But the king hoped to save his dear child from the threatened evil, and ordered that all the spindles in the kingdom should be bought up and destroyed. All the fairies' gifts were in the meantime fulfilled; for the princess was so beautiful, and well-behaved and amiable, and wise, that every one who knew her loved her.
Now it happened that on the very day she was fifteen years old the king and queen were not at home, and she was left alone in the palace. So she roamed about by herself, and looked at all the rooms and chambers, till at last she came to an old tower, to which there was a narrow staircase ending with a little door. In the door there was a golden key, and when she turned it the door sprang open, and there sat an old lady spinning away very busily.
"Why, how now, good mother," said the princess, "what are you doing there?"
"Spinning," said the old lady, and nodded her head. "How prettily that little thing turns round!" said the princess, and took the spindle and began to spin. But scarcely had she touched it before the prophecy was fulfilled, and she fell down lifeless on the ground.
However, she was not dead, but had only fallen into a deep sleep; and the king and the queen, who just then came home, and all their court, fell asleep too, and the horses slept in the stables, and the dogs in the yard, and the pigeons on the house-top, and the flies on the walls. Even the fire on the I hearth left off blazing, and went to sleep; and the meat that was roasting stood still; and the cook, who was at that moment pulling the kitchen-boy by the hair to give him a box on the ear for something he had done amiss, let him go, and both fell asleep; and so everything stood still, and slept soundly.
A high hedge of thorns soon grew around the palace, and every year it became higher and thicker, till at last the whole palace was surrounded and hidden, so that not even the roof or the chimneys could be seen.
But there went a report through all the land of the beautiful sleeping Briar Rose, for thus was the king's daughter called; so that from time to time several kings' sons came, and tried to break through the thicket into the palace.
This they could never do; for the thorns and bushes laid hold of them as it were with hands, and there they stuck fast and died miserably.
After many, many years there came another king's son into that land, and an old man told him the story of the thicket of thorns, and how a beautiful palace stood behind it, in which was a wondrous princess, called Briar Rose, asleep with all her court. He told, too, how he had heard from his grandfather that many, many princes had come, and had tried to break through the thicket, but had stuck fast and died.
Then the young prince said, "All this shall not frighten me; I will go and see Briar Rose." The old man tried to dissuade him, but he persisted in going.
Now that very day the hundred years were completed; and as the prince came to the thicket he saw nothing but beautiful flowering shrubs, through which he passed with ease, and they closed after him as firm as ever.
Then he came at last to the palace, and there in the yard lay the dogs asleep, and the horses in the stables, and on the roof sat the pigeons fast asleep with their heads under their wings; and when he came into the palace, the flies slept on the walls, and the cook in the kitchen was still holding up her hand as if she would beat the boy, and the maid sat with a black fowl in her hand ready to be plucked.
Then he went on still further, and all was so still that he could hear every breath he drew; till at last he came to the old tower and opened the door of the little room in which Briar Rose was, and there she lay fast asleep, and looked so beautiful that he could not take his eyes off, and he stooped down and gave her a kiss. But the moment he kissed her she opened her eyes and awoke, and smiled upon him.
Then they went out together, and presently the king and queen also awoke, and all the court, and they gazed on each other with great wonder.
And the horses got up and shook themselves, and the dogs jumped about and barked; the pigeons took their heads from under their wings, and looked about and flew into the fields; the flies on the walls buzzed away; the fire in the kitchen blazed up and cooked the dinner, and the roast meat turned round again; the cook gave the boy the box on his ear so that he cried out, and the maid went on plucking the fowl.
And then was the wedding of the prince and Briar Rose celebrated, and they lived happily together all their lives.
THE SIX SWANS
A King was once hunting in a large wood, and pursued his game so hotly that none of his courtiers could follow him. But when evening approached he stopped, and looking around him perceived that he had lost himself. He sought a path out of the forest but could not find one, and presently he saw an old woman, with a nodding head, who came up to him. "My good woman," said he to her, "can you not show me the way out of the forest?" "Oh, yes, my lord King," she replied; "I can do that very well, but upon one condition, which if you do not fulfil, you will never again get out of the wood, but will die of hunger."
"What, then, is this condition?" asked the King.
"I have a daughter," said the old woman, "who is as beautiful as any one you can find in die whole world, and well deserves to be your bride. Now, if you will make her your Queen, I will show you your way out of the wood." In the anxiety of his heart, the King consented, and the old woman led him to her cottage, where the daughter was sitting by the fire. She received the King as if she had expected him, and he saw at once that she was very beautiful, but yet she did not quite please him, for he could not look at her without a secret shuddering. However, he took the maiden upon his horse, and the old woman showed him the way, and the King arrived safely at his palace, where the wedding was to be celebrated.
The King had been married once before, and had seven children by his first wife, six boys and a girl, whom he loved above everything else in the world. He became afraid, soon, that the step-mother might not treat his children very well, and might even do them some great injury, so he took them away to a lonely castle which stood in the midst of a forest. The castle was so entirely hidden, and the way to it was so difficult to discover, that he himself could not have found it if a wise woman had not given him a ball of cotton which had the wonderful property, when he threw it before him, of unrolling itself and showing him the right path. The King went, however, so often to see his dear children, that the Queen, noticing his absence, became inquisitive, and wished to know what he went to fetch out of the forest. So she gave his servants a great quantity of money, and they disclosed to her the secret, and also told her of the ball of cotton which alone could show her the way. She had now no peace until she discovered where this ball was concealed, and then she made some fine silken shirts, and, as she had learnt of her mother, she sewed within each a charm. One day soon after, when the King was gone out hunting, she took the little shirts and went into the forest, and the cotton showed her the path. The children, seeing some one coming in the distance, thought it was their dear father, and ran out full of joy. Then she threw over each of them a shirt, that, as it touched their bodies, changed them into Swans, which flew away over the forest. The Queen then went home quite contented, and thought she was free of her step-children; but the little girl had not met her with the brothers, and the Queen did not know of her.
The following day the King went to visit his children, but he found only the Maiden. "Where are your brothers?" asked he. "Ah, dear father," she replied, "they are gone away and have left me alone"; and she told him how she had looked out of the window and seen them changed into Swans, which had flown over the forest; and then she showed him the feathers which they had dropped in the courtyard, and which she had collected together. The King was much grieved, but he did not think that his wife could have done this wicked deed, and, as he feared the girl might also be stolen away, he took her with him. She was, however, so much afraid of the step-mother, that she begged him not to stop more than one night in the castle.
The poor Maiden thought to herself, "This is no longer my place; I will go and seek my brothers"; and when night came she escaped and went quite deep into the wood. She walked all night long, and a great part of the next day, until she could go no further from weariness. Just then she saw a rough-looking hut, and going in, she found a room with six little beds, but she dared not get into one, so crept under, and laying herself upon the hard earth, prepared to pass the night there. Just as the sun was setting, she heard a rustling, and saw six white Swans come flying in at the window. They settled on the ground and began blowing one another until they had blown all their feathers off, and their swan's down slipped from them like a shirt. Then the Maiden knew them at once for her brothers, and gladly crept out from under the bed, and the brothers were not less glad to see their sister, but their joy was of short duration. "Here you must not stay," said they to her; "this is a robbers' hiding-place; if they should return and find you here, they would murder you."
"Can you not protect me, then?" inquired the sister.
"No," they replied; "for we can only lay aside our swan's feathers for a quarter of an hour each evening, and for that time we regain our human form, but afterwards we resume our changed appearance."
Their sister then asked them, with tears, "Can you not be restored again?"
"Oh, no," replied they; "the conditions are too difficult. For six long years you must neither speak nor laugh, and during that time you must sew together for us six little shirts of star-flowers, and should there fall a single word from your lips, then all your labor will be in vain." Just as the brothers finished speaking, the quarter of an hour elapsed, and they all flew out of the window again like Swans.
The little sister, however, made a solemn resolution to rescue her brothers, or die in the attempt; and she left the cottage, and, penetrating deep into the forest, passed the night amid the branches of a tree. The next morning she went out and collected the star-flowers to sew together. She had no one to converse with and for laughing she had no spirits, so there up in the tree she sat, intent upon her work.
After she had passed some time there, it happened that the King of that country was hunting in the forest, and his huntsmen came beneath the tree on which the Maiden sat. They called to her and asked, "Who art thou?" But she gave no answer. "Come down to us," continued they; "we will do thee no harm." She simply shook her head, and when they pressed her further with questions, she threw down to them her gold necklace, hoping therewith to satisfy them. They did not, however, leave her, and she threw down her girdle, but in vain! and even her rich dress did not make them desist. At last the huntsman himself climbed the tree and brought down the Maiden, and took her before the King.
The King asked her, "Who art thou? What dost thou upon that tree?" But she did not answer; and then he questioned her in all the languages that he knew, but she remained dumb to all, as a fish. Since, however, she was so beautiful, the King's heart was touched, and he conceived for her a strong affection. Then he put around her his cloak, and, placing her before him on his horse, took her to his castle. There he ordered rich clothing to be made for her, and, although her beauty shone as the sunbeams, not a word escaped her. The King placed her by his side at table, and there her dignified mien and manners so won upon him, that he said, "This Maiden will I marry, and no other in the world;" and after some days he wedded her.
Now, the King had a wicked step-mother, who was discontented with his marriage, and spoke evil of the young Queen. "Who knows whence the wench comes?" said she. "She who cannot speak is not worthy of a King." A year after, when the Queen brought her first-born into the world, the old woman took him away. Then she went to the King and complained that the Queen was a murderess. The King, however, would not believe it, and suffered no one to do any injury to his wife, who sat composedly sewing at her shirts and paying attention to nothing else. When a second child was born, the false stepmother used the same deceit, but the King again would not listen to her words, saying, "She is too pious and good to act so; could she but speak and defend herself, her innocence would come to light." But when again, the old woman stole away the third child, and then accused the Queen, who answered not a word to the accusation, the King was obliged to give her up to be tried, and she was condemned to suffer death by fire.
When the time had elapsed, and the sentence was to be carried out, it happened that the very day had come round when her dear brothers should be set free; the six shirts were also ready, all but the last, which yet wanted the left sleeve. As she was led to the scaffold, she placed the shirts upon her arm, and just as she had mounted it, and the fire was about to be kindled, she looked around, and saw six Swans come flying through the air. Her heart leapt for joy as she perceived her deliverers approaching, and soon the Swans, flying towards her, alighted so near that she was enabled to throw over them the shirts, and as soon as she had done so, their feathers fell off and the brothers stood up alive and well; but the youngest was without his left arm, instead of which he had a swan's wing. They embraced and kissed each other, and the Queen, going to the King, who was thunderstruck, began to say, "Now may I speak, my dear husband, and prove to you that I am innocent and falsely accused;" and then she told him how the wicked woman had stolen away and hidden her three children. When she had concluded, the King was overcome with joy, and the wicked stepmother was led to the scaffold and bound to the stake and burnt to ashes. The King and Queen for ever after lived in peace and prosperity with their six brothers.
There were once a man and a woman who had long in in vain wished for a child. At length the woman hoped that God was about to grant her desire. These people had a little window at the back of their house from which a splendid garden could be seen, which was full of the most beautiful flowers and herbs. It was, however, surrounded by a high wall, and no one dared to go into it because it belonged to an enchantress, who had great power and was dreaded by all the world. One day the woman was standing by this window and looking down into the garden, when she saw a bed which was planted with the most beautiful rampion (rapunzel), and it looked so fresh and green that she longed for it, and had the greatest desire to eat some. This desire increased every day, and as she knew that she could not get any of it, she quite pined away, and looked pale and miserable. Then her husband was alarmed, and asked, "What ails you, dear wife?" "Ah," she replied, "if I can't get some of the rampion which is in the garden behind our house, to eat, I shall die." The man, who loved her, thought, "Sooner than let your wife die, bring her some of the rampion yourself, let it cost you what it will." In the twilight of evening, he clambered down over the wall into the garden of the enchantress, hastily clutched a handful of rampion, and took it to his wife. She at once made herself a salad of it, and ate it with much relish. She, however, liked it so much, so very much, that the next day she longed for it three times as much as before. If he was to have any rest, her husband must once more descend into the garden. In the gloom of evening, therefore, he let himself down again; but when he had clambered down the wall he was terribly afraid, for he saw the enchantress standing before him. "How can you dare," said she with angry look, "to descend into my garden and steal my rampion like a thief? You shall suffer for it!" "Ah," answered he, "let mercy take the place of justice. I only made up my mind to do it out of necessity. My wife saw your rampion from the window, and felt such a longing for it that she would have died if she had not got some to eat." Then the enchantress allowed her anger to be softened, and said to him, "If the case be as you say, I will allow you to take away with you as much rampion as you will, only I make one condition, you must give me the child which your wife will bring into the world; it shall be well treated, and I will care for it like a mother." The man in his terror consented to everything, and when the little one came to them, the enchantress appeared at once, gave the child the name of Rapunzel, and took it away with her.
Rapunzel grew into the most beautiful child beneath the sun. When she was twelve years old, the enchantress shut her into a tower, which lay in a forest, and had neither stairs nor door, but quite at the top was a little window. When the enchantress wanted to go in, she placed herself beneath this, and cried,
"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let down your hair to me."
Rapunzel had magnificent long hair, fine as spun gold, and when she heard the voice of the enchantress she unfastened her braided tresses, wound them round one of the hooks of the window above, and then the hair fell twenty yards down, and the enchantress climbed up by it.
After a year or two, it came to pass that the King's son rode through the forest and went by the tower. Then he heard a song, which was so charming that he stood still and listened. This was Rapunzel, who in her solitude passed her time in letting her sweet voice resound. The King's son wanted to climb up to her, and looked for the door of the tower, but none was to be found. He rode home, but the singing had so deeply touched his heart, that every day he went out into the forest and listened to it. Once when he was thus standing behind a tree, he saw that an enchantress came there, and he heard how she cried,
"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let down your hair."
Then Rapunzel let down the braids of her hair, and the enchantress climbed up to her. "If that is the ladder by which one mounts, I will for once try my fortune," said he, and the next day, when it began to grow dark, he went to the tower and cried.
"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let down your hair."
Immediately the hair fell down, and the King's son climbed up.
At first Rapunzel was terribly frightened when a man such as her eyes had never yet beheld came to her; but the King's son began to talk to her quite like a friend, and told her that his heart had been so stirred that it had let him have no rest, and he had been forced to see her. Then Rapunzel lost her fear, and when he asked her if she would take him for a husband, and she saw that he was young and handsome, she thought, "He will love me more than old Dame Gothel does;" and she said yes, and laid her hand in his. She said, "I will willingly go away with you, but I do not know how to get down. Bring with you a skein of silk every time that you come, and I will weave a ladder with it, and when that is ready I will descend, and you will take me on your horse." They agreed that until that time he should come to her every evening, for the old woman came by day. The enchantress remarked nothing of this, until once Rapunzel said to her, "Tell me, Dame Gothel, how it happens that you are so much heavier for me to draw up than the young King's son—he is with me in a moment." "Ah! you wicked child," cried the enchantress, "what do I hear you say! I thought I had separated you from all the world, and yet you have deceived me!" In her anger she clutched Rapunzel's beautiful tresses, wrapped them twice round her left hand, seized a pair of scissors with the right, and snip, snip, they were cut off, and the lovely braids lay on the ground. And she was so pitiless that she took poor Rapunzel into a desert, where she had to live in great grief and misery.
On the same day, however, that she cast out Rapunzel, the enchantress in the evening fastened the braids of hair which she had cut off to the hook of the window, and when the King's son came and cried,
"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let down your hair,"
she let the hair down. The King's son ascended, but he did not find his dearest Rapunzel above, but the enchantress, who gazed at him with wicked and venomous looks. "Aha!" she cried mockingly. "You would fetch your dearest, but the beautiful bird sits no longer singing in the nest; the cat has got it, and will scratch out your eyes as well. Rapunzel is lost to you; you will never see her more." The King's son was beside himself with pain, and in his despair he leapt down from the tower. He escaped with his life, but the thorns into which he fell pierced his eyes. Then he wandered quite blind about the forest, ate nothing but roots and berries, and did nothing but lament and weep over the loss of his dearest wife. Thus he roamed about I in misery for some years, and at length came to the desert where Rapunzel lived in wretchedness. He heard a voice, and it seemed so familiar to him that he went towards it, and when he approached, Rapunzel knew him and fell on his neck and wept. Two of her tears wetted his eyes, and they grew clear again, and he could see with them as before. He led her to his kingdom, where he was joyfully received, and they lived for a long time afterwards, happy and contented.
There was once a widow who had two daughters—one of whom was pretty and industrious, while the other was ugly and idle. But she was much fonder of the ugly and idle one, because she was her own daughter; and the other, who was a step-daughter, was obliged to do all the work, and be the Cinderella of the house. Every day the poor girl had to sit by a well, in the highway, and spin and spin till her fingers bled.
Now it happened that one day the shuttle was marked with her blood, so she dipped it in the well, to wash the mark off; but it dropped out of her hand and fell to the bottom. She began to weep, and ran to her step-mother and told of the mishap. But she scolded her sharply, and was so merciless as to say, "Since you have let the shuttle fall in, you must fetch it out again."
So the girl went back to the well, and did not know what to do; and in the sorrow of her heart she jumped into the well to get the shuttle. She lost her senses; and when she awoke and came to herself again, she was in a lovely meadow where the sun was shining and many thousands of flowers were growing. Along this meadow she went, and at last came to a baker's oven full of bread, and the bread cried out, "Oh, take me out! take me out! or I shall burn; I have been baked a long time!" So she went up to it, and took out all the loaves one after another with the bread-shovel. After that she went on till she came to a tree covered with apples, which called out to her, "Oh, shake me! shake me! we apples are all ripe!" So she shook the tree till the apples fell like rain, and went on shaking till they were all down, and when she had gathered them into a heap, she went on her way.
At last she came to a little house, out of which an old woman peeped; but she had such large teeth that the girl was frightened, and was about to run away.
But the old woman called out to her, "What are you afraid of, dear child? Stay with me; if you will do all the work in the house properly, you shall be the better for it. Only you must take care to make my bed well, and to shake it thoroughly till the feathers fly—for then there is snow on the earth. I am Mother Holle."
As the old woman spoke so kindly to her, the girl took courage and agreed to enter her service. She attended to everything to the satisfaction of her mistress, and always shook her bed so vigorously that the feathers flew about like snow-flakes. So she had a pleasant life with her; never an angry word; and boiled or roast meat every day.
She stayed some time with Mother Holle, and then she became sad. At first she did not know what was the matter with her, but found at length that it was homesickness; although she was many times better off here than at home, still she had a longing to be there. At last she said to the old woman, "I have a longing for home; and however well off I am down here, I cannot stay any longer; I must go up again to my own people." Mother Holle said, "I am pleased that you long for your home again, and as you have served me so truly, I myself will take you up again." Thereupon she took her by the hand, and led her to a large door. The door was opened, and just as the maiden was standing beneath the doorway, a heavy shower of golden rain fell, and all the gold remained sticking to her, so that she was completely covered with it.
"You shall have that because you are so industrious," said Mother Holle; and at the same time she gave her back the shuttle which she had let fall into the well. Thereupon the door closed, and the maiden found herself up above upon the earth, not far from her mother's house.
And as she went into the yard the cock cried: "Cock-a-doodle-doo! Your golden girl's come back to you!"
So she went in to her mother, and as she arrived thus covered with gold, she was well received, both by her and her sister.
The girl told all that had happened to her; and as soon as the mother heard how she had come by so much wealth, she was very anxious to obtain the same good luck for the ugly and lazy daughter. She had to seat herself by the well and spin; and in order that her shuttle might be stained with blood, she stuck her hand into a thorn-bush and pricked her finger. Then she threw her shuttle into the well, and jumped in after it.
She came, like the other, to the beautiful meadow and walked along the very same path. When she got to the oven the bread again cried, "Oh, take me out! take me out! or I shall burn; I have been baked a long time!" But the lazy thing answered, "As if I had any wish to make myself dirty!" and on she went. Soon she came to the apple-tree, which cried, "Oh, shake me! shake me! we apples are all ripe!" But she answered, "I like that! one of you might fall on my head," and so went on.
When she came to Mother Holle's house she was not afraid, for she had already heard of her big teeth, and she hired herself to her immediately.
The first day she forced herself to work diligently, and obeyed Mother Holle when she told her to do anything, for she was thinking of all the gold that she would give her. But on the second day she began to be lazy, and on the third day still more so, and then she would not get up in the morning at all. Neither did she make Mother Holle's bed as she ought, and did not shake it so as to make the feathers fly up. Mother Holle was soon tired of this, and gave her notice to leave. The lazy girl was willing enough to go, and thought that now the golden rain would come. Mother Holle led her, too, to the great door; but while she was standing beneath it, instead of the gold a big kettleful of pitch was emptied over her. "That is the reward of your service," said Mother Holle, and shut the door.
So the lazy girl went home; but she was quite covered with pitch, and the cock by the well-side, as soon as he saw her, cried: "Cock-a-doodle-doo! Your pitchy girl's come back to you." But the pitch stuck fast to her, and could not be got off as long as she lived.
THE FROG PRINCE
In the olden time, when wishing was having, there lived a King, whose daughters were all beautiful; but the youngest was so exceedingly beautiful that the Sun himself, although he saw her very, very often, was delighted every time she came out into the sunshine.
Near the castle of this King was a large and gloomy forest, where in the midst stood an old lime-tree, beneath whose branches splashed a little fountain; so, whenever it was very hot, the King's youngest daughter ran off into this wood, and sat down by the side of the fountain; and, when she felt dull, would often divert herself by throwing a golden ball up into the air and catching it again. And this was her favorite amusement.
Now, one day it happened that this golden ball, when the King's daughter threw it into the air, did not fall down into her hand, but on to the grass; and then it rolled right into the fountain. The King's daughter followed the ball with her eyes, but it disappeared beneath the water, which was so deep that she could not see to the bottom. Then she began to lament, and to cry more loudly and more loudly; and, as she cried, a voice called out, "Why weepest thou, O King's daughter? thy tears would melt even a stone to pity." She looked around to the spot whence the voice came, and saw a frog stretching his thick, ugly head out of the water. "Ah! you old water-paddler," said she, "was it you that spoke? I am weeping for my golden ball which bounced away from me into the water."
"Be quiet, and do not cry," replied the Frog; "I can give thee good assistance. But what wilt thou give me if I succeed in fetching thy plaything up again?"
"What would you like, dear Frog?" said she. "My dresses, my pearls and jewels, or the golden crown which I wear?"
The Frog replied, "Dresses, or jewels, or golden crowns, are not for me; but if thou wilt love me, and let me be thy companion and playmate, and sit at thy table, and eat from thy little golden plate, and drink out of thy cup, and sleep in thy little bed,—if thou wilt promise me all these things, then I will dive down and fetch up thy golden ball."
"Oh, I will promise you all," said she, "if you will only get me my golden ball." But she thought to herself, "What is the silly Frog chattering about? Let him stay in the water with his equals; he cannot enter into society." Then the Frog, as soon as he had received her promise, drew his head under the water and dived down. Presently he swam up again with the golden ball in his mouth, and threw it on to the grass. The King's daughter was full of joy when she again saw her beautiful plaything; and, taking it up, she ran off immediately. "Stop! stop!" cried the Frog; "take me with thee. I cannot run as thou canst."
But this croaking was of no avail; although it was loud enough, the King's daughter did not hear it, but, hastening home, soon forgot the poor Frog, who was obliged to leap back into the fountain.
The next day, when the King's daughter was sitting at table with her father and all his courtiers, and was eating from her own little golden plate, something was heard coming up the marble stairs, splish-splash, splish-splash; and when it arrived at the top, it knocked at the door, and a voice said—
"Open the door, thou youngest daughter of the King!"
So she arose and went to see who it was that called to her; but when she opened the door and caught sight of the Frog, she shut it again very quickly and with great passion, and sat down at the table, looking exceedingly pale.
But the King perceived that her heart was beating violently, and asked her whether it were a giant who had come to fetch her away who stood at the door. "Oh, no!" answered she; "it is no giant, but an ugly Frog."
"What does the Frog want with you?" said the King.
"Oh, dear father, yesterday when I was playing by the fountain, my golden ball fell into the water, and this Frog fetched it up again because I cried so much: but first, I must tell you, he pressed me so much, that I promised him he should be my companion. I never thought that he could come out of the water, but somehow he has managed to jump out, and now he wants to come in here."
At that moment there was another knock, and a voice said—
"King's daughter, youngest, Open the door. Hast thou forgotten Thy promises made At the fountain so clear 'Neath the lime-tree's shade? King's daughter, youngest. Open the door."
Then the King said, "What you have promised, that you must perform; go and let him in." So the King's daughter went and opened the door, and the Frog hopped in after her right up to her chair: and as soon as she was seated, he said, "Lift me up;" but she hesitated so long that the King had to order her to obey. And as soon as the Frog sat on the chair he jumped on to the table and said, "Now push thy plate near me, that we may eat together." And she did so, but as every one noticed, very unwillingly. The Frog seemed to relish his dinner very much, but every bit that the King's daughter ate nearly choked her, till at last the Frog said, "I have satisfied my hunger, and feel very tired; wilt thou carry me upstairs now into thy chamber, and make thy bed ready that we may sleep together?" At this speech the King's daughter began to cry, for she was afraid of the cold Frog, and dared not touch him; and besides, he actually wanted to sleep in her own beautiful, clean bed!
But her tears only made the King very angry, and he said, "He who helped you in the time of your trouble must not now be despised!" So she took the Frog up with two fingers, and put him into a corner of her chamber. But as she lay in her bed, he crept up to it, and said, "I am so very tired that I shall sleep well; do take me up, or I will tell thy father." This speech put the King's daughter into a terrible passion, and catching the Frog up, she threw him with all her strength against the wall, saying "Now will you be quiet, you ugly Frog!"
But as he fell he was changed from a Frog into a handsome Prince with beautiful eyes, who after a little while became her dear companion and betrothed. One morning, Henry, trusted servant of the Prince, came for them with a carriage. When his master was changed into a frog, trusty Henry had grieved so much that he had bound three iron bands around his heart, for fear it should break with grief and sorrow. The faithful Henry (who was also the trusty Henry) helped in the bride and bridegroom, and placed himself in the seat behind, full of joy at his master's release. They had not proceeded far when the Prince heard a crack as if something had broken behind the carriage; so he put his head out of the window and asked trusty Henry what was broken, and faithful Henry answered, "It was not the carriage, my master, but an iron band which I bound around my heart when it was in such grief because you were changed into a frog."
Twice afterwards on the journey there was the same noise, and each time the Prince thought that it was some part of the carriage that had given way; but it was only the breaking of the bands which bound the heart of the trusty Henry (who was also the faithful Henry), and who was thenceforward free and happy.
THE TRAVELS OF TOM THUMB
There lived a tailor who had only one son, and he was extremely small, not any larger than your thumb, and so was called Tom Thumb.
However, he was a courageous little fellow, and he told his father, "Father, I am determined to go into the world to seek my fortune."
"Very well, my son," answered the old man, and taking a big darning needle, he made a top to it of sealing wax, and gave it to Tom Thumb, saying:
"There is a sword for you to use to defend yourself on your journeyings."
Then the little fellow, desiring to dine once more with his parents, popped into the kitchen to find out what his mother was preparing for his last dinner at home. All the dishes were ready to be taken in, and they were standing upon the hearth.
"What is it you have for dinner, dear mother?" he inquired.
"You can look for yourself," she replied.
Then Tom sprang up on to the hob, and peeped into all the dishes, but over one he leant so far, that he was carried up by the steam through the chimney, and then for some distance he floated on the smoke, but after a while he fell upon the ground once more.
Now, at last, Tom Thumb was really out in the wide world, and he went on cheerily, and after a time was engaged by a master tailor; but here the food was not so good as his mother's, and it was not to his taste.
So he said, "Mistress, if you will not give me better things to eat, I shall chalk upon your door, 'Too many potatoes, and not enough meat. Good-bye, potato-mill.'"
"I should like to know what you want, you little grasshopper!" cried the woman very angrily, and she seized a shred of cloth to strike him; however, the tiny tailor popped under a thimble, and from it he peeped, putting out his tongue at the mistress.
So she took up the thimble, meaning to catch him, but Tom Thumb hid himself amongst the shreds of cloth, and when she began to search through those, he slipped into a crack in the table, but put out his head to laugh at her; so she tried again to hit him with the shred, but did not succeed in doing so, for he slipped through the crack into the table drawer.
At last, though, he was caught, and driven out of the house.
So the little fellow continued his travels, and presently entering a thick forest, he encountered a company of robbers who were plotting to steal the king's treasure.
As soon as they saw the little tailor, they said to themselves, "A little fellow like this could creep through a keyhole, and aid us greatly." So one called out—
"Hullo, little man, will you come with us to the king's treasury? Certainly a Goliath like you could creep in with ease, and throw out the coins to us."
After considering awhile, Tom Thumb consented, and accompanied them to the king's treasury.
From top to bottom they inspected the door to discover a crack large enough for him to get through, and soon found one. He was for going in directly, but one of the sentinels happening to catch sight of him, exclaimed: "Here is indeed an ugly spider; I will crush it with my foot."
"Leave the poor creature alone," the other said; "it has not done you any harm."
So Tom Thumb slipped through the crack, and made his way to the treasury. Then he opened the window, and cast out the coins to the robbers who were waiting below. While the little tailor was engaged in this exciting employment, he heard the king coming to inspect his treasure, so as quickly as possible he crept out of sight. The king noticed that his treasure had been disarranged, and soon observed that coins were missing: but he was utterly unable to think how they could have been stolen, for the locks and bolts had not been tampered with, and everything was well fastened.
On going from the treasury, he warned the two sentinels, saying—
"Be on the watch, some one is after the money," and quite soon, on Tom Thumb setting to work again, they heard very clearly the coins ringing, chink, chank, as they struck one against the other.
As quickly as possible they unfastened the building and went in, hoping to take the thief.
But Tom Thumb was too quick for them, he sprang into a corner, and hiding himself behind a coin, so that nothing of him was visible, he made fun of the sentinels; crying "I am here!" Then when the men hurried to the spot where the voice came from, he was no longer there, but from a different place cried out: "Ha, Ha! here I am!"
So the sentinels kept jumping about, but so cleverly did Tom move from one spot to another, that they were obliged to run around the whole time, hoping to find somebody, until at length, quite tired out, they went off.
Then Tomb Thumb went on with his work, and one after another he threw all the coins out of the window, but the very last he sounded and rang with all his might and springing nimbly upon it, so flew through the window.
The robbers were loud in their praises.
"Indeed you are a brave fellow," they said, "will you be our captain?"
Tom Thumb, thanking them, declined this honor, for he was anxious to see more of the world. Then the booty was apportioned out, but only a ducat was given to the little tailor, for that was as much as he could carry.
So Tom girded on his sword again, and bidding farewell to the robbers, continued his travels.
He tried to get work under various masters, but they would have nothing to do with him, so after a while he took service at an inn. But the maids there disliked him, for he was about everywhere, and saw all that went on, without being seen himself; and he told their mistress of their dishonest ways, of what was taken off the plates, and from out the cellars.
So they threatened they would drown him, if they caught him, and determined to do him some harm. Then, one day, a maid mowing in the garden saw Tom Thumb running in and out between the blades of grass, so she cut the grass, in great haste, just where he chanced to be, tied it all in a bundle, and, without anyone knowing, threw it to the cows.
Then one big black cow took up a mouthful of grass directly, with Tom in it, and swallowed it down; without doing him any damage, however.
But Tom did not approve of his position, for it was pitch dark down there, with no light burning.
When milking time came, he shouted—
"Drip, drap, drop, Will the milking soon stop?"
but the sound of the milk trickling into the pail prevented his voice being heard.
Not long afterwards the master came into the shed, and said:
"I will have that cow killed to-morrow."
This put Tom Thumb into a great fright, and he called out loudly:
"Please let me out, here I am inside."
This the master heard plainly enough, but could not make out where the voice came from.
"Where are you?" he inquired.
"In the black cow," was the reply.
However, the master could not understand what was meant, and so went away.
The following morning the cow was killed, but fortunately in the cutting up the knife did not touch Tom Thumb, who was put aside with the meat that was to be made into sausages.
When the butcher began chopping, he cried as loudly as he could—
"Don't chop far, I am down beneath," but the chopper made so much noise, that he attracted no attention.
It was indeed a terrible situation for poor Tom. But being in danger brightens one's wits, and he sprang so nimbly, this way and that, keeping clear of the chopper, that not a blow struck him, and he did not get even a scratch.
However, he could not escape, there was no help for it, he was forced into a skin with the sausage meat, so was compelled to make himself as comfortable as might be. It was very close quarters, and besides that, the sausages were suspended to smoke in the chimney, which was by no means entertaining, and the time passed slowly.
When winter came, he was taken down for a guest's meal, and while the hostess was slicing the sausage he had to be on his guard, lest if he stretched out his head it might be cut off.
Watching his opportunity, at last he was able to jump out of the sausage, and right glad was he to be once again in the company of his fellow-men.
It was not very long, however, that he stayed in this house, where he had been met by so many misfortunes, and again he set forth on his travels, rejoicing in his freedom, but this did not long continue.
Swiftly running across the field came a fox, who, in an instant, had snapped up poor little Tom.
"Oh, Mr. Fox," called out the little tailor, "it is I who am in your throat; please let me out."
"Certainly," answered Reynard, "you are not a bit better than nothing at all, you don't in the least satisfy me; make me a promise, that I shall have the hens in your father's yard, and you shall regain your liberty."
"Willingly, you shall have all the hens; I make you a faithful promise," responded Tom Thumb.
So the fox coughed and set him free, and himself carried Tom home.
Then when the father had his dear little son once more he gave the fox all his hens, with the greatest of pleasure.
"Here, father, I am bringing you a golden coin from my travels," said the little fellow, and he brought out the ducat the thieves had apportioned to him.
"But how was it that the fox was given all the poor little hens?"
"Foolish little one, don't you think your father would rather have you, than all the hens he ever had in his yard?"
SNOW-WHITE AND ROSE-RED
A poor widow once lived in a little cottage. In front of the cottage was a garden, in which were growing two rose trees; one of these bore white roses, and the other red.
She had two children, who resembled the rose trees. One was called Snow-White, and the other Rose-Red; and they were as religious and loving, busy and untiring, as any two children ever were.
Snow-White was more gentle, and quieter than her sister, who liked better skipping about the fields, seeking flowers, and catching summer birds; while Snow-White stayed at home with her mother, either helping her in her work, or, when that was done, reading aloud.
The two children had the greatest affection the one for the other. They were always seen hand in hand; and should Snow-White say to her sister, "We will never separate," the other would reply, "Not while we live," the mother adding, "That which one has, let her always share with the other."
They constantly ran together in the woods, collecting ripe berries; but not a single animal would have injured them; quite the reverse, they all felt the greatest esteem for the young creatures. The hare came to eat parsley from their hands, the deer grazed by their side, the stag bounded past them unheeding; the birds, likewise, did not stir from the bough, but sang in entire security. No mischance befell them; if benighted in the wood, they lay down on the moss to repose and sleep till the morning; and their mother was satisfied as to their safety, and felt no fear about them.
Once, when they had spent the night in the wood, and the bright sunrise awoke them, they saw a beautiful child, in a snow-white robe, shining like diamonds, sitting close to the spot where they had reposed. She arose when they opened their eyes, and looked kindly at them; but said no word, and passed from their sight into the wood. When the children looked around they saw they had been sleeping on the edge of a precipice, and would surely have fallen over if they had gone forward two steps further in the darkness. Their mother said the beautiful child must have been the angel who keeps watch over good children.
Snow-White and Rose-Red kept their mother's cottage so clean that it gave pleasure only to look in. In summer-time Rose-Red attended to the house, and every morning, before her mother awoke, placed by her bed a bouquet which had in it a rose from each of the rose-trees. In winter-time Snow-White set light to the fire, and put on the kettle, after polishing it until it was like gold for brightness. In the evening, when snow was falling, her mother would bid her bolt the door, and then, sitting by the hearth, the good widow would read aloud to them from a big book while the little girls were spinning. Close by them lay a lamb, and a white pigeon, with its head tucked under its wing, was on a perch behind.
One evening, as they were all sitting cosily together like this, there was a knock at the door, as if someone wished to come in.
"Make haste, Rose-Red!" said her mother; "open the door; it is surely some traveller seeking shelter." Rose-Red accordingly pulled back the bolt, expecting to see some poor man. But it was nothing of the kind; it was a bear, that thrust his big, black head in at the open door. Rose-Red cried out and sprang back, the lamb bleated, the dove fluttered her wings, and Snow-White hid herself behind her mother's bed. The bear began speaking, and said, "Do not be afraid; I will not do you any harm; I am half-frozen and would like to warm myself a little at your fire."
"Poor bear!" the mother replied; "come in and lie by the fire; only be careful that your hair is not burnt." Then she called Snow-White and Rose-Red, telling them that the bear was kind, and would not harm them. They came, as she bade them, and presently the lamb and the dove drew near also without fear.
"Children," begged the bear; "knock some of the snow off my coat." So they brought the broom and brushed the bear's coat quite clean.
After that he stretched himself out in front of the fire, and pleased himself by growling a little, only to show that he was happy and comfortable. Before long they were all quite good friends, and the children began to play with their unlooked-for visitor, pulling his thick fur, or placing their feet on his back, or rolling him over and over. Then they took a slender hazel-twig, using it upon his thick coat, and they laughed when he growled. The bear permitted them to amuse themselves in this way, only occasionally calling out, when it went a little too far, "Children, spare me an inch of life."
When it was night, and all were making ready to go to bed, the widow told the bear, "You may stay here and lie by the hearth, if you like, so that you will be sheltered from the cold and from the bad weather."
The offer was accepted, but when morning came, as the day broke in the east, the two children let him out, and over the snow he went back into the wood.
After this, every evening at the same time the bear came, lay by the fire, and allowed the children to play with him; so they became quite fond of their curious playmate, and the door was not ever bolted in the evening until he had appeared.
When spring-time came, and all around began to look green and bright, one morning the bear said to Snow-White, "Now I must leave you, and all the summer long I shall not be able to come back."
"Where, then, are you going, dear Bear?" asked Snow-White.
"I have to go to the woods to protect my treasure from the bad dwarfs. In winter-time, when the earth is frozen hard, they must remain underground, and cannot make their way through: but now that the sunshine has thawed the earth they can come to the surface, and whatever gets into their hands, or is brought to their caves, seldom, if ever, again sees daylight."
Snow-White was very sad when she said good-bye to the good-natured beast, and unfastened the door, that he might go; but in going out he was caught by a hook in the lintel, and a scrap of his fur being torn, Snow-White thought there was something shining like gold through the rent: but he went out so quickly that she could not feel certain what it was, and soon he was hidden among the trees.
One day the mother sent her children into the wood to pick up sticks. They found a big tree lying on the ground. It had been felled, and towards the roots they noticed something skipping and springing, which they could not make out, as it was sometimes hidden in the grasses. As they came nearer they could see it was a dwarf, with a shrivelled-up face and a snow-white beard an ell long. The beard was fixed in a gash in the tree trunk, and the tiny fellow was hopping to and fro, like a dog at the end of a string, but he could not manage to free himself. He stared at the children with his red, fiery eyes, and called out, "Why are you standing there? Can't you come and try to help me?"
"What were you doing, little fellow?" inquired Rose-Red.
"Stupid, inquisitive goose!" replied the dwarf; "I meant to split the trunk, so that I could chop it up for kitchen sticks; big logs would burn up the small quantity of food we cook, for people like us do not consume great heaps of food, as you heavy, greedy folk do. The bill-hook I had driven in, and soon I should have done what I required; but the tool suddenly sprang from the cleft, which so quickly shut up again that it caught my handsome white beard; and here I must stop, for I cannot set myself free. You stupid pale-faced creatures! You laugh, do you?"
In spite of the dwarf's bad temper, the girls took all possible pains to release the little man, but without avail, the beard could not be moved, it was wedged too tightly.
"I will run and get someone else," said Rose-Red.
"Idiot!" cried the dwarf. "Who would go and get more people? Already there are two too many. Can't you think of something better?"
"Don't be so impatient," said Snow-White. "I will try to think." She clapped her hands as if she had discovered a remedy, took out her scissors, and in a moment set the dwarf free by cutting off the end of his beard.
Immediately the dwarf felt that he was free he seized a sack full of gold that was hidden amongst the tree's roots, and, lifting it up, grumbled out, "Clumsy creatures, to cut off a bit of my beautiful beard, of which I am so proud! I leave the cuckoos to pay you for what you did." Saying this, he swung the sack across his shoulder, and went off, without even casting a glance at the children.
Not long afterwards the two sisters went to angle in the brook, meaning to catch fish for dinner. As they were drawing near the water they perceived something, looking like a large grasshopper, springing towards the stream, as if it were going in. They hurried up to see what it might be, and found that it was the dwarf. "Where are you going?" said Rose-Red. "Surely you will not jump into the water?"
"I'm not such a simpleton as that!" yelled the little man. "Don't you see that a wretch of a fish is pulling me in?"
The dwarf had been sitting angling from the side of the stream when, by ill-luck, the wind had entangled his beard in his line, and just afterwards a big fish taking the bait, the unamiable little fellow had not sufficient strength to pull it out; so the fish had the advantage, and was dragging the dwarf after it. Certainly, he caught at every stalk and spray near him, but that did not assist him greatly; he was forced to follow all the twistings of the fish, and was perpetually in danger of being drawn into the brook.
The girls arrived just in time. They caught hold of him firmly and endeavored to untwist his beard from the line, but in vain; they were too tightly entangled. There was nothing left but again to make use of the scissors; so they were taken out, and the tangled portion was cut off.
When the dwarf noticed what they were about, he exclaimed in a great rage, "Is this how you damage my beard? Not content with making it shorter before, you are now making it still smaller, and completely spoiling it. I shall not ever dare show my face to my friends. I wish you had missed your way before you took this road." Then he fetched a sack of pearls that lay among the rushes, and, not saying another word, hobbled off and disappeared behind a large stone.
Soon after this it chanced that the poor widow sent her children to the town to purchase cotton, needles, ribbon, and tape. The way to the town ran over a common, on which in every direction large masses of rocks were scattered about. The children's attention was soon attracted to a big bird that hovered in the air. They remarked that, after circling slowly for a time, and gradually getting nearer to the ground, it all of a sudden pounced down amongst a mass of rock. Instantly a heartrending cry reached their ears, and, running quickly to the place, they saw, with horror, that the eagle had seized their former acquaintance, the dwarf, and was just about to carry him off. The kind children did not hesitate for an instant. They took a firm hold of the little man, and strove so stoutly with the eagle for possession of his contemplated prey, that, after much rough treatment on both sides, the dwarf was left in the hands of his brave little friends, and the eagle took to flight.
As soon as the little man had in some measure recovered from his alarm, his small squeaky, cracked voice was heard saying, "Couldn't you have held me more gently? See my little coat; you have rent and damaged it in a fine manner, you clumsy, officious things!" Then he picked up a sack of jewels, and slipped out of sight behind a piece of rock.
The maidens by this time were quite used to his ungrateful, ungracious ways; so they took no notice of it, but went on their way, made their purchases, and then were ready to return to their happy home.
On their way back, suddenly, once more they ran across their dwarf friend. Upon a clear space he had turned out his sack of jewels, so that he could count and admire them, for he had not imagined that anybody would at so late an hour be coming across the common.
The setting sun was shining upon the brilliant stones, and their changing hues and sparkling rays caused the children to pause to admire them also.
"What are you gazing at?" cried the dwarf, at the same time becoming red with rage; "and what are you standing there for, making ugly faces?" It is probable that he might have proceeded in the same complimentary manner, but suddenly a great growl was heard near by them, and a big black bear joined the party. Up jumped the dwarf in extremest terror, but could not get to his hiding-place, the bear was too close to him; so he cried out in very evident anguish—
"Dear Mr. Bear, forgive me, I pray! I will render to you all my treasure. Just see those precious stones lying there! Grant me my life! What would you do with such an insignificant little fellow? You would not notice me between your teeth. See, though, those two children, they would be delicate morsels, and are as plump as partridges; I beg of you to take them, good Mr. Bear, and let me go!"
But the bear would not be moved by his speeches. He gave the ill-disposed creature a blow with his paw, and he lay lifeless on the ground.
Meanwhile the maidens were running away, making off for home as well as they could; but all of a sudden they were stopped by a well-known voice that called out, "Snow-White, Rose-Red, stay! Do not fear. I will accompany you."
The bear quickly came towards them, but, as he reached their side, suddenly the bear-skin slipped to the ground, and there before them was standing a handsome man, completely garmented in gold, who said—
"I am a king's son, who was enchanted by the wicked dwarf lying over there. He stole my treasure, and compelled me to roam the woods transformed into a big bear until his death should set me free. Therefore he has only received a well-deserved punishment."
Some time afterwards Snow-White married the Prince, and Rose-Red his brother.
They shared between them the enormous treasure which the dwarf had collected in his cave.
The old mother spent many happy years with her children.
THE THREE LITTLE MEN IN THE WOOD
Once upon a time there lived a man, whose wife had died; and a woman, also, who had lost her husband: and this man and this woman had each a daughter. These two maidens were friendly with each other, and used to walk together, and one day they came by the widow's house. Then the widow said to the man's daughter, "Do you hear, tell your father I wish to marry him, and you shall every morning wash in milk and drink wine, but my daughter shall wash in water and drink water." So the girl went home and told her father what the woman had said, and he replied, "What shall I do? Marriage is a comfort, but it is also a torment." At last, as he could come to no conclusion, he drew off his boot and said: "Take this boot, which has a hole in the sole, and go with it out of doors and hang it on the great nail and then pour water into it. If it holds the water, I will again take a wife; but if it runs through, I will not have her." The girl did as he bid her, but the water drew the hole together and the boot became full to overflowing. So she told her father how it had happened, and he, getting up, saw it was quite true; and going to the widow he settled the matter, and the wedding was celebrated.
The next morning, when the two girls arose, milk to wash in and wine to drink were set for the man's daughter, but only water, both for washing and drinking, for the woman's daughter. The second morning, water for washing and drinking stood before both the man's daughter and the woman's; and on the third morning, water to wash in and water to drink were set before the man's daughter, and milk to wash in and wine to drink before the woman's daughter, and so it continued.
Soon the woman conceived a deadly hatred for her step-daughter, and knew not how to behave badly enough to her from day to day. She was envious, too, because her step-daughter was beautiful and lovely, and her own daughter was ugly and hateful.
Once, in the winter-time, when the river was frozen as hard as a stone, and hill and valley were covered with snow, the woman made a cloak of paper, and called the maiden to her and said, "Put on this cloak, and go away into the wood to fetch me a little basketful of strawberries, for I have a wish for some."
"Mercy on us!" said the maiden, "in winter there are no strawberries growing; the ground is frozen, and the snow, too, has covered everything. And why must I go in that paper cloak? It is so cold out of doors that it freezes one's breath even, and if the wind does not blow off this cloak, the thorns will tear it from my body."
"Will you dare to contradict me?" said the step-mother. "Make haste off, and let me not see you again until you have found me a basket of strawberries." Then she gave her a small piece of dry bread, saying, "On that you must subsist the whole day." But she thought—out of doors she will be frozen and starved, so that my eyes will never see her again!
So the girl did as she was told, and put on the paper cloak, and went away with the basket. Far and near there was nothing but snow, and not a green blade was to be seen. When she came to the forest she discovered a little cottage, out of which three little Dwarfs were peeping. The girl wished them good morning, and knocked gently at the door. They called her in, and entering the room, she sat down on a bench by the fire to warm herself, and eat her breakfast. The Dwarfs called out, "Give us some of it!" "Willingly," she replied, and, dividing her bread in two, she gave them half. They asked, "What do you here in the forest, in the winter-time, in this thin cloak?"
"Ah!" she answered, "I must, seek a basketful of strawberries, and I dare not return home until I can take them with me." When she had eaten her bread, they gave her a broom, saying, "Sweep away the snow with this from the back door." But when she was gone out of doors the three Dwarfs said one to another, "What shall we give her, because she is so gentle and good, and has shared her bread with us?" Then said the first, "I grant to her that she shall become more beautiful every day." The second said, "I grant that a piece of gold shall fall out of her mouth for every word she speaks." The third said, "I grant that a King shall come and make her his bride."
Meanwhile, the girl had done as the Dwarf had bidden her, and had swept away the snow from behind the house. And what do you think she found there? Actually, ripe strawberries! which came quite red and sweet up under the snow. So filling her basket in great glee, she thanked the little men and gave them each her hand, and then ran home to take her step-mother what she wished for. As she went in and said "Good evening," a piece of gold fell from her mouth. Thereupon she related what had happened to her in the forest; but at every word she spoke a piece of gold fell, so that the whole floor was covered.
"Just see her arrogance," said the step-sister, "to throw away money in that way!" but in her heart she was jealous, and wished to go into the forest, too, to seek strawberries. Her mother said, "No, my dear daughter; it is too cold, you will be frozen!" but as her girl let her have no peace, she at last consented, and made her a beautiful fur cloak to put on; she also gave her buttered bread and cooked meat to eat on her way.
The girl went into the forest and came straight to the little cottage. The three Dwarfs were peeping out again, but she did not greet them; and, stumbling on without looking at them, or speaking, she entered the room, and, seating herself by the fire, began to eat the bread and butter and meat. "Give us some of that," exclaimed the Dwarfs; but she answered, "I have not got enough for myself, so how can I give any away?" When she had finished they said, "You have a broom there, go and sweep the back door clean." "Oh, sweep it yourself," she replied; "I am not your servant." When she saw that they would not give her anything she went out at the door, and the three Dwarfs said to each other, "What shall we give her? She is so ill-behaved, and has such a bad and envious disposition, that nobody can wish well to her." The first said, "I grant that she becomes more ugly every day." The second said, "I grant that at every word she speaks a toad shall spring out of her mouth." The third said, "I grant that she shall die a miserable death." Meanwhile the girl had been looking for strawberries out of doors, but as she could find none she went home very peevish. When she opened her mouth to tell her mother what had happened to her in the forest, a toad jumped out of her mouth at each word, so that every one fled away from her in horror.
The step-mother was now still more vexed, and was always thinking how she could do the most harm to her husband's daughter, who every day became more beautiful. At last she took a kettle, set it on the fire, and boiled a net therein. When it was sodden she hung it on the shoulder of the poor girl, and gave her an axe, that she might go upon the frozen pond and cut a hole in the ice to drag the net. She obeyed, and went away and cut an ice-hole; and while she was cutting, an elegant carriage came by, in which the King sat. The carriage stopped, and the King asked, "My child, who are you? and what do you here?" "I am a poor girl, and am dragging a net," said she. Then the King pitied her, and saw how beautiful she was, and said, "Will you go with me?" "Yes, indeed, with all my heart," she replied, for she was glad to get out of the sight of her mother and sister.
So she was handed into the carriage, and driven away with the King; and as soon as they arrived at his castle the wedding was celebrated with great splendor, as the Dwarfs had granted to the maiden. After a year the young Queen bore a son; and when the step-mother heard of her great good fortune, she came to the castle with her daughter, and behaved as if she had come on a visit. But one day when the King had gone out, and no one was present, this bad woman seized the Queen by the head, and her daughter caught hold of her feet, and raising her out of bed, they threw her out of the window into the river which ran past. Then, laying her ugly daughter in the bed, the old woman covered her up, even over her head; and when the King came back he wished to speak to his wife, but the old woman exclaimed, "Softly! softly! do not go near her; she is lying in a beautiful sleep, and must be kept quiet to-day." The King, not thinking of an evil design, came again the next morning the first thing; and when he spoke to his wife, and she answered, a toad sprang out of her mouth at every word, as a piece of gold had done before. So he asked what had happened, and the old woman said, "That is produced by her weakness, she will soon lose it again."
But in the night the kitchen-boy saw a Duck swimming through the brook, and the Duck asked:
"King, King, what are you doing? Are you sleeping, or are you waking?"
And as he gave no answer, the Duck said:
"What are my guests a-doing?"
Then the boy answered:
"They all sleep sound."
And she asked him:
"How fares my child?"
And he replied:
"In his cradle he sleeps."
Then she came up in the form of the Queen to the cradle, and gave the child drink, shook up his bed, and covered him up, and then swam away again as a duck through the brook. The second night she came again; and on the third she said to the kitchen-boy, "Go and tell the King to take his sword, and swing it thrice over me, on the threshold." Then the boy ran and told the King, who came with his sword, and swung it thrice over the Duck; and at the third time his bride stood before him, bright, living, and healthful, as she had been before.
Now the King was in great happiness, but he hid the Queen in a chamber until the Sunday when the child was to be christened; and when all was finished he asked, "What ought to be done to one who takes another out of a bed and throws her into the river?" "Nothing could be more proper," said the old woman, "than to put such a one into a cask, stuck round with nails, and to roll it down the hill into the water." Then the King said, "You have spoken your own sentence"; and ordering a cask to be fetched, he caused the old woman and her daughter to be put into it, and the bottom nailed up. Then the cask was rolled down the hill until it fell into the water.
There was once a poor Miller who had a beautiful daughter, and one day, having to go to speak with the King, he said, in order to make himself appear of consequence, that he had a daughter who could spin straw into gold. The King was very fond of gold, and thought to himself, "That is an art which would please me very well"; and so he said to the Miller, "If your daughter is so very clever, bring her to the castle in the morning, and I will put her to the proof."
As soon as she arrived the King led her into a chamber which was full of straw; and, giving her a wheel and a reel, he said, "Now set yourself to work, and if you have not spun this straw into gold by an early hour to-morrow, you must die." With these words he shut the room door, and left the maiden alone.
There she sat for a long time, thinking how to save her life; for she understood nothing of the art whereby straw might be spun into gold; and her perplexity increased more and more, till at last she began to weep. All at once the door opened, and in stepped a little Man, who said, "Good evening, fair maiden; why do you weep so sore?" "Ah," she replied, "I must spin this straw into gold, and I am sure I do not know how."
The little Man asked, "What will you give me if I spin it for you?"
"My necklace," said the maiden.
The Dwarf took it, placed himself in front of the wheel, and whirr, whirr, whirr, three times round, and the bobbin was full. Then he set up another, and whir, whir, whir, thrice round again, and a second bobbin was full; and so he went all night long, until all the straw was spun, and the bobbins were full of gold. At sunrise the King came, very much astonished to see the gold; the sight of which gladdened him, but did not make his heart less covetous. He caused the maiden to be led into another room, still larger, full of straw; and then he bade her spin it into gold during the night if she valued her life. The maiden was again quite at a loss what to do; but while she cried the door opened suddenly, as before, and the Dwarf appeared and asked her what she would give him in return for his assistance. "The ring off my finger," she replied. The little Man took the ring and began to spin at once, and by morning all the straw was changed to glistening gold. The King was rejoiced above measure at the sight of this, but still he was not satisfied, but, leading the maiden into another still larger room, full of straw as the others, he said, "This you must spin during the night; but if you accomplish it you shall be my bride." "For," thought he to himself, "a richer wife thou canst not have in all the world."
When the maiden was left alone, the Dwarf again appeared and asked, for the third time, "What will you give me to do this for you?"
"I have nothing left that I can give you," replied the maiden.
"Then promise me your first-born child if you become Queen," said he.
The Miller's daughter thought, "Who can tell if that will ever happen?" and, ignorant how else to help herself out of her trouble, she promised the Dwarf what he desired; and he immediately set about and finished the spinning. When morning came, and the King found all he had wished for done, he celebrated his wedding, and the Miller's fair daughter became Queen.
The gay times she had at the King's Court caused her to forget that she had made a very foolish promise.
About a year after the marriage, when she had ceased to think about the little Dwarf, she brought a fine child into the world; and, suddenly, soon after its birth, the very man appeared and demanded what she had promised. The frightened Queen offered him all the riches of the kingdom if he would leave her her child; but the Dwarf answered, "No; something human is dearer to me than all the wealth of the world."
The Queen began to weep and groan so much that the Dwarf pitied her, and said, "I will leave you three days to consider; if you in that time discover my name you shall keep your child."
All night long the Queen racked her brains for all the names she could think of, and sent a messenger through the country to collect far and wide any new names. The following morning came the Dwarf, and she began with "Caspar," "Melchior," "Balthassar," and all the odd names she knew; but at each the little Man exclaimed, "That is not my name." The second day the Queen inquired of all her people for uncommon and curious names, and called the Dwarf "Ribs-of-Beef," "Sheep-shank," "Whalebone," but at each he said, "This is not my name." The third day the messenger came back and said, "I have not found a single name; but as I came to a high mountain near the edge of a forest, where foxes and hares say good night to each other, I saw there a little house, and before the door a fire was burning, and round this fire a very curious little Man was dancing on one leg, and shouting:
"'To-day I stew, and then I'll bake, To-morrow I shall the Queen's child take; Ah! how famous it is that nobody knows That my name is Rumpelstiltskin.'"
When the Queen heard this she was very glad, for now she knew the name; and soon after came the Dwarf, and asked, "Now, my lady Queen, what is my name?"
First she said, "Are you called Conrade?" "No."
"Are you called Hal?" "No."
"Are you called Rumpelstiltskin?"
"A witch has told you! a witch has told you!" shrieked the little Man, and stamped his right foot so hard in the ground with rage that he could not draw it out again. Then he took hold of his left leg with both his hands, and pulled away so hard that his right came off in the struggle, and he hopped away howling terribly. And from that day to this the Queen has heard no more of her troublesome visitor.
LITTLE ONE-EYE, TWO-EYES AND THREE-EYES
Once upon a time there was a Woman, who had three daughters, the eldest of whom was named One-Eye, because she had but a single eye, and that placed in the middle of her forehead; the second was called Two-Eyes, because she was like other mortals; and the third, Three-Eyes, because she had three eyes, and one of them in the centre of her forehead, like her eldest sister. But, because her second sister had nothing out of the common in her appearance, she was looked down upon by her sisters, and despised by her mother. "You are no better than common folk," they would say to her; "you do not belong to us"; and then they would push her about, give her coarse clothing, and nothing to eat but their leavings, besides numerous other insults as occasion offered.
Once it happened that Two-Eyes had to go into the forest to tend the goat; and she went very hungry, because her sisters had given her very little to eat that morning. She sat down upon a hillock, and cried so much that her tears flowed almost like rivers out of her eyes! By and by she looked up and saw a Woman standing by, who asked, "Why are you weeping, Two-Eyes?" "Because I have two eyes like ordinary people," replied the maiden, "and therefore my mother and sisters dislike me, push me into corners, throw me their old clothes, and give me nothing to eat but what they leave. To-day they have given me so little that I am still hungry." "Dry your eyes, then, now," said the wise Woman; "I will tell you something which shall prevent you from being hungry again. You must say to your goat:
"'Little kid, milk Table, appear!'
"and immediately a nicely filled table will stand before you, with delicate food upon it, of which you can eat as much as you please. And when you are satisfied, and have done with the table, you must say:
'Little kid, milk Table, depart!'
"and it will disappear directly."
With these words the wise Woman went away, and little Two-Eyes thought to herself she would try at once if what the Woman said were true, for she felt very hungry indeed.
"Little kid, milk Table, appear!"
said the maiden, and immediately a table covered with a white cloth stood before her, with a knife and fork, and silver spoon; and the most delicate dishes were ranged in order upon it, and everything as warm as if they had been just taken away from the fire. Two-Eyes said a short grace, and then began to eat; and when she had finished she pronounced the words which the wise Woman had told her:
"Little kid, milk Table, depart!"
and directly the table and all that was on it quickly disappeared. "This is capital housekeeping," said the maiden, in high glee; and at evening she went home with her goat, and found an earthen dish which her sisters had left her filled with their leavings. She did not touch it; and the next morning she went off again without taking the meagre breakfast which was left out for her. The first and second time she did this the sisters thought nothing of it; but when she did the same the third morning their attention was roused, and they said, "All is not right with Two-Eyes, for she has left her meals twice, and has touched nothing of what was left for her; she must have found some other way of living." So they determined that One-Eye should go with the maiden when she drove the goat to the meadow and pay attention to what passed, and observe whether any one brought her to eat or to drink.
When Two-Eyes, therefore, was about to set off, One-Eye told her she was going with her to see whether she took proper care of the goat and fed her sufficiently. Two-Eyes, however, divined her sister's object, and drove the goat where the grass was finest, and then said, "Come, One-Eye, let us sit down, and I will sing to you." So One-Eye sat down, for she was quite tired with her unusual walk and the heat of the sun.
"Are you awake or asleep, One-Eye? Are you awake or asleep?"
sang Two-Eyes, until her sister really went to sleep. As soon as she was quite sound, the maiden had her table out, and ate and drank all she needed; and by the time One-Eye woke again the table had disappeared, and the maiden said to her sister, "Come, we will go home now; while you have been sleeping the goat might have run about all over the world." So they went home, and after Two-Eyes had left her meal untouched, the mother inquired of One-Eye what she had seen, and she was obliged to confess that she had been asleep.
The following morning the mother told Three-Eyes that she must go out and watch Two-Eyes, and see who brought her food, for it was certain that some one must. So Three-Eyes told her sister that she was going to accompany her that morning to see if she took care of the goat and fed her well; but Two-Eyes saw through her design, and drove the goat again to the best feeding-place. Then she asked her sister to sit down and she would sing to her, and Three-Eyes did so, for she was very tired with her long walk in the heat of the sun. Then Two-Eyes began to sing as before:
"Are you awake, Three-Eyes?"
but, instead of continuing as she should have done,
"Are you asleep, Three-Eyes?"
she said by mistake,
"Are you asleep, Two-Eyes?"
and so went on singing:
"Are you awake, Three-Eyes?" "Are you asleep, Two-Eyes?"
By and by Three-Eyes closed two of her eyes, and went to sleep with them; but the third eye, which was not spoken to, kept open. Three-Eyes, however, cunningly shut it too, and feigned to be asleep, while she was really watching; and soon Two-Eyes, thinking all safe, repeated the words:
"Little kid, milk Table, appear!"
and as soon as she was satisfied she said the old words:
"Little kid, milk Table, depart!"
Three-Eyes watched all these proceedings; and presently Two-Eyes came and awoke her, saying, "Ah, sister! you are a good watcher, but come, let us go home now." When they reached home Two-Eyes again ate nothing; and her sister told her mother she knew now why the haughty hussy would not eat their victuals. "When she is out in the meadow," said her sister, "she says:
"'Little kid, milk Table, appear!'
"and, directly, a table comes up laid out with meat and wine, and everything of the best, much better than we have; and as soon as she has had enough she says:
"'Little kid, milk Table, depart!'
"and all goes away directly, as I clearly saw. Certainly she did put to sleep two of my eyes, but the one in the middle of my forehead luckily kept awake!"
"Will you have better things than we?" cried the envious mother; "then you shall lose the chance"; and so saying, she took a carving-knife and killed the goat dead.
As soon as Two-Eyes saw this she went out, very sorrowful, to the old spot and sat down where she had sat before to weep bitterly. All at once the wise Woman stood in front of her again, and asked why she was crying. "Must I not cry," replied she, "when the goat which used to furnish me every day with a dinner, according to your promise, has been killed by my mother, and I am again suffering hunger and thirst?" "Two-Eyes," said the wise Woman, "I will give you a piece of advice. Beg your sisters to give you the entrails of the goat, and bury them in the earth before the house door, and your fortune will be made." So saying, she disappeared, and Two-Eyes went home, and said to her sisters, "Dear sisters, do give me some part of the slain kid; I desire nothing else—let me have the entrails." The sisters laughed and readily gave them to her; and she buried them secretly before the threshold of the door, as the wise Woman had bidden her.
The following morning they found in front of the house a wonderfully beautiful tree, with leaves of silver and fruits of gold hanging from the boughs, than which nothing more splendid could be seen in the world. The two elder sisters were quite ignorant how the tree came where it stood; but Two-Eyes perceived that it was produced by the goat's entrails, for it stood on the exact spot where she had buried them. As soon as the mother saw it she told One-Eye to break off some of the fruit. One-Eye went up to the tree, and pulled a bough toward her, to pluck off the fruit; but the bough flew back again directly out of her hands; and so it did every time she took hold of it, till she was forced to give up, for she could not obtain a single golden apple in spite of all her endeavors. Then the mother said to Three-Eyes, "Do you climb up, for you can see better with your three eyes than your sister with her one." Three-Eyes, however, was not more fortunate than her sister, for the golden apples flew back as soon as she touched them. At last the mother got so impatient that she climbed the tree herself; but she met with no more success than either of her daughters, and grasped the air only when she thought she had the fruit. Two-Eyes now thought she would try, and said to her sisters, "Let me get up, perhaps I may be successful." "Oh, you are very likely indeed," said they, "with your two eyes: you will see well, no doubt!" So Two-Eyes climbed the tree, and directly she touched the boughs the golden apples fell into her hands, so that she plucked them as fast as she could, and filled her apron before she went down. Her mother took them of her, but returned her no thanks; and the two sisters, instead of treating Two-Eyes better than they had done, were only the more envious of her, because she alone could gather the fruit—in fact, they treated her worse.
One morning, not long after the springing up of the apple-tree, the three sisters were all standing together beneath it, when in the distance a young Knight was seen riding toward them. "Make haste, Two-Eyes!" exclaimed the two elder sisters; "make haste, and creep out of our way, that we may not be ashamed of you"; and so saying, they put over her in great haste an empty cask which stood near, and which covered the golden apples as well, which she had just been plucking. Soon the Knight came up to the tree, and the sisters saw he was a very handsome man, for he stopped to admire the fine silver leaves and golden fruit, and presently asked to whom the tree belonged, for he should like to have a branch off it. One-Eye and Three-Eyes replied that the tree belonged to them; and they tried to pluck a branch off for the Knight. They had their trouble for nothing, however, for the boughs and fruit flew back as soon as they touched them. "This is very wonderful." cried the Knight, "that this tree should belong to you, and yet you cannot pluck the fruit!" The sisters, however, maintained that it was theirs; but while they spoke Two-Eyes rolled a golden apple from underneath the cask, so that it travelled to the feet of the Knight, for she was angry, because her sisters had not spoken the truth. When he saw the apple he was astonished, and asked where it came from; and One-Eye and Three-Eyes said they had another sister, but they dared not let her be seen, because she had only two eyes, like common folk! The Knight, however, would see her, and called, "Two-Eyes, come here!" and soon she made her appearance from under the cask. The Knight was bewildered at her great beauty, and said, "You, Two-Eyes, can surely break off a bough of this tree for me?" "Yes," she replied, "that I will, for it is my property"; and climbing up, she easily broke off a branch with silver leaves and golden fruit, which she handed to the Knight. "What can I give you in return, Two-Eyes?" asked the Knight. "Alas! if you will take me with you I shall be happy, for now I suffer hunger and thirst, and am in trouble and grief from early morning to late evening; take me, and save me!" Thereupon the Knight raised Two-Eyes upon his saddle, and took her home to his father's castle. There he gave her beautiful clothes, and all she wished for to eat or to drink; and afterward, because his love for her had become so great, he married her, and a very happy wedding they had.
Her two sisters, meanwhile, were very jealous when Two-Eyes was carried off by the Knight; but they consoled themselves by saying, "The wonderful tree remains still for us; and even if we cannot get at the fruit, everybody that passes will stop to look at it, and then come and praise it to us. Who knows where our wheat may bloom?" The morning after this speech, however, the tree disappeared, and with it all their hopes; but when Two-Eyes that same day looked out of her chamber window, behold, the tree stood before it, and there remained!
For a long time after this occurrence Two-Eyes lived in the enjoyment of the greatest happiness; and one morning two poor women came to the palace and begged an alms. Two-Eyes, after looking narrowly at their faces, recognized her two sisters, One-Eye and Three-Eyes, who had come to such great poverty that they were forced to wander about, begging their bread from day to day. Two-Eyes, however, bade them welcome, invited them in, and took care of them, till they both repented of their evil which they had done to their sister in the days of their childhood.