Part 6 out of 9
bottom. They knocked at the door, and a good woman
came and opened it; she asked them what they would
Little Thumb told her they were poor children who had
been lost in the forest, and desired to lodge there for
The woman, seeing them so very pretty, began to weep,
and said to them:
"Alas! poor babies; whither are ye come? Do ye know
that this house belongs to a cruel ogre who eats up little
"Ah! dear madam," answered Little Thumb (who trembled
every joint of him, as well as his brothers), "what
shall we do? To be sure the wolves of the forest will
devour us to-night if you refuse us to lie here; and so we
would rather the gentleman should eat us; and perhaps he
may take pity upon us, especially if you please to beg it of
The Ogre's wife, who believed she could conceal them
from her husband till morning, let them come in, and
brought them to warm themselves at a very good fire; for
there was a whole sheep upon the spit, roasting for the
As they began to be a little warm they heard three or
four great raps at the door; this was the Ogre, who had
come home. Upon this she hid them under the bed and
went to open the door. The Ogre presently asked if supper
was ready and the wine drawn, and then sat himself down
to table. The sheep was as yet all raw and bloody; but he
liked it the better for that. He sniffed about to the right
and left, saying:
"I smell fresh meat."
"What you smell so," said his wife, "must be the calf
which I have just now killed and flayed."
"I smell fresh meat, I tell thee once more," replied the
Ogre, looking crossly at his wife; "and there is something
here which I do not understand."
As he spoke these words he got up from the table and
went directly to the bed.
"Ah, ah!" said he; "I see then how thou wouldst cheat
me, thou cursed woman; I know not why I do not eat thee
up too, but it is well for thee that thou art a tough old
carrion. Here is good game, which comes very quickly
to entertain three ogres of my acquaintance who are to
pay me a visit in a day or two."
With that he dragged them out from under the bed one
by one. The poor children fell upon their knees, and
begged his pardon; but they had to do with one of the
most cruel ogres in the world, who, far from having any pity
on them, had already devoured them with his eyes, and
told his wife they would be delicate eating when tossed
up with good savory sauce. He then took a great knife,
and, coming up to these poor children, whetted it upon a
great whet-stone which he held in his left hand. He had
already taken hold of one of them when his wife said to
"Why need you do it now? Is it not time enough to-
"Hold your prating," said the Ogre; "they will eat the
"But you have so much meat already," replied his wife,
you have no occasion; here are a calf, two sheep, and
half a hog."
"That is true," said the Ogre; "give them their belly
full that they may not fall away, and put them to bed."
The good woman was overjoyed at this, and gave them
a good supper; but they were so much afraid they could
not eat a bit. As for the Ogre, he sat down again to drink,
being highly pleased that he had got wherewithal to treat
his friends. He drank a dozen glasses more than ordinary,
which got up into his head and obliged him to go to bed.
The Ogre had seven daughters, all little children, and
these young ogresses had all of them very fine complexions,
because they used to eat fresh meat like their father;
but they had little gray eyes, quite round, hooked noses,
and very long sharp teeth, standing at a good distance
from each other. They were not as yet over and above
mischievous, but they promised very fair for it, for they
had already bitten little children, that they might suck
They had been put to bed early, with every one a crown
of gold upon her head. There was in the same chamber a
bed of the like bigness, and it was into this bed the Ogre's
wife put the seven little boys, after which she went to bed
to her husband.
Little Thumb, who had observed that the Ogre's
daughters had crowns of gold upon their heads, and was
afraid lest the Ogre should repent his not killing them,
got up about midnight, and, taking his brothers' bonnets
and his own, went very softly and put them upon the heads
of the seven little ogresses, after having taken off their
crowns of gold, which he put upon his own head and his
brothers', that the Ogre might take them for his daughters,
and his daughters for the little boys whom he wanted to
All this succeeded according to his desire; for, the Ogre
waking about midnight, and sorry that he deferred to do
that till morning which he might have done over-night,
threw himself hastily out of bed, and, taking his great
"Let us see," said he, "how our little rogues do, and not
make two jobs of the matter."
He then went up, groping all the way, into his daughters'
chamber, and, coming to the bed where the little
boys lay, and who were every soul of them fast asleep,
except Little Thumb, who was terribly afraid when he
found the Ogre fumbling about his head, as he had done
about his brothers', the Ogre, feeling the golden crowns,
"I should have made a fine piece of work of it, truly;
I find I drank too much last night."
Then he went to the bed where the girls lay; and, having
found the boys' little bonnets,
"Ah!" said he, "my merry lads, are you there? Let us
work as we ought."
And saying these words, without more ado, he cut the
throats of all his seven daughters.
Well pleased with what he had done, he went to bed
again to his wife. So soon as Little Thumb heard the
Ogre snore, he waked his brothers, and bade them all put
on their clothes presently and follow him. They stole
down softly into the garden, and got over the wall. They
kept running about all night, and trembled all the while,
without knowing which way they went.
The Ogre, when he awoke, said to his wife: "Go
upstairs and dress those young rascals who came here last
The wife was very much surprised at this goodness of
her husband, not dreaming after what manner she should
dress them; but, thinking that he had ordered her to go
and put on their clothes, she went up, and was strangely
astonished when she perceived her seven daughters killed,
and weltering in their blood.
She fainted away, for this is the first expedient almost
all women find in such cases. The Ogre, fearing his wife
would be too long in doing what he had ordered, went up
himself to help her. He was no less amazed than his wife
at this frightful spectacle.
"Ah! what have I done?" cried he. "The wretches shall
pay for it, and that instantly."
He threw a pitcher of water upon his wife's face, and,
having brought her to herself, said:
"Give me quickly my boots of seven leagues, that I may
go and catch them."
He went out, and, having run over a vast deal of
ground, both on this side and that, he came at last into
the very road where the poor children were, and not
above a hundred paces from their father's house. They
espied the Ogre, who went at one step from mountain to
mountain, and over rivers as easily as the narrowest
kennels. Little Thumb, seeing a hollow rock near the
place where they were, made his brothers hide themselves
in it, and crowded into it himself, minding always what
would become of the Ogre.
The Ogre, who found himself much tired with his long
and fruitless journey (for these boots of seven leagues
greatly fatigued the wearer), had a great mind to rest
himself, and, by chance, went to sit down upon the rock
where the little boys had hid themselves. As it was
impossible he could be more weary than he was, he fell
asleep, and, after reposing himself some time, began to
snore so frightfully that the poor children were no less
afraid of him than when he held up his great knife and
was going to cut their throats. Little Thumb was not so
much frightened as his brothers, and told them that they
should run away immediately toward home while the
Ogre was asleep so soundly, and that they should not be in
any pain about him. They took his advice, and got home
presently. Little Thumb came up to the Ogre, pulled off
his boots gently and put them on his own legs. The boots
were very long and large, but, as they were fairies, they
had the gift of becoming big and little, according to the
legs of those who wore them; so that they fitted his feet
and legs as well as if they had been made on purpose for
him. He went immediately to the Ogre's house, where he
saw his wife crying bitterly for the loss of the Ogre's
"Your husband," said Little Thumb, "is in very great
danger, being taken by a gang of thieves, who have sworn
to kill him if he does not give them all his gold and silver.
The very moment they held their daggers at his throat he
perceived me, and desired me to come and tell you the
condition he is in, and that you should give me whatsoever
he has of value, without retaining any one thing; for
otherwise they will kill him without mercy; and, as his
case is very pressing, he desired me to make use (you see
I have them on) of his boots, that I might make the more
haste and to show you that I do not impose upon you.
The good woman, being sadly frightened, gave him all
she had: for this Ogre was a very good husband, though
he used to eat up little children. Little Thumb, having
thus got all the Ogre's money, came home to his father's
house, where he was received with abundance of joy.
There are many people who do not agree in this
circumstance, and pretend that Little Thumb never robbed
the Ogre at all, and that he only thought he might very
justly, and with a safe conscience, take off his boots of
seven leagues, because he made no other use of them but
to run after little children. These folks affirm that they
are very well assured of this, and the more as having
drunk and eaten often at the fagot-maker's house. They
aver that when Little Thumb had taken off the Ogre's
boots he went to Court, where he was informed that they
were very much in pain about a certain army, which was
two hundred leagues off, and the success of a battle. He
went, say they, to the King, and told him that, if he
desired it, he would bring him news from the army before
The King promised him a great sum of money upon that
condition. Little Thumb was as good as his word, and
returned that very same night with the news; and, this first
expedition causing him to be known, he got whatever he
pleased, for the King paid him very well for carrying his
orders to the army. After having for some time carried
on the business of a messenger, and gained thereby great
wealth, he went home to his father, where it was
impossible to express the joy they were all in at his return.
He made the whole family very easy, bought places for
his father and brothers, and, by that means, settled them
very handsomely in the world, and, in the meantime, made
his court to perfection.
 Charles Perrault.
THE FORTY THIEVES
IN a town in Persia there dwelt two brothers, one named
Cassim, the other Ali Baba. Cassim was married to a
rich wife and lived in plenty, while Ali Baba had to maintain
his wife and children by cutting wood in a neighboring
forest and selling it in the town. One day, when Ali
Baba was in the forest, he saw a troop of men on horseback,
coming toward him in a cloud of dust. He was
afraid they were robbers, and climbed into a tree for
safety. When they came up to him and dismounted, he
counted forty of them. They unbridled their horses and
tied them to trees. The finest man among them, whom
Ali Baba took to be their captain, went a little way among
some bushes, and said: "Open, Sesame!" so plainly that
Ali Baba heard him. A door opened in the rocks, and
having made the troop go in, he followed them, and the
door shut again of itself. They stayed some time inside,
and Ali Baba, fearing they might come out and catch
him, was forced to sit patiently in the tree. At last the
door opened again, and the Forty Thieves came out. As
the Captain went in last he came out first, and made them
all pass by him; he then closed the door, saying: "Shut,
Sesame!" Every man bridled his horse and mounted, the
Captain put himself at their head, and they returned as
 Sesame is a kind of grain.
Then Ali Baba climbed down and went to the door
concealed among the bushes, and said: "Open, Sesame!" and
it flew open. Ali Baba, who expected a dull, dismal place,
was greatly surprised to find it large and well lighted,
hollowed by the hand of man in the form of a vault, which
received the light from an opening in the ceiling. He saw
rich bales of merchandise--silk, stuff-brocades, all piled
together, and gold and silver in heaps, and money in
leather purses. He went in and the door shut behind him.
He did not look at the silver, but brought out as many
bags of gold as he thought his asses, which were browsing
outside, could carry, loaded them with the bags, and hid
it all with fagots. Using the words: "Shut, Sesame!" he
closed the door and went home.
Then he drove his asses into the yard, shut the gates,
carried the money-bags to his wife, and emptied them out
before her. He bade her keep the secret, and he would go
and bury the gold. "Let me first measure it," said his wife.
"I will go borrow a measure of someone, while you dig the
hole." So she ran to the wife of Cassim and borrowed a
measure. Knowing Ali Baba's poverty, the sister was
curious to find out what sort of grain his wife wished to
measure, and artfully put some suet at the bottom of the
measure. Ali Baba's wife went home and set the measure
on the heap of gold, and filled it and emptied it often, to
her great content. She then carried it back to her sister,
without noticing that a piece of gold was sticking to it,
which Cassim's wife perceived directly her back was
turned. She grew very curious, and said to Cassim when
he came home: "Cassim, your brother is richer than you.
He does not count his money, he measures it." He begged
her to explain this riddle, which she did by showing him
the piece of money and telling him where she found it.
Then Cassim grew so envious that he could not sleep, and
went to his brother in the morning before sunrise. "Ali
Baba," he said, showing him the gold piece, "you pretend
to be poor and yet you measure gold." By this Ali Baba
perceived that through his wife's folly Cassim and his
wife knew their secret, so he confessed all and offered
Cassim a share. "That I expect," said Cassim; "but I
must know where to find the treasure, otherwise I will
discover all, and you will lose all." Ali Baba, more out of
kindness than fear, told him of the cave, and the very
words to use. Cassim left Ali Baba, meaning to be
beforehand with him and get the treasure for himself. He
rose early next morning, and set out with ten mules loaded
with great chests. He soon found the place, and the door
in the rock. He said: "Open, Sesame!" and the door
opened and shut behind him. He could have feasted his
eyes all day on the treasures, but he now hastened to
gather together as much of it as possible; but when he was
ready to go he could not remember what to say for thinking
of his great riches. Instead of "Sesame," he said:
"Open, Barley!" and the door remained fast. He named
several different sorts of grain, all but the right one, and
the door still stuck fast. He was so frightened at the
danger he was in that he had as much forgotten the word
as if he had never heard it.
About noon the robbers returned to their cave, and
saw Cassim's mules roving about with great chests on
their backs. This gave them the alarm; they drew their
sabres, and went to the door, which opened on their
Captain's saying: "Open, Sesame!" Cassim, who had
heard the trampling of their horses' feet, resolved to sell
his life dearly, so when the door opened he leaped out and
threw the Captain down. In vain, however, for the
robbers with their sabres soon killed him. On entering the
cave they saw all the bags laid ready, and could not
imagine how anyone had got in without knowing their
secret. They cut Cassim's body into four quarters, and
nailed them up inside the cave, in order to frighten anyone
who should venture in, and went away in search of more
As night drew on Cassim's wife grew very uneasy, and
ran to her brother-in-law, and told him where her husband
had gone. Ali Baba did his best to comfort her, and
set out to the forest in search of Cassim. The first thing
he saw on entering the cave was his dead brother. Full
of horror, he put the body on one of his asses, and bags
of gold on the other two, and, covering all with some
fagots, returned home. He drove the two asses laden with
gold into his own yard, and led the other to Cassim's
house. The door was opened by the slave Morgiana,
whom he knew to be both brave and cunning. Unloading
the ass, he said to her: "This is the body of your master,
who has been murdered, but whom we must bury as
though he had died in his bed. I will speak with you
again, but now tell your mistress I am come." The wife
of Cassim, on learning the fate of her husband, broke out
into cries and tears, but Ali Baba offered to take her to
live with him and his wife if she would promise to keep
his counsel and leave everything to Morgiana; whereupon
she agreed, and dried her eyes.
Morgiana, meanwhile, sought an apothecary and asked
him for some lozenges. "My poor master," she said, "can
neither eat nor speak, and no one knows what his distemper
is." She carried home the lozenges and returned
next day weeping, and asked for an essence only given to
those just about to die. Thus, in the evening, no one was
surprised to hear the wretched shrieks and cries of
Cassim's wife and Morgiana, telling everyone that Cassim
was dead. The day after Morgiana went to an old cobbler
near the gates of the town who opened his stall early, put
a piece of gold in his hand, and bade him follow her with
his needle and thread. Having bound his eyes with a
handkerchief, she took him to the room where the body
lay, pulled off the bandage, and bade him sew the quarters
together, after which she covered his eyes again and led
him home. Then they buried Cassim, and Morgiana his
slave followed him to the grave, weeping and tearing her
hair, while Cassim's wife stayed at home uttering lamentable
cries. Next day she went to live with Ali Baba, who
gave Cassim's shop to his eldest son.
The Forty Thieves, on their return to the cave, were
much astonished to find Cassim's body gone and some of
their money-bags. "We are certainly discovered," said
the Captain, "and shall be undone if we cannot find out
who it is that knows our secret. Two men must have
known it; we have killed one, we must now find the other.
To this end one of you who is bold and artful must go
into the city dressed as a traveler, and discover whom we
have killed, and whether men talk of the strange manner
of his death. If the messenger fails he must lose his life,
lest we be betrayed." One of the thieves started up and
offered to do this, and after the rest had highly commended
him for his bravery he disguised himself, and happened
to enter the town at daybreak, just by Baba Mustapha's
stall. The thief bade him good-day, saying: "Honest man,
how can you possibly see to stitch at your age?" "Old as
I am," replied the cobbler, "I have very good eyes, and
will you believe me when I tell you that I sewed a dead
body together in a place where I had less light than I have
now." The robber was overjoyed at his good fortune, and,
giving him a piece of gold, desired to be shown the house
where he stitched up the dead body. At first Mustapha
refused, saying that he had been blindfolded; but when
the robber gave him another piece of gold he began to
think he might remember the turnings if blindfolded as
before. This means succeeded; the robber partly led him,
and was partly guided by him, right in front of Cassim's
house, the door of which the robber marked with a piece
of chalk. Then, well pleased, he bade farewell to Baba
Mustapha and returned to the forest. By and by
Morgiana, going out, saw the mark the robber had made,
quickly guessed that some mischief was brewing, and
fetching a piece of chalk marked two or three doors on
each side, without saying anything to her master or
The thief, meantime, told his comrades of his discovery.
The Captain thanked him, and bade him show him the
house he had marked. But when they came to it they
saw that five or six of the houses were chalked in the same
manner. The guide was so confounded that he knew not
what answer to make, and when they returned he was at
once beheaded for having failed. Another robber was
dispatched, and, having won over Baba Mustapha, marked
the house in red chalk; but Morgiana being again too
clever for them, the second messenger was put to death
also. The Captain now resolved to go himself, but, wiser
than the others, he did not mark the house, but looked at
it so closely that he could not fail to remember it. He
returned, and ordered his men to go into the neighboring
villages and buy nineteen mules, and thirty-eight leather
jars, all empty except one, which was full of oil. The
Captain put one of his men, fully armed, into each, rubbing
the outside of the jars with oil from the full vessel.
Then the nineteen mules were loaded with thirty-seven
robbers in jars, and the jar of oil, and reached the town
by dusk. The Captain stopped his mules in front of Ali
Baba's house, and said to Ali Baba, who was sitting outside
for coolness: "I have brought some oil from a distance
to sell at to-morrow's market, but it is now so late that
I know not where to pass the night, unless you will do
me the favor to take me in." Though Ali Baba had seen
the Captain of the robbers in the forest, he did not
recognize him in the disguise of an oil merchant. He bade him
welcome, opened his gates for the mules to enter, and
went to Morgiana to bid her prepare a bed and supper for
his guest. He brought the stranger into his hall, and after
they had supped went again to speak to Morgiana in the
kitchen, while the Captain went into the yard under pretense
of seeing after his mules, but really to tell his men
what to do. Beginning at the first jar and ending at the
last, he said to each man: "As soon as I throw some
stones from the window of the chamber where I lie, cut
the jars open with your knives and come out, and I will
be with you in a trice." He returned to the house, and
Morgiana led him to his chamber. She then told Abdallah,
her fellow-slave, to set on the pot to make some broth for
her master, who had gone to bed. Meanwhile her lamp
went out, and she had no more oil in the house. "Do not
be uneasy," said Abdallah; "go into the yard and take
some out of one of those jars." Morgiana thanked him
for his advice, took the oil pot, and went into the yard.
When she came to the first jar the robber inside said
softly: "Is it time?"
Any other slave but Morgiana, on finding a man in the
jar instead of the oil she wanted, would have screamed
and made a noise; but she, knowing the danger her master
was in, bethought herself of a plan, and answered quietly:
"Not yet, but presently." She went to all the jars, giving
the same answer, till she came to the jar of oil. She now
saw that her master, thinking to entertain an oil merchant,
had let thirty-eight robbers into his house. She filled her
oil pot, went back to the kitchen, and, having lit her
lamp, went again to the oil jar and filled a large kettle full
of oil. When it boiled she went and poured enough oil
into every jar to stifle and kill the robber inside. When
this brave deed was done she went back to the kitchen,
put out the fire and the lamp, and waited to see what
In a quarter of an hour the Captain of the robbers
awoke, got up, and opened the window. As all seemed
quiet, he threw down some little pebbles which hit the
jars. He listened, and as none of his men seemed to stir
he grew uneasy, and went down into the yard. On going
to the first jar and saying, "Are you asleep?" he smelt the
hot boiled oil, and knew at once that his plot to murder
Ali Baba and his household had been discovered. He
found all the gang was dead, and, missing the oil out of
the last jar, became aware of the manner of their death.
He then forced the lock of a door leading into a garden,
and climbing over several walls made his escape. Morgiana
heard and saw all this, and, rejoicing at her success,
went to bed and fell asleep.
At daybreak Ali Baba arose, and, seeing the oil jars
still there, asked why the merchant had not gone with his
mules. Morgiana bade him look in the first jar and see if
there was any oil. Seeing a man, he started back in
terror. "Have no fear," said Morgiana; "the man cannot
harm you: he is dead." Ali Baba, when he had recovered
somewhat from his astonishment, asked what had become
of the merchant. "Merchant!" said she, "he is no more a
merchant than I am!" and she told him the whole story,
assuring him that it was a plot of the robbers of the forest,
of whom only three were left, and that the white and red
chalk marks had something to do with it. Ali Baba at
once gave Morgiana her freedom, saying that he owed
her his life. They then buried the bodies in Ali Baba's
garden, while the mules were sold in the market by his
The Captain returned to his lonely cave, which seemed
frightful to him without his lost companions, and firmly
resolved to avenge them by killing Ali Baba. He dressed
himself carefully, and went into the town, where he took
lodgings in an inn. In the course of a great many journeys
to the forest he carried away many rich stuffs and much
fine linen, and set up a shop opposite that of Ali Baba's
son. He called himself Cogia Hassan, and as he was both
civil and well dressed he soon made friends with Ali
Baba's son, and through him with Ali Baba, whom he
was continually asking to sup with him. Ali Baba, wishing
to return his kindness, invited him into his house and
received him smiling, thanking him for his kindness to his
son. When the merchant was about to take his leave Ali
Baba stopped him, saying: "Where are you going, sir, in
such haste? Will you not stay and sup with me?" The
merchant refused, saying that he had a reason; and, on
Ali Baba's asking him what that was, he replied: "It is,
sir, that I can eat no victuals that have any salt in them."
"If that is all," said Ali Baba, "let me tell you that there
shall be no salt in either the meat or the bread that we eat
to-night." He went to give this order to Morgiana, who
was much surprised. "Who is this man," she said, "who
eats no salt with his meat?" "He is an honest man,
Morgiana," returned her master; "therefore do as I bid you."
But she could not withstand a desire to see this strange
man, so she helped Abdallah to carry up the dishes, and
saw in a moment that Cogia Hassan was the robber
Captain, and carried a dagger under his garment. "I am
not surprised," she said to herself, "that this wicked
man, who intends to kill my master, will eat no salt with
him; but I will hinder his plans."
She sent up the supper by Abdallah, while she made
ready for one of the boldest acts that could be thought on.
When the dessert had been served, Cogia Hassan was left
alone with Ali Baba and his son, whom he thought to
make drunk and then to murder them. Morgiana, meanwhile,
put on a head-dress like a dancing-girl's, and clasped
a girdle round her waist, from which hung a dagger with a
silver hilt, and said to Abdallah: "Take your tabor, and
let us go and divert our master and his guest." Abdallah
took his tabor and played before Morgiana until they
came to the door, where Abdallah stopped playing and
Morgiana made a low courtesy. "Come in, Morgiana,"
said Ali Baba, "and let Cogia Hassan see what you can
do"; and, turning to Cogia Hassan, he said: "She's my
slave and my housekeeper." Cogia Hassan was by no
means pleased, for he feared that his chance of killing Ali
Baba was gone for the present; but he pretended great
eagerness to see Morgiana, and Abdallah began to play
and Morgiana to dance. After she had performed several
dances she drew her dagger and made passes with it,
sometimes pointing it at her own breast, sometimes at her
master's, as if it were part of the dance. Suddenly, out
of breath, she snatched the tabor from Abdallah with her
left hand, and, holding the dagger in her right hand, held
out the tabor to her master. Ali Baba and his son put a
piece of gold into it, and Cogia Hassan, seeing that she
was coming to him, pulled out his purse to make her a
present, but while he was putting his hand into it
Morgiana plunged the dagger into his heart.
"Unhappy girl!" cried Ali Baba and his son, "what have
you done to ruin us?"
"It was to preserve you, master, not to ruin you,"
answered Morgiana. "See here," opening the false
merchant's garment and showing the dagger; "see what an
enemy you have entertained! Remember, he would eat
no salt with you, and what more would you have? Look
at him! he is both the false oil merchant and the Captain
of the Forty Thieves."
Ali Baba was so grateful to Morgiana for thus saving
his life that he offered her to his son in marriage, who
readily consented, and a few days after the wedding was
celebrated with greatest splendor.
At the end of a year Ali Baba, hearing nothing of the
two remaining robbers, judged they were dead, and set
out to the cave. The door opened on his saying: "Open
Sesame!" He went in, and saw that nobody had been
there since the Captain left it. He brought away as much
gold as he could carry, and returned to town. He told
his son the secret of the cave, which his son handed down
in his turn, so the children and grandchildren of Ali Baba
were rich to the end of their lives.
 Arabian Nights
HANSEL AND GRETTEL
ONCE upon a time there dwelt on the outskirts of a
large forest a poor woodcutter with his wife and two
children; the boy was called Hansel and the girl Grettel.
He had always little enough to live on, and once, when
there was a great famine in the land, he couldn't even
provide them with daily bread. One night, as he was tossing
about in bed, full of cares and worry, he sighed and said
to his wife: "What's to become of us? how are we to
support our poor children, now that we have nothing
more for ourselves?" "I'll tell you what, husband,"
answered the woman; "early to-morrow morning we'll
take the children out into the thickest part of the wood;
there we shall light a fire for them and give them each a
piece of bread; then we'll go on to our work and leave
them alone. They won't be able to find their way home,
and we shall thus be rid of them." "No, wife," said her
husband, "that I won't do; how could I find it in my
heart to leave my children alone in the wood? The wild
beasts would soon come and tear them to pieces." "Oh!
you fool," said she, "then we must all four die of hunger,
and you may just as well go and plane the boards for our
coffins"; and she left him no peace till he consented. "But
I can't help feeling sorry for the poor children," added the
The children, too, had not been able to sleep for hunger,
and had heard what their step-mother had said to their
father. Grettel wept bitterly and spoke to Hansel: "Now
it's all up with us." "No, no, Grettel," said Hansel,
"don't fret yourself; I'll be able to find a way to escape,
no fear." And when the old people had fallen asleep he
got up, slipped on his little coat, opened the back door and
stole out. The moon was shining clearly, and the white
pebbles which lay in front of the house glittered like bits
of silver. Hansel bent down and filled his pocket with as
many of them as he could cram in. Then he went back
and said to Grettel: "Be comforted, my dear little sister,
and go to sleep: God will not desert us"; and he lay down
in bed again.
At daybreak, even before the sun was up, the woman
came and woke the two children: "Get up, you lie-abeds,
we're all going to the forest to fetch wood." She gave
them each a bit of bread and said: "There's something for
your luncheon, but don't you eat it up before, for it's all
you'll get." Grettel took the bread under her apron, as
Hansel had the stones in his pocket. Then they all set
out together on the way to the forest. After they had
walked for a little, Hansel stood still and looked back at
the house, and this maneuver he repeated again and again.
His father observed him, and said: "Hansel, what are you
gazing at there, and why do you always remain behind?
Take care, and don't lose your footing." "Oh! father,"
said Hansel, "I am looking back at my white kitten,
which is sitting on the roof, waving me a farewell." The
woman exclaimed: "What a donkey you are! that isn't
your kitten, that's the morning sun shining on the chimney."
But Hansel had not looked back at his kitten, but
had always dropped one of the white pebbles out of his
pocket on to the path.
When they had reached the middle of the forest the
father said: "Now, children, go and fetch a lot of wood,
and I'll light a fire that you may not feel cold." Hansel
and Grettel heaped up brushwood till they had made a
pile nearly the size of a small hill. The brushwood was
set fire to, and when the flames leaped high the woman
said: "Now lie down at the fire, children, and rest
yourselves: we are going into the forest to cut down wood;
when we've finished we'll come back and fetch you."
Hansel and Grettel sat down beside the fire, and at midday
ate their little bits of bread. They heard the strokes
of the axe, so they thought their father was quite near.
But it was no axe they heard, but a bough he had tied on
a dead tree, and that was blown about by the wind. And
when they had sat for a long time their eyes closed with
fatigue, and they fell fast asleep. When they awoke at
last it was pitch dark. Grettel began to cry, and said:
"How are we ever to get out of the wood?" But Hansel
comforted her. "Wait a bit," he said, "till the moon is
up, and then we'll find our way sure enough." And when
the full moon had risen he took his sister by the hand and
followed the pebbles, which shone like new threepenny
bits, and showed them the path. They walked on through
the night, and at daybreak reached their father's house
again. They knocked at the door, and when the woman
opened it she exclaimed: "You naughty children, what
a time you've slept in the wood! we thought you were
never going to come back." But the father rejoiced, for
his conscience had reproached him for leaving his children
behind by themselves.
Not long afterward there was again great dearth in the
land, and the children heard their mother address their
father thus in bed one night: "Everything is eaten up
once more; we have only half a loaf in the house, and
when that's done it's all up with us. The children must
be got rid of; we'll lead them deeper into the wood this
time, so that they won't be able to find their way out
again. There is no other way of saving ourselves." The
man's heart smote him heavily, and he thought: "Surely
it would be better to share the last bite with one's
children!" But his wife wouldn't listen to his arguments, and
did nothing but scold and reproach him. If a man yields
once he's done for, and so, because he had given in the
first time, he was forced to do so the second.
But the children were awake, and had heard the
conversation. When the old people were asleep Hansel got
up, and wanted to go out and pick up pebbles again, as
he had done the first time; but the woman had barred the
door, and Hansel couldn't get out. But he consoled his
little sister, and said: "Don't cry, Grettel, and sleep
peacefully, for God is sure to help us."
At early dawn the woman came and made the children
get up. They received their bit of bread, but it was even
smaller than the time before. On the way to the wood
Hansel crumbled it in his pocket, and every few minutes
he stood still and dropped a crumb on the ground.
"Hansel, what are you stopping and looking about you for?"
said the father. "I'm looking back at my little pigeon,
which is sitting on the roof waving me a farewell,"
answered Hansel. "Fool!" said the wife; "that isn't your
pigeon, it's the morning sun glittering on the chimney."
But Hansel gradually threw all his crumbs on the path.
The woman led the children still deeper into the forest
farther than they had ever been in their lives before.
Then a big fire was lit again, and the mother said: "Just
sit down there, children, and if you're tired you can sleep
a bit; we're going into the forest to cut down wood, and
in the evening when we're finished we'll come back to
fetch you." At midday Grettel divided her bread with
Hansel, for he had strewn his all along their path. Then
they fell asleep, and evening passed away, but nobody
came to the poor children. They didn't awake till it was
pitch dark, and Hansel comforted his sister, saying:
"Only wait, Grettel, till the moon rises, then we shall see
the bread-crumbs I scattered along the path; they will
show us the way back to the house." When the moon
appeared they got up, but they found no crumbs, for the
thousands of birds that fly about the woods and fields had
picked them all up. "Never mind," said Hansel to Gret-
tel; "you'll see we'll find a way out"; but all the same they
did not. They wandered about the whole night, and the
next day, from morning till evening, but they could not
find a path out of the wood. They were very hungry, too,
for they had nothing to eat but a few berries they found
growing on the ground. And at last they were so tired
that their legs refused to carry them any longer, so they
lay down under a tree and fell fast asleep.
On the third morning after they had left their father's
house they set about their wandering again, but only got
deeper and deeper into the wood, and now they felt that
if help did not come to them soon they must perish. At
midday they saw a beautiful little snow-white bird sitting
on a branch, which sang so sweetly that they stopped still
and listened to it. And when its song was finished it
flapped its wings and flew on in front of them. They
followed it and came to a little house, on the roof of which
it perched; and when they came quite near they saw that
the cottage was made of bread and roofed with cakes,
while the window was made of transparent sugar. "Now
we'll set to," said Hansel, "and have a regular blow-out.
I'll eat a bit of the roof, and you, Grettel, can eat some
of the window, which you'll find a sweet morsel." Hansel
stretched up his hand and broke off a little bit of the roof
to see what it was like, and Grettel went to the casement
and began to nibble at it. Thereupon a shrill voice called
out from the room inside:
"Nibble, nibble, little mouse,
Who's nibbling my house?"
The children answered:
"Tis Heaven's own child,
The tempest wild,"
and went on eating, without putting themselves about.
Hansel, who thoroughly appreciated the roof, tore down
a big bit of it, while Grettel pushed out a whole round
window-pane, and sat down the better to enjoy it. Suddenly
the door opened, and an ancient dame leaning on a
staff hobbled out. Hansel and Grettel were so terrified
that they let what they had in their hands fall. But the
old woman shook her head and said: "Oh, ho! you dear
children, who led you here? Just come in and stay with
me, no ill shall befall you." She took them both by the
hand and let them into the house, and laid a most
sumptuous dinner before them--milk and sugared pancakes,
with apples and nuts. After they had finished, two
beautiful little white beds were prepared for them, and when
Hansel and Grettel lay down in them they felt as if they
had got into heaven.
 He was a vulgar boy!
The old woman had appeared to be most friendly, but
she was really an old witch who had waylaid the children,
and had only built the little bread house in order to
lure them in. When anyone came into her power she
killed, cooked, and ate him, and held a regular feast-day
for the occasion. Now witches have red eyes, and cannot
see far, but, like beasts, they have a keen sense of smell,
and know when human beings pass by. When Hansel and
Grettel fell into her hands she laughed maliciously, and
said jeeringly: "I've got them now; they sha'n't escape
me." Early in the morning, before the children were
awake, she rose up, and when she saw them both sleeping
so peacefully, with their round rosy cheeks, she muttered
to herself: "That'll be a dainty bite." Then she seized
Hansel with her bony hand and carried him into a little
stable, and barred the door on him; he might scream as
much as he liked, it did him no good. Then she went to
Grettel, shook her till she awoke, and cried: "Get up, you
lazy-bones, fetch water and cook something for your
brother. When he's fat I'll eat him up." Grettel began
to cry bitterly, but it was of no use; she had to do what
the wicked witch bade her.
So the best food was cooked for poor Hansel, but Grettel
got nothing but crab-shells. Every morning the old woman
hobbled out to the stable and cried: "Hansel, put out
your finger, that I may feel if you are getting fat." But
Hansel always stretched out a bone, and the old dame,
whose eyes were dim, couldn't see it, and thinking always
it was Hansel's finger, wondered why he fattened so
slowly. When four weeks had passed and Hansel still
remained thin, she lost patience and determined to wait no
longer. "Hi, Grettel," she called to the girl, abe quick and
get some water. Hansel may be fat or thin, I'm going to
kill him to-morrow and cook him." Oh! how the poor
little sister sobbed as she carried the water, and how the
tears rolled down her cheeks! "Kind heaven help us now!"
she cried; "if only the wild beasts in the wood had eaten
us, then at least we should have died together." "Just
hold your peace," said the old hag; "it won't help you."
Early in the morning Grettel had to go out and hang
up the kettle full of water, and light the fire. "First we'll
bake," said the old dame; "I've heated the oven already
and kneaded the dough." She pushed Grettel out to the
oven, from which fiery flames were already issuing.
"Creep in," said the witch, "and see if it's properly heated,
so that we can shove in the bread." For when she had
got Grettel in she meant to close the oven and let the girl
bake, that she might eat her up too. But Grettel
perceived her intention, and said: "I don't know how I'm to
do it; how do I get in?" "You silly goose!" said the hag,
"the opening is big enough; see, I could get in myself,"
and she crawled toward it, and poked her head into the
oven. Then Grettel gave her a shove that sent her right
in, shut the iron door, and drew the bolt. Gracious! how
she yelled, it was quite horrible; but Grettel fled, and the
wretched old woman was left to perish miserably.
Grettel flew straight to Hansel, opened the little stable-
door, and cried: "Hansel, we are free; the old witch is
dead." Then Hansel sprang like a bird out of a cage when
the door is opened. How they rejoiced, and fell on each
other's necks, and jumped for joy, and kissed one another!
And as they had no longer any cause for fear, they went
in the old hag's house, and here they found, in every
corner of the room, boxes with pearls and precious stones.
"These are even better than pebbles," said Hansel, and
crammed his pockets full of them; and Grettel said: "I
too will bring something home," and she filled her apron
full. "But now," said Hansel, "let's go and get well away
from the witch's wood." When they had wandered about
for some hours they came to a big lake. "We can't get
over," said Hansel; "I see no bridge of any sort or kind."
"Yes, and there's no ferry-boat either," answered Grettel;
"but look, there swims a white duck; if I ask her she'll
help us over," and she called out:
"Here are two children, mournful very,
Seeing neither bridge nor ferry;
Take us upon your white back,
And row us over, quack, quack!"
The duck swam toward them, and Hansel got on her
back and bade his little sister sit beside him. "No,"
answered Grettel, "we should be too heavy a load for the
duck: she shall carry us across separately." The good
bird did this, and when they were landed safely on the
other side, and had gone for a while, the wood became
more and more familiar to them, and at length they saw
their father's house in the distance. Then they set off to
run, and bounding into the room fell on their father's neck.
The man had not passed a happy hour since he left them
in the wood, but the woman had died. Grettel shook out
her apron so that the pearls and precious stones rolled
about the room, and Hansel threw down one handful after
the other out of his pocket. Thus all their troubles were
ended, and they lived happily ever afterward.
My story is done. See! there runs a little mouse;
anyone who catches it may make himself a large fur cap out
SNOW-WHITE AND ROSE-RED
A POOR widow once lived in a little cottage with a
garden in front of it, in which grew two rose trees, one
bearing white roses and the other red. She had two
children, who were just like the two rose trees; one was
called Snow-white and the other Rose-red, and they were
the sweetest and best children in the world, always diligent
and always cheerful; but Snow-white was quieter and
more gentle than Rose-red. Rose-red loved to run about
the fields and meadows, and to pick flowers and catch
butterflies; but Snow-white sat at home with her mother
and helped her in the household, or read aloud to her when
there was no work to do. The two children loved each
other so dearly that they always walked about hand in
hand whenever they went out together, and when Snow-
white said, "We will never desert each other," Rose-red
answered: "No, not as long as we live"; and the mother
added: "Whatever one gets she shall share with the
other." They often roamed about in the woods gathering
berries and no beast offered to hurt them; on the
contrary, they came up to them in the most confiding
manner; the little hare would eat a cabbage leaf from their
hands, the deer grazed beside them, the stag would bound
past them merrily, and the birds remained on the branches
and sang to them with all their might.
No evil ever befell them; if they tarried late in the
wood and night overtook them, they lay down together
on the moss and slept till morning, and their mother knew
they were quite safe, and never felt anxious about them.
Once, when they had slept all night in the wood and had
been wakened by the morning sun, they perceived a
beautiful child in a shining white robe sitting close to
their resting-place. The figure got up, looked at them
kindly, but said nothing, and vanished into the wood.
And when they looked round about them they became
aware that they had slept quite close to a precipice, over
which they would certainly have fallen had they gone on
a few steps further in the darkness. And when they told
their mother of their adventure, she said what they had
seen must have been the angel that guards good children.
Snow-white and Rose-red kept their mother's cottage
so beautifully clean and neat that it was a pleasure to go
into it. In summer Rose-red looked after the house, and
every morning before her mother awoke she placed a
bunch of flowers before the bed, from each tree a rose.
In winter Snow-white lit the fire and put on the kettle,
which was made of brass, but so beautifully polished that
it shone like gold. In the evening when the snowflakes
fell their mother said: "Snow-white, go and close the
shutters," and they drew round the fire, while the mother
put on her spectacles and read aloud from a big book and
the two girls listened and sat and span. Beside them on
the ground lay a little lamb, and behind them perched a
little white dove with its head tucked under its wings.
One evening as they sat thus cosily together someone
knocked at the door as though he desired admittance.
The mother said: "Rose-red, open the door quickly; it
must be some traveler seeking shelter." Rose-red
hastened to unbar the door, and thought she saw a poor man
standing in the darkness outside; but it was no such thing,
only a bear, who poked his thick black head through the
door. Rose-red screamed aloud and sprang back in
terror, the lamb began to bleat, the dove flapped its
wings, and Snow-white ran and hid behind her mother's
bed. But the bear began to speak, and said: "Don't be
afraid: I won't hurt you. I am half frozen, and only wish
to warm myself a little." "My poor bear," said the
mother, "lie down by the fire, only take care you don't
burn your fur." Then she called out: "Snow-white and
Rose-red, come out; the bear will do you no harm; he is
a good, honest creature." So they both came out of their
hiding-places, and gradually the lamb and dove drew near
too, and they all forgot their fear. The bear asked the
children to beat the snow a little out of his fur, and they
fetched a brush and scrubbed him till he was dry. Then
the beast stretched himself in front of the fire, and
growled quite happily and comfortably. The children
soon grew quite at their ease with him, and led their
helpless guest a fearful life. They tugged his fur with their
hands, put their small feet on his back, and rolled him
about here and there, or took a hazel wand and beat him
with it; and if he growled they only laughed. The bear
submitted to everything with the best possible good-
nature, only when they went too far he cried: "Oh!
children, spare my life!
"Snow-white and Rose-red,
Don't beat your lover dead."
When it was time to retire for the night, and the others
went to bed, the mother said to the bear: "You can lie
there on the hearth, in heaven's name; it will be shelter
for you from the cold and wet." As soon as day dawned
the children led him out, and he trotted over the snow
into the wood. From this time on the bear came every
evening at the same hour, and lay down by the hearth and
let the children play what pranks they liked with him;
and they got so accustomed to him that the door was
never shut till their black friend had made his appearance.
When spring came, and all outside was green, the bear
said one morning to Snow-white: "Now I must go away,
and not return again the whole summer." "Where are you
going to, dear bear?" asked Snow-white. "I must go to
the wood and protect my treasure from the wicked dwarfs.
In winter, when the earth is frozen hard, they are obliged
to remain underground, for they can't work their way
through; but now, when the sun has thawed and warmed
the ground, they break through and come up above to spy
the land and steal what they can; what once falls into
their hands and into their caves is not easily brought back
to light." Snow-white was quite sad over their friend's
departure, and when she unbarred the door for him, the
bear, stepping out, caught a piece of his fur in the door-
knocker, and Snow-white thought she caught sight of
glittering gold beneath it, but she couldn't be certain of
it; and the bear ran hastily away, and soon disappeared
behind the trees.
A short time after this the mother sent the children into
the wood to collect fagots. They came in their wanderings
upon a big tree which lay felled on the ground, and
on the trunk among the long grass they noticed something
jumping up and down, but what it was they couldn't
distinguish. When they approached nearer they perceived
a dwarf with a wizened face and a beard a yard long. The
end of the beard was jammed into a cleft of the tree, and
the little man sprang about like a dog on a chain, and
didn't seem to know what he was to do. He glared at the
girls with his fiery red eyes, and screamed out: "What are
you standing there for? Can't you come and help me?"
"What were you doing, little man?" asked Rose-red.
"You stupid, inquisitive goose!" replied the dwarf; "I
wanted to split the tree, in order to get little chips of wood
for our kitchen fire; those thick logs that serve to make
fires for coarse, greedy people like yourselves quite burn
up all the little food we need. I had successfully driven
in the wedge, and all was going well, but the cursed wood
was so slippery that it suddenly sprang out, and the tree
closed up so rapidly that I had no time to take my
beautiful white beard out, so here I am stuck fast, and I
can't get away; and you silly, smooth-faced, milk-and-
water girls just stand and laugh! Ugh! what wretches you
The children did all in their power, but they couldn't
get the beard out; it was wedged in far too firmly. "I
will run and fetch somebody," said Rose-red. "Crazy
blockheads!" snapped the dwarf; "what's the good of calling
anyone else? You're already two too many for me.
Does nothing better occur to you than that?" "Don't be
so impatient," said Snow-white, "I'll see you get help,"
and taking her scissors out of her pocket she cut off the
end of his beard. As soon as the dwarf felt himself free he
seized a bag full of gold which was hidden among the
roots of the tree, lifted it up, and muttered aloud: "Curse
these rude wretches, cutting off a piece of my splendid
beard!" With these words he swung the bag over his
back, and disappeared without as much as looking at the
Shortly after this Snow-white and Rose-red went out
to get a dish of fish. As they approached the stream they
saw something which looked like an enormous grasshopper
springing toward the water as if it were going to jump in.
They ran forward and recognized their old friend the
dwarf. "Where are you going to?" asked Rose-red; "you're
surely not going to jump into the water?" "I'm not such
a fool," screamed the dwarf. "Don't you see that cursed
fish is trying to drag me in?" The little man had been
sitting on the bank fishing, when unfortunately the wind
had entangled his beard in the line; and when immediately
afterward a big fish bit, the feeble little creature had no
strength to pull it out; the fish had the upper fin, and
dragged the dwarf toward him. He clung on with all his
might to every rush and blade of grass, but it didn't help
him much; he had to follow every movement of the fish,
and was in great danger of being drawn into the water.
The girls came up just at the right moment, held him
firm, and did all they could to disentangle his beard from
the line; but in vain, beard and line were in a hopeless
muddle. Nothing remained but to produce the scissors
and cut the beard, by which a small part of it was sacrificed.
When the dwarf perceived what they were about he
yelled to them: "Do you call that manners, you toad-
stools! to disfigure a fellow's face? It wasn't enough that
you shortened my beard before, but you must now needs
cut off the best bit of it. I can't appear like this before
my own people. I wish you'd been in Jericho first." Then
he fetched a sack of pearls that lay among the rushes, and
without saying another word he dragged it away and
disappeared behind a stone.
It happened that soon after this the mother sent the
two girls to the town to buy needles, thread, laces, and
ribbons. Their road led over a heath where huge boulders
of rock lay scattered here and there. While trudging
along they saw a big bird hovering in the air, circling
slowly above them, but always descending lower, till at
last it settled on a rock not far from them. Immediately
afterward they heard a sharp, piercing cry. They ran
forward, and saw with horror that the eagle had pounced
on their old friend the dwarf, and was about to carry him
off. The tender-hearted children seized hold of the little
man, and struggled so long with the bird that at last he
let go his prey. When the dwarf had recovered from the
first shock he screamed in his screeching voice: "Couldn't
you have treated me more carefully? You have torn my
thin little coat all to shreds, useless, awkward hussies that
you are!" Then he took a bag of precious stones and
vanished under the rocks into his cave. The girls were
accustomed to his ingratitude, and went on their way and
did their business in town. On their way home, as they
were again passing the heath, they surprised the dwarf
pouring out his precious stones on an open space, for he
had thought no one would pass by at so late an hour. The
evening sun shone on the glittering stones, and they
glanced and gleamed so beautifully that the children stood
still and gazed on them. "What are you standing there
gaping for?" screamed the dwarf, and his ashen-gray face
became scarlet with rage. He was about to go off with
these angry words when a sudden growl was heard, and
a black bear trotted out of the wood. The dwarf jumped
up in great fright, but he hadn't time to reach his place of
retreat, for the bear was already close to him. Then he
cried in terror: "Dear Mr. Bear, spare me! I'll give you
all my treasure. Look at those beautiful precious stones
lying there. Spare my life! what pleasure would you get
from a poor feeble little fellow like me? You won't feel
me between your teeth. There, lay hold of these two
wicked girls, they will be a tender morsel for you, as fat
as young quails; eat them up, for heaven's sake." But the
bear, paying no attention to his words, gave the evil little
creature one blow with his paw, and he never moved
The girls had run away, but the bear called after them:
"Snow-white and Rose-red, don't be afraid; wait, and
I'll come with you." Then they recognized his voice and
stood still, and when the bear was quite close to them his
skin suddenly fell off, and a beautiful man stood beside
them, all dressed in gold. "I am a king's son," he said,
"and have been doomed by that unholy little dwarf, who
had stolen my treasure, to roam about the woods as a
wild bear till his death should set me free. Now he has
got his well-merited punishment."
Snow-white married him, and Rose-red his brother, and
they divided the great treasure the dwarf had collected
in his cave between them. The old mother lived for many
years peacefully with her children; and she carried the
two rose trees with her, and they stood in front of her
window, and every year they bore the finest red and white
ONCE upon a time an old queen, whose husband had
been dead for many years, had a beautiful daughter.
When she grew up she was betrothed to a prince who lived
a great way off. Now, when the time drew near for her
to be married and to depart into a foreign kingdom, her
old mother gave her much costly baggage, and many
ornaments, gold and silver, trinkets and knicknacks, and,
in fact, everything that belonged to a royal trousseau, for
she loved her daughter very dearly. She gave her a waiting-
maid also, who was to ride with her and hand her over
to the bridegroom, and she provided each of them with a
horse for the journey. Now the Princess's horse was
called Falada, and could speak.
When the hour for departure drew near the old mother
went to her bedroom, and taking a small knife she cut her
fingers till they bled; then she held a white rag under
them, and letting three drops of blood fall into it, she
gave it to her daughter, and said: "Dear child, take great
care of this rag: it may be of use to you on the journey."
So they took a sad farewell of each other, and the
Princess stuck the rag in front of her dress, mounted her
horse, and set forth on the journey to her bridegroom's
kingdom. After they had ridden for about an hour the
Princess began to feel very thirsty, and said to her waiting-
maid: "Pray get down and fetch me some water in
my golden cup out of yonder stream: I would like a
drink." "If you're thirsty," said the maid, "dismount
yourself, and lie down by the water and drink; I don't mean
to be your servant any longer." The Princess was so
thirsty that she got down, bent over the stream, and
drank, for she wasn't allowed to drink out of the golden
goblet. As she drank she murmured: "Oh! heaven, what
am I to do?" and the three drops of blood replied:
"If your mother only knew,
Her heart would surely break in two."
But the Princess was meek, and said nothing about her
maid's rude behavior, and quietly mounted her horse
again. They rode on their way for several miles, but the
day was hot, and the sun's rays smote fiercely on them,
so that the Princess was soon overcome by thirst again.
And as they passed a brook she called once more to her
waiting-maid: "Pray get down and give me a drink from
my golden cup," for she had long ago forgotten her maid's
rude words. But the waiting-maid replied, more haughtily
even than before: "If you want a drink, you can dismount
and get it; I don't mean to be your servant." Then the
Princess was compelled by her thirst to get down, and
bending over the flowing water she cried and said: "Oh!
heaven, what am I to do?" and the three drops of blood
"If your mother only knew,
Her heart would surely break in two."
And as she drank thus, and leaned right over the water,
the rag containing the three drops of blood fell from her
bosom and floated down the stream, and she in her anxiety
never even noticed her loss. But the waiting-maid
had observed it with delight, as she knew it gave her
power over the bride, for in losing the drops of blood the
Princess had become weak and powerless. When she
wished to get on her horse Falada again, the waiting-
maid called out: "I mean to ride Falada: you must mount
my beast"; and this too she had to submit to. Then the
waiting-maid commanded her harshly to take off her
royal robes, and to put on her common ones, and finally
she made her swear by heaven not to say a word about
the matter when they reached the palace; and if she
hadn't taken this oath she would have been killed on the
spot. But Falada observed everything, and laid it all to
The waiting-maid now mounted Falada, and the real
bride the worse horse, and so they continued their journey
till at length they arrived at the palace yard. There was
great rejoicing over the arrival, and the Prince sprang
forward to meet them, and taking the waiting-maid for
his bride, he lifted her down from her horse and led her
upstairs to the royal chamber. In the meantime the real
Princess was left standing below in the courtyard. The
old King, who was looking out of his window, beheld her
in this plight, and it struck him how sweet and gentle,
even beautiful, she looked. He went at once to the royal
chamber, and asked the bride who it was she had brought
with her and had left thus standing in the court below.
"Oh!" replied the bride, "I brought her with me to keep
me company on the journey; give the girl something to do,
that she may not be idle." But the old King had no work
for her, and couldn't think of anything; so he said, "I've
a small boy who looks after the geese, she'd better help
him." The youth's name was Curdken, and the real bride
was made to assist him in herding geese.
Soon after this the false bride said to the Prince:
"Dearest husband, I pray you grant me a favor." He
answered: "That I will." "Then let the slaughterer cut
off the head of the horse I rode here upon, because it
behaved very badly on the journey." But the truth was she
was afraid lest the horse should speak and tell how she
had treated the Princess. She carried her point, and the
faithful Falada was doomed to die. When the news came
to the ears of the real Princess she went to the slaughterer,
and secretly promised him a piece of gold if he would do
something for her. There was in the town a large dark
gate, through which she had to pass night and morning
with the geese; would he "kindly hang up Falada's head
there, that she might see it once again?" The slaughterer
said he would do as she desired, chopped off the head, and
nailed it firmly over the gateway.
Early next morning, as she and Curdken were driving
their flock through the gate, she said as she passed under:
"Oh! Falada, 'tis you hang there";
and the head replied:
" 'Tis you; pass under, Princess fair:
If your mother only knew,
Her heart would surely break in two."
Then she left the tower and drove the geese into a field.
And when they had reached the common where the geese
fed she sat down and unloosed her hair, which was of pure
gold. Curdken loved to see it glitter in the sun, and wanted
much to pull some hair out. Then she spoke:
"Wind, wind, gently sway,
Blow Curdken's hat away;
Let him chase o'er field and wold
Till my locks of ruddy gold,
Now astray and hanging down,
Be combed and plaited in a crown."
Then a gust of wind blew Curdken's hat away, and he
had to chase it over hill and dale. When he returned from
the pursuit she had finished her combing and curling, and
his chance of getting any hair was gone. Curdken was
very angry, and wouldn't speak to her. So they herded
the geese till evening and then went home.
The next morning, as they passed under the gate, the
"Oh! Falada, 'tis you hang there";
and the head replied:
" 'Tis you; pass under, Princess fair:
If your mother only knew,
Her heart would surely break in two."
Then she went on her way till she came to the common,
where she sat down and began to comb out her hair; then
Curdken ran up to her and wanted to grasp some of the
hair from her head, but she called out hastily:
"Wind, wind, gently sway,
Blow Curdken's hat away;
Let him chase o'er field and wold
Till my locks of ruddy gold,
Now astray and hanging down,
Be combed and plaited in a crown."
Then a puff of wind came and blew Curdken's hat far
away, so that he had to run after it; and when he returned
she had long finished putting up her golden locks, and he
couldn't get any hair; so they watched the geese till it was
But that evening when they got home Curdken went to
the old King, and said: "I refuse to herd geese any longer
with that girl." "For what reason?" asked the old King.
"Because she does nothing but annoy me all day long,"
replied Curdken; and he proceeded to relate all her
iniquities, and said: "Every morning as we drive the flock
through the dark gate she says to a horse's head that
hangs on the wall:
"`Oh! Falada, 'tis you hang there';
and the head replies:
"`'Tis you; pass under, Princess fair:
If your mother only knew,
Her heart would surely break in two.'"
And Curdken went on to tell what passed on the common
where the geese fed, and how he had always to chase
The old King bade him go and drive forth his flock as
usual next day; and when morning came he himself took
up his position behind the dark gate, and heard how the
goose-girl greeted Falada. Then he followed her through
the field, and hid himself behind a bush on the common.
He soon saw with his own eyes how the goose-boy and the
goose-girl looked after the geese, and how after a time the
maiden sat down and loosed her hair, that glittered like
gold, and repeated:
"Wind, wind, gently sway,
Blow Curdken's hat away;
Let him chase o'er field and wold
Till my locks of ruddy gold
Now astray and hanging down,
Be combed and plaited in a crown."
Then a gust of wind came and blew Curdken's hat away,
so that he had to fly over hill and dale after it, and the girl
in the meantime quietly combed and plaited her hair: all
this the old King observed, and returned to the palace
without anyone having noticed him. In the evening when
the goose-girl came home he called her aside, and asked
her why she behaved as she did. "I may not tell you why;
how dare I confide my woes to anyone? for I swore not to
by heaven, otherwise I should have lost my life." The
old King begged her to tell him all, and left her no peace,
but he could get nothing out of her. At last he said:
"Well, if you won't tell me, confide your trouble to the
iron stove there," and he went away. Then she crept to
the stove, and began to sob and cry and to pour out her
poor little heart, and said: "Here I sit, deserted by all the
world, I who am a king's daughter, and a false waiting-
maid has forced me to take off my own clothes, and has
taken my place with my bridegroom, while I have to fulfill
the lowly office of goose-girl.
"If my mother only knew
Her heart would surely break in two."
But the old King stood outside at the stove chimney,
and listened to her words. Then he entered the room
again, and bidding her leave the stove, he ordered royal
apparel to be put on her, in which she looked amazingly
lovely. Then he summoned his son, and revealed to him
that he had got the false bride, who was nothing but a
waiting-maid, while the real one, in the guise of the ex-
goose-girl, was standing at his side. The young King re-
joiced from his heart when he saw her beauty and learned
how good she was, and a great banquet was prepared, to
which everyone was bidden. The bridegroom sat at the
head of the table, the Princess on one side of him and the
waiting-maid on the other; but she was so dazzled that
she did not recognize the Princess in her glittering
garments. Now when they had eaten and drunk, and were
merry, the old King asked the waiting-maid to solve a
knotty point for him. "What," said he, "should be done
to a certain person who has deceived everyone?" and he
proceeded to relate the whole story, ending up with,
"Now what sentence should be passed?" Then the false
bride answered: "She deserves to be put stark naked into
a barrel lined with sharp nails, which should be dragged
by two white horses up and down the street till she is
"You are the person," said the King, "and you have
passed sentence on yourself; and even so it shall be done
to you." And when the sentence had been carried out the
young King was married to his real bride, and both
reigned over the kingdom in peace and happiness.
TOADS AND DIAMONDS
THERE was once upon a time a widow who had two
daughters. The eldest was so much like her in the face
and humor that whoever looked upon the daughter saw
the mother. They were both so disagreeable and so proud
that there was no living with them.
The youngest, who was the very picture of her father
for courtesy and sweetness of temper, was withal one of
the most beautiful girls ever seen. As people naturally
love their own likeness, this mother even doted on her
eldest daughter and at the same time had a horrible
aversion for the youngest--she made her eat in the kitchen
and work continually.
Among other things, this poor child was forced twice a
day to draw water above a mile and a-half off the house,
and bring home a pitcher full of it. One day, as she was
at this fountain, there came to her a poor woman, who
begged of her to let her drink.
"Oh! ay, with all my heart, Goody," said this pretty
little girl; and rinsing immediately the pitcher, she took
up some water from the clearest place of the fountain,
and gave it to her, holding up the pitcher all the while,
that she might drink the easier.
The good woman, having drunk, said to her:
You are so very pretty, my dear, so good and so
mannerly, that I cannot help giving you a gift." For
this was a fairy, who had taken the form of a poor
country woman, to see how far the civility and good
manners of this pretty girl would go. "I will give you
for a gift," continued the Fairy, "that, at every word
you speak, there shall come out of your mouth either a
flower or a jewel."
When this pretty girl came home her mother scolded
her for staying so long at the fountain.
"I beg your pardon, mamma," said the poor girl, "for
not making more haste."
And in speaking these words there came out of her
mouth two roses, two pearls, and two diamonds
"What is it I see there?" said the mother, quite
astonished. "I think I see pearls and diamonds come out of
the girl's mouth! How happens this, child?"
This was the first time she had ever called her child.
The poor creature told her frankly all the matter, not
without dropping out infinite numbers of diamonds.
"In good faith," cried the mother, "I must send my
child thither. Come hither, Fanny; look what comes
out of thy sister's mouth when she speaks. Wouldst not
thou be glad, my dear, to have the same gift given thee?
Thou hast nothing else to do but go and draw water
out of the fountain, and when a certain poor woman
asks you to let her drink, to give it to her very civilly."
"It would be a very fine sight indeed," said this ill-
bred minx, "to see me go draw water."
"You shall go, hussy!" said the mother; "and this
So away she went, but grumbling all the way, taking
with her the best silver tankard in the house.
She was no sooner at the fountain than she saw coming
out of the wood a lady most gloriously dressed, who
came up to her, and asked to drink. This was, you must
know, the very fairy who appeared to her sister, but now
had taken the air and dress of a princess, to see how far
this girl's rudeness would go.
"Am I come hither," said the proud, saucy one, "to
serve you with water, pray? I suppose the silver tankard
was brought purely for your ladyship, was it? However,
you may drink out of it, if you have a fancy."
"You are not over and above mannerly," answered
the Fairy, without putting herself in a passion. "Well,
then, since you have so little breeding, and are so
disobliging, I give you for a gift that at every word you
speak there shall come out of your mouth a snake or a
So soon as her mother saw her coming she cried out:
"Well, mother?" answered the pert hussy, throwing
out of her mouth two vipers and two toads.
"Oh! mercy," cried the mother; "what is it I see? Oh!
it is that wretch her sister who has occasioned all this;
but she shall pay for it"; and immediately she ran to
beat her. The poor child fled away from her, and went
to hide herself in the forest, not far from thence.
The King's son, then on his return from hunting, met
her, and seeing her so very pretty, asked her what she
did there alone and why she cried.
"Alas! sir, my mamma has turned me out of doors."
The King's son, who saw five or six pearls and as
many diamonds come out of her mouth, desired her to
tell him how that happened. She thereupon told him
the whole story; and so the King's son fell in love with
her, and, considering himself that such a gift was worth
more than any marriage portion, conducted her to the
palace of the King his father, and there married her.
As for the sister, she made herself so much hated that
her own mother turned her off; and the miserable wretch,
having wandered about a good while without finding
anybody to take her in, went to a corner of the wood,
and there died.
 Charles Perrault.
ONCE upon a time there lived a king who was so just
and kind that his subjects called him "the Good King."
It happened one day, when he was out hunting, that a
little white rabbit, which his dogs were chasing, sprang
into his arms for shelter. The King stroked it gently,
and said to it:
"Well, bunny, as you have come to me for protection
I will see that nobody hurts you."
And he took it home to his palace and had it put in a
pretty little house, with all sorts of nice things to eat.
That night, when he was alone in his room, a beautiful
lady suddenly appeared before him; her long dress was
as white as snow, and she had a crown of white roses upon
her head. The good King was very much surprised to
see her, for he knew his door had been tightly shut, and
he could not think how she had got in. But she said
"I am the Fairy Truth. I was passing through the
wood when you were out hunting, and I wished to find
out if you were really good, as everybody said you were,
so I took the shape of a little rabbit and came to your
arms for shelter, for I know that those who are merciful
to animals will be still kinder to their fellow-men. If
you had refused to help me I should have been certain
that you were wicked. I thank you for the kindness you
have shown me, which has made me your friend for ever.
You have only to ask me for anything you want and I
promise that I will give it to you."
"Madam," said the good King, "since you are a fairy
you no doubt know all my wishes. I have but one son
whom I love very dearly, that is why he is called Prince
Darling. If you are really good enough to wish to do
me a favor, I beg that you will become his friend."
"With all my heart," answered the Fairy. "I can
make your son the handsomest prince in the world, or
the richest, or the most powerful; choose whichever you
like for him."
"I do not ask either of these things for my son," replied
the good King; "but if you will make him the best of
princes, I shall indeed be grateful to you. What good
would it do him to be rich, or handsome, or to possess all
the kingdoms of the world if he were wicked? You know
well he would still be unhappy. Only a good man can
be really contented."
"You are quite right," answered the Fairy; "but it is
not in my power to make Prince Darling a good man
unless he will help me; he must himself try hard to become
good, I can only promise to give him good advice,
to scold him for his faults, and to punish him if he will
not correct and punish himself."
The good King was quite satisfied with this promise;
and very soon afterward he died.
Prince Darling was very sorry, for he loved his father
with all his heart, and he would willingly have given all
his kingdoms and all his treasures of gold and silver if
they could have kept the good King with him.
Two days afterward, when the Prince had gone to
bed, the Fairy suddenly appeared to him and said:
"I promised your father that I would be your friend,
and to keep my word I have come to bring you a present."
At the same time she put a little gold ring upon his
"Take great care of this ring," she said: "it is more
precious than diamonds; every time you do a bad deed
it will prick your finger, but if, in spite of its pricking,
you go on in your own evil way, you will lose my friendship,
and I shall become your enemy."
So saying, the Fairy disappeared, leaving Prince
Darling very much astonished.
For some time he behaved so well that the ring never
pricked him, and that made him so contented that his
subjects called him Prince Darling the Happy.
One day, however, he went out hunting, but could get
no sport, which put him in a very bad temper; it seemed
to him as he rode along that his ring was pressing into
his finger, but as it did not prick him he did not heed it.
When he got home and went to his own room, his little
dog Bibi ran to meet him, jumping round him with
pleasure. "Get away!" said the Prince, quite gruffly.
"I don't want you, you are in the way."
The poor little dog, who didn't understand this at all,
pulled at his coat to make him at least look at her, and
this made Prince Darling so cross that he gave her quite
a hard kick.
Instantly his ring pricked him sharply, as if it had
been a pin. He was very much surprised, and sat down
in a corner of his room feeling quite ashamed of himself.
"I believe the Fairy is laughing at me," he thought.
"Surely I can have done no great wrong in just kicking
a tiresome animal! What is the good of my being ruler
of a great kingdom if I am not even allowed to beat my
"I am not making fun of you," said a voice, answering
Prince Darling's thoughts. "You have committed three
faults. First of all, you were out of temper because you
could not have what you wanted, and you thought all
men and animals were only made to do your pleasure;
then you were really angry, which is very naughty
indeed; and lastly, you were cruel to a poor little animal
who did not in the least deserve to be ill-treated
"I know you are far above a little dog, but if it were
right and allowable that great people should ill-treat all
who are beneath them, I might at this moment beat you,
or kill you, for a fairy is greater than a man. The
advantage of possessing a great empire is not to be able to
do the evil that one desires, but to do all the good that
one possibly can."
The Prince saw how naughty he had been, and promised
to try and do better in future, but he did not keep
his word. The fact was he had been brought up by a
foolish nurse, who had spoiled him when he was little.
If he wanted anything he only had to cry and fret and
stamp his feet and she would give him whatever he
asked for, which had made him self-willed; also she had
told him from morning to night that he would one day
be a king, and that kings were very happy, because
everyone was bound to obey and respect them, and no
one could prevent them from doing just as they liked.
When the Prince grew old enough to understand, he
soon learned that there could be nothing worse than to
be proud, obstinate, and conceited, and he had really
tried to cure himself of these defects, but by that time
all his faults had become habits; and a bad habit is very
hard to get rid of. Not that he was naturally of a bad
disposition; he was truly sorry when he had been naughty,
"I am very unhappy to have to struggle against my
anger and pride every day; if I had been punished for
them when I was little they would not be such a trouble
to me now."
His ring pricked him very often, and sometimes he
left off what he was doing at once; but at other times he
would not attend to it. Strangely enough, it gave him
only a slight prick for a trifling fault, but when he was
really naughty it made his finger actually bleed. At
last he got tired of being constantly reminded, and wanted
to be able to do as he liked, so he threw his ring aside,
and thought himself the happiest of men to have got rid
of its teasing pricks. He gave himself up to doing every
foolish thing that occurred to him, until he became quite
wicked and nobody could like him any longer.
One day, when the Prince was walking about, he saw
a young girl who was so very pretty that he made up
his mind at once that he would marry her. Her name
was Celia, and she was as good as she was beautiful.
Prince Darling fancied that Celia would think herself
only too happy if he offered to make her a great queen,
but she said fearlessly:
"Sire, I am only a shepherdess, and a poor girl, but,
nevertheless, I will not marry you."
"Do you dislike me?" asked the Prince, who was very
much vexed at this answer.
"No, my Prince," replied Celia; "I cannot help
thinking you very handsome; but what good would riches be
to me, and all the grand dresses and splendid carriages
that you would give me, if the bad deeds which I should
see you do every day made me hate and despise you?"
The Prince was very angry at this speech, and
commanded his officers to make Celia a prisoner and carry
her off to his palace. All day long the remembrance of
what she had said annoyed him, but as he loved her he
could not make up his mind to have her punished.
One of the Prince's favorite companions was his foster-
brother, whom he trusted entirely; but he was not at all
a good man, and gave Prince Darling very bad advice,
and encouraged him in all his evil ways. When he saw
the Prince so downcast he asked what was the matter,
and when he explained that he could not bear Celia's
bad opinion of him, and was resolved to be a better man
in order to please her, this evil adviser said to him:
"You are very kind to trouble yourself about this little
girl; if I were you I would soon make her obey me.
Remember that you are a king, and that it would be laughable
to see you trying to please a shepherdess, who ought
to be only too glad to be one of your slaves. Keep her
in prison, and feed her on bread and water for a little
while, and then, if she still says she will not marry you,
have her head cut off, to teach other people that you
mean to be obeyed. Why, if you cannot make a girl
like that do as you wish, your subjects will soon forget
that they are only put into this world for our pleasure."
"But," said Prince Darling, "would it not be a shame
if I had an innocent girl put to death? For Celia has
done nothing to deserve punishment."
"If people will not do as you tell them they ought to
suffer for it," answered his foster-brother; "but even if
it were unjust, you had better be accused of that by your
subjects than that they should find out that they may
insult and thwart you as often as they please."
In saying this he was touching a weak point in his
brother's character; for the Prince's fear of losing any
of his power made him at once abandon his first idea of
trying to be good, and resolve to try and frighten the
shepherdess into consenting to marry him.
His foster-brother, who wanted him to keep this
resolution, invited three young courtiers, as wicked as himself
to sup with the Prince, and they persuaded him to drink
a great deal of wine, and continued to excite his anger
against Celia by telling him that she had laughed at his
love for her; until at last, in quite a furious rage, he
rushed off to find her, declaring that if she still refused
to marry him she should be sold as a slave the very next
But when he reached the room in which Celia had
been locked up, he was greatly surprised to find that she
was not in it, though he had the key in his own pocket
all the time. His anger was terrible, and he vowed
vengeance against whoever had helped her to escape. His
bad friends, when they heard him, resolved to turn his
wrath upon an old nobleman who had formerly been his
tutor; and who still dared sometimes to tell the Prince
of his faults, for he loved him as if he had been his own
son. At first Prince Darling had thanked him, but after
a time he grew impatient and thought it must be just
mere love of fault-finding that made his old tutor blame
him when everyone else was praising and flattering him.
So he ordered him to retire from his Court, though he still,
from time to time, spoke of him as a worthy man whom
he respected, even if he no longer loved him. His
unworthy friends feared that he might some day take it
into his head to recall his old tutor, so they thought they
now had a good opportunity of getting him banished for
They reported to the Prince that Suilman, for that
was the tutor's name, had boasted of having helped Celia
to escape, and they bribed three men to say that Suilman
himself had told them about it. The Prince, in
great anger, sent his foster-brother with a number of
soldiers to bring his tutor before him, in chains, like a
criminal. After giving this order he went to his own
room, but he had scarcely got into it when there was a
clap of thunder which made the ground shake, and the
Fairy Truth appeared suddenly before him.
"I promised your father," said she sternly, "to give
you good advice, and to punish you if you refused to
follow it. You have despised my counsel, and have gone
your own evil way until you are only outwardly a man;
really you are a monster--the horror of everyone who
knows you. It is time that I should fulfil my promise,
and begin your punishment. I condemn you to resemble
the animals whose ways you have imitated. You
have made yourself like the lion by your anger, and like
the wolf by your greediness. Like a snake, you have
ungratefully turned upon one who was a second father to
you; your churlishness has made you like a bull. Therefore,
in your new form, take the appearance of all these
The Fairy had scarcely finished speaking when Prince
Darling saw to his horror that her words were fulfilled.
He had a lion's head, a bull's horns, a wolf's feet, and a
snake's body. At the same instant he found himself in
a great forest, beside a clear lake, in which he could see
plainly the horrible creature he had become, and a voice
said to him:
"Look carefully at the state to which your wickedness
has brought you; believe me, your soul is a thousand
times more hideous than your body."
Prince Darling recognized the voice of the Fairy Truth
and turned in a fury to catch her and eat her up if he
possibly could; but he saw no one, and the same voice
"I laugh at your powerlessness and anger, and I intend
to punish your pride by letting you fall into the
hands of your own subjects."
The Prince began to think that the best thing he could
do would be to get as far away from the lake as he could,
then at least he would not be continually reminded of his
terrible ugliness. So he ran toward the wood, but before
he had gone many yards he fell into a deep pit which
had been made to trap bears, and the hunters, who were
hiding in a tree, leaped down, and secured him with
several chains, and led him into the chief city of his own
On the way, instead of recognizing that his own faults
had brought this punishment upon him, he accused the
Fairy of being the cause of all his misfortunes, and bit
and tore at his chains furiously.
As they approached the town he saw that some great
rejoicing was being held, and when the hunters asked
what had happened they were told that the Prince,
whose only pleasure it was to torment his people, had
been found in his room, killed by a thunder-bolt (for
that was what was supposed to have become of him).
Four of his courtiers, those who had encouraged him in
his wicked doings, had tried to seize the kingdom and
divide it between them, but the people, who knew it
was their bad counsels which had so changed the Prince,
had cut off their heads, and had offered the crown to
Suilman, whom the Prince had left in prison. This
noble lord had just been crowned, and the deliverance
of the kingdom was the cause of the rejoicing "For,"
they said, "he is a good and just man, and we shall once
more enjoy peace and prosperity."
Prince Darling roared with anger when he heard this;
but it was still worse for him when he reached the great
square before his own palace. He saw Suilman seated
upon a magnificent throne, and all the people crowded
round, wishing him a long life that he might undo all
the mischief done by his predecessor.
Presently Suilman made a sign with his hand that the
people should be silent, and said: "I have accepted the
crown you have offered me, but only that I may keep it
for Prince Darling, who is not dead as you suppose; the
Fairy has assured me that there is still hope that you
may some day see him again, good and virtuous as he
was when he first came to the throne. Alas!" he
continued, "he was led away by flatterers. I knew his
heart, and am certain that if it had not been for the bad
influence of those who surrounded him he would have
been a good king and a father to his people. We may
hate his faults, but let us pity him and hope for his
restoration. As for me, I would die gladly if that could bring
back our Prince to reign justly and worthily once more."
These words went to Prince Darling's heart; he realized
the true affection and faithfulness of his old tutor, and