Part 3 out of 7
was able to survey the scene and to gaze at pleasure on the
Now, an eagle with a King's heart in his breast is apt to be
bold, and accordingly he instantly made up his mind to carry off
the lovely damsel, feeling sure that having once seen her he
could not live without her.
He waited till he saw her in the act of stepping ashore, when,
suddenly swooping down, he carried her off before her equerry in
attendance had advanced to offer her his hand. The Princess, on
finding herself in an eagle's talons, uttered the most
heart-breaking shrieks and cries; but her captor, though touched
by her distress, would not abandon his lovely prey, and continued
to fly through the air too fast to allow of his saying anything
to comfort her.
At length, when he thought they had reached a safe distance, he
began to lower his flight, and gradually descending to earth,
deposited his burden in a flowery meadow. He then entreated her
pardon for his violence, and told her that he was about to carry
her to a great kingdom over which he ruled, and where he desired
she should rule with him, adding many tender and consoling
For some time the Princess remained speechless; but recovering
herself a little, she burst into a flood of tears. The King,
much moved, said, 'Adorable Princess, dry your tears. I implore
you. My only wish is to make you the happiest person in the
'If you speak truth, my lord,' replied the Princess, 'restore to
me the liberty you have deprived me of. Otherwise I can only
look on you as my worst enemy.'
The King retorted that her opposition filled him with despair,
but that he hoped to carry her to a place where all around would
respect her, and where every pleasure would surround her. So
saying, he seized her once more, and in spite of all her cries he
rapidly bore her off to the neighbourhood of his capital. Here
he gently placed her on a lawn, and as he did so she saw a
magnificent palace spring up at her feet. The architecture was
imposing, and in the interior the rooms were handsome and
furnished in the best possible taste.
The Princess, who expected to be quite alone, was pleased at
finding herself surrounded by a number of pretty girls, all
anxious to wait on her, whilst a brilliantly-coloured parrot said
the most agreeable things in the world.
On arriving at this palace the King had resumed his own form, and
though no longer young, he might well have pleased any other than
this Princess, who had been so prejudiced against him by his
violence that she could only regard him with feelings of hatred,
which she was at no pains to conceal. The King hoped, however,
that time might not only soften her anger, but accustom her to
his sight. He took the precaution of surrounding the palace with
a dense cloud, and then hastened to his Court, where his
prolonged absence was causing much anxiety.
The Prince and all the courtiers were delighted to see their
beloved King again, but they had to submit themselves to more
frequent absences than ever on his part. He made business a
pretext for shutting himself up in his study, but it was really
in order to spend the time with the Princess, who remained
Not being able to imagine what could be the cause of so much
obstinacy the King began to fear, lest, in spite of all his
precautions, she might have heard of the charms of the Prince his
son, whose goodness, youth and beauty, made him adored at Court.
This idea made him horribly uneasy, and he resolved to remove the
cause of his fears by sending the Prince on his travels escorted
by a magnificent retinue.
The Prince, after visiting several Courts, arrived at the one
where the lost Princess was still deeply mourned. The King and
Queen received him most graciously, and some festivities were
revived to do him honour.
One day when the Prince was visiting the Queen in her own
apartments he was much struck by a most beautiful portrait. He
eagerly inquired whose it was, and the Queen, with many tears,
told him it was all that was left her of her beloved daughter,
who had suddenly been carried off, she knew neither where nor
The Prince was deeply moved, and vowed that he would search the
world for the Princess, and take no rest till he had found and
restored her to her mother's arms. The Queen assured him of her
eternal gratitude, and promised, should he succeed, to give him
her daughter in marriage, together with all the estates she
The Prince, far more attracted by the thoughts of possessing the
Princess than her promised dower, set forth in his quest after
taking leave of the King and Queen, the latter giving him a
miniature of her daughter which she was in the habit of wearing.
His first act was to seek the Fairy under whose protection he had
been placed, and he implored her to give him all the assistance
of her art and counsel in this important matter.
After listening attentively to the whole adventure, the Fairy
asked for time to consult her books. After due consideration she
informed the Prince that the object of his search was not far
distant, but that it was too difficult for him to attempt to
enter the enchanted palace where she was, as the King his father
had surrounded it with a thick cloud, and that the only expedient
she could think of would be to gain possession of the Princess's
parrot. This, she added, did not appear impossible, as it often
flew about to some distance in the neighbourhood.
Having told the Prince all this, the Fairy went out in hopes of
seeing the parrot, and soon returned with the bird in her hand.
She promptly shut it up in a cage, and, touching the Prince with
her wand, transformed him into an exactly similar parrot; after
which, she instructed him how to reach the Princess.
The Prince reached the palace in safety, but was so dazzled at
first by the Princess's beauty, which far surpassed his
expectations, that he was quite dumb for a time. The Princess
was surprised and anxious, and fearing the parrot, who was her
greatest comfort, had fallen ill, she took him in her hand and
caressed him. This soon reassured the Prince, and encouraged him
to play his part well, and he began to say a thousand agreeable
things which charmed the Princess.
Presently the King appeared, and the parrot noticed with joy how
much he was disliked. As soon as the King left, the Princess
retired to her dressing-room, the parrot flew after her and
overheard her lamentations at the continued persecutions of the
King, who had pressed her to consent to their marriage. The
parrot said so many clever and tender things to comfort her that
she began to doubt whether this could indeed be her own parrot.
When he saw her well-disposed towards him, he exclaimed: 'Madam,
I have a most important secret to confide to you, and I beg you
not to be alarmed by what I am about to say. I am here on behalf
of the Queen your mother, with the object of delivering your
Highness; to prove which, behold this portrait which she gave me
herself.' So saying he drew forth the miniature from under his
wing. The Princess's surprise was great, but after what she had
seen and heard it was impossible not to indulge in hope, for she
had recognised the likeness of herself which her mother always
The parrot, finding she was not much alarmed, told her who he
was, all that her mother had promised him and the help he had
already received from a Fairy who had assured him that she would
give him means to transport the Princess to her mother's arms.
When he found her listening attentively to him, he implored the
Princess to allow him to resume his natural shape. She did not
speak, so he drew a feather from his wing, and she beheld before
her a Prince of such surpassing beauty that it was impossible not
to hope that she might owe her liberty to so charming a person.
Meantime the Fairy had prepared a chariot, to which she harnessed
two powerful eagles; then placing the cage, with the parrot in
it, she charged the bird to conduct it to the window of the
Princess's dressing-room. This was done in a few minutes, and
the Princess, stepping into the chariot with the Prince, was
delighted to find her parrot again.
As they rose through the air the Princess remarked a figure
mounted on an eagle's back flying in front of the chariot. She
was rather alarmed, but the Prince reassured her, telling her it
was the good Fairy to whom she owed so much, and who was now
conducting her in safety to her mother.
That same morning the King woke suddenly from a troubled sleep.
He had dreamt that the Princess was being carried off from him,
and, transforming himself into an eagle, he flew to the palace.
When he failed to find her he flew into a terrible rage, and
hastened home to consult his books, by which means he discovered
that it was his son who had deprived him of this precious
treasure. Immediately he took the shape of a harpy, and, filled
with rage, was determined to devour his son, and even the
Princess too, if only he could overtake them.
He set out at full speed; but he started too late, and was
further delayed by a strong wind which the Fairy raised behind
the young couple so as to baffle any pursuit.
You may imagine the rapture with which the Queen received the
daughter she had given up for lost, as well as the amiable Prince
who had rescued her. The Fairy entered with them, and warned the
Queen that the Wizard King would shortly arrive, infuriated by
his loss, and that nothing could preserve the Prince and Princess
from his rage and magic unless they were actually married.
The Queen hastened to inform the King her husband, and the
wedding took place on the spot.
As the ceremony was completed the Wizard King arrived. His
despair at being so late bewildered him so entirely that he
appeared in his natural form and attempted to sprinkle some black
liquid over the bride and bridegroom, which was intended to kill
them, but the Fairy stretched out her wand and the liquid dropped
on the Magician himself. He fell down senseless, and the
Princess's father, deeply offended at the cruel revenge which had
been attempted, ordered him to be removed and locked up in
Now as magicians lose all their power as soon as they are in
prison, the King felt himself much embarrassed at being thus at
the mercy of those he had so greatly offended. The Prince
implored and obtained his father's pardon, and the prison doors
No sooner was this done than the Wizard King was seen in the air
under the form of some unknown bird, exclaiming as he flew off
that he would never forgive either his son or the Fairy the cruel
wrong they had done him.
Everyone entreated the Fairy to settle in the kingdom where she
now was, to which she consented. She built herself a magnificent
palace, to which she transported her books and fairy secrets, and
where she enjoyed the sight of the perfect happiness she had
helped to bestow on the entire royal family.
 From the German. Kletke.
There was once upon a time a miller who was very well off, and
had as much money and as many goods as he knew what to do with.
But sorrow comes in the night, and the miller all of a sudden
became so poor that at last he could hardly call the mill in
which he sat his own. He wandered about all day full of despair
and misery, and when he lay down at night he could get no rest,
but lay awake all night sunk in sorrowful thoughts.
One morning he rose up before dawn and went outside, for he
thought his heart would be lighter in the open air. As he
wandered up and down on the banks of the mill-pond he heard a
rustling in the water, and when he looked near he saw a white
woman rising up from the waves.
He realised at once that this could be none other than the nixy
of the mill-pond, and in his terror he didn't know if he should
fly away or remain where he was. While he hesitated the nixy
spoke, called him by his name, and asked him why he was so sad.
When the miller heard how friendly her tone was, he plucked up
heart and told her how rich and prosperous he had been all his
life up till now, when he didn't know what he was to do for want
Then the nixy spoke comforting words to him, and promised that
she would make him richer and more prosperous than he had ever
been in his life before, if he would give her in return the
youngest thing in his house.
The miller thought she must mean one of his puppies or kittens,
so promised the nixy at once what she asked, and returned to his
mill full of hope. On the threshold he was greeted by a servant
with the news that his wife had just given birth to a boy.
The poor miller was much horrified by these tidings, and went in
to his wife with a heavy heart to tell her and his relations of
the fatal bargain he had just struck with the nixy. 'I would
gladly give up all the good fortune she promised me,' he said,
'if I could only save my child.' But no one could think of any
advice to give him, beyond taking care that the child never went
near the mill-pond.
So the boy throve and grew big, and in the meantime all prospered
with the miller, and in a few years he was richer than he had
ever been before. But all the same he did not enjoy his good
fortune, for he could not forget his compact with the nixy, and
he knew that sooner or later she would demand his fulfilment of
it. But year after year went by, and the boy grew up and became
a great hunter, and the lord of the land took him into his
service, for he was as smart and bold a hunter as you would wish
to see. In a short time he married a pretty young wife, and
lived with her in great peace and happiness.
One day when he was out hunting a hare sprang up at his feet, and
ran for some way in front of him in the open field. The hunter
pursued it hotly for some time, and at last shot it dead. Then
he proceeded to skin it, never noticing that he was close to the
mill-pond, which from childhood up he had been taught to avoid.
He soon finished the skinning, and went to the water to wash the
blood off his hands. He had hardly dipped them in the pond when
the nixy rose up in the water, and seizing him in her wet arms
she dragged him down with her under the waves.
When the hunter did not come home in the evening his wife grew
very anxious, and when his game bag was found close to the
mill-pond she guessed at once what had befallen him. She was
nearly beside herself with grief, and roamed round and round the
pond calling on her husband without ceasing. At last, worn out
with sorrow and fatigue, she fell asleep and dreamt that she was
wandering along a flowery meadow, when she came to a hut where
she found an old witch, who promised to restore her husband to
When she awoke next morning she determined to set out and find
the witch; so she wandered on for many a day, and at last she
reached the flowery meadow and found the hut where the old witch
lived. The poor wife told her all that had happened and how she
had been told in a dream of the witch's power to help her.
The witch counselled her to go to the pond the first time there
was a full moon, and to comb her black hair with a golden comb,
and then to place the comb on the bank. The hunter's wife gave
the witch a handsome present, thanked her heartily, and returned
Time dragged heavily till the time of the full moon, but it
passed at last, and as soon as it rose the young wife went to the
pond, combed her black hair with a golden comb, and when she had
finished, placed the comb on the bank; then she watched the water
impatiently. Soon she heard a rushing sound, and a big wave rose
suddenly and swept the comb off the bank, and a minute after the
head of her husband rose from the pond and gazed sadly at her.
But immediately another wave came, and the head sank back into
the water without having said a word. The pond lay still and
motionless, glittering in the moonshine, and the hunter's wife
was not a bit better off than she had been before.
In despair she wandered about for days and nights, and at last,
worn out by fatigue, she sank once more into a deep sleep, and
dreamt exactly the same dream about the old witch. So next
morning she went again to the flowery meadow and sought the witch
in her hut, and told her of her grief. The old woman counselled
her to go to the mill-pond the next full moon and play upon a
golden flute, and then to lay the flute on the bank.
As soon as the next moon was full the hunter's wife went to the
mill-pond, played on a golden flute, and when she had finished
placed it on the bank. Then a rushing sound was heard, and a
wave swept the flute off the bank, and soon the head of the
hunter appeared and rose up higher and higher till he was half
out of the water. Then he gazed sadly at his wife and stretched
out his arms towards her. But another rushing wave arose and
dragged him under once more. The hunter's wife, who had stood on
the bank full of joy and hope, sank into despair when she saw her
husband snatched away again before her eyes.
But for her comfort she dreamt the same dream a third time, and
betook herself once more to the old witch's hut in the flowery
meadow. This time the old woman told her to go the next full
moon to the mill-pond, and to spin there with a golden spinning-
wheel, and then to leave the spinning-wheel on the bank.
The hunter's wife did as she was advised, and the first night the
moon was full she sat and spun with a golden spinning-wheel, and
then left the wheel on the bank. In a few minutes a rushing
sound was heard in the waters, and a wave swept the
spinning-wheel from the bank. Immediately the head of the hunter
rose up from the pond, getting higher and higher each moment,
till at length he stepped on to the bank and fell on his wife's
But the waters of the pond rose up suddenly, overflowed the bank
where the couple stood, and dragged them under the flood. In her
despair the young wife called on the old witch to help her, and
in a moment the hunter was turned into a frog and his wife into a
toad. But they were not able to remain together, for the water
tore them apart, and when the flood was over they both resumed
their own shapes again, but the hunter and the hunter's wife
found themselves each in a strange country, and neither knew what
had become of the other.
The hunter determined to become a shepherd, and his wife too
became a shepherdess. So they herded their sheep for many years
in solitude and sadness.
Now it happened once that the shepherd came to the country where
the shepherdess lived. The neighbourhood pleased him, and he saw
that the pasture was rich and suitable for his flocks. So he
brought his sheep there, and herded them as before. The shepherd
and shepherdess became great friends, but they did not recognise
each other in the least.
But one evening when the moon was full they sat together watching
their flocks, and the shepherd played upon his flute. Then the
shepherdess thought of that evening when she had sat at the full
moon by the mill-pond and had played on the golden flute; the
recollection was too much for her, and she burst into tears. The
shepherd asked her why she was crying, and left her no peace till
she told him all her story. Then the scales fell from the
shepherd's eyes, and he recognised his wife, and she him. So
they returned joyfully to their own home, and lived in peace and
happiness ever after.
THE GLASS MOUNTAIN
 From the Polish. Kletke.
Once upon a time there was a Glass Mountain at the top of which
stood a castle made of pure gold, and in front of the castle
there grew an apple-tree on which there were golden apples.
Anyone who picked an apple gained admittance into the golden
castle, and there in a silver room sat an enchanted Princess of
surpassing fairness and beauty. She was as rich too as she was
beautiful, for the cellars of the castle were full of precious
stones, and great chests of the finest gold stood round the walls
of all the rooms.
Many knights had come from afar to try their luck, but it was in
vain they attempted to climb the mountain. In spite of having
their horses shod with sharp nails, no one managed to get more
than half-way up, and then they all fell back right down to the
bottom of the steep slippery hill. Sometimes they broke an arm,
sometimes a leg, and many a brave man had broken his neck even.
The beautiful Princess sat at her window and watched the bold
knights trying to reach her on their splendid horses. The sight
of her always gave men fresh courage, and they flocked from the
four quarters of the globe to attempt the work of rescuing her.
But all in vain, and for seven years the Princess had sat now and
waited for some one to scale the Glass Mountain.
A heap of corpses both of riders and horses lay round the
mountain, and many dying men lay groaning there unable to go any
farther with their wounded limbs. The whole neighbourhood had
the appearance of a vast churchyard. In three more days the
seven years would be at an end, when a knight in golden armour
and mounted on a spirited steed was seen making his way towards
the fatal hill.
Sticking his spurs into his horse he made a rush at the mountain,
and got up half-way, then he calmly turned his horse's head and
came down again without a slip or stumble. The following day he
started in the same way; the horse trod on the glass as if it had
been level earth, and sparks of fire flew from its hoofs. All
the other knights gazed in astonishment, for he had almost gained
the summit, and in another moment he would have reached the
apple-tree; but of a sudden a huge eagle rose up and spread its
mighty wings, hitting as it did so the knight's horse in the eye.
The beast shied, opened its wide nostrils and tossed its mane,
then rearing high up in the air, its hind feet slipped and it
fell with its rider down the steep mountain side. Nothing was
left of either of them except their bones, which rattled in the
battered golden armour like dry peas in a pod.
And now there was only one more day before the close of the seven
years. Then there arrived on the scene a mere schoolboy--a
merry, happy-hearted youth, but at the same time strong and
well-grown. He saw how many knights had broken their necks in
vain, but undaunted he approached the steep mountain on foot and
began the ascent.
For long he had heard his parents speak of the beautiful Princess
who sat in the golden castle at the top of the Glass Mountain.
He listened to all he heard, and determined that he too would try
his luck. But first he went to the forest and caught a lynx, and
cutting off the creature's sharp claws, he fastened them on to
his own hands and feet.
Armed with these weapons he boldly started up the Glass Mountain.
The sun was nearly going down, and the youth had not got more
than half-way up. He could hardly draw breath he was so worn
out, and his mouth was parched by thirst. A huge black cloud
passed over his head, but in vain did he beg and beseech her to
let a drop of water fall on him. He opened his mouth, but the
black cloud sailed past and not as much as a drop of dew
moistened his dry lips.
His feet were torn and bleeding, and he could only hold on now
with his hands. Evening closed in, and he strained his eyes to
see if he could behold the top of the mountain. Then he gazed
beneath him, and what a sight met his eyes! A yawning abyss,
with certain and terrible death at the bottom, reeking with
half-decayed bodies of horses and riders! And this had been the
end of all the other brave men who like himself had attempted the
It was almost pitch dark now, and only the stars lit up the Glass
Mountain. The poor boy still clung on as if glued to the glass
by his blood-stained hands. He made no struggle to get higher,
for all his strength had left him, and seeing no hope he calmly
awaited death. Then all of a sudden he fell into a deep sleep,
and forgetful of his dangerous position, he slumbered sweetly.
But all the same, although he slept, he had stuck his sharp claws
so firmly into the glass that he was quite safe not to fall.
Now the golden apple-tree was guarded by the eagle which had
overthrown the golden knight and his horse. Every night it flew
round the Glass Mountain keeping a careful look-out, and no
sooner had the moon emerged from the clouds than the bird rose up
from the apple-tree, and circling round in the air, caught sight
of the sleeping youth.
Greedy for carrion, and sure that this must be a fresh corpse,
the bird swooped down upon the boy. But he was awake now, and
perceiving the eagle, he determined by its help to save himself.
The eagle dug its sharp claws into the tender flesh of the youth,
but he bore the pain without a sound, and seized the bird's two
feet with his hands. The creature in terror lifted him high up
into the air and began to circle round the tower of the castle.
The youth held on bravely. He saw the glittering palace, which
by the pale rays of the moon looked like a dim lamp; and he saw
the high windows, and round one of them a balcony in which the
beautiful Princess sat lost in sad thoughts. Then the boy saw
that he was close to the apple-tree, and drawing a small knife
from his belt, he cut off both the eagle's feet. The bird rose
up in the air in its agony and vanished into the clouds, and the
youth fell on to the broad branches of the apple-tree.
Then he drew out the claws of the eagle's feet that had remained
in his flesh, and put the peel of one of the golden apples on the
wound, and in one moment it was healed and well again. He pulled
several of the beautiful apples and put them in his pocket; then
he entered the castle. The door was guarded by a great dragon,
but as soon as he threw an apple at it, the beast vanished.
At the same moment a gate opened, and the youth perceived a
courtyard full of flowers and beautiful trees, and on a balcony
sat the lovely enchanted Princess with her retinue.
As soon as she saw the youth, she ran towards him and greeted him
as her husband and master. She gave him all her treasures, and
the youth became a rich and mighty ruler. But he never returned
to the earth, for only the mighty eagle, who had been the
guardian of the Princess and of the castle, could have carried on
his wings the enormous treasure down to the world. But as the
eagle had lost its feet it died, and its body was found in a wood
on the Glass Mountain.
. . . . . . .
One day when the youth was strolling about in the palace garden
with the Princess, his wife, he looked down over the edge of the
Glass Mountain and saw to his astonishment a great number of
people gathered there. He blew his silver whistle, and the
swallow who acted as messenger in the golden castle flew past.
'Fly down and ask what the matter is,' he said to the little
bird, who sped off like lightning and soon returned saying:
'The blood of the eagle has restored all the people below to
life. All those who have perished on this mountain are awakening
up to-day, as it were from a sleep, and are mounting their
horses, and the whole population are gazing on this unheard-of
wonder with joy and amazement.'
ALPHEGE, OR THE GREEN MONKEY
Many years ago there lived a King, who was twice married. His
first wife, a good and beautiful woman, died at the birth of her
little son, and the King her husband was so overwhelmed with
grief at her loss that his only comfort was in the sight of his
When the time for the young Prince's christening came the King
chose as godmother a neighbouring Princess, so celebrated for her
wisdom and goodness that she was commonly called 'the Good
Queen.' She named the baby Alphege, and from that moment took
him to her heart.
Time wipes away the greatest griefs, and after two or three years
the King married again. His second wife was a Princess of
undeniable beauty, but by no means of so amiable a disposition as
the first Queen. In due time a second Prince was born, and the
Queen was devoured with rage at the thought that Prince Alphege
came between her son and the throne. She took care however to
conceal her jealous feelings from the King.
At length she could control herself no longer, so she sent a
trusty servant to her old and faithful friend the Fairy of the
Mountain, to beg her to devise some means by which she might get
rid of her stepson.
The Fairy replied that, much as she desired to be agreeable to
the Queen in every way, it was impossible for her to attempt
anything against the young Prince, who was under the protection
of some greater Power than her own.
The 'Good Queen' on her side watched carefully over her godson.
She was obliged to do so from a distance, her own country being a
remote one, but she was well informed of all that went on and
knew all about the Queen's wicked designs. She therefore sent
the Prince a large and splendid ruby, with injunctions to wear it
night and day as it would protect him from all attacks, but added
that the talisman only retained its power as long as the Prince
remained within his father's dominions. The Wicked Queen knowing
this made every attempt to get the Prince out of the country, but
her efforts failed, till one day accident did what she was unable
The King had an only sister who was deeply attached to him, and
who was married to the sovereign of a distant country. She had
always kept up a close correspondence with her brother, and the
accounts she heard of Prince Alphege made her long to become
acquainted with so charming a nephew. She entreated the King to
allow the Prince to visit her, and after some hesitation which
was overruled by his wife, he finally consented.
Prince Alphege was at this time fourteen years old, and the
handsomest and most engaging youth imaginable. In his infancy he
had been placed in the charge of one of the great ladies of the
Court, who, according to the prevailing custom, acted first as
his head nurse and then as his governess. When he outgrew her
care her husband was appointed as his tutor and governor, so that
he had never been separated from this excellent couple, who loved
him as tenderly as they did their only daughter Zayda, and were
warmly loved by him in return.
When the Prince set forth on his travels it was but natural that
this devoted couple should accompany him, and accordingly he
started with them and attended by a numerous retinue.
For some time he travelled through his father's dominions and all
went well; but soon after passing the frontier they had to cross
a desert plain under a burning sun. They were glad to take
shelter under a group of trees near, and here the Prince
complained of burning thirst. Luckily a tiny stream ran close by
and some water was soon procured, but no sooner had he tasted it
than he sprang from his carriage and disappeared in a moment. In
vain did his anxious followers seek for him, he was nowhere to be
As they were hunting and shouting through the trees a black
monkey suddenly appeared on a point of rock and said: 'Poor
sorrowing people, you are seeking your Prince in vain. Return to
your own country and know that he will not be restored to you
till you have for some time failed to recognise him.'
With these words he vanished, leaving the courtiers sadly
perplexed; but as all their efforts to find the Prince were
useless they had no choice but to go home, bringing with them the
sad news, which so greatly distressed the King that he fell ill
and died not long after.
The Queen, whose ambition was boundless, was delighted to see the
crown on her son's head and to have the power in her own hands.
Her hard rule made her very unpopular, and it was commonly
believed that she had made away with Prince Alphege. Indeed, had
the King her son not been deservedly beloved a revolution would
certainly have arisen.
Meantime the former governess of the unfortunate Alphege, who had
lost her husband soon after the King's death, retired to her own
house with her daughter, who grew up a lovely and most loveable
girl, and both continued to mourn the loss of their dear Prince.
The young King was devoted to hunting, and often indulged in his
favourite pastime, attended by the noblest youths in his kingdom.
One day, after a long morning's chase he stopped to rest near a
brook in the shade of a little wood, where a splendid tent had
been prepared for him. Whilst at luncheon he suddenly spied a
little monkey of the brightest green sitting on a tree and gazing
so tenderly at him that he felt quite moved. He forbade his
courtiers to frighten it, and the monkey, noticing how much
attention was being paid him, sprang from bough to bough, and at
length gradually approached the King, who offered him some food.
The monkey took it very daintily and finally came to the table.
The King took him on his knees, and, delighted with his capture,
brought him home with him. He would trust no one else with its
care, and the whole Court soon talked of nothing but the pretty
One morning, as Prince Alphege's governess and her daughter were
alone together, the little monkey sprang in through an open
window. He had escaped from the palace, and his manners were so
gentle and caressing that Zayda and her mother soon got over the
first fright he had given them. He had spent some time with them
and quite won their hearts by his insinuating ways, when the King
discovered where he was and sent to fetch him back. But the
monkey made such piteous cries, and seemed so unhappy when anyone
attempted to catch him, that the two ladies begged the King to
leave him a little longer with them, to which he consented.
One evening, as they sat by the fountain in the garden, the
little monkey kept gazing at Zayda with such sad and loving eyes
that she and her mother could not think what to make of it, and
they were still more surprised when they saw big tears rolling
down his cheeks.
Next day both mother and daughter were sitting in a jessamine
bower in the garden, and they began to talk of the green monkey
and his strange ways. The mother said, 'My dear child, I can no
longer hide my feelings from you. I cannot get the thought out
of my mind that the green monkey is no other than our beloved
Prince Alphege, transformed in this strange fashion. I know the
idea sounds wild, but I cannot get it out of my heart, and it
leaves me no peace.'
As she spoke she glanced up, and there sat the little monkey,
whose tears and gestures seemed to confirm her words.
The following night the elder lady dreamt that she saw the Good
Queen, who said, 'Do not weep any longer but follow my
directions. Go into your garden and lift up the little marble
slab at the foot of the great myrtle tree. You will find beneath
it a crystal vase filled with a bright green liquid. Take it
with you and place the thing which is at present most in your
thoughts into a bath filled with roses and rub it well with the
At these words the sleeper awoke, and lost no time in rising and
hurrying to the garden, where she found all as the Good Queen had
described. Then she hastened to rouse her daughter and together
they prepared the bath, for they would not let their women know
what they were about. Zayda gathered quantities of roses, and
when all was ready they put the monkey into a large jasper bath,
where the mother rubbed him all over with the green liquid.
Their suspense was not long, for suddenly the monkey skin dropped
off, and there stood Prince Alphege, the handsomest and most
charming of men. The joy of such a meeting was beyond words.
After a time the ladies begged the Prince to relate his
adventures, and he told them of all his sufferings in the desert
when he was first transformed. His only comfort had been in
visits from the Good Queen, who had at length put him in the way
of meeting his brother.
Several days were spent in these interesting conversations, but
at length Zayda's mother began to think of the best means for
placing the Prince on the throne, which was his by right.
The Queen on her side was feeling very anxious. She had felt
sure from the first that her son's pet monkey was no other than
Prince Alphege, and she longed to put an end to him. Her
suspicions were confirmed by the Fairy of the Mountain, and she
hastened in tears to the King, her son.
'I am informed,' she cried, 'that some ill-disposed people have
raised up an impostor in the hopes of dethroning you. You must
at once have him put to death.'
The King, who was very brave, assured the Queen that he would
soon punish the conspirators. He made careful inquiries into the
matter, and thought it hardly probable that a quiet widow and a
young girl would think of attempting anything of the nature of a
He determined to go and see them, and to find out the truth for
himself; so one night, without saying anything to the Queen or
his ministers, he set out for the palace where the two ladies
lived, attended only by a small band of followers.
The two ladies were at the moment deep in conversation with
Prince Alphege, and hearing a knocking so late at night begged
him to keep out of sight for a time. What was their surprise
when the door was opened to see the King and his suite.
'I know,' said the King, 'that you are plotting against my crown
and person, and I have come to have an explanation with you.'
As she was about to answer Prince Alphege, who had heard all,
came forward and said, 'It is from me you must ask an
explanation, brother.' He spoke with such grace and dignity that
everyone gazed at him with mute surprise.
At length the King, recovering from his astonishment at
recognising the brother who had been lost some years before,
exclaimed, 'Yes, you are indeed my brother, and now that I have
found you, take the throne to which I have no longer a right.'
So saying, he respectfully kissed the Prince's hand.
Alphege threw himself into his arms, and the brothers hastened to
the royal palace, where in the presence of the entire court he
received the crown from his brother's hand. To clear away any
possible doubt, he showed the ruby which the Good Queen had given
him in his childhood. As they were gazing at it, it suddenly
split with a loud noise, and at the same moment the Wicked Queen
King Alphege lost no time in marrying his dear and lovely Zayda,
and his joy was complete when the Good Queen appeared at his
wedding. She assured him that the Fairy of the Mountain had
henceforth lost all power over him, and after spending some time
with the young couple, and bestowing the most costly presents on
them, she retired to her own country.
King Alphege insisted on his brother sharing his throne, and they
all lived to a good old age, universally beloved and admired.
Once there lived a King who had no children for many years after
his marriage. At length heaven granted him a daughter of such
remarkable beauty that he could think of no name so appropriate
for her as 'Fairer-than-a-Fairy.'
It never occurred to the good-natured monarch that such a name
was certain to call down the hatred and jealousy of the fairies
in a body on the child, but this was what happened. No sooner
had they heard of this presumptuous name than they resolved to
gain possession of her who bore it, and either to torment her
cruelly, or at least to conceal her from the eyes of all men.
The eldest of their tribe was entrusted to carry out their
revenge. This Fairy was named Lagree; she was so old that she
only had one eye and one tooth left, and even these poor remains
she had to keep all night in a strengthening liquid. She was
also so spiteful that she gladly devoted all her time to carrying
out all the mean or ill-natured tricks of the whole body of
With her large experience, added to her native spite, she found
but little difficulty in carrying off Fairer-than-a-Fairy. The
poor child, who was only seven years old, nearly died of fear on
finding herself in the power of this hideous creature. However,
when after an hour's journey underground she found herself in a
splendid palace with lovely gardens, she felt a little reassured,
and was further cheered when she discovered that her pet cat and
dog had followed her.
The old Fairy led her to a pretty room which she said should be
hers, at the same time giving her the strictest orders never to
let out the fire which was burning brightly in the grate. She
then gave two glass bottles into the Princess's charge, desiring
her to take the greatest care of them, and having enforced her
orders with the most awful threats in case of disobedience, she
vanished, leaving the little girl at liberty to explore the
palace and grounds and a good deal relieved at having only two
apparently easy tasks set her.
Several years passed, during which time the Princess grew
accustomed to her lonely life, obeyed the Fairy's orders, and by
degrees forgot all about the court of the King her father.
One day, whilst passing near a fountain in the garden, she
noticed that the sun's rays fell on the water in such a manner as
to produce a brilliant rainbow. She stood still to admire it,
when, to her great surprise, she heard a voice addressing her
which seemed to come from the centre of its rays. The voice was
that of a young man, and its sweetness of tone and the agreeable
things it uttered, led one to infer that its owner must be
equally charming; but this had to be a mere matter of fancy, for
no one was visible.
The beautiful Rainbow informed Fairer-than-a-Fairy that he was
young, the son of a powerful king, and that the Fairy, Lagree,
who owed his parents a grudge, had revenged herself by depriving
him of his natural shape for some years; that she had imprisoned
him in the palace, where he had found his confinement hard to
bear for some time, but now, he owned, he no longer sighed for
freedom since he had seen and learned to love
He added many other tender speeches to this declaration, and the
Princess, to whom such remarks were a new experience, could not
help feeling pleased and touched by his attentions.
The Prince could only appear or speak under the form of a
Rainbow, and it was therefore necessary that the sun should shine
on water so as to enable the rays to form themselves.
Fairer-than-a-Fairy lost no moment in which she could meet her
lover, and they enjoyed many long and interesting interviews.
One day, however, their conversation became so absorbing and time
passed so quickly that the Princess forgot to attend to the fire,
and it went out. Lagree, on her return, soon found out the
neglect, and seemed only too pleased to have the opportunity of
showing her spite to her lovely prisoner. She ordered
Fairer-than-a-Fairy to start next day at dawn to ask Locrinos for
fire with which to relight the one she had allowed to go out.
Now this Locrinos was a cruel monster who devoured everyone he
came across, and especially enjoyed a chance of catching and
eating any young girls. Our heroine obeyed with great sweetness,
and without having been able to take leave of her lover she set
off to go to Locrinos as to certain death. As she was crossing a
wood a bird sang to her to pick up a shining pebble which she
would find in a fountain close by, and to use it when needed.
She took the bird's advice, and in due time arrived at the house
of Locrinos. Luckily she only found his wife at home, who was
much struck by the Princess's youth and beauty and sweet gentle
manners, and still further impressed by the present of the
She readily let Fairer-than-a-Fairy have the fire, and in return
for the stone she gave her another, which, she said, might prove
useful some day. Then she sent her away without doing her any
Lagree was as much surprised as displeased at the happy result of
this expedition, and Fairer-than-a Fairy waited anxiously for an
opportunity of meeting Prince Rainbow and telling him her
adventures. She found, however, that he had already been told
all about them by a Fairy who protected him, and to whom he was
The dread of fresh dangers to his beloved Princess made him
devise some more convenient way of meeting than by the garden
fountain, and Fairer-than-a-Fairy carried out his plan daily with
entire success. Every morning she placed a large basin full of
water on her window-sill, and as soon as the sun's rays fell on
the water the Rainbow appeared as clearly as it had ever done in
the fountain. By this means they were able to meet without
losing sight of the fire or of the two bottles in which the old
Fairy kept her eye and her tooth at night, and for some time the
lovers enjoyed every hour of sunshine together.
One day Prince Rainbow appeared in the depths of woe. He had
just heard that he was to be banished from this lovely spot, but
he had no idea where he was to go. The poor young couple were in
despair, and only parted with the last ray of sunshine, and in
hopes of meeting next morning. Alas! next day was dark and
gloomy, and it was only late in the afternoon that the sun broke
through the clouds for a few minutes.
Fairer-than-a-Fairy eagerly ran to the window, but in her haste
she upset the basin, and spilt all the water with which she had
carefully filled it overnight. No other water was at hand except
that in the two bottles. It was the only chance of seeing her
lover before they were separated, and she did not hesitate to
break the bottle and pour their contents into the basin, when the
Rainbow appeared at once. Their farewells were full of
tenderness; the Prince made the most ardent and sincere
protestations, and promised to neglect nothing which might help
to deliver his dear Fairer-than-a-Fairy from her captivity, and
implored her to consent to their marriage as soon as they should
both be free. The Princess, on her side, vowed to have no other
husband, and declared herself willing to brave death itself in
order to rejoin him.
They were not allowed much time for their adieus; the Rainbow
vanished, and the Princess, resolved to run all risks, started
off at once, taking nothing with her but her dog, her cat, a
sprig of myrtle, and the stone which the wife of Locrinos gave
When Lagree became aware of her prisoner's flight she was
furious, and set off at full speed in pursuit. She overtook her
just as the poor girl, overcome by fatigue, had lain down to rest
in a cave which the stone had formed itself into to shelter her.
The little dog who was watching her mistress promptly flew at
Lagree and bit her so severely that she stumbled against a corner
of the cave and broke off her only tooth. Before she had
recovered from the pain and rage this caused her, the Princess
had time to escape, and was some way on her road. Fear gave her
strength for some time, but at last she could go no further, and
sank down to rest. As she did so, the sprig of myrtle she
carried touched the ground, and immediately a green and shady
bower sprang up round her, in which she hoped to sleep in peace.
But Lagree had not given up her pursuit, and arrived just as
Fairer-than-a-Fairy had fallen fast asleep. This time she made
sure of catching her victim, but the cat spied her out, and,
springing from one of the boughs of the arbour she flew at
Lagree's face and tore out her only eye, thus delivering the
Princess for ever from her persecutor.
One might have thought that all would now be well, but no sooner
had Lagree been put to fight than our heroine was overwhelmed
with hunger and thirst. She felt as though she should certainly
expire, and it was with some difficulty that she dragged herself
as far as a pretty little green and white house, which stood at
no great distance. Here she was received by a beautiful lady
dressed in green and white to match the house, which apparently
belonged to her, and of which she seemed the only inhabitant.
She greeted the fainting Princess most kindly, gave her an
excellent supper, and after a long night's rest in a delightful
bed told her that after many troubles she should finally attain
As the green and white lady took leave of the Princess she gave
her a nut, desiring her only to open it in the most urgent need.
After a long and tiring journey Fairer-than-a-Fairy was once more
received in a house, and by a lady exactly like the one she had
quitted. Here again she received a present with the same
injunctions, but instead of a nut this lady gave her a golden
pomegranate. The mournful Princess had to continue her weary
way, and after many troubles and hardships she again found rest
and shelter in a third house exactly similar to the two others.
These houses belonged to three sisters, all endowed with fairy
gifts, and all so alike in mind and person that they wished their
houses and garments to be equally alike. Their occupation
consisted in helping those in misfortune, and they were as gentle
and benevolent as Lagree had been cruel and spiteful.
The third Fairy comforted the poor traveller, begged her not to
lose heart, and assured her that her troubles should be rewarded.
She accompanied her advice by the gift of a crystal
smelling-bottle, with strict orders only to open it in case of
urgent need. Fairer-than- a-Fairy thanked her warmly, and
resumed her way cheered by pleasant thoughts.
After a time her road led through a wood, full of soft airs and
sweet odours, and before she had gone a hundred yards she saw a
wonderful silver Castle suspended by strong silver chains to four
of the largest trees. It was so perfectly hung that a gentle
breeze rocked it sufficiently to send you pleasantly to sleep.
Fairer-than-a-Fairy felt a strong desire to enter this Castle,
but besides being hung a little above the ground there seemed to
be neither doors nor windows. She had no doubt (though really I
cannot think why) that the moment had come in which to use the
nut which had been given her. She opened it, and out came a
diminutive hall porter at whose belt hung a tiny chain, at the
end of which was a golden key half as long as the smallest pin
you ever saw.
The Princess climbed up one of the silver chains, holding in her
hand the little porter who, in spite of his minute size, opened a
secret door with his golden key and let her in. She entered a
magnificent room which appeared to occupy the entire Castle, and
which was lighted by gold and jewelled stars in the ceiling. In
the midst of this room stood a couch, draped with curtains of all
the colours of the rainbow, and suspended by golden cords so that
it swayed with the Castle in a manner which rocked its occupant
delightfully to sleep.
On this elegant couch lay Prince Rainbow, looking more beautiful
than ever, and sunk in profound slumber, in which he had been
held ever since his disappearance.
Fairy-than-a-Fairy, who now saw him for the first time in his
real shape, hardly dared to gaze at him, fearing lest his
appearance might not be in keeping with the voice and language
which had won her heart. At the same time she could not help
feeling rather hurt at the apparent indifference with which she
She related all the dangers and difficulties she had gone
through, and though she repeated the story twenty times in a loud
clear voice, the Prince slept on and took no heed. She then had
recourse to the golden pomegranate, and on opening it found that
all the seeds were as many little violins which flew up in the
vaulted roof and at once began playing melodiously.
The Prince was not completely roused, but he opened his eyes a
little and looked all the handsomer.
Impatient at not being recognised, Fairer-than-a-Fairy now drew
out her third present, and on opening the crystal scent-bottle a
little syren flew out, who silenced the violins and then sang
close to the Prince's ear the story of all his lady love had
suffered in her search for him. She added some gentle reproaches
to her tale, but before she had got far he was wide awake, and
transported with joy threw himself at the Princess's feet. At
the same moment the walls of the room expanded and opened out,
revealing a golden throne covered with jewels. A magnificent
Court now began to assemble, and at the same time several elegant
carriages filled with ladies in magnificent dresses drove up. In
the first and most splendid of these carriages sat Prince
Rainbow's mother. She fondly embraced her son, after which she
informed him that his father had been dead for some years, that
the anger of the Fairies was at length appeased, and that he
might return in peace to reign over his people, who were longing
for his presence.
The Court received the new King with joyful acclamations which
would have delighted him at any other time, but all his thoughts
were full of Fairer-than-a-Fairy. He was just about to present
her to his mother and the Court, feeling sure that her charms
would win all hearts, when the three green and white sisters
They declared the secret of Fairy-than-a-Fairy's royal birth, and
the Queen taking the two lovers in her carriage set off with them
for the capital of the kingdom.
Here they were received with tumultuous joy. The wedding was
celebrated without delay, and succeeding years diminished neither
the virtues, beauty, nor the mutual affection of King Rainbow and
his Queen, Fairer-than-a-Fairy.
THE THREE BROTHERS
 From the Polish. Kletke.
There was once upon a time a witch, who in the shape of a hawk
used every night to break the windows of a certain village
church. In the same village there lived three brothers, who were
all determined to kill the mischievous hawk. But in vain did the
two eldest mount guard in the church with their guns; as soon as
the bird appeared high above their heads, sleep overpowered them,
and they only awoke to hear the windows crashing in.
Then the youngest brother took his turn of guarding the windows,
and to prevent his being overcome by sleep he placed a lot of
thorns under his chin, so that if he felt drowsy and nodded his
head, they would prick him and keep him awake.
The moon was already risen, and it was as light as day, when
suddenly he heard a fearful noise, and at the same time a
terrible desire to sleep overpowered him.
His eyelids closed, and his head sank on his shoulders, but the
thorns ran into him and were so painful that he awoke at once.
He saw the hawk swooping down upon the church, and in a moment he
had seized his gun and shot at the bird. The hawk fell heavily
under a big stone, severely wounded in its right wing. The youth
ran to look at it, and saw that a huge abyss had opened below the
stone. He went at once to fetch his brothers, and with their
help dragged a lot of pine-wood and ropes to the spot. They
fastened some of the burning pine-wood to the end of the rope,
and let it slowly down to the bottom of the abyss. At first it
was quite dark, and the flaming torch only lit up dirty grey
stone walls. But the youngest brother determined to explore the
abyss, and letting himself down by the rope he soon reached the
bottom. Here he found a lovely meadow full of green trees and
In the middle of the meadow stood a huge stone castle, with an
iron gate leading to it, which was wide open. Everything in the
castle seemed to be made of copper, and the only inhabitant he
could discover was a lovely girl, who was combing her golden
hair; and he noticed that whenever one of her hairs fell on the
ground it rang out like pure metal. The youth looked at her more
closely, and saw that her skin was smooth and fair, her blue eyes
bright and sparkling, and her hair as golden as the sun. He fell
in love with her on the spot, and kneeling at her feet, he
implored her to become his wife.
The lovely girl accepted his proposal gladly; but at the same
time she warned him that she could never come up to the world
above till her mother, the old witch, was dead. And she went on
to tell him that the only way in which the old creature could be
killed was with the sword that hung up in the castle; but the
sword was so heavy that no one could lift it.
Then the youth went into a room in the castle where everything
was made of silver, and here he found another beautiful girl, the
sister of his bride. She was combing her silver hair, and every
hair that fell on the ground rang out like pure metal. The
second girl handed him the sword, but though he tried with all
his strength he could not lift it. At last a third sister came
to him and gave him a drop of something to drink, which she said
would give him the needful strength. He drank one drop, but
still he could not lift the sword; then he drank a second, and
the sword began to move; but only after he had drunk a third drop
was he able to swing the sword over his head.
Then he hid himself in the castle and awaited the old witch's
arrival. At last as it was beginning to grow dark she appeared.
She swooped down upon a big apple-tree, and after shaking some
golden apples from it, she pounced down upon the earth. As soon
as her feet touched the ground she became transformed from a hawk
into a woman. This was the moment the youth was waiting for, and
he swung his mighty sword in the air with all his strength and
the witch's head fell off, and her blood spurted up on the walls.
Without fear of any further danger, he packed up all the
treasures of the castle into great chests, and gave his brothers
a signal to pull them up out of the abyss. First the treasures
were attached to the rope and then the three lovely girls. And
now everything was up above and only he himself remained below.
But as he was a little suspicious of his brothers, he fastened a
heavy stone on to the rope and let them pull it up. At first
they heaved with a will, but when the stone was half way up they
let it drop suddenly, and it fell to the bottom broken into a
'So that's what would have happened to my bones had I trusted
myself to them,' said the youth sadly; and he began to cry
bitterly, not because of the treasures, but because of the lovely
girl with her swanlike neck and golden hair.
For a long time he wandered sadly all through the beautiful
underworld, and one day he met a magician who asked him the cause
of his tears. The youth told him all that had befallen him, and
the magician said:
'Do not grieve, young man! If you will guard the children who
are hidden in the golden apple-tree, I will bring you at once up
to the earth. Another magician who lives in this land always
eats my children up. It is in vain that I have hidden them under
the earth and locked them into the castle. Now I have hidden
them in the apple-tree; hide yourself there too, and at midnight
you will see my enemy.'
The youth climbed up the tree, and picked some of the beautiful
golden apples, which he ate for his supper.
At midnight the wind began to rise, and a rustling sound was
heard at the foot of the tree. The youth looked down and beheld
a long thick serpent beginning to crawl up the tree. It wound
itself round the stem and gradually got higher and higher. It
stretched its huge head, in which the eyes glittered fiercely,
among the branches, searching for the nest in which the little
children lay. They trembled with terror when they saw the
hideous creature, and hid themselves beneath the leaves.
Then the youth swung his mighty sword in the air, and with one
blow cut off the serpent's head. He cut up the rest of the body
into little bits and strewed them to the four winds.
The father of the rescued children was so delighted over the
death of his enemy that he told the youth to get on his back, and
in this way he carried him up to the world above.
With what joy did he hurry now to his brothers' house! He burst
into a room where they were all assembled, but no one knew who he
was. Only his bride, who was serving as cook to her sisters,
recognised her lover at once.
His brothers, who had quite believed he was dead, yielded him up
his treasures at once, and flew into the woods in terror. But
the good youth forgave them all they had done, and divided his
treasures with them. Then he built himself a big castle with
golden windows, and there he lived happily with his golden-haired
wife till the end of their lives.
THE BOY AND THE WOLVES, OR THE BROKEN PROMISE
 A North American Indian story.
Once upon a time an Indian hunter built himself a house in the
middle of a great forest, far away from all his tribe; for his
heart was gentle and kind, and he was weary of the treachery and
cruel deeds of those who had been his friends. So he left them,
and took his wife and three children, and they journeyed on until
they found a spot near to a clear stream, where they began to cut
down trees, and to make ready their wigwam. For many years they
lived peacefully and happily in this sheltered place, never
leaving it except to hunt the wild animals, which served them
both for food and clothes. At last, however, the strong man felt
sick, and before long he knew he must die.
So he gathered his family round him, and said his last words to
them. 'You, my wife, the companion of my days, will follow me
ere many moons have waned to the island of the blest. But for
you, O my children, whose lives are but newly begun, the
wickedness, unkindness, and ingratitude from which I fled are
before you. Yet I shall go hence in peace, my children, if you
will promise always to love each other, and never to forsake your
'Never!' they replied, holding out their hands. And the hunter
Scarcely eight moons had passed when, just as he had said, the
wife went forth, and followed her husband; but before leaving her
children she bade the two elder ones think of their promise never
to forsake the younger, for he was a child, and weak. And while
the snow lay thick upon the ground, they tended him and cherished
him; but when the earth showed green again, the heart of the
young man stirred within him, and he longed to see the wigwams of
the village where his father's youth was spent.
Therefore he opened all his heart to his sister, who answered:
'My brother, I understand your longing for our fellow-men, whom
here we cannot see. But remember our father's words. Shall we
not seek our own pleasures, and forget the little one?'
But he would not listen, and, making no reply, he took his bow
and arrows and left the hut. The snows fell and melted, yet he
never returned; and at last the heart of the girl grew cold and
hard, and her little boy became a burden in her eyes, till one
day she spoke thus to him: 'See, there is food for many days to
come. Stay here within the shelter of the hut. I go to seek our
brother, and when I have found him I shall return hither.'
But when, after hard journeying, she reached the village where
her brother dwelt, and saw that he had a wife and was happy, and
when she, too, was sought by a young brave, then she also forgot
the boy alone in the forest, and thought only of her husband.
Now as soon as the little boy had eaten all the food which his
sister had left him, he went out into the woods, and gathered
berries and dug up roots, and while the sun shone he was
contented and had his fill. But when the snows began and the
wind howled, then his stomach felt empty and his limbs cold, and
he hid in trees all the night, and only crept out to eat what the
wolves had left behind. And by-and-by, having no other friends,
he sought their company, and sat by while they devoured their
prey, and they grew to know him, and gave him food. And without
them he would have died in the snow.
But at last the snows melted, and the ice upon the great lake,
and as the wolves went down to the shore, the boy went after
them. And it happened one day that his big brother was fishing
in his canoe near the shore, and he heard the voice of a child
singing in the Indian tone--
'My brother, my brother!
I am becoming a wolf,
I am becoming a wolf!'
And when he had so sung he howled as wolves howl. Then the heart
of the elder sunk, and he hastened towards him, crying, 'Brother,
little brother, come to me;' but he, being half a wolf, only
continued his song. And the louder the elder called him,
'Brother, little brother, come to me,' the swifter he fled after
his brothers the wolves, and the heavier grew his skin, till,
with a long howl, he vanished into the depths of the forest.
So, with shame and anguish in his soul, the elder brother went
back to his village, and, with his sister, mourned the little boy
and the broken promise till the end of his life.
THE GLASS AXE
 From the Hungarian. Kletke.
There was once upon a time a King and Queen who had everything
they could possibly wish for in this world except a child. At
last, after twelve years, the Queen gave birth to a son; but she
did not live long to enjoy her happiness, for on the following
day she died. But before her death she called her husband to her
and said, 'Never let the child put his feet on the ground, for as
soon as he does so he will fall into the power of a wicked Fairy,
who will do him much harm.' And these were the last words the
poor Queen spoke.
The boy throve and grew big, and when he was too heavy for his
nurse to carry, a chair was made for him on little wheels, in
which he could wander through the palace gardens without help; at
other times he was carried about on a litter, and he was always
carefully watched and guarded for fear he should at any time put
his feet to the ground.
But as this sort of life was bad for his health, the doctors
ordered him horse exercise, and he soon became a first-rate
rider, and used to go out for long excursions on horseback,
accompanied always by his father's stud-groom and a numerous
Every day he rode through the neighbouring fields and woods, and
always returned home in the evening safe and well. In this way
many years passed, and the Prince grew to manhood, and hardly
anyone remembered the Queen's warning, though precautions were
still taken, more from use and wont than for any other reason.
One day the Prince and his suite went out for a ride in a wood
where his father sometimes held a hunt. Their way led through a
stream whose banks were overgrown with thick brushwood. Just as
the horsemen were about to ford the river, a hare, startled by
the sound of the horses' hoofs, started up from the grass and ran
towards the thicket. The young Prince pursued the little
creature, and had almost overtaken it, when the girth of his
saddle suddenly broke in two and he fell heavily to the ground.
No sooner had his foot touched the earth than he disappeared
before the eyes of the horrified courtiers.
They sought for him far and near, but all in vain, and they were
forced to recognise the power of the evil Fairy, against which
the Queen had warned them on her death-bed. The old King was
much grieved when they brought him the news of his son's
disappearance, but as he could do nothing to free him from his
fate, he gave himself up to an old age of grief and loneliness,
cherishing at the same time the hope that some lucky chance might
one day deliver the youth out of the hands of his enemy.
Hardly had the Prince touched the ground than he felt himself
violently seized by an unseen power, and hurried away he knew not
whither. A whole new world stretched out before him, quite
unlike the one he had left. A splendid castle surrounded by a
huge lake was the abode of the Fairy, and the only approach to it
was over a bridge of clouds. On the other side of the lake high
mountains rose up, and dark woods stretched along the banks; over
all hung a thick mist, and deep silence reigned everywhere.
No sooner had the Fairy reached her own domain than she made
herself visible, and turning to the Prince she told him that
unless he obeyed all her commands down to the minutest detail he
would be severely punished. Then she gave him an axe made of
glass, and bade him cross the bridge of clouds and go into the
wood beyond and cut down all the trees there before sunset. At
the same time she cautioned him with many angry words against
speaking to a black girl he would most likely meet in the wood.
The Prince listened to her words meekly, and when she had
finished took up the glass axe and set out for the forest. At
every step he seemed to sink into the clouds, but fear gave wings
to his feet, and he crossed the lake in safety and set to work at
But no sooner had he struck the first blow with his axe than it
broke into a thousand pieces against the tree. The poor youth
was so terrified he did not know what to do, for he was in mortal
dread of the punishment the wicked old Fairy would inflict on
him. He wandered to and fro in the wood, not knowing where he
was going, and at last, worn out by fatigue and misery, he sank
on the ground and fell fast asleep.
He did not know how long he had slept when a sudden sound awoke
him, and opening his eyes he saw a black girl standing beside
him. Mindful of the Fairy's warning he did not dare to address
her, but she on her part greeted him in the most friendly manner,
and asked him at once if he were under the power of the wicked
Fairy. The Prince nodded his head silently in answer.
Then the black girl told him that she too was in the power of the
Fairy, who had doomed her to wander about in her present guise
until some youth should take pity on her and bear her in safety
to the other side of the river which they saw in the distance,
and on the other side of which the Fairy's domain and power
The girl's words so inspired the Prince with confidence that he
told her all his tale of woe, and ended up by asking her advice
as to how he was to escape the punishment the Fairy would be sure
to inflict on him when she discovered that he had not cut down
the trees in the wood and that he had broken her axe.
'You must know,' answered the black girl, 'that the Fairy in
whose power we both are is my own mother, but you must not betray
this secret, for it would cost me my life. If you will only
promise to try and free me I will stand by you, and will
accomplish for you all the tasks which my mother sets you.'
The Prince promised joyfully all she asked; then having once more
warned him not to betray her confidence, she handed him a draught
to drink which very soon sunk his senses in a deep slumber.
His astonishment was great when he awoke to find the glass axe
whole and unbroken at his side, and all the trees of the wood
lying felled around him!
He made all haste across the bridge of clouds, and told the Fairy
that her commands were obeyed. She was much amazed when she
heard that all the wood was cut down, and saw the axe unbroken in
his hand, and since she could not believe that he had done all
this by himself, she questioned him narrowly if he had seen or
spoken to the black girl. But the Prince lied manfully, and
swore he had never looked up from his work for a moment. Seeing
she could get nothing more out of him, she gave him a little
bread and water, and showing him to a small dark cupboard she
told him he might sleep there.
Morning had hardly dawned when the Fairy awoke the Prince, and
giving him the glass axe again she told him to cut up all the
wood he had felled the day before, and to put it in bundles ready
for firewood; at the same time she warned him once more against
approaching or speaking a word to the black girl if he met her in
Although his task was no easier than that of the day before, the
youth set out much more cheerfully, because he knew he could
count an the help of the black girl. With quicker and lighter
step he crossed the bridge of clouds, and hardly had he reached
the other side than his friend stood before him and greeted him
cheerfully. When she heard what the Fairy demanded this time,
she answered smilingly, 'Never fear,' and handed him another
draught, which very soon caused the Prince to sink into a deep
When he awoke everything, was done. All the trees of the wood
were cut up into firewood and arranged in bundles ready for use.
He returned to the castle as quickly as he could, and told the
Fairy that her commands were obeyed. She was even more amazed
than she had been before, and asked him again if he had either
seen or spoken to the black girl; but the Prince knew better than
to betray his word, and once more lied freely.
On the following day the Fairy set him a third task to do, even
harder than the other two. She told him he must build a castle
on the other side of the lake, made of nothing but gold, silver,
and precious stones, and unless he could accomplish this within
an hour, the most frightful doom awaited him.
The Prince heard her words without anxiety, so entirely did he
rely on the help of his black friend. Full of hope he hurried
across the bridge, and recognised at once the spot where the
castle was to stand, for spades, hammers, axes, and every other
building implement lay scattered on the ground ready for the
workman's hand, but of gold, silver, and precious stones there
was not a sign. But before the Prince had time to feel
despondent the black girl beckoned to him in the distance from
behind a rock, where she had hidden herself for fear her mother
should catch sight of her. Full of joy the youth hurried towards
her, and begged her aid and counsel in the new piece of work he
had been given to do.
But this time the Fairy had watched the Prince's movements from
her window, and she saw him hiding himself behind the rock with
her daughter. She uttered a piercing shriek so that the
mountains re-echoed with the sound of it, and the terrified pair
had hardly dared to look out from their hiding-place when the
enraged woman, with her dress and hair flying in the wind,
hurried over the bridge of clouds. The Prince at once gave
himself up for lost, but the girl told him to be of good courage
and to follow her as quickly as he could. But before they left
their shelter she broke off a little bit of the rock, spoke some
magic words over it, and threw it in the direction her mother was
coming from. In a moment a glittering palace arose before the
eyes of the Fairy which blinded her with its dazzling splendour,
and with its many doors and passages prevented her for some time
from finding her way out of it.
In the meantime the black girl hurried on with the Prince,
hastening to reach the river, where once on the other side they
would for ever be out of the wicked Fairy's power. But before
they had accomplished half the way they heard again the rustle of
her garments and her muttered curses pursuing them closely.
The Prince was terrified; he dared not look back, and he felt his
strength giving way. But before he had time to despair the girl
uttered some more magic words, and immediately she herself was
changed into a pond, and the Prince into a duck swimming on its
When the Fairy saw this her rage knew no bounds, and she used all
her magic wits to make the pond disappear; she caused a hill of
sand to arise at her feet, meaning it to dry up the water at
once. But the sand hill only drove the pond a little farther
away, and its waters seemed to increase instead of diminishing.
When the old woman saw that the powers of her magic were of so
little avail, she had recourse to cunning. She threw a lot of
gold nuts into the pond, hoping in this way to catch the duck,
but all her efforts were fruitless, for the little creature
refused to let itself be caught.
Then a new idea struck the wicked old woman, and hiding herself
behind the rock which had sheltered the fugitives, she waited
behind it, watching carefully for the moment when the Prince and
her daughter should resume their natural forms and continue their
She had not to wait long, for as soon as the girl thought her
mother was safely out of the way, she changed herself and the
Prince once more into their human shape, and set out cheerfully
for the river.
But they had not gone many steps when the wicked Fairy hurried
after them, a drawn dagger in her hand, and was close upon them,
when suddenly, instead of the Prince and her daughter, she found
herself in front of a great stone church, whose entrance was
carefully guarded by a huge monk.
Breathless with rage and passion, she tried to plunge her dagger
into the monk's heart, but it fell shattered in pieces at her
feet. In her desperation she determined to pull down the church,
and thus to destroy her two victims for ever. She stamped three
times on the ground, and the earth trembled, and both the church
and the monk began to shake. As soon as the Fairy saw this she
retreated to some distance from the building, so as not to be
hurt herself by its fall. But once more her scheme was doomed to
failure, for hardly had she gone a yard from the church than both
it and the monk disappeared, and she found herself in a wood
black as night, and full of wolves and bears and wild animals of
all sorts and descriptions.
Then her wrath gave place to terror, for she feared every moment
to be torn in pieces by the beasts who one and all seemed to defy
her power. She thought it wisest to make her way as best she
could out of the forest, and then to pursue the fugitives once
more and accomplish their destruction either by force or cunning.
In the meantime the Prince and the black girl had again assumed
their natural forms, and were hurrying on as fast as they could
to reach the river. But when they got there they found that
there was no way in which they could cross it, and the girl's
magic art seemed no longer to have any power. Then turning to
the Prince she said, 'The hour for my deliverance has not yet
come, but as you promised to do all you could to free me, you
must do exactly as I bid you now. Take this bow and arrow and
kill every beast you see with them, and be sure you spare no
With these words she disappeared, and hardly had she done so than
a huge wild boar started out of the thicket near and made
straight for the Prince. But the youth did not lose his presence
of mind, and drawing his bow he pierced the beast with his arrow
right through the skull. The creature fell heavily on the
ground, and out of its side sprang a little hare, which ran like
the wind along the river bank. The Prince drew his bow once
more, and the hare lay dead at his feet; but at the same moment a
dove rose up in the air, and circled round the Prince's head in
the most confiding manner. But mindful of the black girl's
commands, he dared not spare the little creature's life, and
taking another arrow from his quiver he laid it as dead as the
boar and the hare. But when he went to look at the body of the
bird he found instead of the dove a round white egg lying on the
While he was gazing on it and wondering what it could mean, he
heard the sweeping of wings above him, and looking up he saw a
huge vulture with open claws swooping down upon him. In a moment
he seized the egg and flung it at the bird with all his might,
and lo and behold! instead of the ugly monster the most
beautiful girl he had ever seen stood before the astonished eyes
of the Prince.
But while all this was going on the wicked old Fairy had managed
to make her way out of the wood, and was now using the last
resource in her power to overtake her daughter and the Prince.
As soon as she was in the open again she mounted her chariot,
which was drawn by a fiery dragon, and flew through the air in
it. But just as she got to the river she saw the two lovers in
each other's arms swimming through the water as easily as two
Quick as lightning, and forgetful of every danger, she flew down
upon them. But the waters seized her chariot and sunk it in the
lowest depths, and the waves bore the wicked old woman down the
stream till she was caught in some thorn bushes, where she made a
good meal for all the little fishes that were swimming about.
And so at last the Prince and his lovely Bride were free. They
hurried as quickly as they could to the old King, who received
them with joy and gladness. On the following day a most gorgeous
wedding feast was held, and as far as we know the Prince and his
bride lived happily for ever afterwards.
THE DEAD WIFE
 From the Iroquois.
Once upon a time there were a man and his wife who lived in the
forest, very far from the rest of the tribe. Very often they
spent the day in hunting together, but after a while the wife
found that she had so many things to do that she was obliged to
stay at home; so he went alone, though he found that when his
wife was not with him he never had any luck. One day, when he
was away hunting, the woman fell ill, and in a few days she died.
Her husband grieved bitterly, and buried her in the house where
she had passed her life; but as the time went on he felt so
lonely without her that he made a wooden doll about her height
and size for company, and dressed it in her clothes. He seated
it in front of the fire, and tried to think he had his wife back
again. The next day he went out to hunt, and when he came home
the first thing he did was to go up to the doll and brush off
some of the ashes from the fire which had fallen on its face.
But he was very busy now, for he had to cook and mend, besides
getting food, for there was no one to help him. And so a whole
year passed away.
At the end of that time he came back from hunting one night and
found some wood by the door and a fire within. The next night
there was not only wood and fire, but a piece of meat in the
kettle, nearly ready for eating. He searched all about to see
who could have done this, but could find no one. The next time
he went to hunt he took care not to go far, and came in quite
early. And while he was still a long way off he saw a woman
going into the house with wood on her shoulders. So he made
haste, and opened the door quickly, and instead of the wooden
doll, his wife sat in front of the fire.
Then she spoke to him and said, 'The Great Spirit felt sorry for
you, because you would not be comforted, so he let me come back
to you, but you must not stretch out your hand to touch me till
we have seen the rest of our people. If you do, I shall die.'
So the man listened to her words, and the woman dwelt there, and
brought the wood and kindled the fire, till one day her husband
said to her, 'It is now two years since you died. Let us now go
back to our tribe. Then you will be well, and I can touch you.'
And with that he prepared food for the journey, a string of
deer's flesh for her to carry, and one for himself; and so they
started. Now the camp of the tribe was distant six days'
journey, and when they were yet one day's journey off it began to
snow, and they felt weary and longed for rest. Therefore they
made a fire, cooked some food, and spread out their skins to
Then the heart of the man was greatly stirred, and he stretched
out his arms to his wife, but she waved her hands and said, 'We
have seen no one yet; it is too soon.'
But he would not listen to her, and caught her to him, and
behold! he was clasping the wooden doll. And when he saw it was
the doll he pushed it from him in his misery and rushed away to
the camp, and told them all his story. And some doubted, and
they went back with him to the place where he and his wife had
stopped to rest, and there lay the doll, and besides, they saw in
the snow the steps of two people, and the foot of one was like
the foot of the doll. And the man grieved sore all the days of
IN THE LAND OF SOULS 
 From the Red Indian.
Far away, in North America, where the Red Indians dwell, there
lived a long time ago a beautiful maiden, who was lovelier than
any other girl in the whole tribe. Many of the young braves
sought her in marriage, but she would listen to one only--a
handsome chief, who had taken her fancy some years before. So
they were to be married, and great rejoicings were made, and the
two looked forward to a long life of happiness together, when the
very night before the wedding feast a sudden illness seized the
girl, and, without a word to her friends who were weeping round
her, she passed silently away.
The heart of her lover had been set upon her, and the thought of
her remained with him night and day. He put aside his bow, and
went neither to fight nor to hunt, but from sunrise to sunset he
sat by the place where she was laid, thinking of his happiness
that was buried there. At last, after many days, a light seemed
to come to him out of the darkness. He remembered having heard
from the old, old people of the tribe, that there was a path that
led to the Land of Souls--that if you sought carefully you could
So the next morning he got up early, and put some food in his
pouch and slung an extra skin over his shoulders, for he knew not
how long his journey would take, nor what sort of country he
would have to go through. Only one thing he knew, that if the
path was there, he would find it. At first he was puzzled, as
there seemed no reason he should go in one direction more than
another. Then all at once he thought he had heard one of the old
men say that the Land of Souls lay to the south, and so, filled
with new hope and courage, he set his face southwards. For many,
many miles the country looked the same as it did round his own
home. The forests, the hills, and the rivers all seemed exactly
like the ones he had left. The only thing that was different was
the snow, which had lain thick upon the hills and trees when he
started, but grew less and less the farther he went south, till
it disappeared altogether. Soon the trees put forth their buds,
and flowers sprang up under his feet, and instead of thick clouds
there was blue sky over his head, and everywhere the birds were
singing. Then he knew that he was in the right road.
The thought that he should soon behold his lost bride made his
heart beat for joy, and he sped along lightly and swiftly. Now
his way led through a dark wood, and then over some steep cliffs,
and on the top of these he found a hut or wigwam. An old man
clothed in skins, and holding a staff in his hand, stood in the
doorway; and he said to the young chief who was beginning to tell
his story, 'I was waiting for you, wherefore you have come I
know. It is but a short while since she whom you seek was here.
Rest in my hut, as she also rested, and I will tell you what you
ask, and whither you should go.'
On hearing these words, the young man entered the hut, but his
heart was too eager within him to suffer him to rest, and when he
arose, the old man rose too, and stood with him at the door.
'Look,' he said, 'at the water which lies far out yonder, and the
plains which stretch beyond. That is the Land of Souls, but no
man enters it without leaving his body behind him. So, lay down
your body here; your bow and arrows, your skin and your dog.
They shall be kept for you safely.'
Then he turned away, and the young chief, light as air, seemed
hardly to touch the ground; and as he flew along the scents grew
sweeter and the flowers more beautiful, while the animals rubbed
their noses against him, instead of hiding as he approached, and
birds circled round him, and fishes lifted up their heads and
looked as he went by. Very soon he noticed with wonder, that
neither rocks nor trees barred his path. He passed through them
without knowing it, for indeed, they were not rocks and trees at
all, but only the souls of them; for this was the Land of
So he went on with winged feet till he came to the shores of a
great lake, with a lovely island in the middle of it; while on
the bank of the lake was a canoe of glittering stone, and in the
canoe were two shining paddles.
The chief jumped straight into the canoe, and seizing the paddles
pushed off from the shore, when to his joy and wonder he saw
following him in another canoe exactly like his own the maiden
for whose sake he had made this long journey. But they could not
touch each other, for between them rolled great waves, which
looked as if they would sink the boats, yet never did. And the
young man and the maiden shrank with fear, for down in the depths
of the water they saw the bones of those who had died before, and
in the waves themselves men and women were struggling, and but
few passed over. Only the children had no fear, and reached the
other side in safety. Still, though the chief and the young girl
quailed in terror at these horrible sights and sounds, no harm
came to them, for their lives had been free from evil, and the
Master of Life had said that no evil should happen unto them. So
they reached unhurt the shore of the Happy Island, and wandered
through the flowery fields and by the banks of rushing streams,
and they knew not hunger nor thirst; neither cold nor heat. The
air fed them and the sun warmed them, and they forgot the dead,
for they saw no graves, and the young man's thoughts turned not
to wars, neither to the hunting of animals. And gladly would
these two have walked thus for ever, but in the murmur of the
wind he heard the Master of Life saying to him, 'Return whither
you came, for I have work for you to do, and your people need
you, and for many years you shall rule over them. At the gate my
messenger awaits you, and you shall take again your body which
you left behind, and he will show you what you are to do. Listen
to him, and have patience, and in time to come you shall rejoin
her whom you must now leave, for she is accepted, and will remain
ever young and beautiful, as when I called her hence from the
Land of Snows.'
THE WHITE DUCK
Once upon a time a great and powerful King married a lovely
Princess. No couple were ever so happy; but before their
honeymoon was over they were forced to part, for the King had to
go on a warlike expedition to a far country, and leave his young
wife alone at home. Bitter were the tears she shed, while her
husband sought in vain to soothe her with words of comfort and
counsel, warning her, above all things, never to leave the
castle, to hold no intercourse with strangers, to beware of evil
counsellors, and especially to be on her guard against strange
women. And the Queen promised faithfully to obey her royal lord
and master in these four matters.
So when the King set out on his expedition she shut herself up
with her ladies in her own apartments, and spent her time in
spinning and weaving, and in thinking of her royal husband.
Often she was very sad and lonely, and it happened that one day
while she was seated at the window, letting salt tears drop on
her work, an old woman, a kind, homely-looking old body, stepped
up to the window, and, leaning upon her crutch, addressed the
Queen in friendly, flattering tones, saying:
'Why are you sad and cast down, fair Queen? You should not mope
all day in your rooms, but should come out into the green garden,
and hear the birds sing with joy among the trees, and see the
butterflies fluttering above the flowers, and hear the bees and
insects hum, and watch the sunbeams chase the dew-drops through
the rose-leaves and in the lily-cups. All the brightness outside
would help to drive away your cares, O Queen.'
For long the Queen resisted her coaxing words, remembering the
promise she had given the King, her husband; but at last she
thought to herself: After all, what harm would it do if I were
to go into the garden for a short time and enjoy myself among the
trees and flowers, and the singing birds and fluttering
butterflies and humming insects, and look at the dew-drops hiding
from the sunbeams in the hearts of the roses and lilies, and
wander about in the sunshine, instead of remaining all day in
this room? For she had no idea that the kind-looking old woman
leaning on her crutch was in reality a wicked witch, who envied
the Queen her good fortune, and was determined to ruin her. And
so, in all ignorance, the Queen followed her out into the garden
and listened to her smooth, flattering words. Now, in the middle
of the garden there was a pond of water, clear as crystal, and
the old woman said to the Queen:
'The day is so warm, and the sun's rays so scorching, that the
water in the pond looks very cool and inviting. Would you not
like to bathe in it, fair Queen?'
'No, I think not,' answered the Queen; but the next moment she
regretted her words, and thought to herself: Why shouldn't I
bathe in that cool, fresh water? No harm could come of it. And,
so saying, she slipped off her robes and stepped into the water.
But scarcely had her tender feet touched the cool ripples when
she felt a great shove on her shoulders, and the wicked witch had
pushed her into the deep water, exclaiming:
'Swim henceforth, White Duck!'
And the witch herself assumed the form of the Queen, and decked
herself out in the royal robes, and sat among the Court ladies,
awaiting the King's return. And suddenly the tramp of horses'
hoofs was heard, and the barking of dogs, and the witch hastened
forward to meet the royal carriages, and, throwing her arms round
the King's neck, kissed him. And in his great joy the King did
not know that the woman he held in his arms was not his own dear
wife, but a wicked witch.
In the meantime, outside the palace walls, the poor White Duck
swam up and down the pond; and near it laid three eggs, out of
which there came one morning two little fluffy ducklings and a
little ugly drake. And the White Duck brought the little
creatures up, and they paddled after her in the pond, and caught
gold-fish, and hopped upon the bank and waddled about, ruffling
their feathers and saying 'Quack, quack' as they strutted about
on the green banks of the pond. But their mother used to warn
them not to stray too far, telling them that a wicked witch lived
in the castle beyond the garden, adding, 'She has ruined me, and
she will do her best to ruin you.' But the young ones did not
listen to their mother, and, playing about the garden one day,
they strayed close up to the castle windows. The witch at once
recognised them by their smell, and ground her teeth with anger;
but she hid her feelings, and, pretending to be very kind she
called them to her and joked with them, and led them into a
beautiful room, where she gave them food to eat, and showed them
a soft cushion on which they might sleep. Then she left them and
went down into the palace kitchens, where she told the servants
to sharpen the knives, and to make a great fire ready, and hang a
large kettleful of water over it.
In the meantime the two little ducklings had fallen asleep, and
the little drake lay between them, covered up by their wings, to
be kept warm under their feathers. But the little drake could
not go to sleep, and as he lay there wide awake in the night he
heard the witch come to the door and say:
'Little ones, are you asleep?'
And the little drake answered for the other two:
'We cannot sleep, we wake and weep,
Sharp is the knife, to take our life;
The fire is hot, now boils the pot,
And so we wake, and lie and quake.'
'They are not asleep yet,' muttered the witch to herself; and she
walked up and down in the passage, and then came back to the
door, and said:
'Little ones, are you asleep?'
And again the little drake answered for his sisters:
'We cannot sleep, we wake and weep,
Sharp is the knife, to take our life;
The fire is hot, now boils the pot,
And so we wake, and lie and quake.'
'Just the same answer,' muttered the witch; 'I think I'll go in
and see.' So she opened the door gently, and seeing the two
little ducklings sound asleep, she there and then killed them.
The next morning the White Duck wandered round the pond in a
distracted manner, looking for her little ones; she called and
she searched, but could find no trace of them. And in her heart
she had a foreboding that evil had befallen them, and she
fluttered up out of the water and flew to the palace. And there,
laid out on the marble floor of the court, dead and stone cold,
were her three children. The White Duck threw herself upon them,
and, covering up their little bodies with her wings, she cried:
'Quack, quack--my little loves!
Quack, quack--my turtle-doves!
I brought you up with grief and pain,
And now before my eyes you're slain.
I gave you always of the best;
I kept you warm in my soft nest.
I loved and watched you day and night--
You were my joy, my one delight.'
The King heard the sad complaint of the White Duck, and called to
the witch: 'Wife, what a wonder is this? Listen to that White
But the witch answered, 'My dear husband, what do you mean?
There is nothing wonderful in a duck's quacking. Here, servants!
Chase that duck out of the courtyard.' But though the servants
chased and chevied, they could not get rid of the duck; for she
circled round and round, and always came back to the spot where
her children lay, crying:
'Quack, quack--my little loves!
Quack, quack--my turtle-doves!
The wicked witch your lives did take--
The wicked witch, the cunning snake.
First she stole my King away,
Then my children did she slay.
Changed me, from a happy wife,
To a duck for all my life.
Would I were the Queen again;
Would that you had never been slain.'
And as the King heard her words he began to suspect that he had
been deceived, and he called out to the servants, 'Catch that
duck, and bring it here.' But, though they ran to and fro, the
duck always fled past them, and would not let herself be caught.
So the King himself stepped down amongst them, and instantly the
duck fluttered down into his hands. And as he stroked her wings
she was changed into a beautiful woman, and he recognised his
dear wife. And she told him that a bottle would be found in her
nest in the garden, containing some drops from the spring of
healing. And it was brought to her; and the ducklings and little
drake were sprinkled with the water, and from the little dead
bodies three lovely children arose. And the King and Queen were
overjoyed when they saw their children, and they all lived
happily together in the beautiful palace. But the wicked witch
was taken by the King's command, and she came to no good end.
THE WITCH AND HER SERVANTS
 From the Russian. Kletke.
Long time ago there lived a King who had three sons; the eldest
was called Szabo, the second Warza, and the youngest Iwanich.
One beautiful spring morning the King was walking through his
gardens with these three sons, gazing with admiration at the
various fruit-trees, some of which were a mass of blossom, whilst
others were bowed to the ground laden with rich fruit. During
their wanderings they came unperceived on a piece of waste land
where three splendid trees grew. The King looked on them for a
moment, and then, shaking his head sadly, he passed on in
The sons, who could not understand why he did this, asked him the
reason of his dejection, and the King told them as follows:
'These three trees, which I cannot see without sorrow, were
planted by me on this spot when I was a youth of twenty. A
celebrated magician, who had given the seed to my father,