Part 3 out of 3
noticed that his treasure had been disarranged, and soon observed that
coins were missing: but he was utterly unable to think how they could
have been stolen, for the locks and bolts had not been tampered with,
and everything was well fastened.
On going from the treasury, he warned the two sentinels, saying--
"Be on the watch, some one is after the money," and quite soon, on Tom
Thumb setting to work again, they heard very clearly the coins ringing,
chink, chank, as they struck one against the other.
As quickly as possible they unfastened the building and went in, hoping
to take the thief.
But Tom Thumb was too quick for them, he sprang into a corner, and
hiding himself behind a coin, so that nothing of him was visible, he
made fun of the sentinels; crying "I am here!" Then when the men hurried
to the spot where the voice came from, he was no longer there, but from
a different place cried out: "Ha, Ha! here I am!"
So the sentinels kept jumping about, but so cleverly did Tom move from
one spot to another, that they were obliged to run around the whole
time, hoping to find somebody, until at length, quite tired out, they
Then Tomb Thumb went on with his work, and one after another he threw
all the coins out of the window, but the very last he sounded and rang
with all his might and springing nimbly upon it, so flew through the
The robbers were loud in their praises.
"Indeed you are a brave fellow," they said, "will you be our captain?"
Tom Thumb, thanking them, declined this honor, for he was anxious to see
more of the world. Then the booty was apportioned out, but only a ducat
was given to the little tailor, for that was as much as he could carry.
So Tom girded on his sword again, and bidding farewell to the robbers,
continued his travels.
He tried to get work under various masters, but they would have nothing
to do with him, so after a while he took service at an inn. But the
maids there disliked him, for he was about everywhere, and saw all that
went on, without being seen himself; and he told their mistress of their
dishonest ways, of what was taken off the plates, and from out the
So they threatened they would drown him, if they caught him, and
determined to do him some harm. Then, one day, a maid mowing in the
garden saw Tom Thumb running in and out between the blades of grass, so
she cut the grass, in great haste, just where he chanced to be, tied it
all in a bundle, and, without anyone knowing, threw it to the cows.
Then one big black cow took up a mouthful of grass directly, with Tom in
it, and swallowed it down; without doing him any damage, however.
But Tom did not approve of his position, for it was pitch dark down
there, with no light burning.
When milking time came, he shouted--
"Drip, drap, drop,
Will the milking soon stop?"
but the sound of the milk trickling into the pail prevented his voice
Not long afterwards the master came into the shed, and said:
"I will have that cow killed to-morrow."
This put Tom Thumb into a great fright, and he called out loudly:
"Please let me out, here I am inside."
This the master heard plainly enough, but could not make out where the
voice came from.
"Where are you?" he inquired.
"In the black cow," was the reply.
However, the master could not understand what was meant, and so went
The following morning the cow was killed, but fortunately in the cutting
up the knife did not touch Tom Thumb, who was put aside with the meat
that was to be made into sausages.
When the butcher began chopping, he cried as loudly as he could--
"Don't chop far, I am down beneath," but the chopper made so much noise,
that he attracted no attention.
It was indeed a terrible situation for poor Tom. But being in danger
brightens one's wits, and he sprang so nimbly, this way and that,
keeping clear of the chopper, that not a blow struck him, and he did not
get even a scratch.
However, he could not escape, there was no help for it, he was forced
into a skin with the sausage meat, so was compelled to make himself as
comfortable as might be. It was very close quarters, and besides that,
the sausages were suspended to smoke in the chimney, which was by no
means entertaining, and the time passed slowly.
When winter came, he was taken down for a guest's meal, and while the
hostess was slicing the sausage he had to be on his guard, lest if he
stretched out his head it might be cut off.
Watching his opportunity, at last he was able to jump out of the
sausage, and right glad was he to be once again in the company of his
It was not very long, however, that he stayed in this house, where he
had been met by so many misfortunes, and again he set forth on his
travels, rejoicing in his freedom, but this did not long continue.
Swiftly running across the field came a fox, who, in an instant, had
snapped up poor little Tom.
"Oh, Mr. Fox," called out the little tailor, "it is I who am in your
throat; please let me out."
"Certainly," answered Reynard, "you are not a bit better than nothing at
all, you don't in the least satisfy me; make me a promise, that I shall
have the hens in your father's yard, and you shall regain your liberty."
"Willingly, you shall have all the hens; I make you a faithful promise,"
responded Tom Thumb.
So the fox coughed and set him free, and himself carried Tom home.
Then when the father had his dear little son once more he gave the fox
all his hens, with the greatest of pleasure.
"Here, father, I am bringing you a golden coin from my travels," said
the little fellow, and he brought out the ducat the thieves had
apportioned to him.
"But how was it that the fox was given all the poor little hens?"
"Foolish little one, don't you think your father would rather have you,
than all the hens he ever had in his yard?"
SNOW-WHITE AND ROSE-RED
A poor widow once lived in a little cottage. In front of the cottage was
a garden, in which were growing two rose trees; one of these bore white
roses, and the other red.
She had two children, who resembled the rose trees. One was called
Snow-White, and the other Rose-Red; and they were as religious and
loving, busy and untiring, as any two children ever were.
Snow-White was more gentle, and quieter than her sister, who liked
better skipping about the fields, seeking flowers, and catching summer
birds; while Snow-White stayed at home with her mother, either helping
her in her work, or, when that was done, reading aloud.
The two children had the greatest affection the one for the other. They
were always seen hand in hand; and should Snow-White say to her sister,
"We will never separate," the other would reply, "Not while we live,"
the mother adding, "That which one has, let her always share with the
They constantly ran together in the woods, collecting ripe berries; but
not a single animal would have injured them; quite the reverse, they all
felt the greatest esteem for the young creatures. The hare came to eat
parsley from their hands, the deer grazed by their side, the stag
bounded past them unheeding; the birds, likewise, did not stir from the
bough, but sang in entire security. No mischance befell them; if
benighted in the wood, they lay down on the moss to repose and sleep
till the morning; and their mother was satisfied as to their safety, and
felt no fear about them.
Once, when they had spent the night in the wood, and the bright sunrise
awoke them, they saw a beautiful child, in a snow-white robe, shining
like diamonds, sitting close to the spot where they had reposed. She
arose when they opened their eyes, and looked kindly at them; but said
no word, and passed from their sight into the wood. When the children
looked around they saw they had been sleeping on the edge of a
precipice, and would surely have fallen over if they had gone forward
two steps further in the darkness. Their mother said the beautiful child
must have been the angel who keeps watch over good children.
Snow-White and Rose-Red kept their mother's cottage so clean that it
gave pleasure only to look in. In summer-time Rose-Red attended to the
house, and every morning, before her mother awoke, placed by her bed a
bouquet which had in it a rose from each of the rose-trees. In
winter-time Snow-White set light to the fire, and put on the kettle,
after polishing it until it was like gold for brightness. In the
evening, when snow was falling, her mother would bid her bolt the door,
and then, sitting by the hearth, the good widow would read aloud to them
from a big book while the little girls were spinning. Close by them lay
a lamb, and a white pigeon, with its head tucked under its wing, was on
a perch behind.
One evening, as they were all sitting cosily together like this, there
was a knock at the door, as if someone wished to come in.
"Make haste, Rose-Red!" said her mother; "open the door; it is surely
some traveller seeking shelter." Rose-Red accordingly pulled back the
bolt, expecting to see some poor man. But it was nothing of the kind; it
was a bear, that thrust his big, black head in at the open door.
Rose-Red cried out and sprang back, the lamb bleated, the dove fluttered
her wings, and Snow-White hid herself behind her mother's bed. The bear
began speaking, and said, "Do not be afraid; I will not do you any harm;
I am half-frozen and would like to warm myself a little at your fire."
"Poor bear!" the mother replied; "come in and lie by the fire; only be
careful that your hair is not burnt." Then she called Snow-White and
Rose-Red, telling them that the bear was kind, and would not harm them.
They came, as she bade them, and presently the lamb and the dove drew
near also without fear.
"Children," begged the bear; "knock some of the snow off my coat." So
they brought the broom and brushed the bear's coat quite clean.
After that he stretched himself out in front of the fire, and pleased
himself by growling a little, only to show that he was happy and
comfortable. Before long they were all quite good friends, and the
children began to play with their unlooked-for visitor, pulling his
thick fur, or placing their feet on his back, or rolling him over and
over. Then they took a slender hazel-twig, using it upon his thick coat,
and they laughed when he growled. The bear permitted them to amuse
themselves in this way, only occasionally calling out, when it went a
little too far, "Children, spare me an inch of life."
When it was night, and all were making ready to go to bed, the widow
told the bear, "You may stay here and lie by the hearth, if you like, so
that you will be sheltered from the cold and from the bad weather."
The offer was accepted, but when morning came, as the day broke in the
east, the two children let him out, and over the snow he went back into
After this, every evening at the same time the bear came, lay by the
fire, and allowed the children to play with him; so they became quite
fond of their curious playmate, and the door was not ever bolted in the
evening until he had appeared.
When spring-time came, and all around began to look green and bright,
one morning the bear said to Snow-White, "Now I must leave you, and all
the summer long I shall not be able to come back."
"Where, then, are you going, dear Bear?" asked Snow-White.
"I have to go to the woods to protect my treasure from the bad dwarfs.
In winter-time, when the earth is frozen hard, they must remain
underground, and cannot make their way through: but now that the
sunshine has thawed the earth they can come to the surface, and whatever
gets into their hands, or is brought to their caves, seldom, if ever,
again sees daylight."
Snow-White was very sad when she said good-bye to the good-natured
beast, and unfastened the door, that he might go; but in going out he
was caught by a hook in the lintel, and a scrap of his fur being torn,
Snow-White thought there was something shining like gold through the
rent: but he went out so quickly that she could not feel certain what it
was, and soon he was hidden among the trees.
One day the mother sent her children into the wood to pick up sticks.
They found a big tree lying on the ground. It had been felled, and
towards the roots they noticed something skipping and springing, which
they could not make out, as it was sometimes hidden in the grasses. As
they came nearer they could see it was a dwarf, with a shrivelled-up
face and a snow-white beard an ell long. The beard was fixed in a gash
in the tree trunk, and the tiny fellow was hopping to and fro, like a
dog at the end of a string, but he could not manage to free himself. He
stared at the children with his red, fiery eyes, and called out, "Why
are you standing there? Can't you come and try to help me?"
"What were you doing, little fellow?" inquired Rose-Red.
"Stupid, inquisitive goose!" replied the dwarf; "I meant to split the
trunk, so that I could chop it up for kitchen sticks; big logs would
burn up the small quantity of food we cook, for people like us do not
consume great heaps of food, as you heavy, greedy folk do. The bill-hook
I had driven in, and soon I should have done what I required; but the
tool suddenly sprang from the cleft, which so quickly shut up again that
it caught my handsome white beard; and here I must stop, for I cannot
set myself free. You stupid pale-faced creatures! You laugh, do you?"
In spite of the dwarf's bad temper, the girls took all possible pains to
release the little man, but without avail, the beard could not be moved,
it was wedged too tightly.
"I will run and get someone else," said Rose-Red.
"Idiot!" cried the dwarf. "Who would go and get more people? Already
there are two too many. Can't you think of something better?"
"Don't be so impatient," said Snow-White. "I will try to think." She
clapped her hands as if she had discovered a remedy, took out her
scissors, and in a moment set the dwarf free by cutting off the end of
Immediately the dwarf felt that he was free he seized a sack full of
gold that was hidden amongst the tree's roots, and, lifting it up,
grumbled out, "Clumsy creatures, to cut off a bit of my beautiful beard,
of which I am so proud! I leave the cuckoos to pay you for what you
did." Saying this, he swung the sack across his shoulder, and went off,
without even casting a glance at the children.
Not long afterwards the two sisters went to angle in the brook, meaning
to catch fish for dinner. As they were drawing near the water they
perceived something, looking like a large grasshopper, springing towards
the stream, as if it were going in. They hurried up to see what it might
be, and found that it was the dwarf. "Where are you going?" said
Rose-Red. "Surely you will not jump into the water?"
"I'm not such a simpleton as that!" yelled the little man. "Don't you
see that a wretch of a fish is pulling me in?"
The dwarf had been sitting angling from the side of the stream when, by
ill-luck, the wind had entangled his beard in his line, and just
afterwards a big fish taking the bait, the unamiable little fellow had
not sufficient strength to pull it out; so the fish had the advantage,
and was dragging the dwarf after it. Certainly, he caught at every stalk
and spray near him, but that did not assist him greatly; he was forced
to follow all the twistings of the fish, and was perpetually in danger
of being drawn into the brook.
The girls arrived just in time. They caught hold of him firmly and
endeavored to untwist his beard from the line, but in vain; they were
too tightly entangled. There was nothing left but again to make use of
the scissors; so they were taken out, and the tangled portion was cut
When the dwarf noticed what they were about, he exclaimed in a great
rage, "Is this how you damage my beard? Not content with making it
shorter before, you are now making it still smaller, and completely
spoiling it. I shall not ever dare show my face to my friends. I wish
you had missed your way before you took this road." Then he fetched a
sack of pearls that lay among the rushes, and, not saying another word,
hobbled off and disappeared behind a large stone.
Soon after this it chanced that the poor widow sent her children to the
town to purchase cotton, needles, ribbon, and tape. The way to the town
ran over a common, on which in every direction large masses of rocks
were scattered about. The children's attention was soon attracted to a
big bird that hovered in the air. They remarked that, after circling
slowly for a time, and gradually getting nearer to the ground, it all of
a sudden pounced down amongst a mass of rock. Instantly a heartrending
cry reached their ears, and, running quickly to the place, they saw,
with horror, that the eagle had seized their former acquaintance, the
dwarf, and was just about to carry him off. The kind children did not
hesitate for an instant. They took a firm hold of the little man, and
strove so stoutly with the eagle for possession of his contemplated
prey, that, after much rough treatment on both sides, the dwarf was left
in the hands of his brave little friends, and the eagle took to flight.
As soon as the little man had in some measure recovered from his alarm,
his small squeaky, cracked voice was heard saying, "Couldn't you have
held me more gently? See my little coat; you have rent and damaged it in
a fine manner, you clumsy, officious things!" Then he picked up a sack
of jewels, and slipped out of sight behind a piece of rock.
The maidens by this time were quite used to his ungrateful, ungracious
ways; so they took no notice of it, but went on their way, made their
purchases, and then were ready to return to their happy home.
On their way back, suddenly, once more they ran across their dwarf
friend. Upon a clear space he had turned out his sack of jewels, so
that he could count and admire them, for he had not imagined that
anybody would at so late an hour be coming across the common.
The setting sun was shining upon the brilliant stones, and their
changing hues and sparkling rays caused the children to pause to admire
"What are you gazing at?" cried the dwarf, at the same time becoming
red with rage; "and what are you standing there for, making ugly
faces?" It is probable that he might have proceeded in the same
complimentary manner, but suddenly a great growl was heard near by
them, and a big black bear joined the party. Up jumped the dwarf in
extremest terror, but could not get to his hiding-place, the bear was
too close to him; so he cried out in very evident anguish--
"Dear Mr. Bear, forgive me, I pray! I will render to you all my
treasure. Just see those precious stones lying there! Grant me my life!
What would you do with such an insignificant little fellow? You would
not notice me between your teeth. See, though, those two children,
they would be delicate morsels, and are as plump as partridges; I beg
of you to take them, good Mr. Bear, and let me go!"
But the bear would not be moved by his speeches. He gave the
ill-disposed creature a blow with his paw, and he lay lifeless on the
Meanwhile the maidens were running away, making off for home as well as
they could; but all of a sudden they were stopped by a well-known voice
that called out, "Snow-White, Rose-Red, stay! Do not fear. I will
The bear quickly came towards them, but, as he reached their side,
suddenly the bear-skin slipped to the ground, and there before them was
standing a handsome man, completely garmented in gold, who said--
"I am a king's son, who was enchanted by the wicked dwarf lying over
there. He stole my treasure, and compelled me to roam the woods
transformed into a big bear until his death should set me free.
Therefore he has only received a well-deserved punishment."
Some time afterwards Snow-White married the Prince, and Rose-Red his
They shared between them the enormous treasure which the dwarf had
collected in his cave.
The old mother spent many happy years with her children.
THE THREE LITTLE MEN IN THE WOOD
Once upon a time there lived a man, whose wife had died; and a woman,
also, who had lost her husband: and this man and this woman had each a
daughter. These two maidens were friendly with each other, and used to
walk together, and one day they came by the widow's house. Then the
widow said to the man's daughter, "Do you hear, tell your father I wish
to marry him, and you shall every morning wash in milk and drink wine,
but my daughter shall wash in water and drink water." So the girl went
home and told her father what the woman had said, and he replied, "What
shall I do? Marriage is a comfort, but it is also a torment." At last,
as he could come to no conclusion, he drew off his boot and said: "Take
this boot, which has a hole in the sole, and go with it out of doors and
hang it on the great nail and then pour water into it. If it holds the
water, I will again take a wife; but if it runs through, I will not have
her." The girl did as he bid her, but the water drew the hole together
and the boot became full to overflowing. So she told her father how it
had happened, and he, getting up, saw it was quite true; and going to
the widow he settled the matter, and the wedding was celebrated.
The next morning, when the two girls arose, milk to wash in and wine to
drink were set for the man's daughter, but only water, both for washing
and drinking, for the woman's daughter. The second morning, water for
washing and drinking stood before both the man's daughter and the
woman's; and on the third morning, water to wash in and water to drink
were set before the man's daughter, and milk to wash in and wine to
drink before the woman's daughter, and so it continued.
Soon the woman conceived a deadly hatred for her step-daughter, and knew
not how to behave badly enough to her from day to day. She was envious,
too, because her step-daughter was beautiful and lovely, and her own
daughter was ugly and hateful.
Once, in the winter-time, when the river was frozen as hard as a stone,
and hill and valley were covered with snow, the woman made a cloak of
paper, and called the maiden to her and said, "Put on this cloak, and go
away into the wood to fetch me a little basketful of strawberries, for I
have a wish for some."
"Mercy on us!" said the maiden, "in winter there are no strawberries
growing; the ground is frozen, and the snow, too, has covered
everything. And why must I go in that paper cloak? It is so cold out of
doors that it freezes one's breath even, and if the wind does not blow
off this cloak, the thorns will tear it from my body."
"Will you dare to contradict me?" said the step-mother. "Make haste off,
and let me not see you again until you have found me a basket of
strawberries." Then she gave her a small piece of dry bread, saying, "On
that you must subsist the whole day." But she thought--out of doors she
will be frozen and starved, so that my eyes will never see her again!
So the girl did as she was told, and put on the paper cloak, and went
away with the basket. Far and near there was nothing but snow, and not a
green blade was to be seen. When she came to the forest she discovered a
little cottage, out of which three little Dwarfs were peeping. The girl
wished them good morning, and knocked gently at the door. They called
her in, and entering the room, she sat down on a bench by the fire to
warm herself, and eat her breakfast. The Dwarfs called out, "Give us
some of it!" "Willingly," she replied, and, dividing her bread in two,
she gave them half. They asked, "What do you here in the forest, in the
winter-time, in this thin cloak?"
"Ah!" she answered, "I must, seek a basketful of strawberries, and I
dare not return home until I can take them with me." When she had eaten
her bread, they gave her a broom, saying, "Sweep away the snow with this
from the back door." But when she was gone out of doors the three Dwarfs
said one to another, "What shall we give her, because she is so gentle
and good, and has shared her bread with us?" Then said the first, "I
grant to her that she shall become more beautiful every day." The second
said, "I grant that a piece of gold shall fall out of her mouth for
every word she speaks." The third said, "I grant that a King shall come
and make her his bride."
Meanwhile, the girl had done as the Dwarf had bidden her, and had swept
away the snow from behind the house. And what do you think she found
there? Actually, ripe strawberries! which came quite red and sweet up
under the snow. So filling her basket in great glee, she thanked the
little men and gave them each her hand, and then ran home to take her
step-mother what she wished for. As she went in and said "Good evening,"
a piece of gold fell from her mouth. Thereupon she related what had
happened to her in the forest; but at every word she spoke a piece of
gold fell, so that the whole floor was covered.
"Just see her arrogance," said the step-sister, "to throw away money in
that way!" but in her heart she was jealous, and wished to go into the
forest, too, to seek strawberries. Her mother said, "No, my dear
daughter; it is too cold, you will be frozen!" but as her girl let her
have no peace, she at last consented, and made her a beautiful fur cloak
to put on; she also gave her buttered bread and cooked meat to eat on
The girl went into the forest and came straight to the little cottage.
The three Dwarfs were peeping out again, but she did not greet them;
and, stumbling on without looking at them, or speaking, she entered the
room, and, seating herself by the fire, began to eat the bread and
butter and meat. "Give us some of that," exclaimed the Dwarfs; but she
answered, "I have not got enough for myself, so how can I give any
away?" When she had finished they said, "You have a broom there, go and
sweep the back door clean." "Oh, sweep it yourself," she replied; "I am
not your servant." When she saw that they would not give her anything
she went out at the door, and the three Dwarfs said to each other, "What
shall we give her? She is so ill-behaved, and has such a bad and envious
disposition, that nobody can wish well to her." The first said, "I grant
that she becomes more ugly every day." The second said, "I grant that at
every word she speaks a toad shall spring out of her mouth." The third
said, "I grant that she shall die a miserable death." Meanwhile the girl
had been looking for strawberries out of doors, but as she could find
none she went home very peevish. When she opened her mouth to tell her
mother what had happened to her in the forest, a toad jumped out of her
mouth at each word, so that every one fled away from her in horror.
The step-mother was now still more vexed, and was always thinking how
she could do the most harm to her husband's daughter, who every day
became more beautiful. At last she took a kettle, set it on the fire,
and boiled a net therein. When it was sodden she hung it on the shoulder
of the poor girl, and gave her an axe, that she might go upon the frozen
pond and cut a hole in the ice to drag the net. She obeyed, and went
away and cut an ice-hole; and while she was cutting, an elegant carriage
came by, in which the King sat. The carriage stopped, and the King
asked, "My child, who are you? and what do you here?" "I am a poor girl,
and am dragging a net," said she. Then the King pitied her, and saw how
beautiful she was, and said, "Will you go with me?" "Yes, indeed, with
all my heart," she replied, for she was glad to get out of the sight of
her mother and sister.
So she was handed into the carriage, and driven away with the King; and
as soon as they arrived at his castle the wedding was celebrated with
great splendor, as the Dwarfs had granted to the maiden. After a year
the young Queen bore a son; and when the step-mother heard of her great
good fortune, she came to the castle with her daughter, and behaved as
if she had come on a visit. But one day when the King had gone out, and
no one was present, this bad woman seized the Queen by the head, and her
daughter caught hold of her feet, and raising her out of bed, they threw
her out of the window into the river which ran past. Then, laying her
ugly daughter in the bed, the old woman covered her up, even over her
head; and when the King came back he wished to speak to his wife, but
the old woman exclaimed, "Softly! softly! do not go near her; she is
lying in a beautiful sleep, and must be kept quiet to-day." The King,
not thinking of an evil design, came again the next morning the first
thing; and when he spoke to his wife, and she answered, a toad sprang
out of her mouth at every word, as a piece of gold had done before. So
he asked what had happened, and the old woman said, "That is produced by
her weakness, she will soon lose it again."
But in the night the kitchen-boy saw a Duck swimming through the brook,
and the Duck asked:
"King, King, what are you doing?
Are you sleeping, or are you waking?"
And as he gave no answer, the Duck said:
"What are my guests a-doing?"
Then the boy answered:
"They all sleep sound."
And she asked him:
"How fares my child?"
And he replied:
"In his cradle he sleeps."
Then she came up in the form of the Queen to the cradle, and gave the
child drink, shook up his bed, and covered him up, and then swam away
again as a duck through the brook. The second night she came again; and
on the third she said to the kitchen-boy, "Go and tell the King to take
his sword, and swing it thrice over me, on the threshold." Then the boy
ran and told the King, who came with his sword, and swung it thrice over
the Duck; and at the third time his bride stood before him, bright,
living, and healthful, as she had been before.
Now the King was in great happiness, but he hid the Queen in a chamber
until the Sunday when the child was to be christened; and when all was
finished he asked, "What ought to be done to one who takes another out
of a bed and throws her into the river?" "Nothing could be more proper,"
said the old woman, "than to put such a one into a cask, stuck round
with nails, and to roll it down the hill into the water." Then the King
said, "You have spoken your own sentence"; and ordering a cask to be
fetched, he caused the old woman and her daughter to be put into it, and
the bottom nailed up. Then the cask was rolled down the hill until it
fell into the water.
There was once a poor Miller who had a beautiful daughter, and one day,
having to go to speak with the King, he said, in order to make himself
appear of consequence, that he had a daughter who could spin straw into
gold. The King was very fond of gold, and thought to himself, "That is
an art which would please me very well"; and so he said to the Miller,
"If your daughter is so very clever, bring her to the castle in the
morning, and I will put her to the proof."
As soon as she arrived the King led her into a chamber which was full of
straw; and, giving her a wheel and a reel, he said, "Now set yourself to
work, and if you have not spun this straw into gold by an early hour
to-morrow, you must die." With these words he shut the room door, and
left the maiden alone.
There she sat for a long time, thinking how to save her life; for she
understood nothing of the art whereby straw might be spun into gold; and
her perplexity increased more and more, till at last she began to weep.
All at once the door opened, and in stepped a little Man, who said,
"Good evening, fair maiden; why do you weep so sore?" "Ah," she replied,
"I must spin this straw into gold, and I am sure I do not know how."
The little Man asked, "What will you give me if I spin it for you?"
"My necklace," said the maiden.
The Dwarf took it, placed himself in front of the wheel, and whirr,
whirr, whirr, three times round, and the bobbin was full. Then he set up
another, and whir, whir, whir, thrice round again, and a second bobbin
was full; and so he went all night long, until all the straw was spun,
and the bobbins were full of gold. At sunrise the King came, very much
astonished to see the gold; the sight of which gladdened him, but did
not make his heart less covetous. He caused the maiden to be led into
another room, still larger, full of straw; and then he bade her spin it
into gold during the night if she valued her life. The maiden was again
quite at a loss what to do; but while she cried the door opened
suddenly, as before, and the Dwarf appeared and asked her what she would
give him in return for his assistance. "The ring off my finger," she
replied. The little Man took the ring and began to spin at once, and by
morning all the straw was changed to glistening gold. The King was
rejoiced above measure at the sight of this, but still he was not
satisfied, but, leading the maiden into another still larger room, full
of straw as the others, he said, "This you must spin during the night;
but if you accomplish it you shall be my bride." "For," thought he to
himself, "a richer wife thou canst not have in all the world."
When the maiden was left alone, the Dwarf again appeared and asked, for
the third time, "What will you give me to do this for you?"
"I have nothing left that I can give you," replied the maiden.
"Then promise me your first-born child if you become Queen," said he.
The Miller's daughter thought, "Who can tell if that will ever happen?"
and, ignorant how else to help herself out of her trouble, she promised
the Dwarf what he desired; and he immediately set about and finished the
spinning. When morning came, and the King found all he had wished for
done, he celebrated his wedding, and the Miller's fair daughter became
The gay times she had at the King's Court caused her to forget that she
had made a very foolish promise.
About a year after the marriage, when she had ceased to think about the
little Dwarf, she brought a fine child into the world; and, suddenly,
soon after its birth, the very man appeared and demanded what she had
promised. The frightened Queen offered him all the riches of the kingdom
if he would leave her her child; but the Dwarf answered, "No; something
human is dearer to me than all the wealth of the world."
The Queen began to weep and groan so much that the Dwarf pitied her, and
said, "I will leave you three days to consider; if you in that time
discover my name you shall keep your child."
All night long the Queen racked her brains for all the names she could
think of, and sent a messenger through the country to collect far and
wide any new names. The following morning came the Dwarf, and she began
with "Caspar," "Melchior," "Balthassar," and all the odd names she knew;
but at each the little Man exclaimed, "That is not my name." The second
day the Queen inquired of all her people for uncommon and curious names,
and called the Dwarf "Ribs-of-Beef," "Sheep-shank," "Whalebone," but at
each he said, "This is not my name." The third day the messenger came
back and said, "I have not found a single name; but as I came to a high
mountain near the edge of a forest, where foxes and hares say good night
to each other, I saw there a little house, and before the door a fire
was burning, and round this fire a very curious little Man was dancing
on one leg, and shouting:
"'To-day I stew, and then I'll bake,
To-morrow I shall the Queen's child take;
Ah! how famous it is that nobody knows
That my name is Rumpelstiltskin.'"
When the Queen heard this she was very glad, for now she knew the name;
and soon after came the Dwarf, and asked, "Now, my lady Queen, what is
First she said, "Are you called Conrade?" "No."
"Are you called Hal?" "No."
"Are you called Rumpelstiltskin?"
"A witch has told you! a witch has told you!" shrieked the little Man,
and stamped his right foot so hard in the ground with rage that he could
not draw it out again. Then he took hold of his left leg with both his
hands, and pulled away so hard that his right came off in the struggle,
and he hopped away howling terribly. And from that day to this the Queen
has heard no more of her troublesome visitor.
LITTLE ONE-EYE, TWO-EYES AND THREE-EYES
Once upon a time there was a Woman, who had three daughters, the eldest
of whom was named One-Eye, because she had but a single eye, and that
placed in the middle of her forehead; the second was called Two-Eyes,
because she was like other mortals; and the third, Three-Eyes, because
she had three eyes, and one of them in the centre of her forehead, like
her eldest sister. But, because her second sister had nothing out of the
common in her appearance, she was looked down upon by her sisters, and
despised by her mother. "You are no better than common folk," they would
say to her; "you do not belong to us"; and then they would push her
about, give her coarse clothing, and nothing to eat but their leavings,
besides numerous other insults as occasion offered.
Once it happened that Two-Eyes had to go into the forest to tend the
goat; and she went very hungry, because her sisters had given her very
little to eat that morning. She sat down upon a hillock, and cried so
much that her tears flowed almost like rivers out of her eyes! By and by
she looked up and saw a Woman standing by, who asked, "Why are you
weeping, Two-Eyes?" "Because I have two eyes like ordinary people,"
replied the maiden, "and therefore my mother and sisters dislike me,
push me into corners, throw me their old clothes, and give me nothing to
eat but what they leave. To-day they have given me so little that I am
still hungry." "Dry your eyes, then, now," said the wise Woman; "I will
tell you something which shall prevent you from being hungry again. You
must say to your goat:
"'Little kid, milk
"and immediately a nicely filled table will stand before you, with
delicate food upon it, of which you can eat as much as you please. And
when you are satisfied, and have done with the table, you must say:
'Little kid, milk
"and it will disappear directly."
With these words the wise Woman went away, and little Two-Eyes thought
to herself she would try at once if what the Woman said were true, for
she felt very hungry indeed.
"Little kid, milk
said the maiden, and immediately a table covered with a white cloth
stood before her, with a knife and fork, and silver spoon; and the most
delicate dishes were ranged in order upon it, and everything as warm as
if they had been just taken away from the fire. Two-Eyes said a short
grace, and then began to eat; and when she had finished she pronounced
the words which the wise Woman had told her:
"Little kid, milk
and directly the table and all that was on it quickly disappeared. "This
is capital housekeeping," said the maiden, in high glee; and at evening
she went home with her goat, and found an earthen dish which her sisters
had left her filled with their leavings. She did not touch it; and the
next morning she went off again without taking the meagre breakfast
which was left out for her. The first and second time she did this the
sisters thought nothing of it; but when she did the same the third
morning their attention was roused, and they said, "All is not right
with Two-Eyes, for she has left her meals twice, and has touched nothing
of what was left for her; she must have found some other way of living."
So they determined that One-Eye should go with the maiden when she drove
the goat to the meadow and pay attention to what passed, and observe
whether any one brought her to eat or to drink.
When Two-Eyes, therefore, was about to set off, One-Eye told her she was
going with her to see whether she took proper care of the goat and fed
her sufficiently. Two-Eyes, however, divined her sister's object, and
drove the goat where the grass was finest, and then said, "Come,
One-Eye, let us sit down, and I will sing to you." So One-Eye sat down,
for she was quite tired with her unusual walk and the heat of the sun.
"Are you awake or asleep, One-Eye?
Are you awake or asleep?"
sang Two-Eyes, until her sister really went to sleep. As soon as she was
quite sound, the maiden had her table out, and ate and drank all she
needed; and by the time One-Eye woke again the table had disappeared,
and the maiden said to her sister, "Come, we will go home now; while you
have been sleeping the goat might have run about all over the world." So
they went home, and after Two-Eyes had left her meal untouched, the
mother inquired of One-Eye what she had seen, and she was obliged to
confess that she had been asleep.
The following morning the mother told Three-Eyes that she must go out
and watch Two-Eyes, and see who brought her food, for it was certain
that some one must. So Three-Eyes told her sister that she was going to
accompany her that morning to see if she took care of the goat and fed
her well; but Two-Eyes saw through her design, and drove the goat again
to the best feeding-place. Then she asked her sister to sit down and she
would sing to her, and Three-Eyes did so, for she was very tired with
her long walk in the heat of the sun. Then Two-Eyes began to sing as
"Are you awake, Three-Eyes?"
but, instead of continuing as she should have done,
"Are you asleep, Three-Eyes?"
she said by mistake,
"Are you asleep, Two-Eyes?"
and so went on singing:
"Are you awake, Three-Eyes?"
"Are you asleep, Two-Eyes?"
By and by Three-Eyes closed two of her eyes, and went to sleep with
them; but the third eye, which was not spoken to, kept open. Three-Eyes,
however, cunningly shut it too, and feigned to be asleep, while she was
really watching; and soon Two-Eyes, thinking all safe, repeated the
"Little kid, milk
and as soon as she was satisfied she said the old words:
"Little kid, milk
Three-Eyes watched all these proceedings; and presently Two-Eyes came
and awoke her, saying, "Ah, sister! you are a good watcher, but come,
let us go home now." When they reached home Two-Eyes again ate nothing;
and her sister told her mother she knew now why the haughty hussy would
not eat their victuals. "When she is out in the meadow," said her
sister, "she says:
"'Little kid, milk
"and, directly, a table comes up laid out with meat and wine, and
everything of the best, much better than we have; and as soon as she has
had enough she says:
"'Little kid, milk
"and all goes away directly, as I clearly saw. Certainly she did put to
sleep two of my eyes, but the one in the middle of my forehead luckily
"Will you have better things than we?" cried the envious mother; "then
you shall lose the chance"; and so saying, she took a carving-knife and
killed the goat dead.
As soon as Two-Eyes saw this she went out, very sorrowful, to the old
spot and sat down where she had sat before to weep bitterly. All at once
the wise Woman stood in front of her again, and asked why she was
crying. "Must I not cry," replied she, "when the goat which used to
furnish me every day with a dinner, according to your promise, has been
killed by my mother, and I am again suffering hunger and thirst?"
"Two-Eyes," said the wise Woman, "I will give you a piece of advice. Beg
your sisters to give you the entrails of the goat, and bury them in the
earth before the house door, and your fortune will be made." So saying,
she disappeared, and Two-Eyes went home, and said to her sisters, "Dear
sisters, do give me some part of the slain kid; I desire nothing
else--let me have the entrails." The sisters laughed and readily gave
them to her; and she buried them secretly before the threshold of the
door, as the wise Woman had bidden her.
The following morning they found in front of the house a wonderfully
beautiful tree, with leaves of silver and fruits of gold hanging from
the boughs, than which nothing more splendid could be seen in the world.
The two elder sisters were quite ignorant how the tree came where it
stood; but Two-Eyes perceived that it was produced by the goat's
entrails, for it stood on the exact spot where she had buried them. As
soon as the mother saw it she told One-Eye to break off some of the
fruit. One-Eye went up to the tree, and pulled a bough toward her, to
pluck off the fruit; but the bough flew back again directly out of her
hands; and so it did every time she took hold of it, till she was forced
to give up, for she could not obtain a single golden apple in spite of
all her endeavors. Then the mother said to Three-Eyes, "Do you climb up,
for you can see better with your three eyes than your sister with her
one." Three-Eyes, however, was not more fortunate than her sister, for
the golden apples flew back as soon as she touched them. At last the
mother got so impatient that she climbed the tree herself; but she met
with no more success than either of her daughters, and grasped the air
only when she thought she had the fruit. Two-Eyes now thought she would
try, and said to her sisters, "Let me get up, perhaps I may be
successful." "Oh, you are very likely indeed," said they, "with your two
eyes: you will see well, no doubt!" So Two-Eyes climbed the tree, and
directly she touched the boughs the golden apples fell into her hands,
so that she plucked them as fast as she could, and filled her apron
before she went down. Her mother took them of her, but returned her no
thanks; and the two sisters, instead of treating Two-Eyes better than
they had done, were only the more envious of her, because she alone
could gather the fruit--in fact, they treated her worse.
One morning, not long after the springing up of the apple-tree, the
three sisters were all standing together beneath it, when in the
distance a young Knight was seen riding toward them. "Make haste,
Two-Eyes!" exclaimed the two elder sisters; "make haste, and creep out
of our way, that we may not be ashamed of you"; and so saying, they put
over her in great haste an empty cask which stood near, and which
covered the golden apples as well, which she had just been plucking.
Soon the Knight came up to the tree, and the sisters saw he was a very
handsome man, for he stopped to admire the fine silver leaves and golden
fruit, and presently asked to whom the tree belonged, for he should like
to have a branch off it. One-Eye and Three-Eyes replied that the tree
belonged to them; and they tried to pluck a branch off for the Knight.
They had their trouble for nothing, however, for the boughs and fruit
flew back as soon as they touched them. "This is very wonderful." cried
the Knight, "that this tree should belong to you, and yet you cannot
pluck the fruit!" The sisters, however, maintained that it was theirs;
but while they spoke Two-Eyes rolled a golden apple from underneath the
cask, so that it travelled to the feet of the Knight, for she was angry,
because her sisters had not spoken the truth. When he saw the apple he
was astonished, and asked where it came from; and One-Eye and Three-Eyes
said they had another sister, but they dared not let her be seen,
because she had only two eyes, like common folk! The Knight, however,
would see her, and called, "Two-Eyes, come here!" and soon she made her
appearance from under the cask. The Knight was bewildered at her great
beauty, and said, "You, Two-Eyes, can surely break off a bough of this
tree for me?" "Yes," she replied, "that I will, for it is my property";
and climbing up, she easily broke off a branch with silver leaves and
golden fruit, which she handed to the Knight. "What can I give you in
return, Two-Eyes?" asked the Knight. "Alas! if you will take me with you
I shall be happy, for now I suffer hunger and thirst, and am in trouble
and grief from early morning to late evening; take me, and save me!"
Thereupon the Knight raised Two-Eyes upon his saddle, and took her home
to his father's castle. There he gave her beautiful clothes, and all she
wished for to eat or to drink; and afterward, because his love for her
had become so great, he married her, and a very happy wedding they had.
Her two sisters, meanwhile, were very jealous when Two-Eyes was carried
off by the Knight; but they consoled themselves by saying, "The
wonderful tree remains still for us; and even if we cannot get at the
fruit, everybody that passes will stop to look at it, and then come and
praise it to us. Who knows where our wheat may bloom?" The morning after
this speech, however, the tree disappeared, and with it all their hopes;
but when Two-Eyes that same day looked out of her chamber window,
behold, the tree stood before it, and there remained!
For a long time after this occurrence Two-Eyes lived in the enjoyment of
the greatest happiness; and one morning two poor women came to the
palace and begged an alms. Two-Eyes, after looking narrowly at their
faces, recognized her two sisters, One-Eye and Three-Eyes, who had come
to such great poverty that they were forced to wander about, begging
their bread from day to day. Two-Eyes, however, bade them welcome,
invited them in, and took care of them, till they both repented of their
evil which they had done to their sister in the days of their childhood.