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The Green Fairy Book by Andrew Lang, Ed.

Part 7 out of 7

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There was once upon a time a man and his wife who had an old cat
and an old dog. One day the man, whose name was Simon, said to his
wife, whose name was Susan, 'Why should we keep our old cat any
longer? She never catches any mice now-a-days, and is so useless
that I have made up my mind to drown her.'

But his wife replied, 'Don't do that, for I'm sure she could still
catch mice.'

'Rubbish,' said Simon. 'The mice might dance on her and she would
never catch one. I've quite made up my mind that the next time I
see her, I shall put her in the water.'

Susan was very unhappy when she heard this, and so was the cat,
who had been listening to the conversation behind the stove. When
Simon went off to his work, the poor cat miawed so pitifully, and
looked up so pathetically into Susan's face, that the woman
quickly opened the door and said, 'Fly for your life, my poor
little beast, and get well away from here before your master

The cat took her advice, and ran as quickly as her poor old legs
would carry her into the wood, and when Simon came home, his wife
told him that the cat had vanished.

'So much the better for her,' said Simon. 'And now we have got rid
of her, we must consider what we are to do with the old dog. He is
quite deaf and blind, and invariably barks when there is no need,
and makes no sound when there is. I think the best thing I can do
with him is to hang him.'

But soft-hearted Susan replied, 'Please don't do so; he's surely
not so useless as all that.'

'Don't be foolish,' said her husband. 'The courtyard might be full
of thieves and he'd never discover it. No, the first time I see
him, it's all up with him, I can tell you.'

Susan was very unhappy at his words, and so was the dog, who was
lying in the corner of the room and had heard everything. As soon
as Simon had gone to his work, he stood up and howled so
touchingly that Susan quickly opened the door, and said 'Fly for
your life, poor beast, before your master gets home.' And the dog
ran into the wood with his tail between his legs.

When her husband returned, his wife told him that the dog had

'That's lucky for him,' said Simon, but Susan sighed, for she had
been very fond of the poor creature.

Now it happened that the cat and dog met each other on their
travels, and though they had not been the best of friends at home,
they were quite glad to meet among strangers. They sat down under
a holly tree and both poured forth their woes.

Presently a fox passed by, and seeing the pair sitting together in
a disconsolate fashion, he asked them why they sat there, and what
they were grumbling about.

The cat replied, 'I have caught many a mouse in my day, but now
that I am old and past work, my master wants to drown me.'

And the dog said, 'Many a night have I watched and guarded my
master's house, and now that I am old and deaf, he wants to hang

The fox answered, 'That's the way of the world. But I'll help you
to get back into your master's favour, only you must first help me
in my own troubles.'

They promised to do their best, and the fox continued, 'The wolf
has declared war against me, and is at this moment marching to
meet me in company with the bear and the wild boar, and to-morrow
there will be a fierce battle between us.'

'All right,' said the dog and the cat, 'we will stand by you, and
if we are killed, it is at any rate better to die on the field of
battle than to perish ignobly at home,' and they shook paws and
concluded the bargain. The fox sent word to the wolf to meet him
at a certain place, and the three set forth to encounter him and
his friends.

The wolf, the bear, and the wild boar arrived on the spot first,
and when they had waited some time for the fox, the dog, and the
cat, the bear said, 'I'll climb up into the oak tree, and look if
I can see them coming.'

The first time he looked round he said, 'I can see nothing,' and
the second time he looked round he said, 'I can still see
nothing.' But the third time he said, 'I see a mighty army in the
distance, and one of the warriors has the biggest lance you ever

This was the cat, who was marching along with her tail erect.

And so they laughed and jeered, and it was so hot that the bear
said, 'The enemy won't be here at this rate for many hours to
come, so I'll just curl myself up in the fork of the tree and have
a little sleep.'

And the wolf lay down under the oak, and the wild boar buried
himself in some straw, so that nothing was seen of him but one

And while they were lying there, the fox, the cat and the dog
arrived. When the cat saw the wild boar's ear, she pounced upon
it, thinking it was a mouse in the straw.

The wild boar got up in a dreadful fright, gave one loud grunt and
disappeared into the wood. But the cat was even more startled than
the boar, and, spitting with terror, she scrambled up into the
fork of the tree, and as it happened right into the bear's face.
Now it was the bear's turn to be alarmed, and with a mighty growl
he jumped down from the oak and fell right on the top of the wolf
and killed him as dead as a stone.

On their way home from the war the fox caught score of mice, and
when they reached Simon's cottage he put them all on the stove and
said to the cat, 'Now go and fetch one mouse after the other, and
lay them down before your master.'

'All right,' said the cat, and did exactly as the fox told her.

When Susan saw this she said to her husband, 'Just look, here is
our old cat back again, and see what a lot of mice she has

'Wonders will never cease,' cried Simon. 'I certainly never
thought the old cat would ever catch another mouse.'

But Susan answered, 'There, you see, I always said our cat was a
most excellent creature--but you men always think you know best.'

In the meantime the fox said to the dog, 'Our friend Simon has
just killed a pig; when it gets a little darker, you must go into
the courtyard and bark with all your might.'

'All right,' said the dog, and as soon as it grew dusk he began to
bark loudly.

Susan, who heard him first, said to her husband, 'Our dog must
have come back, for I hear him barking lustily. Do go out and see
what's the matter; perhaps thieves may be stealing our sausages.'

But Simon answered, 'The foolish brute is as deaf as a post and is
always barking at nothing,' and he refused to get up.

The next morning Susan got up early to go to church at the
neighbouring town, and she thought she would take some sausages to
her aunt who lived there. But when she went to her larder, she
found all the sausages gone, and a great hole in the floor. She
called out to her husband, 'I was perfectly right. Thieves have
been here last night, and they have not left a single sausage. Oh!
if you had only got up when I asked you to!'

Then Simon scratched his head and said, 'I can't understand it at
all. I certainly never believed the old dog was so quick at

But Susan replied, 'I always told you our old dog was the best dog
in the world--but as usual you thought you knew so much better.
Men are the same all the world over.'

And the fox scored a point too, for he had carried away the
sausages himself!



There was once a fisherman and his wife who lived together in a
little hut close to the sea, and the fisherman used to go down
every day to fish; and he would fish and fish. So he used to sit
with his rod and gaze into the shining water; and he would gaze
and gaze.

Now, once the line was pulled deep under the water, and when he
hauled it up he hauled a large flounder with it. The flounder said
to him, 'Listen, fisherman. I pray you to let me go; I am not a
real flounder, I am an enchanted Prince. What good will it do you
if you kill me--I shall not taste nice? Put me back into the water
and let me swim away.'

'Well,' said the man, 'you need not make so much noise about it; I
am sure I had much better let a flounder that can talk swim away.'
With these words he put him back again into the shining water, and
the flounder sank to the bottom, leaving a long streak of blood
behind. Then the fisherman got up, and went home to his wife in
the hut.

'Husband,' said his wife, 'have you caught nothing to-day?'

'No,' said the man. 'I caught a flounder who said he was an
enchanted prince, so I let him swim away again.'

'Did you wish nothing from him?' said his wife.

'No,' said the man; 'what should I have wished from him?'

'Ah!' said the woman, 'it's dreadful to have to live all one's
life in this hut that is so small and dirty; you ought to have
wished for a cottage. Go now and call him; say to him that we
choose to have a cottage, and he will certainly give it you.'

'Alas!' said the man, 'why should I go down there again?'

'Why,' said his wife, 'you caught him, and then let him go again,
so he is sure to give you what you ask. Go down quickly.'

The man did not like going at all, but as his wife was not to be
persuaded, he went down to the sea.

When he came there the sea was quite green and yellow, and was no
longer shining. So he stood on the shore and said:

'Once a prince, but changed you be Into a flounder in the sea.
Come! for my wife, Ilsebel, Wishes what I dare not tell.'

Then the flounder came swimming up and said, 'Well, what does she

'Alas!' said the man, 'my wife says I ought to have kept you and
wished something from you. She does not want to live any longer in
the hut; she would like a cottage.'

'Go home, then,' said the flounder; 'she has it.'

So the man went home, and there was his wife no longer in the hut,
but in its place was a beautiful cottage, and his wife was sitting
in front of the door on a bench. She took him by the hand and said
to him, 'Come inside, and see if this is not much better.' They
went in, and inside the cottage was a tiny hall, and a beautiful
sitting-room, and a bedroom in which stood a bed, a kitchen and a
dining-room all furnished with the best of everything, and fitted
up with every kind of tin and copper utensil. And outside was a
little yard in which were chickens and ducks, and also a little
garden with vegetables and fruit trees.

'See,' said the wife, 'isn't this nice?'

'Yes,' answered her husband; 'here we shall remain and live very

'We will think about that,' said his wife.

With these words they had their supper and went to bed. All went
well for a week or a fortnight, then the wife said:

'Listen, husband; the cottage is much too small, and so is the
yard and the garden; the flounder might just as well have sent us
a larger house. I should like to live in a great stone castle. Go
down to the flounder, and tell him to send us a castle.'

'Ah, wife!' said the fisherman, 'the cottage is quite good enough;
why do we choose to live in a castle?'

'Why?' said the wife. 'You go down; the flounder can quite well do

'No, wife,' said the man; 'the flounder gave us the cottage. I do
not like to go to him again; he might take it amiss.'

'Go,' said his wife. 'He can certainly give it us, and ought to do
so willingly. Go at once.'

The fisherman's heart was very heavy, and he did not like going.
He said to himself, 'It is not right.' Still, he went down.

When he came to the sea, the water was all violet and dark-blue,
and dull and thick, and no longer green and yellow, but it was
still smooth.

So he stood there and said:

'Once a prince, but changed you be Into a flounder in the sea.
Come! for my wife, Ilsebel, Wishes what I dare not tell.'

'What does she want now?' said the flounder.

'Ah!' said the fisherman, half-ashamed, 'she wants to live in a
great stone castle.'

'Go home; she is standing before the door,' said the flounder.

The fisherman went home and thought he would find no house. When
he came near, there stood a great stone palace, and his wife was
standing on the steps, about to enter. She took him by the hand
and said, 'Come inside.'

Then he went with her, and inside the castle was a large hall with
a marble floor, and there were heaps of servants who threw open
the great doors, and the walls were covered with beautiful
tapestry, and in the apartments were gilded chairs and tables, and
crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, and all the rooms were
beautifully carpeted. The best of food and drink also was set
before them when they wished to dine. And outside the house was a
large courtyard with horse and cow stables and a coach-house--all
fine buildings; and a splendid garden with most beautiful flowers
and fruit, and in a park quite a league long were deer and roe and
hares, and everything one could wish for.

'Now,' said the wife, 'isn't this beautiful?'

'Yes, indeed,' said the fisherman. 'Now we will stay here and live
in this beautiful castle, and be very happy.'

'We will consider the matter,' said his wife, and they went to

The next morning the wife woke up first at daybreak, and looked
out of the bed at the beautiful country stretched before her. Her
husband was still sleeping, so she dug her elbows into his side
and said:

'Husband, get up and look out of the window. Could we not become
the king of all this land? Go down to the flounder and tell him we
choose to be king.'

'Ah, wife!' replied her husband, 'why should we be king? I don't
want to be king.'

'Well,' said his wife, 'if you don't want to be king, I will be
king. Go down to the flounder; I will be king.'

'Alas! wife,' said the fisherman, 'why do you want to be king? I
can't ask him that.'

'And why not?' said his wife. 'Go down at once. I must be king.'

So the fisherman went, though much vexed that his wife wanted to
be king. 'It is not right! It is not right,' he thought. He did
not wish to go, yet he went.

When he came to the sea, the water was a dark-grey colour, and it
was heaving against the shore. So he stood and said:

'Once a prince, but changed you be Into a flounder in the sea.
Come! for my wife, Ilsebel, Wishes what I dare not tell.'

'What does she want now?' asked the flounder.

'Alas!' said the fisherman, 'she wants to be king.'

'Go home; she is that already,' said the flounder.

The fisherman went home, and when he came near the palace he saw
that it had become much larger, and that it had great towers and
splendid ornamental carving on it. A sentinel was standing before
the gate, and there were numbers of soldiers with kettledrums and
trumpets. And when he went into the palace, he found everything
was of pure marble and gold, and the curtains of damask with
tassels of gold. Then the doors of the hall flew open, and there
stood the whole Court round his wife, who was sitting on a high
throne of gold and diamonds; she wore a great golden crown, and
had a sceptre of gold and precious stones in her hand, and by her
on either side stood six pages in a row, each one a head taller
than the other. Then he went before her and said:

'Ah, wife! are you king now?'

'Yes,' said his wife; 'now I am king.'

He stood looking at her, and when he had looked for some time, he

'Let that be enough, wife, now that you are king! Now we have
nothing more to wish for.'

'Nay, husband,' said his wife restlessly, 'my wishing powers are
boundless; I cannot restrain them any longer. Go down to the
flounder; king I am, now I must be emperor.'

'Alas! wife,' said the fisherman, 'why do you want to be emperor?'

'Husband,' said she, 'go to the flounder; I will be emperor.'

'Ah, wife,' he said, 'he cannot make you emperor; I don't like to
ask him that. There is only one emperor in the kingdom. Indeed and
indeed he cannot make you emperor.'

'What!' said his wife. 'I am king, and you are my husband. Will
you go at once? Go! If he can make king he can make emperor, and
emperor I must and will be. Go!'

So he had to go. But as he went, he felt quite frightened, and he
thought to himself, 'This can't be right; to be emperor is too
ambitious; the flounder will be tired out at last.'

Thinking this he came to the shore. The sea was quite black and
thick, and it was breaking high on the beach; the foam was flying
about, and the wind was blowing; everything looked bleak. The
fisherman was chilled with fear. He stood and said:

'Once a prince, but changed you be Into a flounder in the sea.
Come! for my wife, Ilsebel, Wishes what I dare not tell.'

'What does she want now?' asked flounder.

'Alas! flounder,' he said, 'my wife wants to be emperor.'

'Go home,' said the flounder; 'she is that already.'

So the fisherman went home, and when he came there he saw the
whole castle was made of polished marble, ornamented with
alabaster statues and gold. Before the gate soldiers were
marching, blowing trumpets and beating drums. Inside the palace
were walking barons, counts, and dukes, acting as servants; they
opened the door, which was of beaten gold. And when he entered, he
saw his wife upon a throne which was made out of a single block of
gold, and which was quite six cubits high. She had on a great
golden crown which was three yards high and set with brilliants
and sparkling gems. In one hand she held a sceptre, and in the
other the imperial globe, and on either side of her stood two rows
of halberdiers, each smaller than the other, from a seven-foot
giant to the tiniest little dwarf no higher than my little finger.
Many princes and dukes were standing before her. The fisherman
went up to her quietly and said:

'Wife, are you emperor now?'

'Yes,' she said, 'I am emperor.'

He stood looking at her magnificence, and when he had watched her
for some time, said:

'Ah, wife, let that be enough, now that you are emperor.'

'Husband,' said she, 'why are you standing there? I am emperor
now, and I want to be pope too; go down to the flounder.'

'Alas! wife,' said the fisherman, 'what more do you want? You
cannot be pope; there is only one pope in Christendom, and he
cannot make you that.'

'Husband,' she said, 'I will be pope. Go down quickly; I must be
pope to-day.'

'No, wife,' said the fisherman; 'I can't ask him that. It is not
right; it is too much. The flounder cannot make you pope.'

'Husband, what nonsense!' said his wife. 'If he can make emperor,
he can make, pope too. Go down this instant; I am emperor and you
are my husband. Will you be off at once?'

So he was frightened and went out; but he felt quite faint, and
trembled and shook, and his knees and legs began to give way under
him. The wind was blowing fiercely across the land, and the clouds
flying across the sky looked as gloomy as if it were night; the
leaves were being blown from the trees; the water was foaming and
seething and dashing upon the shore, and in the distance he saw
the ships in great distress, dancing and tossing on the waves.
Still the sky was very blue in the middle, although at the sides
it was an angry red as in a great storm. So he stood shuddering in
anxiety, and said:

'Once a prince, but changed you be Into a flounder in the sea.
Come! for my wife, Ilsebel, Wishes what I dare not tell.'

'Well, what does she want now?' asked the flounder.

'Alas!' said the fisherman, 'she wants to be pope.'

'Go home, then; she is that already,' said the flounder.

Then he went home, and when he came there he saw, as it were, a
large church surrounded by palaces. He pushed his way through the
people. The interior was lit up with thousands and thousands of
candles, and his wife was dressed in cloth of gold and was sitting
on a much higher throne, and she wore three great golden crowns.
Round her were numbers of Church dignitaries, and on either side
were standing two rows of tapers, the largest of them as tall as a
steeple, and the smallest as tiny as a Christmas-tree candle. All
the emperors and kings were on their knees before her, and were
kissing her foot.

'Wife,' said the fisherman looking at her, 'are you pope now?'

'Yes,' said she; 'I am pope.'

So he stood staring at her, and it was as if he were looking at
the bright sun. When he had watched her for some time he said:

'Ah, wife, let it be enough now that you are pope.'

But she sat as straight as a tree, and did not move or bend the
least bit. He said again:

'Wife, be content now that you are pope. You cannot become
anything more.'

'We will think about that,' said his wife.

With these words they went to bed. But the woman was not content;
her greed would not allow her to sleep, and she kept on thinking
and thinking what she could still become. The fisherman slept well
and soundly, for he had done a great deal that day, but his wife
could not sleep at all, and turned from one side to another the
whole night long, and thought, till she could think no longer,
what more she could become. Then the sun began to rise, and when
she saw the red dawn she went to the end of the bed and looked at
it, and as she was watching the sun rise, out of the window, she
thought, 'Ha! could I not make the sun and man rise?'

'Husband,' said she, poking him in the ribs with her elbows, 'wake
up. Go down to the flounder; I will be a god.'

The fisherman was still half asleep, yet he was so frightened that
he fell out of bed. He thought he had not heard aright, and opened
his eyes wide and said:

'What did you say, wife?'

'Husband,' she said, 'if I cannot make the sun and man rise when I
appear I cannot rest. I shall never have a quiet moment till I can
make the sun and man rise.'

He looked at her in horror, and a shudder ran over him.

'Go down at once; I will be a god.'

'Alas! wife,' said the fisherman, falling on his knees before her,
'the flounder cannot do that. Emperor and pope he can make you. I
implore you, be content and remain pope.'

Then she flew into a passion, her hair hung wildly about her face,
she pushed him with her foot and screamed:

'I am not contented, and I shall not be contented! Will you go?'

So he hurried on his clothes as fast as possible, and ran away as
if he were mad.

But the storm was raging so fiercely that he could scarcely stand.
Houses and trees were being blown down, the mountains were being
shaken, and pieces of rock were rolling in the sea. The sky was as
black as ink, it was thundering and lightening, and the sea was
tossing in great waves as high as church towers and mountains, and
each had a white crest of foam.

So he shouted, not able to hear his own voice:

'Once a prince, but changed you be Into a flounder in the sea.
Come! for my wife, Ilsebel, Wishes what I dare not tell.'

'Well, what does she want now?' asked the flounder.

'Alas!' said he, 'she wants to be a god.'

'Go home, then; she is sitting again in the hut.'

And there they are sitting to this day.



Once upon a time three musicians left their home and set out on
their travels. They had all learnt music from the same master, and
they determined to stick together and to seek their fortune in
foreign lands. They wandered merrily from place to place and made
quite a good living, and were much appreciated by everyone who
heard them play. One evening they came to a village where they
delighted all the company with their beautiful music. At last they
ceased playing, and began to eat and drink and listen to the talk
that was going on around them. They heard all the gossip of the
place, and many wonderful things were related and discussed. At
last the conversation fell on a castle in the neighbourhood, about
which many strange and marvellous things were told. One person
said that hidden treasure was to be found there; another that the
richest food was always to be had there, although the castle was
uninhabited; and a third, that an evil spirit dwelt within the
walls, so terrible, that anyone who forced his way into the castle
came out of it more dead than alive.

As soon as the three musicians were alone in their bedroom they
agreed to go and examine the mysterious castle, and, if possible,
to find and carry away the hidden treasure. They determined, too,
to make the attempt separately, one after the other, according to
age, and they settled that a whole day was to be given to each
adventurer in which to try his luck.

The fiddler was the first to set out on his adventures, and did so
in the best of spirits and full of courage. When he reached the
castle he found the outer gate open, quite as if he were an
expected guest, but no sooner had he stepped across the entry than
the heavy door closed behind him with a bang, and was bolted with
a huge iron bar, exactly as if a sentinel were doing his office
and keeping watch, but no human being was to be seen anywhere. An
awful terror overcame the fiddler; but it was hopeless to think of
turning back or of standing still, and the hopes of finding gold
and other treasures gave him strength and courage to force his way
further into the castle. Upstairs and downstairs he wandered,
through lofty halls, splendid rooms, and lovely little boudoirs,
everything beautifully arranged, and all kept in the most perfect
order. But the silence of death reigned everywhere, and no living
thing, not even a fly, was to be seen. Notwithstanding, the youth
felt his spirits return to him when he entered the lower regions
of the castle, for in the kitchen the most tempting and delicious
food was spread out, the cellars were full of the most costly
wine, and the store-room crammed with pots of every sort of jam
you can imagine. A cheerful fire was burning in the kitchen,
before which a roast was being basted by unseen hands, and all
kinds of vegetables and other dainty dishes were being prepared in
like manner. Before the fiddler had time to think, he was ushered
into a little room by invisible hands, and there a table was
spread for him with all the delicious food he had seen cooking in
the kitchen.

The youth first seized his fiddle and played a beautiful air on it
which echoed through the silent halls, and then he fell to and
began to eat a hearty meal. Before long, however, the door opened
and a tiny man stepped into the room, not more than three feet
high, clothed in a dressing-gown, and with a small wrinkled face,
and a grey beard which reached down to the silver buckles of his
shoes. And the little man sat down beside the fiddler and shared
his meal. When they got to the game course the fiddler handed the
dwarf a knife and fork, and begged him to help himself first, and
then to pass the dish on. The little creature nodded, but helped
himself so clumsily that he dropped the piece of meat he had
carved on to the floor.

The good-natured fiddler bent down to pick it up, but in the
twinkling of an eye the little man had jumped on to his back, and
beat him till he was black and blue all over his head and body. At
last, when the fiddler was nearly dead, the little wretch left
off, and shoved the poor fellow out of the iron gate which he had
entered in such good spirits a few hours before. The fresh air
revived him a little, and in a short time he was able to stagger
with aching limbs back to the inn where his companions were
staying. It was night when he reached the place, and the other two
musicians were fast asleep. The next morning they were much
astonished at finding the fiddler in bed beside them, and
overwhelmed him with questions; but their friend hid his back and
face, and answered them very shortly, saying, 'Go there
yourselves, and see what's to be seen! It is a ticklish matter,
that I can assure you.'

The second musician, who was a trumpeter, now made his way to the
castle, and everything happened to him exactly as it had to the
fiddler. He was just as hospitably entertained at first, and then
just as cruelly beaten and belaboured, so that next morning he too
lay in his bed like a wounded hare, assuring his friends that the
task of getting into the haunted castle was no enviable one.
Notwithstanding the warning of his companions, the third musician,
who played the flute, was still determined to try his luck, and,
full of courage and daring, he set out, resolved, if possible, to
find and secure the hidden treasure.

Fearlessly he wandered the whole castle, and as he roamed through
the splendid empty apartments he thought to himself how nice it
would be to live there always, especially with a full larder and
cellar at his disposal. A table was spread for him too, and when
he had wandered about for some time, singing and playing the
flute, he sat down as his companions had done, prepared to enjoy
the delicious food that was spread out in front of him. Then the
little man with the beard entered as before and seated himself
beside the flute-player, who wasn't the least startled at his
appearance, but chatted away to him as if he had known him all his
life. But he didn't find his companion very communicative. At last
they came to the game, and, as usual, the little man let his piece
fall on the ground. The flute-player was good-naturedly just going
to pick it up, when he perceived that the little dwarf was in the
act of springing on his back. Then he turned round sharply, and,
seizing the little creature by his beard, he gave him such a
shaking that he tore his beard out, and the dwarf sank groaning to
the ground.

But as soon as the youth had the beard in his hands he felt so
strong that he was fit for anything, and he perceived all sorts of
things in the castle that he had not noticed before, but, on the
other hand, all strength seemed to have gone from the little man.
He whined and sobbed out: 'Give, oh give me my beard again, and I
will instruct you in all the magic art that surrounds this castle,
and will help you to carry off the hidden treasure, which will
make you rich and happy for ever.'

But the cunning flute-player replied: 'I will give you back your
beard, but you must first help me as you have promised to do. Till
you have done so, I don't let your beard out of my hands.'

Then the old man found himself obliged to fulfil his promise,
though he had had no intention of doing so, and had only desired
to get his beard back. He made the youth follow him through dark
secret passages, underground vaults, and grey rocks till at last
they came to an open field, which looked as if it belonged to a
more beautiful world than ours. Then they came to a stream of
rushing water; but the little man drew out a wand and touched the
waves, whereupon the waters parted and stood still, and the two
crossed the river with dry feet. And how beautiful everything on
the other side was! lovely green paths leading through woods and
fields covered with flowers, birds with gold and silver feathers
singing on the trees, lovely butterflies and glittering beetles
fluttered and crawled about, and dear little beasts hid in the
bushes and hedges. The sky above them was not blue, but like rays
of pure gold, and the stars looked twice their usual size, and far
more brilliant than on our earth.

The youth grew more and more astonished when the little grey man
led him into a castle far bigger and more splendid than the one
they had left. Here, too, the deepest silence reigned. They
wandered all through the castle, and came at last to a room in the
middle of which stood a bed hung all round with heavy curtains.
Over the bed hung a bird's cage, and the bird inside it was
singing beautiful songs into the silent space. The little grey man
lifted the curtains from the bed and beckoned the youth to
approach. On the rich silk cushions embroidered with gold a lovely
maiden lay sleeping. She was as beautiful as an angel, with golden
hair which fell in curls over her marble shoulders, and a diamond
crown sparkled on her forehead. But a sleep as of death held her
in its spell, and no noise seemed able to waken the sleeper.

Then the little man turned to the wondering youth and said: 'See,
here is the sleeping child! She is a mighty Princess. This
splendid castle and this enchanted land are hers, but for hundreds
of years she has slept this magic sleep, and during all that time
no human being has been able to find their way here. I alone have
kept guard over her, and have gone daily to my own castle to get
food and to beat the greedy gold-seekers who forced their way into
my dwelling. I have watched over the Princess carefully all these
years and saw that no stranger came near her, but all my magic
power lay in my beard, and now that you have taken it away I am
helpless, and can no longer hold the beautiful Princess in her
enchanted sleep, but am forced to reveal my treasured secret to
you. So set to work and do as I tell you. Take the bird which
hangs over the Princess's head, and which by its song sang her
into this enchanted sleep--a song which it has had to continue
ever since; take it and kill it, and cut its little heart out and
burn it to a powder, and then put it into the Princess's mouth;
then she will instantly awaken, and will bestow on you her heart
and hand, her kingdom and castle, and all her treasures.

The little dwarf paused, quite worn out, and the youth did not
wait long to do his bidding. He did all he was told carefully and
promptly, and having cut the little bird's heart out he proceeded
to make it into a powder. No sooner had he placed it in the
Princess's mouth than she opened her lovely eyes, and, looking up
into the happy youth's face, she kissed him tenderly, thanked him
for freeing her from her magic sleep, and promised to be his wife.
At the same moment a sound as of thunder was heard all over the
castle, and on all the staircases and in every room sounds were to
be heard. Then a troop of servants, male and female, flocked into
the apartment where the happy couple sat, and after wishing the
Princess and her bridegroom joy, they dispersed all over the
castle to their different occupations.

But the little grey dwarf began now to demand his beard again from
the youth, for in his wicked heart he was determined to make an
end of all their happiness; he knew that if only his beard were
once more on his chin, he would be able to do what he liked with
them all. But the clever flute-player was quite a match for the
little man in cunning, and said: 'All right, you needn't be
afraid, you shall get your beard back before we part; but you must
allow my bride and me to accompany you a bit on your homeward

The dwarf could not refuse this request, and so they all went
together through the beautiful green paths and flowery meadows,
and came at last to the river which flowed for miles round the
Princess's land and formed the boundary of her kingdom. There was
no bridge or ferryboat to be seen anywhere, and it was impossible
to get over to the other side, for the boldest swimmer would not
have dared to brave the fierce current and roaring waters. Then
the youth said to the dwarf: 'Give me your wand in order that I
may part the waves.'

And the dwarf was forced to do as he was told because the youth
still kept his beard from him; but the wicked little creature
chuckled with joy and thought to himself: 'The foolish youth will
hand me my beard as soon as we have crossed the river, and then my
power will return, and I will seize my wand and prevent them both
ever returning to their beautiful country.'

But the dwarf's wicked intentions were doomed to disappointment.
The happy youth struck the water with his wand, and the waves at
once parted and stood still, and the dwarf went on in front and
crossed the stream. No sooner had he done so than the waters
closed behind him, and the youth and his lovely bride stood safe
on the other side. Then they threw his beard to the old man across
the river, but they kept his wand, so that the wicked dwarf could
never again enter their kingdom. So the happy couple returned to
their castle, and lived there in peace and plenty for ever after.
But the other two musicians waited in vain for the return of their
companion; and when he never came they said: 'Ah, he's gone to
play the flute,' till the saying passed into a proverb, and was
always said of anyone who set out to perform a task from which he
never returned.



There was once upon a time a shepherd who had two children, a son
and a daughter. When he was on his death-bed he turned to them and
said, 'I have nothing to leave you but three sheep and a small
house; divide them between you, as you like, but don't quarrel
over them whatever you do.'

When the shepherd was dead, the brother asked his sister which she
would like best, the sheep or the little house; and when she had
chosen the house he said, 'Then I'll take the sheep and go out to
seek my fortune in the wide world. I don't see why I shouldn't be
as lucky as many another who has set out on the same search, and
it wasn't for nothing that I was born on a Sunday.'

And so he started on his travels, driving his three sheep in front
of him, and for a long time it seemed as if fortune didn't mean to
favour him at all. One day he was sitting disconsolately at a
cross road, when a man suddenly appeared before him with three
black dogs, each one bigger than the other.

'Hullo, my fine fellow,' said the man, 'I see you have three fat
sheep. I'll tell you what; if you'll give them to me, I'll give
you my three dogs.'

In spite of his sadness, the youth smiled and replied, 'What would
I do with your dogs? My sheep at least feed themselves, but I
should have to find food for the dogs.'

'My dogs are not like other dogs,' said the stranger; 'they will
feed you instead of you them, and will make your fortune. The
smallest one is called "Salt," and will bring you food whenever
you wish; the second is called "Pepper," and will tear anyone to
pieces who offers to hurt you; and the great big strong one is
called "Mustard," and is so powerful that it will break iron or
steel with its teeth.'

The shepherd at last let himself be persuaded, and gave the
stranger his sheep. In order to test the truth of his statement
about the dogs, he said at once, 'Salt, I am hungry,' and before
the words were out of his mouth the dog had disappeared, and
returned in a few minutes with a large basket full of the most
delicious food. Then the youth congratulated himself on the
bargain he had made, and continued his journey in the best of

One day he met a carriage and pair, all draped in black; even the
horses were covered with black trappings, and the coachman was
clothed in crape from top to toe. Inside the carriage sat a
beautiful girl in a black dress crying bitterly. The horses
advanced slowly and mournfully, with their heads bent on the

'Coachman, what's the meaning of all this grief?' asked the

At first the coachman wouldn't say anything, but when the youth
pressed him he told him that a huge dragon dwelt in the
neighbourhood, and required yearly the sacrifice of a beautiful
maiden. This year the lot had fallen on the King's daughter, and
the whole country was filled with woe and lamentation in

The shepherd felt very sorry for the lovely maiden, and determined
to follow the carriage. In a little it halted at the foot of a
high mountain. The girl got out, and walked slowly and sadly to
meet her terrible fate. The coachman perceived that the shepherd
wished to follow her, and warned him not to do so if he valued his
life; but the shepherd wouldn't listen to his advice. When they
had climbed about half-way up the hill they saw a terrible-looking
monster with the body of a snake, and with huge wings and claws,
coming towards them, breathing forth flames of fire, and preparing
to seize its victim. Then the shepherd called, 'Pepper, come to
the rescue,' and the second dog set upon the dragon, and after a
fierce struggle bit it so sharply in the neck that the monster
rolled over, and in a few moments breathed its last. Then the dog
ate up the body, all except its two front teeth, which the
shepherd picked up and put in his pocket.

The Princess was quite overcome with terror and joy, and fell
fainting at the feet of her deliverer. When she recovered her
consciousness she begged the shepherd to return with her to her
father, who would reward him richly. But the youth answered that
he wanted to see something of the world, and that he would return
again in three years, and nothing would make him change this
resolve. The Princess seated herself once more in her carriage,
and, bidding each other farewell, she and the shepherd separated,
she to return home, and he to see the world.

But while the Princess was driving over a bridge the carriage
suddenly stood still, and the coachman turned round to her and
said, 'Your deliverer has gone, and doesn't thank you for your
gratitude. It would be nice of you to make a poor fellow happy;
therefore you may tell your father that it was I who slew the
dragon, and if you refuse to, I will throw you into the river, and
no one will be any the wiser, for they will think the dragon has
devoured you.'

The maiden was in a dreadful state when she heard these words; but
there was nothing for her to do but to swear that she would give
out the coachman as her deliverer, and not to divulge the secret
to anyone. So they returned to the capital, and everyone was
delighted when they saw the Princess had returned unharmed; the
black flags were taken down from all the palace towers, and gay-
coloured ones put up in their place, and the King embraced his
daughter and her supposed rescuer with tears of joy, and, turning
to the coachman, he said, 'You have not only saved the life of my
child, but you have also freed the country from a terrible
scourge; therefore, it is only fitting that you should be richly
rewarded. Take, therefore, my daughter for your wife; but as she
is still so young, do not let the marriage be celebrated for
another year.'

The coachman thanked the King for his graciousness, and was then
led away to be richly dressed and instructed in all the arts and
graces that befitted his new position. But the poor Princess wept
bitterly, though she did not dare to confide her grief to anyone.
When the year was over, she begged so hard for another year's
respite that it was granted to her. But this year passed also, and
she threw herself at her father's feet, and begged so piteously
for one more year that the King's heart was melted, and he yielded
to her request, much to the Princess's joy, for she knew that her
real deliverer would appear at the end of the third year. And so
the year passed away like the other two, and the wedding-day was
fixed, and all the people were prepared to feast and make merry.

But on the wedding-day it happened that a stranger came to the
town with three black dogs. He asked what the meaning of all the
feasting and fuss was, and they told him that the King's daughter
was just going to be married to the man who had slain the terrible
dragon. The stranger at once denounced the coachman as a liar; but
no one would listen to him, and he was seized and thrown into a
cell with iron doors.

While he was lying on his straw pallet, pondering mournfully on
his fate, he thought he heard the low whining of his dogs outside;
then an idea dawned on him, and he called out as loudly as he
could, 'Mustard, come to my help,' and in a second he saw the paws
of his biggest dog at the window of his cell, and before he could
count two the creature had bitten through the iron bars and stood
beside him. Then they both let themselves out of the prison by the
window, and the poor youth was free once more, though he felt very
sad when he thought that another was to enjoy the reward that
rightfully belonged to him. He felt hungry too, so he called his
dog 'Salt,' and asked him to bring home some food. The faithful
creature trotted off, and soon returned with a table-napkin full
of the most delicious food, and the napkin itself was embroidered
with a kingly crown.

The King had just seated himself at the wedding-feast with all his
Court, when the dog appeared and licked the Princess's hand in an
appealing manner. With a joyful start she recognised the beast,
and bound her own table-napkin round his neck. Then she plucked up
her courage and told her father the whole story. The King at once
sent a servant to follow the dog, and in a short time the stranger
was led into the Kings presence. The former coachman grew as white
as a sheet when he saw the shepherd, and, falling on his knees,
begged for mercy and pardon. The Princess recognized her deliverer
at once, and did not need the proof of the two dragon's teeth
which he drew from his pocket. The coachman was thrown into a dark
dungeon, and the shepherd took his place at the Princess's side,
and this time, you may be sure, she did not beg for the wedding to
be put off.

The young couple lived for some time in great peace and happiness,
when suddenly one day the former shepherd bethought himself of his
poor sister and expressed a wish to see her again, and to let her
share in his good fortune. So they sent a carriage to fetch her,
and soon she arrived at the court, and found herself once more in
her brother's arms. Then one of the dogs spoke and said, 'Our task
is done; you have no more need of us. We only waited to see that
you did not forget your sister in your prosperity.' And with these
words the three dogs became three birds and flew away into the


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