Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Red Fairy Book

Part 7 out of 8

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.8 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

`My lord, have mercy!'

Burchard the Wolf turned away his head and passed on.

She might have humbled his pride had she gone to her spinning-
wheel again, but she did nothing of the sort.

Not long after she learnt that Guilbert had left the country.
He did not even come to say good-bye to her, but, all the same, she
knew the day and hour of his departure, and hid herself on the road
to see him once more.

When she came in she put her silent wheel into a corner, and
cried for three days and three nights.


So another year went by. Then the Count fell ill, and the
Countess supposed that Renelde, weary of waiting, had begun her
spinning anew; but when she came to the cottage to see, she found
the wheel silent.

However, the Count grew worse and worse till he was given up
by the doctors. The passing bell was rung, and he lay expecting
Death to come for him. But Death was not so near as the doctors
thought, and still he lingered.

He seemed in a desperate condition, but he got neither better
nor worse. He could neither live nor die; he suffered horribly,
and called loudly on Death to put an end to his pains.

In this extremity he remembered what he had told the little
spinner long ago. If Death was so slow in coming, it was because
he was not ready to follow him, having no shroud for his burial.

He sent to fetch Renelde, placed her by his bedside, and ordered
her at once to go on spinning his shroud.

Hardly had the spinner begun to work when the Count began
to feel his pains grow less.

Then at last his heart melted; he was sorry for all the evil he
had done out of pride, and implored Renelde to forgive him. So
Renelde forgave him, and went on spinning night and day.

When the thread of the nettles was spun she wove it with her
shuttle, and then cut the shroud and began to sew it.

And as before, when she sewed the Count felt his pains grow
less, and the life sinking within him, and when the needle made the
last stitch he gave his last sigh.


At the same hour Guilbert returned to the country, and, as he
had never ceased to love Renelde, he married her eight days later.

He had lost two years of happiness, but comforted himself with
thinking that his wife was a clever spinner, and, what was much
more rare, a brave and good woman.[24]

[24] Ch. Denlin.


THERE was once upon a time a man and a woman who had an
only son, and he was called Jack. The woman thought that
it was his duty to go out to service, and told her husband that he
was to take him somewhere.

`You must get him such a good place that he will become master
of all masters,' she said, and then she put some food and a roll of
tobacco into a bag for them.

Well, they went to a great many masters, but all said that
they could make the lad as good as they were themselves, but
better than that they could not make him. When the man came
home to the old woman with this answer, she said, `I shall be
equally well pleased whatever you do with him; but this I do say,
that you are to have him made a master over all masters.' Then
she once more put some food and a roll of tobacco into the bag,
and the man and his son had to set out again.

When they had walked some distance they got upon the ice,
and there they met a man in a carriage who was driving a black

`Where are you going?' he said.

`I have to go and get my son apprenticed to someone who will
be able to teach him a trade, for my old woman comes of such
well-to-do folk that she insists on his being taught to be master of
all masters,' said the man.

`We are not ill met, then,' said the man who was driving, `for
I am the kind of man who can do that, and I am just looking out
for such an apprentice. Get up behind with you,' he said to the
boy, and off the horse went with them straight up into the air.

`No, no, wait a little!' screamed the father of the boy. `I
ought to know what your name is and where you live.'

`Oh, I am at home both in the north and the south and the
east and the west, and I am called Farmer Weatherbeard,' said
the master. `You may come here again in a year's time, and then
I will tell you if the lad suits me.' And then they set off again
and were gone.

When the man got home the old woman inquired what had
become of the son.

`Ah! Heaven only knows what has become of him!' said the man.
`They went up aloft.' And then he told her what had happened.

But when the woman heard that, and found that the man did
not at all know either when their son would be out of his apprentice-
ship, or where he had gone, she packed him off again to find out,
and gave him a bag of food and a roll of tobacco to take away
with him.

When he had walked for some time he came to a great wood,
and it stretched before him all day long as he went on, and when
night began to fall he saw a great light, and went towards it.
After a long, long time he came to a small hut at the foot of a
rock, outside which an old woman was standing drawing water up
from a well with her nose, it was so long.

`Good-evening, mother,' said the man.

`Good-evening to you too,' said the old woman. `No one
has called me mother this hundred years.'

`Can I lodge here to-night?' said the man.

`No,' said the old woman. But the man took out his roll of
tobacco, lighted a little of it, and then gave her a whiff. Then
she was so delighted that she began to dance, and thus the man
got leave to stay the night there. It was not long before he asked
about Farmer Weatherbeard.

She said that she knew nothing about him, but that she ruled over
all the four-footed beasts, and some of them might know him. So
she gathered them all together by blowing a whistle which she
had, and questioned them, but there was not one of them which
knew anything about Farmer Weatherbeard.

`Well,' said the old woman, `there are three of us sisters; it
may be that one of the other two knows where he is to be found.
You shall have the loan of my horse and carriage, and then you
will get there by night; but her house is three hundred miles off,
go the nearest way you will.'

The man set out and got there at night. When he arrived,
this old woman also was standing drawing water out of the well
with her nose.

`Good-evening, mother,' said the man.

`Good-evening to you,' said the old woman. `No one has ever
called me mother this hundred years.'

`Can I lodge here to-night?' said the man.

`No,' said the old woman.

Then he took out the roll of tobacco, took a whiff, and gave the
old woman some snuff on the back of her hand. Then she was so
delighted that she began to dance, and the man got leave to stay
all night. It was not long before he began to ask about Farmer

She knew nothing about him, but she ruled over all the fishes,
she said, and perhaps some of them might know something. So
she gathered them all together by blowing a whistle which she
had, and questioned them, but there was not one of them which
knew anything about Farmer Weatherbeard.

`Well,' said the old woman, `I have another sister; perhaps
she may know something about him. She lives six hundred miles
off, but you shall have my horse and carriage, and then you will
get there by nightfall.'

So the man set off and he got there by nightfall. The old
woman was standing raking the fire, and she was doing it with her
nose, so long it was.

`Good-evening, mother,' said the man.

`Good-evening to you,' said the old woman. `No one has
called me mother this hundred years.'

`Can I lodge here to-night?' said the man.

`No,' said the old woman. But the man pulled out his roll of
tobacco again, and filled his pipe with some of it, and gave the old
woman enough snuff to cover the back of her hand. Then she was
so delighted that she began to dance, and the man got leave to stay
in her house. It was not long before he asked about Farmer
Weatherbeard. She knew nothing at all about him, she said, but
she governed all the birds; and she gathered them together
with her whistle. When she questioned them all, the eagle was
not there, but it came soon afterwards, and when asked, it said
that it had just come from Farmer Weatherbeard's. Then the old
woman said that it was to guide the man to him. But the eagle
would have something to eat first, and then it wanted to wait
until the next day, for it was so tired with the long journey that it
was scarcely able to rise from the earth.

When the eagle had had plenty of food and rest, the old woman
plucked a feather out of its tail, and set the man in the feather's
place, and then the bird flew away with him, but they did not get
to Farmer Weatherbeard's before midnight.

When they got there the Eagle said: `There are a great many
dead bodies lying outside the door, but you must not concern
yourself about them. The people who are inside the house are all
so sound asleep that it will not be easy to awake them; but you
must go straight to the table-drawer, and take out three bits of
bread, and if you hear anyone snoring, pluck three feathers from
his head; he will not waken for that.'

The man did this; when he had got the bits of bread he first
plucked out one feather.

`Oof!' screamed Farmer Weatherbeard.

So the man plucked out another, and then Farmer Weatherbeard
shrieked `Oof!' again; but when the man had plucked the third,
Farmer Weatherbeard screamed so loudly that the man thought
that brick and mortar would be rent in twain, but for all that he
went on sleeping. And now the Eagle told the man what he was
to do next, and he did it. He went to the stable door, and there
he stumbled against a hard stone, which he picked up, and beneath
it lay three splinters of wood, which he also picked up. He knocked
at the stable door and it opened at once. He threw down the three
little bits of bread and a hare came out and ate them. He caught
the hare. Then the Eagle told him to pluck three feathers out of
its tail, and put in the hare, the stone, the splinters of wood and
himself instead of them, and then he would be able to carry them
all home.

When the Eagle had flown a long way it alighted on a stone.

`Do you see anything?' it asked.

`Yes; I see a flock of crows coming flying after us,' said the

`Then we shall do well to fly on a little farther,' said the Eagle,
and off it set.

In a short time it asked again, `Do you see anything now?'

`Yes; now the crows are close behind us,' said the man.

`Then throw down the three feathers which you plucked out of
his head,' said the Eagle.

So the man did this, and no sooner had he flung them down
than the feathers became a flock of ravens, which chased the crows
home again. Then the Eagle flew on much farther with the man,
but at length it alighted on a stone for a while.

`Do you see anything?' it said.

`I am not quite certain,' said the man, `but I think I see
something coming in the far distance.'

`Then we shall do well to fly on a little farther,' said the Eagle,
and away it went.

`Do you see anything now?' it said, after some time had gone

`Yes; now they are close behind us,' said the man.

`Then throw down the splinters of wood which you took from
beneath the gray stone by the stable door,' said the Eagle. The
man did this, and no sooner had he flung them down than they
grew up into a great thick wood, and Farmer Weatherbeard had to
go home for an axe to cut his way through it. So the Eagle flew on
a long, long way, but then it grew tired and sat down on a fir tree.

`Do you see anything?' it asked.

`Yes; I am not quite certain,' said the man, `but I think I can
catch a glimpse of something far, far away.'

`Then we shall do well to fly on a little farther,' said the Eagle,
and it set off again.

`Do you see anything now?' it said after some time had gone by.

`Yes; he is close behind us now,' said the man.

`Then you must fling down the great stone which you took away
from the stable door,' said the Eagle.

The man did so, and it turned into a great high mountain of
stone, which Farmer Weatherbeard had to break his way through
before he could follow them. But when he had got to the middle
of the mountain he broke one of his legs, so he had to go home to
get it put right.

While he was doing this the Eagle flew off to the man's home
with him, and with the hare, and when they had got home the man
went to the churchyard, and had some Christian earth laid upon the
hare, and then it turned into his son Jack.

When the time came for the fair the youth turned himself into
a light-coloured horse, and bade his father go to the market with
him. `If anyone should come who wants to buy me,' said he,
`you are to tell him that you want a hundred dollars for me; but
you must not forget to take off the halter, for if you do I shall
never be able to get away from Farmer Weatherbeard, for he is the
man who will come and bargain for me.'

And thus it happened. A horse-dealer came who had a great
fancy to bargain for the horse, and the man got a hundred dollars
for it, but when the bargain was made, and Jack's father had got
the money, the horse-dealer wanted to have the halter.

`That was no part of our bargain,' said the man, `and the
halter you shall not have, for I have other horses which I shall
have to sell.'

So each of them went his way. But the horse dealer had not
got very far with Jack before he resumed his own form again, and
when the man got home he was sitting on the bench by the stove.

The next day he changed himself into a brown horse and told
his father that he was to set off to market with him. `If a man should
come who wants to buy me,' said Jack, `you are to tell him that you
want two hundred dollars, for that he will give, and treat you besides;
but whatsoever you drink, and whatsoever you do, don't forget to
take the halter off me, or you will never see me more.'

And thus it happened. The man got his two hundred dollars for
the horse, and was treated as well, and when they parted from each
other it was just as much as he could do to remember to take off
the halter. But the buyer had not got far on his way before the
youth took his own form again, and when the man reached home
Jack was already sitting on the bench by the stove.

On the third day all happened in the same way. The youth
changed himself into a great black horse, and told his father that if
a man came and offered him three hundred dollars, and treated him
well and handsomely into the bargain, he was to sell him, but
whatsoever he did, or how much soever he drank, he must not forget
to take off the halter, or else he himself would never get away
from Farmer Weatherbeard as long as he lived.

`No,' said the man, `I will not forget.'

When he got to the market, he received the three hundred
dollars, but Farmer Weatherbeard treated him so handsomely that
he quite forgot to take off the halter; so Farmer Weatherbeard went
away with the horse.

When he had got some distance he had to go into an inn to get
some more brandy; so he set a barrel full of red-hot nails under his
horse's nose, and a trough filled with oats beneath its tail, and then
he tied the halter fast to a hook and went away into the inn.
So the horse stood there stamping, and kicking, and snorting, and
rearing, and out came a girl who thought it a sin and a shame to
treat a horse so ill.

`Ah, poor creature, what a master you must have to treat you
thus!' she said, and pushed the halter off the hook so that the horse
might turn round and eat the oats.

`I am here!' shrieked Farmer Weatherbeard, rushing out of
doors. But the horse had already shaken off the halter and flung
himself into a goose-pond, where he changed himself into a little
fish. Farmer Weatherbeard went after him, and changed himself
into a great pike. So Jack turned himself into a dove, and Farmer
Weatherbeard turned himself into a hawk, and flew after the dove
and struck it. But a Princess was standing at a window in the
King's palace watching the struggle.

`If thou didst but know as much as I know, thou wouldst fly
in to me through the window,' said the Princess to the dove.

So the dove came flying in through the window and changed
itself into Jack again, and told her all as it had happened.

`Change thyself into a gold ring, and set thyself on my finger,'
said the Princess.

`No, that will not do,' said Jack, `for then Farmer Weatherbeard
will make the King fall sick, and there will be no one who can make
him well again before Farmer Weatherbeard comes and cures him,
and for that he will demand the gold ring.'

`I will say that it was my mother's, and that I will not part with
it,' said the Princess.

So Jack changed himself into a gold ring, and set himself on
the Princess's finger, and Farmer Weatherbeard could not get at
him there. But then all that the youth had foretold came to

The King became ill, and there was no doctor who could cure
him till Farmer Weatherbeard arrived, and he demanded the ring
which was on the Princess's finger as a reward.

So the King sent a messenger to the Princess for the ring.
She, however, refused to part with it, because she had inherited it
from her mother. When the King was informed of this he fell
into a rage, and said that he would have the ring, let her have
inherited it from whom she might.

`Well, it's of no use to be angry about it,' said the Princess, `for
I can't get it off. If you want the ring you will have to take the
finger too!'

`I will try, and then the ring will very soon come off,' said
Farmer Weatherbeard.

`No, thank you, I will try myself,' said the Princess, and she
went away to the fireplace and put some ashes on the ring.

So the ring came off and was lost among the ashes.

Farmer Weatherbeard changed himself into a hare, which
scratched and scraped about in the fireplace after the ring until the
ashes were up to its ears. But Jack changed himself into a fox,
and bit the hare's head off, and if Farmer Weatherbeard was
possessed by the evil one all was now over with him.[25]

[25] From P. C. Asbjornsen.


ONCE upon a time there was a widow who had two daughters;
one of them was pretty and clever, and the other ugly and
lazy. But as the ugly one was her own daughter, she liked her far
the best of the two, and the pretty one had to do all the work of the
house, and was in fact the regular maid of all work. Every day she
had to sit by a well on the high road, and spin till her fingers were
so sore that they often bled. One day some drops of blood fell on
her spindle, so she dipped it into the well meaning to wash it, but, as
luck would have it, it dropped from her hand and fell right in. She
ran weeping to her stepmother, and told her what had happened,
but she scolded her harshly, and was so merciless in her anger that
she said:

`Well, since you've dropped the spindle down, you must just go
after it yourself, and don't let me see your face again until you bring
it with you.'

Then the poor girl returned to the well, and not knowing what
she was about, in the despair and misery of her heart she sprang
into the well and sank to the bottom. For a time she lost all
consciousness, and when she came to herself again she was lying in a
lovely meadow, with the sun shining brightly overhead, and a
thousand flowers blooming at her feet. She rose up and wandered
through this enchanted place, till she came to a baker's oven full of
bread, and the bread called out to her as she passed:

`Oh! take me out, take me out, or I shall be burnt to a cinder. I
am quite done enough.'

So she stepped up quickly to the oven and took out all the loaves
one after the other. Then she went on a little farther and came to
a tree laden with beautiful rosy-cheeked apples, and as she passed
by it called out:

`Oh I shake me, shake me, my apples are all quite ripe.'

She did as she was asked, and shook the tree till the apples fell
like rain and none were left hanging. When she had gathered them
all up into a heap she went on her way again, and came at length
to a little house, at the door of which sat an old woman. The old
dame had such large teeth that the girl felt frightened and wanted
to run away, but the old woman called after her:

`What are you afraid of, dear child? Stay with me and be my
little maid, and if you do your work well I will reward you
handsomely; but you must be very careful how you make my bed--you
must shake it well till the feathers fly; then people in the world
below say it snows, for I am Mother Holle.'

She spoke so kindly that the girl took heart and agreed readily
to enter her service. She did her best to please the old woman,
and shook her bed with such a will that the feathers flew about like
snow-flakes; so she led a very easy life, was never scolded, and
lived on the fat of the land. But after she had been some time
with Mother Holle she grew sad and depressed, and at first she
hardly knew herself what was the matter. At last she discovered
that she was homesick, so she went to Mother Holle and said:

`I know I am a thousand times better off here than I ever was
in my life before, but notwithstanding, I have a great longing to go
home, in spite of all your kindness to me. I can remain with you no
longer, but must return to my own people.'

`Your desire to go home pleases me,' said Mother Holle, `and
because you have served me so faithfully, I will show you the way
back into the world myself.'

So she took her by the hand and led her to an open door, and as
the girl passed through it there fell a heavy shower of gold all over
her, till she was covered with it from top to toe.

`That's a reward for being such a good little maid,' said Mother
Holle, and she gave her the spindle too that had fallen into the
well. Then she shut the door, and the girl found herself back in
the world again, not far from her own house; and when she came to the
courtyard the old hen, who sat on the top of the wall, called out:

`Click, clock, clack,
Our golden maid's come back.'

Then she went in to her stepmother, and as she had returned
covered with gold she was welcomed home.

She proceeded to tell all that had happened to her, and when
the mother heard how she had come by her riches, she was most
anxious to secure the same luck for her own idle, ugly daughter;
so she told her to sit at the well and spin. In order to make her
spindle bloody, she stuck her hand into a hedge of thorns and pricked
her finger. Then she threw the spindle into the well, and jumped
in herself after it. Like her sister she came to the beautiful meadow,
and followed the same path. When she reached the baker's oven
the bread called out as before:

`Oh! take me out, take me out, or I shall be burnt to a cinder.
I am quite done enough.'

But the good-for-nothing girl answered:

`A pretty joke, indeed; just as if I should dirty my hands for you!'

And on she went. Soon she came to the apple tree, which cried:

`Oh ! shake me, shake me, my apples are all quite ripe.'

`I'll see myself farther,' she replied, `one of them might fall on
my head.'

And so she pursued her way. When she came to Mother Holle's
house she wasn't the least afraid, for she had been warned about
her big teeth, and she readily agreed to become her maid. The first
day she worked very hard, and did all her mistress told her, for she
thought of the gold she would give her; but on the second day she
began to be lazy, and on the third she wouldn't even get up in the
morning. She didn't make Mother Holle's bed as she ought to
have done, and never shook it enough to make the feathers fly. So
her mistress soon grew weary of her, and dismissed her, much to the
lazy creature's delight.

`For now,' she thought, `the shower of golden rain will come.'

Mother Holle led her to the same door as she had done her sister,
but when she passed through it, instead of the gold rain a kettle full
of pitch came showering over her.

`That's a reward for your service,' said Mother Holle, and she
closed the door behind her.

So the lazy girl came home all covered with pitch, and when the
old hen on the top of the wall saw her, it called out:

`Click, clock, clack,
Our dirty slut's come back.'

But the pitch remained sticking to her, and never as long as she
lived could it be got off.[26]

[26] Grimm.


THERE was once upon a time a couple of needy folk who lived
in a wretched hut, in which there was nothing but black want;
so they had neither food to eat nor wood to burn. But if they had
next to nothing of all else they had the blessing of God so far as
children were concerned, and every year brought them one more.
The man was not overpleased at this. He was always going about
grumbling and growling, and saying that it seemed to him that
there might be such a thing as having too many of these good
gifts; so shortly before another baby was born he went away into
the wood for some firewood, saying that he did not want to see the
new child; he would hear him quite soon enough when he began to
squall for some food.

As soon as this baby was born it began to look about the room.
`Ah, my dear mother!' said he, `give me some of my brothers' old
clothes, and food enough for a few days, and I will go out into the
world and seek my fortune, for, so far as I can see, you have children

`Heaven help thee, my son!' said the mother, `that will never
do; thou art still far too little.'

But the little creature was determined to do it, and begged and
prayed so long that the mother was forced to let him have some
old rags, and tie up a little food for him, and then gaily and happily
he went out into the world.

But almost before he was out of the house another boy was
born, and he too looked about him, and said, `Ah, my dear mother!
give me some of my brothers' old clothes, and food for some days,
and then I will go out into the world and find my twin brother, for
you have children enough.'

`Heaven help thee, little creature! thou art far too little for that,'
said the woman; `it would never do.'

But she spoke to no purpose, for the boy begged and prayed
until he had got some old rags and a bundle of provisions, and then
he set out manfully into the world to find his twin brother.

When the younger had walked for some time he caught sight
of his brother a short distance in front of him, and called to him
and bade him to stop.

`Wait a minute,' he said; `you are walking as if for a wager,
but you ought to have stayed to see your younger brother before
you hurried off into the world.'

So the elder stood still and looked back, and when the younger
had got up to him, and had told him that he was his brother, he said:
`But now, let us sit down and see what kind of food our mother has
given us,' and that they did.

When they had walked on a little farther they came to a brook
which ran through a green meadow, and there the younger said that
they ought to christen each other. `As we had to make such haste,
and had no time to do it at home, we may as well do it here,' said he.

`What will you be called?' asked the elder.

`I will be called Minnikin,' answered the second; `and you,
what will you be called?'

`I will be called King Pippin,' answered the elder.

They christened each other and then went onwards. When they
had walked for some time they came to a crossway, and there they
agreed to part, and each take his own road. This they did, but no
sooner had they walked a short distance than they met again. So
they parted once more, and each took his own road, but in a very
short time the same thing happened again--they met each other
before they were at all aware, and so it happened the third time also.
Then they arranged with each other that each should choose his
own quarter, and one should go east and the other west.

`But if ever you fall into any need or trouble,' said the elder,
`call me thrice, and I will come and help you; only you must not
call me until you are in the utmost need.'

`In that case we shall not see each other for some time,' said
Minnikin; so they bade farewell to each other, and Minnikin went
east and King Pippin went west.

When Minnikin had walked a long way alone, he met an old,
old crook-backed hag, who had only one eye. Minnikin stole it.

`Oh! oh!' cried the old hag, `what has become of my eye?'

`What will you give me to get your eye back?' said Minnikin.

`I will give thee a sword which is such a sword that it can
conquer a whole army, let it be ever so great,' replied the woman.

`Let me have it, then,' said Minnikin.

The old hag gave him the sword, so she got her eye back.
Then Minnikin went onwards, and when he had wandered on for
some time he again met an old, old crook-backed hag, who had only
one eye. Minnikin stole it before she was aware.

`Oh! oh! what has become of my eye?' cried the old hag.

`What will you give me to get your eye back?' said Minnikin.

`I will give thee a ship which can sail over fresh water and salt
water, over high hills and deep dales,' answered the old woman.

`Let me have it then,' said Minnikin.

So the old woman gave him a little bit of a ship which was no
bigger than he could put in his pocket, and then she got her eye
back, and she went her way and Minnikin his. When he had
walked on for a long time, he met for the third time an old, old
crook-backed hag, who had only one eye. This eye also Minnikin
stole, and when the woman screamed and lamented, and asked
what had become of her eye, Minnikin said, `What will you give
me to get your eye back?'

`I will give thee the art to brew a hundred lasts of malt in one

So, for teaching that art, the old hag got her eye back, and they
both went away by different roads.

But when Minnikin had walked a short distance, it seemed to
him that it might be worth while to see what his ship could do; so
he took it out of his pocket, and first he put one foot into it, and
then the other, and no sooner had he put one foot into the ship than
it became much larger, and when he set the other foot into it, it grew
as large as ships that sail on the sea.

Then Minnikin said: `Now go over fresh water and salt water,
over high hills and deep dales, and do not stop until thou comest
to the King's palace.'

And in an instant the ship went away as swiftly as any bird in
the air till it got just below the King's palace, and there it stood

From the windows of the King's palace many persons had seen
Minnikin come sailing thither, and had stood to watch him; and
they were all so astounded that they ran down to see what manner
of man this could be who came sailing in a ship through the air.
But while they were running down from the King's palace, Minnikin
had got out of the ship and had put it in his pocket again; for the
moment he got out of it, it once more became as small as it had
been when he got it from the old woman, and those who came from
the King's palace could see nothing but a ragged little boy who was
standing down by the sea-shore. The King asked where he had
come from, but the boy said he did not know, nor yet could he tell
them how he had got there, but he begged very earnestly and
prettily for a place in the King's palace. If there was nothing else
for him to do, he said he would fetch wood and water for the
kitchen-maid, and that he obtained leave to do.

When Minnikin went up to the King's palace he saw that
everything there was hung with black both outside and inside, from
the bottom to the top; so he asked the kitchen-maid what that

`Oh, I will tell you that,' answered the kitchen-maid. `The
King's daughter was long ago promised away to three Trolls, and
next Thursday evening one of them is to come to fetch her. Ritter
Red has said that he will be able to set her free, but who knows
whether he will be able to do it? so you may easily imagine what
grief and distress we are in here.'

So when Thursday evening came, Ritter Red accompanied the
Princess to the sea-shore; for there she was to meet the Troll, and
Ritter Red was to stay with her and protect her. He, however, was
very unlikely to do the Troll much injury, for no sooner had the
Princess seated herself by the sea-shore than Ritter Red climbed
up into a great tree which was standing there, and hid himself as
well as he could among the branches.

The Princess wept, and begged him most earnestly not to go and
leave her; but Ritter Red did not concern himself about that. `It
is better that one should die than two,' said he.

In the meantime Minnikin begged the kitchen-maid very prettily
to give him leave to go down to the strand for a short time.

`Oh, what could you do down at the strand?' said the kitchen-
maid. `You have nothing to do there.'

`Oh yes, my dear, just let me go,' said Minnikin. `I should
so like to go and amuse myself with the other children.'

`Well, well, go then!' said the kitchen-maid, `but don't let me
find you staying there over the time when the pan has to be set on
the fire for supper, and the roast put on the spit; and mind you
bring back a good big armful of wood for the kitchen.'

Minnikin promised this, and ran down to the sea-shore.

Just as he got to the place where the King's daughter was
sitting, the Troll came rushing up with a great whistling and
whirring, and he was so big and stout that he was terrible to see, and
he had five heads.

`Fire!' screeched the Troll.

`Fire yourself!' said Minnikin.

`Can you fight?' roared the Troll.

`If not, I can learn,' said Minnikin.

So the Troll struck at him with a great thick iron bar which he
had in his fist, till the sods flew five yards up into the air.

`Fie!' said Minnikin. `That was not much of a blow. Now
you shall see one of mine.'

So he grasped the sword which he had got from the old crook-
backed woman, and slashed at the Troll so that all five heads went
flying away over the sands.

When the Princess saw that she was delivered she was so
delighted that she did not know what she was doing, and skipped
and danced.

`Come and sleep a bit with your head in my lap,' she said to
Minnikin, and as he slept she put a golden dress on him.

But when Ritter Red saw that there was no longer any danger
afoot, he lost no time in creeping down from the tree. He then
threatened the Princess, until at length she was forced to promise
to say that it was he who had rescued her, for he told her that if
she did not he would kill her. Then he took the Troll's lungs and
tongue and put them in his pocket-handkerchief, and led the
Princess back to the King's palace; and whatsoever had been
lacking to him in the way of honour before was lacking no longer,
for the King did not know how to exalt him enough, and always
set him on his own right hand at table.

As for Minnikin, first he went out on the Troll's ship and took
a great quantity of gold and silver hoops away with him, and then
he trotted back to the King's palace.

When the kitchen-maid caught sight of all this gold and silver
she was quite amazed, and said: `My dear friend Minnikin, where
have you got all that from?' for she was half afraid that he had
not come by it honestly.

`Oh,' answered Minnikin, `I have been home a while, and these
hoops had fallen off some of our buckets, so I brought them away
with me for you.'

So when the kitchen-maid heard that they were for her, she
asked no more questions about the matter. She thanked Minnikin,
and everything was right again at once.

Next Thursday evening all went just the same, and everyone
was full of grief and affliction, but Ritter Red said that he had been
able to deliver the King's daughter from one Troll, so that he could
very easily deliver her from another, and he led her down to the
sea-shore. But he did not do much harm to this Troll either, for
when the time came when the Troll might be expected, he said as
he had said before: `It is better that one should die than two,' and
then climbed up into the tree again.

Minnikin once more begged the cook's leave to go down to the
sea-shore for a short time.

`Oh, what can you do there?' said the cook.

`My dear, do let me go!' said Minnikin; `I should so like to go
down there and amuse myself a little with the other children.'

So this time also she said that he should have leave to go, but
he must first promise that he would be back by the time the joint
was turned and that he would bring a great armful of wood with

No sooner had Minnikin got down to the strand than the Troll
came rushing along with a great whistling and whirring, and he
was twice as big as the first Troll, and he had ten heads.

`Fire!' shrieked the Troll.

`Fire yourself!' said Minnikin.

`Can you fight?' roared the Troll.

`If not, I can learn,' said Minnikin.

So the Troll struck at him with his iron club--which was still
bigger than that which the first Troll had had--so that the earth
flew ten yards up in the air.

`Fie!' said Minnikin. `That was not much of a blow. Now
you shall see one of my blows.'

Then he grasped his sword and struck at the Troll, so that all his
ten heads danced away over the sands.

And again the King's daughter said to him, `Sleep a while on my
lap,' and while Minnikin lay there she drew some silver raiment
over him.

As soon as Ritter Red saw that there was no longer any danger
afoot, he crept down from the tree and threatened the Princess,
until at last she was again forced to promise to say that it was he
who had rescued her; after which he took the tongue and the lungs
of the Troll and put them in his pocket-handkerchief, and then
he conducted the Princess back to the palace. There was joy
and gladness in the palace, as may be imagined, and the King
did not know how to show enough honour and respect to Ritter Red.

Minnikin, however, took home with him an armful of gold and
silver hoops from the Troll's ship. When he came back to the
King's palace the kitchen-maid clapped her hands and wondered
where he could have got all that gold and silver; but Minnikin
answered that he had been home for a short time, and that it was
only the hoops which had fallen off some pails, and that he had
brought them away for the kitchen-maid.

When the third Thursday evening came, everything happened
exactly as it had happened on the two former occasions. Everything
in the King's palace was hung with black, and everyone was
sorrowful and distressed; but Ritter Red said that he did not think
that they had much reason to be afraid--he had delivered the
King's daughter from two Trolls, so he could easily deliver her
from the third as well.

He led her down to the strand, but when the time drew near for
the Troll to come, he climbed up into the tree again and hid himself.

The Princess wept and entreated him to stay, but all to no
purpose. He stuck to his old speech, `It is better that one life should
be lost than two.'

This evening also, Minnikin begged for leave to go down to the

`Oh, what can you do there?' answered the kitchen-maid.

However, he begged until at last he got leave to go, but he was
forced to promise that he would be back again in the kitchen when
the roast had to be turned.

Almost immediately after he had got down to the sea-shore the
Troll came with a great whizzing and whirring, and he was much,
much bigger than either of the two former ones, and he had fifteen

`Fire!' roared the Troll.

`Fire yourself!' said Minnikin.

`Can you fight?' screamed the Troll.

`If not, I can learn,' said Minnikin.

`I will teach you,' yelled the Troll, and struck at him with his
iron club so that the earth flew up fifteen yards high into the air.

`Fie!' said Minnikin. `That was not much of a blow. Now I
will let you see one of my blows.'

So saying he grasped his sword, and cut at the Troll in such a
way that all his fifteen heads danced away over the sands.

Then the Princess was delivered, and she thanked Minnikin
and blessed him for saving her.

`Sleep a while now on my lap,' said she, and while he lay there
she put a garment of brass upon him.

`But now, how shall we have it made known that it was you
who saved me?' said the King's daughter.

`That I will tell you,' answered Minnikin. `When Ritter Red
has taken you home again, and given out that it was he who
rescued you, he will, as you know, have you to wife, and half the
kingdom. But when they ask you on your wedding-day whom
you will have to be your cup-bearer, you must say, ``I will have the
ragged boy who is in the kitchen, and carries wood and water for
the kitchen-maid;'' and when I am filling your cups for you, I will
spill a drop upon his plate but none upon yours, and then he will
be angry and strike me, and this will take place thrice. But the
third time you must say, ``Shame on you thus to smite the beloved
of mine heart. It is he who delivered me from the Troll, and he is
the one whom I will have.'' '

Then Minnikin ran back to the King's palace as he had done
before, but first he went on board the Troll's ship and took a great
quantity of gold and silver and other precious things, and out of
these he once more gave to the kitchen-maid a whole armful of gold
and silver hoops.

No sooner did Ritter Red see that all danger was over than he
crept down from the tree, and threatened the King's daughter till
he made her promise to say that he had rescued her. Then he
conducted her back to the King's palace, and if honour enough had
not been done him before it was certainly done now, for the King
had no other thought than how to make much of the man who had
saved his daughter from the three Trolls; and it was settled then
that Ritter Red should marry her, and receive half the kingdom.

On the wedding-day, however, the Princess begged that she might
have the little boy who was in the kitchen, and carried wood and
water for the kitchen-maid, to fill the wine-cups at the wedding feast.

`Oh, what can you want with that dirty, ragged boy, in here?'
said Ritter Red, but the Princess said that she insisted on having
him as cup-bearer and would have no one else; and at last she got
leave, and then everything was done as had been agreed on between
the Princess and Minnikin. He spilt a drop on Ritter Red's plate
but none upon hers, and each time that he did it Ritter Red fell
into a rage and struck him. At the first blow all the ragged
garments which he had worn in the kitchen fell from off Minnikin,
at the second blow the brass garments fell off, and at the third
the silver raiment, and there he stood in the golden raiment, which
was so bright and splendid that light flashed from it.

Then the King's daughter said: `Shame on you thus to smite
the beloved of my heart. It is he who delivered me from the Troll,
and he is the one whom I will have.'

Ritter Red swore that he was the man who had saved her, but
the King said: `He who delivered my daughter must have some
token in proof of it.'

So Ritter Red ran off at once for his handkerchief with the lungs
and tongue, and Minnikin went and brought all the gold and silver
and precious things which he had taken out of the Trolls' ships;
and they each of them laid these tokens before the King.

`He who has such precious things in gold and silver and
diamonds,' said the King, `must be the one who killed the Troll,
for such things are not to be had anywhere else.' So Ritter Red
was thrown into the snake-pit, and Minnikin was to have the
Princess, and half the kingdom.

One day the King went out walking with Minnikin, and
Minnikin asked him if he had never had any other children.

`Yes,' said the King, `I had another daughter, but the Troll
carried her away because there was no one who could deliver her.
You are going to have one daughter of mine, but if you can set free
the other, who has been taken by the Troll, you shall willingly
have her too, and the other half of the kingdom as well.'

`I may as well make the attempt,' said Minnikin, `but I must
have an iron rope which is five hundred ells long, and then I must
have five hundred men with me, and provisions for five weeks, for
I have a long voyage before me.'

So the King said he should have these things, but the King was
afraid that he had no ship large enough to carry them all.

`But I have a ship of my own,' said Minnikin, and he took
the one which the old woman had given him out of his pocket.
The King laughed at him and thought that it was only one of his
jokes, but Minnikin begged him just to give him what he had
asked for, and then he should see something. Then all that
Minnikin had asked for was brought; and first he ordered them to
lay the cable in the ship, but there was no one who was able to
lift it, and there was only room for one or two men at a time in
the little bit of a ship. Then Minnikin himself took hold of the
cable, and laid one or two links of it into the ship, and as he threw
the links into it the ship grew bigger and bigger, and at last it was so
large that the cable, and the five hundred men, and provisions, and
Minnikin himself, had room enough.

`Now go over fresh water and salt water, over hill and dale,
and do not stop until thou comest to where the King's daughter
is,' said Minnikin to the ship, and off it went in a moment
over land and water till the wind whistled and moaned all round
about it.

When they had sailed thus a long, long way, the ship stopped
short in the middle of the sea.

`Ah, now we have got there,' said Minnikin, `but how we
are to get back again is a very different thing.'

Then he took the cable and tied one end of it round his body.
`Now I must go to the bottom,' he said, `but when I give a good
jerk to the cable and want to come up again, you must all pull
like one man, or there will be an end of all life both for you and
for me.' So saying he sprang into the water, and yellow bubbles
rose up all around him. He sank lower and lower, and at last he
came to the bottom. There he saw a large hill with a door in it,
and in he went. When he had got inside he found the other
Princess sitting sewing, but when she saw Minnikin she clapped
her hands.

`Ah, heaven be praised!' she cried, `I have not seen a
Christian man since I came here.'

`I have come for you,' said Minnikin.

`Alas! you will not be able to get me,' said the King's daughter.
`It is no use even to think of that; if the Troll catches sight of
you he will take your life.'

`You had better tell me about him,' said Minnikin. `Where is
he gone? It would be amusing to see him.'

So the King's daughter told Minnikin that the Troll was out
trying to get hold of someone who could brew a hundred lasts of
malt at one brewing, for there was to be a feast at the Troll's, at
which less than that would not be drunk.

`I can do that,' said Minnikin.

`Ah! if only the Troll were not so quick-tempered I might have
told him that,' answered the Princess, `but he is so ill-natured
that he will tear you to pieces, I fear, as soon as he comes in. But
I will try to find some way of doing it. Can you hide yourself
here in the cupboard? and then we will see what happens.'

Minnikin did this, and almost before he had crept into the cupboard
and hidden himself, came the Troll.

`Huf! What a smell of Christian man's blood!' said the Troll.

`Yes, a bird flew over the roof with a Christian man's bone in
his bill, and let it fall down our chimney,' answered the Princess.
`I made haste enough to get it away again, but it must be that
which smells so, notwithstanding.'

`Yes, it must be that,' said the Troll.

Then the Princess asked if he had got hold of anyone who could
brew a hundred lasts of malt at one brewing.

`No, there is no one who can do it,' said the Troll.

`A short time since there was a man here who said he could do
it,' said the King's daughter.

`How clever you always are!' said the Troll. `How could
you let him go away? You must have known that I was just
wanting a man of that kind.'

`Well, but I didn't let him go, after all,' said the Princess;
`but father is so quick-tempered, so I hid him in the cupboard, but
if father has not found any one then the man is still here.'

`Let him come in,' said the Troll.

When Minnikin came, the Troll asked if it were true that he
could brew a hundred lasts of malt at one brewing.

`Yes,' said Minnikin, `it is.'

`It is well then that I have lighted on thee,' said the Troll.
`Fall to work this very minute, but Heaven help thee if thou dost
not brew the ale strong.'

`Oh, it shall taste well,' said Minnikin, and at once set himself
to work to brew.

`But I must have more trolls to help to carry what is wanted,'
said Minnikin; `these that I have are good for nothing.'

So he got more and so many that there was a swarm of them,
and then the brewing went on. When the sweet-wort was ready
they were all, as a matter of course, anxious to taste it, first the
Troll himself and then the others; but Minnikin had brewed the
wort so strong that they all fell down dead like so many flies as
soon as they had drunk any of it. At last there was no one left
but one wretched old hag who was lying behind the stove.

`Oh, poor old creature!' said Minnikin, `you shall have a taste
of the wort too like the rest.' So he went away and scooped up a
little from the bottom of the brewing vat in a milk pan, and gave
it to her, and then he was quit of the whole of them.

While Minnikin was now standing there looking about him, he
cast his eye on a large chest. This he took and filled it with gold
and silver, and then he tied the cable round himself and the
Princess and the chest, and tugged at the rope with all his might,
whereupon his men drew them up safe and sound.

As soon as Minnikin had got safely on his ship again, he said:
`Now go over salt water and fresh water, over hill and dale, and do
not stop until thou comest unto the King's palace.' And in a
moment the ship went off so fast that the yellow foam rose up all
round about it.

When those who were in the King's palace saw the ship, they
lost no time in going to meet him with song and music, and thus
they marched up towards Minnikin with great rejoicings; but
the gladdest of all was the King, for now he had got his other
daughter back again.

But now Minnikin was not happy, for both the Princesses
wanted to have him, and he wanted to have none other than the
one whom he had first saved, and she was the younger. For this
cause he was continually walking backwards and forwards, thinking
how he could contrive to get her, and yet do nothing that was unkind
to her sister. One day when he was walking about and thinking
of this, it came into his mind that if he only had his brother, King
Pippin, with him, who was so like himself that no one could
distinguish the one from the other, he could let him have the elder
Princess and half the kingdom; as for himself, he thought, the
other half was quite enough. As soon as this thought occurred to
him he went outside the palace and called for King Pippin, but no
one came. So he called a second time, and a little louder, but no!
still no one came. So Minnikin called for the third time, and with
all his might, and there stood his brother by his side.

`I told you that you were not to call me unless you were in the
utmost need,' he said to Minnikin, `and there is not even so much
as a midge here who can do you any harm!' and with that he
gave Minnikin such a blow that he rolled over on the grass.

`Shame on you to strike me!' said Minnikin. `First have I won
one Princess and half the kingdom, and then the other Princess
and the other half of the kingdom; and now, when I was just thinking
that I would give you one of the Princesses and one of the
halves of the kingdom, do you think you have any reason to give
me such a blow?'

When King Pippin heard that he begged his brother's pardon,
and they were reconciled at once and became good friends.

`Now, as you know,' said Minnikin, `we are so like each other
that no one can tell one of us from the other; so just change clothes
with me and go up to the palace, and then the Princesses will think
that I am coming in, and the one who kisses you first shall be
yours, and I will have the other.' For he knew that the elder
Princess was the stronger, so he could very well guess how things
would go.

King Pippin at once agreed to this. He changed clothes with
his brother, and went into the palace. When he entered the
Princess's apartments they believed that he was Minnikin, and
both of them ran up to him at once; but the elder, who was bigger
and stronger, pushed her sister aside, and threw her arms round
King Pippin's neck and kissed him; so he got her to wife, and
Minnikin the younger sister. It will be easy to understand that
two weddings took place, and they were so magnificent that they
were heard of and talked about all over seven kingdoms.[27]

[27] From J. Moe.


THERE was once on a time a widower who had a son and a
daughter by his first wife. They were both good children,
and loved each other with all their hearts. After some time had
gone by the man married again, and he chose a widow with one
daughter who was ugly and wicked, and her mother was ugly and
wicked too. From the very day that the new wife came into the
house there was no peace for the man's children, and not a corner
to be found where they could get any rest; so the boy thought that
the best thing he could do was to go out into the world and try to
earn his own bread.

When he had roamed about for some time he came to the
King's palace, where he obtained a place under the coachman; and
very brisk and active he was, and the horses that he looked after
were so fat and sleek, that they shone again.

But his sister, who was still at home, fared worse and worse.
Both her step-mother and her step-sister were always finding
fault with her, whatsoever she did and whithersoever she went,
and they scolded her and abused her so that she never had
an hour's peace. They made her do all the hard work, and hard
words fell to her lot early and late, but little enough food
accompanied them.

One day they sent her to the brook to fetch some water home,
and an ugly and horrible head rose up out of the water, and said,
`Wash me, girl!'

`Yes, I will wash you with pleasure,' said the girl, and began
to wash and scrub the ugly face, but she couldn't help thinking
that it was a very unpleasant piece of work. When she had done
it, and done it well, another head rose up out of the water, and
this one was uglier still.

`Brush me, girl!' said the head.

`Yes, I will brush you with pleasure,' said the girl, and set to
work with the tangled hair, and, as may be easily imagined, this
too was by no means pleasant work.

When she had got it done, another and a much more ugly and
horrible-looking head rose up out of the water.

`Kiss me, girl!' said the head.

`Yes, I will kiss you,'' said the man's daughter, and she did it,
but she thought it was the worst bit of work that she had ever had
to do in her life.

So the heads all began to talk to each other, and to ask what
they should do for this girl who was so full of kindliness.

`She shall be the prettiest girl that ever was, and fair and
bright as the day,' said the first head.

`Gold shall drop from her hair whenever she brushes it,'
said the second.

`Gold shall drop from her mouth whenever she speaks,'
said the third head.

So when the man's daughter went home, looking as beautiful
and bright as day, the step-mother and her daughter grew much
more ill-tempered, and it was worse still when she began to talk,
and they saw that golden coins dropped from her mouth. The
step-mother fell into such a towering passion that she drove the
man's daughter into the pig-stye--she might stay there with her
fine show of gold, the step-mother said, but she should not be
permitted to set foot in the house.

It was not long before the mother wanted her own daughter to
go to the stream to fetch some water.

When she got there with her pails, the first head rose up out of
the water close to the bank. `Wash me, girl!' it said.

`Wash yourself!' answered the woman's daughter.

Then the second head appeared.

`Brush me, girl!' said the head.

`Brush yourself!' said the woman's daughter.

So down it went to the bottom, and the third head came up.

`Kiss me, girl!' said the head.

`As if I would kiss your ugly mouth!' said the girl.

So again the heads talked together about what they should do
for this girl who was so ill-tempered and full of her own importance,
and they agreed that she should have a nose that was four ells
long, and a jaw that was three ells, and a fir bush in the middle of
her forehead, and every time she spoke ashes should fall from her

When she came back to the cottage door with her pails, she
called to her mother who was inside, `Open the door!'

`Open the door yourself, my own dear child!' said the mother.

`I can't get near, because of my nose,' said the daughter.

When the mother came and saw her you may imagine what a
state of mind she was in, and how she screamed and lamented, but
neither the nose nor the jaw grew any the less for that.

Now the brother, who was in service in the King's palace, had
taken a portrait of his sister, and he had carried the picture away
with him, and every morning and evening he knelt down before it
and prayed for his sister, so dearly did he love her.

The other stable-boys had heard him doing this, so they peeped
through the key-hole into his room, and saw that he was kneeling
there before a picture; so they told everyone that every morning
and evening the youth knelt down and prayed to an idol which he
had; and at last they went to the King himself, and begged that he
too would peep through the key-hole, and see for himself what the
youth did. At first the King would not believe this, but after a
long, long time, they prevailed with him, and he crept on tip-toe
to the door, peeped through, and saw the youth on his knees, with
his hands clasped together before a picture which was hanging on
the wall.

`Open the door!' cried the King, but the youth did not

So the King called to him again, but the youth was praying so
fervently that he did not hear him this time either.

`Open the door, I say!' cried the King again. `It is I! I want
to come in.'

So the youth sprang to the door and unlocked it, but in his
haste he forgot to hide the picture.

When the King entered and saw it, he stood still as if he were
in fetters, and could not stir from the spot, for the picture seemed
to him so beautiful.

`There is nowhere on earth so beautiful a woman as this!' said
the King.

But the youth told him that she was his sister, and that he had
painted her, and that if she was not prettier than the picture she
was at all events not uglier.

`Well, if she is as beautiful as that, I will have her for my
Queen,' said the King, and he commanded the youth to go home
and fetch her without a moment's delay, and to lose no time in
coming back. The youth promised to make all the haste he could,
and set forth from the King's palace.

When the brother arrived at home to fetch his sister, her
stepmother and step-sister would go too. So they all set out together,
and the man's daughter took with her a casket in which she kept
her gold, and a dog which was called Little Snow. These two
things were all that she had inherited from her mother. When
they had travelled for some time they had to cross the sea, and the
brother sat down at the helm, and the mother and the two half-
sisters went to the fore-part of the vessel, and they sailed a long,
long way. At last they came in sight of land.

`Look at that white strand there; that is where we shall land,'
said the brother, pointing across the sea.

`What is my brother saying?' inquired the man's daughter.

`He says that you are to throw your casket out into the sea,'
answered the step-mother.

`Well, if my brother says so, I must do it,' said the man's
daughter, and she flung her casket into the sea.

When they had sailed for some time longer, the brother once
more pointed over the sea. `There you may see the palace to
which we are bound,' said he.

`What is my brother saying?' asked the man's daughter.

`Now he says that you are to throw your dog into the sea,'
answered the step-mother.

The man's daughter wept, and was sorely troubled, for Little
Snow was the dearest thing she had on earth, but at last she threw
him overboard.

`If my brother says that, I must do it, but Heaven knows how
unwilling I am to throw thee out, Little Snow!' said she.

So they sailed onwards a long way farther.

`There may'st thou see the King coming out to meet thee,' said
the brother, pointing to the sea-shore.

`What is my brother saying?' asked his sister again.

`Now he says that you are to make haste and throw yourself
overboard,' answered the step-mother.

She wept and she wailed, but as her brother had said that, she
thought she must do it; so she leaped into the sea.

But when they arrived at the palace, and the King beheld the ugly
bride with a nose that was four ells long, a jaw that was three ells, and
a forehead that had a bush in the middle of it, he was quite terrified;
but the wedding feast was all prepared, as regarded brewing and
baking, and all the wedding guests were sitting waiting, so, ugly
as she was, the King was forced to take her.

But he was very wroth, and none can blame him for that; so he
caused the brother to be thrown into a pit full of snakes.

On the first Thursday night after this, a beautiful maiden
came into the kitchen of the palace, and begged the kitchen-maid,
who slept there, to lend her a brush. She begged very prettily,
and got it, and then she brushed her hair, and the gold dropped
from it.

A little dog was with her, and she said to it, `Go out, Little
Snow, and see if it will soon be day!'

This she said thrice, and the third time that she sent out the
dog to see, it was very near dawn. Then she was forced to depart,
but as she went she said:

`Out on thee, ugly Bushy Bride,
Sleeping so soft by the young King's side,
On sand and stones my bed I make,
And my brother sleeps with the cold snake,
Unpitied and unwept.'

I shall come twice more, and then never again,' said she.

In the morning the kitchen-maid related what she had seen and
heard, and the King said that next Thursday night he himself
would watch in the kitchen and see if this were true, and when it
had begun to grow dark he went out into the kitchen to the girl.
But though he rubbed his eyes and did everything he could to keep
himself awake it was all in vain, for the Bushy Bride crooned and
sang till his eyes were fast closed, and when the beautiful young
maiden came he was sound asleep and snoring.

This time also, as before, she borrowed a brush and brushed her
hair with it, and the gold dropped down as she did it; and again
she sent the dog out three times, and when day dawned she
departed, but as she was going she said as she had said before, `I
shall come once more, and then never again.'

On the third Thursday night the King once more insisted on
keeping watch. Then he set two men to hold him; each of them
was to take an arm, and shake him and jerk him by the arm
whenever he seemed to be going to fall asleep; and he set two men
to watch his Bushy Bride. But as the night wore on the Bushy
Bride again began to croon and to sing, so that his eyes began to
close and his head to droop on one side. Then came the lovely
maiden, and got the brush and brushed her hair till the gold dropped
from it, and then she sent her Little Snow out to see if it would
soon be day, and this she did three times. The third time it was
just beginning to grow light, and then she said:

`Out on thee, ugly Bushy Bride,
Sleeping so soft by the young King's side,
On sand and stones my bed I make,
And my brother sleeps with the cold snake,
Unpitied and unwept.'

`Now I shall never come again,' she said, and then she turned to go.
But the two men who were holding the King by the arms seized his
hands and forced a knife into his grasp, and then made him cut
her little finger just enough to make it bleed.

Thus the true bride was freed. The King then awoke, and she
told him all that had taken place, and how her step-mother and
step-sister had betrayed her. Then the brother was at once taken
out of the snake-pit--the snakes had never touched him--and the
step-mother and step-sister were flung down into it instead of him.

No one can tell how delighted the King was to get rid of that
hideous Bushy Bride, and get a Queen who was bright and beautiful
as day itself.

And now the real wedding was held, and held in such a way
that it was heard of and spoken about all over seven kingdoms.
The King and his bride drove to church, and Little Snow was in
the carriage too. When the blessing was given they went home
again, and after that I saw no more of them.[28]

[28] From J. Moe.


ONCE upon a time, in the middle of winter when the snow-flakes
were falling like feathers on the earth, a Queen sat at a window
framed in black ebony and sewed. And as she sewed and gazed
out to the white landscape, she pricked her finger with the needle,
and three drops of blood fell on the snow outside, and because the
red showed out so well against the white she thought to herself:

`Oh! what wouldn't I give to have a child as white as snow, as
red as blood, and as black as ebony!'

And her wish was granted, for not long after a little daughter
was born to her, with a skin as white as snow, lips and cheeks as
red as blood, and hair as black as ebony. They called her Snowdrop,
and not long after her birth the Queen died.

After a year the King married again. His new wife was a
beautiful woman, but so proud and overbearing that she couldn't
stand any rival to her beauty. She possessed a magic mirror, and
when she used to stand before it gazing at her own reflection and ask:

`Mirror, mirror, hanging there,
Who in all the land's most fair?'

it always replied:

`You are most fair, my Lady Queen,
None fairer in the land, I ween.'

Then she was quite happy, for she knew the mirror always spoke the truth.

But Snowdrop was growing prettier and prettier every day, and
when she was seven years old she was as beautiful as she could be,
and fairer even than the Queen herself. One day when the latter
asked her mirror the usual question, it replied:

`My Lady Queen, you are fair, 'tis true,
But Snowdrop is fairer far than you.'

Then the Queen flew into the most awful passion, and turned
every shade of green in her jealousy. From this hour she hated
poor Snowdrop like poison, and every day her envy, hatred, and
malice grew, for envy and jealousy are like evil weeds which spring
up and choke the heart. At last she could endure Snowdrop's
presence no longer, and, calling a huntsman to her, she said:

`Take the child out into the wood, and never let me see her face
again. You must kill her, and bring me back her lungs and liver,
that I may know for certain she is dead.'

The Huntsman did as he was told and led Snowdrop out into
the wood, but as he was in the act of drawing out his knife to slay
her, she began to cry, and said:

`Oh, dear Huntsman, spare my life, and I will promise to fly forth
into the wide wood and never to return home again.'

And because she was so young and pretty the Huntsman had pity
on her, and said:

`Well, run along, poor child.' For he thought to himself: `The
wild beasts will soon eat her up.'

And his heart felt lighter because he hadn't had to do the deed
himself. And as he turned away a young boar came running past,
so he shot it, and brought its lungs and liver home to the Queen as
a proof that Snowdrop was really dead. And the wicked woman
had them stewed in salt, and ate them up, thinking she had made
an end of Snowdrop for ever.

Now when the poor child found herself alone in the big wood the
very trees around her seemed to assume strange shapes, and she felt
so frightened she didn't know what to do. Then she began to run
over the sharp stones, and through the bramble bushes, and the wild
beasts ran past her, but they did her no harm. She ran as far as
her legs would carry her, and as evening approached she saw a little
house, and she stepped inside to rest. Everything was very small
in the little house, but cleaner and neater than anything you can
imagine. In the middle of the room there stood a little table,
covered with a white tablecloth, and seven little plates and forks
and spoons and knives and tumblers. Side by side against the wall
there were seven little beds, covered with snow-white counterpanes.
Snowdrop felt so hungry and so thirsty that she ate a bit of bread
and a little porridge from each plate, and drank a drop of wine out
of each tumbler. Then feeling tired and sleepy she lay down on
one of the beds, but it wasn't comfortable; then she tried all the
others in turn, but one was too long, and another too short, and it
was only when she got to the seventh that she found one to suit her
exactly. So she lay down upon it, said her prayers like a good child,
and fell fast asleep.

When it got quite dark the masters of the little house returned.
They were seven dwarfs who worked in the mines, right down deep
in the heart of the mountain. They lighted their seven little lamps,
and as soon as their eyes got accustomed to the glare they saw that
someone had been in the room, for all was not in the same order as
they had left it.

The first said:

`Who's been sitting on my little chair?'

The second said:

`Who's been eating my little loaf?'

The third said:

`Who's been tasting my porridge?'

The fourth said:

`Who's been eating out of my little plate?'

The fifth said:

`Who's been using my little fork?'

The sixth said:

`Who's been cutting with my little knife?'

The seventh said:

`Who's been drinking out of my little tumbler?'

Then the first Dwarf looked round and saw a little hollow in his
bed, and he asked again:

`Who's been lying on my bed?'

The others came running round, and cried when they saw their

`Somebody has lain on ours too.'

But when the seventh came to his bed, he started back in
amazement, for there he beheld Snowdrop fast asleep. Then he
called the others, who turned their little lamps full on the bed, and
when they saw Snowdrop lying there they nearly fell down with

`Goodness gracious!' they cried, `what a beautiful child!'

And they were so enchanted by her beauty that they did not
wake her, but let her sleep on in the little bed. But the seventh
Dwarf slept with his companions one hour in each bed, and in this
way he managed to pass the night.

In the morning Snowdrop awoke, but when she saw the seven
little Dwarfs she felt very frightened. But they were so friendly
and asked her what her name was in such a kind way, that she

`I am Snowdrop.'

`Why did you come to our house?' continued the Dwarfs.

Then she told them how her stepmother had wished her put to
death, and how the Huntsman had spared her life, and how she had
run the whole day till she had come to their little house. The
Dwarfs, when they had heard her sad story, asked her:

`Will you stay and keep house for us, cook, make the beds,
the washing, sew and knit? and if you give satisfaction and keep
everything neat and clean, you shall want for nothing.'

`Yes,' answered Snowdrop, `I will gladly do all you ask.'

And so she took up her abode with them. Every morning the
Dwarfs went into the mountain to dig for gold, and in the evening,
when they returned home, Snowdrop always had their supper ready
for them. But during the day the girl was left quite alone, so the
good Dwarfs warned her, saying:

`Beware of your step-mother. She will soon find out you are
here, and whatever you do don't let anyone into the house.'

Now the Queen, after she thought she had eaten Snowdrop's
lungs and liver, never dreamed but that she was once more the
most beautiful woman in the world; so stepping before her mirror
one day she said:

`Mirror, mirror, hanging there,
Who in all the land's most fair?'

and the mirror replied:

`My Lady Queen, you are fair, 'tis true,
But Snowdrop is fairer far than you.
Snowdrop, who dwells with the seven little men,
Is as fair as you, as fair again.'

When the Queen heard these words she was nearly struck dumb
with horror, for the mirror always spoke the truth, and she knew
now that the Huntsman must have deceived her, and that Snowdrop
was still alive. She pondered day and night how she might destroy
her, for as long as she felt she had a rival in the land her jealous
heart left her no rest. At last she hit upon a plan. She stained her
face and dressed herself up as an old peddler wife, so that she was
quite unrecognisable. In this guise she went over the seven hills
till she came to the house of the seven Dwarfs. There she knocked
at the door, calling out at the same time:

`Fine wares to sell, fine wares to sell!'

Snowdrop peeped out of the window, and called out:

`Good-day, mother, what have you to sell?'

`Good wares, fine wares,' she answered; `laces of every shade
and description,' and she held one up that was made of some gay
coloured silk.

`Surely I can let the honest woman in,' thought Snowdrop; so
she unbarred the door and bought the pretty lace.

`Good gracious! child,' said the old woman, `what a figure you've
got. Come! I'll lace you up properly for once.'

Snowdrop, suspecting no evil, stood before her and let her lace
her bodice up, but the old woman laced her so quickly and so tightly
that it took Snowdrop's breath away, and she fell down dead.

`Now you are no longer the fairest,' said the wicked old woman,
and then she hastened away.

In the evening the seven Dwarfs came home, and you may
think what a fright they got when they saw their dear Snowdrop
lying on the floor, as still and motionless as a dead person. They
lifted her up tenderly, and when they saw how tightly laced she
was they cut the lace in two, and she began to breathe a little and
gradually came back to life. When the Dwarfs heard what had
happened, they said:

`Depend upon it, the old peddler wife was none other than the
old Queen. In future you must be sure to let no one in, if we are
not at home.'

As soon as the wicked old Queen got home she went straight to
her mirror, and said:

`Mirror, mirror, hanging there,
Who in all the land's most fair?'

and the mirror answered as before:

`My Lady Queen, you are fair, 'tis true,
But Snowdrop is fairer far than you.
Snowdrop, who dwells with the seven little men,
Is as fair as you, as fair again.'

When she heard this she became as pale as death, because she
saw at once that Snowdrop must be alive again.

`This time,' she said to herself, `I will think of something that
will make an end of her once and for all.'

And by the witchcraft which she understood so well she made
a poisonous comb; then she dressed herself up and assumed the
form of another old woman. So she went over the seven hills till
she reached the house of the seven Dwarfs, and knocking at the
door she called out:

`Fine wares for sale.'

Snowdrop looked out of the window and said:

`You must go away, for I may not let anyone in.'

`But surely you are not forbidden to look out?' said the old
woman, and she held up the poisonous comb for her to see.

It pleased the girl so much that she let herself be taken in, and
opened the door. When they had settled their bargain the old
woman said:

`Now I'll comb your hair properly for you, for once in the

Poor Snowdrop thought no evil, but hardly had the comb touched
her hair than the poison worked and she fell down unconscious.

`Now, my fine lady, you're really done for this time,' said the
wicked woman, and she made her way home as fast as she could.

Fortunately it was now near evening, and the seven Dwarfs
returned home. When they saw Snowdrop lying dead on the ground,
they at once suspected that her wicked step-mother had been at
work again; so they searched till they found the poisonous comb,
and the moment they pulled it out of her head Snowdrop came to
herself again, and told them what had happened. Then they
warned her once more to be on her guard, and to open the door to
no one.

As soon as the Queen got home she went straight to her mirror,
and asked:

`Mirror, mirror, hanging there,
Who in all the land's most fair?'

and it replied as before:

`My Lady Queen, you are fair, 'tis true,
But Snowdrop is fairer far than you.
Snowdrop, who dwells with the seven little men,
Is as fair as you, as fair again.'

When she heard these words she literally trembled and shook with rage.

`Snowdrop shall die,' she cried; `yes, though it cost me my own life.'

Then she went to a little secret chamber, which no one knew of
but herself, and there she made a poisonous apple. Outwardly it
looked beautiful, white with red cheeks, so that everyone who saw
it longed to eat it, but anyone who might do so would certainly die
on the spot. When the apple was quite finished she stained her
face and dressed herself up as a peasant, and so she went over
the seven hills to the seven Dwarfs'. She knocked at the door, as
usual, but Snowdrop put her head out of the window and called

`I may not let anyone in, the seven Dwarfs have forbidden me
to do so.'

`Are you afraid of being poisoned?' asked the old woman. `See, I
will cut this apple in half. I'll eat the white cheek and you can eat
the red.'

But the apple was so cunningly made that only the red cheek
was poisonous. Snowdrop longed to eat the tempting fruit, and when
she saw that the peasant woman was eating it herself, she couldn't
resist the temptation any longer, and stretching out her hand she
took the poisonous half. But hardly had the first bite passed her
lips than she fell down dead on the ground. Then the eyes of the
cruel Queen sparkled with glee, and laughing aloud she cried:

`As white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as ebony, this
time the Dwarfs won't be able to bring you back to life.'

When she got home she asked the mirror:

`Mirror, mirror, hanging there,
Who in all the land's most fair?'

and this time it replied:

`You are most fair, my Lady Queen,
None fairer in the land, I ween.'

Then her jealous heart was at rest--at least, as much at rest
as a jealous heart can ever be.

When the little Dwarfs came home in the evening they found
Snowdrop lying on the ground, and she neither breathed nor stirred.
They lifted her up, and looked round everywhere to see if they
could find anything poisonous about. They unlaced her bodice,
combed her hair, washed her with water and wine, but all in vain;
the child was dead and remained dead. Then they placed her on
a bier, and all the seven Dwarfs sat round it, weeping and sobbing
for three whole days. At last they made up their minds to bury
her, but she looked as blooming as a living being, and her cheeks
were still such a lovely colour, that they said:

`We can't hide her away in the black ground.'

So they had a coffin made of transparent glass, and they laid her
in it, and wrote on the lid in golden letters that she was a royal
Princess. Then they put the coffin on the top of the mountain, and
one of the Dwarfs always remained beside it and kept watch over it.
And the very birds of the air came and bewailed Snowdrop's death,
first an owl, and then a raven, and last of all a little dove.

Snowdrop lay a long time in the coffin, and she always looked
the same, just as if she were fast asleep, and she remained as white
as snow, as red as blood, and her hair as black as ebony.

Now it happened one day that a Prince came to the wood and
passed by the Dwarfs' house. He saw the coffin on the hill, with
the beautiful Snowdrop inside it, and when he had read what was
written on it in golden letters, he said to the Dwarf:

`Give me the coffin. I'll give you whatever you like for it.'

But the Dwarf said: `No; we wouldn't part with it for all the
gold in the world.'

`Well, then,' he replied, `give it to me, because I can't live
without Snowdrop. I will cherish and love it as my dearest possession.'

He spoke so sadly that the good Dwarfs had pity on him,
and gave him the coffin, and the Prince made his servants bear
it away on their shoulders. Now it happened that as they were
going down the hill they stumbled over a bush, and jolted the coffin
so violently that the poisonous bit of apple Snowdrop had
swallowed fell out of her throat. She gradually opened her eyes,
lifted up the lid of the coffin, and sat up alive and well.

`Oh! dear me, where am I?' she cried.

The Prince answered joyfully, `You are with me,' and he told her
all that had happened. adding, `I love you better than anyone
in the whole wide world. Will you come with me to my father's palace
and be my wife?'

Snowdrop consented, and went with him, and the marriage was
celebrated with great pomp and splendour.

Now Snowdrop's wicked step-mother was one of the guests
invited to the wedding feast. When she had dressed herself very
gorgeously for the occasion, she went to the mirror, and said:

`Mirror, mirror, hanging there,
Who in all the land's most fair?'

and the mirror answered:

`My Lady Queen, you are fair, 'tis true,
But Snowdrop is fairer far than you.'

When the wicked woman heard these words she uttered a
curse, and was beside herself with rage and mortification. At first
she didn't want to go to the wedding at all, but at the same time
she felt she would never be happy till she had seen the young
Queen. As she entered Snowdrop recognised her, and nearly
fainted with fear; but red-hot iron shoes had been prepared for the
wicked old Queen, and she was made to get into them and dance
till she fell down dead.[29]

[29] Grimm.


THERE was once a man who had three sons. The youngest of
them was called Dullhead, and was sneered and jeered at and
snubbed on every possible opportunity.

One day it happened that the eldest son wished to go into the
forest to cut wood, and before he started his mother gave him a fine
rich cake and a bottle of wine, so that he might be sure not to suffer
from hunger or thirst.

When he reached the forest he met a little old grey man who

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest