Part 6 out of 8
There swims a bit of newspaper. What's written upon it has long been
forgotten, and yet it gives itself airs. I sit quietly and patiently
here. I know who I am, and I shall remain what I am."
One day something lay close beside her that glittered splendidly; then
the Darning Needle believed that it was a diamond; but it was a bit of
broken bottle; and because it shone, the Darning Needle spoke to it,
introducing herself as a breastpin.
"I suppose you are a diamond?" she observed.
"Why, yes, something of that kind."
And then each believed the other to be a very valuable thing; and they
began speaking about the world, and how very conceited it was.
"I have been in a lady's box," said the Darning Needle, "and this lady
was a cook. She had five fingers on each hand, and I never saw
anything so conceited as those five fingers. And yet they were only
there that they might take me out of the box and put me back into it."
"Were they of good birth?" asked the Bit of Bottle.
"No, indeed," cried the Darning Needle, "but very haughty. There were
five brothers, all of the finger family. They kept very proudly
together, though they were of different lengths: the outermost, the
thumbling, was short and fat; he walked out in front of the ranks, and
only had one joint in his back, and could only make a single bow; but
he said that if he were hacked off a man, that man was useless for
service in war. Daintymouth, the second finger, thrust himself into
sweet and sour, pointed to sun and moon, and gave the impression when
they wrote. Longrnan, the third, looked at all the others over his
shoulder. Goldborder, the fourth, went about with a golden belt round
his waist; and little Playman did nothing at all, and was proud of it.
There was nothing but bragging among them, and therefore I went away."
"And now we sit here and glitter!" said the Bit of Bottle.
At that moment more water came into the gutter, so that it overflowed,
and the Bit of Bottle was carried away.
"So he is disposed of," observed the Darning Needle. "I remain here, I
am too fine. But that's my pride, and my pride is honorable." And
proudly she sat there, and had many great thoughts. "I could almost
believe I had been born of a sunbeam, I'm so fine! It really appears
as if the sunbeams were always seeking for me under the water. Ah!
I'm so fine that my mother cannot find me. If I had my old eye, which
broke off, I think I should cry; but, no, I should not do that: it's
not genteel to cry."
One day a couple of street boys lay grubbing in the gutter where they
sometimes find old nails, farthings, and similar treasures. It was
dirty work, but they took great delight in it.
"Oh!" cried one, who had pricked himself with the Darning Needle,
there's a fellow for you!"
"I'm not a fellow; I'm a young lady!" said the Darning Needle.
But nobody listened to her. The sealing wax had come off, and she had
turned black; but black makes one look slender, and she thought herself
finer even than before.
"Here comes an eggshell sailing along!" said the boys; and they stuck
the Darning Needle fast in the eggshell.
"White walls, and black myself! that looks well," remarked the Darning
Needle. "Now one can see me. I only hope I shall not be seasick!"
But she was not seasick at all. "It is good against seasickness, if
one has a steel stomach, and does not forget that one is a little more
than an ordinary person! Now my seasickness is over. The finer one
is, the more one can bear."
"Crack!" went the eggshell, for a wagon went over her.
"Good heavens, how it crushes one!" said the Darning Needle. "I'm
getting seasick now-I'm quite sick."
But she was not really sick, though the wagon went over her; she lay
there at full length, and there she may lie.
PEN AND INKSTAND
By Hans Christian Andersen
THE following remark was made in a poet's room, as the speaker looked
at the inkstand that stood upon his table:
"It is marvelous all that can come out of that ink-stand! What will it
produce next? Yes, it is marvelous!"
"So it is!" exclaimed the Inkstand. "It is incomprehensible! That is
what I always say." It was thus the Inkstand addressed itself to the
Pen, and to everything else that could hear it on the table. "It is
really astonishing all that can come from me! It is almost incredible!
I positively do not know myself what the next thing may be, when a
person begins to dip into me. One drop of me serves for half a side of
paper; and what may not then appear upon it? I am certainly something
extraordinary. From me proceed all the works of the poets. These
animated beings, whom people think they recognize-these deep feelings,
that gay humor, these charming descriptions of nature -I do not
understand them myself, for I know nothing about nature; but still it
is all in me. From me have gone forth, and still go forth, these
warrior hosts, these lovely maidens, these bold knights on snorting
steeds, those droll characters in humbler life. The fact is, however,
that I do not know anything about them myself. I assure you they are
not my ideas."
"You are right there," replied the Pen. "You have few ideas, and do
not trouble yourself much with thinking, if you did exert yourself to
think, you would perceive that you ought to give something that was not
dry. You supply me with the means of committing to paper what I have
in me; I write with that. It is the pen that writes. Mankind do not
doubt that; and most men have about as much genius for poetry as an old
"You have but little experience," said the ink-stand. "You have
scarcely been a week in use, and you are already half worn out. Do you
fancy that you are a poet? You are only a servant: and I have had many
of your kind before you came- many of the goose family, and of English
manufacture. I know both quill pens and steel pens. I have had a
great many in my service, and I shall have many more still, when he,
the man who stirs me up, comes and puts down what he takes from me. I
should like very much to know what will be the next thing he will take
"Ink tub!" said the Pen.
Late in the evening the Poet returned home. He had been at a concert,
had heard a celebrated violin player, and was quite enchanted with his
wonderful performance. It had been a complete gush of melody that he
had drawn from the instrument. Sometimes it seemed like the gentle
murmur of a rippling stream, sometimes like the singing of birds,
sometimes like the tempest sweeping through the mighty pine forests, he
fancied he heard his own heart weep, but in the sweet tones that can be
heard in a woman's charming voice. It seemed as if not only the
strings of the violin made music, but its bridge, its pegs, and its
sounding board. It was astonishing! The piece had been a most
difficult one; but it seemed like play-as if the bow were but wandering
capriciously over the strings. Such was the appearance of facility,
that everyone might have supposed he could do it. The violin seemed to
sound of itself, the bow to play of itself. These two seemed to do it
all. One forgot the master who guided them, who gave them life and
soul. Yes, they forgot the master; but the Poet thought of him. He
named him, and wrote down his thoughts as follows:
"How foolish it would be of the violin and the bow, were they to be
vain in their performance! And yet this is what so often we of the
human species are. Poets, artists, those who make discoveries in
science, military and naval commanders -we are all proud of ourselves;
and yet we are all only the instruments in our Lord's hands. To Him
alone be the glory! We have nothing to arrogate to ourselves."
This was what the Poet wrote; and he headed it with: "The Master and
"Well, madam," said the Pen to the Inkstand when they were again alone,
"you heard him read aloud what I had written."
"Yes, what I gave you to write," said the Ink-stand. "It was a hit at
you for your conceit. Strange that you cannot see that people make a
fool of you! I gave you that hit pretty cleverly. I confess, though,
it was rather malicious."
"Inkholder!" cried the Pen.
"Writing stick!" cried the Inkstand.
They both felt assured that they had answered well; and it is a
pleasant reflection that one has made a smart reply-one sleeps
comfortably after it. And they both went to sleep; but the Poet could
not sleep. His thoughts welded forth like the tones from the violin,
trilling like pearls, rushing like a storm through the forest. He
recognized the feeling of his own heart-he perceived the gleam from the
To Him alone be the glory!
Retold by Miss Mulock
THERE was once an honest gentleman who took for his second wife a lady,
the proudest and most disagreeable in the whole country. She had two
daughters exactly like herself in all things. He also had one little
girl, who resembled her dead mother, the best woman in all the world.
Scarcely had the second marriage taken place, than the stepmother
became jealous of the good qualities of the little girl who was so
great a contrast to her own two daughters. She gave her all the menial
occupations of the house; compelled her to wash the floors and
staircases; to dust the bedrooms, and clean the grates; and while her
sisters occupied carpeted chambers hung with mirrors, where they could
see themselves from head to foot, this poor little damsel was sent to
sleep in an attic, on an old straw mattress, with only one chair and
not a looking-glass in the room.
She suffered all in silence, not daring to complain to her father, who
was entirely ruled by his new wife. When her daily work was done, she
used to sit down in the chimney corner among the ashes; from which the
two sisters gave her the nickname of Cinderella. But Cinderella,
however, shabbily clad, was handsomer than they were with all their
It happened that the king's son gave a series of balls, to which were
invited all the rank and fashion of the city, and among the rest the
two elder sisters. They were very proud and happy, and occupied their
whole time in deciding what they should wear; a source of new trouble
to Cinderella, whose duty it was to get up their fine linen and laces,
and who never could please them however much she tried. They talked of
nothing but their clothes.
"I," said the elder, "shall wear my velvet gown and my trimmings of
"And I," added the younger, "will have but my ordinary silk petticoat,
but I shall adorn it with an upper skirt of flowered brocade, and shall
put on my diamond tiara, which is a great deal finer than anything of
Here the elder sister grew angry, and the dispute began to run so high
that Cinderella, who was known to have excellent taste, was called upon
to decide between them. She gave them the best advice she could, and
gently and submissively offered to dress them herself, and especially
to arrange their hair, an accomplishment in which she excelled many a
noted coiffeur. The important evening came, and she exercised all her
skill to adorn the two young ladies. While she was combing out the
elder's hair, this ill-natured girl said sharply, "Cinderella, do you
not wish you were going to the ball?"
"Ah, madam" (they obliged her always to say madam), "you are only
mocking me; it is not my fortune to have any such pleasure."
"You are right; people would only laugh to see a little cinder wench at
Any other than Cinderella would have dressed the hair all awry, but she
was good, and dressed it perfectly even and smooth, and as prettily as
The sisters had scarcely eaten for two days, and had broken a dozen
staylaces a day, in trying to make themselves slender; but to-night
they broke a dozen more, and lost their tempers over and over again
before they had completed their toilet. When at last the happy moment
arrived, Cinderella followed them to the coach; after it had whirled
them away, she sat down by the kitchen fire and cried.
Immediately her godmother, who was a fairy, appeared beside her. "What
are you crying for, my little maid?"
"Oh, I wish-I wish-" Her sobs stopped her.
"You wish to go to the ball; isn't it so? "
"Well then, be a good girl, and you shall go. First run into the
garden and fetch me the largest pumpkin you can find."
Cinderella did not comprehend what this had to do with her going to the
ball, but being obedient and obliging, she went. Her godmother took
the pumpkin, and having scooped out all its inside, struck it with her
wand; it became a splendid gilt coach, lined with rose-colored satin.
"Now fetch me the mousetrap out of the pantry, my dear."
Cinderella brought it; it contained six of the fattest, sleekest mice.
The fairy lifted up the wire door, and as each mouse ran out she struck
it and changed it into a beautiful black horse.
"But what shall I do for your coachman, Cinderella?"
Cinderella suggested that she had seen a large black rat in the rat
trap, and he might do for want of better.
"You are right; go and look again for him."
He was found; and the fairy made him into a most respectable coachman,
with the finest whiskers imaginable. She afterward took six lizards
from behind the pumpkin frame, and changed them into six footmen, all
in splendid livery, who immediately jumped up behind the carriage, as
if they had been footmen all their days. "Well, Cinderella, now you
can go to the ball."
"What, in these clothes?" said Cinderella piteously, looking down on
her ragged frock.
Her godmother laughed, and touched her also with the wand; at which her
wretched threadbare jacket became stiff with gold, and sparkling with
jewels; her woolen petticoat lengthened into a gown of sweeping satin,
from underneath which peeped out her little feet, no longer bare, but
covered with silk stockings, and the prettiest glass slippers in the
world. "Now, Cinderella, depart; but remember, if you stay one instant
after midnight, your carriage will become a pumpkin, your coachman a
rat, your horses mice, and your footmen lizards; while you, yourself,
will be the little cinder wench you were an hour ago."
Cinderella promised without fear, her heart was so full of joy.
Arrived at the palace, the king's son, whom some one, probably the
fairy, had told to await the coming of an uninvited princess, whom
nobody knew, was standing at the entrance, ready to receive her. He
offered her his hand, and led her with the utmost courtesy through the
assembled guests, who stood aside to let her pass, whispering to one
another, "Oh, how beautiful she is!" It might have turned the head of
anyone but poor Cinderella, who was so used to be despised, that she
took it all as if it were something happening in a dream.
Her triumph was complete; even the old king said to the queen, that
never since her majesty's young days had he seen so charming and
elegant a person. All the court ladies scanned her eagerly, clothes
and all, determining to have theirs made next day of exactly the same
pattern. The king's son himself led her out to dance, and she danced
so gracefully that he admired her more and more. Indeed, at supper,
which was fortunately early, his admiration quite took away his
appetite. For Cinderella, herself, with an involuntary shyness, sought
out her sisters; placed herself beside them and offered them all sorts
of civil attentions, which coming as they supposed from a stranger, and
so magnificent a lady, almost overwhelmed them with delight.
While she was talking with them, she heard the clock strike a quarter
to twelve, and making a courteous adieu to the royal family, she
reentered her carriage, escorted tenderly by the king's son, and
arrived in safety at her own door. There she found her godmother, who
smiled approval; and of whom she begged permission to go to a second
ball, the following night, to which the queen had earnestly invited
While she was talking, the two sisters were heard knocking at the gate,
and the fairy godmother vanished, leaving Cinderella sitting in the
chimney corner, rubbing her eves and pretending to be very sleepy.
"Ah," cried the eldest sister maliciously, "it has been the most
delightful ball, and there was present the most beautiful princess I
ever saw, who was so exceedingly polite to us both."
"Was she?" said Cinderella indifferently; "and who might she be?"
"Nobody knows, though everybody would give their eyes to know,
especially the king's Son."
"Indeed!" replied Cinderella, a little more interested; "I should like
to see her. Miss Javotte"- that was the elder sister's name-"will you
not let me go to-morrow, and lend me your yellow gown that you wear on
"What, lend my yellow gown to a cinder wench! I am not so mad as
that;" at which refusal Cinderella did not complain, for if her sister
really had lent her the gown, she would have been considerably
The next night came, and the two young ladies, richly dressed in
different toilets, went to the ball.
Cinderella, more splendidly attired and beautiful than ever, followed
them shortly after. "Now remember twelve o'clock," was her godmother's
parting speech; and she thought she certainly should. But the prince's
attentions to her were greater even than the first evening, and in the
delight of listening to his pleasant conversation, time slipped by
unperceived. While she was sitting beside him in a lovely alcove, and
looking at the moon from under a bower of orange blossoms, she heard a
clock strike the first stroke of twelve. She started up, and fled away
as lightly as a deer.
Amazed, the prince followed, but could not catch her. Indeed he missed
his lovely princess altogether, and only saw running out of the palace
doors, a little dirty lass whom he had never beheld before, and of whom
he certainly would never have taken the least notice. Cinderella
arrived at home breathless and weary, ragged and cold, without
carriage, or footman or coachman; the only remnant of her past
magnificence being one of her little glass slippers-the other she had
dropped in the ballroom as she ran away.
When the two sisters returned, they were full of this strange
adventure, how the beautiful lady had appeared at the ball more
beautiful than ever, and enchanted everyone who looked at her; and how
as the clock was striking twelve she had suddenly risen up and fled
through the ballroom, disappearing no one knew how or where, and
dropping one of her glass slippers behind her in her flight. How the
king's son had remained inconsolable, until he chanced to pick up the
little glass slipper, which he carried away in his pocket, and was seen
to take it out continually, and look at it affectionately, with the air
of a man very much in love; in fact, from his behavior during the
remainder of the evening, all the court and royal family were convinced
that he had become desperately enamored of the wearer of the little
Cinderella listened in silence, turning her face to the kitchen fire,
and perhaps it was that which made her look so rosy, but nobody ever
noticed or admired her at home, so it did not signify, and next morning
she went to her weary work again just as before.
A few days after, the whole city was attracted by the sight of a herald
going round with a little glass slipper in his hand, publishing with a
flourish of trumpets, that the king's son ordered this to be fitted on
the foot of every lady in the kingdom, and that he wished to marry the
lady whom it fitted best, or to whom it and the fellow slipper
belonged. Princesses, duchesses, countesses, and simple gentlewomen
all tried it on, but being a fairy slipper, it fitted nobody; and
besides, nobody could produce its fellow slipper, which lay all the
time safely in the pocket of Cinderella's old linsey gown.
At last the herald came to the house of the two sisters, and though
they well knew neither of themselves was the beautiful lady, they made
every attempt to get their clumsy feet into the glass slipper, but in
"Let me try it on," said Cinderella from the chimney corner.
"What, you?" cried the others, bursting into shouts of laughter; but
Cinderella only smiled, and held out her hand.
Her sisters cou1d not prevent her, since the command was that every
young maiden in the city should try on the slipper, in order that no
chance might be left untried, for the prince was nearly breaking his
heart; and his father and mother were afraid that though a prince, he
would actually die for love of the beautiful unknown lady.
So the herald bade Cinderella sit down on a three-legged stool in the
kitchen, and himself put the slipper on her pretty little foot, which
it fitted exactly; she then drew from her pocket the fellow slipper,
which she also put on, and stood up-for with the touch of the magic
shoes all her dress was changed likewise-no longer the poor despised
cinder wench, but the beautiful lady whom the king's son loved.
Her sisters recognized her at once. Filled with astonishment, mingled
with no little alarm, they threw themselves at her feet, begging her
pardon for all their former unkindness. She raised and embraced them;
told them she forgave them with all her heart, and only hoped they
would love her always. Then she departed with the herald to the king's
palace, and told her whole story to his majesty and the royal family,
who were not in the least surprised, for everybody believed in fairies,
and everybody longed to have a fairy godmother.
For the young prince, he found her more lovely and lovable than ever,
and insisted upon marrying her immediately. Cinderella never went home
again, but she sent for her two sisters to the palace, and with the
consent of all parties married them shortly after to two rich gentlemen
of the court.
LITTLE RED RIDING-HOOD
By Charles Perrault
ONCE upon a time there lived in a certain village a little country
girl, the prettiest creature ever seen. Her mother was very fond of
her, and her grandmother doted on her still more. This good woman had
made for her a little red riding-hood, which became the girl so well
that everybody called her Little Red Riding-Hood.
One day her mother, having made some custards, said to her:
"Go, my dear, and see how thy grandmamma does, for I hear she has been
very ill; carry her a custard and this little pot of butter."
Little Red Riding-Hood set out immediately to go to her grandmother,
who lived in another village.
As she was going through the wood she met with Gaffer Wolf, who had a
very great mind to eat her up, but he durst not, because of some fagot
makers hard by in the forest. He asked her whither she was going. The
poor child, who did not know that it was dangerous to stop and listen
to a wolf, said to him:
"I am going to see my grandmamma and carry her a custard and a little
pot of butter from my mamma."
"Does she live far off?" said the Wolf.
"Oh! yes," answered Little Red Riding-Hood; "it is beyond that mill
you see there, at the first house in the village."
"Well," said the Wolf, "I'll go and see her, too. I'll go this way and
you go that, and we shall see who will be there soonest."
The Wolf began to run as fast as he could, taking the nearest way, and
the little girl went by the longest, diverting herself in gathering
nuts, running after butterflies, and making nosegays of such little
flowers as she met with. The Wolf was not long before he got to the
old woman's house. He knocked at the door-tap, tap.
"Your grandchild, Little Red Riding-Hood," replied the Wolf, imitating
her voice; "who has brought you a custard and a little pot of butter
sent you by mamma."
The good grandmother, who was in bed, because she was ill, cried out:
"Pull the bobbin, and the latch will go up."
The Wolf pulled the bobbin, and the door opened, and he fell upon the
good woman and ate her up in a moment, for it was above three days that
he had not touched a bit. He then shut the door and went into the
grandmother's bed, expecting Little Red Riding-Hood, who came some time
afterward and knocked at the door-tap, tap.
Little Red Riding-Hood, hearing the big voice of the Wolf, was at first
afraid; but believing her grandmother had got a cold and was hoarse,
'Tis your grandchild, Little Red Riding-Hood, who has brought you a
custard and a little pot of butter mamma sends you."
The Wolf cried out to her, softening his voice as much as he could:
"Pull the bobbin and the latch will go up."
Little Red Riding-Hood pulled the bobbin and the door opened.
The wolf, seeing her come in, said to her, hiding himself under the
"Put the custard and the little pot of butter upon the stool, and come
and lie down with me."
Little Red Riding-Hood undressed herself and went into bed, where,
being greatly amazed to see how her grandmother looked in her night
clothes, she said to her:
"Grandmamma, what great arms you've got!"
"That is the better to hug thee, my dear."
"Grandmamma, what great legs you've got!"
"The better to run, my child."
"Grandmamma, what great ears you've got!"
"The better to hear, my child!"
"Grandmamma, what great eyes you've got!"
"The better to see, my child."
"Grandmamma, what great teeth you've got!"
"To eat thee up!"
And saying these words, the wicked Wolf fell upon Little Red Riding-
Hood and ate her all up.
THE STORY OF THE THREE BEARS
By Robert Southey
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 hears-a little rough or so, as the manner of bear's 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 sat down in the chair of the Great, Huge
Bear, and that was too hard for her. And then she sat down in the
chair of the Middle Bear, and that was too soft for her. And then she
sat 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 sat till the bottom of the chair came out, and
down came she, plump upon the ground. And the naughty old woman said
wicked words about that, too.
Then the little old woman went upstairs into the bedchamber 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 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
"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 Bear.
"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 chair.
"SOMEBODY HAS BEEN SITTING IN MY CHAIR, AND HAS SAT THE BOTTOM OUT OF
said the Little, Small, Wee Bear, in his little, small, wee voice.
Then the three bears thought it necessary that they should make further
search; so they went upstairs into their bedchamber. Now the little
old woman had pulled the pillow of the Great, Huge Bear out of its
"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 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 moaning 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 some one 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.
PUSS IN BOOTS
By Charles Perrault
A MILLER, dying, divided all his property between his three children.
This was very easy, as he had nothing to leave but his mill, his ass,
and his cat; so he made no will, and called in no lawyer. The eldest
son had the mill; the second, the ass; and the youngest, nothing but
the cat. The young fellow was quite downcast at so poor a lot. "My
brothers," said he, "by putting their property together, may gain an
honest living, but there is nothing left for me except to die of
hunger, unless, indeed, I were to kill my cat and eat him, and make a
muff of his skin."
The cat, who heard all this, sat up on his four paws, and looking at
him with a grave and wise air, said: "Master, I think you had better
not kill me; I shall be much more useful to you alive."
"How so?" asked his master.
"You have but to give me a sack and a pair of boots, such as gentlemen
wear when they go shooting, and you will find you are not so ill off as
Now, though the young man did not much depend upon the cat's words,
still he thought it rather surprising that a cat should speak at all.
And he had before now seen him play a great many cunning tricks in
catching rats and mice, so that it seemed advisable to trust him a
little further; especially as-poor young fellow-he had nobody else to
When the cat got his boots, he drew them on with a grand air, and
slinging his sack over his shoulder, and drawing the cords of it round
his neck, he marched bravely to a rabbit warren hard by, with which he
was well acquainted. Then, putting some bran and lettuces into his
bag, and stretching himself out beside it as if he were dead, he waited
till some fine, fat young rabbit, ignorant of the wickedness and deceit
of the world, should peep into the sack to eat the food that was
inside. This happened very shortly, for there are plenty of foolish
young rabbits in every warren; and when one of them, who really was a
splendid fat fellow, put his head inside, Master Puss drew the cords
immediately, and took him and killed him without mercy. Then, very
proud of his prey, he marched direct to the palace, and begged to speak
with the King.
He was told to ascend to the apartment of his majesty, where, making a
low bow, he said: "Sire, here is a magnificent rabbit, killed in the
warren, which belongs to my lord the Marquis of Carabas, and which he
told me to offer humbly to your majesty."
"Tell your master," replied the King, politely, "that I accept his
present, and am very much obliged to him."
Another time, Puss went out and hid himself and his sack in a wheat
field, and there caught two splendid fat partridges in the same manner
as he had done the rabbit. When he presented them to the King, with a
similar message as before, his majesty was so pleased that he ordered
the cat to be taken down into the kitchen and given something to eat
and drink; where, while enjoying himself, the faithful animal did not
cease to talk in the most cunning way of the large preserves and
abundant game which belonged to his lord the Marquis of Carabas.
One day, hearing that the King was intending to take a drive along the
riverside with his daughter, the most beautiful princess in the world,
Puss said to his master: "Sir, if you would only follow my advice,
your fortune is made."
"Be it so," said the miller's son, who was growing disconsolate, and
cared very little what he did: "Say your say, cat."
"It is but little," replied Puss, looking wise, as cats can. "You have
only to go and bathe in the river at a place which I shall show you,
and leave all the rest to me. Only remember that you are no longer
yourself, but my lord the Marquis of Carabas."
"Just so," said the miller's son, "it's all the same to me;" but he did
as the cat told him.
While he was bathing, the King and all the court passed by, and were
startled to hear loud cries of "Help! help! my lord the Marquis of
Carabas is drowning." The King put his head out of the carriage, and
saw nobody but the cat, who had at different times brought him so many
presents of game; however, he ordered his guards to fly quickly to the
succor of my lord the Marquis of Carabas. While they were pulling the
unfortunate marquis out of the water, the cat came up, bowing, to the
side of the King's carriage, and told a long and pitiful story about
some thieves who, while his master was bathing, had come and carried
away all his clothes, so that it would be impossible for him to appear
before his majesty and the illustrious princess.
"Oh, we will soon remedy that," answered the King, kindly and
immediately ordered one of the first officers of the household to ride
back to the palace with all speed, and bring thence a supply of fine
clothes for the young gentleman, who kept out of sight until they
arrived. Then, being handsome and well-made, his new clothes became
him so well, that he looked as if he had been a marquis all his days,
and advanced with an air of respectful ease to offer his thanks to his
The King received him courteously, and the princess admired him very
much. Indeed, so charming did he appear to her, that she hinted to her
father to invite him into the carriage with them, which, you may be
sure the young man did not refuse. The cat, delighted at the success
of his scheme, went away as fast as he could, and ran so swiftly that
he kept a long way ahead of the royal carriage. He went on and on,
till he came to some peasants who were mowing in a meadow. "Good
people," said he, in a very firm voice, "the King is coming past here
shortly, and if you do not say that the field you are mowing belongs to
my lord the Marquis of Carabas, you shall all be chopped as small as
So when the King drove by, and asked whose meadow it was where there
was such a splendid crop of hay, the mowers all answered, trembling,
that it belonged to my lord the Marquis of Carabas.
"You have very fine land, marquis," said his majesty to the miller's
son, who bowed, and answered that "it was not a bad meadow, take it
Then the cat came to a wheat field, where the reapers were reaping with
all their might. He bounced in upon them: "The King is coming past
to-day, and if you do not tell him that this wheat belongs to my lord
the Marquis of Carabas, I will have you everyone chopped as small as
mincemeat." The reapers, very much alarmed, did as they were bid, and
the King congratulated the marquis upon possessing such beautiful
fields, laden with such an abundant harvest.
They drove on-the cat always running before and saying the same thing
to everybody he met, that they were to declare that the whole country
belonged to his master; so that even the King was astonished at the
vast estate of my lord the Marquis of Carabas.
But now the cat arrived at a great castle where dwelt an Ogre, to whom
belonged all the land through which the royal carriage had been
driving. This Ogre was a cruel tyrant, and his tenants and servants
were terribly afraid of him, which accounted for their being so ready
to say whatever they were told to say by the cat, who had taken pains
to inform himself all about the Ogre. So, putting on the boldest face
he could assume, Puss marched up to the castle with his boots on, and
asked to see the owner of it, saying that he was on his travels, but
did not wish to pass so near the castle of such a noble gentleman
without paying his respects to him. When the Ogre heard this message,
he went to the door, received the cat as civilly as an Ogre can, and
begged him to walk in and repose himself.
"Thank you, sir," said the cat; "but first I hope you will satisfy a
traveler's curiosity. I have heard in far countries of your many
remarkable qualities, and especially how you have the power to change
yourself into any sort of beast you choose-a lion, for instance, or an
"That is quite true," replied the Ogre; "and lest you should doubt it I
will immediately become a lion."
He did so; and the cat was so frightened that he sprang up to the roof
of the castle and hid himself in the gutter-a proceeding rather
inconvenient on account of his boots, which were not exactly fitted to
walk with on tiles. At length, perceiving that the Ogre had resumed
his original form, he came down again, and owned that he had been very
"But, sir," said he, "it may be easy enough for such a big gentleman as
you to change himself into a large animal; I do not suppose you could
become a small one-a rat, or mouse, for instance. I have heard that
you can; still, for my part, I consider it quite impossible."
"Impossible!" cried the other, indignantly. "You shall see!" and
immediately the cat saw the Ogre no longer, but a little mouse running
along on the floor.
This was exactly what Puss wanted; and he fell upon him at once and ate
him up. So there was an end to the Ogre.
By this time the King had arrived opposite the castle, and had a strong
wish to go into it. The cat, hearing the noise of the carriage wheels,
ran forward in a great hurry, and, standing at the gate, said, in a
loud voice: "Welcome, sire, to the castle of my lord the Marquis of
"What!" cried his majesty, very much surprised, "does the castle also
belong to you? Truly, marquis, you have kept your secret well up to
the last minute. I have never seen anything finer than this courtyard
and these battlements. Let us go in, if you please."
The marquis, without speaking, offered his hand to the princess to help
her to descend, and, standing aside that the King might enter first,
followed his majesty to the great hall, where a magnificent dinner was
laid out, and where, without more delays they all sat down to feast.
Before the banquet was over, the King, charmed with the good qualities
of the Marquis of Carabas, said, bowing across the table at which the
princess and the miller's son were talking very confidentially
together: "It rests with you, marquis, whether you will marry my
"I shall be only too happy," said the marquis, and the princess's cast-
down eyes declared the same.
So they were married the very next day, and took possession of the
Ogre's castle, and of everything that had belonged to him.
As for the cat, he became at once a great lord, and had nevermore any
need to run after mice, except for his own diversion.
JACK THE GIANT-KILLER
Retold by Joseph Jacobs
IN the reign of the famous King Arthur there lived in Cornwall a lad
named Jack, who was a boy of a bold temper and took delight in hearing
or reading of conjurers, giants, and fairies; and used to listen
eagerly to the deeds of the knights of King Arthur's Round Table.
In those days there lived on St. Michael's Mount, off Cornwall, a huge
Giant, eighteen feet high and nine feet round; his fierce and savage
looks were the terror of all who beheld him.
He dwelt in a gloomy cavern on the top of the mountain, and used to
wade over to the mainland in search of prey, when he would throw half a
dozen oxen upon his back, and tie three times as many sheep and hogs
round his waist, and march back to his own abode.
The Giant had done this for many years when Jack resolved to destroy
Jack took a horn, a shovel, a pickaxe, his armor, and a dark lantern,
and one winter's evening he went to the mount. There he dug a pit
twenty-two feet deep and twenty broad. He covered the top over so as
to make it look like solid ground. He then blew such a blast on his
horn that the Giant awoke and came out of his den, crying out: "You
saucy villain, you shall pay for this! I'll broil you for my
He had just finished, when, taking one step farther, he tumbled
headlong into the pit, and Jack struck him a blow on the head with his
pickaxe which killed him. Jack then returned home to cheer his friends
with the news.
Another Giant, called Blunderbore, vowed to be revenged on Jack if ever
he should have him in his power.
This Giant kept an enchanted castle in the midst of a lonely wood, and
some time after the death of Cormoran, Jack was passing through a wood,
and, being weary, sat down and went to sleep.
The Giant, passing by and seeing Jack, carried him to his castle, where
he locked him up in a large room, the floor of which was covered with
the bodies, skulls, and bones of men and women.
Soon after, the Giant went to fetch his brother, who was likewise a
Giant, to take a meal off his flesh, and Jack saw with terror through
the bars of his prison the two Giants approaching.
Jack, perceiving in one corner of the room a strong cord, took courage,
and making a slip-knot at each end, he threw them over their heads, and
tied it to the window-bars; he then pulled till he had choked them.
When they were black in the face he slid down the rope and stabbed them
to the heart.
Jack next took a great bunch of keys from the pocket of Blunderbore and
went into the castle again. He made a strict search through all the
rooms, and in one of them found three ladies tied up by the hair of
their heads and almost starved to death. They told him that their
husbands had been killed by the Giants, who had then condemned them to
be starved to death.
"Ladies," said Jack, "I have put an end to the monster and his wicked
brother, and I give you this castle and all the riches it contains to
make some amends for the dreadful pains you have felt." He then very
politely gave them the keys of the castle and went farther on his
journey to Wales.
As Jack had but little money, he went on as fast as possible. At
length he came to a handsome house.
Jack knocked at the door, when there came forth a Welsh Giant. Jack
said he was a traveler who had lost his way, on which the Giant made
him welcome and let him into a room where there was a good bed to sleep
Jack took off his clothes quickly, but though he was weary he could not
go to sleep. Soon after this he heard the Giant walking backward and
forward in the next room and saying to himself:
"Though here you shall lodge with me this night,
You shall not see the morning light;
My club shall dash your brains out quite!"
"Say you so?" thought Jack. "Are these your tricks upon travelers?
But I hope to prove as cunning as you are." Then, getting out of bed,
he groped about the room and at last found a thick tog of wood. He
laid it in his own place in the bed, and then hid himself in a dark
corner of the room.
The Giant, about midnight, entered the apartment, and with his bludgeon
struck many blows on the bed, in the very place where Jack had laid the
log; and then he went back to his own room, thinking he had broken all
Early in the morning Jack put a bold face upon the matter and walked
into the Giant's room to thank him for his lodging. The Giant started
when he saw him, and began to stammer out: "Oh! dear me; is it you?
Pray, how did you sleep last night? Did you hear or see anything in
the dead of the night?"
"Nothing worth speaking of," said Jack, carelessly; "a rat, I believe,
gave me three or four slaps with its tail, and disturbed me a little;
but I soon went to sleep again."
The Giant wondered more and more at this; yet he did not answer a word,
but went to bring two great bowls of hasty-pudding for their breakfast.
Jack wanted to make the Giant believe that he could eat as much as
himself so he contrived to button a leathern bag inside his coat and
slip the hasty-pudding into this bag while he seemed to put it into his
When breakfast was over he said to the Giant: "Now I will show you a
fine trick. I can cure all wounds with a touch; I could cut off my
head in one minute, and the next put it sound again on my shoulders.
You shall see an example." He then took hold of the knife, ripped up
the leathern bag, and all the hasty-pudding tumbled out upon the floor.
"Ods splutter hur nails!" cried the Welsh Giant, who was ashamed to be
outdone by such a little fellow as Jack, "hur can do that hurself;" so
he snatched up the knife, plunged it into his own stomach, and in a
moment dropped down dead.
Jack, having hitherto been successful in all his undertakings, resolved
not to be idle in future; he therefore furnished himself with a horse,
a cap of knowledge, a sword of sharpness, shoes of swiftness, and an
invisible coat, the better to perform the wonderful enterprises that
lay before him.
He traveled over high hills, and on the third day he came to a large
and spacious forest through which his road lay. Scarcely had he
entered the forest when he beheld a monstrous Giant dragging along by
the hair of their heads a handsome Knight and his lady. Jack alighted
from his horse, and tying him to an oak-tree, put on his invisible
coat, under which he carried his sword of sharpness.
When he came up to the Giant he made several strokes at him, but could
not reach his body, but wounded his thighs in several places; and at
length, putting both hands to his sword and aiming with all his might,
he cut off both his legs. Then Jack, setting his foot upon his neck,
plunged his sword into the Giant's body, when the monster gave a groan
The Knight and his 1ady thanked Jack for their deliverance, and invited
him to their house to receive a proper reward for his services. "No,"
Said Jack, "I cannot be easy till I find out this monster's
habitation." So taking the Knight's directions, he mounted his horse
and soon after came in sight of another Giant, who was sitting on a
block of timber waiting for his brother's return.
Jack alighted from his horse, and, putting on his invisible coat,
approached and aimed a blow at the Giant's head, but missing his aim he
only cut off his nose. On this the Giant seized his club and laid
about him most unmercifully.
"Nay," said Jack, "if this be the case I'd better dispatch you!" So
jumping upon the block, he stabbed him in the back, when he dropped
Jack then proceeded on his journey, and traveled over hills and dales
till, arriving at the foot of a high mountain, he knocked at the door
of a lonely house, when an old man let him in.
When Jack was seated the hermit thus addressed him: "My son, on the
top of this mountain is an enchanted castle, kept by the Giant
Galligantus and a vile magician. I lament the fate of a duke's
daughter, whom they seized as she was walking in her father's garden,
and brought hither transformed into a deer."
Jack promised that in the morning, at the risk of his life, he would
break the enchantment; and after a sound sleep he rose early, put on
his invisible coat, and got ready for the attempt.
When he had climbed to the top of the mountain he saw two fiery
griffins; but he passed between them without the least fear of danger,
for they could not see him because of his invisible coat. On the
castle gate he found a golden trumpet, under which were written these
Whoever can this trumpet blow
Shall cause the giant's overthrow.
As soon as Jack had read this he seized the trumpet and blew a shrill
blast, which made the gates fly open and the very castle itself
The Giant and the conjurer now knew that their wicked course was at an
end, and they stood biting their thumbs and shaking within fear. Jack,
with his sword of sharpness, soon killed the Giant, and the magician
was then carried away by a whirlwind; and every knight and beautiful
lady who had been changed into birds and beasts returned to their
proper shapes. The castle vanished away like smoke, and the head of
the Giant Galligantus was sent to King Arthur.
The knights and ladies rested that night at the old man's hermitage,
and next day they set out for the Court. Jack then went up to the King
and gave his Majesty an account of all his fierce battles.
Jack's fame had now spread through the whole country, and at the King's
desire the Duke gave him his daughter in marriage, to the joy of all
his kingdom. After this the King gave him a large estate, on which he
and his lady lived the rest of their days in joy and contentment.
Retold by Joseph Jacobs
IN the days of the great Prince Arthur, there lived a mighty magician,
named Merlin, the most learned and skillful enchanter the world has
This famous magician, who could take any form he pleased, was
travelling about as a poor beggar, and being very tired he stopped at
the cottage of a Ploughman to rest himself, and asked for some food.
The countryman bade him welcome, and his wife, who was a very good-
hearted woman, brought him some milk in a wooden bowl and some coarse
brown bread on a platter.
Merlin was much pleased with the kindness of the Ploughman and his
wife; but he could not help noticing that though everything was neat
and comfortable in the cottage, they both seemed to be very unhappy.
He therefore asked them why they were so melancholy, and learned that
they were miserable because they had no children.
The Poor Woman said, with tears in her eves: "I should be the happiest
creature in the world if I had a son although he was no bigger than my
Merlin was so much amused with the idea of a boy no bigger than a man's
thumb that he determined to grant the Poor Woman's wish. Accordingly,
in a short time after, the Ploughman's wife had a son, who, wonderful
to relate! was not a bit bigger than his father's thumb.
The Queen of the fairies, wishing to see the little fellow, came in at
the window, while the mother was sitting up in bed admiring him. The
Queen kissed the child, and, giving it the name of Tom Thumb, sent for
some of the fairies, who dressed her little godson according to her
An oak-leaf hat he had for his crown;
His shirt of web by spiders spun;
With jacket wove of thistle's down;
His trousers were of feathers done.
His stockings, of apple rind, they tie
With eyelash from his mother's eye:
His shoes were made of mouse's skin,
Tann'd with the downy hair within.
Tom never grew any larger than his father's thumb, but as he got older
he became very cunning and full of tricks. When he was old enough to
play with the boys, and had lost all his own cherry stones, he used to
creep into the bags of his play-fellows, fill his pockets, and, getting
out without their noticing him, would again join in the game.
One day, as he was coming out of a bag of cherry stones, where he had
been stealing as usual, the boy to whom it belonged chanced to see him.
"Ah, ah! my little Tommy," said the boy, "so I have caught you stealing
my cherry stones at last, and you shall be rewarded for your thievish
tricks." On saying this, he drew the string tight round his neck, and
gave the bag such a hearty shake that poor little Tom's legs, thighs
and body were sadly bruised. He roared out with pain and begged to be
let out, promising never to steal again.
A short time afterwards his mother was making a batter pudding, and
Tom, being anxious to see how it was made, climbed up to the edge of
the bowl; but his foot slipped, and he plumped over head and ears into
the batter, without his mother noticing him, who stirred him into the
pudding-bag, and put him in the pot to boil.
The batter filled Tom's mouth, and prevented him from crying; but, upon
feeling the hot water, he kicked and struggled so much in the pot that
his mother thought that the pudding was bewitched, and, pulling it out
of the pot, she threw it outside the door. A poor tinker, who was
passing by, lifted up the pudding, put it in his bag, and walked off.
As Tom had now got his mouth cleared of the batter, he began to cry
aloud, which so frightened the tinker that he flung down the pudding
and ran away. The pudding being broke to pieces by the fall, Tom crept
out covered all over with the batter, and walked home. His mother, who
was very sorry to see her darling in such a woeful state, put him into
a teacup and soon washed off the batter; after which she kissed him and
laid him in bed.
Soon after the adventure of the pudding, Tom's mother went to milk her
cow in the meadow, and she took him along with her. As the wind was
very high, for fear of being blown away, she tied him to a thistle with
a piece of fine thread. The cow soon observed Tom's oak-leaf hat, and
liking the appearance of it, took poor Tom and the thistle at one
mouthful. While the cow was chewing the thistle Tom was afraid of her
great teeth, which threatened to crush him in pieces, and he roared out
as loud as he could: "Mother, mother!"
"Where are you, Tommy, my dear Tommy?" said his mother.
"Here, mother," replied he, "in the red cow's mouth."
His mother began to cry and wring her hands; but the cow, surprised at
the odd noise in her throat, opened her mouth and let Tom drop out.
Fortunately his mother caught him in her apron as he was falling to the
ground, or he would have been dreadfully hurt. She then put Tom in her
bosom and ran home with him.
Tom's father made him a whip of barley straw to drive the cattle with,
and having one day gone into the fields, Tom slipped a foot and rolled
into the furrow. A raven, which was flying over, picked him up and
flew with him over the sea, and there dropped him.
A large fish swallowed Tom the moment he fell into the sea, which was
soon after caught and bought for the table of King Arthur. When they
opened the fish in order to cook it, every one was astonished at
finding such a little boy, and Tom was quite delighted at being free
again. They carried him to the King, who made Tom his dwarf, and he
soon became a great favorite at court; for by his tricks and gambols he
not only amused the King and Queen, but also the Knights of the Round
It is said that when the King rode out on horseback he often took Tom
along with him, and if a shower came on he used to creep into his
Majesty's waistcoat pocket, where he slept till the rain was over.
King Arthur one day asked Tom about his parents, wishing to know if
they were as small as he was, and whether they were well off. Tom told
the King that his father and mother were as tall as anybody about the
court, but in rather poor circumstances. On hearing this, the King
carried Tom to his treasury, the place where he kept all his money, and
told him to take as much money as he could carry home to his parents,
which made the poor little fellow caper with joy. Tom went immediately
to procure a purse which was made of a water-bubble, and then returned
to the treasury, where he received a silver three-penny piece to put
Our little hero had some difficulty in lifting the burden upon his
back; but he at last succeeded in getting it placed and set forward on
his journey. Without meeting with any accident, and after resting
himself more than a hundred times by the way, in two days and two
nights he reached his father's house in safety.
Tom had traveled forty-eight hours with a huge silver piece on his
back, and was almost tired to death, when his mother ran out to meet
him and carried him into the house. But he soon returned to court.
As Tom's clothes had suffered much in the batter pudding and the inside
of the fish, his Majesty ordered him a new suit of clothes, and to be
mounted as a knight on a mouse.
Of Butterfly's wings his shirt was made,
His boots of chicken's hide;
And by a nimble fairy blade,
Well learned in the tailoring trade,
His clothing was supplied.
A needle dangled by his side;
A dapper mouse he used to ride,
Thus strutted Tom in stately pride!
It was certainly very amusing to see him in this dress and mounted on
the mouse, as he rode out a-hunting with the King and nobility, who
were all ready to expire with laughter at Tom and his fine prancing
The King was so charmed with his address that he ordered a little chair
to be made, in order that Tom might sit upon his table, and also a
palace of gold, a span high, with a door an inch wide, to live in. He
also gave him a coach, drawn by six small mice.
The Queen was so enraged at the honors conferred on Sir Thomas that she
resolved to ruin him, and told the King that the little knight had been
saucy to her.
The King sent for Tom in great haste, but being fully aware of the
danger of royal anger, he crept into an empty snail shell, where he lay
for a long time until he was almost starved with hunger; at last he
ventured to peep out, and seeing a fine large butterfly on the ground,
near the place of his concealment, he got close to it and jumping
astride on it was carried up into the, air. The butterfly flew with
him from tree to tree and from field to field, at last returned to the
court, where the King and nobility all strove to catch him; but at last
poor Tom fell from his seat into a watering-pot, in which he was almost
When the Queen saw him she was in a rage, and said he should be
beheaded; and he was again put into a mouse trap until the time of his
However, a cat, observing something alive in the trap, patted it about
till the wires broke, and set Thomas at liberty.
The King received Tom again into favor, which he did not live to enjoy,
for a large spider one day attacked him; and although he drew his sword
and fought well, yet the spider's poisonous breath at last overcame
King Arthur and his whole court were so sorry at the loss of their
little favorite that they went into mourning and raised a fine white
marble monument over his grave with the following epitaph:
Here lies Tom Thumb, King Arthur's knight,
Who died by a spider's cruel bite.
He was well known in Arthur's court,
Where he afforded gallant sport;
He rode a tilt and tournament,
And on a mouse a-hunting went.
Alive he filled the court with mirth;
His death to sorrow soon gave birth.
Wipe, wipe your eyes, and shake your head
And cry,-Alas! Tom Thumb is dead!
By Charles Perrault
THERE was once a man who had fine houses, both in town and country, a
deal of silver and gold plate, embroidered furniture, and coaches
gilded all over with gold. But this man was so unlucky as to have a
blue beard, which made him so ugly that all the women and girls ran
away from him.
One of his neighbors, a lady of quality, had two daughters who were
perfect beauties. He asked her for one of them in marriage, but
neither of them could bear the thought of marrying a man who had a blue
beard. Besides, he had already been married several times, and nobody
ever knew what became of his wives.
In the hope of making them like him, Blue Beard took them, with their
mother and three or four ladies of their acquaintance, and other young
people of the neighborhood, to one of his country houses, where they
stayed a whole week.
There were parties of pleasure, hunting, fishing, dancing, mirth, and
feasting all the time. Nobody went to bed, but all passed the time in
merry-making and joking with one another. Everything succeeded so well
that the youngest daughter began to think the master of the house was a
very civil gentleman. And his beard not so very blue after all.
As soon as they returned home, the marriage took place. About a month
afterward Blue Beard told his wife that he was obliged to take a
journey for six weeks, about affairs of great consequence, desiring her
to amuse herself in his absence, to send for her friends and
acquaintances, to carry them in to the country if she pleased, and to
have a good time wherever she was.
"Here," said he, "are the keys of the two great wardrobes wherein I
have my best furniture; these are of my silver and gold plate, which is
not every day in use; these open my strong boxes, which hold my money,
both gold and silver; these my caskets of jewels; and this is the
master key to all my apartments. This little one here is the key of
the closet at the end of the great gallery on the ground floor. Open
them all; go into all and every one of them, except that little closet,
which I forbid you; if you happen to open it, there's nothing but what
you may expect from my just anger and resentment."
She promised to observe exactly whatever he ordered; so, having
embraced her, he got into his coach and proceeded on his journey.
Her neighbors and good friends did not wait to be sent for, so great
was their impatience to see all the rich furniture of her house. They
ran through all the rooms, closets, and wardrobes, which were all so
fine and rich that they seemed to surpass one another.
After that they went up into the two great rooms, where were the best
and richest furniture; they could not sufficiently admire the number
and beauty of the tapestries, beds, couches, cabinets, stands, tables,
and looking-glasses, in which you might see yourself from head to foot;
some of them were framed with glass, others with silver, plain and
gilded, the finest and most magnificent ever seen.
They ceased not to compliment and envy their friend, but she was so
much pressed by her curiosity to open the closet on the ground floor
that, without considering that it was very uncivil to leave her
company, she went down a little back staircase with such haste that she
had twice or thrice like to have broken her neck.
Arriving at the closet door, she hesitated, thinking of her husband's
orders and considering what unhappiness might attend her if she was
disobedient; but the temptation was so strong she could not overcome
it. She took the little key and opened it, trembling, but could not at
first see anything plainly because the windows were shut. After some
moments she began to perceive that the floor was all covered with
blood, in which lay the bodies of several dead women, ranged against
the walls. (These were the wives whom Blue Beard had married and
murdered, one after another.) She thought she would die for fear, and
the key, which she pulled out of the lock, fell out of her hand.
After having somewhat recovered from the shock, she took up the key,
locked the door, and went upstairs to her bedroom to rest. Having
observed that the key of the closet was stained with blood, she tried
two or three times to wipe it off, but the stain would not come out; in
vain did she wash it, and even rub it with soap and sand, the blood
still remained, for the key was magical; when the blood was removed
from one side it came again on the other.
Blue Beard returned from his journey the same evening, and said he had
received letters upon the road informing him that the affair he went
about was ended to his advantage. His wife did all she could to
convince him she was extremely glad of his speedy return.
Next morning he asked her for the keys, which she gave him, but with
such a trembling hand that he easily guessed what had happened.
"What!" said he, "is not the key of my closet among the rest?"
"I must certainly," said she, "have left it above upon the table."
"Fail not," said Blue Beard, "to bring it to me presently."
After several goings backward and forward she was forced to bring him
the key. Blue Beard attentively considered it and said to his wife:
"How comes this blood upon the key?"
"I do not know," cried the poor woman, paler than death.
"You do not know!" replied Blue Beard. "I very well know. You were
resolved to go into the closet, were you not? Very well, madam; you
shall go in and take your place among the ladies you saw there.
Upon this she threw herself at her husband's feet, and begged his
pardon with all the signs of a true repentance, vowing that she would
never again be disobedient. She would have melted a rock, so beautiful
and sorrowful was she; but Blue Beard had a heart harder than any rock!
"You must die, madam," said he, "and that; very soon."
"Since I must die," answered she, her eyes bathed in tears, "give me
some little time to say my prayers."
"I give you," replied Blue Beard, "half a quarter of an hour, but not
one moment more."
When she was alone she called out to her sister:
"Sister Anne, go up, I beg you, on top of the tower and see if my
brothers are not coming; they promised me that they would come to-day,
and if you see them, give them a sign to make haste."
Sister Anne went up on the top of the tower, and the poor afflicted
wife cried out from time to time:
"Anne, sister Anne, do you see anyone coming?"
And sister Anne replied:
"I see nothing but the sun, which makes a dust, and the grass, which
In the meanwhile Blue Beard, holding a great saber in his hand, cried
out as loud as he could bawl to his wife:
"Come down instantly, or I shall come up after you."
"One moment longer, if you please," said his wife; and then she cried
out softly: "Anne, sister Anne, dost thou see anybody coming?"
And sister Anne answered:
"I see nothing but the sun, which makes a dust, and the grass, which is
"Come down quickly," shouted Blue Beard, "or I will come up after you."
"I am coming," answered his wife; and then she cried: "Anne, sister
Anne, dost thou not see any one coming?"
"I see," replied sister Anne, "a great dust, which comes on this side."
"Are they my brothers?"
"Alas! no, my dear sister, I see a flock of sheep."
"Will you not come down?' roared Blue Beard.
"One moment longer," said his wife, and then she cried out: "Anne,
sister Anne, dost thou see nobody coming?"
"I see," said she, "two horsemen, but they are yet a great way off."
"God be praised!" replied the poor wife joyfully; "they are my
brothers; I will make them a sign, as well as I can, for them to make
Then Blue Beard bawled out so loud that he made the whole house
tremble. The distressed wife came down and threw herself at his feet,
all in tears, with her hair about her shoulders.
"That will not help you," says Blue Beard; "you must die;" then, taking
hold of her hair with one hand, and lifting up the sword with the
other, he was going to cut off her head. The poor lady, turning to him
and looking at him with dying eyes, begged him to give her one little
"No, no," said he; "say your prayers," and was just about to strike...
At this very instant there was such a loud knocking at the gate that
Blue Beard looked up in alarm. The gate was opened and two horsemen
entered, who drew their swords and ran directly at Blue Beard. He knew
them to be his wife's brothers, one a dragoon, the other a musketeer;
so that he quickly ran to save himself; but the two brothers pursued so
close that they overtook him before he could get to the steps of the
porch, and ran their swords through his body and left him dead. The
poor wife was almost as dead as her husband, and had not strength
enough to rise and welcome her brothers.
Blue Beard had no heirs, and so his wife became mistress of all his
estate. She made use of one part of it to marry her sister Anne to a
young gentleman who had loved her a long while; another part to buy
captains' commissions for her brothers, and the rest to marry herself
to a very worthy gentleman, who made her forget the unhappy time she
had passed with Blue Beard.
THE BRAVE LITTLE TAILOR
ONE summer's day a little Tailor sat on his table by the window in the
best of spirits and sewed for dear life. As he was sitting thus a
peasant woman came down the street, calling out: "Good jam to sell!
good jam to sell!" This sounded sweetly in the Tailor's ears; he put
his little head out of the window and shouted: "Up here, my good
woman, and you'll find a willing customer!" The woman climbed up the
three flights of stairs with her heavy basket to the tailor's room, and
he made her spread out the pots in a row before him. He examined them
all, lifted them up and smelt them, and said at last: "This jam seems
good; weigh me four ounces of it, my good woman; and even if it's a
quarter of a pound I won't stick at it." The woman, who had hoped to
find a good market, gave him what he wanted, but went away grumbling
wrathfully. "Now Heaven shall bless this jam for my use," cried the
little Tailor, "and it shall sustain and strengthen me." He fetched
some bread out of a cupboard, cut a round off the loaf, and spread the
jam on it. "That will taste good," he said; "but I'll finish that
waistcoat first before I take a bite." He placed the bread beside him,
went on sewing, and out of the lightness of his heart kept on making
his stitches bigger and bigger. In the meantime the smell of the sweet
jam rose to the ceiling, where swarms of flies were gathered, and
attracted them to such an extent that they swarmed on to it in masses.
"Ha! who invited you?" said the Tailor, and chased the unwelcome guests
away. But the flies, who didn't understand English, refused to let
themselves be warned off, and returned again in even greater numbers.
At last the Tailor, losing all patience, reached out of his chimney-
corner for a duster, and exclaiming, "Wait, and I'll give it to you!"
he beat them mercilessly with it. When he left off he counted the
slain, and no fewer than seven lay dead before him with outstretched
legs. "What a brave fellow I am!" said he, and was filled with
admiration at his own courage. "The whole town must know about this;"
and in great haste the little Tailor cut out a girdle, hemmed it, and
embroidered on it in big letters, "Seven at a blow." "What did I say,
the town? no, the whole world shall hear of it," he said; and his heart
beat for joy as a lamb wags his tail.
The Tailor strapped the girdle round his waist and set out into the
wide world, for he considered his workroom too small a field for his
bravery. Before he set forth he looked round about him, to see if
there was anything in the house he could take with him on his journey;
but he found nothing except an old cheese, which he took possession of.
In front of the house he observed a bird that had been caught in some
bushes, and this he put into his wallet beside the cheese. Then he
went on his way merrily, and being light and quick he never felt tired.
His way led up a hill on the top of which sat a powerful Giant, who was
calmly surveying the landscape. The little Tailor went up to him, and
greeting him cheerfully said: "Good-day, friend; there you sit at your
ease viewing the whole wide world. I'm just on my way there. What do
you say to accompanying me?" The Giant looked contemptuously at the
Tailor, and said: "What a poor, wretched little creature you are!"
"That's a good joke," answered the little Tailor, and unbuttoning his
coat he showed the Giant the girdle. "There, now, you can read what
sort of a fellow I am." The Giant read: "Seven at a blow," and
thinking they were human beings the Tailor had slain, he had a certain
respect for the little man. But first he thought he'd test him; so
taking up a stone in his hand, he squeezed it till some drops of water
ran out. "Now you do the same," said the Giant, "if you really wish to
be thought strong." "Is that all?" said the little Tailor; "that's
child's play to me." So he dived into his wallet, brought out the
cheese, and pressed it till the whey ran out. "My squeeze was better
than yours," said he. The Giant didn't know what to say, for he
couldn't have believed it of the little fellow. To prove him again,
the Giant lifted a stone and threw it so high that the eye could hardly
follow it. "Now, my little dwarf, let me see you do that." "Well
thrown," said the Tailor; "but, after all, your stone fell to the
ground; I'll throw one that won't come down at all." He dived into his
wallet again, and grasping the bird in his hand he threw it up into the
air. The bird, enchanted to be free, soared up into the sky, and flew
away never to return. "Well, what do you think of that little piece of
business, friend?" asked the Tailor. "You can certainly throw," said
the Giant; "but now let's see if you can carry a proper weight." With
these words he led the Tailor to a huge oak-tree which had been felled
to the ground, and said: "If you are strong enough, help me carry the
tree out of the wood." "Most certainly," said the little Tailor: "just
you take the trunk on your shoulder; I'll bear the top and branches,
which is certainly the heaviest part." The Giant laid the trunk on his
shoulder, but the Tailor sat at his ease among the branches; and the
Giant, who couldn't see what was going on behind him, had to carry the
whole tree, and the little Tailor into the bargain. There he sat
behind in the best of spirits, lustily whistling a tune, as if carrying
the tree were mere sport. The Giant after dragging the heavy weight
for some time, could get on no farther, and shouted out: "Hi! I must
let the tree fall." The Tailor sprang nimbly down, seized the tree
with both hands as if he had carried it the whole way, and said to the
Giant: "Fancy a big lazy fellow like you not being able to carry a
They continued to go on their way together, and as they passed by a
cherry-tree the Giant grasped the top of it, where the ripest fruit
hung, gave the branches into the Tailor's hand, and bade him eat. But
the little Tailor was far too weak to hold the tree down, and when the
Giant let go the tree swung back into the air, bearing the little
Tailor with it. When he had fallen to the ground again without hurting
himself, the Giant said: "What! do you mean to tell me you haven't
the strength to hold down a feeble twig?" "It wasn't strength that was
wanting," replied time Tailor; "do you think that would have been
anything for a man who has killed seven at a blow? I jumped over the
tree because the huntsmen are shooting among the branches near us. Do
you do the like if you dare." The Giant made an attempt, but couldn't
get over the tree, and stuck fast in the branches, so that here, too,
the little Tailor had the better of him.
"Well, you're a fine fellow, after all," said the Giant; "come and
spend the night with us in our cave." The little Tailor willingly
consented to do this, and following his friend they went on till they
reached a cave where several other giants were sitting round a fire,
each holding a roast sheep in his hand, of which he was eating. The
little Tailor looked about him, and thought: "Yes, there's certainly
more room to turn round in here than in my workshop." The Giant showed
him a bed, and bade him lie down and have a good sleep. But the bed
was too big for the little Tailor, so he didn't get into it, but crept
away into the corner. At midnight, when the Giant thought the little
Tailor was fast asleep, he rose up, and taking his big iron walking-
stick, he broke the bed in two with a blow, and thought he had made an
end of the little grasshopper. At early dawn the Giants went off to
the wood, and quite forgot about the little Tailor, till all of a
sudden they met him trudging along in the most cheerful manner. The
Giants were terrified at seeing him, and, fearing lest he should slay
them, they all took to their heels as fast as they could.
The Little Tailor continued to follow his nose, and after he had
wandered about for a long time he came to the courtyard of a royal
palace, and feeling tired he lay down on the grass and fell asleep.
While he lay there the people came, and looking him all over read on
his girdle, "Seven at a blow." "Oh!" they said, "what can this great
hero of a hundred fights want in our peaceful land? He must indeed be
a mighty man of valor." They went and told the King about him, and
said what a weighty and useful man he'd be in time of war and that it
would be well to secure him at any price. This counsel pleased the
King, and he sent one of his courtiers down to the little Tailor, to
offer him, when he awoke, a commission in their army. The messenger
remained standing by the sleeper, and waited till he stretched his
limbs and opened his eyes, when he tendered his proposal. "That's the
very thing I came here for," he answered; "I am quite ready to enter
the King's service." So he was received with all honor, and given a
special house of his own to live in.
But the other officers were angry at the success of the little Tailor,
and wished him a thousand miles away. "What's to come of it all?" they
asked one another; "if we quarrel with him, he'll let out at us, and at
every blow seven will fall. There'll soon be an end of us." So they
resolved to go in a body to the King, and all to send in their papers.
"We are not made," they said. "to hold out against a man who kills
seven at a blow." The King was grieved at the thought of losing all
his faithful servants for the sake of one man, and he wished heartily
that he had never set eyes on him, or that he could get rid of him.
But he didn't dare to send him away, for he feared he might kill him
and place himself on the throne. He thought long and deeply over the
matter, and finally came to a conclusion. He sent for the Tailor and
told him that, seeing what a great and warlike hero he was, he was
about to make him an offer. In a certain wood of his kingdom there
dwelt two Giants who did much harm by the way they robbed, murdered,
burnt, and plundered everything about them; "no one could approach them
without endangering his life. If he could overcome and kill these two
giants he should have the King's only daughter for a wife, and half his
kingdom into the bargain; he might have a hundred horsemen, too, to
back him up." "That's the very thing for a man like me," thought the
little Tailor; "one doesn't get the offer of a beautiful princess and
half a kingdom every day." "Done with you," he answered; "I'll soon
put an end to the Giants. But I haven't the smallest need of your
hundred horsemen; a fellow who can slay seven men at a blow need not be
afraid of two."
The little Tailor set out, and the hundred horsemen followed him. When
he came to the outskirts of the wood he said to his followers: "You
wait here, I'll manage the Giants by myself;" and he went on into the
wood, casting his sharp little eyes right and left about him. After a
while he spied the two Giants lying asleep under a tree, snoring till
the very boughs bent with the breeze. The little Tailor lost no time
in filling his wallet with stones, and then climbed up the tree under
which they lay. When he got to about the middle of it he slipped along
a branch till he sat just above the sleepers, when he threw down one
stone after the other on the nearest Giant. The Giant felt nothing for
a long time, but at last he woke up, and pinching his companion said:
"What did you strike me for?" "I didn't strike you," said the other;
"you must be dreaming." They both lay down to sleep again, and the
Tailor threw down a stone on the second Giant, who sprang up and cried:
"What's that for? Why did you throw something at me?" "I didn't throw
anything," growled the first one. They wrangled on for a time, till as
both were tired, they made up the matter and fell asleep again. The
little Tailor began his game once more, and flung the largest stone he
could find in his wallet with all his force, and hit the first Giant on
the chest. "This is too much of a good thing!" he yelled, and
springing up like a madman, he knocked his companion against the tree
till he trembled. He gave, however, as good as he got, and they became
so enraged that they tore up trees and beat each other with them, till
they both fell dead at once on the ground. Then the little Tailor
jumped down. "It's a mercy," he said, "that they didn't root up the
tree on which I was sitting, or I should have had to jump like a
squirrel on to another, which, nimble though I am, would have been no
easy job." He drew his sword and gave each of the Giants a very fine
thrust or two on the breast, and then went to the horsemen and said:
"The deed is done; I've put an end to the two of them; but I assure you
it has been no easy matter, for they even tore up trees in their
struggle to defend themselves; but all that's of no use against one who
slays seven men at a blow." "Weren't you wounded?" asked the horsemen.
"No fear," answered the Tailor; "they haven't touched a hair of my
head." But the horsemen wouldn't believe him till they rode into the
wood and found the Giants weltering in their blood, and the trees lying
around, torn up by the roots.
The little Tailor now demanded the promised reward, but the King
repented his promise, and pondered once more how he could rid himself
of the hero. "Before you obtain the hand of my daughter and half my
kingdom," he said to him, "you must do another deed of valor. A
unicorn is running about loose in the wood and doing much mischief; you
must first catch it." "I'm even less afraid of one unicorn than of two
Giants; seven at a blow, that's my motto." He took a piece of cord and
an axe with him, went out to the wood, and again told the men who had
been sent with him to remain outside. He hadn't to search long, for
the unicorn soon passed by, and, on perceiving the Tailor, dashed
straight at him as though it were going to spike him on the spot.
"Gently, gently," said he; "not so fast, my friend;" and standing still
he waited till the beast was quite near, when he sprang lightly behind
a tree; the unicorn ran with all its force against the tree, and rammed
its horn so firmly into the trunk that it had no strength left to pull
it out again, and was thus successfully captured. "Now, I've caught my
bird," said the Tailor, and he came out from behind the tree, placed
the cord round its neck first, then struck the horn out of the tree
within his axe, and when everything was in order led the beast Before
Still the King didn't want to give him the promised reward and made a
third demand. The Tailor was to catch a wild boar for him that did a
great deal of harm in the wood; and he might have the huntsmen to help
him. "Willingly," said the Tailor; "that's mere child's play." But he
didn't take the huntsmen into the wood with him, and they were well
enough pleased to remain behind, for the wild boar had often received
them in a manner which did not make them desire its further
acquaintance. As soon as the boar perceived the Tailor it ran at him
with foaming mouth and gleaming teeth, and tried to knock him down; but
our alert little friend ran into a chapel that stood near, and got out
of the window with a jump. The boar pursued him into the church, but
the Tailor skipped round to the door and closed it securely. So the
raging beast was caught, for it was far too heavy and unwieldy to
spring out of the window. The little Tailor summoned the huntsmen
together, that they might see the Prisoner with their own eyes. Then
the hero betook himself to the King, who was obliged now, whether he
liked it or not, to keep his promise, and hand him over his daughter
and half his kingdom. Had he known that no hero-warrior, but only a
little tailor, stood before him, it would have gone even more to his
heart. So the wedding was celebrated with much splendor and little
joy, and the Tailor became a King.
After a time the Queen heard her husband saying one night in his sleep:
"My lad, make that waistcoat and patch these trousers, or I'll box your
ears." Thus she learned in what rank the young gentleman had been
born, and next day she poured forth her woes to her father, and begged
him to help her to get rid of a husband who was nothing more nor less
than a tailor. The King comforted her, and said: "Leave your bedroom
door open tonight; my servants shall stand outside, and when your
husband is fast asleep they shall enter, bind him fast, and carry him
on to a ship, which shall sail away out into the wide ocean." The
Queen was well satisfied with the idea, but the armor-bearer, who had
overheard everything, being much attached to his young master, went
straight to him and revealed the whole plot. "I'll soon put a stop to
the business," said the Tailor. That night he and his wife went to bed
at the usual time; and when she thought he had fallen asleep she got
up, opened the door, and then lay down again. The little Tailor, who
had only pretended to be asleep, began to call out in a clear voice:
"My lad, make that waistcoat and patch these trousers, or I'll box your
ears. I have killed seven at a blow, slain two giants, led a unicorn
captive, and caught a wild boar, then why should I be afraid of those
men standing outside my door?" The men, when they heard the Tailor
saying these words, were so terrified that they fled as if pursued by a
wild army, and didn't dare go near him again. So the little Tailor was
and remained a King all the days of his life.
THE SLEEPING BEAUTY IN THE WOOD
By Charles Perrault
THERE was once in a distant country a King and Queen whose only sorrow
was that they had no children. At last the Queen gave birth to a
little daughter and the King showed his joy by giving a christening
feast so grand that the like of it was never known. He asked all the
fairies in the land-there were seven found in the kingdom-to stand
godmothers to the little Princess; hoping that each might bestow on her
some good gift.
After the christening all the guests returned to the palace, where
there was placed before each fairy godmother a magnificent covered
dish, and a knife, fork, and spoon of pure gold, set with precious
stones. But, as they all were sitting down at table there entered an
old fairy who had not been invited, because it was more than fifty
years since she had gone out of a certain tower, and she was thought to
be dead or enchanted. The King ordered a cover to be placed for her,
but it was of common earthenware, for he had ordered from his jeweler
only seven gold dishes, for the seven fairies aforesaid. The old fairy
thought herself neglected, and muttered angry threats, which were
overheard by one of the younger fairies, who chanced to sit beside her.
This good godmother, afraid of harm to the pretty baby, hastened to
hide herself behind the hangings in the hall. She did this because she
wished to speak last and repair any evil the old fairy might intend.
The fairies now offered their good wishes, which, unlike most wishes,
were sure to come true. The first wished that the little Princess
should grow up the fairest woman in the world; the second, that she
should have wit like an angel; the third, that she should be perfectly
graceful; the fourth, that she should sing like a nightingale; the
fifth, that she should dance perfectly well; the sixth, that she should
play all kinds of music perfectly. Then the old fairy's turn came.
Shaking her head spitefully, she uttered the wish that when the baby
grew up into a young lady, and learned to spin, she might prick her
finger with a spindle and die of the wound.
This terrible prophecy made all the company tremble; and every one fell
to crying. Upon which the wise young fairy appeared from behind the
curtains and said: "Assure yourselves O King and Queen; the Princess
shall not die. I have no power to undo what my elder has done. The
Princess must pierce her finger with a spindle and she shall then sink,
not into the sleep of death, but into a sleep that will last a hundred
years. After that time is ended, the son of a King shall come and
Then all the fairies vanished.
The King, in the hope of avoiding his daughter's doom, issued an edict
forbidding all persons to spin, and even to have spinning wheels in
their houses, on pain of instant death. But it was in vain. One day
when she was just fifteen years of age, the King and Queen left their
daughter alone in one of their castles, where, wandering about at her
will, she came to a little room in the top of a tower, and there found
a very old woman, who had not heard of the King's edict, busy with her
"What are you doing, good old woman?" said the Princess.
"I'm spinning my pretty child."
"Ah, how pretty! Let me try if I can spin also."
She had no sooner taken up the spindle than, being hasty and unhandy,
she pierced her finger with the point. Though it was so small a wound,
she fainted away at once and dropped on the floor. The poor old woman
called for help; shortly came the ladies-in-waiting, who tried every
means to restore their young mistress; but all in vain. She lay,
beautiful as an angel, the color still lingering in her lips and
cheeks, her fair bosom softly stirred with her breath; only her eyes
were fast closed. When the King, her father, and the Queen, her
mother, beheld her thus, they knew that all had happened as the cruel
fairy meant, and that their daughter would sleep for one hundred years.
They sent away all the physicians and attendants, and themselves
sorrowing laid her upon a bed in the finest apartment in the palace.
There she slept and looked like a sleeping angel still.
When this misfortune happened, the kindly young fairy who had saved the
Princess by changing her sleep of death into this sleep of a hundred
years, was twelve thousand leagues away, in the kingdom of Mataquin.
But, being informed of everything by a little dwarf who wore seven-
league boots, she arrived speedily in a chariot of fire drawn by
dragons. The King handed her out of the chariot, and she approved of
all he had done. Then, being a fairy of great common sense and
foresight, she thought that the Princess, awakening after a hundred
years in this old castle, might not know what to do with herself if she
found herself alone. Accordingly, she touched with her magic wand
everybody and everything in the palace except the King and Queen:
governesses, ladies of honor, waiting maids, gentlemen ushers, cooks,
kitchen girls, pages, footmen; even the horses that were in the
stables, and the grooms that attended them, she touched each and all.
Nay, the dogs, too, in the outer court, and the little fat lapdog,
Mopsey, who had laid himself down beside his mistress on her splendid
bed, were also touched, and they, like all the rest, fell fast asleep
in a moment. The very spits that were before the kitchen fire fell
asleep, and the fire itself, and everything became as still as if it
were the middle of the night, or as if the palace were a palace of the
The King and Queen, having kissed their daughter, went out of the
castle, giving orders that it was to be approached no more. The
command was unnecessary, for in one quarter of an hour there sprang up
around it a wood so thick and thorny that neither beasts nor men could
attempt to penetrate there. Above this dense mass of forest could only
be seen the top of the high tower where the lovely Princess slept.
When a hundred years were gone the King had died, and his throne had
passed to another royal family. The reigning King's son, being one day
out hunting, was stopped in the chase by this great wood, inquired what
wood it was and what were those towers which he saw appearing out of
the midst of it. Every one answered as he had heard. Some said it was
an old castle haunted by spirits. Others said it was the abode of
witches and enchanters. The most common story was that an Ogre lived
there, a giant with long teeth and claws, who carried away naughty
little boys and girls and ate them up. The Prince did not know what to
think. At length an old peasant was found who remembered having heard
his grandfather say to his father that in this tower was a Princess,
beautiful as the day, who was doomed to sleep there for one hundred
years, until awakened by a king's son, who was to marry her.
At this the young Prince, who had the spirit of a hero, determined to
find out the truth for himself.
Spurred on by love and honor, he leaped from his horse and began to
force his way through the thick wood. To his amazement the stiff
branches all gave way, and the ugly thorns drew back of their own
accord, and the brambles buried themselves in the earth to let him
pass. This done, they closed behind him, allowing none to follow.
Nevertheless, he pushed boldly on alone.
The first thing he saw was enough to freeze him with fear. Bodies of
men and horses lay extended on the ground; but the men had faces, not
death white, but red as roses, and beside them were glasses half filled
with wine, showing that they had gone to sleep drinking. Next he
entered a large court paved with marble, where stood rows of guards
presenting arms, but as still as if cut out of stone; then he passed
through many chambers where gentlemen and ladies, all in the dress of
the past century, slept at their ease, some standing, some sitting.
The pages were lurking in corners, the ladies of honor were stooping
over their embroidery frames or listening to the gentlemen of the
court; but all were as silent and as quiet as statues. Their clothes,
strange to say, were fresh and new as ever; and not a particle of dust
or spider web had gathered over the furniture, though it had not known
a broom for a hundred years. Finally, the astonished Prince came to an
inner chamber, where was the fairest sight his eyes ever beheld.
A young girl of wonderful beauty lay asleep on an embroidered bed, and
she looked as if she had only just closed her eyes. Trembling, the
Prince approached and knelt beside her. Some say he kissed her; but as
nobody saw it, and she never told, we cannot be quite sure of the fact.
However, as the end of the enchantment had come, the Princess waked at
once, and, looking at him with eyes of the tenderest regard, said,
sleepily: "Is it you, my Prince? I have waited for you very long."
Charmed with these words, and still more by the tone in which they were
uttered, the Prince assured her that he loved her more than his life.
For a long time did they sit talking, and yet had not said half enough.
Their only interruption was the little dog Mopsey, who had awakened
with his mistress, and now began to be jealous that the Princess did
not notice him as much as she was wont to do.
Meanwhile all the attendants, whose enchantment was also broken, not
being in love, were ready to die of hunger after their fast of a
hundred years. A lady of honor ventured to say that dinner was served,
whereupon the Prince handed his beloved Princess at once to the great
hall. She did not wait to dress for dinner, being already perfectly
and magnificently attired, though in a fashion somewhat out of date.
However, her lover had the politeness not to notice this, nor to remind
her that she was dressed exactly like his grandmother whose portrait
still hung on the palace walls.
During dinner a concert by the attendant musicians took place, and,
considering they had not touched their instruments for a century, they
played the old tunes extremely well. They ended with a wedding march,
for that very evening the Prince and Princess were married.
After a few days they went together out of the castle and enchanted
wood, both of which immediately vanished, and were nevermore beheld by
mortal eyes. The Princess was restored to her ancestral kingdom, and
after a few years the Prince and she became King and Queen, and ruled
long and happily.
THE FAIR ONE WITH GOLDEN LOCKS
Retold by Miss Mulock
THERE was once a King's daughter so beautiful that they named her the
Fair One with Golden Locks. These golden locks were the most
remarkable in the world, soft and fine, and falling in long waves down
to her very feet. She wore them always thus, loose and flowing,
surmounted with a wreath of flowers; and though such long hair was
sometimes rather inconvenient, it was so exceedingly beautiful, shining
in the sun like ripples of molten gold, that everybody agreed she fully
deserved her name.
Now there was a young King of a neighboring country, very handsome,
very rich, and wanting nothing but a wife to make him happy. He heard
so much of the various perfections of the Fair One with Golden Locks,
that at last, without even seeing her, he fell in love with her so