Part 5 out of 7
before her, and then she whispered in its ear:
'Kneel, little calf, kneel; Be faithful and leal, Not like Prince
Fickle, Who once on a time Left his fair Helena Under the lime.'
After some years passed in this way, she heard that the daughter
of the king of the country she was living in was going to marry a
Prince called 'Fickle.' Everybody rejoiced at the news except poor
Helena, to whom it was a fearful blow, for at the bottom of her
heart she had always believed her lover to be true.
Now it chanced that the way to the capital led right past the
village where Helena was, and often when she was leading her
cattle forth to the meadows Prince Fickle rode past her, without
ever noticing the poor herd-girl, so engrossed was he in thoughts
of his new bride. Then it occurred to Helena to put his heart to
the test and to see if it weren't possible to recall herself to
him. So one day as Prince Fickle rode by she said to her little
'Kneel, little calf, kneel; Be faithful and leal, Not like
Prince Fickle, Who once on a time Left his poor Helena Under
When Prince Fickle heard her voice it seemed to him to remind him
of something, but of what he couldn't remember, for he hadn't
heard the words distinctly, as Helena had only spoken them very
low and with a shaky voice. Helena herself had been far too moved
to let her see what impression her words had made on the Prince,
and when she looked round he was already far away. But she noticed
how slowly he was riding, and how deeply sunk he was in thought,
so she didn't quite give herself up as lost.
In honour of the approaching wedding a feast lasting many nights
was to be given in the capital. Helena placed all her hopes on
this, and determined to go to the feast and there to seek out her
When evening drew near she stole out of the peasant's cottage
secretly, and, going to her hiding-place, she put on her dress
embroidered with the gold suns, and all her jewels, and loosed her
beautiful golden hair, which up to now she had always worn under a
kerchief, and, adorned thus, she set out for the town.
When she entered the ball-room all eyes were turned on her, and
everyone marvelled at her beauty, but no one knew who she was.
Prince Fickle, too, was quite dazzled by the charms of the
beautiful maiden, and never guessed that she had once been his own
ladylove. He never left her side all night, and it was with great
difficulty that Helena escaped from him in the crowd when it was
time to return home. Prince Fickle searched for her everywhere,
and longed eagerly for the next night, when the beautiful lady had
promised to come again.
The following evening the fair Helena started early for the feast.
This time she wore her dress embroidered with silver moons, and in
her hair she placed a silver crescent. Prince Fickle was enchanted
to see her again, and she seemed to him even more beautiful than
she had been the night before. He never left her side, and refused
to dance with anyone else. He begged her to tell him who she was,
but this she refused to do. Then he implored her to return again
next evening, and this she promised him she would.
On the third evening Prince Fickle was so impatient to see his
fair enchantress again, that he arrived at the feast hours before
it began, and never took his eyes from the door. At last Helena
arrived in a dress all covered with gold and silver stars, and
with a girdle of stars round her waist, and a band of stars in her
hair. Prince Fickle was more in love with her than ever, and
begged her once again to tell him her name.
Then Helena kissed him silently on the left cheek, and in one
moment Prince Fickle recognized his old love. Full of remorse and
sorrow, he begged for her forgiveness, and Helena, only too
pleased to have got him back again, did not, you may be sure, keep
him waiting very long for her pardon, and so they were married and
returned to Helena's castle, where they are no doubt still sitting
happily together under the lime-tree.
PUDDOCKY (From the German)
There was once upon a time a poor woman who had one little
daughter called 'Parsley.' She was so called because she liked
eating parsley better than any other food, indeed she would hardly
eat anything else. Her poor mother hadn't enough money always to
be buying parsley for her, but the child was so beautiful that she
could refuse her nothing, and so she went every night to the
garden of an old witch who lived near and stole great branches of
the coveted vegetable, in order to satisfy her daughter.
This remarkable taste of the fair Parsley soon became known, and
the theft was discovered. The witch called the girl's mother to
her, and proposed that she should let her daughter come and live
with her, and then she could eat as much parsley as she liked. The
mother was quite pleased with this suggestion, and so the
beautiful Parsley took up her abode with the old witch.
One day three Princes, whom their father had sent abroad to
travel, came to the town where Parsley lived and perceived the
beautiful girl combing and plaiting her long black hair at the
window. In one moment they all fell hopelessly in love with her,
and longed ardently to have the girl for their wife; but hardly
had they with one breath expressed their desire than, mad with
jealousy, they drew their swords and all three set upon each
other. The struggle was so violent and the noise so loud that the
old witch heard it, and said at once 'Of course Parsley is at the
bottom of all this.'
And when she had convinced herself that this was so, she stepped
forward, and, full of wrath over the quarrels and feuds Parsley's
beauty gave rise to, she cursed the girl and said, 'I wish you
were an ugly toad, sitting under a bridge at the other end of the
Hardly were the words out of her mouth than Parsley was changed
into a toad and vanished from their sight. The Princes, now that
the cause of their dispute was removed, put up their swords,
kissed each other affectionately, and returned to their father.
The King was growing old and feeble, and wished to yield his
sceptre and crown in favour of one of his sons, but he couldn't
make up his mind which of the three he should appoint as his
successor. He determined that fate should decide for him. So he
called his three children to him and said, 'My dear sons, I am
growing old, and am weary of reigning, but I can't make up my mind
to which of you three I should yield my crown, for I love you all
equally. At the same time I would like the best and cleverest of
you to rule over my people. I have, therefore, determined to set
you three tasks to do, and the one that performs them best shall
be my heir. The first thing I shall ask you to do is to bring me a
piece of linen a hundred yards long, so fine that it will go
through a gold ring.' The sons bowed low, and, promising to do
their best, they started on their journey without further delay.
The two elder brothers took many servants and carriages with them,
but the youngest set out quite alone. In a short time they came to
three cross roads; two of them were gay and crowded, but the third
was dark and lonely.
The two elder brothers chose the more frequented ways, but the
youngest, bidding them farewell, set out on the dreary road.
Wherever linen was to be bought, there the two elder brothers
hastened. They loaded their carriages with bales of the finest
linen they could find and then returned home.
The youngest brother, on the other hand, went on his weary way for
many days, and nowhere did he come across any linen that would
have done. So he journeyed on, and his spirits sank with every
step. At last he came to a bridge which stretched over a deep
river flowing through a flat and marshy land. Before crossing the
bridge he sat down on the banks of the stream and sighed dismally
over his sad fate. Suddenly a misshapen toad crawled out of the
swamp, and, sitting down opposite him, asked: 'What's the matter
with you, my dear Prince?'
The Prince answered impatiently, 'There's not much good my telling
you, Puddocky, for you couldn't help me if I did.'
'Don't be too sure of that,' replied the toad; 'tell me your
trouble and we'll see.'
Then the Prince became most confidential and told the little
creature why he had been sent out of his father's kingdom.
'Prince, I will certainly help you,' said the toad, and, crawling
back into her swamp, she returned dragging after her a piece of
linen not bigger than a finger, which she lay before the Prince,
saying, 'Take this home, and you'll see it will help you.'
The Prince had no wish to take such an insignificant bundle with
him; but he didn't like to hurt Puddocky's feelings by refusing
it, so he took up the little packet, put it in his pocket, and
bade the little toad farewell. Puddocky watched the Prince till he
was out of sight and then crept back into the water.
The further the Prince went the more he noticed that the pocket in
which the little roll of linen lay became heavier, and in
proportion his heart grew lighter. And so, greatly comforted, he
returned to the Court of his father, and arrived home just at the
same time as his brothers with their caravans. The King was
delighted to see them all again, and at once drew the ring from
his finger and the trial began. In all the waggon-loads there was
not one piece of linen the tenth part of which would go through
the ring, and the two elder brothers, who had at first sneered at
their youngest brother for returning with no baggage, began to
feel rather small. But what were their feelings when he drew a
bale of linen out of his pocket which in fineness, softness, and
purity of colour was unsurpassable! The threads were hardly
visible, and it went through the ring without the smallest
difficulty, at the same time measuring a hundred yards quite
The father embraced his fortunate son, and commanded the rest of
the linen to be thrown into the water; then, turning to his
children he said, 'Now, dear Princes, prepare yourselves for the
second task. You must bring me back a little dog that will go
comfortably into a walnut-shell.'
The sons were all in despair over this demand, but as they each
wished to win the crown, they determined to do their best, and
after a very few days set out on their travels again.
At the cross roads they separated once more. The youngest went by
himself along his lonely way, but this time he felt much more
cheerful. Hardly had he sat down under the bridge and heaved a
sigh, than Puddocky came out; and, sitting down opposite him,
asked, 'What's wrong with you now, dear Prince?'
The Prince, who this time never doubted the little toad's power to
help him, told her his difficulty at once. 'Prince, I will help
you,' said the toad again, and crawled back into her swamp as fast
as her short little legs would carry her. She returned, dragging a
hazel nut behind her, which she laid at the Prince's feet and
said, 'Take this nut home with you and tell your father to crack
it very carefully, and you'll see then what will happen.' The
Prince thanked her heartily and went on his way in the best of
spirits, while the little puddock crept slowly back into the
When the Prince got home he found his brothers had just arrived
with great waggon-loads of little dogs of all sorts. The King had
a walnut shell ready, and the trial began; but not one of the dogs
the two eldest sons had brought with them would in the least fit
into the shell. When they had tried all their little dogs, the
youngest son handed his father the hazel-nut, with a modest bow,
and begged him to crack it carefully. Hardly had the old King done
so than a lovely tiny dog sprang out of the nutshell, and ran
about on the King's hand, wagging its tail and barking lustily at
all the other little dogs. The joy of the Court was great. The
father again embraced his fortunate son, commanded the rest of the
small dogs to be thrown into the water and drowned, and once more
addressed his sons. 'The two most difficult tasks have been
performed. Now listen to the third and last: whoever brings the
fairest wife home with him shall be my heir.'
This demand seemed so easy and agreeable and the reward was so
great, that the Princes lost no time in setting forth on their
travels. At the cross roads the two elder brothers debated if they
should go the same way as the youngest, but when they saw how
dreary and deserted it looked they made up their minds that it
would be impossible to find what they sought in these wilds, and
so they stuck to their former paths.
The youngest was very depressed this time and said to himself,
'Anything else Puddocky could have helped me in, but this task is
quite beyond her power. How could she ever find a beautiful wife
for me? Her swamps are wide and empty, and no human beings dwell
there; only frogs and toads and other creatures of that sort.'
However, he sat down as usual under the bridge, and this time he
sighed from the bottom of his heart.
In a few minutes the toad stood in front of him and asked, 'What's
the matter with you now, my dear Prince?'
'Oh, Puddocky, this time you can't help me, for the task is beyond
even your power,' replied the Prince.
'Still,' answered the toad, 'you may as well tell me your
difficulty, for who knows but I mayn't be able to help you this
The Prince then told her the task they had been set to do. 'I'll
help you right enough, my dear Prince,' said the little toad;
'just you go home, and I'll soon follow you.' With these words,
Puddocky, with a spring quite unlike her usual slow movements,
jumped into the water and disappeared.
The Prince rose up and went sadly on his way, for he didn't
believe it possible that the little toad could really help him in
his present difficulty. He had hardly gone a few steps when he
heard a sound behind him, and, looking round, he saw a carriage
made of cardboard, drawn by six big rats, coming towards him. Two
hedgehogs rode in front as outriders, and on the box sat a fat
mouse as coachman, and behind stood two little frogs as footmen.
In the carriage itself sat Puddocky, who kissed her hand to the
Prince out of the window as she passed by.
Sunk deep in thought over the fickleness of fortune that had
granted him two of his wishes and now seemed about to deny him the
last and best, the Prince hardly noticed the absurd equipage, and
still less did he feel inclined to laugh at its comic appearance.
The carriage drove on in front of him for some time and then
turned a corner. But what was his joy and surprise when suddenly,
round the same corner, but coming towards him, there appeared a
beautiful coach drawn by six splendid horses, with outriders,
coachmen, footmen and other servants all in the most gorgeous
liveries, and seated in the carriage was the most beautiful woman
the Prince had ever seen, and in whom he at once recognised the
beautiful Parsley, for whom his heart had formerly burned. The
carriage stopped when it reached him, and the footmen sprang down
and opened the door for him. He got in and sat down beside the
beautiful Parsley, and thanked her heartily for her help, and told
her how much he loved her.
And so he arrived at his father's capital, at the same moment as
his brothers who had returned with many carriage-loads of
beautiful women. But when they were all led before the King, the
whole Court with one consent awarded the prize of beauty to the
The old King was delighted, and embraced his thrice fortunate son
and his new daughter-in-law tenderly, and appointed them as his
successors to the throne. But he commanded the other women to be
thrown into the water and drowned, like the bales of linen and the
little dogs. The Prince married Puddocky and reigned long and
happily with her, and if they aren't dead I suppose they are
THE STORY OF HOK LEE AND THE DWARFS
There once lived in a small town in China a man named Hok Lee. He
was a steady industrious man, who not only worked hard at his
trade, but did all his own house-work as well, for he had no wife
to do it for him. 'What an excellent industrious man is this Hok
Lee!' said his neighbours; 'how hard he works: he never leaves his
house to amuse himself or to take a holiday as others do!'
But Hok Lee was by no means the virtuous person his neighbours
thought him. True, he worked hard enough by day, but at night,
when all respectable folk were fast asleep, he used to steal out
and join a dangerous band of robbers, who broke into rich people's
houses and carried off all they could lay hands on.
This state of things went on for some time, and, though a thief
was caught now and then and punished, no suspicion ever fell on
Hok Lee, he was such a very respectable, hard-working man.
Hok Lee had already amassed a good store of money as his share of
the proceeds of these robberies when it happened one morning on
going to market that a neighbour said to him:
'Why, Hok Lee, what is the matter with your face? One side of it
is all swelled up.'
True enough, Hok Lee's right cheek was twice the size of his left,
and it soon began to feel very uncomfortable.
'I will bind up my face,' said Hok Lee; 'doubtless the warmth will
cure the swelling.' But no such thing. Next day it was worse, and
day by day it grew bigger and bigger till it was nearly as large
as his head and became very painful.
Hok Lee was at his wits' ends what to do. Not only was his cheek
unsightly and painful, but his neighbours began to jeer and make
fun of him, which hurt his feelings very much indeed.
One day, as luck would have it, a travelling doctor came to the
town. He sold not only all kinds of medicine, but also dealt in
many strange charms against witches and evil spirits.
Hok Lee determined to consult him, and asked him into his house.
After the doctor had examined him carefully, he spoke thus: 'This,
O Hok Lee, is no ordinary swelled face. I strongly suspect you
have been doing some wrong deed which has called down the anger of
the spirits on you. None of my drugs will avail to cure you, but,
if you are willing to pay me handsomely, I can tell you how you
may be cured.'
Then Hok Lee and the doctor began to bargain together, and it was
a long time before they could come to terms. However, the doctor
got the better of it in the end, for he was determined not to part
with his secret under a certain price, and Hok Lee had no mind to
carry his huge cheek about with him to the end of his days. So he
was obliged to part with the greater portion of his ill-gotten
When the Doctor had pocketed the money, he told Hok Lee to go on
the first night of the full moon to a certain wood and there to
watch by a particular tree. After a time he would see the dwarfs
and little sprites who live underground come out to dance. When
they saw him they would be sure to make him dance too. 'And mind
you dance your very best,' added the doctor. 'If you dance well
and please them they will grant you a petition and you can then
beg to be cured; but if you dance badly they will most likely do
you some mischief out of spite.' With that he took leave and
Happily the first night of the full moon was near, and at the
proper time Hok Lee set out for the wood. With a little trouble he
found the tree the doctor had described, and, feeling nervous, he
climbed up into it.
He had hardly settled himself on a branch when he saw the little
dwarfs assembling in the moonlight. They came from all sides, till
at length there appeared to be hundreds of them. They seemed in
high glee, and danced and skipped and capered about, whilst Hok
Lee grew so eager watching them that he crept further and further
along his branch till at length it gave a loud crack. All the
dwarfs stood still, and Hok Lee felt as if his heart stood still
Then one of the dwarfs called out, 'Someone is up in that tree.
Come down at once, whoever you are, or we must come and fetch
In great terror, Hok Lee proceeded to come down; but he was so
nervous that he tripped near the ground and came rolling down in
the most absurd manner. When he had picked himself up, he came
forward with a low bow, and the dwarf who had first spoken and who
appeared to be the leader, said, 'Now, then, who art thou, and
what brings thee here?'
So Hok Lee told him the sad story of his swelled cheek, and how he
had been advised to come to the forest and beg the dwarfs to cure
'It is well,' replied the dwarf. 'We will see about that. First,
however, thou must dance before us. Should thy dancing please us,
perhaps we may be able to do something; but shouldst thou dance
badly, we shall assuredly punish thee, so now take warning and
With that, he and all the other dwarfs sat down in a large ring,
leaving Hok Lee to dance alone in the middle. He felt half
frightened to death, and besides was a good deal shaken by his
fall from the tree and did not feel at all inclined to dance. But
the dwarfs were not to be trifled with.
'Begin!' cried their leader, and 'Begin!' shouted the rest in
So in despair Hok Lee began. First he hopped on one foot and then
on the other, but he was so stiff and so nervous that he made but
a poor attempt, and after a time sank down on the ground and vowed
he could dance no more.
The dwarfs were very angry. They crowded round Hok Lee and abused
him. 'Thou to come here to be cured, indeed!' they cried, 'thou
hast brought one big cheek with thee, but thou shalt take away
two.' And with that they ran off and disappeared, leaving Hok Lee
to find his way home as best he might.
He hobbled away, weary and depressed, and not a little anxious on
account of the dwarfs' threat.
Nor were his fears unfounded, for when he rose next morning his
left cheek was swelled up as big as his right, and he could hardly
see out of his eyes. Hok Lee felt in despair, and his neighbours
jeered at him more than ever. The doctor, too, had disappeared, so
there was nothing for it but to try the dwarfs once more.
He waited a month till the first night of the full moon came round
again, and then he trudged back to the forest, and sat down under
the tree from which he had fallen. He had not long to wait. Ere
long the dwarfs came trooping out till all were assembled.
'I don't feel quite easy,' said one; 'I feel as if some horrid
human being were near us.'
When Hok Lee heard this he came forward and bent down to the
ground before the dwarfs, who came crowding round, and laughed
heartily at his comical appearance with his two big cheeks.
'What dost thou want?' they asked; and Hok Lee proceeded to tell
them of his fresh misfortunes, and begged so hard to be allowed
one more trial at dancing that the dwarfs consented, for there is
nothing they love so much as being amused.
Now, Hok Lee knew how much depended on his dancing well, so he
plucked up a good spirit and began, first quite slowly, and faster
by degrees, and he danced so well and gracefully, and made such
new and wonderful steps, that the dwarfs were quite delighted with
They clapped their tiny hands, and shouted, 'Well done, Hok Lee,
well done, go on, dance more, for we are pleased.'
And Hok Lee danced on and on, till he really could dance no more,
and was obliged to stop.
Then the leader of the dwarfs said, 'We are well pleased, Hok Lee,
and as a recompense for thy dancing thy face shall be cured.
With these words he and the other dwarfs vanished, and Hok Lee,
putting his hands to his face, found to his great joy that his
cheeks were reduced to their natural size. The way home seemed
short and easy to him, and he went to bed happy, and resolved
never to go out robbing again.
Next day the whole town was full of the news of Hok's sudden cure.
His neighbours questioned him, but could get nothing from him,
except the fact that he had discovered a wonderful cure for all
kinds of diseases.
After a time a rich neighbour, who had been ill for some years,
came, and offered to give Hok Lee a large sum of money if he would
tell him how he might get cured. Hok Lee consented on condition
that he swore to keep the secret. He did so, and Hok Lee told him
of the dwarfs and their dances.
The neighbour went off, carefully obeyed Hok Lee's directions, and
was duly cured by the dwarfs. Then another and another came to Hok
Lee to beg his secret, and from each he extracted a vow of secrecy
and a large sum of money. This went on for some years, so that at
length Hok Lee became a very wealthy man, and ended his days in
peace and prosperity.
From the Chinese.
THE STORY OF THE THREE BEARS
Once upon a time there were Three Bears, who lived together in a
house of their own in a wood. One of them was a Little, Small, Wee
Bear; and one was a Middle-sized Bear, and the other was a Great,
Huge Bear. They had each a pot for their porridge, a little pot
for the Little, Small, Wee Bear; and a middle-sized pot for the
Middle Bear; and a great pot for the Great, Huge Bear. And they
had each a chair to sit in; a little chair for the Little, Small,
Wee Bear; and a middle-sized chair for the Middle Bear; and a
great chair for the Great, Huge Bear. And they had each a bed to
sleep in; a little bed for the Little, Small, Wee Bear; and a
middle-sized bed for the Middle Bear; and a great bed for the
Great, Huge Bear.
One day, after they had made the porridge for their breakfast, and
poured it into their porridge-pots, they walked out into the wood
while the porridge was cooling, that they might not burn their
mouths by beginning too soon to eat it. And while they were
walking, a little old woman came to the house. She could not have
been a good, honest old woman; for, first, she looked in at the
window, and then she peeped in at the keyhole; and, seeing nobody
in the house, she lifted the latch. The door was not fastened,
because the bears were good bears, who did nobody any harm, and
never suspected that anybody would harm them. So the little old
woman opened the door and went in; and well pleased she was when
she saw the porridge on the table. If she had been a good little
old woman she would have waited till the bears came home, and
then, perhaps, they would have asked her to breakfast; for they
were good bears--a little rough or so, as the manner of bears is,
but for all that very good-natured and hospitable. But she was an
impudent, bad old woman, and set about helping herself.
So first she tasted the porridge of the Great, Huge Bear, and that
was too hot for her; and she said a bad word about that. And then
she tasted the porridge of the Middle Bear; and that was too cold
for her; and she said a bad word about that too. And then she went
to the porridge of the Little, Small, Wee Bear, and tasted that;
and that was neither too hot nor too cold, but just right; and she
liked it so well, that she ate it all up: but the naughty old
woman said a bad word about the little porridge-pot, because it
did not hold enough for her.
Then the little old woman sate down in the chair of the Great,
Huge Bear, and that was too hard for her. And then she sate down
in the chair of the Middle Bear, and that was too soft for her.
And then she sate down in the chair of the Little, Small, Wee
Bear, and that was neither too hard nor too soft, but just right.
So she seated herself in it, and there she sate till the bottom of
the chair came out, and down came she, plump upon the ground. And
the naughty old woman said a wicked word about that too.
Then the little old woman went up stairs into the bed-chamber in
which the three bears slept. And first she lay down upon the bed
of the Great, Huge Bear; but that was too high at the head for
her. And next she lay down upon the bed of the Middle Bear; and
that was too high at the foot for her. And then she lay down upon
the bed of the Little, Small, Wee Bear; and that was neither too
high at the head, nor at the foot, but just right. So she covered
herself up comfortably, and lay there till she fell fast asleep.
By this time the three bears thought their porridge would be cool
enough; so they came home to breakfast. Now the little old woman
had left the spoon of the Great, Huge Bear, standing in his
'SOMEBODY HAS BEEN AT MY PORRIDGE!'
said the Great, Huge Bear, in his great gruff voice. And when the
Middle Bear looked at his, he saw that the spoon was standing in
it too. They were wooden spoons; if they had been silver ones, the
naughty old woman would have put them in her pocket.
'Somebody Has Been At My Porridge!'
said the Middle Bear, in his middle voice.
Then the Little, Small, Wee Bear looked at his, and there was the
spoon in the porridge-pot, but the porridge was all gone.
'_Somebody has been at my porridge, and has eaten it all up_!'
said the Little, Small Wee Bear, in his little, small wee voice.
Upon this the three bears, seeing that some one had entered their
house, and eaten up the Little, Small, Wee Bear's breakfast, began
to look about them. Now the little old woman had not put the hard
cushion straight when she rose from the chair of the Great, Huge
'SOMEBODY HAS BEEN SITTING IN MY CHAIR!'
said the Great, Huge Bear, in his great, rough, gruff voice.
And the little old woman had squatted down the soft cushion of the
'Somebody Has Been Sitting In My Chair!'
said the Middle Bear, in his middle voice.
And you know what the little old woman had done to the third
'_Somebody has been sitting in my chair, and has sate the bottom
of it out_!'
said the Little, Small, Wee Bear, in his little, small, wee voice.
Then the three bears thought it necessary that they should make
farther search; so they went up stairs into their bed-chamber. Now
the little old woman had pulled the pillow of the Great, Huge Bear
out of its place.
'SOMEBODY HAS BEEN LYING IN MY BED!'
said the Great, Huge Bear, in his great, rough, gruff voice.
And the little old woman had pulled the bolster of the Middle Bear
out of its place.
'Somebody Has Been Lying In My Bed!'
said the Middle Bear in his middle voice.
And when the Little, Small, Wee Bear came to look at his bed,
there was the bolster in its place, and the pillow in its place
upon the bolster, and upon the pillow was the little old woman's
ugly, dirty head,--which was not in its place, for she had no
'_Somebody has been lying in my bed,--and here she is_!'
said the Little, Small, Wee Bear, in his little, small, wee voice.
The little old woman had heard in her sleep the great, rough,
gruff voice of the Great, Huge Bear; but she was so fast asleep
that it was no more to her than the roaring of wind or the
rumbling of thunder. And she had heard the middle voice of the
Middle Bear, but it was only as if she had heard someone speaking
in a dream. But when she heard the little, small, wee voice of the
Little, Small, Wee Bear, it was so sharp, and so shrill, that it
awakened her at once. Up she started; and when she saw the Three
Bears on one side of the bed, she tumbled herself out at the
other, and ran to the window. Now the window was open, because the
bears, like good, tidy bears as they were, always opened their
bedchamber window when they got up in the morning. Out the little
old woman jumped; and whether she broke her neck in the fall, or
ran into the wood and was lost there, or found her way out of the
wood and was taken up by the constable and sent to the House of
Correction for a vagrant as she was, I cannot tell. But the Three
Bears never saw anything more of her.
PRINCE VIVIEN AND THE PRINCESS PLACIDA
Once upon a time there lived a King and Queen who loved one
another dearly. Indeed the Queen, whose name was Santorina, was so
pretty and so kind-hearted that it would have been a wonder if her
husband had not been fond of her, while King Gridelin himself was
a perfect bundle of good qualities, for the Fairy who presided at
his christening had summoned the shades of all his ancestors, and
taken something good from each of them to form his character.
Unfortunately, though, she had given him rather too much kindness
of heart, which is a thing that generally gets its possessor into
trouble, but so far all things had prospered with King Gridelin.
However, it was not to be expected such good fortune could last,
and before very long the Queen had a lovely little daughter who
was named Placida. Now the King, who thought that if she resembled
her mother in face and mind she would need no other gift, never
troubled to ask any of the Fairies to her christening, and this
offended them mortally, so that they resolved to punish him
severely for thus depriving them of their rights. So, to the
despair of King Gridelin, the Queen first of all became very ill,
and then disappeared altogether. If it had not been for the little
Princess there is no saying what would have become of him, he was
so miserable, but there she was to be brought up, and luckily the
good Fairy Lolotte, in spite of all that had passed, was willing
to come and take charge of her, and of her little cousin Prince
Vivien, who was an orphan and had been placed under the care of
his uncle, King Gridelin, when he was quite a baby. Although she
neglected nothing that could possibly have been done for them,
their characters, as they grew up, plainly proved that education
only softens down natural defects, but cannot entirely do away
with them; for Placida, who was perfectly lovely, and with a
capacity and intelligence which enabled her to learn and
understand anything that presented itself, was at the same time as
lazy and indifferent as it is possible for anyone to be, while
Vivien on the contrary was only too lively, and was for ever
taking up some new thing and as promptly tiring of it, and flying
off to something else which held his fickle fancy an equally short
time. As these two children would possibly inherit the kingdom, it
was natural that their people should take a great interest in
them, and it fell out that all the tranquil and peace-loving
citizens desired that Placida should one day be their Queen, while
the rash and quarrelsome hoped great things for Vivien. Such a
division of ideas seemed to promise civil wars and all kinds of
troubles to the State, and even in the Palace the two parties
frequently came into collision. As for the children themselves,
though they were too well brought up to quarrel, still the
difference in all their tastes and feelings made it impossible for
them to like one another, so there seemed no chance of their ever
consenting to be married, which was a pity, since that was the
only thing that would have satisfied both parties. Prince Vivien
was fully aware of the feeling in his favour, but being too
honourable to wish to injure his pretty cousin, and perhaps too
impatient and volatile to care to think seriously about anything,
he suddenly took it into his head that he would go off by himself
in search of adventure. Luckily this idea occurred to him when he
was on horseback, for he would certainly have set out on foot
rather than lose an instant. As it was, he simply turned his
horse's head, without another thought than that of getting out of
the kingdom as soon as possible. This abrupt departure was a great
blow to the State, especially as no one had any idea what had
become of the Prince. Even King Gridelin, who had never cared for
anything since the disappearance of Queen Santorina, was roused by
this new loss, and though he could not so much as look at the
Princess Placida without shedding floods of tears, he resolved to
see for himself what talents and capabilities she showed. He very
soon found out that in addition to her natural indolence, she was
being as much indulged and spoilt day by day as if the Fairy had
been her grandmother, and was obliged to remonstrate very
seriously upon the subject. Lolotte took his reproaches meekly,
and promised faithfully that she would not encourage the Princess
in her idleness and indifference any more. From this moment poor
Placida's troubles began! She was actually expected to choose her
own dresses, to take care of her jewels, and to find her own
amusements; but rather than take so much trouble she wore the same
old frock from morning till night, and never appeared in public if
she could possibly avoid it. However, this was not all, King
Gridelin insisted that the affairs of the kingdom should be
explained to her, and that she should attend all the councils and
give her opinion upon the matter in hand whenever it was asked of
her, and this made her life such a burden to her that she implored
Lolotte to take her away from a country where too much was
required of an unhappy Princess.
The Fairy refused at first with a great show of firmness, but who
could resist the tears and entreaties of anyone so pretty as
Placida? It came to this in the end, that she transported the
Princess just as she was, cosily tucked up upon her favourite
couch, to her own Grotto, and this new disappearance left all the
people in despair, and Gridelin went about looking more distracted
than ever. But now let us return to Prince Vivien, and see what
his restless spirit has brought him to. Though Placida's kingdom
was a large one; his horse had carried him gallantly to the limit
of it, but it could go no further, and the Prince was obliged to
dismount and continue his journey on foot, though this slow mode
of progress tired his patience severely.
After what seemed to him a very long time, he found himself all
alone in a vast forest, so dark and gloomy that he secretly
shuddered; however, he chose the most promising looking path he
could find, and marched along it courageously at his best speed,
but in spite of all his efforts, night fell before he reached the
edge of the wood.
For some time he stumbled along, keeping to the path as well as he
could in the darkness, and just as he was almost wearied out he
saw before him a gleam of light.
This sight revived his drooping spirits, and he made sure that he
was now close to the shelter and supper he needed so much, but the
more he walked towards the light the further away it seemed;
sometimes he even lost sight of it altogether, and you may imagine
how provoked and impatient he was by the time he finally arrived
at the miserable cottage from which the light proceeded. He gave a
loud knock at the door, and an old woman's voice answered from
within, but as she did not seem to be hurrying herself to open it
he redoubled his blows, and demanded to be let in imperiously,
quite forgetting that he was no longer in his own kingdom. But all
this had no effect upon the old woman, who only noticed all the
uproar he was making by saying gently:
'You must have patience.'
He could hear that she really was coming to open the door to him,
only she was so very long about it. First she chased away her cat,
lest it should run away when the door was opened, then he heard
her talking to herself and made out that her lamp wanted trimming,
that she might see better who it was that knocked, and then that
it lacked fresh oil, and she must refill it. So what with one
thing and another she was an immense time trotting to and fro, and
all the while she now and again bade the Prince have patience.
When at last he stood within the little hut he saw with despair
that it was a picture of poverty, and that not a crumb of anything
eatable was to be seen, and when he explained to the old woman
that he was dying of hunger and fatigue she only answered
tranquilly that he must have patience. However, she presently
showed him a bundle of straw on which he could sleep.
'But what can I have to eat?' cried Prince Vivien sharply.
'Wait a little, wait a little,' she replied. 'If you will only
have patience I am just going out into the garden to gather some
peas: we will shell them at our leisure, then I will light a fire
and cook them, and when they are thoroughly done, we can enjoy
them peaceably; there is no hurry.'
'I shall have died of starvation by the time all that is done,'
said the Prince ruefully.
'Patience, patience,' said the old woman looking at him with her
slow gentle smile, 'I can't be hurried. "All things come at last
to him who waits;" you must have heard that often.'
Prince Vivien was wild with aggravation, but there was nothing to
'Come then,' said the old woman, 'you shall hold the lamp to light
me while I pick the peas.'
The Prince in his haste snatched it up so quickly that it went
out, and it took him a long time to light it again with two little
bits of glowing charcoal which he had to dig out from the pile of
ashes upon the hearth. However, at last the peas were gathered and
shelled, and the fire lighted, but then they had to be carefully
counted, since the old woman declared that she would cook fifty-
four, and no more. In vain did the Prince represent to her that he
was famished--that fifty-four peas would go no way towards
satisfying his hunger--that a few peas, more or less, surely could
not matter. It was quite useless, in the end he had to count out
the fifty-four, and worse than that, because he dropped one or two
in his hurry, he had to begin again from the very first, to be
sure the number was complete. As soon as they were cooked the old
dame took a pair of scales and a morsel of bread from the
cupboard, and was just about to divide it when Prince Vivien, who
really could wait no longer, seized the whole piece and ate it up,
saying in his turn, 'Patience.'
'You mean that for a joke,' said the old woman, as gently as ever,
'but that is really my name, and some day you will know more about
Then they each ate their twenty-seven peas, and the Prince was
surprised to find that he wanted nothing more, and he slept as
sweetly upon his bed of straw as he had ever done in his palace.
In the morning the old woman gave him milk and bread for his
breakfast, which he ate contentedly, rejoicing that there was
nothing to be gathered, or counted, or cooked, and when he had
finished he begged her to tell him who she was.
'That I will, with pleasure,' she replied. 'But it will be a long
'Oh! if it's long, I can't listen,' cried the Prince.
'But,' said she, 'at your age, you should attend to what old
people say, and learn to have patience.'
'But, but,' said the Prince, in his most impatient tone, 'old
people should not be so long-winded! Tell me what country I have
got into, and nothing else.'
'With all my heart,' said she. 'You are in the Forest of the Black
Bird; it is here that he utters his oracles.'
'An Oracle,' cried the Prince. 'Oh! I must go and consult him.'
Thereupon he drew a handful of gold from his pocket, and offered
it to the old woman, and when she would not take it, he threw it
down upon the table and was off like a flash of lightning, without
even staying to ask the way. He took the first path that presented
itself and followed it at the top of his speed, often losing his
way, or stumbling over some stone, or running up against a tree,
and leaving behind him without regret the cottage which had been
as little to his taste as the character of its possessor. After
some time he saw in the distance a huge black castle which
commanded a view of the whole forest. The Prince felt certain that
this must be the abode of the Oracle, and just as the sun was
setting he reached its outermost gates. The whole castle was
surrounded by a deep moat, and the drawbridge and the gates, and
even the water in the moat, were all of the same sombre hue as the
walls and towers. Upon the gate hung a huge bell, upon which was
written in red letters:
'Mortal, if thou art curious to know thy fate, strike this bell,
and submit to what shall befall thee.'
The Prince, without the smallest hesitation, snatched up a great
stone, and hammered vigorously upon the bell, which gave forth a
deep and terrible sound, the gate flew open, and closed again with
a thundering clang the moment the Prince had passed through it,
while from every tower and battlement rose a wheeling, screaming
crowd of bats which darkened the whole sky with their multitudes.
Anyone but Prince Vivien would have been terrified by such an
uncanny sight, but he strode stoutly forward till he reached the
second gate, which was opened to him by sixty black slaves covered
from head to foot in long mantles.
He wished to speak to them, but soon discovered that they spoke an
utterly unknown language, and did not seem to understand a word he
said. This was a great aggravation to the Prince, who vas not
accustomed to keep his ideas to himself, and he positively found
himself wishing for his old friend Patience. However, he had to
follow his guides in silence, and they led him into a magnificent
hall; the floor was of ebony, the walls of jet, and all the
hangings were of black velvet, but the Prince looked round it in
vain for something to eat, and then made signs that he was hungry.
In the same manner he was respectfully given to understand that he
must wait, and after several hours the sixty hooded and shrouded
figures re-appeared, and conducted him with great ceremony, and
also very very slowly, to a banqueting hall, where they all placed
themselves at a long table. The dishes were arranged down the
centre of it, and with his usual impetuosity the Prince seized the
one that stood in front of him to draw it nearer, but soon found
that it was firmly fixed in its place. Then he looked at his
solemn and lugubrious neighbours, and saw that each one was
supplied with a long hollow reed through which he slowly sucked up
his portion, and the Prince was obliged to do the same, though he
found it a frightfully tedious process. After supper, they
returned as they had come to the ebony room, where he was
compelled to look on while his companions played interminable
games of chess, and not until he was nearly dying of weariness did
they, slowly and ceremoniously as before, conduct him to his
sleeping apartment. The hope of consulting the Oracle woke him
very early the next morning, and his first demand was to be
allowed to present himself before it, but, without replying, his
attendants conducted him to a huge marble bath, very shallow at
one end, and quite deep at the other, and gave him to understand
that he was to go into it. The Prince, nothing loth, was for
springing at once into deep water, but he was gently but forcibly
held back and only allowed to stand where it was about an inch
deep, and he was nearly wild with impatience when he found that
this process was to be repeated every day in spite of all he could
say or do, the water rising higher and higher by inches, so that
for sixty days he had to live in perpetual silence, ceremoniously
conducted to and fro, supping all his meals through the long reed,
and looking on at innumerable games of chess, the game of all
others which he detested most. But at last the water rose as high
as his chin, and his bath was complete. And that day the slaves in
their black robes, and each having a large bat perched upon his
head, marched in slow procession with the Prince in their midst,
chanting a melancholy song, to the iron gate that led into a kind
of Temple. At the sound of their chanting, another band of slaves
appeared, and took possession of the unhappy Vivien.
They looked to him exactly like the ones he had left, except that
they moved more slowly still, and each one held a raven upon his
wrist, and their harsh croakings re-echoed through the dismal
place. Holding the Prince by the arms, not so much to do him
honour as to restrain his impatience, they proceeded by slow
degrees up the steps of the Temple, and when they at last reached
the top he thought his long waiting must be at an end. But on the
contrary, after slowly enshrouding him in a long black robe like
their own, they led him into the Temple itself, where he was
forced to witness numbers of lengthy rites and ceremonies. By this
time Vivien's active impatience had subsided into passive
weariness, his yawns were continual and scandalous, but nobody
heeded him, he stared hopelessly at the thick black curtain which
hung down straight in front of him, and could hardly believe his
eyes when it presently began to slide back, and he saw before him
the Black Bird. It was of enormous size, and was perched upon a
thick bar of iron which ran across from one side of the Temple to
the other. At the sight of it all the slaves fell upon their knees
and hid their faces, and when it had three times flapped its
mighty wings it uttered distinctly in Prince Vivien's own language
'Prince, your only chance of happiness depends upon that which is
most opposed to your own nature.'
Then the curtain fell before it once more, and the Prince, after
many ceremonies, was presented with a raven which perched upon his
wrist, and was conducted slowly back to the iron gate. Here the
raven left him and he was handed over once more to the care of the
first band of slaves, while a large bat flickered down and settled
upon his head of its own accord, and so he was taken back to the
marble bath, and had to go through the whole process again, only
this time he began in deep water which receded daily inch by inch.
When this was over the slaves escorted him to the outer gate, and
took leave of him with every mark of esteem and politeness, to
which it is to be feared he responded but indifferently, since the
gate was no sooner opened than he took to his heels, and fled away
with all his might, his one idea being to put as much space as
possible between himself and the dreary place into which he had
ventured so rashly, just to consult a tedious Oracle who after all
had told him nothing. He actually reflected for about five seconds
on his folly, and came to the conclusion that it might sometimes
be advisable to think before one acted.
After wandering about for several days until he was weary and
hungry, he at last succeeded in finding a way out of the forest,
and soon came to a wide and rapid river, which he followed, hoping
to find some means of crossing it, and it happened that as the sun
rose the next morning he saw something of a dazzling whiteness
moored out in the middle of the stream. Upon looking more
attentively at it he found that it was one of the prettiest little
ships he had ever seen, and the boat that belonged to it was made
fast to the bank quite close to him. The Prince was immediately
seized with the most ardent desire to go on board the ship, and
shouted loudly to attract the notice of her crew, but no one
answered. So he sprang into the little boat and rowed away without
finding it at all hard work, for the boat was made all of white
paper and was as light as a rose leaf. The ship was made of white
paper too, as the Prince presently discovered when he reached it.
He found not a soul on board, but there was a very cosy little bed
in the cabin, and an ample supply of all sorts of good things to
eat and drink, which he made up his mind to enjoy until something
new happened. Having been thoroughly well brought up at the court
of King Gridelin, of course he understood the art of navigation,
but when once he had started, the current carried the vessel down
at such a pace that before he knew where he was the Prince found
himself out at sea, and a wind springing up behind him just at
this moment soon drove him out of sight of land. By this time he
was somewhat alarmed, and did his best to put the ship about and
get back to the river, but wind and tide were too strong for him,
and he began to think of the number of times, from his childhood
up, that he had been warned not to meddle with water. But it was
too late now to do anything but wish vainly that he had stayed on
shore, and to grow heartily weary of the boat and the sea and
everything connected with it. These two things, however, he did
most thoroughly. To put the finishing touch to his misfortunes he
presently found himself becalmed in mid-ocean, a state of affairs
which would be considered trying by the most patient of men, so
you may imagine how it affected Prince Vivien! He even came to
wishing himself back at the Castle of the Black Bird, for there at
least he saw some living beings, whereas on board the white-paper
ship he was absolutely alone, and could not imagine how he was
ever to get away from his wearisome prison. However, after a very
long time, he did see land, and his impatience to be on shore was
so great that he at once flung himself over the ship's side that
he might reach it sooner by swimming. But this was quite useless,
for spring as far as he might from the vessel, it was always under
his feet again before he reached the water, and he had to resign
himself to his fate, and wait with what patience he could muster
until the winds and waves carried the ship into a kind of natural
harbour which ran far into the land. After his long imprisonment
at sea the Prince was delighted with the sight of the great trees
which grew down to the very edge of the water, and leaping lightly
on shore he speedily lost himself in the thick forest. When he had
wandered a long way he stopped to rest beside a clear spring of
water, but scarcely had he thrown himself down upon the mossy bank
when there was a great rustling in the bushes close by, and out
sprang a pretty little gazelle panting and exhausted, which fell
at his feet gasping out--
'Oh! Vivien, save me!'
The Prince in great astonishment leapt to his feet, and had just
time to draw his sword before he found himself face to face with a
large green lion which had been hotly pursuing the poor little
gazelle. Prince Vivien attacked it gallantly and a fierce combat
ensued, which, however, ended before long in the Prince's dealing
his adversary a terrific blow which felled him to the earth. As he
fell the lion whistled loudly three times with such force that the
forest rang again, and the sound must have been heard for more
than two leagues round, after which having apparently nothing more
to do in the world he rolled over on his side and died. The Prince
without paying any further heed to him or to his whistling
returned to the pretty gazelle, saying:
'Well! are you satisfied now? Since you can talk, pray tell me
instantly what all this is about, and how you happen to know my
'Oh, I must rest for a long time before I can talk,' she replied,
'and beside, I very much doubt if you will have leisure to listen,
for the affair is by no means finished. In fact,' she continued in
the same languid tone, 'you had better look behind you now.'
The Prince turned sharply round and to his horror saw a huge Giant
approaching with mighty strides, crying fiercely--
'Who has made my lion whistle I should like to know?'
'I have,' replied Prince Vivien boldly, 'but I can answer for it
that he will not do it again!'
At these words the Giant began to howl and lament.
'Alas, my poor Tiny, my sweet little pet,' he cried, 'but at least
I can avenge thy death.'
Thereupon he rushed at the Prince, brandishing an immense serpent
which was coiled about his wrist. Vivien, without losing his
coolness, aimed a terrific blow at it with his sword, but no
sooner did he touch the snake than it changed into a Giant and the
Giant into a snake, with such rapidity that the Prince felt
perfectly giddy, and this happened at least half-a-dozen times,
until at last with a fortunate stroke he cut the serpent in
halves, and picking up one morsel flung it with all his force at
the nose of the Giant, who fell insensible on top of the lion, and
in an instant a thick black cloud rolled up which hid them from
view, and when it cleared away they had all disappeared.
Then the Prince, without even waiting to sheathe his sword, rushed
back to the gazelle, crying:
'Now you have had plenty of time to recover your wits, and you
have nothing more to fear, so tell me who you are, and what this
horrible Giant, with his lion and his serpent, have to do with you
and for pity's sake be quick about it.'
'I will tell you with pleasure,' she answered, 'but where is the
hurry? I want you to come back with me to the Green Castle, but I
don't want to walk there, it is so far, and walking is so
'Let us set out at once then,' replied the Prince severely, 'or
else really I shall have to leave you where you are. Surely a
young and active gazelle like you ought to be ashamed of not being
able to walk a few steps. The further off this castle is the
faster we ought to walk, but as you don't appear to enjoy that, I
will promise that we will go gently, and we can talk by the way.'
'It would be better still if you would carry me,' said she
sweetly, 'but as I don't like to see people giving themselves
trouble, you may carry me, and make that snail carry you.' So
saying, she pointed languidly with one tiny foot at what the
Prince had taken for a block of stone, but now he saw that it was
a huge snail.
'What! I ride a snail!' cried the Prince; 'you are laughing at me,
and beside we should not get there for a year.'
'Oh! well then don't do it,' replied the gazelle, 'I am quite
willing to stay here. The grass is green, and the water clear. But
if I were you I should take the advice that was given me and ride
So, though it did not please him at all, the Prince took the
gazelle in his arms, and mounted upon the back of the snail, which
glided along very peaceably, entirely declining to be hurried by
frequent blows from the Prince's heels. In vain did the gazelle
represent to him that she was enjoying herself very much, and that
this was the easiest mode of conveyance she had ever discovered.
Prince Vivien was wild with impatience, and thought that the Green
Castle would never be reached. However, at last, they did get
there, and everyone who was in it ran to see the Prince dismount
from his singular steed.
But what was his surprise, when having at her request set the
gazelle gently down upon the steps which led up to the castle, he
saw her suddenly change into a charming Princess, and recognized
in her his pretty cousin Placida, who greeted him with her usual
tranquil sweetness. His delight knew no bounds, and he followed
her eagerly up into the castle, impatient to know what strange
events had brought her there. But after all he had to wait for the
Princess's story, for the inhabitants of the Green Lands, hearing
that the Giant was dead, ran to offer the kingdom to his
vanquisher, and Prince Vivien had to listen to various
complimentary harangues, which took a great deal of time, though
he cut them as short as politeness allowed--if not shorter. But at
last he was free to rejoin Placida, who at once began the story of
'After you had gone away,' said she, 'they tried to make me learn
how to govern the kingdom, which wearied me to death, so that I
begged and prayed Lolotte to take me away with her, and this she
presently did, but very reluctantly. However, having been
transported to her grotto upon my favourite couch, I spent several
delicious days, soothed by the soft green light, which was like a
beech wood in the spring, and by the murmuring of bees and the
tinkle of falling water. But alas! Lolotte was forced to go away
to a general assembly of the Fairies, and she came back in great
dismay, telling me that her indulgence to me had cost her dear,
for she had been severely reprimanded and ordered to hand me over
to the Fairy Mirlifiche, who was already taking charge of you, and
who had been much commended for her management of you.'
'Fine management, indeed,' interrupted the Prince, 'if it is to
her I owe all the adventures I have met with! But go on with your
story, my cousin. I can tell you all about my doings afterwards,
and then you can judge for yourself.'
'At first I was grieved to see Lolotte cry,' resumed the Princess,
'but I soon found that grieving was very troublesome, so I thought
it better to be calm, and very soon afterwards I saw the Fairy
Mirlifiche arrive, mounted upon her great unicorn. She stopped
before the grotto and bade Lolotte bring me out to her, at which
she cried worse than ever, and kissed me a dozen times, but she
dared not refuse. I was lifted up on to the unicorn, behind
Mirlifiche, who said to me--
'"Hold on tight, little girl, if you don't want to break your
'And, indeed, I had to hold on with all my might, for her horrible
steed trotted so violently that it positively took my breath away.
However, at last we stopped at a large farm, and the farmer and
his wife ran out as soon as they saw the Fairy, and helped us to
'I knew that they were really a King and Queen, whom the Fairies
were punishing for their ignorance and idleness. You may imagine
that I was by this time half dead with fatigue, but Mirlifiche
insisted upon my feeding her unicorn before I did anything else.
To accomplish this I had to climb up a long ladder into the
hayloft, and bring down, one after another, twenty-four handfuls
of hay. Never, never before, did I have such a wearisome task! It
makes me shudder to think of it now, and that was not all. In the
same way I had to carry the twenty-four handfuls of hay to the
stable, and then it was supper time, and I had to wait upon all
the others. After that I really thought I should be allowed to go
peaceably to my little bed, but, oh dear no! First of all I had to
make it, for it was all in confusion, and then I had to make one
for the Fairy, and tuck her in, and draw the curtains round her,
beside rendering her a dozen little services which I was not at
all accustomed to. Finally, when I was perfectly exhausted by all
this toil, I was free to go to bed myself, but as I had never
before undressed myself, and really did not know how to begin, I
lay down as I was. Unfortunately, the Fairy found this out, and
just as I was falling into a sweet slumber, she made me get up
once more, but even then I managed to escape her vigilance, and
only took off my upper robe. Indeed, I may tell you in confidence,
that I always find disobedience answer very well. One is often
scolded, it is true, but then one has been saved some trouble.
'At the earliest dawn of day Mirlifiche woke me, and made me take
many journeys to the stable to bring her word how her unicorn had
slept, and how much hay he had eaten, and then to find out what
time it was, and if it was a fine day. I was so slow, and did my
errands so badly, that before she left she called the King and
Queen and said to them:
'"I am much more pleased with you this year. Continue to make the
best of your farm, if you wish to get back to your kingdom, and
also take care of this little Princess for me, and teach her to be
useful, that when I come I may find her cured of her faults. If
she is not--"
'Here she broke off with a significant look, and mounting my enemy
the unicorn, speedily disappeared.
'Then the King and Queen, turning to me, asked me what I could do.
'"Nothing at all, I assure you," I replied in a tone which really
ought to have convinced them, but they went on to describe various
employments, and tried to discover which of them would be most to
my taste. However, at last I persuaded them that to do nothing
whatever would be the only thing that would suit me, and that if
they really wanted to be kind to me, they would let me go to bed
and to sleep, and not tease me about doing anything. To my great
joy, they not only permitted this, but actually, when they had
their own meals, the Queen brought my portion up to me. But early
the next morning she appeared at my bedside, saying, with an
'"My pretty child, I am afraid you must really make up your mind
to get up to-day. I know quite well how delightful it is to be
thoroughly idle, for when my husband and I were King and Queen we
did nothing at all from morning to night, and I sincerely hope
that it will not be long before those happy days will come again
for us. But at present we have not reached them, nor have you, and
you know from what the Fairy said that perhaps worse things may
happen to us if she is not obeyed. Make haste, I beg of you, and
come down to breakfast, for I have put by some delicious cream for
'It was really very tiresome, but as there was no help for it I
'But the instant breakfast was over they began again their cuckoo-
cry of "What will you do?" In vain did I answer--
'"Nothing at all, if it please you, madam."
'The Queen at last gave me a spindle and about four pounds of hemp
upon a distaff, and sent me out to keep the sheep, assuring me
that there could not be a pleasanter occupation, and that I could
take my ease as much as I pleased. I was forced to set out, very
unwillingly, as you may imagine, but I had not walked far before I
came to a shady bank in what seemed to me a charming place. I
stretched myself cosily upon the soft grass, and with the bundle
of hemp for a pillow slept as tranquilly as if there were no such
things as sheep in the world, while they for their part wandered
hither and thither at their own sweet will, as if there were no
such thing as a shepherdess, invading every field, and browsing
upon every kind of forbidden dainty, until the peasants, alarmed
by the havoc they were making, raised a clamour, which at last
reached the ears of the King and Queen, who ran out, and seeing
the cause of the commotion, hastily collected their flock. And,
indeed, the sooner the better, since they had to pay for all the
damage they had done. As for me I lay still and watched them run,
for I was very comfortable, and there I might be still if they had
not come up, all panting and breathless, and compelled me to get
up and follow them; they also reproached me bitterly, but I need
hardly tell you that they did not again entrust me with the flock.
'But whatever they found for me to do it was always the same
thing, I spoilt and mismanaged it all, and was so successful in
provoking even the most patient people, that one day I ran away
from the farm, for I was really afraid the Queen would be obliged
to beat me. When I came to the little river in which the King used
to fish, I found the boat tied to a tree, and stepping in I
unfastened it, and floated gently down with the current. The
gliding of the boat was so soothing that I did not trouble myself
in the least when the Queen caught sight of me and ran along the
'"My boat, my boat! Husband, come and catch the little Princess
who is running away with my boat!"
'The current soon carried me out of hearing of her cries, and I
dreamed to the song of the ripples and the whisper of the trees,
until the boat suddenly stopped, and I found it was stuck fast
beside a fresh green meadow, and that the sun was rising. In the
distance I saw some little houses which seemed to be built in a
most singular fashion, but as I was by this time very hungry I set
out towards them, but before I had walked many steps, I saw that
the air was full of shining objects which seemed to be fixed, and
yet I could not see what they hung from.
'I went nearer, and saw a silken cord hanging down to the ground,
and pulled it just because it was so close to my hand. Instantly
the whole meadow resounded to the melodious chiming of a peal of
silver bells, and they sounded so pretty that I sat down to
listen, and to watch them as they swung shining in the sunbeams.
Before they ceased to sound, came a great flight of birds, and
each one perching upon a bell added its charming song to the
concert. As they ended, I looked up and saw a tall and stately
dame advancing towards me, surrounded and followed by a vast flock
of every kind of bird.
'"Who are you, little girl," said she, "who dares to come where I
allow no mortal to live, lest my birds should be disturbed? Still,
if you are clever at anything," she added, "I might be able to put
up with your presence."
'"Madam," I answered, rising, "you may be very sure that I shall
not do anything to alarm your birds. I only beg you, for pity's
sake, to give me something to eat."
'"I will do that," she replied, "before I send you where you
deserve to go."
'And thereupon she despatched six jays, who were her pages, to
fetch me all sorts of biscuits, while some of the other birds
brought ripe fruits. In fact, I had a delicious breakfast, though
I do not like to be waited upon so quickly. It is so disagreeable
to be hurried. I began to think I should like very well to stay in
this pleasant country, and I said so to the stately lady, but she
answered with the greatest disdain:
'"Do you think I would keep you here? _You_! Why what do you
suppose would be the good of you in this country, where everybody
is wide-awake and busy? No, no, I have shown you all the
hospitality you will get from me."
'With these words she turned and gave a vigorous pull to the
silken rope which I mentioned before, but instead of a melodious
chime, there arose a hideous clanging which quite terrified me,
and in an instant a huge Black Bird appeared, which alighted at
the Fairy's feet, saying in a frightful voice--
'"What do you want of me, my sister?"
'"I wish you to take this little Princess to my cousin, the Giant
of the Green Castle, at once," she replied, "and beg him from me
to make her work day and night upon his beautiful tapestry."
'At these words the great Bird snatched me up, regardless of my
cries, and flew off at a terrific pace--'
'Oh! you are joking, cousin,' interrupted Prince Vivien; 'you mean
as slowly as possible. I know that horrible Black Bird, and the
lengthiness of all his proceedings and surroundings.'
'Have it your own way,' replied Placida, tranquilly. 'I cannot
bear arguing. Perhaps, this was not even the same bird. At any
rate, he carried me off at a prodigious speed, and set me gently
down in this very castle of which you are now the master. We
entered by one of the windows, and when the Bird had handed me
over to the Giant from whom you have been good enough to deliver
me, and given the Fairy's message, it departed.
'Then the Giant turned to me, saying,
'"So you are an idler! Ah! well, we must teach you to work. You
won't be the first we have cured of laziness. See how busy all my
'I looked up as he spoke, and saw that an immense gallery ran all
round the hall, in which were tapestry frames, spindles, skeins of
wool, patterns, and all necessary things. Before each frame about
a dozen people were sitting, hard at work, at which terrible sight
I fainted away, and as soon as I recovered they began to ask me
what I could do.
'It was in vain that I replied as before, and with the strongest
desire to be taken at my word, "Nothing at all."
'The Giant only said,
'"Then you must learn to do something; in this world there is
enough work for everybody."
'It appeared that they were working into the tapestry all the
stories the Fairies liked best, and they began to try and teach me
to help them, but from the first class, where they tried me to
begin with, I sank lower and lower, and not even the most simple
stitches could I learn.
'In vain they punished me by all the usual methods. In vain the
Giant showed me his menagerie, which was entirely composed of
children who would not work! Nothing did me any good, and at last
I was reduced to drawing water for the dyeing of the wools, and
even over that I was so slow that this morning the Giant flew into
a rage and changed me into a gazelle. He was just putting me into
the menagerie when I happened to catch sight of a dog, and was
seized with such terror that I fled away at my utmost speed, and
escaped through the outer court of the castle. The Giant, fearing
that I should be lost altogether, sent his green lion after me,
with orders to bring me back, cost what it might, and I should
certainly have let myself be caught, or eaten up, or anything,
rather than run any further, if I had not luckily met you by the
fountain. And oh!' concluded the Princess, 'how delightful it is
once more to be able to sit still in peace. I was so tired of
trying to learn things.'
Prince Vivien said that, for his part, he had been kept a great
deal too still, and had not found it at all amusing, and then he
recounted all his adventures with breathless rapidity. How he had
taken shelter with Dame Patience, and consulted the Oracle, and
voyaged in the paper ship. Then they went hand in hand to release
all the prisoners in the castle, and all the Princes and
Princesses who were in cages in the menagerie, for the instant the
Green Giant was dead they had resumed their natural forms. As you
may imagine, they were all very grateful, and Princess Placida
entreated them never, never to do another stitch of work so long
as they lived, and they promptly made a great bonfire in the
courtyard, and solemnly burnt all the embroidery frames and
spinning wheels. Then the Princess gave them splendid presents, or
rather sat by while Prince Vivien gave them, and there were great
rejoicings in the Green Castle, and everyone did his best to
please the Prince and Princess. But with all their good
intentions, they often made mistakes, for Vivien and Placida were
never of one mind about their plans, so it was very confusing, and
they frequently found themselves obeying the Prince's orders,
very, very slowly, and rushing off with lightning speed to do
something that the Princess did not wish to have done at all,
until, by-and-by, the two cousins took to consulting with, and
consoling one another in all these little vexations, and at last
came to be so fond of each other that for Placida's sake Vivien
became quite patient, and for Vivien's sake Placida made the most
unheard-of exertions. But now the Fairies who had been watching
all these proceedings with interest, thought it was time to
interfere, and ascertain by further trials if this improvement was
likely to continue, and if they really loved one another. So they
caused Placida to seem to have a violent fever, and Vivien to
languish and grow dull, and made each of them very uneasy about
the other, and then, finding a moment when they were apart, the
Fairy Mirlifiche suddenly appeared to Placida, and said--
'I have just seen Prince Vivien, and he seemed to me to be very
'Alas! yes, madam,' she answered, 'and if you will but cure him,
you may take me back to the farm, or bring the Green Giant to life
again, and you shall see how obedient I will be.'
'If you really wish him to recover,' said the Fairy, 'you have
only to catch the Trotting Mouse and the Chaffinch-on-the-Wing and
bring them to me. Only remember that time presses!'
She had hardly finished speaking before the Princess was rushing
headlong out of the castle gate, and the Fairy after watching her
till she was lost to sight, gave a little chuckle and went in
search of the Prince, who begged her earnestly to send him back to
the Black Castle, or to the paper boat if she would but save
Placida's life. The Fairy shook her head, and looked very grave.
She quite agreed with him, the Princess was in a bad way--'But,'
said she, 'if you can find the Rosy Mole, and give him to her she
will recover.' So now it was the Prince's turn to set off in a
vast hurry, only as soon as he left the Castle he happened to go
in exactly the opposite direction to the one Placida had taken.
Now you can imagine these two devoted lovers hunting night and
day. The Princess in the woods, always running, always listening,
pursuing hotly after two creatures which seemed to her very hard
to catch, which she yet never ceased from pursuing. The Prince on
the other hand wandering continually across the meadows, his eyes
fixed upon the ground, attentive to every movement among the
moles. He was forced to walk slowly--slowly upon tip-toe, hardly
venturing to breathe. Often he stood for hours motionless as a
statue, and if the desire to succeed could have helped him he
would soon have possessed the Rosy Mole. But alas! all that he
caught were black and ordinary, though strange to say he never
grew impatient, but always seemed ready to begin the tedious hunt
again. But this changing of character is one of the most ordinary
miracles which love works. Neither the Prince nor the Princess
gave a thought to anything but their quest. It never even occurred
to them to wonder what country they had reached. So you may guess
how astonished they were one day, when having at last been
successful after their long and weary chase, they cried aloud at
the same instant: 'At last I have saved my beloved,' and then
recognising each other's voice looked up, and rushed to meet one
another with the wildest joy. Surprise kept them silent while for
one delicious moment they gazed into each other's eyes, and just
then who should come up but King Gridelin, for it was into his
kingdom they had accidentally strayed. He recognized them in his
turn and greeted them joyfully, but when they turned afterwards to
look for the Rosy Mole, the Chaffinch, and the Trotting-Mouse,
they had vanished, and in their places stood a lovely lady whom
they did not know, the Black Bird, and the Green Giant. King
Gridelin had no sooner set eyes upon the lady than with a cry of
joy he clasped her in his arms, for it was no other than his long-
lost wife, Santorina, about whose imprisonment in Fairyland you
may perhaps read some day.
Then the Black Bird and the Green Giant resumed their natural
form, for they were enchanters, and up flew Lolotte and Mirlifiche
in their chariots, and then there was a great kissing and
congratulating, for everybody had regained someone he loved,
including the enchanters, who loved their natural forms dearly.
After this they repaired to the Palace, and the wedding of Prince
Vivien and Princess Placida was held at once with all the
King Gridelin and Queen Santorina, after all their experiences had
no further desire to reign, so they retired happily to a peaceful
place, leaving their kingdom to the Prince and Princess, who were
beloved by all their subjects, and found their greatest happiness
all their lives long in making other people happy.
Nonchalante et Papillon
LITTLE ONE-EYE, LITTLE TWO-EYES, AND LITTLE THREE-EYES
There was once a woman who had three daughters, of whom the eldest
was called Little One-eye, because she had only one eye in the
middle of her forehead; and the second, Little Two-eyes, because
she had two eyes like other people; and the youngest, Little
Three-eyes, because she had three eyes, and _her_ third eye
was also in the middle of her forehead. But because Little Two-
eyes did not look any different from other children, her sisters
and mother could not bear her. They would say to her, 'You with
your two eyes are no better than common folk; you don't belong to
us.' They pushed her here, and threw her wretched clothes there,
and gave her to eat only what they left, and they were as unkind
to her as ever they could be.
It happened one day that Little Two-eyes had to go out into the
fields to take care of the goat, but she was still quite hungry
because her sisters had given her so little to eat. So she sat
down in the meadow and began to cry, and she cried so much that
two little brooks ran out of her eyes. But when she looked up once
in her grief there stood a woman beside her who asked, 'Little
Two-eyes, what are you crying for?' Little Two-eyes answered,
'Have I not reason to cry? Because I have two eyes like other
people, my sisters and my mother cannot bear me; they push me out
of one corner into another, and give me nothing to eat except what
they leave. To-day they have given me so little that I am still
quite hungry.' Then the wise woman said, 'Little Two-eyes, dry
your eyes, and I will tell you something so that you need never be
hungry again. Only say to your goat,
"Little goat, bleat, Little table, appear,"
and a beautifully spread table will stand before you, with the
most delicious food on it, so that you can eat as much as you
want. And when you have had enough and don't want the little table
any more, you have only to say,
"Little goat, bleat, Little table, away,"
and then it will vanish.' Then the wise woman went away.
But Little Two-eyes thought, 'I must try at once if what she has
told me is true, for I am more hungry than ever'; and she said,
'Little goat, bleat, Little table appear,'
and scarcely had she uttered the words, when there stood a little
table before her covered with a white cloth, on which were
arranged a plate, with a knife and fork and a silver spoon, and
the most beautiful dishes, which were smoking hot, as if they had
just come out of the kitchen. Then Little Two-eyes said the
shortest grace she knew, and set to work and made a good dinner.
And when she had had enough, she said, as the wise woman had told
'Little goat, bleat, Little table, away,'
and immediately the table and all that was on it disappeared
again. 'That is a splendid way of housekeeping,' thought Little
Two-eyes, and she was quite happy and contented.
In the evening, when she went home with her goat, she found a
little earthenware dish with the food that her sisters had thrown
to her, but she did not touch it. The next day she went out again
with her goat, and left the few scraps which were given her. The
first and second times her sisters did not notice this, but when
it happened continually, they remarked it and said, 'Something is
the matter with Little Two-eyes, for she always leaves her food
now, and she used to gobble up all that was given her. She must
have found other means of getting food.' So in order to get at the
truth, Little One-eye was told to go out with Little Two-eyes when
she drove the goat to pasture, and to notice particularly what she
got there, and whether anyone brought her food and drink.
Now when Little Two-eyes was setting out, Little One-eye came up
to her and said, 'I will go into the field with you and see if you
take good care of the goat, and if you drive him properly to get
grass.' But Little Two-eyes saw what Little One-eye had in her
mind, and she drove the goat into the long grass and said, 'Come,
Little One-eye, we will sit down here, and I will sing you
Little One-eye sat down, and as she was very much tired by the
long walk to which she was not used, and by the hot day, and as
Little Two-eyes went on singing.
'Little One-eye, are you awake? Little One-eye, are you asleep?'
she shut her one eye and fell asleep. When Little Two-eyes saw
that Little One-eye was asleep and could find out nothing, she
'Little goat, bleat, Little table, appear,'
and sat down at her table and ate and drank as much as she wanted.
Then she said again,
'Little goat, bleat, Little table, away.'
and in the twinkling of an eye all had vanished.
Little Two-eyes then woke Little One-eye and said, 'Little One-
eye, you meant to watch, and, instead, you went to sleep; in the
meantime the goat might have run far and wide. Come, we will go
home.' So they went home, and Little Two-eyes again left her
little dish untouched, and Little One-eye could not tell her
mother why she would not eat, and said as an excuse, 'I was so
The next day the mother said to Little Three-eyes, 'This time you
shall go with Little Two-eyes and watch whether she eats anything
out in the fields, and whether anyone brings her food and drink,
for eat and drink she must secretly.' So Little Three-eyes went to
Little Two-eyes and said, 'I will go with you and see if you take
good care of the goat, and if you drive him properly to get
grass.' But little Two-eyes knew what Little Three-eyes had in her
mind, and she drove the goat out into the tall grass and said, 'We
will sit down here, Little Three-eyes, and I will sing you
something.' Little Three-eyes sat down; she was tired by the walk
and the hot day, and Little Two-eyes sang the same little song
'Little Three eyes, are you awake?'
but instead of singing as she ought to have done,
'Little Three-eyes, are you asleep?'
she sang, without thinking,
'Little _Two-eyes_, are you asleep?'
She went on singing,
'Little Three-eyes, are you awake? Little _Two-eyes_, are you
so that the two eyes of Little Three-eyes fell asleep, but the
third, which was not spoken to in the little rhyme, did not fall
asleep. Of course Little Three-eyes shut that eye also out of
cunning, to look as if she were asleep, but it was blinking and
could see everything quite well.
And when Little Two-eyes thought that Little Three-eyes was sound
asleep, she said her rhyme,
'Little goat, bleat, Little table, appear,'
and ate and drank to her heart's content, and then made the table
go away again, by saying,
'Little goat, bleat, Little table, away.'
But Little Three-eyes had seen everything. Then Little Two-eyes
came to her, and woke her and said, 'Well, Little Three-eyes, have
you been asleep? You watch well! Come, we will go home.' When they
reached home, Little Two-eyes did not eat again, and Little Three-
eyes said to the mother, 'I know now why that proud thing eats
nothing. When she says to the goat in the field,
"Little goat, bleat, Little table, appear,"
a table stands before her, spread with the best food, much better
than we have; and when she has had enough, she says,
"Little goat, bleat, Little table, away,"
and everything disappears again. I saw it all exactly. She made
two of my eyes go to sleep with a little rhyme, but the one in my
forehead remained awake, luckily!'
Then the envious mother cried out, 'Will you fare better than we
do? you shall not have the chance to do so again!' and she fetched
a knife, and killed the goat.
When Little Two-eyes saw this, she went out full of grief, and sat
down in the meadow and wept bitter tears. Then again the wise
woman stood before her, and said, 'Little Two-eyes, what are you
crying for?' 'Have I not reason to cry?' she answered, 'the goat,
which when I said the little rhyme, spread the table so
beautifully, my mother has killed, and now I must suffer hunger
and want again.' The wise woman said, 'Little Two-eyes, I will
give you a good piece of advice. Ask your sisters to give you the
heart of the dead goat, and bury it in the earth before the house-
door; that will bring you good luck.' Then she disappeared, and
Little Two-eyes went home, and said to her sisters, 'Dear sisters,
do give me something of my goat; I ask nothing better than its
heart.' Then they laughed and said, 'You can have that if you want
nothing more.' And Little Two-eyes took the heart and buried it in
the evening when all was quiet, as the wise woman had told her,
before the house-door. The next morning when they all awoke and
came to the house-door, there stood a most wonderful tree, which
had leaves of silver and fruit of gold growing on it--you never
saw anything more lovely and gorgeous in your life! But they did
not know how the tree had grown up in the night; only Little Two-
eyes knew that it had sprung from the heart of the goat, for it
was standing just where she had buried it in the ground. Then the
mother said to Little One-eye, 'Climb up, my child, and break us
off the fruit from the tree.' Little One-eye climbed up, but just
when she was going to take hold of one of the golden apples the
bough sprang out of her hands; and this happened every time, so
that she could not break off a single apple, however hard she
tried. Then the mother said, 'Little Three-eyes, do you climb up;
you with your three eyes can see round better than Little One-
eye.' So Little One-eye slid down, and Little Three-eyes climbed
up; but she was not any more successful; look round as she might,
the golden apples bent themselves back. At last the mother got
impatient and climbed up herself, but she was even less successful
than Little One-eye and Little Three-eyes in catching hold of the
fruit, and only grasped at the empty air. Then Little Two-eyes
said, 'I will just try once, perhaps I shall succeed better.' The
sisters called out, 'You with your two eyes will no doubt
succeed!' But Little Two-eyes climbed up, and the golden apples
did not jump away from her, but behaved quite properly, so that
she could pluck them off, one after the other, and brought a whole
apron-full down with her. The mother took them from her, and,
instead of behaving better to poor Little Two-eyes, as they ought
to have done, they were jealous that she only could reach the
fruit and behaved still more unkindly to her.
It happened one day that when they were all standing together by
the tree that a young knight came riding along. 'Be quick, Little
Two-eyes,' cried the two sisters, 'creep under this, so that you
shall not disgrace us,' and they put over poor Little Two-eyes as
quickly as possible an empty cask, which was standing close to the
tree, and they pushed the golden apples which she had broken off
under with her. When the knight, who was a very handsome young
man, rode up, he wondered to see the marvellous tree of gold and
silver, and said to the two sisters, 'Whose is this beautiful
tree? Whoever will give me a twig of it shall have whatever she
wants.' Then Little One-eye and Little Three-eyes answered that
the tree belonged to them, and that they would certainly break him
off a twig. They gave themselves a great deal of trouble, but in
vain; the twigs and fruit bent back every time from their hands.
Then the knight said, 'It is very strange that the tree should
belong to you, and yet that you have not the power to break
anything from it!' But they would have that the tree was theirs;
and while they were saying this, Little Two-eyes rolled a couple
of golden apples from under the cask, so that they lay at the
knight's feet, for she was angry with Little One-eye and Little
Three-eyes for not speaking the truth. When the knight saw the
apples he was astonished, and asked where they came from. Little
One-eye and Little Three-eyes answered that they had another
sister, but she could not be seen because she had only two eyes,
like ordinary people. But the knight demanded to see her, and
called out, 'Little Two-eyes, come forth.' Then Little Two-eyes
came out from under the cask quite happily, and the knight was
astonished at her great beauty, and said, 'Little Two-eyes, I am
sure you can break me off a twig from the tree.' 'Yes,' answered
Little Two-eyes, 'I can, for the tree is mine.' So she climbed up
and broke off a small branch with its silver leaves and golden
fruit without any trouble, and gave it to the knight. Then he
said, 'Little Two-eyes, what shall I give you for this?' 'Ah,'
answered Little Two-eyes, 'I suffer hunger and thirst, want and
sorrow, from early morning till late in the evening; if you would
take me with you, and free me from this, I should be happy!' Then
the knight lifted Little Two-eyes on his horse, and took her home
to his father's castle. There he gave her beautiful clothes, and
food and drink, and because he loved her so much he married her,
and the wedding was celebrated with great joy.
When the handsome knight carried Little Two-eyes away with him,
the two sisters envied her good luck at first. 'But the wonderful
tree is still with us, after all,' they thought, 'and although we
cannot break any fruit from it, everyone will stop and look at it,
and will come to us and praise it; who knows whether _we_ may
not reap a harvest from it?' But the next morning the tree had
flown, and their hopes with it; and when Little Two-eyes looked
out of her window there it stood underneath, to her great delight.
Little Two-eyes lived happily for a long time. Once two poor women
came to the castle to beg alms. Then Little Two-eyes looked at
then and recognised both her sisters, Little One-eye and Little
Three-eyes, who had become so poor that they came to beg bread at
her door. But Little Two-eyes bade them welcome, and was so good
to them that they both repented from their hearts of having been
so unkind to their sister.
JORINDE AND JORINGEL
There was once upon a time a castle in the middle of a thick wood
where lived an old woman quite alone, for she was an enchantress.
In the day-time she changed herself into a cat or a night-owl, but
in the evening she became like an ordinary woman again. She could
entice animals and birds to come to her, and then she would kill
and cook them. If any youth came within a hundred paces of the
castle, he was obliged to stand still, and could not stir from the
spot till she set him free; but if a pretty girl came within this
boundary, the old enchantress changed her into a bird, and shut
her up in a wicker cage, which she put in one of the rooms in the
castle. She had quite seven thousand of such cages in the castle
with very rare birds in them.
Now, there was once a maiden called Jorinde, who was more
beautiful than other maidens. She and a youth named Joringel, who
was just as good-looking as she was, were betrothed to one
another. Their greatest delight was to be together, and so that
they might get a good long talk, they went one evening for a walk
in the wood. 'Take care,' said Joringel, 'not to come too close to
the castle.' It was a beautiful evening; the sun shone brightly
between the stems of the trees among the dark green leaves of the
forest, and the turtle-dove sang clearly on the old maybushes.
Jorinde wept from time to time, and she sat herself down in the
sunshine and lamented, and Joringel lamented too. They felt as sad
as if they had been condemned to die; they looked round and got
quite confused, and did not remember which was their way home.
Half the sun was still above the mountain and half was behind it
when Joringel looked through the trees and saw the old wall of the
castle quite near them. He was terrified and half dead with
fright. Jorinde sang:
'My little bird with throat so red Sings sorrow, sorrow, sorrow;
He sings to the little dove that's dead, Sings sorrow, sor--jug,
Joringel looked up at Jorinde. She had been changed into a
nightingale, who was singing 'jug, jug.' A night-owl with glowing
eyes flew three times round her, and screeched three times 'tu-
whit, tu-whit, tu-whoo.' Joringel could not stir; he stood there
like a stone; he could not weep, or speak, or move hand or foot.
Now the sun set; the owl flew into a bush, and immediately an old,
bent woman came out of it; she was yellow-skinned and thin, and
had large red eyes and a hooked nose, which met her chin. She
muttered to herself, caught the nightingale, and carried her away
in her hand. Joringel could say nothing; he could not move from
the spot, and the nightingale was gone. At last the woman came
back again, and said in a gruff voice, 'Good evening, Zachiel;
when the young moon shines in the basket, you are freed early,
Zachiel.' Then Joringel was free. He fell on his knees before the
old woman and implored her to give him back his Jorinde, but she
said he should never have her again, and then went away. He called
after her, he wept and lamented, but all in vain. 'What is to
become of me!' he thought. Then he went away, and came at last to
a strange village, where he kept sheep for a long time. He often
went round the castle while he was there, but never too close. At
last he dreamt one night that he had found a blood-red flower,
which had in its centre a beautiful large pearl. He plucked this
flower and went with it to the castle; and there everything which
he touched with the flower was freed from the enchantment, and he
got his Jorinde back again through it. When he awoke in the
morning he began to seek mountain and valley to find such a
flower. He sought it for eight days, and on the ninth early in the
morning he found the blood-red flower. In its centre was a large
dew-drop, as big as the most lovely pearl. He travelled day and
night with this flower till he arrived at the castle. When he came
within a hundred paces of it he did not cease to be able to move,
but he went on till he reached the gate. He was delighted at his
success, touched the great gate with the flower, and it sprung
open. He entered, passed through the courtyard, and then stopped
to listen for the singing of the birds; at last he heard it. He
went in and found the hall in which was the enchantress, and with
her seven thousand birds in their wicker cages. When she saw
Joringel she was furious, and breathed out poison and gall at him,
but she could not move a step towards him. He took no notice of
her, and went and looked over the cages of birds; but there were
many hundred nightingales, and how was he to find his Jorinde from
among them? Whilst he was considering, he observed the old witch
take up a cage secretly and go with it towards the door. Instantly
he sprang after her, touched the cage with the flower, and the old
woman as well. Now she could no longer work enchantments, and
there stood Jorinde before him, with her arms round his neck, and
more beautiful than ever. Then he turned all the other birds again
into maidens, and he went home with his Jorinde, and they lived a
long and happy life.
ALLERLEIRAUH; OR, THE MANY-FURRED CREATURE
There was once upon a time a King who had a wife with golden hair,
and she was so beautiful that you couldn't find anyone like her in
the world. It happened that she fell ill, and when she felt that
she must soon die, she sent for the King, and said, 'If you want
to marry after my death, make no one queen unless she is just as
beautiful as I am, and has just such golden hair as I have.
Promise me this.' After the King had promised her this, she closed
her eyes and died.
For a long time the King was not to be comforted, and he did not
even think of taking a second wife. At last his councillors said,
'The King _must_ marry again, so that we may have a queen.'
So messengers were sent far and wide to seek for a bride equal to
the late Queen in beauty. But there was no one in the wide world,
and if there had been she could not have had such golden hair.
Then the messengers came home again, not having been able to find
Now, the King had a daughter, who was just as beautiful as her
dead mother, and had just such golden hair. One day when she had
grown up, her father looked at her, and saw that she was exactly
like her mother, so he said to his councillors, 'I will marry my
daughter to one of you, and she shall be queen, for she is exactly
like her dead mother, and when I die her husband shall be king.'
But when the Princess heard of her father's decision, she was not
at all pleased, and said to him, 'Before I do your bidding, I must
have three dresses; one as golden as the sun, one as silver as the
moon, and one as shining as the stars. Besides these, I want a
cloak made of a thousand different kinds of skin; every animal in
your kingdom must give a bit of his skin to it.' But she thought
to herself, 'This will be quite impossible, and I shall not have
to marry someone I do not care for.' The King, however, was not to
be turned from his purpose, and he commanded the most skilled
maidens in his kingdom to weave the three dresses, one as golden
as the sun, and one as silver as the moon, and one as shining as
the stars; and he gave orders to all his huntsmen to catch one of
every kind of beast in the kingdom, and to get a bit of its skin
to make the cloak of a thousand pieces of fur. At last, when all
was ready, the King commanded the cloak to be brought to him, and
he spread it out before the Princess, and said, 'Tomorrow shall be
your wedding-day.' When the Princess saw that there was no more
hope of changing her father's resolution, she determined to flee
away. In the night, when everyone else was sleeping, she got up
and took three things from her treasures, a gold ring, a little
gold spinning-wheel, and a gold reel; she put the sun, moon, and
star dresses in a nut-shell, drew on the cloak of many skins, and
made her face and hands black with soot. Then she commended
herself to God, and went out and travelled the whole night till
she came to a large forest. And as she was very much tired she sat
down inside a hollow tree and fell asleep.
The sun rose and she still slept on and on, although it was nearly
noon. Now, it happened that the king to whom this wood belonged
was hunting in it. When his dogs came to the tree, they sniffed,
and ran round and round it, barking. The King said to the
huntsmen, 'See what sort of a wild beast is in there.' The
huntsmen went in, and then came back and said, 'In the hollow tree
there lies a wonderful animal that we don't know, and we have
never seen one like it; its skin is made of a thousand pieces of
fur; but it is lying down asleep.' The King said, 'See if you can
catch it alive, and then fasten it to the cart, and we will take
it with us.' When the huntsmen seized the maiden, she awoke and
was frightened, and cried out to them, 'I am a poor child,
forsaken by father and mother; take pity on me, and let me go with
you.' Then they said to her, 'Many-furred Creature, you can work