Grimm’s Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm

The Brothers Grimm (die Brüder Grimm or die Gebrüder Grimm), Jacob (1785–1863) and Wilhelm Grimm (1786–1859), were German academics, linguists, cultural researchers, lexicographers and authors who together specialized in collecting and publishing folklore during the 19th century. They were among the best-known storytellers of folk tales, and popularized stories such as “Cinderella” (“Aschenputtel”), “The Frog Prince” (“Der Froschkönig”), “The Goose-Girl” (“Die Gänsemagd”), “Hansel and Gretel” (“Hänsel und Gretel”), “Rapunzel”, “Rumpelstiltskin” (“Rumpelstilzchen”),”Sleeping Beauty” (“Dornröschen”), and “Snow White” (“Schneewittchen”). Their first collection of folk tales, Children’s and Household Tales (Kinder- und Hausmärchen), was published in 1812.


the juniper-tree.



A certain king had a beautiful garden, and in the garden stood a tree
which bore golden apples. These apples were always counted, and about
the time when they began to grow ripe it was found that every night one
of them was gone. The king became very angry at this, and ordered the
gardener to keep watch all night under the tree. The gardener set his
eldest son to watch; but about twelve o’clock he fell asleep, and in
the morning another of the apples was missing. Then the second son was
ordered to watch; and at midnight he too fell asleep, and in the morning
another apple was gone. Then the third son offered to keep watch; but
the gardener at first would not let him, for fear some harm should come
to him: however, at last he consented, and the young man laid himself
under the tree to watch. As the clock struck twelve he heard a rustling
noise in the air, and a bird came flying that was of pure gold; and as
it was snapping at one of the apples with its beak, the gardener’s son
jumped up and shot an arrow at it. But the arrow did the bird no harm;
only it dropped a golden feather from its tail, and then flew away.
The golden feather was brought to the king in the morning, and all the
council was called together. Everyone agreed that it was worth more than
all the wealth of the kingdom: but the king said, ‘One feather is of no
use to me, I must have the whole bird.’

Then the gardener’s eldest son set out and thought to find the golden
bird very easily; and when he had gone but a little way, he came to a
wood, and by the side of the wood he saw a fox sitting; so he took his
bow and made ready to shoot at it. Then the fox said, ‘Do not shoot me,
for I will give you good counsel; I know what your business is, and
that you want to find the golden bird. You will reach a village in the
evening; and when you get there, you will see two inns opposite to each
other, one of which is very pleasant and beautiful to look at: go not in
there, but rest for the night in the other, though it may appear to you
to be very poor and mean.’ But the son thought to himself, ‘What can
such a beast as this know about the matter?’ So he shot his arrow at
the fox; but he missed it, and it set up its tail above its back and
ran into the wood. Then he went his way, and in the evening came to
the village where the two inns were; and in one of these were people
singing, and dancing, and feasting; but the other looked very dirty,
and poor. ‘I should be very silly,’ said he, ‘if I went to that shabby
house, and left this charming place’; so he went into the smart house,
and ate and drank at his ease, and forgot the bird, and his country too.

Time passed on; and as the eldest son did not come back, and no tidings
were heard of him, the second son set out, and the same thing happened
to him. He met the fox, who gave him the good advice: but when he came
to the two inns, his eldest brother was standing at the window where
the merrymaking was, and called to him to come in; and he could not
withstand the temptation, but went in, and forgot the golden bird and
his country in the same manner.

Time passed on again, and the youngest son too wished to set out into
the wide world to seek for the golden bird; but his father would not
listen to it for a long while, for he was very fond of his son, and
was afraid that some ill luck might happen to him also, and prevent his
coming back. However, at last it was agreed he should go, for he would
not rest at home; and as he came to the wood, he met the fox, and heard
the same good counsel. But he was thankful to the fox, and did not
attempt his life as his brothers had done; so the fox said, ‘Sit upon my
tail, and you will travel faster.’ So he sat down, and the fox began to
run, and away they went over stock and stone so quick that their hair
whistled in the wind.

When they came to the village, the son followed the fox’s counsel, and
without looking about him went to the shabby inn and rested there all
night at his ease. In the morning came the fox again and met him as he
was beginning his journey, and said, ‘Go straight forward, till you come
to a castle, before which lie a whole troop of soldiers fast asleep and
snoring: take no notice of them, but go into the castle and pass on and
on till you come to a room, where the golden bird sits in a wooden cage;
close by it stands a beautiful golden cage; but do not try to take the
bird out of the shabby cage and put it into the handsome one, otherwise
you will repent it.’ Then the fox stretched out his tail again, and the
young man sat himself down, and away they went over stock and stone till
their hair whistled in the wind.

Before the castle gate all was as the fox had said: so the son went in
and found the chamber where the golden bird hung in a wooden cage, and
below stood the golden cage, and the three golden apples that had been
lost were lying close by it. Then thought he to himself, ‘It will be a
very droll thing to bring away such a fine bird in this shabby cage’; so
he opened the door and took hold of it and put it into the golden cage.
But the bird set up such a loud scream that all the soldiers awoke, and
they took him prisoner and carried him before the king. The next morning
the court sat to judge him; and when all was heard, it sentenced him to
die, unless he should bring the king the golden horse which could run as
swiftly as the wind; and if he did this, he was to have the golden bird
given him for his own.

So he set out once more on his journey, sighing, and in great despair,
when on a sudden his friend the fox met him, and said, ‘You see now
what has happened on account of your not listening to my counsel. I will
still, however, tell you how to find the golden horse, if you will do as
I bid you. You must go straight on till you come to the castle where the
horse stands in his stall: by his side will lie the groom fast asleep
and snoring: take away the horse quietly, but be sure to put the old
leathern saddle upon him, and not the golden one that is close by it.’
Then the son sat down on the fox’s tail, and away they went over stock
and stone till their hair whistled in the wind.

All went right, and the groom lay snoring with his hand upon the golden
saddle. But when the son looked at the horse, he thought it a great pity
to put the leathern saddle upon it. ‘I will give him the good one,’
said he; ‘I am sure he deserves it.’ As he took up the golden saddle the
groom awoke and cried out so loud, that all the guards ran in and took
him prisoner, and in the morning he was again brought before the court
to be judged, and was sentenced to die. But it was agreed, that, if he
could bring thither the beautiful princess, he should live, and have the
bird and the horse given him for his own.

Then he went his way very sorrowful; but the old fox came and said, ‘Why
did not you listen to me? If you had, you would have carried away
both the bird and the horse; yet will I once more give you counsel. Go
straight on, and in the evening you will arrive at a castle. At twelve
o’clock at night the princess goes to the bathing-house: go up to her
and give her a kiss, and she will let you lead her away; but take care
you do not suffer her to go and take leave of her father and mother.’
Then the fox stretched out his tail, and so away they went over stock
and stone till their hair whistled again.

As they came to the castle, all was as the fox had said, and at twelve
o’clock the young man met the princess going to the bath and gave her the
kiss, and she agreed to run away with him, but begged with many tears
that he would let her take leave of her father. At first he refused,
but she wept still more and more, and fell at his feet, till at last
he consented; but the moment she came to her father’s house the guards
awoke and he was taken prisoner again.

Then he was brought before the king, and the king said, ‘You shall never
have my daughter unless in eight days you dig away the hill that stops
the view from my window.’ Now this hill was so big that the whole world
could not take it away: and when he had worked for seven days, and had
done very little, the fox came and said. ‘Lie down and go to sleep; I
will work for you.’ And in the morning he awoke and the hill was gone;
so he went merrily to the king, and told him that now that it was
removed he must give him the princess.

Then the king was obliged to keep his word, and away went the young man
and the princess; and the fox came and said to him, ‘We will have all
three, the princess, the horse, and the bird.’ ‘Ah!’ said the young man,
‘that would be a great thing, but how can you contrive it?’

‘If you will only listen,’ said the fox, ‘it can be done. When you come
to the king, and he asks for the beautiful princess, you must say, “Here
she is!” Then he will be very joyful; and you will mount the golden
horse that they are to give you, and put out your hand to take leave of
them; but shake hands with the princess last. Then lift her quickly on
to the horse behind you; clap your spurs to his side, and gallop away as
fast as you can.’

All went right: then the fox said, ‘When you come to the castle where
the bird is, I will stay with the princess at the door, and you will
ride in and speak to the king; and when he sees that it is the right
horse, he will bring out the bird; but you must sit still, and say that
you want to look at it, to see whether it is the true golden bird; and
when you get it into your hand, ride away.’

This, too, happened as the fox said; they carried off the bird, the
princess mounted again, and they rode on to a great wood. Then the fox
came, and said, ‘Pray kill me, and cut off my head and my feet.’ But the
young man refused to do it: so the fox said, ‘I will at any rate give
you good counsel: beware of two things; ransom no one from the gallows,
and sit down by the side of no river.’ Then away he went. ‘Well,’
thought the young man, ‘it is no hard matter to keep that advice.’

He rode on with the princess, till at last he came to the village where
he had left his two brothers. And there he heard a great noise and
uproar; and when he asked what was the matter, the people said, ‘Two men
are going to be hanged.’ As he came nearer, he saw that the two men were
his brothers, who had turned robbers; so he said, ‘Cannot they in any
way be saved?’ But the people said ‘No,’ unless he would bestow all his
money upon the rascals and buy their liberty. Then he did not stay to
think about the matter, but paid what was asked, and his brothers were
given up, and went on with him towards their home.

And as they came to the wood where the fox first met them, it was so
cool and pleasant that the two brothers said, ‘Let us sit down by the
side of the river, and rest a while, to eat and drink.’ So he said,
‘Yes,’ and forgot the fox’s counsel, and sat down on the side of the
river; and while he suspected nothing, they came behind, and threw him
down the bank, and took the princess, the horse, and the bird, and went
home to the king their master, and said. ‘All this have we won by our
labour.’ Then there was great rejoicing made; but the horse would not
eat, the bird would not sing, and the princess wept.

The youngest son fell to the bottom of the river’s bed: luckily it was
nearly dry, but his bones were almost broken, and the bank was so steep
that he could find no way to get out. Then the old fox came once more,
and scolded him for not following his advice; otherwise no evil would
have befallen him: ‘Yet,’ said he, ‘I cannot leave you here, so lay hold
of my tail and hold fast.’ Then he pulled him out of the river, and said
to him, as he got upon the bank, ‘Your brothers have set watch to kill
you, if they find you in the kingdom.’ So he dressed himself as a poor
man, and came secretly to the king’s court, and was scarcely within the
doors when the horse began to eat, and the bird to sing, and the princess
left off weeping. Then he went to the king, and told him all his
brothers’ roguery; and they were seized and punished, and he had the
princess given to him again; and after the king’s death he was heir to
his kingdom.

A long while after, he went to walk one day in the wood, and the old fox
met him, and besought him with tears in his eyes to kill him, and cut
off his head and feet. And at last he did so, and in a moment the
fox was changed into a man, and turned out to be the brother of the
princess, who had been lost a great many many years.


Some men are born to good luck: all they do or try to do comes
right–all that falls to them is so much gain–all their geese are
swans–all their cards are trumps–toss them which way you will, they
will always, like poor puss, alight upon their legs, and only move on so
much the faster. The world may very likely not always think of them as
they think of themselves, but what care they for the world? what can it
know about the matter?

One of these lucky beings was neighbour Hans. Seven long years he had
worked hard for his master. At last he said, ‘Master, my time is up; I
must go home and see my poor mother once more: so pray pay me my wages
and let me go.’ And the master said, ‘You have been a faithful and good
servant, Hans, so your pay shall be handsome.’ Then he gave him a lump
of silver as big as his head.

Hans took out his pocket-handkerchief, put the piece of silver into it,
threw it over his shoulder, and jogged off on his road homewards. As he
went lazily on, dragging one foot after another, a man came in sight,
trotting gaily along on a capital horse. ‘Ah!’ said Hans aloud, ‘what a
fine thing it is to ride on horseback! There he sits as easy and happy
as if he was at home, in the chair by his fireside; he trips against no
stones, saves shoe-leather, and gets on he hardly knows how.’ Hans did
not speak so softly but the horseman heard it all, and said, ‘Well,
friend, why do you go on foot then?’ ‘Ah!’ said he, ‘I have this load to
carry: to be sure it is silver, but it is so heavy that I can’t hold up
my head, and you must know it hurts my shoulder sadly.’ ‘What do you say
of making an exchange?’ said the horseman. ‘I will give you my horse,
and you shall give me the silver; which will save you a great deal of
trouble in carrying such a heavy load about with you.’ ‘With all my
heart,’ said Hans: ‘but as you are so kind to me, I must tell you one
thing–you will have a weary task to draw that silver about with you.’
However, the horseman got off, took the silver, helped Hans up, gave him
the bridle into one hand and the whip into the other, and said, ‘When
you want to go very fast, smack your lips loudly together, and cry

Hans was delighted as he sat on the horse, drew himself up, squared his
elbows, turned out his toes, cracked his whip, and rode merrily off, one
minute whistling a merry tune, and another singing,

‘No care and no sorrow,
A fig for the morrow!
We’ll laugh and be merry,
Sing neigh down derry!’

After a time he thought he should like to go a little faster, so he
smacked his lips and cried ‘Jip!’ Away went the horse full gallop; and
before Hans knew what he was about, he was thrown off, and lay on his
back by the road-side. His horse would have ran off, if a shepherd who
was coming by, driving a cow, had not stopped it. Hans soon came to
himself, and got upon his legs again, sadly vexed, and said to the
shepherd, ‘This riding is no joke, when a man has the luck to get upon
a beast like this that stumbles and flings him off as if it would break
his neck. However, I’m off now once for all: I like your cow now a great
deal better than this smart beast that played me this trick, and has
spoiled my best coat, you see, in this puddle; which, by the by, smells
not very like a nosegay. One can walk along at one’s leisure behind that
cow–keep good company, and have milk, butter, and cheese, every day,
into the bargain. What would I give to have such a prize!’ ‘Well,’ said
the shepherd, ‘if you are so fond of her, I will change my cow for your
horse; I like to do good to my neighbours, even though I lose by it
myself.’ ‘Done!’ said Hans, merrily. ‘What a noble heart that good man
has!’ thought he. Then the shepherd jumped upon the horse, wished Hans
and the cow good morning, and away he rode.

Hans brushed his coat, wiped his face and hands, rested a while, and
then drove off his cow quietly, and thought his bargain a very lucky
one. ‘If I have only a piece of bread (and I certainly shall always be
able to get that), I can, whenever I like, eat my butter and cheese with
it; and when I am thirsty I can milk my cow and drink the milk: and what
can I wish for more?’ When he came to an inn, he halted, ate up all his
bread, and gave away his last penny for a glass of beer. When he had
rested himself he set off again, driving his cow towards his mother’s
village. But the heat grew greater as soon as noon came on, till at
last, as he found himself on a wide heath that would take him more than
an hour to cross, he began to be so hot and parched that his tongue
clave to the roof of his mouth. ‘I can find a cure for this,’ thought
he; ‘now I will milk my cow and quench my thirst’: so he tied her to the
stump of a tree, and held his leathern cap to milk into; but not a drop
was to be had. Who would have thought that this cow, which was to bring
him milk and butter and cheese, was all that time utterly dry? Hans had
not thought of looking to that.

While he was trying his luck in milking, and managing the matter very
clumsily, the uneasy beast began to think him very troublesome; and at
last gave him such a kick on the head as knocked him down; and there he
lay a long while senseless. Luckily a butcher soon came by, driving a
pig in a wheelbarrow. ‘What is the matter with you, my man?’ said the
butcher, as he helped him up. Hans told him what had happened, how he
was dry, and wanted to milk his cow, but found the cow was dry too. Then
the butcher gave him a flask of ale, saying, ‘There, drink and refresh
yourself; your cow will give you no milk: don’t you see she is an old
beast, good for nothing but the slaughter-house?’ ‘Alas, alas!’ said
Hans, ‘who would have thought it? What a shame to take my horse, and
give me only a dry cow! If I kill her, what will she be good for? I hate
cow-beef; it is not tender enough for me. If it were a pig now–like
that fat gentleman you are driving along at his ease–one could do
something with it; it would at any rate make sausages.’ ‘Well,’ said
the butcher, ‘I don’t like to say no, when one is asked to do a kind,
neighbourly thing. To please you I will change, and give you my fine fat
pig for the cow.’ ‘Heaven reward you for your kindness and self-denial!’
said Hans, as he gave the butcher the cow; and taking the pig off the
wheel-barrow, drove it away, holding it by the string that was tied to
its leg.

So on he jogged, and all seemed now to go right with him: he had met
with some misfortunes, to be sure; but he was now well repaid for all.
How could it be otherwise with such a travelling companion as he had at
last got?

The next man he met was a countryman carrying a fine white goose. The
countryman stopped to ask what was o’clock; this led to further chat;
and Hans told him all his luck, how he had so many good bargains, and
how all the world went gay and smiling with him. The countryman then
began to tell his tale, and said he was going to take the goose to a
christening. ‘Feel,’ said he, ‘how heavy it is, and yet it is only eight
weeks old. Whoever roasts and eats it will find plenty of fat upon it,
it has lived so well!’ ‘You’re right,’ said Hans, as he weighed it in
his hand; ‘but if you talk of fat, my pig is no trifle.’ Meantime the
countryman began to look grave, and shook his head. ‘Hark ye!’ said he,
‘my worthy friend, you seem a good sort of fellow, so I can’t help doing
you a kind turn. Your pig may get you into a scrape. In the village I
just came from, the squire has had a pig stolen out of his sty. I was
dreadfully afraid when I saw you that you had got the squire’s pig. If
you have, and they catch you, it will be a bad job for you. The least
they will do will be to throw you into the horse-pond. Can you swim?’

Poor Hans was sadly frightened. ‘Good man,’ cried he, ‘pray get me out
of this scrape. I know nothing of where the pig was either bred or born;
but he may have been the squire’s for aught I can tell: you know this
country better than I do, take my pig and give me the goose.’ ‘I ought
to have something into the bargain,’ said the countryman; ‘give a fat
goose for a pig, indeed! ‘Tis not everyone would do so much for you as
that. However, I will not be hard upon you, as you are in trouble.’ Then
he took the string in his hand, and drove off the pig by a side path;
while Hans went on the way homewards free from care. ‘After all,’
thought he, ‘that chap is pretty well taken in. I don’t care whose pig
it is, but wherever it came from it has been a very good friend to me. I
have much the best of the bargain. First there will be a capital roast;
then the fat will find me in goose-grease for six months; and then there
are all the beautiful white feathers. I will put them into my pillow,
and then I am sure I shall sleep soundly without rocking. How happy my
mother will be! Talk of a pig, indeed! Give me a fine fat goose.’

As he came to the next village, he saw a scissor-grinder with his wheel,
working and singing,

‘O’er hill and o’er dale
So happy I roam,
Work light and live well,
All the world is my home;
Then who so blythe, so merry as I?’

Hans stood looking on for a while, and at last said, ‘You must be well
off, master grinder! you seem so happy at your work.’ ‘Yes,’ said the
other, ‘mine is a golden trade; a good grinder never puts his hand
into his pocket without finding money in it–but where did you get that
beautiful goose?’ ‘I did not buy it, I gave a pig for it.’ ‘And where
did you get the pig?’ ‘I gave a cow for it.’ ‘And the cow?’ ‘I gave a
horse for it.’ ‘And the horse?’ ‘I gave a lump of silver as big as my
head for it.’ ‘And the silver?’ ‘Oh! I worked hard for that seven long
years.’ ‘You have thriven well in the world hitherto,’ said the grinder,
‘now if you could find money in your pocket whenever you put your hand
in it, your fortune would be made.’ ‘Very true: but how is that to be
managed?’ ‘How? Why, you must turn grinder like myself,’ said the other;
‘you only want a grindstone; the rest will come of itself. Here is one
that is but little the worse for wear: I would not ask more than the
value of your goose for it–will you buy?’ ‘How can you ask?’ said
Hans; ‘I should be the happiest man in the world, if I could have money
whenever I put my hand in my pocket: what could I want more? there’s
the goose.’ ‘Now,’ said the grinder, as he gave him a common rough stone
that lay by his side, ‘this is a most capital stone; do but work it well
enough, and you can make an old nail cut with it.’

Hans took the stone, and went his way with a light heart: his eyes
sparkled for joy, and he said to himself, ‘Surely I must have been born
in a lucky hour; everything I could want or wish for comes of itself.
People are so kind; they seem really to think I do them a favour in
letting them make me rich, and giving me good bargains.’

Meantime he began to be tired, and hungry too, for he had given away his
last penny in his joy at getting the cow.

At last he could go no farther, for the stone tired him sadly: and he
dragged himself to the side of a river, that he might take a drink of
water, and rest a while. So he laid the stone carefully by his side on
the bank: but, as he stooped down to drink, he forgot it, pushed it a
little, and down it rolled, plump into the stream.

For a while he watched it sinking in the deep clear water; then sprang
up and danced for joy, and again fell upon his knees and thanked Heaven,
with tears in his eyes, for its kindness in taking away his only plague,
the ugly heavy stone.

‘How happy am I!’ cried he; ‘nobody was ever so lucky as I.’ Then up he
got with a light heart, free from all his troubles, and walked on till
he reached his mother’s house, and told her how very easy the road to
good luck was.


There was once an old castle, that stood in the middle of a deep gloomy
wood, and in the castle lived an old fairy. Now this fairy could take
any shape she pleased. All the day long she flew about in the form of
an owl, or crept about the country like a cat; but at night she always
became an old woman again. When any young man came within a hundred
paces of her castle, he became quite fixed, and could not move a step
till she came and set him free; which she would not do till he had given
her his word never to come there again: but when any pretty maiden came
within that space she was changed into a bird, and the fairy put her
into a cage, and hung her up in a chamber in the castle. There were
seven hundred of these cages hanging in the castle, and all with
beautiful birds in them.

Now there was once a maiden whose name was Jorinda. She was prettier
than all the pretty girls that ever were seen before, and a shepherd
lad, whose name was Jorindel, was very fond of her, and they were soon
to be married. One day they went to walk in the wood, that they might be
alone; and Jorindel said, ‘We must take care that we don’t go too near
to the fairy’s castle.’ It was a beautiful evening; the last rays of the
setting sun shone bright through the long stems of the trees upon
the green underwood beneath, and the turtle-doves sang from the tall

Jorinda sat down to gaze upon the sun; Jorindel sat by her side; and
both felt sad, they knew not why; but it seemed as if they were to be
parted from one another for ever. They had wandered a long way; and when
they looked to see which way they should go home, they found themselves
at a loss to know what path to take.

The sun was setting fast, and already half of its circle had sunk behind
the hill: Jorindel on a sudden looked behind him, and saw through the
bushes that they had, without knowing it, sat down close under the old
walls of the castle. Then he shrank for fear, turned pale, and trembled.
Jorinda was just singing,

‘The ring-dove sang from the willow spray,
Well-a-day! Well-a-day!
He mourn’d for the fate of his darling mate,

when her song stopped suddenly. Jorindel turned to see the reason, and
beheld his Jorinda changed into a nightingale, so that her song ended
with a mournful jug, jug. An owl with fiery eyes flew three times
round them, and three times screamed:

‘Tu whu! Tu whu! Tu whu!’

Jorindel could not move; he stood fixed as a stone, and could neither
weep, nor speak, nor stir hand or foot. And now the sun went quite down;
the gloomy night came; the owl flew into a bush; and a moment after the
old fairy came forth pale and meagre, with staring eyes, and a nose and
chin that almost met one another.

She mumbled something to herself, seized the nightingale, and went away
with it in her hand. Poor Jorindel saw the nightingale was gone–but
what could he do? He could not speak, he could not move from the spot
where he stood. At last the fairy came back and sang with a hoarse

‘Till the prisoner is fast,
And her doom is cast,
There stay! Oh, stay!
When the charm is around her,
And the spell has bound her,
Hie away! away!’

On a sudden Jorindel found himself free. Then he fell on his knees
before the fairy, and prayed her to give him back his dear Jorinda: but
she laughed at him, and said he should never see her again; then she
went her way.

He prayed, he wept, he sorrowed, but all in vain. ‘Alas!’ he said, ‘what
will become of me?’ He could not go back to his own home, so he went to
a strange village, and employed himself in keeping sheep. Many a time
did he walk round and round as near to the hated castle as he dared go,
but all in vain; he heard or saw nothing of Jorinda.

At last he dreamt one night that he found a beautiful purple flower,
and that in the middle of it lay a costly pearl; and he dreamt that he
plucked the flower, and went with it in his hand into the castle, and
that everything he touched with it was disenchanted, and that there he
found his Jorinda again.

In the morning when he awoke, he began to search over hill and dale for
this pretty flower; and eight long days he sought for it in vain: but
on the ninth day, early in the morning, he found the beautiful purple
flower; and in the middle of it was a large dewdrop, as big as a costly
pearl. Then he plucked the flower, and set out and travelled day and
night, till he came again to the castle.

He walked nearer than a hundred paces to it, and yet he did not become
fixed as before, but found that he could go quite close up to the door.
Jorindel was very glad indeed to see this. Then he touched the door with
the flower, and it sprang open; so that he went in through the court,
and listened when he heard so many birds singing. At last he came to the
chamber where the fairy sat, with the seven hundred birds singing in
the seven hundred cages. When she saw Jorindel she was very angry, and
screamed with rage; but she could not come within two yards of him, for
the flower he held in his hand was his safeguard. He looked around at
the birds, but alas! there were many, many nightingales, and how then
should he find out which was his Jorinda? While he was thinking what to
do, he saw the fairy had taken down one of the cages, and was making the
best of her way off through the door. He ran or flew after her, touched
the cage with the flower, and Jorinda stood before him, and threw her
arms round his neck looking as beautiful as ever, as beautiful as when
they walked together in the wood.

Then he touched all the other birds with the flower, so that they all
took their old forms again; and he took Jorinda home, where they were
married, and lived happily together many years: and so did a good many
other lads, whose maidens had been forced to sing in the old fairy’s
cages by themselves, much longer than they liked.


An honest farmer had once an ass that had been a faithful servant to him
a great many years, but was now growing old and every day more and more
unfit for work. His master therefore was tired of keeping him and
began to think of putting an end to him; but the ass, who saw that some
mischief was in the wind, took himself slyly off, and began his journey
towards the great city, ‘For there,’ thought he, ‘I may turn musician.’

After he had travelled a little way, he spied a dog lying by the
roadside and panting as if he were tired. ‘What makes you pant so, my
friend?’ said the ass. ‘Alas!’ said the dog, ‘my master was going to
knock me on the head, because I am old and weak, and can no longer make
myself useful to him in hunting; so I ran away; but what can I do to
earn my livelihood?’ ‘Hark ye!’ said the ass, ‘I am going to the great
city to turn musician: suppose you go with me, and try what you can
do in the same way?’ The dog said he was willing, and they jogged on

They had not gone far before they saw a cat sitting in the middle of the
road and making a most rueful face. ‘Pray, my good lady,’ said the ass,
‘what’s the matter with you? You look quite out of spirits!’ ‘Ah, me!’
said the cat, ‘how can one be in good spirits when one’s life is in
danger? Because I am beginning to grow old, and had rather lie at my
ease by the fire than run about the house after the mice, my mistress
laid hold of me, and was going to drown me; and though I have been lucky
enough to get away from her, I do not know what I am to live upon.’
‘Oh,’ said the ass, ‘by all means go with us to the great city; you are
a good night singer, and may make your fortune as a musician.’ The cat
was pleased with the thought, and joined the party.

Soon afterwards, as they were passing by a farmyard, they saw a cock
perched upon a gate, and screaming out with all his might and main.
‘Bravo!’ said the ass; ‘upon my word, you make a famous noise; pray what
is all this about?’ ‘Why,’ said the cock, ‘I was just now saying that
we should have fine weather for our washing-day, and yet my mistress and
the cook don’t thank me for my pains, but threaten to cut off my
head tomorrow, and make broth of me for the guests that are coming
on Sunday!’ ‘Heaven forbid!’ said the ass, ‘come with us Master
Chanticleer; it will be better, at any rate, than staying here to have
your head cut off! Besides, who knows? If we care to sing in tune, we
may get up some kind of a concert; so come along with us.’ ‘With all my
heart,’ said the cock: so they all four went on jollily together.

They could not, however, reach the great city the first day; so when
night came on, they went into a wood to sleep. The ass and the dog laid
themselves down under a great tree, and the cat climbed up into the
branches; while the cock, thinking that the higher he sat the safer he
should be, flew up to the very top of the tree, and then, according to
his custom, before he went to sleep, looked out on all sides of him to
see that everything was well. In doing this, he saw afar off something
bright and shining and calling to his companions said, ‘There must be a
house no great way off, for I see a light.’ ‘If that be the case,’ said
the ass, ‘we had better change our quarters, for our lodging is not the
best in the world!’ ‘Besides,’ added the dog, ‘I should not be the
worse for a bone or two, or a bit of meat.’ So they walked off together
towards the spot where Chanticleer had seen the light, and as they drew
near it became larger and brighter, till they at last came close to a
house in which a gang of robbers lived.

The ass, being the tallest of the company, marched up to the window and
peeped in. ‘Well, Donkey,’ said Chanticleer, ‘what do you see?’ ‘What
do I see?’ replied the ass. ‘Why, I see a table spread with all kinds of
good things, and robbers sitting round it making merry.’ ‘That would
be a noble lodging for us,’ said the cock. ‘Yes,’ said the ass, ‘if we
could only get in’; so they consulted together how they should contrive
to get the robbers out; and at last they hit upon a plan. The ass placed
himself upright on his hind legs, with his forefeet resting against the
window; the dog got upon his back; the cat scrambled up to the dog’s
shoulders, and the cock flew up and sat upon the cat’s head. When
all was ready a signal was given, and they began their music. The ass
brayed, the dog barked, the cat mewed, and the cock screamed; and then
they all broke through the window at once, and came tumbling into
the room, amongst the broken glass, with a most hideous clatter! The
robbers, who had been not a little frightened by the opening concert,
had now no doubt that some frightful hobgoblin had broken in upon them,
and scampered away as fast as they could.

The coast once clear, our travellers soon sat down and dispatched what
the robbers had left, with as much eagerness as if they had not expected
to eat again for a month. As soon as they had satisfied themselves, they
put out the lights, and each once more sought out a resting-place to
his own liking. The donkey laid himself down upon a heap of straw in
the yard, the dog stretched himself upon a mat behind the door, the
cat rolled herself up on the hearth before the warm ashes, and the
cock perched upon a beam on the top of the house; and, as they were all
rather tired with their journey, they soon fell asleep.

But about midnight, when the robbers saw from afar that the lights were
out and that all seemed quiet, they began to think that they had been in
too great a hurry to run away; and one of them, who was bolder than
the rest, went to see what was going on. Finding everything still, he
marched into the kitchen, and groped about till he found a match in
order to light a candle; and then, espying the glittering fiery eyes of
the cat, he mistook them for live coals, and held the match to them to
light it. But the cat, not understanding this joke, sprang at his face,
and spat, and scratched at him. This frightened him dreadfully, and away
he ran to the back door; but there the dog jumped up and bit him in the
leg; and as he was crossing over the yard the ass kicked him; and the
cock, who had been awakened by the noise, crowed with all his might. At
this the robber ran back as fast as he could to his comrades, and told
the captain how a horrid witch had got into the house, and had spat at
him and scratched his face with her long bony fingers; how a man with a
knife in his hand had hidden himself behind the door, and stabbed him
in the leg; how a black monster stood in the yard and struck him with a
club, and how the devil had sat upon the top of the house and cried out,
‘Throw the rascal up here!’ After this the robbers never dared to go
back to the house; but the musicians were so pleased with their quarters
that they took up their abode there; and there they are, I dare say, at
this very day.


A shepherd had a faithful dog, called Sultan, who was grown very old,
and had lost all his teeth. And one day when the shepherd and his wife
were standing together before the house the shepherd said, ‘I will shoot
old Sultan tomorrow morning, for he is of no use now.’ But his wife
said, ‘Pray let the poor faithful creature live; he has served us well a
great many years, and we ought to give him a livelihood for the rest of
his days.’ ‘But what can we do with him?’ said the shepherd, ‘he has not
a tooth in his head, and the thieves don’t care for him at all; to
be sure he has served us, but then he did it to earn his livelihood;
tomorrow shall be his last day, depend upon it.’

Poor Sultan, who was lying close by them, heard all that the shepherd
and his wife said to one another, and was very much frightened to think
tomorrow would be his last day; so in the evening he went to his good
friend the wolf, who lived in the wood, and told him all his sorrows,
and how his master meant to kill him in the morning. ‘Make yourself
easy,’ said the wolf, ‘I will give you some good advice. Your master,
you know, goes out every morning very early with his wife into the
field; and they take their little child with them, and lay it down
behind the hedge in the shade while they are at work. Now do you lie
down close by the child, and pretend to be watching it, and I will come
out of the wood and run away with it; you must run after me as fast as
you can, and I will let it drop; then you may carry it back, and they
will think you have saved their child, and will be so thankful to you
that they will take care of you as long as you live.’ The dog liked this
plan very well; and accordingly so it was managed. The wolf ran with the
child a little way; the shepherd and his wife screamed out; but Sultan
soon overtook him, and carried the poor little thing back to his master
and mistress. Then the shepherd patted him on the head, and said, ‘Old
Sultan has saved our child from the wolf, and therefore he shall live
and be well taken care of, and have plenty to eat. Wife, go home, and
give him a good dinner, and let him have my old cushion to sleep on
as long as he lives.’ So from this time forward Sultan had all that he
could wish for.

Soon afterwards the wolf came and wished him joy, and said, ‘Now, my
good fellow, you must tell no tales, but turn your head the other way
when I want to taste one of the old shepherd’s fine fat sheep.’ ‘No,’
said the Sultan; ‘I will be true to my master.’ However, the wolf
thought he was in joke, and came one night to get a dainty morsel. But
Sultan had told his master what the wolf meant to do; so he laid wait
for him behind the barn door, and when the wolf was busy looking out for
a good fat sheep, he had a stout cudgel laid about his back, that combed
his locks for him finely.

Then the wolf was very angry, and called Sultan ‘an old rogue,’ and
swore he would have his revenge. So the next morning the wolf sent the
boar to challenge Sultan to come into the wood to fight the matter. Now
Sultan had nobody he could ask to be his second but the shepherd’s old
three-legged cat; so he took her with him, and as the poor thing limped
along with some trouble, she stuck up her tail straight in the air.

The wolf and the wild boar were first on the ground; and when they
espied their enemies coming, and saw the cat’s long tail standing
straight in the air, they thought she was carrying a sword for Sultan to
fight with; and every time she limped, they thought she was picking up
a stone to throw at them; so they said they should not like this way of
fighting, and the boar lay down behind a bush, and the wolf jumped
up into a tree. Sultan and the cat soon came up, and looked about and
wondered that no one was there. The boar, however, had not quite hidden
himself, for his ears stuck out of the bush; and when he shook one of
them a little, the cat, seeing something move, and thinking it was a
mouse, sprang upon it, and bit and scratched it, so that the boar jumped
up and grunted, and ran away, roaring out, ‘Look up in the tree, there
sits the one who is to blame.’ So they looked up, and espied the wolf
sitting amongst the branches; and they called him a cowardly rascal,
and would not suffer him to come down till he was heartily ashamed of
himself, and had promised to be good friends again with old Sultan.


In a village dwelt a poor old woman, who had gathered together a dish
of beans and wanted to cook them. So she made a fire on her hearth, and
that it might burn the quicker, she lighted it with a handful of straw.
When she was emptying the beans into the pan, one dropped without her
observing it, and lay on the ground beside a straw, and soon afterwards
a burning coal from the fire leapt down to the two. Then the straw
began and said: ‘Dear friends, from whence do you come here?’ The coal
replied: ‘I fortunately sprang out of the fire, and if I had not escaped
by sheer force, my death would have been certain,–I should have been
burnt to ashes.’ The bean said: ‘I too have escaped with a whole skin,
but if the old woman had got me into the pan, I should have been made
into broth without any mercy, like my comrades.’ ‘And would a better
fate have fallen to my lot?’ said the straw. ‘The old woman has
destroyed all my brethren in fire and smoke; she seized sixty of them at
once, and took their lives. I luckily slipped through her fingers.’

‘But what are we to do now?’ said the coal.

‘I think,’ answered the bean, ‘that as we have so fortunately escaped
death, we should keep together like good companions, and lest a new
mischance should overtake us here, we should go away together, and
repair to a foreign country.’

The proposition pleased the two others, and they set out on their way
together. Soon, however, they came to a little brook, and as there was
no bridge or foot-plank, they did not know how they were to get over
it. The straw hit on a good idea, and said: ‘I will lay myself straight
across, and then you can walk over on me as on a bridge.’ The straw
therefore stretched itself from one bank to the other, and the coal,
who was of an impetuous disposition, tripped quite boldly on to the
newly-built bridge. But when she had reached the middle, and heard the
water rushing beneath her, she was after all, afraid, and stood still,
and ventured no farther. The straw, however, began to burn, broke in
two pieces, and fell into the stream. The coal slipped after her, hissed
when she got into the water, and breathed her last. The bean, who had
prudently stayed behind on the shore, could not but laugh at the event,
was unable to stop, and laughed so heartily that she burst. It would
have been all over with her, likewise, if, by good fortune, a tailor who
was travelling in search of work, had not sat down to rest by the brook.
As he had a compassionate heart he pulled out his needle and thread,
and sewed her together. The bean thanked him most prettily, but as the
tailor used black thread, all beans since then have a black seam.


A king and queen once upon a time reigned in a country a great way off,
where there were in those days fairies. Now this king and queen had
plenty of money, and plenty of fine clothes to wear, and plenty of
good things to eat and drink, and a coach to ride out in every day: but
though they had been married many years they had no children, and this
grieved them very much indeed. But one day as the queen was walking
by the side of the river, at the bottom of the garden, she saw a poor
little fish, that had thrown itself out of the water, and lay gasping
and nearly dead on the bank. Then the queen took pity on the little
fish, and threw it back again into the river; and before it swam away
it lifted its head out of the water and said, ‘I know what your wish is,
and it shall be fulfilled, in return for your kindness to me–you will
soon have a daughter.’ What the little fish had foretold soon came to
pass; and the queen had a little girl, so very beautiful that the king
could not cease looking on it for joy, and said he would hold a great
feast and make merry, and show the child to all the land. So he asked
his kinsmen, and nobles, and friends, and neighbours. But the queen
said, ‘I will have the fairies also, that they might be kind and good
to our little daughter.’ Now there were thirteen fairies in the kingdom;
but as the king and queen had only twelve golden dishes for them to eat
out of, they were forced to leave one of the fairies without asking her.
So twelve fairies came, each with a high red cap on her head, and red
shoes with high heels on her feet, and a long white wand in her hand:
and after the feast was over they gathered round in a ring and gave all
their best gifts to the little princess. One gave her goodness, another
beauty, another riches, and so on till she had all that was good in the

Just as eleven of them had done blessing her, a great noise was heard in
the courtyard, and word was brought that the thirteenth fairy was
come, with a black cap on her head, and black shoes on her feet, and a
broomstick in her hand: and presently up she came into the dining-hall.
Now, as she had not been asked to the feast she was very angry, and
scolded the king and queen very much, and set to work to take her
revenge. So she cried out, ‘The king’s daughter shall, in her fifteenth
year, be wounded by a spindle, and fall down dead.’ Then the twelfth of
the friendly fairies, who had not yet given her gift, came forward, and
said that the evil wish must be fulfilled, but that she could soften its
mischief; so her gift was, that the king’s daughter, when the spindle
wounded her, should not really die, but should only fall asleep for a
hundred years.

However, the king hoped still to save his dear child altogether from
the threatened evil; so he ordered that all the spindles in the kingdom
should be bought up and burnt. But all the gifts of the first eleven
fairies were in the meantime fulfilled; for the princess was so
beautiful, and well behaved, and good, and wise, that everyone who knew
her loved her.

It happened that, on the very day she was fifteen years old, the king
and queen were not at home, and she was left alone in the palace. So she
roved about by herself, and looked at all the rooms and chambers, till
at last she came to an old tower, to which there was a narrow staircase
ending with a little door. In the door there was a golden key, and when
she turned it the door sprang open, and there sat an old lady spinning
away very busily. ‘Why, how now, good mother,’ said the princess; ‘what
are you doing there?’ ‘Spinning,’ said the old lady, and nodded her
head, humming a tune, while buzz! went the wheel. ‘How prettily that
little thing turns round!’ said the princess, and took the spindle
and began to try and spin. But scarcely had she touched it, before the
fairy’s prophecy was fulfilled; the spindle wounded her, and she fell
down lifeless on the ground.

However, she was not dead, but had only fallen into a deep sleep; and
the king and the queen, who had just come home, and all their court,
fell asleep too; and the horses slept in the stables, and the dogs in
the court, the pigeons on the house-top, and the very flies slept upon
the walls. Even the fire on the hearth left off blazing, and went to
sleep; the jack stopped, and the spit that was turning about with a
goose upon it for the king’s dinner stood still; and the cook, who was
at that moment pulling the kitchen-boy by the hair to give him a box
on the ear for something he had done amiss, let him go, and both fell
asleep; the butler, who was slyly tasting the ale, fell asleep with the
jug at his lips: and thus everything stood still, and slept soundly.

A large hedge of thorns soon grew round the palace, and every year it
became higher and thicker; till at last the old palace was surrounded
and hidden, so that not even the roof or the chimneys could be seen. But
there went a report through all the land of the beautiful sleeping Briar
Rose (for so the king’s daughter was called): so that, from time to
time, several kings’ sons came, and tried to break through the thicket
into the palace. This, however, none of them could ever do; for the
thorns and bushes laid hold of them, as it were with hands; and there
they stuck fast, and died wretchedly.

After many, many years there came a king’s son into that land: and an
old man told him the story of the thicket of thorns; and how a beautiful
palace stood behind it, and how a wonderful princess, called Briar Rose,
lay in it asleep, with all her court. He told, too, how he had heard
from his grandfather that many, many princes had come, and had tried to
break through the thicket, but that they had all stuck fast in it, and
died. Then the young prince said, ‘All this shall not frighten me; I
will go and see this Briar Rose.’ The old man tried to hinder him, but
he was bent upon going.

Now that very day the hundred years were ended; and as the prince came
to the thicket he saw nothing but beautiful flowering shrubs, through
which he went with ease, and they shut in after him as thick as ever.
Then he came at last to the palace, and there in the court lay the dogs
asleep; and the horses were standing in the stables; and on the roof sat
the pigeons fast asleep, with their heads under their wings. And when he
came into the palace, the flies were sleeping on the walls; the spit
was standing still; the butler had the jug of ale at his lips, going
to drink a draught; the maid sat with a fowl in her lap ready to be
plucked; and the cook in the kitchen was still holding up her hand, as
if she was going to beat the boy.

Then he went on still farther, and all was so still that he could hear
every breath he drew; till at last he came to the old tower, and opened
the door of the little room in which Briar Rose was; and there she lay,
fast asleep on a couch by the window. She looked so beautiful that he
could not take his eyes off her, so he stooped down and gave her a kiss.
But the moment he kissed her she opened her eyes and awoke, and smiled
upon him; and they went out together; and soon the king and queen also
awoke, and all the court, and gazed on each other with great wonder.
And the horses shook themselves, and the dogs jumped up and barked; the
pigeons took their heads from under their wings, and looked about and
flew into the fields; the flies on the walls buzzed again; the fire in
the kitchen blazed up; round went the jack, and round went the spit,
with the goose for the king’s dinner upon it; the butler finished his
draught of ale; the maid went on plucking the fowl; and the cook gave
the boy the box on his ear.

And then the prince and Briar Rose were married, and the wedding feast
was given; and they lived happily together all their lives long.


A shepherd’s dog had a master who took no care of him, but often let him
suffer the greatest hunger. At last he could bear it no longer; so he
took to his heels, and off he ran in a very sad and sorrowful mood.
On the road he met a sparrow that said to him, ‘Why are you so sad,
my friend?’ ‘Because,’ said the dog, ‘I am very very hungry, and have
nothing to eat.’ ‘If that be all,’ answered the sparrow, ‘come with me
into the next town, and I will soon find you plenty of food.’ So on they
went together into the town: and as they passed by a butcher’s shop,
the sparrow said to the dog, ‘Stand there a little while till I peck you
down a piece of meat.’ So the sparrow perched upon the shelf: and having
first looked carefully about her to see if anyone was watching her, she
pecked and scratched at a steak that lay upon the edge of the shelf,
till at last down it fell. Then the dog snapped it up, and scrambled
away with it into a corner, where he soon ate it all up. ‘Well,’ said
the sparrow, ‘you shall have some more if you will; so come with me to
the next shop, and I will peck you down another steak.’ When the dog had
eaten this too, the sparrow said to him, ‘Well, my good friend, have you
had enough now?’ ‘I have had plenty of meat,’ answered he, ‘but I should
like to have a piece of bread to eat after it.’ ‘Come with me then,’
said the sparrow, ‘and you shall soon have that too.’ So she took him
to a baker’s shop, and pecked at two rolls that lay in the window, till
they fell down: and as the dog still wished for more, she took him to
another shop and pecked down some more for him. When that was eaten, the
sparrow asked him whether he had had enough now. ‘Yes,’ said he; ‘and
now let us take a walk a little way out of the town.’ So they both went
out upon the high road; but as the weather was warm, they had not gone
far before the dog said, ‘I am very much tired–I should like to take a
nap.’ ‘Very well,’ answered the sparrow, ‘do so, and in the meantime
I will perch upon that bush.’ So the dog stretched himself out on the
road, and fell fast asleep. Whilst he slept, there came by a carter with
a cart drawn by three horses, and loaded with two casks of wine. The
sparrow, seeing that the carter did not turn out of the way, but would
go on in the track in which the dog lay, so as to drive over him, called
out, ‘Stop! stop! Mr Carter, or it shall be the worse for you.’ But the
carter, grumbling to himself, ‘You make it the worse for me, indeed!
what can you do?’ cracked his whip, and drove his cart over the poor
dog, so that the wheels crushed him to death. ‘There,’ cried the
sparrow, ‘thou cruel villain, thou hast killed my friend the dog. Now
mind what I say. This deed of thine shall cost thee all thou art worth.’
‘Do your worst, and welcome,’ said the brute, ‘what harm can you do me?’
and passed on. But the sparrow crept under the tilt of the cart, and
pecked at the bung of one of the casks till she loosened it; and then
all the wine ran out, without the carter seeing it. At last he looked
round, and saw that the cart was dripping, and the cask quite empty.
‘What an unlucky wretch I am!’ cried he. ‘Not wretch enough yet!’ said
the sparrow, as she alighted upon the head of one of the horses, and
pecked at him till he reared up and kicked. When the carter saw this,
he drew out his hatchet and aimed a blow at the sparrow, meaning to kill
her; but she flew away, and the blow fell upon the poor horse’s head
with such force, that he fell down dead. ‘Unlucky wretch that I am!’
cried he. ‘Not wretch enough yet!’ said the sparrow. And as the carter
went on with the other two horses, she again crept under the tilt of the
cart, and pecked out the bung of the second cask, so that all the wine
ran out. When the carter saw this, he again cried out, ‘Miserable wretch
that I am!’ But the sparrow answered, ‘Not wretch enough yet!’ and
perched on the head of the second horse, and pecked at him too. The
carter ran up and struck at her again with his hatchet; but away she
flew, and the blow fell upon the second horse and killed him on the
spot. ‘Unlucky wretch that I am!’ said he. ‘Not wretch enough yet!’ said
the sparrow; and perching upon the third horse, she began to peck him
too. The carter was mad with fury; and without looking about him, or
caring what he was about, struck again at the sparrow; but killed his
third horse as he done the other two. ‘Alas! miserable wretch that I
am!’ cried he. ‘Not wretch enough yet!’ answered the sparrow as she flew
away; ‘now will I plague and punish thee at thy own house.’ The
carter was forced at last to leave his cart behind him, and to go home
overflowing with rage and vexation. ‘Alas!’ said he to his wife, ‘what
ill luck has befallen me!–my wine is all spilt, and my horses all three
dead.’ ‘Alas! husband,’ replied she, ‘and a wicked bird has come into
the house, and has brought with her all the birds in the world, I am
sure, and they have fallen upon our corn in the loft, and are eating it
up at such a rate!’ Away ran the husband upstairs, and saw thousands of
birds sitting upon the floor eating up his corn, with the sparrow in the
midst of them. ‘Unlucky wretch that I am!’ cried the carter; for he saw
that the corn was almost all gone. ‘Not wretch enough yet!’ said the
sparrow; ‘thy cruelty shall cost thee thy life yet!’ and away she flew.

The carter seeing that he had thus lost all that he had, went down
into his kitchen; and was still not sorry for what he had done, but sat
himself angrily and sulkily in the chimney corner. But the sparrow sat
on the outside of the window, and cried ‘Carter! thy cruelty shall cost
thee thy life!’ With that he jumped up in a rage, seized his hatchet,
and threw it at the sparrow; but it missed her, and only broke the
window. The sparrow now hopped in, perched upon the window-seat, and
cried, ‘Carter! it shall cost thee thy life!’ Then he became mad and
blind with rage, and struck the window-seat with such force that he
cleft it in two: and as the sparrow flew from place to place, the carter
and his wife were so furious, that they broke all their furniture,
glasses, chairs, benches, the table, and at last the walls, without
touching the bird at all. In the end, however, they caught her: and the
wife said, ‘Shall I kill her at once?’ ‘No,’ cried he, ‘that is letting
her off too easily: she shall die a much more cruel death; I will eat
her.’ But the sparrow began to flutter about, and stretch out her neck
and cried, ‘Carter! it shall cost thee thy life yet!’ With that he
could wait no longer: so he gave his wife the hatchet, and cried, ‘Wife,
strike at the bird and kill her in my hand.’ And the wife struck; but
she missed her aim, and hit her husband on the head so that he fell down
dead, and the sparrow flew quietly home to her nest.


There was a king who had twelve beautiful daughters. They slept in
twelve beds all in one room; and when they went to bed, the doors were
shut and locked up; but every morning their shoes were found to be quite
worn through as if they had been danced in all night; and yet nobody
could find out how it happened, or where they had been.

Then the king made it known to all the land, that if any person could
discover the secret, and find out where it was that the princesses
danced in the night, he should have the one he liked best for his
wife, and should be king after his death; but whoever tried and did not
succeed, after three days and nights, should be put to death.

A king’s son soon came. He was well entertained, and in the evening was
taken to the chamber next to the one where the princesses lay in their
twelve beds. There he was to sit and watch where they went to dance;
and, in order that nothing might pass without his hearing it, the door
of his chamber was left open. But the king’s son soon fell asleep; and
when he awoke in the morning he found that the princesses had all been
dancing, for the soles of their shoes were full of holes. The same thing
happened the second and third night: so the king ordered his head to be
cut off. After him came several others; but they had all the same luck,
and all lost their lives in the same manner.

Now it chanced that an old soldier, who had been wounded in battle
and could fight no longer, passed through the country where this king
reigned: and as he was travelling through a wood, he met an old woman,
who asked him where he was going. ‘I hardly know where I am going, or
what I had better do,’ said the soldier; ‘but I think I should like very
well to find out where it is that the princesses dance, and then in time
I might be a king.’ ‘Well,’ said the old dame, ‘that is no very hard
task: only take care not to drink any of the wine which one of the
princesses will bring to you in the evening; and as soon as she leaves
you pretend to be fast asleep.’

Then she gave him a cloak, and said, ‘As soon as you put that on
you will become invisible, and you will then be able to follow the
princesses wherever they go.’ When the soldier heard all this good
counsel, he determined to try his luck: so he went to the king, and said
he was willing to undertake the task.

He was as well received as the others had been, and the king ordered
fine royal robes to be given him; and when the evening came he was led
to the outer chamber. Just as he was going to lie down, the eldest of
the princesses brought him a cup of wine; but the soldier threw it all
away secretly, taking care not to drink a drop. Then he laid himself
down on his bed, and in a little while began to snore very loud as if
he was fast asleep. When the twelve princesses heard this they laughed
heartily; and the eldest said, ‘This fellow too might have done a wiser
thing than lose his life in this way!’ Then they rose up and opened
their drawers and boxes, and took out all their fine clothes, and
dressed themselves at the glass, and skipped about as if they were eager
to begin dancing. But the youngest said, ‘I don’t know how it is, while
you are so happy I feel very uneasy; I am sure some mischance will
befall us.’ ‘You simpleton,’ said the eldest, ‘you are always afraid;
have you forgotten how many kings’ sons have already watched in vain?
And as for this soldier, even if I had not given him his sleeping
draught, he would have slept soundly enough.’

When they were all ready, they went and looked at the soldier; but he
snored on, and did not stir hand or foot: so they thought they were
quite safe; and the eldest went up to her own bed and clapped her hands,
and the bed sank into the floor and a trap-door flew open. The soldier
saw them going down through the trap-door one after another, the eldest
leading the way; and thinking he had no time to lose, he jumped up, put
on the cloak which the old woman had given him, and followed them;
but in the middle of the stairs he trod on the gown of the youngest
princess, and she cried out to her sisters, ‘All is not right; someone
took hold of my gown.’ ‘You silly creature!’ said the eldest, ‘it is
nothing but a nail in the wall.’ Then down they all went, and at the
bottom they found themselves in a most delightful grove of trees; and
the leaves were all of silver, and glittered and sparkled beautifully.
The soldier wished to take away some token of the place; so he broke
off a little branch, and there came a loud noise from the tree. Then the
youngest daughter said again, ‘I am sure all is not right–did not you
hear that noise? That never happened before.’ But the eldest said, ‘It
is only our princes, who are shouting for joy at our approach.’

Then they came to another grove of trees, where all the leaves were of
gold; and afterwards to a third, where the leaves were all glittering
diamonds. And the soldier broke a branch from each; and every time there
was a loud noise, which made the youngest sister tremble with fear; but
the eldest still said, it was only the princes, who were crying for joy.
So they went on till they came to a great lake; and at the side of the
lake there lay twelve little boats with twelve handsome princes in them,
who seemed to be waiting there for the princesses.

One of the princesses went into each boat, and the soldier stepped into
the same boat with the youngest. As they were rowing over the lake, the
prince who was in the boat with the youngest princess and the soldier
said, ‘I do not know why it is, but though I am rowing with all my might
we do not get on so fast as usual, and I am quite tired: the boat
seems very heavy today.’ ‘It is only the heat of the weather,’ said the
princess: ‘I feel it very warm too.’

On the other side of the lake stood a fine illuminated castle, from
which came the merry music of horns and trumpets. There they all landed,
and went into the castle, and each prince danced with his princess; and
the soldier, who was all the time invisible, danced with them too; and
when any of the princesses had a cup of wine set by her, he drank it
all up, so that when she put the cup to her mouth it was empty. At this,
too, the youngest sister was terribly frightened, but the eldest always
silenced her. They danced on till three o’clock in the morning, and then
all their shoes were worn out, so that they were obliged to leave off.
The princes rowed them back again over the lake (but this time the
soldier placed himself in the boat with the eldest princess); and on the
opposite shore they took leave of each other, the princesses promising
to come again the next night.

When they came to the stairs, the soldier ran on before the princesses,
and laid himself down; and as the twelve sisters slowly came up very
much tired, they heard him snoring in his bed; so they said, ‘Now all
is quite safe’; then they undressed themselves, put away their fine
clothes, pulled off their shoes, and went to bed. In the morning the
soldier said nothing about what had happened, but determined to see more
of this strange adventure, and went again the second and third night;
and every thing happened just as before; the princesses danced each time
till their shoes were worn to pieces, and then returned home. However,
on the third night the soldier carried away one of the golden cups as a
token of where he had been.

As soon as the time came when he was to declare the secret, he was taken
before the king with the three branches and the golden cup; and the
twelve princesses stood listening behind the door to hear what he would
say. And when the king asked him. ‘Where do my twelve daughters dance at
night?’ he answered, ‘With twelve princes in a castle under ground.’ And
then he told the king all that had happened, and showed him the three
branches and the golden cup which he had brought with him. Then the king
called for the princesses, and asked them whether what the soldier said
was true: and when they saw that they were discovered, and that it was
of no use to deny what had happened, they confessed it all. And the king
asked the soldier which of them he would choose for his wife; and he
answered, ‘I am not very young, so I will have the eldest.’–And they
were married that very day, and the soldier was chosen to be the king’s


There was once a fisherman who lived with his wife in a pigsty, close
by the seaside. The fisherman used to go out all day long a-fishing; and
one day, as he sat on the shore with his rod, looking at the sparkling
waves and watching his line, all on a sudden his float was dragged away
deep into the water: and in drawing it up he pulled out a great fish.
But the fish said, ‘Pray let me live! I am not a real fish; I am an
enchanted prince: put me in the water again, and let me go!’ ‘Oh, ho!’
said the man, ‘you need not make so many words about the matter; I will
have nothing to do with a fish that can talk: so swim away, sir, as soon
as you please!’ Then he put him back into the water, and the fish darted
straight down to the bottom, and left a long streak of blood behind him
on the wave.

When the fisherman went home to his wife in the pigsty, he told her how
he had caught a great fish, and how it had told him it was an enchanted
prince, and how, on hearing it speak, he had let it go again. ‘Did not
you ask it for anything?’ said the wife, ‘we live very wretchedly here,
in this nasty dirty pigsty; do go back and tell the fish we want a snug
little cottage.’

The fisherman did not much like the business: however, he went to the
seashore; and when he came back there the water looked all yellow and
green. And he stood at the water’s edge, and said:

‘O man of the sea!
Hearken to me!
My wife Ilsabill
Will have her own will,
And hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!’

Then the fish came swimming to him, and said, ‘Well, what is her will?
What does your wife want?’ ‘Ah!’ said the fisherman, ‘she says that when
I had caught you, I ought to have asked you for something before I let
you go; she does not like living any longer in the pigsty, and wants
a snug little cottage.’ ‘Go home, then,’ said the fish; ‘she is in the
cottage already!’ So the man went home, and saw his wife standing at the
door of a nice trim little cottage. ‘Come in, come in!’ said she; ‘is
not this much better than the filthy pigsty we had?’ And there was a
parlour, and a bedchamber, and a kitchen; and behind the cottage there
was a little garden, planted with all sorts of flowers and fruits; and
there was a courtyard behind, full of ducks and chickens. ‘Ah!’ said the
fisherman, ‘how happily we shall live now!’ ‘We will try to do so, at
least,’ said his wife.

Everything went right for a week or two, and then Dame Ilsabill said,
‘Husband, there is not near room enough for us in this cottage; the
courtyard and the garden are a great deal too small; I should like to
have a large stone castle to live in: go to the fish again and tell him
to give us a castle.’ ‘Wife,’ said the fisherman, ‘I don’t like to go to
him again, for perhaps he will be angry; we ought to be easy with this
pretty cottage to live in.’ ‘Nonsense!’ said the wife; ‘he will do it
very willingly, I know; go along and try!’

The fisherman went, but his heart was very heavy: and when he came to
the sea, it looked blue and gloomy, though it was very calm; and he went
close to the edge of the waves, and said:

‘O man of the sea!
Hearken to me!
My wife Ilsabill
Will have her own will,
And hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!’

‘Well, what does she want now?’ said the fish. ‘Ah!’ said the man,
dolefully, ‘my wife wants to live in a stone castle.’ ‘Go home, then,’
said the fish; ‘she is standing at the gate of it already.’ So away went
the fisherman, and found his wife standing before the gate of a great
castle. ‘See,’ said she, ‘is not this grand?’ With that they went into
the castle together, and found a great many servants there, and the
rooms all richly furnished, and full of golden chairs and tables; and
behind the castle was a garden, and around it was a park half a
mile long, full of sheep, and goats, and hares, and deer; and in the
courtyard were stables and cow-houses. ‘Well,’ said the man, ‘now we
will live cheerful and happy in this beautiful castle for the rest of
our lives.’ ‘Perhaps we may,’ said the wife; ‘but let us sleep upon it,
before we make up our minds to that.’ So they went to bed.

The next morning when Dame Ilsabill awoke it was broad daylight, and
she jogged the fisherman with her elbow, and said, ‘Get up, husband,
and bestir yourself, for we must be king of all the land.’ ‘Wife, wife,’
said the man, ‘why should we wish to be the king? I will not be king.’
‘Then I will,’ said she. ‘But, wife,’ said the fisherman, ‘how can you
be king–the fish cannot make you a king?’ ‘Husband,’ said she, ‘say
no more about it, but go and try! I will be king.’ So the man went away
quite sorrowful to think that his wife should want to be king. This time
the sea looked a dark grey colour, and was overspread with curling waves
and the ridges of foam as he cried out:

‘O man of the sea!
Hearken to me!
My wife Ilsabill
Will have her own will,
And hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!’

‘Well, what would she have now?’ said the fish. ‘Alas!’ said the poor
man, ‘my wife wants to be king.’ ‘Go home,’ said the fish; ‘she is king

Then the fisherman went home; and as he came close to the palace he saw
a troop of soldiers, and heard the sound of drums and trumpets. And when
he went in he saw his wife sitting on a throne of gold and diamonds,
with a golden crown upon her head; and on each side of her stood six
fair maidens, each a head taller than the other. ‘Well, wife,’ said the
fisherman, ‘are you king?’ ‘Yes,’ said she, ‘I am king.’ And when he had
looked at her for a long time, he said, ‘Ah, wife! what a fine thing it
is to be king! Now we shall never have anything more to wish for as long
as we live.’ ‘I don’t know how that may be,’ said she; ‘never is a long
time. I am king, it is true; but I begin to be tired of that, and I
think I should like to be emperor.’ ‘Alas, wife! why should you wish to
be emperor?’ said the fisherman. ‘Husband,’ said she, ‘go to the fish!
I say I will be emperor.’ ‘Ah, wife!’ replied the fisherman, ‘the fish
cannot make an emperor, I am sure, and I should not like to ask him for
such a thing.’ ‘I am king,’ said Ilsabill, ‘and you are my slave; so go
at once!’

So the fisherman was forced to go; and he muttered as he went along,
‘This will come to no good, it is too much to ask; the fish will be
tired at last, and then we shall be sorry for what we have done.’ He
soon came to the seashore; and the water was quite black and muddy, and
a mighty whirlwind blew over the waves and rolled them about, but he
went as near as he could to the water’s brink, and said:

‘O man of the sea!
Hearken to me!
My wife Ilsabill
Will have her own will,
And hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!’

‘What would she have now?’ said the fish. ‘Ah!’ said the fisherman,
‘she wants to be emperor.’ ‘Go home,’ said the fish; ‘she is emperor

So he went home again; and as he came near he saw his wife Ilsabill
sitting on a very lofty throne made of solid gold, with a great crown on
her head full two yards high; and on each side of her stood her guards
and attendants in a row, each one smaller than the other, from the
tallest giant down to a little dwarf no bigger than my finger. And
before her stood princes, and dukes, and earls: and the fisherman went
up to her and said, ‘Wife, are you emperor?’ ‘Yes,’ said she, ‘I am
emperor.’ ‘Ah!’ said the man, as he gazed upon her, ‘what a fine thing
it is to be emperor!’ ‘Husband,’ said she, ‘why should we stop at being
emperor? I will be pope next.’ ‘O wife, wife!’ said he, ‘how can you be
pope? there is but one pope at a time in Christendom.’ ‘Husband,’ said
she, ‘I will be pope this very day.’ ‘But,’ replied the husband, ‘the
fish cannot make you pope.’ ‘What nonsense!’ said she; ‘if he can make
an emperor, he can make a pope: go and try him.’

So the fisherman went. But when he came to the shore the wind was raging
and the sea was tossed up and down in boiling waves, and the ships were
in trouble, and rolled fearfully upon the tops of the billows. In the
middle of the heavens there was a little piece of blue sky, but towards
the south all was red, as if a dreadful storm was rising. At this sight
the fisherman was dreadfully frightened, and he trembled so that his
knees knocked together: but still he went down near to the shore, and

‘O man of the sea!
Hearken to me!
My wife Ilsabill
Will have her own will,
And hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!’

‘What does she want now?’ said the fish. ‘Ah!’ said the fisherman, ‘my
wife wants to be pope.’ ‘Go home,’ said the fish; ‘she is pope already.’

Then the fisherman went home, and found Ilsabill sitting on a throne
that was two miles high. And she had three great crowns on her head, and
around her stood all the pomp and power of the Church. And on each side
of her were two rows of burning lights, of all sizes, the greatest as
large as the highest and biggest tower in the world, and the least no
larger than a small rushlight. ‘Wife,’ said the fisherman, as he looked
at all this greatness, ‘are you pope?’ ‘Yes,’ said she, ‘I am pope.’
‘Well, wife,’ replied he, ‘it is a grand thing to be pope; and now
you must be easy, for you can be nothing greater.’ ‘I will think about
that,’ said the wife. Then they went to bed: but Dame Ilsabill could not
sleep all night for thinking what she should be next. At last, as she
was dropping asleep, morning broke, and the sun rose. ‘Ha!’ thought she,
as she woke up and looked at it through the window, ‘after all I cannot
prevent the sun rising.’ At this thought she was very angry, and wakened
her husband, and said, ‘Husband, go to the fish and tell him I must
be lord of the sun and moon.’ The fisherman was half asleep, but the
thought frightened him so much that he started and fell out of bed.
‘Alas, wife!’ said he, ‘cannot you be easy with being pope?’ ‘No,’
said she, ‘I am very uneasy as long as the sun and moon rise without my
leave. Go to the fish at once!’

Then the man went shivering with fear; and as he was going down to
the shore a dreadful storm arose, so that the trees and the very rocks
shook. And all the heavens became black with stormy clouds, and the
lightnings played, and the thunders rolled; and you might have seen in
the sea great black waves, swelling up like mountains with crowns of
white foam upon their heads. And the fisherman crept towards the sea,
and cried out, as well as he could:

‘O man of the sea!
Hearken to me!
My wife Ilsabill
Will have her own will,
And hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!’

‘What does she want now?’ said the fish. ‘Ah!’ said he, ‘she wants to
be lord of the sun and moon.’ ‘Go home,’ said the fish, ‘to your pigsty

And there they live to this very day.


Once in summer-time the bear and the wolf were walking in the forest,
and the bear heard a bird singing so beautifully that he said: ‘Brother
wolf, what bird is it that sings so well?’ ‘That is the King of birds,’
said the wolf, ‘before whom we must bow down.’ In reality the bird was
the willow-wren. ‘IF that’s the case,’ said the bear, ‘I should very
much like to see his royal palace; come, take me thither.’ ‘That is not
done quite as you seem to think,’ said the wolf; ‘you must wait until
the Queen comes,’ Soon afterwards, the Queen arrived with some food in
her beak, and the lord King came too, and they began to feed their young
ones. The bear would have liked to go at once, but the wolf held him
back by the sleeve, and said: ‘No, you must wait until the lord and lady
Queen have gone away again.’ So they took stock of the hole where the
nest lay, and trotted away. The bear, however, could not rest until he
had seen the royal palace, and when a short time had passed, went to it
again. The King and Queen had just flown out, so he peeped in and saw
five or six young ones lying there. ‘Is that the royal palace?’ cried
the bear; ‘it is a wretched palace, and you are not King’s children, you
are disreputable children!’ When the young wrens heard that, they were
frightfully angry, and screamed: ‘No, that we are not! Our parents are
honest people! Bear, you will have to pay for that!’

The bear and the wolf grew uneasy, and turned back and went into their
holes. The young willow-wrens, however, continued to cry and scream, and
when their parents again brought food they said: ‘We will not so much as
touch one fly’s leg, no, not if we were dying of hunger, until you have
settled whether we are respectable children or not; the bear has been
here and has insulted us!’ Then the old King said: ‘Be easy, he shall
be punished,’ and he at once flew with the Queen to the bear’s cave, and
called in: ‘Old Growler, why have you insulted my children? You shall
suffer for it–we will punish you by a bloody war.’ Thus war was
announced to the Bear, and all four-footed animals were summoned to take
part in it, oxen, asses, cows, deer, and every other animal the earth
contained. And the willow-wren summoned everything which flew in the
air, not only birds, large and small, but midges, and hornets, bees and
flies had to come.

When the time came for the war to begin, the willow-wren sent out spies
to discover who was the enemy’s commander-in-chief. The gnat, who was
the most crafty, flew into the forest where the enemy was assembled,
and hid herself beneath a leaf of the tree where the password was to be
announced. There stood the bear, and he called the fox before him
and said: ‘Fox, you are the most cunning of all animals, you shall be
general and lead us.’ ‘Good,’ said the fox, ‘but what signal shall we
agree upon?’ No one knew that, so the fox said: ‘I have a fine long
bushy tail, which almost looks like a plume of red feathers. When I lift
my tail up quite high, all is going well, and you must charge; but if I
let it hang down, run away as fast as you can.’ When the gnat had heard
that, she flew away again, and revealed everything, down to the minutest
detail, to the willow-wren. When day broke, and the battle was to begin,
all the four-footed animals came running up with such a noise that the
earth trembled. The willow-wren with his army also came flying through
the air with such a humming, and whirring, and swarming that every one
was uneasy and afraid, and on both sides they advanced against each
other. But the willow-wren sent down the hornet, with orders to settle
beneath the fox’s tail, and sting with all his might. When the fox felt
the first string, he started so that he lifted one leg, from pain, but
he bore it, and still kept his tail high in the air; at the second
sting, he was forced to put it down for a moment; at the third, he could
hold out no longer, screamed, and put his tail between his legs. When
the animals saw that, they thought all was lost, and began to flee, each
into his hole, and the birds had won the battle.

Then the King and Queen flew home to their children and cried:
‘Children, rejoice, eat and drink to your heart’s content, we have won
the battle!’ But the young wrens said: ‘We will not eat yet, the bear
must come to the nest, and beg for pardon and say that we are honourable
children, before we will do that.’ Then the willow-wren flew to the
bear’s hole and cried: ‘Growler, you are to come to the nest to my
children, and beg their pardon, or else every rib of your body shall
be broken.’ So the bear crept thither in the greatest fear, and begged
their pardon. And now at last the young wrens were satisfied, and sat
down together and ate and drank, and made merry till quite late into the


One fine evening a young princess put on her bonnet and clogs, and went
out to take a walk by herself in a wood; and when she came to a cool
spring of water, that rose in the midst of it, she sat herself down
to rest a while. Now she had a golden ball in her hand, which was her
favourite plaything; and she was always tossing it up into the air, and
catching it again as it fell. After a time she threw it up so high that
she missed catching it as it fell; and the ball bounded away, and rolled
along upon the ground, till at last it fell down into the spring. The
princess looked into the spring after her ball, but it was very deep, so
deep that she could not see the bottom of it. Then she began to bewail
her loss, and said, ‘Alas! if I could only get my ball again, I would
give all my fine clothes and jewels, and everything that I have in the

Whilst she was speaking, a frog put its head out of the water, and said,
‘Princess, why do you weep so bitterly?’ ‘Alas!’ said she, ‘what can you
do for me, you nasty frog? My golden ball has fallen into the spring.’
The frog said, ‘I want not your pearls, and jewels, and fine clothes;
but if you will love me, and let me live with you and eat from off
your golden plate, and sleep upon your bed, I will bring you your ball
again.’ ‘What nonsense,’ thought the princess, ‘this silly frog is
talking! He can never even get out of the spring to visit me, though
he may be able to get my ball for me, and therefore I will tell him he
shall have what he asks.’ So she said to the frog, ‘Well, if you will
bring me my ball, I will do all you ask.’ Then the frog put his head
down, and dived deep under the water; and after a little while he came
up again, with the ball in his mouth, and threw it on the edge of the
spring. As soon as the young princess saw her ball, she ran to pick
it up; and she was so overjoyed to have it in her hand again, that she
never thought of the frog, but ran home with it as fast as she could.
The frog called after her, ‘Stay, princess, and take me with you as you
said,’ But she did not stop to hear a word.

The next day, just as the princess had sat down to dinner, she heard a
strange noise–tap, tap–plash, plash–as if something was coming up the
marble staircase: and soon afterwards there was a gentle knock at the
door, and a little voice cried out and said:

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

Then the princess ran to the door and opened it, and there she saw
the frog, whom she had quite forgotten. At this sight she was sadly
frightened, and shutting the door as fast as she could came back to her
seat. The king, her father, seeing that something had frightened her,
asked her what was the matter. ‘There is a nasty frog,’ said she, ‘at
the door, that lifted my ball for me out of the spring this morning: I
told him that he should live with me here, thinking that he could never
get out of the spring; but there he is at the door, and he wants to come

While she was speaking the frog knocked again at the door, and said:

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

Then the king said to the young princess, ‘As you have given your word
you must keep it; so go and let him in.’ She did so, and the frog hopped
into the room, and then straight on–tap, tap–plash, plash–from the
bottom of the room to the top, till he came up close to the table where
the princess sat. ‘Pray lift me upon chair,’ said he to the princess,
‘and let me sit next to you.’ As soon as she had done this, the frog
said, ‘Put your plate nearer to me, that I may eat out of it.’ This
she did, and when he had eaten as much as he could, he said, ‘Now I am
tired; carry me upstairs, and put me into your bed.’ And the princess,
though very unwilling, took him up in her hand, and put him upon the
pillow of her own bed, where he slept all night long. As soon as it was
light he jumped up, hopped downstairs, and went out of the house.
‘Now, then,’ thought the princess, ‘at last he is gone, and I shall be
troubled with him no more.’

But she was mistaken; for when night came again she heard the same
tapping at the door; and the frog came once more, and said:

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

And when the princess opened the door the frog came in, and slept upon
her pillow as before, till the morning broke. And the third night he did
the same. But when the princess awoke on the following morning she was
astonished to see, instead of the frog, a handsome prince, gazing on her
with the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen, and standing at the head
of her bed.

He told her that he had been enchanted by a spiteful fairy, who had
changed him into a frog; and that he had been fated so to abide till
some princess should take him out of the spring, and let him eat from
her plate, and sleep upon her bed for three nights. ‘You,’ said the
prince, ‘have broken his cruel charm, and now I have nothing to wish for
but that you should go with me into my father’s kingdom, where I will
marry you, and love you as long as you live.’

The young princess, you may be sure, was not long in saying ‘Yes’ to
all this; and as they spoke a gay coach drove up, with eight beautiful
horses, decked with plumes of feathers and a golden harness; and behind
the coach rode the prince’s servant, faithful Heinrich, who had bewailed
the misfortunes of his dear master during his enchantment so long and so
bitterly, that his heart had well-nigh burst.

They then took leave of the king, and got into the coach with eight
horses, and all set out, full of joy and merriment, for the prince’s
kingdom, which they reached safely; and there they lived happily a great
many years.


A certain cat had made the acquaintance of a mouse, and had said so much
to her about the great love and friendship she felt for her, that at
length the mouse agreed that they should live and keep house together.
‘But we must make a provision for winter, or else we shall suffer
from hunger,’ said the cat; ‘and you, little mouse, cannot venture
everywhere, or you will be caught in a trap some day.’ The good advice
was followed, and a pot of fat was bought, but they did not know where
to put it. At length, after much consideration, the cat said: ‘I know no
place where it will be better stored up than in the church, for no one
dares take anything away from there. We will set it beneath the altar,
and not touch it until we are really in need of it.’ So the pot was
placed in safety, but it was not long before the cat had a great
yearning for it, and said to the mouse: ‘I want to tell you something,
little mouse; my cousin has brought a little son into the world, and has
asked me to be godmother; he is white with brown spots, and I am to hold
him over the font at the christening. Let me go out today, and you look
after the house by yourself.’ ‘Yes, yes,’ answered the mouse, ‘by all
means go, and if you get anything very good to eat, think of me. I
should like a drop of sweet red christening wine myself.’ All this,
however, was untrue; the cat had no cousin, and had not been asked to
be godmother. She went straight to the church, stole to the pot of fat,
began to lick at it, and licked the top of the fat off. Then she took a
walk upon the roofs of the town, looked out for opportunities, and then
stretched herself in the sun, and licked her lips whenever she thought
of the pot of fat, and not until it was evening did she return home.
‘Well, here you are again,’ said the mouse, ‘no doubt you have had a
merry day.’ ‘All went off well,’ answered the cat. ‘What name did they
give the child?’ ‘Top off!’ said the cat quite coolly. ‘Top off!’ cried
the mouse, ‘that is a very odd and uncommon name, is it a usual one in
your family?’ ‘What does that matter,’ said the cat, ‘it is no worse
than Crumb-stealer, as your godchildren are called.’

Before long the cat was seized by another fit of yearning. She said to
the mouse: ‘You must do me a favour, and once more manage the house for
a day alone. I am again asked to be godmother, and, as the child has a
white ring round its neck, I cannot refuse.’ The good mouse consented,
but the cat crept behind the town walls to the church, and devoured
half the pot of fat. ‘Nothing ever seems so good as what one keeps to
oneself,’ said she, and was quite satisfied with her day’s work. When
she went home the mouse inquired: ‘And what was the child christened?’
‘Half-done,’ answered the cat. ‘Half-done! What are you saying? I
never heard the name in my life, I’ll wager anything it is not in the

The cat’s mouth soon began to water for some more licking. ‘All good
things go in threes,’ said she, ‘I am asked to stand godmother again.
The child is quite black, only it has white paws, but with that
exception, it has not a single white hair on its whole body; this only
happens once every few years, you will let me go, won’t you?’ ‘Top-off!
Half-done!’ answered the mouse, ‘they are such odd names, they make me
very thoughtful.’ ‘You sit at home,’ said the cat, ‘in your dark-grey
fur coat and long tail, and are filled with fancies, that’s because
you do not go out in the daytime.’ During the cat’s absence the mouse
cleaned the house, and put it in order, but the greedy cat entirely
emptied the pot of fat. ‘When everything is eaten up one has some
peace,’ said she to herself, and well filled and fat she did not return
home till night. The mouse at once asked what name had been given to
the third child. ‘It will not please you more than the others,’ said the
cat. ‘He is called All-gone.’ ‘All-gone,’ cried the mouse ‘that is the
most suspicious name of all! I have never seen it in print. All-gone;
what can that mean?’ and she shook her head, curled herself up, and lay
down to sleep.

From this time forth no one invited the cat to be godmother, but
when the winter had come and there was no longer anything to be found
outside, the mouse thought of their provision, and said: ‘Come, cat,
we will go to our pot of fat which we have stored up for ourselves–we
shall enjoy that.’ ‘Yes,’ answered the cat, ‘you will enjoy it as much
as you would enjoy sticking that dainty tongue of yours out of the
window.’ They set out on their way, but when they arrived, the pot of
fat certainly was still in its place, but it was empty. ‘Alas!’ said the
mouse, ‘now I see what has happened, now it comes to light! You are a true
friend! You have devoured all when you were standing godmother. First
top off, then half-done, then–‘ ‘Will you hold your tongue,’ cried the
cat, ‘one word more, and I will eat you too.’ ‘All-gone’ was already on
the poor mouse’s lips; scarcely had she spoken it before the cat sprang
on her, seized her, and swallowed her down. Verily, that is the way of
the world.


The king of a great land died, and left his queen to take care of their
only child. This child was a daughter, who was very beautiful; and her
mother loved her dearly, and was very kind to her. And there was a good
fairy too, who was fond of the princess, and helped her mother to watch
over her. When she grew up, she was betrothed to a prince who lived a
great way off; and as the time drew near for her to be married, she
got ready to set off on her journey to his country. Then the queen her
mother, packed up a great many costly things; jewels, and gold, and
silver; trinkets, fine dresses, and in short everything that became a
royal bride. And she gave her a waiting-maid to ride with her, and give
her into the bridegroom’s hands; and each had a horse for the journey.
Now the princess’s horse was the fairy’s gift, and it was called Falada,
and could speak.

When the time came for them to set out, the fairy went into her
bed-chamber, and took a little knife, and cut off a lock of her hair,
and gave it to the princess, and said, ‘Take care of it, dear child; for
it is a charm that may be of use to you on the road.’ Then they all took
a sorrowful leave of the princess; and she put the lock of hair into
her bosom, got upon her horse, and set off on her journey to her
bridegroom’s kingdom.

One day, as they were riding along by a brook, the princess began to
feel very thirsty: and she said to her maid, ‘Pray get down, and fetch
me some water in my golden cup out of yonder brook, for I want to
drink.’ ‘Nay,’ said the maid, ‘if you are thirsty, get off yourself, and
stoop down by the water and drink; I shall not be your waiting-maid any
longer.’ Then she was so thirsty that she got down, and knelt over the
little brook, and drank; for she was frightened, and dared not bring out
her golden cup; and she wept and said, ‘Alas! what will become of me?’
And the lock answered her, and said:

‘Alas! alas! if thy mother knew it,
Sadly, sadly, would she rue it.’

But the princess was very gentle and meek, so she said nothing to her
maid’s ill behaviour, but got upon her horse again.

Then all rode farther on their journey, till the day grew so warm, and
the sun so scorching, that the bride began to feel very thirsty again;
and at last, when they came to a river, she forgot her maid’s rude
speech, and said, ‘Pray get down, and fetch me some water to drink in
my golden cup.’ But the maid answered her, and even spoke more haughtily
than before: ‘Drink if you will, but I shall not be your waiting-maid.’
Then the princess was so thirsty that she got off her horse, and lay
down, and held her head over the running stream, and cried and said,
‘What will become of me?’ And the lock of hair answered her again:

‘Alas! alas! if thy mother knew it,
Sadly, sadly, would she rue it.’

And as she leaned down to drink, the lock of hair fell from her bosom,
and floated away with the water. Now she was so frightened that she did
not see it; but her maid saw it, and was very glad, for she knew the
charm; and she saw that the poor bride would be in her power, now that
she had lost the hair. So when the bride had done drinking, and would
have got upon Falada again, the maid said, ‘I shall ride upon Falada,
and you may have my horse instead’; so she was forced to give up her
horse, and soon afterwards to take off her royal clothes and put on her
maid’s shabby ones.

At last, as they drew near the end of their journey, this treacherous
servant threatened to kill her mistress if she ever told anyone what had
happened. But Falada saw it all, and marked it well.

Then the waiting-maid got upon Falada, and the real bride rode upon the
other horse, and they went on in this way till at last they came to the
royal court. There was great joy at their coming, and the prince flew to
meet them, and lifted the maid from her horse, thinking she was the one
who was to be his wife; and she was led upstairs to the royal chamber;
but the true princess was told to stay in the court below.

Now the old king happened just then to have nothing else to do; so he
amused himself by sitting at his kitchen window, looking at what was
going on; and he saw her in the courtyard. As she looked very pretty,
and too delicate for a waiting-maid, he went up into the royal chamber
to ask the bride who it was she had brought with her, that was thus left
standing in the court below. ‘I brought her with me for the sake of her
company on the road,’ said she; ‘pray give the girl some work to do,
that she may not be idle.’ The old king could not for some time think
of any work for her to do; but at last he said, ‘I have a lad who takes
care of my geese; she may go and help him.’ Now the name of this lad,
that the real bride was to help in watching the king’s geese, was

But the false bride said to the prince, ‘Dear husband, pray do me one
piece of kindness.’ ‘That I will,’ said the prince. ‘Then tell one of
your slaughterers to cut off the head of the horse I rode upon, for it
was very unruly, and plagued me sadly on the road’; but the truth was,
she was very much afraid lest Falada should some day or other speak, and
tell all she had done to the princess. She carried her point, and the
faithful Falada was killed; but when the true princess heard of it, she
wept, and begged the man to nail up Falada’s head against a large
dark gate of the city, through which she had to pass every morning
and evening, that there she might still see him sometimes. Then the
slaughterer said he would do as she wished; and cut off the head, and
nailed it up under the dark gate.

Early the next morning, as she and Curdken went out through the gate,
she said sorrowfully:

‘Falada, Falada, there thou hangest!’

and the head answered:

‘Bride, bride, there thou gangest!
Alas! alas! if thy mother knew it,
Sadly, sadly, would she rue it.’

Then they went out of the city, and drove the geese on. And when she
came to the meadow, she sat down upon a bank there, and let down her
waving locks of hair, which were all of pure silver; and when Curdken
saw it glitter in the sun, he ran up, and would have pulled some of the
locks out, but she cried:

‘Blow, breezes, blow!
Let Curdken’s hat go!
Blow, breezes, blow!
Let him after it go!
O’er hills, dales, and rocks,
Away be it whirl’d
Till the silvery locks
Are all comb’d and curl’d!

Then there came a wind, so strong that it blew off Curdken’s hat; and
away it flew over the hills: and he was forced to turn and run after
it; till, by the time he came back, she had done combing and curling her
hair, and had put it up again safe. Then he was very angry and sulky,
and would not speak to her at all; but they watched the geese until it
grew dark in the evening, and then drove them homewards.

The next morning, as they were going through the dark gate, the poor
girl looked up at Falada’s head, and cried:

‘Falada, Falada, there thou hangest!’

and the head answered:

‘Bride, bride, there thou gangest!
Alas! alas! if thy mother knew it,
Sadly, sadly, would she rue it.’

Then she drove on the geese, and sat down again in the meadow, and began
to comb out her hair as before; and Curdken ran up to her, and wanted to
take hold of it; but she cried out quickly:

‘Blow, breezes, blow!
Let Curdken’s hat go!
Blow, breezes, blow!
Let him after it go!
O’er hills, dales, and rocks,
Away be it whirl’d
Till the silvery locks
Are all comb’d and curl’d!

Then the wind came and blew away his hat; and off it flew a great way,
over the hills and far away, so that he had to run after it; and when
he came back she had bound up her hair again, and all was safe. So they
watched the geese till it grew dark.

In the evening, after they came home, Curdken went to the old king, and
said, ‘I cannot have that strange girl to help me to keep the geese any
longer.’ ‘Why?’ said the king. ‘Because, instead of doing any good, she
does nothing but tease me all day long.’ Then the king made him tell him
what had happened. And Curdken said, ‘When we go in the morning through
the dark gate with our flock of geese, she cries and talks with the head
of a horse that hangs upon the wall, and says:

‘Falada, Falada, there thou hangest!’

and the head answers:

‘Bride, bride, there thou gangest!
Alas! alas! if thy mother knew it,
Sadly, sadly, would she rue it.’

And Curdken went on telling the king what had happened upon the meadow
where the geese fed; how his hat was blown away; and how he was forced
to run after it, and to leave his flock of geese to themselves. But the
old king told the boy to go out again the next day: and when morning
came, he placed himself behind the dark gate, and heard how she spoke
to Falada, and how Falada answered. Then he went into the field, and
hid himself in a bush by the meadow’s side; and he soon saw with his own
eyes how they drove the flock of geese; and how, after a little time,
she let down her hair that glittered in the sun. And then he heard her

‘Blow, breezes, blow!
Let Curdken’s hat go!
Blow, breezes, blow!
Let him after it go!
O’er hills, dales, and rocks,
Away be it whirl’d
Till the silvery locks
Are all comb’d and curl’d!

And soon came a gale of wind, and carried away Curdken’s hat, and away
went Curdken after it, while the girl went on combing and curling her
hair. All this the old king saw: so he went home without being seen; and
when the little goose-girl came back in the evening he called her aside,
and asked her why she did so: but she burst into tears, and said, ‘That
I must not tell you or any man, or I shall lose my life.’

But the old king begged so hard, that she had no peace till she had told
him all the tale, from beginning to end, word for word. And it was very
lucky for her that she did so, for when she had done the king ordered
royal clothes to be put upon her, and gazed on her with wonder, she was
so beautiful. Then he called his son and told him that he had only a
false bride; for that she was merely a waiting-maid, while the true
bride stood by. And the young king rejoiced when he saw her beauty, and
heard how meek and patient she had been; and without saying anything to
the false bride, the king ordered a great feast to be got ready for all
his court. The bridegroom sat at the top, with the false princess on one
side, and the true one on the other; but nobody knew her again, for her
beauty was quite dazzling to their eyes; and she did not seem at all
like the little goose-girl, now that she had her brilliant dress on.

When they had eaten and drank, and were very merry, the old king said
he would tell them a tale. So he began, and told all the story of the
princess, as if it was one that he had once heard; and he asked the
true waiting-maid what she thought ought to be done to anyone who would
behave thus. ‘Nothing better,’ said this false bride, ‘than that she
should be thrown into a cask stuck round with sharp nails, and that
two white horses should be put to it, and should drag it from street to
street till she was dead.’ ‘Thou art she!’ said the old king; ‘and as
thou has judged thyself, so shall it be done to thee.’ And the young
king was then married to his true wife, and they reigned over the
kingdom in peace and happiness all their lives; and the good fairy came
to see them, and restored the faithful Falada to life again.



‘The nuts are quite ripe now,’ said Chanticleer to his wife Partlet,
‘suppose we go together to the mountains, and eat as many as we can,
before the squirrel takes them all away.’ ‘With all my heart,’ said
Partlet, ‘let us go and make a holiday of it together.’

So they went to the mountains; and as it was a lovely day, they stayed
there till the evening. Now, whether it was that they had eaten so many
nuts that they could not walk, or whether they were lazy and would not,
I do not know: however, they took it into their heads that it did not
become them to go home on foot. So Chanticleer began to build a little
carriage of nutshells: and when it was finished, Partlet jumped into
it and sat down, and bid Chanticleer harness himself to it and draw her
home. ‘That’s a good joke!’ said Chanticleer; ‘no, that will never do;
I had rather by half walk home; I’ll sit on the box and be coachman,
if you like, but I’ll not draw.’ While this was passing, a duck came
quacking up and cried out, ‘You thieving vagabonds, what business have
you in my grounds? I’ll give it you well for your insolence!’ and upon
that she fell upon Chanticleer most lustily. But Chanticleer was no
coward, and returned the duck’s blows with his sharp spurs so fiercely
that she soon began to cry out for mercy; which was only granted her
upon condition that she would draw the carriage home for them. This she
agreed to do; and Chanticleer got upon the box, and drove, crying, ‘Now,
duck, get on as fast as you can.’ And away they went at a pretty good

After they had travelled along a little way, they met a needle and a pin
walking together along the road: and the needle cried out, ‘Stop, stop!’
and said it was so dark that they could hardly find their way, and such
dirty walking they could not get on at all: he told them that he and his
friend, the pin, had been at a public-house a few miles off, and had sat
drinking till they had forgotten how late it was; he begged therefore
that the travellers would be so kind as to give them a lift in their
carriage. Chanticleer observing that they were but thin fellows, and not
likely to take up much room, told them they might ride, but made them
promise not to dirty the wheels of the carriage in getting in, nor to
tread on Partlet’s toes.

Late at night they arrived at an inn; and as it was bad travelling in
the dark, and the duck seemed much tired, and waddled about a good
deal from one side to the other, they made up their minds to fix their
quarters there: but the landlord at first was unwilling, and said his
house was full, thinking they might not be very respectable company:
however, they spoke civilly to him, and gave him the egg which Partlet
had laid by the way, and said they would give him the duck, who was in
the habit of laying one every day: so at last he let them come in, and
they bespoke a handsome supper, and spent the evening very jollily.

Early in the morning, before it was quite light, and when nobody was
stirring in the inn, Chanticleer awakened his wife, and, fetching the
egg, they pecked a hole in it, ate it up, and threw the shells into the
fireplace: they then went to the pin and needle, who were fast asleep,
and seizing them by the heads, stuck one into the landlord’s easy chair
and the other into his handkerchief; and, having done this, they crept
away as softly as possible. However, the duck, who slept in the open
air in the yard, heard them coming, and jumping into the brook which ran
close by the inn, soon swam out of their reach.

An hour or two afterwards the landlord got up, and took his handkerchief
to wipe his face, but the pin ran into him and pricked him: then he
walked into the kitchen to light his pipe at the fire, but when he
stirred it up the eggshells flew into his eyes, and almost blinded him.
‘Bless me!’ said he, ‘all the world seems to have a design against my
head this morning’: and so saying, he threw himself sulkily into his
easy chair; but, oh dear! the needle ran into him; and this time the
pain was not in his head. He now flew into a very great passion, and,
suspecting the company who had come in the night before, he went to look
after them, but they were all off; so he swore that he never again
would take in such a troop of vagabonds, who ate a great deal, paid no
reckoning, and gave him nothing for his trouble but their apish tricks.


Another day, Chanticleer and Partlet wished to ride out together;
so Chanticleer built a handsome carriage with four red wheels, and
harnessed six mice to it; and then he and Partlet got into the carriage,
and away they drove. Soon afterwards a cat met them, and said, ‘Where
are you going?’ And Chanticleer replied,

‘All on our way
A visit to pay
To Mr Korbes, the fox, today.’

Then the cat said, ‘Take me with you,’ Chanticleer said, ‘With all my
heart: get up behind, and be sure you do not fall off.’

‘Take care of this handsome coach of mine,
Nor dirty my pretty red wheels so fine!
Now, mice, be ready,
And, wheels, run steady!
For we are going a visit to pay
To Mr Korbes, the fox, today.’

Soon after came up a millstone, an egg, a duck, and a pin; and
Chanticleer gave them all leave to get into the carriage and go with

When they arrived at Mr Korbes’s house, he was not at home; so the mice
drew the carriage into the coach-house, Chanticleer and Partlet flew
upon a beam, the cat sat down in the fireplace, the duck got into
the washing cistern, the pin stuck himself into the bed pillow, the
millstone laid himself over the house door, and the egg rolled himself
up in the towel.

When Mr Korbes came home, he went to the fireplace to make a fire; but
the cat threw all the ashes in his eyes: so he ran to the kitchen to
wash himself; but there the duck splashed all the water in his face; and
when he tried to wipe himself, the egg broke to pieces in the towel all
over his face and eyes. Then he was very angry, and went without his
supper to bed; but when he laid his head on the pillow, the pin ran into
his cheek: at this he became quite furious, and, jumping up, would have
run out of the house; but when he came to the door, the millstone fell
down on his head, and killed him on the spot.


Another day Chanticleer and Partlet agreed to go again to the mountains
to eat nuts; and it was settled that all the nuts which they found
should be shared equally between them. Now Partlet found a very large
nut; but she said nothing about it to Chanticleer, and kept it all to
herself: however, it was so big that she could not swallow it, and it
stuck in her throat. Then she was in a great fright, and cried out to
Chanticleer, ‘Pray run as fast as you can, and fetch me some water, or I
shall be choked.’ Chanticleer ran as fast as he could to the river, and
said, ‘River, give me some water, for Partlet lies in the mountain, and
will be choked by a great nut.’ The river said, ‘Run first to the bride,
and ask her for a silken cord to draw up the water.’ Chanticleer ran to
the bride, and said, ‘Bride, you must give me a silken cord, for then
the river will give me water, and the water I will carry to Partlet, who
lies on the mountain, and will be choked by a great nut.’ But the bride
said, ‘Run first, and bring me my garland that is hanging on a willow
in the garden.’ Then Chanticleer ran to the garden, and took the garland
from the bough where it hung, and brought it to the bride; and then
the bride gave him the silken cord, and he took the silken cord to
the river, and the river gave him water, and he carried the water to
Partlet; but in the meantime she was choked by the great nut, and lay
quite dead, and never moved any more.

Then Chanticleer was very sorry, and cried bitterly; and all the beasts
came and wept with him over poor Partlet. And six mice built a little
hearse to carry her to her grave; and when it was ready they harnessed
themselves before it, and Chanticleer drove them. On the way they
met the fox. ‘Where are you going, Chanticleer?’ said he. ‘To bury my
Partlet,’ said the other. ‘May I go with you?’ said the fox. ‘Yes; but
you must get up behind, or my horses will not be able to draw you.’ Then
the fox got up behind; and presently the wolf, the bear, the goat, and
all the beasts of the wood, came and climbed upon the hearse.

So on they went till they came to a rapid stream. ‘How shall we get
over?’ said Chanticleer. Then said a straw, ‘I will lay myself across,
and you may pass over upon me.’ But as the mice were going over, the
straw slipped away and fell into the water, and the six mice all fell in
and were drowned. What was to be done? Then a large log of wood came
and said, ‘I am big enough; I will lay myself across the stream, and you
shall pass over upon me.’ So he laid himself down; but they managed
so clumsily, that the log of wood fell in and was carried away by the
stream. Then a stone, who saw what had happened, came up and kindly
offered to help poor Chanticleer by laying himself across the stream;
and this time he got safely to the other side with the hearse, and
managed to get Partlet out of it; but the fox and the other mourners,
who were sitting behind, were too heavy, and fell back into the water
and were all carried away by the stream and drowned.

Thus Chanticleer was left alone with his dead Partlet; and having dug
a grave for her, he laid her in it, and made a little hillock over her.
Then he sat down by the grave, and wept and mourned, till at last he
died too; and so all were dead.


There were once a man and a woman who had long in vain wished for a
child. At length the woman hoped that God was about to grant her desire.
These people had a little window at the back of their house from which
a splendid garden could be seen, which was full of the most beautiful
flowers and herbs. It was, however, surrounded by a high wall, and no
one dared to go into it because it belonged to an enchantress, who had
great power and was dreaded by all the world. One day the woman was
standing by this window and looking down into the garden, when she saw a
bed which was planted with the most beautiful rampion (rapunzel), and it
looked so fresh and green that she longed for it, she quite pined away,
and began to look pale and miserable. Then her husband was alarmed, and
asked: ‘What ails you, dear wife?’ ‘Ah,’ she replied, ‘if I can’t eat
some of the rampion, which is in the garden behind our house, I shall
die.’ The man, who loved her, thought: ‘Sooner than let your wife die,
bring her some of the rampion yourself, let it cost what it will.’
At twilight, he clambered down over the wall into the garden of the
enchantress, hastily clutched a handful of rampion, and took it to his
wife. She at once made herself a salad of it, and ate it greedily. It
tasted so good to her–so very good, that the next day she longed for it
three times as much as before. If he was to have any rest, her husband
must once more descend into the garden. In the gloom of evening
therefore, he let himself down again; but when he had clambered down the
wall he was terribly afraid, for he saw the enchantress standing before
him. ‘How can you dare,’ said she with angry look, ‘descend into my
garden and steal my rampion like a thief? You shall suffer for it!’
‘Ah,’ answered he, ‘let mercy take the place of justice, I only made
up my mind to do it out of necessity. My wife saw your rampion from the
window, and felt such a longing for it that she would have died if she
had not got some to eat.’ Then the enchantress allowed her anger to be
softened, and said to him: ‘If the case be as you say, I will allow
you to take away with you as much rampion as you will, only I make one
condition, you must give me the child which your wife will bring into
the world; it shall be well treated, and I will care for it like a
mother.’ The man in his terror consented to everything, and when the
woman was brought to bed, the enchantress appeared at once, gave the
child the name of Rapunzel, and took it away with her.

Rapunzel grew into the most beautiful child under the sun. When she was
twelve years old, the enchantress shut her into a tower, which lay in
a forest, and had neither stairs nor door, but quite at the top was a
little window. When the enchantress wanted to go in, she placed herself
beneath it and cried:

‘Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your hair to me.’

Rapunzel had magnificent long hair, fine as spun gold, and when she
heard the voice of the enchantress she unfastened her braided tresses,
wound them round one of the hooks of the window above, and then the hair
fell twenty ells down, and the enchantress climbed up by it.

After a year or two, it came to pass that the king’s son rode through
the forest and passed by the tower. Then he heard a song, which was so
charming that he stood still and listened. This was Rapunzel, who in her
solitude passed her time in letting her sweet voice resound. The king’s
son wanted to climb up to her, and looked for the door of the tower,
but none was to be found. He rode home, but the singing had so deeply
touched his heart, that every day he went out into the forest and
listened to it. Once when he was thus standing behind a tree, he saw
that an enchantress came there, and he heard how she cried:

‘Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your hair to me.’

Then Rapunzel let down the braids of her hair, and the enchantress
climbed up to her. ‘If that is the ladder by which one mounts, I too
will try my fortune,’ said he, and the next day when it began to grow
dark, he went to the tower and cried:

‘Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your hair to me.’

Immediately the hair fell down and the king’s son climbed up.

At first Rapunzel was terribly frightened when a man, such as her eyes
had never yet beheld, came to her; but the king’s son began to talk to
her quite like a friend, and told her that his heart had been so stirred
that it had let him have no rest, and he had been forced to see her.
Then Rapunzel lost her fear, and when he asked her if she would take
him for her husband, and she saw that he was young and handsome, she
thought: ‘He will love me more than old Dame Gothel does’; and she said
yes, and laid her hand in his. She said: ‘I will willingly go away with
you, but I do not know how to get down. Bring with you a skein of silk
every time that you come, and I will weave a ladder with it, and when
that is ready I will descend, and you will take me on your horse.’ They
agreed that until that time he should come to her every evening, for the
old woman came by day. The enchantress remarked nothing of this, until
once Rapunzel said to her: ‘Tell me, Dame Gothel, how it happens that
you are so much heavier for me to draw up than the young king’s son–he
is with me in a moment.’ ‘Ah! you wicked child,’ cried the enchantress.
‘What do I hear you say! I thought I had separated you from all
the world, and yet you have deceived me!’ In her anger she clutched
Rapunzel’s beautiful tresses, wrapped them twice round her left hand,
seized a pair of scissors with the right, and snip, snap, they were cut
off, and the lovely braids lay on the ground. And she was so pitiless
that she took poor Rapunzel into a desert where she had to live in great
grief and misery.

On the same day that she cast out Rapunzel, however, the enchantress
fastened the braids of hair, which she had cut off, to the hook of the
window, and when the king’s son came and cried:

‘Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your hair to me.’

she let the hair down. The king’s son ascended, but instead of finding
his dearest Rapunzel, he found the enchantress, who gazed at him with
wicked and venomous looks. ‘Aha!’ she cried mockingly, ‘you would fetch
your dearest, but the beautiful bird sits no longer singing in the nest;
the cat has got it, and will scratch out your eyes as well. Rapunzel is
lost to you; you will never see her again.’ The king’s son was beside
himself with pain, and in his despair he leapt down from the tower. He
escaped with his life, but the thorns into which he fell pierced his
eyes. Then he wandered quite blind about the forest, ate nothing but
roots and berries, and did naught but lament and weep over the loss of
his dearest wife. Thus he roamed about in misery for some years, and at
length came to the desert where Rapunzel, with the twins to which she
had given birth, a boy and a girl, lived in wretchedness. He heard a
voice, and it seemed so familiar to him that he went towards it, and
when he approached, Rapunzel knew him and fell on his neck and wept. Two
of her tears wetted his eyes and they grew clear again, and he could
see with them as before. He led her to his kingdom where he was
joyfully received, and they lived for a long time afterwards, happy and


There was once a forester who went into the forest to hunt, and as
he entered it he heard a sound of screaming as if a little child were
there. He followed the sound, and at last came to a high tree, and at
the top of this a little child was sitting, for the mother had fallen
asleep under the tree with the child, and a bird of prey had seen it in
her arms, had flown down, snatched it away, and set it on the high tree.

The forester climbed up, brought the child down, and thought to himself:
‘You will take him home with you, and bring him up with your Lina.’ He
took it home, therefore, and the two children grew up together. And the
one, which he had found on a tree was called Fundevogel, because a bird
had carried it away. Fundevogel and Lina loved each other so dearly that
when they did not see each other they were sad.

Now the forester had an old cook, who one evening took two pails and
began to fetch water, and did not go once only, but many times, out
to the spring. Lina saw this and said, ‘Listen, old Sanna, why are you
fetching so much water?’ ‘If you will never repeat it to anyone, I will
tell you why.’ So Lina said, no, she would never repeat it to anyone,
and then the cook said: ‘Early tomorrow morning, when the forester
is out hunting, I will heat the water, and when it is boiling in the
kettle, I will throw in Fundevogel, and will boil him in it.’

Early next morning the forester got up and went out hunting, and when he
was gone the children were still in bed. Then Lina said to Fundevogel:
‘If you will never leave me, I too will never leave you.’ Fundevogel
said: ‘Neither now, nor ever will I leave you.’ Then said Lina: ‘Then
will I tell you. Last night, old Sanna carried so many buckets of water
into the house that I asked her why she was doing that, and she said
that if I would promise not to tell anyone, and she said that early
tomorrow morning when father was out hunting, she would set the kettle
full of water, throw you into it and boil you; but we will get up
quickly, dress ourselves, and go away together.’

The two children therefore got up, dressed themselves quickly, and went
away. When the water in the kettle was boiling, the cook went into the
bedroom to fetch Fundevogel and throw him into it. But when she came in,
and went to the beds, both the children were gone. Then she was terribly
alarmed, and she said to herself: ‘What shall I say now when the
forester comes home and sees that the children are gone? They must be
followed instantly to get them back again.’

Then the cook sent three servants after them, who were to run and
overtake the children. The children, however, were sitting outside the
forest, and when they saw from afar the three servants running, Lina
said to Fundevogel: ‘Never leave me, and I will never leave you.’
Fundevogel said: ‘Neither now, nor ever.’ Then said Lina: ‘Do you become
a rose-tree, and I the rose upon it.’ When the three servants came to
the forest, nothing was there but a rose-tree and one rose on it, but
the children were nowhere. Then said they: ‘There is nothing to be done
here,’ and they went home and told the cook that they had seen nothing
in the forest but a little rose-bush with one rose on it. Then the
old cook scolded and said: ‘You simpletons, you should have cut the
rose-bush in two, and have broken off the rose and brought it home with
you; go, and do it at once.’ They had therefore to go out and look for
the second time. The children, however, saw them coming from a distance.
Then Lina said: ‘Fundevogel, never leave me, and I will never leave
you.’ Fundevogel said: ‘Neither now; nor ever.’ Said Lina: ‘Then do you
become a church, and I’ll be the chandelier in it.’ So when the three
servants came, nothing was there but a church, with a chandelier in
it. They said therefore to each other: ‘What can we do here, let us go
home.’ When they got home, the cook asked if they had not found them;
so they said no, they had found nothing but a church, and there was a
chandelier in it. And the cook scolded them and said: ‘You fools! why
did you not pull the church to pieces, and bring the chandelier home
with you?’ And now the old cook herself got on her legs, and went with
the three servants in pursuit of the children. The children, however,
saw from afar that the three servants were coming, and the cook waddling
after them. Then said Lina: ‘Fundevogel, never leave me, and I will
never leave you.’ Then said Fundevogel: ‘Neither now, nor ever.’
Said Lina: ‘Be a fishpond, and I will be the duck upon it.’ The cook,
however, came up to them, and when she saw the pond she lay down by it,
and was about to drink it up. But the duck swam quickly to her, seized
her head in its beak and drew her into the water, and there the old
witch had to drown. Then the children went home together, and were
heartily delighted, and if they have not died, they are living still.


One summer’s morning a little tailor was sitting on his table by the
window; he was in good spirits, and sewed with all his might. Then came
a peasant woman down the street crying: ‘Good jams, cheap! Good jams,
cheap!’ This rang pleasantly in the tailor’s ears; he stretched his
delicate head out of the window, and called: ‘Come up here, dear woman;
here you will get rid of your goods.’ The woman came up the three steps
to the tailor with her heavy basket, and he made her unpack all the pots
for him. He inspected each one, lifted it up, put his nose to it, and
at length said: ‘The jam seems to me to be good, so weigh me out four
ounces, dear woman, and if it is a quarter of a pound that is of no
consequence.’ The woman who had hoped to find a good sale, gave him
what he desired, but went away quite angry and grumbling. ‘Now, this jam
shall be blessed by God,’ cried the little tailor, ‘and give me health
and strength’; so he brought the bread out of the cupboard, cut himself
a piece right across the loaf and spread the jam over it. ‘This won’t
taste bitter,’ said he, ‘but I will just finish the jacket before I
take a bite.’ He laid the bread near him, sewed on, and in his joy, made
bigger and bigger stitches. In the meantime the smell of the sweet jam
rose to where the flies were sitting in great numbers, and they were
attracted and descended on it in hosts. ‘Hi! who invited you?’ said the
little tailor, and drove the unbidden guests away. The flies, however,
who understood no German, would not be turned away, but came back
again in ever-increasing companies. The little tailor at last lost all
patience, and drew a piece of cloth from the hole under his work-table,
and saying: ‘Wait, and I will give it to you,’ struck it mercilessly on
them. When he drew it away and counted, there lay before him no fewer
than seven, dead and with legs stretched out. ‘Are you a fellow of that
sort?’ said he, and could not help admiring his own bravery. ‘The whole
town shall know of this!’ And the little tailor hastened to cut himself
a girdle, stitched it, and embroidered on it in large letters: ‘Seven at
one stroke!’ ‘What, the town!’ he continued, ‘the whole world shall hear
of it!’ and his heart wagged with joy like a lamb’s tail. The tailor
put on the girdle, and resolved to go forth into the world, because he
thought his workshop was too small for his valour. Before he went away,
he sought about in the house to see if there was anything which he could
take with him; however, he found nothing but an old cheese, and that
he put in his pocket. In front of the door he observed a bird which
had caught itself in the thicket. It had to go into his pocket with the
cheese. Now he took to the road boldly, and as he was light and nimble,
he felt no fatigue. The road led him up a mountain, and when he had
reached the highest point of it, there sat a powerful giant looking
peacefully about him. The little tailor went bravely up, spoke to him,
and said: ‘Good day, comrade, so you are sitting there overlooking the
wide-spread world! I am just on my way thither, and want to try my luck.
Have you any inclination to go with me?’ The giant looked contemptuously
at the tailor, and said: ‘You ragamuffin! You miserable creature!’

‘Oh, indeed?’ answered the little tailor, and unbuttoned his coat, and
showed the giant the girdle, ‘there may you read what kind of a man I
am!’ The giant read: ‘Seven at one stroke,’ and thought that they had
been men whom the tailor had killed, and began to feel a little respect
for the tiny fellow. Nevertheless, he wished to try him first, and took
a stone in his hand and squeezed it together so that water dropped out
of it. ‘Do that likewise,’ said the giant, ‘if you have strength.’ ‘Is
that all?’ said the tailor, ‘that is child’s play with us!’ and put his
hand into his pocket, brought out the soft cheese, and pressed it until
the liquid ran out of it. ‘Faith,’ said he, ‘that was a little better,
wasn’t it?’ The giant did not know what to say, and could not believe it
of the little man. Then the giant picked up a stone and threw it so high
that the eye could scarcely follow it. ‘Now, little mite of a man, do
that likewise,’ ‘Well thrown,’ said the tailor, ‘but after all the stone
came down to earth again; I will throw you one which shall never come
back at all,’ and he put his hand into his pocket, took out the bird,
and threw it into the air. The bird, delighted with its liberty,
rose, flew away and did not come back. ‘How does that shot please you,
comrade?’ asked the tailor. ‘You can certainly throw,’ said the giant,
‘but now we will see if you are able to carry anything properly.’ He
took the little tailor to a mighty oak tree which lay there felled on
the ground, and said: ‘If you are strong enough, help me to carry the
tree out of the forest.’ ‘Readily,’ answered the little man; ‘take you
the trunk on your shoulders, and I will raise up the branches and twigs;
after all, they are the heaviest.’ The giant took the trunk on his
shoulder, but the tailor seated himself on a branch, and the giant, who
could not look round, had to carry away the whole tree, and the little
tailor into the bargain: he behind, was quite merry and happy, and
whistled the song: ‘Three tailors rode forth from the gate,’ as if
carrying the tree were child’s play. The giant, after he had dragged the
heavy burden part of the way, could go no further, and cried: ‘Hark
you, I shall have to let the tree fall!’ The tailor sprang nimbly down,
seized the tree with both arms as if he had been carrying it, and said
to the giant: ‘You are such a great fellow, and yet cannot even carry
the tree!’

They went on together, and as they passed a cherry-tree, the giant laid
hold of the top of the tree where the ripest fruit was hanging, bent it
down, gave it into the tailor’s hand, and bade him eat. But the little
tailor was much too weak to hold the tree, and when the giant let it go,
it sprang back again, and the tailor was tossed into the air with it.
When he had fallen down again without injury, the giant said: ‘What is
this? Have you not strength enough to hold the weak twig?’ ‘There is no
lack of strength,’ answered the little tailor. ‘Do you think that could
be anything to a man who has struck down seven at one blow? I leapt over
the tree because the huntsmen are shooting down there in the thicket.
Jump as I did, if you can do it.’ The giant made the attempt but he
could not get over the tree, and remained hanging in the branches, so
that in this also the tailor kept the upper hand.

The giant said: ‘If you are such a valiant fellow, come with me into our
cavern and spend the night with us.’ The little tailor was willing, and
followed him. When they went into the cave, other giants were sitting
there by the fire, and each of them had a roasted sheep in his hand and
was eating it. The little tailor looked round and thought: ‘It is much
more spacious here than in my workshop.’ The giant showed him a bed, and
said he was to lie down in it and sleep. The bed, however, was too
big for the little tailor; he did not lie down in it, but crept into
a corner. When it was midnight, and the giant thought that the little
tailor was lying in a sound sleep, he got up, took a great iron bar,
cut through the bed with one blow, and thought he had finished off the
grasshopper for good. With the earliest dawn the giants went into the
forest, and had quite forgotten the little tailor, when all at once he
walked up to them quite merrily and boldly. The giants were terrified,
they were afraid that he would strike them all dead, and ran away in a
great hurry.

The little tailor went onwards, always following his own pointed nose.
After he had walked for a long time, he came to the courtyard of a royal
palace, and as he felt weary, he lay down on the grass and fell asleep.
Whilst he lay there, the people came and inspected him on all sides, and
read on his girdle: ‘Seven at one stroke.’ ‘Ah!’ said they, ‘what does
the great warrior want here in the midst of peace? He must be a mighty
lord.’ They went and announced him to the king, and gave it as their
opinion that if war should break out, this would be a weighty and useful
man who ought on no account to be allowed to depart. The counsel pleased
the king, and he sent one of his courtiers to the little tailor to offer
him military service when he awoke. The ambassador remained standing by
the sleeper, waited until he stretched his limbs and opened his eyes,
and then conveyed to him this proposal. ‘For this very reason have
I come here,’ the tailor replied, ‘I am ready to enter the king’s
service.’ He was therefore honourably received, and a special dwelling
was assigned him.

The soldiers, however, were set against the little tailor, and wished
him a thousand miles away. ‘What is to be the end of this?’ they said
among themselves. ‘If we quarrel with him, and he strikes about him,
seven of us will fall at every blow; not one of us can stand against
him.’ They came therefore to a decision, betook themselves in a body to
the king, and begged for their dismissal. ‘We are not prepared,’ said
they, ‘to stay with a man who kills seven at one stroke.’ The king was
sorry that for the sake of one he should lose all his faithful servants,
wished that he had never set eyes on the tailor, and would willingly
have been rid of him again. But he did not venture to give him his
dismissal, for he dreaded lest he should strike him and all his people
dead, and place himself on the royal throne. He thought about it for a
long time, and at last found good counsel. He sent to the little tailor
and caused him to be informed that as he was a great warrior, he had one
request to make to him. In a forest of his country lived two giants,
who caused great mischief with their robbing, murdering, ravaging,
and burning, and no one could approach them without putting himself in
danger of death. If the tailor conquered and killed these two giants, he
would give him his only daughter to wife, and half of his kingdom as a
dowry, likewise one hundred horsemen should go with him to assist him.
‘That would indeed be a fine thing for a man like me!’ thought the
little tailor. ‘One is not offered a beautiful princess and half a
kingdom every day of one’s life!’ ‘Oh, yes,’ he replied, ‘I will soon
subdue the giants, and do not require the help of the hundred horsemen
to do it; he who can hit seven with one blow has no need to be afraid of

The little tailor went forth, and the hundred horsemen followed him.
When he came to the outskirts of the forest, he said to his followers:
‘Just stay waiting here, I alone will soon finish off the giants.’ Then
he bounded into the forest and looked about right and left. After a
while he perceived both giants. They lay sleeping under a tree, and
snored so that the branches waved up and down. The little tailor, not
idle, gathered two pocketsful of stones, and with these climbed up the
tree. When he was halfway up, he slipped down by a branch, until he sat
just above the sleepers, and then let one stone after another fall on
the breast of one of the giants. For a long time the giant felt nothing,
but at last he awoke, pushed his comrade, and said: ‘Why are you
knocking me?’ ‘You must be dreaming,’ said the other, ‘I am not knocking
you.’ They laid themselves down to sleep again, and then the tailor
threw a stone down on the second. ‘What is the meaning of this?’ cried
the other ‘Why are you pelting me?’ ‘I am not pelting you,’ answered
the first, growling. They disputed about it for a time, but as they were
weary they let the matter rest, and their eyes closed once more. The
little tailor began his game again, picked out the biggest stone, and
threw it with all his might on the breast of the first giant. ‘That
is too bad!’ cried he, and sprang up like a madman, and pushed his
companion against the tree until it shook. The other paid him back in
the same coin, and they got into such a rage that they tore up trees and
belaboured each other so long, that at last they both fell down dead on
the ground at the same time. Then the little tailor leapt down. ‘It is
a lucky thing,’ said he, ‘that they did not tear up the tree on which
I was sitting, or I should have had to sprint on to another like a
squirrel; but we tailors are nimble.’ He drew out his sword and gave
each of them a couple of thrusts in the breast, and then went out to the
horsemen and said: ‘The work is done; I have finished both of them
off, but it was hard work! They tore up trees in their sore need, and
defended themselves with them, but all that is to no purpose when a man
like myself comes, who can kill seven at one blow.’ ‘But are you not
wounded?’ asked the horsemen. ‘You need not concern yourself about
that,’ answered the tailor, ‘they have not bent one hair of mine.’ The
horsemen would not believe him, and rode into the forest; there they
found the giants swimming in their blood, and all round about lay the
torn-up trees.

The little tailor demanded of the king the promised reward; he, however,
repented of his promise, and again bethought himself how he could get
rid of the hero. ‘Before you receive my daughter, and the half of my
kingdom,’ said he to him, ‘you must perform one more heroic deed. In
the forest roams a unicorn which does great harm, and you must catch
it first.’ ‘I fear one unicorn still less than two giants. Seven at one
blow, is my kind of affair.’ He took a rope and an axe with him, went
forth into the forest, and again bade those who were sent with him to
wait outside. He had not long to seek. The unicorn soon came towards
him, and rushed directly on the tailor, as if it would gore him with its
horn without more ado. ‘Softly, softly; it can’t be done as quickly as
that,’ said he, and stood still and waited until the animal was quite
close, and then sprang nimbly behind the tree. The unicorn ran against
the tree with all its strength, and stuck its horn so fast in the trunk
that it had not the strength enough to draw it out again, and thus it
was caught. ‘Now, I have got the bird,’ said the tailor, and came out
from behind the tree and put the rope round its neck, and then with his
axe he hewed the horn out of the tree, and when all was ready he led the
beast away and took it to the king.

The king still would not give him the promised reward, and made a third
demand. Before the wedding the tailor was to catch him a wild boar that
made great havoc in the forest, and the huntsmen should give him their
help. ‘Willingly,’ said the tailor, ‘that is child’s play!’ He did not
take the huntsmen with him into the forest, and they were well pleased
that he did not, for the wild boar had several times received them in
such a manner that they had no inclination to lie in wait for him. When
the boar perceived the tailor, it ran on him with foaming mouth and
whetted tusks, and was about to throw him to the ground, but the hero
fled and sprang into a chapel which was near and up to the window at
once, and in one bound out again. The boar ran after him, but the tailor
ran round outside and shut the door behind it, and then the raging
beast, which was much too heavy and awkward to leap out of the window,
was caught. The little tailor called the huntsmen thither that they
might see the prisoner with their own eyes. The hero, however, went to
the king, who was now, whether he liked it or not, obliged to keep his
promise, and gave his daughter and the half of his kingdom. Had he known
that it was no warlike hero, but a little tailor who was standing before
him, it would have gone to his heart still more than it did. The wedding
was held with great magnificence and small joy, and out of a tailor a
king was made.

After some time the young queen heard her husband say in his dreams at
night: ‘Boy, make me the doublet, and patch the pantaloons, or else I
will rap the yard-measure over your ears.’ Then she discovered in what
state of life the young lord had been born, and next morning complained
of her wrongs to her father, and begged him to help her to get rid of
her husband, who was nothing else but a tailor. The king comforted her
and said: ‘Leave your bedroom door open this night, and my servants
shall stand outside, and when he has fallen asleep shall go in, bind
him, and take him on board a ship which shall carry him into the wide
world.’ The woman was satisfied with this; but the king’s armour-bearer,
who had heard all, was friendly with the young lord, and informed him of
the whole plot. ‘I’ll put a screw into that business,’ said the little
tailor. At night he went to bed with his wife at the usual time, and
when she thought that he had fallen asleep, she got up, opened the door,
and then lay down again. The little tailor, who was only pretending to
be asleep, began to cry out in a clear voice: ‘Boy, make me the doublet
and patch me the pantaloons, or I will rap the yard-measure over your
ears. I smote seven at one blow. I killed two giants, I brought away one
unicorn, and caught a wild boar, and am I to fear those who are standing
outside the room.’ When these men heard the tailor speaking thus, they
were overcome by a great dread, and ran as if the wild huntsman were
behind them, and none of them would venture anything further against
him. So the little tailor was and remained a king to the end of his


Hard by a great forest dwelt a poor wood-cutter with his wife and his
two children. The boy was called Hansel and the girl Gretel. He had
little to bite and to break, and once when great dearth fell on the
land, he could no longer procure even daily bread. Now when he thought
over this by night in his bed, and tossed about in his anxiety, he
groaned and said to his wife: ‘What is to become of us? How are we
to feed our poor children, when we no longer have anything even for
ourselves?’ ‘I’ll tell you what, husband,’ answered the woman, ‘early
tomorrow morning we will take the children out into the forest to where
it is the thickest; there we will light a fire for them, and give each
of them one more piece of bread, and then we will go to our work and
leave them alone. They will not find the way home again, and we shall be
rid of them.’ ‘No, wife,’ said the man, ‘I will not do that; how can I
bear to leave my children alone in the forest?–the wild animals would
soon come and tear them to pieces.’ ‘O, you fool!’ said she, ‘then we
must all four die of hunger, you may as well plane the planks for our
coffins,’ and she left him no peace until he consented. ‘But I feel very
sorry for the poor children, all the same,’ said the man.

The two children had also not been able to sleep for hunger, and had
heard what their stepmother had said to their father. Gretel wept
bitter tears, and said to Hansel: ‘Now all is over with us.’ ‘Be quiet,
Gretel,’ said Hansel, ‘do not distress yourself, I will soon find a way
to help us.’ And when the old folks had fallen asleep, he got up, put
on his little coat, opened the door below, and crept outside. The moon
shone brightly, and the white pebbles which lay in front of the house
glittered like real silver pennies. Hansel stooped and stuffed the
little pocket of his coat with as many as he could get in. Then he went
back and said to Gretel: ‘Be comforted, dear little sister, and sleep in
peace, God will not forsake us,’ and he lay down again in his bed. When
day dawned, but before the sun had risen, the woman came and awoke the
two children, saying: ‘Get up, you sluggards! we are going into the
forest to fetch wood.’ She gave each a little piece of bread, and said:
‘There is something for your dinner, but do not eat it up before then,
for you will get nothing else.’ Gretel took the bread under her apron,
as Hansel had the pebbles in his pocket. Then they all set out together
on the way to the forest. When they had walked a short time, Hansel
stood still and peeped back at the house, and did so again and again.
His father said: ‘Hansel, what are you looking at there and staying
behind for? Pay attention, and do not forget how to use your legs.’ ‘Ah,
father,’ said Hansel, ‘I am looking at my little white cat, which is
sitting up on the roof, and wants to say goodbye to me.’ The wife said:
‘Fool, that is not your little cat, that is the morning sun which is
shining on the chimneys.’ Hansel, however, had not been looking back at
the cat, but had been constantly throwing one of the white pebble-stones
out of his pocket on the road.

When they had reached the middle of the forest, the father said: ‘Now,
children, pile up some wood, and I will light a fire that you may not
be cold.’ Hansel and Gretel gathered brushwood together, as high as a
little hill. The brushwood was lighted, and when the flames were burning
very high, the woman said: ‘Now, children, lay yourselves down by the
fire and rest, we will go into the forest and cut some wood. When we
have done, we will come back and fetch you away.’

Hansel and Gretel sat by the fire, and when noon came, each ate a little
piece of bread, and as they heard the strokes of the wood-axe they
believed that their father was near. It was not the axe, however, but
a branch which he had fastened to a withered tree which the wind was
blowing backwards and forwards. And as they had been sitting such a long
time, their eyes closed with fatigue, and they fell fast asleep. When
at last they awoke, it was already dark night. Gretel began to cry and
said: ‘How are we to get out of the forest now?’ But Hansel comforted
her and said: ‘Just wait a little, until the moon has risen, and then we
will soon find the way.’ And when the full moon had risen, Hansel took
his little sister by the hand, and followed the pebbles which shone like
newly-coined silver pieces, and showed them the way.

They walked the whole night long, and by break of day came once more
to their father’s house. They knocked at the door, and when the woman
opened it and saw that it was Hansel and Gretel, she said: ‘You naughty
children, why have you slept so long in the forest?–we thought you were
never coming back at all!’ The father, however, rejoiced, for it had cut
him to the heart to leave them behind alone.

Not long afterwards, there was once more great dearth throughout the
land, and the children heard their mother saying at night to their
father: ‘Everything is eaten again, we have one half loaf left, and that
is the end. The children must go, we will take them farther into the
wood, so that they will not find their way out again; there is no other
means of saving ourselves!’ The man’s heart was heavy, and he thought:
‘It would be better for you to share the last mouthful with your
children.’ The woman, however, would listen to nothing that he had to
say, but scolded and reproached him. He who says A must say B, likewise,
and as he had yielded the first time, he had to do so a second time

The children, however, were still awake and had heard the conversation.
When the old folks were asleep, Hansel again got up, and wanted to go
out and pick up pebbles as he had done before, but the woman had locked
the door, and Hansel could not get out. Nevertheless he comforted his
little sister, and said: ‘Do not cry, Gretel, go to sleep quietly, the
good God will help us.’

Early in the morning came the woman, and took the children out of their
beds. Their piece of bread was given to them, but it was still smaller
than the time before. On the way into the forest Hansel crumbled his
in his pocket, and often stood still and threw a morsel on the ground.
‘Hansel, why do you stop and look round?’ said the father, ‘go on.’ ‘I
am looking back at my little pigeon which is sitting on the roof, and
wants to say goodbye to me,’ answered Hansel. ‘Fool!’ said the woman,
‘that is not your little pigeon, that is the morning sun that is shining
on the chimney.’ Hansel, however little by little, threw all the crumbs
on the path.

The woman led the children still deeper into the forest, where they had
never in their lives been before. Then a great fire was again made, and
the mother said: ‘Just sit there, you children, and when you are tired
you may sleep a little; we are going into the forest to cut wood, and in
the evening when we are done, we will come and fetch you away.’ When
it was noon, Gretel shared her piece of bread with Hansel, who had
scattered his by the way. Then they fell asleep and evening passed, but
no one came to the poor children. They did not awake until it was dark
night, and Hansel comforted his little sister and said: ‘Just wait,
Gretel, until the moon rises, and then we shall see the crumbs of bread
which I have strewn about, they will show us our way home again.’ When
the moon came they set out, but they found no crumbs, for the many
thousands of birds which fly about in the woods and fields had picked
them all up. Hansel said to Gretel: ‘We shall soon find the way,’ but
they did not find it. They walked the whole night and all the next day
too from morning till evening, but they did not get out of the forest,
and were very hungry, for they had nothing to eat but two or three
berries, which grew on the ground. And as they were so weary that their
legs would carry them no longer, they lay down beneath a tree and fell

It was now three mornings since they had left their father’s house. They
began to walk again, but they always came deeper into the forest, and if
help did not come soon, they must die of hunger and weariness. When it
was mid-day, they saw a beautiful snow-white bird sitting on a bough,
which sang so delightfully that they stood still and listened to it. And
when its song was over, it spread its wings and flew away before them,
and they followed it until they reached a little house, on the roof of
which it alighted; and when they approached the little house they saw
that it was built of bread and covered with cakes, but that the windows
were of clear sugar. ‘We will set to work on that,’ said Hansel, ‘and
have a good meal. I will eat a bit of the roof, and you Gretel, can eat
some of the window, it will taste sweet.’ Hansel reached up above, and
broke off a little of the roof to try how it tasted, and Gretel leant
against the window and nibbled at the panes. Then a soft voice cried
from the parlour:

‘Nibble, nibble, gnaw,
Who is nibbling at my little house?’

The children answered:

‘The wind, the wind,
The heaven-born wind,’

and went on eating without disturbing themselves. Hansel, who liked the
taste of the roof, tore down a great piece of it, and Gretel pushed out
the whole of one round window-pane, sat down, and enjoyed herself with
it. Suddenly the door opened, and a woman as old as the hills, who
supported herself on crutches, came creeping out. Hansel and Gretel were
so terribly frightened that they let fall what they had in their
hands. The old woman, however, nodded her head, and said: ‘Oh, you dear
children, who has brought you here? do come in, and stay with me. No
harm shall happen to you.’ She took them both by the hand, and led them
into her little house. Then good food was set before them, milk and
pancakes, with sugar, apples, and nuts. Afterwards two pretty little
beds were covered with clean white linen, and Hansel and Gretel lay down
in them, and thought they were in heaven.

The old woman had only pretended to be so kind; she was in reality
a wicked witch, who lay in wait for children, and had only built the
little house of bread in order to entice them there. When a child fell
into her power, she killed it, cooked and ate it, and that was a feast
day with her. Witches have red eyes, and cannot see far, but they have
a keen scent like the beasts, and are aware when human beings draw near.
When Hansel and Gretel came into her neighbourhood, she laughed with
malice, and said mockingly: ‘I have them, they shall not escape me
again!’ Early in the morning before the children were awake, she was
already up, and when she saw both of them sleeping and looking so
pretty, with their plump and rosy cheeks she muttered to herself: ‘That
will be a dainty mouthful!’ Then she seized Hansel with her shrivelled
hand, carried him into a little stable, and locked him in behind a
grated door. Scream as he might, it would not help him. Then she went to
Gretel, shook her till she awoke, and cried: ‘Get up, lazy thing, fetch
some water, and cook something good for your brother, he is in the
stable outside, and is to be made fat. When he is fat, I will eat him.’
Gretel began to weep bitterly, but it was all in vain, for she was
forced to do what the wicked witch commanded.

And now the best food was cooked for poor Hansel, but Gretel got nothing
but crab-shells. Every morning the woman crept to the little stable, and
cried: ‘Hansel, stretch out your finger that I may feel if you will soon
be fat.’ Hansel, however, stretched out a little bone to her, and
the old woman, who had dim eyes, could not see it, and thought it was
Hansel’s finger, and was astonished that there was no way of fattening
him. When four weeks had gone by, and Hansel still remained thin, she
was seized with impatience and would not wait any longer. ‘Now, then,
Gretel,’ she cried to the girl, ‘stir yourself, and bring some water.
Let Hansel be fat or lean, tomorrow I will kill him, and cook him.’ Ah,
how the poor little sister did lament when she had to fetch the water,
and how her tears did flow down her cheeks! ‘Dear God, do help us,’ she
cried. ‘If the wild beasts in the forest had but devoured us, we should
at any rate have died together.’ ‘Just keep your noise to yourself,’
said the old woman, ‘it won’t help you at all.’

Early in the morning, Gretel had to go out and hang up the cauldron with
the water, and light the fire. ‘We will bake first,’ said the old woman,
‘I have already heated the oven, and kneaded the dough.’ She pushed poor
Gretel out to the oven, from which flames of fire were already darting.
‘Creep in,’ said the witch, ‘and see if it is properly heated, so that
we can put the bread in.’ And once Gretel was inside, she intended to
shut the oven and let her bake in it, and then she would eat her, too.
But Gretel saw what she had in mind, and said: ‘I do not know how I am
to do it; how do I get in?’ ‘Silly goose,’ said the old woman. ‘The door
is big enough; just look, I can get in myself!’ and she crept up and
thrust her head into the oven. Then Gretel gave her a push that drove
her far into it, and shut the iron door, and fastened the bolt. Oh! then
she began to howl quite horribly, but Gretel ran away and the godless
witch was miserably burnt to death.

Gretel, however, ran like lightning to Hansel, opened his little stable,
and cried: ‘Hansel, we are saved! The old witch is dead!’ Then Hansel
sprang like a bird from its cage when the door is opened. How they did
rejoice and embrace each other, and dance about and kiss each other! And
as they had no longer any need to fear her, they went into the witch’s
house, and in every corner there stood chests full of pearls and jewels.
‘These are far better than pebbles!’ said Hansel, and thrust into his
pockets whatever could be got in, and Gretel said: ‘I, too, will take
something home with me,’ and filled her pinafore full. ‘But now we must
be off,’ said Hansel, ‘that we may get out of the witch’s forest.’

When they had walked for two hours, they came to a great stretch of
water. ‘We cannot cross,’ said Hansel, ‘I see no foot-plank, and no
bridge.’ ‘And there is also no ferry,’ answered Gretel, ‘but a white
duck is swimming there: if I ask her, she will help us over.’ Then she

‘Little duck, little duck, dost thou see,
Hansel and Gretel are waiting for thee?
There’s never a plank, or bridge in sight,
Take us across on thy back so white.’

The duck came to them, and Hansel seated himself on its back, and told
his sister to sit by him. ‘No,’ replied Gretel, ‘that will be too heavy
for the little duck; she shall take us across, one after the other.’ The
good little duck did so, and when they were once safely across and had
walked for a short time, the forest seemed to be more and more familiar
to them, and at length they saw from afar their father’s house. Then
they began to run, rushed into the parlour, and threw themselves round
their father’s neck. The man had not known one happy hour since he had
left the children in the forest; the woman, however, was dead. Gretel
emptied her pinafore until pearls and precious stones ran about the
room, and Hansel threw one handful after another out of his pocket to
add to them. Then all anxiety was at an end, and they lived together
in perfect happiness. My tale is done, there runs a mouse; whosoever
catches it, may make himself a big fur cap out of it.


Once upon a time, a mouse, a bird, and a sausage, entered into
partnership and set up house together. For a long time all went well;
they lived in great comfort, and prospered so far as to be able to add
considerably to their stores. The bird’s duty was to fly daily into the
wood and bring in fuel; the mouse fetched the water, and the sausage saw
to the cooking.

When people are too well off they always begin to long for something
new. And so it came to pass, that the bird, while out one day, met a
fellow bird, to whom he boastfully expatiated on the excellence of his
household arrangements. But the other bird sneered at him for being a
poor simpleton, who did all the hard work, while the other two stayed
at home and had a good time of it. For, when the mouse had made the fire
and fetched in the water, she could retire into her little room and rest
until it was time to set the table. The sausage had only to watch the
pot to see that the food was properly cooked, and when it was near
dinner-time, he just threw himself into the broth, or rolled in and out
among the vegetables three or four times, and there they were, buttered,
and salted, and ready to be served. Then, when the bird came home and
had laid aside his burden, they sat down to table, and when they had
finished their meal, they could sleep their fill till the following
morning: and that was really a very delightful life.

Influenced by those remarks, the bird next morning refused to bring in
the wood, telling the others that he had been their servant long enough,
and had been a fool into the bargain, and that it was now time to make a
change, and to try some other way of arranging the work. Beg and pray
as the mouse and the sausage might, it was of no use; the bird remained
master of the situation, and the venture had to be made. They therefore
drew lots, and it fell to the sausage to bring in the wood, to the mouse
to cook, and to the bird to fetch the water.

And now what happened? The sausage started in search of wood, the bird
made the fire, and the mouse put on the pot, and then these two waited
till the sausage returned with the fuel for the following day. But the
sausage remained so long away, that they became uneasy, and the bird
flew out to meet him. He had not flown far, however, when he came across
a dog who, having met the sausage, had regarded him as his legitimate
booty, and so seized and swallowed him. The bird complained to the dog
of this bare-faced robbery, but nothing he said was of any avail, for
the dog answered that he found false credentials on the sausage, and
that was the reason his life had been forfeited.

He picked up the wood, and flew sadly home, and told the mouse all he
had seen and heard. They were both very unhappy, but agreed to make the
best of things and to remain with one another.

So now the bird set the table, and the mouse looked after the food and,
wishing to prepare it in the same way as the sausage, by rolling in and
out among the vegetables to salt and butter them, she jumped into the
pot; but she stopped short long before she reached the bottom, having
already parted not only with her skin and hair, but also with life.

Presently the bird came in and wanted to serve up the dinner, but he
could nowhere see the cook. In his alarm and flurry, he threw the wood
here and there about the floor, called and searched, but no cook was to
be found. Then some of the wood that had been carelessly thrown down,
caught fire and began to blaze. The bird hastened to fetch some water,
but his pail fell into the well, and he after it, and as he was unable
to recover himself, he was drowned.


Once upon a time there was a widow who had two daughters; one of them
was beautiful and industrious, the other ugly and lazy. The mother,
however, loved the ugly and lazy one best, because she was her own
daughter, and so the other, who was only her stepdaughter, was made
to do all the work of the house, and was quite the Cinderella of the
family. Her stepmother sent her out every day to sit by the well in
the high road, there to spin until she made her fingers bleed. Now it
chanced one day that some blood fell on to the spindle, and as the girl
stopped over the well to wash it off, the spindle suddenly sprang out
of her hand and fell into the well. She ran home crying to tell of her
misfortune, but her stepmother spoke harshly to her, and after giving
her a violent scolding, said unkindly, ‘As you have let the spindle fall
into the well you may go yourself and fetch it out.’

The girl went back to the well not knowing what to do, and at last in
her distress she jumped into the water after the spindle.

She remembered nothing more until she awoke and found herself in a
beautiful meadow, full of sunshine, and with countless flowers blooming
in every direction.

She walked over the meadow, and presently she came upon a baker’s oven
full of bread, and the loaves cried out to her, ‘Take us out, take us
out, or alas! we shall be burnt to a cinder; we were baked through long
ago.’ So she took the bread-shovel and drew them all out.

She went on a little farther, till she came to a tree full of apples.
‘Shake me, shake me, I pray,’ cried the tree; ‘my apples, one and all,
are ripe.’ So she shook the tree, and the apples came falling down upon
her like rain; but she continued shaking until there was not a single
apple left upon it. Then she carefully gathered the apples together in a
heap and walked on again.

The next thing she came to was a little house, and there she saw an old
woman looking out, with such large teeth, that she was terrified, and
turned to run away. But the old woman called after her, ‘What are you
afraid of, dear child? Stay with me; if you will do the work of my house
properly for me, I will make you very happy. You must be very careful,
however, to make my bed in the right way, for I wish you always to shake
it thoroughly, so that the feathers fly about; then they say, down there
in the world, that it is snowing; for I am Mother Holle.’ The old woman
spoke so kindly, that the girl summoned up courage and agreed to enter
into her service.

She took care to do everything according to the old woman’s bidding and
every time she made the bed she shook it with all her might, so that the
feathers flew about like so many snowflakes. The old woman was as good
as her word: she never spoke angrily to her, and gave her roast and
boiled meats every day.

So she stayed on with Mother Holle for some time, and then she began
to grow unhappy. She could not at first tell why she felt sad, but she
became conscious at last of great longing to go home; then she knew she
was homesick, although she was a thousand times better off with Mother
Holle than with her mother and sister. After waiting awhile, she went
to Mother Holle and said, ‘I am so homesick, that I cannot stay with
you any longer, for although I am so happy here, I must return to my own

Then Mother Holle said, ‘I am pleased that you should want to go back
to your own people, and as you have served me so well and faithfully, I
will take you home myself.’

Thereupon she led the girl by the hand up to a broad gateway. The gate
was opened, and as the girl passed through, a shower of gold fell upon
her, and the gold clung to her, so that she was covered with it from
head to foot.

‘That is a reward for your industry,’ said Mother Holle, and as she
spoke she handed her the spindle which she had dropped into the well.

The gate was then closed, and the girl found herself back in the old
world close to her mother’s house. As she entered the courtyard, the
cock who was perched on the well, called out:

Your golden daughter’s come back to you.’

Then she went in to her mother and sister, and as she was so richly
covered with gold, they gave her a warm welcome. She related to them
all that had happened, and when the mother heard how she had come by her
great riches, she thought she should like her ugly, lazy daughter to go
and try her fortune. So she made the sister go and sit by the well
and spin, and the girl pricked her finger and thrust her hand into a
thorn-bush, so that she might drop some blood on to the spindle; then
she threw it into the well, and jumped in herself.

Like her sister she awoke in the beautiful meadow, and walked over it
till she came to the oven. ‘Take us out, take us out, or alas! we shall
be burnt to a cinder; we were baked through long ago,’ cried the loaves
as before. But the lazy girl answered, ‘Do you think I am going to dirty
my hands for you?’ and walked on.

Presently she came to the apple-tree. ‘Shake me, shake me, I pray; my
apples, one and all, are ripe,’ it cried. But she only answered, ‘A nice
thing to ask me to do, one of the apples might fall on my head,’ and
passed on.

At last she came to Mother Holle’s house, and as she had heard all about
the large teeth from her sister, she was not afraid of them, and engaged
herself without delay to the old woman.

The first day she was very obedient and industrious, and exerted herself
to please Mother Holle, for she thought of the gold she should get in
return. The next day, however, she began to dawdle over her work, and
the third day she was more idle still; then she began to lie in bed in
the mornings and refused to get up. Worse still, she neglected to
make the old woman’s bed properly, and forgot to shake it so that the
feathers might fly about. So Mother Holle very soon got tired of her,
and told her she might go. The lazy girl was delighted at this, and
thought to herself, ‘The gold will soon be mine.’ Mother Holle led her,
as she had led her sister, to the broad gateway; but as she was passing
through, instead of the shower of gold, a great bucketful of pitch came
pouring over her.

‘That is in return for your services,’ said the old woman, and she shut
the gate.

So the lazy girl had to go home covered with pitch, and the cock on the
well called out as she saw her:

Your dirty daughter’s come back to you.’

But, try what she would, she could not get the pitch off and it stuck to
her as long as she lived.


Once upon a time there was a dear little girl who was loved by everyone
who looked at her, but most of all by her grandmother, and there was
nothing that she would not have given to the child. Once she gave her a
little cap of red velvet, which suited her so well that she would never
wear anything else; so she was always called ‘Little Red-Cap.’

One day her mother said to her: ‘Come, Little Red-Cap, here is a piece
of cake and a bottle of wine; take them to your grandmother, she is ill
and weak, and they will do her good. Set out before it gets hot, and
when you are going, walk nicely and quietly and do not run off the path,
or you may fall and break the bottle, and then your grandmother will
get nothing; and when you go into her room, don’t forget to say, “Good
morning”, and don’t peep into every corner before you do it.’

‘I will take great care,’ said Little Red-Cap to her mother, and gave
her hand on it.

The grandmother lived out in the wood, half a league from the village,
and just as Little Red-Cap entered the wood, a wolf met her. Red-Cap
did not know what a wicked creature he was, and was not at all afraid of

‘Good day, Little Red-Cap,’ said he.

‘Thank you kindly, wolf.’

‘Whither away so early, Little Red-Cap?’

‘To my grandmother’s.’

‘What have you got in your apron?’

‘Cake and wine; yesterday was baking-day, so poor sick grandmother is to
have something good, to make her stronger.’

‘Where does your grandmother live, Little Red-Cap?’

‘A good quarter of a league farther on in the wood; her house stands
under the three large oak-trees, the nut-trees are just below; you
surely must know it,’ replied Little Red-Cap.

The wolf thought to himself: ‘What a tender young creature! what a nice
plump mouthful–she will be better to eat than the old woman. I must
act craftily, so as to catch both.’ So he walked for a short time by
the side of Little Red-Cap, and then he said: ‘See, Little Red-Cap, how
pretty the flowers are about here–why do you not look round? I believe,
too, that you do not hear how sweetly the little birds are singing; you
walk gravely along as if you were going to school, while everything else
out here in the wood is merry.’

Little Red-Cap raised her eyes, and when she saw the sunbeams dancing
here and there through the trees, and pretty flowers growing everywhere,
she thought: ‘Suppose I take grandmother a fresh nosegay; that would
please her too. It is so early in the day that I shall still get there
in good time’; and so she ran from the path into the wood to look for
flowers. And whenever she had picked one, she fancied that she saw a
still prettier one farther on, and ran after it, and so got deeper and
deeper into the wood.

Meanwhile the wolf ran straight to the grandmother’s house and knocked
at the door.

‘Who is there?’

‘Little Red-Cap,’ replied the wolf. ‘She is bringing cake and wine; open
the door.’

‘Lift the latch,’ called out the grandmother, ‘I am too weak, and cannot
get up.’

The wolf lifted the latch, the door sprang open, and without saying a
word he went straight to the grandmother’s bed, and devoured her. Then
he put on her clothes, dressed himself in her cap laid himself in bed
and drew the curtains.

Little Red-Cap, however, had been running about picking flowers,
and when she had gathered so many that she could carry no more, she
remembered her grandmother, and set out on the way to her.

She was surprised to find the cottage-door standing open, and when she
went into the room, she had such a strange feeling that she said to
herself: ‘Oh dear! how uneasy I feel today, and at other times I like
being with grandmother so much.’ She called out: ‘Good morning,’ but
received no answer; so she went to the bed and drew back the curtains.
There lay her grandmother with her cap pulled far over her face, and
looking very strange.

‘Oh! grandmother,’ she said, ‘what big ears you have!’

‘The better to hear you with, my child,’ was the reply.

‘But, grandmother, what big eyes you have!’ she said.

‘The better to see you with, my dear.’

‘But, grandmother, what large hands you have!’

‘The better to hug you with.’

‘Oh! but, grandmother, what a terrible big mouth you have!’

‘The better to eat you with!’

And scarcely had the wolf said this, than with one bound he was out of
bed and swallowed up Red-Cap.

When the wolf had appeased his appetite, he lay down again in the bed,
fell asleep and began to snore very loud. The huntsman was just passing
the house, and thought to himself: ‘How the old woman is snoring! I must
just see if she wants anything.’ So he went into the room, and when he
came to the bed, he saw that the wolf was lying in it. ‘Do I find you
here, you old sinner!’ said he. ‘I have long sought you!’ Then just as
he was going to fire at him, it occurred to him that the wolf might have
devoured the grandmother, and that she might still be saved, so he did
not fire, but took a pair of scissors, and began to cut open the stomach
of the sleeping wolf. When he had made two snips, he saw the little
Red-Cap shining, and then he made two snips more, and the little girl
sprang out, crying: ‘Ah, how frightened I have been! How dark it was
inside the wolf’; and after that the aged grandmother came out alive
also, but scarcely able to breathe. Red-Cap, however, quickly fetched
great stones with which they filled the wolf’s belly, and when he awoke,
he wanted to run away, but the stones were so heavy that he collapsed at
once, and fell dead.

Then all three were delighted. The huntsman drew off the wolf’s skin and
went home with it; the grandmother ate the cake and drank the wine which
Red-Cap had brought, and revived, but Red-Cap thought to herself: ‘As
long as I live, I will never by myself leave the path, to run into the
wood, when my mother has forbidden me to do so.’

It also related that once when Red-Cap was again taking cakes to the old
grandmother, another wolf spoke to her, and tried to entice her from the
path. Red-Cap, however, was on her guard, and went straight forward on
her way, and told her grandmother that she had met the wolf, and that he
had said ‘good morning’ to her, but with such a wicked look in his eyes,
that if they had not been on the public road she was certain he would
have eaten her up. ‘Well,’ said the grandmother, ‘we will shut the door,
that he may not come in.’ Soon afterwards the wolf knocked, and cried:
‘Open the door, grandmother, I am Little Red-Cap, and am bringing you
some cakes.’ But they did not speak, or open the door, so the grey-beard
stole twice or thrice round the house, and at last jumped on the roof,
intending to wait until Red-Cap went home in the evening, and then to
steal after her and devour her in the darkness. But the grandmother
saw what was in his thoughts. In front of the house was a great stone
trough, so she said to the child: ‘Take the pail, Red-Cap; I made some
sausages yesterday, so carry the water in which I boiled them to the
trough.’ Red-Cap carried until the great trough was quite full. Then the
smell of the sausages reached the wolf, and he sniffed and peeped down,
and at last stretched out his neck so far that he could no longer keep
his footing and began to slip, and slipped down from the roof straight
into the great trough, and was drowned. But Red-Cap went joyously home,
and no one ever did anything to harm her again.


There was once a miller who had one beautiful daughter, and as she was
grown up, he was anxious that she should be well married and provided
for. He said to himself, ‘I will give her to the first suitable man who
comes and asks for her hand.’ Not long after a suitor appeared, and as
he appeared to be very rich and the miller could see nothing in him with
which to find fault, he betrothed his daughter to him. But the girl did
not care for the man as a girl ought to care for her betrothed husband.
She did not feel that she could trust him, and she could not look at him
nor think of him without an inward shudder. One day he said to her, ‘You
have not yet paid me a visit, although we have been betrothed for some
time.’ ‘I do not know where your house is,’ she answered. ‘My house is
out there in the dark forest,’ he said. She tried to excuse herself by
saying that she would not be able to find the way thither. Her betrothed
only replied, ‘You must come and see me next Sunday; I have already
invited guests for that day, and that you may not mistake the way, I
will strew ashes along the path.’

When Sunday came, and it was time for the girl to start, a feeling of
dread came over her which she could not explain, and that she might
be able to find her path again, she filled her pockets with peas and
lentils to sprinkle on the ground as she went along. On reaching the
entrance to the forest she found the path strewed with ashes, and these
she followed, throwing down some peas on either side of her at every
step she took. She walked the whole day until she came to the deepest,
darkest part of the forest. There she saw a lonely house, looking so
grim and mysterious, that it did not please her at all. She stepped
inside, but not a soul was to be seen, and a great silence reigned
throughout. Suddenly a voice cried:

‘Turn back, turn back, young maiden fair,
Linger not in this murderers’ lair.’

The girl looked up and saw that the voice came from a bird hanging in a
cage on the wall. Again it cried:

‘Turn back, turn back, young maiden fair,
Linger not in this murderers’ lair.’

The girl passed on, going from room to room of the house, but they were
all empty, and still she saw no one. At last she came to the cellar,
and there sat a very, very old woman, who could not keep her head from
shaking. ‘Can you tell me,’ asked the girl, ‘if my betrothed husband
lives here?’

‘Ah, you poor child,’ answered the old woman, ‘what a place for you to
come to! This is a murderers’ den. You think yourself a promised bride,
and that your marriage will soon take place, but it is with death that
you will keep your marriage feast. Look, do you see that large cauldron
of water which I am obliged to keep on the fire! As soon as they have
you in their power they will kill you without mercy, and cook and eat
you, for they are eaters of men. If I did not take pity on you and save
you, you would be lost.’

Thereupon the old woman led her behind a large cask, which quite hid her
from view. ‘Keep as still as a mouse,’ she said; ‘do not move or speak,
or it will be all over with you. Tonight, when the robbers are
all asleep, we will flee together. I have long been waiting for an
opportunity to escape.’

The words were hardly out of her mouth when the godless crew returned,
dragging another young girl along with them. They were all drunk, and
paid no heed to her cries and lamentations. They gave her wine to drink,
three glasses full, one of white wine, one of red, and one of yellow,
and with that her heart gave way and she died. Then they tore off her
dainty clothing, laid her on a table, and cut her beautiful body into
pieces, and sprinkled salt upon it.

The poor betrothed girl crouched trembling and shuddering behind the
cask, for she saw what a terrible fate had been intended for her by
the robbers. One of them now noticed a gold ring still remaining on
the little finger of the murdered girl, and as he could not draw it off
easily, he took a hatchet and cut off the finger; but the finger sprang
into the air, and fell behind the cask into the lap of the girl who was
hiding there. The robber took a light and began looking for it, but he
could not find it. ‘Have you looked behind the large cask?’ said one of
the others. But the old woman called out, ‘Come and eat your suppers,
and let the thing be till tomorrow; the finger won’t run away.’

‘The old woman is right,’ said the robbers, and they ceased looking for
the finger and sat down.

The old woman then mixed a sleeping draught with their wine, and before
long they were all lying on the floor of the cellar, fast asleep and
snoring. As soon as the girl was assured of this, she came from behind
the cask. She was obliged to step over the bodies of the sleepers, who
were lying close together, and every moment she was filled with renewed
dread lest she should awaken them. But God helped her, so that she
passed safely over them, and then she and the old woman went upstairs,
opened the door, and hastened as fast as they could from the murderers’
den. They found the ashes scattered by the wind, but the peas and
lentils had sprouted, and grown sufficiently above the ground, to guide
them in the moonlight along the path. All night long they walked, and it
was morning before they reached the mill. Then the girl told her father
all that had happened.

The day came that had been fixed for the marriage. The bridegroom
arrived and also a large company of guests, for the miller had taken
care to invite all his friends and relations. As they sat at the feast,
each guest in turn was asked to tell a tale; the bride sat still and did
not say a word.

‘And you, my love,’ said the bridegroom, turning to her, ‘is there no
tale you know? Tell us something.’

‘I will tell you a dream, then,’ said the bride. ‘I went alone through a
forest and came at last to a house; not a soul could I find within, but
a bird that was hanging in a cage on the wall cried:

‘Turn back, turn back, young maiden fair,
Linger not in this murderers’ lair.’

and again a second time it said these words.’

‘My darling, this is only a dream.’

‘I went on through the house from room to room, but they were all empty,
and everything was so grim and mysterious. At last I went down to the
cellar, and there sat a very, very old woman, who could not keep her
head still. I asked her if my betrothed lived here, and she answered,
“Ah, you poor child, you are come to a murderers’ den; your betrothed
does indeed live here, but he will kill you without mercy and afterwards
cook and eat you.”‘

‘My darling, this is only a dream.’

‘The old woman hid me behind a large cask, and scarcely had she done
this when the robbers returned home, dragging a young girl along with
them. They gave her three kinds of wine to drink, white, red, and
yellow, and with that she died.’

‘My darling, this is only a dream.’

‘Then they tore off her dainty clothing, and cut her beautiful body into
pieces and sprinkled salt upon it.’

‘My darling, this is only a dream.’

‘And one of the robbers saw that there was a gold ring still left on her
finger, and as it was difficult to draw off, he took a hatchet and cut
off her finger; but the finger sprang into the air and fell behind the
great cask into my lap. And here is the finger with the ring.’ And
with these words the bride drew forth the finger and shewed it to the
assembled guests.

The bridegroom, who during this recital had grown deadly pale, up and
tried to escape, but the guests seized him and held him fast. They
delivered him up to justice, and he and all his murderous band were
condemned to death for their wicked deeds.


A poor woodman sat in his cottage one night, smoking his pipe by the
fireside, while his wife sat by his side spinning. ‘How lonely it is,
wife,’ said he, as he puffed out a long curl of smoke, ‘for you and me
to sit here by ourselves, without any children to play about and amuse
us while other people seem so happy and merry with their children!’
‘What you say is very true,’ said the wife, sighing, and turning round
her wheel; ‘how happy should I be if I had but one child! If it were
ever so small–nay, if it were no bigger than my thumb–I should be very
happy, and love it dearly.’ Now–odd as you may think it–it came to
pass that this good woman’s wish was fulfilled, just in the very way she
had wished it; for, not long afterwards, she had a little boy, who was
quite healthy and strong, but was not much bigger than my thumb. So
they said, ‘Well, we cannot say we have not got what we wished for, and,
little as he is, we will love him dearly.’ And they called him Thomas

They gave him plenty of food, yet for all they could do he never grew
bigger, but kept just the same size as he had been when he was born.
Still, his eyes were sharp and sparkling, and he soon showed himself to
be a clever little fellow, who always knew well what he was about.

One day, as the woodman was getting ready to go into the wood to cut
fuel, he said, ‘I wish I had someone to bring the cart after me, for I
want to make haste.’ ‘Oh, father,’ cried Tom, ‘I will take care of that;
the cart shall be in the wood by the time you want it.’ Then the woodman
laughed, and said, ‘How can that be? you cannot reach up to the horse’s
bridle.’ ‘Never mind that, father,’ said Tom; ‘if my mother will only
harness the horse, I will get into his ear and tell him which way to
go.’ ‘Well,’ said the father, ‘we will try for once.’

When the time came the mother harnessed the horse to the cart, and put
Tom into his ear; and as he sat there the little man told the beast how
to go, crying out, ‘Go on!’ and ‘Stop!’ as he wanted: and thus the horse
went on just as well as if the woodman had driven it himself into the
wood. It happened that as the horse was going a little too fast, and Tom
was calling out, ‘Gently! gently!’ two strangers came up. ‘What an odd
thing that is!’ said one: ‘there is a cart going along, and I hear a
carter talking to the horse, but yet I can see no one.’ ‘That is queer,
indeed,’ said the other; ‘let us follow the cart, and see where it
goes.’ So they went on into the wood, till at last they came to the
place where the woodman was. Then Tom Thumb, seeing his father, cried
out, ‘See, father, here I am with the cart, all right and safe! now take
me down!’ So his father took hold of the horse with one hand, and with
the other took his son out of the horse’s ear, and put him down upon a
straw, where he sat as merry as you please.

The two strangers were all this time looking on, and did not know what
to say for wonder. At last one took the other aside, and said, ‘That
little urchin will make our fortune, if we can get him, and carry him
about from town to town as a show; we must buy him.’ So they went up to
the woodman, and asked him what he would take for the little man. ‘He
will be better off,’ said they, ‘with us than with you.’ ‘I won’t sell
him at all,’ said the father; ‘my own flesh and blood is dearer to me
than all the silver and gold in the world.’ But Tom, hearing of the
bargain they wanted to make, crept up his father’s coat to his shoulder
and whispered in his ear, ‘Take the money, father, and let them have me;
I’ll soon come back to you.’

So the woodman at last said he would sell Tom to the strangers for a
large piece of gold, and they paid the price. ‘Where would you like to
sit?’ said one of them. ‘Oh, put me on the rim of your hat; that will be
a nice gallery for me; I can walk about there and see the country as we
go along.’ So they did as he wished; and when Tom had taken leave of his
father they took him away with them.

They journeyed on till it began to be dusky, and then the little man
said, ‘Let me get down, I’m tired.’ So the man took off his hat, and
put him down on a clod of earth, in a ploughed field by the side of the
road. But Tom ran about amongst the furrows, and at last slipped into
an old mouse-hole. ‘Good night, my masters!’ said he, ‘I’m off! mind and
look sharp after me the next time.’ Then they ran at once to the place,
and poked the ends of their sticks into the mouse-hole, but all in vain;
Tom only crawled farther and farther in; and at last it became quite
dark, so that they were forced to go their way without their prize, as
sulky as could be.

When Tom found they were gone, he came out of his hiding-place. ‘What
dangerous walking it is,’ said he, ‘in this ploughed field! If I were to
fall from one of these great clods, I should undoubtedly break my neck.’
At last, by good luck, he found a large empty snail-shell. ‘This is
lucky,’ said he, ‘I can sleep here very well’; and in he crept.

Just as he was falling asleep, he heard two men passing by, chatting
together; and one said to the other, ‘How can we rob that rich parson’s
house of his silver and gold?’ ‘I’ll tell you!’ cried Tom. ‘What noise
was that?’ said the thief, frightened; ‘I’m sure I heard someone speak.’
They stood still listening, and Tom said, ‘Take me with you, and I’ll
soon show you how to get the parson’s money.’ ‘But where are you?’ said
they. ‘Look about on the ground,’ answered he, ‘and listen where the
sound comes from.’ At last the thieves found him out, and lifted him
up in their hands. ‘You little urchin!’ they said, ‘what can you do for
us?’ ‘Why, I can get between the iron window-bars of the parson’s house,
and throw you out whatever you want.’ ‘That’s a good thought,’ said the
thieves; ‘come along, we shall see what you can do.’

When they came to the parson’s house, Tom slipped through the
window-bars into the room, and then called out as loud as he could bawl,
‘Will you have all that is here?’ At this the thieves were frightened,
and said, ‘Softly, softly! Speak low, that you may not awaken anybody.’
But Tom seemed as if he did not understand them, and bawled out again,
‘How much will you have? Shall I throw it all out?’ Now the cook lay in
the next room; and hearing a noise she raised herself up in her bed and
listened. Meantime the thieves were frightened, and ran off a little
way; but at last they plucked up their hearts, and said, ‘The little
urchin is only trying to make fools of us.’ So they came back and
whispered softly to him, saying, ‘Now let us have no more of your
roguish jokes; but throw us out some of the money.’ Then Tom called out
as loud as he could, ‘Very well! hold your hands! here it comes.’

The cook heard this quite plain, so she sprang out of bed, and ran to
open the door. The thieves ran off as if a wolf was at their tails: and
the maid, having groped about and found nothing, went away for a light.
By the time she came back, Tom had slipped off into the barn; and when
she had looked about and searched every hole and corner, and found
nobody, she went to bed, thinking she must have been dreaming with her
eyes open.

The little man crawled about in the hay-loft, and at last found a snug
place to finish his night’s rest in; so he laid himself down, meaning
to sleep till daylight, and then find his way home to his father and
mother. But alas! how woefully he was undone! what crosses and sorrows
happen to us all in this world! The cook got up early, before daybreak,
to feed the cows; and going straight to the hay-loft, carried away
a large bundle of hay, with the little man in the middle of it, fast
asleep. He still, however, slept on, and did not awake till he found
himself in the mouth of the cow; for the cook had put the hay into the
cow’s rick, and the cow had taken Tom up in a mouthful of it. ‘Good
lack-a-day!’ said he, ‘how came I to tumble into the mill?’ But he soon
found out where he really was; and was forced to have all his wits about
him, that he might not get between the cow’s teeth, and so be crushed to
death. At last down he went into her stomach. ‘It is rather dark,’ said
he; ‘they forgot to build windows in this room to let the sun in; a
candle would be no bad thing.’

Though he made the best of his bad luck, he did not like his quarters at
all; and the worst of it was, that more and more hay was always coming
down, and the space left for him became smaller and smaller. At last he
cried out as loud as he could, ‘Don’t bring me any more hay! Don’t bring
me any more hay!’

The maid happened to be just then milking the cow; and hearing someone
speak, but seeing nobody, and yet being quite sure it was the same voice
that she had heard in the night, she was so frightened that she fell off
her stool, and overset the milk-pail. As soon as she could pick herself
up out of the dirt, she ran off as fast as she could to her master the
parson, and said, ‘Sir, sir, the cow is talking!’ But the parson
said, ‘Woman, thou art surely mad!’ However, he went with her into the
cow-house, to try and see what was the matter.

Scarcely had they set foot on the threshold, when Tom called out, ‘Don’t
bring me any more hay!’ Then the parson himself was frightened; and
thinking the cow was surely bewitched, told his man to kill her on the
spot. So the cow was killed, and cut up; and the stomach, in which Tom
lay, was thrown out upon a dunghill.

Tom soon set himself to work to get out, which was not a very easy
task; but at last, just as he had made room to get his head out, fresh
ill-luck befell him. A hungry wolf sprang out, and swallowed up the
whole stomach, with Tom in it, at one gulp, and ran away.

Tom, however, was still not disheartened; and thinking the wolf would
not dislike having some chat with him as he was going along, he called
out, ‘My good friend, I can show you a famous treat.’ ‘Where’s that?’
said the wolf. ‘In such and such a house,’ said Tom, describing his own
father’s house. ‘You can crawl through the drain into the kitchen and
then into the pantry, and there you will find cakes, ham, beef, cold
chicken, roast pig, apple-dumplings, and everything that your heart can

The wolf did not want to be asked twice; so that very night he went to
the house and crawled through the drain into the kitchen, and then into
the pantry, and ate and drank there to his heart’s content. As soon as
he had had enough he wanted to get away; but he had eaten so much that
he could not go out by the same way he came in.

This was just what Tom had reckoned upon; and now he began to set up a
great shout, making all the noise he could. ‘Will you be easy?’ said the
wolf; ‘you’ll awaken everybody in the house if you make such a clatter.’
‘What’s that to me?’ said the little man; ‘you have had your frolic, now
I’ve a mind to be merry myself’; and he began, singing and shouting as
loud as he could.

The woodman and his wife, being awakened by the noise, peeped through
a crack in the door; but when they saw a wolf was there, you may well
suppose that they were sadly frightened; and the woodman ran for his
axe, and gave his wife a scythe. ‘Do you stay behind,’ said the woodman,
‘and when I have knocked him on the head you must rip him up with the
scythe.’ Tom heard all this, and cried out, ‘Father, father! I am here,
the wolf has swallowed me.’ And his father said, ‘Heaven be praised! we
have found our dear child again’; and he told his wife not to use the
scythe for fear she should hurt him. Then he aimed a great blow, and
struck the wolf on the head, and killed him on the spot! and when he was
dead they cut open his body, and set Tommy free. ‘Ah!’ said the father,
‘what fears we have had for you!’ ‘Yes, father,’ answered he; ‘I have
travelled all over the world, I think, in one way or other, since we
parted; and now I am very glad to come home and get fresh air again.’
‘Why, where have you been?’ said his father. ‘I have been in a
mouse-hole–and in a snail-shell–and down a cow’s throat–and in the
wolf’s belly; and yet here I am again, safe and sound.’

‘Well,’ said they, ‘you are come back, and we will not sell you again
for all the riches in the world.’

Then they hugged and kissed their dear little son, and gave him plenty
to eat and drink, for he was very hungry; and then they fetched new
clothes for him, for his old ones had been quite spoiled on his journey.
So Master Thumb stayed at home with his father and mother, in peace; for
though he had been so great a traveller, and had done and seen so many
fine things, and was fond enough of telling the whole story, he always
agreed that, after all, there’s no place like HOME!


By the side of a wood, in a country a long way off, ran a fine stream
of water; and upon the stream there stood a mill. The miller’s house was
close by, and the miller, you must know, had a very beautiful daughter.
She was, moreover, very shrewd and clever; and the miller was so proud
of her, that he one day told the king of the land, who used to come and
hunt in the wood, that his daughter could spin gold out of straw. Now
this king was very fond of money; and when he heard the miller’s boast
his greediness was raised, and he sent for the girl to be brought before
him. Then he led her to a chamber in his palace where there was a great
heap of straw, and gave her a spinning-wheel, and said, ‘All this must
be spun into gold before morning, as you love your life.’ It was in vain
that the poor maiden said that it was only a silly boast of her father,
for that she could do no such thing as spin straw into gold: the chamber
door was locked, and she was left alone.

She sat down in one corner of the room, and began to bewail her hard
fate; when on a sudden the door opened, and a droll-looking little man
hobbled in, and said, ‘Good morrow to you, my good lass; what are you
weeping for?’ ‘Alas!’ said she, ‘I must spin this straw into gold, and
I know not how.’ ‘What will you give me,’ said the hobgoblin, ‘to do it
for you?’ ‘My necklace,’ replied the maiden. He took her at her word,
and sat himself down to the wheel, and whistled and sang:

‘Round about, round about,
Lo and behold!
Reel away, reel away,
Straw into gold!’

And round about the wheel went merrily; the work was quickly done, and
the straw was all spun into gold.

When the king came and saw this, he was greatly astonished and pleased;
but his heart grew still more greedy of gain, and he shut up the poor
miller’s daughter again with a fresh task. Then she knew not what to do,
and sat down once more to weep; but the dwarf soon opened the door, and
said, ‘What will you give me to do your task?’ ‘The ring on my finger,’
said she. So her little friend took the ring, and began to work at the
wheel again, and whistled and sang:

‘Round about, round about,
Lo and behold!
Reel away, reel away,
Straw into gold!’

till, long before morning, all was done again.

The king was greatly delighted to see all this glittering treasure;
but still he had not enough: so he took the miller’s daughter to a yet
larger heap, and said, ‘All this must be spun tonight; and if it is,
you shall be my queen.’ As soon as she was alone that dwarf came in, and
said, ‘What will you give me to spin gold for you this third time?’
‘I have nothing left,’ said she. ‘Then say you will give me,’ said
the little man, ‘the first little child that you may have when you are
queen.’ ‘That may never be,’ thought the miller’s daughter: and as she
knew no other way to get her task done, she said she would do what he
asked. Round went the wheel again to the old song, and the manikin once
more spun the heap into gold. The king came in the morning, and, finding
all he wanted, was forced to keep his word; so he married the miller’s
daughter, and she really became queen.

At the birth of her first little child she was very glad, and forgot the
dwarf, and what she had said. But one day he came into her room, where
she was sitting playing with her baby, and put her in mind of it. Then
she grieved sorely at her misfortune, and said she would give him all
the wealth of the kingdom if he would let her off, but in vain; till at
last her tears softened him, and he said, ‘I will give you three days’
grace, and if during that time you tell me my name, you shall keep your

Now the queen lay awake all night, thinking of all the odd names that
she had ever heard; and she sent messengers all over the land to find
out new ones. The next day the little man came, and she began with
TIMOTHY, ICHABOD, BENJAMIN, JEREMIAH, and all the names she could
remember; but to all and each of them he said, ‘Madam, that is not my

The second day she began with all the comical names she could hear of,
BANDY-LEGS, HUNCHBACK, CROOK-SHANKS, and so on; but the little gentleman
still said to every one of them, ‘Madam, that is not my name.’

The third day one of the messengers came back, and said, ‘I have
travelled two days without hearing of any other names; but yesterday, as
I was climbing a high hill, among the trees of the forest where the fox
and the hare bid each other good night, I saw a little hut; and before
the hut burnt a fire; and round about the fire a funny little dwarf was
dancing upon one leg, and singing:

“Merrily the feast I’ll make.
Today I’ll brew, tomorrow bake;
Merrily I’ll dance and sing,
For next day will a stranger bring.
Little does my lady dream
Rumpelstiltskin is my name!”

When the queen heard this she jumped for joy, and as soon as her little
friend came she sat down upon her throne, and called all her court round
to enjoy the fun; and the nurse stood by her side with the baby in her
arms, as if it was quite ready to be given up. Then the little man began
to chuckle at the thought of having the poor child, to take home with
him to his hut in the woods; and he cried out, ‘Now, lady, what is my
name?’ ‘Is it JOHN?’ asked she. ‘No, madam!’ ‘Is it TOM?’ ‘No, madam!’
‘Is it JEMMY?’ ‘It is not.’ ‘Can your name be RUMPELSTILTSKIN?’ said the
lady slyly. ‘Some witch told you that!–some witch told you that!’ cried
the little man, and dashed his right foot in a rage so deep into the
floor, that he was forced to lay hold of it with both hands to pull it

Then he made the best of his way off, while the nurse laughed and the
baby crowed; and all the court jeered at him for having had so much
trouble for nothing, and said, ‘We wish you a very good morning, and a
merry feast, Mr RUMPLESTILTSKIN!’


There was once a cook named Gretel, who wore shoes with red heels, and
when she walked out with them on, she turned herself this way and that,
was quite happy and thought: ‘You certainly are a pretty girl!’ And when
she came home she drank, in her gladness of heart, a draught of wine,
and as wine excites a desire to eat, she tasted the best of whatever she
was cooking until she was satisfied, and said: ‘The cook must know what
the food is like.’

It came to pass that the master one day said to her: ‘Gretel, there is a
guest coming this evening; prepare me two fowls very daintily.’ ‘I will
see to it, master,’ answered Gretel. She killed two fowls, scalded them,
plucked them, put them on the spit, and towards evening set them before
the fire, that they might roast. The fowls began to turn brown, and were
nearly ready, but the guest had not yet arrived. Then Gretel called out
to her master: ‘If the guest does not come, I must take the fowls away
from the fire, but it will be a sin and a shame if they are not eaten
the moment they are at their juiciest.’ The master said: ‘I will run
myself, and fetch the guest.’ When the master had turned his back,
Gretel laid the spit with the fowls on one side, and thought: ‘Standing
so long by the fire there, makes one sweat and thirsty; who knows
when they will come? Meanwhile, I will run into the cellar, and take a
drink.’ She ran down, set a jug, said: ‘God bless it for you, Gretel,’
and took a good drink, and thought that wine should flow on, and should
not be interrupted, and took yet another hearty draught.

Then she went and put the fowls down again to the fire, basted them,
and drove the spit merrily round. But as the roast meat smelt so good,
Gretel thought: ‘Something might be wrong, it ought to be tasted!’
She touched it with her finger, and said: ‘Ah! how good fowls are! It
certainly is a sin and a shame that they are not eaten at the right
time!’ She ran to the window, to see if the master was not coming with
his guest, but she saw no one, and went back to the fowls and thought:
‘One of the wings is burning! I had better take it off and eat it.’
So she cut it off, ate it, and enjoyed it, and when she had done, she
thought: ‘The other must go down too, or else master will observe that
something is missing.’ When the two wings were eaten, she went and
looked for her master, and did not see him. It suddenly occurred to
her: ‘Who knows? They are perhaps not coming at all, and have turned in
somewhere.’ Then she said: ‘Well, Gretel, enjoy yourself, one fowl has
been cut into, take another drink, and eat it up entirely; when it is
eaten you will have some peace, why should God’s good gifts be spoilt?’
So she ran into the cellar again, took an enormous drink and ate up the
one chicken in great glee. When one of the chickens was swallowed down,
and still her master did not come, Gretel looked at the other and said:
‘What one is, the other should be likewise, the two go together; what’s
right for the one is right for the other; I think if I were to take
another draught it would do me no harm.’ So she took another hearty
drink, and let the second chicken follow the first.

While she was making the most of it, her master came and cried: ‘Hurry
up, Gretel, the guest is coming directly after me!’ ‘Yes, sir, I will
soon serve up,’ answered Gretel. Meantime the master looked to see that
the table was properly laid, and took the great knife, wherewith he was
going to carve the chickens, and sharpened it on the steps. Presently
the guest came, and knocked politely and courteously at the house-door.
Gretel ran, and looked to see who was there, and when she saw the guest,
she put her finger to her lips and said: ‘Hush! hush! go away as quickly
as you can, if my master catches you it will be the worse for you; he
certainly did ask you to supper, but his intention is to cut off your
two ears. Just listen how he is sharpening the knife for it!’ The guest
heard the sharpening, and hurried down the steps again as fast as he
could. Gretel was not idle; she ran screaming to her master, and cried:
‘You have invited a fine guest!’ ‘Why, Gretel? What do you mean by
that?’ ‘Yes,’ said she, ‘he has taken the chickens which I was just
going to serve up, off the dish, and has run away with them!’ ‘That’s a
nice trick!’ said her master, and lamented the fine chickens. ‘If he had
but left me one, so that something remained for me to eat.’ He called to
him to stop, but the guest pretended not to hear. Then he ran after him
with the knife still in his hand, crying: ‘Just one, just one,’ meaning
that the guest should leave him just one chicken, and not take both. The
guest, however, thought no otherwise than that he was to give up one of
his ears, and ran as if fire were burning under him, in order to take
them both with him.


There was once a very old man, whose eyes had become dim, his ears dull
of hearing, his knees trembled, and when he sat at table he could hardly
hold the spoon, and spilt the broth upon the table-cloth or let it run
out of his mouth. His son and his son’s wife were disgusted at this, so
the old grandfather at last had to sit in the corner behind the stove,
and they gave him his food in an earthenware bowl, and not even enough
of it. And he used to look towards the table with his eyes full of
tears. Once, too, his trembling hands could not hold the bowl, and it
fell to the ground and broke. The young wife scolded him, but he said
nothing and only sighed. Then they brought him a wooden bowl for a few
half-pence, out of which he had to eat.

They were once sitting thus when the little grandson of four years old
began to gather together some bits of wood upon the ground. ‘What are
you doing there?’ asked the father. ‘I am making a little trough,’
answered the child, ‘for father and mother to eat out of when I am big.’

The man and his wife looked at each other for a while, and presently
began to cry. Then they took the old grandfather to the table, and
henceforth always let him eat with them, and likewise said nothing if he
did spill a little of anything.


There was a certain village wherein no one lived but really rich
peasants, and just one poor one, whom they called the little peasant. He
had not even so much as a cow, and still less money to buy one, and
yet he and his wife did so wish to have one. One day he said to her:
‘Listen, I have a good idea, there is our gossip the carpenter, he shall
make us a wooden calf, and paint it brown, so that it looks like any
other, and in time it will certainly get big and be a cow.’ the woman
also liked the idea, and their gossip the carpenter cut and planed
the calf, and painted it as it ought to be, and made it with its head
hanging down as if it were eating.

Next morning when the cows were being driven out, the little peasant
called the cow-herd in and said: ‘Look, I have a little calf there,
but it is still small and has to be carried.’ The cow-herd said: ‘All
right,’ and took it in his arms and carried it to the pasture, and set
it among the grass. The little calf always remained standing like one
which was eating, and the cow-herd said: ‘It will soon run by itself,
just look how it eats already!’ At night when he was going to drive the
herd home again, he said to the calf: ‘If you can stand there and eat
your fill, you can also go on your four legs; I don’t care to drag you
home again in my arms.’ But the little peasant stood at his door, and
waited for his little calf, and when the cow-herd drove the cows through
the village, and the calf was missing, he inquired where it was. The
cow-herd answered: ‘It is still standing out there eating. It would not
stop and come with us.’ But the little peasant said: ‘Oh, but I must
have my beast back again.’ Then they went back to the meadow together,
but someone had stolen the calf, and it was gone. The cow-herd said: ‘It
must have run away.’ The peasant, however, said: ‘Don’t tell me
that,’ and led the cow-herd before the mayor, who for his carelessness
condemned him to give the peasant a cow for the calf which had run away.

And now the little peasant and his wife had the cow for which they had
so long wished, and they were heartily glad, but they had no food for
it, and could give it nothing to eat, so it soon had to be killed. They
salted the flesh, and the peasant went into the town and wanted to sell
the skin there, so that he might buy a new calf with the proceeds. On
the way he passed by a mill, and there sat a raven with broken wings,
and out of pity he took him and wrapped him in the skin. But as the
weather grew so bad and there was a storm of rain and wind, he could
go no farther, and turned back to the mill and begged for shelter. The
miller’s wife was alone in the house, and said to the peasant: ‘Lay
yourself on the straw there,’ and gave him a slice of bread and cheese.
The peasant ate it, and lay down with his skin beside him, and the woman
thought: ‘He is tired and has gone to sleep.’ In the meantime came the
parson; the miller’s wife received him well, and said: ‘My husband is
out, so we will have a feast.’ The peasant listened, and when he heard
them talk about feasting he was vexed that he had been forced to make
shift with a slice of bread and cheese. Then the woman served up four
different things, roast meat, salad, cakes, and wine.

Just as they were about to sit down and eat, there was a knocking
outside. The woman said: ‘Oh, heavens! It is my husband!’ she quickly
hid the roast meat inside the tiled stove, the wine under the pillow,
the salad on the bed, the cakes under it, and the parson in the closet
on the porch. Then she opened the door for her husband, and said: ‘Thank
heaven, you are back again! There is such a storm, it looks as if the
world were coming to an end.’ The miller saw the peasant lying on the
straw, and asked, ‘What is that fellow doing there?’ ‘Ah,’ said the
wife, ‘the poor knave came in the storm and rain, and begged for
shelter, so I gave him a bit of bread and cheese, and showed him where
the straw was.’ The man said: ‘I have no objection, but be quick and get
me something to eat.’ The woman said: ‘But I have nothing but bread and
cheese.’ ‘I am contented with anything,’ replied the husband, ‘so far as
I am concerned, bread and cheese will do,’ and looked at the peasant and
said: ‘Come and eat some more with me.’ The peasant did not require to
be invited twice, but got up and ate. After this the miller saw the skin
in which the raven was, lying on the ground, and asked: ‘What have you
there?’ The peasant answered: ‘I have a soothsayer inside it.’ ‘Can
he foretell anything to me?’ said the miller. ‘Why not?’ answered
the peasant: ‘but he only says four things, and the fifth he keeps to
himself.’ The miller was curious, and said: ‘Let him foretell something
for once.’ Then the peasant pinched the raven’s head, so that he croaked
and made a noise like krr, krr. The miller said: ‘What did he say?’ The
peasant answered: ‘In the first place, he says that there is some wine
hidden under the pillow.’ ‘Bless me!’ cried the miller, and went there
and found the wine. ‘Now go on,’ said he. The peasant made the raven
croak again, and said: ‘In the second place, he says that there is some
roast meat in the tiled stove.’ ‘Upon my word!’ cried the miller, and
went thither, and found the roast meat. The peasant made the raven
prophesy still more, and said: ‘Thirdly, he says that there is some
salad on the bed.’ ‘That would be a fine thing!’ cried the miller, and
went there and found the salad. At last the peasant pinched the raven
once more till he croaked, and said: ‘Fourthly, he says that there
are some cakes under the bed.’ ‘That would be a fine thing!’ cried the
miller, and looked there, and found the cakes.

And now the two sat down to the table together, but the miller’s wife
was frightened to death, and went to bed and took all the keys with
her. The miller would have liked much to know the fifth, but the little
peasant said: ‘First, we will quickly eat the four things, for the fifth
is something bad.’ So they ate, and after that they bargained how much
the miller was to give for the fifth prophecy, until they agreed on
three hundred talers. Then the peasant once more pinched the raven’s
head till he croaked loudly. The miller asked: ‘What did he say?’ The
peasant replied: ‘He says that the Devil is hiding outside there in
the closet on the porch.’ The miller said: ‘The Devil must go out,’ and
opened the house-door; then the woman was forced to give up the keys,
and the peasant unlocked the closet. The parson ran out as fast as he
could, and the miller said: ‘It was true; I saw the black rascal with my
own eyes.’ The peasant, however, made off next morning by daybreak with
the three hundred talers.

At home the small peasant gradually launched out; he built a beautiful
house, and the peasants said: ‘The small peasant has certainly been to
the place where golden snow falls, and people carry the gold home in
shovels.’ Then the small peasant was brought before the mayor, and
bidden to say from whence his wealth came. He answered: ‘I sold my cow’s
skin in the town, for three hundred talers.’ When the peasants heard
that, they too wished to enjoy this great profit, and ran home, killed
all their cows, and stripped off their skins in order to sell them in
the town to the greatest advantage. The mayor, however, said: ‘But my
servant must go first.’ When she came to the merchant in the town, he
did not give her more than two talers for a skin, and when the others
came, he did not give them so much, and said: ‘What can I do with all
these skins?’

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

And the glass had always answered:

‘Thou, queen, art the fairest in all the land.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the glass answered:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Thou, queen, art the fairest of all the fair.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the glass answered:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The father again asked, ‘Where is my son?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Bird,’ said the shoemaker, ‘sing me that song again.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘My mother killed her little son;

then one of the men left off,

My father grieved when I was gone;

two more men left off and listened,

My sister loved me best of all;

then four more left off,

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

now there were only eight at work,


And now only five,

the juniper-tree.

And now only one,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But little Marleen sat and wept and wept.

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

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

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

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

‘My mother killed her little son;

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

My father grieved when I was gone;

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

My sister loved me best of all;

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

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

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

But the man went out and looked at the bird.

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

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

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

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

Then the bird began again:

‘My mother killed her little son;

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

My father grieved when I was gone;

then the woman fell down again as if dead.

My sister loved me best of all;

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

So she went out.

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

and he threw down the shoes to her,

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Then he yoked his oxen, and drew the turnip to the court, and gave it
to the king. ‘What a wonderful thing!’ said the king; ‘I have seen many
strange things, but such a monster as this I never saw. Where did you
get the seed? or is it only your good luck? If so, you are a true child
of fortune.’ ‘Ah, no!’ answered the gardener, ‘I am no child of fortune;
I am a poor soldier, who never could get enough to live upon; so I
laid aside my red coat, and set to work, tilling the ground. I have a
brother, who is rich, and your majesty knows him well, and all the world
knows him; but because I am poor, everybody forgets me.’

The king then took pity on him, and said, ‘You shall be poor no
longer. I will give you so much that you shall be even richer than your
brother.’ Then he gave him gold and lands and flocks, and made him so
rich that his brother’s fortune could not at all be compared with his.

When the brother heard of all this, and how a turnip had made the
gardener so rich, he envied him sorely, and bethought himself how he
could contrive to get the same good fortune for himself. However, he
determined to manage more cleverly than his brother, and got together a
rich present of gold and fine horses for the king; and thought he must
have a much larger gift in return; for if his brother had received so
much for only a turnip, what must his present be worth?

The king took the gift very graciously, and said he knew not what to
give in return more valuable and wonderful than the great turnip; so
the soldier was forced to put it into a cart, and drag it home with him.
When he reached home, he knew not upon whom to vent his rage and spite;
and at length wicked thoughts came into his head, and he resolved to
kill his brother.

So he hired some villains to murder him; and having shown them where to
lie in ambush, he went to his brother, and said, ‘Dear brother, I have
found a hidden treasure; let us go and dig it up, and share it between
us.’ The other had no suspicions of his roguery: so they went out
together, and as they were travelling along, the murderers rushed out
upon him, bound him, and were going to hang him on a tree.

But whilst they were getting all ready, they heard the trampling of a
horse at a distance, which so frightened them that they pushed their
prisoner neck and shoulders together into a sack, and swung him up by a
cord to the tree, where they left him dangling, and ran away. Meantime
he worked and worked away, till he made a hole large enough to put out
his head.

When the horseman came up, he proved to be a student, a merry fellow,
who was journeying along on his nag, and singing as he went. As soon as
the man in the sack saw him passing under the tree, he cried out, ‘Good
morning! good morning to thee, my friend!’ The student looked about
everywhere; and seeing no one, and not knowing where the voice came
from, cried out, ‘Who calls me?’

Then the man in the tree answered, ‘Lift up thine eyes, for behold here
I sit in the sack of wisdom; here have I, in a short time, learned great
and wondrous things. Compared to this seat, all the learning of the
schools is as empty air. A little longer, and I shall know all that man
can know, and shall come forth wiser than the wisest of mankind. Here
I discern the signs and motions of the heavens and the stars; the laws
that control the winds; the number of the sands on the seashore; the
healing of the sick; the virtues of all simples, of birds, and of
precious stones. Wert thou but once here, my friend, though wouldst feel
and own the power of knowledge.

The student listened to all this and wondered much; at last he said,
‘Blessed be the day and hour when I found you; cannot you contrive to
let me into the sack for a little while?’ Then the other answered, as if
very unwillingly, ‘A little space I may allow thee to sit here, if thou
wilt reward me well and entreat me kindly; but thou must tarry yet an
hour below, till I have learnt some little matters that are yet unknown
to me.’

So the student sat himself down and waited a while; but the time hung
heavy upon him, and he begged earnestly that he might ascend forthwith,
for his thirst for knowledge was great. Then the other pretended to give
way, and said, ‘Thou must let the sack of wisdom descend, by untying
yonder cord, and then thou shalt enter.’ So the student let him down,
opened the sack, and set him free. ‘Now then,’ cried he, ‘let me ascend
quickly.’ As he began to put himself into the sack heels first, ‘Wait a
while,’ said the gardener, ‘that is not the way.’ Then he pushed him
in head first, tied up the sack, and soon swung up the searcher after
wisdom dangling in the air. ‘How is it with thee, friend?’ said he,
‘dost thou not feel that wisdom comes unto thee? Rest there in peace,
till thou art a wiser man than thou wert.’

So saying, he trotted off on the student’s nag, and left the poor fellow
to gather wisdom till somebody should come and let him down.


The mother of Hans said: ‘Whither away, Hans?’ Hans answered: ‘To
Gretel.’ ‘Behave well, Hans.’ ‘Oh, I’ll behave well. Goodbye, mother.’
‘Goodbye, Hans.’ Hans comes to Gretel. ‘Good day, Gretel.’ ‘Good day,
Hans. What do you bring that is good?’ ‘I bring nothing, I want to have
something given me.’ Gretel presents Hans with a needle, Hans says:
‘Goodbye, Gretel.’ ‘Goodbye, Hans.’

Hans takes the needle, sticks it into a hay-cart, and follows the cart
home. ‘Good evening, mother.’ ‘Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?’
‘With Gretel.’ ‘What did you take her?’ ‘Took nothing; had something
given me.’ ‘What did Gretel give you?’ ‘Gave me a needle.’ ‘Where is the
needle, Hans?’ ‘Stuck in the hay-cart.’ ‘That was ill done, Hans. You
should have stuck the needle in your sleeve.’ ‘Never mind, I’ll do
better next time.’

‘Whither away, Hans?’ ‘To Gretel, mother.’ ‘Behave well, Hans.’ ‘Oh,
I’ll behave well. Goodbye, mother.’ ‘Goodbye, Hans.’ Hans comes to
Gretel. ‘Good day, Gretel.’ ‘Good day, Hans. What do you bring that is
good?’ ‘I bring nothing. I want to have something given to me.’ Gretel
presents Hans with a knife. ‘Goodbye, Gretel.’ ‘Goodbye, Hans.’ Hans
takes the knife, sticks it in his sleeve, and goes home. ‘Good evening,
mother.’ ‘Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?’ ‘With Gretel.’ What
did you take her?’ ‘Took her nothing, she gave me something.’ ‘What did
Gretel give you?’ ‘Gave me a knife.’ ‘Where is the knife, Hans?’ ‘Stuck
in my sleeve.’ ‘That’s ill done, Hans, you should have put the knife in
your pocket.’ ‘Never mind, will do better next time.’

‘Whither away, Hans?’ ‘To Gretel, mother.’ ‘Behave well, Hans.’ ‘Oh,
I’ll behave well. Goodbye, mother.’ ‘Goodbye, Hans.’ Hans comes to
Gretel. ‘Good day, Gretel.’ ‘Good day, Hans. What good thing do you
bring?’ ‘I bring nothing, I want something given me.’ Gretel presents
Hans with a young goat. ‘Goodbye, Gretel.’ ‘Goodbye, Hans.’ Hans takes
the goat, ties its legs, and puts it in his pocket. When he gets home it
is suffocated. ‘Good evening, mother.’ ‘Good evening, Hans. Where have
you been?’ ‘With Gretel.’ ‘What did you take her?’ ‘Took nothing, she
gave me something.’ ‘What did Gretel give you?’ ‘She gave me a goat.’
‘Where is the goat, Hans?’ ‘Put it in my pocket.’ ‘That was ill done,
Hans, you should have put a rope round the goat’s neck.’ ‘Never mind,
will do better next time.’

‘Whither away, Hans?’ ‘To Gretel, mother.’ ‘Behave well, Hans.’ ‘Oh,
I’ll behave well. Goodbye, mother.’ ‘Goodbye, Hans.’ Hans comes to
Gretel. ‘Good day, Gretel.’ ‘Good day, Hans. What good thing do you
bring?’ ‘I bring nothing, I want something given me.’ Gretel presents
Hans with a piece of bacon. ‘Goodbye, Gretel.’ ‘Goodbye, Hans.’

Hans takes the bacon, ties it to a rope, and drags it away behind him.
The dogs come and devour the bacon. When he gets home, he has the rope
in his hand, and there is no longer anything hanging on to it. ‘Good
evening, mother.’ ‘Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?’ ‘With
Gretel.’ ‘What did you take her?’ ‘I took her nothing, she gave me
something.’ ‘What did Gretel give you?’ ‘Gave me a bit of bacon.’ ‘Where
is the bacon, Hans?’ ‘I tied it to a rope, brought it home, dogs took
it.’ ‘That was ill done, Hans, you should have carried the bacon on your
head.’ ‘Never mind, will do better next time.’

‘Whither away, Hans?’ ‘To Gretel, mother.’ ‘Behave well, Hans.’ ‘I’ll
behave well. Goodbye, mother.’ ‘Goodbye, Hans.’ Hans comes to Gretel.
‘Good day, Gretel.’ ‘Good day, Hans, What good thing do you bring?’ ‘I
bring nothing, but would have something given.’ Gretel presents Hans
with a calf. ‘Goodbye, Gretel.’ ‘Goodbye, Hans.’

Hans takes the calf, puts it on his head, and the calf kicks his face.
‘Good evening, mother.’ ‘Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?’ ‘With
Gretel.’ ‘What did you take her?’ ‘I took nothing, but had something
given me.’ ‘What did Gretel give you?’ ‘A calf.’ ‘Where have you the
calf, Hans?’ ‘I set it on my head and it kicked my face.’ ‘That was
ill done, Hans, you should have led the calf, and put it in the stall.’
‘Never mind, will do better next time.’

‘Whither away, Hans?’ ‘To Gretel, mother.’ ‘Behave well, Hans.’ ‘I’ll
behave well. Goodbye, mother.’ ‘Goodbye, Hans.’

Hans comes to Gretel. ‘Good day, Gretel.’ ‘Good day, Hans. What good
thing do you bring?’ ‘I bring nothing, but would have something given.’
Gretel says to Hans: ‘I will go with you.’

Hans takes Gretel, ties her to a rope, leads her to the rack, and binds
her fast. Then Hans goes to his mother. ‘Good evening, mother.’ ‘Good
evening, Hans. Where have you been?’ ‘With Gretel.’ ‘What did you take
her?’ ‘I took her nothing.’ ‘What did Gretel give you?’ ‘She gave me
nothing, she came with me.’ ‘Where have you left Gretel?’ ‘I led her by
the rope, tied her to the rack, and scattered some grass for her.’ ‘That
was ill done, Hans, you should have cast friendly eyes on her.’ ‘Never
mind, will do better.’

Hans went into the stable, cut out all the calves’ and sheep’s eyes,
and threw them in Gretel’s face. Then Gretel became angry, tore herself
loose and ran away, and was no longer the bride of Hans.


An aged count once lived in Switzerland, who had an only son, but he
was stupid, and could learn nothing. Then said the father: ‘Hark you,
my son, try as I will I can get nothing into your head. You must go from
hence, I will give you into the care of a celebrated master, who shall
see what he can do with you.’ The youth was sent into a strange town,
and remained a whole year with the master. At the end of this time,
he came home again, and his father asked: ‘Now, my son, what have you
learnt?’ ‘Father, I have learnt what the dogs say when they bark.’ ‘Lord
have mercy on us!’ cried the father; ‘is that all you have learnt? I
will send you into another town, to another master.’ The youth was taken
thither, and stayed a year with this master likewise. When he came back
the father again asked: ‘My son, what have you learnt?’ He answered:
‘Father, I have learnt what the birds say.’ Then the father fell into a
rage and said: ‘Oh, you lost man, you have spent the precious time and
learnt nothing; are you not ashamed to appear before my eyes? I will
send you to a third master, but if you learn nothing this time also, I
will no longer be your father.’ The youth remained a whole year with the
third master also, and when he came home again, and his father inquired:
‘My son, what have you learnt?’ he answered: ‘Dear father, I have this
year learnt what the frogs croak.’ Then the father fell into the most
furious anger, sprang up, called his people thither, and said: ‘This man
is no longer my son, I drive him forth, and command you to take him
out into the forest, and kill him.’ They took him forth, but when they
should have killed him, they could not do it for pity, and let him go,
and they cut the eyes and tongue out of a deer that they might carry
them to the old man as a token.

The youth wandered on, and after some time came to a fortress where he
begged for a night’s lodging. ‘Yes,’ said the lord of the castle, ‘if
you will pass the night down there in the old tower, go thither; but I
warn you, it is at the peril of your life, for it is full of wild dogs,
which bark and howl without stopping, and at certain hours a man has to
be given to them, whom they at once devour.’ The whole district was in
sorrow and dismay because of them, and yet no one could do anything to
stop this. The youth, however, was without fear, and said: ‘Just let me
go down to the barking dogs, and give me something that I can throw to
them; they will do nothing to harm me.’ As he himself would have it so,
they gave him some food for the wild animals, and led him down to the
tower. When he went inside, the dogs did not bark at him, but wagged
their tails quite amicably around him, ate what he set before them, and
did not hurt one hair of his head. Next morning, to the astonishment of
everyone, he came out again safe and unharmed, and said to the lord of
the castle: ‘The dogs have revealed to me, in their own language, why
they dwell there, and bring evil on the land. They are bewitched, and
are obliged to watch over a great treasure which is below in the tower,
and they can have no rest until it is taken away, and I have likewise
learnt, from their discourse, how that is to be done.’ Then all who
heard this rejoiced, and the lord of the castle said he would adopt him
as a son if he accomplished it successfully. He went down again, and
as he knew what he had to do, he did it thoroughly, and brought a chest
full of gold out with him. The howling of the wild dogs was henceforth
heard no more; they had disappeared, and the country was freed from the

After some time he took it in his head that he would travel to Rome. On
the way he passed by a marsh, in which a number of frogs were sitting
croaking. He listened to them, and when he became aware of what they
were saying, he grew very thoughtful and sad. At last he arrived in
Rome, where the Pope had just died, and there was great doubt among
the cardinals as to whom they should appoint as his successor. They at
length agreed that the person should be chosen as pope who should be
distinguished by some divine and miraculous token. And just as that was
decided on, the young count entered into the church, and suddenly two
snow-white doves flew on his shoulders and remained sitting there. The
ecclesiastics recognized therein the token from above, and asked him on
the spot if he would be pope. He was undecided, and knew not if he were
worthy of this, but the doves counselled him to do it, and at length he
said yes. Then was he anointed and consecrated, and thus was fulfilled
what he had heard from the frogs on his way, which had so affected him,
that he was to be his Holiness the Pope. Then he had to sing a mass, and
did not know one word of it, but the two doves sat continually on his
shoulders, and said it all in his ear.


It happened that the cat met the fox in a forest, and as she thought to
herself: ‘He is clever and full of experience, and much esteemed in the
world,’ she spoke to him in a friendly way. ‘Good day, dear Mr Fox,
how are you? How is all with you? How are you getting on in these hard
times?’ The fox, full of all kinds of arrogance, looked at the cat from
head to foot, and for a long time did not know whether he would give
any answer or not. At last he said: ‘Oh, you wretched beard-cleaner, you
piebald fool, you hungry mouse-hunter, what can you be thinking of? Have
you the cheek to ask how I am getting on? What have you learnt? How
many arts do you understand?’ ‘I understand but one,’ replied the
cat, modestly. ‘What art is that?’ asked the fox. ‘When the hounds are
following me, I can spring into a tree and save myself.’ ‘Is that all?’
said the fox. ‘I am master of a hundred arts, and have into the bargain
a sackful of cunning. You make me sorry for you; come with me, I will
teach you how people get away from the hounds.’ Just then came a hunter
with four dogs. The cat sprang nimbly up a tree, and sat down at the top
of it, where the branches and foliage quite concealed her. ‘Open your
sack, Mr Fox, open your sack,’ cried the cat to him, but the dogs had
already seized him, and were holding him fast. ‘Ah, Mr Fox,’ cried the
cat. ‘You with your hundred arts are left in the lurch! Had you been
able to climb like me, you would not have lost your life.’


‘Dear children,’ said a poor man to his four sons, ‘I have nothing to
give you; you must go out into the wide world and try your luck. Begin
by learning some craft or another, and see how you can get on.’ So the
four brothers took their walking-sticks in their hands, and their little
bundles on their shoulders, and after bidding their father goodbye, went
all out at the gate together. When they had got on some way they came
to four crossways, each leading to a different country. Then the eldest
said, ‘Here we must part; but this day four years we will come back
to this spot, and in the meantime each must try what he can do for

So each brother went his way; and as the eldest was hastening on a man
met him, and asked him where he was going, and what he wanted. ‘I am
going to try my luck in the world, and should like to begin by learning
some art or trade,’ answered he. ‘Then,’ said the man, ‘go with me, and
I will teach you to become the cunningest thief that ever was.’ ‘No,’
said the other, ‘that is not an honest calling, and what can one look
to earn by it in the end but the gallows?’ ‘Oh!’ said the man, ‘you need
not fear the gallows; for I will only teach you to steal what will be
fair game: I meddle with nothing but what no one else can get or care
anything about, and where no one can find you out.’ So the young man
agreed to follow his trade, and he soon showed himself so clever, that
nothing could escape him that he had once set his mind upon.

The second brother also met a man, who, when he found out what he was
setting out upon, asked him what craft he meant to follow. ‘I do not
know yet,’ said he. ‘Then come with me, and be a star-gazer. It is a
noble art, for nothing can be hidden from you, when once you understand
the stars.’ The plan pleased him much, and he soon became such a skilful
star-gazer, that when he had served out his time, and wanted to leave
his master, he gave him a glass, and said, ‘With this you can see all
that is passing in the sky and on earth, and nothing can be hidden from

The third brother met a huntsman, who took him with him, and taught him
so well all that belonged to hunting, that he became very clever in the
craft of the woods; and when he left his master he gave him a bow, and
said, ‘Whatever you shoot at with this bow you will be sure to hit.’

The youngest brother likewise met a man who asked him what he wished to
do. ‘Would not you like,’ said he, ‘to be a tailor?’ ‘Oh, no!’ said
the young man; ‘sitting cross-legged from morning to night, working
backwards and forwards with a needle and goose, will never suit me.’
‘Oh!’ answered the man, ‘that is not my sort of tailoring; come with me,
and you will learn quite another kind of craft from that.’ Not knowing
what better to do, he came into the plan, and learnt tailoring from the
beginning; and when he left his master, he gave him a needle, and said,
‘You can sew anything with this, be it as soft as an egg or as hard as
steel; and the joint will be so fine that no seam will be seen.’

After the space of four years, at the time agreed upon, the four
brothers met at the four cross-roads; and having welcomed each other,
set off towards their father’s home, where they told him all that had
happened to them, and how each had learned some craft.

Then, one day, as they were sitting before the house under a very high
tree, the father said, ‘I should like to try what each of you can do in
this way.’ So he looked up, and said to the second son, ‘At the top of
this tree there is a chaffinch’s nest; tell me how many eggs there are
in it.’ The star-gazer took his glass, looked up, and said, ‘Five.’
‘Now,’ said the father to the eldest son, ‘take away the eggs without
letting the bird that is sitting upon them and hatching them know
anything of what you are doing.’ So the cunning thief climbed up the
tree, and brought away to his father the five eggs from under the bird;
and it never saw or felt what he was doing, but kept sitting on at its
ease. Then the father took the eggs, and put one on each corner of the
table, and the fifth in the middle, and said to the huntsman, ‘Cut all
the eggs in two pieces at one shot.’ The huntsman took up his bow, and
at one shot struck all the five eggs as his father wished.

‘Now comes your turn,’ said he to the young tailor; ‘sew the eggs and
the young birds in them together again, so neatly that the shot shall
have done them no harm.’ Then the tailor took his needle, and sewed the
eggs as he was told; and when he had done, the thief was sent to take
them back to the nest, and put them under the bird without its knowing
it. Then she went on sitting, and hatched them: and in a few days they
crawled out, and had only a little red streak across their necks, where
the tailor had sewn them together.

‘Well done, sons!’ said the old man; ‘you have made good use of your
time, and learnt something worth the knowing; but I am sure I do not
know which ought to have the prize. Oh, that a time might soon come for
you to turn your skill to some account!’

Not long after this there was a great bustle in the country; for the
king’s daughter had been carried off by a mighty dragon, and the king
mourned over his loss day and night, and made it known that whoever
brought her back to him should have her for a wife. Then the four
brothers said to each other, ‘Here is a chance for us; let us try
what we can do.’ And they agreed to see whether they could not set the
princess free. ‘I will soon find out where she is, however,’ said the
star-gazer, as he looked through his glass; and he soon cried out, ‘I
see her afar off, sitting upon a rock in the sea, and I can spy the
dragon close by, guarding her.’ Then he went to the king, and asked for
a ship for himself and his brothers; and they sailed together over the
sea, till they came to the right place. There they found the princess
sitting, as the star-gazer had said, on the rock; and the dragon was
lying asleep, with his head upon her lap. ‘I dare not shoot at him,’
said the huntsman, ‘for I should kill the beautiful young lady also.’
‘Then I will try my skill,’ said the thief, and went and stole her away
from under the dragon, so quietly and gently that the beast did not know
it, but went on snoring.

Then away they hastened with her full of joy in their boat towards the
ship; but soon came the dragon roaring behind them through the air; for
he awoke and missed the princess. But when he got over the boat, and
wanted to pounce upon them and carry off the princess, the huntsman took
up his bow and shot him straight through the heart so that he fell down
dead. They were still not safe; for he was such a great beast that in
his fall he overset the boat, and they had to swim in the open sea
upon a few planks. So the tailor took his needle, and with a few large
stitches put some of the planks together; and he sat down upon these,
and sailed about and gathered up all pieces of the boat; and then tacked
them together so quickly that the boat was soon ready, and they then
reached the ship and got home safe.

When they had brought home the princess to her father, there was great
rejoicing; and he said to the four brothers, ‘One of you shall marry
her, but you must settle amongst yourselves which it is to be.’ Then
there arose a quarrel between them; and the star-gazer said, ‘If I had
not found the princess out, all your skill would have been of no use;
therefore she ought to be mine.’ ‘Your seeing her would have been of
no use,’ said the thief, ‘if I had not taken her away from the dragon;
therefore she ought to be mine.’ ‘No, she is mine,’ said the huntsman;
‘for if I had not killed the dragon, he would, after all, have torn you
and the princess into pieces.’ ‘And if I had not sewn the boat together
again,’ said the tailor, ‘you would all have been drowned, therefore she
is mine.’ Then the king put in a word, and said, ‘Each of you is right;
and as all cannot have the young lady, the best way is for neither of
you to have her: for the truth is, there is somebody she likes a great
deal better. But to make up for your loss, I will give each of you, as a
reward for his skill, half a kingdom.’ So the brothers agreed that this
plan would be much better than either quarrelling or marrying a lady who
had no mind to have them. And the king then gave to each half a kingdom,
as he had said; and they lived very happily the rest of their days, and
took good care of their father; and somebody took better care of the
young lady, than to let either the dragon or one of the craftsmen have
her again.


A merchant, who had three daughters, was once setting out upon a
journey; but before he went he asked each daughter what gift he should
bring back for her. The eldest wished for pearls; the second for jewels;
but the third, who was called Lily, said, ‘Dear father, bring me a
rose.’ Now it was no easy task to find a rose, for it was the middle
of winter; yet as she was his prettiest daughter, and was very fond of
flowers, her father said he would try what he could do. So he kissed all
three, and bid them goodbye.

And when the time came for him to go home, he had bought pearls and
jewels for the two eldest, but he had sought everywhere in vain for the
rose; and when he went into any garden and asked for such a thing, the
people laughed at him, and asked him whether he thought roses grew in
snow. This grieved him very much, for Lily was his dearest child; and as
he was journeying home, thinking what he should bring her, he came to a
fine castle; and around the castle was a garden, in one half of which it
seemed to be summer-time and in the other half winter. On one side the
finest flowers were in full bloom, and on the other everything looked
dreary and buried in the snow. ‘A lucky hit!’ said he, as he called to
his servant, and told him to go to a beautiful bed of roses that was
there, and bring him away one of the finest flowers.

This done, they were riding away well pleased, when up sprang a fierce
lion, and roared out, ‘Whoever has stolen my roses shall be eaten up
alive!’ Then the man said, ‘I knew not that the garden belonged to you;
can nothing save my life?’ ‘No!’ said the lion, ‘nothing, unless you
undertake to give me whatever meets you on your return home; if you
agree to this, I will give you your life, and the rose too for your
daughter.’ But the man was unwilling to do so and said, ‘It may be my
youngest daughter, who loves me most, and always runs to meet me when
I go home.’ Then the servant was greatly frightened, and said, ‘It may
perhaps be only a cat or a dog.’ And at last the man yielded with a
heavy heart, and took the rose; and said he would give the lion whatever
should meet him first on his return.

And as he came near home, it was Lily, his youngest and dearest
daughter, that met him; she came running, and kissed him, and welcomed
him home; and when she saw that he had brought her the rose, she was
still more glad. But her father began to be very sorrowful, and to weep,
saying, ‘Alas, my dearest child! I have bought this flower at a high
price, for I have said I would give you to a wild lion; and when he has
you, he will tear you in pieces, and eat you.’ Then he told her all that
had happened, and said she should not go, let what would happen.

But she comforted him, and said, ‘Dear father, the word you have given
must be kept; I will go to the lion, and soothe him: perhaps he will let
me come safe home again.’

The next morning she asked the way she was to go, and took leave of her
father, and went forth with a bold heart into the wood. But the lion was
an enchanted prince. By day he and all his court were lions, but in the
evening they took their right forms again. And when Lily came to the
castle, he welcomed her so courteously that she agreed to marry him. The
wedding-feast was held, and they lived happily together a long time. The
prince was only to be seen as soon as evening came, and then he held his
court; but every morning he left his bride, and went away by himself,
she knew not whither, till the night came again.

After some time he said to her, ‘Tomorrow there will be a great feast in
your father’s house, for your eldest sister is to be married; and if
you wish to go and visit her my lions shall lead you thither.’ Then she
rejoiced much at the thoughts of seeing her father once more, and set
out with the lions; and everyone was overjoyed to see her, for they had
thought her dead long since. But she told them how happy she was, and
stayed till the feast was over, and then went back to the wood.

Her second sister was soon after married, and when Lily was asked to
go to the wedding, she said to the prince, ‘I will not go alone this
time–you must go with me.’ But he would not, and said that it would be
a very hazardous thing; for if the least ray of the torch-light should
fall upon him his enchantment would become still worse, for he should be
changed into a dove, and be forced to wander about the world for seven
long years. However, she gave him no rest, and said she would take care
no light should fall upon him. So at last they set out together, and
took with them their little child; and she chose a large hall with thick
walls for him to sit in while the wedding-torches were lighted; but,
unluckily, no one saw that there was a crack in the door. Then the
wedding was held with great pomp, but as the train came from the church,
and passed with the torches before the hall, a very small ray of light
fell upon the prince. In a moment he disappeared, and when his wife came
in and looked for him, she found only a white dove; and it said to her,
‘Seven years must I fly up and down over the face of the earth, but
every now and then I will let fall a white feather, that will show you
the way I am going; follow it, and at last you may overtake and set me

This said, he flew out at the door, and poor Lily followed; and every
now and then a white feather fell, and showed her the way she was to
journey. Thus she went roving on through the wide world, and looked
neither to the right hand nor to the left, nor took any rest, for seven
years. Then she began to be glad, and thought to herself that the time
was fast coming when all her troubles should end; yet repose was still
far off, for one day as she was travelling on she missed the white
feather, and when she lifted up her eyes she could nowhere see the dove.
‘Now,’ thought she to herself, ‘no aid of man can be of use to me.’ So
she went to the sun and said, ‘Thou shinest everywhere, on the hill’s
top and the valley’s depth–hast thou anywhere seen my white dove?’
‘No,’ said the sun, ‘I have not seen it; but I will give thee a
casket–open it when thy hour of need comes.’

So she thanked the sun, and went on her way till eventide; and when
the moon arose, she cried unto it, and said, ‘Thou shinest through the
night, over field and grove–hast thou nowhere seen my white dove?’
‘No,’ said the moon, ‘I cannot help thee but I will give thee an
egg–break it when need comes.’

Then she thanked the moon, and went on till the night-wind blew; and she
raised up her voice to it, and said, ‘Thou blowest through every tree
and under every leaf–hast thou not seen my white dove?’ ‘No,’ said the
night-wind, ‘but I will ask three other winds; perhaps they have seen
it.’ Then the east wind and the west wind came, and said they too had
not seen it, but the south wind said, ‘I have seen the white dove–he
has fled to the Red Sea, and is changed once more into a lion, for the
seven years are passed away, and there he is fighting with a dragon;
and the dragon is an enchanted princess, who seeks to separate him from
you.’ Then the night-wind said, ‘I will give thee counsel. Go to the
Red Sea; on the right shore stand many rods–count them, and when thou
comest to the eleventh, break it off, and smite the dragon with it; and
so the lion will have the victory, and both of them will appear to you
in their own forms. Then look round and thou wilt see a griffin, winged
like bird, sitting by the Red Sea; jump on to his back with thy beloved
one as quickly as possible, and he will carry you over the waters to
your home. I will also give thee this nut,’ continued the night-wind.
‘When you are half-way over, throw it down, and out of the waters will
immediately spring up a high nut-tree on which the griffin will be able
to rest, otherwise he would not have the strength to bear you the whole
way; if, therefore, thou dost forget to throw down the nut, he will let
you both fall into the sea.’

So our poor wanderer went forth, and found all as the night-wind had
said; and she plucked the eleventh rod, and smote the dragon, and the
lion forthwith became a prince, and the dragon a princess again. But
no sooner was the princess released from the spell, than she seized
the prince by the arm and sprang on to the griffin’s back, and went off
carrying the prince away with her.

Thus the unhappy traveller was again forsaken and forlorn; but she
took heart and said, ‘As far as the wind blows, and so long as the cock
crows, I will journey on, till I find him once again.’ She went on for
a long, long way, till at length she came to the castle whither the
princess had carried the prince; and there was a feast got ready, and
she heard that the wedding was about to be held. ‘Heaven aid me now!’
said she; and she took the casket that the sun had given her, and found
that within it lay a dress as dazzling as the sun itself. So she put it
on, and went into the palace, and all the people gazed upon her; and
the dress pleased the bride so much that she asked whether it was to be
sold. ‘Not for gold and silver.’ said she, ‘but for flesh and blood.’
The princess asked what she meant, and she said, ‘Let me speak with the
bridegroom this night in his chamber, and I will give thee the dress.’
At last the princess agreed, but she told her chamberlain to give the
prince a sleeping draught, that he might not hear or see her. When
evening came, and the prince had fallen asleep, she was led into
his chamber, and she sat herself down at his feet, and said: ‘I have
followed thee seven years. I have been to the sun, the moon, and the
night-wind, to seek thee, and at last I have helped thee to overcome
the dragon. Wilt thou then forget me quite?’ But the prince all the time
slept so soundly, that her voice only passed over him, and seemed like
the whistling of the wind among the fir-trees.

Then poor Lily was led away, and forced to give up the golden dress; and
when she saw that there was no help for her, she went out into a meadow,
and sat herself down and wept. But as she sat she bethought herself of
the egg that the moon had given her; and when she broke it, there ran
out a hen and twelve chickens of pure gold, that played about, and then
nestled under the old one’s wings, so as to form the most beautiful
sight in the world. And she rose up and drove them before her, till the
bride saw them from her window, and was so pleased that she came forth
and asked her if she would sell the brood. ‘Not for gold or silver, but
for flesh and blood: let me again this evening speak with the bridegroom
in his chamber, and I will give thee the whole brood.’

Then the princess thought to betray her as before, and agreed to
what she asked: but when the prince went to his chamber he asked
the chamberlain why the wind had whistled so in the night. And the
chamberlain told him all–how he had given him a sleeping draught, and
how a poor maiden had come and spoken to him in his chamber, and was
to come again that night. Then the prince took care to throw away the
sleeping draught; and when Lily came and began again to tell him what
woes had befallen her, and how faithful and true to him she had been,
he knew his beloved wife’s voice, and sprang up, and said, ‘You have
awakened me as from a dream, for the strange princess had thrown a spell
around me, so that I had altogether forgotten you; but Heaven hath sent
you to me in a lucky hour.’

And they stole away out of the palace by night unawares, and seated
themselves on the griffin, who flew back with them over the Red Sea.
When they were half-way across Lily let the nut fall into the water,
and immediately a large nut-tree arose from the sea, whereon the griffin
rested for a while, and then carried them safely home. There they found
their child, now grown up to be comely and fair; and after all their
troubles they lived happily together to the end of their days.


A farmer had a horse that had been an excellent faithful servant to
him: but he was now grown too old to work; so the farmer would give him
nothing more to eat, and said, ‘I want you no longer, so take yourself
off out of my stable; I shall not take you back again until you are
stronger than a lion.’ Then he opened the door and turned him adrift.

The poor horse was very melancholy, and wandered up and down in the
wood, seeking some little shelter from the cold wind and rain. Presently
a fox met him: ‘What’s the matter, my friend?’ said he, ‘why do you hang
down your head and look so lonely and woe-begone?’ ‘Ah!’ replied the
horse, ‘justice and avarice never dwell in one house; my master has
forgotten all that I have done for him so many years, and because I
can no longer work he has turned me adrift, and says unless I become
stronger than a lion he will not take me back again; what chance can I
have of that? he knows I have none, or he would not talk so.’

However, the fox bid him be of good cheer, and said, ‘I will help you;
lie down there, stretch yourself out quite stiff, and pretend to be
dead.’ The horse did as he was told, and the fox went straight to the
lion who lived in a cave close by, and said to him, ‘A little way off
lies a dead horse; come with me and you may make an excellent meal of
his carcase.’ The lion was greatly pleased, and set off immediately; and
when they came to the horse, the fox said, ‘You will not be able to eat
him comfortably here; I’ll tell you what–I will tie you fast to
his tail, and then you can draw him to your den, and eat him at your

This advice pleased the lion, so he laid himself down quietly for the
fox to make him fast to the horse. But the fox managed to tie his legs
together and bound all so hard and fast that with all his strength he
could not set himself free. When the work was done, the fox clapped the
horse on the shoulder, and said, ‘Jip! Dobbin! Jip!’ Then up he sprang,
and moved off, dragging the lion behind him. The beast began to roar
and bellow, till all the birds of the wood flew away for fright; but the
horse let him sing on, and made his way quietly over the fields to his
master’s house.

‘Here he is, master,’ said he, ‘I have got the better of him’: and when
the farmer saw his old servant, his heart relented, and he said. ‘Thou
shalt stay in thy stable and be well taken care of.’ And so the poor old
horse had plenty to eat, and lived–till he died.


There was once upon a time a soldier who for many years had served the
king faithfully, but when the war came to an end could serve no longer
because of the many wounds which he had received. The king said to him:
‘You may return to your home, I need you no longer, and you will not
receive any more money, for he only receives wages who renders me
service for them.’ Then the soldier did not know how to earn a living,
went away greatly troubled, and walked the whole day, until in the
evening he entered a forest. When darkness came on, he saw a light,
which he went up to, and came to a house wherein lived a witch. ‘Do give
me one night’s lodging, and a little to eat and drink,’ said he to
her, ‘or I shall starve.’ ‘Oho!’ she answered, ‘who gives anything to a
run-away soldier? Yet will I be compassionate, and take you in, if you
will do what I wish.’ ‘What do you wish?’ said the soldier. ‘That you
should dig all round my garden for me, tomorrow.’ The soldier consented,
and next day laboured with all his strength, but could not finish it by
the evening. ‘I see well enough,’ said the witch, ‘that you can do no
more today, but I will keep you yet another night, in payment for
which you must tomorrow chop me a load of wood, and chop it small.’ The
soldier spent the whole day in doing it, and in the evening the witch
proposed that he should stay one night more. ‘Tomorrow, you shall only
do me a very trifling piece of work. Behind my house, there is an old
dry well, into which my light has fallen, it burns blue, and never goes
out, and you shall bring it up again.’ Next day the old woman took him
to the well, and let him down in a basket. He found the blue light, and
made her a signal to draw him up again. She did draw him up, but when he
came near the edge, she stretched down her hand and wanted to take the
blue light away from him. ‘No,’ said he, perceiving her evil intention,
‘I will not give you the light until I am standing with both feet upon
the ground.’ The witch fell into a passion, let him fall again into the
well, and went away.

The poor soldier fell without injury on the moist ground, and the blue
light went on burning, but of what use was that to him? He saw very well
that he could not escape death. He sat for a while very sorrowfully,
then suddenly he felt in his pocket and found his tobacco pipe, which
was still half full. ‘This shall be my last pleasure,’ thought he,
pulled it out, lit it at the blue light and began to smoke. When the
smoke had circled about the cavern, suddenly a little black dwarf stood
before him, and said: ‘Lord, what are your commands?’ ‘What my commands
are?’ replied the soldier, quite astonished. ‘I must do everything you
bid me,’ said the little man. ‘Good,’ said the soldier; ‘then in the
first place help me out of this well.’ The little man took him by the
hand, and led him through an underground passage, but he did not forget
to take the blue light with him. On the way the dwarf showed him the
treasures which the witch had collected and hidden there, and the
soldier took as much gold as he could carry. When he was above, he said
to the little man: ‘Now go and bind the old witch, and carry her before
the judge.’ In a short time she came by like the wind, riding on a wild
tom-cat and screaming frightfully. Nor was it long before the little man
reappeared. ‘It is all done,’ said he, ‘and the witch is already hanging
on the gallows. What further commands has my lord?’ inquired the dwarf.
‘At this moment, none,’ answered the soldier; ‘you can return home, only
be at hand immediately, if I summon you.’ ‘Nothing more is needed than
that you should light your pipe at the blue light, and I will appear
before you at once.’ Thereupon he vanished from his sight.

The soldier returned to the town from which he came. He went to the
best inn, ordered himself handsome clothes, and then bade the landlord
furnish him a room as handsome as possible. When it was ready and the
soldier had taken possession of it, he summoned the little black manikin
and said: ‘I have served the king faithfully, but he has dismissed me,
and left me to hunger, and now I want to take my revenge.’ ‘What am I to
do?’ asked the little man. ‘Late at night, when the king’s daughter is
in bed, bring her here in her sleep, she shall do servant’s work for
me.’ The manikin said: ‘That is an easy thing for me to do, but a very
dangerous thing for you, for if it is discovered, you will fare ill.’
When twelve o’clock had struck, the door sprang open, and the manikin
carried in the princess. ‘Aha! are you there?’ cried the soldier, ‘get
to your work at once! Fetch the broom and sweep the chamber.’ When
she had done this, he ordered her to come to his chair, and then he
stretched out his feet and said: ‘Pull off my boots,’ and then he
threw them in her face, and made her pick them up again, and clean
and brighten them. She, however, did everything he bade her, without
opposition, silently and with half-shut eyes. When the first cock
crowed, the manikin carried her back to the royal palace, and laid her
in her bed.

Next morning when the princess arose she went to her father, and told
him that she had had a very strange dream. ‘I was carried through the
streets with the rapidity of lightning,’ said she, ‘and taken into a
soldier’s room, and I had to wait upon him like a servant, sweep his
room, clean his boots, and do all kinds of menial work. It was only a
dream, and yet I am just as tired as if I really had done everything.’
‘The dream may have been true,’ said the king. ‘I will give you a piece
of advice. Fill your pocket full of peas, and make a small hole in the
pocket, and then if you are carried away again, they will fall out and
leave a track in the streets.’ But unseen by the king, the manikin was
standing beside him when he said that, and heard all. At night when
the sleeping princess was again carried through the streets, some peas
certainly did fall out of her pocket, but they made no track, for the
crafty manikin had just before scattered peas in every street there
was. And again the princess was compelled to do servant’s work until

Next morning the king sent his people out to seek the track, but it was
all in vain, for in every street poor children were sitting, picking up
peas, and saying: ‘It must have rained peas, last night.’ ‘We must think
of something else,’ said the king; ‘keep your shoes on when you go to
bed, and before you come back from the place where you are taken, hide
one of them there, I will soon contrive to find it.’ The black manikin
heard this plot, and at night when the soldier again ordered him to
bring the princess, revealed it to him, and told him that he knew of no
expedient to counteract this stratagem, and that if the shoe were found
in the soldier’s house it would go badly with him. ‘Do what I bid you,’
replied the soldier, and again this third night the princess was obliged
to work like a servant, but before she went away, she hid her shoe under
the bed.

Next morning the king had the entire town searched for his daughter’s
shoe. It was found at the soldier’s, and the soldier himself, who at the
entreaty of the dwarf had gone outside the gate, was soon brought back,
and thrown into prison. In his flight he had forgotten the most valuable
things he had, the blue light and the gold, and had only one ducat in
his pocket. And now loaded with chains, he was standing at the window of
his dungeon, when he chanced to see one of his comrades passing by. The
soldier tapped at the pane of glass, and when this man came up, said to
him: ‘Be so kind as to fetch me the small bundle I have left lying in
the inn, and I will give you a ducat for doing it.’ His comrade ran
thither and brought him what he wanted. As soon as the soldier was alone
again, he lighted his pipe and summoned the black manikin. ‘Have no
fear,’ said the latter to his master. ‘Go wheresoever they take you, and
let them do what they will, only take the blue light with you.’ Next day
the soldier was tried, and though he had done nothing wicked, the judge
condemned him to death. When he was led forth to die, he begged a last
favour of the king. ‘What is it?’ asked the king. ‘That I may smoke one
more pipe on my way.’ ‘You may smoke three,’ answered the king, ‘but do
not imagine that I will spare your life.’ Then the soldier pulled out
his pipe and lighted it at the blue light, and as soon as a few wreaths
of smoke had ascended, the manikin was there with a small cudgel in his
hand, and said: ‘What does my lord command?’ ‘Strike down to earth that
false judge there, and his constable, and spare not the king who has
treated me so ill.’ Then the manikin fell on them like lightning,
darting this way and that way, and whosoever was so much as touched by
his cudgel fell to earth, and did not venture to stir again. The king
was terrified; he threw himself on the soldier’s mercy, and merely to
be allowed to live at all, gave him his kingdom for his own, and his
daughter to wife.


There was once a queen who had a little daughter, still too young to run
alone. One day the child was very troublesome, and the mother could not
quiet it, do what she would. She grew impatient, and seeing the ravens
flying round the castle, she opened the window, and said: ‘I wish you
were a raven and would fly away, then I should have a little peace.’
Scarcely were the words out of her mouth, when the child in her arms was
turned into a raven, and flew away from her through the open window. The
bird took its flight to a dark wood and remained there for a long time,
and meanwhile the parents could hear nothing of their child.

Long after this, a man was making his way through the wood when he heard
a raven calling, and he followed the sound of the voice. As he drew
near, the raven said, ‘I am by birth a king’s daughter, but am now under
the spell of some enchantment; you can, however, set me free.’ ‘What
am I to do?’ he asked. She replied, ‘Go farther into the wood until you
come to a house, wherein lives an old woman; she will offer you food and
drink, but you must not take of either; if you do, you will fall into
a deep sleep, and will not be able to help me. In the garden behind the
house is a large tan-heap, and on that you must stand and watch for me.
I shall drive there in my carriage at two o’clock in the afternoon for
three successive days; the first day it will be drawn by four white, the
second by four chestnut, and the last by four black horses; but if you
fail to keep awake and I find you sleeping, I shall not be set free.’

The man promised to do all that she wished, but the raven said, ‘Alas! I
know even now that you will take something from the woman and be unable
to save me.’ The man assured her again that he would on no account touch
a thing to eat or drink.

When he came to the house and went inside, the old woman met him, and
said, ‘Poor man! how tired you are! Come in and rest and let me give you
something to eat and drink.’

‘No,’ answered the man, ‘I will neither eat not drink.’

But she would not leave him alone, and urged him saying, ‘If you will
not eat anything, at least you might take a draught of wine; one drink
counts for nothing,’ and at last he allowed himself to be persuaded, and

As it drew towards the appointed hour, he went outside into the garden
and mounted the tan-heap to await the raven. Suddenly a feeling of
fatigue came over him, and unable to resist it, he lay down for a little
while, fully determined, however, to keep awake; but in another minute
his eyes closed of their own accord, and he fell into such a deep sleep,
that all the noises in the world would not have awakened him. At two
o’clock the raven came driving along, drawn by her four white horses;
but even before she reached the spot, she said to herself, sighing, ‘I
know he has fallen asleep.’ When she entered the garden, there she found
him as she had feared, lying on the tan-heap, fast asleep. She got out
of her carriage and went to him; she called him and shook him, but it
was all in vain, he still continued sleeping.

The next day at noon, the old woman came to him again with food and
drink which he at first refused. At last, overcome by her persistent
entreaties that he would take something, he lifted the glass and drank

Towards two o’clock he went into the garden and on to the tan-heap to
watch for the raven. He had not been there long before he began to feel
so tired that his limbs seemed hardly able to support him, and he could
not stand upright any longer; so again he lay down and fell fast asleep.
As the raven drove along her four chestnut horses, she said sorrowfully
to herself, ‘I know he has fallen asleep.’ She went as before to look
for him, but he slept, and it was impossible to awaken him.

The following day the old woman said to him, ‘What is this? You are not
eating or drinking anything, do you want to kill yourself?’

He answered, ‘I may not and will not either eat or drink.’

But she put down the dish of food and the glass of wine in front of him,
and when he smelt the wine, he was unable to resist the temptation, and
took a deep draught.

When the hour came round again he went as usual on to the tan-heap in
the garden to await the king’s daughter, but he felt even more overcome
with weariness than on the two previous days, and throwing himself down,
he slept like a log. At two o’clock the raven could be seen approaching,
and this time her coachman and everything about her, as well as her
horses, were black.

She was sadder than ever as she drove along, and said mournfully, ‘I
know he has fallen asleep, and will not be able to set me free.’ She
found him sleeping heavily, and all her efforts to awaken him were of no
avail. Then she placed beside him a loaf, and some meat, and a flask
of wine, of such a kind, that however much he took of them, they would
never grow less. After that she drew a gold ring, on which her name was
engraved, off her finger, and put it upon one of his. Finally, she laid
a letter near him, in which, after giving him particulars of the food
and drink she had left for him, she finished with the following words:
‘I see that as long as you remain here you will never be able to set me
free; if, however, you still wish to do so, come to the golden castle
of Stromberg; this is well within your power to accomplish.’ She then
returned to her carriage and drove to the golden castle of Stromberg.

When the man awoke and found that he had been sleeping, he was grieved
at heart, and said, ‘She has no doubt been here and driven away again,
and it is now too late for me to save her.’ Then his eyes fell on the
things which were lying beside him; he read the letter, and knew from it
all that had happened. He rose up without delay, eager to start on his
way and to reach the castle of Stromberg, but he had no idea in which
direction he ought to go. He travelled about a long time in search of it
and came at last to a dark forest, through which he went on walking for
fourteen days and still could not find a way out. Once more the night
came on, and worn out he lay down under a bush and fell asleep. Again
the next day he pursued his way through the forest, and that evening,
thinking to rest again, he lay down as before, but he heard such a
howling and wailing that he found it impossible to sleep. He waited till
it was darker and people had begun to light up their houses, and then
seeing a little glimmer ahead of him, he went towards it.

He found that the light came from a house which looked smaller than
it really was, from the contrast of its height with that of an immense
giant who stood in front of it. He thought to himself, ‘If the giant
sees me going in, my life will not be worth much.’ However, after a
while he summoned up courage and went forward. When the giant saw him,
he called out, ‘It is lucky for that you have come, for I have not had
anything to eat for a long time. I can have you now for my supper.’ ‘I
would rather you let that alone,’ said the man, ‘for I do not willingly
give myself up to be eaten; if you are wanting food I have enough to
satisfy your hunger.’ ‘If that is so,’ replied the giant, ‘I will leave
you in peace; I only thought of eating you because I had nothing else.’

So they went indoors together and sat down, and the man brought out the
bread, meat, and wine, which although he had eaten and drunk of them,
were still unconsumed. The giant was pleased with the good cheer, and
ate and drank to his heart’s content. When he had finished his supper
the man asked him if he could direct him to the castle of Stromberg.
The giant said, ‘I will look on my map; on it are marked all the towns,
villages, and houses.’ So he fetched his map, and looked for the castle,
but could not find it. ‘Never mind,’ he said, ‘I have larger maps
upstairs in the cupboard, we will look on those,’ but they searched in
vain, for the castle was not marked even on these. The man now thought
he should like to continue his journey, but the giant begged him to
remain for a day or two longer until the return of his brother, who was
away in search of provisions. When the brother came home, they asked him
about the castle of Stromberg, and he told them he would look on his own
maps as soon as he had eaten and appeased his hunger. Accordingly, when
he had finished his supper, they all went up together to his room and
looked through his maps, but the castle was not to be found. Then he
fetched other older maps, and they went on looking for the castle until
at last they found it, but it was many thousand miles away. ‘How shall I
be able to get there?’ asked the man. ‘I have two hours to spare,’ said
the giant, ‘and I will carry you into the neighbourhood of the castle; I
must then return to look after the child who is in our care.’

The giant, thereupon, carried the man to within about a hundred leagues
of the castle, where he left him, saying, ‘You will be able to walk the
remainder of the way yourself.’ The man journeyed on day and night
till he reached the golden castle of Stromberg. He found it situated,
however, on a glass mountain, and looking up from the foot he saw the
enchanted maiden drive round her castle and then go inside. He was
overjoyed to see her, and longed to get to the top of the mountain, but
the sides were so slippery that every time he attempted to climb he
fell back again. When he saw that it was impossible to reach her, he was
greatly grieved, and said to himself, ‘I will remain here and wait for
her,’ so he built himself a little hut, and there he sat and watched for
a whole year, and every day he saw the king’s daughter driving round her
castle, but still was unable to get nearer to her.

Looking out from his hut one day he saw three robbers fighting and he
called out to them, ‘God be with you.’ They stopped when they heard the
call, but looking round and seeing nobody, they went on again with their
fighting, which now became more furious. ‘God be with you,’ he cried
again, and again they paused and looked about, but seeing no one went
back to their fighting. A third time he called out, ‘God be with you,’
and then thinking he should like to know the cause of dispute between
the three men, he went out and asked them why they were fighting so
angrily with one another. One of them said that he had found a stick,
and that he had but to strike it against any door through which he
wished to pass, and it immediately flew open. Another told him that he
had found a cloak which rendered its wearer invisible; and the third had
caught a horse which would carry its rider over any obstacle, and even
up the glass mountain. They had been unable to decide whether they
would keep together and have the things in common, or whether they would
separate. On hearing this, the man said, ‘I will give you something in
exchange for those three things; not money, for that I have not got,
but something that is of far more value. I must first, however, prove
whether all you have told me about your three things is true.’ The
robbers, therefore, made him get on the horse, and handed him the stick
and the cloak, and when he had put this round him he was no longer
visible. Then he fell upon them with the stick and beat them one after
another, crying, ‘There, you idle vagabonds, you have got what you
deserve; are you satisfied now!’

After this he rode up the glass mountain. When he reached the gate of
the castle, he found it closed, but he gave it a blow with his stick,
and it flew wide open at once and he passed through. He mounted the
steps and entered the room where the maiden was sitting, with a golden
goblet full of wine in front of her. She could not see him for he still
wore his cloak. He took the ring which she had given him off his finger,
and threw it into the goblet, so that it rang as it touched the bottom.
‘That is my own ring,’ she exclaimed, ‘and if that is so the man must
also be here who is coming to set me free.’

She sought for him about the castle, but could find him nowhere.
Meanwhile he had gone outside again and mounted his horse and thrown off
the cloak. When therefore she came to the castle gate she saw him, and
cried aloud for joy. Then he dismounted and took her in his arms; and
she kissed him, and said, ‘Now you have indeed set me free, and tomorrow
we will celebrate our marriage.’


There was a man who had three sons, the youngest of whom was called
Dummling,[*] and was despised, mocked, and sneered at on every occasion.

It happened that the eldest wanted to go into the forest to hew wood,
and before he went his mother gave him a beautiful sweet cake and a
bottle of wine in order that he might not suffer from hunger or thirst.

When he entered the forest he met a little grey-haired old man who bade
him good day, and said: ‘Do give me a piece of cake out of your pocket,
and let me have a draught of your wine; I am so hungry and thirsty.’ But
the clever son answered: ‘If I give you my cake and wine, I shall have
none for myself; be off with you,’ and he left the little man standing
and went on.

But when he began to hew down a tree, it was not long before he made a
false stroke, and the axe cut him in the arm, so that he had to go home
and have it bound up. And this was the little grey man’s doing.

After this the second son went into the forest, and his mother gave him,
like the eldest, a cake and a bottle of wine. The little old grey man
met him likewise, and asked him for a piece of cake and a drink of wine.
But the second son, too, said sensibly enough: ‘What I give you will be
taken away from myself; be off!’ and he left the little man standing and
went on. His punishment, however, was not delayed; when he had made a
few blows at the tree he struck himself in the leg, so that he had to be
carried home.

Then Dummling said: ‘Father, do let me go and cut wood.’ The father
answered: ‘Your brothers have hurt themselves with it, leave it alone,
you do not understand anything about it.’ But Dummling begged so long
that at last he said: ‘Just go then, you will get wiser by hurting
yourself.’ His mother gave him a cake made with water and baked in the
cinders, and with it a bottle of sour beer.

When he came to the forest the little old grey man met him likewise,
and greeting him, said: ‘Give me a piece of your cake and a drink out
of your bottle; I am so hungry and thirsty.’ Dummling answered: ‘I have
only cinder-cake and sour beer; if that pleases you, we will sit
down and eat.’ So they sat down, and when Dummling pulled out his
cinder-cake, it was a fine sweet cake, and the sour beer had become good
wine. So they ate and drank, and after that the little man said: ‘Since
you have a good heart, and are willing to divide what you have, I will
give you good luck. There stands an old tree, cut it down, and you will
find something at the roots.’ Then the little man took leave of him.

Dummling went and cut down the tree, and when it fell there was a goose
sitting in the roots with feathers of pure gold. He lifted her up, and
taking her with him, went to an inn where he thought he would stay the
night. Now the host had three daughters, who saw the goose and were
curious to know what such a wonderful bird might be, and would have
liked to have one of its golden feathers.

The eldest thought: ‘I shall soon find an opportunity of pulling out a
feather,’ and as soon as Dummling had gone out she seized the goose by
the wing, but her finger and hand remained sticking fast to it.

The second came soon afterwards, thinking only of how she might get a
feather for herself, but she had scarcely touched her sister than she
was held fast.

At last the third also came with the like intent, and the others
screamed out: ‘Keep away; for goodness’ sake keep away!’ But she did
not understand why she was to keep away. ‘The others are there,’ she
thought, ‘I may as well be there too,’ and ran to them; but as soon as
she had touched her sister, she remained sticking fast to her. So they
had to spend the night with the goose.

The next morning Dummling took the goose under his arm and set out,
without troubling himself about the three girls who were hanging on to
it. They were obliged to run after him continually, now left, now right,
wherever his legs took him.

In the middle of the fields the parson met them, and when he saw the
procession he said: ‘For shame, you good-for-nothing girls, why are you
running across the fields after this young man? Is that seemly?’ At the
same time he seized the youngest by the hand in order to pull her away,
but as soon as he touched her he likewise stuck fast, and was himself
obliged to run behind.

Before long the sexton came by and saw his master, the parson, running
behind three girls. He was astonished at this and called out: ‘Hi!
your reverence, whither away so quickly? Do not forget that we have a
christening today!’ and running after him he took him by the sleeve, but
was also held fast to it.

Whilst the five were trotting thus one behind the other, two labourers
came with their hoes from the fields; the parson called out to them
and begged that they would set him and the sexton free. But they had
scarcely touched the sexton when they were held fast, and now there were
seven of them running behind Dummling and the goose.

Soon afterwards he came to a city, where a king ruled who had a daughter
who was so serious that no one could make her laugh. So he had put forth
a decree that whosoever should be able to make her laugh should marry
her. When Dummling heard this, he went with his goose and all her train
before the king’s daughter, and as soon as she saw the seven people
running on and on, one behind the other, she began to laugh quite
loudly, and as if she would never stop. Thereupon Dummling asked to have
her for his wife; but the king did not like the son-in-law, and made all
manner of excuses and said he must first produce a man who could drink
a cellarful of wine. Dummling thought of the little grey man, who could
certainly help him; so he went into the forest, and in the same place
where he had felled the tree, he saw a man sitting, who had a very
sorrowful face. Dummling asked him what he was taking to heart so
sorely, and he answered: ‘I have such a great thirst and cannot quench
it; cold water I cannot stand, a barrel of wine I have just emptied, but
that to me is like a drop on a hot stone!’

‘There, I can help you,’ said Dummling, ‘just come with me and you shall
be satisfied.’

He led him into the king’s cellar, and the man bent over the huge
barrels, and drank and drank till his loins hurt, and before the day was
out he had emptied all the barrels. Then Dummling asked once more
for his bride, but the king was vexed that such an ugly fellow, whom
everyone called Dummling, should take away his daughter, and he made a
new condition; he must first find a man who could eat a whole mountain
of bread. Dummling did not think long, but went straight into the
forest, where in the same place there sat a man who was tying up his
body with a strap, and making an awful face, and saying: ‘I have eaten a
whole ovenful of rolls, but what good is that when one has such a hunger
as I? My stomach remains empty, and I must tie myself up if I am not to
die of hunger.’

At this Dummling was glad, and said: ‘Get up and come with me; you shall
eat yourself full.’ He led him to the king’s palace where all the
flour in the whole Kingdom was collected, and from it he caused a huge
mountain of bread to be baked. The man from the forest stood before it,
began to eat, and by the end of one day the whole mountain had vanished.
Then Dummling for the third time asked for his bride; but the king again
sought a way out, and ordered a ship which could sail on land and on
water. ‘As soon as you come sailing back in it,’ said he, ‘you shall
have my daughter for wife.’

Dummling went straight into the forest, and there sat the little grey
man to whom he had given his cake. When he heard what Dummling wanted,
he said: ‘Since you have given me to eat and to drink, I will give you
the ship; and I do all this because you once were kind to me.’ Then he
gave him the ship which could sail on land and water, and when the king
saw that, he could no longer prevent him from having his daughter. The
wedding was celebrated, and after the king’s death, Dummling inherited
his kingdom and lived for a long time contentedly with his wife.

[*] Simpleton


Long before you or I were born, there reigned, in a country a great way
off, a king who had three sons. This king once fell very ill–so ill
that nobody thought he could live. His sons were very much grieved
at their father’s sickness; and as they were walking together very
mournfully in the garden of the palace, a little old man met them and
asked what was the matter. They told him that their father was very ill,
and that they were afraid nothing could save him. ‘I know what would,’
said the little old man; ‘it is the Water of Life. If he could have a
draught of it he would be well again; but it is very hard to get.’ Then
the eldest son said, ‘I will soon find it’: and he went to the sick
king, and begged that he might go in search of the Water of Life, as
it was the only thing that could save him. ‘No,’ said the king. ‘I had
rather die than place you in such great danger as you must meet with in
your journey.’ But he begged so hard that the king let him go; and the
prince thought to himself, ‘If I bring my father this water, he will
make me sole heir to his kingdom.’

Then he set out: and when he had gone on his way some time he came to a
deep valley, overhung with rocks and woods; and as he looked around, he
saw standing above him on one of the rocks a little ugly dwarf, with a
sugarloaf cap and a scarlet cloak; and the dwarf called to him and said,
‘Prince, whither so fast?’ ‘What is that to thee, you ugly imp?’ said
the prince haughtily, and rode on.

But the dwarf was enraged at his behaviour, and laid a fairy spell
of ill-luck upon him; so that as he rode on the mountain pass became
narrower and narrower, and at last the way was so straitened that he
could not go to step forward: and when he thought to have turned his
horse round and go back the way he came, he heard a loud laugh ringing
round him, and found that the path was closed behind him, so that he was
shut in all round. He next tried to get off his horse and make his way
on foot, but again the laugh rang in his ears, and he found himself
unable to move a step, and thus he was forced to abide spellbound.

Meantime the old king was lingering on in daily hope of his son’s
return, till at last the second son said, ‘Father, I will go in search
of the Water of Life.’ For he thought to himself, ‘My brother is surely
dead, and the kingdom will fall to me if I find the water.’ The king was
at first very unwilling to let him go, but at last yielded to his wish.
So he set out and followed the same road which his brother had done,
and met with the same elf, who stopped him at the same spot in the
mountains, saying, as before, ‘Prince, prince, whither so fast?’ ‘Mind
your own affairs, busybody!’ said the prince scornfully, and rode on.

But the dwarf put the same spell upon him as he put on his elder
brother, and he, too, was at last obliged to take up his abode in the
heart of the mountains. Thus it is with proud silly people, who think
themselves above everyone else, and are too proud to ask or take advice.

When the second prince had thus been gone a long time, the youngest son
said he would go and search for the Water of Life, and trusted he should
soon be able to make his father well again. So he set out, and the dwarf
met him too at the same spot in the valley, among the mountains, and
said, ‘Prince, whither so fast?’ And the prince said, ‘I am going in
search of the Water of Life, because my father is ill, and like to die:
can you help me? Pray be kind, and aid me if you can!’ ‘Do you know
where it is to be found?’ asked the dwarf. ‘No,’ said the prince, ‘I do
not. Pray tell me if you know.’ ‘Then as you have spoken to me kindly,
and are wise enough to seek for advice, I will tell you how and where to
go. The water you seek springs from a well in an enchanted castle; and,
that you may be able to reach it in safety, I will give you an iron wand
and two little loaves of bread; strike the iron door of the castle three
times with the wand, and it will open: two hungry lions will be lying
down inside gaping for their prey, but if you throw them the bread they
will let you pass; then hasten on to the well, and take some of the
Water of Life before the clock strikes twelve; for if you tarry longer
the door will shut upon you for ever.’

Then the prince thanked his little friend with the scarlet cloak for his
friendly aid, and took the wand and the bread, and went travelling on
and on, over sea and over land, till he came to his journey’s end, and
found everything to be as the dwarf had told him. The door flew open at
the third stroke of the wand, and when the lions were quieted he went on
through the castle and came at length to a beautiful hall. Around it he
saw several knights sitting in a trance; then he pulled off their rings
and put them on his own fingers. In another room he saw on a table a
sword and a loaf of bread, which he also took. Further on he came to a
room where a beautiful young lady sat upon a couch; and she welcomed him
joyfully, and said, if he would set her free from the spell that bound
her, the kingdom should be his, if he would come back in a year and
marry her. Then she told him that the well that held the Water of Life
was in the palace gardens; and bade him make haste, and draw what he
wanted before the clock struck twelve.

He walked on; and as he walked through beautiful gardens he came to a
delightful shady spot in which stood a couch; and he thought to himself,
as he felt tired, that he would rest himself for a while, and gaze on
the lovely scenes around him. So he laid himself down, and sleep
fell upon him unawares, so that he did not wake up till the clock was
striking a quarter to twelve. Then he sprang from the couch dreadfully
frightened, ran to the well, filled a cup that was standing by him full
of water, and hastened to get away in time. Just as he was going out of
the iron door it struck twelve, and the door fell so quickly upon him
that it snapped off a piece of his heel.

When he found himself safe, he was overjoyed to think that he had got
the Water of Life; and as he was going on his way homewards, he passed
by the little dwarf, who, when he saw the sword and the loaf, said, ‘You
have made a noble prize; with the sword you can at a blow slay whole
armies, and the bread will never fail you.’ Then the prince thought
to himself, ‘I cannot go home to my father without my brothers’; so he
said, ‘My dear friend, cannot you tell me where my two brothers are, who
set out in search of the Water of Life before me, and never came back?’
‘I have shut them up by a charm between two mountains,’ said the dwarf,
‘because they were proud and ill-behaved, and scorned to ask advice.’
The prince begged so hard for his brothers, that the dwarf at last set
them free, though unwillingly, saying, ‘Beware of them, for they have
bad hearts.’ Their brother, however, was greatly rejoiced to see them,
and told them all that had happened to him; how he had found the Water
of Life, and had taken a cup full of it; and how he had set a beautiful
princess free from a spell that bound her; and how she had engaged to
wait a whole year, and then to marry him, and to give him the kingdom.

Then they all three rode on together, and on their way home came to a
country that was laid waste by war and a dreadful famine, so that it was
feared all must die for want. But the prince gave the king of the land
the bread, and all his kingdom ate of it. And he lent the king the
wonderful sword, and he slew the enemy’s army with it; and thus the
kingdom was once more in peace and plenty. In the same manner he
befriended two other countries through which they passed on their way.

When they came to the sea, they got into a ship and during their voyage
the two eldest said to themselves, ‘Our brother has got the water which
we could not find, therefore our father will forsake us and give him the
kingdom, which is our right’; so they were full of envy and revenge, and
agreed together how they could ruin him. Then they waited till he was
fast asleep, and poured the Water of Life out of the cup, and took it
for themselves, giving him bitter sea-water instead.

When they came to their journey’s end, the youngest son brought his cup
to the sick king, that he might drink and be healed. Scarcely, however,
had he tasted the bitter sea-water when he became worse even than he was
before; and then both the elder sons came in, and blamed the youngest
for what they had done; and said that he wanted to poison their father,
but that they had found the Water of Life, and had brought it with them.
He no sooner began to drink of what they brought him, than he felt his
sickness leave him, and was as strong and well as in his younger days.
Then they went to their brother, and laughed at him, and said, ‘Well,
brother, you found the Water of Life, did you? You have had the trouble
and we shall have the reward. Pray, with all your cleverness, why did
not you manage to keep your eyes open? Next year one of us will take
away your beautiful princess, if you do not take care. You had better
say nothing about this to our father, for he does not believe a word you
say; and if you tell tales, you shall lose your life into the bargain:
but be quiet, and we will let you off.’

The old king was still very angry with his youngest son, and thought
that he really meant to have taken away his life; so he called his court
together, and asked what should be done, and all agreed that he ought to
be put to death. The prince knew nothing of what was going on, till one
day, when the king’s chief huntsmen went a-hunting with him, and they
were alone in the wood together, the huntsman looked so sorrowful that
the prince said, ‘My friend, what is the matter with you?’ ‘I cannot and
dare not tell you,’ said he. But the prince begged very hard, and said,
‘Only tell me what it is, and do not think I shall be angry, for I will
forgive you.’ ‘Alas!’ said the huntsman; ‘the king has ordered me to
shoot you.’ The prince started at this, and said, ‘Let me live, and I
will change dresses with you; you shall take my royal coat to show to my
father, and do you give me your shabby one.’ ‘With all my heart,’ said
the huntsman; ‘I am sure I shall be glad to save you, for I could not
have shot you.’ Then he took the prince’s coat, and gave him the shabby
one, and went away through the wood.

Some time after, three grand embassies came to the old king’s court,
with rich gifts of gold and precious stones for his youngest son; now
all these were sent from the three kings to whom he had lent his sword
and loaf of bread, in order to rid them of their enemy and feed their
people. This touched the old king’s heart, and he thought his son might
still be guiltless, and said to his court, ‘O that my son were still
alive! how it grieves me that I had him killed!’ ‘He is still alive,’
said the huntsman; ‘and I am glad that I had pity on him, but let him
go in peace, and brought home his royal coat.’ At this the king was
overwhelmed with joy, and made it known throughout all his kingdom, that
if his son would come back to his court he would forgive him.

Meanwhile the princess was eagerly waiting till her deliverer should
come back; and had a road made leading up to her palace all of shining
gold; and told her courtiers that whoever came on horseback, and rode
straight up to the gate upon it, was her true lover; and that they must
let him in: but whoever rode on one side of it, they must be sure was
not the right one; and that they must send him away at once.

The time soon came, when the eldest brother thought that he would make
haste to go to the princess, and say that he was the one who had set
her free, and that he should have her for his wife, and the kingdom with
her. As he came before the palace and saw the golden road, he stopped to
look at it, and he thought to himself, ‘It is a pity to ride upon this
beautiful road’; so he turned aside and rode on the right-hand side of
it. But when he came to the gate, the guards, who had seen the road
he took, said to him, he could not be what he said he was, and must go
about his business.

The second prince set out soon afterwards on the same errand; and when
he came to the golden road, and his horse had set one foot upon it,
he stopped to look at it, and thought it very beautiful, and said to
himself, ‘What a pity it is that anything should tread here!’ Then he
too turned aside and rode on the left side of it. But when he came to
the gate the guards said he was not the true prince, and that he too
must go away about his business; and away he went.

Now when the full year was come round, the third brother left the forest
in which he had lain hid for fear of his father’s anger, and set out in
search of his betrothed bride. So he journeyed on, thinking of her all
the way, and rode so quickly that he did not even see what the road was
made of, but went with his horse straight over it; and as he came to the
gate it flew open, and the princess welcomed him with joy, and said
he was her deliverer, and should now be her husband and lord of the
kingdom. When the first joy at their meeting was over, the princess told
him she had heard of his father having forgiven him, and of his wish to
have him home again: so, before his wedding with the princess, he went
to visit his father, taking her with him. Then he told him everything;
how his brothers had cheated and robbed him, and yet that he had borne
all those wrongs for the love of his father. And the old king was very
angry, and wanted to punish his wicked sons; but they made their escape,
and got into a ship and sailed away over the wide sea, and where they
went to nobody knew and nobody cared.

And now the old king gathered together his court, and asked all his
kingdom to come and celebrate the wedding of his son and the princess.
And young and old, noble and squire, gentle and simple, came at once
on the summons; and among the rest came the friendly dwarf, with the
sugarloaf hat, and a new scarlet cloak.

And the wedding was held, and the merry bells run.
And all the good people they danced and they sung,
And feasted and frolick’d I can’t tell how long.


There was once a king’s son who had a bride whom he loved very much. And
when he was sitting beside her and very happy, news came that his father
lay sick unto death, and desired to see him once again before his end.
Then he said to his beloved: ‘I must now go and leave you, I give you
a ring as a remembrance of me. When I am king, I will return and fetch
you.’ So he rode away, and when he reached his father, the latter was
dangerously ill, and near his death. He said to him: ‘Dear son, I wished
to see you once again before my end, promise me to marry as I wish,’ and
he named a certain king’s daughter who was to be his wife. The son was
in such trouble that he did not think what he was doing, and said: ‘Yes,
dear father, your will shall be done,’ and thereupon the king shut his
eyes, and died.

When therefore the son had been proclaimed king, and the time of
mourning was over, he was forced to keep the promise which he had given
his father, and caused the king’s daughter to be asked in marriage, and
she was promised to him. His first betrothed heard of this, and fretted
so much about his faithfulness that she nearly died. Then her father
said to her: ‘Dearest child, why are you so sad? You shall have
whatsoever you will.’ She thought for a moment and said: ‘Dear father,
I wish for eleven girls exactly like myself in face, figure, and size.’
The father said: ‘If it be possible, your desire shall be fulfilled,’
and he caused a search to be made in his whole kingdom, until eleven
young maidens were found who exactly resembled his daughter in face,
figure, and size.

When they came to the king’s daughter, she had twelve suits of
huntsmen’s clothes made, all alike, and the eleven maidens had to put
on the huntsmen’s clothes, and she herself put on the twelfth suit.
Thereupon she took her leave of her father, and rode away with them,
and rode to the court of her former betrothed, whom she loved so dearly.
Then she asked if he required any huntsmen, and if he would take all of
them into his service. The king looked at her and did not know her, but
as they were such handsome fellows, he said: ‘Yes,’ and that he would
willingly take them, and now they were the king’s twelve huntsmen.

The king, however, had a lion which was a wondrous animal, for he knew
all concealed and secret things. It came to pass that one evening he
said to the king: ‘You think you have twelve huntsmen?’ ‘Yes,’ said the
king, ‘they are twelve huntsmen.’ The lion continued: ‘You are mistaken,
they are twelve girls.’ The king said: ‘That cannot be true! How
will you prove that to me?’ ‘Oh, just let some peas be strewn in the
ante-chamber,’ answered the lion, ‘and then you will soon see. Men have
a firm step, and when they walk over peas none of them stir, but girls
trip and skip, and drag their feet, and the peas roll about.’ The king
was well pleased with the counsel, and caused the peas to be strewn.

There was, however, a servant of the king’s who favoured the huntsmen,
and when he heard that they were going to be put to this test he went to
them and repeated everything, and said: ‘The lion wants to make the king
believe that you are girls.’ Then the king’s daughter thanked him, and
said to her maidens: ‘Show some strength, and step firmly on the peas.’
So next morning when the king had the twelve huntsmen called before
him, and they came into the ante-chamber where the peas were lying, they
stepped so firmly on them, and had such a strong, sure walk, that not
one of the peas either rolled or stirred. Then they went away again,
and the king said to the lion: ‘You have lied to me, they walk just like
men.’ The lion said: ‘They have been informed that they were going to
be put to the test, and have assumed some strength. Just let twelve
spinning-wheels be brought into the ante-chamber, and they will go to
them and be pleased with them, and that is what no man would do.’
The king liked the advice, and had the spinning-wheels placed in the

But the servant, who was well disposed to the huntsmen, went to them,
and disclosed the project. So when they were alone the king’s daughter
said to her eleven girls: ‘Show some constraint, and do not look round
at the spinning-wheels.’ And next morning when the king had his twelve
huntsmen summoned, they went through the ante-chamber, and never once
looked at the spinning-wheels. Then the king again said to the lion:
‘You have deceived me, they are men, for they have not looked at the
spinning-wheels.’ The lion replied: ‘They have restrained themselves.’
The king, however, would no longer believe the lion.

The twelve huntsmen always followed the king to the chase, and his
liking for them continually increased. Now it came to pass that
once when they were out hunting, news came that the king’s bride was
approaching. When the true bride heard that, it hurt her so much that
her heart was almost broken, and she fell fainting to the ground. The
king thought something had happened to his dear huntsman, ran up to him,
wanted to help him, and drew his glove off. Then he saw the ring which
he had given to his first bride, and when he looked in her face he
recognized her. Then his heart was so touched that he kissed her, and
when she opened her eyes he said: ‘You are mine, and I am yours, and
no one in the world can alter that.’ He sent a messenger to the other
bride, and entreated her to return to her own kingdom, for he had a wife
already, and someone who had just found an old key did not require a new
one. Thereupon the wedding was celebrated, and the lion was again taken
into favour, because, after all, he had told the truth.


There was once a merchant who had only one child, a son, that was very
young, and barely able to run alone. He had two richly laden ships then
making a voyage upon the seas, in which he had embarked all his wealth,
in the hope of making great gains, when the news came that both were
lost. Thus from being a rich man he became all at once so very poor that
nothing was left to him but one small plot of land; and there he often
went in an evening to take his walk, and ease his mind of a little of
his trouble.

One day, as he was roaming along in a brown study, thinking with no
great comfort on what he had been and what he now was, and was like
to be, all on a sudden there stood before him a little, rough-looking,
black dwarf. ‘Prithee, friend, why so sorrowful?’ said he to the
merchant; ‘what is it you take so deeply to heart?’ ‘If you would do me
any good I would willingly tell you,’ said the merchant. ‘Who knows but
I may?’ said the little man: ‘tell me what ails you, and perhaps you
will find I may be of some use.’ Then the merchant told him how all his
wealth was gone to the bottom of the sea, and how he had nothing left
but that little plot of land. ‘Oh, trouble not yourself about that,’
said the dwarf; ‘only undertake to bring me here, twelve years hence,
whatever meets you first on your going home, and I will give you as much
as you please.’ The merchant thought this was no great thing to ask;
that it would most likely be his dog or his cat, or something of that
sort, but forgot his little boy Heinel; so he agreed to the bargain, and
signed and sealed the bond to do what was asked of him.

But as he drew near home, his little boy was so glad to see him that he
crept behind him, and laid fast hold of his legs, and looked up in
his face and laughed. Then the father started, trembling with fear and
horror, and saw what it was that he had bound himself to do; but as no
gold was come, he made himself easy by thinking that it was only a joke
that the dwarf was playing him, and that, at any rate, when the money
came, he should see the bearer, and would not take it in.

About a month afterwards he went upstairs into a lumber-room to look
for some old iron, that he might sell it and raise a little money; and
there, instead of his iron, he saw a large pile of gold lying on the
floor. At the sight of this he was overjoyed, and forgetting all about
his son, went into trade again, and became a richer merchant than

Meantime little Heinel grew up, and as the end of the twelve years drew
near the merchant began to call to mind his bond, and became very sad
and thoughtful; so that care and sorrow were written upon his face. The
boy one day asked what was the matter, but his father would not tell for
some time; at last, however, he said that he had, without knowing it,
sold him for gold to a little, ugly-looking, black dwarf, and that the
twelve years were coming round when he must keep his word. Then Heinel
said, ‘Father, give yourself very little trouble about that; I shall be
too much for the little man.’

When the time came, the father and son went out together to the place
agreed upon: and the son drew a circle on the ground, and set himself
and his father in the middle of it. The little black dwarf soon came,
and walked round and round about the circle, but could not find any way
to get into it, and he either could not, or dared not, jump over it. At
last the boy said to him. ‘Have you anything to say to us, my friend, or
what do you want?’ Now Heinel had found a friend in a good fairy, that
was fond of him, and had told him what to do; for this fairy knew what
good luck was in store for him. ‘Have you brought me what you said you
would?’ said the dwarf to the merchant. The old man held his tongue, but
Heinel said again, ‘What do you want here?’ The dwarf said, ‘I come to
talk with your father, not with you.’ ‘You have cheated and taken in my
father,’ said the son; ‘pray give him up his bond at once.’ ‘Fair and
softly,’ said the little old man; ‘right is right; I have paid my money,
and your father has had it, and spent it; so be so good as to let me
have what I paid it for.’ ‘You must have my consent to that first,’ said
Heinel, ‘so please to step in here, and let us talk it over.’ The old
man grinned, and showed his teeth, as if he should have been very glad
to get into the circle if he could. Then at last, after a long talk,
they came to terms. Heinel agreed that his father must give him up, and
that so far the dwarf should have his way: but, on the other hand, the
fairy had told Heinel what fortune was in store for him, if he followed
his own course; and he did not choose to be given up to his hump-backed
friend, who seemed so anxious for his company.

So, to make a sort of drawn battle of the matter, it was settled that
Heinel should be put into an open boat, that lay on the sea-shore hard
by; that the father should push him off with his own hand, and that he
should thus be set adrift, and left to the bad or good luck of wind and
weather. Then he took leave of his father, and set himself in the boat,
but before it got far off a wave struck it, and it fell with one side
low in the water, so the merchant thought that poor Heinel was lost, and
went home very sorrowful, while the dwarf went his way, thinking that at
any rate he had had his revenge.

The boat, however, did not sink, for the good fairy took care of her
friend, and soon raised the boat up again, and it went safely on. The
young man sat safe within, till at length it ran ashore upon an unknown
land. As he jumped upon the shore he saw before him a beautiful castle
but empty and dreary within, for it was enchanted. ‘Here,’ said he to
himself, ‘must I find the prize the good fairy told me of.’ So he once
more searched the whole palace through, till at last he found a white
snake, lying coiled up on a cushion in one of the chambers.

Now the white snake was an enchanted princess; and she was very glad
to see him, and said, ‘Are you at last come to set me free? Twelve
long years have I waited here for the fairy to bring you hither as she
promised, for you alone can save me. This night twelve men will come:
their faces will be black, and they will be dressed in chain armour.
They will ask what you do here, but give no answer; and let them do
what they will–beat, whip, pinch, prick, or torment you–bear all; only
speak not a word, and at twelve o’clock they must go away. The second
night twelve others will come: and the third night twenty-four, who
will even cut off your head; but at the twelfth hour of that night their
power is gone, and I shall be free, and will come and bring you the
Water of Life, and will wash you with it, and bring you back to life
and health.’ And all came to pass as she had said; Heinel bore all, and
spoke not a word; and the third night the princess came, and fell on his
neck and kissed him. Joy and gladness burst forth throughout the castle,
the wedding was celebrated, and he was crowned king of the Golden

They lived together very happily, and the queen had a son. And thus
eight years had passed over their heads, when the king thought of his
father; and he began to long to see him once again. But the queen was
against his going, and said, ‘I know well that misfortunes will come
upon us if you go.’ However, he gave her no rest till she agreed. At his
going away she gave him a wishing-ring, and said, ‘Take this ring, and
put it on your finger; whatever you wish it will bring you; only promise
never to make use of it to bring me hence to your father’s house.’ Then
he said he would do what she asked, and put the ring on his finger, and
wished himself near the town where his father lived.

Heinel found himself at the gates in a moment; but the guards would
not let him go in, because he was so strangely clad. So he went up to a
neighbouring hill, where a shepherd dwelt, and borrowed his old frock,
and thus passed unknown into the town. When he came to his father’s
house, he said he was his son; but the merchant would not believe him,
and said he had had but one son, his poor Heinel, who he knew was long
since dead: and as he was only dressed like a poor shepherd, he would
not even give him anything to eat. The king, however, still vowed that
he was his son, and said, ‘Is there no mark by which you would know me
if I am really your son?’ ‘Yes,’ said his mother, ‘our Heinel had a mark
like a raspberry on his right arm.’ Then he showed them the mark, and
they knew that what he had said was true.

He next told them how he was king of the Golden Mountain, and was
married to a princess, and had a son seven years old. But the merchant
said, ‘that can never be true; he must be a fine king truly who travels
about in a shepherd’s frock!’ At this the son was vexed; and forgetting
his word, turned his ring, and wished for his queen and son. In an
instant they stood before him; but the queen wept, and said he had
broken his word, and bad luck would follow. He did all he could to
soothe her, and she at last seemed to be appeased; but she was not so in
truth, and was only thinking how she should punish him.

One day he took her to walk with him out of the town, and showed her
the spot where the boat was set adrift upon the wide waters. Then he sat
himself down, and said, ‘I am very much tired; sit by me, I will rest my
head in your lap, and sleep a while.’ As soon as he had fallen asleep,
however, she drew the ring from his finger, and crept softly away, and
wished herself and her son at home in their kingdom. And when he awoke
he found himself alone, and saw that the ring was gone from his finger.
‘I can never go back to my father’s house,’ said he; ‘they would say I
am a sorcerer: I will journey forth into the world, till I come again to
my kingdom.’

So saying he set out and travelled till he came to a hill, where three
giants were sharing their father’s goods; and as they saw him pass they
cried out and said, ‘Little men have sharp wits; he shall part the goods
between us.’ Now there was a sword that cut off an enemy’s head whenever
the wearer gave the words, ‘Heads off!’; a cloak that made the owner
invisible, or gave him any form he pleased; and a pair of boots that
carried the wearer wherever he wished. Heinel said they must first let
him try these wonderful things, then he might know how to set a value
upon them. Then they gave him the cloak, and he wished himself a fly,
and in a moment he was a fly. ‘The cloak is very well,’ said he: ‘now
give me the sword.’ ‘No,’ said they; ‘not unless you undertake not to
say, “Heads off!” for if you do we are all dead men.’ So they gave it
him, charging him to try it on a tree. He next asked for the boots also;
and the moment he had all three in his power, he wished himself at
the Golden Mountain; and there he was at once. So the giants were left
behind with no goods to share or quarrel about.

As Heinel came near his castle he heard the sound of merry music; and
the people around told him that his queen was about to marry another
husband. Then he threw his cloak around him, and passed through the
castle hall, and placed himself by the side of the queen, where no one
saw him. But when anything to eat was put upon her plate, he took it
away and ate it himself; and when a glass of wine was handed to her, he
took it and drank it; and thus, though they kept on giving her meat and
drink, her plate and cup were always empty.

Upon this, fear and remorse came over her, and she went into her chamber
alone, and sat there weeping; and he followed her there. ‘Alas!’ said
she to herself, ‘was I not once set free? Why then does this enchantment
still seem to bind me?’

‘False and fickle one!’ said he. ‘One indeed came who set thee free, and
he is now near thee again; but how have you used him? Ought he to
have had such treatment from thee?’ Then he went out and sent away the
company, and said the wedding was at an end, for that he was come back
to the kingdom. But the princes, peers, and great men mocked at him.
However, he would enter into no parley with them, but only asked them
if they would go in peace or not. Then they turned upon him and tried
to seize him; but he drew his sword. ‘Heads Off!’ cried he; and with the
word the traitors’ heads fell before him, and Heinel was once more king
of the Golden Mountain.


There was once upon a time a poor peasant called Crabb, who drove with
two oxen a load of wood to the town, and sold it to a doctor for two
talers. When the money was being counted out to him, it so happened that
the doctor was sitting at table, and when the peasant saw how well he
ate and drank, his heart desired what he saw, and would willingly
have been a doctor too. So he remained standing a while, and at length
inquired if he too could not be a doctor. ‘Oh, yes,’ said the doctor,
‘that is soon managed.’ ‘What must I do?’ asked the peasant. ‘In the
first place buy yourself an A B C book of the kind which has a cock on
the frontispiece; in the second, turn your cart and your two oxen into
money, and get yourself some clothes, and whatsoever else pertains to
medicine; thirdly, have a sign painted for yourself with the words: “I
am Doctor Knowall,” and have that nailed up above your house-door.’ The
peasant did everything that he had been told to do. When he had doctored
people awhile, but not long, a rich and great lord had some money
stolen. Then he was told about Doctor Knowall who lived in such and such
a village, and must know what had become of the money. So the lord had
the horses harnessed to his carriage, drove out to the village, and
asked Crabb if he were Doctor Knowall. Yes, he was, he said. Then he was
to go with him and bring back the stolen money. ‘Oh, yes, but Grete, my
wife, must go too.’ The lord was willing, and let both of them have a
seat in the carriage, and they all drove away together. When they came
to the nobleman’s castle, the table was spread, and Crabb was told to
sit down and eat. ‘Yes, but my wife, Grete, too,’ said he, and he seated
himself with her at the table. And when the first servant came with a
dish of delicate fare, the peasant nudged his wife, and said: ‘Grete,
that was the first,’ meaning that was the servant who brought the first
dish. The servant, however, thought he intended by that to say: ‘That is
the first thief,’ and as he actually was so, he was terrified, and said
to his comrade outside: ‘The doctor knows all: we shall fare ill, he
said I was the first.’ The second did not want to go in at all, but was
forced. So when he went in with his dish, the peasant nudged his wife,
and said: ‘Grete, that is the second.’ This servant was equally alarmed,
and he got out as fast as he could. The third fared no better, for the
peasant again said: ‘Grete, that is the third.’ The fourth had to carry
in a dish that was covered, and the lord told the doctor that he was to
show his skill, and guess what was beneath the cover. Actually, there
were crabs. The doctor looked at the dish, had no idea what to say, and
cried: ‘Ah, poor Crabb.’ When the lord heard that, he cried: ‘There! he
knows it; he must also know who has the money!’

On this the servants looked terribly uneasy, and made a sign to the
doctor that they wished him to step outside for a moment. When therefore
he went out, all four of them confessed to him that they had stolen
the money, and said that they would willingly restore it and give him a
heavy sum into the bargain, if he would not denounce them, for if he
did they would be hanged. They led him to the spot where the money was
concealed. With this the doctor was satisfied, and returned to the hall,
sat down to the table, and said: ‘My lord, now will I search in my book
where the gold is hidden.’ The fifth servant, however, crept into the
stove to hear if the doctor knew still more. But the doctor sat still
and opened his A B C book, turned the pages backwards and forwards, and
looked for the cock. As he could not find it immediately he said: ‘I
know you are there, so you had better come out!’ Then the fellow in the
stove thought that the doctor meant him, and full of terror, sprang out,
crying: ‘That man knows everything!’ Then Doctor Knowall showed the lord
where the money was, but did not say who had stolen it, and received
from both sides much money in reward, and became a renowned man.


There was once a man who had seven sons, and last of all one daughter.
Although the little girl was very pretty, she was so weak and small that
they thought she could not live; but they said she should at once be

So the father sent one of his sons in haste to the spring to get some
water, but the other six ran with him. Each wanted to be first at
drawing the water, and so they were in such a hurry that all let their
pitchers fall into the well, and they stood very foolishly looking at
one another, and did not know what to do, for none dared go home. In the
meantime the father was uneasy, and could not tell what made the
young men stay so long. ‘Surely,’ said he, ‘the whole seven must have
forgotten themselves over some game of play’; and when he had waited
still longer and they yet did not come, he flew into a rage and wished
them all turned into ravens. Scarcely had he spoken these words when he
heard a croaking over his head, and looked up and saw seven ravens as
black as coal flying round and round. Sorry as he was to see his wish
so fulfilled, he did not know how what was done could be undone, and
comforted himself as well as he could for the loss of his seven sons
with his dear little daughter, who soon became stronger and every day
more beautiful.

For a long time she did not know that she had ever had any brothers; for
her father and mother took care not to speak of them before her: but one
day by chance she heard the people about her speak of them. ‘Yes,’ said
they, ‘she is beautiful indeed, but still ’tis a pity that her brothers
should have been lost for her sake.’ Then she was much grieved, and went
to her father and mother, and asked if she had any brothers, and what
had become of them. So they dared no longer hide the truth from her, but
said it was the will of Heaven, and that her birth was only the innocent
cause of it; but the little girl mourned sadly about it every day, and
thought herself bound to do all she could to bring her brothers back;
and she had neither rest nor ease, till at length one day she stole
away, and set out into the wide world to find her brothers, wherever
they might be, and free them, whatever it might cost her.

She took nothing with her but a little ring which her father and mother
had given her, a loaf of bread in case she should be hungry, a little
pitcher of water in case she should be thirsty, and a little stool
to rest upon when she should be weary. Thus she went on and on, and
journeyed till she came to the world’s end; then she came to the sun,
but the sun looked much too hot and fiery; so she ran away quickly to
the moon, but the moon was cold and chilly, and said, ‘I smell flesh
and blood this way!’ so she took herself away in a hurry and came to the
stars, and the stars were friendly and kind to her, and each star sat
upon his own little stool; but the morning star rose up and gave her a
little piece of wood, and said, ‘If you have not this little piece of
wood, you cannot unlock the castle that stands on the glass-mountain,
and there your brothers live.’ The little girl took the piece of wood,
rolled it up in a little cloth, and went on again until she came to the
glass-mountain, and found the door shut. Then she felt for the little
piece of wood; but when she unwrapped the cloth it was not there, and
she saw she had lost the gift of the good stars. What was to be done?
She wanted to save her brothers, and had no key of the castle of the
glass-mountain; so this faithful little sister took a knife out of her
pocket and cut off her little finger, that was just the size of the
piece of wood she had lost, and put it in the door and opened it.

As she went in, a little dwarf came up to her, and said, ‘What are you
seeking for?’ ‘I seek for my brothers, the seven ravens,’ answered she.
Then the dwarf said, ‘My masters are not at home; but if you will wait
till they come, pray step in.’ Now the little dwarf was getting their
dinner ready, and he brought their food upon seven little plates, and
their drink in seven little glasses, and set them upon the table, and
out of each little plate their sister ate a small piece, and out of each
little glass she drank a small drop; but she let the ring that she had
brought with her fall into the last glass.

On a sudden she heard a fluttering and croaking in the air, and the
dwarf said, ‘Here come my masters.’ When they came in, they wanted to
eat and drink, and looked for their little plates and glasses. Then said
one after the other,

‘Who has eaten from my little plate? And who has been drinking out of my
little glass?’

‘Caw! Caw! well I ween
Mortal lips have this way been.’

When the seventh came to the bottom of his glass, and found there the
ring, he looked at it, and knew that it was his father’s and mother’s,
and said, ‘O that our little sister would but come! then we should be
free.’ When the little girl heard this (for she stood behind the door
all the time and listened), she ran forward, and in an instant all
the ravens took their right form again; and all hugged and kissed each
other, and went merrily home.



There was once upon a time an old fox with nine tails, who believed that
his wife was not faithful to him, and wished to put her to the test. He
stretched himself out under the bench, did not move a limb, and behaved
as if he were stone dead. Mrs Fox went up to her room, shut herself in,
and her maid, Miss Cat, sat by the fire, and did the cooking. When it
became known that the old fox was dead, suitors presented themselves.
The maid heard someone standing at the house-door, knocking. She went
and opened it, and it was a young fox, who said:

‘What may you be about, Miss Cat?
Do you sleep or do you wake?’

She answered:

‘I am not sleeping, I am waking,
Would you know what I am making?
I am boiling warm beer with butter,
Will you be my guest for supper?’

‘No, thank you, miss,’ said the fox, ‘what is Mrs Fox doing?’ The maid

‘She is sitting in her room,
Moaning in her gloom,
Weeping her little eyes quite red,
Because old Mr Fox is dead.’

‘Do just tell her, miss, that a young fox is here, who would like to woo
her.’ ‘Certainly, young sir.’

The cat goes up the stairs trip, trap,
The door she knocks at tap, tap, tap,
‘Mistress Fox, are you inside?’
‘Oh, yes, my little cat,’ she cried.
‘A wooer he stands at the door out there.’
‘What does he look like, my dear?’

‘Has he nine as beautiful tails as the late Mr Fox?’ ‘Oh, no,’ answered
the cat, ‘he has only one.’ ‘Then I will not have him.’

Miss Cat went downstairs and sent the wooer away. Soon afterwards there
was another knock, and another fox was at the door who wished to woo Mrs
Fox. He had two tails, but he did not fare better than the first. After
this still more came, each with one tail more than the other, but they
were all turned away, until at last one came who had nine tails, like
old Mr Fox. When the widow heard that, she said joyfully to the cat:

‘Now open the gates and doors all wide,
And carry old Mr Fox outside.’

But just as the wedding was going to be solemnized, old Mr Fox stirred
under the bench, and cudgelled all the rabble, and drove them and Mrs
Fox out of the house.


When old Mr Fox was dead, the wolf came as a suitor, and knocked at the
door, and the cat who was servant to Mrs Fox, opened it for him. The
wolf greeted her, and said:

‘Good day, Mrs Cat of Kehrewit,
How comes it that alone you sit?
What are you making good?’

The cat replied:

‘In milk I’m breaking bread so sweet,
Will you be my guest, and eat?’

‘No, thank you, Mrs Cat,’ answered the wolf. ‘Is Mrs Fox not at home?’

The cat said:

‘She sits upstairs in her room,
Bewailing her sorrowful doom,
Bewailing her trouble so sore,
For old Mr Fox is no more.’

The wolf answered:

‘If she’s in want of a husband now,
Then will it please her to step below?’
The cat runs quickly up the stair,
And lets her tail fly here and there,
Until she comes to the parlour door.
With her five gold rings at the door she knocks:
‘Are you within, good Mistress Fox?
If you’re in want of a husband now,
Then will it please you to step below?

Mrs Fox asked: ‘Has the gentleman red stockings on, and has he a pointed
mouth?’ ‘No,’ answered the cat. ‘Then he won’t do for me.’

When the wolf was gone, came a dog, a stag, a hare, a bear, a lion, and
all the beasts of the forest, one after the other. But one of the good
qualities which old Mr Fox had possessed, was always lacking, and the
cat had continually to send the suitors away. At length came a young
fox. Then Mrs Fox said: ‘Has the gentleman red stockings on, and has a
little pointed mouth?’ ‘Yes,’ said the cat, ‘he has.’ ‘Then let him come
upstairs,’ said Mrs Fox, and ordered the servant to prepare the wedding

‘Sweep me the room as clean as you can,
Up with the window, fling out my old man!
For many a fine fat mouse he brought,
Yet of his wife he never thought,
But ate up every one he caught.’

Then the wedding was solemnized with young Mr Fox, and there was much
rejoicing and dancing; and if they have not left off, they are dancing


As a merry young huntsman was once going briskly along through a wood,
there came up a little old woman, and said to him, ‘Good day, good day;
you seem merry enough, but I am hungry and thirsty; do pray give me
something to eat.’ The huntsman took pity on her, and put his hand in
his pocket and gave her what he had. Then he wanted to go his way; but
she took hold of him, and said, ‘Listen, my friend, to what I am going
to tell you; I will reward you for your kindness; go your way, and after
a little time you will come to a tree where you will see nine birds
sitting on a cloak. Shoot into the midst of them, and one will fall down
dead: the cloak will fall too; take it, it is a wishing-cloak, and when
you wear it you will find yourself at any place where you may wish to
be. Cut open the dead bird, take out its heart and keep it, and you will
find a piece of gold under your pillow every morning when you rise. It
is the bird’s heart that will bring you this good luck.’

The huntsman thanked her, and thought to himself, ‘If all this does
happen, it will be a fine thing for me.’ When he had gone a hundred
steps or so, he heard a screaming and chirping in the branches over him,
and looked up and saw a flock of birds pulling a cloak with their bills
and feet; screaming, fighting, and tugging at each other as if
each wished to have it himself. ‘Well,’ said the huntsman, ‘this is
wonderful; this happens just as the old woman said’; then he shot into
the midst of them so that their feathers flew all about. Off went the
flock chattering away; but one fell down dead, and the cloak with it.
Then the huntsman did as the old woman told him, cut open the bird, took
out the heart, and carried the cloak home with him.

The next morning when he awoke he lifted up his pillow, and there lay
the piece of gold glittering underneath; the same happened next day, and
indeed every day when he arose. He heaped up a great deal of gold, and
at last thought to himself, ‘Of what use is this gold to me whilst I am
at home? I will go out into the world and look about me.’

Then he took leave of his friends, and hung his bag and bow about his
neck, and went his way. It so happened that his road one day led through
a thick wood, at the end of which was a large castle in a green meadow,
and at one of the windows stood an old woman with a very beautiful young
lady by her side looking about them. Now the old woman was a witch, and
said to the young lady, ‘There is a young man coming out of the wood who
carries a wonderful prize; we must get it away from him, my dear child,
for it is more fit for us than for him. He has a bird’s heart that
brings a piece of gold under his pillow every morning.’ Meantime the
huntsman came nearer and looked at the lady, and said to himself, ‘I
have been travelling so long that I should like to go into this castle
and rest myself, for I have money enough to pay for anything I want’;
but the real reason was, that he wanted to see more of the beautiful
lady. Then he went into the house, and was welcomed kindly; and it was
not long before he was so much in love that he thought of nothing else
but looking at the lady’s eyes, and doing everything that she wished.
Then the old woman said, ‘Now is the time for getting the bird’s heart.’
So the lady stole it away, and he never found any more gold under his
pillow, for it lay now under the young lady’s, and the old woman took it
away every morning; but he was so much in love that he never missed his

‘Well,’ said the old witch, ‘we have got the bird’s heart, but not the
wishing-cloak yet, and that we must also get.’ ‘Let us leave him that,’
said the young lady; ‘he has already lost his wealth.’ Then the witch
was very angry, and said, ‘Such a cloak is a very rare and wonderful
thing, and I must and will have it.’ So she did as the old woman told
her, and set herself at the window, and looked about the country and
seemed very sorrowful; then the huntsman said, ‘What makes you so sad?’
‘Alas! dear sir,’ said she, ‘yonder lies the granite rock where all the
costly diamonds grow, and I want so much to go there, that whenever I
think of it I cannot help being sorrowful, for who can reach it? only
the birds and the flies–man cannot.’ ‘If that’s all your grief,’ said
the huntsman, ‘I’ll take you there with all my heart’; so he drew her under
his cloak, and the moment he wished to be on the granite mountain they
were both there. The diamonds glittered so on all sides that they were
delighted with the sight and picked up the finest. But the old witch
made a deep sleep come upon him, and he said to the young lady, ‘Let us
sit down and rest ourselves a little, I am so tired that I cannot stand
any longer.’ So they sat down, and he laid his head in her lap and
fell asleep; and whilst he was sleeping on she took the cloak from
his shoulders, hung it on her own, picked up the diamonds, and wished
herself home again.

When he awoke and found that his lady had tricked him, and left him
alone on the wild rock, he said, ‘Alas! what roguery there is in the
world!’ and there he sat in great grief and fear, not knowing what to
do. Now this rock belonged to fierce giants who lived upon it; and as
he saw three of them striding about, he thought to himself, ‘I can only
save myself by feigning to be asleep’; so he laid himself down as if he
were in a sound sleep. When the giants came up to him, the first pushed
him with his foot, and said, ‘What worm is this that lies here curled
up?’ ‘Tread upon him and kill him,’ said the second. ‘It’s not worth the
trouble,’ said the third; ‘let him live, he’ll go climbing higher up the
mountain, and some cloud will come rolling and carry him away.’ And they
passed on. But the huntsman had heard all they said; and as soon as they
were gone, he climbed to the top of the mountain, and when he had sat
there a short time a cloud came rolling around him, and caught him in a
whirlwind and bore him along for some time, till it settled in a garden,
and he fell quite gently to the ground amongst the greens and cabbages.

Then he looked around him, and said, ‘I wish I had something to eat, if
not I shall be worse off than before; for here I see neither apples
nor pears, nor any kind of fruits, nothing but vegetables.’ At last he
thought to himself, ‘I can eat salad, it will refresh and strengthen
me.’ So he picked out a fine head and ate of it; but scarcely had he
swallowed two bites when he felt himself quite changed, and saw with
horror that he was turned into an ass. However, he still felt very
hungry, and the salad tasted very nice; so he ate on till he came
to another kind of salad, and scarcely had he tasted it when he felt
another change come over him, and soon saw that he was lucky enough to
have found his old shape again.

Then he laid himself down and slept off a little of his weariness; and
when he awoke the next morning he broke off a head both of the good and
the bad salad, and thought to himself, ‘This will help me to my fortune
again, and enable me to pay off some folks for their treachery.’ So he
went away to try and find the castle of his friends; and after wandering
about a few days he luckily found it. Then he stained his face all over
brown, so that even his mother would not have known him, and went into
the castle and asked for a lodging; ‘I am so tired,’ said he, ‘that I
can go no farther.’ ‘Countryman,’ said the witch, ‘who are you? and what
is your business?’ ‘I am,’ said he, ‘a messenger sent by the king to
find the finest salad that grows under the sun. I have been lucky
enough to find it, and have brought it with me; but the heat of the sun
scorches so that it begins to wither, and I don’t know that I can carry
it farther.’

When the witch and the young lady heard of his beautiful salad, they
longed to taste it, and said, ‘Dear countryman, let us just taste it.’
‘To be sure,’ answered he; ‘I have two heads of it with me, and will
give you one’; so he opened his bag and gave them the bad. Then the
witch herself took it into the kitchen to be dressed; and when it was
ready she could not wait till it was carried up, but took a few leaves
immediately and put them in her mouth, and scarcely were they swallowed
when she lost her own form and ran braying down into the court in the
form of an ass. Now the servant-maid came into the kitchen, and seeing
the salad ready, was going to carry it up; but on the way she too felt a
wish to taste it as the old woman had done, and ate some leaves; so she
also was turned into an ass and ran after the other, letting the dish
with the salad fall on the ground. The messenger sat all this time with
the beautiful young lady, and as nobody came with the salad and she
longed to taste it, she said, ‘I don’t know where the salad can be.’
Then he thought something must have happened, and said, ‘I will go
into the kitchen and see.’ And as he went he saw two asses in the court
running about, and the salad lying on the ground. ‘All right!’ said
he; ‘those two have had their share.’ Then he took up the rest of
the leaves, laid them on the dish and brought them to the young lady,
saying, ‘I bring you the dish myself that you may not wait any longer.’
So she ate of it, and like the others ran off into the court braying

Then the huntsman washed his face and went into the court that they
might know him. ‘Now you shall be paid for your roguery,’ said he; and
tied them all three to a rope and took them along with him till he
came to a mill and knocked at the window. ‘What’s the matter?’ said the
miller. ‘I have three tiresome beasts here,’ said the other; ‘if you
will take them, give them food and room, and treat them as I tell you,
I will pay you whatever you ask.’ ‘With all my heart,’ said the miller;
‘but how shall I treat them?’ Then the huntsman said, ‘Give the old
one stripes three times a day and hay once; give the next (who was
the servant-maid) stripes once a day and hay three times; and give
the youngest (who was the beautiful lady) hay three times a day and
no stripes’: for he could not find it in his heart to have her beaten.
After this he went back to the castle, where he found everything he

Some days after, the miller came to him and told him that the old ass
was dead; ‘The other two,’ said he, ‘are alive and eat, but are so
sorrowful that they cannot last long.’ Then the huntsman pitied them,
and told the miller to drive them back to him, and when they came, he
gave them some of the good salad to eat. And the beautiful young lady
fell upon her knees before him, and said, ‘O dearest huntsman! forgive
me all the ill I have done you; my mother forced me to it, it was
against my will, for I always loved you very much. Your wishing-cloak
hangs up in the closet, and as for the bird’s heart, I will give it you
too.’ But he said, ‘Keep it, it will be just the same thing, for I mean
to make you my wife.’ So they were married, and lived together very
happily till they died.


A certain father had two sons, the elder of who was smart and sensible,
and could do everything, but the younger was stupid and could neither
learn nor understand anything, and when people saw him they said:
‘There’s a fellow who will give his father some trouble!’ When anything
had to be done, it was always the elder who was forced to do it; but
if his father bade him fetch anything when it was late, or in the
night-time, and the way led through the churchyard, or any other dismal
place, he answered: ‘Oh, no father, I’ll not go there, it makes me
shudder!’ for he was afraid. Or when stories were told by the fire at
night which made the flesh creep, the listeners sometimes said: ‘Oh,
it makes us shudder!’ The younger sat in a corner and listened with
the rest of them, and could not imagine what they could mean. ‘They are
always saying: “It makes me shudder, it makes me shudder!” It does not
make me shudder,’ thought he. ‘That, too, must be an art of which I
understand nothing!’

Now it came to pass that his father said to him one day: ‘Hearken to me,
you fellow in the corner there, you are growing tall and strong, and you
too must learn something by which you can earn your bread. Look how your
brother works, but you do not even earn your salt.’ ‘Well, father,’ he
replied, ‘I am quite willing to learn something–indeed, if it could but
be managed, I should like to learn how to shudder. I don’t understand
that at all yet.’ The elder brother smiled when he heard that, and
thought to himself: ‘Goodness, what a blockhead that brother of mine is!
He will never be good for anything as long as he lives! He who wants to
be a sickle must bend himself betimes.’

The father sighed, and answered him: ‘You shall soon learn what it is to
shudder, but you will not earn your bread by that.’

Soon after this the sexton came to the house on a visit, and the father
bewailed his trouble, and told him how his younger son was so backward
in every respect that he knew nothing and learnt nothing. ‘Just think,’
said he, ‘when I asked him how he was going to earn his bread, he
actually wanted to learn to shudder.’ ‘If that be all,’ replied the
sexton, ‘he can learn that with me. Send him to me, and I will soon
polish him.’ The father was glad to do it, for he thought: ‘It will
train the boy a little.’ The sexton therefore took him into his house,
and he had to ring the church bell. After a day or two, the sexton awoke
him at midnight, and bade him arise and go up into the church tower and
ring the bell. ‘You shall soon learn what shuddering is,’ thought he,
and secretly went there before him; and when the boy was at the top of
the tower and turned round, and was just going to take hold of the bell
rope, he saw a white figure standing on the stairs opposite the sounding
hole. ‘Who is there?’ cried he, but the figure made no reply, and did
not move or stir. ‘Give an answer,’ cried the boy, ‘or take yourself
off, you have no business here at night.’

The sexton, however, remained standing motionless that the boy might
think he was a ghost. The boy cried a second time: ‘What do you want
here?–speak if you are an honest fellow, or I will throw you down the
steps!’ The sexton thought: ‘He can’t mean to be as bad as his words,’
uttered no sound and stood as if he were made of stone. Then the boy
called to him for the third time, and as that was also to no purpose,
he ran against him and pushed the ghost down the stairs, so that it fell
down the ten steps and remained lying there in a corner. Thereupon he
rang the bell, went home, and without saying a word went to bed, and
fell asleep. The sexton’s wife waited a long time for her husband, but
he did not come back. At length she became uneasy, and wakened the boy,
and asked: ‘Do you know where my husband is? He climbed up the tower
before you did.’ ‘No, I don’t know,’ replied the boy, ‘but someone was
standing by the sounding hole on the other side of the steps, and as he
would neither gave an answer nor go away, I took him for a scoundrel,
and threw him downstairs. Just go there and you will see if it was he.
I should be sorry if it were.’ The woman ran away and found her husband,
who was lying moaning in the corner, and had broken his leg.

She carried him down, and then with loud screams she hastened to the
boy’s father, ‘Your boy,’ cried she, ‘has been the cause of a great
misfortune! He has thrown my husband down the steps so that he broke his
leg. Take the good-for-nothing fellow out of our house.’ The father was
terrified, and ran thither and scolded the boy. ‘What wicked tricks
are these?’ said he. ‘The devil must have put them into your head.’
‘Father,’ he replied, ‘do listen to me. I am quite innocent. He was
standing there by night like one intent on doing evil. I did not know
who it was, and I entreated him three times either to speak or to go
away.’ ‘Ah,’ said the father, ‘I have nothing but unhappiness with you.
Go out of my sight. I will see you no more.’

‘Yes, father, right willingly, wait only until it is day. Then will I
go forth and learn how to shudder, and then I shall, at any rate,
understand one art which will support me.’ ‘Learn what you will,’ spoke
the father, ‘it is all the same to me. Here are fifty talers for you.
Take these and go into the wide world, and tell no one from whence you
come, and who is your father, for I have reason to be ashamed of you.’
‘Yes, father, it shall be as you will. If you desire nothing more than
that, I can easily keep it in mind.’

When the day dawned, therefore, the boy put his fifty talers into his
pocket, and went forth on the great highway, and continually said to
himself: ‘If I could but shudder! If I could but shudder!’ Then a man
approached who heard this conversation which the youth was holding with
himself, and when they had walked a little farther to where they could
see the gallows, the man said to him: ‘Look, there is the tree where
seven men have married the ropemaker’s daughter, and are now learning
how to fly. Sit down beneath it, and wait till night comes, and you will
soon learn how to shudder.’ ‘If that is all that is wanted,’ answered
the youth, ‘it is easily done; but if I learn how to shudder as fast as
that, you shall have my fifty talers. Just come back to me early in the
morning.’ Then the youth went to the gallows, sat down beneath it, and
waited till evening came. And as he was cold, he lighted himself a fire,
but at midnight the wind blew so sharply that in spite of his fire, he
could not get warm. And as the wind knocked the hanged men against each
other, and they moved backwards and forwards, he thought to himself:
‘If you shiver below by the fire, how those up above must freeze and
suffer!’ And as he felt pity for them, he raised the ladder, and climbed
up, unbound one of them after the other, and brought down all seven.
Then he stoked the fire, blew it, and set them all round it to warm
themselves. But they sat there and did not stir, and the fire caught
their clothes. So he said: ‘Take care, or I will hang you up again.’ The
dead men, however, did not hear, but were quite silent, and let their
rags go on burning. At this he grew angry, and said: ‘If you will not
take care, I cannot help you, I will not be burnt with you,’ and he hung
them up again each in his turn. Then he sat down by his fire and fell
asleep, and the next morning the man came to him and wanted to have
the fifty talers, and said: ‘Well do you know how to shudder?’ ‘No,’
answered he, ‘how should I know? Those fellows up there did not open
their mouths, and were so stupid that they let the few old rags which
they had on their bodies get burnt.’ Then the man saw that he would not
get the fifty talers that day, and went away saying: ‘Such a youth has
never come my way before.’

The youth likewise went his way, and once more began to mutter to
himself: ‘Ah, if I could but shudder! Ah, if I could but shudder!’ A
waggoner who was striding behind him heard this and asked: ‘Who are
you?’ ‘I don’t know,’ answered the youth. Then the waggoner asked: ‘From
whence do you come?’ ‘I know not.’ ‘Who is your father?’ ‘That I may
not tell you.’ ‘What is it that you are always muttering between your
teeth?’ ‘Ah,’ replied the youth, ‘I do so wish I could shudder, but
no one can teach me how.’ ‘Enough of your foolish chatter,’ said the
waggoner. ‘Come, go with me, I will see about a place for you.’ The
youth went with the waggoner, and in the evening they arrived at an inn
where they wished to pass the night. Then at the entrance of the parlour
the youth again said quite loudly: ‘If I could but shudder! If I could
but shudder!’ The host who heard this, laughed and said: ‘If that is
your desire, there ought to be a good opportunity for you here.’ ‘Ah,
be silent,’ said the hostess, ‘so many prying persons have already lost
their lives, it would be a pity and a shame if such beautiful eyes as
these should never see the daylight again.’

But the youth said: ‘However difficult it may be, I will learn it. For
this purpose indeed have I journeyed forth.’ He let the host have
no rest, until the latter told him, that not far from thence stood a
haunted castle where anyone could very easily learn what shuddering was,
if he would but watch in it for three nights. The king had promised that
he who would venture should have his daughter to wife, and she was the
most beautiful maiden the sun shone on. Likewise in the castle lay great
treasures, which were guarded by evil spirits, and these treasures would
then be freed, and would make a poor man rich enough. Already many men
had gone into the castle, but as yet none had come out again. Then the
youth went next morning to the king, and said: ‘If it be allowed, I will
willingly watch three nights in the haunted castle.’

The king looked at him, and as the youth pleased him, he said: ‘You may
ask for three things to take into the castle with you, but they must
be things without life.’ Then he answered: ‘Then I ask for a fire, a
turning lathe, and a cutting-board with the knife.’

The king had these things carried into the castle for him during the
day. When night was drawing near, the youth went up and made himself
a bright fire in one of the rooms, placed the cutting-board and knife
beside it, and seated himself by the turning-lathe. ‘Ah, if I could
but shudder!’ said he, ‘but I shall not learn it here either.’ Towards
midnight he was about to poke his fire, and as he was blowing it,
something cried suddenly from one corner: ‘Au, miau! how cold we are!’
‘You fools!’ cried he, ‘what are you crying about? If you are cold, come
and take a seat by the fire and warm yourselves.’ And when he had said
that, two great black cats came with one tremendous leap and sat down
on each side of him, and looked savagely at him with their fiery
eyes. After a short time, when they had warmed themselves, they said:
‘Comrade, shall we have a game of cards?’ ‘Why not?’ he replied, ‘but
just show me your paws.’ Then they stretched out their claws. ‘Oh,’ said
he, ‘what long nails you have! Wait, I must first cut them for you.’
Thereupon he seized them by the throats, put them on the cutting-board
and screwed their feet fast. ‘I have looked at your fingers,’ said he,
‘and my fancy for card-playing has gone,’ and he struck them dead and
threw them out into the water. But when he had made away with these two,
and was about to sit down again by his fire, out from every hole and
corner came black cats and black dogs with red-hot chains, and more
and more of them came until he could no longer move, and they yelled
horribly, and got on his fire, pulled it to pieces, and tried to put
it out. He watched them for a while quietly, but at last when they were
going too far, he seized his cutting-knife, and cried: ‘Away with you,
vermin,’ and began to cut them down. Some of them ran away, the others
he killed, and threw out into the fish-pond. When he came back he fanned
the embers of his fire again and warmed himself. And as he thus sat, his
eyes would keep open no longer, and he felt a desire to sleep. Then he
looked round and saw a great bed in the corner. ‘That is the very thing
for me,’ said he, and got into it. When he was just going to shut his
eyes, however, the bed began to move of its own accord, and went over
the whole of the castle. ‘That’s right,’ said he, ‘but go faster.’ Then
the bed rolled on as if six horses were harnessed to it, up and down,
over thresholds and stairs, but suddenly hop, hop, it turned over upside
down, and lay on him like a mountain. But he threw quilts and pillows up
in the air, got out and said: ‘Now anyone who likes, may drive,’ and
lay down by his fire, and slept till it was day. In the morning the king
came, and when he saw him lying there on the ground, he thought the evil
spirits had killed him and he was dead. Then said he: ‘After all it is a
pity,–for so handsome a man.’ The youth heard it, got up, and said: ‘It
has not come to that yet.’ Then the king was astonished, but very glad,
and asked how he had fared. ‘Very well indeed,’ answered he; ‘one
night is past, the two others will pass likewise.’ Then he went to the
innkeeper, who opened his eyes very wide, and said: ‘I never expected to
see you alive again! Have you learnt how to shudder yet?’ ‘No,’ said he,
‘it is all in vain. If someone would but tell me!’

The second night he again went up into the old castle, sat down by the
fire, and once more began his old song: ‘If I could but shudder!’ When
midnight came, an uproar and noise of tumbling about was heard; at
first it was low, but it grew louder and louder. Then it was quiet for
a while, and at length with a loud scream, half a man came down the
chimney and fell before him. ‘Hullo!’ cried he, ‘another half belongs
to this. This is not enough!’ Then the uproar began again, there was a
roaring and howling, and the other half fell down likewise. ‘Wait,’ said
he, ‘I will just stoke up the fire a little for you.’ When he had done
that and looked round again, the two pieces were joined together, and a
hideous man was sitting in his place. ‘That is no part of our bargain,’
said the youth, ‘the bench is mine.’ The man wanted to push him away;
the youth, however, would not allow that, but thrust him off with all
his strength, and seated himself again in his own place. Then still more
men fell down, one after the other; they brought nine dead men’s legs
and two skulls, and set them up and played at nine-pins with them. The
youth also wanted to play and said: ‘Listen you, can I join you?’ ‘Yes,
if you have any money.’ ‘Money enough,’ replied he, ‘but your balls are
not quite round.’ Then he took the skulls and put them in the lathe and
turned them till they were round. ‘There, now they will roll better!’
said he. ‘Hurrah! now we’ll have fun!’ He played with them and lost some
of his money, but when it struck twelve, everything vanished from his
sight. He lay down and quietly fell asleep. Next morning the king came
to inquire after him. ‘How has it fared with you this time?’ asked he.
‘I have been playing at nine-pins,’ he answered, ‘and have lost a couple
of farthings.’ ‘Have you not shuddered then?’ ‘What?’ said he, ‘I have
had a wonderful time! If I did but know what it was to shudder!’

The third night he sat down again on his bench and said quite sadly:
‘If I could but shudder.’ When it grew late, six tall men came in and
brought a coffin. Then he said: ‘Ha, ha, that is certainly my little
cousin, who died only a few days ago,’ and he beckoned with his finger,
and cried: ‘Come, little cousin, come.’ They placed the coffin on the
ground, but he went to it and took the lid off, and a dead man lay
therein. He felt his face, but it was cold as ice. ‘Wait,’ said he, ‘I
will warm you a little,’ and went to the fire and warmed his hand and
laid it on the dead man’s face, but he remained cold. Then he took him
out, and sat down by the fire and laid him on his breast and rubbed his
arms that the blood might circulate again. As this also did no good, he
thought to himself: ‘When two people lie in bed together, they warm each
other,’ and carried him to the bed, covered him over and lay down by
him. After a short time the dead man became warm too, and began to move.
Then said the youth, ‘See, little cousin, have I not warmed you?’ The
dead man, however, got up and cried: ‘Now will I strangle you.’

‘What!’ said he, ‘is that the way you thank me? You shall at once go
into your coffin again,’ and he took him up, threw him into it, and shut
the lid. Then came the six men and carried him away again. ‘I cannot
manage to shudder,’ said he. ‘I shall never learn it here as long as I

Then a man entered who was taller than all others, and looked terrible.
He was old, however, and had a long white beard. ‘You wretch,’ cried he,
‘you shall soon learn what it is to shudder, for you shall die.’ ‘Not so
fast,’ replied the youth. ‘If I am to die, I shall have to have a say
in it.’ ‘I will soon seize you,’ said the fiend. ‘Softly, softly, do not
talk so big. I am as strong as you are, and perhaps even stronger.’
‘We shall see,’ said the old man. ‘If you are stronger, I will let you
go–come, we will try.’ Then he led him by dark passages to a smith’s
forge, took an axe, and with one blow struck an anvil into the ground.
‘I can do better than that,’ said the youth, and went to the other
anvil. The old man placed himself near and wanted to look on, and his
white beard hung down. Then the youth seized the axe, split the anvil
with one blow, and in it caught the old man’s beard. ‘Now I have you,’
said the youth. ‘Now it is your turn to die.’ Then he seized an iron bar
and beat the old man till he moaned and entreated him to stop, when he
would give him great riches. The youth drew out the axe and let him go.
The old man led him back into the castle, and in a cellar showed him
three chests full of gold. ‘Of these,’ said he, ‘one part is for the
poor, the other for the king, the third yours.’ In the meantime it
struck twelve, and the spirit disappeared, so that the youth stood in
darkness. ‘I shall still be able to find my way out,’ said he, and felt
about, found the way into the room, and slept there by his fire.
Next morning the king came and said: ‘Now you must have learnt what
shuddering is?’ ‘No,’ he answered; ‘what can it be? My dead cousin was
here, and a bearded man came and showed me a great deal of money down
below, but no one told me what it was to shudder.’ ‘Then,’ said the
king, ‘you have saved the castle, and shall marry my daughter.’ ‘That
is all very well,’ said he, ‘but still I do not know what it is to

Then the gold was brought up and the wedding celebrated; but howsoever
much the young king loved his wife, and however happy he was, he still
said always: ‘If I could but shudder–if I could but shudder.’ And this
at last angered her. Her waiting-maid said: ‘I will find a cure for him;
he shall soon learn what it is to shudder.’ She went out to the stream
which flowed through the garden, and had a whole bucketful of gudgeons
brought to her. At night when the young king was sleeping, his wife was
to draw the clothes off him and empty the bucket full of cold water
with the gudgeons in it over him, so that the little fishes would
sprawl about him. Then he woke up and cried: ‘Oh, what makes me shudder
so?–what makes me shudder so, dear wife? Ah! now I know what it is to


A great king of a land far away in the East had a daughter who was very
beautiful, but so proud, and haughty, and conceited, that none of the
princes who came to ask her in marriage was good enough for her, and she
only made sport of them.

Once upon a time the king held a great feast, and asked thither all
her suitors; and they all sat in a row, ranged according to their
rank–kings, and princes, and dukes, and earls, and counts, and barons,
and knights. Then the princess came in, and as she passed by them she
had something spiteful to say to every one. The first was too fat: ‘He’s
as round as a tub,’ said she. The next was too tall: ‘What a maypole!’
said she. The next was too short: ‘What a dumpling!’ said she. The
fourth was too pale, and she called him ‘Wallface.’ The fifth was too
red, so she called him ‘Coxcomb.’ The sixth was not straight enough;
so she said he was like a green stick, that had been laid to dry over
a baker’s oven. And thus she had some joke to crack upon every one: but
she laughed more than all at a good king who was there. ‘Look at
him,’ said she; ‘his beard is like an old mop; he shall be called
Grisly-beard.’ So the king got the nickname of Grisly-beard.

But the old king was very angry when he saw how his daughter behaved,
and how she ill-treated all his guests; and he vowed that, willing or
unwilling, she should marry the first man, be he prince or beggar, that
came to the door.

Two days after there came by a travelling fiddler, who began to play
under the window and beg alms; and when the king heard him, he said,
‘Let him come in.’ So they brought in a dirty-looking fellow; and when
he had sung before the king and the princess, he begged a boon. Then the
king said, ‘You have sung so well, that I will give you my daughter for
your wife.’ The princess begged and prayed; but the king said, ‘I have
sworn to give you to the first comer, and I will keep my word.’ So words
and tears were of no avail; the parson was sent for, and she was married
to the fiddler. When this was over the king said, ‘Now get ready to
go–you must not stay here–you must travel on with your husband.’

Then the fiddler went his way, and took her with him, and they soon came
to a great wood. ‘Pray,’ said she, ‘whose is this wood?’ ‘It belongs
to King Grisly-beard,’ answered he; ‘hadst thou taken him, all had been
thine.’ ‘Ah! unlucky wretch that I am!’ sighed she; ‘would that I had
married King Grisly-beard!’ Next they came to some fine meadows. ‘Whose
are these beautiful green meadows?’ said she. ‘They belong to King
Grisly-beard, hadst thou taken him, they had all been thine.’ ‘Ah!
unlucky wretch that I am!’ said she; ‘would that I had married King

Then they came to a great city. ‘Whose is this noble city?’ said she.
‘It belongs to King Grisly-beard; hadst thou taken him, it had all been
thine.’ ‘Ah! wretch that I am!’ sighed she; ‘why did I not marry King
Grisly-beard?’ ‘That is no business of mine,’ said the fiddler: ‘why
should you wish for another husband? Am not I good enough for you?’

At last they came to a small cottage. ‘What a paltry place!’ said she;
‘to whom does that little dirty hole belong?’ Then the fiddler said,
‘That is your and my house, where we are to live.’ ‘Where are your
servants?’ cried she. ‘What do we want with servants?’ said he; ‘you
must do for yourself whatever is to be done. Now make the fire, and put
on water and cook my supper, for I am very tired.’ But the princess knew
nothing of making fires and cooking, and the fiddler was forced to help
her. When they had eaten a very scanty meal they went to bed; but the
fiddler called her up very early in the morning to clean the house. Thus
they lived for two days: and when they had eaten up all there was in the
cottage, the man said, ‘Wife, we can’t go on thus, spending money and
earning nothing. You must learn to weave baskets.’ Then he went out and
cut willows, and brought them home, and she began to weave; but it made
her fingers very sore. ‘I see this work won’t do,’ said he: ‘try and
spin; perhaps you will do that better.’ So she sat down and tried to
spin; but the threads cut her tender fingers till the blood ran. ‘See
now,’ said the fiddler, ‘you are good for nothing; you can do no work:
what a bargain I have got! However, I’ll try and set up a trade in pots
and pans, and you shall stand in the market and sell them.’ ‘Alas!’
sighed she, ‘if any of my father’s court should pass by and see me
standing in the market, how they will laugh at me!’

But her husband did not care for that, and said she must work, if she
did not wish to die of hunger. At first the trade went well; for many
people, seeing such a beautiful woman, went to buy her wares, and paid
their money without thinking of taking away the goods. They lived on
this as long as it lasted; and then her husband bought a fresh lot of
ware, and she sat herself down with it in the corner of the market; but
a drunken soldier soon came by, and rode his horse against her stall,
and broke all her goods into a thousand pieces. Then she began to cry,
and knew not what to do. ‘Ah! what will become of me?’ said she; ‘what
will my husband say?’ So she ran home and told him all. ‘Who would
have thought you would have been so silly,’ said he, ‘as to put an
earthenware stall in the corner of the market, where everybody passes?
but let us have no more crying; I see you are not fit for this sort of
work, so I have been to the king’s palace, and asked if they did not
want a kitchen-maid; and they say they will take you, and there you will
have plenty to eat.’

Thus the princess became a kitchen-maid, and helped the cook to do all
the dirtiest work; but she was allowed to carry home some of the meat
that was left, and on this they lived.

She had not been there long before she heard that the king’s eldest son
was passing by, going to be married; and she went to one of the windows
and looked out. Everything was ready, and all the pomp and brightness of
the court was there. Then she bitterly grieved for the pride and folly
which had brought her so low. And the servants gave her some of the rich
meats, which she put into her basket to take home.

All on a sudden, as she was going out, in came the king’s son in golden
clothes; and when he saw a beautiful woman at the door, he took her
by the hand, and said she should be his partner in the dance; but she
trembled for fear, for she saw that it was King Grisly-beard, who was
making sport of her. However, he kept fast hold, and led her in; and the
cover of the basket came off, so that the meats in it fell about. Then
everybody laughed and jeered at her; and she was so abashed, that she
wished herself a thousand feet deep in the earth. She sprang to the
door to run away; but on the steps King Grisly-beard overtook her, and
brought her back and said, ‘Fear me not! I am the fiddler who has lived
with you in the hut. I brought you there because I really loved you. I
am also the soldier that overset your stall. I have done all this only
to cure you of your silly pride, and to show you the folly of your
ill-treatment of me. Now all is over: you have learnt wisdom, and it is
time to hold our marriage feast.’

Then the chamberlains came and brought her the most beautiful robes; and
her father and his whole court were there already, and welcomed her home
on her marriage. Joy was in every face and every heart. The feast was
grand; they danced and sang; all were merry; and I only wish that you
and I had been of the party.


There was once upon a time a king who had a great forest near his
palace, full of all kinds of wild animals. One day he sent out a
huntsman to shoot him a roe, but he did not come back. ‘Perhaps some
accident has befallen him,’ said the king, and the next day he sent out
two more huntsmen who were to search for him, but they too stayed away.
Then on the third day, he sent for all his huntsmen, and said: ‘Scour
the whole forest through, and do not give up until you have found all
three.’ But of these also, none came home again, none were seen again.
From that time forth, no one would any longer venture into the forest,
and it lay there in deep stillness and solitude, and nothing was seen
of it, but sometimes an eagle or a hawk flying over it. This lasted for
many years, when an unknown huntsman announced himself to the king as
seeking a situation, and offered to go into the dangerous forest. The
king, however, would not give his consent, and said: ‘It is not safe in
there; I fear it would fare with you no better than with the others,
and you would never come out again.’ The huntsman replied: ‘Lord, I will
venture it at my own risk, of fear I know nothing.’

The huntsman therefore betook himself with his dog to the forest. It was
not long before the dog fell in with some game on the way, and wanted to
pursue it; but hardly had the dog run two steps when it stood before a
deep pool, could go no farther, and a naked arm stretched itself out of
the water, seized it, and drew it under. When the huntsman saw that, he
went back and fetched three men to come with buckets and bale out the
water. When they could see to the bottom there lay a wild man whose body
was brown like rusty iron, and whose hair hung over his face down to his
knees. They bound him with cords, and led him away to the castle. There
was great astonishment over the wild man; the king, however, had him put
in an iron cage in his courtyard, and forbade the door to be opened
on pain of death, and the queen herself was to take the key into her
keeping. And from this time forth everyone could again go into the
forest with safety.

The king had a son of eight years, who was once playing in the
courtyard, and while he was playing, his golden ball fell into the cage.
The boy ran thither and said: ‘Give me my ball out.’ ‘Not till you have
opened the door for me,’ answered the man. ‘No,’ said the boy, ‘I will
not do that; the king has forbidden it,’ and ran away. The next day he
again went and asked for his ball; the wild man said: ‘Open my door,’
but the boy would not. On the third day the king had ridden out hunting,
and the boy went once more and said: ‘I cannot open the door even if I
wished, for I have not the key.’ Then the wild man said: ‘It lies under
your mother’s pillow, you can get it there.’ The boy, who wanted to have
his ball back, cast all thought to the winds, and brought the key. The
door opened with difficulty, and the boy pinched his fingers. When it
was open the wild man stepped out, gave him the golden ball, and hurried
away. The boy had become afraid; he called and cried after him: ‘Oh,
wild man, do not go away, or I shall be beaten!’ The wild man turned
back, took him up, set him on his shoulder, and went with hasty steps
into the forest. When the king came home, he observed the empty cage,
and asked the queen how that had happened. She knew nothing about it,
and sought the key, but it was gone. She called the boy, but no one
answered. The king sent out people to seek for him in the fields, but
they did not find him. Then he could easily guess what had happened, and
much grief reigned in the royal court.

When the wild man had once more reached the dark forest, he took the boy
down from his shoulder, and said to him: ‘You will never see your father
and mother again, but I will keep you with me, for you have set me free,
and I have compassion on you. If you do all I bid you, you shall fare
well. Of treasure and gold have I enough, and more than anyone in the
world.’ He made a bed of moss for the boy on which he slept, and the
next morning the man took him to a well, and said: ‘Behold, the gold
well is as bright and clear as crystal, you shall sit beside it, and
take care that nothing falls into it, or it will be polluted. I will
come every evening to see if you have obeyed my order.’ The boy placed
himself by the brink of the well, and often saw a golden fish or a
golden snake show itself therein, and took care that nothing fell in.
As he was thus sitting, his finger hurt him so violently that he
involuntarily put it in the water. He drew it quickly out again, but saw
that it was quite gilded, and whatsoever pains he took to wash the gold
off again, all was to no purpose. In the evening Iron Hans came back,
looked at the boy, and said: ‘What has happened to the well?’ ‘Nothing
nothing,’ he answered, and held his finger behind his back, that the
man might not see it. But he said: ‘You have dipped your finger into
the water, this time it may pass, but take care you do not again let
anything go in.’ By daybreak the boy was already sitting by the well and
watching it. His finger hurt him again and he passed it over his head,
and then unhappily a hair fell down into the well. He took it quickly
out, but it was already quite gilded. Iron Hans came, and already knew
what had happened. ‘You have let a hair fall into the well,’ said he.
‘I will allow you to watch by it once more, but if this happens for the
third time then the well is polluted and you can no longer remain with

On the third day, the boy sat by the well, and did not stir his finger,
however much it hurt him. But the time was long to him, and he looked at
the reflection of his face on the surface of the water. And as he
still bent down more and more while he was doing so, and trying to look
straight into the eyes, his long hair fell down from his shoulders into
the water. He raised himself up quickly, but the whole of the hair of
his head was already golden and shone like the sun. You can imagine how
terrified the poor boy was! He took his pocket-handkerchief and tied it
round his head, in order that the man might not see it. When he came he
already knew everything, and said: ‘Take the handkerchief off.’ Then the
golden hair streamed forth, and let the boy excuse himself as he might,
it was of no use. ‘You have not stood the trial and can stay here no
longer. Go forth into the world, there you will learn what poverty is.
But as you have not a bad heart, and as I mean well by you, there is
one thing I will grant you; if you fall into any difficulty, come to the
forest and cry: “Iron Hans,” and then I will come and help you. My
power is great, greater than you think, and I have gold and silver in

Then the king’s son left the forest, and walked by beaten and unbeaten
paths ever onwards until at length he reached a great city. There he
looked for work, but could find none, and he learnt nothing by which he
could help himself. At length he went to the palace, and asked if they
would take him in. The people about court did not at all know what use
they could make of him, but they liked him, and told him to stay. At
length the cook took him into his service, and said he might carry wood
and water, and rake the cinders together. Once when it so happened that
no one else was at hand, the cook ordered him to carry the food to the
royal table, but as he did not like to let his golden hair be seen, he
kept his little cap on. Such a thing as that had never yet come under
the king’s notice, and he said: ‘When you come to the royal table you
must take your hat off.’ He answered: ‘Ah, Lord, I cannot; I have a bad
sore place on my head.’ Then the king had the cook called before him
and scolded him, and asked how he could take such a boy as that into his
service; and that he was to send him away at once. The cook, however,
had pity on him, and exchanged him for the gardener’s boy.

And now the boy had to plant and water the garden, hoe and dig, and bear
the wind and bad weather. Once in summer when he was working alone in
the garden, the day was so warm he took his little cap off that the air
might cool him. As the sun shone on his hair it glittered and flashed so
that the rays fell into the bedroom of the king’s daughter, and up she
sprang to see what that could be. Then she saw the boy, and cried to
him: ‘Boy, bring me a wreath of flowers.’ He put his cap on with all
haste, and gathered wild field-flowers and bound them together. When he
was ascending the stairs with them, the gardener met him, and said: ‘How
can you take the king’s daughter a garland of such common flowers? Go
quickly, and get another, and seek out the prettiest and rarest.’ ‘Oh,
no,’ replied the boy, ‘the wild ones have more scent, and will please
her better.’ When he got into the room, the king’s daughter said: ‘Take
your cap off, it is not seemly to keep it on in my presence.’ He again
said: ‘I may not, I have a sore head.’ She, however, caught at his
cap and pulled it off, and then his golden hair rolled down on his
shoulders, and it was splendid to behold. He wanted to run out, but she
held him by the arm, and gave him a handful of ducats. With these he
departed, but he cared nothing for the gold pieces. He took them to the
gardener, and said: ‘I present them to your children, they can play with
them.’ The following day the king’s daughter again called to him that he
was to bring her a wreath of field-flowers, and then he went in with it,
she instantly snatched at his cap, and wanted to take it away from him,
but he held it fast with both hands. She again gave him a handful of
ducats, but he would not keep them, and gave them to the gardener for
playthings for his children. On the third day things went just the
same; she could not get his cap away from him, and he would not have her

Not long afterwards, the country was overrun by war. The king gathered
together his people, and did not know whether or not he could offer any
opposition to the enemy, who was superior in strength and had a mighty
army. Then said the gardener’s boy: ‘I am grown up, and will go to the
wars also, only give me a horse.’ The others laughed, and said: ‘Seek
one for yourself when we are gone, we will leave one behind us in the
stable for you.’ When they had gone forth, he went into the stable, and
led the horse out; it was lame of one foot, and limped hobblety jib,
hobblety jib; nevertheless he mounted it, and rode away to the dark
forest. When he came to the outskirts, he called ‘Iron Hans’ three
times so loudly that it echoed through the trees. Thereupon the wild man
appeared immediately, and said: ‘What do you desire?’ ‘I want a strong
steed, for I am going to the wars.’ ‘That you shall have, and still more
than you ask for.’ Then the wild man went back into the forest, and it
was not long before a stable-boy came out of it, who led a horse that
snorted with its nostrils, and could hardly be restrained, and behind
them followed a great troop of warriors entirely equipped in iron, and
their swords flashed in the sun. The youth made over his three-legged
horse to the stable-boy, mounted the other, and rode at the head of the
soldiers. When he got near the battlefield a great part of the king’s
men had already fallen, and little was wanting to make the rest give
way. Then the youth galloped thither with his iron soldiers, broke like
a hurricane over the enemy, and beat down all who opposed him. They
began to flee, but the youth pursued, and never stopped, until there
was not a single man left. Instead of returning to the king, however, he
conducted his troop by byways back to the forest, and called forth Iron
Hans. ‘What do you desire?’ asked the wild man. ‘Take back your horse
and your troops, and give me my three-legged horse again.’ All that he
asked was done, and soon he was riding on his three-legged horse. When
the king returned to his palace, his daughter went to meet him, and
wished him joy of his victory. ‘I am not the one who carried away the
victory,’ said he, ‘but a strange knight who came to my assistance with
his soldiers.’ The daughter wanted to hear who the strange knight was,
but the king did not know, and said: ‘He followed the enemy, and I did
not see him again.’ She inquired of the gardener where his boy was, but
he smiled, and said: ‘He has just come home on his three-legged horse,
and the others have been mocking him, and crying: “Here comes our
hobblety jib back again!” They asked, too: “Under what hedge have you
been lying sleeping all the time?” So he said: “I did the best of all,
and it would have gone badly without me.” And then he was still more

The king said to his daughter: ‘I will proclaim a great feast that shall
last for three days, and you shall throw a golden apple. Perhaps the
unknown man will show himself.’ When the feast was announced, the youth
went out to the forest, and called Iron Hans. ‘What do you desire?’
asked he. ‘That I may catch the king’s daughter’s golden apple.’ ‘It is
as safe as if you had it already,’ said Iron Hans. ‘You shall likewise
have a suit of red armour for the occasion, and ride on a spirited
chestnut-horse.’ When the day came, the youth galloped to the spot, took
his place amongst the knights, and was recognized by no one. The king’s
daughter came forward, and threw a golden apple to the knights, but none
of them caught it but he, only as soon as he had it he galloped away.

On the second day Iron Hans equipped him as a white knight, and gave him
a white horse. Again he was the only one who caught the apple, and
he did not linger an instant, but galloped off with it. The king grew
angry, and said: ‘That is not allowed; he must appear before me and tell
his name.’ He gave the order that if the knight who caught the apple,
should go away again they should pursue him, and if he would not come
back willingly, they were to cut him down and stab him.

On the third day, he received from Iron Hans a suit of black armour and
a black horse, and again he caught the apple. But when he was riding off
with it, the king’s attendants pursued him, and one of them got so near
him that he wounded the youth’s leg with the point of his sword. The
youth nevertheless escaped from them, but his horse leapt so violently
that the helmet fell from the youth’s head, and they could see that he
had golden hair. They rode back and announced this to the king.

The following day the king’s daughter asked the gardener about his
boy. ‘He is at work in the garden; the queer creature has been at the
festival too, and only came home yesterday evening; he has likewise
shown my children three golden apples which he has won.’

The king had him summoned into his presence, and he came and again had
his little cap on his head. But the king’s daughter went up to him and
took it off, and then his golden hair fell down over his shoulders, and
he was so handsome that all were amazed. ‘Are you the knight who came
every day to the festival, always in different colours, and who caught
the three golden apples?’ asked the king. ‘Yes,’ answered he, ‘and here
the apples are,’ and he took them out of his pocket, and returned them
to the king. ‘If you desire further proof, you may see the wound which
your people gave me when they followed me. But I am likewise the knight
who helped you to your victory over your enemies.’ ‘If you can perform
such deeds as that, you are no gardener’s boy; tell me, who is your
father?’ ‘My father is a mighty king, and gold have I in plenty as great
as I require.’ ‘I well see,’ said the king, ‘that I owe my thanks to
you; can I do anything to please you?’ ‘Yes,’ answered he, ‘that indeed
you can. Give me your daughter to wife.’ The maiden laughed, and said:
‘He does not stand much on ceremony, but I have already seen by his
golden hair that he was no gardener’s boy,’ and then she went and
kissed him. His father and mother came to the wedding, and were in great
delight, for they had given up all hope of ever seeing their dear
son again. And as they were sitting at the marriage-feast, the music
suddenly stopped, the doors opened, and a stately king came in with a
great retinue. He went up to the youth, embraced him and said: ‘I am
Iron Hans, and was by enchantment a wild man, but you have set me free;
all the treasures which I possess, shall be your property.’


There was once a king, whose queen had hair of the purest gold, and was
so beautiful that her match was not to be met with on the whole face of
the earth. But this beautiful queen fell ill, and when she felt that her
end drew near she called the king to her and said, ‘Promise me that you
will never marry again, unless you meet with a wife who is as beautiful
as I am, and who has golden hair like mine.’ Then when the king in his
grief promised all she asked, she shut her eyes and died. But the king
was not to be comforted, and for a long time never thought of taking
another wife. At last, however, his wise men said, ‘this will not do;
the king must marry again, that we may have a queen.’ So messengers were
sent far and wide, to seek for a bride as beautiful as the late queen.
But there was no princess in the world so beautiful; and if there had
been, still there was not one to be found who had golden hair. So the
messengers came home, and had had all their trouble for nothing.

Now the king had a daughter, who was just as beautiful as her mother,
and had the same golden hair. And when she was grown up, the king looked
at her and saw that she was just like this late queen: then he said to
his courtiers, ‘May I not marry my daughter? She is the very image of my
dead wife: unless I have her, I shall not find any bride upon the whole
earth, and you say there must be a queen.’ When the courtiers heard this
they were shocked, and said, ‘Heaven forbid that a father should marry
his daughter! Out of so great a sin no good can come.’ And his daughter
was also shocked, but hoped the king would soon give up such thoughts;
so she said to him, ‘Before I marry anyone I must have three dresses:
one must be of gold, like the sun; another must be of shining silver,
like the moon; and a third must be dazzling as the stars: besides this,
I want a mantle of a thousand different kinds of fur put together, to
which every beast in the kingdom must give a part of his skin.’ And thus
she thought he would think of the matter no more. But the king made the
most skilful workmen in his kingdom weave the three dresses: one golden,
like the sun; another silvery, like the moon; and a third sparkling,
like the stars: and his hunters were told to hunt out all the beasts in
his kingdom, and to take the finest fur out of their skins: and thus a
mantle of a thousand furs was made.

When all were ready, the king sent them to her; but she got up in the
night when all were asleep, and took three of her trinkets, a golden
ring, a golden necklace, and a golden brooch, and packed the three
dresses–of the sun, the moon, and the stars–up in a nutshell, and
wrapped herself up in the mantle made of all sorts of fur, and besmeared
her face and hands with soot. Then she threw herself upon Heaven for
help in her need, and went away, and journeyed on the whole night, till
at last she came to a large wood. As she was very tired, she sat herself
down in the hollow of a tree and soon fell asleep: and there she slept
on till it was midday.

Now as the king to whom the wood belonged was hunting in it, his dogs
came to the tree, and began to snuff about, and run round and round, and
bark. ‘Look sharp!’ said the king to the huntsmen, ‘and see what sort
of game lies there.’ And the huntsmen went up to the tree, and when they
came back again said, ‘In the hollow tree there lies a most wonderful
beast, such as we never saw before; its skin seems to be of a thousand
kinds of fur, but there it lies fast asleep.’ ‘See,’ said the king, ‘if
you can catch it alive, and we will take it with us.’ So the huntsmen
took it up, and the maiden awoke and was greatly frightened, and said,
‘I am a poor child that has neither father nor mother left; have pity on
me and take me with you.’ Then they said, ‘Yes, Miss Cat-skin, you will
do for the kitchen; you can sweep up the ashes, and do things of that
sort.’ So they put her into the coach, and took her home to the king’s
palace. Then they showed her a little corner under the staircase, where
no light of day ever peeped in, and said, ‘Cat-skin, you may lie and
sleep there.’ And she was sent into the kitchen, and made to fetch wood
and water, to blow the fire, pluck the poultry, pick the herbs, sift the
ashes, and do all the dirty work.

Thus Cat-skin lived for a long time very sorrowfully. ‘Ah! pretty
princess!’ thought she, ‘what will now become of thee?’ But it happened
one day that a feast was to be held in the king’s castle, so she said to
the cook, ‘May I go up a little while and see what is going on? I will
take care and stand behind the door.’ And the cook said, ‘Yes, you may
go, but be back again in half an hour’s time, to rake out the ashes.’
Then she took her little lamp, and went into her cabin, and took off the
fur skin, and washed the soot from off her face and hands, so that her
beauty shone forth like the sun from behind the clouds. She next opened
her nutshell, and brought out of it the dress that shone like the sun,
and so went to the feast. Everyone made way for her, for nobody knew
her, and they thought she could be no less than a king’s daughter. But
the king came up to her, and held out his hand and danced with her; and
he thought in his heart, ‘I never saw any one half so beautiful.’

When the dance was at an end she curtsied; and when the king looked
round for her, she was gone, no one knew wither. The guards that stood
at the castle gate were called in: but they had seen no one. The truth
was, that she had run into her little cabin, pulled off her dress,
blackened her face and hands, put on the fur-skin cloak, and was
Cat-skin again. When she went into the kitchen to her work, and began
to rake the ashes, the cook said, ‘Let that alone till the morning, and
heat the king’s soup; I should like to run up now and give a peep: but
take care you don’t let a hair fall into it, or you will run a chance of
never eating again.’

As soon as the cook went away, Cat-skin heated the king’s soup, and
toasted a slice of bread first, as nicely as ever she could; and when it
was ready, she went and looked in the cabin for her little golden ring,
and put it into the dish in which the soup was. When the dance was over,
the king ordered his soup to be brought in; and it pleased him so well,
that he thought he had never tasted any so good before. At the bottom
he saw a gold ring lying; and as he could not make out how it had got
there, he ordered the cook to be sent for. The cook was frightened when
he heard the order, and said to Cat-skin, ‘You must have let a hair fall
into the soup; if it be so, you will have a good beating.’ Then he went
before the king, and he asked him who had cooked the soup. ‘I did,’
answered the cook. But the king said, ‘That is not true; it was better
done than you could do it.’ Then he answered, ‘To tell the truth I did
not cook it, but Cat-skin did.’ ‘Then let Cat-skin come up,’ said the
king: and when she came he said to her, ‘Who are you?’ ‘I am a poor
child,’ said she, ‘that has lost both father and mother.’ ‘How came you
in my palace?’ asked he. ‘I am good for nothing,’ said she, ‘but to be
scullion-girl, and to have boots and shoes thrown at my head.’ ‘But how
did you get the ring that was in the soup?’ asked the king. Then she
would not own that she knew anything about the ring; so the king sent
her away again about her business.

After a time there was another feast, and Cat-skin asked the cook to let
her go up and see it as before. ‘Yes,’ said he, ‘but come again in half
an hour, and cook the king the soup that he likes so much.’ Then she
ran to her little cabin, washed herself quickly, and took her dress
out which was silvery as the moon, and put it on; and when she went in,
looking like a king’s daughter, the king went up to her, and rejoiced at
seeing her again, and when the dance began he danced with her. After the
dance was at an end she managed to slip out, so slyly that the king did
not see where she was gone; but she sprang into her little cabin, and
made herself into Cat-skin again, and went into the kitchen to cook the
soup. Whilst the cook was above stairs, she got the golden necklace and
dropped it into the soup; then it was brought to the king, who ate it,
and it pleased him as well as before; so he sent for the cook, who
was again forced to tell him that Cat-skin had cooked it. Cat-skin was
brought again before the king, but she still told him that she was only
fit to have boots and shoes thrown at her head.

But when the king had ordered a feast to be got ready for the third
time, it happened just the same as before. ‘You must be a witch,
Cat-skin,’ said the cook; ‘for you always put something into your soup,
so that it pleases the king better than mine.’ However, he let her go up
as before. Then she put on her dress which sparkled like the stars, and
went into the ball-room in it; and the king danced with her again, and
thought she had never looked so beautiful as she did then. So whilst
he was dancing with her, he put a gold ring on her finger without her
seeing it, and ordered that the dance should be kept up a long time.
When it was at an end, he would have held her fast by the hand, but she
slipped away, and sprang so quickly through the crowd that he lost sight
of her: and she ran as fast as she could into her little cabin under
the stairs. But this time she kept away too long, and stayed beyond the
half-hour; so she had not time to take off her fine dress, and threw her
fur mantle over it, and in her haste did not blacken herself all over
with soot, but left one of her fingers white.

Then she ran into the kitchen, and cooked the king’s soup; and as soon
as the cook was gone, she put the golden brooch into the dish. When the
king got to the bottom, he ordered Cat-skin to be called once more, and
soon saw the white finger, and the ring that he had put on it whilst
they were dancing: so he seized her hand, and kept fast hold of it, and
when she wanted to loose herself and spring away, the fur cloak fell off
a little on one side, and the starry dress sparkled underneath it.

Then he got hold of the fur and tore it off, and her golden hair and
beautiful form were seen, and she could no longer hide herself: so she
washed the soot and ashes from her face, and showed herself to be the
most beautiful princess upon the face of the earth. But the king said,
‘You are my beloved bride, and we will never more be parted from each
other.’ And the wedding feast was held, and a merry day it was, as ever
was heard of or seen in that country, or indeed in any other.


There was once a poor widow who lived in a lonely cottage. In front of
the cottage was a garden wherein stood two rose-trees, one of which bore
white and the other red roses. She had two children who were like the
two rose-trees, and one was called Snow-white, and the other Rose-red.
They were as good and happy, as busy and cheerful as ever two children
in the world were, only Snow-white was more quiet and gentle than
Rose-red. Rose-red liked better to run about in the meadows and fields
seeking flowers and catching butterflies; but Snow-white sat at home
with her mother, and helped her with her housework, or read to her when
there was nothing to do.

The two children were so fond of one another that they always held each
other by the hand when they went out together, and when Snow-white said:
‘We will not leave each other,’ Rose-red answered: ‘Never so long as we
live,’ and their mother would add: ‘What one has she must share with the

They often ran about the forest alone and gathered red berries, and no
beasts did them any harm, but came close to them trustfully. The little
hare would eat a cabbage-leaf out of their hands, the roe grazed by
their side, the stag leapt merrily by them, and the birds sat still upon
the boughs, and sang whatever they knew.

No mishap overtook them; if they had stayed too late in the forest, and
night came on, they laid themselves down near one another upon the moss,
and slept until morning came, and their mother knew this and did not
worry on their account.

Once when they had spent the night in the wood and the dawn had roused
them, they saw a beautiful child in a shining white dress sitting near
their bed. He got up and looked quite kindly at them, but said nothing
and went into the forest. And when they looked round they found that
they had been sleeping quite close to a precipice, and would certainly
have fallen into it in the darkness if they had gone only a few paces
further. And their mother told them that it must have been the angel who
watches over good children.

Snow-white and Rose-red kept their mother’s little cottage so neat that
it was a pleasure to look inside it. In the summer Rose-red took care
of the house, and every morning laid a wreath of flowers by her mother’s
bed before she awoke, in which was a rose from each tree. In the winter
Snow-white lit the fire and hung the kettle on the hob. The kettle
was of brass and shone like gold, so brightly was it polished. In the
evening, when the snowflakes fell, the mother said: ‘Go, Snow-white, and
bolt the door,’ and then they sat round the hearth, and the mother took
her spectacles and read aloud out of a large book, and the two girls
listened as they sat and spun. And close by them lay a lamb upon the
floor, and behind them upon a perch sat a white dove with its head
hidden beneath its wings.

One evening, as they were thus sitting comfortably together, someone
knocked at the door as if he wished to be let in. The mother said:
‘Quick, Rose-red, open the door, it must be a traveller who is seeking
shelter.’ Rose-red went and pushed back the bolt, thinking that it was a
poor man, but it was not; it was a bear that stretched his broad, black
head within the door.

Rose-red screamed and sprang back, the lamb bleated, the dove fluttered,
and Snow-white hid herself behind her mother’s bed. But the bear began
to speak and said: ‘Do not be afraid, I will do you no harm! I am
half-frozen, and only want to warm myself a little beside you.’

‘Poor bear,’ said the mother, ‘lie down by the fire, only take care that
you do not burn your coat.’ Then she cried: ‘Snow-white, Rose-red, come
out, the bear will do you no harm, he means well.’ So they both came
out, and by-and-by the lamb and dove came nearer, and were not afraid
of him. The bear said: ‘Here, children, knock the snow out of my coat a
little’; so they brought the broom and swept the bear’s hide clean;
and he stretched himself by the fire and growled contentedly and
comfortably. It was not long before they grew quite at home, and played
tricks with their clumsy guest. They tugged his hair with their hands,
put their feet upon his back and rolled him about, or they took a
hazel-switch and beat him, and when he growled they laughed. But the
bear took it all in good part, only when they were too rough he called
out: ‘Leave me alive, children,

Snow-white, Rose-red,
Will you beat your wooer dead?’

When it was bed-time, and the others went to bed, the mother said to the
bear: ‘You can lie there by the hearth, and then you will be safe from
the cold and the bad weather.’ As soon as day dawned the two children
let him out, and he trotted across the snow into the forest.

Henceforth the bear came every evening at the same time, laid himself
down by the hearth, and let the children amuse themselves with him as
much as they liked; and they got so used to him that the doors were
never fastened until their black friend had arrived.

When spring had come and all outside was green, the bear said one
morning to Snow-white: ‘Now I must go away, and cannot come back for the
whole summer.’ ‘Where are you going, then, dear bear?’ asked Snow-white.
‘I must go into the forest and guard my treasures from the wicked
dwarfs. In the winter, when the earth is frozen hard, they are obliged
to stay below and cannot work their way through; but now, when the sun
has thawed and warmed the earth, they break through it, and come out to
pry and steal; and what once gets into their hands, and in their caves,
does not easily see daylight again.’

Snow-white was quite sorry at his departure, and as she unbolted the
door for him, and the bear was hurrying out, he caught against the bolt
and a piece of his hairy coat was torn off, and it seemed to Snow-white
as if she had seen gold shining through it, but she was not sure about
it. The bear ran away quickly, and was soon out of sight behind the

A short time afterwards the mother sent her children into the forest
to get firewood. There they found a big tree which lay felled on the
ground, and close by the trunk something was jumping backwards and
forwards in the grass, but they could not make out what it was. When
they came nearer they saw a dwarf with an old withered face and a
snow-white beard a yard long. The end of the beard was caught in a
crevice of the tree, and the little fellow was jumping about like a dog
tied to a rope, and did not know what to do.

He glared at the girls with his fiery red eyes and cried: ‘Why do you
stand there? Can you not come here and help me?’ ‘What are you up to,
little man?’ asked Rose-red. ‘You stupid, prying goose!’ answered the
dwarf: ‘I was going to split the tree to get a little wood for cooking.
The little bit of food that we people get is immediately burnt up with
heavy logs; we do not swallow so much as you coarse, greedy folk. I had
just driven the wedge safely in, and everything was going as I wished;
but the cursed wedge was too smooth and suddenly sprang out, and the
tree closed so quickly that I could not pull out my beautiful white
beard; so now it is tight and I cannot get away, and the silly, sleek,
milk-faced things laugh! Ugh! how odious you are!’

The children tried very hard, but they could not pull the beard out, it
was caught too fast. ‘I will run and fetch someone,’ said Rose-red. ‘You
senseless goose!’ snarled the dwarf; ‘why should you fetch someone? You
are already two too many for me; can you not think of something better?’
‘Don’t be impatient,’ said Snow-white, ‘I will help you,’ and she pulled
her scissors out of her pocket, and cut off the end of the beard.

As soon as the dwarf felt himself free he laid hold of a bag which lay
amongst the roots of the tree, and which was full of gold, and lifted it
up, grumbling to himself: ‘Uncouth people, to cut off a piece of my fine
beard. Bad luck to you!’ and then he swung the bag upon his back, and
went off without even once looking at the children.

Some time afterwards Snow-white and Rose-red went to catch a dish
of fish. As they came near the brook they saw something like a large
grasshopper jumping towards the water, as if it were going to leap in.
They ran to it and found it was the dwarf. ‘Where are you going?’ said
Rose-red; ‘you surely don’t want to go into the water?’ ‘I am not such
a fool!’ cried the dwarf; ‘don’t you see that the accursed fish wants
to pull me in?’ The little man had been sitting there fishing, and
unluckily the wind had tangled up his beard with the fishing-line; a
moment later a big fish made a bite and the feeble creature had not
strength to pull it out; the fish kept the upper hand and pulled the
dwarf towards him. He held on to all the reeds and rushes, but it was of
little good, for he was forced to follow the movements of the fish, and
was in urgent danger of being dragged into the water.

The girls came just in time; they held him fast and tried to free his
beard from the line, but all in vain, beard and line were entangled fast
together. There was nothing to do but to bring out the scissors and cut
the beard, whereby a small part of it was lost. When the dwarf saw that
he screamed out: ‘Is that civil, you toadstool, to disfigure a man’s
face? Was it not enough to clip off the end of my beard? Now you have
cut off the best part of it. I cannot let myself be seen by my people.
I wish you had been made to run the soles off your shoes!’ Then he took
out a sack of pearls which lay in the rushes, and without another word
he dragged it away and disappeared behind a stone.

It happened that soon afterwards the mother sent the two children to the
town to buy needles and thread, and laces and ribbons. The road led them
across a heath upon which huge pieces of rock lay strewn about. There
they noticed a large bird hovering in the air, flying slowly round and
round above them; it sank lower and lower, and at last settled near a
rock not far away. Immediately they heard a loud, piteous cry. They ran
up and saw with horror that the eagle had seized their old acquaintance
the dwarf, and was going to carry him off.

The children, full of pity, at once took tight hold of the little man,
and pulled against the eagle so long that at last he let his booty go.
As soon as the dwarf had recovered from his first fright he cried
with his shrill voice: ‘Could you not have done it more carefully! You
dragged at my brown coat so that it is all torn and full of holes, you
clumsy creatures!’ Then he took up a sack full of precious stones, and
slipped away again under the rock into his hole. The girls, who by
this time were used to his ingratitude, went on their way and did their
business in town.

As they crossed the heath again on their way home they surprised the
dwarf, who had emptied out his bag of precious stones in a clean spot,
and had not thought that anyone would come there so late. The evening
sun shone upon the brilliant stones; they glittered and sparkled with
all colours so beautifully that the children stood still and stared
at them. ‘Why do you stand gaping there?’ cried the dwarf, and his
ashen-grey face became copper-red with rage. He was still cursing when a
loud growling was heard, and a black bear came trotting towards them out
of the forest. The dwarf sprang up in a fright, but he could not reach
his cave, for the bear was already close. Then in the dread of his heart
he cried: ‘Dear Mr Bear, spare me, I will give you all my treasures;
look, the beautiful jewels lying there! Grant me my life; what do you
want with such a slender little fellow as I? you would not feel me
between your teeth. Come, take these two wicked girls, they are tender
morsels for you, fat as young quails; for mercy’s sake eat them!’ The
bear took no heed of his words, but gave the wicked creature a single
blow with his paw, and he did not move again.

The girls had run away, but the bear called to them: ‘Snow-white and
Rose-red, do not be afraid; wait, I will come with you.’ Then they
recognized his voice and waited, and when he came up to them suddenly
his bearskin fell off, and he stood there a handsome man, clothed all in
gold. ‘I am a king’s son,’ he said, ‘and I was bewitched by that wicked
dwarf, who had stolen my treasures; I have had to run about the forest
as a savage bear until I was freed by his death. Now he has got his
well-deserved punishment.

Snow-white was married to him, and Rose-red to his brother, and they
divided between them the great treasure which the dwarf had gathered
together in his cave. The old mother lived peacefully and happily with
her children for many years. She took the two rose-trees with her, and
they stood before her window, and every year bore the most beautiful
roses, white and red.