'If your son is as wonderfully clever as you say, and if there is nothing in the world that he cannot do, let him build a magnificent castle, just opposite my palace windows, in four and twenty hours. The palace must be joined together by a bridge of pure crystal. On each side of the bridge there must be growing trees, having golden and silver apples, and with birds of Paradise among the branches. At the right of the bridge there must be a church, with five golden cupolas; in this church your son shall be wedded to my daughter, and we will keep the wedding festivities in the new castle. But if he fails to execute this my royal command, then, as a just but mild monarch, I shall give orders that you and he are taken, and first dipped in tar and then in feathers, and you shall be executed in the market-place for the entertainment of my courtiers.'
And a smile played round the King's lips as he finished speaking, and his courtiers and counsellors shook with laughter when they thought of the old woman's folly, and praised the King's wise device, and said to each other, 'What a joke it will be when we see the pair of them tarred and feathered! The son is just as able to grow a beard on the palm of his hand as to execute such a task in twenty-four hours.'
Now the poor old woman was mortally afraid and, in a trembling voice she asked:
'Is that really your royal will, O King? Must I take this order to my poor son?'
'Yes, old dame; such is my command. If your son carries out my order, he shall be rewarded with my daughter; but if he fails, away to the tar-barrel and the stake with you both!'
On her way home the poor old woman shed bitter tears, and when she saw Martin she told him what the King had said, and sobbed out:
'Didn't I tell you, my son, that you should marry someone of your own rank? It would have been better for us this day if you had. As I told you, my going to Court has been as much as our lives are worth, and now we will both be tarred and feathered, and burnt in the public market-place. It is terrible!' and she moaned and cried.
'Never fear, little mother,' answered Martin; 'trust me, and you will see all will be well. You may go to sleep with a quiet mind.'
And, stepping to the front of the hut, Martin threw his ring from the palm of one hand into the other, upon which twelve youths instantly appeared, and demanded what he wanted them to do. Then he told them the King's commands, and they answered that by next morning all should be accomplished exactly as the King had ordered.
Next morning when the King awoke, and looked out of his window, to his amazement he beheld a magnificent castle, just opposite his own palace, and joined to it a bridge of pure crystal.
At each side of the bridge trees were growing, from whose branches hung golden and silver apples, among which birds of Paradise perched. At the right, gleaming in the sun, were the five golden cupolas of a splendid church, whose bells rang out, as if they would summon people from all corners of the earth to come and behold the wonder. Now, though the King would much rather have seen his future son-in-law tarred, feathered, and burnt at the stake, he remembered his royal oath, and had to make the best of a bad business. So he took heart of grace, and made Martin a Duke, and gave his daughter a rich dowry, and prepared the grandest wedding-feast that had ever been seen, so that to this day the old people in the country still talk of it.
After the wedding Martin and his royal bride went to dwell in the magnificent new palace, and here Martin lived in the greatest comfort and luxury, such luxury as he had never imagined. But though he was as happy as the day was long, and as merry as a grig, the King's daughter fretted all day, thinking of the indignity that had been done her in making her marry Martin, the poor widow's son, instead of a rich young Prince from a foreign country. So unhappy was she that she spent all her time wondering how she should get rid of her undesirable husband. And first she determined to learn the secret of his power, and, with flattering, caressing words, she tried to coax him to tell her how he was so clever that there was nothing in the world that he could not do. At first he would tell her nothing; but once, when he was in a yielding mood, she approached him with a winning smile on her lovely face, and, speaking flattering words to him, she gave him a potion to drink, with a sweet, strong taste. And when he had drunk it Martin's lips were unsealed, and he told her that all his power lay in the magic ring that he wore on his finger, and he described to her how to use it, and, still speaking, he fell into a deep sleep. And when she saw that the potion had worked, and that he was sound asleep, the Princess took the magic ring from his finger, and, going into the courtyard, she threw it from the palm of one hand into the other.
On the instant the twelve youths appeared, and asked her what she commanded them to do. Then she told them that by the next morning they were to do away with the castle, and the bridge, and the church, and put in their stead the humble hut in which Martin used to live with his mother, and that while he slept her husband was to be carried to his old lowly room; and that they were to bear her away to the utmost ends of the earth, where an old King lived who would make her welcome in his palace, and surround her with the state that befitted a royal Princess.
'You shall be obeyed,' answered the twelve youths at the same moment. And lo and behold! the following morning, when the King awoke and looked out of his window he beheld to his amazement that the palace, bridge, church, and trees had all vanished, and there was nothing in their place but a bare, miserable-looking hut.
Immediately the King sent for his son-in-law, and commanded him to explain what had happened. But Martin looked at his royal father-in-law, and answered never a word. Then the King was very angry, and, calling a council together, he charged Martin with having been guilty of witchcraft, and of having deceived the King, and having made away with the Princess; and he was condemned to imprisonment in a high stone tower, with neither meat nor drink, till he should die of starvation.
Then, in the hour of his dire necessity, his old friends Schurka (the dog) and Waska (the cat) remembered how Martin had once saved them from a cruel death; and they took counsel together as to how they should help him. And Schurka growled, and was of opinion that he would like to tear everyone in pieces; but Waska purred meditatively, and scratched the back of her ear with a velvet paw, and remained lost in thought. At the end of a few minutes she had made up her mind, and, turning to Schurka, said: 'Let us go together into the town, and the moment we meet a baker you must make a rush between his legs and upset the tray from off his head; I will lay hold of the rolls, and will carry them off to our master.' No sooner said than done. Together the two faithful creatures trotted off into the town, and very soon they met a baker bearing a tray on his head, and looking round on all sides, while he cried:
'Fresh rolls, sweet cake, Fancy bread of every kind. Come and buy, come and take, Sure you'll find it to your mind,'
At that moment Schurka made a rush between his legs—the baker stumbled, the tray was upset, the rolls fell to the ground, and, while the man angrily pursued Schurka, Waska managed to drag the rolls out of sight behind a bush. And when a moment later Schurka joined her, they set off at full tilt to the stone tower where Martin was a prisoner, taking the rolls with them. Waska, being very agile, climbed up by the outside to the grated window, and called in an anxious voice:
'Are you alive, master?'
'Scarcely alive—almost starved to death,' answered Martin in a weak voice. 'I little thought it would come to this, that I should die of hunger.'
'Never fear, dear master. Schurka and I will look after you,' said Waska. And in another moment she had climbed down and brought him back a roll, and then another, and another, till she had brought him the whole tray-load. Upon which she said: 'Dear master, Schurka and I are going off to a distant kingdom at the utmost ends of the earth to fetch you back your magic ring. You must be careful that the rolls last till our return.'
And Waska took leave of her beloved master, and set off with Schurka on their journey. On and on they travelled, looking always to right and left for traces of the Princess, following up every track, making inquiries of every cat and dog they met, listening to the talk of every wayfarer they passed; and at last they heard that the kingdom at the utmost ends of the earth where the twelve youths had borne the Princess was not very far off. And at last one day they reached that distant kingdom, and, going at once to the palace, they began to make friends with all the dogs and cats in the place, and to question them about the Princess and the magic ring; but no one could tell them much about either. Now one day it chanced that Waska had gone down to the palace cellar to hunt for mice and rats, and seeing an especially fat, well-fed mouse, she pounced upon it, buried her claws in its soft fur, and was just going to gobble it up, when she was stopped by the pleading tones of the little creature, saying, 'If you will only spare my life I may be of great service to you. I will do everything in my power for you; for I am the King of the Mice, and if I perish the whole race will die out.'
'So be it,' said Waska. 'I will spare your life; but in return you must do something for me. In this castle there lives a Princess, the wicked wife of my dear master. She has stolen away his magic ring. You must get it away from her at whatever cost; do you hear? Till you have done this I won't take my claws out of your fur.'
'Good!' replied the mouse; 'I will do what you ask.' And, so saying, he summoned all the mice in his kingdom together. A countless number of mice, small and big, brown and grey, assembled, and formed a circle round their king, who was a prisoner under Waska's claws. Turning to them he said: 'Dear and faithful subjects, who ever among you will steal the magic ring from the strange Princess will release me from a cruel death; and I shall honour him above all the other mice in the kingdom.'
Instantly a tiny mouse stepped forward and said: 'I often creep about the Princess's bedroom at night, and I have noticed that she has a ring which she treasures as the apple of her eye. All day she wears it on her finger, and at night she keeps it in her mouth. I will undertake, sire, to steal away the ring for you.'
And the tiny mouse tripped away into the bedroom of the Princess, and waited for nightfall; then, when the Princess had fallen asleep, it crept up on to her bed, and gnawed a hole in the pillow, through which it dragged one by one little down feathers, and threw them under the Princess's nose. And the fluff flew into the Princess's nose, and into her mouth, and starting up she sneezed and coughed, and the ring fell out of her mouth on to the coverlet. In a flash the tiny mouse had seized it, and brought it to Waska as a ransom for the King of the Mice. Thereupon Waska and Schurka started off, and travelled night and day till they reached the stone tower where Martin was imprisoned; and the cat climbed up the window, and called out to him:
'Martin, dear master, are you still alive?'
'Ah! Waska, my faithful little cat, is that you?' replied a weak voice. 'I am dying of hunger. For three days I have not tasted food.'
'Be of good heart, dear master,' replied Waska; 'from this day forth you will know nothing but happiness and prosperity. If this were a moment to trouble you with riddles, I would make you guess what Schurka and I have brought you back. Only think, we have got you your ring!'
At these words Martin's joy knew no bounds, and he stroked her fondly, and she rubbed up against him and purred happily, while below Schurka bounded in the air, and barked joyfully. Then Martin took the ring, and threw it from one hand into the other, and instantly the twelve youths appeared and asked what they were to do.
'Fetch me first something to eat and drink, as quickly as possible; and after that bring musicians hither, and let us have music all day long.'
Now when the people in the town and palace heard music coming from the tower they were filled with amazement, and came to the King with the news that witchcraft must be going on in Martin's Tower, for, instead of dying of starvation, he was seemingly making merry to the sound of music, and to the clatter of plates, and glass, and knives and forks; and the music was so enchantingly sweet that all the passers-by stood still to listen to it. On this the King sent at once a messenger to the Starvation Tower, and he was so astonished with what he saw that he remained rooted to the spot. Then the King sent his chief counsellors, and they too were transfixed with wonder. At last the King came himself, and he likewise was spellbound by the beauty of the music.
Then Martin summoned the twelve youths, spoke to them, saying, 'Build up my castle again, and join it to the King's Palace with a crystal bridge; do not forget the trees with the golden and silver apples, and with the birds of Paradise in the branches; and put back the church with the five cupolas, and let the bells ring out, summoning the people from the four corners of the kingdom. And one thing more: bring back my faithless wife, and lead her into the women's chamber.'
And it was all done as he commanded, and, leaving the Starvation Tower, he took the King, his father-in-law, by the arm, and led him into the new palace, where the Princess sat in fear and trembling, awaiting her death. And Martin spoke to the King, saying, 'King and royal father, I have suffered much at the hands of your daughter. What punishment shall be dealt to her?'
Then the mild King answered: 'Beloved Prince and son-in-law, if you love me, let your anger be turned to grace—forgive my daughter, and restore her to your heart and favour.'
And Martin's heart was softened and he forgave his wife, and they lived happily together ever after. And his old mother came and lived with him, and he never parted with Schurka and Waska; and I need hardly tell you that he never again let the ring out of his possession.
THE FLOWER QUEEN'S DAUGHTER(23)
(23) From the Bukowinaer. Von Wliolocki.
A young Prince was riding one day through a meadow that stretched for miles in front of him, when he came to a deep open ditch. He was turning aside to avoid it, when he heard the sound of someone crying in the ditch. He dismounted from his horse, and stepped along in the direction the sound came from. To his astonishment he found an old woman, who begged him to help her out of the ditch. The Prince bent down and lifted her out of her living grave, asking her at the same time how she had managed to get there.
'My son,' answered the old woman, 'I am a very poor woman, and soon after midnight I set out for the neighbouring town in order to sell my eggs in the market on the following morning; but I lost my way in the dark, and fell into this deep ditch, where I might have remained for ever but for your kindness.'
Then the Prince said to her, 'You can hardly walk; I will put you on my horse and lead you home. Where do you live?'
'Over there, at the edge of the forest in the little hut you see in the distance,' replied the old woman.
The Prince lifted her on to his horse, and soon they reached the hut, where the old woman got down, and turning to the Prince said, 'Just wait a moment, and I will give you something.' And she disappeared into her hut, but returned very soon and said, 'You are a mighty Prince, but at the same time you have a kind heart, which deserves to be rewarded. Would you like to have the most beautiful woman in the world for your wife?'
'Most certainly I would,' replied the Prince.
So the old woman continued, 'The most beautiful woman in the whole world is the daughter of the Queen of the Flowers, who has been captured by a dragon. If you wish to marry her, you must first set her free, and this I will help you to do. I will give you this little bell: if you ring it once, the King of the Eagles will appear; if you ring it twice, the King of the Foxes will come to you; and if you ring it three times, you will see the King of the Fishes by your side. These will help you if you are in any difficulty. Now farewell, and heaven prosper your undertaking.' She handed him the little bell, and there disappeared hut and all, as though the earth had swallowed her up.
Then it dawned on the Prince that he had been speaking to a good fairy, and putting the little bell carefully in his pocket, he rode home and told his father that he meant to set the daughter of the Flower Queen free, and intended setting out on the following day into the wide world in search of the maid.
So the next morning the Prince mounted his fine horse and left his home. He had roamed round the world for a whole year, and his horse had died of exhaustion, while he himself had suffered much from want and misery, but still he had come on no trace of her he was in search of. At last one day he came to a hut, in front of which sat a very old man. The Prince asked him, 'Do you not know where the Dragon lives who keeps the daughter of the Flower Queen prisoner?'
'No, I do not,' answered the old man. 'But if you go straight along this road for a year, you will reach a hut where my father lives, and possibly he may be able to tell you.'
The Prince thanked him for his information, and continued his journey for a whole year along the same road, and at the end of it came to the little hut, where he found a very old man. He asked him the same question, and the old man answered, 'No, I do not know where the Dragon lives. But go straight along this road for another year, and you will come to a hut in which my father lives. I know he can tell you.'
And so the Prince wandered on for another year, always on the same road, and at last reached the hut where he found the third old man. He put the same question to him as he had put to his son and grandson; but this time the old man answered, 'The Dragon lives up there on the mountain, and he has just begun his year of sleep. For one whole year he is always awake, and the next he sleeps. But if you wish to see the Flower Queen's daughter go up the second mountain: the Dragon's old mother lives there, and she has a ball every night, to which the Flower Queen's daughter goes regularly.'
So the Prince went up the second mountain, where he found a castle all made of gold with diamond windows. He opened the big gate leading into the courtyard, and was just going to walk in, when seven dragons rushed on him and asked him what he wanted?
The Prince replied, 'I have heard so much of the beauty and kindness of the Dragon's Mother, and would like to enter her service.'
This flattering speech pleased the dragons, and the eldest of them said, 'Well, you may come with me, and I will take you to the Mother Dragon.'
They entered the castle and walked through twelve splendid halls, all made of gold and diamonds. In the twelfth room they found the Mother Dragon seated on a diamond throne. She was the ugliest woman under the sun, and, added to it all, she had three heads. Her appearance was a great shock to the Prince, and so was her voice, which was like the croaking of many ravens. She asked him, 'Why have you come here?'
The Prince answered at once, 'I have heard so much of your beauty and kindness, that I would very much like to enter your service.'
'Very well,' said the Mother Dragon; 'but if you wish to enter my service, you must first lead my mare out to the meadow and look after her for three days; but if you don't bring her home safely every evening, we will eat you up.'
The Prince undertook the task and led the mare out to the meadow.
But no sooner had they reached the grass than she vanished. The Prince sought for her in vain, and at last in despair sat down on a big stone and contemplated his sad fate. As he sat thus lost in thought, he noticed an eagle flying over his head. Then he suddenly bethought him of his little bell, and taking it out of his pocket he rang it once. In a moment he heard a rustling sound in the air beside him, and the King of the Eagles sank at his feet.
'I know what you want of me,' the bird said. 'You are looking for the Mother Dragon's mare who is galloping about among the clouds. I will summon all the eagles of the air together, and order them to catch the mare and bring her to you.' And with these words the King of the Eagles flew away. Towards evening the Prince heard a mighty rushing sound in the air, and when he looked up he saw thousands of eagles driving the mare before them. They sank at his feet on to the ground and gave the mare over to him. Then the Prince rode home to the old Mother Dragon, who was full of wonder when she saw him, and said, 'You have succeeded to-day in looking after my mare, and as a reward you shall come to my ball to-night.' She gave him at the same time a cloak made of copper, and led him to a big room where several young he-dragons and she-dragons were dancing together. Here, too, was the Flower Queen's beautiful daughter. Her dress was woven out of the most lovely flowers in the world, and her complexion was like lilies and roses. As the Prince was dancing with her he managed to whisper in her ear, 'I have come to set you free!'
Then the beautiful girl said to him, 'If you succeed in bringing the mare back safely the third day, ask the Mother Dragon to give you a foal of the mare as a reward.'
The ball came to an end at midnight, and early next morning the Prince again led the Mother Dragon's mare out into the meadow. But again she vanished before his eyes. Then he took out his little bell and rang it twice.
In a moment the King of the Foxes stood before him and said: 'I know already what you want, and will summon all the foxes of the world together to find the mare who has hidden herself in a hill.'
With these words the King of the Foxes disappeared, and in the evening many thousand foxes brought the mare to the Prince.
Then he rode home to the Mother-Dragon, from whom he received this time a cloak made of silver, and again she led him to the ball-room.
The Flower Queen's daughter was delighted to see him safe and sound, and when they were dancing together she whispered in his ear: 'If you succeed again to-morrow, wait for me with the foal in the meadow. After the ball we will fly away together.'
On the third day the Prince led the mare to the meadow again; but once more she vanished before his eyes. Then the Prince took out his little bell and rang it three times.
In a moment the King of the Fishes appeared, and said to him: 'I know quite well what you want me to do, and I will summon all the fishes of the sea together, and tell them to bring you back the mare, who is hiding herself in a river.'
Towards evening the mare was returned to him, and when he led her home to the Mother Dragon she said to him:
'You are a brave youth, and I will make you my body-servant. But what shall I give you as a reward to begin with?'
The Prince begged for a foal of the mare, which the Mother Dragon at once gave him, and over and above, a cloak made of gold, for she had fallen in love with him because he had praised her beauty.
So in the evening he appeared at the ball in his golden cloak; but before the entertainment was over he slipped away, and went straight to the stables, where he mounted his foal and rode out into the meadow to wait for the Flower Queen's daughter. Towards midnight the beautiful girl appeared, and placing her in front of him on his horse, the Prince and she flew like the wind till they reached the Flower Queen's dwelling. But the dragons had noticed their flight, and woke their brother out of his year's sleep. He flew into a terrible rage when he heard what had happened, and determined to lay siege to the Flower Queen's palace; but the Queen caused a forest of flowers as high as the sky to grow up round her dwelling, through which no one could force a way.
When the Flower Queen heard that her daughter wanted to marry the Prince, she said to him: 'I will give my consent to your marriage gladly, but my daughter can only stay with you in summer. In winter, when everything is dead and the ground covered with snow, she must come and live with me in my palace underground.' The Prince consented to this, and led his beautiful bride home, where the wedding was held with great pomp and magnificence. The young couple lived happily together till winter came, when the Flower Queen's daughter departed and went home to her mother. In summer she returned to her husband, and their life of joy and happiness began again, and lasted till the approach of winter, when the Flower Queen's daughter went back again to her mother. This coming and going continued all her life long, and in spite of it they always lived happily together.
THE FLYING SHIP(24)
(24) From the Russian.
Once upon a time there lived an old couple who had three sons; the two elder were clever, but the third was a regular dunce. The clever sons were very fond of their mother, gave her good clothes, and always spoke pleasantly to her; but the youngest was always getting in her way, and she had no patience with him. Now, one day it was announced in the village that the King had issued a decree, offering his daughter, the Princess, in marriage to whoever should build a ship that could fly. Immediately the two elder brothers determined to try their luck, and asked their parents' blessing. So the old mother smartened up their clothes, and gave them a store of provisions for their journey, not forgetting to add a bottle of brandy. When they had gone the poor Simpleton began to tease his mother to smarten him up and let him start off.
'What would become of a dolt like you?' she answered. 'Why, you would be eaten up by wolves.'
But the foolish youth kept repeating, 'I will go, I will go, I will go!'
Seeing that she could do nothing with him, the mother gave him a crust of bread and a bottle of water, and took no further heed of him.
So the Simpleton set off on his way. When he had gone a short distance he met a little old manikin. They greeted one another, and the manikin asked him where he was going.
'I am off to the King's Court,' he answered. 'He has promised to give his daughter to whoever can make a flying ship.'
'And can you make such a ship?'
'Then why in the world are you going?'
'Can't tell,' replied the Simpleton.
'Well, if that is the case,' said the manikin, 'sit down beside me; we can rest for a little and have something to eat. Give me what you have got in your satchel.'
Now, the poor Simpleton was ashamed to show what was in it. However, he thought it best not to make a fuss, so he opened the satchel, and could scarcely believe his own eyes, for, instead of the hard crust, he saw two beautiful fresh rolls and some cold meat. He shared them with the manikin, who licked his lips and said:
'Now, go into that wood, and stop in front of the first tree, bow three times, and then strike the tree with your axe, fall on your knees on the ground, with your face on the earth, and remain there till you are raised up. You will then find a ship at your side, step into it and fly to the King's Palace. If you meet anyone on the way, take him with you.'
The Simpleton thanked the manikin very kindly, bade him farewell, and went into the road. When he got to the first tree he stopped in front of it, did everything just as he had been told, and, kneeling on the ground with his face to the earth, fell asleep. After a little time he was aroused; he awoke and, rubbing his eyes, saw a ready-made ship at his side, and at once got into it.
And the ship rose and rose, and in another minute was flying through the air, when the Simpleton, who was on the look out, cast his eyes down to the earth and saw a man beneath him on the road, who was kneeling with his ear upon the damp ground.
'Hallo!' he called out, 'what are you doing down there?'
'I am listening to what is going on in the world,' replied the man.
'Come with me in my ship,' said the Simpleton.
So the man was only too glad, and got in beside him; and the ship flew, and flew, and flew through the air, till again from his outlook the Simpleton saw a man on the road below, who was hopping on one leg, while his other leg was tied up behind his ear. So he hailed him, calling out:
'Hallo! what are you doing, hopping on one leg?'
'I can't help it,' replied the man. 'I walk so fast that unless I tied up one leg I should be at the end of the earth in a bound.'
'Come with us on my ship,' he answered; and the man made no objections, but joined them; and the ship flew on, and on, and on, till suddenly the Simpleton, looking down on the road below, beheld a man aiming with a gun into the distance.
'Hallo!' he shouted to him, 'what are you aiming at? As far as eye can see, there is no bird in sight.'
'What would be the good of my taking a near shot?' replied the man; 'I can hit beast or bird at a hundred miles' distance. That is the kind of shot I enjoy.'
'Come into the ship with us,' answered the Simpleton; and the man was only too glad to join them, and he got in; and the ship flew on, farther and farther, till again the Simpleton from his outlook saw a man on the road below, carrying on his back a basket full of bread. And he waved to him, calling out:
'Hallo! where are you going?'
'To fetch bread for my breakfast.'
'Bread? Why, you have got a whole basket-load of it on your back.'
'That's nothing,' answered the man; 'I should finish that in one mouthful.'
'Come along with us in my ship, then.'
And so the glutton joined the party, and the ship mounted again into the air, and flew up and onward, till the Simpleton from his outlook saw a man walking by the shore of a great lake, and evidently looking for something.
'Hallo!' he cried to him,' what are you seeking?
'I want water to drink, I'm so thirsty,' replied the man.
'Well, there's a whole lake in front of you; why don't you drink some of that?'
'Do you call that enough?' answered the other. 'Why, I should drink it up in one gulp.'
'Well, come with us in the ship.'
And so the mighty drinker was added to the company; and the ship flew farther, and even farther, till again the Simpleton looked out, and this time he saw a man dragging a bundle of wood, walking through the forest beneath them.
'Hallo!' he shouted to him, 'why are you carrying wood through a forest?'
'This is not common wood,' answered the other.
'What sort of wood is it, then?' said the Simpleton.
'If you throw it upon the ground,' said the man, 'it will be changed into an army of soldiers.'
'Come into the ship with us, then.'
And so he too joined them; and away the ship flew on, and on, and on, and once more the Simpleton looked out, and this time he saw a man carrying straw upon his back.
'Hallo! Where are you carrying that straw to?'
'To the village,' said the man.
'Do you mean to say there is no straw in the village?'
'Ah! but this is quite a peculiar straw. If you strew it about even in the hottest summer the air at once becomes cold, and snow falls, and the people freeze.'
Then the Simpleton asked him also to join them.
At last the ship, with its strange crew, arrived at the King's Court. The King was having his dinner, but he at once despatched one of his courtiers to find out what the huge, strange new bird could be that had come flying through the air. The courtier peeped into the ship, and, seeing what it was, instantly went back to the King and told him that it was a flying ship, and that it was manned by a few peasants.
Then the King remembered his royal oath; but he made up his mind that he would never consent to let the Princess marry a poor peasant. So he thought and thought, and then said to himself:
'I will give him some impossible tasks to perform; that will be the best way of getting rid of him.' And he there and then decided to despatch one of his courtiers to the Simpleton, with the command that he was to fetch the King the healing water from the world's end before he had finished his dinner.
But while the King was still instructing the courtier exactly what he was to say, the first man of the ship's company, the one with the miraculous power of hearing, had overheard the King's words, and hastily reported them to the poor Simpleton.
'Alas, alas!' he cried; 'what am I to do now? It would take me quite a year, possibly my whole life, to find the water.'
'Never fear,' said his fleet-footed comrade, 'I will fetch what the King wants.'
Just then the courtier arrived, bearing the King's command.
'Tell his Majesty,' said the Simpleton, 'that his orders shall be obeyed; 'and forthwith the swift runner unbound the foot that was strung up behind his ear and started off, and in less than no time had reached the world's end and drawn the healing water from the well.
'Dear me,' he thought to himself, 'that's rather tiring! I'll just rest for a few minutes; it will be some little time yet before the King has got to dessert.' So he threw himself down on the grass, and, as the sun was very dazzling, he closed his eyes, and in a few seconds had fallen sound asleep.
In the meantime all the ship's crew were anxiously awaiting him; the King's dinner would soon be finished, and their comrade had not yet returned. So the man with the marvellous quick hearing lay down and, putting his ear to the ground, listened.
'That's a nice sort of fellow!' he suddenly exclaimed. 'He's lying on the ground, snoring hard!'
At this the marksman seized his gun, took aim, and fired in the direction of the world's end, in order to awaken the sluggard. And a moment later the swift runner reappeared, and, stepping on board the ship, handed the healing water to the Simpleton. So while the King was still sitting at table finishing his dinner news was brought to him that his orders had been obeyed to the letter.
What was to be done now? The King determined to think of a still more impossible task. So he told another courtier to go to the Simpleton with the command that he and his comrades were instantly to eat up twelve oxen and twelve tons of bread. Once more the sharp-eared comrade overheard the King's words while he was still talking to the courtier, and reported them to the Simpleton.
'Alas, alas!' he sighed; 'what in the world shall I do? Why, it would take us a year, possibly our whole lives, to eat up twelve oxen and twelve tons of bread.'
'Never fear,' said the glutton. 'It will scarcely be enough for me, I'm so hungry.'
So when the courtier arrived with the royal message he was told to take back word to the King that his orders should be obeyed. Then twelve roasted oxen and twelve tons of bread were brought alongside of the ship, and at one sitting the glutton had devoured it all.
'I call that a small meal,' he said. 'I wish they'd brought me some more.'
Next, the King ordered that forty casks of wine, containing forty gallons each, were to be drunk up on the spot by the Simpleton and his party. When these words were overheard by the sharp-eared comrade and repeated to the Simpleton, he was in despair.
'Alas, alas!' he exclaimed; 'what is to be done? It would take us a year, possibly our whole lives, to drink so much.'
'Never fear,' said his thirsty comrade. 'I'll drink it all up at a gulp, see if I don't.' And sure enough, when the forty casks of wine containing forty gallons each were brought alongside of the ship, they disappeared down the thirsty comrade's throat in no time; and when they were empty he remarked:
'Why, I'm still thirsty. I should have been glad of two more casks.'
Then the King took counsel with himself and sent an order to the Simpleton that he was to have a bath, in a bath-room at the royal palace, and after that the betrothal should take place. Now the bath-room was built of iron, and the King gave orders that it was to be heated to such a pitch that it would suffocate the Simpleton. And so when the poor silly youth entered the room, he discovered that the iron walls were red hot. But, fortunately, his comrade with the straw on his back had entered behind him, and when the door was shut upon them he scattered the straw about, and suddenly the red-hot walls cooled down, and it became so very cold that the Simpleton could scarcely bear to take a bath, and all the water in the room froze. So the Simpleton climbed up upon the stove, and, wrapping himself up in the bath blankets, lay there the whole night. And in the morning when they opened the door there he lay sound and safe, singing cheerfully to himself.
Now when this strange tale was told to the King he became quite sad, not knowing what he should do to get rid of so undesirable a son-in-law, when suddenly a brilliant idea occurred to him.
'Tell the rascal to raise me an army, now at this instant!' he exclaimed to one of his courtiers. 'Inform him at once of this, my royal will.' And to himself he added, 'I think I shall do for him this time.'
As on former occasions, the quick-eared comrade had overheard the King's command and repeated it to the Simpleton.
'Alas, alas!' he groaned; 'now I am quite done for.'
'Not at all,' replied one of his comrades (the one who had dragged the bundle of wood through the forest). 'Have you quite forgotten me?'
In the meantime the courtier, who had run all the way from the palace, reached the ship panting and breathless, and delivered the King's message.
'Good!' remarked the Simpleton. 'I will raise an army for the King,' and he drew himself up. 'But if, after that, the King refuses to accept me as his son-in-law, I will wage war against him, and carry the Princess off by force.'
During the night the Simpleton and his comrade went, together into a big field, not forgetting to take the bundle of wood with them, which the man spread out in all directions—and in a moment a mighty army stood upon the spot, regiment on regiment of foot and horse soldiers; the bugles sounded and the drums beat, the chargers neighed, and their riders put their lances in rest, and the soldiers presented arms.
In the morning when the King awoke he was startled by these warlike sounds, the bugles and the drums, and the clatter of the horses, and the shouts of the soldiers. And, stepping to the window, he saw the lances gleam in the sunlight and the armour and weapons glitter. And the proud monarch said to himself, 'I am powerless in comparison with this man.' So he sent him royal robes and costly jewels, and commanded him to come to the palace to be married to the Princess. And his son-in-law put on the royal robes, and he looked so grand and stately that it was impossible to recognise the poor Simpleton, so changed was he; and the Princess fell in love with him as soon as ever she saw him.
Never before had so grand a wedding been seen, and there was so much food and wine that even the glutton and the thirsty comrade had enough to eat and drink.
THE SNOW-DAUGHTER AND THE FIRE-SON(25)
(25) From the Bukowinaer Tales and Legends. Von Wliolocki.
There was once upon a time a man and his wife, and they had no children, which was a great grief to them. One winter's day, when the sun was shining brightly, the couple were standing outside their cottage, and the woman was looking at all the little icicles which hung from the roof. She sighed, and turning to her husband said, 'I wish I had as many children as there are icicles hanging there.' 'Nothing would please me more either,' replied her husband. Then a tiny icicle detached itself from the roof, and dropped into the woman's mouth, who swallowed it with a smile, and said, 'Perhaps I shall give birth to a snow child now!' Her husband laughed at his wife's strange idea, and they went back into the house.
But after a short time the woman gave birth to a little girl, who was as white as snow and as cold as ice. If they brought the child anywhere near the fire, it screamed loudly till they put it back into some cool place. The little maid throve wonderfully, and in a few months she could run about and speak. But she was not altogether easy to bring up, and gave her parents much trouble and anxiety, for all summer she insisted on spending in the cellar, and in the winter she would sleep outside in the snow, and the colder it was the happier she seemed to be. Her father and mother called her simply 'Our Snow-daughter,' and this name stuck to her all her life.
One day her parents sat by the fire, talking over the extraordinary behaviour of their daughter, who was disporting herself in the snowstorm that raged outside. The woman sighed deeply and said, 'I wish I had given birth to a Fire-son!' As she said these words, a spark from the big wood fire flew into the woman's lap, and she said with a laugh, 'Now perhaps I shall give birth to a Fire-son!' The man laughed at his wife's words, and thought it was a good joke. But he ceased to think it a joke when his wife shortly afterwards gave birth to a boy, who screamed lustily till he was put quite close to the fire, and who nearly yelled himself into a fit if the Snow-daughter came anywhere near him. The Snow-daughter herself avoided him as much as she could, and always crept into a corner as far away from him as possible. The parents called the boy simply 'Our Fire-son,' a name which stuck to him all his life. They had a great deal of trouble and worry with him too; but he throve and grew very quickly, and before he was a year old he could run about and talk. He was as red as fire, and as hot to touch, and he always sat on the hearth quite close to the fire, and complained of the cold; if his sister were in the room he almost crept into the flames, while the girl on her part always complained of the great heat if her brother were anywhere near. In summer the boy always lay out in the sun, while the girl hid herself in the cellar: so it happened that the brother and sister came very little into contact with each other—in fact, they carefully avoided it.
Just as the girl grew up into a beautiful woman, her father and mother both died one after the other. Then the Fire-son, who had grown up in the meantime into a fine, strong young man, said to his sister, 'I am going out into the world, for what is the use of remaining on here?'
'I shall go with you,' she answered, 'for, except you, I have no one in the world, and I have a feeling that if we set out together we shall be lucky.'
The Fire-son said, 'I love you with all my heart, but at the same time I always freeze if you are near me, and you nearly die of heat if I approach you! How shall we travel about together without being odious the one to the other?'
'Don't worry about that,' replied the girl, 'for I've thought it all over, and have settled on a plan which will make us each able to bear with the other! See, I have had a fur cloak made for each of us, and if we put them on I shall not feel the heat so much nor you the cold.' So they put on the fur cloaks, and set out cheerfully on their way, and for the first time in their lives quite happy in each other's company.
For a long time the Fire-son and the Snow-daughter wandered through the world, and when at the beginning of winter they came to a big wood they determined to stay there till spring. The Fire-son built himself a hut where he always kept up a huge fire, while his sister with very few clothes on stayed outside night and day. Now it happened one day that the King of the land held a hunt in this wood, and saw the Snow-daughter wandering about in the open air. He wondered very much who the beautiful girl clad in such garments could be, and he stopped and spoke to her. He soon learnt that she could not stand heat, and that her brother could not endure cold. The King was so charmed by the Snow-daughter, that he asked her to be his wife. The girl consented, and the wedding was held with much state. The King had a huge house of ice made for his wife underground, so that even in summer it did not melt. But for his brother-in-law he had a house built with huge ovens all round it, that were kept heated all day and night. The Fire-son was delighted, but the perpetual heat in which he lived made his body so hot, that it was dangerous to go too close to him.
One day the King gave a great feast, and asked his brother-in-law among the other guests. The Fire-son did not appear till everyone had assembled, and when he did, everyone fled outside to the open air, so intense was the heat he gave forth. Then the King was very angry and said, 'If I had known what a lot of trouble you would have been, I would never have taken you into my house.' Then the Fire-son replied with a laugh, 'Don't be angry, dear brother! I love heat and my sister loves cold—come here and let me embrace you, and then I'll go home at once.' And before the King had time to reply, the Fire-son seized him in a tight embrace. The King screamed aloud in agony, and when his wife, the Snow-daughter, who had taken refuge from her brother in the next room, hurried to him, the King lay dead on the ground burnt to a cinder. When the Snow-daughter saw this she turned on her brother and flew at him. Then a fight began, the like of which had never been seen on earth. When the people, attracted by the noise, hurried to the spot, they saw the Snow-daughter melting into water and the Fire-son burn to a cinder. And so ended the unhappy brother and sister.
THE STORY OF KING FROST (26)
(26) From the Russian.
There was once upon a time a peasant-woman who had a daughter and a step-daughter. The daughter had her own way in everything, and whatever she did was right in her mother's eyes; but the poor step-daughter had a hard time. Let her do what she would, she was always blamed, and got small thanks for all the trouble she took; nothing was right, everything wrong; and yet, if the truth were known, the girl was worth her weight in gold—she was so unselfish and good-hearted. But her step-mother did not like her, and the poor girl's days were spent in weeping; for it was impossible to live peacefully with the woman. The wicked shrew was determined to get rid of the girl by fair means or foul, and kept saying to her father: 'Send her away, old man; send her away—anywhere so that my eyes sha'n't be plagued any longer by the sight of her, or my ears tormented by the sound of her voice. Send her out into the fields, and let the cutting frost do for her.'
In vain did the poor old father weep and implore her pity; she was firm, and he dared not gainsay her. So he placed his daughter in a sledge, not even daring to give her a horse-cloth to keep herself warm with, and drove her out on to the bare, open fields, where he kissed her and left her, driving home as fast as he could, that he might not witness her miserable death.
Deserted by her father, the poor girl sat down under a fir-tree at the edge of the forest and began to weep silently. Suddenly she heard a faint sound: it was King Frost springing from tree to tree, and cracking his fingers as he went. At length he reached the fir-tree beneath which she was sitting, and with a crisp crackling sound he alighted beside her, and looked at her lovely face.
'Well, maiden,' he snapped out, 'do you know who I am? I am King Frost, king of the red-noses.'
'All hail to you, great King!' answered the girl, in a gentle, trembling voice. 'Have you come to take me?'
'Are you warm, maiden?' he replied.
'Quite warm, King Frost,' she answered, though she shivered as she spoke.
Then King Frost stooped down, and bent over the girl, and the crackling sound grew louder, and the air seemed to be full of knives and darts; and again he asked:
'Maiden, are you warm? Are you warm, you beautiful girl?'
And though her breath was almost frozen on her lips, she whispered gently, 'Quite warm, King Frost.'
Then King Frost gnashed his teeth, and cracked his fingers, and his eyes sparkled, and the crackling, crisp sound was louder than ever, and for the last time he asked her:
'Maiden, are you still warm? Are you still warm, little love?'
And the poor girl was so stiff and numb that she could just gasp, 'Still warm, O King!'
Now her gentle, courteous words and her uncomplaining ways touched King Frost, and he had pity on her, and he wrapped her up in furs, and covered her with blankets, and he fetched a great box, in which were beautiful jewels and a rich robe embroidered in gold and silver. And she put it on, and looked more lovely than ever, and King Frost stepped with her into his sledge, with six white horses.
In the meantime the wicked step-mother was waiting at home for news of the girl's death, and preparing pancakes for the funeral feast. And she said to her husband: 'Old man, you had better go out into the fields and find your daughter's body and bury her.' Just as the old man was leaving the house the little dog under the table began to bark, saying:
'YOUR daughter shall live to be your delight; HER daughter shall die this very night.'
'Hold your tongue, you foolish beast!' scolded the woman. 'There's a pancake for you, but you must say:
"HER daughter shall have much silver and gold; HIS daughter is frozen quite stiff and cold."'
But the doggie ate up the pancake and barked, saying:
'His daughter shall wear a crown on her head; Her daughter shall die unwooed, unwed.'
Then the old woman tried to coax the doggie with more pancakes and to terrify it with blows, but he barked on, always repeating the same words. And suddenly the door creaked and flew open, and a great heavy chest was pushed in, and behind it came the step-daughter, radiant and beautiful, in a dress all glittering with silver and gold. For a moment the step-mother's eyes were dazzled. Then she called to her husband: 'Old man, yoke the horses at once into the sledge, and take my daughter to the same field and leave her on the same spot exactly; 'and so the old man took the girl and left her beneath the same tree where he had parted from his daughter. In a few minutes King Frost came past, and, looking at the girl, he said:
'Are you warm, maiden?'
'What a blind old fool you must be to ask such a question!' she answered angrily. 'Can't you see that my hands and feet are nearly frozen?'
Then King Frost sprang to and fro in front of her, questioning her, and getting only rude, rough words in reply, till at last he got very angry, and cracked his fingers, and gnashed his teeth, and froze her to death.
But in the hut her mother was waiting for her return, and as she grew impatient she said to her husband: 'Get out the horses, old man, to go and fetch her home; but see that you are careful not to upset the sledge and lose the chest.'
But the doggie beneath the table began to bark, saying:
'Your daughter is frozen quite stiff and cold, And shall never have a chest full of gold.'
'Don't tell such wicked lies!' scolded the woman. 'There's a cake for you; now say:
"HER daughter shall marry a mighty King."
At that moment the door flew open, and she rushed out to meet her daughter, and as she took her frozen body in her arms she too was chilled to death.
THE DEATH OF THE SUN-HERO (27)
(27) From the Bukowinaer Tales and Legends. Von Wliolocki.
Many, many thousand years ago there lived a mighty King whom heaven had blessed with a clever and beautiful son. When he was only ten years old the boy was cleverer than all the King's counsellors put together, and when he was twenty he was the greatest hero in the whole kingdom. His father could not make enough of his son, and always had him clothed in golden garments which shone and sparkled like the sun; and his mother gave him a white horse, which never slept, and which flew like the wind. All the people in the land loved him dearly, and called him the Sun-Hero, for they did not think his like existed under the sun. Now it happened one night that both his parents had the same extraordinary dream. They dreamt that a girl all dressed in red had come to them and said: 'If you wish that your son should really become the Sun-Hero in deed and not only in name, let him go out into the world and search for the Tree of the Sun, and when he has found it, let him pluck a golden apple from it and bring it home.'
When the King and Queen had each related their dreams to the other, they were much amazed that they should both have dreamt exactly the same about their son, and the King said to his wife, 'This is clearly a sign from heaven that we should send our son out into the world in order that he may come home the great Sun-Hero, as the Red Girl said, not only in name but in deed.'
The Queen consented with many tears, and the King at once bade his son set forth in search of the Tree of the Sun, from which he was to pluck a golden apple. The Prince was delighted at the prospect, and set out on his travels that very day.
For a long time he wandered all through the world, and it was not till the ninety-ninth day after he started that he found an old man who was able to tell him where the Tree of the Sun grew. He followed his directions, and rode on his way, and after another ninety-nine days he arrived at a golden castle, which stood in the middle of a vast wilderness. He knocked at the door, which was opened noiselessly and by invisible hands. Finding no one about, the Prince rode on, and came to a great meadow, where the Sun-Tree grew. When he reached the tree he put out his hand to pick a golden apple; but all of a sudden the tree grew higher, so that he could not reach its fruit. Then he heard some one behind him laughing. Turning round, he saw the girl in red walking towards him, who addressed him in these words:
'Do you really imagine, brave son of the earth, that you can pluck an apple so easily from the Tree of the Sun? Before you can do that, you have a difficult task before you. You must guard the tree for nine days and nine nights from the ravages of two wild black wolves, who will try to harm it. Do you think you can undertake this?'
'Yes,' answered the Sun-Hero, 'I will guard the Tree of the Sun nine days and nine nights.'
Then the girl continued: 'Remember, though, if you do not succeed the Sun will kill you. Now begin your watch.'
With these words the Red Girl went back into the golden castle. She had hardly left him when the two black wolves appeared: but the Sun-Hero beat them off with his sword, and they retired, only, however, to reappear in a very short time. The Sun-Hero chased them away once more, but he had hardly sat down to rest when the two black wolves were on the scene again. This went on for seven days and nights, when the white horse, who had never done such a thing before, turned to the Sun-Hero and said in a human voice: 'Listen to what I am going to say. A Fairy gave me to your mother in order that I might be of service to you; so let me tell you, that if you go to sleep and let the wolves harm the tree, the Sun will surely kill you. The Fairy, foreseeing this, put everyone in the world under a spell, which prevents their obeying the Sun's command to take your life. But all the same, she has forgotten one person, who will certainly kill you if you fall asleep and let the wolves damage the tree. So watch and keep the wolves away.'
Then the Sun-Hero strove with all his might and kept the black wolves at bay, and conquered his desire to sleep; but on the eighth night his strength failed him, and he fell fast asleep. When he awoke a woman in black stood beside him, who said: 'You have fulfilled your task very badly, for you have let the two black wolves damage the Tree of the Sun. I am the mother of the Sun, and I command you to ride away from here at once, and I pronounce sentence of death upon you, for you proudly let yourself be called the Sun-Hero without having done anything to deserve the name.'
The youth mounted his horse sadly, and rode home. The people all thronged round him on his return, anxious to hear his adventures, but he told them nothing, and only to his mother did he confide what had befallen him. But the old Queen laughed, and said to her son: 'Don't worry, my child; you see, the Fairy has protected you so far, and the Sun has found no one to kill you. So cheer up and be happy.'
After a time the Prince forgot all about his adventure, and married a beautiful Princess, with whom he lived very happily for some time. But one day when he was out hunting he felt very thirsty, and coming to a stream he stooped down to drink from it, and this caused his death, for a crab came swimming up, and with its claws tore out his tongue. He was carried home in a dying condition, and as he lay on his death-bed the black woman appeared and said: 'So the Sun has, after all, found someone, who was not under the Fairy's spell, who has caused your death. And a similar fate will overtake everyone under the Sun who wrongfully assumes a title to which he has no right.'
THE WITCH (28)
(28) From the Russian.
Once upon a time there was a peasant whose wife died, leaving him with two children—twins—a boy and a girl. For some years the poor man lived on alone with the children, caring for them as best he could; but everything in the house seemed to go wrong without a woman to look after it, and at last he made up his mind to marry again, feeling that a wife would bring peace and order to his household and take care of his motherless children. So he married, and in the following years several children were born to him; but peace and order did not come to the household. For the step-mother was very cruel to the twins, and beat them, and half-starved them, and constantly drove them out of the house; for her one idea was to get them out of the way. All day she thought of nothing but how she should get rid of them; and at last an evil idea came into her head, and she determined to send them out into the great gloomy wood where a wicked witch lived. And so one morning she spoke to them, saying:
'You have been such good children that I am going to send you to visit my granny, who lives in a dear little hut in the wood. You will have to wait upon her and serve her, but you will be well rewarded, for she will give you the best of everything.'
So the children left the house together; and the little sister, who was very wise for her years, said to the brother:
'We will first go and see our own dear grandmother, and tell her where our step-mother is sending us.'
And when the grandmother heard where they were going, she cried and said:
'You poor motherless children! How I pity you; and yet I can do nothing to help you! Your step-mother is not sending you to her granny, but to a wicked witch who lives in that great gloomy wood. Now listen to me, children. You must be civil and kind to everyone, and never say a cross word to anyone, and never touch a crumb belonging to anyone else. Who knows if, after all, help may not be sent to you?'
And she gave her grandchildren a bottle of milk and a piece of ham and a loaf of bread, and they set out for the great gloomy wood. When they reached it they saw in front of them, in the thickest of the trees, a queer little hut, and when they looked into it, there lay the witch, with her head on the threshold of the door, with one foot in one corner and the other in the other corner, and her knees cocked up, almost touching the ceiling.
'Who's there?' she snarled, in an awful voice, when she saw the children.
And they answered civilly, though they were so terrified that they hid behind one another, and said:
'Good-morning, granny; our step-mother has sent us to wait upon you, and serve you.'
'See that you do it well, then,' growled the witch. 'If I am pleased with you, I'll reward you; but if I am not, I'll put you in a pan and fry you in the oven—that's what I'll do with you, my pretty dears! You have been gently reared, but you'll find my work hard enough. See if you don't.'
And, so saying, she set the girl down to spin yarn, and she gave the boy a sieve in which to carry water from the well, and she herself went out into the wood. Now, as the girl was sitting at her distaff, weeping bitterly because she could not spin, she heard the sound of hundreds of little feet, and from every hole and corner in the hut mice came pattering along the floor, squeaking and saying:
'Little girl, why are your eyes so red? If you want help, then give us some bread.'
And the girl gave them the bread that her grandmother had given her. Then the mice told her that the witch had a cat, and the cat was very fond of ham; if she would give the cat her ham, it would show her the way out of the wood, and in the meantime they would spin the yarn for her. So the girl set out to look for the cat, and, as she was hunting about, she met her brother, in great trouble because he could not carry water from the well in a sieve, as it came pouring out as fast as he put it in. And as she was trying to comfort him they heard a rustling of wings, and a flight of wrens alighted on the ground beside them. And the wrens said:
'Give us some crumbs, then you need not grieve.
For you'll find that water will stay in the sieve.'
Then the twins crumbled their bread on the ground, and the wrens pecked it, and chirruped and chirped. And when they had eaten the last crumb they told the boy to fill up the holes of the sieve with clay, and then to draw water from the well. So he did what they said, and carried the sieve full of water into the hut without spilling a drop. When they entered the hut the cat was curled up on the floor. So they stroked her, and fed her with ham, and said to her:
'Pussy, grey pussy, tell us how we are to get away from the witch?'
Then the cat thanked them for the ham, and gave them a pocket-handkerchief and a comb, and told them that when the witch pursued them, as she certainly would, all they had to do was to throw the handkerchief on the ground and run as fast as they could. As soon as the handkerchief touched the ground a deep, broad river would spring up, which would hinder the witch's progress. If she managed to get across it, they must throw the comb behind them and run for their lives, for where the comb fell a dense forest would start up, which would delay the witch so long that they would be able to get safely away.
The cat had scarcely finished speaking when the witch returned to see if the children had fulfilled their tasks.
'Well, you have done well enough for to-day,' she grumbled; 'but to-morrow you'll have something more difficult to do, and if you don't do it well, you pampered brats, straight into the oven you go.'
Half-dead with fright, and trembling in every limb, the poor children lay down to sleep on a heap of straw in the corner of the hut; but they dared not close their eyes, and scarcely ventured to breathe. In the morning the witch gave the girl two pieces of linen to weave before night, and the boy a pile of wood to cut into chips. Then the witch left them to their tasks, and went out into the wood. As soon as she had gone out of sight the children took the comb and the handkerchief, and, taking one another by the hand, they started and ran, and ran, and ran. And first they met the watch-dog, who was going to leap on them and tear them to pieces; but they threw the remains of their bread to him, and he ate them and wagged his tail. Then they were hindered by the birch-trees, whose branches almost put their eyes out. But the little sister tied the twigs together with a piece of ribbon, and they got past safely, and, after running through the wood, came out on to the open fields.
In the meantime in the hut the cat was busy weaving the linen and tangling the threads as it wove. And the witch returned to see how the children were getting on; and she crept up to the window, and whispered:
'Are you weaving, my little dear?'
'Yes, granny, I am weaving,' answered the cat.
When the witch saw that the children had escaped her, she was furious, and, hitting the cat with a porringer, she said: 'Why did you let the children leave the hut? Why did you not scratch their eyes out?'
But the cat curled up its tail and put its back up, and answered: 'I have served you all these years and you never even threw me a bone, but the dear children gave me their own piece of ham.'
Then the witch was furious with the watch-dog and with the birch-trees, because they had let the children pass. But the dog answered:
'I have served you all these years and you never gave me so much as a hard crust, but the dear children gave me their own loaf of bread.'
And the birch rustled its leaves, and said: 'I have served you longer than I can say, and you never tied a bit of twine even round my branches; and the dear children bound them up with their brightest ribbons.'
So the witch saw there was no help to be got from her old servants, and that the best thing she could do was to mount on her broom and set off in pursuit of the children. And as the children ran they heard the sound of the broom sweeping the ground close behind them, so instantly they threw the handkerchief down over their shoulder, and in a moment a deep, broad river flowed behind them.
When the witch came up to it, it took her a long time before she found a place which she could ford over on her broom-stick; but at last she got across, and continued the chase faster than before. And as the children ran they heard a sound, and the little sister put her ear to the ground, and heard the broom sweeping the earth close behind them; so, quick as thought, she threw the comb down on the ground, and in an instant, as the cat had said, a dense forest sprung up, in which the roots and branches were so closely intertwined, that it was impossible to force a way through it. So when the witch came up to it on her broom she found that there was nothing for it but to turn round and go back to her hut.
But the twins ran straight on till they reached their own home. Then they told their father all that they had suffered, and he was so angry with their step-mother that he drove her out of the house, and never let her return; but he and the children lived happily together; and he took care of them himself, and never let a stranger come near them.
THE HAZEL-NUT CHILD (29)
(29) From the Bukowniaer. Van Wliolocki.
There was once upon a time a couple who had no children, and they prayed Heaven every day to send them a child, though it were no bigger than a hazel-nut. At last Heaven heard their prayer and sent them a child exactly the size of a hazel-nut, and it never grew an inch. The parents were very devoted to the little creature, and nursed and tended it carefully. Their tiny son too was as clever as he could be, and so sharp and sensible that all the neighbours marvelled over the wise things he said and did.
When the Hazel-nut child was fifteen years old, and was sitting one day in an egg-shell on the table beside his mother, she turned to him and said, 'You are now fifteen years old, and nothing can be done with you. What do you intend to be?'
'A messenger,' answered the Hazel-nut child.
Then his mother burst out laughing and said, 'What an idea! You a messenger! Why, your little feet would take an hour to go the distance an ordinary person could do in a minute!'
But the Hazel-nut child replied, 'Nevertheless I mean to be a messenger! Just send me a message and you'll see that I shall be back in next to no time.'
So his mother said, 'Very well, go to your aunt in the neighbouring village, and fetch me a comb.' The Hazel-nut child jumped quickly out of the egg-shell and ran out into the street. Here he found a man on horseback who was just setting out for the neighbouring village. He crept up the horse's leg, sat down under the saddle, and then began to pinch the horse and to prick it with a pin. The horse plunged and reared and then set off at a hard gallop, which it continued in spite of its rider's efforts to stop it. When they reached the village, the Hazel-nut child left off pricking the horse, and the poor tired creature pursued its way at a snail's pace. The Hazel-nut child took advantage of this, and crept down the horse's leg; then he ran to his aunt and asked her for a comb. On the way home he met another rider, and did the return journey in exactly the same way. When he handed his mother the comb that his aunt had given him, she was much amazed and asked him, 'But how did you manage to get back so quickly?'
'Ah! mother,' he replied, 'you see I was quite right when I said I knew a messenger was the profession for me.'
His father too possessed a horse which he often used to take out into the fields to graze. One day he took the Hazel-nut child with him. At midday the father turned to his small son and said, 'Stay here and look after the horse. I must go home and give your mother a message, but I shall be back soon.'
When his father had gone, a robber passed by and saw the horse grazing without any one watching it, for of course he could not see the Hazel-nut child hidden in the grass. So he mounted the horse and rode away. But the Hazel-nut child, who was the most active little creature, climbed up the horse's tail and began to bite it on the back, enraging the creature to such an extent that it paid no attention to the direction the robber tried to make it go in, but galloped straight home. The father was much astonished when he saw a stranger riding his horse, but the Hazel-nut child climbed down quickly and told him all that had happened, and his father had the robber arrested at once and put into prison.
One autumn when the Hazel-nut child was twenty years old he said to his parents: 'Farewell, my dear father and mother. I am going to set out into the world, and as soon as I have become rich I will return home to you.'
The parents laughed at the little man's words, but did not believe him for a moment. In the evening the Hazel-nut child crept on to the roof, where some storks had built their nest. The storks were fast asleep, and he climbed on to the back of the father-stork and bound a silk cord round the joint of one of its wings, then he crept among its soft downy feathers and fell asleep.
The next morning the storks flew towards the south, for winter was approaching. The Hazel-nut child flew through the air on the stork's back, and when he wanted to rest he bound his silk cord on to the joint of the bird's other wing, so that it could not fly any farther. In this way he reached the country of the black people, where the storks took up their abode close to the capital. When the people saw the Hazel-nut child they were much astonished, and took him with the stork to the King of the country. The King was delighted with the little creature and kept him always beside him, and he soon grew so fond of the little man that he gave him a diamond four times as big as himself. The Hazel-nut child fastened the diamond firmly under the stork's neck with a ribbon, and when he saw that the other storks were getting ready for their northern flight, he untied the silk cord from his stork's wings, and away they went, getting nearer home every minute. At length the Hazel-nut child came to his native village; then he undid the ribbon from the stork's neck and the diamond fell to the ground; he covered it first with sand and stones, and then ran to get his parents, so that they might carry the treasure home, for he himself was not able to lift the great diamond.
So the Hazel-nut child and his parents lived in happiness and prosperity after this till they died.
THE STORY OF BIG KLAUS AND LITTLE KLAUS
In a certain village there lived two people who had both the same name. Both were called Klaus, but one owned four horses and the other only one. In order to distinguish the one from the other, the one who had four horses was called Big Klaus, and the one who had only one horse, Little Klaus. Now you shall hear what befell them both, for this is a true story.
The whole week through Little Klaus had to plough for Big Klaus, and lend him his one horse; then Big Klaus lent him his four horses, but only once a week, and that was on Sunday. Hurrah! how loudly Little Klaus cracked his whip over all the five horses! for they were indeed as good as his on this one day. The sun shone brightly, and all the bells in the church-towers were pealing; the people were dressed in their best clothes, and were going to church, with their hymn books under their arms, to hear the minister preach. They saw Little Klaus ploughing with the five horses; but he was so happy that he kept on cracking his whip, and calling out 'Gee-up, my five horses!'
'You mustn't say that,' said Big Klaus. 'Only one horse is yours.'
But as soon as someone else was going by Little Klaus forgot that he must not say it, and called out 'Gee-up, my five horses!'
'Now you had better stop that,' said Big Klaus, 'for if you say it once more I will give your horse such a crack on the head that it will drop down dead on the spot!'
'I really won't say it again!' said Little Klaus. But as soon as more people passed by, and nodded him good-morning, he became so happy in thinking how well it looked to have five horses ploughing his field that, cracking his whip, he called out 'Gee-up, my five horses!'
'I'll see to your horses!' said Big Klaus; and, seizing an iron bar, he struck Little Klaus' one horse such a blow on the head that it fell down and died on the spot.
'Alas! Now I have no horse!' said Little Klaus, beginning to cry. Then he flayed the skin off his horse, dried it, and put it in a sack, which he threw over his shoulder, and went into the town to sell it. He had a long way to go, and had to pass through a great dark forest. A dreadful storm came on, in which he lost his way, and before he could get on to the right road night came on, and it was impossible to reach the town that evening.
Right in front of him was a large farm-house. The window-shutters were closed, but the light came through the chinks. 'I should very much like to be allowed to spend the night there,' thought Little Klaus; and he went and knocked at the door. The farmer's wife opened it, but when she heard what he wanted she told him to go away; her husband was not at home, and she took in no strangers.
'Well, I must lie down outside,' said Little Klaus; and the farmer's wife shut the door in his face. Close by stood a large haystack, and between it and the house a little out-house, covered with a flat thatched roof.
'I can lie down there,' thought Little Klaus, looking at the roof; 'it will make a splendid bed, if only the stork won't fly down and bite my legs.' For a live stork was standing on the roof, where it had its nest. So Little Klaus crept up into the out-house, where he lay down, and made himself comfortable for the night. The wooden shutters over the windows were not shut at the top, and he could just see into the room.
There stood a large table, spread with wine and roast meat and a beautiful fish. The farmer's wife and the sexton sat at the table, but there was no one else. She was filling up his glass, while he stuck his fork into the fish which was his favourite dish.
'If one could only get some of that!' thought Little Klaus, stretching his head towards the window. Ah, what delicious cakes he saw standing there! It WAS a feast!
Then he heard someone riding along the road towards the house. It was the farmer coming home. He was a very worthy man; but he had one great peculiarity—namely, that he could not bear to see a sexton. If he saw one he was made quite mad. That was why the sexton had gone to say good-day to the farmer's wife when he knew that her husband was not at home, and the good woman therefore put in front of him the best food she had. But when they heard the farmer coming they were frightened, and the farmer's wife begged the sexton to creep into a great empty chest. He did so, as he knew the poor man could not bear to see a sexton. The wife hastily hid all the beautiful food and the wine in her oven; for if her husband had seen it, he would have been sure to ask what it all meant.
'Oh, dear! oh, dear!' groaned Little Klaus up in the shed, when he saw the good food disappearing.
'Is anybody up there?' asked the farmer, catching sight of Little Klaus. 'Why are you lying there? Come with me into the house.'
Then Little Klaus told him how he had lost his way, and begged to be allowed to spend the night there.
'Yes, certainly,' said the farmer; 'but we must first have something to eat!'
The wife received them both very kindly, spread a long table, and gave them a large plate of porridge. The farmer was hungry, and ate with a good appetite; but Little Klaus could not help thinking of the delicious dishes of fish and roast meats and cakes which he knew were in the oven. Under the table at his feet he had laid the sack with the horse-skin in it, for, as we know, he was going to the town to sell it. The porridge did not taste good to him, so he trod upon his sack, and the dry skin in the sack squeaked loudly.
'Hush!' said Little Klaus to his sack, at the same time treading on it again so that it squeaked even louder than before.
'Hallo! what have you got in your sack?' asked the farmer.
'Oh, it is a wizard!' said Little Klaus. 'He says we should not eat porridge, for he has conjured the whole oven full of roast meats and fish and cakes.'
'Goodness me!' said the farmer; and opening the oven he saw all the delicious, tempting dishes his wife had hidden there, but which he now believed the wizard in the sack had conjured up for them. The wife could say nothing, but she put the food at once on the table, and they ate the fish, the roast meat, and the cakes. Little Klaus now trod again on his sack, so that the skin squeaked.
'What does he say now?' asked the farmer.
'He says,' replied Little Klans, 'that he has also conjured up for us three bottles of wine; they are standing in the corner by the oven!'
The wife had to fetch the wine which she had hidden, and the farmer drank and grew very merry. He would very much like to have had such a wizard as Little Klaus had in the sack.
'Can he conjure up the Devil?' asked the farmer. 'I should like to see him very much, for I feel just now in very good spirits!'
'Yes,' said Little Klaus; 'my wizard can do everything that I ask. Isn't that true?' he asked, treading on the sack so that it squeaked. 'Do you hear? He says ''Yes;'' but that the Devil looks so ugly that we should not like to see him.'
'Oh! I'm not at all afraid. What does he look like?'
'He will show himself in the shape of a sexton!'
'I say!' said the farmer, 'he must be ugly! You must know that I can't bear to look at a sexton! But it doesn't matter. I know that it is the Devil, and I sha'n't mind! I feel up to it now. But he must not come too near me!'
'I must ask my wizard,' said Little Klaus, treading on the sack and putting his ear to it.
'What does he say?'
'He says you can open the chest in the corner there, and you will see the Devil squatting inside it; but you must hold the lid so that he shall not escape.'
'Will you help me to hold him?' begged the farmer, going towards the chest where his wife had hidden the real sexton, who was sitting inside in a terrible fright. The farmer opened the lid a little way, and saw him inside.
'Ugh!' he shrieked, springing back. 'Yes, now I have seen him; he looked just like our sexton. Oh, it was horrid!'
So he had to drink again, and they drank till far on into the night.
'You MUST sell me the wizard,' said the farmer. 'Ask anything you like! I will pay you down a bushelful of money on the spot.'
'No, I really can't,' said Little Klans. 'Just think how many things I can get from this wizard!'
'Ah! I should like to have him so much!' said the farmer, begging very hard.
'Well!' said Little Klaus at last, 'as you have been so good as to give me shelter to-night, I will sell him. You shall have the wizard for a bushel of money, but I must have full measure.'
'That you shall,' said the farmer. 'But you must take the chest with you. I won't keep it another hour in the house. Who knows that he isn't in there still?'
Little Klaus gave the farmer his sack with the dry skin, and got instead a good bushelful of money. The farmer also gave him a wheelbarrow to carry away his money and the chest. 'Farewell,' said Little Klaus; and away he went with his money and the big chest, wherein sat the sexton.
On the other side of the wood was a large deep river. The water flowed so rapidly that you could scarcely swim against the stream.
A great new bridge had been built over it, on the middle of which Little Klaus stopped, and said aloud so that the sexton might hear:
'Now, what am I to do with this stupid chest? It is as heavy as if it were filled with stones! I shall only be tired, dragging it along; I will throw it into the river. If it swims home to me, well and good; and if it doesn't, it's no matter.'
Then he took the chest with one hand and lifted it up a little, as if he were going to throw it into the water.
'No, don't do that!' called out the sexton in the chest. 'Let me get out first!'
'Oh, oh!' said Little Klaus, pretending that he was afraid. 'He is still in there! I must throw him quickly into the water to drown him!'
'Oh! no, no!' cried the sexton. 'I will give you a whole bushelful of money if you will let me go!'
'Ah, that's quite another thing!' said Little Klaus, opening the chest. The sexton crept out very quickly, pushed the empty chest into the water and went to his house, where he gave Little Klaus a bushel of money. One he had had already from the farmer, and now he had his wheelbarrow full of money.
'Well, I have got a good price for the horse!' said he to himself when he shook all his money out in a heap in his room. 'This will put Big Klaus in a rage when he hears how rich I have become through my one horse; but I won't tell him just yet!'
So he sent a boy to Big Klaus to borrow a bushel measure from him.
'Now what can he want with it?' thought Big Klaus; and he smeared some tar at the bottom, so that of whatever was measured a little should remain in it. And this is just what happened; for when he got his measure back, three new silver five-shilling pieces were sticking to it.
What does this mean?' said Big Klaus, and he ran off at once to Little Klaus.
'Where did you get so much money from?'
'Oh, that was from my horse-skin. I sold it yesterday evening.'
'That's certainly a good price!' said Big Klaus; and running home in great haste, he took an axe, knocked all his four horses on the head, skinned them, and went into the town.
'Skins! skins! Who will buy skins?' he cried through the streets.
All the shoemakers and tanners came running to ask him what he wanted for them. 'A bushel of money for each,' said Big Klaus.
'Are you mad?' they all exclaimed. 'Do you think we have money by the bushel?'
'Skins! skins! Who will buy skins?' he cried again, and to all who asked him what they cost, he answered, 'A bushel of money.'
'He is making game of us,' they said; and the shoemakers seized their yard measures and the tanners their leathern aprons and they gave Big Klaus a good beating. 'Skins! skins!' they cried mockingly; yes, we will tan YOUR skin for you! Out of the town with him!' they shouted; and Big Klaus had to hurry off as quickly as he could, if he wanted to save his life.
'Aha!' said he when he came home, 'Little Klaus shall pay dearly for this. I will kill him!'
Little Klaus' grandmother had just died. Though she had been very unkind to him, he was very much distressed, and he took the dead woman and laid her in his warm bed to try if he could not bring her back to life. There she lay the whole night, while he sat in the corner and slept on a chair, which he had often done before. And in the night as he sat there the door opened, and Big Klaus came in with his axe. He knew quite well where Little Klaus's bed stood, and going up to it he struck the grandmother on the head just where he thought Little Klaus would be. 'There!' said he. 'Now you won't get the best of me again!' And he went home.
'What a very wicked man!' thought Little Klaus. 'He was going to kill me! It was a good thing for my grandmother that she was dead already, or else he would have killed her!'
Then he dressed his grandmother in her Sunday clothes, borrowed a horse from his neighbour, harnessed the cart to it, sat his grandmother on the back seat so that she could not fall out when he drove, and away they went. When the sun rose they were in front of a large inn. Little Klaus got down, and went in to get something to drink. The host was very rich. He was a very worthy but hot-tempered man.
'Good morning!' said he to Little Klaus. 'You are early on the road.'
'Yes,' said Little Klaus. 'I am going to the town with my grandmother. She is sitting outside in the cart; I cannot bring her in. Will you not give her a glass of mead? But you will have to speak loud, for she is very hard of hearing.'
'Oh yes, certainly I will!' said the host; and, pouring out a large glass of mead, he took it out to the dead grandmother, who was sitting upright in the cart.
'Here is a glass of mead from your son,' said the host. But the dead woman did not answer a word, and sat still. 'Don't you hear?' cried the host as loud as he could. 'Here is a glass of mead from your son!'
Then he shouted the same thing again, and yet again, but she never moved in her place; and at last he grew angry, threw the glass in her face, so that she fell back into the cart, for she was not tied in her place.
'Hullo!' cried Little Klaus, running out of the door, and seizing the host by the throat. 'You have killed my grandmother! Look! there is a great hole in her forehead!'
'Oh, what a misfortune!' cried the host, wringing his hands. 'It all comes from my hot temper! Dear Little Klaus! I will give you a bushel of money, and will bury your grandmother as if she were my own; only don't tell about it, or I shall have my head cut off, and that would be very uncomfortable.'
So Little Klaus got a bushel of money, and the host buried his grandmother as if she had been his own.
Now when Little Klaus again reached home with so much money he sent his boy to Big Klaus to borrow his bushel measure.
'What's this?' said Big Klaus. 'Didn't I kill him? I must see to this myself!'
So he went himself to Little Klaus with the measure.
'Well, now, where did you get all this money?' asked he, opening his eyes at the heap.
'You killed my grandmother—not me,' said Little Klaus. 'I sold her, and got a bushel of money for her.'
'That is indeed a good price!' said Big Klaus; and, hurrying home, he took an axe and killed his grandmother, laid her in the cart, and drove off to the apothecary's, and asked whether he wanted to buy a dead body.
'Who is it, and how did you get it?' asked the apothecary.
'It is my grandmother,' said Big Klaus. 'I killed her in order to get a bushel of money.'
'You are mad!' said the apothecary. 'Don't mention such things, or you will lose your head!' And he began to tell him what a dreadful thing he had done, and what a wicked man he was, and that he ought to be punished; till Big Klaus was so frightened that he jumped into the cart and drove home as hard as he could. The apothecary and all the people thought he must be mad, so they let him go.
'You shall pay for this!' said Big Klaus as he drove home. 'You shall pay for this dearly, Little Klaus!'
So as soon as he got home he took the largest sack he could find, and went to Little Klaus and said: 'You have fooled me again! First I killed my horses, then my grandmother! It is all your fault; but you sha'n't do it again!' And he seized Little Klaus, pushed him in the sack, threw it over his shoulder, crying out 'Now I am going to drown you!'
He had to go a long way before he came to the river, and Little Klaus was not very light. The road passed by the church; the organ was sounding, and the people were singing most beautifully.
Big Klaus put down the sack with Little Klaus in it by the church-door, and thought that he might as well go in and hear a psalm before going on farther. Little Klaus could not get out, and everybody was in church; so he went in.
'Oh, dear! oh, dear!' groaned Little Klaus in the sack, twisting and turning himself. But he could not undo the string.
There came by an old, old shepherd, with snow-white hair and a long staff in his hand. He was driving a herd of cows and oxen. These pushed against the sack so that it was overturned.
'Alas!' moaned Little Klans, 'I am so young and yet I must die!'
'And I, poor man,' said the cattle-driver, 'I am so old and yet I cannot die!'
'Open the sack,' called out Little Klaus; 'creep in here instead of me, and you will die in a moment!'
'I will gladly do that,' said the cattle-driver; and he opened the sack, and Little Klaus struggled out at once.
'You will take care of the cattle, won't you?' asked the old man, creeping into the sack, which Little Klaus fastened up and then went on with the cows and oxen. Soon after Big Klaus came out of the church, and taking up the sack on his shoulders it seemed to him as if it had become lighter; for the old cattle-driver was not half as heavy as Little Klaus.
'How easy he is to carry now! That must be because I heard part of the service.'
So he went to the river, which was deep and broad, threw in the sack with the old driver, and called after it, for he thought Little Klaus was inside:
'Down you go! You won't mock me any more now!'
Then he went home; but when he came to the cross-roads, there he met Little Klaus, who was driving his cattle.
'What's this?' said Big Klaus. 'Haven't I drowned you?'
'Yes,' replied Little Klaus; 'you threw me into the river a good half-hour ago!'
'But how did you get those splendid cattle?' asked Big Klaus.
'They are sea-cattle!' said Little Klaus. 'I will tell you the whole story, and I thank you for having drowned me, because now I am on dry land and really rich! How frightened I was when I was in the sack! How the wind whistled in my ears as you threw me from the bridge into the cold water! I sank at once to the bottom; but I did not hurt myself for underneath was growing the most beautiful soft grass. I fell on this, and immediately the sack opened; the loveliest maiden in snow-white garments, with a green garland round her wet hair, took me by the hand, and said! ''Are you Little Klaus? Here are some cattle for you to begin with, and a mile farther down the road there is another herd, which I will give you as a present!'' Now I saw that the river was a great high-road for the sea-people. Along it they travel underneath from the sea to the land till the river ends. It was so beautiful, full of flowers and fresh grass; the fishes which were swimming in the water shot past my ears as the birds do here in the air. What lovely people there were, and what fine cattle were grazing in the ditches and dykes!'
'But why did you come up to us again?' asked Big Klaus. 'I should not have done so, if it is so beautiful down below!'
'Oh!' said Little Klaus, 'that was just so politic of me. You heard what I told you, that the sea-maiden said to me a mile farther along the road—and by the road she meant the river, for she can go by no other way—there was another herd of cattle waiting for me. But I know what windings the river makes, now here, now there, so that it is a long way round. Therefore it makes it much shorter if one comes on the land and drives across the field to the river. Thus I have spared myself quite half a mile, and have come much quicker to my sea-cattle!'
'Oh, you're a lucky fellow!' said Big Klaus. 'Do you think I should also get some cattle if I went to the bottom of the river?'
'Oh, yes! I think so,' said Little Klaus. 'But I can't carry you in a sack to the river; you are too heavy for me! If you like to go there yourself and then creep into the sack, I will throw you in with the greatest of pleasure.'
'Thank you,' said Big Klaus; 'but if I don't get any sea-cattle when I come there, you will have a good hiding, mind!'
'Oh, no! Don't be so hard on me!' Then they went to the river. When the cattle, which were thirsty, caught sight of the water, they ran as quickly as they could to drink.
'Look how they are running!' said Little Klaus. 'They want to go to the bottom again!'
'Yes; but help me first,' said Big Klaus, 'or else you shall have a beating!'
And so he crept into the large sack, which was lying on the back of one of the oxen. 'Put a stone in, for I am afraid I may not reach the bottom,' said Big Klaus.
'It goes all right!' said Little Klaus; but still he laid a big stone in the sack, fastened it up tight, and then pushed it in. Plump! there was Big Klaus in the water, and he sank like lead to the bottom.