Part 2 out of 3
the young King and revealed the whole plot. "I will soon put an end to
this affair," said the valiant little Tailor. In the evening at their
usual time they went to bed, and when his wife thought he slept she got
up, opened the door, and laid herself down again.
The Tailor, however, only pretended to be asleep, and began to call out
in a loud voice, "Boy, make me a coat, and then stitch up these
trowsers, or I will lay the yard-measure about your shoulders. Seven
have I slain with one blow, two Giants have I killed, a unicorn have I
led captive, and a wild boar have I caught, and shall I be afraid of
those who stand outside my room?"
When the men heard these words spoken by the Tailor, a great fear came
over them, and they ran away as if wild huntsmen were following them;
neither afterwards dared any man venture to oppose him. Thus the Tailor
became a King, and so he lived for the rest of his life.
LITTLE RED CAP
Many years ago there lived a dear little girl who was beloved by every
one who knew her; but her grand-mother was so very fond of her that she
never felt she could think and do enough to please this dear
grand-daughter, and she presented the little girl with a red silk cap,
which suited her so well, that she would never wear anything else, and
so was called Little Red-Cap.
One day Red-Cap's mother said to her, "Come, Red-Cap, here is a nice
piece of meat, and a bottle of wine: take these to your grandmother; she
is weak and ailing, and they will do her good. Be there before she gets
up; go quietly and carefully."
The grandmother lived far away in the wood, a long walk from the
village, and as Little Red-Cap came among the trees she met a Wolf; but
she did not know what a wicked animal it was, and so she was not at all
frightened. "Good morning, Little Red-Cap," he said.
"Thank you, Mr. Wolf," said she.
"Where are you going so early, Little Red-Cap?"
"To my grandmother's," she answered.
"And what are you carrying in that basket?"
"Some wine and meat," she replied. "We baked the meat yesterday, so that
grandmother, who is very weak, might have a nice strengthening meal."
"And where does your grandmother live?" asked the Wolf.
"Oh, quite twenty minutes walk further in the forest. The cottage stands
under three great oak trees; and close by are some nut bushes, by which
you will at once know it."
The Wolf was thinking to himself, "She is a nice tender thing, and will
taste better than the old woman; I must act cleverly, that I may make a
meal of both."
[Illustration: THE VALIANT LITTLE TAILOR.]
Presently he came up again to Little Red-Cap, and said, "Just look at
the beautiful flowers which grow around you; why do you not look about
you? I believe you don't hear how sweetly the birds are singing. You
walk as if you were going to school; see how cheerful everything is
about you in the forest."
And Little Red-Cap opened her eyes; and when she saw how the sunbeams
glanced and danced through the trees, and what bright flowers were
blooming in her path, she thought, "If I take my grandmother a fresh
nosegay, she will be very much pleased; and it is so very early that I
can, even then, get there in good time;" and running into the forest,
she looked about for flowers. But when she had once begun she did not
know how to leave off, and kept going deeper and deeper amongst the
trees looking for some still more beautiful flower. The Wolf, however,
ran straight to the house of the old grandmother, and knocked at the
"Who's there?" asked the old lady.
"Only Little Red-Cap, bringing you some meat and wine; please open the
door," answered the Wolf. "Lift up the latch," cried the grandmother; "I
am much too ill to get up myself."
So the Wolf lifted the latch, and the door flew open; and without a
word, he jumped on to the bed, and gobbled up the poor old lady. Then he
put on her clothes, and tied her night-cap over his head; got into the
bed, and drew the blankets over him. All this time Red-Cap was gathering
flowers; and when she had picked as many as she could carry, she thought
of her grandmother, and hurried to the cottage. She wondered greatly to
find the door open; and when she got into the room, she began to feel
very ill, and exclaimed, "How sad I feel! I wish I had not come to-day."
Then she said, "Good morning," but received no reply; so she went up to
the bed, and drew back the curtains, and there lay her grandmother, as
she imagined, with the cap drawn half over her eyes, and looking very
"Oh, grandmother, what great ears you have!" she said.
"All the better to hear you with," was the reply.
"And what great eyes you have!"
"All the better to see you with."
"And what great hands you have!"
"All the better to touch you with."
"But, grandmother, what very great teeth you have!"
"All the better to eat you with;" and hardly were the words spoken when
the Wolf made a jump out of bed, and swallowed up poor Little Red-Cap
As soon as the Wolf had thus satisfied his hunger, he laid himself down
again on the bed, and went to sleep and snored very loudly. A huntsman
passing by overheard him, and said, "How loudly that old woman snores! I
must see if anything is the matter."
So he went into the cottage; and when he came to the bed, he saw the
Wolf sleeping in it. "What! are you here, you old rascal? I have been
looking for you," exclaimed he; and taking up his gun, he shot the old
Wolf through the head.
But it is also said that the story ends in a different manner; for that
one day, when Red-Cap was taking some presents to her grandmother, a
Wolf met her, and wanted to mislead her; but she went straight on, and
told her grandmother that she had met a Wolf, who said good day, and who
looked so hungrily out of his great eyes, as if he would have eaten her
up had she not been on the high-road.
So her grandmother said, "We will shut the door, and then he cannot get
in." Soon after, up came the Wolf, who tapped, and exclaimed, "I am
Little Red-Cap, grandmother; I have some roast meat for you." But they
kept quite quiet, and did not open the door; so the Wolf, after looking
several times round the house, at last jumped on the roof, thinking to
wait till Red-Cap went home in the evening, and then to creep after her
and eat her in the darkness. The old woman, however, saw what the
villain intended. There stood before the door a large stone trough, and
she said to Little Red-Cap, "Take this bucket, dear: yesterday I boiled
some meat in this water, now pour it into the stone trough." Then the
Wolf sniffed the smell of the meat, and his mouth watered, and he wished
very much to taste. At last he stretched his neck too far over, so that
he lost his balance, and fell down from the roof, right into the great
trough below, and there he was drowned.
THE GOLDEN GOOSE
There was once a man who had three sons. The youngest was called
Dummerly, and was on all occasions scorned and ill-treated by the whole
family. It happened that the eldest took it into his head one day to go
into the forest to cut wood; and his mother gave him a delicious meat
pie and a bottle of wine to take with him, that he might sustain himself
at his work. As he went into the forest, a little old man bid him good
day, and said, "Give me a little bit of meat from your plate, and a
little wine out of your flask; I am very hungry and thirsty." But this
clever young man said, "Give you my meat and wine! No, I thank you;
there would not be enough left for me;" and he went on his way. He soon
began to chop down a tree; but he had not worked long before he missed
his stroke, and cut himself, and was obliged to go home and have the
wound bound up. Now, it was the little old man who caused him this
Next the second son went out to work; and his mother gave him, too, a
meat pie and a bottle of wine. And the same little old man encountered
him also, and begged him for something to eat and drink. But he, too,
thought himself extremely clever, and said, "Whatever you get, I shall
be without; so go your way!" The little man made sure that he should
have his reward; and the second stroke that he struck at a tree, hit him
on the leg, so that he too was compelled to go home.
Then Dummerly said, "Father, I should like to go and cut fuel too." But
his father replied, "Your brothers have both maimed themselves; you had
better stop at home, for you know nothing of the job." But Dummerly was
very urgent; and at last his father said, "Go your way; you will be
wiser when you have suffered for your foolishness." And his mother gave
him only some dry bread, and a bottle of sour ale; but when he went into
the forest, he met the little old man, who said, "Give me some meat and
drink, for I am very hungry and thirsty." Dummerly said, "I have nothing
but dry bread and sour beer; if that will do for you, we will sit down
and eat it together." So they sat down, and when the lad took out his
bread, behold it was turned into a splendid meat pie, and his sour beer
became delicious wine! They ate and drank heartily, and when they had
finished, the little man said, "As you have a kind heart, and have been
willing to share everything with me I will bring good to you. There
stands an old tree; chop it down, and you will find something at the
root." Then he took his leave and went his way.
Dummerly set to work, and cut down the tree; and when it fell, he
discovered in a hollow under the roots a goose with plumage of pure
gold. He took it up, and went on to an inn, where he proposed sleep for
the night. The landlord had three daughters, and when they saw the
goose, they were very curious to find out what this wonderful bird could
be, and wished very much to pluck one of the feathers out of its tail.
At last the eldest said, "I must and will have a feather." So she waited
till his back was turned, and then caught hold of the goose by the wing;
but to her great surprise, there she stuck, for neither hand nor finger
could she pull away again. Presently in came the second sister, and
thought to have a feather too; but the instant she touched her sister,
there she too hung fast. At last came the third, and desired a feather;
but the other two cried out, "Keep away! for heaven's sake, keep away!"
However, she did not understand what they meant. "If they are there,"
thought she, "I may as well be there too," so she went up to them. But
the moment she touched her sisters she stuck fast, and hung to the goose
as they did. And so they abode with the goose all night.
The next morning Dummerly carried off the goose under his arm, and took
no heed of the three girls, but went out with them sticking fast behind;
and wherever he journeyed, the three were obliged to follow, whether
they wished or not, as fast as their legs could carry them.
In the middle of a field the parson met them; and when he saw the
procession, he said, "Are you not ashamed of yourselves, you bold girls,
to run after the young man like that over the fields? Is that proper
Then he took the youngest by the hand to lead her away; but the moment
he touched her he, too, hung fast, and followed in the procession.
Presently up came the clerk; and when he saw his master, the parson,
running after the three girls, he was greatly surprised, and said,
"Hollo! hollo! your reverence! whither so fast! There is a christening
Then he ran up, and caught him by the gown, and instantly he was fast
As the five were thus trudging along, one after another, they met two
laborers with their mattocks coming from work; and the parson called out
to them to set him free. But hardly had they touched him, when they,
too, joined the ranks, and so made seven, all running after Dummerly and
At last they came to a city, where reigned a King who had an only
daughter. The princess was of so thoughtful and serious a turn of mind
that no one could make her laugh; and the King had announced to all the
world that whoever could make her laugh should have her for his wife.
When the young man heard this, he went to her with the goose and all its
followers; and as soon as she saw the seven all hanging together, and
running about, treading on each other's heels, she could not help
bursting into a long and loud laugh.
Then Dummerly claimed her for his bride; the wedding took place, and he
was heir to the kingdom, and lived long and happily with his wife.
There was once upon a time a young fellow who enlisted for a soldier,
and became so brave and courageous that he was always in the front ranks
when it rained blue beans. As long as the war lasted all went well,
but when peace was concluded he received his discharge, and the captain
told him he might go where he liked. His parents meanwhile had died, and
as he had no longer any home to go to he paid a visit to his brothers,
and asked them to give him shelter until war broke out again. His
brothers, however, were hard-hearted, and said, "What could we do with
you? We could make nothing of you; see to what you have brought
yourself"; and so turned a deaf ear. The poor Soldier had nothing but
his musket left; so he mounted this on his shoulder and set out on a
tramp. By and by he came to a great heath with nothing on it but a
circle of trees, under which he sat down, sorrowfully considering his
fate. "I have no money," thought he; "I have learnt nothing but
soldiering, and now, since peace is concluded, there is no need of me. I
see well enough I shall have to starve." All at once he heard a
rustling, and as he looked round he perceived a stranger standing before
him, dressed in a gray coat, who looked very stately, but had an ugly
cloven foot. "I know quite well what you need," said this being; "gold
and other possessions you shall have, as much as you can spend; but
first I must know whether you are a coward or not, that I may not spend
my money foolishly."
"A soldier and a coward!" replied the other, "that cannot be; you may
put me to any proof."
"Well, then," replied the stranger, "look behind you."
[Footnote 1: Small shot.]
The Soldier turned and saw a huge bear, which eyed him very ferociously.
"Oho!" cried he, "I will tickle your nose for you, that you shall no
longer be able to grumble"; and, raising his musket, he shot the bear in
the forehead, so that he tumbled in a heap upon the ground, and did not
stir afterward. Thereupon the stranger said, "I see quite well that you
are not wanting in courage; but there is yet one condition which you
must fulfil." "If it does not interfere with my future happiness," said
the Soldier, who had remarked who it was that addressed him; "if it does
not interfere with that, I shall not hesitate."
"That you must see about yourself!" said the stranger. "For the next
seven years you must not wash yourself, nor comb your hair or beard,
neither must you cut your nails nor say one paternoster. Then I will
give you this coat and mantle, which you must wear during these seven
years; and if you die within that time you are mine, but if you live you
are rich, and free all your life long."
The Soldier reflected for awhile on his great necessities, and,
remembering how often he had braved death, he at length consented, and
ventured to accept the offer. Thereupon the Evil One pulled off the gray
coat, handed it to the soldier, and said, "If you at any time search in
the pockets of your coat when you have it on, you will always find your
hand full of money." Then also he pulled off the skin of the bear, and
said, "That shall be your cloak and your bed; you must sleep on it, and
not dare to lie in any other bed, and on this account you shall be
called 'Bearskin.'" Immediately the Evil One disappeared.
The Soldier now put on the coat, and dipped his hands into the pockets,
to assure himself of the reality of the transaction. Then he hung the
bearskin around himself, and went about the world chuckling at his good
luck, and buying whatever suited his fancy which money could purchase.
For the first year his appearance was not very remarkable, but in the
second he began to look quite a monster. His hair covered almost all his
face, his beard appeared like a piece of dirty cloth, his nails were
claws, and his countenance was so covered with dirt that one might have
grown cresses upon it if one had sown seed! Whoever looked at him ran
away; but because he gave the poor in every place gold coin they prayed
that he might not die during the seven years; and because he paid
liberally everywhere, he found a night's lodging without difficulty. In
the fourth year he came to an inn where the landlord would not take him
in, and refused even to give him a place in his stables, lest the horses
should be frightened and become restive. However, when Bearskin put his
hand into his pocket and drew it out full of gold ducats the landlord
yielded the point, and gave him a place in the outbuildings, but not
till he had promised that he would not show himself, for fear the inn
should gain a bad name.
While Bearskin sat by himself in the evening, wishing from his heart
that the seven years were over, he heard in the corner a loud groan. Now
the old Soldier had a compassionate heart, so he opened the door and saw
an old man weeping violently and wringing his hands. Bearskin stepped
nearer, but the old man jumped up and tried to escape; but when he
recognized a human voice he let himself be persuaded, and by kind words
and soothings on the part of the old Soldier he at length disclosed the
cause of his distress. His property had dwindled away by degrees, and he
and his daughters would have to starve, for he was so poor that he had
not the money to pay the host, and would therefore be put into prison.
"If you have no care except that," replied Bearskin, "I have money
enough"; and causing the landlord to be called, he paid him, and put a
purse full of gold besides into the pocket of the old man. The latter,
when he saw himself released from his troubles, knew not how to be
sufficiently grateful, and said to the Soldier, "Come with me; my
daughters are all wonders of beauty, so choose one of them for a wife.
When they hear what you have done for me they will not refuse you. You
appear certainly an uncommon man, but they will soon put you to rights."
This speech pleased Bearskin, and he went with the old man. As soon as
the eldest daughter saw him, she was so terrified at his countenance
that she shrieked out and ran away. The second one stopped and looked at
him from head to foot; but at last she said, "How can I take a husband
who has not a bit of a human countenance? The grizzly bear would have
pleased me better who came to see us once, and gave himself out as a
man, for he wore a hussar's hat, and had white gloves on besides."
But the youngest daughter said, "Dear father, this must be a good man
who has assisted you out of your troubles; if you have promised him a
bride for the service your word must be kept"
It was a pity the man's face was covered with dirt and hair, else one
would have seen how glad at heart these words made him. Bearskin took a
ring off his finger, broke it in two, and, giving the youngest daughter
one half, he kept the other for himself. On her half he wrote his name,
and on his own he wrote hers, and begged her to preserve it carefully.
Thereupon he took leave, saying, "For three years longer I must wander
about; if I come back again, then we will celebrate our wedding; but if
I do not, you are free, for I shall be dead. But pray to God that he
will preserve my life."
When he was gone the poor bride clothed herself in black, and whenever
she thought of her bridegroom burst into tears. From her sisters she
received nothing but scorn and mocking. "Pay great attention when he
shakes your hand," said the eldest, "and you will see his beautiful
claws!" "Take care!" said the second, "bears are fond of sweets, and if
you please him he will eat you up, perhaps!" "You must mind and do his
will," continued the eldest, "or he will begin growling!" And the second
daughter said further, "But the wedding will certainly be merry, for
bears dance well!" The bride kept silence, and would not be drawn from
her purpose by all these taunts; and meanwhile Bearskin wandered about
in the world, doing good where he could, and giving liberally to the
poor, for which they prayed heartily for him. At length the last day of
the seven years approached, and Bearskin went and sat down again on the
heath beneath the circle of trees. In a very short time the wind
whistled, and the Evil One presently stood before him and looked at him
with a vexed face. He threw the Soldier his old coat and demanded his
gray one back. "We have not got so far as that yet," replied Bearskin;
"you must clean me first." Then the Evil One had, whether he liked it or
no, to fetch water, wash the old Soldier, comb his hair out, and cut his
nails. This done, he appeared again like a brave warrior, and indeed was
much handsomer than before.
As soon as the Evil One had disappeared, Bearskin became quite
light-hearted; and going into the nearest town he bought a fine velvet
coat, and hired a carriage drawn by four white horses, in which he was
driven to the house of his bride. Nobody knew him; the father took him
for some celebrated general, and led him into the room where his
daughters were. He was compelled to sit down between the two eldest, and
they offered him wine, and heaped his plate with the choicest morsels;
for they thought they had never seen any one so handsome before. But the
bride sat opposite to him dressed in black, neither opening her eyes nor
speaking a word. At length the Soldier asked the father if he would give
him one of his daughters to wife, and immediately the two elder sisters
arose, and ran to their chambers to dress themselves out in their most
becoming clothes, for each thought she should be chosen. Meanwhile the
stranger, as soon as he found himself alone with his bride, pulled out
the half of the ring and threw it into a cup of wine, which he handed
across the table. She took it, and as soon as she had drunk it and seen
the half ring lying at the bottom her heart beat rapidly, and she
produced the other half, which she wore round her neck on a riband. She
held them together, and they joined each other exactly, and the stranger
said, "I am your bridegroom, whom you first saw as Bearskin; but through
God's mercy I have regained my human form, and am myself once more."
With these words he embraced and kissed her; and at the same time the
two eldest sisters entered in full costume. As soon as they saw that the
very handsome man had fallen to the share of their youngest sister, and
heard that he was the same as "Bearskin," they ran out of the house full
of rage and jealousy.
The wife of a rich man fell sick: and when she felt that her end drew
nigh, she called her only daughter to her bedside, and said, "Always be
a good girl, and I will look down from heaven and watch over you." Soon
afterwards she shut her eyes and died, and was buried in the garden; and
the little girl went every day to her grave and wept, and was always
good and kind to all about her. And the snow spread a beautiful white
covering over the grave; but by the time the sun had melted it away
again, her father had married another wife. This new wife had two
daughters of her own: they were fair in face but foul at heart, and it
was now a sorry time for the poor little girl. "What does the
good-for-nothing thing want in the parlor?" said they; and they took
away her fine clothes, and gave her an old frock to put on, and laughed
at her and turned her into the kitchen.
Then she was forced to do hard work; to rise early, before daylight, to
bring the water, to make the fire, to cook and to wash. She had no bed
to lie down on, but was made to lie by the hearth among the ashes, and
they called her Cinderella.
It happened once that her father was going to the fair, and asked his
wife's daughters what he should bring to them. "Fine clothes," said the
first. "Pearls and diamonds," said the second. "Now, child," said he to
his own daughter, "what will you have?" "The first sprig, dear father,
that rubs against your hat on your way home," said she. Then he bought
for the two first the fine clothes and pearls and diamonds they had
asked for: and on his way home, as he rode through a green copse, a
sprig of hazel brushed against him, so he broke it off and when he got
home he gave it to his daughter. Then she took it, and went to her
mother's grave and planted it there, and cried so much that it was
watered with her tears; and there it grew and became a fine tree, and
soon a little bird came and built its nest upon the tree, and talked
with her and watched over her, and brought her whatever she wished for.
Now it happened that the king of the land held a feast which was to last
three days, and out of those who came to it his son was to choose a
bride for himself; and Cinderella's two sisters were asked to come. So
they called Cinderella, and said, "Now, comb our hair, brush our shoes,
and tie our sashes for us, for we are going to dance at the king's
feast." Then she did as she was told, but when all was done she could
not help crying, for she thought to herself, she would have liked to go
to the dance too, and at last she begged her mother very hard to let her
go, "You! Cinderella?" said she; "you who have nothing to wear, no
clothes at all, and who cannot even dance--you want to go to the ball?"
And when she kept on begging, to get rid of her, she said at last, "I
will throw this basinful of peas into the ash heap, and if you have
picked them all out in two hours' time you shall go to the feast too."
Then she threw the peas into the ashes; but the little maiden ran out at
the back door into the garden, and cried out--
"Hither, thither, through the sky, turtle-doves and linnets, fly!
Blackbird, thrush, and chaffinch gay, hither, thither, haste away!
One and all, come, help me quick! haste ye, haste ye--pick, pick,
Then first came two white doves; and next two turtle-doves; and after
them all the little birds under heaven came, and the little doves
stooped their heads down and set to work, pick, pick, pick; and then the
others began to pick, pick, pick, and picked out all the good grain and
put it into a dish, and left the ashes. At the end of one hour the work
was done, and all flew out again at the windows. Then she brought the
dish to her mother. But the mother said, "No, no! indeed, you have no
clothes and cannot dance; you shall not go." And when Cinderella begged
very hard to go, she said, "If you can in one hour's time pick two of
these dishes of pease out of the ashes, you shall go too." So she shook
two dishes of peas into the ashes; but the little maiden went out into
the garden at the back of the house, and called as before and all the
birds came flying, and in half an hour's time all was done, and out they
flew again. And then Cinderella took the dishes to her mother, rejoicing
to think that she should now go to the ball. But her mother said, "It is
all of no use, you cannot go; you have no clothes, and cannot dance; and
you would only put us to shame;" and off she went with her two daughters
to the feast.
Now when all were gone, and nobody left at home, Cinderella went
sorrowfully and sat down under the hazel-tree, and cried out--
"Shake, shake, hazel-tree, gold and silver over me!"
Then her friend the bird flew out of the tree and brought a gold and
silver dress for her, and slippers of spangled silk; and she put them
on, and followed her sisters to the feast. But they did not know her,
she looked so fine and beautiful in her rich clothes.
The king's son soon came up to her, and took her by the hand and danced
with her and no one else; and he never left her hand, but when any one
else came to ask her to dance, he said, "This lady is dancing with me."
Thus they danced till a late hour of the night, and then she wanted to
go home; and the king's son said, "I shall go and take care of you to
your home," for he wanted to see where the beautiful maid lived. But she
slipped away from him unawares, and ran off towards home, and the prince
followed her; then she jumped up into the pigeon-house and shut the
door. So he waited till her father came home, and told him that the
unknown maiden who had been at the feast had hidden herself in the
pigeon-house. But when they had broken open the door they found no one
within; and as they came back into the house, Cinderella lay, as she
always did, in her dirty frock by the ashes; for she had run as quickly
as she could through the pigeon-house and on to the hazel-tree, and had
there taken off her beautiful clothes, and laid them beneath the tree,
that the bird might carry them away; and had seated herself amid the
ashes again in her little old frock.
The next day, when the feast was again held, and her father, mother and
sisters were gone, Cinderella went to the hazel-tree, and all happened
as the evening before.
The king's son, who was waiting for her, took her by the hand and danced
with her; and, when any one asked her to dance, he said as before, "This
lady is dancing with me." When night came she wanted to go home; and the
king's son went with her, but she sprang away from him all at once into
the garden behind her father's house. In this garden stood a fine large
pear-tree; and Cinderella jumped up into it without being seen. Then the
king's son waited till her father came home, and said to him, "The
unknown lady has slipped away, and I think she must have sprung into the
pear-tree." The father ordered an axe to be brought, and they cut down
the tree, but found no one upon it. And when they came back into the
kitchen, there lay Cinderella in the ashes as usual; for she had slipped
down on the other side of the tree, and carried her beautiful clothes
back to the bird at the hazel-tree, and then put on her little old
The third day, when her father and mother and sisters were gone, she
went again into the garden, and said--
"Shake, shake, hazel-tree, gold and silver over me!"
Then her kind friend the bird brought a dress still finer than the
former one, and slippers which were all of gold; and the king's son
danced with her alone, and when any one else asked her to dance, he
said, "This lady is my partner." Now when night came she wanted to go
home; and the king's son would go with her, but she managed to slip away
from him, though in such a hurry that she dropped her left golden
slipper upon the stairs.
So the prince took the shoe, and went the next day to the king, his
father, and said, "I will take for my wife the lady that this golden
Then both the sisters were overjoyed to hear this; for they had
beautiful feet, and had no doubt that they could wear the golden
slipper. The eldest went first into the room where the slipper was, and
wanted to try it on, and the mother stood by. But her big toe could not
go into it, and the shoe was altogether much too small for her. Then the
mother said, "Never mind, cut it off. When you are queen you will not
care about toes; you will not want to go on foot." So the silly girl cut
her big toe off, and squeezed the shoe on, and went to the king's son.
Then he took her for his bride, and rode away with her.
But on their way home they had to pass by the hazel-tree that Cinderella
had planted, and there sat a little dove on the branch, singing--
"Back again! back again! look to the shoe!
The shoe is too small, and not made for you!
Prince! prince! look again for thy bride,
For she's not the true one that sits by thy side."
Then the prince looked at her foot, and saw by the blood that streamed
from it what a trick she had played him. So he brought the false bride
back to her home, and said, "This is not the right bride; let the other
sister try and put on the slipper." Then she went into the room and got
her foot into the shoe, all but the heel, which was too large. But her
mother squeezed it in till the blood came, and took her to the king's
son; and he rode away with her. But when they came to the hazel-tree,
the little dove sat there still, and sang as before. Then the king's son
looked down, and saw that the blood streamed from the shoe. So he
brought her back again also. "This is not the true bride," said he to
the father; "have you no other daughters?"
Then Cinderella came and she took her clumsy shoe off, and put on the
golden slipper, and it fitted as if it had been made for her. And when
he drew near and looked at her face the prince knew her, and said, "This
is the right bride."
Then he took Cinderella on his horse and rode away. And when they came
to the hazel-tree the white dove sang--
"Prince! prince! take home thy bride,
For she is the true one that sits by thy side!"
Once upon a time there lived an old King, who fell very sick, and
thought he was lying upon his death-bed; so he said, "Let faithful John
come to me." This faithful John was his affectionate servant, and was so
called because he had been true to him all his lifetime. As soon as John
came to the bedside, the King said, "My faithful John, I feel that my
end approaches, and I have no other care than about my son, who is still
so young that he cannot always guide himself aright. If you do not
promise to instruct him in everything he ought to know, and to be his
guardian, I cannot close my eyes in peace." Then John answered, "I will
never leave him; I will always serve him truly, even if it costs me my
life." So the old King was comforted, and said, "Now I can die in peace.
After my death you must show him all the chambers, halls, and vaults in
the castle, and all the treasures which are in them; but the last room
in the long corridor you must not show him, for in it hangs the portrait
of the daughter of the King of the Golden Palace; if he sees her
picture, he will conceive a great love for her, and will fall down in a
swoon, and on her account undergo great perils, therefore you must keep
him away." The faithful John pressed his master's hand again in token of
assent, and soon after the King laid his head upon the pillow and
After the old King had been borne to his grave, the faithful John
related to the young King all that his father had said upon his
death-bed, and declared, "All this I will certainly fulfil; I will be as
true to you as I was to him, if it costs me my life." When the time of
mourning was passed, John said to the young King, "It is now time for
you to see your inheritance; I will show you your paternal castle." So
he led the King all over it, upstairs and downstairs, and showed him all
the riches, and all the splendid chambers; only one room he did not
open, containing the perilous portrait, which was so placed that one saw
it directly the door was opened, and, moreover, it was so beautifully
painted that one thought it breathed and moved; nothing in all the world
could be more lifelike or more beautiful. The young King remarked,
however, that the faithful John always passed by one door, so he asked,
"Why do you not open that one?" "There is something in it," he replied,
"which will frighten you."
But the King said, "I have seen all the rest of the castle, and I will
know what is in there," and he went and tried to open the door by force.
The faithful John pulled him back, and said, "I promised your father
before he died that you should not see the contents of that room; it
would bring great misfortunes both upon you and me."
"Oh, no," replied the young King, "if I do not go in it will be my
certain ruin; I should have no peace night nor day until I had seen it
with my own eyes. Now I will not stir from the place till you unlock the
Then the faithful John saw that it was of no use talking; so, with a
heavy heart and many sighs, he picked the key out of the great bunch.
When he had opened the door, he went in first, and thought he would
cover up the picture, that the King should not see it; but it was of no
use, for the King stepped upon tiptoes and looked over his shoulder; and
as soon as he saw the portrait of the maiden, which was so beautiful and
glittered with precious stones, he fell down on the ground insensible.
The faithful John lifted him up and carried him to his bed, and thought
with great concern, "Mercy on us! the misfortune has happened; what will
come of it?" and he gave the young King wine until he came to himself.
The first words he spoke were, "Who does that beautiful picture
represent?" "That is the daughter of the King of the Golden Palace," was
"Then," said the King, "my love for her is so great that if all the
leaves on the trees had tongues, they should not gainsay it; my life is
set upon the search for her. You are my faithful John, you must
The trusty servant deliberated for a long while how to set about this
business, for it was very difficult to get into the presence of the
King's daughter. At last he bethought himself of a way, and said to the
King, "Everything which she has around her is of gold--chairs, tables,
dishes, bowls, and all the household utensils. Among your treasures are
five tons of gold; let one of the goldsmiths of your kingdom manufacture
vessels and utensils of all kinds therefrom--all kinds of birds, and
wild and wonderful beasts, such as will please her, then we will travel
with these, and try our luck." Then the King summoned all his
goldsmiths, who worked day and night until many very beautiful things
were ready. When all had been placed on board a ship, the faithful John
put on merchant's clothes, and the King likewise, so that they might
travel quite unknown. Then they sailed over the wide sea, and sailed
away until they came to the city where dwelt the daughter of the King of
the Golden Palace.
The faithful John told the King to remain in the ship, and wait for him.
"Perhaps," said he, "I shall bring the King's daughter with me;
therefore take care that all is in order, and set out the golden vessels
and adorn the whole ship." Thereupon John placed in a napkin some of the
golden cups, stepped upon land, and went straight to the King's palace.
When he came into the castle yard, a beautiful maid stood by the brook,
who had two golden pails in her hand, drawing water; and when she had
filled them and had turned round, she saw a strange man, and asked who
he was. Then John answered, "I am a merchant"; and opening his napkin he
showed her its contents. Then she exclaimed, "Oh, what beautiful golden
things!" and, setting the pails down, she looked at the cups one after
another, and said, "The King's daughter must see these; she is so
pleased with anything made of gold that she will buy all these." And
taking him by the hand, she led him in; for she was the lady's maid.
When the King's daughter saw the golden cups, she was much pleased, and
said, "They are so finely worked that I will purchase them all." But the
faithful John replied, "I am only the servant of a rich merchant; what I
have here is nothing in comparison to those which my master has in his
ship, than which nothing more delicate or costly has ever been worked in
gold." Then the King's daughter wished to have them all brought; but he
said, "It would take many days, and so great is the quantity that your
palace has not halls enough in it to place them around." Then her
curiosity and desire were still more excited, and at last she said,
"Take me to the ship; I will go myself and look at your master's
The faithful John conducted her to the ship with great joy, and the
King, when he beheld her, saw that her beauty was still greater than the
picture had represented, and thought nothing else but that his heart
would jump out of his mouth. Presently she stepped on board, and the
King conducted her below; but the faithful John remained on deck by the
steersman, and told him to unmoor the ship and put on all the sail he
could, that it might fly as a bird through the air. Meanwhile the King
showed the Princess all the golden treasures--the dishes, cups, bowls,
the birds, the wild and wonderful beasts. Many hours passed away while
she looked at everything, and in her joy she did not remark that the
ship sailed on and on. As soon as she had looked at the last, and
thanked the merchant, she wished to depart. But when she came on deck,
she perceived that they were upon the high sea, far from the shore, and
were hastening on with all sail. "Ah," she exclaimed in affright, "I am
betrayed; I am carried off and taken away in the power of a strange
merchant. I would rather die!"
But the King, taking her by the hand, said, "I am not a merchant, but a
king, thine equal in birth. It is true that I have carried thee off; but
that is because of my overwhelming love for thee. Dost thou know that
when I first saw the portrait of thy beauteous face I fell down in a
swoon before it?" When the King's daughter heard these words, she was
reassured, and her heart was inclined toward him, so that she willingly
became his bride. While they thus went on their voyage on the high sea,
it happened that the faithful John, as he sat on the deck of the ship,
playing music, saw three crows in the air, who came flying toward them.
He stopped playing, and listened to what they were saying to each other,
for he understood them perfectly. The first one exclaimed, "There he is,
carrying home the daughter of the King of the Golden Palace." "But he is
not home yet," replied the second. "But he has her," said the third;
"she is sitting by him in the ship." Then the first began again, and
exclaimed, "What matters that? When they go on shore a fox-colored horse
will spring toward them, on which he will mount; and as soon as he is on
it, it will jump up with him into the air, so that he will never again
see his bride." The second one asked, "Is there no escape?" "Oh, yes, if
another mounts behind quickly, and takes out the firearms which are in
the holster, and with them shoots the horse dead, then the young King
will be saved. But who knows that? And if any one does know it, and
tells him, such a one will be turned to stone from the toe to the knee."
Then the second spoke again, "I know still more: if the horse should be
killed, the young King will not then retain his bride; for when they
come into the castle a beautiful bridal shirt will lie there upon a
dish, and seem to be woven of gold and silver, but it is nothing but
sulphur and pitch, and if he puts it on it will burn him to his marrow
and bones." Then the third Crow asked, "Is there no escape?" "Oh, yes,"
answered the second, "if some one takes up the shirt with his glove on,
and throws it into the fire, so that it is burnt, the young King will be
saved. But what does that signify? Whoever knows it, and tells him, will
be turned to stone from his knee to his heart." Then the third Crow
spoke: "I know still more: even if the bridal shirt be consumed, still
the young King will not retain his bride. For if, after the wedding, a
dance is held, while the young Queen dances she will suddenly turn pale,
and fall down as if dead; and if some one does not raise her up, and
take three drops of blood from her right breast and throw them away, she
will die. But whoever knows that, and tells it, will have his whole body
turned to stone, from the crown of his head to the toes of his feet."
After the crows had thus talked with one another, they flew away, and
the trusty John, who had perfectly understood all they had said, was
from that time very quiet and sad; for if he concealed from his master
what he had heard, misfortune would happen to him, and if he told him
all he must give up his own life. But at last he thought, "I will save
my master, even if I destroy myself."
As soon as they came on shore, it happened just as the Crow had
foretold, and an immense fox-red horse sprang up. "Capital!" said the
King, "this shall carry me to my castle," and he tried to mount; but the
faithful John came straight up, and swinging himself quickly on, drew
the firearms out of the holster and shot the horse dead. Then the other
servants of the King, who were not on good terms with the faithful John,
exclaimed, "How shameful to kill the beautiful creature, which might
have borne the King to the castle!" But the King replied, "Be silent,
and let him go; he is my very faithful John--who knows the good he may
have done?" Now they went into the castle, and there stood a dish in the
hall, and the splendid bridal shirt lay in it, and seemed nothing else
than gold and silver. The young King went up to it and wished to take it
up, but the faithful John pushed him away, and taking it up with his
gloves on, bore it quickly to the fire and let it burn. The other
servants thereupon began to murmur, saying, "See, now he is burning the
King's bridal shirt!" But the young King replied, "Who knows what good
he has done? Let him alone--he is my faithful John."
Soon after, the wedding was celebrated, and a grand ball was given, and
the bride began to dance. So the faithful John paid great attention, and
watched her countenance; all at once she grew pale, and fell as if dead
to the ground. Then he sprang up hastily, raised her up and bore her to
a chamber, where he laid her down, kneeled beside her, and drawing the
three drops of blood out of her right breast, threw them away. As soon
as she breathed again, she raised herself up; but the young King had
witnessed everything, and not knowing why the faithful John had done
this was very angry, and called out, "Throw him into prison!" The next
morning the trusty John was brought up for trial, and led to the
gallows; and as he stood upon them, and was about to be executed, he
said, "Every one condemned to die may once before his death speak. Shall
I also have that privilege?" "Yes," answered the King, "it shall be
granted you." Then the faithful John replied, "I have been unrighteously
judged, and have always been true to you"; and he narrated the
conversation of the crows which he heard at sea; and how, in order to
save his master, he was obliged to do all he had done. Then the King
cried out, "Oh, my most trusty John, pardon, pardon; lead him away!" But
the trusty John had fallen down at the last word and was turned into
At this event both the King and the Queen were in great grief, and the
King thought, "Ah, how wickedly have I rewarded his great fidelity!" and
he had the stone statue raised up and placed in his sleeping-chamber,
near his bed; and as often as he looked at it, he wept and said, "Ah,
could I bring you back to life again, my faithful John!"
After some time had passed, the Queen bore twins, two little sons, who
were her great joy. Once, when the Queen was in church, and the two
children at home playing by their father's side, he looked up at the
stone statue full of sorrow, and exclaimed with a sigh, "Ah, could I
restore you to life, my faithful John!" At these words the statue began
to speak, saying, "Yes, you can make me alive again, if you will bestow
on me that which is dearest to you." The King replied, "All that I have
in the world I will give up for you." The statue spake again: "If you,
with your own hand, cut off the heads of both your children, and
sprinkle me with their blood, I shall be brought to life again." The
King was terrified when he heard that he must himself kill his two dear
children; but he remembered his servant's great fidelity, and how the
faithful John had died for him, and drawing his sword he cut off the
heads of both his children with his own hand. And as soon as he had
sprinkled the statue with blood, life came back to it, and the trusty
John stood again alive and well before him, and said, "Your faith shall
not go unrewarded"; and taking the heads of the two children he set them
on again, and anointed their wounds with their blood, and thereupon they
healed again in a moment, and the children sprang away and played as if
nothing had happened.
Now the King was full of happiness, and as soon as he saw the Queen
coming, he hid the faithful John and both the children in a great
closet. As soon as she came in he said to her, "Have you prayed in the
church?" "Yes," she answered; "but I thought continually of the faithful
John, who has come to such misfortune through us." Then he replied, "My
dear wife, we can restore his life again to him, but it will cost us
both our little sons, whom we must sacrifice." The Queen became pale and
was terrified at heart, but she said, "We are guilty of his life on
account of his great fidelity." Then he was very glad that she thought
as he did, and going up to the closet, he unlocked it, brought out the
children and the faithful John, saying, "God be praised! he is saved,
and we have still our little sons"; and then he told her all that
happened. Afterward they lived happily together to the end of their
THE WATER OF LIFE
Once upon a time there was a King who was so ill that everybody
despaired of his life, and his three sons were very sorry, and went out
into the palace gardens to weep. There they met an old man, who asked
the cause of their grief, and they told him their Father was so ill that
he must die, for nothing could save him. The old Man said, "I know a
means of saving him: if he drinks of the water of life it will restore
him to health; but it is very difficult to find."
"I will soon find it," said the eldest Son, and, going to the sick King,
he begged his permission to set out in search of the water of life,
which alone could save him. "No; the danger is too great," said the
King; "I prefer to die." Nevertheless, the Son begged and entreated so
long that the King consented, and the Prince went away, thinking in his
own heart, "If I bring this water I am the dearest to my Father, and I
shall inherit his kingdom."
After he had ridden a long way he met a Dwarf on the road, who asked
him, "Whither away so quickly?"
"You stupid dandyprat," replied the Prince proudly, "why should I tell
you that?" and he rode off. But the little Man was angry and he wished
an evil thing, so that, soon after, the Prince came into a narrow
mountain-pass, and the farther he rode the narrower it grew, till at
last it was so close that he could get no farther; but neither could he
turn his horse round, nor dismount, and he sat there like one amazed.
Meanwhile the sick King waited a long while for him, but he did not
come; and the second Son asked leave to go too and seek the water, for
he thought to himself, "If my Brother is dead the kingdom comes to me."
At first the King refused to spare him, but he gave way, and the Prince
set out on the same road as the elder one had taken, and met also the
same Dwarf, who stopped him and asked him, "Whither ride you so
hastily?" "Little dandyprat," replied the Prince, "what do you want to
know for?" and he rode off without looking round. The Dwarf, however,
enchanted him, and it happened to him as it had to his Brother: he came
to a defile where he could move neither forward nor backward. Such is
the fate of all haughty people.
Now, when the second Son did not return, the youngest begged leave to go
and fetch the water, and the King was obliged at last to give his
consent. When he met the Dwarf, and was asked whither he was going so
hurriedly, he stopped and replied, "I seek the water of life, for my
Father is sick unto death." "Do you know where to find it?" asked the
Dwarf. "No," replied the Prince. "Since you have behaved yourself as you
ought," said the Dwarf, "and not haughtily like your false Brothers, I
will give you information and show you where you may obtain the water of
life. It flows from a fountain in the court of an enchanted castle, into
which you can never penetrate if I do not give you an iron rod and two
loaves of bread. With the rod knock thrice at the iron door of the
castle, and it will spring open. Within lie two lions with open jaws,
but if you throw down to each a loaf of bread they will be quiet. Then
hasten and fetch some of the water of life before it strikes twelve, for
then the door will shut again, and you will be imprisoned."
The Prince thanked the Dwarf, and, taking the rod and bread, he set out
on his journey, and as he arrived at the castle he found it as the Dwarf
had said. At the third knock the door sprang open; and, when he had
stilled the lions with the bread, he walked into a fine, large hall,
where sat several enchanted Princes, from whose fingers he drew off the
rings, and he also took away with him a sword and some bread which lay
there. A little farther on he came to a room wherein stood a beautiful
maiden, who was so pleased to see him that she kissed him and said he
had freed her, and should have her whole kingdom, and if he came in
another year their wedding should be celebrated. Then she told him where
the fountain of water of life was placed, and he hastened away lest it
should strike twelve ere he gained it. He came next into a room where a
fine, clean covered bed stood, and, being tired, he lay down to rest
himself a bit. But he went to sleep, and when he awoke it struck the
quarter to twelve, and the sound made him hurry to the fountain, from
which he took some water in a cup which stood near. This done, he
hastened to the door, and was scarcely out before it struck twelve, and
the door swung to so heavily that it carried away a piece of his heel.
But he was very glad, in spite of this, that he had procured the water,
and he journeyed homeward, and passed again where the Dwarf stood. When
the Dwarf saw the sword and bread which he had brought away he declared
he had done well, for with the sword he could destroy whole armies--but
the bread was worth nothing. Now, the Prince was not willing to return
home to his Father without his Brothers, and so he said to the Dwarf,
"Dear Dwarf, can you tell me where my Brothers are? They went out before
me in search of the water of life, and did not return." "They are stuck
fast between two mountains," replied the Dwarf; "because they were so
haughty, I enchanted them there."
Then the Prince begged for their release, till at last the Dwarf brought
them out; but he warned the youngest to beware of them, for they had
evil in their hearts.
When his Brothers came he was very glad, and he related to them all that
had happened to him; how he had found the water of life and brought away
a cupful of it; and how he had rescued a beautiful Princess, who for a
whole year was going to wait for him, and then he was to return to be
married to her, and receive a rich kingdom. After this tale the three
Brothers rode away together, and soon entered a province where there
were war and famine raging, and the King thought he should perish, so
great was his necessity. The youngest Prince went to this King and gave
him the bread, with which he fed and satisfied his whole people; and
then the Prince gave him the sword, wherewith he defeated and slew all
his enemies, and regained peace and quiet. This effected, the Prince
took back the bread and sword, and rode on farther with his Brothers,
and by and by they came to two other provinces where also war and famine
were destroying the people. To each King the Prince lent his bread and
sword, and so saved three kingdoms. After, this they went on board a
ship to pass over the sea which separated them from home, and during the
voyage the two elder Brothers said to one another, "Our Brother has
found the water of life and we have not; therefore our Father will give
the kingdom which belongs to us to him, and our fortune will be taken
away." Indulging these thoughts they became so envious that they
consulted together how they should kill him, and one day, waiting till
he was fast asleep, they poured the water out of his cup and took it for
themselves, while they filled his up with bitter salt water. As soon as
they arrived at home the youngest Brother took his cup to the sick King,
that he might drink out of it and regain his health. But scarcely had he
drunk a very little of the water when he became worse than before, for
it was as bitter as wormwood. While the King lay in this state, the two
elder Princes came, and accused their Brother of poisoning their Father;
but they had brought the right water, and they handed it to the King.
Scarcely had he drunk a little out of the cup when the King felt his
sickness leave him, and soon he was as strong and healthy as in his
young days. The two Brothers now went to the youngest Prince, mocking
him, and saying, "You certainly found the water of life; but you had the
trouble and we had the reward; you should have been more cautious and
kept your eyes open, for we took your cup while you were asleep on the
sea; and, moreover, in a year one of us intends to fetch your Princess.
Beware, however, that you betray us not; the King will not believe you,
and if you say a single word your life will be lost; but if you remain
silent you are safe." The old King, nevertheless, was very angry with
his youngest Son, who had conspired, as he believed, against his life.
He caused his court to be assembled, and sentence was given to the
effect that the Prince should be secretly shot; and once as he rode out
hunting, unsuspicious of any evil, the Huntsman was sent with him to
perform the deed. By and by, when they were alone in the wood, the
Huntsman seemed so sad that the Prince asked him what ailed him. The
Huntsman replied, "I cannot and yet must tell you." "Tell me boldly what
it is," said the Prince, "I will forgive you." "Ah, it is no other than
that I must shoot you, for so has the King ordered me," said the
Huntsman, with a deep sigh.
The Prince was frightened, and said, "Let me live, dear Huntsman, let me
live! I will give you my royal coat and you shall give me yours in
exchange." To this the Huntsman readily assented, for he felt unable to
shoot the Prince, and after they had exchanged their clothing the
Huntsman returned home, and the Prince went deeper into the wood.
A short time afterward three wagons laden with gold and precious stones
came to the King's palace for his youngest Son. They were sent by the
three Kings in token of gratitude for the sword which had defeated their
enemies, and the bread which had nourished their people. At this arrival
the old King said to himself, "Perhaps, after all, my Son was
guiltless," and he lamented to his courtiers that he had let his Son be
killed. But the Huntsman cried out, "He lives yet! for I could not find
it in my heart to fulfil your commands"; and he told the King how it had
happened. The King felt as if a stone had been removed from his heart,
and he caused it to be proclaimed everywhere throughout his dominions
that his Son might return and would again be taken into favor.
Meanwhile the Princess had caused a road to be made up to her castle of
pure shining gold, and she told her attendants that whoever should ride
straight up this road would be the right person, and one whom they might
admit into the castle; but, on the contrary, whoever should ride up not
on the road, but by the side, they were ordered on no account to admit,
for he was not the right person. When, therefore, the time came round
which the Princess had mentioned to the youngest Prince, the eldest
Brother thought he would hasten to her castle and announce himself as
her deliverer, that he might gain her as a bride and the kingdom
besides. So he rode away, and when he came in front of the castle and
saw the fine golden road he thought it would be a shame to ride thereon,
and so he turned to the left hand and rode up out of the road. But as he
came up to the door the guards told him he was not the right person, and
he must ride back again. Soon afterward the second Prince also set out,
and he, likewise, when he came to the golden road and his horse set its
forefeet upon it, thought it would be a pity to travel upon it, so he
turned aside to the right hand and went up. When he came to the gate the
guards refused him admittance, and told him he was not the person
expected, and so he had to return homeward. The youngest Prince, who had
all this time been wandering about in the forest, had also remembered
that the year was up, and soon after his Brothers' departure he appeared
before the castle and rode up straight on the golden road, for he was so
deeply engaged in thinking of his beloved Princess that he did not
observe it. As soon as he arrived at the door it was opened, and the
Princess received him with joy, saving he was her deliverer and the lord
of her dominions. Soon after their wedding was celebrated, and when it
was over the Princess told her husband that his Father had forgiven him
and desired to see him. Thereupon he rode to the old King's palace, and
told him how his Brothers had betrayed him while he slept, and had sworn
him to silence. When the King heard this he would have punished the
false Brothers, but they had prudently taken themselves off in a ship,
and they never returned home afterward.
There was once a poor peasant who sat in the evening by the hearth and
poked the fire, and his wife sat and span. Then said he, "How sad it is
that we have no children! With us all is so quiet, and in other houses
it is noisy and lively."
"Yes," replied the wife, and sighed, "even if we had only one, and it
were quite small, and only as big as a thumb, I should be quite
satisfied, and we would still love it with all our hearts." Now it so
happened that their wish was granted and a child was given them, but
although it was perfect in all its limbs, it was no longer than a thumb.
Then said they, "It is as we wished it to be, and it shall be our dear
child;" and because of its size, they called it Thumbling. They did not
let it want for food, but the child did not grow taller, but remained as
it had been at the first, nevertheless it looked sensibly out of its
eyes, and soon showed itself to be a wise and nimble creature, for
everything it did turned out well.
One day the peasant was getting ready to go into the forest to cut wood,
when he said as if to himself, "How I wish that there was any one who
would bring the cart to me!" "Oh, father," cried Thumbling, "I will soon
bring the cart; rely on that; it shall be in the forest at the appointed
time." The man smiled and said, "How can that be done; you are far too
small to lead the horse by the reins?" "That's of no consequence,
father, if my mother will only harness it, I will sit in the horse's
ear, and call out to him how he is to go." "Well," answered the man,
"for once we will try it."
When the time came, the mother harnessed the horse, and placed Thumbling
in its ear, and then the little creature cried, "Gee up, gee up!"
Then it went quite properly as if with its master, and the cart went the
right way into the forest. It so happened that just as he was turning a
corner, and the little one was crying, "Gee up," two strange men came
towards him. "My word!" said one of them. "What is this? There is a cart
coming, and a driver is calling to the horse, and still he is not to be
seen!" "That can't be right," said the other, "we will follow the cart
and see where it stops." The cart, however, drove right into the forest,
and exactly to the place where the wood had been cut. When Thumbling saw
his father, he cried to him, "See, father, here I am with the cart; now
take me down." The father got hold of the horse with his left hand, and
with the right took his little son out of the ear. Thumbling sat down
quite merrily on a straw, but when the two strange men saw him, they did
not know what to say for astonishment. Then one of them took the other
aside and said, "Hark, the little fellow would make our fortune if we
exhibited him in a large town, for money. We will buy him." They went to
the peasant and said, "Sell us the little man. He shall be well treated
with us." "No," replied the father, "he is the apple of my eye, and all
the money in the world cannot buy him from me." Thumbling, however, when
he heard of the bargain, had crept up the folds of his father's coat,
placed himself on his shoulder, and whispered in his ear. "Father, do
give me away; I will soon come back again." Then the father parted with
him to the two men for a handsome bit of money. "Where do you want to
sit?" they said to him. "Oh, just set me on the rim of your hat, and
then I can walk backwards and forwards and look at the country, and
still not fall down." They did as he wished, and when Thumbling had
taken leave of his father, they went away with him. They walked until it
was dusk, and then the little fellow said, "Do take me down; I want to
come down." The man took his hat off, and put the little fellow on the
ground by the wayside, and he leapt and crept about a little between the
sods, and then he suddenly slipped into a mouse-hole which he had sought
out. "Good-evening, gentlemen, just go home without me," he cried to
them, and mocked them. They ran thither and stuck their sticks into the
mouse-hole, but it was all lost labor. Thumbling crept still farther in,
and as it soon became quite dark, they were forced to go home with their
vexation and their empty purses.
When Thumbling saw that they were gone, he crept back out of the
subterranean passage. "It is so dangerous to walk on the ground in the
dark," said he; "how easily a neck or a leg is broken!" Fortunately, he
knocked against an empty snail-shell. "Thank God!" said he. "In that I
can pass the night in safety," and got into it. Not long afterwards,
when he was just going to sleep, he heard two men go by, and one of them
was saying, "How shall we contrive to get hold of the rich pastor's
silver and gold?" "I could tell you that," cried Thumbling, interrupting
them. "What was that?" said one of the thieves in a fright; "I heard
some one speaking." They stood still listening, and Thumbling spoke
again and said, "Take me with you, and I'll help you."
"But where are you?" "Just look on the ground, and observe from where my
voice comes," he replied. There the thieves at length found him, and
lifted him up. "You little imp, how will you help us?" they said. "A
great deal," said he; "I will creep into the pastor's room through the
iron bars, and will reach out to you whatever you want to have." "Come,
then," they said, "and we will see what you can do." When they got to
the pastor's house, Thumbling crept into the room, but instantly cried
out with all his might, "Do you want to have everything that is here?"
The thieves were alarmed, and said, "But do speak softly, so as not to
waken any one!" Thumbling, however, behaved as if he had not understood
this, and cried again, "What do you want? Do you want to have everything
that is here?" The cook, who slept in the next room, heard this and sat
up in bed, and listened. The thieves, however, had in their fright run
some distance away, but at last they took courage, and thought, "The
little rascal wants to mock us." They came back and whispered to him,
"Come, be serious, and reach something out to us." Then Thumbling again
cried as loudly as he could, "I really will give you everything, only
put your hands in." The maid who was listening, heard this quite
distinctly, and jumped out of bed and rushed to the door. The thieves
took flight, and ran as if the Wild Huntsman were behind them, but as
the maid could not see anything, she went to strike a light. When she
came to the place with it, Thumbling, unperceived, hid himself in the
granary, and the maid, after she had examined every corner and found
nothing, lay down in her bed again, and believed that, after all, she
had only been dreaming with open eyes and ears.
Thumbling had climbed up among the hay and found a beautiful place to
sleep in: there he intended to rest until day, and then go home again to
his parents. But he had other things to go through. Truly there is much
affliction and misery in this world! When day dawned, the maid arose
from her bed to feed the cows. Her first walk was into the barn, where
she laid hold of an armful of hay, and precisely that very one in which
poor Thumbling was lying asleep. He, however, was sleeping so soundly
that he was aware of nothing, and did not awake until he was in the
mouth of the cow, who had picked him up with the hay. "Ah, heavens!"
cried he, "how have I got into the fulling mill?" but he soon discovered
where he was. Then it was necessary to be careful not to let himself go
between the teeth and be dismembered, but he was nevertheless forced to
slip down into the stomach with the hay. "In this little room the
windows are forgotten," said he, "and no sun shines in, neither will a
candle be brought." His quarters were especially unpleasing to him, and
the worst was, more and more hay was always coming in by the door, and
the space grew less and less. Then, at length in his anguish, he cried
as loud as he could, "Bring me no more fodder, bring me no more fodder."
The maid was just milking the cow, and when she heard some one speaking,
and saw no one, and perceived that it was the same voice that she had
heard in the night, she was so terrified that she slipped off her stool,
and spilt the milk. She ran in the greatest haste to her master, and
said, "Oh, heavens, pastor, the cow has been speaking!" "You are mad,"
replied the pastor; but he went himself to the byre to see what was
there. Hardly, however, had he set his foot inside than Thumbling again
cried, "Bring me no more fodder, bring me no more fodder." Then the
pastor himself was alarmed, and thought that an evil spirit had gone
into the cow, and ordered her to be killed. She was killed, but the
stomach, in which Thumbling was, was thrown on the midden. Thumbling had
great difficulty in working his way out; however, he succeeded so far as
to get some room, but, just as he was going to thrust his head out, a
new misfortune occurred. A hungry wolf ran thither, and swallowed the
whole stomach at one gulp. Thumbling did not lose courage. "Perhaps,"
thought he, "the wolf will listen to what I have got to say," and he
called to him from out of his stomach, "Dear wolf, I know of a
magnificent feast for you."
"Where is it to be had?" said the wolf.
"In such and such a house; you must creep into it through the
kitchen-sink; you will find cakes, and bacon, and sausages, and as much
of them as you can eat," and he described to him exactly his father's
house. The wolf did not require to be told this twice, squeezed himself
in at night through the sink, and ate to his heart's content in the
larder. When he had eaten his fill, he wanted to go out again, but he
had become so big that he could not go out by the same way. Thumbling
had reckoned on this, and now began to make a violent noise in the wolfs
body, and raged and screamed as loudly as he could. "Will you be quiet,"
said the wolf; "you will waken up the people!" "Eh, what," replied the
little fellow, "you have eaten your fill, and I will make merry
likewise," and began once more to scream with all his strength. At last
his father and mother were aroused by it, and ran to the room and looked
in through the opening in the door. When they saw that a wolf was
inside, they ran away, and the husband fetched his axe, and the wife the
scythe. "Stay behind," said the man, when they entered the room. "When I
have given him a blow, if he is not killed by it, you must cut him down
and hew his body to pieces." Then Thumbling heard his parents' voices,
and cried, "Dear father, I am here; I am in the wolf's body." Said the
father, full of joy, "Thank God, our dear child has found us again," and
bade the woman take away her scythe, that Thumbling might not be hurt
with it. After that he raised his arm, and struck the wolf such a blow
on his head that he fell down dead, and then they got knives and
scissors and cut his body open, and drew the little fellow forth. "Ah,"
said the father, "what sorrow we have gone through for your sake." "Yes,
father, I have gone about the world a great deal. Thank heaven, I
breathe fresh air again!" "Where have you been, then?" "Ah, father, I
have been in a mouse's hole, in a cow's stomach, and then in a wolf's;
now I will stay with you." "And we will not sell you again; no, not for
all the riches in the world," said his parents, and they embraced and
kissed their dear Thumbling.
Once upon a time there lived a king and queen who had no children; and
this they lamented very much. But one day, as the queen was walking by
the side of the river, a little fish lifted its head out of the water,
and said, "Your wish shall be fulfilled, and you shall soon have a
What the little fish had foretold soon came to pass; and the queen had a
little girl who was so very beautiful that the king could not cease
looking on her for joy, and determined to hold a great feast. So he
invited not only his relations, friends, and neighbors, but also all the
fairies, that they might be kind and good to his little daughter. Now
there were thirteen fairies in his kingdom, and he had only twelve
golden dishes for them to eat out of, so that he was obliged to leave
one of the fairies without an invitation. The rest came, and after the
feast was over they gave all their best gifts to the little princess;
one gave her virtue, another beauty, another riches, and so on till she
had all that was excellent in the world. When eleven had done blessing
her, the thirteenth, who had not been invited, and was very angry on
that account, came in, and determined to take her revenge. So she cried
out, "The king's daughter shall in her fifteenth year be wounded by a
spindle, and fall down dead." Then the twelfth, who had not yet given
her gift, came forward and said that the bad wish must be fulfilled, but
that she could soften it, and that the king's daughter should not die,
but fall asleep for a hundred years.
But the king hoped to save his dear child from the threatened evil, and
ordered that all the spindles in the kingdom should be bought up and
destroyed. All the fairies' gifts were in the meantime fulfilled; for
the princess was so beautiful, and well-behaved and amiable, and wise,
that every one who knew her loved her.
Now it happened that on the very day she was fifteen years old the king
and queen were not at home, and she was left alone in the palace. So she
roamed about by herself, and looked at all the rooms and chambers, till
at last she came to an old tower, to which there was a narrow staircase
ending with a little door. In the door there was a golden key, and when
she turned it the door sprang open, and there sat an old lady spinning
away very busily.
"Why, how now, good mother," said the princess, "what are you doing
"Spinning," said the old lady, and nodded her head. "How prettily that
little thing turns round!" said the princess, and took the spindle and
began to spin. But scarcely had she touched it before the prophecy was
fulfilled, and she fell down lifeless on the ground.
However, she was not dead, but had only fallen into a deep sleep; and
the king and the queen, who just then came home, and all their court,
fell asleep too, and the horses slept in the stables, and the dogs in
the yard, and the pigeons on the house-top, and the flies on the walls.
Even the fire on the I hearth left off blazing, and went to sleep; and
the meat that was roasting stood still; and the cook, who was at that
moment pulling the kitchen-boy by the hair to give him a box on the ear
for something he had done amiss, let him go, and both fell asleep; and
so everything stood still, and slept soundly.
A high hedge of thorns soon grew around the palace, and every year it
became higher and thicker, till at last the whole palace was surrounded
and hidden, so that not even the roof or the chimneys could be seen.
But there went a report through all the land of the beautiful sleeping
Briar Rose, for thus was the king's daughter called; so that from time
to time several kings' sons came, and tried to break through the thicket
into the palace.
This they could never do; for the thorns and bushes laid hold of them as
it were with hands, and there they stuck fast and died miserably.
After many, many years there came another king's son into that land, and
an old man told him the story of the thicket of thorns, and how a
beautiful palace stood behind it, in which was a wondrous princess,
called Briar Rose, asleep with all her court. He told, too, how he had
heard from his grandfather that many, many princes had come, and had
tried to break through the thicket, but had stuck fast and died.
Then the young prince said, "All this shall not frighten me; I will go
and see Briar Rose." The old man tried to dissuade him, but he persisted
Now that very day the hundred years were completed; and as the prince
came to the thicket he saw nothing but beautiful flowering shrubs,
through which he passed with ease, and they closed after him as firm as
Then he came at last to the palace, and there in the yard lay the dogs
asleep, and the horses in the stables, and on the roof sat the pigeons
fast asleep with their heads under their wings; and when he came into
the palace, the flies slept on the walls, and the cook in the kitchen
was still holding up her hand as if she would beat the boy, and the maid
sat with a black fowl in her hand ready to be plucked.
Then he went on still further, and all was so still that he could hear
every breath he drew; till at last he came to the old tower and opened
the door of the little room in which Briar Rose was, and there she lay
fast asleep, and looked so beautiful that he could not take his eyes
off, and he stooped down and gave her a kiss. But the moment he kissed
her she opened her eyes and awoke, and smiled upon him.
Then they went out together, and presently the king and queen also
awoke, and all the court, and they gazed on each other with great
And the horses got up and shook themselves, and the dogs jumped about
and barked; the pigeons took their heads from under their wings, and
looked about and flew into the fields; the flies on the walls buzzed
away; the fire in the kitchen blazed up and cooked the dinner, and the
roast meat turned round again; the cook gave the boy the box on his ear
so that he cried out, and the maid went on plucking the fowl.
And then was the wedding of the prince and Briar Rose celebrated, and
they lived happily together all their lives.
THE SIX SWANS
A King was once hunting in a large wood, and pursued his game so hotly
that none of his courtiers could follow him. But when evening approached
he stopped, and looking around him perceived that he had lost himself.
He sought a path out of the forest but could not find one, and presently
he saw an old woman, with a nodding head, who came up to him. "My good
woman," said he to her, "can you not show me the way out of the forest?"
"Oh, yes, my lord King," she replied; "I can do that very well, but upon
one condition, which if you do not fulfil, you will never again get out
of the wood, but will die of hunger."
"What, then, is this condition?" asked the King.
"I have a daughter," said the old woman, "who is as beautiful as any one
you can find in die whole world, and well deserves to be your bride.
Now, if you will make her your Queen, I will show you your way out of
the wood." In the anxiety of his heart, the King consented, and the old
woman led him to her cottage, where the daughter was sitting by the
fire. She received the King as if she had expected him, and he saw at
once that she was very beautiful, but yet she did not quite please him,
for he could not look at her without a secret shuddering. However, he
took the maiden upon his horse, and the old woman showed him the way,
and the King arrived safely at his palace, where the wedding was to be
The King had been married once before, and had seven children by his
first wife, six boys and a girl, whom he loved above everything else in
the world. He became afraid, soon, that the step-mother might not treat
his children very well, and might even do them some great injury, so he
took them away to a lonely castle which stood in the midst of a forest.
The castle was so entirely hidden, and the way to it was so difficult to
discover, that he himself could not have found it if a wise woman had
not given him a ball of cotton which had the wonderful property, when he
threw it before him, of unrolling itself and showing him the right path.
The King went, however, so often to see his dear children, that the
Queen, noticing his absence, became inquisitive, and wished to know what
he went to fetch out of the forest. So she gave his servants a great
quantity of money, and they disclosed to her the secret, and also told
her of the ball of cotton which alone could show her the way. She had
now no peace until she discovered where this ball was concealed, and
then she made some fine silken shirts, and, as she had learnt of her
mother, she sewed within each a charm. One day soon after, when the King
was gone out hunting, she took the little shirts and went into the
forest, and the cotton showed her the path. The children, seeing some
one coming in the distance, thought it was their dear father, and ran
out full of joy. Then she threw over each of them a shirt, that, as it
touched their bodies, changed them into Swans, which flew away over the
forest. The Queen then went home quite contented, and thought she was
free of her step-children; but the little girl had not met her with the
brothers, and the Queen did not know of her.
The following day the King went to visit his children, but he found only
the Maiden. "Where are your brothers?" asked he. "Ah, dear father," she
replied, "they are gone away and have left me alone"; and she told him
how she had looked out of the window and seen them changed into Swans,
which had flown over the forest; and then she showed him the feathers
which they had dropped in the courtyard, and which she had collected
together. The King was much grieved, but he did not think that his wife
could have done this wicked deed, and, as he feared the girl might also
be stolen away, he took her with him. She was, however, so much afraid
of the step-mother, that she begged him not to stop more than one night
in the castle.
The poor Maiden thought to herself, "This is no longer my place; I will
go and seek my brothers"; and when night came she escaped and went quite
deep into the wood. She walked all night long, and a great part of the
next day, until she could go no further from weariness. Just then she
saw a rough-looking hut, and going in, she found a room with six little
beds, but she dared not get into one, so crept under, and laying herself
upon the hard earth, prepared to pass the night there. Just as the sun
was setting, she heard a rustling, and saw six white Swans come flying
in at the window. They settled on the ground and began blowing one
another until they had blown all their feathers off, and their swan's
down slipped from them like a shirt. Then the Maiden knew them at once
for her brothers, and gladly crept out from under the bed, and the
brothers were not less glad to see their sister, but their joy was of
short duration. "Here you must not stay," said they to her; "this is a
robbers' hiding-place; if they should return and find you here, they
would murder you."
"Can you not protect me, then?" inquired the sister.
"No," they replied; "for we can only lay aside our swan's feathers for a
quarter of an hour each evening, and for that time we regain our human
form, but afterwards we resume our changed appearance."
Their sister then asked them, with tears, "Can you not be restored
"Oh, no," replied they; "the conditions are too difficult. For six long
years you must neither speak nor laugh, and during that time you must
sew together for us six little shirts of star-flowers, and should there
fall a single word from your lips, then all your labor will be in vain."
Just as the brothers finished speaking, the quarter of an hour elapsed,
and they all flew out of the window again like Swans.
The little sister, however, made a solemn resolution to rescue her
brothers, or die in the attempt; and she left the cottage, and,
penetrating deep into the forest, passed the night amid the branches of
a tree. The next morning she went out and collected the star-flowers to
sew together. She had no one to converse with and for laughing she had
no spirits, so there up in the tree she sat, intent upon her work.
After she had passed some time there, it happened that the King of that
country was hunting in the forest, and his huntsmen came beneath the
tree on which the Maiden sat. They called to her and asked, "Who art
thou?" But she gave no answer. "Come down to us," continued they; "we
will do thee no harm." She simply shook her head, and when they pressed
her further with questions, she threw down to them her gold necklace,
hoping therewith to satisfy them. They did not, however, leave her, and
she threw down her girdle, but in vain! and even her rich dress did not
make them desist. At last the huntsman himself climbed the tree and
brought down the Maiden, and took her before the King.
The King asked her, "Who art thou? What dost thou upon that tree?" But
she did not answer; and then he questioned her in all the languages that
he knew, but she remained dumb to all, as a fish. Since, however, she
was so beautiful, the King's heart was touched, and he conceived for her
a strong affection. Then he put around her his cloak, and, placing her
before him on his horse, took her to his castle. There he ordered rich
clothing to be made for her, and, although her beauty shone as the
sunbeams, not a word escaped her. The King placed her by his side at
table, and there her dignified mien and manners so won upon him, that he
said, "This Maiden will I marry, and no other in the world;" and after
some days he wedded her.
Now, the King had a wicked step-mother, who was discontented with his
marriage, and spoke evil of the young Queen. "Who knows whence the wench
comes?" said she. "She who cannot speak is not worthy of a King." A year
after, when the Queen brought her first-born into the world, the old
woman took him away. Then she went to the King and complained that the
Queen was a murderess. The King, however, would not believe it, and
suffered no one to do any injury to his wife, who sat composedly sewing
at her shirts and paying attention to nothing else. When a second child
was born, the false stepmother used the same deceit, but the King again
would not listen to her words, saying, "She is too pious and good to act
so; could she but speak and defend herself, her innocence would come to
light." But when again, the old woman stole away the third child, and
then accused the Queen, who answered not a word to the accusation, the
King was obliged to give her up to be tried, and she was condemned to
suffer death by fire.
When the time had elapsed, and the sentence was to be carried out, it
happened that the very day had come round when her dear brothers should
be set free; the six shirts were also ready, all but the last, which yet
wanted the left sleeve. As she was led to the scaffold, she placed the
shirts upon her arm, and just as she had mounted it, and the fire was
about to be kindled, she looked around, and saw six Swans come flying
through the air. Her heart leapt for joy as she perceived her deliverers
approaching, and soon the Swans, flying towards her, alighted so near
that she was enabled to throw over them the shirts, and as soon as she
had done so, their feathers fell off and the brothers stood up alive and
well; but the youngest was without his left arm, instead of which he had
a swan's wing. They embraced and kissed each other, and the Queen, going
to the King, who was thunderstruck, began to say, "Now may I speak, my
dear husband, and prove to you that I am innocent and falsely accused;"
and then she told him how the wicked woman had stolen away and hidden
her three children. When she had concluded, the King was overcome with
joy, and the wicked stepmother was led to the scaffold and bound to the
stake and burnt to ashes. The King and Queen for ever after lived in
peace and prosperity with their six brothers.
There were once a man and a woman who had long in in vain wished for a
child. At length the woman hoped that God was about to grant her desire.
These people had a little window at the back of their house from which a
splendid garden could be seen, which was full of the most beautiful
flowers and herbs. It was, however, surrounded by a high wall, and no
one dared to go into it because it belonged to an enchantress, who had
great power and was dreaded by all the world. One day the woman was
standing by this window and looking down into the garden, when she saw a
bed which was planted with the most beautiful rampion (rapunzel), and it
looked so fresh and green that she longed for it, and had the greatest
desire to eat some. This desire increased every day, and as she knew
that she could not get any of it, she quite pined away, and looked pale
and miserable. Then her husband was alarmed, and asked, "What ails you,
dear wife?" "Ah," she replied, "if I can't get some of the rampion which
is in the garden behind our house, to eat, I shall die." The man, who
loved her, thought, "Sooner than let your wife die, bring her some of
the rampion yourself, let it cost you what it will." In the twilight of
evening, he clambered down over the wall into the garden of the
enchantress, hastily clutched a handful of rampion, and took it to his
wife. She at once made herself a salad of it, and ate it with much
relish. She, however, liked it so much, so very much, that the next day
she longed for it three times as much as before. If he was to have any
rest, her husband must once more descend into the garden. In the gloom
of evening, therefore, he let himself down again; but when he had
clambered down the wall he was terribly afraid, for he saw the
enchantress standing before him. "How can you dare," said she with angry
look, "to descend into my garden and steal my rampion like a thief? You
shall suffer for it!" "Ah," answered he, "let mercy take the place of
justice. I only made up my mind to do it out of necessity. My wife saw
your rampion from the window, and felt such a longing for it that she
would have died if she had not got some to eat." Then the enchantress
allowed her anger to be softened, and said to him, "If the case be as
you say, I will allow you to take away with you as much rampion as you
will, only I make one condition, you must give me the child which your
wife will bring into the world; it shall be well treated, and I will
care for it like a mother." The man in his terror consented to
everything, and when the little one came to them, the enchantress
appeared at once, gave the child the name of Rapunzel, and took it away
Rapunzel grew into the most beautiful child beneath the sun. When she
was twelve years old, the enchantress shut her into a tower, which lay
in a forest, and had neither stairs nor door, but quite at the top was a
little window. When the enchantress wanted to go in, she placed herself
beneath this, and cried,
Let down your hair to me."
Rapunzel had magnificent long hair, fine as spun gold, and when she
heard the voice of the enchantress she unfastened her braided tresses,
wound them round one of the hooks of the window above, and then the hair
fell twenty yards down, and the enchantress climbed up by it.
After a year or two, it came to pass that the King's son rode through
the forest and went by the tower. Then he heard a song, which was so
charming that he stood still and listened. This was Rapunzel, who in her
solitude passed her time in letting her sweet voice resound. The King's
son wanted to climb up to her, and looked for the door of the tower, but
none was to be found. He rode home, but the singing had so deeply
touched his heart, that every day he went out into the forest and
listened to it. Once when he was thus standing behind a tree, he saw
that an enchantress came there, and he heard how she cried,
Let down your hair."
Then Rapunzel let down the braids of her hair, and the enchantress
climbed up to her. "If that is the ladder by which one mounts, I will
for once try my fortune," said he, and the next day, when it began to
grow dark, he went to the tower and cried.
Let down your hair."
Immediately the hair fell down, and the King's son climbed up.
At first Rapunzel was terribly frightened when a man such as her eyes
had never yet beheld came to her; but the King's son began to talk to
her quite like a friend, and told her that his heart had been so stirred
that it had let him have no rest, and he had been forced to see her.
Then Rapunzel lost her fear, and when he asked her if she would take him
for a husband, and she saw that he was young and handsome, she thought,
"He will love me more than old Dame Gothel does;" and she said yes, and
laid her hand in his. She said, "I will willingly go away with you, but
I do not know how to get down. Bring with you a skein of silk every time
that you come, and I will weave a ladder with it, and when that is ready
I will descend, and you will take me on your horse." They agreed that
until that time he should come to her every evening, for the old woman
came by day. The enchantress remarked nothing of this, until once
Rapunzel said to her, "Tell me, Dame Gothel, how it happens that you are
so much heavier for me to draw up than the young King's son--he is with
me in a moment." "Ah! you wicked child," cried the enchantress, "what do
I hear you say! I thought I had separated you from all the world, and
yet you have deceived me!" In her anger she clutched Rapunzel's
beautiful tresses, wrapped them twice round her left hand, seized a pair
of scissors with the right, and snip, snip, they were cut off, and the
lovely braids lay on the ground. And she was so pitiless that she took
poor Rapunzel into a desert, where she had to live in great grief and
On the same day, however, that she cast out Rapunzel, the enchantress in
the evening fastened the braids of hair which she had cut off to the
hook of the window, and when the King's son came and cried,
Let down your hair,"
she let the hair down. The King's son ascended, but he did not find his
dearest Rapunzel above, but the enchantress, who gazed at him with
wicked and venomous looks. "Aha!" she cried mockingly. "You would fetch
your dearest, but the beautiful bird sits no longer singing in the nest;
the cat has got it, and will scratch out your eyes as well. Rapunzel is
lost to you; you will never see her more." The King's son was beside
himself with pain, and in his despair he leapt down from the tower. He
escaped with his life, but the thorns into which he fell pierced his
eyes. Then he wandered quite blind about the forest, ate nothing but
roots and berries, and did nothing but lament and weep over the loss of
his dearest wife. Thus he roamed about I in misery for some years, and
at length came to the desert where Rapunzel lived in wretchedness. He
heard a voice, and it seemed so familiar to him that he went towards it,
and when he approached, Rapunzel knew him and fell on his neck and wept.
Two of her tears wetted his eyes, and they grew clear again, and he
could see with them as before. He led her to his kingdom, where he was
joyfully received, and they lived for a long time afterwards, happy and
There was once a widow who had two daughters--one of whom was pretty and
industrious, while the other was ugly and idle. But she was much fonder
of the ugly and idle one, because she was her own daughter; and the
other, who was a step-daughter, was obliged to do all the work, and be
the Cinderella of the house. Every day the poor girl had to sit by a
well, in the highway, and spin and spin till her fingers bled.
Now it happened that one day the shuttle was marked with her blood, so
she dipped it in the well, to wash the mark off; but it dropped out of
her hand and fell to the bottom. She began to weep, and ran to her
step-mother and told of the mishap. But she scolded her sharply, and was
so merciless as to say, "Since you have let the shuttle fall in, you
must fetch it out again."
So the girl went back to the well, and did not know what to do; and in
the sorrow of her heart she jumped into the well to get the shuttle. She
lost her senses; and when she awoke and came to herself again, she was
in a lovely meadow where the sun was shining and many thousands of
flowers were growing. Along this meadow she went, and at last came to a
baker's oven full of bread, and the bread cried out, "Oh, take me out!
take me out! or I shall burn; I have been baked a long time!" So she
went up to it, and took out all the loaves one after another with the
bread-shovel. After that she went on till she came to a tree covered
with apples, which called out to her, "Oh, shake me! shake me! we apples
are all ripe!" So she shook the tree till the apples fell like rain, and
went on shaking till they were all down, and when she had gathered them
into a heap, she went on her way.
At last she came to a little house, out of which an old woman peeped;
but she had such large teeth that the girl was frightened, and was about
to run away.
But the old woman called out to her, "What are you afraid of, dear
child? Stay with me; if you will do all the work in the house properly,
you shall be the better for it. Only you must take care to make my bed
well, and to shake it thoroughly till the feathers fly--for then there
is snow on the earth. I am Mother Holle."
As the old woman spoke so kindly to her, the girl took courage and
agreed to enter her service. She attended to everything to the
satisfaction of her mistress, and always shook her bed so vigorously
that the feathers flew about like snow-flakes. So she had a pleasant
life with her; never an angry word; and boiled or roast meat every day.
She stayed some time with Mother Holle, and then she became sad. At
first she did not know what was the matter with her, but found at length
that it was homesickness; although she was many times better off here
than at home, still she had a longing to be there. At last she said to
the old woman, "I have a longing for home; and however well off I am
down here, I cannot stay any longer; I must go up again to my own
people." Mother Holle said, "I am pleased that you long for your home
again, and as you have served me so truly, I myself will take you up
again." Thereupon she took her by the hand, and led her to a large door.
The door was opened, and just as the maiden was standing beneath the
doorway, a heavy shower of golden rain fell, and all the gold remained
sticking to her, so that she was completely covered with it.
"You shall have that because you are so industrious," said Mother Holle;
and at the same time she gave her back the shuttle which she had let
fall into the well. Thereupon the door closed, and the maiden found
herself up above upon the earth, not far from her mother's house.
And as she went into the yard the cock cried: "Cock-a-doodle-doo! Your
golden girl's come back to you!"
So she went in to her mother, and as she arrived thus covered with gold,
she was well received, both by her and her sister.
The girl told all that had happened to her; and as soon as the mother
heard how she had come by so much wealth, she was very anxious to obtain
the same good luck for the ugly and lazy daughter. She had to seat
herself by the well and spin; and in order that her shuttle might be
stained with blood, she stuck her hand into a thorn-bush and pricked her
finger. Then she threw her shuttle into the well, and jumped in after
She came, like the other, to the beautiful meadow and walked along the
very same path. When she got to the oven the bread again cried, "Oh,
take me out! take me out! or I shall burn; I have been baked a long
time!" But the lazy thing answered, "As if I had any wish to make myself
dirty!" and on she went. Soon she came to the apple-tree, which cried,
"Oh, shake me! shake me! we apples are all ripe!" But she answered, "I
like that! one of you might fall on my head," and so went on.
When she came to Mother Holle's house she was not afraid, for she had
already heard of her big teeth, and she hired herself to her
The first day she forced herself to work diligently, and obeyed Mother
Holle when she told her to do anything, for she was thinking of all the
gold that she would give her. But on the second day she began to be
lazy, and on the third day still more so, and then she would not get up
in the morning at all. Neither did she make Mother Holle's bed as she
ought, and did not shake it so as to make the feathers fly up. Mother
Holle was soon tired of this, and gave her notice to leave. The lazy
girl was willing enough to go, and thought that now the golden rain
would come. Mother Holle led her, too, to the great door; but while she
was standing beneath it, instead of the gold a big kettleful of pitch
was emptied over her. "That is the reward of your service," said Mother
Holle, and shut the door.
So the lazy girl went home; but she was quite covered with pitch, and
the cock by the well-side, as soon as he saw her, cried:
"Cock-a-doodle-doo! Your pitchy girl's come back to you." But the pitch
stuck fast to her, and could not be got off as long as she lived.
THE FROG PRINCE
In the olden time, when wishing was having, there lived a King, whose
daughters were all beautiful; but the youngest was so exceedingly
beautiful that the Sun himself, although he saw her very, very often,
was delighted every time she came out into the sunshine.
Near the castle of this King was a large and gloomy forest, where in the
midst stood an old lime-tree, beneath whose branches splashed a little
fountain; so, whenever it was very hot, the King's youngest daughter ran
off into this wood, and sat down by the side of the fountain; and, when
she felt dull, would often divert herself by throwing a golden ball up
into the air and catching it again. And this was her favorite amusement.
Now, one day it happened that this golden ball, when the King's daughter
threw it into the air, did not fall down into her hand, but on to the
grass; and then it rolled right into the fountain. The King's daughter
followed the ball with her eyes, but it disappeared beneath the water,
which was so deep that she could not see to the bottom. Then she began
to lament, and to cry more loudly and more loudly; and, as she cried, a
voice called out, "Why weepest thou, O King's daughter? thy tears would
melt even a stone to pity." She looked around to the spot whence the
voice came, and saw a frog stretching his thick, ugly head out of the
water. "Ah! you old water-paddler," said she, "was it you that spoke? I
am weeping for my golden ball which bounced away from me into the
"Be quiet, and do not cry," replied the Frog; "I can give thee good
assistance. But what wilt thou give me if I succeed in fetching thy
plaything up again?"
"What would you like, dear Frog?" said she. "My dresses, my pearls and
jewels, or the golden crown which I wear?"
The Frog replied, "Dresses, or jewels, or golden crowns, are not for me;
but if thou wilt love me, and let me be thy companion and playmate, and
sit at thy table, and eat from thy little golden plate, and drink out of
thy cup, and sleep in thy little bed,--if thou wilt promise me all these
things, then I will dive down and fetch up thy golden ball."
"Oh, I will promise you all," said she, "if you will only get me my
golden ball." But she thought to herself, "What is the silly Frog
chattering about? Let him stay in the water with his equals; he cannot
enter into society." Then the Frog, as soon as he had received her
promise, drew his head under the water and dived down. Presently he swam
up again with the golden ball in his mouth, and threw it on to the
grass. The King's daughter was full of joy when she again saw her
beautiful plaything; and, taking it up, she ran off immediately. "Stop!
stop!" cried the Frog; "take me with thee. I cannot run as thou canst."
But this croaking was of no avail; although it was loud enough, the
King's daughter did not hear it, but, hastening home, soon forgot the
poor Frog, who was obliged to leap back into the fountain.
The next day, when the King's daughter was sitting at table with her
father and all his courtiers, and was eating from her own little golden
plate, something was heard coming up the marble stairs, splish-splash,
splish-splash; and when it arrived at the top, it knocked at the door,
and a voice said--
"Open the door, thou youngest daughter of the King!"
So she arose and went to see who it was that called to her; but when she
opened the door and caught sight of the Frog, she shut it again very
quickly and with great passion, and sat down at the table, looking
But the King perceived that her heart was beating violently, and asked
her whether it were a giant who had come to fetch her away who stood at
the door. "Oh, no!" answered she; "it is no giant, but an ugly Frog."
"What does the Frog want with you?" said the King.
"Oh, dear father, yesterday when I was playing by the fountain, my
golden ball fell into the water, and this Frog fetched it up again
because I cried so much: but first, I must tell you, he pressed me so
much, that I promised him he should be my companion. I never thought
that he could come out of the water, but somehow he has managed to jump
out, and now he wants to come in here."
At that moment there was another knock, and a voice said--
"King's daughter, youngest,
Open the door.
Hast thou forgotten
Thy promises made
At the fountain so clear
'Neath the lime-tree's shade?
King's daughter, youngest.
Open the door."
Then the King said, "What you have promised, that you must perform; go
and let him in." So the King's daughter went and opened the door, and
the Frog hopped in after her right up to her chair: and as soon as she
was seated, he said, "Lift me up;" but she hesitated so long that the
King had to order her to obey. And as soon as the Frog sat on the chair
he jumped on to the table and said, "Now push thy plate near me, that we
may eat together." And she did so, but as every one noticed, very
unwillingly. The Frog seemed to relish his dinner very much, but every
bit that the King's daughter ate nearly choked her, till at last the
Frog said, "I have satisfied my hunger, and feel very tired; wilt thou
carry me upstairs now into thy chamber, and make thy bed ready that we
may sleep together?" At this speech the King's daughter began to cry,
for she was afraid of the cold Frog, and dared not touch him; and
besides, he actually wanted to sleep in her own beautiful, clean bed!
But her tears only made the King very angry, and he said, "He who helped
you in the time of your trouble must not now be despised!" So she took
the Frog up with two fingers, and put him into a corner of her chamber.
But as she lay in her bed, he crept up to it, and said, "I am so very
tired that I shall sleep well; do take me up, or I will tell thy
father." This speech put the King's daughter into a terrible passion,
and catching the Frog up, she threw him with all her strength against
the wall, saying "Now will you be quiet, you ugly Frog!"
But as he fell he was changed from a Frog into a handsome Prince with
beautiful eyes, who after a little while became her dear companion and
betrothed. One morning, Henry, trusted servant of the Prince, came for
them with a carriage. When his master was changed into a frog, trusty
Henry had grieved so much that he had bound three iron bands around his
heart, for fear it should break with grief and sorrow. The faithful
Henry (who was also the trusty Henry) helped in the bride and
bridegroom, and placed himself in the seat behind, full of joy at his
master's release. They had not proceeded far when the Prince heard a
crack as if something had broken behind the carriage; so he put his head
out of the window and asked trusty Henry what was broken, and faithful
Henry answered, "It was not the carriage, my master, but an iron band
which I bound around my heart when it was in such grief because you were
changed into a frog."
Twice afterwards on the journey there was the same noise, and each time
the Prince thought that it was some part of the carriage that had given
way; but it was only the breaking of the bands which bound the heart of
the trusty Henry (who was also the faithful Henry), and who was
thenceforward free and happy.
THE TRAVELS OF TOM THUMB
There lived a tailor who had only one son, and he was extremely small,
not any larger than your thumb, and so was called Tom Thumb.
However, he was a courageous little fellow, and he told his father,
"Father, I am determined to go into the world to seek my fortune."
"Very well, my son," answered the old man, and taking a big darning
needle, he made a top to it of sealing wax, and gave it to Tom Thumb,
"There is a sword for you to use to defend yourself on your
Then the little fellow, desiring to dine once more with his parents,
popped into the kitchen to find out what his mother was preparing for
his last dinner at home. All the dishes were ready to be taken in, and
they were standing upon the hearth.
"What is it you have for dinner, dear mother?" he inquired.
"You can look for yourself," she replied.
Then Tom sprang up on to the hob, and peeped into all the dishes, but
over one he leant so far, that he was carried up by the steam through
the chimney, and then for some distance he floated on the smoke, but
after a while he fell upon the ground once more.
Now, at last, Tom Thumb was really out in the wide world, and he went on
cheerily, and after a time was engaged by a master tailor; but here the
food was not so good as his mother's, and it was not to his taste.
So he said, "Mistress, if you will not give me better things to eat, I
shall chalk upon your door, 'Too many potatoes, and not enough meat.
"I should like to know what you want, you little grasshopper!" cried the
woman very angrily, and she seized a shred of cloth to strike him;
however, the tiny tailor popped under a thimble, and from it he peeped,
putting out his tongue at the mistress.
So she took up the thimble, meaning to catch him, but Tom Thumb hid
himself amongst the shreds of cloth, and when she began to search
through those, he slipped into a crack in the table, but put out his
head to laugh at her; so she tried again to hit him with the shred, but
did not succeed in doing so, for he slipped through the crack into the
At last, though, he was caught, and driven out of the house.
So the little fellow continued his travels, and presently entering a
thick forest, he encountered a company of robbers who were plotting to
steal the king's treasure.
As soon as they saw the little tailor, they said to themselves, "A
little fellow like this could creep through a keyhole, and aid us
greatly." So one called out--
"Hullo, little man, will you come with us to the king's treasury?
Certainly a Goliath like you could creep in with ease, and throw out the
coins to us."
After considering awhile, Tom Thumb consented, and accompanied them to
the king's treasury.
From top to bottom they inspected the door to discover a crack large
enough for him to get through, and soon found one. He was for going in
directly, but one of the sentinels happening to catch sight of him,
exclaimed: "Here is indeed an ugly spider; I will crush it with my
"Leave the poor creature alone," the other said; "it has not done you
So Tom Thumb slipped through the crack, and made his way to the
treasury. Then he opened the window, and cast out the coins to the
robbers who were waiting below. While the little tailor was engaged in
this exciting employment, he heard the king coming to inspect his
treasure, so as quickly as possible he crept out of sight. The king