History of Literature









Wilhelm and Jakob Grimm


"Grimms Fairy Tales"


 




Grimms Fairy Tales



Translation by Margaret Hunt
 

 

One-Eye, Two-Eyes, and Three-Eyes

There was once a woman who had three daughters, the eldest of whom was called One-Eye, because she had only one eye in the middle of her forehead, and the second, Two-Eyes, because she had two eyes like other folks, and the youngest, Three-Eyes, because she had three eyes, and her third eye was also in the center of her forehead. However, as Two-Eyes saw just as other human beings did, her sisters and her mother could not endure her. They said to her, "You, with your two eyes, are no better than the common people, you do not belong to us." They pushed her about, and threw old clothes to her, and gave her nothing to eat but what they left, and did everything that they could to make her unhappy.

It came to pass that Two-Eyes had to go out into the fields and tend the goat, but she was still quite hungry, because her sisters had given her so little to eat. So she sat down on a ridge and began to weep, and so bitterly that two streams ran down from her eyes. And once when she looked up in her grief, a woman was standing beside her, who said, "Why are you weeping, little Two-Eyes?" Two-Eyes answered, "Have I not reason to weep, when I have two eyes like other people, and my sisters and mother hate me for it, and push me from one corner to another, throw old clothes to me, and give me nothing to eat but the scraps they leave. Today they have given me so little that I am still quite hungry." Then the wise woman said, "Wipe away your tears, Two-Eyes, and I will tell you something to stop your ever suffering from hunger again. Just say to your goat - `Bleat, my little goat, bleat, Cover the table with something to eat,' and then a clean well-spread little table will stand before you with the most delicious food upon it of which you may eat as much as you are inclined for, and when you have had enough, and have no more need of the little table, just say, `Bleat, bleat, my little goat, I pray, and take the table quite away,' and then it will vanish again from your sight." Hereupon the wise woman departed. But Two-Eyes thought, "I must instantly make a trial, and see if what she said is true, for I am far too hungry," and she said - "Bleat, my little goat, bleat, Cover the table with something to eat," and scarcely had she spoken the words than a little table, covered with a white cloth, was standing there, and on it was a plate with a knife and fork, and a silver spoon, and the most delicious food was there also, warm and smoking as if it had just come out of the kitchen. Then Two-Eyes said the shortest prayer she knew, "Lord God, be our guest forever, amen," and helped herself to some food, and enjoyed it. And when she was satisfied, she said, as the wise woman had taught her - "Bleat, bleat, my little goat, I pray, And take the table quite away," and immediately the little table and everything on it was gone again. That is a delightful way of keeping house, thought Two-Eyes, and was quite glad and happy.

In the evening, when she went home with her goat, she found a small earthenware dish with some food, which her sisters had set ready for her, but she did not touch it. Next day she again went out with her goat, and left the few bits of broken bread which had been handed to her, lying untouched. The first and second time that she did this, her sisters did not notice it at all, but as it happened every time, they did observe it, and said, "There is something wrong about Two-Eyes, she always leaves her food untasted, and she used to eat up everything that was given her, she must have discovered other ways of getting food." In order that they might learn the truth, they resolved to send One-Eye with Two-Eyes when she went to drive her goat to the pasture, to observe what Two-Eyes did when she was there, and whether anyone brought her anything to eat and drink.

So when Two-Eyes set out the next time, One-Eye went to her and said, "I will go with you to the pasture, and see that the goat is well taken care of, and driven where there is food." But Two-Eyes knew what was in One-Eye's mind, and drove the goat into high grass and said, "Come, One-Eye, we will sit down, and I will sing something to you." One-Eye sat down and was tired with the unaccustomed walk and the heat of the sun, and Two-Eyes sang constantly - "One-eye, are you waking? One-eye, are you sleeping?" Until One-Eye shut her one eye, and fell asleep, and as soon as Two-Eyes saw that One-Eye was fast asleep, and could discover nothing, she said, "Bleat, my little goat, bleat, Cover the table with something to eat," and seated herself at her table, and ate and drank until she was satisfied, and then she again cried - "Bleat, bleat, my little goat, I pray, And take the table quite away," and in an instant all had vanished. Two-Eyes now awakened One-Eye, and said, "One-Eye, you want to take care of the goat, and go to sleep while you are doing it, but in the meantime the goat might run all over the world. Come, let us go home again."

So they went home, and again Two-Eyes let her dish stand untouched, and One-Eye could not tell her mother why she would not eat it, and to excuse herself said, "I fell asleep when I was out." Next day the mother said to Three-Eyes, this time you shall go and observe if Two-Eyes eats anything when she is out, and if anyone fetches her food and drink, for she must eat and drink in secret. So Three-Eyes went to Two-Eyes, and said, "I will go with you and see if the goat is taken proper care of, and driven where there is food." But Two-Eyes knew what was in Three-Eyes' mind, and drove the goat into high grass and said, "We will sit down, and I will sing something to you, Three-Eyes." Three-Eyes sat down and was tired with the walk and with the heat of the sun, and Two-Eyes began the same song as before, and sang - "Three-Eyes, are you waking?"

But then, instead of singing - "Three-Eyes, are you sleeping?"

As she ought to have done, she thoughtlessly sang - "Two-Eyes, are you sleeping?"

And sang all the time - "Three-Eyes, are you waking? Two-Eyes, are you sleeping?"

Then two of the eyes which Three-Eyes had, shut and fell asleep, but the third, as it had not been named in the song, did not sleep. It is true that three-eyes shut it, but only in her cunning, to pretend it was asleep too, but it blinked, and could see everything very well. And when two-eyes thought that three-eyes was fast asleep, she used her little charm - "Bleat, my little goat, bleat, Cover the table with something to eat," and ate and drank as much as her heart desired, and then ordered the table to go away again, "Bleat, bleat, my little goat, I pray, And take the table quite away," and Three-Eyes had seen everything. Then Two-Eyes came to her, waked her and said, "Have you been asleep, Three-Eyes? You keep watch very well. Come, we will go home." And when they got home, Two-Eyes again did not eat, and Three-Eyes said to the mother, "Now, I know why that haughty thing there does not eat. When she is out, she says to the goat - `Bleat, my little goat, bleat, Cover the table with something to eat,' and then a little table appears before her covered with the best of food, much better than any we have here, and when she has eaten all she wants, she says - `Bleat, bleat, my little goat, I pray, And take the table quite away,' and all disappears. I watched everything closely. She put two of my eyes to sleep by means of a charm, but luckily the one in my forehead kept awake."

Then the envious mother cried, "Do you want to fare better than we do? The desire shall pass from you," and she fetched a butcher's knife, and thrust it into the heart of the goat, which fell down dead. When Two-Eyes saw that, she went out full of sadness, seated herself on the ridge of grass at the edge of the field, and wept bitter tears. Suddenly the wise woman once more stood by her side, and said, "Two-Eyes, why are you weeping?" "Have I not reason to weep?" she answered. "The goat which covered the table for me every day when I spoke your charm, has been killed by my mother, and now I shall again have to bear hunger and want." The wise woman said, "Two-Eyes, I will give you a piece of good advice, ask your sisters to give you the entrails of the slaughtered goat, and bury them in the ground in front of the house, and your fortune will be made." Then she vanished, and Two-Eyes went home and said to her sisters, "Dear sisters, do give me some part of my goat, I don't wish for what is good, but give me the entrails." Then they laughed and said, "If that's all you want, you can have it." So Two-Eyes took the entrails and buried them quietly in the evening, in front of the house-door, as the wise woman had counseled her to do.

Next morning, when they all awoke, and went to the house-door, there stood a strangely magnificent tree with leaves of silver, and fruit of gold hanging among them, so that in all the wide world there was nothing more beautiful or precious. They did not know how the tree could have come there during the night, but Two-Eyes saw that it had grown up out of the entrails of the goat, for it was standing on the exact spot where she had buried them. Then the mother said to One-Eye, "Climb up, my child, and gather some of the fruit of the tree for us." One-eye climbed up, but when she was about to get hold of one of the golden apples, the branch escaped from her hands, and that happened each time, so that she could not pluck a single apple, let her do what she might. Then said the mother, "Three-Eyes, you climb up, you with your three eyes can look about you better than One-Eye." One-Eye slipped down, and Three-Eyes climbed up. Three-Eyes was not more skillful, and might try as she would, but the golden apples always escaped her.

At length the mother grew impatient, and climbed up herself, but could get hold of the fruit no better than One-Eye and Three-Eyes, for she always clutched empty air. Then said Two-Eyes, "Let me go up, perhaps I may succeed better." The sisters cried, "You indeed, with your two eyes, what can you do?" But Two-Eyes climbed up, and the golden apples did not avoid her, but came into her hand of their own accord, so that she could pluck them one after the other, and brought a whole apronful down with her. The mother took them away from her, and instead of treating poor Two-Eyes any better for this, she and One-Eye and Three-Eyes were only envious, because Two-Eyes alone had been able to get the fruit, and they treated her still more cruelly.

It so befell that once when they were all standing together by the tree, a young knight came up. "Quick, Two-Eyes," cried the two sisters, "creep under this, and don't disgrace us," and with all speed they turned an empty barrel which was standing close by the tree over poor Two-Eyes, and they swept the golden apples which she had been gathering, under it too. When the knight came nearer he was a handsome lord, who stopped and admired the magnificent gold and silver tree, and said to the two sisters, "To whom does this fine tree belong? Anyone who would bestow one branch of it on me might in return for it ask whatsoever he desired." Then One-Eye and Three-Eyes replied that the tree belonged to them, and that they would give him a branch. They both took great trouble, but they were not able to do it, for the branches and fruit both moved away from them every time. Then said the knight, "It is very strange that the tree should belong to you, and that you should not have the power to break a piece off." They again asserted that the tree was their property.

Whilst they were saying so, Two-Eyes rolled out a couple of golden apples from under the barrel to the feet of the knight, for she was vexed with One-Eye and Three-Eyes, for not speaking the truth. When the knight saw the apples he was astonished, and asked where they came from. One-Eye and Three-Eyes answered that they had another sister, who was not allowed to show herself, for she had only two eyes like any common person. The knight, however, desired to see her, and cried, "Two-Eyes, come forth." Then Two-Eyes, quite comforted, came from beneath the barrel, and the knight was surprised at her great beauty, and said, "You, Two-Eyes, can certainly break off a branch from the tree for me." "Yes," replied Two-Eyes, "that I certainly shall be able to do, for the tree belongs to me." And she climbed up, and with the greatest ease broke off a branch with beautiful silver leaves and golden fruit, and gave it to the knight. Then said the knight, "Two-Eyes, what shall I give you for it?" "Alas, answered two-eyes, "I suffer from hunger and thirst, grief and want, from early morning till late night. If you would take me with you, and rescue me, I should be happy." So the knight lifted Two-Eyes on to his horse, and took her home with him to his father's castle, and there he gave her beautiful clothes, and meat and drink to her heart's content, and as he loved her so much he married her, and the wedding was solemnized with great rejoicing.

When Two-Eyes was thus carried away by the handsome knight, her two sisters grudged her good fortune in downright earnest. "The wonderful tree, however, still remains with us," thought they, "and even if we can gather no fruit from it, still every one will stand still and look at it, and come to us and admire it. Who knows what good things may be in store for us." But next morning, the tree had vanished, and all their hopes were at an end. And when Two-Eyes looked out of the window of her own room, to her great delight it was standing in front of it, and so it had followed her.

Two-Eyes lived a long time in happiness. Once two poor women came to her in her castle, and begged for alms. She looked in their faces, and recognized her sisters, One-Eye, and Three-Eyes, who had fallen into such poverty that they had to wander about and beg their bread from door to door. Two-Eyes, however, made them welcome, and was kind to them, and took care of them, so that they both with all their hearts repented the evil that they had done their sister in their youth.

 

The Six Servants

In olden times there lived an aged queen who was a sorceress, and her daughter was the most beautiful maiden under the sun. The old woman, however, had no other thought than how to lure mankind to destruction, and when a wooer appeared, she said that whosoever wished to have her daughter, must first perform a task, or die. Many had been dazzled by the daughter's beauty, and had actually risked this, but they never could accomplish what the old woman enjoined them to do, and then no mercy was shown, they had to kneel down, and their heads were struck off.

A certain king's son who had also heard of the maiden's beauty, said to his father, "Let me go there, I want to demand her in marriage." "Never," answered the king, "if you were to go, it would be going to your death." On this the son lay down and was sick unto death, and for seven years he lay there, and no physician could heal him. When the father perceived that all hope was over, with a heavy heart he said to him, "Go thither, and try your luck, for I know no other means of curing you." When the son heard that, he rose from his bed and was well again, and joyfully set out on his way.

And it came to pass that as he was riding across a heath, he saw from afar something like a great heap of hay laying on the ground, and when he drew nearer, he could see that it was the stomach of a man, who had laid himself down there, but the stomach looked like a small mountain. When the fat man saw the traveler, he stood up and said, "If you are in need of any one, take me into your service." The prince answered, "What can I do with such a clumsy man?" "Oh," said the stout one, "this is nothing, when I really puff myself up, I am three thousand times fatter." "If that's the case," said the prince, "I can make use of you, come with me."

So the stout one followed the prince, and after a while they found another man who was lying on the ground with his ear laid to the turf. "What are you doing there?" asked the king's son. "I am listening," replied the man. "What are you listening to so attentively?" "I am listening to what is just going on in the world, for nothing escapes my ears, I even hear the grass growing." "Tell me," said the prince, "what you hear at the court of the old queen who has the beautiful daughter." Then he answered, "I hear the whizzing of the sword that is striking off a wooer's head." The king's son said, "I can make use of you, come with me."

They went onwards, and then saw a pair of feet lying and part of a pair of legs, but could not see the rest of the body. When they had walked on for a great distance, they came to the body, and at last to the head also. "Why," said the prince, "what a tall rascal you are." "Oh," replied the tall one, "that is nothing at all yet, when I really stretch out my limbs, I am three thousand times as tall, and taller than the highest mountain on earth. I will gladly enter your service, if you will take me." "Come with me," said the prince, "I can make use of you."

They went onwards and found a man sitting by the road who had bound up his eyes. The prince said to him, "Have you weak eyes, that you cannot look at the light?" "No," replied the man, "but I must not remove the bandage, for whatsoever I look at with my eyes, splits to pieces, so powerful is my glance. If you can use that, I shall be glad to serve you." "Come with me," replied the king's son, "I can make use of you."

They journeyed onwards and found a man who was lying in the hot sunshine, trembling and shivering all over his body, so that not a limb was still. "How can you shiver when the sun is shining so warm?" said the king's son. "Alas," replied the man, "I am of quite a different nature. The hotter it is, the colder I am, and the frost pierces through all my bones, and the colder it is, the hotter I am. In the midst of ice, I cannot endure the heat, nor in the midst of fire, the cold." "You are a strange fellow," said the prince, "but if you will enter my service, follow me."

They traveled onwards, and saw a man standing who made a long neck and looked about him, and could see over all the mountains. "What are you looking at so eagerly?" said the king's son. The man replied, "I have such sharp eyes that I can see into every forest and field, and hill and valley, all over the world." The prince said, "Come with me if you will, for I am still in want of such an one."

And now the king's son and his six servants came to the town where the aged queen dwelt. He did not tell her who he was, but said, "If you will give me your beautiful daughter, I will perform any task you set me." The sorceress was delighted to get such a handsome youth as this into her net, and said, "I will set you three tasks, and if you are able to perform them all, you shall be husband and master of my daughter." "What is the first to be?" "You shall fetch me my ring which I have dropped into the red sea."

So the king's son went home to his servants and said, "The first task is not easy. A ring is to be got out of the red sea. Come, find some way of doing it." Then the man with the sharp sight said, "I will see where it is lying," and looked down into the water and said, "It is hanging there, on a pointed stone." The tall one carried them thither, and said, "I would soon get it out, if I could only see it." "Oh, is that all," cried the stout one, and lay down and put his mouth to the water, on which all the waves fell into it just as if it had been a whirlpool, and he drank up the whole sea till it was as dry as a meadow. The tall one stooped down a little, and brought out the ring with his hand.

Then the king's son rejoiced when he had the ring, and took it to the old queen. She was astonished, and said, "Yes, it is the right ring. You have safely performed the first task, but now comes the second. Do you see the meadow in front of my palace? Three hundred fat oxen are feeding there, and these must you eat, skin, hair, bones, horns and all, and down below in my cellar lie three hundred casks of wine, and these you must drink up as well, and if one hair of the oxen, or one little drop of the wine is left, your life will be forfeited to me." "May I invite no guests to this repast?" inquired the prince, "No dinner is good without some company." The old woman laughed maliciously, and replied, "You may invite one for the sake of companionship, but no more."

The king's son went to his servants and said to the stout one, "You shall be my guest to-day, and shall eat your fill." Hereupon the stout one puffed himself up and ate the three hundred oxen without leaving one single hair, and then he asked if he was to have nothing but his breakfast. Then he drank the wine straight from the casks without feeling any need of a glass, and drained them down to their dregs.

When the meal was over, the prince went to the old woman, and told her that the second task also was performed. She wondered at this and said, "No one has ever done so much before, but one task still remains," and she thought to herself, "You shall not escape me, and will not keep your head on your shoulders." "This night," said she, "I will bring my daughter to you in your chamber, and you shall put your arms round her, but when you are sitting there together, beware of falling asleep. When twelve o'clock is striking, I will come, and if she is then no longer in your arms, you are lost."

The prince thought, "The task is easy, I will most certainly keep my eyes open." Nevertheless he called his servants, told them what the old woman had said, and remarked, "Who knows what treachery lurks behind this? Foresight is a good thing - keep watch, and take care that the maiden does not go out of my room again." When night fell, the old woman came with her daughter, and gave her into the princes's arms, and then the tall one wound himself round the two in a circle, and the stout one placed himself by the door, so that no living creature could enter. There the two sat, and the maiden spoke never a word, but the moon shone through the window on her face, and the prince could behold her wondrous beauty. He did nothing but gaze at her, and was filled with love and happiness, and his eyes never felt weary. This lasted until eleven o'clock, when the old woman cast such a spell over all of them that they fell asleep, and at the self-same moment the maiden was carried away.

Then they all slept soundly until a quarter to twelve, when the magic lost its power, and all awoke again. "Oh, misery and misfortune," cried the prince, "now I am lost." The faithful servants also began to lament, but the listener said, "Be quiet, I want to listen." Then he listened for an instant and said, "She is on a rock, three hundred leagues from hence, bewailing her fate. You alone, tall one, can help her, if you will stand up, you will be there in a couple of steps."

"Yes," answered the tall one, "but the one with the sharp eyes must go with me, that we may destroy the rock." Then the tall one took the one with bandaged eyes on his back, and in the twinkling of an eye they were on the enchanted rock. The tall one immediately took the bandage from the other's eyes, and he did but look round, and the rock shivered into a thousand pieces. Then the tall one took the maiden in his arms, carried her back in a second, then fetched his companion with the same rapidity, and before it struck twelve they were all sitting as they had sat before, quite merrily and happily. When twelve struck, the aged sorceress came stealing in with a malicious face, as much as to say, "Now he is mine, for she believed that her daughter was on the rock three hundred leagues off." But when she saw her in the prince's arms, she was alarmed, and said, "Here is one who knows more than I do." She dared not make any opposition, and was forced to give him her daughter. But she whispered in her ear, "It is a disgrace to you to have to obey common people, and that you are not allowed to choose a husband to your own liking."

On this the proud heart of the maiden was filled with anger, and she meditated revenge. Next morning she caused three hundred great bundles of wood to be got together, and said to the prince that though the three tasks were performed, she would still not be his wife until someone was ready to seat himself in the midst of the wood, and bear the fire. She thought that none of his servants would let themselves be burnt for him, and that out of love for her, he himself would place himself upon it, and then she would be free. But the servants said, "Every one of us has done something except the frosty one, he must set to work, and they put him in the middle of the pile, and set fire to it." Then the fire began to burn, and burnt for three days until all the wood was consumed, and when the flames had burnt out, the frosty one was standing amid the ashes, trembling like an aspen leaf, and saying, "I never felt such a frost during the whole course of my life, if it had lasted much longer, I should have been benumbed."

As no other pretext was to be found, the beautiful maiden was now forced to take the unknown youth as a husband. But when they drove away to church, the old woman said, "I cannot endure the disgrace," and sent her warriors after them with orders to cut down all who opposed them, and bring back her daughter. But the listener had sharpened his ears, and heard the secret discourse of the old woman. "What shall we do?" said he to the stout one. But he knew what to do, and spat out once or twice behind the carriage some of the sea-water which he had drunk, and a great lake arose in which the warriors were caught and drowned.

When the sorceress perceived that, she sent her mailed knights, but the listener heard the rattling of their armor, and undid the bandage from one eye of sharp-eyes, who looked for a while rather fixedly at the enemy's troops, on which they all sprang to pieces like glass. Then the youth and the maiden went on their way undisturbed, and when the two had been blessed in church, the six servants took leave, and said to their master, "Your wishes are now satisfied, you need us no longer, we will go our way and seek our fortunes."

Half a league from the palace of the prince's father was a village near which a swineherd tended his herd, and when they came thither the prince said to his wife, "Do you know who I really am? I am no prince, but a herder of swine, and the man who is there with that herd, is my father. We two shall have to set to work also, and help him." Then he alighted with her at the inn, and secretly told the innkeepers to take away her royal apparel during the night. So when she awoke in the morning, she had nothing to put on, and the innkeeper's wife gave her an old gown and a pair of worsted stockings, and at the same time seemed to consider it a great present, and said, "If it were not for the sake of your husband I should have given you nothing at all." Then the princess believed that he really was a swineherd, and tended the herd with him, and thought to herself, "I have deserved this for my haughtiness and pride."

This lasted for a week, and then she could endure it no longer, for she had sores on her feet. And now came a couple of people who asked if she knew who her husband was. "Yes," she answered, "he is a swineherd, and has just gone out with cords and ropes to try to drive a little bargain." But they said, "Just come with us, and we will take you to him," and they took her up to the palace, and when she entered the hall, there stood her husband in kingly raiment. But she did not recognize him until he took her in his arms, kissed her, and said, "I suffered so much for you that you, too, had to suffer for me." And then the wedding was celebrated, and he who has related this, wishes that he, too, had been present at it.

 

Iron John

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, and of the pack of hounds which they had taken with them, 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 court-yard, 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 every one could again go into the forest with safety. The king had a son of eight years, who was once playing in the court-yard, 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 had 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 bed-room 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 when 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 I am grown up, and will go the 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 jig, hobblety jig, 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 battle-field 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 jig 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 armor 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 armor 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 colors, 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 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.

 

The Maid of Brakel

There were once upon a time a king and a queen who lived happily together and had twelve children, but they were all boys. Then said the king to his wife, if the thirteenth child which you are about to bring into the world, is a girl, the twelve boys shall die, in order that her possessions may be great, and that the kingdom may fall to her alone. He even caused twelve coffins to be made, which were already filled with shavings, and in each lay a little death pillow, and he had them taken into a locked-up room, and then he gave the queen the key of it, and bade her not to speak of this to anyone.

The mother, however, now sat and lamented all day long, until the youngest son, who was always with her, and whom she had named benjamin, from the bible, said to her, dear mother, why are you so sad.

Dearest child, she answered, I may not tell you. But he let her have no rest until she went and unlocked the room, and showed him the twelve coffins ready filled with shavings. Then she said, my dearest benjamin, your father has had these coffins made for you and for your eleven brothers, for if I bring a little girl into the world, you are all to be killed and buried in them. And as she wept while she was saying this, the son comforted her and said, weep not, dear mother, we will save ourselves, and go hence. But she said, go forth into the forest with your eleven brothers, and let one sit constantly on the highest tree which can be found, and keep watch, looking towards the tower here in the castle. If I give birth to a little son, I will put up a white flag, and then you may venture to come back. But if I bear a daughter, I will hoist a red flag, and then fly hence as quickly as you are able, and may the good God protect you. And every night I will rise up and pray for you - in winter that you may be able to warm yourself at a fire, and in summer that you may not faint away in the heat.

After she had blessed her sons therefore, they went forth into the forest. They each kept watch in turn, and sat on the highest oak and looked towards the tower. When eleven days had passed and the turn came to benjamin, he saw that a flag was being raised. It was, however, not the white, but the blood-red flag which announced that they were all to die. When the brothers heard that, they were very angry and said, are we all to suffer death for the sake of a girl. We swear that we will avenge ourselves - wheresoever we find a girl, her red blood shall flow.

Thereupon they went deeper into the forest, and in the midst of it, where it was the darkest, they found a little bewitched hut, which was standing empty. Then said they, here we will dwell, and you benjamin, who are the youngest and weakest, you shall stay at home and keep house, we others will go out and fetch food.

Then they went into the forest and shot hares, wild deer, birds and pigeons, and whatsoever there was to eat. This they took to benjamin, who had to dress it for them in order that they might appease their hunger. They lived together ten years in the little hut, and the time did not appear long to them.

The little daughter which their mother the queen had given birth to, was now grown up. She was good of heart, and fair of face, and had a golden star on her forehead. Once, on a great washing, she saw twelve men's shirts among the things, and asked her mother, to whom do these twelve shirts belong, for they are far too small for father. Then the queen answered with a heavy heart, dear child, these belong to your twelve brothers. Said the maiden, where are my twelve brothers, I have never yet heard of them. She replied, God knows where they are, they are wandering about the world. Then she took the maiden and opened the chamber for her, and showed her the twelve coffins with the shavings, and the death pillows. These coffins, said she, were destined for your brothers, who went away secretly before you were born, and she related to her how everything had happened. Then said the maiden, dear mother, weep not, I will go and seek my brothers.

So she took the twelve shirts and went forth, and straight into the great forest. She walked the whole day, and in the evening she came to the bewitched hut. Then she entered it and found a young boy, who asked, from whence do you come, and whither are you bound, and was astonished that she was so beautiful, and wore royal garments, and had a star on her forehead. And she answered, I am a king's daughter, and am seeking my twelve brothers, and I will walk as far as the sky is blue until I find them. And she showed him the twelve shirts which belonged to them. Then benjamin saw that she was his sister, and said, I am benjamin, your youngest brother. And she began to weep for joy, and benjamin wept also, and they kissed and embraced each other with the greatest love. But after this he said, dear sister, there is still one difficulty. We have agreed that every maiden whom we meet shall die, because we have been obliged to leave our kingdom on account of a girl. Then said she, I will willingly die, if by so doing I can save my twelve brothers.

No, answered he, you shall not die. Seat yourself beneath this tub until our eleven brothers come, and then I will soon come to an agreement with them.

She did so, and when it was night the others came from hunting, and their dinner was ready. And as they were sitting at table, and eating, they asked, what news is there. Said benjamin, don't you know anything. No, they answered. He continued, you have been in the forest and I have stayed at home, and yet I know more than you do. Tell us then, they cried. He answered, but promise me that the first maiden who meets us shall not be killed.

Yes, they all cried, she shall have mercy, only do tell us. Then said he, our sister is here, and he lifted up the tub, and the king's daughter came forth in her royal garments with the golden star on her forehead, and she was beautiful, delicate and fair. Then they were all rejoiced, and fell on her neck, and kissed and loved her with all their hearts.

Now she stayed at home with benjamin and helped him with the work. The eleven went into the forest and caught game, and deer, and birds, and wood-pigeons that they might have food, and the little sister and benjamin took care to make it ready for them. She sought for the wood for cooking and herbs for vegetables, and put the pans on the fire so that the dinner was always ready when the eleven came. She likewise kept order in the little house, and put beautifully white clean coverings on the little beds and the brothers were always contented and lived in great harmony with her.

Once upon a time the two at home had prepared a wonderful feast, and when they were all together, they sat down and ate and drank and were full of gladness. There was, however, a little garden belonging to the bewitched house wherein stood twelve lily flowers, which are likewise called student-lilies. She wished to give her brothers pleasure, and plucked the twelve flowers, and thought she would present each brother with one while at dinner. But at the self-same moment that she plucked the flowers the twelve brothers were changed into twelve ravens, and flew away over the forest, and the house and garden vanished likewise. And now the poor maiden was alone in the wild forest, and when she looked around, an old woman was standing near her who said, my child, what have you done. Why did you not leave the twelve white flowers growing. They were your brothers, who are now forevermore changed into ravens. The maiden said, weeping, is there no way of saving them.

No, said the woman, there is but one in the whole world, and that is so hard that you will not save them by it, for you must be dumb for seven years, and may not speak or laugh, and if you speak one single word, and only an hour of the seven years is wanting, all is in vain, and your brothers will be killed by the one word.

Then said the maiden in her heart, I know with certainty that I shall set my brothers free, and went and sought a high tree and seated herself in it and spun, and neither spoke nor laughed. Now it so happened that a king was hunting in the forest, who had a great greyhound which ran to the tree on which the maiden was sitting, and sprang about it, whining, and barking at her. Then the king came by and saw the beautiful king's daughter with the golden star on her brow, and was so charmed with her beauty that he called to ask her if she would be his wife. She made no answer, but nodded a little with her head. So he climbed up the tree himself, carried her down, placed her on his horse, and bore her home. Then the wedding was solemnized with great magnificence and rejoicing, but the bride neither spoke nor smiled. When they had lived happily together for a few years, the king's mother, who was a wicked woman, began to slander the young queen, and said to the king, this is a common beggar girl whom you have brought back with you. Who knows what wicked tricks she practises secretly. Even if she be dumb, and not able to speak, she still might laugh for once. But those who do not laugh have bad consciences.

At first the king would not believe it, but the old woman urged this so long, and accused her of so many evil things, that at last the king let himself be persuaded and sentenced her to death. And now a great fire was lighted in the courtyard in which she was to be burnt, and the king stood above at the window and looked on with tearful eyes, because he still loved her so much. And when she was bound fast to the stake, and the fire was licking at her clothes with its red tongue, the last instant of the seven years expired. Then a whirring sound was heard in the air, and twelve ravens came flying towards the place, and sank downwards, and when they touched the earth they were her twelve brothers, whom she had saved. They tore the fire asunder, extinguished the flames, set their dear sister free, and kissed and embraced her. And now as she dared to open her mouth and speak, she told the king why she had been dumb, and had never laughed. The king rejoiced when he heard that she was innocent, and they all lived in great unity until their death. The wicked step-mother was taken before the judge, and put into a barrel filled with boiling oil and venomous snakes, and died an evil death.

 

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 house-work, 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 away 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 traveler 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 fire-wood. 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 in 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 the 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 colors so beautifully that the children stood still and stared at them. Why do you stand gaping there, cried the dwarf, and his ashen-gray 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 recognised 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 Glass Coffin

Let no one ever say that a poor tailor cannot do great things and win high honors. All that is needed is that he should go to the right smithy, and what is of most consequence, that he should have good luck. A civil, smart tailor's apprentice once went out traveling, and came into a great forest, and, as he did not know the way, he lost himself. Night fell and nothing was left for him to do in this painful solitude, but to seek a bed. He might certainly have found a good bed on the soft moss, but the fear of wild beasts let him have no rest there, and at last he made up his mind to spend the night in a tree. He sought out a high oak, climbed up to the top of it, and thanked God that he had his goose with him, for otherwise the wind which blew over the top of the tree would have carried him away. After he had spent some hours in the darkness, not without fear and trembling, he saw at a very short distance the glimmer of a light, and as he thought that a human habitation might be there, where he would be better off than on the branches of a tree, he got carefully down and went towards the light. It guided him to a small hut that was woven together of reeds and rushes. He knocked boldly, the door opened, and by the light which came forth he saw a little hoary old man who wore a coat made of bits of colored stuff sewn together. Who are you, and what do you want, asked the man in a grumbling voice. I am a poor tailor, he answered, whom night has surprised here in the wilderness, and I earnestly beg you to take me into your hut until morning. Go your way, replied the old man in a surly voice, I will have nothing to do with tramps, seek for yourself a shelter elsewhere. Having said this, he was about to slip into his hut again, but the tailor held him so tightly by the corner of his coat, and pleaded so piteously, that the old man, who was not so ill-natured as he wished to appear, was at last softened, and took him into the hut with him where he gave him something to eat, and then offered him a very good bed in a corner. The weary tailor needed no rocking, but slept sweetly till morning, but even then would not have thought of getting up, if he had not been aroused by a great noise. A violent sound of screaming and roaring forced its way through the thin walls of the hut. The tailor, full of unwonted courage, jumped up, put his clothes on in haste, and hurried out. Then close by the hut, he saw a great black bull and a beautiful stag, which were just preparing for a violent struggle. They rushed at each other with such extreme rage that the ground shook with their trampling, and the air resounded with their cries. For a long time it was uncertain which of the two would gain the victory, at length the stag thrust his horns into his adversary's body, whereupon the bull fell to the earth with a terrific roar, and was finished off by a few strokes from the stag. The tailor, who had watched the fight with astonishment, was still standing there motionless, when the stag in full career bounded up to him, and before he could escape, caught him up on his great horns. He had not much time to collect his thoughts, for it went in a swift race over stock and stone, mountain and valley, wood and meadow. He held with both hands to the ends of the horns, and resigned himself to his fate. It seemed to him just as if he were flying away. At length the stag stopped in front of a wall of rock, and gently let the tailor down. The tailor, more dead than alive, required some time to come to himself. When he had in some degree recovered, the stag, which had remained standing by him, pushed its horns with such force against a door in the rock, that it sprang open. Flames of fire shot forth, after which followed a great smoke, which hid the stag from his sight. The tailor did not know what to do, or whither to turn, in order to get out of this desert and back to human beings again. Whilst he was standing thus undecided, a voice sounded out of the rock, which cried to him, enter without fear, no evil shall befall you. He hesitated, but driven by a mysterious force, he obeyed the voice and went through the iron-door into a large spacious hall, whose ceiling, walls and floor were made of shining polished square stones, on each of which were carved signs which were unknown to him. He looked at everything full of admiration, and was on the point of going out again, when he once more heard the voice which said to him, step on the stone which lies in the middle of the hall, and great good fortune awaits you. His courage had already grown so great that he obeyed the order. The stone began to give way under his feet, and sank slowly down into the depths. When it was once more firm, and the tailor looked round, he found himself in a hall which in size resembled the former. Here, however, there was more to look at and to admire. Hollow places were cut in the walls, in which stood vases of transparent glass and filled with colored spirit or with a bluish vapor. On the floor of the hall two great glass chests stood opposite to each other, which at once excited his curiosity. When he went to one of them he saw inside it a handsome structure like a castle surrounded by farm-buildings, stables and barns, and a quantity of other good things. Everything was small, but exceedingly carefully and delicately made, and seemed to be carved out by a dexterous hand with the greatest precision. He might not have turned away his eyes from the consideration of this rarity for some time, had not the voice once more made itself heard. It ordered him to turn round and look at the glass chest which was standing opposite. How his admiration increased when he saw therein a maiden of the greatest beauty. She lay as if asleep, and was wrapped in her long fair hair as in a precious mantle. Her eyes were closely shut, but the brightness of her complexion and a ribbon which her breathing moved to and fro, left no doubt that she was alive. The tailor was looking at the beauty with beating heart, when she suddenly opened her eyes, and started up at the sight of him with a shock of joy. Divine providence, cried she, my deliverance is at hand. Quick, quick, help me out of my prison. If you push back the bolt of this glass coffin, then I shall be free. The tailor obeyed without delay, and she immediately raised up the glass lid, came out and hastened into the corner of the hall, where she covered herself with a large cloak. Then she seated herself on a stone, ordered the young man to come to her, and after she had imprinted a friendly kiss on his lips, she said, my long-desired deliverer, kind heaven has guided you to me, and put an end to my sorrows. On the self-same day when they end, shall your happiness begin. You are the husband chosen for me by heaven, and shall pass your life in unbroken joy, loved by me, and rich to overflowing in every earthly possession. Seat yourself, and listen to the story of my life. I am the daughter of a rich count. My parents died when I was still in my tender youth, and recommended me in their last will to my elder brother, by whom I was brought up. We loved each other so tenderly, and were so alike in our way of thinking and our inclinations, that we both embraced the resolution never to marry, but to stay together to the end of our lives. In our house there was no lack of company. Neighbors and friends visited us often, and we showed the greatest hospitality to every one. So it came to pass one evening that a stranger came riding to our castle, and, under pretext of not being able to get on to the next place, begged for shelter for the night. We granted his request with ready courtesy, and he entertained us in the most agreeable manner during supper by conversation intermingled with stories. My brother liked the stranger so much that he begged him to spend a couple of days with us, to which, after some hesitation, he consented. We did not rise from table until late in the night, the stranger was shown to a room, and I hastened, as I was tired, to lay my limbs in my soft bed. Hardly had I fallen off to sleep, when the sound of faint and delightful music awoke me. As I could not conceive from whence it came, I wanted to summon my waiting-maid who slept in the next room, but to my astonishment I found that speech was taken away from me by an unknown force. I felt as if a nightmare were weighing down my breast, and was unable to make the very slightest sound. In the meantime, by the light of my night-lamp, I saw the stranger enter my room through two doors which were fast bolted. He came to me and said, that by magic arts which were at his command, he had caused the lovely music to sound in order to awaken me, and that he now forced his way through all fastenings with the intention of offering his hand and heart. My dislike of his magic arts was so great, however, that I refused to answer him. He remained for a time standing without moving, apparently with the idea of waiting for a favorable decision, but as I continued to keep silence, he angrily declared he would revenge himself and find means to punish my pride, and left the room. I passed the night in the greatest disquietude, and fell asleep only towards morning. When I awoke, I hurried to my brother, but did not find him in his room, and the attendants told me that he had ridden forth with the stranger to the chase at daybreak.

I at once suspected nothing good. I dressed myself quickly, ordered my palfrey to be saddled, and accompanied only by one servant, rode full gallop to the forest. The servant fell with his horse, and could not follow me, for the horse had broken its foot. I pursued my way without halting, and in a few minutes I saw the stranger coming towards me with a beautiful stag which he led by a cord. I asked him where he had left my brother, and how he had come by this stag, out of whose great eyes I saw tears flowing. Instead of answering me, he began to laugh loudly. I fell into a great rage at this, pulled out a pistol and discharged it at the monster, but the ball rebounded from his breast and went into my horse's head. I fell to the ground, and the stranger muttered some words which deprived me of consciousness. When I came to my senses again I found myself in this underground cave in a glass coffin. The magician appeared once again, and said he had changed my brother into a stag, my castle with all that belonged to it, diminished in size by his arts, he had shut up in the other glass chest, and my people, who were all turned into smoke, he had confined in glass bottles. He told me that if I would now comply with his wish, it would be an easy thing for him to put everything back in its former state, as he had nothing to do but open the vessels, and everything would return once more to its natural form. I answered him as little as I had done the first time. He vanished and left me in my prison, in which a deep sleep came on me. Among the visions which passed before my eyes, the most comforting was that in which a young man came and set me free, and when I opened my eyes to-day I saw you, and beheld my dream fulfilled. Help me to accomplish the other things which happened in those visions. The first is that we lift the glass chest in which my castle is enclosed, on to that broad stone. As soon as the stone was laden, it began to rise up on high with the maiden and the young man, and mounted through the opening of the ceiling into the upper hall, from whence they then could easily reach the open air. Here the maiden opened the lid, and it was marvellous to behold how the castle, the houses, and the farm buildings which were enclosed, stretched themselves out and grew to their natural size with the greatest rapidity. After this, the maiden and the tailor returned to the cave beneath the earth, and had the vessels which were filled with smoke carried up by the stone. The maiden had scarcely opened the bottles when the blue smoke rushed out and changed itself into living men, in whom she recognized her servants and her people. Her joy was still more increased when her brother, who had killed the magician in the form of the bull, came out of the forest towards them in his human form, and on the self-same day the maiden, in accordance with her promise, gave her hand at the altar to the lucky tailor.

 

The Griffin

There was once upon a time a king, but where he reigned and what he was called, I do not know. He had no son, but an only daughter who had always been ill, and no doctor had been able to cure her. Then it was foretold to the king that his daughter would find her health by eating an apple. So he ordered it to be proclaimed throughout the whole of his kingdom, that whosoever brought his daughter an apple with which she could find her health, should have her to wife, and be king.

This became known to a peasant who had three sons, and he said to the eldest, go out into the garden and take a basketful of those beautiful apples with the red cheeks and carry them to the court, perhaps the king's daughter will be able to find her health with them, and then you will marry her and be king. The lad did so, and set out. When he had gone a short way he met a hoary little man who asked him what he had there in the basket, to which replied Uele for so was he named, frogs, legs. At this the little man said, well, so shall it be, and remain, and went away. At length Uele arrived at the palace, and made it known that he had brought apples which would cure the king's daughter if she ate them. This delighted the king hugely, and he caused Uele to be brought before him, but, alas. When he opened the basket, instead of having apples in it he had frogs, legs which were still kicking about. On this the king grew angry, and had him driven out of the house.

When he got home he told his father how it had fared with him. Then the father sent the next son, who was called same, but all went with him just as it had gone with Uele. He also met the hoary little man, who asked what he had there in the basket. Same said, hogs, bristles, and the hoary man said, well, so shall it be, and remain. When same got to the king's palace and said he brought apples with which the king's daughter might find her health, they did not want to let him go in, and said that one fellow had already been there, and had treated them as if they were fools. Same, however, maintained that he certainly had the apples, and that they ought to let him go in. At length they believed him, and led him to the king. But when he uncovered the basket, he had but hogs, bristles. This enraged the king most terribly, so he caused same to be whipped out of the house.

When he got home he related all that had befallen him, whereupon the youngest boy, whose name was Hans, but who was always called stupid Hans, came and asked his father if he might go with some apples. Oh, said the father, you would be just the right fellow for such a thing. If the clever one can't manage it, what can you do. The boy, however, insisted and said, indeed, father, I wish to go. Just get away, you stupid fellow, you must wait till you are wiser, said the father to that, and turned his back. Hans, however, pulled at the back of his smock and said, indeed, father, I wish to go. Well, then, so far as I am concerned you may go, but you will soon come home again, replied the old man in a spiteful voice. The boy was tremendously delighted and jumped for joy. Well, act like a fool. You grow more stupid every day, said the father again. But Hans was not discouraged, and did not let it spoil his pleasure, but as it was then night, he thought he might as well wait until the morrow, for he could not get to court that day. All night long he could not sleep in his bed, and if he did doze for a moment, he dreamt of beautiful maidens, of palaces, of gold, and of silver, and all kinds of things of that sort.

Early in the morning, he went forth on his way, and directly afterwards the little shabby-looking man in his icy clothes, came to him and asked what he was carrying in the basket. Hans gave him the answer that he was carrying apples with which the king's daughter was to find her health. Then, said the little man, so shall they be, and remain. But at the court they would none of them let Hans go in, for they said two had already been there who had told them that they were bringing apples, and one of them had frogs, legs, and the other hogs, bristles. Hans, however, resolutely maintained that he most certainly had no frogs, legs, but some of the most beautiful apples in the whole kingdom. As he spoke so pleasantly, the door-keeper thought he could not be telling a lie, and asked him to go in, and he was right, for when Hans uncovered his basket in the king's presence, golden-yellow apples came tumbling out.

The king was delighted, and caused some of them to be taken to his daughter, and then waited in anxious expectation until news should be brought to him of the effect they had. But before much time had passed by, news was brought to him. And who do you think it was who came. It was the daughter herself. As soon as she had eaten of those apples, she was cured, and sprang out of her bed. The joy the king felt cannot be described. But now he did not want to give his daughter in marriage to Hans, and said he must first make him a boat which would go quicker on dry land than on water. Hans agreed to the condition, and went home, and related how it had fared with him. Then the father sent Uele into the forest to make a boat of that kind. He worked diligently, and whistled all the time.

At mid-day, when the sun was at its highest, came the little icy man and asked what he was making. Uele gave him for answer, wooden bowls for the kitchen. The icy man said, so it shall be, and remain. By evening Uele thought he had now made the boat, but when he wanted to get into it, he had nothing but wooden bowls. The next day same went into the forest, but everything went with him just as it had done with Uele. On the third day stupid Hans went. He worked away most industriously, so that the whole forest resounded with the heavy blows, and all the while he sang and whistled right merrily. At mid-day, when it was the hottest, the little man came again, and asked what he was making. A boat which will go quicker on dry land than on water, replied Hans, and when I have finished it, I am to have the king's daughter for my wife. Well, said the little man, such an one shall it be, and remain.

In the evening, when the sun had turned into gold, Hans finished his boat, and all that was wanted for it. He got into it and rowed to the palace. The boat went as swiftly as the wind. The king saw it from afar, but would not give his daughter to Hans yet, and said he must first take a hundred hares out to pasture from early morning until late evening, and if one of them got away, he should not have his daughter. Hans was contented with this, and the next day went with his flock to the pasture, and took great care that none of them ran away.

Before many hours had passed came a servant from the palace, and told Hans that he must give her a hare instantly, for some visitors had come unexpectedly. Hans, however, was very well aware what that meant, and said he would not give her one. The king might set some hare soup before his guest next day. The maid, however, would not accept his refusal, and at last she began to argue with him. Then Hans said that if the king's daughter came herself, he would give her a fare. The maid told this in the palace, and the daughter did go herself.

In the meantime the little man came again to Hans, and asked him what he was doing there. He said he had to watch over a hundred hares and see that none of them ran away, and then he might marry the king's daughter and be king. Good, said the little man, there is a whistle for you, and if one of them runs away, just whistle with it, and then it will come back again. When the king's daughter came, Hans gave her a hare into her apron, but when she had gone about a hundred steps with it, he whistled, and the hare jumped out of the apron, and before she could turn round was back to the flock again. When the evening came the hare-herd whistled once more, and looked to see if all were there, and then drove them to the palace.

The king wondered how Hans had been able to take a hundred hares to graze without losing any of them, but he still would not give him his daughter yet, and said he must now bring him a feather from the griffin's tail. Hans set out at once, and walked straight forwards. In the evening he came to a castle, and there he asked for a night's lodging, for at that time there were no inns. The lord of the castle promised him that with much pleasure, and asked where he was going. Hans answered, to the griffin. Oh, to the griffin. They tell me he knows everything, and I have lost the key of an iron money-chest. So you might be so good as to ask him where it is. Yes, indeed, said Hans, I will do that.

Early the next morning he went onwards, and on his way arrived at another castle in which he again stayed the night. When the people who lived there learnt that he was going to the griffin, they said they had in the house a daughter who was ill, and that they had already tried every means to cure her, but none of them had done her any good, and he might be so kind as to ask the griffin what would make their daughter healthy again. Hans said he would willingly do that, and went onwards. Then he came to a lake, and instead of a ferry-boat, a tall, tall man was there who had to carry everybody across. The man asked Hans whither he was journeying. To the griffin, said Hans. Then when you get to him, said the man, just ask him why I am forced to carry everybody over the lake. Yes, indeed, most certainly I'll do that, said Hans. Then the man took him up on his shoulders, and carried him across.

At length Hans arrived at the griffin's house, but the wife only was at home, and not the griffin himself. Then the woman asked him what he wanted. Thereupon he told her everything - that he had to get a feather out of the griffin's tail, and that there was a castle where they had lost the key of their money-chest, and he was to ask the griffin where it was - that in another castle the daughter was ill, and he was to learn what would cure her - and then not far from thence there was a lake and a man beside it, who was forced to carry people across it, and he was very anxious to learn why the man was obliged to do it. Then said the woman, look here, my good friend, no Christian can speak to the griffin. He devours them all, but if you like you can lie down under his bed, and in the night, when he is quite fast asleep, you can reach out and pull a feather out of his tail, and as for those things which you are to learn, I will ask about them myself. Hans was quite satisfied with this, and got under the bed. In the evening, the griffin came home, and as soon as he entered the room, said, wife, I smell a Christian. Yes, said the woman, one was here to-day, but he went away again. And on that the griffin said no more. In the middle of the night when the griffin was snoring loudly, Hans reached out and plucked a feather from his tail. The griffin woke up instantly, and said, wife, I smell a Christian, and it seems to me that somebody was pulling at my tail. His wife said, you have certainly been dreaming, and I told you before that a Christian was here to-day, but that he went away again.

He told me all kinds of things - that in one castle they had lost the key of their money-chest, and could find it nowhere. Oh. The fools, said the griffin. The key lies in the wood-house under a log of wood behind the door. And then he said that in another castle the daughter was ill, and they knew no remedy that would cure her. Oh. The fools, said the griffin. Under the cellar-steps a toad has made its nest of her hair, and if she got her hair back she would be well. And then he also said that there was a place where there was a lake and a man beside it who was forced to carry everybody across. Oh, the fool, said the griffin. If he only put one man down in the middle, he would never have to carry another across.

Early the next morning the griffin got up and went out. Then Hans came forth from under the bed, and he had a beautiful feather, and had heard what the griffin had said about the key, and the daughter, and the man. The griffin's wife repeated it all once more to him that he might not forget it, and then he went home again. First he came to the man by the lake, who asked him what the griffin had said, but Hans replied that he must first carry him across, and then he would tell him. So the man carried him across, and when he was over Hans told him that all he had to do was to set one person down in the middle of the lake, and then he would never have to carry over any more.

The man was hugely delighted, and told Hans that out of gratitude he would take him once more across, and back again. But Hans said no, he would save him the trouble, he was quite satisfied already, and pursued his way. Then he came to the castle where the daughter was ill. He took her on his shoulders, for she could not walk, and carried her down the cellar-steps and pulled out the toad's nest from beneath the lowest step and gave it into her hand, and she sprang off his shoulder and up the steps before him, and was quite cured. Then were the father and mother beyond measure rejoiced, and they gave Hans gifts of gold and of silver, and whatsoever else he wished for, that they gave him. And when he got to the other castle he went at once into the wood-house, and found the key under the log of wood behind the door, and took it to the lord of the castle. He was not a little pleased, and gave Hans as a reward much of the gold that was in the chest, and all kinds of things besides, such as cows, and sheep, and goats.

When Hans arrived before the king, with all these things - with the money, and the gold, and the silver and the cows, sheep and goats, the king asked him how he had come by them. Then Hans told him that the griffin gave every one whatsoever he wanted. So the king thought he himself could make use of such things, and set out on his way to the griffin, but when he got to the lake, it happened that he was the very first who arrived there after Hans, and the man put him down in the middle of it and went away, and the king was drowned. Hans, however, married the daughter, and became king.

 

Strong Hans

There were once a man and a woman who had an only child, and lived quite alone in a solitary valley. It came to pass that the mother once went into the wood to gather branches of fir, and took with her little Hans, who was just two years old. As it was spring-time, and the child took pleasure in the many-colored flowers, she went still further onwards with him into the forest. Suddenly two robbers sprang out of the thicket, seized the mother and child, and carried them far away into the black forest, where no one ever came from one year's end to another.

The poor woman urgently begged the robbers to set her and her child free, but their hearts were made of stone, they would not listen to her prayers and entreaties, and drove her on farther by force. After they had worked their way through bushes and briars for about two miles, they came to a rock where there was a door, at which the robbers knocked and it opened at once. They had to go through a long dark passage, which burnt on the hearth. On the wall hung swords, sabres, and other deadly weapons which gleamed in the light, and in the midst stood a black table at which four other robbers were sitting gambling, and the captain sat at the head of it. As soon as he saw the woman he came and spoke to her, and told her to be at ease and have no fear, they would do nothing to hurt her, but she must look after the housekeeping, and if she kept everything in order, she should not fare ill with them. Thereupon they gave her something to eat, and showed her a bed where she might sleep with her child.

The woman stayed many years with the robbers, and Hans grew tall and strong. His mother told him stories, and taught him to read an old book of tales about knights which she found in the cave. When Hans was nine years old, he made himself a strong club out of a branch of fir, hid it behind the bed, and then went to his mother and said, dear mother, pray tell me who is my father. I must and will know. His mother was silent and would not tell him, that he might not become home-sick. Moreover she knew that the godless robbers would not let him go away, but it almost broke her heart that Hans should not go to his father.

In the night, when the robbers came home from their robbing expedition, Hans brought out his club, stood before the captain, and said, I now wish to know who my father is, and if you do not tell me at once I will strike you down. Then the captain laughed, and gave Hans such a box on the ear that he rolled under the table. Hans got up again, held his tongue, and thought, I will wait another year and then try again, perhaps I shall do better then. When the year was over, he brought out his club again, rubbed the dust off it, looked at it well, and said, it is a stout strong club. At night the robbers came home, drank one jug of wine after another, and their heads began to be heavy. Then Hans brought out his club, placed himself before the captain, and asked him who his father was. But the captain again gave him such a vigorous box on the ear that Hans rolled under the table. However, it was not long before he was up again, and so beat the captain and the robbers with his club, that they could no longer move either their arms or their legs.

His mother stood in a corner full of admiration for his bravery and strength. When Hans had done his work, he went to his mother, and said, now I have shown myself to be in earnest, but now I must also know who my father is. Dear Hans, answered the mother, come, we will go and seek him until we find him. She took from the captain the key to the entrance-door, and Hans fetched a great meal-sack and packed into it gold and silver, and whatsoever else he could find that was beautiful, until it was full, and then he took it on his back.

They left the cave, but how Hans did open his eyes when he came out of the darkness into daylight, and saw the green forest, and the flowers, and the birds, and the morning sun in the sky. He stood there and wondered at everything just as if he were not quite right in the head. His mother looked for the way home, and when they had walked for a couple of hours, they got safely into their lonely valley and to their little house. The father was sitting in the doorway. He wept for joy when he recognized his wife and heard that Hans was his son, for he had long regarded them both as dead.

But Hans, although he was not twelve years old, was a head taller than his father. They went into the little room together, but Hans had scarcely put his sack on the bench by the stove, than the whole house began to crack - the bench broke down and then the floor, and the heavy sack fell through into the cellar. God save us, cried the father, what's that. Now you have broken our little house to pieces. Don't let that turn your hair grey, dear father, answered Hans. There, in that sack, is more than is wanting for a new house. The father and Hans at once began to build a new house, to buy cattle and land, and to keep a farm. Hans ploughed the fields, and when he followed the plough and pushed it into the ground, the bullocks had scarcely any need to draw. The next spring, Hans said, keep all the money and have made for me a walking-stick that weighs a hundred-weight, that I may go a-traveling.

When the stick was ready, he left his father's house, went forth, and came to a deep, dark forest. There he heard something crunching and cracking, looked round, and saw a fir-tree which was wound round like a rope from the bottom to the top, and when he looked upwards he saw a great fellow who had laid hold of the tree and was twisting it like a willow-wand. Hullo, cried Hans, what are you doing up there. The fellow replied, I got some faggots together yesterday and am twisting a rope for them. That is what I like, thought Hans, he has some strength, and he called to him, leave that alone, and come with me. The fellow came down, and he was taller by a whole head than Hans, and Hans was not little. Your name is now Fir-Twister, said Hans to him.

Thereupon they went further and heard something knocking and hammering with such force that the ground shook at every stroke. Shortly afterwards they came to a mighty rock, before which a giant was standing and striking great pieces of it away with his fist. When Hans asked what he was doing, he answered, at night, when I want to sleep, bears, wolves, and other vermin of that kind come, which sniff and snuffle about me and won't let me rest, so I want to build myself a house and lay myself inside it, so that I may have some peace. Oh indeed, thought Hans, I can make use of this one also, and said to him, leave your house-building alone, and go with me. You shall be called Rock-Splitter.

The man consented, and they all three roamed through the forest, and wherever they went the wild beasts were terrified, and ran away from them. In the evening they came to an old deserted castle, went up into it, and laid themselves down in the hall to sleep. The next morning Hans went into the garden. It had run quite wild, and was full of thorns and brambles. And as he was thus walking round about, a wild boar rushed at him, he, however, gave it such a blow with his club that it fell directly. He took it on his shoulders and carried it in, and they put it on a spit, roasted it, and enjoyed themselves. Then they arranged that each day, in turn, two should go out hunting, and one should stay at home, and cook nine pounds of meat for each of them. Fir-Twister stayed at home the first, and Hans and Rock-Splitter went out hunting.

When Fir-Twister was busy cooking, a little shrivelled-up old mannikin came to him in the castle, and asked for some meat. Be off, you sneaking imp, he answered, you need no meat. But how astonished Fir-Twister was when the little insignificant dwarf sprang up at him, and belabored him so with his fists that he could not defend himself, but fell on the ground and gasped for breath. The dwarf did not go away until he had thoroughly vented his anger on him. When the two others came home from hunting, Fir-Twister said nothing to them of the old mannikin and of the blows which he himself had received, and thought, when they stay at home, they may just try their chance with the little scrubbing-brush, and the mere thought of that gave him pleasure already. The next day Rock-Splitter stayed at home, and he fared just as Fir-Twister had done, being very ill-treated by the dwarf because he was not willing to give him any meat.

When the others came home in the evening, Fir-Twister saw clearly what he had suffered, but both kept silence, and thought, Hans also must taste some of that soup. Hans, who had to stay at home the next day, did his work in the kitchen as it had to be done, and as he was standing skimming the pan, the dwarf came and without more ado demanded a piece of meat. Then Hans thought, he is a poor wretch, I will give him some of my share, that the others may not run short, and handed him a bit. When the dwarf had devoured it, he again asked for some meat, and good-natured Hans gave it to him, and told him it was a handsome piece, and that he was to be content with it. But the dwarf begged again for the third time. You are shameless, said Hans, and gave him none. Then the malicious dwarf wanted to spring on him and treat him as he had treated Fir-Twister and Rock-Splitter, but he had chosen the wrong man. Hans, without exerting himself much, gave him a couple of blows which made him jump down the castle steps.

Hans was about to run after him, but fell right over, flat on his face. When he rose up again, the dwarf had got the start of him. Hans hurried after him as far as the forest, and saw him slip into a hole in the rock. Hans now went home, but he had marked the spot. When the two others came back, they were surprised that Hans was so well. He told them what had happened, and then they no longer concealed how it had fared with them. Hans laughed and said, it served you quite right. Why were you so mean with your meat. It is a disgrace that you who are so big should have let yourselves be beaten by the dwarf. Thereupon they took a basket and a rope, and all three went to the hole in the rock into which the dwarf had slipped, and let Hans and his club down in the basket. When Hans had reached the bottom, he found a door, and when he opened it a maiden was sitting there who was lovely as any picture, nay, so beautiful that no words can express it, and by her side sat the dwarf and grinned at Hans like a sea-cat. She, however, was bound with chains, and looked so mournfully at him that Hans felt great pity for her, and thought to himself, you must deliver her out of the power of the wicked dwarf, and gave him such a blow with his club that he fell down dead.

Immediately the chains fell from the maiden, and Hans was enraptured with her beauty. She told him she was a king's daughter whom a savage count had stolen away from her home, and imprisoned there among the rocks, because she would have nothing to say to him. The count, however, had set the dwarf as a watchman, and he had made her suffer misery and vexation enough. And now Hans placed the maiden in the basket and had her drawn up.

The basket came down again, but Hans did not trust his two companions, and thought, they have already shown themselves to be false, and told me nothing about the dwarf. Who knows what design they may have against me. So he put his club in the basket, and it was lucky he did, for when the basket was half-way up, they let it fall again, and if Hans had really been sitting in it he would have been killed. But now he did not know how he was to work his way out of the depths, and when he turned it over and over in his mind he found no counsel. It is indeed sad, said he to himself, that I have to waste away down here, and as he was thus walking backwards and forwards, he once more came to the little chamber where the maiden had been sitting, and saw that the dwarf had a ring on his finger which shone and sparkled. Then he drew it off and put it on, and when he turned it round on his finger, he suddenly heard something rustle over his head.

He looked up and saw spirits of the air hovering above, who told him he was their master, and asked what his desire might be. Hans was at first struck dumb, but afterwards he said that they were to carry him up again. They obeyed instantly, and it was just as if he had flown up himself. But when he had arrived there, he found no one in sight. Fir-Twister and Rock-Splitter had hurried away, and had taken the beautiful maiden with them. But Hans turned the ring, and the spirits of the air came and told him that the two were on the sea.

Hans ran and ran without stopping, until he came to the sea-shore, and there far, far out on the water, he perceived a little boat in which his faithless comrades were sitting, and in fierce anger he leapt, without thinking what he was doing, club in hand into the water, and began to swim, but the club, which weighed a hundredweight, dragged him deep down until he was all but drowned. Then in the very nick of time he turned his ring, and immediately the spirits of the air came and bore him as swift as lightning into the boat. He swung his club and gave his wicked comrades the reward they merited and threw them into the water, and then he sailed with the beautiful maiden, who had been in the greatest alarm, and whom he delivered for the second time, home to her father and mother, and married her, and all rejoiced exceedingly.

 

The Hut in the Forest

A poor wood-cutter lived with his wife and three daughters in a little hut on the edge of a lonely forest. One morning as he was about to go to his work, he said to his wife, let our eldest daughter bring me my dinner into the forest, or I shall never get my work done, and in order that she may not miss her way, he added, I will take a bag of millet with me and strew the seeds on the path. When, therefore, the sun was just above the centre of the forest, the girl set out on her way with a bowl of soup, but the field-sparrows, and wood-sparrows, larks and finches, blackbirds and siskins had picked up the millet long before, and the girl could not find the track. Trusting to chance, she went on and on, until the sun sank and night began to fall. The trees rustled in the darkness, the owls hooted, and she began to be afraid. Then in the distance she perceived a light which glimmered between the trees. There ought to be some people living there, who can take me in for the night, thought she, and went up to the light. It was not long before she came to a house the windows of which were all lighted up. She knocked, and a rough voice from inside cried, come in. The girl stepped into the dark entrance, and knocked at the door of the room. Just come in, cried the voice, and when she opened the door, an old gray-haired man was sitting at the table, supporting his face with both hands, and his white beard fell down over the table almost as far as the ground. By the stove lay three animals, a hen, a cock, and a brindled cow. The girl told her story to the old man, and begged for shelter for the night. The man said, my pretty hen, my pretty cock, my pretty brindled cow, what are you saying now. Duks, answered the animals, and that must have meant, we are willing, for the old man said, here you shall have shelter and food, go to the fire, and cook us our supper. The girl found in the kitchen abundance of everything, and cooked a good supper, but had no thought of the animals. She carried the full bowl to the table, seated herself by the gray-haired man, ate and satisfied her hunger. When she had had enough, she said, but now I am tired, where is there a bed in which I can lie down, and sleep. The animals replied, thou hast eaten with him, thou hast drunk with him, thou hast had no thought for us, so find out for thyself where thou canst pass the night. Then said the old man, just go upstairs, and you will find a room with two beds, shake them up, and put white linen on them, and then I, too, will come and lie down to sleep. The girl went up, and when she had shaken the beds and put clean sheets on, she lay down in one of them without waiting any longer for the old man. After some time the gray-haired man came, held his candle over the girl and shook his head. When he saw that she had fallen into a sound sleep, he opened a trap-door, and let her down into the cellar. Late at night, the wood-cutter came home, and reproached his wife for leaving him to hunger all day. It is not my fault, she replied, the girl went out with your dinner, and must have lost herself, but surely she will come back to-morrow. The wood-cutter, however, arose before dawn to go into the forest, and requested that the second daughter should take him his dinner that day. I will take a bag with lentils, said he, the seeds are larger than millet, the girl will see them better, and can't lose her way. At dinner-time, therefore, the girl took out the food, but the lentils had disappeared. The birds of the forest had picked them up as they had done the day before, and had left none. The girl wandered about in the forest until night, and then she too reached the house of the old man, was told to go in, and begged for food and a bed. The man with the white beard again asked the animals, my pretty hen, my pretty cock, my pretty brindled cow, what are you saying now. The animals again replied 'duks, and everything happened just as it had happened the day before. The girl cooked a good meal, ate and drank with the old man, and did not concern herself about the animals, and when she inquired about her bed they answered, thou hast eaten with him, thou hast drunk with him, thou hast had no thought for us, so find out for thyself where thou canst pass the night. When she was asleep the old man came, looked at her, shook his head, and let her down into the cellar. On the third morning the wood-cutter said to his wife, send our youngest child out with my dinner to-day, she has always been good and obedient, and will stay in the right path, and not rove about like her sisters, the wild bumble-bees. The mother did not want to do it, and said, am I to lose my dearest child, as well. Have no fear, he replied, the girl will not go astray. She is too prudent and sensible. Besides I will take some peas with me, strew them about. They are still larger than lentils, and will show her the way. But when the girl went out with her basket on her arm, the wood-pigeons had already got all the peas in their crops, and she did not know which way she was to turn. She was full of sorrow and never ceased to think how hungry her father would be, and how her good mother would grieve, if she did not go home. At length when it grew dark, she saw the light and came to the house in the forest. She begged quite prettily to be allowed to spend the night there, and the man with the white beard again asked his animals, my pretty hen, my pretty cock, my pretty brindled cow, what are you saying now. Duks, said they. Then the girl went to the stove where the animals were lying, and petted the cock and hen, and stroked their smooth feathers with her hand, and caressed the brindled cow between her horns, and when, in obedience to the old man's orders, she had made ready some good soup, and the bowl was placed upon the table, she said, am I to eat as much as I want, and the good animals to have nothing. Outside is food in plenty, I will look after them first. So she went and brought some barley and stewed it for the cock and hen, and a whole armful of sweet-smelling hay for the cow. I hope you will like it, dear animals, said she, and you shall have a refreshing draught in case you are thirsty. Then she fetched a bucketful of water, and the cock and hen jumped on to the edge of it and dipped their beaks in, and then held up their heads as the birds do when they drink, and the brindled cow also took a hearty draught. When the animals were fed, the girl seated herself at the table by the old man, and ate what he had left. It was not long before the cock and the hen began to thrust their heads beneath their wings, and the eyes of the cow likewise began to blink. Then said the girl, ought we not to go to bed. My pretty hen, my pretty cock, my pretty brindled cow, what are you saying now. The animals answered, duks, thou hast eaten with us, thou hast drunk with us, thou hast had kind thought for all of us, we wish thee good-night. Then the maiden went upstairs, shook the feather-beds, and laid clean sheets on them, and when she had done it the old man came and lay down in one of the beds, and his white beard reached down to his feet. The girl lay down on the other, said her prayers, and fell asleep.

She slept quietly till midnight, and then there was such a noise in the house that she awoke. There was a sound of cracking and splitting in every corner, and the doors sprang open, and beat against the walls. The beams groaned as if they were being torn out of their joints, it seemed as if the staircase were falling down, and at length there was a crash as if the entire roof had fallen in. When, however, all grew quiet once more, and the girl was not hurt, she stayed quietly lying where she was, and fell asleep again. But when she woke up in the morning with the brilliancy of the sunshine, what did her eyes behold. She was lying in a vast hall, and everything around her shone with royal splendor. On the walls, golden flowers grew up on a ground of green silk, the bed was of ivory, and the canopy of red velvet, and on a chair close by, was a pair of slippers embroidered with pearls. The girl believed that she was in a dream, but three richly clad attendants came in, and asked what orders she would like to give. If you will go, she replied, I will get up at once and make ready some soup for the old man, and then I will feed the pretty hen, and the pretty cock, and the pretty brindled cow. She thought the old man was up already, and looked round at his bed. He, however, was not lying in it, but a stranger.

And while she was looking at him, and becoming aware that he was young and handsome, he awoke, sat up in bed, and said, I am a king's son, and was bewitched by a wicked witch, and made to live in this forest, as an old gray-haired man. No one was allowed to be with me but my three attendants in the form of a cock, a hen, and a brindled cow. The spell was not to be broken until a girl came to us whose heart was so good that she showed herself full of love, not only towards mankind, but towards animals - and that you have done, and by you at midnight we were set free, and the old hut in the forest was changed back again into my royal palace. And when they had arisen, the king's son ordered the three attendants to set out and fetch the father and mother of the girl to the marriage feast. But where are my two sisters, inquired the maiden. I have locked them in the cellar, and to-morrow they shall be led into the forest, and shall live as servants to a charcoal-burner, until they have grown kinder, and do not leave poor animals to suffer hunger.

 

The Goose-Girl at the Well

There was once upon a time a very old woman, who lived with her flock of geese in a remote clearing in the mountains, and there had a little house. The clearing was surrounded by a large forest, and every morning the old woman took her crutch and hobbled into it. There, however, she was quite active, more so than any one would have thought, considering her age, and collected grass for her geese, picked all the wild fruit she could reach, and carried everything home on her back. Anyone would have thought that the heavy load would have weighed her to the ground, but she always brought it safely home. If anyone met her, she greeted him quite courteously. Good day, dear countryman, it is a fine day. Ah, you wonder that I should drag grass about, but everyone must take his burden on his back. Nevertheless, people did not like to meet her if they could help it, and took by preference a round-about way, and when a father with his boys passed her, he whispered to them, beware of the old woman. She has claws beneath her gloves. She is a witch.

One morning, a handsome young man was going through the forest. The sun shone bright, the birds sang, a cool breeze crept through the leaves, and he was full of joy and gladness. He had as yet met no one, when he suddenly perceived the old witch kneeling on the ground cutting grass with a sickle. She had already thrust a whole load into her bundle, and near it stood two baskets, which were filled with wild apples and pears. But, good little mother, said he, how can you carry all that away. I must carry it, dear sir, answered she, rich folk's children have no need to do such things, but with the peasant folk the saying goes, don't look behind you, you will only see how crooked your back is. Will you help me, she said, as he remained standing by her. You have still a straight back and young legs, it would be a trifle to you. Besides, my house is not so very far from here, it stands there on the heath behind the hill. How soon you would bound up thither. The young man took compassion on the old woman. My father is certainly no peasant, replied he, but a rich count. Nevertheless, that you may see that it is not only peasants who can carry things, I will take your bundle. If you will try it, said she, I shall be very glad. You will certainly have to walk for an hour, but what will that matter to you, only you must carry the apples and pears as well. The young man felt somewhat uneasy when he heard of an hour's walk, but the old woman would not let him off, packed the bundle on his back, and hung the two baskets on his arm. See, it is quite light, said she. No, it is not light, answered the count, and pulled a rueful face. Verily, the bundle weighs as heavily as if it were full of cobblestones, and the apples and pears are as heavy as lead. I can scarcely breathe. He had a mind to put everything down again, but the old woman would not allow it. Just look, said she mockingly, the young gentleman will not carry what I, an old woman, have so often dragged along. You are ready with fine words, but when it comes to be earnest, you want to take to your heels. Why are you standing loitering there. She continued, step out. No one will take the bundle off again. As long as he walked on level ground, it was still bearable, but when they came to the hill and had to climb, and the stones rolled down under his feet as if they were alive, it was beyond his strength. Drops of sweat stood on his forehead, and ran, hot and cold, down his back. Mother, said he, I can go no farther. I want to rest a little. Not here, answered the old woman, when we have arrived at our journey's end, you can rest. But now you must go forward. Who knows what good it may do you. Old woman, you are becoming shameless, said the count, and tried to throw off the bundle, but he labored in vain. It stuck as fast to his back as if it grew there. He turned and twisted, but he could not get rid of it.

The old woman laughed at this, and sprang about quite delighted on her crutch. Don't get angry, dear sir, said she, you are growing as red in the face as a turkey-cock. Carry your bundle patiently. I will give you a good present when we get home. What could he do. He was obliged to submit to his fate, and crawl along patiently behind the old woman. She seemed to grow more and more nimble, and his burden still heavier. All at once she made a bound, jumped on to the bundle and seated herself on the top of it. And however withered she might be, she was yet heavier than the stoutest country lass. The youth's knees trembled, but when he did not go on, the old woman hit him about the legs with a switch and with stinging-nettles. Groaning continually, he climbed the mountain, and at length reached the old woman's house, when he was just about to drop. When the geese perceived the old woman, they flapped their wings, stretched out their necks, ran to meet her, cackling all the while.

Behind the flock walked, stick in hand, an old wench, strong and big, but ugly as night. Good mother, said she to the old woman, has anything happened to you, you have stayed away so long. By no means, my dear daughter, answered she, I have met with nothing bad, but, on the contrary, with this kind gentleman, who has carried my burden for me. Only think, he even took me on his back when I was tired. The way, too, has not seemed long to us. We have been merry, and have been cracking jokes with each other all the time.

At last the old woman slid down, took the bundle off the young man's back, and the baskets from his arm, looked at him quite kindly, and said, now seat yourself on the bench before the door, and rest. You have fairly earned your wages, and they shall not be wanting. Then she said to the goose-girl, go into the house, my dear daughter, it is not becoming for you to be alone with a young gentleman. One must not pour oil on to the fire, he might fall in love with you. The count knew not whether to laugh or to cry. Such a sweetheart as that, thought he, could not touch my heart, even if she were thirty years younger.

In the meantime the old woman stroked and fondled her geese as if they were children, and then went into the house with her daughter. The youth lay down on the bench, under a wild apple-tree. The air was warm and mild. On all sides stretched a green meadow, which was set with cowslips, wild thyme, and a thousand other flowers. Through the midst of it rippled a clear brook on which the sun sparkled, and the white geese went walking backwards and forwards, or paddled in the water. It is quite delightful here, said he, but I am so tired that I cannot keep my eyes open. I will sleep a little. If only a gust of wind does not come and blow my legs off my body, for they are as rotten as tinder. When he had slept a little while, the old woman came and shook him till he awoke. Sit up, said she, you can not stay here. I have certainly treated you ill enough, still it has not cost you your life. Of money and land you have no need, here is something else for you. Thereupon she thrust a little box into his hand, which was cut out of a single emerald. Take great care of it, said she, it will bring you good fortune. The count sprang up, and as he felt that he was quite fresh, and had recovered his vigor, he thanked the old woman for her present, and set off without even once looking back at the beautiful daughter.

When he was already some way off, he still heard in the distance the noisy cry of the geese. For three days the count had to wander in the wilderness before he could find his way out. He then reached a large town, and as no one knew him, he was led into the royal palace, where the king and queen were sitting on their throne. The count fell on one knee, drew the emerald box out of his pocket, and laid it at the queen's feet. She bade him rise and hand her the little box. Hardly, however, had she opened it, and looked therein, than she fell as if dead to the ground. The count was seized by the king's servants, and was being led to prison, when the queen opened her eyes, and ordered them to release him, and every one was to go out, as she wished to speak with him in private.

When the queen was alone, she began to weep bitterly, and said, of what use to me are the splendors and honors with which I am surrounded. Every morning I awake in pain and sorrow. I had three daughters, the youngest of whom was so beautiful that the whole world looked on her as a wonder. She was as white as snow, as rosy as apple-blossom, and her hair as radiant as sun-beams. When she cried, not tears fell from her eyes, but pearls and jewels only. When she was fifteen years old, the king summoned all three sisters to come before his throne. You should have seen how all the people gazed when the youngest entered, it was just as if the sun were rising. Then the king spoke, my daughters, I know not when my last day may arrive. I will to-day decide what each shall receive at my death. You all love me, but the one of you who loves me best, shall fare the best.

Each of them said she loved him best. Can you not express to me, said the king, how much you do love me, and thus I shall see what you mean. The eldest spoke, I love my father as dearly as the sweetest sugar. The second, I love my father as dearly as my prettiest dress. But the youngest was silent. Then the father said, and you, my dearest child, how much do you love me. I do not know, and can compare my love with nothing. But her father insisted that she should name something. So she said at last, the best food does not please me without salt, therefore I love my father like salt. When the king heard that, he fell into a passion, and said, if you love me like salt, your love shall also be repaid you with salt. Then he divided the kingdom between the two elder, but caused a sack of salt to be bound on the back of the youngest, and two servants had to lead her forth into the wild forest. We all begged and prayed for her, said the queen, but the king's anger was not to be appeased. How she cried when she had to leave us. The whole road was strewn with the pearls which flowed from her eyes. The king soon afterwards repented of his great severity, and had the whole forest searched for the poor child, but no one could find her.

When I think that the wild beasts have devoured her, I know not how to contain myself for sorrow. Many a time I console myself with the hope that she is still alive, and may have hidden herself in a cave, or has found shelter with compassionate people. But picture to yourself, when I opened your little emerald box, a pearl lay therein, of exactly the same kind as those which used to fall from my daughter's eyes. And then you can also imagine how the sight of it stirred my heart. You must tell me how you came by that pearl. The count told her that he had received it from the old woman in the forest, who had appeared very strange to him, and must be a witch, but he had neither seen nor heard anything of the queen's child. The king and the queen resolved to seek out the old woman. They thought that there where the pearl had been, they would obtain news of their daughter.

The old woman was sitting in that lonely place at her spinning-wheel spinning. It was already dusk, and a log which was burning on the hearth gave a scanty light. All at once there was a noise outside, the geese were coming home from the pasture, and uttering their hoarse cries. Soon afterwards the daughter also entered. But the old woman scarcely thanked her, and only shook her head a little. The daughter sat down beside her, took her spinning-wheel, and twisted the threads as nimbly as a young girl. Thus they both sat for two hours, and exchanged never a word. At last something rustled at the window and two fiery eyes peered in. It was an old night-owl, which cried 'uhu, three times.

The old woman looked up just a little, then she said, now, my little daughter, it is time for you to go out and do your work. She rose and went out, and where did she go. Over the meadows ever onward into the valley. At last she came to a well, with three old oak-trees standing beside it. Meanwhile the moon had risen large and round over the mountain, and it was so light that one could have found a needle. She removed a skin which covered her face, then bent down to the well, and began to wash herself. When she had finished, she dipped the skin also in the water, and then laid it on the meadow, so that it should bleach in the moonlight, and dry again. But how the maiden was changed. Such a change as that was never seen before. When the gray mask fell off, her golden hair broke forth like sun-beams, and spread about like a mantle over her whole form. Her eyes shone out as brightly as the stars in heaven, and her cheeks bloomed a soft red like apple-blossom. But the fair maiden was sad. She sat down and wept bitterly. One tear after another forced itself out of her eyes, and rolled through her long hair to the ground.

There she sat, and would have remained sitting a long time, if there had not been a rustling and cracking in the boughs of the neighboring tree. She sprang up like a roe which has been overtaken by the shot of the hunter. Just then the moon was obscured by a dark cloud, and in an instant the maiden had put on the old skin and vanished, like a light blown out by the wind. She ran back home, trembling like an aspen-leaf. The old woman was standing on the threshold, and the girl was about to relate what had befallen her, but the old woman laughed kindly, and said, I already know all. She led her into the room and lighted a new log. She did not, however, sit down to her spinning again, but fetched a broom and began to sweep and scour. All must be clean and sweet, she said to the girl. But, mother, said the maiden, why do you begin work at so late an hour. What do you expect. Do you know then what time it is, asked the old woman. Not yet midnight, answered the maiden, but already past eleven o'clock. Do you not remember, continued the old woman, that it is three years to-day since you came to me. Your time is up, we can no longer remain together.

The girl was terrified, and said, alas, dear mother, will you cast me off. Where shall I go. I have no friends, and no home to which I can go. I have always done as you bade me, and you have always been satisfied with me. Do not send me away. The old woman would not tell the maiden what lay before her. My stay here is over, she said to her, but when I depart, house and parlor must be clean. Therefore do not hinder me in my work. Have no care for yourself, you shall find a roof to shelter you, and the wages which I will give you shall also content you. But tell me what is about to happen, the maiden continued to entreat. I tell you again, do not hinder me in my work. Do not say a word more, go to your chamber, take the skin off your face, and put on the silken gown which you had on when you came to me, and then wait in your chamber until I call you. But I must once more tell of the king and queen, who had journeyed forth with the count in order to seek out the old woman in the wilderness.

The count had strayed away from them in the wood by night, and had to walk onwards alone. Next day it seemed to him that he was on the right track. He still went forward, until darkness came on, then he climbed a tree, intending to pass the night there, for he feared that he might lose his way. When the moon illumined the surrounding country he perceived a figure coming down the mountain. She had no stick in her hand, but yet he could see that it was the goose-girl, whom he had seen before in the house of the old woman. Oho, cried he, there she comes, and if I once get hold of one of the witches, the other shall not escape me. But how astonished he was, when she went to the well, took off the skin and washed herself, when her golden hair fell down all about her, and she was more beautiful than anyone whom he had ever seen in the whole world. He hardly dared to breathe, but stretched his head as far forward through the leaves as he could, and stared at her. Either he bent over too far, or whatever the cause might be, the bough suddenly cracked, and that very moment the maiden slipped into the skin, sprang away like a roe, and as the moon was suddenly covered, disappeared from his sight.

Hardly had she disappeared, before the count descended from the tree, and hastened after her with nimble steps. He had not been gone long before he saw, in the twilight, two figures coming over the meadow. It was the king and queen, who had perceived from a distance the light shining in the old woman's little house, and were going to it. The count told them what wonderful things he had seen by the well, and they did not doubt that it had been their lost daughter. They walked onwards full of joy, and soon came to the little house. The geese were sitting all round it, and had thrust their heads under their wings and were sleeping, and not one of them moved. The king and queen looked in at the window, where the old woman was sitting quite quietly spinning, nodding her head and never looking round. The room was perfectly clean, as if the little mist men, who carry no dust on their feet, lived there. Their daughter, however, they did not see. They gazed at all this for a long time, until at last they took heart, and knocked softly at the window. The old woman appeared to have been expecting them. She rose, and called out quite kindly, come in. I know you already.

When they had entered the room, the old woman said, you might have spared yourself the long walk, if you had not three years ago unjustly driven away your child, who is so good and lovable. No harm has come to her. For three years she has had to tend the geese. With them she has learnt no evil, but has preserved her purity of heart. You, however, have been sufficiently punished by the misery in which you have lived. Then she went to the chamber and called, come out, my little daughter. Thereupon the door opened, and the princess stepped out in her silken garments, with her golden hair and her shining eyes, and it was as if an angel from heaven had entered. She went up to her father and mother, fell on their necks and kissed them. There was no help for it, they all had to weep for joy. The young count stood near them, and when she perceived him she became as red in the face as a moss-rose, she herself did not know why. The king said, my dear child, I have given away my kingdom, what shall I give you. She needs nothing, said the old woman. I give her the tears that she has wept on your account. They are precious pearls, finer than those that are found in the sea, and worth more than your whole kingdom, and I give her my little house as payment for her services.

When the old woman had said that, she disappeared from their sight. The walls rattled a little, and when the king and queen looked round, the little house had changed into a splendid palace, a royal table had been spread, and the servants were running hither and thither. The story goes still further, but my grandmother, who related it to me, had partly lost her memory, and had forgotten the rest. I shall always believe that the beautiful princess married the count, and that they remained together in the palace, and lived there in all happiness so long as God willed it. Whether the snow-white geese, which were kept near the little hut, were verily young maidens no one need take offence, whom the old woman had taken under her protection, and whether they now received their human form again, and stayed as handmaids to the young queen, I do not exactly know, but I suspect it. This much is certain, that the old woman was no witch, as people thought, but a wise woman, who meant well. Very likely it was she who, at the princess's birth, gave her the gift of weeping pearls instead of tears. That does not happen nowadays, or else the poor would soon become rich.

 

The Nix of the Mill-Pond

There was once upon a time a miller who lived with his wife in great contentment. They had money and land, and their prosperity increased year by year more and more. But ill luck comes like a thief in the night. As their wealth had increased so did it again decrease, year by year, and at last the miller could hardly call the mill in which he lived, his own. He was in great distress, and when he lay down after his day's work, found no rest, but tossed about in his bed, sorely troubled.

One morning he rose before daybreak and went out into the open air, thinking that perhaps there his heart might become lighter. As he was stepping over the mill-dam the first sunbeam was just breaking forth, and he heard a rippling sound in the pond. He turned round and perceived a beautiful woman, rising slowly out of the water. Her long hair, which she was holding off her shoulders with her soft hands, fell down on both sides, and covered her white body. He soon saw that she was the nixie of the mill-pond, and in his fright did not know whether he should run away or stay where he was. But the nixie made her sweet voice heard, called him by his name, and asked him why he was so sad. The miller was at first struck dumb, but when he heard her speak so kindly, he took heart, and told her how he had formerly lived in wealth and happiness, but that now he was so poor that he did not know what to do. Be easy, answered the nixie, I will make you richer and happier than you have ever been before, only you must promise to give me the young thing which has just been born in your house. What else can that be, thought the miller, but a puppy or a kitten, and he promised her what she desired.

The nixie descended into the water again, and he hurried back to his mill, consoled and in good spirits. He had not yet reached it, when the maid-servant came out of the house and cried to him to rejoice, for his wife had given birth to a little boy. The miller stood as if struck by lightning. He saw very well that the cunning nixie had been aware of it, and had cheated him. Hanging his head, he went up to his wife's bedside and when she said, why do you not rejoice over the fine boy, he told her what had befallen him, and what kind of a promise he had given to the nixie. Of what use to me are riches and prosperity, he added, if I am to lose my child. But what can I do. Even the relatives, who had come thither to wish them joy, did not know what to say.

In the meantime prosperity again returned to the miller's house. All that he undertook succeeded. It was as if presses and coffers filled themselves of their own accord, and as if money multiplied nightly in the cupboards. It was not long before his wealth was greater than it had ever been before. But he could not rejoice over it untroubled, for the bargain which he had made with the nixie tormented his soul. Whenever he passed the mill-pond, he feared she might ascend and remind him of his debt. He never let the boy himself go near the water. Beware, he said to him, if you do but touch the water, a hand will rise, seize you, and draw you down. But as year after year went by and the nixie did not show herself again, the miller began to feel at ease. The boy grew up to be a youth and was apprenticed to a huntsman. When he had learnt everything, and had become an excellent huntsman, the lord of the village took him into his service. In the village lived a beautiful and true-hearted maiden, who pleased the huntsman, and when his master perceived that, he gave him a little house, the two were married, lived peacefully and happily, and loved each other with all their hearts.

One day the huntsman was chasing a roe. And when the animal turned aside from the forest into the open country, he pursued it and at last shot it. He did not notice that he was now in the neighborhood of the dangerous mill-pond, and went, after he had disembowelled the roe, to the water, in order to wash his blood-stained hands. Scarcely, however, had he dipped them in than the nixie ascended, smilingly wound her dripping arms around him, and drew him quickly down under the waves, which closed over him. When it was evening, and the huntsman did not return home, his wife became alarmed. She went out to seek him, and as he had often told her that he had to be on his guard against the snares of the nixie, and dared not venture into the neighborhood of the mill-pond, she already suspected what had happened.

She hastened to the water, and when she found his hunting-pouch lying on the shore, she could no longer have any doubt of the misfortune. Lamenting her sorrow, and wringing her hands, she called on her beloved by name, but in vain. She hurried across to the other side of the pond, and called him anew. She reviled the nixie with harsh words, but no answer greeted her. The surface of the water remained calm, only the crescent moon stared steadily back at her. The poor woman did not leave the pond. With hasty steps, she paced round and round it, without resting a moment, sometimes in silence, sometimes uttering a loud cry, sometimes sobbing softly. At last her strength came to an end, she sank down to the ground and fell into a heavy sleep. Presently a dream took possession of her.

She was anxiously climbing upwards between great masses of rock. Thorns and briars caught her feet, the rain beat in her face, and the wind tossed her long hair about. When she had reached the summit, quite a different sight presented itself to her. The sky was blue, the air soft, the ground sloped gently downwards, and on a green meadow, gay with flowers of every color, stood a pretty cottage. She went up to it and opened the door. There sat an old woman with white hair, who beckoned to her kindly. At that very moment, the poor woman awoke, day had already dawned, and she at once resolved to act in accordance with her dream. She laboriously climbed the mountain. Everything was exactly as she had seen it in the night. The old woman received her kindly, and pointed out a chair on which she might sit. You must have met with a misfortune, she said, since you have sought out my lonely cottage. With tears, the woman related what had befallen her. Be comforted, said the old woman, I will help you. Here is a golden comb for you. Tarry till the full moon has risen, then go to the mill-pond, seat yourself on the shore, and comb your long black hair with this comb. When you have done, lay it down on the bank, and you will see what will happen.

The woman returned home, but the time till the full moon came, passed slowly. When at last the shining disc appeared in the heavens, she went out to the mill-pond, sat down and combed her long black hair with the golden comb, and when she had finished, she laid it down at the water's edge. It was not long before there was a movement in the depths, a wave rose, rolled to the shore, and bore the comb away with it. In not more than the time necessary for the comb to sink to the bottom, the surface of the water parted, and the head of the huntsman arose. He did not speak, but looked at his wife with sorrowful glances. At the same instant, a second wave came rushing up, and covered the man's head. All had vanished, the mill-pond lay peaceful as before, and nothing but the face of the full moon shone on it. Full of sorrow, the woman went back, but again the dream showed her the cottage of the old woman.

Next morning she again set out and complained of her woes to the wise woman. The old woman gave her a golden flute, and said, tarry till the full moon comes again, then take this flute. Play a beautiful air on it, and when you have finished, lay it on the sand. Then you will see what will happen. The wife did as the old woman told her. No sooner was the flute lying on the sand than there was a stirring in the depths, and a wave rushed up and bore the flute away with it. Immediately afterwards the water parted, and not only the head of the man, but half of his body also arose. He stretched out his arms longingly towards her, but a second wave came up, covered him, and drew him down again. Alas, what does it help me, said the unhappy woman, that I should see my beloved, only to lose him again. Despair filled her heart anew, but the dream led her a third time to the house of the old woman. She set out, and the wise woman gave her a golden spinning-wheel, consoled her and said, all is not yet fulfilled, tarry until the time of the full moon, then take the spinning-wheel, seat yourself on the shore, and spin the spool full, and when you have done that, place the spinning-wheel near the water, and you will see what will happen. The woman obeyed all she said exactly.

As soon as the full moon showed itself, she carried the golden spinning-wheel to the shore, and span industriously until the flax came to an end, and the spool was quite filled with the threads. No sooner was the wheel standing on the shore than there was a more violent movement than before in the depths of the pond, and a mighty wave rushed up, and bore the wheel away with it. Immediately the head and the whole body of the man rose into the air, in a water-spout. He quickly sprang to the shore, caught his wife by the hand and fled. But they had scarcely gone a very little distance, when the whole pond rose with a frightful roar, and streamed out over the open country. The fugitives already saw death before their eyes, when the woman in her terror implored the help of the old woman, and in an instant they were transformed, she into a toad, he into a frog. The flood which had overtaken them could not destroy them, but it tore them apart and carried them far away. When the water had dispersed and they both touched dry land again, they regained their human form, but neither knew where the other was. They found themselves among strange people, who did not know their native land. High mountains and deep valleys lay between them. In order to keep themselves alive, they were both obliged to tend sheep.

For many long years they drove their flocks through field and forest and were full of sorrow and longing. When spring had once more broken forth on the earth, they both went out one day with their flocks, and as chance would have it, they drew near each other. They met in a valley, but did not recognize each other. Yet they rejoiced that they were no longer so lonely. Henceforth they each day drove their flocks to the same place. They did not speak much, but they felt comforted. One evening when the full moon was shining in the sky, and the sheep were already at rest, the shepherd pulled the flute out of his pocket, and played on it a beautiful but sorrowful air. When he had finished he saw that the shepherdess was weeping bitterly. Why are you weeping, he asked. Alas, answered she, thus shone the full moon when I played this air on the flute for the last time, and the head of my beloved rose out of the water. He looked at her, and it seemed as if a veil fell from his eyes, and he recognized his dear wife, and when she looked at him, and the moon shone in his face she knew him also. They embraced and kissed each other, and no one need ask if they were happy.

 

The True Sweetheart

There was once upon a time a girl who was young and beautiful, but she had lost her mother when she was quite a child, and her step-mother did all she could to make the girl's life wretched. Whenever this woman gave her anything to do, she worked at it indefatigably, and did everything that lay in her power. Still she could not touch the heart of the wicked woman, she was never satisfied, it was never enough. The harder the girl worked, the more work was put upon her, and all that the woman thought of was how to weigh her down with still heavier burdens, and make her life still more miserable. One day she said to her, here are twelve pounds of feathers which you must pick, and if they are not done this evening, you may expect a good beating. Do you imagine you are to idle away the whole day. The poor girl sat down to the work, but tears ran down her cheeks as she did so, for she saw plainly enough that it was quite impossible to finish the work in one day. Whenever she had a little heap of feathers lying before her, and she sighed or smote her hands together in her anguish, they flew away, and she had to pick them up again, and begin her work anew. Then she put her elbows on the table, laid her face in her two hands, and cried, is there no one, then, on God's earth to have pity on me. Then she heard a low voice which said, be comforted, my child, I have come to help you. The maiden looked up, and an old woman was by her side. She took the girl kindly by the hand, and said, only tell me what is troubling you. As she spoke so kindly, the girl told her of her miserable life, and how one burden after another was laid upon her, and she never could get to the end of the work which was given to her. If I have not done these feathers by this evening, my step-mother will beat me, she has threatened she will, and I know she keeps her word. Her tears began to flow again, but the good old woman said, do not be afraid, my child, rest a while, and in the meantime I will look to your work. The girl lay down on her bed, and soon fell asleep. The old woman seated herself at the table with the feathers, and how they did fly off the quills, which she scarcely touched with her withered hands. The twelve pounds were soon finished, and when the girl awoke, great snow-white heaps were lying, piled up, and everything in the room was neatly cleared away, but the old woman had vanished. The maiden thanked God, and sat still till evening came, when the step-mother came in and marveled to see the work completed. Just look, you awkward creature, said she, what can be done when people are industrious, and why could you not set about something else. There you sit with your hands crossed. When she went out she said, the creature is worth more than her salt. I must give her some work that is still harder. Next morning she called the girl, and said there is a spoon for you. With that you must empty out the great pond which is beside the garden, and if it is not done by night, you know what will happen. The girl took the spoon, and saw that it was full of holes, but even if it had not been, she never could have emptied the pond with it. She set to work at once, knelt down by the water, into which her tears were falling, and began to empty it. But the good old woman appeared again, and when she learnt the cause of her grief, she said, be of good cheer, my child. Go into the thicket and lie down and sleep, I will soon do your work. As soon as the old woman was alone, she barely touched the pond, and a vapor rose up on high from the water, and mingled itself with the clouds. Gradually the pond was emptied, and when the maiden awoke before sunset and came thither, she saw nothing but the fishes which were struggling in the mud. She went to her step-mother, and showed her that the work was done. It ought to have been done long before this, said she, and grew white with anger, but she meditated something new. On the third morning she said to the girl, you must build me a castle on the plain there, and it must be ready by the evening. The maiden was dismayed, and said, how can I complete such a great work. I will endure no opposition, screamed the step-mother. If you can empty a pond with a spoon that is full of holes, you can build a castle too. I will take possession of it this very day, and if anything is wanting, even if it be the most trifling thing in the kitchen or cellar, you know what lies before you. She drove the girl out, and when she entered the valley, the rocks were there, piled up one above the other, and all her strength would not have enabled her even to move the very smallest of them. She sat down and wept, and still she hoped the old woman would help her. The old woman was not long in coming, she comforted her and said, lie down there in the shade and sleep, and I will soon build the castle for you. If it would be a pleasure to you, you can live in it yourself. When the maiden had gone away, the old woman touched the gray rocks. They began to rise, moved together and stood there as if giants had built the walls, and on these the building arose and it seemed as if countless hands were working invisibly, and placing one stone upon another. There was a dull heavy noise from the ground, pillars arose of their own accord on high, and placed themselves in order near each other. The tiles laid themselves in order on the roof, and when noon-day came, the great weather-cock was already turning itself on the summit of the tower, like a golden maid with fluttering garments. The inside of the castle was being finished while evening was drawing near. How the old woman managed it, I know not, but the walls of the rooms were hung with silk and velvet, embroidered chairs were there, and richly ornamented arm-chairs by marble tables, crystal chandeliers hung down from the ceilings, and mirrored themselves in the smooth floor, green parrots were there in gilt cages, and so were strange birds which sang most beautifully, and there was on all sides as much magnificence as if a king were going to live there. The sun was just setting when the girl awoke, and the brightness of a thousand lights flashed in her face. She hurried to the castle, and entered by the open door. The steps were spread with red cloth, and the golden balustrade beset with flowering trees. When she saw the splendor of the rooms, she stood as if turned to stone. Who knows how long she might have stood there if she had not remembered the step-mother. Alas, she said to herself, if she could but be satisfied at last, and would give up making my life a misery to me. The girl went and told her that the castle was ready. I will move into it at once, said she, and rose from her seat. When they entered the castle, she was forced to hold her hand before her eyes, the brilliancy of everything was so dazzling. You see, said she to the girl, how easy it has been for you to do this, I ought to have given you something harder. She went through all the rooms, and examined every corner to see if anything was wanting or defective, but she could discover nothing. Now we will go down below, said she, looking at the girl with malicious eyes. The kitchen and the cellar still have to be examined and if you have forgotten anything you shall not escape your punishment. But the fire was burning on the hearth, and the meat was cooking in the pans, the tongs and shovel were leaning against the wall, and the shining brazen utensils all arranged in sight. Nothing was missing, not even a coal-box and a water-pail. Which is the way to the cellar, she cried. If that is not abundantly filled with wine casks it shall go ill with you. She herself raised up the trap-door and descended, but she had hardly made two steps before the heavy trap-door which was only laid back, fell down. The girl heard a scream, lifted up the door very quickly to go to her aid, but she had fallen down, and the girl found her lying lifeless at the bottom. And now the magnificent castle belonged to the girl alone. She at first did not know how to reconcile herself to her good fortune. Beautiful dresses were hanging in the wardrobes, the chests were filled with gold and silver, or with pearls and jewels, and she never felt a desire that she was not able to gratify. And soon the fame of the beauty and riches of the maiden went over all the world. Wooers presented themselves daily but none pleased her. At length the son of the king came and he knew how to touch her heart, and she betrothed herself to him. In the garden of the castle was a lime-tree, under which they were one day sitting together, when he said to her, I will go home and obtain my father's consent to our marriage. I entreat you to wait for me under this lime-tree, I shall be back with you in a few hours. The maiden kissed him on his left cheek, and said, keep true to me, and never let any one else kiss you on this cheek. I will wait here under the lime-tree until you return. The maid stayed beneath the lime-tree until sunset, but he did not return. She sat three days from morning till evening, waiting for him, but in vain. As he still was not there by the fourth day, she said, some accident has assuredly befallen him. I will go out and seek him, and will not come back until I have found him. She packed up three of her most beautiful dresses, one embroidered with bright stars, the second with silver moons, the third with golden suns, tied up a handful of jewels in her handkerchief, and set out. She inquired everywhere for her betrothed, but no one had seen him, no one knew anything about him. Far and wide did she wander through the world, but she found him not. At last she hired herself to a farmer as a cowherd, and buried her dresses and jewels beneath a stone. And now she lived as a herdswoman, guarded her herd, and was very sad and full of longing for her beloved. She had a little calf which she taught to know her, and fed it out of her own hand, and when she said, little calf, little calf, kneel by my side, and do not forget your cowherd-maid, as the prince forgot his betrothed bride, who waited for him 'neath the lime-tree's shade. The little calf knelt down, and she stroked it. And when she had lived for a couple of years alone and full of grief, a report was spread over all the land that the king's daughter was about to celebrate her marriage. The road to the town passed through the village where the maiden was living, and it came to pass that once when the maiden was driving out her herd, the bridegroom traveled by. He was sitting proudly on his horse, and never looked round, but when she saw him she recognized her beloved, and it was just as if a sharp knife had pierced her heart. Alas, said she, I believed him true to me, but he has forgotten me. Next day he again came along the road. When he was near her she said to the little calf, little calf, little calf, kneel by my side, and do not forget your cowherd-maid, as the prince forgot his betrothed bride, who waited for him 'neath the lime-tree's shade. When he was aware of the voice, he looked down and reined in his horse. He looked into the girl's face and then put his hands before his eyes as if he were trying to remember something, but he soon rode onwards and was out of sight. Alas, said she, he no longer knows me. And her grief was ever greater. Soon after this a great festival three days long was to be held at the king's court, and the whole country was invited to it. Now will I try my last chance, thought the maiden, and when evening came she went to the stone under which she had buried her treasures. She took out the dress with the golden suns, put it on, and adorned herself with the jewels. She let down her hair, which she had concealed under a handkerchief, and it fell down in long curls about her, and thus she went into the town, and in the darkness was observed by no one. When she entered the brightly lighted hall, every one started back in amazement, but no one knew who she was. The king's son went to meet her, but he did not recognize her. He led her out to dance, and was so enchanted with her beauty, that he thought no more of the other bride. When the feast was over, she vanished in the crowd, and hastened before daybreak to the village, where she once more put on her herd's dress. Next evening she took out the dress with the silver moons, and put a half-moon made of precious stones in her hair. When she appeared at the festival, all eyes were turned upon her, but the king's son hastened to meet her, and filled with love for her, danced with her alone, and no longer so much as glanced at anyone else. Before she went away she was forced to promise him to come again to the festival on the last evening. When she appeared for the third time, she wore the star-dress which sparkled at every step she took, and her hair-ribbon and girdle were starred with jewels. The prince had already been waiting for her for a long time, and forced his way up to her. Do but tell who you are, said he, I feel just as if I had already known you a long time. Do you not know what I did when you left me. Then she stepped up to him, and kissed him on his left cheek, and in a moment it was as if scales fell from his eyes, and he recognized the true bride. Come, said he to her, here I stay no longer, gave her his hamd, and led her down to the carriage. The horses hurried away to the magic castle as if the wind had been harnessed to the carriage. The illuminated windows already shone in the distance. When they drove past the lime-tree, countless glow-worms were swarming about it. It shook its branches, and sent forth their fragrance. On the steps flowers were blooming, and the room echoed with the song of strange birds, but in the hall the entire court was assembled, and the priest was waiting to marry the bridegroom and the true bride.

 

The Master-Thief

One day an old man and his wife were sitting in front of a miserable house resting a while from their work. Suddenly a splendid carriage with four black horses came driving up, and a richly-dressed man descended from it. The peasant stood up, went to the great man, and asked what he wanted, and in what way he could serve him. The stranger stretched out his hand to the old man, and said, I want nothing but to enjoy for once a country dish, cook me some potatoes, in the way you always have them, and then I will sit down at your table and eat them with pleasure. The peasant smiled and said, you are a count or a prince, or perhaps even a duke, noble gentlemen often have such fancies, but you shall have your wish. The wife then went into the kitchen and began to wash and rub the potatoes, and to make them into balls, as they are eaten by the country-folks. Whilst she was busy with this work, the peasant said to the stranger, come into my garden with me for a while, I have still something to do there. He had dug some holes in the garden, and now wanted to plant trees in them. Have you no children, asked the stranger, who could help you with your work. No, answered the peasant, I had a son, it is true, but it is long since he went out into the world. He was a ne'er-do-well, clever and knowing, but he would learn nothing and was full of bad tricks. At last he ran away from me, and since then I have heard nothing of him. The old man took a young tree, put it in a hole, drove in a post beside it, and when he had shovelled in some earth and had trampled it firmly down, he tied the stem of the tree above, below, and in the middle, fast to the post by a rope of straw. But tell me, said the stranger, why you don't tie that crooked knotted tree, which is lying in the corner there, bent down almost to the ground, to a post also that it may grow straight, as well as these. The old man smiled and said, sir, you speak according to your knowledge, it is easy to see that you are not familiar with gardening. That tree there is old, and mis-shapen, no one can make it straight now. Trees must be trained while they are young. That is how it was with your son, said the stranger, if you had trained him while he was still young, he would not have run away. Now he too must have grown hard and mis-shapen. Truly it is a long time since he went away, replied the old man, he must have changed. Would you know him again if he were to come to you, asked the stranger. Hardly by his face, replied the peasant, but he has a mark about him, a birth-mark on his shoulder, that looks like a bean. When he had said that the stranger pulled off his coat, bared his shoulder, and showed the peasant the bean. Good God, cried the old man, you are really my son, and love for his child stirred in his heart. But, he added, how can you be my son, you have become a great lord and live in wealth and luxury. How have you contrived to do that. Ah, father, answered the son, the young tree was bound to no post and has grown crooked. Now it is too old, it will never be straight again. How have I come by all this. I have become a thief, but do not be alarmed, I am a master-thief. For me there are neither locks nor bolts, whatsoever I desire is mine. Do not imagine that I steal like a common thief, I only take some of the superfluity of the rich. Poor people are safe, I would rather give to them than take anything from them. It is the same with anything which I can have without trouble, cunning, and dexterity - I never touch it. Alas, my son, said the father, it still does not please me, a thief is still a thief, I tell you it will end badly. He took him to his mother, and when she heard that was her son, she wept for joy, but when he told her that he had become a master-thief, two streams flowed down over her face. At length she said, even if he has become a thief, he is still my son, and my eyes have beheld him once more. They sat down to table, and once again he ate with his parents the wretched food which he had not eaten for so long. The father said, if our lord, the count up there in the castle, learns who you are, and what trade you follow, he will not take you in his arms and cradle you in them as he did when he held you at the font, but will cause you to swing from a halter. Be easy, father, he will do me no harm, for I understand my trade. I will go to him myself this very day. When evening drew near, the master-thief seated himself in his carriage, and drove to the castle. The count received him civilly, for he took him for a distinguished man. When, however, the stranger made himself known, the count turned pale and was quite silent for some time. At length he said, you are my godson, and on that account mercy shall take the place of justice, and I will deal leniently with you. Since you pride yourself on being a master-thief, I will put your art to the proof, but if you do not stand the test, you must marry the rope-maker's daughter, and the croaking of the raven must be your music on the occasion. Lord count, answered the master-thief, think of three things, as difficult as you like, and if I do not perform your tasks, do with me what you will. The count reflected for some minutes, and then said, well, then, in the first place, you shall steal the horse I keep for my own riding, out of the stable. In the next, you shall steal the sheet from beneath the bodies of my wife and myself when we are asleep, without our observing it, and the wedding-ring of my wife as well. Thirdly and lastly, you shall steal away out of the church, the parson and clerk. Mark what I am saying, for your life depends on it. The master-thief went to the nearest town, there he bought the clothes of an old peasant woman, and put them on. Then he stained his face brown, and painted wrinkles on it as well, so that no one could have recognized him. Then he filled a small cask with old hungary wine in which was mixed a powerful sleeping-drink. He put the cask in a basket, which he took on his back, and walked with slow and tottering steps to the count's castle. It was already dark when he arrived. He sat down on a stone in the court-yard and began to cough, like an asthmatic old woman, and to rub his hands as if he were cold. In front of the door of the stable some soldiers were lying round a fire, one of them observed the woman, and called out to her, come nearer, old mother, and warm yourself beside us. After all, you have no bed for the night, and must take one where you can find it. The old woman tottered up to them, begged them to lift the basket from her back, and sat down beside them at the fire. What have you got in your little cask, old hag, asked one. A good mouthful of wine, she answered. I live by trade, for money and fair words I am quite ready to let you have a glass. Let us have it here, then, said the soldier, and when he had tasted one glass he said, when wine is good, I like another glass, and had another poured out for himself, and the rest followed his example. Hallo, comrades, cried one of them to those who were in the stable, here is an old girl who has wine that is as old as herself, take a draught, it will warm your stomachs far better than our fire. The old woman carried her cask into the stable. One of the soldiers had seated himself on the saddled riding-horse, another held its bridle in his hand, a third had laid hold of its tail. She poured out as much as they wanted until the spring ran dry. It was not long before the bridle fell from the hand of the one, and he fell down and began to snore, the other left hold of the tail, lay down and snored still louder. The one who was sitting in the saddle, did remain sitting, but bent his head down almost to the horse's neck, and slept and blew with his mouth like the bellows of a forge. The soldiers outside had already been asleep for a long time, and were lying on the ground motionless, as if dead. When the master-thief saw that he had succeeded, he gave the first a rope in his hand instead of the bridle, and the other who had been holding the tail, a wisp of straw, but what was he to do with the one who was sitting on the horse's back. He did not want to throw him down, for he might have awakened and have uttered a cry. He had a good idea, he unbuckled the girths of the saddle, tied a couple of ropes which were hanging to a ring on the wall fast to the saddle, and drew the sleeping rider up into the air on it, then he twisted the rope round the posts, and made it fast. He soon unloosed the horse from the chain, but if he had ridden over the stony pavement of the yard they would have heard the noise in the castle. So he wrapped the horse's hoofs in old rags, led him carefully out, leapt upon him, and galloped off. When day broke, the master galloped to the castle on the stolen horse. The count had just got up, and was looking out of the window. Good morning, sir count, he cried to him, here is the horse, which I have got safely out of the stable. Just look, how beautifully your soldiers are lying there sleeping, and if you will but go into the stable, you will see how comfortable your watchers have made it for themselves. The count could not help laughing. Then he said, for once you have succeeded, but things won't go so well the second time, and I warn you that if you come before me as a thief, I will handle you as I would a thief. When the countess went to bed that night, she closed her hand with the wedding-ring tightly together, and the count said, all the doors are locked and bolted, I will keep awake and wait for the thief, but if he gets in by the window, I will shoot him. The master-thief, however, went in the dark to the gallows, cut a poor sinner who was hanging there down from the halter, and carried him on his back to the castle. Then he set a ladder up to the bedroom, put the dead body on his shoulders, and began to climb up. When he had got so high that the head of the dead man showed at the window, the count, who was watching in his bed, fired a pistol at him, and immediately the master let the poor sinner fall down, descended the ladder, and hid himself in one corner. The night was sufficiently lighted by the moon, for the master to see distinctly how the count got out of the window on to the ladder, came down, carried the dead body into the garden, and began to dig a hole in which to lay it. Now, thought the thief, the favorable moment has come, stole nimbly out of his corner, and climbed up the ladder straight into the countess's bedroom. Dear wife, he began in the count's voice, the thief is dead, but, after all, he is my godson, and has been more of a scape-grace than a villain. I will not put him to open shame, besides, I am sorry for the parents. I will bury him myself before daybreak in the garden, that the thing may not be known. So give me the sheet, I will wrap up the body in it, and not bury him like a dog. The countess gave him the sheet. I tell you what, continued the thief, I have a fit of magnanimity, give me the ring too, - the unhappy man risked his life for it, so he may take it with him into his grave. She would not gainsay the count, and although she did it unwillingly she drew the ring from her finger, and gave it to him. The thief made off with both these things, and reached home safely before the count in the garden had finished his work of burying. What a long face the count did pull when the master came next morning, and brought him the sheet and the ring. Are you a wizard, said he, who has fetched you out of the grave in which I myself laid you, and brought you to life again. You did not bury me, said the thief, but the poor sinner on the gallows, and he told him exactly how everything had happened, and the count was forced to own to him that he was a clever, crafty thief. But you have not reached the end yet, he added, you have still to perform the third task, and if you do not succeed in that, all is of no use. The master smiled and returned no answer. When night had fallen he went with a long sack on his back, a bundle under his arms, and a lantern in his hand to the village church. In the sack he had some crabs, and in the bundle short wax-candles. He sat down in the churchyard, took out a crab, and stuck a wax-candle on his back. Then he lighted the little light, put the crab on the ground, and let it creep about. He took a second out of the sack, and treated it in the same way, and so on until the last was out of the sack. Hereupon he put on a long black garment that looked like a monk's cowl, and stuck a gray beard on his chin. When at last he was quite unrecognizable, he took the sack in which the crabs had been, went into the church, and ascended the pulpit. The clock in the tower was just striking twelve, when the last stroke had sounded, he cried with a loud and piercing voice, hearken, sinful men, the end of all things has come. The last day is at hand. Hearken. Hearken. Whosoever wishes to go to heaven with me must creep into the sack. I am peter, who opens and shuts the gate of heaven. Behold how the dead outside there in the chuchyard are wandering about collecting their bones. Come, come, and creep into the sack, the world is about to be destroyed. The cry echoed through the whole village. The parson and clerk who lived nearest to the church, heard it first, and when they saw the lights which were moving about the churchyard, they observed that something unusual was going on, and went into the church. They listened to the sermon for a while, and then the clerk nudged the parson and said, it would not be amiss if we were to use the opportunity together, and before the dawning of the last day, find an easy way of getting to heaven. To tell the truth, answered the parson, that is what I myself have been thinking, so if you are inclined, we will set out on our way. Yes, answered the clerk, but you, the pastor, have the precedence, I will follow. So the parson went first, and ascended the pulpit where the master opened his sack. The parson crept in first, and then the clerk. The master immediately tied up the sack tightly, seized it by the middle, and dragged it down the pulpit-steps, and whenever the heads of the two fools bumped against the steps, he cried, we are going over the mountains. Then he drew them through the village in the same way, and when they were passing through puddles, he cried, now we are going through wet clouds. And when at last he was dragging them up the steps of the castle, he cried, now we are on the steps of heaven, and will soon be in the outer court. When he had got to the top, he pushed the sack into the pigeon-house, and when the pigeons fluttered about, he said, hark how glad the angels are, and how they are flapping their wings. Then he bolted the door upon them, and went away. Next morning he went to the count, and told him that he had performed the third task also, and had carried the parson and clerk out of the church. Where have you left them, asked the Lord. They are lying upstairs in a sack in the pigeon-house, and imagine that they are in heaven. The count went up himself, and convinced himself that the master had told the truth. When he had delivered the parson and clerk from their captivity, he said, you are an arch-thief, and have won your wager. For once you escape with a whole skin, but see that you leave my land, for if ever you set foot on it again, you may count on your elevation to the gallows. The arch-thief took leave of his parents, once more went forth into the wide world, and no one has ever heard of him since.

 

The Drummer

A young drummer went out quite alone one evening into the country, and came to a lake on the shore of which he perceived lying there three pieces of white linen. What fine linen, said he, and put one piece in his pocket. He returned home, thought no more of what he had found, and went to bed. Just as he was going to sleep, it seemed to him as if someone was calling his name. He listened, and was aware of a soft voice which cried to him, drummer, drummer, wake up. As it was a dark night he could see no one, but it appeared to him that a figure was hovering about his bed. What do you want, he asked. Give me back my shift, answered the voice, that you took away from me last evening by the lake. You shall have it back again, said the drummer, if you will tell me who you are.

Ah, replied the voice, I am the daughter of a mighty king. But I have fallen into the power of a witch, and am shut up on the glass-mountain. I have to bathe in the lake every day with my two sisters, but I cannot fly back again without my shift. My sisters have gone away, but I have been forced to stay behind. I entreat you to give me my shift back. Don't worry, poor child, said the drummer. I will willingly give it back to you. He took it out of his pocket, and reached it to her in the dark. She snatched it in haste, and wanted to go away with it. Stop a moment, perhaps I can help you. You can only help me by ascending the glass-mountain, and indeed if you were quite close to it you could not ascend it. When I want to do a thing I always can do it, said the drummer. I am sorry for you, and have no fear of anything. But I do not know the way which leads to the glass-mountain. The road goes through the great forest, in which the man-eaters live, she answered, and more than that, I dare not tell you. And then he heard her wings as she flew away. By daybreak the drummer arose, buckled on his drums, and went without fear straight into the forest.

After he had walked for a while without seeing any giants, he thought to himself, I must waken up the sluggards, and he hung his drum before him, and beat such a roll that the birds flew out of the trees with loud cries. It was not long before a giant who had been lying sleeping among the grass, rose up, and was as tall as a fir-tree. Wretch, cried he, what are you drumming here for, and wakening me out of my best sleep. I am drumming, he replied, because I want to show the way to many thousands who are following me. What do they want in my forest, demanded the giant. They want to put an end to you, and cleanse the forest of such a monster as you.

Oho. Said the giant, I will trample you all to death like so many ants. Do you think you can do anything against us, said the drummer, if you stoop to take hold of one, he will jump away and hide himself. But when you are lying down and sleeping, they will come forth from every thicket, and creep up to you. Every one of them has a hammer of steel in his belt, and with that they will beat in your skull. The giant grew angry and thought, if I meddle with the crafty folk, it might turn out badly for me. I can strangle wolves and bears, but I cannot protect myself from these earth-worms. Listen, little fellow, said he, go back again, and I will promise you that for the future I will leave you and your comrades in peace, and if there is anything else you wish for, tell me, for I am quite willing to do something to please you. You have long legs, said the drummer, and can run quicker than I. Carry me to the glass-mountain, and I will give my followers a signal to go back, and they shall leave you in peace this time. Come here, worm, said the giant. Seat yourself on my shoulder, I will carry you where you wish to be.

The giant lifted him up, and the drummer began to beat his drum up aloft to his heart's delight. The giant thought, that is the signal for the other people to turn back. After a while, a second giant was standing in the road, who took the drummer from the first, and stuck him in his button-hole. The drummer laid hold of the button, which was as large as a dish, held on by it, and looked merrily around. Then they came to a third giant, who took him out of the button-hole, and set him on the rim of his hat. Up there the drummer walked backwards and forwards, and looked over the trees, and when he perceived a mountain in the blue distance, he thought, that must be the glass-mountain, and so it was. The giant only made two more steps, and they reached the foot of the mountain, where the giant put him down.

The drummer demanded to be put on the summit of the glass-mountain, but the giant shook his head, growled something in his beard, and went back into the forest. And now the poor drummer was standing before the mountain, which was as high as if three mountains were piled on each other, and at the same time as smooth as a looking-glass, and did not know how to get up it. He began to climb, but that was useless, for he always slipped back again. If one was a bird now, thought he. But what was the good of wishing, no wings grew for him. Whilst he was standing thus, not knowing what to do, he saw, not far from him, two men who were struggling fiercely together. He went up to them and saw that they were disputing about a saddle which was lying on the ground before them, and which both of them wanted to have.

What fools you are, said he, to quarrel about a saddle, when you have not a horse for it. The saddle is worth fighting about, answered one of the men. Whosoever sits on it, and wishes himself in any place, even if it should be the very end of the earth, gets there the instant he has uttered the wish. The saddle belongs to us in common. It is my turn to ride on it, but that other man will not let me do it. I will soon decide the quarrel, said the drummer, and he went to a short distance and stuck a white rod in the ground. Then he came back and said, now run to the goal, and whoever gets there first, shall ride first. Both set out at a trot, but hardly had they gone a couple of steps before the drummer swung himself on the saddle, wished himself on the glass-mountain and before any one could turn round, he was there.

On the top of the mountain was a plain. There stood an old stone house, and in front of the house lay a great fish-pond, but behind it was a dark forest. He saw neither men nor animals, everything was quiet. Only the wind rustled amongst the trees, and the clouds moved by quite close above his head. He went to the door and knocked. When he had knocked for the third time, an old woman with a brown face and red eyes opened the door. She had spectacles on her long nose, and looked sharply at him. Then she asked what he wanted. Entrance, food, and a bed for the night, replied the drummer. That you shall have, said the old woman, if you will perform three services in return. Why not, he answered, I am not afraid of any kind of work, however, hard it may be. The old woman let him go in, and gave him some food and a good bed at night.

The next morning when he had slept his fill, she took a thimble from her wrinkled finger, reached it to the drummer, and said, go to work now, and empty out the pond with this thimble. But you must have done it before night, and must have sought out all the fishes which are in the water and laid them side by side, according to their kind and size. That is strange work, said the drummer, but he went to the pond, and began to empty it. He baled the whole morning. But what can anyone do to a great lake with a thimble, even if he were to bale for a thousand years. When it was noon, he thought, it is all useless, and whether I work or not it will come to the same thing. So he gave it up and sat down. Then came a maiden out of the house who set a little basket with food before him, and said, what ails you, that you sit so sadly here. He looked at her, and saw that she was wondrously beautiful.

Ah, said he, I cannot finish the first piece of work, how will it be with the others. I came forth to seek a king's daughter who is said to dwell here, but I have not found her, and I will go farther. Stay here, said the maiden, I will help you out of your difficulty. You are tired, lay your head in my lap, and sleep. When you awake again, your work will be done. The drummer did not need to be told that twice. As soon as his eyes were shut, she turned a wishing-ring and said, rise, water. Fishes, come out. Instantly the water rose on high like a white mist, and moved away with the other clouds, and the fishes sprang on the shore and laid themselves side by side each according to his size and kind. When the drummer awoke, he saw with amazement that all was done. But the maiden said, one of the fish is not lying with those of its own kind, but quite alone. When the old woman comes to-night and sees that all she demanded has been done, she will ask you, what is this fish lying alone for. Then throw the fish in her face, and say, this one shall be for you, old witch.

In the evening the witch came, and when she had put this question, he threw the fish in her face. She behaved as if she did not notice it, and said nothing, but looked at him with malicious eyes. Next morning she said, yesterday it was too easy for you, I must give you harder work. To-day you must hew down the whole of the forest, split the wood into logs, and pile them up, and everything must be finished by the evening. She gave him an axe, a mallet, and two wedges. But the axe was made of lead, and the mallet and wedges were of tin. When he began to cut, the edge of the axe was blunted, and the mallet and wedges were beaten out of shape. He did not know how to manage, but at mid-day the maiden came once more with his dinner and comforted him. Lay your head on my lap, said she, and sleep. When you awake, your work will be done. She turned her wishing-ring, and in an instant the whole forest fell down with a crash, the wood split, and arranged itself in heaps, and it seemed just as if unseen giants were finishing the work.

When he awoke, the maiden said, do you see that the wood is piled up and arranged, one bough alone remains. But when the old woman comes this evening and asks you about that bough, give her a blow with it, and say, that is for you, you witch. The old woman came, there you see how easy the work was, said she. But for whom have you left that bough. For you, you witch, he replied, and gave her a blow with it. But she pretended not to feel it, laughed scornfully, and said, early to-morrow morning you shall arrange all the wood in one heap, set fire to it, and burn it.

He rose at break of day, and began to pick up the wood, but how can a single man get a whole forest together. The work made no progress. The maiden, however, did not desert him in his need. She brought him his food at noon, and when he had eaten, he laid his head on her lap, and went to sleep. When he awoke, the entire pile of wood was burning in one enormous flame, which stretched its tongues out into the sky. Listen to me, said the maiden, when the witch comes, she will give you all kinds of orders. Do whatever she asks you without fear, and then she will not be able to get the better of you, but if you are afraid, the fire will lay hold of you, and consume you. At last when you have done everything, seize her with both your hands, and throw her into the midst of the fire.

The maiden departed, and the old woman came sneaking up to him. Oh, I am cold, said she, but that is a fire that burns. It warms my old bones, and does me good. But I see a log lying there which won't burn, bring it out for me. When you have done that, you are free, and may go where you like. Now, jump in. The drummer did not reflect long. He sprang into the midst of the flames, but they did not hurt him, and could not even singe a hair of his head. He carried the log out, and laid it down. Hardly, however, had the wood touched the earth than it was transformed, and the beautiful maiden who had helped him in his need stood before him, and by the silken and shining golden garments which she wore, he knew right well that she was the king's daughter. But the old woman laughed venomously, and said, you think you have her safe, but you have not got her yet. Just as she was about to fall on the maiden and take her away, the youth seized the old woman with both his hands, raised her up on high, and threw her into the jaws of the fire, which closed over her as if it were delighted that an old witch was to be burnt.

Then the king's daughter looked at the drummer, and when she saw that he was a handsome youth and remembered how he had risked his life to deliver her, she gave him her hand, and said, you have ventured everything for my sake, but I also will do everything for yours. Promise to be true to me, and you shall be my husband. We shall not want for riches, we shall have enough with what the witch has gathered together here. She led him into the house, where there were chests and coffers crammed with the old woman's treasures.

The maiden left the gold and silver where it was, and took only the precious stones. She would not stay any longer on the glass-mountain, so the drummer said to her, seat yourself by me on my saddle, and then we will fly down like birds. I do not like the old saddle, said she, I need only turn my wishing-ring and we shall be at home. Very well, then, answered the drummer, then wish us in front of the town-gate. In the twinkling of an eye they were there, but the drummer said, I will just go to my parents and tell them the news. Wait for me outside here, I shall soon be back.

Ah, said the king's daughter, I beg you to be careful. On your arrival do not kiss your parents on the right cheek, or else you will forget everything, and I shall stay behind here outside, alone and deserted. How can I forget you, said he, and promised her to come back very soon, and gave his hand upon it. When he went into his father's house, he had changed so much that no one knew who he was, for the three days which he had passed on the glass-mountain had been three years. Then he made himself known, and his parents fell on his neck with joy, and his heart was so moved that he forgot what the maiden had said and kissed them on both cheeks. But when he had given them the kiss on the right cheek, every thought of the king's daughter vanished from him.

He emptied out his pockets, and laid handfuls of the largest jewels on the table. The parents had not the least idea what to do with the riches. Then the father built a magnificent castle all surrounded by gardens, woods, and meadows as if a prince were going to live in it, and when it was ready, the mother said, I have found a maiden for you and the wedding shall be in three days. The son was content to do as his parents desired. The poor king's daughter had stood for a long time outside the town waiting for the return of the young man. When evening came, she said, he must certainly have kissed his parents on the right cheek, and has forgotten me. Her heart was full of sorrow, she wished herself into a solitary little hut in a forest, and would not return to her father's court. Every evening she went into the town and passed the young man's house. He often saw her, but he no longer knew her. At length she heard the people saying, the wedding will take place to-morrow. Then she said, I will try if I can win back his heart.

On the first day of the wedding ceremonies, she turned her wishing-ring, and said, a dress as bright as the sun. Instantly the dress lay before her, and it was as bright as if it had been woven of real sunbeams. When all the guests were assembled, she entered the hall. Every one was amazed at the beautiful dress, and the bride most of all, and as pretty dresses were the things she had most delight in, she went to the stranger and asked if she would sell it to her. Not for money, she answered, but if I may pass the first night outside the door of the room where your betrothed sleeps, I will give it up to you. The bride could not overcome her desire and consented, but she mixed a sleeping-draught with the wine her betrothed took at night, which made him fall into a deep sleep. When all had be- - line missing in book copy - of the bedroom, opened it just a little, and cried, drummer, drummer, I pray you hear. Have you forgotten you held me dear. That on the glass-mountain we sat hour by hour. That I rescued your life from the witch's power. Did you not plight your troth to me. Drummer, drummer, hearken to me. But it was all in vain, for the drummer did not awake, and when morning dawned, the king's daughter was forced to go back again as she came.

On the second evening she turned her wishing-ring and said, a dress as silvery as the moon. When she appeared at the feast in the dress which was as soft as moonbeams, it again excited the desire of the bride, and the king's daughter gave it to her for permission to pass the second night also, outside the door of the bedroom. When in the stillness of the night, she cried, drummer, drummer, I pray you hear. Have you forgotten you held me dear. That on the glass-mountain we sat hour by hour. That I rescued your life from the witch's power. Did you not plight your troth to me. Drummer, drummer, hearken to me. But the drummer, who was stupefied with the sleeping-draught, could not be aroused. Sadly next morning she went back to her hut in the forest. But the people in the house had heard the lamentation of the unknown maiden, and told the bridegroom about it. They told him also that it was impossible that he could hear anything of it, because the maiden he was going to marry had poured a sleeping-draught into his wine.

On the third evening, the king's daughter turned her wishing-ring, and said, a dress glittering like the stars. When she showed herself therein at the feast, the bride was quite beside herself with the splendor of the dress, which far surpassed the others, and she said, I must, and will have it. The maiden gave it as she had given the others for permission to spend the night outside the bridegroom's door. The bridegroom, however, did not drink the wine which was handed to him before he went to bed, but poured it behind the bed, and when everything was quiet, he heard a sweet voice which called to him, drummer, drummer, I pray you hear. Have you forgotten you held me dear. That on the glass-mountain we sat hour by hour. That I rescued your life from the witch's power. Did you not plight your troth to me. Drummer, drummer, hearken to me. Suddenly his memory returned to him.

Ah, cried he, how can I have acted so unfaithfully. But the kiss which in the joy of my heart I gave my parents, on the right cheek, that is to blame for it all. That is what stupefied me. He sprang up, took the king's daughter by the hand, and led her to his parents, bed. This is my true bride, said he. If I marry the other, I shall do a great wrong. The parents, when they heard how everything had happened, gave their consent. Then the lights in the hall were lighted again, drums and trumpets were brought, friends and relations were invited to come, and the real wedding was solemnized with great rejoicing. The first bride received the beautiful dresses as a compensation, and declared herself satisfied.

 

The Fisherman and His Wife

There was once upon a time a fisherman who lived with his wife in a pig-stye close by the sea, and every day he went out fishing. And he fished, and he fished. And once he was sitting with his rod, looking at the clear water, and he sat and he sat. Then his line suddenly went down, far down below, and when he drew it up again, he brought out a large flounder. Then the flounder said to him, hark, you fisherman, I pray you, let me live, I am no flounder really, but an enchanted prince. What good will it do you to kill me. I should not be good to eat, put me in the water again, and let me go. Come, said the fisherman, there is no need for so many words about it - a fish that can talk I should certainly let go, anyhow. And with that he put him back again into the clear water, and the flounder went to the bottom, leaving a long streak of blood behind him.

Then the fisherman got up and went home to his wife in the pig-stye. Husband, said the woman, have you caught nothing to-day. No, said the man, I did catch a flounder, who said he was an enchanted prince, so I let him go again. Did you not wish for anything first, said the woman. No, said the man, what should I wish for. Ah, said the woman, it is surely hard to have to live always in this pig-stye which stinks and is so disgusting. You might have wished for a little hut for us. Go back and call him. Tell him we want to have a little hut, he will certainly give us that. Ah, said the man, why should I go there again. Why, said the woman, you did catch him, and you let him go again. He is sure to do it. Go at once.

The man still did not quite like to go, but did not like to oppose his wife either, and went to the sea. When he got there the sea was all green and yellow, and no longer so smooth, so he stood still and said, flounder, flounder in the sea, come, I pray thee, here to me. For my wife, good Ilsabil, wills not as I'd have her will. Then the flounder came swimming to him and said, well what does she want, then. Ah, said the man, I did catch you, and my wife says I really ought to have wished for something. She does not like to live in a pig-stye any longer. She would like to have a hut. Go, then, said the flounder, she has it already.

When the man went home, his wife was no longer in the stye, but instead of it there stood a hut, and she was sitting on a bench before the door. Then she took him by the hand and said to him, just come inside. Look, now isn't this a great deal better. So they went in, and there was a small porch, and a pretty little parlor and bedroom, and a kitchen and pantry, with the best of furniture, and fitted up with the most beautiful things made of tin and brass, whatsoever was wanted. And behind the hut there was a small yard, with hens and ducks, and a little garden with flowers and fruit. Look, said the wife, is not that nice. Yes, said the husband, and so it shall remain - now we will live quite contented. We will think about that said the wife. With that they ate something and went to bed.

Everything went well for a week or a fortnight, and then the woman said, hark you, husband, this hut is far too small for us, and the garden and yard are little. The flounder might just as well have given us a larger house. I should like to live in a great stone castle. Go to the flounder, and tell him to give us a castle. Ah, wife, said the man, the hut is quite good enough. Why whould we live in a castle. What. Said the woman. Just go there, the flounder can always do that. No, wife, said the man, the flounder has just given us the hut, I do not like to go back so soon, it might make him angry. Go, said the woman, he can do it quite easily, and will be glad to do it. Just you go to him. The man's heart grew heavy, and he would not go. He said to himself, it is not right, and yet he went. And when he came to the sea the water was quite purple and dark-blue, and grey and thick, and no longer so green and yellow, but it was still quiet. And he stood there and said, flounder, flounder in the sea, come, I pray thee, here to me. For my wife, good Ilsabil, wills not as I'd have her will. Well, what does she want, now, said the flounder. Alas, said the man, half scared, she wants to live in a great stone castle. Go to it, then, she is standing before the door, said the flounder.

Then the man went away, intending to go home, but when he got there, he found a great stone palace, and his wife was just standing on the steps going in, and she took him by the hand and said, come in. So he went in with her, and in the castle was a great hall paved with marble, and many servants, who flung wide the doors. And the walls were all bright with beautiful hangings, and in the rooms were chairs and tables of pure gold, and crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, and all the rooms and bedrooms had carpets, and food and wine of the very best were standing on all the tables, so that they nearly broke down beneath it. Behind the house, too, there was a great court-yard, with stables for horses and cows, and the very best of carriages. There was a magnificent large garden, too, with the most beautiful flowers and fruit-trees, and a park quite half a mile long, in which were stags, deer, and hares, and everything that could be desired. Come, said the woman, isn't that beautiful. Yes, indeed, said the man, now let it be, and we will live in this beautiful castle and be content. We will consider about that, said the woman, and sleep upon it. Thereupon they went to bed.

Next morning the wife awoke first, and it was just daybreak, and from her bed she saw the beautiful country lying before her. Her husband was still stretching himself, so she poked him in the side with her elbow, and said, get up, husband, and just peep out of the window. Look you, couldn't we be the king over all that land. Go to the flounder, we will be the king. Ah, wife, said the man, why should we be king. I do not want to be king. Well, said the wife, if you won't be king, I will. Go to the flounder, for I will be king. Ah, wife, said the man, why do you want to be king. I do not like to say that to him. Why not, said the woman. Go to him this instant. I must be king.

So the man went, and was quite unhappy because his wife wished to be king. It is not right, it is not right, thought he. He did not wish to go, but yet he went. And when he came to the sea, it was quite dark-grey, and the water heaved up from below, and smelt putrid. Then he went and stood by it, and said, flounder, flounder in the sea, come, I pray thee, here to me. For my wife, good Ilsabil, wills not as I'd have her will. Well, what does she want, now. Said the flounder. Alas, said the man, she wants to be king. Go to her. She is king already. So the man went, and when he came to the palace, the castle had become much larger, and had a great tower and magnificent ornaments, and the sentinel was standing before the door, and there were numbers of soldiers with kettle-drums and trumpets. And when he went inside the house, everything was of real marble and gold, with velvet covers and great golden tassels.

Then the doors of the hall were opened, and there was the court in all its splendor, and his wife was sitting on a high throne of gold and diamonds, with a great crown of gold on her head, and a sceptre of pure gold and jewels in her hand, and on both sides of her stood her maids-in-waiting in a row, each of them always one head shorter than the last. Then he went and stood before her, and said, ah, wife, and now you are king. Yes, said the woman, now I am king. So he stood and looked at her, and when he had looked at her thus for some time, he said, and now that you are king, let all else be, now we will wish for nothing more. No, husband, said the woman, quite anxiously, I find time passes very heavily, I can bear it no longer. Go to the flounder - I am king, but I must be emperor, too. Oh, wife, why do you wish to be emperor. Husband, said she, go to the flounder. I will be emperor. Alas, wife, said the man, he cannot make you emperor. I may not say that to the fish. There is only one emperor in the land. An emperor the flounder cannot make you. I assure you he cannot. What. Said the woman, I am the king, and you are nothing but my husband. Will you go this moment. Go at once. If he can make a king he can make an emperor. I will be emperor. Go instantly. So he was forced to go.

As the man went, however, he was troubled in mind, and thought to himself, it will not end well. It will not end well. Emperor is too shameless. The flounder will at last be tired out. With that he reached the sea, and the sea was quite black and thick, and began to boil up from below, so that it threw up bubbles, and such a sharp wind blew over it that it curdled, and the man was afraid. Then he went and stood by it, and said, flounder, flounder in the sea, come, I pray thee, here to me. For my wife, good Ilsabil, wills not as I'd have her will. Well, what does she want, now, said the flounder. Alas, flounder, said he, my wife wants to be emperor. Go to her, said the flounder. She is emperor already. So the man went, and when he got there the whole palace was made of polished marble with alabaster figures and golden ornaments, and soldiers were marching before the door blowing trumpets, and beating cymbals and drums. And in the house, barons, and counts, and dukes were going about as servants. Then they opened the doors to him, which were of pure gold. And when he entered, there sat his wife on a throne, which was made of one piece of gold, and was quite two miles high. And she wore a great golden crown that was three yards high, and set with diamonds and carbuncles, and in one hand she had the sceptre, and in the other the imperial orb. And on both sides of her stood the yeomen of the guard in two rows, each being smaller than the one before him, from the biggest giant, who was two miles high, to the very smallest dwarf, just as big as my little finger. And before it stood a number of princes and dukes. Then the man went and stood among them, and said, wife, are you emperor now. Yes, said she, now I am emperor. Then he stood and looked at her well, and when he had looked at her thus for some time, he said, ah, wife, be content, now that you are emperor. Husband, said she, why are you standing there. Now, I am emperor, but I will be Pope too. Go to the flounder. Oh, wife, said the man, what will you not wish for. You cannot be Pope. There is but one in christendom. He cannot make you Pope. Husband, said she, I will be Pope. Go immediately, I must be Pope this very day. No, wife, said the man, I do not like to say that to him. That would not do, it is too much. The flounder can't make you Pope. Husband, said she, what nonsense. If he can make an emperor he can make a Pope. Go to him directly. I am emperor, and you are nothing but my husband. Will you go at once.

Then he was afraid and went, but he was quite faint, and shivered and shook, and his knees and legs trembled. And a high wind blew over the land, and the clouds flew, and towards evening all grew dark, and the leaves fell from the trees, and the water rose and roared as if it were boiling, and splashed upon the shore. And in the distance he saw ships which were firing guns in their sore need, pitching and tossing on the waves. And yet in the midst of the sky there was still a small patch of blue, though on every side it was as red as in a heavy storm. So, full of despair, he went and stood in much fear and said, flounder, flounder in the sea, come, I pray thee, here to me. For my wife, good Ilsabil, wills not as I'd have her will. Well, what does she want, now, said the flounder. Alas, said the man, she wants to be Pope. Go to her then, said the flounder, she is Pope already. So he went, and when he got there, he saw what seemed to be a large church surrounded by palaces. He pushed his way through the crowd. Inside, however, everything was lighted up with thousands and thousands of candles, and his wife was clad in gold, and she was sitting on a much higher throne, and had three great golden crowns on, and round about her there was much ecclesiastical splendor. And on both sides of her was a row of candles the largest of which was as tall as the very tallest tower, down to the very smallest kitchen candle, and all the emperors and kings were on their knees before her, kissing her shoe. Wife, said the man, and looked attentively at her, are you now Pope. Yes, said she, I am Pope. So he stood and looked at her, and it was just as if he was looking at the bright sun. When he had stood looking at her thus for a short time, he said, ah, wife, if you are Pope, do let well alone. But she looked as stiff as a post, and did not move or show any signs of life. Then said he, wife, now that you are Pope, be satisfied, you cannot become anything greater now. I will consider about that, said the woman.

Thereupon they both went to bed, but she was not satisfied, and greediness let her have no sleep, for she was continually thinking what there was left for her to be. The man slept well and soundly, for he had run about a great deal during the day. But the woman could not fall asleep at all, and flung herself from one side to the other the whole night through, thinking always what more was left for her to be, but unable to call to mind anything else. At length the sun began to rise, and when the woman saw the red of dawn, she sat up in bed and looked at it. And when, through the window, she saw the sun thus rising, she said, cannot I, too, order the sun and moon to rise. Husband, she said, poking him in the ribs with her elbows, wake up. Go to the flounder, for I wish to be even as God is. The man was still half asleep, but he was so horrified that he fell out of bed. He thought he must have heard amiss, and rubbed his eyes, and said, wife, what are you saying. Husband, said she, if I can't order the sun and moon to rise, and have to look on and see the sun and moon rising, I can't bear it. I shall not know what it is to have another happy hour, unless I can make them rise myself. Then she looked at him so terribly that a shudder ran over him, and said, go at once. I wish to be like unto God. Alas, wife, said the man, falling on his knees before her, the flounder cannot do that. He can make an emperor and a Pope. I beseech you, go on as you are, and be Pope. Then she fell into a rage, and her hair flew wildly about her head, she tore open her bodice, kicked him with her foot, and screamed, I can't stand it, I can't stand it any longer. Will you go this instant.

Then he put on his trousers and ran away like a madman. But outside a great storm was raging, and blowing so hard that he could scarcely keep his feet. Houses and trees toppled over, the mountains trembled, rocks rolled into the sea, the sky was pitch black, and it thundered and lightened, and the sea came in with black waves as high as church-towers and mountains, and all with crests of white foam at the top. Then he cried, but could not hear his own words, flounder, flounder in the sea, come, I pray thee, here to me. For my wife, good Ilsabil, wills not as I'd have her will. Well, what does she want, now, said the flounder. Alas, said he, she wants to be like unto God. Go to her, and you will find her back again in the pig-stye. And there they are still living to this day.

 

The Frog King, or Iron Henry

In olden times when wishing still helped one, there lived a king whose daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so beautiful that the sun itself, which has seen so much, was astonished whenever it shone in her face. Close by the king's castle lay a great dark forest, and under an old lime-tree in the forest was a well, and when the day was very warm, the king's child went out into the forest and sat down by the side of the cool fountain, and when she was bored she took a golden ball, and threw it up on high and caught it, and this ball was her favorite plaything.

Now it so happened that on one occasion the princess's golden ball did not fall into the little hand which she was holding up for it, but on to the ground beyond, and rolled straight into the water. The king's daughter followed it with her eyes, but it vanished, and the well was deep, so deep that the bottom could not be seen. At this she began to cry, and cried louder and louder, and could not be comforted. And as she thus lamented someone said to her, "What ails you, king's daughter? You weep so that even a stone would show pity."

She looked round to the side from whence the voice came, and saw a frog stretching forth its big, ugly head from the water. "Ah, old water-splasher, is it you," she said, "I am weeping for my golden ball, which has fallen into the well." "Be quiet, and do not weep," answered the frog, "I can help you, but what will you give me if I bring your plaything up again?" "Whatever you will have, dear frog," said she, "My clothes, my pearls and jewels, and even the golden crown which I am wearing." The frog answered, "I do not care for your clothes, your pearls and jewels, nor for your golden crown, but if you will love me and let me be your companion and play-fellow, and sit by you at your little table, and eat off your little golden plate, and drink out of your little cup, and sleep in your little bed - if you will promise me this I will go down below, and bring you your golden ball up again."

"Oh yes," said she, "I promise you all you wish, if you will but bring me my ball back again." But she thought, "How the silly frog does talk. All he does is to sit in the water with the other frogs, and croak. He can be no companion to any human being."

But the frog when he had received this promise, put his head into the water and sank down; and in a short while came swimmming up again with the ball in his mouth, and threw it on the grass. The king's daughter was delighted to see her pretty plaything once more, and picked it up, and ran away with it. "Wait, wait," said the frog. "Take me with you. I can't run as you can." But what did it avail him to scream his croak, croak, after her, as loudly as he could. She did not listen to it, but ran home and soon forgot the poor frog, who was forced to go back into his well again.

The next day when she had seated herself at table with the king and all the courtiers, and was eating from her little golden plate, something came creeping splish splash, splish splash, up the marble staircase, and when it had got to the top, it knocked at the door and cried, "Princess, youngest princess, open the door for me." She ran to see who was outside, but when she opened the door, there sat the frog in front of it. Then she slammed the door to, in great haste, sat down to dinner again, and was quite frightened. The king saw plainly that her heart was beating violently, and said, "My child, what are you so afraid of? Is there perchance a giant outside who wants to carry you away?" "Ah, no," replied she. "It is no giant but a disgusting frog."

"What does a frog want with you?" "Ah, dear father, yesterday as I was in the forest sitting by the well, playing, my golden ball fell into the water. And because I cried so, the frog brought it out again for me, and because he so insisted, I promised him he should be my companion, but I never thought he would be able to come out of his water. And now he is outside there, and wants to come in to me."

In the meantime it knocked a second time, and cried, "Princess, youngest princess, open the door for me, do you not know what you said to me yesterday by the cool waters of the well. Princess, youngest princess, open the door for me."

Then said the king, "That which you have promised must you perform. Go and let him in." She went and opened the door, and the frog hopped in and followed her, step by step, to her chair. There he sat and cried, "Lift me up beside you." She delayed, until at last the king commanded her to do it. Once the frog was on the chair he wanted to be on the table, and when he was on the table he said, "Now, push your little golden plate nearer to me that we may eat together." She did this, but it was easy to see that she did not do it willingly. The frog enjoyed what he ate, but almost every mouthful she took choked her. At length he said, "I have eaten and am satisfied, now I am tired, carry me into your little room and make your little silken bed ready, and we will both lie down and go to sleep."

The king's daughter began to cry, for she was afraid of the cold frog which she did not like to touch, and which was now to sleep in her pretty, clean little bed. But the king grew angry and said, "He who helped you when you were in trouble ought not afterwards to be despised by you." So she took hold of the frog with two fingers, carried him upstairs, and put him in a corner, but when she was in bed he crept to her and said, "I am tired, I want to sleep as well as you, lift me up or I will tell your father." At this she was terribly angry, and took him up and threw him with all her might against the wall. "Now, will you be quiet, odious frog," said she. But when he fell down he was no frog but a king's son with kind and beautiful eyes. He by her father's will was now her dear companion and husband. Then he told her how he had been bewitched by a wicked witch, and how no one could have delivered him from the well but herself, and that to-morrow they would go together into his kingdom.

Then they went to sleep, and next morning when the sun awoke them, a carriage came driving up with eight white horses, which had white ostrich feathers on their heads, and were harnessed with golden chains, and behind stood the young king's servant Faithful Henry. Faithful Henry had been so unhappy when his master was changed into a frog, that he had caused three iron bands to be laid round his heart, lest it should burst with grief and sadness. The carriage was to conduct the young king into his kingdom. Faithful Henry helped them both in, and placed himself behind again, and was full of joy because of this deliverance. And when they had driven a part of the way the king's son heard a cracking behind him as if something had broken. So he turned round and cried, "Henry, the carriage is breaking." "No, master, it is not the carriage. It is a band from my heart, which was put there in my great pain when you were a frog and imprisoned in the well." Again and once again while they were on their way something cracked, and each time the king's son thought the carriage was breaking, but it was only the bands which were springing from the heart of Faithful Henry because his master was set free and was happy.

 

Our Lady's Child

Hard by a great forest dwelt a wood-cutter with his wife, who had an only child, a little girl three years old. They were so poor, however, that they no longer had daily bread, and did not know how to get food for her. One morning the wood-cutter went out sorrowfully to his work in the forest, and while he was cutting wood, suddenly there stood before him a tall and beautiful woman with a crown of shining stars on her head, who said to him 'I am the virgin mary, mother of the child jesus. You are poor and needy, bring your child to me, I will take her with me and be her mother, and care for her.' The wood-cutter obeyed, brought his child, and gave her to the virgin mary, who took her up to heaven with her. There the child fared well, ate sugar-cakes, and drank sweet milk, and her clothes were of gold, and the little angels played with her. And when she was fourteen years of age, the virgin mary called her one day and said 'dear child, I am about to make a long journey, so take into your keeping the keys of the thirteen doors of heaven. Twelve of these you may open, and behold the glory which is within them, but the thirteenth, to which this little key belongs, is forbidden you. Take care not to open it, or you will be unhappy.' The girl promised to be obedient, and when the virgin mary was gone, she began to examine the dwellings of the kingdom of heaven. Each day she opened one of them, until she had made the round of the twelve. In each of them sat one of the apostles in the midst of a great light, and she rejoiced in all the magnificence and splendor, and the little angels who always accompanied her rejoiced with her. Then the forbidden door alone remained, and she felt a great desire to know what could be hidden behind it, and said to the angels 'I will not open it entirely, and I will not go inside, but I will unlock it so that we can see just a little through the opening.' 'Oh'no, said the little angels, 'that would be a sin. The virgin mary has forbidden it, and it might easily cause your unhappiness.' Then she was silent, but the desire in her heart was not stilled, but gnawed there and tormented her, and let her have no rest. And once when the angels had all gone out, she thought 'now I am quite alone, and I could peep in. If I do, no one will ever know.' She sought out the key, and when she had got it in her hand, she put it in the lock, and when she had put it in, she turned it round as well. Then the door sprang open, and she saw there the trinity sitting in fire and splendor. She stayed there awhile, and looked at everything in amazement, then she touched the light a little with her finger, and her finger became quite golden. Immediately a great fear fell on her. She shut the door violently, and ran hi there. But her terror would not quit her, let her do what she 'Yes, said the girl, for the second time. Then she perceived the finger which had become golden from touching the fire of heaven, and saw well that the child had sinned, and said for the third time 'have you not done it.' 'No, said the girl for the third time. Then said the virgin mary 'you have not obeyed me, and besides that you have lied, you are no longer worthy to be in heaven.' Then the girl fell into a deep sleep, and when she awoke she lay on the earth below, and in the midst of a wilderness. She wanted to cry out, but she could bring forth no sound. She sprang up and wanted to run away, but whithersoever she turned herself, she was continually held back by thick hedges of thorns through which she could not break. In the desert, in which she was imprisoned, there stood an old hollow tree, and this had to be her dwelling-place. Into this she crept when night came, and here she slept. Here, too, she found a shelter from might, and her heart beat continually and would not be still, the gold too stayed on her finger, and would not go away, let her rub it and wash it never so much. It was not long before the virgin mary came back from her journey. She called the girl before her, and asked to have the keys of heaven back. When the maiden gave her the bunch, the virgin looked into her eyes and said 'have you not opened the thirteenth door also.' 'No, she replied. Then she laid her hand on the girl's heart, and felt how it beat and beat, and saw right well that she had disobeyed her order and had opened the door. Then she said once again 'are you certain that you have not done it.' storm and rain, but it was a miserable life, and bitterly did she weep when she remembered how happy she had been in heaven, and how the angels had played with her. Roots and wild berries were her only food, and for these she sought as far as she could go. In the autumn she picked up the fallen nuts and leaves, and carried them into the hole. The nuts were her food in winter, and when snow and ice came, she crept amongst the leaves like a poor little animal that she might not freeze. Before long her clothes were all torn, and one bit of them after another fell off her. As soon, however, as the sun shone warm again, she went out and sat in front of the tree, and her long hair covered her on all sides like a mantle. Thus she sat year after year, and felt the pain and the misery of the world. One day, when the trees were once more clothed in fresh green, the king of the country was hunting in the forest, and followed a roe, and as it had fled into the thicket which shut in this part of the forest, he got off his horse, tore the bushes asunder, and cut himself a path with his sword. When he had at last forced his way through, he saw a wonderfully beautiful maiden sitting under the tree, and she sat there and was entirely covered with her golden hair down to her very feet. He stood still and looked at her full of surprise, then he spoke to her and said 'who are you. Why are you sitting here in the wilderness.' But she gave no answer, for she could not open her mouth. The king continued 'will you go with me to my castle. Then she just nodded her head a little. The king took her in his arms, carried her to his horse, and rode home with her, and when he reached the royal castle he caused her to be dressed in beautiful garments, and gave her all things in abundance. Although she could not speak, she was still so beautiful and charming that he began to love her with all his heart, and it was not long before he married her. After a year or so had passed, the queen brought a son into the world. Thereupon the virgin mary appeared to her in the night when she lay in her bed alone, and said 'if you will tell the truth and confess that you did unlock the forbidden door, I will open your mouth and give you back your speech, but if you persevere in your sin, and deny obstinately, I will take your new-born child away with me.' The the queen was permitted to answer, but she remained hard, and said 'no, I did not open the forbidden door, and the virgin mary took the new-born child from her arms, and vanished with it. Next morning when the child was not to be found, it was whispered among the people that the queen was a man-eater, and had put her own child to death. She heard all this and could say nothing to the contrary, but the king would not believe it, for he loved her so much. When a year had gone by the queen again bore a son, and in the night the virgin mary again came to her, and said 'if you will confess that you opened the forbidden door, I will give you your child back and untie your tongue but if you continue in sin and deny it, I will take away with me this new child also.' Then the queen again said 'no, I did not open the forbidden door.' And the virgin took the child out of her arms, and away with her to heaven. Next morning, when this child also had disappeared, the people declared quite loudly that the queen had devoured it, and the king's councillors demanded that she should be brought to justice. The king however, loved her so dearly that he would not believe it, and commanded the councillors under pain of death not to say any more about it. The following year the queen gave birth to a beautiful little daughter, and for the third time the virgin mary appeared to her in the night and said 'follow me.' She took the queen by the hand and led her to heaven, and showed her there her two eldest children, who smiled at her, and were playing with the ball of the world. When the queen rejoiced thereat, the virgin mary said 'is your heart not yet softened. If you will own that you opened the forbidden door, I will give you back your two little sons.' But for the third time the queen answered 'no, I did not open the forbidden door.' Then the virgin let her sink down to earth once more, and took from her likewise her third child.

Next morning, when the loss was reported abroad, all the people cried loudly 'the queen is a man-eater. She must be judged, and the king was no longer able to restrain his councillors. Thereupon a trial was held, and as she could not answer, and defend herself, she was condemned to be burnt at the stake. The wood was got together, and when she was fast bound to the stake, and the fire began to burn round about her, the hard ice of pride melted, her heart was moved by repentance, and she thought 'if I could but confess before my death that I opened the door.' Then her voice came back to her, and she cried out loudly 'yes, mary, I did it, and straight-way rain fell from the sky and extinguished the flames of fire, and a light broke forth above her, and the virgin mary descended with the two little sons by her side, and the new-born daughter in her arms. She spoke kindly to her, and said 'he who repents his sin and acknowledges it, is forgiven.' Then she gave her the three children, untied her tongue, and granted her happiness for her whole life.

 

Frederick and Catherine

There was once upon a time a man who was called Frederick and a woman called Catherine, who had married each other and lived together as young married folks. One day Frederick said, I will now go and plough, Catherine, when I come back, there must be some roast meat on the table for hunger, and a fresh draught for thirst. Just go, Frederick, answered kate, just go, I will have all ready for you. So when dinner-time drew near she got a sausage out of the chimney, put it in the frying-pan, put some butter to it, and set it on the fire. The sausage began to fry and to hiss, Catherine stood beside it and held the handle of the pan, and had her own thoughts as she was doing it. Then it occurred to her, while the sausage is getting done you could go into the cellar and draw beer. So she set the frying-pan safely on the fire, took a can, and went down into the cellar to draw beer. The beer ran into the can and kate watched it, and then she thought, oh, dear. The dog upstairs is not fastened up, it might get the sausage out of the pan. Lucky I thought of it. And in a trice she was up the cellar-steps again, but the spitz had the sausage in its mouth already, and trailed it away on the ground. But Catherine, who was not idle, set out after it, and chased it a long way into the field, the dog, however, was swifter than Catherine and did not let the sausage go, but skipped over the furrows with it. What's gone is gone, said kate, and turned round, and as she had run till she was weary, she walked quietly and comfortably, and cooled herself. During this time the beer was still running out of the cask, for kate had not turned the tap. And when the can was full and there was no other place for it, it ran into the cellar and did not stop until the whole cask was empty. As soon as kate was on the steps she saw the accident. Good gracious, she cried. What shall I do now to stop Frederick finding out. She thought for a while, and at last she remembered that up in the garret was still standing a sack of the finest wheat flour from the last fair, and she would fetch that down and strew it over the beer. Yes, said she, he who saves a thing when he ought, has it afterwards when he needs it, and she climbed up to the garret and carried the sack below, and threw it straight down on the can of beer, which she knocked over, and Frederick's draught swam also in the cellar. It is all right, said kate, where the one is the other ought to be also, and she strewed the meal over the whole cellar. When it was done she was heartily delighted with her work, and said, how clean and wholesome it does look here. At mid-day home came Frederick, now, wife, what have you ready for me. Ah, freddy, she answered, I was frying a sausage for you, but whilst I was drawing the beer to drink with it, the dog took it away out of the pan, and whilst I was running after the dog, all the beer ran out, and whilst I was drying up the beer with the flour, I knocked over the can as well, but be easy, the cellar is quite dry again. Said Frederick, kate, kate, you should not have done that, to let the sausage be carried off and the beer run out of the cask, and throw out all our flour into the bargain. Well, Frederick, I did not know that, you should have told me. The man thought, if this is the kind of wife I have, I had better take more care of things. Now he had saved up a good number of talers which he changed into gold, and said to Catherine, look, these are yellow counters for playing games, I will put them in a pot and bury them in the stable under the cow's manger, but mind you keep away from them, or it will be the worse for you. Said she, oh, no, Frederick, I certainly will not go near them. And when Frederick was gone some pedlars came into the village who had cheap earthen bowls and pots, and asked the young woman if there was nothing she wanted to bargain with them for. Oh, dear people, said Catherine, I have no money and can buy nothing, but if you have any use for yellow counters I will buy of you. Yellow counters, why not. But just let us see them. Then go into the stable and dig under the cow's manger, and you will find the yellow counters. I am not allowed to go there. The rogues went thither, dug and found pure gold. Then they laid hold of it, ran away, and left their pots and bowls behind in the house. Catherine though she must use her new things, and as she had no lack in the kitchen already without these, she knocked the bottom out of every pot, and set them all as ornaments on the paling which went round about the house. When Frederick came and saw the new decorations, he said, Catherine, what have you been about. I have bought them, Frederick, for the counters which were under the cow's manger. I did not go there myself, the pedlars had to dig them out for themselves. Ah, wife, said Frederick, what have you done. Those were not counters, but pure gold, and all our wealth, you should not have done that. Indeed, Frederick, said she, I did not know that, you should have forewarned me. Catherine stood for a while and wondered, then she said, listen, Frederick, we will soon get the gold back again, we will run after the thieves. Come, then, said Frederick, we will try it, but take with you some butter and cheese that we may have something to eat on the way. Yes, Frederick, I will take them. They set out, and as Frederick was the better walker, Catherine followed him. It is to my advantage, thought she, when we turn back I shall be a little way in advance. Then she came to a hill where there were deep ruts on both sides of the road. There one can see, said Catherine, how they have torn and skinned and galled the poor earth, it will never be whole again as long as it lives, and in her heart's compassion she took her butter and smeared the ruts right and left, that they might not be so hurt by the wheels, and as she was thus bending down in her charity, one of the cheeses rolled out of her pocket down the hill. Said Catherine, I have made my way once up here, I will not go down again, another may run and fetch it back. So she took another cheese and rolled it down. But the cheeses did not come back, so she let a third run down, thinking. Perhaps they are waiting for company, and do not like to walk alone. As all three stayed away she said, I do not know what that can mean, but it may perhaps be that the third has not found the way, and has gone wrong, I will just send the fourth to call it. But the fourth did no better than the third. Then Catherine was angry, and threw down the fifth and sixth as well, and these were her last. She remained standing for some time watching for their coming, but when they still did not come, she said, oh, you are good folks to send in search of death, you stay a fine long time away. Do you think I will wait any longer for you. I shall go my way, you may run after me, you have younger legs than I. Catherine went on and found Frederick, who was standing waiting for her because he wanted something to eat. Now just let us have what you have brought with you, said he. She gave him the dry bread. Where have you the butter and the cheeses, asked the man. Ah, freddy, said Catherine, I smeared the cart-ruts with the butter and the cheeses will come soon, one ran away from me, so I sent the others after to call it. Said Frederick, you should not have done that, Catherine, to smear the butter on the road, and let the cheeses run down the hill. Really, Frederick, you should have told me. Then they ate the dry bread together, and Frederick said, Catherine, did you make the house safe when you came away. No, Frederick, you should have told me to do it before. Then go home again, and make the house safe before we go any farther, and bring with you something else to eat. I will wait here for you. Catherine went back and thought, Frederick wants something more to eat, he does not like butter and cheese, so I will take with me a handkerchief full of dried pears and a pitcher of vinegar for him to drink. Then she bolted the upper half of the door fast, but unhinged the lower door, and took it on her back, believing that when she had placed the door in security the house must be well taken care of. Catherine took her time on the way, and thought, Frederick will rest himself so much the longer. When she had once reached him she said, here is the house-door for you, Frederick, and now you can take care of the house yourself. Oh, heavens, said he, what a wise wife I have. She takes the under-door off the hinges that everything may run in, and bolts the upper one. It is now too late to go back home again, but since you have brought the door here, you shall just carry it farther. I will carry the door, Frederick, but the dried pears and the vinegar-jug will be too heavy for me, I will hang them on the door, it may carry them. And now they went into the forest, and sought the rogues, but did not find them. At length as it grew dark they climbed into a tree and resolved to spend the night there. Scarcely, however, had they sat down at the top of it than the rascals came thither who carry away with them what does not want to go, and find things before they are lost. They sat down under the very tree in which Frederick and Catherine were sitting, lighted a fire, and were about to share their booty. Frederick got down on the other side and collected some stones together. Then he climbed up again with them, and wished to throw them at the thieves and kill them. The stones, however, did not hit them, and the knaves cried, it will soon be morning, the wind is shaking down the fir-cones. Catherine still had the door on her back, and as it pressed so heavily on her, she thought it was the fault of the dried pears, and said, Frederick, I must throw the pears down. No, Catherine, not now, he replied, they might betray us. Oh, but, Frederick, I must. They weigh me down far too much. Do it, then, and be hanged. Then the dried pears rolled down between the branches, and the rascals below said, those are birds, droppings. A short time afterwards, as the door was still heavy, Catherine said, ah, Frederick, I must pour out the vinegar. No, Catherine, you must not, it might betray us. Ah, but, Frederick, I must, it weighs me down far too much. Then do it and be hanged. So she emptied out the vinegar, and it spattered over the robbers. They said amongst themselves, the dew is already falling. At length Catherine thought, can it really be the door which weighs me down so, and said, Frederick, I must throw the door down. No, not now, Catherine, it might betray us. Oh, but, Frederick, I must. It weighs me down far too much. Oh, no, Catherine, do hold it fast. Ah, Frederick, I am letting it fall. Let it go, then, in the devil's name. Then it fell down with a violent clatter, and the rascals below cried, the devil is coming down the tree, and they ran away and left everything behind them. Early next morning, when the two came down they found all their gold again, and carried it home. When they were once more at home, Frederick said, and now, Catherine, you, too, must be industrious and work. Yes, Frederick, I will soon do that, I will go into the field and cut corn. When Catherine got into the field, she said to herself, shall I eat before I cut, or shall I sleep before I cut. Oh, I will eat first. Then Catherine ate and eating made her sleepy, and she began to cut, and half in a dream cut all her clothes to pieces, her apron, her gown, and her shift. When Catherine awoke again after a long sleep she was standing there half-naked, and said to herself, is it I, or is it not I. Alas, it is not I. In the meantime night came, and Catherine ran into the village, knocked at her husband's window, and cried, Frederick. What is the matter. I should very much like to know if Catherine is in. Yes, yes, replied Frederick, she must be in and asleep. Said she, that's all right, then I am certainly at home already, and ran away. Outside Catherine found some vagabonds who were going to steal. Then she went to them and said, I will help you to steal. The rascals thought that she knew what opportunities the place offered, and were willing. Catherine went in front of the houses, and cried, good folks, have you anything. We want to steal. The thieves thought to themselves, that's a fine way of doing things, and wished themselves once more rid of Catherine. Then they said to her, outside the village the pastor has some turnips in the field. Go there and pull up some turnips for us. Catherine went to the ground, and began to pull them up, but was so lazy that she never stood up straight. Then a man came by, saw her, and stood still and thought that it was the devil who was thus rooting amongst the turnips. He ran away into the village to the pastor, and said, mr. Pastor, the devil is in your turnip-ground, rooting up turnips. Ah, heavens, answered the pastor, I have a lame foot, I cannot go out and drive him away. Said the man, then I will carry you on my back, and he carried him out on his back. And when they came to the ground, Catherine arose and stood up her full height. Ah, the devil, cried the pastor, and both hurried away, and in his great fright the pastor could run better with his lame foot than the man who had carried him on his back could do on his sound legs.

 

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 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 prophesy, 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 mayor. 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. 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.

 

The Boots of Buffalo-Leather

A soldier who is afraid of nothing, troubles himself about nothing. One of this kind had received his discharge, and as he had learnt no trade and could earn nothing, he traveled about and begged alms of kind people. He had an old rain-coat on his back, and a pair of riding-boots of buffalo-leather which were still left to him. One day he was walking he knew not where, straight out into the open country, and at length came to a forest. He did not know where he was, but saw sitting on the trunk of a tree, which had been cut down, a man who was well dressed and wore a green shooting-coat. The soldier shook hands with him, sat down on the grass by his side, and stretched out his legs. I see you have good boots on, which are well blacked, said he to the huntsman, but if you had to travel about as I have, they would not last long. Look at mine, they are of buffalo-leather, and have been worn for a long time, but in them I can go through thick and thin. After a while the soldier got up and said, I can stay no longer, hunger drives me onwards, but, brother brightboots, where does this road lead to. I don't know that myself, answered the huntsman, I have lost my way in the forest. Then you are in the same plight as I, said the soldier. Birds of a feather flock together, let us remain together, and seek our way. The huntsman smiled a little, and they walked on further and further, until night fell. We do not get out of the forest, said the soldier, but there in the distance I see a light shining. There we might find something to eat. They found a stone house, knocked at the door, and an old woman opened it. We are looking for quarters for the night, said the soldier, and some lining for our stomachs, for mine is as empty as an old knapsack. You cannot stay here, answered the old woman. This is a robbers, house, and you would do wisely to get away before they come home, or you will be lost. It won't be so bad as that, answered the soldier, I have not had a mouthful for two days, and whether I am murdered here or die of hunger in the forest is all the same to me. I shall come in. The huntsman would not follow, but the soldier drew him in with him by the sleeve. Come, my dear brother, we shall not come to an end so quickly as that. The old woman had pity on them and said, creep in here behind the stove, and if they leave anything, I will give it to you on the sly when they are asleep. Scarcely were they in the corner before twelve robbers came bursting in, seated themselves at the table which was already laid, and vehemently demanded some food. The old woman brought in some great dishes of roast meat, and the robbers enjoyed that thoroughly. When the soldier smelled the food, he said to the huntsman, I cannot hold out any longer, I shall seat myself at the table, and eat with them. You will bring us to destruction, said the huntsman, and held him back by the arm. But the soldier began to cough loudly. When the robbers heard that, they threw away their knives and forks, leapt up, and discovered the two who were behind the stove. Aha, gentlemen, are you in the corner, cried they. What are you doing here. Have you been sent as spies. Wait a while, and you shall learn how to fly on a dry bough. But do be civil, said the soldier, I am hungry, give me something to eat, and then you can do what you like with me. The robbers were astonished, and the captain said, I see that you have no fear. Well, you shall have some food, but after that you must die. We shall see, said the soldier, and seated himself at the table, and began to cut away valiantly at the roast meat. Brother brightboots, come and eat, cried he to the huntsman. You must be as hungry as I am, and cannot have better roast meat at home, but the huntsman would not eat. The robbers looked at the soldier in astonishment, and said, the rascal uses no ceremony. After a while he said, I have had enough food, now get me something good to drink. The chief of the robbers was in the mood to humor him in this also, and called to the old woman, bring a bottle out of the cellar, and mind it be of the best. The soldier drew the cork out with a loud noise, and then went with the bottle to the huntsman and said, watch this, brother, and you shall see something that will surprise you. I am now going to drink the health of the whole clan. Then he brandished the bottle over the heads of the robbers, and cried, long life to you all, but with your mouths open and your right hands lifted up, and then he drank a hearty draught. Scarcely were the words said than they all sat motionless as if made of stone, and their mouths were open and their right hands stretched up in the air. The huntsman said to the soldier, I see that you are acquainted with tricks of another kind, but now come and let us go home. Oho, my dear brother, but that would be marching away far too soon. We have conquered the enemy, and must first take the booty. Those men there are sitting fast, and are opening their mouths with astonishment, but they will not be allowed to move until I permit them. Come, eat and drink. The old woman had to bring another bottle of the best wine, and the soldier would not stir until he had eaten enough to last for three days. At last when day came, he said, now it is time to strike our tents, and in order that our march may be a short one, the old woman shall show us the nearest way to the town.

When they had arrived there, he went to his old comrades, and said, out in the forest I have found a nest full of gallows, birds, come with me and we will take it. The soldier led them, and said to the huntsman, you must go back again with me to see how they flutter when we seize them by the feet. He placed the men round about the robbers, and then he took the bottle, drank a mouthful, brandished it above them, and cried, long life to you all. Instantly they all regained the power of movement, but were thrown down and bound hand and foot with cords. Then the soldier ordered them to be thrown into a cart as if they had been so many sacks, and said, now drive them straight to prison. The huntsman, however, took one of the men aside and gave him another commission as well.

Brother brightboots, said the soldier, we have safely routed the enemy and been well fed, now we will quietly walk behind them as if we were stragglers. When they approached the town, the soldier saw a crowd of people pouring through the gate of the town who were raising loud cries of joy, and waving green boughs in the air. Then he saw that the entire body-guard was coming up. What can this mean, said he to the huntsman.

Don't you know, he replied, that the king has for a long time been absent from his kingdom, and that today he is returning, and every one is going to meet him. But where is the king, said the soldier. I do not see him. Here he is, answered the huntsman, I am the king, and have announced my arrival.

Then he opened his hunting-coat, and his royal garments were visible. The soldier was alarmed, and fell on his knees and begged him to forgive him for having in his ignorance treated him as an equal, and spoken to him by such a name. But the king shook hands with him, and said, you are a brave soldier, and have saved my life. You shall never again be in want, I will take care of you. And if ever you would like to eat a piece of roast meat, as good as that in the robber's house, come to the royal kitchen. But if you would drink a health, you must first ask my permission.

 

 

 
     
         
 

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