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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

Little Brother and Little Sister 

constable -&-cz up 



First Published 1917 

Printed in Great Britain 



These forty stories, chosen and illustrated for this edition 
by Arthur Rackham, together with the selection which we 
published some years ago with illustrations by the same 
artist, make a total of one hundred stories which include, it 
is thought, all the best of the Fairy Tales of the Brothers 
Grimm. Of the remainder most are probably of interest 
rather to students of folklore than to the girls and boys of 
to-day, and many are little more than variants or similar 
tales from other sources. The story called 4 The Nose Tree ’ 
has been more or less re-written from the rather abridged 
form among the notes where alone it is included in the 
original. And in adapting it and the other stories from 
the German text, the publishers have to acknowledge the 
permission of Messrs. George Bell and Sons to make use 
of Mrs. Hunt’s translation in Bohn’s Standard Library, 
which Messrs. Bell claim to be the only complete English 
rendering of the original with the notes and comments of the 
Brothers Grimm. 

a 2 













BEARSKIN ........ 





THE GNOMES ........ 


THE NOSE TREE ....... 









































1 39 

















List of Illustrations 


She took off her golden garter and put it round the roebuck’s neck 

(page 2 ) ...... Frontispiece 


The end of his beard was caught in a crack in the tree . . . 12 

The third time, she wore the star-dress which sparkled at every step . 34 

Suddenly the branches twined round her and turned into two arms . 52 

Gold pieces fell down on the cloth like a thunder shower . . 78 

He played until the room was entirely filled with gnomes . . 92 

They came at last to their poor old friend . . . .102 

What did she find there but real ripe strawberries . . .128 

The Three Army-Surgeons . . . . . .140 

The waiting maid sprang down first and Maid Maleen followed . . 158 

At last she met the bridegroom who was coming slowly back . . 180 

She begged quite prettily to be allowed to spend the night there . 206 




Headpiece to Little Brother and Little Sister .... 1 

She crept after them secretly, as witches do creep ... 3 

She met an aged woman who knew of her distress, and presented her 

with a little pot . . . • • • . l6 




So, one by one, he threw out all the money . . . . 19 

The giant gave the one who was sitting next him a box on the ear . 25 

To whom do these twelve shirts belong? ..... 38, 39 

The wicked mother-in-law was put into a barrel full of boiling oil and 

venomous snakes ....... 42 

In came the three women dressed in the strangest fashion . . 46 

Then she gathered the money into this, and was rich all the days of 

her life ........ 48 

Headpiece to the Old Woman in the Wood .... 49 

The old woman seized her by the gown, and tried to hold her fast . 51 

Whoever saw him, ran away . . . . . .55 

Now I know why that stuck-up thing there does not eat . . 62 

Little Two-eyes ........ 63 

Headpiece to the Wishing-Table, the Gold-Ass, and the Cudgel in the 

Knapsack ........ 68 

The Musician and the Wolf ...... 80 

The Musician and the Fox . . . . . .81 

The Musician and the Hare ...... 83 

When the bear heard the music he could not help beginning to dance . 87 

Hans the Hedgehog ....... 94 

Headpiece to the Three Feathers . . . . .105 

The pretty maiden skipped through the hoop as lightly as a deer . 109 

Groaning continually, he climbed the mountain . . . . 113 

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 nearest tree . 119 

When it was sharp enough, he looked round at the strangers . . 123 




With every word she said, out of her mouth jumped a toad . . ISO 

A terrible fellow half as big as the tree by which he was standing 137 

The cat came creeping in . . . . . .140 

The Hare and the Hedgehog . . . . .143 

He sniffed and said, e Wife, I smell a Christian,’ . . . 153 

There stood the maiden in her poor garments . . . .157 

When her husband saw her, he shouted, f Hi! come to me here’ . 173 

The cat made herself merry with the mice in the royal palace . . 176 

The poor miller’s boy and the cat . . . . .182 

It was just as if the wind had whistled by . .188 

Cousin Longlegs came carefully in ..... 202 

They found in the earth a mortar of pure gold . . . 209 

It was not long before the seven-headed dragon came, loudly roaring . 220 

Instantly they lay still all turned into stone 
Headpiece to the Nix of the Mill-pond 
Headpiece to the Fox and the Geese 
The little one went and brought the box . 

Tailpiece to the Iron Stove 







Little Brother and Little Sister 

L ITTLE BROTHER took Little Sister by the hand and 
said, 4 Since our mother died we have not had another 
happy hour ; our step-mother beats us every day, and 
if we come near her she kicks us away with her foot. Our 
meals are the hard crusts of bread that are left over ; and 
the little dog under the table is better off, for she often 
throws it a nice morsel. May Heaven pity us. If only 
our mother knew ! Come, let us go forth together into the 
wide world. 5 

The whole day they walked through meadows and fields, 
and over stony wastes ; and when it rained Little Sister said, 
4 Heaven and our hearts are weeping together. 5 In the 
evening they came to a large forest, and they were so weary 
with sorrow and hunger and their long journey, that they lay 
down in a hollow tree and fell asleep. 

Next day when they awoke, the sun was already high in 
the sky, and shone down hot into the tree. Then Little 
Brother said, 4 Little Sister, I am thirsty ; if I knew where 
there was a little brook I would go and drink. Listen ! I think 
I hear one. 5 So he got up and took Little Sister by the hand, 
and they set off to find the brook. 




But their wicked step-mother was a witch, and had seen 
how the two children had gone away, and she had crept after 
them secretly, as witches do creep, and had bewitched all the 
brooks in the forest. 

So when they found a little brook leaping brightly over 
the stones, Little Brother was going to drink out of it, but 
Little Sister heard how it said as it ran, ‘ Who drinks of me 
will become a tiger ; who drinks of me will become a tiger.’ 
Then Little Sister cried, ‘ Pray, Little Brother, do not drink, 
or you will become a wild beast, and tear me to pieces.’ 

Little Brother did not drink, although he was so thirsty, 
but said, ‘ I will wait for the next spring.’ 

When they came to the next Little Sister heard this one 
also say, 4 Who drinks of me will become a wolf; who drinks 
of me will become a wolf.’ Then Little Sister cried out, 4 Pray, 
pray, Little Brother, do not drink, or you will become a wolf, 
and eat me up.’ 

Little Brother did not drink, and said, 4 1 will wait until 
we come to the next spring, but then I must drink, say what 
you like ; for my thirst is too great.’ 

And when they came to the third brook Little Sister heard 
how it said as it ran, 4 Who drinks of me will become a deer ; 
who drinks of me will become a deer.’ Little Sister said, 4 Oh, 
I pray you, dear brother, do not drink, or you will become a 
deer, and run away from me.’ But Little Brother had already 
knelt down by the brook, and had leant over and drunk some 
water, and as soon as the first drop touched his lips there he 
lay, a little roebuck. 

And now Little Sister wept over her poor bewitched Little 
Brother, and the little fawn wept also, and sat sorrowfully by 
her. But at last the maiden said, 4 Be quiet, dear little fawn, 
I will never, never leave thee.’ 

Then she took off her golden garter and put it round the 
roebuck’s neck, and she plucked rushes and wove them into 
a soft cord. With this she tied the little fawn and led it 
along as she walked deeper and deeper into the forest. 


She crept after them secretly, as witches do creep. 


And when they had gone a very long way they came at 
last to a little house, and the girl looked in; and as it was 
empty, she thought, 4 Here we can stay and live.’ Then she 
sought for leaves and moss to make a soft bed for the fawn ; 
and every morning she went out and gathered roots and 
berries and nuts for herself, and brought tender grass for the 
fawn, who ate out of her hand, and was quite content and 
frisked about her. In the evening, when Little Sister was 
tired, and had said her prayer, she laid her head upon the 
roebuck’s back : that was her pillow, and she slept softly on 
it. And if only Little Brother had had his human form it 
would have been a delightful life. 

For a long time they lived alone like this in the wilderness. 
But it happened that the King of the country held a great 
hunt in the forest. Then the blasts of the horns, the barking 
of dogs, and the merry shouts of the hunters rang through 
the trees, and the little roebuck heard all, and was only too 
anxious to be there. 

4 Oh,’ said he to Little Sister, 4 let me be off to the hunt, I 
cannot bear it any longer ’ ; and he begged so hard that at 
last she agreed. 

4 But,’ said she to him, 4 come back to me in the evening ; 
I must shut my door for fear of the rough hunters, so knock 
and say, 44 My Little Sister, let me in ! ” that I may know 
you ; and if you do not say that, I shall not open the door.’ 
Then the young roebuck leaped away, so happy was he and 
so merry in the open air. 

The King and his huntsmen saw the pretty creature, and 
made chase after him, but they could not catch him, and 
when they thought that they surely had him, away he sprang 
through the bushes and could not be seen. When it was dark 
he ran to the cottage and knocked, and said, 4 My Little 
Sister, let me in.’ Then the door was opened for him, and he 
jumped in, and rested the whole night through upon his 
soft bed. 

The next day the hunt went on afresh, and when the 


roebuck again heard the bugles, and the ho ! ho ! of the 
hunters, he had no peace, but said, 4 Little Sister, let me out, 
I must be off.’ Little Sister opened the door for him, and 
said, 4 But you must be here again in the evening and say your 

When the King and his huntsmen again saw the young 
roebuck with the golden collar, they all chased him, but he 
was too quick and nimble for them. This went on for the 
whole day, but at last by evening the hunters had surrounded 
him, and one of them wounded him slightly in the foot, so 
that he limped and ran slowly. Then a hunter crept after him 
to the cottage and heard how he said, 4 My Little Sister, let 
me in,’ and saw that the door was opened for him, and was 
shut again at once. The hunter took notice of it all, and went 
to the King and told him what he had seen and heard. 

Then the King said, 4 To-morrow we will hunt once 

Little Sister, however, was dreadfully frightened when she 
saw that her fawn was hurt. She washed off the blood and 
laid herbs on the wound, and said, 4 Go to your bed, dear 
fawn, that you may get well again.’ But the wound was so 
slight that next morning the roebuck did not feel it any more. 
And when again he heard the horns of hunters, he said, 4 I 
cannot bear it, I must be there ; they shall not find it so easy 
to catch me.’ 

Little Sister cried, and said, 4 This time they will kill you, 
and here am I alone in the forest and forsaken by all the 
world. I will not let you out.’ 

4 Then you will have me die of grief,’ answered the fawn ; 
4 when I hear the bugles I feel as if I must jump out of my 
skin.’ Then Little Sister could not do otherwise, but opened 
the door for him with a heavy heart, and the roebuck, full of 
health and joy, bounded out into the forest. 

When the King saw him, he said to his huntsman, 4 This 
time chase him all day long till nightfall, but take care that 
no one does him any harm.’ 



As soon as the sun had set, the King said to the huntsmen, 

4 Come and show me the cottage in the wood ’ ; and when he 
reached the door, he knocked and called out, 4 Dear Little 
Sister, let me in.’ The door opened, and the King walked in, 
and there stood a maiden more lovely than he had ever seen 
before. The maiden was frightened when there came in, not 
her little roebuck, but a man who wore a golden crown upon 
his head. But the King looked kindly at her, stretched out 
his hand, and said, 4 Will you go with me to my palace and 
be my dear wife ? ’ 

4 Yes, indeed,’ answered the maiden, 4 but my little fawn 
must go with me, I cannot leave him.’ 

The King said, 4 It shall stay with you as long as you live, 
and shall want nothing.’ Just then he came running in, and 
Little Sister tied him again with the cord of rushes, took it 
in her hand, and left the cottage with the King. 

The King took the lovely maiden upon his horse and 
carried her to his palace, where the wedding was held with 
great pomp. She was now the Queen, and they lived together 
happily for a long time ; the roebuck was tended and cherished, 
and ran about at liberty in the palace garden. 

But their wicked step-mother, because of whom the chil¬ 
dren had gone out into the world, thought all the time that 
Little Sister had been torn to pieces by the wild beasts in the 
wood, and that Little Brother had been shot for a roebuck by 
the hunters. Now when she heard that they were so happy, 
and so well off, envy and hatred rose in her heart and left 
her no peace, and she thought of nothing but how she could 
bring them to misfortune. Her own daughter, who was as 
ugly as night, and had only one eye, complained to her and 
grumbled. 4 A Queen ! ’ she said, 4 that ought to have been 
my luck.’ 

4 Only be quiet,’ answered the old woman, and comforted 
her by saying, 4 when the time comes I shall be ready for it.’ 

As time went on the Queen had a pretty little boy, and 
it happened when the King was out hunting. So the old 


witch took the form of the chamber-maid, went into the 
room where the Queen lay, and said to her, 4 Come, the bath 
is ready; it will do you good, and give you fresh strength ; 
make haste before it gets cold.’ 

The daughter also was at hand to help her. So they 
carried the Queen into the bath-room, put her into the bath, 
and then they shut the door and ran away. But in the bath¬ 
room they had made a fire of such deadly heat that the 
beautiful young Queen was soon suffocated. 

When this was done the old woman took her daughter, 
put a nightcap on her head, and laid her in bed in place of 
the Queen. She gave her too the shape and the look of the 
Queen, only she could not make good the lost eye. But 
in order that the King might not see it, she had to lie on the 
side on which she had no eye. 

In the evening when he came home and heard that he had 
a son he was heartily glad, and was going to the bed of his 
dear wife to see how she was. 

But the old woman quickly called out, 4 For your life 
leave the curtains drawn. The Queen ought not to see the 
light yet, and must have rest.’ The King went away, and 
did not find out that a false Queen was lying in the bed. 

But at midnight when all slept the nurse who was sitting 
in the nursery by the cradle, and who was the only person 
awake, saw the door open and the true Queen walk in. She 
took the child out of the cradle, laid it on her arm, and nursed 
it. Then she shook up its pillow, laid the child down again, 
and covered it with the little quilt. And she did not forget 
the roebuck, but went into the corner where it lay, and stroked 
its back. Then she went quite silently out of the door again. 
The next morning the nurse asked the guards whether any 
one had come into the palace during the night, but they 
answered, 4 No, we have seen no one.’ 

She came thus many nights and never spoke a word. The 
nurse always saw her, but she did not dare to tell any one 
about it. 



When some time had passed in this manner, the Queen 
began to speak in the night, and said— 

‘ How fares ray child, how fares ray deer? 

But twice again shall I appear . 1 

The nurse did not answer, but when the Queen had gone 
again, went to the King and told him all. The King said, 
4 Oh, heavens ! what is this ? To-morrow night I will watch 
by the child.’ In the evening he went into the nursery, and 
at midnight the Queen again appeared and said— 

‘ How fares my child, how fares my deer? 

Still once again shall I appear . 1 

And she nursed the child as she was wont to do before 
she disappeared. The King dared not speak to her, but on 
the next night he watched again. Then she said— 

‘ How fares my child, how fares ray deer? 

Never again shall I appear . 1 

Then the King could not restrain himself; he sprang towards 
her, and said, 4 You can be no other than my own dear wife.’ 

4 Yes,’ she answered, 4 I am your dear wife,’ and at the 
same moment life came back to her again, and by God’s grace 
she became fresh, rosy, and full of health. 

Then she told the King the evil deed which the wicked 
witch and her daughter had been guilty of. The King ordered 
both to be led before the judge, and judgment was delivered 
against them. The daughter was taken into the forest where 
she was torn to pieces by wild beasts, but the witch was cast 
into the fire and burnt to death. And as soon as she was burnt 
up the roebuck changed his shape, and received his human 
form again, so Little Sister and Little Brother lived happily 
together all the rest of their lives. 


Snow-white and Rose-red 

T HERE was once a poor widow who lived in a lonely 
cottage. In front of the cottage was a garden where 
stood two rose-trees, one a white rose and the other red. 
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, and as busy and cheerful as ever were any 
two children in the world, only Snow-white was more quiet 
and gentle than Rose-red. Rose-red liked better to run about 
in the meadows and fields picking flowers and chasing butter¬ 
flies. 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 each other that they 
always held each other by the hand when they went out 
together, and when Snow-white said, 4 We will not leave each 
other,’ Rose-red answered, 4 Never so long as we live,’ and 
their mother would add, 4 What one has, she must share with 
the other.’ 

They often ran about the forest alone and gathered red 
berries, and no wild animals 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 all the songs they knew. 

No mishap ever overtook them. If they had stayed too 
late in the forest, and night came on, they just laid themselves 
down near one another upon the moss, and slept until morn¬ 
ing came, and their mother knew this and had no distress 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 of moss. He rose 
up and looked 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 over 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 nose¬ 
gay by her mother’s bed before she awoke, and in it was a 
rose from each tree. In the winter Snow-white lit the fire and 
hung the kettle over it on the hook. The kettle was of copper 
and shone like gold, so brightly was it polished. 

In the evening, when the snowflakes fell, the mother said, 
4 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 
span. And close by them lay a lamb upon the floor, and 
behind them upon a perch sat a white dove with its head 
tucked under its wing. 

One evening, as they were sitting cosily together, there was 
a knock at the door as if some one wished to be let in. 

The mother said, 4 Quick, Rose-red, open the door, it must 
be a traveller who is seeking shelter.’ 

Rose-red went and pushed back the bolt, thinking that it 
was some poor man, but it was not. It was a bear that pushed 
his broad, black head in at the door. 

Rose-red screamed and sprang back, the lamb bleated, and 
the dove fluttered, and Snow-white hid herself behind her 
mother’s bed. But the bear began to speak and said, 4 Do 
not be afraid, I will do you no harm ! I am half-frozen, and 
only want to warm myself a little beside your fire.’ 

4 Poor bear,’ said the mother, 4 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 kindly.’ 

So they both came out again, and by and by the lamb and 
dove came nearer, and ceased to be afraid of him. 
y 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 con¬ 
tentedly. It was not long before they grew quite at home, 
and began to play 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, 4 Children, children, leave me my life ! ’ 

‘ Snow-white, Rose-red, 

Will you beat your lover dead?’ 

When it was bed-time, and the others went to bed, the 
mother said to the bear, 4 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, 4 Now I must go away, and 
cannot come back for the whole summer.’ 

4 Where are you going, then, dear bear ? ’ asked Snow- 

4 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 for his going away, 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 among the trees. 

A short time afterwards the mother sent her children into 
the forest to get firewood. There they came to a big fallen 
tree which lay on the ground, and close by the trunk some¬ 
thing was jumping backwards and forwards in the grass, but 
they could not make out what it was. When they got nearer 
they found it was a dwarf with an old withered face and a 
snow-white beard a yard long. The end of his beard was 
caught in a crack in the tree, and the little fellow was jumping 
backwards and forwards 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 ? ’ 

‘ Why, little man, what are you about there ? ’ asked 

* You stupid, prying goose ! ’ answered the dwarf; 4 I was 
going to split the tree, of course, to get a little wood to cook 
with. The little bit of food that one of us wants gets burnt up 
directly with thick logs. We do not swallow so much as you 
coarse, greedy folk do. I had just driven the wedge safely in, 
and everything was going as I wished, but the wretched wood 
was too smooth and suddenly out jumped the wedge, 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 ! ’ 



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The children tried very hard, but they could not pull the 
beard out, it was caught too fast. 

‘ I will run and fetch some one,’ said Rose-red. 

4 You senseless goose ! ’ snarled the dwarf; 4 why should 
you fetch some one ? You are already two too many for me. 
Can you not think of something better ? ’ 

4 Don’t be impatient,’ said Snow-white, 4 1 will help you,’ 
and she pulled her scissors out of her pocket, and cut off the 
end of his beard. 

As soon as the dwarf felt himself free he laid hold of a bag 
which lay among the roots of the tree, and which was full of 
gold, and lifted it up, grumbling to himself, 4 Clumsy people, 
cutting 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 after that 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 up and found it was 
the dwarf. 

4 Where are you going ? ’ said Rose-red ; 4 you surely don’t 
want to go into the water ? ’ 

4 I am not such a fool ! ’ cried the dwarf; 4 don’t you see 
it’s that wretched fish wants to pull me in ? ’ The little man 
had been sitting there fishing, and unluckily the wind twisted 
his beard in the fishing-line, at the very moment that a big 
fish took the bait. The little weakling had not strength to 
pull it out, and the fish had the better of it, and was pulling 
the dwarf nearer the edge. He held on to all the reeds and 
rushes, but it was little good, 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. Nothing was left 
but to bring out the scissors and cut the beard, whereby 



a little bit of it was lost. When the dwarf saw that he 
screamed out : 

‘ Do you call that civil, you toad-stool, disfiguring one’s 
face like that ? 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 saying a word 
more 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 
rocks lay strewn here and there. Soon they noticed a great 
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 off. Directly afterwards they heard a loud cry 
of terror. They ran up and saw with horror that the eagle had 
seized their old friend the dwarf, and was going to carry him off. 

The children, full of pity, at once caught 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, 4 Could you not have done it more 
carefully 1 You dragged at my brown coat so that it is all 
torn and full of holes, you helpless 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 thanklessness, 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 any one 
would come there so late. The evening sun shone upon the 
brilliant stones. They glittered and sparkled with all colours 
so beautifully that the children stood still and looked at 



‘ Why do you stand gaping there ? ’ cried the dwarf, and 
his ashen-grey face became copper-red with rage. 

He was going on with his bad words 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 get to 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 skinny little fellow as I am ? 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 scoundrel 
just one 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 knew his voice and waited, and when he came 
up to them suddenly his bearskin fell off, and he stood there a 
handsome youth, clothed all in gold. 4 I am a King’s son,’ he 
said, 4 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. 


Sweet Porridge 


O NCE there was a poor but good little girl who lived alone 
with her mother, and the time came when they no 
longer had anything to eat. So the child went into the 
forest, and there she met an aged woman who knew of her 
distress, and presented her with a little pot, which when she 
said, 4 Cook, little pot, cook,’ would cook good, sweet porridge ; 
and when she said, 4 Stop, little pot,’ it would cease cooking. 
The little girl took the pot home to her mother, and now they 
were freed from their poverty and hunger, and ate sweet 


porridge as often as they chose. Once upon a time when the 
girl had gone out, her mother said, ‘ Cook, little pot, cook.’ 
And it did cook and she ate till she was satisfied, and then she 
wanted the pot to stop cooking, but did not know the right 
word. So it went on cooking and the porridge rose over the 
edge, and still it cooked on and on until the kitchen and whole 
house were full, and then the next house, and then the whole 
street, just as if it wanted to satisfy the hunger of the whole 
world, and there was the greatest alarm, but no one knew how 
to stop it. At last when only one single house remained, the 
child came home and just said, 4 Stop, little pot,’ and it stopped 
and gave up cooking. And whosoever wished to return to the 
town had to eat his way back. 

Thumbling’s Travels 

A CERTAIN tailor had a son, who was so tiny that he was 
no bigger than a Thumb, and because of this he was 
always called Thumbling. He had, however, plenty of 
courage, and said to his father, 4 Father, I must and will go 
out into the world.’ 

4 That’s right, my son,’ said the old man, and took a long 
darning-needle and made a knob of sealing-wax on it at the 
candle, 4 and there is a sword for thee to take with thee on 
the way.’ 

Then the little tailor wanted to have just one more meal 
with them, and skipped into the kitchen to see what his lady 
mother had cooked for the last time. It was just dished up, 
and the dish stood on the hearth. Then said he, 4 Mother, 
what’s there for dinner to-day ? ’ 

4 See for thyself,’ said his mother. 

So Thumbling jumped on to the hearth, and peeped into 
the dish, but as he stretched his neck too far in the steam 


from the food caught him, and carried him up the chimney. 
He rode about in the air on the steam for a while, until at 
length he sank down to the ground again. Now the little 
tailor was out in the wide world, and he travelled about, and 
went to work with a master in his craft, but the food was not 
good enough for him. ‘ Mistress, if you don’t feed us better, 
I shall go,’ said Thumbling, 4 and early to-morrow morning 
I ’ll chalk on the door of your house, “ Too many potatoes, 
too little meat! Farewell, Mr. Potato-King.” ’ 

‘ What wouldst thou have forsooth, grasshopper ? ’ said 
the mistress, growing angry, and she seized a dish-cloth, and 
was just going to strike him. But my little tailor crept 
nimbly under a thimble, and peeped out from beneath it, and 
put his tongue out at her. She took up the thimble to catch 
him, but little Thumbling hopped into the cloth, and while 
the mistress was opening it out and searching for him, he got 
into a crack in the table. ‘ Ho, ho, lady mistress,’ cried he, 
and thrust his head out, and when she hit at him he leapt 
down into the drawer. At last, however, she caught him and 
drove him out of the house. 

The little tailor journeyed on and came to a great forest, 
where he fell in with a band of robbers who were planning to 
steal the King’s treasure. When they saw the little tailor, 
they thought, 4 That’s the little fellow for us ! He can creep 
through the keyhole and pick the lock.’ 

4 Hi ! ’ cried one of them, 4 thou giant Goliath, wilt thou 
go to the treasure-chamber with us ? Thou canst slip in and 
throw out the money.’ 

Thumbling thought for a moment, and then said 4 yes,’ 
and he went with them to the treasure-chamber. He began 
by searching the doors from top to bottom to see if he could 
find a crack in them. It was not long before he espied one 
broad enough to let him in. He was just about to slip 
in at once, when one of the two sentries who stood before 
the door, caught sight of him, and said to the other, 4 Eh ! 
what an ugly spider is creeping there ; I will kill it.’ 



4 Let the poor creature alone,’ said the other, 4 it has done 
thee no harm.’ So Thumbling got safely through the crack 
into the treasure-chamber, opened the window beneath which 
the robbers were standing, and threw out to them one dollar 
after another. While the little tailor was hard at work, he 
heard the King coming to inspect his treasure-chamber, and 
crept hastily into hiding. The King noticed that several solid 
silver pieces were missing, but could not conceive who could 
have stolen them, for locks, 
bars, and bolts were all in order, 
and well guarded. Then he 
went away again, saying to the 
sentries, 4 Be on the watch, 
some one is after the money.’ 

When therefore Thumbling 
began again, they heard the 
chink, chink of moving coins. 

They ran in swiftly to seize the 
thief, but the little tailor, who 
heard them coming, was still 
swifter, and leapt into a corner 
and covered himself with a 
dollar, so that nothing could be 
seen of him, and at the same 
time he mocked the sentries 
and cried, 4 Here am I ! ’ So, one by one, he threw out all the money. 
Thither ran the sentries, but 

by the time they got there, he had already hidden in another 
corner and was crying, 4 Ho, ho, here am I ! ’ The watchmen 
dashed there at top speed, but Thumbling had long ago hopped 
into a third corner, and was crying, 4 Ho, ho, here am I! ’ And 
thus he made fools of them, and drove them so long round 
about the treasure-chamber that they were tired out and went 
away. So, one by one, he threw out all the money. He flung 
out the last coin with all his might, hopping nimbly on to it 
as it flew down through the window. The robbers paid him 



great compliments. ‘ Thou art a valiant hero indeed,’ said 
they; 4 wilt thou be our captain ? ’ 

Thumbling, however, said he wouldn’t, as he wanted to see 
the world first. They now divided the booty, but the little tailor 
asked for one groat only because he could not carry more. 

Then he buckled on his sword again, bade the robbers 
good-bye, and took to the road. First, he went to work 
under some masters, but he had no liking for that, and at last 
he hired himself as man-servant in an inn. The maids, how¬ 
ever, could not endure him, for he saw secretly all that they 
did without their seeing him, and he told their master and 
mistress what they had helped themselves to off the plates, and 
carried off out of the cellar. Then said they, 4 Wait! We ’ll 
pay thee off ! ’ and arranged with each other to play him a trick. 

Soon afterwards one of the maids was mowing in the 
garden, and saw Thumbling jumping and creeping up and 
down in the long grass. Quickly she mowed him up with the 
grass, made it all into a bundle, and took it and threw it to 
the cattle. Now among them there was a great black cow, 
who swallowed him down whole without hurting him. But 
down below it pleased him ill, for it was quite dark, and there 
wasn’t any candle burning either. So while the cow was 
being milked he cried, 

‘ Strip, strap, strull, 

Will the pail soon be full ?’ 

But the noise of the milking kept him from being heard. 
After this the master of the house came into the cowshed 
and said, 4 That cow shall be killed to-morrow.’ 

Then Thumbling was so alarmed that he cried out in a 
clear voice, 4 Let me out first, for I am shut up inside her.’ 

The master heard that quite well, but did not know from 
whence the voice came. 4 Where art thou ? ’ asked he. 

4 In the black one,’ answered Thumbling, but the master 
did not understand what that meant, and went out. 

Next morning the cow was killed. Happily Thumbling 


did not meet with one blow at the killing and quartering, and 
he got among the sausage-meat. And when the butcher came 
in and began his work, he cried out with all his might, ‘ Don’t 
chop too deep, don’t chop too deep, for I am here.’ But no 
one heard this because of the noise of the chopping-knife. 
Now, indeed, poor Thumbling was in trouble, but trouble 
sharpens the wits, and he dodged about so cleverly between 
the blows that none of them touched him, and he got off with 
a whole skin. But still he could not get away, there was 
nothing for it, and he had to let himself be thrust into a 
black-pudding with the bits of bacon. He found himself in 
rather close quarters, and besides that he was hung up in the 
chimney to be smoked, and there the time did hang terribly 
heavy on his hands. 

At length in winter he was taken down again, as the 
black-pudding was to be set before a guest. And while the 
hostess was cutting it in slices, he took care not to stretch 
out his head too far, I can tell you, lest a bit of it should be 
sliced off ; at last he saw his opportunity, cleared a way for 
himself, and jumped out. 

The little tailor, however, would not stay any longer in a 
house where he fared so ill, and at once set out on his journey 
again. But his liberty did not last long. In the open country 
he met with a fox who snapped him up without thinking. 

‘ Hullo, Mr. Fox,’ cried the little tailor. 4 Set me free, 
set me free ! It ’s me here, sticking in your throat! ’ 

‘ Thou art right,’ answered the fox. 4 And it’s little or 
nothing thou art to me too. So if thou ’It promise me the 
fowls in thy father’s yard I ’ll let thee go.’ 

4 With all my heart,’ replied Thumbling. 4 Thou shalt 
have all the cocks and hens, that I promise thee.’ 

Then the fox let him go again, and himself carried him 
home. When the father once more saw his dear son, he 
willingly gave the fox all the fowls he had. 4 For this I bring 
thee a handsome bit of money too,’ said Thumbling, and gave 
his father the silver groat which he had earned on his travels. 


The Skilful Hunter 

T HERE was once a young fellow who had learned the trade 
of locksmith, and told his father he would now go out 
into the world and seek his fortune. 

‘ Very well,’ said the father, 4 I am quite content with that,’ 
and gave him some money for his journey. 

So he travelled about and looked for work. After a time 
he resolved not to follow the trade of locksmith any more, for 
he no longer liked it, but he took a fancy for hunting. Then 
there met him in his rambles a hunter dressed in green, who 
asked whence he came and where he was going ? The youth 
said he was a locksmith’s apprentice, but that the trade no 
longer pleased him, and he had a liking for woodcraft, would 
he teach it to him ? 

4 Oh, yes,’ said the hunter, 4 if thou wilt go with me.’ 

Then the young fellow went with him, bound himself to 
him for some years, and learned the art of hunting. After this 
he wished to try his luck elsewhere, and the hunter gave him 
nothing in the way of payment but an air-gun, which had, 
however, this property, that it hit its mark without fail when¬ 
ever he shot with it. Then he set out and found himself in a 
very large forest, which he could not get to the end of in one 
day. When evening came he seated himself in a high tree in 
order to escape the wild beasts. Towards midnight, it seemed 
to him as if a tiny little light glimmered in the distance. He 
looked down through the branches towards it, and kept well 
in his mind where it was. But in the first place he took off 
his hat and threw it down in the direction of the light, so that 
he might go to the hat as a mark when he had descended. 
Then he climbed down and went to his hat, put it on again and 
went straight forward. The farther he went, the larger the 


light grew, and when he got close to it he saw that it was an 
enormous fire, and that three giants were sitting by it, who 
had an ox on the spit and were roasting it. 

Presently one of them said, 4 I must just taste if the meat 
will soon be fit to eat,’ and he pulled a scrap off, and was about 
to put it in his mouth when the hunter shot it out of his hand. 

4 Well, really,’ said the giant, 4 if the wind has not blown 
the bit out of my hand ! ’ and helped himself to another. 
But when he was just about to taste it, the hunter again 
shot it away from him. 

On this the giant gave the one who was sitting next him a 
box on the ear, and cried angrily, 4 Why art thou snatching my 
piece away from me ? ’ 

4 I have not snatched it away,’ said the other; 4 a sharp¬ 
shooter must have shot it away from thee.’ 

The giant took another piece, but he could not keep it in 
his hand, for the hunter shot it out. 

Then the giant said, 4 That must be a good shot to shoot 
the bit out of one’s very mouth. Such an one would be 
useful to us.’ And he cried out loud, 4 Come here, thou sharp¬ 
shooter. Seat thyself at the fire beside us and eat thy fill, we 
will not hurt thee. But if thou wilt not come, and we have to 
bring thee by force, thou art a lost man ! ’ 

When he heard this, the youth went up to them and told 
them he was a skilled hunter, and that whatever he aimed at 
with his gun, he was certain to hit. Then they said if he would 
go with them he should be well treated, and they told him 
that outside the forest there was a great lake, behind which 
stood a tower, and in the tower was imprisoned a lovely 
princess, whom they wished very much to carry off. 

4 Good,’ said he, 4 1 will soon get her for you.’ 

Then they added, 4 But there is still something else; there 
is a tiny little dog, which begins to bark directly any one 
goes near, and as soon as it barks every one in the royal palace 
wakes up, and for this reason we cannot get there. Canst thou 
undertake to shoot it dead ? ’ 



4 Yes,’ said he, 4 that will be a little bit of fun for me.’ 

After this he got into a boat and rowed over the lake, and 
as soon as he landed, the little dog came running out, and was 
about to bark, but the hunter took his air-gun and shot it dead. 
When the giants saw that, they rejoiced, and thought they 
already had the King’s daughter safe, but the hunter wished 
first to see how matters stood, and told them that they must 
stay outside until he called them. Then he went into the 
castle, and all was perfectly quiet within, and every one was 
asleep. When he opened the door of the first room, a sword 
was hanging on the wall which was made of pure silver, and 
there was a golden star on it, and the name of the King, and on 
a table near it lay a sealed letter which he broke open, and 
inside it was written that whoever had the sword could kill 
any one who opposed him. So he took the sword from the 
wall, hung it at his side and went on. Next he entered the 
room where the King’s daughter was lying asleep, and she was 
so beautiful that he stood still and held his breath to look at 
her. He thought to himself, 4 How can I give an innocent 
maiden into the power of the wild giants, who have evil in their 
minds ? ’ He looked about further, and under the bed stood 
a pair of slippers, on the right one of which was her father’s 
name with a star, and on the left her own name with a star. 
She wore also a great neck-kerchief of silk embroidered with 
gold, and on the right side was her father’s name, and on the 
left her own, all in golden letters. Then the hunter took a 
pair of scissors and cut the right corner off and put it in his 
knapsack, and then he took the right slipper with the King’s 
name, and thrust that in too. The maiden still lay sleeping, 
and he cut a little piece from her nightgown, and thrust it in 
with the rest, but he did it all without touching her. Then he 
went out and left her lying asleep undisturbed, and when he 
came to the gate again, the giants were still standing outside 
waiting for him, and expecting that he was bringing the 
princess. But he cried out to them that they were to come in, 
for the maiden was already in their power, and that he could 

The giant gave the one who was sitting next him a box on the ear, 


not open the gate to them, but that there was a hole through 
which they must creep. As the first began to creep through 
the hunter wound the giant’s hair round his hand, pulled 
his head in, and cut it off at one stroke with his sword, and 
then he drew the rest of him in. He called to the second to 
come on and cut his head off in the same way, and then he 
killed the third also, and he was well pleased that he had 
freed the beautiful maiden from her enemies. Before he 
went he cut out their tongues and put them too in his knap¬ 
sack. Then thought he, 4 I will go home to my father and let 
him see what I have already done, and afterwards I will travel 
about the world. The luck which God is pleased to grant me 
will easily find me.’ 

But when the King in the castle awoke, he saw the three 
giants lying there dead. So he went into his daughter’s bedroom, 
woke her up, and asked her who could have killed the giants ? 

Then said she, 4 Dear father, I know not, I have been asleep.’ 

But when she rose and would have put on her slippers, the 
right one was gone, and when she looked at her neck-kerchief 
it was cut, and the right corner was missing, and when she 
looked at her nightdress a piece was cut out of it. The King 
summoned his whole court together, soldiers and every one else 
who was there, and asked who had set his daughter at liberty, 
and killed the giants ? Now it happened that he had a 
captain, who was one-eyed and hideous, and he said that he 
had done it. Then the old King said that as he had accom¬ 
plished this, he should marry his daughter. 

But the maiden said, 4 Rather than marry him, dear father, 
I will go away into the world as far as my legs can carry me.’ 

But the King said that if she would not marry him she 
should take off her royal garments and wear peasant’s clothing, 
and out she should go, and that she should go to a potter, and 
begin to sell earthen vessels. So she put off her royal apparel, 
and went to a potter and borrowed crockery enough for a 
stall, and she promised him also that if she had sold it by the 
evening, she would pay for it. Then the King said she was 


to seat herself in a corner with it and sell it, and he arranged 
with some peasants to drive over it with their carts, so that 
everything should be broken into a thousand pieces. So when 
the King’s daughter had set up her stall in the street, by came 
the carts and smashed all she had into fragments. 

She began to weep and said, ‘ Alas, how shall I ever pay for 
the pots now ? ’ 

The King had, however, wished by this to force her to 
marry the captain, but instead of that, she went again to the 
potter, and asked him if he would lend her some more pots and 
pans. He said no, she must first pay for the things she had 
already had. 

Then she went to her father and cried and lamented, and 
said she would go out into the world. 

Then said he, 4 I will have a little hut built for thee in the 
forest outside, and in it thou shalt stay all thy life long and 
cook for every one, but thou shalt take no money for it.’ 

When the hut was ready, a sign was hung on the door on 
which was written, 4 For nothing to-day, to-morrow for pay.’ 
There she remained a long time, and it was rumoured about the 
world that a maiden was there who cooked without asking for 
payment, and that this was set forth on a sign outside her door. 

The hunter heard it too, and thought to himself, 4 That 
would suit thee. Thou art poor, and hast no money.’ 

So he took his air-gun and his knapsack, with all the things 
in it that he had formerly carried away with him from the 
castle as tokens of his truthfulness, and he went into the forest, 
and found the hut with the sign, 4 For nothing to-day, to¬ 
morrow for pay.’ He had put on the sword with which he had 
cut off the heads of the three giants, and so prepared, he 
entered the hut, and ordered something to eat to be given to 
him. He was charmed with the beautiful maiden, who was 
indeed as lovely as any picture. 

She asked him where he came from and where he was going, 
and he said, 4 I am roaming about the world.’ 

Then she asked him where he had got the sword, for that 




in truth her father’s name was on it. He asked her if she were 
the King’s daughter ? 

4 Yes,’ answered she. 

‘ With this sword,’ said he, 4 did I cut off the heads of three 
giants.’ And he took their tongues out of his knapsack in 
proof. Then he also showed her the slipper, and the corner 
of the neck-kerchief, and the bit of the nightdress. Hereupon 
she was overjoyed, and said that he was the one who had 
delivered her. On this they went together to the old King and 
brought him to the hut, and she led him into her room, and 
told him that the hunter was the man who had really set her 
free from the giants. And when the aged King saw all the 
proofs of this, he could no longer doubt, and said that he was 
very glad he knew how everything had happened, and that the 
hunter should marry her, at which the maiden was glad at heart. 

Then she dressed the hunter as if he were a foreign nobleman, 
and the King ordered a feast to be prepared. When they went 
to table, the captain sat on the left side of the King’s daughter, 
but the hunter was on the right, and the captain thought he was 
a foreign lord who had come on a visit. When they had eaten 
and drunk, the old King said to the captain that he would set 
before him something which he must guess. 

4 Supposing any one said that he had killed the three giants 
and he was asked where the giants’ tongues were, and was 
forced to go and look, and there were none in their heads, 
how could that happen ? ’ 

The captain said, 4 Then they cannot have had any.’ 

4 Not so,’ said the King. 4 Every animal has a tongue,’ 
and then he asked what any one would deserve who made such 
an answer. 

The captain replied, 4 He ought to be torn to pieces.’ 
Then the King said he had pronounced his own sentence, and the 
captain was put in prison and then torn into four pieces. But 
the King’s daughter was married to the hunter. Afterwards he 
sent for his father and mother, and they lived with their son in 
happiness, and when the old King died the kingdom came to him. 


The True Sweetheart 

O NCE upon a time there was 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 with a will, and did the utmost 
she could. Still she could not touch the heart of the wicked 
woman by that, she never was 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 

One day she said to her, ‘ Here are twelve pounds of 
feathers which thou must strip, and if they are not done this 
evening, thou mayst expect a good beating. Dost thou 
imagine thou art 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 out again, and begin her work anew. 
Then she put her elbows on the table, laid her face in her two 
hands, and cried, 4 Is there no one, then, on God’s earth to 
have pity on me ? 5 

Then she heard a low voice which said, 4 Be comforted, my 
child, I have come to help thee.’ 

The maiden looked up, and an old woman was by her side. 
She took the girl kindly by the hand, and said, 4 Just tell me 
what is troubling thee.’ 



As she spoke so kindly, the girl told her of her miserable 
life, and how one burden after another was laid upon her, 
and how she never could get to the end of the work which was 
given to her. 4 If I have not done these feathers by this 
evening, my step-mother will beat me. She has threatened she 
will, and well I know she keeps her word.’ 

Her tears began to flow afresh, but the good old woman 
said, 4 Do not be afraid, my child. Rest a while, and in the 
meantime I will look to thy work.’ 

The girl lay down on her bed, and soon fell asleep. The 
old woman seated herself at the table with the feathers, and 
ho ! how they did fly off the quills, which she hardly touched 
with her withered hands ! The twelve pounds were soon 
finished, and when the girl woke up, 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 marvelled to see the work completed. 

4 Just look, you awkward creature,’ said she, 4 what can be 
done when people are industrious. And why couldst thou not 
set about something else ? There thou sittest with thy hands 
crossed.’ But when she went out she said to herself, 4 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, 4 There is a 
spoon for thee. With that thou must empty out for me the 
great pond which is beside the garden, and if it is not done by 
night, thou knowest 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. But the 
good old woman appeared again, and when she learned the cause 
of her grief, she said, 4 Be of good cheer, my child. Go into the 
bushes and lie down and sleep. I will soon do thy work.’ 

As soon as the old woman was alone, she barely touched 


the pond, and a vapour 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 
back, she saw nothing but the fishes which were wriggling in 
the mud. She went to her step-mother, and showed her that 
the work was done. 4 It ought to have been done long before 
this,’ said she, and grew white with anger, but she began to 
think of something new. 

On the third morning she said to the girl, 4 Out on the plain 
there thou must build me a splendid castle, and it must be 
ready by the evening.’ 

The maiden was dismayed, and said, 4 How can I complete 
such a great work ? ’ 

4 I will stand no contradiction,’ screamed the step-mother. 

4 If thou canst empty a pond with a spoon that is full of holes, 
thou canst 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, thou knowest what lies 
before thee ! ’ 

She drove the girl out, and when she came to the valley, 
there lay the rocks, all tumbled one over the other, and all her 
strength would not have enabled her to move even the smallest 
of them. She sat down and wept, and yet she hoped the old 
woman would help her. Nor was she long in coming, and she 
soon comforted her and said, 4 Lie down there in the shade and 
sleep, and I will soon build the castle for thee. If it would 
be a pleasure to thee, thou canst live in it thyself.’ 

When the maiden had gone away, the old woman touched 
the grey rocks. They began to rise, and swiftly began gather¬ 
ing together as if giants were building the walls. On these 
the building arose, and it seemed as if countless hands were 
working invisibly, placing one stone upon another. There 
was a dull heavy noise from the ground. Pillars rose up of 
their own accord, and ranged themselves in order one by the 
other. The tiles laid themselves in rows upon the roof, and 
when noonday came, the great weathercock, in the shape of 



a golden figure of the Virgin with fluttering garments, was 
already turning itself on the top of the tower. 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 armchairs by marble tables, 
crystal chandeliers hung down from the ceilings and were 
reflected in the polished floors, green parrots were there in gilt 
cages and so were strange birds which sang most beautifully, 
and on all sides there was as much magnificence as if a king 
was going to live there. 

The sun was just setting when the girl woke up, 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 flowering trees stood upon 
the golden balustrade. When she saw the splendour of the 
halls, she stood as if turned to stone. Who knows how long 
she might have stood there if she had not remembered the 
step-mother ? 4 Alas ! ’ she said to herself, ‘ if only she could 

but be satisfied, and would give up making my life a misery.’ 

The girl went and told her that the castle was ready. 

4 1 will move into it at once,’ said she, and rose from her 
seat. When they entered the castle, she had to hold her hand 
before her eyes, the brightness of everything was so dazzling. 

4 Thou seest,’ said she to the girl, 4 how easy it has been for 
thee to do this. I ought to have given thee something harder.’ 
She went through all the rooms, and examined every corner 
to see if anything was wanting or imperfect, but she could 
discover nothing. 4 Now we will go down below,’ said she, 
looking at the girl with malicious eyes. 4 The kitchen and the 
cellar still have to be examined, and if thou hast forgotten 
anything thou shalt not escape thy 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 
wanting, not even a coal-box or a water-pail. 4 Which is the 


way to the cellar ? 5 she cried. 4 If that is not abundantly 
filled, it shall go ill with thee.’ She herself raised the trap¬ 
door and descended. But she had hardly made two steps 
before the heavy trap-door which was only laid back, fell with 
a bang. The girl heard a scream, and quickly lifted the door 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 did not know at first how to reconcile herself to her good 
fortune. Beautiful dresses were hanging in the wardrobes, the 
chests were filled with gold or silver, or with pearls and precious 
stones, and she had never a wish that could not be fulfilled. 
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 there came the son of the King 
himself and he knew how to touch her heart, and she promised 
to marry him. 

In the garden of the castle was a lime-tree, and one day, 
when they were sitting under it, he said to her, 4 1 will go home 
and get my father’s consent to our marriage. I beg thee to 
wait for me here, under the lime-tree; I shall be back with thee 
in a few hours.’ 

The maiden kissed him on his left cheek, and said, c Be 
true to me, and never let any one else kiss thee on this cheek. 
I will wait here under the lime-tree until thou returnest.’ 

The maid stayed beneath the linden until sunset, but he 
did not return. She sat there three days from morning till 
evening waiting for him, but in vain. As he was not there by 
the fourth day, she said, 4 Assuredly some accident has befallen 
him. I will go 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 to find the Prince. She 
inquired everywhere but no one had seen him. No one knew 
anything about him. Far and wide did she wander through 
c 33 


the world, but she found him not. At last she hired herself 
to a farmer as a cow-herd, and buried her dresses and jewels 
beneath a stone. 

And now she lived as a herdswoman, taking care of the 
kine, but she was very sad and full of longing for her beloved 
one. 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, forget me not, 

As the prince his love forgot, 

Who beneath the linden sat.’ 

the little calf knelt down, and she stroked it. 

When she had lived for two years alone and sorrowing, 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 
once it happened when the maiden was driving out her herd, her 
betrothed travelled by. He was sitting proudly on his horse, 
and never looked round, but when she saw him she recog¬ 
nised her beloved, and it was as if a sharp knife pierced her 
heart. 4 Alas! ’ said she, 4 I believed him true, but he has 
forsaken me.’ 

Next day he came again along the road. When he was 
near she said to the little calf, 

‘ Little calf, forget me not, 

As the prince his love forgot, 

Who beneath the linden sat.’ 

When he heard her voice, he looked down and reined in his 
horse. He looked into her face, and put his hands before his 
eyes as if he were trying to remember something, but after a 
minute he rode on and was soon out of sight. 4 Alas ! ’ said 
she, 4 he no longer knows me,’ and her grief was greater than 

Soon after this a great festival was to be held for three days 
at the King’s court, and the whole country was invited to it. 




4 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 and put it on, and adorned herself with the jewels. She 
let down her hair, which she had concealed under a kerchief, 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 bright 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 recognise 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 ball was over, she vanished in 
the crowd, and hastened before daybreak to the village, where 
she put on her herd’s dress again. 

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 deeply in 
love with her, danced with her alone, and no longer so much 
as glanced at any one else. Before she went away she was 
forced to promise him to come again to the festival on the last 

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. 4 Do but tell who thou art,’ said he, 4 1 feel 
just as if I had already known thee for a long time.’ 

‘ Ivnowest thou not what I did when thou didst leave me ? ’ 
Then she stepped up to him, and kissed him on the left cheek, 
and in a moment it was as if scales fell from his eyes, and he 
recognised the true bride. 

4 Come,’ said he to her, 4 here I stay no longer,’ and he 
gave her his hand, and led her down to the carriage. 

The horses sped 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, and 
it shook its boughs and shed sweet fragrance around it. On 
the steps flowers were blooming, and the rooms echoed with 
the song of strange birds, but in the hall the whole court was 
assembled, and the priest was waiting to marry the bridegroom 
to the true bride. 

The Twelve Brothers 

O NCE upon a time there were 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, 4 If the thirteenth child 
which thou art 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 also caused twelve coffins to be made, and filled with 
shavings, and in each lay the little pillow for the dead, and 
he had them taken and locked up in a room of which he gave 
the Queen the key, bidding her not to speak of this to any one. 

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, 4 Dear 
mother, why art thou so sad ? ’ 

4 Dearest child,’ she answered, 4 I may not tell thee.’ 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, 4 My dearest Benjamin, thy father has had 
these coffins made for thee and for thy 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 com- 


forted her and said, ‘ Weep not, dear mother, we will save 
ourselves, and go hence. 5 

At that she said, ‘ Go forth into the forest with thy eleven 
brothers, and let one of you 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 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 have a fire to warm you, and in summer 
that you may not faint in the heat.’ 

Therefore, after she had blessed her sons, 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 run up. It was, however, not 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, 4 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. 5 

Thereupon they went deeper into the forest, and in the 
very midst of it, where it was the darkest, they found a little 
enchanted hut, which was standing empty. 

Then said they, 4 Here we will dwell, and thou Benjamin, 
who art the youngest and weakest, thou shalt stay at home and 
keep house, while the rest of us go out and get food. 5 Then they 
went into the forest and shot hares, wild deer, birds and pigeons, 
and whatsoever there was to eat; this they took home to 
Benjamin, who cooked it for them all. They lived together ten 
years in the little hut, nor did the time seem long in passing. 

The little daughter to whom their mother the Queen had 
given birth, was now grown up; she was good of heart, and 
fair of face, and had a golden star on her forehead. Once, 
when it was the great washing, she saw twelve men’s shirts 



shirts belong, for they are far too small for father ? ’ 

Then the Queen answered with a heavy heart, 4 Dear child, 
these belong to thy twelve brothers.’ 

Said the maiden, ‘ Where are my twelve brothers ? I have 
never yet heard of them.’ 

‘ God knows where they are,’ she replied; 4 they are wander¬ 
ing about the world.’ Then she took the maiden and opened 
the chamber for her, and showed her the twelve coffins with 
the shavings, and pillows for the head. 

4 These coffins,’ said she, 4 were destined for thy brothers, 
but they went away secretly before thou wert born,’ and she 
related to her how everything had happened. 

Then said the maiden, 4 Dear mother, weep not, I will go 
and seek my brothers.’ 

So she took the twelve shirts and went forth, 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, 4 From whence comest 


thou, and whither art thou 
bound ? ’ and was astonished 
that she was so beautiful, and 

wore royal garments, and had < To „., 10m d0 these twelve shirts belong?' 
a star on her forehead. 

‘ I am a king’s daughter,’ she answered, 4 and I am seeking 
my twelve brothers, and I will walk as far as the sky is blue 
until I find them.’ She also showed him the twelve shirts 
which belonged to them. 

Then Benjamin saw that she was his sister, and 
said, 4 1 am Benjamin, thy youngest brother.’ And she 
began to weep for joy, and Benjamin wept also, and 
they kissed and embraced each other with the greatest 

But after this he said, 4 Dear sister, there is still one 
difficulty. We have determined 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, 4 1 will willingly die, if by so doing I can 
deliver my twelve brothers.’ 

4 No,’ answered he, 4 thou shalt not die. Seat thyself 



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 home 
from hunting, and their dinner was ready. And as they were 
sitting at table, and eating, they asked, 4 What news is there ? ’ 

Said Benjamin, 4 Don’t you know anything ? ’ 

4 No,’ they answered. 

4 You have been in the forest,’ he continued, 4 and I have 
stayed at home, and yet I know more than you do.’ 

4 Tell us then,’ they cried. 

4 Promise me that the first maiden who meets us shall not 
be killed.’ 

4 Yes,’ they all cried, 4 she shall have mercy, only do tell 
us the news.’ 

Then said he, 4 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 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 like¬ 
wise kept order in the little house, and put beautiful clean 
white coverings on the little beds, and the brothers were 
always contented and lived in great harmony with her. 

One day the two at home had prepared a lovely feast, and 
when they were all there, they sat down to eat and drink 
and were full of gladness. Now there was a little garden 
belonging to the enchanted cottage where grew twelve lilies, 
and the sister, wishing to give her brothers pleasure, picked 
the twelve flowers to present each brother with one while they 
were 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 little 
house and the garden vanished also. And now the poor 
maiden was left all alone in the wild forest, and as she looked 
round, there was an old woman standing near her. 

‘ My child,’ she said, ‘ what hast thou done ? Why didst 
thou not leave the twelve white flowers growing ? They were 
thy brothers, who are now for evermore changed into ravens.’ 

The maiden burst into tears. 4 Is there no way of deliver¬ 
ing them ? ’ she cried. 

4 No,’ said the woman, 4 in the whole world there is but one 
way, and that so hard that never wilt thou deliver them by 
it, for dumb thou must be for seven years, and mayst not 
speak nor laugh. If thou didst speak one single word, and 
only one hour of the seven years were wanting, all would be 
in vain, and that one word would be thy brothers’ death.’ 

Then said the maiden in her heart, 4 I know for certain 
that I shall set my brothers free,’ and she sought a high tree 
and climbed up it and there she sat and span, and neither 
spoke nor laughed. Now it so happened that a king was 
hunting in the forest, who had a great greyhound that ran 
to the tree where the maiden was sitting, and leaped round it, 
whining, and barking at her. The King came up and saw 
the beautiful King’s daughter with the golden star on her 
brow, and was so enchanted with her beauty that he shouted 
to ask her if she would be his wife. She made no answer, but 
nodded her head gently. So he climbed up to her and carried 
her down, seated her upon his horse, and bore her home. The 
wedding took place 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, 4 This is but a common 
beggar girl whom thou hast brought back with thee. Who 
knows what sorcery she may not practise in secret! Even 
if she be dumb, and not able to speak, she still might laugh 



for once ; 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 

The wicked mother-in-law was put into a barrel full of boiling 
oil and venomous snakes. 

last the King let himself be persuaded and sentenced her 
to death. 

And now a great fire was kindled in the courtyard in which 
she was to be burnt, and the King stood above at a 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 
flames were licking at her clothing with red tongues, the very 


last instant of the seven years expired. A whirring of wings 
was heard in the air, and twelve ravens came flying towards 
the place. They sank down, and no sooner had they touched 
the earth when they became her twelve brothers, whom she 
had freed from enchantment. They scattered the burning 
faggots and trod out 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 happiness 
until their death. The wicked mother-in-law was taken before 
the judge, and condemned to be put into a barrel full of boiling 
oil and venomous snakes, and died an evil death. 


The Three Spinners 

T HERE was once a girl who was idle and who would not 
spin, and let her mother say what she would, she 
could not get her to do it. At last one day the mother 
lost all patience, and became so angry that she beat the girl, 
who began to weep aloud. Now at this very moment the 
Queen was driving by, and when she heard the crying she 
stopped her carriage, went into the house and asked the 
mother why she was beating her daughter so that the girl’s 
cries could be heard right out in the road ? The woman was 
so ashamed to expose her daughter’s laziness that she said, 
4 1 cannot get her to leave off spinning. She’s for ever 
wanting to spin and I am poor, and cannot procure the flax.’ 

Then answered the Queen, 4 There is nothing I like better 
to hear than spinning, and I am never so happy as when the 
wheels are humming. Let me have your daughter with me in 
the palace, I have flax enough, and there she shall spin to 
her heart’s content.’ The mother was heartily satisfied with 
this, and the Queen took the girl away with her. When they 
reached the palace, she led her upstairs to three rooms which 
were filled from top to bottom with the finest flax. 

4 Now spin me all this,’ said she, 4 and when thou hast 
done it, thou shalt have my eldest son for a husband, even 
though thou art poor. I care not for that, for thy tireless 
industry will be dowry enough.’ 

The girl was secretly terrified, for she could not spin the 
flax, no, not if she lived to be three hundred years old, and 
sat at it every day from morning till night. So when she 
was alone, she began to cry, and sat thus for three days 
without moving a finger. On the third day in came the 


Queen, and was surprised when she saw that nothing had 
been done yet; but the girl excused herself by saying that 
she had not been able to begin because of her grief at 
leaving her mother’s house. The Queen was satisfied with 
this, but said as she left, ‘ To-morrow, thou must begin to 

When the girl was alone again, she did not know what to 
do, and in her distress she went to the window. There she 
saw approaching three women. The first of them had a broad 
flat foot, the second had such a great underlip that it hung 
down over her chin, and the third had a great broad thumb. 
They stopped beneath the window, and looked up, and asked 
the girl what the matter was. She told them all her trouble, 
and they offered to help her. 

‘ If thou wilt invite us to thy wedding,’ they said, * and 
not be ashamed of us, but wilt call us thine aunts, and place 
us at thy table, we ’ll spin all the flax for thee, and very 
soon too.’ 

4 With all my heart,’ she agreed, 4 do but come in, and 
begin the work at once.’ 

Then she let in the three strange women, and cleared a 
place for them in the first room, where they sat themselves 
down and began their spinning. The first one drew out the 
thread and turned the wheel with her foot; the second wetted 
the thread; the third twisted it, and struck the table with her 
thumb; and at each stroke a skein of thread fell to the ground 
spun in the finest manner possible. The girl hid the three 
spinners from the Queen whenever she came, and showed her 
the great quantity of thread, until she could not praise her 
enough. When the first room was empty she went on to 
the second, and last to the third, and that too was quickly 
cleared. Then the three women took their leave saying, 
4 Forget not what thou hast promised us, it will make thy 

When the maiden showed the Queen the empty rooms, 
and the great heap of yarn, she gave orders for the wedding, 



and the bridegroom rejoiced that he was to have such a clever 
and industrious wife, and praised her mightily. 

4 I have three aunts,’ said the girl, 4 and as they have been 
very kind to me, I should not like to forget them in my good 

In came the three women dressed in the strangest fashion. 

fortune ; pray give me leave to invite them to our wedding, 
and let them sit with us at table.’ The Queen and the Prince 
saw no reason why they should not allow that. So when the 
feast began, in came the three women dressed in the strangest 
fashion, and the bride said, 4 Welcome, dear aunts.’ 



4 Oh,’ said the bridegroom, 4 how comes it that thy friends 
are so hideous ? 5 And turning to the one with the broad 
foot, he said, 4 How did you come by such a broad flat 

foot ? ’ 

4 By treading,’ she answered, 4 by treading.’ 

Then he went to the second, and said, 4 How did you come 
by your hanging lip ? ’ 

4 By licking,’ she answered, 4 by licking.’ 

Then he asked the third, 4 And how did you come by your 
great broad thumb ? ’ 

4 By twisting the thread,’ she answered, 4 by twisting the 

At this the King’s son was alarmed and declared, 4 Never 
again shall my beautiful bride touch a spinning-wheel.’ And 
that’s how she got rid of her hateful spinning. 


O NCE upon a time there was a little girl whose father and 
mother were dead, and she was so poor that she no 
longer had any little room to live in or bed to sleep 
in, and at last she had nothing else but the clothes she was 
wearing and a little bit of bread in her hand which some 
charitable soul had given her. She was, however, good and 
pious. And as she was thus forsaken by all the world, she 
went forth into the open country, trusting in the good God. 
On her way she met a poor man who said, 4 Ah, give me 
something to eat, I am so hungry! ’ At once she gave him 
the whole of her piece of bread, and said, 4 May God bless it 
to thy use,’ and went on. Then came a child who moaned and 
said, 4 My head is so cold, do give me something to cover it 
with.’ So she took off her hood and gave it to him, 



and when she had walked 
a little farther, she met 
another child who had no 
jacket and was frozen with 
cold. So she gave it her 
own jacket, and a little 
farther on another one 
begged for a frock, and she 
gave away that also. At 
length she came to a forest 
and it had already become 
dark, and there came yet 
another child, and asked for 
a little shirt, and the good 
little girl thought to herself, 
‘ It is a dark night and no 
one sees thee, thou canst 
very well give thy little 
smock away,’ and took it 
off, and gave away that also. 
And as she stood there 
without one single thing left 
to call her own, suddenly 
some stars from heaven fell 
down, and they were no¬ 
thing else but hard smooth 
pieces of money, and al¬ 
though she had just given 
her little shirt away, 
she had a new one 
of the very finest 
linen. Then she 
gathered the money 
into this, and was 
rich all the days of 
her life. 

/ 1/ 

The Old Woman in the Wood 

A POOR servant-girl was once travelling with the family 
with whom she was in service through a great forest, 
and when they were in the midst of it, robbers came 
upon them out of a thicket, and murdered all they could find. 
All perished together except the girl, who had jumped out of 
the carriage in a fright, and hidden behind a tree. When the 
robbers had made off with their plunder, she came out and 
beheld the great disaster. She began to weep bitterly, and 
said, 4 What can a poor girl like me do now ? I do not know 
how to get out of the forest, no human being lives in it, so I 
must certainly starve.’ She roamed about looking for a way 
out, but could find none. In the evening she seated herself 
under a tree, gave herself into God’s keeping, and resolved to 
sit waiting there and not go away, let what might happen. 
But when she had sat there for a while, a white dove came 
flying to her with a little golden key in its beak. 

It put the little key in her hand, and said, 4 Dost thou see 
d 49 


that great tree, therein is a little lock, it opens with the tiny 
key, and there thou wilt find food enough, and suffer no more 
hunger.’ So she went to the tree and opened it, and found 
milk in a little dish, and white bread to break into it, so that 
she could eat her fill. When she had had enough, she said, 
4 It is now the time when the hens at home go to roost, and I 
am so tired I could well go to bed too.’ 

Then the dove flew to her again, and brought another 
golden key in its bill, and said, 4 Open that tree there, and 
thou wilt find a bed.’ So she opened it, and found a beautiful 
white bed, and she prayed God to protect her during the night, 
and lay down and slept. 

In the morning the dove came for the third time, and 
again brought a little key, and said, 4 Open that tree there, 
and thou wilt find clothes.’ And when she opened it, she found 
garments beset with gold and with jewels, more splendid than 
those of any king’s daughter. So she lived there for some 
time, and the dove came every day and provided her with all 
she needed, and it was a quiet good life. 

Once, however, the dove came and said, 4 Wilt thou do 
something for my sake ? ’ 

4 With all my heart,’ said the girl. 

Then said the little dove, 4 1 will guide thee to a little hut. 
Go in, and inside will be an old woman sitting by the fire and 
she will say, 44 Good-day.” But on thy life give her no answer, 
let her do what she will, but pass by her on the right side. 
Further on, there is a door, which thou must open, and thou 
wilt enter into a room where a number of rings of all kinds 
are lying, amongst which are some magnificent ones with 
shining stones. But leave those where they are and seek out 
a plain one, which must also be amongst them, and bring it 
here to me as quickly as thou canst.’ 

The girl went to the little house, and came to the door. 
There sat an old woman who stared when she saw her, and 
said, 4 Good-day, my child.’ The girl gave her no answer 
and opened the door. 4 What art thou after ? ’ cried the old 


woman, and seized her by the gown, and tried to hold her 
fast, saying, ‘ This is my house. No one can go in there if I 
say not.’ But the girl did not speak but got away from her, 

The old woman seized her by the gown, and tried to hold her fast. 

and went straight into the room. Now there lay on the table 
an enormous number of rings, which gleamed and glittered 
before her eyes. She turned them over and looked for the 
plain one, but could not find it. While she was seeking, she 
saw the old woman and how she was stealing away, and 



wanting to get off with a bird-cage which she had in her hand. 
So she ran after her and took the cage out of her hand, and 
when she lifted it up and looked into it, there was a bird with 
the plain ring in its bill. Then she took the ring, and ran 
joyously home with it, and thought the little white dove 
would come and get the ring, but it did not. 

Then she leant against a tree and determined to wait for 
the dove, and as she stood thus, it seemed just as if the tree 
became soft and pliant, and was letting its branches down. 
Suddenly the branches twined around her, and turned into 
two arms, and when she looked round, the tree was a hand¬ 
some man, who embraced her and kissed her heartily, and 
said, 4 Thou hast delivered me from the power of the old 
woman, who is a wicked witch. She had changed me into a 
tree, and every day for two hours I became a white dove, and 
so long as she possessed the ring I could not regain my human 
form.’ Then his servants and his horses, who had also been 
changed into trees, were freed from the enchantment too, and 
stood beside him. And he led them out of the forest to his 
kingdom, for he was a King’s son, and they were married, and 
lived happily ever after. 


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T HERE was once a young fellow who enlisted as a soldier, 
bore himself bravely, and was always the foremost 
when it rained bullets. So long as the war lasted, all 
went well, but when peace was made, he received his dis¬ 
missal, and the captain said he might go where he liked. His 
parents were dead, and he had no longer a home, so he went 
to his brothers and begged them to take him in and keep him 
until war broke out again. The brothers, however, were hard¬ 
hearted and said, ‘ What can we do with thee ? thou art of 
no use to us ; go and make a living for thyself.’ 

The soldier had nothing left but his gun. He took that 
on his shoulder, and went forth into the world. He came to 
a wide heath, on which nothing was to be seen but a circle 
of trees. In the shade of these he sat sorrowfully down, and 
began to think over his fate. 4 I have no money,’ thought he; 
4 1 have learned no trade but that of fighting, and now that 
they have made peace they don’t want me any longer, so I 
can see nothing before me but to die of hunger.’ All at once 
he heard a rustling, and looked round, and there stood a 
strange man, who wore a green coat and appeared to be a 
person of consequence, but had a hideous cloven foot. 

4 1 know already what thou art in need of,’ said the man ; 
4 gold and riches shalt thou have, as much as thou canst do 
with, but first I must know if thou art fearless, that I may 
not bestow my money in vain.’ 

4 A soldier and cowardice ! How can those two things 
go together ? ’ was the answer. 4 Just put me to the 

4 Very well, then,’ said the man, 4 look behind thee.’ 



The soldier turned round, and saw a large bear coming 
growling towards him. 

‘ Oho ! ’ cried the soldier, c I ’ll tickle thy nose for thee, 
and thou shalt soon lose thy fancy for growling,’ and he took 
aim at the bear and shot it right through the muzzle, and it 
fell dead on the spot. 

4 1 see quite well,’ answered Greencoat, 4 that thou art not 
wanting in courage, but there is still another condition thou 
wilt have to fulfil. For the next seven years neither shalt 
thou wash thyself, nor comb thy beard, nor thy hair, nor cut 
thy nails, nor say one paternoster. I will give thee a coat 
and a cloak, which thou must wear all this time. If thou 
diest during these seven years, thou art mine. If thou re- 
mainest alive, thou art free, and rich to boot for all the rest of 
thy life.’ 

The soldier thought of the great need in which he now 
found himself, and as he so often had gone to meet death, he 
resolved to risk it now also, and agreed to the terms. The 
stranger took off his green coat, gave it to the soldier, and 
said, 4 If thou hast this coat on thy back and puttest thy 
hand into the pocket, thou wilt always find it full of money.’ 
Then he pulled the skin off the bear and said, 4 This shall be 
thy cloak, and thy bed also, for thereon shalt thou sleep, and 
in no other bed shalt thou lie, and because of this clothing 
thou shalt be called Bearskin.’ And as he said this, he 

The soldier put the coat on, felt at once in the pocket, 
and found he had been told the truth. Then he threw the 
bearskin on and went forth into the world and enjoyed himself, 
denying himself nothing that money could buy. For the first 
year his appearance was passable, but during the second he 
began to look like a monster. His hair covered nearly the 
whole of his face, his beard was matted like a piece of felt, his 
fingers had claws, and his face was so covered with dirt that 
if cress had been sown on it, it would have come up. Who¬ 
ever saw him, ran away. But as he everywhere gave money 


to the poor to pray that he might not die during the seven 
years, and as he paid well for all he needed he could still 

Whoever saw him, ran away. 

always find shelter. In the fourth year, 
he entered an inn where the landlord 
would not receive him, and would not 
even give him a place in the stable for fear he should frighten 
the horses. But as Bearskin thrust his hand into his pocket 
and pulled out a handful of ducats, the host let himself be 
persuaded and gave him a room in an outhouse on condition 



not to let himself be seen lest the inn should get a bad 

As Bearskin was sitting alone in the evening, and wishing 
from the bottom of his heart that the seven years were over, 
he heard some one lamenting aloud in the next room. He 
had a compassionate heart so he opened the door, and there 
he saw an old man weeping bitterly, and wringing his hands. 
Bearskin went nearer, but the man sprang to his feet in terror 
and tried to escape from him. At last when the man per¬ 
ceived that Bearskin’s voice was human he let himself be 
prevailed on, and by kind words Bearskin succeeded so far that 
the old man revealed the cause of his grief. His property 
had dwindled away by degrees, he and his daughters would 
have to starve, and he was so poor that he could not pay the 
innkeeper, and was to be put in prison. 

4 If that is your only trouble,’ said Bearskin, 4 1 have 
plenty of money.’ And he sent for the innkeeper, paid him 
what was due, and put a purse full of gold into the poor old 
man’s pocket besides. 

When the old man saw himself set free from all his troubles 
he did not know how to be grateful enough. 4 Come with me,’ 
said he to Bearskin ; 4 my daughters are all marvels of beauty, 
choose one of them for thyself as a wife. When she hears 
what thou hast done for me, she will not refuse thee. Thou 
dost in truth look a little strange, but she will soon put thee 
to rights again.’ 

This pleased Bearskin well, and he went with him. When 
the eldest girl saw him she was so terribly frightened that she 
screamed and ran away. The second stood where she was 
and looked at him from head to foot, but then she said, 
4 How can I accept a husband who no longer has a human 
form ? The shaven bear that once was here and pretended 
to be a man pleased me far better, for at any rate it wore 
a hussar’s dress and white gloves. If it were nothing but 
ugliness, I might get used to that.’ 

But the youngest daughter said, 4 Dear father, that must 


be a good man to have helped you out of your trouble, so if 
you have promised him a bride for doing it, your promise 
must be kept.’ 

It was a pity that Bearskin’s face was covered with dirt 
and hair, or else they might have seen how delighted he was 
when he heard these words. He took a ring from his finger, 
broke it in two and gave her one half, while he kept the other 
for himself. And he wrote his name on her half, and hers on 
his, and begged her to keep her part carefully. Then he took 
his leave and said, ‘ I must still wander about for three years 
and if I do not return then, thou art free, for I shall be dead. 
But pray to God to guard my life.’ 

The poor betrothed bride dressed herself entirely in black, 
and when she thought of her future bridegroom, tears came 
into her eyes. Nothing but contempt and mockery fell to 
her lot from her sisters. 

4 Take care,’ said the eldest, 4 if thou givest him thy hand, 
he will stick his claws into it.’ 

4 Beware ! ’ said the second. 4 Bears like sweet things, and 
if he takes a fancy to thee, he will eat thee up.’ 

4 Thou must always do as he likes,’ began the elder again, 
4 or else he will growl.’ 

And the second continued, 4 But the wedding will be a 
merry one, for bears dance well.’ 

The maiden was silent, and did not let them vex her. 

As for Bearskin, he travelled about the world from one 
place to another, did good where he was able, and gave 
generously to the poor that they might pray for him. 

At length, as the last day of the seven years dawned, he 
went once more out on to the heath, and seated himself in 
the circle of trees. It was not long before the wind whistled, 
and the stranger stood before him and looked angrily at him. 
Then he threw Bearskin his old coat, and asked for his own 
green one back. 

4 We have not got so far as that yet,’ answered Bearskin, 
4 thou must first make me clean.’ 



And whether he liked it or not, the stranger had to fetch 
water, and wash Bearskin, comb his hair, and cut his nails. 
After this, he looked like a brave soldier again, much hand¬ 
somer than he had ever been before. 

When Greencoat had gone away, Bearskin was quite light¬ 
hearted. He went into the town, put on a magnificent velvet 
coat, seated himself in a carriage drawn by four white horses, 
and drove to his bride’s house. No one recognised him, the 
father took him for a distinguished general, and led him into 
the room where his daughters were sitting. He was made to 
sit between the two eldest, and they helped him to wine, 
gave him the best from every dish, and thought that in all 
the world they had never seen a handsomer man. The bride, 
however, sat opposite to him in her black dress, and never 
raised her eyes nor spoke a word. When at length he asked 
the father if he would give him one of his daughters to wife, 
the two eldest jumped up and ran to their bedrooms to put 
on splendid dresses, for each of them fancied she was the 
chosen one. As soon as he was alone with his bride, the 
stranger brought out his half of the ring, and threw it in a 
glass of wine which he handed across the table to her. She 
took the wine, but when she had drunk it and found the half 
ring lying at the bottom, her heart began to beat. She got 
the other half, which she wore on a ribbon round her neck, 
and joined the two halves, and saw that they fitted together 
exactly. Then said he, 4 1 am thy betrothed bridegroom, 
whom thou sawest as Bearskin, but through the grace of 
Heaven I have again received my human form, and have once 
more become clean.’ And he took her in his arms and kissed 
her. Just then the two sisters came back dressed in their 
best. And when they saw that the handsome man had fallen 
to the share of the youngest and heard that he was Bearskin, 
they ran out wild with rage. One of them drowned herself 
in the well and the other hanged herself on a tree. 


One-eye, Two-eyes, and Three-eyes 

T HERE 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, also, was in the middle 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, 4 Thou, with thy two eyes, art no better 
than the common people. Thou dost 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 
bank and began to weep, and she wept so bitterly that two 
streams ran down from her eyes. And once in the midst of 
her grief she looked up and there stood a woman beside her, 
who said, 4 Why art thou weeping, little Two-eyes ? ’ 

Two-eyes answered, 4 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, and 
throw old clothes at me, and give me nothing to eat but the 
scraps they leave ? To-day they have given me so little that I 
am still very hungry.’ 

Then the wise woman said, 4 Wipe away thy tears, Two- 
eyes, and I will tell thee something to stop thee suffering from 
hunger ever again. Just say to thy goat, 

‘ Little goat, bleat! 

Little table, spread ! 



and then a clean well-spread little table will stand before thee, 
with the most delicious food upon it of which thou mayst eat 
as much as ever thou wishest, and when thou hast had enough, 
and hast no more need of the little table, just say, 

‘ Little goat, bleat! 

Little table, go ! 1 

and then it will vanish again from thy sight.’ Hereupon the 
wise woman departed. 

But Two-eyes thought, 4 1 must try this at once, and see if 
what she said is true, for I am too hungry to bear it,’ so she said, 

i Little goat, bleat! 

Little table, spread ! ’ 

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, 4 Lord God, be with us always, Amen,’ and 
helped herself, and enjoyed it very much. And when she 
was satisfied, she said, as the wise woman had taught her, 

‘ Little goat, bleat! 

Little table, spread ! ’ 

and immediately the little table and everything on it was gone 
again. 4 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 something to eat, which 
her sisters had set ready for her, but she did not touch it. 
Next day again she went out with her goat, and the few crusts 
of bread which had been given her, she left 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 soon did observe 
it, and said, 4 There is something wrong about Two-eyes, she 
always leaves her food untasted, and she used to eat up every- 


thing that was given her. She must have found other ways 
of getting her 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 watch what Two-eyes did when she was 
there, and whether any one brought her anything to eat and 
drink. So when Two-eyes set out the next time, One-eye went 
to her and said, 4 1 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 after 
she had driven the goat into long grass, she said, 4 Come, One- 
eye, we will sit down, and I will sing something to you.’ 
One-eye sat down, tired with the unaccustomed walk and the 
heat of the sun, and Two-eyes sang constantly, 

‘ One eye, vvakest thou P 
One eye, sleepest thou ? 1 

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, 

‘ Little goat, bleat! 

Little table, spread ! ’ 

and seated herself at her table, and ate and drank until she 
had had enough, and then she said, 

‘ Little goat, bleat! 

Little table, go ! 1 

and in an instant all was gone. Two-eyes now awakened 
One-eye, and said, 4 One-eye, you set out to take care of the 
goat, and go to sleep while you are doing it. In the mean¬ 
time the goat might run all over the world. Come, let us go 
home again.’ So they went home, and again Two-eyes let 
her little dish stand untouched, and One-eye could not tell 
her mother why she would not eat it, and to excuse herself 
said, 4 1 fell asleep when I was out.’ 

Next day the mother said to Three-eyes, 4 This time thou 
shalt go and watch if Two-eyes eats anything when she is out, 



and if any one fetches her food and drink, for she must eat and 
drink in secret.’ So Three-eyes went to Two-eyes, and said, 
4 1 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 long grass, and said, 
1 We will sit down, and I will sing something to you, Three-eyes.’ 

‘Now I know why that stuck-up thing there does not eat.’ 

Three-eyes sat down, tired with the walk and the heat of the 
sun, and Two-eyes began the same song as before, and sang, 

‘ Three-eyes, are you waking ? 1 

but then, instead of singing, 

‘ Three-eyes, are you sleeping ? 1 



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 

‘ Little goat, bleat! 

Little table, spread ! 1 

and ate and drank as much as her 
heart desired, and then ordered the 
table to go away again, 

‘ Little goat, bleat! 

Little table, go ! ’ 

and Three-eyes had seen every¬ 
thing. Then Two-eyes came to her, 
waked her and said, ‘Have you been 
asleep, Three-eyes ? You are a good 
caretaker! 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 stuck-up thing there does not eat. When 
she is out, she says to the goat, 

‘ Little goat, bleat! 

Little table, spread ! ’ 



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, 

‘ Little goat, bleat! 

Little table, go ! 1 

and all disappears. I watched everything closely. She put 
two of my eyes to sleep by using a certain form of words, but 
luckily the one in my forehead kept awake.’ Then the envious 
mother cried, 4 Dost thou want to fare better than we do ? 
The desire shall pass away,’ and she took a butcher’s knife, 
and thrust it into the heart of the goat, and it fell down dead. 

When Two-eyes saw that, she went out full of trouble, 
seated herself on the grass bank at the edge of the field, and 
wept bitter tears. Suddenly the wise woman once more stood 
by her side, and said, 4 Two-eyes, why art thou weeping ? ’ 

4 Have I not reason to weep ? ’ she answered. 4 The goat 
that spread 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, 4 Two-eyes, I will give thee a piece of 
good advice. Ask thy sisters to give thee the entrails of the 
slaughtered goat, and bury them in the ground in front of the 
house, and thy fortune will be made.’ 

Then she vanished, and Two-eyes went home and said to 
her sisters, 4 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, 4 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 
counselled her to do. 

Next morning, when they all awoke, and went to the house- 
door, there stood a strange and beautiful 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 just when she was about to take 
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, do what she might. 

Then said the mother, ‘ Three-eyes, do you climb up; 
you with your three eyes can look about you better than 

One-eye slipped down, and Three-eyes climbed up. Three- 
eyes was not more skilful, and might try as she liked, 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, ‘ I will just go up, perhaps I may 
succeed better.’ 

The sisters cried, 4 You indeed, with your two eyes, what 
can you do ? ’ 

But Two-eyes climbed up, and the golden apples did not 
get out of her way, but came into her hand of their own accord, 
so that she could pick 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 so they 
treated her still more cruelly. 

It so befell that once when they were all standing together 
by the tree, a young knight came along. 

4 Quick, Two-eyes,’ cried the two sisters, 4 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 pushed the golden apples that she had been 
gathering under it too. When the knight came nearer it 
could be seen that he was a fine lord, and handsome too, and 
he stopped to admire the magnificent gold and silver tree, and 
said to the two sisters, 4 To whom does this fine tree belong ? 
Any one who would give a branch of it to me might in return 
ask whatever he desired.’ 

Then One-eye and Three-eyes replied that the tree belonged 
to them, and that they would give him a branch. And they 
both tried hard, but they were not able to do it, for the 
branches and fruit slipped away from them every time. 

Then said the knight, 4 It is very strange that the tree 
should belong to you, and yet you are not able to break a 
branch off.’ 

Again they asserted that the tree was theirs. And 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. But the knight desired to see her, and cried, 4 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, 4 Thou, Two-eyes, canst certainly break off a branch from 
the tree for me.’ 

4 Yes,’ replied Two-eyes, 4 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, 4 Two-eyes, what shall I give thee 
for it ? ’ 

4 Alas ! ’ answered Two-eyes, 4 1 suffer from hunger and 


thirst, grief and want, from early morning till late night. If 
only you would take me with you, and deliver me from these 
things, 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 their wedding 
took place with great rejoicing. 

When Two-eyes was carried away by the handsome knight, 
her two sisters grudged her her good fortune in real earnest. 

4 The wonderful tree, however, still remains with us,’ 
thought they, 4 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 not 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 little 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 recognised 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 


The Wishing-Table, the Gold-Ass, and 
the Cudgel in the Knapsack 

O NCE upon a time there was a tailor who had three sons, 
and only one goat. But as the goat supported the 
whole of them with her milk, she was obliged to 
have good food, and had to be taken every day to pasture. 
So the sons did this in turn. Once the eldest took her to the 
churchyard, where the finest grass was to be found, and let 
her eat and run about there. At night when it was time to 


go home he asked, 4 Goat, hast thou had enough ? 5 The goat 

i I have eaten so much, 

Not a leaf more I ’ll touch, meh ! meh ! 1 

4 Come along home, then,’ said the youth, and took hold of 
the cord round her neck, led her back to the stable and tied 
her up for the night. 

‘ Well,’ said the old tailor, ‘ has the goat had as much food 
as she ought ? ’ 

4 Oh,’ answered the son, 4 she has eaten so much, not a 
leaf more she ’ll touch.’ 

But the father wished to satisfy himself, so he went down 
to the stable, stroked the dear animal and asked, 4 Nannie, 
art thou full ? ’ The goat answered, 

‘ And how should I be full ? 

Among the graves I leapt about, 

But found no food, so went without, maa ! maa ! 1 

4 What’s this I hear ? ’ cried the tailor, and ran upstairs 
and said to the youth, 4 Hullo, thou liar ; thou saidst the goat 
had had enough, and hast let her starve ! ’ and in his anger 
he took the yard-measure from the wall, and beat him out 
of the house. 

Next day it was the turn of the second son, who looked 
out for a place near the fence of the garden, where nothing 
but good herbs grew, and the goat cleared them all off. At 
night when he wanted to go home, he asked, 4 Goat, art thou 
full ? ’ The goat answered, 

‘ I have eaten so much, 

Not a leaf more I ’ll touch, meh ! meh ! ’ 

4 Come along home, then,’ said the youth, and led her home, 
and tied her up in the stable. 

4 Well,’ said the old tailor, 4 has the goat had as much food 
as she ought ? ’ 



4 Oh,’ answered the son, 4 she has eaten so much, not a 
leaf more she ’ll touch.’ 

The tailor would not rely on this, but went down to the 
stable and said, 4 Nannie, hast thou had enough ? ’ The goat 

‘ And how should I be full ? 

Among the graves I leapt about, 

But found no food, so went without, maa ! maa ! ’ 

4 The wicked rascal ! ’ cried the tailor, 4 to let such a good 
animal hunger,’ and he ran up and drove the youth out of 
doors with the yard-measure. 

Now came the turn of the third son, who was determined 
to do his best, and sought out the bushes with the finest leaves, 
and let the goat browse there. In the evening when he 
wanted to go home, he asked, 4 Goat, hast thou had enough ? ’ 
The goat answered, 

‘ I have eaten so much, 

Not a leaf more I ’ll touch, meh ! meh ! 1 

4 Come along home, then,’ said the youth, and led her 
back to the stable, and tied her up. 

4 Well,’ said the old tailor, 4 has the goat really had enough 
this time ? ’ 

4 She has eaten so much, not a leaf more she ’ll touch.’ 

The tailor did not trust to that, but went down and asked, 
4 Nannie, hast thou had enough ? ’ The wicked beast 

‘ And how should I have had enough ? 


Among the graves I leapt about, 

But found no leaves, so went without, maa ! maa ! 1 

4 Oh, what a pack of liars ! ’ cried the tailor, 4 each as 
wicked and forgetful as the other ! Ye shall no longer make 
a fool of me,’ and, quite beside himself with anger, he ran 
upstairs and belaboured the poor young fellow so vigorously 
with the yard-measure that he darted out of the house and 



The old tailor was now alone with his goat. Next morning 
he went down into the stable, caressed the goat and said, 
4 Come, my dear little animal, I will take thee to feed myself.’ 
He took her by the rope and conducted her where there were 
green hedges, and clover, and whatever else goats like to eat. 
‘ There thou mayest for once eat to thy heart’s content,’ said 
he to her, and let her browse till evening. Then he asked, 
‘ Goat, art thou full ? ’ she replied, 

‘ I have eaten so much, 

Not a leaf more I ’ll touch, meh ! meh ! ’ 

‘ Come along home, then,’ said the tailor, and led her into 
the stable, and tied her fast. When he was going away, he 
turned round again and said, 4 Well, art thou full for once ? ’ 
But the goat did not behave any better to him, and cried, 

‘ And how should I be full ? 

Among the graves I leapt about, 

But found no leaves, so went without, maa ! maa ! 1 

When the tailor heard that, he was shocked, and saw 
clearly that he had driven away his three sons without cause. 
4 Wait, thou ungrateful creature ! ’ cried he. 4 It is not enough 
to drive thee forth; I will mark thee so that thou wilt no more 
dare to show thyself amongst honest tailors.’ In great haste 
he ran upstairs, fetched his razor, lathered the goat’s head, 
and shaved her as clean as the palm of his hand. And as the 
yard-measure would have been too good for her, he went and 
fetched to her the horsewhip, and gave her such a thrashing 
that she ran away as fast as she could go. 

When the tailor was thus left quite alone in his house he 
fell into great grief, and would gladly have had his sons back 
again, but no one knew whither they were gone. 

Now the eldest had apprenticed himself to a joiner, and 
learned industriously and untiringly, and when the time came 
for him to go travelling, his master presented him with a 
little table which was in no way remarkable to look at, and 



was made of common wood, but it had one good property ; 
if any one set it down anywhere and said, 4 Little table, spread 
thyself,’ the good little table was at once covered with a clean 
little cloth, and a plate was there, and a knife and fork beside 
it, and dishes with boiled meat, and roasted meat, as many 
as there was room for, and a great bumper of red wine shone 
so that it made the heart glad. The young journeyman 
thought, 4 With this thou hast enough for thy whole life,’ 
and wandered joyously about the world never troubling him¬ 
self whether an inn was good or bad, or if anything was to be 
had there or not. When it suited him he did not enter an inn 
at all, but either in the open country, or in a wood, or a 
meadow, or wherever he fancied, he took his little table off 
his back, set it down before him, and said, 4 Cover thyself,’ 
and everything appeared that his heart desired. At length he 
took it into his head to go back to his father, whose anger 
would now be appeased, and who would now willingly receive 
him with his wishing-table. 

It came to pass that on his way home, he came one evening 
to an inn which was filled with guests. They bade him 
welcome, and invited him to sit and eat with them, for other¬ 
wise he would have had difficulty in getting anything. 

4 No indeed,’ answered the joiner, 4 I wouldn’t rob you of 
a mouthful; rather than that, you shall do me the honour 
of being my guests.’ 

They laughed, and thought he was jesting with them ; but 
he placed his wooden table in the middle of the room, and said, 
4 Little table, cover thyself.’ Instantly it was covered with 
good things, better far than the host could have provided, and 
the smell alone would have been too tempting to resist. 4 Fall 
to, dear friends,’ said the joiner ; and the guests when they 
saw that he meant it, did not need to be asked twice, but 
drew their chairs up, pulled out their knives and attacked it 
valiantly. And what surprised them the most was that when 
a dish became empty, a full one instantly took its place of its 
own accord. The innkeeper stood in a corner and watched; 



he did not at all know what to say, but he thought, 4 Thou 
couldst easily find a use for such a cook as that in thy kitchen.’ 
The joiner and his comrades made merry until late into the 
night. At length they all lay down to sleep, the young 
apprentice setting his magic table against the wall before he 
went to bed. The host’s thoughts, however, let him have no 
rest; it occurred to him that there was a little old table in 
his lumber-room, which looked just like the apprentice’s, and 
he brought it out quite softly, and exchanged it for the 
wishing-table. Next morning, the joiner paid for his bed, took 
up his table, never thinking that he had got a false one, and 
went his way. At midday he reached the house of his father, 
who received him with great joy. 

4 Well, my dear son, what hast thou learned ? ’ said he 
to him. 

4 Father, I have become a joiner.’ 

4 A good trade,’ replied the old man ; 4 but what hast thou 
brought back with thee from thy apprenticeship ? ’ 

4 Father, the best thing that I have brought back with me 
is this little table.’ 

The tailor inspected it on all sides and said, 4 Thou didst 
not make a masterpiece when thou madest that; it is a 
wretched old table that.’ 

4 But it is a table which furnishes itself,’ replied the son. 
4 When I set it down, and tell it to cover itself, the most 
beautiful dishes stand on it, and a wine also, which gladdens 
the heart. Just invite all our relations and friends; they shall 
refresh and enjoy themselves for once, for the table will give 
them all they can desire.’ 

When the company was assembled, he put his table in the 
middle of the room and said, 4 Little table, cover thyself,’ but 
the little table did not bestir itself, and remained just as bare 
as any other table which did not understand when it was 
spoken to. Then the poor apprentice became aware that his 
table had been changed, and was ashamed at having to stand 
there like a liar. And his relations all mocked him, and were 



forced to go home without having eaten or drunk. His father 
brought out his patches again, and went on tailoring, but the 
son went off to find a new master. 

The second son had gone to a miller and had apprenticed 
himself to him. When his years were over, the master said, 
4 As thou hast conducted thyself so well, I give thee this ass 
of a very unusual kind, which neither draws a cart nor carries 
a sack.’ 

‘ To what use is he put, then ? ’ asked the young apprentice. 

‘ He lets gold drop from his mouth,’ answered the miller. 
4 Set him on a cloth and say, “ Bricklebrit ” to him and the 
good animal will drop gold pieces for thee.’ 

4 That is a fine thing,’ said the apprentice, and thanked the 
master, and went out into the world. When he had need of 
gold, he had only to say 4 Bricklebrit ’ to his ass, and it rained 
gold pieces, and he had nothing to do but to pick them up 
from the ground. Wherever he went, the best of everything 
was good enough for him, and the dearer the better, for he had 
always a full purse. When he had looked about the world 
for some time, he thought to himself, 4 Thou must seek out 
thy father; if thou goest to him with the gold-ass he will forget 
his anger, and receive thee well.’ 

It came to pass that he came to the same public-house in 
which his brother’s table had been exchanged. He led his ass 
by the bridle, and the host was about to take the animal from 
him and tie him up, but the young apprentice said, 4 Don’t 
trouble yourself, I will take my grey horse into the stable, and 
tie him up myself too, for I must know just where he is.’ This 
struck the host as odd, and he thought that a man who was 
forced to look after his ass himself could not have much to 
spend ; but when the stranger put his hand in his pocket and 
brought out two gold pieces, and said he was to provide some¬ 
thing good for him, the host opened his eyes wide, and ran 
and sought out the best he could muster. After dinner the 
guest asked what he owed. The host did not see why he 
should not double the reckoning, and said the apprentice must 


give two more gold pieces. He felt in his pocket, but his 
gold had just come to an end. 

4 Wait an instant, sir host,’ said he, 4 I will go and fetch 
some money,’ and he took the table-cloth with him. The 
host could not imagine what this could mean, and being 
curious, he stole after him, and as the guest bolted the stable 
door, he peeped through a hole left by a knot in the wood. 
The stranger spread out the cloth under the animal and cried, 
4 Bricklebrit,’ and immediately the beast began to let gold 
pieces fall, so that it fairly rained down money on the ground. 

4 Eh, my word,’ thought the host, 4 ducats are quickly 
coined there ! A purse like that is not amiss.’ The guest 
paid his score, and went to bed, but in the night the host stole 
down into the stable, led away the master of the mint, and 
tied up another ass in his place. 

Early next morning the apprentice travelled away with 
the ass, thinking all the time that he had his gold-ass. At 
midday he reached the house of his father, who rejoiced to 
see him again, and gladly took him in. 

4 What hast thou made of thyself, my son ? ’ asked the old 

4 A miller, dear father,’ he answered. 

4 What hast thou brought back with thee from thy 
travels ? ’ 

4 Nothing else but an ass.’ 

4 There are asses enough here,’ said the father; 4 1 would 
rather have had a good goat.’ 

4 Yes,’ replied the son, 4 but mine is no common ass, but a 
gold-ass. When I say 44 Bricklebrit,” the good beast opens its 
mouth and drops a whole sheetful of gold pieces. Just 
summon all our relations hither, and I will make them rich 

4 That suits me well,’ said the tailor, 4 for then I shall have 
no need to torment myself any longer with the needle,’ and 
ran out himself and called the relations together. 

As soon as they were assembled, the miller bade them 



make way, spread out his cloth, and brought the ass into the 
room. ‘ Now watch,’ said he, and cried, 4 Bricklebrit,’ but no 
gold pieces fell, and it was clear that the animal knew nothing 
of the art, for every ass does not attain such perfection. 
Then the poor miller pulled a long face, saw that he was 
betrayed, and begged pardon of the relatives, who went home 
as poor as they came. There was no help for it, the old man 
had to betake him to his needle once more, and the youth 
hired himself to a miller. 

The third brother had apprenticed himself to a turner, and 
as that is skilled labour, he was the longest in learning. His 
brothers, however, told him in a letter how badly things had 
gone with them, and how the inn-keeper had cheated them 
of their wonderful wishing-gifts on the last evening before they 
reached home. When the turner had served his time, and had 
to set out on his travels, as he had conducted himself so well, 
his master presented him with a knapsack and said, 4 There 
is a cudgel in it.’ 

4 1 can put on the knapsack,’ said he, 4 and it may be of 
good service to me, but why should the cudgel be in it ? It 
only makes it heavy.’ 

4 I will tell thee why,’ replied the master ; 4 if any one 
has done anything to injure thee, do but say, 44 Out of the 
sack, Cudgel ! ” and the cudgel will leap forth among the 
people, and play such a dance on their backs that they will 
not be able to stir or move for a week, and it will not leave 
off until thou sayest, 44 Into the sack, Cudgel! ” ’ 

The apprentice thanked him, put the sack on his back, and 
when any one came too near him, and threatened to attack 
him, he said, 4 Out of the sack, Cudgel! ’ and instantly the 
cudgel sprang out, and gave the coat of the evil-doer such a 
dusting that he soon wished that he had never tried to inter¬ 
fere. In the evening the young turner reached the inn where 
his brothers had been cheated. He laid his knapsack on the 
table before him, and began to talk of all the wonderful things 
which he had seen in the world. 



‘Yes,’ said he, 4 people may easily find a table which will 
cover itself, a gold-ass, and things of that kind—extremely 
good things which I by no means despise—but these are 
nothing in comparison with the treasure which I have won 
for myself, and am carrying about with me in my knapsack 

The inn-keeper pricked up his ears. 4 What in the world 
can that be ? ’ thought he. 4 The knapsack must be filled 
with nothing but jewels ; I ought to get them cheap too, for 
all good things go in threes.’ When it was time for sleep, the 
guest stretched himself on the bench, and laid his knapsack 
beneath him for a pillow. When the inn-keeper thought his 
guest was lying in a sound sleep, he went to him and pushed 
and pulled quite gently and carefully at the knapsack to see 
if he could possibly draw it away and lay another in its place. 
The turner had, however, been waiting for this for a long 
time, and now just as the inn-keeper was about to give a 
hearty tug, he cried, 4 Out of the sack, Cudgel ! ’ Instantly 
the little cudgel came forth, and fell on the inn-keeper, and 
gave him a sound thrashing. 

The host cried for mercy; but the louder he cried, the 
heavier the cudgel beat the time on his back, until at length 
he fell to the ground exhausted. Then the turner said, 4 If 
thou dost not give back the table which covers itself, and the 
gold-ass too, the dance shall begin afresh.’ 

4 Oh no,’ cried the host in terror, 4 1 will gladly produce 
everything, only make that dreadful little goblin creep back 
into the sack.’ 

Then said the apprentice, 4 1 will have mercy instead of 
giving thee thy deserts, but beware of getting into mischief 
again ! ’ So he cried, 4 Into the sack, Cudgel! ’ and let him 
have rest. 

Next morning the turner went home to his father with the 
wishing-table and the gold-ass. The tailor rejoiced when he 
saw him once more, and asked him likewise what he had 
learned in foreign parts. 



4 Dear father,’ said he, ‘ I have become a turner.’ 

4 A skilled trade,’ said the father. 4 What hast thou 
brought back with thee from thy travels ? ’ 

4 A precious thing, dear father,’ replied the son, 4 a cudgel 
in the knapsack.’ 

4 What! ’ cried the father, 4 a cudgel ! That ’s worth thy 
trouble, indeed ! From every tree thou canst cut thyself one.’ 

4 But not one like this, dear father. If I say 44 Out of the 
sack, Cudgel ! ” the cudgel springs out and leads any one who 
means ill with me such a dance, I can tell you, and never stops 
until he lies on the ground and prays for fair weather. Look 
you, with this cudgel I have got back the wishing-table and 
the gold-ass which the thievish inn-keeper stole from my 
brothers. Now let them both be sent for, and invite all our 
kinsmen. I will give them the best to eat and to drink, and 
will fill their pockets with gold into the bargain.’ The old 
tailor would not quite believe, but nevertheless got the 
relatives together. Then the turner spread a cloth in the room 
and led in the gold-ass, and said to his brother, 4 Now, dear 
brother, speak to him.’ The miller said, 4 Bricklebrit,’ and 
instantly the gold pieces fell down on the cloth like a thunder¬ 
shower, and the ass did not stop until every one of them had 
so much that he could carry no more. (I can see in thy face 
that thou also wouldst have liked to be there.) 

Then the turner brought the little table, and said, 4 Now, 
dear brother, speak to it.’ And scarcely had the carpenter 
said, 4 Table, cover thyself,’ than it was spread and amply 
covered with the most savoury dishes. 

Then such a meal took place as the good tailor had never 
yet known in his house, and the whole party of kinsmen stayed 
till far into the night, and were all merry and glad together. 
The tailor locked away in a cupboard needle and thread, yard- 
measure and goose, and lived with his three sons in plenty and 

What, however, has become of the goat who was to blame 
for the tailor driving out his three sons ? That I will tell 

• , . T — ; -77T——7-- ———: — —---.—. 



thee. She was ashamed that she had a bald head, and ran to 
a fox’s hole and crept into it. When the fox came home, he 
was met by two great eyes shining out of the darkness, and 
he was terrified and ran away. 

A bear met him, and as the fox looked upset, he said, 
4 What is the matter with thee, brother Fox ? Why dost thou 
look like that ? ’ 

4 Ah,’ answered Redskin, 4 a fierce beast is in my cave and 
stared at me with its fiery eyes.’ 

4 We will soon drive him out,’ said the bear, and went with 
him to the cave and looked in, but when he saw the fiery eyes, 
fear seized on him too ; he would have nothing to do with 
the fearful beast, and took to his heels. 

The bee met him, and as she saw that he was ill at ease, 
she said, 4 Bear, thou art really pulling a very pitiful face ; 
what has become of all thy gaiety ? ’ 

4 It is all very well for thee to talk,’ replied the bear; 4 a 
furious beast with staring eyes is in Redskin’s house, and we 
can’t drive him out.’ 

The bee said, 4 Bear, I pity thee. I am a poor weak creature 
whom thou wouldst not turn aside to look at, but still I believe 
I can help thee.’ And she flew into the fox’s cave, settled on 
the goat’s shaven head, and stung her so sharply that she 
sprang up, crying 4 Meh, meh,’ and ran forth into the world 
like mad, and to this hour no one knows where she has gone. 


The Wonderful Musician 

T HERE was once a wonderful musician, who was going all 
alone through a forest thinking of all manner of things, 
and when nothing was left for him to think about, 
he said to himself, 4 Time is beginning to pass heavily with me 
here in the forest, I ’ll call hither some one to keep me company.’ 
Then he took his fiddle from his back, and played so that it 
echoed through the trees. It was not long before a wolf came 
trotting through the thicket towards him. 

4 Ah, here’s a wolf coming ! I’ve no desire for him ! ’ said 
the musician. 

But the wolf came nearer and said to him, 4 Ah, dear 
musician, how beautifully thou dost play ! I should like to 
learn that, too.’ 

4 It is soon learned,’ the musician replied; 4 thou hast only 
to do all that I bid thee.’ 

4 O musician,’ said the wolf, 4 1 will obey thee as a scholar 
obeys his master.’ 



The musician bade him follow him, and when they had 
gone a little way together, they came to an old oak-tree which 
was hollow, and cleft in the middle. 

4 Look,’ said the musician, ‘ if thou wilt learn to fiddle, put 
thy fore paws into this crack.’ 




The wolf obeyed, but the musician quickly picked up a 
stone and with one blow wedged his two paws so fast that he 
was forced to stay there prisoner. 

4 Stay there until I come back again,’ said the musician, 
and went his way. 

After a while he said to himself again, 4 Time is beginning 
to pass heavily with me here in the forest, I will call hither 
another companion,’ and he took his fiddle again and played a 
tune. It was not long before a fox came creeping through the 
trees towards him. 

4 Ah, there’s a fox coming ! ’ said the musician. 4 I have 
no desire for him.’ 

The fox came up to him and said, 4 Oh, dear musician, how 
beautifully thou dost play ! I should like to learn that, too.’ 

4 That is soon learned,’ said the musician; 4 thou hast 
only to do everything that I bid thee.’ 

4 Oh, musician,’ then said the fox, 4 I will obey thee as a 
scholar obeys his master.’ 

4 Follow me,’ said the musician; and when they had 
walked a little way, they came to a footpath, with high bushes 
on both sides of it. There the musician stopped, and from one 
side bent a young hazel down to the ground, and put his foot 
on it, then he bent down a sapling from the other side as well, 
and said, 4 Now, little fox, if thou wilt learn something, give 
me thy left fore paw.’ The fox obeyed, and the musician 
fastened his paw to the left bough. 

4 Little fox,’ said he, 4 now give me thy right paw,’ and he 
tied it to the right bough. He made sure they were safely 
tied, and then he let go ; the bushes sprang up again, and 
up jerked the little fox, so that he hung struggling in the air. 

4 Wait there till I come back again,’ said the musician, and 
went his way. 

Again he said to himself, 4 Time is beginning to pass heavily 
with me here in the forest, I will call hither another companion,’ 
so he took his fiddle, and the sound echoed through the forest. 
This time a little hare came leaping towards him. 



4 Why, here’s a hare coming,’ said he. 4 I don’t want her.’ 

4 Ah, dear musician,’ said the hare, 4 how beautifully thou 
dost fiddle 1 I, too, should like to learn that.’ 

4 That’s soon learned,’ said the musician; 4 thou hast only 
to do everything I bid thee.’ 

4 Oh, musician,’ replied the little hare, 4 1 will obey thee as 
a scholar obeys his master.’ They went on a little way 
together until they came to an open space in the forest, where 
stood an aspen. The musician tied a long string round the 
little hare’s neck, the other end of which he fastened to the tree. 

4 Now, briskly, little hare, run twenty times round the 
tree ! ’ cried the musician, and the little hare obeyed, and 
when she had run round twenty times, she had twisted the 
string twenty times round the trunk of the tree, and the little 
hare was caught, and let her pull and tug as she liked, it only 
made the string cut into her tender neck. 

4 Wait there till I come back,’ said the musician, and on he went. 



The wolf, in the meantime, had pushed and tugged and 
bitten at the stone, until at last he had set his feet at liberty 
and had dragged them out of the cleft. Full of rage and fury 
he rushed after the musician and wanted to tear him to pieces. 

When the fox saw him running past, he began to yelp and 
howl with all his might, 4 Brother wolf, come to my help; the 
musician has betrayed me ! ’ So the wolf drew down the little 
trees, bit the cords in two, and freed the fox, who went on with 
him to take revenge on the musician. They found the hare 
tied up too and delivered her, and then they all sought the 
enemy together. 

Once more the musician had played his fiddle as he went 
on his way, and this time he had been more fortunate. The 
sound reached the ears of a poor woodcutter, who instantly 
had to give up his work, willy-nilly, and came with his hatchet 
under his arm to listen to the music. 

c At last comes the right companion,’ said the musician, 
4 for I was seeking a human being, not a wild beast.’ And he 
began to play so sweetly and enchantingly that the poor man 
stood there as if bewitched, and his heart leaped with gladness. 
And as he stood thus, the wolf, the fox, and the hare came up, 
and he saw well that they meant no good. So he raised his 
glittering axe and placed himself before the musician, as if to 
say, 4 Whoever wishes to touch him let him beware, for he will 
have to do with me ! ’ And that frightened the beasts and 
they ran back into the forest. The musician, however, played 
once more to the man out of gratitude, and then went on. 


The Cunning Little Tailor 

O NCE upon a time there was a princess who was extremely 
proud. If a wooer came she gave him a riddle to guess, 
and if he could not find it out, he was made fun of and 
turned out. She had it made known also that he who solved 
her riddle should marry her, whoever he might be. 

In time three tailors fell in with each other, the two eldest 
of whom thought they had done so many neat jobs before that 
they could not fail to succeed in this also. The third was a 
little useless vagrant, who did not even know his trade, but 
thought he might have some luck in this venture, for Heaven 
knows where else it was to come from. The two others told 
him to stay at home. What could he do, said they, with the 
little sense he possessed. The little tailor, however, did not 
let himself be discouraged, and said he had set his head to work 
about this for once, and he ’d do well enough, and out he went 
as if the whole world were his. 

They all three presented themselves before the princess, and 
said she was to propound her riddle to them, for at last the 
right persons had come, who had wits so fine that they could be 
threaded in a needle. 

Then said the princess, 4 I have two kinds of hair on my 
head, of what colour is it ? 5 

4 If that ’s all,’ said the first, 4 it must be black and white, 
like the cloth which is called pepper and salt.’ 

4 Wrong,’ said the princess. 4 Let the second answer.’ 

Then said the second, 4 If it isn’t black and white, then it’s 
brown and red, like my father’s best Sunday coat.’ 

4 Wrong,’ said the princess. 4 Let the third give the 
answer, for I see very well he knows it for certain.’ 



Then the little tailor stepped boldly forth and said, 4 The 
princess has a silver and a golden hair on her head, and those 
are the two different colours.’ 

When the princess heard that, she turned pale and nearly 
fell down with terror, for the little tailor had guessed her riddle, 
and she had firmly believed that no man on earth could dis¬ 
cover it. When her courage returned she said, 4 But thou hast 
not won me yet, there is still something else that thou must do. 
Below, in the stable, is a bear with which thou shalt pass the 
night, and when I get up in the morning if thou art still alive, 
thou shalt marry me.’ And she was quite sure she would 
thus get rid of the tailor, for the bear had never yet left any 
one alive who had fallen into his clutches. 

The little tailor did not let himself be frightened away, but 
was quite delighted, and said, 4 Boldly ventured is half won.’ 

So, when evening came, our little tailor was taken down to 
the bear. The bear was about to make for the little fellow at 
once, and give him a hearty welcome with his paws, but 4 Softly, 
softly,’ said the little tailor, 4 1 will soon make thee quiet.’ 

Then quite coolly, and as if he hadn’t a care in the world, 
he took some nuts out of his pocket and cracked them, and 
ate the kernels. When the bear saw that, he was seized with 
a desire to have some nuts too. The tailor felt in his pockets, 
and held him out a handful. Really, however, they were 
not nuts at all, but pebbles. The bear put them in his mouth, 
but could make nothing of them, let him bite as he would. 

4 Eh ! ’ thought he, 4 what a stupid blockhead I am ! I 
cannot even crack a nut ! ’ and then he said to the tailor, 
4 Here, crack me the nuts.’ 

4 There, see what a stupid fellow thou art! ’ said the little 
tailor, 4 with such a great mouth, and not able to crack a little 
nut ! ’ And he took the pebble and quickly put a nut in his 
mouth in the place of it, and crack, it was in two ! 

4 I must try the thing again,’ said the bear ; 4 when I watch 
you, it makes me think I ought to be able to do it too.’ 

So the tailor once more gave him a pebble, and the bear 


tried and tried to get his teeth into it with all his might. But 
no one will imagine that he did it. 

When the bear heard the music he could not help beginning to dance. 

When that was over, the tailor took out a violin from under 
his coat, and played a tune on it to himself. When the bear 
heard the music he could not help beginning to dance, and 



when he had danced a while, it pleased him so well that he said 
to the little tailor, 4 Hark you, is the fiddle heavy ? 5 

4 Light enough for a child. Look, with the left hand I 
lay my fingers on it, and with the right I stroke it with the bow, 
and then it goes merrily, hop sa sa vivallalera ! 5 

4 So,’ said the bear ; 4 fiddling is a thing I should like to 
master too, that I might dance whenever I had a fancy. What 
dost thou think of that ? Wilt thou give me lessons ? ’ 

4 With all my heart,’ said the tailor, 4 if thou hast a talent 
for it. But just let me see thy claws, they are terribly long. 
I must cut thy nails a little.’ Then a vice was brought, and 
the bear put his claws in it, and the little tailor screwed it 
tight, and said, 4 Now wait until I come with the scissors.’ 
And the bear might growl as he liked, but the tailor lay down 
in the corner on a bundle of straw, and fell asleep. 

When the princess heard the bear growling so fiercely 
during the night, she thought all the time that he was growling 
for joy, and had made an end of the tailor. In the morning she 
arose careless and happy, but when she peeped into the stable, 
the tailor stood gaily before her, as spry as a fish in the water. 
Now she could not say another word against the wedding 
because she had given her promise before every one, and the 
King ordered a carriage to be brought for her to drive to church 
with the tailor, and there she was to be married. 

When they had got into the carriage, the two other tailors, 
who had false hearts and envied him his good fortune, went into 
the stable and set free the bear again. The bear in great fury ran 
after the carriage. The princess heard him snorting and growl¬ 
ing ; she was terrified, and she cried, 4 Oh, oh, the bear is coming 
after us and wants to get thee ! ’ The tailor was quick and stood 
on his head, stuck his legs out of the window, and cried, 4 Dost 
thou see the vice ? If thou dost not be off thou shalt be put into 
it again.’ When the bear saw that, he turned round and ran 
away. The tailor drove quietly to church, and the princess was 
married to him at once, and he lived with her as happy as a 
woodlark. Whoever does not believe this must pay a thaler. 


The Gnomes 

O NCE upon a time there was a rich King who had three 
daughters, who used to walk every day in the palace 
garden. The King was a great lover of all kinds 
of fine trees, but there was one for which he had such an 
affection, that he wished a wish that if any one gathered an 
apple from it he might sink a hundred fathoms under the 
ground. And when harvest time came, the apples on this 
tree were all as red as blood. 

The three daughters went every day and looked under the 
tree to see if the wind had not blown down an apple, but they 
never by any chance found one, yet the tree was so loaded 
with them that it was almost breaking and the branches hung 
down to the ground. Then the King’s youngest child had a 
great longing for an apple, and said to her sisters, 4 Our father 
loves us far too much to wish us underground; I am sure he 
would only do that to people who were strangers.’ And while 
she was speaking, the girl plucked off a large apple, and ran 
to her sisters, saying, 4 Just taste, my dear little sisters, for 
never in my life have I tasted anything so delightful.’ Then 
the two other sisters also ate some of the apple, whereupon 
all three sank deep down into the earth where they could 
hear no cock crow. 

When midday came the King wished to call them to come 
to dinner, but they were nowhere to be found. He sought 
them everywhere in the palace and garden, but could not find 
them. Then he was much troubled, and made known to the 
whole land that whosoever brought his daughters back again 
should have one of them to wife. Hereupon so many young 
men went about the country in search, that there was no 



counting them, for every one loved the three princesses be¬ 
cause they were so kind to all, and so pretty. Among the 
seekers were three young hunters, and when they had travelled 
about for eight days, they arrived at a great castle in which 
were beautiful apartments, and in one room a table was laid 
on which were delicate dishes which were still so warm that 
they were smoking, but in the whole of the castle no human 
being was either to be seen or heard. They waited there for 
half a day, and the food still remained warm and smoking, 
and at length they were so hungry that they sat down and 
ate, and they decided that they would stay and live in that 
castle, and that one of them, who should be chosen each day 
by casting lots, should remain in the house, and the two 
others seek the King’s daughters. They cast lots, and the 
lot fell on the eldest, so next day the two younger went out 
to seek, and the eldest had to stay at home. 

At midday came a small, small mannikin and begged for a 
piece of bread, so the hunter took the loaf which he had found 
there, and cut a round off it and was about to give it to him, 
when, as he did so, the mannikin let it fall, and asked the 
hunter to be so good as to give it to him again. The hunter 
was about to do so and stooped, on which the mannikin 
seized a stick, caught him by the hair, and gave him a good 

Next day, the second stayed at home, and he fared no 
better, and when the two others returned in the evening, the 
eldest asked, ‘ Well, how have you got on ? ’ 

4 Oh, very badly, 5 said he, and they bemoaned their mis¬ 
fortune together, but they said nothing about it to the 
youngest, for they did not like him at all, and always called 
him Stupid Hans, because he did not rightly belong to the 

On the third day, the youngest stayed at home, and again 
the little mannikin came and begged for a piece of bread. 
When the youth gave it to him, he let it fall as before, and 
asked him to be so good as to give it him again. Then said 


Hans to the little mannikin, ‘ What 1 canst thou not pick up 
that piece thyself ? If thou wilt not take as much trouble 
as that for thy daily bread, thou dost not deserve to have it.’ 
Then the mannikin grew very angiy and said he was to do it, 
but the hunter would not, and takes my dear little mannikin, 
and gives him a thorough good beating. At that the mannikin 
screamed terribly, and cried, ‘ Stop, stop, and let me go, and 
I will tell thee where the King’s daughters are.’ When Hans 
heard that, he left off beating him and the mannikin told him 
that he was a gnome, and that there were more than a thousand 
like him, and that if he would go with him he would show him 
where the King’s daughters were. Then he took him to a 
deep well, but there was no water in it. And the mannikin 
told him how he well knew that the companions Hans had 
with him did not intend to deal honourably with him, there¬ 
fore if he wished to deliver the King’s children, he must do it 
alone. He said that the two other brothers would also be 
very glad to recover the King’s daughters, but they did not 
want to have any trouble or danger. Hans was therefore to 
get a. large basket to sit in, taking with him his hunting-knife 
and a bell, and be let down by a rope. Below were three 
rooms, and in each of them was a princess, with a many¬ 
headed dragon, whose heads she had to comb and trim, but 
he must cut them off. And having said all this, the little 
man vanished. 

When it was evening the two brothers came and asked 
how he had got on, and he said, ‘ Pretty well so far,’ and that 
he had seen no one except at midday when a little mannikin 
had come who had begged for a piece of bread, that he had 
given some to him, but that the mannikin had let it fall and 
had asked him to pick it up again. But as he did not choose 
to do that, the mannikin had begun to lose his temper, and 
that he had done what he ought not, and had given the little 
man a beating, on which he had told him where the King’s 
daughters were. When they heard this the two were so 
angry that they grew green and yellow. 



Next morning they went to the well together, and drew 
lots who should first seat himself in the basket, and again the 
lot fell on the eldest, and he sat himself in it, and took the 
bell with him. Then he said, 4 If I ring, you must draw me 
up again immediately.’ When he had gone down a short 
distance, he rang, and they at once drew him up again. Then 
the second seated himself in the basket, but he did just the 
same as the first, and then it was the turn of the youngest, 
but he let himself be lowered quite to the bottom. 

When he had got out of the basket, he took his hunting-knife 
and went and stood outside the first door and listened, and 
heard the dragon snoring loudly. He opened the door slowly, 
and one of the princesses was sitting there, and had nine 
dragon’s heads lying upon her lap, and was combing them. 
Then he took his hunting-knife and hacked at them till all nine 
heads fell to the ground. The princess jumped up, threw her 
arms round his neck, embraced and kissed him over and over 
again, and took her necklace, which was made of red gold, 
and hung it round his neck. Then he went to the second 
princess, who had a dragon with five heads to comb, and 
delivered her, and last to the youngest, who had a dragon 
with four heads. And they all rejoiced, and embraced him 
and kissed him without stopping. Then he rang his bell very 
loud, so that those above could hear him, and he placed the 
princesses one after the other in the basket, and had them all 
drawn up, but when it came to his own turn he remembered 
the words of the little man, who had told him that his comrades 
did not mean well by him. So he took a great stone which 
was lying there, and placed that in the basket, and when it 
was about half way up, his false brothers cut the rope, so that 
the basket with the stone fell to the ground, and they thought 
that he was killed. When they had done that they made off 
with the three princesses, making them promise to tell their 
father that it was they who had delivered them, and they went 
to the King, and each demanded a princess in marriage. 

In the meantime the youngest hunter was wandering about 




the three chambers in great perplexity, fully expecting to have 
to end his days there, when he saw hanging on the wall, a flute. 
‘ Why dost thou hang there ? ’ said he; 4 no one can be merry 
here.’ He looked at the dragon’s heads also and said, ‘You 
too cannot help me now.’ And he walked backwards and 
forwards for such a long time that he made the surface of the 
ground quite smooth. But at last other thoughts came to his 
mind, and he took the flute from the wall, and played a few 
notes on it, and suddenly a number of gnomes appeared, and 
with every note that he sounded one more came. Then he 
played until the room was entirely filled with them. They 
asked him what he desired, so he said he wished to get above 
ground back to daylight, on which they seized him by every 
hair that grew on his head, and flew up with him to the earth 

When he was safely out of the well, he went off at once to 
the King’s palace, just as the wedding of one of the princesses 
was about to be celebrated, and he went straight to the room 
where the King was sitting with his three daughters, and 
directly the princesses saw him they fainted. The King was 
very angry, and ordered him to be put in prison at once, 
because he thought he must have done some injury to his 
children. But when the princesses came to themselves, they 
begged the King to set him free again. The King in surprise 
asked them why, and when they said that they were not 
allowed to tell him, their father said they must tell it to the 
stove then. And he went out, and listened at the door, and 
heard all about it. 

The two brothers he caused to be hanged on the gallows, 
and to the third he gave his youngest daughter, and they lived 
happily ever after. 


Hans the Hedgehog 

T HERE was once 
a countryman who 
had money and 
land in plenty, but how¬ 
ever rich he might be, 
there was still one thing 
wanting to his happi¬ 
ness, for he had no chil¬ 
dren. Often when he 
went into the town with 
the other peasants they 
mocked him, asking him 
why he had no children. 
At last one day he be¬ 
came angry, and when 
he got home he said, 
‘ Wife, I will have a child, even if it be but a hedgehog.’ 

And in time they did have a child, and it was like a hedge¬ 
hog in the upper part of his body, and a boy in the lower, and 
when the wife saw the child, she was terrified, and said, 4 See 
there, thou hast brought ill-luck on us.’ 

Then said the man, 4 What can be done now ? The boy 
must be christened, but we shall never be able to find a god¬ 
father for him.’ 

And the woman said, 4 Nor can we call him anything else 
but Hans the Hedgehog.’ 

When he was christened, the parson said, 4 You cannot 
put him into any ordinary bed because of his spikes.’ So a 
little straw was placed behind the stove, and Hans the Hedge- 



hog was laid on it. His mother could not nurse him, for his 
quills would have pricked her. So he lay there behind the 
stove for eight years, and his father grew tired of him and 
wished, ‘ If he would but die 1 ’ He did not die, however, 
but went on lying there. 

Now it happened that there was a fair in the town, and the 
peasant was about to go to it, and he asked his wife what he 
should bring back for her. 

4 A little meat and a couple of white rolls which are wanted 
for the house,’ said she. 

Then he asked the servant, and she wanted a pair of 
slippers and some stockings with clocks. 

Last of all he said, 4 And what wilt thou have, Hans my 
Hedgehog ? ’ 

4 Dear father,’ he said, 4 do bring me some bagpipes.’ 

When the father came home again, he gave his wife what 
he had bought for her, meat and white rolls. And then he 
gave the maid the slippers, and the stockings with clocks. 
And lastly he went behind the stove, and gave Hans the 
Hedgehog the bagpipes. 

And when Hans the Hedgehog had the bagpipes, he said, 
4 Dear father, do go to the forge and get the cock shod, and 
then I ’ll ride away, and never come back again.’ On hearing 
this, the father was delighted to think that he was going to get 
rid of him, and he had the cock shod for him, and when it was 
done, Hans the Hedgehog got on its back, and rode away, and 
he took some swine and asses with him which he intended to 
keep in the forest. When they got there he made the cock 
fly on to a high tree with him, and there he sat for many a long 
year, and watched his asses and swine until the herd was quite 
large. And all this time his father knew nothing about him. 
While he was sitting in the tree, however, he learned to play his 
bagpipes, and made music which was very beautiful. 

Once a King came wandering by who had lost his way and 
he heard the music. He was astonished by it, and sent his 
servant to look about and find out where this music came from. 



He spied about, but saw nothing but a little animal sitting up 
aloft on the tree, which looked like a cock with a hedgehog on 
it making music. The King told the servant to ask why he 
sat there, and if he knew the road which led to his kingdom. 
So Hans the Hedgehog came down from the tree, and said he 
would show him the way if the King would write a bond and 
promise him whatever he first met in the royal courtyard as 
soon as he arrived at home. Then the King thought, 4 1 can 
do that without any fear. Hans the Hedgehog can understand 
nothing, and I can write what I like.’ So the King took pen 
and ink and wrote, and when he had done, Hans the Hedgehog 
showed him the way, and he got safely home. But his 
daughter, when she saw him from afar, was so overjoyed that 
she ran to meet him and kissed him. Then he remembered 
Hans the Hedgehog and told her what had happened, and that 
he had been forced to promise whatever first met him when he 
got home to a very strange animal which sat on a cock as if 
it were a horse, and made beautiful music, but that instead of 
writing that he should have what he wanted, he had written 
that he should not have it. Thereupon the princess was glad, 
and said he had done well, for she never would have gone away 
with the Hedgehog. 

Hans the Hedgehog, however, looked after his asses and 
pigs, and was always merry and sat on the tree and played his 

Now it came to pass that another King came journeying 
by with his servants and footmen, and he also had lost his 
way, and did not know how to get home again because the 
forest was so large. He too heard the beautiful music from a 
distance, and asked his footman what that could be, and told 
him to go and see. Then the footman went under the tree, 
and saw the cock sitting at the top of it, and Hans the Hedge¬ 
hog on the cock. The footman asked him what he was about 
up there ? 

4 I am keeping my asses and my pigs, but what is it you 
want ? ’ 



The messenger said that they had lost their way, and could 
not get back into their own kingdom, and asked if he would 
not show them the way. Then Hans the Hedgehog climbed 
down the tree with the cock, and told the old King that he 
would show him the way, if he would give him for his own 
whatsoever first met him in front of his royal palace. 

The King said, 4 Yes,’ and wrote a promise to Hans the 
Hedgehog that he should have this. 

That done, Hans rode on before him on the cock, and 
pointed out the way, and the King reached his kingdom again 
in safety. When he reached the courtyard, there were great 
rejoicings. Now he had an only daughter who was very 
beautiful. And she ran to meet him, threw her arms round his 
neck, and was delighted to have her old father back again. 
She asked him where in the world he had been so long. So 
he told her how he had lost his way, and had very nearly not 
come back at all, but that as he was travelling through a great 
forest, a creature, half hedgehog, half man, who was sitting 
astride a cock in a high tree, and making music, had shown him 
the way and helped him to get out, but that in return he 
had promised him whatsoever first met him in the royal court¬ 
yard, and how that was she herself, which made him unhappy 
now. But she promised at once, that for love of her father, 
she would willingly go with this Hans if he came. 

Hans the Hedgehog, however, took care of his pigs, and the 
pigs multiplied until they became so many that the whole 
forest was full of them. Then Hans the Hedgehog resolved not 
to live in the forest any longer, and sent word to his father to 
have every stye in the village emptied, for he was coming with 
such a great herd that all might kill pigs who wished to do so. 
When his father heard that he was troubled, for he thought 
Hans the Hedgehog had died long ago. But Hans the Hedge¬ 
hog seated himself on the cock, drove the pigs before him into 
the village, and ordered the slaughter to begin. Ho !-—but 
then there was a killing and a chopping that might have been 
heard two miles off ! 




After this Hans the Hedghog said, 4 Father, let me have the 
cock shod once more at the forge, and then I will ride away 
and never come back as long as I live.’ Then the father had 
the cock shod once more, and was pleased that Hans the 
Hedgehog would never return again. 

Hans the Hedgehog rode away to the first kingdom. There 
the King had commanded that whosoever came mounted on 
a cock and had bagpipes with him should be shot at or cut 
down, or stabbed by every one, so that he might not enter the 
palace. When, therefore, Hans the Hedgehog came riding up, 
all came running to stop him with their pikes, but he spurred 
the cock and it flew up over the gate in front of the King’s 
window and lighted there, and Hans cried that the King must 
give him what he had promised, or he would take both his life 
and his daughter’s. At that the King began to speak his 
daughter fair, and beg her to go away with Hans in order to 
save her own life and her father’s. So she dressed herself in 
white, and her father gave her a carriage with six horses and 
magnificent attendants together with gold and possessions. 
She seated herself in the carriage, and placed Hans the Hedge¬ 
hog beside her with the cock and the bagpipes, and then they 
took leave and drove away, and the King thought he should 
never see her again. He was, however, deceived in his expecta¬ 
tion, for when they were a short distance from the town, 
Hans the Hedgehog tore her pretty clothes off and scratched 
her with his hedgehog’s prickles until she was all over blood. 

4 That’s the reward for your falseness,’ said he. 4 Go, 
get you gone, I won’t have you ! ’ and he chased her back 
home, and she was disgraced for the rest of her life. 

Hans the Hedgehog rode on further on the cock, with his 
bagpipes, till he got to the dominions of the second King to 
whom he had shown the way. This one, however, had 
arranged that if any one like Hans the Hedgehog should come, 
they were to present arms, bring him safely in, cry long life to 
him, and lead him to the royal palace. 

But when the King’s daughter saw him she was terrified, 


for he looked quite too extraordinary. Still she remembered 
that she could not change her mind, for she had given her 
promise to her father. So Hans the Hedgehog was welcomed 
by her, and married to her, and had to go with her to the royal 
table, and she seated herself by his side, and they ate and drank. 

When the evening came and they wanted to go to sleep, she 
was afraid of his quills, but he told her she was not to fear, for 
no harm would befall her, and he told the old King that he 
was to appoint four men to watch by the door of the chamber, 
and light a great fire, and when he entered the room and was 
about to get into bed, he would creep out of his hedgehog’s 
skin and leave it lying there by the bedside, and that the men 
were to spring swiftly to it, throw it in the fire, and stay by 
until it was consumed. When the clock struck eleven, he went 
into the chamber, stripped off the hedgehog’s skin, and left it 
lying by the bed. In came the men and seized it instantly, and 
threw it in the fire. And when the fire had consumed it, he 
was delivered, and lay there in bed in human form, but he was 
coal-black as if he had been burnt. The King sent for his 
physician who washed him with precious salves, and anointed 
him, and he became white, and was a handsome young man. 
When the King’s daughter saw that she was glad, and the 
next morning they arose joyfully, ate and drank, and then the 
marriage was properly solemnised, and Hans the Hedgehog 
received the kingdom from the aged King. 

When several years had passed he went with his wife to 
his father, and said that he was his son. The father, however, 
declared he had no son—he had never had but one, and he 
had been born like a hedgehog with spikes, and had gone out 
into the world. Then Hans made himself known, and the old 
father rejoiced and went with him to his kingdom. 


The Nose Tree 

A LONG time ago there were three old soldiers who, when 
they were no longer able to fight for the King, were 
dismissed from the army without a penny in their 
pockets, and they had to beg their bread from door to door. 

Their way once led through a great forest where night over¬ 
took them. And two of them lay down to rest while the third 
kept watch lest they should be seized in their sleep by wild 

As he stood there in the dark, watching, a little red dwarf 
came up. 

4 Who’s there ? ’ cried the dwarf. 

‘Friend,’ replied the soldier. 

‘ And who are you ? ’ said the dwarf. 

4 We are three poor old discharged soldiers with scarcely a 
tooth among us, and yet teeth too many for the fare that has 
fallen to us this day.’ And he told the dwarf how hardly 
they had been treated. 

The dwarf in pity produced a queer old cloak, which 
looked as if it was fit for nothing but the rag-bag. This he 
gave to the soldier telling him that he must keep it secret from 
the others till morning, for it was a wishing cloak, and whatever 
its wearer might wish, his wish was instantly fulfilled. 

The next watch was kept by the second soldier. And he, 
too, received a visit from the little red man, who gave him a 
wonderful purse that was always full of money. 

During the last watch of the night when the third soldier 
was on guard, the little man came yet again, and this time his 
gift was of a horn at whose sound all men near and far were 
bound to come running to follow its magic music. 



At sunrise each showed his wonderful possession to the 
others, and you may be sure they wasted no time before they 
were living in comfort and riches, with a coach and three white 
horses when they wished to travel and a splendid great castle 
to live in. 

After a time, so fine had they become, that they must needs 
pay the King a visit. And they were welcomed and enter¬ 
tained as befitted the great lords they now appeared to be. 

The King had an only daughter, and once, while she was 
playing cards with one of the soldiers, she discovered that it 
mattered not to him whether he won or lost, for his purse never 
failed to have money in it, no matter how much he had to pay. 
It was not long before she guessed that it could only be a 
wishing-purse. This she must have. So, waiting her oppor¬ 
tunity, she slyly mixed a sleeping-draught in a cup of wine 
that she gave him, and while he slept she changed his purse 
for another one which was just the same to look at. 

Next morning their visit came to an end, and the soldiers 
drove away. And they soon found out the trick that had been 
played upon them. 

4 Alas ! ’ cried one, 4 now we are beggars again.’ 

4 Oh ! don’t be in such a hurry about that,’ said the 
first. 4 I ’ll warrant we’ve no cause yet to grow grey with 
trouble. I ’ll soon have it back again.’ And throwing on his 
magic old cloak, he wished himself in the princess’s room. 

There he was at once. And there she sat at her table 
counting out gold from the purse as fast as she could count. 

4 Help ! Help ! ’ screamed the princess at the top of her 
voice. 4 Robbers ! Robbers ! Help ! ’ 

In an instant the alarm was raised, and the guard rushed 
into the room followed by the whole court. 

Startled out of his wits, the soldier forgot the magic power of 
his cloak, dashed for the window and escaped. But he left the 
cloak behind him, caught fast to the curtain hook as he leaped. 

And then he, too, had lost the little red dwarf’s gift ! 

Now they had nothing left but the horm And this time 



they would indeed be wise. So they agreed upon a plan to 
recover the cloak and the purse. 

They marched through the country blowing the horn, till 
they had raised an enormous army. And then they went to 
the King’s city and demanded that the lost gifts should be 
given back to them or else not one stone of the King’s palace 
would they leave standing on another. 

The King consulted his daughter, but she wasn’t going to 
give up her treasures as readily as all that. And she disguised 
herself as a poor girl, selling drinks to the soldiers of the camp, 
whither she went with a basket on her arm. 

When she was there she began to sing. And so beautifully, 
that the whole army ran out of their tents and gathered round 
to hear her, the soldier who had the horn among them. At 
this her waiting-maid, who had also been disguised, stole into 
his tent, hid the horn under her apron and ran away with it to 
the palace. 

And now the King’s daughter had all three wishing-gifts. 
For, of course, with the help of the horn she had easily been 
able to overcome the three soldiers and their men. 

Once more the old soldiers found themselves in poverty. 

4 We must separate,’ one said. ‘ Do you two go that way 
and I ’ll go this.’ And with that he went off alone, lying 
down beneath a tree in the forest when night came. At 
daybreak he saw that he was under an apple-tree covered with 
beautiful ripe fruit and he was so hungry that he picked one 
apple after another and ate them. What then did he find 
but that his nose was growing longer and longer and longer ! 
And it grew, and grew, until it reached the ground ! 

There was nothing he could do to stop it, and so there he 
sat, while his nose kept on growing along the ground till it 
went right out of sight among the trees, miles away. 

By this time, however, his companions had decided to 
rejoin him and were wandering through the forest in search. 
Suddenly one of them stumbled against something soft that 
was lying across the path. 




c What the mischief is this ? ’ cried he. And as he looked 
at it, it moved a little. 4 A nose ? Upon my word it’s a nose, 
neither more nor less ! ’ 

4 We ’ll follow this nose,’ said they, and up and down 
through the wood they went, through bushes and briars, till 
they came at last to their poor old friend, lying on the ground 
where he had slept, unable to stir a step. 

Try as they could, the great long nose was too heavy for 
them to lift. So they hunted about till they found a donkey, 
and put their friend upon it, with his nose wound round a 
couple of poles which they helped to carry. But even the ass 
could bear the weight only a very short way, so they set him 
down again in despair. 

But it happened that they had stopped by a pear-tree, and 
who should step from behind it but their little friend, the red 

Said he to Brother Long-Nose, 4 Eat just one of these pears, 
and your nose will fall off.’ 

And so it came about. The long nose fell right off, leaving 
exactly the same amount as the man had had before. 

Again the little man spoke and said, 4 Prepare a powder 
from the apples, and prepare another powder from the pears. 
Then if any one eats of the first his nose will grow, and if he 
eats the pear-powder, it will fall off again.’ 

4 With these two powders,’ he went on, 4 go back to the 
princess and give her, first, two of the apples. Then give her 
some of the powder made from the apples, and her nose will 
grow even twenty times as long as yours. But be firm.’ 
With these words he vanished. 

The soldier followed the dwarf’s advice, and went in the 
guise of a costermonger to the King’s palace, saying he came 
with apples to sell, sweeter and finer than had ever been seen 
there before. The princess bought some, and two she ate 
with very great pleasure. 

And now her nose began to grow ! And it grew so quickly 
that she couldn’t lift herself out of her chair. And it grew 



round and round the table, and round and round the wardrobe, 
and out of the window, and round the castle, and down the 
street, and out about the town till there were twenty miles or 
so of princess’s nose in the kingdom. 

Rich for life the King said he would make him who eased 
the princess of her terrible burden. And he caused a procla¬ 
mation to be made throughout the land. 

After a while, the old soldier presented himself dressed 
like a learned doctor, and he gave her some of the apple- 
powder, as the dwarf had advised. And her nose grew more 
and more and more, twenty times more. He waited until she 
could bear her distress no longer and then he gave her a little 
pear-powder, but not very much, and her nose perceptibly 
shortened. But he wasn’t going to let her off yet, so next 
morning he gave her another dose of apple-powder, so that her 
nose started growing again and gained more than it had lost 
the day before. 

At that he told her she must have something on her con¬ 
science. She must have robbed some one. No, she said, she 
hadn’t. 4 Well,’ said he, 4 you ’ll lose your life then. There’s 
nothing I can do to save you.’ And he went out of the room. 

This added to her terror, and after the King had urged her 
to give up the purse, the horn, and the cloak, to be restored 
to their rightful owners, she sent after the physician and told 
him all. Then she bade her waiting-maid get all three things 
out of the cupboard and handed them over to him. 

When he had them all safe, he measured out to the princess 
the right quantity of pear-powder, the nose fell off immediately, 
to the great delight of every one, and two hundred and fifty 
men had to come and cut it in pieces before it could be cleared 

As for the old soldier, he joyfully went back home to his 
two friends, and they spent the rest of their lives together in the 
enjoyment of their three magic possessions. 


The Three Feathers 

T HERE was once on a time a King who had three sons, 
of whom two were clever and wise, but the third did 
not talk much, and was simple, and was called the 
Duffer. When the King had become old and weak, and began 
to think of his end, he did not know which of his sons ought to 
inherit the kingdom after him. 

So he said to them, ‘ Go forth, and he who brings me the 
most beautiful carpet shall be King after my death.’ And 
that there should be no dispute amongst them, he took them 
outside his castle, blew three feathers in the air, and said, 
4 You shall go as they fly.’ 

One feather flew to the east, the other to the west, but the 
third flew straight up and did not fly far, but soon fell to the 
ground. So one brother went to the right, and the other to 
the left, mocking at the Duffer who was forced to stay where 
the third feather had fallen. He sat down feeling very sad, 
when all at once he saw that there was a trap-door in the 
ground close by the feather. He lifted it up, and found some 



steps, which he went down. Then he came to a door, and 
knocked at it, and heard somebody inside call out, 

‘ Little green maiden, 

Hop, hop about! 

Hop to the door, 

And see who’s without.’ 

The door opened, and there he saw a great fat toad sitting 
surrounded by a crowd of little toads. The fat toad asked 
what he wanted ? He answered, 4 I should like to have the 
prettiest and finest carpet in the world.’ Then she called one 
of the little ones and said, 

‘ Little green maiden, 

Hopping all about, 

Hop quick and get me 
My great box out.’ 

The young toad brought the box, and the fat toad opened it, 
and gave the Duffer a carpet out, so beautiful and so fine, 
that on the earth above none could have been woven like it. 
Then he thanked her, and climbed the stairs again. 

The two others, however, had looked on their youngest 
brother as so stupid that they never believed he would find or 
bring anything at all. 4 Why should we give ourselves a great 
deal of trouble searching about ? ’ said they, and they got some 
coarse kerchiefs from the first shepherds’ wives they met, and 
carried them home to the King. At the same time also the 
Duffer came back, and brought his beautiful carpet, and when 
the King saw it he was astonished, and said, 4 If justice be 
done, the kingdom must belong to the youngest.’ But the 
two others let their father have no peace, saying that it was 
impossible that the Duffer, who lacked understanding in every¬ 
thing, should be King, and entreating him to make another 



4 Then, 5 said the father, ‘ he who brings me the most 
beautiful ring shall inherit the kingdom,’ and he led the three 
brothers out and blew into the air the three feathers which 
they were to follow. 

Those of the two eldest again went east and west, and the 
Duffer’s feather flew straight up, and fell down near the trap¬ 
door into the ground. Then he went down again to the fat 
toad, and told her that he wanted the most beautiful ring. 
She at once ordered her great box to be brought, and gave him 
a ring out of it, which sparkled with jewels, and was so beautiful 
that no goldsmith on earth would have been able to make it. 
The two eldest laughed at the idea of the Duffer seeking a 
golden ring. So they gave themselves no trouble, but picked 
up an old harness-ring, and took it to the King ; but when 
the Duffer produced his golden ring, his father again, said, 
4 The kingdom belongs to him.’ The two eldest did not cease 
from tormenting the King until he made a third condition, and 
declared that the one who brought the most beautiful woman 
home should have the kingdom. He again blew the three 
feathers into the air, and they flew as before. 

The Duffer without more ado went down to the fat toad, 
and said, 4 I am to take home the most beautiful woman ! ’ 

4 Oh,’ answered the toad, 4 the most beautiful woman ! 
She is not at hand at the moment, but still thou shalt have her.’ 
She gave him a yellow turnip which had been hollowed out, 
to which six mice were harnessed. Then the Duffer said quite 
mournfully, 4 What am I to do with that ? ’ The toad 
answered, 4 Just put one of my little toads into it.’ Then he 
seized one at random out of the circle, and put her into the 
yellow coach, but hardly was she seated inside it than she 
turned into the most beautiful maiden, and the turnip into a 
coach, and the six mice into horses. So he kissed her, and 
drove off quickly back home to the King. His brothers came 
in soon afterwards. They had given themselves no trouble 
at all to seek beautiful girls, but had brought with them the 
first peasant women they chanced to meet. 



When the King saw them he said, ‘ After my death the 
kingdom shall belong to my youngest son.’ 

But the two eldest deafened the King’s ears afresh with 
their clamour. ‘ We cannot consent to the Duffer being King,’ 
and demanded that the one whose wife could leap through a 
hoop which hung in the centre of the hall should have the 
preference. They thought, 4 Our peasant women can do that 
easily ; they are strong enough, but this delicate maiden will 
kill herself in the attempt.’ The aged King agreed to this 
plan too. Then the two peasant women jumped, and jumped 
through the hoop, but were so stout and heavy that they fell 
and broke their coarse arms and legs. And then the pretty 
maiden whom the Duffer had brought with him took her turn 
and skipped through the hoop as lightly as a deer, and then 
there was no more to be said. So the Duffer received the 
crown, and has ruled wisely and well for many a long year. 

The Goose-girl at the Well 

O NCE upon a time there was a very old woman, who lived 
with her flock of geese in a waste place among the 
mountains, where she had a little hut. The waste 
was surrounded by a large forest, and there every morning the 
old woman hobbled with her crutch. The dame was quite 
active, more so than one would have thought, considering her 
age, and she gathered fodder for her geese, and picked all the 
wild fruit she could reach, and carried everything home on her 
back. Any one would have thought that such a heavy load 
would have weighed her to the ground, but she always brought 
it safely home. 

If any one met her, she greeted him quite courteously. 
* Good day, dear countryman, it is a fine day. Ah ! you 

I he pretty maiden skipped through the hoop as lightly as a deer. 


wonder I drag all this about, but every one must take his 
burden on his back.’ 

Nevertheless, people did not like meeting her if they could 
help it, and went out of their way to avoid her, and when a 
father passed her with his boys, he whispered to them, 4 Beware 
of that 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 
stole 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. 

4 What, Motherkins,’ said he, ‘ how canst thou carry all 
that ? ’ 

‘I must carry it, dear sir,’ answered she; 4 rich folk’s 
children have no need to do such things, but we peasant folk 
have no choice. With us the saying goes, Don’t look behind 
you; you will only see how bent your back is ! ’ 

4 Will you help me ? ’ she said, as he remained standing by 
her. 4 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 
quickly you could bound up thither ! ’ 

The young man took compassion on the old woman. 4 In 
truth my father is no peasant,’ replied he, 4 but a rich count. 
Nevertheless, that you may see that it is not only peasants 
who can bear burdens, I will take your bundle.’ 

4 If you will but try,’ said she, 4 I shall be very glad. It 
will take you an hour, to be sure, but what will that matter 
to you. Only you must carry the apples and pears as 

It now seemed to the young man just a little serious 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. 

4 See, it’s quite light,’ said she. 

4 No, it is not light,’ answered the count, and he pulled a 
rueful face. 4 Verily, the bundle is as heavy as if it were full 
of cobble-stones, and the apples and pears are as heavy as 
lead ! I can scarcely breathe.’ He had a mind to put every¬ 
thing down again, but the old crone would not let him. 

4 Just look,’ said she mockingly, 4 the young gentleman 
will not carry what an old woman like me has so often dragged 
along. You are ready enough with your fine words, but when 
it comes to the point, you want to take to your heels. Why 
are you standing there ? ’ she went on. 4 Step out. No one 
will take the bundle off again.’ 

As long as the path followed level ground, it was bearable, 
but when they came to the hill and had to climb, and the 
stones rolled 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. 4 Mother,’ said he, 4 I can go 
no further. I must have a rest.’ 

4 Not here,’ answered the old woman. 4 When we reach our 
journey’s end you can rest, but now you must go on. Who 
knows what good it may do you ? ’ 

4 Old woman, thou art becoming shameless ! ’ said the 
count, and tried to throw off the bundle, but he laboured 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 and sprang about on her crutch quite delighted. 

4 Don’t get angry, dear sir,’ said she; 4 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 gave a spring, jumped on to the bundle and 
sat 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 halted 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 caught sight of the old woman, they 
flapped their wings, stretched out their necks, and ran cackling 
to meet her. Behind the flock with a stick in her hand came 
an old wench, strong and big, but ugly as night. 

4 Good mother,’ said she to the old woman, 4 has anything 
happened to you, you have stayed away so long ? ’ 

4 Not at all, my little daughter,’ answered she; 4 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 too when I was tired. Nor has 
the way seemed long to us. We have been merry, and have 
been cracking jokes with each other all the time.’ Then 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, 4 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, 4 Go 
into the house, my dear daughter; it won’t do for thee to be 
alone with a young gentleman. One must not pour oil on to 
the fire; he might fall in love with thee.’ 

The count knew not whether to laugh or to cry. 4 Such a 
sweetheart as that,’ thought he, 4 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 gay with cowslips, wild 
thyme, and a thousand other flowers. Through the midst of 
it rippled a clear brook sparkling in the sun, and the white 
geese wandered to and fro, or paddled in the water. 


Groaning continually^ he climbed the mountain. 



4 It is quite delightful here,’ said he, 4 but I am so tired 
that I cannot keep my eyes open. I ’ll 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 while, the old woman came and shook 
him till he awoke. 

4 Sit up,’ said she, 4 thou canst not stay here. I have 
certainly treated thee hardly, still it has not cost thee thy 
life. Of money and land thou hast no need, here is something 
else for thee.’ Thereupon she thrust a little box into his 
hand, which was cut out of a single emerald. 4 Take great 
care of it,’ said she, 4 it will bring thee good fortune.’ The 
count sprang up, and as he felt that he was quite fresh, and 
had recovered his vigour, he thanked the old woman for her 
present, and set off without even once looking back at the 
beautiful daughter. And for some distance he still heard 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 to 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 inside, 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 they were alone, the Queen began to weep bitterly, 
and said, 4 Of what use to me are the splendours and honours 
with which I am surrounded. Every morning I wake 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 sunbeams. When she cried, not 


tears fell from her eyes, but pearls and jewels. 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 
was rising! Then the King spoke, “ My daughters, I know 
not when my last day may come ; to-day I will decide what 
each of you 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 love me, that I may 
judge between you ? ” 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 their father said, “ And thou, my dearest 
child, how much dost thou love me ? ” “I do not know. I 
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 thou lovest me like salt, thy love shall 
also be repaid thee with salt.” And 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, 4 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 there, of 
exactly the same kind as those which used to fall from my 



daughter’s eyes. And you can imagine how the sight of it 
stirred my heart. Tell me, you must, how you came by 
that pearl.’ 

The count told her how 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 any¬ 
thing of the Queen’s child. Thereupon 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. 

In her lonely cottage the old woman was sitting at her 
spinning-wheel. 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 in 
came the daughter. The old woman scarcely noticed her, but 
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, 4 Uhu ! ’ three times. 

The old woman glanced up and she said, 1 Now, my little 
daughter, it is time for thee to go out and do thy work.’ 

She rose and went out, and where did she go ? Over the 
meadows on and on 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 re¬ 
moved a skin which covered her face, 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 grass to dry 
in the moonlight. But how the maiden was changed ! Such 
a change as that was never seen before ! When the grey 
mask fell off, her golden hair broke forth like sunbeams, and 
spread 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 escaped from 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 nearest tree. 
She sprang up like a roe which has been surprised by the shot 
of the hunter. Just then the moon was hidden by a dark 
cloud, and in an instant the maiden had slipped 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 threw a fresh log on the fire. She did not, however, 
sit down to her spinning again, but fetched a broom and 
began to sweep and scour, 4 All must be clean and sweet,’ she 
said to the girl. 

4 But, mother,’ said the maiden, 4 why do you begin work 
at so late an hour ? What is it you expect ? ’ 

4 Dost thou know then what time it is ? ’ asked the old 

4 Not yet midnight,’ answered the maiden, 4 but already 
past eleven o’clock.’ 

4 Dost thou not remember,’ continued the old woman, 4 that 
it is three years to-day since thou earnest to me ? Thy time 
is up, we can no longer remain together.’ 

The girl was terrified, and said, 4 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. 4 My stay here is over,’ she said to her, 4 but when I 
depart, house and parlour must be clean. Therefore do not 



hinder me in my work. Have no care for thyself, thou shalt 
find a roof to shelter thee, and the wages which I will give 
thee shall content thee also.’ 

‘ But tell me what is about to happen,’ the maiden con¬ 
tinued to entreat. 

4 I tell thee again, do not hinder me in my work. Do not 
say a word more, go to thy chamber, take the skin off thy 
face, and put on the silken gown which thou hadst on when 
thou earnest, and then wait in thy chamber until I call thee.’ 

But I must once more tell of the King and Queen, who 
had journeyed forth with the count to seek out the old woman 
in the wilderness. By chance the count had become separated 
from them in the dark wood, and had had to go on alone. 
Next day it seemed to him that he was on the right track, so 
he still went forward, until darkness came on, then he climbed 
a tree, intending to pass the night there, for fear he might lose 
his way. When the moon illumined the surrounding country 
he saw a figure coming down the mountain. She had no stick 
in her hand, but he could see that it was the goose-girl, whom 
he had seen before in the house of the old woman. 

4 Oho,’ cried he, 4 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, and when her golden 
hair fell all about her, and she was more beautiful than any 
one 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 dared, and gazed 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 eyes. Hardly had she dis¬ 
appeared, before the young count descended from the tree, 
and hastened after her with nimble steps. He had not been 
gone long before he saw in the moonlight two figures coming 
over the meadow. It was the King and Queen, who had per- 

I here she sat, and would have remained sitting- a long time, if there had not 
been a rustling and cracking in the houghs of the nearest tree. 


ceived from a distance the light shining in the old woman’s 
little house, and were going to it. The count told them what 
marvels he had seen by the well, and they did not doubt that 
it had been their lost daughter. They walked on full of joy, 
and soon came to the little house. The geese were sitting all 
round it, fast asleep with their heads under their wings, and 
not one of them moved. The King and Queen looked in at 
the window. The old woman was sitting there quietly spin¬ 
ning, 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, and 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 in a friendly voice, 4 Come in, I know 
already who you are.’ When they had entered the room, the 
old woman said, 4 You might have spared yourselves this long 
journey, if three years ago you had not 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, and 
with them she has learned no evil, but has preserved her purity 
of heart. You, however, have been punished enough by the 
misery in which you have lived.’ Then she went to the bed¬ 
room door and called, 4 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 saw him she blushed as red as a moss-rose, she herself did 
not know why. 

The King said, 4 My dear child, I have given away my 
kingdom, what have I to give thee ? ’ 

4 She needs nothing,’ said the old woman. 4 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 as payment for her ser¬ 
vices I give her my little house.’ When the old woman had 
said that, she disappeared from their sight. 

The walls creaked, and when the King and Queen looked 
round, the little hut 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 wicked 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 Little People’s Presents 

A TAILOR and a goldsmith were travelling together. And 
one evening when the sun had sunk behind the moun¬ 
tains, they heard the sound of music far away, which 
became more and more distinct as they went on. It sounded 
strange, but so sweet that they forgot all their weariness and 
stepped quickly on. 

The moon had already risen when they reached a hill on 
which they saw a crowd of little men and women, who had 
taken each other’s hands, and were whirling round in the 
dance with the greatest gaiety and delight. And they sang 
to it most charmingly, and that was the music which the 
travellers had heard. In the midst of them sat an old man 
who was rather taller than the rest. He wore a coat of many 
colours, and his iron-grey beard hung down over his breast. 

The two remained standing full of astonishment, and 
watched the dance. The old man made a sign that they 
should enter, and the little folks willingly opened their circle. 
The goldsmith, who had a hump, and like all hunchbacks was 
brave enough, stepped in at once. The tailor felt a little 
afraid at first, and held back, but when he saw how merrily 
all was going, he too plucked up courage and followed. The 
circle closed again directly, and the little folks went on singing 
and dancing with the wildest leaps. The old man, however, 
took a large knife which hung to his girdle, and whetted it, 
and when it was sharp enough, he looked round at the strangers. 
They were terrified, but they had not much time to think, for 
the old man seized the goldsmith, and with the greatest speed 
shaved the hair of his head clean off, and then the same thing 
happened to the tailor. But their fear left them when, after 

When it was sharp enough, he looked round at the strangers. 


he had finished his work, the old man clapped them both on 
the shoulder in a friendly manner, as much as to say that they 
had behaved well to let all that be done to them willingly, and 
without struggle. He pointed with his finger to a heap of 
coals that lay at one side, and made signs to the travellers 
that they were to fill their pockets with them. Both of them 
obeyed, although they did not know of what use the coals 
would be to them, and then they went on their way to seek 
a shelter for the night. When they reached the valley, the 
clock of the neighbouring monastery struck twelve, and the 
song ceased. In a moment all had vanished, and the hill lay 
deserted in the moonlight. 

The two travellers found an inn, and covered themselves 
up on their straw beds with their coats, but in their weariness 
they forgot to take the coals out of their pockets before doing 
so. A heavy weight on their limbs woke them up earlier than 
usual. They felt in the pockets, and could not believe their 
eyes when they saw that they were not filled with coals, but 
with pure gold. And they were glad to find, too, the hair of 
their heads and beards was again as thick as ever. 

They had now become rich folk, but the goldsmith, who, 
in accordance with his greedy disposition, had filled his pockets 
better, was as rich again as the tailor. A greedy man, even if 
he has much, still wishes to have more, so the goldsmith 
proposed to the tailor that they should wait another day, and 
go out again in the evening in order to bring back still greater 
treasures from the old man on the hill. The tailor refused, 
and said, 4 I have enough and am content. Now I shall be a 
master, and marry my dear object (for so he called his sweet¬ 
heart), and I am a happy man . 5 But he stayed another day 
to please him. 

In the evening the goldsmith hung a couple of bags over his 
shoulders that he might be able to stow away a great deal, 
and took the road to the hill. He found, as on the night 
before, the little folks at their singing and dancing, and the 
old man again shaved him clean, and signed to him to take 


some coal away with him. He was not slow about sticking 
as much into his bags as would go, and he went back quite 
delighted, and covered himself over with his coat. 4 Even 
if the gold does weigh heavily,’ said he, 4 I will gladly bear 
that,’ and at last he fell asleep with the sweet anticipation of 
waking in the morning an enormously rich man. 

When he opened his eyes, he got up in haste to examine 
his pockets, but how amazed he was when he drew nothing 
out of them but black coals, and that no matter how often 
he put his hands in them. 4 The gold I got the night before 
is still there for me,’ thought he, and went and brought it out, 
but how shocked he was when he saw that it likewise had again 
turned into coal. He smote his forehead with his dusty black 
hand, and then he felt that his whole head was bald and smooth, 
as was also the place where his beard should have been. But 
his misfortunes were not yet over. He now remarked for the 
first time that in addition to the hump on his back, a second, 
just as large, had grown in front on his breast. Then he 
recognised the punishment of his greediness, and began to 
weep aloud. The good tailor, who was awakened by this, 
comforted the unhappy fellow as well as he could, and said, 
4 Thou hast been my comrade in my travelling time. Thou 
shalt stay with me and share in my wealth.’ He kept his word, 
but the poor goldsmith was obliged to carry the two humps 
as long as he lived, and to cover his bald head with a cap. 


The Three Little Men in the Wood 

T HERE was once a man whose wife had died, and a 
woman whose husband had died. And the man had 
a daughter, and the woman also had a daughter. The 
girls knew each other, and used often to take walks together, 
and afterwards come back to the woman’s house. 

One day said she to the man’s daughter, 4 Listen. Tell thy 
father that I would like to marry him, and then thou shalt 
wash thyself in milk every morning, and drink wine, while my 
own daughter shall wash herself in water and only have water 
to drink.’ The girl went home, and told her father what the 
woman had said. 

4 What shall I do ? ’ said the man. 4 Marriage is a joy, 
but it is also a torment.’ At length as he could come to no 
decision, he pulled off his boot, and said, 4 Here, take this boot, 
it has a hole in the sole. Go up to the loft with it and hang it 
on the big nail, and then pour water into it. If it holds the 
water, I will again take a wife, but if it runs through, I won’t.’ 

The girl did as she was ordered, but the water drew the 
hole together, and the boot became full to the top. She 
informed her father what had happened, and he went up to 
look for himself. When he saw that she was right, he went to 
the widow and wooed her, and the wedding took place. 

Next morning, when the two girls got up, before the man’s 
daughter there stood milk for her to wash in and wine for her 
to drink, but before the woman’s daughter stood water to wash 
herself with and water for drinking. On the second morning 
there stood water for washing and water for drinking before 
the man’s daughter as well as before the woman’s daughter. 
But on the third morning there stood water for washing and 


water for drinking before the man’s daughter, and milk for 
washing and wine for drinking before the woman’s daughter, 
and that’s how it went on. The woman became bitterly 
unkind to her step-daughter, and day by day did her utmost 
to treat her still worse. She was envious too because her 
step-daughter was beautiful and lovable, and her own daughter 
ugly and repulsive. 

Once, in winter, when everything was frozen as hard as a 
stone, and hill and vale lay covered with snow, the woman 
made a frock of paper, called her step-daughter, and said, 
4 Here, put on this dress and go out into the wood, and 
fetch me a little basketful of strawberries—I have a fancy 
for some.’ 

4 Good heavens ! ’ said the girl, 4 no strawberries grow in 
winter ! The ground is frozen, and besides the snow has 
covered everything up. And why am I to go in this paper 
frock ? It is so cold outside that one’s very breath freezes ! 
The wind will blow through the frock, and the thorns will tear 
it off my back.’ 

4 Wilt thou dare to contradict me ? ’ said the step-mother. 
4 Go thou at once and don’t show thy face again until thou 
hast filled the basket with strawberries ! ’ Then she gave her 
a little slice of stale bread, and said, 4 This ’ll last thee the day,’ 
thinking 4 Out there she ’ll die of cold and hunger, and I shall 
never see her again.’ 

The maiden obeyed, and put on the paper frock, and went 
out with the basket. Far and wide there was nothing but snow, 
and not a green blade to be seen. In the wood she came upon 
a small house out of which peeped three little dwarfs. She 
wished them good day, and knocked modestly at the door. 
4 Come in,’ they cried, and in she went and sat down on the 
bench by the stove, where she began to warm herself and to 
eat her breakfast. 

4 Give us some too,’ said the little men. 

4 Willingly,’ said she, and broke her bit of bread in two, 
and gave them half. 



4 What dost thou here,’ they asked her, 4 in the forest in 
winter time, in thy thin dress ? ’ 

4 Ah,’ she answered, 4 I have to pick a basketful of straw¬ 
berries, and mustn’t go home till I can take them with me.’ 

When she had eaten her bread, they gave her a broom and 
said, 4 Sweep away the snow at the back door.’ And when she 
had gone outside, the three little men asked each other, 
4 What shall we give her as she is so good, and has shared her 
bread with us ? ’ 

Then said the first, 4 My gift is, that she shall grow more 
beautiful every day.’ 

The second said, 4 My gift is, that gold pieces shall fall out 
of her mouth every time she speaks.’ 

The third said, 4 My gift is, that a king shall come and take 
her to wife.’ 

Meanwhile the girl did as the little men had bidden her, 
and swept away the snow behind the little house with the 
broom, and what did she find there but real ripe strawberries, 
which came up quite dark red out of the snow ! In haste she 
joyfully gathered her basket full, thanked the little men, 
shook hands with each of them, and ran home to take her 
step-mother what she had longed for so much. When she went 
in and said good evening, at once there fell out of her mouth 
a piece of gold ! Thereupon she related what had happened 
to her in the wood. And with every word she spoke, gold 
pieces fell from her mouth, until very soon the whole room was 
covered with them. 

4 Now look how proud she is,’ cried the step-sister, 4 throw¬ 
ing gold about in that way ! ’ but secretly she was envious of 
it, and she too wanted to go into the forest to seek strawberries. 

Her mother said, 4 No, my dear little daughter, it is too 
cold, thou mightest die of cold.’ However, as her daughter 
let her have no peace, the mother gave way at last, made 
her put on a fine warm coat of fur, and gave her bread and 
butter and cake to take with her. 

The girl went into the forest, straight to the little house, 



The three little mannikins peeped out again, but she did not 
greet them, and without glancing at them or speaking to them, 
she went awkwardly into the room, sat herself down by the 
stove, and began to eat her bread and butter and cake. 

4 Give us some,’ cried the little men. 

But she replied, 4 There isn’t enough for myself, so how 
can I give any to any one else ? ’ 

When she had done eating, they said, 4 There is a broom 
for thee, sweep the snow clear for us outside by the back door.’ 

4 Humph ! Sweep for yourselves,’ she answered ; 4 1’m 
not your servant.’ When she saw that they were not going 
to give her anything, she went out by the door. 

Then the little men said to each other, 4 What shall we give 
her as she is so naughty, and has a wicked envious heart that 
will never let her do a good turn to any one ? ’ 

The first said, 4 It is my wish that she may grow uglier 
every day.’ 

The second said, 4 It is my wish that at every word she says, 
a toad shell spring out of her mouth.’ 

The third said, 4 It is my wish that she may die a miserable 

Out in the snow the maiden hunted for the strawberries, but 
she found none, so she went home in a temper. And when 
she opened her mouth, and was about to tell her mother what 
had happened to her in the wood, with every word she said out 
of her mouth jumped a toad, so that every one was seized with 
horror of her. 

Then the step-mother was still more enraged, and thought 
of nothing but how to do every possible harm to the man’s 
daughter, whose beauty, however, grew daily greater. After 
a time she took a cauldron, set it on the fire, and boiled some 
yarn in it. When it was boiled, she flung it over the poor 
girl’s shoulder, and gave her an axe to go to the frozen river, 
and cut a hole in the ice to rinse the yarn. Her step-daughter 
obeyed and went and cut a hole in the ice ; and while she was 
doing it a splendid coach came driving up, in which sat the King, 
i 129 


The coach drew up, and the King put his head out of the 
window and asked, 4 My child, who art thou, and what art thou 
doing here ? 5 

4 I am a poor girl, and I am rinsing yarn.’ 

The King felt sorry for her, and when he saw that she was 
so lovely, he said to her, 4 Wilt thou 

With every word she said, out other mouth 
jumped a toad. 

4 Oh yes, with all my heart,’ she 

So she got into the carriage and drove 
away with the King, and when they 
arrived at his palace they were married 

with great pomp, just as the little men had wished for her. 
When a year was over the young Queen bore a son, and as the 
step-mother had heard of her great good fortune, she came with 
her daughter to the palace and pretended that she wanted to 
pay her a visit. Once, however, when the King had gone out, 



and no one was by, the wicked woman seized the Queen by 
the head, and her daughter seized her by the feet, and they 
lifted her out of bed, and threw her out of the window into the 
stream which flowed by. Then the ugly daughter laid herself 
in the bed, and the old woman covered her up over her head. 

When the King came home again and wanted to speak to 
his wife, the old woman cried, ‘ Hush, hush, that can’t be now; 
to-day she is very feverish and must be kept quiet.’ The King 
suspected no evil, and did not come again till next morning ; 
then, as he talked with his wife and she answered him, with 
every word a toad leaped out, whereas formerly it had been a 
piece of gold. He asked what the cause could be, and the 
old woman said that she had got that from the fever, and 
wou'd soon lose it again. During the night, however, the 
scullion saw a duck come swimming up the gutter, and it said, 

4 King, what art thou doing now ? 

Sleepest thou, or wakest thou ? 1 

And as he returned no answer it said, 

4 And my guests, What may they do ? 1 

The scullion said, 

4 They are sleeping soundly, too.’ 

Then it asked again, 

4 What does little baby mine ? 1 

He answered, 

4 He sleepeth in his cradle fine.’ 

Then she went upstairs in the form of the Queen, nursed 
the baby, shook up its little bed, and tucked it in again, and 
then swam away down the ditch in the shape of a duck. 

She came thus for two nights ; on the third, she said to the 
scullion, ‘ Go and tell the King to take his sword and swing 
it three times over me on the threshold.’ Then the scullion 



ran and told this to the King, who came with his sword and 
swung it thrice over her, and at the third time his wife stood 
before him alive, strong and healthy as she had been before. 
Thereupon the King was full of great joy, but he kept the 
Queen hidden until the Sunday when the baby was to be 
christened. After the christening he said, ‘ What does a 
person deserve who drags another out of bed and throws him 
in the water ? ’ 

‘ Such a wretch deserves no better,’ answered the old 
woman, ‘ than to be taken and put in a barrel stuck full of 
nails, and rolled downhill into the water.’ 

‘ Then,’ said the King, ‘ thou hast pronounced thine own 
sentence ’ ; and he ordered such a barrel to be brought, and 
the old woman to be put into it with her daughter, and then 
the top was hammered on, and the barrel was rolled down the 
hill into the river. 

The Spirit in the Bottle 

T HERE was once a poor woodcutter who toiled from 
early morning till late at night. When at last he had 
put by some money he said to his boy, 4 You are my 
only child, I will spend the money which I have earned with 
the sweat of my brow on your education. If you learn some 
honest trade you can support me in my old age, when my 
limbs have grown stiff and I am obliged to stay at home.’ 

Then the boy went to school and learned so diligently that 
his masters praised him, and he remained there a long time. 
When he had worked through two classes, but was still not yet 
perfect in everything, the little money that his father had 
saved was all spent, and the boy was obliged to return 

4 Ah,’ said his father sorrowfully, 4 I can give you no more, 
and in these hard times I cannot earn a farthing more than is 
enough for our daily bread.’ 

4 Dear father,’ answered the son, 4 don’t trouble yourself 
about it, if it is God’s will it will turn to my advantage. I 
shall soon be reconciled to it.’ 

When the father next went into the forest to earn money 
by helping to pile and stack wood and to chop it, his son said, 
4 I will go with you and help you.’ 

4 Nay, my son,’ said the father, 4 that would be too hard for 
you. You are not used to rough work and will not be able to 
stand it, besides I have only one axe and no money left where¬ 
with to buy another.’ 

4 Just go to our neighbour,’ answered the son; 4 he will lend 
you his axe until I have earned one for myself.’ 

So the father borrowed an axe of the neighbour and next 



morning at break of day they went out into the forest together. 
The son helped his father and was quite merry and brisk about 
his work. But when the sun was right over their heads, the 
father said, 4 We will rest and have our dinner, and then we 
shall work as well again.’ 

The son took his bread in his hands, and said, 4 Just you 
rest, father, I am not tired. I will walk up and down among the 
trees and look for birds’ nests.’ 

4 Oh, that’s foolish of you,’ said his father. 4 Why should 
you want to be running about ? Afterwards you will be tired 
and no longer able to raise your arm. Stay here and sit down 
beside me.’ 

The son, however, went into the forest, ate his bread, was 
very merry and peered in among the green branches to see 
if he could discover a bird’s nest anywhere. He wandered up 
and down until at last he came to a great dangerous-looking 
oak, which certainly was already many hundred years old, 
and which five men could not have spanned. He stood still 
and looked at it, and thought, 4 Many a bird must have built 
its nest in that.’ Then all at once it seemed to him that he 
heard a voice. He listened and became aware that some one 
was crying in a very smothered voice, 4 Let me out, let me 
out ! ’ He looked around, but could discover nothing. Never¬ 
theless, he fancied that the voice came out of the ground. 

Then he cried, 4 Where art thou ? ’ 

The voice answered, 4 I am here down amongst the roots 
of the oak-tree. Let me out ! Let me out ! ’ 

The scholar began to loosen the earth under the tree, and 
search among the roots, until at last he found a glass bottle in 
a little hollow. He lifted it up and held it against the light, 
and then saw a creature shaped like a frog, springing up and 
down in it. 4 Let me out! Let me out! ’ it cried anew, and 
the scholar, suspecting no danger, drew the cork out of the 

Immediately a spirit ascended from it and began to grow, 
and grew so fast that in a very few moments he stood before 


the scholar, a terrible fellow half as big as the tree by which 
he was standing. 

4 Knowest thou,’ he cried in an awful voice, 4 what thy 
wages are for having let me out ? ’ 

4 No,’ replied the scholar fearlessly. 4 How should I know 
that ? ’ 

4 Then I will tell thee,’ cried the spirit: 4 1 must strangle 
thee for it.’ 

4 Thou shouldst have told me that sooner,’ said the scholar, 
4 for I should then have left thee shut up. But I ’ll keep my 
head on my shoulders for all thou canst do. More persons 
than one must be consulted about that.’ 

4 That’s neither here nor there,’ said the spirit. 4 Thou 
shalt have the wages thou hast earned. Dost thou think that 
I was shut up there for such a long time as a favour ? No, it 
was a punishment for me. I am the mighty Mercurius. 
Whoever releases me, him must I strangle.’ 

4 Softly,’ answered the scholar, 4 not so fast. I must first 
know that thou really wert shut up in that little bottle, and 
that thou art the right spirit. If, indeed, thou canst get in 
again, I will believe, and then thou mayst do as thou wilt 
with me.’ 

The spirit said haughtily, 4 That is a very trifling feat,’ 
drew himself together, and made himself as small and slender 
as he had been at first, then he crept into the mouth of the 
bottle, and through the neck right in again. Scarcely was he 
within than the scholar thrust the cork back into the bottle, 
and threw it among the roots of the oak where it was before, 
and the spirit was trapped again. 

Then the scholar was about to return to his father, when the 
spirit cried piteously, 4 Ah, do let me out ! ah, do let me out ! ’ 

4 No,’ answered the scholar, 4 not a second time ! He who 
has once tried to take my life shall not be set free by me, 
now that I have caught him again.’ 

4 If thou wilt set me free,’ said the spirit, 4 I will give thee 
so much that thou wilt have plenty all the days of thy life.’ 



4 No,’ answered the scholar, 4 thou wouldst cheat me as 
thou didst the first time.’ 

4 Thou art driving away thy own good luck,’ said the spirit; 
4 I will do thee no harm, I promise, but I will reward thee 

The scholar thought, 4 I ’ll venture it, perhaps he ’ll keep 
his word, and anyhow he shall not get the better of me.’ Then 
he took out the cork, and the spirit rose up from the bottle as 
he had done before, stretched himself out and became as big 
as a giant. 

4 Now thou shalt have thy reward,’ said he, and he handed 
the scholar a little bag just like a plaster, and said, 4 If thou 
spreadest one end of this over a wound it will heal, and if thou 
rubbest steel or iron with the other end it will be changed into 

4 I must just try that,’ said the scholar, and went to a 
tree, chipped off some bark with his axe, and rubbed it with 
one end of the plaster. It immediately grew together again 
and was healed. 4 It’s all right now,’ he said to the spirit, 
4 and we can part.’ The spirit thanked him for his release, 
and the scholar thanked the spirit for his present, and went 
back to his father. 

4 Where hast thou been wandering about ? ’ said the 
father ; 4 why hast thou forgotten thy work ? I said at once 
that thou wouldst never get on with anything.’ 

4 Be easy, father, I will make it up.’ 

4 Make it up indeed,’ said the father angrily, 4 there’s no 
way of doing that.’ 

4 Wait a bit, father. See me fell that tree there. I ’ll soon 
make the chips fly.’ Then he took his plaster, rubbed the 
axe with it, and dealt a mighty blow, but as the iron had 
changed into silver, it turned the edge. 

4 Hollo, father, just look what a bad axe you ’ve given me; 
it has become quite bent.’ 

The father was dismayed, and said, 4 Ah, what hast thou 
done ? Now I shall have to pay for that, and what with, I 

A terrible fellow half as big as the tree by which he was standing. 


should like to know ? That’s all the good I’ve got by thy 

4 Don’t get angry,’ said his son, 4 I will soon pay for 
the axe.’ 

4 Oh, thou blockhead ! ’ cried the father; 4 wherewith wilt 
thou pay for it ? Thou hast nothing but what I give thee. 
These are students’ tricks that are sticking in thy head—thou 
hast no idea of woodcutting.’ 

After a while the scholar said, 4 Father, I can really work 
no more; we had better take a holiday.’ 

4 Eh, what ! ’ answered he. 4 Dost thou think I will sit 
with my hands lying in my lap like thee ? I must go on 
working, but thou mayst take thyself off home.’ 

4 Father, I am here in this wood for the first time: I don’t 
know my way alone. Do go with me.’ 

As his anger had now abated, the father at last let himself 
be persuaded and went home with him. Then he said to the 
son, 4 Go and sell thy damaged axe, and see what thou canst 
get for it, and I must earn the difference, in order to pay the 

The son took the axe, and carried it into town to a 
goldsmith, who tested it, laid it in the scales, and said, 
4 It is worth four hundred thalers, I have not so much as 
that by me.’ 

The son said, 4 Give me what you have, I will lend you the 
rest.’ The goldsmith gave him three hundred thalers, and 
remained a hundred in his debt. 

The son thereupon went home and said, 4 Father, I have got 
the money. Go and ask the neighbour what he wants for the 

4 1 know that already,’ answered the old man: 4 one thaler 
six groschen.’ 

4 Then give him two thalers, twelve groschen, that is double 
and enough. See, I have money in plenty,’ and he gave his 
father a hundred thalers, and said, 4 You shall nevor know want, 
live as comfortably as you like.’ 



4 Good heavens ! ’ said the father, 4 how hast thou come 
by these riches ? * 

The scholar then told how all had come to pass, and how he, 
trusting in his luck, had made such a good hit. But with 
the money that was left he took himself back to school and 
went on learning, and as he could heal all wounds with his 
plaster, he became the most famous doctor in the whole 

The Three Army Surgeons 

T HREE army surgeons, who considered they were perfect 
masters of their art, were travelling about the world, 
and they came to an inn where they wanted to pass 
the night. The host asked whence they came, and where they 
were going to ? 

4 We are roaming about the world and practising our 

4 Just show me for once in a way what you can do,’ said the 

Then the first said he would cut off his hand, and put it 
on again early next morning. The second said he would tear 
out his heart, and replace it next morning. The third said 
he would cut out his eyes and put them back again next 

4 Well,’ said the innkeeper, 4 if you can do that, you have 
learned everything.’ 

They, however, had a salve, with which they rubbed them¬ 
selves, which joined parts together, and they carried the little 
bottle in which it was, constantly with them. Then they cut 
the hand, heart and eyes from their bodies as they had said 
they would, and laid them all together on a plate, and gave 



it to the innkeeper. The innkeeper gave it to a servant who 
was to put it in the cupboard, and take good care of it. The 
girl, however, had a lover in secret, who was a soldier. So 
when the innkeeper, the three army surgeons, and every one 
else in the house had gone to bed, in came the soldier and 
wanted something to eat. The girl opened the cupboard and 
brought him some food, and in her love forgot to shut the cup- 

'l'he cat came creeping in. 

board-door again. She seated herself at the table by her 
lover, and they chattered away together. While she sat there 
so contentedly thinking of no ill luck, the cat came creeping in, 
found the cupboard open, took the hand and heart and eyes of 
the three army surgeons, and ran off with them. When the 
soldier had finished his supper, and the girl was taking away 
the things and going to shut the cupboard she saw that the 
plate which the innkeeper had given her to take care of, was 
empty. Then she said in a fright to her lover, 4 Oh, miserable 
girl that I am, what shall I do ? The hand is gone, and the 



heart and the eyes are gone too ! What will become of me in 
the morning ? ’ 

4 Be easy,’ said he, 4 I will help thee out of thy trouble. 
There is a thief hanging outside on the gallows, I will cut off 
his hand. Which hand was it ? 5 

4 The right one.’ 

Then the girl gave him a sharp knife, and he went and cut 
the dead robber’s right hand off, and brought it to her. After 
this he caught the cat and cut its eyes out, and now nothing 
but the heart was wanting. 4 Have you not just been killing, 
and are not the dead pigs in the cellar ? ’ said he. 

4 Yes,’ said the girl. 

4 That’s well,’ said the soldier, and he went down and 
fetched a pig’s heart. The girl placed all together on the plate, 
and put it in the cupboard, and when after this her lover took 
leave of her, she went quietly to bed. 

In the morning when the three army surgeons got up, they 
told the girl to bring them the plate on which the hand, heart, 
and eyes were lying. Then she brought it out of the cupboard, 
and the first fixed the thief’s hand on and smeared it with his 
salve, and it grew on to his arm at once. The second took the 
cat’s eyes and put them in his own head. The third fixed the 
pig’s heart firm in the place where his own had been, and the 
innkeeper stood by, admired their skill, and said he had never 
yet seen such a thing as that done, and would sing their praises 
and recommend them to every one. Then they paid their 
bill, and travelled farther. 

As they were on their way, the one with the pig’s heart 
could never keep with them at all, but wherever there was a 
corner he ran to it, and rooted about in it with his nose as pigs 
do. The others wanted to hold him back by the tail of his 
coat, but that did no good, he tore himself loose, and ran 
wherever the dirt was thickest. The second also behaved very 
strangely. He rubbed his eyes, and said to the others, 4 Com¬ 
rades, what is the matter ? I can’t see at all. Will one of 
you lead me, so that I don’t fall.’ With difficulty they 



travelled on till evening, when they reached another inn. 
They went into the bar together, and there at a table in the 
corner sat a rich man counting his money. The one with the 
thief’s hand walked round about him, made a sudden movement 
twice with his arm, and at last when the stranger turned away, 
he snatched at the pile of money, and took a handful from it. 
One of the others saw this, and said, 4 Comrade, what art thou 
about ? Thou must not steal ! Shame on thee ! ’ 4 Eh,’ 

said he, 4 but how can I stop myself ? My hand twitches, and 
I am forced to snatch things whether I will or not.’ 

After this, they lay down to sleep and as they were lying 
there it was so dark that no one could see his own hand. All 
at once the one with the cat’s eyes awoke, aroused the others, 
and said, 4 Brothers, look up ! Do you see the white mice running 
about there ? ’ The two sat up, but could see nothing. Then 
said he, 4 Things are not right with us, we have not got back 
again what is ours. We must return to the innkeeper, he has 
deceived us.’ So they went back next morning, and told the 
host they had not got what was their own again. That the 
first had a thief’s hand, the second cat’s eyes, and the third a 
pig’s heart. The innkeeper said that the girl must be to blame 
for that, and was going to call her, but she had seen the three 
coming, and had run out by the backdoor and not come back. 
Then the three said he must give them a great deal of money, 
or they would set his house on fire. He gave them all he had, 
and all he could get together, and the three went away with it. 
It was enough for the rest of their lives, but they would rather 
have had their own proper organs. 


The Hare and the Hedgehog 

T HIS story, youngsters, might well seem nonsense, but it 
really is true, for I had it from my grandfather, and 
when he told it he always used to say, 4 It must be true, 
my son, or else no one could tell it to you.’ 

The stoiy is as follows. One Sunday morning about 
harvest time, just as the buckwheat 
was in bloom, the sun was shining 
brightly in the sky, the east wind 
was blowing warmly over the stubble- 
fields, the larks were singing in the 
air, the bees buzzing among the 
buckwheat, the people all going in 
their Sunday clothes to church, and 
all creatures were happy. And the 
hedgehog was happy too. 

Well, he was standing by his 
door with his arms akimbo, enjoying 
the morning breezes, and slowly humming a little song to 
himself, which was neither better nor worse than the 
songs that hedgehogs usually do sing on a blessed Sunday 
morning. As thus he was singing half aloud to himself, it 
suddenly occurred to him that, while his wife was washing and 
drying the children, he might very well take a walk into the 
field and see how his turnips were going on. Really, the 
turnips were not his at all, but they grew just round the 
corner, and he and his family were in the habit of helping 
themselves, so he looked upon them as his own. No sooner 
said than done. 



The hedgehog shut the house-door behind him, and took the 
path to the field. He had not gone very far from home, and 
was just turning round the sloe-bush to go up into the turnip- 
field, when he came across the hare, who had gone out on 
business of the same kind, namely, to visit his cabbages. 
When the hedgehog caught sight of the hare, he bade him a 
friendly good morning. But the hare, who was in his own way 
a distinguished gentleman, and exceedingly haughty, did not 
return the hedgehog’s greeting, but said to him, assuming at 
the same time a very contemptuous manner, 4 How do you 
happen to be running about here in the field so early in the 
morning ? ’ 

‘ I am taking a walk,’ said the hedgehog. 

4 A walk ! ’ said the hare, with a smile. 4 It seems to me 
that you might use your legs for a better purpose.’ 

This answer made the hedgehog furiously angry, for he 
can bear anything but a remark about his legs, because they 
are crooked by nature. So he replied, ‘You seem to imagine 
that you can do more with your legs than I can with mine.’ 

‘ That is just what I do think,’ said the hare. 

‘ That can be put to the test,’ said the hedgehog. ‘ I wager 
that if we run a race, I will beat you.’ 

‘ Oh, nonsense ! You, with your short legs ! ’ said the hare, 
‘ though for my part I ’m willing, if you ’ve such a monstrous 
fancy for it. What shall we wager ? ’ 

‘ A golden louis-d’or and a bottle of brandy,’ said the 

‘ Done,’ said the hare. ‘ Shake hands on it, and it may as 
well come off at once.’ 

‘ Nay,’ said the hedgehog, ‘ there is no such great hurry ! 
I am still fasting. I will go home first and have a little break¬ 
fast. In half an hour I ’ll be back again at this place.’ 

Hereupon the hedgehog departed, for the hare was quite 
satisfied with this. On his way the hedgehog thought to 
himself, ‘ The hare relies on his long legs, but I will contrive 
to get the better of him. He may be a great man, but he is a 


very silly fellow, and he shall pay for what he has said/ 
So when the hedgehog reached home, he said to his wife, 
4 Wife, dress thyself quickly; thou must go out to the field 
with me/ 

4 What’s going on now, then ? ’ said his wife. 

4 I’ve made a wager with the hare, for a gold louis-d’or 
and a bottle of brandy. I am to run a race with him, and 
thou must be present/ 

4 Good heavens, husband,’ the wife now cried, 4 art thou 
not right in thy mind ? hast thou completely lost thy wits ? 
What can make thee want to run a race with the hare ? ’ 

4 Hold thy tongue, woman,’ said the hedgehog; ‘that is 
my affair. Don’t begin to discuss things which are matters for 
men. Be off, and get ready to come with me.’ What could 
the hedgehog’s wife do ? She had to obey him, whether she 
liked it or not. 

So when they had set out on their way together, the 
hedgehog said to his wife, 4 Now pay attention to what I am 
going to say. Look you, I will make the long field our race¬ 
course. The hare shall run in one furrow, and I in another, 
and we will begin the race from the top. Now all that thou 
hast to do is to place thyself here, at the bottom, in the furrow, 
and when the hare reaches the end of his furrow alongside of 
thee, thou must cry out to him, 44 Here I am already ! ” ’ 

They reached the field, and the hedgehog showed his wife 
her place, and then walked up the field. When he reached the 
top, the hare was already there. 

4 Shall we start ? ’ said the hare. 

4 Certainly,’ said the hedgehog. 

4 Then both together.’ So saying, each placed himself in 
his own furrow. 

The hare counted, 4 Once, twice, thrice, and away ! ’ and 
went off like a whirlwind down the field. The hedgehog, 
however, only ran about three paces, and then he stooped 
down in the furrow, and stayed quietly where he was. 

So when the hare at top speed reached the lower end of the 
K 145 


field, the hedgehog’s wife met him with the cry, 4 Here I am 
already ! ’ 

The hare was overcome with astonishment, for he thought 
it could but be the hedgehog himself who was calling to him, 
for the hedgehog’s wife looked just like her husband. 

The hare, however, thought to himself, 4 It can’t have been 
done fairly,’ and cried, 4 It must be run again, let us have it 

And once more he went off like the wind in a storm, so that 
he seemed to fly. But the hedgehog’s wife stayed quietly in 
her place. So when the hare reached the top of the field, the 
hedgehog himself cried out to him, 4 Here I am already! ’ 

The hare was quite beside himself with anger, and cried, 
4 It must be run again, we must have it again.’ 

4 All right,’ answered the hedgehog, 4 I don’t mind, we ’ll 
run as often as you like.’ 

So the hare ran seventy-three times more, and the hedge¬ 
hog always had the best of it. Every time the hare reached 
cither the top or the bottom, either the hedgehog or his wife 
said, 4 Here I am already ! ’ 

The seventy-fourth time, however, the hare could no longer 
reach the end. In the middle of the field he fell to the ground, 
the blood streamed from his mouth, and he lay dead on the 
spot. So the hedgehog took the louis-d’or which he had won 
and the bottle of brandy, called his wife out of the furrow, 
and both went home together in great delight, and if they are 
not dead, they are living there still. 

But there is a moral to this story, and it is, firstly, that no 
one, however great he may be, should permit himself to jest 
at any one beneath him, even if he be only a hedgehog. And, 
secondly, it teaches, that when a man marries, he should take 
a wife in his own station, who looks just as he himself looks. 
So whoever is a hedgehog let him see to it that his wife is a 
hedgehog also, and so forth. 


The Griffin 

O NCE upon a time there was 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 should be cured by eating an 
apple. So he ordered it to be proclaimed throughout his 
kingdom, that whosoever brought his daughter an apple which 
would make her well, should have her to wife, and be King. 

This became known to a peasant who had three sons, and 
he said to the eldest, 1 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 cure herself with them, and then thou wilt marry her 
and be King.’ 

The lad did so, and set out. When he had gone a short 
way he met a little iron man who asked him what he had there 
in the basket, to which replied Uele, for so was he named, 
‘ Frogs’ legs.’ 

On this the little man said, 4 Well, so shall it be, and so 
shall it 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 Seame, 



but all went with him just as it had gone with Uele. He also 
met the little iron man, who asked what he had there in the 

Seame said, 4 Hogs’ bristles,’ and the iron man said, 4 Well, 
so shall it be, and so shall it remain.’ 

When Seame got to the King’s palace and said he brought 
apples with which the King’s daughter might be cured, 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. 
Seame, 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 Seame to be whipped out of the house. 

When he got home he related all that had befallen him, and 
then 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. 

4 Oh ! ’ said the father, 4 thou wouldst be just the right 
fellow for such a thing ! If the clever ones can’t manage it, 
what canst thou do ? ’ 

The boy, however, did not believe him, and said, 4 Indeed, 
father, I wish to go.’ 

4 Oh ! get away, thou stupid fellow ! thou must wait till thou 
art wiser,’ said the father, and turned his back. 

Hans, however, pulled at the tail of his smock-frock and said, 
4 Indeed, father, I wish to go.’ 

4 Well, then, so far as I am concerned thou mayest go, but 
thou ’It soon come home again! ’ replied the old man 

The boy, however, was tremendously delighted and jumped 
for joy. 

4 Well, act like a fool ! thou growest more stupid every 
day ! ’ said the father again. Hans, however, did not care 
about that, 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 iron 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 make herself well. 

4 Then,’ said the little man, ‘ so shall they be, and so shall 
they remain.’ 

But at the court they would none of them let Hans go in 
for they said two had been there already who had told them 
that they were bringing apples, and one of them had frogs’ 
legs, and the other hogs’ bristles. But Hans stuck to it 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. And before much time had 
passed, news came to him. But who do you think it was who 
brought it ? it was his daughter herself! As soon as she had 
eaten of those apples she was cured, and sprang out of 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 conditions, 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 midday, 
when the sun was at the highest, came the little iron man and 
asked what he was making. 



Uele gave him for answer, 4 Wooden bowls for the kitchen.’ 

The iron man said, 4 So it shall be, and so it shall remain.’ 

By evening Uele thought he had now made the boat, but 
when he wanted to get into it, he found he had nothing but 
wooden bowls. 

The next day Seame 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 strokes, and all the while he sang and whistled right 
merrily. At midday, when it was hottest, the little man 
came again, and asked what he was making. 

4 A boat which will go quicker on dry land than on the 
water,’ replied Hans, 4 and when I have finished it, I am to 
have the King’s daughter for my wife.’ 

4 Well,’ said the little man, 4 so shall it be, and so shall it 

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 

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 
guests next day. The maid, however, would not believe in 
his refusal, and at last she began to get angry with him. Then 
Hans said that if the King’s daughter came herself, he would 
give her a hare. The maid told this in the palace, and the 


daughter did go herself. In the meantime, however, 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 thee, 
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 in 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 Flans had been able to take a hundred 
hares to graze without losing any of them, but he wouldn’t 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 forward. 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 soon do that.’ 

Early the next morning he went on, and on his way arrived 
at another castle in which he again stayed the night. When 
the people who lived there learned 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 on. 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. 

4 To the Griffin,’ said Hans. 

4 Then when you get to him,’ said the man, ‘ just ask him 
why I am forced to carry everybody over the lake.’ 

4 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 
his wife only was at home, and not the Griffin himself. 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, 4 But 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 ’ll 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 he sniffed and said, 4 Wife, I smell a Christian.’ 

4 Yes,’ said the woman, 4 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, 4 Wife, I smell a 
Christian, and it seems to me that somebody was pulling my 

His wife said, 4 Thou hast certainly been dreaming, and I 
told thee 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. 5 

t Oh, the fools ! 5 said the Griffin ; 4 the key lies in the 
wood-house under a log of wood behind the door. 5 

4 And then he said that in another castle the daughter was 
ill, and they knew no remedy that would cure her. 5 

4 Oh, the fools ! said the 
Griffin; 4 under the cellar-steps 
a toad has made its nest of her 
hair, and if she got her hair 
back she would be well. 5 

4 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. 5 

4 Oh, the fool ! 5 said the 
Griffin; 4 if he only let one 
man down in the middle, he 
would never have to carry 
another across. 5 

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 ferry-man. The 
Griffin’s wife repeated it all once more to him that he mightn’t 
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 ’d save him that 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 jumped off his shoulder and up the steps 
before him, and was quite cured. Then the father and mother 
rejoiced beyond measure, and they gave Hans gifts of gold 
and of silver, and whatever else he wished for, they gave it 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 also 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, 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 whatever he wanted. So the King thought he, 
too, could make such things useful, and off he went himself to 
the Griffin. But when he got to the lake, it happened that he 
was the very first to arrive there after Hans, and the man let 
him down in the middle of it and went away, and the King 
was drowned. Hans, however, married the princess, and 
became King. 


The Spindle, the Shuttle, and the 


T HERE was once a girl whose father and mother died 
while she was still a little child. All alone, in a cottage 
at the end of the village, dwelt her godmother, who 
supported herself by spinning, weaving, and sewing. The old 
woman took the forlorn child to live with her, kept her to her 
work, and brought her up in all that is good. 

When the girl was fifteen years old, the old woman fell ill 
and called her to her bedside, and said, 4 Dear daughter, I feel 
my end drawing near. To thee I leave my little house, which 
will protect thee from wind and weather, and my spindle, 
shuttle, and needle, with which thou canst earn thy bread.’ 
Then she laid her hands on the girl’s head, and blessed her, and 
said, 4 Only keep the love of God in thy heart, and all will go 
well with thee.’ Thereupon she closed her eyes, and when she 
was laid in the earth, the maiden followed the coffin, weeping 
bitterly, and paid her the last mark of respect. 

And now the maiden lived quite alone in the little cottage, 
and worked hard, spinning, weaving, and sewing, and the 
blessing of the good old woman w T as on all that she did. It 
seemed as if the flax in the room increased of its own accord, 
and whenever she wove a piece of cloth or a carpet, or had made 
a shirt, she found a buyer at once, who paid her well for it, 
so that she was in want of nothing, and even had something to 
spare for others. 

About this time the son of the King was travelling about 
the country looking for a bride. He was not to choose a poor 
one, nor did he want a rich one. So he said, 4 She shall be my 




wife who is the poorest and the richest both at the same time.’ 
When he came to the village where the maiden dwelt, he 
inquired, as he did wherever he went, who was the richest and 
also who was the poorest girl in the place. They first named 
the richest. The poorest, they said, was the girl who lived in 
the cottage right at the end of the village. The rich girl was 
sitting in all her splendour before the door of her house, and 
when the prince approached her, she got up, went to meet him, 
and made him a low curtsy. He looked at her, said nothing, 
and rode on. When he came to the house of the poor girl, she 
was not standing at the door, but sitting in her little room. 
He stopped his horse, and through the window, on which the 
sun was shining brightly, he saw the girl sitting at her spinning- 
wheel, busy spinning. She looked up, and when she saw that 
the prince was watching her, she blushed all over her face, 
dropped her eyes, and went on spinning. I do not know 
whether, just at that moment, the thread was quite even, but 
she went on spinning until the King’s son had ridden away 
again. Then she went to the window, and opened it, saying, 
4 It is so warm in this room ! ’ but she looked after him as long 
as she could distinguish the white feathers in his hat. 

Then she sat down to work again in her own little room and 
went on with her spinning, and a saying which the old woman 
had often repeated as she sat at her work, came into her mind, 
and she sang these words to herself, 

4 Spindle, spindle, haste away, 

Here to my house bring a wooer, I pray.’ 

And what do you think happened ? The spindle jumped out 
of her hand in an instant, and out of the door, and when, in 
her astonishment, she got up and looked after it, she saw that 
it was dancing out merrily into the open country, and drawing 
a shining golden thread after it. Before long, it had entirely 
vanished out of sight. As she had now no spindle, the girl 
took the weaver’s shuttle in her hand, sat down to her loom, 
and began to weave. 



The spindle, however, danced on and on, and just as the 
thread came to an end, it reached the prince. 

4 What’s this I see ? 5 he cried ; 4 I ’m sure the spindle 
wants to show me the way somewhere ! 5 and he turned his 
horse about, and followed the golden thread 

Meanwhile the girl was sitting at her 
work singing, 

‘ Shuttle, shuttle, weave well to-day, 

And guide a wooer to me, I pray.’ 

Immediately the shuttle sprang out of her 
hand and went out by the door. Before 
the threshold, however, it began to weave 
a carpet which was more beautiful than 
the eyes of man had ever yet beheld. 

Lilies and roses blossomed on both sides 
of it, and on a golden ground in the middle 
green branches ascended, under which 
bounded hares and rabbits, stags and does 
stretched their heads in between them, and 
brightly coloured birds were sitting in the 
branches above, and they lacked nothing 
but the gift of song. The shuttle leapt 
hither and thither, and everything seemed 
to grow of its own accord. 

As the shuttle had run away, the girl sat 
down to sew. With the needle in her hand, 
she sang, 

‘ Needle, needle, sharp and fine, 

Prepare for a wooer this house of mine.’ 

There stood the maiden 
in her poor garments. 

Then the needle leapt out of her fingers, and flew every¬ 
where about the room as quick as lightning. It was 
just as if invisible spirits were working. They covered 
tables and benches with green cloth in no time, and the 



chairs with velvet, and hung the windows with silken 

Hardly had the needle put in the last stitch than the maiden 
saw through the window the white feathers of the prince, 
whom the spindle had brought back again by the golden thread. 
He dismounted, and stepped over the carpet into the cottage, 
and when he entered the room, there stood the maiden in her 
poor garments, but she shone out from among them like a rose 
surrounded by leaves. 

1 Thou art the poorest and also the richest,’ said he to her. 
4 Come with me, thou shalt be my bride.’ 

She did not speak, but she gave him her hand. Then he 
kissed her and led her out, lifted her on to his horse, and took 
her to the royal castle, where their wedding took place with 
great rejoicings. The spindle, shuttle, and needle were pre¬ 
served in the treasure-chamber, and held in great honour. 

Maid Maleen 

T HERE was once a King who had a son who asked in 
marriage the daughter of a mighty King. She was 
called Maid Maleen, and was very beautiful. As her 
father wished to give her to another, the prince was rejected. 
But as they both loved each other deeply, they would not give 
each other up, and Maid Maleen said to her father, 4 1 can and 
will take no other for my husband.’ 

Then the King flew into a passion, and ordered a dark tower 
to be built, into which no ray from sun or moon should enter. 
When it was finished, he said, 4 Therein shalt thou be im¬ 
prisoned for seven years, and then I will come and see if thy 
perverse spirit is broken.’ Meat and drink for the seven years 
were carried into the tower, and then she and her waiting- 
woman were led into it and walled up, and thus cut off from 
the sky and from the earth. There they sat in the darkness, 



and knew not when day or night began. The King’s son often 
went round and round the tower, and called their names, but 
no sound from without pierced through the thick walls. What 
else could they do but lament and complain ? 

Meanwhile the time passed, and by the lessening of the food 
and drink they knew that the seven years were coming to an 
end. They thought the moment of their deliverance was 
come, but no stroke of the hammer was heard, no stone fell 
out of the wall, and it seemed to Maid Maleen that her father 
had forgotten her. As they only had food for a short time 
longer, and saw a miserable death awaiting them, Maid Maleen 
said, c We must try our last chance, and see if we can break 
through the Avail.’ She took the bread-knife, and picked and 
bored at the mortar between the stones, and when she was 
tired, the waiting-maid took her turn. With great labour they 
succeeded in getting out one stone, and then a second, and 
third, and when three days were over the first ray of light fell 
on their darkness, and at last the opening was so large that 
they could look out. The sky was blue, and a fresh breeze 
played on their faces. Oh ! but how melancholy everything 
looked all around ! Her father’s castle lay in ruins, the town 
and the villages were destroyed by fire as far as eye could see, 
the fields far and wide laid to waste, and no human being was 

When the opening in the wall was large enough for them 
to slip through, the waiting-maid sprang down first, and then 
Maid Maleen followed. But where were they to go ? The 
enemy had ravaged the whole kingdom, driven away the King, 
and slain all the* inhabitants. They wandered forth to seek 
another country, but nowhere did they find a shelter, or a 
human being to give them a mouthful of bread, and their need 
was so great that they were forced to appease their hunger with 
nettles. When, after long journeying, they came into another 
country, they tried to get work, but wherever they knocked 
they were turned away, and no one would have pity on them. 
At last they arrived in a large city and went to the royal palace. 



There also they were ordered to go away, but at last the cook 
said that they might stay in the kitchen and be scullions. 

The son of the King in whose kingdom they were, was, 
however, the very man who had been betrothed to Maid 
Maleen. And his father had chosen another bride for him 
whose face was as ugly as her heart was wicked. The wedding 
was fixed, and the maiden had already arrived, but she was so 
ugly that she shut herself in her room, and allowed no one to 
see her, and Maid Maleen had to take her her meals from the 
kitchen. When the day came for the bride and the bridegroom 
to go to church, she was ashamed of her ugliness, and afraid that 
if she showed herself in the streets, she would be mocked and 
laughed at by the people. Then said she to Maid Maleen, 

4 A great piece of luck has befallen thee. I have sprained my 
foot, and cannot well walk through the streets. Thou shalt 
put on my wedding-clothes and take my place. A greater 
honour than that thou canst not have ! ’ 

Maid Maleen, however, refused it, and said, 4 I wish for no 
honour which is not suitable for me.’ 

It was in vain, too, that the bride offered her gold. At last she 
said angrily, 4 If thou dost not obey me, it shall cost thee thy life. 
I have but to speak the word, and thy head will lie at thy feet.’ 

Then she was forced to obey and put on the bride’s magnifi¬ 
cent clothes and all her jewels. When she entered the royal 
hall, every one was amazed at her great beauty, and the King 
said to his son, 4 This is the bride whom I have chosen for thee, 
and whom thou must lead to church.’ 

The bridegroom was astonished, and thought, 4 She is like 
my own Maid Maleen, and I should believe that it was she 
herself, but she has long been shut up in the tower, or dead.’ 
He took her by the hand and led her to church. On the way 
was a stinging-nettle, and she said, 

‘ Nettle, growing here alone, 

A time of sorrow I have known ; 

Nought to eat was there for me, 

Hunger drove me to eat thee . 1 



4 What art thou saying ? * asked the King’s son. 

4 Nothing,’ she replied; ‘ I was only thinking of Maid 

He wondered that she knew about her, but kept silent. 
When they came to the stile into the churchyard, she said, 

‘ Church-stile, break not, 

The true bride, I am not.’ 

‘ What art thou saying ? ’ asked the King’s son. 

4 Nothing,’ she replied; 4 I was only thinking of Maid 

4 Dost thou know Maid Maleen ? ’ 

4 No,’ she answered. 4 How should I know her ? I have 
only heard of her.’ 

When they came to the church-door, she said once more, 

‘ Kirk-door, break not, 

The true bride, I am not.’ 

4 What art thou saying now ? ’ asked he. 

4 Ah,’ she answered, 4 1 was only thinking of Maid Maleen.’ 

Then he took out a precious chain, put it round her neck, 
and fastened the clasp. Thereupon they entered the church, 
and the priest joined their hands together before the altar, and 
married them. He led her home, but she did not speak a single 
word the whole way. When they got back to the royal palace, 
she hurried into the bride’s chamber, put off the magnificent 
clothes and the jewels, dressed herself in her grey gown, and 
kept nothing but the jewel on her neck, which she had received 
from the bridegroom. 

When the night came, and the bride was to be led into 
the prince’s chamber, she let her veil fall over her face, that he 
might not know of the deception. As soon as every one had gone 
away, he said to her, 4 What didst thou say to the stinging- 
nettle which was growing by the wayside ? ’ 

4 What stinging-nettle ? ’ asked she. 4 1 don’t talk to 
stinging-nettles. ’ 




4 If thou didst not do it, then thou art not the true bride,’ 
said he. So she bethought herself, and said, 

‘ I must go out unto my maid, 

Who keeps my thoughts for me.’ 

She went out and sought Maid Maleen. 

4 Girl,’ said she, 4 what hast thou been saying to the nettle ? ’ 
4 I said nothing but, 

‘ Nettle, growing here alone, 

A time of sorrow I have known ; 

Nought to eat was there for me, 

Hunger drove me to eat thee.’ 

The bride ran back into the chamber, and said, 4 I know 
now what I said to the nettle,’ and she repeated the words which 
she had just heard. 

4 But what didst thou say to the stile when we went over it ? ’ 
asked the King’s son. 

4 To the stile ? ’ she answered. 4 I don’t talk to stiles.’ 

4 Then thou art not the true bride.’ 

Again she said, 

‘ I must go out unto my maid,’ 

Who keeps my thoughts for me,’ 

and ran out and found Maid Maleen. 4 Girl, what didst thou 
say to the stile ? ’ 

4 1 said nothing but, 

‘ Church-stile, break not, 

The true bride, I am not.’ 

4 That shall cost thee thy life ! ’ cried the bride, but she 
hurried back into the room, and said, 4 I know now what I 
said to the stile,’ and she repeated the words. 

4 But what didst thou say to the church-door ? ’ 

4 To the church-door ? ’ she replied. 4 I don’t talk to 



4 Then thou art not the true bride.’ 

She went out and found Maid Maleen, and said, 4 Girl, 
what didst thou say to the church-door ? ’ 

4 I said nothing but, 

‘ Kirk-door, break not, 

The true bride, I am not . 1 

4 For that thy neck shall be broken ! ’ cried the bride, and 
flew into a terrible passion, but she hastened back into the 
room and said, 4 I know now what I said to the church-door,’ 
and she repeated the words. 

4 But where hast thou the jewel which I gave thee at the 
church-door ? ’ 

4 What jewel ? ’ she answered. 4 Thou didst not give me 
any jewel.’ 

4 1 myself put it round thy neck, and I myself fastened it. 
If thou dost not know that, thou art not the true bride.’ He 
drew the veil from her face, and when he saw her hideous 
ugliness, he sprang back terrified, and said, 4 How comest thou 
here ? Who art thou ? ’ 

4 I am thy betrothed bride, but because I feared lest the 
people should mock me when they saw me out of doors, I 
commanded the scullery-maid to dress herself in my clothes, 
and to go to church instead of me.’ 

4 Where is the girl ? ’ said he ; 4 1 want to see her. Go and 
bring her here.’ She went out and told the servants that the 
scullery-maid was an impostor, and that they must take her 
out into the courtyard and cut off her head. The servants 
laid hold of Maid Maleen and wanted to drag her out, but she 
screamed so loudly for help, that the King’s son heard her 
voice, and hurried out of his chamber and ordered them to set 
the maiden free instantly. Lights were brought, and then he 
saw on her neck the gold chain which he had given her at the 

4 Thou art the true bride,’ said he, 4 who went with me to 
church. Come with me now to my room.’ When they were 



alone he said, 4 On the way to the church thou didst name Maid 
Maleen, who was my betrothed bride. If I could believe it 
possible, I should think she was standing before me. Thou 
art like her in every way.’ 

She answered, ‘ I am Maid Maleen, who for thy sake was 
imprisoned seven years in the darkness, who suffered hunger 
and thirst, and has lived so long in want and poverty. But 
to-day the sun is shining on me once more. I was married to 
thee in the church, and I am thy lawful wife.’ 

Then they kissed each other, and were happy all the days 
of their lives. The false bride was rewarded for what she had 
done by having her head cut off. 

The tower in which Maid Maleen had been imprisoned 
remained standing for a long time, and when the children 
passed by it they sang, 

‘ Kling, klang, gloria. 

Who sits within the tower? 

A King’s daughter, she sits within, 

A sight of her I cannot win, 

The wall it will not break, 

The stone it will not crack. 

Little Hans, with your coat so gay, 
Follow me, follow me, fast as you may.’ 


The Young Giant 

O NCE upon a time a countryman had a son who was as 
big as a thumb, and did not become any bigger; even 
during several years he did not grow one hair’s-breadth. 
Once when the father was going out to plough, the little 
one said, 4 Father, I ’ll go with you.’ 

4 Thou wouldst go out with me ? ’ said his father. 4 Stay 
here. Thou wilt be of no use out there ; besides, thou mightst 
get lost ! ’ 

Then Thumbling began to cry, and for the sake of peace his 
father put him in his pocket, and took him with him. When 
he was in the field, he took him out again, and set him in a 
furrow. Whilst he was there, a great giant came over the hill. 
4 Dost thou see that great bogy ? ’ said his father, for he 
wanted to frighten the little fellow to make him good ; 4 he is 
coming to fetch thee.’ 

The giant, however, had scarcely taken two steps with his 
long legs before he reached them. He took up little Thumbling 
carefully with two fingers, had a good look at him, and carried 
him off without saying one word. His father stood by dumb 
with terror, and he could only think that his child was lost, 
and that as long as he lived he should never set ayes on him 

The giant carried him home and fed him on giant’s food, 
and Thumbling grew and became tall and strong after the 
manner of giants. When two years had passed, the old giant 
took him into the forest to see what he was good for, and said, 
4 Pull up a stick for thyself.’ The boy was already so strong 
that he tore up a young tree out of the earth by the roots. But 
the giant thought, 4 We must do better than that,’ took him 



back again, and fed him on giant’s food for two years longer. 
At the next trial his strength had increased so much that he 
could tear an old tree out of the ground. That was still not 
enough for the giant; and he fed him for yet another two 
years, and then when he went with him into the forest and said, 
‘ Now, just tear up a proper stick for me,’ the boy tore up the 
strongest oak-tree he could find from the earth, and that was 
a mere trifle to him. 4 Now that will do,’ said the giant, 4 thou 
art perfect,’ and he took him back to the field from whence he 
had brought him. His father was there following the plough. 

The young giant went up to him and said, 4 Does my father 
see what a fine man his son has grown into ? ’ 

The farmer was alarmed, and said, 4 No, thou art not my 
son. I don’t want thee. Go away ! ’ 

4 Truly I am your son. Let me do your work. I can plough 
as well as you can, nay, better.’ 

4 No, no, thou art not my son, and thou canst not plough. 
Go away ! ’ 

However, as he was afraid of this great man, he let go of 
the plough, and stepped back. Then the youth took the 
plough, and just leant on it with one hand, but his grasp was so 
strong that the plough went deep into the earth. 

The farmer could not bear to see that, and called to him, 
4 If thou art determined to plough, thou must not lean so hard. 
It’s no good doing it that way.’ The youth, however, un¬ 
harnessed the horses, and drew the plough himself, saying, 
4 Just go home, father, and bid my mother make ready a large 
dish of food, and in the meantime I will go over the field.’ 
Then the farmer went home, and ordered his wife to prepare 
his dinner. 

The youth ploughed the field which was of two acres all 
by himself, and then he harnessed himself to the harrow, and 
harrowed the whole of the land, using two harrows at once. 
When he had done it, he went into the forest, and pulled up 
two oak-trees, took them upon his shoulders, and hung one 
harrow behind and one before, and then one of the horses 


behind and the other before and carried them all like a bundle 
of straw to his parents’ house. 

When he entered the yard, his mother did not recognise 
him, and asked, 4 Who is that horrible tall man ? ’ 

The farmer said, 4 That is our son.’ 

4 No, that cannot be our son,’ she said. 4 We never had 
such a tall one; ours was a little wee thing.’ 

She called to him, 4 Go away, we do not want thee ! ’ 

The youth said nothing, but led his horses to the stable 
and gave them oats and hay and all they needed. When he 
had done this, he went into the parlour, sat down on the bench 
and said, 4 Mother, now I should like something to eat. Will 
it soon be ready ? ’ 

Then she said, 4 Yes,’ and brought in two immense dishes 
full of food, which would have been enough to last herself and 
her husband for a week. The youth ate the whole of it him¬ 
self, and asked if she had nothing more to set before him. 

4 No,’ she replied, 4 that is all we have.’ 

4 But that was only a taste, I must have more.’ 

She did not dare to oppose him, and went and put a huge 
caldron full of food on the fire, and took it in when it was 

4 At length come a few crumbs,’ said he, and ate all there 
was, but it was still not sufficient to appease his hunger. 

Then said he, 4 Father, I see well th t with you I shall 
never have food enough. If you will get me an iron staff, a 
good strong one that I cannot break across my knees, I will go 
off out into the world.’ 

The farmer was not sorry and put his two horses in his cart, 
and fetched from the smith a staff so large and thick that the 
two horses could only just bring it away. The youth laid it 
across his knees, and snap ! he broke it in two like a bean- 
stick, and threw it away. The father then harnessed four 
horses, and brought a bar which was so long and thick, that the 
four horses could only just drag it. The son snapped this also 
in twain against his knees, threw it away, and said, 4 Father, 



this can be of no use to me; you must harness more horses, and 
bring a stronger staff.’ 

So the father harnessed eight horses, and brought one which 
was so long and thick, that the eight horses could only just 
carry it. When the son took it in his hand, he broke a bit off 
the top of that also, and said, 4 Father, I see that you will not 
be able to procure me any such staff as I want, I will stay with 
you no longer.’ 

So he went away, and gave out that he was a smith’s 
apprentice. He arrived at a village where lived a smith who 
was a greedy fellow, and who never did a kindness to any one, 
but wanted everything for himself. The youth went into the 
smithy to him, and asked if he needed a man. 4 Yes,’ said the 
smith, and looked at him, and thought, 4 That is a strong fellow 
who will hit hard and earn his bread well.’ So he asked, 
4 How much wages dost thou want ? ’ 

4 I don’t want any at all,’ he replied, 4 only every fortnight, 
when the other men are paid, I will give thee two blows, and 
thou must bear them.’ This just pleased the miserly smith, for 
he thought he would save much money this way. 

Next morning, the new man was to begin to work, but 
when the master brought the glowing bar, and the youth 
struck his first blow, the iron flew asunder, and the anvil sank 
so deep into the earth, that there was no bringing it out again. 
That made the miser angry, and he said, 4 Oh, but I can’t make 
any use of you, you strike far too hard. What will you take 
for that one blow ? ’ 

Then said he, 4 I will only give you quite a little blow, 
that’s all.’ And he raised his foot, and gave him such a kick 
that he flew away over four loads of hay. Then he sought out 
the thickest iron bar in the smithy for himself, took it as a 
stick in his hand, and went on his way. 

When he had walked for some time, he came to a small 
farm, and asked the bailiff if he did not require a head 

4 Yes,’ said the bailiff, 4 I can make use of one. You look 


a strong fellow who can do something. How much a year do 
you want as wages ? ’ 

He again replied that he wanted no wages at all, but that 
every year he would give him three blows, which he must bear. 
Then the bailiff was satisfied, for he, too, was a covetous fellow. 

Next morning all the servants had to go to the wood, and 
the others were already up, but the head servant was still in 
bed. So one of them called to him, ‘ Get up, it is time. We 
are going to the wood, and thou must go with us.’ 

4 Oh,’ said he roughly, 4 you may just go, then. I shall be 
back again before any of you.’ 

Then the others went to the bailiff, and told him that the 
foreman was still lying in bed, and would not go to the wood 
with them. The bailiff said they were to wake him again, 
and tell him to harness the horses. The foreman, however, said 
as before, 4 Oh, you go on, I shall be back again before any of 
you.’ And then he stayed in bed two hours longer. 

At length he got up from his feather bed, but first he got 
himself two bushels of peas from the loft, made himself some 
broth and ate it at his leisure, and when that was done, went 
and harnessed the horses, and drove into the wood. Not far 
from the wood was a ravine through which the road passed, 
so he first drove the horses through and then stopped, and 
went back and took trees and brushwood and made a great 
barricade so that no horse could get through. 

When he was entering the wood, the others were just 
driving out of it with their loaded carts to go home ; then said 
he, 4 Drive on, I will still get home before you do.’ 

He did not drive far into the wood, but at once tore two 
of the very largest trees of all out of the earth, threw them 
on his cart, and turned back. When he came to the barricade, 
the others were still standing there not able to get through. 

4 Don’t you see,’ said he, 4 that if you had stayed with me, 
you would have got home just as quickly, and would have had 
another hour’s sleep ? ’ He now wanted to drive on, but his 
horses could not get the cart through, so he unharnessed them 



and laid them on the top of the cart, took the shafts in his own 
hands, and pulled it over just as easily as if it had been laden 
with feathers. When he was over, he said to the others, 
‘ There, you see, I have got over quicker than you,’ and drove 
on, and the others had to stay where they were. 

In the yard, however, he took a tree in his hand, 
showed it to the bailiff, and said, 4 Isn’t that a fine bundle 
of wood ? ’ 

Then said the bailiff to his wife, ‘ This servant is a good 
one. Even if he does sleep it out, he is still home before the 

So he served the bailiff a year, and when that was over, 
and the other servants were getting their wages, he said it was 
time for him to have his too. The bailiff, however, was afraid 
of the blows which he was to receive, and earnestly entreated 
him to excuse him from having them. Rather than that, said 
he, he himself would be head servant, and the youth should be 

4 No,’ said he, 4 I won’t be a bailiff. I am a foreman 
and that I ’ll stay, but I will take the payment which we 
agreed on.’ 

The bailiff was willing to give him whatever he demanded, 
but it was of no use, the head servant said No to everything. 
Then the bailiff did not know what to do, and begged for a 
fortnight’s delay, for he wanted to find some way of escape. 
The head servant consented to this and the bailiff summoned 
all his clerks together, and asked them to think the matter 
over, and give him advice. The clerks pondered for a long 
time, but at last they said that no one was sure of his life with 
the head servant, for he could kill a man as easily as a gnat, 
and that the bailiff ought to make him get into the well and 
clean it, and when he was down below, they would roll up one 
of the mill-stones which was lying there, and throw it on 
his head; and then he’d never see daylight again. The 
advice pleased the bailiff, and the head servant was quite 
willing to go down the well. So when he was standing down 


below at the bottom, they rolled the largest mill-stone down 
on to him and were quite sure they must have broken his 
skull, but he cried out, 4 Chase away those hens from the well, 
they are scratching in the sand up there, and throwing the dust 
into my eyes, so that I can’t see.’ So the bailiff shouted out, 
4 Shoo ! shoo ! ’ and pretended to frighten the hens away. 
When the head servant had finished his work, he climbed up 
and said, 4 Just look what a beautiful collar I have on,’ and 
behold it was the mill-stone which he was wearing round his 

The head servant now wanted to take his reward, but the 
bailiff again begged for a fortnight’s delay. The clerks met 
together and advised him to send the head servant to the 
haunted mill to grind corn by night, for from thence as yet no 
man had ever returned alive. The proposal pleased the bailiff. 
He called the head servant that very evening, and ordered him 
to take eight bushels of corn to the mill, and grind it that night, 
for it was wanted at once. So the head servant went to the 
loft, and put two bushels in his right pocket, and two in his 
left, and took four in a sack that hung half on his back and 
half on his breast, and thus laden he went to the haunted mill. 
The miller told him that he could grind there very well by day, 
but not by night, for the mill was haunted, and that up to the 
present time whoever had gone into it at night had been 
found lying dead there in the morning. 

He said, 4 I ’ll manage it, just you go away to bed.’ Then 
he went into the mill, and poured out the corn. About eleven 
o’clock he went into the miller’s room, and sat down on the 
bench. When he had sat there a while, a door suddenly opened 
and a large table came in, and on the table, wine and roast 
meat placed themselves, and more good things besides, but 
everything came of itself, for there was no one there to carry it. 
After this the chairs pushed themselves up, but no people 
came, until all at once he beheld fingers, which handled knives 
and forks and laid food on the plates, but with this exception 
he saw nothing. As he was hungry and saw the food, he, too, 



placed himself at the table, ate with those who were eating 
and enjoyed it. 

When he had had enough, and the others also had quite 
emptied their dishes, he distinctly heard all the candles being 
suddenly snuffed out, and as it was now pitch dark, he felt 
something like a box on the ear. Then he said, 4 If anything of 
that kind comes again, I shall strike out in return.’ And when 
he received a second box on the ear, he, too, struck out. And so 
it went on all night long. He took nothing without returning 
it, but repaid everything with interest and did not lay about 
him in vain. At daybreak everything became quiet again. 

When the miller had got up, he came to look after him, 
wondering if he were still alive. 

Then the youth said, 4 I have eaten my fill and have 
received some boxes on the ear, but I have given some in 
return.’ The miller rejoiced, and said that the mill was now 
released from the spell, and wanted to give him much money 
as a reward. But he said, 4 Money, I will not have, I have 
enough of it.’ 

So he took his flour on his back and went home, telling the 
bailiff that he had done what he had been told to do and would 
now have the reward agreed on. When the bailiff heard that, 
he was quite beside himself with fear. He walked backwards 
and forwards in the room, and drops of perspiration ran down 
his forehead. Then he opened the window to get some fresh 
air, but before he was aware, the head servant had given him 
such a kick that he flew through the window out into the air, 
and so far away that no one ever saw him again. 

Then said the head servant to the bailiff’s wife, 4 If he does 
not come back, you must take the other blow.’ 

She cried, 4 No, no, I cannot bear it,’ and opened the other 
window, because drops of perspiration were running down her 
forehead too. And he gave her such a kick that out she flew, 
and as she was lighter she went much higher than her husband. 
When her husband saw her, he shouted, 4 Hi ! come to me 
here,’ but she replied, 4 Come thou to me, I cannot come to 


thee.’ And there they hovered about in the air, and could 
not get near each other, and whether they are still hovering 

When her husband saw her, he shouted, ‘ Hi! come to me here.’ 

about or not, I do not know, but the young giant took up his 
iron bar and went on his way. 


The Three Sons of Fortune 

A FATHER once called his three sons before him, and he 
gave to the first a cock, to the second a scythe, and 
to the third a cat. 

4 I am already aged,’ said he, ‘ and my death is nigh. 
Before it comes I have wished to take thought for your future. 
Money I have none, and these that I now give you may seem 
of little worth, but all depends on your making wise use of 
them. Only seek out a country where such things are still 
unknown, and your fortune is made.’ 

After the father’s death the eldest set out with his cock, 
but wherever he came the cock was already known ; in the 
towns he saw him from a long way off, sitting upon the steeples 
and turning round with the wind, and in every village he heard 
more than one crowing. No one would show any wonder at 
so well known a creature, so that it did not look as if he would 
make his fortune by it. 

At last, however, it happened that he came to an island 
where the people knew nothing about cocks, and did not even 
understand how to reckon the time. They certainly knew 
when it was morning or evening, but at night, if they lay 
awake, not one of them knew how to find out the time. 

4 Look ! ’ said he, 4 at this proud creature of mine ! he has 
a crown of rubies on his head, and wears spurs like a knight! 
He calls you three times during the night, at fixed hours, and 
when he calls for the last time, up comes the sun. But if he 
crows by broad daylight, then take notice, for there will 
certainly be a change of weather.’ 

• The people were delighted. For a whole night they did not 
sleep, listening with wonder as the cock at two, at four, and at 


six o’clock, loudly and clearly proclaimed the time. They 
asked if this splendid bird was for sale, and how much he 
wanted for it. 

4 About as much gold as an ass can carry,’ answered he. 

4 A ridiculously small price for such a precious creature ! ’ 
they all cried at once, and willingly gave him what he had 

When he came home with his wealth his brothers were 
astonished, and the second said, 4 Well, I will go forth and see 
whether I cannot get rid of my scythe as profitably.’ But it 
did not look as if he would, for labourers met him wherever 
he went, and they had scythes upon their shoulders as well 
as he. 

At last, however, he chanced upon an island where the 
people knew nothing of scythes. When the corn was ripe there, 
they took cannon out to the fields and shot it down. Now 
this was rather an uncertain way of going to work. Often the 
shot went right over the corn, or sometimes hit the ears instead 
of the stalks, and shot them away, whereby much was lost. 
Besides, it made a terrible noise. So he set to work with his 
scythe and mowed the corn so quietly and quickly that the 
people gaped with astonishment. They agreed to give him 
what he wanted for the scythe, and he received a horse laden 
with as much gold as it could carry. 

And now the third brother wanted to try his luck with his 
cat. He fared just like the others ; so long as he stayed on 
the mainland she was worth nothing. Everywhere there were 
cats, and so many of them that the kittens were generally 
drowned as soon as they were born. 

At last he sailed over to an island, and by luck it happened 
that no cats had ever yet been seen there, and the mice had 
got the upper hand so much that they danced over the tables 
and benches even whether the master were at home or not. 
The people complained bitterly of the plague. The King him¬ 
self in his palace did not know how to secure himself against 
them. In every corner squeaked the mice, nibbling everything 



they could get at. But now the cat began her chase, and 
she soon cleared a couple of rooms of them, and the people 
all begged the King to buy the wonderful beast for the country. 
The King readily gave what was asked, which was a mule 
laden with gold, and the third brother came home with the 
greatest treasure of all. 

The cat made herself merry with the mice in the royal 
palace, and killed so many that they could not be counted. 
At last she grew warm with the work and thirsty, so she 
stopped, and held up her head crying, 4 Miau ! Miau ! ’ When 
they heard this strange cry, the King and all his people were 
frightened, and in their terror all ran out of the palace at once. 
The King took counsel what had best be done. At last it was 



determined to send a herald to the cat, and demand that she 
should leave the palace, or if not, she must expect that force 
would be used against her. For the councillors said, ‘ Rather 
would we put up with the plague of mice, to which we are 
accustomed, than give up our lives to such a monster as this.’ 
A noble youth, therefore, was sent to ask the cat whether she 
would peaceably quit the castle ? But the cat, whose thirst 
had become still greater, could only answer, ‘ Miau! Miau! ’ The 
youth understood her to say, 4 Most certainly not ! most 
certainly not ! ’ and took this answer to the King. 4 Then,’ 
said the councillors, 4 she shall yield to force.’ Cannon were 
brought out, and the palace was soon in flames. When the 
fire reached the room where the cat was sitting, she sprang 
safely out of the window, but the besiegers did not leave off 
until the whole palace was shot down to the ground. 



Fitcher’s Bird 

T HERE was once a wizard who used to take the form of 
a poor man, and went to houses and begged, and 
caught pretty girls. No one knew whither he carried 
them, for they were never seen more. One day he appeared 
before the door of a man who had three pretty daughters : he 
looked like a poor weak beggar, and carried a basket on his 
back, as if he meant to collect in it whatever might be given 
him in charity. He begged for a little food, and when the 
eldest daughter came out and was just giving him a piece of 
bread, he did but touch her, and she was forced to jump into 
his basket. Thereupon he hurried away with long strides, 
and carried her away into a dark forest to his house, which 
stood in the midst of it. 

Everything in the house was magnificent. He gave her 
whatsoever she could possibly desire, and said, * My darling, 
thou wilt certainly be happy with me, for thou hast everything 
thy heart can wish for.’ This lasted a few days, and then he 
said, 4 I must journey forth, and leave thee alone for a short 
time. There are the keys of the house ; thou mayst go every¬ 
where and look at everything except into one room, which this 
little key here opens, and there I forbid thee to go on pain of 
death.’ He also gave her an egg and said, 4 Preserve this egg 
carefully for me, and carry it continually about with thee, for 
a great misfortune would arise from the loss of it.’ 

She took the keys and the egg, and promised to obey him 
in everything. When he was gone, she went all round the house 
from the bottom to the top, and examined everything. The 
rooms shone with silver and gold, and she thought she had 
never seen such great splendour. At length she came to the 


forbidden door. She wished to pass it by, but curiosity let 
her have no rest. She examined the key; it looked just like 
any other. She put it in the keyhole and turned it a little, 
and the door sprang open. 

But what did she see when she went in ? A great bloody 
basin stood in the middle of the room, and therein lay human 
beings, dead and hewn to pieces, and hard by was a block of 
wood, and a gleaming axe lay upon it. She was so terribly 
alarmed that the egg which she held in her hand fell into the 
basin. She got it out and washed the blood off, but in vain, 
it appeared again in a moment. She washed and scrubbed, 
but she could not get the stain out. 

It was not long before the man came back from his journey, 
and the first things which he asked for were the key and the 
egg. She gave them to him, but she trembled as she did so, 
and he saw at once by the red spots that she had been in the 
bloody chamber. 4 Since thou hast gone into the room against 
my will,’ said he, 4 thou shalt go back into it against thine own. 
Thy life is ended.’ 

He threw her down, dragged her there by her hair, cut her 
head off on the block, and chopped her in pieces so that her 
blood ran on the ground. Then he threw her into the basin 
with the rest. 

4 Now I will fetch myself the second,’ said the wizard, and 
again he went to the house in the shape of a poor man, and 
begged. Then the second daughter brought him a piece of 
bread. He caught her like the first, by simply touching her, and 
carried her away. She did not fare better than her sister. 
She allowed herself to be led away by her curiosity, opened 
the door of the bloody chamber, looked in, and had to atone 
for it with her life on the wizard’s return. 

Then he went and brought the third sister, but she was 
clever and crafty. When he had given her the keys and the 
egg, and had left her, she first put the egg away with great care, 
and then she examined the house, and at last went into the 
forbidden room. Alas! what did she behold ? Both her sisters 



lay there in the basin, cruelly murdered, and cut in pieces. But 
she began to gather their limbs together and put them in order, 
head, body, arms and legs. And when nothing further was 
wanting the limbs began to move and join themselves together, 
and both the maidens opened their eyes and were alive once 
more. Then they rejoiced and kissed and caressed each other. 

On his arrival, the man at once demanded the keys and the 
egg, and as he could perceive no trace of any blood on it, he 
said, 4 Thou hast stood the test, thou shalt be my bride.’ He 
now had no longer any power over her, and was forced to do 
whatsoever she desired. 

4 Oh, very well,’ said she; 4 thou shalt first take a basketful 
of gold to my father and mother, and carry it thyself on thy 
back ; in the meantime I will prepare for the wedding. 

Then she ran to her sisters, whom she had hidden in a little 
chamber and said, 4 The moment has come when I can save 
you. The wretch himself shall carry you home again, but as 
soon as you are at home send help to me.’ She put both of 
them in a basket and covered them quite over with gold, so 
that nothing of them was to be seen, then she called in the 
wizard and said to him, 4 Now carry the basket away, but I 
shall look through my little window and watch to see if thou 
stoppest on the way to stand or to rest.’ 

The wizard raised the basket on his back and went away 
with it, but it weighed him down so heavily that the perspiration 
streamed from his face. Then he sat down and wanted to rest 
awhile, but immediately one of the girls in the basket cried, 
4 I am looking through my little window, and I see that thou 
art resting. Wilt thou go on at once ? ’ He thought his bride 
was calling that to him, and got up on his legs again. Once 
more he was going to sit down, but instantly she cried, 4 1 am 
looking through my little window, and I see that thou art resting. 
Wilt thou go on directly ? ’ And whenever he stood still she 
cried this, and then he was forced to go on, until at last, groan¬ 
ing and out of breath, he took the basket with the gold and the 
two maidens into their parents’ house. 




At home, meanwhile, the bride prepared the marriage feast, 
and sent invitations to the friends of the wizard. Then she 
took a skull with grinning teeth, put some ornaments on it 
and a wreath of flowers, carried it upstairs to the garret 
window, and let it look out from thence. When all was ready, 
she got into a barrel of honey, and then cut the feather-bed 
open and rolled herself in it, until she looked like a wonderful 
bird, and no one could recognise her. Then she went out of 
the house, and on her way she met some of the wedding-guests, 
who asked, 

‘ O, Fitcher’s bird, how com’st thou here?' 1 

‘ I come from Fitcher's house quite near.’ 

‘ And what may the young bride be doing ?’ 

‘ From cellar to garret she’s swept all clean, 

And now from the window' she’s peeping, I ween.’ 

At last she met the bridegroom, who was coming slowly back. 
He, like the others, asked, 

‘ O, Fitcher’s bird, how com’st thou here?’ 

‘ I come from Fitcher’s house quite near.’ 

‘ And what may the young bride be doing ? ’ 

‘ From cellar to garret she’s swept all clean, 

And now from the window she’s peeping, I w r een.’ 

The bridegroom looked up, saw the decked-out skull, thought 
it was his bride, and nodded to her, greeting her kindly. But 
when he and his guests had all gone into the house, the brothers 
and kinsmen of the bride, who had been sent to rescue her, 
arrived. They locked all the doors of the house, that no one 
might escape, set fire to it, and the wizard and all his crew were 
burned to death. 


The Poor Miller’s Boy and the Cat 

I N a certain mill there lived an old 
miller who had neither wife nor 
child, and three apprentices served 
under him. As they had been with him 
several years, one day he said to them, 

4 1 am old, and want to sit in the 
chimney-corner, go out, and whichever 
of you brings the best horse home to me, 
to him will I give the mill, and in return 
for it he shall take care of me till my 

The third boy, however, was the drudge, who was looked 
down upon by the others, and they begrudged the mill to 
him, and meant that he should not have it anyhow. They 
all three went out together, and when they came to the village, 
the two said to stupid Hans, 4 Thou mayst just as well stay 
here; as long as thou livest thou wilt never get a horse.’ 

Nevertheless Hans went with them, and at night they came 
to a cave in which they all lay down to sleep. The two sharp 
ones waited until Hans was fast asleep, and then they got up 
and made off, leaving him where he was. And they thought 
they had done a very clever thing, though really it turned out 
very ill for them in the end. 

When the sun rose, and Hans woke up, he was lying in a 
deep cavern. He looked round him on every side and ex- 
claime , 4 O heavens! where am I ? ’ Then he got up and 
clambered out of the cave into the forest, and thought, 4 Here I 
am quite alone and deserted. How shall I obtain a horse now ? ’ 
As he went walking along buried in thought, he met a little 


tabby cat who said to him kindly, ‘Hans, where are you 
going ? ’ 

4 Alas ! thou canst not help me.’ 

4 1 well know what you are seeking,’ said the cat. 4 You 
wish to have a beautiful horse. Come with me, and be my 
faithful servant for seven years long, and then I will give you one 
more beautiful than any you have ever seen in your whole life.’ 

4 Well, this is a wonderful cat ! ’ thought Hans, 4 but I ’ve 
a good mind to see if she is telling the truth.’ 

So she took him with her into her enchanted castle, where 
there were nothing but cats, who were her servants. They 
leapt nimbly upstairs and downstairs, and were all very merry 
and happy. In the evening when they sat down to dinner, 
three of them had to make music. One played the bassoon, 
the other the fiddle, and the third put the trumpet to his lips, 
and blew out his cheeks as much as ever he could. When 
they had dined, the table was cleared away, and the cat said, 
4 Now, Hans, come and dance with me.’ 

4 No,’ said he, 4 1 won’t dance with a pussy cat. I have 
never done that yet.’ 

4 Then take him off to bed,’ said she to the cats. 

So one of them lighted him to his bedroom, one pulled his 
shoes off, one his stockings, and at last one of them blew out 
the candle. Next morning they returned and helped him out 
of bed, one put his stockings on for him, one tied his garters, 
one brought his shoes, one washed him, and one dried his face 
with her tail. 

4 That’s a very soft towel! ’ said Hans. He had to work 
for the cat, however, and chop wood every day, and for that 
he had an axe of silver, and the wedge and saw were of silver 
too and the mallet of copper. So he chopped up the wood, 
and lived there in the house and had good meat and drink, but 
never saw any one but the tabby cat and her servants. 

Once she said to him, 4 Go and mow my meadow, and make 
the hay,’ and she gave him a scythe of silver, and a whetstone 
of gold, but bade him deliver them up again carefully. So 



Hans went and did what he was bidden, and when he had 
finished, he carried the scythe and whetstone and the hay to 
the house, and asked if the time had not come for her to give 
him his reward. 

4 No, 5 said the cat; 4 you must first do something more for 
me of the same kind. There are beams of silver, a carpenter’s 
axe, a square, and everything that is needful, all of silver; with 
these build me a little house.’ 

Then Hans built the little house, and said that he had 
now done everything, and still he had no horse. Nevertheless, 
the seven years had gone by with him as if they were six 
months. The cat asked him if he would like to see her horses ? 

4 Yes,’ said Hans. 

Then she opened the door of the little house, and there 
stood twelve horses—such horses, so sleek and well groomed, 
that his heart rejoiced at the sight of them. 

And then she gave him something to eat and drink, and 
said, 4 Go home. I will not give thee thy horse to take away 
with thee, but in three days’ time I will follow thee and bring it.’ 

So Hans set out, and she showed him the way to the mill. 
She had, however, never once given him a new coat, and he 
had been obliged to keep on the dirty old smock-frock that he 
had brought with him, and that during the seven years had 
become ever so much too small for him. 

When he reached home, the two other apprentices were 
there again as well, and each of them certainly had brought a 
horse with him, but one of them was a blind one, and the other 
lame. They asked Hans where his horse was ? 

4 It will follow me in three days’ time,’ said he. 

Then they laughed and said, 4 Indeed, stupid Hans, and 
where wilt thou get a horse ? It will be a fine one ! ’ 

Hans went into the parlour, but the miller said he should 
not sit down to table, for he was so ragged and torn that they 
would all be ashamed of him if any one came in. So they gave 
him a mouthful of food outside, and at night, when they went 
to rest, the two others would not let him have a bed, and at 


last he was forced to creep into the goose-house, and lie down 
on a little hard straw. 

In the morning when he awoke, the three days had passed, 
and a coach drove up with six horses and they shone so bright 
that it was delightful to see them ! And a servant led a seventh 
as well, and that one was for the poor miller’s boy. Then a 
magnificent princess alighted from the coach and went into the 
mill, and who should this princess be but the little tabby cat 
whom poor Hans had served for seven years ! 

She asked the miller where the miller’s boy and drudge 
was ? And the miller told her, 4 We cannot have him here in 
the mill, he’s so ragged. He is lying in the goose-house.’ 

Then the King’s daughter said that they were to fetch him 
immediately. So they brought him out, and he had to hold 
his little smock-frock together as best he could to cover himself. 
The servants unpacked splendid garments and washed him 
and dressed him, and when that was done, no king could have 
looked more handsome. Then the maiden desired to see the 
horses which the other apprentices had brought home with 
them, and one of them was blind and the other lame. So she 
ordered the servant to bring the seventh horse, and when the 
miller saw that, he said such a horse as that had never yet 
entered his yard. 

‘ And that is for the miller’s third boy,’ said she. 

c Then it’s he must have the mill,’ said the miller, but the 
King’s daughter said that the horse there was for him, and 
that he was to keep his mill too, and she took her faithful Hans 
and set him in the coach, and drove away with him. They 
drove straight to the little house which he had built with the 
silver tools, and behold it was now a great castle, and every¬ 
thing inside it was of silver and gold. And then she married 
him, and he was rich, so rich that he had enough for all the rest 
of his life. 

After this, let no one ever say that any one who is silly 
can never become a person of importance. 


How Six Men got on in the World 

T HERE was once a man who understood all kinds of arts ; 
he served in war, and behaved well and bravely, but 
when the war was over he received his dismissal, and 
three farthings for his expenses on the way. ‘ Stop,’ said he, 
4 I shall not be content with this. If I can only meet with the 
right people, the King will yet have to give me all the treasure 
of the country.’ Then full of anger he went into the forest, and 
saw a man standing therein who had plucked up six trees as if 
they were blades of corn. He said to him, 4 Wilt thou be my 
servant and go with me ? ’ 4 Yes,’ he answered, 4 but, first, I 

will take this little bundle of sticks home to my mother,’ and he 
took one of the trees, and wrapped it round the five others, 
lifted the bundle on his back, and carried it away. Then he 
returned and went with his master, who said, 4 We two ought 
to be able to get through the world very well,’ and when they 
had walked on for a short while they found a huntsman who 
was kneeling, had shouldered his gun, and was about to fire. 
The master said to him, 4 Huntsman, what art thou going to 
shoot ? ’ He answered, 4 Two miles from here a fly is sitting 
on the branch of an oak-tree, and I want to shoot its left eye 
out.’ 4 Oh, come with me,’ said the man; 4 if we three are 
together, we certainly ought to be able to get on in the world ! ’ 
The huntsman was ready, and went with him, and they came 
to seven windmills whose sails were turning round with great 
speed, and yet no wind was blowing either on the right or the 
left, and no leaf was stirring. Then said the man, 4 I know not 
what is driving the windmills, not a breath of air is stirring,’ 
and he went onwards with his servants, and when they had 
walked two miles they saw a man sitting on a tree who was 


shutting one nostril, and blowing out of the other. 4 Good 
gracious ! what are you doing up there ? ’ He answered, 
‘ Two miles from here are seven windmills ; look, I am blowing 
them till they turn round.’ 4 Oh, come with me,’ said the 
man; 4 if we four are together, we shall carry the whole world 
before us ! ’ Then the blower came down and went with him, 
and after a while they saw a man who was standing on one leg 
and had taken off the other, and laid it beside him. Then the 
master said, 4 You have arranged things very comfortably to 
have a rest.’ 4 I am a runner,’ he replied, 4 and to stop myself 
running far too fast, I have taken off one of my legs, for if I 
run with both, I go quicker than any bird can fly.’ 4 Oh, go 
with me; if we five are together, we shall carry the whole 
world before us.’ So he went with them, and it was not long 
before they met a man who wore a cap, but had put it quite 
on one ear. Then the master said to him, 4 Gracefully, grace¬ 
fully, don’t stick your cap on one ear; you look just like a tom 
fool ! ’ 4 I must not wear it otherwise,’ said he, 4 for if I set 

my hat straight, a terrible frost comes on, and all the birds in 
the air are frozen, and drop dead on the ground.’ 4 Oh, come 
with me,’ said the master; 4 if we six are together, we can 
carry the whole world before us.’ 

Now the six came to a town where the King had pro¬ 
claimed that whosoever ran a race with his daughter and won 
the victory, should be her husband, but whosoever lost it, must 
lose his head. Then the man presented himself and said, 4 I 
will, however, let my servant run for me.’ The King replied, 
4 Then his life also must be staked, so that his head and thine are 
both set on the victory.’ When that was settled and made 
secure, the man buckled the other leg on the runner, and said 
to him, 4 Now be nimble, and help us to win.’ It was fixed 
that the one who was the first to bring some water from a far 
distant well, was to be the victor. The runner received a 
pitcher, and the King’s daughter one too, and they began to 
run at the same time, but in an instant, when the King’s 
daughter had got a very little way, the people who were looking 



It was just as if the wind had whistled by. 

on could see no more of the runner, and it was just as if the 
wind had whistled by. In a short time he reached the well, 
filled his pitcher with water, and turned back. Half-way 
home, however, he was overcome with fatigue, and set his 
pitcher down, lay down himself, and fell asleep. He had, 
however, made a pillow of a horse’s skull which was lying on 
the ground, in order that he might lie uncomfortably, and soon 
wake up again. In the meantime the King’s daughter, who 
could also run very well—quite as well as any ordinary mortal 
can—had reached the well, and was hurrying back with her 
pitcher full of water, and when she saw the runner lying there 
asleep, she was glad and said, 4 My enemy is delivered over 
into my hands,’ emptied his pitcher, and ran on. And now 
all would have been lost if by good luck the huntsman had not 
been standing at the top of the castle, and had not seen every¬ 
thing with his sharp eyes. Then said he, 4 The King’s daughter 
shall still not prevail against us ’ ; and he loaded his gun, and 
shot so cleverly, that he shot the horse’s skull away from under 
the runner’s head without hurting him. Then the runner 


awoke, leapt up, and saw that his pitcher was empty, and that 
the King’s daughter was already far in advance. He did not 
lose heart, however, but ran back to the well with his pitcher, 
again drew some water, and was still at home again, ten minutes 
before the King’s daughter. 4 Behold ! ’ said he, 4 I have not 
bestirred myself till now; it did not deserve to be called running 

But it pained the King, and still more his daughter, that 
she should be carried off by a common disbanded soldier like 
that; so they took counsel with each other how to get rid of 
him and his companions. Then said the King to her, 4 I have 
thought of a way. Don’t be afraid; they shall not come back 
again.’ And he said to them, 4 You shall now make merry 
together, and eat and drink,’ and he conducted them to a room 
which had a floor of iron, and the doors also were of iron, and 
the windows were guarded with iron bars. There was a table 
in the room covered with delicious food, and the King said to 
them, 4 Go in, and enjoy yourselves.’ And when they were 
inside, he ordered the doors to be shut and bolted. Then he 
sent for the cook, and commanded him to make a fire under the 
room until the iron became red-hot. This the cook did, and 
the six who were sitting at table began to feel quite warm, and 
they thought the heat was caused by the food ; but as it became 
still greater, and they wanted to get out, and found that the 
doors and windows were bolted, they became aware that the 
King must have an evil intention, and wanted to suffocate 
them. 4 He shall not succeed, however,’ said the one with the 
cap. 4 I will cause a frost to come, before which the fire shall 
be ashamed, and creep away.’ Then he put his cap on straight, 
and immediately there came such a frost that all heat dis¬ 
appeared, and the food on the dishes began to freeze. When 
an hour or two had passed by, and the King believed that they 
had perished in the heat, he had the doors opened to behold 
them himself. But when the doors were opened, all six were 
standing there, alive and well, and said that they should very 
much like to get out to warm themselves, for the very food was 



fast frozen to the dishes with the cold. Then, full of anger, 
the King went down to the cook, scolded him, and asked why 
he had not done what he had been ordered to do. But the 
cook replied, 4 There is heat enough there, just look yourself.’ 
Then the King saw that a fierce fire was burning under the iron 
room, and perceived that there was no getting the better of 
the six in this way. 

Again the King considered how to get rid of his unpleasant 
guests, and caused their chief to be brought and said, 4 If thou 
wilt take gold and renounce my daughter, thou shalt have as 
much as thou wilt.’ 

4 Oh yes, Lord King,’ he answered. 4 Give me as much as 
my servant can carry, and I will not ask for your daughter.’ 

On this the King was satisfied, and the other continued, 
4 In fourteen days I will come and fetch it.’ Thereupon he 
summoned together all the tailors in the whole kingdom, and 
they were to sit for fourteen days and sew a sack. And when 
it was ready, the strong one who could tear up trees had to 
take it on his back, and go with it to the King. Then said the 
King, 4 Who can that strong fellow be who is carrying a bundle 
of linen on his back that is as big as a house ? ’ and he was 
alarmed and said, 4 What a lot of gold he can carry away ! ’ 
Then he commanded a ton of gold to be brought; it took 
sixteen of his strongest men to carry it, but the strong one 
snatched it up in one hand, put it in his sack, and said, 4 Why 
don’t you bring more at the same time !—that hardly covers 
the bottom ! ’ Then, little by little, the King caused all his 
treasure to be brought thither, and the strong one pushed it 
into the sack, and still the sack was not half full with it. 
4 Bring more,’ cried he ; 4 these few crumbs don’t fill it.’ Then 
seven thousand carts with gold had to be gathered together 
in the whole kingdom, and the strong one thrust them and the 
oxen harnessed to them into his sack. 4 1 will examine it no 
longer,’ said he, 4 but will just take what comes, so long as the 
sack is but full.’ When all that was inside, there was still 
room for a great deal more. Then he said, 4 1 will just make 


an end of the thing ; people do sometimes tie up a sack even 
when it is not full.’ So he took it on his back, and went away 
with his comrades. When the King now saw how one single 
man was carrying away the entire wealth of the country, he 
became enraged, and bade his horsemen mount and pursue the 
six, and ordered them to take the sack away from the strong 
one. Two regiments speedily overtook the six, and called 
out, ‘You are prisoners! Put down the sack with the gold, or 
you will all be cut to pieces ! ’ 4 What say you ? ’ cried the 
blower, 4 that we are prisoners ! Rather than that should 
happen, all of you shall dance about in the air.’ And he 
closed one nostril, and with the other blew on the two regiments. 
Then they were driven away from each other, and carried into 
the blue sky over all the mountains—one here, the other there. 
One sergeant cried for mercy ; he had nine wounds, and was a 
brave fellow who did not deserve ill-treatment. The blower 
stopped a little so that he came down without injury, and then 
the blower said to him, 4 Now go home to thy King, and tell 
him he had better send some more horsemen, and I will blow 
them all into the air.’ When the King was informed of this he 
said, 4 Let the rascals go. They have the best of it.’ Then 
the six conveyed the riches home, divided it amongst them, 
and lived in content until their death. 


The Two Travellers 

H ILL and vale do not come together, but the children of 
men do, good and bad. In this way a shoemaker and 
a tailor once met each other in their travels. The 
tailor was a handsome little fellow who was always merry and 
full of fun. He saw the shoemaker coming towards him from 
the opposite direction, and as he could tell by his bag what 
kind of a trade he plied, he sang a little mocking song to him, 

‘ Sew me the seam, 

Draw me the thread, 

Spread it over with pitch, 

Knock the nail on the head.’’ 

The shoemaker, however, could not stand a joke ; he pulled a 
face as if he had drunk vinegar, and made as if he were about 
to seize the tailor by the throat. But the little fellow began to 
laugh, held out his flask to him, and said, 4 No harm was meant. 
Have a drop of this, and wash your anger down.’ 

The shoemaker took a good hearty drink and the storm on 
his face began to clear away. He gave the bottle back to the 
tailor and said that they should travel together. 

4 All right,’ answered the tailor, 4 if only it suits you to go 
to a big town where there is no lack of work.’ 

4 That is just where I want to go,’ answered the shoemaker. 
4 In a small nest there is nothing to earn, and in the country 
people like to go barefoot.’ So they travelled on together, and 
always set one foot before the other like a weasel in the snow. 

Both of them had time enough, but little to bite and to sup. 
When they reached a town they went about and paid their re¬ 
spects to the tradesmen, and because the tailor looked so lively 


and merry, and had such jolly red cheeks, every one gave him 
work willingly, and when luck was good the master’s daughters 
gave him a kiss beneath the porch, as well. When he again 
fell in with the shoemaker, the tailor had always the most in 
his bundle. The ill-tempered shoemaker made a wry face, 
and thought, 4 The greater the rascal the more the luck,’ but 
the tailor began to laugh and to sing, and shared all he got 
with his comrade. If but a couple of pence jingled in his 
pockets, he ordered good cheer, and thumped the table in his 
joy till the glasses danced, and it was light come, light go, with 

When they had travelled for some time, they came to a 
great forest through which passed the road to the capital. 
Two footpaths, however, led through it, one of which was a 
seven days’ journey, and the other only two, but neither of the 
travellers knew which way was the short one. They seated 
themselves beneath an oak-tree, and took counsel for what 
they should prepare, and for how many days they should 
provide themselves with bread. The shoemaker said, 4 One 
must look before one leaps; I will take with me bread for a 

4 What ! ’ said the tailor, 4 drag bread for seven days on 
one’s back like a beast of burden, and not be able to look about. 
I shall trust in God, and not trouble myself about anything ! 
The money I have in my pocket is as good in summer as in 
winter, but in hot weather bread gets dry, and mouldy into 
the bargain. Even my coat does not go as far as it might. 
Besides, why should we not find the right way ? Bread for 
two days, and that’s enough.’ Each, therefore, bought his 
own bread, and then they tried their luck in the forest. 

It was as quiet there as in a church. No wind stirred, no 
brook murmured, no bird sang, and through the thick leaves 
no sunbeam forced its way. The shoemaker spoke never a 
word; the heavy bread weighed down his back until the per¬ 
spiration streamed down his cross and gloomy face. The 
tailor, however, was quite merry; he jumped about, hummed on 
N 193 


a leaf, or sang a song, and thought to himself, 4 God in Heaven 
must be pleased to see me so happy.’ 

This lasted two days, but on the third the forest had not 
come to an end, and the tailor had eaten up all his bread, so 
his heart sank down a good yard deeper. In the meantime he 
did not lose courage, but trusted to God and his luck. On the 
third day he lay down in the evening hungry under a tree, and 
rose again next morning hungry still. So also passed the 
fourth day, and when the shoemaker seated himself on a fallen 
tree and devoured his dinner, the tailor was only a looker-on. 

If he begged for a little piece of bread the other laughed 
mockingly, and said, 4 Thou hast always been so merry, now 
thou canst try for once what it is to be sad. The birds which 
sing too early in the morning are struck by the hawk in the 
evening.’ In short he was quite without pity. 

But on the fifth morning the poor tailor could no longer 
stand up, and was hardly able to utter one word for weakness. 
His cheeks were white, and his eyes were red. 

Then the shoemaker said to him, 4 1 will give thee a bit 
of bread to-day, but in return for it, I will put out thy 
right eye.’ 

Save his life, he must. And as there was no other way, the 
unhappy tailor was forced to submit. He wept once more with 
both eyes, and then held his face up to the shoemaker, who 
had a heart of stone, and who put out his right eye with a 
sharp knife. The tailor called to mind what his mother used 
to say to him when he had been enjoying himself in the pantry 
on the sly. 4 Eat what one can. Suffer what one must.’ 

When he had finished his dearly bought bread, he got on 
his legs again, forgot his misery and comforted himself with the 
thought that he could always see well enough with one eye. 
But on the sixth day, hunger made itself felt again, and 
gnawed him almost to the heart. In the evening he fell down 
by a tree, and on the seventh morning he could not raise him¬ 
self up for faintness, and death was close at hand. 

Then said the shoemaker, 4 I will show mercy and give thee 


bread once more, but thou shalt not have it for nothing, for I 
shall put out thy other eye for it.’ 

And now the tailor felt how thoughtless his life had been, 
prayed to God for forgiveness, and said, 4 Do what thou wilt, 
I will bear what I must, but remember that our Lord God 
does not always look on passively, and that an hour will come 
when the evil deed which thou hast done and which I have 
not deserved of thee, will be requited. When times were good 
with me, I shared what I had with thee. My trade is of that 
kind that each stitch must always be exactly like the other. 
If I no longer have my eyes and can sew no more I must go 
a-begging. At any rate do not leave me here alone when I am 
blind, or I shall die of hunger.’ 

But the shoemaker, who had driven God out of his heart, 
took the knife and put out his left eye. Then he gave him a 
bit of bread to eat, held out a stick to him, and drew him on 
behind him. 

When the sun went down, they got out of the forest, and 
before them in the open country stood the gallows. Thither 
the shoemaker guided the blind tailor, and then left him alone 
and went his way. Weariness, pain, and hunger made the 
wretched man fall asleep, and he slept the whole night. When 
day dawned he awoke, but knew not where he lay. Two 
criminals were hanging on the gallows, and a crow sat on the 
head of each of them. Then one of the men who had been 
hanged began to speak, and said, 4 Brother, art thou awake ? ’ 

4 Yes, I am awake,’ answered the second. 

4 Then I will tell thee something,’ said the first; 4 the dew 
which this night has fallen down over us from the gallows, 
gives every one who washes himself with it his eyes again. 
If blind people did but know this how many would regain their 
sight who do not believe that to be possible.’ 

When the tailor heard that, he took his pocket-handkerchief, 
pressed it on the grass, and when it was moist with dew, washed 
the sockets of his eyes with it. Immediately what the man 
on the gallows had said came true, and a pair of healthy new 



eyes filled the sockets. It was not long before the tailor saw the 
sun rise behind the mountains. In the plain before him lay 
the great royal city with its magnificent gates and hundred 
towers, and the golden balls and crosses which were on the 
spires began to shine. He could distinguish every leaf on the 
trees, saw the birds which flew past, and the midges which 
danced in the air. He took a needle out of his pocket, and as 
he could thread it as well as ever he had done, his heart danced 
with delight. He threw himself on his knees, thanked God for 
the mercy He had shown him, and said his morning prayer. 
Nor did he forget to pray for the dead men who were hanging 
there swinging against each other in the wind like the pendu¬ 
lums of clocks. Then he took his bundle on his back and soon 
forgot the pain of heart he had endured, and went on his way 
singing and whistling. 

The first thing he met was a brown foal running about the 
fields at large. He caught it by the mane, and wanted to jump 
on it and ride into the town. The foal, however, begged to be 
set free. ‘I am still too young,’ it said; 4 even a light tailor 
such as thou art would break my back in two. Let me go till 
I have grown strong. Perhaps the time will come when I may 
reward thee for it.’ 

4 Run off,’ said the tailor; 4 I see thou art still a giddy thing.’ 
He gave it a touch with a switch over its back, whereupon it 
kicked up its hind legs for joy, leapt over hedges and ditches, 
and galloped away into the open country. 

But the little tailor had eaten nothing since the day before. 
4 The sun to be sure fills my eyes,’ said he, 4 but the bread does 
not fill my mouth. The first thing that crosses my path and is 
even half good to eat, will have to suffer for it.’ 

Ere long a stork stepped solemnly over the meadow 
towards him. 

4 Halt! halt! ’ cried the tailor, and seized him by the leg. 
4 I don’t know if thou art good to eat or not, but my hunger 
leaves me no great choice. I must cut thy head off, and roast 



4 Don’t do that,’ replied the stork. 4 I am a sacred bird, 
which brings mankind great good, and no one does me an injury. 
Leave me my life, and I may do thee good in some other way.’ 

4 Well, be off, Cousin Longlegs,’ said the tailor. And the 
stork rose into the air with his long legs dangling down, and 
flapped gently away. 

4 What ’s to be the end of this ? ’ said the tailor to himself 
at last; 4 my hunger grows greater and greater, and my stomach 
emptier and emptier. Whatsoever comes my way now is 
lost.’ At this moment he saw a couple of ducklings which were 
on a pond come swimming towards him. 4 You come just at 
the right moment,’ said he, and laid hold of one of them to 
wring its neck. On this an old duck that was hidden among 
the reeds began to scream out loud, and swam to him with 
open beak, and begged him urgently to spare her dear children. 

4 Canst thou not imagine,’ said she, 4 how thy mother would 
mourn if any one wanted to carry thee off, and take thy life ? ’ 

4 Oh, hold thy noise,’ said the good-tempered tailor; 4 thou 
shalt keep thy children,’ and he put the captive back into the 

As he turned to go, he found he was standing in front of an 
old hollow tree, and he saw some wild bees flying in and out of 
it. 4 There I shall find the reward of my good deed,’ said the 
tailor; 4 the honey will refresh me at once.’ 

But the Queen-bee came out, and threatened him and said, 
4 If thou touchest my people, and destroyest my nest, our 
stings shall pierce thy skin like ten thousand red-hot needles. 
But if thou wilt leave us in peace and go thy way, we will do 
thee a service for it another time.’ 

The little tailor saw that here also nothing was to be done. 
4 Three dishes empty and nothing on the fourth is a bad 
dinner ! ’ So he dragged himself with his famished stomach 
into the town, and as it was just striking twelve, dinner was 
ready cooked in the inn, and he was able to sit down at once. 

When he was satisfied he said, 4 Now I will get to work.’ He 
went round the town, sought a master, and soon found a good 



situation. As, however, he was a thorough master of his 
trade, it was not long before he became famous, and every one 
wanted to have his new coat made by the little tailor, whose 
importance increased daily. 

4 I can go no further in skill,’ said he, 4 and yet things get 
better and better every day.’ 

At last the King appointed him court-tailor. 

But how things do happen in the world ! On the very 
same day his former comrade the shoemaker also became 
court-shoemaker. When the latter caught sight of the tailor, 
and saw that he had once more two healthy eyes, his conscience 
troubled him. 4 Before he takes revenge on me,’ thought he 
to himself, 4 I must dig a pit for him.’ He, however, who digs 
a pit for another, falls into it himself. 

In the evening when work was over and it had grown dusk, 
he stole to the King and said, 4 Lord King, the tailor is an 
arrogant fellow and has boasted that he will get the gold crown 
back again which was lost in ancient times.’ 

4 That would please me very much,’ said the King, and he 
caused the tailor to be brought before him next morning, and 
ordered him to get the crown back again, or to leave the town 
for ever. 

4 Oho ! ’ thought the tailor, 4 a rogue gives more than he 
has got. If the surly King wants me to do what can be done 
by no one, I will not wait till morning but will go out of the 
town at once, to-day.’ He packed up his bundle, therefore, 
but when he was outside the gate he could not help feeling 
sorry to give up his good fortune, and turn his back on the 
town in which all had gone so well with him. 

Soon he came to the pond where he had made the acquaint¬ 
ance of the ducks, and at that very moment the old one whose 
ducklings he had spared, was sitting there on the bank, pluming 
herself with her beak. She knew him again instantly, and 
asked why he was hanging his head so ? 

4 Thou wilt not be surprised when thou hearest what has 
befallen me,’ replied the tailor, and told her his fate. 



4 If that be all,’ said the duck, 4 we can help thee. The 
crown fell into the water, and lies down below at the bottom. 
We ’ll soon bring it up again for thee. In the meantime just 
spread thy handkerchief ready on the bank.’ She dived down 
with her twelve young ones, and in five minutes up she came 
again with the crown resting on her wings, and the twelve young 
ones were swimming round about, helping to carry it with 
their beaks. They swam to the shore and put the crown on 
the handkerchief. 

No one can imagine how magnificent the crown was. 
When the sun shone on it, it gleamed like a hundred thousand 
rubies. The tailor tied his handkerchief together by the four 
corners, and carried it to the King, who was full of joy, and 
hung a gold chain round the tailor’s neck. 

When the shoemaker saw that his first stroke had failed, 
he planned a second, and went to the King and said, 4 Lord 
King, the tailor has become insolent again. He boasts that he 
will copy in wax the whole of the royal palace, with everything 
that belongs to it, loose or fast, inside and out.’ 

The King sent for the tailor and ordered him to copy in 
wax the whole of the royal palace, with everything that 
belonged to it, movable or immovable, within and without, 
and if he did not succeed in doing this, or if so much as one 
nail on the wall were wanting, he should be imprisoned for his 
whole life under ground. 

The tailor thought, 4 It gets worse and worse ! No one can 
endure that ! ’ and he threw his bundle on his back, and went 
forth. When he came to the hollow tree, he sat down and 
hung his head. The bees came flying out, and the Queen-bee 
asked him if he had a stiff neck, since he held his head so 
awry ? 

4 Alas I no,’ answered the tailor; 4 something quite different 
weighs me down,’ and he told her what the King had demanded 
of him. 

The bees began to buzz and hum amongst themselves, and 
the Queen-bee said, 4 Just go home again, but come back to- 



morrow at this time, and bring a large sheet with you, and then 
all will be well.’ 

So he turned back again, but the bees flew to the royal palace 
and straight into it through the open windows, crept round 
about into every corner, and inspected everything most care¬ 
fully. Then they hurried back and modelled the palace in 
wax with such rapidity that any one looking on would have 
thought it was growing before his eyes. By the evening all 
was ready, and when the tailor came next morning, the whole 
of the splendid building was there, and not one nail in the wall 
or tile of the roof was wanting, and it was as delicate and as 
white as snow, and it smelt sweet as honey. The tailor 
wrapped it carefully in his cloth and took it to the King, who 
could not admire it enough, placed it in his largest hall, and in 
return for it presented the tailor with a large house built of 

The shoemaker, however, did not give up, but went for the 
third time to the King and said, 4 Lord King, it has come to the 
tailor’s ears that no water will spring up in the courtyard of 
the castle, and he has boasted that it shall rise up in the midst 
of the courtyard to a man’s height and be clear as crystal.’ 

Then the King ordered the tailor to be brought before him 
and said, 4 If a stream of water does not rise in my courtyard 
by to-morrow as thou hast promised, the executioner shall, 
on that very spot, make thee shorter by the head.’ 

The poor tailor did not take long to think about it, but 
hurried out to the gate, and because this time it was a matter 
of life and death, the tears rolled down his face. Whilst thus 
he went along full of sorrow, the foal to which he had formerly 
given its liberty, and which had now become a beautiful 
chestnut horse, came leaping towards him. 

4 The time has come,’ it said to the tailor, 4 when I can repay 
thee for thy good deed. I know already what thou art in 
need of, but thou shalt soon be at ease. Get on my back. I 
can carry two such as thou.’ The tailor’s courage came back. 
He jumped up in one bound, and the horse went full speed into 


the town, right up to the courtyard of the castle. It galloped 
as quick as lightning three times round it, and at the third 
time it came to a sudden stop. At the same instant, however, 
there was a terrific clap of thunder, in the middle of the court¬ 
yard a clod of earth was thrown like a cannon-ball into the 


air, high over the castle, and instantly after it a jet of water 
rose as high as man and horse. The water was as clear as 
crystal, and danced in the sunlight. When the King saw that 
he arose in amazement, and went and embraced the tailor in 
the sight of all men. 

But good fortune did not last long. The King had 
daughters in plenty, one still prettier than the other, but he 
had no son. So the malicious shoemaker betook himself for 
the fourth time to the King, and said, 4 Lord King, the tailor 
has not given up his arrogance. He has now boasted that if he 
liked, he could cause a son to be brought to the Lord King 
through the air.’ 

The King commanded the tailor to be summoned, and said, 
4 If thou dost cause a son to be brought to me within nine days, 
thou shalt have my eldest daughter to wife.’ 

4 The reward is great indeed,’ thought the little tailor. 
‘ One would willingly do something for it. But the cherries 
grow too high for me. If I climb for them, the bough will 
break beneath me and I shall fall.’ 

He went home, seated himself cross-legged on his work¬ 
table, and thought over what was to be done. 4 It can’t be 
managed,’ cried he at last, 4 I will go away. After all, I can’t 
live in peace here.’ He tied up his bundle and hurried away 
to the gate. When he got to the meadow, he saw his old friend 
the stork, who was walking backwards and forwards like a 
philosopher. Sometimes he stood still, took a frog into close 
consideration, and at length swallowed it down. 

The stork came to him and greeted him. 4 I see,’ he began, 

4 that thou hast thy pack on thy back. Why art thou leaving 
the town ? ’ 

The tailor told him what the King had required of 



him, and how he could not perform it, and lamented his 

‘Don’t let thy hair grow grey about that,’ said the stork; 
‘ I will help thee out of thy difficulty. For a long time now 
I have carried children in swaddling-clothes into the town, so 
for once in a way I can fetch a little prince out of the well. 
Go home and be easy. In nine days from this time repair to 

the royal palace, and there 
will I come.’ 

The little tailor went 
home, and at the appointed 
time was at the castle. It 
was not long before the stork 
came flying there and tapped 
at the window. The tailor 
opened it, and cousin Long- 
legs came carefully in, and 
walked with solemn steps 
over the smooth marble 
pavement. And he had a 
baby in his beak that was 
as lovely as an angel, and 
stretched out its little hands 
to the Queen. The stork 
laid it in her lap, and she 
caressed it and kissed it, and was beside herself with delight. 
Before the stork flew away, he took his travelling bag off his 
back and handed it to the Queen. In it there were little paper 
parcels of coloured sweets, and they were divided amongst 
the little princesses. The eldest, however, had none of them, 
but got the merry tailor for a husband. 

‘ It seems to me,’ said he, ‘ just as if I had won the highest 
prize. My mother was right after all. She always said that 
whoever trusts in God and only has good luck, can never 

The shoemaker had to make the shoes in which the little 

Cousin Longlegs came carefully in. 


tailor danced at the wedding festival, after which he was 
commanded to quit the town for ever. The road to the forest 
led him to the gallows. Worn out with anger, rage, and the 
heat of the day, he threw himself down. When he had closed 
his eyes and was about to sleep, the two crows flew down from 
the heads of the men who were hanging there, and pecked his 
eyes out. In his madness he ran into the forest and must have 
died there of hunger, for no one has ever seen or heard of him 

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, 4 Let my dinner be brought into the forest to me by 
our eldest daughter, or I shall never get my work done. And 
in order that she may not miss her way,’ he added, 4 I will take 
a bag of millet with me and strew the seeds on the path.’ 

When, therefore, the sun was just above the middle of the 
forest, the girl set out on her way with a bowl of soup, but the 
hedge-sparrows, and the wood-sparrows, the 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, owls hooted, and she began 
to be afraid. Then in the distance she saw a light glimmering 
between the trees. 4 There must be some people living there, 
who could take me in for the night,’ thought she, and she went 
on towards the light. It was not long before she came to a 
little house the windows of which were all lighted up. She 
knocked, and a rough voice from within cried, 4 Come in.’ The 
girl stepped into the dark entrance, and knocked at the door 
of the room. 



‘ Come straight in,’ cried the voice, and when she opened 
the door, an old grey-haired man was sitting at the table with 
his face leaning on his 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, 

‘ Pretty little hen, 

Pretty little cock, 

And pretty brindled cow, 

What say ye to that ? 1 

‘ Duks,’ answered the animals, and that must have meant, 
‘ We are willing,’ for the old man said, 4 Here you shall have 
shelter and food. Go to the fire, and cook us our supper.’ 

The girl found plenty of everything in the kitchen, and 
cooked a good supper, but had no thought for the animals. 
She carried the full dishes to the table, seated herself by the 
grey-haired man, and 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 . 1 

Then said the old man, ‘ Just go upstairs, and thou wilt 
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. In a little while the grey- 
haired man came, took his candle, looked at 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. 

4 It is not my fault,’ she replied; 4 the girl went out with 
your dinner, and must have lost herself, but she is sure to 
come back to-morrow.’ 

The wood-cutter, however, arose before dawn to go into 
the forest, and asked that the second daughter should take 
him his dinner that day. 

4 I will take a bag with lentils,’ said he. 4 The seeds are 
larger than millet; the girl will see them better, and can’t lose 
her way.’ So when dinner-time came, the girl went out with 
his 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, 

4 Pretty little hen, 

Pretty little cock, 

And pretty brindled cow, 

What say ye to that ? 1 

The animals again replied 4 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 . 1 

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 run about after every buzzing humble-bee, as her 
sisters did.’ 

The mother did not want to do it, and said, 4 Am I to lose 
my dearest child, as well ? ’ 

4 Have no fear,’ he replied, 4 the girl will not go astray. 
She is too prudent and sensible. Besides I will take some peas 
with me, and 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 take. 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 once more asked his animals, 

‘ Pretty little hen, 

Pretty little cock, 

And pretty brindled cow, 

What say ye to that ? 1 

4 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 some good soup, and the bowl 
was placed upon the table, she said, 4 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 strewed it for the 
cock and hen, and a whole armful of sweet-smelling hay for the 





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1 I hope you will like it, dear animals,’ said she, 4 and you 
shall have a refreshing draught in case you are thirsty.’ 

Then she fetched in 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, 4 Ought we not to go to bed ? ’ 

( Pretty little hen, 

Pretty little cock, 

And pretty brindled cow, 

What say ye to that ?’ 

The animals answered 4 Duks,’ 

4 Thou hast eaten with us, 

Thou hast drunk with us, 

Thou hast had kind thought for all of us, 

We wish thee good-night . 1 

O O 

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 on 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 
creaking and of cracking in every corner, and the doors burst 
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. As, 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 was 



awaked in the morning by the brightness of the sunshine, what 
did her eyes behold ? She was lying in a vast hall, and every¬ 
thing around her shone with royal splendour. 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 shoes 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 ? 

4 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 little hen, and the cock, and the pretty brindled cow.’ 

She thought the old man was up already, and looked round 
at his bed, and it was not he, but a stranger that was lying in it. 
And as she was looking at him, and became aware that he was 
young and handsome, he awoke, sat up in bed, and said, 4 I 
am a King’s son, and was bewitched by a wicked witch, and 
made to live in this forest, as an old grey-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 thou hast done, and by thee 
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 risen, the King’s son ordered the three 
attendants to set out and fetch the father and mother of the 
girl to the marriage feast. 

4 But where are my two sisters ? ’ inquired the maiden. 

4 I have locked them in the cellar,’ said he, 4 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 Peasant’s Wise Daughter 

T HERE was once a poor peasant who had no land, but 
a little cottage only, and one daughter. Said his 
daughter, 4 We ought to ask our lord the King for a 
bit of the land that has just been cleared.’ When the King 
heard of their poverty, he presented them with a little field, 
which she and her father dug up, and intended to sow with a 
little corn and grain of that kind. When they had dug over 
nearly the whole of the field, they found in the earth a mortar 
of pure gold. 

4 Listen,’ said the father to the girl. 4 As our lord the 
King has been so gracious and given us the field, we ought 
to give him this mortar in return for it.’ 

The daughter, however, would not consent to this, and said, 

4 Father, if we went with the mortar without having the 
o 209 


pestle as well, we should have to get the pestle, so you had 
much better say nothing about it.’ 

However, he wouldn’t obey her, but took the mortar and 
carried it to the King, said he had found it in the cleared land, 
and begged him to accept it as a present. The King took the 
mortar, and asked if he had found nothing besides that ? 

‘No,’ answered the countryman. 

Then the King said that he must now bring him the pestle. 
The peasant said they had not found that, but he might just 
as well have spoken to the wind ; he was put in prison, and 
there he should stay until he produced the pestle. Every day 
the servants had to carry him bread and water, which is what 
people get in prison, and they heard how the man cried out 
continually, ‘ Ah ! if I’d only listened to my daughter ! Alas, 
alas! if I’d only listened to my daughter! ’ So they went to 
the King and told him how the prisoner was always crying, 
‘ Ah ! if I had but listened to my daughter ! ’ and would neither 
eat nor drink. The King commanded the servants to bring 
the prisoner before him, and he asked the peasant why he was 
always crying, ‘ Ah ! if I’d only listened to my daughter ! ’ 
and what it was that his daughter had said. 

‘ She told me that I ought not to take the mortar to you, 
for I should have to produce the pestle as well.’ 

‘ If you have a daughter who is as wise as that, bid her come 
here.’ So she had to appear before the King, who asked her 
if she really was so wise, and said he would set her a riddle, and 
if she could guess that, he would marry her. She at once said 
yes, she’d guess it. 

Then said the King, ‘ Come to me not clothed, not naked, 
not riding, not walking, not in the road, and not out of the 
road, and if thou canst do that I will marry thee.’ 

So she went away, took off all she had on, and then she was 
not clothed, and next she took a great fishing-net, and seated 
herself in the middle of it and wound it round and round her, 
and then she was not naked, and she hired an ass, and tied 
the fisherman’s net to its tail, so that it had to drag her along, 


and that was neither riding nor walking. The ass had also 
to drag her in the cart-ruts, so that she only touched the ground 
with her big toe, and that was neither being in the road nor 
out of the road. And when she arrived in that fashion, the 
King said she had guessed the riddle and fulfilled all the 
conditions. Then he ordered her father to be let out of 
prison, took her to wife, and gave into her care all the royal 

Now when some years had passed, the King was once 
reviewing his troops on parade, when it happened that some 
peasants who had been selling wood stopped before the palace 
with their wagons, some of which had oxen yoked to them, 
and some horses. There was one peasant had three horses, 
one of which had a young foal, and it ran away and lay down 
between two oxen that were in front of the wagon. When the 
peasants met they began to dispute, and soon came to blows 
and made a great disturbance, for the peasant with the oxen 
wanted to keep the foal, and said it belonged to one of his 
oxen, and the other said it was his horse’s, and that it was his. 
The dispute was laid before the King, and he gave the verdict 
that the foal should stay where it had been found, and so the 
peasant with the oxen, to whom it did not belong, got it. Then 
the other went away, weeping and lamenting over his foal. 
Now he had heard how gracious his lady the Queen was 
because she herself had sprung from poor peasant folks, so he 
went to her and begged her to see if she could not help him to 
get his foal back again. 

4 Yes,’ said she, 4 I will tell thee what to do, if thou wilt 
promise not to betray me. Early to-morrow morning, when 
the King parades the guard, place thyself there in the middle 
of the road by which he must pass, take a great fishing-net and 
pretend to be fishing ; go on fishing too, and empty out the 
net as if thou hadst got it full ’—and then she told him also 
what he was to say if he was questioned by the King. 

So next day the peasant stood where he had been told, 
and fished on dry ground. When the King passed by, and 



saw it, lie sent his messenger to ask what the stupid man 
was about. 

He answered, ‘ I am fishing.’ 

The messenger asked how he could fish when there was no- 
water there at all. 

The peasant said, 4 It ’s just as easy for me to fish on dry 
land as it is for an ox to have a foal.’ 

The messenger went back and took the answer to the King, 
who ordered the peasant to be brought to him and told him 
that this was not his own idea, and he wanted to know whose 
it was. The peasant must confess that at once. But the 
peasant would not do so, and said always, God forbid he should ! 
the idea was his own. So they threw him across a bundle of 
straw, and he was beaten and ill-treated until at last he admitted 
that he had it from the Queen. 

When the King got home again, he said to his wife, 4 Why 
hast thou behaved so falsely to me ? I will not have thee any 
longer for a wife ; thy time is up, go back to the place from 
whence thou earnest—to thy peasant’s hut.’ 

One favour, however, he granted her : she might take with 
her the one thing that was dearest and best in her eyes ; and 
thus was she dismissed. 

She said, 4 Yes, my dear husband, if you command this, I 
will do it,’ and she threw her arms round him and kissed him, 
and said she would take leave of him. Then she ordered a 
strong sleeping draught to be brought, to drink farewell to him; 
the King took a great pull at it, but she drank only a little. 
He soon fell into a deep sleep, and when she saw that, she called 
a servant and took a beautiful white linen sheet and wrapped 
the King in it, and the servant had to carry him into a carriage 
that stood before the door, and she drove with him to her own 
little cottage. She laid him in her own little bed, and he slept 
one day and one night without waking, and when he did wake 
he looked round and said, 4 Bless me ! where am I ? ’ He 
called his attendants, but none of them were there. 

At length his wife came to his bedside and said, 4 My dear 


lord and King, you told me I might bring away with me from 
the palace that which was dearest and most precious in my 
eyes—I have nothing more precious and dear than yourself, so 
I have brought you with me.’ 

Tears rose to the King’s eyes and he said, 4 Dear wife, thou 
shalt be mine and I will be thine,’ and he took her back with 
him to the royal palace and was married again to her, and 
very likely they are still living at the present time. 

The Two Brothers 

O NCE upon a time there were two brothers, one rich and 
the other poor. The rich one was a goldsmith and 
he was evil-hearted. The poor one supported himself 
by making brooms, and was good and honourable. And he 
had two children, who were twins and as like each other as 
two drops of water. These two boys were often in and out 
of the rich man’s house, and sometimes got some of the scraps 
to eat. 

It happened once when the poor man was going into the 
forest to gather twigs for his brooms, that he saw a bird which 
was all golden and more beautiful than he had ever seen before. 
He picked up a little stone, and threw it, and was lucky enough 
to hit him, but it brought down one golden feather only and 
the bird flew away. The man picked up the feather and 
carried it to his brother, who looked at it and said, 4 It is pure 
gold 1 ’ and gave him a great deal of money for it. Next day 
he climbed into a birch-tree, and was about to cut off a branch 
or two when out flew the same bird. The man searched till 
he found a nest, with an egg in it, which was of gold. He took 
the egg home with him, and carried it to his brother, who again 
said, 4 It is pure gold,’ and gave him what it was worth. 

At last the goldsmith said, 4 How I should like to have the 



bird itself! ’ So the poor man went into the forest for the 
third time, and again saw the golden bird sitting on the tree, 
so he threw a stone and brought it down and carried it to his 
brother, who gave him a great heap of gold for it. 4 Now,’ 
thought he, 4 I can make both ends meet,’ and went contentedly 

The goldsmith was crafty and cunning, and knew very well 
what kind of a bird it was. He called his wife and said, 
‘ Roast me the gold bird, and take care that none of it is lost. 
I have a fancy to eat it every bit myself! The bird was 
indeed no ordinary one, but of so wonderful a kind that who¬ 
ever ate its heart and liver found every morning a piece of 
gold beneath his pillow. The woman plucked the bird, put 
it on the spit, and left it to roast. 

Now it happened that while it was at the fire, and the 
woman had to go out of the kitchen to do some other work, the 
two children of the poor broom-maker ran in and went up to 
the spit and turned it once or twice. At that very moment 
two little bits of the bird fell down into the dripping-pan. Said 
one of the boys, 4 Let’s eat these two little bits ; I am so 
hungry ! No one will ever miss them.’ So they ate the pieces, 
but the woman came back then and seeing that they were 
eating something, said to them, 4 What have you been eating ? ’ 

4 Only two little morsels which fell out of the bird,’ answered 

4 Oh ! that must have been the heart and the liver,’ said 
the woman, quite frightened, and in order that her husband 
might not miss them and be angry, she quickly killed a young 
cock, took out his heart and liver, and put them beside the 
golden bird. When it was done, she served it up to the gold¬ 
smith, who ate it all by himself and left not a bit of it. Next 
morning, however, when he felt beneath his pillow, expecting 
to bring out the piece of gold, no more gold pieces were there 
than there had always been. 

The two children did not know what a piece of good fortune 
had fallen to their lot. Next morning when they got up, 


something fell to the ground, and on looking to see what it was, 
there they found two gold pieces ! They took them to their 
father, who was astonished and said, 4 How can that have 
happened ? ’ When next morning again they found two more, 
and so on daily, he went to his brother and told him the strange 
story. The goldsmith knew at once how it had come to pass, 
and that the children had eaten the heart and liver of the 
golden bird, and in order to revenge himself, envious and hard¬ 
hearted as he was, he said to their father, 4 Thy children are in 
league with the Evil One. Do not touch the gold, and do not 
suffer them to stay any longer in thy house, for he has them in 
his power, and may ruin thee too.’ The father feared the Evil 
One, and painful as it was to him, he nevertheless led the 
twins forth into the forest, and with a sad heart left them there. 

The two children ran wildly about in the forest, and 
sought the way home again, but they could not find it, and only 
became more and more bewildered. At length they met a 
hunter who asked, 4 To whom do you children belong ? ’ 

4 We are the poor broom-maker’s boys,’ they replied, and 
they told him that their father would not keep them any 
longer in the house because a piece of gold lay every morning 
under their pillows. 

4 Come,’ said the hunter, 4 that ’s nothing so very bad, if at 
the same time you keep honest, and are not idle.’ And as the 
good man took a fancy to the children, and had none of his 
own, he took them home with him and said, 4 1 will be your 
father, and bring you up till you are big.’ 

They learned the craft of the hunter from him, and the 
piece of gold which each of them found when he awoke, was 
put by for them in case they should need it in the future. 

When they were grown up their foster-father took them 
into the forest one day, and said, 4 To-day I am going to see 
how well you can shoot, so that I may release you from your 
apprenticeship, and make huntsmen of you.’ They went with 
him and lay in wait a long time, but no game appeared. The 
huntsman, however, looked up and saw a flock of wild geese 



flying in the form of a triangle, so he said to one of the brothers, 

4 Shoot me down one from each corner.’ He did it, and thus 
he accomplished his trial shot. Soon after another flock came 
flying by in the form of the figure two, and the huntsman bade 
the other also bring down one from each corner, and his trial 
shot likewise was successful. 

4 Now,’ said the foster-father, 4 I free you from your 
apprenticeship ; you are skilled hunters, both of you.’ There¬ 
upon the two brothers went together into the forest, and 
consulted each other and agreed upon a plan. In the evening 
when they had sat down to supper, they said to their foster- 
father, 4 We will not touch food, or take one mouthful, until 
you have granted us a request.’ 

Said he, 4 What, then, is your request ? ’ 

They replied, 4 We have now learned all we can, and we 
must show what we are worth in the world, so allow us to go 
away and travel.’ 

Then said the old man joyfully, 4 You talk like brave 
hunters. What you desire has been my wish also. Go forth, 
and may all go well with you.’ Thereupon they finished their 
supper in great spirits. 

When the appointed day came, their foster-father presented 
each of them with a good gun and a dog, and let each of them 
take as many as he chose of the gold pieces that had been saved. 
Then he went a part of the way with them, and when taking 
leave, he gave them a sharp bright knife, and said, 4 If ever you 
separate, stick this knife into a tree at the place where you part, 
and then when one of you goes back to that spot again, he will 
be able to see how his absent brother is faring, for the side of 
the knife which is turned in the direction by which he went, 
will rust if he dies, but will remain bright as long as he is alive.’ 

The two brothers went further and further on, and came to 
a forest which was so large that it was impossible for them to 
get out of it in one day. So they passed the night in it, and ate 
what they had put in their hunting-pouches, but they walked 
all the second day too, and still did not get out. As they had 


nothing to eat, one of them said, 4 We must shoot something 
for ourselves or we shall suffer from hunger,’ and he loaded his 
gun, and looked about him. And when an old hare came 
running up towards them, he raised his gun to his shoulder, 
but the hare cried out, 

4 Dear hunters, do but let me live, 

Two little ones to thee I ’ll give,’ 

and sprang instantly into the thicket, and brought out two 
young ones. But the little creatures played so merrily, and 
were so pretty, that the hunters could not find it in their hearts 
to kill them, but they kept them with them, and the little 
hares followed behind on foot. Soon after this a fox crept past; 
they were just going to shoot it, but the fox cried, 

4 Dear hunters, do but let me live, 

Two little ones I'll also give . 1 

He, too, brought two little foxes, and the hunters did not like 
to kill them either, but gave them to the hares for company, 
and they followed behind. It was not long before a wolf came 
out of the thicket. The hunters made ready to shoot him, but 
the wolf cried, 

4 Dear hunters, do but let me live, 

Two little ones I'll also give . 1 

The hunters put the two wolves with the other animals, and 
they followed behind them. Then a bear came who wanted 
to enjoy life a little longer, and cried, 

4 Dear hunters, do but let me live, 

Two little ones I, too, will give . 1 

The two young bears were added to the others, and then there 
were eight of them. But who do you think came next ? A 
lion it was, tossing his mane ! But the hunters did not let 
themselves be frightened and took aim to shoot him also, but 
the lion said, 

4 Dear hunters, do but let me live, 

Two little ones I, too, will give . 1 



And he brought his little ones to them, and now the hunters 
had two lions, two bears, two wolves, two foxes, and two hares 
to follow and serve them. 

In the meantime their hunger was not appeased by this, 
and they said to the foxes, 4 Hark ye, you cunning fellows, 
just provide us with something to eat. You are crafty enough.’ 

4 Not far from here,’ they replied, 4 lies a village, from 
which we have already brought many a chicken ; we ’ll show 
you the way.’ So they went into the village, bought them¬ 
selves something to eat, and had some given to their beasts, 
and then travelled on again. The foxes, however, knew their 
way about very well and where the poultry-yards were, and 
were able to guide the hunters. 

They travelled about for a while, but could find no situations 
where they could remain together, so they said, 4 Well, it can’t 
be helped, we must part.’ They divided the animals, so that 
each of them had a lion, a bear, a wolf, a fox, and a hare, then 
they took leave of each other, promised to love each other like 
brothers till their death, and stuck the knife which their foster- 
father had given them into a tree, after which one went east, 
and the other west. 

The younger, who had gone westward, in time came with his 
beasts to a town which was all hung with black crape. He 
went into an inn, and asked the host if he could put up his 
animals. The innkeeper gave him a stable, where there was 
a hole in the wall, and the hare crept out and fetched himself 
the head of a cabbage, and the fox fetched a hen, and when 
he had eaten up that he went and got the cock as well, but 
the wolf, the bear, and the lion could not get out because they 
were too big. Then the innkeeper let them be taken to a place 
where a cow was lying on the grass, and they too ate till they 
were satisfied. And when the hunter had taken care of his 
animals, he asked the innkeeper why the town was hung with 
black crape ? Said the host, 4 Because our King’s only 
daughter is to die to-morrow.’ The hunter asked if she was so 
ill that she couldn’t live. 



‘No,’ answered the host, ‘ she is vigorous and healthy, 
but she must die all the same ! ’ 

4 How is that ? ’ asked the hunter. 

4 There is a high hill outside the town, on which dwells a 
dragon who every year must have a maiden given him, or he 
lays the whole country waste, and now he has had all the 
maidens, and there is no longer any one left but the King’s 
daughter. Yet there is no mercy for her; she must be given 
up to him, and that’s to be done to-morrow.’ 

Said the hunter, 4 Why is the dragon not killed ? ’ 

4 Ah,’ replied the host, 4 so many knights have tried it, 
but it has cost all of them their lives. The King has promised 
that he who conquers the dragon shall have his daughter to 
wife, and shall also rule the kingdom after his own death.’ 

The hunter said nothing more, but next morning took his 
animals, and with them climbed the dragon’s hill. A little 
church stood at the top of it, and on the altar three full cups 
were standing, with the inscription, 4 Whoever empties the 
cups will become the strongest man on earth, and will be able 
to wield the sword which is buried before the threshold of the 
door.’ The hunter did not drink, but went out and sought 
for the sword in the ground, but was unable to move it from 
its place. Then he went in and emptied the cups, and now he 
was strong enough to take up the sword, and his hand could 
quite easily wield it. 

When the hour came when the princess was to be delivered 
over to the dragon, the King, the marshal, and courtiers 
accompanied her. From afar she saw the hunter on the 
dragon’s hill, and thought it was the dragon standing there 
waiting for her, and wanted very badly not to go up to him, 
but at last, because otherwise the whole town would have 
been destroyed, she was forced to finish her miserable journey. 
The King and courtiers returned home full of grief ; the King’s 
marshal, however, was to stay where he was, and look on 
from a distance. 

When the King’s daughter got to the top of the hill, it was 



not the dragon that stood there, but the young hunter, who 
comforted her, and said he would save her, led her into the 
church, and locked her in. 

It was not long before the seven-headed dragon came, loudly 
roaring. When he perceived the hunter, he was astonished and 
said, ‘ What business hast thou here on my hill ? ’ 

It was not long before the seven-headed dragon came, loudly roaring. 

The hunter answered, ‘ I want to fight with thee.’ 

4 Many knights have left their lives here,’ said the dragon; ‘ I 
shall soon have made an end of thee too,’ and he breathed fire 
out of seven jaws. The fire he meant to have lighted the dry 
grass, and the hunter would have been suffocated in the heat 
and smoke, but all the animals came running up and trampled 


out the fire. Then the dragon rushed upon the hunter, but 
he swung his sword until it sang through the air, and struck 
off three of his heads. At that the dragon rose up in the air 
in fury, and spat out flames of fire over the hunter, and was 
about to plunge down on him, but the hunter once more swung 
his sword, and again cut off three of his heads. The monster 
became faint and sank down, nevertheless it was just going to 
rush upon the hunter, but he with his last strength smote its 
tail off, and as he could fight no longer, he called up his animals 
who tore it to pieces. 

When the struggle was ended, the hunter unlocked the 
church, and found the King’s daughter lying on the floor, as 
she had lost her senses with terror during the contest. He 
carried her out, and when she came to herself once more, and 
opened her eyes, he showed her the dragon all cut to pieces, 
and told her that she was now delivered. 

She rejoiced and said, 4 Now thou wilt be my dearest 
husband, for my father has promised me to him who kills the 
dragon.’ Thereupon she took off her necklace of coral, and 
divided it among the animals in order to reward them, and 
the lion received the golden clasp. Her pocket-handkerchief, 
however, on which was her name, she gave to the hunter, who 
went and cut the tongues out of the dragon’s seven heads, 
wrapped them in the handkerchief, and preserved them care¬ 

That done, as he was so faint and weary with the fire and 
the battle, he said to the maiden, 4 We are both faint and 
weary, we will sleep a while.’ Then she said Yes, and they 
lay down on the ground, and the hunter said to the lion, 
4 Thou shalt keep watch, that no one surprises us in our sleep,’ 
and both fell asleep. 

The lion lay down beside them to watch, but he also was 
so weary with the fight, that he called to the bear and said, 
4 Lie down near me, I must sleep a little : if anything comes, 
wake me up.’ Then the bear lay down beside him, but he also 
was tired, and called the wolf and said, 4 Lie down by me, I 



must sleep a little, but if anything comes, wake me up.’ Then 
the wolf lay down by him, but he was tired also, and called 
the fox and said, 4 Lie down by me, I must sleep a little ; if 
anything comes, wake me up.’ Then the fox lay down beside 
him, but he too was weary, and called the hare and said, 
4 Lie down near me, I must sleep a little, and if anything should 
come, wake me up.’ Then the hare sat down by him, but the 
poor hare was tired too, and as there was no one whom she 
could call to keep watch for her she too fell asleep. And now 
the King’s daughter, the hunter, the lion, the bear, the wolf, 
the fox, and the hare, were all sleeping sound. 

The marshal, however, who had been looking from a dis¬ 
tance, took courage when he did not see the dragon flying away 
v r ith the maiden, and finding that all had become quiet, he 
climbed up the hill. There lay the dragon hacked and hewn 
to pieces on the ground, and not far off were the King’s daughter 
and a hunter with his animals, and all of them were sunk in a 
deep sleep. 

Now he was a wicked man and he took his sword, cut off 
the hunter’s head, seized the maiden in his arms, and carried 
her down the hill. She awoke, terrified, but the marshal said, 

4 Thou art in my hands; thou shalt say that it was I who killed 
the dragon.’ 

4 I cannot do that,’ she replied, 4 for it was a hunter with 
his animals who did it.’ Then he drew his sword, and threatened 
to kill her if she did not obey him, and so he forced her to 
promise it. 

Then he took her to the King, who did not know how to 
contain himself for joy when he once more looked on his dear 
child alive, whom he had believed to have been torn to pieces 
by the monster. The marshal said to him, 4 I have killed the 
dragon, and delivered the maiden and the whole kingdom as 
well, therefore I demand her as my wife, as was promised.’ 

The King said to the maiden, 4 Is what he says true ? ’ 

4 Ah, yes,’ she answered, 4 it must indeed be true, but I will 
not consent to have the wedding celebrated until after a year 


and a day,’ for she thought in that time she should hear some¬ 
thing of her dear hunter. 

The animals, however, were still lying sleeping beside their 
dead master on the dragon’s hill, and there came a great 
humble-bee and lighted on the hare’s nose, but the hare wiped 
it off with her paw, and went on sleeping. The humble-bee 
came a second time, but the hare again rubbed it off and slept 
on. Then it came for the third time, and stung her nose so 
that she awoke. As soon as the hare was awake, she roused the 
fox, and the fox the wolf, and the wolf the bear, and the bear 
the lion. And when the lion awoke and saw that the maiden 
was gone, and his master was dead, he began to roar frightfully 
and cried, 4 Who has done that ? Bear, why didst thou not 

wake me up ? ’ The bear asked the wolf, 4 Why didst thou not 

wake me up ? ’ and the wolf the fox, 4 Why didst thou not 

wake me up ? ’ and the fox the hare, 4 Why didst thou not 

wake me up ? ’ The poor hare alone did not know what 
answer to make, and so the blame rested upon her. Then they 
were just going to fall upon her, but she entreated them and 
said, 4 Kill me not, I will bring our master to life again. I know 
a mountain on which a root grows which, when placed in the 
mouth of any one, cures him of all illness and every wound. 
But the mountain lies two hundred hours’ journey from here.’ 

The lion said, 4 In four-and-twenty hours must thou run 
there and back again, and have brought the root with thee.’ 
Then the hare bounded away, and in four-and-twenty hours 
she was back, and brought the root with her. The lion put 
the hunter’s head on again, and the hare placed the root in 
his mouth, and immediately all joined together again, and his 
heart beat, and life came back. 

Then the hunter awoke, and was alarmed when he did not 
see the maiden, and thought, 4 She must have gone away whilst 
I was sleeping, in order to get rid of me.’ The lion in his great 
haste had put his master’s head on the wrong way round, but 
the hunter did not notice it because he was so sad about the 
King’s daughter. But at noon, when he was going to eat some- 



thing, he saw that his head was turned backwards and could 
not understand it, and asked the animals what had happened 
to him in his sleep. Then the lion told him that they, too, had 
all fallen asleep from weariness, and on awaking, had found 
him dead with his head cut off, that the hare had brought the 
life-giving root, and that he, in his haste, had laid hold of the 
head the wrong way, but that he would repair his mistake. 
Then he tore the hunter’s head off again, turned it round, and 
the hare healed it with the magic root. 

The hunter, however, was sad at heart, and travelled about 
the world, and made his animals dance in the streets for a 
living. It came to pass that exactly at the end of one year he 
came back to the same town where he had delivered the King’s 
daughter from the dragon, and this time the town was gaily 
hung with red cloth. Then he said to the host, 4 What does 
this mean ? Last year the town was all hung with black crape, 
what means the red cloth to-day ? ’ 

4 Last year,’ answered the host, 4 our King’s daughter was 
to have been delivered over to the dragon, but the marshal 
fought with it and killed it, and so to-morrow their wedding 
is to be solemnised, and that is why the town was then hung 
with black crape for mourning, and is to-day covered with red 
cloth for joy.’ 

Next day when the wedding was to take place, the hunter 
said at midday to the innkeeper, 4 Do you believe, sir host, 
that I while with you here to-day shall eat bread from the 
King’s own table ? ’ 

4 Nay,’ said the host, 4 I would bet a hundred pieces of gold 
that that will not come true.’ The hunter accepted the wager, 
and set against it a purse with the same number of gold pieces. 

Then he called the hare and said, 4 Go, my dear runner, and 
fetch me some of the bread which the King is eating.’ Now 
the little hare was the lowest of the animals, and could not 
pass this order on to any of the others, but had to stir her legs 
to do it herself. 4 Alas ! ’ thought she, 4 if I go leaping through 
the streets by myself, the butchers’ dogs will all be after me/ 


It happened as she feared; the dogs came barking after her, 
wanting to make holes in her good fur coat. But she sprang 
clear away. Have you never seen a hare running ? And she 
sheltered herself in a sentry-box without the soldier being 
aware of it. Then up came the dogs and wanted to pull her 
out, but the soldier did not understand the fun, and struck 
them with the butt-end of his gun, till they ran away yelping 
and howling. As soon as the hare saw that the way was clear, 
she ran into the palace and straight to the King’s daughter, 
sat down under her chair, and scratched at her foot. Then 
she said, ‘ Wilt thou get away ? ’ thinking it was her dog. 
The hare scratched her foot a second time, and again she said, 
4 Wilt thou get away ? ’ and thought it was her dog. But 
the hare did not let herself be turned from her purpose, and 
scratched for the third time; then she peeped down, and knew 
the hare by her collar. She took her on her lap, carried her 
into her chamber, and said, 4 Dear Hare, what dost thou 
want ? ’ 

4 My master, who killed the dragon, is here,’ answered the 
hare, 4 and he has sent me to ask for a loaf of bread like that 
which the King eats.’ 

Then she was full of joy and had the baker summoned, and 
ordered him to bring a loaf such as was eaten by the King* 

The little hare said, 4 But the baker must carry it for me too, 
so that the butchers’ dogs may do no harm to me.’ The baker 
carried it for her as far as the door of the inn, and then the hare 
got on her hind legs, took the loaf in her front paws, and 
carried it to her master. Then said the hunter, 4 Behold, sir 
host, the hundred pieces of gold are mine.’ The host was 
astonished, but the hunter went on to say, 4 Yes, sir host, I 
have the bread, but now I ’ll have some of the King’s roast 
meat also.’ 

4 I should indeed like to see that,’ said the host, 4 but he 
would make no more wagers. 

The hunter called the fox and said, 4 My little fox, go and 
fetch me some roast meat, such as the King eats.’ The little 
p 225 


red fox knew the byways better, and went by holes and 
corners without any dog seeing him, seated himself under the 
chair of the King’s daughter, and scratched her foot. Then 
she looked down and recognised the fox by its collar, took him 
into her chamber with her, and said, 4 Dear Fox, what dost 
thou want ? ’ 

He answered, 4 My master, who killed the dragon, is here, 
and has sent me. I am to ask for some roast meat such as the 
King eats.’ 

Then she bade the cook come, who was obliged to prepare a 
roast joint, the same as was eaten by the King, and to carry it 
for the fox as far as the door. Then the fox took the dish, 
waved away with his tail the flies which had settled on the 
meat, and carried it to his master. 

4 Behold, sir host,’ said the hunter, 4 bread and meat are 
here, but now I will also have proper vegetables with it, such 
as are eaten by the King.’ Then he called the wolf, and 
said, 4 Dear Wolf, go to the palace and fetch me vegetables 
such as the King eats.’ Then the wolf went straight to the 
palace, as he feared no one, and when he got to the King’s 
daughter’s chamber, he twitched at the back of her dress, so 
that she had to look round. She recognised him by his collar, 
and took him into her chamber with her, and said, 4 Dear Wolf, 
what dost thou want ? ’ 

He answered, 4 My master, who killed the dragon, is here. 
I am to ask for some vegetables, such as the King eats.’ 

Then she made the cook come, and he had to make ready a 
dish of vegetables, such as the King ate, and had to carry it 
for the wolf as far as the door, and then the wolf took the 
dish from him, and carried it to his master. 

4 Behold, sir host,’ said the hunter, 4 now I have bread 
and meat and vegetables, but I will also have some pastry to 
eat, like that which the King eats.’ 

He called the bear, and said, 4 Dear Bear, thou art fond of 
licking anything sweet; go and bring me some tarts such as the 
King eats.’ Then the bear trotted to the palace and every 


one got out of his way, but when he reached the guard, they 
barred the way with their muskets, and would not let him go 
into the royal palace. But he stood up on his hind legs, and 
gave them a few boxes on the ears, right and left, with his 
paws, and that soon scattered them, and he went straight on 
to the King’s daughter, placed himself behind her, and growled 
a little. She looked behind her, and knew the bear, and bade 
him go into her room with her, and said , 4 Dear Bear, what dost 
thou want ? ’ 

He answered, 4 My master, who killed the dragon, is here, 
and I am to ask for some tarts such as the King eats.’ 

Then she summoned her confectioner, who had to bake 
some pastry such as the King ate, and carry it to the door for 
the bear. The bear first licked up the comfits which had 
rolled off, and then he stood upright, took the dish, and carried 
it to his master. 

4 Behold, sir host,’ said the hunter, 4 now I have bread, meat, 
vegetables and confectionery, but I will drink wine also, and 
such as the King drinks.’ 

He called his lion to him and said, 4 Dear Lion, thou thyself 
likest to drink till thou art tipsy; go and fetch me some wine, 
such as is drunk by the King.’ Then the lion stalked through 
the streets, and the people fled from him, and when he came 
to the guard, they wanted to bar the way against him, but he 
did but roar once, and they all ran away. Then the lion went 
to the royal apartment, and knocked at the door with his tail. 
The King’s daughter came out and was almost afraid of the 
lion, but she knew him by the golden clasp of her necklace, and 
bade him go with her into her chamber. 4 Dear Lion,’ she said, 
4 what wilt thou have ? ’ 

He answered, 4 My master, who killed the dragon, is here, 
and I am to ask for some wine such as is drunk by the 

Then she bade the cup-bearer be called, who was to give 
the lion some wine like that which was drunk by the King. 
The lion said, 4 I will go with him, and see that I get the right 



wine.’ So he went down with the cup-bearer, and when they 
were below, the cup-bearer wanted to draw him some of the 
common wine that was drunk by the King’s servants ; but the 
lion said, 4 Stop, I will taste the wine first,’ and he drew half 
a measure, and swallowed it down at one draught. ‘No,’ said 
he, ‘ that is not right.’ The cup-bearer looked at him askance, 
but went on, and was about to give him some out of another 
barrel which was for the King’s marshal. The lion said, ‘ Stop, 
let me taste the wine first,’ and drew half a measure and drank 
it. ‘ That is better, but still not right,’ said he. Then the 
cup-bearer grew angry and said, ‘ How can a stupid animal 
like you understand wine ? ’ But the lion gave him a blow 
behind the ears, which made him tumble down and not at 
all gently either, and when he had picked himself up again, 
without another word, he conducted the lion into a little cellar 
apart, where the King’s wine lay, which no one else ever drank. 
The lion first drew half a measure and tried the wine, and then 
he said, ‘ That may possibly be the right sort,’ and bade the 
cup-bearer fill six bottles of it. And now they went upstairs 
again, but when the lion came out of the cellar into the open 
air, he reeled about a little, and was rather drunk, and the cup¬ 
bearer was forced to carry the wine as far as the door for him, 
and then the lion took the handle of the basket in his mouth, 
and took it to his master. 

The hunter said, ‘ Behold, sir host, here have I bread, meat, 
vegetables, confectionery and wine such as the King has, and 
now I will dine with my animals,’ and he sat down and ate and 
drank, and fed the hare, the fox, the wolf, the bear, and the 
lion also, and he rejoiced, for he saw that the King’s daughter 
still loved him. 

When he had finished his dinner, he said, ‘ Sir host, I have 
eaten and drunk, as the King eats and drinks, and now I will go 
to the King’s court and marry the King’s daughter.’ 

Said the host, ‘ How can that be, when she is already 
betrothed, and to be married to-day ? ’ 

Then the hunter drew forth the handkerchief which the 


King’s daughter had given him on the dragon’s hill, in which 
were folded the monster’s seven tongues, and said, 4 What I 
have here in my hand shall help me to do it.’ 

The innkeeper looked at the handkerchief, and said, 4 What¬ 
ever I believe, I do not believe that, and I am willing to stake 
my house and courtyard on it.’ The hunter, however, took 
out a bag with a thousand gold pieces in it, put it on the table, 
and said, 4 I ’ll stake that on it.’ 

Now the King said to his daughter, at the royal table, 
4 What did all the wild animals want, which have been coming 
to thee, and going in and out of my palace ? ’ 

She replied, 4 I may not tell you, but send and have the 
master of the animals brought, and you will do well.’ 

The King sent a servant to the inn with an invitation to 
the stranger, and he arrived just as the hunter had laid his 
wager with the innkeeper. Then said he, 4 Behold, sir host, 
the King sends his servant and invites me, but this is not the 
way I am going.’ And he said to the servant, 4 I request the 
Lord King to send me royal clothing, and a carriage with six 
horses, and servants to attend me.’ 

When the King heard the answer, he said to his daughter, 
4 What shall I do ? ’ 

She said, 4 Cause him to be fetched as he desires to be, and 
you will do well.’ 

Then the King sent royal apparel, a carriage with six horses, 
and servants to wait on him. 

When the hunter saw them coming, he said, 4 Behold, sir 
host, now I am fetched as I desired to be,’ and he put on the 
royal garments, took the handkerchief with the dragon’s 
tongues with him, and drove off to the King. 

The King saw him coming and said to his daughter, 4 How 
shall I receive him ? ’ 

She answered, 4 Go to meet him and you will do 

So the King w T ent to meet him and led him in, and his 
animals followed. The King gave him a seat near himself and 



his daughter, and the marshal, as bridegroom, sat on the other 
side, but did not recognise the hunter. 

And now at this very moment the seven heads of the dragon 
were brought in for all to see, and the King said, 4 These seven 
heads were cut off by the marshal, wherefore to-day I give him 
my daughter to wife.’ 

Then the hunter stood up, opened the seven jaws, and said, 
4 Where are the seven tongues of the dragon ? ’ 

Then the marshal was terrified, and grew pale and did not 
know what answer to make. At length in his confusion he 
said, 4 Dragons have no tongues.’ 

4 Liars ought to have none, but the dragon’s tongues are 
the tokens of the victor,’ replied the hunter, and he unfolded 
the handkerchief, and there lay all seven inside it. And he put 
each tongue in the mouth to which it belonged, and it fitted 
exactly. Then he took the handkerchief on which the name 
of the princess was embroidered, and showed it to the maiden, 
and asked to whom she had given it, and she answered, 4 To 
him who killed the dragon.’ 

He called his animals, and took the collar off each of them 
and the golden clasp from the lion, and showed them to the 
maiden, asking to whom they belonged. 

She answered, 4 The necklace and golden clasp were mine, 
but I divided them among the animals who helped to conquer 
the dragon.’ 

Then said the hunter, 4 When I, tired with the combat, was 
resting fast asleep, the marshal came and cut off my head. He 
then carried away the King’s daughter, and gave out that it 
was he who had killed the dragon, but that he lied I prove 
with the tongues, the handkerchief, and the necklace.’ And 
he related how his animals had healed him by means of a 
wonderful root, and how he had travelled about with them 
for one year, and at last had come there again and had learned 
the treachery of the marshal from what the innkeeper told him. 

Then the King asked his daughter, 4 Is it true that this man 
killed the dragon ? ’ 



And she answered, 4 Yes, it is true. Now I may reveal the 
wicked deed of the marshal, as it has come to light without 
my breaking my word, for he wrung from me a promise to be 
silent. For this reason, however, I made the condition that the 
marriage should not take place for a year and a day.’ 

Then the King bade twelve councillors be summoned to 
pronounce judgment on the marshal, and they sentenced him 
to be torn to pieces by four bulls. So the marshal was executed, 
but to the hunter the King gave his daughter, and named him 
to reign in his stead over the whole kingdom. 

The wedding was celebrated with great joy, and the young 
King caused his father and his foster-father to be brought, 
and loaded them with treasures. Neither did he forget the 
innkeeper, but sent for him and said, 4 Behold, sir host, I have 
married the King’s daughter, and your house and yard are 
mine.’ 4 Yes,’ said the host, 4 according to justice it is so.’ 

But the young King said, 4 It shall be done according to 
mercy,’ and told him that he should keep his house and yard, 
and have the thousand pieces of gold as well. 

And now the young King and Queen were very happy, 
and lived in gladness together. He often went out hunting 
because it was a delight to him, and the faithful animals had 
to accompany him. In the neighbourhood, not far off, there 
was a forest of which it was reported that it was haunted, and 
that whoever entered it did not easily get out again. The 
young King, however, longed greatly to hunt in it, and let the 
old King have no peace until he allowed him to do so. So he 
rode forth with a great following, and when he came to the 
forest, he saw a snow-white hart, and said to his people, 4 Wait 
here till I return, I want to chase that beautiful creature,’ and 
he rode into the forest after it, followed only by his animals. 
The attendants dismounted and stayed there until evening, but 
he did not return, so they rode home, and told the young Queen 
that the young King had followed a white hart into the 
enchanted forest and had not come back again, and she was in 
the greatest concern about him. He, however, had ridden on 



and on after the beautiful wild animal, and had never been able 
to overtake it. When he thought he was near enough to aim, 
he instantly saw it bound away into the far distance, and at 
length it vanished altogether. And now he found out that 
he had penetrated deep into the forest, and he blew his horn 
but there was no answer, for his attendants could not hear it. 
And as night, too, was falling, he saw that he could not get 
home that day, so he got off his horse, lighted a fire for himself 
near a tree, and resolved to spend the night by it. While he 
was sitting by the fire with his animals lying down beside him, 
it seemed to him that he heard a human voice. He looked 
round, but could see nothing. Soon afterwards he again heard 
a groan as if from above, and then he looked up, and saw an 
old woman sitting in the tree, who wailed without stopping. 

4 Oh, oh, oh, how cold I am ! ’ she moaned. 

4 Come down,’ said he, 4 and warm thyself if thou art 

4 No,’ she said, 4 thy animals will bite me.’ 

He answered, 4 They will do thee no harm, old mother. 
Do come down.’ 

She, however, was a witch, and said, 4 I will throw down a 
wand from the tree, and if thou strikest them on the back with 
it, they will do me no harm.’ Then she threw him a small 
switch, and he struck them with it, and instantly they lay still 
all turned into stone. When the witch was safe from the 
animals, down she leapt and touched him also with a switch, 
and he too was changed to stone. The old hag she laughed, 
and dragged him and his animals into a cave where many more 
such stones already lay. 

As the young King never came back at all, the Queen’s 
anguish and fears grew greater and greater. And it so hap¬ 
pened that at this veiy time there came into the kingdom the 
other brother who had turned to the east when the two had first 
separated. He had sought employment, and finding none, had 
travelled about here and there, and he too had made his animals 
dance. Then it came into his mind that he would just go and 

Instantly they lay still all turned into stone. 


look at the knife that they had thrust in the trunk of a tree at 
their parting, that he might learn how his brother was. When 
he got there his brother’s side of the knife was half rusted, 
and half bright. Then he was alarmed and thought, 4 A great 
misfortune must have befallen my brother, but perhaps I can 
still save him, for half the blade is still bright.’ He and his 
animals went on towards the west, and when he entered the 
gate of the town, the guard came to meet him, and asked if 
he was to announce him to his consort the young Queen, who 
for two days had been in the greatest sorrow at his absence, 
and was afraid he had been killed in the enchanted forest ? 
The sentries, indeed, thought no otherwise than that he was 
the young King himself, for he was just like him to look at, 
and had wild animals running behind him. He saw at once 
that they were speaking of his brother, and thought, 4 It will 
be better if I pass myself off for him, and then I can rescue him 
more easily.’ So he allowed himself to be escorted into the 
castle by the guard, and was received with the greatest joy. 
The young Queen indeed thought that he was her husband, 
and asked him why he had stayed away so long. 4 I had lost 
myself in the forest,’ he explained, 4 and could not find my way 
out again any sooner.’ At night he was taken to the royal 
bed, but he laid a two-edged sword between him and the young 
Queen. She did not know what that could mean, but did not 
venture to ask. 

For two days he remained in the palace, and in the meantime 
found out all he could about the enchanted forest, and at last 
he said, 4 I must hunt there once more.’ The King and the 
young Queen wanted to persuade him not to do it, but he stood 
out against them, and went forth with a larger following. When 
he had gone into the forest, it fared with him as with his 
brother; he saw a white hart and said to his people, 4 Stay 
here, and wait till I return, I want to chase this lovely wild 
creature,’ and he rode into the forest and his animals after him. 
But he could not overtake the hart, and got so deep into the 
forest that he was forced to pass the night there. And when 


he had lighted a fire, he heard some one wailing above him, 

4 Oh, oh, oh, how cold I am ! ’ 

Looking up he saw the self-same old witch sitting in the 

4 If thou art cold,’ said he, 4 come down, little old mother, 
and warm thyself.’ 

4 No, no,’ she answered, 4 thy animals will bite me.’ 

But he said, 4 They will not hurt thee.’ 

4 I will throw down a wand to thee,’ she cried, 4 and if thou 
smitest them with it they will do me no harm.’ 

The hunter heard that, but he did not trust the old woman, 
and said, 4 I will not strike my animals. Come down, or I will 
fetch thee.’ 

Then she cried, 4 What dost thou want ? Thou shalt not 
touch me.’ 

But he replied, 4 If thou dost not come, I ’ll shoot thee.’ 

4 Shoot away,’ said she; 4 I do not fear thy bullets ! ’ 

Then he took aim and fired at her, but the witch was proof - 
against all leaden bullets, and chuckled, and yelled and cried, 

4 Thou shalt not hit me.’ 

The hunter knew what to do though, and tore three silver 
buttons off his coat, and loaded his gun with them, for against 
them her magic was useless, and when he fired, down she fell at 
once with a scream. 

He set his foot on her and said, 4 Old witch, if thou dost not 
instantly confess where my brother is, I will seize thee with both 
my hands and throw thee into the fire.’ 

She was in a great fright, and begged for mercy, and said, 

4 He and his animals lie in a cave, turned to stone.’ 

Then he made her go there with him, and threatened her, 
and said, 4 Old sea-cat, now shalt thou make my brother and 
all the human beings lying here, alive again, or into the fire 
thou shalt go ! ’ 

She took a wand and touched the stones, and then his 
brother with his animals came to life again, and many others, 
merchants, and workmen, and shepherds, and they all rose up 



and thanked him for their deliverance, and went off to their 

But when the twin brothers saw each other again, they 
kissed each other and rejoiced with all their hearts. Then they 
seized the witch, and bound her fast and laid her on the fire,, 
and when she was burnt the dismal forest opened of its own 
accord, and was light and clear, and in the distance the King’s 
palace could be seen about three hours’ walk away. 

Thereupon the two brothers went home together, and 
told each other their histories on the way. And when the 
youngest said that he was ruler of the whole country in the old 
King’s stead, the other observed, 4 That I remarked very well, 
for when I came to the town, and was taken for thee, all 
royal honours were paid me ; the young Queen looked on me 
as her husband, and I had to eat at her side, and sleep in thy 

When the other heard that, he became so jealous and 
angry that he drew his sword, and struck off his brother’s head. 
But when he saw him lying there dead, and his red blood 
flowing, he repented most bitterly. 

4 My brother delivered me,’ he cried, 4 and I have killed him 
for it,’ and he bewailed him aloud. Then up came his hare 
and offered to go and bring some of the root of life, and away 
she bounded and brought it back while yet there was time, and 
the dead man was brought to life again, and never knew he had 
been wounded. 

After this they went on their way, and the younger said, 

4 Thou lookest like me, hast royal apparel on as I have, and 
the animals follow thee as they do me. We will go in by 
opposite gates, and arrive at the same time from the two sides 
in the old King’s presence.’ 

So they separated, and before long in came the guards from 
the doors on both sides at the same moment to announce that 
the young King and his animals had returned from the chase. 

4 It is not possible,’ the old King said; 4 the gates lie quite 
a mile apart.’ In the meantime, however, the two brothers 



entered the courtyard of the palace from opposite sides, and 
both mounted the steps. 

Then the King in amazement said to his daughter, 4 Tell me 
which is thy husband. Each of them looks exactly like the 
other, I cannot tell one from the other.’ Then she was in great 
distress, and she could not tell either. But at last she remem¬ 
bered the necklace which she had given to the animals, and she 
sought and found her little golden clasp on one of the lions, 
and she cried in her delight, 4 He who is followed by this lion 
is my true husband.’ 

The young King laughed and said, 4 Yes, he is the right 
one,’ and they all sat down together to table, and ate and 
drank, and were merry. 

At night when the young King went to bed, his wife said, 
4 Why hast thou for these last nights always laid a two-edged 
sword in our bed ? I thought thou hadst a wish to kill me.’ 
And then he knew how true his brother had been. 


The Nix of the Mill-pond 

O NCE upon a time there was a miller who lived with his 
wife in great contentment. They had money and 
land, and year by year their prosperity increased more 
and more. But ill-luck comes like a thief in the night, and as 
their wealth increased so again did it decrease, year by year, 
till 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, he could find no rest, but tossed about in 
his bed, full of care. One morning he rose before daybreak 
and went out into the open air, thinking that perhaps there his 
heart might become lighter. As he crossed the mill-dam the 
first sunbeam was just breaking forth, and he heard the sound 
of a ripple in the pond. He turned and saw 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 Nix of the Mill-pond, and in his fright he did not know 


whether to run or stay where he was. But the nix raised her 
sweet voice and called him by his name, and asked 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. 

4 Be easy,’ answered the nix; 4 I will make thee richer and 
happier even than thou wast before, only thou must promise 
to give me what has just been born in thy house.’ 

4 What else can that be,’ thought the miller, 4 but a puppy 
or a kitten ? ’ and he promised her what she desired. 

The nix descended into the water again, and he hurried 
back to his mill comforted, and in good spirits. But before he 
reached the house the maid-servant came to meet him 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 well 
that the cunning nix had been aware of it, and had deceived 
him. Hanging his head, he went up to his wife’s bedside and 
when she said, 4 Why dost thou not rejoice over the fine boy ? ’ 
he told her what had befallen him, and what kind of a promise 
he had given to the nix. 4 Of what use to me are riches and 
prosperity,’ he added, 4 if I am to lose my child ? But what 
can I do ? ’ Even the relations, who had come to wish them 
joy, did not know what to say. 

In the meantime good fortune returned to the miller’s 
house. All that he undertook succeeded. It was as if trunks 
and coffers filled of themselves, and the money in the cup¬ 
boards increased during the night. It was not long before 
his wealth was greater than it had ever been before. But 
he could not rejoice over it untroubled; the bargain which 
he had made with the nix 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. 4 Beware,’ he said to him; 4 if thou dost but touch 
the water, a hand will rise, seize thee, and draw thee down.’ 

But as year after year went by and the nix did not show 



herself again, the miller began to feel at ease. The boy grew 
to be a youth and was apprenticed to a hunter. When he 
had learned all he could, and had become a first-rate hunter, 
the lord of the village took him into his service. In the village 
dwelt a beautiful and true-hearted maiden, whom the hunter 
loved, which when his master saw he gave him a little house, 
and the two were married, and lived in peace and happiness, 
loving each other with all their hearts. 

One day the hunter 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 neighbourhood of the dangerous mill-pond, and 
after he had cleaned the deer, he went to the water to wash his 
blood-stained hands. Scarcely, however, had he dipped them 
in, than the nix ascended, smilingly wound her dripping arms 
around him, and drew him down under the waves, which 
quickly closed over him. 

When evening came, and the hunter 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 nix, and dared not venture into the neighbour¬ 
hood 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 bank, she had no longer any doubt about 
the misfortune. Lamenting her sorrow and wringing her hands, 
she called on her beloved by name, but in vain. She hurried 
round to the other side of the pond, and called him anew. 
She reviled the nix with harsh words. But no answer followed. 
The surface of the water remained calm, only the crescent 
moon looked calmly 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 loud cries of grief, and sometimes softly 

At last her strength came to an end, she sank 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 lay 
before her. The sky was blue, the air soft, the ground sloped 
gently downwards, and on a green meadow, gay with flowers 
of every colour, stood a pretty little cottage. She went up to 
it and opened the door, and inside there sat an old woman with 
white hair, who beckoned kindly to her. 

At that moment the poor woman awoke, day had already 
dawned, and she at once resolved to do as in her dream. She 
laboriously climbed the mountain. Everything took place 
exactly as she had seen it in the dream. The old woman 
received her kindly, and pointed out a chair on which she might 
sit. ‘ Thou must have met with a misfortune,’ she said, ‘ since 
thou hast sought out my lonely cottage.’ 

With tears, the woman related what had befallen her. 

‘ Be comforted,’ said the old woman, c I will help thee. 
Here is a golden comb for thee. Tarry till the full moon has 
risen, then go to the mill-pond, seat thyself on the bank, and 
comb thy long black hair with this comb. When thou hast 
done, lay it down on the bank, and thou shalt see what will 

The woman returned home, but the time passed slowly till 
the full moon came. At last the shining circle appeared in the 
heavens, and she went out to the mill-pond. She 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 on the surface and rolled to the shore, and bore the comb 
away with it. When the comb had sunk to the bottom, the 
waters parted, and the head of the hunter rose above them. 
He did not speak, but looked sorrowfully at his wife. 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. 
q 241 


Full of sadness, the woman went back, but again the 
dream showed her the cottage of the old woman. Next 
morning she set out once more and complained of her woes 
to the wise woman. The old woman gave her a golden 
flute, and said, 4 Tarry till the full moon comes again, then 
take this flute. Play a beautiful air on it, and when thou 
hast finished, lay it on the sand. Then thou shalt 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 waters 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 and covered him, and drew him down again. 

‘ Alas! what does it profit me,’ said the unhappy woman, 
4 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, 4 All is not yet fulfilled. Tarry until the time of the full 
moon, then take the spinning-wheel, seat thyself on the bank, 
and spin full the spool, and when thou hast done that, place 
the spinning-wheel near the water, and thou shalt see what will 

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 thread. 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 great jet of water. He quickly leaped to the 
bank, caught his wife by the hand and fled. But they had gone 
a very little way, when the whole pond rose with a frightful 


roar, and streamed out over the land. 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 washed them far away. 

When the water had subsided and they touched dry land 
again, they both regained 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, both were 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 burst forth on the earth, they 
both went out with their flocks one day, and by chance they 
drew near each other. They met in a valley, but did not 
recognise each other. Yet they rejoiced that they were no 
longer so lonely. Henceforth each day they 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 sweet but sorrow¬ 
ful tune. When he left off he saw that the shepherdess was 
weeping bitterly. 

4 Why art thou weeping ? ’ he asked. 

4 Alas ! 5 answered she, 4 thus shone the full moon when 
for the last time I played that tune on the flute, 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 recognised his dear wife, and when she looked at 
him, and the moon shone in his face she knew him also. They 
fell into each other’s arms and kissed each other, and no one 
need ask if they were happy. 


The Fox and the Geese 

T HE fox once came to a meadow in which was a flock of 
fine fat geese, whereupon he smiled and said, ‘ I come 
in the nick of time. You are all sitting together so 
beautifully, that I can gobble you up one after the other.’ 
Cackling with terror, the geese jumped up and began to wail 
and beg piteously for their lives. But the fox would listen 
to nothing. 6 No ! there’s no mercy for you ! ’ said he ; 
4 you must die.’ At length one of them took heart and said, 
4 If we poor geese have got to give up our vigorous young lives, 
show us the only possible favour you can, and allow us one last 
prayer, that we may not die in our sins, and then we will place 
ourselves in a row, so that you can pick yourself out the 
fattest first.’ 4 Yes,’ said the fox, 4 that’s reasonable, and a 
pious request. Pray away, I will wait till you are done.’ 
Then the first began a good long prayer, for ever saying, 4 Ga ! 
Ga ! Ga ! Ga ! ’ and as she showed no signs of coming to an 
end, the second did not wait until her turn came, but began 
also, 4 Ga ! Ga ! Ga ! Ga ! ’ The third and fourth followed her, 
and soon they were all cackling together, 4 Ga ! Ga ! Ga ! Ga ! ’ 
And when they have done praying, the story shall be 
continued further, but at present they are still praying without 


The Iron Stove 

I N the days when wishing was still of some use, a King’s son 
was bewitched by an old witch, and shut up in an iron 
stove in a forest. There he passed many years, and 
no one could deliver him. Then there came into the forest 
a King’s daughter, who had lost herself, and could not find 
her father’s kingdom again. After she had wandered about 
for nine days, she came at length to the iron stove. 

A voice came from it, and asked her, 4 Whence comest thou 
here, and whither art thou going ? ’ 

She answered, ‘ I have lost my father’s kingdom, and 
cannot get home again.’ 

Then a voice inside the iron stove said, 4 I will help thee to 
get home again, and that indeed most swiftly, if thou wilt 
promise to do what I desire of thee. I am the son of a King 
greater by far than thy father, and I will marry thee.’ 

Then was she afraid, and thought, 4 Good Heavens ! What 
could I do with an iron stove ? ’ But as she very much wished 
to get home to her father, she promised to do as he desired. 

So he said, 4 Thou shalt return here, and bring a knife with 
thee, and scrape a hole in the iron.’ And then he gave her a 
companion who walked near her, but did not speak, and in 
two hours he took her home. There was great joy in the 
castle when the King’s daughter came home, and the old King 
fell on her neck, and kissed her. 

She, however, was sorely troubled, and said, 4 Dear father, 
what I have suffered ! I should never have got home again 
from the great wild forest, if I had not come to an iron stove, 
but I have been forced to give my word that I will go back to 
it, set it free, and marry it.’ 

Q 2 



This terrified the old King so much that he all but fainted, 
for he had only this one daughter. So they resolved they 
would send in her stead the miller’s daughter, who was very 
beautiful. They took her there, gave her a knife, and told her 
she was to scrape at the iron stove. So she scraped at it for 
four-and-twenty hours, but could not scrape off the least bit 
of it. 

When day dawned, a voice in the stove said, ‘ It seems to 
me it is day outside.’ 

Then she answered, ‘ It seems so to me too. I fancy I 
hear the noise of my father’s mill.’ 

4 So thou art a miller’s daughter ! Then go away at once, 
and let the King’s daughter come here.’ 

So off she went and told the old King that the one outside 
there would have none of her—he would have the King’s 
daughter. This terrified the old King, and the princess cried, 
But there still was a swineherd’s daughter, who was even 
prettier than the miller’s daughter, so they determined to give 
her a piece of gold to go to the iron stove instead of the King’s 
daughter. There she was taken, and she too scraped away for 
four-and-twenty hours. She, however, made nothing of it either. 

When day broke, a voice inside the stove cried, 4 It seems to 
me it is day outside ! ’ 

Then answered she, 4 So it seems to me also. I fancy I 
hear my father’s horn blowing.’ 

4 Then thou art a swineherd’s daughter ! Be off at once, 
and tell the King’s daughter to come, and tell her all must be 
done as was promised, and if she does not come, everything in 
the kingdom shall be wrecked and ruined, and not one stone 
left standing on another.’ 

When the King’s daughter heard that she began to weep, 
but now there was nothing for it but to keep her promise 
herself. So she took leave of her father, put a knife in her 
pocket, and went off to the iron stove in the forest. When she 
got there, she began to scrape, and the iron began to give way, 
and by the time two hours were over, she had already scraped 


a small hole. She peeped in, and saw a youth so handsome, 
and so brilliant with gold and with precious jewels, that her 
very soul rejoiced. At that she went on scraping, and made 
the hole so large that he was able to get out. 

Then said he, ‘ Thou art mine, and I am thine. Thou art 
my bride, and hast released me.’ 

He wanted to take her away with him to his kingdom, but 
she entreated him to let her go once again to her father, and 
the King’s son allowed her to do so, but she was not to say more 
to her father than just three words, and then she was to come 
back again. So she went home, but she did speak more than 
three words. And instantly the iron stove disappeared, and 
was carried far away over glass mountains and piercing swords, 
though the King’s son was set free, and no longer shut up in it. 
After this she bade good-bye to her father, took some money 
with her, but not much, and went back to the great forest to 
search for the iron stove, but it was nowhere to be found. For 
nine days she sought it, and then her hunger grew so great 
that she did not know what to do, for she could no longer live. 
When it was evening, she seated herself in a little tree, and 
made up her mind to spend the night there, as she was afraid 
of wild beasts. When midnight drew near she saw in the 
distance a tiny light, and thought, ‘ Ah, there I should be 
saved ! ’ She climbed down from the tree, and went towards 
the light, praying as she went. Soon she came to a little old 
house, with grass growing all round, and a small heap of wood 
in front of it. She thought, ‘ Ah ! what have I come to, here ? ’ 
and peeped in through the window, but she saw nothing within 
but toads, big and little, except a table well covered with wine 
and roast meat, and the plates and winecups were of silver. 
She took courage, and knocked at the door. The fat toad cried, 

4 Little green waiting-maid, 

Waiting-maid with the crooked leg, 

Hop, skip, jump about, 

Quickly see who stands without, - ’ 

and a little toad hopped along and opened the door for her. 



When she entered, they all bade her welcome, and made 
her sit down. They asked, ‘ Where hast thou come from, 
and where art thou going to ? ’ Then she related all that 
had befallen her, and how because she had disobeyed the 
order which had been given her not to say more than three 
words, the stove, and the King’s son also, had disappeared, and 
now she was on her way to seek him over hill and dale until she 
found him. Then the old fat one said, 

‘ Little green waiting-maid, 

Waiting-maid with the crooked leg, 

Hop, skip, and jump about, 

And get me the great box out.’ 

O O 

Then the little one went and brought the box. 

After this they gave her meat and drink, and took her to a 
soft bed, which felt like silk and velvet, and she laid herself 

down in God’s name, and slept. 
When morning came she arose, 
and out of the great box the 
old toad gave her three needles 
which she was to take with her. 
They would be needed by her 
because she had to cross a high 
glass mountain, and go over 
three sharp swords and a great 
lake. If she did all this she 
would get her lover back again. 
Then the old toad gave her 
three things which she was 
to take the greatest care of, 
namely, three large needles, the wheel of a plough, and three 
nuts. With these she travelled on, and when she came to 
the glass mountain which was so slippery, she stuck the three 
needles first behind her feet and then in turn before them, and 
so got over it, and when she was over, she hid them in a corner 
which she marked carefully. After this she came to the three 

The little one went and brought the box. 


sharp swords, and then she seated herself on her plough-wheel, 
and rolled over them. At last she reached a great lake, and 
when she had crossed it, she came to a large and beautiful 
castle. She went in and asked for a place. She was a poor 
girl, she said, and would gladly be a servant. For she knew 
that the King’s son was there whom she had released from the 
iron stove in the great forest. And she was taken as a kitchen- 
maid at low wages. But already the King’s son had another 
maiden by his side whom he wanted to marry, for she, he 
thought, had long been dead. 

In the evening, when she had washed up and her work 
was done, she felt in her pocket and found the three nuts which 
the old toad had given her. She cracked one with her teeth, 
and was going to eat the kernel, when lo and behold ! there 
was a gorgeous royal robe in it ! But when the bride heard of 
this she came and asked for the dress, and wanted to buy it, 
and said, 4 It is not a dress for a servant-girl.’ But she said 
No, she would not sell it, only if the bride would grant her one 
thing she should have it, and that was, leave to sleep one night 
in her bridegroom’s chamber. The bride gave her permission 
because the dress was so lovely, and she had never had one 
anything like it. 

When evening came she said to her bridegroom, 4 That silly 
girl will sleep in thy room.’ 

4 If thou art willing so am I,’ said he. She, however, 
gave him a glass of wine in which she had poured a sleeping- 
draught. So the bridegroom and the kitchen-maid went to 
sleep in the room, and he slept so soundly that she could 
not waken him. 

She wept the whole night and cried, 4 I set thee free when 
thou wert in an iron stove in the wild forest, I sought thee, and 
I crossed over a glass mountain, and three sharp swords, and 
a great lake before I found thee, and yet thou wilt not 
hear me! ’ 

The servants sat by the chamber-door, and heard how she 
bemoaned the whole night through, and in the morning they 



told it to their lord. And the next evening when she had 
washed up, she opened the second nut, and a far more beautiful 
dress was within it, and when the bride beheld it, she wished 
to buy that also. But the girl would not take money, and 
begged that she might sleep once again in the bridegroom’s 
chamber. The bride, however, gave him a sleeping-drink, and 
again he slept so soundly that he could hear nothing. 

As before the kitchen-maid wept the whole night long, and 
cried, ‘ I set thee free when thou wert in an iron stove in the 
wild forest, I sought thee, and I crossed over a glass mountain, 
and over three sharp swords and a great lake before I found 
thee, and yet thou wilt not hear me ! ’ 

The servants sat by the chamber-door and heard her 
weeping the whole night through, and in the morning informed 
their lord of it. And on the third evening, when she had 
washed up, she opened the third nut, and within it was a still 
more beautiful dress which was stiff with pure gold. When 
the bride saw that she wanted to have it, but the maiden only 
gave it up on condition that she might for the third time sleep 
in the bridegroom’s bed-chamber. 

This time the King’s son was on his guard, and threw the 
sleeping-draught away. So when she began to weep and to 
cry, 4 Dearest love, I set thee free when thou wert in the iron 
stove in the terrible wild forest,’ the King’s son leapt up and 
said, 4 Thou art the true one, thou art mine, and I am thine.’ 
And at once while it was still night, he drove off in a carriage 
with her, and they took away the false bride’s clothes so that 
she could not get up. 

When they came to the great lake, they sailed across it, 
and when they reached the three sharp swords they seated 
themselves on the plough-wheel, and when they got to the 
glass mountain they thrust the three needles in it, and so at 
length they got to the little old house. But when they went 
in, it turned out to be a great castle, and the toads were all 
disenchanted, and were all King’s children, and full of joy. 
Then their wedding was celebrated, and the King’s son and 


the princess remained in the castle, which was much larger 
than those of their fathers. But as the old King grieved at 
being left alone, they fetched him away, and brought him to 
live with them, and then they had two kingdoms, and lived 
happily ever after. 

A mouse did run, 

The story is done. 

Printed ljyT. and A. Constable, Printers to His Majesty 
at the Edinburgh University Press 



Eleanor R. Pearsall