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Ludwig Bechstein, Fairy Tales

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Ludwig Bechstein

Fairy Tales

Translator:Eren Sarı

Ludwig Bechstein

Fairy Tales

Copyright © 2017, (Eren SARI)

All rights belong to the author. It can not be reproduced or converted into other formats without the permission of the author.

First Edition: 2017

Publisher Address:

NoktaE-Book Publishing

Aşağı Pazarcı Mah.1063 Sokak.No:7

Antalya / TÜRKİYE

Contact: [email protected]

Web:http://www.noktaekitap.net

Cover: NOKTA E-KİTAP

Publisher: NET MEDYA YAYINCILIK

Nokta E-Book International Publishing

The Man without a Heart

Once on a time there were seven brothers. As they were orphans and had no sister, they had to do all the house-work themselves. One day, however, they all took it into their heads to get married. Because there were no marriageable young ladies in the village where they lived, they decided to travel in search of wives, and agreed to leave their youngest brother, – to whom they promised to bring a fair bride, – to keep house at home. The youth was quite satisfied with this arrangement, and the six brothers set out in a high state of delight. After a while they came to a small cottage standing by itself in a wood. In front of its door sat an old man. He shouted to the brothers, “Holloa there, you young geese! Where are you going so merry and quick?”

“We are seeking for wives,” answered one of them, “one for each of us, and another for our youngest brother at home.”

“Oh, you dear young men,” said the old fellow, “bring me a young and pretty bride too; for I live here motherless and alone.”

The brothers walked off after that, wondering what such a grey old man as he could possibly want with a young and pretty bride.

In the first city they arrived at they found seven sisters, all as young and good-looking as one could desire. The brothers persuaded the young ladies to go with them and told the youngest that they had a brother at home for her.

On their way home they again passed by the cottage in the wood, and there sat the old man at his door, apparently waiting for them. “Ah, you brave youths,” he cried out, “I am indebted to you, for I see you have brought a pretty young wife for me.”

“No, no,” answered the eldest, “she is not for you, but for our youngest brother at home, as we promised him.”

“Oh, oh! promised?” said the old man; “then I will promise you something too.” So saying he took a white rod and murmuring a few words, touched the brothers and their brides with it, all except the youngest girl, and changed them into grey stones. But the youngest girl he led into his cottage and told her she must always keep it in proper order. She submitted to this with a very good grace, but she got much troubled when she started to reflect that perhaps the old man soon would die. Then she would be left motherless and alone in the wild forest, just as the old man had done before she came.

When she told him of this, he answered, “Do not trouble yourself; fear not, and do not hope that I shall die, for I have no heart in my breast. But if I should die, you will find my white rod over the door, and then if you touch the grey stones with it, your sisters will regain their right forms and the brothers will too, and then you will have company enough.”

“But where is your heart, if it is not in your breast?” asked the young bride.

“Must you know everything?” asked the old man. “Well then, if you must know, my heart is in my bed-covering.”

So, the next time the old man went out on business, his young wife gathered the most beautiful flowers she could find while he was gone, and placed them on his bed, so that his heart might be pleased with them.

When the old man returned, he laughed at her and said, “It was only a joke when I said my heart was there; my heart is – is – in the oven.”

When the old man went out again, his wife busied herself in covering the oven-door with beautiful feathers, and fresh flowers hanging in wreaths and festoons.

On his return he asked her what this all meant; and she told him that she had done it to please his heart.

He laughed at her as before, and said,” My heart is another place than in the oven.”

Hearing this made her sad. In a reproachful tone she exclaimed, “Alas, you still must have a heart, and some day you will die, and then I shall be all alone.”

The old man repeated what he had said before, while she pressed him to tell her where his heart really was.

At last he told her: “Far, far away from here, in deep solitude stands an old, old church, shut with iron doors. Round it runs a broad moat, and there is no bridge over it. In the church flies a bird to and fro. It neither eats nor drinks, nor will it die, and nobody can catch it. As long as the bird lives, so long shall I live, for in that bird is my heart.”

The bride got very sad now that she found it was out of her power to show her love for the old man’s heart. Time passed too slowly for her afterwards, for she used to be alone all day long, until one day there came past the house a young fellow who greeted her.

Then, as he came nearer, she asked him where he was going and where he came from.

“Alas!” he sighed, “I am mourning, for once I had six brothers who left me to seek for brides and promised to bring me a wife too, but they never returned. Now I have come out into the world to look for them.”

“Ah,” she exclaimed, “you do not have to go any farther. Sit down and eat and drink, and I will tell you something.”

Then she told him how his six brothers had come to the town close by and how they, together with her sisters, had been stopped by the old man. She went on to tell how the old man had claimed her, although she was to be the bride of the youngest brother; and how the old man had changed all the others into grey stones. All this she told him with many tears. She also told that the old man had no heart in his breast and how it was hidden far away in the bosom of a bird in an old church.

The young man said, “I will look for the bird and catch it with Heaven’s help.”

“That would be good,” she said. “Then your brothers and my sisters will become humans again.”

So saying, she hid the youth, for it was evening and the old man would soon be back.

As soon as the old man was gone the next morning, she gave the youth a good supply of food and wine for his journey. Wishing him Heaven’s blessing and good fortune, sent him off.

On he travelled, till it occurred to him that it was time for breakfast. He sat down and said to himself at the sight of the many good things in his package, “This is a treat. Come who will, he shall be my guest!”

Scarcely had he spoken, when “Mo, mo-o-o!” sounded close to his ears, Turning his head, he saw a great brown ox who said, “You have invited all who will, so I may as well be your guest.”

“You are welcome to the best I have,” answered the youth.

The ox sat down as carefully as he could; and when he had finished his meal, he said, “Many thanks. If at any time you want assistance, summon me and I will come.” With these words the ox disappeared.The youth packed up. After he had travelled some distance his short shadow showed it was dinner-time, and his appetite told him the same.

Sitting down on the ground, he spread out his food as before and invited any guest who chose to come.

Presently he heard a great rustling in the brushwood, and a huge wild boar rushed out, grunting, “I was called to a feast, I should say.”

“You are welcome,” said the youth; and sitting down together, the youth and the boar had a good meal. When they had done, the boar said, “Thank you! If you ever need me, call the wild boar;” and trotted off.

The youth travelled on again, and by evening-time he had gone a very long distance. Feeling hungry again, he thought to himself that it was time to have supper. So he spread his cloth with meat and drink, and said out loud, “I invite anyone who wants to eat with me. It is worthwhile to come.”

As he spoke, he heard a great flapping of wings over his head, and a shadow was cast on the ground before him. In a minute or two down came a large vulture. It called out, “I heard anyone was invited to a feast. All food suits me.”

The youth said, “Come, sit down and take what you like of what is left.”

The vulture did. When he had finished he flew off, saying to the youth, “If you need me, call, and I will come.”

“Oh, he is off in a hurry,” thought the youth to himself, “he might have been able to show me the way to the church, for I may never find it.” He walked on another few miles, and then, to his surprise, came in sight of the church. Hurrying on, he soon reached the edge of the broad moat which ran around the building. There was no bridge across the moat. He found a nice resting-place, for he was tired and weary from his long walk, and soon fell asleep.

The next morning he wished he to get to the other side of the moat, and thought to himself, “Now if the great brown ox were here, he could perhaps have drunk this ditch dry for me so that I could get over without trouble.”

At once the ox came to him and began to drink, and soon they youth was able to cross over and stand on the church-wall. But the walls were very thick, and the towers were made of stones as hard as iron, and the youth wished he had a pick-axe with him. “Ah, if the wild boar were here, he could break through for me,” he thought to himself.

No sooner had he said so, than he heard a great noise. Up rushed the fierce boar. Soon it knocked out with its tusks one stone and then another till it had made a great hole that he could easily get through. The youth entered and saw the bird flying about, but to catch it was more than he was able to. “If the vulture were here now,” said he, “he would soon lay hold of that bird for me.”

At once the vulture flew in and seized the bird that had the old man’s heart in its breast. The youth thanked the vulture as best he could, before it flew away.Now the youth hastened home to his bride-to-be, reached the house before evening, and told her all that had happened. She gave him a good supper, and then hid him under the bed together with the bird, so that the old man might not see him.Soon the old man came home. He complained that he felt very ill, like dying, for his bird was caught. The youth under the bed heard this and thought to himself that even though the old man had never done him any harm, he had turned his brothers and their brides into stone, and also had robbed him of his bride. So he began to squeeze the neck of the bird, and the old man called out, “Oh, I am dying; someone is strangling me! Oh, I die!” With these words he fell off his chair dead, for the youth had wrung the bird’s neck.

Then the youth crept out from under the bed. The maiden took the old man’s white staff and struck the twelve grey stones with it, as he had taught her. In a moment the six brothers and six sisters stood up as humans again. What joy there was among them! They hugged and embraced one another, and the old man was as dead as could be.

The seven brothers married the seven sisters, and for many, many years they all lived together in health and happiness.

The Nut-Bough

Once on a time there was a wealthy merchant. His business took him into foreign countries. One day, when he was going away, he said to his three daughters, “Dear children, I should like to bring to each of you a nice present when I come back. Tell me what you would like.”

The eldest said, “Dear father, bring me the most beautiful pearl necklace that you can find.”

The second said, “I wish for a bright diamond-ring.”

But the youngest, throwing herself on her father’s neck, said, “For me, dear father, bring a beautiful little green nut-bough.”

“Well, dear daughters,” said the merchant, “I will take care for you all. Farewell!”

Far away rode the merchant and made great purchases. He did not forget what his daughters had asked for either. He had already packed in his trunk a costly pearl necklace for the eldest daughter, and had found a splendid diamond-ring for his second daughter; but he did not find agreen nut-twig anywhere, even though he took a great deal of trouble to find one.

At last he set off homewards. As he made his way through all the woods along the road, he hoped to find to find a green nut-twig. But soon he got so near his home that he began to fear that, after all, he should not be able to give his youngest daughter the simple gift she wished for.

The last part of his journey was through a gloomy forest. As he was sorrowfully picking his way through the thick brushwood, he knocked his hat against a bough; it rattled like a bunch of beads. He looked up and saw it was a beautiful green branch and that a string of golden nuts was hanging on it – just what his youngest daughter had asked for! He was so delighted that he reached his hand up at once and broke off the bough.

At the same minute a wild bear rushed out of the thicket and stood up on his bind legs, growling and menacing as if he would tear the merchant into pieces.

“Why have you broken off my nut-branch?” he roared. “You miserable wretch, I will eat you up!”

Shaking and trembling with terror, the merchant answered, “Dear bear, do not eat me; let me go my way with the nut-bough and I will give you plenty of bacon and honey.”

“Keep your bacon and honey for yourself,” said the bear. “Promise me whatever or whoever meets you first as you enter your gate and then I will not eat you.”

The merchant readily agreed to this; for he thought it would only be his poodle-dog that he would have to sacrifice to save his own life. So after a hearty shake of the paw, the bear walked back into the thicket while the merchant, still breathless from fright, hurried gladly away from the spot.

The golden nut-bough shone brightly on the hat of the merchant as he drew nearer and nearer to his home. With springy steps his youngest daughter bounded towards him.

Behind her, at a respectful distance, followed the poodle-dog, and in the doorway stood his two eldest daughters and his wife, waiting to greet him.

The merchant was terrified when he saw his youngest daughter coming first to welcome him. Sadly and sorrowfully he received the embraces and kisses of all and then he told them of his adventure with the nut-bough. All began to weep, but the youngest daughter said in front of them all that she would do as her father had promised.

“Do not despair, my dear daughters,” interrupted the mother, “do not trouble yourselves. If the bear should come, dear husband, let us then give him the herdsman’s daughter in the place of our youngest child, and then the bear will be content.”

The ruse sounded so good to them that it raised the spirits of the sisters, who began now to adorn themselves with their presents.

The youngest always carried her nut-bough with her and soon thought no more of the bear and her father’s promise.

But one day a gloomy-looking carriage rattled through the street up to the merchant’s door; and the bear stepped out. He walked straight into the house and demanded that the merchant kept his promise. With all possible haste and secrecy the herdsman’s daughter was fetched and placed inside the bear’s carriage.

They went off directly; and when they had gone a short distance, the bear laid his rough shaggy head in the lap of the girl and grumbled out,

“Tickle me, scratch me

Softly and tenderly,

Or else will I eat you,

Skin, bone and all.”

The girl began scratching; but she did not do it right and the bear perceived at once that he was deceived. In his rage he would have devoured the girl on the spot, had she not made a spring and escaped from him among the bushes.

The bear went back at once to the merchant’s house and demanded with great threats his promised bride. So after a bitter leave-taking, the fair maiden was had to accompany her ugly bridegroom and sit beside him in the carriage.

When they had gone a short distance, he began to grumble,

“Tickle me, scratch me

Softly and tenderly,

Or else will I eat you,

Skin, bone and all.”

So the maiden tickled him as he desired about his ears; and soon she had the pleasure of seeing his grim looks vanish. By degrees the girl then won his confidence.

Their journey did not last long, for the carriage went on as if a mighty wind blew it. They soon entered a very dark wood; and in the middle of it the carriage stopped before a deep cave – the bear’s dwelling.

Oh, how the maiden trembled! But the bear embracing her as gently as he could with his frightful, shaggy paws and said to her, “Stay here, my bride, and be happy, But take care that you behave bravely, or else my wild companions might tear you.”

While he was speaking, he led the way through a narrow passage; and presently unlocking an iron door, entered a chamber full of poisonous reptiles, which kept darting about here and there.

“Look neither to the left or right,

Or you will be lose your calm,”

growled the bear in her ear. So she walked straight on through the chamber and not a reptile moved – and so on through ten other chambers. The last of them was swarming with the most frightful creatures of all – dragons, snakes, toads, basilisks and winged serpents. In each room the bear growled out,

“Look neither to the left or right,

Or you will be lose your calm.”

The girl trembled and shook with fear like an aspen-leaf, at every step she took, but she did not look round or behind her; she kept her eyes steadily fixed on the ground.

As soon as they opened the door to the twelfth chamber, a shining ray of light burst forth on them and from within came a sound of sweet harmony and songs of triumph and rejoicing. Then, before the maiden could recover her scattered senses, overcome as she was at first with terror and dread of the noisome reptiles and then dazzled with the brilliancy of the last chamber, there came a fearful clap of thunder as if heaven and earth had clashed together. Then followed a dread silence. But with the thunder the forest, the cave, the poisonous creatures and the bear had all disappeared. In their place stood a great castle, and all around it was ranged a company of well-dressed servants, and the bear had turned into a handsome young man. He was the princely owner of the castle. He pressed the merchant’s daughter to his heart and thanked her again and again for having saved him and his servants from their spell.

They married at once. The princess did not forget her nut-bough, though, as it was the key to all her good fortune. It was always in bloom afterwards.

As soon as she was able, she sent word to her parents and sisters of the great good that had come her way, and invited them to come to her. They did, and all lived to a happy, old age, enjoying life in the castle of the bear-prince.

The Old Wizard and the Children

Once on a time there lived a wicked wizard. He had stolen two children of tender age, a boy and a girl. He lived with them in a hollow cave, away from people and hermit-like. There he followed his black art, learnt from a secret book that he guarded as his best treasure.

From time to time the wizard went out and left the children by themselves. At such times the boy would read in the book, for he had spied out where it was hidden. In such a way he learnt many rules and managed to work charms himself.

The old wizard had in mind to keep the children shut up all their lives, so they repeatedly tried to find some means of escape.

One day the wizard went out on a long journey, and soon after he had started, the boy said to his sister, “Now is the time, sister. The wicked man who has kept us prisoners for so long is away. Let us be off at once and travel as far as our feet will carry us.” The children set out and walked along the whole day.By and by, when evening came, the wizard returned home and at once missed them. So he opened his book of enchantments and quickly found out which way they had taken and set off in pursuit.

Long before he was in sight, the children knew he was coming by his heavy breathing and loud shouting. “Dear brother,” cried the sister, full of terror and anguish, “We are lost; that wicked man is near us!”

But the boy remembered what he had learned and uttered a charm that transformed him into a large pond and his sister into a fish swimming about in it.

As soon as the old wizard came to the pond, he perceived at once that he was deceived and exclaimed, “Wait, wait, I will have you!” Then he ran back in a rage to his cave to fetch some nets to catch the fish. But as soon as he was gone, the pond and fish became again brother and sister. They congratulated each other on their escape, and then rested for the night.

The next morning they set off again, so when the wizard by and by came to the place with his nets, there was no pond there, but a green meadow with plenty of frogs in it, but no fishes. In a dreadful passion the old man threw his nets away and pursued the children again, for by means of a divining-rod that he carried with him, he knew the route they had taken,.

When evening came he had nearly overtaken them. They heard him in the distance roaring and raging like a wild bull.

“Dear brother!” exclaimed the little girl, “We are lost! The wicked wretch is close behind us!”

The boy repeated another charm he had learnt from the book and changed himself into a chapel and his sister into a beautiful altar-piece within the chapel.

When the wizard came to the chapel, he was forced to run howling away, for he dared not enter any church or chapel. But at some distance he cried, “Though I may not enter you, I can set you on fire and burn you to ashes!” So saying, he ran off to his cave to fetch a light.

As soon as he was gone, the brother and sister became humans again, and after resting for the night, they journeyed on fast.

They got a long way in advance of the wizard, since he had to go back so far. Thus, when he came back to the spot where the chapel had stood, he found nothing there but a great rock. Furious with rage, he ran on in the track of the children.

By the evening he was almost up to them, and for the third time the sister thought all was lost when she heard him close by. But her brother repeated another charm and became a hard threshing-floor, and his sister became a little grain of corn lying among other grains of corn on it.

A little later the wizard came. When he saw the threshing-floor and the grains of corn and no tracks leading away from there, he muttered, “I will not run the long way home and fetch something this time.” Then he turned himself into a black cock that ran about the floor to peck at and eat up the grains of corn.

At once the boy repeated another charm and changed himself into a fox. The fox caught the cock before he could eat one grain of corn, and that was the end of the cock.

Gold-Maria and Pitch-Maria

Once there was a widow with two daughters. One was her own child and the other her step-child, and both were named Maria. The first was neither affectionate nor honest, but the step-daughter was a good and hard-working girl. She had many vexations and slights to suffer at the hands of her mother and sister, but through all she kept her temper; she did all the kitchen-work without murmuring, and when she was particularly aggrieved by her mother or sister, she had a quiet cry in her own room. After that she was quite happy again and would say to herself, “Never mind, Heaven will help you soon.” And then she would work away vigorously and make everything neat and clean.

Her mother, however, was never satisfied; and one day said to her, “Maria, I cannot any longer keep you at home, you work little and eat much. Your father left you no property, and your mother did not either. What there is, is all mine and I will not maintain you any longer. So you must leave this place and look out for another mistress.”

So saying, she made a cake of milk and ashes, filled a small bottle with water and giving them to Maria, sent her away from the house.

Maria was very much grieved with this harsh treatment, but still she walked bravely off over the fields and meadows, for she thought to herself as she went along, “Someone will soon hire me as servant, and perhaps I shall find another mistress that is kinder than my step-mother.”

When she began to feel hungry she sat down on the grass and took out her cake and drank some of the water, while round her several birds fluttered, now picking up the crumbs that she scattered and now dipping their bills in the water she held out to them in the hollow of her hand. Just then her ashy cake changed into a delicious cake and the water into milk.

Strengthened and refreshed by her meal, Maria got up and walked on. When it was getting dark, she came to a solitary house. The walls around it seemed to have two doors, one black as pitch and the other shining like gold.

Maria went through the least attractive door of the two into the courtyard and then knocked at the house-door. A man that looked terribly wild, opened it and asked her what she wanted. “Only to know if you could shelter me for the night,” answered Maria, trembling,

“Come in,” murmured the man hoarsely.

Maria followed him, shaking more and more with fear as she heard on every side a confused howling of dogs and mewing of cats, for there was nothing else in the house except the rough owner.

“Will you sleep with me or with the cats and dogs?” growled the man.

“With the cats and dogs,” answered Maria, but he gave her a nice white bed, and there she could sleep peacefully enough.

In the morning the man asked, “Will you have breakfast with me or with the dogs and cats?”

“With the dogs and cats,” she answered, but he gave her coffee, sweet milk, eggs, cheese, and buttered slices of good bread.

Soon after, Maria prepared to start off. Then the man asked again, “Will you go out of the golden door or the pitch door?”

She answered, “The pitch door,” but he told her to go out at the golden door. As she walked through it, the man showered gold down on her from the wall above the door, so that she went her way covered with a golden garment.

She went home again. As soon as she opened the garden-gate, the hens she had used to feed came flying towards her and the cock cried out, “Cock-a-doodle-doo – here comes our Gold-Maria – cock-a-doodle-doo!”

Her stepmother came down the steps to meet her and made her a low bow as if she was a princess who had come to honour her with a visit.

Maria said, “Do you not know me? I am Maria.”

Soon her sister came, wondering at the sight as much as her mother. Maria had to tell all that had happened to her and how she had become covered with gold. Her mother now took her in again and treated her better than before, so that Maria was honoured and loved by everybody. In a little while a worthy young farmer took a fancy to her and married her, and they lived together very happily.

By and by the other Maria wanted to leave home and see if she could come back covered with gold, she too. Her mother gave her sweet cakes and wine to refresh her on her journey. The birds came and pecked at the crumbs when she rested and had a meal, but she drove them away. Then her cake changed into ashes and her wine into muddy water.

At evening-time she came to the same house that her sister had come to. She went brashly in at the golden gate and knocked at the door.

When the man opened it and asked what she wanted, she answered, “I have come to pass the night here.”

“Come in,” he growled. “Where will you sleep? With dogs and cats or in the best chamber?”

“In the best chamber,” she answered, but he led her into the room where the dogs and cats were, and locked her in. In the morning when she arose, her face was all scratched and bitten. When she came out, the man asked her if she would have breakfast with him or with the dogs and cats.

“Oh, with you,” she answered, hastily, but she had to sit down with his dogs and cats.

After the meal she wished to leave. The man asked again, “Do you want to go out of the golden door or the pitch door?”

“The golden door,” she answered, but that door was closed and she had to go out by the other. As she passed through, the man was standing above it showered down on her a cloud of pitch.

Full of rage she hurried home. As she approached, the cock began to crow, “Cock-a-doodle-doo! Here comes our Pitch-Maria – Cock-a-doodle-doo!”

When she entered the house, her mother was horrified and never dared allow anybody to see her daughter for a long time, although the scratches and bite marks healed soon enough.

The Starling

Once on a time on a fine summer’s evening a young knight stopped at the door of an inn bordering on a wood. As he halted, a young girl came out of the house and asked him what he wished to have.

He called for a goblet of cool wine, She quickly brought it, first tasted it with her ruddy lips, and then handed it to him. While he was drinking it, the hostess, an ugly old woman with a yellow face and withered with age, came to the inn-door. “Hello, hostess!” cried the knight, “you have a pretty daughter here!”

“She is not my daughter,” answered the hostess, “but an orphan. She has no home except the one I have given her out of charity.”

By now the knight had taken a fancy to the girl and wanted to hear somewhat of her history. He got off his horse and ordered a bath to be prepared for him and also a bed. Then he went into the house while the landlady bade the girl gather some rosemary, thyme and marjoram for the bath.

While she was busy gathering the herbs, a starling flew out of a bush close by and sang,

Oh, I’m so unhappy for you, girl! You should bathe the young man in the bath-tub you came here in.

Your father is dead of a broken heart and your mother sits grieving all day for you and thinks you are dead too.

Oh, I’m so unhappy for you, foundling child! Don’t you know your father or mother?”

The poor girl was frightened and saddened to hear the starling speak this and prepared the bath with tears running down her cheeks. Then she carried the small bath-tub to the room where the young knight was. When he saw her red eyes, he asked her what was the matter, since she did not look merry, did not try to entertain him, and brought him such a small tub to bathe in.

“How can I be merry?” she said, with a fresh burst of grief; “I weep because of something a starling told me while I was gathering herbs to scent your bath,I’m so unhappy for you, girl! You should bathe the young man in the bath-tub you came here in.

Your father is dead of a broken heart and your mother sits grieving all day for you and thinks you are dead too.

Oh, I’m so unhappy for you, foundling child! Don’t you know your father or mother?

While she said this, the young knight looked at the bath-tub and noticed the royal symbols of the king of Rheims on it. He wondered greatly and exclaimed, “That is my father’s coat of arms! How did it get here?”

I’m so unhappy for you, foundling child! Don’t you know your father or mother yet?

sang the starling at the window. The knight looked again at the maiden and caught sight of a mole on her neck. “Praise the Lord!” he exclaimed. “You are my sister! Your father was king of Rheims and your mother’s name is Christine, and I am Conrad, your brother. Now I know why my heart beat so rapidly when I first saw you.”

They embraced one another with tears of joy in their eyes, thanked the Lord and afterwards spent the rest of the night telling what had happened to them since they were parted.

The next morning, as soon as it was light, the old woman came downstairs, calling out with a loud harsh voice, “Get up, get up, girl, and sweep my room!”

Then the young knight answered in his clear voice, “She is no servant, and will not sweep your room again. Bring us a draught of wine yourself now!”

The landlady brought the wine as she was told and Conrad asked her, “Where did you get this noble maiden from? She is a princess and my sister!”

The old woman turned pale and fell on her knees. But she did not say a word, for sitting on the window-sill was the starling. He sang,

In a garden far away from here, on the green grass, sat a little child in a bath-tub. While her nurse went away for a minute, a wicked old gipsy woman came and carried off the child in the bath-tub.The knight was so enraged at hearing this that he drew his sword and thrust it through the woman. Then he kissed his beautiful sister, and taking the bath-tub with him, led her by her hand out of the house and placed her before him on his horse, placing the bath-tub in her lap. The starling perched itself on her shoulder.They rode to the castle of the king of Rheims, where the queen-mother still lived. As soon as the queen saw them coming, she went out to meet them and asked astonished, “Son, what servant have you got there? I see she brings a bath-tub with her as if she has come to nurse children.”

“Oh, mother dear,” answered the young prince, “she is no servant, but your daughter who was stolen away from you in this bath.”

As soon as he had said this, the princess leapt from the saddle and her mother fell into her arms in a swoon of joy.

The starling sang,

Today it is eighteen years since the princess was stolen and carried away in the bath-tub, over the Rhine. And I dare say that the old woman will never steal children again.

The princess kept the starling with her afterwards, and was as grateful to the bird as can be for talking to them so that she no longer was kept beneath a wicked woman.

Four Feathers

A certain man got a son and had to go out to find someone who would the son’s godfather. He met a youthful, very handsome man and begged him to come to the christening. The man came and left behind him a pretty white pony as a christening gift to the boy.

The lad, who had got the name of Henry from his godfather, grew up as the pride of his father and mother. When he was old enough to manage his own affairs, he would stop at home no longer, but decided to go in search of romance and adventure. So he took leave of his parents and mounted the pony that had been given him by his unknown godfather, and ignorant of what the pony was worth he rode gaily and gladly along in the wide world.As he passed one day through a forest, he saw a very colourful, long feather from a pheasant’s tail lying by the way-side. The feather shone brightly in the rays of the sun. The youth stopped his pony, intending to get off the pony and pick up the feather to place in his cap, but suddenly the pony said, “Ah, let that feather lie on the ground!”

The boy was astonished to hear his pony speak, and without taking the feather with him, he rode quietly onwards.

After a while he came to a little stream. On its green bank he saw a second feather lying, and it was much more beautiful than the other. He began to get off his pony, eager to adorn himself with it.

“Ah, let that feather be!” said his pony again.

Even more astonished than before, the boy jumped into his saddle without touching the feather and rode on.

Later he came to a high hill. A third feather was lying in the middle of the grass at its foot. Now this feather shone and glittered and looked so beautiful that he must have it.Again the pony said, “Don’t touch that feather.”

But this time the boy ignored the pony’s warning and jumped from his saddle, picked up the feather and placed it in his hat.

“Seeing this makes me grieve,” cried his pony. “You have done a great injury to yourself and will repent it.”

But the youth rode on till he came to a good and well-built city. There he saw a great many gaily-dressed people standing about before they marched towards him to the music of drums and trumpets and fifes.

Young girls in the procession strewed flowers on all sides as they walked along and the prettiest one of them bore a golden crown on a cushion.

As soon as they met the young Henry they halted. The chief personages of the town came forward and offered him the crown, saying, “You shall be our king!” All the people cried,” Hail to our king!”

Henry did not understand why and how all this happened to him. He knelt down when he felt the crown on his head, and wondered if he was dreaming.The pony whispered in his ear, “Now I’ll tell you why you should not have taken up any of these three feathers: If you had picked up the first feather, you would have become a count. The second would have made a duke of you. And if you had passed the third, you would have found another feather on the top of the mountain. Then I would have told you to pick up and become the owner of a lot more and better than a king – you would have become the emperor!”

The youth was quite content with his choice, however. And perhaps he was far happier than if he had become a mighty emperor instead of the good and just king that my grandfather says he was.

The Unjust Judge

Many years ago there dwelt in a certain city a man of great worldly riches and possessions. But he was a wicked cheat and money-lender, one that people had to pay unfairly high rates of interest to. So people wondered why the earth did not open under his feet and swallow him up. He was also a city judge; but his decisions were so unrighteous that he was always spoken of as the “Unjust Judge.”

One market-day, in the early part of the morning, this judge rode out to see a fine vineyard that he owned. As he was returning, Death, dressed as a rich man, met him on the way. The judge did not know who the stranger was that went up to him, and therefore asked his name and business.

“It would be better for you neither to know me nor my business with you,” Death answered.

“Oh, oh!” exclaimed the judge, “I have to know it, or you are a lost man. I am a man of power in this place and there is none who will dare to dispute my authority. So if you will not tell me your name, I shall take your life and forfeit your property.”

“If that is the case,” said the other, smiling grimly, “I will tell you. I am Death!”

“Humph!” growled the judge. “Then, what is your business here?”

“To take whatever is given in real earnest to me this day.”

“Very well,” said the judge; “but I must be witness that you get neither more nor less than what is due to you.”

“Do not ask to be near me when I take what is given me,” answered Death in a warning voice.

The judge, however, took no heed of Death’s words. “I must and will be witness,” he said, and began to swear.

So Death said nothing more, he just warned him again that he could not release himself from the bargain he now had made, however much he might wish.

The judge declared that he would not flinch from his word, and so both went to the market-place. The market was thronged with people and every now and then the judge and his companion were stopped and asked to share a bottle of wine. The judge always took a glass; but his companion knew well it was not offered in earnest, so he refused all that was held out to him.

By chance it happened that a woman was driving along a herd of swine. Like most pigs they would not go as she wanted them, but another way. “I wish Death had you all, skin and hair!” she cried at last in a rage.

“Do you hear that?” said the judge to his companion.

“Yes,” answered Death; “but she does not mean what she says. She would become miserably poor if I took her swine. I only take what is given to me in earnest.”

Soon afterwards they met a woman and her child. The child would not go any other way but his own. “You naughty boy,” she exclaimed; “I could wish you were dead!”

“Do you hear that?” asked the judge again. “Take the child! Is it not given to you in earnest?”

“Oh, no, no; she would bitterly lament it, if I should take her at her word,” answered Death.

In a little while they met a second woman. She was dragging along a child who struggled and cried lustily. “You good-for-nothing little tramp,” she exclaimed; “it would be a happy thing for me to lose you altogether!”

“Now, what about this child?” said the judge.

“No,” answered his companion; “for this woman would not really get rid her child, not even for fifty or a hundred pounds, and she would not even think of giving it to me.”

Now they came to the thickest part of the crowd and soon they were wedged in, unable to go forward or backward. Just then a woman caught sight of the judge. She was old and poor and suffered under heavy misfortune. As soon as she saw him she cried out, “May pains and afflictions come your way, judge! Without cause you took from me the cow that was my only support! You did not mind. May you get your due! Oh, if Heaven would hear my prayer and send Death to take you from the world you have done so much injustice to!”

The judge said feebly, “Things are not always as they seem,” but Death led him away in triumph, saying, “See now, judge! That was in earnest, and you must get through with it.”

So in the middle of the crowd Death struck him down at the feet of the old woman he had so unjustly taken a cow from. People said,

He who wants to get wise, should mind his ways.”

Millet-Thief

In a certain town there was a rich merchant. He had a large and beautiful garden behind his house, and a portion of it was sown with millet. One day early in spring, when the corn was beginning to look green and flourishing, he walked in his garden and saw to his great vexation that during the past night a portion of his young millet had been destroyed. Some wicked fellow must have been about, he thought.Because he had always sown millet in this particular spot, he had a great affection for it. So he decided to catch the rascal and either to punish him on the spot or deliver him up to justice.

He called together his three sons, Michael, George and John, he said to them, “Last night a thief was in our garden and tore up some of my millet. The thief has to be caught and punished. You, sons, must watch in turns, night by night. Whoever catches the thief I will reward well.”

The first night the eldest son, Michael, watched. He was armed with a brace of pistols and a sharp sabre. But he also brought with him good meat and drink, so when he lay wrapped in a warm cloak under a juniper-bush to enjoy himself on is watch, he fell sound asleep.

When he woke up it was broad daylight. A still larger piece of the millet was gone than on the former night. When the merchant came into the garden and saw this, he knew that his son had fallen asleep instead of watching for the thief, and said he wondered that the thief had not stolen him, sword, pistols and all.

The next night the second son, George, watched. He was armed with the same weapons as his brother had, and in addition a thick club and a strong rope. George, however, fell asleep as his brother had done. The next morning he found that the thief had done still more ravages on the millet. The father said sadly that if the third watcher should sleep too, there would be no more need for looking after the millet: it would be all gone.

Now it was John’s turn. He would take no arms with him, but he brought with him a rope and also some thorns and thistles to keep himself awake with. When he went into the garden at night he placed these thorns in such a way in front of him that whenever he began to nod, they tickled his nose and made him open his eyes again.

When midnight came, he heard a tramping that came nearer and nearer. As soon as it had reached the millet, something began to pull at it.

“Look!” he thought to himself, “Here is the thief!” Softly pushing aside the thorns, he drew a rope from his pocket and made a lasso, and then made towards the place the noise came from, and found that the millet thief was a pretty little pony. The sight of the animal made John glad. With hardly any trouble he caught it. The animal followed him like a dog to the stable. There John locked him up for the night. That done, he went quietly to bed.

When his brothers got up in the morning, they had in mind go into the garden to see how their brother had fared, until they saw he was lying snugly in bed. They woke him up, laughing, for they thought he had been asleep in his bed all night long instead of watching.

John explained to them, “I will soon show you the thief.” And then leading his father and brothers down to the stable, he showed them the wonderful little pony.

Nobody knew anything about it, where it came from and who it belonged to. It was a dear little thing of an elegant form and quite silver-white. The merchant was very much pleased with it and gave the pony to John as his reward, and was so charmed with the animal that he called it “Millet-thief.”

Soon after the brothers heard that a beautiful princess was enchanted in the castle that stood on the high glass hill that nobody could climb because it was so smooth and steep, people told.

But it was also rumoured that whoever was fortunate enough to get up to the castle and ride three times around it, would rescue the princess and get her as his bride. Many had already tried and lost their lives by slipping back.

The three brothers took it into their head to try their luck in riding up to the castle and win the beautiful princess. Michael and George bought themselves strong young horses and caused their hoofs to be roughshod, while John just saddled his pony.

Then all three rode to the glass mountain to try their luck. The eldest tried first, but his horse stumbled as soon as it reached the hill. Down it fell and rolled with its rider to the bottom of the road.

The second brother shared the same fate; and so neither of them would make try again.

Then it was John’s turn. He rode up on Millet-thief without a single stumble, and trot, trot, trot he rode three times round the castle too.

As Millet-thief and he stopped in front of the castle-door, it flew open. There was the princess, dressed in silk and gold and with her arms stretched out, ready to welcome John. He quickly got off from his horse and took the princess in his arms, and embraced her.

After a while the princess turned to the little pony that had carried John up the mountain. Hugging its head, she said to it, “Why did you run away from me so that I could no more enjoy the one gladdening hour which was granted me here, to ride down and up this high glass hill? Oh, never leave me again.”

As she said this, John realised that his Millet-thief was the enchanted pony of the beautiful princess.

His brothers tried again after their fall to get up the mountain, but John saw them no more, for he lived happily, free from many worldly cares, with his freed princess in the castle on the top of the glass hill.

The Golden Roebuck

Once on a time there were two poor children named Margaret and Henry. They were sister and brother. Their parents were dead and had left them nothing, so they were forced to beg their bread. They were too young to work hard. Henry was scarcely twelve years old and Margaret still younger. Every evening they would knock at some door, and many and many a time they were kindly taken in and given something to eat and drink, and perhaps some little new piece of clothing.

One evening they came to a cottage that was standing by itself. They tapped at the window and asked an old woman who put out her head, whether they could stop with her for the night. “For my part,” she answered, “I will keep you all night, but my husband is a grim troll, and if he gets to know it you are lost, for he eats anything young and tender, and therefore all the little children in his way.”

When the children heard this they were terribly frightened; but it was already dark and they could go no further. So they let the old woman hide them in a large tub. There they rested as quiet as mice, but they could not sleep. In about an hour’s time they heard the heavy tread of the troll.

As soon as he came in, he began to scold his wife because she had not prepared any food for supper. In the morning he left the house again and made such a noise going away that the children were awakened from their sleep by it.

As soon as they were up and dressed the woman gave them some breakfast. When they had finished, she said to them, “Here are two brooms; now go upstairs and brush out all the rooms but one. There are twelve rooms in all, but you must only dust eleven and not meddle with the twelfth. Meanwhile I must go out. If you work hard, all may be done till I return.”

The children set to at once and soon finished the eleven rooms; but Margaret was very curious to know what was in the twelfth room. Still, she dared not open the door, because they had been forbidden. Instead she peeped through the key-hole. Inside she saw a beautiful little cart with a little golden roebuck harnessed to it. She called to Henry at once, that he might peep too. After looking cautiously out to see that the old woman was not returning, they unlocked the door and went in. The roebuck said, “Who rides the cart, has a right to it.” The astonished children drew the cart out in the yard, got into it and drove off as fast as they could.

But after driving some little distance, they saw the old woman and her grim husband coming towards them on the same road. “Alas, my dear sister,” cried Henry, “what shall we do? If the old woman discovers us, we are lost.”

Margaret said, “I know a witching spell. I learnt it from Grandmother.” She repeated,

Red rose, rose-how.

Show me as a rose right now.

At once they were changed into a rosebush. Margaret was the flower, Henry the thorns, the roebuck the stem and the cart formed the leaves.

In a short time the man-eater and his wife came up to them. The wife wanted to pluck the pretty rose, but the thorns pricked her finger so deeply that it bled and hastily drew back.

As soon as the old wretches were gone away, the children took back their natural forms and hastened on till they came to a baker’s oven. It was full of bread. Out of its mouth came a voice which said, “Draw my bread, draw my bread!”

Margaret hurried and drew the loaves out and put them in the cart.

Then they went on further and came to a huge pear-tree, full of ripe fruit. From the tree came a voice, “Shake down my pears, shake down my pears!”

Margaret shook the tree at once, while Henry gathered up the fruit and put it in the cart.

Next they came to a grape-vine. It shouted, “Pluck my grapes, pluck my grapes!”

Margaret plucked them also and put them in the golden cart.

But in the meantime the man-eater and his wife got home and discovered to their great horror that the golden cart and the roebuck were all gone. The man-eater and his wife had robbed the cart and roebuck many years before.

It was a special cart, for wherever it went, gifts were given to it from all sides, such as from trees and bushes, ovens and grape-vines. In this way man-eater and his wife had lived on good kinds of food for many years. The wife told about the two children who had been in the house while she was away, so they ran out and searched for the children in the hope of overtaking them. The couple hurried along with huge strides.

The children had stopped at a large pond when they heard the couple from afar. There was neither ferry nor bridge to carry them over. Only a flock of ducks were swimming about there. Margaret made the ducks swim to the shore by throwing bread to them. Then she sung,

Little ducks, little ducks, swim feather to feather and make us a bridge to cross together.

The ducks did at once as she wished and formed a bridge. The children, the roebuck and the cart went over it and reached the other side safely.

Close behind them on the side they left, the man-eater came running along. As soon as he reached the shore, he bellowed the spell he had misheard,

Little ducks, little ducks, swim feather to feather and form us a bridge we can walk on together . . .

The ducks accordingly formed themselves into a bridge again, and the two old wretches started walking over it. But when the couple had come to the middle of the pond where the water was deepest, the ducks had had enough of their heavy and trampling feet, so they plumped the couple into the water and swam away.

Henry and Margaret afterwards became very wealthy people. They remembered how bitterly they had suffered when they themselves had been beggars, and therefore gave away liberally to all the poor around them, for they had supplies enough, they said.

Two Heavily Dressed Millers

Once on a time there lived a miller. Although he was naturally very strong and well, yet he wished to make himself proof against all blows or stabs or strokes of any kind. So he had some remarkable clothing made for him: First he had a carefully stuffed jacket, as heavy and sword-proof as any breast-plate ever worn by a knight.

Underneath this jacket he wore two coats of mail and nine woollen coats, and his legs were covered by more than four pair of strong leather trousers.

When the miller was dressed in this way he was quite as broad as he was long. He could get in and out of the city-gate only with some difficulty.

Every year when he attended church on St. Oswald’s Day he went armed from head to foot in the most formidable manner, in a wagon drawn by six stout oxen. He was armed with two spears and a crossbow; at his side hung a double-hilted sword as long as himself and at his feet lay a second bow with a quiver full of arrows.

After him walked all his tenants and servants, with their wives and children.

When the ball-round miller at length came to church, he had to be raised from his wagon by means of cranes and ladders.

Now there was another miller in the neighbourhood who was quite as big and strong and quite as round as the first miller. He too wore a well-stuffed and strong-made jacket.

These two millers had hated and quarrelled with each other for a long time. Every holiday that they chanced to meet, they were sure to end up fighting, Neither of them could conquer the other, so they both came to be feared as two mighty warriors.

Now one of these millers had a son and the other a daughter and their loved one another. This only served to increase the feud between their fathers, till at last the friends of each set to work to reconcile them, and succeeded so well that the couple was engaged to be married.

As soon as the report of this was made known, there was a great outcry, for most people agreed that the two ball-round millers together could crush everyone between them like two millstones. Besides, the two millers could not be easily starved out, since within their wide coats they could carry as many sacks of meal as they needed for a long time.

It was a source of joy to many when the two millers agreed to fight together against enemies of the country and asked no other reward than the glory and honour of doing it. But rather soon they began to complain that they had no enemies to fight, for the renown of their might spread so far and wide that all were cautious of attacking them. In this way the two ball-round millers ended up without enemies to fight.

Seven Wayward Sons

A great many years ago there was a woman who had seven sons and one daughter, The daughter was much younger than her brothers. Their father was a careful and hard-working craftsman and was never in want of work. He earned enough to feed and clothe all his children, and also enough to enable his wife, by good management, to lay by a little against sickness and accidents.

He died in the prime of life, however, and his widow soon fell into distress and difficulty, for she was quite unable to earn enough to feed and clothe eight children.

The seven boys were growing fast. Every day they seemed to be more and more hungry and unruly. The widow tried hard to bear her troubles and bring up her children to honest and decent people, but the boys did just as they liked.

At last she lost patience with them. One day, when they had vexed and grieved her more than usual, she exclaimed, “Oh, I wish you were seven black crows that I could drive away from here!”

She had hardly said it when her seven sons were changed into black crows and flew away.

The mother now lived alone with her young daughter. They were able to work quietly and steadily, and earned more than they needed.The daughter grew up and became a pretty girl. As years rolled on, she longed to see the seven brothers again, and her mother did too. They often talked of them and how happy all could be if the boys could return and be with them.One day the girl said, “Mother, let me go and search my brothers to bring them back. Then they can support you in your old age too.”

“Oh, dear daughter!” answered the mother, “I cannot keep you from such a good thing, so go along.”

The girl set out after putting on her little finger the ring she had worn when her seven brothers had first gone away. On she wandered, finding no trace of her brothers until she came to a high mountain. On the top of it she thought she saw a little hut. As she looked at intently at it she thought, “Perhaps my brothers live there.”

At the same moment she saw seven black crows fly from the hut, and thought she had found them. Joyfully she began to climb the hill, but the path up was strewn with slippery stones and covered with moss, so that she slipped back almost every step she took.

The girl sighed and wished that she had goose wings that she might fly up. That was a vain wish, however. But at last, after much toil she got up anyway and found the little hut. She walked in. Within she found seven little tables, seven little stools and seven little beds. In the oven stood seven little dishes, Roast fowls and broiled eggs were laid on them.

The girl was weary and hungry with her long journey and was glad enough to rest a while. Taking the seven dishes out of the oven, she ate a little piece from each, sat down on each of the seven stools and lay for a little while in each of the beds. In the seventh bed she fell fast asleep. She lay there when the brothers came back.

They came flying in through the door, all of them, took their dishes from the oven and sat down to eat. All saw at once that a piece of each dish was missing, but none of them said anything. When they had eaten, they headed for their beds. Again, each crow found his bed tumbled. When the seventh looked at his, he raised a loud cry, “There is a lovely girl in my bed! Come and look!”

The others came at once and saw the sleeping girl. They were astonished.

“Is this our sister?” asked one crow of the other, and one exclaimed.

“Yes, yes, it is! This is the ring that she used to wear on her thumb and now has on her little finger.”

Then they all kissed their sister and talked together, but she was so fast asleep that all their noise did not wake her.

At last she opened, her eyes and saw her seven black brothers sitting round the bed. “Ah, dear brothers, at last I have found you! How glad I am to see you!” she began. “It was a long, wearisome journey to find you. And now, Mother gladly welcomes you back.”

The seven brothers wept bitterly while their sister was speaking and told her that they had never stopped grieving for losing their home. Living as crows had been very miserable until they built themselves a house, and they had often suffered terribly from hunger.

The sister said once again that when their mother saw them again, she could bring them back to their human forms again.Before they started for home the crows opened a strong oak box and gave to their sister, saying, “Take these beautiful gold rings and bright diamonds along with you in your apron.

We saw them and picked them up up here and there because they were glittering and shiny, but now they may bring us food and clothing.”

The sister did as her brothers asked her. As soon as they reached their childhood home, the seven crows flew in at the window of the room where their mother was sitting, and their sister soon joined them. Their mother granted their prayer while tears of joy were running down her cheeks. At once they became humans again. They were now seven handsome, well-made youths. When they had sold a jewel, the mother and sister could sew them clothes.

Soon after each of these young men got a fair wife each, and built a new, very large house for all of them for what they got for a handful of other jewels. And when the sister married soon after, they would not let her to live far away from them, but had build a house for her and her husband very close by. Their old mother found it good to move in with her daughter in the newly built house. There she could also pamper her grandchildren, herself cared for by her daughter and seven sons.

A Mother’s Tears

In a village there was a mother with a little girl that she loved so dearly that she could not bear her to be out of her sight. But one day a serious disease broke out among the children of the village. After three days and nights in bed the little girl died.

The bereaved mother grieved so much that she would not eat or drink. But during the third night she thus sat grieving by the bed her daughter had died in, the door of the room was gently opened and the mother saw her dead child standing before her. The girl looked sweetly at her mother and said. “Dear mother,” she said, “do not weep for me all the time. Know I am happy in high heaven. So, do not weep so much any longer, for I am much happier than on earth.”

With these words the child vanished. The mother dried her eyes and stopped weeping.

The Three Wedding-Guests

In a certain village there once lived three dogs that used to stick together. One day they were taking a stroll when they heard there was to be a wedding celebration and that everyone in the village was invited.

Soon the smell of cooking and baking of all sorts of good food wafted in the breeze from the whole length of the village. The three dogs talked about how they best should go to the wedding to see if anything was left for them. They found it best not to go all three at once, but singly, one after the other, to avoid drawing much attention.

The first dog started off and made for the kitchen of the house. There he snatched up a great piece of meat and was about to make off with it when he was caught; He got a sound thrashing, and the meat was snatched out of his teeth.

He returned to his companions as hungry as he had left them. They eagerly asked him what had happened to him, but the dog was so ashamed that he did not tell that all he had got was a beating. He only said, “One must be very sharp and able to put up with both hard and soft.”

When the other two dogs heard this, they imagined there was a vast variety of things to be had at the wedding and that many pieces, hard and soft, of flesh and bone, fell to the lot of those who attended. So the second dog ran away to the wedding as fast as he could. He too made his way into the kitchen and snatched up what came first. But he was seen before he got out of the kitchen. A saucepan of boiling-hot water was flung after him and hit him and scalded him somewhat, although he tried to shake off the water at once.

He hid his pain and made his way back to his comrades. “It is very hot in the kitchen. One ought to be able to bear both cold and heat.”

This made the third dog believe that the guests were changing meals – from warm food to dessert or cakes. Fearing to lose his chance, he ran off as quickly as he could in the hope of getting there before the sweets and the dessert were laid on the table. But he had scarcely walked into the house, when he was detected, and his tail shut in between the door and door case. He could neither walk backwards or forwards, and had to endure much whipping pain too. He only escaped by leaving the skin of his tail behind him.

“Well, how did you manage at the wedding?” asked both of his companions, chuckling to themselves. The third dog, worst-served of all, put his tail between his legs as well as he could and then answered, “One should be able to spare hair at such a place as that!”

The three dogs considered what good the wedding soup, the wedding meat and the wedding cake had done them, and concluded they had had quite enough of wedding-cookery.

The Fox and the Hare

A fox and a hare were travelling together in the wintertime. No herbs were to be found in the fields, and they saw nothing they could eat. “This is hungry weather,” said the fox to the hare; “we must go begging.” “Yes, it is,“answered the hare,“it is hungry everywhere.”

While they were thus grumbling and trudging along, they saw at a distance a country maiden walking along with a basket in her hand. From thie basket the wind brought to the noses of the fox and the hare the delightful smell of new bread.“Here’s a chance for us!” exclaimed the fox. “Hare, lie down and pretend to be dead. Then the girl will set down her basket and come and pick you up for the sake of your skin, to make gloves of it. Meanwhile I will snatch up the basket and run away with it.”

The hare followed this advice and the fox hid himself behind a snow-drift. A little later the girl came by and saw the hare stretched out all fours. She set her basket down and stooped to take up the dead animal. At the same moment the fox bolted out and snatched the basket by its handle. He ran off, closely followed by the hare, who had suddenly come to his feet again.

The hare soon was aware that the fox did not have in mind to share anything from the basket with him, but but he said nothing until they came to a small fish-pond. Then he said to the fox, “Would it not be nice to get some fish to eat with our bread? Then we could feast like great folks! Hang your tail down a little below the water and then the fish will lay hold of it, for they have not much to eat at this season. Make haste, or else the pond will freeze over!”

The fox did not suspect any trick, and dipped his tail in the water. He could feel it was on the point of freezing as he put his tail in it. Soon the ice had formed, and his tail was set fast.

Then the hare sat down in front of the fox, opened the basket and calmly ate the loaves that were in it. As he finished each loaf he said to the fox, “Wait a bit and it will thaw; wait till spring-time and it will thaw!”

When he had eaten all the bread he ran away, leaving the fox in a rage.

The Brave Flute-Player

Once on a time there was a merry musician. He was a master of the flute and made his living by travelling about the country playing tunes in towns and villages he passed through.

One evening he was glad to get a lodging in a farm-house, for it was too late to go on to the next village. He was very kindly received. The farmer gave him a good supper in return for the tunes he played on his flute.

Some time during the evening the musician chanced to look out at the window. By the light of the moon he saw the ruins of a fine old castle. “What old castle is that and who owns it?” he asked the farmer.

The farmer in reply told him a long story about how a very rich count had lived there many, many years ago – very rich, but very covetous and miserly too. He had been a tyrant to his tenants, had given alms to none of the poor on his estate or elsewhere. At last had died without heirs, for he could not afford the luxury of a wife, as he said.

After his death the estate fell to his next of kin, but when he came to the castle, he could not find a single penny of the dead count’s riches.

People liked to think that a great treasure was hidden somewhere, but no one had hit on the right place. And besides, many of those who had entered the castle to search for the money had never shown up again. Therefore the ruler of the province had forbidden anyone to go within the bounds of the castle, and all the people round were warned not to go there.

The musician listened very attentively to all this, and when the farmer had ended his tale, he told the farmer that he had a mind to enter the ruins, granted he would not get afraid of meeting whatever he might find there. The farmer tried hard to persuade him not go there at night. He entreated and threatened, but the musician wanted to go there, and go there he did.

Two of the farm-servants had to take lanterns and accompany the musician to the ruined castle. As soon as they arrived at the gates, he sent them both back with one of the lanterns. The other he took in his hand and went up the steps to the main door. He went in and found himself in a spacious hall with doors on all sides of it. He opened one of them and came into a room. There he set his light on a fine old table, took out his flute and started to play.

The farmer meanwhile had been quite unable to go to bed out of anxiety for his guest’s safety so he placed himself at an opened window towards the castle. When he heard the tunes on the flute, he was relieved and thought his guest was safe.

But as his clock struck eleven, the music stopped. At once the farmer imagined that when the clock struck, his guest had been seized by some evil spirit.

But the musician had rested in order to have something to eat, for he had not eaten much at the farmer’s table. He went into the next room to see if there was something eatable there. He found a saucepan full of uncooked lentils, a pan of water, some salt and a flask of wine.

He poured the water on the lentils, added some salt and made a fire on the hearth to cook his food over. While the soup was boiling he drank the wine and played some more tunes. Then when the lentils were done enough, he poured them into a dish that stood ready on the table and made a hearty meal.

While he was eating, he looked at his watch and found it was just eleven. In a few minutes after the door suddenly opened and two tall men appeared.

They carried a frame between them, with a coffin placed on the frame. They set this without a word on the table before the musician. He was not the least disturbed by it. Then the two lanky men left as silently as they had come.As soon as they were gone, the musician hastily stood up and opened the coffin. Within it lay a withered, little old man with long grey hair and beard. He did not seem to be quite dead, so the musician took him out and laid him by the fire. The warmth quickly revived the man.The musician gave him some lentil-soup, and the old man seemed to revive as he ate it, and said to the musician, “Come with me.”

Taking his lantern, the musician did as he was told and following the old man down a long flight of steps until they came to a spacious cavern far underground. A great heap of money was lying there. Stopping before it, the old man said to the musician, “Divide this heap into two equally big portions – and if one piece is left over, you will pay with your life!”

The musician laughed at the threat, but nevertheless set about the task. Quickly counting the money, he laid it in two equal heaps. But he found one piece over. He looked for a while at this solitary piece, but he soon thought out what to do: Taking out his pocket-knife, he placed it edgeways on the coin and then split the coin with a hammer into two halves. Then he threw one half on one heap of money and the other on the other heap.As he did so the old man exclaimed, “You have saved me! I was doomed to watch my treasure for a hundred years, unless anyone should come and manage to divide the heap into two equal portions. All who have tried and given up before you have lost heir lives. But now that you have succeeded one heap is yours and the other half is for the poor.”

With these words the old man disappeared. At the same time the musician went up the steps to the room where they had enjoyed lentil soup, took out his flute and played a series of merry tunes on it.The farmer heard him again and was glad that his guest was alive and playing. As soon as day broke, he went to the castle – anyone could go there in the daytime – and congratulated the musician for having survived the night in the castle.The musician told the farmer all that had come his way, and when he had told his tale, he went down into the cavern and brought up the gold. Half of it he gave to the poor. With his own half he built himself a good castle on the site of the ruined one and there he lived for the rest of his days, healthy and happy.

Hop-o’-My-Thumb

Once on a time there was a poor basket maker. He and his wife had seven sons, each smaller than the next. The seventh was not much more than a finger’s length, so he was called Hop o’ my Thumb. He did grow a bit later on, but not so very much, and he kept his name of Hop o’ my Thumb. However, he was a clever, artful boy, quicker witted than all his brothers put together.

One year the parents of these seven children became very poor; for basket-making and straw-weaving are by no means such good and certain employments as baking bread or killing fat calves. They did not know what to do to get food for their seven boys, who were all blessed with good appetites. So one night, when they had put their children to bed, the husband and wife decided to take their boys into the wood, to the spot where they gathered rushes to make baskets of. At that spot they would secretly leave their children.

But Hop-o’-My-Thumb chanced to lie awake that night and heard what his parents planned. The rest of the night he did not sleep at all; he was trying to find out how to escape the impending danger and to save his brothers and himself.

Early in the morning Hop-o’-My-Thumb got up and went to a stream that ran close by the house, filled his little pockets full of small white pebbles and returned home as quietly as he went. He did not say a word to his brothers about what he had overheard last night.

Soon the basket-maker and his wife called to their children to come along with them into the forest. Hop-o’-My-Thumb lagged behind, for small as he often got tired before the others. But he was secretly dropping pebbles as he walked, so that he might find the path home again.

When they reached the destined spot, the parents slyly slipped away without their children noticing it.

But after a short time the young ones discovered that they were alone. Then all raised a loud and dreadful outcry, except Hop-o’-My-Thumb, He only laughed and said to his brothers, “There, there, do not howl so frightfully. We will soon find the way!”

Then Hop-o’-My-Thumb went in front, and not behind, and looked for white pebbles as he walked, and found the right path.

Meanwhile the parents had reached home. There they found to their surprise that a neighbour had visited their cottage and paid an old debt. Gold money was lying in an old box he had left. They hurried to buy foodstuff; so much of it that their table groaned underneath it all. But when they sat down to eat, they felt terrible remorse at how that had treated their children. The wife began to lament bitterly. “Our dear children,” she cried, “If they had been here now; all of them might eat as much as they liked. But perhaps the wolves have already eaten our dear children!”

“Here we are, mother!” cried Hop-o’-My-Thumb. He had come to the cottage and overheard his mother’s lament. Opening the door, in he trotted with his brothers, – one, two, three, four, five, six, seven!

They had brought their good appetites with them, and the richly spread table invited to a feast. Everyone rejoiced, and so long as the money lasted all of them they lived very well.

However, after some time, when they had used up all the money, the basket-maker and his family were poor again. In their distress in the basket-maker and his wife were tempted to leave the children alone in the forest again.

But Hop-o’-My-Thumb luckily overheard this second time too, and wanted to gather white pebbles as he had done the first time.

Early in the morning he went downstairs. He had in mind to slip out and fetch some pebbles; but this time the door was bolted, and Hop-o’-My-Thumb could not reach so high. So he had to device another plan, and therefore put his breakfast in his pocket instead of eating it. He wanted to drop crumbs as he went along.

The children were left to themselves, and this time Hop-o’-My-Thumb could not find the way home, for the birds had picked up all the crumbs. His brothers took to howling out loud, but they still had to walk on in the wood till it was dark.

When night fell on, the seven brothers slept on a mossy bank under a wide-spreading beech-tree.

As soon as daylight appeared, Hop-o’-My-Thumb climbed up the tree to see how the land lay. At first he saw nothing but forest trees and boughs, but then he detected there was a little cottage in the middle of the forest.

He climbed down from the tree and walked in the direction of the cottage, and his brothers followed him.

After struggling through many thickets of bramble bushes and briars, they all saw the house ahead among the trees. They went up to it and one of them knocked at the door. A woman opened it and Hop-o’-My-Thumb asked her if she could take them in, for they had lost their way and did not know where to turn.

“Oh, you poor children!” cried the woman and then let the brothers in. But she warned them that they were in the house of an ogre who liked to eat little children. This was a terrible situation!…The children trembled like aspen leaves when they heard they might be eaten up instead of getting food themselves when what they wanted was something to eat. However, the woman was kind-hearted; she gave them some food and hid them in a safe place.Soon afterwards they heard heavy footsteps and a loud knocking at the door. The ogre had come. As soon as he came in he sat down to the table and began to eat, and drink a lot of wine. When he was satisfied, he called to his wife, “I smell human food!”

He soon looked about till he found the seven brothers. They were half-dead with terror when the ogre began to whet his knife to kill them. But his wife talked him out of it by saying they all needed to be fattened first, and especially the youngest.

Hence, the young ones were put to bed together. In the same room was another bed, a huge one. The seven daughters of the ogre slept there, and they were about the same size as the boys. They each wore a crown of gold. Hop-o’-My-Thumb had noticed that. Instead of going to sleep when his brothers did, he slipped out of bed and gently took the crowns from off the sisters’ heads and placed them on the heads of his six brothers and himself. Instead of the crowns they got the night-caps the brothers had been furnished with.

While Hop-o’-My-Thumb was doing this, the ogre had been drinking heavily. It made him feel so savage and murderous that he rose from the table, took his knife and stepped softly into the sleeping-room. There he meant to chop off the heads of the seven brothers. But it was pitch dark in the room.

As he was stumbling about, he knocked against a bed. “Aha!” he cried as he felt the crowns on the heads of those lying in it, “I nearly made a fine mistake and killed my seven daughters instead of those seven young rascals!”

So saying, he groped about the room till he came to the other bed and felt only night-caps on the heads of the seven sleepers.

Then he killed all of them in a minute before he lay down and went to sleep.

As soon as the ogre began to snore, Hop-o’-My-Thumb woke his brothers and led them out of the house into the forest. But there they wandered up and down for hour after hour, but they did not find a way back home.

The ogre woke up as morning dawned and asked his wife to go and have a look at his catch the night before.

She thought he wished her to wake up the boys and went at once to the room. But when she saw their seven daughters had been killed, she fell senseless to the floor at the dreadful sight. Some time later the ogre began to wonder what kept his wife and went to see.

When he understood what he had done he put on his seven-league boots in a hurry. The boots carried him two miles a step, so he made tremendous speed when he went to find the brothers.

Hop-o’-My-Thumb was the first to see him coming. Luckily there was a cave close by. He and his brothers took shelter in it. In a minute or two afterwards the ogre came up to the spot, but he did not see them anywhere.

All the running had made the ogre weary, so he threw himself down for a nap on the rock above the cave, and was soon fast asleep. While he snored loudly, Hop-o’-My-Thumb slipped out of his hiding-place and succeeded in pulling off the wonderful boots after a great deal of tugging. The wonder-boots used to shrink or expand to the size of the feet of those who wore them, so when Hop-o’-My-Thumb put them on, they formed themselves to his feet.

With the boots on his feet he managed to get his brothers away from there. They grasped one another tightly, and with the help of the boots they soon reached home. There their parents welcomed them all back.

Hop-o’-My-Thumb told his father and mother to take good care of his brothers while he went to seek his fortune in the seven league boots. Then he took one stride and got to the top of a hill. With another stride he was out of sight.

Hop-o’-My-Thumb bow made his fortune with the help of the seven league boots. He went on many long and dangerous journeys in the service of many good masters. No one on horseback or foot could catch up with him on his journeys.

The Three Presents

Once there was a poor weaver, and there are many of them even now. But this one was born under a lucky star, for one day three rich students came by his house, saw the great poverty he lived in, and gave him a hundred dollars to help him in his business.

The poor man looked for a long time at the coins before he touched them. He could not make up his mind what to do with them, so he hid the money in a bindle of rags, where nobody would look for it. His wife was not at home at the time.

Some time later a rag-dealer came to his house while the weaver was away, and bought from his wife the bundle of rags that the weaver had hid the money in. The weaver lamented a lot when he came home and his wife showed him the good bargain she thought she had made of the rags.

A year later the three students came again. They hoped to find the weaver well off, but he was poorer than ever and told them how he had lost the money. A second time they gave him a hundred dollars, telling him to be more careful.

This time he put the money into the ash-pit without letting his wife into the secret.

But while he was away one day, his wife sold the ashes to a man who came round for them, and in return got two pieces of soap. She flattered herself she had this time acted wisely, for her husband who had cautioned her never to sell any more linen to pedlars, had said nothing about anything else.

But when the husband came home and heard of the bargain, he flew into a violent rage.

When a year had passed the students came again. When they found the weaver still in rags, they said to him while they threw a piece of lead at his feet, “What use is nutmeg to a cow! We will never come back here again!”

They went away in a rage. The weaver picked up the lead they had left and laid it on the window-sill. Soon afterwards his neighbour, a fisherman, came in and asked if he had by him a piece of lead or something else that was as heavy, so that he could sink his nets with it.The weaver gave him the piece of lead from the windowsill. The fisherman thanked him and went away, promising to bring him the first fish he could catch in exchange for the lead.

Soon afterwards the fisherman brought in a fine fish and forced the weaver to accept it. It weighed four or five pounds.

But when the weaver cut up the fish, he found a great stone in it. He placed the stone on the spot where the lead had been. Then, when it grew dark, he was surprised to see that the stone glittered and shone like a lamp. “

This is a valuable stone,” said he to his wife. “See to it that you do not throw it away as you did my two hundred dollars.”

The next evening a nobleman rode past the cottage and saw the glittering stone on the window-sill. He went into the house and offered ten dollars for it.“The stone is not for sale,” said the weaver.

“Not for twenty dollars even?” asked the nobleman.

“Even so,” said the weaver.

But the nobleman kept on bidding for it till he had offered a thousand dollars, for the stone was a costly diamond and really worth two times as much.

The weaver accepted the offer and thereby became as rich as any in the village. But his wife would have her last word and said, “All this wealth comes from my giving away the two hundred dollars, so you should thank me a lot, after all!”

The Hare-Keeper

A certain rich king had a very pretty daughter. When she got old enough to be married, she was promised to be the bride of him who could first catch a golden apple that the princess threw up in the air, and then perform three tasks that the king set.

Many a youth had caught the apple but failed to perform the tasks. At last a shepherd-boy came to try. His first task was this:

The king had a hundred hares in his stables. Whoever led them out to pasture in the morning and brought them all safely home at night, had performed the first task.

The shepherd took a day to consider whether he could do what was required. During that time he walked about the hills around. There he met and old man who asked him why he looked so thoughtful.

“Mmph, nobody can help me,” the shepherd groaned.“Tell me what is on your mind, and then maybe I can help you,” said the man.

The shepherd told him all. The man gave him a small reed pipe, saying, “Keep this with care. It will be of great use to you.” And without waiting to be thanked he disappeared.

The shepherd then went back to the king and said, “I will tend your hares!”

The hares were led out of the stable, but before the last came out, the first ones had disappeared over the mountains. The shepherd went into the fields and sat down on a little hillock, wondering what to do. Then he remembered his pipe and took it from his pocket. When he played a few notes on it, all the hares came to him and began to feed around him..But the princess and her father did not like the idea that a low-born shepherd boy should win her, so they had plan to hinder him from bringing all the hares home. The princess went to him in common clothing with her face dyed so that he might not recognise her, but he did anyway. When she saw that all the hares were grazing around him, she asked if she could buy one from him

“No,” answered the shepherd, “but you can earn one.”

“How?” she asked.

“If you give me a kiss and keep company with me for half an hour,” he answered.

At first she would not, but when she found that she could not get a hare in any other way, she let him have his way.

After a while he caught a hare for her and placed it in her basket. But about fifteen minutes after she went away with it the shepherd blew on his pipe. The hare jumped out of her basket at once and ran back to him.Soon the old king came. He was riding on a donkey with a basked hanging on each side of his saddle, and had dressed up to disguise himself. The boy saw who he was anyway.

“Do you have any hares to sell?” asked the king.

“No, but you may earn one, if you please,” answered the shepherd.

“How?” asked the king.

“If you kiss your donkey’s backside,” the shepherd answered, “you will get one.”

Unwilling to do such a thing, the king offered the shepherd a heavy purse of gold for the hare instead. But the shepherd said there was no other way to get a hare from him, so at last the king the king gave his donkey a big kiss on its backside.

At once the shepherd caught a hare and placed it in one of the king’s baskets. The king then rode away; but he had not gone very far when the shepherd took out his pipe and whistled a few notes.

The hare made way at once and came back to the others at the sound of the music.

Before long the king reached home. “He is a cunning fellow that shepherd,” he said; “I could not get any hare from him!” He did not say anything about what he had done to get one.

“Yes,” said the princess, “I too found him cunning!” She said nothing of what she had done to get a hare either.And as soon as evening came, the shepherd returned and counted the hares into the stables while the king stood beside him and counted. Yes, there were exactly one hundred hares.

“Your first task is done,” said the king. “Now comes the second one. In my granary lie a hundred measures of turnip-seed and a hundred measures of lentil-seed. These are all mixed together. If you separate the one from the other and make two heaps of them during the night and without a candle, you will have accomplished the second task.“The shepherd was locked up in the granary where the seed was. When everything was quiet in the castle, he blew on his pipe. At once several thousand came crawling and carried the seeds here and there till the turnip and lentil-seeds were divided into two heaps. The ants left as soon as they had finished the task.

Early in the morning the king came down and found the task was done, He wondered how the shepherd could have done it, but set him the third task without making any remarks about the heaps.

The third task was in one night to eat up all the bread that was placed in a certain room. When the shepherd had done it, he would get the princess, promised the king.

As soon as night came the shepherd was placed in the bread-chamber. It was packed full of bread. First he ate out a space to stand upright in.

Then, when everyone else had gone to bed, he played on his pipe. At once came a vast flock of mice and started to eat bread.

At daybreak they had every loaf and crumb that the shepherd had left and had disappeared from the room.

When the shepherd saw this, he began to kick merrily at the door, crying out, “Open the door, hurry, open the door! I am hungry!”

Now the third task was carried out But the king still wanted to put aside the agreement, and said to the peasant, “You will have my daughter, if you tell us a sack full of silly stories first.”

The shepherd began and went on half the day with a long string of silly stories; but the sack was still declared to be only half full. At length he said, “I have been lying in the grass at the side of my princess.”

At these words the princess blushed and got crimson all over her face and neck, so much so that the king suspected that it was true and wondered when and where it had happened. “But the sack is not full yet,” cried the king.

So the shepherd went on, “The king has also kissed his . . . “

“The sack is full, it is full!” screamed the king; for he would not let his courtiers and other people know what this was about.

So the shepherd married the princess after all. The wedding festivities lasted for fourteen days and were so splendid that I wish we too could have been there.

The Kitten and the Knitting-Needles

Once a poor woman earned her livelihood by picking up sticks in the forest to sell for firewood. One day as she was returning home with a bundle, she saw a kitten lying against the trunk of a tree, mewing piteously. She felt sorry for it, put it in her apron and carried it home. Her two children came to meet her and asked what she had in her apron. They wanted her to give them the kitten, but she would not let them have it, for she feared they might tease and distress it. She took the kitten carefully home and put it on some soft rags and gave it milk to drink.

The kitten stayed in the house till it was quite recovered. Then suddenly it disappeared.

Some time afterwards, when the woman was again in the forest and was returning home with her bundle of firewood at her back, just as she passed the place where she had found the kitten, an old dame was standing there.

The dame beckoned to her and gave her five knitting-needles. The poor woman did not know what to make of this gift and thought the needles were not of much value to her. However, she carried them home and laid them on the table at night.

The next morning she found a pair of newly made stockings on the table beside the needles. The woman was much astonished, and after thinking things over, left the needles the following evening in the same place. A second pair of stockings was the result the next day. Every night a fresh pair of stockings was made.

She now supposed that she had got the wonderful needles as a reward for being kind to the kitten. Many were eager to buy such stockings, and paid so well that she had enough for herself and her children to live on.

Casting Spells

Once there was a young bookbinder who was tramping about the country in search of pleasure more than a job. By soon all his money was spent and he thought it was high time to seek for work and fill his purse again. He was lucky enough to meet with a master bookbinder at once.

The man said as soon as he had introduced the young bookbinder to his new workshop, “You will suit me very well if you will always do the work I give you and nothing else. All you have to do is to sew these books together in the order I place them; but this book, lying apart here, you must not touch, much less look into, or it will be your ruin. Remember, you may read every other in the shop if you do stay away from that one.”

The young fellow minded what his master said and for two long years everything went well. His hard work and careful work soon won the heart of his master, and he was often left whole days to himself – now and then for a week at a time.

One day, however, when his master was away, he was seized with an uncontrollable urge to look into the book that he had been forbidden ever to move from its place.

He had already read through every other book in the shop and although his conscience told him that he had no right to look into this one, he got so curious that he lifted the book from the shelf and turned its pages. There were secret, elaborate spells on every page. As the young bookbinder read the spells, he found that everything happened as they said. When he said one of the rhymes in the book, at once the thing wished for lay before his eyes.

The book taught him beside how to change himself into whatever form he wished; and as a last experiment he changed himself into a swallow and the book into a little grain in his beak, and flew to his father’s house. His father was much astonished when a bird flew in at his window and then turned into his son. He had not seen him for two years, but welcomed him heartily.“Now, dear father,” said the son, “now we can be happy and contented, for I have with me a book that makes wise men of both of us.”

The old man was well pleased at this, for lately he had become poor. The young fellow changed himself into a fine fat ox and bade his father take him to market and sell him at a high price. “But before you let my buyer have me,” he added, “take care to untie the cord round my left back foot, or you will lose me altogether.”

A great crowd gathered around the old man as soon as he came to the market. All would like to buy the fine fat ox. After a long bargaining, a jolly butcher paid a heavy sum for the fat ox and led him off in triumph. But his triumph lasted only briefly, for when he went to look after his prize in the morning, he found just a bundle of straw instead of a fine fat ox. The bookbinder had made himself a human again, and slipped back to his father’s house to the gold they had got by deceit.

After a while the old man and his son had used up the money they had got by cheating the butcher, and wanted to try another trick. The son took the shape of a gallant black horse, and his father led him to a horse-fair to be sold. Many people were gathered round this time too, but one of them was the master-bookbinder. When he came home and the bookbinder and his book of spells were gone, and had found it out too.

The wizard now wanted to have the horse, and his first offer was much more than anybody else cared to give. The father did not know the wizard and sold the horse to him. The animal began to shiver and tremble violently to make his father understand he had done a mistake, but he found no ways of doing in when he was in the garb of a horse.

The wizard led the horse off to the stable. There the old man would have loosened the string about the horse’s neck, but the wizard suspected some trick and would not let him do it.

The father then went home. He took comfort in the belief that his son could easily deliver himself from his buyer too, as he could change his form.

In every stall a crowd of people was waiting to see the wonderful horse, for there had been much talk of him throughout the fair. In the crowd was a little fellow who ventured to stroke and pat the animal.

The horse allowed him to do as he liked, and when the boy, taking courage, patted him on the neck, he bent his head down and softly whispered in the lad’s ear, “Have you got a knife with you, my boy?”

“Yes,” was the astonished reply, “a sharp one!”

“Then cut the string round my left hindfoot,” the horse whispered softly again.

The boy did so, and at the same moment the horse disappeared and there was only a bundle of straw left in the stable. But out of the window a swallow flew up high into the clear blue sky.

The wizard had left the stable for a moment. As soon as he saw what had happened, he changed himself into a hawk and pursued the swallow as fast as he could. Right before he had the swallow in his claws the swallow swirled downwards and towards a castle. In the garden a princess was walking. Then the bookbinder made himself into a ring and dropped into the lap of the princess as she sat on a bank. She wondered where the ring could come from and put it on her finger.

But the hawk had seen it all with his keen eyes and he quickly changed into a handsome youth, and then bowed gracefully to the princess and asked her to return to him the ring he had used for some trick.

The fair princess laughed and blushed and drew the ring from her finger, but then it fell to the ground and rolled into a hole in the shape of a grain of millet.

In the twinkling of an eye the wizard changed into a turkey-cock and pecked about for the grain, but the seed at the same time had became a fox and bit off the head of the cock.

Now the fox changed into a man and thanked the princess for her protection and begged that he might always have it – he wanted to marry her.

The princess was scared with all that had happened, for she was young and inexperienced in the ways of wizards. However, she told the youth that she would have him if he forsook witchcraft and remained unchangeably true to her. This he readily promised, and to show his good faith he threw his book of old spells into the fire.

The Golden Hen

In a little forest-hut there once lived an old man. Besides several children he also had a golden hen that was so small that it was scarcely bigger than a wren. The old man was fond of this bird and his children loved it too.

When the old man was about to die, he charged them not to sell the hen because it was a luck-bird. But after the old man died, poverty and distress came into the house, although every week the golden hen laid a yellow egg about the size of a pea.

While the father was alive, he had used to carry away these eggs and return with money and food. Now when they were too short of food, the eldest son gathered the eggs that had been laid and took them to market to sell them. But people only laughed at him for offering such things. At last a man, out of compassion, gave him two pennies for the eggs.

When these pennies were spent, hunger stared the poor family in the face again and the lad went a second time to market, this time with only one egg. He met the man that his father had sold the first eggs to, and that man was well aware that they were of pure gold and of great value.

But when the man understood that the youth did not know that secret, he said to him, “What shall I do with one egg? Sell the hen to me and I will pay you much for her.”

The youth accepted the offer, but his brothers were very against it. Even the bird cried, “Do not sell me! Do not!”

As soon as the hen was sold and gone, misfortune fell on the family and the brothers and sisters were forced to split and beg their own bread. About the same time the king of the country died. When her weeks of mourning were over, the young and pretty widow got it announced that one day the crown would be hanging in a string, and whoever who let himself be blindfolded and yet pierced the hanging crown with a lance, should be her new husband.As soon as this was announced, the golden hen cried, “Whoever eats me shall be king! Whoever eats me shall be king!”

Then the man who had bought the hen killed her, although he knew that by doing it there would be no more golden eggs coming. He gave the slaughtered hen to his cook and asked her to prepare and dress the hen for dinner. She was to pay particular attention to the roasting while he himself went and invited some friends.

In the meantime the youth that the hen had first belonged to, came to the door of the kitchen where the hen was roasting and begged the cook for something to eat. “You must do some work for it then,” said the cook, and set him to draw water, fetch wood and many other little jobs. Then she left him to watch the bird. When she was out of the kitchen he happened to give the spit an unlucky knock that sent the bird from the spit and into the hearth.

This accident unsettled they youth so that he thoughtlessly and hurriedly snatched up the half-roasted, sooty bird and ate it. When the cook returned, she saw what had happened. First she drove away the beggar for his carelessness, and then she bought another fowl of about the same size and dressed it in the place of the lost one. Soon afterwards, the man came back with his friends and ate up the newly bought bird. He expected to become king shortly afterwards.

Meanwhile the youth who without knowing it had eaten his former lucky hen, travelled on till he came to a miller’s house and begged at the door for some food. The miller needed a lad to drive his donkeys at the mill, and therefore hired the youth. He could sleep in the hay in the stable.

The next morning, on going into the stable to strew some fresh straw, the miller found a little golden egg where the lad had slept. The miller then wanted to keep the lad in his service as long as he possibly could.

Soon the day came when the queen should get a new king. The young donkey-driver saw no reason why he should not try his luck with the rest. He begged the miller to lend him a horse and a spear for the occasion, and got a one-eyed, broken-winded mare and a lance.

Everybody laughed when this figure stalked into the place where the trials were held, and the queen felt vexed at the sight of him. Then, after repeated failures on the part of the nobles and knights that had gathered to try, the donkey-driver pierced his lance in the exact spot required.

The reeling queen could not renege, however much she wanted; she had to marry the winner of the competition.

But as soon as the wedding ceremony was over, she hastened to a witch for some potion to get rid of her husband. The enchantress gave her one which had the power of turning him who drank it into the form of an animal.

When the new king drank this magic drink, he was gradually changed into a donkey. In that shape he was shooed from the palace and had to experience how a donkey’s life was like, while his hooves almost by themselves took him to the mill where he had been used to drive donkeys. The miller could not see any great difference between him and the other donkeys he used, so the donkey man was driven to the mill with the other donkeys and fared with them as they did, now well and now ill.

Now, after they parted, one of his sisters had become a doorkeeper at a convent. The convent got its flour from this miller. One day it fell to the donkey-man’s share to carry the sacks to the convent. There he recognised his sister, for although his form was changed, he still kept his human powers and faculties. She got a feeling she knew this donkey – a playmate of her childhood.

The donkey let her know his strange fate by means of signs, and she at once set to work to set him free. She had become learned in many kinds of herbs. Now, going into the convent garden, she plucked one she knew had spell-dispelling powers. She gave it to her brother to eat. No sooner had he tasted it than his false figure fell from him and he became a man again.

With tears of gratitude and joy he embraced his sister and decided to spend the rest of his days in her neighbourhood. He had become wearied with the world and its cares. Close by the convent of his sister he built himself a hut of stones, roots and branches of trees. There he lived the life of a hermit.

The Monk and the Bird

Many years ago the young monk Urban lived in a cloister. He stood out as more earnest and devout than his fellows and was therefore entrusted with the key of the convent library. He took very good care of the books and scrolls and other things there, besides reading in the books himself. One day he read, “A day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” The thought seemed impossible to him.

One morning the monk went out of the library into the cloister-garden and saw a little bird perched on the bough of a tree there, singing sweetly. The bird was a nightingale, and did not move when the monk came nearer until he was quite close. Then she flew to another bough and again another as the monk followed her. Still singing the same sweet song, the nightingale flew on. The monk, eager to hear her song, followed her on out of the garden into the world outside for three minutes. Then he stopped and turned back to the cloister.

But everything about it seemed changed to him. Everything had become larger, more beautiful and older – both the buildings and the garden. And in the place of the low, humble cloister-church there was a large cathedral with three towers toward the sky.

This seemed very strange to the monk, but he walked on to the cloister-gate and timidly rang the bell.

A porter that was wholly unknown to him answered his summons and drew back in amazement when he saw the monk.

The monk went in and wandered through the church, gazing with astonishment on memorial-stones that he never remembered to have seen before. Then the brethren of the cloister entered the church, but all stepped back when they saw the monk.The abbot only – but not his abbot – stooped and stretched a crucifix before him, exclaiming, “Who are you? And what do you seek here among the living?”

The monk suddenly trembled and tottered like an old man. When he looked down, he noticed for the first time a long silvery beard was flowing from his chin and down over his girdle, where the key of the library was still hanging.The monks now led him to the chair of the abbot with a mixture of awe and admiration. There the long-bearded monk gave the key of the library to a young man, who opened it and read a chronicle about the monk Urban who had disappeared three hundred years ago. No one knew what had become of him.

“Forest bird, is this due to your song?” said the monk Urban with a heavy sigh. “I followed you for three minutes it seemed, listening to your notes, and yet three hundred years passed away! You must be an awfully old bird! Now I know.”

With these words he sank to the ground while his spirit swooshed into heaven.

The Seven Swans

Once on a time a young and wealthy king who lived in a noble castle, went hunting in his forest. There he found a hind that was whiter than snow. She fled away from him and tried to hide among the thickets. The king followed her till he came to a dark, gloomy valley. There he lost sight of her and at last had to call his dogs together and get back.

On his way he passed a pool of water. Beside it a young woman stood washing herself while she was holding a golden chain in one of her hands. The sight of her charmed the king so much that he got down from his horse and, gliding up behind the woman, took the chain from her hand.

The girl was so pretty that the king forgot all about the white hind and his dogs and led the young woman home to his castle and married her.

Now the young king had a mother, and she disliked his son’s wife very much: She feared that now that he was married she should lose much of her influence, she who until now had managed about everything. So the mother-in-law began to hate her daughter and tried hard to make the new queen and her husband quarrel.

But the old queen’s son would not hear what she had to say and even got angry with her for talking down on his wife. So the queen-mother now began to be very willing to help and did all she was told to do by her son and his wife. But she was only hiding lots of evil schemes and plans.

In time six sons and a daughter were born to the young queen. Each had a golden ring round the neck. The old queen was in the room when this happened. As soon as the mother fell asleep she put seven kittens in the bed instead of the new-born babies.

Then she carried the babies away to a faithful servant she had, and made him swear that he would throw them into a pond in the forest. He took the children with him to drown them, but when he got to the pond he found that he could not do such a heinous thing, and left them lying on the ground. But he told the queen-mother that he had done as she had told him to.

An old hermit lived in the forest. He happened to find the abandoned children and took them home to his hut. For seven long years he fed them as well as he could on the milk of his goats and other good food he could get.

Meanwhile the queen-mother showed her son the seven young kittens and told him he was their father. The king believed his mother in this, and stopped loving his wife. He would not listen to one word she said, but had her buried up to her waist in the earth somewhere outside the castle, with some stone slabs to keep her in place.

The poor queen endured this mistreatment for seven years, while her hair grew so long that it covered her naked body rather soon. Many passers-by gave her food and drink and sheltering things so that she survived. They understood the king’s treatment of her was over the top.

The seven children in the forest meanwhile learnt to hunt and fish for their living. Once their father caught sight of them when he himself was hunting. He noticed the golden chains around the neck of each as they sported about in the sun. When he came home he mentioned what he had seen to his mother and his friends.

The old mother-queen was frightened when she heard it and and hastened away to ask her servant if he had killed the children well or not. He said that had left them lying under a tree, where they must have died.

She said, “No, they are not dead,” and ordered him ride to the forest at once, search for the children and take from them their gold chains. If the servant did not, both he and she would be put to shame, she told him.

The frightened servant obeyed at once. After three searching for the children for three days he found them at a time when had laid aside their chains and were swimming about a lake in the shape of swans. Only the little girl was keeping her human form and watched the antics of her brothers.

The slave crept nearer and seized the six chains; but the little girl saw him in time to escape. The servant then returned to the queen and gave her the chains. She took them to a goldsmith and asked him to make a cup of them.

But the goldsmith found that the gold was finer and purer than any gold he had had before. It could neither be formed with the hammer nor melted in the fire. So he was satisfied with beating one chain into a ring. The other chains he weighed and put way, while he made a cup of gold from a gold bar he had in his smithy. When he had made the cup, he handed the chain and cup over to the queen-mother – and she locked them up in her cabinet.

But the swans could not become humans again when they did not have their gold chain. They swam sadly to and fro, singing notes which reminded of the cries of children. At last they flew up and away to see if they could find a good place to live. When they saw a large clear lake they settled down on it.

This lake nearly surrounded a tall rock. On the top of the rock stood a castle. It belonged to the young king. From the window of his dining-room there he often looked out over the lake. The day after the six swans came to the lake, he saw they swimming beneath his castle and threw down pieces of bread to them. He also bade his servants never hunt or in any way annoy them, but feed them regularly. This went on for so long that the swans at last became quite tame and came daily at stated times to be fed.The little sister meanwhile also happened to come the castle of her father. She saw the young queen sitting neglected and forlorn in the earth. Together the girl and the queen started to share what each received from charitable people. The girl did not know that the half-buried woman was her mother, although she slept by her side every night. Every morning she went down to the lake and fed the swans. When she came to feed them, they used to fly to her and eat out of her hand and made her fondle and caress them.

The people at the castle wondered about all this and also noticed that the young girl wept when she stood by the queen, and looked like her too.

The king too was strangely moved, for he too noticed that the girl looked much like his wife and that the girl wore a gold chain around the neck. One day he asked her, “Child, where are you from, and who do you belong to? Who are your parents? And how did you tame these swans so that they eat out of your hands?”

The poor child sighed heavily and answered, “I never knew my parents. But he swans are my brothers, brought up in the forest by a dear old man. One day my brothers laid aside their golden chains when they bathed in a lake. Without their chains they had to take the form of swans. When they were bathing as swans, their gold chains were stolen. and since then my brothers could not become humans again, and remained swans.“The girl finished her tale while the cruel queen-mother and servant looked at each other in dismay.

The girl’s tale made a mighty impression on the young king. Shortly afterwards he went out think of it while he walked. At the same time his hard-hearted mother sent her servant to kill the girl when she went as usual to feed her brothers.

The servant hastened along with a drawn sword in his hand. However, the young king caught sight of the servant before he reached the girl, stepped in and beat the sword out of the servant’s hand. Then the servant fell on his knees and confessed all the evil things he had done against the children, and how he had done everything at the bidding of the queen-mother.The king at once sent for his mother and made her open her chest and give him the cup which she supposed was made of the chains. The king next sent for goldsmith and asked him about the cup. The goldsmith then said he had five of the golden chains. They were too hard to work with for him, so he had used other gold to make the cup instead. But the sixth chain he had made into a ring.The king soon got the six chains and gave them to the girl. She placed them around the necks of her brothers and they became humans again, all except one. His chain was lost, so he was compelled to remain in the form of a swan until they found a way to liberate him.While this was being done, the king rescued his wife from the pit and let great physicians care for her. She recovered well, and was soon as pretty and healthy as before her seven long years of undeserved misery.

The false and evil mother-queen was put in jail.

Alys and Her Dog

A poor labourer had two children, a son named Lutz and a daughter named Alys. Both children were very young when the father died, and left in stark poverty. They would have died if it had not been for the help of good neighbours.

The little girl grew up and became so pretty that there was no one as beautiful for many miles around. Her brother Lutz became servant to a rich young count. Before the brother parted from his sister he had her portrait painted by a friend; he wanted it to remember her by.

The count was well pleased with Lutz’s manners, but he could not but wonder at his habit of taking a portrait from his bosom and gaze lovingly at it time and again. When Lutz was questioned about it, he became silent and reserved, but at last he showed the portrait to the count and told him it was of his sister.

“Is your sister as beautiful as this?” asked the count in surprise. “If so, she is well fit to be a nobleman’s wife!”

“She is even better,” answered Lutz.

The count was charmed and secretly sent his nurse to the spot where Alys lived, to bring her to his castle. The nurse went in a carriage drawn by four horses to the house of the girl’s master and told her that her brother Lutz sent his love and wanted her to come to the castle of the count.

Alys was much pleased at this chance of seeing her brother and was soon ready for the journey, taking with her a little dog named “Shaker”. She had once saved the dog from drowning and was very fond of it.

But the nurse had got a wicked plan. While they were driving by the steep bank of a deep river, she drew Alys’s attention to the silvery fishes that swam in the water. Then, when Alys leant out of the carriage to watch the the fishes, the nurse gave her a push so that she fell down the slope and into the river. The singing coachman did not hear a thing, but drove on without known had happened.

At a certain spot the nurse had bidden her old daughter to get into the carriage while the coachman gave his horses some water. She did, and her mother then gave her a thick veil that completely hid her features, and instructed her to tell the count that she had made a vow not to take off the veil for half a year.

The veiled woman was received politely at the castle by the count himself. He urged her to uncover her face, but she refused so long that he gave way. He also had so much trust in what his servant Lutz had said that he offered to marry the veiled lady. A priest was summoned at once, and then they were married.

After the wedding the newly made countess no longer refused to raise her veil, and the count was astonished to see a face that was long past its bloom. All in a rage he had Lutz thrown into jail, even though Lutz cried the woman was not his sister at all, while he clutched the portrait of his sister so as not to lose it.

One night soon afterwards, a servant of the count, who slept in the count’s waiting room, had a strange dream. He saw a white figure standing at the foot of his bed and rattling a chain on its arm and said, in soft tones, “Shaker, Shaker!”

The dog had survived the carriage ride. Now he came from under the servant’s bed and said to the figure, “Alas, my dearest!”

“Where is my brother?” asked the figure.

“He is chained in prison,” answered the dog.

“Where is my picture?” was the second question.

“In the prison with him,” said the dog.

The figure said; “Two more times I will come; and if I am not saved then, I will not come back.”

At once the figure disappeared like a cloud.

The servant imagined that it was all a dream, and said nothing about it to anyone. But the next night the same thing happened at his bedside again. The figure, rattling its chain, said it would come once more, but not again.

Now the servant told it all to the count. The count could not find out what it meant. Therefore he placed himself behind the chamber-door around midnight. Soon the figure appeared and talked with the dog as before. But when the figure said “Prison”, the count suddenly opened the door and snatched at the figure. His hand drew away the chain from the figure’s arms.

The ghostly figure then turned into a beautiful young woman, and looked like the picture that Lutz was so fond of. The count entreated her to explain if she could. Alys then told how the old nurse had thrown her into the river.

There she had fallen among nixes who had taken her to their underground palace. They strove to make her a nix there, but she had been permitted to visit the count’s chamber three times, and if in that time her chains were broken, she would not have to return and get nixed.

The count rejoiced and marvelled at this tale. He lost no time in restoring Lutz to his former position, and the old nurse and her daughter were cast into jail instead.

Alys married the count, and her portrait was hung up on the wall.

At the wedding, Alys’ dog Shaker suddenly turned into a beautiful young lady. She was set free from a spell through Alys’ love. Lutz married the lady, for he liked what he saw. In the end the lady and Lutz and his countess sister and her count, lived happily close by each other.

As Pretty As Seven

Once on a time, in a certain village, lived a worthy pair in a small cottage. They had but one child, a daughter, and she was a treasure in her way. She worked, sewed, washed and spun as much as seven others, and was as pretty as seven as well.

On account of her pretty face, everybody stared at her. She did not like this, so she put a veil over her face when she went to church on Sundays; for she was pious as well as hard-working.

One day the king’s son saw her and admired her graceful form and figure and her good manners; but he could not see her face because of the veil. He asked his servants why she wore this veil, and they told him it was because she was so modest.

“If the girl is so modest about her beauty,” said the king’s son, “I am sure she would make a good wife. Go, take this gold ring to her and say I wish to speak with her if she will come this evening to the great oak-tree,” he said to one of his servants.

The servant did as he was bidden; and the girl, believing that the prince wished to give her some work, went to the great oak at the fixed time. There the prince told her he loved her and would marry her.

But she said, “I am a poor girl and you are a rich prince, so your father would be very angry if I should become your wife.”

The prince, however, would not be put off; and she at last promised him an answer in two days. But the prince could not stand waiting so long, so the morning after their meeting he sent her a pair of silver shoes and begged her to meet him once more under the oak. When they met, he asked her if she had decided yet; but she said she had not yet had time, for she had been too busy about household affairs, and besides, she was a poor girl and he a rich prince, and it would only enrage his father if he should marry her.But the prince begged and entreated her so long to listen to him that at long last she promised to consider the matter and tell her parents of it.The next day the prince sent her a gold cloak and asked her to meet him under the oak-tree for the third time. But the girl was as unprepared as before to listen to any proposal, and told him again she was too poor and he too rich and his father would be terribly angry if the prince married her.The prince, however, meant that if she became his wife now, by and by she would be a queen. He seemed so much in earnest in all he said that at last she agreed to meet him every evening under the oak-tree.

Now the king knew nothing about this. But there was at the castle a cunning old courtier who was always spying into the young prince’s doings. This courtier discovered these meetings and reported them to the king.

The king at once sent his servants with orders to burn down the cottage where the girl lived, so that she and her parents could perish together. But although the cottage was burnt and the helpless old couple were killed, the maiden luckily escaped and took refuge in an empty barn.As soon as the coast was clear, the maiden came out of her hiding-place and searching among the ruins of the cottage, She found a few small matters which were yet of use. She sold them and for the money she bought a suit of men’s clothing. Then she went to the court dressed as a male servant who needed a place to work.The king asked the newcomer his name; and the answer he got was “Misfortune.”

The king was so pleased with the youth’s manners that he hired him at once and grew so fond of him that he preferred him to any other servant.

Meanwhile the prince had heard and seen that the cottage of his betrothed was burnt to the ground, and believed that she had perished in the flames.

The king said it too, and he was very anxious that his son should marry the daughter of a neighbouring king.

When the wedding was agreed on, the whole court and the entire royal household accompanied the young prince to the home of the bride. Among the others, but almost last in the procession, went Misfortune, sad at heart and weighed down by grief. As she rode she sang:

“As Pretty as Seven they used to call me,

and Misfortune when I came here.”

The prince heard the singing and asked who it was.

“It is my servant Misfortune, I think,” answered the king.Soon they heard the song again:

“As Pretty as Seven they used to call me,

and Misfortune when I came here.”

Then the prince asked again if it were really only a servant of the king’s who sang so beautifully, and the king said he knew it could be no one else. But as the procession drew closer to the palace of the intended bride, the same clear voice sang louder than before:

“As Pretty as Seven they used to call me,

and Misfortune when I came here.”

When the prince heard the same words a third time, he rode as fast as he could back to the end of the procession. There he saw Misfortune and recognised the girl he loved. However, he just nodded kindly to her for the time, and then rode back to his place in the procession and in due course entered the palace where his bride waited him.

Then by and by, when all the guests were come and were collected in the great council-chamber to hear the betrothal before the ceremony commenced, the young prince said to his future father-in-law, “Sire, before I am betrothed to your daughter, please give me your answer to this riddle. I have a beautiful casket, and lost the key to it some time ago. But now, just as I have got a new key, the old key has been found. Tell me, then, which key should I use?”

“Oh, that would be the old one,” answered the king. “The old key should be had in honour and the new one laid aside.”

“Very well, sire,” said the prince. “Then do not be angry with me if I put aside your daughter, for she is the new key, and there stands the old one!”

As he spoke he took the hand of the servant Misfortune and led her to his father, saying, “My lord, here is my bride.”

But the old king was quite frightened and said, “Oh, no, dear son, that is my servant Misfortune!”

Many of the people exclaimed too, “Yes, that is Misfortune!”

“No, no,” said the young prince, “this is not the servant Misfortune, but the woman I love.”

And then taking a courteous leave of the assembly, he took his sweetheart to the most charming of the castles that he owned and installed her there as his wife and the mistress of all his wealth.

The Dream of Going to Spain

Years and years ago there lived in a certain village a poor herdsman. He had a wife and a son. He trained his son from his earliest years to follow in his steps, so at an age when most boys are still at home, the lad would manage the flocks in the fields by himself while his father went home to weave baskets. The little herdsman drove his sheep up and down many a hill and valley, whistling merrily as he went, and now and then blowing a tune on his horn to pass away the time. At noonday he would rest a while and refresh himself with a draught from a clear spring he knew of. By the side of it he would sometimes lie down when he was tired.One day, when he lay sleeping by the spring, he had a dream. He thought he had travelled a long way and then heard and saw a troop of soldiers with glittering arms, all of them encircled him, dancing. In his dream he then sat down on a throne. Beside it was another throne for a beautiful lady – his queen. Just then the little herdsman woke up. Jumping up he exclaimed, “I am king of Spain!” Wondering over the dream, he drove his herds home and told it to his parents, who were sitting at the door. When he finished telling them, he said, “If I should dream the same dream two times more, I have to travel and see if I become the king of Spain.”

His father said. “Nobody will make you king, you may rely on that!”

But his mother, chuckling to herself, clapped her hands together and repeated many times, “King of Spain! King of Spain!”

The next day the herdboy lay down to sleep again under the same tree by the spring, and had the same dream. When he woke up he was eager to set out at once on his journey to Spain. But he went home and told his parents that he had had the same dream, winding up by saying, “Well, if I have the same dream a third time, I shall set out at once, come what may!“The third time he lay down as before and went to sleep and the same dream scenes appeared to him. “I am king of Spain!” he cried in his sleep, and then he woke up of the sounds he made. He gathered up his pipe and his horn and hat at once, gathered his sheep and drove them all home. As he went along people began to scold him for bringing back his sheep so long before the fit time; but he was so excited that he turned a deaf ear to them, and what his parents said to divert him from going to Spain. Hastily he went into their house and tied his best clothes in a bundle and slung it over his back on the end of a stick. Away he marched, minding very little of all around him.

As soon as he was clear of the village he ran on, as if expecting to reach Spain before the close of the day. When night fell on he was in a huge forest. There was not a house to be seen, so he thought of climbing a tree and sleep on its branches. But he had scarcely decided on which tree to climb when the noise of a troop of soldiers coming past that tree made him pause. He joined them and marched on with them, thinking he could sleep in their company. And so it happened.In a short time they came to a house in the middle of the thick wood. The soldiers knocked at the door and were at once let in. The herdboy slipped in along with them. Through another door they came into a large, very dimly lighted apartment. On the floor of it were laid several bundles of straw, mattresses and blankets, all prepared for the soldiers. The little herdboy crept under a bundle of straw that lay close against the door. Thus hidden he listened to all that passed. He soon heard enough to know that the supposed soldiers were a band of robbers, and their captain was master of the house they were in. This captain, as soon as his followers had settled down, took a seat somewhat raised and apart from the others and said in a deep bass voice, “My brave comrades, give me some news of your day’s work; tell where you have been and what plunder you have gained.”

A tall man with a coal-black beard was the first to answer: “Captain,” said he, “Today I robbed a nobleman of a pair of leather breeches. They have two pockets, and handfuls of ducats fall out of these pockets as often us they are shaken.”

“That sounds to be much worth,” answered the captain.

Then another of the band rose and said: “Today I stole a general’s cocked hat. When the hat is pressed on its wearer’s head, it fires guns from each of its three corners!”

“We will see about that that one day,” said the captain.

Then a third robber got up and said: “I robbed a knight of a sword that will summon a regiment of soldiers when its point is put in the ground!”

“I like that,” said the captain, approvingly.

A fourth robber now spoke: “I drew off the boots of a sleeping traveller. The boots can carry the one who has them on, about seven miles at a stride.”

“I will reward it all,” said the captain. “Hang your plunder on the wall, each of you. Then eat and drink as much as you will.”

With these words he left the apartment, and the robbers began to drink and party till long after midnight. One by one they dropped off to sleep. When at last all was still and quiet, the herdboy crept from his hiding-place and put on the leather breeches, placed the hat on his head, fastened the sword in its hilt around his waist, and drew on the boots. Then he stepped out at the door and at once the miracle-boots brought him to the walls of a city that was actually Madrid, the capital of Spain.

The first person he met he asked where was the best hotel, answered insultingly, “What can you want there? Do not come where only the rich eat and drink!”

However, when he got a piece of gold, he led the herdboy to the best hotel. There, the herdboy asked the host, “What is the news just now?”

The landlord answered, “We are surrounded by enemies, so the times are very bad. The king is just preparing an army of twenty thousand men. Perhaps you think of joining the army?”

“Certainly,” said the herdboy.

As soon then as the landlord had retired, the herdboy drew off his leather breeches and shook out a small heap of money for himself.

Then he bought a good suit and armour and walked out for an audience with the king. When he came to the palace he was ushered into a fine waiting-room, and while he waited there among others, a lovely young lady passed through the room. It was the king’s daughter.

Soon he was shown in to the king and he said what he wished, “I have come to offer you my services. My army shall put to flight your enemies, and do other things that you command too. The reward for me will be to get your daughter as my wife. Will you agree to this?”

The king was taken quite aback by this talk, but he said, “I agree. If you come back here as a victor, you may get my daughter in marriage and succeed me as king in time too.”

The herdboy now marched off to where the other army was. A little distance away from the soldier camp he thrust his sword many times into the earth. With each thrust appeared a thousand well-armed, grim soldiers. He now mounted on a horse and challenged the enemy to battle, shooting left and right and forward through his three-cornered hat. The enemy were thoroughly beaten and driven out of Spain, and had to yield up a large part of their land.

Then the herdboy returned to Spain. When he came back, the king kept his word and gave him his daughter in marriage, and made him his successor to the throne.

The wedding was glorious, and not long afterwards the old king made him the new king. But the new king of Spain did not forget his old parents. One day as he sat on his throne with his wife by his side he said to her, “Dearest, my parents are still alive, but very poor. My father is only a herdsman and was one too, until I dreamt three times on three days that I should be king of Spain. And now I am. But I would also take care of my poor parents. If you agree I will go and bring them here.”

The queen readily agreed, and the king soon reached the village where he once lived, for he wore such wonderful boots. On his way he handed over to the rightful owners the wonderful things he had taken from the robbers. The one who owned the boots also got a dukedom in return.

Then, accompanied by his parents, the king of Spain returned back to Madrid and his loving wife.

The Miller and the Water Sprite

Once there was a miller. He owned much money and property and lived a pleasant life with his wife. But misfortune came overnight, and the miller became poor. After mortgaging his dear mill, he could hardly call the mill his own any more. During days he walked about in grief, and at night he found no peace either, but remained awake the whole night in gloomy thought.

One morning he got up before daybreak and went out of doors, hoping to get relief in the open air. As he was walking up and down beside the millpond, he suddenly heard splashing. Turning toward the sound he saw a white woman coming up from the pond water. He thought it was the sprite of the millpond and was so scared that he could not decide whether to stay or run away.

As he stood by the pond like that, the sprite called him by name and asked him why he was so sad.

When the miller heard such friendly words he took heart and told why he felt downcast. He used to be rich and happy, he said, but now he was so poor and sad that he did not know what to do.

The sprite comforted him, saying that she would make him rich again if he would give her in return a creature that had just been born in his house. The miller thought it was a puppy or kitten she meant, so he agreed to the bargain and hurried cheerfully back to the mill. Just then his servant girl came out of the door of the house and called him in great joy. When she came closer she said his wife had just given birth to a boy.

The miller halted and was unable to rejoice at the news. His child had been born sooner than expected. He walked into the house and sadlytold his wife and family what he had promised the water sprite. “And may all good fortune she promised me, disappear if only I can save my child,” he added.

But nobody knew a better advice than keep the child from coming near the millpond.

The boy grew and thrived. Little by little the miller got rich again, and before long he was richer than ever. But he could never enjoy his good fortune, for he kept thinking of his promise and feared that sometime the water sprite would ask him for his son and keep him with her. But year after year passed, and the boy grew big and strong and learnt to hunt. He was such a good hunter that the lord of the village took him into his service.

The young hunter dated a young woman, and when they had married, he lived in peace and happiness with her.

One day he was out hunting, he was following a hare. After a little the hare turned away from the open fields. The hunter chased him eagerly and killed him with one shot. He began to skin him at once, without noticing that he was close to the millpond that he had been told to stay away from when he was a child. When he had skinned the hare, he went down to the water’s edge to wash the blood from his hands. He had hardly dipped them in when the water sprite rose up, flung her wet arms around him and pulled him down till the water closed over his head.

When the hunter did not return home, his wife became very anxious, and when people searched for him, they found his game bag by the millpond, she did not doubt what had happened to him. Without rest and peace she walked around the millpond day and night, weeping and wailing and calling his name. At last she was so tired that she fell asleep there. Then she dreamed she walked through a flowery field and came to a hut where a witch lived. The witch promised to bring her husband back.

When the young wife woke in the morning, she wanted to act on her dream. Soon she came to the flower meadow and hut where the witch lived. There the hunter’s wife told the witch about her grief and anguish, and that in her dream the witch had promised her helping advice.

And the old witch told her what to do. The wife was to go to the millpond when the moon was full, comb her black hair with a golden comb and lay the comb down on the bank.

The young hunter woman paid the witch much money for her advice and went home.

Time passed slowly for her until the moon was full at last and she could go to the millpond and comb her hair with a golden comb. When she had finished, she put the comb on the bank and stared anxiously into the water and waited. The water rushed and a wave from the depths swept the comb from the bank and into the agitated water. Soon her husband raised his head out of the water and looked sadly at her. But another wave came and her husband sank beneath the water, without having said a word. The surface of the millpond became calm once more, glittering in the moonlight, and the hunter’s wife was no better off than before.

She waited and watched by the pond for days and nights, until she fell asleep again, fatigued. Then she dreamt she was led to the witch again. And the next morning she walked across the flowery meadow to the hut of the witch and told her sobbingly what had happened. The old witch advised her to go to the millpond at full moon again, and this time blown on a gold pipe and then lay the flute on the brink of the pond.

When the moon was full once again, the hunter’s wife went to the millpond and blew on a gold pipe and then lay the pipe down on bank. Again she heard a rushing sound from the water, and a wave swept the pipe into the water. Soon the hunter’s head came up from the water, and then his chest. He held his arms out for his wife. Then another rushing wave came and swept him back into the deep water. The hunter woman had been standing full joy and hope at the bank, but when she saw him disappear in the water again, she despaired.

But the same dream came to her again and brought her hope. She went through the flower meadow to the witch again. This time the old witch said: “Go to the pond at full moon, spin on a gold spindle, and then set the gold spindle down on the bank.”

When the moon was full again, the hunter’s wife followed the advise. She walked to the millpond, sat down, spun on a golden spindle, and then placed the spindle on the bank. The water rushed and swirled, and a wave swept the gold spindle off the bank. Soon the hunter rose higher and higher, first his head, then his chest, and finally the rest of his body. Finally he climbed on to the bank and took his wife in his arms. At that moment the water came rushing and surging and carried them both into the water as they were clasped in each other’s arms.

The hunter’s wife called on the witch for help, and suddenly she found herself changed into a toad and her husband into a frog, so they were not drowned in the water. When the waves had calmed down, the hunter and his wife became humans again after some hours, but by then the waves in the pond had driven them away from each other and down the river to a part of the country they did not know.

The hunter decided to live as shepherd, and so did his wife. Thus, for some time they herded two flocks of sheep in two fields that were not far from each other until the shepherd one day came to the tract where his wife herded.

He liked it there, and saw the pastures in area could very well feed his flock, so he brought his sheep there. He and the shepherdess became good friends, but they did not recognise each other until one evening when they sat sitting together and their sheep were grazing in the light of the full moon. The shepherd played on his pipe. It was a gold pipe. All at once the shepherdess remembered the evening she had played that pipe by the millpond when the moon was full, and could not help bursting into tears.

The shepherd asked her, “Why cry so bitterly?”

She told him what had happened. At that moment he remembered too, and recognised his wife. They went happily home together and there they lived undisturbed and in peace.

Four Travelling Companions

Once on a time four travellers joined on the road. One of them was a king’s son, the second a nobleman, the third a merchant and the fourth a hand-labourer. Each of the four had spent every coin he had, and they had nothing left but the clothes they wore on their backs.

One day they all felt hungry. How were they were to find money or food?

The prince said, “A fair trust in the Lord’s protection is not to be forsaken.”

The merchant then said, “Being prudent enough and with good judgement when it comes to calculated risks is my motto as long as luck is on my side.”

“Being well-behaved, with an active, handsome and youthful figure is worth a lot,” said the nobleman. He spoke for good manners as he had been taught them.And the working-man said, “I for my part think a careful and industrious man may get on well in the world of work.”

While they talked about it, the four travellers came to a city and sat down outside the city gate. It was evening.

Three of them said to the other, “You speak for industry and carefulness, so go and see how you can get us a night’s lodging and food by it. We will wait for you here, outside that inn.”

“I will, and readily,” answered the labourer, “if each of you in turn will put your mottos to work too.”

They agreed to this. The working man went into the city, puzzling himself how he should contrive to lodge and feed himself and his comrades, and then asked people who lived in the city too. One of them advised him to fetch a load of wood and offer it for sale, for the city was wide, many lived in it, and wood was dear. The labourer set about it at once, and as soon as he had cut a sizable bundle of faggots, he brought it to the city and found a ready buyer for it for two silver pennies. This was enough to feed and lodge his comrades. Merry at heart he returned to the inn where he had left them and wrote with chalk over the door, “An honest man gained two silver pennies in one day by being industrious and strong.“The next day the nobleman was sent out to see how far, “Being well-behaved, with an active, youthful and handsome figure” would get him. He went into the city rather sadly, for he could not tell at all what he should best do to fulfil his task.

Sad at heart he seated himself on the steps of a house, determined to part qfrom his companions since he could not bring back anything to them. But while he sat thus, a pretty, well-dowered widow went by. When she saw the nobleman’s fine features, she stopped to ask who he was and where he came from. She sent her servants to invite him to have dinner at her house. When he came, she was so charmed with his manners and conversation that she gave him a hundred gold pennies when he left. Delighted with his good luck he returned to his companions and wrote over the door, “With his fresh young face a man got a hundred gold pennies in one day.”

The third morning it was the merchant’s turn to try. He passed through the town, which was close by the sea, to the harbour. Just at that time a ship lay at anchor there. On the shore stood the owner of the cargo and around him were many merchants who wanted to buy. But they said the sum he asked was too high, and went away. They felt assured that no one but themselves could buy the goods and that thei cargo owner would have to lower his terms.The poor travelling merchant was the son of a rich merchant. While the other merchants were away, he walked up to the owner of the cargo and spoke with him.

After he had told the cargo owner his name, he bought the goods for fifty thousand dollars, to be paid within a few weeks.

Soon afterwards the other merchants came back, for they could not really do without the goods. Now they had to buy them of the travelling merchant and pay him so that he got a profit of five thousand dollars.

The young merchant returned speedily to his companions and wrote beneath the other incriptions, “A merchant ventured a lot, gambling with money he did not have at hand he gained in one day five thousand dollars.” It was not prudence that did it, after all, he considered, willing to revise his motto.

The next morning the king’s son went into the city, thinking to himself what he should do to earn as much as his comrades.

He had learnt no trade or profession, had no handsome face to recommend him, no rich merchant for a father and was neither gifted with foresight nor carefulness.

However, he had faith in Providence. For all that he sat down on a stone by the wayside and buried his face deeply in his hands, reflecting.

A week earler the king of the city had died. That morning his corpse was being carried to a nearby cloister, followed by all the people. But the young prince sat so buried in thought that he heard and saw nothing of what was passing around him, and so he neglected to rise to show respect when the funeral procession approached. A soldier stepped aside out of the train and gave the prince a blow across his back, saying, “You bewildered rascal! Have you no sadness in your face for our dead, bewailed king? Away with you!”

The prince let the procession pass by him without a word, and when it came back, he had reseated himself on the same stone and in the same posture as before. Again the soldier struck him and said, “Didn’t I tell you that you should not remain here?” He beckoned to some guards and ordered them to take the prince to prison. He was thrown into a gloomy cell, but he still believed in a mild Providence and looked forward to being released in due time. It came very soon, for a day or two after the old king’s burial, the people met to elect a new king; and while they were debating about it, the soldier who had put the prince in prison presented him to them as fit. “A good king must be able to withstand imprisonments in rough times,” he said, “and I have got a fit candidate here.”

The prince said that he was a king’s son and named his father. He further told them that when his father died, the kingdom should have come to him, but his younger brother had robbed him of it and forced him to leave his dominions or die.

Now, among the people who heard this were many who had known the father of the speaker and had also travelled through his territories. They shouted out that the father was a good man and this son was hopefully like him and unlike his brother; and some even cried, “Long live the king! Viva! Viva!”

So the young prince was chosen king. He was carried in triumph round the city according to the custom on such occasions. When he came to the place where his three comrades had inscribed their mottoes, he commanded a fourth to be added to them. The words were, “Careful industry, youth, a nose for good deals in business, are all great gifts if things go well.” The people marvelled and exulted that they had made such a good choice of king and thanked Heaven.

When the king was led to his new throne, he called for his three old companions. As soon as they arrived he told them in front of a large assembley:

“I came here after I had been banished from my own place. First I entered the service of a nobleman who did not know me. Then, after a year’s time I desired to move from there. I got my wages, but my traveller’s clothes cost much and left me with only two pennies. I wanted to give a penny in charity. At that moment I met a fowler who was carrying two doves to market. I could use my money on nothing better than setting free one of these creatures, I considered. However, the fowler would sell me both of his birds or none, so I had to spend the money for the two doves.

As soon as I got them, I walked to a neighbouring meadow and let them both fly. They alighted on a fir-tree; and I heard the one say to the other, ‘This man has saved our lives by spending all he had. We owe him a grateful return’ Then they flew up to me and said, ‘You have been very kind to us. Beneath the roots of the tree over there lies a great treasure. Dig there and you will find it.’

“I thanked the birds for letting med know of the treasure, and asked them how they had fallen into a trap laid by man when they knew so much.

“They answered, ‘The flight of a bird is in part ordained to happen, and that is the case with humans too.’”

The king ended his speech and settled his old fellow-travellers in various offices. The nobleman got a seat at his council-board; the daring merchant was to manage the finances of his kingdom; and the labourer was made overseer in general of the public works. The king also went with a retinue to see if he could find the buried treasure that the doves had told him about, now that he had men and tools to help him dig for it, and they found it some meters down in the hard soil under the tree.

“A little kindness goes a long way,” he said to himself, thinking of how well the doves had repaid him.

The Snake Crown

A pious and kind-hearted milkmaid served on a farm that belonged to a mean and stingy man. When the milkmaid went to the stable to milk and tend the cows, she always did it with robust care. The cowshed was the home of a white snake too. From its hole in a wall column it watched the milkmaid as she milked and cared for the cows and kept the shed in order. Sometimes the little snake crept out from its hole in the wall column, looked at her with wise eyes as if was expecting something from her. The milkmaid then used to let a little udder-warm cow’s milk in a little saucer, and the snake drank the milk with pleasure. While it was drinking it turned and twisted its little head. At such times the milkmaid saw a tiny crown on its head. The crown glittered like a diamond in the rather dark stable.

The kind-natured milkmaid was glad to have the white snake in the cowshed, for she had heard that such snakes brought good luck. At any rate her cows were thriving and gave much more milk than other cows, and they were always healthy and got shapely little calves without a lot of trouble. The milkmaid was happy too.

Once the stingy farmer came into the stable when the white snake licked up its few droplets of milk that the girl just had put in the saucer. He flew into a rage at the sight, as if she had been giving away bucketfuls of milk.

“You miserable loafer,” he shouted crassly. “So this is how you handle what is mine! Letting my cows have a poisonous snake around them in the stable so that it can suck their udders at night! It is outrageous!” He swore a lot and called her bad names. He was really unpleasant.

The poor milkmaid started weeping when she was so severely reproached for a little kindness, but the farmer did not mind that she wept. Instead he worked up a great fury, shouting and arguing vehemently and forgetting all the faithful and diligent work she had done. At last he cried: “Get off my farm right now! I need no snake to live here and steal milk! Pack your bundle at once! Get away from the village and never show up again, or I might report you to the police!”

Still weeping, the severely scolded milkmaid hurried out of the stable, went up to her chamber, packed her dresses in a sheet and made a bundle of it, knit the bundle tightly so that she could carry it with her when she walked away from the farm.

Then she went out of the farmhouse and stepped into the yard. The farmer had left the stable. When she heard her pet cow lowing, she could not restrain herself, but went one more time into the stable to take leave of her dear cattle. She walked around and took leave of them, patting and stroking every cow and weeping. Her pet cow came up to her and licked her hand again – and there the little snake came crawling too.

“Farewell, little snake. There will be no one to feed you on this farm from now on.”

The little snake raised its head as if it wanted to put it in the milkmaid’s hand. Then suddenly its little crown dropped into the hand. It was as if the snake wanted the maid to have the crown. In the next moment the snake slid out of the barn door.

Now the young woman went away from there too. She was not aware that the snake crown she had got would bring her riches, for she had not heard everything about the while snakes and their crowns yet – that whoever owned such a crown and carried it with her, would have joy, luck and good renown and be widely liked too.

Just outside the village the girl met the son of the rich mayor who had died not long ago.

The son was a fine young man. He fell in love with the girl at once from the moment he saw her. He greeted her and asked where she was going, and why she would leave the farm like this. She told him what had happened. At once he asked her to go to his mother and say he had sent her.The girl walked to the former mayor’s house and told the widow what her son had asked her to say. The old woman liked her at once, and asked her to stay in the house. When the men and maidservants came for supper, the guest had to say grace, and everyone was deeply moved. When supper was over and she had said grace again, the servants left the room. Then the rich young man took the milkmaid’s hand, led her to his mother and said,

“Mother, I want to marry her or not marry at all. Give us your kind blessing, please.”

“We all love her,” said his old mother. I think she is as pious as she is pretty, and meek as well. I bless you both, and take her as gladly as if she were my own daugther.”

The maid very soon became a happy bride and a very rich woman. But the foul farmer who got so cross and mean because she had given some drops of milk to a hungry animal that he drove her out of his house, soon came to grief.

After the maid and the snake left, his luck abandoned him. Soon he had to sell his animals, then his fields – and everything was bought by the rich son of the former mayor.

Soon the happy wife could hang green garlands around the necks of the cows she was so fond of. She led them into their cowshed, stroked them, let them lick her hands, and milked and fed them as before.

One day when she was feeding the cows in the shed, she saw the white snake again. At once she took out the little crown she was carrying, “How good of you to come to me,” she said to the white snake. “You shall have as much fresh milk as you like, every day. Here is your crown back, with many thanks that you have helped me so so greatly. I do not need the crown now, for I am rich and happy.”

The white snake took its crown back and stayed in the stable of the young woman, and a great blessing rested on her and her husband and everything they owned.

The Dwarf’s Cap

There was once a miller who had three sons and a daughter. He loved his daughter dearly, but could not stand his sons. He was always unhappy with them and made their lives miserable by repeating that they could never do anything right. The greatly distressed brothers wanted to get away from their father’s house, but all they could do was to sit together and sigh without knowing what to do.

One day, when the three brothers were sitting together like that, one of them sighed, “Oh, if only we had a dwarf’s cap each! Then we could be well off!”

“A dwarf’s cap? What’s that?” asked one of his brothers.

“The dwarves who live in the green mountains have little caps. People sometimes call them mist caps. Those who wear the caps, become invisible. And that is a fing thing, dear brothers, for then you can avoid people who never care for you or talk nicely to you. You can go wherever you want, take what you want, and no one sees you as long as you wear the dwarf’s cap.”

“But how do we get such a rare little cap?” asked the third and youngest of the brothers.

The eldest brother answered, “The dwarves are quaint little people. They like to play, and sometimes they throw their little caps into the air for fun. In a flash you can see them – and in a flash they catch their little caps and put them back on their heads and are invisible again. What you have to do is to find a dwarf and catch his cap when he throws it into the air. Then the dwarf cannot make himself invisible and you can catch him. If you do, you will be the master of the dwarves, and can keep the little cap to make yourself invisible.

“There is still more: You may ask the dwarves to pay you to get the cap back. With what you get you may live well for the rest of your life, for the dwarves find metals in the earth, make secret remedies from plants and things in nature. They are so clever than that can make a fool a wise person; a lazy student a professor; and a lawyer’s clerk a minister.”

“That was something!” cried one of the brothers. “Go and get a little cap for us so we can get away from here!”

“I will,” said the eldest brother. Soon he was on his way to the green mountains. It was a long way off. Before evening the boy came to the dwarf mountains.

There he lay down in the green grass in a place where there were swirl marks in the grass, for he thought they were traces of dwarves dancing in the moonlight. After a while he saw quite a few dwarfs coming very near him. They were tumbling over each other and throwing little cap into the air and having fun. Soon a small cap fell beside him. He grasped for it but was not quick enough. The owner of the cap was quicker and got his cap back, shouting, “A thief! A thief!”

The call made the whole flock of dwarves throw themselves over the boy. He was unable to shake them off. The dwarves captured him and took him deep down into their underground dwellings.

When the eldest brother did not come back, his two younger brothers and sister all grieved, but the old miller gnarled, “What do I care!”

As the days passed and the boy did not come back, the father was all the more grumpy and hard with the two remaining brothers. The second brother said to the youngest, “If I go the the dwarf mountains I may get a dwarf’s cap. Either our brother has got one and gone away to make his fortune, forgetting about us – or he has failed. In any case I will try to get a dwarf’s cap! If I succeed I will certainly be back. In case I do not succeed, this may be our last farewell.”

The brothers parted, and the second brother wandered to the green mountains. Everything that had happened to his brother there, happened to him. The dwarf he tried to snatch a cap from, was quicker than him and shouted “Thief! Thief!” At once a bunch of dwarves pounced on the boy and tied him so he could not move a limb. Then they took him deep into an underground dwelling-place.

At home in the mill the youngest brother waited for his brother to come back, but in vain. By and by he grew very sad, for he knew now that his middle brother had failed. His sister grieved too, but their father said, “Those who don’t like it at home can go elsewhere – the world is wide. Let him run. I am glad he is out of sight, out of mind!”

The youngest brother had endured very much gruff treatment from his father, but before his two older brothers were gone, they had at least been three to share it. He said to his sister, “Dear sister, I do not think I can stand our father’s language and degrading remarks any longer, now that I am only one to bear his abuses. They are a too heavy load to bear alone. Earlier we were at least three to share it. Father does not love me, and I cannot help it. So I will go away, and only if I succeed I will be back. Goodbye and good luck!”

The sister did not want her youngest brother to leave, for she loved him best of all, but all the same he left.

As he walked, he thought carefully over how to set about getting one of the dwarfs’ caps. When he came to the green mountains, he too came across the rings in the grass and thought, “These show where the dwarfs play and dance at night.” He lay down at dusk and waited till the dwarfs came, played, and threw their caps into the air.

One of the dwarves came quite close to him and threw his little cap into the air, but the clever boy did not reach for it. He thought, “I have plenty of time. I must make the little man come nearer to me.”

The dwarf picked up again his little cap that had fallen down very close to the boy. It did not take long before a second small cap fell next to the boy, but still he did not reach for it. Finally a third cap came falling down – it even landed on his hand. In the wink of an eye he grasped it and quickly jumped up.“Thief!” screamed the dwarf who owned the cap. A swarm of dwarves came to get it back, but before they got to the boy he had made himself invisible, and then, since he had the little cap, he was their master, and the dwarves could neither get him or harm him.

They all started to wail and whine pitifully for the cap, He could get anyting he wanted for it, they promised.

“Where are my two brothers?” asked the boy.

“They are down in the green mountain!” answered the dwarf that owned the cap he had taken.

“And what are they doing down there?”

“They serve us!”

“Is that so! They serve you, and now you serve me. Take me down to my brothers; their service is over, and yours is about to begin!”

He had a cap, and had become their master! The grieving dwarves took him to an opening into the green mountain. Down below were glorious and large open spaces, large halls and small rooms and shelves, all formed to meet the needs of the dwarf people. The boy’s brothers were brought to him. They exclaimed as soon as they saw him, “Have they got you too, dear brother? So we three are together again, but to toil deep in the mountains and never see the light of day again, the green forest and the golden fields!” the two brothers sobbed.

“Oh, just wait a little, dear brothers,” said the youngest, “the tides are about to turn.” Then he had the dwarves bring them good clothes, good food and milk, after they had been groomed. Afterwards the dwarves had to entertain them with song and play and ballet and pantomime, and then the brothers went to sleep in soft beds. The youngest brother held the cap firmly all the time, even in sleep.

When they woke up, the underground palace was lighted by many candles. The brothers got a glass carriage drawn by four horses, and drove to see what more was to be seen in the green mountains. Soon they came to gemstone caves silver and gold decor, splendor and glory.

Then it was time to strike a bargain with the dwarves. What to ask for instead of the cap? First, delicious herbs to heal their father’s mind, if possible. Second, a good dowry for their dear sister. Third, enough precious stones and art devices to lighten their lives, and then a car full of money and another, comfortable car for the brothers, along with lessons in driving them.

The dwarves turned and writhed so pitifully that it could have made a stone pity them if a stone had a human heart, but it did not help them.

“If you do not want to give us these things,” said the brother with the cap, “I may stay here and take all your caps. Then we will see what will happen. I may also gather toads and put them in your beds.”

“Have mercy! Not toads!” The dwarves feared toads terribly.

“Now then,” said the brother with the cap, “I did not ask for all you have, only a tiny, tiny bit. I could ask for more too and keep the cap, being your master continually, for by wearing the cap I would not die, you know. So will you give me the things I ask for from your bounty?”

“Yes, yes!” sighed and groaned the dwarves and went to work to make and get everything he had asked for.In the meantime things were going poorly in the mill of the surly old miller. After the youngest brother had left, he grumbled, “He’s off too! That is what you get when you raise children! The only ones left now are you and me, dear daughter.”

She began to cry.

“Crying again!” grumbled the old man. “Do you want me to believe you are crying over your brothers? I rather think it is over the poor man you love and want to marry.

But he has nothing, like an empty sack. He has nothing much, you have nothing much, and I have nothing much. We all three have nothing much. For can you hear the mill wheel turning? I can not hear anything. It stands still. The mill who is still, is a bad mill. I cannot grind, you cannot marry, and you cannot have a wedding, for that would have been a beggar’s wedding.”

The daughter had to listen to such speeches every day, and suffered in silence until one fine morning when three carriages came up to the mill and three finely dressed fellows stepped out. The miller and his daughter came out and stared at them.

“Good morning, good morning! Here we are again!” said the three brothers. The oldest handed a big cup of precious liquid to their old father, and he drank it. Then he cried and fell – his financial worries were over!…The sad sister got a good draught too. The young man who loved her came by at the same time, and they gave him enough to get a farm and marry too.All of a sudden the mill wheels started turning after they had stood still for weeks. Round and round they turned, round and round.

[Mot. F 451.3.3.8, F 451.5.1.5: Zwerge erhalten ihren Zauberhut nur gegen Belohnung zurück. Retold]

The Journeyman

There once was a butcher’s widow with an only son. He had already begun to learn his father’s trade when the butcher died. His mother let him finish his apprenticeship and said, “Now you are fully educated in your father’s craft, but not yet a master butcher: First you are to go on a three-year working trip. After your journeyman years you may be admitted to a guild as a master. So ‘first an apprentice, then a journeyman, and at last a master’ – that is how your father became a butcher. And now the time has come for you to go travelling! Good luck!”

The son was to travel for three years and see the world and maybe find someone to teach him more he could use. The mother fitted out her son as well as she could and gave him her best dog, Grip, to go with him.

On his way the journeyman came to a large and dense forest. Robbers lived there. They fell on him to rob and even kill him, but the young man defended himself vigorously, and his dog stood by him bravely and wounded many of the robbers with angry bites until one of the robbers got so angry that he shot the faithful dog.

The journeyman escaped from the robbers and ran deeper into the large forest. There he got lost and did not know where he was. At last he saw a small house ahead of him. He hurried to it, knocked on the door, and went in. An old, grey woman was sitting there. She did not move a bit when he came in. All the same the young man began to tell her all that had happened to him and asked her to show him the way out of this forest. He loudly bewailed the loss of his dog Grip too.

Then said the old grey woman, “ I too have good dogs too. You may pick one and take it with you.” She shouted, “Rend-and-tear!”

A big dog came into the house at her call. The old woman asked: “Do you like this dog?”

“The dog looks good,” said the fellow, “but mine was better.”

Then the old woman called again, “Break-all-ties!”

A bigger and better dog came in, and the old woman asked, “How do you like this one?”

“I like him quite well,” answered the journeyman, “but still I liked my own dog better.”

Then the old woman called again, “Fast-and-swift!” and in jumped a very big, bold and shapely dog. The journeyman did not wait for the old woman to ask him how he liked the dog, but exclaimed straight away, “I like this one! My own dog looked so like it that unless it had been shot dead in front of me I could have said it was the same dog!”

“Well,” said the old woman, “I will give you all the three dogs if you will remember me when things go well with you, and if you will not be ashamed of me in my poverty then.”

The lad promised this, and the old woman took out a little whistle and gave it to him, saying, “When you blow this whistle you call the three dogs to your aid at any time, from wherever they happen to be at the time. That can be useful if you get into trouble.”

With many thanks the journeyman took leave of the good old woman and walked merrily along a path she had told him of. The three dogs rushed and leaped about, now behind him and now ahead of him, playing with each other. The young man amused himself over them.As the evening began to get dark, the traveller and his dogs came to a soliary inn in the same wide forest. Outside the house a young maid was scrubbing wooden dishes.

When she saw him she looked frightened and waved him away as if to warn him against entering the inn. She opened her mouth to say something too, but just then the door opened and the landlord came out and invited the guest and his dogs inside. After some talk he told he was a butcher, he too.

The young man was reluctant, for he felt suspicious even though he could not say why. But hungry and thirsty as he was, with the night coming on, he sat down in the living-room with his three dogs around him, and ordered something to eat. He did not have to wait long for a large piece of meat in a rich broth, and good bread with it.

The journeyman had his meal while the landlord was sitting on an bench in front of the oven and ensured that the meal tasted his only guest well, for there were no one else in the house that the journeyman could see, and there was time for that.

The door opened, and the landlady came in with a plate with three pieces of bread soaked in fat. The landlady came up to the journeyman, and he thanked her politely for the food.

“Now show him his bedroom!” said the landlady to her husband, and gave her husband a light to carry in the hand.

The host opened the door to a room next to the sitting-room and walked ahead of the others, carrying the light. The landlady came last. She was still carrying the three fat breads, and threw one bread to the dogs behind her. One of the dogs grabbed it, but while he ate it the woman slammed the door and the dog was locked in.

They came into a room that was full of weapons, rifles, pistols, carbines, broadswords, cutlasses, etc., besides also chains, ropes, handcuffs and such things hung over, thus making the people defenseless.“There are many weapons,” said the surprised guest.“Yes, for one has to be on guard and prepared for much in this solitary spot in the forest. I have people who know how to use these weapons.“The host opened a second door while he talked, and walked into another room. Behind the guest the landlady threw another bread on the floor. Another dog started to eat it, but meanwhile the woman slammed the door behind her, and the dog was locked up in the armory.The young guest did not notice what happened, for he was already in the the other room, and saw there were barrels of money there, and on the walls hang costly garments and in glass cabinets he glimpsed jewelry, gold, silver gemstones. “How can all these things be in a solitary forest inn?” the journeyman started to wonder.

The host now opened up a third room, and when he and the journeyman went in there, the landlady threw the third fat bread on the floor in the room they had left, and when the third dog at it, she hurried and locked the door. Thus the second dog was trapped in the treasury, and his master did not know it, for he was curious to see what the hosts had in the third room, but that room did not appeal very much to him.. The walls were stained with blood, and on the floor were dead, mangled people lying around.

The innkeeper said harshly. “Here is the workshop I run. Stay with me, or you will be slaughtered like the others here.”

The journeyman took courage and said, “I would rather die than be such a butcher!”

“It’s up to you!” said the landlord.

The fellow was troubled and scared, and looked around for his three dogs, but saw none of them. He was alone and helpless.

His host picked up a heavy axe.

The workman said, “Let me say a little prayer.”

“All right!” said the host.

The journeyman started to pray, but while he did so, he happened to touch the whistle he had got, and whistled boldly for the three dogs.

The host and hostess were grealy astonished. “Is this a way to pray, lad?” cried the host angriy, but before he could strike with the axe the three dogs came running through the closed door and tore him to pieces.

“Well done!” said the journeyman to them.

The landlady fell on her knees and cried, “Praise God! Now I am saved!” “No, you are not,” shouted the journeyman angrily. “You have been in on this!”

“O, mercy!” cried the landlady. “I was forced to do as the butcher wanted. He once caught me and has kept me here since. If you let me live I will give you a snuff box of gold.”

“I do not take snuff!” said the journeyman.

“You do not have to either,” said the landlady. “But if anyone takes snuff out of this box and you rotate the cover to the right, she or he cannot but stand, lie or sit without moving till you turn the cover to the left again. Let me live, for you are still not out of danger.

I am the only one who know where my husband’s cronies are. It is a whole gang of robbers and murderers.”

“Well, tell me and I will let you live,” said the youth.

The landlady and her servants thanked him for freeing them from the horrible butche and showed the journeyman the entrance to the secret hideout of the gang of murderers. The journeyman let his three dogs in, and after a while they came out again and there were no robbers left.

The young butcher now gave some of the treasures to the the formerly enslaved servants, especially the good-natured girl who tried to warn him when he first came to the inn. He also sent a man with a load of treasures to the old, grey woman who had given him her three dogs and the whistle; another load to his mother at home; and then he went on his way with the three dogs: Although he had riches enough now, he had promised his mother to walk about for three years, see the world, and maybe learn how to be a better butcher too.

One day the journeyman met a carriage that was all black, the coachman was in black and the horses too.

The journeyman stopped, and suddenly the carriage stopped too, and a princess dressed in black came out of the carriage. She said, “My father has promised me to a devil. He has brought famine on the country, and will end it only if I marry him. My father was forced to agree to this. Since then, all my servants have deserted me. What is more, I fear the coachman is in leage with the devil.”

The journeyman said, “If so, allow me to go with you as your servant! I hope to be able to save you from that devil.”

The princess was glad that the youth would stay with her, and accepted his offer. The journeyman climbed into the carriage. After some time they came to a tree stump where an ugly fellow was sitting. It was the devil, and he had been waiting there a long time. It surprised him that the princess did not come alone. The young man went up to the devil and explained that he was the servant of the princess, and offered the devil a pinch of snuff from his golden box. The devil put his fingers into the box and took a large pinch.

“There,” said the journeyman and pulled the lid of his golden snuff-box to the right and snapped his fingers. “You are now stuck fast as long as I like.”

“You fool!” cried the devil and wanted to jump up. But he was powerless and had to sit there as if glued to the stub.

“How long is this going to last?” asked the devil and was furious.

The journeyman answered, “It will help you if you freely give me this princess, renounce any rights to her, to our souls, and vow never again to cause inconveniences, troubles and famines in this land. It must all be put in writing and signed by you. After that I will not see you again.”

The devil groaned and screeched, sweated and writhed, but it did not help him at all. At last he agreeed to the deal and signed. The young man stepped back a bit, and then turned the lid of the snuff-box to the left. In a thrice the devil flew into the air and flew away like a roaring storm.

The princess and the journeyman got back into her carriage, and the princess was so grateful that she said, “I want to marry you for saving me!”

“Yes, yes,” answered the young man, “but I want to wait a while, for I have to wander in the world and learn something useful first. I promised my mother to do it. But in a few years I will be back, if you want me to.”

The princess reluctantly had to make do with that. Soon they were on their way back toward her father’s castle.

When they came to a crossroads, the journeyman left the carriage, kissed her hand and said, “We are engaged to be married! Trust your bridegroom-to-be!”

The coachman had heard everything. He was a bad fellow and wanted to become the new king himself. After a little stopped the carriage and said to the princess, “I want to marry too! Marry you! So tell your father at home that I was the one who saved you, and marry me! If you do not say yes, I will not drive you home, but to the devil.”

The princess sobbed and wept, but finally gave in. Then she was taken home. People rejoiced when she returned and thought the coachman had saved her and that she now would marry him out of gratitude. But the princess regularly postponed the marriage. One time she ruined her wedding dresses, another time she fell ill, a third times he had religious vows to fulfil, a fourth time she was waiting for jewelry to be sent her – and all the while she was hoping her true bridegroom would come.

The coachman, however, grew more and more impatient, and at long last a wedding-day was set. The princess sighed and wept much the night before the wedding-day, for she did not know that her true bridegroom at last had come with his three dogs. He stayed at an inn where the host at first would not welcome him, for he looked like a vagabond. But when the journeyman gave him a gold piece, he was – eh – good enough.

Soon a barber and a tailor were called for. The stranger shaved himself clean and was carefully groomed and dressed up in neat, warm, good clothes. He sat down and wrote a letter to the princess, sealed it and let his faithful dog Fast-and-swift take it to the princess. The dog speeded off and dropped the letter in the lap of the princess as she was sitting by the table, eating. The others in the room were scared of the large dog, but the princess recognised him, and so did the false bridegroom. He thought, “If that dog is here, the owner is near.” Then he quietly left the castle, the city and the country, for he thought it was best for him.The next morning a royal carriage stopped outside the inn. The princess had sent a servant to say she would be happy to meet her real bridegroom. The stranger was carried to the castle in the carriage, with his three dogs running beside it.

As soon as the princess told the king who had saved her, and who had threatened to take her to the devil again, he liked the real bridgegroom better than the false one. The wedding was stately, and the bride and bridegroom were happy.

Soon after the bridegroom sent a carriage filled with gold to the old woman in the forest, and sent for his old mother to come and live with him.

The Boy Who Wanted to Learn Witchcraft

There was once a boy who had heard so much about witchcraft that he wanted to learn it. But those he asked about it said they did not know it and did not want to know it either. The boy went alone into a dark forest and called out loud several times, “Who will teach me the craft of witches?” An echo sounded back from deep within the forest, “Witches . . . witches.”

After a while came an old, little woman crawling through the bushes. She had not one tooth left in her mouth, and her eyes were awfully red. Her back was bent, her hair was white and in tangles that moved friskly in the wind. Her voice sounded like the white bird that cries, “Come, come!” And that was just what she said as she beckoned him to follow her and learn witchcraft.

The boy followed, and she led him deeper and deeper into the forest. At last they came to a marshy bog where there were alder trees and a ramshacle old cottage. The cottage walls were made of peat, with moss pressed into the space between some of pieces of peat. The roof was thatched with reeds. Inside the cottage was a pretty young girl, Liz. The old woman did not say whether it was her daughter or her granddaughter or who she was.

There were three large toads there too. In the cauldron that hung over the hearth was a dark broth with meat bones from a hare or something in it.

The woman put one of the toads outside the door to keep watch. The second toad was sent up in the attic to prepare a bed for the boy, the third toad was placed on the table to give light. This toad did its best, but although its green eyes glowed somewhat, it was less than the light of a glowworm.

Then the old woman and Liz ate their supper out of the cauldron, and offered some of the broth to the boy, but he could not touch it. He excused himself and said he was very tired and needed to sleep, so the old woman told him a straw bed was ready for him upstairs. He soon fell asleep on the bed, thinking that next morning he would start learning witchcraft, and that it would be very nice if Liz would give him lessons.But downstairs the old witch whispered to the girl: “Another prisoner – Wake me up very early tomorrow morning, before the sun rises, for then we will deal with him further, all the way to the pot of broth.”

Now they both went to bed, but Liz could not sleep, for she felt so sorry for the handsome boy that the witch wanted to kill while he was asleep. She got up from her bed and stood beside his, gazing at him.

He looked like a sleeping angel. Liz detested that she had to serve the old witch who had stolen her from her parents long ago, when she was a little child. The witch had carried her off into the forest. There Liz had learned witchcraft, she too, so she knew how to fly through the air; become invisible; and change her shape as she wanted.

As she stood beside his bed and looked at him, she came to feel so deeply for him that she wanted to save him from the old witch if she could. So she woke him gently, and whispered, “Get up, dear, and follow me! Only death is in store for you here!”

“Won’t I learn witchcraft here?” asked the boy, Fredrick.

“It would be better for you never to learn it,” answered Liz. “In any case, you do not have time for it here andnow. Escape as fast as you can, and I will come along with you!”

“With you I will do it,” said the boy, “I do not want to stay with the nasty old woman and the three toads.”

“Come, then!” said Liz and quietly opened the cottage door after she had checked that the old woman was asleep. It was in the middle of the night, and some hours until early morning.

While the old witch was asleep, Liz and Fredrick could slip away unnoticed. As Liz walked over the threshold she spat on it for some reason, and then they both ran away.

When they opened and closed the door to the cottage, the door made a little noise. The old woman woke up and called, “Liz! Get up! I think it will be day soon!”

Liz had put a spell on the spittle on the threshold, and the spittle answered the witch, “I’m up already!”

The old woman laid down again, as the fleeing couple hurried away from the cottage as fast as their legs could carry them. But the old woman could not go to sleep again, and some time later she called again, “Liz, is the fire on the hearth burning?”

The spittle on the threshold answered, “No. I have not blown up the fire.”

The old woman stayed in bed a little longer while the boy and girl ran farther and farther away from the hut. Meanwhile the sun rose, and the old woman who had dozed off at that time, woke up and got out of bed, calling for Liz, “The sun is rising and you never woke me! Where are you?”

The witch got no answer, for by this time the sun had dried the spittle on the threshold. The witch hurried to find her, first inside the house and then outside. The boy was gone and Liz was gone also. The cottage was not swept and there was no wood burning on the hearth. The old woman got angry, grasped a broomstick and ran out of the house. Well outside, she struck at the door with the broomstick, and the house became invisible. And when she stepped on a puffball, a cloud of spores rose. Then she sat down on her broomstick and travelled through the air in that cloud. From above she could see the footprints of the fleeing couple, and speeded in their direction.

But Liz kept looking around and behind her shoulders, for she knew what the old witch was capable of doing. She said to Fredrick: “Do you see that brown cloud high in the sky behind us? It is the witch. Now it is no use running further, for she will catch up with us soon. I will have to try to outwit her. I will change into a sloe, and you will be a berry on the bush.” In the wink of an eye Liz was a sloe with many berries, and the berry furthest down on the bush ws Fredrick.The flying got thirsty, and when she saw the sloe she said to herself, “The air is so dry today. But here is a fine sloe! I will fly down to it and have some berries!”

This she did. She plucked one berry after another until just one berry was left, and that berry was Fredrick. The old woman reached for the last berry many times, but there were so many thorns around it, and they pricked her thin fingers. She did not give up anyway.

But while she kept groping for the last berry among the thorns, it fell off and rolled downwards in the grass. Suddenly the sloe bush changed into a lake and the berre fell into the lake and became a duck. It was all through the magic that Liz had learned from the old woman. Then the old witch threw one of her slippers up in the air, and the slipper changed into a bird of prey that swooped down on the duck. But the duck dived quickly, and as soon as the beak of the bird of prey touched the water, it was hit by a wave that suddenly rose, dragged it down into the deep and drowned it. And then the duck came up again to the surface water-

The furious witch threw her second slipper into the water, and this slipper turned into a crocodile that swam after the duck to eat him. In response the duck flew into the air and settled again in another place in the lake, but the water around the crocodile’s jaws turned into stone, so that the crocodile became too heavy to swim, sank and drowned too.

Now the old witch lay down at the water’s edge. She wanted to drink up the water, for without it, the duck would not have a chance to escape but turn into a boy again. But the water the old woman drank turned to fire inside her, and she burst with a loud clap.

The duck changed into a boy again, and the fire turned back into Liz. They walked hand in hand to the house where the boy lived, and stayed there until they were grown up. Then they got married and lived happily together.

The Snake Crown

A pious and kind-hearted milkmaid served on a farm that belonged to a mean and stingy man. When the milkmaid went to the stable to milk and tend the cows, she always did it with robust care. The cowshed was the home of a white snake too. From its hole in a wall column it watched the milkmaid as she milked and cared for the cows and kept the shed in order. Sometimes the little snake crept out from its hole in the wall column, looked at her with wise eyes as if was expecting something from her. The milkmaid then used to let a little udder-warm cow’s milk in a little saucer, and the snake drank the milk with pleasure. While it was drinking it turned and twisted its little head. At such times the milkmaid saw a tiny crown on its head. The crown glittered like a diamond in the rather dark stable.

The kind-natured milkmaid was glad to have the white snake in the cowshed, for she had heard that such snakes brought good luck.

At any rate her cows were thriving and gave much more milk than other cows, and they were always healthy and got shapely little calves without a lot of trouble. The milkmaid was happy too.

Once the stingy farmer came into the stable when the white snake licked up its few droplets of milk that the girl just had put in the saucer. He flew into a rage at the sight, as if she had been giving away bucketfuls of milk.

“You miserable loafer,” he shouted crassly. “So this is how you handle what is mine! Letting my cows have a poisonous snake around them in the stable so that it can suck their udders at night! It is outrageous!” He swore a lot and called her bad names. He was really unpleasant.

The poor milkmaid started weeping when she was so severely reproached for a little kindness, but the farmer did not mind that she wept. Instead he worked up a great fury, shouting and arguing vehemently and forgetting all the faithful and diligent work she had done. At last he cried: “Get off my farm right now! I need no snake to live here and steal milk! Pack your bundle at once! Get away from the village and never show up again, or I might report you to the police!”

Still weeping, the severely scolded milkmaid hurried out of the stable, went up to her chamber, packed her dresses in a sheet and made a bundle of it, knit the bundle tightly so that she could carry it with her when she walked away from the farm.

Then she went out of the farmhouse and stepped into the yard. The farmer had left the stable. When she heard her pet cow lowing, she could not restrain herself, but went one more time into the stable to take leave of her dear cattle. She walked around and took leave of them, patting and stroking every cow and weeping. Her pet cow came up to her and licked her hand again – and there the little snake came crawling too.

“Farewell, little snake. There will be no one to feed you on this farm from now on.”

The little snake raised its head as if it wanted to put it in the milkmaid’s hand. Then suddenly its little crown dropped into the hand. It was as if the snake wanted the maid to have the crown. In the next moment the snake slid out of the barn door.

Now the young woman went away from there too. She was not aware that the snake crown she had got would bring her riches, for she had not heard everything about the while snakes and their crowns yet – that whoever owned such a crown and carried it with her, would have joy, luck and good renown and be widely liked too.

Just outside the village the girl met the son of the rich mayor who had died not long ago.

The son was a fine young man. He fell in love with the girl at once from the moment he saw her. He greeted her and asked where she was going, and why she would leave the farm like this. She told him what had happened. At once he asked her to go to his mother and say he had sent her.The girl walked to the former mayor’s house and told the widow what her son had asked her to say. The old woman liked her at once, and asked her to stay in the house. When the men and maidservants came for supper, the guest had to say grace, and everyone was deeply moved. When supper was over and she had said grace again, the servants left the room. Then the rich young man took the milkmaid’s hand, led her to his mother and said,

“Mother, I want to marry her or not marry at all. Give us your kind blessing, please.”

“We all love her,” said his old mother. I think she is as pious as she is pretty, and meek as well. I bless you both, and take her as gladly as if she were my own daugther.”

The maid very soon became a happy bride and a very rich woman. But the foul farmer who got so cross and mean because she had given some drops of milk to a hungry animal that he drove her out of his house, soon came to grief.

After the maid and the snake left, his luck abandoned him. Soon he had to sell his animals, then his fields – and everything was bought by the rich son of the former mayor.

Soon the happy wife could hang green garlands around the necks of the cows she was so fond of. She led them into their cowshed, stroked them, let them lick her hands, and milked and fed them as before.

One day when she was feeding the cows in the shed, she saw the white snake again. At once she took out the little crown she was carrying, “How good of you to come to me,” she said to the white snake. “You shall have as much fresh milk as you like, every day. Here is your crown back, with many thanks that you have helped me so so greatly. I do not need the crown now, for I am rich and happy.”

The white snake took its crown back and stayed in the stable of the young woman, and a great blessing rested on her and her husband and everything they owned.

The Dwarf’s Cap

There was once a miller who had three sons and a daughter. He loved his daughter dearly, but could not stand his sons. He was always unhappy with them and made their lives miserable by repeating that they could never do anything right. The greatly distressed brothers wanted to get away from their father’s house, but all they could do was to sit together and sigh without knowing what to do.

One day, when the three brothers were sitting together like that, one of them sighed, “Oh, if only we had a dwarf’s cap each! Then we could be well off!”

“A dwarf’s cap? What’s that?” asked one of his brothers.

“The dwarves who live in the green mountains have little caps. People sometimes call them mist caps. Those who wear the caps, become invisible. And that is a fing thing, dear brothers, for then you can avoid people who never care for you or talk nicely to you. You can go wherever you want, take what you want, and no one sees you as long as you wear the dwarf’s cap.”

“But how do we get such a rare little cap?” asked the third and youngest of the brothers.

The eldest brother answered, “The dwarves are quaint little people. They like to play, and sometimes they throw their little caps into the air for fun. In a flash you can see them – and in a flash they catch their little caps and put them back on their heads and are invisible again. What you have to do is to find a dwarf and catch his cap when he throws it into the air. Then the dwarf cannot make himself invisible and you can catch him. If you do, you will be the master of the dwarves, and can keep the little cap to make yourself invisible.

“There is still more: You may ask the dwarves to pay you to get the cap back. With what you get you may live well for the rest of your life, for the dwarves find metals in the earth, make secret remedies from plants and things in nature. They are so clever than that can make a fool a wise person; a lazy student a professor; and a lawyer’s clerk a minister.”

“That was something!” cried one of the brothers. “Go and get a little cap for us so we can get away from here!”

“I will,” said the eldest brother. Soon he was on his way to the green mountains. It was a long way off. Before evening the boy came to the dwarf mountains.

There he lay down in the green grass in a place where there were swirl marks in the grass, for he thought they were traces of dwarves dancing in the moonlight. After a while he saw quite a few dwarfs coming very near him. They were tumbling over each other and throwing little cap into the air and having fun. Soon a small cap fell beside him. He grasped for it but was not quick enough. The owner of the cap was quicker and got his cap back, shouting, “A thief! A thief!”

The call made the whole flock of dwarves throw themselves over the boy. He was unable to shake them off. The dwarves captured him and took him deep down into their underground dwellings.

When the eldest brother did not come back, his two younger brothers and sister all grieved, but the old miller gnarled, “What do I care!”

As the days passed and the boy did not come back, the father was all the more grumpy and hard with the two remaining brothers. The second brother said to the youngest, “If I go the the dwarf mountains I may get a dwarf’s cap. Either our brother has got one and gone away to make his fortune, forgetting about us – or he has failed. In any case I will try to get a dwarf’s cap! If I succeed I will certainly be back. In case I do not succeed, this may be our last farewell.”

The brothers parted, and the second brother wandered to the green mountains. Everything that had happened to his brother there, happened to him. The dwarf he tried to snatch a cap from, was quicker than him and shouted “Thief! Thief!” At once a bunch of dwarves pounced on the boy and tied him so he could not move a limb. Then they took him deep into an underground dwelling-place.

At home in the mill the youngest brother waited for his brother to come back, but in vain. By and by he grew very sad, for he knew now that his middle brother had failed. His sister grieved too, but their father said, “Those who don’t like it at home can go elsewhere – the world is wide. Let him run. I am glad he is out of sight, out of mind!”

The youngest brother had endured very much gruff treatment from his father, but before his two older brothers were gone, they had at least been three to share it. He said to his sister, “Dear sister, I do not think I can stand our father’s language and degrading remarks any longer, now that I am only one to bear his abuses. They are a too heavy load to bear alone. Earlier we were at least three to share it. Father does not love me, and I cannot help it. So I will go away, and only if I succeed I will be back. Goodbye and good luck!”

The sister did not want her youngest brother to leave, for she loved him best of all, but all the same he left.

As he walked, he thought carefully over how to set about getting one of the dwarfs’ caps. When he came to the green mountains, he too came across the rings in the grass and thought, “These show where the dwarfs play and dance at night.” He lay down at dusk and waited till the dwarfs came, played, and threw their caps into the air.

One of the dwarves came quite close to him and threw his little cap into the air, but the clever boy did not reach for it. He thought, “I have plenty of time. I must make the little man come nearer to me.”

The dwarf picked up again his little cap that had fallen down very close to the boy. It did not take long before a second small cap fell next to the boy, but still he did not reach for it. Finally a third cap came falling down – it even landed on his hand. In the wink of an eye he grasped it and quickly jumped up.“Thief!” screamed the dwarf who owned the cap. A swarm of dwarves came to get it back, but before they got to the boy he had made himself invisible, and then, since he had the little cap, he was their master, and the dwarves could neither get him or harm him.

They all started to wail and whine pitifully for the cap, He could get anyting he wanted for it, they promised.

“Where are my two brothers?” asked the boy.

“They are down in the green mountain!” answered the dwarf that owned the cap he had taken.

“And what are they doing down there?”

“They serve us!”

“Is that so! They serve you, and now you serve me. Take me down to my brothers; their service is over, and yours is about to begin!”

He had a cap, and had become their master! The grieving dwarves took him to an opening into the green mountain. Down below were glorious and large open spaces, large halls and small rooms and shelves, all formed to meet the needs of the dwarf people. The boy’s brothers were brought to him. They exclaimed as soon as they saw him, “Have they got you too, dear brother? So we three are together again, but to toil deep in the mountains and never see the light of day again, the green forest and the golden fields!” the two brothers sobbed.

“Oh, just wait a little, dear brothers,” said the youngest, “the tides are about to turn.” Then he had the dwarves bring them good clothes, good food and milk, after they had been groomed. Afterwards the dwarves had to entertain them with song and play and ballet and pantomime, and then the brothers went to sleep in soft beds. The youngest brother held the cap firmly all the time, even in sleep.

When they woke up, the underground palace was lighted by many candles. The brothers got a glass carriage drawn by four horses, and drove to see what more was to be seen in the green mountains. Soon they came to gemstone caves silver and gold decor, splendor and glory.

Then it was time to strike a bargain with the dwarves. What to ask for instead of the cap? First, delicious herbs to heal their father’s mind, if possible. Second, a good dowry for their dear sister. Third, enough precious stones and art devices to lighten their lives, and then a car full of money and another, comfortable car for the brothers, along with lessons in driving them.

The dwarves turned and writhed so pitifully that it could have made a stone pity them if a stone had a human heart, but it did not help them.

“If you do not want to give us these things,” said the brother with the cap, “I may stay here and take all your caps. Then we will see what will happen. I may also gather toads and put them in your beds.”

“Have mercy! Not toads!” The dwarves feared toads terribly.

“Now then,” said the brother with the cap, “I did not ask for all you have, only a tiny, tiny bit. I could ask for more too and keep the cap, being your master continually, for by wearing the cap I would not die, you know. So will you give me the things I ask for from your bounty?”

“Yes, yes!” sighed and groaned the dwarves and went to work to make and get everything he had asked for.In the meantime things were going poorly in the mill of the surly old miller. After the youngest brother had left, he grumbled, “He’s off too! That is what you get when you raise children! The only ones left now are you and me, dear daughter.”

She began to cry.

“Crying again!” grumbled the old man. “Do you want me to believe you are crying over your brothers? I rather think it is over the poor man you love and want to marry.

But he has nothing, like an empty sack. He has nothing much, you have nothing much, and I have nothing much. We all three have nothing much. For can you hear the mill wheel turning? I can not hear anything. It stands still. The mill who is still, is a bad mill. I cannot grind, you cannot marry, and you cannot have a wedding, for that would have been a beggar’s wedding.”

The daughter had to listen to such speeches every day, and suffered in silence until one fine morning when three carriages came up to the mill and three finely dressed fellows stepped out. The miller and his daughter came out and stared at them.

“Good morning, good morning! Here we are again!” said the three brothers. The oldest handed a big cup of precious liquid to their old father, and he drank it. Then he cried and fell – his financial worries were over!…The sad sister got a good draught too. The young man who loved her came by at the same time, and they gave him enough to get a farm and marry too.All of a sudden the mill wheels started turning after they had stood still for weeks. Round and round they turned, round and round.

[Mot. F 451.3.3.8, F 451.5.1.5: Zwerge erhalten ihren Zauberhut nur gegen Belohnung zurück. Retold]

The Journeyman

There once was a butcher’s widow with an only son. He had already begun to learn his father’s trade when the butcher died. His mother let him finish his apprenticeship and said, “Now you are fully educated in your father’s craft, but not yet a master butcher: First you are to go on a three-year working trip. After your journeyman years you may be admitted to a guild as a master. So ‘first an apprentice, then a journeyman, and at last a master’ – that is how your father became a butcher. And now the time has come for you to go travelling! Good luck!”

The son was to travel for three years and see the world and maybe find someone to teach him more he could use. The mother fitted out her son as well as she could and gave him her best dog, Grip, to go with him.On his way the journeyman came to a large and dense forest. Robbers lived there. They fell on him to rob and even kill him, but the young man defended himself vigorously, and his dog stood by him bravely and wounded many of the robbers with angry bites until one of the robbers got so angry that he shot the faithful dog.

The journeyman escaped from the robbers and ran deeper into the large forest.

There he got lost and did not know where he was. At last he saw a small house ahead of him. He hurried to it, knocked on the door, and went in. An old, grey woman was sitting there. She did not move a bit when he came in. All the same the young man began to tell her all that had happened to him and asked her to show him the way out of this forest. He loudly bewailed the loss of his dog Grip too.

Then said the old grey woman, “ I too have good dogs too. You may pick one and take it with you.” She shouted, “Rend-and-tear!”

A big dog came into the house at her call. The old woman asked: “Do you like this dog?”

“The dog looks good,” said the fellow, “but mine was better.“Then the old woman called again, “Break-all-ties!” A bigger and better dog came in, and the old woman asked, “How do you like this one?”

“I like him quite well,” answered the journeyman, “but still I liked my own dog better.”

Then the old woman called again, “Fast-and-swift!” and in jumped a very big, bold and shapely dog. The journeyman did not wait for the old woman to ask him how he liked the dog, but exclaimed straight away, “I like this one!

My own dog looked so like it that unless it had been shot dead in front of me I could have said it was the same dog!”

“Well,” said the old woman, “I will give you all the three dogs if you will remember me when things go well with you, and if you will not be ashamed of me in my poverty then.”

The lad promised this, and the old woman took out a little whistle and gave it to him, saying, “When you blow this whistle you call the three dogs to your aid at any time, from wherever they happen to be at the time. That can be useful if you get into trouble.”

With many thanks the journeyman took leave of the good old woman and walked merrily along a path she had told him of. The three dogs rushed and leaped about, now behind him and now ahead of him, playing with each other. The young man amused himself over them.

As the evening began to get dark, the traveller and his dogs came to a soliary inn in the same wide forest. Outside the house a young maid was scrubbing wooden dishes. When she saw him she looked frightened and waved him away as if to warn him against entering the inn.

She opened her mouth to say something too, but just then the door opened and the landlord came out and invited the guest and his dogs inside. After some talk he told he was a butcher, he too.

The young man was reluctant, for he felt suspicious even though he could not say why. But hungry and thirsty as he was, with the night coming on, he sat down in the living-room with his three dogs around him, and ordered something to eat. He did not have to wait long for a large piece of meat in a rich broth, and good bread with it.

The journeyman had his meal while the landlord was sitting on an bench in front of the oven and ensured that the meal tasted his only guest well, for there were no one else in the house that the journeyman could see, and there was time for that.

The door opened, and the landlady came in with a plate with three pieces of bread soaked in fat. The landlady came up to the journeyman, and he thanked her politely for the food.

“Now show him his bedroom!” said the landlady to her husband, and gave her husband a light to carry in the hand. The host opened the door to a room next to the sitting-room and walked ahead of the others, carrying the light.

The landlady came last. She was still carrying the three fat breads, and threw one bread to the dogs behind her. One of the dogs grabbed it, but while he ate it the woman slammed the door and the dog was locked in.They came into a room that was full of weapons, rifles, pistols, carbines, broadswords, cutlasses, etc., besides also chains, ropes, handcuffs and such things hung over, thus making the people defenseless.

“There are many weapons,” said the surprised guest.

“Yes, for one has to be on guard and prepared for much in this solitary spot in the forest. I have people who know how to use these weapons.”

The host opened a second door while he talked, and walked into another room. Behind the guest the landlady threw another bread on the floor. Another dog started to eat it, but meanwhile the woman slammed the door behind her, and the dog was locked up in the armory.

The young guest did not notice what happened, for he was already in the the other room, and saw there were barrels of money there, and on the walls hang costly garments and in glass cabinets he glimpsed jewelry, gold, silver gemstones.

“How can all these things be in a solitary forest inn?” the journeyman started to wonder.

The host now opened up a third room, and when he and the journeyman went in there, the landlady threw the third fat bread on the floor in the room they had left, and when the third dog at it, she hurried and locked the door. Thus the second dog was trapped in the treasury, and his master did not know it, for he was curious to see what the hosts had in the third room, but that room did not appeal very much to him.. The walls were stained with blood, and on the floor were dead, mangled people lying around.

The innkeeper said harshly. “Here is the workshop I run. Stay with me, or you will be slaughtered like the others here.”

The journeyman took courage and said, “I would rather die than be such a butcher!”

“It’s up to you!” said the landlord.

The fellow was troubled and scared, and looked around for his three dogs, but saw none of them. He was alone and helpless.

His host picked up a heavy axe.

The workman said, “Let me say a little prayer.”

“All right!” said the host.

The journeyman started to pray, but while he did so, he happened to touch the whistle he had got, and whistled boldly for the three dogs.The host and hostess were grealy astonished. “Is this a way to pray, lad?” cried the host angriy, but before he could strike with the axe the three dogs came running through the closed door and tore him to pieces.

“Well done!” said the journeyman to them.The landlady fell on her knees and cried, “Praise God! Now I am saved!” “No, you are not,” shouted the journeyman angrily. “You have been in on this!”

“O, mercy!” cried the landlady. “I was forced to do as the butcher wanted. He once caught me and has kept me here since. If you let me live I will give you a snuff box of gold.”

“I do not take snuff!” said the journeyman.

“You do not have to either,” said the landlady. “But if anyone takes snuff out of this box and you rotate the cover to the right, she or he cannot but stand, lie or sit without moving till you turn the cover to the left again. Let me live, for you are still not out of danger.

I am the only one who know where my husband’s cronies are. It is a whole gang of robbers and murderers.”

“Well, tell me and I will let you live,” said the youth.

The landlady and her servants thanked him for freeing them from the horrible butche and showed the journeyman the entrance to the secret hideout of the gang of murderers. The journeyman let his three dogs in, and after a while they came out again and there were no robbers left.

The young butcher now gave some of the treasures to the the formerly enslaved servants, especially the good-natured girl who tried to warn him when he first came to the inn. He also sent a man with a load of treasures to the old, grey woman who had given him her three dogs and the whistle; another load to his mother at home; and then he went on his way with the three dogs: Although he had riches enough now, he had promised his mother to walk about for three years, see the world, and maybe learn how to be a better butcher too.

One day the journeyman met a carriage that was all black, the coachman was in black and the horses too.

The journeyman stopped, and suddenly the carriage stopped too, and a princess dressed in black came out of the carriage. She said, “My father has promised me to a devil. He has brought famine on the country, and will end it only if I marry him. My father was forced to agree to this. Since then, all my servants have deserted me. What is more, I fear the coachman is in leage with the devil.”

The journeyman said, “If so, allow me to go with you as your servant! I hope to be able to save you from that devil.”

The princess was glad that the youth would stay with her, and accepted his offer. The journeyman climbed into the carriage. After some time they came to a tree stump where an ugly fellow was sitting. It was the devil, and he had been waiting there a long time. It surprised him that the princess did not come alone. The young man went up to the devil and explained that he was the servant of the princess, and offered the devil a pinch of snuff from his golden box. The devil put his fingers into the box and took a large pinch.

“There,” said the journeyman and pulled the lid of his golden snuff-box to the right and snapped his fingers. “You are now stuck fast as long as I like.”

“You fool!” cried the devil and wanted to jump up. But he was powerless and had to sit there as if glued to the stub.

“How long is this going to last?” asked the devil and was furious.

The journeyman answered, “It will help you if you freely give me this princess, renounce any rights to her, to our souls, and vow never again to cause inconveniences, troubles and famines in this land. It must all be put in writing and signed by you. After that I will not see you again.”

The devil groaned and screeched, sweated and writhed, but it did not help him at all. At last he agreeed to the deal and signed. The young man stepped back a bit, and then turned the lid of the snuff-box to the left. In a thrice the devil flew into the air and flew away like a roaring storm.

The princess and the journeyman got back into her carriage, and the princess was so grateful that she said, “I want to marry you for saving me!”

“Yes, yes,” answered the young man, “but I want to wait a while, for I have to wander in the world and learn something useful first. I promised my mother to do it. But in a few years I will be back, if you want me to.”

The princess reluctantly had to make do with that. Soon they were on their way back toward her father’s castle.

When they came to a crossroads, the journeyman left the carriage, kissed her hand and said, “We are engaged to be married! Trust your bridegroom-to-be!”

The coachman had heard everything. He was a bad fellow and wanted to become the new king himself. After a little stopped the carriage and said to the princess, “I want to marry too! Marry you! So tell your father at home that I was the one who saved you, and marry me! If you do not say yes, I will not drive you home, but to the devil.”

The princess sobbed and wept, but finally gave in. Then she was taken home. People rejoiced when she returned and thought the coachman had saved her and that she now would marry him out of gratitude. But the princess regularly postponed the marriage. One time she ruined her wedding dresses, another time she fell ill, a third times he had religious vows to fulfil, a fourth time she was waiting for jewelry to be sent her – and all the while she was hoping her true bridegroom would come.

The coachman, however, grew more and more impatient, and at long last a wedding-day was set. The princess sighed and wept much the night before the wedding-day, for she did not know that her true bridegroom at last had come with his three dogs. He stayed at an inn where the host at first would not welcome him, for he looked like a vagabond. But when the journeyman gave him a gold piece, he was – eh – good enough.

Soon a barber and a tailor were called for. The stranger shaved himself clean and was carefully groomed and dressed up in neat, warm, good clothes. He sat down and wrote a letter to the princess, sealed it and let his faithful dog Fast-and-swift take it to the princess. The dog speeded off and dropped the letter in the lap of the princess as she was sitting by the table, eating. The others in the room were scared of the large dog, but the princess recognised him, and so did the false bridegroom. He thought, “If that dog is here, the owner is near.” Then he quietly left the castle, the city and the country, for he thought it was best for him.The next morning a royal carriage stopped outside the inn. The princess had sent a servant to say she would be happy to meet her real bridegroom. The stranger was carried to the castle in the carriage, with his three dogs running beside it.

As soon as the princess told the king who had saved her, and who had threatened to take her to the devil again, he liked the real bridgegroom better than the false one. The wedding was stately, and the bride and bridegroom were happy.

Soon after the bridegroom sent a carriage filled with gold to the old woman in the forest, and sent for his old mother to come and live with him.

The Boy Who Wanted to Learn Witchcraft

There was once a boy who had heard so much about witchcraft that he wanted to learn it. But those he asked about it said they did not know it and did not want to know it either. The boy went alone into a dark forest and called out loud several times, “Who will teach me the craft of witches?” An echo sounded back from deep within the forest, “Witches . . . witches.”

After a while came an old, little woman crawling through the bushes. She had not one tooth left in her mouth, and her eyes were awfully red. Her back was bent, her hair was white and in tangles that moved friskly in the wind. Her voice sounded like the white bird that cries, “Come, come!” And that was just what she said as she beckoned him to follow her and learn witchcraft.

The boy followed, and she led him deeper and deeper into the forest. At last they came to a marshy bog where there were alder trees and a ramshacle old cottage. The cottage walls were made of peat, with moss pressed into the space between some of pieces of peat. The roof was thatched with reeds. Inside the cottage was a pretty young girl, Liz. The old woman did not say whether it was her daughter or her granddaughter or who she was.

There were three large toads there too. In the cauldron that hung over the hearth was a dark broth with meat bones from a hare or something in it.

The woman put one of the toads outside the door to keep watch. The second toad was sent up in the attic to prepare a bed for the boy, the third toad was placed on the table to give light. This toad did its best, but although its green eyes glowed somewhat, it was less than the light of a glowworm.

Then the old woman and Liz ate their supper out of the cauldron, and offered some of the broth to the boy, but he could not touch it. He excused himself and said he was very tired and needed to sleep, so the old woman told him a straw bed was ready for him upstairs. He soon fell asleep on the bed, thinking that next morning he would start learning witchcraft, and that it would be very nice if Liz would give him lessons.But downstairs the old witch whispered to the girl: “Another prisoner – Wake me up very early tomorrow morning, before the sun rises, for then we will deal with him further, all the way to the pot of broth.”

Now they both went to bed, but Liz could not sleep, for she felt so sorry for the handsome boy that the witch wanted to kill while he was asleep. She got up from her bed and stood beside his, gazing at him.

He looked like a sleeping angel. Liz detested that she had to serve the old witch who had stolen her from her parents long ago, when she was a little child. The witch had carried her off into the forest. There Liz had learned witchcraft, she too, so she knew how to fly through the air; become invisible; and change her shape as she wanted.

As she stood beside his bed and looked at him, she came to feel so deeply for him that she wanted to save him from the old witch if she could. So she woke him gently, and whispered, “Get up, dear, and follow me! Only death is in store for you here!”

“Won’t I learn witchcraft here?” asked the boy, Fredrick.

“It would be better for you never to learn it,” answered Liz. “In any case, you do not have time for it here andnow. Escape as fast as you can, and I will come along with you!”

“With you I will do it,” said the boy, “I do not want to stay with the nasty old woman and the three toads.”

“Come, then!” said Liz and quietly opened the cottage door after she had checked that the old woman was asleep. It was in the middle of the night, and some hours until early morning.

While the old witch was asleep, Liz and Fredrick could slip away unnoticed. As Liz walked over the threshold she spat on it for some reason, and then they both ran away.

When they opened and closed the door to the cottage, the door made a little noise. The old woman woke up and called, “Liz! Get up! I think it will be day soon!”

Liz had put a spell on the spittle on the threshold, and the spittle answered the witch, “I’m up already!”

The old woman laid down again, as the fleeing couple hurried away from the cottage as fast as their legs could carry them. But the old woman could not go to sleep again, and some time later she called again, “Liz, is the fire on the hearth burning?”

The spittle on the threshold answered, “No. I have not blown up the fire.”

The old woman stayed in bed a little longer while the boy and girl ran farther and farther away from the hut. Meanwhile the sun rose, and the old woman who had dozed off at that time, woke up and got out of bed, calling for Liz, “The sun is rising and you never woke me! Where are you?”

The witch got no answer, for by this time the sun had dried the spittle on the threshold. The witch hurried to find her, first inside the house and then outside. The boy was gone and Liz was gone also. The cottage was not swept and there was no wood burning on the hearth. The old woman got angry, grasped a broomstick and ran out of the house. Well outside, she struck at the door with the broomstick, and the house became invisible. And when she stepped on a puffball, a cloud of spores rose. Then she sat down on her broomstick and travelled through the air in that cloud. From above she could see the footprints of the fleeing couple, and speeded in their direction.

But Liz kept looking around and behind her shoulders, for she knew what the old witch was capable of doing. She said to Fredrick: “Do you see that brown cloud high in the sky behind us? It is the witch. Now it is no use running further, for she will catch up with us soon. I will have to try to outwit her. I will change into a sloe, and you will be a berry on the bush.” In the wink of an eye Liz was a sloe with many berries, and the berry furthest down on the bush ws Fredrick.

The flying got thirsty, and when she saw the sloe she said to herself, “The air is so dry today.

But here is a fine sloe! I will fly down to it and have some berries!” This she did. She plucked one berry after another until just one berry was left, and that berry was Fredrick. The old woman reached for the last berry many times, but there were so many thorns around it, and they pricked her thin fingers. She did not give up anyway.

But while she kept groping for the last berry among the thorns, it fell off and rolled downwards in the grass. Suddenly the sloe bush changed into a lake and the berre fell into the lake and became a duck. It was all through the magic that Liz had learned from the old woman. Then the old witch threw one of her slippers up in the air, and the slipper changed into a bird of prey that swooped down on the duck. But the duck dived quickly, and as soon as the beak of the bird of prey touched the water, it was hit by a wave that suddenly rose, dragged it down into the deep and drowned it. And then the duck came up again to the surface water-The furious witch threw her second slipper into the water, and this slipper turned into a crocodile that swam after the duck to eat him. In response the duck flew into the air and settled again in another place in the lake, but the water around the crocodile’s jaws turned into stone, so that the crocodile became too heavy to swim, sank and drowned too.

Now the old witch lay down at the water’s edge. She wanted to drink up the water, for without it, the duck would not have a chance to escape but turn into a boy again. But the water the old woman drank turned to fire inside her, and she burst with a loud clap.

The duck changed into a boy again, and the fire turned back into Liz. They walked hand in hand to the house where the boy lived, and stayed there until they were grown up. Then they got married and lived happily together.

The Herd of Golden Sheep

There was once a beautiful girl called Ilsa. She was the only daughter of a rough knight. She loved the woods with their bird songs, flower scents and trickling streams. Happily she used to stroll there, either with her old nurse, who had taken care of Ilsa after her mother’s early death, or Ilsa strolled around on her own. She was not afraid, for the woods around her father’s castle were quite safe, and she had not been in danger there at all.

One day Ilsa walked alone in the green groves that surrounded her father’s castle. There were old trees and rocks covered with ferns, rare plants and flowers, and among the rocks on a hilltop she came across a cave she did not remember was there earlier. From inside the cave sounded a melodic hum, as from a wind harp.

The sound lured Ilsa to go deeper and deeper within. Soon the cave became narrower and darker. But just where the passage was at its narrowest and darkest, she saw a stream of soft light and many sparkling lights around it. She did not resist pushing toward the light, squeezed through the cleft in the rock and to her amazement she was in a quite a very different world.

The sounds of the wind harp swelled louder, the light became brighter, and she saw flowers made of precious, sparkling stones with emerald leaves. A great many small creatures were playing in a meadow there. They were no more than two feet tall. Ilsa was soon surrounded by a crowd of them. They welcomed her in a friendly way.

“Who are you?” asked Ilsa amazed. “I have never seen you or heard of you before!”

“We are the mountain people; the little people!” answered one the with fine shrill little voice that sounded quite like cricket chirping. “It is not surprising that you do not know us, for our cave is not open every day. And on the days it is open it is only for a little time that humans may see us.”

“I have never heard of the mountain people or the little people,” said Ilsa, standing as if in a dream.

“Learn to know us, and you will love us!” replied the little man. “And if you do you will become one of us, perhaps even our queen!”

Queen! The word thrilled the girl’s heart. She had heard of queens in her father’s castle; she had heard they were rich and beautiful too, and that everyone served and obeyed them.

Her nurse had told her many stories about queens. Why not become a queen?

She looked around. All the splendour and wealth blinded her with delight. She let her new friends show her around. The light in their world was mellow, and not as bright as sunlight. The music was wonderful and blended with the murmur of brooks and waterfalls in the distance. Ilso throught the friendly little people would make good playmates; she could play wonderful games with them. She wanted to stay in this realm. There was little to draw her back to the upper world. Her father was a rough, fierce knight who had never taken much notice of her, and her nurse no longer had any hold on the young girl’s heart. Besides, the nurse was very old, and could not live much longer. When she died, Ilsa would be alone in her father’s castle, for it was avoided by most people.The little people went on whispering enticing and luring words, “Stay with us, and you will never grow old. Then your life becomes like a sunny spring. Each day will be a celebration day. You will have what you wish for, and the best of everything!“Ilsa now saw a flock of sheep that were not bigger than lambs, but each of them had a golden fleece, and the lively little dog who jumped round the flock had golden hair.

Ilsa did not see any shepherd, but there was a golden shepherd’s staff lying on the ground.

Ilsa longed to keep this flock of sheep. Thinking that this was a chance to test the little people’s good faith, she said to test them, “If I were to stay with you and ask for this golden flock to be mine to herd and care for, would you give it to me?”

“Yes, yes!” said a chorus of delicate little voices, and the only condition was that Ilsa should not enter the world of humans again, and that she lost none of the dwarf sheep. Then they handed her the golden staff, decorated it with silver ribbons and welcomed her into their kingdom with loud cheers.

Ilsa now stayed in the other world without noticing days and years that passed by. There was neither winter nor spring there; all the seasons were similar.

At home in the castle they missed her and searched for her, but when they did not find her, they thought she was dead and mourned her. Then her nurse died and her father was killed in a fewd, his enemies ravaged and destroyed his castle till it only its lonely ruin was left on the mountain peak it had been built on. The old trees were cut down and new ones planted in their stead.

A new forest was greening, and the tree stems were already fairly strong.

And Ilsa was forgotten. She still guarded her golden herd, playing with the childlike litte people, and learned many of nature’s and the other world’s secrets from them. Greadually the memories of the world she had lived in earlier, faded till they were like dreams, but they did not fade away entirely. They even grew stronger, and she started to long for being in the world of humans again.

She often noticed one or another of the little people setting off for the human world, while she herself was strictly forbidden to return. It made her see she was not really free. The insight damaged her innocent gladness. “What good does my flock do me, after all?” Ilsa thought. “I herd and care for it, but I cannot do with it what I will, since it is not really mine. I would be a queen, and was promised I could be theirs, but I am just the opposite: I have become a poor shepherdess. Oh, to get up into the sunlight, seeing the blue sky, smelling the air of spring, flowers, large trees! I want to see the sky again – I will, I will!”

Ilsa told the little people that she wanted to go to the human world again.

“But you promised us always to stay with us!”

“You promised to fulfill all my wishes,“protested Ilsa.“That was on condition that you do not go back to the world of men,” said the little people.

“I do not want to return for ever,” said Ilsa, “but to see the sky and feel the wind of spring.”

“Then you will not be not one of us any more,” the little people told her. “If you feel the breeze of that world, you become human again, wither, get old and die, for that is the ordinary human lot.”

Ilsa said no more, but she mourned, and her longing grew stronger and stronger. She neglected her flock of golden sheep, nothing pleased her and she did not talk with the little people any longer.

“She is lost to us one way or the other,” they said sadly to each other, “we might as well grant her wish.”

Ilsa returned to the sunlight through the same hilltop cave. She paused at the mouth of the cave and gazed at woods and hills. It was a beautiful, sunny day, but there was something strange about the scenery. She recognised the hills and mountains, but the old forests were gone.

The path from the cave to her father’s castle was too overgrown. Ilsa looked for her father’s castle on its ridge, but all she could see was a part of its enclosing wall, and the watchtower had become a ruin. Over the tower a couple of falcons were soaring, and owls had settled in the broken spire. “Well, well,” Ilsa thought. “I thought I stayed with the good people for only for a very short time, and obviously many years have passed! How old am I?”

Ilsa looked some more and saw newly built places, new castles in the distance, and could not see some other castles that she remembered on some of the hills. They were no more.

Ilsa did not go further, but stayed in the cave for many days, serious and thoughtful. She had promised the little people not to go further than the cave, in the same. She had been allowed to let her sheep graze in the fields of the human world on special days and hourse, such as Midsummer Day at noon, when the sun was at its highest, or in the midnight hours.

Around Midsummer Day some of the humans who lived in the area, walked in the mountain heights in search of medicinal herbs and potent roots. At times they happened to see Ilsa in the mouth of the cave.

She had become a stranger to the people, a pale, quiet and sombre lady in snow-white, ever-new dress.

Some people also saw her herd of golden, tiny sheep, but were never able to catch any of them, for the golden-haired dog was always vigilant, and if he made the slightest sound, Ilsa lifter her golden shepherd’s staff, and at once the dog and the sheep disappeared from sight.

If good and pure people saw Ilsa and ventured near her, she answered their sincere questions. At times her answers had double meanings, at times she foretold what would come to pass later. And all the time Ilsa hoped to be saved from the spell of the dwarves.

One day as Ilsa was sitting as usual in the mouth of the cave and let her sheep graze in front of it, a pretty woman came to the grassy field below the entrance of the cave and called, “Why are you always by yourself in this cave?

Why not mingle and share with local people? Why not love and be loved?” Ilsa said mournfully, “I am bound by a promise I gave. Otherwise I would like to go down into the valley with my herd.”

“You can do it!” cried the woman. “Strike with your shepherd’s staff against the little hole deep in your cave, and it will collapse. Then the dwarves cannot come out, and you will be free.”

Ilsa hesitated, “Is this advice the answer to my prayer?” As she sought to discern what would be the proper thing to do, a handsome youth showed up and said to her: “Trust me, and I will rebuild your father’s castle. You and I will reign over this beautiful countryside together. The woman you have been speaking with is my mother, and we are mighty.” Ilsa did not understand the woman and her son were witches, and struck with the golden shepherd’s staff against the rocks around the hole at the back of the cave, as the woman had told her to. The gentle music from deep within stopped: Only the weeping and wailing of the little people could be heard. They were cheated, and had lost their flock of tiny, golden sheep! The witch yelled triumphantly, and her son suddently came forward and tried to take Ilsa into his arms. Ilsa was not used to that sort of behaviour. Scared and bewildered she held out her staff and traced a cross on the young man. At that instant the magic of the witch and her son was broken. The young man suddenly turned ugly and repulsive, and the woman fell to the ground in a fit, and was changed into an ugly, old witch.

When she rose, she ran past to Ilsa to the bottom of her cave and placed a herb there. The herb grew extremely fast, became bigger and bigger and opened the hole again by pushing the gravel into the other side. When the gap was big enough the witch shouted, “Dwarves, come out and take back your flock of sheep and punish the girl for closing the entrance!”

The little people came swarming out and surrounded Ilsa. They cut her off from the woman and her son.

“That was a bad thing you did,” said the eldest of the ever-young little people. “It is perhaps best that you remain ours until this hag and her son are dead.“And then they tied Ilsa with magic chains. She was still free to go out into the cave, but there the chains stopped her from going further. So it was for some time, until one day the chains suddenly fell off her. The old witch and her son must be dead, said Ilsa hopefully to herself. Now she was free to walk in the sun and sing happy songs as she liked, but she could not bring with her the golden sheep and dog.

[The original tales has Mot. F 99.2, F 110, F 167.2, F 376, F 377.2, G 269.4: Jungfrau muß für immer in der Unterwelt bleiben. Retold.]

The Tailor and the Talking Animals

A shoemaker and a tailor were wandering together. The shoemaker had some money; the tailor had none. Both were in love with the same girl, Lizzie, and both had in mind to marry her after he had made enough money for it and had become masters of their crafts. The shoemaker was wicked, while the tailor was good-natured and frivolous.

The tailor had not really want to wander with the shoemaker, since he himself was moneyless, but the shoemaker had said, “Come along with me. I have some money, so we may eat and drink every day, also when we do not get any work.”

What the tailor did not know, was that the shoemaker had invited him to wander with him to do something evil against him, for by the way Lizzie looked at the tailor the shoemaker had found out she liked the tailor best. So the tailor had accepted the offer, and both had packed up their knapsacks and set off together.They wandered for nine days. The tailor was offered work to do several times, but Peter was not. He persuaded the tailor not to accept the work but instead walk on with him. However, after these nine days the shoemaker said to the tailor, “Hans, my money is dwindling.

It will still last a while, but from now on we may eat and drink only two times daily.”

“Ah, a shortage of food and drink this early!” sighed the tailor. “I should not have come with you. I could have starved at home instead.”

The shoemaker had money enough and had his fill of food every day, for when he bought their food, he ate then too, secretly. When he came back to Hans he had two more meals with him, and listened to his companion’s complaints of being hungry, and his growling stomack.Nine more days passed, and they did not find any work during this time. The shoemaker said, ““Hans, from now on there will be food only once a day.”

“Oh, oh, Peter,” said Hans to the shoemaker, “I am already so thin that I almost barely cast a shadow.”

“Buckle your belt a little more!” the shoemaker said laughingly. “See, there is food where we go: berries and roots abound in this season.”

Hans ate berries that he knew, but he did not get any stouter. He did not get any work offers any longer either, for master tailors thought that such a bony and thin fellow might not be good enough for their work, and said so in inconsiderate ways too.”

The tailor wept when he did not get any work, while the shoemaker secretly took malicious pleasure in it. After nine more days he said, “Hans, There is no more food money for the two of us.”

The tailor cried, “Woe that I went out in the world with you! If only you had never persuaded me to come with you, time after time.”

The shoemaker said with a grim laugh, “But there is much to drink around us – Water, water!” Water can be healthy when you are thirsty, and I drink water too.”

“But water is not food!” the tailor complained.

“Well, I will go to the bakery and for the last money I have got I will buy soemthing for us,” said the shoemaker. He left Hans sitting on a stone and went to a bakery, bought four sandwiches, ate three and drank gin along with it. Then he went back to Hans.“Peter, you smell of booze!” said the tailor to the shoemaker.

“So? Well, here is your half bread.”

The starving tailor ate his half with water and then walked on with his secrely plotting companion. They said almost nothing to each other.

Towards evening they walked into a village. The shoemaker went to a bakery, ate his fill and came back to the tailor with a bread in his hand. The tailor thought he would share the bread with him, but the shoemaker shoved it in his pocket.

After a while, when they had left the village and gone into a forest, the tailor asked for his half bread.“I am not hungry yet,” said the shoemaker.

“Not hungry?” cried the tailor and stopped, with legs shaking. “What kind of monster are you?”

“Glutton!” the shoemaker sneered back to him. “You have cost me my very last money!”

“But it was you who persuaded me to go with you, and made me pass by all opportunities for work!” said the tailor with difficulty, for he was very weak and his tongue stuck to the palate.

“You will not get your half for free,” said the shoemaker. “That bread in my pocket is as dear to me as two eyes. I will give you half the bread for one of your eyes.”

“Goodness graceous!” the tailor could not believe it, and stretched out his hand for half the bread, ate it, and the shoemaker stabbed him in the eye.

The next day the same thing happened. The shoemaker bought a bread and gave the tailor nothing of it until he had promised him his other eye.

“But then I will be blind!” whined the tailor. “Then I can work no more, and cannot even thread a needle.”

The wicked Peter said, ““Who is blind sees no evil, nothing false and faithless, and he no longer needs to work, for he is excused. As a rich beggar you can still be rich.” The tailor was unable to think clearly because he was near death of starvation, so he got a half bread while the shoemaker made him blind. When that was done, the tailor hoped that at least the shoemaker would guide him. But the other said, “Goodbye, Hans! This is what I wanted to do all along. I can now go back home and marry Lizzie. Take care of yourself.”

The shoemaker walked away, while the blinded tailor fainted from weakness, pain and grief. He fell to the ground and lay there unconscious. While he was lying like that three four-footed wayfarers came along the road, a bear, a wolf, and a fox. They sniffed at the unconscious man, and the bear growled, “This man seems dead! I don’t care to eat him myself. Do you want him?”

“I ate from a sheep only an hour ago; I’m not hungry just now,” said the wolf. “In any case, this fellow is so bony and skinny that he would be as hard on my teeth as a wooden leg!”

“He must have been a tailor, a very lean tailor, poor man!” laughed the fox. “I’d rather eat a fat goose! He can lie there for all I care.”

The poor tailor came to himself again and sensed the animals around him and held his breath as best he could. Meanwhile while the three animals lay down in the grass to rest, not far away.

“I see he has been blinded. That is a great misfortune,” said the fox, “both for us noble animals and for those who walk about on two legs. If they knew what I know, they would not be blind any longer.”

“Oho!” cried the wolf. “I know something too! If the people in the nearby king’s city knew it, they would not suffer from drought and thirst , and would not have to pay a gold piece for a small glass of water.”

“Hm, hm!” growled the bear. “I know something remarkable too! If you will tell what you two know, I will tell what I know. But we must promise never to give away each others’ secrets.”

“No, we will not do that!” promised the fox and the wolf, and the fox began to tell, “I know that today is a special night where heavenly dew falls on grass and flowers. Who is blind and bathes his eyes in this dew, will see again.”

“That is a wonderful secret,” said the wolf, “and here is mine: The wells in the king’s city dried up long ago, and the people in it must either die of thirst or leave unless something happens soon. If they only knew they have plenty of water right under their feet! For in the middle of the paving in the market place lies a gray stone; if anyone lifts it up, a spring of water would shoot out of the ground. How glad the people would be to have water again!”

The bear said, “Now hear my secret. The king’s only daughter has been sick for seven years and no doctor can help her, for none of them knows what the matter is, wise as they think they are. The king’s daughter is so ill that the king has promised to marry her to the man who can heal her. But none can help her, because none else knows what I know!”“Now you have made us curious!” said the wolf.The bear growled and said, “Wait a little,” and snorted and cleared his throat before he went on, “When the princess was a young girl, she was to throw a piece of gold into the poor box in the church as an offering.

But she was young and shy in front of all the people in the church, so she threw the gold piece awkwardly, so that she missed the box and the coin fell into a crack on the floor beneath it. That was when she got her illness, and she will not be well again until the piece of gold is pulled out of the crack and put into the poor box. The cure is simply to go and find the gold piece and let the king’s daughter put it into the box.”

When the animals had shared these secrets with each other, they got up and went away – the bear went to look for wild honey, and the others went near poulty yards to steal a breakfast if they could. But the tailor bathed his eyes with the dew that had started to fall, and soon his eyes were as good as new. He felt strangely refreshed, and when night had passed he soon walked further down the road. In some villages he passed through, he got so much food and drink that he felt satisfied, and at last he came to the city where people for the lack of water drank wine and gin instead, even though it was not good for them.The tailor had no money to by gin for, so he walked into an inn and asked for a large glass of water. The landlady looked at him and said, “If you do not have money enough to gin and wine, you do not have money for water either, for it costs much more around here; it would cost a fortune, really.

There is so little water in the city that I do not have anything of it to sell or give away.”

“Is it really that dry around here?” asked the tailor. “But I know how to let fresh water well up. Call me a fountain doctor.”

Some young nobles in the inn heard him say that. In their extreme need they were drinking champagne and brandy, and hoped to get better things to drink instead. They flocked around the tailor and asked quickly if he could give the city a fountain.“Yes, I could if I would,” said he, “but not for nothing. What I ask for in return is a salary of five or six thousand gold pieces a year, for example.”

The town council hastened to consider the tailor’s offer, and all the members voted for paying the tailor what he asked for. The head of the counsil was then sent to the king, asking him to make a decree that made the tailor the city’s “fountain doctor”, his salary paid by the city. The king agreed, but with the reservation that there had to be plenty of water coming if the well doctor was to get a salary.The tailor now walked to the market and pointed to a grey, square stone in the pavement in the middle of the market. To the officials around him he said, “Gentlemen, let people tdig up that stone!”

As soon as they did, a jet of water sprang high into the air while the onlookers shouted and cried for joy. The same day the king called for the tailor and was very friendly, made him one of his royal advisers. During the reception someone mentioned the disease of the king’s daughter, and the king asked his new adviser, “Do you think this sort of welling water have any effect on her disease?”

“Oh no, sire!” answered the ‘fountain doctor’. “It is not water than will cure her. But if you will allow me to see her, I may perhaps find out why she is ill.”

The king took his new adviser with him to the princess. She was very beautiful. The advisor felt her pulse, and then said, “Sire, if you will permit us to carry her to church, I think she can be healed.”

The king welcomed the idea. “It is worth a try,” he said.

In the church Sir Hans – the former tailor – was shown the offering box and then looked for and found a crack with a gold piece in it. He gave the gold piece to the princess and asked her to put in the poor box. She did, and at once got well again. Then they went back to the castle and made her father very happy.

The king’s new adviser soon became chief minister, and then a count, a prince, and the princess’s beloved husband.

After the wedding, the newly married couple went on a journey through the country. They came to the village that Hans once set out from when he was a moneyless tailor. A grinder stood beside the village inn. He was sharpening knives while his wife turned the grindstone for him. It was Peter and Lisa. At first she had not wanted to marry Peter when he returned, but she accepted him in the end, as he swore she would never see Hans again.

Hans recognized them at once, and called out to the coachman to stop. “Peter!” he said.

Peter started and hurried forward, asking what the prince wanted.“I just want you to recognise what has become of me after you felled me in the woods. I lay under a tree when we parted, all alone and blind. But as I lay there, good fortune came my way, and now I can see again, I have got rich, and now I leave you! Have this purse of money in return for feeding me. Drive on, coachman!”

Peter stood as if he had become lame and stared after the fine-looking coach for some time. Then he gave the money to his wife saying,

“That was Hans! I will go and seek my own fortune where he found his.”

Off he went as fast as he could go to the place where he had blinded and left the starving Hans. A fox was running ahead of him and stopped at just that spot. Then a wolf came bounding too. Peter turned quickly and saw a bear who was trotting toward him. Peter hastily climbed a tree.

“Traitors! Traitors! Traitors!” barked the fox, and howled the wolf, and growled the bear. They accused each other of telling the secrets they had promised to keep. They grew very angry. In the end the bear and fox sided together against the wolf. They said he was the traitor, so he must be hanged. The fox twisted a rope out of fir twigs and tied a noose in it. The bear held the wolf fast and the fox put the noose around the wolf’s neck. But as the wolf was pulled up in the air, he looked up and saw Peter sitting on a branch of the tree. “There is a man in the tree! He could have told our secrets!” he howled.Now the two other animals looked up and let the wolf fall to the ground. “Let us interrrogate him!” they howled and grunted.

The bear climbed the tree, and with a blow from his forepaw he knocked Peter from the branch. He fell badly and died on the spot.

Good Salt

Long ago a king had three good and beautiful daughters that he loved dearly, and they loved him. He had no son, but in that kingdom a queen might rule too. The king’s wife was dead, so he could choose a daughter to succeed him, and not necessarily the oldest of them.

The time came to pick the coming queen among the three, but since he loved them all alike, he decided to test them in order to find out more of which of them seemed best fit to rule the country after him. He then told his daughters of what he had determined, and that they would be tested on his next birthday. “The one who brings me what cannot be dispensed with, will inherit the throne,” he said.

Each of the princesses tried to find out what one cannot be without. And when the birthday came, the oldest daughter came dressed in a fine, purple robe, saying, “After the gates of paradise were closed, some clothing seems been needed.”

The second daughter brought fresh bread that she had baked herself, and a gold cup filled with wine. She said, “The most indispensable is food and drink. We can hardly live without fruits and berries, grapes and bread and wine, I should say.”

The youngest daughter brought a little pile of salt on a wooden platter, saying, “Salt and wood – we cannot be without it!”

The king was rather surprised at first, then thoughtful, and at last he said: “I may be partial, but the robe of royal purple is what is most necessary in the world, at least for a king. Without it, he looks like other men. Therefore, dear daughter,” he said, turning to the eldest one and kissing her, “you have won!”

The king said to the second oldest: “Food and drink is not always necessary, dear. Besides, it is suited for common people too! However, you meant well.” He did not kiss her.

Then he turned to the third princess who suspected that her choices were not fully appreciated.“You have probably got salt on your wooden plate, daughter,” said the king, but salt is not necessary! Daughter, your soul is like that of a peasant, not a king’s offspring. Get away as far as your feet can carry you – go to the rough folks who think salt is all that needed!“The youngest daughter turned weeping from her harsh father and went away from the court and from the royal city, far, far away, as far as her feet carried her.

She came to an inn and offered to serve the woman who kept it. The woman was touched by her meekness, innocence, youth and beauty, and hired her as a maid in the house. The princess proved to be very skilful about work in the house. Her hostess said, “It would be too bad if that girl should learn nothing more. I will teach her to cook.” So the king’s daughter learned to cook and soon she cooked many dishes better than her mistress. The excellent food made the inn well known. A young, beautiful cook was behind the delicious meals there. The reputation of the inn spread through the entire land. Whenever a rich banquet was to be held, the famous cook was called in.

One day the eldest princess was getting married. It was to be a royal wedding. They wanted the renowned cook to take care of the dishes and thereby put a finishing touch to the feast, for not every gentleman at court agreed with the king who had said that to eat and drink was not necessary. What would good feasts be without it? they said, and some added the old proverb that food and drink keep body and soul together.All kinds of rich dishes were prepared for the wedding feast, and also the dish that the king liked best, and which was ordered specially for the occasion.

Everyone praised the food a lot. Lastly, the king’s special dish was brought in and offered to him first. But when he tasted it he found it unpleasant to taste and hard to accept. His face darkened, and he said to the first servants that were waiting on him: “This dish is spoiled! Get the cook in here!”

The cook very soon came into the great banquet hall, and the king said angrily to her, “You have spoiled the dish I like best!”

Then the cook said humbly, “Pardon me, but how could I put salt in the food of a king who once said ‘Salt is unnecessary; no one needs salt! Salt shows that you have the soul of a peasant.’”

The king remembered that these were his own words, and got ashamed. He also recognised the daughter he had once shooed. He stood up and embraced her. Then he told the tale to all the wedding guests and led his youngest daughter to a seat by his side. The king was happy again, which he had not been since he harshly drove her away. Now the wedding was better than ever.

The king admitted, “Salt can be useful to other than laymen at times, all right,” and salted his favourite dish until he got it just the way he liked it.


Ludwig Bechstein, Fairy Tales

Once on a time there were seven brothers. As they were orphans and had no sister, they had to do all the house-work themselves. One day, however, they all took it into their heads to get married. Because there were no marriageable young ladies in the village where they lived, they decided to travel in search of wives, and agreed to leave their youngest brother, – to whom they promised to bring a fair bride, – to keep house at home. The youth was quite satisfied with this arrangement, and the six brothers set out in a high state of delight. After a while they came to a small cottage standing by itself in a wood. In front of its door sat an old man. He shouted to the brothers, "Holloa there, you young geese! Where are you going so merry and quick?" "We are seeking for wives," answered one of them, "one for each of us, and another for our youngest brother at home." "Oh, you dear young men," said the old fellow, "bring me a young and pretty bride too; for I live here motherless and alone." The brothers walked off after that, wondering what such a grey old man as he could possibly want with a young and pretty bride. Read more...

  • ISBN: 9781370763085
  • Author: noktaekitap
  • Published: 2017-04-23 23:05:12
  • Words: 49761
Ludwig Bechstein, Fairy Tales Ludwig Bechstein, Fairy Tales