of the waters will

immediately spring up a high nut-tree on which the griffin will be able

to rest, otherwise he would not have the strength to bear you the whole

way; if, therefore, thou dost forget to throw down the nut, he will let

you both fall into the sea.'

 

So our poor wanderer went forth, and found all as the night-wind had

said; and she plucked the eleventh rod, and smote the dragon, and the

lion forthwith became a prince, and the dragon a princess again. But

no sooner was the princess released from the spell, than she seized

the prince by the arm and sprang on to the griffin's back, and went off

carrying the prince away with her.

 

Thus the unhappy traveller was again forsaken and forlorn; but she

took heart and said, 'As far as the wind blows, and so long as the cock

crows, I will journey on, till I find him once again.' She went on for

a long, long way, till at length she came to the castle whither the

princess had carried the prince; and there was a feast got ready, and

she heard that the wedding was about to be held. 'Heaven aid me now!'

said she; and she took the casket that the sun had given her, and found

that within it lay a dress as dazzling as the sun itself. So she put it

on, and went into the palace, and all the people gazed upon her; and

the dress pleased the bride so much that she asked whether it was to be

sold. 'Not for gold and silver.' said she, 'but for flesh and blood.'

The princess asked what she meant, and she said, 'Let me speak with the

bridegroom this night in his chamber, and I will give thee the dress.'

At last the princess agreed, but she told her chamberlain to give the

prince a sleeping draught, that he might not hear or see her. When

evening came, and the prince had fallen asleep, she was led into

his chamber, and she sat herself down at his feet, and said: 'I have

followed thee seven years. I have been to the sun, the moon, and the

night-wind, to seek thee, and at last I have helped thee to overcome

the dragon. Wilt thou then forget me quite?' But the prince all the time

slept so soundly, that her voice only passed over him, and seemed like

the whistling of the wind among the fir-trees.

 

Then poor Lily was led away, and forced to give up the golden dress; and

when she saw that there was no help for her, she went out into a meadow,

and sat herself down and wept. But as she sat she bethought herself of

the egg that the moon had given her; and when she broke it, there ran

out a hen and twelve chickens of pure gold, that played about, and then

nestled under the old one's wings, so as to form the most beautiful

sight in the world. And she rose up and drove them before her, till the

bride saw them from her window, and was so pleased that she came forth

and asked her if she would sell the brood. 'Not for gold or silver, but

for flesh and blood: let me again this evening speak with the bridegroom

in his chamber, and I will give thee the whole brood.'

 

Then the princess thought to betray her as before, and agreed to

what she asked: but when the prince went to his chamber he asked

the chamberlain why the wind had whistled so in the night. And the

chamberlain told him all--how he had given him a sleeping draught, and

how a poor maiden had come and spoken to him in his chamber, and was

to come again that night. Then the prince took care to throw away the

sleeping draught; and when Lily came and began again to tell him what

woes had befallen her, and how faithful and true to him she had been,

he knew his beloved wife's voice, and sprang up, and said, 'You have

awakened me as from a dream, for the strange princess had thrown a spell

around me, so that I had altogether forgotten you; but Heaven hath sent

you to me in a lucky hour.'

 

And they stole away out of the palace by night unawares, and seated

themselves on the griffin, who flew back with them over the Red Sea.

When they were half-way across Lily let the nut fall into the water,

and immediately a large nut-tree arose from the sea, whereon the griffin

rested for a while, and then carried them safely home. There they found

their child, now grown up to be comely and fair; and after all their

troubles they lived happily together to the end of their days.

 

 

 

 

THE FOX AND THE HORSE

 

A farmer had a horse that had been an excellent faithful servant to

him: but he was now grown too old to work; so the farmer would give him

nothing more to eat, and said, 'I want you no longer, so take yourself

off out of my stable; I shall not take you back again until you are

stronger than a lion.' Then he opened the door and turned him adrift.

 

The poor horse was very melancholy, and wandered up and down in the

wood, seeking some little shelter from the cold wind and rain. Presently

a fox met him: 'What's the matter, my friend?' said he, 'why do you hang

down your head and look so lonely and woe-begone?' 'Ah!' replied the

horse, 'justice and avarice never dwell in one house; my master has

forgotten all that I have done for him so many years, and because I

can no longer work he has turned me adrift, and says unless I become

stronger than a lion he will not take me back again; what chance can I

have of that? he knows I have none, or he would not talk so.'

 

However, the fox bid him be of good cheer, and said, 'I will help you;

lie down there, stretch yourself out quite stiff, and pretend to be

dead.' The horse did as he was told, and the fox went straight to the

lion who lived in a cave close by, and said to him, 'A little way off

lies a dead horse; come with me and you may make an excellent meal of

his carcase.' The lion was greatly pleased, and set off immediately; and

when they came to the horse, the fox said, 'You will not be able to eat

him comfortably here; I'll tell you what--I will tie you fast to

his tail, and then you can draw him to your den, and eat him at your

leisure.'

 

This advice pleased the lion, so he laid himself down quietly for the

fox to make him fast to the horse. But the fox managed to tie his legs

together and bound all so hard and fast that with all his strength he

could not set himself free. When the work was done, the fox clapped the

horse on the shoulder, and said, 'Jip! Dobbin! Jip!' Then up he sprang,

and moved off, dragging the lion behind him. The beast began to roar

and bellow, till all the birds of the wood flew away for fright; but the

horse let him sing on, and made his way quietly over the fields to his

master's house.

 

'Here he is, master,' said he, 'I have got the better of him': and when

the farmer saw his old servant, his heart relented, and he said. 'Thou

shalt stay in thy stable and be well taken care of.' And so the poor old

horse had plenty to eat, and lived--till he died.

 

 

 

 

THE BLUE LIGHT

 

There was once upon a time a soldier who for many years had served the

king faithfully, but when the war came to an end could serve no longer

because of the many wounds which he had received. The king said to him:

'You may return to your home, I need you no longer, and you will not

receive any more money, for he only receives wages who renders me

service for them.' Then the soldier did not know how to earn a living,

went away greatly troubled, and walked the whole day, until in the

evening he entered a forest. When darkness came on, he saw a light,

which he went up to, and came to a house wherein lived a witch. 'Do give

me one night's lodging, and a little to eat and drink,' said he to

her, 'or I shall starve.' 'Oho!' she answered, 'who gives anything to a

run-away soldier? Yet will I be compassionate, and take you in, if you

will do what I wish.' 'What do you wish?' said the soldier. 'That you

should dig all round my garden for me, tomorrow.' The soldier consented,

and next day laboured with all his strength, but could not finish it by

the evening. 'I see well enough,' said the witch, 'that you can do no

more today, but I will keep you yet another night, in payment for

which you must tomorrow chop me a load of wood, and chop it small.' The

soldier spent the whole day in doing it, and in the evening the witch

proposed that he should stay one night more. 'Tomorrow, you shall only

do me a very trifling piece of work. Behind my house, there is an old

dry well, into which my light has fallen, it burns blue, and never goes

out, and you shall bring it up again.' Next day the old woman took him

to the well, and let him down in a basket. He found the blue light, and

made her a signal to draw him up again. She did draw him up, but when he

came near the edge, she stretched down her hand and wanted to take the

blue light away from him. 'No,' said he, perceiving her evil intention,

'I will not give you the light until I am standing with both feet upon

the ground.' The witch fell into a passion, let him fall again into the

well, and went away.

 

The poor soldier fell without injury on the moist ground, and the blue

light went on burning, but of what use was that to him? He saw very well

that he could not escape death. He sat for a while very sorrowfully,

then suddenly he felt in his pocket and found his tobacco pipe, which

was still half full. 'This shall be my last pleasure,' thought he,

pulled it out, lit it at the blue light and began to smoke. When the

smoke had circled about the cavern, suddenly a little black dwarf stood

before him, and said: 'Lord, what are your commands?' 'What my commands

are?' replied the soldier, quite astonished. 'I must do everything you

bid me,' said the little man. 'Good,' said the soldier; 'then in the

first place help me out of this well.' The little man took him by the

hand, and led him through an underground passage, but he did not forget

to take the blue light with him. On the way the dwarf showed him the

treasures which the witch had collected and hidden there, and the

soldier took as much gold as he could carry. When he was above, he said

to the little man: 'Now go and bind the old witch, and carry her before

the judge.' In a short time she came by like the wind, riding on a wild

tom-cat and screaming frightfully. Nor was it long before the little man

reappeared. 'It is all done,' said he, 'and the witch is already hanging

on the gallows. What further commands has my lord?' inquired the dwarf.

'At this moment, none,' answered the soldier; 'you can return home, only

be at hand immediately, if I summon you.' 'Nothing more is needed than

that you should light your pipe at the blue light, and I will appear

before you at once.' Thereupon he vanished from his sight.

 

The soldier returned to the town from which he came. He went to the

best inn, ordered himself handsome clothes, and then bade the landlord

furnish him a room as handsome as possible. When it was ready and the

soldier had taken possession of it, he summoned the little black manikin

and said: 'I have served the king faithfully, but he has dismissed me,

and left me to hunger, and now I want to take my revenge.' 'What am I to

do?' asked the little man. 'Late at night, when the king's daughter is

in bed, bring her here in her sleep, she shall do servant's work for

me.' The manikin said: 'That is an easy thing for me to do, but a very

dangerous thing for you, for if it is discovered, you will fare ill.'

When twelve o'clock had struck, the door sprang open, and the manikin

carried in the princess. 'Aha! are you there?' cried the soldier, 'get

to your work at once! Fetch the broom and sweep the chamber.' When

she had done this, he ordered her to come to his chair, and then he

stretched out his feet and said: 'Pull off my boots,' and then he

threw them in her face, and made her pick them up again, and clean

and brighten them. She, however, did everything he bade her, without

opposition, silently and with half-shut eyes. When the first cock

crowed, the manikin carried her back to the royal palace, and laid her

in her bed.

 

Next morning when the princess arose she went to her father, and told

him that she had had a very strange dream. 'I was carried through the

streets with the rapidity of lightning,' said she, 'and taken into a

soldier's room, and I had to wait upon him like a servant, sweep his

room, clean his boots, and do all kinds of menial work. It was only a

dream, and yet I am just as tired as if I really had done everything.'

'The dream may have been true,' said the king. 'I will give you a piece

of advice. Fill your pocket full of peas, and make a small hole in the

pocket, and then if you are carried away again, they will fall out and

leave a track in the streets.' But unseen by the king, the manikin was

standing beside him when he said that, and heard all. At night when

the sleeping princess was again carried through the streets, some peas

certainly did fall out of her pocket, but they made no track, for the

crafty manikin had just before scattered peas in every street there

was. And again the princess was compelled to do servant's work until

cock-crow.

 

Next morning the king sent his people out to seek the track, but it was

all in vain, for in every street poor children were sitting, picking up

peas, and saying: 'It must have rained peas, last night.' 'We must think

of something else,' said the king; 'keep your shoes on when you go to

bed, and before you come back from the place where you are taken, hide

one of them there, I will soon contrive to find it.' The black manikin

heard this plot, and at night when the soldier again ordered him to

bring the princess, revealed it to him, and told him that he knew of no

expedient to counteract this stratagem, and that if the shoe were found

in the soldier's house it would go badly with him. 'Do what I bid you,'

replied the soldier, and again this third night the princess was obliged

to work like a servant, but before she went away, she hid her shoe under

the bed.

 

Next morning the king had the entire town searched for his daughter's

shoe. It was found at the soldier's, and the soldier himself, who at the

entreaty of the dwarf had gone outside the gate, was soon brought back,

and thrown into prison. In his flight he had forgotten the most valuable

things he had, the blue light and the gold, and had only one ducat in

his pocket. And now loaded with chains, he was standing at the window of

his dungeon, when he chanced to see one of his comrades passing by. The

soldier tapped at the pane of glass, and when this man came up, said to

him: 'Be so kind as to fetch me the small bundle I have left lying in

the inn, and I will give you a ducat for doing it.' His comrade ran

thither and brought him what he wanted. As soon as the soldier was alone

again, he lighted his pipe and summoned the black manikin. 'Have no

fear,' said the latter to his master. 'Go wheresoever they take you, and

let them do what they will, only take the blue light with you.' Next day

the soldier was tried, and though he had done nothing wicked, the judge

condemned him to death. When he was led forth to die, he begged a last

favour of the king. 'What is it?' asked the king. 'That I may smoke one

more pipe on my way.' 'You may smoke three,' answered the king, 'but do

not imagine that I will spare your life.' Then the soldier pulled out

his pipe and lighted it at the blue light, and as soon as a few wreaths

of smoke had ascended, the manikin was there with a small cudgel in his

hand, and said: 'What does my lord command?' 'Strike down to earth that

false judge there, and his constable, and spare not the king who has

treated me so ill.' Then the manikin fell on them like lightning,

darting this way and that way, and whosoever was so much as touched by

his cudgel fell to earth, and did not venture to stir again. The king

was terrified; he threw himself on the soldier's mercy, and merely to

be allowed to live at all, gave him his kingdom for his own, and his

daughter to wife.

 

 

 

 

THE RAVEN

 

There was once a queen who had a little daughter, still too young to run

alone. One day the child was very troublesome, and the mother could not

quiet it, do what she would. She grew impatient, and seeing the ravens

flying round the castle, she opened the window, and said: 'I wish you

were a raven and would fly away, then I should have a little peace.'

Scarcely were the words out of her mouth, when the child in her arms was

turned into a raven, and flew away from her through the open window. The

bird took its flight to a dark wood and remained there for a long time,

and meanwhile the parents could hear nothing of their child.

 

Long after this, a man was making his way through the wood when he heard

a raven calling, and he followed the sound of the voice. As he drew

near, the raven said, 'I am by birth a king's daughter, but am now under

the spell of some enchantment; you can, however, set me free.' 'What

am I to do?' he asked. She replied, 'Go farther into the wood until you

come to a house, wherein lives an old woman; she will offer you food and

drink, but you must not take of either; if you do, you will fall into

a deep sleep, and will not be able to help me. In the garden behind the

house is a large tan-heap, and on that you must stand and watch for me.

I shall drive there in my carriage at two o'clock in the afternoon for

three successive days; the first day it will be drawn by four white, the

second by four chestnut, and the last by four black horses; but if you

fail to keep awake and I find you sleeping, I shall not be set free.'

 

The man promised to do all that she wished, but the raven said, 'Alas! I

know even now that you will take something from the woman and be unable

to save me.' The man assured her again that he would on no account touch

a thing to eat or drink.

 

When he came to the house and went inside, the old woman met him, and

said, 'Poor man! how tired you are! Come in and rest and let me give you

something to eat and drink.'

 

'No,' answered the man, 'I will neither eat not drink.'

 

But she would not leave him alone, and urged him saying, 'If you will

not eat anything, at least you might take a draught of wine; one drink

counts for nothing,' and at last he allowed himself to be persuaded, and

drank.

 

As it drew towards the appointed hour, he went outside into the garden

and mounted the tan-heap to await the raven. Suddenly a feeling of

fatigue came over him, and unable to resist it, he lay down for a little

while, fully determined, however, to keep awake; but in another minute

his eyes closed of their own accord, and he fell into such a deep sleep,

that all the noises in the world would not have awakened him. At two

o'clock the raven came driving along, drawn by her four white horses;

but even before she reached the spot, she said to herself, sighing, 'I

know he has fallen asleep.' When she entered the garden, there she found

him as she had feared, lying on the tan-heap, fast asleep. She got out

of her carriage and went to him; she called him and shook him, but it

was all in vain, he still continued sleeping.

 

The next day at noon, the old woman came to him again with food and

drink which he at first refused. At last, overcome by her persistent

entreaties that he would take something, he lifted the glass and drank

again.

 

Towards two o'clock he went into the garden and on to the tan-heap to

watch for the raven. He had not been there long before he began to feel

so tired that his limbs seemed hardly able to support him, and he could

not stand upright any longer; so again he lay down and fell fast asleep.

As the raven drove along her four chestnut horses, she said sorrowfully

to herself, 'I know he has fallen asleep.' She went as before to look

for him, but he slept, and it was impossible to awaken him.

 

The following day the old woman said to him, 'What is this? You are not

eating or drinking anything, do you want to kill yourself?'

 

He answered, 'I may not and will not either eat or drink.'

 

But she put down the dish of food and the glass of wine in front of him,

and when he smelt the wine, he was unable to resist the temptation, and

took a deep draught.

 

When the hour came round again he went as usual on to the tan-heap in

the garden to await the king's daughter, but he felt even more overcome

with weariness than on the two previous days, and throwing himself down,

he slept like a log. At two o'clock the raven could be seen approaching,

and this time her coachman and everything about her, as well as her

horses, were black.

 

She was sadder than ever as she drove along, and said mournfully, 'I

know he has fallen asleep, and will not be able to set me free.' She

found him sleeping heavily, and all her efforts to awaken him were of no

avail. Then she placed beside him a loaf, and some meat, and a flask

of wine, of such a kind, that however much he took of them, they would

never grow less. After that she drew a gold ring, on which her name was

engraved, off her finger, and put it upon one of his. Finally, she laid

a letter near him, in which, after giving him particulars of the food

and drink she had left for him, she finished with the following words:

'I see that as long as you remain here you will never be able to set me

free; if, however, you still wish to do so, come to the golden castle

of Stromberg; this is well within your power to accomplish.' She then

returned to her carriage and drove to the golden castle of Stromberg.

 

When the man awoke and found that he had been sleeping, he was grieved

at heart, and said, 'She has no doubt been here and driven away again,

and it is now too late for me to save her.' Then his eyes fell on the

things which were lying beside him; he read the letter, and knew from it

all that had happened. He rose up without delay, eager to start on his

way and to reach the castle of Stromberg, but he had no idea in which

direction he ought to go. He travelled about a long time in search of it

and came at last to a dark forest, through which he went on walking for

fourteen days and still could not find a way out. Once more the night

came on, and worn out he lay down under a bush and fell asleep. Again

the next day he pursued his way through the forest, and that evening,

thinking to rest again, he lay down as before, but he heard such a

howling and wailing that he found it impossible to sleep. He waited till

it was darker and people had begun to light up their houses, and then

seeing a little glimmer ahead of him, he went towards it.

 

He found that the light came from a house which looked smaller than

it really was, from the contrast of its height with that of an immense

giant who stood in front of it. He thought to himself, 'If the giant

sees me going in, my life will not be worth much.' However, after a

while he summoned up courage and went forward. When the giant saw him,

he called out, 'It is lucky for that you have come, for I have not had

anything to eat for a long time. I can have you now for my supper.' 'I

would rather you let that alone,' said the man, 'for I do not willingly

give myself up to be eaten; if you are wanting food I have enough to

satisfy your hunger.' 'If that is so,' replied the giant, 'I will leave

you in peace; I only thought of eating you because I had nothing else.'

 

So they went indoors together and sat down, and the man brought out the

bread, meat, and wine, which although he had eaten and drunk of them,

were still unconsumed. The giant was pleased with the good cheer, and

ate and drank to his heart's content. When he had finished his supper

the man asked him if he could direct him to the castle of Stromberg.

The giant said, 'I will look on my map; on it are marked all the towns,

villages, and houses.' So he fetched his map, and looked for the castle,

but could not find it. 'Never mind,' he said, 'I have larger maps

upstairs in the cupboard, we will look on those,' but they searched in

vain, for the castle was not marked even on these. The man now thought

he should like to continue his journey, but the giant begged him to

remain for a day or two longer until the return of his brother, who was

away in search of provisions. When the brother came home, they asked him

about the castle of Stromberg, and he told them he would look on his own

maps as soon as he had eaten and appeased his hunger. Accordingly, when

he had finished his supper, they all went up together to his room and

looked through his maps, but the castle was not to be found. Then he

fetched other older maps, and they went on looking for the castle until

at last they found it, but it was many thousand miles away. 'How shall I

be able to get there?' asked the man. 'I have two hours to spare,' said

the giant, 'and I will carry you into the neighbourhood of the castle; I

must then return to look after the child who is in our care.'

 

The giant, thereupon, carried the man to within about a hundred leagues

of the castle, where he left him, saying, 'You will be able to walk the

remainder of the way yourself.' The man journeyed on day and night

till he reached the golden castle of Stromberg. He found it situated,

however, on a glass mountain, and looking up from the foot he saw the

enchanted maiden drive round her castle and then go inside. He was

overjoyed to see her, and longed to get to the top of the mountain, but

the sides were so slippery that every time he attempted to climb he

fell back again. When he saw that it was impossible to reach her, he was

greatly grieved, and said to himself, 'I will remain here and wait for

her,' so he built himself a little hut, and there he sat and watched for

a whole year, and every day he saw the king's daughter driving round her

castle, but still was unable to get nearer to her.

 

Looking out from his hut one day he saw three robbers fighting and he

called out to them, 'God be with you.' They stopped when they heard the

call, but looking round and seeing nobody, they went on again with their

fighting, which now became more furious. 'God be with you,' he cried

again, and again they paused and looked about, but seeing no one went

back to their fighting. A third time he called out, 'God be with you,'

and then thinking he should like to know the cause of dispute between

the three men, he went out and asked them why they were fighting so

angrily with one another. One of them said that he had found a stick,

and that he had but to strike it against any door through which he

wished to pass, and it immediately flew open. Another told him that he

had found a cloak which rendered its wearer invisible; and the third had

caught a horse which would carry its rider over any obstacle, and even

up the glass mountain. They had been unable to decide whether they

would keep together and have the things in common, or whether they would

separate. On hearing this, the man said, 'I will give you something in

exchange for those three things; not money, for that I have not got,

but something that is of far more value. I must first, however, prove

whether all you have told me about your three things is true.' The

robbers, therefore, made him get on the horse, and handed him the stick

and the cloak, and when he had put this round him he was no longer

visible. Then he fell upon them with the stick and beat them one after

another, crying, 'There, you idle vagabonds, you have got what you

deserve; are you satisfied now!'

 

After this he rode up the glass mountain. When he reached the gate of

the castle, he found it closed, but he gave it a blow with his stick,

and it flew wide open at once and he passed through. He mounted the

steps and entered the room where the maiden was sitting, with a golden

goblet full of wine in front of her. She could not see him for he still

wore his cloak. He took the ring which she had given him off his finger,

and threw it into the goblet, so that it rang as it touched the bottom.

'That is my own ring,' she exclaimed, 'and if that is so the man must

also be here who is coming to set me free.'

 

She sought for him about the castle, but could find him nowhere.

Meanwhile he had gone outside again and mounted his horse and thrown off

the cloak. When therefore she came to the castle gate she saw him, and

cried aloud for joy. Then he dismounted and took her in his arms; and

she kissed him, and said, 'Now you have indeed set me free, and tomorrow

we will celebrate our marriage.'

 

 

 

 

THE GOLDEN GOOSE

 

There was a man who had three sons, the youngest of whom was called

Dummling,[*] and was despised, mocked, and sneered at on every occasion.

 

It happened that the eldest wanted to go into the forest to hew wood,

and before he went his mother gave him a beautiful sweet cake and a

bottle of wine in order that he might not suffer from hunger or thirst.

 

When he entered the forest he met a little grey-haired old man who bade

him good day, and said: 'Do give me a piece of cake out of your pocket,

and let me have a draught of your wine; I am so hungry and thirsty.' But

the clever son answered: 'If I give you my cake and wine, I shall have

none for myself; be off with you,' and he left the little man standing

and went on.

 

But when he began to hew down a tree, it was not long before he made a

false stroke, and the axe cut him in the arm, so that he had to go home

and have it bound up. And this was the little grey man's doing.

 

After this the second son went into the forest, and his mother gave him,

like the eldest, a cake and a bottle of wine. The little old grey man

met him likewise, and asked him for a piece of cake and a drink of wine.

But the second son, too, said sensibly enough: 'What I give you will be

taken away from myself; be off!' and he left the little man standing and

went on. His punishment, however, was not delayed; when he had made a

few blows at the tree he struck himself in the leg, so that he had to be

carried home.

 

Then Dummling said: 'Father, do let me go and cut wood.' The father

answered: 'Your brothers have hurt themselves with it, leave it alone,

you do not understand anything about it.' But Dummling begged so long

that at last he said: 'Just go then, you will get wiser by hurting

yourself.' His mother gave him a cake made with water and baked in the

cinders, and with it a bottle of sour beer.

 

When he came to the forest the little old grey man met him likewise,

and greeting him, said: 'Give me a piece of your cake and a drink out

of your bottle; I am so hungry and thirsty.' Dummling answered: 'I have

only cinder-cake and sour beer; if that pleases you, we will sit

down and eat.' So they sat down, and when Dummling pulled out his

cinder-cake, it was a fine sweet cake, and the sour beer had become good

wine. So they ate and drank, and after that the little man said: 'Since

you have a good heart, and are willing to divide what you have, I will

give you good luck. There stands an old tree, cut it down, and you will

find something at the roots.' Then the little man took leave of him.

 

Dummling went and cut down the tree, and when it fell there was a goose

sitting in the roots with feathers of pure gold. He lifted her up, and

taking her with him, went to an inn where he thought he would stay the

night. Now the host had three daughters, who saw the goose and were

curious to know what such a wonderful bird might be, and would have

liked to have one of its golden feathers.

 

The eldest thought: 'I shall soon find an opportunity of pulling out a

feather,' and as soon as Dummling had gone out she seized the goose by

the wing, but her finger and hand remained sticking fast to it.

 

The second came soon afterwards, thinking only of how she might get a

feather for herself, but she had scarcely touched her sister than she

was held fast.

 

At last the third also came with the like intent, and the others

screamed out: 'Keep away; for goodness' sake keep away!' But she did

not understand why she was to keep away. 'The others are there,' she

thought, 'I may as well be there too,' and ran to them; but as soon as

she had touched her sister, she remained sticking fast to her. So they

had to spend the night with the goose.

 

The next morning Dummling took the goose under his arm and set out,

without troubling himself about the three girls who were hanging on to

it. They were obliged to run after him continually, now left, now right,

wherever his legs took him.

 

In the middle of the fields the parson met them, and when he saw the

procession he said: 'For shame, you good-for-nothing girls, why are you

running across the fields after this young man? Is that seemly?' At the

same time he seized the youngest by the hand in order to pull her away,

but as soon as he touched her he likewise stuck fast, and was himself

obliged to run behind.

 

Before long the sexton came by and saw his master, the parson, running

behind three girls. He was astonished at this and called out: 'Hi!

your reverence, whither away so quickly? Do not forget that we have a

christening today!' and running after him he took him by the sleeve, but

was also held fast to it.

 

Whilst the five were trotting thus one behind the other, two labourers

came with their hoes from the fields; the parson called out to them

and begged that they would set him and the sexton free. But they had

scarcely touched the sexton when they were held fast, and now there were

seven of them running behind Dummling and the goose.

 

Soon afterwards he came to a city, where a king ruled who had a daughter

who was so serious that no one could make her laugh. So he had put forth

a decree that whosoever should be able to make her laugh should marry

her. When Dummling heard this, he went with his goose and all her train

before the king's daughter, and as soon as she saw the seven people

running on and on, one behind the other, she began to laugh quite

loudly, and as if she would never stop. Thereupon Dummling asked to have

her for his wife; but the king did not like the son-in-law, and made all

manner of excuses and said he must first produce a man who could drink

a cellarful of wine. Dummling thought of the little grey man, who could

certainly help him; so he went into the forest, and in the same place

where he had felled the tree, he saw a man sitting, who had a very

sorrowful face. Dummling asked him what he was taking to heart so

sorely, and he answered: 'I have such a great thirst and cannot quench

it; cold water I cannot stand, a barrel of wine I have just emptied, but

that to me is like a drop on a hot stone!'

 

'There, I can help you,' said Dummling, 'just come with me and you shall

be satisfied.'

 

He led him into the king's cellar, and the man bent over the huge

barrels, and drank and drank till his loins hurt, and before the day was

out he had emptied all the barrels. Then Dummling asked once more

for his bride, but the king was vexed that such an ugly fellow, whom

everyone called Dummling, should take away his daughter, and he made a

new condition; he must first find a man who could eat a whole mountain

of bread. Dummling did not think long, but went straight into the

forest, where in the same place there sat a man who was tying up his

body with a strap, and making an awful face, and saying: 'I have eaten a

whole ovenful of rolls, but what good is that when one has such a hunger

as I? My stomach remains empty, and I must tie myself up if I am not to

die of hunger.'

 

At this Dummling was glad, and said: 'Get up and come with me; you shall

eat yourself full.' He led him to the king's palace where all the

flour in the whole Kingdom was collected, and from it he caused a huge

mountain of bread to be baked. The man from the forest stood before it,

began to eat, and by the end of one day the whole mountain had vanished.

Then Dummling for the third time asked for his bride; but the king again

sought a way out, and ordered a ship which could sail on land and on

water. 'As soon as you come sailing back in it,' said he, 'you shall

have my daughter for wife.'

 

Dummling went straight into the forest, and there sat the little grey

man to whom he had given his cake. When he heard what Dummling wanted,

he said: 'Since you have given me to eat and to drink, I will give you

the ship; and I do all this because you once were kind to me.' Then he

gave him the ship which could sail on land and water, and when the king

saw that, he could no longer prevent him from having his daughter. The

wedding was celebrated, and after the king's death, Dummling inherited

his kingdom and lived for a long time contentedly with his wife.

 

     [*] Simpleton

 

 

 

 

THE WATER OF LIFE

 

Long before you or I were born, there reigned, in a country a great way

off, a king who had three sons. This king once fell very ill--so ill

that nobody thought he could live. His sons were very much grieved

at their father's sickness; and as they were walking together very

mournfully in the garden of the palace, a little old man met them and

asked what was the matter. They told him that their father was very ill,

and that they were afraid nothing could save him. 'I know what would,'

said the little old man; 'it is the Water of Life. If he could have a

draught of it he would be well again; but it is very hard to get.' Then

the eldest son said, 'I will soon find it': and he went to the sick

king, and begged that he might go in search of the Water of Life, as

it was the only thing that could save him. 'No,' said the king. 'I had

rather die than place you in such great danger as you must meet with in

your journey.' But he begged so hard that the king let him go; and the

prince thought to himself, 'If I bring my father this water, he will

make me sole heir to his kingdom.'

 

Then he set out: and when he had gone on his way some time he came to a

deep valley, overhung with rocks and woods; and as he looked around, he

saw standing above him on one of the rocks a little ugly dwarf, with a

sugarloaf cap and a scarlet cloak; and the dwarf called to him and said,

'Prince, whither so fast?' 'What is that to thee, you ugly imp?' said

the prince haughtily, and rode on.

 

But the dwarf was enraged at his behaviour, and laid a fairy spell

of ill-luck upon him; so that as he rode on the mountain pass became

narrower and narrower, and at last the way was so straitened that he

could not go to step forward: and when he thought to have turned his

horse round and go back the way he came, he heard a loud laugh ringing

round him, and found that the path was closed behind him, so that he was

shut in all round. He next tried to get off his horse and make his way

on foot, but again the laugh rang in his ears, and he found himself

unable to move a step, and thus he was forced to abide spellbound.

 

Meantime the old king was lingering on in daily hope of his son's

return, till at last the second son said, 'Father, I will go in search

of the Water of Life.' For he thought to himself, 'My brother is surely

dead, and the kingdom will fall to me if I find the water.' The king was

at first very unwilling to let him go, but at last yielded to his wish.

So he set out and followed the same road which his brother had done,

and met with the same elf, who stopped him at the same spot in the

mountains, saying, as before, 'Prince, prince, whither so fast?' 'Mind

your own affairs, busybody!' said the prince scornfully, and rode on.

 

But the dwarf put the same spell upon him as he put on his elder

brother, and he, too, was at last obliged to take up his abode in the

heart of the mountains. Thus it is with proud silly people, who think

themselves above everyone else, and are too proud to ask or take advice.

 

When the second prince had thus been gone a long time, the youngest son

said he would go and search for the Water of Life, and trusted he should

soon be able to make his father well again. So he set out, and the dwarf

met him too at the same spot in the valley, among the mountains, and

said, 'Prince, whither so fast?' And the prince said, 'I am going in

search of the Water of Life, because my father is ill, and like to die:

can you help me? Pray be kind, and aid me if you can!' 'Do you know

where it is to be found?' asked the dwarf. 'No,' said the prince, 'I do

not. Pray tell me if you know.' 'Then as you have spoken to me kindly,

and are wise enough to seek for advice, I will tell you how and where to

go. The water you seek springs from a well in an enchanted castle; and,

that you may be able to reach it in safety, I will give you an iron wand

and two little loaves of bread; strike the iron door of the castle three

times with the wand, and it will open: two hungry lions will be lying

down inside gaping for their prey, but if you throw them the bread they

will let you pass; then hasten on to the well, and take some of the

Water of Life before the clock strikes twelve; for if you tarry longer

the door will shut upon you for ever.'

 

Then the prince thanked his little friend with the scarlet cloak for his

friendly aid, and took the wand and the bread, and went travelling on

and on, over sea and over land, till he came to his journey's end, and

found everything to be as the dwarf had told him. The door flew open at

the third stroke of the wand, and when the lions were quieted he went on

through the castle and came at length to a beautiful hall. Around it he

saw several knights sitting in a trance; then he pulled off their rings

and put them on his own fingers. In another room he saw on a table a

sword and a loaf of bread, which he also took. Further on he came to a

room where a beautiful young lady sat upon a couch; and she welcomed him

joyfully, and said, if he would set her free from the spell that bound

her, the kingdom should be his, if he would come back in a year and

marry her. Then she told him that the well that held the Water of Life

was in the palace gardens; and bade him make haste, and draw what he

wanted before the clock struck twelve.

 

He walked on; and as he walked through beautiful gardens he came to a

delightful shady spot in which stood a couch; and he thought to himself,

as he felt tired, that he would rest himself for a while, and gaze on

the lovely scenes around him. So he laid himself down, and sleep

fell upon him unawares, so that he did not wake up till the clock was

striking a quarter to twelve. Then he sprang from the couch dreadfully

frightened, ran to the well, filled a cup that was standing by him full

of water, and hastened to get away in time. Just as he was going out of

the iron door it struck twelve, and the door fell so quickly upon him

that it snapped off a piece of his heel.

 

When he found himself safe, he was overjoyed to think that he had got

the Water of Life; and as he was going on his way homewards, he passed

by the little dwarf, who, when he saw the sword and the loaf, said, 'You

have made a noble prize; with the sword you can at a blow slay whole

armies, and the bread will never fail you.' Then the prince thought

to himself, 'I cannot go home to my father without my brothers'; so he

said, 'My dear friend, cannot you tell me where my two brothers are, who

set out in search of the Water of Life before me, and never came back?'

'I have shut them up by a charm between two mountains,' said the dwarf,

'because they were proud and ill-behaved, and scorned to ask advice.'

The prince begged so hard for his brothers, that the dwarf at last set

them free, though unwillingly, saying, 'Beware of them, for they have

bad hearts.' Their brother, however, was greatly rejoiced to see them,

and told them all that had happened to him; how he had found the Water

of Life, and had taken a cup full of it; and how he had set a beautiful

princess free from a spell that bound her; and how she had engaged to

wait a whole year, and then to marry him, and to give him the kingdom.

 

Then they all three rode on together, and on their way home came to a

country that was laid waste by war and a dreadful famine, so that it was

feared all must die for want. But the prince gave the king of the land

the bread, and all his kingdom ate of it. And he lent the king the

wonderful sword, and he slew the enemy's army with it; and thus the

kingdom was once more in peace and plenty. In the same manner he

befriended two other countries through which they passed on their way.

 

When they came to the sea, they got into a ship and during their voyage

the two eldest said to themselves, 'Our brother has got the water which

we could not find, therefore our father will forsake us and give him the

kingdom, which is our right'; so they were full of envy and revenge, and

agreed together how they could ruin him. Then they waited till he was

fast asleep, and poured the Water of Life out of the cup, and took it

for themselves, giving him bitter sea-water instead.

 

When they came to their journey's end, the youngest son brought his cup

to the sick king, that he might drink and be healed. Scarcely, however,

had he tasted the bitter sea-water when he became worse even than he was

before; and then both the elder sons came in, and blamed the youngest

for what they had done; and said that he wanted to poison their father,

but that they had found the Water of Life, and had brought it with them.

He no sooner began to drink of what they brought him, than he felt his

sickness leave him, and was as strong and well as in his younger days.

Then they went to their brother, and laughed at him, and said, 'Well,

brother, you found the Water of Life, did you? You have had the trouble

and we shall have the reward. Pray, with all your cleverness, why did

not you manage to keep your eyes open? Next year one of us will take

away your beautiful princess, if you do not take care. You had better

say nothing about this to our father, for he does not believe a word you

say; and if you tell tales, you shall lose your life into the bargain:

but be quiet, and we will let you off.'

 

The old king was still very angry with his youngest son, and thought

that he really meant to have taken away his life; so he called his court

together, and asked what should be done, and all agreed that he ought to

be put to death. The prince knew nothing of what was going on, till one

day, when the king's chief huntsmen went a-hunting with him, and they

were alone in the wood together, the huntsman looked so sorrowful that

the prince said, 'My friend, what is the matter with you?' 'I cannot and

dare not tell you,' said he. But the prince begged very hard, and said,

'Only tell me what it is, and do not think I shall be angry, for I will

forgive you.' 'Alas!' said the huntsman; 'the king has ordered me to

shoot you.' The prince started at this, and said, 'Let me live, and I

will change dresses with you; you shall take my royal coat to show to my

father, and do you give me your shabby one.' 'With all my heart,' said

the huntsman; 'I am sure I shall be glad to save you, for I could not

have shot you.' Then he took the prince's coat, and gave him the shabby

one, and went away through the wood.

 

Some time after, three grand embassies came to the old king's court,

with rich gifts of gold and precious stones for his youngest son; now

all these were sent from the three kings to whom he had lent his sword

and loaf of bread, in order to rid them of their enemy and feed their

people. This touched the old king's heart, and he thought his son might

still be guiltless, and said to his court, 'O that my son were still

alive! how it grieves me that I had him killed!' 'He is still alive,'

said the huntsman; 'and I am glad that I had pity on him, but let him

go in peace, and brought home his royal coat.' At this the king was

overwhelmed with joy, and made it known thoughout all his kingdom, that

if his son would come back to his court he would forgive him.

 

Meanwhile the princess was eagerly waiting till her deliverer should

come back; and had a road made leading up to her palace all of shining

gold; and told her courtiers that whoever came on horseback, and rode

straight up to the gate upon it, was her true lover; and that they must

let him in: but whoever rode on one side of it, they must be sure was

not the right one; and that they must send him away at once.

 

The time soon came, when the eldest brother thought that he would make

haste to go to the princess, and say that he was the one who had set

her free, and that he should have her for his wife, and the kingdom with

her. As he came before the palace and saw the golden road, he stopped to

look at it, and he thought to himself, 'It is a pity to ride upon this

beautiful road'; so he turned aside and rode on the right-hand side of

it. But when he came to the gate, the guards, who had seen the road

he took, said to him, he could not be what he said he was, and must go

about his business.

 

The second prince set out soon afterwards on the same errand; and when

he came to the golden road, and his horse had set one foot upon it,

he stopped to look at it, and thought it very beautiful, and said to

himself, 'What a pity it is that anything should tread here!' Then he

too turned aside and rode on the left side of it. But when he came to

the gate the guards said he was not the true prince, and that he too

must go away about his business; and away he went.

 

Now when the full year was come round, the third brother left the forest

in which he had lain hid for fear of his father's anger, and set out in

search of his betrothed bride. So he journeyed on, thinking of her all

the way, and rode so quickly that he did not even see what the road was

made of, but went with his horse straight over it; and as he came to the

gate it flew open, and the princess welcomed him with joy, and said

he was her deliverer, and should now be her husband and lord of the

kingdom. When the first joy at their meeting was over, the princess told

him she had heard of his father having forgiven him, and of his wish to

have him home again: so, before his wedding with the princess, he went

to visit his father, taking her with him. Then he told him everything;

how his brothers had cheated and robbed him, and yet that he had borne

all those wrongs for the love of his father. And the old king was very

angry, and wanted to punish his wicked sons; but they made their escape,

and got into a ship and sailed away over the wide sea, and where they

went to nobody knew and nobody cared.

 

And now the old king gathered together his court, and asked all his

kingdom to come and celebrate the wedding of his son and the princess.

And young and old, noble and squire, gentle and simple, came at once

on the summons; and among the rest came the friendly dwarf, with the

sugarloaf hat, and a new scarlet cloak.

 

And the wedding was held, and the merry bells run.

And all the good people they danced and they sung,

And feasted and frolick'd I can't tell how long.

 

 

 

 

THE TWELVE HUNTSMEN

 

There was once a king's son who had a bride whom he loved very much. And

when he was sitting beside her and very happy, news came that his father

lay sick unto death, and desired to see him once again before his end.

Then he said to his beloved: 'I must now go and leave you, I give you

a ring as a remembrance of me. When I am king, I will return and fetch

you.' So he rode away, and when he reached his father, the latter was

dangerously ill, and near his death. He said to him: 'Dear son, I wished

to see you once again before my end, promise me to marry as I wish,' and

he named a certain king's daughter who was to be his wife. The son was

in such trouble that he did not think what he was doing, and said: 'Yes,

dear father, your will shall be done,' and thereupon the king shut his

eyes, and died.

 

When therefore the son had been proclaimed king, and the time of

mourning was over, he was forced to keep the promise which he had given

his father, and caused the king's daughter to be asked in marriage, and

she was promised to him. His first betrothed heard of this, and fretted

so much about his faithfulness that she nearly died. Then her father

said to her: 'Dearest child, why are you so sad? You shall have

whatsoever you will.' She thought for a moment and said: 'Dear father,

I wish for eleven girls exactly like myself in face, figure, and size.'

The father said: 'If it be possible, your desire shall be fulfilled,'

and he caused a search to be made in his whole kingdom, until eleven

young maidens were found who exactly resembled his daughter in face,

figure, and size.

 

When they came to the king's daughter, she had twelve suits of

huntsmen's clothes made, all alike, and the eleven maidens had to put

on the huntsmen's clothes, and she herself put on the twelfth suit.

Thereupon she took her leave of her father, and rode away with them,

and rode to the court of her former betrothed, whom she loved so dearly.

Then she asked if he required any huntsmen, and if he would take all of

them into his service. The king looked at her and did not know her, but

as they were such handsome fellows, he said: 'Yes,' and that he would

willingly take them, and now they were the king's twelve huntsmen.

 

The king, however, had a lion which was a wondrous animal, for he knew

all concealed and secret things. It came to pass that one evening he

said to the king: 'You think you have twelve huntsmen?' 'Yes,' said the

king, 'they are twelve huntsmen.' The lion continued: 'You are mistaken,

they are twelve girls.' The king said: 'That cannot be true! How

will you prove that to me?' 'Oh, just let some peas be strewn in the

ante-chamber,' answered the lion, 'and then you will soon see. Men have

a firm step, and when they walk over peas none of them stir, but girls

trip and skip, and drag their feet, and the peas roll about.' The king

was well pleased with the counsel, and caused the peas to be strewn.

 

There was, however, a servant of the king's who favoured the huntsmen,

and when he heard that they were going to be put to this test he went to

them and repeated everything, and said: 'The lion wants to make the king

believe that you are girls.' Then the king's daughter thanked him, and

said to her maidens: 'Show some strength, and step firmly on the peas.'

So next morning when the king had the twelve huntsmen called before

him, and they came into the ante-chamber where the peas were lying, they

stepped so firmly on them, and had such a strong, sure walk, that not

one of the peas either rolled or stirred. Then they went away again,

and the king said to the lion: 'You have lied to me, they walk just like

men.' The lion said: 'They have been informed that they were going to

be put to the test, and have assumed some strength. Just let twelve

spinning-wheels be brought into the ante-chamber, and they will go to

them and be pleased with them, and that is what no man would do.'

The king liked the advice, and had the spinning-wheels placed in the

ante-chamber.

 

But the servant, who was well disposed to the huntsmen, went to them,

and disclosed the project. So when they were alone the king's daughter

said to her eleven girls: 'Show some constraint, and do not look round

at the spinning-wheels.' And next morning when the king had his twelve

huntsmen summoned, they went through the ante-chamber, and never once

looked at the spinning-wheels. Then the king again said to the lion:

'You have deceived me, they are men, for they have not looked at the

spinning-wheels.' The lion replied: 'They have restrained themselves.'

The king, however, would no longer believe the lion.

 

The twelve huntsmen always followed the king to the chase, and his

liking for them continually increased. Now it came to pass that

once when they were out hunting, news came that the king's bride was

approaching. When the true bride heard that, it hurt her so much that

her heart was almost broken, and she fell fainting to the ground. The

king thought something had happened to his dear huntsman, ran up to him,

wanted to help him, and drew his glove off. Then he saw the ring which

he had given to his first bride, and when he looked in her face he

recognized her. Then his heart was so touched that he kissed her, and

when she opened her eyes he said: 'You are mine, and I am yours, and

no one in the world can alter that.' He sent a messenger to the other

bride, and entreated her to return to her own kingdom, for he had a wife

already, and someone who had just found an old key did not require a new

one. Thereupon the wedding was celebrated, and the lion was again taken

into favour, because, after all, he had told the truth.

 

 

 

 

THE KING OF THE GOLDEN MOUNTAIN

 

There was once a merchant who had only one child, a son, that was very

young, and barely able to run alone. He had two richly laden ships then

making a voyage upon the seas, in which he had embarked all his wealth,

in the hope of making great gains, when the news came that both were

lost. Thus from being a rich man he became all at once so very poor that

nothing was left to him but one small plot of land; and there he often

went in an evening to take his walk, and ease his mind of a little of

his trouble.

 

One day, as he was roaming along in a brown study, thinking with no

great comfort on what he had been and what he now was, and was like

to be, all on a sudden there stood before him a little, rough-looking,

black dwarf. 'Prithee, friend, why so sorrowful?' said he to the

merchant; 'what is it you take so deeply to heart?' 'If you would do me

any good I would willingly tell you,' said the merchant. 'Who knows but

I may?' said the little man: 'tell me what ails you, and perhaps you

will find I may be of some use.' Then the merchant told him how all his

wealth was gone to the bottom of the sea, and how he had nothing left

but that little plot of land. 'Oh, trouble not yourself about that,'

said the dwarf; 'only undertake to bring me here, twelve years hence,

whatever meets you first on your going home, and I will give you as much

as you please.' The merchant thought this was no great thing to ask;

that it would most likely be his dog or his cat, or something of that

sort, but forgot his little boy Heinel; so he agreed to the bargain, and

signed and sealed the bond to do what was asked of him.

 

But as he drew near home, his little boy was so glad to see him that he

crept behind him, and laid fast hold of his legs, and looked up in

his face and laughed. Then the father started, trembling with fear and

horror, and saw what it was that he had bound himself to do; but as no

gold was come, he made himself easy by thinking that it was only a joke

that the dwarf was playing him, and that, at any rate, when the money

came, he should see the bearer, and would not take it in.

 

About a month afterwards he went upstairs into a lumber-room to look

for some old iron, that he might sell it and raise a little money; and

there, instead of his iron, he saw a large pile of gold lying on the

floor. At the sight of this he was overjoyed, and forgetting all about

his son, went into trade again, and became a richer merchant than

before.

 

Meantime little Heinel grew up, and as the end of the twelve years drew

near the merchant began to call to mind his bond, and became very sad

and thoughtful; so that care and sorrow were written upon his face. The

boy one day asked what was the matter, but his father would not tell for

some time; at last, however, he said that he had, without knowing it,

sold him for gold to a little, ugly-looking, black dwarf, and that the

twelve years were coming round when he must keep his word. Then Heinel

said, 'Father, give yourself very little trouble about that; I shall be

too much for the little man.'

 

When the time came, the father and son went out together to the place

agreed upon: and the son drew a circle on the ground, and set himself

and his father in the middle of it. The little black dwarf soon came,

and walked round and round about the circle, but could not find any way

to get into it, and he either could not, or dared not, jump over it. At

last the boy said to him. 'Have you anything to say to us, my friend, or

what do you want?' Now Heinel had found a friend in a good fairy, that

was fond of him, and had told him what to do; for this fairy knew what

good luck was in store for him. 'Have you brought me what you said you

would?' said the dwarf to the merchant. The old man held his tongue, but

Heinel said again, 'What do you want here?' The dwarf said, 'I come to

talk with your father, not with you.' 'You have cheated and taken in my

father,' said the son; 'pray give him up his bond at once.' 'Fair and

softly,' said the little old man; 'right is right; I have paid my money,

and your father has had it, and spent it; so be so good as to let me

have what I paid it for.' 'You must have my consent to that first,' said

Heinel, 'so please to step in here, and let us talk it over.' The old

man grinned, and showed his teeth, as if he should have been very glad

to get into the circle if he could. Then at last, after a long talk,

they came to terms. Heinel agreed that his father must give him up, and

that so far the dwarf should have his way: but, on the other hand, the

fairy had told Heinel what fortune was in store for him, if he followed

his own course; and he did not choose to be given up to his hump-backed

friend, who seemed so anxious for his company.

 

So, to make a sort of drawn battle of the matter, it was settled that

Heinel should be put into an open boat, that lay on the sea-shore hard

by; that the father should push him off with his own hand, and that he

should thus be set adrift, and left to the bad or good luck of wind and

weather. Then he took leave of his father, and set himself in the boat,

but before it got far off a wave struck it, and it fell with one side

low in the water, so the merchant thought that poor Heinel was lost, and

went home very sorrowful, while the dwarf went his way, thinking that at

any rate he had had his revenge.

 

The boat, however, did not sink, for the good fairy took care of her

friend, and soon raised the boat up again, and it went safely on. The

young man sat safe within, till at length it ran ashore upon an unknown

land. As he jumped upon the shore he saw before him a beautiful castle

but empty and dreary within, for it was enchanted. 'Here,' said he to

himself, 'must I find the prize the good fairy told me of.' So he once

more searched the whole palace through, till at last he found a white

snake, lying coiled up on a cushion in one of the chambers.

 

Now the white snake was an enchanted princess; and she was very glad

to see him, and said, 'Are you at last come to set me free? Twelve

long years have I waited here for the fairy to bring you hither as she

promised, for you alone can save me. This night twelve men will come:

their faces will be black, and they will be dressed in chain armour.

They will ask what you do here, but give no answer; and let them do

what they will--beat, whip, pinch, prick, or torment you--bear all; only

speak not a word, and at twelve o'clock they must go away. The second

night twelve others will come: and the third night twenty-four, who

will even cut off your head; but at the twelfth hour of that night their

power is gone, and I shall be free, and will come and bring you the

Water of Life, and will wash you with it, and bring you back to life

and health.' And all came to pass as she had said; Heinel bore all, and

spoke not a word; and the third night the princess came, and fell on his

neck and kissed him. Joy and gladness burst forth throughout the castle,

the wedding was celebrated, and he was crowned king of the Golden

Mountain.

 

They lived together very happily, and the queen had a son. And thus

eight years had passed over their heads, when the king thought of his

father; and he began to long to see him once again. But the queen was

against his going, and said, 'I know well that misfortunes will come

upon us if you go.' However, he gave her no rest till she agreed. At his

going away she gave him a wishing-ring, and said, 'Take this ring, and

put it on your finger; whatever you wish it will bring you; only promise

never to make use of it to bring me hence to your father's house.' Then

he said he would do what she asked, and put the ring on his finger, and

wished himself near the town where his father lived.

 

Heinel found himself at the gates in a moment; but the guards would

not let him go in, because he was so strangely clad. So he went up to a

neighbouring hill, where a shepherd dwelt, and borrowed his old frock,

and thus passed unknown into the town. When he came to his father's

house, he said he was his son; but the merchant would not believe him,

and said he had had but one son, his poor Heinel, who he knew was long

since dead: and as he was only dressed like a poor shepherd, he would

not even give him anything to eat. The king, however, still vowed that

he was his son, and said, 'Is there no mark by which you would know me

if I am really your son?' 'Yes,' said his mother, 'our Heinel had a mark

like a raspberry on his right arm.' Then he showed them the mark, and

they knew that what he had said was true.

 

He next told them how he was king of the Golden Mountain, and was

married to a princess, and had a son seven years old. But the merchant

said, 'that can never be true; he must be a fine king truly who travels

about in a shepherd's frock!' At this the son was vexed; and forgetting

his word, turned his ring, and wished for his queen and son. In an

instant they stood before him; but the queen wept, and said he had

broken his word, and bad luck would follow. He did all he could to

soothe her, and she at last seemed to be appeased; but she was not so in

truth, and was only thinking how she should punish him.

 

One day he took her to walk with him out of the town, and showed her

the spot where the boat was set adrift upon the wide waters. Then he sat

himself down, and said, 'I am very much tired; sit by me, I will rest my

head in your lap, and sleep a while.' As soon as he had fallen asleep,

however, she drew the ring from his finger, and crept softly away, and

wished herself and her son at home in their kingdom. And when he awoke

he found himself alone, and saw that the ring was gone from his finger.

'I can never go back to my father's house,' said he; 'they would say I

am a sorcerer: I will journey forth into the world, till I come again to

my kingdom.'

 

So saying he set out and travelled till he came to a hill, where three

giants were sharing their father's goods; and as they saw him pass they

cried out and said, 'Little men have sharp wits; he shall part the goods

between us.' Now there was a sword that cut off an enemy's head whenever

the wearer gave the words, 'Heads off!'; a cloak that made the owner

invisible, or gave him any form he pleased; and a pair of boots that

carried the wearer wherever he wished. Heinel said they must first let

him try these wonderful things, then he might know how to set a value

upon them. Then they gave him the cloak, and he wished himself a fly,

and in a moment he was a fly. 'The cloak is very well,' said he: 'now

give me the sword.' 'No,' said they; 'not unless you undertake not to

say, "Heads off!" for if you do we are all dead men.' So they gave it

him, charging him to try it on a tree. He next asked for the boots also;

and the moment he had all three in his power, he wished himself at

the Golden Mountain; and there he was at once. So the giants were left

behind with no goods to share or quarrel about.

 

As Heinel came near his castle he heard the sound of merry music; and

the people around told him that his queen was about to marry another

husband. Then he threw his cloak around him, and passed through the

castle hall, and placed himself by the side of the queen, where no one

saw him. But when anything to eat was put upon her plate, he took it

away and ate it himself; and when a glass of wine was handed to her, he

took it and drank it; and thus, though they kept on giving her meat and

drink, her plate and cup were always empty.

 

Upon this, fear and remorse came over her, and she went into her chamber

alone, and sat there weeping; and he followed her there. 'Alas!' said

she to herself, 'was I not once set free? Why then does this enchantment

still seem to bind me?'

 

'False and fickle one!' said he. 'One indeed came who set thee free, and

he is now near thee again; but how have you used him? Ought he to

have had such treatment from thee?' Then he went out and sent away the

company, and said the wedding was at an end, for that he was come back

to the kingdom. But the princes, peers, and great men mocked at him.

However, he would enter into no parley with them, but only asked them

if they would go in peace or not. Then they turned upon him and tried

to seize him; but he drew his sword. 'Heads Off!' cried he; and with the

word the traitors' heads fell before him, and Heinel was once more king

of the Golden Mountain.

 

 

 

 

DOCTOR KNOWALL

 

There was once upon a time a poor peasant called Crabb, who drove with

two oxen a load of wood to the town, and sold it to a doctor for two

talers. When the money was being counted out to him, it so happened that

the doctor was sitting at table, and when the peasant saw how well he

ate and drank, his heart desired what he saw, and would willingly

have been a doctor too. So he remained standing a while, and at length

inquired if he too could not be a doctor. 'Oh, yes,' said the doctor,

'that is soon managed.' 'What must I do?' asked the peasant. 'In the

first place buy yourself an A B C book of the kind which has a cock on

the frontispiece; in the second, turn your cart and your two oxen into

money, and get yourself some clothes, and whatsoever else pertains to

medicine; thirdly, have a sign painted for yourself with the words: "I

am Doctor Knowall," and have that nailed up above your house-door.' The

peasant did everything that he had been told to do. When he had doctored

people awhile, but not long, a rich and great lord had some money

stolen. Then he was told about Doctor Knowall who lived in such and such

a village, and must know what had become of the money. So the lord had

the horses harnessed to his carriage, drove out to the village, and

asked Crabb if he were Doctor Knowall. Yes, he was, he said. Then he was

to go with him and bring back the stolen money. 'Oh, yes, but Grete, my

wife, must go too.' The lord was willing, and let both of them have a

seat in the carriage, and they all drove away together. When they came

to the nobleman's castle, the table was spread, and Crabb was told to

sit down and eat. 'Yes, but my wife, Grete, too,' said he, and he seated

himself with her at the table. And when the first servant came with a

dish of delicate fare, the peasant nudged his wife, and said: 'Grete,

that was the first,' meaning that was the servant who brought the first

dish. The servant, however, thought he intended by that to say: 'That is

the first thief,' and as he actually was so, he was terrified, and said

to his comrade outside: 'The doctor knows all: we shall fare ill, he

said I was the first.' The second did not want to go in at all, but was

forced. So when he went in with his dish, the peasant nudged his wife,

and said: 'Grete, that is the second.' This servant was equally alarmed,

and he got out as fast as he could. The third fared no better, for the

peasant again said: 'Grete, that is the third.' The fourth had to carry

in a dish that was covered, and the lord told the doctor that he was to

show his skill, and guess what was beneath the cover. Actually, there

were crabs. The doctor looked at the dish, had no idea what to say, and

cried: 'Ah, poor Crabb.' When the lord heard that, he cried: 'There! he

knows it; he must also know who has the money!'

 

On this the servants looked terribly uneasy, and made a sign to the

doctor that they wished him to step outside for a moment. When therefore

he went out, all four of them confessed to him that they had stolen

the money, and said that they would willingly restore it and give him a

heavy sum into the bargain, if he would not denounce them, for if he

did they would be hanged. They led him to the spot where the money was

concealed. With this the doctor was satisfied, and returned to the hall,

sat down to the table, and said: 'My lord, now will I search in my book

where the gold is hidden.' The fifth servant, however, crept into the

stove to hear if the doctor knew still more. But the doctor sat still

and opened his A B C book, turned the pages backwards and forwards, and

looked for the cock. As he could not find it immediately he said: 'I

know you are there, so you had better come out!' Then the fellow in the

stove thought that the doctor meant him, and full of terror, sprang out,

crying: 'That man knows everything!' Then Doctor Knowall showed the lord

where the money was, but did not say who had stolen it, and received

from both sides much money in reward, and became a renowned man.

 

 

 

 

THE SEVEN RAVENS

 

There was once a man who had seven sons, and last of all one daughter.

Although the little girl was very pretty, she was so weak and small that

they thought she could not live; but they said she should at once be

christened.

 

So the father sent one of his sons in haste to the spring to get some

water, but the other six ran with him. Each wanted to be first at

drawing the water, and so they were in such a hurry that all let their

pitchers fall into the well, and they stood very foolishly looking at

one another, and did not know what to do, for none dared go home. In the

meantime the father was uneasy, and could not tell what made the

young men stay so long. 'Surely,' said he, 'the whole seven must have

forgotten themselves over some game of play'; and when he had waited

still longer and they yet did not come, he flew into a rage and wished

them all turned into ravens. Scarcely had he spoken these words when he

heard a croaking over his head, and looked up and saw seven ravens as

black as coal flying round and round. Sorry as he was to see his wish

so fulfilled, he did not know how what was done could be undone, and

comforted himself as well as he could for the loss of his seven sons

with his dear little daughter, who soon became stronger and every day

more beautiful.

 

For a long time she did not know that she had ever had any brothers; for

her father and mother took care not to speak of them before her: but one

day by chance she heard the people about her speak of them. 'Yes,' said

they, 'she is beautiful indeed, but still 'tis a pity that her brothers

should have been lost for her sake.' Then she was much grieved, and went

to her father and mother, and asked if she had any brothers, and what

had become of them. So they dared no longer hide the truth from her, but

said it was the will of Heaven, and that her birth was only the innocent

cause of it; but the little girl mourned sadly about it every day, and

thought herself bound to do all she could to bring her brothers back;

and she had neither rest nor ease, till at length one day she stole

away, and set out into the wide world to find her brothers, wherever

they might be, and free them, whatever it might cost her.

 

She took nothing with her but a little ring which her father and mother

had given her, a loaf of bread in case she should be hungry, a little

pitcher of water in case she should be thirsty, and a little stool

to rest upon when she should be weary. Thus she went on and on, and

journeyed till she came to the world's end; then she came to the sun,

but the sun looked much too hot and fiery; so she ran away quickly to

the moon, but the moon was cold and chilly, and said, 'I smell flesh

and blood this way!' so she took herself away in a hurry and came to the

stars, and the stars were friendly and kind to her, and each star sat

upon his own little stool; but the morning star rose up and gave her a

little piece of wood, and said, 'If you have not this little piece of

wood, you cannot unlock the castle that stands on the glass-mountain,

and there your brothers live.' The little girl took the piece of wood,

rolled it up in a little cloth, and went on again until she came to the

glass-mountain, and found the door shut. Then she felt for the little

piece of wood; but when she unwrapped the cloth it was not there, and

she saw she had lost the gift of the good stars. What was to be done?

She wanted to save her brothers, and had no key of the castle of the

glass-mountain; so this faithful little sister took a knife out of her

pocket and cut off her little finger, that was just the size of the

piece of wood she had lost, and put it in the door and opened it.

 

As she went in, a little dwarf came up to her, and said, 'What are you

seeking for?' 'I seek for my brothers, the seven ravens,' answered she.

Then the dwarf said, 'My masters are not at home; but if you will wait

till they come, pray step in.' Now the little dwarf was getting their

dinner ready, and he brought their food upon seven little plates, and

their drink in seven little glasses, and set them upon the table, and

out of each little plate their sister ate a small piece, and out of each

little glass she drank a small drop; but she let the ring that she had

brought with her fall into the last glass.

 

On a sudden she heard a fluttering and croaking in the air, and the

dwarf said, 'Here come my masters.' When they came in, they wanted to

eat and drink, and looked for their little plates and glasses. Then said

one after the other,

 

'Who has eaten from my little plate? And who has been drinking out of my

little glass?'

 

'Caw! Caw! well I ween

Mortal lips have this way been.'

 

When the seventh came to the bottom of his glass, and found there the

ring, he looked at it, and knew that it was his father's and mother's,

and said, 'O that our little sister would but come! then we should be

free.' When the little girl heard this (for she stood behind the door

all the time and listened), she ran forward, and in an instant all

the ravens took their right form again; and all hugged and kissed each

other, and went merrily home.

 

 

 

 

THE WEDDING OF MRS FOX

 

 

FIRST STORY

 

There was once upon a time an old fox with nine tails, who believed that

his wife was not faithful to him, and wished to put her to the test. He

stretched himself out under the bench, did not move a limb, and behaved

as if he were stone dead. Mrs Fox went up to her room, shut herself in,

and her maid, Miss Cat, sat by the fire, and did the cooking. When it

became known that the old fox was dead, suitors presented themselves.

The maid heard someone standing at the house-door, knocking. She went

and opened it, and it was a young fox, who said:

 

'What may you be about, Miss Cat?

Do you sleep or do you wake?'

 

She answered:

 

'I am not sleeping, I am waking,

Would you know what I am making?

I am boiling warm beer with butter,

Will you be my guest for supper?'

 

'No, thank you, miss,' said the fox, 'what is Mrs Fox doing?' The maid

replied:

 

'She is sitting in her room,

Moaning in her gloom,

Weeping her little eyes quite red,

Because old Mr Fox is dead.'

 

'Do just tell her, miss, that a young fox is here, who would like to woo

her.' 'Certainly, young sir.'

 

The cat goes up the stairs trip, trap,

The door she knocks at tap, tap, tap,

'Mistress Fox, are you inside?'

'Oh, yes, my little cat,' she cried.

'A wooer he stands at the door out there.'

'What does he look like, my dear?'

 

'Has he nine as beautiful tails as the late Mr Fox?' 'Oh, no,' answered

the cat, 'he has only one.' 'Then I will not have him.'

 

Miss Cat went downstairs and sent the wooer away. Soon afterwards there

was another knock, and another fox was at the door who wished to woo Mrs

Fox. He had two tails, but he did not fare better than the first. After

this still more came, each with one tail more than the other, but they

were all turned away, until at last one came who had nine tails, like

old Mr Fox. When the widow heard that, she said joyfully to the cat:

 

 'Now open the gates and doors all wide,

  And carry old Mr Fox outside.'

 

But just as the wedding was going to be solemnized, old Mr Fox stirred

under the bench, and cudgelled all the rabble, and drove them and Mrs

Fox out of the house.

 

 

SECOND STORY

 

When old Mr Fox was dead, the wolf came as a suitor, and knocked at the

door, and the cat who was servant to Mrs Fox, opened it for him. The

wolf greeted her, and said:

 

'Good day, Mrs Cat of Kehrewit,

How comes it that alone you sit?

What are you making good?'

 

The cat replied:

 

'In milk I'm breaking bread so sweet,

Will you be my guest, and eat?'

 

'No, thank you, Mrs Cat,' answered the wolf. 'Is Mrs Fox not at home?'

 

The cat said:

 

'She sits upstairs in her room,

Bewailing her sorrowful doom,

Bewailing her trouble so sore,

For old Mr Fox is no more.'

 

The wolf answered:

 

'If she's in want of a husband now,

Then will it please her to step below?'

The cat runs quickly up the stair,

And lets her tail fly here and there,

Until she comes to the parlour door.

With her five gold rings at the door she knocks:

'Are you within, good Mistress Fox?

If you're in want of a husband now,

Then will it please you to step below?

 

Mrs Fox asked: 'Has the gentleman red stockings on, and has he a pointed

mouth?' 'No,' answered the cat. 'Then he won't do for me.'

 

When the wolf was gone, came a dog, a stag, a hare, a bear, a lion, and

all the beasts of the forest, one after the other. But one of the good

qualities which old Mr Fox had possessed, was always lacking, and the

cat had continually to send the suitors away. At length came a young

fox. Then Mrs Fox said: 'Has the gentleman red stockings on, and has a

little pointed mouth?' 'Yes,' said the cat, 'he has.' 'Then let him come

upstairs,' said Mrs Fox, and ordered the servant to prepare the wedding

feast.

 

'Sweep me the room as clean as you can,

Up with the window, fling out my old man!

For many a fine fat mouse he brought,

Yet of his wife he never thought,

But ate up every one he caught.'

 

Then the wedding was solemnized with young Mr Fox, and there was much

rejoicing and dancing; and if they have not left off, they are dancing

still.

 

 

 

 

THE SALAD

 

As a merry young huntsman was once going briskly along through a wood,

there came up a little old woman, and said to him, 'Good day, good day;

you seem merry enough, but I am hungry and thirsty; do pray give me

something to eat.' The huntsman took pity on her, and put his hand in

his pocket and gave her what he had. Then he wanted to go his way; but

she took hold of him, and said, 'Listen, my friend, to what I am going

to tell you; I will reward you for your kindness; go your way, and after

a little time you will come to a tree where you will see nine birds

sitting on a cloak. Shoot into the midst of them, and one will fall down

dead: the cloak will fall too; take it, it is a wishing-cloak, and when

you wear it you will find yourself at any place where you may wish to

be. Cut open the dead bird, take out its heart and keep it, and you will

find a piece of gold under your pillow every morning when you rise. It

is the bird's heart that will bring you this good luck.'

 

The huntsman thanked her, and thought to himself, 'If all this does

happen, it will be a fine thing for me.' When he had gone a hundred

steps or so, he heard a screaming and chirping in the branches over him,

and looked up and saw a flock of birds pulling a cloak with their bills

and feet; screaming, fighting, and tugging at each other as if

each wished to have it himself. 'Well,' said the huntsman, 'this is

wonderful; this happens just as the old woman said'; then he shot into

the midst of them so that their feathers flew all about. Off went the

flock chattering away; but one fell down dead, and the cloak with it.

Then the huntsman did as the old woman told him, cut open the bird, took

out the heart, and carried the cloak home with him.

 

The next morning when he awoke he lifted up his pillow, and there lay

the piece of gold glittering underneath; the same happened next day, and

indeed every day when he arose. He heaped up a great deal of gold, and

at last thought to himself, 'Of what use is this gold to me whilst I am

at home? I will go out into the world and look about me.'

 

Then he took leave of his friends, and hung his bag and bow about his

neck, and went his way. It so happened that his road one day led through

a thick wood, at the end of which was a large castle in a green meadow,

and at one of the windows stood an old woman with a very beautiful young

lady by her side looking about them. Now the old woman was a witch, and

said to the young lady, 'There is a young man coming out of the wood who

carries a wonderful prize; we must get it away from him, my dear child,

for it is more fit for us than for him. He has a bird's heart that

brings a piece of gold under his pillow every morning.' Meantime the

huntsman came nearer and looked at the lady, and said to himself, 'I

have been travelling so long that I should like to go into this castle

and rest myself, for I have money enough to pay for anything I want';

but the real reason was, that he wanted to see more of the beautiful

lady. Then he went into the house, and was welcomed kindly; and it was

not long before he was so much in love that he thought of nothing else

but looking at the lady's eyes, and doing everything that she wished.

Then the old woman said, 'Now is the time for getting the bird's heart.'

So the lady stole it away, and he never found any more gold under his

pillow, for it lay now under the young lady's, and the old woman took it

away every morning; but he was so much in love that he never missed his

prize.

 

'Well,' said the old witch, 'we have got the bird's heart, but not the

wishing-cloak yet, and that we must also get.' 'Let us leave him that,'

said the young lady; 'he has already lost his wealth.' Then the witch

was very angry, and said, 'Such a cloak is a very rare and wonderful

thing, and I must and will have it.' So she did as the old woman told

her, and set herself at the window, and looked about the country and

seemed very sorrowful; then the huntsman said, 'What makes you so sad?'

'Alas! dear sir,' said she, 'yonder lies the granite rock where all the

costly diamonds grow, and I want so much to go there, that whenever I

think of it I cannot help being sorrowful, for who can reach it? only

the birds and the flies--man cannot.' 'If that's all your grief,' said

the huntsman, 'I'll take there with all my heart'; so he drew her under

his cloak, and the moment he wished to be on the granite mountain they

were both there. The diamonds glittered so on all sides that they were

delighted with the sight and picked up the finest. But the old witch

made a deep sleep come upon him, and he said to the young lady, 'Let us

sit down and rest ourselves a little, I am so tired that I cannot stand

any longer.' So they sat down, and he laid his head in her lap and

fell asleep; and whilst he was sleeping on she took the cloak from

his shoulders, hung it on her own, picked up the diamonds, and wished

herself home again.

 

When he awoke and found that his lady had tricked him, and left him

alone on the wild rock, he said, 'Alas! what roguery there is in the

world!' and there he sat in great grief and fear, not knowing what to

do. Now this rock belonged to fierce giants who lived upon it; and as

he saw three of them striding about, he thought to himself, 'I can only

save myself by feigning to be asleep'; so he laid himself down as if he

were in a sound sleep. When the giants came up to him, the first pushed

him with his foot, and said, 'What worm is this that lies here curled

up?' 'Tread upon him and kill him,' said the second. 'It's not worth the

trouble,' said the third; 'let him live, he'll go climbing higher up the

mountain, and some cloud will come rolling and carry him away.' And they

passed on. But the huntsman had heard all they said; and as soon as they

were gone, he climbed to the top of the mountain, and when he had sat

there a short time a cloud came rolling around him, and caught him in a

whirlwind and bore him along for some time, till it settled in a garden,

and he fell quite gently to the ground amongst the greens and cabbages.

 

Then he looked around him, and said, 'I wish I had something to eat, if

not I shall be worse off than before; for here I see neither apples

nor pears, nor any kind of fruits, nothing but vegetables.' At last he

thought to himself, 'I can eat salad, it will refresh and strengthen

me.' So he picked out a fine head and ate of it; but scarcely had he

swallowed two bites when he felt himself quite changed, and saw with

horror that he was turned into an ass. However, he still felt very

hungry, and the salad tasted very nice; so he ate on till he came

to another kind of salad, and scarcely had he tasted it when he felt

another change come over him, and soon saw that he was lucky enough to

have found his old shape again.

 

Then he laid himself down and slept off a little of his weariness; and

when he awoke the next morning he broke off a head both of the good and

the bad salad, and thought to himself, 'This will help me to my fortune

again, and enable me to pay off some folks for their treachery.' So he

went away to try and find the castle of his friends; and after wandering

about a few days he luckily found it. Then he stained his face all over

brown, so that even his mother would not have known him, and went into

the castle and asked for a lodging; 'I am so tired,' said he, 'that I

can go no farther.' 'Countryman,' said the witch, 'who are you? and what

is your business?' 'I am,' said he, 'a messenger sent by the king to

find the finest salad that grows under the sun. I have been lucky

enough to find it, and have brought it with me; but the heat of the sun

scorches so that it begins to wither, and I don't know that I can carry

it farther.'

 

When the witch and the young lady heard of his beautiful salad, they

longed to taste it, and said, 'Dear countryman, let us just taste it.'

'To be sure,' answered he; 'I have two heads of it with me, and will

give you one'; so he opened his bag and gave them the bad. Then the

witch herself took it into the kitchen to be dressed; and when it was

ready she could not wait till it was carried up, but took a few leaves

immediately and put them in her mouth, and scarcely were they swallowed

when she lost her own form and ran braying down into the court in the

form of an ass. Now the servant-maid came into the kitchen, and seeing

the salad ready, was going to carry it up; but on the way she too felt a

wish to taste it as the old woman had done, and ate some leaves; so she

also was turned into an ass and ran after the other, letting the dish

with the salad fall on the ground. The messenger sat all this time with

the beautiful young lady, and as nobody came with the salad and she

longed to taste it, she said, 'I don't know where the salad can be.'

Then he thought something must have happened, and said, 'I will go

into the kitchen and see.' And as he went he saw two asses in the court

running about, and the salad lying on the ground. 'All right!' said

he; 'those two have had their share.' Then he took up the rest of

the leaves, laid them on the dish and brought them to the young lady,

saying, 'I bring you the dish myself that you may not wait any longer.'

So she ate of it, and like the others ran off into the court braying

away.

 

Then the huntsman washed his face and went into the court that they

might know him. 'Now you shall be paid for your roguery,' said he; and

tied them all three to a rope and took them along with him till he

came to a mill and knocked at the window. 'What's the matter?' said the

miller. 'I have three tiresome beasts here,' said the other; 'if you

will take them, give them food and room, and treat them as I tell you,

I will pay you whatever you ask.' 'With all my heart,' said the miller;

'but how shall I treat them?' Then the huntsman said, 'Give the old

one stripes three times a day and hay once; give the next (who was

the servant-maid) stripes once a day and hay three times; and give

the youngest (who was the beautiful lady) hay three times a day and

no stripes': for he could not find it in his heart to have her beaten.

After this he went back to the castle, where he found everything he

wanted.

 

Some days after, the miller came to him and told him that the old ass

was dead; 'The other two,' said he, 'are alive and eat, but are so

sorrowful that they cannot last long.' Then the huntsman pitied them,

and told the miller to drive them back to him, and when they came, he

gave them some of the good salad to eat. And the beautiful young lady

fell upon her knees before him, and said, 'O dearest huntsman! forgive

me all the ill I have done you; my mother forced me to it, it was

against my will, for I always loved you very much. Your wishing-cloak

hangs up in the closet, and as for the bird's heart, I will give it you

too.' But he said, 'Keep it, it will be just the same thing, for I mean

to make you my wife.' So they were married, and lived together very

happily till they died.

 

 

 

 

THE STORY OF THE YOUTH WHO WENT FORTH TO LEARN WHAT FEAR WAS

 

A certain father had two sons, the elder of who was smart and sensible,

and could do everything, but the younger was stupid and could neither

learn nor understand anything, and when people saw him they said:

'There's a fellow who will give his father some trouble!' When anything

had to be done, it was always the elder who was forced to do it; but

if his father bade him fetch anything when it was late, or in the

night-time, and the way led through the churchyard, or any other dismal

place, he answered: 'Oh, no father, I'll not go there, it makes me

shudder!' for he was afraid. Or when stories were told by the fire at

night which made the flesh creep, the listeners sometimes said: 'Oh,

it makes us shudder!' The younger sat in a corner and listened with

the rest of them, and could not imagine what they could mean. 'They are

always saying: "It makes me shudder, it makes me shudder!" It does not

make me shudder,' thought he. 'That, too, must be an art of which I

understand nothing!'

 

Now it came to pass that his father said to him one day: 'Hearken to me,

you fellow in the corner there, you are growing tall and strong, and you

too must learn something by which you can earn your bread. Look how your

brother works, but you do not even earn your salt.' 'Well, father,' he

replied, 'I am quite willing to learn something--indeed, if it could but

be managed, I should like to learn how to shudder. I don't understand

that at all yet.' The elder brother smiled when he heard that, and

thought to himself: 'Goodness, what a blockhead that brother of mine is!

He will never be good for anything as long as he lives! He who wants to

be a sickle must bend himself betimes.'

 

The father sighed, and answered him: 'You shall soon learn what it is to

shudder, but you will not earn your bread by that.'

 

Soon after this the sexton came to the house on a visit, and the father

bewailed his trouble, and told him how his younger son was so backward

in every respect that he knew nothing and learnt nothing. 'Just think,'

said he, 'when I asked him how he was going to earn his bread, he

actually wanted to learn to shudder.' 'If that be all,' replied the

sexton, 'he can learn that with me. Send him to me, and I will soon

polish him.' The father was glad to do it, for he thought: 'It will

train the boy a little.' The sexton therefore took him into his house,

and he had to ring the church bell. After a day or two, the sexton awoke

him at midnight, and bade him arise and go up into the church tower and

ring the bell. 'You shall soon learn what shuddering is,' thought he,

and secretly went there before him; and when the boy was at the top of

the tower and turned round, and was just going to take hold of the bell

rope, he saw a white figure standing on the stairs opposite the sounding

hole. 'Who is there?' cried he, but the figure made no reply, and did

not move or stir. 'Give an answer,' cried the boy, 'or take yourself

off, you have no business here at night.'

 

The sexton, however, remained standing motionless that the boy might

think he was a ghost. The boy cried a second time: 'What do you want

here?--speak if you are an honest fellow, or I will throw you down the

steps!' The sexton thought: 'He can't mean to be as bad as his words,'

uttered no sound and stood as if he were made of stone. Then the boy

called to him for the third time, and as that was also to no purpose,

he ran against him and pushed the ghost down the stairs, so that it fell

down the ten steps and remained lying there in a corner. Thereupon he

rang the bell, went home, and without saying a word went to bed, and

fell asleep. The sexton's wife waited a long time for her husband, but

he did not come back. At length she became uneasy, and wakened the boy,

and asked: 'Do you know where my husband is? He climbed up the tower

before you did.' 'No, I don't know,' replied the boy, 'but someone was

standing by the sounding hole on the other side of the steps, and as he

would neither gave an answer nor go away, I took him for a scoundrel,

and threw him downstairs. Just go there and you will see if it was he.

I should be sorry if it were.' The woman ran away and found her husband,

who was lying moaning in the corner, and had broken his leg.

 

She carried him down, and then with loud screams she hastened to the

boy's father, 'Your boy,' cried she, 'has been the cause of a great

misfortune! He has thrown my husband down the steps so that he broke his

leg. Take the good-for-nothing fellow out of our house.' The father was

terrified, and ran thither and scolded the boy. 'What wicked tricks

are these?' said he. 'The devil must have put them into your head.'

'Father,' he replied, 'do listen to me. I am quite innocent. He was

standing there by night like one intent on doing evil. I did not know

who it was, and I entreated him three times either to speak or to go

away.' 'Ah,' said the father, 'I have nothing but unhappiness with you.

Go out of my sight. I will see you no more.'

 

'Yes, father, right willingly, wait only until it is day. Then will I

go forth and learn how to shudder, and then I shall, at any rate,

understand one art which will support me.' 'Learn what you will,' spoke

the father, 'it is all the same to me. Here are fifty talers for you.

Take these and go into the wide world, and tell no one from whence you

come, and who is your father, for I have reason to be ashamed of you.'

'Yes, father, it shall be as you will. If you desire nothing more than

that, I can easily keep it in mind.'

 

When the day dawned, therefore, the boy put his fifty talers into his

pocket, and went forth on the great highway, and continually said to

himself: 'If I could but shudder! If I could but shudder!' Then a man

approached who heard this conversation which the youth was holding with

himself, and when they had walked a little farther to where they could

see the gallows, the man said to him: 'Look, there is the tree where

seven men have married the ropemaker's daughter, and are now learning

how to fly. Sit down beneath it, and wait till night comes, and you will

soon learn how to shudder.' 'If that is all that is wanted,' answered

the youth, 'it is easily done; but if I learn how to shudder as fast as

that, you shall have my fifty talers. Just come back to me early in the

morning.' Then the youth went to the gallows, sat down beneath it, and

waited till evening came. And as he was cold, he lighted himself a fire,

but at midnight the wind blew so sharply that in spite of his fire, he

could not get warm. And as the wind knocked the hanged men against each

other, and they moved backwards and forwards, he thought to himself:

'If you shiver below by the fire, how those up above must freeze and

suffer!' And as he felt pity for them, he raised the ladder, and climbed

up, unbound one of them after the other, and brought down all seven.

Then he stoked the fire, blew it, and set them all round it to warm

themselves. But they sat there and did not stir, and the fire caught

their clothes. So he said: 'Take care, or I will hang you up again.' The

dead men, however, did not hear, but were quite silent, and let their

rags go on burning. At this he grew angry, and said: 'If you will not

take care, I cannot help you, I will not be burnt with you,' and he hung

them up again each in his turn. Then he sat down by his fire and fell

asleep, and the next morning the man came to him and wanted to have

the fifty talers, and said: 'Well do you know how to shudder?' 'No,'

answered he, 'how should I know? Those fellows up there did not open

their mouths, and were so stupid that they let the few old rags which

they had on their bodies get burnt.' Then the man saw that he would not

get the fifty talers that day, and went away saying: 'Such a youth has

never come my way before.'

 

The youth likewise went his way, and once more began to mutter to

himself: 'Ah, if I could but shudder! Ah, if I could but shudder!' A

waggoner who was striding behind him heard this and asked: 'Who are

you?' 'I don't know,' answered the youth. Then the waggoner asked: 'From

whence do you come?' 'I know not.' 'Who is your father?' 'That I may

not tell you.' 'What is it that you are always muttering between your

teeth?' 'Ah,' replied the youth, 'I do so wish I could shudder, but

no one can teach me how.' 'Enough of your foolish chatter,' said the

waggoner. 'Come, go with me, I will see about a place for you.' The

youth went with the waggoner, and in the evening they arrived at an inn

where they wished to pass the night. Then at the entrance of the parlour

the youth again said quite loudly: 'If I could but shudder! If I could

but shudder!' The host who heard this, laughed and said: 'If that is

your desire, there ought to be a good opportunity for you here.' 'Ah,

be silent,' said the hostess, 'so many prying persons have already lost

their lives, it would be a pity and a shame if such beautiful eyes as

these should never see the daylight again.'

 

But the youth said: 'However difficult it may be, I will learn it. For

this purpose indeed have I journeyed forth.' He let the host have

no rest, until the latter told him, that not far from thence stood a

haunted castle where anyone could very easily learn what shuddering was,

if he would but watch in it for three nights. The king had promised that

he who would venture should have his daughter to wife, and she was the

most beautiful maiden the sun shone on. Likewise in the castle lay great

treasures, which were guarded by evil spirits, and these treasures would

then be freed, and would make a poor man rich enough. Already many men

had gone into the castle, but as yet none had come out again. Then the

youth went next morning to the king, and said: 'If it be allowed, I will

willingly watch three nights in the haunted castle.'

 

The king looked at him, and as the youth pleased him, he said: 'You may

ask for three things to take into the castle with you, but they must

be things without life.' Then he answered: 'Then I ask for a fire, a

turning lathe, and a cutting-board with the knife.'

 

The king had these things carried into the castle for him during the

day. When night was drawing near, the youth went up and made himself

a bright fire in one of the rooms, placed the cutting-board and knife

beside it, and seated himself by the turning-lathe. 'Ah, if I could

but shudder!' said he, 'but I shall not learn it here either.' Towards

midnight he was about to poke his fire, and as he was blowing it,

something cried suddenly from one corner: 'Au, miau! how cold we are!'

'You fools!' cried he, 'what are you crying about? If you are cold, come

and take a seat by the fire and warm yourselves.' And when he had said

that, two great black cats came with one tremendous leap and sat down

on each side of him, and looked savagely at him with their fiery

eyes. After a short time, when they had warmed themselves, they said:

'Comrade, shall we have a game of cards?' 'Why not?' he replied, 'but

just show me your paws.' Then they stretched out their claws. 'Oh,' said

he, 'what long nails you have! Wait, I must first cut them for you.'

Thereupon he seized them by the throats, put them on the cutting-board

and screwed their feet fast. 'I have looked at your fingers,' said he,

'and my fancy for card-playing has gone,' and he struck them dead and

threw them out into the water. But when he had made away with these two,

and was about to sit down again by his fire, out from every hole and

corner came black cats and black dogs with red-hot chains, and more

and more of them came until he could no longer move, and they yelled

horribly, and got on his fire, pulled it to pieces, and tried to put

it out. He watched them for a while quietly, but at last when they were

going too far, he seized his cutting-knife, and cried: 'Away with you,

vermin,' and began to cut them down. Some of them ran away, the others

he killed, and threw out into the fish-pond. When he came back he fanned

the embers of his fire again and warmed himself. And as he thus sat, his

eyes would keep open no longer, and he felt a desire to sleep. Then he

looked round and saw a great bed in the corner. 'That is the very thing

for me,' said he, and got into it. When he was just going to shut his

eyes, however, the bed began to move of its own accord, and went over

the whole of the castle. 'That's right,' said he, 'but go faster.' Then

the bed rolled on as if six horses were harnessed to it, up and down,

over thresholds and stairs, but suddenly hop, hop, it turned over upside

down, and lay on him like a mountain. But he threw quilts and pillows up

in the air, got out and said: 'Now anyone who likes, may drive,' and

lay down by his fire, and slept till it was day. In the morning the king

came, and when he saw him lying there on the ground, he thought the evil

spirits had killed him and he was dead. Then said he: 'After all it is a

pity,--for so handsome a man.' The youth heard it, got up, and said: 'It

has not come to that yet.' Then the king was astonished, but very glad,

and asked how he had fared. 'Very well indeed,' answered he; 'one

night is past, the two others will pass likewise.' Then he went to the

innkeeper, who opened his eyes very wide, and said: 'I never expected to

see you alive again! Have you learnt how to shudder yet?' 'No,' said he,

'it is all in vain. If someone would but tell me!'

 

The second night he again went up into the old castle, sat down by the

fire, and once more began his old song: 'If I could but shudder!' When

midnight came, an uproar and noise of tumbling about was heard; at

first it was low, but it grew louder and louder. Then it was quiet for

a while, and at length with a loud scream, half a man came down the

chimney and fell before him. 'Hullo!' cried he, 'another half belongs

to this. This is not enough!' Then the uproar began again, there was a

roaring and howling, and the other half fell down likewise. 'Wait,' said

he, 'I will just stoke up the fire a little for you.' When he had done

that and looked round again, the two pieces were joined together, and a

hideous man was sitting in his place. 'That is no part of our bargain,'

said the youth, 'the bench is mine.' The man wanted to push him away;

the youth, however, would not allow that, but thrust him off with all

his strength, and seated himself again in his own place. Then still more

men fell down, one after the other; they brought nine dead men's legs

and two skulls, and set them up and played at nine-pins with them. The

youth also wanted to play and said: 'Listen you, can I join you?' 'Yes,

if you have any money.' 'Money enough,' replied he, 'but your balls are

not quite round.' Then he took the skulls and put them in the lathe and

turned them till they were round. 'There, now they will roll better!'

said he. 'Hurrah! now we'll have fun!' He played with them and lost some

of his money, but when it struck twelve, everything vanished from his

sight. He lay down and quietly fell asleep. Next morning the king came

to inquire after him. 'How has it fared with you this time?' asked he.

'I have been playing at nine-pins,' he answered, 'and have lost a couple

of farthings.' 'Have you not shuddered then?' 'What?' said he, 'I have

had a wonderful time! If I did but know what it was to shudder!'

 

The third night he sat down again on his bench and said quite sadly:

'If I could but shudder.' When it grew late, six tall men came in and

brought a coffin. Then he said: 'Ha, ha, that is certainly my little

cousin, who died only a few days ago,' and he beckoned with his finger,

and cried: 'Come, little cousin, come.' They placed the coffin on the

ground, but he went to it and took the lid off, and a dead man lay

therein. He felt his face, but it was cold as ice. 'Wait,' said he, 'I

will warm you a little,' and went to the fire and warmed his hand and

laid it on the dead man's face, but he remained cold. Then he took him

out, and sat down by the fire and laid him on his breast and rubbed his

arms that the blood might circulate again. As this also did no good, he

thought to himself: 'When two people lie in bed together, they warm each

other,' and carried him to the bed, covered him over and lay down by

him. After a short time the dead man became warm too, and began to move.

Then said the youth, 'See, little cousin, have I not warmed you?' The

dead man, however, got up and cried: 'Now will I strangle you.'

 

'What!' said he, 'is that the way you thank me? You shall at once go

into your coffin again,' and he took him up, threw him into it, and shut

the lid. Then came the six men and carried him away again. 'I cannot

manage to shudder,' said he. 'I shall never learn it here as long as I

live.'

 

Then a man entered who was taller than all others, and looked terrible.

He was old, however, and had a long white beard. 'You wretch,' cried he,

'you shall soon learn what it is to shudder, for you shall die.' 'Not so

fast,' replied the youth. 'If I am to die, I shall have to have a say

in it.' 'I will soon seize you,' said the fiend. 'Softly, softly, do not

talk so big. I am as strong as you are, and perhaps even stronger.'

'We shall see,' said the old man. 'If you are stronger, I will let you

go--come, we will try.' Then he led him by dark passages to a smith's

forge, took an axe, and with one blow struck an anvil into the ground.

'I can do better than that,' said the youth, and went to the other

anvil. The old man placed himself near and wanted to look on, and his

white beard hung down. Then the youth seized the axe, split the anvil

with one blow, and in it caught the old man's beard. 'Now I have you,'

said the youth. 'Now it is your turn to die.' Then he seized an iron bar

and beat the old man till he moaned and entreated him to stop, when he

would give him great riches. The youth drew out the axe and let him go.

The old man led him back into the castle, and in a cellar showed him

three chests full of gold. 'Of these,' said he, 'one part is for the

poor, the other for the king, the third yours.' In the meantime it

struck twelve, and the spirit disappeared, so that the youth stood in

darkness. 'I shall still be able to find my way out,' said he, and felt

about, found the way into the room, and slept there by his fire.

Next morning the king came and said: 'Now you must have learnt what

shuddering is?' 'No,' he answered; 'what can it be? My dead cousin was

here, and a bearded man came and showed me a great deal of money down

below, but no one told me what it was to shudder.' 'Then,' said the

king, 'you have saved the castle, and shall marry my daughter.' 'That

is all very well,' said he, 'but still I do not know what it is to

shudder!'

 

Then the gold was brought up and the wedding celebrated; but howsoever

much the young king loved his wife, and however happy he was, he still

said always: 'If I could but shudder--if I could but shudder.' And this

at last angered her. Her waiting-maid said: 'I will find a cure for him;

he shall soon learn what it is to shudder.' She went out to the stream

which flowed through the garden, and had a whole bucketful of gudgeons

brought to her. At night when the young king was sleeping, his wife was

to draw the clothes off him and empty the bucket full of cold water

with the gudgeons in it over him, so that the little fishes would

sprawl about him. Then he woke up and cried: 'Oh, what makes me shudder

so?--what makes me shudder so, dear wife? Ah! now I know what it is to

shudder!'

 

 

 

 

KING GRISLY-BEARD

 

A great king of a land far away in the East had a daughter who was very

beautiful, but so proud, and haughty, and conceited, that none of the

princes who came to ask her in marriage was good enough for her, and she

only made sport of them.

 

Once upon a time the king held a great feast, and asked thither all

her suitors; and they all sat in a row, ranged according to their

rank--kings, and princes, and dukes, and earls, and counts, and barons,

and knights. Then the princess came in, and as she passed by them she

had something spiteful to say to every one. The first was too fat: 'He's

as round as a tub,' said she. The next was too tall: 'What a maypole!'

said she. The next was too short: 'What a dumpling!' said she. The

fourth was too pale, and she called him 'Wallface.' The fifth was too

red, so she called him 'Coxcomb.' The sixth was not straight enough;

so she said he was like a green stick, that had been laid to dry over

a baker's oven. And thus she had some joke to crack upon every one: but

she laughed more than all at a good king who was there. 'Look at

him,' said she; 'his beard is like an old mop; he shall be called

Grisly-beard.' So the king got the nickname of Grisly-beard.

 

But the old king was very angry when he saw how his daughter behaved,

and how she ill-treated all his guests; and he vowed that, willing or

unwilling, she should marry the first man, be he prince or beggar, that

came to the door.

 

Two days after there came by a travelling fiddler, who began to play

under the window and beg alms; and when the king heard him, he said,

'Let him come in.' So they brought in a dirty-looking fellow; and when

he had sung before the king and the princess, he begged a boon. Then the

king said, 'You have sung so well, that I will give you my daughter for

your wife.' The princess begged and prayed; but the king said, 'I have

sworn to give you to the first comer, and I will keep my word.' So words

and tears were of no avail; the parson was sent for, and she was married

to the fiddler. When this was over the king said, 'Now get ready to

go--you must not stay here--you must travel on with your husband.'

 

Then the fiddler went his way, and took her with him, and they soon came

to a great wood. 'Pray,' said she, 'whose is this wood?' 'It belongs

to King Grisly-beard,' answered he; 'hadst thou taken him, all had been

thine.' 'Ah! unlucky wretch that I am!' sighed she; 'would that I had

married King Grisly-beard!' Next they came to some fine meadows. 'Whose

are these beautiful green meadows?' said she. 'They belong to King

Grisly-beard, hadst thou taken him, they had all been thine.' 'Ah!

unlucky wretch that I am!' said she; 'would that I had married King

Grisly-beard!'

 

Then they came to a great city. 'Whose is this noble city?' said she.

'It belongs to King Grisly-beard; hadst thou taken him, it had all been

thine.' 'Ah! wretch that I am!' sighed she; 'why did I not marry King

Grisly-beard?' 'That is no business of mine,' said the fiddler: 'why

should you wish for another husband? Am not I good enough for you?'

 

At last they came to a small cottage. 'What a paltry place!' said she;

'to whom does that little dirty hole belong?' Then the fiddler said,

'That is your and my house, where we are to live.' 'Where are your

servants?' cried she. 'What do we want with servants?' said he; 'you

must do for yourself whatever is to be done. Now make the fire, and put

on water and cook my supper, for I am very tired.' But the princess knew

nothing of making fires and cooking, and the fiddler was forced to help

her. When they had eaten a very scanty meal they went to bed; but the

fiddler called her up very early in the morning to clean the house. Thus

they lived for two days: and when they had eaten up all there was in the

cottage, the man said, 'Wife, we can't go on thus, spending money and

earning nothing. You must learn to weave baskets.' Then he went out and

cut willows, and brought them home, and she began to weave; but it made

her fingers very sore. 'I see this work won't do,' said he: 'try and

spin; perhaps you will do that better.' So she sat down and tried to

spin; but the threads cut her tender fingers till the blood ran. 'See

now,' said the fiddler, 'you are good for nothing; you can do no work:

what a bargain I have got! However, I'll try and set up a trade in pots

and pans, and you shall stand in the market and sell them.' 'Alas!'

sighed she, 'if any of my father's court should pass by and see me

standing in the market, how they will laugh at me!'

 

But her husband did not care for that, and said she must work, if she

did not wish to die of hunger. At first the trade went well; for many

people, seeing such a beautiful woman, went to buy her wares, and paid

their money without thinking of taking away the goods. They lived on

this as long as it lasted; and then her husband bought a fresh lot of

ware, and she sat herself down with it in the corner of the market; but

a drunken soldier soon came by, and rode his horse against her stall,

and broke all her goods into a thousand pieces. Then she began to cry,

and knew not what to do. 'Ah! what will become of me?' said she; 'what

will my husband say?' So she ran home and told him all. 'Who would

have thought you would have been so silly,' said he, 'as to put an

earthenware stall in the corner of the market, where everybody passes?

but let us have no more crying; I see you are not fit for this sort of

work, so I have been to the king's palace, and asked if they did not

want a kitchen-maid; and they say they will take you, and there you will

have plenty to eat.'

 

Thus the princess became a kitchen-maid, and helped the cook to do all

the dirtiest work; but she was allowed to carry home some of the meat

that was left, and on this they lived.

 

She had not been there long before she heard that the king's eldest son

was passing by, going to be married; and she went to one of the windows

and looked out. Everything was ready, and all the pomp and brightness of

the court was there. Then she bitterly grieved for the pride and folly

which had brought her so low. And the servants gave her some of the rich

meats, which she put into her basket to take home.

 

All on a sudden, as she was going out, in came the king's son in golden

clothes; and when he saw a beautiful woman at the door, he took her

by the hand, and said she should be his partner in the dance; but she

trembled for fear, for she saw that it was King Grisly-beard, who was

making sport of her. However, he kept fast hold, and led her in; and the

cover of the basket came off, so that the meats in it fell about. Then

everybody laughed and jeered at her; and she was so abashed, that she

wished herself a thousand feet deep in the earth. She sprang to the

door to run away; but on the steps King Grisly-beard overtook her, and

brought her back and said, 'Fear me not! I am the fiddler who has lived

with you in the hut. I brought you there because I really loved you. I

am also the soldier that overset your stall. I have done all this only

to cure you of your silly pride, and to show you the folly of your

ill-treatment of me. Now all is over: you have learnt wisdom, and it is

time to hold our marriage feast.'

 

Then the chamberlains came and brought her the most beautiful robes; and

her father and his whole court were there already, and welcomed her home

on her marriage. Joy was in every face and every heart. The feast was

grand; they danced and sang; all were merry; and I only wish that you

and I had been of the party.

 

 

 

 

IRON HANS

 

There was once upon a time a king who had a great forest near his

palace, full of all kinds of wild animals. One day he sent out a

huntsman to shoot him a roe, but he did not come back. 'Perhaps some

accident has befallen him,' said the king, and the next day he sent out

two more huntsmen who were to search for him, but they too stayed away.

Then on the third day, he sent for all his huntsmen, and said: 'Scour

the whole forest through, and do not give up until you have found all

three.' But of these also, none came home again, none were seen again.

From that time forth, no one would any longer venture into the forest,

and it lay there in deep stillness and solitude, and nothing was seen

of it, but sometimes an eagle or a hawk flying over it. This lasted for

many years, when an unknown huntsman announced himself to the king as

seeking a situation, and offered to go into the dangerous forest. The

king, however, would not give his consent, and said: 'It is not safe in

there; I fear it would fare with you no better than with the others,

and you would never come out again.' The huntsman replied: 'Lord, I will

venture it at my own risk, of fear I know nothing.'

 

The huntsman therefore betook himself with his dog to the forest. It was

not long before the dog fell in with some game on the way, and wanted to

pursue it; but hardly had the dog run two steps when it stood before a

deep pool, could go no farther, and a naked arm stretched itself out of

the water, seized it, and drew it under. When the huntsman saw that, he

went back and fetched three men to come with buckets and bale out the

water. When they could see to the bottom there lay a wild man whose body

was brown like rusty iron, and whose hair hung over his face down to his

knees. They bound him with cords, and led him away to the castle. There

was great astonishment over the wild man; the king, however, had him put

in an iron cage in his courtyard, and forbade the door to be opened

on pain of death, and the queen herself was to take the key into her

keeping. And from this time forth everyone could again go into the

forest with safety.

 

The king had a son of eight years, who was once playing in the

courtyard, and while he was playing, his golden ball fell into the cage.

The boy ran thither and said: 'Give me my ball out.' 'Not till you have

opened the door for me,' answered the man. 'No,' said the boy, 'I will

not do that; the king has forbidden it,' and ran away. The next day he

again went and asked for his ball; the wild man said: 'Open my door,'

but the boy would not. On the third day the king had ridden out hunting,

and the boy went once more and said: 'I cannot open the door even if I

wished, for I have not the key.' Then the wild man said: 'It lies under

your mother's pillow, you can get it there.' The boy, who wanted to have

his ball back, cast all thought to the winds, and brought the key. The

door opened with difficulty, and the boy pinched his fingers. When it

was open the wild man stepped out, gave him the golden ball, and hurried

away. The boy had become afraid; he called and cried after him: 'Oh,

wild man, do not go away, or I shall be beaten!' The wild man turned

back, took him up, set him on his shoulder, and went with hasty steps

into the forest. When the king came home, he observed the empty cage,

and asked the queen how that had happened. She knew nothing about it,

and sought the key, but it was gone. She called the boy, but no one

answered. The king sent out people to seek for him in the fields, but

they did not find him. Then he could easily guess what had happened, and

much grief reigned in the royal court.

 

When the wild man had once more reached the dark forest, he took the boy

down from his shoulder, and said to him: 'You will never see your father

and mother again, but I will keep you with me, for you have set me free,

and I have compassion on you. If you do all I bid you, you shall fare

well. Of treasure and gold have I enough, and more than anyone in the

world.' He made a bed of moss for the boy on which he slept, and the

next morning the man took him to a well, and said: 'Behold, the gold

well is as bright and clear as crystal, you shall sit beside it, and

take care that nothing falls into it, or it will be polluted. I will

come every evening to see if you have obeyed my order.' The boy placed

himself by the brink of the well, and often saw a golden fish or a

golden snake show itself therein, and took care that nothing fell in.

As he was thus sitting, his finger hurt him so violently that he

involuntarily put it in the water. He drew it quickly out again, but saw

that it was quite gilded, and whatsoever pains he took to wash the gold

off again, all was to no purpose. In the evening Iron Hans came back,

looked at the boy, and said: 'What has happened to the well?' 'Nothing

nothing,' he answered, and held his finger behind his back, that the

man might not see it. But he said: 'You have dipped your finger into

the water, this time it may pass, but take care you do not again let

anything go in.' By daybreak the boy was already sitting by the well and

watching it. His finger hurt him again and he passed it over his head,

and then unhappily a hair fell down into the well. He took it quickly

out, but it was already quite gilded. Iron Hans came, and already knew

what had happened. 'You have let a hair fall into the well,' said he.

'I will allow you to watch by it once more, but if this happens for the

third time then the well is polluted and you can no longer remain with

me.'

 

On the third day, the boy sat by the well, and did not stir his finger,

however much it hurt him. But the time was long to him, and he looked at

the reflection of his face on the surface of the water. And as he

still bent down more and more while he was doing so, and trying to look

straight into the eyes, his long hair fell down from his shoulders into

the water. He raised himself up quickly, but the whole of the hair of

his head was already golden and shone like the sun. You can imagine how

terrified the poor boy was! He took his pocket-handkerchief and tied it

round his head, in order that the man might not see it. When he came he

already knew everything, and said: 'Take the handkerchief off.' Then the

golden hair streamed forth, and let the boy excuse himself as he might,

it was of no use. 'You have not stood the trial and can stay here no

longer. Go forth into the world, there you will learn what poverty is.

But as you have not a bad heart, and as I mean well by you, there is

one thing I will grant you; if you fall into any difficulty, come to the

forest and cry: "Iron Hans," and then I will come and help you. My

power is great, greater than you think, and I have gold and silver in

abundance.'

 

Then the king's son left the forest, and walked by beaten and unbeaten

paths ever onwards until at length he reached a great city. There he

looked for work, but could find none, and he learnt nothing by which he

could help himself. At length he went to the palace, and asked if they

would take him in. The people about court did not at all know what use

they could make of him, but they liked him, and told him to stay. At

length the cook took him into his service, and said he might carry wood

and water, and rake the cinders together. Once when it so happened that

no one else was at hand, the cook ordered him to carry the food to the

royal table, but as he did not like to let his golden hair be seen, he

kept his little cap on. Such a thing as that had never yet come under

the king's notice, and he said: 'When you come to the royal table you

must take your hat off.' He answered: 'Ah, Lord, I cannot; I have a bad

sore place on my head.' Then the king had the cook called before him

and scolded him, and asked how he could take such a boy as that into his

service; and that he was to send him away at once. The cook, however,

had pity on him, and exchanged him for the gardener's boy.

 

And now the boy had to plant and water the garden, hoe and dig, and bear

the wind and bad weather. Once in summer when he was working alone in

the garden, the day was so warm he took his little cap off that the air

might cool him. As the sun shone on his hair it glittered and flashed so

that the rays fell into the bedroom of the king's daughter, and up she

sprang to see what that could be. Then she saw the boy, and cried to

him: 'Boy, bring me a wreath of flowers.' He put his cap on with all

haste, and gathered wild field-flowers and bound them together. When he

was ascending the stairs with them, the gardener met him, and said: 'How

can you take the king's daughter a garland of such common flowers? Go

quickly, and get another, and seek out the prettiest and rarest.' 'Oh,

no,' replied the boy, 'the wild ones have more scent, and will please

her better.' When he got into the room, the king's daughter said: 'Take

your cap off, it is not seemly to keep it on in my presence.' He again

said: 'I may not, I have a sore head.' She, however, caught at his

cap and pulled it off, and then his golden hair rolled down on his

shoulders, and it was splendid to behold. He wanted to run out, but she

held him by the arm, and gave him a handful of ducats. With these he

departed, but he cared nothing for the gold pieces. He took them to the

gardener, and said: 'I present them to your children, they can play with

them.' The following day the king's daughter again called to him that he

was to bring her a wreath of field-flowers, and then he went in with it,

she instantly snatched at his cap, and wanted to take it away from him,

but he held it fast with both hands. She again gave him a handful of

ducats, but he would not keep them, and gave them to the gardener for

playthings for his children. On the third day things went just the

same; she could not get his cap away from him, and he would not have her

money.

 

Not long afterwards, the country was overrun by war. The king gathered

together his people, and did not know whether or not he could offer any

opposition to the enemy, who was superior in strength and had a mighty

army. Then said the gardener's boy: 'I am grown up, and will go to the

wars also, only give me a horse.' The others laughed, and said: 'Seek

one for yourself when we are gone, we will leave one behind us in the

stable for you.' When they had gone forth, he went into the stable, and

led the horse out; it was lame of one foot, and limped hobblety jib,

hobblety jib; nevertheless he mounted it, and rode away to the dark

forest. When he came to the outskirts, he called 'Iron Hans' three

times so loudly that it echoed through the trees. Thereupon the wild man

appeared immediately, and said: 'What do you desire?' 'I want a strong

steed, for I am going to the wars.' 'That you shall have, and still more

than you ask for.' Then the wild man went back into the forest, and it

was not long before a stable-boy came out of it, who led a horse that

snorted with its nostrils, and could hardly be restrained, and behind

them followed a great troop of warriors entirely equipped in iron, and

their swords flashed in the sun. The youth made over his three-legged

horse to the stable-boy, mounted the other, and rode at the head of the

soldiers. When he got near the battlefield a great part of the king's

men had already fallen, and little was wanting to make the rest give

way. Then the youth galloped thither with his iron soldiers, broke like

a hurricane over the enemy, and beat down all who opposed him. They

began to flee, but the youth pursued, and never stopped, until there

was not a single man left. Instead of returning to the king, however, he

conducted his troop by byways back to the forest, and called forth Iron

Hans. 'What do you desire?' asked the wild man. 'Take back your horse

and your troops, and give me my three-legged horse again.' All that he

asked was done, and soon he was riding on his three-legged horse. When

the king returned to his palace, his daughter went to meet him, and

wished him joy of his victory. 'I am not the one who carried away the

victory,' said he, 'but a strange knight who came to my assistance with

his soldiers.' The daughter wanted to hear who the strange knight was,

but the king did not know, and said: 'He followed the enemy, and I did

not see him again.' She inquired of the gardener where his boy was, but

he smiled, and said: 'He has just come home on his three-legged horse,

and the others have been mocking him, and crying: "Here comes our

hobblety jib back again!" They asked, too: "Under what hedge have you

been lying sleeping all the time?" So he said: "I did the best of all,

and it would have gone badly without me." And then he was still more

ridiculed.'

 

The king said to his daughter: 'I will proclaim a great feast that shall

last for three days, and you shall throw a golden apple. Perhaps the

unknown man will show himself.' When the feast was announced, the youth

went out to the forest, and called Iron Hans. 'What do you desire?'

asked he. 'That I may catch the king's daughter's golden apple.' 'It is

as safe as if you had it already,' said Iron Hans. 'You shall likewise

have a suit of red armour for the occasion, and ride on a spirited

chestnut-horse.' When the day came, the youth galloped to the spot, took

his place amongst the knights, and was recognized by no one. The king's

daughter came forward, and threw a golden apple to the knights, but none

of them caught it but he, only as soon as he had it he galloped away.

 

On the second day Iron Hans equipped him as a white knight, and gave him

a white horse. Again he was the only one who caught the apple, and

he did not linger an instant, but galloped off with it. The king grew

angry, and said: 'That is not allowed; he must appear before me and tell

his name.' He gave the order that if the knight who caught the apple,

should go away again they should pursue him, and if he would not come

back willingly, they were to cut him down and stab him.

 

On the third day, he received from Iron Hans a suit of black armour and

a black horse, and again he caught the apple. But when he was riding off

with it, the king's attendants pursued him, and one of them got so near

him that he wounded the youth's leg with the point of his sword. The

youth nevertheless escaped from them, but his horse leapt so violently

that the helmet fell from the youth's head, and they could see that he

had golden hair. They rode back and announced this to the king.

 

The following day the king's daughter asked the gardener about his

boy. 'He is at work in the garden; the queer creature has been at the

festival too, and only came home yesterday evening; he has likewise

shown my children three golden apples which he has won.'

 

The king had him summoned into his presence, and he came and again had

his little cap on his head. But the king's daughter went up to him and

took it off, and then his golden hair fell down over his shoulders, and

he was so handsome that all were amazed. 'Are you the knight who came

every day to the festival, always in different colours, and who caught

the three golden apples?' asked the king. 'Yes,' answered he, 'and here

the apples are,' and he took them out of his pocket, and returned them

to the king. 'If you desire further proof, you may see the wound which

your people gave me when they followed me. But I am likewise the knight

who helped you to your victory over your enemies.' 'If you can perform

such deeds as that, you are no gardener's boy; tell me, who is your

father?' 'My father is a mighty king, and gold have I in plenty as great

as I require.' 'I well see,' said the king, 'that I owe my thanks to

you; can I do anything to please you?' 'Yes,' answered he, 'that indeed

you can. Give me your daughter to wife.' The maiden laughed, and said:

'He does not stand much on ceremony, but I have already seen by his

golden hair that he was no gardener's boy,' and then she went and

kissed him. His father and mother came to the wedding, and were in great

delight, for they had given up all hope of ever seeing their dear

son again. And as they were sitting at the marriage-feast, the music

suddenly stopped, the doors opened, and a stately king came in with a

great retinue. He went up to the youth, embraced him and said: 'I am

Iron Hans, and was by enchantment a wild man, but you have set me free;

all the treasures which I possess, shall be your property.'

 

 

 

 

CAT-SKIN

 

There was once a king, whose queen had hair of the purest gold, and was

so beautiful that her match was not to be met with on the whole face of

the earth. But this beautiful queen fell ill, and when she felt that her

end drew near she called the king to her and said, 'Promise me that you

will never marry again, unless you meet with a wife who is as beautiful

as I am, and who has golden hair like mine.' Then when the king in his

grief promised all she asked, she shut her eyes and died. But the king

was not to be comforted, and for a long time never thought of taking

another wife. At last, however, his wise men said, 'this will not do;

the king must marry again, that we may have a queen.' So messengers were

sent far and wide, to seek for a bride as beautiful as the late queen.

But there was no princess in the world so beautiful; and if there had

been, still there was not one to be found who had golden hair. So the

messengers came home, and had had all their trouble for nothing.

 

Now the king had a daughter, who was just as beautiful as her mother,

and had the same golden hair. And when she was grown up, the king looked

at her and saw that she was just like this late queen: then he said to

his courtiers, 'May I not marry my daughter? She is the very image of my

dead wife: unless I have her, I shall not find any bride upon the whole

earth, and you say there must be a queen.' When the courtiers heard this

they were shocked, and said, 'Heaven forbid that a father should marry

his daughter! Out of so great a sin no good can come.' And his daughter

was also shocked, but hoped the king would soon give up such thoughts;

so she said to him, 'Before I marry anyone I must have three dresses:

one must be of gold, like the sun; another must be of shining silver,

like the moon; and a third must be dazzling as the stars: besides this,

I want a mantle of a thousand different kinds of fur put together, to

which every beast in the kingdom must give a part of his skin.' And thus

she though he would think of the matter no more. But the king made the

most skilful workmen in his kingdom weave the three dresses: one golden,

like the sun; another silvery, like the moon; and a third sparkling,

like the stars: and his hunters were told to hunt out all the beasts in

his kingdom, and to take the finest fur out of their skins: and thus a

mantle of a thousand furs was made.

 

When all were ready, the king sent them to her; but she got up in the

night when all were asleep, and took three of her trinkets, a golden

ring, a golden necklace, and a golden brooch, and packed the three

dresses--of the sun, the moon, and the stars--up in a nutshell, and

wrapped herself up in the mantle made of all sorts of fur, and besmeared

her face and hands with soot. Then she threw herself upon Heaven for

help in her need, and went away, and journeyed on the whole night, till

at last she came to a large wood. As she was very tired, she sat herself

down in the hollow of a tree and soon fell asleep: and there she slept

on till it was midday.

 

Now as the king to whom the wood belonged was hunting in it, his dogs

came to the tree, and began to snuff about, and run round and round, and

bark. 'Look sharp!' said the king to the huntsmen, 'and see what sort

of game lies there.' And the huntsmen went up to the tree, and when they

came back again said, 'In the hollow tree there lies a most wonderful

beast, such as we never saw before; its skin seems to be of a thousand

kinds of fur, but there it lies fast asleep.' 'See,' said the king, 'if

you can catch it alive, and we will take it with us.' So the huntsmen

took it up, and the maiden awoke and was greatly frightened, and said,

'I am a poor child that has neither father nor mother left; have pity on

me and take me with you.' Then they said, 'Yes, Miss Cat-skin, you will

do for the kitchen; you can sweep up the ashes, and do things of that

sort.' So they put her into the coach, and took her home to the king's

palace. Then they showed her a little corner under the staircase, where

no light of day ever peeped in, and said, 'Cat-skin, you may lie and

sleep there.' And she was sent into the kitchen, and made to fetch wood

and water, to blow the fire, pluck the poultry, pick the herbs, sift the

ashes, and do all the dirty work.

 

Thus Cat-skin lived for a long time very sorrowfully. 'Ah! pretty

princess!' thought she, 'what will now become of thee?' But it happened

one day that a feast was to be held in the king's castle, so she said to

the cook, 'May I go up a little while and see what is going on? I will

take care and stand behind the door.' And the cook said, 'Yes, you may

go, but be back again in half an hour's time, to rake out the ashes.'

Then she took her little lamp, and went into her cabin, and took off the

fur skin, and washed the soot from off her face and hands, so that her

beauty shone forth like the sun from behind the clouds. She next opened

her nutshell, and brought out of it the dress that shone like the sun,

and so went to the feast. Everyone made way for her, for nobody knew

her, and they thought she could be no less than a king's daughter. But

the king came up to her, and held out his hand and danced with her; and

he thought in his heart, 'I never saw any one half so beautiful.'

 

When the dance was at an end she curtsied; and when the king looked

round for her, she was gone, no one knew wither. The guards that stood

at the castle gate were called in: but they had seen no one. The truth

was, that she had run into her little cabin, pulled off her dress,

blackened her face and hands, put on the fur-skin cloak, and was

Cat-skin again. When she went into the kitchen to her work, and began

to rake the ashes, the cook said, 'Let that alone till the morning, and

heat the king's soup; I should like to run up now and give a peep: but

take care you don't let a hair fall into it, or you will run a chance of

never eating again.'

 

As soon as the cook went away, Cat-skin heated the king's soup, and

toasted a slice of bread first, as nicely as ever she could; and when it

was ready, she went and looked in the cabin for her little golden ring,

and put it into the dish in which the soup was. When the dance was over,

the king ordered his soup to be brought in; and it pleased him so well,

that he thought he had never tasted any so good before. At the bottom

he saw a gold ring lying; and as he could not make out how it had got

there, he ordered the cook to be sent for. The cook was frightened when

he heard the order, and said to Cat-skin, 'You must have let a hair fall

into the soup; if it be so, you will have a good beating.' Then he went

before the king, and he asked him who had cooked the soup. 'I did,'

answered the cook. But the king said, 'That is not true; it was better

done than you could do it.' Then he answered, 'To tell the truth I did

not cook it, but Cat-skin did.' 'Then let Cat-skin come up,' said the

king: and when she came he said to her, 'Who are you?' 'I am a poor

child,' said she, 'that has lost both father and mother.' 'How came you

in my palace?' asked he. 'I am good for nothing,' said she, 'but to be

scullion-girl, and to have boots and shoes thrown at my head.' 'But how

did you get the ring that was in the soup?' asked the king. Then she

would not own that she knew anything about the ring; so the king sent

her away again about her business.

 

After a time there was another feast, and Cat-skin asked the cook to let

her go up and see it as before. 'Yes,' said he, 'but come again in half

an hour, and cook the king the soup that he likes so much.' Then she

ran to her little cabin, washed herself quickly, and took her dress

out which was silvery as the moon, and put it on; and when she went in,

looking like a king's daughter, the king went up to her, and rejoiced at

seeing her again, and when the dance began he danced with her. After the

dance was at an end she managed to slip out, so slyly that the king did

not see where she was gone; but she sprang into her little cabin, and

made herself into Cat-skin again, and went into the kitchen to cook the

soup. Whilst the cook was above stairs, she got the golden necklace and

dropped it into the soup; then it was brought to the king, who ate it,

and it pleased him as well as before; so he sent for the cook, who

was again forced to tell him that Cat-skin had cooked it. Cat-skin was

brought again before the king, but she still told him that she was only

fit to have boots and shoes thrown at her head.

 

But when the king had ordered a feast to be got ready for the third

time, it happened just the same as before. 'You must be a witch,

Cat-skin,' said the cook; 'for you always put something into your soup,

so that it pleases the king better than mine.' However, he let her go up

as before. Then she put on her dress which sparkled like the stars, and

went into the ball-room in it; and the king danced with her again, and

thought she had never looked so beautiful as she did then. So whilst

he was dancing with her, he put a gold ring on her finger without her

seeing it, and ordered that the dance should be kept up a long time.

When it was at an end, he would have held her fast by the hand, but she

slipped away, and sprang so quickly through the crowd that he lost sight

of her: and she ran as fast as she could into her little cabin under

the stairs. But this time she kept away too long, and stayed beyond the

half-hour; so she had not time to take off her fine dress, and threw her

fur mantle over it, and in her haste did not blacken herself all over

with soot, but left one of her fingers white.

 

Then she ran into the kitchen, and cooked the king's soup; and as soon

as the cook was gone, she put the golden brooch into the dish. When the

king got to the bottom, he ordered Cat-skin to be called once more, and

soon saw the white finger, and the ring that he had put on it whilst

they were dancing: so he seized her hand, and kept fast hold of it, and

when she wanted to loose herself and spring away, the fur cloak fell off

a little on one side, and the starry dress sparkled underneath it.

 

Then he got hold of the fur and tore it off, and her golden hair and

beautiful form were seen, and she could no longer hide herself: so she

washed the soot and ashes from her face, and showed herself to be the

most beautiful princess upon the face of the earth. But the king said,

'You are my beloved bride, and we will never more be parted from each

other.' And the wedding feast was held, and a merry day it was, as ever

was heard of or seen in that country, or indeed in any other.

 

 

 

 

SNOW-WHITE AND ROSE-RED

 

There was once a poor widow who lived in a lonely cottage. In front of

the cottage was a garden wherein stood two rose-trees, one of which bore

white and the other red roses. She had two children who were like the

two rose-trees, and one was called Snow-white, and the other Rose-red.

They were as good and happy, as busy and cheerful as ever two children

in the world were, only Snow-white was more quiet and gentle than

Rose-red. Rose-red liked better to run about in the meadows and fields

seeking flowers and catching butterflies; but Snow-white sat at home

with her mother, and helped her with her housework, or read to her when

there was nothing to do.

 

The two children were so fond of one another that they always held each

other by the hand when they went out together, and when Snow-white said:

'We will not leave each other,' Rose-red answered: 'Never so long as we

live,' and their mother would add: 'What one has she must share with the

other.'

 

They often ran about the forest alone and gathered red berries, and no

beasts did them any harm, but came close to them trustfully. The little

hare would eat a cabbage-leaf out of their hands, the roe grazed by

their side, the stag leapt merrily by them, and the birds sat still upon

the boughs, and sang whatever they knew.

 

No mishap overtook them; if they had stayed too late in the forest, and

night came on, they laid themselves down near one another upon the moss,

and slept until morning came, and their mother knew this and did not

worry on their account.

 

Once when they had spent the night in the wood and the dawn had roused

them, they saw a beautiful child in a shining white dress sitting near

their bed. He got up and looked quite kindly at them, but said nothing

and went into the forest. And when they looked round they found that

they had been sleeping quite close to a precipice, and would certainly

have fallen into it in the darkness if they had gone only a few paces

further. And their mother told them that it must have been the angel who

watches over good children.

 

Snow-white and Rose-red kept their mother's little cottage so neat that

it was a pleasure to look inside it. In the summer Rose-red took care

of the house, and every morning laid a wreath of flowers by her mother's

bed before she awoke, in which was a rose from each tree. In the winter

Snow-white lit the fire and hung the kettle on the hob. The kettle

was of brass and shone like gold, so brightly was it polished. In the

evening, when the snowflakes fell, the mother said: 'Go, Snow-white, and

bolt the door,' and then they sat round the hearth, and the mother took

her spectacles and read aloud out of a large book, and the two girls

listened as they sat and spun. And close by them lay a lamb upon the

floor, and behind them upon a perch sat a white dove with its head

hidden beneath its wings.

 

One evening, as they were thus sitting comfortably together, someone

knocked at the door as if he wished to be let in. The mother said:

'Quick, Rose-red, open the door, it must be a traveller who is seeking

shelter.' Rose-red went and pushed back the bolt, thinking that it was a

poor man, but it was not; it was a bear that stretched his broad, black

head within the door.

 

Rose-red screamed and sprang back, the lamb bleated, the dove fluttered,

and Snow-white hid herself behind her mother's bed. But the bear began

to speak and said: 'Do not be afraid, I will do you no harm! I am

half-frozen, and only want to warm myself a little beside you.'

 

'Poor bear,' said the mother, 'lie down by the fire, only take care that

you do not burn your coat.' Then she cried: 'Snow-white, Rose-red, come

out, the bear will do you no harm, he means well.' So they both came

out, and by-and-by the lamb and dove came nearer, and were not afraid

of him. The bear said: 'Here, children, knock the snow out of my coat a

little'; so they brought the broom and swept the bear's hide clean;

and he stretched himself by the fire and growled contentedly and

comfortably. It was not long before they grew quite at home, and played

tricks with their clumsy guest. They tugged his hair with their hands,

put their feet upon his back and rolled him about, or they took a

hazel-switch and beat him, and when he growled they laughed. But the

bear took it all in good part, only when they were too rough he called

out: 'Leave me alive, children,

 

'Snow-white, Rose-red,

Will you beat your wooer dead?'

 

When it was bed-time, and the others went to bed, the mother said to the

bear: 'You can lie there by the hearth, and then you will be safe from

the cold and the bad weather.' As soon as day dawned the two children

let him out, and he trotted across the snow into the forest.

 

Henceforth the bear came every evening at the same time, laid himself

down by the hearth, and let the children amuse themselves with him as

much as they liked; and they got so used to him that the doors were

never fastened until their black friend had arrived.

 

When spring had come and all outside was green, the bear said one

morning to Snow-white: 'Now I must go away, and cannot come back for the

whole summer.' 'Where are you going, then, dear bear?' asked Snow-white.

'I must go into the forest and guard my treasures from the wicked

dwarfs. In the winter, when the earth is frozen hard, they are obliged

to stay below and cannot work their way through; but now, when the sun

has thawed and warmed the earth, they break through it, and come out to

pry and steal; and what once gets into their hands, and in their caves,

does not easily see daylight again.'

 

Snow-white was quite sorry at his departure, and as she unbolted the

door for him, and the bear was hurrying out, he caught against the bolt

and a piece of his hairy coat was torn off, and it seemed to Snow-white

as if she had seen gold shining through it, but she was not sure about

it. The bear ran away quickly, and was soon out of sight behind the

trees.

 

A short time afterwards the mother sent her children into the forest

to get firewood. There they found a big tree which lay felled on the

ground, and close by the trunk something was jumping backwards and

forwards in the grass, but they could not make out what it was. When

they came nearer they saw a dwarf with an old withered face and a

snow-white beard a yard long. The end of the beard was caught in a

crevice of the tree, and the little fellow was jumping about like a dog

tied to a rope, and did not know what to do.

 

He glared at the girls with his fiery red eyes and cried: 'Why do you

stand there? Can you not come here and help me?' 'What are you up to,

little man?' asked Rose-red. 'You stupid, prying goose!' answered the

dwarf: 'I was going to split the tree to get a little wood for cooking.

The little bit of food that we people get is immediately burnt up with

heavy logs; we do not swallow so much as you coarse, greedy folk. I had

just driven the wedge safely in, and everything was going as I wished;

but the cursed wedge was too smooth and suddenly sprang out, and the

tree closed so quickly that I could not pull out my beautiful white

beard; so now it is tight and I cannot get away, and the silly, sleek,

milk-faced things laugh! Ugh! how odious you are!'

 

The children tried very hard, but they could not pull the beard out, it

was caught too fast. 'I will run and fetch someone,' said Rose-red. 'You

senseless goose!' snarled the dwarf; 'why should you fetch someone? You

are already two too many for me; can you not think of something better?'

'Don't be impatient,' said Snow-white, 'I will help you,' and she pulled

her scissors out of her pocket, and cut off the end of the beard.

 

As soon as the dwarf felt himself free he laid hold of a bag which lay

amongst the roots of the tree, and which was full of gold, and lifted it

up, grumbling to himself: 'Uncouth people, to cut off a piece of my fine

beard. Bad luck to you!' and then he swung the bag upon his back, and

went off without even once looking at the children.

 

Some time afterwards Snow-white and Rose-red went to catch a dish

of fish. As they came near the brook they saw something like a large

grasshopper jumping towards the water, as if it were going to leap in.

They ran to it and found it was the dwarf. 'Where are you going?' said

Rose-red; 'you surely don't want to go into the water?' 'I am not such

a fool!' cried the dwarf; 'don't you see that the accursed fish wants

to pull me in?' The little man had been sitting there fishing, and

unluckily the wind had tangled up his beard with the fishing-line; a

moment later a big fish made a bite and the feeble creature had not

strength to pull it out; the fish kept the upper hand and pulled the

dwarf towards him. He held on to all the reeds and rushes, but it was of

little good, for he was forced to follow the movements of the fish, and

was in urgent danger of being dragged into the water.

 

The girls came just in time; they held him fast and tried to free his

beard from the line, but all in vain, beard and line were entangled fast

together. There was nothing to do but to bring out the scissors and cut

the beard, whereby a small part of it was lost. When the dwarf saw that

he screamed out: 'Is that civil, you toadstool, to disfigure a man's

face? Was it not enough to clip off the end of my beard? Now you have

cut off the best part of it. I cannot let myself be seen by my people.

I wish you had been made to run the soles off your shoes!' Then he took

out a sack of pearls which lay in the rushes, and without another word

he dragged it away and disappeared behind a stone.

 

It happened that soon afterwards the mother sent the two children to the

town to buy needles and thread, and laces and ribbons. The road led them

across a heath upon which huge pieces of rock lay strewn about. There

they noticed a large bird hovering in the air, flying slowly round and

round above them; it sank lower and lower, and at last settled near a

rock not far away. Immediately they heard a loud, piteous cry. They ran

up and saw with horror that the eagle had seized their old acquaintance

the dwarf, and was going to carry him off.

 

The children, full of pity, at once took tight hold of the little man,

and pulled against the eagle so long that at last he let his booty go.

As soon as the dwarf had recovered from his first fright he cried

with his shrill voice: 'Could you not have done it more carefully! You

dragged at my brown coat so that it is all torn and full of holes, you

clumsy creatures!' Then he took up a sack full of precious stones, and

slipped away again under the rock into his hole. The girls, who by

this time were used to his ingratitude, went on their way and did their

business in town.

 

As they crossed the heath again on their way home they surprised the

dwarf, who had emptied out his bag of precious stones in a clean spot,

and had not thought that anyone would come there so late. The evening

sun shone upon the brilliant stones; they glittered and sparkled with

all colours so beautifully that the children stood still and stared

at them. 'Why do you stand gaping there?' cried the dwarf, and his

ashen-grey face became copper-red with rage. He was still cursing when a

loud growling was heard, and a black bear came trotting towards them out

of the forest. The dwarf sprang up in a fright, but he could not reach

his cave, for the bear was already close. Then in the dread of his heart

he cried: 'Dear Mr Bear, spare me, I will give you all my treasures;

look, the beautiful jewels lying there! Grant me my life; what do you

want with such a slender little fellow as I? you would not feel me

between your teeth. Come, take these two wicked girls, they are tender

morsels for you, fat as young quails; for mercy's sake eat them!' The

bear took no heed of his words, but gave the wicked creature a single

blow with his paw, and he did not move again.

 

The girls had run away, but the bear called to them: 'Snow-white and

Rose-red, do not be afraid; wait, I will come with you.' Then they

recognized his voice and waited, and when he came up to them suddenly

his bearskin fell off, and he stood there a handsome man, clothed all in

gold. 'I am a king's son,' he said, 'and I was bewitched by that wicked

dwarf, who had stolen my treasures; I have had to run about the forest

as a savage bear until I was freed by his death. Now he has got his

well-deserved punishment.

 

Snow-white was married to him, and Rose-red to his brother, and they

divided between them the great treasure which the dwarf had gathered

together in his cave. The old mother lived peacefully and happily with

her children for many years. She took the two rose-trees with her, and

they stood before her window, and every year bore the most beautiful

roses, white and red.

 

 

*****

 

 

The Brothers Grimm, Jacob (1785-1863) and Wilhelm (1786-1859), were born

in Hanau, near Frankfurt, in the German state of Hesse. Throughout

their lives they remained close friends, and both studied law at Marburg

University. Jacob was a pioneer in the study of German philology,

and although Wilhelm's work was hampered by poor health the brothers

collaborated in the creation of a German dictionary, not completed until

a century after their deaths. But they were best (and universally) known

for the collection of over two hundred folk tales they made from oral

sources and published in two volumes of 'Nursery and Household Tales' in

1812 and 1814. Although their intention was to preserve such material as

part of German cultural and literary history, and their collection was

first published with scholarly notes and no illustration, the tales soon

came into the possession of young readers. This was in part due to Edgar

Taylor, who made the first English translation in 1823, selecting about

fifty stories 'with the amusement of some young friends principally in

view.' They have been an essential ingredient of children's reading ever

since.

 

 

 

 

 

 

© The Brothers Grimm 2012

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