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Grimms' Fairy Tales by The Brothers Grimm

Part 3 out of 5

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killed all their cows, and stripped off their skins in order to sell
them in the town to the greatest advantage. The mayor, however, said:
'But my servant must go first.' When she came to the merchant in the
town, he did not give her more than two talers for a skin, and when
the others came, he did not give them so much, and said: 'What can I
do with all these skins?'

Then the peasants were vexed that the small peasant should have thus
outwitted them, wanted to take vengeance on him, and accused him of
this treachery before the major. The innocent little peasant was
unanimously sentenced to death, and was to be rolled into the water,
in a barrel pierced full of holes. He was led forth, and a priest was
brought who was to say a mass for his soul. The others were all
obliged to retire to a distance, and when the peasant looked at the
priest, he recognized the man who had been with the miller's wife. He
said to him: 'I set you free from the closet, set me free from the
barrel.' At this same moment up came, with a flock of sheep, the very
shepherd whom the peasant knew had long been wishing to be mayor, so
he cried with all his might: 'No, I will not do it; if the whole world
insists on it, I will not do it!' The shepherd hearing that, came up
to him, and asked: 'What are you about? What is it that you will not
do?' The peasant said: 'They want to make me mayor, if I will but put
myself in the barrel, but I will not do it.' The shepherd said: 'If
nothing more than that is needful in order to be mayor, I would get
into the barrel at once.' The peasant said: 'If you will get in, you
will be mayor.' The shepherd was willing, and got in, and the peasant
shut the top down on him; then he took the shepherd's flock for
himself, and drove it away. The parson went to the crowd, and declared
that the mass had been said. Then they came and rolled the barrel
towards the water. When the barrel began to roll, the shepherd cried:
'I am quite willing to be mayor.' They believed no otherwise than that
it was the peasant who was saying this, and answered: 'That is what we
intend, but first you shall look about you a little down below there,'
and they rolled the barrel down into the water.

After that the peasants went home, and as they were entering the
village, the small peasant also came quietly in, driving a flock of
sheep and looking quite contented. Then the peasants were astonished,
and said: 'Peasant, from whence do you come? Have you come out of the
water?' 'Yes, truly,' replied the peasant, 'I sank deep, deep down,
until at last I got to the bottom; I pushed the bottom out of the
barrel, and crept out, and there were pretty meadows on which a number
of lambs were feeding, and from thence I brought this flock away with
me.' Said the peasants: 'Are there any more there?' 'Oh, yes,' said
he, 'more than I could want.' Then the peasants made up their minds
that they too would fetch some sheep for themselves, a flock apiece,
but the mayor said: 'I come first.' So they went to the water
together, and just then there were some of the small fleecy clouds in
the blue sky, which are called little lambs, and they were reflected
in the water, whereupon the peasants cried: 'We already see the sheep
down below!' The mayor pressed forward and said: 'I will go down
first, and look about me, and if things promise well I'll call you.'
So he jumped in; splash! went the water; it sounded as if he were
calling them, and the whole crowd plunged in after him as one man.
Then the entire village was dead, and the small peasant, as sole heir,
became a rich man.


There was once a man called Frederick: he had a wife whose name was
Catherine, and they had not long been married. One day Frederick said.
'Kate! I am going to work in the fields; when I come back I shall be
hungry so let me have something nice cooked, and a good draught of
ale.' 'Very well,' said she, 'it shall all be ready.' When dinner-time
drew nigh, Catherine took a nice steak, which was all the meat she
had, and put it on the fire to fry. The steak soon began to look
brown, and to crackle in the pan; and Catherine stood by with a fork
and turned it: then she said to herself, 'The steak is almost ready, I
may as well go to the cellar for the ale.' So she left the pan on the
fire and took a large jug and went into the cellar and tapped the ale
cask. The beer ran into the jug and Catherine stood looking on. At
last it popped into her head, 'The dog is not shut up--he may be
running away with the steak; that's well thought of.' So up she ran
from the cellar; and sure enough the rascally cur had got the steak in
his mouth, and was making off with it.

Away ran Catherine, and away ran the dog across the field: but he ran
faster than she, and stuck close to the steak. 'It's all gone, and
"what can't be cured must be endured",' said Catherine. So she turned
round; and as she had run a good way and was tired, she walked home
leisurely to cool herself.

Now all this time the ale was running too, for Catherine had not
turned the cock; and when the jug was full the liquor ran upon the
floor till the cask was empty. When she got to the cellar stairs she
saw what had happened. 'My stars!' said she, 'what shall I do to keep
Frederick from seeing all this slopping about?' So she thought a
while; and at last remembered that there was a sack of fine meal
bought at the last fair, and that if she sprinkled this over the floor
it would suck up the ale nicely. 'What a lucky thing,' said she, 'that
we kept that meal! we have now a good use for it.' So away she went
for it: but she managed to set it down just upon the great jug full of
beer, and upset it; and thus all the ale that had been saved was set
swimming on the floor also. 'Ah! well,' said she, 'when one goes
another may as well follow.' Then she strewed the meal all about the
cellar, and was quite pleased with her cleverness, and said, 'How very
neat and clean it looks!'

At noon Frederick came home. 'Now, wife,' cried he, 'what have you for
dinner?' 'O Frederick!' answered she, 'I was cooking you a steak; but
while I went down to draw the ale, the dog ran away with it; and while
I ran after him, the ale ran out; and when I went to dry up the ale
with the sack of meal that we got at the fair, I upset the jug: but
the cellar is now quite dry, and looks so clean!' 'Kate, Kate,' said
he, 'how could you do all this?' Why did you leave the steak to fry,
and the ale to run, and then spoil all the meal?' 'Why, Frederick,'
said she, 'I did not know I was doing wrong; you should have told me

The husband thought to himself, 'If my wife manages matters thus, I
must look sharp myself.' Now he had a good deal of gold in the house:
so he said to Catherine, 'What pretty yellow buttons these are! I
shall put them into a box and bury them in the garden; but take care
that you never go near or meddle with them.' 'No, Frederick,' said
she, 'that I never will.' As soon as he was gone, there came by some
pedlars with earthenware plates and dishes, and they asked her whether
she would buy. 'Oh dear me, I should like to buy very much, but I have
no money: if you had any use for yellow buttons, I might deal with
you.' 'Yellow buttons!' said they: 'let us have a look at them.' 'Go
into the garden and dig where I tell you, and you will find the yellow
buttons: I dare not go myself.' So the rogues went: and when they
found what these yellow buttons were, they took them all away, and
left her plenty of plates and dishes. Then she set them all about the
house for a show: and when Frederick came back, he cried out, 'Kate,
what have you been doing?' 'See,' said she, 'I have bought all these
with your yellow buttons: but I did not touch them myself; the pedlars
went themselves and dug them up.' 'Wife, wife,' said Frederick, 'what
a pretty piece of work you have made! those yellow buttons were all my
money: how came you to do such a thing?' 'Why,' answered she, 'I did
not know there was any harm in it; you should have told me.'

Catherine stood musing for a while, and at last said to her husband,
'Hark ye, Frederick, we will soon get the gold back: let us run after
the thieves.' 'Well, we will try,' answered he; 'but take some butter
and cheese with you, that we may have something to eat by the way.'
'Very well,' said she; and they set out: and as Frederick walked the
fastest, he left his wife some way behind. 'It does not matter,'
thought she: 'when we turn back, I shall be so much nearer home than

Presently she came to the top of a hill, down the side of which there
was a road so narrow that the cart wheels always chafed the trees on
each side as they passed. 'Ah, see now,' said she, 'how they have
bruised and wounded those poor trees; they will never get well.' So
she took pity on them, and made use of the butter to grease them all,
so that the wheels might not hurt them so much. While she was doing
this kind office one of her cheeses fell out of the basket, and rolled
down the hill. Catherine looked, but could not see where it had gone;
so she said, 'Well, I suppose the other will go the same way and find
you; he has younger legs than I have.' Then she rolled the other
cheese after it; and away it went, nobody knows where, down the hill.
But she said she supposed that they knew the road, and would follow
her, and she could not stay there all day waiting for them.

At last she overtook Frederick, who desired her to give him something
to eat. Then she gave him the dry bread. 'Where are the butter and
cheese?' said he. 'Oh!' answered she, 'I used the butter to grease
those poor trees that the wheels chafed so: and one of the cheeses ran
away so I sent the other after it to find it, and I suppose they are
both on the road together somewhere.' 'What a goose you are to do such
silly things!' said the husband. 'How can you say so?' said she; 'I am
sure you never told me not.'

They ate the dry bread together; and Frederick said, 'Kate, I hope you
locked the door safe when you came away.' 'No,' answered she, 'you did
not tell me.' 'Then go home, and do it now before we go any farther,'
said Frederick, 'and bring with you something to eat.'

Catherine did as he told her, and thought to herself by the way,
'Frederick wants something to eat; but I don't think he is very fond
of butter and cheese: I'll bring him a bag of fine nuts, and the
vinegar, for I have often seen him take some.'

When she reached home, she bolted the back door, but the front door
she took off the hinges, and said, 'Frederick told me to lock the
door, but surely it can nowhere be so safe if I take it with me.' So
she took her time by the way; and when she overtook her husband she
cried out, 'There, Frederick, there is the door itself, you may watch
it as carefully as you please.' 'Alas! alas!' said he, 'what a clever
wife I have! I sent you to make the house fast, and you take the door
away, so that everybody may go in and out as they please--however, as
you have brought the door, you shall carry it about with you for your
pains.' 'Very well,' answered she, 'I'll carry the door; but I'll not
carry the nuts and vinegar bottle also--that would be too much of a
load; so if you please, I'll fasten them to the door.'

Frederick of course made no objection to that plan, and they set off
into the wood to look for the thieves; but they could not find them:
and when it grew dark, they climbed up into a tree to spend the night
there. Scarcely were they up, than who should come by but the very
rogues they were looking for. They were in truth great rascals, and
belonged to that class of people who find things before they are lost;
they were tired; so they sat down and made a fire under the very tree
where Frederick and Catherine were. Frederick slipped down on the
other side, and picked up some stones. Then he climbed up again, and
tried to hit the thieves on the head with them: but they only said,
'It must be near morning, for the wind shakes the fir-apples down.'

Catherine, who had the door on her shoulder, began to be very tired;
but she thought it was the nuts upon it that were so heavy: so she
said softly, 'Frederick, I must let the nuts go.' 'No,' answered he,
'not now, they will discover us.' 'I can't help that: they must go.'
'Well, then, make haste and throw them down, if you will.' Then away
rattled the nuts down among the boughs and one of the thieves cried,
'Bless me, it is hailing.'

A little while after, Catherine thought the door was still very heavy:
so she whispered to Frederick, 'I must throw the vinegar down.' 'Pray
don't,' answered he, 'it will discover us.' 'I can't help that,' said
she, 'go it must.' So she poured all the vinegar down; and the thieves
said, 'What a heavy dew there is!'

At last it popped into Catherine's head that it was the door itself
that was so heavy all the time: so she whispered, 'Frederick, I must
throw the door down soon.' But he begged and prayed her not to do so,
for he was sure it would betray them. 'Here goes, however,' said she:
and down went the door with such a clatter upon the thieves, that they
cried out 'Murder!' and not knowing what was coming, ran away as fast
as they could, and left all the gold. So when Frederick and Catherine
came down, there they found all their money safe and sound.


There was once upon a time a woman who was a real witch and had two
daughters, one ugly and wicked, and this one she loved because she was
her own daughter, and one beautiful and good, and this one she hated,
because she was her stepdaughter. The stepdaughter once had a pretty
apron, which the other fancied so much that she became envious, and
told her mother that she must and would have that apron. 'Be quiet, my
child,' said the old woman, 'and you shall have it. Your stepsister
has long deserved death; tonight when she is asleep I will come and
cut her head off. Only be careful that you are at the far side of the
bed, and push her well to the front.' It would have been all over with
the poor girl if she had not just then been standing in a corner, and
heard everything. All day long she dared not go out of doors, and when
bedtime had come, the witch's daughter got into bed first, so as to
lie at the far side, but when she was asleep, the other pushed her
gently to the front, and took for herself the place at the back, close
by the wall. In the night, the old woman came creeping in, she held an
axe in her right hand, and felt with her left to see if anyone were
lying at the outside, and then she grasped the axe with both hands,
and cut her own child's head off.

When she had gone away, the girl got up and went to her sweetheart,
who was called Roland, and knocked at his door. When he came out, she
said to him: 'Listen, dearest Roland, we must fly in all haste; my
stepmother wanted to kill me, but has struck her own child. When
daylight comes, and she sees what she has done, we shall be lost.'
'But,' said Roland, 'I counsel you first to take away her magic wand,
or we cannot escape if she pursues us.' The maiden fetched the magic
wand, and she took the dead girl's head and dropped three drops of
blood on the ground, one in front of the bed, one in the kitchen, and
one on the stairs. Then she hurried away with her lover.

When the old witch got up next morning, she called her daughter, and
wanted to give her the apron, but she did not come. Then the witch
cried: 'Where are you?' 'Here, on the stairs, I am sweeping,' answered
the first drop of blood. The old woman went out, but saw no one on the
stairs, and cried again: 'Where are you?' 'Here in the kitchen, I am
warming myself,' cried the second drop of blood. She went into the
kitchen, but found no one. Then she cried again: 'Where are you?' 'Ah,
here in the bed, I am sleeping,' cried the third drop of blood. She
went into the room to the bed. What did she see there? Her own child,
whose head she had cut off, bathed in her blood. The witch fell into a
passion, sprang to the window, and as she could look forth quite far
into the world, she perceived her stepdaughter hurrying away with her
sweetheart Roland. 'That shall not help you,' cried she, 'even if you
have got a long way off, you shall still not escape me.' She put on
her many-league boots, in which she covered an hour's walk at every
step, and it was not long before she overtook them. The girl, however,
when she saw the old woman striding towards her, changed, with her
magic wand, her sweetheart Roland into a lake, and herself into a duck
swimming in the middle of it. The witch placed herself on the shore,
threw breadcrumbs in, and went to endless trouble to entice the duck;
but the duck did not let herself be enticed, and the old woman had to
go home at night as she had come. At this the girl and her sweetheart
Roland resumed their natural shapes again, and they walked on the
whole night until daybreak. Then the maiden changed herself into a
beautiful flower which stood in the midst of a briar hedge, and her
sweetheart Roland into a fiddler. It was not long before the witch
came striding up towards them, and said to the musician: 'Dear
musician, may I pluck that beautiful flower for myself?' 'Oh, yes,' he
replied, 'I will play to you while you do it.' As she was hastily
creeping into the hedge and was just going to pluck the flower,
knowing perfectly well who the flower was, he began to play, and
whether she would or not, she was forced to dance, for it was a
magical dance. The faster he played, the more violent springs was she
forced to make, and the thorns tore her clothes from her body, and
pricked her and wounded her till she bled, and as he did not stop, she
had to dance till she lay dead on the ground.

As they were now set free, Roland said: 'Now I will go to my father
and arrange for the wedding.' 'Then in the meantime I will stay here
and wait for you,' said the girl, 'and that no one may recognize me, I
will change myself into a red stone landmark.' Then Roland went away,
and the girl stood like a red landmark in the field and waited for her
beloved. But when Roland got home, he fell into the snares of another,
who so fascinated him that he forgot the maiden. The poor girl
remained there a long time, but at length, as he did not return at
all, she was sad, and changed herself into a flower, and thought:
'Someone will surely come this way, and trample me down.'

It befell, however, that a shepherd kept his sheep in the field and
saw the flower, and as it was so pretty, plucked it, took it with him,
and laid it away in his chest. From that time forth, strange things
happened in the shepherd's house. When he arose in the morning, all
the work was already done, the room was swept, the table and benches
cleaned, the fire in the hearth was lighted, and the water was
fetched, and at noon, when he came home, the table was laid, and a
good dinner served. He could not conceive how this came to pass, for
he never saw a human being in his house, and no one could have
concealed himself in it. He was certainly pleased with this good
attendance, but still at last he was so afraid that he went to a wise
woman and asked for her advice. The wise woman said: 'There is some
enchantment behind it, listen very early some morning if anything is
moving in the room, and if you see anything, no matter what it is,
throw a white cloth over it, and then the magic will be stopped.'

The shepherd did as she bade him, and next morning just as day dawned,
he saw the chest open, and the flower come out. Swiftly he sprang
towards it, and threw a white cloth over it. Instantly the
transformation came to an end, and a beautiful girl stood before him,
who admitted to him that she had been the flower, and that up to this
time she had attended to his house-keeping. She told him her story,
and as she pleased him he asked her if she would marry him, but she
answered: 'No,' for she wanted to remain faithful to her sweetheart
Roland, although he had deserted her. Nevertheless, she promised not
to go away, but to continue keeping house for the shepherd.

And now the time drew near when Roland's wedding was to be celebrated,
and then, according to an old custom in the country, it was announced
that all the girls were to be present at it, and sing in honour of the
bridal pair. When the faithful maiden heard of this, she grew so sad
that she thought her heart would break, and she would not go thither,
but the other girls came and took her. When it came to her turn to
sing, she stepped back, until at last she was the only one left, and
then she could not refuse. But when she began her song, and it reached
Roland's ears, he sprang up and cried: 'I know the voice, that is the
true bride, I will have no other!' Everything he had forgotten, and
which had vanished from his mind, had suddenly come home again to his
heart. Then the faithful maiden held her wedding with her sweetheart
Roland, and grief came to an end and joy began.


It was the middle of winter, when the broad flakes of snow were
falling around, that the queen of a country many thousand miles off
sat working at her window. The frame of the window was made of fine
black ebony, and as she sat looking out upon the snow, she pricked her
finger, and three drops of blood fell upon it. Then she gazed
thoughtfully upon the red drops that sprinkled the white snow, and
said, 'Would that my little daughter may be as white as that snow, as
red as that blood, and as black as this ebony windowframe!' And so the
little girl really did grow up; her skin was as white as snow, her
cheeks as rosy as the blood, and her hair as black as ebony; and she
was called Snowdrop.

But this queen died; and the king soon married another wife, who
became queen, and was very beautiful, but so vain that she could not
bear to think that anyone could be handsomer than she was. She had a
fairy looking-glass, to which she used to go, and then she would gaze
upon herself in it, and say:

'Tell me, glass, tell me true!
Of all the ladies in the land,
Who is fairest, tell me, who?'

And the glass had always answered:

'Thou, queen, art the fairest in all the land.'

But Snowdrop grew more and more beautiful; and when she was seven
years old she was as bright as the day, and fairer than the queen
herself. Then the glass one day answered the queen, when she went to
look in it as usual:

'Thou, queen, art fair, and beauteous to see,
But Snowdrop is lovelier far than thee!'

When she heard this she turned pale with rage and envy, and called to
one of her servants, and said, 'Take Snowdrop away into the wide wood,
that I may never see her any more.' Then the servant led her away; but
his heart melted when Snowdrop begged him to spare her life, and he
said, 'I will not hurt you, thou pretty child.' So he left her by
herself; and though he thought it most likely that the wild beasts
would tear her in pieces, he felt as if a great weight were taken off
his heart when he had made up his mind not to kill her but to leave
her to her fate, with the chance of someone finding and saving her.

Then poor Snowdrop wandered along through the wood in great fear; and
the wild beasts roared about her, but none did her any harm. In the
evening she came to a cottage among the hills, and went in to rest,
for her little feet would carry her no further. Everything was spruce
and neat in the cottage: on the table was spread a white cloth, and
there were seven little plates, seven little loaves, and seven little
glasses with wine in them; and seven knives and forks laid in order;
and by the wall stood seven little beds. As she was very hungry, she
picked a little piece of each loaf and drank a very little wine out of
each glass; and after that she thought she would lie down and rest. So
she tried all the little beds; but one was too long, and another was
too short, till at last the seventh suited her: and there she laid
herself down and went to sleep.

By and by in came the masters of the cottage. Now they were seven
little dwarfs, that lived among the mountains, and dug and searched
for gold. They lighted up their seven lamps, and saw at once that all
was not right. The first said, 'Who has been sitting on my stool?' The
second, 'Who has been eating off my plate?' The third, 'Who has been
picking my bread?' The fourth, 'Who has been meddling with my spoon?'
The fifth, 'Who has been handling my fork?' The sixth, 'Who has been
cutting with my knife?' The seventh, 'Who has been drinking my wine?'
Then the first looked round and said, 'Who has been lying on my bed?'
And the rest came running to him, and everyone cried out that somebody
had been upon his bed. But the seventh saw Snowdrop, and called all
his brethren to come and see her; and they cried out with wonder and
astonishment and brought their lamps to look at her, and said, 'Good
heavens! what a lovely child she is!' And they were very glad to see
her, and took care not to wake her; and the seventh dwarf slept an
hour with each of the other dwarfs in turn, till the night was gone.

In the morning Snowdrop told them all her story; and they pitied her,
and said if she would keep all things in order, and cook and wash and
knit and spin for them, she might stay where she was, and they would
take good care of her. Then they went out all day long to their work,
seeking for gold and silver in the mountains: but Snowdrop was left at
home; and they warned her, and said, 'The queen will soon find out
where you are, so take care and let no one in.'

But the queen, now that she thought Snowdrop was dead, believed that
she must be the handsomest lady in the land; and she went to her glass
and said:

'Tell me, glass, tell me true!
Of all the ladies in the land,
Who is fairest, tell me, who?'

And the glass answered:

'Thou, queen, art the fairest in all this land:
But over the hills, in the greenwood shade,
Where the seven dwarfs their dwelling have made,
There Snowdrop is hiding her head; and she
Is lovelier far, O queen! than thee.'

Then the queen was very much frightened; for she knew that the glass
always spoke the truth, and was sure that the servant had betrayed
her. And she could not bear to think that anyone lived who was more
beautiful than she was; so she dressed herself up as an old pedlar,
and went her way over the hills, to the place where the dwarfs dwelt.
Then she knocked at the door, and cried, 'Fine wares to sell!'
Snowdrop looked out at the window, and said, 'Good day, good woman!
what have you to sell?' 'Good wares, fine wares,' said she; 'laces and
bobbins of all colours.' 'I will let the old lady in; she seems to be
a very good sort of body,' thought Snowdrop, as she ran down and
unbolted the door. 'Bless me!' said the old woman, 'how badly your
stays are laced! Let me lace them up with one of my nice new laces.'
Snowdrop did not dream of any mischief; so she stood before the old
woman; but she set to work so nimbly, and pulled the lace so tight,
that Snowdrop's breath was stopped, and she fell down as if she were
dead. 'There's an end to all thy beauty,' said the spiteful queen,
and went away home.

In the evening the seven dwarfs came home; and I need not say how
grieved they were to see their faithful Snowdrop stretched out upon
the ground, as if she was quite dead. However, they lifted her up, and
when they found what ailed her, they cut the lace; and in a little
time she began to breathe, and very soon came to life again. Then they
said, 'The old woman was the queen herself; take care another time,
and let no one in when we are away.'

When the queen got home, she went straight to her glass, and spoke to
it as before; but to her great grief it still said:

'Thou, queen, art the fairest in all this land:
But over the hills, in the greenwood shade,
Where the seven dwarfs their dwelling have made,
There Snowdrop is hiding her head; and she
Is lovelier far, O queen! than thee.'

Then the blood ran cold in her heart with spite and malice, to see
that Snowdrop still lived; and she dressed herself up again, but in
quite another dress from the one she wore before, and took with her a
poisoned comb. When she reached the dwarfs' cottage, she knocked at
the door, and cried, 'Fine wares to sell!' But Snowdrop said, 'I dare
not let anyone in.' Then the queen said, 'Only look at my beautiful
combs!' and gave her the poisoned one. And it looked so pretty, that
she took it up and put it into her hair to try it; but the moment it
touched her head, the poison was so powerful that she fell down
senseless. 'There you may lie,' said the queen, and went her way. But
by good luck the dwarfs came in very early that evening; and when they
saw Snowdrop lying on the ground, they thought what had happened, and
soon found the poisoned comb. And when they took it away she got well,
and told them all that had passed; and they warned her once more not
to open the door to anyone.

Meantime the queen went home to her glass, and shook with rage when
she read the very same answer as before; and she said, 'Snowdrop shall
die, if it cost me my life.' So she went by herself into her chamber,
and got ready a poisoned apple: the outside looked very rosy and
tempting, but whoever tasted it was sure to die. Then she dressed
herself up as a peasant's wife, and travelled over the hills to the
dwarfs' cottage, and knocked at the door; but Snowdrop put her head
out of the window and said, 'I dare not let anyone in, for the dwarfs
have told me not.' 'Do as you please,' said the old woman, 'but at any
rate take this pretty apple; I will give it you.' 'No,' said Snowdrop,
'I dare not take it.' 'You silly girl!' answered the other, 'what are
you afraid of? Do you think it is poisoned? Come! do you eat one part,
and I will eat the other.' Now the apple was so made up that one side
was good, though the other side was poisoned. Then Snowdrop was much
tempted to taste, for the apple looked so very nice; and when she saw
the old woman eat, she could wait no longer. But she had scarcely put
the piece into her mouth, when she fell down dead upon the ground.
'This time nothing will save thee,' said the queen; and she went home
to her glass, and at last it said:

'Thou, queen, art the fairest of all the fair.'

And then her wicked heart was glad, and as happy as such a heart could

When evening came, and the dwarfs had gone home, they found Snowdrop
lying on the ground: no breath came from her lips, and they were
afraid that she was quite dead. They lifted her up, and combed her
hair, and washed her face with wine and water; but all was in vain,
for the little girl seemed quite dead. So they laid her down upon a
bier, and all seven watched and bewailed her three whole days; and
then they thought they would bury her: but her cheeks were still rosy;
and her face looked just as it did while she was alive; so they said,
'We will never bury her in the cold ground.' And they made a coffin of
glass, so that they might still look at her, and wrote upon it in
golden letters what her name was, and that she was a king's daughter.
And the coffin was set among the hills, and one of the dwarfs always
sat by it and watched. And the birds of the air came too, and bemoaned
Snowdrop; and first of all came an owl, and then a raven, and at last
a dove, and sat by her side.

And thus Snowdrop lay for a long, long time, and still only looked as
though she was asleep; for she was even now as white as snow, and as
red as blood, and as black as ebony. At last a prince came and called
at the dwarfs' house; and he saw Snowdrop, and read what was written
in golden letters. Then he offered the dwarfs money, and prayed and
besought them to let him take her away; but they said, 'We will not
part with her for all the gold in the world.' At last, however, they
had pity on him, and gave him the coffin; but the moment he lifted it
up to carry it home with him, the piece of apple fell from between her
lips, and Snowdrop awoke, and said, 'Where am I?' And the prince said,
'Thou art quite safe with me.'

Then he told her all that had happened, and said, 'I love you far
better than all the world; so come with me to my father's palace, and
you shall be my wife.' And Snowdrop consented, and went home with the
prince; and everything was got ready with great pomp and splendour for
their wedding.

To the feast was asked, among the rest, Snowdrop's old enemy the
queen; and as she was dressing herself in fine rich clothes, she
looked in the glass and said:

'Tell me, glass, tell me true!
Of all the ladies in the land,
Who is fairest, tell me, who?'

And the glass answered:

'Thou, lady, art loveliest here, I ween;
But lovelier far is the new-made queen.'

When she heard this she started with rage; but her envy and curiosity
were so great, that she could not help setting out to see the bride.
And when she got there, and saw that it was no other than Snowdrop,
who, as she thought, had been dead a long while, she choked with rage,
and fell down and died: but Snowdrop and the prince lived and reigned
happily over that land many, many years; and sometimes they went up
into the mountains, and paid a visit to the little dwarfs, who had
been so kind to Snowdrop in her time of need.


There was once upon a time a queen to whom God had given no children.
Every morning she went into the garden and prayed to God in heaven to
bestow on her a son or a daughter. Then an angel from heaven came to
her and said: 'Be at rest, you shall have a son with the power of
wishing, so that whatsoever in the world he wishes for, that shall he
have.' Then she went to the king, and told him the joyful tidings, and
when the time was come she gave birth to a son, and the king was
filled with gladness.

Every morning she went with the child to the garden where the wild
beasts were kept, and washed herself there in a clear stream. It
happened once when the child was a little older, that it was lying in
her arms and she fell asleep. Then came the old cook, who knew that
the child had the power of wishing, and stole it away, and he took a
hen, and cut it in pieces, and dropped some of its blood on the
queen's apron and on her dress. Then he carried the child away to a
secret place, where a nurse was obliged to suckle it, and he ran to
the king and accused the queen of having allowed her child to be taken
from her by the wild beasts. When the king saw the blood on her apron,
he believed this, fell into such a passion that he ordered a high
tower to be built, in which neither sun nor moon could be seen and had
his wife put into it, and walled up. Here she was to stay for seven
years without meat or drink, and die of hunger. But God sent two
angels from heaven in the shape of white doves, which flew to her
twice a day, and carried her food until the seven years were over.

The cook, however, thought to himself: 'If the child has the power of
wishing, and I am here, he might very easily get me into trouble.' So
he left the palace and went to the boy, who was already big enough to
speak, and said to him: 'Wish for a beautiful palace for yourself with
a garden, and all else that pertains to it.' Scarcely were the words
out of the boy's mouth, when everything was there that he had wished
for. After a while the cook said to him: 'It is not well for you to be
so alone, wish for a pretty girl as a companion.' Then the king's son
wished for one, and she immediately stood before him, and was more
beautiful than any painter could have painted her. The two played
together, and loved each other with all their hearts, and the old cook
went out hunting like a nobleman. The thought occurred to him,
however, that the king's son might some day wish to be with his
father, and thus bring him into great peril. So he went out and took
the maiden aside, and said: 'Tonight when the boy is asleep, go to his
bed and plunge this knife into his heart, and bring me his heart and
tongue, and if you do not do it, you shall lose your life.' Thereupon
he went away, and when he returned next day she had not done it, and
said: 'Why should I shed the blood of an innocent boy who has never
harmed anyone?' The cook once more said: 'If you do not do it, it
shall cost you your own life.' When he had gone away, she had a little
hind brought to her, and ordered her to be killed, and took her heart
and tongue, and laid them on a plate, and when she saw the old man
coming, she said to the boy: 'Lie down in your bed, and draw the
clothes over you.' Then the wicked wretch came in and said: 'Where are
the boy's heart and tongue?' The girl reached the plate to him, but
the king's son threw off the quilt, and said: 'You old sinner, why did
you want to kill me? Now will I pronounce thy sentence. You shall
become a black poodle and have a gold collar round your neck, and
shall eat burning coals, till the flames burst forth from your
throat.' And when he had spoken these words, the old man was changed
into a poodle dog, and had a gold collar round his neck, and the cooks
were ordered to bring up some live coals, and these he ate, until the
flames broke forth from his throat. The king's son remained there a
short while longer, and he thought of his mother, and wondered if she
were still alive. At length he said to the maiden: 'I will go home to
my own country; if you will go with me, I will provide for you.' 'Ah,'
she replied, 'the way is so long, and what shall I do in a strange
land where I am unknown?' As she did not seem quite willing, and as
they could not be parted from each other, he wished that she might be
changed into a beautiful pink, and took her with him. Then he went
away to his own country, and the poodle had to run after him. He went
to the tower in which his mother was confined, and as it was so high,
he wished for a ladder which would reach up to the very top. Then he
mounted up and looked inside, and cried: 'Beloved mother, Lady Queen,
are you still alive, or are you dead?' She answered: 'I have just
eaten, and am still satisfied,' for she thought the angels were there.
Said he: 'I am your dear son, whom the wild beasts were said to have
torn from your arms; but I am alive still, and will soon set you
free.' Then he descended again, and went to his father, and caused
himself to be announced as a strange huntsman, and asked if he could
offer him service. The king said yes, if he was skilful and could get
game for him, he should come to him, but that deer had never taken up
their quarters in any part of the district or country. Then the
huntsman promised to procure as much game for him as he could possibly
use at the royal table. So he summoned all the huntsmen together, and
bade them go out into the forest with him. And he went with them and
made them form a great circle, open at one end where he stationed
himself, and began to wish. Two hundred deer and more came running
inside the circle at once, and the huntsmen shot them. Then they were
all placed on sixty country carts, and driven home to the king, and
for once he was able to deck his table with game, after having had
none at all for years.

Now the king felt great joy at this, and commanded that his entire
household should eat with him next day, and made a great feast. When
they were all assembled together, he said to the huntsman: 'As you are
so clever, you shall sit by me.' He replied: 'Lord King, your majesty
must excuse me, I am a poor huntsman.' But the king insisted on it,
and said: 'You shall sit by me,' until he did it. Whilst he was
sitting there, he thought of his dearest mother, and wished that one
of the king's principal servants would begin to speak of her, and
would ask how it was faring with the queen in the tower, and if she
were alive still, or had perished. Hardly had he formed the wish than
the marshal began, and said: 'Your majesty, we live joyously here, but
how is the queen living in the tower? Is she still alive, or has she
died?' But the king replied: 'She let my dear son be torn to pieces by
wild beasts; I will not have her named.' Then the huntsman arose and
said: 'Gracious lord father she is alive still, and I am her son, and
I was not carried away by wild beasts, but by that wretch the old
cook, who tore me from her arms when she was asleep, and sprinkled her
apron with the blood of a chicken.' Thereupon he took the dog with the
golden collar, and said: 'That is the wretch!' and caused live coals
to be brought, and these the dog was compelled to devour before the
sight of all, until flames burst forth from its throat. On this the
huntsman asked the king if he would like to see the dog in his true
shape, and wished him back into the form of the cook, in the which he
stood immediately, with his white apron, and his knife by his side.
When the king saw him he fell into a passion, and ordered him to be
cast into the deepest dungeon. Then the huntsman spoke further and
said: 'Father, will you see the maiden who brought me up so tenderly
and who was afterwards to murder me, but did not do it, though her own
life depended on it?' The king replied: 'Yes, I would like to see
her.' The son said: 'Most gracious father, I will show her to you in
the form of a beautiful flower,' and he thrust his hand into his
pocket and brought forth the pink, and placed it on the royal table,
and it was so beautiful that the king had never seen one to equal it.
Then the son said: 'Now will I show her to you in her own form,' and
wished that she might become a maiden, and she stood there looking so
beautiful that no painter could have made her look more so.

And the king sent two waiting-maids and two attendants into the tower,
to fetch the queen and bring her to the royal table. But when she was
led in she ate nothing, and said: 'The gracious and merciful God who
has supported me in the tower, will soon set me free.' She lived three
days more, and then died happily, and when she was buried, the two
white doves which had brought her food to the tower, and were angels
of heaven, followed her body and seated themselves on her grave. The
aged king ordered the cook to be torn in four pieces, but grief
consumed the king's own heart, and he soon died. His son married the
beautiful maiden whom he had brought with him as a flower in his
pocket, and whether they are still alive or not, is known to God.


There was once a man who had a daughter who was called Clever Elsie.
And when she had grown up her father said: 'We will get her married.'
'Yes,' said the mother, 'if only someone would come who would have
her.' At length a man came from a distance and wooed her, who was
called Hans; but he stipulated that Clever Elsie should be really
smart. 'Oh,' said the father, 'she has plenty of good sense'; and the
mother said: 'Oh, she can see the wind coming up the street, and hear
the flies coughing.' 'Well,' said Hans, 'if she is not really smart, I
won't have her.' When they were sitting at dinner and had eaten, the
mother said: 'Elsie, go into the cellar and fetch some beer.' Then
Clever Elsie took the pitcher from the wall, went into the cellar, and
tapped the lid briskly as she went, so that the time might not appear
long. When she was below she fetched herself a chair, and set it
before the barrel so that she had no need to stoop, and did not hurt
her back or do herself any unexpected injury. Then she placed the can
before her, and turned the tap, and while the beer was running she
would not let her eyes be idle, but looked up at the wall, and after
much peering here and there, saw a pick-axe exactly above her, which
the masons had accidentally left there.

Then Clever Elsie began to weep and said: 'If I get Hans, and we have
a child, and he grows big, and we send him into the cellar here to
draw beer, then the pick-axe will fall on his head and kill him.' Then
she sat and wept and screamed with all the strength of her body, over
the misfortune which lay before her. Those upstairs waited for the
drink, but Clever Elsie still did not come. Then the woman said to the
servant: 'Just go down into the cellar and see where Elsie is.' The
maid went and found her sitting in front of the barrel, screaming
loudly. 'Elsie why do you weep?' asked the maid. 'Ah,' she answered,
'have I not reason to weep? If I get Hans, and we have a child, and he
grows big, and has to draw beer here, the pick-axe will perhaps fall
on his head, and kill him.' Then said the maid: 'What a clever Elsie
we have!' and sat down beside her and began loudly to weep over the
misfortune. After a while, as the maid did not come back, and those
upstairs were thirsty for the beer, the man said to the boy: 'Just go
down into the cellar and see where Elsie and the girl are.' The boy
went down, and there sat Clever Elsie and the girl both weeping
together. Then he asked: 'Why are you weeping?' 'Ah,' said Elsie,
'have I not reason to weep? If I get Hans, and we have a child, and he
grows big, and has to draw beer here, the pick-axe will fall on his
head and kill him.' Then said the boy: 'What a clever Elsie we have!'
and sat down by her, and likewise began to howl loudly. Upstairs they
waited for the boy, but as he still did not return, the man said to
the woman: 'Just go down into the cellar and see where Elsie is!' The
woman went down, and found all three in the midst of their
lamentations, and inquired what was the cause; then Elsie told her
also that her future child was to be killed by the pick-axe, when it
grew big and had to draw beer, and the pick-axe fell down. Then said
the mother likewise: 'What a clever Elsie we have!' and sat down and
wept with them. The man upstairs waited a short time, but as his wife
did not come back and his thirst grew ever greater, he said: 'I must
go into the cellar myself and see where Elsie is.' But when he got
into the cellar, and they were all sitting together crying, and he
heard the reason, and that Elsie's child was the cause, and the Elsie
might perhaps bring one into the world some day, and that he might be
killed by the pick-axe, if he should happen to be sitting beneath it,
drawing beer just at the very time when it fell down, he cried: 'Oh,
what a clever Elsie!' and sat down, and likewise wept with them. The
bridegroom stayed upstairs alone for along time; then as no one would
come back he thought: 'They must be waiting for me below: I too must
go there and see what they are about.' When he got down, the five of
them were sitting screaming and lamenting quite piteously, each out-
doing the other. 'What misfortune has happened then?' asked he. 'Ah,
dear Hans,' said Elsie, 'if we marry each other and have a child, and
he is big, and we perhaps send him here to draw something to drink,
then the pick-axe which has been left up there might dash his brains
out if it were to fall down, so have we not reason to weep?' 'Come,'
said Hans, 'more understanding than that is not needed for my
household, as you are such a clever Elsie, I will have you,' and
seized her hand, took her upstairs with him, and married her.

After Hans had had her some time, he said: 'Wife, I am going out to
work and earn some money for us; go into the field and cut the corn
that we may have some bread.' 'Yes, dear Hans, I will do that.' After
Hans had gone away, she cooked herself some good broth and took it
into the field with her. When she came to the field she said to
herself: 'What shall I do; shall I cut first, or shall I eat first?
Oh, I will eat first.' Then she drank her cup of broth and when she
was fully satisfied, she once more said: 'What shall I do? Shall I cut
first, or shall I sleep first? I will sleep first.' Then she lay down
among the corn and fell asleep. Hans had been at home for a long time,
but Elsie did not come; then said he: 'What a clever Elsie I have; she
is so industrious that she does not even come home to eat.' But when
evening came and she still stayed away, Hans went out to see what she
had cut, but nothing was cut, and she was lying among the corn asleep.
Then Hans hastened home and brought a fowler's net with little bells
and hung it round about her, and she still went on sleeping. Then he
ran home, shut the house-door, and sat down in his chair and worked.
At length, when it was quite dark, Clever Elsie awoke and when she got
up there was a jingling all round about her, and the bells rang at
each step which she took. Then she was alarmed, and became uncertain
whether she really was Clever Elsie or not, and said: 'Is it I, or is
it not I?' But she knew not what answer to make to this, and stood for
a time in doubt; at length she thought: 'I will go home and ask if it
be I, or if it be not I, they will be sure to know.' She ran to the
door of her own house, but it was shut; then she knocked at the window
and cried: 'Hans, is Elsie within?' 'Yes,' answered Hans, 'she is
within.' Hereupon she was terrified, and said: 'Ah, heavens! Then it
is not I,' and went to another door; but when the people heard the
jingling of the bells they would not open it, and she could get in
nowhere. Then she ran out of the village, and no one has seen her


A farmer had a faithful and diligent servant, who had worked hard for
him three years, without having been paid any wages. At last it came
into the man's head that he would not go on thus without pay any
longer; so he went to his master, and said, 'I have worked hard for
you a long time, I will trust to you to give me what I deserve to have
for my trouble.' The farmer was a sad miser, and knew that his man was
very simple-hearted; so he took out threepence, and gave him for every
year's service a penny. The poor fellow thought it was a great deal of
money to have, and said to himself, 'Why should I work hard, and live
here on bad fare any longer? I can now travel into the wide world, and
make myself merry.' With that he put his money into his purse, and set
out, roaming over hill and valley.

As he jogged along over the fields, singing and dancing, a little
dwarf met him, and asked him what made him so merry. 'Why, what should
make me down-hearted?' said he; 'I am sound in health and rich in
purse, what should I care for? I have saved up my three years'
earnings and have it all safe in my pocket.' 'How much may it come
to?' said the little man. 'Full threepence,' replied the countryman.
'I wish you would give them to me,' said the other; 'I am very poor.'
Then the man pitied him, and gave him all he had; and the little dwarf
said in return, 'As you have such a kind honest heart, I will grant
you three wishes--one for every penny; so choose whatever you like.'
Then the countryman rejoiced at his good luck, and said, 'I like many
things better than money: first, I will have a bow that will bring
down everything I shoot at; secondly, a fiddle that will set everyone
dancing that hears me play upon it; and thirdly, I should like that
everyone should grant what I ask.' The dwarf said he should have his
three wishes; so he gave him the bow and fiddle, and went his way.

Our honest friend journeyed on his way too; and if he was merry
before, he was now ten times more so. He had not gone far before he
met an old miser: close by them stood a tree, and on the topmost twig
sat a thrush singing away most joyfully. 'Oh, what a pretty bird!'
said the miser; 'I would give a great deal of money to have such a
one.' 'If that's all,' said the countryman, 'I will soon bring it
down.' Then he took up his bow, and down fell the thrush into the
bushes at the foot of the tree. The miser crept into the bush to find
it; but directly he had got into the middle, his companion took up his
fiddle and played away, and the miser began to dance and spring about,
capering higher and higher in the air. The thorns soon began to tear
his clothes till they all hung in rags about him, and he himself was
all scratched and wounded, so that the blood ran down. 'Oh, for
heaven's sake!' cried the miser, 'Master! master! pray let the fiddle
alone. What have I done to deserve this?' 'Thou hast shaved many a
poor soul close enough,' said the other; 'thou art only meeting thy
reward': so he played up another tune. Then the miser began to beg and
promise, and offered money for his liberty; but he did not come up to
the musician's price for some time, and he danced him along brisker
and brisker, and the miser bid higher and higher, till at last he
offered a round hundred of florins that he had in his purse, and had
just gained by cheating some poor fellow. When the countryman saw so
much money, he said, 'I will agree to your proposal.' So he took the
purse, put up his fiddle, and travelled on very pleased with his

Meanwhile the miser crept out of the bush half-naked and in a piteous
plight, and began to ponder how he should take his revenge, and serve
his late companion some trick. At last he went to the judge, and
complained that a rascal had robbed him of his money, and beaten him
into the bargain; and that the fellow who did it carried a bow at his
back and a fiddle hung round his neck. Then the judge sent out his
officers to bring up the accused wherever they should find him; and he
was soon caught and brought up to be tried.

The miser began to tell his tale, and said he had been robbed of his
money. 'No, you gave it me for playing a tune to you.' said the
countryman; but the judge told him that was not likely, and cut the
matter short by ordering him off to the gallows.

So away he was taken; but as he stood on the steps he said, 'My Lord
Judge, grant me one last request.' 'Anything but thy life,' replied
the other. 'No,' said he, 'I do not ask my life; only to let me play
upon my fiddle for the last time.' The miser cried out, 'Oh, no! no!
for heaven's sake don't listen to him! don't listen to him!' But the
judge said, 'It is only this once, he will soon have done.' The fact
was, he could not refuse the request, on account of the dwarf's third

Then the miser said, 'Bind me fast, bind me fast, for pity's sake.'
But the countryman seized his fiddle, and struck up a tune, and at the
first note judge, clerks, and jailer were in motion; all began
capering, and no one could hold the miser. At the second note the
hangman let his prisoner go, and danced also, and by the time he had
played the first bar of the tune, all were dancing together--judge,
court, and miser, and all the people who had followed to look on. At
first the thing was merry and pleasant enough; but when it had gone on
a while, and there seemed to be no end of playing or dancing, they
began to cry out, and beg him to leave off; but he stopped not a whit
the more for their entreaties, till the judge not only gave him his
life, but promised to return him the hundred florins.

Then he called to the miser, and said, 'Tell us now, you vagabond,
where you got that gold, or I shall play on for your amusement only,'
'I stole it,' said the miser in the presence of all the people; 'I
acknowledge that I stole it, and that you earned it fairly.' Then the
countryman stopped his fiddle, and left the miser to take his place at
the gallows.


The wife of a rich man fell sick; and when she felt that her end drew
nigh, she called her only daughter to her bed-side, and said, 'Always
be a good girl, and I will look down from heaven and watch over you.'
Soon afterwards she shut her eyes and died, and was buried in the
garden; and the little girl went every day to her grave and wept, and
was always good and kind to all about her. And the snow fell and
spread a beautiful white covering over the grave; but by the time the
spring came, and the sun had melted it away again, her father had
married another wife. This new wife had two daughters of her own, that
she brought home with her; they were fair in face but foul at heart,
and it was now a sorry time for the poor little girl. 'What does the
good-for-nothing want in the parlour?' said they; 'they who would eat
bread should first earn it; away with the kitchen-maid!' Then they
took away her fine clothes, and gave her an old grey frock to put on,
and laughed at her, and turned her into the kitchen.

There she was forced to do hard work; to rise early before daylight,
to bring the water, to make the fire, to cook and to wash. Besides
that, the sisters plagued her in all sorts of ways, and laughed at
her. In the evening when she was tired, she had no bed to lie down on,
but was made to lie by the hearth among the ashes; and as this, of
course, made her always dusty and dirty, they called her Ashputtel.

It happened once that the father was going to the fair, and asked his
wife's daughters what he should bring them. 'Fine clothes,' said the
first; 'Pearls and diamonds,' cried the second. 'Now, child,' said he
to his own daughter, 'what will you have?' 'The first twig, dear
father, that brushes against your hat when you turn your face to come
homewards,' said she. Then he bought for the first two the fine
clothes and pearls and diamonds they had asked for: and on his way
home, as he rode through a green copse, a hazel twig brushed against
him, and almost pushed off his hat: so he broke it off and brought it
away; and when he got home he gave it to his daughter. Then she took
it, and went to her mother's grave and planted it there; and cried so
much that it was watered with her tears; and there it grew and became
a fine tree. Three times every day she went to it and cried; and soon
a little bird came and built its nest upon the tree, and talked with
her, and watched over her, and brought her whatever she wished for.

Now it happened that the king of that land held a feast, which was to
last three days; and out of those who came to it his son was to choose
a bride for himself. Ashputtel's two sisters were asked to come; so
they called her up, and said, 'Now, comb our hair, brush our shoes,
and tie our sashes for us, for we are going to dance at the king's
feast.' Then she did as she was told; but when all was done she could
not help crying, for she thought to herself, she should so have liked
to have gone with them to the ball; and at last she begged her mother
very hard to let her go. 'You, Ashputtel!' said she; 'you who have
nothing to wear, no clothes at all, and who cannot even dance--you
want to go to the ball? And when she kept on begging, she said at
last, to get rid of her, 'I will throw this dishful of peas into the
ash-heap, and if in two hours' time you have picked them all out, you
shall go to the feast too.'

Then she threw the peas down among the ashes, but the little maiden
ran out at the back door into the garden, and cried out:

'Hither, hither, through the sky,
Turtle-doves and linnets, fly!
Blackbird, thrush, and chaffinch gay,
Hither, hither, haste away!
One and all come help me, quick!
Haste ye, haste ye!--pick, pick, pick!'

Then first came two white doves, flying in at the kitchen window; next
came two turtle-doves; and after them came all the little birds under
heaven, chirping and fluttering in: and they flew down into the ashes.
And the little doves stooped their heads down and set to work, pick,
pick, pick; and then the others began to pick, pick, pick: and among
them all they soon picked out all the good grain, and put it into a
dish but left the ashes. Long before the end of the hour the work was
quite done, and all flew out again at the windows.

Then Ashputtel brought the dish to her mother, overjoyed at the
thought that now she should go to the ball. But the mother said, 'No,
no! you slut, you have no clothes, and cannot dance; you shall not
go.' And when Ashputtel begged very hard to go, she said, 'If you can
in one hour's time pick two of those dishes of peas out of the ashes,
you shall go too.' And thus she thought she should at least get rid of
her. So she shook two dishes of peas into the ashes.

But the little maiden went out into the garden at the back of the
house, and cried out as before:

'Hither, hither, through the sky,
Turtle-doves and linnets, fly!
Blackbird, thrush, and chaffinch gay,
Hither, hither, haste away!
One and all come help me, quick!
Haste ye, haste ye!--pick, pick, pick!'

Then first came two white doves in at the kitchen window; next came
two turtle-doves; and after them came all the little birds under
heaven, chirping and hopping about. And they flew down into the ashes;
and the little doves put their heads down and set to work, pick, pick,
pick; and then the others began pick, pick, pick; and they put all the
good grain into the dishes, and left all the ashes. Before half an
hour's time all was done, and out they flew again. And then Ashputtel
took the dishes to her mother, rejoicing to think that she should now
go to the ball. But her mother said, 'It is all of no use, you cannot
go; you have no clothes, and cannot dance, and you would only put us
to shame': and off she went with her two daughters to the ball.

Now when all were gone, and nobody left at home, Ashputtel went
sorrowfully and sat down under the hazel-tree, and cried out:

'Shake, shake, hazel-tree,
Gold and silver over me!'

Then her friend the bird flew out of the tree, and brought a gold and
silver dress for her, and slippers of spangled silk; and she put them
on, and followed her sisters to the feast. But they did not know her,
and thought it must be some strange princess, she looked so fine and
beautiful in her rich clothes; and they never once thought of
Ashputtel, taking it for granted that she was safe at home in the

The king's son soon came up to her, and took her by the hand and
danced with her, and no one else: and he never left her hand; but when
anyone else came to ask her to dance, he said, 'This lady is dancing
with me.'

Thus they danced till a late hour of the night; and then she wanted to
go home: and the king's son said, 'I shall go and take care of you to
your home'; for he wanted to see where the beautiful maiden lived. But
she slipped away from him, unawares, and ran off towards home; and as
the prince followed her, she jumped up into the pigeon-house and shut
the door. Then he waited till her father came home, and told him that
the unknown maiden, who had been at the feast, had hid herself in the
pigeon-house. But when they had broken open the door they found no one
within; and as they came back into the house, Ashputtel was lying, as
she always did, in her dirty frock by the ashes, and her dim little
lamp was burning in the chimney. For she had run as quickly as she
could through the pigeon-house and on to the hazel-tree, and had there
taken off her beautiful clothes, and put them beneath the tree, that
the bird might carry them away, and had lain down again amid the ashes
in her little grey frock.

The next day when the feast was again held, and her father, mother,
and sisters were gone, Ashputtel went to the hazel-tree, and said:

'Shake, shake, hazel-tree,
Gold and silver over me!'

And the bird came and brought a still finer dress than the one she had
worn the day before. And when she came in it to the ball, everyone
wondered at her beauty: but the king's son, who was waiting for her,
took her by the hand, and danced with her; and when anyone asked her
to dance, he said as before, 'This lady is dancing with me.'

When night came she wanted to go home; and the king's son followed
here as before, that he might see into what house she went: but she
sprang away from him all at once into the garden behind her father's
house. In this garden stood a fine large pear-tree full of ripe fruit;
and Ashputtel, not knowing where to hide herself, jumped up into it
without being seen. Then the king's son lost sight of her, and could
not find out where she was gone, but waited till her father came home,
and said to him, 'The unknown lady who danced with me has slipped
away, and I think she must have sprung into the pear-tree.' The father
thought to himself, 'Can it be Ashputtel?' So he had an axe brought;
and they cut down the tree, but found no one upon it. And when they
came back into the kitchen, there lay Ashputtel among the ashes; for
she had slipped down on the other side of the tree, and carried her
beautiful clothes back to the bird at the hazel-tree, and then put on
her little grey frock.

The third day, when her father and mother and sisters were gone, she
went again into the garden, and said:

'Shake, shake, hazel-tree,
Gold and silver over me!'

Then her kind friend the bird brought a dress still finer than the
former one, and slippers which were all of gold: so that when she came
to the feast no one knew what to say, for wonder at her beauty: and
the king's son danced with nobody but her; and when anyone else asked
her to dance, he said, 'This lady is /my/ partner, sir.'

When night came she wanted to go home; and the king's son would go
with her, and said to himself, 'I will not lose her this time'; but,
however, she again slipped away from him, though in such a hurry that
she dropped her left golden slipper upon the stairs.

The prince took the shoe, and went the next day to the king his
father, and said, 'I will take for my wife the lady that this golden
slipper fits.' Then both the sisters were overjoyed to hear it; for
they had beautiful feet, and had no doubt that they could wear the
golden slipper. The eldest went first into the room where the slipper
was, and wanted to try it on, and the mother stood by. But her great
toe could not go into it, and the shoe was altogether much too small
for her. Then the mother gave her a knife, and said, 'Never mind, cut
it off; when you are queen you will not care about toes; you will not
want to walk.' So the silly girl cut off her great toe, and thus
squeezed on the shoe, and went to the king's son. Then he took her for
his bride, and set her beside him on his horse, and rode away with her

But on their way home they had to pass by the hazel-tree that
Ashputtel had planted; and on the branch sat a little dove singing:

'Back again! back again! look to the shoe!
The shoe is too small, and not made for you!
Prince! prince! look again for thy bride,
For she's not the true one that sits by thy side.'

Then the prince got down and looked at her foot; and he saw, by the
blood that streamed from it, what a trick she had played him. So he
turned his horse round, and brought the false bride back to her home,
and said, 'This is not the right bride; let the other sister try and
put on the slipper.' Then she went into the room and got her foot into
the shoe, all but the heel, which was too large. But her mother
squeezed it in till the blood came, and took her to the king's son:
and he set her as his bride by his side on his horse, and rode away
with her.

But when they came to the hazel-tree the little dove sat there still,
and sang:

'Back again! back again! look to the shoe!
The shoe is too small, and not made for you!
Prince! prince! look again for thy bride,
For she's not the true one that sits by thy side.'

Then he looked down, and saw that the blood streamed so much from the
shoe, that her white stockings were quite red. So he turned his horse
and brought her also back again. 'This is not the true bride,' said he
to the father; 'have you no other daughters?' 'No,' said he; 'there is
only a little dirty Ashputtel here, the child of my first wife; I am
sure she cannot be the bride.' The prince told him to send her. But
the mother said, 'No, no, she is much too dirty; she will not dare to
show herself.' However, the prince would have her come; and she first
washed her face and hands, and then went in and curtsied to him, and
he reached her the golden slipper. Then she took her clumsy shoe off
her left foot, and put on the golden slipper; and it fitted her as if
it had been made for her. And when he drew near and looked at her face
he knew her, and said, 'This is the right bride.' But the mother and
both the sisters were frightened, and turned pale with anger as he
took Ashputtel on his horse, and rode away with her. And when they
came to the hazel-tree, the white dove sang:

'Home! home! look at the shoe!
Princess! the shoe was made for you!
Prince! prince! take home thy bride,
For she is the true one that sits by thy side!'

And when the dove had done its song, it came flying, and perched upon
her right shoulder, and so went home with her.


A long time ago there lived a king who was famed for his wisdom
through all the land. Nothing was hidden from him, and it seemed as if
news of the most secret things was brought to him through the air. But
he had a strange custom; every day after dinner, when the table was
cleared, and no one else was present, a trusty servant had to bring
him one more dish. It was covered, however, and even the servant did
not know what was in it, neither did anyone know, for the king never
took off the cover to eat of it until he was quite alone.

This had gone on for a long time, when one day the servant, who took
away the dish, was overcome with such curiosity that he could not help
carrying the dish into his room. When he had carefully locked the
door, he lifted up the cover, and saw a white snake lying on the dish.
But when he saw it he could not deny himself the pleasure of tasting
it, so he cut of a little bit and put it into his mouth. No sooner had
it touched his tongue than he heard a strange whispering of little
voices outside his window. He went and listened, and then noticed that
it was the sparrows who were chattering together, and telling one
another of all kinds of things which they had seen in the fields and
woods. Eating the snake had given him power of understanding the
language of animals.

Now it so happened that on this very day the queen lost her most
beautiful ring, and suspicion of having stolen it fell upon this
trusty servant, who was allowed to go everywhere. The king ordered the
man to be brought before him, and threatened with angry words that
unless he could before the morrow point out the thief, he himself
should be looked upon as guilty and executed. In vain he declared his
innocence; he was dismissed with no better answer.

In his trouble and fear he went down into the courtyard and took
thought how to help himself out of his trouble. Now some ducks were
sitting together quietly by a brook and taking their rest; and, whilst
they were making their feathers smooth with their bills, they were
having a confidential conversation together. The servant stood by and
listened. They were telling one another of all the places where they
had been waddling about all the morning, and what good food they had
found; and one said in a pitiful tone: 'Something lies heavy on my
stomach; as I was eating in haste I swallowed a ring which lay under
the queen's window.' The servant at once seized her by the neck,
carried her to the kitchen, and said to the cook: 'Here is a fine
duck; pray, kill her.' 'Yes,' said the cook, and weighed her in his
hand; 'she has spared no trouble to fatten herself, and has been
waiting to be roasted long enough.' So he cut off her head, and as she
was being dressed for the spit, the queen's ring was found inside her.

The servant could now easily prove his innocence; and the king, to
make amends for the wrong, allowed him to ask a favour, and promised
him the best place in the court that he could wish for. The servant
refused everything, and only asked for a horse and some money for
travelling, as he had a mind to see the world and go about a little.
When his request was granted he set out on his way, and one day came
to a pond, where he saw three fishes caught in the reeds and gasping
for water. Now, though it is said that fishes are dumb, he heard them
lamenting that they must perish so miserably, and, as he had a kind
heart, he got off his horse and put the three prisoners back into the
water. They leapt with delight, put out their heads, and cried to him:
'We will remember you and repay you for saving us!'

He rode on, and after a while it seemed to him that he heard a voice
in the sand at his feet. He listened, and heard an ant-king complain:
'Why cannot folks, with their clumsy beasts, keep off our bodies? That
stupid horse, with his heavy hoofs, has been treading down my people
without mercy!' So he turned on to a side path and the ant-king cried
out to him: 'We will remember you--one good turn deserves another!'

The path led him into a wood, and there he saw two old ravens standing
by their nest, and throwing out their young ones. 'Out with you, you
idle, good-for-nothing creatures!' cried they; 'we cannot find food
for you any longer; you are big enough, and can provide for
yourselves.' But the poor young ravens lay upon the ground, flapping
their wings, and crying: 'Oh, what helpless chicks we are! We must
shift for ourselves, and yet we cannot fly! What can we do, but lie
here and starve?' So the good young fellow alighted and killed his
horse with his sword, and gave it to them for food. Then they came
hopping up to it, satisfied their hunger, and cried: 'We will remember
you--one good turn deserves another!'

And now he had to use his own legs, and when he had walked a long way,
he came to a large city. There was a great noise and crowd in the
streets, and a man rode up on horseback, crying aloud: 'The king's
daughter wants a husband; but whoever seeks her hand must perform a
hard task, and if he does not succeed he will forfeit his life.' Many
had already made the attempt, but in vain; nevertheless when the youth
saw the king's daughter he was so overcome by her great beauty that he
forgot all danger, went before the king, and declared himself a

So he was led out to the sea, and a gold ring was thrown into it,
before his eyes; then the king ordered him to fetch this ring up from
the bottom of the sea, and added: 'If you come up again without it you
will be thrown in again and again until you perish amid the waves.'
All the people grieved for the handsome youth; then they went away,
leaving him alone by the sea.

He stood on the shore and considered what he should do, when suddenly
he saw three fishes come swimming towards him, and they were the very
fishes whose lives he had saved. The one in the middle held a mussel
in its mouth, which it laid on the shore at the youth's feet, and when
he had taken it up and opened it, there lay the gold ring in the
shell. Full of joy he took it to the king and expected that he would
grant him the promised reward.

But when the proud princess perceived that he was not her equal in
birth, she scorned him, and required him first to perform another
task. She went down into the garden and strewed with her own hands ten
sacksful of millet-seed on the grass; then she said: 'Tomorrow morning
before sunrise these must be picked up, and not a single grain be

The youth sat down in the garden and considered how it might be
possible to perform this task, but he could think of nothing, and
there he sat sorrowfully awaiting the break of day, when he should be
led to death. But as soon as the first rays of the sun shone into the
garden he saw all the ten sacks standing side by side, quite full, and
not a single grain was missing. The ant-king had come in the night
with thousands and thousands of ants, and the grateful creatures had
by great industry picked up all the millet-seed and gathered them into
the sacks.

Presently the king's daughter herself came down into the garden, and
was amazed to see that the young man had done the task she had given
him. But she could not yet conquer her proud heart, and said:
'Although he has performed both the tasks, he shall not be my husband
until he had brought me an apple from the Tree of Life.' The youth did
not know where the Tree of Life stood, but he set out, and would have
gone on for ever, as long as his legs would carry him, though he had
no hope of finding it. After he had wandered through three kingdoms,
he came one evening to a wood, and lay down under a tree to sleep. But
he heard a rustling in the branches, and a golden apple fell into his
hand. At the same time three ravens flew down to him, perched
themselves upon his knee, and said: 'We are the three young ravens
whom you saved from starving; when we had grown big, and heard that
you were seeking the Golden Apple, we flew over the sea to the end of
the world, where the Tree of Life stands, and have brought you the
apple.' The youth, full of joy, set out homewards, and took the Golden
Apple to the king's beautiful daughter, who had now no more excuses
left to make. They cut the Apple of Life in two and ate it together;
and then her heart became full of love for him, and they lived in
undisturbed happiness to a great age.


There was once upon a time an old goat who had seven little kids, and
loved them with all the love of a mother for her children. One day she
wanted to go into the forest and fetch some food. So she called all
seven to her and said: 'Dear children, I have to go into the forest,
be on your guard against the wolf; if he comes in, he will devour you
all--skin, hair, and everything. The wretch often disguises himself,
but you will know him at once by his rough voice and his black feet.'
The kids said: 'Dear mother, we will take good care of ourselves; you
may go away without any anxiety.' Then the old one bleated, and went
on her way with an easy mind.

It was not long before someone knocked at the house-door and called:
'Open the door, dear children; your mother is here, and has brought
something back with her for each of you.' But the little kids knew
that it was the wolf, by the rough voice. 'We will not open the door,'
cried they, 'you are not our mother. She has a soft, pleasant voice,
but your voice is rough; you are the wolf!' Then the wolf went away to
a shopkeeper and bought himself a great lump of chalk, ate this and
made his voice soft with it. Then he came back, knocked at the door of
the house, and called: 'Open the door, dear children, your mother is
here and has brought something back with her for each of you.' But the
wolf had laid his black paws against the window, and the children saw
them and cried: 'We will not open the door, our mother has not black
feet like you: you are the wolf!' Then the wolf ran to a baker and
said: 'I have hurt my feet, rub some dough over them for me.' And when
the baker had rubbed his feet over, he ran to the miller and said:
'Strew some white meal over my feet for me.' The miller thought to
himself: 'The wolf wants to deceive someone,' and refused; but the
wolf said: 'If you will not do it, I will devour you.' Then the miller
was afraid, and made his paws white for him. Truly, this is the way of

So now the wretch went for the third time to the house-door, knocked
at it and said: 'Open the door for me, children, your dear little
mother has come home, and has brought every one of you something back
from the forest with her.' The little kids cried: 'First show us your
paws that we may know if you are our dear little mother.' Then he put
his paws in through the window and when the kids saw that they were
white, they believed that all he said was true, and opened the door.
But who should come in but the wolf! They were terrified and wanted to
hide themselves. One sprang under the table, the second into the bed,
the third into the stove, the fourth into the kitchen, the fifth into
the cupboard, the sixth under the washing-bowl, and the seventh into
the clock-case. But the wolf found them all, and used no great
ceremony; one after the other he swallowed them down his throat. The
youngest, who was in the clock-case, was the only one he did not find.
When the wolf had satisfied his appetite he took himself off, laid
himself down under a tree in the green meadow outside, and began to
sleep. Soon afterwards the old goat came home again from the forest.
Ah! what a sight she saw there! The house-door stood wide open. The
table, chairs, and benches were thrown down, the washing-bowl lay
broken to pieces, and the quilts and pillows were pulled off the bed.
She sought her children, but they were nowhere to be found. She called
them one after another by name, but no one answered. At last, when she
came to the youngest, a soft voice cried: 'Dear mother, I am in the
clock-case.' She took the kid out, and it told her that the wolf had
come and had eaten all the others. Then you may imagine how she wept
over her poor children.

At length in her grief she went out, and the youngest kid ran with
her. When they came to the meadow, there lay the wolf by the tree and
snored so loud that the branches shook. She looked at him on every
side and saw that something was moving and struggling in his gorged
belly. 'Ah, heavens,' she said, 'is it possible that my poor children
whom he has swallowed down for his supper, can be still alive?' Then
the kid had to run home and fetch scissors, and a needle and thread,
and the goat cut open the monster's stomach, and hardly had she made
one cut, than one little kid thrust its head out, and when she had cut
farther, all six sprang out one after another, and were all still
alive, and had suffered no injury whatever, for in his greediness the
monster had swallowed them down whole. What rejoicing there was! They
embraced their dear mother, and jumped like a tailor at his wedding.
The mother, however, said: 'Now go and look for some big stones, and
we will fill the wicked beast's stomach with them while he is still
asleep.' Then the seven kids dragged the stones thither with all
speed, and put as many of them into this stomach as they could get in;
and the mother sewed him up again in the greatest haste, so that he
was not aware of anything and never once stirred.

When the wolf at length had had his fill of sleep, he got on his legs,
and as the stones in his stomach made him very thirsty, he wanted to
go to a well to drink. But when he began to walk and to move about,
the stones in his stomach knocked against each other and rattled. Then
cried he:

'What rumbles and tumbles
Against my poor bones?
I thought 'twas six kids,
But it feels like big stones.'

And when he got to the well and stooped over the water to drink, the
heavy stones made him fall in, and he drowned miserably. When the
seven kids saw that, they came running to the spot and cried aloud:
'The wolf is dead! The wolf is dead!' and danced for joy round about
the well with their mother.


Two kings' sons once upon a time went into the world to seek their
fortunes; but they soon fell into a wasteful foolish way of living, so
that they could not return home again. Then their brother, who was a
little insignificant dwarf, went out to seek for his brothers: but
when he had found them they only laughed at him, to think that he, who
was so young and simple, should try to travel through the world, when
they, who were so much wiser, had been unable to get on. However, they
all set out on their journey together, and came at last to an ant-
hill. The two elder brothers would have pulled it down, in order to
see how the poor ants in their fright would run about and carry off
their eggs. But the little dwarf said, 'Let the poor things enjoy
themselves, I will not suffer you to trouble them.'

So on they went, and came to a lake where many many ducks were
swimming about. The two brothers wanted to catch two, and roast them.
But the dwarf said, 'Let the poor things enjoy themselves, you shall
not kill them.' Next they came to a bees'-nest in a hollow tree, and
there was so much honey that it ran down the trunk; and the two
brothers wanted to light a fire under the tree and kill the bees, so
as to get their honey. But the dwarf held them back, and said, 'Let
the pretty insects enjoy themselves, I cannot let you burn them.'

At length the three brothers came to a castle: and as they passed by
the stables they saw fine horses standing there, but all were of
marble, and no man was to be seen. Then they went through all the
rooms, till they came to a door on which were three locks: but in the
middle of the door was a wicket, so that they could look into the next
room. There they saw a little grey old man sitting at a table; and
they called to him once or twice, but he did not hear: however, they
called a third time, and then he rose and came out to them.

He said nothing, but took hold of them and led them to a beautiful
table covered with all sorts of good things: and when they had eaten
and drunk, he showed each of them to a bed-chamber.

The next morning he came to the eldest and took him to a marble table,
where there were three tablets, containing an account of the means by
which the castle might be disenchanted. The first tablet said: 'In the
wood, under the moss, lie the thousand pearls belonging to the king's
daughter; they must all be found: and if one be missing by set of sun,
he who seeks them will be turned into marble.'

The eldest brother set out, and sought for the pearls the whole day:
but the evening came, and he had not found the first hundred: so he
was turned into stone as the tablet had foretold.

The next day the second brother undertook the task; but he succeeded
no better than the first; for he could only find the second hundred of
the pearls; and therefore he too was turned into stone.

At last came the little dwarf's turn; and he looked in the moss; but
it was so hard to find the pearls, and the job was so tiresome!--so he
sat down upon a stone and cried. And as he sat there, the king of the
ants (whose life he had saved) came to help him, with five thousand
ants; and it was not long before they had found all the pearls and
laid them in a heap.

The second tablet said: 'The key of the princess's bed-chamber must be
fished up out of the lake.' And as the dwarf came to the brink of it,
he saw the two ducks whose lives he had saved swimming about; and they
dived down and soon brought in the key from the bottom.

The third task was the hardest. It was to choose out the youngest and
the best of the king's three daughters. Now they were all beautiful,
and all exactly alike: but he was told that the eldest had eaten a
piece of sugar, the next some sweet syrup, and the youngest a spoonful
of honey; so he was to guess which it was that had eaten the honey.

Then came the queen of the bees, who had been saved by the little
dwarf from the fire, and she tried the lips of all three; but at last
she sat upon the lips of the one that had eaten the honey: and so the
dwarf knew which was the youngest. Thus the spell was broken, and all
who had been turned into stones awoke, and took their proper forms.
And the dwarf married the youngest and the best of the princesses, and
was king after her father's death; but his two brothers married the
other two sisters.


There was once a shoemaker, who worked very hard and was very honest:
but still he could not earn enough to live upon; and at last all he
had in the world was gone, save just leather enough to make one pair
of shoes.

Then he cut his leather out, all ready to make up the next day,
meaning to rise early in the morning to his work. His conscience was
clear and his heart light amidst all his troubles; so he went
peaceably to bed, left all his cares to Heaven, and soon fell asleep.
In the morning after he had said his prayers, he sat himself down to
his work; when, to his great wonder, there stood the shoes all ready
made, upon the table. The good man knew not what to say or think at
such an odd thing happening. He looked at the workmanship; there was
not one false stitch in the whole job; all was so neat and true, that
it was quite a masterpiece.

The same day a customer came in, and the shoes suited him so well that
he willingly paid a price higher than usual for them; and the poor
shoemaker, with the money, bought leather enough to make two pairs
more. In the evening he cut out the work, and went to bed early, that
he might get up and begin betimes next day; but he was saved all the
trouble, for when he got up in the morning the work was done ready to
his hand. Soon in came buyers, who paid him handsomely for his goods,
so that he bought leather enough for four pair more. He cut out the
work again overnight and found it done in the morning, as before; and
so it went on for some time: what was got ready in the evening was
always done by daybreak, and the good man soon became thriving and
well off again.

One evening, about Christmas-time, as he and his wife were sitting
over the fire chatting together, he said to her, 'I should like to sit
up and watch tonight, that we may see who it is that comes and does my
work for me.' The wife liked the thought; so they left a light
burning, and hid themselves in a corner of the room, behind a curtain
that was hung up there, and watched what would happen.

As soon as it was midnight, there came in two little naked dwarfs; and
they sat themselves upon the shoemaker's bench, took up all the work
that was cut out, and began to ply with their little fingers,
stitching and rapping and tapping away at such a rate, that the
shoemaker was all wonder, and could not take his eyes off them. And on
they went, till the job was quite done, and the shoes stood ready for
use upon the table. This was long before daybreak; and then they
bustled away as quick as lightning.

The next day the wife said to the shoemaker. 'These little wights have
made us rich, and we ought to be thankful to them, and do them a good
turn if we can. I am quite sorry to see them run about as they do; and
indeed it is not very decent, for they have nothing upon their backs
to keep off the cold. I'll tell you what, I will make each of them a
shirt, and a coat and waistcoat, and a pair of pantaloons into the
bargain; and do you make each of them a little pair of shoes.'

The thought pleased the good cobbler very much; and one evening, when
all the things were ready, they laid them on the table, instead of the
work that they used to cut out, and then went and hid themselves, to
watch what the little elves would do.

About midnight in they came, dancing and skipping, hopped round the
room, and then went to sit down to their work as usual; but when they
saw the clothes lying for them, they laughed and chuckled, and seemed
mightily delighted.

Then they dressed themselves in the twinkling of an eye, and danced
and capered and sprang about, as merry as could be; till at last they
danced out at the door, and away over the green.

The good couple saw them no more; but everything went well with them
from that time forward, as long as they lived.


Long, long ago, some two thousand years or so, there lived a rich man
with a good and beautiful wife. They loved each other dearly, but
sorrowed much that they had no children. So greatly did they desire to
have one, that the wife prayed for it day and night, but still they
remained childless.

In front of the house there was a court, in which grew a juniper-tree.
One winter's day the wife stood under the tree to peel some apples,
and as she was peeling them, she cut her finger, and the blood fell on
the snow. 'Ah,' sighed the woman heavily, 'if I had but a child, as
red as blood and as white as snow,' and as she spoke the words, her
heart grew light within her, and it seemed to her that her wish was
granted, and she returned to the house feeling glad and comforted. A
month passed, and the snow had all disappeared; then another month
went by, and all the earth was green. So the months followed one
another, and first the trees budded in the woods, and soon the green
branches grew thickly intertwined, and then the blossoms began to
fall. Once again the wife stood under the juniper-tree, and it was so
full of sweet scent that her heart leaped for joy, and she was so
overcome with her happiness, that she fell on her knees. Presently the
fruit became round and firm, and she was glad and at peace; but when
they were fully ripe she picked the berries and ate eagerly of them,
and then she grew sad and ill. A little while later she called her
husband, and said to him, weeping. 'If I die, bury me under the
juniper-tree.' Then she felt comforted and happy again, and before
another month had passed she had a little child, and when she saw that
it was as white as snow and as red as blood, her joy was so great that
she died.

Her husband buried her under the juniper-tree, and wept bitterly for
her. By degrees, however, his sorrow grew less, and although at times
he still grieved over his loss, he was able to go about as usual, and
later on he married again.

He now had a little daughter born to him; the child of his first wife
was a boy, who was as red as blood and as white as snow. The mother
loved her daughter very much, and when she looked at her and then
looked at the boy, it pierced her heart to think that he would always
stand in the way of her own child, and she was continually thinking
how she could get the whole of the property for her. This evil thought
took possession of her more and more, and made her behave very
unkindly to the boy. She drove him from place to place with cuffings
and buffetings, so that the poor child went about in fear, and had no
peace from the time he left school to the time he went back.

One day the little daughter came running to her mother in the store-
room, and said, 'Mother, give me an apple.' 'Yes, my child,' said the
wife, and she gave her a beautiful apple out of the chest; the chest
had a very heavy lid and a large iron lock.

'Mother,' said the little daughter again, 'may not brother have one
too?' The mother was angry at this, but she answered, 'Yes, when he
comes out of school.'

Just then she looked out of the window and saw him coming, and it
seemed as if an evil spirit entered into her, for she snatched the
apple out of her little daughter's hand, and said, 'You shall not have
one before your brother.' She threw the apple into the chest and shut
it to. The little boy now came in, and the evil spirit in the wife
made her say kindly to him, 'My son, will you have an apple?' but she
gave him a wicked look. 'Mother,' said the boy, 'how dreadful you
look! Yes, give me an apple.' The thought came to her that she would
kill him. 'Come with me,' she said, and she lifted up the lid of the
chest; 'take one out for yourself.' And as he bent over to do so, the
evil spirit urged her, and crash! down went the lid, and off went the
little boy's head. Then she was overwhelmed with fear at the thought
of what she had done. 'If only I can prevent anyone knowing that I did
it,' she thought. So she went upstairs to her room, and took a white
handkerchief out of her top drawer; then she set the boy's head again
on his shoulders, and bound it with the handkerchief so that nothing
could be seen, and placed him on a chair by the door with an apple in
his hand.

Soon after this, little Marleen came up to her mother who was stirring
a pot of boiling water over the fire, and said, 'Mother, brother is
sitting by the door with an apple in his hand, and he looks so pale;
and when I asked him to give me the apple, he did not answer, and that
frightened me.'

'Go to him again,' said her mother, 'and if he does not answer, give
him a box on the ear.' So little Marleen went, and said, 'Brother,
give me that apple,' but he did not say a word; then she gave him a
box on the ear, and his head rolled off. She was so terrified at this,
that she ran crying and screaming to her mother. 'Oh!' she said, 'I
have knocked off brother's head,' and then she wept and wept, and
nothing would stop her.

'What have you done!' said her mother, 'but no one must know about it,
so you must keep silence; what is done can't be undone; we will make
him into puddings.' And she took the little boy and cut him up, made
him into puddings, and put him in the pot. But Marleen stood looking
on, and wept and wept, and her tears fell into the pot, so that there
was no need of salt.

Presently the father came home and sat down to his dinner; he asked,
'Where is my son?' The mother said nothing, but gave him a large dish
of black pudding, and Marleen still wept without ceasing.

The father again asked, 'Where is my son?'

'Oh,' answered the wife, 'he is gone into the country to his mother's
great uncle; he is going to stay there some time.'

'What has he gone there for, and he never even said goodbye to me!'

'Well, he likes being there, and he told me he should be away quite
six weeks; he is well looked after there.'

'I feel very unhappy about it,' said the husband, 'in case it should
not be all right, and he ought to have said goodbye to me.'

With this he went on with his dinner, and said, 'Little Marleen, why
do you weep? Brother will soon be back.' Then he asked his wife for
more pudding, and as he ate, he threw the bones under the table.

Little Marleen went upstairs and took her best silk handkerchief out
of her bottom drawer, and in it she wrapped all the bones from under
the table and carried them outside, and all the time she did nothing
but weep. Then she laid them in the green grass under the juniper-
tree, and she had no sooner done so, then all her sadness seemed to
leave her, and she wept no more. And now the juniper-tree began to
move, and the branches waved backwards and forwards, first away from
one another, and then together again, as it might be someone clapping
their hands for joy. After this a mist came round the tree, and in the
midst of it there was a burning as of fire, and out of the fire there
flew a beautiful bird, that rose high into the air, singing
magnificently, and when it could no more be seen, the juniper-tree
stood there as before, and the silk handkerchief and the bones were

Little Marleen now felt as lighthearted and happy as if her brother
were still alive, and she went back to the house and sat down
cheerfully to the table and ate.

The bird flew away and alighted on the house of a goldsmith and began
to sing:

'My mother killed her little son;
My father grieved when I was gone;
My sister loved me best of all;
She laid her kerchief over me,
And took my bones that they might lie
Underneath the juniper-tree
Kywitt, Kywitt, what a beautiful bird am I!'

The goldsmith was in his workshop making a gold chain, when he heard
the song of the bird on his roof. He thought it so beautiful that he
got up and ran out, and as he crossed the threshold he lost one of his
slippers. But he ran on into the middle of the street, with a slipper
on one foot and a sock on the other; he still had on his apron, and
still held the gold chain and the pincers in his hands, and so he
stood gazing up at the bird, while the sun came shining brightly down
on the street.

'Bird,' he said, 'how beautifully you sing! Sing me that song again.'

'Nay,' said the bird, 'I do not sing twice for nothing. Give that gold
chain, and I will sing it you again.'

'Here is the chain, take it,' said the goldsmith. 'Only sing me that

The bird flew down and took the gold chain in his right claw, and then
he alighted again in front of the goldsmith and sang:

'My mother killed her little son;
My father grieved when I was gone;
My sister loved me best of all;
She laid her kerchief over me,
And took my bones that they might lie
Underneath the juniper-tree
Kywitt, Kywitt, what a beautiful bird am I!'

Then he flew away, and settled on the roof of a shoemaker's house and

'My mother killed her little son;
My father grieved when I was gone;
My sister loved me best of all;
She laid her kerchief over me,
And took my bones that they might lie
Underneath the juniper-tree
Kywitt, Kywitt, what a beautiful bird am I!'

The shoemaker heard him, and he jumped up and ran out in his shirt-
sleeves, and stood looking up at the bird on the roof with his hand
over his eyes to keep himself from being blinded by the sun.

'Bird,' he said, 'how beautifully you sing!' Then he called through
the door to his wife: 'Wife, come out; here is a bird, come and look
at it and hear how beautifully it sings.' Then he called his daughter
and the children, then the apprentices, girls and boys, and they all
ran up the street to look at the bird, and saw how splendid it was
with its red and green feathers, and its neck like burnished gold, and
eyes like two bright stars in its head.

'Bird,' said the shoemaker, 'sing me that song again.'

'Nay,' answered the bird, 'I do not sing twice for nothing; you must
give me something.'

'Wife,' said the man, 'go into the garret; on the upper shelf you will
see a pair of red shoes; bring them to me.' The wife went in and
fetched the shoes.

'There, bird,' said the shoemaker, 'now sing me that song again.'

The bird flew down and took the red shoes in his left claw, and then
he went back to the roof and sang:

'My mother killed her little son;
My father grieved when I was gone;
My sister loved me best of all;
She laid her kerchief over me,
And took my bones that they might lie
Underneath the juniper-tree
Kywitt, Kywitt, what a beautiful bird am I!'

When he had finished, he flew away. He had the chain in his right claw
and the shoes in his left, and he flew right away to a mill, and the
mill went 'Click clack, click clack, click clack.' Inside the mill
were twenty of the miller's men hewing a stone, and as they went 'Hick
hack, hick hack, hick hack,' the mill went 'Click clack, click clack,
click clack.'

The bird settled on a lime-tree in front of the mill and sang:

'My mother killed her little son;

then one of the men left off,

My father grieved when I was gone;

two more men left off and listened,

My sister loved me best of all;

then four more left off,

She laid her kerchief over me,
And took my bones that they might lie

now there were only eight at work,


And now only five,

the juniper-tree.

and now only one,

Kywitt, Kywitt, what a beautiful bird am I!'

then he looked up and the last one had left off work.

'Bird,' he said, 'what a beautiful song that is you sing! Let me hear
it too; sing it again.'

'Nay,' answered the bird, 'I do not sing twice for nothing; give me
that millstone, and I will sing it again.'

'If it belonged to me alone,' said the man, 'you should have it.'

'Yes, yes,' said the others: 'if he will sing again, he can have it.'

The bird came down, and all the twenty millers set to and lifted up
the stone with a beam; then the bird put his head through the hole and
took the stone round his neck like a collar, and flew back with it to
the tree and sang--

'My mother killed her little son;
My father grieved when I was gone;
My sister loved me best of all;
She laid her kerchief over me,
And took my bones that they might lie
Underneath the juniper-tree
Kywitt, Kywitt, what a beautiful bird am I!'

And when he had finished his song, he spread his wings, and with the
chain in his right claw, the shoes in his left, and the millstone
round his neck, he flew right away to his father's house.

The father, the mother, and little Marleen were having their dinner.

'How lighthearted I feel,' said the father, 'so pleased and cheerful.'

'And I,' said the mother, 'I feel so uneasy, as if a heavy
thunderstorm were coming.'

But little Marleen sat and wept and wept.

Then the bird came flying towards the house and settled on the roof.

'I do feel so happy,' said the father, 'and how beautifully the sun
shines; I feel just as if I were going to see an old friend again.'

'Ah!' said the wife, 'and I am so full of distress and uneasiness that
my teeth chatter, and I feel as if there were a fire in my veins,' and
she tore open her dress; and all the while little Marleen sat in the
corner and wept, and the plate on her knees was wet with her tears.

The bird now flew to the juniper-tree and began singing:

'My mother killed her little son;

the mother shut her eyes and her ears, that she might see and hear
nothing, but there was a roaring sound in her ears like that of a
violent storm, and in her eyes a burning and flashing like lightning:

My father grieved when I was gone;

'Look, mother,' said the man, 'at the beautiful bird that is singing
so magnificently; and how warm and bright the sun is, and what a
delicious scent of spice in the air!'

My sister loved me best of all;

then little Marleen laid her head down on her knees and sobbed.

'I must go outside and see the bird nearer,' said the man.

'Ah, do not go!' cried the wife. 'I feel as if the whole house were in

But the man went out and looked at the bird.

She laid her kerchief over me,
And took my bones that they might lie
Underneath the juniper-tree
Kywitt, Kywitt, what a beautiful bird am I!'

With that the bird let fall the gold chain, and it fell just round the
man's neck, so that it fitted him exactly.

He went inside, and said, 'See, what a splendid bird that is; he has
given me this beautiful gold chain, and looks so beautiful himself.'

But the wife was in such fear and trouble, that she fell on the floor,
and her cap fell from her head.

Then the bird began again:

'My mother killed her little son;

'Ah me!' cried the wife, 'if I were but a thousand feet beneath the
earth, that I might not hear that song.'

My father grieved when I was gone;

then the woman fell down again as if dead.

My sister loved me best of all;

'Well,' said little Marleen, 'I will go out too and see if the bird
will give me anything.'

So she went out.

She laid her kerchief over me,
And took my bones that they might lie

and he threw down the shoes to her,

Underneath the juniper-tree
Kywitt, Kywitt, what a beautiful bird am I!'

And she now felt quite happy and lighthearted; she put on the shoes
and danced and jumped about in them. 'I was so miserable,' she said,
'when I came out, but that has all passed away; that is indeed a
splendid bird, and he has given me a pair of red shoes.'

The wife sprang up, with her hair standing out from her head like
flames of fire. 'Then I will go out too,' she said, 'and see if it
will lighten my misery, for I feel as if the world were coming to an

But as she crossed the threshold, crash! the bird threw the millstone
down on her head, and she was crushed to death.

The father and little Marleen heard the sound and ran out, but they
only saw mist and flame and fire rising from the spot, and when these
had passed, there stood the little brother, and he took the father and
little Marleen by the hand; then they all three rejoiced, and went
inside together and sat down to their dinners and ate.


There were two brothers who were both soldiers; the one was rich and
the other poor. The poor man thought he would try to better himself;
so, pulling off his red coat, he became a gardener, and dug his ground
well, and sowed turnips.

When the seed came up, there was one plant bigger than all the rest;
and it kept getting larger and larger, and seemed as if it would never
cease growing; so that it might have been called the prince of turnips
for there never was such a one seen before, and never will again. At
last it was so big that it filled a cart, and two oxen could hardly
draw it; and the gardener knew not what in the world to do with it,
nor whether it would be a blessing or a curse to him. One day he said
to himself, 'What shall I do with it? if I sell it, it will bring no
more than another; and for eating, the little turnips are better than
this; the best thing perhaps is to carry it and give it to the king as
a mark of respect.'

Then he yoked his oxen, and drew the turnip to the court, and gave it
to the king. 'What a wonderful thing!' said the king; 'I have seen

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