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Types of Children's Literature by Edited by Walter Barnes

Part 4 out of 11

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"You don't understand me," said the Duckling.

"We don't understand you? Then pray who is to understand
you? You surely don't pretend to be cleverer than the Tom Cat and
the old woman--I won't say anything of myself. Don't be conceited,
child, and be grateful for all the kindness you have received.
Did you not get into a warm room, and have you not fallen into
company from which you may learn something? But you are a
chatterer, and it is not pleasant to associate with you. You may
believe me, I speak for your good. I tell you disagreeable things,
and by that one may always know one's friends. Only take care
that you learn to lay eggs, or to purr and give out sparks!"

"I think I will go out into the wide world," said the Duckling.

"Yes, do go," replied the Hen.

And the Duckling went away. It swam on the water, and dived,
but it was slighted by every creature because of its ugliness.

Now came the autumn. The leaves in the forest turned yellow
and brown; the wind caught them so that they danced about, and up
in the air it was very cold. The clouds hung low, heavy with hail
and snowflakes, and on the fence stood the raven, crying, "Croak!
croak!" for mere cold; yes, it was enough to make one feel cold
to think of this. The poor little Duckling certainly had not a good
time. One evening--the sun was just setting in his beauty--there
came a whole flock of great handsome birds out of the bushes; they
were dazzlingly white, with long, flexible necks; they were swans.
They uttered a very peculiar cry, spread forth their glorious great
wings, and flew away from that cold region to warmer lands, to fair
open lakes. They mounted so high, so high! and the ugly little
Duckling felt quite strangely as it watched them. It turned round
and round in the water like a wheel, stretched out its neck toward
them, and uttered such a strange loud cry as frightened itself. Oh!
it could not forget those beautiful, happy birds; and as soon as it
could see them no longer, it dived down to the very bottom, and when
it came up again, it was quite beside itself. It knew not the name of
those birds, and knew not whither they were flying; but it loved them
more than it had ever loved any one. It was not at all envious of
them. How could it think of wishing to possess such loveliness as
they had? It would have been glad if only the ducks would have
endured its company--the poor ugly creature!

And the winter grew cold, very cold! The Duckling was forced
to swim about in the water, to prevent the surface from freezing
entirely; but every night the hole in which it swam about became
smaller and smaller. It froze so hard that the icy covering crackled
again; and the Duckling was obliged to use its legs continually to
prevent the hole from freezing up. At last it became exhausted,
and lay quite still, and thus froze fast into the ice.

Early in the morning a peasant came by, and when he saw what
had happened, he took his wooden shoe, broke the ice crust to pieces,
and carried the Duckling home to his wife. Then it came to itself
again. The children wanted to play with it; but the Duckling
thought they would do it an injury, and in its terror fluttered up
into the milk pan, so that the milk spurted down into the room. The
woman clasped her hands, at which the Duckling flew down into the
butter tub, and then into the meal barrel and out again. How it
looked then! The woman screamed, and struck at it with the fire
tongs; the children tumbled over one another, in their efforts to
catch the Duckling; and they laughed and screamed finely! Happily
the door stood open, and the poor creature was able to slip out
between the shrubs into the newly fallen snow; and there it lay quite

But it would be too melancholy if I were to tell all the misery
and care which the Duckling had to endure in the hard winter. It
lay out on the moor among the reeds, when the sun began to shine
again and the larks to sing; it was a beautiful spring.

Then all at once the Duckling could flap its wings; they beat the
air more strongly than before, and bore it strongly away; and before
it well knew how all this had happened, it found itself in a great
garden, where the elder trees smelt sweet, and bent their long green
branches down to the canal that wound through the region. Oh, here
it was so beautiful, such a gladness of spring! and from the thicket
came three glorious white swans; they rustled their wings, and swam
lightly on the water. The Duckling knew the splendid creatures,
and felt oppressed by a peculiar sadness.

"I will fly away to them, to the royal birds! and they will kill
me, because I, that am so ugly, dare to approach them. But it is of
no consequence! Better to be killed by _them_ than to be pursued
by ducks, and beaten by fowls, and pushed about by the girl who takes
care of the poultry yard, and to suffer hunger in winter!" And it
flew out into the water, and swam toward the beautiful swans: these
looked at it, and came sailing down upon it with outspread wings.
"Kill me!" said the poor creature, and bent its head down upon
the water, expecting nothing but death. But what was this that it
saw in the clear water? It beheld its own image--and, lo! it was
no longer a clumsy dark-gray bird, ugly and hateful to look at, but
--a swan.

It matters nothing if one was born in a duck yard, if one has only
lain in a swan's egg.

It felt quite glad at all the need and misfortune it had suffered,
now it realized its happiness in all the splendor that surrounded it.
And the great swans swam round it, and stroked it with their beaks.

Into the garden came little children, who threw bread and corn
into the water; the youngest cried, "There is a new one!" and the
other children shouted joyously, "Yes, a new one has arrived!"
And they clapped their hands and danced about, and ran to their
father and mother; and bread and cake were thrown into the water;
and they all said, "The new one is the most beautiful of all! so
young and handsome!" and the old swans bowed their heads before

Then he felt quite ashamed, and hid his head under his wing, for
he did not know what to do; he was so happy, and yet not at all
proud. He thought how he had been persecuted and despised; and
now he heard them saying that he was the most beautiful of all the
birds. Even the elder tree bent its branches straight down into the
water before him, and the sun shone warm and mild. Then his
wings rustled, he lifted his slender neck, and cried rejoicingly from
the depths of his heart:

"I never dreamed of so much happiness when I was still the
Ugly Duckling!"


Hans Christian Andersen

The Flax was in full bloom. Its pretty blue blossoms were as soft
as the wings of a moth, and still more delicate. And the sun shone
on the flax field, and the rain watered it; and that was as good for
the flax flowers as it is for little children to be washed and kissed
by their mother,--they look so much fresher and prettier afterwards.
Thus it was with the Flax flowers.

"People say I am so fine and flourishing," observed the Flax;
"and that I am growing so charmingly tall, a splendid piece of
linen will be got from me. Oh, how happy I am! how can any one
be happier? Everything around me is so pleasant, and I shall be
of use for something or other. How the sun cheers one up, and how
fresh and sweet the rain tastes! I am incomparably happy; I am
the happiest vegetable in the world!"

"Ah, ah, ah!" jeered the Stakes in the hedge; "you don't know
the world, not you, but we know it, there are knots in us!" and then
they cracked so dolefully:

"Snip, snap, snurre,
And so the song is en-ded-ded-ded."

"No, it is not ended," replied the Flax; "the sun shines every
morning, the rain does me so much good, I can see myself grow;
I can feel that I am in blossom--who so happy as I?"

However, one day people came, took hold of the Flax, and pulled
it up, root and all; that was exceedingly uncomfortable; and then it
was thrown into water, as though intended to be drowned, and, after
that, put before the fire, as though to be roasted. That was most

"One cannot always have what one wishes!" sighed the Flax;
"it is well to suffer sometimes, it gives one experience."

But matters seemed to get worse and worse. The Flax was bruised
and broken, hacked and hackled, and at last put on the wheel--
snurre rur! snurre rur!--it was not possible to keep one's thoughts
collected in such a situation as this.

"I have been exceedingly fortunate," thought the Flax, amid all
these tortures. "One ought to be thankful for the happiness one
has enjoyed in times past. Thankful, thankful, oh, yes!" and still
the Flax said the same when taken to the loom. And here it was
made into a large, handsome piece of linen; all the Flax of that
one field was made into a single piece.

"Well, but this is charming! Never should I have expected it.
What unexampled good fortune I have carried through the world
with me! What arrant nonsense the Stakes in the hedge used to
talk with their

"'Snip, snap, snurre,

The song is not ended at all! Life is but just beginning. It is a
very pleasant thing, too, is life; to be sure I have suffered, but that is
past now, and I have become something through suffering. I am
so strong, and yet so soft! so white and so long! this is far better
than being a vegetable; even during blossom-time nobody attends
to one, and one only gets water when it is raining. Now, I am well
taken care of--the girl turns me over every morning, and I have a
shower bath from the water tub every evening; nay, the parson's wife
herself came and looked at me, and said I was the finest piece of
linen in the parish. No one can possibly be happier than I am!"

The Linen was taken into the house, and cut up with scissors. Oh,
how it was cut and clipped, how it was pierced and stuck through
with needles! that was certainly no pleasure at all. It was at last
made up into twelve articles of attire, such articles as are not often
mentioned, but which people can hardly do without; there were just
twelve of them.

"So this, then, was my destiny. Well, it is very delightful; now
I shall be of use in the world, and there is really no pleasure like
that of being useful. We are now twelve pieces, but we are still one
and the same--we are a dozen! Certainly, this is being extremely

Years passed away,--at last the Linen could endure no longer.

"All things must pass away some time or other," remarked each
piece. "I should like very much to last a little while longer, but
one ought not to wish for impossibilities." And so the Linen was
rent into shreds and remnants numberless; they believed all was over
with them, for they were hacked, and mashed, and boiled, and they
knew not what else--and thus they became beautiful, fine, white

"Now, upon my word, this is a surprise! And a most delightful
surprise too!" declared the Paper. "Why, now I am finer than
ever, and I shall be written upon! I wonder what will be written
upon me. Was there ever such famous good fortune as mine!"
And the Paper was written upon; the most charming stories in the
world were written on it, and they were read aloud! and people declared
that these stories were very beautiful and very instructive;
that to read them would make mankind both wiser and better.
Truly, a great blessing was given to the world in the words written
upon that same Paper.

"Certainly, this is more than I could ever have dreamt of, when
I was a wee little blue flower of the field! How could I then have
looked forward to becoming a messenger destined to bring knowledge
and pleasure among men? I can hardly understand it even
now. Yet, so it is, actually. And, for my own part, I have never
done anything, beyond the little that in me lay, to strive to exist,
and yet I am carried on from one state of honor and happiness to
another; and every time that I think within myself, 'Now, surely, the
song is en-ded-ded-ded,' I am converted into something new, something
far higher and better. Now, I suppose I shall be sent on my
travels, shall be sent round the wide world, so that all men may read
me. I should think that would be the wisest plan. Formerly I had
blue blossoms, now for every single blossom I have some beautiful
thought, or pleasant fancy--who so happy as I?"

But the Paper was not sent on its travels, it went to the printer's
instead, and there all that was written upon it was printed in a
book; nay, in many hundred books: and in this way an infinitely
greater number of people received pleasure and profit therefrom
than if the written Paper itself had been sent round the world, and
perhaps got torn and worn to pieces before it had gone halfway.

"Yes, to be sure, this is much more sensible," thought the Paper.
"It had never occurred to me, though. I am to stay at home and
be held in as great honor as if I were an old grandfather. The
book was written on me first, the ink flowed in upon me from the pen
and formed the words. I shall stay at home, while the books go
about the world, to and fro--that is much better. How glad I am!
how fortunate I am!"

So the Paper was rolled up and laid on one side. "It is good to
repose after labor," said the Paper. "It is quite right to collect
oneself, and quietly think over all that dwelleth within one. Now,
first, do I rightly know myself. And to know oneself, I have heard,
is the best knowledge, the truest progress. And come what will,
this I am sure of, all will end in progress--always is there

One day the roll of Paper was thrown upon the stove to be burnt
--it must not be sold to the grocer to wrap round pounds of butter
and sugar. And all the children in the house flocked round; they
wanted to see the blaze, they wanted to count the multitude of tiny
red sparks which seem to dart to and fro among the ashes, dying out,
one after another, so quickly--they call them "the children going
out of school," and the last spark of all is the schoolmaster; they
often fancy he is gone out, but another and another spark flies up
unexpectedly, and the schoolmaster always tarries a little behind the

And now all the Paper lay heaped up on the stove. "Ugh!" it
cried, and all at once it burst into a flame. So high did it rise into
the air, never had the Flax been able to rear its tiny blue blossoms
so high, and it shone as never the white Linen had shone; all the letters
written on it became fiery red in an instant, and all the words
and thoughts of the writer were surrounded with a glory.

"Now, then, I go straight up into the sun!" said something within
the flames. It was as though a thousand voices at once had spoken
thus; and the Flame burst through the chimney, and rose high above
it; and brighter than the Flame, yet invisible to mortal eyes, hovered
little tiny beings, as many as there had been blossoms on the
Flax. They were lighter and of more subtle essence than even the
Flame that bore them; and when that Flame had quite died away,
and nothing remained of the Paper but the black ashes, they once
again danced over them, and wherever their feet touched the ashes,
their footprints, the fiery red sparks, were seen. Thus "the children
went out of school, and the schoolmaster came last"; it was a pleasure
to see the pretty sight, and the children of the house stood looking
at the black ashes and singing---

"Snip, snap, snurre,
And now the song is en-ded-ded-ded."

But the tiny invisible beings replied every one, "The song is never
ended; that is the best of it! We know that, and therefore none are
so happy as we are!"

However, the children could neither hear nor understand the reply;
nor would it be well that they should, for children must not
know everything.


Charles Perrault

Once upon a time there was a man who had fine houses, both in
town and country, a deal of silver and gold plate, carved furniture,
and coaches gilded all over. But unhappily this man had a blue
beard, which made him so ugly and so terrible that all the women
and girls ran away from him.

One of his neighbors, a lady of quality, had two daughters who
were perfect beauties. He asked for one of them in marriage, leaving
to her the choice of which she would bestow on him. They
would neither of them have him, and they sent him backward and
forward from one to the other, neither being able to make up her
mind to marry a man who had a blue beard. Another thing which
made them averse to him was that he had already married several
wives, and nobody knew what had become of them.

Blue Beard, to become better acquainted, took them, with their
mother and three or four of their best friends, with some young
people of the neighborhood, to one of his country seats, where they
stayed a whole week.

There was nothing going on but pleasure parties, hunting, fishing,
dancing, mirth, and feasting. Nobody went to bed, but all passed
the night in playing pranks on each other. In short, everything
succeeded so well that the youngest daughter began to think that the
beard of the master of the house was not so very blue, and that he
was a very civil gentleman. So as soon as they returned home, the
marriage was concluded.

About a month afterward Blue Beard told his wife that he was
obliged to take a country journey for six weeks at least, upon business
of great importance. He desired her to amuse herself well in
his absence, to send for her friends, to take them into the country,
if she pleased, and to live well wherever she was.

"Here," said he, "are the keys of the two great warehouses
wherein I have my best furniture: these are of the room where I
keep my silver and gold plate, which is not in everyday use; these
open my safes, which hold my money, both gold and silver; these
my caskets of jewels; and this is the master-key to all my apartments.
But as for this little key, it is the key of the closet at the end
of the great gallery on the ground floor. Open them all; go everywhere;
but as for that little closet, I forbid you to enter it, and I
promise you surely that, if you open it, there's nothing that you may
not expect from my anger."

She promised to obey exactly all his orders; and he, after having
embraced her, got into his coach and proceeded on his journey.

Her neighbors and good friends did not stay to be sent for by the
new-married lady, so great was their impatience to see all the riches
of her house, not daring to come while her husband was there, because
of his blue beard, which frightened them. They at once ran
through all the rooms, closets, and wardrobes, which were so fine
and rich, and each seemed to surpass all others. They went up
into the warehouses, where was the best and richest furniture; and
they could not sufficiently admire the number and beauty of the
tapestry, beds, couches, cabinets, stands, tables, and looking-glasses,
in which you might see yourself from head to foot. Some of them
were framed with glass, others with silver, plain and gilded, the
most beautiful and the most magnificent ever seen.

They ceased not to praise and envy the happiness of their friend,
who, in the meantime, was not at all amused by looking upon all
these rich things, because of her impatience to go and open the
closet on the ground floor. Her curiosity was so great that, without
considering how uncivil it was to leave her guests, she went down
a little back staircase, with such excessive haste that twice or thrice
she came near breaking her neck. Having reached the closet door,
she stood still for some time, thinking of her husband's orders, and
considering that unhappiness might attend her if she was disobedient;
but the temptation was so strong she could not overcome it. She
then took the little key, and opened the door, trembling. At first she
could not see anything plainly, because the windows were shut.
After some moments she began to perceive that several dead women
were scattered about the floor. (These were all the wives whom
Blue Beard had married and murdered, one after the other, because
they did not obey his orders about the closet on the ground floor.)
She thought she surely would die for fear, and the key, which she
pulled out of the lock, fell out of her hand.

After having somewhat recovered from the shock, she picked
up the key, locked the door, and went upstairs into her chamber
to compose herself; but she could not rest, so much was she

Having observed that the key of the closet was stained, she tried
two or three times to wipe off the stain, but the stain would not
come out. In vain did she wash it, and even rub it with soap and
sand. The stain still remained, for the key was a magic key, and
she could never make it quite clean; when the stain was gone off
from one side, it came again on the other.

Blue Beard returned from his journey that same evening, and
said he had received letters upon the road, informing him that the
business which called him away was ended to his advantage. His
wife did all she could to convince him she was delighted at his
speedy return.

Next morning he asked her for the keys, which she gave him, but
with such a trembling hand that he easily guessed what had happened.

"How is it," said he, "that the key of my closet is not among the

"I must certainly," said she, "have left it upstairs upon the

"Do not fail," said Blue Beard, "to bring it to me presently."

After having put off doing it several times, she was forced to
bring him the key. Blue Beard, having examined it, said to his

"How comes this stain upon the key?"

"I do not know," cried the poor woman, paler than death.

"You do not know!" replied Blue Beard. "I very well know.
You wished to go into the cabinet? Very well, madam; you shall
go in, and take your place among the ladies you saw there."

She threw herself weeping at her husband's feet, and begged his
pardon with all the signs of a true repentance for her disobedience.
She would have melted a rock, so beautiful and sorrowful was she;
but Blue Beard had a heart harder than any stone.

"You must die, madam," said he, "and that at once."

"Since I must die," answered she, looking upon him with her eyes
all bathed in tears, "give me some little time to say my prayers."

"I give you," replied Blue Beard, "half a quarter of an hour,
but not one moment more."

When she was alone she called out to her sister, and said to her:

"Sister Anne,"---for that was her name,---"go up, I beg you, to
the top of the tower, and look if my brothers are not coming; they
promised me they would come today, and if you see them, give them
a sign to make haste."

Her sister Anne went up to the top of the tower, and the poor
afflicted wife cried out from time to time:

"Anne, sister Anne, do you see any one coming?"

And sister Anne said:

"I see nothing but the sun, which makes a dust, and the grass,
which looks green."

In the meanwhile Blue Beard, holding a great saber in his hand,
cried to his wife as loud as he could:

"Come down instantly, or I shall come up to you."

"One moment longer, if you please," said his wife; and then she
cried out very softly, "Anne, sister Anne, dost thou see anybody

And sister Anne answered:

"I see nothing but the sun, which makes a dust, and the grass,
which is green."

"Come down quickly," cried Blue Beard, "or I will come up to

"I am coming," answered his wife; and then she cried, "Anne,
sister Anne, dost thou not see any one coming?"

"I see," replied sister Anne, "a great dust, which comes from
this side."

"Are they my brothers?"

"Alas! no, my sister, I see a flock of sheep."

"Will you not come down?" cried Blue Beard.

"One moment longer," said his wife, and then she cried out,
"Anne, sister Anne, dost thou see nobody coming?"

"I see," said she, "two horsemen, but they are yet a great way

"God be praised," replied the poor wife, joyfully; "they are my
brothers; I will make them a sign, as well as I can, for them to make

Then Blue Beard bawled out so loud that he made the whole house
tremble. The distressed wife came down, and threw herself at his
feet, all in tears, with her hair about her shoulders.

"All this is of no help to you," says Blue Beard; "you must
die;" then, taking hold of her hair with one hand, and lifting up
his sword in the air with the other, he was about to take off her head.
The poor lady, turning about to him, and looking at him with dying
eyes, desired him to afford her one little moment to her thoughts.

"No, no," said he, "commend thyself to God," and again lifting
his arm--

At this moment there was such a loud knocking at the gate that
Blue Beard stopped suddenly. The gate was opened, and presently
entered two horsemen, who, with sword in hand, ran directly to
Blue Beard. He knew them to be his wife's brothers, one a dragoon,
the other a musketeer. He ran away immediately, but the two
brothers pursued him so closely that they overtook him before he
could get to the steps of the porch. There they ran their swords
through his body, and left him dead. The poor wife was almost
as dead as her husband, and had not strength enough to arise and
welcome her brothers.

Blue Beard had no heirs, and so his wife became mistress of all
his estate. She made use of one portion of it to marry her sister
Anne to a young gentleman who had loved her a long while; another
portion to buy captains' commissions for her brothers; and the
rest to marry herself to a very worthy gentleman, who made her
forget the sorry time she had passed with Blue Beard.


Joseph Jacobs

There was once upon a time a poor widow who had an only son
named Jack, and a cow named Milky-white. And all they had to
live on was the milk the cow gave every morning, which they carried
to the market and sold. But one morning Milky-white gave
no milk, and they didn't know what to do.

"What shall we do, what shall we do?" said the widow, wringing
her hands.

"Cheer up, mother, I'll go and get work somewhere," said Jack.

"We've tried that before, and nobody would take you," said his
mother; "we must sell Milky-white and with the money start shop,
or something."

"All right, mother," says Jack; "it's market-day today, and I'll
soon sell Milky-white, and then we'll see what we can do."

So he took the cow's halter in his hand, and off he started. He
hadn't gone far when he met a funny-looking old man, who said to
him: "Good morning, Jack."

"Good morning to you," said Jack, and wondered how he knew
his name.

"Well, Jack, and where are you off to?" said the man.

"I'm going to market to sell our cow here."

"Oh, you look the proper sort of chap to sell cows," said the man,
"I wonder if you know how many beans make five."

"Two in each hand and one in your mouth," says Jack, as sharp
as a needle.

"Right you are," says the man, "and here they are, the very beans
themselves," he went on, pulling out of his pocket a number of
strange-looking beans. "As you are so sharp," says he, "I don't
mind a swop with you---your cow for these beans."

"Go along," says Jack; "wouldn't you like it?"

"Ah! you don't know what these beans are," said the man; "if
you plant them over night, by morning they grow right up to the

"Really?" said Jack; "you don't say so."

"Yes, that is so, and if it doesn't turn out to be true, you can have
your cow back."

"Right," says Jack, and hands him over Milky-white's halter and
pockets the beans.

Back goes Jack home, and as he hadn't gone very far it wasn't
dusk by the time he got to his door.

"Back already, Jack?" said his mother; "I see you haven't
got Milky-white, so you've sold her. How much did you get for

"You'll never guess, mother," says Jack.

"No, you don't say so. Good boy! Five pounds, ten, fifteen,
no, it can't be twenty."

"I told you you couldn't guess. What do you say to these beans;
they're magical, plant them over night and---"

"What!" says Jack's mother; "have you been such a fool, such
a dolt, such an idiot, as to give away my Milky-white, the best milker
in the parish, and prime beef to boot, for a set of paltry beans?
Take that! Take that! Take that! And as for your precious
beans, here they go out of the window. And now off with you to
bed. Not a sup shall you drink, and not a bit shall you swallow
this very night."

So Jack went upstairs to his little room in the attic, and sad and
sorry he was, to be sure, as much for his mother's sake as for the
loss of his supper.

At last he dropped off to sleep.

When he woke up, the room looked so funny. The sun was shining
into part of it, and yet all the rest was quite dark and shady.
So Jack jumped up and dressed himself and went to the window.
And what do you think he saw? Why, the beans his mother had
thrown out of the window into the garden, had sprung up into a
big beanstalk which went up and up and up till it reached the sky.
So the man spoke truth after all.

The beanstalk grew up quite close past Jack's window, so all he
had to do was to open it and give a jump on to the beanstalk, which
ran up just like a big ladder. So Jack climbed, and he climbed
and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and
he climbed till at last he reached the sky. And when he got there
he found a long, broad road going as straight as a dart. So he
walked along and he walked along till he came to a great big tall
house, and on the doorstep there was a great big tall woman.

"Good morning, mum," says Jack, quite politely. "Could you
be so kind as to give me some breakfast?" For he hadn't had
anything to eat, you know, the night before and was as hungry as
a hunter.

"It's breakfast you want, is it?" says the great big tall woman;
"it's breakfast you'll be if you don't move off from here. My man
is an ogre and there's nothing he likes better than boys broiled on
toast. You'd better be moving on or he'll soon be coming."

"Oh! please, mum, do give me something to eat, mum. I've had
nothing to eat since yesterday morning, really and truly, mum," says
Jack. "I may as well be broiled as die of hunger."

Well, the ogre's wife was not half so bad after all. So she took
Jack into the kitchen, and gave him a chunk of bread and cheese and
a jug of milk. But Jack hadn't half finished these when thump!
thump! thump! the whole house began to tremble with the noise of
some one coming.

"Good gracious me! It's my old man," said the ogre's wife;
"what on earth shall I do? Come along quick and jump in here."
And she bundled Jack into the oven just as the ogre came in.

He was a big one, to be sure. At his belt he had three calves
strung up by the heels, and he unhooked them and threw them down
on the table and said: "Here, wife, broil me a couple of these for
breakfast. Ah! what's this I smell?

I smell the blood of an Englishman,
Be he alive, or be he dead,
I'll have his bones to grind my bread."

"Nonsense, dear," said his wife, "you're dreaming. Or perhaps
you smell the scraps of that little boy you liked so much for
yesterday's dinner. Here, you go and have a wash and tidy up, and
by the time you come back your breakfast'll be ready for you."

So off the ogre went, and Jack was just going to jump out of the
oven and run away when the woman told him not. "Wait till he's
asleep," says she; "he always has a doze after breakfast."

Well, the ogre had his breakfast, and after that he goes to a big
chest and takes out of it a couple of bags of gold, and down he sits
and counts till at last his head began to nod and he began to snore
till the whole house shook again.

Then Jack crept out on tiptoe from his oven, and as he was passing
the ogre he took one of the bags of gold under his arm, and off he
pelters till he came to the beanstalk, and then he threw down the bag
of gold, which of course fell into his mother's garden, and then he
climbed down and climbed down till at last he got home and told
his mother and showed her the gold and said: "Well, mother,
wasn't I right about the beans? They are really magical, you see."

So they lived on the bag of gold for some time, but at last they
came to the end of it, and Jack made up his mind to try his luck once
more at the top of the beanstalk. So one fine morning he rose up
early, and got on to the beanstalk, and he climbed and he climbed
and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed till
at last he came out on to the road again and up to the great big tall
house he had been to before. There, sure enough, was the great
big tall woman a-standing on the doorstep.

"Good morning, mum," says Jack, as bold as brass, "could you
be so good as to give me something to eat?"

"Go away, my boy," said the big tall woman, "or else my man
will eat you up for breakfast. But aren't you the youngster who
came here once before? Do you know, that very day, my man
missed one of his bags of gold."

"That's strange, mum," said Jack, "I dare say I could tell you
something about that, but I'm so hungry I can't speak till I've had
something to eat."

Well, the big tall woman was so curious that she took him in and
gave him something to eat. But he had scarcely begun munching
it as slowly as he could when thump! thump! thump! they heard
the giant's footstep, and his wife hid Jack away in the oven.

All happened as it did before. In came the ogre as he did before,
said: "Fee-fi-fo-fum," and had his breakfast of three broiled oxen.
Then he said: "Wife, bring me the hen that lays the golden eggs."
So she brought it, and the ogre said: "Lay," and it laid an egg all
of gold. And then the ogre began to nod his head, and to snore till
the house shook. Then Jack crept out of the oven on tiptoe and
caught hold of the golden hen, and was off before you could say
"Jack Robinson." But this time the hen gave a cackle which woke
the ogre, and just as Jack got out of the house he heard him calling:
"Wife, wife, what have you done with my golden hen?"

And the wife said: "Why, my dear?"

But that was all Jack heard, for he rushed off to the beanstalk and
climbed down like a house on fire. And when he got home, he
showed his mother the wonderful hen, and said "Lay" to it; and it
laid a golden egg every time he said "Lay."

Well, Jack was not content, and it wasn't very long before he determined
to have another try at his luck up there at the top of the beanstalk.
So one fine morning he rose up early, and got on to the beanstalk, and
he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed till he got to
the top. But this time he knew better than to go straight to the ogre's
house. And when he got near it, he waited behind a bush till he saw the
ogre's wife come out with a pail to get some water, and then he crept
into the house and got into the copper. He hadn't been there long when
he heard thump! thump! thump! as before, and in came the ogre and his

"Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman," cried out the
ogre. "I smell him, wife, I smell him."

"Do you, my dearie?" says the ogre's wife. "Then if it's that
little rogue that stole your gold and the hen that laid the golden
eggs he's sure to have got into the oven." And they both rushed to
the oven. But Jack wasn't there, luckily, and the ogre's wife said:
"There you are again with your fee-fi-fo-fum. Why, of course it's
the boy you caught last night that I've just broiled for your breakfast.
How forgetful I am, and how careless you are not to know the
difference between live and dead after all these years."

So the ogre sat down to the breakfast and ate it, but every now
and then he would mutter: "Well, I could have sworn--" and
he'd get up and search the larder and the cupboards and everything;
only, luckily, he didn't think of the copper.

After breakfast was over, the ogre called out: "Wife, wife,
bring me my golden harp." So she brought it out and put it on
the table before him. Then he said: "Sing!" and the golden harp
sang most beautifully. And it went on singing till the ogre fell
asleep and commenced to snore like thunder.

Then Jack lifted up the copper-lid very quietly and got down
like a mouse and crept on hands and knees till he came to the table,
when up he crawled, caught hold of the golden harp and dashed with
it towards the door. But the harp called out quite loud: "Master!
Master!" and the ogre woke up just in time to see Jack running off
with his harp.

Jack ran as fast as he could, and the ogre came rushing after, and
would soon have caught him only Jack had a start and dodged him
a bit and knew where he was going. When he got to the beanstalk
the ogre was not more than twenty yards away when suddenly he saw
Jack disappear-like, and when he came to the end of the road he
saw Jack underneath climbing down for dear life. Well, the ogre
didn't like trusting himself to such a ladder, and he stood and waited,
so Jack got another start. But just then the harp cried out: "Master!
Master!" and the ogre swung himself down on to the beanstalk,
which shook with his weight. Down climbs Jack, and after
him climbed the ogre. By this time Jack had climbed down and
climbed down and climbed down till he was very nearly home. So
he called out: "Mother! Mother! bring me an ax, bring me an
ax." And his mother came rushing out with the ax in her hand,
but when she came to the beanstalk she stood stock still with fright,
for there she saw the ogre with his legs just through the clouds.

But Jack jumped down and got hold of the ax and gave a chop at
the beanstalk which cut it half in two. The ogre felt the beanstalk
shake and quiver, so he stopped to see what was the matter. Then
Jack gave another chop with the ax, and the beanstalk was cut in
two and began to topple over. Then the ogre fell down and broke
his crown, and the beanstalk came toppling after.

Then Jack showed his mother his golden harp, and what with
showing that and selling the golden eggs, Jack and his mother became
very rich, and he married a great princess, and they lived
happy ever after.


Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

A shoemaker, by no fault of his own, had become so poor that
at last he had nothing left but leather for one pair of shoes. So
in the evening, he cut out the shoes which he wished to begin to
make the next morning, and as he had a good conscience, he lay
down quietly in his bed, commended himself to God, and fell

In the morning, after he had said his prayers, and was just going
to sit down to work, the two shoes stood quite finished on his table.
He was astounded, and did not know what to say to it. He took
the shoes in his hands to observe them closer, and they were so neatly
made that there was not one bad stitch in them, just as if they were
intended as a masterpiece.

Soon after, too, a buyer came in, and as the shoes pleased him so
well, he paid more for them than was customary, and, with the
money, the shoemaker was able to purchase leather for two pairs of
shoes. He cut them out at night, and next morning was about to set
to work with fresh courage; but he had no need to do so, for, when
he got up, they were already made, and buyers also were not
wanting, who gave him money enough to buy leather for four pairs
of shoes. The following morning, too, he found the four pairs
made; and so it went on constantly, what he cut out in the evening
was finished in the morning, so that he soon had his honest independence
again, and at last became a wealthy man.

Now it befell that one evening not long before Christmas, when
the man had been cutting out, he said to his wife, before going to
bed, "What think you if we were to stay up tonight to see who it is
that lends us this helping hand?" The woman liked the idea, and
lighted a candle, and then they hid themselves in a corner of the
room, behind some clothes which were hanging up there, and watched.

When it was midnight, two pretty little naked men came, sat down
by the shoemaker's table, took all the work which was cut out before
them and began to stitch, and sew, and hammer so skillfully and
so quickly with their little fingers that the shoemaker could not turn
away his eyes for astonishment. They did not stop until all was
done and stood finished on the table, and then they ran quickly

Next morning the woman said, "The little men have made us rich,
and we really must show that we are grateful for it. They run
about so, and have nothing on, and must be cold. I'll tell thee
what I'll do: I will make them little shirts, and coats, and vests,
and trousers, and knit both of them a pair of stockings, and do thou,
too, make them two little pairs of shoes." The man said, "I shall
be very glad to do it;" and one night, when everything was ready,
they laid their presents all together on the table instead of the cutout
work, and then concealed themselves to see how the little men
would behave.

At midnight they came bounding in, and wanted to get at work at
once, but as they did not find any leather cut out, but only the pretty
little articles of clothing, they were at first astonished, and then they
showed intense delight. They dressed themselves with the greatest
rapidity, putting the pretty clothes on, and singing,

"Now we are boys so fine to see,
Why should we longer cobblers be?"

Then they danced and skipped and leapt over chairs and benches.
At last they danced out of doors.

From that time forth they came no more, but as long as the shoemaker
lived all went well with him, and all his undertakings prospered.


Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

One fine evening a young princess went into a wood and sat down
by the side of a cool spring of water. She had a golden ball in
her hand, which was her favorite plaything, and she amused herself
with tossing it into the air and catching it again as it fell. After
a time she threw it up so high that when she stretched out her
hand to catch it, the ball bounded away and rolled along upon the
ground, till at last it fell into the spring. The princess looked into
the spring after her ball; but it was very deep, so deep that she could
not see the bottom of it. Then she began to lament her loss, and
said, "Alas! if I could only get my ball again, I would give all my
fine clothes and jewels, and everything that I have in the world."

While she was speaking a frog put its head out of the water and
said, "Princess, why do you weep so bitterly?" "Alas!" said
she, "what can you do for me, you nasty frog? My golden ball
has fallen into the spring." The frog said, "I want not your pearls
and jewels and fine clothes; but if you will love me and let me live
with you, and eat from your little golden plate, and sleep upon your
little bed, I will bring you your ball again." "What nonsense,"
thought the princess, "this silly frog is talking! He can never get
out of the well: however, he may be able to get my ball for me; and
therefore I will promise him what he asks." So she said to the frog,
"Well, if you will bring me my ball, I promise to do all you require."

Then the frog put his head down, and dived deep under the water;
and after a little while he came up again with the ball in his mouth,
and threw it on the ground. As soon as the young princess saw her
ball, she ran to pick it up, and was so overjoyed to have it in her
hand again, that she never thought of the frog, but ran home with
it as fast as she could. The frog called after her, "Stay, princess,
and take me with you as you promised;" but she did not stop to
hear a word.

The next day, just as the princess had sat down to dinner, she
heard a strange noise, tap-tap, as if somebody was coming up the
marble staircase; and soon afterwards something knocked gently at
the door, and said:

"Open the door, my princess dear,
Open the door to thy true love here!
And mind the words that thou and I said,
By the fountain cool in the greenwood shade."

Then the princess ran to the door and opened it, and there she
saw the frog, whom she had quite forgotten; she was terribly frightened,
and shutting the door as fast as she could, came back to her
seat. The king her father asked her what had frightened her.
"There is a nasty frog," said she, "at the door, who lifted my ball
out of the spring last evening: I promised him that he should live
with me here, thinking that he could never get out of the spring;
but there he is at the door and wants to come in!" While she was
speaking, the frog knocked again at the door, and said:

"Open the door, my princess dear,
Open the door to thy true love here!
And mind the words that thou and I said,
By the fountain cool in the greenwood shade."

The king said to the young princess, "As you have made a
promise, you must keep it; so go and let him in." She did so, and
the frog hopped into the room, and came up close to the table.
"Pray lift me upon a chair," said he to the princess, "and let me sit
next to you." As soon as she had done this, the frog said, "Put
your plate closer to me that I may eat out of it." This she did,
and when he had eaten as much as he could, he said, "Now I am
tired; carry me upstairs and put me into your little bed." And the
princess took him up in her hand and put him upon the pillow of
her own little bed, where he slept all night long. As soon as it
was light, he jumped up, hopped downstairs, and went out of the
house. "Now," thought the princess, "he is gone, and I shall be
troubled with him no more."

But she was mistaken; for when night came again, she heard the
same tapping at the door, and when she opened it, the frog came
in and slept upon her pillow as before till the morning broke:
and the third night he did the same; but when the princess awoke
on the following morning, she was astonished to see, instead of the
frog, a handsome prince standing at the head of her bed, and gazing
on her with the most beautiful eyes that ever were seen.

He told her that he had been enchanted by a malicious fairy, who
had changed him into the form of a frog, in which he was fated to
remain till some princess should take him out of the spring and let
him sleep upon her bed for three nights. "You," said the prince,
"have broken this cruel charm, and now I have nothing to wish for
but that you should go with me into my father's kingdom, where I
will marry you, and love you as long as you live."

The young princess, you may be sure, was not long in giving her
consent; and as they spoke, a splendid carriage drove up with eight
beautiful horses decked with plumes of feathers and golden harness,
and behind rode the prince's servant, the faithful Henry, who
had bewailed the misfortune of his dear master so long and bitterly
that his heart had well-nigh burst. Then all set out full of joy
for the prince's kingdom, where they arrived safely, and lived happily
a great many years.


Peter Christen Asbjrnsen

Once upon a time in the old, old days there were two brothers, one
of whom was rich and the other poor. When Christmas Eve came
the poor brother had not a morsel in the house, neither of meat nor
bread; and so he went to his rich brother, and asked for a trifle
for Christmas, in heaven's name. It was not the first time the
brother had helped him, but he was always very close-fisted, and was
not particularly glad to see him this time.

"If you'll do what I tell you, you shall have a whole ham," he
said. The poor brother promised he would, and was very grateful
into the bargain.

"There it is, and now go to the devil!" said the rich brother,
and threw the ham across to him.

"Well, what I have promised I must keep," said the other one.
He took the ham, and set out. He walked and walked the whole day,
and as it was getting dark he came to a place where the lights were
shining brightly. "This is most likely the place," thought the man
with the ham.

In the woodshed stood an old man with a long white beard, cutting
firewood for Christmas.

"Good evening," said he with the ham.

"Good evening to you," said the man. "Where are you going
so late?"

"I am going to the devil--that is to say, if I am on the right
way," answered the poor man.

"Yes, you are quite right; this is his place," said the old man.
"When you get in they will all want to buy your ham, for ham is
scarce food here; but you must not sell it unless you get the hand-quern,
which stands just behind the door. When you come out again I'll teach
you how to use it. You will find it useful in many ways."

The man with the ham thanked him for all the information and
knocked at the door.

When he got in it happened just as the old man had said. All
the imps, both big and small, flocked around him like ants in a field,
and the one outbid the other for the ham.

"Well," said the man, "my good woman and I were to have it
for Christmas Eve, but since you want it so badly I will let you
have it. But if I am going to part with it, I want that hand-quern
which stands behind the door."

The devil did not like to part with it, and higgled and haggled
with the man, but he stuck to what he had said, and in the end the
devil had to part with the quern.

When the man came out he asked the old woodcutter how he was
to use the quern, and when he had learned this, he thanked the old
man and set out homeward, as quickly as he could; but after all he
did not get home till the clock struck twelve on Christmas Eve.

"Where in all the world have you been?" said his wife. "Here
have I been sitting, hour after hour, waiting and watching for you,
and have not had as much as two chips to lay under the porridge

"Well, I couldn't get back before," said the man. "I have had
a good many things to look after, and I've had a long way to walk
as well; but now I'll show you something," said he, and he put the
quern on the table. He asked it first to grind candles, then a cloth,
and then food and beer, and everything else that was good for
Christmas cheer; and as he spoke the quern brought them forth. The
woman crossed herself time after time and wanted to know where her
husband had got the quern from; but this he would not tell her.

"It does not matter where I got it from; you see the quern is good
and the mill stream is not likely to freeze," said the man. So he
ground food and drink and all good things during Christmas; and
the third day he invited his friends, as he wanted to give them a
feast. When the rich brother saw all that was in the house, he became
both angry and furious, for he begrudged his brother everything.

"On Christmas Eve he was so needy that he came to me and asked
for a trifle in heaven's name; and now he gives a feast, as if he were
both a count and a king," said the brother. "Where did you get
all your riches from?" he said to his brother.

"From just behind the door," he answered, for he did not care
to tell his brother much about it. But later in the evening, when
he had drunk a little freely, he could no longer resist, but brought
out the quern.

"There you see that which has brought me all my riches,"
he said, and so he let the quern grind first one thing and then

When the brother saw this he was determined to have the quern
at all cost, and at last it was settled he should have it, but three
hundred dollars was to be the price of it. The brother was, however,
to keep it till the harvest began; "for if I keep it so long I
can grind out food for many years to come," he thought.

During that time you may be sure the quern did not rust, and
when the harvest began the rich brother got it; but the other had
taken great care not to show him how to use it.

It was evening when the rich brother got the quern home, and in
the morning he asked his wife to go out and help the haymakers;
he would get the breakfast ready for himself, he said.

When it was near breakfast time he put the quern on the breakfast

"Grind herrings and broth, and do it quickly and well," said the
man, and the quern began to bring forth herrings and broth, and
first filled all the dishes and tubs, and afterward began flooding the
whole kitchen.

The man fiddled and fumbled and tried to stop the quern, but
however much he twisted and fingered it, the quern went on grinding,
and in a little while the broth reached so high that the man was
very near drowning. He then pulled open the parlor door, but it
was not very long before the quern had filled the parlor also, and
it was just in the very nick of time that the man put his hand down
into the broth and got hold of the latch, and when he had got the
door open, he was soon out of the parlor, you may be sure. He
rushed out, and the herrings and the broth came pouring out after
him, like a stream, down the fields and meadows.

The wife, who was out haymaking, now thought it took too long a
time to get the breakfast ready.

"If my husband doesn't call us soon we must go home whether
or no: I don't suppose he knows much about making broth, so I
must go and help him," said the wife to the haymakers.

They began walking homeward, but when they had got a bit up the
hill they met the stream of broth with the herrings tossing about
in it and the man himself running in front of it all.

"I wish all of you had a hundred stomachs each!" shouted the
man; "but take care you don't get drowned." And he rushed past
them as if the Evil One were at his heels, down to where his brother
lived. He asked him for heaven's sake to take back the quern, and
that at once; "if it goes on grinding another hour the whole parish
will perish in broth and herrings," he said. But the brother would
not take it back on any account before his brother had paid him
three hundred dollars more, and this he had to do. The poor
brother now had plenty of money, and before long he bought a farm
much grander than the one on which his rich brother lived, and
with the quern he ground so much gold that he covered the farmstead
with gold plates, and, as it lay close to the shore, it glittered
and shone far out at sea. All those who sailed past wanted to
call and visit the rich man in the golden house, and everybody
wanted to see the wonderful quern, for its fame had spread far and
wide, and there was no one who had not heard it spoken of.

After a long while there came a skipper who wanted to see the
quern; he asked if it could grind salt. Yes, that it could, said he
who owned it; and when the skipper heard this he wanted the quern
by hook or crook, cost what it might, for if he had it he thought he
need not sail far away across dangerous seas for cargoes of salt.

At first the man did not want to part with it, but the skipper both
begged and prayed, and at last he sold it and got many, many thousand
dollars for it.

As soon as the skipper had got the quern on his back, he did not
stop long, for he was afraid the man would change his mind, and
as for asking how to use it he had no time to do that; he made for his
ship as quickly as he could, and when he had got out to sea a bit
he had the quern brought up on deck.

"Grind salt, and that both quickly and well," said the skipper,
and the quern began to grind out salt so that it spurted to all sides.

When the skipper had got the ship filled he wanted to stop the
quern, but however much he tried and whatever he did the quern
went on grinding, and the mound of salt grew higher and higher,
and at last the ship sank.

There at the bottom of the sea stands the quern grinding till this
very day, and that is the reason why the sea is salt.


Joel Chandler Harris

The day that the little boy got permission to go to mill with Uncle
Remus was to be long remembered. It was a brand-new experience
to the little city-bred child, and he enjoyed it to the utmost. It is
true that Uncle Remus didn't go to mill in the old-fashioned way,
but even if the little chap had known of the old-fashioned way, his
enjoyment would not have been less. Instead of throwing a bag
of corn on the back of a horse, and perching himself on top in an
uneasy and a precarious position, Uncle Remus placed the corn in a
spring wagon, helped the little boy to climb into the seat, clucked to
the horse, and went along as smoothly and as rapidly as though they
were going to town.

Everything was new to the lad--the road, the scenery, the mill,
and the big mill pond, and, best of all, Uncle Remus allowed him to
enjoy himself in his own way when they came to the end of the
journey. He was such a cautious and timid child, having little or
none of the spirit of adventure that is supposed to dominate the
young, that the old negro was sure he would come to no harm. Instead
of wandering about, and going to places where he had no business
to go, the little boy sat where he could see the water flowing
over the big dam. He had never seen such a sight before, and the
water seemed to him to have a personality of its own--a personality
with both purpose and feeling.

The river was not a very large one, but it was large enough to be
impressive when its waters fell and tumbled over the big dam. The
little boy watched the tumbling water as it fell over the dam and
tossed itself into foam on the rocks below; he watched it so long
and he sat so still that he was able to see things that a noisier
youngster would have missed altogether. He saw a big bull-frog
creep warily from the water and wipe his mouth and eyes with one
of his fore legs, and he saw the same frog edge himself softly toward
a white butterfly that was flitting about near the edge of the stream.
He saw the frog lean forward, and then the butterfly vanished. It
seemed like a piece of magic. The child knew that the frog had
caught the butterfly, but how? The fluttering insect was more than
a foot from the frog when it disappeared, and he was sure that the
frog had neither jumped nor snapped at the butterfly. What he saw,
he saw as plainly as you see your hand in the light of day.

And he saw another sight too that is not given to every one to
see. While he was watching the tumbling water and wondering
where it all came from and where it was going, he thought he saw
swift-moving shadows flitting from the water below up and into
the mill pond above. He never would have been able to discover
just what the shadows were if one of them had not paused a
moment while halfway to the top of the falling water. It poised
itself for one brief instant, as a humming-bird poises over a flower,
but during that fraction of time the little boy was able to see that
what he thought was a shadow was really a fish going from the
water below to the mill pond above. The child could hardly believe
his eyes, and for a little while it seemed that the whole world
was turned topsy-turvy, especially as the shadows continued to flit
from the water below to the mill pond above.

And he was still more puzzled when he reported the strange
fact to Uncle Remus, for the old negro took the information as a
matter of course. With him the phenomenon was almost as old as
his experience. The only explanation that he could give of it was
that the fish--or some kinds of fish, and he didn't know rightly
what kind it was--had a habit of falling from the bottom of the
falls to the top. The most that he knew was that it was a fact,
and that it was occurring every day in the year when the fish were
running. It was certainly wonderful, as in fact everything would be
wonderful if it were not so familiar.

"We ain't got but one way er lookin' at things," remarked Uncle
Remus, "an' ef you'll b'lieve me, honey, it's a mighty one-sided way.
Ef you could git on a perch some'rs an' see things like dey reely is,
an' not like dey seem ter us, I be boun' you'd hol' yo' breff an' shet
yo' eyes."

The old man, without intending it, was going too deep into a deep
subject for the child to follow him, and so the latter told him about
the bull-frog and the butterfly. The statement seemed to call up
pleasing reminiscences, for Uncle Remus laughed in a hearty way.
And when his laughing had subsided, he continued to chuckle until
the little boy wondered what the source of his amusement could
be. Finally he asked the old negro point blank what had caused him
to laugh at such a rate.

"Yo' pa would 'a' know'd," Uncle Remus replied, and then he
grew solemn again and sighed heavily. For a little while he seemed
to be listening to the clatter of the mill, but, finally, he turned to the
little boy. "An' so you done made de 'quaintance er ol' Brer Bull-Frog?
Is you take notice whedder he had a tail er no?"

"Why, of course he didn't have a tail!" exclaimed the child.
"Neither toad-frogs nor bull-frogs have tails. I thought everybody
knew that."

"Oh, well, ef dat de way you feel 'bout um, 'taint no use fer ter
pester wid um. It done got so now dat folks don't b'lieve nothin'
but what dey kin see, an' mo' dan half un um won't b'lieve what dey
see less'n dey kin feel un it too. But dat ain't de way wid dem
what's ol' 'nough fer ter know. Ef I'd 'a' tol' you 'bout de fishes
swimmin' ag'in fallin' water, you wouldn't 'a' b'lieved me, would
you? No, you wouldn't--an' yet, dar 'twuz right 'fo' yo' face an'
eyes. Dar dey wuz a-skeetin' fum de bottom er de dam right up in
de mill pon', an' you settin' dar lookin' at um. S'posin' you wuz ter
say dat you won't b'lieve um less'n you kin feel um; does you speck
de fish gwineter hang dar in de fallin' water an' wait twel you kin
wade 'cross de slipp'y rocks an' put yo' han' on um? Did you look
right close, fer ter see ef de bull-frog what you seed is got a tail
er no?"

The little boy admitted that he had not. He knew as well as
anybody that no kind of a frog has a tail unless it is the Texas frog,
which is only a horned lizard, for he saw one once in Atlanta, and
it was nothing but a rusty-back lizard with a horn on his head.

"I ain't 'sputin' what you say, honey," said Uncle Remus, "but
de creetur what you seed mought 'a' been a frog an' you not know
it. One thing I does know is dat in times gone by de bull-frog had
a tail, kaze I hear de ol folks sesso, an' mo' dan dat, dey know'd
des how he los' it--de whar, an' de when an' de which-away. Fer
all I know it wuz right here at dish yer identual mill pon'. I ain't
gwine inter court an' make no affledave on it, but ef anybody wuz
ter walk up an' p'int der finger at me, an' say dat dis is de place
where ol' Brer Bull-Frog lose his tail, I'd up and 'low, 'Yasser, it
mus' be de place, kaze it look might'ly like de place what I been
hear tell 'bout.' An' den I'd set my eyes an' see ef I can't git it
straight in my dreams."

Uncle Remus paused and pretended to be counting a handful of
red grains of corn that he had found somewhere in the mill. Seeing
that he showed no disposition to tell how Brother Bull-Frog had
lost his tail, the little boy reminded him of it. But the old man
laughed. "Ef Brer Bull-Frog ain't never had no tail," he said,
"how de name er goodness he gwineter lose un? Ef he yever is had
a tail, why den dat's a gray boss uv an'er color. Dey's a tale 'bout
'im havin' a tail an' losin' it, but how kin dey be a tale when dey
ain't no tail?"

Well, the little boy didn't know at all, and he looked so disconsolate
and so confused that the old negro relented. "Now, den,"
he remarked, "ef ol' Brer Bull-Frog had a tail an' he ain't got none
now, dey must 'a' been sump'n happen. In dem times--de times
what all deze tales tells you 'bout--Brer Bull-Frog stayed in an'
aroun' still water des like he do now. De bad col' dat he had in
dem days, he's got it yit--de same pop-eyes, and de same bal'
head. Den, ez now, dey wa'n't a bunch er ha'r on it dat you could
pull out wid a pa'r er tweezers. Ez he bellers now, des dat a-way
he bellered den, mo' speshually at night. An' talk 'bout settin' up
late--why, ol' Brer Bull-Frog could beat dem what fust got in de
habits er settin' up late.

"Dey's one thing dat you'll hatter gi' 'im credit fer, an' dat wuz
keepin' his face an' han's clean, an' in takin' keer er his cloze. Nobody,
not even his mammy, had ter patch his britches er tack buttons
on his coat. See 'im whar you may an' when you mought, he wuz
allers lookin' spick an' span des like he done come right out'n a ban'-box.
You know what de riddle say 'bout 'im: when he stan' up he
sets down, an' when he walks he hops. He'd 'a' been mighty well
thunk un, ef it hadn't but 'a' been fer his habits. He holler so
much at night dat de yuther creeturs can't git no sleep. He'd holler
an' holler, an' 'bout de time you think he bleeze ter be 'shame' er
hollerin' so much, he'd up an' holler 'gi'n. It got so dat de creeturs
hatter go 'way off some'rs ef dey wanter git any sleep, an' it
seem like dey can't git so fur off but what Brer Bull-Frog would wake
um up time dey git ter dozin' good.

"He'd raise up an' low, _'Here I is! Here I is! Wharbouts is
you? Wharbouts is you? Come along! Come along!'_ It 'uz
des dat a-way de whole blessed night, an' de yuther creeturs, dey say
dat it sholy was a shame dat anybody would set right flat-footed an'
ruin der good name. Look like he pestered ev'ybody but ol' Brer
Rabbit, an' de reason dat he liked it wuz kaze it worried de yuther
creeturs. He'd set an' lissen, ol' Brer Rabbit would, an' den he'd
laugh fit ter kill kaze he ain't a-keerin' whedder er no he git any sleep
or not. Ef dey's anybody what kin set up twel de las' day in de
mornin' an' not git red-eyed an' heavy-headed, it's ol' Brer Rabbit.
When he wanter sleep, he'd des shet one eye an' sleep, an' when he
wanter stay 'wake, he'd des open bofe eyes, an' dar he wuz wid all
his foots under 'im, an' a-chawin' his terbacker same ez ef dey
wa'n't no Brer Bull-Frog in de whole Nunited State er Georgy.

"It went on dis way fer I dunner how long--ol' Brer Bull-Frog
a-bellerin' all night long an' keepin' de yuther creeturs 'wake, an'
Brer Rabbit a-laughin'. But, bimeby, de time come when Brer
Rabbit hatter lay in some mo' calamus root, ag'in de time when 't
would be too col' ter dig it, an' when he went fer ter hunt fer it,
his way led 'im down todes de mill pon' whar Brer Bull-Frog live
at. Dey wuz calamus root a-plenty down dar, an' Brer Rabbit, atter
lookin' de groun' over, promise hisse'f dat he'd fetch a basket de nex'
time he come, an' make one trip do fer two. He ain't been dar long
'fo' he had a good chance fer ter hear Brer Bull-Frog at close range.
He hear him, he did, an' he shake his head an' say dat a mighty
little bit er dat music would go a long ways, kaze dey ain't nobody
what kin stan' flat-footed an' say dat Brer Bull-Frog is a better singer
dan de mockin'-bird.

"Well, whiles Brer Rabbit wuz pirootin' roun' fer ter see what
mought be seed, he git de idee dat he kin hear thunder way off yander.
He lissen ag'in, an' he hear Brer Bull-Frog mumblin' an' grumblin'
ter hisse'f, an' he must 'a' had a mighty bad col', kaze his talk soun'
des like a bummil-eye bee been kotch in a sugar-barrel an' can't git
out. An' dat creetur must 'a' know'd dat Brer Rabbit wuz down in
dem neighborhoods, kaze, atter while, he 'gun to talk louder, an' yit
mo' louder. He say, _'Whar you gwine? Whar you gwine?'_ an'
den, '_Don't go too fur--don't go too fur!_' an', atter so long a
time, '_Come back--come back! Come back soon!_' Brer Rabbit, he
sot dar, he did, an' work his nose an' wiggle his mouf, an' wait fer
ter see what gwineter happen nex'.

"Whiles Brer Rabbit settin' dar, Brer Bull-Frog fall ter mumblin'
ag'in an' it look like he 'bout ter drap off ter sleep, but bimeby
he talk louder, '_Be my frien'--be my frien'! Oh, be my frien'!_'
Brer Rabbit wunk one eye an' smole a smile, kaze he done hear a
heap er talk like dat. He wipe his face an' eyes wid his pocket-hankcher,
an' sot so still dat you'd 'a' thunk he wa'n't nothin' but a
chunk er wood. But Brer Bull-Frog, he know'd how ter stay still
hisse'f, an' he ain't so much ez bubble a bubble. But atter whiles,
when Brer Rabbit can't stay still no mo,' he got up fum whar he wuz
settin' at an' mosied out by de mill-race whar de grass is fresh an' de
trees is green.

"Brer Bull-Frog holla, '_Jug-er-rum--jug-er-rum! Wade in
here--I'll gi' you some!_' Now der nothin' dat ol' Brer Rabbit
like better dan a little bit er dram fer de stomach-ache, an' his mouf
'gun ter water right den an' dar. He went a little closer ter de mill
pon', an' Brer Bull-Frog keep on a-talkin' 'bout de jug er rum,
an' what he gwine do ef Brer Rabbit'will wade in dar. He look at
de water, an' it look mighty col'; he look ag'in an' it look mighty
deep. It say, 'Lap-lap!' an' it look like it's a-creepin' higher.
Brer Rabbit drawed back wid a shiver, an' he wish mighty much dat
he'd a fotch his overcoat.

"Brer Bull-Frog say, '_Knee deep--knee deep! Wade in--
wade in!_' an' he make de water bubble des like he takin' a dram.
Den an' dar, sump'n n'er happen, an' how it come ter happen Brer
Rabbit never kin tell; but he peeped in de pon' fer ter see ef he kin
ketch a glimp er de jug, an' in he went--_kerchug!_ He ain't never
know whedder he fall in, er slip in, er ef he was pushed in, but
dar he wuz! He come mighty nigh not gittin' out; but he scramble
an' he scuffle twel he git back ter de bank whar he kin clim' out,
an' he stood dar, he did, an' kinder shuck hisse'f, kaze he mighty
glad fer ter fin' dat he's in de worl' once mo'. He know'd dat a
lettel mo' an' he'd 'a' been gone fer good, kaze when he drapped in,
er jumped in, er fell in, he wuz over his head an' years, an' he
hatter do a sight er kickin' an' scufflin' an' swallerin' water 'fo' he kin
git whar he kin grab de grass on de bank.

"He sneeze an' snoze, an' wheeze an' whoze, twel it look like he'd
drown right whar he wuz stan'in' anyway you kin fix it. He say ter
hisse'f dat he ain't never gwineter git de tas'e er river water outer
his mouf an' nose, an' he wonder how in de worl' dat plain water
kin be so watery. Ol' Brer Bull-Frog, he laugh like a bull in de
pastur', an' Brer Rabbit gi' a sidelong look dat oughter tol' 'im ez
much ez a map kin tell one er deze yer school scholars. Brer Rabbit
look at 'im, but he ain't say narry a word. He des shuck hisse'f
once mo', an' put out fer home whar he kin set in front er de fire
an' git dry.

"Atter dat day, Brer Rabbit riz mighty soon an' went ter bed late,
an' he watch Brer Bull-Frog so close dat dey wa'n't nothin' he kin do
but what Brer Rabbit know' 'bout it time it 'uz done; an' one
thing he know'd better dan all--he know' dat when de winter time
come Brer Bull-Frog would have ter pack up his duds an' move over
in de bog whar de water don't git friz up. Dat much he know'd, an'
when dat time come, he laid off fer ter make Brer Bull-Frog's journey,
short ez it wuz, ez full er hap'nin's ez de day when de ol' cow
went dry. He tuck an' move his bed an' board ter de big holler
poplar, not fur fum de mill pon', an' dar he stayed an' keep one eye
on Brer Bull-Frog bofe night an' day. He ain't lose no flesh whiles
he waitin', kaze he ain't one er deze yer kin' what mopes an' gits
sollumcolly; he wuz all de time betwixt a grin an' a giggle.

"He know'd mighty well--none better--dat time goes by turns
in deze low groun's, an' he wait fer de day when Brer Bull-Frog
gwineter move his belongin's fum pon' ter bog. An' bimeby dat
time come, an' when it come, Brer Bull-Frog is done fergit off'n his
mind all 'bout Brer Rabbit an' his splashification. He rig hisse'f
out in his Sunday best, an' he look kerscrumptious ter dem what like
dat kinder doin's. He had on a little sojer hat wid green an' white
speckles all over it, an' a long green coat, an' satin britches, an'
a white silk wescut, an' shoes wid silver buckles. Mo' dan dat, he
had a green umbrell fer ter keep fum havin' freckles, an' his long
spotted tail wuz done up in de umbrell kivver so dat it won't drag on
de groun'."

Uncle Remus paused to see what the little boy would say to this
last statement, but the child's training prevented the asking of many
questions, and so he only laughed at the idea of a frog with a tail,
and the tail done up in the cover of a green umbrella. The laughter
of the youngster was hearty enough to satisfy the old negro, and he
went on with the story.

"Whiles all dis goin' on, honey, you better b'lieve dat Brer Rabbit
wa'n't so mighty fur fum dar. When Brer Bull-Frog come out
an' start fer ter promenade ter de bog, Brer Rabbit show hisse'f an'
make like he skeered. He broke an' run, an' den he stop fer ter see
what 'tis--an' den he run a leetle ways an' stop ag'in, an' he keep on
dodgin' an' runnin' twel he fool Brer Bull-Frog inter b'lievin' dat he
wuz skeer'd mighty nigh ter death.

"You know how folks does when dey git de idee dat somebody's
feared un um--ef you don't you'll fin' out long 'fo' yo' whiskers gits
ter hangin' to yo' knees. When folks take up dis idee, dey gits
biggity, an' dey ain't no stayin' in de same country wid um.

"Well, Brer Bull-Frog, he git de idee dat Brer Rabbit wuz 'fear'd
un 'im, an' he shuck his umbrell like he mad, an' he beller: 'Whar
my gun?' Brer Rabbit flung up bofe han's like he wuz skeer'd er
gittin' a load er shot in his vitals, an' den he broke an' run ez hard
ez he kin. Brer Bull-Frog holler out, 'Come yer, you vilyun, an'
le' me' gi' you de frailin' what I done promise you!' but ol' Brer
Rabbit, he keep on a-gwine. Brer Bull-Frog went hoppin' atter,
but he ain't make much headway, kaze all de time he wuz hoppin'
he wuz tryin' to strut.

"'Twuz e'en about ez much ez Brer Rabbit kin do ter keep fum
laughin', but he led Brer Bull-Frog ter de holler poplar, whar he
had his hatchet hid. Ez he went in' he 'low, 'You can't git me!'
He went in, he did, an' out he popped on t'er side. By dat time
Brer Bull-Frog wuz mighty certain an' sho dat Brer Rabbit wuz
skeer'd ez he kin be, an' inter de holler he went, widout so much ez
takin' de trouble ter shet up his umbrell. When he got in de holler,
in co'se he ain't see hide ner ha'r er Brer Rabbit, an' he beller out,
'Whar is you? You may hide, but I'll fin' you, an' when I does
--when I does!' He ain't say all he wanter say, kaze by dat time
Brer Rabbit wuz lammin' on de tree wid his hatchet. He hit it some
mighty heavy whacks, an' Brer Bull-Frog git de idee dat somebody
wuz cuttin' it down.

"Dat kinder skeer'd 'im, kaze he know dat ef de tree fell while he
in de holler, it'd be all-night Isom wid him. But when he make a
move fer ter turn roun' in dar fer ter come out, Brer Rabbit run
roun' ter whar he wuz, an' chop his tail off right smick-smack-smoove."

The veteran story-teller paused, and looked at the clouds that
were gathering in the sky. "'Twouldn't 'stonish me none," he
remarked dryly, "ef we wuz ter have some fallin' wedder."

"But, Uncle Remus, what happened when Brother Rabbit cut off
the Bull-Frog's tail?" inquired the little boy.

The old man sighed heavily, and looked around, as if he were
hunting for some way of escape. "Why, honey, when de Frog tail
wuz cut off, it stayed off, but dey tells me dat it kep' on a wigglin'
plum twel de sun went down. Dis much I does know, dat sence
dat day, none er de Frog fambly has been troubled wid tails. Ef
you don't believe me you kin ketch um an' see."


Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

There was once a little Brownie who lived--where do you
think he lived?--In a coal cellar.

Now a coal cellar may seem a most curious place to choose to
live in; but then a Brownie is a curious creature--a fairy, and
yet not one of that sort of fairies who fly about on gossamer
wings, and dance in the moonlight, and so on. He never dances;
and as to wings, what use would they be to him in a coal cellar?
He is a sober, stay-at-home household elf--nothing much to look
at, even if you did see him, which you are not likely to do--only
a little old man, about a foot high, all dressed in brown, with a
brown face and hands, and a brown peaked cap, just the color of a
brown mouse. And like a mouse he hides in corners--especially
kitchen corners, and only comes out after dark when nobody is about,
and so sometimes people call him Mr. Nobody.

I said you were not likely to see him. I never did, certainly, and
never knew anybody that did; but still, if you were to go into
Devonshire, you would hear many funny stories about Brownies in
general, and so I may as well tell you the adventures of this
particular Brownie, who belonged to a family there; which family he
had followed from house to house, most faithfully, for years and

A good many people had heard him--or supposed they had--
when there were extraordinary noises about the house; noises which
must have come from a mouse or a rat--or a Brownie. But nobody
had ever seen him, except the children, the three little boys and
three little girls--who declared he often came to play with them when
they were alone, and was the nicest companion in the world, though
he was such an old man--hundreds of years old! He was full of
fun and mischief and up to all sorts of tricks, but he never did
anybody any harm unless they deserved it.

Brownie was supposed to live under one particular coal, in the
darkest corner of the cellar, which was never allowed to be
disturbed. Why he had chosen it nobody knew, and how he lived there,
nobody knew either; nor what he lived upon. Except that, ever
since the family could remember, there had always been a bowl of
milk put behind the coal cellar door for the Brownie's supper.
Perhaps he drank it--perhaps he didn't: anyhow, the bowl was
always found empty next morning.

The old Cook, who had lived all her life in the family, had never
once forgotten to give Brownie his supper; but at last she died, and a
young Cook came in her stead, who was very apt to forget everything.
She was also both careless and lazy, and disliked taking
the trouble to put a bowl of milk in the same place every night for
Mr. Nobody. "She didn't believe in Brownies," she said; "she
had never seen one, and seeing's believing." So she laughed at the
other servants, who looked very grave, and put the bowl of milk in
its place as often as they could, without saying much about it.

But once, when Brownie woke up, at his usual hour for rising--
ten o'clock at night, and looked round in search of his supper--
which was in fact his breakfast, he found nothing there. At first
he could not imagine such neglect, and went smelling and smelling
about for his bowl of milk--it was not always placed in the same
corner now--but in vain.

"This will never do," said he; and being extremely hungry, began
running about the coal cellar to see what he could find. His eyes
were as useful in the dark as in the light--like a pussycat's; but
there was nothing to be seen--not even a potato paring, or a dry
crust, or a well-gnawed bone, such as Tiny the terrier sometimes
brought into the coal cellar and left on the floor. Nothing, in short,
but heaps of coals and coal dust, which even a Brownie cannot eat,
you know.

"Can't stand this; quite impossible!" said the Brownie, tightening
his belt to make his poor little inside feel less empty. He had been
asleep so long--about a week, I believe, as was his habit when there
was nothing to do---that he seemed ready to eat his own head, or his
boots, or anything. "What's to be done? Since nobody brings my
supper I must go and fetch it."

He spoke quickly, for he always thought quickly and made up
his mind in a minute. To be sure it was a very little mind, like his
little body; but he did the best he could with it, and was not a bad
sort of old fellow after all. In the house he had never done any
harm--and often some good, for he frightened away all the rats,
mice, and black beetles. Not the crickets--he liked them, as the
old Cook had done: she said they were such cheerful creatures, and
always brought luck to the house. But the young Cook could not
bear them, and used to pour boiling water down their holes, and set
basins of beer with little wooden bridges up to the rim, that they
might walk up, tumble in, and be drowned.

So there was not even a cricket singing in the silent house when
Brownie put his head out of his coal cellar door, which, to his
surprise, he found open. Old Cook used to lock it every night;
but the young Cook had left that key, and the kitchen and pantry
keys too, all dangling in the lock, so that any thief might have got
in and wandered all over the house without being found out.

"Hurrah, here's luck!" cried Brownie, tossing his cap up in
the air, and bounding right through the scullery into the kitchen.
It was quite empty, but there was a good fire burning itself out--
just for its own amusement, and the remains of a capital supper
were spread on the table--enough for half-a-dozen people being
left still.

Would you like to know what there was? Devonshire cream, of
course; and part of a large dish of junket, which is something like
curds and whey. Lots of bread and butter and cheese, and half an
apple pudding. Also a great jug of cider and another of milk,
and several half-full glasses, and no end of dirty plates, knives, and
forks. All were scattered about the table in the most untidy fashion,
just as the servants had risen from their supper, without thinking to
put anything away.

Brownie screwed up his little old face and turned up his button
of a nose, and gave a long whistle. You might not believe it, seeing
he lived in a coal cellar, but really he liked tidiness and always
played his pranks upon disorderly or slovenly folk.

"Whew!" said he, "here's a chance! What a supper I'll get

And he jumped on to a chair and thence to the table, but so quietly
that the large black cat with four white paws, called Muff, because
she was so fat and soft and her fur so long, who sat dozing in front
of the fire, just opened one eye and went to sleep again. She had
tried to get her nose into the milk jug, but it was too small; and
the junket dish was too deep for her to reach, except with one paw.
She didn't care much for bread and cheese and apple pudding, and
was very well fed besides; so after just wandering round the table
she had jumped down from it again, and settled herself to sleep on
the hearth.

But Brownie had no notion of going to sleep. He wanted his
supper, and oh! what a supper he did eat! first one thing and then
another, and then trying everything all over again. And oh! what
a lot he drank!--first milk and then cider, and then mixed the two
together in a way that would have disagreed with anybody except a
Brownie. As it was, he was obliged to slacken his belt several times,
and at last took it off altogether. But he must have had a most
extraordinary capacity for eating and drinking--since, after he
had nearly cleared the table, he was just as lively as ever, and
began jumping about on the table as if he had had no supper at all.

Now his jumping was a little awkward, for there happened to be
a clean white tablecloth! as this was only Monday, it had had no time
to get dirty--untidy as the Cook was. And you know Brownie lived
in a coal cellar, and his feet were black with running about in coal
dust. So wherever he trod, he left the impression behind; until at
last the whole tablecloth was covered with black marks.

Not that he minded this; in fact, he took great pains to make the
cloth as dirty as possible; and then laughing loudly, "Ho, ho, ho!"
leaped on to the hearth, and began teasing the cat; squeaking like a
mouse, or chirping like a cricket, or buzzing like a fly; and altogether
disturbing poor Pussy's mind so much, that she went and hid herself in
the farthest corner, and left him the hearth all to himself, where he
lay at ease till daybreak.

Then, hearing a slight noise overhead, which might be the servants
getting up, he jumped on to the table again--gobbled up the
few remaining crumbs for his breakfast, and scampered off to his
coal cellar; where he hid himself under his big coal, and fell asleep
for the day.

Well, the Cook came downstairs rather earlier than usual, for she
remembered she had to clear off the remains of supper; but lo and
behold, there was nothing left to clear! Every bit of food was
eaten up--the cheese looked as if a dozen mice had been nibbling
at it, and nibbled it down to the very rind; the milk and cider were
all drunk--and mice don't care for milk and cider, you know: as for
the apple pudding, it had vanished altogether; and the dish was
licked as clean as if Boxer the yard dog had been at it, in his
hungriest mood.

"And my white tablecloth--oh, my clean white tablecloth!
What can have been done to it?" cried she in amazement. For it
was all over little black footmarks, just the size of a baby's foot--
only babies don't wear shoes with nails in them, and don't run about
and climb on kitchen tables after all the family have gone to bed.

Cook was a little frightened; but her fright changed to anger
when she saw the large black cat stretched comfortably on the
hearth. Poor Muff had crept there for a little snooze after Brownie
went away.

"You nasty cat! I see it all now; it's you that have eaten up all
the supper; it's you that have been on my clean tablecloth with
your dirty paws."

They were white paws, and as clean as possible; but Cook never
thought of that, any more than she did of the fact that cats don't
usually drink cider or eat apple pudding.

"I'll teach you to come stealing food in this way; take that--
and that--and that!"

Cook got hold of a broom and beat poor Pussy till the creature ran
mewing away. She couldn't speak, you know--unfortunate cat!
and tell people that it was Brownie who had done it all.

Next night Cook thought she would make all safe and sure; so,
instead of letting the cat sleep by the fire, she shut her up in the
chilly coal cellar--locked the door, put the key in her pocket, and
went off to bed; leaving the supper as before.

When Brownie woke up and looked out of his hole, there was as
usual no supper for him, and the cellar was close shut. He peered
about, to try and find some cranny under the door to creep out at,
but there was none. And he felt so hungry that he could almost
have eaten the cat, who kept walking to and fro in a melancholy
manner--only she was alive, and he couldn't well eat her alive:--
besides he knew she was old, and had an idea she might be tough;
so he merely said, politely, "How do you do, Mrs. Pussy?" to
which she answered nothing--of course.

Something must be done, and luckily Brownies can do things
which nobody else can do. So he thought he would change himself
into a mouse, and gnaw a hole through the door. But then he suddenly
remembered the cat, who, though he had decided not to eat
her, might take this opportunity of eating him. So he thought it
advisable to wait till she was fast asleep, which did not happen for
a good while. At length, quite tired with walking about, Pussy
turned round on her tail six times, curled down in a corner, and fell
fast asleep.

Immediately Brownie changed himself into the smallest mouse
possible; and, taking care not to make the least noise, gnawed a hole
in the door, and squeezed himself through--immediately turning
into his proper shape again, for fear of accidents.

The kitchen fire was at its last glimmer; but it showed a better
supper than even last night, for the Cook had had friends with her,
a brother and two cousins, and they had been exceedingly merry.
The food they had left behind was enough for three Brownies at least,
but this one managed to eat it all up. Only once, in trying to cut
a great slice of beef, he let the carving knife and fork fall with
such a clatter, that Tiny the terrier, who was tied up at the foot of
the stairs, began to bark furiously. However, he brought her her
puppy, which had been left in a basket in a corner of the kitchen,
and so succeeded in quieting her.

After that he enjoyed himself amazingly, and made more marks
than ever on the white tablecloth--for he began jumping about
like a pea on a trencher, in order to make his particularly large
supper agree with him.

Then, in the absence of the cat, he teased the puppy for an hour
or two, till, hearing the clock strike five, he thought it as well to
turn into a mouse again, and creep back cautiously into his cellar.
He was only just in time, for Muff opened one eye, and was just
going to pounce upon him, when he changed himself back into a
Brownie. She was so startled that she bounded away, her tail growing
into twice its natural size, and her eyes gleaming like round
green globes. But Brownie only said, "Ha, ha, ho!" and walked
deliberately into his hole.

When Cook came downstairs and saw that the same thing had
happened again--that the supper was all eaten, and the tablecloth
blacker than ever with extraordinary footmarks, she was greatly
puzzled. Who could have done it all? Not the cat, who came mewing
out of the coal cellar the minute she unlocked the door. Possibly
a rat--but then would a rat have come within reach of Tiny?

"It must have been Tiny herself, or her puppy," which just came
rolling out of its basket over Cook's feet. "You little wretch! You
and your mother are the greatest nuisance imaginable. I'll punish

And quite forgetting that Tiny had been safely tied up all night,
and that her poor little puppy was so fat and helpless it could
scarcely stand on its legs--and so was unlikely to jump on chairs
and tables, she gave them both such a thrashing that they ran howling
together out of the kitchen door, where the kind little kitchen maid
took them up in her arms.

"You ought to have beaten the Brownie, if you could catch him,"
said she in a whisper. "He'll do it again and again, you'll see, for
he can't bear an untidy kitchen. You'd better do as poor old Cook
did, and clear the supper things away, and put the odds and ends
safe in the larder; also," she added mysteriously, "if I were you,
I'd put a bowl of milk behind the coal-cellar door."

"Nonsense!" answered the young Cook and flounced away. But
afterwards she thought better of it, and did as she was advised,
grumbling all the time, but doing it.

Next morning, the milk was gone! Perhaps Brownie had drunk
it up, anyhow nobody could say that he hadn't. As for the supper,
Cook having safely laid it on the shelves of the larder, nobody
touched it. And the tablecloth, which was wrapped up tidily and
put in the dresser drawer, came out as clean as ever, with not a
single black footmark upon it. No mischief being done, the cat
and the dog both escaped beating, and Brownie played no more
tricks with anybody--till the next time.


John Ruskin



In a secluded and mountainous part of Stiria there was in old
time a valley of the most surprising and luxuriant fertility. It was
surrounded on all sides by steep and rocky mountains, rising into
peaks which were always covered with snow, and from which a
number of torrents descended in constant cataracts. One of these
fell westward over the face of a crag so high, that, when the sun had
set to everything else, and all below was darkness, his beams still
shone full upon this waterfall, so that it looked like a shower of
gold. It was, therefore, called by the people of the neighborhood,
the Golden River. It was strange that none of these streams fell
into the valley itself. They all descended on the other side of the
mountains, and wound away through broad plains and by populous
cities. But the clouds were drawn so constantly to the snowy hills,
and rested so softly in the circular hollow, that in time of drought
and heat, when all the country round was burnt up, there was still
rain in the little valley; and its crops were so heavy and its hay so
high, and its apples so red, and its grapes so blue, and its wine so
rich, and its honey so sweet, that it was a marvel to every one who
beheld it, and was commonly called the Treasure Valley.

The whole of this little valley belonged to three brothers called
Schwartz, Hans, and Gluck. Schwartz and Hans, the two elder
brothers, were very ugly men, with overhanging eyebrows and small
dull eyes, which were always half shut, so that you could not see
into _them_, and always fancied they saw very far into _you_.
They lived by farming the Treasure Valley, and very good farmers they
were. They killed everything that did not pay for its eating. They
shot the blackbirds, because they pecked the fruit; and killed the
hedgehogs, lest they should suck the cows; they poisoned the crickets
for eating the crumbs in the kitchen; and smothered the cicadas,
which used to sing all summer in the lime trees. They worked their
servants without any wages, till they would not work any more, and
then quarreled with them, and turned them out of doors without
paying them. It would have been very odd if with such a farm and
such a system of farming they hadn't got very rich; and very rich
they _did_ get. They generally contrived to keep their corn by them
till it was very dear, and then sell it for twice its value; they had
heaps of gold lying about on their floors, yet it was never known that
they had given so much as a penny or a crust in charity; they never
went to mass; grumbled perpetually at paying tithes; and were, in
a word, of so cruel and grinding a temper, as to receive from all those
with whom they had any dealings, the nickname of the "Black

The youngest brother, Gluck, was as completely opposed, in both
appearance and character, to his seniors as could possibly be
imagined or desired. He was not above twelve years old, fair, blue-eyed,
and kind in temper to every living thing. He did not, of
course, agree particularly well with his brothers, or rather, they
did not agree with _him_. He was usually appointed to the honorable
office of turnspit, when there was anything to roast, which was not
often; for, to do the brothers justice, they were hardly less sparing
upon themselves than upon other people. At other times he used
to clean the shoes, floors, and sometimes the plates, occasionally
getting what was left on them, by way of encouragement, and a
wholesome quantity of dry blows, by way of education.

Things went on in this manner for a long time. At last came
a very wet summer, and everything went wrong in the country around.
The hay had hardly been got in when the haystacks were floated
bodily down to the sea by an inundation; the vines were cut to pieces
with the hail; the corn was all killed by a black blight; only in
the Treasure Valley, as usual, all was safe. As it had rain when
there was rain nowhere else, so it had sun when there was sun nowhere
else. Everybody came to buy corn at the farm, and went away pouring
maledictions on the Black Brothers. They asked what they liked, and
got it, except from the poor people, who could only beg, and several
of whom were starved at their very door without the slightest regard
or notice.

It was drawing towards Winter, and very cold weather, when
one day the two elder brothers had gone out with their usual warning
to little Gluck, who was left to mind the roast, that he was to let
nobody in and give nothing out. Gluck sat down quite close to the
fire, for it was raining very hard, and the kitchen walls were by
no means dry or comfortable looking. He turned and turned, and
the roast got nice and brown. "What a pity," thought Gluck, "my
brothers never ask anybody to dinner. I'm sure when they have
such a nice piece of mutton as this, and nobody else has got so much
as a piece of dry bread, it would do their hearts good to have somebody
to eat it with them."

Just as he spoke there came a double knock at the house door, yet
heavy and dull, as though the knocker had been tied up--more like
a puff than a knock.

"It must be the wind," said Gluck; "nobody else would venture to
knock double knocks at our door."

No; it wasn't the wind: there it came again very hard; and what
was particularly astounding, the knocker seemed to be in a hurry,
and not to be in the least afraid of the consequences. Gluck
went to the window, opened it, and put his head out to see who it

It was the most extraordinary-looking little gentleman he had
ever seen in his life. He had a very large nose, slightly
brass-colored; his cheeks were very round and very red, and might have
warranted a supposition that he had been blowing a refractory fire
for the last eight-and-forty hours; his eyes twinkled merrily through
long silky eyelashes, his mustaches curled twice round like a corkscrew
on each side of his mouth, and his hair, of a curious mixed
pepper-and-salt-color, descended far over his shoulders. He was
about four-feet-six in height, and wore a conical pointed cap of nearly
the same altitude, decorated with a black feather some three feet
long. His doublet was prolonged behind into something resembling
a violent exaggeration of what is now termed a "swallowtail," but
was much obscured by the swelling folds of an enormous black,
glossy-looking cloak, which must have been very much too long in
calm weather, as the wind, whistling round the old house, carried
it clear out from the wearer's shoulders to about four times his own

Gluck was so perfectly paralyzed by the singular appearance of
his visitor that he remained fixed without uttering a word, until the
old gentleman, having performed another and a more energetic concerto
on the knocker, turned round to look after his fly-away cloak.
In so doing he caught sight of Gluck's little yellow head jammed in
the window, with his mouth and eyes very wide-open indeed.

"Hollo!" said the little gentleman, "that's not the way to answer
the door: I'm wet, let me in."

To do the little gentleman justice, he _was_ wet. His feather hung
down between his legs like a beaten puppy's tail, dripping like an
umbrella; and from the ends of his mustaches the water was running
into his waistcoat pockets, and out again like a mill stream.

"I beg pardon, sir," said Gluck, "I'm very sorry, but I really

"Can't what?" said the old gentleman.

"I can't let you in, sir,--I can't indeed; my brothers would beat
me to death, sir, if I thought of such a thing. What do you want,

"Want?" said the old gentleman, petulantly. "I want fire and
shelter; and there's your great fire there, blazing, crackling, and

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