Part 2 out of 5
1. HOW THEY WENT TO THE MOUNTAINS TO EAT NUTS
'The nuts are quite ripe now,' said Chanticleer to his wife Partlet,
'suppose we go together to the mountains, and eat as many as we can,
before the squirrel takes them all away.' 'With all my heart,' said
Partlet, 'let us go and make a holiday of it together.'
So they went to the mountains; and as it was a lovely day, they stayed
there till the evening. Now, whether it was that they had eaten so
many nuts that they could not walk, or whether they were lazy and
would not, I do not know: however, they took it into their heads that
it did not become them to go home on foot. So Chanticleer began to
build a little carriage of nutshells: and when it was finished,
Partlet jumped into it and sat down, and bid Chanticleer harness
himself to it and draw her home. 'That's a good joke!' said
Chanticleer; 'no, that will never do; I had rather by half walk home;
I'll sit on the box and be coachman, if you like, but I'll not draw.'
While this was passing, a duck came quacking up and cried out, 'You
thieving vagabonds, what business have you in my grounds? I'll give it
you well for your insolence!' and upon that she fell upon Chanticleer
most lustily. But Chanticleer was no coward, and returned the duck's
blows with his sharp spurs so fiercely that she soon began to cry out
for mercy; which was only granted her upon condition that she would
draw the carriage home for them. This she agreed to do; and
Chanticleer got upon the box, and drove, crying, 'Now, duck, get on as
fast as you can.' And away they went at a pretty good pace.
After they had travelled along a little way, they met a needle and a
pin walking together along the road: and the needle cried out, 'Stop,
stop!' and said it was so dark that they could hardly find their way,
and such dirty walking they could not get on at all: he told them that
he and his friend, the pin, had been at a public-house a few miles
off, and had sat drinking till they had forgotten how late it was; he
begged therefore that the travellers would be so kind as to give them
a lift in their carriage. Chanticleer observing that they were but
thin fellows, and not likely to take up much room, told them they
might ride, but made them promise not to dirty the wheels of the
carriage in getting in, nor to tread on Partlet's toes.
Late at night they arrived at an inn; and as it was bad travelling in
the dark, and the duck seemed much tired, and waddled about a good
deal from one side to the other, they made up their minds to fix their
quarters there: but the landlord at first was unwilling, and said his
house was full, thinking they might not be very respectable company:
however, they spoke civilly to him, and gave him the egg which Partlet
had laid by the way, and said they would give him the duck, who was in
the habit of laying one every day: so at last he let them come in, and
they bespoke a handsome supper, and spent the evening very jollily.
Early in the morning, before it was quite light, and when nobody was
stirring in the inn, Chanticleer awakened his wife, and, fetching the
egg, they pecked a hole in it, ate it up, and threw the shells into
the fireplace: they then went to the pin and needle, who were fast
asleep, and seizing them by the heads, stuck one into the landlord's
easy chair and the other into his handkerchief; and, having done this,
they crept away as softly as possible. However, the duck, who slept in
the open air in the yard, heard them coming, and jumping into the
brook which ran close by the inn, soon swam out of their reach.
An hour or two afterwards the landlord got up, and took his
handkerchief to wipe his face, but the pin ran into him and pricked
him: then he walked into the kitchen to light his pipe at the fire,
but when he stirred it up the eggshells flew into his eyes, and almost
blinded him. 'Bless me!' said he, 'all the world seems to have a
design against my head this morning': and so saying, he threw himself
sulkily into his easy chair; but, oh dear! the needle ran into him;
and this time the pain was not in his head. He now flew into a very
great passion, and, suspecting the company who had come in the night
before, he went to look after them, but they were all off; so he swore
that he never again would take in such a troop of vagabonds, who ate a
great deal, paid no reckoning, and gave him nothing for his trouble
but their apish tricks.
2. HOW CHANTICLEER AND PARTLET WENT TO VIST MR KORBES
Another day, Chanticleer and Partlet wished to ride out together; so
Chanticleer built a handsome carriage with four red wheels, and
harnessed six mice to it; and then he and Partlet got into the
carriage, and away they drove. Soon afterwards a cat met them, and
said, 'Where are you going?' And Chanticleer replied,
'All on our way
A visit to pay
To Mr Korbes, the fox, today.'
Then the cat said, 'Take me with you,' Chanticleer said, 'With all my
heart: get up behind, and be sure you do not fall off.'
'Take care of this handsome coach of mine,
Nor dirty my pretty red wheels so fine!
Now, mice, be ready,
And, wheels, run steady!
For we are going a visit to pay
To Mr Korbes, the fox, today.'
Soon after came up a millstone, an egg, a duck, and a pin; and
Chanticleer gave them all leave to get into the carriage and go with
When they arrived at Mr Korbes's house, he was not at home; so the
mice drew the carriage into the coach-house, Chanticleer and Partlet
flew upon a beam, the cat sat down in the fireplace, the duck got into
the washing cistern, the pin stuck himself into the bed pillow, the
millstone laid himself over the house door, and the egg rolled himself
up in the towel.
When Mr Korbes came home, he went to the fireplace to make a fire; but
the cat threw all the ashes in his eyes: so he ran to the kitchen to
wash himself; but there the duck splashed all the water in his face;
and when he tried to wipe himself, the egg broke to pieces in the
towel all over his face and eyes. Then he was very angry, and went
without his supper to bed; but when he laid his head on the pillow,
the pin ran into his cheek: at this he became quite furious, and,
jumping up, would have run out of the house; but when he came to the
door, the millstone fell down on his head, and killed him on the spot.
3. HOW PARTLET DIED AND WAS BURIED, AND HOW CHANTICLEER DIED OF GRIEF
Another day Chanticleer and Partlet agreed to go again to the
mountains to eat nuts; and it was settled that all the nuts which they
found should be shared equally between them. Now Partlet found a very
large nut; but she said nothing about it to Chanticleer, and kept it
all to herself: however, it was so big that she could not swallow it,
and it stuck in her throat. Then she was in a great fright, and cried
out to Chanticleer, 'Pray run as fast as you can, and fetch me some
water, or I shall be choked.' Chanticleer ran as fast as he could to
the river, and said, 'River, give me some water, for Partlet lies in
the mountain, and will be choked by a great nut.' The river said, 'Run
first to the bride, and ask her for a silken cord to draw up the
water.' Chanticleer ran to the bride, and said, 'Bride, you must give
me a silken cord, for then the river will give me water, and the water
I will carry to Partlet, who lies on the mountain, and will be choked
by a great nut.' But the bride said, 'Run first, and bring me my
garland that is hanging on a willow in the garden.' Then Chanticleer
ran to the garden, and took the garland from the bough where it hung,
and brought it to the bride; and then the bride gave him the silken
cord, and he took the silken cord to the river, and the river gave him
water, and he carried the water to Partlet; but in the meantime she
was choked by the great nut, and lay quite dead, and never moved any
Then Chanticleer was very sorry, and cried bitterly; and all the
beasts came and wept with him over poor Partlet. And six mice built a
little hearse to carry her to her grave; and when it was ready they
harnessed themselves before it, and Chanticleer drove them. On the way
they met the fox. 'Where are you going, Chanticleer?' said he. 'To
bury my Partlet,' said the other. 'May I go with you?' said the fox.
'Yes; but you must get up behind, or my horses will not be able to
draw you.' Then the fox got up behind; and presently the wolf, the
bear, the goat, and all the beasts of the wood, came and climbed upon
So on they went till they came to a rapid stream. 'How shall we get
over?' said Chanticleer. Then said a straw, 'I will lay myself across,
and you may pass over upon me.' But as the mice were going over, the
straw slipped away and fell into the water, and the six mice all fell
in and were drowned. What was to be done? Then a large log of wood
came and said, 'I am big enough; I will lay myself across the stream,
and you shall pass over upon me.' So he laid himself down; but they
managed so clumsily, that the log of wood fell in and was carried away
by the stream. Then a stone, who saw what had happened, came up and
kindly offered to help poor Chanticleer by laying himself across the
stream; and this time he got safely to the other side with the hearse,
and managed to get Partlet out of it; but the fox and the other
mourners, who were sitting behind, were too heavy, and fell back into
the water and were all carried away by the stream and drowned.
Thus Chanticleer was left alone with his dead Partlet; and having dug
a grave for her, he laid her in it, and made a little hillock over
her. Then he sat down by the grave, and wept and mourned, till at last
he died too; and so all were dead.
There were once a man and a woman who had long in vain wished for a
child. At length the woman hoped that God was about to grant her
desire. These people had a little window at the back of their house
from which a splendid garden could be seen, which was full of the most
beautiful flowers and herbs. It was, however, surrounded by a high
wall, and no one dared to go into it because it belonged to an
enchantress, who had great power and was dreaded by all the world. One
day the woman was standing by this window and looking down into the
garden, when she saw a bed which was planted with the most beautiful
rampion (rapunzel), and it looked so fresh and green that she longed
for it, she quite pined away, and began to look pale and miserable.
Then her husband was alarmed, and asked: 'What ails you, dear wife?'
'Ah,' she replied, 'if I can't eat some of the rampion, which is in
the garden behind our house, I shall die.' The man, who loved her,
thought: 'Sooner than let your wife die, bring her some of the rampion
yourself, let it cost what it will.' At twilight, he clambered down
over the wall into the garden of the enchantress, hastily clutched a
handful of rampion, and took it to his wife. She at once made herself
a salad of it, and ate it greedily. It tasted so good to her--so very
good, that the next day she longed for it three times as much as
before. If he was to have any rest, her husband must once more descend
into the garden. In the gloom of evening therefore, he let himself
down again; but when he had clambered down the wall he was terribly
afraid, for he saw the enchantress standing before him. 'How can you
dare,' said she with angry look, 'descend into my garden and steal my
rampion like a thief? You shall suffer for it!' 'Ah,' answered he,
'let mercy take the place of justice, I only made up my mind to do it
out of necessity. My wife saw your rampion from the window, and felt
such a longing for it that she would have died if she had not got some
to eat.' Then the enchantress allowed her anger to be softened, and
said to him: 'If the case be as you say, I will allow you to take away
with you as much rampion as you will, only I make one condition, you
must give me the child which your wife will bring into the world; it
shall be well treated, and I will care for it like a mother.' The man
in his terror consented to everything, and when the woman was brought
to bed, the enchantress appeared at once, gave the child the name of
Rapunzel, and took it away with her.
Rapunzel grew into the most beautiful child under the sun. When she
was twelve years old, the enchantress shut her into a tower, which lay
in a forest, and had neither stairs nor door, but quite at the top was
a little window. When the enchantress wanted to go in, she placed
herself beneath it and cried:
Let down your hair to me.'
Rapunzel had magnificent long hair, fine as spun gold, and when she
heard the voice of the enchantress she unfastened her braided tresses,
wound them round one of the hooks of the window above, and then the
hair fell twenty ells down, and the enchantress climbed up by it.
After a year or two, it came to pass that the king's son rode through
the forest and passed by the tower. Then he heard a song, which was so
charming that he stood still and listened. This was Rapunzel, who in
her solitude passed her time in letting her sweet voice resound. The
king's son wanted to climb up to her, and looked for the door of the
tower, but none was to be found. He rode home, but the singing had so
deeply touched his heart, that every day he went out into the forest
and listened to it. Once when he was thus standing behind a tree, he
saw that an enchantress came there, and he heard how she cried:
Let down your hair to me.'
Then Rapunzel let down the braids of her hair, and the enchantress
climbed up to her. 'If that is the ladder by which one mounts, I too
will try my fortune,' said he, and the next day when it began to grow
dark, he went to the tower and cried:
Let down your hair to me.'
Immediately the hair fell down and the king's son climbed up.
At first Rapunzel was terribly frightened when a man, such as her eyes
had never yet beheld, came to her; but the king's son began to talk to
her quite like a friend, and told her that his heart had been so
stirred that it had let him have no rest, and he had been forced to
see her. Then Rapunzel lost her fear, and when he asked her if she
would take him for her husband, and she saw that he was young and
handsome, she thought: 'He will love me more than old Dame Gothel
does'; and she said yes, and laid her hand in his. She said: 'I will
willingly go away with you, but I do not know how to get down. Bring
with you a skein of silk every time that you come, and I will weave a
ladder with it, and when that is ready I will descend, and you will
take me on your horse.' They agreed that until that time he should
come to her every evening, for the old woman came by day. The
enchantress remarked nothing of this, until once Rapunzel said to her:
'Tell me, Dame Gothel, how it happens that you are so much heavier for
me to draw up than the young king's son--he is with me in a moment.'
'Ah! you wicked child,' cried the enchantress. 'What do I hear you
say! I thought I had separated you from all the world, and yet you
have deceived me!' In her anger she clutched Rapunzel's beautiful
tresses, wrapped them twice round her left hand, seized a pair of
scissors with the right, and snip, snap, they were cut off, and the
lovely braids lay on the ground. And she was so pitiless that she took
poor Rapunzel into a desert where she had to live in great grief and
On the same day that she cast out Rapunzel, however, the enchantress
fastened the braids of hair, which she had cut off, to the hook of the
window, and when the king's son came and cried:
Let down your hair to me.'
she let the hair down. The king's son ascended, but instead of finding
his dearest Rapunzel, he found the enchantress, who gazed at him with
wicked and venomous looks. 'Aha!' she cried mockingly, 'you would
fetch your dearest, but the beautiful bird sits no longer singing in
the nest; the cat has got it, and will scratch out your eyes as well.
Rapunzel is lost to you; you will never see her again.' The king's son
was beside himself with pain, and in his despair he leapt down from
the tower. He escaped with his life, but the thorns into which he fell
pierced his eyes. Then he wandered quite blind about the forest, ate
nothing but roots and berries, and did naught but lament and weep over
the loss of his dearest wife. Thus he roamed about in misery for some
years, and at length came to the desert where Rapunzel, with the twins
to which she had given birth, a boy and a girl, lived in wretchedness.
He heard a voice, and it seemed so familiar to him that he went
towards it, and when he approached, Rapunzel knew him and fell on his
neck and wept. Two of her tears wetted his eyes and they grew clear
again, and he could see with them as before. He led her to his kingdom
where he was joyfully received, and they lived for a long time
afterwards, happy and contented.
There was once a forester who went into the forest to hunt, and as he
entered it he heard a sound of screaming as if a little child were
there. He followed the sound, and at last came to a high tree, and at
the top of this a little child was sitting, for the mother had fallen
asleep under the tree with the child, and a bird of prey had seen it
in her arms, had flown down, snatched it away, and set it on the high
The forester climbed up, brought the child down, and thought to
himself: 'You will take him home with you, and bring him up with your
Lina.' He took it home, therefore, and the two children grew up
together. And the one, which he had found on a tree was called
Fundevogel, because a bird had carried it away. Fundevogel and Lina
loved each other so dearly that when they did not see each other they
Now the forester had an old cook, who one evening took two pails and
began to fetch water, and did not go once only, but many times, out to
the spring. Lina saw this and said, 'Listen, old Sanna, why are you
fetching so much water?' 'If you will never repeat it to anyone, I
will tell you why.' So Lina said, no, she would never repeat it to
anyone, and then the cook said: 'Early tomorrow morning, when the
forester is out hunting, I will heat the water, and when it is boiling
in the kettle, I will throw in Fundevogel, and will boil him in it.'
Early next morning the forester got up and went out hunting, and when
he was gone the children were still in bed. Then Lina said to
Fundevogel: 'If you will never leave me, I too will never leave you.'
Fundevogel said: 'Neither now, nor ever will I leave you.' Then said
Lina: 'Then will I tell you. Last night, old Sanna carried so many
buckets of water into the house that I asked her why she was doing
that, and she said that if I would promise not to tell anyone, and she
said that early tomorrow morning when father was out hunting, she
would set the kettle full of water, throw you into it and boil you;
but we will get up quickly, dress ourselves, and go away together.'
The two children therefore got up, dressed themselves quickly, and
went away. When the water in the kettle was boiling, the cook went
into the bedroom to fetch Fundevogel and throw him into it. But when
she came in, and went to the beds, both the children were gone. Then
she was terribly alarmed, and she said to herself: 'What shall I say
now when the forester comes home and sees that the children are gone?
They must be followed instantly to get them back again.'
Then the cook sent three servants after them, who were to run and
overtake the children. The children, however, were sitting outside the
forest, and when they saw from afar the three servants running, Lina
said to Fundevogel: 'Never leave me, and I will never leave you.'
Fundevogel said: 'Neither now, nor ever.' Then said Lina: 'Do you
become a rose-tree, and I the rose upon it.' When the three servants
came to the forest, nothing was there but a rose-tree and one rose on
it, but the children were nowhere. Then said they: 'There is nothing
to be done here,' and they went home and told the cook that they had
seen nothing in the forest but a little rose-bush with one rose on it.
Then the old cook scolded and said: 'You simpletons, you should have
cut the rose-bush in two, and have broken off the rose and brought it
home with you; go, and do it at once.' They had therefore to go out
and look for the second time. The children, however, saw them coming
from a distance. Then Lina said: 'Fundevogel, never leave me, and I
will never leave you.' Fundevogel said: 'Neither now; nor ever.' Said
Lina: 'Then do you become a church, and I'll be the chandelier in it.'
So when the three servants came, nothing was there but a church, with
a chandelier in it. They said therefore to each other: 'What can we do
here, let us go home.' When they got home, the cook asked if they had
not found them; so they said no, they had found nothing but a church,
and there was a chandelier in it. And the cook scolded them and said:
'You fools! why did you not pull the church to pieces, and bring the
chandelier home with you?' And now the old cook herself got on her
legs, and went with the three servants in pursuit of the children. The
children, however, saw from afar that the three servants were coming,
and the cook waddling after them. Then said Lina: 'Fundevogel, never
leave me, and I will never leave you.' Then said Fundevogel: 'Neither
now, nor ever.' Said Lina: 'Be a fishpond, and I will be the duck upon
it.' The cook, however, came up to them, and when she saw the pond she
lay down by it, and was about to drink it up. But the duck swam
quickly to her, seized her head in its beak and drew her into the
water, and there the old witch had to drown. Then the children went
home together, and were heartily delighted, and if they have not died,
they are living still.
THE VALIANT LITTLE TAILOR
One summer's morning a little tailor was sitting on his table by the
window; he was in good spirits, and sewed with all his might. Then
came a peasant woman down the street crying: 'Good jams, cheap! Good
jams, cheap!' This rang pleasantly in the tailor's ears; he stretched
his delicate head out of the window, and called: 'Come up here, dear
woman; here you will get rid of your goods.' The woman came up the
three steps to the tailor with her heavy basket, and he made her
unpack all the pots for him. He inspected each one, lifted it up, put
his nose to it, and at length said: 'The jam seems to me to be good,
so weigh me out four ounces, dear woman, and if it is a quarter of a
pound that is of no consequence.' The woman who had hoped to find a
good sale, gave him what he desired, but went away quite angry and
grumbling. 'Now, this jam shall be blessed by God,' cried the little
tailor, 'and give me health and strength'; so he brought the bread out
of the cupboard, cut himself a piece right across the loaf and spread
the jam over it. 'This won't taste bitter,' said he, 'but I will just
finish the jacket before I take a bite.' He laid the bread near him,
sewed on, and in his joy, made bigger and bigger stitches. In the
meantime the smell of the sweet jam rose to where the flies were
sitting in great numbers, and they were attracted and descended on it
in hosts. 'Hi! who invited you?' said the little tailor, and drove the
unbidden guests away. The flies, however, who understood no German,
would not be turned away, but came back again in ever-increasing
companies. The little tailor at last lost all patience, and drew a
piece of cloth from the hole under his work-table, and saying: 'Wait,
and I will give it to you,' struck it mercilessly on them. When he
drew it away and counted, there lay before him no fewer than seven,
dead and with legs stretched out. 'Are you a fellow of that sort?'
said he, and could not help admiring his own bravery. 'The whole town
shall know of this!' And the little tailor hastened to cut himself a
girdle, stitched it, and embroidered on it in large letters: 'Seven at
one stroke!' 'What, the town!' he continued, 'the whole world shall
hear of it!' and his heart wagged with joy like a lamb's tail. The
tailor put on the girdle, and resolved to go forth into the world,
because he thought his workshop was too small for his valour. Before
he went away, he sought about in the house to see if there was
anything which he could take with him; however, he found nothing but
an old cheese, and that he put in his pocket. In front of the door he
observed a bird which had caught itself in the thicket. It had to go
into his pocket with the cheese. Now he took to the road boldly, and
as he was light and nimble, he felt no fatigue. The road led him up a
mountain, and when he had reached the highest point of it, there sat a
powerful giant looking peacefully about him. The little tailor went
bravely up, spoke to him, and said: 'Good day, comrade, so you are
sitting there overlooking the wide-spread world! I am just on my way
thither, and want to try my luck. Have you any inclination to go with
me?' The giant looked contemptuously at the tailor, and said: 'You
ragamuffin! You miserable creature!'
'Oh, indeed?' answered the little tailor, and unbuttoned his coat, and
showed the giant the girdle, 'there may you read what kind of a man I
am!' The giant read: 'Seven at one stroke,' and thought that they had
been men whom the tailor had killed, and began to feel a little
respect for the tiny fellow. Nevertheless, he wished to try him first,
and took a stone in his hand and squeezed it together so that water
dropped out of it. 'Do that likewise,' said the giant, 'if you have
strength.' 'Is that all?' said the tailor, 'that is child's play with
us!' and put his hand into his pocket, brought out the soft cheese,
and pressed it until the liquid ran out of it. 'Faith,' said he, 'that
was a little better, wasn't it?' The giant did not know what to say,
and could not believe it of the little man. Then the giant picked up a
stone and threw it so high that the eye could scarcely follow it.
'Now, little mite of a man, do that likewise,' 'Well thrown,' said the
tailor, 'but after all the stone came down to earth again; I will
throw you one which shall never come back at all,' and he put his hand
into his pocket, took out the bird, and threw it into the air. The
bird, delighted with its liberty, rose, flew away and did not come
back. 'How does that shot please you, comrade?' asked the tailor. 'You
can certainly throw,' said the giant, 'but now we will see if you are
able to carry anything properly.' He took the little tailor to a
mighty oak tree which lay there felled on the ground, and said: 'If
you are strong enough, help me to carry the tree out of the forest.'
'Readily,' answered the little man; 'take you the trunk on your
shoulders, and I will raise up the branches and twigs; after all, they
are the heaviest.' The giant took the trunk on his shoulder, but the
tailor seated himself on a branch, and the giant, who could not look
round, had to carry away the whole tree, and the little tailor into
the bargain: he behind, was quite merry and happy, and whistled the
song: 'Three tailors rode forth from the gate,' as if carrying the
tree were child's play. The giant, after he had dragged the heavy
burden part of the way, could go no further, and cried: 'Hark you, I
shall have to let the tree fall!' The tailor sprang nimbly down,
seized the tree with both arms as if he had been carrying it, and said
to the giant: 'You are such a great fellow, and yet cannot even carry
They went on together, and as they passed a cherry-tree, the giant
laid hold of the top of the tree where the ripest fruit was hanging,
bent it down, gave it into the tailor's hand, and bade him eat. But
the little tailor was much too weak to hold the tree, and when the
giant let it go, it sprang back again, and the tailor was tossed into
the air with it. When he had fallen down again without injury, the
giant said: 'What is this? Have you not strength enough to hold the
weak twig?' 'There is no lack of strength,' answered the little
tailor. 'Do you think that could be anything to a man who has struck
down seven at one blow? I leapt over the tree because the huntsmen are
shooting down there in the thicket. Jump as I did, if you can do it.'
The giant made the attempt but he could not get over the tree, and
remained hanging in the branches, so that in this also the tailor kept
the upper hand.
The giant said: 'If you are such a valiant fellow, come with me into
our cavern and spend the night with us.' The little tailor was
willing, and followed him. When they went into the cave, other giants
were sitting there by the fire, and each of them had a roasted sheep
in his hand and was eating it. The little tailor looked round and
thought: 'It is much more spacious here than in my workshop.' The
giant showed him a bed, and said he was to lie down in it and sleep.
The bed, however, was too big for the little tailor; he did not lie
down in it, but crept into a corner. When it was midnight, and the
giant thought that the little tailor was lying in a sound sleep, he
got up, took a great iron bar, cut through the bed with one blow, and
thought he had finished off the grasshopper for good. With the
earliest dawn the giants went into the forest, and had quite forgotten
the little tailor, when all at once he walked up to them quite merrily
and boldly. The giants were terrified, they were afraid that he would
strike them all dead, and ran away in a great hurry.
The little tailor went onwards, always following his own pointed nose.
After he had walked for a long time, he came to the courtyard of a
royal palace, and as he felt weary, he lay down on the grass and fell
asleep. Whilst he lay there, the people came and inspected him on all
sides, and read on his girdle: 'Seven at one stroke.' 'Ah!' said they,
'what does the great warrior want here in the midst of peace? He must
be a mighty lord.' They went and announced him to the king, and gave
it as their opinion that if war should break out, this would be a
weighty and useful man who ought on no account to be allowed to
depart. The counsel pleased the king, and he sent one of his courtiers
to the little tailor to offer him military service when he awoke. The
ambassador remained standing by the sleeper, waited until he stretched
his limbs and opened his eyes, and then conveyed to him this proposal.
'For this very reason have I come here,' the tailor replied, 'I am
ready to enter the king's service.' He was therefore honourably
received, and a special dwelling was assigned him.
The soldiers, however, were set against the little tailor, and wished
him a thousand miles away. 'What is to be the end of this?' they said
among themselves. 'If we quarrel with him, and he strikes about him,
seven of us will fall at every blow; not one of us can stand against
him.' They came therefore to a decision, betook themselves in a body
to the king, and begged for their dismissal. 'We are not prepared,'
said they, 'to stay with a man who kills seven at one stroke.' The
king was sorry that for the sake of one he should lose all his
faithful servants, wished that he had never set eyes on the tailor,
and would willingly have been rid of him again. But he did not venture
to give him his dismissal, for he dreaded lest he should strike him
and all his people dead, and place himself on the royal throne. He
thought about it for a long time, and at last found good counsel. He
sent to the little tailor and caused him to be informed that as he was
a great warrior, he had one request to make to him. In a forest of his
country lived two giants, who caused great mischief with their
robbing, murdering, ravaging, and burning, and no one could approach
them without putting himself in danger of death. If the tailor
conquered and killed these two giants, he would give him his only
daughter to wife, and half of his kingdom as a dowry, likewise one
hundred horsemen should go with him to assist him. 'That would indeed
be a fine thing for a man like me!' thought the little tailor. 'One is
not offered a beautiful princess and half a kingdom every day of one's
life!' 'Oh, yes,' he replied, 'I will soon subdue the giants, and do
not require the help of the hundred horsemen to do it; he who can hit
seven with one blow has no need to be afraid of two.'
The little tailor went forth, and the hundred horsemen followed him.
When he came to the outskirts of the forest, he said to his followers:
'Just stay waiting here, I alone will soon finish off the giants.'
Then he bounded into the forest and looked about right and left. After
a while he perceived both giants. They lay sleeping under a tree, and
snored so that the branches waved up and down. The little tailor, not
idle, gathered two pocketsful of stones, and with these climbed up the
tree. When he was halfway up, he slipped down by a branch, until he
sat just above the sleepers, and then let one stone after another fall
on the breast of one of the giants. For a long time the giant felt
nothing, but at last he awoke, pushed his comrade, and said: 'Why are
you knocking me?' 'You must be dreaming,' said the other, 'I am not
knocking you.' They laid themselves down to sleep again, and then the
tailor threw a stone down on the second. 'What is the meaning of
this?' cried the other 'Why are you pelting me?' 'I am not pelting
you,' answered the first, growling. They disputed about it for a time,
but as they were weary they let the matter rest, and their eyes closed
once more. The little tailor began his game again, picked out the
biggest stone, and threw it with all his might on the breast of the
first giant. 'That is too bad!' cried he, and sprang up like a madman,
and pushed his companion against the tree until it shook. The other
paid him back in the same coin, and they got into such a rage that
they tore up trees and belaboured each other so long, that at last
they both fell down dead on the ground at the same time. Then the
little tailor leapt down. 'It is a lucky thing,' said he, 'that they
did not tear up the tree on which I was sitting, or I should have had
to sprint on to another like a squirrel; but we tailors are nimble.'
He drew out his sword and gave each of them a couple of thrusts in the
breast, and then went out to the horsemen and said: 'The work is done;
I have finished both of them off, but it was hard work! They tore up
trees in their sore need, and defended themselves with them, but all
that is to no purpose when a man like myself comes, who can kill seven
at one blow.' 'But are you not wounded?' asked the horsemen. 'You need
not concern yourself about that,' answered the tailor, 'they have not
bent one hair of mine.' The horsemen would not believe him, and rode
into the forest; there they found the giants swimming in their blood,
and all round about lay the torn-up trees.
The little tailor demanded of the king the promised reward; he,
however, repented of his promise, and again bethought himself how he
could get rid of the hero. 'Before you receive my daughter, and the
half of my kingdom,' said he to him, 'you must perform one more heroic
deed. In the forest roams a unicorn which does great harm, and you
must catch it first.' 'I fear one unicorn still less than two giants.
Seven at one blow, is my kind of affair.' He took a rope and an axe
with him, went forth into the forest, and again bade those who were
sent with him to wait outside. He had not long to seek. The unicorn
soon came towards him, and rushed directly on the tailor, as if it
would gore him with its horn without more ado. 'Softly, softly; it
can't be done as quickly as that,' said he, and stood still and waited
until the animal was quite close, and then sprang nimbly behind the
tree. The unicorn ran against the tree with all its strength, and
stuck its horn so fast in the trunk that it had not the strength
enough to draw it out again, and thus it was caught. 'Now, I have got
the bird,' said the tailor, and came out from behind the tree and put
the rope round its neck, and then with his axe he hewed the horn out
of the tree, and when all was ready he led the beast away and took it
to the king.
The king still would not give him the promised reward, and made a
third demand. Before the wedding the tailor was to catch him a wild
boar that made great havoc in the forest, and the huntsmen should give
him their help. 'Willingly,' said the tailor, 'that is child's play!'
He did not take the huntsmen with him into the forest, and they were
well pleased that he did not, for the wild boar had several times
received them in such a manner that they had no inclination to lie in
wait for him. When the boar perceived the tailor, it ran on him with
foaming mouth and whetted tusks, and was about to throw him to the
ground, but the hero fled and sprang into a chapel which was near and
up to the window at once, and in one bound out again. The boar ran
after him, but the tailor ran round outside and shut the door behind
it, and then the raging beast, which was much too heavy and awkward to
leap out of the window, was caught. The little tailor called the
huntsmen thither that they might see the prisoner with their own eyes.
The hero, however, went to the king, who was now, whether he liked it
or not, obliged to keep his promise, and gave his daughter and the
half of his kingdom. Had he known that it was no warlike hero, but a
little tailor who was standing before him, it would have gone to his
heart still more than it did. The wedding was held with great
magnificence and small joy, and out of a tailor a king was made.
After some time the young queen heard her husband say in his dreams at
night: 'Boy, make me the doublet, and patch the pantaloons, or else I
will rap the yard-measure over your ears.' Then she discovered in what
state of life the young lord had been born, and next morning
complained of her wrongs to her father, and begged him to help her to
get rid of her husband, who was nothing else but a tailor. The king
comforted her and said: 'Leave your bedroom door open this night, and
my servants shall stand outside, and when he has fallen asleep shall
go in, bind him, and take him on board a ship which shall carry him
into the wide world.' The woman was satisfied with this; but the
king's armour-bearer, who had heard all, was friendly with the young
lord, and informed him of the whole plot. 'I'll put a screw into that
business,' said the little tailor. At night he went to bed with his
wife at the usual time, and when she thought that he had fallen
asleep, she got up, opened the door, and then lay down again. The
little tailor, who was only pretending to be asleep, began to cry out
in a clear voice: 'Boy, make me the doublet and patch me the
pantaloons, or I will rap the yard-measure over your ears. I smote
seven at one blow. I killed two giants, I brought away one unicorn,
and caught a wild boar, and am I to fear those who are standing
outside the room.' When these men heard the tailor speaking thus, they
were overcome by a great dread, and ran as if the wild huntsman were
behind them, and none of them would venture anything further against
him. So the little tailor was and remained a king to the end of his
HANSEL AND GRETEL
Hard by a great forest dwelt a poor wood-cutter with his wife and his
two children. The boy was called Hansel and the girl Gretel. He had
little to bite and to break, and once when great dearth fell on the
land, he could no longer procure even daily bread. Now when he thought
over this by night in his bed, and tossed about in his anxiety, he
groaned and said to his wife: 'What is to become of us? How are we to
feed our poor children, when we no longer have anything even for
ourselves?' 'I'll tell you what, husband,' answered the woman, 'early
tomorrow morning we will take the children out into the forest to
where it is the thickest; there we will light a fire for them, and
give each of them one more piece of bread, and then we will go to our
work and leave them alone. They will not find the way home again, and
we shall be rid of them.' 'No, wife,' said the man, 'I will not do
that; how can I bear to leave my children alone in the forest?--the
wild animals would soon come and tear them to pieces.' 'O, you fool!'
said she, 'then we must all four die of hunger, you may as well plane
the planks for our coffins,' and she left him no peace until he
consented. 'But I feel very sorry for the poor children, all the
same,' said the man.
The two children had also not been able to sleep for hunger, and had
heard what their stepmother had said to their father. Gretel wept
bitter tears, and said to Hansel: 'Now all is over with us.' 'Be
quiet, Gretel,' said Hansel, 'do not distress yourself, I will soon
find a way to help us.' And when the old folks had fallen asleep, he
got up, put on his little coat, opened the door below, and crept
outside. The moon shone brightly, and the white pebbles which lay in
front of the house glittered like real silver pennies. Hansel stooped
and stuffed the little pocket of his coat with as many as he could get
in. Then he went back and said to Gretel: 'Be comforted, dear little
sister, and sleep in peace, God will not forsake us,' and he lay down
again in his bed. When day dawned, but before the sun had risen, the
woman came and awoke the two children, saying: 'Get up, you sluggards!
we are going into the forest to fetch wood.' She gave each a little
piece of bread, and said: 'There is something for your dinner, but do
not eat it up before then, for you will get nothing else.' Gretel took
the bread under her apron, as Hansel had the pebbles in his pocket.
Then they all set out together on the way to the forest. When they had
walked a short time, Hansel stood still and peeped back at the house,
and did so again and again. His father said: 'Hansel, what are you
looking at there and staying behind for? Pay attention, and do not
forget how to use your legs.' 'Ah, father,' said Hansel, 'I am looking
at my little white cat, which is sitting up on the roof, and wants to
say goodbye to me.' The wife said: 'Fool, that is not your little cat,
that is the morning sun which is shining on the chimneys.' Hansel,
however, had not been looking back at the cat, but had been constantly
throwing one of the white pebble-stones out of his pocket on the road.
When they had reached the middle of the forest, the father said: 'Now,
children, pile up some wood, and I will light a fire that you may not
be cold.' Hansel and Gretel gathered brushwood together, as high as a
little hill. The brushwood was lighted, and when the flames were
burning very high, the woman said: 'Now, children, lay yourselves down
by the fire and rest, we will go into the forest and cut some wood.
When we have done, we will come back and fetch you away.'
Hansel and Gretel sat by the fire, and when noon came, each ate a
little piece of bread, and as they heard the strokes of the wood-axe
they believed that their father was near. It was not the axe, however,
but a branch which he had fastened to a withered tree which the wind
was blowing backwards and forwards. And as they had been sitting such
a long time, their eyes closed with fatigue, and they fell fast
asleep. When at last they awoke, it was already dark night. Gretel
began to cry and said: 'How are we to get out of the forest now?' But
Hansel comforted her and said: 'Just wait a little, until the moon has
risen, and then we will soon find the way.' And when the full moon had
risen, Hansel took his little sister by the hand, and followed the
pebbles which shone like newly-coined silver pieces, and showed them
They walked the whole night long, and by break of day came once more
to their father's house. They knocked at the door, and when the woman
opened it and saw that it was Hansel and Gretel, she said: 'You
naughty children, why have you slept so long in the forest?--we
thought you were never coming back at all!' The father, however,
rejoiced, for it had cut him to the heart to leave them behind alone.
Not long afterwards, there was once more great dearth throughout the
land, and the children heard their mother saying at night to their
father: 'Everything is eaten again, we have one half loaf left, and
that is the end. The children must go, we will take them farther into
the wood, so that they will not find their way out again; there is no
other means of saving ourselves!' The man's heart was heavy, and he
thought: 'It would be better for you to share the last mouthful with
your children.' The woman, however, would listen to nothing that he
had to say, but scolded and reproached him. He who says A must say B,
likewise, and as he had yielded the first time, he had to do so a
second time also.
The children, however, were still awake and had heard the
conversation. When the old folks were asleep, Hansel again got up, and
wanted to go out and pick up pebbles as he had done before, but the
woman had locked the door, and Hansel could not get out. Nevertheless
he comforted his little sister, and said: 'Do not cry, Gretel, go to
sleep quietly, the good God will help us.'
Early in the morning came the woman, and took the children out of
their beds. Their piece of bread was given to them, but it was still
smaller than the time before. On the way into the forest Hansel
crumbled his in his pocket, and often stood still and threw a morsel
on the ground. 'Hansel, why do you stop and look round?' said the
father, 'go on.' 'I am looking back at my little pigeon which is
sitting on the roof, and wants to say goodbye to me,' answered Hansel.
'Fool!' said the woman, 'that is not your little pigeon, that is the
morning sun that is shining on the chimney.' Hansel, however little by
little, threw all the crumbs on the path.
The woman led the children still deeper into the forest, where they
had never in their lives been before. Then a great fire was again
made, and the mother said: 'Just sit there, you children, and when you
are tired you may sleep a little; we are going into the forest to cut
wood, and in the evening when we are done, we will come and fetch you
away.' When it was noon, Gretel shared her piece of bread with Hansel,
who had scattered his by the way. Then they fell asleep and evening
passed, but no one came to the poor children. They did not awake until
it was dark night, and Hansel comforted his little sister and said:
'Just wait, Gretel, until the moon rises, and then we shall see the
crumbs of bread which I have strewn about, they will show us our way
home again.' When the moon came they set out, but they found no
crumbs, for the many thousands of birds which fly about in the woods
and fields had picked them all up. Hansel said to Gretel: 'We shall
soon find the way,' but they did not find it. They walked the whole
night and all the next day too from morning till evening, but they did
not get out of the forest, and were very hungry, for they had nothing
to eat but two or three berries, which grew on the ground. And as they
were so weary that their legs would carry them no longer, they lay
down beneath a tree and fell asleep.
It was now three mornings since they had left their father's house.
They began to walk again, but they always came deeper into the forest,
and if help did not come soon, they must die of hunger and weariness.
When it was mid-day, they saw a beautiful snow-white bird sitting on a
bough, which sang so delightfully that they stood still and listened
to it. And when its song was over, it spread its wings and flew away
before them, and they followed it until they reached a little house,
on the roof of which it alighted; and when they approached the little
house they saw that it was built of bread and covered with cakes, but
that the windows were of clear sugar. 'We will set to work on that,'
said Hansel, 'and have a good meal. I will eat a bit of the roof, and
you Gretel, can eat some of the window, it will taste sweet.' Hansel
reached up above, and broke off a little of the roof to try how it
tasted, and Gretel leant against the window and nibbled at the panes.
Then a soft voice cried from the parlour:
'Nibble, nibble, gnaw,
Who is nibbling at my little house?'
The children answered:
'The wind, the wind,
The heaven-born wind,'
and went on eating without disturbing themselves. Hansel, who liked
the taste of the roof, tore down a great piece of it, and Gretel
pushed out the whole of one round window-pane, sat down, and enjoyed
herself with it. Suddenly the door opened, and a woman as old as the
hills, who supported herself on crutches, came creeping out. Hansel
and Gretel were so terribly frightened that they let fall what they
had in their hands. The old woman, however, nodded her head, and said:
'Oh, you dear children, who has brought you here? do come in, and stay
with me. No harm shall happen to you.' She took them both by the hand,
and led them into her little house. Then good food was set before
them, milk and pancakes, with sugar, apples, and nuts. Afterwards two
pretty little beds were covered with clean white linen, and Hansel and
Gretel lay down in them, and thought they were in heaven.
The old woman had only pretended to be so kind; she was in reality a
wicked witch, who lay in wait for children, and had only built the
little house of bread in order to entice them there. When a child fell
into her power, she killed it, cooked and ate it, and that was a feast
day with her. Witches have red eyes, and cannot see far, but they have
a keen scent like the beasts, and are aware when human beings draw
near. When Hansel and Gretel came into her neighbourhood, she laughed
with malice, and said mockingly: 'I have them, they shall not escape
me again!' Early in the morning before the children were awake, she
was already up, and when she saw both of them sleeping and looking so
pretty, with their plump and rosy cheeks she muttered to herself:
'That will be a dainty mouthful!' Then she seized Hansel with her
shrivelled hand, carried him into a little stable, and locked him in
behind a grated door. Scream as he might, it would not help him. Then
she went to Gretel, shook her till she awoke, and cried: 'Get up, lazy
thing, fetch some water, and cook something good for your brother, he
is in the stable outside, and is to be made fat. When he is fat, I
will eat him.' Gretel began to weep bitterly, but it was all in vain,
for she was forced to do what the wicked witch commanded.
And now the best food was cooked for poor Hansel, but Gretel got
nothing but crab-shells. Every morning the woman crept to the little
stable, and cried: 'Hansel, stretch out your finger that I may feel if
you will soon be fat.' Hansel, however, stretched out a little bone to
her, and the old woman, who had dim eyes, could not see it, and
thought it was Hansel's finger, and was astonished that there was no
way of fattening him. When four weeks had gone by, and Hansel still
remained thin, she was seized with impatience and would not wait any
longer. 'Now, then, Gretel,' she cried to the girl, 'stir yourself,
and bring some water. Let Hansel be fat or lean, tomorrow I will kill
him, and cook him.' Ah, how the poor little sister did lament when she
had to fetch the water, and how her tears did flow down her cheeks!
'Dear God, do help us,' she cried. 'If the wild beasts in the forest
had but devoured us, we should at any rate have died together.' 'Just
keep your noise to yourself,' said the old woman, 'it won't help you
Early in the morning, Gretel had to go out and hang up the cauldron
with the water, and light the fire. 'We will bake first,' said the old
woman, 'I have already heated the oven, and kneaded the dough.' She
pushed poor Gretel out to the oven, from which flames of fire were
already darting. 'Creep in,' said the witch, 'and see if it is
properly heated, so that we can put the bread in.' And once Gretel was
inside, she intended to shut the oven and let her bake in it, and then
she would eat her, too. But Gretel saw what she had in mind, and said:
'I do not know how I am to do it; how do I get in?' 'Silly goose,'
said the old woman. 'The door is big enough; just look, I can get in
myself!' and she crept up and thrust her head into the oven. Then
Gretel gave her a push that drove her far into it, and shut the iron
door, and fastened the bolt. Oh! then she began to howl quite
horribly, but Gretel ran away and the godless witch was miserably
burnt to death.
Gretel, however, ran like lightning to Hansel, opened his little
stable, and cried: 'Hansel, we are saved! The old witch is dead!' Then
Hansel sprang like a bird from its cage when the door is opened. How
they did rejoice and embrace each other, and dance about and kiss each
other! And as they had no longer any need to fear her, they went into
the witch's house, and in every corner there stood chests full of
pearls and jewels. 'These are far better than pebbles!' said Hansel,
and thrust into his pockets whatever could be got in, and Gretel said:
'I, too, will take something home with me,' and filled her pinafore
full. 'But now we must be off,' said Hansel, 'that we may get out of
the witch's forest.'
When they had walked for two hours, they came to a great stretch of
water. 'We cannot cross,' said Hansel, 'I see no foot-plank, and no
bridge.' 'And there is also no ferry,' answered Gretel, 'but a white
duck is swimming there: if I ask her, she will help us over.' Then she
'Little duck, little duck, dost thou see,
Hansel and Gretel are waiting for thee?
There's never a plank, or bridge in sight,
Take us across on thy back so white.'
The duck came to them, and Hansel seated himself on its back, and told
his sister to sit by him. 'No,' replied Gretel, 'that will be too
heavy for the little duck; she shall take us across, one after the
other.' The good little duck did so, and when they were once safely
across and had walked for a short time, the forest seemed to be more
and more familiar to them, and at length they saw from afar their
father's house. Then they began to run, rushed into the parlour, and
threw themselves round their father's neck. The man had not known one
happy hour since he had left the children in the forest; the woman,
however, was dead. Gretel emptied her pinafore until pearls and
precious stones ran about the room, and Hansel threw one handful after
another out of his pocket to add to them. Then all anxiety was at an
end, and they lived together in perfect happiness. My tale is done,
there runs a mouse; whosoever catches it, may make himself a big fur
cap out of it.
THE MOUSE, THE BIRD, AND THE SAUSAGE
Once upon a time, a mouse, a bird, and a sausage, entered into
partnership and set up house together. For a long time all went well;
they lived in great comfort, and prospered so far as to be able to add
considerably to their stores. The bird's duty was to fly daily into
the wood and bring in fuel; the mouse fetched the water, and the
sausage saw to the cooking.
When people are too well off they always begin to long for something
new. And so it came to pass, that the bird, while out one day, met a
fellow bird, to whom he boastfully expatiated on the excellence of his
household arrangements. But the other bird sneered at him for being a
poor simpleton, who did all the hard work, while the other two stayed
at home and had a good time of it. For, when the mouse had made the
fire and fetched in the water, she could retire into her little room
and rest until it was time to set the table. The sausage had only to
watch the pot to see that the food was properly cooked, and when it
was near dinner-time, he just threw himself into the broth, or rolled
in and out among the vegetables three or four times, and there they
were, buttered, and salted, and ready to be served. Then, when the
bird came home and had laid aside his burden, they sat down to table,
and when they had finished their meal, they could sleep their fill
till the following morning: and that was really a very delightful
Influenced by those remarks, the bird next morning refused to bring in
the wood, telling the others that he had been their servant long
enough, and had been a fool into the bargain, and that it was now time
to make a change, and to try some other way of arranging the work. Beg
and pray as the mouse and the sausage might, it was of no use; the
bird remained master of the situation, and the venture had to be made.
They therefore drew lots, and it fell to the sausage to bring in the
wood, to the mouse to cook, and to the bird to fetch the water.
And now what happened? The sausage started in search of wood, the bird
made the fire, and the mouse put on the pot, and then these two waited
till the sausage returned with the fuel for the following day. But the
sausage remained so long away, that they became uneasy, and the bird
flew out to meet him. He had not flown far, however, when he came
across a dog who, having met the sausage, had regarded him as his
legitimate booty, and so seized and swallowed him. The bird complained
to the dog of this bare-faced robbery, but nothing he said was of any
avail, for the dog answered that he found false credentials on the
sausage, and that was the reason his life had been forfeited.
He picked up the wood, and flew sadly home, and told the mouse all he
had seen and heard. They were both very unhappy, but agreed to make
the best of things and to remain with one another.
So now the bird set the table, and the mouse looked after the food
and, wishing to prepare it in the same way as the sausage, by rolling
in and out among the vegetables to salt and butter them, she jumped
into the pot; but she stopped short long before she reached the
bottom, having already parted not only with her skin and hair, but
also with life.
Presently the bird came in and wanted to serve up the dinner, but he
could nowhere see the cook. In his alarm and flurry, he threw the wood
here and there about the floor, called and searched, but no cook was
to be found. Then some of the wood that had been carelessly thrown
down, caught fire and began to blaze. The bird hastened to fetch some
water, but his pail fell into the well, and he after it, and as he was
unable to recover himself, he was drowned.
Once upon a time there was a widow who had two daughters; one of them
was beautiful and industrious, the other ugly and lazy. The mother,
however, loved the ugly and lazy one best, because she was her own
daughter, and so the other, who was only her stepdaughter, was made to
do all the work of the house, and was quite the Cinderella of the
family. Her stepmother sent her out every day to sit by the well in
the high road, there to spin until she made her fingers bleed. Now it
chanced one day that some blood fell on to the spindle, and as the
girl stopped over the well to wash it off, the spindle suddenly sprang
out of her hand and fell into the well. She ran home crying to tell of
her misfortune, but her stepmother spoke harshly to her, and after
giving her a violent scolding, said unkindly, 'As you have let the
spindle fall into the well you may go yourself and fetch it out.'
The girl went back to the well not knowing what to do, and at last in
her distress she jumped into the water after the spindle.
She remembered nothing more until she awoke and found herself in a
beautiful meadow, full of sunshine, and with countless flowers
blooming in every direction.
She walked over the meadow, and presently she came upon a baker's oven
full of bread, and the loaves cried out to her, 'Take us out, take us
out, or alas! we shall be burnt to a cinder; we were baked through
long ago.' So she took the bread-shovel and drew them all out.
She went on a little farther, till she came to a free full of apples.
'Shake me, shake me, I pray,' cried the tree; 'my apples, one and all,
are ripe.' So she shook the tree, and the apples came falling down
upon her like rain; but she continued shaking until there was not a
single apple left upon it. Then she carefully gathered the apples
together in a heap and walked on again.
The next thing she came to was a little house, and there she saw an
old woman looking out, with such large teeth, that she was terrified,
and turned to run away. But the old woman called after her, 'What are
you afraid of, dear child? Stay with me; if you will do the work of my
house properly for me, I will make you very happy. You must be very
careful, however, to make my bed in the right way, for I wish you
always to shake it thoroughly, so that the feathers fly about; then
they say, down there in the world, that it is snowing; for I am Mother
Holle.' The old woman spoke so kindly, that the girl summoned up
courage and agreed to enter into her service.
She took care to do everything according to the old woman's bidding
and every time she made the bed she shook it with all her might, so
that the feathers flew about like so many snowflakes. The old woman
was as good as her word: she never spoke angrily to her, and gave her
roast and boiled meats every day.
So she stayed on with Mother Holle for some time, and then she began
to grow unhappy. She could not at first tell why she felt sad, but she
became conscious at last of great longing to go home; then she knew
she was homesick, although she was a thousand times better off with
Mother Holle than with her mother and sister. After waiting awhile,
she went to Mother Holle and said, 'I am so homesick, that I cannot
stay with you any longer, for although I am so happy here, I must
return to my own people.'
Then Mother Holle said, 'I am pleased that you should want to go back
to your own people, and as you have served me so well and faithfully,
I will take you home myself.'
Thereupon she led the girl by the hand up to a broad gateway. The gate
was opened, and as the girl passed through, a shower of gold fell upon
her, and the gold clung to her, so that she was covered with it from
head to foot.
'That is a reward for your industry,' said Mother Holle, and as she
spoke she handed her the spindle which she had dropped into the well.
The gate was then closed, and the girl found herself back in the old
world close to her mother's house. As she entered the courtyard, the
cock who was perched on the well, called out:
Your golden daughter's come back to you.'
Then she went in to her mother and sister, and as she was so richly
covered with gold, they gave her a warm welcome. She related to them
all that had happened, and when the mother heard how she had come by
her great riches, she thought she should like her ugly, lazy daughter
to go and try her fortune. So she made the sister go and sit by the
well and spin, and the girl pricked her finger and thrust her hand
into a thorn-bush, so that she might drop some blood on to the
spindle; then she threw it into the well, and jumped in herself.
Like her sister she awoke in the beautiful meadow, and walked over it
till she came to the oven. 'Take us out, take us out, or alas! we
shall be burnt to a cinder; we were baked through long ago,' cried the
loaves as before. But the lazy girl answered, 'Do you think I am going
to dirty my hands for you?' and walked on.
Presently she came to the apple-tree. 'Shake me, shake me, I pray; my
apples, one and all, are ripe,' it cried. But she only answered, 'A
nice thing to ask me to do, one of the apples might fall on my head,'
and passed on.
At last she came to Mother Holle's house, and as she had heard all
about the large teeth from her sister, she was not afraid of them, and
engaged herself without delay to the old woman.
The first day she was very obedient and industrious, and exerted
herself to please Mother Holle, for she thought of the gold she should
get in return. The next day, however, she began to dawdle over her
work, and the third day she was more idle still; then she began to lie
in bed in the mornings and refused to get up. Worse still, she
neglected to make the old woman's bed properly, and forgot to shake it
so that the feathers might fly about. So Mother Holle very soon got
tired of her, and told her she might go. The lazy girl was delighted
at this, and thought to herself, 'The gold will soon be mine.' Mother
Holle led her, as she had led her sister, to the broad gateway; but as
she was passing through, instead of the shower of gold, a great
bucketful of pitch came pouring over her.
'That is in return for your services,' said the old woman, and she
shut the gate.
So the lazy girl had to go home covered with pitch, and the cock on
the well called out as she saw her:
Your dirty daughter's come back to you.'
But, try what she would, she could not get the pitch off and it stuck
to her as long as she lived.
LITTLE RED-CAP [LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD]
Once upon a time there was a dear little girl who was loved by
everyone who looked at her, but most of all by her grandmother, and
there was nothing that she would not have given to the child. Once she
gave her a little cap of red velvet, which suited her so well that she
would never wear anything else; so she was always called 'Little Red-
One day her mother said to her: 'Come, Little Red-Cap, here is a piece
of cake and a bottle of wine; take them to your grandmother, she is
ill and weak, and they will do her good. Set out before it gets hot,
and when you are going, walk nicely and quietly and do not run off the
path, or you may fall and break the bottle, and then your grandmother
will get nothing; and when you go into her room, don't forget to say,
"Good morning", and don't peep into every corner before you do it.'
'I will take great care,' said Little Red-Cap to her mother, and gave
her hand on it.
The grandmother lived out in the wood, half a league from the village,
and just as Little Red-Cap entered the wood, a wolf met her. Red-Cap
did not know what a wicked creature he was, and was not at all afraid
'Good day, Little Red-Cap,' said he.
'Thank you kindly, wolf.'
'Whither away so early, Little Red-Cap?'
'To my grandmother's.'
'What have you got in your apron?'
'Cake and wine; yesterday was baking-day, so poor sick grandmother is
to have something good, to make her stronger.'
'Where does your grandmother live, Little Red-Cap?'
'A good quarter of a league farther on in the wood; her house stands
under the three large oak-trees, the nut-trees are just below; you
surely must know it,' replied Little Red-Cap.
The wolf thought to himself: 'What a tender young creature! what a
nice plump mouthful--she will be better to eat than the old woman. I
must act craftily, so as to catch both.' So he walked for a short time
by the side of Little Red-Cap, and then he said: 'See, Little Red-Cap,
how pretty the flowers are about here--why do you not look round? I
believe, too, that you do not hear how sweetly the little birds are
singing; you walk gravely along as if you were going to school, while
everything else out here in the wood is merry.'
Little Red-Cap raised her eyes, and when she saw the sunbeams dancing
here and there through the trees, and pretty flowers growing
everywhere, she thought: 'Suppose I take grandmother a fresh nosegay;
that would please her too. It is so early in the day that I shall
still get there in good time'; and so she ran from the path into the
wood to look for flowers. And whenever she had picked one, she fancied
that she saw a still prettier one farther on, and ran after it, and so
got deeper and deeper into the wood.
Meanwhile the wolf ran straight to the grandmother's house and knocked
at the door.
'Who is there?'
'Little Red-Cap,' replied the wolf. 'She is bringing cake and wine;
open the door.'
'Lift the latch,' called out the grandmother, 'I am too weak, and
cannot get up.'
The wolf lifted the latch, the door sprang open, and without saying a
word he went straight to the grandmother's bed, and devoured her. Then
he put on her clothes, dressed himself in her cap laid himself in bed
and drew the curtains.
Little Red-Cap, however, had been running about picking flowers, and
when she had gathered so many that she could carry no more, she
remembered her grandmother, and set out on the way to her.
She was surprised to find the cottage-door standing open, and when she
went into the room, she had such a strange feeling that she said to
herself: 'Oh dear! how uneasy I feel today, and at other times I like
being with grandmother so much.' She called out: 'Good morning,' but
received no answer; so she went to the bed and drew back the curtains.
There lay her grandmother with her cap pulled far over her face, and
looking very strange.
'Oh! grandmother,' she said, 'what big ears you have!'
'The better to hear you with, my child,' was the reply.
'But, grandmother, what big eyes you have!' she said.
'The better to see you with, my dear.'
'But, grandmother, what large hands you have!'
'The better to hug you with.'
'Oh! but, grandmother, what a terrible big mouth you have!'
'The better to eat you with!'
And scarcely had the wolf said this, than with one bound he was out of
bed and swallowed up Red-Cap.
When the wolf had appeased his appetite, he lay down again in the bed,
fell asleep and began to snore very loud. The huntsman was just
passing the house, and thought to himself: 'How the old woman is
snoring! I must just see if she wants anything.' So he went into the
room, and when he came to the bed, he saw that the wolf was lying in
it. 'Do I find you here, you old sinner!' said he. 'I have long sought
you!' Then just as he was going to fire at him, it occurred to him
that the wolf might have devoured the grandmother, and that she might
still be saved, so he did not fire, but took a pair of scissors, and
began to cut open the stomach of the sleeping wolf. When he had made
two snips, he saw the little Red-Cap shining, and then he made two
snips more, and the little girl sprang out, crying: 'Ah, how
frightened I have been! How dark it was inside the wolf'; and after
that the aged grandmother came out alive also, but scarcely able to
breathe. Red-Cap, however, quickly fetched great stones with which
they filled the wolf's belly, and when he awoke, he wanted to run
away, but the stones were so heavy that he collapsed at once, and fell
Then all three were delighted. The huntsman drew off the wolf's skin
and went home with it; the grandmother ate the cake and drank the wine
which Red-Cap had brought, and revived, but Red-Cap thought to
herself: 'As long as I live, I will never by myself leave the path, to
run into the wood, when my mother has forbidden me to do so.'
It also related that once when Red-Cap was again taking cakes to the
old grandmother, another wolf spoke to her, and tried to entice her
from the path. Red-Cap, however, was on her guard, and went straight
forward on her way, and told her grandmother that she had met the
wolf, and that he had said 'good morning' to her, but with such a
wicked look in his eyes, that if they had not been on the public road
she was certain he would have eaten her up. 'Well,' said the
grandmother, 'we will shut the door, that he may not come in.' Soon
afterwards the wolf knocked, and cried: 'Open the door, grandmother, I
am Little Red-Cap, and am bringing you some cakes.' But they did not
speak, or open the door, so the grey-beard stole twice or thrice round
the house, and at last jumped on the roof, intending to wait until
Red-Cap went home in the evening, and then to steal after her and
devour her in the darkness. But the grandmother saw what was in his
thoughts. In front of the house was a great stone trough, so she said
to the child: 'Take the pail, Red-Cap; I made some sausages yesterday,
so carry the water in which I boiled them to the trough.' Red-Cap
carried until the great trough was quite full. Then the smell of the
sausages reached the wolf, and he sniffed and peeped down, and at last
stretched out his neck so far that he could no longer keep his footing
and began to slip, and slipped down from the roof straight into the
great trough, and was drowned. But Red-Cap went joyously home, and no
one ever did anything to harm her again.
THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM
There was once a miller who had one beautiful daughter, and as she was
grown up, he was anxious that she should be well married and provided
for. He said to himself, 'I will give her to the first suitable man
who comes and asks for her hand.' Not long after a suitor appeared,
and as he appeared to be very rich and the miller could see nothing in
him with which to find fault, he betrothed his daughter to him. But
the girl did not care for the man as a girl ought to care for her
betrothed husband. She did not feel that she could trust him, and she
could not look at him nor think of him without an inward shudder. One
day he said to her, 'You have not yet paid me a visit, although we
have been betrothed for some time.' 'I do not know where your house
is,' she answered. 'My house is out there in the dark forest,' he
said. She tried to excuse herself by saying that she would not be able
to find the way thither. Her betrothed only replied, 'You must come
and see me next Sunday; I have already invited guests for that day,
and that you may not mistake the way, I will strew ashes along the
When Sunday came, and it was time for the girl to start, a feeling of
dread came over her which she could not explain, and that she might be
able to find her path again, she filled her pockets with peas and
lentils to sprinkle on the ground as she went along. On reaching the
entrance to the forest she found the path strewed with ashes, and
these she followed, throwing down some peas on either side of her at
every step she took. She walked the whole day until she came to the
deepest, darkest part of the forest. There she saw a lonely house,
looking so grim and mysterious, that it did not please her at all. She
stepped inside, but not a soul was to be seen, and a great silence
reigned throughout. Suddenly a voice cried:
'Turn back, turn back, young maiden fair,
Linger not in this murderers' lair.'
The girl looked up and saw that the voice came from a bird hanging in
a cage on the wall. Again it cried:
'Turn back, turn back, young maiden fair,
Linger not in this murderers' lair.'
The girl passed on, going from room to room of the house, but they
were all empty, and still she saw no one. At last she came to the
cellar, and there sat a very, very old woman, who could not keep her
head from shaking. 'Can you tell me,' asked the girl, 'if my betrothed
husband lives here?'
'Ah, you poor child,' answered the old woman, 'what a place for you to
come to! This is a murderers' den. You think yourself a promised
bride, and that your marriage will soon take place, but it is with
death that you will keep your marriage feast. Look, do you see that
large cauldron of water which I am obliged to keep on the fire! As
soon as they have you in their power they will kill you without mercy,
and cook and eat you, for they are eaters of men. If I did not take
pity on you and save you, you would be lost.'
Thereupon the old woman led her behind a large cask, which quite hid
her from view. 'Keep as still as a mouse,' she said; 'do not move or
speak, or it will be all over with you. Tonight, when the robbers are
all asleep, we will flee together. I have long been waiting for an
opportunity to escape.'
The words were hardly out of her mouth when the godless crew returned,
dragging another young girl along with them. They were all drunk, and
paid no heed to her cries and lamentations. They gave her wine to
drink, three glasses full, one of white wine, one of red, and one of
yellow, and with that her heart gave way and she died. Then they tore
of her dainty clothing, laid her on a table, and cut her beautiful
body into pieces, and sprinkled salt upon it.
The poor betrothed girl crouched trembling and shuddering behind the
cask, for she saw what a terrible fate had been intended for her by
the robbers. One of them now noticed a gold ring still remaining on
the little finger of the murdered girl, and as he could not draw it
off easily, he took a hatchet and cut off the finger; but the finger
sprang into the air, and fell behind the cask into the lap of the girl
who was hiding there. The robber took a light and began looking for
it, but he could not find it. 'Have you looked behind the large cask?'
said one of the others. But the old woman called out, 'Come and eat
your suppers, and let the thing be till tomorrow; the finger won't run
'The old woman is right,' said the robbers, and they ceased looking
for the finger and sat down.
The old woman then mixed a sleeping draught with their wine, and
before long they were all lying on the floor of the cellar, fast
asleep and snoring. As soon as the girl was assured of this, she came
from behind the cask. She was obliged to step over the bodies of the
sleepers, who were lying close together, and every moment she was
filled with renewed dread lest she should awaken them. But God helped
her, so that she passed safely over them, and then she and the old
woman went upstairs, opened the door, and hastened as fast as they
could from the murderers' den. They found the ashes scattered by the
wind, but the peas and lentils had sprouted, and grown sufficiently
above the ground, to guide them in the moonlight along the path. All
night long they walked, and it was morning before they reached the
mill. Then the girl told her father all that had happened.
The day came that had been fixed for the marriage. The bridegroom
arrived and also a large company of guests, for the miller had taken
care to invite all his friends and relations. As they sat at the
feast, each guest in turn was asked to tell a tale; the bride sat
still and did not say a word.
'And you, my love,' said the bridegroom, turning to her, 'is there no
tale you know? Tell us something.'
'I will tell you a dream, then,' said the bride. 'I went alone through
a forest and came at last to a house; not a soul could I find within,
but a bird that was hanging in a cage on the wall cried:
'Turn back, turn back, young maiden fair,
Linger not in this murderers' lair.'
and again a second time it said these words.'
'My darling, this is only a dream.'
'I went on through the house from room to room, but they were all
empty, and everything was so grim and mysterious. At last I went down
to the cellar, and there sat a very, very old woman, who could not
keep her head still. I asked her if my betrothed lived here, and she
answered, "Ah, you poor child, you are come to a murderers' den; your
betrothed does indeed live here, but he will kill you without mercy
and afterwards cook and eat you."'
'My darling, this is only a dream.'
'The old woman hid me behind a large cask, and scarcely had she done
this when the robbers returned home, dragging a young girl along with
them. They gave her three kinds of wine to drink, white, red, and
yellow, and with that she died.'
'My darling, this is only a dream.'
'Then they tore off her dainty clothing, and cut her beautiful body
into pieces and sprinkled salt upon it.'
'My darling, this is only a dream.'
'And one of the robbers saw that there was a gold ring still left on
her finger, and as it was difficult to draw off, he took a hatchet and
cut off her finger; but the finger sprang into the air and fell behind
the great cask into my lap. And here is the finger with the ring.' and
with these words the bride drew forth the finger and shewed it to the
The bridegroom, who during this recital had grown deadly pale, up and
tried to escape, but the guests seized him and held him fast. They
delivered him up to justice, and he and all his murderous band were
condemned to death for their wicked deeds.
A poor woodman sat in his cottage one night, smoking his pipe by the
fireside, while his wife sat by his side spinning. 'How lonely it is,
wife,' said he, as he puffed out a long curl of smoke, 'for you and me
to sit here by ourselves, without any children to play about and amuse
us while other people seem so happy and merry with their children!'
'What you say is very true,' said the wife, sighing, and turning round
her wheel; 'how happy should I be if I had but one child! If it were
ever so small--nay, if it were no bigger than my thumb--I should be
very happy, and love it dearly.' Now--odd as you may think it--it came
to pass that this good woman's wish was fulfilled, just in the very
way she had wished it; for, not long afterwards, she had a little boy,
who was quite healthy and strong, but was not much bigger than my
thumb. So they said, 'Well, we cannot say we have not got what we
wished for, and, little as he is, we will love him dearly.' And they
called him Thomas Thumb.
They gave him plenty of food, yet for all they could do he never grew
bigger, but kept just the same size as he had been when he was born.
Still, his eyes were sharp and sparkling, and he soon showed himself
to be a clever little fellow, who always knew well what he was about.
One day, as the woodman was getting ready to go into the wood to cut
fuel, he said, 'I wish I had someone to bring the cart after me, for I
want to make haste.' 'Oh, father,' cried Tom, 'I will take care of
that; the cart shall be in the wood by the time you want it.' Then the
woodman laughed, and said, 'How can that be? you cannot reach up to
the horse's bridle.' 'Never mind that, father,' said Tom; 'if my
mother will only harness the horse, I will get into his ear and tell
him which way to go.' 'Well,' said the father, 'we will try for once.'
When the time came the mother harnessed the horse to the cart, and put
Tom into his ear; and as he sat there the little man told the beast
how to go, crying out, 'Go on!' and 'Stop!' as he wanted: and thus the
horse went on just as well as if the woodman had driven it himself
into the wood. It happened that as the horse was going a little too
fast, and Tom was calling out, 'Gently! gently!' two strangers came
up. 'What an odd thing that is!' said one: 'there is a cart going
along, and I hear a carter talking to the horse, but yet I can see no
one.' 'That is queer, indeed,' said the other; 'let us follow the
cart, and see where it goes.' So they went on into the wood, till at
last they came to the place where the woodman was. Then Tom Thumb,
seeing his father, cried out, 'See, father, here I am with the cart,
all right and safe! now take me down!' So his father took hold of the
horse with one hand, and with the other took his son out of the
horse's ear, and put him down upon a straw, where he sat as merry as
The two strangers were all this time looking on, and did not know what
to say for wonder. At last one took the other aside, and said, 'That
little urchin will make our fortune, if we can get him, and carry him
about from town to town as a show; we must buy him.' So they went up
to the woodman, and asked him what he would take for the little man.
'He will be better off,' said they, 'with us than with you.' 'I won't
sell him at all,' said the father; 'my own flesh and blood is dearer
to me than all the silver and gold in the world.' But Tom, hearing of
the bargain they wanted to make, crept up his father's coat to his
shoulder and whispered in his ear, 'Take the money, father, and let
them have me; I'll soon come back to you.'
So the woodman at last said he would sell Tom to the strangers for a
large piece of gold, and they paid the price. 'Where would you like to
sit?' said one of them. 'Oh, put me on the rim of your hat; that will
be a nice gallery for me; I can walk about there and see the country
as we go along.' So they did as he wished; and when Tom had taken
leave of his father they took him away with them.
They journeyed on till it began to be dusky, and then the little man
said, 'Let me get down, I'm tired.' So the man took off his hat, and
put him down on a clod of earth, in a ploughed field by the side of
the road. But Tom ran about amongst the furrows, and at last slipped
into an old mouse-hole. 'Good night, my masters!' said he, 'I'm off!
mind and look sharp after me the next time.' Then they ran at once to
the place, and poked the ends of their sticks into the mouse-hole, but
all in vain; Tom only crawled farther and farther in; and at last it
became quite dark, so that they were forced to go their way without
their prize, as sulky as could be.
When Tom found they were gone, he came out of his hiding-place. 'What
dangerous walking it is,' said he, 'in this ploughed field! If I were
to fall from one of these great clods, I should undoubtedly break my
neck.' At last, by good luck, he found a large empty snail-shell.
'This is lucky,' said he, 'I can sleep here very well'; and in he
Just as he was falling asleep, he heard two men passing by, chatting
together; and one said to the other, 'How can we rob that rich
parson's house of his silver and gold?' 'I'll tell you!' cried Tom.
'What noise was that?' said the thief, frightened; 'I'm sure I heard
someone speak.' They stood still listening, and Tom said, 'Take me
with you, and I'll soon show you how to get the parson's money.' 'But
where are you?' said they. 'Look about on the ground,' answered he,
'and listen where the sound comes from.' At last the thieves found him
out, and lifted him up in their hands. 'You little urchin!' they said,
'what can you do for us?' 'Why, I can get between the iron window-bars
of the parson's house, and throw you out whatever you want.' 'That's a
good thought,' said the thieves; 'come along, we shall see what you
When they came to the parson's house, Tom slipped through the window-
bars into the room, and then called out as loud as he could bawl,
'Will you have all that is here?' At this the thieves were frightened,
and said, 'Softly, softly! Speak low, that you may not awaken
anybody.' But Tom seemed as if he did not understand them, and bawled
out again, 'How much will you have? Shall I throw it all out?' Now the
cook lay in the next room; and hearing a noise she raised herself up
in her bed and listened. Meantime the thieves were frightened, and ran
off a little way; but at last they plucked up their hearts, and said,
'The little urchin is only trying to make fools of us.' So they came
back and whispered softly to him, saying, 'Now let us have no more of
your roguish jokes; but throw us out some of the money.' Then Tom
called out as loud as he could, 'Very well! hold your hands! here it
The cook heard this quite plain, so she sprang out of bed, and ran to
open the door. The thieves ran off as if a wolf was at their tails:
and the maid, having groped about and found nothing, went away for a
light. By the time she came back, Tom had slipped off into the barn;
and when she had looked about and searched every hole and corner, and
found nobody, she went to bed, thinking she must have been dreaming
with her eyes open.
The little man crawled about in the hay-loft, and at last found a snug
place to finish his night's rest in; so he laid himself down, meaning
to sleep till daylight, and then find his way home to his father and
mother. But alas! how woefully he was undone! what crosses and sorrows
happen to us all in this world! The cook got up early, before
daybreak, to feed the cows; and going straight to the hay-loft,
carried away a large bundle of hay, with the little man in the middle
of it, fast asleep. He still, however, slept on, and did not awake
till he found himself in the mouth of the cow; for the cook had put
the hay into the cow's rick, and the cow had taken Tom up in a
mouthful of it. 'Good lack-a-day!' said he, 'how came I to tumble into
the mill?' But he soon found out where he really was; and was forced
to have all his wits about him, that he might not get between the
cow's teeth, and so be crushed to death. At last down he went into her
stomach. 'It is rather dark,' said he; 'they forgot to build windows
in this room to let the sun in; a candle would be no bad thing.'
Though he made the best of his bad luck, he did not like his quarters
at all; and the worst of it was, that more and more hay was always
coming down, and the space left for him became smaller and smaller. At
last he cried out as loud as he could, 'Don't bring me any more hay!
Don't bring me any more hay!'
The maid happened to be just then milking the cow; and hearing someone
speak, but seeing nobody, and yet being quite sure it was the same
voice that she had heard in the night, she was so frightened that she
fell off her stool, and overset the milk-pail. As soon as she could
pick herself up out of the dirt, she ran off as fast as she could to
her master the parson, and said, 'Sir, sir, the cow is talking!' But
the parson said, 'Woman, thou art surely mad!' However, he went with
her into the cow-house, to try and see what was the matter.
Scarcely had they set foot on the threshold, when Tom called out,
'Don't bring me any more hay!' Then the parson himself was frightened;
and thinking the cow was surely bewitched, told his man to kill her on
the spot. So the cow was killed, and cut up; and the stomach, in which
Tom lay, was thrown out upon a dunghill.
Tom soon set himself to work to get out, which was not a very easy
task; but at last, just as he had made room to get his head out, fresh
ill-luck befell him. A hungry wolf sprang out, and swallowed up the
whole stomach, with Tom in it, at one gulp, and ran away.
Tom, however, was still not disheartened; and thinking the wolf would
not dislike having some chat with him as he was going along, he called
out, 'My good friend, I can show you a famous treat.' 'Where's that?'
said the wolf. 'In such and such a house,' said Tom, describing his
own father's house. 'You can crawl through the drain into the kitchen
and then into the pantry, and there you will find cakes, ham, beef,
cold chicken, roast pig, apple-dumplings, and everything that your
heart can wish.'
The wolf did not want to be asked twice; so that very night he went to
the house and crawled through the drain into the kitchen, and then
into the pantry, and ate and drank there to his heart's content. As
soon as he had had enough he wanted to get away; but he had eaten so
much that he could not go out by the same way he came in.
This was just what Tom had reckoned upon; and now he began to set up a
great shout, making all the noise he could. 'Will you be easy?' said
the wolf; 'you'll awaken everybody in the house if you make such a
clatter.' 'What's that to me?' said the little man; 'you have had your
frolic, now I've a mind to be merry myself'; and he began, singing and
shouting as loud as he could.
The woodman and his wife, being awakened by the noise, peeped through
a crack in the door; but when they saw a wolf was there, you may well
suppose that they were sadly frightened; and the woodman ran for his
axe, and gave his wife a scythe. 'Do you stay behind,' said the
woodman, 'and when I have knocked him on the head you must rip him up
with the scythe.' Tom heard all this, and cried out, 'Father, father!
I am here, the wolf has swallowed me.' And his father said, 'Heaven be
praised! we have found our dear child again'; and he told his wife not
to use the scythe for fear she should hurt him. Then he aimed a great
blow, and struck the wolf on the head, and killed him on the spot! and
when he was dead they cut open his body, and set Tommy free. 'Ah!'
said the father, 'what fears we have had for you!' 'Yes, father,'
answered he; 'I have travelled all over the world, I think, in one way
or other, since we parted; and now I am very glad to come home and get
fresh air again.' 'Why, where have you been?' said his father. 'I have
been in a mouse-hole--and in a snail-shell--and down a cow's throat--
and in the wolf's belly; and yet here I am again, safe and sound.'
'Well,' said they, 'you are come back, and we will not sell you again
for all the riches in the world.'
Then they hugged and kissed their dear little son, and gave him plenty
to eat and drink, for he was very hungry; and then they fetched new
clothes for him, for his old ones had been quite spoiled on his
journey. So Master Thumb stayed at home with his father and mother, in
peace; for though he had been so great a traveller, and had done and
seen so many fine things, and was fond enough of telling the whole
story, he always agreed that, after all, there's no place like HOME!
By the side of a wood, in a country a long way off, ran a fine stream
of water; and upon the stream there stood a mill. The miller's house
was close by, and the miller, you must know, had a very beautiful
daughter. She was, moreover, very shrewd and clever; and the miller
was so proud of her, that he one day told the king of the land, who
used to come and hunt in the wood, that his daughter could spin gold
out of straw. Now this king was very fond of money; and when he heard
the miller's boast his greediness was raised, and he sent for the girl
to be brought before him. Then he led her to a chamber in his palace
where there was a great heap of straw, and gave her a spinning-wheel,
and said, 'All this must be spun into gold before morning, as you love
your life.' It was in vain that the poor maiden said that it was only
a silly boast of her father, for that she could do no such thing as
spin straw into gold: the chamber door was locked, and she was left
She sat down in one corner of the room, and began to bewail her hard
fate; when on a sudden the door opened, and a droll-looking little man
hobbled in, and said, 'Good morrow to you, my good lass; what are you
weeping for?' 'Alas!' said she, 'I must spin this straw into gold, and
I know not how.' 'What will you give me,' said the hobgoblin, 'to do
it for you?' 'My necklace,' replied the maiden. He took her at her
word, and sat himself down to the wheel, and whistled and sang:
'Round about, round about,
Lo and behold!
Reel away, reel away,
Straw into gold!'
And round about the wheel went merrily; the work was quickly done, and
the straw was all spun into gold.
When the king came and saw this, he was greatly astonished and
pleased; but his heart grew still more greedy of gain, and he shut up
the poor miller's daughter again with a fresh task. Then she knew not
what to do, and sat down once more to weep; but the dwarf soon opened
the door, and said, 'What will you give me to do your task?' 'The ring
on my finger,' said she. So her little friend took the ring, and began
to work at the wheel again, and whistled and sang:
'Round about, round about,
Lo and behold!
Reel away, reel away,
Straw into gold!'
till, long before morning, all was done again.
The king was greatly delighted to see all this glittering treasure;
but still he had not enough: so he took the miller's daughter to a yet
larger heap, and said, 'All this must be spun tonight; and if it is,
you shall be my queen.' As soon as she was alone that dwarf came in,
and said, 'What will you give me to spin gold for you this third
time?' 'I have nothing left,' said she. 'Then say you will give me,'
said the little man, 'the first little child that you may have when
you are queen.' 'That may never be,' thought the miller's daughter:
and as she knew no other way to get her task done, she said she would
do what he asked. Round went the wheel again to the old song, and the
manikin once more spun the heap into gold. The king came in the
morning, and, finding all he wanted, was forced to keep his word; so
he married the miller's daughter, and she really became queen.
At the birth of her first little child she was very glad, and forgot
the dwarf, and what she had said. But one day he came into her room,
where she was sitting playing with her baby, and put her in mind of
it. Then she grieved sorely at her misfortune, and said she would give
him all the wealth of the kingdom if he would let her off, but in
vain; till at last her tears softened him, and he said, 'I will give
you three days' grace, and if during that time you tell me my name,
you shall keep your child.'
Now the queen lay awake all night, thinking of all the odd names that
she had ever heard; and she sent messengers all over the land to find
out new ones. The next day the little man came, and she began with
TIMOTHY, ICHABOD, BENJAMIN, JEREMIAH, and all the names she could
remember; but to all and each of them he said, 'Madam, that is not my
The second day she began with all the comical names she could hear of,
BANDY-LEGS, HUNCHBACK, CROOK-SHANKS, and so on; but the little
gentleman still said to every one of them, 'Madam, that is not my
The third day one of the messengers came back, and said, 'I have
travelled two days without hearing of any other names; but yesterday,
as I was climbing a high hill, among the trees of the forest where the
fox and the hare bid each other good night, I saw a little hut; and
before the hut burnt a fire; and round about the fire a funny little
dwarf was dancing upon one leg, and singing:
'"Merrily the feast I'll make.
Today I'll brew, tomorrow bake;
Merrily I'll dance and sing,
For next day will a stranger bring.
Little does my lady dream
Rumpelstiltskin is my name!"'
When the queen heard this she jumped for joy, and as soon as her
little friend came she sat down upon her throne, and called all her
court round to enjoy the fun; and the nurse stood by her side with the
baby in her arms, as if it was quite ready to be given up. Then the
little man began to chuckle at the thought of having the poor child,
to take home with him to his hut in the woods; and he cried out, 'Now,
lady, what is my name?' 'Is it JOHN?' asked she. 'No, madam!' 'Is it
TOM?' 'No, madam!' 'Is it JEMMY?' 'It is not.' 'Can your name be
RUMPELSTILTSKIN?' said the lady slyly. 'Some witch told you that!--
some witch told you that!' cried the little man, and dashed his right
foot in a rage so deep into the floor, that he was forced to lay hold
of it with both hands to pull it out.
Then he made the best of his way off, while the nurse laughed and the
baby crowed; and all the court jeered at him for having had so much
trouble for nothing, and said, 'We wish you a very good morning, and a
merry feast, Mr RUMPLESTILTSKIN!'
There was once a cook named Gretel, who wore shoes with red heels, and
when she walked out with them on, she turned herself this way and
that, was quite happy and thought: 'You certainly are a pretty girl!'
And when she came home she drank, in her gladness of heart, a draught
of wine, and as wine excites a desire to eat, she tasted the best of
whatever she was cooking until she was satisfied, and said: 'The cook
must know what the food is like.'
It came to pass that the master one day said to her: 'Gretel, there is
a guest coming this evening; prepare me two fowls very daintily.' 'I
will see to it, master,' answered Gretel. She killed two fowls,
scalded them, plucked them, put them on the spit, and towards evening
set them before the fire, that they might roast. The fowls began to
turn brown, and were nearly ready, but the guest had not yet arrived.
Then Gretel called out to her master: 'If the guest does not come, I
must take the fowls away from the fire, but it will be a sin and a
shame if they are not eaten the moment they are at their juiciest.'
The master said: 'I will run myself, and fetch the guest.' When the
master had turned his back, Gretel laid the spit with the fowls on one
side, and thought: 'Standing so long by the fire there, makes one
sweat and thirsty; who knows when they will come? Meanwhile, I will
run into the cellar, and take a drink.' She ran down, set a jug, said:
'God bless it for you, Gretel,' and took a good drink, and thought
that wine should flow on, and should not be interrupted, and took yet
another hearty draught.
Then she went and put the fowls down again to the fire, basted them,
and drove the spit merrily round. But as the roast meat smelt so good,
Gretel thought: 'Something might be wrong, it ought to be tasted!' She
touched it with her finger, and said: 'Ah! how good fowls are! It
certainly is a sin and a shame that they are not eaten at the right
time!' She ran to the window, to see if the master was not coming with
his guest, but she saw no one, and went back to the fowls and thought:
'One of the wings is burning! I had better take it off and eat it.' So
she cut it off, ate it, and enjoyed it, and when she had done, she
thought: 'The other must go down too, or else master will observe that
something is missing.' When the two wings were eaten, she went and
looked for her master, and did not see him. It suddenly occurred to
her: 'Who knows? They are perhaps not coming at all, and have turned
in somewhere.' Then she said: 'Well, Gretel, enjoy yourself, one fowl
has been cut into, take another drink, and eat it up entirely; when it
is eaten you will have some peace, why should God's good gifts be
spoilt?' So she ran into the cellar again, took an enormous drink and
ate up the one chicken in great glee. When one of the chickens was
swallowed down, and still her master did not come, Gretel looked at
the other and said: 'What one is, the other should be likewise, the
two go together; what's right for the one is right for the other; I
think if I were to take another draught it would do me no harm.' So
she took another hearty drink, and let the second chicken follow the
While she was making the most of it, her master came and cried: 'Hurry
up, Gretel, the guest is coming directly after me!' 'Yes, sir, I will
soon serve up,' answered Gretel. Meantime the master looked to see
what the table was properly laid, and took the great knife, wherewith
he was going to carve the chickens, and sharpened it on the steps.
Presently the guest came, and knocked politely and courteously at the
house-door. Gretel ran, and looked to see who was there, and when she
saw the guest, she put her finger to her lips and said: 'Hush! hush!
go away as quickly as you can, if my master catches you it will be the
worse for you; he certainly did ask you to supper, but his intention
is to cut off your two ears. Just listen how he is sharpening the
knife for it!' The guest heard the sharpening, and hurried down the
steps again as fast as he could. Gretel was not idle; she ran
screaming to her master, and cried: 'You have invited a fine guest!'
'Why, Gretel? What do you mean by that?' 'Yes,' said she, 'he has
taken the chickens which I was just going to serve up, off the dish,
and has run away with them!' 'That's a nice trick!' said her master,
and lamented the fine chickens. 'If he had but left me one, so that
something remained for me to eat.' He called to him to stop, but the
guest pretended not to hear. Then he ran after him with the knife
still in his hand, crying: 'Just one, just one,' meaning that the
guest should leave him just one chicken, and not take both. The guest,
however, thought no otherwise than that he was to give up one of his
ears, and ran as if fire were burning under him, in order to take them
both with him.
THE OLD MAN AND HIS GRANDSON
There was once a very old man, whose eyes had become dim, his ears
dull of hearing, his knees trembled, and when he sat at table he could
hardly hold the spoon, and spilt the broth upon the table-cloth or let
it run out of his mouth. His son and his son's wife were disgusted at
this, so the old grandfather at last had to sit in the corner behind
the stove, and they gave him his food in an earthenware bowl, and not
even enough of it. And he used to look towards the table with his eyes
full of tears. Once, too, his trembling hands could not hold the bowl,
and it fell to the ground and broke. The young wife scolded him, but
he said nothing and only sighed. Then they brought him a wooden bowl
for a few half-pence, out of which he had to eat.
They were once sitting thus when the little grandson of four years old
began to gather together some bits of wood upon the ground. 'What are
you doing there?' asked the father. 'I am making a little trough,'
answered the child, 'for father and mother to eat out of when I am
The man and his wife looked at each other for a while, and presently
began to cry. Then they took the old grandfather to the table, and
henceforth always let him eat with them, and likewise said nothing if
he did spill a little of anything.
THE LITTLE PEASANT
There was a certain village wherein no one lived but really rich
peasants, and just one poor one, whom they called the little peasant.
He had not even so much as a cow, and still less money to buy one, and
yet he and his wife did so wish to have one. One day he said to her:
'Listen, I have a good idea, there is our gossip the carpenter, he
shall make us a wooden calf, and paint it brown, so that it looks like
any other, and in time it will certainly get big and be a cow.' the
woman also liked the idea, and their gossip the carpenter cut and
planed the calf, and painted it as it ought to be, and made it with
its head hanging down as if it were eating.
Next morning when the cows were being driven out, the little peasant
called the cow-herd in and said: 'Look, I have a little calf there,
but it is still small and has to be carried.' The cow-herd said: 'All
right,' and took it in his arms and carried it to the pasture, and set
it among the grass. The little calf always remained standing like one
which was eating, and the cow-herd said: 'It will soon run by itself,
just look how it eats already!' At night when he was going to drive
the herd home again, he said to the calf: 'If you can stand there and
eat your fill, you can also go on your four legs; I don't care to drag
you home again in my arms.' But the little peasant stood at his door,
and waited for his little calf, and when the cow-herd drove the cows
through the village, and the calf was missing, he inquired where it
was. The cow-herd answered: 'It is still standing out there eating. It
would not stop and come with us.' But the little peasant said: 'Oh,
but I must have my beast back again.' Then they went back to the
meadow together, but someone had stolen the calf, and it was gone. The
cow-herd said: 'It must have run away.' The peasant, however, said:
'Don't tell me that,' and led the cow-herd before the mayor, who for
his carelessness condemned him to give the peasant a cow for the calf
which had run away.
And now the little peasant and his wife had the cow for which they had
so long wished, and they were heartily glad, but they had no food for
it, and could give it nothing to eat, so it soon had to be killed.
They salted the flesh, and the peasant went into the town and wanted
to sell the skin there, so that he might buy a new calf with the
proceeds. On the way he passed by a mill, and there sat a raven with
broken wings, and out of pity he took him and wrapped him in the skin.
But as the weather grew so bad and there was a storm of rain and wind,
he could go no farther, and turned back to the mill and begged for
shelter. The miller's wife was alone in the house, and said to the
peasant: 'Lay yourself on the straw there,' and gave him a slice of
bread and cheese. The peasant ate it, and lay down with his skin
beside him, and the woman thought: 'He is tired and has gone to
sleep.' In the meantime came the parson; the miller's wife received
him well, and said: 'My husband is out, so we will have a feast.' The
peasant listened, and when he heard them talk about feasting he was
vexed that he had been forced to make shift with a slice of bread and
cheese. Then the woman served up four different things, roast meat,
salad, cakes, and wine.
Just as they were about to sit down and eat, there was a knocking
outside. The woman said: 'Oh, heavens! It is my husband!' she quickly
hid the roast meat inside the tiled stove, the wine under the pillow,
the salad on the bed, the cakes under it, and the parson in the closet
on the porch. Then she opened the door for her husband, and said:
'Thank heaven, you are back again! There is such a storm, it looks as
if the world were coming to an end.' The miller saw the peasant lying
on the straw, and asked, 'What is that fellow doing there?' 'Ah,' said
the wife, 'the poor knave came in the storm and rain, and begged for
shelter, so I gave him a bit of bread and cheese, and showed him where
the straw was.' The man said: 'I have no objection, but be quick and
get me something to eat.' The woman said: 'But I have nothing but
bread and cheese.' 'I am contented with anything,' replied the
husband, 'so far as I am concerned, bread and cheese will do,' and
looked at the peasant and said: 'Come and eat some more with me.' The
peasant did not require to be invited twice, but got up and ate. After
this the miller saw the skin in which the raven was, lying on the
ground, and asked: 'What have you there?' The peasant answered: 'I
have a soothsayer inside it.' 'Can he foretell anything to me?' said
the miller. 'Why not?' answered the peasant: 'but he only says four
things, and the fifth he keeps to himself.' The miller was curious,
and said: 'Let him foretell something for once.' Then the peasant
pinched the raven's head, so that he croaked and made a noise like
krr, krr. The miller said: 'What did he say?' The peasant answered:
'In the first place, he says that there is some wine hidden under the
pillow.' 'Bless me!' cried the miller, and went there and found the
wine. 'Now go on,' said he. The peasant made the raven croak again,
and said: 'In the second place, he says that there is some roast meat
in the tiled stove.' 'Upon my word!' cried the miller, and went
thither, and found the roast meat. The peasant made the raven prophesy
still more, and said: 'Thirdly, he says that there is some salad on
the bed.' 'That would be a fine thing!' cried the miller, and went
there and found the salad. At last the peasant pinched the raven once
more till he croaked, and said: 'Fourthly, he says that there are some
cakes under the bed.' 'That would be a fine thing!' cried the miller,
and looked there, and found the cakes.
And now the two sat down to the table together, but the miller's wife
was frightened to death, and went to bed and took all the keys with
her. The miller would have liked much to know the fifth, but the
little peasant said: 'First, we will quickly eat the four things, for
the fifth is something bad.' So they ate, and after that they
bargained how much the miller was to give for the fifth prophecy,
until they agreed on three hundred talers. Then the peasant once more
pinched the raven's head till he croaked loudly. The miller asked:
'What did he say?' The peasant replied: 'He says that the Devil is
hiding outside there in the closet on the porch.' The miller said:
'The Devil must go out,' and opened the house-door; then the woman was
forced to give up the keys, and the peasant unlocked the closet. The
parson ran out as fast as he could, and the miller said: 'It was true;
I saw the black rascal with my own eyes.' The peasant, however, made
off next morning by daybreak with the three hundred talers.
At home the small peasant gradually launched out; he built a beautiful
house, and the peasants said: 'The small peasant has certainly been to
the place where golden snow falls, and people carry the gold home in
shovels.' Then the small peasant was brought before the mayor, and
bidden to say from whence his wealth came. He answered: 'I sold my
cow's skin in the town, for three hundred talers.' When the peasants
heard that, they too wished to enjoy this great profit, and ran home,