Part 4 out of 5
many strange things, but such a monster as this I never saw. Where did
you get the seed? or is it only your good luck? If so, you are a true
child of fortune.' 'Ah, no!' answered the gardener, 'I am no child of
fortune; I am a poor soldier, who never could get enough to live upon;
so I laid aside my red coat, and set to work, tilling the ground. I
have a brother, who is rich, and your majesty knows him well, and all
the world knows him; but because I am poor, everybody forgets me.'
The king then took pity on him, and said, 'You shall be poor no
longer. I will give you so much that you shall be even richer than
your brother.' Then he gave him gold and lands and flocks, and made
him so rich that his brother's fortune could not at all be compared
When the brother heard of all this, and how a turnip had made the
gardener so rich, he envied him sorely, and bethought himself how he
could contrive to get the same good fortune for himself. However, he
determined to manage more cleverly than his brother, and got together
a rich present of gold and fine horses for the king; and thought he
must have a much larger gift in return; for if his brother had
received so much for only a turnip, what must his present be wroth?
The king took the gift very graciously, and said he knew not what to
give in return more valuable and wonderful than the great turnip; so
the soldier was forced to put it into a cart, and drag it home with
him. When he reached home, he knew not upon whom to vent his rage and
spite; and at length wicked thoughts came into his head, and he
resolved to kill his brother.
So he hired some villains to murder him; and having shown them where
to lie in ambush, he went to his brother, and said, 'Dear brother, I
have found a hidden treasure; let us go and dig it up, and share it
between us.' The other had no suspicions of his roguery: so they went
out together, and as they were travelling along, the murderers rushed
out upon him, bound him, and were going to hang him on a tree.
But whilst they were getting all ready, they heard the trampling of a
horse at a distance, which so frightened them that they pushed their
prisoner neck and shoulders together into a sack, and swung him up by
a cord to the tree, where they left him dangling, and ran away.
Meantime he worked and worked away, till he made a hole large enough
to put out his head.
When the horseman came up, he proved to be a student, a merry fellow,
who was journeying along on his nag, and singing as he went. As soon
as the man in the sack saw him passing under the tree, he cried out,
'Good morning! good morning to thee, my friend!' The student looked
about everywhere; and seeing no one, and not knowing where the voice
came from, cried out, 'Who calls me?'
Then the man in the tree answered, 'Lift up thine eyes, for behold
here I sit in the sack of wisdom; here have I, in a short time,
learned great and wondrous things. Compared to this seat, all the
learning of the schools is as empty air. A little longer, and I shall
know all that man can know, and shall come forth wiser than the wisest
of mankind. Here I discern the signs and motions of the heavens and
the stars; the laws that control the winds; the number of the sands on
the seashore; the healing of the sick; the virtues of all simples, of
birds, and of precious stones. Wert thou but once here, my friend,
though wouldst feel and own the power of knowledge.
The student listened to all this and wondered much; at last he said,
'Blessed be the day and hour when I found you; cannot you contrive to
let me into the sack for a little while?' Then the other answered, as
if very unwillingly, 'A little space I may allow thee to sit here, if
thou wilt reward me well and entreat me kindly; but thou must tarry
yet an hour below, till I have learnt some little matters that are yet
unknown to me.'
So the student sat himself down and waited a while; but the time hung
heavy upon him, and he begged earnestly that he might ascend
forthwith, for his thirst for knowledge was great. Then the other
pretended to give way, and said, 'Thou must let the sack of wisdom
descend, by untying yonder cord, and then thou shalt enter.' So the
student let him down, opened the sack, and set him free. 'Now then,'
cried he, 'let me ascend quickly.' As he began to put himself into the
sack heels first, 'Wait a while,' said the gardener, 'that is not the
way.' Then he pushed him in head first, tied up the sack, and soon
swung up the searcher after wisdom dangling in the air. 'How is it
with thee, friend?' said he, 'dost thou not feel that wisdom comes
unto thee? Rest there in peace, till thou art a wiser man than thou
So saying, he trotted off on the student's nag, and left the poor
fellow to gather wisdom till somebody should come and let him down.
The mother of Hans said: 'Whither away, Hans?' Hans answered: 'To
Gretel.' 'Behave well, Hans.' 'Oh, I'll behave well. Goodbye, mother.'
'Goodbye, Hans.' Hans comes to Gretel. 'Good day, Gretel.' 'Good day,
Hans. What do you bring that is good?' 'I bring nothing, I want to
have something given me.' Gretel presents Hans with a needle, Hans
says: 'Goodbye, Gretel.' 'Goodbye, Hans.'
Hans takes the needle, sticks it into a hay-cart, and follows the cart
home. 'Good evening, mother.' 'Good evening, Hans. Where have you
been?' 'With Gretel.' 'What did you take her?' 'Took nothing; had
something given me.' 'What did Gretel give you?' 'Gave me a needle.'
'Where is the needle, Hans?' 'Stuck in the hay-cart.' 'That was ill
done, Hans. You should have stuck the needle in your sleeve.' 'Never
mind, I'll do better next time.'
'Whither away, Hans?' 'To Gretel, mother.' 'Behave well, Hans.' 'Oh,
I'll behave well. Goodbye, mother.' 'Goodbye, Hans.' Hans comes to
Gretel. 'Good day, Gretel.' 'Good day, Hans. What do you bring that is
good?' 'I bring nothing. I want to have something given to me.' Gretel
presents Hans with a knife. 'Goodbye, Gretel.' 'Goodbye, Hans.' Hans
takes the knife, sticks it in his sleeve, and goes home. 'Good
evening, mother.' 'Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?' 'With
Gretel.' What did you take her?' 'Took her nothing, she gave me
something.' 'What did Gretel give you?' 'Gave me a knife.' 'Where is
the knife, Hans?' 'Stuck in my sleeve.' 'That's ill done, Hans, you
should have put the knife in your pocket.' 'Never mind, will do better
'Whither away, Hans?' 'To Gretel, mother.' 'Behave well, Hans.' 'Oh,
I'll behave well. Goodbye, mother.' 'Goodbye, Hans.' Hans comes to
Gretel. 'Good day, Gretel.' 'Good day, Hans. What good thing do you
bring?' 'I bring nothing, I want something given me.' Gretel presents
Hans with a young goat. 'Goodbye, Gretel.' 'Goodbye, Hans.' Hans takes
the goat, ties its legs, and puts it in his pocket. When he gets home
it is suffocated. 'Good evening, mother.' 'Good evening, Hans. Where
have you been?' 'With Gretel.' 'What did you take her?' 'Took nothing,
she gave me something.' 'What did Gretel give you?' 'She gave me a
goat.' 'Where is the goat, Hans?' 'Put it in my pocket.' 'That was ill
done, Hans, you should have put a rope round the goat's neck.' 'Never
mind, will do better next time.'
'Whither away, Hans?' 'To Gretel, mother.' 'Behave well, Hans.' 'Oh,
I'll behave well. Goodbye, mother.' 'Goodbye, Hans.' Hans comes to
Gretel. 'Good day, Gretel.' 'Good day, Hans. What good thing do you
bring?' 'I bring nothing, I want something given me.' Gretel presents
Hans with a piece of bacon. 'Goodbye, Gretel.' 'Goodbye, Hans.'
Hans takes the bacon, ties it to a rope, and drags it away behind him.
The dogs come and devour the bacon. When he gets home, he has the rope
in his hand, and there is no longer anything hanging on to it. 'Good
evening, mother.' 'Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?' 'With
Gretel.' 'What did you take her?' 'I took her nothing, she gave me
something.' 'What did Gretel give you?' 'Gave me a bit of bacon.'
'Where is the bacon, Hans?' 'I tied it to a rope, brought it home,
dogs took it.' 'That was ill done, Hans, you should have carried the
bacon on your head.' 'Never mind, will do better next time.'
'Whither away, Hans?' 'To Gretel, mother.' 'Behave well, Hans.' 'I'll
behave well. Goodbye, mother.' 'Goodbye, Hans.' Hans comes to Gretel.
'Good day, Gretel.' 'Good day, Hans, What good thing do you bring?' 'I
bring nothing, but would have something given.' Gretel presents Hans
with a calf. 'Goodbye, Gretel.' 'Goodbye, Hans.'
Hans takes the calf, puts it on his head, and the calf kicks his face.
'Good evening, mother.' 'Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?'
'With Gretel.' 'What did you take her?' 'I took nothing, but had
something given me.' 'What did Gretel give you?' 'A calf.' 'Where have
you the calf, Hans?' 'I set it on my head and it kicked my face.'
'That was ill done, Hans, you should have led the calf, and put it in
the stall.' 'Never mind, will do better next time.'
'Whither away, Hans?' 'To Gretel, mother.' 'Behave well, Hans.' 'I'll
behave well. Goodbye, mother.' 'Goodbye, Hans.'
Hans comes to Gretel. 'Good day, Gretel.' 'Good day, Hans. What good
thing do you bring?' 'I bring nothing, but would have something
given.' Gretel says to Hans: 'I will go with you.'
Hans takes Gretel, ties her to a rope, leads her to the rack, and
binds her fast. Then Hans goes to his mother. 'Good evening, mother.'
'Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?' 'With Gretel.' 'What did
you take her?' 'I took her nothing.' 'What did Gretel give you?' 'She
gave me nothing, she came with me.' 'Where have you left Gretel?' 'I
led her by the rope, tied her to the rack, and scattered some grass
for her.' 'That was ill done, Hans, you should have cast friendly eyes
on her.' 'Never mind, will do better.'
Hans went into the stable, cut out all the calves' and sheep's eyes,
and threw them in Gretel's face. Then Gretel became angry, tore
herself loose and ran away, and was no longer the bride of Hans.
THE THREE LANGUAGES
An aged count once lived in Switzerland, who had an only son, but he
was stupid, and could learn nothing. Then said the father: 'Hark you,
my son, try as I will I can get nothing into your head. You must go
from hence, I will give you into the care of a celebrated master, who
shall see what he can do with you.' The youth was sent into a strange
town, and remained a whole year with the master. At the end of this
time, he came home again, and his father asked: 'Now, my son, what
have you learnt?' 'Father, I have learnt what the dogs say when they
bark.' 'Lord have mercy on us!' cried the father; 'is that all you
have learnt? I will send you into another town, to another master.'
The youth was taken thither, and stayed a year with this master
likewise. When he came back the father again asked: 'My son, what have
you learnt?' He answered: 'Father, I have learnt what the birds say.'
Then the father fell into a rage and said: 'Oh, you lost man, you have
spent the precious time and learnt nothing; are you not ashamed to
appear before my eyes? I will send you to a third master, but if you
learn nothing this time also, I will no longer be your father.' The
youth remained a whole year with the third master also, and when he
came home again, and his father inquired: 'My son, what have you
learnt?' he answered: 'Dear father, I have this year learnt what the
frogs croak.' Then the father fell into the most furious anger, sprang
up, called his people thither, and said: 'This man is no longer my
son, I drive him forth, and command you to take him out into the
forest, and kill him.' They took him forth, but when they should have
killed him, they could not do it for pity, and let him go, and they
cut the eyes and tongue out of a deer that they might carry them to
the old man as a token.
The youth wandered on, and after some time came to a fortress where he
begged for a night's lodging. 'Yes,' said the lord of the castle, 'if
you will pass the night down there in the old tower, go thither; but I
warn you, it is at the peril of your life, for it is full of wild
dogs, which bark and howl without stopping, and at certain hours a man
has to be given to them, whom they at once devour.' The whole district
was in sorrow and dismay because of them, and yet no one could do
anything to stop this. The youth, however, was without fear, and said:
'Just let me go down to the barking dogs, and give me something that I
can throw to them; they will do nothing to harm me.' As he himself
would have it so, they gave him some food for the wild animals, and
led him down to the tower. When he went inside, the dogs did not bark
at him, but wagged their tails quite amicably around him, ate what he
set before them, and did not hurt one hair of his head. Next morning,
to the astonishment of everyone, he came out again safe and unharmed,
and said to the lord of the castle: 'The dogs have revealed to me, in
their own language, why they dwell there, and bring evil on the land.
They are bewitched, and are obliged to watch over a great treasure
which is below in the tower, and they can have no rest until it is
taken away, and I have likewise learnt, from their discourse, how that
is to be done.' Then all who heard this rejoiced, and the lord of the
castle said he would adopt him as a son if he accomplished it
successfully. He went down again, and as he knew what he had to do, he
did it thoroughly, and brought a chest full of gold out with him. The
howling of the wild dogs was henceforth heard no more; they had
disappeared, and the country was freed from the trouble.
After some time he took it in his head that he would travel to Rome.
On the way he passed by a marsh, in which a number of frogs were
sitting croaking. He listened to them, and when he became aware of
what they were saying, he grew very thoughtful and sad. At last he
arrived in Rome, where the Pope had just died, and there was great
doubt among the cardinals as to whom they should appoint as his
successor. They at length agreed that the person should be chosen as
pope who should be distinguished by some divine and miraculous token.
And just as that was decided on, the young count entered into the
church, and suddenly two snow-white doves flew on his shoulders and
remained sitting there. The ecclesiastics recognized therein the token
from above, and asked him on the spot if he would be pope. He was
undecided, and knew not if he were worthy of this, but the doves
counselled him to do it, and at length he said yes. Then was he
anointed and consecrated, and thus was fulfilled what he had heard
from the frogs on his way, which had so affected him, that he was to
be his Holiness the Pope. Then he had to sing a mass, and did not know
one word of it, but the two doves sat continually on his shoulders,
and said it all in his ear.
THE FOX AND THE CAT
It happened that the cat met the fox in a forest, and as she thought
to herself: 'He is clever and full of experience, and much esteemed in
the world,' she spoke to him in a friendly way. 'Good day, dear Mr
Fox, how are you? How is all with you? How are you getting on in these
hard times?' The fox, full of all kinds of arrogance, looked at the
cat from head to foot, and for a long time did not know whether he
would give any answer or not. At last he said: 'Oh, you wretched
beard-cleaner, you piebald fool, you hungry mouse-hunter, what can you
be thinking of? Have you the cheek to ask how I am getting on? What
have you learnt? How many arts do you understand?' 'I understand but
one,' replied the cat, modestly. 'What art is that?' asked the fox.
'When the hounds are following me, I can spring into a tree and save
myself.' 'Is that all?' said the fox. 'I am master of a hundred arts,
and have into the bargain a sackful of cunning. You make me sorry for
you; come with me, I will teach you how people get away from the
hounds.' Just then came a hunter with four dogs. The cat sprang nimbly
up a tree, and sat down at the top of it, where the branches and
foliage quite concealed her. 'Open your sack, Mr Fox, open your sack,'
cried the cat to him, but the dogs had already seized him, and were
holding him fast. 'Ah, Mr Fox,' cried the cat. 'You with your hundred
arts are left in the lurch! Had you been able to climb like me, you
would not have lost your life.'
THE FOUR CLEVER BROTHERS
'Dear children,' said a poor man to his four sons, 'I have nothing to
give you; you must go out into the wide world and try your luck. Begin
by learning some craft or another, and see how you can get on.' So the
four brothers took their walking-sticks in their hands, and their
little bundles on their shoulders, and after bidding their father
goodbye, went all out at the gate together. When they had got on some
way they came to four crossways, each leading to a different country.
Then the eldest said, 'Here we must part; but this day four years we
will come back to this spot, and in the meantime each must try what he
can do for himself.'
So each brother went his way; and as the eldest was hastening on a man
met him, and asked him where he was going, and what he wanted. 'I am
going to try my luck in the world, and should like to begin by
learning some art or trade,' answered he. 'Then,' said the man, 'go
with me, and I will teach you to become the cunningest thief that ever
was.' 'No,' said the other, 'that is not an honest calling, and what
can one look to earn by it in the end but the gallows?' 'Oh!' said the
man, 'you need not fear the gallows; for I will only teach you to
steal what will be fair game: I meddle with nothing but what no one
else can get or care anything about, and where no one can find you
out.' So the young man agreed to follow his trade, and he soon showed
himself so clever, that nothing could escape him that he had once set
his mind upon.
The second brother also met a man, who, when he found out what he was
setting out upon, asked him what craft he meant to follow. 'I do not
know yet,' said he. 'Then come with me, and be a star-gazer. It is a
noble art, for nothing can be hidden from you, when once you
understand the stars.' The plan pleased him much, and he soon became
such a skilful star-gazer, that when he had served out his time, and
wanted to leave his master, he gave him a glass, and said, 'With this
you can see all that is passing in the sky and on earth, and nothing
can be hidden from you.'
The third brother met a huntsman, who took him with him, and taught
him so well all that belonged to hunting, that he became very clever
in the craft of the woods; and when he left his master he gave him a
bow, and said, 'Whatever you shoot at with this bow you will be sure
The youngest brother likewise met a man who asked him what he wished
to do. 'Would not you like,' said he, 'to be a tailor?' 'Oh, no!' said
the young man; 'sitting cross-legged from morning to night, working
backwards and forwards with a needle and goose, will never suit me.'
'Oh!' answered the man, 'that is not my sort of tailoring; come with
me, and you will learn quite another kind of craft from that.' Not
knowing what better to do, he came into the plan, and learnt tailoring
from the beginning; and when he left his master, he gave him a needle,
and said, 'You can sew anything with this, be it as soft as an egg or
as hard as steel; and the joint will be so fine that no seam will be
After the space of four years, at the time agreed upon, the four
brothers met at the four cross-roads; and having welcomed each other,
set off towards their father's home, where they told him all that had
happened to them, and how each had learned some craft.
Then, one day, as they were sitting before the house under a very high
tree, the father said, 'I should like to try what each of you can do
in this way.' So he looked up, and said to the second son, 'At the top
of this tree there is a chaffinch's nest; tell me how many eggs there
are in it.' The star-gazer took his glass, looked up, and said,
'Five.' 'Now,' said the father to the eldest son, 'take away the eggs
without letting the bird that is sitting upon them and hatching them
know anything of what you are doing.' So the cunning thief climbed up
the tree, and brought away to his father the five eggs from under the
bird; and it never saw or felt what he was doing, but kept sitting on
at its ease. Then the father took the eggs, and put one on each corner
of the table, and the fifth in the middle, and said to the huntsman,
'Cut all the eggs in two pieces at one shot.' The huntsman took up his
bow, and at one shot struck all the five eggs as his father wished.
'Now comes your turn,' said he to the young tailor; 'sew the eggs and
the young birds in them together again, so neatly that the shot shall
have done them no harm.' Then the tailor took his needle, and sewed
the eggs as he was told; and when he had done, the thief was sent to
take them back to the nest, and put them under the bird without its
knowing it. Then she went on sitting, and hatched them: and in a few
days they crawled out, and had only a little red streak across their
necks, where the tailor had sewn them together.
'Well done, sons!' said the old man; 'you have made good use of your
time, and learnt something worth the knowing; but I am sure I do not
know which ought to have the prize. Oh, that a time might soon come
for you to turn your skill to some account!'
Not long after this there was a great bustle in the country; for the
king's daughter had been carried off by a mighty dragon, and the king
mourned over his loss day and night, and made it known that whoever
brought her back to him should have her for a wife. Then the four
brothers said to each other, 'Here is a chance for us; let us try what
we can do.' And they agreed to see whether they could not set the
princess free. 'I will soon find out where she is, however,' said the
star-gazer, as he looked through his glass; and he soon cried out, 'I
see her afar off, sitting upon a rock in the sea, and I can spy the
dragon close by, guarding her.' Then he went to the king, and asked
for a ship for himself and his brothers; and they sailed together over
the sea, till they came to the right place. There they found the
princess sitting, as the star-gazer had said, on the rock; and the
dragon was lying asleep, with his head upon her lap. 'I dare not shoot
at him,' said the huntsman, 'for I should kill the beautiful young
lady also.' 'Then I will try my skill,' said the thief, and went and
stole her away from under the dragon, so quietly and gently that the
beast did not know it, but went on snoring.
Then away they hastened with her full of joy in their boat towards the
ship; but soon came the dragon roaring behind them through the air;
for he awoke and missed the princess. But when he got over the boat,
and wanted to pounce upon them and carry off the princess, the
huntsman took up his bow and shot him straight through the heart so
that he fell down dead. They were still not safe; for he was such a
great beast that in his fall he overset the boat, and they had to swim
in the open sea upon a few planks. So the tailor took his needle, and
with a few large stitches put some of the planks together; and he sat
down upon these, and sailed about and gathered up all pieces of the
boat; and then tacked them together so quickly that the boat was soon
ready, and they then reached the ship and got home safe.
When they had brought home the princess to her father, there was great
rejoicing; and he said to the four brothers, 'One of you shall marry
her, but you must settle amongst yourselves which it is to be.' Then
there arose a quarrel between them; and the star-gazer said, 'If I had
not found the princess out, all your skill would have been of no use;
therefore she ought to be mine.' 'Your seeing her would have been of
no use,' said the thief, 'if I had not taken her away from the dragon;
therefore she ought to be mine.' 'No, she is mine,' said the huntsman;
'for if I had not killed the dragon, he would, after all, have torn
you and the princess into pieces.' 'And if I had not sewn the boat
together again,' said the tailor, 'you would all have been drowned,
therefore she is mine.' Then the king put in a word, and said, 'Each
of you is right; and as all cannot have the young lady, the best way
is for neither of you to have her: for the truth is, there is somebody
she likes a great deal better. But to make up for your loss, I will
give each of you, as a reward for his skill, half a kingdom.' So the
brothers agreed that this plan would be much better than either
quarrelling or marrying a lady who had no mind to have them. And the
king then gave to each half a kingdom, as he had said; and they lived
very happily the rest of their days, and took good care of their
father; and somebody took better care of the young lady, than to let
either the dragon or one of the craftsmen have her again.
LILY AND THE LION
A merchant, who had three daughters, was once setting out upon a
journey; but before he went he asked each daughter what gift he should
bring back for her. The eldest wished for pearls; the second for
jewels; but the third, who was called Lily, said, 'Dear father, bring
me a rose.' Now it was no easy task to find a rose, for it was the
middle of winter; yet as she was his prettiest daughter, and was very
fond of flowers, her father said he would try what he could do. So he
kissed all three, and bid them goodbye.
And when the time came for him to go home, he had bought pearls and
jewels for the two eldest, but he had sought everywhere in vain for
the rose; and when he went into any garden and asked for such a thing,
the people laughed at him, and asked him whether he thought roses grew
in snow. This grieved him very much, for Lily was his dearest child;
and as he was journeying home, thinking what he should bring her, he
came to a fine castle; and around the castle was a garden, in one half
of which it seemed to be summer-time and in the other half winter. On
one side the finest flowers were in full bloom, and on the other
everything looked dreary and buried in the snow. 'A lucky hit!' said
he, as he called to his servant, and told him to go to a beautiful bed
of roses that was there, and bring him away one of the finest flowers.
This done, they were riding away well pleased, when up sprang a fierce
lion, and roared out, 'Whoever has stolen my roses shall be eaten up
alive!' Then the man said, 'I knew not that the garden belonged to
you; can nothing save my life?' 'No!' said the lion, 'nothing, unless
you undertake to give me whatever meets you on your return home; if
you agree to this, I will give you your life, and the rose too for
your daughter.' But the man was unwilling to do so and said, 'It may
be my youngest daughter, who loves me most, and always runs to meet me
when I go home.' Then the servant was greatly frightened, and said,
'It may perhaps be only a cat or a dog.' And at last the man yielded
with a heavy heart, and took the rose; and said he would give the lion
whatever should meet him first on his return.
And as he came near home, it was Lily, his youngest and dearest
daughter, that met him; she came running, and kissed him, and welcomed
him home; and when she saw that he had brought her the rose, she was
still more glad. But her father began to be very sorrowful, and to
weep, saying, 'Alas, my dearest child! I have bought this flower at a
high price, for I have said I would give you to a wild lion; and when
he has you, he will tear you in pieces, and eat you.' Then he told her
all that had happened, and said she should not go, let what would
But she comforted him, and said, 'Dear father, the word you have given
must be kept; I will go to the lion, and soothe him: perhaps he will
let me come safe home again.'
The next morning she asked the way she was to go, and took leave of
her father, and went forth with a bold heart into the wood. But the
lion was an enchanted prince. By day he and all his court were lions,
but in the evening they took their right forms again. And when Lily
came to the castle, he welcomed her so courteously that she agreed to
marry him. The wedding-feast was held, and they lived happily together
a long time. The prince was only to be seen as soon as evening came,
and then he held his court; but every morning he left his bride, and
went away by himself, she knew not whither, till the night came again.
After some time he said to her, 'Tomorrow there will be a great feast
in your father's house, for your eldest sister is to be married; and
if you wish to go and visit her my lions shall lead you thither.' Then
she rejoiced much at the thoughts of seeing her father once more, and
set out with the lions; and everyone was overjoyed to see her, for
they had thought her dead long since. But she told them how happy she
was, and stayed till the feast was over, and then went back to the
Her second sister was soon after married, and when Lily was asked to
go to the wedding, she said to the prince, 'I will not go alone this
time--you must go with me.' But he would not, and said that it would
be a very hazardous thing; for if the least ray of the torch-light
should fall upon him his enchantment would become still worse, for he
should be changed into a dove, and be forced to wander about the world
for seven long years. However, she gave him no rest, and said she
would take care no light should fall upon him. So at last they set out
together, and took with them their little child; and she chose a large
hall with thick walls for him to sit in while the wedding-torches were
lighted; but, unluckily, no one saw that there was a crack in the
door. Then the wedding was held with great pomp, but as the train came
from the church, and passed with the torches before the hall, a very
small ray of light fell upon the prince. In a moment he disappeared,
and when his wife came in and looked for him, she found only a white
dove; and it said to her, 'Seven years must I fly up and down over the
face of the earth, but every now and then I will let fall a white
feather, that will show you the way I am going; follow it, and at last
you may overtake and set me free.'
This said, he flew out at the door, and poor Lily followed; and every
now and then a white feather fell, and showed her the way she was to
journey. Thus she went roving on through the wide world, and looked
neither to the right hand nor to the left, nor took any rest, for
seven years. Then she began to be glad, and thought to herself that
the time was fast coming when all her troubles should end; yet repose
was still far off, for one day as she was travelling on she missed the
white feather, and when she lifted up her eyes she could nowhere see
the dove. 'Now,' thought she to herself, 'no aid of man can be of use
to me.' So she went to the sun and said, 'Thou shinest everywhere, on
the hill's top and the valley's depth--hast thou anywhere seen my
white dove?' 'No,' said the sun, 'I have not seen it; but I will give
thee a casket--open it when thy hour of need comes.'
So she thanked the sun, and went on her way till eventide; and when
the moon arose, she cried unto it, and said, 'Thou shinest through the
night, over field and grove--hast thou nowhere seen my white dove?'
'No,' said the moon, 'I cannot help thee but I will give thee an egg--
break it when need comes.'
Then she thanked the moon, and went on till the night-wind blew; and
she raised up her voice to it, and said, 'Thou blowest through every
tree and under every leaf--hast thou not seen my white dove?' 'No,'
said the night-wind, 'but I will ask three other winds; perhaps they
have seen it.' Then the east wind and the west wind came, and said
they too had not seen it, but the south wind said, 'I have seen the
white dove--he has fled to the Red Sea, and is changed once more into
a lion, for the seven years are passed away, and there he is fighting
with a dragon; and the dragon is an enchanted princess, who seeks to
separate him from you.' Then the night-wind said, 'I will give thee
counsel. Go to the Red Sea; on the right shore stand many rods--count
them, and when thou comest to the eleventh, break it off, and smite
the dragon with it; and so the lion will have the victory, and both of
them will appear to you in their own forms. Then look round and thou
wilt see a griffin, winged like bird, sitting by the Red Sea; jump on
to his back with thy beloved one as quickly as possible, and he will
carry you over the waters to your home. I will also give thee this
nut,' continued the night-wind. 'When you are half-way over, throw it
down, and out of the waters will immediately spring up a high nut-tree
on which the griffin will be able to rest, otherwise he would not have
the strength to bear you the whole way; if, therefore, thou dost
forget to throw down the nut, he will let you both fall into the sea.'
So our poor wanderer went forth, and found all as the night-wind had
said; and she plucked the eleventh rod, and smote the dragon, and the
lion forthwith became a prince, and the dragon a princess again. But
no sooner was the princess released from the spell, than she seized
the prince by the arm and sprang on to the griffin's back, and went
off carrying the prince away with her.
Thus the unhappy traveller was again forsaken and forlorn; but she
took heart and said, 'As far as the wind blows, and so long as the
cock crows, I will journey on, till I find him once again.' She went
on for a long, long way, till at length she came to the castle whither
the princess had carried the prince; and there was a feast got ready,
and she heard that the wedding was about to be held. 'Heaven aid me
now!' said she; and she took the casket that the sun had given her,
and found that within it lay a dress as dazzling as the sun itself. So
she put it on, and went into the palace, and all the people gazed upon
her; and the dress pleased the bride so much that she asked whether it
was to be sold. 'Not for gold and silver.' said she, 'but for flesh
and blood.' The princess asked what she meant, and she said, 'Let me
speak with the bridegroom this night in his chamber, and I will give
thee the dress.' At last the princess agreed, but she told her
chamberlain to give the prince a sleeping draught, that he might not
hear or see her. When evening came, and the prince had fallen asleep,
she was led into his chamber, and she sat herself down at his feet,
and said: 'I have followed thee seven years. I have been to the sun,
the moon, and the night-wind, to seek thee, and at last I have helped
thee to overcome the dragon. Wilt thou then forget me quite?' But the
prince all the time slept so soundly, that her voice only passed over
him, and seemed like the whistling of the wind among the fir-trees.
Then poor Lily was led away, and forced to give up the golden dress;
and when she saw that there was no help for her, she went out into a
meadow, and sat herself down and wept. But as she sat she bethought
herself of the egg that the moon had given her; and when she broke it,
there ran out a hen and twelve chickens of pure gold, that played
about, and then nestled under the old one's wings, so as to form the
most beautiful sight in the world. And she rose up and drove them
before her, till the bride saw them from her window, and was so
pleased that she came forth and asked her if she would sell the brood.
'Not for gold or silver, but for flesh and blood: let me again this
evening speak with the bridegroom in his chamber, and I will give thee
the whole brood.'
Then the princess thought to betray her as before, and agreed to what
she asked: but when the prince went to his chamber he asked the
chamberlain why the wind had whistled so in the night. And the
chamberlain told him all--how he had given him a sleeping draught, and
how a poor maiden had come and spoken to him in his chamber, and was
to come again that night. Then the prince took care to throw away the
sleeping draught; and when Lily came and began again to tell him what
woes had befallen her, and how faithful and true to him she had been,
he knew his beloved wife's voice, and sprang up, and said, 'You have
awakened me as from a dream, for the strange princess had thrown a
spell around me, so that I had altogether forgotten you; but Heaven
hath sent you to me in a lucky hour.'
And they stole away out of the palace by night unawares, and seated
themselves on the griffin, who flew back with them over the Red Sea.
When they were half-way across Lily let the nut fall into the water,
and immediately a large nut-tree arose from the sea, whereon the
griffin rested for a while, and then carried them safely home. There
they found their child, now grown up to be comely and fair; and after
all their troubles they lived happily together to the end of their
THE FOX AND THE HORSE
A farmer had a horse that had been an excellent faithful servant to
him: but he was now grown too old to work; so the farmer would give
him nothing more to eat, and said, 'I want you no longer, so take
yourself off out of my stable; I shall not take you back again until
you are stronger than a lion.' Then he opened the door and turned him
The poor horse was very melancholy, and wandered up and down in the
wood, seeking some little shelter from the cold wind and rain.
Presently a fox met him: 'What's the matter, my friend?' said he, 'why
do you hang down your head and look so lonely and woe-begone?' 'Ah!'
replied the horse, 'justice and avarice never dwell in one house; my
master has forgotten all that I have done for him so many years, and
because I can no longer work he has turned me adrift, and says unless
I become stronger than a lion he will not take me back again; what
chance can I have of that? he knows I have none, or he would not talk
However, the fox bid him be of good cheer, and said, 'I will help you;
lie down there, stretch yourself out quite stiff, and pretend to be
dead.' The horse did as he was told, and the fox went straight to the
lion who lived in a cave close by, and said to him, 'A little way off
lies a dead horse; come with me and you may make an excellent meal of
his carcase.' The lion was greatly pleased, and set off immediately;
and when they came to the horse, the fox said, 'You will not be able
to eat him comfortably here; I'll tell you what--I will tie you fast
to his tail, and then you can draw him to your den, and eat him at
This advice pleased the lion, so he laid himself down quietly for the
fox to make him fast to the horse. But the fox managed to tie his legs
together and bound all so hard and fast that with all his strength he
could not set himself free. When the work was done, the fox clapped
the horse on the shoulder, and said, 'Jip! Dobbin! Jip!' Then up he
sprang, and moved off, dragging the lion behind him. The beast began
to roar and bellow, till all the birds of the wood flew away for
fright; but the horse let him sing on, and made his way quietly over
the fields to his master's house.
'Here he is, master,' said he, 'I have got the better of him': and
when the farmer saw his old servant, his heart relented, and he said.
'Thou shalt stay in thy stable and be well taken care of.' And so the
poor old horse had plenty to eat, and lived--till he died.
THE BLUE LIGHT
There was once upon a time a soldier who for many years had served the
king faithfully, but when the war came to an end could serve no longer
because of the many wounds which he had received. The king said to
him: 'You may return to your home, I need you no longer, and you will
not receive any more money, for he only receives wages who renders me
service for them.' Then the soldier did not know how to earn a living,
went away greatly troubled, and walked the whole day, until in the
evening he entered a forest. When darkness came on, he saw a light,
which he went up to, and came to a house wherein lived a witch. 'Do
give me one night's lodging, and a little to eat and drink,' said he
to her, 'or I shall starve.' 'Oho!' she answered, 'who gives anything
to a run-away soldier? Yet will I be compassionate, and take you in,
if you will do what I wish.' 'What do you wish?' said the soldier.
'That you should dig all round my garden for me, tomorrow.' The
soldier consented, and next day laboured with all his strength, but
could not finish it by the evening. 'I see well enough,' said the
witch, 'that you can do no more today, but I will keep you yet another
night, in payment for which you must tomorrow chop me a load of wood,
and chop it small.' The soldier spent the whole day in doing it, and
in the evening the witch proposed that he should stay one night more.
'Tomorrow, you shall only do me a very trifling piece of work. Behind
my house, there is an old dry well, into which my light has fallen, it
burns blue, and never goes out, and you shall bring it up again.' Next
day the old woman took him to the well, and let him down in a basket.
He found the blue light, and made her a signal to draw him up again.
She did draw him up, but when he came near the edge, she stretched
down her hand and wanted to take the blue light away from him. 'No,'
said he, perceiving her evil intention, 'I will not give you the light
until I am standing with both feet upon the ground.' The witch fell
into a passion, let him fall again into the well, and went away.
The poor soldier fell without injury on the moist ground, and the blue
light went on burning, but of what use was that to him? He saw very
well that he could not escape death. He sat for a while very
sorrowfully, then suddenly he felt in his pocket and found his tobacco
pipe, which was still half full. 'This shall be my last pleasure,'
thought he, pulled it out, lit it at the blue light and began to
smoke. When the smoke had circled about the cavern, suddenly a little
black dwarf stood before him, and said: 'Lord, what are your
commands?' 'What my commands are?' replied the soldier, quite
astonished. 'I must do everything you bid me,' said the little man.
'Good,' said the soldier; 'then in the first place help me out of this
well.' The little man took him by the hand, and led him through an
underground passage, but he did not forget to take the blue light with
him. On the way the dwarf showed him the treasures which the witch had
collected and hidden there, and the soldier took as much gold as he
could carry. When he was above, he said to the little man: 'Now go and
bind the old witch, and carry her before the judge.' In a short time
she came by like the wind, riding on a wild tom-cat and screaming
frightfully. Nor was it long before the little man reappeared. 'It is
all done,' said he, 'and the witch is already hanging on the gallows.
What further commands has my lord?' inquired the dwarf. 'At this
moment, none,' answered the soldier; 'you can return home, only be at
hand immediately, if I summon you.' 'Nothing more is needed than that
you should light your pipe at the blue light, and I will appear before
you at once.' Thereupon he vanished from his sight.
The soldier returned to the town from which he come. He went to the
best inn, ordered himself handsome clothes, and then bade the landlord
furnish him a room as handsome as possible. When it was ready and the
soldier had taken possession of it, he summoned the little black
manikin and said: 'I have served the king faithfully, but he has
dismissed me, and left me to hunger, and now I want to take my
revenge.' 'What am I to do?' asked the little man. 'Late at night,
when the king's daughter is in bed, bring her here in her sleep, she
shall do servant's work for me.' The manikin said: 'That is an easy
thing for me to do, but a very dangerous thing for you, for if it is
discovered, you will fare ill.' When twelve o'clock had struck, the
door sprang open, and the manikin carried in the princess. 'Aha! are
you there?' cried the soldier, 'get to your work at once! Fetch the
broom and sweep the chamber.' When she had done this, he ordered her
to come to his chair, and then he stretched out his feet and said:
'Pull off my boots,' and then he threw them in her face, and made her
pick them up again, and clean and brighten them. She, however, did
everything he bade her, without opposition, silently and with half-
shut eyes. When the first cock crowed, the manikin carried her back to
the royal palace, and laid her in her bed.
Next morning when the princess arose she went to her father, and told
him that she had had a very strange dream. 'I was carried through the
streets with the rapidity of lightning,' said she, 'and taken into a
soldier's room, and I had to wait upon him like a servant, sweep his
room, clean his boots, and do all kinds of menial work. It was only a
dream, and yet I am just as tired as if I really had done everything.'
'The dream may have been true,' said the king. 'I will give you a
piece of advice. Fill your pocket full of peas, and make a small hole
in the pocket, and then if you are carried away again, they will fall
out and leave a track in the streets.' But unseen by the king, the
manikin was standing beside him when he said that, and heard all. At
night when the sleeping princess was again carried through the
streets, some peas certainly did fall out of her pocket, but they made
no track, for the crafty manikin had just before scattered peas in
every street there was. And again the princess was compelled to do
servant's work until cock-crow.
Next morning the king sent his people out to seek the track, but it
was all in vain, for in every street poor children were sitting,
picking up peas, and saying: 'It must have rained peas, last night.'
'We must think of something else,' said the king; 'keep your shoes on
when you go to bed, and before you come back from the place where you
are taken, hide one of them there, I will soon contrive to find it.'
The black manikin heard this plot, and at night when the soldier again
ordered him to bring the princess, revealed it to him, and told him
that he knew of no expedient to counteract this stratagem, and that if
the shoe were found in the soldier's house it would go badly with him.
'Do what I bid you,' replied the soldier, and again this third night
the princess was obliged to work like a servant, but before she went
away, she hid her shoe under the bed.
Next morning the king had the entire town searched for his daughter's
shoe. It was found at the soldier's, and the soldier himself, who at
the entreaty of the dwarf had gone outside the gate, was soon brought
back, and thrown into prison. In his flight he had forgotten the most
valuable things he had, the blue light and the gold, and had only one
ducat in his pocket. And now loaded with chains, he was standing at
the window of his dungeon, when he chanced to see one of his comrades
passing by. The soldier tapped at the pane of glass, and when this man
came up, said to him: 'Be so kind as to fetch me the small bundle I
have left lying in the inn, and I will give you a ducat for doing it.'
His comrade ran thither and brought him what he wanted. As soon as the
soldier was alone again, he lighted his pipe and summoned the black
manikin. 'Have no fear,' said the latter to his master. 'Go
wheresoever they take you, and let them do what they will, only take
the blue light with you.' Next day the soldier was tried, and though
he had done nothing wicked, the judge condemned him to death. When he
was led forth to die, he begged a last favour of the king. 'What is
it?' asked the king. 'That I may smoke one more pipe on my way.' 'You
may smoke three,' answered the king, 'but do not imagine that I will
spare your life.' Then the soldier pulled out his pipe and lighted it
at the blue light, and as soon as a few wreaths of smoke had ascended,
the manikin was there with a small cudgel in his hand, and said: 'What
does my lord command?' 'Strike down to earth that false judge there,
and his constable, and spare not the king who has treated me so ill.'
Then the manikin fell on them like lightning, darting this way and
that way, and whosoever was so much as touched by his cudgel fell to
earth, and did not venture to stir again. The king was terrified; he
threw himself on the soldier's mercy, and merely to be allowed to live
at all, gave him his kingdom for his own, and his daughter to wife.
There was once a queen who had a little daughter, still too young to
run alone. One day the child was very troublesome, and the mother
could not quiet it, do what she would. She grew impatient, and seeing
the ravens flying round the castle, she opened the window, and said:
'I wish you were a raven and would fly away, then I should have a
little peace.' Scarcely were the words out of her mouth, when the
child in her arms was turned into a raven, and flew away from her
through the open window. The bird took its flight to a dark wood and
remained there for a long time, and meanwhile the parents could hear
nothing of their child.
Long after this, a man was making his way through the wood when he
heard a raven calling, and he followed the sound of the voice. As he
drew near, the raven said, 'I am by birth a king's daughter, but am
now under the spell of some enchantment; you can, however, set me
free.' 'What am I to do?' he asked. She replied, 'Go farther into the
wood until you come to a house, wherein lives an old woman; she will
offer you food and drink, but you must not take of either; if you do,
you will fall into a deep sleep, and will not be able to help me. In
the garden behind the house is a large tan-heap, and on that you must
stand and watch for me. I shall drive there in my carriage at two
o'clock in the afternoon for three successive days; the first day it
will be drawn by four white, the second by four chestnut, and the last
by four black horses; but if you fail to keep awake and I find you
sleeping, I shall not be set free.'
The man promised to do all that she wished, but the raven said, 'Alas!
I know even now that you will take something from the woman and be
unable to save me.' The man assured her again that he would on no
account touch a thing to eat or drink.
When he came to the house and went inside, the old woman met him, and
said, 'Poor man! how tired you are! Come in and rest and let me give
you something to eat and drink.'
'No,' answered the man, 'I will neither eat not drink.'
But she would not leave him alone, and urged him saying, 'If you will
not eat anything, at least you might take a draught of wine; one drink
counts for nothing,' and at last he allowed himself to be persuaded,
As it drew towards the appointed hour, he went outside into the garden
and mounted the tan-heap to await the raven. Suddenly a feeling of
fatigue came over him, and unable to resist it, he lay down for a
little while, fully determined, however, to keep awake; but in another
minute his eyes closed of their own accord, and he fell into such a
deep sleep, that all the noises in the world would not have awakened
him. At two o'clock the raven came driving along, drawn by her four
white horses; but even before she reached the spot, she said to
herself, sighing, 'I know he has fallen asleep.' When she entered the
garden, there she found him as she had feared, lying on the tan-heap,
fast asleep. She got out of her carriage and went to him; she called
him and shook him, but it was all in vain, he still continued
The next day at noon, the old woman came to him again with food and
drink which he at first refused. At last, overcome by her persistent
entreaties that he would take something, he lifted the glass and drank
Towards two o'clock he went into the garden and on to the tan-heap to
watch for the raven. He had not been there long before he began to
feel so tired that his limbs seemed hardly able to support him, and he
could not stand upright any longer; so again he lay down and fell fast
asleep. As the raven drove along her four chestnut horses, she said
sorrowfully to herself, 'I know he has fallen asleep.' She went as
before to look for him, but he slept, and it was impossible to awaken
The following day the old woman said to him, 'What is this? You are
not eating or drinking anything, do you want to kill yourself?'
He answered, 'I may not and will not either eat or drink.'
But she put down the dish of food and the glass of wine in front of
him, and when he smelt the wine, he was unable to resist the
temptation, and took a deep draught.
When the hour came round again he went as usual on to the tan-heap in
the garden to await the king's daughter, but he felt even more
overcome with weariness than on the two previous days, and throwing
himself down, he slept like a log. At two o'clock the raven could be
seen approaching, and this time her coachman and everything about her,
as well as her horses, were black.
She was sadder than ever as she drove along, and said mournfully, 'I
know he has fallen asleep, and will not be able to set me free.' She
found him sleeping heavily, and all her efforts to awaken him were of
no avail. Then she placed beside him a loaf, and some meat, and a
flask of wine, of such a kind, that however much he took of them, they
would never grow less. After that she drew a gold ring, on which her
name was engraved, off her finger, and put it upon one of his.
Finally, she laid a letter near him, in which, after giving him
particulars of the food and drink she had left for him, she finished
with the following words: 'I see that as long as you remain here you
will never be able to set me free; if, however, you still wish to do
so, come to the golden castle of Stromberg; this is well within your
power to accomplish.' She then returned to her carriage and drove to
the golden castle of Stromberg.
When the man awoke and found that he had been sleeping, he was grieved
at heart, and said, 'She has no doubt been here and driven away again,
and it is now too late for me to save her.' Then his eyes fell on the
things which were lying beside him; he read the letter, and knew from
it all that had happened. He rose up without delay, eager to start on
his way and to reach the castle of Stromberg, but he had no idea in
which direction he ought to go. He travelled about a long time in
search of it and came at last to a dark forest, through which he went
on walking for fourteen days and still could not find a way out. Once
more the night came on, and worn out he lay down under a bush and fell
asleep. Again the next day he pursued his way through the forest, and
that evening, thinking to rest again, he lay down as before, but he
heard such a howling and wailing that he found it impossible to sleep.
He waited till it was darker and people had begun to light up their
houses, and then seeing a little glimmer ahead of him, he went towards
He found that the light came from a house which looked smaller than it
really was, from the contrast of its height with that of an immense
giant who stood in front of it. He thought to himself, 'If the giant
sees me going in, my life will not be worth much.' However, after a
while he summoned up courage and went forward. When the giant saw him,
he called out, 'It is lucky for that you have come, for I have not had
anything to eat for a long time. I can have you now for my supper.' 'I
would rather you let that alone,' said the man, 'for I do not
willingly give myself up to be eaten; if you are wanting food I have
enough to satisfy your hunger.' 'If that is so,' replied the giant, 'I
will leave you in peace; I only thought of eating you because I had
So they went indoors together and sat down, and the man brought out
the bread, meat, and wine, which although he had eaten and drunk of
them, were still unconsumed. The giant was pleased with the good
cheer, and ate and drank to his heart's content. When he had finished
his supper the man asked him if he could direct him to the castle of
Stromberg. The giant said, 'I will look on my map; on it are marked
all the towns, villages, and houses.' So he fetched his map, and
looked for the castle, but could not find it. 'Never mind,' he said,
'I have larger maps upstairs in the cupboard, we will look on those,'
but they searched in vain, for the castle was not marked even on
these. The man now thought he should like to continue his journey, but
the giant begged him to remain for a day or two longer until the
return of his brother, who was away in search of provisions. When the
brother came home, they asked him about the castle of Stromberg, and
he told them he would look on his own maps as soon as he had eaten and
appeased his hunger. Accordingly, when he had finished his supper,
they all went up together to his room and looked through his maps, but
the castle was not to be found. Then he fetched other older maps, and
they went on looking for the castle until at last they found it, but
it was many thousand miles away. 'How shall I be able to get there?'
asked the man. 'I have two hours to spare,' said the giant, 'and I
will carry you into the neighbourhood of the castle; I must then
return to look after the child who is in our care.'
The giant, thereupon, carried the man to within about a hundred
leagues of the castle, where he left him, saying, 'You will be able to
walk the remainder of the way yourself.' The man journeyed on day and
night till he reached the golden castle of Stromberg. He found it
situated, however, on a glass mountain, and looking up from the foot
he saw the enchanted maiden drive round her castle and then go inside.
He was overjoyed to see her, and longed to get to the top of the
mountain, but the sides were so slippery that every time he attempted
to climb he fell back again. When he saw that it was impossible to
reach her, he was greatly grieved, and said to himself, 'I will remain
here and wait for her,' so he built himself a little hut, and there he
sat and watched for a whole year, and every day he saw the king's
daughter driving round her castle, but still was unable to get nearer
Looking out from his hut one day he saw three robbers fighting and he
called out to them, 'God be with you.' They stopped when they heard
the call, but looking round and seeing nobody, they went on again with
their fighting, which now became more furious. 'God be with you,' he
cried again, and again they paused and looked about, but seeing no one
went back to their fighting. A third time he called out, 'God be with
you,' and then thinking he should like to know the cause of dispute
between the three men, he went out and asked them why they were
fighting so angrily with one another. One of them said that he had
found a stick, and that he had but to strike it against any door
through which he wished to pass, and it immediately flew open. Another
told him that he had found a cloak which rendered its wearer
invisible; and the third had caught a horse which would carry its
rider over any obstacle, and even up the glass mountain. They had been
unable to decide whether they would keep together and have the things
in common, or whether they would separate. On hearing this, the man
said, 'I will give you something in exchange for those three things;
not money, for that I have not got, but something that is of far more
value. I must first, however, prove whether all you have told me about
your three things is true.' The robbers, therefore, made him get on
the horse, and handed him the stick and the cloak, and when he had put
this round him he was no longer visible. Then he fell upon them with
the stick and beat them one after another, crying, 'There, you idle
vagabonds, you have got what you deserve; are you satisfied now!'
After this he rode up the glass mountain. When he reached the gate of
the castle, he found it closed, but he gave it a blow with his stick,
and it flew wide open at once and he passed through. He mounted the
steps and entered the room where the maiden was sitting, with a golden
goblet full of wine in front of her. She could not see him for he
still wore his cloak. He took the ring which she had given him off his
finger, and threw it into the goblet, so that it rang as it touched
the bottom. 'That is my own ring,' she exclaimed, 'and if that is so
the man must also be here who is coming to set me free.'
She sought for him about the castle, but could find him nowhere.
Meanwhile he had gone outside again and mounted his horse and thrown
off the cloak. When therefore she came to the castle gate she saw him,
and cried aloud for joy. Then he dismounted and took her in his arms;
and she kissed him, and said, 'Now you have indeed set me free, and
tomorrow we will celebrate our marriage.'
THE GOLDEN GOOSE
There was a man who had three sons, the youngest of whom was called
Dummling,[*] and was despised, mocked, and sneered at on every
It happened that the eldest wanted to go into the forest to hew wood,
and before he went his mother gave him a beautiful sweet cake and a
bottle of wine in order that he might not suffer from hunger or
When he entered the forest he met a little grey-haired old man who
bade him good day, and said: 'Do give me a piece of cake out of your
pocket, and let me have a draught of your wine; I am so hungry and
thirsty.' But the clever son answered: 'If I give you my cake and
wine, I shall have none for myself; be off with you,' and he left the
little man standing and went on.
But when he began to hew down a tree, it was not long before he made a
false stroke, and the axe cut him in the arm, so that he had to go
home and have it bound up. And this was the little grey man's doing.
After this the second son went into the forest, and his mother gave
him, like the eldest, a cake and a bottle of wine. The little old grey
man met him likewise, and asked him for a piece of cake and a drink of
wine. But the second son, too, said sensibly enough: 'What I give you
will be taken away from myself; be off!' and he left the little man
standing and went on. His punishment, however, was not delayed; when
he had made a few blows at the tree he struck himself in the leg, so
that he had to be carried home.
Then Dummling said: 'Father, do let me go and cut wood.' The father
answered: 'Your brothers have hurt themselves with it, leave it alone,
you do not understand anything about it.' But Dummling begged so long
that at last he said: 'Just go then, you will get wiser by hurting
yourself.' His mother gave him a cake made with water and baked in the
cinders, and with it a bottle of sour beer.
When he came to the forest the little old grey man met him likewise,
and greeting him, said: 'Give me a piece of your cake and a drink out
of your bottle; I am so hungry and thirsty.' Dummling answered: 'I
have only cinder-cake and sour beer; if that pleases you, we will sit
down and eat.' So they sat down, and when Dummling pulled out his
cinder-cake, it was a fine sweet cake, and the sour beer had become
good wine. So they ate and drank, and after that the little man said:
'Since you have a good heart, and are willing to divide what you have,
I will give you good luck. There stands an old tree, cut it down, and
you will find something at the roots.' Then the little man took leave
Dummling went and cut down the tree, and when it fell there was a
goose sitting in the roots with feathers of pure gold. He lifted her
up, and taking her with him, went to an inn where he thought he would
stay the night. Now the host had three daughters, who saw the goose
and were curious to know what such a wonderful bird might be, and
would have liked to have one of its golden feathers.
The eldest thought: 'I shall soon find an opportunity of pulling out a
feather,' and as soon as Dummling had gone out she seized the goose by
the wing, but her finger and hand remained sticking fast to it.
The second came soon afterwards, thinking only of how she might get a
feather for herself, but she had scarcely touched her sister than she
was held fast.
At last the third also came with the like intent, and the others
screamed out: 'Keep away; for goodness' sake keep away!' But she did
not understand why she was to keep away. 'The others are there,' she
thought, 'I may as well be there too,' and ran to them; but as soon as
she had touched her sister, she remained sticking fast to her. So they
had to spend the night with the goose.
The next morning Dummling took the goose under his arm and set out,
without troubling himself about the three girls who were hanging on to
it. They were obliged to run after him continually, now left, now
right, wherever his legs took him.
In the middle of the fields the parson met them, and when he saw the
procession he said: 'For shame, you good-for-nothing girls, why are
you running across the fields after this young man? Is that seemly?'
At the same time he seized the youngest by the hand in order to pull
her away, but as soon as he touched her he likewise stuck fast, and
was himself obliged to run behind.
Before long the sexton came by and saw his master, the parson, running
behind three girls. He was astonished at this and called out: 'Hi!
your reverence, whither away so quickly? Do not forget that we have a
christening today!' and running after him he took him by the sleeve,
but was also held fast to it.
Whilst the five were trotting thus one behind the other, two labourers
came with their hoes from the fields; the parson called out to them
and begged that they would set him and the sexton free. But they had
scarcely touched the sexton when they were held fast, and now there
were seven of them running behind Dummling and the goose.
Soon afterwards he came to a city, where a king ruled who had a
daughter who was so serious that no one could make her laugh. So he
had put forth a decree that whosoever should be able to make her laugh
should marry her. When Dummling heard this, he went with his goose and
all her train before the king's daughter, and as soon as she saw the
seven people running on and on, one behind the other, she began to
laugh quite loudly, and as if she would never stop. Thereupon Dummling
asked to have her for his wife; but the king did not like the son-in-
law, and made all manner of excuses and said he must first produce a
man who could drink a cellarful of wine. Dummling thought of the
little grey man, who could certainly help him; so he went into the
forest, and in the same place where he had felled the tree, he saw a
man sitting, who had a very sorrowful face. Dummling asked him what he
was taking to heart so sorely, and he answered: 'I have such a great
thirst and cannot quench it; cold water I cannot stand, a barrel of
wine I have just emptied, but that to me is like a drop on a hot
'There, I can help you,' said Dummling, 'just come with me and you
shall be satisfied.'
He led him into the king's cellar, and the man bent over the huge
barrels, and drank and drank till his loins hurt, and before the day
was out he had emptied all the barrels. Then Dummling asked once more
for his bride, but the king was vexed that such an ugly fellow, whom
everyone called Dummling, should take away his daughter, and he made a
new condition; he must first find a man who could eat a whole mountain
of bread. Dummling did not think long, but went straight into the
forest, where in the same place there sat a man who was tying up his
body with a strap, and making an awful face, and saying: 'I have eaten
a whole ovenful of rolls, but what good is that when one has such a
hunger as I? My stomach remains empty, and I must tie myself up if I
am not to die of hunger.'
At this Dummling was glad, and said: 'Get up and come with me; you
shall eat yourself full.' He led him to the king's palace where all
the flour in the whole Kingdom was collected, and from it he caused a
huge mountain of bread to be baked. The man from the forest stood
before it, began to eat, and by the end of one day the whole mountain
had vanished. Then Dummling for the third time asked for his bride;
but the king again sought a way out, and ordered a ship which could
sail on land and on water. 'As soon as you come sailing back in it,'
said he, 'you shall have my daughter for wife.'
Dummling went straight into the forest, and there sat the little grey
man to whom he had given his cake. When he heard what Dummling wanted,
he said: 'Since you have given me to eat and to drink, I will give you
the ship; and I do all this because you once were kind to me.' Then he
gave him the ship which could sail on land and water, and when the
king saw that, he could no longer prevent him from having his
daughter. The wedding was celebrated, and after the king's death,
Dummling inherited his kingdom and lived for a long time contentedly
with his wife.
THE WATER OF LIFE
Long before you or I were born, there reigned, in a country a great
way off, a king who had three sons. This king once fell very ill--so
ill that nobody thought he could live. His sons were very much grieved
at their father's sickness; and as they were walking together very
mournfully in the garden of the palace, a little old man met them and
asked what was the matter. They told him that their father was very
ill, and that they were afraid nothing could save him. 'I know what
would,' said the little old man; 'it is the Water of Life. If he could
have a draught of it he would be well again; but it is very hard to
get.' Then the eldest son said, 'I will soon find it': and he went to
the sick king, and begged that he might go in search of the Water of
Life, as it was the only thing that could save him. 'No,' said the
king. 'I had rather die than place you in such great danger as you
must meet with in your journey.' But he begged so hard that the king
let him go; and the prince thought to himself, 'If I bring my father
this water, he will make me sole heir to his kingdom.'
Then he set out: and when he had gone on his way some time he came to
a deep valley, overhung with rocks and woods; and as he looked around,
he saw standing above him on one of the rocks a little ugly dwarf,
with a sugarloaf cap and a scarlet cloak; and the dwarf called to him
and said, 'Prince, whither so fast?' 'What is that to thee, you ugly
imp?' said the prince haughtily, and rode on.
But the dwarf was enraged at his behaviour, and laid a fairy spell of
ill-luck upon him; so that as he rode on the mountain pass became
narrower and narrower, and at last the way was so straitened that he
could not go to step forward: and when he thought to have turned his
horse round and go back the way he came, he heard a loud laugh ringing
round him, and found that the path was closed behind him, so that he
was shut in all round. He next tried to get off his horse and make his
way on foot, but again the laugh rang in his ears, and he found
himself unable to move a step, and thus he was forced to abide
Meantime the old king was lingering on in daily hope of his son's
return, till at last the second son said, 'Father, I will go in search
of the Water of Life.' For he thought to himself, 'My brother is
surely dead, and the kingdom will fall to me if I find the water.' The
king was at first very unwilling to let him go, but at last yielded to
his wish. So he set out and followed the same road which his brother
had done, and met with the same elf, who stopped him at the same spot
in the mountains, saying, as before, 'Prince, prince, whither so
fast?' 'Mind your own affairs, busybody!' said the prince scornfully,
and rode on.
But the dwarf put the same spell upon him as he put on his elder
brother, and he, too, was at last obliged to take up his abode in the
heart of the mountains. Thus it is with proud silly people, who think
themselves above everyone else, and are too proud to ask or take
When the second prince had thus been gone a long time, the youngest
son said he would go and search for the Water of Life, and trusted he
should soon be able to make his father well again. So he set out, and
the dwarf met him too at the same spot in the valley, among the
mountains, and said, 'Prince, whither so fast?' And the prince said,
'I am going in search of the Water of Life, because my father is ill,
and like to die: can you help me? Pray be kind, and aid me if you
can!' 'Do you know where it is to be found?' asked the dwarf. 'No,'
said the prince, 'I do not. Pray tell me if you know.' 'Then as you
have spoken to me kindly, and are wise enough to seek for advice, I
will tell you how and where to go. The water you seek springs from a
well in an enchanted castle; and, that you may be able to reach it in
safety, I will give you an iron wand and two little loaves of bread;
strike the iron door of the castle three times with the wand, and it
will open: two hungry lions will be lying down inside gaping for their
prey, but if you throw them the bread they will let you pass; then
hasten on to the well, and take some of the Water of Life before the
clock strikes twelve; for if you tarry longer the door will shut upon
you for ever.'
Then the prince thanked his little friend with the scarlet cloak for
his friendly aid, and took the wand and the bread, and went travelling
on and on, over sea and over land, till he came to his journey's end,
and found everything to be as the dwarf had told him. The door flew
open at the third stroke of the wand, and when the lions were quieted
he went on through the castle and came at length to a beautiful hall.
Around it he saw several knights sitting in a trance; then he pulled
off their rings and put them on his own fingers. In another room he
saw on a table a sword and a loaf of bread, which he also took.
Further on he came to a room where a beautiful young lady sat upon a
couch; and she welcomed him joyfully, and said, if he would set her
free from the spell that bound her, the kingdom should be his, if he
would come back in a year and marry her. Then she told him that the
well that held the Water of Life was in the palace gardens; and bade
him make haste, and draw what he wanted before the clock struck
He walked on; and as he walked through beautiful gardens he came to a
delightful shady spot in which stood a couch; and he thought to
himself, as he felt tired, that he would rest himself for a while, and
gaze on the lovely scenes around him. So he laid himself down, and
sleep fell upon him unawares, so that he did not wake up till the
clock was striking a quarter to twelve. Then he sprang from the couch
dreadfully frightened, ran to the well, filled a cup that was standing
by him full of water, and hastened to get away in time. Just as he was
going out of the iron door it struck twelve, and the door fell so
quickly upon him that it snapped off a piece of his heel.
When he found himself safe, he was overjoyed to think that he had got
the Water of Life; and as he was going on his way homewards, he passed
by the little dwarf, who, when he saw the sword and the loaf, said,
'You have made a noble prize; with the sword you can at a blow slay
whole armies, and the bread will never fail you.' Then the prince
thought to himself, 'I cannot go home to my father without my
brothers'; so he said, 'My dear friend, cannot you tell me where my
two brothers are, who set out in search of the Water of Life before
me, and never came back?' 'I have shut them up by a charm between two
mountains,' said the dwarf, 'because they were proud and ill-behaved,
and scorned to ask advice.' The prince begged so hard for his
brothers, that the dwarf at last set them free, though unwillingly,
saying, 'Beware of them, for they have bad hearts.' Their brother,
however, was greatly rejoiced to see them, and told them all that had
happened to him; how he had found the Water of Life, and had taken a
cup full of it; and how he had set a beautiful princess free from a
spell that bound her; and how she had engaged to wait a whole year,
and then to marry him, and to give him the kingdom.
Then they all three rode on together, and on their way home came to a
country that was laid waste by war and a dreadful famine, so that it
was feared all must die for want. But the prince gave the king of the
land the bread, and all his kingdom ate of it. And he lent the king
the wonderful sword, and he slew the enemy's army with it; and thus
the kingdom was once more in peace and plenty. In the same manner he
befriended two other countries through which they passed on their way.
When they came to the sea, they got into a ship and during their
voyage the two eldest said to themselves, 'Our brother has got the
water which we could not find, therefore our father will forsake us
and give him the kingdom, which is our right'; so they were full of
envy and revenge, and agreed together how they could ruin him. Then
they waited till he was fast asleep, and poured the Water of Life out
of the cup, and took it for themselves, giving him bitter sea-water
When they came to their journey's end, the youngest son brought his
cup to the sick king, that he might drink and be healed. Scarcely,
however, had he tasted the bitter sea-water when he became worse even
than he was before; and then both the elder sons came in, and blamed
the youngest for what they had done; and said that he wanted to poison
their father, but that they had found the Water of Life, and had
brought it with them. He no sooner began to drink of what they brought
him, than he felt his sickness leave him, and was as strong and well
as in his younger days. Then they went to their brother, and laughed
at him, and said, 'Well, brother, you found the Water of Life, did
you? You have had the trouble and we shall have the reward. Pray, with
all your cleverness, why did not you manage to keep your eyes open?
Next year one of us will take away your beautiful princess, if you do
not take care. You had better say nothing about this to our father,
for he does not believe a word you say; and if you tell tales, you
shall lose your life into the bargain: but be quiet, and we will let
The old king was still very angry with his youngest son, and thought
that he really meant to have taken away his life; so he called his
court together, and asked what should be done, and all agreed that he
ought to be put to death. The prince knew nothing of what was going
on, till one day, when the king's chief huntsmen went a-hunting with
him, and they were alone in the wood together, the huntsman looked so
sorrowful that the prince said, 'My friend, what is the matter with
you?' 'I cannot and dare not tell you,' said he. But the prince begged
very hard, and said, 'Only tell me what it is, and do not think I
shall be angry, for I will forgive you.' 'Alas!' said the huntsman;
'the king has ordered me to shoot you.' The prince started at this,
and said, 'Let me live, and I will change dresses with you; you shall
take my royal coat to show to my father, and do you give me your
shabby one.' 'With all my heart,' said the huntsman; 'I am sure I
shall be glad to save you, for I could not have shot you.' Then he
took the prince's coat, and gave him the shabby one, and went away
through the wood.
Some time after, three grand embassies came to the old king's court,
with rich gifts of gold and precious stones for his youngest son; now
all these were sent from the three kings to whom he had lent his sword
and loaf of bread, in order to rid them of their enemy and feed their
people. This touched the old king's heart, and he thought his son
might still be guiltless, and said to his court, 'O that my son were
still alive! how it grieves me that I had him killed!' 'He is still
alive,' said the huntsman; 'and I am glad that I had pity on him, but
let him go in peace, and brought home his royal coat.' At this the
king was overwhelmed with joy, and made it known thoughout all his
kingdom, that if his son would come back to his court he would forgive
Meanwhile the princess was eagerly waiting till her deliverer should
come back; and had a road made leading up to her palace all of shining
gold; and told her courtiers that whoever came on horseback, and rode
straight up to the gate upon it, was her true lover; and that they
must let him in: but whoever rode on one side of it, they must be sure
was not the right one; and that they must send him away at once.
The time soon came, when the eldest brother thought that he would make
haste to go to the princess, and say that he was the one who had set
her free, and that he should have her for his wife, and the kingdom
with her. As he came before the palace and saw the golden road, he
stopped to look at it, and he thought to himself, 'It is a pity to
ride upon this beautiful road'; so he turned aside and rode on the
right-hand side of it. But when he came to the gate, the guards, who
had seen the road he took, said to him, he could not be what he said
he was, and must go about his business.
The second prince set out soon afterwards on the same errand; and when
he came to the golden road, and his horse had set one foot upon it, he
stopped to look at it, and thought it very beautiful, and said to
himself, 'What a pity it is that anything should tread here!' Then he
too turned aside and rode on the left side of it. But when he came to
the gate the guards said he was not the true prince, and that he too
must go away about his business; and away he went.
Now when the full year was come round, the third brother left the
forest in which he had lain hid for fear of his father's anger, and
set out in search of his betrothed bride. So he journeyed on, thinking
of her all the way, and rode so quickly that he did not even see what
the road was made of, but went with his horse straight over it; and as
he came to the gate it flew open, and the princess welcomed him with
joy, and said he was her deliverer, and should now be her husband and
lord of the kingdom. When the first joy at their meeting was over, the
princess told him she had heard of his father having forgiven him, and
of his wish to have him home again: so, before his wedding with the
princess, he went to visit his father, taking her with him. Then he
told him everything; how his brothers had cheated and robbed him, and
yet that he had borne all those wrongs for the love of his father. And
the old king was very angry, and wanted to punish his wicked sons; but
they made their escape, and got into a ship and sailed away over the
wide sea, and where they went to nobody knew and nobody cared.
And now the old king gathered together his court, and asked all his
kingdom to come and celebrate the wedding of his son and the princess.
And young and old, noble and squire, gentle and simple, came at once
on the summons; and among the rest came the friendly dwarf, with the
sugarloaf hat, and a new scarlet cloak.
And the wedding was held, and the merry bells run.
And all the good people they danced and they sung,
And feasted and frolick'd I can't tell how long.
THE TWELVE HUNTSMEN
There was once a king's son who had a bride whom he loved very much.
And when he was sitting beside her and very happy, news came that his
father lay sick unto death, and desired to see him once again before
his end. Then he said to his beloved: 'I must now go and leave you, I
give you a ring as a remembrance of me. When I am king, I will return
and fetch you.' So he rode away, and when he reached his father, the
latter was dangerously ill, and near his death. He said to him: 'Dear
son, I wished to see you once again before my end, promise me to marry
as I wish,' and he named a certain king's daughter who was to be his
wife. The son was in such trouble that he did not think what he was
doing, and said: 'Yes, dear father, your will shall be done,' and
thereupon the king shut his eyes, and died.
When therefore the son had been proclaimed king, and the time of
mourning was over, he was forced to keep the promise which he had
given his father, and caused the king's daughter to be asked in
marriage, and she was promised to him. His first betrothed heard of
this, and fretted so much about his faithfulness that she nearly died.
Then her father said to her: 'Dearest child, why are you so sad? You
shall have whatsoever you will.' She thought for a moment and said:
'Dear father, I wish for eleven girls exactly like myself in face,
figure, and size.' The father said: 'If it be possible, your desire
shall be fulfilled,' and he caused a search to be made in his whole
kingdom, until eleven young maidens were found who exactly resembled
his daughter in face, figure, and size.
When they came to the king's daughter, she had twelve suits of
huntsmen's clothes made, all alike, and the eleven maidens had to put
on the huntsmen's clothes, and she herself put on the twelfth suit.
Thereupon she took her leave of her father, and rode away with them,
and rode to the court of her former betrothed, whom she loved so
dearly. Then she asked if he required any huntsmen, and if he would
take all of them into his service. The king looked at her and did not
know her, but as they were such handsome fellows, he said: 'Yes,' and
that he would willingly take them, and now they were the king's twelve
The king, however, had a lion which was a wondrous animal, for he knew
all concealed and secret things. It came to pass that one evening he
said to the king: 'You think you have twelve huntsmen?' 'Yes,' said
the king, 'they are twelve huntsmen.' The lion continued: 'You are
mistaken, they are twelve girls.' The king said: 'That cannot be true!
How will you prove that to me?' 'Oh, just let some peas be strewn in
the ante-chamber,' answered the lion, 'and then you will soon see.
Men have a firm step, and when they walk over peas none of them stir,
but girls trip and skip, and drag their feet, and the peas roll
about.' The king was well pleased with the counsel, and caused the
peas to be strewn.
There was, however, a servant of the king's who favoured the huntsmen,
and when he heard that they were going to be put to this test he went
to them and repeated everything, and said: 'The lion wants to make the
king believe that you are girls.' Then the king's daughter thanked
him, and said to her maidens: 'Show some strength, and step firmly on
the peas.' So next morning when the king had the twelve huntsmen
called before him, and they came into the ante-chamber where the peas
were lying, they stepped so firmly on them, and had such a strong,
sure walk, that not one of the peas either rolled or stirred. Then
they went away again, and the king said to the lion: 'You have lied to
me, they walk just like men.' The lion said: 'They have been informed
that they were going to be put to the test, and have assumed some
strength. Just let twelve spinning-wheels be brought into the ante-
chamber, and they will go to them and be pleased with them, and that
is what no man would do.' The king liked the advice, and had the
spinning-wheels placed in the ante-chamber.
But the servant, who was well disposed to the huntsmen, went to them,
and disclosed the project. So when they were alone the king's daughter
said to her eleven girls: 'Show some constraint, and do not look round
at the spinning-wheels.' And next morning when the king had his twelve
huntsmen summoned, they went through the ante-chamber, and never once
looked at the spinning-wheels. Then the king again said to the lion:
'You have deceived me, they are men, for they have not looked at the
spinning-wheels.' The lion replied: 'They have restrained themselves.'
The king, however, would no longer believe the lion.
The twelve huntsmen always followed the king to the chase, and his
liking for them continually increased. Now it came to pass that once
when they were out hunting, news came that the king's bride was
approaching. When the true bride heard that, it hurt her so much that
her heart was almost broken, and she fell fainting to the ground. The
king thought something had happened to his dear huntsman, ran up to
him, wanted to help him, and drew his glove off. Then he saw the ring
which he had given to his first bride, and when he looked in her face
he recognized her. Then his heart was so touched that he kissed her,
and when she opened her eyes he said: 'You are mine, and I am yours,
and no one in the world can alter that.' He sent a messenger to the
other bride, and entreated her to return to her own kingdom, for he
had a wife already, and someone who had just found an old key did not
require a new one. Thereupon the wedding was celebrated, and the lion
was again taken into favour, because, after all, he had told the
THE KING OF THE GOLDEN MOUNTAIN
There was once a merchant who had only one child, a son, that was very
young, and barely able to run alone. He had two richly laden ships
then making a voyage upon the seas, in which he had embarked all his
wealth, in the hope of making great gains, when the news came that
both were lost. Thus from being a rich man he became all at once so
very poor that nothing was left to him but one small plot of land; and
there he often went in an evening to take his walk, and ease his mind
of a little of his trouble.
One day, as he was roaming along in a brown study, thinking with no
great comfort on what he had been and what he now was, and was like to
be, all on a sudden there stood before him a little, rough-looking,
black dwarf. 'Prithee, friend, why so sorrowful?' said he to the
merchant; 'what is it you take so deeply to heart?' 'If you would do
me any good I would willingly tell you,' said the merchant. 'Who knows
but I may?' said the little man: 'tell me what ails you, and perhaps
you will find I may be of some use.' Then the merchant told him how
all his wealth was gone to the bottom of the sea, and how he had
nothing left but that little plot of land. 'Oh, trouble not yourself
about that,' said the dwarf; 'only undertake to bring me here, twelve
years hence, whatever meets you first on your going home, and I will
give you as much as you please.' The merchant thought this was no
great thing to ask; that it would most likely be his dog or his cat,
or something of that sort, but forgot his little boy Heinel; so he
agreed to the bargain, and signed and sealed the bond to do what was
asked of him.
But as he drew near home, his little boy was so glad to see him that
he crept behind him, and laid fast hold of his legs, and looked up in
his face and laughed. Then the father started, trembling with fear and
horror, and saw what it was that he had bound himself to do; but as no
gold was come, he made himself easy by thinking that it was only a
joke that the dwarf was playing him, and that, at any rate, when the
money came, he should see the bearer, and would not take it in.
About a month afterwards he went upstairs into a lumber-room to look
for some old iron, that he might sell it and raise a little money; and
there, instead of his iron, he saw a large pile of gold lying on the
floor. At the sight of this he was overjoyed, and forgetting all about
his son, went into trade again, and became a richer merchant than
Meantime little Heinel grew up, and as the end of the twelve years
drew near the merchant began to call to mind his bond, and became very
sad and thoughtful; so that care and sorrow were written upon his
face. The boy one day asked what was the matter, but his father would
not tell for some time; at last, however, he said that he had, without
knowing it, sold him for gold to a little, ugly-looking, black dwarf,
and that the twelve years were coming round when he must keep his
word. Then Heinel said, 'Father, give yourself very little trouble
about that; I shall be too much for the little man.'
When the time came, the father and son went out together to the place
agreed upon: and the son drew a circle on the ground, and set himself
and his father in the middle of it. The little black dwarf soon came,
and walked round and round about the circle, but could not find any
way to get into it, and he either could not, or dared not, jump over
it. At last the boy said to him. 'Have you anything to say to us, my
friend, or what do you want?' Now Heinel had found a friend in a good
fairy, that was fond of him, and had told him what to do; for this
fairy knew what good luck was in store for him. 'Have you brought me
what you said you would?' said the dwarf to the merchant. The old man
held his tongue, but Heinel said again, 'What do you want here?' The
dwarf said, 'I come to talk with your father, not with you.' 'You have
cheated and taken in my father,' said the son; 'pray give him up his
bond at once.' 'Fair and softly,' said the little old man; 'right is
right; I have paid my money, and your father has had it, and spent it;
so be so good as to let me have what I paid it for.' 'You must have my
consent to that first,' said Heinel, 'so please to step in here, and
let us talk it over.' The old man grinned, and showed his teeth, as if
he should have been very glad to get into the circle if he could. Then
at last, after a long talk, they came to terms. Heinel agreed that his
father must give him up, and that so far the dwarf should have his
way: but, on the other hand, the fairy had told Heinel what fortune
was in store for him, if he followed his own course; and he did not
choose to be given up to his hump-backed friend, who seemed so anxious
for his company.
So, to make a sort of drawn battle of the matter, it was settled that
Heinel should be put into an open boat, that lay on the sea-shore hard
by; that the father should push him off with his own hand, and that he
should thus be set adrift, and left to the bad or good luck of wind
and weather. Then he took leave of his father, and set himself in the
boat, but before it got far off a wave struck it, and it fell with one
side low in the water, so the merchant thought that poor Heinel was
lost, and went home very sorrowful, while the dwarf went his way,
thinking that at any rate he had had his revenge.
The boat, however, did not sink, for the good fairy took care of her
friend, and soon raised the boat up again, and it went safely on. The
young man sat safe within, till at length it ran ashore upon an
unknown land. As he jumped upon the shore he saw before him a
beautiful castle but empty and dreary within, for it was enchanted.
'Here,' said he to himself, 'must I find the prize the good fairy told
me of.' So he once more searched the whole palace through, till at
last he found a white snake, lying coiled up on a cushion in one of
Now the white snake was an enchanted princess; and she was very glad
to see him, and said, 'Are you at last come to set me free? Twelve
long years have I waited here for the fairy to bring you hither as she
promised, for you alone can save me. This night twelve men will come:
their faces will be black, and they will be dressed in chain armour.
They will ask what you do here, but give no answer; and let them do
what they will--beat, whip, pinch, prick, or torment you--bear all;
only speak not a word, and at twelve o'clock they must go away. The
second night twelve others will come: and the third night twenty-four,
who will even cut off your head; but at the twelfth hour of that night
their power is gone, and I shall be free, and will come and bring you
the Water of Life, and will wash you with it, and bring you back to
life and health.' And all came to pass as she had said; Heinel bore
all, and spoke not a word; and the third night the princess came, and
fell on his neck and kissed him. Joy and gladness burst forth
throughout the castle, the wedding was celebrated, and he was crowned
king of the Golden Mountain.
They lived together very happily, and the queen had a son. And thus
eight years had passed over their heads, when the king thought of his
father; and he began to long to see him once again. But the queen was
against his going, and said, 'I know well that misfortunes will come
upon us if you go.' However, he gave her no rest till she agreed. At
his going away she gave him a wishing-ring, and said, 'Take this ring,
and put it on your finger; whatever you wish it will bring you; only
promise never to make use of it to bring me hence to your father's
house.' Then he said he would do what she asked, and put the ring on
his finger, and wished himself near the town where his father lived.
Heinel found himself at the gates in a moment; but the guards would
not let him go in, because he was so strangely clad. So he went up to
a neighbouring hill, where a shepherd dwelt, and borrowed his old
frock, and thus passed unknown into the town. When he came to his
father's house, he said he was his son; but the merchant would not
believe him, and said he had had but one son, his poor Heinel, who he
knew was long since dead: and as he was only dressed like a poor
shepherd, he would not even give him anything to eat. The king,
however, still vowed that he was his son, and said, 'Is there no mark
by which you would know me if I am really your son?' 'Yes,' said his
mother, 'our Heinel had a mark like a raspberry on his right arm.'
Then he showed them the mark, and they knew that what he had said was
He next told them how he was king of the Golden Mountain, and was
married to a princess, and had a son seven years old. But the merchant
said, 'that can never be true; he must be a fine king truly who travels
about in a shepherd's frock!' At this the son was vexed; and forgetting
his word, turned his ring, and wished for his queen and son. In an
instant they stood before him; but the queen wept, and said he had
broken his word, and bad luck would follow. He did all he could to
soothe her, and she at last seemed to be appeased; but she was not so in
truth, and was only thinking how she should punish him.
One day he took her to walk with him out of the town, and showed her
the spot where the boat was set adrift upon the wide waters. Then he
sat himself down, and said, 'I am very much tired; sit by me, I will
rest my head in your lap, and sleep a while.' As soon as he had fallen
asleep, however, she drew the ring from his finger, and crept softly
away, and wished herself and her son at home in their kingdom. And
when he awoke he found himself alone, and saw that the ring was gone
from his finger. 'I can never go back to my father's house,' said he;
'they would say I am a sorcerer: I will journey forth into the world,
till I come again to my kingdom.'
So saying he set out and travelled till he came to a hill, where three
giants were sharing their father's goods; and as they saw him pass
they cried out and said, 'Little men have sharp wits; he shall part
the goods between us.' Now there was a sword that cut off an enemy's
head whenever the wearer gave the words, 'Heads off!'; a cloak that
made the owner invisible, or gave him any form he pleased; and a pair
of boots that carried the wearer wherever he wished. Heinel said they
must first let him try these wonderful things, then he might know how
to set a value upon them. Then they gave him the cloak, and he wished
himself a fly, and in a moment he was a fly. 'The cloak is very well,'
said he: 'now give me the sword.' 'No,' said they; 'not unless you
undertake not to say, "Heads off!" for if you do we are all dead men.'
So they gave it him, charging him to try it on a tree. He next asked
for the boots also; and the moment he had all three in his power, he
wished himself at the Golden Mountain; and there he was at once. So
the giants were left behind with no goods to share or quarrel about.
As Heinel came near his castle he heard the sound of merry music; and
the people around told him that his queen was about to marry another
husband. Then he threw his cloak around him, and passed through the
castle hall, and placed himself by the side of the queen, where no one
saw him. But when anything to eat was put upon her plate, he took it
away and ate it himself; and when a glass of wine was handed to her,
he took it and drank it; and thus, though they kept on giving her meat
and drink, her plate and cup were always empty.
Upon this, fear and remorse came over her, and she went into her
chamber alone, and sat there weeping; and he followed her there.
'Alas!' said she to herself, 'was I not once set free? Why then does
this enchantment still seem to bind me?'
'False and fickle one!' said he. 'One indeed came who set thee free,
and he is now near thee again; but how have you used him? Ought he to
have had such treatment from thee?' Then he went out and sent away the
company, and said the wedding was at an end, for that he was come back
to the kingdom. But the princes, peers, and great men mocked at him.
However, he would enter into no parley with them, but only asked them
if they would go in peace or not. Then they turned upon him and tried
to seize him; but he drew his sword. 'Heads Off!' cried he; and with
the word the traitors' heads fell before him, and Heinel was once more
king of the Golden Mountain.
There was once upon a time a poor peasant called Crabb, who drove with
two oxen a load of wood to the town, and sold it to a doctor for two
talers. When the money was being counted out to him, it so happened
that the doctor was sitting at table, and when the peasant saw how
well he ate and drank, his heart desired what he saw, and would
willingly have been a doctor too. So he remained standing a while, and
at length inquired if he too could not be a doctor. 'Oh, yes,' said
the doctor, 'that is soon managed.' 'What must I do?' asked the
peasant. 'In the first place buy yourself an A B C book of the kind
which has a cock on the frontispiece; in the second, turn your cart
and your two oxen into money, and get yourself some clothes, and
whatsoever else pertains to medicine; thirdly, have a sign painted for
yourself with the words: "I am Doctor Knowall," and have that nailed
up above your house-door.' The peasant did everything that he had been
told to do. When he had doctored people awhile, but not long, a rich
and great lord had some money stolen. Then he was told about Doctor
Knowall who lived in such and such a village, and must know what had
become of the money. So the lord had the horses harnessed to his
carriage, drove out to the village, and asked Crabb if he were Doctor
Knowall. Yes, he was, he said. Then he was to go with him and bring
back the stolen money. 'Oh, yes, but Grete, my wife, must go too.' The
lord was willing, and let both of them have a seat in the carriage,
and they all drove away together. When they came to the nobleman's
castle, the table was spread, and Crabb was told to sit down and eat.
'Yes, but my wife, Grete, too,' said he, and he seated himself with
her at the table. And when the first servant came with a dish of
delicate fare, the peasant nudged his wife, and said: 'Grete, that was
the first,' meaning that was the servant who brought the first dish.
The servant, however, thought he intended by that to say: 'That is the
first thief,' and as he actually was so, he was terrified, and said to
his comrade outside: 'The doctor knows all: we shall fare ill, he said
I was the first.' The second did not want to go in at all, but was
forced. So when he went in with his dish, the peasant nudged his wife,
and said: 'Grete, that is the second.' This servant was equally
alarmed, and he got out as fast as he could. The third fared no
better, for the peasant again said: 'Grete, that is the third.' The
fourth had to carry in a dish that was covered, and the lord told the
doctor that he was to show his skill, and guess what was beneath the
cover. Actually, there were crabs. The doctor looked at the dish, had
no idea what to say, and cried: 'Ah, poor Crabb.' When the lord heard
that, he cried: 'There! he knows it; he must also know who has the
On this the servants looked terribly uneasy, and made a sign to the
doctor that they wished him to step outside for a moment. When
therefore he went out, all four of them confessed to him that they had
stolen the money, and said that they would willingly restore it and
give him a heavy sum into the bargain, if he would not denounce them,
for if he did they would be hanged. They led him to the spot where the
money was concealed. With this the doctor was satisfied, and returned
to the hall, sat down to the table, and said: 'My lord, now will I
search in my book where the gold is hidden.' The fifth servant,
however, crept into the stove to hear if the doctor knew still more.
But the doctor sat still and opened his A B C book, turned the pages
backwards and forwards, and looked for the cock. As he could not find
it immediately he said: 'I know you are there, so you had better come
out!' Then the fellow in the stove thought that the doctor meant him,
and full of terror, sprang out, crying: 'That man knows everything!'
Then Doctor Knowall showed the lord where the money was, but did not
say who had stolen it, and received from both sides much money in
reward, and became a renowned man.
THE SEVEN RAVENS
There was once a man who had seven sons, and last of all one daughter.
Although the little girl was very pretty, she was so weak and small
that they thought she could not live; but they said she should at once
So the father sent one of his sons in haste to the spring to get some
water, but the other six ran with him. Each wanted to be first at
drawing the water, and so they were in such a hurry that all let their
pitchers fall into the well, and they stood very foolishly looking at
one another, and did not know what to do, for none dared go home. In
the meantime the father was uneasy, and could not tell what made the
young men stay so long. 'Surely,' said he, 'the whole seven must have
forgotten themselves over some game of play'; and when he had waited
still longer and they yet did not come, he flew into a rage and wished
them all turned into ravens. Scarcely had he spoken these words when
he heard a croaking over his head, and looked up and saw seven ravens
as black as coal flying round and round. Sorry as he was to see his
wish so fulfilled, he did not know how what was done could be undone,
and comforted himself as well as he could for the loss of his seven
sons with his dear little daughter, who soon became stronger and every
day more beautiful.
For a long time she did not know that she had ever had any brothers;
for her father and mother took care not to speak of them before her:
but one day by chance she heard the people about her speak of them.
'Yes,' said they, 'she is beautiful indeed, but still 'tis a pity that
her brothers should have been lost for her sake.' Then she was much
grieved, and went to her father and mother, and asked if she had any
brothers, and what had become of them. So they dared no longer hide
the truth from her, but said it was the will of Heaven, and that her
birth was only the innocent cause of it; but the little girl mourned
sadly about it every day, and thought herself bound to do all she
could to bring her brothers back; and she had neither rest nor ease,
till at length one day she stole away, and set out into the wide world
to find her brothers, wherever they might be, and free them, whatever
it might cost her.
She took nothing with her but a little ring which her father and
mother had given her, a loaf of bread in case she should be hungry, a
little pitcher of water in case she should be thirsty, and a little
stool to rest upon when she should be weary. Thus she went on and on,
and journeyed till she came to the world's end; then she came to the
sun, but the sun looked much too hot and fiery; so she ran away
quickly to the moon, but the moon was cold and chilly, and said, 'I
smell flesh and blood this way!' so she took herself away in a hurry
and came to the stars, and the stars were friendly and kind to her,
and each star sat upon his own little stool; but the morning star rose
up and gave her a little piece of wood, and said, 'If you have not
this little piece of wood, you cannot unlock the castle that stands on
the glass-mountain, and there your brothers live.' The little girl
took the piece of wood, rolled it up in a little cloth, and went on
again until she came to the glass-mountain, and found the door shut.
Then she felt for the little piece of wood; but when she unwrapped the
cloth it was not there, and she saw she had lost the gift of the good
stars. What was to be done? She wanted to save her brothers, and had
no key of the castle of the glass-mountain; so this faithful little
sister took a knife out of her pocket and cut off her little finger,
that was just the size of the piece of wood she had lost, and put it
in the door and opened it.
As she went in, a little dwarf came up to her, and said, 'What are you
seeking for?' 'I seek for my brothers, the seven ravens,' answered
she. Then the dwarf said, 'My masters are not at home; but if you will
wait till they come, pray step in.' Now the little dwarf was getting
their dinner ready, and he brought their food upon seven little
plates, and their drink in seven little glasses, and set them upon the
table, and out of each little plate their sister ate a small piece,
and out of each little glass she drank a small drop; but she let the
ring that she had brought with her fall into the last glass.
On a sudden she heard a fluttering and croaking in the air, and the
dwarf said, 'Here come my masters.' When they came in, they wanted to
eat and drink, and looked for their little plates and glasses. Then
said one after the other,
'Who has eaten from my little plate? And who has been drinking out of
my little glass?'
'Caw! Caw! well I ween
Mortal lips have this way been.'
When the seventh came to the bottom of his glass, and found there the
ring, he looked at it, and knew that it was his father's and mother's,
and said, 'O that our little sister would but come! then we should be
free.' When the little girl heard this (for she stood behind the door
all the time and listened), she ran forward, and in an instant all the
ravens took their right form again; and all hugged and kissed each
other, and went merrily home.
THE WEDDING OF MRS FOX
There was once upon a time an old fox with nine tails, who believed
that his wife was not faithful to him, and wished to put her to the
test. He stretched himself out under the bench, did not move a limb,
and behaved as if he were stone dead. Mrs Fox went up to her room,
shut herself in, and her maid, Miss Cat, sat by the fire, and did the
cooking. When it became known that the old fox was dead, suitors
presented themselves. The maid heard someone standing at the house-
door, knocking. She went and opened it, and it was a young fox, who
'What may you be about, Miss Cat?
Do you sleep or do you wake?'
'I am not sleeping, I am waking,
Would you know what I am making?
I am boiling warm beer with butter,
Will you be my guest for supper?'
'No, thank you, miss,' said the fox, 'what is Mrs Fox doing?' The maid
'She is sitting in her room,
Moaning in her gloom,
Weeping her little eyes quite red,
Because old Mr Fox is dead.'
'Do just tell her, miss, that a young fox is here, who would like to
woo her.' 'Certainly, young sir.'
The cat goes up the stairs trip, trap,
The door she knocks at tap, tap, tap,
'Mistress Fox, are you inside?'
'Oh, yes, my little cat,' she cried.
'A wooer he stands at the door out there.'
'What does he look like, my dear?'
'Has he nine as beautiful tails as the late Mr Fox?' 'Oh, no,'
answered the cat, 'he has only one.' 'Then I will not have him.'
Miss Cat went downstairs and sent the wooer away. Soon afterwards
there was another knock, and another fox was at the door who wished to
woo Mrs Fox. He had two tails, but he did not fare better than the
first. After this still more came, each with one tail more than the
other, but they were all turned away, until at last one came who had
nine tails, like old Mr Fox. When the widow heard that, she said
joyfully to the cat:
'Now open the gates and doors all wide,
And carry old Mr Fox outside.'
But just as the wedding was going to be solemnized, old Mr Fox stirred
under the bench, and cudgelled all the rabble, and drove them and Mrs
Fox out of the house.
When old Mr Fox was dead, the wolf came as a suitor, and knocked at
the door, and the cat who was servant to Mrs Fox, opened it for him.
The wolf greeted her, and said:
'Good day, Mrs Cat of Kehrewit,
How comes it that alone you sit?
What are you making good?'
The cat replied:
'In milk I'm breaking bread so sweet,
Will you be my guest, and eat?'
'No, thank you, Mrs Cat,' answered the wolf. 'Is Mrs Fox not at home?'
The cat said:
'She sits upstairs in her room,
Bewailing her sorrowful doom,
Bewailing her trouble so sore,
For old Mr Fox is no more.'
The wolf answered:
'If she's in want of a husband now,
Then will it please her to step below?'
The cat runs quickly up the stair,
And lets her tail fly here and there,
Until she comes to the parlour door.
With her five gold rings at the door she knocks:
'Are you within, good Mistress Fox?
If you're in want of a husband now,
Then will it please you to step below?
Mrs Fox asked: 'Has the gentleman red stockings on, and has he a