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´╗┐Title: Stories to Read or Tell from Fairy Tales and Folklore
Author: Foucher, Laure Claire [Editor], Budell, Ada [Illustrator]
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  STORIES TO READ OR TELL

  [Illustration: "A wonderful horse appeared, having a golden mane."
    (P. 13)]



  STORIES TO READ OR TELL
  FROM
  FAIRY TALES AND FOLKLORE


  Selected and Edited
  by
  LAURE CLAIRE FOUCHER
  Assistant in the New York Public Library


  Illustrated by Ada Budell


  NEW YORK
  MOFFAT, YARD AND COMPANY
  1917


  COPYRIGHT, 1911, BY
  MOFFAT, YARD AND COMPANY
  NEW YORK


  _Published October, 1911_
  _New Edition March, 1917_



  CONTENTS


  The Stone-Cutter                                Japanese   1

  Prince Kindhearted                                Polish   8

  The Timid Hare and the Flight of the Beasts        Hindu  17

  The Bee, the Harp, the Mouse, and the Bum-Clock    Irish  24

  The Tale of the Pointer Tray                      German  40

  The Enchanted Princess                           Russian  44

  "It Is Quite True!"                               Danish  57

  The Old Hag's Long Leather Bag                     Irish  63

  The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats               German  82

  The Tale of the Snow and the Steeple              German  89

  King Longbeard                                   Russian  93

  The Toy Goose                                     Danish 118

  Yellow Lily                                        Irish 123

  The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage              German 159

  The Tale of the Wolf in Harness                   German 164



  ILLUSTRATIONS


  A wonderful horse appeared                    _Frontispiece_

                                                        FACING
                                                          PAGE

  At the sound of the voice, the Stone-cutter looked
        around                                               2

  The Bodhisatta saw this headlong flight of the
        animals                                             18

  The Mouse and the Bum-clock stood up                      38

  When, behold, they found no less than six brace of
        live partridges                                     42

  Hardly had she spoken these words, when raging
        winds came blowing and whistling                    48

  "Pass it on," piped the bats                              60

  "Going up to a little house, she found an old hag"        74

  "The mother sewed him up so quickly"                      86

  "I took one of my pistols"                                90

  All the princesses were there                            104

  He jumped so high that nobody could see where he
        went to                                            120

  Up went the lid of the tank                              144

  The bird tells the others                                160

  "We both arrived in full career"                         165



INTRODUCING THE STORIES


"Stories to Read or Tell" has been compiled for the boys and girls who like
to listen to stories as well as to read them, and for the mothers and
teachers who are looking for stories "not quite so well known" as those
contained in many excellent compilations now in use.

"'Tell me a story' comes before the ability to read," and unfortunate is
the child who has not gone to the "Land of Nod" with good Mother Goose and
those of her kin.

"The story period of a child's life merges imperceptibly into the reading
period.... Listening to stories from books is the natural approach to
reading from books and is the first step toward the acquisition of
culture," says one believer in story-telling. Another adds "What is more
pleasing than an increasing acquaintance with stories of the imagination,
for of fact we shall learn more, anon."

The child who is brought up entirely on fact, loses the joys and fine
feeling offered to him through the imagery of great minds. To deprive him
of fairy tales, myths and legends as given through the medium of
story-telling, is to keep from him a knowledge of the fairies, gods and
heroes so frequently alluded to by authors and poets of the world's
literature.



THE STONE-CUTTER


Once upon a time there lived a stone-cutter, who went every day to a great
rock in the side of a big mountain and cut out slabs for gravestones or for
houses. He understood very well the kinds of stones wanted for the
different purposes, and as he was a careful workman he had plenty of
customers. For a long time he was quite happy and contented, and asked for
nothing better than what he had.

Now in the mountain dwelt a spirit which now and then appeared to men, and
helped them in many ways to become rich and prosperous. The stone-cutter,
however, had never seen this spirit, and only shook his head, with an
unbelieving air, when anyone spoke of it. But a time was coming when he
learned to change his opinion.

One day the stone-cutter carried a gravestone to the house of a rich man,
and saw there all sorts of beautiful things, of which he had never even
dreamed. Suddenly his daily work seemed to grow harder and heavier, and he
said to himself: "Oh, if only I were a rich man, and could sleep in a bed
with silken curtains and golden tassels, how happy I should be!"

[Illustration: At the sound of the voice, the Stone-Cutter looked around.]

And a voice answered him: "Your wish is heard; a rich man you shall be!"

At the sound of the voice the stone-cutter looked round, but could see
nobody. He thought it was all his fancy, and picked up his tools and went
home, for he did not feel inclined to do any more work that day. But when
he reached the little house where he lived, he stood still with amazement,
for instead of his wooden hut was a stately palace filled with splendid
furniture, and most splendid of all was the bed, in every respect like the
one he had envied. He was nearly beside himself with joy, and in his new
life the old one was soon forgotten.

It was now the beginning of summer, and each day the sun blazed more
fiercely. One morning the heat was so great that the stone-cutter could
scarcely breathe, and he determined he would stop at home till the
evening. He was rather dull, for he had never learned how to amuse himself,
and was peeping through the closed blinds to see what was going on in the
street, when a little carriage passed by, drawn by servants dressed in blue
and silver. In the carriage sat a prince, and over his head a golden
umbrella was held, to protect him from the sun's rays.

"Oh, if I were only a prince!" said the stone-cutter to himself, as the
carriage vanished round the corner. "Oh, if I were only a prince, and could
go in such a carriage and have a golden umbrella held over me, how happy I
should be!"

And the voice of the mountain spirit answered: "Your wish is heard; a
prince you shall be."

And a prince he was. Before his carriage rode one company of men and
another behind it; servants dressed in scarlet and gold bore him along, the
coveted umbrella was held over his head, everything heart could desire was
his. But yet it was not enough. He looked round still for something to
wish for, and when he saw that in spite of the water he poured on his
grass the rays of the sun scorched it, and that in spite of the umbrella
held over his head each day his face grew browner and browner, he cried in
his anger: "The sun is mightier than I; oh, if I were only the sun!"

And the mountain spirit answered: "Your wish is heard; the sun you shall
be."

And the sun he was, and felt himself proud in his power. He shot his beams
above and below, on earth and in heaven; he burnt up the grass in the
fields and scorched the faces of princes as well as of poorer folk. But in
a short time he began to grow tired of his might, for there seemed nothing
left for him to do. Discontent once more filled his soul, and when a cloud
covered his face, and hid the earth from him he cried in his anger: "Does
the cloud hold captive my rays, and is it mightier than I? Oh, that I were
a cloud, and mightier than any!"

And the mountain spirit answered: "Your wish is heard; a cloud you shall
be!"

And a cloud he was, and lay between the sun and the earth. He caught the
sun's beams and held them, and to his joy the earth grew green again and
flowers blossomed. But that was not enough for him, and for days and weeks
he poured forth rain till the rivers overflowed their banks and the crops
of rice stood in water. Towns and villages were destroyed by the power of
the rain, only the great rock on the mountain side remained unmoved. The
cloud was amazed at the sight, and cried in wonder: "Is the rock, then,
mightier than I? Oh, if I were only the rock!"

And the mountain spirit answered: "Your wish is heard; the rock you shall
be!"

And the rock he was, and glorified in his power. Proudly he stood, and
neither the heat of the sun nor the force of the rain could move him. "This
is better than all!" he said to himself. But one day he heard a strange
noise at his feet, and when he looked down to see what it could be, he saw
a stone-cutter driving tools into his surface. Even while he looked a
trembling feeling ran all through him, and a great block broke off and fell
upon the ground. Then he cried in his wrath: "Is a mere child of earth
mightier than a rock? Oh, if I were only a man!"

And the mountain spirit answered: "Your wish is heard. A man once more you
shall be!"

And a man he was, and in the sweat of his brow he toiled again at his trade
of stone-cutting. His bed was hard and his food scanty, but he had learned
to be satisfied with it, and did not long to be something or somebody else.
And as he never asked for things he had not got, or desired to be greater
and mightier than other people, he was happy at last, and heard the voice
of the mountain spirit no longer.



PRINCE KINDHEARTED


Once upon a time there lived a king who had but one son, and he was called
the Kindhearted. When the prince was twenty years old, he asked the king,
his father, to let him go traveling. His father fitted him out for the
journey, gave him a true servant to guard him, and his fatherly blessing.
The prince took leave of his father, mounted a brave steed and went to
different countries, to see God's world, to learn many things, and to
return home a wiser and a better man.

Once when the prince was slowly riding through a silent field, he suddenly
perceived an eagle in pursuit of a swan. The white swan was almost caught
by the eagle's sharp claws, when the prince, carefully aiming, fired his
pistol. The eagle fell dead, and the happy swan came down and said: "Prince
Kindhearted, I thank you for your help. It is not a swan that is thanking
you, but the enchanted daughter of the Knight Invisible. You have not
saved me from an eagle's claws, but from the terrible magician King
Koshchey. My father will pay you well for your services. Remember whenever
you are in need, to say three times: 'Knight Invisible, come to my help!'"
The swan flew away as soon as it had finished speaking, and the prince
looked after it, then continued his journey.

He crossed many high mountains, traversed deep rivers, passed foreign
countries, and at last he came to a great desert, where there was nothing
to see but sky and sand. No man lived there, no animal's voice was ever
heard, no vegetable ever grew there; the sun was shining so brightly and
burning so terribly that all the rivers were dried up, their beds were lost
in the sand, and there was not a drop of water anywhere. The young prince
anxious to go everywhere and see everything and not noticing how dry things
were, kept going farther and farther, and deeper and deeper, into the
desert. But after a while he became terribly thirsty. In order to find some
water he sent his servant in one direction and he himself went in another.
After a long time he succeeded in finding a well. He called to his
servant, "I have found a means of getting some water," and they both were
happy. But their happiness did not last, for the well was very deep and
they had nothing with which to reach the water.

The prince said to the servant: "Dismount, I will let you down into the
well by some long ropes and you shall draw up some water."

"No, my prince," answered the servant, "I am much heavier than you are, and
Your Majesty's hands will not be able to hold me. You take hold of the
ropes, and I will let you down into the well."

The prince, the ropes tied around him, went down into the well, drank the
cold water, and taking some of it for the servant, pulled the ropes, as a
sign for the servant to draw him up again.

But instead of pulling him up, the servant said: "Listen, you, kingly son!
From your cradle-days until now you have lived a happy life, surrounded by
luxury and love, and I have always led the life of a miserable wretch. Now
you must agree to become my servant, and I will be the prince instead of
you. If you will not exchange, say your last prayer, for I am going to
drown you."

"Do not drown me, my true servant, you will not gain anything by it. You
will never find such a good master as I am, and you know what a murderer
may expect in the next world."

"Let me suffer in the next world, but I will make you suffer in this one,"
answered the servant and he began to loosen the ropes.

"Stop!" cried the prince, "I will be thy servant and you shall be the
prince. I will give you my word for it."

"I do not believe your word. Swear that you will write down what you
promise me, now, for words are lost in the air, and writing always remains
as a testimony against us."

"I swear!"

The servant let down into the well a sheet of paper and a pencil, and told
the prince to write the following: "The bearer of this is Prince
Kindhearted, traveling with his servant, a subject of his father's
kingdom."

The servant glanced over the note, pulled the prince out of the well, gave
him his shabby clothes, and put on the prince's rich dress. Then having
changed armor and horses, they went on.

In a week or so they came to the capital of a certain kingdom. When they
approached the palace, the false prince gave his horse to the false servant
and told him to go to the stable, and he himself went straight into the
throne chamber and said to the king: "I come to you to ask for the hand of
your daughter, whose beauty and wisdom are known all over the world. If you
consent, you will have our favor; if not, we will decide it by war."

"You do not speak to me in a nice way at all, not as a prince ought to
speak, but it may be that in your country you are not used to better
manners. Now listen to me, my future son-in-law. My kingdom is now in the
hands of an enemy of mine. His troops have captured my best soldiers and
now they are approaching my capital. If you will clear my kingdom from
these troops, my daughter's hand will be yours as a reward."

"All right," answered the false prince, "I will drive your enemies away.
Do not worry if they come to the capital. To-morrow morning not one enemy
will be left in your land." In the evening he went out of the palace,
called his servant and said to him: "Listen, my dear! Go out to the city
walls, drive away the foreign troops, and for this service I will return to
you your note, by which you denied your kingdom and swore to be my
servant."

The honest Prince Kindhearted put on his knightly armor, mounted his steed,
went out to the city walls and called in a loud voice: "Knight Invisible!
Come to my help!"

"Here I am," said Knight Invisible, "what do you wish me to do for you? I
am ready to do everything for you, because you saved my child from the
terrible Koshchey."

Prince Kindhearted showed him the troops, and the Knight Invisible whistled
loudly and called: "Oh you, my wise horse, come to me quickly!"

There was a rustling in the air, it thundered, the earth trembled, and a
wonderful horse appeared, having a golden mane, from his nostrils a fire
was burning, from his eyes bright sparks were flying, and from his ears
thick clouds of smoke were coming.

Knight Invisible jumped upon the horse and said to the prince: "Take this
magic sword and attack the troops from the left, and I upon my golden-maned
horse will attack them from the right."

They both attacked the army. From the left the soldiers were falling like
wood, from the right like whole forests. In less than an hour the entire
army vanished. Some of them remained upon the spot, dead; some of them
fled. Prince Kindhearted and the Knight Invisible met upon the
battle-field, shook hands in a friendly way, and in a minute the Knight
Invisible and his horse turned into a bright red flame, then into thick
smoke, which disappeared in the darkness. The prince returned quietly to
the palace.

The young princess felt very sad that evening. She could not sleep and so
leaned out of her window, whence she overheard the conversation between the
prince and the servant. Then she saw what was going on behind the city
walls. She also saw the Knight Invisible disappear in the darkness, and
Prince Kindhearted return to the palace. She saw the false prince coming
out of the palace, taking the knightly armor from the servant, and Prince
Kindhearted entering the stable to rest.

The next morning, the old king, seeing his land freed from the enemies,
felt very happy, and gave the prince many rich presents. But when he
announced the engagement of his daughter to him, she stood up, took the
hand of the real prince, who helped to serve at the table, led him before
the old king and said: "My dearest father and king, and all you that are
present here! This man is my bridegroom, sent to me by God, for he is your
savior, and the real prince. And that one who calls himself a prince, is a
traitor; a false and dishonest man." Then the princess told everything she
knew and said: "Let him show some proof that he really is a prince."

The false prince gave to the king the note, which was given to him in the
well. The king opened it and read aloud: "The bearer of this note, the
false and untrue servant of Prince Kindhearted, asks for pardon and
expects a just punishment. The note was given to him in the well by Prince
Kindhearted."

"Is it really so?" cried the wretch and he became pale as death.

"Yes, read it yourself, if you do not believe it," answered the king.

"I cannot read," said the poor fellow. He knelt before his master and
begged for mercy, but he received what he deserved.

Prince Kindhearted and the princess were happily married, and I was present
at the wedding feast and also felt happy.



THE TIMID HARE AND THE FLIGHT OF THE BEASTS


Once upon a time when Brahmadatta reigned in Benares, the Bodhisatta came
to life as a young lion. And when fully grown he lived in a wood. At this
same time there was near the Western Ocean a grove of palms mixed with
vilva trees. A certain hare lived here beneath a palm sapling, at the foot
of a vilva tree.

One day this hare after feeding came and lay down beneath a young palm
tree. And the thought struck him: "If this earth should be destroyed, what
would become of me?" And at this very moment a ripe vilva fruit fell on a
palm leaf. At the sound of it, the hare thought, "This solid earth is
collapsing," and starting up he fled without so much as looking behind him.

Another saw him scampering off as if frightened to death, and asked the
cause of his panic flight. "Pray, don't ask me," he said. The other hare
cried, "Pray, sir, what is it?" and kept running after him. Then the hare
stopped a moment and without looking back he said, "The earth here is
breaking up." And at this the second hare ran after the other. And so first
one and then another hare caught sight of him running, and joined in the
chase till one hundred thousand hares all took flight together. They were
seen by a deer, a boar, an elk, a buffalo, a wild ox, a rhinoceros, a
tiger, a lion, and an elephant. And when they asked what it meant and were
told that the earth was breaking up, they too took flight. So by degrees
this host of animals extended to the length of a full league.

[Illustration: The Bodhisatta saw this headlong flight of the animals.]

When the Bodhisatta saw this headlong flight of the animals, and heard that
the cause of it was that the earth was coming to an end, he thought: "The
earth is nowhere coming to an end. Surely it must be some sound which was
misunderstood by them. And if I don't make a great effort, they will surely
perish. I will save their lives."

So with the speed of a lion he got before them to the foot of a mountain,
and lion-like roared three times. They were terribly frightened at the
lion, and stopped in their flight, stood huddled together. The lion went in
amongst them and asked why they were running away.

"The earth is collapsing," they answered.

"Who saw it collapsing?" he said.

"The elephants know all about it," they replied.

He asked the elephants. "We don't know," they said; "the lions know." But
the lions said, "We don't know; the tigers know." The tigers said, "The
rhinoceroses know." The rhinoceroses said, "The wild oxen know." The wild
oxen, "The buffaloes." The buffaloes, "The elks." The elks, "The boars."
The boars, "The deer." The deer said, "We don't know; the hares know." When
the hares were questioned, they pointed to one particular hare and said,
"This one told us."

So the Bodhisatta asked, "Is it true, sir, that the earth is breaking up?"

"Yes, sir, I saw it," said the hare.

"Where," he asked, "were you living when you saw it?"

"Near the ocean, sir, in a grove of palms mixed with vilva trees. For as I
was lying beneath the shade of a palm sapling at the foot of a vilva tree,
methought, 'If this earth should break up, where shall I go?' And at that
very moment I heard the sound of breaking up of the earth, and I fled."

Thought the lion: "A ripe vilva fruit evidently must have fallen on a palm
leaf and made a 'thud,' and this hare jumped to the conclusion that the
earth was coming to an end, and ran away. I will find out the exact truth
about it." So he reassured the herd of animals, and said: "I will take the
hare and go find out exactly whether the earth is coming to an end or not,
in the place pointed out by him. Until I return do you stay here." Then,
placing the hare on his back, he sprang forward with the speed of a lion,
and putting the hare down in a palm grove, he said, "Come, show us the
place you meant."

"I dare not, my lord," said the hare.

"Come, don't be afraid," said the lion.

The hare, not venturing to go near the vilva tree, stood afar off and
cried, "Yonder, sir, is the place of dreadful sounds," and so saying, he
repeated the first stanza:

    "From the spot where I did dwell
      Issued forth a fearful 'thud';
    What it was I could not tell,
      Nor what caused it understood."

After hearing what the hare said, the lion went to the foot of the vilva
tree, and saw the spot where the hare had been lying beneath the shade of
the palm tree, and the ripe vilva fruit that fell on the palm leaf, and
having carefully ascertained that the earth had not broken up, he placed
the hare on his back and with the speed of a lion soon came again to the
herd of beasts.

Then he told them the whole story, and said, "Don't be afraid." And having
thus reassured the herd of beasts, he let them go.

Verily if it had not been for the Bodhisatta at that time, all the beasts
would have rushed into the sea and perished. It was all owing to the
Bodhisatta that they escaped death.

    Alarmed at sound of fallen fruit,
      A hare once ran away;
    The other beasts all followed suit,
      Moved by that hare's dismay.

    They hastened not to view the scene,
      But lent a willing ear
    To idle gossip, and were clean
      Distraught with foolish fear.

    They who to Wisdom's calm delight
      And Virtue's heights attain,
    Though ill example should invite,
      Such panic fear disdain.

These three stanzas were inspired by Perfect Wisdom.



THE BEE, THE HARP, THE MOUSE, AND THE BUM-CLOCK


Once there was a widow, and she had one son, called Jack. Jack and his
mother owned just three cows. They lived well and happy for a long time;
but at last hard times came down on them, and the crops failed, and poverty
looked in at the door, and things got so sore against the poor widow that
for want of money and for want of necessities she had to make up her mind
to sell one of the cows. "Jack," she said one night, "go over in the
morning to the fair to sell the branny cow."

Well and good: in the morning my brave Jack was up early, and took a stick
in his fist and turned out the cow, and off to the fair he went with her;
and when Jack came into the fair, he saw a great crowd gathered in a ring
in the street. He went into the crowd to see what they were looking at, and
there in the middle of them he saw a man with a wee, wee Harp, a Mouse, and
a Bum-clock (Cockroach), and a Bee to play the harp. And when the man put
them down on the ground and whistled, the Bee began to play the Harp, and
the Mouse and the Bum-clock stood up on their hind legs and got hold of
each other and began to waltz. And as soon as the Harp began to play and
the Mouse and the Bum-clock to dance, there wasn't a man or woman, or a
thing in the fair, that didn't begin to dance also; and the pots and pans,
and the wheels and reels jumped and jigged, all over the town, and Jack
himself and the branny cow were as bad as the next.

There was never a town in such a state before or since, and after a while
the man picked up the Bee, the Harp, and the Mouse, and the Bum-clock and
put them into his pocket, and the men and women, Jack and the cow, the pots
and pans, wheels and reels, that had hopped and jigged, now stopped, and
everyone began to laugh as if to break its heart. Then the man turned to
Jack. "Jack," says he, "how would you like to be master of all these
animals?"

"Why," says Jack, "I should like it fine."

"Well, then," says the man, "how will you and me make a bargain about
them?"

"I have no money," says Jack.

"But you have a fine cow," says the man. "I will give you the Bee and the
Harp for it."

"O, but," Jack says, says he, "my poor mother at home is very sad and
sorrowful entirely, and I have this cow to sell and lift her heart again."

"And better than this she cannot get," says the man. "For when she sees the
Bee play the Harp, she will laugh if she never laughed in her life before."

"Well," says Jack, says he, "that will be grand."

He made the bargain. The man took the cow; and Jack started home with the
Bee and the Harp in his pocket, and when he came home, his mother welcomed
him back.

"And, Jack," says she, "I see you have sold the cow."

"I have done that," says Jack.

"Did you do well?" says the mother.

"I did well, and very well," says Jack.

"How much did you get for her?" says the mother.

"O," says he, "it was not for money at all I sold her, but for something
far better."

"O, Jack! Jack!" says she, "what have you done?"

"Just wait until you see, mother," says he, "and you will soon say I have
done well."

Out of his pocket he takes the Bee and the Harp and sets them in the middle
of the floor, and whistles to them, and as soon as he did this the Bee
began to play the Harp, and the mother she looked at them and let a big,
great laugh out of her, and she and Jack began to dance, the pots and pans,
the wheels and reels began to jig and dance over the floor, and the house
itself hopped about also.

When Jack picked up the Bee and the Harp again the dancing all stopped, and
the mother laughed for a long time. But when she came to herself, she got
very angry entirely with Jack, and she told him he was a silly, foolish
fellow, that there was neither food nor money in the house, and now he had
lost one of her good cows also. "We must do something to live," says she.
"Over to the fair you must go to-morrow morning, and take the black cow
with you and sell her."

And off in the morning at an early hour brave Jack started, and never
halted until he was in the fair. When he came into the fair, he saw a big
crowd gathered in a ring in the street. Said Jack to himself, "I wonder
what are they looking at."

Into the crowd he pushed, and saw the wee man this day again with a Mouse
and a Bum-clock, and he put them down in the street and whistled. The Mouse
and the Bum-clock stood up on their hind legs and got hold of each other
and began to dance there and jig, and as they did there was not a man or
woman in the street who didn't begin to jig also, and Jack and the black
cow, and the wheels and the reels, and the pots and pans, all of them were
jigging and dancing all over the town, and the houses themselves were
jumping and hopping about, and such a place Jack or any one else never saw
before.

When the man lifted the Mouse and the Bum-clock into his pocket, they all
stopped dancing and settled down, and everybody laughed right hearty. The
man turned to Jack. "Jack," said he, "I am glad to see you; how would you
like to have these animals?"

"I should like well to have them," says Jack, says he, "only I cannot."

"Why cannot you?" says the man.

"O," says Jack, says he, "I have no money, and my poor mother is very
down-hearted. She sent me to the fair to sell this cow and bring some money
to lift her heart."

"O," says the man, says he, "if you want to lift your mother's heart I will
sell you the Mouse, and when you set the Bee to play the Harp and the Mouse
to dance to it, your mother will laugh if she never laughed in her life
before."

"But I have no money," says Jack, says he, "to buy your Mouse."

"I don't mind," says the man, says he, "I will take your cow for it."

Poor Jack was so taken with the Mouse and had his mind so set on it, that
he thought it was a grand bargain entirely, and he gave the man his cow,
and took the Mouse and started off for home, and when he got home his
mother welcomed him.

"Jack," says she, "I see you have sold the cow."

"I did that," says Jack.

"Did you sell her well?" says she.

"Very well indeed," says Jack, says he.

"How much did you get for her?"

"I didn't get money," says he, "but I got value."

"O, Jack! Jack!" says she, "what do you mean?"

"I will soon show you that, mother," says he, taking the Mouse out of his
pocket and the Harp and the Bee and setting all on the floor; and when he
began to whistle the Bee began to play, and the Mouse go up on its hind
legs and began to dance and jig, and the mother gave such a hearty laugh as
she never laughed in her life before. To dancing and jigging herself and
Jack fell, and the pots and pans and the wheels and reels began to dance
and jig over the floor, and the house jigged also. And when they were tired
of this, Jack lifted the Harp and the Mouse and the Bee and put them in
his pocket, and his mother she laughed for a long time.

But when she got over that she got very down-hearted and very angry
entirely with Jack. "And O, Jack," she says, "you are a stupid
good-for-nothing fellow. We have neither money nor meat in the house, and
here you have lost two of my good cows, and I have only one left now.
To-morrow morning," she says, "you must be up early and take this cow to
the fair and sell her. See to get something to lift my heart up."

"I will do that," says Jack, says he. So he went to his bed, and early in
the morning he was up and turned out the spotty cow and went to the fair.

When Jack got to the fair, he saw a crowd gathered in a ring in the street.
"I wonder what they are looking at, anyhow," says he. He pushed through the
crowd, and there he saw the same wee man he had seen before, with a
Bum-clock; and when he put the Bum-clock on the ground, he whistled, and
the Bum-clock began to dance, and the men, women, and children in the
street, and Jack and the spotty cow began to dance and jig also, and
everything on the street and about it, the wheels and reels, the pots and
pans, began to jig, and the houses themselves began to dance likewise. And
when the man lifted the Bum-clock and put it in his pocket, everybody
stopped jigging and dancing and everyone laughed loud. The wee man turned,
and saw Jack.

"Jack, my brave boy," says he, "you will never be right fixed until you
have this Bum-clock, for it is a very fancy thing to have."

"O, but," says Jack, says he, "I have no money."

"No matter for that," says the man; "you have a cow, and that is as good as
money to me."

"Well," says Jack, "I have a poor mother who is very down-hearted at home,
and she sent me to the fair to sell this cow and raise some money and lift
her heart."

"O, but Jack," says the wee man, "this Bum-clock is the very thing to lift
her heart, for when you put down your Harp and Bee and Mouse on the floor,
and put the Bum-clock along with them, she will laugh if she never laughed
in her life before."

"Well, that is surely true," says Jack, says he, "and I think I will make a
swap with you."

So Jack gave the cow to the man and took the Bum-clock himself, and started
for home. His mother was glad to see Jack back, and says she, "Jack, I see
that you have sold the cow."

"I did that, mother," says Jack.

"Did you sell her well, Jack?" says the mother.

"Very well indeed, mother," says Jack.

"How much did you get for her?" says the mother.

"I didn't take any money for her, mother, but value," says Jack, and he
takes out of his pocket the Bum-clock and the Mouse, and set them on the
floor and began to whistle, and the Bee began to play the Harp and the
Mouse and the Bum-clock stood up on their hind legs and began to dance, and
Jack's mother laughed very hearty, and everything in the house, the wheels
and the reels, and the pots and pans, went jigging and hopping over the
floor, and the house itself went jigging and hopping about likewise.

When Jack lifted up the animals and put them in his pocket, everything
stopped, and the mother laughed for a good while. But after a while, when
she came to herself, and saw what Jack had done and how they were now
without either money, or food, or a cow, she got very, very angry at Jack,
and scolded him hard, and then sat down and began to cry.

Poor Jack, when he looked at himself, confessed that he was a stupid fool
entirely. "And what," says he, "shall I now do for my poor mother?" He went
out along the road, thinking and thinking, and he met a wee woman who said,
"Good-morrow to you, Jack," says she, "how is it you are not trying for the
king's daughter of Ireland?"

"What do you mean?" says Jack.

Says she: "Didn't you hear what the whole world has heard, that the King of
Ireland has a daughter who hasn't laughed for seven years, and he has
promised to give her in marriage, and to give the kingdom along with her
to any man who will take three laughs out of her."

"If that is so," says Jack, says he, "it is not here I should be."

Back to the house he went, and gathers together the Bee, the Harp, the
Mouse, and the Bum-clock, and putting them into his pocket, he bade his
mother good-bye, and told her it wouldn't be long till she got news from
him, and off he hurries.

When he reached the castle, there was a ring of spikes all round the castle
and men's heads on nearly every spike there.

"What heads are these?" Jack asked one of the king's soldiers.

"Any man that comes here trying to win the king's daughter and fails to
make her laugh three times, loses his head and has it stuck on a spike.
These are the heads of the men that failed," says he.

"A mighty big crowd," says Jack, says he. Then Jack sent word to tell the
king's daughter and the king that there was a new man who had come to win
her.

In a very little time the king and the king's daughter and the king's
court all came out and sat themselves down on gold and silver chairs in
front of the castle, and ordered Jack to be brought in until he should have
his trial. Jack, before he went, took out of his pocket the Bee, the Harp,
the Mouse, the Bum-clock, and he gave the Harp to the Bee, and he tied a
string to one and the other, and took the end of the string himself, and
marched into the castle yard before all the court, with his animals coming
on a string behind him.

When the queen and the king and the court and the princes saw poor ragged
Jack with his Bee, and Mouse, and Bum-clock hopping behind him on a string,
they set up one roar of laughter that was long and loud enough, and when
the king's daughter herself lifted her head and looked to see what they
were laughing at, and saw Jack and his paraphernalia, she opened her mouth
and she let out of her such a laugh as was never heard before.

Then Jack dropped a low courtesy, and said, "Thank you, my lady; I have one
of the three parts of you won."

Then he drew up his animals in a circle, and began to whistle, and the
minute he did, the Bee began to play the Harp, and the Mouse and the
Bum-clock stood up on their hind legs, got hold of each other, and began to
dance, and the king and the king's court and Jack himself began to dance
and jig, and everything about the king's castle, pots and pans, wheels and
reels, and the castle itself began to dance also. And the king's daughter,
when she saw this, opened her mouth again, and let out of her a laugh twice
louder than she let before, and Jack, in the middle of his jigging, drops
another courtesy, and says, "Thank you, my lady; that is two of the three
parts of you won."

[Illustration: The Mouse and the Bum-clock stood up.]

Jack and his menagerie went on playing and dancing, but Jack could not get
the third laugh out of the king's daughter, and the poor fellow saw his big
head in danger of going on the spike. Then the brave Mouse came to Jack's
help and wheeled round upon its heel, and at it did so its tail swiped into
the Bum-clock's mouth, and the Bum-clock began to cough and cough and
cough. And when the king's daughter saw this she opened her mouth again,
and she let the loudest and hardest and merriest laugh that was ever heard
before or since; and, "Thank you, my lady," says Jack, dropping another
courtesy; "I have all of you won."

Then when Jack stopped his menagerie, the king took himself and the
menagerie within the castle. He was washed and combed, and dressed in a
suit of silk and satin, with all kinds of gold and silver ornaments, and
then was led before the king's daughter. And true enough she confessed that
a handsomer and finer fellow than Jack she had never seen, and she was very
willing to be his wife.

Jack sent for his poor old mother and brought her to the wedding, which
lasted nine days and nine nights, every night better than the other. All
the lords and ladies and gentry of Ireland were at the wedding. I was at
it, too, and got brogues, broth and slippers of bread and came jigging home
on my head.



THE TALE OF THE POINTER TRAY


In a voyage which I made to the East Indies with Captain Hamilton, I took a
favorite pointer with me; he was, to use a common phrase, worth his weight
in gold, for he never deceived me. One day, when we were, by the best
observations we could make, at least three hundred leagues from land, my
dog pointed. I observed him for nearly an hour with astonishment, and
mentioned the circumstance to the captain and every officer on board,
asserting that we must be near land, for my dog smelt game. This occasioned
a general laugh; but that did not alter in the least the good opinion I had
of my dog. After much conversation _pro_ and _con_, I boldly told the
captain that I placed more confidence in Tray's nose than I did in the eyes
of every seaman on board; and therefore boldly proposed laying the sum I
had agreed to pay for my passage (viz., one hundred guineas) that we should
find game within half an hour. The captain (a good hearty fellow) laughed
again, desired Mr. Crawford, the surgeon, who was prepared, to feel my
pulse. He did so, and reported me in perfect health. The following dialogue
between them took place; I overheard it, though spoken low and at some
distance:--

Captain. His brain is turned; I cannot with honor accept his wager.

Surgeon. I am of a different opinion. He is quite sane, and depends more
upon the scent of his dog than he will upon the judgment of all the
officers on board; he will certainly lose, and he richly merits it.

Captain. Such a wager cannot be fair on my side; however, I'll take him up,
if I return his money afterwards.

During the above conversation, Tray continued in the same situation, and
confirmed me still more in my opinion. I proposed the wager a second time;
it was then accepted.

  [Illustration: When behold, they found no less than six brace of live
    partridges!]

Done! and done! were scarcely said on both sides, when some sailors who
were fishing in the long boat, which was made fast to the stern of the
ship, harpooned an exceedingly large shark, which they brought on board
and began to cut up for the purpose of barrelling the oil, when, behold,
they found no less than SIX BRACE OF LIVE PARTRIDGES in this animal's
stomach!

They had been so long in that situation, that one of the hens was sitting
upon four eggs, and a fifth was hatching, when the shark was opened!

This young bird we brought up by placing it with a litter of kittens that
came into the world a few minutes before. The old cat was as fond of it as
any of her own four-legged progeny, and made herself very unhappy when it
flew out of her reach till it returned again. As to the other partridges,
there were four hens amongst them; one or more were, during the voyage,
constantly sitting, and consequently we had plenty of game at the captain's
table; and in gratitude to poor Tray (for being a means of winning one
hundred guineas) I ordered him the bones daily, and sometimes a whole
bird.



THE ENCHANTED PRINCESS


In a certain kingdom there once served in the king's army a soldier. He
served him honestly and faithfully for twenty-five years. For his good
service the king gave him a leave of absence, and presented him with his
war-horse and armor. The soldier bade farewell to his comrades and went
home. He traveled one day, another day, a third day, and a whole week. The
soldier had no money to buy food for himself or for his horse, and his home
was still very far off. He was very hungry and tired. He looked all around
and saw a large and beautiful castle.

"Well," thought he, "I will try to enter it; perhaps they will take me into
service and I can earn something."

He entered the castle, put his horse in the stable, gave it food, and went
to the palace. In one of the rooms a table was set with the best foods and
drinks a person could wish for. He ate and drank and thought of taking a
rest.

Suddenly a bear entered. "Do not be afraid, young man. You can do me some
good. I am not a frightful bear; I am a fair maiden, an enchanted princess.
If you will pass three nights here, my enchantment will be broken, and I
will marry you."

The soldier consented. The bear left, and he was all alone. He felt so sad.
A great anxiety took hold of him, and he felt such a longing to depart that
he almost lost his mind. The third night he decided to leave the castle,
and to flee. But no matter how he looked and searched, he could find no way
of escape. He had to remain in the castle against his will. In the morning
the princess came in. She was as beautiful as a dream. She thanked him for
the service and told him to get ready for the wedding. The wedding was
celebrated and they lived happily together.

After some time the soldier thought of his old home and wanted to visit it.

"Stay here, my friend! Do not go. Aren't you happy here?" asked the
princess.

But the soldier insisted upon going to see his old parents. Before
departing, his wife gave him a small bag full of seeds. "Wherever you go
throw these seeds on both sides of the road; wherever they fall trees will
grow up; upon the trees rare fruits will grow, beautiful birds will sing."

The soldier mounted his good old horse and departed. Wherever he went, he
threw the magic seeds; and after him forests rose as if creeping out of the
earth. On the third evening of his journey, in the middle of an open field,
he saw a group of men sitting upon the grass, playing cards. Near them a
kettle was hanging, and though there was no fire under it, the soup inside
was boiling.

"What a wonder!" thought the soldier. "No fire is to be seen yet the kettle
is boiling hot. Let me look at it." He turned his horse, approached the men
and said, "Good evening, honest people. You have a wonderful thing: a
kettle boiling without fire, but I have something more wonderful."

He took out one seed and threw it upon the ground. In a minute a tree grew
up, rare fruit upon its branches, wonderful birds singing beautiful songs.
Now the soldier did not know that these men were the magicians that had
enchanted the princess, his wife. They recognized him.

"Oh," said they, "that is the same fellow, who saved the princess. Let us
make him sleep for half a year."

They treated him with an enchanted drink. The soldier immediately fell fast
asleep, and the men with the kettle disappeared.

Soon after this the princess took a walk in her garden. There she saw that
all the tree-tops were dry and dead. "That foretells me nothing good";
thought she. "Something wrong must have happened to my husband. He has been
away for three months already. It is time for him to come back, and as yet
I have heard nothing of him." She decided then to go to look for him.

She went by the same road over which the soldier had gone. On both sides
forests were growing, and birds were singing. But after a while she reached
the place where there were no more trees. The road was clearly marked in
the open field. She thought, "Where could my husband have gone? I hope he
has not been swallowed up by the earth." She looked around and saw aside
from the road a wonderful tree, and under it her husband. She ran to him,
shook him, called him, but could not wake him up. She pinched him, stuck
pins into his body but he felt no pain. He was lying as one dead and did
not move.

  [Illustration: Hardly had she spoken these words, when raging winds came
    blowing and whistling.]

The princess became angry, and in her anger she cursed him. "O, you
wretched sleepyhead! I wish a storm would raise you, and carry you off, far
away to unknown countries!"

Hardly had she spoken these words, when raging winds came blowing and
whistling, and raised the soldier and carried him off before the princess'
eyes. The princess felt sorry for her bad words, but it was too late. She
cried bitterly, but could not get her husband back. She returned to her
palace, and lived there a sad and lonely life.

The poor soldier was carried by the wind through many lands and seas, and
was thrown upon a very lonely sand-bank between two seas. If in his sleep
he should turn to his right or to his left, he would fall into the sea and
perish. For half a year he slept and did not move a finger. When he awoke,
he jumped straight upon his feet and looked around. From both sides the
waves were rising, and there was no end to the waters. He asked himself in
surprise, "How did I come here? Who brought me hither?"

He went along the bank and came to an island. There he saw a very high and
steep mountain. Its top reached the clouds. Upon it there was a large
stone. He approached the mountain and saw at its foot three men fighting.
They were the sons of a malicious magician.

"What is the matter?" asked the soldier. "What are you fighting for?"

"You see," answered they, "our father died and left us three wonderful
things: a flying carpet, seven-league boots, and an invisible cap. But we
cannot divide them peaceably."

"O you silly magicians! Stop your fighting! If you wish, I will divide the
things between you so that everyone shall be satisfied."

The magicians consented.

"Now," said the soldier, "do you see that large stone upon the mountain
top? Climb up to it, push it down the mountain, and run after it; whoever
shall reach the stone first, shall choose among the three wonders; the
second one, between the two wonders; and the third shall take that which
shall be left."

The magicians climbed up, pushed the stone, and ran after it. It was
rolling down very quickly. One reached it, seized upon it--the stone turned
over, fell upon him and killed him. The same happened to the other two
magicians.

The soldier took the seven-league boots, the invisible cap, sat down upon
the flying carpet and went to look for his kingdom. After some time he came
to a hut; and entered. An old fairy lived there.

"Good morning, grandmother! Tell me how to find my dear little princess."

"I do not know, my dear! I have never seen her, nor heard of her. Go to the
other side of the ocean. There lives my older sister. She knows more than I
do; perhaps she will tell you."

The soldier flew upon his carpet to the older fairy. The journey was very
long. When he felt hungry or thirsty, he had only to put on his invisible
cap, go to the shops, and there he had everything he wished. At last he
came to the older fairy.

"Good morning, grandmother. Can't you tell me how to find my beautiful
princess?"

"No, dear! I can't tell you. But you cross many oceans and many lands until
you reach the end of the world. There lives my oldest sister; perhaps she
knows about the princess."

The soldier felt very much discouraged, but he was anxious to find his
wife. He went then to look for the oldest fairy. He traveled for a very,
very long time over many seas and many lands until he came to the end of
the world. A single hut was standing, and beyond it nothing could be seen
but thick darkness.

"Well," thought the soldier sadly, "if I don't find out anything here, I
can fly no further."

He went into the hut. There he saw an old, old fairy. Her teeth had fallen
out, her hair was white like snow. She was half blind and lame.

"Good morning, grandmother! Tell me, please, where to find my princess?"

"Wait awhile," said the fairy. "I will call all the winds and ask them.
They blow all over the world, so they must know where she lives."

She went out upon the porch and called in a loud voice. Suddenly from all
sides raging winds arose and blew, so that the hut trembled. "Be calmer!"
cried she, and said, "O you, my raging winds, you blow all over the world;
have you seen anywhere the beautiful princess?"

"No, we have not seen her, answered all the winds."

"Are you all here?"

"All but the South Wind."

After a short time the South Wind came. The old fairy asked him angrily,
"Where were you until now? I have been waiting impatiently for you."

"Pardon me, grandmother! I went into a new kingdom where a beautiful
princess lives. Her husband disappeared no one knows where. Now different
kings and princes come to woo her."

"And how far is it to that kingdom?"

"It will take thirty years to walk thither, ten years to fly upon wings,
and if I blow I can carry one over in three hours."

Then the soldier with tears in his eyes, begged the South Wind to carry him
to his princess.

"Well," said the South Wind, "I will do it if you will allow me to blow in
your kingdom for three days and three nights."

"You may blow for three weeks if you like."

"All right. Let me take a rest of three days. I will gather my strength,
and then we will go."

The South Wind rested and then said to the soldier, "Now, my friend, get
ready for the journey; but do not be afraid; I will not hurt you!"

Suddenly the strong wind whistled and blew, the soldier was raised in the
air, and carried over mountains and seas, right under the clouds, and in
just three hours he was in the new kingdom where the beautiful princess
lived.

The South Wind said, "Good-bye, young man! I pity you, and do not want to
blow in your kingdom."

The young prince asked, "Why so?"

"Because, if I begin to blow, not one house will be left in the cities, not
one tree in the gardens. I will overthrow everything."

"Good-bye, South Wind! Thank you for your service to me," said the soldier,
put on his invisible cap, and went into the palace.

All the time while he had been away, the trees had been standing with dried
and faded tops; now when he appeared again, they revived and began to
blossom. He entered the large room. Around the table there were sitting all
the many kings and princes that had come to woo the princess, feasting.
When one of them put the wine-glass to his lips, the soldier hit upon the
glass and broke it. All the guests were surprised, but the beautiful
princess guessed the meaning of it immediately.

"My husband must have come back," thought she. She looked through the
window into the garden. There all the trees were alive again, and covered
with blossoms. So she gave to her guests a riddle to solve: "I had a
wonderful hand-made casket with a golden key to it. I had lost my key and
had never expected to find it; and suddenly the key has found itself.
Whoever shall guess the riddle shall be my husband."

All the kings and princes tried in vain to solve it. Then the princess
said, "Come out and show yourself, my beloved!"

The soldier took off his invisible cap, took the white hands of the
princess, and kissed her sweet lips.

"Here is the key to my riddle," said the fair princess. "The casket is
myself, and the golden key is my faithful husband."

All the wooers had to go home with nothing, and the princess and the
soldier lived happily ever after.



"IT IS QUITE TRUE!"


"That is a terrible story!" said a Hen in a quarter of the town where the
affair had not happened. "That is a terrible story from a poultry-yard. I
dare not sleep alone to-night! It is quite fortunate that there are so many
of us on the roost together!" And she told a tale, which made the feathers
of the other hens stand on end, and the cock's comb fall down flat. It is
quite true!

But we will begin at the beginning; and that took place in a poultry-yard
in another part of the town. The sun went down, and the fowls jumped up on
their perch to roost. There was a Hen, with white feathers and short legs,
who laid eggs regularly and was a respectable hen in every way; as she flew
up on to the roost she pecked herself with her beak, and a little feather
fell from her.

"There it goes!" said she; "the more I peck myself the handsomer I grow!"
And she said it quite merrily, for she was a joker among the hens, though,
as I have said, she was very respectable; and then she went to sleep.

It was dark all around; the hens sat side by side on the roost, but the one
that sat next to the merry Hen did not sleep: she heard and she didn't
hear, as one should do in this world if one wishes to live in peace; but
she could not help telling it to her neighbor.

"Did you hear what was said here just now? I name no names; but here is a
hen who wants to peck her feathers out to look well. If I were a cock I
should despise her."

And just above the hens sat the Owl, with her husband and her children; the
family had sharp ears, and they all heard every word that the neighboring
Hen had spoken. They rolled their eyes, and the Mother-Owl clapped her
wings and said, "Don't listen to it! But I suppose you heard what was said
there? I heard it with my own ears, and one must hear much before one's
ears fall off. There is one among the fowls who has so completely forgotten
what is becoming conduct in a hen that she pulls out all her feathers,
while the cock sits looking at her."

"_Prenez garde aux enfants_," said the Father-Owl. "That's not a story for
the children to hear."

"I'll tell it to the neighbor owl; she's a very proper owl to associate
with." And she flew away.

"Hoo! hoo! to-whoo!" they both screeched in front of the neighbor's
dove-cote to the doves within. "Have you heard it? Have you heard it? Hoo!
hoo! there's a hen who has pulled out all her feathers for the sake of the
cock. She'll die with cold, if she's not dead already."

"Coo! coo! Where, where?" cried the Pigeons.

"In the neighbor's poultry-yard. I've as good as seen it myself. It's
hardly proper to repeat the story, but it's quite true!"

"Believe it! believe every single word of it!" cooed the Pigeons, and they
cooed down into their own poultry-yard. "There's a hen, and some say that
there are two of them that have plucked out all their feathers, that they
may not look like the rest, and that they may attract the cock's
attention. That's a dangerous thing to do, for one may catch cold and die
of a fever, and they are both dead."

[Illustration: "Pass it on," piped the bats.]

"Wake up! wake up!" crowed the Cock, and he flew up on to the plank; his
eyes were still heavy with sleep, but yet he crowed. "Three hens have died
of a broken heart. They have plucked out all their feathers. That's a
terrible story. I won't keep it to myself; pass it on."

"Pass it on!" piped the Bats; and the fowls clucked and the cocks crowed,
"Pass it on! Pass it on!" And so the story traveled from poultry-yard to
poultry-yard, and at last came back to the place from which it had gone
forth.

"Five fowls," it was told, "have plucked out all their feathers to show
which of them had become thinnest out of love to the cock; and then they
have pecked each other, and fallen down dead, to the shame and disgrace of
their families, and to the great loss of their master."

And the Hen who had lost the little loose feather, of course did not know
her own story again; and as she was a very respectable Hen, she said,--

"I despise those hens; but there are many of that sort. One ought not to
hush up such a thing, and I shall do what I can that the story may get into
the papers, and then it will be spread over all the country, and that will
serve those hens right, and their families too."

It was put into the newspaper; it was printed; and it's quite true--_that
one little feather may easily become five hens_.



THE OLD HAG'S LONG LEATHER BAG


Once on a time, long, long ago, there was a widow woman who had three
daughters. When their father died, their mother thought they never would
want, for he had left her a long leather bag filled with gold and silver.
But he was not long dead, when an old hag came begging to the house one day
and stole the long leather bag filled with gold and silver, and went away
out of the country with it, no one knew where.

So from that day, the widow woman and her three daughters were poor, and
she had a hard struggle to live and to bring up her three daughters.

But when they were grown up, the eldest said one day: "Mother, I'm a young
woman now, and it's a shame for me to be here doing nothing to help you or
myself. Bake me a bannock and cut me a callop, till I go away to push my
fortune."

The mother baked her a whole bannock, and asked her if she would have half
of it with her blessing or the whole of it without. She said to give her
the whole bannock without.

So she took it and went away. She told them if she was not back in a year
and a day from that, then they would know she was doing well, and making
her fortune.

She traveled away and away before her, far further than I could tell you,
and twice as far as you could tell me, until she came into a strange
country, and going up to a little house, she found an old hag living in it.
The hag asked her where she was going. She said she was going to push her
fortune.

Said the hag: "How would you like to stay here with me, for I want a maid?"

"What will I have to do?" said she.

"You will have to wash me and dress me, and sweep the hearth clean; but on
the peril of your life, never look up the chimney," said the hag.

"All right," she agreed to this.

The next day, when the hag arose, she washed her and dressed her, and when
the hag went out, she swept the hearth clean, and she thought it would be
no harm to have one wee look up the chimney. And there what did she see but
her own mother's long leather bag of gold and silver? So she took it down
at once, and getting it on her back, started for home as fast as she could
run.

But she had not gone far when she met a horse grazing in a field, and when
he saw her, he said: "Rub me! Rub me! for I haven't been rubbed these seven
years."

But she only struck him with a stick she had in her hand, and drove him out
of her way.

She had not gone much further when she met a sheep, who said "O, shear me!
Shear me! for I haven't been shorn these seven years."

But she struck the sheep, and sent it scurrying out of her way.

She had not gone much further when she met a goat tethered, and he said:
"O, change my tether! Change my tether! for it hasn't been changed these
seven years."

But she flung a stone at him, and went on.

Next she came to a lime-kiln, and it said: "O, clean me! Clean me! for I
haven't been cleaned these seven years."

But she only scowled at it, and hurried on.

After another bit she met a cow, and it said:

"O, milk me! Milk me! for I haven't been milked these seven years."

She struck the cow out of her way, and went on.

Then she came to a mill. The mill said: "O, turn me! Turn me! for I haven't
been turned these seven years."

But she did not heed what it said, only went in and lay down behind the
mill door, with the bag under her head, for it was then night.

When the hag came into her hut again and found the girl gone, she ran to
the chimney and looked up to see if she had carried off the bag. She got
into a great rage, and she started to run as fast as she could after her.

She had not gone far when she met the horse, and she said: "O, horse, horse
of mine, did you see this maid of mine, with my tig, with my tag, with my
long leather bag, and all the gold and silver I have earned since I was a
maid?"

"Ay," said the horse, "it is not long since she passed here."

So on she ran, and it was not long till she met the sheep, and said she:
"Sheep, sheep of mine, did you see this maid of mine, with my tig, with my
tag, with my long leather bag, and all the gold and silver I have earned
since I was a maid?"

"Ay," said the sheep, "it is not long since she passed here."

So she goes on, and it was not long before she met the goat, and said she:
"Goat, goat of mine, did you see this maid of mine, with my tig, with my
tag, with my long leather bag, and all the gold and silver I have earned
since I was a maid?"

"Ay," said the goat, "it is not long since she passed here."

So she goes on, and it was not long before she met the lime-kiln, and said
she: "Lime-kiln, lime-kiln of mine, did you see this maid of mine, with my
tig, with my tag, with my long leather bag, and with all the gold and
silver I have earned since I was a maid?"

"Ay," said the lime-kiln, "it is not long since she passed here."

So she goes on, and it was not long before she met the cow, and said she,
"Cow, cow of mine, did you see this maid of mine, with my tig, with my tag,
with my long leather bag, and all the gold and silver I have earned since I
was a maid?"

"Ay," said the cow, "it is not long since she passed here."

So she goes on, and it was not long before she met the mill, and said she:
"Mill, mill of mine, did you see this maid of mine, with my tig, with my
tag, with my long leather bag, and all the gold and silver I have earned
since I was a maid?"

And the mill said: "Yes, she is sleeping behind the door."

She went in and struck her with a white rod, and turned her into a stone.
She then took the bag of gold and silver on her back, and went away back
home.

A year and a day had gone by after the eldest daughter left home, and when
they found she had not returned, the second daughter got up, and said: "My
sister must be doing well and making her fortune, and isn't it a shame for
me to be sitting here doing nothing, either to help you, mother, or myself.
Bake me a bannock," said she, "and cut me a callop, till I go away to push
my fortune."

The mother did this, and asked her would she have half the bannock with her
blessing or the whole bannock without.

She said the whole bannock without, and she set off. Then she said: "If I
am not back here in a year and a day, you may be sure that I am doing well
and making my fortune," and then she went away.

She traveled away and away on before her, far further than I could tell
you, and twice as far as you could tell me, until she came into a strange
country, and going up to a little house, she found an old Hag living in it.
The old Hag asked her where she was going. She said she was going to push
her fortune.

Said the hag: "How would you like to stay here with me, for I want a maid?"

"What will I have to do?" says she.

"You'll have to wash me and dress me, and sweep the hearth clean; and on
the peril of your life never look up the chimney," said the hag.

"All right," she agreed to this.

The next day, when the hag arose, she washed her and dressed her, and when
the hag went out she swept the hearth, and she thought it would be no harm
to have one wee look up the chimney. And there what did she see but her own
mother's long leather bag of gold and silver? So she took it down at once,
and getting it on her back, started away for home as fast as she could run.

But she had not gone far when she met a horse grazing in a field, and when
he saw her, he said: "Rub me! Rub me! for I haven't been rubbed these seven
years."

But she only struck him with a stick she had in her hand, and drove him out
of her way.

She had not gone much further when she met the sheep, who said: "O, shear
me! Shear me! for I haven't been shorn in seven years."

But she struck the sheep, and sent it scurrying out of her way.

She had not gone much further when she met the goat tethered, and he said:
"O, change my tether! Change my tether! for it hasn't been changed in seven
years."

But she flung a stone at him, and went on.

Next she came to the lime-kiln, and that said: "O, clean me! Clean me! for
I haven't been cleaned these seven years."

But she only scowled at it, and hurried on.

Then she came to the cow, and it said: "O, milk me! Milk me! for I haven't
been milked these seven years."

She struck the cow out of her way, and went on.

Then she came to the mill. The mill said: "O, turn me! Turn me! for I
haven't been turned these seven years."

But she did not heed what it said, only went in and lay down behind the
mill door, with the bag under her head, for it was then night.

When the hag came into her hut again and found the girl gone, she ran to
the chimney and looked up to see if she had carried off the bag. She got
into a great rage, and she started to run as fast as she could after her.

She had not gone far when she met the horse, and she said: "O, horse, horse
of mine, did you see this maid of mine, with my tig, with my tag, with my
long leather bag, and all the gold and silver I have earned since I was a
maid?"

"Ay," said the horse, "it is not long since she passed here."

So on she ran, and it was not long until she met the sheep, and said she:
"Oh, sheep, sheep of mine, did you see this maid of mine, with my tig, with
my tag, with my long leather bag, and all the gold and silver I have earned
since I was a maid?"

"Ay," said the sheep, "it is not long since she passed here."

So she goes on, and it was not long before she met the goat, and said:
"Goat, goat of mine, did you see this maid of mine, with my tig, with my
tag, with my long leather bag, and all the gold and silver I have earned
since I was a maid?"

"Ay," said the goat, "it is not long since she passed here."

So she goes on, and it was not long before she met the lime-kiln, and said
she: "Lime-kiln, lime-kiln of mine, did you see this maid of mine, with my
tig, with my tag, with my long leather bag, and all the gold and silver I
have earned since I was a maid?"

"Ay," said the lime-kiln, "it is not long since she passed here."

So she goes on, and it was not long before she met the cow, and says she:
"Cow, cow of mine, did you see this maid of mine, with my tig, with my tag,
with my long leather bag, and all the gold and silver I have earned since I
was a maid?"

"Ay," said the cow, "it is not long since she passed here."

So she goes on, and it was not long before she met the mill, and said she:
"Mill, mill of mine, did you see this maid of mine, with my tig, with my
tag, with my long leather bag, and all the gold and silver I have earned
since I was a maid?"

And the mill said: "Yes, she is sleeping behind the door."

[Illustration: "Going up to a little house, she found an old hag."]

She went in and struck her with a white rod, and turned her into a stone.
She then took the bag of gold and silver on her back and went home.

When the second daughter had been gone a year and a day and she hadn't come
back, the youngest daughter said: "My two sisters must be doing very well
indeed, and making great fortunes when they are not coming back, and it's a
shame for me to be sitting here doing nothing, either to help you, mother,
or myself. Make me a bannock and cut me a callop, till I go away and push
my fortune."

The mother did this and asked her would she have half of the bannock with
her blessing or the whole bannock without.

She said: "I will have half of the bannock with your blessing, mother."

The mother gave her a blessing and half a bannock, and she set out.

She traveled away and away on before her, far further than I could tell
you, and twice as far as you could tell me, until she came into a strange
country, and going up to a little house, she found an old hag living in
it. The hag asked her where she was going. She said she was going to push
her fortune.

Said the hag: "How would you like to stay here with me, for I want a maid?"

"What will I have to do?" said she.

"You'll have to wash me and dress me, and sweep the hearth clean; and on
the peril of your life never look up the chimney," said the hag.

"All right," she agreed to this.

The next day when the hag arose, she washed her and dressed her, and when
the hag went out she swept the hearth, and she thought it would be no harm
to have one wee look up the chimney, and there what did she see but her own
mother's long leather bag of gold and silver? So she took it down at once,
and getting it on her back, started away for home as fast as she could run.

When she got to the horse, the horse said: "Rub me! Rub me! for I haven't
been rubbed these seven years."

"Oh, poor horse, poor horse," she said, "I'll surely do that." And she laid
down her bag, and rubbed the horse.

Then she went on, and it wasn't long before she met the sheep, who said:
"Oh, shear me, shear me! for I haven't been shorn these seven years."

"O, poor sheep, poor sheep," she said, "I'll surely do that," and she laid
down the bag, and sheared the sheep.

On she went till she met the goat, who said: "O, change my tether! Change
my tether! for it hasn't been changed these seven years."

"O, poor goat, poor goat," she said, "I'll surely do that," and she laid
down the bag, and changed the goat's tether.

Then she went on till she met the lime-kiln. The lime-kiln said: "O, clean
me! clean me! for I haven't been cleaned these seven years."

"O, poor lime-kiln, poor lime-kiln," she said, "I'll surely do that," and
she laid down the bag and cleaned the lime-kiln.

Then she went on and met the cow. The cow said: "O, milk me! Milk me! for I
haven't been milked these seven years."

"O, poor cow, poor cow," she said, "I'll surely do that," and she laid
down the bag and milked the cow.

At last she reached the mill. The mill said: "O, turn me! turn me! for I
haven't been turned these seven years."

"O, poor mill, poor mill," she said, "I'll surely do that," and she turned
the mill too.

As night was on her, she went in and lay down behind the mill door to
sleep.

When the hag came into her hut again and found the girl gone, she ran to
the chimney to see if she had carried off the bag. She got into a great
rage, and started to run as fast as she could after her.

She had not gone far until she came up to the horse and said: "O, horse,
horse of mine, did you see this maid of mine, with my tig, with my tag,
with my long leather bag, and all the gold and silver I have earned since I
was a maid?"

The horse said: "Do you think I have nothing to do only watch your maids
for you? You may go somewhere else and look for information."

Then she came upon the sheep. "O, sheep, sheep of mine, have you seen this
maid of mine, with my tig, with my tag, with my long leather bag, and all
the gold and silver I have earned since I was a maid?"

The sheep said: "Do you think I have nothing to do only watch your maids
for you? You may go somewhere else and look for information."

Then she went on till she met the goat. "O, goat, goat of mine, have you
seen this maid of mine, with my tig, with my tag, with my long leather bag,
and all the gold and silver I have earned since I was a maid?"

The goat said: "Do you think I have nothing to do only watch your maids for
you? You can go somewhere else and look for information."

Then she went on till she came to the lime-kiln. "O, lime-kiln, lime-kiln
of mine, did you see this maid of mine, with my tig, with my tag, with my
long leather bag, and all the gold and silver I have earned since I was a
maid?"

Said the lime-kiln: "Do you think I have nothing to do only watch your
maids for you? You may go somewhere else and look for information."

Next she met the cow. "O, cow, cow of mine, have you seen this maid of
mine, with my tig, with my tag, with my long leather bag, and all the gold
and silver I have earned since I was a maid?"

The cow said: "Do you think I have nothing to do only watch your maids for
you? You may go somewhere else and look for information."

Then she got to the mill. "O, mill, mill of mine, have you seen this maid
of mine, with my tig, with my tag, with my long leather bag, and all the
gold and silver I have earned since I was a maid?"

The mill said: "Come nearer and whisper to me."

She went nearer to whisper to the mill, and the mill dragged her under the
wheels and ground her up.

The old hag had dropped the white rod out of her hand, and the mill told
the young girl to take this white rod and strike two stones behind the mill
door. She did that, and her two sisters stood up. She hoisted the leather
bag on her back, and the three of them set out and traveled away and away
till they reached home.

The mother had been crying all the time while they were away, and was now
ever so glad to see them, and rich and happy they all lived ever after.



THE WOLF AND THE SEVEN LITTLE GOATS


There was once an old goat who had seven little ones, and was as fond of
them as ever mother was of her children. One day she had to go into the
wood to fetch food for them, so she called them all round her.

"Dear children," said she, "I am going out into the wood; and while I am
gone, be on your guard against the wolf, for if he were once to get inside
he would eat you up, skin, bones, and all. The wretch often disguises
himself, but he may always be known by his hoarse voice and black paws."

"Dear mother," answered the kids, "you need not be afraid, we will take
good care of ourselves." And the mother bleated good-bye, and went on her
way with an easy mind.

It was not long before some one came knocking at the house-door, and crying
out, "Open the door, my dear children, your mother is come back, and has
brought each of you something."

But the little kids knew it was the wolf by the hoarse voice.

"We will not open the door," cried they; "you are not our mother, she has a
delicate and sweet voice, and your voice is hoarse; you must be the wolf."

Then off went the wolf to a shop and bought a big lump of chalk, and ate it
up to make his voice soft. And then he came back, knocked at the
house-door, and cried, "Open the door, my dear children, your mother is
here, and has brought each of you something."

But the wolf had put up his black paws against the window, and the kids
seeing this, cried out, "We will not open the door; our mother has no black
paws like you; you must be the wolf."

The wolf then ran to a baker.

"Baker," said he, "I am hurt in the foot; pray spread some dough over the
place."

And when the baker had plastered his feet, he ran to the miller.

"Miller," said he, "strew me some white meal over my paws." But the miller
refused, thinking the wolf must be meaning harm to some one.

"If you don't do it," cried the wolf, "I'll eat you up!"

And the miller was afraid and did as he was told. And that just shows what
men are.

And now came the rogue the third time to the door and knocked. "Open,
children!" cried he. "Your dear mother has come home, and brought you each
something from the wood."

"First show us your paws," said the kids, "so that we may know if you are
really our mother or not."

And he put up his paws against the window, and when they saw that they were
white, all seemed right, and they opened the door; and when he was inside
they saw it was the wolf, and they were terrified and tried to hide
themselves. One ran under the table, the second got into the bed, the third
into the oven, the fourth in the kitchen, the fifth in the cupboard, the
sixth under the sink, and the seventh in the clock-case. But the wolf found
them all, and gave them short shrift; one after the other he swallowed
down, all but the youngest, who was hid in the clock-case. And so the wolf,
having got what he wanted, strolled forth into the green meadows, and
laying himself down under a tree, he fell asleep.

Not long after, the mother goat came back from the wood; and oh! what a
sight met her eyes! the door was standing wide open, table, chairs, and
stools, all thrown about, dishes broken, quilt and pillows torn off the
bed. She sought her children, they were nowhere to be found. She called to
each of them by name, but nobody answered, until she came to the name of
the youngest.

"Here I am, mother," a little voice cried, "here, in the clock-case."

And so she helped him out, and heard how the wolf had come, and eaten all
the rest. And you may think how she cried for the loss of her dear
children. At last in her grief she wandered out of doors, and the
youngest kid with her; and when they came into the meadow, there they saw
the wolf lying under a tree, snoring so that the branches shook. The mother
goat looked at him carefully on all sides and she noticed how something
inside his body was moving and struggling.

  [Illustration: "The mother sewed him up so quickly again, that he was
    none the wiser."]

"Dear me!" thought she, "can it be that my poor children that he devoured
for his evening meal are still alive?" And she sent the little kid back to
the house for a pair of shears, and needle, and thread. Then she cut the
wolf's body open, and no sooner had she made one snip than out came the
head of one of the kids, and then another snip, and then one after the
other of the six little kids all jumped out alive and well, for in his
greediness the rogue had swallowed them down whole. How delightful this
was! so they comforted their dear mother and hopped about like tailors at a
wedding.

"Now fetch some good hard stones," said the mother, "and we will fill his
body with them, as he lies asleep."

And so they fetched some in all haste, and put them inside him, and the
mother sewed him up so quickly again that he was none the wiser.

When the wolf at last awoke, and got up, the stones inside him made him
feel very thirsty, and as he was going to the brook to drink, they struck
and rattled one against another. And so he cried out:

    "What is this I feel inside me
    Knocking hard against my bones?
    How should such a thing betide me!
    They were kids, and now they're stones."

So he came to the brook, and stooped to drink, but the heavy stones weighed
him down, so he fell over into the water and was drowned. And when the
seven little kids saw it they came up running.

"The wolf is dead, the wolf is dead!" they cried, and taking hands, they
danced with their mother all about the place.



THE TALE OF THE SNOW AND THE STEEPLE


I set off from Rome on a journey to Russia, in the midst of winter, from a
just notion that frost and snow must of course mend the roads, which every
traveler had described as uncommonly bad through the northern parts of
Germany, Poland, Courland, and Livonia. I went on horseback as the most
convenient manner of traveling. I was but lightly clothed, and of this I
felt the inconvenience the more I advanced northeast. What must not a poor
old man have suffered in that severe weather and climate, whom I saw on a
bleak common in Poland lying on the road helpless, shivering, and hardly
having the wherewithal to cover his nakedness? I pitied the poor soul:
though I felt the severity of the air myself, I threw my mantle over him,
and immediately I heard a voice from the heavens blessing me for that
piece of charity, saying, "You will be rewarded, my son, for this in
time."

[Illustration: "I took one of my pistols, shot the bridle in two."]

I went on: night and darkness overtook me. No village was to be seen. The
country was covered with snow, and I was unacquainted with the road.

Tired, I alighted, and fastened my horse to something, like a pointed stump
of a tree, which appeared above the snow; for the sake of safety, I placed
my pistols under my arm, and laid down on the snow, where I slept so
soundly that I did not open my eyes till full daylight. It is not easy to
conceive my astonishment to find myself in the midst of a village, lying in
a churchyard; nor was my horse to be seen, but I heard him soon after neigh
somewhere above me. On looking upwards, I beheld him hanging by his bridle
to the weather-cock of the steeple. Matters were now very plain to me; the
village had been covered with snow overnight: a sudden change of weather
had taken place: I had sunk down to the churchyard whilst asleep, gently,
and in the same proportion as the snow had melted away; and what in the
dark I had taken to be a stump of a little tree appearing above the snow,
to which I had tied my horse, proved to be the cross or weather-cock of the
steeple!

With long consideration, I took one of my pistols, shot the bridle in two,
brought down the horse, and proceeded on my journey. [Here the baron seems
to have forgotten his feelings: he should certainly have ordered his horse
a feed of corn after fasting so long.]



KING LONGBEARD


A story about King Berendey; his son Prince Ivan; about the cunning of the
immortal King Koshchey, and about the wisdom of his daughter, Princess
Mary.

Once upon a time there lived King Berendey, called Longbeard, for his beard
reached far below his knees. He lived very happily with his wife the queen,
but God gave no children to them, and this grieved the king very much.

The king had to visit his kingdom. He bade farewell to his queen, and
stayed away for a long time. At the end of the visit on a very warm
afternoon, when he was approaching his capital, he decided to stop for a
rest in the meadow. He felt very thirsty and wanted some cold water to
drink, but there was no water around. What should he do? He was all dried
up with thirst. So the king decided to ride all over the meadow, perhaps
he would strike a spring. And sure enough, he soon found a well.

Hurriedly he jumped down from his horse, and looked into the well. It was
full of water to the brim, and upon its surface there was floating a golden
cup. The king reached his hand after the cup, but he could not grasp it.
The cup swam away from his reach. He grasped impatiently at the amber
handle now with his right hand, now with his left; but the handle, quickly
turning to the left or to the right, as if but mocking the king, could not
be caught. What was the matter? The king waited until the cup stood up
again straight in the water, grasped it at once from the right and the
left, but in vain! Slipping out from his hands like a fish, the cup dived
straight to the bottom, and again it was swimming on the surface as if
nothing had happened.

"Now wait," thought King Longbeard, "I will drink without you," and
stretching himself upon the grass, he began to drink with eagerness the
cold spring water, forgetting about his beard, which was drowned in the
water.

When he had drunk enough, he wanted to raise his head, but he could not do
it: somebody was holding the king's beard and did not want to let it go.
Leaning upon the fence of the well, he tried to get himself loose, shook
himself, turned his head, but all was in vain; he could not free his beard.
"Let me go," cried he. No answer. Only a terrible monster looked up to him
from the bottom, two big eyes shining like emeralds; the widely open mouth
queerly smiling, two rows of shining pearly teeth, and a red tongue
sticking out between them. The monster was laughing at the king. With its
paws it was firmly holding the king's beard.

At last a hoarse voice said from under the water, "It is no use trying,
King. I shall not let you go. But if you want to be free, give me that
which you possess, but which you do not know about."

The king thought, "What could that be that I have and do not know about? It
seems to me that I know everything," so he answered the monster, "All
right, I agree."

"Very well," the hoarse voice was heard to answer once more, "but look out,
keep your word, that no harm may happen to you." With the last word the
claws disappeared, with the monster.

Having freed his beard, the king mounted his horse, and continued his
journey. As he entered his capital, all the people came out to meet him,
cannons were playing, and all the bells were ringing from the city towers.
The king approached his gilded palace. The queen was standing upon the
balcony, near her the prime minister; in his arms he held a brocaded pillow
upon which there was lying a baby, fair and beautiful like the moon.

Then the king guessed and groaned, "There is what I did not know about! O,
you monster, you will be the death of mine!" So thought the king and cried
bitterly.

All wondered, but no one said a word. Taking the baby into his arms, King
Longbeard admired it long, carried it into the palace, put it into the
cradle, and hiding his sorrow, he began to rule over his country as
formerly. Nobody knew the king's secret. But everybody saw the king was
sad--he was always expecting somebody to come for his son. During the day
he found no rest, at night he could not sleep. The time was passing
meanwhile, and nobody came. The young prince grew very rapidly and
developed into a beautiful youth. The king himself forgot all that happened
at the well--but not everybody was so forgetful.

Once the prince, while hunting, came into a very thick forest. He looked
around: a wild glade was before him. Upon it stood a hollow lime tree. A
rustling came from the hollow, and a very queer looking old man came out
with a green beard and green eyes.

"Hello! Prince Ivan," said he, "we were looking for you. It is time to
think of us."

"Who are you?" asked Ivan.

"I will tell you later about it. Now do this for me: give my regards to
your father, King Longbeard, and ask him whether it is not time for him to
pay his debt? The term has passed long ago. He will understand the rest.
Now good-bye," and the bearded old man disappeared.

Prince Ivan, very sad and thoughtful, left the dark forest. He went
straight to his father, King Longbeard.

"Dear father king," said he, "a miracle occurred to me,"--and he told him
what he had seen and heard.

The king became pale like a ghost. "Woe to me, my dear son Ivan," cried he
weeping bitterly, "I see that we must part!" and he told to his son the
terrible story about his given oath.

"Do not cry, do not worry, father," answered the prince. "The calamity is
not so great. Give me a steed. I will go and you wait for me; keep the
secret, that nobody may know about it, not even my mother the queen. But if
I do not come back to you in a year, know that I am no longer alive." The
prince was fitted out for the journey. King Longbeard gave him gold armor,
a sword, and a steed. The queen gave him her blessing and a golden cross
upon his neck--and the young prince departed. What is going to happen to
him?

He rode for one day, for another, for a third, and on the fourth day right
after sunset, he came to a lake. The lake was smooth like glass; the water
was on a level with the shores; everything around was desert. The water was
covered with the rosy evening glow and the green shores with the thick
reeds were reflected in it. Everything seemed as if in a dream. The air did
not move; the reeds did not stir, there was no rustle upon the light
streams. The prince looked around and what did he see? Thirty crested white
ducks were swimming near the shore, upon the shore were lying thirty white
gowns. The prince dismounted very cautiously at some distance. Hidden by
the grass he crept towards the gowns and quickly took one of them. Then he
rested himself behind a bush to see what was going to happen. The ducks
swam and splattered in the stream, played, dived, and at last got to the
shore. Twenty-nine of them ran to the white gowns, knocked themselves upon
the ground, and all turned themselves into fair maidens, dressed and went
away. But the thirtieth duck ran up and down with a pitiful cry. Shyly
stretching her neck forward, she looked here and there, now flying up, now
coming down again. The prince felt pity for her. He came out from behind
his bush, and behold, she spoke to him in a human voice.

"Prince Ivan, give me back my gown and I will be useful to you."

The prince did not let her wait, but put the gown upon the grass and
suddenly what did he see? A maiden in white robes, young and beautiful. She
gave him her hand and with downcast, bashful eyes said to him:

"Thank you, good prince, for your kindness to me. You did me a favor, but
it will be of good service to you also. I am the daughter of the immortal
King Koshchey, Princess Mary. He has thirty daughters altogether. He is the
ruler of the underground kingdom. He has expected you as his guest for a
long time, and is very angry at your delay. But do not worry. Only follow
my advice. Now listen. As soon as you shall see King Koshchey, kneel and
creep before him upon your knees. He will stamp with his feet, but do not
be frightened. When he scolds you, do not listen, but keep on creeping
before him. What will happen, you will see later. Now we must go."

Princess Mary struck the ground with her small foot, the earth opened, and
they went down into King Koshchey's underground kingdom. They came to the
palace. It was built of precious stones and shone under the ground brighter
than the earthly sun. Boldly the prince entered. King Koshchey sat upon his
throne wearing a glittering crown, his eyes shone like emeralds. His hands
were like claws. Ivan immediately fell upon his knees. King Koshchey
stamped with his feet, his green eyes glittered frightfully, and he howled
so loudly that the vaults of his underground kingdom trembled. Remembering
the words of the Princess Mary, Ivan crept upon his knees toward King
Koshchey's throne.

The king howled and the prince kept on creeping. Finally it seemed funny to
the king. "Good for you, rogue," said he, "if you could succeed in making
me laugh, I will quarrel with you no longer. You are welcomed to our
underground kingdom, but know that for your disobedience you will have to
do three services for us. We will settle our accounts to-morrow. It is too
late to-night. Go!"

The courtiers quickly and politely took Ivan under his arms, and carried
him to a chamber, opened the door, bowed, and left him all to himself. He
lay down upon the bed and soon fell asleep. The next morning very early
King Koshchey called for Prince Ivan. "Well, Prince Ivan, now let us see
what you can do. For instance, build for us a palace for to-morrow. The
roof must be of gold, the walls of marble, the windows of crystal; around
it a regular garden, and in the garden a fish-pond. If you do it, you will
get into our favor; if not, do not blame us, but you shall be executed."

"O, you cruel King Koshchey!" thought Ivan. "This is an impossible thing
for me to do."

Greatly grieved he went to his room and thought his sad thoughts. In the
evening a bright bee came flying to his window, flapped against the pane,
and he heard a voice saying "Let me in!" He opened the window, the bee flew
inside and turned into Princess Mary.

"Hello, Prince Ivan! Why are you so sad?"

"I have good reasons to be so. Your father wants to have me executed."

"What have you decided to do?"

"Nothing. Let him do it. Go where you can and die where you must."

"No, my dear Prince Ivan. We must not lose our courage. There are still
greater calamities in the world than yours. Go to sleep, and get up very
early. The palace will be built for you. You will only have to go around
it, and knock with your hammer at the walls as if finishing your work."

And so it was. Very early in the morning Ivan came out of his chamber, and
behold! The palace was all built for him.

King Koshchey was surprised. He did not believe his own eyes. "O, you are a
very skillful fellow indeed. Now let us see whether you are just as
clever. I have thirty daughters, beautiful princesses. To-morrow I will
place all of them in a row; you will pass three times before them and tell
me which is the youngest of them. If you don't guess, you shall die. Now
go."

[Illustration: All the Princesses were there.]

"Is that hard to guess?" thought the prince, "I certainly will recognize
Princess Mary."

"It is very hard," said the princess, who flew as a bee into his room, "and
if I do not help you, you will get into trouble. We thirty sisters look all
alike. So great is the resemblance between us, that our father can
recognize us only by our dress."

"What am I to do then?"

"I will tell you what: I will be the one who has a small black fly on the
right cheek. But beware! Look very carefully; it is easy to make a
mistake." And the bee disappeared.

The next day the prince was again called to King Koshchey. All the
princesses were there, and all dressed alike stood in a row with downcast
eyes.

"Well," said the king, "pass three times before these beauties and tell us
which of them is Princess Mary."

Ivan looked at them and thought, "What a resemblance." He passed the first
time and saw no fly; passed for the second time--still no fly; passed the
third time and saw a tiny fly stealing its way across the fresh burning
cheek of one of the princesses. The prince blushed and his heart was
beating with joy. "Here she is, Princess Mary," said he, giving his hand to
the beauty with the fly upon her cheek.

"Ah, ah! I see there must be something wrong about it," grumbled King
Koshchey, looking angrily at the prince with his big green eyes. "It is
true you did recognize Princess Mary, but how did you guess it? Wait now, I
will soon find out the truth. In three hours come back to us. You will be
welcomed as our guest, but you will have to prove to us your wisdom by
deeds. I will light a straw, and you will have to make here upon the spot
while the straw is burning, a pair of shoes. It is not hard for you. But
remember if you fail to do it, you shall pay for it with your life."

Very much irritated, Ivan returned to his room. The bee-princess was
waiting for him.

"Why are you so sad again, my dear Prince Ivan?"

"How can I be joyful?" answered he. "Your father is plotting a new trick
against me. He wants me to make a pair of boots while a straw is burning.
Am I a shoemaker? I am a king's son, not worse by birth than he is. He is
immortal, but does this give him a right to treat me so badly?"

"So, Prince Ivan, what are you going to do now?"

"What can I do? I cannot make the boots. Let him take my head off. I do not
care any longer!"

"Oh, no, my dear prince! Are we not now bride and bridegroom? I will try to
save you. We will both be saved or both perish. We must run away." Saying
this the princess breathed upon the window. Her breath immediately froze to
the panes. Then she and the prince left the room, locked the door, and
threw the key far away.

Arm in arm they went up, and in a minute they were in the place of entrance
to the underground kingdom. The same lake, low grassy shore, fresh meadow,
and upon it the good steed of Prince Ivan. As soon as the sturdy steed felt
its rider, it neighed, jumped, ran straight towards him, and stood as if
rooted to the spot. Ivan did not think long, but mounted the horse, lifted
the princess, and off they went as quick as lightning.

Meanwhile King Koshchey sent his courtiers at the appointed hour for Prince
Ivan. They came to the door and found it locked. They knocked, and from
behind the Princess' breath answered in the voice of Prince Ivan, "I am
coming." The servants took the answer to the king. He waited and waited and
no prince came. The angry King Koshchey sent his servants again and they
brought the same answer. Nobody came, King Koshchey was almost mad with
anger.

"Does he want to mock me? Run, break the door, and take by force that
ill-bred fellow."

The servants ran, the door was broken up. What a surprise! Nobody was
inside, but the breath was loudly laughing at them.

King Koshchey almost burst with anger. "O, you miserable thief! Come here,
my people! All to me, my servants! Run, all of you, in pursuit of them.
They have departed."

"I hear the tramping of horses feet," whispered the princess, clasping the
prince.

He dismounted, and putting his ear against the ground said, "Yes, I hear
the chase, and it is quite near."

"Then we must not lose our time," said Princess Mary, and in a minute she
turned into a river, the prince into an iron bridge the steed into a black
raven, and the large road was divided into three smaller roads.

Swiftly the chase was coming by the fresh tracks, but when they came to the
river, they stopped perplexed. Up to the bridge they could follow the
track, but beyond it the track was lost. Nothing could be done. They had
to go back.

King Koshchey was terribly angry when he heard about their failure. "You
fools!" cried he. "The river and the bridge must have been they. Couldn't
you guess it, you idiots! Go again, and do not fail to bring them with
you."

The pursuit started anew.

"I hear the tramping of horses," said Princess Mary to Prince Ivan.

He dismounted again, put his ear against the ground and said, "Yes, they
are tramping, and pretty near us."

In a second Princess Mary, together with Prince Ivan and the steed, turned
into a wild dark forest. In that forest there were numberless paths, and a
horse with two riders seemed to gallop through it. Now the chase came by
the fresh track to the forest. They saw the riders and ran after them. The
forest reached as far as King Koshchey's underground kingdom. The chase was
flying and the horse with the two riders was always before them. Now they
almost reached them, now they only had to grasp them,--but no, the steed
was again far behind them. And see! There they were again before the
entrance to King Koshchey's kingdom at the same place where they started
their chase; and everything disappeared,--no more horse, no more forest.

With empty hands the pursuers appeared before King Koshchey. Like one mad
the king tossed about. "Wait until I catch that wretch! I will go myself
now. Let us see how they are going to escape me!"

Again Princess Mary whispered to Prince Ivan, "I hear tramping."

Again he answered her, "Yes, they are approaching us."

"Woe to us! This is my father himself; but his power reaches only to the
first church. Give me the cross you wear upon your neck."

The prince took from his neck the golden cross, the gift of his mother,
gave it to the princess, and in a minute she turned into a church, he into
a monk, and the steed into a bell-tower.

Right after King Koshchey came with his suite. "Did you not see any
travelers pass by, my venerable man?" he asked the monk.

"Just now Prince Ivan and Princess Mary passed by; they went into the
church to pray, and asked me to pray for your help, and to remember them to
you if you should come to me."

"Oh, I wish they would break their necks, the wretches!" cried King
Koshchey. Turning his horse like one possessed, he returned home with his
suite. After his arrival he cruelly whipped all his servants.

Ivan with the princess went further, no longer fearing the pursuit. They
were riding very slowly. The sun was setting, and suddenly in the evening
rays they beheld a beautiful city. Ivan was very anxious to go inside.

"Prince Ivan," said the princess, "do not go; not in vain does my heart
ache. A misfortune will happen to us."

"What are you afraid of, dear princess? Let us go in just for a very short
time. Let us see the city and then continue the journey."

"It is not hard to get in, but it will be hard to get out. Do as you
please. Go, and I will remain here, lying as a white stone upon the road.
Look out, my dear, be careful. The king, queen, and their daughter will
come out to meet you with a beautiful child; do not kiss that child. If you
do, you will immediately forget me; then I will live no longer; I will die
from grief, and you will be the cause of my death. Here at the road I will
wait for you for three days. If you do not come--but good-bye now. Go."

Bidding her farewell, the prince went into the city. At the road as a white
stone remained Princess Mary. One day passed, another passed, at last the
third day passed. The prince did not come. Poor Princess Mary! He did not
follow her instructions. In the city he met the king, queen, and their
daughter. With them came a beautiful child, a curly-headed boy, very
lively, his eyes shining like bright stars. He ran straight into Ivan's
arms. The prince was so charmed with his beauty that, losing his mind, he
began to kiss his warm cheeks, and at the same time his memory was
darkened and he forgot about Princess Mary.

She was seized with grief, "You left me, and I do not want to live any
longer." In a moment she turned into a sky-blue flower. "Here by the road I
will remain, perhaps somebody passing by will tread me down into the
earth," said she, and tears like dew-drops glittered upon the blue petals.

An old man passed that place. He saw the blue flower. Delighted with its
delicate beauty, he dug it carefully out with the roots, carried it into
his hut, planted it in a flowerpot, watered it and cared for it tenderly.
What happened? From that time everything was changed in the poor man's hut.
Something wonderful was going on there. When the old man awoke, he found
the hut all cleaned and in perfect order. There was nowhere a grain of dust
to be found. At noon when he came home, the dinner was cooked and the table
neatly set; he had only to sit down and eat. He wondered but could not
explain matters. At last he was frightened and went to an old fairy to ask
for advice.

"I will tell you what to do," answered the fairy, "get up very early at
dawn, before the cocks' sing, and look about the hut. Whatever begins to
move first, cover it with this kerchief. What happens, you will see."

The whole night the old man lay sleepless in his bed. The sun began to
rise, and there was light in the hut. Suddenly he saw that the blue flower
moved, flew off its thin stalk and began to fly about the room. Everything
went right away to its place, everything was dusted and cleaned, and a
bright fire began to burn in the stove. Quickly jumped the old man off his
bed and covered the flower with the fairy's kerchief and before him there
appeared the beautiful Princess Mary.

"What have you done?" said she. "Why did you bring me to life again? My
bridegroom, Prince Ivan, left me and I am forgotten by him."

"Your Prince Ivan is getting married to-day. The wedding-feast is all ready
and all the guests have arrived."

Princess Mary cried bitterly. Then she wiped her tears. Putting on a
"sarafan" (Russian national dress for women) she went into the city as a
country girl. She came into the king's kitchen. The cooks were running here
and there in their white caps and aprons. There was plenty of noise,
bustle, and clatter. She went up to the chief cook, and with an imploring
face and a voice as sweet as a flute said, "Cook dear, allow me to bake the
wedding cake for the prince."

The cook, disturbed in his work, wanted to refuse her, but no angry word
could escape his lips when he looked at her, and he answered very kindly,
"Very well, fair maiden, do what you please; I myself will serve your cake
to Prince Ivan."

At the feast when all the guests were sitting around the table, the chief
cook put before Ivan a large cake upon a beautiful silver plate. All the
guests were surprised at the skill of the baker. But as soon as Ivan cut
off the top of it, a new wonder! A pair of pigeons flew out of it. The gray
male pigeon was walking upon the table, and the white female after him
cooing. "Pigeon, my pigeon, stop, do not run away; you will forget me just
as Prince Ivan has forgotten Princess Mary."

Ivan groaned when he heard this. He jumped up like mad, and ran to the door
behind which Mary was waiting. Before the palace the black steed all
saddled and bridled, was impatiently stamping the ground. They did not
tarry. Ivan and his princess rode away. After a long journey they arrived
in King Longbeard's kingdom, where the old king and queen gave them a
joyful reception. They prepared for the wedding; guests were invited and a
great feast feasted. And I was there and feasted with them, and that is the
end of the whole story.



THE TOY-GOOSE


A Flea, a Grasshopper, and a Toy-goose once wanted to see which of them
could jump highest, and so they invited the whole world and everybody else
who would like to come, to see the frolic. When the three met together in
the room, everyone thought they were remarkable jumpers.

"Well, I'll give my daughter to the one who jumps highest!" said the king;
"for it would not be fair to let these people jump for nothing!"

The first one to step forward was the Flea; he had such perfect manners and
bowed on every side, for he had noble blood in his veins, and more than
that, he associated only with human beings, which makes a great difference.

Then came the Grasshopper; he was certainly very much larger, however, he
carried himself well, and wore the green uniform he was born with.
Moreover, as he said, he belonged to a very old family in the land of
Egypt, and was well thought of here at home.

The fact was, when he was brought out of the fields he was put in a house,
three storeys high, all made of court-cards with the colored side turned
in; both doors and windows were cut out in the waist of the Queen of
Hearts. "I sing so well," he said "that sixteen native crickets who had
chirped since they were born, and still had no house of cards to live in,
grew thinner than they were before out of vexation when they heard of me."

So it was that the Flea and the Grasshopper were able to give a good
account of themselves, and saw no reason why they should not marry the
princess.

The Toy-goose said nothing; and people thought it was because he knew all
the more; the house-dog sniffed at him with his nose, and assured them the
Toy-goose was of good family. The old councilor, who had three orders given
him for holding his tongue, said that the Toy-goose was a prophet; for one
could see on his back if there would be a severe or mild winter, and that
was more than one could see on the back of the man who writes the
almanacs.

[Illustration: He jumped so high that nobody could see where he went to.]

"Well, I shall say nothing," said the king, "however I have my own
opinion."

The trial was to take place at once, so the Flea jumped first. He jumped so
high that nobody could see where he went to; so they said he had not jumped
at all; which was shameful.

The Grasshopper jumped only half as high; but he jumped right into the
king's face, which, the king said was most unpleasant.

The Toy-goose stood still for a long time, thinking to himself; at last the
people believed he would not jump at all.

"I only hope he is not ill," said the house-dog; when, pop! he made a side
jump right into the lap of the princess, who was sitting on a little golden
stool close by.

Then the king said, "There is nothing above my daughter; therefore he has
made the highest jump that can be made: to do this, one must have a good
mind and the Toy-goose has shown that he has a good mind. He has a mind of
his own!"

And so he won the princess.

"It's all the same to me, she may have the old Toy-goose, for all I care,"
said the Flea. "I jumped the highest; but, in this world a fine appearance
is what people look at nowadays."

The Flea then went into a foreign land and enlisted, where it is said, he
was killed.

The Grasshopper sat on a green bank, and thought on worldly things; and he
said, "Yes, a fine appearance is everything--a fine appearance is what
people care about." And then he began chirping his melancholy song from
which we have taken this story; and which may or may not be true, although
it is printed.



YELLOW LILY


Once upon a time, when fairies were as plentiful as dandelions in the
meadow, there dwelt in Ireland a mighty king and his good queen. The names
of these great rulers have long since been forgotten by writers of history,
for they lived hundreds and hundreds of years ago.

They ruled over Erin, and lived in a great stone castle built high upon a
cliff overlooking the sea. Erin was the most beautiful part of Ireland, for
its forests and great stretches of land were as green as the emerald, and
its skies and waters were as blue as the turquoise.

This king and queen had but one child, who was known as the Prince of Erin.
He was a bright, handsome boy, but he cared only to have a good time. His
father had often told him how wrong it was for him to make bets, but the
lad gave no heed to his advice.

One day the prince went out in the wood to hunt for deer. He tramped about
all day long, carrying his bow and arrows, but no deer could he find. At
last he sat down to rest.

He was almost asleep when he heard a shrill whistle behind him and the
tramping of heavy feet upon the fallen timbers.

"Who are you?" cried a loud, gruff voice.

The prince turned quickly and saw a giant striding towards him down the
hill. He was almost as tall as the tallest tree, and his face was frightful
to see. His eyes were like balls of fire and his nostrils belched forth
black smoke.

"Woe is me; it is the Giant of Loch Lein!" cried the prince. He wanted to
run away as fast as he could, but his feet would not move. He stood
trembling in every limb, for he knew that the Giant of Loch Lein hunted in
the wood for boys just as the boys hunted for game. Many a lad had been
seized by the terrible creature, taken to his castle in the heart of the
forest, and had never returned to his parents.

"Who are you?" again roared the giant.

"I am the son of the King of Erin," replied the boy, trying to be brave.

"I have been waiting for you a long time," said the giant with a laugh that
sounded like a thunder clap. "I have never eaten a real prince, although I
have heard that their meat is very tender."

The prince turned away, weak with fright; but the giant seized him and
said:

"Do not be frightened. As you are a son of the Ruler of Erin, I will give
you a chance to escape. I understand that you can play fine games, and that
you are fond of betting. Let us play a game on this hillside. If I win, I
will take you to my castle, never to return to your home again."

The prince was so fond of playing games that, even in his fright, he agreed
to do as the giant wished.

"I have two fine estates, each containing a castle," said the giant. "They
are yours if you beat me at the game."

"And I also have two estates which shall be yours, if you beat me," replied
the prince. "No man in Erin has ever beaten me at any game."

So they played until dusk, the prince quite forgetting his fear of the
giant. Although the Giant of Loch Lein was a skillful player, the Prince of
Erin beat him badly.

"You may go," grumbled the giant when the game was at an end. "You are
surely a wonderful player--the best in all the land."

Most of the old historians agree that the Prince of Erin did not tell his
parents anything about his narrow escape from the giant. As soon as he
reached home, he climbed to the top of the tallest tower where he could
gaze at the forest in the distance, in which stood the castle of the giant.

"I will go again to-morrow and beat the giant, for it will be huge sport,"
he said to himself. "Even if I be beaten, the giant dare not destroy the
son of the King of Erin, for my father's army will search for me and tear
down the castle of the giant when I am found. Besides, I understand that he
has three beautiful daughters, the fairest girls in all the land. I should
like to see them."

On the next morning, while the prince was preparing to go hunting, the
wisest old man in the court, whose name was Glic, went to the king and
said:

"The prince is about to go hunting. I beg you not to let him go, for I fear
that some great danger will befall him."

The king commanded his son to stay inside the palace all day; but when no
one was looking, the prince stole away to the hillside near the forest.
Again he heard a shrill whistle that shook the boughs of the trees like a
gale, and in a few moments he saw the giant striding towards him.

"Ho, ho, my young prince!" cried the giant. "I knew that you would come
back to-day. Let us have another game. What will you wager that you can
beat me playing?"

"I will wager my herd of cattle," said the prince, not so much frightened
as before.

"And I will wager five hundred bullocks with gold horns and silver hoofs,"
said the giant. "I am quite sure you cannot beat me again."

"Agreed," said the prince, and at once they began to play.

In a short time the prince won the game, and the giant set up a howl of
rage. Turning towards the forest he whistled loudly three times, and five
hundred bullocks with gold horns and silver hoofs came forth.

"They are yours," said the giant. "Follow them to your palace gate and come
again to-morrow."

The prince, filled with the delight of triumph, followed the cattle to the
palace gate where the king's herder took charge of them. Then he hastened
to his father and mother and bade them go to see the costly wager he had
won from the Giant of Loch Lein.

The king and queen and all the court were delighted with the cattle, whose
gold horns and silver hoofs shone in the sunlight.

On the third morning the Prince of Erin again put on his hunting clothes
and started to the forest; but Glic, the fortune teller, again stopped him.

"No good can come from this gaming, for the giant will beat you at last,
and you will never return to us again," said Glic.

"I am not afraid," laughed the prince, "for if he take me prisoner, I will
have his head."

So he set forth again, singing a merry tune. Hardly had he seated himself
upon the hillside when he heard the giant's whistle. The prince was not at
all frightened, although the giant scowled with anger because he had been
obliged to give up his herd of cattle.

"What will you wager to-day?" roared the giant.

"I will wager my head against yours," said the prince boldly.

"Ha, ha! you have grown quite brave," laughed the giant mockingly. "I will
wager my head that I can beat you to-day. If you lose the game, I will have
your head before the sun rises to-morrow."

They played on the hillside till dusk. The game was a close one, full of
breathless interest and excitement; but the prince was beaten. With a shout
of triumph the giant danced about, trampling down small trees and bushes.

The prince was indeed sorry that he had wagered such a useful piece of
property as his head, but he did not complain.

"You are an honest lad, even though you are rash," he said presently. "I
will let you live one year and one day longer. Go home to the palace, but
do not tell anyone that I am to have your head. When the time has passed
by, come back again to the hillside to pay your wager."

Then the giant vanished, leaving the poor prince alone, very sick at heart.
He did not go home but wandered about, not caring whither he went.

Finally he found that he was in a strange land far beyond the border line
of Erin. On each side were green pasture lands, and in the distance were
high green hills; but not a house could be seen.

He wandered on and on, weak from hunger till he came to an old hut that
stood at the foot of a hill. It was lighted by a candle. He entered and
came face to face with an old woman who had been bending over a fire. Her
teeth were as long as the staff he carried and her scant hair hung loosely
about her face.

Before the prince could speak, the old woman said:

"You are welcome in my house, son of the King of Erin."

Then she took him by the hand, led him into a corner of the room, and told
him to wash his face and hands. In the meantime she made him some hot
porridge and bade him eat a hearty meal.

The prince was much surprised because she knew his name, and he wondered
why she remained so quiet. He thought she must be a witch; but hungry boys,
no matter how high their station, are apt to forget danger when a good
supper is set before them. After he had eaten and drunk all he wanted, he
sat by the fire until she took him to a bedroom and told him to go to bed.

On the next morning he was awakened by the witch, who bade him rise and eat
his breakfast of bread and milk.

He did as he was told, without so much as bidding her good morning.

"I know what is bothering you, son of the King of Erin," she said. "If you
do as I bid you, you will have no cause for regret. Here is a ball of
thread. Hold to one end of the thread and throw the ball before you. When
you start on your journey the ball will roll; but you must keep following
it and winding the thread all the time or you will be lost again. You were
with me last night; you will be with my sister to-night."

The prince took the ball of thread; threw it before him, and began walking
slowly and winding the thread into another ball. With each step that he
took, the ball moved further and further away from him. All day long he
trudged up hill and down dell, faster and faster, until his feet and hands
were so tired he could scarcely move them. At last the ball of thread
stopped at the door of a hut that stood at the foot of a high hill. A
candle flickered in the window. He picked up the ball and ran to the door
where he met another old witch whose teeth were as long as crutches.

"Welcome, son of the King of Erin!" she cried. "You were with my youngest
sister last night; you will be with me to-night; and to-morrow you will be
with my eldest sister."

She took him into the hut, bade him wash his hands and face, gave him a
hearty supper of porridge and cakes, and sent him to bed.

The next morning she called him to breakfast. When he had finished eating,
she gave him a ball of thread and told him to follow it as before.

The prince followed it through field and over common, hurrying faster and
faster every minute, until late on the following evening, when it stopped
at the door of a hut that stood at the foot of a hill. A candle sputtered
in the window as if to welcome him. A witch, more homely than the others,
stood by the fire making porridge.

She greeted the prince as her sisters had done, bade him wash his face and
hands, gave him his supper, and sent him to bed. On the following morning
after breakfast she gave him a ball of thread and said:

"Son of the Prince of Erin, you have lost your head to the Giant of Loch
Lein, who lives near by in a great castle surrounded by spikes. Some day
you will lose your head to his daughter. Follow this ball of thread to the
lake behind the castle. When you reach the lake at midday, the ball will be
unwound. In a few minutes more the daughters of the cruel Giant of Loch
Lein will come to the lake to bathe. Their names are Blue Lily, White Lily,
and Yellow Lily. The latter is the wisest and most beautiful of the three.
Steal her clothing and do not give it up until she promises to help you,
for she is the only person in the world that can outwit the Giant of Loch
Lein."

The prince thanked the witch for her advice, and followed the ball of
thread to the Castle of Spikes, which was a dark, gloomy building hidden
from view by great trees. When he reached the lake behind the castle, the
ball of thread vanished.

He stood for a time looking at the lake, which looked like a brilliant
turquoise in the sunshine. Presently he heard girlish shouts of laughter.
He concealed himself behind a clump of bushes where he could see without
being seen. Three beautiful girls came tripping down to the edge of the
water, where they stopped to look all about them.

It was very easy for the prince to make out their names. The tallest one,
who wore a gown of pale blue, had eyes as blue as the skies above; he knew
that she must be Blue Lily.

One of them was so fair that she looked as though she were carved from
marble; he was sure that she was White Lily. But Yellow Lily was small and
slender, with hair that shone like gold in the sunlight. She was
wonderfully graceful and beautiful.

Yellow Lily threw off her robe of spun gold and stood dressed in a bathing
suit of the same material. With a joyous shout she leapt into the water,
followed by her sisters.

The Prince of Erin darted forth from his hiding-place, and seized the robe
of spun gold. Yellow Lily saw him and cried at the top of her voice:

"Give me back my golden robe. My father will kill me if I lose it. Please
do not run away."

"What will you give me for it?" asked the prince, moving slowly backward
from the pool.

"Anything that you wish, for I am guarded by a fairy godmother who makes
all things possible," replied Yellow Lily.

"I have come to give myself up to your father, the Giant of Loch Lein,
according to my promise," said the prince. "I would ask you to have him set
me free. Here is your gown."

He laid the robe upon the grass and walked away up the hill towards the
castle. In a few moments he was joined by Yellow Lily dressed in her golden
robe.

"You are the son of the King of Erin," she said smiling sweetly, and
catching step with him. "If you do as I say, you will not lose your head;
but in the future I hope that you will never become so foolish as to wager
your head or any other trifle you may have."

"I promise you that I will not," said the prince, looking at her
admiringly. "If your father had wagered your pretty golden head, I believe
I could have beaten him at the game."

Yellow Lily tossed her curls and laughed merrily, saying: "Father has a
soft bed for you in a deep tank; but do not worry, for I will help you."

They passed in silence through the stone gates of the Castle of Spikes. The
great stone courts, balconies, and battlements were quite deserted. Yellow
Lily took the prince into the kitchen, which was the largest one he had
ever seen. The floor was made of white cobblestones, and a brass caldron
boiled over the flames in the great fireplace. Yellow Lily hid the prince
behind a curtain in one corner of the room.

Presently the Giant of Loch Lein appeared and sank down into a chair before
the fireplace. He began to sniff the air and finally roared:

"The son of the King of Erin is here! Fetch him hither, Yellow Lily."

The girl did as she was bidden. The prince could not keep from trembling as
he stood before the fierce giant, although he felt that Yellow Lily would
keep her promise.

"You must be very tired," roared the giant, so loudly that the dishes on
the shelves rattled. "I have a nice soft bed for you."

He seized the prince, carried him across the kitchen, opened a tank, and
threw him in. Splash! The prince fell head-first into three feet of water.

What was still more terrible, the giant fastened down the lid of the tank.
The prince feared the dark far more than he did the water, but he did not
cry out. He stood shivering for more than an hour, wondering if Yellow Lily
had forgotten him, and wishing that he was safe at home in his bed of silk
and gold.

At last the lid was raised, and Yellow Lily peeped down at him, smiling
roguishly.

"Shall I steal your clothes and run away, as you tried to do to-day?" she
said softly.

"No, do not let me stay in this place. I will do anything you may want me
to do," pleaded the prince, with chattering teeth.

"Then climb out; put on these dry, warm clothes I have for you; and have
some supper," she said.

It did not take the prince long to get out of his soft bed. He found the
giant sound asleep before the fireplace, snoring loud enough to drown the
most terrible crash of thunder.

Yellow Lily spoke not a word, but gave the prince some dry clothing and
told him to stay in the corner until she returned. Before long she came
back with a tempting supper smoking upon a tray, and told him to eat. He
was very hungry and ate very heartily. Then she took him to another corner
of the room and raised a curtain that hung there.

He saw a soft, white bed and a table that held fresh water and towels.
Yellow Lily wished him happy dreams and hastened away.

At break of day she returned and said excitedly:

"Awaken, Prince of Erin! Do not lose a moment or we are lost. Put on the
clothes you wore yesterday and follow me."

The prince rose and dressed himself as quickly as possible. Then he drew
back the curtain that hid his bed, and followed the girl.

"When the chickens begin to cackle, father will awaken," she whispered.
"Leap back into the tank and I will shut down the lid."

The prince hesitated.

"Do as I say, or we are both lost," said the girl.

The prince jumped into the tank, and Yellow Lily closed the lid. The splash
aroused the giant, who stretched his heavy limbs, rubbed his nose, and
yawned. Then he opened his eyes, gazed all about him, strode across the
room, opened the tank, and shouted:

"Good morning, Prince of Erin; how did you like your nice soft bed last
night?"

"I never slept better, thank you," truthfully answered the prince.

"Then climb out," commanded the giant.

The prince obeyed.

"Since you have slept so soundly, you shall do some hard work to-day," said
the giant. "I will spare you your head if you will clean out my stables.
They contain five hundred horses and they have not been cleaned for seven
hundred years. I am anxious to find my great-grandmother's slumber-pin
which was lost somewhere in these stables. The poor old soul never slept a
wink after losing it, so she died for want of sleep. I want the slumber-pin
for my own use, as I am a very light sleeper."

"I will do my best to get the pin," said the prince, almost discouraged,
for he had never so much as cleaned the tips of his boots.

"Here are two shovels, an old one and a new one," said the giant gruffly.
"You may take your choice. Dig away until you find the slumber-pin. I shall
expect it when I come home to-night."

The prince took the new shovel and followed the giant to the stables where
hundreds of horses began to neigh, making a most deafening noise.

"Remember, Prince of Erin, I will either have the slumber-pin or your
head," said the giant, as he walked away.

The prince set to work, but every time he threw a shovelful out of the
window, two shovelfuls came flying in to take its place. At last, tired and
discouraged, he sat down to rest.

At that moment Yellow Lily appeared, more beautiful than ever in another
gown of gold and silver, with yellow flowers in her golden hair.

"What are you trying to do, Prince of Erin?" she asked, dimpling with
laughter.

"I am trying to find your great-great-grandmother's slumber-pin," was the
pitiful reply.

"You are a mighty prince and my father is a mighty giant, yet you are both
foolish as all men are," she said. "How do you suppose my
great-great-grandmother could lose her slumber-pin in the stables? I have
the slumber-pin myself; here it is. I put it in father's pocket last night
so he could not wake up and catch us."

"What a useful girl you are!" cried the Prince, beside himself with joy and
admiration.

All day long they visited until Yellow Lily said that she must go, for she
heard her father's footsteps a league away, and he would be there in two
minutes.

When the giant saw that the prince had found the slumber-pin, he was
greatly surprised.

"Either my daughter, Yellow Lily, has aided you, or else it was the Evil
Spirit," he muttered.

Before the prince could reply, the giant picked him up, carried him back to
the kitchen, and again threw him into the tank. Then he sat down by the
fire, holding the slumber-pin. Soon he began to snore like a thousand
locomotives.

Up went the lid of the tank, and Yellow Lily, sweet and smiling, shouted
down at the top of her voice:

"Get up from your soft bed, Prince of Erin; eat the supper I have prepared,
and talk as loudly as you wish, for father has gone to sleep holding
great-great-grandmother's slumber-pin."

The evening they spent together was a merry one, and after Yellow Lily had
joined her sisters in the watch-tower, the prince again slept in the soft
bed in the corner of the kitchen. At dawn Yellow Lily again awakened him
and told him to hurry back to the tank.

  [Illustration: Up went the lid of the tank, and Yellow Lily sweet and
    smiling.]

As soon as the lid was closed, Yellow Lily rushed to her father's side,
seized the slumber-pin, and threw it upon the floor. The giant gave a
roar and fell sprawling upon the cobblestones.

"Who woke me up?" he growled, trying to gain his feet.

"I did, dear father," said the girl meekly. "You would have slept forever
had I not pulled the slumber-pin from your grasp. It is very late."

"You are a good, trustworthy daughter," said the giant. "I will get you
something pretty."

He went to the tank and commanded the prince to get out of his nice, soft
bed.

"You have lain in bed so long, you must work still harder to-day," he
added. "My stables have not been thatched for many years, and I want you to
do it to-day. They cover many acres, but if you finish them before dark I
will spare you your head. They must be thatched with feathers, to be put on
one at a time, and no two of them must be alike."

The prince was again cast down, but he said that he would do his best.

"But where shall I find the birds?" he asked after a period of helpless
silence.

"Where do you suppose? I hope you would not try to find them in the frog
pond," was the impatient answer. "Here are two whistles, an old one and a
new one. You may take your choice."

"I'll take the new one," said the prince, and the giant gave him a whistle
that looked as though it had never been used.

"Some day you will learn that old things are best," said the giant
scornfully.

When the giant had gone, the prince blew the whistle until his lips were
puckered out of shape, but not a fowl came to his rescue. At last he sat
down upon a rock, almost ready to cry.

But Yellow Lily came again, lovelier than ever in another yellow gown
trimmed with the wings of dragon flies, and with pearls in her glorious
hair.

"Why do you sit whistling instead of working?" she asked. "Poor prince, you
must be hungry. Here is a little table set for two under this big tree.
When things worry you, don't give up. The man who keeps his appetite has
no cause to despair."

So they sat down and ate peacock tongues and frosted cakes and almonds and
many other delicacies, and were happier than ever.

"But it is growing late, and the stable is still unthatched!" cried the
prince, suddenly remembering his task as soon as his appetite was
satisfied.

"Look behind you," said the girl.

The prince, to his utter surprise, saw that the stables were thatched with
downy bird feathers, no two of them alike.

"You are a wonder," he said, grasping her hands in gratitude.

"Not at all," she replied. "How could the birds work for you while you
stood there blowing that terrible whistle? Birds would be as good friends
to people as dogs are, if people did not frighten them so. But say no more.
I hear father drinking at the spring two miles away, and he will be here in
four minutes."

She drew her skirts closely about her and with a sweet smile hastened into
the castle.

"Who thatched that roof?" shouted the giant as soon as he arrived.

"My own strength did it," said the prince humbly, feeling that he had not
told a falsehood, for Yellow Lily was even more than strength to him.

The giant, instead of thanking him for his services, seized him again, and
threw him headlong into the kitchen tank. Then he sat down by the fire. No
sooner had his head begun to nod than Yellow Lily placed the slumber-pin
over his nose to be sure that he could not wake up. Then she set the prince
free, and they spent the evening as before, except that there was much more
merriment.

On the following morning the giant opened the tank and ordered the prince
to climb out.

"I have a task for you to do that even a prince cannot do," he said. "I am
sure that I shall have your head before night. Near the castle is a tree
nine hundred feet high. It has but one branch and that is near the top.
This branch contains a crow's nest. In the nest is one egg. I want that egg
for supper to-night. If you do not get it, you will be sorry."

The giant took the prince to the tree, which rose like a great pillar of
smooth glass, so slippery that not even an ant could crawl upon it without
sliding off.

When the giant had gone, the prince tried a dozen times to climb to the
top, but each time he slipped back to the earth quicker and harder than
before. He was glad indeed when Yellow Lily came.

And now comes the bloodcurdling part of the tale that I would rather omit;
but I must tell it all to you just as the dear little Irish children heard
it centuries ago, or I should feel that I had marred this ancient bit of
fairy folklore.

Yellow Lily, as usual, brought something to eat, and after they had eaten,
she, for the first time, turned upon the prince a sorrowful face.

"I am sorry father gave you this task to do; but we must submit to what
cannot be helped," she said. "Alas! dear prince, you must kill me."

"Kill you!" he cried in horror. "Never! I would rather lose my head a
thousand times."

"But, if you are careful, I shall come to life again," persisted the girl.
"My fairy godmother will care for me. You will find it easy to strip off my
flesh, for you have only to say, 'Yellow Lily of Loch Lein.' Say it again
and my bones will all separate. You will find that my bones will stick to
this tree like little steps. On the ladder of bones you can climb to the
top of the tree. Get the egg and climb down carefully, each time pulling
one of my bones from the tree until you have reached the earth. Then pile
the bones in a heap upon my flesh and say, 'Come back, Yellow Lily of Loch
Lein,' and lo! I will be myself again. But be careful--be careful not to
leave one of my bones on the tree."

For a long time the prince refused to obey her request until Yellow Lily
grew vexed and said:

"Then I will tell father that I have been helping you, and he will kill us
both. Make haste, for the time is short."

"Yellow Lily of Loch Lein!" shouted the prince, without looking at her.
"Yellow Lily of Loch Lein!" he shouted again.

Then he looked down and saw at his feet a stack of little white bones. He
gathered them up and, climbing slowly, made a little ladder by sticking
them against the tree. He soon reached the crow's nest, found the egg,
placed it in his pocket, and climbed down again, plucking the bones from
the tree as he went. Then he piled them upon the flesh and garments of the
girl and, with tears in his eyes, shouted:

"Come back, Yellow Lily of Loch Lein."

And immediately Yellow Lily stood before him, but no longer smiling.

"Wretch!" she cried. "You have made me a cripple for life! You are nothing
but a careless boy after all."

"Oh, what have I neglected to do?" cried the prince, sick with fear.

"There is one of my little toes still hanging to the tree. Oh, what an
awkward creature a prince is!"

The prince on his knees begged her pardon, and finally Yellow Lily broke
into her old, sweet smile and said:

"I am thankful it is no worse. What a sight I would be if you had forgotten
my backbone!"

So they became merry and talkative again until it was time for the giant to
arrive. Then Yellow Lily went to her tower and the prince took his stand at
the castle gate holding the crow's egg.

"You are certainly a magician!" gasped the giant when he saw the prince. "I
cannot take your head, lest a worse fate befall me. Go home at once. Do not
linger here a minute."

The prince wanted to bid farewell to Yellow Lily, but of course, that was
impossible, so he hastened home as fast as he could.

When he reached the Palace of Erin, the king, the queen, old Glic, and all
the court ran out to greet him. Never before had there been such rejoicing
there. For days they feasted and danced to melodious music, and a
tournament was held in which the best archers in the kingdom tested their
skill.

A year later, old Glic, who was always making trouble, told the king that
it was time for the prince to marry some noble lady of great wealth. The
prince would have liked to marry Yellow Lily, but the king said that he
must choose a princess whose rank was equal to his own. In despair the
prince told Glic to select him a wife soon or he would go roaming again and
never return.

"I have found a suitable lady," said Glic. "Her father is the King of Loch
Lein, the kingdom that is next to ours. Her father is powerful, her family
is famous, her wealth cannot be counted, and she is as beautiful as the
Queen of the Fairies."

"If she will have me, I will marry her," said the prince, "but I will not
seek her myself."

The king sent Glic to the court of Loch Lein, bearing rich gifts and
guarded by soldiers and attendants. In a few weeks he returned and told the
King of Erin that the King of Loch Lein had consented to give the prince
his daughter in marriage.

Preparations were at once made for a great wedding. All kinds of sports,
several dances, and other amusements were to be enjoyed at court, and the
royal families of many different kingdoms, even from the isles of the sea,
were to be present.

The prince himself finally grew much interested in getting ready for the
great event. In fact he almost forgot about Yellow Lily and the help she
had given him to save his head. Yet he bade his father invite the Giant of
Loch Lein to be present at the feast to be given before the day of the
wedding. It was also agreed to invite Blue Lily, White Lily, and Yellow
Lily, and to treat them as princesses of the royal blood.

In time the King of Loch Lein, who was an aged man, arrived with his
daughter and a shipful of attendants. The gatekeeper blew his bugle and the
whole court of Erin ran out to greet them. The King and Princess of Loch
Lein were taken into the reception hall where the Queen and Prince of Erin
welcomed them.

The prince was much disappointed when he beheld the princess, and was very
angry with Glic, for she was haughty and not at all pretty. She seemed to
be more pleased with the costly furniture and tapestries than with the
prince.

The day of the feast came at last. The table in the banquet hall was loaded
with fruits and costly meats of all kinds to be served upon plates of solid
gold. Every one appeared to be happy, especially old Glic, who was to
receive a large sum of money for finding the prince a wife.

At the close of the feast, the King of Erin sang a ballad and the King of
Loch Lein told a story. In those days the people were fond of deeds of
magic, so the prince requested Glic to call the mighty Giant of Loch Lein,
that he might perform some tricks.

In a few moments the giant entered the room, bowing sternly as the people
clapped their hands and cheered. He did not look at the prince but bowed
low to the two kings.

"Your Majesties," he said, "it is my daughter who is the real magician. I
know that she will be glad to entertain you for a short time. In fact she
has consented to take my place."

Just then Yellow Lily entered the room in a gown of gold that swept the
floor. Her golden hair shone like the sun. No one present had ever seen
such glorious hair nor such a beautiful face and form. All were too much
amazed at her beauty and elegance to utter a word of welcome.

Yellow Lily sat down at the table and threw two grains of wheat into the
air. They lit upon the table and turned into a male and a female pigeon.
Immediately the former began to peck at his mate, almost driving her from
the table. To the surprise of all, the female pigeon shrieked:

"You didn't treat me thus on the day I cleaned the stable for you and found
the slumber-pin."

Yellow Lily laid two grains of wheat before them, but the male pigeon
greedily devoured them and continued to abuse his mate.

"You would not have done that to me the day I thatched the stables for you
with the feathers of birds, and no two of them alike," shrieked the female
pigeon.

When some more wheat was laid before them, the male pigeon ate more
greedily than before, and after he had eaten every grain he pushed his mate
off the table. She fluttered to the floor screaming:

"You wouldn't have done that the day you killed me and took my bones to
make steps on the glass tree nine hundred feet high, to get the crow's egg
for the supper of the Giant of Loch Lein--and forgot my little toe, and
made me lame for life!"

The Prince of Erin rose to his feet, red with shame, and turning to the
King of Loch Lein, said:

"When I was younger I roamed about hunting and playing games. Once while
away from home, I lost the key to a valuable chest. After a new key was
made I found the old one. Which of the two keys should be kept, the old one
or the new one?"

The King of Loch Lein looked puzzled, but he answered promptly:

"Keep the old one by all means, for it will fit better and you are more
accustomed to it."

"I thank you for your sound advice," continued the prince with a smile.
"Yellow Lily, the daughter of the Giant of Loch Lein, is the old key to my
heart, and I will wed no other girl. Your daughter, the princess, is the
new key that has never been tried. She is only my father's guest, and no
more; but she will be better for having attended my happy wedding in Erin."

Great astonishment of both royal families and their guests when the prince
took Yellow Lily by the hand and led her to a seat beside him. But when the
musicians began to play a brilliant air, the palace re-echoed from tower to
dungeon with joyous shouts of "Long live the Prince of Erin and his future
bride, Yellow Lily of Loch Lein!"



THE MOUSE, THE BIRD, AND THE SAUSAGE


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 told of 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 dinnertime, 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.

[Illustration: The bird tells the others it is time to make a change.]

Influenced by these 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 the
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
had found false credentials on the Sausage, and that was the reason his
life had been forfeited.

The Bird 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.



THE TALE OF THE WOLF IN HARNESS


The horse carried me well. Advancing into the interior parts of Russia, I
found traveling on horseback rather unfashionable in winter; therefore I
submitted, as I always do, to the custom of the country, took a
single-horse sledge, and drove briskly towards St. Petersburg. I do not
exactly recollect whether it was in Eastland or Jugemanland, but I remember
that in the midst of a dreary forest, I spied a terrible wolf making after
me, with all the speed of ravenous winter hunger. He soon overtook me.
There was no possibility of escape. Mechanically I laid myself down flat in
the sledge, and let my horse run for our safety. What I wished, but hardly
hoped or expected, happened immediately after. The wolf did not mind me in
the least, but took a leap over me, and falling furiously on the horse,
began instantly to tear and devour the hind part of the poor animal,
which ran the faster for his pain and terror. Thus unnoticed and safe
myself, I lifted my head slyly up, and with horror I beheld that the wolf
had ate his way into the horse's body; it was not long before he had fairly
forced himself into it, when I took my advantage, and fell upon him with
the butt-end of my whip. This unexpected attack in his rear frightened him
so much, that he leaped forward with all his might; the horse's carcass
dropped on the ground; but in his place the wolf was in harness, and I on
my part whipping him continually, we both arrived in full career safe at
St. Petersburg, contrary to our respective expectations, and very much to
the astonishment of the spectators.

[Illustration: "We both arrived in full career--"]

THE END





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