By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Popular Tales from the Norse
Author: Sir George Webbe Dasent, - To be updated
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Popular Tales from the Norse" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.





Notice to the Second Edition

The first edition of these Tales being exhausted, and a demand having
arisen for a second, the Translator has thought it right to add
thirteen tales, which complete the translation of Asbjörnsen and
Moe's collection, and to strengthen the Introduction by working in
some new matter, and by working out some points which were only
slightly sketched in the first edition.

The favour with which the book was welcomed makes it almost a duty to
say a word here on the many kind and able notices which have been
written upon it. Duties are not always pleasant, but the fulfilment
of this at least gives no pain; because, without one exception, every
criticism which the Translator has seen has shown him that his prayer
for 'gentle' readers has been fully heard. It will be forgiven him,
he hopes, when he says that he has not seen good ground to change or
even to modify any of the opinions as to the origin and diffusion of
popular tales put forth in the first edition. Much indeed has been
said by others _for_ those views; what has been urged _against_
them, with all kindness and good humour, in one or two cases, has
not availed at all to weigh down mature convictions deliberately
expressed after the studies of years, backed as they are by the
researches and support of those who have given their lives to this
branch of knowledge.

And now, before the Translator takes leave of his readers for the
second time, he will follow the lead of the good godmother in one of
these Tales, and forbid all good children to read the two which stand
last in the book. There is this difference between him and the
godmother. She found her foster-daughter out as soon as she came
back. He will never know it, if any bad child has broken his behest.
Still he hopes that all good children who read this book will bear in
mind that there is just as much sin in breaking a commandment even
though it be not found out, and so he bids them good-bye, and feels
sure that no good child will dare to look into those two rooms. If,
after this warning, they peep in, they may perhaps see something
which will shock them.

'Why then print them at all?' some grown reader asks. Because this
volume is meant for you as well as for children, and if you have gone
ever so little into the world with open eyes, you must have seen,
yes, every day, things much more shocking. Because there is nothing
immoral in their spirit. Because they are intrinsically valuable, as
illustrating manners and traditions, and so could not well be left
out. Because they complete the number of the Norse originals, and
leave none untranslated. And last, though not least, because the
Translator hates family versions of anything, 'Family Bibles',
'Family Shakespeares'. Those who, with so large a choice of beauty
before them, would pick out and gloat over this or that coarseness or
freedom of expression, are like those who, in reading the Bible,
should always turn to Leviticus, or those whose Shakespeare would
open of itself at Pericles Prince of Tyre. Such readers the
Translator does not wish to have.

Notice to the First Edition

These translations from the _Norske Folkeeventyr_, collected
with such freshness and faithfulness by MM. Asbjörnsen and Moe, have
been made at various times and at long intervals during the last
fifteen years; a fact which is mentioned only to account for any
variations in style or tone--of which, however, the Translator is
unconscious--that a critical eye may detect in this volume. One of
them, _The Master Thief_, has already appeared in Blackwood's
Magazine for November 1851; from the columns of which periodical it
is now reprinted, by the kind permission of the Proprietors.

The Translator is sorry that he has not been able to comply with the
suggestion of some friends upon whose good-will he sets all store,
who wished him to change and soften some features in these tales,
which they thought likely to shock English feeling. He has, however,
felt it to be out of his power to meet their wishes, for the merit of
an undertaking of this kind rests entirely on its faithfulness and
truth; and the man who, in such a work, wilfully changes or softens,
is as guilty as he 'who puts bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter'.

Of this guilt, at least, the Translator feels himself free; and,
perhaps, if any, who may be inclined to be offended at first, will
take the trouble to read the Introduction which precedes and explains
the Tales, they may find, not only that the softening process would
have spoilt these popular traditions for all except the most childish
readers, but that the things which shocked them at the first blush,
are, after all, not so very shocking.

For the rest, it ill becomes him to speak of the way in which his
work has been done: but if the reader will only bear in mind that
this, too, is an enchanted garden, in which whoever dares to pluck a
flower, does it at the peril of his head; and if he will then read
the book in a merciful and tender spirit, he will prove himself what
the Translator most longs to find, 'a gentle reader', and both will
part on the best terms.












The most careless reader can hardly fail to see that many of the
Tales in this volume have the same groundwork as those with which he
has been familiar from his earliest youth. They are Nursery Tales, in
fact, of the days when there were tales in nurseries--old wives'
fables, which have faded away before the light of gas and the power
of steam. It is long, indeed, since English nurses told these tales
to English children by force of memory and word of mouth. In a
written shape, we have long had some of them, at least, in English
versions of the _Contes de ma Mère l' Oye_ of Perrault, and the
_Contes de Fées_ of Madame D'Aulnoy; those tight-laced, high-
heeled tales of the 'teacup times' of Louis XIV and his successors,
in which the popular tale appears to as much disadvantage as an
artless country girl in the stifling atmosphere of a London theatre.
From these foreign sources, after the voice of the English reciter
was hushed--and it was hushed in England more than a century ago--our
great-grandmothers learnt to tell of Cinderella and Beauty and the
Beast, of Little Red Riding-hood and Blue Beard, mingled together in
the _Cabinet des Fées_ with Sinbad the Sailor and Aladdin's
wondrous lamp; for that was an uncritical age, and its spirit
breathed hot and cold, east and west, from all quarters of the globe
at once, confusing the traditions and tales of all times and
countries into one incongruous mass of fable, as much tangled and
knotted as that famous pound of flax which the lassie in one of these
Tales is expected to spin into an even wool within four-and-twenty
hours. No poverty of invention or want of power on the part of
translators could entirely destroy the innate beauty of those popular
traditions; but here, in England at least, they had almost dwindled
out, or at any rate had been lost sight of as home-growths. We had
learnt to buy our own children back, disguised in foreign garb; and
as for their being anything more than the mere pastime of an idle
hour--as to their having any history or science of their own--such an
absurdity was never once thought of. It had, indeed, been remarked,
even in the eighteenth century--that dreary time of indifference and
doubt--that some of the popular traditions of the nations north of
the Alps contained striking resemblances and parallels to stories in
the classical mythology. But those were the days when Greek and Latin
lorded it over the other languages of the earth; and when any such
resemblance or analogy was observed, it was commonly supposed that
that base-born slave, the vulgar tongue, had dared to make a clumsy
copy of something peculiarly belonging to the twin tyrants who ruled
all the dialects of the world with a pedant's rod.

At last, just at the close of that great war which Western Europe
waged against the genius and fortune of the first Napoleon; just as
the eagle--Prometheus and the eagle in one shape--was fast fettered
by sheer force and strength to his rock in the Atlantic, there arose
a man in Central Germany, on the old Thuringian soil, to whom it was
given to assert the dignity of vernacular literature, to throw off
the yoke of classical tyranny, and to claim for all the dialects of
Teutonic speech a right of ancient inheritance and perfect freedom
before unsuspected and unknown. It is almost needless to mention this
honoured name. For the furtherance of the good work which he began
nearly fifty years ago, he still lives and still labours. There is no
spot on which an accent of Teutonic speech is uttered where the name
of Jacob Grimm is not a 'household word'. His General Grammar of all
the Teutonic Dialects from Iceland to England has proved the equality
of these tongues with their ancient classical oppressors. His
Antiquities of Teutonic Law have shown that the codes of the
Lombards, Franks, and Goths were not mere savage, brutal customaries,
based, as had been supposed, on the absence of all law and right. His
numerous treatises on early German authors have shown that the German
poets of the Middle Age, Godfrey of Strasburg, Wolfram von
Eschenbach, Hartman von der Aue, Walter von der Vogelweide, and the
rest, can hold their own against any contemporary writers in other
lands. And lastly, what rather concerns us here, his Teutonic
Mythology, his Reynard the Fox, and the collection of German Popular
Tales, which he and his brother William published, have thrown a
flood of light on the early history of all the branches of our race,
and have raised what had come to be looked on as mere nursery
fictions and old wives' fables--to a study fit for the energies of
grown men, and to all the dignity of a science.

In these pages, where we have to run over a vast tract of space, the
reader who wishes to learn and not to cavil--and for such alone this
introduction is intended--must be content with results rather than
processes and steps. To use a homely likeness, he must be satisfied
with the soup that is set before him, and not desire to see the bones
of the ox out of which it has been boiled. When we say, therefore,
that in these latter days the philology and mythology of the East and
West have met and kissed each other; that they now go hand and hand;
that they lend one another mutual support; that one cannot be
understood without the other,--we look to be believed. We do not
expect to be put to the proof, how the labours of Grimm and his
disciples on this side were first rendered possible by the linguistic
discoveries of Anquetil du Perron and others in India and France, at
the end of the last century; then materially assisted and furthered
by the researches of Sir William Jones, Colebrooke, and others, in
India and England during the early part of this century, and finally
have become identical with those of Wilson, Bopp, Lassen, and Max
Müller, at the present day. The affinity which exists in a
mythological and philological point of view between the Aryan or
Indo-European languages on the one hand, and the Sanscrit on the
other, is now the first article of a literary creed, and the man who
denies it puts himself as much beyond the pale of argument as he who,
in a religious discussion, should meet a grave divine of the Church
of England with the strict contradictory of her first article, and
loudly declare his conviction, that there was no God. In a general
way, then, we may be permitted to dogmatize, and to lay it down as a
law which is always in force, that the first authentic history of a
nation is the history of its tongue. We can form no notion of the
literature of a country apart from its language, and the
consideration of its language necessarily involves the consideration
of its history. Here is England, for instance, with a language, and
therefore a literature, composed of Celtic, Roman, Saxon, Norse, and
Romance elements. Is not this simple fact suggestive of, nay, does it
not challenge us to, an inquiry into the origin and history of the
races who have passed over our island, and left their mark not only
on the soil, but on our speech? Again, to take a wider view, and to
rise from archaeology to science, what problem has interested the
world in a greater degree than the origin of man, and what toil has
not been spent in tracing all races back to their common stock? The
science of comparative philology--the inquiry, not into one isolated
language--for nowadays it may fairly be said of a man who knows only
one language that he knows none--but into all the languages of one
family, and thus to reduce them to one common centre, from which they
spread like the rays of the sun--if it has not solved, is in a fair
way of solving, this problem. When we have done for the various
members of each family what has been done of late years for the Indo-
European tongues, its solution will be complete. In such an inquiry
the history of a race is, in fact, the history of its language, and
can be nothing else; for we have to deal with times antecedent to all
history, properly so called, and the stream which in later ages may
be divided into many branches, now flows in a single channel.

From the East, then, came our ancestors, in days of immemorial
antiquity, in that gray dawn of time of which all early songs and
lays can tell, but of which it is as impossible as it is useless to
attempt to fix the date. Impossible, because no means exist for
ascertaining it; useless, because it is in reality a matter of utter
indifference, when, as this tell-tale crust of earth informs us, we
have an infinity of ages and periods to fall back on whether this
great movement, this mighty lust to change their seats, seized on the
Aryan race one hundred or one thousand years sooner or later. [1] But
from the East we came, and from that central plain of Asia, now
commonly called Iran. Iran, the habitation of the tillers and
_earers_ [2] of the earth, as opposed to Turan, the abode of
restless horse-riding nomads; of Turks, in short, for in their name
the root survives, and still distinguishes the great Turanian or
Mongolian family, from the Aryan, Iranian, or Indo-European race. It
is scarce worth while to inquire--even if inquiry could lead to any
result--what cause set them in motion from their ancient seats.
Whether impelled by famine or internal strife, starved out like other
nationalities in recent times, or led on by adventurous chiefs, whose
spirit chafed at the narrowness of home, certain it is that they left
that home and began a wandering westwards, which only ceased when it
reached the Atlantic and the Northern Ocean. Nor was the fate of
those they left behind less strange. At some period almost as remote
as, but after, that at which the wanderers for Europe started, the
remaining portion of the stock, or a considerable offshoot from it,
turned their faces east, and passing the Indian Caucasus, poured
through the defiles of Affghanistan, crossed the plain of the Five
Rivers, and descended on the fruitful plains of India. The different
destiny of these stocks has been wonderful indeed. Of those who went
west, we have only to enumerate the names under which they appear in
history--Celts, Greeks, Romans, Teutons, Slavonians--to see and to
know at once that the stream of this migration has borne on its waves
all that has become most precious to man. To use the words of Max
Müller: 'They have been the prominent actors in the great drama of
history, and have carried to their fullest growth all the elements of
active life with which our nature is endowed. They have perfected
society and morals, and we learn from their literature and works of
art the elements of science, the laws of art, and the principles of
philosophy. In continual struggle with each other and with Semitic
and Mongolian races, these Aryan nations have become the rulers of
history, and it seems to be their mission to link all parts of the
world together by the chains of civilization, commerce, and
religion.' We may add, that though by nature tough and enduring, they
have not been obstinate and self-willed; they have been distinguished
from all other nations, and particularly from their elder brothers
whom they left behind, by their common sense, by their power of
adapting themselves to all circumstances, and by making the best of
their position; above all, they have been teachable, ready to receive
impressions from without, and, when received, to develop them. To
show the truth of this, we need only observe, that they adopted
Christianity from another race, the most obstinate and stiff-necked
the world has ever seen, who, trained under the Old Dispensation to
preserve the worship of the one true God, were too proud to accept
the further revelation of God under the New, and, rejecting their
birth-right, suffered their inheritance to pass into other hands.

Such, then, has been the lot of the Western branch, of the younger
brother, who, like the younger brother whom we shall meet so often in
these Popular Tales, went out into the world, with nothing but his
good heart and God's blessing to guide him; and now has come to all
honour and fortune, and to be a king, ruling over the world. He went
out and _did_. Let us see now what became of the elder brother,
who stayed at home some time after his brother went out, and then
only made a short journey. Having driven out the few aboriginal
inhabitants of India with little effort, and following the course of
the great rivers, the Eastern Aryans gradually established themselves
all over the peninsula; and then, in calm possession of a world of
their own, undisturbed by conquest from without, and accepting with
apathy any change of dynasty among their rulers, ignorant of the past
and careless of the future, they sat down once for all and
_thought_--thought not of what they had to do here, that stern
lesson of every-day life which neither men nor nations can escape if
they are to live with their fellows, but how they could abstract
themselves entirely from their present existence, and immerse
themselves wholly in dreamy speculations on the future. Whatever they
may have been during their short migration and subsequent settlement,
it is certain that they appear in the Vedas--perhaps the earliest
collection which the world possesses--as a nation of philosophers.
Well may Professor Müller compare the Indian mind to a plant reared
in a hot-house, gorgeous in colour, rich in perfume, precocious and
abundant in fruit; it may be all this, 'but will never be like the
oak, growing in wind and weather, striking its roots into real earth,
and stretching its branches into real air, beneath the stars and sun
of Heaven'; and well does he also remark, that a people of this
peculiar stamp was never destined to act a prominent part in the
history of the world; nay, the exhausting atmosphere of
transcendental ideas could not but exercise a detrimental influence
on the active and moral character of the Hindoos. [3]

In this passive, abstract, unprogressive state, they have remained
ever since. Stiffened into castes, and tongue-tied and hand-tied by
absurd rites and ceremonies, they were heard of in dim legends by
Herodotus; they were seen by Alexander when that bold spirit pushed
his phalanx beyond the limits of the known world; they trafficked
with imperial Rome, and the later empire; they were again almost lost
sight of, and became fabulous in the Middle Age; they were
rediscovered by the Portuguese; they have been alternately peaceful
subjects and desperate rebels to us English; but they have been still
the same immovable and unprogressive philosophers, though akin to
Europe all the while; and though the Highlander, who drives his
bayonet through the heart of a high-caste Sepoy mutineer, little
knows that his pale features and sandy hair, and that dusk face with
its raven locks, both come from a common ancestor away in Central
Asia, many, many centuries ago.

But here arises the question, what interest can we, the descendants
of the practical brother, heirs to so much historical renown,
possibly take in the records of a race so historically characterless,
and so sunk in reveries and mysticism? The answer is easy. Those
records are written in a language closely allied to the primaeval
common tongue of those two branches before they parted, and
descending from a period anterior to their separation. It may, or it
may not, be the very tongue itself, but it certainly is not further
removed than a few steps. The speech of the emigrants to the west
rapidly changed with the changing circumstances and various fortune
of each of its waves, and in their intercourse with the aboriginal
population they often adopted foreign elements into their language.
One of these waves, it is probable, passing by way of Persia and Asia
Minor, crossed the Hellespont, and following the coast, threw off a
mighty rill, known in after times as Greeks; while the main stream,
striking through Macedonia, either crossed the Adriatic, or, still
hugging the coast, came down on Italy, to be known as Latins.
Another, passing between the Caspian and the Black Sea, filled the
steppes round the Crimea, and; passing on over the Balkan and the
Carpathians towards the west, became that great Teutonic nationality
which, under various names, but all closely akin, filled, when we
first hear of them in historical times, the space between the Black
Sea and the Baltic, and was then slowly but surely driving before
them the great wave of the Celts which had preceded them in their
wandering, and which had probably followed the same line of march as
the ancestors of the Greeks and Latins. A movement which lasted until
all that was left of Celtic nationality was either absorbed by the
intruders, or forced aside and driven to take refuge in mountain
fastnesses and outlying islands. Besides all these, there was still
another wave, which is supposed to have passed between the Sea of
Aral and the Caspian, and, keeping still further to the north and
east, to have passed between its kindred Teutons and the Mongolian
tribes, and so to have lain in the background until we find them
appearing as Slavonians on the scene of history. Into so many great
stocks did the Western Aryans pass, each possessing strongly-marked
nationalities and languages, and these seemingly so distinct that
each often asserted that the other spoke a barbarous tongue. But, for
all that, each of those tongues bears about with it still, and in
earlier times no doubt bore still more plainly about with it,
infallible evidence of common origin, so that each dialect can be
traced up to that primaeval form of speech still in the main
preserved in the Sanscrit by the Southern Aryan branch, who, careless
of practical life, and immersed in speculation, have clung to their
ancient traditions and tongue with wonderful tenacity. It is this
which has given such value to Sanscrit, a tongue of which it may be
said, that if it had perished the sun would never have risen on the
science of comparative philology. Before the discoveries in Sanscrit
of Sir William Jones, Wilkins, Wilson, and others, the world had
striven to find the common ancestor of European languages, sometimes
in the classical, and sometimes in the Semitic tongues. In the one
case the result was a tyranny of Greek and Latin over the non-
classical tongues, and in the other the most uncritical and
unphilosophical waste of learning. No doubt some striking analogies
exist between the Indo-European family and the Semitic stock, just as
there are remarkable analogies between the Mongolian and Indo-
European families; but the ravings of Vallancy, in his effort to
connect the Erse with Phoenician, are an awful warning of what
unscientific inquiry, based upon casual analogy, may bring itself to
believe, and even to fancy it has proved.

These general observations, then, and this rapid bird's eye view, may
suffice to show the common affinity which exists between the Eastern
and Western Aryans; between the Hindoo on the one hand, and the
nations of Western Europe on the other. That is the fact to keep
steadily before our eyes. We all came, Greek, Latin, Celt, Teuton,
Slavonian, from the East, as kith and kin, leaving kith and kin
behind us; and after thousands of years the language and traditions
of those who went East, and those who went West, bear such an
affinity to each other, as to have established, beyond discussion or
dispute, the fact of their descent from a common stock.


This general affinity established, we proceed to narrow our subject
to its proper limits, and to confine it to the consideration,
_first_, of Popular Tales in general, and _secondly_, of
those Norse Tales in particular, which form the bulk of this volume.

In the first place, then, the fact which we remarked on setting out,
that the groundwork or plot of many of these tales is common to all
the nations of Europe, is more important, and of greater scientific
interest, than might at first appear. They form, in fact, another
link in the chain of evidence of a common origin between the East and
West, and even the obstinate adherents of the old classical theory,
according to which all resemblances were set down to sheer copying
from Greek or Latin patterns, are now forced to confess, not only
that there was no such wholesale copying at all, but that, in many
cases, the despised vernacular tongues have preserved the common
traditions far more faithfully than the writers of Greece and Rome.
The sooner, in short, that this theory of copying, which some, even
besides the classicists, have maintained, is abandoned, the better,
not only for the truth, but for the literary reputation of those who
put it forth. No one can, of course, imagine that during that long
succession of ages when this mighty wedge of Aryan migration was
driving its way through that prehistoric race, that nameless
nationality, the traces of which we everywhere find underlying the
intruders in their monuments and implements of bone and stone--a race
akin, in all probability, to the Mongolian family, and whose
miserable remnants we see pushed aside, and huddled up in the holes
and corners of Europe, as Lapps, and Finns, and Basques--No one, we
say, can suppose for a moment, that in that long process of contact
and absorption, some traditions of either race should not have been
caught up and adopted by the other. We know it to be a fact with
regard to their language, from the evidence of philology, which
cannot lie; and the witness borne by such a word as the Gothic Atta
for _father_, where a Mongolian has been adopted in preference
to an Aryan word, is irresistible on this point; but that, apart from
such natural assimilation, all the thousand shades of resemblance and
affinity which gleam and flicker through the whole body of popular
tradition in the Aryan race, as the Aurora plays and flashes in
countless rays athwart the Northern heaven, should be the result of
mere servile copying of one tribe's traditions by another, is a
supposition as absurd as that of those good country-folk, who, when
they see an Aurora, fancy it must be a great fire, the work of some
incendiary, and send off the parish engine to put it out. No! when we
find in such a story as the Master-thief traits, which are to be
found in the Sanscrit _Hitopadesa_ [4], and which reminds us at
once of the story of Rhampsinitus in Herodotus; which are also to be
found in German, Italian, and Flemish popular tales, but told in all
with such variations of character and detail, and such adaptations to
time and place, as evidently show the original working of the
national consciousness upon a stock of tradition common to all the
race, but belonging to no tribe of that race in particular; and when
we find this occurring not in one tale but in twenty, we are forced
to abandon the theory of such universal copying, for fear lest we
should fall into a greater difficulty than that for which we were
striving to account.

To set this question in a plainer light, let us take a well-known
instance; let us take the story of William Tell and his daring shot,
which is said to have been made in the year 1307. It is just possible
that the feat might be historical, and, no doubt, thousands believe
it for the sake of the Swiss patriot, as firmly as they believe in
anything; but, unfortunately, this story of the bold archer who saves
his life by shooting an apple from the head of his child at the
command of a tyrant, is common to the whole Aryan race. It appears in
Saxo Grammaticus, who flourished in the twelfth century, where it is
told of Palnatoki, King Harold Gormson's thane and assassin. In the
thirteenth century the _Wilkina Saga_ relates it of Egill,
Völundr's--our Wayland Smith's--younger brother. So also in the Norse
Saga of _Saint Olof_, king and martyr; the king, who died in
1030, eager for the conversion of one of his heathen chiefs Eindridi,
competes with him in various athletic exercises, first in swimming
and then in archery. After several famous shots on either side, the
king challenges Eindridi to shoot a tablet off his son's head without
hurting the child. Eindridi is ready, but declares he will revenge
himself if the child is hurt. The king has the first shot, and his
arrow strikes close to the tablet. Then Eindridi is to shoot, but at
the prayers of his mother and sister, refuses the shot, and has to
yield and be converted [_Fornm. Sog._, 2, 272]. So, also, King
Harold Sigurdarson, who died 1066, backed himself against a famous
marksman, Hemingr, and ordered him to shoot a hazel nut off the head
of his brother Björn, and Hemingr performed the feat [Müller's _Saga
Bibl._, 3, 359]. In the middle of the fourteenth century, the
_Malleus Maleficarum_ refers it to Puncher, a magician of the
Upper Rhine. Here in England, we have it in the old English
ballad of _Adam Bell, Clym of the Clough_, and _William of
Cloudesly_, where William performs the feat [see the ballad in
Percy's _Reliques_]. It is not at all of Tell in Switzerland
before the year 1499, and the earlier Swiss chronicles omit it
altogether. It is common to the Turks and Mongolians; and a legend of
the wild Samoyeds, who never heard of Tell or saw a book in their
lives, relates it, chapter and verse, of one of their famous
marksmen. What shall we say then, but that the story of this bold
master-shot was primaeval amongst many tribes and races, and that it
only crystallized itself round the great name of Tell by that process
of attraction which invariably leads a grateful people to throw such
mythic wreaths, such garlands of bold deeds of precious memory, round
the brow of its darling champion [5].

Nor let any pious Welshman be shocked if we venture to assert that
Gellert, that famous hound upon whose last resting-place the
traveller comes as he passes down the lovely vale of Gwynant, is a
mythical dog, and never snuffed the fresh breeze in the forest of
Snowdon, nor saved his master's child from ravening wolf. This, too,
is a primaeval story, told with many variations. Sometimes the foe is
a wolf, sometimes a bear, sometimes a snake. Sometimes the faithful
guardian of the child is an otter, a weasel, or a dog. It, too, came
from the East. It is found in the _Pantcha-Tantra_, in the
_Hitopadesa_, in Bidpai's _Fables_, in the Arabic original of
_The Seven Wise Masters_, that famous collection of stories
which illustrate a stepdame's calumny and hate, and in many mediaeval
versions of those originals [6]. Thence it passed into the Latin
_Gesta Romanorum_, where, as well as in the Old English version
published by Sir Frederick Madden, it may be read as a service
rendered by a faithful hound against a snake. This, too, like Tell's
master-shot, is as the lightning which shineth over the whole heaven
at once, and can be claimed by no one tribe of the Aryan race, to the
exclusion of the rest. 'The Dog of Montargis' is in like manner
mythic, though perhaps not so widely spread. It first occurs in
France, as told of Sybilla, a fabulous wife of Charlemagne; but it is
at any rate as old as the time of Plutarch, who relates it as an
anecdote of brute sagacity in the days of Pyrrhus.

There can be no doubt, with regard to the question of the origin of
these tales, that they were common in germ at least to the Aryan
tribes before their migration. We find those germs developed in the
popular traditions of the Eastern Aryans, and we find them developed
in a hundred forms and shapes in every one of the nations into which
the Western Aryans have shaped themselves in the course of ages. We
are led, therefore, irresistibly to the conclusion, that these
traditions are as much a portion of the common inheritance of our
ancestors, as their language unquestionably is; and that they form,
along with that language, a double chain of evidence, which proves
their Eastern origin. If we are to seek for a simile, or an analogy,
as to the relative positions of these tales and traditions, and to
the mutual resemblances which exist between them as the several
branches of our race have developed them from the common stock, we
may find it in one which will come home to every reader as he looks
round the domestic hearth, if he should be so happy as to have one.
They are like as sisters of one house are like. They have what would
be called a strong family likeness; but besides this likeness, which
they owe to father or mother, as the case may be, they have each
their peculiarities of form, and eye, and face, and still more, their
differences of intellect and mind. This may be dark, that fair; this
may have gray eyes, that black; this may be open and graceful, that
reserved and close; this you may love, that you can take no interest
in. One may be bashful, another winning, a third worth knowing and
yet hard to know. They are so like and so unlike. At first it may be,
as an old English writer beautifully expresses it, 'their father hath
writ them as his own little story', but as they grow up they throw
off the copy, educate themselves for good or ill, and finally assume
new forms of feeling and feature under an original development of
their own.

Or shall we take another likeness, and say they are national dreams;
that they are like the sleeping thoughts of many men upon one and the
same thing. Suppose a hundred men to have been eye-witnesses of some
event on the same day, and then to have slept and dreamt of it; we
should have as many distinct representations of that event, all
turning upon it and bound up with it in some way, but each preserving
the personality of the sleeper, and working up the common stuff in a
higher or lower degree, just as the fancy and the intellect of the
sleeper was at a higher or lower level of perfection. There is,
indeed, greater truth in this likeness than may at first sight
appear. In the popular tale, properly so called, the national mind
dreams all its history over again; in its half conscious state it
takes this trait and that trait, this feature and that feature, of
times and ages long past. It snatches up bits of its old beliefs, and
fears, and griefs, and glory, and pieces them together with something
that happened yesterday, and then holds up the distorted reflection
in all its inconsequence, just as it has passed before that magic
glass, as though it were genuine history, and matter for pure belief.
And here it may be as well to say, that besides that old classical
foe of vernacular tradition, there is another hardly less dangerous,
which returns to the charge of copying, but changes what lawyers call
the _venue_ of the trial from classical to Eastern lands.
According to this theory, which came up when its classical
predecessor was no longer tenable, the traditions and tales of
Western Europe came from the East, but they were still all copies.
They were supposed to have proceeded entirely from two sources; one
the _Directorium Humanae Vitae_ of John of Capua, translated
between 1262-78 from a Hebrew version, which again came from an
Arabic version of the 8th century, which came from a Pehlvi version
made by one Barzouyeh, at the command of Chosrou Noushirvan, King of
Persia, in the 6th century, which again came from the _Pantcha
Tantra_, a Sanscrit original of unknown antiquity. This is that
famous book of _Calila and Dimna_, as the Persian version is
called, attributed to Bidpai, and which was thus run to earth in
India. The second source of Western tradition was held to be that
still more famous collection of stories commonly known by the name of
the 'Story of the Seven Sages,' but which, under many names--Kaiser
Octavianus, Diocletianus, Dolopathos, Erastus, etc.--plays a most
important part in mediaeval romance. This, too, by a similar process,
has been traced to India, appearing first in Europe at the beginning
of the thirteenth century in the Latin _Historia Septem Sapientum
Romae_, by Dame Jehans, monk in the Abbey of Haute Selve. Here,
too, we have a Hebrew, an Arabic, and a Persian version; which last
came avowedly from a Sanscrit original, though that original has not
yet been discovered. From these two sources of fable and tradition,
according to the new copying theory, our Western fables and tales had
come by direct translation from the East. Now it will be at once
evident that this theory hangs on what may be called a single thread.
Let us say, then, that all that can be found in _Calila and
Dimna_, or the later Persian version, made A.D. 1494, of Hossein
Vaez, called the _Anvari Sohaïli_, 'the Canopic Lights'--from
which, when published in Paris by David Sahid of Ispahan, in the year
1644, La Fontaine drew the substance of many of his best fables.--Let
us say, too, that all can be found in the _Life of the Seven
Sages_, or the Book of Sendabad as it was called in Persia, after
an apocryphal Indian sage--came by translation--that is to say,
through the cells of Brahmins, Magians, and monks, and the labours of
the learned--into the popular literature of the West. Let us give up
all that, and then see where we stand. What are we to say of the many
tales and fables which are to be found in neither of those famous
collections, and not tales alone, but traits and features of old
tradition, broken bits of fable, roots and germs of mighty growths of
song and story, nay, even the very words, which exist in Western
popular literature, and which modern philology has found obstinately
sticking in Sanscrit, and of which fresh proofs and instances are
discovered every day? What are we to say of such a remarkable
resemblance as this?

  The noble King Putraka fled into the Vindhya mountains in order to
  live apart from his unkind kinsfolk; and as he wandered about there
  he met two men who wrestled and fought with one another. 'Who are
  you?' he asked. 'We are the sons of Mayâsara, and here lie our
  riches; this bowl, this staff, and these shoes; these are what we
  are fighting for, and whichever is stronger is to have them for his

  So when Putraka had heard that, he asked them with a laugh: 'Why,
  what's the good of owning these things?' Then they answered
  'Whoever puts on these shoes gets the power to fly; whatever is
  pointed at with this staff rises up at once; and whatever food one
  wishes for in this bowl, it comes at once.' So when Putraka had
  heard that he said 'Why fight about it? Let this be the prize;
  whoever beats the other in a race, let him have them all'.

  'So be it', said the two fools, and set off running, but Putraka
  put on the shoes at once, and flew away with the staff and bowl up
  into the clouds'.

Well, this is a story neither in the _Pantcha Tantra_ nor the
_Hitopadesa_, the Sanscrit originals of _Calila and Dimna_.
It is not in the _Directorium Humanae Vitae_, and has not passed
west by that way. Nor is it in the _Book of Sendabad_, and
thence come west in the _History of the Seven Sages_. Both these
paths are stopped. It comes from the _Katha Sarit Sagara_, the
'Sea of Streams of Story' of Somadeva Bhatta of Cashmere, who, in the
middle of the twelfth century of our era, worked up the tales found
in an earlier collection, called the _Vrihat Katha_, 'the
lengthened story', in order to amuse his mistress, the Queen of
Cashmere. Somadeva's collection has only been recently known and
translated. But west the story certainly came long before, and in the
extreme north-west we still find it in these Norse Tales in 'The
Three Princesses of Whiteland', No. xxvi.

  'Well!' said the man, 'as this is so, I'll give you a bit of
  advice. Hereabouts, on a moor, stand three brothers, and there they
  have stood these hundred years, fighting about a hat, a cloak, and
  a pair of boots. If any one has these three things, he can make
  himself invisible, and wish himself anywhere he pleases. You can
  tell them you wish to try the things, and after that, you'll pass
  judgment between them, whose they shall be'.

  Yes! the king thanked the man, and went and did as he told him.

  'What's all this?' he said to the brothers. 'Why do you stand here
  fighting for ever and a day? Just let me try these things, and I'll
  give judgment whose they shall be.'

  They were very willing to do this; but as soon as he had got the
  hat; cloak, and boots, he said: 'When we meet next time I'll tell
  you my judgment'; and with these words he wished himself away.

Nor in the Norse tales alone. Other collections shew how thoroughly
at home this story was in the East. In the Relations of _Ssidi
Kur_, a Tartar tale, a Chan's son first gets possession of a cloak
which two children stand and fight for, which has the gift of making
the wearer invisible, and afterwards of a pair of boots, with which
one can wish one's self to whatever place one chooses. Again, in a
Wallachian tale, we read of three devils who fight for their
inheritance--a club which turns everything to stone, a hat which
makes the wearer invisible, and a cloak by help of which one can wish
one's self whithersoever one pleases. Again, in a Mongolian tale, the
Chan's son comes upon a group of children who fight for a hood which
makes the wearer invisible; he is to be judge between them, makes
them run a race for it, but meanwhile puts it on and vanishes from
their sight. A little further on he meets another group, who are
quarrelling for a pair of boots, the wearer of which can wish himself
whithersoever he pleases, and gains possession of them in the same

Nor in one Norse tale alone, but in many, we find traces of these
three wonderful things, or of things like them. They are very like
the cloth, the ram, and the stick, which the lad got from the North
Wind instead of his meal. Very like, too, the cloth, the scissors,
and the tap, which will be found in No. xxxvi, 'The Best Wish'. If we
drop the number three, we find the Boots again in 'Soria Moria
Castle', No. lvi. [Moe, Introd., xxxii-iii] Leaving the Norse Tales,
we see at once that they are the seven-leagued boots of Jack the
Giant Killer. In the _Nibelungen Lied_, when Siegfried finds
Schilbung and Niblung, the wierd heirs of the famous 'Hoard',
striving for the possession of that heap of red gold and gleaming
stones; when they beg him to share it for them, promising him, as his
meed, Balmung, best of swords; when he shares it, when they are
discontent, and when in the struggle which ensues he gets possession
of the 'Tarnhut', the 'cloak of darkness', which gave its wearer the
strength of twelve men, and enabled him to go where he would be
unseen, and which was the great prize among the treasures of the
dwarfs[7]; who is there that does not see the broken fragments of
that old Eastern story of the heirs struggling for their inheritance,
and calling in the aid of some one of better wit or strength who ends
by making the very prize for which they fight his own?

And now to return for a moment to _Calila and Dimna_ and _The
Seven Sages_. Since we have seen that there are other stories, and
many of them, for this is by no means the only resemblance to be
found in Somadeva's book [8] which are common to the Eastern and
Western Aryans, but which did not travel to Europe by translation;
let us go on to say that it is by no means certain, even when some
Western story or fable is found in these Sanscrit originals and their
translations, that that was the only way by which they came to
Europe. A single question will prove this. How did the fables and
apologues which are found in _Aesop_, and which are also
found in the _Pantcha Tantya_ and the _Hitopadesa_ come West?
That they came from the East is certain; but by what way, certainly
not by translations or copying, for they had travelled west long
before translations were thought of. How was it that Themistius, a
Greek orator of the fourth century [J. Grimm, _Reinhart Fuchs_,
cclxiii, Intr.] had heard of that fable of the lion, fox, and bull,
which is in substance the same as that of the lion, the bull, and
the two jackals in the _Pantcha Tantya_ and the _Hitopadesa_?
How, but along the path of that primaeval Aryan migration, and by
that deep-ground tone of tradition by which man speaks to man, nation
to nation, and age to age; along which comparative philology has, in
these last days, travelled back thither, listened to the accents
spoken, and so found in the East the cradle of a common language and
common belief.

And now, having, as we hope, finally established this Indian
affinity, and disposed of mere Indian copying, let us lift our eyes
and see if something more is not to be discerned on the wide horizon
now open on our view. The most interesting problem for man to solve
is the origin of his race. Of late years comparative philology,
having accomplished her task in proving the affinity of language
between Europe and the East, and so taken a mighty step towards
fixing the first seat of the greatest--greatest in wit and wisdom, if
not in actual numbers--portion of the human race, has pursued her
inquiries into the languages of the Turanian, the Semitic, and the
Chamitic or African races, with more or less successful results. In a
few more years, when the African languages are better known, and the
roots of Egyptian and Chinese words are more accurately detected,
Science will be better able to speak as to the common affinity of all
the tribes that throng the earth. In the meantime, let the testimony
of tradition and popular tales be heard, which in this case have
outstripped comparative philology, and lead instead of following her.
It is beyond the scope of this essay, which aims at being popular and
readable rather than learned and lengthy, to go over a prolonged
scientific investigation step by step. We repeat it. The reader must
have faith in the writer, and believe the words now written are the
results of an inquiry, and not ask for the inquiry itself. In all
mythologies and traditions, then, there are what may be called
natural resemblances, parallelisms suggested to the senses of each
race by natural objects and every-day events, and these might spring
up spontaneously all over the earth as home growths, neither derived
by imitation from other tribes, nor from seeds of common tradition
shed from a common stock. Such resemblances have been well
compared by William Grimm, [_Kinder and Hausmärchen_, vol. 3, _3d_
edition (Göttingen, 1856) a volume worthy of the utmost attention.]
to those words which are found in all languages derived from the
imitation of natural sounds, or, we may add, from the first lisping
accents of infancy. But the case is very different when this or that
object which strikes the senses is accounted for in a way so
extraordinary and peculiar, as to stamp the tradition with a
character of its own. Then arises a like impression on the mind, if
we find the same tradition in two tribes at the opposite ends of the
earth, as is produced by meeting twin brothers, one in Africa and the
other in Asia; we say at once 'I know you are so and so's brother,
you are so like him'. Take an instance: In these Norse Tales, No.
xxiii, we are told how it was the bear came to have a stumpy tail,
and in an African tale, [9] we find how it was the hyaena became
tailless and earless. Now, the tailless condition both of the bear
and the hyaena could scarcely fail to attract attention in a race of
hunters, and we might expect that popular tradition would attempt to
account for both, but how are we to explain the fact, that both
Norseman and African account for it in the same way--that both owe
their loss to the superior cunning of another animal. In Europe the
fox bears away the palm for wit from all other animals, so he it is
that persuades the bear in the Norse Tales to sit with his tail in a
hole in the ice till it is fast frozen in, and snaps short off when
he tries to tug it out. In Bornou, in the heart of Africa, it is the
weasel who is the wisest of beasts, and who, having got some meat in
common with the hyaena, put it into a hole, and said:

  'Behold two men came out of the forest, took the meat, and put it
  into a hole: stop, I will go into the hole, and then thou mayst
  stretch out thy tail to me, and I will tie the meat to thy tail for
  thee to draw it out'. So the weasel went into the hole, the hyaena
  stretched its tail out to it, but the weasel took the hyaena's
  tail, fastened a stick, and tied the hyaena's tail to the stick,
  and then said to the hyaena 'I have tied the meat to thy tail;
  draw, and pull it out'. The hyaena was a fool, it did not know the
  weasel surpassed it in subtlety; it thought the meat was tied; but
  when it tried to draw out its tail, it was fast. When the weasel
  said again to it 'Pull', it pulled, but could not draw it out; so
  it became vexed, and on pulling with force, its tail broke. The
  tail being torn out, the weasel was no more seen by the hyaena: the
  weasel was hidden in the hole with its meat, and the hyaena saw it
  not. [_Kanuri Proverbs_, p. 167.]

Here we have a fact in natural history accounted for, but accounted
for in such a peculiar way as shows that the races among which they
are current must have derived them from some common tradition. The
mode by which the tail is lost is different indeed; but the manner in
which the common ground-work is suited in one case to the cold of the
North, and the way in which fish are commonly caught at holes in the
ice as they rise to breathe; and in the other to Africa and her
pitfalls for wild beasts, is only another proof of the oldness of the
tradition, and that it is not merely a copy.

Take another instance. Every one knows the story in the Arabian
Nights, where the man who knows the speech of beasts laughs at
something said by an ox to an ass. His wife wants to know why he
laughs, and persists, though he tells her it will cost him his life
if he tells her. As he doubts what to do, he hears the cock say to
the house-dog 'Our master is not wise; I have fifty hens who obey me;
if he followed my advice, he'd just take a good stick, shut up his
wife in a room with him, and give her a good cudgelling.' The same
story is told in Straparola [10] with so many variations as to show
it is no copy; it is also told in a Servian popular tale, with
variations of its own; and now here we find it in Bornou, as told by

  There was a servant of God who had one wife and one horse; but his
  wife was one-eyed, and they lived in their house. Now this servant
  of God understood the language of the beasts of the forest when
  they spoke, and of the birds of the air when they talked as they
  flew by. This servant of God also understood the cry of the hyaena
  when it arose at night in the forest, and came to the houses and
  cried near them; so, likewise, when his horse was hungry and
  neighed, he understood why it neighed, rose up, brought the horse
  grass, and then returned and sat down. It happened one day that
  birds had their talk as they were flying by above and the servant
  of God understood what they talked. This caused him to laugh,
  whereupon his wife said to him 'What dost thou hear that thou
  laughest?' He replied to his wife 'I shall not tell thee what I
  hear, and why I laugh'. The woman said to her husband 'I know why
  thou laughest; thou laughest at me because I am one-eyed'. The man
  then said to his wife 'I saw that thou wast one-eyed before I loved
  thee, and before we married and sat down in our house'. When the
  woman heard her husband's word she was quiet.

  But once at night, as they were lying on their bed, and it was past
  midnight, it happened that a rat played with his wife on the top of
  the house and that both fell to the ground. Then the wife of the
  rat said to her husband 'Thy sport is bad; thou saidst to me that
  thou wouldst play, but when we came together we fell to the ground,
  so that I broke my back'.

  When the servant of God heard the talk of the rat's wife, as he was
  lying on his bed, he laughed. Now, as soon as he laughed his wife
  arose, seized him, and said to him as she held him fast: 'Now this
  time I will not let thee go out of this house except thou tell me
  what thou hearest and why thou laughest'. The man begged the woman,
  saying 'Let me go'; but the woman would not listen to her husband's

The husband then tells his wife that he knows the language of beasts
and birds, and she is content; but when he wakes in the morning he
finds he has lost his wonderful gift; and the moral of the tale is
added most ungallantly: 'If a man shews and tells his thoughts to a
woman, God will punish him for it'. Though, perhaps, it is better,
for the sake of the gentler sex, that the tale should be pointed with
this unfair moral, than that the African story should proceed like
all the other variations, and save the husband's gift at the cost of
the wife's skin.

Take other African instances. How is it that the wandering Bechuanas
got their story of 'The Two Brothers', the ground-work of which is
the same as 'The Machandelboom' and the 'Milk-white Doo', and where
the incidents and even the words are almost the same? How is it that
in some of its traits that Bechuana story embodies those of that
earliest of all popular tales, recently published from an Egyptian
Papyrus, coeval with the abode of the Israelites in Egypt? and how is
it that that same Egyptian tale has other traits which reminds us of
the Dun Bull in 'Katie Woodencloak', as well as incidents which are
the germ of stories long since reduced to writing in Norse Sagas of
the twelfth and thirteenth centuries? [11] How is it that we still
find among the Negroes in the West Indies [12] a rich store of
popular tales, and the Beast Epic in full bloom, brought with them
from Africa to the islands of the West; and among those tales and
traditions, how is it that we find a 'Wishing Tree', the counter-part
of that in a German popular tale, and 'a little dirty scrub of a
child', whom his sisters despise, but who is own brother to Boots in
the Norse Tales, and like him outwits the Troll, spoils his
substance, and saves his sisters? How is it that we find the good
woman who washes the loathsome head rewarded, while the bad man who
refuses to do that dirty work is punished for his pride; the very
groundwork, nay the very words, that we meet in Bushy-bride, another
Norse Tale? How is it that we find a Mongolian tale, which came
confessedly from India, made up of two of our Norse tales, 'Rich
Peter the Pedlar' and 'The Giant that had no heart in his
body' [_The Deeds of Bogda Gesser Chan_, by I. J. Schmidt
(Petersburg and Leipzig, 1839).]? How should all these things be, and
how could they possibly be, except on that theory which day by day
becomes more and more a matter of fact; this, that the whole human
race sprung from one stock, planted in the East, which has stretched
out its boughs and branches laden with the fruit of language, and
bright with the bloom of song and story, by successive offshoots to
the utmost parts of the earth.


And now, in the second place, for that particular branch of the Aryan
race, in which this peculiar development of the common tradition has
arisen, which we are to consider as 'Norse Popular Tales'.

Whatever disputes may have existed as to the mythology of other
branches of the Teutonic subdivision of the Aryan race--whatever
discussions may have arisen as to the position of this or that
divinity among the Franks, the Anglo-Saxons, or the Goths--about the
Norsemen there can be no dispute or doubt. From a variety of
circumstances, but two before all the rest--the one their settlement
in Iceland, which preserved their language and its literary treasures
incorrupt; the other their late conversion to Christianity--their
cosmogony and mythology stands before us in full flower, and we have
not, as elsewhere, to pick up and piece together the wretched
fragments of a faith, the articles of which its own priests had
forgotten to commit to writing, and which those of another creed had
dashed to pieces and destroyed, wherever their zealous hands could
reach. In the two Eddas, therefore, in the early Sagas, in Saxo's
stilted Latin, which barely conceals the popular songs and legends
from which the historian drew his materials, we are enabled to form a
perfect conception of the creed of the heathen Norsemen. We are
enabled to trace, as has been traced by the same hand in another
place [_Oxford Essays for_ 1898: 'The Norsemen in Iceland'.],
the natural and rational development of that creed from a simple
worship of nature and her powers, first to monotheism, and then to a
polytheistic system. The tertiary system of Polytheism is the soil
out of which the mythology of the Eddas sprang, though through it
each of the older formations crops out in huge masses which admit of
no mistake as to its origin. In the Eddas the natural powers have
been partly subdued, partly thrust on one side, for a time, by Odin
and the Aesir, by the Great Father and his children, by One Supreme
and twelve subordinate gods, who rule for an appointed time, and over
whom hangs an impending fate, which imparts a charm of melancholy to
this creed, which has clung to the race who once believed in it long
after the creed itself has vanished before the light of Christianity.
According to this creed, the Aesir and Odin had their abode in
Asgard, a lofty hill in the centre of the habitable earth, in the
midst of Midgard, that _middle earth_ which we hear of in early
English poetry, the abode of gods and men. Round that earth, which
was fenced in against the attacks of ancient and inveterate foes by a
natural fortification of hills, flowed the great sea in a ring, and
beyond that sea was Utgard, the outlying world, the abode of Frost
Giants, and Monsters, those old-natural powers who had been
dispossessed by Odin and the Aesir when the new order of the universe
arose, and between whom and the new gods a feud as inveterate as that
cherished by the Titans against Jupiter was necessarily kept alive.
It is true indeed that this feud was broken by intervals of truce
during which the Aesir and the Giants visit each other, and appear on
more or less friendly terms, but the true relation between them was
war; pretty much as the Norseman was at war with all the rest of the
world. Nor was this struggle between two rival races or powers
confined to the gods in Asgard alone. Just as their ancient foes were
the Giants of Frost and Snow, so between the race of men and the race
of Trolls was there a perpetual feud. As the gods were men magnified
and exaggerated, so were the Trolls diminished Frost Giants; far
superior to man in strength and stature, but inferior to man in wit
and invention. Like the Frost Giants, they inhabit the rough and
rugged places of the earth, and, historically speaking, in all
probability represent the old aboriginal races who retired into the
mountainous fastnesses of the land, and whose strength was
exaggerated, because the intercourse between the races was small. In
almost every respect they stand in the same relations to men as the
Frost Giants stand to the Gods.

There is nothing, perhaps, more characteristic of a true, as compared
with a false religion, than the restlessness of the one when brought
face to face with the quiet dignity and majesty of the other. Under
the Christian dispensation, our blessed Lord, his awful sacrifice
once performed, 'ascended up on high', having 'led captivity
captive', and expects the hour that shall make his foes 'his
footstool'; but false gods, Jupiter, Vishnu, Odin, Thor, must
constantly keep themselves, as it were, before the eyes of men, lest
they should lose respect. Such gods being invariably what the
philosophers call _subjective_, that is to say, having no
existence except in the minds of those who believe in them; having
been created by man in his own image, with his own desires and
passions, stand in constant need of being recreated. They change as
the habits and temper of the race which adores them alter; they are
ever bound to do something fresh, lest man should forget them, and
new divinities usurp their place. Hence came endless avatars in
Hindoo mythology, reproducing all the dreamy monstrosities of that
passive Indian mind. Hence came Jove's adventures, tinged with all
the lust and guile which the wickedness of the natural man planted on
a hot-bed of iniquity is capable of conceiving. Hence bloody Moloch,
and the foul abominations of Chemosh and Milcom. Hence, too, Odin's
countless adventures, his journeys into all parts of the world, his
constant trials of wit and strength, with his ancient foes the Frost
Giants, his hair-breadth escapes. Hence Thor's labours and toils, his
passages beyond the sea, girt with his strength-belt, wearing his
iron gloves, and grasping his hammer which split the skulls of so
many of the Giant's kith and kin. In the Norse gods, then, we see the
Norseman himself, sublimed and elevated beyond man's nature, but
bearing about with him all his bravery and endurance, all his dash
and spirit of adventure, all his fortitude and resolution to struggle
against a certainty of doom which, sooner or later, must overtake him
on that dread day, the 'twilight of the gods', when the wolf was to
break loose, when the great snake that lay coiled round the world
should lash himself into wrath, and the whole race of the Aesirs and
their antagonists were to perish in internecine strife.

Such were the gods in whom the Norseman believed--exaggerations of
himself, of all his good and all his bad qualities. Their might and
their adventures, their domestic quarrels and certain doom, were sung
in venerable lays, now collected in what we call the Elder, or Poetic
Edda; simple majestic songs, whose mellow accents go straight to the
heart through the ear, and whose simple severity never suffers us to
mistake their meaning. But, besides these gods, there were heroes of
the race whose fame and glory were in every man's memory, and whose
mighty deeds were in every minstrel's mouth. Helgi, Sigmund,
Sinfjötli, Sigurd, Signy, Brynhildr, Gudrun; champions and shield-
maidens, henchmen and corse-choosers, now dead and gone, who sat
round Odin's board in Valhalla. Women whose beauty, woes, and
sufferings were beyond those of all women; men whose prowess had
never found an equal. Between these, love and hate; all that can
foster passion or beget revenge. Ill assorted marriages; the right
man to the wrong woman, and the wrong man to the right woman;
envyings, jealousies, hatred, murders, all the works of the natural
man, combine together to form that marvellous story which begins with
a curse--the curse of ill-gotten gold--and ends with a curse, a
widow's curse, which drags down all on whom it falls, and even her
own flesh and blood, to certain doom. Such was the theme of the
wondrous Volsung Tale, the far older, simpler and grander original of
that Nibelungen Need of the thirteenth century, a tale which begins
with the slaughter of Fafnir by Sigurd, and ends with Hermanaric,
'that fierce faith-breaker', as the Anglo-Saxon minstrel calls him,
when he is describing, in rapid touches, the mythic glories of the
Teutonic race.

This was the story of the Volsungs. They traced themselves back, like
all heroes, to Odin, the great father of gods and men. From him
sprung Sigi, from him Rerir, from him Volsung, ripped from his
mother's womb after a six years' bearing, to become the Eponymus of
that famous race. In the centre of his hall grew an oak, the tall
trunk of which passed through the roof, and its boughs spread far and
wide in upper air. Into that hall, on a high feast day, when Signy,
Volsung's daughter, was to be given away to Siggeir, King of
Gothland, strode an old one-eyed guest. His feet were bare, his hose
were of knitted linen, he wore a great striped cloak, and a broad
flapping hat. In his hand he bore a sword, which, at one stroke, he
drove up to the hilt in the oak trunk. 'There', said he, 'let him of
all this company bear this sword who is man enough to pull it out. I
give it him, and none shall say he ever bore a better blade.' With
these words he passed out of the hall, and was seen no more. Many
tried, for that sword was plainly a thing of price, but none could
stir it, till Sigmund, the best and bravest of Volsung's sons, tried
his hand, and, lo! the weapon yielded itself at once. This was that
famous blade _Gram_, of which we shall hear again. Sigmund bore
it in battle against his brother-in-law, who quarrelled with him
about this very sword, when Volsung fell, and Sigmund and his ten
brothers were taken and bound. All perished but Sigmund, who was
saved by his sister Signy, and hidden in a wood till he could revenge
his father and brethren. Here with Sinfjötli, who was at once his son
and nephew, he ran as a werewolf through the forest, and wrought many
wild deeds. When Sinfjötli was of age to help him, they proceed to
vengeance, and burn the treacherous brother-in-law alive, with all
his followers. Sigmund then regains his father's kingdom, and in
extreme old age dies in battle against the sons of King Hunding. Just
as he was about to turn the fight, a warrior of more than mortal
might, a one-eyed man in a blue cloak, with a flapping hat, rose up
against him spear in hand. At that outstretched spear Sigmund smites
with his trusty sword. It snaps in twain. Then he knows that his luck
is gone; he sees in his foe Odin the giver of the sword, sinks down
on the gory battle-field, and dies in the arms of Hjordis, his young
wife, refusing all leechcraft, and bowing his head to Odin's will. By
the fortune of war, Hjordis, bearing a babe under her girdle, came
into the hands of King Hialprek of Denmark, there she bore a son to
Sigmund, Sigurd, the darling of Teutonic song and story. Regin, the
king's smith, was his foster-father, and as the boy grew up the
fairest and stoutest of all the Volsungs, Regin, who was of the dwarf
race, urged him day by day to do a doughty deed, and slay Fafnir the
Dragon. For Fafnir, Regin, and Otter had been brothers, sons of
Reidmar. In one of their many wanderings, Odin, Loki, and Haenir came
to a river and a forge. There, on the bank under the forge, they saw
an otter with a salmon in its mouth, which it ate greedily with its
eyes shut. Loki took a stone, threw it, and killed the beast, and
boasted how he had got both fish and flesh at one throw. Then the
Aesir passed on and came at night to Reidmar's house, asked a
lodging, got it, and showed their spoil. 'Seize and bind them lads',
cried Reidmar; 'for they have slain your brother Otter'. So they were
seized and bound by Regin and Fafnir, and offered an atonement to buy
off the feud, and Reidmar was to name the sum. Then Otter was flayed,
and the Aesir were to fill the skin with red gold, and cover it
without, that not a hair could be seen. To fetch the gold Odin sent
Loki down to the abodes of the Black Elves; there in a stream he
caught Andvari the Dwarf, and made him give up all the gold which he
had hoarded up in the stony rock. In vain the Dwarf begged and prayed
that he might keep one ring, for it was the source of all his wealth,
and ring after ring dropped from it. 'No; not a penny should he have'
said Loki. Then the dwarf laid a curse on the ring, and said it
should be every man's bane who owned it. 'So much the better' said
Loki; and when he got back, Odin saw the ring how fair it was, and
kept it to himself, but gave the gold to Reidmar. So Reidmar filled
the skin with gold as full as he could, and set it up on end, and
Odin poured gold over it, and covered it up. But when Reidmar looked
at it he saw still one grey hair, and bade them cover that too, else
the atonement was at an end. Then Odin drew forth the ring and laid
it over the grey hair. So the Aesir was set free, but before they
went, Loki repeated the curse which Andvari had laid upon the ring
and gold. It soon began to work. First, Regin asked for some of the
gold, but not a penny would Reidmar give. So the two brothers laid
their heads together and slew their sire. Then Regin begged Fafnir to
share the gold with him. But 'no', Fafnir was stronger, and said he
should keep it all himself, and Regin had best be off, unless he
wished to fare the same way as Reidmar. So Regin had to fly, but
Fafnir took a dragon's shape; 'and there', said Regin, 'he lies on
the "Glistening Heath", coiled round his store of gold and precious
things, and that's why I wish you to kill him.' Sigurd, told Regin
who was the best of smiths, to forge him a sword. Two are made, but
both snap asunder at the first stroke. 'Untrue are they like you and
all your race' cries Sigurd. Then he went to his mother and begged
the broken bits of _Gram_, and out of them Regin forged a new
blade, that clove the anvil in the smithy, and cut a lock of wool
borne down upon it by a running stream. 'Now, slay me Fafnir', said
Regin; but Sigurd must first find out King Hunding's sons, and avenge
his father Sigmund's death. King Hialprek lends him force; by Odin's
guidance he finds them out, routs their army, and slays all those
brothers. On his return, his foster-father still eggs him on to slay
the Dragon, and thus to shew that there was still a Volsung left. So,
armed with Gram, and mounted on Gran, his good steed, whom Odin had
taught him how to choose, Sigurd rode to the 'Glistening Heath', dug
a pit in the Dragon's path, and slew him as he passed over him down
to drink at the river. Then Regin came up, and the old feeling of
vengeance for a brother's blood grew strong, and as an atonement,
Sigurd was to roast Fafnir's heart, and carry it to Regin, who
swilled his fill of the Dragon's blood, and lay down to sleep. But as
Sigurd roasted the heart, and wondered if it would soon be done, he
tried it with his finger to see if it were soft. The hot roast burned
his finger, and he put it into his mouth, and tasted the life-blood
of the Dragon. Then in a moment he understood the song of birds, and
heard how the swallows over his head said one to the other, 'There
thou sittest, Sigurd, roasting Fafnir's heart. Eat it thyself and
become the wisest of men.' Then another said 'There lies Regin, and
means to cheat him who trusts him.' Then a third said 'Let Sigurd cut
off his head then, and so own all the gold himself.' Then Sigurd went
to Regin and slew him, and ate the heart, and rode on Gran to
Fafnir's lair, and took the spoil and loaded his good steed with it,
and rode away.

And now Sigurd was the most famous of men. All the songs and stories
of the North made him the darling of that age. They dwell on his soft
hair, which fell in great locks of golden brown, on his bushy beard
of auburn hue, his straight features, his ruddy cheeks, his broad
brow, his bright and piercing eye, of which few dared to meet the
gaze, his taper limbs and well knit joints, his broad shoulders, and
towering height. 'So tall he was, that as he strode through the full-
grown rye, girt with Gram, the tip of the scabbard just touched the
ears of corn.' Ready of tongue too, and full of forethought. His
great pleasure was to help other men, and to do daring deeds; to
spoil his foes, and give largely to his friends. The bravest man
alive, and one that never knew fear. On and on he rode, till on a
lone fell he saw a flickering flame, and when he reached it, there it
flamed and blazed all round a house. No horse but Gran could ride
that flame; no man alive but Sigurd sit him while he leaped through
it. Inside the house lay a fair maiden, armed from head to foot, in a
deep sleep. Brynhildr, Atli's sister, was her name, a Valkyrie, a
corse-chooser; but out of wilfulness she had given the victory to the
wrong side, and Odin in his wrath had thrust the horn of sleep into
her cloak, and laid her under a curse to slumber there till a man
bold enough to ride through that flame came to set her free, and win
her for his bride. So then she woke up, and taught him all runes and
wisdom, and they swore to love each other with a mighty oath, and
then Sigurd left her and rode on.

So on he rode to King Giuki's hall, Giuki the Niflung, King of
Frankland, whose wife was Grimhildr, whose sons were Gunnar and
Hogni, whose stepson was Guttorm, and whose daughter was the fair
Gudrun. Here at first he was full of Brynhildr, and all for going
back to fetch his lovely bride from the lone fell. But Grimhildr was
given to dark arts; she longed for the brave Volsung for her own
daughter, she brewed him the philtre of forgetfulness, he drained it
off, forgot Brynhildr, swore a brother's friendship with Gunnar and
Hogni, and wedded the fair Gudrun. But now Giuki wanted a wife for
Gunnar, and so off set the brothers and their bosom friend to woo,
but whom should they choose but Brynhildr, Atli's sister, who sat
there still upon the fell, waiting for the man who was bold enough to
ride through the flickering flame. She knew but one could do it, and
waited for that one to come back. So she had given out whoever could
ride that flame should have her to wife. So when Gunnar and Hogni
reached it, Gunnar rode at it, but his horse, good though it was,
swerved from the fierce flame. Then by Grimhild's magic arts, Sigurd
and Gunnar changed shapes and arms, and Sigurd leapt up on Gran's
back, and the good steed bore him bravely through the flame. So
Brynhildr the proud maiden was won and forced to yield. That evening
was their wedding; but when they lay down to rest, Sigurd unsheathed
his keen sword _Gram_, and laid it naked between them. Next
morning when he arose, he took the ring which Andvari had laid under
the curse, and which was among Fafnir's treasures, and gave it to
Brynhildr as a 'morning gift', and she gave him another ring as a
pledge. Then Sigurd rode back to his companions and took his own
shape again, and then Gunnar went and claimed Brynhildr, and carried
her home as his bride. But no sooner was Gunnar wedded, than Sigurd's
eyes were opened, and the power of the philtre passed away, he
remembered all that had passed, and the oath he had sworn to
Brynhildr. All this came back upon him when it was too late, but he
was wise and said nothing about it. Well, so things went on, till one
day Brynhildr and Gudrun went down to the river to wash their hair.
Then Brynhildr waded out into the stream as far as she could, and
said she wouldn't have on her head the water that streamed from
Gudrun's; for hers was the braver husband. So Gudrun waded out after
her, and said the water ought to come on her hair first, because her
husband bore away the palm from Gunnar, and every other man alive,
for he slew Fafnir and Regin and took their inheritance. 'Aye', said
Brynhildr, 'but it was a worthier deed when Gunnar rode through the
flame, but Sigurd dared not try!' Then Gudrun laughed, and said
'Thinkst thou that Gunnar really rode the flame? I trow _he_
went to bed with thee that night, who gave me this gold ring. And as
for that ring yonder which you have on your finger, and which you got
as your "morning-gift"; its name is Andvari's-spoil, and _that_
I don't think Gunnar sought on the "Glistening Heath"'. Then
Brynhildr held her peace and went home, and her love for Sigurd came
back, but it was turned to hate, for she felt herself betrayed. Then
she egged on Gunnar to revenge her wrong. At last the brothers
yielded to her entreaties, but they were sworn brothers to Sigurd,
and to break that oath by deed was a thing unheard of. Still they
broke it in spirit; by charms and prayers they set on Guttorm their
half-brother, and so at dead of night, while Gudrun held the bravest
man alive fast locked in her white arms, the murderer stole to the
bedside and drove a sword through the hero. Then Sigurd turned and
writhed, and as Guttorm fled he hurled Gram after him, and the keen
blade took him asunder at the waist, and his head fell out of the
room and his heels in, and that was the end of Guttorm. But with
revenge Brynhildr's love returned, and when Sigurd was laid upon the
pile her heart broke; she burst forth into a prophetic song of the
woes that were still to come, made them lay her by his side with Gram
between them, and so went to Valhalla with her old lover. Thus
Andvari's curse was fulfilled.

Gudrun, the weary widow, wandered away. After a while, she accepts
atonement from her brothers for her husband's loss, and marries Atli,
the Hun King, Brynhildr's brother. He cherished a grudge against
Giuki's sons for the guile they had practised against their brother-
in-law, which had broken his sister's heart, and besides he claimed,
in right of Gudrun, all the gold which Sigurd won from the Dragon,
but which the Niflung Princes had seized when he was slain. It was in
vain to attack them in fair fight, so he sent them a friendly
message, and invited them to a banquet; they go, and are overpowered.
Hogni's heart is cut out of him alive, but he still smiles; Gunnar is
cast into a pit full of snakes, but even then charms them to sleep
with his harp, all but one, that flies at his heart and stings him to
death. With them perished the secret of the Dragon's hoard, which
they had thrown into the Rhine as they crossed it on the way to
Hunland. Now comes horror on horror. Revenge for her brothers now
belongs to Gudrun; she slays with her own hand her two sons by Atli,
makes him eat their flesh, and drink their blood out of their skulls,
and, while the king slept sound, slew him in his bed by the help of
her brother Hogni's son. Then she set the hall a-blaze, and burnt all
that were in it. After that she went to the sea-shore, and threw
herself in to drown. But the deep will not have her, the billows bear
her over to King Jonakr's land. He marries her, and has three sons by
her, Saurli, Hamdir, and Erp, black-haired as ravens, like all the
Niflungs. Svanhild, her daughter by Sigurd, who had her father's
bright and terrible eyes, she has still with her, now grown up to be
the fairest of women. So when Hermanaric the mighty, the great Gothic
king, heard of Svanhild's beauty, he sent his son Randver to woo her
for him, but Bikki the False said to the youth: 'Better far were this
maiden for thee than for thy old father'; and the maiden and the
prince thought it good advice. Then Bikki went and told the king, and
Hermanaric bade them take and hang Randver at once. So on his way to
the gallows, the prince took his hawk and plucked off all its
feathers, and sent it to his father. But when his sire saw it, he
knew at once that, as the hawk was featherless and unable to fly, so
was his realm defenceless under an old and sonless king. Too late he
sent to stop the hanging; his son was already dead. So one day
as he rode back from hunting, he saw fair Svanhild washing her golden
locks, and it came into his heart how there she sat, the cause of all
his woe; and he and his men rode at her and over her, and their
steeds trampled her to death. But when Gudrun heard this, she set on
her three Niflung sons to avenge their sister. Byrnies and helms she
gave them so true that no sword would bite on them. They were to
steal on Hermanaric as he slept; Saurli was to cut off his hands,
Hamdir his feet, and Erp his head. So as the three went along, the
two asked Erp what help he would give them when they got to
Hermanaric. 'Such as hand lends to foot' he said. 'No help at all'
they cried; and passing from words to blows, and because their mother
loved Erp best, they slew him. A little further on Saurli stumbled
and fell forward, but saved himself with one hand, and said 'Here
hand helps foot: better were it that Erp lived.' So they came on
Hermanaric as he slept, and Saurli hewed off his hands, and Hamdir
his feet, but he awoke and called for his men. Then said Hamdir:
'Were Erp alive, the head would be off, and he couldn't call out.'
Then Hermanaric's men arose and took the twain, and when they found
that no steel would touch them, an old one-eyed man gave them advice
to stone them to death. Thus fell Saurli and Hamdir, and soon after
Gudrun died too, and with her ends the Volsung and the Niflung tale.

And here it is worth while to say, since some minds are so narrowly
moulded as to be incapable of containing more than one idea, that
because it has seemed a duty to describe in its true light the old
faith of our forefathers, it by no means follows that the same eyes
are blind to the glorious beauty of Greek Mythology. That had the
rare advantage of running its course free and unfettered until it
fell rather by natural decay than before the weapon of a new belief.
The Greeks were Atheists before they became Christian. Their faith
had passed through every stage. We can contemplate it as it springs
out of the dim misshapen symbol, during that phase when men's eyes
are fixed more on meaning and reality than on beauty and form, we can
mark how it gradually looks more to symmetry and shape, how it is
transfigured in the Arts, until, under that pure air and bright sky,
the glowing radiant figures of Apollo and Aphrodite, of Zeus and
Athene--of perfect man-worship and woman-worship, stand out clear and
round in the foreground against the misty distance of ancient times.
Out of that misty distance the Norseman's faith never emerged. What
that early phase of faith might have become, had it been once wedded
to the Muses, and learnt to cultivate the Arts, it is impossible to
say. As it is, its career was cut short in mid-course. It carried
about with it that melancholy presentiment of dissolution which has
come to be so characteristic of modern life, but of which scarce a
trace exists in ancient times, and this feeling would always have
made it different from that cheerful carelessness which so attracts
us in the Greeks; but even that downcast brooding heart was capable
of conceiving great and heroic thoughts, which it might have clothed
in noble shapes and forms, had not the axe of Providence cut down the
stately sapling in the North before it grew to be a tree, while it
spared the pines of Delphi and Dodona's sacred oaks, until they had
attained a green old age. And so this faith remained rude and rough;
but even rudeness has a simplicity of its own, and it is better to be
rough and true-hearted than polished and false. In all the feelings
of natural affection, that faith need fear no comparison with any
other upon earth. In these respects it is firm and steadfast as a
rock, and pure and bright as a living spring. The highest God is a
father, who protects his children; who gives them glory and victory
while they live, and when they die, takes them to himself; to those
fatherly abodes Death was a happy return, a glorious going home. By
the side of this great father stands a venerable goddess, dazzling
with beauty, the great mother of gods and men. Hand in hand this
divine pair traverse the land; he teaching the men the use of arms
and all the arts of war,--for war was then as now a noble calling,
and to handle arms an honourable, nay necessary, profession. To the
women she teaches domestic duties and the arts of peace; from her
they learn to weave, and sew, and spin; from her, too, the husbandman
learns to till his fields. From him springs poetry and song; from her
legend and tradition. Nor should it ever be forgotten that the
footsteps of Providence are always onward, even when they seem taken
in the dark, and that their rude faith was the first in which that
veneration for woman arose, which the Western nations may well claim
as the brightest jewel in their crown of civilization; that while she
was a slave in the East, a toy to the Greeks, and a housewife to the
Romans, she was a helpmeet to the Teuton, and that those stern
warriors recognized something divine in her nature, and bowed before
her clearer insight into heavenly mysteries. The worship of the
Virgin Mary was gradually developed out of this conception of woman's
character, and would have been a thing absurd and impossible, had
Christianity clung for ever to Eastern soil. And now to proceed,
after thus turning aside to compare the mythology of the Greek with
the faith of the Norseman. The mistake is to favour one or the other
exclusively instead of respecting and admiring both; but it is a
mistake which those only can fall into, whose souls are narrow and
confined, who would say this thing and this person you shall love,
and none other; this form and feature you shall worship and adore,
and this alone; when in fact the whole promised land of thought and
life lies before us at our feet, our nature encourages us to go in
and possess it, and every step we make in this new world of knowledge
brings us to fresh prospects of beauty, and to new pastures of

Such were the gods, and such the heroes of the Norseman; who, like
his own gods, went smiling to death under the weight of an inevitable
destiny. But that fate never fell on their gods. Before this
subjective mythological dream of the Norsemen could be fulfilled, the
religious mist in which they walked was scattered by the sunbeams of
Christianity. A new state and condition of society arose, and the
creed which had satisfied a race of heathen warriors, who externally
were at war with all the world, became in time an object of horror
and aversion to the converted Christian. This is not the place to
describe the long struggle between the new and the old faith in the
North; how kings and queens became the foster-fathers and nursing-
mothers of the Church; how the great chiefs, each a little king in
himself, scorned and derided the whole scheme as altogether weak and
effeminate; how the bulk of the people were sullen and suspicious,
and often broke out into heathen mutiny; how kings rose and kings
fell, just as they took one or the other side; and how, finally,
after a contest which had lasted altogether more than three
centuries, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Sweden--we run them over in
the order of conversion--became faithful to Christianity, as preached
by the missionaries of the Church of Rome. One fact, however, we must
insist on, which might be inferred, indeed, both from the nature of
the struggle itself, and the character of Rome; and that is, that
throughout there was something in the process of conversion of the
nature of a compromise--of what we may call the great principle of
'give and take'. In all Christian churches, indeed, and in none so
much as the Church of Rome, nothing is so austere, so elevating, and
so grand, as the uncompromising tone in which the great dogmas of the
Faith are enunciated and proclaimed. Nothing is more magnificent, in
short, than the theory of Christianity; but nothing is more mean and
miserable than the time-serving way in which those dogmas are dragged
down to the dull level of daily life, and that sublime theory reduced
to ordinary practice. At Rome, it was true that the Pope could
congratulate the faithful that whole nations in the barbarous and
frozen North had been added to the true fold, and that Odin's grim
champions now universally believed in the gospel of peace and love.
It is so easy to dispose of a doubtful struggle in a single sentence,
and so tempting to believe it when once written. But in the North,
the state of things, and the manner of proceeding, were entirely
different. There the dogma was proclaimed, indeed; but the manner of
preaching it was not in that mild spirit with which the Saviour
rebuked the disciple when he said 'Put up again thy sword into his
place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.'
There the sword was used to bring converts to the font, and the
baptism was often one rather of blood than of water. There the new
converts perpetually relapsed, chased away the missionaries and the
kings who sheltered them, and only yielded at last to the
overwhelming weight of Christian opinion in the Western world. St
Olof, king and martyr, martyred in pitched battle by his mutinous
allodial freemen, because he tried to drive rather than to lead them
to the cross; and another Olof, greater than he, Olof Tryggvason, who
fell in battle against the heathen Swedes, were men of blood rather
than peace; but to them the introduction of the new faith into Norway
is mainly owing. So also Charlemagne, at an earlier period, had dealt
with the Saxons at the Main Bridge, when his ultimatum was
'Christianity or death'. So also the first missionary to Iceland--who
met, indeed, with a sorry reception--was followed about by a stout
champion named Thangbrand, who, whenever there was what we should now
call a missionary meeting, challenged any impugner of the new
doctrines to mortal combat on the spot. No wonder that, after having
killed several opponents in the little tour which he made with his
missionary friend through the island, it became too hot to hold him,
and he, and the missionary, and the new creed, were forced to take
ship and sail back to Norway.

'Precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a
little', was the motto of Rome in her dealings with the heathen
Norsemen, and if she suited herself at first rather to their habits
and temper than to those of more enlightened nations, she had an
excuse in St Paul's maxim of making herself 'all things to all men.'
Thus, when a second attempt to Christianize Iceland proved more
successful--for in the meantime, King Olof Tryggvason, a zealous
Christian, had seized as hostages all the Icelanders of family and
fame who happened to be in Norway, and thus worked on the feelings of
the chiefs of those families at home, who in their turn bribed the
lawman who presided over the Great Assembly to pronounce in favour of
the new Faith--even then the adherents of the old religion were
allowed to perform its rites in secret, and two old heathen practices
only were expressly prohibited, the exposure of infants and the
eating of horseflesh, for horses were sacred animals, and the heathen
ate their flesh after they had been solemnly sacrificed to the gods.
As a matter of fact, it is far easier to change a form of religion
than to extirpate a faith. The first indeed is no easy matter, as
those students of history well know who are acquainted with the
tenacity with which a large proportion of the English nation clung to
the Church of Rome, long after the State had declared for the
Reformation. But to change the faith of a whole nation in block and
bulk on the instant, was a thing contrary to the ordinary working of
Providence and unknown even in the days of miracles, though the days
of miracles had long ceased when Rome advanced against the North.
There it was more politic to raise a cross in the grove where the
Sacred Tree had once stood, and to point to the sacred emblem which
had supplanted the old object of national adoration, when the
populace came at certain seasons with songs and dances to perform
their heathen rites. Near the cross soon rose a church; and both were
girt by a cemetery, the soil of which was doubly sacred as a heathen
fane and a Christian sanctuary, and where alone the bodies of the
faithful could repose in peace. But the songs and dances, and
processions in the church-yard round the cross, continued long after
Christianity had become dominant. So also the worship of wells and
springs was christianized when it was found impossible to prevent it.
Great churches arose over or near them, as at Walsingham, where an
abbey, the holiest place in England, after the shrine of St Thomas at
Canterbury, threw its majestic shade over the heathen wishing-well,
and the worshippers of Odin and the Nornir were gradually converted
into votaries of the Virgin Mary. Such practices form a subject of
constant remonstrance and reproof in the treatises and penitential
epistles of medieval divines, and in some few places and churches,
even in England, such rites are still yearly celebrated. [13]

So, too, again with the ancient gods. They were cast down from
honour, but not from power. They lost their genial kindly influence
as the protectors of men and the origin of all things good; but their
existence was tolerated; they became powerful for ill, and
degenerated into malignant demons. Thus the worshippers of Odin had
supposed that at certain times and rare intervals the good powers
shewed themselves in bodily shape to mortal eye, passing through the
land in divine progress, bringing blessings in their train, and
receiving in return the offerings and homage of their grateful
votaries. But these were naturally only exceptional instances; on
ordinary occasions the pious heathen recognized his gods sweeping
through the air in cloud and storm, riding on the wings of the wind,
and speaking in awful accents, as the tempest howled and roared, and
the sea shook his white mane and crest. Nor did he fail to see them
in the dust and din of battle, when Odin appeared with his terrible
helm, succouring his own, striking fear into their foes, and turning
the day in many a doubtful fight; or in the hurry and uproar of the
chase, where the mighty huntsman on his swift steed, seen in glimpses
among the trees, took up the hunt where weary mortals laid it down,
outstripped them all, and brought the noble quarry to the ground.
Looking up to the stars and heaven, they saw the footsteps of the
gods marked out in the bright path of the Milky Way; and in the Bear
they hailed the war-chariot of the warrior's god. The great
goddesses, too, Frigga and Freyja, were thoroughly old-fashioned
domestic divinities. They help women in their greatest need, they
spin themselves, they teach the maids to spin, and punish them if the
wool remains upon their spindle. They are kind, and good, and
bright, for _Holda_, _Bertha_, are the epithets given to them. And
so, too, this mythology which, in its aspect to the stranger and the
external world, was so ruthless and terrible, when looked at from
within and at home, was genial, and kindly, and hearty, and affords
another proof that men, in all ages and climes, are not so bad as
they seem; that after all, peace and not war is the proper state for
man, and that a nation may make war on others and exist; but that
unless it has peace within, and industry at home, it must perish from
the face of the earth. But when Christianity came, the whole
character of this goodly array of divinities was soured and spoilt.
Instead of the stately procession of the God, which the intensely
sensuous eye of man in that early time connected with all the
phenomena of nature, the people were led to believe in a ghastly
grisly band of ghosts, who followed an infernal warrior or huntsman
in hideous tumult through the midnight air. No doubt, as Grimm
rightly remarks [D. M., p. 900: _Wütendes Heer_], the heathen
had fondly fancied that the spirits of those who had gone to Odin
followed him in his triumphant progress either visibly or invisibly;
that they rode with him in the whirlwind, just as they followed him
to battle, and feasted with him in Valhalla; but now the Christian
belief, when it had degraded the mighty god into a demon huntsman,
who pursued his nightly round in chase of human souls, saw in the
train of the infernal master of the hunt only the spectres of
suicides, drunkards, and ruffians; and, with all the uncharitableness
of a dogmatic faith, the spirits of children who died unbaptized,
whose hard fate had thrown them into such evil company. This was the
way in which that wide-spread superstition arose, which sees in the
phantoms of the clouds the shapes of the Wild Huntsman and his
accursed crew, and hears, in spring and autumn nights, when sea-fowl
take the wing to fly either south or north, the strange accents and
uncouth yells with which the chase is pressed on in upper air.
Thus, in Sweden it is still Odin who passes by; in Denmark it is
King Waldemar's Hunt; in Norway it is _Aaskereida_, that is
_Asgard's Car_; in Germany, it is Wode, Woden, or Hackelberend,
or Dieterich of Bern; in France it is Hellequin, or King Hugo, or
Charles the Fifth, or, dropping a name altogether, it is _Le Grand
Veneur_ who ranges at night through the Forest of Fontainebleau.
Nor was England without her Wild Huntsman and his ghastly following.
Gervase of Tilbury, in the twelfth century, could tell it of King
Arthur, round whose mighty name the superstition settled itself, for
he had heard from the foresters how, 'on alternate days, about the
full of the moon, one day at noon, the next at midnight when the moon
shone bright, a mighty train of hunters on horses was seen, with
baying hounds and blast of horns; and when those hunters were asked
of whose company and household they were, they replied "of
Arthur's".' We hear of him again in _The Complaynt of Scotland_,
that curious composition attributed by some to Sir David Lyndsay of
the Mount in Fife, and of Gilmerton in East Lothian, pp. 97, 98,
where he says:

  Arthur knycht, he raid on nycht,
  With gyldin spur and candil lycht.

Nor should we forget, when considering this legend, that story of
Herne the Hunter, who

  Sometime a keeper here in Windsor Forest,
  Doth all the winter time, at still midnight,
  Walk round about an oak, with great ragg'd horns;
  And there he blasts the trees, and takes the cattle,
  And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain
  In a most hideous and dreadful manner.
                 _Merry Wives of Windsor_, act. iv, sc. 4.

And even yet, in various parts of England, the story of some great
man, generally a member of one of the county families, who drives
about the country at night, is common. Thus, in Warwickshire, it is
the 'One-handed Boughton', who drives about in his coach and six, and
makes the benighted traveller hold gates open for him; or it is 'Lady
Skipwith', who passes through the country at night in the same
manner. This subject might be pursued to much greater length, for
popular tradition is full of such stories; but enough has been said
to show how the awful presence of a glorious God can be converted
into a gloomy superstition; and, at the same time, how the majesty of
the old belief strives to rescue itself by clinging, in the popular
consciousness, to some king or hero, as Arthur or Waldemar, or,
failing that, to some squire's family, as Hackelberend, or the 'one-
handed Boughton', or even to the Keeper Herne.

Odin and the Aesir then were dispossessed and degraded by our Saviour
and his Apostles, just as they had of old thrown out the Frost
Giants, and the two are mingled together, in medieval Norse
tradition, as Trolls and Giants, hostile alike to Christianity and
man. Christianity had taken possession indeed, but it was beyond her
power to kill. To this half-result the swift corruption of the Church
of Rome lent no small aid. Her doctrines, as taught by Augustine and
Boniface, by Anschar and Sigfrid, were comparatively mild and pure;
but she had scarce swallowed the heathendom of the North, much in the
same way as the Wolf was to swallow Odin at the 'Twilight of the
Gods', than she fell into a deadly lethargy of faith, which put it
out of her power to digest her meal. Gregory the Seventh, elected
pope in 1073, tore the clergy from the ties of domestic life with a
grasp that wounded every fibre of natural affection, and made it
bleed to the very root. With the celibacy of the clergy he
established the hierarchy of the church, but her labours as a
missionary church were over. Henceforth she worked not by
missionaries and apostles, but by crusades and bulls. Now she raised
mighty armaments to recover the barren soil of the Holy Sepulchre, or
to annihilate heretic Albigenses. Now she established great orders,
Templars and Hospitallers, whose pride and luxury, and pomp, brought
swift destruction on one at least of those fraternities. Now she
became feudal,--she owned land instead of hearts, and forgot that the
true patrimony of St Peter was the souls of men. No wonder that, with
the barbarism of the times, she soon fulfilled the Apostle's words,
'She that liveth in luxury is dead while she liveth', and became
filled with idle superstitions and vain beliefs. No wonder, then,
that instead of completing her conquest over the heathen, and
carrying out their conversion, she became half heathen herself; that
she adopted the tales and traditions of the old mythology, which she
had never been able to extirpate, and related them of our Lord and
his Apostles. No wonder, then, that having abandoned her mission of
being the first power of intelligence on earth, she fell like Lucifer
when the mist of medieval feudalism rolled away, and the light of
learning and education returned--fell before the indignation of
enlightened men, working upon popular opinion. Since which day,
though she has changed her plans, and remodelled her superstitions to
suit the times, she has never regained the supremacy which, if she
had been wise in a true sense, she seemed destined to hold for ever.


The preceding observations will have given a sufficient account of
the mythology of the Norsemen, and of the way in which it fell. They
came from the East, and brought that common stock of tradition with
them. Settled in the Scandinavian peninsula, they developed
themselves through Heathenism, Romanism, and Lutheranism, in a
locality little exposed to foreign influence, so that even now the
Daleman in Norway or Sweden may be reckoned among the most primitive
examples left of peasant life. We should expect, then, that these
Popular Tales, which, for the sake of those ignorant in such matters,
it may be remarked, had never been collected or reduced to writing
till within the last few years, would present a faithful picture of
the national consciousness, or, perhaps, to speak more correctly, of
that half consciousness out of which the heart of any people speaks
in its abundance. Besides those world-old affinities and primaeval
parallelisms, besides those dreamy recollections of its old home in
the East, which we have already pointed out, we should expect to find
its later history, after the great migration, still more distinctly
reflected; to discover heathen gods masked in the garb of Christian
saints; and thus to see a proof of our assertion above, that a nation
more easily changes the form than the essence of its faith, and
clings with a toughness which endures for centuries to what it has
once learned to believe.

In all mythologies, the trait of all others which most commonly
occurs, is that of the descent of the Gods to earth, where, in human
form, they mix among mortals, and occupy themselves with their
affairs, either out of a spirit of adventure, or to try the hearts of
men. Such a conception is shocking to the Christian notion of the
omnipotence and omnipresence of God, but we question if there be not
times when the most pious and perfect Christian may not find comfort
and relief from a fallacy which was a matter of faith in less
enlightened creeds, and over which the apostle, writing to the
Hebrews, throws the sanction of his authority, so far as angels are
concerned. [Heb., xiii, 1: 'Let brotherly love continue. Be not
forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained
angels unawares.']

Nor could he have forgotten those words of the men of Lystra, 'The
Gods are come down to us in the likeness of men'; and how they called
'Barnabas Jupiter', and himself Mercury, 'because he was the chief
speaker.' Classical mythology is full of such stories. These
wanderings of the Gods are mentioned in the Odyssey, and the sanctity
of the rites of hospitality, and the dread of turning a stranger from
the door, took its origin from a fear lest the wayfaring man should
be a Divinity in disguise. According to the Greek story, Orion owed
his birth to the fact that the childless Hyrieus, his reputed father,
had once received unawares Zeus, Poseidon, and Hermes, or, to call
them by their Latin names, Jupiter, Neptune, and Mercury. In the
beautiful story of Philemon and Baucis, Jupiter and Mercury reward
the aged couple who had so hospitably received them by warning them
of the approaching deluge. The fables of Phaedrus and Aesop represent
Mercury and Demeter as wandering and enjoying the hospitality of men.
In India it is Brahma and Vishnu who generally wander. In the Edda,
Odin, Loki, and Hoenir thus roam about, or Thor, Thialfi, and Loki.
Sometimes Odin appears alone as a horseman, who turns in at night to
the smith's house, and gets him to shoe his horse, a legend which
reminds us at once of the Master-smith. [14] Sometimes it is Thor
with his great hammer who wanders thus alone.

Now, let us turn from heathen to Christian times, and look at some of
these old legends of wandering gods in a new dress. Throughout the
Middle Age, it is our blessed Lord and St Peter that thus wander, and
here we see that half-digested heathendom to which we have alluded.
Those who may be shocked at such tales in this collection as 'the
Master-Smith' and 'Gertrude's Bird', must just remember that these
are almost purely heathen traditions, in which the names alone are
Christian; and if it be any consolation to any to know the fact, we
may as well state at once that this adaptation of new names to old
beliefs is not peculiar to the Norsemen, but is found in all the
popular tales of Europe. Germany was full of them, and there St Peter
often appears in a snappish ludicrous guise, which reminds the reader
versed in Norse mythology of the tricks and pranks of the shifty
Loki. In the Norse tales he thoroughly preserves his saintly

Nor was it only gods that walked among men. In the Norse mythology,
Frigga, Odin's wife, who knew beforehand all that was to happen, and
Freyja, the goddess of love and plenty, were prominent figures, and
often trod the earth; the three Norns or Fates, who sway the wierds
of men, and spin their destinies at Mimirs' well of knowledge, were
awful venerable powers, to whom the heathen world looked up with love
and adoration and awe. To that love and adoration and awe, throughout
the middle age, one woman, transfigured into a divine shape,
succeeded by a sort of natural right, and round the Virgin Mary's
blessed head a halo of lovely tales of divine help, beams with soft
radiance as a crown bequeathed to her by the ancient goddesses. She
appears as divine mother, spinner, and helpful virgin (vierge
sécourable). Flowers and plants bear her name. In England one of our
commonest and prettiest insects is still called after her, but which
belonged to Freyja, the heathen 'Lady', long before the western
nations had learned to adore the name of the mother of Jesus. [15]
[15] Footnote: So also Orion's Belt was called by the Norsemen,
Frigga's spindle or _rock, Friggjar rock_. In modern Swedish,
_Friggerock_, where the old goddess holds her own; but in
Danish, _Mariaerock_, Our Lady's rock or spindle. Thus, too,
_Karlavagn_, the 'car of men', or heroes, who rode with Odin,
which we call 'Charles' Wain', thus keeping something, at least, of
the old name, though none of its meaning, became in Scotland
'Peter's-pleugh', from the Christian saint, just as Orion's sword
became 'Peter's-staff'. But what do 'Lady Landers' and 'Lady Ellison'
mean, as applied to the 'Lady-Bird' in Scotland?

The reader of these Tales will meet, in that of 'the Lassie and her
Godmother', No. xxvii, with the Virgin Mary in a truly mythic
character, as the majestic guardian of sun, moon and stars, combined
with that of a helpful, kindly woman, who, while she knows how to
punish a fault, knows also how to reconcile and forgive.

The Norseman's god was a god of battles, and victory his greatest
gift to men; but this was not the only aspect under which the Great
Father was revered. Not victory in the fight alone, but every other
good gift came down from him and the Aesir. Odin's supreme will was
that treasure-house of bounty towards which, in one shape or the
other, all mortal desires turned, and out of its abundance showers of
mercy and streams of divine favour constantly poured down to refresh
the weary race of men. All these blessings and mercies, nay, their
very source itself, the ancient language bound up in a single word,
which, however expressive it may still be, has lost much of the
fulness of its meaning in its descent to these later times. This word
was 'Wish', which originally meant the perfect ideal, the actual
fruition of all joy and desire, and not, as now, the empty longing
for the object of our desires. From this original abstract meaning,
it was but a step to pass to the concrete, to personify the idea, to
make it an immortal essence, an attribute of the divinity, another
name for the greatest of all Gods himself. And so we find a host of
passages in early writers, [_D. M._, p. 126 fol., where they are
cited at length.] in every one of which 'God' or 'Odin' might be
substituted for 'Wish' with perfect propriety. Here we read how 'The
Wish' has hands, feet, power, sight, toil, and art. How he works and
labours, shapes and masters, inclines his ear, thinks, swears,
curses, and rejoices, adopts children, and takes men into his house;
behaves, in short, as a being of boundless power and infinite free-
will. Still more, he rejoices in his own works as in a child, and
thus appears in a thoroughly patriarchal point of view, as the Lord
of creation, glorying in his handiwork, as the father of a family in
early times was glad at heart when he reckoned his children as arrows
in his quiver, and beheld his house full of a long line of retainers
and dependants. For this attribute of the Great Father, for Odin as
the God of Wish, the Edda uses the word 'Oski' which literally
expresses the masculine personification of 'Wish', and it passed on
and added the _works_ wish, as a prefix to a number of others,
to signify that they stood in a peculiar relation to the great giver
of all good. Thus we have _oska-steinn_, wishing-stone, i.e. a
stone which plays the part of a divining rod, and reveals secrets and
hidden treasure; _oska-byrr_, a fair wind, a wind as fair as
man's heart could wish it; _osk-barn_ and _oska-barn_, a child
after one's own heart, an adopted child, as when the younger
Edda tells us that all those who die in battle are Odin's _choice-
bairns_, his adopted children, those on whom he has set his heart,
an expression which, in their turn, was taken by the Icelandic
Christian writers to express the relation existing between God and
the baptized; and, though last, not least, _oska-maer_, wish-
maidens, another name for the Valkyries--Odin's corse-choosers--who
picked out the dead for him on the field of battle, and waited on the
heroes in Valhalla. Again, the Edda is filled with 'choice things',
possessing some mysterious power of their own, some 'virtue', as our
older English would express it, which belong to this or that god, and
are occasionally lent or lost. Thus, Odin himself had a spear which
gave victory to those on whose side it was hurled; Thor, a hammer
which destroyed the Giants, hallowed vows, and returned of itself to
his hand. He had a strength-belt, too, which, when he girded it on,
his god-strength waxed one-half; Freyr had a sword which wielded
itself; Freyja a necklace which, like the cestus of Venus, inspired
all hearts with love; Freyr, again, had a ship called _Skithblathnir_.

  She is so great, that all the Aesir, with their weapons and war
  gear, may find room on board her; and as soon as the sail is set,
  she has a fair wind whither she shall go; and when there is no need
  of faring on the sea in her, she is made of so many things, and
  with so much craft, that Freyr may fold her together like a cloth,
  and keep her in his bag.
  [Snorro's _Edda_, Stockholm, 1842, translated by the writer.]

Of this kind, too, was the ring 'Dropper' which Odin had, and from
which twelve other rings dropped every night; the apples which Idun,
one of the goddesses, had, and of which, so soon as the Aesir ate,
they became young again; the helm which Oegir, the sea giant had,
which struck terror into all antagonists like the Aegis of Athene;
and that wonderful mill which the mythical Frodi owned, of which we
shall shortly speak.

Now, let us see what traces of this great god 'Wish' and his choice-
bairns and wishing-things we can find in these Tales, faint echoes of
a mighty heathen voice, which once proclaimed the goodness of the
great Father in the blessings which he bestowed on his chosen sons.
We shall not have long to seek. In tale No. xx, when Shortshanks
meets those three old crookbacked hags who have only one eye, which
he snaps up, and gets first a sword 'that puts a whole army to
flight, be it ever so great', we have the 'one-eyed Odin',
degenerated into an old hag, or rather--by no uncommon process--we
have an old witch fused by popular tradition into a mixture of Odin
and the three Nornir. Again, when he gets that wondrous ship 'which
can sail over fresh water and salt water, and over high hills and
deep dales,' and which is so small that he can put it into his
pocket, and yet, when he came to use it, could hold five hundred men,
we have plainly the Skith-blathnir of the Edda to the very life. So
also in the Best Wish, No. xxxvi, the whole groundwork of this story
rests on this old belief; and when we meet that pair of old scissors
which cuts all manner of fine clothes out of the air, that tablecloth
which covers itself with the best dishes you could think of, as soon
as it was spread out, and that tap which, as soon as it was turned,
poured out the best of mead and wine, we have plainly another form of
Frodi's wishing-quern--another recollection of those things of choice
about which the old mythology has so much to tell. Of the same kind
are the tablecloth, the ram, and the stick in 'the Lad who went to
the North Wind', No. xxxiv, and the rings in 'the Three Princesses of
Whiteland', No. xxvi, and in 'Soria Moria Castle', No. lvi. In the
first of those stories, too, we find those 'three brothers' who have
stood on a moor 'these hundred years fighting about a hat, a cloak,
and a pair of boots', which had the virtue of making him who wore
them invisible; choice things which will again remind the reader of
the _Nibelungen Lied_, of the way in which Siegfried became
possessed of the famous hoard of gold, and how he got that 'cap of
darkness' which was so useful to him in his remaining exploits. So
again in 'the Blue Belt', No. xxii, what is that belt which, when the
boy girded it on, 'he felt as strong as if he could lift the whole
hill', but Thor's 'choice-belt'; and what is the daring boy himself,
who overcomes the Troll, but Thor himself, as engaged in one of his
adventures with the Giants? So, too, in 'Little Annie the Goose-
girl', No. lix, the stone which tells the Prince all the secrets of
his brides is plainly the old Oskastein, or 'wishing-stone'. These
instances will suffice to show the prolonged faith in 'Wish', and his
choice things; a belief which, though so deeply rooted in the North,
we have already traced to its home in the East, whence it stretches
itself from pole to pole, and reappears in every race. We recognize
it in the wishing-cap of Fortunatus, which is a Celtic legend; in the
cornucopia of the Romans; in the goat Amalthea among the Greeks; in
the wishing-cow and wishing-tree of the Hindoos; in the pumpkin-tree
of the West Indian Ananzi stories; in the cow of the Servian legends,
who spins yarn out of her ear; in the Sampo of the Finns; and in all
those stories of cups, and glasses, and horns, and rings, and swords,
seized by some bold spirit in the midst of a fairy revel, or earned
by some kind deed rendered by mortal hand to one of the 'good folk'
in her hour of need, and with which the '_luck_' [See the well-
known story of 'The Luck of Eden Hall'.] of that mortal's house was
ever afterwards bound up; stories with which the local traditions of
all lands are full, but which all pay unconscious homage to the
worship of that great God, to whom so many heathen hearts so often
turned as the divine realizer of their prayers, and the giver of all
good things, until they come at last to make an idol out of their
hopes and prayers, and to immortalize the very 'Wish' itself.

Again, of all beliefs, that in which man has, at all times of his
history, been most prone to set faith, is that of a golden age of
peace and plenty, which had passed away, but which might be expected
to return. Such a period was looked for when Augustus closed the
temple of Janus, and peace, though perhaps not plenty, reigned over
what the proud Roman called the habitable world. Such a period the
early Christian expected when the Saviour was born, in the reign of
that very Augustus; and such a period some, whose thoughts are more
set on earth than heaven, have hoped for ever since, with a hope
which, though deferred for eighteen centuries, has not made their
hearts sick. Such a period of peace and plenty, such a golden time,
the Norseman could tell of in his mythic Frodi's reign, when gold or
_Frodi's meal_, as it was called, was so plentiful that golden
armlets lay untouched from year's end to year's end on the king's
highway, and the fields bore crops unsown. Here, in England, the
Anglo-Saxon Bede [Hist., ii, 16.] knew how to tell the same story of
Edwin, the Northumbrian King, and when Alfred came to be mythic, the
same legend was passed on from Edwin to the West Saxon monarch. The
remembrance of 'the bountiful Frodi' echoed in the songs of German
poets long after the story which made him so bountiful had been
forgotten; but the Norse Skalds could tell not only the story of
Frodi's wealth and bounty, but also of his downfall and ruin. In
Frodi's house were two maidens of that old giant race, Fenja and
Menja. These daughters of the giant he had bought as slaves, and he
made them grind his quern or hand-mill, Grotti, out of which he used
to grind peace and gold. Even in that golden age one sees there were
slaves, and Frodi, however bountiful to his thanes and people, was a
hard task-master to his giant hand-maidens. He kept them to the mill,
nor gave them longer rest than the cuckoo's note lasted, or they
could sing a song. But that quern was such that it ground anything
that the grinder chose, though until then it had ground nothing but
gold and peace. So the maidens ground and ground, and one sang their
piteous tale in a strain worthy of Aeschylus as the other worked--
they prayed for rest and pity, but Frodi was deaf. Then they turned
in giant mood, and ground no longer peace and plenty, but fire and
war. Then the quern went fast and furious, and that very night came
Mysing the Sea-rover, and slew Frodi and all his men, and carried off
the quern; and so Frodi's peace ended. The maidens the sea-rover took
with him, and when he got on the high seas he bade them grind salt.
So they ground; and at midnight they asked if he had not salt enough,
but he bade them still grind on. So they ground till the ship was
full and sank, Mysing, maids, and mill, and all, and that's why the
sea is salt [nor. _Ed. Skaldsk._, ch. 43.]. Perhaps of all the
tales in this volume, none could be selected as better proving the
toughness of a traditional belief than No. ii, which tells 'Why the
Sea is Salt'.

The notion of the Arch-enemy of God and man, of a fallen angel, to
whom power was permitted at certain times for an all-wise purpose by
the Great Ruler of the universe, was as foreign to the heathendom of
our ancestors as his name was outlandish and strange to their tongue.
This notion Christianity brought with it from the East; and though it
is a plant which has struck deep roots, grown distorted and awry, and
borne a bitter crop of superstition, it required all the authority of
the Church to prepare the soil at first for its reception. To the
notion of good necessarily follows that of evil. The Eastern mind,
with its Ormuzd and Ahriman, is full of such dualism, and from that
hour, when a more than mortal eye saw Satan falling like lightning
from heaven [St Luke, x, 18.], the kingdom of darkness, the abode of
Satan and his bad spirits, was established in direct opposition to
the kingdom of the Saviour and his angels. The North had its own
notion on this point. Its mythology was not without its own dark
powers; but though they too were ejected and dispossessed, they,
according to that mythology, had rights of their own. To them
belonged all the universe that had not been seized and reclaimed by
the younger race of Odin and Aesir; and though this upstart dynasty,
as the Frost Giants in Promethean phrase would have called it, well
knew that Hel, one of this giant progeny, was fated to do them all
mischief, and to outlive them, they took her and made her queen of
Niflheim, and mistress over nine worlds. There, in a bitterly cold
place, she received the souls of all who died of sickness or old age;
care was her bed, hunger her dish, starvation her knife. Her walls
were high and strong, and her bolts and bars huge; 'Half blue was her
skin, and half the colour of human flesh. A goddess easy to know, and
in all things very stern and grim.' [Snor. _Edda,_ ch. 34, Engl.

But though severe, she was not an evil spirit. She only received
those who died as no Norseman wished to die. For those who fell on
the gory battle-field, or sank beneath the waves, Valhalla was
prepared, and endless mirth and bliss with Odin. Those went to Hel,
who were rather unfortunate than wicked, who died before they could
be killed. But when Christianity came in and ejected Odin and his
crew of false divinities, declaring them to be lying gods and demons,
then Hel fell with the rest; but fulfilling her fate, outlived them.
From a person she became a place, and all the Northern nations, from
the Goth to the Norseman, agreed in believing Hell to be the abode of
the devil and his wicked spirits, the place prepared from the
beginning for the everlasting torments of the damned. One curious
fact connected with this explanation of Hell's origin will not escape
the reader's attention. The Christian notion of Hell is that of a
place of heat, for in the East, whence Christianity came, heat is
often an intolerable torment, and cold, on the other hand, everything
that is pleasant and delightful. But to the dweller in the North,
heat brings with it sensations of joy and comfort, and life without
fire has a dreary outlook; so their Hel ruled in a cold region over
those who were cowards by implication, while the mead-cup went round,
and huge logs blazed and crackled in Valhalla, for the brave and
beautiful who had dared to die on the field of battle. But under
Christianity the extremes of heat and cold have met, and Hel, the
cold uncomfortable goddess, is now our Hell, where flames and fire
abound, and where the devils abide in everlasting flame.

Still, popular tradition is tough, and even after centuries of
Christian teaching, the Norse peasant, in his popular tales, can
still tell of Hell as a place where fire-wood is wanted at Christmas,
and over which a certain air of comfort breathes, though, as in the
goddess Hel's halls, meat is scarce. The following passage from 'Why
the Sea is Salt', No. ii, will sufficiently prove this:

  'Well, here is the flitch', said the rich brother, 'and now go
   straight to Hell.'

  'What I have given my word to do, I must stick to' said the other;
  so he took the flitch and set off. He walked the whole day, and at
  dusk he came to a place where he saw a very bright light.

  'Maybe this is the place' said the man to himself. So he turned
  aside, and the first thing he saw was an old, old man, with a long
  white beard, who stood in an outhouse, hewing wood for the
  Christmas fire.

  'Good even,' said the man with the flitch.

  'The same to you; whither are you going so late?' said the man.

  'Oh! I'm going to Hell, if I only knew the right way,' answered the
  poor man.

  'Well, you're not far wrong, for this is Hell,' said the old man;
  'When you get inside they will be all for buying your flitch, for
  meat is scarce in Hell; but mind you don't sell it unless you get
  the hand-quern which stands behind the door for it. When you come
  out, I'll teach you how to handle the quern, for it's good to grind
  almost anything.'

This, too, is the proper place to explain the conclusion of that
intensely heathen tale, 'the Master-Smith', No. xvi. We have already
seen how the Saviour and St Peter supply, in its beginning, the place
of Odin and some other heathen god. But when the Smith sets out with
the feeling that he has done a silly thing in quarrelling with the
Devil, having already lost his hope of heaven, this tale assumes a
still more heathen shape. According to the old notion, those who were
not Odin's guests went either to Thor's house, who had all the
thralls, or to Freyja, who even claimed a third part of the slain on
every battle-field with Odin, or to Hel, the cold comfortless goddess
already mentioned, who was still no tormentor, though she ruled over
nine worlds, and though her walls were high, and her bolts and bars
huge; traits which come out in 'the Master-Smith', No. xvi, when the
Devil, who here assumes Hel's place, orders the watch to go back and
lock up _all the nine locks on the gates of Hell_--a lock for
each of the goddesses _nine_ worlds--and to put a padlock on
besides. In the twilight between heathendom and Christianity, in that
half Christian half heathen consciousness, which this tale reveals,
heaven is the preferable abode, as Valhalla was of yore, but rather
than be without a house to one's head after death, Hell was not to be
despised; though, having behaved ill to the ruler of one, and
actually quarrelled with the master of the other, the Smith was
naturally anxious on the matter. This notion of different abodes in
another world, not necessarily places of torment, comes out too in
'Not a Pin to choose between them', No. xxiv, where Peter, the second
husband of the silly Goody, goes about begging from house to house in

For the rest, whenever the Devil appears in these tales, it is not at
all as the Arch-enemy, as the subtle spirit of the Christian's faith,
but rather as one of the old Giants, supernatural and hostile indeed
to man, but simple and easily deceived by a cunning reprobate, whose
superior intelligence he learns to dread, for whom he feels himself
no match, and whom, finally, he will receive in Hell at no price. We
shall have to notice some other characteristics of this race of
giants a little further on, but certainly no greater proof can be
given of the small hold which the Christian Devil has taken of the
Norse mind, than the heathen aspect under which he constantly
appears, and the ludicrous way in which he is always outwitted.

We have seen how our Lord and the saints succeeded to Odin and his
children in the stories which told of their wanderings on earth, to
warn the wicked, or to help the good; we have seen how the kindliness
and helpfulness of the ancient goddesses fell like a royal mantle
round the form of the Virgin Mary. We have seen, too, on the other
hand, how the procession of the Almighty God degenerated into the
infernal midnight hunt. We have now to see what became of the rest of
the power of the goddesses, of all that might which was not absorbed
into the glory of the blessed Virgin. We shall not have far to seek.
No reader of early medieval chronicles and sermons, can fail to have
been struck with many passages which ascribe majesty and power to
beings of woman's sex. Now it is a heathen goddess as _Diana_;
now some half-historical character as _Bertha_; now a mythical
being as _Holda_; now _Herodias_; now _Satia_; now _Domina Abundia_,
or _Dame Habonde_ [16].

A very short investigation will serve to identify the two ancient
goddesses Frigga and Freyja with all these leaders of a midnight
host. Just as Odin was banished from day to darkness, so the two
great heathen goddesses, fused into one 'uncanny' shape, were
supposed to ride the air at night. Medieval chroniclers, writing in
bastard Latin, and following the example of classical authors, when
they had to find a name for this demon-goddess, chose, of course,
_Diana_ the heathen huntress, the moon-goddess, and the ruler of
the night. In the same way, when they threw Odin's name into a Latin
shape, he, the god of wit and will, as well as power and victory,
became Mercury. As for Herodias--not the mother, but the daughter who
danced--she must have made a deep impression on the mind of the early
Middle Age, for she was supposed to have been cursed after the
beheading of John the Baptist, and to have gone on dancing for ever.
When heathendom fell, she became confounded with the ancient
Goddesses, and thus we find her, sometimes among the crew of the
Wild Huntsman, sometimes, as we see in the passages below, in
company with, or in the place of _Diana, Holda, Satia_, and
_Abundia_, at the head of a bevy of women, who met at certain
places to celebrate unholy rites and mysteries. As for _Holda,
Satia_, and _Abundia_, 'the kind', 'the satisfying', and 'the
abundant', they are plainly names of good rather than evil powers;
they are ancient epithets drawn from the bounty of the 'Good Lady',
and attest the feeling of respect which still clung to them in the
popular mind. As was the case whenever Christianity was brought in,
the country folk, always averse to change, as compared with the more
lively and intelligent dwellers in towns, still remained more or less
heathen, [17] and to this day they preserve unconsciously many
superstitions which can be traced up in lineal descent to their old
belief. In many ways does the old divinity peep out under the new
superstition--the long train, the midnight feast, 'the good lady' who
presides, the bounty and abundance which her votaries fancied would
follow in her footsteps, all belong to the ancient Goddess. Most
curious of all is the way in which all these traditions from
different countries insist on the third part of the earth, the third
child born, the third soul as belonging to the 'good lady', who leads
the revel; for this right of a third, or even of a half, was one
which Freyja possessed. 'But Freyja is most famous of the Asynjor.
She has that bower in heaven hight Fólkvángr, and 'whithersoever she
rideth to the battle, there hath she one half of the slain; but Odin
the other half.' Again 'when she fares abroad, she drives two cats
and sits in a car, and she lends an easy ear to the prayers of men.'
[Snorro's _Edda_, Dasent's Translation, pp. 29 (Stockholm

We have got then the ancient goddesses identified as evil influences,
and as the leader of a midnight band of women, who practised secret
and unholy rites. This leads us at once to witchcraft. In all ages
and in all races this belief in sorcery has existed. Men and women
practised it alike, but in all times female sorcerers have
predominated. [18] This was natural enough. In those days women were
priestesses; they collected drugs and simples; women alone knew the
virtues of plants. Those soft hands spun linen, made lint, and bound
wounds. Women in the earliest times with which we are acquainted with
our forefathers, alone knew how to read and write, they only could
carve the mystic runes, they only could chant the charms so potent to
allay the wounded warrior's smart and pain. The men were busy out of
doors with ploughing, hunting, barter, and war. In such an age the
sex which possessed by natural right book-learning, physic,
soothsaying, and incantation, even when they used these mysteries for
good purposes, were but a step from sin. The same soft white hand
that bound the wound and scraped the lint; the same gentle voice that
sung the mystic rune, that helped the child-bearing woman, or drew
the arrow-head from the dying champion's breast; the same bright eye
that gazed up to heaven in ecstacy through the sacred grove and read
the will of the Gods when the mystic tablets and rune-carved lots
were cast--all these, if the will were bad, if the soothsayer passed
into the false prophetess, the leech into a poisoner, and the
priestess into a witch, were as potent and terrible for ill as they
had once been powerful for good. In all the Indo-European tribes,
therefore, women, and especially old women, have practised witchcraft
from the earliest times, and Christianity found them wherever it
advanced. But Christianity, as it placed mankind upon a higher
platform of civilization, increased the evil which it found, and when
it expelled the ancient goddesses, and confounded them as demons with
Diana and Herodias, it added them and their votaries to the old class
of malevolent sorcerers. There was but one step, but a simple act of
the will, between the Norn and the hag, even before Christianity came
in. As soon as it came, down went Goddess, Valkyrie, Norn, priestess,
and soothsayer, into that unholy deep where the heathen hags and
witches had their being; and, as Christianity gathered strength,
developed its dogmas, and worked out its faith; fancy, tradition,
leechcraft, poverty, and idleness, produced that unhappy class, the
medieval witch, the persecution of which is one of the darkest pages
in religious history.

It is curious indeed to trace the belief in witches through the
Middle Age, and to mark how it increases in intensity and absurdity.
At first, as we have seen in the passages quoted, the superstition
seemed comparatively harmless, and though the witches themselves may
have believed in their unholy power, there were not wanting divines
who took a common-sense view of the matter, and put the absurdity of
their pretensions to a practical proof. Such was that good parish
priest who asked, when an old woman of his flock insisted that she
had been in his house with the company of 'the Good Lady', and had
seen him naked and covered him up, 'How, then, did you get in when
all the doors were locked?' 'We can get in,' she said, 'even if the
doors are locked.' Then the priest took her into the chancel of the
church, locked the door, and gave her a sound thrashing with the
pastoral staff, calling out 'Out with you, lady witch.' But as she
could not, he sent her home, saying 'See now how foolish you are to
believe in such empty dreams'. [19]

But as the Church increased in strength, as heresies arose, and
consequent persecution, then the secret meetings of these sectarians,
as we should now call them, were identified by the hierarchy with the
rites of sorcery and magic, and with the relics of the worship of the
old gods. By the time, too, that the hierarchy was established, that
belief in the fallen angel, the Arch-Fiend, the Devil, originally so
foreign to the nations of the West, had become thoroughly ingrafted
on the popular mind, and a new element of wickedness and superstition
was introduced at those unholy festivals. About the middle of the
thirteenth century, we find the mania for persecuting heretics
invading the tribes of Teutonic race from France and Italy, backed by
all the power of the Pope. Like jealousy, persecution too often makes
the meat it feeds on, and many silly, if not harmless, superstitions
were rapidly put under the ban of the Church. Now the 'Good Lady' and
her train begin to recede, they only fill up the background while the
Prince of Darkness steps, dark and terrible, in front, and soon draws
after him the following of the ancient goddess. Now we hear stories
of demoniac possession; now the witches adore a demon of the other
sex. With the male element, and its harsher, sterner nature, the
sinfulness of these unholy assemblies is infinitely increased; folly
becomes guilt, and guilt crime. [20]

From the middle of the fourteenth to the middle of the seventeenth
century the history of Europe teems with processes against witches
and sorcerers. Before the Reformation it reached its height, in the
Catholic world, with the famous bull of Innocent the Eighth in 1484,
the infamous _Malleus Maleficarum_, the first of the long list
of witch-finding books, and the zeal with which the State lent all
the terrors of the law to assist the ecclesiastical inquisitors.
Before the tribunals of those inquisitors, in the fifteenth century,
innumerable victims were arraigned on the double charge of heresy and
sorcery--for the crimes ran in couples, both being children and sworn
servants of the Devil. Would that the historian could say that with
the era of the Reformation these abominations ceased. The Roman
Hierarchy, with her bulls and inquisitors, had sown a bitter crop,
which both she and the Protestant Churches were destined to reap; but
in no part of the world were the labourers more eager and willing,
when the fields were 'black' to harvest, than in those very reformed
communities which had just shaken off the yoke of Rome, and which had
sprung in many cases from the very heretics whom she had persecuted
and burnt, accusing them at the same time, of the most malignant
sorceries. [21]

Their excuse is, that no one is before his age. The intense
personality given to the Devil in the Middle Age had possessed the
whole mind of Europe. We must take them as we find them, with their
bright fancy, their earnest faith, their stern fanaticism, their
revolting superstition, just as when we look upon a picture we know
that those brilliant hues and tones, that spirit which informs the
whole, could never be, were it not for the vulgar earths and oil out
of which the glorious work of art is mixed and made. Strangely
monotonous are all the witch trials of which Europe has so many to
show. At first the accused denies, then under torture she confesses,
then relapses and denies; tortured again she confesses again,
amplifies her story, and accuses others. When given to the stake, she
not seldom asserts all her confessions to be false, which is ascribed
to the power which the fiend still has over her. Then she is burnt
and her ashes given to the winds. Those who wish to read one
unexampled, perhaps for barbarity and superstition, and more curious
than the rest from the prominence given in it to a man, may find it
in the trial of Dr. Fian, the Scotch wizard, "which doctor was
register to the Devil, that sundry times preached at North Baricke
(North Berwick, in East Lothian) Kirke, to a number of notorious
witches." [22] But we advise no one to venture on a perusal of this
tract who is not prepared to meet with the most unutterable
accusations and crimes, the most cruel tortures, and the most absurd
confessions, followed as usual by the stoutest denial of all that had
been confessed; when torture had done her worst on poor human nature,
and the soul re-asserted at the last her supremacy over the body.
[23] One characteristic of all these witch trials, is the fact, that
in spite of their unholy connection and intrigues with the Evil One,
no witch ever attained to wealth and station by the aid of the Prince
of Darkness. The pleasure to do ill, is all the pleasure they feel.
This fact alone might have opened the eyes of their persecutors, for
if the Devil had the worldly power which they represented him to
have, he might at least have raised some of his votaries to temporal
rank, and to the pomps and the vanities of this world. An old German
proverb expresses this notorious fact, by saying, that 'every seven
years, a witch is three halfpence richer'; and so with all the unholy
means of Hell at their command, they dragged out their lives, along
with their black cats, in poverty and wretchedness. To this fate at
last, came the worshippers of the great goddess Freyja, whom our
forefathers adored as the goddess of love and plenty; and whose car
was drawn by those animals which popular superstition has ever since
assigned to the 'old witch' of our English villages.

The North was not free, any more than the rest of the Protestant
world, from this direful superstition, which ran over Europe like a
pestilence in the sixteenth century. In Sweden especially, the
witches and their midnight ridings to _Blokulla_, the black
hill, gave occasion to processes as absurd and abominable as the
trial of Dr. Fian and the witch-findings of Hopkins. In Denmark, the
sorceresses were supposed to meet at Tromsoe high up in Finmark, or
even on Heckla in Iceland. The Norse witches met at a Blokolle of
their own, or on the Dovrefell, or at other places in Norway or
Finmark. As might be expected, we find many traces of witchcraft in
these Tales, but it may be doubted whether these may not be referred
rather to the old heathen belief in such arts still lingering in the
popular mind than to the processes of the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries, which were far more a craze and mania of the educated
classes acting under a mistaken religious fanaticism against popular
superstitions than a movement arising from the mass of the community.
Still, in 'the Mastermaid', No. xi, the witch of a sister-in-law, who
had rolled the apple over to the Prince, and so charmed him, was torn
to pieces between twenty-four horses. The old queen in 'The Lassie
and her Godmother', No. xxvii, tries to persuade her son to have the
young queen burnt alive for a wicked witch, who was dumb, and had
eaten her own babes. In 'East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon', No.
iv, it is a wicked stepmother who has bewitched the prince. In 'Bushy
Bride', No. xlv, the ugly bride charms the king to sleep, and is at
last thrown, with her wicked mother, into a pit full of snakes. In
the 'Twelve Wild Ducks', No. viii, the wicked stepmother persuades
the king that Snow-white and Rosy-red is a witch, and almost
persuades him to burn her alive. In 'Tatterhood', No. xlvii, a whole
troop of witches come to keep their revels on Christmas eve in the
Queen's Palace, and snap off the young Princess's head. It is hard,
indeed, in tales where Trolls play so great a part, to keep witch and
Troll separate; but the above instances will show that the belief in
the one, as distinct from the other, exists in the popular
superstitions of the North.

The frequent transformation of men into beasts, in these tales, is
another striking feature. This power the gods of the Norseman
possessed in common with those of all other mythologies. Europa and
her Bull, Leda and her Swan, will occur at once to the reader's mind;
and to come to closer resemblances, just as Athene appears in the
Odyssey as an eagle or a swallow perched on the roof of the hall
[Od., iii, 372; and xxii, 239], so Odin flies off as a falcon, and
Loki takes the form of a horse or bird. This was only part of that
omnipotence which all gods enjoy. But the belief that men, under
certain conditions, could also take the shape of animals, is
primaeval, and the traditions of every race can tell of such
transformations. Herodotus had heard how the Neurians, a Slavonic
race, passed for wizards amongst the Scythians and the Greeks settled
round the Black Sea, because each of them, once in the year, became a
wolf for a few days, and then returned to his natural shape. Pliny,
Pomponius Mela, and St. Augustin, in his great treatise, _De
Civitate Dei_, tell the same story, and Virgil, in his Eclogues,
has sung the same belief [24]. The Latins called such a man, a
_turnskin--versipellis_, an expression which exactly agrees with
the Icelandic expression for the same thing, and which is probably
the true original of our _turncoat_. In Petronius the superstition
appears in its full shape, and is worth repeating. At the banquet of
Trimalchion, Nicoros gives the following account of the turn-skins
of Nero's time:

  It happened that my master was gone to Capua to dispose of some
  second-hand goods. I took the opportunity and persuaded our guest
  to walk with me to the fifth milestone. He was a valiant soldier,
  and a sort of grim water-drinking Pluto. About cock-crow, when the
  moon was shining as bright as mid-day, we came among the monuments.
  My friend began addressing himself to the stars, but I was rather
  in a mood to sing or to count them; and when I turned to look at
  him, lo! he had already stripped himself and laid down his clothes
  near him. My heart was in my nostrils, and I stood like a dead man;
  but he '_circumminxit vestimenta_', and on a sudden became a
  wolf. Do not think I jest; I would not lie for any man's estate.
  But to return to what I was saying. When he became a wolf, he began
  howling, and fled into the woods. At first I hardly knew where I
  was, and afterwards, when I went to take up his clothes, they were
  turned into stone. Who then died with fear but I? Yet I drew my
  sword, and went cutting the air right and left, till I reached the
  villa of my sweetheart. I entered the court-yard. I almost breathed
  my last, the sweat ran down my neck, my eyes were dim, and I
  thought I should never recover myself. My Melissa wondered why I
  was out so late, and said to me: 'Had you come sooner you might at
  least have helped us, for a wolf has entered the farm, and worried
  all our cattle; but he had not the best of the joke, for all he
  escaped, for our slave ran a lance through his neck.' When I heard
  this, I could not doubt how it was, and, as it was clear daylight,
  ran home as fast as a robbed innkeeper. When I came to the spot
  where the clothes had been turned into stone, I could find nothing
  except blood. But when I got home, I found my friend the soldier in
  bed, bleeding at the neck like an ox, and a doctor dressing his
  wound. I then knew he was a turn-skin, nor would I ever have broke
bread with him again; No, not if you had killed me. [25]

A man who had such a gift or greed was also called lycanthropus,
a man-wolf or wolf-man, which term the Anglo-Saxons translated
literally in Canute's Laws _verevulf_, and the early English
_werewolf_. In old French he was _loupgarou_, which means the
same thing; except that _garou_ means man-wolf in itself without
the antecedent _loup_, so that, as Madden observes, the whole
word is one of those reduplications of which we have an example
in _lukewarm_. In Brittany he was _bleizgarou_ and _denvleiz_,
formed respectively from _bleiz_, wolf, and _den_, man; _garou_ is
merely a distorted form of _wer_ or _vere_, man and _loup_. In
later French the word became _waroul_, whence the Scotch _wrout_,
_wurl_, and _worlin_. [26]

It was not likely that a belief so widely spread should not have
extended itself to the North; and the grave assertions of Olaus
Magnus in the sixteenth century, in his Treatise _De Gentibus
Septentrionalibus_, show how common the belief in were-wolves was
in Sweden so late as the time of Gustavus Vasa. In mythical times
the _Volsunga Saga_ [_Fornald Sog_, i, 130, 131.] expressly
states of Sigmund and Sinfjötli that they became were-wolves--which,
we may remark, were Odin's sacred beasts--just in the same way as
Brynhildr and the Valkyries, or corse-choosers, who followed the god
of battles to the field, and chose the dead for Valhalla when the
fight was done, became swan-maidens, and took the shape of swans. In
either case, the wolf's skin or the swan's feathery covering was
assumed and laid aside at pleasure, though the _Völundr Quidr_,
in the _Edda_, and the stories of 'The Fair Melusina', and other
medieval swan-maidens, show that any one who seized that shape while
thus laid aside, had power over its wearer. In later times, when this
old heroic belief degenerated into the notion of sorcery, it was
supposed that a girdle of wolfskin thrown over the body, or even a
slap on the face with a wolfskin glove, would transform the person
upon whom the sorcerer practised into the shape of a ravening wolf,
which fled at once to the woods, where he remained in that shape for
a period which varied in popular belief for nine days, three, seven,
or nine years. While in this state he was especially ravenous after
young children, whom he carried off as the were-wolf carried off
William in the old romance, though all were-wolves did not treat
their prey with the same tenderness as that were-wolf treated

But the favourite beast for Norse transformations in historic times,
if we may judge from the evidence afforded by the Sagas, was the
bear, the king of all their beasts, whose strength and sagacity made
him an object of great respect [See Landnama in many places.
_Egil's Sag., Hrolf Krak. Sag._].

This old belief, then, might be expected to be found in these Norse
Tales, and accordingly we find men transformed in them into various
beasts. Of old these transformations, as we have already stated, were
active, if we may use the expression, as well as passive. A man who
possessed the gift, frequently assumed the shape of a beast at his
own will and pleasure, like the soldier in Petronius. Even now in
Norway, it is matter of popular belief that Finns and Lapps, who from
time immemorial have passed for the most skilful witches and wizards
in the world, can at will assume the shape of bears; and it is a
common thing to say of one of those beasts, when he gets unusually
savage and daring, 'that can be no Christian bear'. On such a bear,
in the parish of Oföden, after he had worried to death more than
sixty horses and six men, it is said that a girdle of bearskin, the
infallible mark of a man thus transformed, was found when he was at
last tracked and slain. The tale called 'Farmer Weathersky', No. xli
in this collection, shows that the belief of these spontaneous
transformations still exists in popular tradition, where it is easy
to see that Farmer Weathersky is only one of the ancient gods
degraded into a demon's shape. His sudden departure through the air,
horse, sledge, and lad, and all, and his answer 'I'm at home, alike
north, and south, and east, and west'; his name itself, and his
distant abode, surrounded with the corpses of the slain, sufficiently
betray the divinity in disguise. His transformation, too, into a hawk
answers exactly to that of Odin when he flew away from the Frost
Giant in the shape of that bird. But in these tales such
transformations are for the most part passive; they occur not at the
will of the person transformed, but through sorcery practised on them
by some one else. Thus the White Bear in the beautiful story of 'East
o' the Sun and West o' the Moon', No. iv, is a Prince transformed by
his stepmother, just as it is the stepmother who plays the same part
in the romance of William and the Were-wolf. So the horse in 'the
Widow's Son', No. xliv, is a Prince over whom a king has cast that
shape. [27] So also in 'Lord Peter', No. xlii, which is the full
story of what we have only hitherto known in part as 'Puss in Boots',
the cat is a princess bewitched by the Troll who had robbed her of
her lands; so also in 'The Seven Foals', No. xliii, and 'The Twelve
Wild Ducks', No. viii, the Foals and the Ducks are Princes over whom
that fate has come by the power of a witch or a Troll, to whom an
unwary promise had been given. Thoroughly mythic is the trait in 'The
Twelve Wild Ducks', where the youngest brother reappears with a wild
duck's wing instead of his left arm, because his sister had no time
to finish that portion of the shirt, upon the completion of which his
retransformation depended.

But we should ill understand the spirit of the Norsemen, if we
supposed that these transformations into beasts were all that the
national heart has to tell of beasts and their doings, or that, when
they appear, they do so merely as men-beasts, without any power or
virtue of their own. From the earliest times, side by side with those
productions of the human mind which speak of the dealings of men with
men, there has grown up a stock of traditions about animals and their
relations with one another, which forms a true Beast Epic, and is
full of the liveliest traits of nature. Here, too, it was reserved
for Grimm to restore these traditions to their true place in the
history of the human mind, and show that the poetry which treats of
them is neither satirical nor didactic, though it may contain touches
of both these artificial kinds of composition, but, on the contrary,
purely and intensely natural. It is Epic, in short, springing out of
that deep love of nature and close observation of the habits of
animals which is only possible in an early and simple stage of
society. It used to be the fashion, when these Beast traditions were
noticed, to point to Aesop as their original, but Grimm has
sufficiently proved [Reinhart Fuchs, Introduction] that what we see
in Aesop is only the remains of a great world-old cycle of such
traditions which had already, in Aesop's day, been subjected by the
Greek mind to that critical process which a late state of society
brings to bear on popular traditions; that they were then already
worn and washed out and moralized. He had also shown how the same
process went on till in Phaedrus nothing but the dry bones of the
traditions, with a drier moral, are served up to the reader; and he
has done justice on La Fontaine, who wrote with all the wanton
licentiousness of his day, and frittered away the whole nature of his
fables by the frivolity of his allusions to the artificial society of
his time. Nor has he spared Lessing, who, though he saw through the
poverty of Phaedrus as compared with Aesop, and was alive to the
weakness of La Fontaine, still wandered about in the classical mist
which hung heavy over the learning of the eighteenth century, and saw
in the Greek form the perfection of all fable, when in Aesop it
really appears in a state of degeneracy and decay. Here too, as in so
many other things, we have a proof that the world is older than we
think it. The Beast-Fables in the _Pantcha Tantra_ and the
_Hitopadesa_, the Indian parallels to Aesop, reveal, in the
connection in which they occur, and in the moral use to which they
are put, a state of society long past that simple early time in which
such fictions arise. They must have sprung up in the East in the very
dawn of time; and thence travelling in all directions, we find them
after many centuries in various shapes, which admit of no mistake as
to their first origin, at the very ends of the earth, in countries as
opposite as the Poles to each other; in New Zealand and Norway, in
Central Africa and Servia, in the West Indies and in Mongolia; all
separated by immense tracts of land or sea from their common centre.
To the earnest inquirer, to one who believes that many dark things
may yet be solved, it is very satisfactory to see that even Grimm, in
his _Reynard the Fox_, is at a loss to understand why the North,
properly so called, had none of the traditions which the Middle Age
moulded into that famous Beast-Epic. But since then the North, as the
Great Master himself confesses in his later works, has amply avenged
herself for the slight thus cast upon her by mistake. In the year
1834, when Grimm thus expressed his surprise on this point, the North
had no such traditions to show in books indeed, but she kept them
stored up in her heart in an abundance with which no other land
perhaps can vie. This book at least shows how natural it seems to the
Norse mind now, and how much more natural of course it seemed in
earlier times, when sense went for as much and reflection for so
little, that beasts should talk; and how truly and faithfully it has
listened and looked for the accents and character of each. The Bear
is still the King of Beasts, in which character he appears in 'True
and Untrue', No. i, but here, as in Germany, he is no match for the
Fox in wit. Thus Reynard plays him a trick which condemns him for
ever to a stumpy tail in No. xxiii. He cheats him out of his share of
a firkin of butter in No. lvii. He is preferred as Herdsman, in No.
x, before either Bear or Wolf, by the old wife who wants some one to
tend her flock. Yet all the while he professes immense respect for
the Bear, and calls him 'Lord', even when in the very act of
outwitting him. In the tale called 'Well Done and Ill Paid', No.
xxxviii, the crafty fox puts a finish to his misbehaviour to his
'Lord Bruin', by handing him over, bound hand and foot, to the
peasant, and by causing his death outright. Here, too, we have an
example, which we shall see repeated in the case of the giants, that
strength and stature are not always wise, and that wit and wisdom
never fail to carry the day against mere brute force. Another tale,
however, restores the bear to his true place as the king of beasts,
endowed not only with strength, but with something divine and
terrible about him which the Trolls cannot withstand. This is 'The
Cat on the Dovrefell', No. xii. In connection with which, it should
be remembered that the same tradition existed in the thirteenth
century in Germany,[Grimm, _Irisch. Elfenm._, 114-9, and _D.
M._, 447.] that the bear is called familiarly grandfather in the
North, and that the Lapps reckon him rather as akin to men than
beasts; that they say he has the strength of ten and the wit of
twelve men. If they slay him, they formally beg his pardon, as do
also the Ostjaks, a tribe akin to the Lapps, and bring him to their
huts with great formalities and mystic songs. To the Wolf, whose
nickname is 'Graylegs', [28] these tales are more complimentary. He
is not the spiteful, stupid, greedy Isengrim of Germany and France.
Not that Isengrim, of whom old English fables of the thirteenth
century tell us that he became a monk, but when the brethren wished
to teach him his letters that he might learn the paternoster, all
they could get out of him was _lamb, lamb_; nor could they ever
get him to look to the cross, for his eyes, with his thoughts, 'were
ever to the woodward'. [Douce, _Illust. to Shakspeare_, ii, 33,
344, quoted in _Reinhart Fuchs_, ccxxi.] He appears, on the
contrary, in 'The Giant who had no Heart in his body', No. ix, as a
kindly grateful beast, who repays tenfold out of the hidden store of
his supernatural sagacity the gift of the old jade, which Boots had
made over to him.

The horse was a sacred animal among the Teutonic tribes from the
first moment of their appearance in history, and Tacitus
[_Germania_, 9, 10.] has related, how in the shade of those
woods and groves which served them for temples, white horses were fed
at the public cost, whose backs no mortal man crossed, whose
neighings and snortings were carefully watched as auguries and omens,
and who were thought to be conscious of divine mysteries. In Persia,
too, the classical reader will remember how the neighing of a horse
decided the choice for the crown. Here, in England, at any rate, we
have only to think of Hengist and Horsa, the twin-heroes of the
Anglo-Saxon migration, as the legend ran--heroes whose name meant
'horse'--and of the vale of the White Horse in Berks., where the
sacred form still gleams along the down, to be reminded of the
sacredness of the horse to our forefathers. The Eddas are filled with
the names of famous horses, and the Sagas contain many stories of
good steeds, in whom their owners trusted and believed as sacred to
this or that particular god. Such a horse is Dapplegrim in No. xl, of
these tales, who saves his master out of all his perils, and brings
him to all fortune, and is another example of that mysterious
connection with the higher powers which animals in all ages have been
supposed to possess.

Such a friend, too, to the helpless lassie is the Dun Bull in 'Katie
Woodencloak', No. 1, out of whose ear comes the 'Wishing Cloth',
which serves up the choicest dishes. The story is probably imperfect,
as we should expect to see him again in human shape after his head
was cut off, and his skin flayed; but, after being the chief
character up to that point, he remains from that time forth in the
background, and we only see him darkly in the man who comes out of
the face of the rock and supplies the lassie's wants when she knocks
on it. Dun, or blue, or mouse-colour, is the favourite colour for
fairy kine. Thus the cow which Guy of Warwick killed was _dun_.
The _Huldror_ in Norway have large flocks of blue kine. In
Scotland runs the story of the mouse-coloured Elfin Bull. In Iceland
the colour of such kine is _apalgrár_, dapple grey. This animal
has been an object of adoration and respect from the earliest times,
and we need only remind our readers of the sanctity of cows and bulls
among the Indians and Egyptians, of 'the Golden Calf' in the Bible;
of Io and her wanderings from land to land; and, though last, not
least, of Audhumla, the Mythic Cow in the Edda, who had so large a
part in the creation of the first Giant in human forms. [Snorro's
_Edda_, ch. vi, English translation.]

The dog, to which, with all his sagacity and faithfulness something
unclean and impure clings, as Grimm well observes, plays no very
prominent part in these Tales. [29] We find him, however, in 'Not a
Pin to choose between them', No. xxiv, where his sagacity fails to
detect his mistress; and, as 'the foe of his own house', the half-
bred foxy hound, who chases away the cunning Fox in 'Well Done and
Ill Paid', No. xxxviii. Still he, too, in popular superstition, is
gifted with a sense of the supernatural; he howls when death impends,
and in 'Buttercup', No. xviii, it is Goldtooth, their dog, who warns
Buttercup and his mother of the approach of the old hag. In 'Bushy
Bride', No. xlv, he appears only as the lassie's lap-dog, is thrown
away as one of her sacrifices, and at last goes to the wedding in her
coach; yet in that tale he has something weird about him, and he is
sent out by his mistress three times to see if the dawn is coming.

In one Tale, No. xxxvii, the Goat appears in full force, and dashes
out the brains of the Troll, who lived under the bridge over the
burn. In another, 'Tatterhood', No. xlviii, he helps the lassie in
her onslaught on the witches. He, too, was sacred to Thor in the old
mythology, and drew his thundering car. Here something of the divine
nature of his former lord, who was the great foe of all Trolls, seems
to have been passed on in popular tradition to the animal who had
seen so many adventures with the great God who swayed the thunder.
This feud between the Goat and the Trolls comes out curiously in 'The
Old Dame and her Hen', No. iii, where a goat falls down the trapdoor
to the Troll's house, 'Who sent for you, I should like to know, you
long-bearded beast' said the Man o' the Hill, who was in an awful
rage; and with that he whipped up the Goat, wrung his head off, and
threw him down into the cellar. Still he belonged to one of the
heathen gods, and so in later Middle-Age superstition he is assigned
to the Devil, who even takes his shape when he presides at the
Witches' Sabbath.

Nor in this list must the little birds be forgotten which taught the
man's daughter, in the tale of 'The Two Stepsisters', No. xvii, how
to act in her trials. So, too, in 'Katie Woodencloak', No. l, the
little bird tells the Prince, 'who understood the song of birds very
well,' that blood is gushing out of the golden shoe. The belief that
some persons had the gift of understanding what the birds said, is
primaeval. We pay homage to it in our proverbial expression, 'a
little bird told me'. Popular traditions and rhymes protect their
nests, as in the case of the wren, the robin, and the swallow.
Occasionally this gift seems to have been acquired by eating or
tasting the flesh of a snake or dragon, as Sigurd, in the Volsung
tale, first became aware of Regin's designs against his life, when he
accidentally tasted the heart-blood of Fafnir, whom he had slain in
dragon shape, and then all at once the swallow's song, perched above
him, became as intelligible as human speech.

We now come to a class of beings which plays a large part, and always
for ill, in these Tales. These are the Giants or Trolls. In modern
Norse tradition there is little difference between the names, but
originally Troll was a more general expression for a supernatural
being than Giant, [30] which was rather confined to a race more dull
than wicked. In the Giants we have the wantonness of boundless bodily
strength and size, which, trusting entirely to these qualities, falls
at last by its own weight. At first, it is true that proverbial
wisdom, all the stores of traditional lore, all that could be learnt
by what may be called rule of thumb, was ascribed to them. One
sympathises too with them, and almost pities them as the
representatives of a simple primitive race, whose day is past and
gone, but who still possessed something of the innocence and virtue
of ancient times, together with a stock of old experience, which,
however useful it might be as an example to others, was quite useless
to help themselves. They are the old Tories of mythology, as opposed
to the Aesir, the advanced liberals. They can look back and say what
has been, but to look forward to say what will be and shall be, and
to mould the future, is beyond their ken. True as gold to the
traditional and received, and worthless as dross for the new and
progressive. Such a nature, when unprovoked, is easy and simple; but
rouse it, and its exuberant strength rises in a paroxysm of rage,
though its clumsy awkward blows, guided by mere cunning, fail to
strike the slight and lissom foe who waits for and eludes the stroke,
until his reason gives him the mastery over sheer brute force which
has wearied itself out by its own exertions.[31]

This race, and that of the upstart Aesir, though almost always at
feud, still had their intervals of common intercourse, and even
social enjoyment. Marriages take place between them, visits are paid,
feasts are given, ale is breached, and mirth is fast and furious.
Thor was the worst foe the giants ever had, and yet he met them
sometimes on good terms. They were destined to meet once for all on
that awful day, 'the twilight of the gods', but till then, they
entertained for each other some sense of mutual respect.

The Trolls, on the other hand, with whom mankind had more to do, were
supposed to be less easy tempered, and more systematically malignant,
than the Giants, and with the term were bound up notions of sorcery
and unholy power. But mythology is a woof of many colours, in which
the hues are shot and blended, so that the various races of
supernatural beings are shaded off, and fade away almost
imperceptibly into each other; and thus, even in heathen times, it
must have been hard to say exactly where the Giant ended and the
Troll began. But when Christianity came in, and heathendom fell; when
the godlike race of the Aesir became evil demons instead of good
genial powers, then all the objects of the old popular belief,
whether Aesir, Giants, or Trolls, were mingled together in one
superstition, as 'no canny'. They were all Trolls, all malignant; and
thus it is that, in these tales, the traditions about Odin and his
underlings, about the Frost Giants, and about sorcerers and wizards,
are confused and garbled; and all supernatural agency that plots
man's ill is the work of Trolls, whether the agent be the arch enemy
himself, or giant, or witch, or wizard.

In tales such as 'The Old Dame and her Hen', No. iii, 'The Giant who
had no Heart in his Body', No. ix, 'Shortshanks', No. xx, 'Boots and
the Troll', No. xxxii, 'Boots who ate a match with the Troll', No. v,
the easy temper of the old Frost Giants predominates, and we almost
pity them as we read. In another, 'The Big Bird Dan', No. lv, we have
a Troll Prince, who appears as a generous benefactor to the young
Prince, and lends him a sword by help of which he slays the King of
the Trolls, just as we sometimes find in the Edda friendly meetings
between the Aesir and this or the Frost Giant. In 'Tatterhood', No.
xlviii, the Trolls are very near akin to the witches of the Middle
Age. In other tales, as 'The Mastermaid', No. xi, 'The Blue Belt',
No. xxii, 'Farmer Weathersky', No. xli, a sort of settled malignity
against man appears as the direct working and result of a bad and
evil spirit. In 'Buttercup', No. xviii, and 'The Cat on the
Dovrefell', we have the Troll proper,--the supernatural dwellers of
the woods and hills, who go to church, and eat men, and porridge, and
sausages indifferently, not from malignity, but because they know no
better, because it is their nature, and because they have always done
so. In one point they all agree--in their place of abode. The wild
pine forest that clothes the spurs of the fells, but more than all,
the interior recesses of the rocky fell itself, is where the Trolls
live. Thither they carry off the children of men, and to them belongs
all the untold riches of the mineral world. There, in caves and
clefts in the steep face of the rock, sits the Troll, as the
representative of the old giants, among heaps of gold and silver and
precious things. They stride off into the dark forest by day, whither
no rays of the sun can pierce; they return home at nightfall, feast
themselves full, and snore out the night. One thing was fatal to
them--the sight of the sun. If they looked him full in the face, his
glory was too great for them, and they burst, as in 'Lord Peter', No.
xlii, and in 'The Old Dame and her Hen', No. iii. This, too, is a
deeply mythic trait. The old religion of the North was a bright and
lively faith; it lived in the light of joy and gladness; its gods
were the 'blithe powers'; opposed to them were the dark powers of
mist and gloom, who could not bear the glorious face of the Sun, of
Baldr's beaming visage, or the bright flash of Thor's levin bolt.

In one aspect, the whole race of Giants and Trolls stands out in
strong historical light. There can be little doubt that, in their
continued existence amongst the woods, and rocks, and hills, we have
a memory of the gradual suppression and extinction of some hostile
race, who gradually retired into the natural fastnesses of the land,
and speedily became mythic. Nor, if we bear in mind their natural
position, and remember how constantly the infamy of sorcery has clung
to the Finns and Lapps, shall we have far to go to seek this ancient
race, even at the present day. Between this outcast nomad race, which
wandered from forest to forest, and from fell to fell, without a
fixed place of abode, and the old natural powers and Frost Giants,
the minds of the race which adored Odin and the Aesir soon engendered
a monstrous man-eating cross-breed of supernatural beings, who fled
from contact with the intruders as soon as the first great struggle
was over, abhorred the light of day, and looked upon agriculture and
tillage as a dangerous innovation which destroyed their hunting
fields, and was destined finally to root them out from off the face
of the earth. This fact appears in countless stories all over the
globe, for man is true to himself in all climes, and the savage in
Africa or across the Rocky Mountains, dreads tillage and detests the
plough as much as any Lapp or Samoyed. 'See what pretty playthings,
mother!' cries the Giants' daughter as she unties her apron, and
shows her a plough, and horses, and peasants. 'Back with them this
instant', cries the mother in wrath, 'and put them down as carefully
as you can, for these playthings can do our race great harm, and when
these come we must budge.' 'What sort of an earthworm is this?' said
one Giant to another, when they met a man as they walked. 'These are
the earthworms that will one day eat us up, brother,' answered the
other; and soon both Giants left that part of Germany. Nor does this
trait appear less strongly in these Norse Tales. The Giants or Trolls
can neither brew nor wash properly, as we see in Shortshanks, No. xx,
where the Ogre has to get Shortshanks to brew his ale for him; and in
'East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon', No. iv, where none of the
Trolls are able to wash out the spot of tallow. So also in the 'Two
Step-sisters', No. xvii, the old witch is forced to get human maids
to do her household-work; and, lastly, the best example of all, in
'Lord Peter', No. xlii, where agriculture is plainly a secret of
mankind, which the Giants were eager to learn, but which was a branch
of knowledge beyond their power to attain.

  'Stop a bit', said the Cat, 'and I'll tell you how the farmer sets
  to work to get in his winter rye.'

  And so she told him such a long story about the winter rye.

  'First of all, you see, he ploughs the field, and then he dungs it,
  and then he ploughs it again, and then he harrows it,' and so she
  went on till the sun rose.

Before we leave these gigantic natural powers, let us linger a moment
to point out how heartily the Winds are sketched in these Tales as
four brothers; of whom, of course, the North wind is the oldest, and
strongest, and roughest. But though rough in form and tongue, he is a
genial, kind-hearted fellow after all. He carries the lassie to the
castle, 'East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon', whither none of his
brothers had strength to blow. All he asks is that she won't be
afraid, and then he takes a good rest, and puffs himself up with as
much breath as ever he can hold, begins to blow a storm, and off they
go. So, too, in 'The Lad who went to the North Wind', No. xxxiv,
though he can't restore the meal he carried off, he gives the lad
three things which make his fortune, and amply repay him. He, too,
like the Grecian Boreas, is divine, and lineally descended from
Hraesvelgr, that great giant in the Edda, who sits 'at the end of the
world in eagle's shape, and when he flaps his wings, all the winds
come that blow upon men.'

Enough surely has now been said to shew that the old religion and
mythology of the Norseman still lives disguised in these popular
tales. Besides this internal evidence, we find here and there, in the
written literature of earlier days, hints that the same stories were
even then current, and current then as now, among the lower classes.
Thus, in _King Sverri's Saga_ we read: 'And so it was just like
what is said to have happened in old stories of what the king's
children suffered from their stepmother's ill-will.' And again, in
_Olof Tryggvason's Saga_ by the monk Odd: 'And better is it to
hear such things with mirth than stepmother's stories which shepherds
tell, where no one can tell whether anything is true, and where the
king is always made the least in their narrative.' But, in truth, no
such positive evidence is needed. Any one who has read the Volsung
tale as we have given it, will be at no loss to see where the 'little
birds' who speak to the Prince and the lassie, in these tales, come
from; nor when they read in the 'Big Bird Dan', No. lv, about 'the
naked sword' which the Princess lays by her side every night, will
they fail to recognize Sigurd's sword _Gram_, which he laid
between himself and Brynhildr when he rode through the flame and won
her for Gunnar. These mythical deep-rooted groves, throwing out fresh
shoots from age to age in the popular literature of the race, are far
more convincing proofs of the early existence of these traditions
than any mere external evidence'. [32]


We have now only to consider the men and women of these Tales, and
then our task is done. It will be sooner done, because they may be
left to speak for themselves, and must stand or fall by their own
words and actions. The tales of all races have a character and manner
of their own. Among the Hindoos the straight stem of the story is
overhung with a network of imagery which reminds one of the parasitic
growth of a tropical forest. Among the Arabs the tale is more
elegant, pointed with a moral, and adorned with tropes and episodes.
Among the Italians it is bright, light, dazzling, and swift. Among
the French we have passed from the woods, and fields, and hills, to
my lady's _boudoir_--rose-pink is the prevailing colour, and the
air is loaded with patchouli and _mille fleurs_. We miss the
song of birds, the modest odour of wild-flowers, and the balmy
fragrance of the pine forest. The Swedes are more stiff, and their
style is more like that of a chronicle than a tale. The Germans are
simple, hearty, and rather comic than humorous; and M. Moe [33] has
well said, that as we read them it is as if we sat and listened to
some elderly woman of the middle class, who recites them with a
clear, full, deep voice. In Scotland the few that have been collected
by Mr Robert Chambers [_Popular Rhymes of Scotland_ (Ed. 1847).]
are as good in tone and keeping as anything of the kind in the whole
range of such popular collections. [34] The wonderful likeness which
is shown between such tales as the 'Red Bull of Norway' in Mr
Chambers' collection, and Katie Woodencloak in these Norse Tales, is
to be accounted for by no theory of the importation of this or that
particular tale in later times from Norway, but by the fact that the
Lowland Scots, among whom these tales were told, were lineal
descendants of Norsemen, who had either seized the country in the
Viking times, or had been driven into it across the Border after the
Norman Conquest.

These Norse Tales we may characterize as bold, out-spoken, and
humorous, in the true sense of humour. In the midst of every
difficulty and danger arises that old Norse feeling of making the
best of everything, and keeping a good face to the foe. The language
and tone are perhaps rather lower than in some other collections, but
it must be remembered that these are the tales of 'hempen homespuns',
of Norse yeomen, of _Norske Bonder_, who call a spade a spade,
and who burn tallow, not wax; and yet in no collection of tales is
the general tone so chaste, are the great principles of morality
better worked out, and right and wrong kept so steadily in sight. The
general view of human nature is good and kindly. The happiness of
married life was never more prettily told than in 'Gudbrand on the
Hillside', No. xxi, where the tenderness of the wife for her husband
weighs down all other considerations; and we all agree with M. Moe
that it would be well if there were many wives like Gudbrand's. The
balance too, is very evenly kept between the sexes; for if any wife
should point with indignation at such a tale as 'Not a Pin to choose
between them', No. xxiv, where wives suffer; she will be amply
avenged when she reads 'The Husband who was to mind the House', No.
xxxix, where the husband has decidedly the worst of the bargain, and
is punished as he deserves.

Of particular characters, one occurs repeatedly. This is that which
we have ventured, for want of a better word, to call 'Boots', from
that widely-spread tradition in English families, that the youngest
brother is bound to do all the hard work his brothers set him, and
which has also dignified him with the term here used. In Norse he
is called '_Askefis_', or '_Espen Askefjis_'. By M. Moe he is
called '_Askepot_',[35] a word which the Danes got from Germany,
and which the readers of Grimm's Tales will see at once is own
brother to _Aschenpüttel_. The meaning of the word is 'one who
pokes about the ashes and blows up the fire'; one who does dirty work
in short; and in Norway, according to M. Moe, the term is almost
universally applied to the youngest son of the family. He is
Cinderella's brother in fact; and just as she had all the dirty work
put upon her by her sisters, he meets with the same fate from his
brothers. He is generally the youngest of three, whose names are
often Peter and Paul, as in No. xlii, and who despise, cry down, and
mock him. But he has in him that deep strength of character and
natural power upon which the good powers always smile. He is the man
whom Heaven helps, because he can help himself; and so, after his
brothers try and fail, he alone can watch in the barn, and tame the
steed, and ride up the glass hill, and gain the Princess and half the
kingdom. The Norse 'Boots' shares these qualities in common with the
'Pinkel' of the Swedes, and the _Dummling_ of the Germans, as
well as with our 'Jack the Giant Killer', but he starts lower than
these--he starts from the dust-bin and the coal-hole. There he sits
idle whilst all work; there he lies with that deep irony of conscious
power, which knows its time must one day come, and meantime can
afford to wait. When that time comes, he girds himself to the feat,
amidst the scoffs and scorn of his flesh and blood; but even then,
after he has done some great deed, he conceals it, returns to his
ashes, and again sits idly by the kitchen-fire, dirty, lazy, and
despised, until the time for final recognition comes, and then his
dirt and rags fall off--he stands out in all the majesty of his royal
robes, and is acknowledged once for all, a king. In this way does the
consciousness of a nation, and the mirror of its thought, reflect the
image and personification of a great moral truth, that modesty,
endurance, and ability will sooner or later reap their reward,
however much they maybe degraded, scoffed at, and despised by the
proud, the worthless, and the overbearing [36]

As a general rule, the women are less strongly marked than the men;
for these tales, as is well said, are uttered 'with a manly
mouth';[Moe, _Introd. Norsk. Event._] and none of the female
characters, except perhaps 'The Mastermaid', and 'Tatterhood', can
compare in strength with 'The Master-Smith', 'The Master-Thief,'
'Shortshanks' or 'Boots'. Still the true womanly type comes out in
full play in such tales as 'The Two Step-Sisters', No. xvii; 'East o'
the Sun and West o' the Moon', No. iv; 'Bushy Bride', No. xlv, and
'The Twelve Wild Ducks', No. viii. In all these the lassie is bright,
and good, and helpful; she forgets herself in her eagerness to help
others. When she goes down the well after the unequal match against
her step-sister in spinning bristles against flax; she steps tenderly
over the hedge, milks the cow, shears the sheep, relieves the boughs
of the apple-tree--all out of the natural goodness of her heart. When
she is sent to fetch water from the well, she washes and brushes, and
even kisses, the loathsome head; she believes what her enemies say,
even to her own wrong and injury; she sacrifices all that she holds
most dear, and at last even herself, because she is made to believe
that it is her brother's wish. And so on her, too, the good powers
smile. She can understand and profit by what the little birds say;
she knows how to choose the right casket. And at last, after many
trials, all at once the scene changes, and she receives a glorious
reward, while the wicked stepmother and her ugly daughter meet with a
just fate. Nor is another female character less tenderly drawn in
Hacon Grizzlebeard, No. vi, where we see the proud, haughty princess
subdued and tamed by natural affection into a faithful, loving wife.
We sympathise with her more than with the 'Patient Grizzel' of the
poets, who is in reality too good, for her story has no relief; while
in Hacon Grizzlebeard we begin by being angry at the princess's
pride; we are glad at the retribution which overtakes her, but we are
gradually melted at her sufferings and hardships when she gives up
all for the Beggar and follows him; we burst into tears with her when
she exclaims 'Oh! the Beggar, and the babe, and the cabin!'--and we
rejoice with her when the Prince says 'Here is the Beggar, and there
is the babe, and so let the cabin burn away.'

Nor is it unprofitable here to remark how the professions fare when
they appear in these tales. The Church cannot be said to be treated
with respect, for 'Father Lawrence' is ludicrously deceived and
scurvily treated by the Master-Thief, No. xxxv; nor does the priest
come off any better in Goosey Grizzel, No. xxxiii, where he is thrown
by the Farmer into the wet moss. Indeed, it seems as if the popular
mind were determined to revenge itself when left to itself, for the
superstition of Rome on the one hand, and the severity of strict
Lutheranism on the other. It has little to say of either of them, but
when it does speak, its accents are not those of reverence and love.
The Law, too, as represented by those awful personages the Constable,
the Attorney, and the Sheriff in 'The Mastermaid', No. xi, is held up
to ridicule, and treated with anything but tenderness. But there is
one profession for which a good word is said, a single word, but
enough to show the feeling of the people. In the 'Twelve Wild Ducks'
No. viii, the king is 'as soft and kind' to Snow-white and Rosy-red
'as a doctor'--a doctor, alas! not of laws, but of medicine; and thus
this profession, so often despised, but in reality the noblest, has
homage paid to it in that single sentence, which neither the Church
with all its dignity, nor the Law with all its cunning, have been
able to extort from the popular mind. Yet even this profession has a
hard word uttered against it in 'Katie Woodencloak', No. l, where the
doctor takes a great fee from the wicked queen to say she will never
be well unless she has some of the Dun Bull's flesh to eat.

And now it is time to bring this introduction to an end, lest it
should play the Wolf's part to Odin, and swallow up the Tales
themselves. Enough has been said, at least, to prove that even
nursery tales may have a science of their own, and to show how the
old Nornir and divine spinners can revenge themselves if their old
wives' tales are insulted and attacked. The inquiry itself might be
almost indefinitely prolonged, for this is a journey where each turn
of the road brings out a new point of view, and the longer we linger
on our path, the longer we find something fresh to see. Popular
mythology is a virgin mine, and its ore, so far from being exhausted
or worked out, has here, in England at least, been scarcely touched.
It may, indeed, be dreaded lest the time for collecting such English
traditions is not past and gone; whether the steam-engine and
printing-press have not played their great work of enlightenment too
well; and whether the popular tales, of which, no doubt, the land was
once full, have not faded away before those great inventions, as the
race of Giants waned before the might of Odin and the Aesir. Still
the example of this very Norway, which at one time was thought, even
by her own sons, to have few tales of her own, and now has been found
to have them so fresh and full, may serve as a warning not to abandon
a search, which, indeed, can scarcely be said to have been ever
begun; and to suggest a doubt whether the ill success which may have
attended this or that particular attempt, may not have been from the
fault rather of the seekers after traditions, than from the want of
the traditions themselves. In point of fact, it is a matter of the
utmost difficulty to gather such tales in any country, as those who
have collected them most successfully will be the first to confess.
It is hard to make old and feeble women, who generally are the
depositaries of these national treasures, believe that the inquirer
can have any real interest in the matter. They fear that the question
is only put to turn them into ridicule; for the popular mind is a
sensitive plant; it becomes coy, and closes its leaves at the first
rude touch; and when once shut, it is hard to make these aged lips
reveal the secrets of the memory. There they remain, however, forming
part of an under-current of tradition, of which the educated classes,
through whose minds flows the bright upper-current of faith, are apt
to forget the very existence. Things out of sight, and therefore out
of mind. Now and then a wave of chance tosses them to the surface
from those hidden depths, and all Her Majesty's inspectors of schools
are shocked at the wild shapes which still haunt the minds of the
great mass of the community. It cannot be said that the English are
not a superstitious people. Here we have gone on for more than a
hundred years proclaiming our opinion that the belief in witches, and
wizards, and ghosts, and fetches, was extinct throughout the land.
Ministers of all denominations have preached them down, and
philosophers convinced all the world of the absurdity of such vain
superstitions; and yet it has been reserved for another learned
profession, the Law, to produce in one trial at the Staffordshire
assizes, a year or two ago, such a host of witnesses, who firmly
believed in witchcraft, and swore to their belief in spectre dogs and
wizards, as to show that, in the Midland counties at least, such
traditions are anything but extinct. If so much of the bad has been
spared by steam, by natural philosophy, and by the Church, let us
hope that some of the good may still linger along with it, and that
an English Grimm may yet arise who may carry out what Mr. Chambers
has so well begun in Scotland, and discover in the mouth of an Anglo-
Saxon Gammer Grethel, some, at least, of those popular tales which
England once had in common with all the Aryan race.

For these Norse Tales one may say that nothing can equal the
tenderness and skill with which MM. Asbjörnsen and Moe have collected
them. Some of that tenderness and beauty may, it is hoped, be found
in this English translation; but to those who have never been in the
country where they are current, and who are not familiar with that
hearty simple people, no words can tell the freshness and truth of
the originals. It is not that the idioms of the two languages are
different, for they are more nearly allied, both in vocabulary and
construction, than any other two tongues, but it is the face of
nature herself, and the character of the race that looks up to her,
that fail to the mind's eye. The West Coast of Scotland is something
like that nature in a general way, except that it is infinitely
smaller and less grand; but that constant, bright blue sky, those
deeply-indented, sinuous, gleaming friths, those headstrong rivers
and headlong falls, those steep hillsides, those long ridges of
fells, those peaks and needles rising sharp above them, those hanging
glaciers and wreaths of everlasting snow, those towering endless pine
forests, relieved by slender stems of silver birch, those green spots
in the midst of the forest, those winding dales and upland lakes,
those various shapes of birds and beasts, the mighty crashing elk,
the fleet reindeer, the fearless bear, the nimble lynx, the shy wolf,
those eagles and swans, and seabirds, those many tones and notes of
Nature's voice making distant music through the twilight summer
night, those brilliant, flashing, northern lights when days grow
short, those dazzling, blinding storms of autumn snow, that cheerful
winter frost and cold, that joy of sledging over the smooth ice, when
the sharp-shod horse careers at full speed with the light sledge, or
rushes down the steep pitches over the crackling snow through the
green spruce wood--all these form a Nature of their own. These
particular features belong in their fulness and combination to no
other land. When in the midst of all this natural scenery, we find an
honest manly race, not the race of the towns and cities, but of the
dales and fells, free and unsubdued, holding its own in a country
where there are neither lords nor ladies, but simple men and women.
Brave men and fair women, who cling to the traditions of their
forefathers, and whose memory reflects as from the faithful mirror of
their native steel the whole history and progress of their race--when
all these natural features, and such a manly race meet; then we have
the stuff out of which these tales are made, the living rocks out of
which these sharp-cut national forms are hewn. Then, too, our task of
introducing them is over, we may lay aside our pen, and leave the
reader and the tales to themselves.



Once on a time there were two brothers; one was called True, and the
other Untrue. True was always upright and good towards all, but
Untrue was bad and full of lies, so that no one could believe what he
said. Their mother was a widow, and hadn't much to live on; so when
her sons had grown up, she was forced to send them away, that they
might earn their bread in the world. Each got a little scrip with
some food in it, and then they went their way.

Now, when they had walked till evening, they sat down on a windfall
in the wood, and took out their scraps, for they were hungry after
walking the whole day, and thought a morsel of food would be sweet

'If you're of my mind', said Untrue, 'I think we had better eat out
of your scrip, so long as there is anything in it, and after that we
can take to mine.'

Yes! True was well pleased with this, so they fell to eating, but
Untrue got all the best bits, and stuffed himself with them, while
True got only the burnt crusts and scraps.

Next morning they broke their fast off True's food, and they dined
off it too, and then there was nothing left in his scrip. So when
they had walked till late at night, and were ready to eats again,
True wanted to eat out of his brother's scrip, but Untrue said 'No',
the food was his, and he had only enough for himself.

'Nay! but you know you ate out of my scrip so long as there was
anything in it', said True.

'All very fine, I daresay', answered Untrue; 'but if you are such a
fool as to let others eat up your food before your face, you must
make the best of it; for now all you have to do is to sit here and

'Very well!' said True, 'you're Untrue by name and untrue by nature;
so you have been, and so you will be all your life long.'

Now when Untrue heard this, he flew into a rage, and rushed at his
brother, and plucked out both his eyes. 'Now, try if you can see
whether folk are untrue or not, you blind buzzard!' and so saying, he
ran away and left him.

Poor True! there he went walking along and feeling his way through
the thick wood. Blind and alone, he scarce knew which way to turn,
when all at once he caught hold of the trunk of a great bushy lime-
tree, so he thought he would climb up into it, and sit there till the
night was over for fear of the wild beasts.

'When the birds begin to sing', he said to himself, 'then I shall
know it is day, and I can try to grope my way farther on.' So he
climbed up into the lime-tree. After he had sat there a little time,
he heard how some one came and began to make a stir and clatter
under the tree, and soon after others came; and when they began to
greet one another, he found out it was Bruin the bear, and Greylegs
the wolf, and Slyboots the fox, and Longears the hare who had come
to keep St. John's eve under the tree. So they began to eat and drink,
and be merry; and when they had done eating, they fell to gossipping
together. At last the Fox said:

'Shan't we, each of us, tell a little story while we sit here?' Well!
the others had nothing against that. It would be good fun, they said,
and the Bear began; for you may fancy he was king of the company.

'The king of England', said Bruin, 'has such bad eyesight, he can
scarce see a yard before him; but if he only came to this lime-tree
in the morning, while the dew is still on the leaves, and took and
rubbed his eyes with the dew, he would get back his sight as good as

'Very true!' said Greylegs. 'The king of England has a deaf and dumb
daughter too; but if he only knew what I know, he would soon cure
her. Last year she went to the communion. She let a crumb of the
bread fall out of her mouth, and a great toad came and swallowed it
down; but if they only dug up the chancel floor, they would find the
toad sitting right under the altar rails, with the bread still
sticking in his throat. If they were to cut the toad open and take
and give the bread to the princess, she would be like other folk
again as to her speech and hearing.'

'That's all very well', said the Fox; 'but if the king of England
knew what I know, he would not be so badly off for water in his
palace; for under the great stone, in his palace-yard, is a spring of
the clearest water one could wish for, if he only knew to dig for it

'Ah!' said the Hare in a small voice; 'the king of England has the
finest orchard in the whole land, but it does not bear so much as a
crab, for there lies a heavy gold chain in three turns round the
orchard. If he got that dug up, there would not be a garden like it
for bearing in all his kingdom.'

'Very true, I dare say', said the Fox; 'but now it's getting very
late, and we may as well go home.'

So they all went away together.

After they were gone, True fell asleep as he sat up in the tree; but
when the birds began to sing at dawn, he woke up, and took the dew
from the leaves, and rubbed his eyes with it, and so got his sight
back as good as it was before Untrue plucked his eyes out.

Then he went straight to the king of England's palace, and begged for
work, and got it on the spot. So one day the king came out into the
palace-yard, and when he had walked about a bit, he wanted to drink
out of his pump; for you must know the day was hot, and the king very
thirsty; but when they poured him out a glass, it was so muddy, and
nasty, and foul, that the king got quite vexed.

'I don't think there's ever a man in my whole kingdom who has such
bad water in his yard as I, and yet I bring it in pipes from far,
over hill and dale', cried out the king. 'Like enough, your Majesty',
said True; 'but if you would let me have some men to help me to dig
up this great stone which lies here in the middle of your yard, you
would soon see good water, and plenty of it.'

Well! the king was willing enough; and they had scarcely got the
stone well out, and dug under it a while, before a jet of water
sprang out high up into the air, as clear and full as if it came out
of a conduit, and clearer water was not to be found in all England.

A little while after the king was out in his palace-yard again, and
there came a great hawk flying after his chicken, and all the king's
men began to clap their hands and bawl out, 'There he flies!' 'There
he flies!' The king caught up his gun and tried to shoot the hawk,
but he couldn't see so far, so he fell into great grief.

'Would to Heaven', he said, 'there was any one who could tell me a
cure for my eyes; for I think I shall soon go quite blind!'

'I can tell you one soon enough', said True; and then he told the
king what he had done to cure his own eyes, and the king set off that
very afternoon to the lime-tree, as you may fancy, and his eyes were
quite cured as soon as he rubbed them with the dew which was on the
leaves in the morning. From that time forth there was no one whom the
king held so dear as True, and he had to be with him wherever he
went, both at home and abroad.

So one day, as they were walking together in the orchard, the king
said, 'I can't tell how it is _that_ I can't! there isn't a, man in
England who spends so much on his orchard as I, and yet I can't get
one of the trees to bear so much as a crab.'

'Well! well!' said True; 'if I may have what lies three times twisted
round your orchard, and men to dig it up, your orchard will bear well

Yes! the king was quite willing, so True got men and began to dig,
and at last he dug up the whole gold chain. Now True was a rich man;
far richer indeed than the king himself, but still the king was well
pleased, for his orchard bore so that the boughs of the trees hung
down to the ground, and such sweet apples and pears nobody had ever

Another day too the king and True were walking about, and talking
together, when the princess passed them, and the king was quite
downcast when he saw her.

'Isn't it a pity, now, that so lovely a princess as mine should want
speech and hearing', he said to True.

'Ay, but there is a cure for that', said True.

When the king heard that, he was so glad that he promised him the
princess to wife, and half his kingdom into the bargain, if he could
get her right again. So True took a few men, and went into the
church, and dug up the toad which sat under the altar-rails. Then he
cut open the toad, and took out the bread and gave it to the king's
daughter; and from that hour she got back her speech, and could talk
like other people.

Now True was to have the princess, and they got ready for the bridal
feast, and such a feast had never been seen before; it was the talk
of the whole land. Just as they were in the midst of dancing the
bridal-dance in came a beggar lad, and begged for a morsel of food,
and he was so ragged and wretched that every one crossed themselves
when they looked at him; but True knew him at once, and saw that it
was Untrue, his brother.

'Do you know me again?' said True.

'Oh! where should such a one as I ever have seen so great a lord',
said Untrue.

'Still you _have_ seen me before', said True. 'It was I whose eyes
you plucked out a year ago this very day. Untrue by name, and untrue
by nature; so I said before, and so I say now; but you are still my
brother, and so you shall have some food. After that, you may go to
the lime-tree where I sat last year; if you hear anything that can do
you good, you will be lucky.'

So Untrue did not wait to be told twice. 'If True has got so much
good by sitting in the lime-tree, that in one year he has come to be
king over half England, what good may not I get', he thought. So he
set off and climbed up into the lime-tree. He had not sat there long,
before all the beasts came as before, and ate and drank, and kept St.
John's eve under the tree. When they had left off eating, the Fox
wished that they should begin to tell stories, and Untrue got ready
to listen with all his might, till his ears were almost fit to fall
off. But Bruin the bear was surly, and growled and said:

'Some one has been chattering about what we said last year, and so
now we will hold our tongues about what we know'; and with that the
beasts bade one another 'Good-night', and parted, and Untrue was just
as wise as he was before, and the reason was, that his name was
Untrue, and his nature untrue too.


Once on a time, but it was a long, long time ago, there were two
brothers, one rich and one poor. Now, one Christmas eve, the poor one
hadn't so much as a crumb in the house, either of meat or bread, so
he went to his brother to ask him for something to keep Christmas
with, in God's name. It was not the first time his brother had been
forced to help him, and you may fancy he wasn't very glad to see his
face, but he said:

'If you will do what I ask you to do, I'll give you a whole flitch of

So the poor brother said he would do anything, and was full of

'Well, here is the flitch', said the rich brother, 'and now go
straight to Hell.'

'What I have given my word to do, I must stick to', said the other;
so he took the flitch and set off. He walked the whole day, and at
dusk he came to a place where he saw a very bright light.

'Maybe this is the place', said the man to himself. So he turned
aside, and the first thing he saw was an old, old man, with a long
white beard, who stood in an outhouse, hewing wood for the Christmas

'Good even', said the man with the flitch.

'The same to you; whither are you going so late?' said the man.

'Oh! I'm going to Hell, if I only knew the right way', answered the
poor man.

'Well, you're not far wrong, for this is Hell', said the old man;
'when you get inside they will be all for buying your flitch, for
meat is scarce in Hell; but mind, you don't sell it unless you get
the hand-quern which stands behind the door for it. When you come
out, I'll teach you how to handle the quern, for it's good to grind
almost anything.'

So the man with the flitch thanked the other for his good advice, and
gave a great knock at the Devil's door.

When he got in, everything went just as the old man had said. All the
devils, great and small, came swarming up to him like ants round an
anthill, and each tried to outbid the other for the flitch.

'Well!' said the man, 'by rights my old dame and I ought to have this
flitch for our Christmas dinner; but since you have all set your
hearts on it, I suppose I must give it up to you; but if I sell it at
all, I'll have for it that quern behind the door yonder.'

At first the Devil wouldn't hear of such a bargain, and chaffered and
haggled with the man; but he stuck to what he said, and at last the
Devil had to part with his quern. When the man got out into the yard,
he asked the old woodcutter how he was to handle the quern; and after
he had learned how to use it, he thanked the old man and went off
home as fast as he could, but still the clock had struck twelve on
Christmas eve before he reached his own door.

'Wherever in the world have you been?' said his old dame, 'here have
I sat hour after hour waiting and watching, without so much as two
sticks to lay together under the Christmas brose.'

'Oh!' said the man, 'I couldn't get back before, for I had to go a
long way first for one thing, and then for another; but now you shall
see what you shall see.'

So he put the quern on the table, and bade it first of all grind
lights, then a table-cloth, then meat, then ale, and so on till they
had got everything that was nice for Christmas fare. He had only to
speak the word, and the quern ground out what he wanted. The old dame
stood by blessing her stars, and kept on asking where he had got this
wonderful quern, but he wouldn't tell her.

'It's all one where I got it from; you see the quern is a good one,
and the mill-stream never freezes, that's enough.'

So he ground meat and drink and dainties enough to last out till
Twelfth Day, and on the third day he asked all his friends and kin to
his house, and gave a great feast. Now, when his rich brother saw all
that was on the table, and all that was behind in the larder, he grew
quite spiteful and wild, for he couldn't bear that his brother should
have anything.

''Twas only on Christmas eve', he said to the rest, 'he was in such
straits, that he came and asked for a morsel of food in God's name,
and now he gives a feast as if he were count or king'; and he turned
to his brother and said:

'But whence, in Hell's name, have you got all this wealth?'

'From behind the door', answered the owner of the quern, for he
didn't care to let the cat out of the bag. But later on the evening,
when he had got a drop too much, he could keep his secret no longer,
and brought out the quern and said:

'There, you see what has gotten me all this wealth'; and so he made
the quern grind all kind of things. When his brother saw it, he set
his heart on having the quern, and, after a deal of coaxing, he got
it; but he had to pay three hundred dollars for it, and his brother
bargained to keep it till hay-harvest, for he thought, if I keep it
till then, I can make it grind meat and drink that will last for
years. So you may fancy the quern didn't grow rusty for want of work,
and when hay-harvest came, the rich brother got it, but the other
took care not to teach him how to handle it.

It was evening when the rich brother got the quern home, and next
morning he told his wife to go out into the hay-field and toss, while
the mowers cut the grass, and he would stay at home and get the
dinner ready. So, when dinner-time drew near, he put the quern on the
kitchen table and said:

'Grind herrings and broth, and grind them good and fast.'

So the quern began to grind herrings and broth; first of all, all the
dishes full, then all the tubs full, and so on till the kitchen floor
was quite covered. Then the man twisted and twirled at the quern to
get it to stop, but for all his twisting and fingering the quern went
on grinding, and in a little while the broth rose so high that the
man was like to drown. So he threw open the kitchen door and ran into
the parlour, but it wasn't long before the quern had ground the
parlour full too, and it was only at the risk of his life that the
man could get hold of the latch of the house door through the stream
of broth. When he got the door open, he ran out and set off down the
road, with the stream of herrings and broth at his heels, roaring
like a waterfall over the whole farm. Now, his old dame, who was in
the field tossing hay, thought it a long time to dinner, and at last
she said:

'Well! though the master doesn't call us home, we may as well go.
Maybe he finds it hard work to boil the broth, and will be glad of my

The men were willing enough, so they sauntered homewards; but just as
they had got a little way up the hill, what should they meet but
herrings, and broth, and bread, all running and dashing, and
splashing together in a stream, and the master himself running before
them for his life, and as he passed them he bawled out:

'Would to heaven each of you had a hundred throats! but take care
you're not drowned in the broth.'

Away he went, as though the Evil One were at his heels, to his
brother's house, and begged him for God's sake to take back the quern
that instant; for, said he:

'If it grinds only one hour more, the whole parish will be swallowed
up by herrings and broth.'

But his brother wouldn't hear of taking it back till the other paid
him down three hundred dollars more.

So the poor brother got both the money and the quern, and it wasn't
long before he set up a farm-house far finer than the one in which
his brother lived, and with the quern he ground so much gold that he
covered it with plates of gold; and as the farm lay by the sea-side,
the golden house gleamed and glistened far away over the sea. All who
sailed by put ashore to see the rich man in the golden house, and to
see the wonderful quern, the fame of which spread far and wide, till
there was nobody who hadn't heard tell of it.

So one day there came a skipper who wanted to see the quern; and the
first thing he asked was if it could grind salt.

'Grind salt!' said the owner; 'I should just think it could. It can
grind anything.'

When the skipper heard that, he said he must have the quern, cost
what it would; for if he only had it, he thought he should be rid of
his long voyages across stormy seas for a lading of salt. Well, at
first the man wouldn't hear of parting with the quern; but the
skipper begged and prayed so hard, that at last he let him have it,
but he had to pay many, many thousand dollars for it. Now, when the
skipper had got the quern on his back, he soon made off with it, for
he was afraid lest the man should change his mind; so he had no time
to ask how to handle the quern, but got on board his ship as fast as
he could, and set sail. When he had sailed a good way off, he brought
the quern on deck and said:

'Grind salt, and grind both good and fast.'

Well, the quern began to grind salt so that it poured out like water;
and when the skipper had got the ship full, he wished to stop the
quern, but whichever way he turned it, and however much he tried, it
was no good; the quern kept grinding on, and the heap of salt grew
higher and higher, and at last down sank the ship.

There lies the quern at the bottom of the sea, and grinds away at
this very day, and that's why the sea is salt.


Once on a time there was an old widow who lived far away from the
rest of the world, up under a hillside, with her three daughters. She
was so poor that she had no stock but one single hen, which she
prized as the apple of her eye; in short, it was always cackling at
her heels, and she was always running to look after it. Well! one
day, all at once, the hen was missing. The old wife went out, and
round and round the cottage, looking and calling for her hen, but it
was gone, and there was no getting it back.

So the woman said to her eldest daughter, 'You must just go out and
see if you can find our hen, for have it back we must, even if we
have to fetch it out of the hill.'

Well! the daughter was ready enough to go, so she set off and walked
up and down, and looked and called, but no hen could she find. But
all at once, just as she was about to give up the hunt, she heard
some one calling out in a cleft in the rock:

  Your hen trips inside the hill!
  Your hen trips inside the hill!

So she went into the cleft to see what it was, but she had scarce set
her foot inside the cleft, before she fell through a trap-door, deep,
deep down, into a vault under ground. When she got to the bottom she
went through many rooms, each finer than the other; but in the
innermost room of all, a great ugly man of the hill-folk came up to
her and asked, 'Will you be my sweetheart?'

'No! I will not', she said. She wouldn't have him at any price! not
she; all she wanted was to get above ground again as fast as ever she
could, and to look after her hen which was lost. Then the Man o' the
Hill got so angry that he took her up and wrung her head off, and
threw both head and trunk down into the cellar.

While this was going on, her mother sat at home waiting and waiting,
but no daughter came. So after she had waited a bit longer, and
neither heard nor saw anything of her daughter, she said to her
midmost daughter, that she must go out and see after her sister, and
she added:

'You can just give our hen a call at the same time.'

Well! the second sister had to get off, and the very same thing
befell her; she went about looking and calling, and all at once she
too heard a voice away in the cleft of the rock saying:

  Your hen trips inside the hill!
  Your hen trips inside the hill!

She thought this strange, and went to see what it could be; and so
she too fell through the trap-door, deep, deep down, into the vault.
There she went from room to room, and in the innermost one the Man o'
the Hill came to her and asked if she would be his sweetheart? No!
that she wouldn't; all she wanted was to get above ground again, and
hunt for her hen which was lost. So the Man o' the Hill got angry,
and took her up and wrung her head off, and threw both head and trunk
down into the cellar.

Now, when the old dame had sat and waited seven lengths and seven
breadths for her second daughter, and could neither see nor hear
anything of her, she said to the youngest:

'Now, you really must set off and see after your sisters. 'Twas silly
to lose the hen, but 'twill be sillier still if we lose both your
sisters; and you can give the hen a call at the same time'--for the
old dame's heart was still set on her hen.

Yes! the youngest was ready enough to go; so she walked up and down,
Wanting for her sisters and calling the hen, but she could neither
see nor hear anything of them. So at last she too came up to the
cleft in the rock, and heard how something said:

  Your hen trips inside the hill!
  Your hen trips inside the hill!

She thought this strange, so she too went to see what it was, and
fell through the trap-door too, deep, deep down, into a vault. When
she reached the bottom she went from one room to another, each
grander than the other; but she wasn't at all afraid, and took good
time to look about her. So, as she was peeping into this and that,
she cast her eye on the trap-door into the cellar, and looked down
it, and what should she see there but her sisters, who lay dead. She
had scarce time to slam to the trap-door before the Man o' the Hill
came to her and asked:

'Will you be my sweetheart?'

'With all my heart', answered the girl, for she saw very well how it
had gone with her sisters. So, when the Man o' the Hill heard that,
he got her the finest clothes in the world; she had only to ask for
them, or for anything else she had a mind to, and she got what she
wanted, so glad was the Man o' the Hill that any one would be his

But when she had been there a little while, she was one day even more
doleful and downcast than was her wont. So the Man o' the Hill asked
her what was the matter, and why she was in such dumps.

'Ah!' said the girl, 'it's because I can't get home to my mother.
She's hard pinched, I know, for meat and drink, and has no one with

'Well!' said the Man o' the Hill, 'I can't let you go to see her; but
just stuff some meat and drink into a sack, and I'll carry it to

Yes! she would do so, she said, with many thanks; but at the bottom
of the sack she stuffed a lot of gold and silver, and afterwards she
laid a little food on the top of the gold and silver. Then she told
the ogre the sack was ready, but he must be sure not to look into it.
So he gave his word he wouldn't, and set off. Now, as the Man o' the
Hill walked off, she peeped out after him through a chink in the
trap-door; but when he had gone a bit on the way, he said:

'This sack is so heavy, I'll just see what there is inside it.'

And so he was about to untie the mouth of the sack, but the girl
called out to him:

  I see what you're at!
  I see what you're at!

'The deuce you do!' said the Man o' the Hill; 'then you must have
plaguy sharp eyes in your head, that's all!'

So he threw the sack over his shoulder, and dared not try to look
into it again. When he reached the widow's cottage, he threw the sack
in through the cottage door, and said:

'Here you have meat and drink from your daughter; she doesn't want
for anything.'

So, when the girl had been in the hill a good bit longer, one day a
billy-goat fell down the trap-door.

'Who sent for you, I should like to know? you long-bearded beast!'
said the Man o' the Hill, who was in an awful rage, and with that he
whipped up the goat, and wrung his head off, and threw him down into
the cellar.

'Oh!' said the girl, 'why did you do that? I might have had the goat
to play with down here.'

'Well!' said the Man o' the Hill, 'you needn't be so down in the
mouth about it, I should think, for I can soon put life into the
billy-goat again.'

So saying, he took a flask which hung up against the wall, put the
billy-goat's head on his body again, and smeared it with some
ointment out of the flask, and he was as well and as lively as ever

'Ho! ho!' said the girl to herself; 'that flask is worth something--
that it is.'

So when she had been some time longer in the hill, she watched for a
day when the Man o' the Hill was away, took her eldest sister, and
putting her head on her shoulders, smeared her with some of the
ointment out of the flask, just as she had seen the Man o' the Hill
do with the billy-goat, and in a trice her sister came to life again.
Then the girl stuffed her into a sack, laid a little food over her,
and as soon as the Man o' the Hill came home, she said to him:

'Dear friend! Now do go home to my mother with a morsel of food
again; poor thing! she's both hungry and thirsty, I'll be bound; and
besides that, she's all alone in the world. But you must mind and not
look into the sack.'

Well! he said he would carry the sack; and he said, too, that he
would not look into it; but when he had gone a little way, he thought
the sack got awfully heavy; and when he had gone a bit farther he
said to himself:

'Come what will, I must see what's inside this sack, for however
sharp her eyes may be, she can't see me all this way off'

But just as he was about to untie the sack, the girl who sat inside
the sack called out:

  I see what you're at!
  I see what you're at!

'The deuce you do!' said the ogre; 'then you must have plaguey sharp
eyes'; for he thought all the while it was the girl inside the hill
who was speaking. So he didn't care so much as to peep into the sack
again, but carried it straight to her mother as fast as he could, and
when he got to the cottage door he threw it in through the door, and
bawled out:

'Here you have meat and drink from your daughter; she wants for

Now, when the girl had been in the hill a while longer, she did the
very same thing with her other sister. She put her head on her
shoulders, smeared her with ointment out of the flask, brought her to
life, and stuffed her into the sack; but this time she crammed in
also as much gold and silver as the sack would hold, and over all
laid a very little food.

'Dear friend', she said to the Man o' the Hill, 'you really must run
home to my mother with a little food again; and mind you don't look
into the sack.'

Yes! the Man o' the Hill was ready enough to do as she wished, and he
gave his word too that he wouldn't look into the sack; but when he
had gone a bit of the way he began to think the sack got awfully
heavy, and when he had gone a bit further, he could scarce stagger
along under it, so he set it down, and was just about to untie the
string and look into it, when the girl inside the sack bawled out:

  I see what you're at!
  I see what you're at!

'The deuce you do', said the Man o' the Hill, 'then you must have
plaguey sharp eyes of your own.'

Well, he dared not try to look into the sack, but made all the haste
he could, and carried the sack straight to the girl's mother. When he
got to the cottage door he threw the sack in through the door, and
roared out:

'Here you have food from your daughter; she wants for nothing.'

So when the girl had been there a good while longer, the Man o' the
Hill made up his mind to go out for the day; then the girl shammed to
be sick and sorry, and pouted and fretted.

'It's no use your coming home before twelve o'clock at night', she
said, 'for I shan't be able to have supper ready before--I'm so sick
and poorly.'

But when the Man o' the Hill was well out of the house, she stuffed
some of her clothes with straw, and stuck up this lass of straw in
the corner by the chimney, with a besom in her hand, so that it
looked just as if she herself were standing there. After that she
stole off home, and got a sharp-shooter to stay in the cottage with
her mother.

So when the clock struck twelve, or just about it, home came the Man
o' the Hill, and the first thing he said to the straw-girl was, 'Give
me something to eat.'

But she answered him never a word.

'Give me something to eat, I say!' called out the Man o' the Hill,
'for I am almost starved.'

No! she hadn't a word to throw at him.

'Give me something to eat!' roared out the ogre the third time.' I
think you'd better open your ears and hear what I say, or else I'll
wake you up, that I will!'

No! the girl stood just as still as ever; so he flew into a rage, and
gave her such a slap in the face, that the straw flew all about the
room; but when he saw that, he knew he had been tricked, and began to
hunt everywhere; and at last, when he came to the cellar, and found
both the girl's sisters missing, he soon saw how the cat jumped, and
ran off to the cottage, saying, 'I'll soon pay her off!'

But when he reached the cottage, the sharp-shooter fired off his
piece, and then the Man o' the Hill dared not go into the house, for
he thought it was thunder. So he set off home again as fast as he
could lay legs to the ground; but what do you think, just as he got
to the trap-door, the sun rose and the Man o' the Hill burst.

Oh! if one only knew where the trap-door was, I'll be bound there's a
whole heap of gold and silver down there still!


Once on a time there was a poor husbandman who had so many children
that he hadn't much of either food or clothing to give them. Pretty
children they all were, but the prettiest was the youngest daughter,
who was so lovely there was no end to her loveliness.

So one day, 'twas on a Thursday evening late at the fall of the year,
the weather was so wild and rough outside, and it was so cruelly
dark, and rain fell and wind blew, till the walls of the cottage
shook again. There they all sat round the fire busy with this thing
and that. But just then, all at once something gave three taps on the
window-pane. Then the father went out to see what was the matter;
and, when he got out of doors, what should he see but a great big
White Bear.

'Good evening to you!' said the White Bear.

'The same to you', said the man.

'Will you give me your youngest daughter? If you will, I'll make you
as rich as you are now poor', said the Bear.

Well, the man would not be at all sorry to be so rich; but still he
thought he must have a bit of a talk with his daughter first; so he
went in and told them how there was a great White Bear waiting
outside, who had given his word to make them so rich if he could only
have the youngest daughter.

The lassie said 'No!' outright. Nothing could get her to say anything
else; so the man went out and settled it with the White Bear, that he
should come again the next Thursday evening and get an answer.
Meantime he talked his daughter over, and kept on telling her of all
the riches they would get, and how well off she would be herself; and
so at last she thought better of it, and washed and mended her rags,
made herself as smart as she could, and was ready to start. I can't
say her packing gave her much trouble.

Next Thursday evening came the White Bear to fetch her, and she got
upon his back with her bundle, and off they went. So, when they had
gone a bit of the way, the White Bear said:

'Are you afraid?'

'No! she wasn't.'

'Well! mind and hold tight by my shaggy coat, and then there's
nothing to fear', said the Bear.

So she rode a long, long way, till they came to a great steep hill.
There, on the face of it, the White Bear gave a knock, and a door
opened, and they came into a castle, where there were many rooms all
lit up; rooms gleaming with silver and gold; and there too was a
table ready laid, and it was all as grand as grand could be. Then the
White Bear gave her a silver bell; and when she wanted anything, she
was only to ring it, and she would get it at once.

Well, after she had eaten and drunk, and evening wore on, she got
sleepy after her journey, and thought she would like to go to bed, so
she rang the bell; and she had scarce taken hold of it before she
came into a chamber, where there was a bed made, as fair and white as
any one would wish to sleep in, with silken pillows and curtains, and
gold fringe. All that was in the room was gold or silver; but when
she had gone to bed, and put out the light, a man came and laid
himself alongside her. That was the White Bear, who threw off his
beast shape at night; but she never saw him, for he always came after
she had put out the light, and before the day dawned he was up and
off again. So things went on happily for a while, but at last she
began to get silent and sorrowful; for there she went about all day
alone, and she longed to go home to see her father and mother and
brothers and sisters. So one day, when the White Bear asked what it
was that she lacked, she said it was so dull and lonely there, and
how she longed to go home to see her father and mother, and brothers
and sisters, and that was why she was so sad and sorrowful, because
she couldn't get to them.

'Well, well!' said the Bear, 'perhaps there's a cure for all this;
but you must promise me one thing, not to talk alone with your
mother, but only when the rest are by to hear; for she'll take you by
the hand and try to lead you into a room alone to talk; but you must
mind and not do that, else you'll bring bad luck on both of us.'

So one Sunday the White Bear came and said now they could set off to
see her father and mother. Well, off they started, she sitting on his
back; and they went far and long. At last they came to a grand house,
and there her brothers and sisters were running about out of doors at
play, and everything was so pretty, 'twas a joy to see.

'This is where your father and mother live now', said the White Bear;
'but don't forget what I told you, else you'll make us both unlucky.'

'No! bless her, she'd not forget'; and when she had reached the
house, the White Bear turned right about and left her.

Then when she went in to see her father and mother, there was such
joy, there was no end to it. None of them thought they could thank
her enough for all she had done for them. Now, they had everything
they wished, as good as good could be, and they all wanted to know
how she got on where she lived.

Well, she said, it was very good to live where she did; she had all
she wished. What she said beside I don't know; but I don't think any
of them had the right end of the stick, or that they got much out of
her. But so in the afternoon, after they had done dinner, all
happened as the White Bear had said. Her mother wanted to talk with
her alone in her bed-room; but she minded what the White Bear had
said, and wouldn't go upstairs.

'Oh! what we have to talk about, will keep', she said, and put her
mother off. But some how or other, her mother got round her at last,
and she had to tell her the whole story. So she said, how every
night, when she had gone to bed, a man came and lay down beside her
as soon as she had put out the light, and how she never saw him,
because he was always up and away before the morning dawned; and how
she went about woeful and sorrowing, for she thought she should so
like to see him, and how all day long she walked about there alone,
and how dull, and dreary, and lonesome it was.

'My!' said her mother; 'it may well be a Troll you slept with! But
now I'll teach you a lesson how to set eyes on him. I'll give you a
bit of candle, which you can carry home in your bosom; just light
that while he is asleep, but take care not to drop the tallow on

Yes! she took the candle, and hid it in her bosom, and as night drew
on, the White Bear came and fetched her away.

But when they had gone a bit of the way, the White Bear asked if all
hadn't happened as he had said?

'Well, she couldn't say it hadn't.'

'Now, mind', said he, 'if you have listened to your mother's advice,
you have brought bad luck on us both, and then, all that has passed
between us will be as nothing.'

'No', she said, 'she hadn't listened to her mother's advice.'

So when she reached home, and had gone to bed, it was the old story
over again. There came a man and lay down beside her; but at dead of
night, when she heard he slept, she got up and struck a light, lit
the candle, and let the light shine on him, and so she saw that he
was the loveliest Prince one ever set eyes on, and she fell so deep
in love with him on the spot, that she thought she couldn't live if
she didn't give him a kiss there and then. And so she did, but as she
kissed him, she dropped three hot drops of tallow on his shirt, and
he woke up.

'What have you done?' he cried; 'now you have made us both unlucky,
for had you held out only this one year, I had been freed. For I have
a stepmother who has bewitched me, so that I am a White Bear by day,
and a Man by night. But now all ties are snapt between us; now I must
set off from you to her. She lives in a Castle which stands EAST O'
THE SUN AND WEST O' THE MOON, and there, too, is a Princess, with a
nose three ells long, and she's the wife I must have now.'

She wept and took it ill, but there was no help for it; go he must.

Then she asked if she mightn't go with him?

No, she mightn't.

'Tell me the way, then', she said, 'and I'll search you out;
_that_ surely I may get leave to do.'

'Yes, she might do that', he said; 'but there was no way to that
place. It lay EAST O' THE SUN AND WEST O' THE MOON, and thither she'd
never find her way.'

So next morning, when she woke up, both Prince and castle were gone,
and then she lay on a little green patch, in the midst of the gloomy
thick wood, and by her side lay the same bundle of rags she had
brought with her from her old home.

So when she had rubbed the sleep out of her eyes, and wept till she
was tired, she set out on her way, and walked many, many days, till
she came to a lofty crag. Under it sat an old hag, and played with a
gold apple which she tossed about. Her the lassie asked if she knew
the way to the Prince, who lived with his step-mother in the Castle,
that lay EAST O' THE SUN AND WEST O' THE MOON, and who was to marry
the Princess with a nose three ells long.

'How did you come to know about him?' asked the old hag; 'but maybe
you are the lassie who ought to have had him?'

Yes, she was.

'So, so; it's you, is it?' said the old hag. 'Well, all I know about
him is, that he lives in the castle that lies EAST O' THE SUN AND
WEST O' THE MOON, and thither you'll come, late or never; but still
you may have the loan of my horse, and on him you can ride to my next
neighbour. Maybe she'll be able to tell you; and when you get there,
just give the horse a switch under the left ear, and beg him to be off
home; and, stay, this gold apple you may take with you.'

So she got upon the horse, and rode a long long time, till she came
to another crag, under which sat another old hag, with a gold
carding-comb. Her the lassie asked if she knew the way to the castle
that lay EAST O' THE SUN AND WEST O' THE MOON, and she answered, like
the first old hag, that she knew nothing about it, except it was east
o' the sun and west o' the moon.

'And thither you'll come, late or never, but you shall have the loan
of my horse to my next neighbour; maybe she'll tell you all about it;
and when you get there, just switch the horse under the left ear, and
beg him to be off home.'

And this old hag gave her the golden carding-comb; it might be she'd
find some use for it, she said. So the lassie got up on the horse,
and rode a far far way, and a weary time; and so at last she came to
another great crag, under which sat another old hag, spinning with a
golden spinning-wheel. Her, too, she asked if she knew the way to the
Prince, and where the castle was that lay EAST O' THE SUN AND WEST O'
THE MOON. So it was the same thing over again.

'Maybe it's you who ought to have had the Prince?' said the old hag.

Yes, it was.

But she, too, didn't know the way a bit better than the other two.
'East o' the sun and west o' the moon it was', she knew--that was

'And thither you'll come, late or never; but I'll lend you my horse,
and then I think you'd best ride to the East Wind and ask him; maybe,
he knows those parts, and can blow you thither. But when you get to
him, you need only give the horse a switch under the left ear, and
he'll trot home of himself.'

And so, too, she gave her the gold spinning-wheel. 'Maybe you'll find
a use for it', said the old hag.

Then on she rode many many days, a weary time, before she got to the
East Wind's house, but at last she did reach it, and then she asked
the East Wind if he could tell her the way to the Prince who dwelt
east o' the sun and west o' the moon. Yes, the East Wind had often
heard tell of it, the Prince and the castle, but he couldn't tell the
way, for he had never blown so far.

'But, if you will, I'll go with you to my brother the West Wind,
maybe he knows, for he's much stronger. So, if you will just get on
my back, I'll carry you thither.'

Yes, she got on his back, and I should just think they went briskly

So when they got there, they went into the West Wind's house, and the
East Wind said the lassie he had brought was the one who ought to
have had the Prince who lived in the castle EAST O' THE SUN AND WEST
O' THE MOON; and so she had set out to seek him, and how he had come
with her, and would be glad to know if the West Wind knew how to get
to the castle.

'Nay', said the West Wind, 'so far I've never blown; but if you will,
I'll go with you to our brother the South Wind, for he's much
stronger than either of us, and he has flapped his wings far and
wide. Maybe he'll tell you. You can get on my back, and I'll carry
you to him.'

Yes! she got on his back, and so they travelled to the South Wind,
and weren't so very long on the way, I should think.

When they got there, the West Wind asked him if he could tell her the
way to the castle that lay EAST O' THE SUN AND WEST O' THE MOON, for
it was she who ought to have had the prince who lived there.

'You don't say so! That's she, is it?' said the South Wind.

'Well, I have blustered about in most places in my time, but so far
have I never blown; but if you will, I'll take you to my brother the
North Wind; he is the oldest and strongest of the whole lot of us,
and if he don't know where it is, you'll never find any one in the
world to tell you. You can get on my back, and I'll carry you

Yes! she got on his back, and away he went from his house at a fine
rate. And this time, too, she wasn't long on her way.

So when they got to the North Wind's house, he was so wild and cross,
cold puffs came from him a long way off.

'BLAST YOU BOTH, WHAT DO YOU WANT?' he roared out to them ever so far
off, so that it struck them with an icy shiver.

'Well', said the South Wind, 'you needn't be so foul-mouthed, for
here I am, your brother, the South Wind, and here is the lassie who
ought to have had the Prince who dwells in the castle that lies EAST
O' THE SUN AND WEST O' THE MOON, and now she wants to ask you if you
ever were there, and can tell her the way, for she would be so glad
to find him again.'

'YES, I KNOW WELL ENOUGH WHERE IT IS', said the North Wind; 'once in
my life I blew an aspen-leaf thither, but I was so tired I couldn't
blow a puff for ever so many days after. But if you really wish to go
thither, and aren't afraid to come along with me, I'll take you on my
back and see if I can blow you thither.'

Yes! with all her heart; she must and would get thither if it were
possible in any way; and as for fear, however madly he went, she
wouldn't be at all afraid.

'Very well, then', said the North Wind, 'but you must sleep here to-
night, for we must have the whole day before us, if we're to get
thither at all.'

Early next morning the North Wind woke her, and puffed himself up,
and blew himself out, and made himself so stout and big, 'twas
gruesome to look at him; and so off they went high up through the
air, as if they would never stop till they got to the world's end.

Down here below there was such a storm; it threw down long tracts of
wood and many houses, and when it swept over the great sea, ships
foundered by hundreds.

So they tore on and on--no one can believe how far they went--and all
the while they still went over the sea, and the North Wind got more
and more weary, and so out of breath he could scarce bring out a
puff, and his wings drooped and drooped, till at last he sunk so low
that the crests of the waves dashed over his heels.

'Are you afraid?' said the North Wind.

'No!' she wasn't.

But they weren't very far from land; and the North Wind had still so
much strength left in him that he managed to throw her up on the
shore under the windows of the castle which lay EAST O' THE SUN AND
WEST O' THE MOON; but then he was so weak and worn out, he had to
stay there and rest many days before he could get home again.

Next morning the lassie sat down under the castle window, and began
to play with the gold apple; and the first person she saw was the
Long-nose who was to have the Prince.

'What do you want for your gold apple, you lassie?' said the Long-
nose, and threw up the window.

'It's not for sale, for gold or money', said the lassie.

'If it's not for sale for gold or money, what is it that you will
sell it for? You may name your own price', said the Princess.

'Well! if I may get to the Prince, who lives here, and be with him
to-night, you shall have it', said the lassie whom the North Wind had

Yes! she might; that could be done. So the Princess got the gold
apple; but when the lassie came up to the Prince's bed-room at night
he was fast asleep; she called him and shook him, and between whiles
she wept sore; but all she could do she couldn't wake him up. Next
morning as soon as day broke, came the Princess with the long nose,
and drove her out again.

So in the daytime she sat down under the castle windows and began to
card with her carding-comb, and the same thing happened. The Princess
asked what she wanted for it; and she said it wasn't for sale for
gold or money, but if she might get leave to go up to the Prince and
be with him that night, the Princess should have it. But when she
went up she found him fast asleep again, and all she called, and all
she shook, and wept, and prayed, she couldn't get life into him; and
as soon as the first gray peep of day came, then came the Princess
with the long nose, and chased her out again.

So, in the day time, the lassie sat down outside under the castle
window, and began to spin with her golden spinning-wheel, and that,
too, the Princess with the long nose wanted to have. So she threw up
the window and asked what she wanted for it. The lassie said, as she
had said twice before, it wasn't for sale for gold or money; but if
she might go up to the Prince who was there, and be with him alone
that night, she might have it.

Yes! she might do that and welcome. But now you must know there were
some Christian folk who had been carried off thither, and as they sat
in their room, which was next the Prince, they had heard how a woman
had been in there, and wept and prayed, and called to him two nights
running, and they told that to the Prince.

That evening, when the Princess came with her sleepy drink, the
Prince made as if he drank, but threw it over his shoulder, for he
could guess it was a sleepy drink. So, when the lassie came in, she
found the Prince wide awake; and then she told him the whole story
how she had come thither.

'Ah', said the Prince, 'you've just come in the very nick of time,
for to-morrow is to be our wedding-day; but now I won't have the
Long-nose, and you are the only woman in the world who can set me
free. I'll say I want to see what my wife is fit for, and beg her to
wash the shirt which has the three spots of tallow on it; she'll say
yes, for she doesn't know 'tis you who put them there; but that's a
work only for Christian folk, and not for such a pack of Trolls, and
so I'll say that I won't have any other for my bride than the woman
who can wash them out, and ask you to do it.'

So there was great joy and love between them all that night. But next
day, when the wedding was to be, the Prince said:

'First of all, I'd like to see what my bride is fit for.'

'Yes!' said the step-mother, with all her heart.

'Well', said the Prince, 'I've got a fine shirt which I'd like for my
wedding shirt, but some how or other it has got three spots of tallow
on it, which I must have washed out; and I have sworn never to take
any other bride than the woman who's able to do that. If she can't,
she's not worth having.'

Well, that was no great thing they said, so they agreed, and she with
the long-nose began to wash away as hard as she could, but the more
she rubbed and scrubbed, the bigger the spots grew.

'Ah!' said the old hag, her mother, 'you can't wash; let me try.'

But she hadn't long taken the shirt in hand, before it got far worse
than ever, and with all her rubbing, and wringing, and scrubbing, the
spots grew bigger and blacker, and the darker and uglier was the

Then all the other Trolls began to wash, but the longer it lasted,
the blacker and uglier the shirt grew, till at last it was as black
all over as if it had been up the chimney.

'Ah!' said the Prince, 'you're none of you worth a straw you can't
wash. Why there, outside, sits a beggar lassie, I'll be bound she
knows how to wash better than the whole lot of you. COME IN LASSIE!'
he shouted.

Well, in she came.

'Can you wash this shirt clean, lassie, you?' said he.

'I don't know', she said, 'but I think I can.'

And almost before she had taken it and dipped it in the water, it was
as white as driven snow, and whiter still.

'Yes; you are the lassie for me', said the Prince.

At that the old hag flew into such a rage, she burst on the spot, and
the Princess with the long nose after her, and the whole pack of
Trolls after her--at least I've never heard a word about them since.

As for the Prince and Princess, they set free all the poor Christian
folk who had been carried off and shut up there; and they took with
them all the silver and gold, and flitted away as far as they could
from the Castle that lay EAST O' THE SUN AND WEST O' THE MOON.


Once on a time there was a farmer who had three sons; his means were
small, and he was old and weak, and his sons would take to nothing. A
fine large wood belonged to the farm, and one day the father told his
sons to go and hew wood, and try to pay off some of his debts.

Well, after a long talk he got them to set off, and the eldest was to
go first. But when he had got well into the wood, and began to hew at
a mossy old fir, what should he see coming up to him but a great
sturdy Troll.

'If you hew in this wood of mine', said the Troll, 'I'll kill you!'

When the lad heard that, he threw the axe down, and ran off home as
fast as he could lay legs to the ground; so he came in quite out of
breath, and told them what had happened, but his father called him
'hare-heart'--no Troll would ever have scared him from hewing when he
was young, he said.

Next day the second son's turn came, and he fared just the same. He
had scarce hewn three strokes at the fir, before the Troll came to
him too, and said:

'If you hew in this wood of mine, I'll kill you.'

The lad dared not so much as look at him, but threw down the axe,
took to his heels, and came scampering home just like his brother. So
when he got home, his father was angry again, and said no Troll had
ever scared him when he was young.

The third day Boots wanted to set off.

'You, indeed!' said the two elder brothers; 'you'll do it bravely, no
doubt! you, who have scarce ever set your foot out of the door.'

Boots said nothing to this, but only begged them to give him a good
store of food. His mother had no cheese, so she set the pot on the
fire to make him a little, and he put it into a scrip and set off. So
when he had hewn a bit, the Troll came to him too, and said:

'If you hew in this wood of mine, I'll kill you.'

But the lad was not slow; he pulled his cheese out of the scrip in a
trice, and squeezed it till the whey spurted out.

'Hold your tongue!' he cried to the Troll, 'or I'll squeeze you as I
squeeze the water out of this white stone.'

'Nay, dear friend!' said the Troll, 'only spare me, and I'll help you
to hew.'

Well, on those terms the lad was willing to spare him, and the Troll
hewed so bravely, that they felled and cut up many, many fathoms in
the day.

But when even drew near, the Troll said:

'Now you'd better come home with me, for my house is nearer than

So the lad was willing enough; and when they reached the Troll's
house, the Troll was to make up the fire, while the lad went to fetch
water for their porridge, and there stood two iron pails so big and
heavy, that he couldn't so much as lift them from the ground.

'Pooh!' said the lad, 'it isn't worth while to touch these finer-
basins: I'll just go and fetch the spring itself.'

'Nay, nay, dear friend!' said the Troll; 'I can't afford to lose my
spring; just you make up the fire, and I'll go and fetch the water.'

So when he came back with the water, they set to and boiled up a
great pot of porridge.

'It's all the same to me', said the lad; 'but if you're of my mind,
we'll eat a match!'

'With all my heart', said the Troll, for he thought he could surely
hold his own in eating. So they sat down; but the lad took his scrip
unawares to the Troll, and hung it before him, and so he spooned more
into the scrip than he ate himself; and when the scrip was full, he
took up his knife and made a slit in the scrip. The Troll looked on
all the while, but said never a word. So when they had eaten a good
bit longer, the Troll laid down his spoon, saying, 'Nay! but I can't
eat a morsel more.'

'But you shall eat', said the youth; 'I'm only half done; why don't
you do as I did, and cut a hole in your paunch? You'll be able to eat
then as much as you please.'

'But doesn't it hurt one cruelly?' asked the Troll.

'Oh', said the youth, 'nothing to speak of.'

So the Troll did as the lad said, and then you must know very well
that he lost his life; but the lad took all the silver and gold that
he found in the hill-side, and went home with it, and you may fancy
it went a great way to pay off the debt.


Once on a time there was a princess who was so proud and pert that no
suitor was good enough for her. She made game of them all, and sent
them about their business, one after the other; but though she was so
proud, still new suitors kept on coming to the palace, for she was
a beauty, the wicked hussey!

So one day there came a prince to woo her, and his name was Hacon
Grizzlebeard; but the first night he was there, the Princess bade the
king's fool cut off the ears of one of the prince's horses, and slit
the jaws of the other up to the ears. When the prince went out to
drive next day, the Princess stood in the porch and looked at him.

'Well!' she cried, 'I never saw the like of this in all my life; the
keen north wind that blows here has taken the ears off one of your
horses, and the other has stood by and gaped at what was going on
till his jaws have split right up to his ears.'

And with that she burst out into a roar of laughter, ran in, slammed
to the door, and let him drive off.

So he drove home; but as he went, he thought to himself that he would
pay her off one day. After a bit, he put on a great beard of moss,
threw a great fur cloak over his clothes, and dressed himself up just
like any beggar. He went to a goldsmith and bought a golden spinning
wheel, and sat down with it under the Princess' window, and began to
file away at his spinning wheel, and to turn it this way and that,
for it wasn't quite in order, and, besides, it wanted a stand.

So when the Princess rose up in the morning, she came to the window
and threw it up, and called out to the beggar if he would sell his
golden spinning-wheel?

'No; it isn't for sale', said Hacon Grizzlebeard; 'but if I may have
leave to sleep outside your bedroom door to-night, I'll give it you.'

Well, the Princess thought it a good bargain; there could be no
danger in letting him sleep outside her door.

So she got the wheel, and at night Hacon Grizzlebeard lay down
outside her bedroom. But as the night wore on he began to freeze.

'Hutetutetutetu! it is _so_ cold; do let me in', he cried.

'You've lost your wits outright, I think', said the Princess.

'Oh, hutetutetutetu! it is so bitter cold, pray do let me in', said
Hacon Grizzlebeard again.

'Hush! hush! hold your tongue!' said the Princess; 'if my father were
to know that there was a man in the house, I should be in a fine

'Oh, hutetutetutetu! I'm almost frozen to death; only let me come
inside and lie on the floor', said Hacon Grizzlebeard.

Yes! there was no help for it. She had to let him in, and when he
was, he lay on the ground and slept like a top.

Some time after, Hacon came again with the stand to the spinning-
wheel, and sat down under the Princess' window, and began to file at
it, for it was not quite fit for use. When she heard him filing, she
threw up the window and began to talk to him, and to ask what he had

'Oh! only the stand to that spinning-wheel which your royal highness
bought; for I thought, as you had the wheel, you might like to have
the stand too.'

'What do you want for it?' asked the Princess; but it was not for
sale any more than the wheel, but she might have them if she would
give him leave to sleep on the floor of her bedroom next night.

Well! she gave him leave, only he was to be sure to lie still, and
not to shiver and call out 'hutetu', or any such stuff. Hacon
Grizzlebeard promised fair enough, but as the night wore on he began
to shiver and shake, and to ask whether he might not come nearer, and
lie on the floor alongside the Princess' bed.

There was no help for it; she had to give him leave, lest the king
should hear the noise he made. So Hacon Grizzlebeard lay alongside
the Princess' bed, and slept like a top.

It was a long while before Hacon Grizzlebeard came again; but when he
came he had with him a golden wool-winder, and he sat down and began
to file away at it under the Princess' window. Then came the old
story over again. When the Princess heard what was going on, she came
to the window, and asked him how he did, and whether he would sell
the golden wool-winder?

'It is not to be had for money; but if you'll give me leave to sleep
to-night in your bedroom, with my head on your bedstead, you shall
have it for nothing', said Hacon Grizzlebeard.

Well! she would give him leave, if he only gave his word to be quiet,
and make no noise. So he said he would do his best to be still; but
as the night wore on, he began to shiver and shake so, that his teeth
chattered again.

'Hutetutetutetu! it is so bitter cold! Oh, do let me get into bed and
warm myself a little', said Hacon Grizzlebeard.

'Get into bed!' said the Princess; 'why, you must have lost your

'Hutetutetutetu!' said Hacon; 'do let me get into bed.

'Hush! hush! be still for God's sake', said the Princess; 'if father
knows there is a man in here, I shall be in a sad plight. I'm sure
he'll kill me on the spot.'

'Hutetutetutetu! let me get into bed', said Hacon Grizzlebeard, who
kept on shivering so that the whole room shook.

Well! there was no help for it; she had to let him get into bed,
where he slept both sound and soft; but a little while after the
Princess had a child, at which the king grew so wild with rage, that
he was near making an end of both mother and babe. Just after this
happened, came Hacon Grizzlebeard tramping that way once more, as if
by chance, and took his seat down in the kitchen, like any other

So when the Princess came out and saw him, she cried, 'Ah, God have
mercy on me, for the ill-luck you have brought on me; father is ready
to burst with rage; do let me follow you to your home.'

'Oh! I'll be bound you're too well bred to follow me', said Hacon,
'for I have nothing but a log but to live in; and how I shall ever
get food for you I can't tell, for it's just as much as I can do to
get food for myself.'

'Oh yes! it's all the same to me how you get it, or whether you get
it at all', she said; 'only let me be with you, for if I stay here
any longer, my father will be sure to take my life.'

So she got leave to be with the beggar, as she called him, and they
walked a long, long way, though she was but a poor hand at tramping.
When she passed out of her father's land into another, she asked
whose it was?

'Oh! this is Hacon Grizzlebeard's, if you must know', said he.

'Indeed!' said the Princess; 'I might have married him if I chose,
and then I should not have had to walk about like a beggar's wife.'

So, whenever they came to grand castles, and woods, and parks, and
she asked whose they were? the beggar's answer was still the same:
'Oh: they are Hacon Grizzlebeard's.' And the Princess was in a sad
way that she had not chosen the man who had such broad lands. Last of
all, they came to a palace, where he said he was known, and where he
thought he could get her work, so that they might have something to
live on; so he built up a cabin by the woodside for them to dwell in;
and every day he went to the king's palace, as he said, to hew wood
and draw water for the cook, and when he came back he brought a few
scraps of meat; but they did not go very far. One day, when he came
home from the palace, he said: 'To-morrow I will stay at home and
look after the baby, but you must get ready to go to the palace, do
you hear! for the Prince said you were to come and try your hand at

'I bake!' said the Princess; 'I can't bake, for I never did such a
thing in my life.'

'Well, you must go', said Hacon, 'since the Prince has said it. If
you can't bake, you can learn; you have only got to look how the rest
bake; and mind, when you leave, you must steal me some bread.'

'I can't steal', said the Princess.

'You can learn that too', said Hacon; 'you know we live on short
commons. But take care that the Prince doesn't see you, for he has
eyes at the back of his head.'

So when she was well on her way, Hacon ran by a short cut and reached
the palace long before her, and threw off his rags and beard, and put
on his princely robes.

The Princess took her turn in the bakehouse, and did as Hacon bade
her, for she stole bread till her pockets were crammed full. So when
she was about to go home at even, the Prince said:

'We don't know much of this old wife of Hacon Grizzlebeard's, I think
we'd best see if she has taken anything away with her.'

So he thrust his hand into all her pockets, and felt her all over,
and when he found the bread, he was in a great rage, and led them all
a sad life. She began to weep and bewail, and said:

'The beggar made me do it, and I couldn't help it.' 'Well', said the
Prince at last, 'it ought to have gone hard with you; but all the
same, for the sake of the beggar you shall be forgiven this once.'

When she was well on her way, he threw off his robes, put on his skin
cloak, and his false beard, and reached the cabin before her. When
she came home, he was busy nursing the baby.

'Well, you have made me do what it went against my heart to do. This
is the first time I ever stole, and this shall be the last'; and with
that she told him how it had gone with her, and what the Prince had

A few days after Hacon Grizzlebeard came home at even and said:

'To-morrow I must stay at home and mind the babe, for they are going
to kill a pig at the palace, and you must help to make the sausages.'

'I make sausages!' said the Princess; 'I can't do any such thing. I
have eaten sausages often enough; but as to making them, I never made
one in my life.'

Well, there was no help for it; the Prince had said it, and go she
must. As for not knowing how, she was only to do what the others did,
and at the same time Hacon bade her steal some sausages for him.

'Nay, but I can't steal them', she said; 'you know how it went last

'Well, you can learn to steal; who knows but you may have better luck
next time', said Hacon Grizzlebeard.

When she was well on her way, Hacon ran by a short cut, reached the
palace long before her, threw off his skin cloak and false beard, and
stood in the kitchen with his royal robes before she came in. So the
Princess stood by when the pig was killed, and made sausages with the
rest, and did as Hacon bade her, and stuffed her pockets full of
sausages. But when she was about to go home at even, the Prince said:

'This beggar's wife was long-fingered last time; we may as well just
see if she hasn't carried anything off.'

So he began to thrust his hands into her pockets, and when he found
the sausages he was in a great rage again, and made a great to do,
threatening to send for the constable and put her into the cage.

'Oh, God bless your royal highness; do let me off! The beggar made me
do it', she said, and wept bitterly.

'Well', said Hacon, 'you ought to smart for it; but for the beggar's
sake you shall be forgiven.'

When she was gone, he changed his clothes again, ran by the short
cut, and when she reached the cabin, there he was before her. Then
she told him the whole story, and swore, through thick and thin, it
should be the last time he got her to do such a thing.

Now, it fell out a little time after, when the man came back from the
palace, he said:

'Our Prince is going to be married, but the bride is sick, so the
tailor can't measure her for her wedding gown. And the Prince's will
is, that you should go up to the palace and be measured instead of
the bride; for he says you are just the same height and shape. But
after you have been measured, mind you don't go away; you can stand
about, you know, and when the tailor cuts out the gown, you can snap
up the largest pieces, and bring them home for a waistcoat for me.'

'Nay, but I can't steal', she said; 'besides, you know how it went
last time.'

'You can learn then', said Hacon, 'and you may have better luck,

She thought it bad, but still she went and did as she was told. She
stood by while the tailor was cutting out the gown, and she swept
down all the biggest scraps, and stuffed them into her pockets; and
when she was going away, the Prince said:

'We may as well see if this old girl has not been long-fingered this
time too.'

So he began to feel and search her pockets, and when he found the
pieces he was in a rage, and began to stamp and scold at a great
rate, while she wept and said:

'Ah, pray forgive me; the beggar bade me do it, and I couldn't help

'Well, you ought to smart for it', said Hacon; 'but for the beggar's
sake it shall be forgiven you.'

So it went now just as it had gone before, and when she got back to
the cabin, the beggar was there before her.

'Oh, Heaven help me', she said; 'you will be the death of me at last,
by making me nothing but what is wicked. The Prince was in such a
towering rage that he threatened me both with the constable and

Sometime after, Hacon came home to the cabin at even and said:

'Now, the Prince's will is, that you should go up to the palace and
stand for the bride, old lass! for the bride is still sick, and keeps
her bed; but he won't put off the wedding; and he says, you are so
like her, that no one could tell one from the other; so to-morrow you
must get ready to go to the palace.'

'I think you've lost your wits, both the Prince and you', said she.
'Do you think I look fit to stand in the bride's place? look at me!
Can any beggar's trull look worse than I?'

'Well, the Prince said you were to go, and so go you must', said
Hacon Grizzlebeard.

There was no help for it, go she must; and when she reached the
palace, they dressed her out so finely that no princess ever looked
so smart.

The bridal train went to church, where she stood for the bride, and
when they came back, there was dancing and merriment in the palace.
But just as she was in the midst of dancing with the Prince, she saw
a gleam of light through the window, and lo! the cabin by the wood-
side was all one bright flame.

'Oh! the beggar, and the babe, and the cabin', she screamed out, and
was just going to swoon away.

'Here is the beggar, and there is the babe, and so let the cabin burn
away', said Hacon Grizzlebeard.

Then she knew him again, and after that the mirth and merriment began
in right earnest; but since that I have never heard tell anything
more about them.


Once on a time there was a king who had a daughter, and she was such
a dreadful story-teller that the like of her was not to be found far
or near. So the king gave out, that if any one could tell such a
string of lies, as would get her to say, 'That's a story', he should
have her to wife, and half the kingdom besides. Well, many came, as
you may fancy, to try their luck, for every one would have been very
glad to have the Princess, to say nothing of the kingdom; but they
all cut a sorry figure, for the Princess was so given to story-
telling, that all their lies went in at one ear and out of the other.
Among the rest came three brothers to try their luck, and the two
elder went first, but they fared no better than those who had gone
before them. Last of all the third, Boots, set off and found the
Princess in the farm-yard.

'Good-morning', he said, 'and thank you for nothing.'

'Good-morning', said she, 'and the same to you.'

Then she went on:

'You haven't such a fine farm-yard as ours, I'll be bound; for when
two shepherds stand, one at each end of it, and blow their ram's
horns, the one can't hear the other.'

'Haven't we though!' answered Boots; 'ours is far bigger; for when a
cow begins to go with calf at one end of it, she doesn't get to the
other end before the time to drop her calf is come.'

'I dare say!' said the Princess. 'Well, but you haven't such a big
ox, after all, as ours yonder; for when two men sit one on each horn,
they can't touch each other with a twenty-foot rule.'

'Stuff!' said Boots; 'is that all? why, we have an ox who is so big,
that when two men sit, one on each horn, and each blows his great
mountain-trumpet, they can't hear one another.'

'I dare say!' said the Princess; 'but you haven't so much milk as we,
I'll be bound; for we milk our kine into great pails, and carry them
in-doors, and empty them into great tubs, and so we make great, great

'Oh! you do, do you?' said Boots. 'Well, we milk ours into great
tubs, and then we put them in carts and drive them in-doors, and then
we turn them out into great brewing vats, and so we make cheeses as
big as a great house. We had, too a dun mare to tread the cheese well
together when it was making; but once she tumbled down into the
cheese, and we lost her; and after we had eaten at this cheese seven
years, we came upon a great dun mare, alive and kicking. Well, once
after that I was going to drive this mare to the mill, and her back-
bone snapped in two; but I wasn't put out, not I, for I took a spruce
sapling, and put it into her for a back-bone, and she had no other
back-bone all the while we had her. But the sapling grew up into such
a tall tree, that I climbed right up to heaven by it, and when I got
there, I saw the Virgin Mary sitting and spinning the foam of the sea
into pig's-bristle ropes; but just then the spruce-fir broke short
off, and I couldn't get down again; so the Virgin Mary let me down by
one of the ropes, and down I slipped straight into a fox's hole, and
who should sit there but my mother and your father cobbling shoes;
and just as I stepped in, my mother gave your father such a box on
the ear, that it made his whiskers curl.'

'That's a story!' said the Princess; 'my father never did any such
thing in all his born days!'

So Boots got the Princess to wife, and half the kingdom besides.


Once on a time there was a Queen who was out driving, when there had
been a new fall of snow in the winter; but when she had gone a little
way, she began to bleed at the nose, and had to get out of her
sledge. And so, as she stood there, leaning against the fence, and
saw the red blood on the white snow, she fell a-thinking how she had
twelve sons and no daughter, and she said to herself:

'If I only had a daughter as white as snow and as red as blood, I
shouldn't care what became of all my sons.'

But the words were scarce out of her mouth before an old witch of the
Trolls came up to her.

'A daughter you shall have', she said, 'and she shall be as white as
snow, and as red as blood; and your sons shall be mine, but you may
keep them till the babe is christened.'

So when the time came the Queen had a daughter, and she was as white
as snow, and as red as blood, just as the Troll had promised, and so
they called her 'Snow-white and Rosy-red.' Well, there was great joy
at the King's court, and the Queen was as glad as glad could be; but
when what she had promised to the old witch came into her mind, she
sent for a silversmith, and bade him make twelve silver spoons, one
for each prince, and after that she bade him make one more, and that
she gave to Snow-white and Rosy-red. But as soon as ever the Princess
was christened, the Princes were turned into twelve wild ducks, and
flew away. They never saw them again--away they went, and away they

So the Princess grew up, and she was both tall and fair, but she was
often so strange and sorrowful, and no one could understand what it
was that failed her. But one evening the Queen was also sorrowful,
for she had many strange thoughts when she thought of her sons. She
said to Snow-white and Rosy-red,

'Why are you so sorrowful, my daughter? Is there anything you want?
if so, only say the word, and you shall have it.'

'Oh, it seems so dull and lonely here', said Snow-white and Rosy-red;
'every one else has brothers and sisters, but I am all alone; I have
none; and that's why I'm so sorrowful.'

'But you _had_ brothers, my daughter', said the Queen; 'I had
twelve sons who were your brothers, but I gave them all away to get
you'; and so she told her the whole story.

So when the Princess heard that, she had no rest; for, in spite of
all the Queen could say or do, and all she wept and prayed, the
lassie would set off to seek her brothers, for she thought it was all
her fault; and at last she got leave to go away from the palace. On
and on she walked into the wide world, so far, you would never have
thought a young lady could have strength to walk so far.

So, once, when she was walking through a great, great wood, one day
she felt tired, and sat down on a mossy tuft and fell asleep. Then
she dreamt that she went deeper and deeper into the wood, till she
came to a little wooden hut, and there she found her brothers; just
then she woke, and straight before her she saw a worn path in the
green moss, and this path went deeper into the wood; so she followed
it, and after a long time she came to just such a little wooden house
as that she had seen in her dream.

Now, when she went into the room there was no one at home, but there
stood twelve beds, and twelve chairs, and twelve spoons--a dozen of
everything, in short. So when she saw that she was so glad, she
hadn't been so glad for many a long year, for she could guess at once
that her brothers lived here, and that they owned the beds, and
chairs, and spoons. So she began to make up the fire, and sweep the
room, and make the beds, and cook the dinner, and to make the house
as tidy as she could; and when she had done all the cooking and work,
she ate her own dinner, and crept under her youngest brother's bed,
and lay down there, but she forgot her spoon upon the table.

So she had scarcely laid herself down before she heard something
flapping and whirring in the air, and so all the twelve wild ducks
came sweeping in; but as soon as ever they crossed the threshold they
became Princes.

'Oh, how nice and warm it is in here', they said. 'Heaven bless him
who made up the fire, and cooked such a good dinner for us.'

And so each took up his silver spoon and was going to eat. But when
each had taken his own, there was one still left lying on the table,
and it was so like the rest that they couldn't tell it from them.

'This is our sister's spoon', they said; 'and if her spoon be here,
she can't be very far off herself.'

'If this be our sister's spoon, and she be here', said the eldest,
'she shall be killed, for she is to blame for all the ill we suffer.'

And this she lay under the bed and listened to.

'No', said the youngest, ''twere a shame to kill her for that. She
has nothing to do with our suffering ill; for if any one's to blame,
it's our own mother.'

So they set to work hunting for her both high and low, and at last
they looked under all the beds, and so when they came to the youngest
Prince's bed, they found her, and dragged her out. Then the eldest
Prince wished again to have her killed, but she begged and prayed so
prettily for herself.

'Oh! gracious goodness! don't kill me, for I've gone about seeking
you these three years, and if I could only set you free, I'd
willingly lose my life.'

'Well!' said they, 'if you will set us free, you may keep your life;
for you can if you choose.'

'Yes; only tell me', said the Princess, 'how it can be done, and I'll
do it, whatever it be.'

'You must pick thistle-down', said the Princes, 'and you must card
it, and spin it, and weave it; and after you have done that, you must
cut out and make twelve coats, and twelve shirts, and twelve
neckerchiefs, one for each of us, and while you do that, you must
neither talk, nor laugh, nor weep. If you can do that, we are free.'

'But where shall I ever get thistle-down enough for so many
neckerchiefs, and shirts, and coats?' asked Snow-white and Rosy-red.

'We'll soon show you', said the Princes; and so they took her with
them to a great wide moor, where there stood such a crop of thistles,
all nodding and nodding in the breeze, and the down all floating and
glistening like gossamers through the air in the sunbeams. The
Princess had never seen such a quantity of thistledown in her life,
and she began to pluck and gather it as fast and as well as she
could; and when she got home at night she set to work carding and
spinning yarn from the down. So she went on a long long time,
picking, and carding, and spinning, and all the while keeping the
Princes' house, cooking, and making their beds. At evening home they
came, flapping and whirring like wild ducks, and all night they were
Princes, but in the morning off they flew again, and were wild ducks
the whole day.

But now it happened once, when she was out on the moor to pick
thistle-down--and if I don't mistake, it was the very last time she
was to go thither--it happened that the young King who ruled that
land was out hunting, and came riding across the moor, and saw her.
So he stopped there and wondered who the lovely lady could be that
walked along the moor picking thistle-down, and he asked her her
name, and when he could get no answer, he was still more astonished;
and at last he liked her so much, that nothing would do but he must
take her home to his castle and marry her. So he ordered his servants
to take her and put her up on his horse. Snow-white and Rosy-red, she
wrung her hands, and made signs to them, and pointed to the bags in
which her work was, and when the King saw she wished to have them
with her, he told his men to take up the bags behind them. When they
had done that the Princess came to herself, little by little, for the
King was both a wise man and a handsome man too, and he was as soft
and kind to her as a doctor. But when they got home to the palace,
and the old Queen, who was his stepmother, set eyes on Snow-white and
Rosy-red, she got so cross and jealous of her because she was so
lovely, that she said to the king:

'Can't you see now, that this thing whom you have picked up, and whom
you are going to marry, is a witch. Why? she can't either talk, or
laugh, or weep!'

But the King didn't care a pin for what she said, but held on with
the wedding, and married Snow-white and Rosy-red and they lived in
great joy and glory; but she didn't forget to go on sewing at her

So when the year was almost out, Snow-white and Rosy-red brought a
Prince into the world; and then the old Queen was more spiteful and
jealous than ever, and at dead of night, she stole in to Snow-white
and Rosy-red, while she slept, and took away her babe, and threw it
into a pitful of snakes. After that she cut Snow-white and Rosy-red
in her finger, and smeared the blood over her mouth, and went
straight to the King.

'Now come and see', she said, 'what sort of a thing you have taken
for your Queen; here she has eaten up her own babe.'

Then the King was so downcast, he almost burst into tears, and said:

'Yes, it must be true, since I see it with my own eyes; but she'll
not do it again, I'm sure, and so this time I'll spare her life.'

So before the next year was out she had another son, and the same
thing happened. The King's stepmother got more and more jealous and
spiteful. She stole into the young Queen at night while she slept,
took away the babe, and threw it into a pit full of snakes, cut the
young Queen's finger, and smeared the blood over her mouth, and then
went and told the King she had eaten up her own child. Then the King
was so sorrowful, you can't think how sorry he was, and he said:

'Yes, it must be true, since I see it with my own eyes; but she'll
not do it again, I'm sure, and so this time too I'll spare her life.'

Well, before the next year was out, Snow-white and Rosy-red brought a
daughter into the world, and her, too, the old Queen took and threw
into the pit full of snakes, while the young Queen slept. Then she
cut her finger, smeared the blood over her mouth, and went again to
the King and said,

'Now you may come and see if it isn't as I say; she's a wicked,
wicked witch, for here she has gone and eaten up her third babe,

Then the King was so sad, there was no end to it, for now he couldn't
spare her any longer, but had to order her to be burnt alive on a
pile of wood. But just when the pile was all a-blaze, and they were
going to put her on it, she made signs to them to take twelve boards
and lay them round the pile, and on these she laid the neckerchiefs,
and the shirts, and the coats for her brothers, but the youngest
brother's shirt wanted its left arm, for she hadn't had time to
finish it. And as soon as ever she had done that, they heard such a
flapping and whirring in the air, and down came twelve wild ducks
flying over the forest, and each of them snapped up his clothes in
his bill and flew off with them.

'See now!' said the old Queen to the King, 'wasn't I right when I
told you she was a witch, but make haste and burn her before the pile
burns low.'

'Oh!' said the King, 'we've wood enough and to spare, and so I'll
wait a bit, for I have a mind to see what the end of all this will

As he spoke, up came the twelve princes riding along, as handsome
well-grown lads as you'd wish to see; but the youngest prince had a
wild duck's wing instead of his left arm.

'What's all this about?' asked the Princes.

'My Queen is to be burnt,' said the King, 'because she's a witch, and
because she has eaten up her own babes.'

'She hasn't eaten them at all', said the Princes. 'Speak now, sister;
you have set us free and saved us, now save yourself.'

Then Snow-white and Rosy-red spoke, and told the whole story; how
every time she was brought to bed, the old Queen, the King's
stepmother, had stolen into her at night, had taken her babes away,
and cut her little finger, and smeared the blood over her mouth; and
then the Princes took the King, and shewed him the snake-pit where
three babes lay playing with adders and toads, and lovelier children
you never saw.

So the King had them taken out at once, and went to his stepmother,
and asked her what punishment she thought that woman deserved who
could find it in her heart to betray a guiltless Queen and three such
blessed little babes.

'She deserves to be fast bound between twelve unbroken steeds, so
that each may take his share of her', said the old Queen.

'You have spoken your own doom', said the King, 'and you shall suffer
it at once.'

So the wicked old Queen was fast bound between twelve unbroken
steeds, and each got his share of her. But the King took Snow-white
and Rosy-red, and their three children, and the twelve Princes; and
so they all went home to their father and mother, and told all that
had befallen them, and there was joy and gladness over the whole
kingdom, because the Princess was saved and set free, and because she
had set free her twelve brothers.


Once on a time there was a king who had seven sons, and he loved them
so much that he could never bear to be without them all at once, but
one must always be with him. Now, when they were grown up, six were
to set off to woo, but as for the youngest, his father kept him at
home, and the others were to bring back a princess for him to the
palace. So the king gave the six the finest clothes you ever set eyes
on, so fine that the light gleamed from them a long way off, and each
had his horse, which cost many, many hundred dollars, and so they set
off. Now, when they had been to many palaces, and seen many
princesses, at last they came to a king who had six daughters; such
lovely king's daughters they had never seen, and so they fell to
wooing them, each one, and when they had got them for sweethearts,
they set off home again, but they quite forgot that they were to
bring back with them a sweetheart for Boots, their brother, who
stayed at home, for they were over head and ears in love with their
own sweethearts.

But when they had gone a good bit on their way, they passed close by
a steep hill-side, like a wall, where the giant's house was, and
there the giant came out, and set his eyes upon them, and turned them
all into stone, princes and princesses and all. Now the king waited
and waited for his six sons, but the more he waited, the longer they
stayed away; so he fell into great trouble, and said he should never
know what it was to be glad again.

'And if I had not you left', he said to Boots, 'I would live no
longer, so full of sorrow am I for the loss of your brothers.'

'Well, but now I've been thinking to ask your leave to set out and
find them again; that's what I'm thinking of', said Boots.

'Nay, nay!' said his father; 'that leave you shall never get, for
then you would stay away too.'

But Boots had set his heart upon it; go he would; and he begged and
prayed so long that the king was forced to let him go. Now, you must
know the king had no other horse to give Boots but an old broken-down
jade, for his six other sons and their train had carried off all his
horses; but Boots did not care a pin for that, he sprang up on his

'Farewell, father', said he; 'I'll come back, never fear, and like
enough I shall bring my six brothers back with me'; and with that he
rode off.

So, when he had ridden a while, he came to a Raven, which lay in the
road and flapped its wings, and was not able to get out of the way,
it was so starved.

'Oh, dear friend', said the Raven, 'give me a little food, and I'll
help you again at your utmost need.'

'I haven't much food', said the Prince, 'and I don't see how you'll
ever be able to help me much; but still I can spare you a little. I
see you want it.'

So he gave the raven some of the food he had brought with him.

Now, when he had gone a bit further, he came to a brook, and in the
brook lay a great Salmon, which had got upon a dry place and dashed
itself about, and could not get into the water again.

'Oh, dear friend', said the Salmon to the Prince; 'shove me out into
the water again, and I'll help you again at your utmost need.'

'Well!' said the Prince, 'the help you'll give me will not be great,
I daresay, but it's a pity you should lie there and choke'; and with
that he shot the fish out into the stream again.

After that he went a long, long way, and there met him a Wolf, which
was so famished that it lay and crawled along the road on its belly.

'Dear friend, do let me have your horse', said the Wolf; 'I'm so
hungry the wind whistles through my ribs; I've had nothing to eat
these two years.'

'No', said Boots, 'this will never do; 'first I came to a raven, and
I was forced to give him my food; next I came to a salmon, and him I
had to help into the water again; and now you will have my horse. It
can't be done, that it can't, for then I should have nothing to ride

'Nay, dear friend, but you can help me', said Graylegs the wolf; 'you
can ride upon my back, and I'll help you again in your utmost need.'

'Well! the help I shall get from you will not be great, I'll be
bound', said the Prince; 'but you may take my horse, since you are in
such need.'

So when the wolf had eaten the horse, Boots took the bit and put it
into the wolf's jaw, and laid the saddle on his back; and now the
wolf was so strong, after what he had got inside, that he set off
with the Prince like nothing. So fast he had never ridden before.

'When we have gone a bit farther', said Graylegs; 'I'll show you the
Giant's house.'

So after a while they came to it.

'See, here is the Giant's house', said the Wolf; 'and see, here are
your six brothers, whom the Giant has turned into stone; and see here
are their six brides, and away yonder is the door, and in at that
door you must go.'

'Nay, but I daren't go in', said the Prince; 'he'll take my life.'

'No! no!' said the Wolf; 'when you get in you'll find a Princess, and
she'll tell you what to do to make an end of the Giant. Only mind and
do as she bids you.'

Well! Boots went in, but, truth to say, he was very much afraid. When
he came in the Giant was away, but in one of the rooms sat the
Princess, just as the wolf had said, and so lovely a princess Boots
had never yet set eyes on.

'Oh! heaven help you! whence have you come?' said the Princess, as
she saw him; 'it will surely be your death. No one can make an end of
the Giant who lives here, for he has no heart in his body.'

'Well! well!' said Boots; 'but now that I am here, I may as well try
what I can do with him; and I will see if I can't free my brothers,
who are standing turned to stone out of doors; and you, too, I will
try to save, that I will.'

'Well, if you must, you must', said the Princess; 'and so let us see
if we can't hit on a plan. Just creep under the bed yonder, and mind
and listen to what he and I talk about. But, pray, do lie as still as
a mouse.'

So he crept under the bed, and he had scarce got well underneath it,
before the Giant came.

'Ha!' roared the Giant, 'what a smell of Christian blood there is in
the house!'

'Yes, I know there is', said the Princess, 'for there came a magpie
flying with a man's bone, and let it fall down the chimney. I made
all the haste I could to get it out, but all one can do, the smell
doesn't go off so soon.'

So the Giant said no more about it, and when night came, they went to
bed. After they had lain awhile, the Princess said:

'There is one thing I'd be so glad to ask you about, if I only

'What thing is that?' asked the Giant.

'Only where it is you keep your heart, since you don't carry it about
you', said the Princess.

'Ah! that's a thing you've no business to ask about; but if you must
know, it lies under the door-sill', said the Giant.

'Ho! ho!' said Boots to himself under the bed, 'then we'll soon see
if we can't find it.'

Next morning the Giant got up cruelly early, and strode off to the
wood; but he was hardly out of the house before Boots and the
Princess set to work to look under the door-sill for his heart; but
the more they dug, and the more they hunted, the more they couldn't
find it.

'He has baulked us this time', said the Princess, 'but we'll try him
once more.'

So she picked all the prettiest flowers she could find, and strewed
them over the door-sill, which they had laid in its right place
again; and when the time came for the Giant to come home again, Boots
crept under the bed. Just as he was well under, back came the Giant.

Snuff--snuff, went the Giant's nose. 'My eyes and limbs, what a smell
of Christian blood there is in here', said he.

'I know there is', said the Princess, 'for there came a magpie flying
with a man's bone in his bill, and let it fall down the chimney. I
made as much haste as I could to get it out, but I daresay it's that
you smell.'

So the Giant held his peace, and said no more about it. A little
while after, he asked who it was that had strewed flowers about the

'Oh, I, of course', said the Princess.

'And, pray, what's the meaning of all this?' said the Giant.

'Ah!' said the Princess, 'I'm so fond of you that I couldn't help
strewing them, when I knew that your heart lay under there.'

'You don't say so', said the Giant; 'but after all it doesn't lie
there at all.'

So when they went to bed again in the evening, the Princess asked the
Giant again where his heart was, for she said she would so like to

'Well', said the Giant, 'if you must know, it lies away yonder in the
cupboard against the wall.'

'So, so!' thought Boots and the Princess; 'then we'll soon try to
find it.'

Next morning the Giant was away early, and strode off to the wood,
and so soon as he was gone Boots and the Princess were in the
cupboard hunting for his heart, but the more they sought for it, the
less they found it.

'Well', said the Princess, 'we'll just try him once more.'

So she decked out the cupboard with flowers and garlands, and when
the time came for the Giant to come home, Boots crept under the bed

Then back came the Giant.

Snuff-snuff! 'My eyes and limbs, what a smell of Christian blood
there is in here!'

'I know there is', said the Princess; 'for a little while since there
came a magpie flying with a man's bone in his bill, and let it fall
down the chimney. I made all the haste I could to get it out of the
house again; but after all my pains, I daresay it's that you smell.'

When the Giant heard that, he said no more about it; but a little
while after, he saw how the cupboard was all decked about with
flowers and garlands; so he asked who it was that had done that? Who
could it be but the Princess.

'And, pray, what's the meaning of all this tom-foolery?' asked the

'Oh, I'm so fond of you, I couldn't help doing it when I knew that
your heart lay there', said the Princess.

'How can you be so silly as to believe any such thing?' said the

'Oh yes; how can I help believing it, when you say it', said the

'You're a goose', said the Giant; 'where my heart is, you will never

'Well', said the Princess;' but for all that, 'twould be such a
pleasure to know where it really lies.'

Then the poor Giant could hold out no longer, but was forced to say:

'Far, far away in a lake lies an island; on that island stands a
church; in that church is a well; in that well swims a duck; in that
duck there is an egg, and in that egg there lies my heart,--you

In the morning early, while it was still grey dawn, the Giant strode
off to the wood.

'Yes! now I must set off too', said Boots; 'if I only knew how to
find the way.' He took a long, long farewell of the Princess, and
when he got out of the Giant's door, there stood the Wolf waiting for
him. So Boots told him all that had happened inside the house, and
said now he wished to ride to the well in the church, if he only knew
the way. So the Wolf bade him jump on his back, he'd soon find the
way; and away they went, till the wind whistled after them, over
hedge and field, over hill and dale. After they had travelled many,
many days, they came at last to the lake. Then the Prince did not
know how to get over it, but the Wolf bade him only not be afraid,
but stick on, and so he jumped into the lake with the Prince on his
back, and swam over to the island. So they came to the church; but
the church keys hung high, high up on the top of the tower, and at
first the Prince did not know how to get them down.

'You must call on the raven', said the Wolf.

So the Prince called on the raven, and in a trice the raven came, and
flew up and fetched the keys, and so the Prince got into the church.
But when he came to the well, there lay the duck, and swam about
backwards and forwards, just as the Giant had said. So the Prince
stood and coaxed it and coaxed it, till it came to him, and he
grasped it in his hand; but just as he lifted it up from the water
the duck dropped the egg into the well, and then Boots was beside
himself to know how to get it out again.

'Well, now you must call on the salmon to be sure', said the Wolf;
and the king's son called on the salmon, and the salmon came and
fetched up the egg from the bottom of the well.

Then the Wolf told him to squeeze the egg, and as soon as ever he
squeezed it the Giant screamed out.

'Squeeze it again', said the Wolf; and when the Prince did so, the
Giant screamed still more piteously, and begged and prayed so
prettily to be spared, saying he would do all that the Prince wished
if he would only not squeeze his heart in two.

'Tell him, if he will restore to life again your six brothers and
their brides, whom he has turned to stone, you will spare his life',
said the Wolf. Yes, the Giant was ready to do that, and he turned the
six brothers into king's sons again, and their brides into king's

'Now, squeeze the egg in two', said the Wolf. So Boots squeezed the
egg to pieces, and the Giant burst at once.

Now, when he had made an end of the Giant, Boots rode back again on
the wolf to the Giant's house, and there stood all his six brothers
alive and merry, with their brides. Then Boots went into the hill-
side after his bride, and so they all set off home again to their
father's house. And you may fancy how glad the old king was when he
saw all his seven sons come back, each with his bride--'But the
loveliest bride of all is the bride of Boots, after all', said the
king, 'and he shall sit uppermost at the table, with her by his

So he sent out, and called a great wedding-feast, and the mirth was
both loud and long, and if they have not done feasting, why, they are
still at it.


Once on a time there was a woman who went out to hire a herdsman, and
she met a bear.

'Whither away, Goody?' said Bruin.

'Oh, I'm going out to hire a herdsman', answered the woman.

'Why not have me for a herdsman?' said Bruin.

'Well, why not?' said the woman. 'If you only knew how to call the
flock; just let me hear?'

'OW, OW!' growled the bear.

'No, no! I won't have you', said the woman, as soon as she heard him
say that, and off she went on her way.

So, when she had gone a bit further, she met a wolf.

'Whither away, Goody?' asked the Wolf.

'Oh!' said she, 'I'm going out to hire a herdsman.'

'Why not have me for a herdsman?' said the Wolf.

'Well, why not? if you can only call the flock; let me hear?' said

'UH, UH!' said the Wolf.

'No, no!' said the woman; 'you'll never do for me.'

Well, after she had gone a while longer, she met a fox.

'Whither away, Goody?' asked the Fox.

'Oh, I'm just going out to hire a herdsman', said the woman.

'Why not have me for your herdsman?' asked the Fox.

'Well, why not?' said she; 'if you only knew how to call the flock;
let me hear?'

'DIL-DAL-HOLOM', sung out the Fox, in such a fine clear voice.

'Yes; I'll have you for my herdsman', said the woman; and so she set
the Fox to herd her flock.

The first day the Fox was herdsman he ate up all the woman's goats;
the next day he made an end of all her sheep; and the third day he
ate up all her kine. So, when he came home at even, the woman asked
what he had done with all her flocks?

'Oh!' said the Fox, 'their skulls are in the stream, and their bodies
in the holt.'

Now, the Goody stood and churned when the fox said this, but she
thought she might as well step out and see after her flock; and while
she was away the Fox crept into the churn and ate up the cream. So
when the Goody came back and saw that, she fell into such a rage,
that she snatched up the little morsel of the cream that was left,
and threw it at the fox as he ran off, so that he got a dab of it on
the end of his tail, and that's the reason why the fox has a white
tip to his brush.


Once on a time there was a king who had several sons--I don't know
how many there were--but the youngest had no rest at home, for
nothing else would please him but to go out into the world and try
his luck, and after a long time the king was forced to give him leave
to go. Now, after he had travelled some days, he came one night to a
Giant's house, and there he got a place in the Giant's service. In
the morning the Giant went off to herd his goats, and as he left the
yard, he told the Prince to clean out the stable; 'and after you have
done that, you needn't do anything else to-day; for you must know it
is an easy master you have come to. But what is set you to do you
must do well, and you mustn't think of going into any of the rooms
which are beyond that in which you slept, for if you do, I'll take
your life.'

'Sure enough, it is an easy master I have got', said the Prince to
himself, as he walked up and down the room, and carolled and sang,
for he thought there was plenty of time to clean out the stable.

'But still it would be good fun just to peep into his other rooms,
for there must be something in them which he is afraid lest I should
see, since he won't give me leave to go in.'

So he went into the first room, and there was a pot boiling on a hook
by the wall, but the Prince saw no fire underneath it. I wonder what
is inside it, he thought; and then he dipped a lock of his hair into
it, and the hair seemed as if it were all turned to copper.

'What a dainty broth,' he said; 'if one tasted it, he'd look grand
inside his gullet'; and with that he went into the next room. There,
too, was a pot hanging by a hook, which bubbled and boiled; but there
was no fire under that either.

'I may as well try this too', said the Prince, as he put another lock
into the pot, and it came out all silvered.

'They haven't such rich broth in my father's house', said the Prince;
'but it all depends on how it tastes', and with that he went on into
the third room. There, too, hung a pot, and boiled just as he had
seen in the two other rooms, and the Prince had a mind to try this
too, so he dipped a lock of hair into it, and it came out gilded, so
that the light gleamed from it.

'"Worse and worse", said the old wife; but I say better and better',
said the Prince; 'but if he boils gold here, I wonder what he boils
in yonder.'

He thought he might as well see; so he went through the door into the
fourth room. Well, there was no pot in there, but there was a
Princess, seated on a bench, so lovely, that the Prince had never
seen anything like her in his born days.

'Oh! in Heaven's name', she said, 'what do you want here?'

'I got a place here yesterday', said the Prince.

'A place, indeed! Heaven help you out of it.'

'Well, after all, I think I've got an easy master; he hasn't set me
much to do to-day, for after I have cleaned out the stable, my day's
work is over.'

'Yes, but how will you do it', she said; 'for if you set to work to
clean it like other folk, ten pitchforks full will come in for every
one you toss out. But I will teach you how to set to work; you must
turn the fork upside down, and toss with the handle, and then all the
dung will fly out of itself.'

'Yes, he would be sure to do that', said the Prince; and so he sat
there the whole day, for he and the Princess were soon great friends,
and had made up their minds to have one another, and so the first day
of his service with the Giant was not long, you may fancy. But when
the evening drew on, she said 'twould be as well if he got the stable
cleaned out before the Giant came home; and when he went to the
stable, he thought he would just see if what she had said were true,
and so he began to work like the grooms in his father's stable; but
he soon had enough of that, for he hadn't worked a minute before the
stable was so full of dung that he hadn't room to stand. Then he did
as the Princess bade him, and turned up the fork and worked with the
handle, and lo! in a trice the stable was as clean as if it had been
scoured. And when he had done his work, he went back into the room
where the Giant had given him leave to be, and began to walk up and
down, and to carol and sing. So after a bit, home came the Giant with
his goats.

'Have you cleaned the stable?' asked the Giant.

'Yes, now it's all right and tight, master', answered the Prince.

'I'll soon see if it is', growled the Giant, and strode off to the
stable, where he found it just as the Prince had said.

'You've been talking to my Mastermaid, I can see', said the Giant;
'for you've not sucked this knowledge out of your own breast.'

'Mastermaid!' said the Prince, who looked as stupid as an owl, 'what
sort of thing is that, master? I'd be very glad to see it.'

'Well, well!' said the Giant; 'you'll see her soon enough'.

Next day the Giant set off with his goats again, and before he went
he told the Prince to fetch home his horse, which was out at grass on
the hill-side, and when he had done that he might rest all the day.

'For you must know, it is an easy master you have come to', said the
Giant; 'but if you go into any of the rooms I spoke of yesterday,
I'll wring your head off.'

So off he went with his flock of goats.

'An easy master you are indeed', said the Prince; 'but for all that,
I'll just go in and have a chat with your Mastermaid; may be she'll
be as soon mine as yours.' So he went in to her, and she asked him
what he had to do that day.

'Oh! nothing to be afraid of', said he; 'I've only to go up to the
hill-side to fetch his horse.'

'Very well, and how will you set about it?'

'Well, for that matter, there's no great art in riding a horse home.
I fancy I've ridden fresher horses before now', said the Prince.

'Ah, but this isn't so easy a task as you think; but I'll teach you
how to do it. When you get near it, fire and flame will come out of
its nostrils, as out of a tar barrel; but look out, and take the bit
which hangs behind the door yonder, and throw it right into his jaws,
and he will grow so tame that you may do what you like with him.'

Yes! the Prince would mind and do that; and so he sat in there the
whole day, talking and chattering with the Mastermaid about one thing
and another, but they always came back to how happy they would be if
they could only have one another, and get well away from the Giant;
and, to tell the truth, the Prince would have clean forgotten both
the horse and the hill-side, if the Mastermaid hadn't put him in mind
of them when evening drew on, telling him he had better set out to
fetch the horse before the Giant came home. So he set off, and took
the bit which hung in the corner, ran up the hill, and it wasn't long
before he met the horse, with fire and flame streaming out of its
nostrils. But he watched his time, and, as the horse came open-jawed
up to him, he threw the bit into its mouth, and it stood as quiet as
a lamb. After that, it was no great matter to ride it home and put it
up, you may fancy; and then the Prince went into his room again, and
began to carol and sing.

So the Giant came home again at even with his goats; and the first
words he said were:

'Have you brought my horse down from the hill?'

'Yes, master, that I have', said the Prince; 'and a better horse I
never bestrode; but for all that I rode him straight home, and put
him up safe and sound.'

'I'll soon see to that', said the Giant, and ran out to the stable,
and there stood the horse just as the Prince had said.

'You've talked to my Mastermaid, I'll be bound, for you haven't
sucked this out of your own breast', said the Giant again.

'Yesterday master talked of this Mastermaid, and to-day it's the same
story', said the Prince, who pretended to be silly and stupid. 'Bless
you, master! why don't you show me the thing at once? I should so
like to see it only once in my life.'

'Oh, if that's all', said the Giant, 'you'll see her soon enough.'

The third day, at dawn, the Giant went off to the wood again with his
goats; but before he went he said to the Prince:

'To-day you must go to Hell and fetch my fire-tax. When you have done
that you can rest yourself all day, for you must know it is an easy
master you have come to'; and with that off he went.

'Easy master, indeed!' said the Prince. 'You may be easy, but you set
me hard tasks all the same. But I may as well see if I can find your
Mastermaid, as you call her. I daresay she'll tell me what to do';
and so in he went to her again.

So when the Mastermaid asked what the Giant had set him to do that
day, he told her how he was to go to Hell and fetch the fire-tax.

'And how will you set about it?' asked the Mastermaid.

'Oh, that you must tell me', said the Prince. 'I have never been to
Hell in my life; and even if I knew the way, I don't know how much I
am to ask for.'

'Well, I'll soon tell you', said the Mastermaid; 'you must go to the
steep rock away yonder, under the hill-side, and take the club that
lies there, and knock on the face of the rock. Then there will come
out one all glistening with fire; to him you must tell your errand;
and when he asks you how much you will have, mind you say, "As much
as I can carry."'

Yes; he would be sure to say that; so he sat in there with the
Mastermaid all that day too; and though evening drew on, he would
have sat there till now, had not the Mastermaid put him in mind that
it was high time to be off to Hell to fetch the Giant's fire-tax
before he came home. So he went on his way, and did just as the
Mastermaid had told him; and when he reached the rock, he took up the
club and gave a great thump. Then the rock opened, and out came one
whose face glistened, and out of whose eyes and nostrils flew sparks
of fire.

'What is your will?' said he.

'Oh! I'm only come from the Giant to fetch his fire-tax', said the

'How much will you have then?' said the other.

'I never wish for more than I am able to carry', said the Prince.

'Lucky for you that you did not ask for a whole horse-load', said he
who came out of the rock; 'but come now into the rock with me, and
you shall have it.'

So the Prince went in with him, and you may fancy what heaps and
heaps of gold and silver he saw lying in there, just like stones in a
gravel pit; and he got a load just as big as he was able to carry,
and set off home with it. Now, when the Giant came home with his
goats at even, the Prince went into his room, and began to carol and
sing as he had done the evenings before.

'Have you been to Hell after my fire-tax?' roared the Giant.

'Oh yes; that I have, master', answered the Prince.

'Where have you put it?' said the Giant.

'There stands the sack on the bench yonder', said the Prince.

'I'll soon see to that', said the Giant, who strode off to the bench,
and there he saw the sack so full that the gold and silver dropped
out on the floor as soon as ever he untied the string.

'You've been talking to my Mastermaid, that I can see', said the
Giant; 'but if you have, I'll wring your head off.'

'Mastermaid!' said the Prince; 'yesterday master talked of this
Mastermaid, and to-day he talks of her again, and the day before
yesterday it was the same story. I only wish I could see what sort of
thing she is! that I do.'

'Well, well, wait till to-morrow', said the Giant, 'and then I'll
take you in to her myself.'

'Thank you kindly, master', said the Prince; 'but it's only a joke of
master's, I'll be bound.'

So next day the Giant took him in to the Mastermaid, and said to her:

'Now, you must cut his throat, and boil him in the great big pot you
wot of; and when the broth is ready, just give me a call.'

After that, he laid him down on the bench to sleep, and began to
snore so, that it sounded like thunder on the hills.

So the Mastermaid took a knife and cut the Prince in his little
finger, and let three drops of blood fall on a three-legged stool;
and after that she took all the old rags, and soles of shoes, and all
the rubbish she could lay hands on, and put them into the pot; and
then she filled a chest full of ground gold, and took a lump of salt,
and a flask of water that hung behind the door, and she took,
besides, a golden apple, and two golden chickens, and off she set
with the Prince from the Giant's house as fast as they could; and
when they had gone a little way, they came to the sea, and after that
they sailed over the sea; but where they got the ship from, I have
never heard tell.

So when the Giant had slumbered a good bit, he began to stretch
himself as he lay on the bench and called out, 'Will it be soon

'Only just begun', answered the first drop of blood on the stool.

So the Giant lay down to sleep again, and slumbered a long, long
time. At last he began to toss about a little, and cried out:

'Do you hear what I say; will it be soon done?' but he did not look
up this time, any more than the first, for he was still half asleep.

'Half done', said the second drop of blood.

Then the Giant thought again it was the Mastermaid, so he turned over
on his other side, and fell asleep again; and when he had gone on
sleeping for many hours, he began to stir and stretch his old bones,
and to call out,--

'Isn't it done yet?'

'Done to a turn', said the third drop of blood.

Then the Giant rose up and began to rub his eyes, but he couldn't see
who it was that was talking to him, so he searched and called for the
Mastermaid, but no one answered.

'Ah, well! I dare say she's just run out of doors for a bit', he
thought, and took up a spoon and went up to the pot to taste the
broth; but he found nothing but shoe-soles, and rags, and such stuff;
and it was all boiled up together, so that he couldn't tell which was
thick and which was thin. As soon as he saw this, he could tell how
things had gone, and he got so angry he scarce knew which leg to
stand upon. Away he went after the Prince and the Mastermaid, till
the wind whistled behind him; but before long, he came to the water
and couldn't cross it.

'Never mind', he said; 'I know a cure for this. I've only got to call
on my stream-sucker.'

So he called on his stream-sucker, and he came and stooped down, and
took one, two, three gulps; and then the water fell so much in the
sea, that the Giant could see the Mastermaid and the Prince sailing
in their ship.

'Now, you must cast out the lump of salt', said the Mastermaid.

So the Prince threw it overboard, and it grew up into a mountain so
high, right across the sea, that the Giant couldn't pass it, and the
stream-sucker couldn't help him by swilling any more water.

'Never mind!' cried the Giant; 'there's a cure for this too.' So he
called on his hill-borer to come and bore through the mountain, that
the stream-sucker might creep through and take another swill; but
just as they had made a hole through the hill, and the stream-sucker
was about to drink, the Mastermaid told the Prince to throw overboard
a drop or two out of the flask, and then the sea was just as full as
ever, and before the stream-sucker could take another gulp, they
reached the land and were saved from the Giant.

So they made up their minds to go home to the Prince's father, but
the Prince would not hear of the Mastermaid's walking, for he thought
it seemly neither for her nor for him.

'Just wait here ten minutes', he said, 'while I go home after the
seven horses which stand in my father's stall. It's no great way off,
and I shan't be long about it; but I will not hear of my sweetheart
walking to my father's palace.'

'Ah!' said the Mastermaid, 'pray don't leave me, for if you once get
home to the palace, you'll forget me outright; I know you will.'

'Oh!' said he, 'how can I forget you; you with whom I have gone
through so much, and whom I love so dearly?'

There was no help for it, he must and would go home to fetch the
coach and seven horses, and she was to wait for him by the seaside.
So at last the Mastermaid was forced to let him have his way; she
only said:

'Now, when you get home, don't stop so much as to say good day to any
one, but go straight to the stable and put to the horses, and drive
back as quick as you can; for they will all come about you; but do as
though you did not see them; and above all things, mind you do not
taste a morsel of food, for if you do, we shall both come to grief.'

All this the Prince promised; but he thought all the time there was
little fear of his forgetting her.

Now, just as he came home to the palace, one of his brothers was
thinking of holding his bridal feast, and the bride, and all her kith
and kin, were just come to the palace. So they all thronged round
him, and asked about this thing and that, and wanted him to go in
with them; but he made as though he did not see them, and went
straight to the stall and got out the horses, and began to put them
to. And when they saw they could not get him to go in, they came out
to him with meat and drink, and the best of everything they had got
ready for the feast; but the Prince would not taste so much as a
crumb, and put to as fast as he could. At last the bride's sister
rolled an apple across the yard to him, saying:

'Well, if you won't eat anything else, you may as well take a bite of
this, for you must be both hungry and thirsty after so long a

So he took up the apple and bit a piece out of it; but he had scarce
done so, before he forgot the Mastermaid, and how he was to drive
back for her.

'Well, I think I must be mad', he said; 'what am I to do with this
coach and horses?' So he put the horses up again, and went along with
the others into the palace, and it was soon settled that he should
have the bride's sister, who had rolled the apple over to him.

There sat the Mastermaid by the seashore, and waited and waited for
the Prince, but no Prince came; so at last she went up from the
shore, and after she had gone a bit she came to a little hut which
lay by itself in a copse close by the king's palace. She went in and
asked if she might lodge there. It was an old dame that owned the
hut, and a cross-grained scolding hag she was as ever you saw. At
first she would not hear of the Mastermaid's lodging in her house,
but at last, for fair words and high rent, the Mastermaid got leave
to be there. Now the but was as dark and dirty as a pigsty, so the
Mastermaid said she would smarten it up a little, that their house
might look inside like other people's. The old hag did not like this
either, and showed her teeth, and was cross; but the Mastermaid did
not mind her. She took her chest of gold, and threw a handful or so
into the fire, and lo! the gold melted, and bubbled and boiled over
out of the grate, and spread itself over the whole hut, till it was
gilded both outside and in. But as soon as the gold began to bubble
and boil, the old hag got so afraid that she tried to run out as if
the Evil One were at her heels; and as she ran out at the door, she
forgot to stoop, and gave her head such a knock against the lintel,
that she broke her neck, and that was the end of her.

Next morning the Constable passed that way, and you may fancy he
could scarce believe his eyes when he saw the golden hut shining and
glistening away in the copse; but he was still more astonished when
he went in and saw the lovely maiden who sat there. To make a long
story short, he fell over head and ears in love with her, and begged
and prayed her to become his wife.

'Well, but have you much money?' asked the Mastermaid.

Yes, for that matter, he said, he was not so badly off, and off he
went home to fetch the money, and when he came back at even he
brought a half-bushel sack, and set it down on the bench. So the
Mastermaid said she would have him, since he was so rich; but they
were scarce in bed before she said she must get up again:

'For I have forgotten to make up the fire.'

'Pray, don't stir out of bed', said the Constable; 'I'll see to it.'

So he jumped out of bed, and stood on the hearth in a trice.

'As soon as you have got hold of the shovel, just tell me', said the

'Well, I am holding it now', said the Constable.

Then the Mastermaid said:

'God grant that you may hold the shovel, and the shovel you, and may
you heap hot burning coals over yourself till morning breaks.'

So there stood the Constable all night long, shovelling hot burning
coals over himself; and though he begged, and prayed, and wept, the
coals were not a bit colder for that; but as soon as day broke, and
he had power to cast away the shovel, he did not stay long, as you
may fancy, but set off as if the Evil One or the bailiff were at his
heels; and all who met him stared their eyes out at him, for he cut
capers as though he were mad, and he could not have looked in worse
plight if he had been flayed and tanned, and every one wondered what
had befallen him, but he told no one where he had been, for shame's

Next day the Attorney passed by the place where the Mastermaid lived,
and he too saw how it shone and glistened in the copse; so he turned
aside to find out who owned the hut; and when he came in and saw the
lovely maiden, he fell more in love with her than the Constable, and
began to woo her in hot haste.

Well, the Mastermaid asked him, as she had asked the Constable, if he
had a good lot of money? and the Attorney said he wasn't so badly
off; and as a proof he went home to fetch his money. So at even he
came back with a great fat sack of money--I think it was a whole
bushel sack--and set it down on the bench; and the long and the short
of the matter was, that he was to have her, and they went to bed. But
all at once the Mastermaid had forgotten to shut the door of the
porch, and she must get up and make it fast for the night.

'What, you do that!' said the Attorney, 'while I lie here; that can
never be; lie still, while I go and do it.'

So up he jumped, like a pea on a drum-head, and ran out into the

'Tell me', said the Mastermaid, 'when you have hold of the door-

'I've got hold of it now', said the Attorney.

'God grant, then', said the Mastermaid, 'that you may hold the door,
and the door you, and that you may go from wall to wall till day

So you may fancy what a dance the Attorney had all night long; such a
waltz he never had before, and I don't think he would much care if he
never had such a waltz again. Now he pulled the door forward, and
then the door pulled him back, and so he went on, now dashed into one
corner of the porch, and now into the other, till he was almost
battered to death. At first he began to curse and swear, and then to
beg and pray, but the door cared for nothing but holding its own till
break of day. As soon as it let go its hold, off set the Attorney,
leaving behind him his money to pay for his night's lodging, and
forgetting his courtship altogether, for to tell the truth, he was
afraid lest the house-door should come dancing after him. All who met
him stared and gaped at him, for he too cut capers like a madman, and
he could not have looked in worse plight if he had spent the whole
night in butting against a flock of rams.

The third day the Sheriff passed that way, and he too saw the golden
hut, and turned aside to find out who lived there; and he had scarce
set eyes on the Mastermaid, before he began to woo her. So she
answered him as she had answered the other two. If he had lots of
money she would have him, if not, he might go about his business.
Well, the Sheriff said he wasn't so badly off, and he would go home
and fetch the money, and when he came again at even, he had a bigger
sack even than the Attorney--it must have been at least a bushel and
a half, and put it down on the bench. So it was soon settled that he
was to have the Mastermaid, but they had scarce gone to bed before
the Mastermaid said she had forgotten to bring home the calf from the
meadow, so she must get up and drive him into the stall. Then the
Sheriff swore by all the powers that should never be, and, stout and
fat as he was, up he jumped as nimbly as a kitten.

'Well, only tell me when you've got hold of the calf's tail', said
the Mastermaid.

'Now I have hold of it', said the Sheriff.

'God grant', said the Mastermaid, 'that you may hold the calf's tail,
and the calf's tail you, and that you may make a tour of the world
together till day dawns'.

Well you may just fancy how the Sheriff had to stretch his legs; away
they went, the calf and he, over high and low, across hill and dale,
and the more the Sheriff cursed and swore, the faster the calf ran
and jumped. At dawn of day the poor Sheriff was well nigh broken-
winded, and so glad was he to let go the calf's tail, that he forgot
his sack of money and everything else. As he was a great man, he went
a little slower than the Attorney and the Constable, but the slower
he went the more time people had to gape and stare at him; and I must
say they made good use of their time, for he was terribly tattered
and torn, after his dance with the calf.

Next day was fixed for the wedding at the palace, and the eldest
brother was to drive to church with his bride, and the younger, who
had lived with the Giant, with the bride's sister. But when they had
got into the coach, and were just going to drive off, one of the
trace-pins snapped off; and though they made at least three in its
place, they all broke, from whatever sort of wood they were made. So
time went on and on, and they couldn't get to church, and every one
grew very downcast. But all at once the Constable said, for he too
was bidden to the wedding, that yonder away in the copse lived a

'And if you can only get her to lend you the handle of her shovel
with which she makes up her fire, I know very well it will hold.'

Well! they sent a messenger on the spot, with such a pretty message
to the maiden, to know if they couldn't get the loan of her shovel
which the Constable had spoken of; and the maiden said 'yes', they
might have it; so they got a trace-pin which wasn't likely to snap.

But all at once, just as they were driving off, the bottom of the
coach tumbled to bits. So they set to work to make a new bottom as
they best might; but it mattered not how many nails they put into it,
nor of what wood they made it, for as soon as ever they got the
bottom well into the coach and were driving off, snap it went in two
again, and they were even worse off than when they lost the trace-
pin. Just then the Attorney said--for if the Constable was there, you
may fancy the Attorney was there too: 'Away yonder, in the copse,
lives a maiden, and if you could only get her to lend you one-half of
her porch-door, I know it can hold together.'

Well! they sent another message to the copse, and asked so prettily
if they couldn't have the loan of the gilded porch-door which the
Attorney had talked of; and they got it on the spot. So they were
just setting out; but now the horses were not strong enough to draw
the coach, though there were six of them; then they put on eight, and
ten, and twelve, but the more they put on, and the more the coachman
whipped, the more the coach wouldn't stir an inch. By this time it
was far on in the day, and every one about the palace was in doleful
dumps; for to church they must go, and yet it looked as if they
should never get there. So at last the Sheriff said, that yonder in
the gilded hut, in the copse, lived a maiden, and if they could only
get the loan of her calf:

'I know it can drag the coach, though it were as heavy as a

Well they all thought it would look silly to be drawn to church by a
calf, but there was no help for it, so they had to send a third time,
and ask so prettily in the King's name, if he couldn't get the loan
of the calf the Sheriff had spoken of, and the Mastermaid let them
have it on the spot, for she was not going to say 'no' this time
either. So they put the calf on before the horses, and waited to see
if it would do any good, and away went the coach over high and low,
and stock and stone, so that they could scarce draw their breath;
sometimes they were on the ground, and sometimes up in the air, and
when they reached the church, the calf began to run round and round
it like a spinning jenny, so that they had hard work to get out of
the coach, and into the church. When they went back, it was the same
story, only they went faster, and they reached the palace almost
before they knew they had set out.

Now when they sat down to dinner, the Prince who had served with the
Giant said he thought they ought to ask the maiden who had lent them
her shovel-handle and porch-door, and calf, to come up to the palace.

'For', said he, 'if we hadn't got these three things, we should have
been sticking here still.'

Yes; the King thought that only fair and right, so he sent five of
his best men down to the gilded but to greet the maiden from the
King, and to ask her if she wouldn't be so good as to came up and
dine at the palace.

'Greet the King from me', said the Mastermaid, 'and tell him, if he's
too good to come to me, so am I too good to go to him.'

So the King had to go himself, and then the Mastermaid went up with
him without more ado; and as the King thought she was more than she
seemed to be, he sat her down in the highest seat by the side of the
youngest bridegroom.

Now, when they had sat a little while at table, the Mastermaid took
out her golden apple, and the golden cock and hen, which she had
carried off from the Giant, and put them down on the table before
her, and the cock and hen began at once to peck at one another, and
to fight for the golden apple.

'Oh! only look', said the Prince; 'see how those two strive for the

'Yes!' said the Mastermaid; 'so we two strove to get away that time
when we were together in the hillside.'

Then the spell was broken, and the Prince knew her again, and you may
fancy how glad he was. But as for the witch who had rolled the apple
over to him, he had her torn to pieces between twenty-four horses, so
that there was not a bit of her left, and after that they held on
with the wedding in real earnest; and though they were still stiff
and footsore, the Constable, the Attorney, and the Sheriff, kept it
up with the best of them.


Once on a time there was a man up in Finnmark who had caught a great
white bear, which he was going to take to the king of Denmark. Now,
it so fell out, that he came to the Dovrefell just about Christmas
Eve, and there he turned into a cottage where a man lived, whose name
was Halvor, and asked the man if he could get house-room there, for
his bear and himself.

'Heaven never help me, if what I say isn't true!' said the man; 'but
we can't give any one house-room just now, for every Christmas Eve
such a pack of Trolls come down upon us, that we are forced to flit,
and haven't so much as a house over our own heads, to say nothing of
lending one to any one else.'

'Oh?' said the man, 'if that's all, you can very well lend me your
house; my bear can lie under the stove yonder, and I can sleep in the

Well, he begged so hard, that at last he got leave to stay there; so
the people of the house flitted out, and before they went, everything
was got ready for the Trolls; the tables were laid, and there was
rice porridge, and fish boiled in lye, and sausages, and all else
that was good, just as for any other grand feast.

So, when everything was ready, down came the Trolls. Some were great,
and some were small; some had long tails, and some had no tails at
all; some, too, had long, long noses; and they ate and drank, and
tasted everything. Just then one of the little Trolls caught sight of
the white bear, who lay under the stove; so he took a piece of
sausage and stuck it on a fork, and went and poked it up against the
bear's nose, screaming out:

'Pussy, will you have some sausage?'

Then the white bear rose up and growled, and hunted the whole pack of
them out of doors, both great and small.

Next year Halvor was out in the wood, on the afternoon of Christmas
Eve, cutting wood before the holidays, for he thought the Trolls
would come again; and just as he was hard at work, he heard a voice
in the wood calling out:

'Halvor! Halvor!'

'Well', said Halvor, 'here I am.'

'Have you got your big cat with you still?'

'Yes, that I have', said Halvor; 'she's lying at home under the
stove, and what's more, she has now got seven kittens, far bigger and
fiercer than she is herself.'

'Oh, then, we'll never come to see you again', bawled out the Troll
away in the wood, and he kept his word; for since that time the
Trolls have never eaten their Christmas brose with Halvor on the


Once on a time there was a man who had a meadow, which lay high up on
the hill-side, and in the meadow was a barn, which he had built to
keep his hay in. Now, I must tell you, there hadn't been much in the
barn for the last year or two, for every St John's night, when the
grass stood greenest and deepest, the meadow was eaten down to the
very ground the next morning, just as if a whole drove of sheep had
been there feeding on it over night. This happened once, and it
happened twice; so at last the man grew weary of losing his crop of
hay, and said to his sons--for he had three of them, and the youngest
was nicknamed Boots, of course--that now one of them must just go and
sleep in the barn in the outlying field when St John's night came,
for it was too good a joke that his grass should be eaten, root and
blade, this year, as it had been the last two years. So whichever of
them went must keep a sharp look-out; that was what their father

Well, the eldest son was ready to go and watch the meadow; trust him
for looking after the grass! It shouldn't be his fault if man or
beast, or the fiend himself, got a blade of grass. So, when evening
came, he set off to the barn, and lay down to sleep; but a little on
in the night came such a clatter, and such an earthquake, that walls
and roof shook, and groaned, and creaked; then up jumped the lad, and
took to his heels as fast as ever he could; nor dared he once look
round till he reached home; and as for the hay, why it was eaten up
this year just as it had been twice before.

The next St John's night, the man said again, it would never do to
lose all the grass in the outlying field year after year in this way,
so one of his sons must just trudge off to watch it, and watch it
well too. Well, the next oldest son was ready to try his luck, so he
set off, and lay down to sleep in the barn as his brother had done
before him; but as the night wore on, there came on a rumbling and
quaking of the earth, worse even than on the last St John's night,
and when the lad heard it, he got frightened, and took to his heels
as though he were running a race.

Next year the turn came to Boots; but when he made ready to go, the
other two began to laugh and to make game of him, saying,

'You're just the man to watch the hay, that you are; you, who have
done nothing all your life but sit in the ashes and toast yourself by
the fire.'

But Boots did not care a pin for their chattering, and stumped away
as evening drew on, up the hill-side to the outlying field. There he
went inside the barn and lay down; but in about an hour's time the
barn began to groan and creak, so that it was dreadful to hear.

'Well', said Boots to himself, 'if it isn't worse than this, I can
stand it well enough.'

A little while after came another creak and an earthquake, so that
the litter in the barn flew about the lad's ears.

'Oh!' said Boots to himself, 'if it isn't worse than this, I daresay
I can stand it out.'

But just then came a third rumbling, and a third earthquake, so that
the lad thought walls and roof were coming down on his head; but it
passed off, and all was still as death about him.

'It'll come again, I'll be bound', thought Boots; but no, it didn't
come again; still it was, and still it stayed; but after he had lain
a little while, he heard a noise as if a horse were standing just
outside the barn-door, and cropping the grass. He stole to the door,
and peeped through a chink, and there stood a horse feeding away. So
big, and fat, and grand a horse, Boots had never set eyes on; by his
side on the grass lay a saddle and bridle, and a full set of armour
for a knight, all of brass, so bright that the light gleamed from it.

'Ho, ho!' thought the lad; 'it's you, is it, that eats up our hay?
I'll soon put a spoke in your wheel, just see if I don't.'

So he lost no time, but took the steel out of his tinder-box, and
threw it over the horse; then it had no power to stir from the spot,
and became so tame that the lad could do what he liked with it. So he
got on its back, and rode off with it to a place which no one knew
of, and there he put up the horse. When he got home, his brothers
laughed and asked how he had fared?

'You didn't lie long in the barn, even if you had the heart to go so
far as the field.'

'Well', said Boots, 'all I can say is, I lay in the barn till the sun
rose, and neither saw nor heard anything; I can't think what there
was in the barn to make you both so afraid.'

'A pretty story', said his brothers; 'but we'll soon see how you have
watched the meadow'; so they set off; but when they reached it, there
stood the grass as deep and thick as it had been over night.

Well, the next St John's eve it was the same story over again;
neither of the elder brothers dared to go out to the outlying field
to watch the crop; but Boots, he had the heart to go, and everything
happened just as it had happened the year before. First a clatter and
an earthquake, then a greater clatter and another earthquake, and so
on a third time; only this year the earthquakes were far worse than
the year before. Then all at once everything was as still as death,
and the lad heard how something was cropping the grass outside the
barn-door, so he stole to the door, and peeped through a chink; and
what do you think he saw? why, another horse standing right up
against the wall, and chewing and champing with might and main. It
was far finer and fatter than that which came the year before, and it
had a saddle on its back, and a bridle on its neck, and a full suit
of mail for a knight lay by its side, all of silver, and as grand as
you would wish to see.

'Ho ho!' said Boots to himself; 'it's you that gobbles up our hay, is
it? I'll soon put a spoke in your wheel'; and with that he took the
steel out of his tinder-box, and threw it over the horse's crest,
which stood as still as a lamb. Well, the lad rode this horse, too,
to the hiding-place where he kept the other one, and after that he
went home.

'I suppose you'll tell us', said one of his brothers, 'there's a fine
crop this year too, up in the hayfield.'

'Well, so there is', said Boots; and off ran the others to see, and
there stood the grass thick and deep, as it was the year before; but
they didn't give Boots softer words for all that.

Now, when the third St John's eve came, the two elder still hadn't
the heart to lie out in the barn and watch the grass, for they had
got so scared at heart the night they lay there before, that they
couldn't get over the fright; but Boots, he dared to go; and, to make
a long story short, the very same thing happened this time as had
happened twice before. Three earthquakes came, one after the other,
each worse than the one which went before, and when the last came,
the lad danced about with the shock from one barn wall to the other;
and after that, all at once, it was still as death. Now when he had
lain a little while, he heard something tugging away at the grass
outside the barn, so he stole again to the door-chink, and peeped
out, and there stood a horse close outside--far, far bigger and
fatter than the two he had taken before.

'Ho, ho!' said the lad to himself, 'it's you, is it, that comes here
eating up our hay? I'll soon stop that--I'll soon put a spoke in your
wheel.' So he caught up his steel and threw it over the horse's neck,
and in a trice it stood as if it were nailed to the ground, and Boots
could do as he pleased with it. Then he rode off with it to the
hiding-place where he kept the other two, and then went home. When he
got home, his two brothers made game of him as they had done before,
saying, they could see he had watched the grass well, for he looked
for all the world as if he were walking in his sleep, and many other
spiteful things they said, but Boots gave no heed to them, only asking
them to go and see for themselves; and when they went, there stood
the grass as fine and deep this time as it had been twice before.

Now, you must know that the king of the country where Boots lived had
a daughter, whom he would only give to the man who could ride up over
the hill of glass, for there was a high, high hill, all of glass, as
smooth and slippery as ice, close by the king's palace. Upon the tip
top of the hill the king's daughter was to sit, with three golden
apples in her lap, and the man who could ride up and carry off the
three golden apples, was to have half the kingdom, and the Princess
to wife. This the king had stuck up on all the church-doors in his
realm, and had given it out in many other kingdoms besides. Now, this
Princess was so lovely, that all who set eyes on her, fell over head
and ears in love with her whether they would or no. So I needn't tell
you how all the princes and knights who heard of her were eager to
win her to wife, and half the kingdom beside; and how they came
riding from all parts of the world on high prancing horses, and clad
in the grandest clothes, for there wasn't one of them who hadn't made
up his mind that he, and he alone, was to win the Princess.

So when the day of trial came, which the king had fixed, there was
such a crowd of princes and knights under the glass hill, that it
made one's head whirl to look at them; and every one in the country
who could even crawl along was off to the hill, for they all were eager
to see the man who was to win the Princess. So the two elder brothers
set off with the rest; but as for Boots, they said outright he shouldn't
go with them, for if they were seen with such a dirty, changeling, all
begrimed with smut from cleaning their shoes and sifting cinders in
the dust-hole, they said folk would make game of them.

'Very well', said Boots, 'it's all one to me. I can go alone, and
stand or fall by myself.'

Now when the two brothers came to the hill of glass, the knights and
princes were all hard at it, riding their horses till they were all
in a foam; but it was no good, by my troth; for as soon as ever the
horses set foot on the hill, down they slipped, and there wasn't one
who could get a yard or two up; and no wonder, for the hill was as
smooth as a sheet of glass, and as steep as a house-wall. But all
were eager to have the Princess and half the kingdom. So they rode
and slipped, and slipped and rode, and still it was the same story
over again. At last all their horses were so weary that they could
scarce lift a leg, and in such a sweat that the lather dripped from
them, and so the knights had to give up trying any more. So the king
was just thinking that he would proclaim a new trial for the next
day, to see if they would have better luck, when all at once a knight
came riding up on so brave a steed, that no one had ever seen the
like of it in his born days, and the knight had mail of brass, and
the horse a brass bit in his mouth, so bright that the sunbeams shone
from it. Then all the others called out to him he might just as well
spare himself the trouble of riding at the hill, for it would lead to
no good; but he gave no heed to them, and put his horse at the hill,
and went up it like nothing for a good way, about a third of the
height; and when he had got so far, he turned his horse round and
rode down again. So lovely a knight the Princess thought she had
never yet seen; and while he was riding, she sat and thought to
herself: 'Would to heaven he might only come up and down the
other side.'

And when she saw him turning back, she threw down one of the golden
apples after him, and it rolled down into his shoe. But when he got
to the bottom of the hill he rode off so fast that no one could tell
what had become of him. That evening all the knights and princes were
to go before the king, that he who had ridden so far up the hill
might show the apple which the princess had thrown, but there was no
one who had anything to show. One after the other they all came, but
not a man of them could show the apple.

At even the brothers of Boots came home too, and had such a long
story to tell about the riding up the hill.

'First of all', they said, 'there was not one of the whole lot who
could get so much as a stride up; but at last came one who had a suit
of brass mail, and a brass bridle and saddle, all so bright that the
sun shone from them a mile off. He was a chap to ride, just! He rode
a third of the way up the hill of glass, and he could easily have
ridden the whole way up, if he chose; but he turned round and rode
down, thinking, maybe, that was enough for once.'

'Oh! I should so like to have seen him, that I should', said Boots,
who sat by the fireside, and stuck his feet into the cinders, as was
his wont.

'Oh!' said his brothers, 'you would, would you? You; look fit to keep
company with such high lords, nasty beast that you are, sitting there
amongst the ashes.'

Next day the brothers were all for setting off again, and Boots
begged them this time, too, to let him go with them and see the
riding; but no, they wouldn't have him at any price, he was too ugly
and nasty, they said.

'Well, well!' said Boots;' if I go at all, I must go by myself. I'm
not afraid.'

So when the brothers got to the hill of glass, all the princes and
knights began to ride again, and you may fancy they had taken care to
shoe their horses sharp; but it was no good--they rode and slipped,
and slipped and rode, just as they had done the day before, and there
was not one who could get so far as a yard up the hill. And when they
had worn out their horses, so that they could not stir a leg, they
were all forced to give it up as a bad job. So the king thought he
might as well proclaim that the riding should take place the day
after for the last time, just to give them one chance more; but all
at once it came across his mind that he might as well wait a little
longer, to see if the knight in brass mail would come this day too.
Well! they saw nothing of him; but all at once came one riding on a
steed, far, far, braver and finer than that on which the knight in
brass had ridden, and he had silver mail, and a silver saddle and
bridle, all so bright that the sun-beams gleamed and glanced from
them far away. Then the others shouted out to him again, saying, he
might as well hold hard, and not try to ride up the hill, for all his
trouble would be thrown away; but the knight paid no heed to them,
and rode straight at the hill, and right up it, till he had gone two-
thirds of the way, and then he wheeled his horse round and rode down
again. To tell the truth, the Princess liked him still better than
the knight in brass, and she sat and wished he might only be able to
come right up to the top, and down the other side; but when she saw
him turning back, she threw the second apple after him, and it rolled
down and fell into his shoe. But, as soon as ever he had come down
from the hill of glass, he rode off so fast that no one could see
what became of him.

At even, when all were to go in before the king and the Princess,
that he who had the golden apple might show it, in they went, one
after the other, but there was no one who had any apple to show, and
the two brothers, as they had done on the former day, went home and
told how things had gone, and how all had ridden at the hill, and
none got up.

'But, last of all', they said, 'came one in a silver suit, and his
horse had a silver saddle and a silver bridle. He was just a chap to
ride; and he got two-thirds up the hill, and then turned back. He was
a fine fellow, and no mistake; and the Princess threw the second gold
apple to him.'

'Oh!' said Boots, 'I should so like to have seen him too, that I

'A pretty story', they said. 'Perhaps you think his coat of mail was
as bright as the ashes you are always poking about, and sifting, you
nasty dirty beast.'

The third day everything happened as it had happened the two days
before. Boots begged to go and see the sight, but the two wouldn't
hear of his going with them. When they got to the hill there was no
one who could get so much as a yard up it; and now all waited for the
knight in silver mail, but they neither saw nor heard of him. At last
came one riding on a steed, so brave that no one had ever seen his
match; and the knight had a suit of golden mail, and a golden saddle
and bridle, so wondrous bright that the sunbeams gleamed from them a
mile off. The other knights and princes could not find time to call
out to him not to try his luck, for they were amazed to see how grand
he was. So he rode right at the hill, and tore up it like nothing, so
that the Princess hadn't even time to wish that he might get up the
whole way. As soon as ever he reached the top, he took the third
golden apple from the Princess' lap, and then turned his horse and
rode down again. As soon as he got down, he rode off at full speed,
and was out of sight in no time.

Now, when the brothers got home at even, you may fancy what long
stories they told, how the riding had gone off that day; and amongst
other things, they had a deal to say about the knight in golden mail.

'He just was a chap to ride!' they said; 'so grand a knight isn't to
be found in the wide world.'

'Oh!' said Boots, 'I should so like to have seen him, that I should.'

'Ah! 'said his brothers, 'his mail shone a deal brighter than the
glowing coals which you are always poking and digging at; nasty dirty
beast that you are.'

Next day all the knights and princes were to pass before the king and
the Princess--it was too late to do so the night before, I suppose--
hat he who had the gold apple might bring it forth; but one came
after another, first the princes, and then the knights, and still no
one could show the gold apple.

'Well', said the king, 'some one must have it, for it was something
that we all saw with our own eyes, how a man came and rode up and
bore it off.'

So he commanded that every one who was in the kingdom should come up
to the palace and see if they could show the apple. Well, they all
came one after another, but no one had the golden apple, and after a
long time the two brothers of Boots came. They were the last of all,
so the king asked them if there was no one else in the kingdom who
hadn't come.

'Oh, yes', said they; 'we have a brother, but he never carried off
the golden apple. He hasn't stirred out of the dusthole on any of the
three days.'

'Never mind that', said the king; 'he may as well come up to the
palace like the rest.'

So Boots had to go up to the palace.

'How, now', said the king; 'have you got the golden apple? Speak

'Yes, I have', said Boots; 'here is the first, and here is the
second, and here is the third too'; and with that he pulled all three
golden apples out of his pocket, and at the same time threw off his
sooty rags, and stood before them in his gleaming golden mail.

'Yes!' said the king; 'you shall have my daughter, and half my
kingdom, for you well deserve both her and it.'

So they got ready for the wedding, and Boots got the Princess to
wife, and there was great merry-making at the bridal-feast, you may
fancy, for they could all be merry though they couldn't ride up the
hill of glass; and all I can say is, if they haven't left off their
merry-making yet, why, they're still at it.


(In this tale the notes of the Cock and Hen must be imitated.)

_Hen_--You promise me shoes year after year, year after year,
and yet I get no shoes!

_Cock_--You shall have them, never fear! Henny penny!

_Hen_--I lay egg after egg, egg after egg, and yet I go about

_Cock_--Well, take your eggs, and be off to the tryst, and buy
yourself shoes, and don't go any longer barefoot!


Once on a time there was a lad who went out to woo him a wife.
Amongst other places, he came to a farm-house, where the household
were little better than beggars; but when the wooer came in, they
wanted to make out that they were well to do, as you may guess. Now
the husband had got a new arm to his coat.

'Pray, take a seat', he said to the wooer; 'but there's a shocking
dust in the house.'

So he went about rubbing and wiping all the benches and tables with
his new arm, but he kept the other all the while behind his back.

The wife she had got one new shoe, and she went stamping and sliding
with it up against the stools and chairs, saying, 'How untidy it is
here! Everything is out of its place!'

Then they called out to their daughter to come down and put things to
rights; but the daughter, she had got a new cap; so she put her head
in at the door, and kept nodding and nodding, first to this side, and
then to that.

'Well! for my part', she said, 'I can't be everywhere at once.'

Aye! aye! that was a well-to-do household the wooer had come to.


Once on a time, in the days when our Lord and St Peter used to wander
on earth, they came to a smith's house. He had made a bargain with
the Devil, that the fiend should have him after seven years, but
during that time he was to be the master of all masters in his trade,
and to this bargain both he and the Devil had signed their names. So
he had stuck up in great letters over the door of his forge: _'Here
dwells the Master over all Masters.'_

Now when our Lord passed by and saw that, he went in.

'Who are you?' he said to the Smith.

'Read what's written over the door', said the Smith; 'but maybe you
can't read writing. If so, you must wait till some one comes to help

Before our Lord had time to answer him, a man came with his horse,
which he begged the Smith to shoe.

'Might I have leave to shoe it?' asked our Lord.

'You may try, if you like', said the Smith; 'you can't do it so badly
that I shall not be able to make it right again.'

So our Lord went out and took one leg off the horse, and laid it in
the furnace, and made the shoe red-hot; after that, he turned up the
ends of the shoe, and filed down the heads of the nails, and clenched
the points; and then he put back the leg safe and sound on the horse
again. And when he was done with that leg, he took the other fore-leg
and did the same with it; and when he was done with that, he took the
hind-legs--first, the off, and then the near leg, and laid them in
the furnace, making the shoes red-hot, turning up the ends; filing
the heads of the nails, and clenching the points; and after all was
done, putting the legs on the horse again. All the while, the Smith
stood by and looked on.

'You're not so bad a smith after all', said he.

'Oh, you think so, do you?' said our Lord.

A little while after came the Smith's mother to the forge, and called
him to come home and eat his dinner; she was an old, old woman with
an ugly crook on her back, and wrinkles in her face, and it was as
much as she could do to crawl along.

'Mark now, what you see', said our Lord.

Then he took the woman and laid her in the furnace, and smithied a
lovely young maiden out of her.

'Well', said the Smith, 'I say now, as I said before, you are not
such a bad smith after all. There it stands over my door. _Here
dwells the Master over all Masters_; but for all that, I say right
out, one learns as long as one lives'; and with that he walked off to
his house and ate his dinner.

So after dinner, just after he had got back to his forge, a man came
riding up to have his horse shod.

'It shall be done in the twinkling of an eye', said the Smith, 'for I
have just learnt a new way to shoe; and a very good way it is when
the days are short.'

So he began to cut and hack till he had got all the horse's legs off,
for he said, I don't know why one should go pottering backwards and
forwards--first, with one leg, and then with another.

Then he laid the legs in the furnace, just as he had seen our Lord
lay them, and threw on a great heap of coal, and made his mates work
the bellows bravely; but it went as one might suppose it would go.
The legs were burnt to ashes, and the Smith had to pay for the horse.

Well, he didn't care much about that, but just then an old beggar-
woman came along the road, and he thought to himself, 'better luck
next time'; so he took the old dame and laid her in the furnace, and
though she begged and prayed hard for her life, it was no good.

'You're so old, you don't know what is good for you', said the Smith;
'now you shall be a lovely young maiden in half no time, and for all
that, I'll not charge you a penny for the job.'

But it went no better with the poor old woman than with the horse's

'That was ill done, and I say it', said our Lord.

'Oh! for that matter', said the Smith, 'there's not many who'll ask
after her, I'll be bound; but it's a shame of the Devil, if this is
the way he holds to what is written up over the door.'

'If you might have three wishes from me', said our Lord, 'what would
you wish for?'

'Only try me', said the Smith, 'and you'll soon know.'

So our Lord gave him three wishes.

'Well', said the Smith, 'first and foremost, I wish that any one whom
I ask to climb up into the pear-tree that stands outside by the wall
of my forge, may stay sitting there till I ask him to come down
again. The second wish I wish is, that any one whom I ask to sit down
in my easy chair which stands inside the workshop yonder, may stay
sitting there till I ask him to get up. Last of all, I wish that any
one whom I ask to creep into the steel purse which I have in my
pocket, may stay in it till I give him leave to creep out again.'

'You have wished as a wicked man', said St Peter; 'first and
foremost, you should have wished for God's grace and goodwill.'

'I durstn't look so high as that', said the Smith; and after that our
Lord and St Peter bade him 'good-bye', and went on their way.

Well, the years went on and on, and when the time was up, the Devil
came to fetch the Smith, as it was written in their bargain.

'Are you ready?' he said, as he stuck his nose in at the door of the

'Oh', said the Smith, 'I must just hammer the head of this tenpenny
nail first; meantime, you can just climb up into the pear-tree, and
pluck yourself a pear to gnaw at; you must be, both hungry and
thirsty after your journey.'

So the Devil thanked him for his kind offer, and climbed up into the

'Very good', said the Smith; 'but now, on thinking the matter over, I
find I shall never be able to have done hammering the head of this
nail till four years are out at least, this iron is so plaguey hard;
down you can't come in all that time, but may sit up there and rest
your bones.'

When the Devil heard this, he begged and prayed till his voice was as
thin as a silver penny that he might have leave to come down; but
there was no help for it. There he was, and there he must stay. At
last he had to give his word of honour not to come again till the
four years were out, which the Smith had spoken of, and then the
Smith said, 'Very well, now you may come down.'

So when the time was up, the Devil came again to fetch the Smith.

'You're ready now, of course', said he; 'you've had time enough to
hammer the head of that nail, I should think.'

'Yes, the head is right enough now', said the Smith; 'but still you
have come a little tiny bit too soon, for I haven't quite done
sharpening the point; such plaguey hard iron I never hammered in all
my born days. So while I work at the point, you may just as well sit
down in my easy chair and rest yourself; I'll be bound you're weary
after coming so far.'

'Thank you kindly', said the Devil, and down he plumped into the easy
chair; but just as he had made himself comfortable, the Smith said,
on second thoughts, he found he couldn't get the point sharp till
four years were out. First of all, the Devil begged so prettily to be
let out of the chair, and afterwards, waxing wroth, he began to
threaten and scold; but the Smith kept on, all the while excusing
himself, and saying it was all the iron's fault, it was so plaguy
hard, and telling the Devil he was not so badly off to have to sit
quietly in an easy chair, and that he would let him out to the minute
when the four years were over. Well, at last there was no help for
it, and the Devil had to give his word of honour not to fetch the
Smith till the four years were out; and then the Smith said:

'Well now, you may get up and be off about your business', and away
went the Devil as fast as he could lay legs to the ground.

When the four years were over, the Devil came again to fetch the
Smith, and he called out, as he stuck his nose in at the door of the

'Now, I know you must be ready.'

'Ready, aye, ready', answered the Smith; 'we can go now as soon as
you please; but hark ye, there is one thing I have stood here and
thought, and thought, I would ask you to tell me. Is it true what
people say, that the Devil can make himself as small as he pleases?'

'God knows, it is the very truth', said the Devil.

'Oh!' said the Smith; 'it _is_ true, is it? then I wish you
would just be so good as to creep into this steel purse of mine, and
see whether it is sound at the bottom, for to tell you the truth, I'm
afraid my travelling money will drop out.'

'With all my heart', said the Devil, who made himself small in a
trice, and crept into the purse; but he was scarce in when the Smith
snapped to the clasp.

'Yes', called out the Devil inside the purse; 'it's right and tight

'Very good', said the Smith; 'I'm glad to hear you say so, but "more
haste the worse speed", says the old saw, and "forewarned is
forearmed", says another; so I'll just weld these links a little
together, just for safety's sake'; and with that he laid the purse in
the furnace, and made it red-hot.

'AU! AU!' screamed the Devil, 'are you mad? don't you know I'm inside
the purse?'

'Yes, I do!' said the Smith; 'but I can't help you, for another old
saw says, "one must strike while the iron is hot"'; and as he said
this, he took up his sledge-hammer, laid the purse on the anvil, and
let fly at it as hard as he could.

'AU! AU! AU!' bellowed the Devil, inside the purse. 'Dear friend, do
let me out, and I'll never come near you again.'

'Very well!' said the Smith; 'now, I think, the links are pretty well
welded, and you may come out'; so he unclasped the purse, and away
went the Devil in such a hurry that he didn't once look behind him.

Now, some time after, it came across the Smith's mind that he had
done a silly thing in making the Devil his enemy, for, he said to

'If, as is like enough, they won't have me in the kingdom of Heaven,
I shall be in danger of being houseless, since I've fallen out with
him who rules over Hell.'

So he made up his mind it would be best to try to get either into
Hell or Heaven, and to try at once, rather than to put it off any
longer, so that he might know how things really stood. Then he threw
his sledge-hammer over his shoulder and set off; and when he had gone
a good bit of the way, he came to a place where two roads met, and
where the path to the kingdom of Heaven parts from the path that
leads to Hell, and here he overtook a tailor, who was pelting along
with his goose in his hand.

'Good day', said the Smith; 'whither are you off to?'

'To the kingdom of Heaven', said the Tailor, 'if I can only get into
it'--'but whither are you going yourself?'

'Oh, our ways don't run together', said the Smith; 'for I have made
up my mind to try first in Hell, as the Devil and I know something of
one another, from old times.'

So they bade one another 'Good-bye', and each went his way; but the
Smith was a stout, strong man, and got over the ground far faster
than the tailor, and so it wasn't long before he stood at the gates
of Hell. Then he called the watch, and bade him go and tell the Devil
there was some one outside who wished to speak a word with him.

'Go out', said the Devil to the watch, 'and ask him who he is?' So
that when the watch came and told him that, the Smith answered:

'Go and greet the Devil in my name, and say it is the Smith who owns
the purse he wots of; and beg him prettily to let me in at once, for
I worked at my forge till noon, and I have had a long walk since.'

But when the Devil heard who it was, he charged the watch to go back
and lock up all the nine locks on the gates of Hell.

'And, besides', he said, 'you may as well put on a padlock, for if he
only once gets in, he'll turn Hell topsy-turvy!'

'Well!' said the Smith to himself, when he saw them busy bolting up
the gates, 'there's no lodging to be got here, that's plain; so I may
as well try my luck in the kingdom of Heaven'; and with that he
turned round and went back till he reached the cross-roads, and then
he went along the path the tailor had taken. And now, as he was cross
at having gone backwards and forwards so far for no good, he strode
along with all his might, and reached the gate of Heaven just as St
Peter was opening it a very little, just enough to let the half-
starved tailor slip in. The Smith was still six or seven strides off
the gate, so he thought to himself, 'Now there's no time to be lost';
and, grasping his sledge-hammer, he hurled it into the opening of the
door just as the tailor slunk in; and if the Smith didn't get in
then, when the door was ajar, why I don't know what has become of


Once on a time there was a couple, and each of them had a daughter by
a former marriage. The woman's daughter was dull and lazy, and could
never turn her hand to anything, and the man's daughter was brisk and
ready; but somehow or other she could never do anything to her
stepmother's liking, and both the woman and her daughter would have
been glad to be rid of her.

So it fell one day the two girls were to go out and spin by the side
of the well, and the woman's daughter had flax to spin, but the man's
daughter got nothing to spin but bristles.

'I don't know how it is', said the woman's daughter, 'you're always
so quick and sharp, but still I'm not afraid to spin a match with

Well, they agreed that she whose thread first snapped, should go down
the well. So they span away; but just as they were hard at it, the
man's daughter's thread broke, and she had to go down the well. But
when she got to the bottom she saw far and wide around her a fair
green mead, and she hadn't hurt herself at all.

So she walked on a bit, till she came to a hedge which she had to

'Ah! don't tread hard on me, pray don't, and I'll help you another
time, that I will', said the Hedge.

Then the lassie made herself as light as she could, and trode so
carefully she scarce touched a twig.

So she went on a bit further, till she came to a brindled cow, which
walked there with a milking-pail on her horns. 'Twas a large pretty
cow, and her udder was so full and round.

'Ah! be so good as to milk me, pray', said the Cow; 'I'm so full of
milk. Drink as much as you please, and throw the rest over my hoofs,
and see if I don't help you some day.'

So the man's daughter did as the cow begged. As soon as she touched
the teats, the milk spouted out into the pail. Then she drank till
her thirst was slaked; and the rest she threw over the cow's hoofs,
and the milking-pail she hung on her horns again.

So when she had gone a bit further, a big wether met her, which had
such thick long wool, it hung down and draggled after him on the
ground, and on one of his horns hung a great pair of shears.

'Ah, please clip off my wool', said the Sheep, 'for here I go about
with all this wool, and catch up everything I meet, and besides, it's
so warm, I'm almost choked. Take as much of the fleece as you please,
and twist the rest round my neck, and see if I don't help you some

Yes! she was willing enough, and the sheep lay down of himself on her
lap, and kept quite still, and she clipped him so neatly, there
wasn't a scratch on his skin. Then she took as much of the wool as
she chose, and the rest she twisted round the neck of the sheep.

A little further on, she came to an apple tree, which was loaded with
apples; all its branches were bowed to the ground, and leaning
against the stem was a slender pole.

'Ah! do be so good as to pluck my apples off me', said the Tree, 'so
that my branches may straighten themselves again, for it's bad work
to stand so crooked; but when you beat them down, don't strike me too
hard. Then eat as many as you please, lay the rest round my root, and
see if I don't help you some day or other.'

Yes, she plucked all she could reach with her hands, and then she
took the pole and knocked down the rest, and afterwards she ate her
fill, and the rest she laid neatly round the root.

So she walked on a long, long way, and then she came to a great farm-
house, where an old hag of the Trolls lived with her daughter. There
she turned in to ask if she could get a place.

'Oh!' said the old hag; 'it's no use your trying. We've had ever so
many maids, but none of them was worth her salt.'

But she begged so prettily that they would just take her on trial,
that at last they let her stay. So the old hag gave her a sieve, and
bade her go and fetch water in it. She thought it strange to fetch
water in a sieve, but still she went, and when she came to the well,
the little birds began to sing,

  Daub in clay,
  Stuff in straw!
  Daub in clay,
  Stuff in straw.

Yes, she did so, and found she could carry water in a sieve well
enough; but when she got home with the water, and the old witch saw
the sieve, she cried out:


So the old witch said, now she might go into the byre to pitch out
dung and milk kine; but when she got there, she found a pitchfork so
long and heavy, she couldn't stir it, much less work with it. She
didn't know at all what to do, or what to make of it; but the little
birds sang again that she should take the broom-stick and toss out a
little with that, and all the rest of the dung would fly after it. So
she did that, and as soon as ever she began with the broom-stick, the
byre was as clean as if it had been swept and washed.

Now she had to milk the kine, but they were so restless that they
kicked and frisked; there was no getting near them to milk them.

But the little birds sang outside:

  A little drop, a tiny sup,
  For the little birds to drink it up.

Yes, she did that; she just milked a tiny drop, 'twas as much as she
could, for the little birds outside; and then all the cows stood
still and let her milk them. They neither kicked nor frisked; they
didn't even lift a leg.

So when the old witch saw her coming in with the milk, she cried out:


This the lassie was at her wits' end to know how to do, for she had
never seen or heard of any one who could wash black wool white. Still
she said nothing, but took the wool and went down with it to the
well. There the little birds sang again and told her to take the wool
and dip it into the great butt that stood there; and she did so, and
out it came as white as snow.

'Well! I never!' said the old witch, when she came in with the wool,
'it's no good keeping you. You can do everything, and at last you'll
be the plague of my life. We'd best part, so take your wages and be

Then the old hag drew out three caskets, one red, one green, and one
blue, and of these the lassie was to choose one as wages for her
service. Now she didn't know at all which to choose, but the little
birds sang:

  Don't take the red, don't take the green,
  But take the blue, where may be seen
  Three little crosses all in a row;
  We saw the marks, and so we know.

So she took the blue casket, as the birds sang.

'Bad luck to you, then', said the old witch; 'see if I don't make you
pay for this!'

So when the man's daughter was just setting off, the old witch shot a
red-hot bar of iron after her, but she sprang behind the door and hid
herself, so that it missed her, for her friends, the little birds,
had told her beforehand how to behave. Then she walked on and on as
fast as ever she could; but when she got to the apple tree, she heard
an awful clatter behind her on the road, and that was the old witch
and her daughter coming after her.

So the lassie was so frightened and scared, she didn't know what to

'Come hither to me, lassie, do you hear', said the Apple tree, 'I'll
help you; get under my branches and hide, for if they catch you,
they'll tear you to death, and take the casket from you.'

Yes! she did so, and she had hardly hidden herself before up came the
old witch and her daughter.

'Have you seen any lassie pass this way, you apple tree', said the
old hag.

'Yes, yes', said the Apple tree; 'one ran by here an hour ago; but
now she's got so far ahead, you'll never catch her up.'

So the old witch turned back and went home again. Then the lassie
walked on a bit, but when she came just about where the sheep was,
she heard an awful clatter beginning on the road behind her, and she
didn't know what to do, she was so scared and frightened; for she
knew well enough it was the old witch, who had thought better of it.

'Come hither to me, lassie', said the Wether, 'and I'll help you.
Hide yourself under my fleece, and then they'll not see you; else
they'll take away the casket, and tear you to death.'

Just then up came the old witch, tearing along.

'Have you seen any lassie pass here, you sheep?' she cried to the

'Oh yes', said the Wether, 'I saw one an hour ago, but she ran so
fast, you'll never catch her.'

So the old witch turned round and went home.

But when the lassie had come to where she met the cow, she heard
another awful clatter behind her.

'Come hither to me, lassie', said the Cow, 'and I'll help you to hide
yourself under my udder, else the old hag will come and take away
your casket, and tear you to death.'

True enough, it wasn't long before she came up.

'Have you seen any lassie pass here, you cow?' said the old hag.

'Yes, I saw one an hour ago', said the Cow, 'but she's far away now,
for she ran so fast I don't think you'll ever catch her up!'

So the old hag turned round, and went back home again.

When the lassie had walked a long, long way farther on, and was not
far from the hedge, she heard again that awful clatter on the road
behind her, and she got scared and frightened, for she knew well
enough it was the old hag and her daughter, who had changed their

'Come hither to me, lassie', said the Hedge, 'and I'll help you.
Creep under my twigs, so that they can't see you; else they'll take
the casket from you, and tear you to death.'

Yes! she made all the haste she could to get under the twigs of the

'Have you seen any lassie pass this way, you hedge?' said the old hag
to the hedge.

'No, I haven't seen any lassie', answered the Hedge, and was as
smooth-tongued as if he had got melted butter in his mouth; but all
the while he spread himself out, and made himself so big and tall,
one had to think twice before crossing him. And so the old witch had
no help for it but to turn round and go home again.

So when the man's daughter got home, her step-mother and her step-
sister were more spiteful against her than ever; for now she was much
neater, and so smart, it was a joy to look at her. Still she couldn't
get leave to live with them, but they drove her out into a pigsty.
That was to be her house. So she scrubbed it out so neat and clean,
and then she opened her casket, just to see what she had got for her
wages. But as soon as ever she unlocked it, she saw inside so much
gold and silver, and lovely things, which came streaming out till all
the walls were hung with them, and at last the pigsty was far grander
than the grandest king's palace. And when the step-mother and her
daughter came to see this, they almost jumped out of their skin, and
began to ask what kind of a place she had down there?

'Oh', said the lassie, 'can't you see, when I have got such good
wages. 'Twas such a family, and such a mistress to serve, you
couldn't find their like anywhere.'

Yes! the woman's daughter made up her mind to go out to serve too,
that she might get just such another gold casket. So they sat down to
spin again, and now the woman's daughter was to spin bristles, and
the man's daughter flax, and she whose thread first snapped, was to
go down the well. It wasn't long, as you may fancy, before the
woman's daughter's thread snapped, and so they threw her down the

So the same thing happened. She fell to the bottom, but met with no
harm, and found herself on a lovely green meadow. When she had walked
a bit she came to the hedge. 'Don't tread hard on me, pray, lassie,
and I'll help you again', said the Hedge.

'Oh!' said she, 'what should I care for a bundle of twigs?' and
tramped and stamped over the hedge till it cracked and groaned again.

A little farther on she came to the cow, which walked about ready to
burst for want of milking.

'Be so good as to milk me, lassie', said the Cow, 'and I'll help you
again. Drink as much as you please, but throw the rest over my

Yes! she did that; she milked the cow, and drank till she could drink
no more; but when she left off, there was none left to throw over the
cow's hoofs, and as for the pail, she tossed it down the hill and
walked on.

When she had gone a bit further, she came to the sheep which walked
along with his wool dragging after him.

'Oh, be so good as to clip me, lassie', said the Sheep, 'and I'll
serve you again. Take as much of the wool as you will, but twist the
rest round my neck.'

Well! she did that; but she went so carelessly to work, that she cut
great pieces out of the poor sheep, and as for the wool, she carried
it all away with her.

A little while after she came to the apple tree, which stood there
quite crooked with fruit again.

'Be so good as to pluck the apples off me, that my limbs may grow
straight, for it's weary work to stand all awry', said the Apple
tree. 'But please take care not to beat me too hard. Eat as many as
you will, but lay the rest neatly round my root, and I'll help you

Well, she plucked those nearest to her, and thrashed down those she
couldn't reach with the pole, but she didn't care how she did it, and
broke off and tore down great boughs, and ate till she was as full as
full could be, and then she threw down the rest under the tree.

So when she had gone a good bit further, she came to the farm where
the old witch lived. There she asked for a place, but the old hag
said she wouldn't have any more maids, for they were either worth
nothing, or were too clever, and cheated her out of her goods. But
the woman's daughter was not to be put off, she _would_ have a
place, so the old witch said she'd give her a trial, if she was fit
for anything.

The first thing she had to do was to fetch water in a sieve. Well,
off she went to the well, and drew water in a sieve, but as fast as
she got it in it ran out again. So the little birds sung:

  Daub in clay,
  Put in straw!
  Daub in clay,
  Put in straw!

But she didn't care to listen to the birds' song, and pelted them
with clay, till they flew off far away. And so she had to go home
with the empty sieve, and got well scolded by the old witch.

Then she was to go into the byre to clean it, and milk the kine. But
she was too good for such dirty work, she thought. Still, she went
out into the byre, but when she got there, she couldn't get on at all
with the pitchfork, it was so big. The birds said the same to her as
they had said to her step-sister, and told her to take the
broomstick, and toss out a little dung, and then all the rest would
fly after it; but all she did with the broomstick was to throw it at
the birds. When she came to milk, the kine were so unruly, they
kicked and pushed, and every time she got a little milk in the pail,
over they kicked it. Then the birds sang again:

  A little drop and a tiny sup
  For the little birds to drink it up.

But she beat and banged the cows about, and threw and pelted at the
birds everything she could lay hold of, and made such a to do, 'twas
awful to see. So she didn't make much either of her pitching, or
milking, and when she came indoors she got blows as well as hard
words from the old witch, who sent her off to wash the black wool
white; but that, too, she did no better.

Then the old witch thought this really too bad, so she set out the
three caskets, one red, one green, and one blue, and said she'd no
longer any need of her services, for she wasn't worth keeping, but
for wages she should have leave to choose whichever casket she

Then sung the little birds:

  Don't take the red, don't take the green,
  But choose the blue, where may be seen
  Three little crosses all in a row;
  We saw the marks, and so we know.

She didn't care a pin for what the birds sang, but took the red,
which caught her eye most. And so she set out on her road home, and
she went along quietly and easily enough; there was no one who came
after _her_.

So when she got home, her mother was ready to jump with joy, and the
two went at once into the ingle, and put the casket up there, for
they made up their minds there could be nothing in it but pure silver
and gold, and they thought to have all the walls and roof gilded like
the pigsty. But lo! when they opened the casket there came tumbling
out nothing but toads, and frogs, and snakes; and worse than that,
whenever the woman's daughter opened her mouth, out popped a toad or
a snake, and all the vermin one ever thought of, so that at last
there was no living in the house with her.

That was all the wages _she_ got for going out to service with
the old witch.


Once on a time there was an old wife who sat and baked. Now, you must
know that this old wife had a little son, who was so plump and fat,
and so fond of good things, that they called him Buttercup; she had a
dog, too, whose name was Goldtooth, and as she was baking, all at
once Goldtooth began to bark.

'Run out, Buttercup, there's a dear!' said the old wife, 'and see
what Goldtooth is barking at.'

So the boy ran out, and came back crying out:

'Oh, Heaven help us! here comes a great big witch, with her head
under her arm, and a bag at her back.'

'Jump under the kneading-trough and hide yourself', said his mother.

So in came the old hag!

'Good day', said she!

'God bless you!' said Buttercup's mother.

'Isn't your Buttercup at home to-day?' asked the hag.

'No, that he isn't. He's out in the wood with his father, shooting

'Plague take it', said the hag, 'for I had such a nice little silver
knife I wanted to give him.'

'Pip, pip! here I am', said Buttercup under the kneading-trough, and
out he came.

'I'm so old, and stiff in the back', said the hag, 'you must creep
into the bag and fetch it out for yourself.'

But when Buttercup was well into the bag, the hag threw it over her
back and strode off, and when they had gone a good bit of the way,
the old hag got tired, and asked:

'How far is it off to Snoring?'

'Half a mile', answered Buttercup.

So the hag put down the sack on the road, and went aside by herself
into the wood, and lay down to sleep. Meantime Buttercup set to work
and cut a hole in the sack with his knife; then he crept out and put
a great root of a fir-tree into the sack, and ran home to his mother.

When the hag got home and saw what there was in the sack, you may
fancy she was in a fine rage.

Next day the old wife sat and baked again, and her dog began to bark
just as he did the day before.

'Run out, Buttercup, my boy', said she, 'and see what Goldtooth is
barking at.'

'Well, I never!' cried Buttercup, as soon as he got out; 'if there
isn't that ugly old beast coming again with her head under her arm,
and a great sack at her back.'

'Under the kneading-trough with you and hide', said his mother.

'Good day!' said the hag, 'is your Buttercup at home to-day?'

'I'm sorry to say he isn't', said his mother; 'he's out in the wood
with his father, shooting ptarmigan.'

'What a bore', said the hag; 'here I have a beautiful little silver
spoon I want to give him.'

'Pip, pip! here I am', said Buttercup, and crept out.

'I'm so stiff in the back', said the old witch, 'you must creep into
the sack and fetch it out for yourself.'

So when Buttercup was well into the sack, the hag swung it over her
shoulders and set off home as fast as her legs could carry her. But
when they had gone a good bit, she grew weary, and asked:

'How far is it off to Snoring?'

'A mile and a half', answered Buttercup.

So the hag set down the sack, and went aside into the wood to sleep a
bit, but while she slept, Buttercup made a hole in the sack and got
out, and put a great stone into it. Now, when the old witch got home,
she made a great fire on the hearth, and put a big pot on it, and got
everything ready to boil Buttercup; but when she took the sack, and
thought she was going to turn out Buttercup into the pot, down
plumped the stone and made a hole in the bottom of the pot, so that
the water ran out and quenched the fire. Then the old hag was in a
dreadful rage, and said, 'If he makes himself ever so heavy next
time, he shan't take me in again.' The third day everything went just
as it had gone twice before; Goldtooth began to bark, and Buttercup's
mother said to him:

'Do run out and see what our dog is barking at.'

So out he went, but he soon came back crying out:

'Heaven save us! Here comes the old hag again with her head under her
arm, and a sack at her back.'

'Jump under the kneading-trough and hide', said his mother.

'Good day!' said the hag, as she came in at the door; 'is your
Buttercup at home to-day?'

'You're very kind to ask after him', said his mother; 'but he's out
in the wood with his father, shooting ptarmigan.'

'What a bore now', said the old hag; 'here have I got such a
beautiful little silver fork for him.'

'Pip, pip! here I am', said Buttercup, as he came out from under the

'I'm so stiff in the back', said the hag, 'you must creep into the
sack and fetch it out for yourself.'

But when Buttercup was well inside the sack, the old hag swung it
across her shoulders, and set off as fast as she could. This time she
did not turn aside to sleep by the way, but went straight home with
Buttercup in the sack, and when she reached her house it was Sunday.

So the old hag said to her daughter:

'Now you must take Buttercup and kill him, and boil him nicely till I
come back, for I'm off to church to bid my guests to dinner.'

So, when all in the house were gone to church the daughter was to
take Buttercup and kill him, but then she didn't know how to set
about it at all.

'Stop a bit', said Buttercup; 'I'll soon show you how to do it; just
lay your head on the chopping-block, and you'll soon see.'

So the poor silly thing laid her head down, and Buttercup took an axe
and chopped her head off, just as if she had been a chicken. Then he
laid her head in the bed, and popped her body into the pot, and
boiled it so nicely; and when he had done that, he climbed up on the
roof, and dragged up with him the fir-tree root and the stone, and
put the one over the door, and the other at the top of the chimney.

So when the household came back from church, and saw the head on the
bed, they thought it was the daughter who lay there asleep; and then
they thought they would just taste the broth.

  Good, by my troth!
  Buttercup broth,

said the old hag.

  Good, by my troth!
  Daughter broth,

said Buttercup down the chimney, but no one heeded him. So the old
hag's husband, who was every bit as bad as she, took the spoon to
have a taste.

  Good, by my troth!
  Buttercup broth,

said he.

  Good, by my troth!
  Daughter broth,

said Buttercup down the chimney pipe.

Then they all began to wonder who it could be that chattered so, and
ran out to see. But when they came out at the door, Buttercup threw
down on them the fir-tree root and the stone, and broke all their
heads to bits. After that he took all the gold and silver that lay in
the house, and went home to his mother, and became a rich man.


Once on a time there was a king, and he had a daughter who was such a
scold, and whose tongue went so fast, there was no stopping it. So he
gave out that the man who could stop her tongue should have the
Princess to wife, and half his kingdom into the bargain. Now, three
brothers, who heard this, made up their minds to go and try their
luck; and first of all the two elder went, for they thought they were
the cleverest; but they couldn't cope with her at all, and got well
thrashed besides.

Then Boots, the youngest, set off, and when he had gone a little way
he found an ozier band lying on the road, and he picked it up. When
he had gone a little farther he found a piece of a broken plate, and
he picked that up too. A little farther on he found a dead magpie,
and a little farther on still, a crooked ram's horn; so he went on a
bit and found the fellow to the horn; and at last, just as he was
crossing the fields by the king's palace, where they were pitching
out dung, he found a worn-out shoe-sole. All these things he took
with him into the palace, and went before the Princess.

'Good day', said he.

'Good day', said she, and made a wry face.

'Can I get my magpie cooked here?' he asked.

'I'm afraid it will burst', answered the Princess.

'Oh! never fear! for I'll just tie this ozier band round it', said
the lad, as he pulled it out.

'The fat will run out of it', said the Princess.

'Then I'll hold this under it', said the lad, and showed her the
piece of broken plate.

'You are so crooked in your words', said the Princess, 'there's no
knowing where to have you.'

'No, I'm not crooked', said the lad; 'but this is', as he held up one
of the horns.

'Well!' said the Princess, 'I never saw the match of this in all my

'Why, here you see the match to it', said the lad, as he pulled out
the other ram's horn.

'I think', said the Princess, 'you must have come here to wear out my
tongue with your nonsense.'

'No, I have not', said the lad; 'but this is worn out', as he pulled
out the shoe-sole.

To this the Princess hadn't a word to say, for she had fairly lost
her voice with rage.

'Now you are mine', said the lad; and so he got the Princess to wife,
and half the kingdom.


Once on a time, there was a poor couple who lived in a tumble-down
hut, in which there was nothing but black want, so that they hadn't a
morsel to eat, nor a stick to burn. But though they had next to
nothing of other things, they had God's blessing in the way of
children, and every year they had another babe. Now, when this story
begins, they were just looking out for a new child; and, to tell the
truth, the husband was rather cross, and he was always going about
grumbling and growling, and saying, 'For his part, he thought one
might have too many of these God's gifts.' So when the time came that
the babe was to be born, he went off into the wood to fetch fuel,
saying, 'he didn't care to stop and see the young squaller; he'd be
sure to hear him soon enough, screaming for food.'

Now, when her husband was well out of the house, his wife gave birth
to a beautiful boy, who began to look about the room as soon as ever
he came into the world.

'Oh! dear mother', he said, 'give me some of my brother's cast-off
clothes, and a few days' food, and I'll go out into the world and try
my luck; you have children enough as it is, that I can see.'

'God help you, my son!' answered his mother; 'that can never be, you
are far too young yet.'

But the tiny one stuck to what he said, and begged and prayed till
his mother was forced to let him have a few old rags, and a little
food tied up in a bundle, and off he went right merrily and manfully
into the wide world. But he was scarce out of the house before his
mother had another boy, and he too looked about him, and said:

'Oh, dear mother! give me some of my brother's old clothes and a few
days' food, and I'll go out into the world to find my twin-brother;
you have children enough already on your hands, that I can see.'

'God help you, my poor little fellow!' said his mother; 'you are far
too little, this will never do.'

But it was no good; the tiny one begged and prayed so hard, till he
got some old tattered rags and a bundle of food; and so he wandered
out into the world like a man, to find his twin-brother. Now, when
the younger had walked a while, he saw his brother a good bit on
before him, so he called out to him to stop.

'Holloa! can't you stop? why, you lay legs to the ground as if you
were running a race. But you might just as well have stayed to see
your youngest, brother before you set off into the world in such a

So the elder stopped and looked round; and when the younger had come
up to him and told him the whole story, and how he was his brother,
he went on to say:

'But let's sit down here and see what our mother has given us for
food.' So they sat down together, and were soon great friends.

Now when they had gone a bit farther on their way, they came to a
brook which ran through a green meadow, and the youngest said now the
time was come to give one another names, 'Since we set off in such a
hurry that we hadn't time to do it at home, we may as well do it

'Well!' said the elder, 'and what shall your name be?'

'Oh!' said the younger, 'my name shall be Shortshanks; and yours,
what shall it be?'

'I will be called King Sturdy', answered the eldest.

So they christened each other in the brook, and went on; but when
they had walked a while they came to a cross road, and agreed they
should part there, and each take his own road. So they parted, but
they hadn't gone half a mile before their roads met again. So they
parted the second time, and took each a road; but in a little while
the same thing happened, and they met again, they scarce knew how;
and the same thing happened a third time also. Then they agreed that
they should each choose a quarter of the heavens, and one was to go
east and the other west; but before they parted, the elder said:

'If you ever fall into misfortune or need, call three times on me,
and I will come and help you; but mind you don't call on me till you
are at the last pinch.'

'Well!' said Shortshanks, 'if that's to be the rule, I don't think we
shall meet again very soon.'

After that they bade each other good-bye, and Shortshanks went east,
and King Sturdy west.

Now, you must know, when Shortshanks had gone a good bit alone, he
met an old, old crook-backed hag, who had only one eye, and
Shortshanks snapped it up.

'Oh! oh!' screamed the hag, 'what has become of my eye?'

'What will you give me', asked Shortshanks, 'if you get your eye

'I'll give you a sword, and such a sword! It will put a whole army to
flight, be it ever so great', answered the old woman.

'Out with it, then!' said Shortshanks.

So the old hag gave him the sword, and got her eye back again. After
that, Shortshanks wandered on a while, and another old, old crook-
backed hag met him who had only one eye, which Shortshanks stole
before she was aware of him.

'Oh, oh! whatever has become of my eye', screamed the hag.

'What will you give me to get your eye back?' asked Shortshanks.

'I'll give you a ship', said the woman, 'which can sail over fresh
water and salt water, and over high hills and deep dales.'

'Well! out with it', said Shortshanks.

So the old woman gave him a little tiny ship, no bigger than he could
put in his pocket, and she got her eye back again, and they each went
their way. But when he had wandered on a long, long way, he met a
third time an old, old crook-backed hag, with only one eye. This eye,
too, Shortshanks stole; and when the hag screamed and made a great
to-do, bawling out what had become of her eye, Shortshanks said:

'What will you give me to get back your eye?'

Then she answered:

'I'll give you the art how to brew a hundred lasts of malt at one

Well! for teaching that art the old hag got back her eye, and they
each went their way.

But when Shortshanks had walked a little way, he thought it might be
worth while to try his ship; so he took it out of his pocket, and put
first one foot into it, and then the other; and as soon as ever he
set one foot into it, it began to grow bigger and bigger, and by the
time he set the other foot into it, it was as big as other ships that
sail on the sea. Then Shortshanks said:

'Off and away, over fresh water and salt water, over high hills and
deep dales, and don't stop till you come to the king's palace.'

And lo! away went the ship as swiftly as a bird through the air, till
it came down a little below the king's palace, and there it stopped.
From the palace windows people had stood and seen Shortshanks come
sailing along, and they were all so amazed that they ran down to see
who it could be that came sailing in a ship through the air. But
while they were running down, Shortshanks had stepped out of his ship
and put it into his pocket again; for as soon as he stepped out of
it, it became as small as it was when he got it from the old woman.
So those who had run down from the palace saw no one but a ragged
little boy standing down there by the strand. Then the king asked
whence he came, but the boy said he didn't know, nor could he tell
them how he had got there. There he was, and that was all they could
get out of him; but he begged and prayed so prettily to get a place
in the king's palace; saying, if there was nothing else for him to
do, he could carry in wood and water for the kitchen-maid, that their
hearts were touched, and he got leave to stay there.

Now when Shortshanks came up to the palace, he saw how it was all
hung with black, both outside and in, wall and roof; so he asked the
kitchen-maid what all that mourning meant?

'Don't you know?' said the kitchen-maid; 'I'll soon tell you: the
king's daughter was promised away a long time ago to three ogres, and
next Thursday evening one of them is coming to fetch her. Ritter Red,
it is true, has given out that he is man enough to set her free, but
God knows if he can do it; and now you know why we are all in grief
and sorrow.'

So when Thursday evening came, Ritter Red led the Princess down to
the strand, for there it was she was to meet the Ogre, and he was to
stay by her there and watch; but he wasn't likely to do the Ogre much
harm, I reckon, for as soon as ever the Princess had sat down on the
strand, Ritter Red climbed up into a great tree that stood there, and
hid himself as well as he could among the boughs. The Princess begged
and prayed him not to leave her, but Ritter Red turned a deaf ear to
her, and all he said was:

'Tis better for one to lose life than for two.'

That was what Ritter Red said.

Meantime Shortshanks went to the kitchen-maid, and asked her so
prettily if he mightn't go down to the strand for a bit?

'And what should take you down to the strand?' asked the kitchen-
maid. 'You know you've no business there.'

'Oh, dear friend', said Shortshanks, 'do let me go? I should so like
to run down there and play a while with the other children; that I

'Well, well!' said the kitchen-maid, 'off with you; but don't let me
catch you staying there a bit over the time when the brose for supper
must be set on the fire, and the roast put on the spit; and let me
see; when you come back, mind you bring a good armful of wood with

Yes! Shortshanks would mind all that; so off he ran down to the

But just as he reached the spot where the Princess sat, what should
come but the Ogre tearing along in his ship, so that the wind roared
and howled after him. He was so tall and stout it was awful to look
on him, and he had five heads of his own.

'Fire and flame!' screamed the Ogre.

'Fire and flame yourself!' said Shortshanks.

'Can you fight?' roared the Ogre.

'If I can't, I can learn', said Shortshanks.

So the Ogre struck at him with a great thick iron club which he had
in his fist, and the earth and stones flew up five yards into the air
after the stroke.

'My!' said Shortshanks, 'that was something like a blow, but now you
shall see a stroke of mine.'

Then he grasped the sword he had got from the old crook-backed hag,
and cut at the Ogre; and away went all his five heads flying over the
sand. So when the Princess saw she was saved, she was so glad that
she scarce knew what to do, and she jumped and danced for joy. 'Come,
lie down, and sleep a little in my lap', she said to Shortshanks, and
as he slept she threw over him a tinsel robe.

Now you must know, it wasn't long before Ritter Red crept down from
the tree, as soon as he saw there was nothing to fear in the way, and
he went up to the Princess and threatened her until she promised to
say it was he who had saved her life; for if she wouldn't say so, he
said he would kill her on the spot. After that he cut out the Ogre's
lungs and tongue, and wrapped them up in his handkerchief, and so led
the Princess back to the palace, and whatever honours he had not
before, he got then, for the king did not know how to find honour
enough for him, and made him sit every day on his right hand at

As for Shortshanks, he went first of all on board the Ogre's ship,
and took a whole heap of gold and silver rings, as large as hoops,
and trotted off with them as hard as he could to the palace. When the
kitchen-maid set her eyes on all that gold and silver, she was quite
scared, and asked him:

'But dear, good, Shortshanks, wherever did you get all this from?'
for she was rather afraid he hadn't come rightly by it.

'Oh!' answered Shortshanks, 'I went home for a bit, and there I found
these hoops, which had fallen off some old pails of ours, so I laid
hands on them for you, if you must know.'

Well! when the kitchen-maid heard they were for her, she said nothing
more about the matter, but thanked Shortshanks, and they were good
friends again.

The next Thursday evening it was the same story over again; all were
in grief and trouble, but Ritter Red said, as he had saved the
Princess from one Ogre, it was hard if he couldn't save her from
another; and down he led her to the strand as brave as a lion. But he
didn't do this Ogre much harm either, for when the time came that
they looked for the Ogre, he said, as he had said before:

''Tis better one should lose life than two', and crept up into his
tree again. But Shortshanks begged the kitchen-maid to let him go
down to the strand for a little.

'Oh!' asked the kitchen-maid, 'and what business have you down

'Dear friend', said Shortshanks. 'do pray let me go. I long so to run
down and play a while with the other children.'

Well! the kitchen-maid gave him leave to go, but he must promise to
be back by the time the roast was turned, and he was to mind and
bring a big bundle of wood with him. So Shortshanks had scarce got
down to the strand, when the Ogre came tearing along in his ship, so
that the wind howled and roared around him; he was twice as big as
the other Ogre, and he had ten heads on his shoulders.

'Fire and flame!' screamed the Ogre.

Fire and flame yourself!' answered Shortshanks.

'Can you fight?' roared the Ogre.

'If I can't, I can learn', said Shortshanks.

Then the Ogre struck at him with his iron club; it was even bigger
than that which the first Ogre had, and the earth and stones flew up
ten yards into the air.

My!' said Shortshanks, 'that was something like a blow now you shall
see a stroke of mine.' Then he grasped his sword, and cut off all the
Ogre's ten heads at one blow, and sent them dancing away over the

Then the Princess said again to him, 'Lie down and sleep a little
while on my lap'; and while Shortshanks lay there, she threw over him
a silver robe. But as soon as Ritter Red marked that there was no
more danger in the way, he crept down from the tree, and threatened
the Princess, till she was forced to give her word, to say it was he
who had set her free; after that, he cut the lungs and tongue out of
the Ogre, and wrapped them in his handkerchief, and led the Princess
back to the palace. Then you may fancy what mirth and joy there was,
and the king was at his wits' end to know how to show Ritter Red
honour and favour enough.

This time, too, Shortshanks took a whole armful of gold and silver
rings from the Ogre's ship, and when he came back to the palace the
kitchen-maid clapped her hands in wonder, asking wherever he got all
that gold and silver from. But Shortshanks answered that he had been
home a while, and that the hoops had fallen off some old pails, so he
had laid his hands on them for his friend the kitchen-maid. So when
the third Thursday evening came, everything happened as it had
happened twice before; the whole palace was hung with black, and all
went about mourning and weeping. But Ritter Red said he couldn't see
what need they had to be so afraid; he had freed the Princess from
two Ogres, and he could very well free her from a third; so he led
her down to the strand, but when the time drew near for the Ogre to
come up, he crept into his tree again, and hid himself. The Princess
begged and prayed, but it was no good, for Ritter Red said again:

''Tis better that one should lose life than two.'

That evening, too, Shortshanks begged for leave to go down to the

'Oh!' said the kitchen-maid, 'what should take you down there?'

But he begged and prayed so, that at last he got leave to go, only he
had to promise to be back in the kitchen again when the roast was to
be turned. So off he went, but he had scarce reached the strand when
the Ogre came with the wind howling and roaring after him. He was
much, much bigger than either of the other two, and he had fifteen
heads on his shoulders.

'Fire and flame!' roared out the Ogre.

'Fire and flame yourself!' said Shortshanks.

'Can you fight?' screamed the Ogre.

'If I can't, I can learn', said Shortshanks.

'I'll soon teach you', screamed the Ogre, and struck at him with his
iron club, so that the earth and stones flew up fifteen yards into
the air.

'My!' said Shortshanks, 'that was something like a blow; but now you
shall see a stroke of mine.'

As he said that, he grasped his sword, and cut off all the Ogre's
fifteen heads at one blow, and sent them all dancing over the sand.

So the Princess was freed from all the Ogres, and she both blessed
and thanked Shortshanks for saving her life.

'Sleep now a while on my lap', she said; and he laid his head on her
lap, and while he slept, she threw over him a golden robe.

'But how shall we let it be known that it is you that have saved me?'
she asked, when he awoke.

'Oh, I'll soon tell you', answered Shortshanks. 'When Ritter Red has
led you home again, and given himself out as the man who has saved
you, you know he is to have you to wife, and half the kingdom. Now,
when they ask you, on your wedding-day, whom you will have to be your
cup-bearer, you must say, "I will have the ragged boy who does odd
jobs in the kitchen, and carries in wood and water for the kitchen-
maid." So when I am filling your cups, I will spill a drop on his
plate, but none on yours; then he will be wroth, and give me a blow,
and the same thing will happen three times. But the third time you
must mind and say, "Shame on you! to strike my heart's darling; he it
is who set me free, and him will I have!"'

After that Shortshanks ran back to the palace, as he had done before;
but he went first on board the Ogre's ship, and took a whole heap of
gold, silver, and precious stones, and out of them he gave the
kitchen-maid another great armful of gold and silver rings.

Well! as for Ritter Red, as soon as ever he saw that all risk was
over, he crept down from his tree, and threatened the Princess till
she was forced to promise she would say it was he who had saved her.
After that, he led her back to the palace, and all the honour shown
him before was nothing to what he got now, for the king thought of
nothing else than how he might best honour the man who had saved his
daughter from the three Ogres. As for his marrying her, and having
half the kingdom, that was a settled thing, the king said. But-when
the wedding-day came, the Princess begged she might have the ragged
boy who carried in wood and water for the cook to be her cup-bearer
at the bridal-feast.

'I can't think why you should want to bring that filthy beggar boy in
here', said Ritter Red; but the Princess had a will of her own, and
said she would have him, and no one else, to pour out her wine; so
she had her way at last. Now everything went as it had been agreed
between Shortshanks and the Princess; he spilled a drop on Ritter
Red's plate, but none on hers, and each time Ritter Red got wroth and
struck him. At the first blow Shortshank's rags fell off which he had
worn in the kitchen; at the second the tinsel robe fell off; and at
the third the silver robe; and then he stood in his golden robe, all
gleaming and glittering in the light. Then the Princess said:

'Shame on you! to strike my heart's darling! he has saved me, and him
will I have!'

Ritter Red cursed and swore it was he who had set her free; but the
king put in his word, and said:

'The man who saved my daughter must have some token to show for it.'

Yes! Ritter Red had something to show, and he ran off at once after
his handkerchief with the lungs and tongues in it, and Shortshanks
fetched all the gold and silver, and precious things, he had taken
out of the Ogres' ships. So each laid his tokens before the king, and
the king said:

'The man who has such precious stores of gold, and silver, and
diamonds, must have slain the Ogre, and spoiled his goods, for such
things are not to be had elsewhere.'

So Ritter Red was thrown into a pit full of snakes, and Shortshanks
was to have the Princess and half the kingdom.

One day Shortshanks and the king were out walking, and Shortshanks
asked the king if he hadn't any more children?

'Yes', said the king, 'I had another daughter; but the Ogre has taken
her away, because there was no one who could save her. Now you are
going to have one daughter, but if you can set the other free whom
the Ogre has carried off, you shall have her too with all my heart,
and the other half of my kingdom.'

'Well', said Shortshanks, 'I may as well try; but I must have an iron
cable, five hundred fathoms long, and five hundred men, and food for
them to last fifteen weeks, for I have a long voyage before me.'

Yes! the king said he should have them, but he was afraid there
wasn't a ship in his kingdom big enough to carry such a freight.

'Oh! if that's all', said Shortshanks, 'I have a ship of my own.'

With that he whipped out of his pocket the ship he had got from the
old hag.

The king laughed, and thought it was all a joke; but Shortshanks
begged him only to give him what he asked, and he should soon see if
it was a joke. So they got together what he wanted, and Shortshanks
bade him put the cable on board the ship first of all; but there was
no one man who could lift it, and there wasn't room for more than one
at a time round the tiny ship. Then Shortshanks took hold of the
cable by one end, and laid a link or two into the ship; and as he
threw in the links, the ship grew bigger and bigger, till at last it
got so big, that there was room enough and to spare in it for the
cable, and the five hundred men, and their food, and Shortshanks, and
all. Then he said to the ship:

'Off and away, over fresh water and salt water, over high hill and
deep dale, and don't stop till you come to where the king's daughter
is.' And away went the ship over land and sea, till the wind whistled
after it.

So when they had sailed far, far away, the ship stood stock still in
the middle of the sea.

'Ah!' said Shortshanks, 'now we have got so far; but how we are to
get back is another story.'

Then he took the cable and tied one end of it round his waist, and

'Now, I must go to the bottom, but when I give the cable a good tug,
and want to come up again, mind you all hoist away with a will, or
your lives will be lost as well as mine'; and with these words
overboard he leapt, and dived down, so that the yellow waves rose
round him in an eddy.

Well, he sank and sank, and at last he came to the bottom, and there
he saw a great rock rising up with a door in it, so he opened the
door and went in. When he got inside, he saw another Princess, who
sat and sewed, but when she saw Shortshanks, she clasped her hands
together and cried out:

'Now, God be thanked! you are the first Christian man I've set eyes
on since I came here.'

'Very good', said Shortshanks; 'but do you know I've come to fetch

'Oh!' she cried, 'you'll never fetch me; you'll never have that luck,
for if the Ogre sees you, he'll kill you on the spot.'

'I'm glad you spoke of the Ogre', said Shortshanks; ''twould be fine
fun to see him; whereabouts is he?'

Then the Princess told him the Ogre was out looking for some one who
could brew a hundred lasts of malt at one strike, for he was going to
give a great feast, and less drink wouldn't do.

'Well! I can do that', said Shortshanks.

'Ah!' said the Princess, 'if only the Ogre wasn't so hasty, I might
tell him about you; but he's so cross; I'm afraid he'll tear you to
pieces as soon as he comes in, without waiting to hear my story. Let
me see what is to be done. Oh! I have it; just hide yourself in the
side-room yonder, and let us take our chance.'

Well! Shortshanks did as she told him, and he had scarce crept into
the side-room before the Ogre came in.

'HUF!' said the Ogre; 'what a horrid smell of Christian man's blood!'

'Yes!' said the Princess, 'I know there is, for a bird flew over the
house with a Christian man's bone in his bill, and let it fall down
the chimney. I made all the haste I could to get it out again, but I
dare say it's that you smell.'

'Ah!' said the Ogre, 'like enough.'

Then the Princess asked the Ogre if he had laid hold of any one who
could brew a hundred lasts of malt at one strike?

'No', said the Ogre, 'I can't hear of any one who can do it.'

'Well', she said, 'a while ago, there was a chap in here who said he
could do it.'

'Just like you, with your wisdom!' said the Ogre; 'why did you let
him go away then, when you knew he was the very man I wanted?'

'Well then, I didn't let him go', said the Princess; 'but father's
temper is a little hot, so I hid him away in the side-room yonder;
but if father hasn't hit upon any one, here he is.'

'Well', said the Ogre, 'let him come in then.'

So Shortshanks came in, and the Ogre asked him if it were true that
he could brew a hundred lasts of malt at a strike?

'Yes it is', said Shortshanks.

'Twas good luck then to lay hands on you', said the Ogre, 'and now
fall to work this minute; but heaven help you if you don't brew the
ale strong enough.'

'Oh', said Shortshanks, 'never fear, it shall be stinging stuff'; and
with that he began to brew without more fuss, but all at once he
cried out:

'I must have more of you Ogres to help in the brewing, for these I
have got a'nt half strong enough.'

Well, he got more--so many, that there was a whole swarm of them, and
then the brewing went on bravely. Now when the sweet-wort was ready,
they were all eager to taste it, you may guess; first of all the
Ogre, and then all his kith and kin. But Shortshanks had brewed the
wort so strong that they all fell down dead, one after another, like
so many flies, as soon as they had tasted it. At last there wasn't
one of them left alive but one vile old hag, who lay bed-ridden in
the chimney-corner.

'Oh you poor old wretch', said Shortshanks, 'you may just as well
taste the wort along with the rest.'

So, he went and scooped up a little from the bottom of the copper in
a scoop, and gave her a drink, and so he was rid of the whole pack of

As he stood there and looked about him, he cast his eye on a great
chest, so he took it and filled it with gold and silver; then he tied
the cable round himself and the Princess and the chest, and gave it a
good tug, and his men pulled them all up, safe and sound. As soon as
ever Shortshanks was well up, he said to the ship,

'Off and away, over fresh water and salt water, high hill and deep
dale, and don't stop till you come to the king's palace'; and
straightway the ship held on her course, so that the yellow billows
foamed round her. When the people in the palace saw the ship sailing
up, they were not slow in meeting them with songs and music,
welcoming Shortshanks with great joy; but the gladdest of all was the
king, who had now got his other daughter back again.

But now Shortshanks was rather down-hearted, for you must know that
both the princesses wanted to have him, and he would have no other
than the one he had first saved, and she was the youngest. So he
walked up and down, and thought and thought what he should do to get
her, and yet do something to please her sister. Well, one day as he
was turning the thing over in his mind, it struck him if he only had
his brother King Sturdy, who was so like him that no one could tell
the one from the other, he would give up to him the other princess
and half the kingdom, for he thought one-half was quite enough.

Well, as soon as ever this came into his mind, he went outside the
palace and called on King Sturdy, but no one came. So he called a
second time a little louder, but still no one came. Then he called
out the third time 'King Sturdy' with all his might, and there stood
his brother before him. 'Didn't I say!' he said to Shortshanks,
'didn't I say you were not to call me except in your utmost need? and
here there is not so much as a gnat to do you any harm', and with
that he gave him such a box on the ear that Shortshanks tumbled head
over heels on the grass.

'Now shame on you to 'hit so hard!' said Shortshanks. 'First of all I
won a princess and half the kingdom, and then I won another princess
and the other half of the kingdom; and now I'm thinking to give you
one of the princesses and half the kingdom. Is there any rhyme or
reason in giving me such a box on the ear?'

When King Sturdy heard that, he begged his brother to forgive him,
and they were soon as good friends as ever again.

'Now', said Shortshanks, 'you know, we are so much alike, that no one
can tell the one from the other; so just change clothes with me and
go into the palace; then the princesses will think it is I that am
coming in, and the one that kisses you first you shall have for your
wife, and I will have the other for mine.'

And he said this because he knew well enough that the elder king's
daughter was the stronger, and so he could very well guess how things
would go. As for King Sturdy, he was willing enough, so he changed
clothes with his brother and went into the palace. But when he came
into the Princesses' bower they thought it was Shortshanks, and both
ran up to him to kiss him; but the elder, who was stronger and
bigger, pushed her sister on one side, and threw her arms round King
Sturdy's neck, and gave him a kiss; and so he got her for his wife,
and Shortshanks got the younger Princess. Then they made ready for
the wedding, and you may fancy what a grand one it was, when I tell
you, that the fame of it was noised abroad over seven kingdoms.


Once on a time there was a man whose name was Gudbrand; he had a farm
which lay far, far away upon a hill-side, and so they called him
Gudbrand on the Hill-side.

Now, you must know this man and his goodwife lived so happily
together, and understood one another so well, that all the husband
did the wife thought so well done there was nothing like it in the
world, and she was always glad whatever he turned his hand to. The
farm was their own land, and they had a hundred dollars lying at the
bottom of their chest, and two cows tethered up in a stall in their

So one day his wife said to Gudbrand:

'Do you know, dear, I think we ought to take one of our cows into
town, and sell it; that's what I think; for then we shall have some
money in hand, and such well-to-do people as we ought to have ready
money like the rest of the world. As for the hundred dollars at the
bottom of the chest yonder, we can't make a hole in them, and I'm
sure I don't know what we want with more than one cow. Besides, we
shall gain a little in another way, for then I shall get off with
only looking after one cow, instead of having, as now, to feed and
litter and water two.'

Well, Gudbrand thought his wife talked right good sense, so he set
off at once with the cow on his way to town to sell her; but when he
got to the town, there was no one who would buy his cow.

'Well! well! never mind', said Gudbrand, 'at the worst, I can only go
back home again with my cow. I've both stable and tether for her, I
should think, and the road is no farther out than in'; and with that
he began to toddle home with his cow.

But when he had gone a bit of the way, a man met him who had a horse
to sell, so Gudbrand thought 'twas better to have a horse than a cow,
so he swopped with the man. A little farther on he met a man walking
along and driving a fat pig before him, and he thought it better to
have a fat pig than a horse, so he swopped with the man. After that
he went a little farther, and a man met him with a goat; so he
thought it better to have a goat than a pig, and he swopped with the
man that owned the goat. Then he went on a good bit till he met a man
who had a sheep, and he swopped with him too, for he thought it
always better to have a sheep than a goat. After a while he met a man
with a goose, and he swopped away the sheep for the goose; and when
he had walked a long, long time, he met a man with a cock, and he
swopped with him, for he thought in this wise, ''Tis surely better to
have a cock than a goose.' Then he went on till the day was far
spent, and he began to get very hungry, so he sold the cock for a
shilling, and bought food with the money, for, thought Gudbrand on
the Hill-side, ''Tis always better to save one's life than to have a

After that he went on home till he reached his nearest neighbour's
house, where he turned in.

'Well', said the owner of the house, 'how did things go with you in

'Rather so so', said Gudbrand, 'I can't praise my luck, nor do I
blame it either', and with that he told the whole story from first to

'Ah!' said his friend, 'you'll get nicely called over the coals, that
one can see, when you get home to your wife. Heaven help you, I
wouldn't stand in your shoes for something.'

'Well!' said Gudbrand on the Hill-side, 'I think things might have
gone much worse with me; but now, whether I have done wrong or not, I
have so kind a goodwife, she never has a word to say against anything
that I do.'

'Oh!' answered his neighbour, 'I hear what you say, but I don't
believe it for all that.'

'Shall we lay a bet upon it?' asked Gudbrand on the Hill-side. 'I
have a hundred dollars at the bottom of my chest at home; will you
lay as many against them?'

Yes! the friend was ready to bet; so Gudbrand stayed there till
evening, when it began to get dark, and then they went together to
his house, and the neighbour was to stand outside the door and
listen, while the man went in to see his wife.

'Good evening!' said Gudbrand on the Hill-side.

'Good evening!' said the goodwife. 'Oh! is that you? now God be

Yes! it was he. So the wife asked how things had gone with him in

'Oh! only so so', answered Gudbrand; 'not much to brag of. When I got
to the town there was no one who would buy the cow, so you must know
I swopped it away for a horse.'

'For a horse', said his wife; 'well that is good of you; thanks with
all my heart. We are so well to do that we may drive to church, just
as well as other people; and if we choose to keep a horse we have a
right to get one, I should think. So run out, child, and put up the

'Ah!' said Gudbrand, 'but you see I've not got the horse after all;
for when I got a bit farther on the road, I swopped it away for a

'Think of that, now!' said the wife; 'you did just as I should have
done myself; a thousand thanks! Now I can have a bit of bacon in the
house to set before people when they come to see me, that I can. What
do we want with a horse? People would only say we had got so proud
that we couldn't walk to church. Go out, child, and put up the pig in
the sty.'

'But I've not got the pig either', said Gudbrand; 'for when I got a
little farther on, I swopped it away for a milch goat.'

'Bless us!' cried his wife, 'how well you manage everything! Now I
think it over, what should I do with a pig? People would only point
at us and say, "Yonder they eat up all they have got." No! now I have
got a goat, and I shall have milk and cheese, and keep the goat too.
Run out, child, and put up the goat.'

'Nay, but I haven't got the goat either', said Gudbrand, 'for a
little farther on I swopped it away, and got a fine sheep instead.'

'You don't say so!' cried his wife; 'why, you do everything to please
me, just as if I had been with you; what do we want with a goat? If I
had it I should lose half my time in climbing up the hills to get it
down. No! if I have a sheep, I shall have both wool and clothing, and
fresh meat in the house. Run out, child, and put up the sheep.'

'But I haven't got the sheep any more than the rest', said Gudbrand;
'for when I had gone a bit farther, I swopped it away for a goose.'

'Thank you! thank you! with all my heart', cried his wife; 'what
should I do with a sheep? I have no spinning-wheel, nor carding-comb,
nor should I care to worry myself with cutting, and shaping, and
sewing clothes. We can buy clothes now, as we have always done; and
now I shall have roast goose, which I have longed for so often; and,
besides, down to stuff my little pillow with. Run out, child, and put
up the goose.'

'Ah!' said Gudbrand, 'but I haven't the goose either; for when I had
gone a bit farther I swopped it away for a cock.'

'Dear me!' cried his wife, 'how you think of everything! just as I
should have done myself. A cock! think of that! why it's as good as
an eight-day clock, for every morning the cock crows at four o'clock,
and we shall be able to stir our stumps in good time. What should we
do with a goose? I don't know how to cook it; and as for my pillow, I
can stuff it with cotton-grass. Run out, child, and put up the cock.'

'But, after all, I haven't got the cock', said Gudbrand; 'for when I
had gone a bit farther, I got as hungry as a hunter, so I was forced
to sell the cock for a shilling, for fear I should starve.'

'Now, God be praised that you did so!' cried his wife; 'whatever you
do, you do it always just after my own heart. What should we do with
the cock? We are our own masters, I should think, and can lie a-bed
in the morning as long as we like. Heaven be thanked that I have got
you safe back again; you who do everything so well that I want
neither cock nor goose; neither pigs nor kine.'

Then Gudbrand opened the door and said; 'Well, what do you say now?
Have I won the hundred dollars?' and his neighbour was forced to
allow that he had.


Once on a time there was an old beggar-woman, who had gone out to
beg. She had a little lad with her, and when she had got her bag
full, she struck across the hills towards her own home. So when they
had gone a bit up the hill-side, they came upon a little blue belt,
which lay where two paths met, and the lad asked his mother's leave
to pick it up.

'No', said she, 'maybe there's witchcraft in it'; and so with threats
she forced him to follow her. But when they had gone a bit further,
the lad said he must turn aside a moment out of the road, and
meanwhile his mother sat down on a tree-stump. But the lad was a long
time gone, for as soon as he got so far into the wood, that the old
dame could not see him, he ran off to where the belt lay, took it up,
tied it round his waist, and lo! he felt as strong as if he could
lift the whole hill. When he got back, the old dame was in a great
rage, and wanted to know what he had been doing all that while. You
don't care how much time you waste, and yet you know the night is
drawing on, and we must cross the hill before it is dark!' So on they
tramped; but when they had got about half-way, the old dame grew
weary, and said she must rest under a bush.

'Dear mother', said the lad, 'mayn't I just go up to the top of this
high crag while you rest, and try if I can't see some sign of folk

Yes! he might do that; so when he had got to the top, he saw a light
shining from the north. So he ran down and told his mother.

'We must get on, mother; we are near a house, for I see a bright
light shining quite close to us in the north.' Then she rose and
shouldered her bag, and set off to see; but they hadn't gone far,
before there stood a steep spur of the hill, right across their path.

'Just as I thought!' said the old dame; 'now we can't go a step
farther; a pretty bed we shall have here!'

But the lad took the bag under one arm, and his mother under the
other, and ran straight up the steep crag with them.

'Now, don't you see! don't you see that we are close to a house!
don't you see the bright light?'

But the old dame said those were no Christian folk, but Trolls, for
she was at home in all that forest far and near, and knew there was
not a living soul in it, until you were well over the ridge, and had
come down on the other side. But they went on, and in a little while
they came to a great house which was all painted red.

'What's the good?' said the old dame, 'we daren't go in, for here the
Trolls live.'

'Don't say so; we must go in. There must be men where the lights
shine so', said the lad. So in he went, and his mother after him, but
he had scarce opened the door before she swooned away, for there she
saw a great stout man, at least twenty feet high, sitting on the

'Good evening, grandfather!' said the lad.

'Well, here I've sat three hundred years', said the man who sat on
the bench, 'and no one has ever come and called me grandfather
before.' Then the lad sat down by the man's side, and began to talk
to him as if they had been old friends.

'But what's come over your mother?' said the man, after they had
chattered a while. 'I think she swooned away; you had better look
after her.'

So the lad went and took hold of the old dame; and dragged her up the
hall along the floor. That brought her to herself, and she kicked,
and scratched, and flung herself about, and at last sat down upon a
heap of firewood in the corner; but she was so frightened that she
scarce dared to look one in the face.

After a while, the lad asked if they could spend the night there.

'Yes, to be sure', said the man.

So they went on talking again, but the lad soon got hungry, and
wanted to know if they could get food as well as lodging.

'Of course', said the man, 'that might be got too.' And after he had
sat a while longer, he rose up and threw six loads of dry pitch-pine
on the fire. This made the old hag still more afraid.

'Oh! now he's going to roast us alive', she said, in the corner where
she sat.

And when the wood had burned down to glowing embers, up got the man
and strode out of his house.

'Heaven bless and help us! what a stout heart you have got', said the
old dame; 'don't you see we have got amongst Trolls?'

'Stuff and nonsense!' said the lad; 'no harm if we have.'

In a little while back came the man with an ox so fat and big, the
lad had never seen its like, and he gave it one blow with his fist
under the ear, and down it fell dead on the floor. When that was
done, he took it up by all the four legs, and laid it on the glowing
embers, and turned it and twisted it about till it was burnt brown
outside. After that, he went to a cupboard and took out a great
silver dish, and laid the ox on it; and the dish was so big that none
of the ox hung over on any side. This he put on the table, and then
he went down into the cellar, and fetched a cask of wine, knocked out
the head, and put the cask on the table, together with two knives,
which were each six feet long. When this was done, he bade them go
and sit down to supper and eat. So they went, the lad first and the
old dame after, but she began to whimper and wail, and to wonder how
she should ever use such knives. But her son seized one, and began to
cut slices out of the thigh of the ox, which he placed before his
mother. And when they had eaten a bit, he took up the cask with both
hands, and lifted it down to the floor; then he told his mother to
come and drink, but it was still so high she couldn't reach up to it;
so he caught her up, and held her up to the edge of the cask while
she drank; as for himself, he clambered up and hung down like a cat
inside the cask while he drank. So when he had quenched his thirst,
he took up the cask and put it back on the table, and thanked the man
for the good meal, and told his mother to come and thank him too, and
a-feared though she was, she dared do nothing else but thank the man.
Then the lad sat down again alongside the man and began to gossip,
and after they had sat a while, the man said,

'Well! I must just go and get a bit of supper too'; and so he went to
the table and ate up the whole ox--hoofs, and horns, and all--and
drained the cask to the last drop, and then went back and sat on the

As for beds', he said, 'I don't know what's to be done. I've only got
one bed and a cradle; but we could get on pretty well if you would
sleep in the cradle, and then your mother might lie in the bed

'Thank you kindly, that'll do nicely', said the lad; and with that he
pulled off his clothes and lay down in the cradle; but, to tell you
the truth; it was quite as big as a four-poster. As for the old dame,
she had to follow the man who showed her to bed, though she was out
of her wits for fear.

'Well!' thought the lad to himself, ''twill never do to go to sleep
yet. I'd best lie awake and listen how things go as the night wears

So after a while the man began to talk to the old dame, and at last
he said:

'We two might live here so happily together, could we only be rid of
this son of yours.'

'But do you know how to settle him? Is that what you're thinking
of?' said she.

'Nothing easier', said he; at any rate he would try. He would just
say he wished the old dame would stay and keep house for him a day or
two, and then he would take the lad out with him up the hill to
quarry corner-stones, and roll down a great rock on him. All this the
lad lay and listened to.

Next day the Troll--for it was a Troll as clear as day--asked if the
old dame would stay and keep house for him a few days; and as the day
went on he took a great iron crowbar, and asked the lad if he had a
mind to go with him up the hill and quarry a few corner-stones. With
all his heart, he said, and went with him; and so, after they had
split a few stones, the Troll wanted him to go down below and look
after cracks in the rock; and while he was doing this, the Troll
worked away, and wearied himself with his crowbar till he moved a
whole crag out of its bed, which came rolling right down on the place
where the lad was; but he held it up till he could get on one side,
and then let it roll on.

'Oh!' said the lad to the Troll, 'now I see what you mean to do with
me. You want to crush me to death; so just go down yourself and look
after the cracks and refts in the rock, and I'll stand up above.'

The Troll did not dare to do otherwise than the lad bade him, and the
end of it was that the lad rolled down a great rock, which fell upon
the Troll, and broke one of his thighs.

'Well! you are in a sad plight', said the lad, as he strode down,
lifted up the rock, and set the man free. After that he had to put
him on his back and carry him home; so he ran with him as fast as a
horse, and shook him so that the Troll screamed and screeched as if a
knife were run into him. And when he got home, they had to put the
Troll to bed, and there he lay in a sad pickle.

When the night wore on the Troll began to talk to the old dame again,
and to wonder how ever they could be rid of the lad.

'Well', said the old dame, 'if you can't hit on a plan to get rid of
him, I'm sure I can't.'

'Let me see', said the Troll; 'I've got twelve lions in a garden; if
they could only get hold of the lad they'd soon tear him to pieces.'

So the old dame said it would be easy enough to get him there. She
would sham sick, and say she felt so poorly, nothing would do her any
good but lion's milk. All that the lad lay and listened to; and when
he got up in the morning his mother said she was worse than she
looked, and she thought she should never be right again unless she
could get some lion's milk.

'Then I'm afraid you'll be poorly a long time, mother', said the lad,
'for I'm sure I don't know where any is to be got.'

'Oh! if that be all', said the Troll, 'there's no lack of lion's
milk, if we only had the man to fetch it'; and then he went on to say
how his brother had a garden with twelve lions in it, and how the lad
might have the key if he had a mind to milk the lions. So the lad
took the key and a milking pail, and strode off; and when he unlocked
the gate and got into the garden, there stood all the twelve lions on
their hind-paws, rampant and roaring at him. But the lad laid hold of
the biggest, and led him about by the fore-paws, and dashed him
against stocks and stones, till there wasn't a bit of him left but
the two paws. So when the rest saw that, they were so afraid that
they crept up and lay at his feet like so many curs. After that they
followed him about wherever he went, and when he got home, they lay
down outside the house, with their fore-paws on the door sill.

'Now, mother, you'll soon be well', said the lad, when he went in,
'for here is the lion's milk.'

He had just milked a drop in the pail.

But the Troll, as he lay in bed, swore it was all a lie. He was sure
the lad was not the man to milk lions.

When the lad heard that, he forced the Troll to get out of bed, threw
open the door, and all the lions rose up and seized the Troll, and at
last the lad had to make them leave their hold.

That night the Troll began to talk to the old dame again.

'I'm sure I can't tell how to put this lad out of the way--he is so
awfully strong; can't you think of some way?

'No,' said the old dame, 'if you can't tell, I'm sure I can't.'

'Well!' said the Troll, 'I have two brothers in a castle; they are
twelve times as strong as I am, and that's why I was turned out and
had to put up with this farm. They hold that castle, and round it
there is an orchard with apples in it, and whoever eats those apples
sleeps for three days and three nights. If we could only get the lad
to go for the fruit, he wouldn't be able to keep from tasting the
apples, and as soon as ever he fell asleep my brothers would tear him
in pieces.'

The old dame said she would sham sick, and say she could never be
herself again unless she tasted those apples; for she had set her
heart on them.

All this the lad lay and listened to.

When the morning came the old dame was so poorly that she couldn't
utter a word but groans and sighs. She was sure she should never be
well again, unless she had some of those apples that grew in the
orchard near the castle where the man's brothers lived; only she had
no one to send for them.

Oh! the lad was ready to go that instant; but the eleven lions went
with him. So when he came to the orchard, he climbed up into the
apple tree and ate as many apples as he could, and he had scarce got
down before he fell into a deep sleep; but the lions all lay round
him in a ring. The third day came the Troll's brothers, but they did
not come in man's shape. They came snorting like man-eating steeds,
and wondered who it was that dared to be there, and said they would
tear him to pieces, so small that there should not be a bit of him
left. But up rose the lions and tore the Trolls into small pieces, so
that the place looked as if a dung heap had been tossed about it; and
when they had finished the Trolls they lay down again. The lad did
not wake till late in the afternoon, and when he got on his knees and
rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, he began to wonder what had been
going on, when he saw the marks of hoofs. But when he went towards
the castle, a maiden looked out of a window who had seen all that had
happened, and she said:

'You may thank your stars you weren't in that tussle, else you must
have lost your life.'

'What! I lose my life! No fear of that, I think,' said the lad.

So she begged him to come in, that she might talk with him, for she
hadn't seen a Christian soul ever since she came there. But when she
opened the door the lions wanted to go in too, but she got so
frightened that she began to scream, and so the lad let them lie
outside. Then the two talked and talked, and the lad asked how it
came that she, who was so lovely, could put up with those ugly
Trolls. She never wished it, she said; 'twas quite against her will.
They had seized her by force, and she was the King of Arabia's
daughter. So they talked on, and at last she asked him what he would
do; whether she should go back home, or whether he would have her to
wife. Of course he would have her, and she shouldn't go home.

After that they went round the castle, and at last they came to a
great hall, where the Trolls' two great swords hung high up on the

'I wonder if you are man enough to wield one of these,' said the

'Who?--I?' said the lad. ''Twould be a pretty thing if I couldn't
wield one of these.'

With that he put two or three chairs one a-top of the other, jumped
up, and touched the biggest sword with his finger tips, tossed it up
in the air, and caught it again by the hilt; leapt down, and at the
same time dealt such a blow with it on the floor that the whole hall
shook. After he had thus got down, he thrust the sword under his arm
and carried it about with him.

So, when they had lived a little while in the castle, the Princess
thought she ought to go home to her parents, and let them know what
had become of her; so they loaded a ship, and she set sail from the

After she had gone, and the lad had wandered about a little, he
called to mind that he had been sent on an errand thither, and had
come to fetch something for his mother's health; and though he said
to himself, 'After all, the old dame was not so bad but she's all
right by this time'--still he thought he ought to go and just see how
she was. So he went and found both the man and his mother quite fresh
and hearty.

'What wretches you are to live in this beggarly hut', said the lad.
'Come with me up to my castle, and you shall see what a fine fellow I

Well! they were both ready to go, and on the way his mother talked to
him, and asked, 'How it was he had got so strong?'

'If you must know, it came of that blue belt which lay on the hill-
side that time when you and I were out begging', said the lad.

'Have you got it still?' asked she.

'Yes'--he had. It was tied round his waist.

'Might she see it?'

'Yes, she might'; and with that he pulled open his waistcoat and
shirt to show it her.

Then she seized it with both hands, tore it off, and twisted it round
her fist.

'Now', she cried, 'what shall I do with such a wretch as you? I'll
just give you one blow, and dash your brains out!'

'Far too good a death for such a scamp', said the Troll. 'No! let's
first burn out his eyes, and then turn him adrift in a little boat.'

So they burned out his eyes and turned him adrift, in spite of his
prayers and tears; but, as the boat drifted, the lions swam after,
and at last they laid hold of it and dragged it ashore on an island,
and placed the lad under a fir tree. They caught game for him, and
they plucked the birds and made him a bed of down; but he was forced
to eat his meat raw, and he was blind. At last, one day the biggest
lion was chasing a hare which was blind, for it ran straight over
stock and stone, and the end was, it ran right up against a fir-stump
and tumbled head over heels across the field right into a spring; but
lo! when it came out of the spring it saw its way quite plain, and so
saved its life.

'So, so!' thought the lion, and went and dragged the lad to the
spring, and dipped him over head and ears in it. So, when he had got
his sight again, he went down to the shore and made signs to the
lions that they should all lie close together like a raft; then he
stood upon their backs while they swam with him to the mainland. When
he had reached the shore he went up into a birchen copse, and made
the lions lie quiet. Then he stole up to the castle, like a thief, to
see if he couldn't lay hands on his belt; and when he got to the
door, he peeped through the keyhole, and there he saw his belt
hanging up over a door in the kitchen. So he crept softly in across
the floor, for there was no one there; but as soon as he had got hold
of the belt, he began to kick and stamp about as though he were mad.
Just then his mother came rushing out.

'Dear heart, my darling little boy! do give me the belt again', she

'Thank you kindly', said he. 'Now you shall have the doom you passed
on me', and he fulfilled it on the spot. When the old Troll heard
that, he came in and begged and prayed so prettily that he might not
be smitten to death.

'Well, you may live', said the lad, 'but you shall undergo the same
punishment you gave me'; and so he burned out the Troll's eyes, and
turned him adrift on the sea in a little boat, but he had no lions to
follow him.

Now the lad was all alone, and he went about longing and longing for
the Princess; at last he could bear it no longer; he must set out to
seek her, his heart was so bent on having her. So he loaded
four ships and set sail for Arabia. For some time they had fair wind
and fine weather, but after that they lay wind-bound under a rocky
island. So the sailors went ashore and strolled about to spend the
time, and there they found a huge egg, almost as big as a little
house. So they began to knock it about with large stones, but, after
all, they couldn't crack the shell. Then the lad came up with his
sword to see what all the noise was about, and when he saw the egg,
he thought it a trifle to crack it; so he gave it one blow and the egg
split, and out came a chicken as big as an elephant.

'Now we have done wrong', said the lad; 'this can cost us all our
lives'; and then he asked his sailors if they were men enough to sail
to Arabia in four-and-twenty hours if they got a fine breeze. Yes!
they were good to do that, they said, so they set sail with a fine
breeze, and got to Arabia in three-and-twenty hours. As soon as they
landed, the lad ordered all the sailors to go and bury themselves up
to the eyes in a sandhill, so that they could barely see the ships.
The lad and the captains climbed a high crag and sate down under a

In a little while came a great bird flying with an island in its
claws, and let it fall down on the fleet, and sunk every ship. After
it had done that, it flew up to the sandhill and flapped its wings,
so that the wind nearly took off the heads of the sailors, and it
flew past the fir with such force that it turned the lad right about,
but he was ready with his sword, and gave the bird one blow and
brought it down dead.

After that he went to the town, where every one was glad because the
king had got his daughter back; but now the king had hidden her away
somewhere himself, and promised her hand as a reward to any one who
could find her, and this though she was betrothed before. Now as the
lad went along he met a man who had white bear-skins for sale, so he
bought one of the hides and put it on; and one of the captains was to
take an iron chain and lead him about, and so he went into the town
and began to play pranks. At last the news came to the king's ears,
that there never had been such fun in the town before, for here was a
white bear that danced and cut capers just as it was bid. So a
messenger came to say the bear must come to the castle at once, for
the king wanted to see its tricks. So when it got to the castle every
one was afraid, for such a beast they had never seen before; but the
captain said there was no danger unless they laughed at it. They
mustn't do that, else it would tear them to pieces. When the king
heard that, he warned all the court not to laugh. But while the fun
was going on, in came one of the king's maids, and began to laugh and
make game of the bear, and the bear flew at her and tore her, so that
there was scarce a rag of her left. Then all the court began to
bewail, and the captain most of all.

'Stuff and nonsense', said the king; 'she's only a maid, besides it's
more my affair than yours.'

When the show was over, it was late at night. 'It's no good your
going away, when it's so late', said the king. 'The bear had best
sleep here.'

'Perhaps it might sleep in the ingle by the kitchen fire', said the

'Nay', said the king, 'it shall sleep up here, and it shall have
pillows and cushions to sleep on.' So a whole heap of pillows and
cushions was brought, and the captain had a bed in a side-room.

But at midnight the king came with a lamp in his hand and a big bunch
of keys, and carried off the white bear. He passed along gallery
after gallery, through doors and rooms, up-stairs and down-stairs,
till at last he came to a pier which ran out into the sea. Then the
king began to pull and haul at posts and pins, this one up and that
one down, till at last a little house floated up to the water's edge.
There he kept his daughter, for she was so dear to him that he had
hid her, so that no one could find her out. He left the white bear
outside while he went in and told her how it had danced and played
its pranks. She said she was afraid, and dared not look at it; but he
talked her over, saying there was no danger, if she only wouldn't
laugh. So they brought the bear in, and locked the door, and it
danced and played its tricks; but just when the fun was at its
height, the Princess's maid began to laugh. Then the lad flew at her
and tore her to bits, and the Princess began to cry and sob.

'Stuff and nonsense', cried the king; 'all this fuss about a maid!
I'll get you just as good a one again. But now I think the bear had
best stay here till morning, for I don't care to have to go and lead
it along all those galleries and stairs at this time of night.'

'Well!' said the Princess, 'if it sleeps here, I'm sure I won't.'

But just then the bear curled himself up and lay down by the stove;
and it was settled at last that the Princess should sleep there too,
with a light burning. But as soon as the king was well gone, the
white bear came and begged her to undo his collar. The Princess was
so scared she almost swooned away; but she felt about till she found
the collar, and she had scarce undone it before the bear pulled his
head off. Then she knew him again, and was so glad there was no end
to her joy, and she wanted to tell her father at once that her
deliverer was come. But the lad would not hear of it; he would earn
her once more, he said. So in the morning when they heard the king
rattling at the posts outside, the lad drew on the hide, and lay down
by the stove.

'Well, has it lain still?' the king asked.

'I should think so', said the Princess; 'it hasn't so much as turned
or stretched itself once.'

When they got up to the castle again, the captain took the bear and
led it away, and then the lad threw off the hide, and went to a
tailor and ordered clothes fit for a prince; and when they were
fitted on he went to the king, and said he wanted to find the

'You're not the first who has wished the same thing', said the king,
'but they have all lost their lives; for if any one who tries can't
find her in four-and-twenty hours his life is forfeited.'

Yes; the lad knew all that. Still he wished to try, and if he
couldn't find her, 'twas his look-out. Now in the castle there was a
band that played sweet tunes, and there were fair maids to dance
with, and so the lad danced away. When twelve hours were gone, the
king said:

'I pity you with all my heart. You're so poor a hand at seeking; you
will surely lose your life.'

'Stuff!' said the lad; 'while there's life there's hope! So long as
there's breath in the body there's no fear; we have lots of time';
and so he went on dancing till there was only one hour left.

Then he said he would begin to search.

'It's no use now', said the king; 'time's up.'

'Light your lamp; out with your big bunch of keys', said the lad,
'and follow me whither I wish to go. There is still a whole hour

So the lad went the same way which the king had led him the night
before, and he bade the king unlock door after door till they came
down to the pier which ran out into the sea.

'It's all no use, I tell you', said the king; 'time's up, and this
will only lead you right out into the sea.'

'Still five minutes more', said the lad, as he pulled and pushed at
the posts and pins, and the house floated up.

'Now the time is up', bawled the king; 'come hither, headsman, and
take off his head.'

'Nay, nay!' said the lad; 'stop a bit, there are still three minutes!
Out with the key, and let me get into this house.'

But there stood the king and fumbled with his keys, to draw out the
time. At last he said he hadn't any key.

'Well, if you haven't, I _have_', said the lad, as he gave the
door such a kick that it flew to splinters inwards on the floor.

At the door the Princess met him, and told her father this was her
deliverer, on whom her heart was set. So she had him; and this was
how the beggar boy came to marry the king's daughter of Arabia.


One day the Bear met the Fox, who came slinking along with a string
of fish he had stolen.

'Whence did you get those from?' asked the Bear.

'Oh! my Lord Bruin, I've been out fishing and caught them', said the

So the Bear had a mind to learn to fish too, and bade the Fox tell
him how he was to set about it.

'Oh! it's an easy craft for you', answered the Fox, 'and soon learnt.
You've only got to go upon the ice, and cut a hole and stick your
tail down into it; and so you must go on holding it there as long as
you can. You're not to mind if your tail smarts a little; that's when
the fish bite. The longer you hold it there the more fish you'll get;
and then all at once out with it, with a cross pull sideways, and
with a strong pull too.'

Yes; the Bear did as the Fox had said, and held his tail a long, long
time down in the hole, till it was fast frozen in. Then he pulled it
out with a cross pull, and it snapped short off. That's why Bruin
goes about with a stumpy tail this very day.


Once on a time there was a man, and he had a wife. Now this couple
wanted to sow their fields, but they had neither seed-corn nor money
to buy it with. But they had a cow, and the man was to drive it into
town and sell it, to get money to buy corn for seed. But when it came
to the pinch, the wife dared not let her husband start for fear he
should spend the money in drink, so she set off herself with the cow,
and took besides a hen with her.

Close by the town she met a butcher, who asked:

'Will you sell that cow, Goody?'

'Yes, that I will', she answered.

'Well, what do you want for her?'

'Oh! I must have five shillings for the cow, but you shall have the
hen for ten pounds.'

'Very good!' said the man; 'I don't want the hen, and you'll soon get
it off your hands in the town, but I'll give you five shillings for
the cow.'

Well, she sold her cow for five shillings, but there was no one in
the town who would give ten pounds for a lean tough old hen, so she
went back to the butcher, and said:

'Do all I can, I can't get rid of this hen, master! you must take it
too, as you took the cow.'

'Well', said the butcher, 'come along and we'll see about it.' Then
he treated her both with meat and drink, and gave her so much brandy
that she lost her head, and didn't know what she was about, and fell
fast asleep. But while she slept, the butcher took and dipped her
into a tar-barrel, and then laid her down on a heap of feathers; and
when she woke up, she was feathered all over, and began to wonder
what had befallen her.

'Is it me, or is it not me? No, it can never be me; it must be some
great strange bird. But what shall I do to find out whether it is me
or not. Oh! I know how I shall be able to tell whether it is me; if
the calves come and lick me, and our dog Tray doesn't bark at me when
I get home, then it must be me, and no one else.'

Now, Tray, her dog, had scarce set his eyes on the strange monster
which came through the gate, than he set up such a barking, one would
have thought all the rogues and robbers in the world were in the

'Ah, deary me', said she, 'I thought so; it can't be me surely.' So
she went to the straw-yard, and the calves wouldn't lick her, when
they snuffed in the strong smell of tar. 'No, no!' she said, 'it
can't be me; it must be some strange outlandish bird.'

So she crept up on the roof of the safe and began to flap her arms,
as if they had been wings, and was just going to fly off.

When her husband saw all this, out he came with his rifle, and began
to take aim at her.

'Oh!' cried his wife, 'don't shoot, don't shoot! it is only me.'

'If it's you', said her husband, 'don't stand up there like a goat on
a house-top, but come down and let me hear what you have to say for

So she crawled down again, but she hadn't a shilling to shew, for the
crown she had got from the butcher she had thrown away in her
drunkenness. When her husband heard her story, he said, 'You're only
twice as silly as you were before', and he got so angry that he made
up his mind to go away from her altogether, and never to come back
till he had found three other Goodies as silly as his own.

So he toddled off, and when he had walked a little way he saw a
Goody, who was running in and out of a newly-built wooden cottage
with an empty sieve, and every time she ran in, she threw her apron
over the sieve just as if she had something in it, and when she got
in she turned it upside down on the floor.

'Why, Goody!' he asked, 'what are you doing?'

'Oh', she answered, 'I'm only carrying in a little sun; but I don't
know how it is, when I'm outside, I have the sun in my sieve, but
when I get inside, somehow or other I've thrown it away. But in my
old cottage I had plenty of sun, though I never carried in the least
bit. I only wish I knew some one who would bring the sun inside; I'd
give him three hundred dollars and welcome.'

'Have you got an axe?' asked the man. 'If you have, I'll soon bring
the sun inside.'

So he got an axe and cut windows in the cottage, for the carpenters
had forgotten them; then the sun shone in, and he got his three
hundred dollars.

'That was one of them', said the man to himself, as he went on his

After a while he passed by a house, out of which came an awful
screaming and bellowing; so he turned in and saw a Goody, who was
hard at work banging her husband across the head with a beetle, and
over his head she had drawn a shirt without any slit for the neck.

'Why, Goody!' he asked, 'will you beat your husband to death?'

'No', she said, 'I only must have a hole in this shirt for his neck
to come through.'

All the while the husband kept on screaming and calling out:

'Heaven help and comfort all who try on new shirts. If anyone would
teach my Goody another way of making a slit for the neck in my new
shirts, I'd give him three hundred dollars down and welcome.'

'I'll do it in the twinkling of an eye', said the man, 'if you'll
only give me a pair of scissors.'

So he got a pair of scissors, and snipped a hole in the neck, and
went off with his three hundred dollars.

'That was another of them', he said to himself, as he walked along.

Last of all, he came to a farm, where he made up his mind to rest a
bit. So when he went in, the mistress asked him:

'Whence do you come, master?'

'Oh!' said he, 'I come from Paradise Place', for that was the name of
his farm.

'From Paradise Place!' she cried, 'you don't say so! Why, then, you
must know my second husband Peter, who is dead and gone, God rest his

For you must know this Goody had been married three times, and as her
first and last husbands had been bad, she had made up her mind that
the second only was gone to heaven.

'Oh yes', said the man; 'I know him very well.'

'Well', asked the Goody, 'how do things go with him, poor dear soul?'

'Only middling', was the answer; 'he goes about begging from house to
house, and has neither food nor a rag to his back. As for money, he
hasn't a sixpence to bless himself with.'

'Mercy on me', cried out the Goody; 'he never ought to go about such
a figure when he left so much behind him. Why, there's a whole
cupboard full of old clothes up-stairs which belonged to him, besides
a great chest full of money yonder. Now, if you will take them with
you, you shall have a horse and cart to carry them. As for the horse,
he can keep it, and sit on the cart, and drive about from house to
house, and then he needn't trudge on foot.'

So the man got a whole cart-load of clothes, and a chest full of
shining dollars, and as much meat and drink as he would; and when he
had got all he wanted, he jumped into the cart and drove off.

'That was the third', he said to himself, as he went along. Now this
Goody's third husband was a little way off in a field ploughing, and
when he saw a strange man driving off from the farm with his horse
and cart, he went home and asked his wife who that was that had just
started with the black horse.

'Oh, do you mean him?' said the Goody; 'why, that was a man from
Paradise, who said that Peter, my dear second husband, who is dead
and gone, is in a sad plight, and that he goes from house to house
begging, and has neither clothes nor money; so I just sent him all
those old clothes he left behind him, and the old money box with the
dollars in it.' The man saw how the land lay in a trice, so he
saddled his horse and rode off from the farm at full gallop. It
wasn't long before he was close behind the man who sat and drove the
cart; but when the latter saw this he drove the cart into a thicket
by the side of the road, pulled out a handful of hair from the
horse's tail, jumped up on a little rise in the wood, where he tied
the hair fast to a birch, and then lay down under it, and began to
peer and stare up at the sky.

'Well, well, if I ever!' he said, as Peter the third came riding up.
'No! I never saw the like of this in all my born days!'

Then Peter stood and looked at him for some time, wondering what had
come over him; but at last he asked:

'What do you lie there staring at?'

'No', kept on the man, 'I never did see anything like it!--here is a
man going straight up to heaven on a black horse, and here you see
his horse's tail still hanging in this birch; and yonder up in the
sky you see the black horse.'

Peter looked first at the man, and then at the sky, and said:

'I see nothing but the horse hair in the birch; that's all I see!'

'Of course you can't where you stand', said the man; 'but just come
and lie down here, and stare straight up, and mind you don't take
your eyes off the sky; and then you shall see what you shall see.'

But while Peter the third lay and stared up at the sky till his eyes
filled with tears, the man from Paradise Place took his horse and
jumped on its back and rode off both with it and the cart and horse.

When the hoofs thundered along the road, Peter the third jumped up;
but he was so taken aback when he found the man had gone off with his
horse that he hadn't the sense to run after him till it was too late.

He was rather down in the mouth when he got home to his Goody; but
when she asked him what he had done with the horse, he said,

'I gave it to the man too for Peter the second, for I thought it
wasn't right he should sit in a cart, and scramble about from house
to house; so now he can sell the cart and buy himself a coach to
drive about in.'

'Thank you heartily!' said his wife; 'I never thought you could be so

Well, when the man reached home, who had got the six hundred dollars
and the cart-load of clothes and money, he saw that all his fields
were ploughed and sown, and the first thing he asked his wife was,
where she had got the seed-corn from.

'Oh', she said, 'I have always heard that what a man sows he shall
reap, so I sowed the salt which our friends the north-country men
laid up here with us, and if we only have rain I fancy it will come
up nicely.'

'Silly you are', said her husband, 'and silly you will be so long as
you live; but that is all one now, for the rest are not a bit wiser
than you. There is not a pin to choose between you.'


A sportsman went out once into a wood to shoot, and he met a Snipe.

'Dear friend', said the Snipe, 'don't shoot my children!'

'How shall I know your children?' asked the Sportsman; 'what are they

'Oh!' said the Snipe, 'mine are the prettiest children in all the

'Very well', said the Sportsman, 'I'll not shoot them; don't be

But for all that, when he came back, there he had a whole string of
young snipes in his hand which he had shot.

'Oh, oh!' said the Snipe, 'why did you shoot my children after all?'

'What! these your children!' said the Sportsman; 'why, I shot the
ugliest I could find, that I did!'

'Woe is me!' said the Snipe; 'don't you know that each one thinks his
own children the prettiest in the world?'


Once on a time there was a fisherman who lived close by a palace, and
fished for the king's table. One day when he was out fishing he just
caught nothing. Do what he would--however he tried with bait and
angle--there was never a sprat on his hook. But when the day was far
spent a head bobbed up out of the water, and said:

'If I may have what your wife bears under her girdle, you shall catch
fish enough.'

So the man answered boldly, 'Yes'; for he did not know that his wife
was going to have a child. After that, as was like enough, he caught
plenty of fish of all kinds. But when he got home at night and told
his story, how he had got all that fish, his wife fell a-weeping and
moaning, and was beside herself for the promise which her husband had
made, for she said, 'I bear a babe under my girdle.'

Well, the story soon spread, and came up to the castle; and when the
king heard the woman's grief and its cause, he sent down to say he
would take care of the child, and see if he couldn't save it.

So the months went on and on, and when her time came the fisher's
wife had a boy; so the king took it at once, and brought it up as his
own son, until the lad grew up. Then he begged leave one day to go
out fishing with his father; he had such a mind to go, he said. At
first the king wouldn't hear of it, but at last the lad had his way,
and went. So he and his father were out the whole day, and all went
right and well till they landed at night. Then the lad remembered he
had left his handkerchief, and went to look for it; but as soon as
ever he got into the boat, it began to move off with him at such
speed that the water roared under the bow, and all the lad could do
in rowing against it with the oars was no use; so he went and went
the whole night, and at last he came to a white strand, far far away.

There he went ashore, and when he had walked about a bit, an old, old
man met him, with a long white beard.

'What's the name of this land?' asked the lad.

'Whiteland', said the man, who went on to ask the lad whence he came,
and what he was going to do. So the lad told him all.

'Aye, aye!' said the man; 'now when you have walked a little farther
along the strand here, you'll come to three Princesses, whom you will
see standing in the earth up to their necks, with only their heads
out. Then the first--she is the eldest--will call out and beg you so
prettily to come and help her; and the second will do the same; to
neither of these shall you go; make haste past them, as if you
neither saw nor heard anything. But the third you shall go to, and do
what she asks. If you do this, you'll have good luck--that's all.'

When the lad came to the first Princess, she called out to him, and
begged him so prettily to come to her, but he passed on as though he
saw her not. In the same way he passed by the second; but to the
third he went straight up.

'If you'll do what I bid you', she said, 'you may have which of us
you please.'

'Yes'; he was willing enough; so she told him how three Trolls had
set them down in the earth there; but before they had lived in the
castle up among the trees.

'Now', she said, 'you must go into that castle, and let the Trolls
whip you each one night for each of us. If you can bear that, you'll
set us free.'

Well, the lad said he was ready to try.

'When you go in', the Princess went on to say, 'you'll see two lions
standing at the gate; but if you'll only go right in the middle
between them they'll do you no harm. Then go straight on into a
little dark room, and make your bed. Then the Troll will come to whip
you; but if you take the flask which hangs on the wall, and rub
yourself with the ointment that's in it, wherever his lash falls,
you'll be as sound as ever. Then grasp the sword that hangs by the
side of the flask and strike the Troll dead.'

Yes, he did as the Princess told him; he passed in the midst between
the lions, as if he hadn't seen them, and went straight into the
little room, and there he lay down to sleep. The first night there
came a Troll with three heads and three rods, and whipped the lad
soundly; but he stood it till the Troll was done; then he took the
flask and rubbed himself, and grasped the sword and slew the Troll.

So, when he went out next morning, the Princesses stood out of the
earth up to their waists.

The next night 'twas the same story over again, only this time the
Troll had six heads and six rods, and he whipped him far worse than
the first; but when he went out next morning, the Princesses stood
out of the earth as far as the knee. The third night there came a
Troll that had nine heads and nine rods, and he whipped and flogged
the lad so long that he fainted away; then the Troll took him up and
dashed him against the wall; but the shock brought down the flask,
which fell on the lad, burst, and spilled the ointment all over him,
and so he became as strong and sound as ever again. Then he wasn't
slow; he grasped the sword and slew the Troll; and next morning when
he went out of the castle the Princesses stood before him with all
their bodies out of the earth. So he took the youngest for his Queen,
and lived well and happily with her for some time.

At last he began to long to go home for a little to see his parents.
His Queen did not like this; but at last his heart was so set on it,
and he longed and longed so much, there was no holding him back, so
she said,

'One thing you must promise me. This--Only to do what your father
begs you to do, and not what your mother wishes'; and that he

Then she gave him a ring, which was of that kind that any one who
wore it might wish two wishes. So he wished himself home, and when he
got home his parents could not wonder enough what a grand man their
son had become.

Now, when he had been at home some days, his mother wished him to go
up to the palace and show the king what a fine fellow he had come to
be. But his father said:

'No! don't let him do that; if he does, we shan't have any more joy
of him this time.'

But it was no good, the mother begged and prayed so long, that at
last he went. So when he got up to the palace, he was far braver,
both in clothes and array, than the other king, who didn't quite like
this, and at last he said:

'All very fine; but here you can see my queen, what like she is, but
I can't see yours, that I can't. Do you know, I scarce think she's so
good-looking as mine.'

'Would to Heaven', said the young king, 'she were standing here, then
you'd see what she was like.' And that instant there she stood before

But she was very woeful, and said to him:

'Why did you not mind what I told you; and why did you not listen to
what your father said? Now, I must away home, and as for you, you
have had both your wishes.'

With that she knitted a ring among his hair with her name on it, and
wished herself home, and was off.

Then the young king was cut to the heart, and went, day out day in,
thinking and thinking how he should get back to his queen. 'I'll just
try', he thought, 'if I can't learn where Whiteland lies'; and so he
went out into the world to ask. So when he had gone a good way, he
came to a high hill, and there he met one who was lord over all the
beasts of the wood, for they all came home to him when he blew his
horn; so the king asked if he knew where Whiteland was?

'No, I don't', said he, 'but I'll ask my beasts.' Then he blew his
horn and called them, and asked if any of them knew where Whiteland
lay? but there was no beast that knew.

So the man gave him a pair of snow-shoes.

'When you get on these', he said, 'you'll come to my brother, who
lives hundreds of miles off; he is lord over all the birds of the
air. Ask him. When you reach his house, just turn the shoes, so that
the toes point this way, and they'll come home of themselves.' So
when the king reached the house, he turned the shoes as the lord of
the beasts had said, and away they went home of themselves.

So he asked again after Whiteland, and the man called all the birds
with a blast of his horn, and asked if any of them knew where
Whiteland lay; but none of the birds knew. Now, long, long after the
rest of the birds, came an old eagle, which had been away ten round
years, but he couldn't tell any more than the rest.

'Well! well!' said the man, 'I'll lend you a pair of snow-shoes, and
when you get them on, they'll carry you to my brother, who lives
hundreds of miles off; he's lord of all the fish in the sea; you'd
better ask him. But don't forget to turn the toes of the shoes this

The king was full of thanks, got on the shoes, and when he came to
the man who was lord over the fish of the sea, he turned the toes
round, and so off they went home like the other pair. After that, he
asked again after Whiteland.

So the man called the fish with a blast, but no fish could tell where
it lay. At last came an old pike, which they had great work to call
home, he was such a way off. So when they asked him he said:

'Know it! I should think I did. I've been cook there ten years, and
to-morrow I'm going there again; for now, the queen of Whiteland,
whose king is away, is going to wed another husband.'

'Well!' said the man, 'as this is so, I'll give you a bit of advice.
Hereabouts, on a moor, stand three brothers, and here they have stood
these hundred years, fighting about a hat, a cloak, and a pair of
boots. If any one has these three things he can make himself
invisible, and wish himself any where he pleases. You can tell them
you wish to try the things, and after that, you'll pass judgment
between them, whose they shall be.'

Yes! the king thanked the man, and went and did as he told him.

'What's all this?' he said to the brothers. 'Why do you stand here
fighting for ever and a day? Just let me try these things, and I'll
give judgment whose they shall be.'

They were very willing to do this; but as soon as he had got the hat,
cloak, and boots, he said:

'When we meet next time, I'll tell you my judgment', and with these
words he wished himself away.

So as he went along up in the air, he came up with the North Wind.

'Whither away?' roared the North Wind.

'To Whiteland', said the king; and then he told him all that had
befallen him.

'Ah', said the North Wind, 'you go faster than I--you do; for you can
go straight, while I have to puff and blow round every turn and
corner. But when you get there, just place yourself on the stairs by
the side of the door, and then I'll come storming in, as though I
were going to blow down the whole castle. And then when the prince,
who is to have your queen, comes out to see what's the matter, just
you take him by the collar and pitch him out of doors; then I'll look
after him, and see if I can't carry him off.'

Well--the king did as the North Wind said. He took his stand on the
stairs, and when the North Wind came, storming and roaring, and took
hold of the castle wall, so that it shook again, the prince came out
to see what was the matter. But as soon as ever he came, the king
caught him by the collar and pitched him out of doors, and then the
North Wind caught him up and carried him off. So when there was an
end of him, the king went into the castle, and at first his queen
didn't know him, he was so wan and thin, through wandering so far and
being so woeful; but when he shewed her the ring, she was as glad as
glad could be; and so the rightful wedding was held, and the fame of
it spread far and wide.


Once on a time a poor couple lived far, far away in a great wood. The
wife was brought to bed, and had a pretty girl, but they were so poor
they did not know how to get the babe christened, for they had no
money to pay the parson's fees. So one day the father went out to see
if he could find any one who was willing to stand for the child and
pay the fees; but though he walked about the whole day from one house
to another, and though all said they were willing enough to stand, no
one thought himself bound to pay the fees. Now, when he was going
home again, a lovely lady met him, dressed so fine, and who looked so
thoroughly good and kind; she offered to get the babe christened, but
after that, she said, she must keep it for her own. The husband
answered, he must first ask his wife what she wished to do; but when
he got home and told his story, the wife said, right out, 'No!'

Next day the man went out again, but no one would stand if they had
to pay the fees; and though he begged and prayed, he could get no
help. And again as he went home, towards evening the same lovely lady
met him, who looked so sweet and good, and she made him the same
offer. So he told his wife again how he had fared, and this time she
said, if he couldn't get any one to stand for his babe next day, they
must just let the lady have her way, since she seemed so kind and

The third day, the man went about, but he couldn't get any one to
stand; and so when, towards evening, he met the kind lady again, he
gave his word she should have the babe if she would only get it
christened at the font. So next morning she came to the place where
the man lived, followed by two men to stand godfathers, took the babe
and carried it to church, and there it was christened. After that she
took it to her own house, and there the little girl lived with her
several years, and her foster-mother was always kind and friendly to

Now, when the lassie had grown to be big enough to know right and
wrong, her foster-mother got ready to go on a journey. 'You have my
leave', she said, 'to go all over the house, except those rooms which
I shew you'; and when she had said that, away she went.

But the lassie could not forbear just to open one of the doors a
little bit, when--POP! out flew a Star.

When her foster-mother came back, she was very vexed to find that the
star had flown out, and she got very angry with her foster-daughter,
and threatened to send her away; but the child cried and begged so
hard that she got leave to stay.

Now, after a while, the foster-mother had to go on another journey;
and, before she went, she forbade the lassie to go into those two
rooms into which she had never been. She promised to beware; but when
she was left alone, she began to think and to wonder what there could
be in the second room, and at last she could not help setting the
door a little ajar, just to peep in, when--POP! out flew the Moon.

When her foster-mother came home and found the Moon let out, she was
very downcast, and said to the lassie she must go away, she could not
stay with her any longer. But the lassie wept so bitterly, and prayed
so heartily for forgiveness, that this time, too, she got leave to

Some time after, the foster-mother had to go away again, and she
charged the lassie, who by this time was half grown up, most
earnestly that she mustn't try to go into, or to peep into, the third
room. But when her foster-mother had been gone some time, and the
lassie was weary of walking about alone, all at once she thought,
'Dear me, what fun it would be just to peep a little into that third
room.' Then she thought she mustn't do it for her foster-mother's
sake; but when the bad thought came the second time she could hold
out no longer; come what might, she must and would look into the
room; so she just opened the door a tiny bit, when--POP! out flew the

But when her foster-mother came back and saw that the sun had flown
away, she was cut to the heart, and said, 'Now, there was no help for
it, the lassie must and should go away; she couldn't hear of her
staying any longer.' Now the lassie cried her eyes out, and begged
and prayed so prettily; but it was all no good.

'Nay! but I must punish you!' said her foster-mother; 'but you may
have your choice, either to be the loveliest woman in the world, and
not to be able to speak, or to keep your speech, and be the ugliest
of all women; but away from me you must go.'

And the lassie said, 'I would sooner be lovely.' So she became all at
once wondrous fair; but from that day forth she was dumb.

So, when she went away from her foster-mother, she walked and
wandered through a great, great wood; but the farther she went, the
farther off the end seemed to be. So, when the evening came on, she
clomb up into a tall tree, which grew over a spring, and there she
made herself up to sleep that night. Close by lay a castle, and from
that castle came early every morning a maid to draw water to make the
Prince's tea, from the spring over which the lassie was sitting. So
the maid looked down into the spring, saw the lovely face in the
water, and thought it was her own; then she flung away the pitcher,
and ran home; and, when she got there, she tossed up her head and
said, 'If I'm so pretty, I'm far too good to go and fetch water.'

So another maid had to go for the water, but the same thing happened
to her; she went back and said she was far too pretty and too good to
fetch water from the spring for the Prince. Then the Prince went
himself, for he had a mind to see what all this could mean. So, when
he reached the spring, he too saw the image in the water; but he
looked up at once, and became aware of the lovely lassie who sate
there up in the tree. Then he coaxed her down and took her home; and
at last made up his mind to have her for his queen, because she was
so lovely; but his mother, who was still alive, was against it.

'She can't speak', she said, 'and maybe she's a wicked witch.'

But the Prince could not be content till he got her. So after they
had lived together a while, the lassie was to have a child, and when
the child came to be born, the Prince set a strong watch round her;
but at the birth one and all fell into a deep sleep, and her foster-
mother came, cut the babe on its little finger, and smeared the
queen's mouth with the blood; and said:

'Now you shall be as grieved as I was when you let out the star'; and
with these words she carried off the babe.

But when those who were on the watch woke, they thought the queen had
eaten her own child, and the old queen was all for burning her alive,
but the Prince was so fond of her that at last he begged her off, but
he had hard work to set her free.

So the next time the young queen was to have a child, twice as strong
a watch was set as the first time, but the same thing happened over
again, only this time her foster-mother said:

'Now you shall be as grieved as I was when you let the moon out.'

And the queen begged and prayed, and wept; for when her foster-mother
was there, she could speak--but it was all no good.

And now the old queen said she must be burnt, but the Prince found
means to beg her off. But when the third child was to be born, a
watch was set three times as strong as the first, but just the same
thing happened. Her foster-mother came while the watch slept, took
the babe, and cut its little finger, and smeared the queen's mouth
with the blood, telling her now she should be as grieved as she had
been when the lassie let out the sun.

And now the Prince could not save her any longer. She must and should
be burnt. But just as they were leading her to the stake, all at once
they saw her foster-mother, who came with all three children--two she
led by the hand, and the third she had on her arm; and so she went up
to the young queen and said:

'Here are your children; now you shall have them again. I am the
Virgin Mary, and so grieved as you have been, so grieved was I when
you let out sun, and moon, and star. Now you have been punished for
what you did, and henceforth you shall have your speech.'

How glad the Queen and Prince now were, all may easily think, but no
one can tell. After that they were always happy; and from that day
even the Prince's mother was very fond of the young queen.


Once on a time there was a poor man who lived in a hut far away in
the wood, and got his living by shooting. He had an only daughter who
was very pretty, and as she had lost her mother when she was a child,
and was now half grown up, she said she would go out into the world
and earn her bread.

'Well, lassie!' said the father, 'true enough you have learnt nothing
here but how to pluck birds and roast them, but still you may as well
try to earn your bread.'

So the girl went off to seek a place, and when she had gone a little
while, she came to a palace. There she stayed and got a place, and
the queen liked her so well, that all the other maids got envious of
her. So they made up their minds to tell the queen how the lassie
said she was good to spin a pound of flax in four and twenty hours,
for you must know the queen was a great housewife, and thought much
of good work.

'Have you said this? then you shall do it', said the queen; 'but you
may have a little longer time if you choose.'

Now, the poor lassie dared not say she had never spun in all her
life, but she only begged for a room to herself. That she got, and
the wheel and the flax were brought up to her. There she sat sad and
weeping, and knew not how to help herself. She pulled the wheel this
way and that, and twisted and turned it about, but she made a poor
hand of it, for she had never even seen a spinning-wheel in her life.

But all at once, as she sat there, in came an old woman to her.

'What ails you, child?' she said.

'Ah!' said the lassie, with a deep sigh, 'it's no good to tell you,
for you'll never be able to help me.'

'Who knows?' said the old wife. 'May be I know how to help you after

Well, thought the lassie to herself, I may as well tell her, and so
she told her how her fellow-servants had given out that she was good
to spin a pound of flax in four and twenty hours.

'And here am I, wretch that I am, shut up to spin all that heap in a
day and a night, when I have never even seen a spinning-wheel in all
my born days.'

'Well, never mind, child', said the old woman. 'If you'll call me
Aunt on the happiest day of your life, I'll spin this flax for you,
and so you may just go away and lie down to sleep.'

Yes, the lassie was willing enough, and off she went and lay down to

Next morning when she awoke, there lay all the flax spun on the
table, and that so clean and fine, no one had ever seen such even and
pretty yarn. The queen was very glad to get such nice yarn, and she
set greater store by the lassie than ever. But the rest were still
more envious, and agreed to tell the queen how the lassie had said
she was good to weave the yarn she had spun in four and twenty hours.
So the queen said again, as she had said it she must do it; but if
she couldn't quite finish it in four and twenty hours, she wouldn't
be too hard upon her, she might have a little more time. This time,
too, the lassie dared not say No, but begged for a room to herself,
and then she would try. There she sat again, sobbing and crying, and
not knowing which way to turn, when another old woman came in and

'What ails you, child?'

At first the lassie wouldn't say, but at last she told her the whole
story of her grief.

'Well, well!' said the old wife, 'never mind. If you'll call me Aunt
on the happiest day of your life, I'll weave this yarn for you, and
so you may just be off, and lie down to sleep.'

Yes, the lassie was willing enough; so she went away and lay down to
sleep. When she awoke, there lay the piece of linen on the table,
woven so neat and close, no woof could be better. So the lassie took
the piece and ran down to the queen, who was very glad to get such
beautiful linen, and set greater store than ever by the lassie. But
as for the others, they grew still more bitter against her, and
thought of nothing but how to find out something to tell about her.

At last they told the queen the lassie had said she was good to make
up the piece of linen into shirts in four and twenty hours. Well, all
happened as before; the lassie dared not say she couldn't sew; so she
was shut up again in a room by herself, and there she sat in tears
and grief. But then another old wife came, who said she would sew the
shirts for her if she would call her Aunt on the happiest day of her
life. The lassie was only too glad to do this, and then she did as
the old wife told her, and went and lay down to sleep.

Next morning when she woke she found the piece of linen made up into
shirts, which lay on the table--and such beautiful work no one had
ever set eyes on; and more than that, the shirts were all marked and
ready for wear. So, when the queen saw the work, she was so glad at
the way in which it was sewn, that she clapped her hands, and said:

'Such sewing I never had, nor even saw in all my born days'; and
after that she was as fond of the lassie as of her own children; and
she said to her:

'Now, if you like to have the Prince for your husband, you shall have
him; for you will never need to hire work-women. You can sew, and
spin, and weave all yourself.'

So as the lassie was pretty, and the Prince was glad to have her, the
wedding soon came on. But just as the Prince was going to sit down
with the bride to the bridal feast, in came an ugly old hag with a
long nose--I'm sure it was three ells long.

So up got the bride and made a curtsey, and said: 'Good-day, Auntie.'

'_That_ Auntie to my bride?' said the Prince.

'Yes, she was!'

'Well, then, she'd better sit down with us to the feast', said the
Prince; but, to tell you the truth, both he and the rest thought she
was a loathsome woman to have next you.

But just then in came another ugly old hag. She had a back so humped
and broad, she had hard work to get through the door. Up jumped
the bride in a trice, and greeted her with 'Good-day, Auntie!'

And the Prince asked again if that were his bride's aunt. They both
said Yes; so the Prince said, if that were so, she too had better sit
down with them to the feast.

But they had scarce taken their seats before another ugly old hag
came in, with eyes as large as saucers, and so red and bleared, 'twas
gruesome to look at her. But up jumped the bride again, with her
'Good-day, Auntie', and her, too, the Prince asked to sit down; but I
can't say he was very glad, for he thought to himself: 'Heaven shield
me from such Aunties as my bride has!' So when he had sat awhile,
he could not keep his thoughts to himself any longer, but asked,

'But how, in all the world, can my bride, who is such a lovely
lassie, have such loathsome, misshapen Aunts?'

'I'll soon tell you how it is', said the first. 'I was just as good-
looking when I was her age; but the reason why I've got this long
nose is, because I was always kept sitting, and poking, and nodding
over my spinning, and so my nose got stretched and stretched, until
it got as long as you now see it.'

'And I', said the second, 'ever since I was young, I have sat and
scuttled backwards and forwards over my loom, and that's how my back
has got so broad and humped as you now see it.'

'And I', said the third, 'ever since I was little, I have sat, and
stared, and sewn, and sewn and stared, night and day; and that's why
my eyes have got so ugly and red, and now there's no help for them.'

'So! so! 'said the Prince, ''twas lucky I came to know this; for if
folk can get so ugly and loathsome by all this, then my bride shall
neither spin, nor weave, nor sew all her life long.'


[This is another of those tales in which the birds' notes must be

Once on a time the Cock, the Cuckoo, and the Black-cock bought a cow
between them. But when they came to share it, and couldn't agree
which should buy the others out, they settled that he who woke first
in the morning should have the cow.

So the Cock woke first.

  Now the cow's mine!
  Now the cow's mine!
  Hurrah! hurrah!

he crew, and as he crew, up awoke the Cuckoo.

  Half cow!
  Half cow!

sang the Cuckoo, and woke up the Black-cock.

  A like share, a like share;
  Dear friends, that's only fair!
  Saw see! See saw!

That's what the Black-cock said.

And now, can you tell me which of them ought to have the cow?


Once on a time there was a man whom they called Rich Peter the
Pedlar, because he used to travel about with a pack, and got so much
money, that he became quite rich. This Rich Peter had a daughter,
whom he held so dear that all who came to woo her, were sent about
their business, for no one was good enough for her, he thought. Well,
this went on and on, and at last no one came to woo her, and as years
rolled on, Peter began to be afraid that she would die an old maid.

'I wonder now', he said to his wife, 'why suitors no longer come to
woo our lass, who is so rich. 'Twould be odd if no body cared to have
her, for money she has, and more she shall have. I think I'd better
just go off to the Stargazers, and ask them whom she shall have, for
not a soul comes to us now.'

'But how', asked the wife, 'can the Stargazers answer that?'

'Can't they?' said Peter; 'why! they read all things in the stars.'

So he took with him a great bag of money, and set off to the
Stargazers, and asked them to be so good as to look at the stars, and
tell him the husband his daughter was to have. Well! the Stargazers
looked and looked, but they said they could see nothing about it. But
Peter begged them to look better, and to tell him the truth; he would
pay them well for it. So the Stargazers looked better, and at last
they said that his daughter's husband was to be the miller's son, who
was only just born, down at the mill below Rich Peter's house. Then
Peter gave the Stargazers a hundred dollars, and went home with the
answer he had got. Now, he thought it too good a joke that his
daughter should wed one so newly born, and of such poor estate. He
said this to his wife, and added:

'I wonder now if they would sell me the boy; then I'd soon put him
out of the way?'

'I daresay they would', said his wife; 'you know they're very poor.'

So Peter went down to the mill, and asked the miller's wife whether
she would sell him her son; she should get a heap of money for him?

'No!' that she wouldn't.

'Well!' said Peter, 'I'm sure I can't see why you shouldn't; you've
hard work enough as it is to keep hunger out of the house, and the
boy won't make it easier, I think.'

But the mother was so proud of the boy, she couldn't part with him.
So when the miller came home, Peter said the same thing to him, and
gave his word to pay six hundred dollars for the boy, so that they
might buy themselves a farm of their own, and not have to grind other
folks' corn, and to starve when they ran short of water. The miller
thought it was a good bargain, and he talked over his wife; and the
end was, that Rich Peter got the boy. The mother cried and sobbed,
but Peter comforted her by saying the boy should be well cared for;
only they had to promise never to ask after him, for he said he meant
to send him far away to other lands, so that he might learn foreign

So when Peter the Pedlar got home with the boy, he sent for a
carpenter, and had a little chest made, which was so tidy and neat,
'twas a joy to see. This he made water-tight with pitch, put the
miller's boy into it, locked it up, and threw it into the river,
where the stream carried it away.

'Now, I'm rid of him', thought Peter the Pedlar.

But when the chest had floated ever so far down the stream, it came
into the mill-head of another mill, and ran down and hampered the
shaft of the wheel, and stopped it. Out came the miller to see what
stopped the mill, found the chest and took it up. So when he came
home to dinner to his wife, he said:

'I wonder now whatever there can be inside this chest which came
floating down the mill-head, and stopped our mill to-day?'

'That we'll soon know', said his wife; 'see, there's the key in the
lock, just turn it.'

So they turned the key and opened the chest, and lo! there lay the
prettiest child you ever set eyes on. So they were both glad, and
were ready to keep the child, for they had no children of their own,
and were so old, they could now hope for none.

Now, after a little while, Peter the Pedlar began to wonder how it
was no one came to woo his daughter, who was so rich in land, and had
so much ready money. At last, when no one came, off he went again to
the Stargazers, and offered them a heap of money if they could tell
him whom his daughter was to have for a husband.

'Why! we have told you already, that she is to have the miller's son
down yonder', said the Stargazers.

'All very true, I daresay', said Peter the Pedlar; 'but it so happens
he's dead; but if you can tell me whom she's to have, I'll give you
two hundred dollars, and welcome.' So the Stargazers looked at the
stars again, but they got quite cross, and said,

'We told you before, and we tell you now, she is to have the miller's
son, whom you threw into the river, and wished to make an end of; for
he is alive, safe and sound, in such and such a mill, far down the

So Peter the Pedlar gave them two hundred dollars for this news, and
thought how he could best be rid of the miller's son. The first thing
Peter did when he got home, was to set off for the mill. By that time
the boy was so big that he had been confirmed, and went about the
mill and helped the miller. Such a pretty boy you never saw.

'Can't you spare me that lad yonder?' said Peter the Pedlar to the

'No! that I can't', he answered; 'I've brought him up as my own son,
and he has turned out so well, that now he's a great help and aid to
me in the mill, for I'm getting old and past work.'

'It's just the same with me', said Peter the Pedlar; 'that's why I'd
like to have some one to learn my trade. Now, if you'll give him up
to me, I'll give you six hundred dollars, and then you can buy
yourself a farm, and live in peace and quiet the rest of your days.'

Yes! when the miller heard that, he let Peter the Pedlar have the

Then the two travelled about far and wide, with their packs and
wares, till they came to an inn, which lay by the edge of a great
wood. From this Peter the Pedlar sent the lad home with a letter to
his wife, for the way was not so long if you took the short cut
across the wood, and told him to tell her she was to be sure and do
what was written in the letter as quickly as she could. But it was
written in the letter, that she was to have a great pile made there
and then, fire it, and cast the miller's son into it. If she didn't
do that, he'd burn her alive himself when he came back. So the lad
set off with the letter across the wood, and when evening came on he
reached a house far, far away in the wood, into which he went; but
inside he found no one. In one of the rooms was a bed ready made, so
he threw himself across it and fell asleep. The letter he had stuck
into his hat-band, and the hat he pulled over his face. So when the
robbers came back--for in that house twelve robbers had their abode--
and saw the lad lying on the bed, they began to wonder who he could
be, and one of them took the letter and broke it open, and read it.

'Ho! ho!' said he; 'this comes from Peter the Pedlar, does it? Now
we'll play him a trick. It would be a pity if the old niggard made an
end of such a pretty lad.'

So the robbers wrote another letter to Peter the Pedlar's wife, and
fastened it under his hat-band while he slept; and in that they
wrote, that as soon as ever she got it she was to make a wedding for
her daughter and the miller's boy, and give them horses and cattle,
and household stuff, and set them up for themselves in the farm which
he had under the hill; and if he didn't find all this done by the
time he came back, she'd smart for it--that was all.

Next day the robbers let the lad go, and when he came home and
delivered the letter, he said he was to greet her kindly from Peter
the Pedlar, and to say that she was to carry out what was written in
the letter as soon as ever she could.

'You must have behaved very well then', said Peter, the Pedlar's wife
to the miller's boy, 'if he can write so about you now, for when you
set off, he was so mad against you, he didn't know how to put you out
of the way.' So she married them on the spot, and set them up for
themselves, with horses, and cattle, and household stuff, in the farm
up under the hill.

No long time after Peter the Pedlar came home, and the first thing he
asked was, if she had done what he had written in his letter.

'Aye! aye!' she said; 'I thought it rather odd, but I dared not do
anything else'; and so Peter asked where his daughter was.

'Why, you know well enough where she is', said his wife. 'Where
should she be but up at the farm under the hill, as you wrote in the

So when Peter the Pedlar came to hear the whole story, and came to
see the letter, he got so angry he was ready to burst with rage, and
off he ran up to the farm to the young couple.

'It's all very well, my son, to say you have got my daughter', he
said to the miller's lad; 'but if you wish to keep her, you must go
to the Dragon of Deepferry, and get me three feathers out of his
tail; for he who has them may get anything he chooses.'

'But where shall I find him?' said his son-in-law.

'I'm sure I can't tell', said Peter the Pedlar; 'that's your look-
out, not mine.'

So the lad set off with a stout heart, and after he had walked some
way, he came to a king's palace.

'Here I'll just step in and ask', he said to himself; 'for such great
folk know more about the world than others, and perhaps I may here
learn the way to the Dragon.'

Then the King asked him whence he came, and whither he was going?

'Oh!' said the lad, 'I'm going to the Dragon of Deepferry to pluck
three feathers out of his tail, if I only knew where to find him.'

'You must take luck with you, then', said the King, 'for I never
heard of any one who came back from that search. But if you find him,
just ask him from me why I can't get clear water in my well; for I've
dug it out time after time, and still I can't get a drop of clear

'Yes, I'll be sure to ask him', said the lad. So he lived on the fat
of the land at the palace, and got money and food when he left it.

At even he came to another king's palace; and when he went into the
kitchen, the King came out of the parlour, and asked whence he came,
and on what errand he was bound?

'Oh!' said the lad, 'I'm going to the Dragon of Deepferry to pluck
three feathers out of his tail.'

'Then you must take luck with you', said the King, 'for I never yet
heard that any one came back who went to look for him. But if you
find him, be so good as to ask him from me where my daughter is, who
has been lost so many years. I have hunted for her, and had her name
given out in every church in the country, but no one can tell me
anything about her.'

'Yes, I'll mind and do that', said the lad; and in that palace too he
lived on the best, and when he went away he got both money and food.

So when evening drew on again he came at last to another king's
palace. Here who should come out into the kitchen but the Queen, and
she asked him whence he came, and on what errand he was bound?

'I'm going to the Dragon of Deepferry to pluck three feathers out of
his tail', said the lad.

'Then you'd better take a good piece of luck with you', said the
Queen, 'for I never heard of any one that came back from him. But if
you find him, just be good enough to ask him from me where I shall
find my gold keys which I have lost.'

'Yes! I'll be sure to ask him', said the lad.

Well! when he left the palace he came to a great broad river; and
while he stood there and wondered whether he should cross it, or go
down along the bank, an old hunchbacked man came up, and asked
whither he was going?

'Oh, I'm going to the Dragon of Deepferry, if I could only find any
one to tell where I can find him.'

'I can tell you that', said the man; 'for here I go backwards and
forwards, and carry those over who are going to see him. He lives
just across, and when you climb the hill you'll see his castle; but
mind, if you come to talk with him, to ask him from me how long I'm
to stop here and carry folk over.'

'I'll be sure to ask him', said the lad.

So the man took him on his back and carried him over the river; and
when he climbed the hill, he saw the castle, and went in.

He found there a Princess who lived with the Dragon all alone; and
she said:

'But, dear friend, how can Christian folk dare to come hither? None
have been here since I came, and you'd best be off as fast as you
can; for as soon as the Dragon comes home, he'll smell you out, and
gobble you up in a trice, and that'll make me so unhappy.'

'Nay! nay!' said the lad; 'I can't go before I've got three feathers
out of his tail.'

'You'll never get them', said, the Princess; 'you'd best be off.'

But the lad wouldn't go; he would wait for the Dragon, and get the
feathers, and an answer to all his questions.

'Well, since you're so steadfast I'll see what I can do to help you',
said the Princess; 'just try to lift that sword that hangs on the
wall yonder.'

No; the lad could not even stir it.

'I thought so', said the Princess; 'but just take a drink out of this

So when the lad had sat a while, he was to try again; and then he
could just stir it.

'Well! you must take another drink', said the Princess, 'and then you
may as well tell me your errand hither.'

So he took another drink, and then he told her how one king had
begged him to ask the Dragon, how it was he couldn't get clean water
in his well?--how another had bidden him ask, what had become of his
daughter, who had been lost many years since?--and how a queen had
begged him to ask the Dragon what had become of her gold keys?--and,
last of all, how the ferryman had begged him to ask the Dragon, how
long he was to stop there and carry folk over?? When he had done his
story, and took hold of the sword, he could lift it; and when he had
taken another drink, he could brandish it.

'Now', said the Princess, 'if you don't want the Dragon to make an
end of you, you'd best creep under the bed, for night is drawing on,
and he'll soon be home, and then you must lie as still as you can,
lest he should find you out. And when we have gone to bed, I'll ask
him, but you must keep your ears open, and snap up all that he says;
and under the bed you must lie till all is still, and the Dragon
falls asleep; then creep out softly and seize the sword, and as soon
as he rises, look out to hew off his head at one stroke, and at the
same time pluck out the three feathers, for else he'll tear them out
himself, that no one may get any good by them.'

So the lad crept under the bed, and the Dragon came home.

'What a smell of Christian flesh', said the Dragon.

'Oh, yes', said the Princess, 'a raven came flying with a man's bone
in his bill, and perched on the roof. No doubt it's that you smell.'

'So it is, I daresay', said the Dragon.

So the Princess served supper; and after they had eaten, they went to
bed. But after they had lain a while, the Princess began to toss
about, and all at once she started up and said:

'Ah! ah!'

'What's the matter?' said the Dragon.

'Oh', said the Princess, 'I can't rest at all, and I've had such a
strange dream.'

'What did you dream about? Let's hear?' said the Dragon.

'I thought a king came here, and asked you what he must do to get
clear water in his well.'

'Oh', said the Dragon, 'he might just as well have found that out for
himself. If he dug the well out, and took out the old rotten stump
which lies at the bottom, he'd get clean water, fast enough. But be
still now, and don't dream any more.'

When the Princess had lain a while, she began to toss about, and at
last she started up with her

'Ah! ah!'

'What's the matter now?' said the Dragon.

'Oh! I can't get any rest at all, and I've had such a strange dream',
said the Princess.

'Why, you seem full of dreams to-night', said the Dragon what was
your dream now?'

'I thought a king came here, and asked you what had become of his
daughter who had been lost many years since', said the Princess.

'Why, you are she', said the Dragon; 'but he'll never set eyes on you
again. But now, do pray be still, and let me get some rest, and don't
let's have any more dreams, else I'll break your ribs.'

Well, the Princess hadn't lain much longer before she began to toss
about again. At last she started up with her

'Ah! ah!'

'What! Are you at it again?' said the Dragon. 'What's the matter
now?' for he was wild and sleep-surly, so that he was ready to fly to

'Oh, don't be angry', said the Princess; 'but I've had such a strange

'The deuce take your dreams', roared the Dragon; 'what did you dream
this time?'

I thought a queen came here, who asked you to tell her where she
would find her gold keys, which she has lost.'

'Oh', said the Dragon, 'she'll find them soon enough if she looks
among the bushes where she lay that time she wots of. But do now let
me have no more dreams, but sleep in peace.'

So they slept a while; but then the Princess was just as restless as
ever, and at last she screamed out:

'Ah! ah!'

'You'll never behave till I break your neck', said the Dragon, who
was now so wroth that sparks of fire flew out of his eyes. 'What's
the matter now?'

'Oh, don't be so angry', said the Princess; 'I can't bear that; but
I've had such a strange dream.'

'Bless me!' said the Dragon, 'if I ever heard the like of these
dreams--there's no end to them. And pray, what did you dream now?'

'I thought the ferryman down at the ferry came and asked how long he
was to stop there and carry folk over', said the Princess.

'The dull fool!' said the Dragon; 'he'd soon be free, if he chose.
When any one comes who wants to go across, he has only to take and
throw him into the river, and say, "Now, carry folk over yourself
till someone sets you free." But now, pray let's have an end of these
dreams, else I'll lead you a pretty dance.'

So the Princess let him sleep on. But as soon as all was still, and
the miller's lad heard that the Dragon snored, he crept out. Before
it was light the Dragon rose; but he had scarce set both his feet on
the floor before the lad cut off his head, and plucked three feathers
out of his tail. Then came great joy, and both the lad and the
Princess took as much gold, and silver, and money, and precious
things as they could carry; and when they came down to the ford, they
so puzzled the ferryman with all they had to tell, that he quite
forgot to ask what the Dragon had said about him till they had got

'Halloa, you sir', he said, as they were going off, 'did you ask the
Dragon what I begged you to ask?'

'Yes I did', said the lad, 'and he said, "When any one comes and
wants to go over, you must throw him into the midst of the river, and
say, 'Now, carry folk over yourself till some one comes to set you
free,'" and then you'll be free.'

'Ah, bad luck to you', said the ferryman; 'had you told me that
before, you might have set me free yourself.'

So, when they got to the first palace, the Queen asked if he had
spoken to the Dragon about her gold keys? 'Yes', said the lad, and
whispered in the Queen's ear, 'he said you must look among the bushes
where you lay the day you wot of.'

'Hush! hush! Don't say a word', said the Queen, and gave the lad a
hundred dollars.

When they came to the second palace, the King asked if he had spoken
to the Dragon of what he begged him?

'Yes', said the lad, 'I did; and see, here is your daughter.'

At that the King was so glad, he would gladly have given the Princess
to the miller's lad to wife, and half the kingdom beside; but as he
was married already, he gave him two hundred dollars, and coaches and
horses, and as much gold and silver as he could carry away.

When he came to the third King's palace, out came the King and asked
if he had asked the Dragon of what he begged him?

'Yes', said the lad, 'and he said you must dig out the well, and take
out the rotten old stump which lies at the bottom, and then you'll
get plenty of clear water.'

Then the King gave him three hundred dollars, and he set out home;
but he was so loaded with gold and silver, and so grandly clothed,
that it gleamed and glistened from him, and he was now far richer
than Peter the Pedlar.

When Peter got the feathers he hadn't a word more to say against the
wedding; but when he saw all that wealth, he asked if there was much
still left at the Dragon's castle.

'Yes, I should think so', said the lad; 'there was much more than I
could carry with me--so much, that you might load many horses with
it; and if you choose to go, you may be sure there'll be enough for

So his son-in-law told him the way so clearly, that he hadn't to ask
it of any one.

'But the horses', said the lad 'you'd best leave this side the river;
for the old ferryman, he'll carry you over safe enough.'

So Peter set off, and took with him great store of food and many
horses; but these he left behind him on the river's brink, as the lad
had said. And the old ferryman took him upon his back; but when they
had come a bit out into the stream, he cast him into the midst of the
river, and said,

'Now you may go backwards and forwards here, and carry folk over till
you are set free.'

And unless some one has set him free, there goes Rich Peter the
Pedlar backwards and forwards, and carries folk across this very day.


In those days when our Lord and St Peter wandered upon earth, they
came once to an old wife's house, who sat baking. Her name was
Gertrude, and she had a red mutch on her head. They had walked a long
way, and were both hungry, and our Lord begged hard for a bannock to
stay their hunger. Yes, they should have it. So she took a little
tiny piece of dough and rolled it out, but as she rolled it, it grew
and grew till it covered the whole griddle.

Nay, that was too big; they couldn't have that. So she took a tinier
bit still; but when that was rolled out, it covered the whole griddle
just the same, and that bannock was too big, she said; they couldn't
have that either.

The third time she took a still tinier bit--so tiny you could scarce
see it; but it was the same story over again--the bannock was too

'Well', said Gertrude, 'I can't give you anything; you must just go
without, for all these bannocks are too big.'

Then our Lord waxed wroth, and said:

'Since you loved me so little as to grudge me a morsel of food, you
shall have this punishment: you shall become a bird, and seek your
food between bark and bole; and never get a drop to drink save when
it rains.'

He had scarce said the last word before she was turned into a great
black woodpecker, or Gertrude's bird, and flew from her kneading-
trough right up the chimney; and till this very day you may see her
flying about, with her red mutch on her head, and her body all black,
because of the soot in the chimney; and so she hacks and taps away at
the trees for her food, and whistles when rain is coming, for she is
ever athirst, and then she looks for a drop to cool her tongue.


Once on a time there was a poor man who had three sons. When he died,
the two elder set off into the world to try their luck, but the
youngest they wouldn't have with them at any price.

'As for you', they said, 'you're fit for nothing but to sit and poke
about in the ashes.'

So the two went off and got places at a palace--the one under the
coachman, and the other under the gardener. But Boots, he set off
too, and took with him a great kneading-trough, which was the only
thing his parents left behind them, but which the other two would not
bother themselves with. It was heavy to carry, but he did not like to
leave it behind, and so, after he had trudged a bit, he too came to
the palace, and asked for a place. So they told him they did not want
him, but he begged so prettily that at last he got leave to be in the
kitchen, and carry in wood and water for the kitchen maid. He was
quick and ready, and in a little while every one liked him; but the
two others were dull, and so they got more kicks than halfpence, and
grew quite envious of Boots, when they saw how much better he got on.

Just opposite the palace, across a lake, lived a Troll, who had seven
silver ducks which swam on the lake, so that they could be seen from
the palace. These the king had often longed for; and so the two elder
brothers told the coachman:

'If our brother only chose, he has said he could easily get the king
those seven silver ducks.'

You may fancy it wasn't long before the coachman told this to the
king; and the king called Boots before him, and said:

'Your brothers say you can get me the silver ducks; so now go and
fetch them.'

'I'm sure I never thought or said anything of the kind,' said the

'You did say so, and you shall fetch them', said the king, who would
hold his own.

'Well! well!' said the lad; 'needs must, I suppose; but give me a
bushel of rye, and a bushel of wheat, and I'll try what I can do.'

So he got the rye and the wheat, and put them into the kneading-
trough he had brought with him from home, got in, and rowed across
the lake. When he reached the other side he began to walk along the
shore, and to sprinkle and strew the grain, and at last he coaxed the
ducks into his kneading-trough, and rowed back as fast as ever he

When he got half over, the Troll came out of his house, and set eyes
on him.

'HALLOA!' roared out the Troll; 'is it you that has gone off with my
seven silver ducks.'

'AYE! AYE!' said the lad.

'Shall you be back soon?' asked the Troll.

'Very likely', said the lad.

So when he got back to the king, with the seven silver ducks, he was
more liked than ever, and even the king was pleased to say, 'Well
done!' But at this his brothers grew more and more spiteful and
envious; and so they went and told the coachman that their brother
had said, if he chose, he was man enough to get the king the Troll's
bed-quilt, which had a gold patch and a silver patch, and a silver
patch and a gold patch; and this time, too, the coachman was not slow
in telling all this to the king. So the king said to the lad, how his
brothers had said he was good to steal the Troll's bed-quilt, with
gold and silver patches; so now he must go and do it, or lose his

Boots answered, he had never thought or said any such thing; but when
he found there was no help for it, he begged for three days to think
over the matter.

So when the three days were gone, he rowed over in his kneading-
trough, and went spying about. At last he saw those in the Troll's
cave come out and hang the quilt out to air, and as soon as ever they
had gone back into the face of the rock, Boots pulled the quilt down,
and rowed away with it as fast as he could.

And when he was half across, out came the Troll and set eyes on him,
and roared out:

'HALLOA! Is it you who took my seven silver ducks?'

'AYE! AYE!' said the lad.

'And now, have you taken my bed-quilt, with silver patches and gold
patches, and gold patches and silver patches?'

'Aye! aye!' said the lad.

'Shall you come back again?'

'Very likely', said the lad.

But when he got back with the gold and silver patchwork quilt, every
one was fonder of him than ever, and he was made the king's body-

At this, the other two were still more vexed, and, to be revenged,
they went and told the coachman:

'Now, our brother has said, he is man enough to get the king the gold
harp which the Troll has, and that harp is of such a kind, that all
who listen when it is played grow glad, however sad they may be.'

Yes! the coachman went and told the king, and he said to the lad:

'If you have said this, you shall do it. If you do it, you shall have
the Princess and half the kingdom. If you don't, you shall lose your

'I'm sure I never thought or said anything of the kind', said the
lad; 'but if there's no help for it, I may as well try; but I must
have six days to think about it.'

Yes! he might have six days, but when they were over, he must set

Then he took a tenpenny nail, a birch-pin, and a waxen taper-end in
his pocket, and rowed across, and walked up and down before the
Troll's cave, looking stealthily about him. So when the Troll came
out, he saw him at once.

'HO, HO!' roared the Troll; 'is it you who took my seven silver

'AYE! AYE!' said the lad.

'And it is you who took my bed-quilt, with the gold and silver
patches?' asked the Troll.

'Aye! aye!' said the lad.

So the Troll caught hold of him at once, and took him off into the
cave in the face of the rock.

'Now, daughter dear', said the Troll, 'I've caught the fellow who
stole the silver ducks and my bed-quilt, with gold and silver
patches; put him into the fattening coop, and when he's fat, we'll
kill him, and make a feast for our friends.'

She was willing enough, and put him at once into the fattening coop,
and there he stayed eight days, fed on the best, both in meat and
drink, and as much as he could cram. So, when the eight days were
over, the Troll said to his daughter to go down and cut him in his
little finger, that they might see if he were fat. Down she came to
the coop.

'Out with your little finger!' she said.

But Boots stuck out his tenpenny nail, and she cut at it.

'Nay! nay! he's as hard as iron still', said the Troll's daughter,
when she got back to her father; 'we can't take him yet.'

After another eight days the same thing happened, and this time Boots
stuck out his birchen pin.

'Well, he's a little better', she said, when she got back to the
Troll; 'but still he'll be as hard as wood to chew.'

But when another eight days were gone, the Troll told his daughter to
go down and see if he wasn't fat now.

'Out with your little finger', said the Troll's daughter, when she
reached the coop, and this time Boots stuck out the taper end.

'Now he'll do nicely', she said.

'Will he?' said the Troll. 'Well, then, I'll just set off and ask the
guests; meantime you must kill him, and roast half and boil half.'

So when the Troll had been gone a little while, the daughter began to
sharpen a great long knife.

'Is that what you're going to kill me with?' asked the lad.

'Yes it is,' said she.

'But it isn't sharp', said the lad. 'Just let me sharpen it for you,
and then you'll find it easier work to kill me.'

So she let him have the knife, and he began to rub and sharpen it on
the whetstone.

'Just let me try it on one of your hair plaits; I think it's about
right now.'

So he got leave to do that; but at the same time that he grasped the
plait of hair, he pulled back her head, and at one gash, cut off the
Troll's daughter's head; and half of her he roasted and half of her
he boiled, and served it all up.

After that he dressed himself in her clothes, and sat away in the

So when the Troll came home with his guests, he called out to his
daughter--for he thought all the time it was his daughter--to come
and take a snack.

'No, thank you', said the lad, 'I don't care for food, I'm so sad and

'Oh!' said the Troll, 'if that's all, you know the cure; take the
harp, and play a tune on it.'

'Yes!' said the lad; 'but where has it got to; I can't find it.'

'Why, you know well enough', said the Troll; 'you used it last; where
should it be but over the door yonder?

The lad did not wait to be told twice; he took down the harp, and
went in and out playing tunes; but, all at once he shoved off the
kneading-trough, jumped into it, and rowed off, so that the foam flew
around the trough.

After a while the Troll thought his daughter was a long while gone,
and went out to see what ailed her; and then he saw the lad in the
trough, far, far out on the lake.

'HALLOA! Is it you', he roared, 'that took my seven silver ducks?'

'AYE, AYE!' said the lad.

'Is it you that took my bed-quilt, with the gold and silver patches.'

'Yes!' said the lad.

'And now you have taken off my gold harp?' screamed the Troll.

'Yes!' said the lad; 'I've got it, sure enough.'

'And haven't I eaten you up after all, then?'

'No, no! 'twas your own daughter you ate', answered the lad.

But when the Troll heard that, he was so sorry, he burst; and then
Boots rowed back, and took a whole heap of gold and silver with him,
as much as the trough could carry. And so, when he came to the palace
with the gold harp, he got the Princess and half the kingdom, as the
king had promised him; and, as for his brothers, he treated them
well, for he thought they had only wished his good when they said
what they had said.


Once on a time there was a widower, who had a housekeeper named
Grizzel, who set her mutch at him and teazed him early and late to
marry her. At last the man got so weary of her, he was at his wits'
end to know how to get rid of her. So it fell on a day, between hay
time and harvest, the two went out to pull hemp. Grizzel's head was
full of her good looks and her handiness, and she worked away at the
hemp till she grew giddy from the strong smell of the ripe seed, and
at last down she fell flat, fast asleep among the hemp. While she
slept, her master got a pair of scissors and cut her skirts short all
round, and then he rubbed her all over, face and all, first with
tallow and then with soot, till she looked worse than the Deil
himself. So, when Grizzel woke and saw how ugly she was, she didn't
know herself.

'Can this be me now?' said Grizzel. 'Nay, nay! it can never be me. So
ugly have I never been; it's surely the Deil himself?'

Well! that she might really know the truth, she went off and knocked
at her master's door, and asked,

'Is your Girzie at home the day, father?'

'Aye, aye, our Girzie is at home safe enough', said the man, who
wanted to be rid of her.

'Well, well!' she said to herself, 'then I can't be his Grizzel,' and
stole away; and right glad the man was, I can tell you.

So, when she had walked a bit she came to a great wood, where she met
two thieves. 'The very men for my money, thought Grizzel, 'since I am
the Deil, thieves are just fit fellows for me.'

But the thieves were not of the same mind, not they. As soon as they
set eyes on her, they took to their heels as fast as they could, for
they thought the Evil One was come to catch them. But it was no good,
for Grizzel was long-legged and swift-footed, and she came up with
them before they knew where they were.

'If you're going out to steal, I'll go with you and help,' said
Grizzel, 'for I know the whole country round.' So, when the thieves
heard that, they thought they had found a good mate, and were no
longer afraid.

Then they said they were off to steal a sheep, only they didn't know
where to lay hold of one.

'Oh!' said Grizzel, 'that's a small matter, for I was maid with a
farmer ever so long out in the wood yonder, and I could find the
sheepfold, though the night were dark as pitch.'

The thieves thought that grand; and when they came to the place,
Grizzel was to go into the fold and turn out the sheep, and they were
to lay hold on it. Now, the sheepfold lay close to the wall of the
room where the farmer slept, so Grizzel crept quite softly and
carefully into the fold; but, as soon as she got in, she began to
scream out to the thieves, 'Will you have a wether or a ewe? here are
lots to choose from.'

'Hush, hush!' said the thieves, 'only take one that is fine and fat.'

'Yes, yes! but will you have a wether or a ewe? will you have a
wether or a ewe? for here are lots to choose from,' screeched

'Hush, hush!' said the thieves again, 'only take one that's fine and
fat; it's all the same to us whether it's a wether or a ewe.'

'Yes!' screeched Grizzel, who stuck to her own; 'but will you have a
wether or a ewe--a wether or a ewe? here are lots to choose from.'

'Hold your jaw!' said the thieves, 'and take a fine fat one, wether
or ewe, its all one to us.'

But just then out came the farmer in his shirt, who had been waked by
all this clatter, and wanted to see what was going on. So the thieves
took to their heels, and Grizzel after them, upsetting the farmer in
her flight.

'Stop, boys! stop, boys!' she screamed; but the farmer, who had only
seen the black monster, grew so afraid that he could scarce stand,
for he thought it was the Deil himself that had been in his
sheepfold. The only help he knew was, to go indoors and wake up the
whole house; and they all sat down to read and pray, for he had heard
that was the way to send the Deil about his business.

Now the next night the thieves said they must go and steal a fat
goose, and Grizzel was to shew them the way. So when they came to the
goosepen, Grizzel was to go in and turn one out, for she knew the
ways of the place, and the thieves were to stand outside and catch
it. But as soon as ever she got in she began to scream,

'Will you have goose or gander? you may pick and choose here.'

'Hush hush! choose only a fine fat one', said the thieves. 'Yes, yes!
but will you have goose or gander--goose or gander? you may pick and
choose', screamed Grizzel.

'Hush, hush! only choose one that's fine and fat, and it's all one to
us whether it's goose or gander; but do hold your jaw', said they.

But while Grizzel and the thieves were settling this, one of the
geese began to cackle, and then another cackled, and then the whole
flock cackled and hissed, and out came the farmer to see what all the
noise could mean, and away went the thieves, and Grizzel after them,
at full speed, and the farmer thought again it was the black Deil
flying away; for long-legged she was, and she had no skirts to hamper

'Stop a bit, boys!' she kept on screaming, 'you might as well have
said whether you would have goose or gander?'

But they had no time to stop, they thought; and, as for the farmer,
he began to read and pray with all his house, small and great, for
they thought it was the Deil, and no mistake.

Now, the third day, when night came, the thieves and Grizzel were so
hungry they did not know what to do; so they made up their minds to
go to the larder of a rich farmer, who lived by the wood's side, and
steal some food. Well, off they went, but the thieves did not dare to
venture themselves, so Grizzel was to go up the steps which led to
the larder, and hand the food out, and the others were to stand below
and take it from her. So when Grizzel got inside, she saw the larder
was full of all sorts of things, fresh meat and salt, and sausages
and oat-cake. The thieves begged her to be still, and just throw out
something to eat, and to bear in mind how badly they had fated for
two nights. But Grizzel stuck to her own, that she did.

'Will you have fresh meat, or salt, or sausages, or oat-cake? Just
look, what a lovely oat-cake', she bawled out enough to split your
head. 'You may have what you please, for here's plenty to choose

But the farmer woke with all this noise, and ran out to see what it
all meant. As for the thieves, off they ran as fast as they could;
but while the farmer was looking after them, down came Grizzel so
black and ugly.

'Stop a bit! stop a bit, boys!' she bellowed; 'you may have what you
please, for there's plenty to choose from.'

And when the farmer saw that ugly monster, he, too, thought the Deil
was loose, for he had heard what had happened to his neighbours the
evenings before; so he began both to read and pray, and every one in
the whole parish began to read and pray, for they knew that you could
read the Deil away.

The next evening was Saturday evening, and the thieves wanted to
steal a fat ram for their Sunday dinner; and well they might, for
they had fasted many days. But they wouldn't have Grizzel with them
at any price. She brought bad luck with her jaw, they said; so while
Grizzel was walking about waiting for them on Sunday morning, she got
so awfully hungry--for she had fasted for three days--that she went
into a turnip-field and pulled up some turnips to eat. But when
the farmer who owned the turnips rose, he felt uneasy in his
mind, and thought he would just go and take a look at his turnips on
the Sunday morning. So he pulled on his trousers and went across the
moss which lay under the hill, where the turnip-field lay. But when
he got to the bottom of the field, he saw something black walking
about in the field and pulling up his turnips, and he soon made up
his mind that it was the Deil. So away he ran home as fast as he
could, and said the Deil was among the turnips. This frightened the
whole house out of their wits, and they agreed they'd best send for
the priest, and get him to bind the Deil.

'That won't do', said the goodwife, 'this is Sunday morning, you'll
never get the priest to come; for either he'll be in bed; or if he's
up, he'll be learning his sermon by heart.'

'Oh!' said the goodman, 'never fear; I'll promise him a fat loin of
veal, and then he'll come fast enough.'

So off he went to the priest's house; but when he got there, sure
enough, the priest was still in bed. The maid begged the farmer to
walk into the parlour while she ran up to the priest, and said:

'Farmer So-and-So was downstairs, and wished to have a word with

Well! when the priest heard that such a worthy man was downstairs, he
got up at once, and came down just as he was, in his slippers and

So the goodman told his errand; how the Deil was loose in his turnip-
field; and if the priest would only come and bind him, he would send
him a fat loin of veal. Yes! the priest was willing enough, and
called out to his groom, to saddle his horse, while he dressed

'Nay, nay, father!' said the man; 'the Deil won't wait for us long,
and no one knows where we shall find him again if we miss him now.
Your reverence must come at once, just as you are.'

So the priest followed him just as he was, with the clothes he stood
in, and went off in his nightcap and slippers. But when they got to
the moss, it was so moist the priest couldn't cross it in his
slippers. So the goodman took him on his back to carry him over. On
they went, the goodman picking his way from one clump to the other,
till they got to the middle; then Grizzel caught sight of them, and
thought it was the thieves bringing the ram.

'Is he fat?' she screamed; 'is he fat?' and made such a noise that
the wood rang again.

'The Deil knows if he's fat or lean; I'm sure I don't', said the
goodman, when he heard that; 'but, if you want to know, you had
better come yourself and see.'

And then he got so afraid, he threw the priest head over heels into
the soft wet moss, and took to his legs; and if the priest hasn't got
out, why I dare say he's lying there still.


Once on a time there was an old widow who had one son; and as she was
poorly and weak, her son had to go up into the safe to fetch meal for
cooking; but when he got outside the safe, and was just going down
the steps, there came the North Wind, puffing and blowing, caught up
the meal, and so away with it through the air. Then the lad went back
into the safe for more; but when he came out again on the steps, if
the North Wind didn't come again and carry off the meal with a puff;
and, more than that, he did so the third time. At this the lad got
very angry; and as he thought it hard that the North Wind should
behave so, he thought he'd just look him up, and ask him to give up
his meal.

So off he went, but the way was long, and he walked and walked; but
at last he came to the North Wind's house.

'Good day!' said the lad, 'and thank you for coming to see us

'GOOD DAY!' answered the North Wind, for his voice was loud and

'Oh!' answered the lad, 'I only wished to ask you to be so good as to
let me have back that meal you took from me on the safe steps, for we
haven't much to live on; and if you're to go on snapping up the
morsel we have, there'll be nothing for it but to starve.'

'I haven't got your meal', said the North Wind; 'but if you are in
such need, I'll give you a cloth which will get you everything you
want, if you only say, 'Cloth, spread yourself, and serve up all kind
of good dishes!'

With this the lad was well content. But, as the way was so long he
couldn't get home in one day, so he turned into an inn on the way;
and when they were going to sit down to supper he laid the cloth on a
table which stood in the corner, and said,

'Cloth, spread yourself, and serve up all kinds of good dishes.'

He had scarce said so before the cloth did as it was bid; and all who
stood by thought it a fine thing, but most of all the landlady. So,
when all were fast asleep at dead of night, she took the lad's cloth,
and put another in its stead, just like the one he had got from the
North Wind, but which couldn't so much as serve up a bit of dry

So, when the lad woke, he took his cloth and went off with it, and
that day he got home to his mother.

'Now', said he, 'I've been to the North Wind's house, and a good
fellow he is, for he gave me this cloth, and when I only say to it,
"Cloth, spread yourself, and serve up all kind of good dishes", I get
any sort of food I please.'

'All very true, I daresay,' said his mother; 'but seeing is
believing, and I shan't believe it till I see it.'

So the lad made haste, drew out a table, laid the cloth on it, and

'Cloth, spread yourself, and serve up all kind of good dishes.'

But never a bit of dry bread did the cloth serve up.

'Well', said the lad, 'there's no help for it but to go to the North
Wind again'; and away he went.

So he came to where the North Wind lived late in the afternoon.

'Good evening!' said the lad.

'Good evening!' said the North Wind.

'I want my rights for that meal of ours which you took', said the
lad; 'for, as for that cloth I got, it isn't worth a penny.'

'I've got no meal', said the North Wind; 'but yonder you have a ram
which coins nothing but golden ducats as soon as you say to it:

"Rain, ram! make money!"

So the lad thought this a fine thing; but as it was too far to get
home that day, he turned in for the night to the same inn where he
had slept before.

Before he called for anything, he tried the truth of what the North
Wind had said of the ram, and found it all right; but, when the
landlord saw that, he thought it was a famous ram, and, when the lad
had fallen asleep, he took another which couldn't coin gold ducats,
and changed the two.

Next morning off went the lad; and when he got home to his mother, he

'After all, the North Wind is a jolly fellow; for now he has given me
a ram which can coin golden ducats if I only say "Ram, ram! make

'All very true, I daresay', said his mother; 'but I shan't believe
any such stuff until I see the ducats made.'

'Ram, ram! make money!' said the lad; but if the Ram made anything,
it wasn't money.

So the lad went back again to the North Wind, and blew him up, and
said the ram was worth nothing, and he must have his rights for the

'Well!' said the North Wind; 'I've nothing else to give you but that
old stick in the corner yonder; but it's a stick of that kind that if
you say:

'"Stick, stick! lay on!" it lays on till you say: "Stick, stick! now

So, as the way was long, the lad turned in this night too to the
landlord; but as he could pretty well guess how things stood as to
the cloth and the ram, he lay down at once on the bench and began to
snore, as if he were asleep.

Now the landlord, who easily saw that the stick must be worth
something, hunted up one which was like it, and when he heard the lad
snore, was going to change the two; but, just as the landlord was
about to take it, the lad bawled out: 'Stick, stick! lay on!'

So the stick began to beat the landlord, till he jumped over chairs,
and tables, and benches, and yelled and roared:

'Oh my! oh my! bid the stick be still, else it will beat me to death,
and you shall have back both your cloth and our ram.'

When the lad thought the landlord had got enough, he said:

'Stick, stick! now stop!'

Then he took the cloth and put it into his pocket, and went home with
his stick in his hand, leading the ram by a cord round its horns; and
so he got his rights for the meal he had lost.


Once upon a time there was a poor cottager who had three sons. He had
nothing to leave them when he died, and no money with which to put
them to any trade, so that he did not know what to make of them. At
last he said he would give them leave to take to anything each liked
best, and to go whithersoever they pleased, and he would go with them
a bit of the way; and so he did. He went with them till they came to
a place where three roads met, and there each of them chose a road,
and their father bade them good-bye, and went back home. I have never
heard tell what became of the two elder; but as for the youngest, he
went both far and long, as you shall hear.

So it fell out one night as he was going through a great wood that
such bad weather overtook him. It blew, and sleeted, and drove so
that he could scarce keep his eyes open; and in a trice, before he
knew how it was, he got bewildered, and could not find either road or
path. But as he went on and on, at last he saw a glimmering of light
far far off in the wood. So he thought he would try and get to the
light; and after a time he did reach it. There it was in a large
house, and the fire was blazing so brightly inside, that he could
tell the folk had not yet gone to bed; so he went in and saw an old
dame bustling about and minding the house.

'Good evening!' said the youth.

'Good evening!' said the old dame.

'Hutetu! it's such foul weather out of doors to-night', said he.

'So it is', said she.

'Can I get leave to have a bed and shelter here to-night?' asked the

'You'll get no good by sleeping here', said the old dame; 'for if the
folk come home and find you here, they'll kill both me and you.'

'What sort of folk, then, are they who live here?' asked the youth.

'Oh, robbers! And a bad lot of them too', said the old dame. 'They
stole me away when I was little, and have kept me as their
housekeeper ever since.'

'Well, for all that, I think I'll just go to bed', said the youth.
'Come what may, I'll not stir out at night in such weather.'

'Very well', said the old dame; 'but if you stay, it will be the
worse for you.'

With that the youth got into a bed which stood there, but he dared
not go to sleep, and very soon after in came the robbers; so the old
dame told them how a stranger fellow had come in whom she had not
been able to get out of the house again.

'Did you see if he had any money?' said the robbers.

'Such a one as he money!' said the old dame, 'the tramper! Why, if he
had clothes to his back, it was as much as he had.'

Then the robbers began to talk among themselves what they should do
with him; if they should kill him outright, or what else they should
do. Meantime the youth got up and began to talk to them, and to ask
if they didn't want a servant, for it might be that he would be glad
to enter their service.

'Oh', said they, 'if you have a mind to follow the trade that we
follow, you can very well get a place here.'

'It's all one to me what trade I follow', said the youth; 'for when I
left home, father gave me leave to take to any trade I chose.'

'Well, have you a mind to steal?' asked the robbers.

'I don't care', said the youth, for he thought it would not take long
to learn that trade.

Now there lived a man a little way off who had three oxen. One of
these he was to take to the town to sell, and the robbers had heard
what he was going to do, so they said to the youth, if he were good
to steal the ox from the man by the way without his knowing it, and
without doing him any harm, they would give him leave to be their

Well! the youth set off, and took with him a pretty shoe, with a
silver buckle on it, which lay about the house; and he put the shoe
in the road along which the man was going with his ox; and when he
had done that, he went into the wood and hid himself under a bush. So
when the man came by he saw the shoe at once.

'That's a nice shoe', said he. 'If I only had the fellow to it, I'd
take it home with me, and perhaps I'd put my old dame in a good
humour for once.' For you must know he had an old wife, so cross and
snappish, it was not long between each time that she boxed his ears.
But then he bethought him that he could do nothing with the odd shoe
unless he had the fellow to it; so he went on his way and let the
shoe lie on the road.

Then the youth took up the shoe, and made all the haste he could to
get before the man by a short cut through the wood, and laid it down
before him in the road again. When the man came along with his ox, he
got quite angry with himself for being so dull as to leave the fellow
to the shoe lying in the road instead of taking it with him; so he
tied the ox to the fence, and said to himself, 'I may just as well
run back and pick up the other, and then I'll have a pair of good
shoes for my old dame, and so, perhaps, I'll get a kind word from her
for once.'

So he set off, and hunted and hunted up and down for the shoe, but no
shoe did he find; and at length he had to go back with the one he
had. But, meanwhile the youth had taken the ox and gone off with it;
and when the man came and saw his ox gone, he began to cry and
bewail, for he was afraid his old dame would kill him outright when
she came to know that the ox was lost. But just then it came across
his mind that he would go home and take the second ox, and drive it
to the town, and not let his old dame know anything about the matter.
So he did this, and went home and took the ox without his dame's
knowing it, and set off with it to the town. But the robbers knew all
about it, and they said to the youth, if he could get this ox too,
without the man's knowing it, and without his doing him any harm, he
should be as good as any one of them. If that were all, the youth
said, he did not think it a very hard thing.

This time he took with him a rope, and hung himself up under the arm-
pits to a tree right in the man's way. So the man came along with his
ox, and when he saw such a sight hanging there he began to feel a
little queer.

'Well', said he, 'whatever heavy thoughts you had who have hanged
yourself up there, it can't be helped; you may hang for what I care!
I can't breathe life into you again'; and with that he went on his
way with his ox. Down slipped the youth from the tree, and ran by a
footpath, and got before the man, and hung himself up right in his
way again.

'Bless me!' said the man, 'were you really so heavy at heart that you
hanged yourself up there--or is it only a piece of witchcraft that I
see before me? Aye, aye! you may hang for all I care, whether you are
a ghost or whatever you are.' So he passed on with his ox.

Now the youth did just as he had done twice before; he jumped down
from the tree, ran through the wood by a footpath, and hung himself
up right in the man's way again. But when the man saw this sight for
the third time, he said to himself:

'Well! this is an ugly business! Is it likely now that they should
have been so heavy at heart as to hang themselves, all these three?
No! I cannot think it is anything else than a piece of witchcraft
that I see. But now I'll soon know for certain; if the other two are
still hanging there, it must be really so; but if they are not, then
it can be nothing but witchcraft that I see.'

So he tied up his ox, and ran back to see if the others were still
really hanging there. But while he went and peered up into all the
trees, the youth jumped down and took his ox and ran off with it.
When the man came back and found his ox gone, he was in a sad plight,
and, as any one might know without being told, he began to cry and
bemoan; but at last he came to take it easier, and so he thought:

'There's no other help for it than to go home and take the third ox
without my dame's knowing it, and to try and drive a good bargain
with it, so that I may get a good sum of money for it.'

So he went home and set off with the ox, and his old dame knew never
a word about the matter. But the robbers, they knew all about it, and
they said to the youth, that if he could steal this ox as he had
stolen the other two, then he should be master over the whole band.
Well, the youth set off, and ran into the wood; and as the man came
by with his ox he set up a dreadful bellowing, just like a great ox
in the wood. When the man heard that, you can't think how glad he
was, for it seemed to him that he knew the voice of his big bullock,
and he thought that now he should find both of them again; so he tied
up the third ox, and ran off from the road to look for them in the
wood; but meantime the youth went off with the third ox. Now, when
the man came back and found he had lost this ox too, he was so wild
that there was no end to his grief. He cried and roared and beat his
breast, and, to tell the truth, it was many days before he dared go
home; for he was afraid lest his old dame should kill him outright on
the spot.

As for the robbers, they were not very well pleased either, when they
had to own that the youth was master over the whole band. So one day
they thought they would try their hands at something which he was not
man enough to do; and they set off all together, every man Jack of
them, and left him alone at home. Now, the first thing that he did
when they were all well clear of the house, was to drive the oxen out
to the road, so that they might run back to the man from whom he had
stolen them; and right glad he was to see them, as you may fancy.
Next he took all the horses which the robbers had, and loaded them
with the best things he could lay his hands on-gold and silver, and
clothes and other fine things; and then he bade the old dame to greet
the robbers when they came back, and to thank them for him, and to
say that now he was setting off on his travels, and they would have
hard work to find him again; and with that, off he started.

After a good bit he came to the road along which he was going when he
fell among the robbers, and when he got near home, and could see his
father's cottage, he put on a uniform which he had found among the
clothes he had taken from the robbers, and which was made just like a
general's. So he drove up to the door as if he were any other great
man. After that he went in and asked if he could have a lodging? No;
that he couldn't at any price.

'How ever should I be able', said the man, 'to make room in my house
for such a fine gentleman--I who scarce have a rag to lie upon, and
miserable rags too?'

'You always were a stingy old hunks', said the youth, 'and so you are
still, when you won't take your own son in.'

'What, you my son!' said the man.

'Don't you know me again?' said the youth. Well, after a little while
he did know him again.

'But what have you been turning your hand to, that you have made
yourself so great a man in such haste?' asked the man.

'Oh! I'll soon tell you', said the youth. 'You said I might take to
any trade I chose, and so I bound myself apprentice to a pack of
thieves and robbers, and now I've served my time out, and am become a
Master Thief.'

Now there lived a Squire close by to his father's cottage, and he had
such a great house, and such heaps of money, he could not tell how
much he had. He had a daughter too, and a smart and pretty girl she
was. So the Master Thief set his heart upon having her to wife, and
he told his father to go to the Squire and ask for his daughter for

'If he asks by what trade I get my living, you can say I'm a Master

'I think you've lost your wits', said the man, 'for you can't be in
your right mind when you think of such stuff.'

No! he had not lost his wits, his father must and should go to the
Squire, and ask for his daughter.

'Nay, but I tell you, I daren't go to the Squire and be your
spokesman; he who is so rich, and has so much money', said the man.

Yes, there was no help for it, said the Master Thief; he should go
whether he would or no; and if he did not go by fair means, he would
soon make him go by foul. But the man was still loath to go; so he
stepped after him, and rubbed him down with a good birch cudgel, and
kept on till the man came crying and sobbing inside the Squire's

'How now, my man! what ails you?' said the Squire. So he told him the
whole story; how he had three sons who set off one day, and how he
had given them leave to go whithersoever they would, and to follow
whatever calling they chose. 'And here now is the youngest come home,
and has thrashed me till he has made me come to you and ask for your
daughter for him to wife; and he bids me say, besides, that he's a
Master Thief.' And so he fell to crying and sobbing again.

'Never mind, my man', said the Squire, laughing; 'just go back and
tell him from me, he must prove his skill first. If he can steal the
roast from the spit in the kitchen on Sunday, while all the household
are looking after it, he shall have my daughter. Just go and tell him

So he went back and told the youth, who thought it would be an easy
job. So he set about and caught three hares alive, and put them into
a bag, and dressed himself in some old rags, until he looked so poor
and filthy that it made one's heart bleed to see; and then he stole
into the passage at the back-door of the Squire's house on the Sunday
forenoon, with his bag, just like any other beggar-boy. But the
Squire himself and all his household were in the kitchen watching the
roast. Just as they were doing this, the youth let one hare go, and
it set off and ran round and round the yard in front of the house.

'Oh, just look at that hare!' said the folk in the kitchen, and were
all for running out to catch it.

Yes, the Squire saw it running too. 'Oh, let it run', said he;
'there's no use in thinking to catch a hare on the spring.'

A little while after, the youth let the second hare go, and they saw
it in the kitchen, and thought it was the same they had seen before,
and still wanted to run out and catch it; but the Squire said again
it was no use. It was not long before the youth let the third hare
go, and it set off and ran round and round the yard as the others
before it. Now, they saw it from the kitchen, and still thought it
was the same hare that kept on running about, and were all eager to
be out after it.

'Well, it is a fine hare', said the Squire; 'come let's see if we
can't lay our hands on it.'

So out he ran, and the rest with him--away they all went, the hare
before, and they after; so that it was rare fun to see. But meantime
the youth took the roast and ran off with it; and where the Squire
got a roast for his dinner that day I don't know; but one thing I
know, and that is, that he had no roast hare, though he ran after it
till he was both warm and weary.

Now it chanced that the Priest came to dinner that day, and when the
Squire told him what a trick the Master Thief had played him, he made
such game of him that there was no end of it.

'For my part', said the Priest, 'I can't think how it could ever
happen to me to be made such a fool of by a fellow like that.'

'Very well--only keep a sharp look-out', said the Squire; 'maybe
he'll come to see you before you know a word of it.' But the Priest
stuck to his text--that he did, and made game of the Squire because
he had been so taken in.

Later in the afternoon came the Master Thief, and wanted to have the
Squire's daughter, as he had given his word. But the Squire began to
talk him over, and said, 'Oh, you must first prove your skill a
little more; for what you did to-day was no great thing, after all.
Couldn't you now play off a good trick on the Priest, who is sitting
in there, and making game of me for letting such a fellow as you
twist me round his thumb.'

'Well, as for that, it wouldn't be hard', said the Master Thief. So
he dressed himself up like a bird, threw a great white sheet over his
body, took the wings of a goose and tied them to his back, and so
climbed up into a great maple which stood in the Priest's garden. And
when the Priest came home in the evening, the youth began to bawl

'Father Laurence! Father Laurence!'--for that was the Priest's name.

'Who is that calling me?' said the Priest.

'I am an angel', said the Master Thief, 'sent from God to let you
know that you shall be taken up alive into heaven for your piety's
sake. Next Monday night you must hold yourself ready for the journey,
for I shall come then to fetch you in a sack; and all your gold and
your silver, and all that you have of this world's goods, you must
lay together in a heap in your dining-room.'

Well, Father Laurence fell on his knees before the angel, and thanked
him; and the very next day he preached a farewell sermon, and gave it
out how there had come down an angel unto the big maple in his
garden, who had told him that he was to be taken up alive into heaven
for his piety's sake; and he preached and made such a touching
discourse, that all who were at church wept, both young and old.

So the next Monday night came the Master Thief like an angel again,
and the Priest fell on his knees and thanked him before he was put
into the sack; but when he had got him well in, the Master Thief drew
and dragged him over stocks and stones.

'OW! OW!' groaned the Priest inside the sack, 'wherever are we

'This is the narrow way which leadeth unto the kingdom of heaven',
said the Master Thief, who went on dragging him along till he had
nearly broken every bone in his body. At last he tumbled him into a
goose-house that belonged to the Squire, and the geese began pecking
and pinching him with their bills, so that he was more dead than

'Now you are in the flames of purgatory, to be cleansed and purified
for life everlasting', said the Master Thief; and with that he went
his way, and took all the gold which the Priest had laid together in
his dining-room. The next morning, when the goose-girl came to let
the geese out, she heard how the Priest lay in the sack, and bemoaned
himself in the goose-house.

'In heaven's name, who's there, and what ails you?' she cried.

'Oh!' said the Priest, 'if you are an angel from heaven, do let me
out, and let me return again to earth, for it is worse here than in
hell. The little fiends keep on pinching me with tongs.'

'Heaven help us, I am no angel at all', said the girl, as she helped
the Priest out of the sack; 'I only look after the Squire's geese,
and like enough they are the little fiends which have pinched your

'Oh!' groaned the Priest, 'this is all that Master Thief's doing. Ah!
my gold and my silver, and my fine clothes.' And he beat his breast,
and hobbled home at such a rate that the girl thought he had lost his
wits all at once.

Now when the Squire came to hear how it had gone with the Priest, and
how he had been along the narrow way, and into purgatory, he laughed
till he well-nigh split his sides. But when the Master Thief came and
asked for his daughter as he had promised, the Squire put him off
again, and said:

'You must do one masterpiece better still, that I may see plainly
what you are fit for. Now, I have twelve horses in my stable, and on
them I will put twelve grooms, one on each. If you are so good a
thief as to steal the horses from under them, I'll see what I can do
for you.'

'Very well, I daresay I can do it', said the Master Thief; 'but shall
I really have your daughter if I can?'

'Yes, if you can, I'll do my best for you', said the Squire. So the
Master Thief set off to a shop, and bought brandy enough to fill two
pocket-flasks, and into one of them he put a sleepy drink, but into
the other only brandy. After that he hired eleven men to lie in wait
at night, behind the Squire's stable-yard; and last of all, for fair
words and a good bit of money, he borrowed a ragged gown and cloak
from an old woman; and so, with a staff in his hand, and a bundle at
his back, he limped off, as evening drew on, towards the Squire's
stable. Just as he got there they were watering the horses for the
night, and had their hands full of work. 'What the devil do you
want?' said one of the grooms to the old woman.

'Oh, oh! hutetu! it is so bitter cold', said she, and shivered and
shook, and made wry faces. 'Hutetu! it is so cold, a poor wretch may
easily freeze to death'; and with that she fell to shivering and
shaking again.

'Oh! for the love of heaven, can I get leave to stay here a while,
and sit inside the stable door?'

'To the devil with your leave', said one. 'Pack yourself off this
minute, for if the Squire sets his eye on you, he'll lead us a pretty

'Oh! the poor old bag-of-bones', said another, whose heart took pity
on her, 'the old hag may sit inside and welcome; such a one as she
can do no harm.'

And the rest said, some she should stay, and some she shouldn't; but
while they were quarrelling and minding the horses, she crept further
and further into the stable, till at last she sat herself down behind
the door; and when she had got so far, no one gave any more heed to

As the night wore on, the men found it rather cold work to sit so
still and quiet on horseback.

'Hutetu! it is so devilish cold', said one, and beat his arms

'That it is', said another; 'I freeze so, that my teeth chatter.'

'If one only had a quid to chew', said a third.

Well! there was one who had an ounce or two; so they shared it
between them, though it wasn't much, after all, that each got; and so
they chewed and spat, and spat and chewed. This helped them somewhat;
but in a little while they were just as bad as ever.

'Hutetu!' said one, and shivered and shook.

'Hutetu!' said the old woman, and shivered so, that every tooth in
her head chattered. Then she pulled out the flask with brandy in it,
and her hand shook so that the spirit splashed about in the flask,
and then she took such a gulp, that it went 'bop' in her throat.

'What's that you've got in your flask, old girl?' said one of the

'Oh! it's only a drop of brandy, old man', said she.

'Brandy! Well, I never! Do let me have a drop', screamed the whole
twelve, one after another.

'Oh! but it is such a little drop', mumbled the old woman, 'it will
not even wet your mouths round.' But they must and would have it;
there was no help for it; and so she pulled out the flask with the
sleepy drink in it, and put it to the first man's lips; then she
shook no more, but guided the flask so that each of them got what he
wanted, and the twelfth had not done drinking before the first sat
and snored. Then the Master Thief threw off his beggar's rags, and
took one groom after the other so softly off their horses, and set
them astride on the beams between the stalls; and so he called his
eleven men, and rode off with the Squire's twelve horses. But when
the Squire got up in the morning, and went to look after his grooms,
they had just begun to come to; and some of them fell to spurring the
beams with their spurs, till the splinters flew again, and some fell
off, and some still hung on and sat there looking like fools.

'Ho! ho!' said the Squire; 'I see very well who has been here; but as
for you, a pretty set of blockheads you must be to sit here and let
the Master Thief steal the horses from between your legs.'

So they all got a good leathering because they had not kept a sharper

Further on in the day came the Master Thief again, and told how he
had managed the matter, and asked for the Squire's daughter, as he
had promised; but the Squire gave him one hundred dollars down, and
said he must do something better still.

'Do you think now', said he, 'you can steal the horse from under me
while I am out riding on his back?' 'O, yes! I daresay I could', said
the Master Thief, 'if I were really sure of getting your daughter.'

Well, well, the Squire would see what he could do; and he told the
Master Thief a day when he would be taking a ride on a great common
where they drilled the troops. So the Master Thief soon got hold of
an old worn-out jade of a mare, and set to work, and made traces and
collar of withies and broom-twigs, and bought an old beggarly cart
and a great cask. After that he told an old beggar woman, he would
give her ten dollars if she would get inside the cask, and keep her
mouth agape over the taphole, into which he was going to stick his
finger. No harm should happen to her; she should only be driven about
a little; and if he took his finger out more than once, she was to
have ten dollars more. Then he threw a few rags and tatters over
himself, and stuffed himself out, and put on a wig and a great beard
of goat's hair, so that no one could know him again, and set off for
the common, where the Squire had already been riding about a good
bit. When he reached the place, he went along so softly and slowly
that he scarce made an inch of way. 'Gee up! Gee up!' and so he went
on a little; then he stood stock still, and so on a little again; and
altogether the pace was so poor it never once came into the Squire's
head that this could be the Master Thief.

At last the Squire rode right up to him, and asked if he had seen any
one lurking about in the wood thereabouts. 'No', said the man, 'I
haven't seen a soul.'

'Harkye, now', said the Squire, 'if you have a mind to ride into the
wood, and hunt about and see if you can fall upon any one lurking
about there, you shall have the loan of my horse, and a shilling into
the bargain, to drink my health, for your pains.'

'I don't see how I can go', said the man, 'for I am going to a
wedding with this cask of mead, which I have been to town to fetch,
and here the tap has fallen out by the way, and so I must go along,
holding my finger in the taphole.'

'Ride off', said the Squire; 'I'll look after your horse and cask.'

Well, on these terms the man was willing to go; but he begged the
Squire to be quick in putting his finger into the taphole when he
took his own out, and to mind and keep it there till he came back. At
last the Squire grew weary of standing there with his finger in the
taphole, so he took it out.

'Now I shall have ten dollars more!' screamed the old woman inside
the cask; and then the Squire saw at once how the land lay, and took
himself off home; but he had not gone far before they met him with a
fresh horse, for the Master Thief had already been to his house, and
told them to send one. The day after, he came to the Squire and would
have his daughter, as he had given his word; but the Squire put him
off again with fine words, and gave him two hundred dollars, and said
he must do one more masterpiece. If he could do that, he should have
her. Well, well, the Master Thief thought he could do it, if he only
knew what it was to be.

'Do you think, now', said the Squire, 'you can steal the sheet off
our bed, and the shift off my wife's back. Do you think you could do

'It shall be done', said the Master Thief. 'I only wish I was as sure
of getting your daughter.'

So when night began to fall, the Master Thief went out and cut down a
thief who hung on the gallows, and threw him across his shoulders,
and carried him off. Then he got a long ladder and set it up against
the Squire's bedroom window, and so climbed up, and kept bobbing the
dead man up and down, just for all the world like one that was
peeping in at the window.

'That's the Master Thief, old lass!' said the Squire, and gave his
wife a nudge on the side. 'Now see if I don't shoot him, that's all.'

So saying he took up a rifle which he had laid at his bedside.

'No! no! pray don't shoot him after telling him he might come and
try', said his wife.

'Don't talk to me, for shoot him I will', said he; and so he lay
there and aimed and aimed; but as soon as the head came up before the
window, and he saw a little of it, so soon was it down again. At last
he thought he had a good aim; 'bang' went the gun, down fell the dead
body to the ground with a heavy thump, and down went the Master Thief
too as fast as he could.

'Well', said the Squire, 'it is quite true that I am the chief
magistrate in these parts; but people are fond of talking, and it
would be a bore if they came to see this dead man's body. I think the
best thing to be done is that I should go down and bury him.'

'You must do as you think best, dear', said his wife. So the Squire
got out of bed and went downstairs, and he had scarce put his foot
out of the door before the Master Thief stole in, and went straight
upstairs to his wife.

'Why, dear, back already!' said she, for she thought it was her

'O yes, I only just put him into a hole, and threw a little earth
over him. It is enough that he is out of sight, for it is such a bad
night out of doors; by-and-by I'll do it better. But just let me have
the sheet to wipe myself with--he was so bloody--and I have made
myself in such a mess with him.'

So he got the sheet.

After a while he said:

'Do you know I am afraid you must let me have your nightshift too,
for the sheet won't do by itself; that I can see.'

So she gave him the shift also. But just then it came across his mind
that he had forgotten to lock the house-door, so he must step down
and look to that before he came back to bed, and away he went with
both shift and sheet.

A little while after came the true Squire.

'Why! what a time you've taken to lock the door, dear!' said his
wife; 'and what have you done with the sheet and shift?'

'What do you say?' said the Squire.

'Why, I am asking what you have done with the sheet and shift that
you had to wipe off the blood', said she.

'What, in the Deil's name!' said the Squire, 'has he taken me in this
time too?'

Next day came the Master Thief and asked for the Squire's daughter,
as he had given his word; and then the Squire dared not do anything
else than give her to him, and a good lump of money into the bargain;
for, to tell the truth, he was afraid lest the Master Thief should
steal the eyes out of his head, and that the people would begin to
say spiteful things of him if he broke his word. So the Master Thief
lived well and happily from that time forward. I don't know whether
he stole any more; but if he did, I am quite sure it was only for the
sake of a bit of fun.


Once on a time there were three brothers; I don't quite know how it
happened, but each of them had got the right to wish one thing,
whatever he chose. So the two elder were not long a-thinking; they
wished that every time they put their hands in their pockets they
might pull out a piece of money; for, said they:

'The man who has as much money as he wishes for is always sure to get
on in the world.'

But the youngest wished something better still. He wished that every
woman he saw might fall in love with him as soon as she saw him; and
you shall soon hear how far better this was than gold and goods.

So, when they had all wished their wishes, the two elder were for
setting out to see the world; and Boots, their youngest brother,
asked if he mightn't go along with them; but they wouldn't hear of
such a thing.

'Wherever we go', they said, 'we shall be treated as counts and
kings; but you, you starveling wretch, who haven't a penny, and never
will have one, who do you think will care a bit about you?'

'Well, but in spite of that, I'd like to go with you', said Boots;
'perhaps a dainty bit may fall to my share too off the plates of such
high and mighty lords.'

At last, after begging and praying, he got leave to go with them, if
he would be their servant, else they wouldn't hear of it.

So, when they had gone a day or so, they came to an inn, where the
two who had the money alighted, and called for fish and flesh, and
fowl, and brandy and mead, and everything that was good; but Boots,
poor fellow, had to look after their luggage and all that belonged to
the two great people. Now, as he went to and fro outside, and
loitered about in the inn-yard, the innkeeper's wife looked out of
window and saw the servant of the gentlemen upstairs; and, all at
once, she thought she had never set eyes on such a handsome chap. So
she stared and stared, and the longer she looked the handsomer he

'Why what, by the Deil's skin and bones, is it that you are standing
there gaping at out of the window?' said her husband. 'I think
'twould be better if you just looked how the sucking pig is getting
on, instead of hanging out of window in that way. Don't you know what
grand folk we have in the house to-day?'

'Oh!' said his old dame, 'I don't care a farthing about such a pack
of rubbish; if they don't like it they may lump it, and be off; but
just do come and look at this lad out in the yard; so handsome a
fellow I never saw in all my born days; and, if you'll do as I wish,
we'll ask him to step in and treat him a little, for, poor lad, he
seems to have a hard fight of it.'

'Have you lost the little brains you had, Goody?' said the husband,
whose eyes glistened with rage; 'into the kitchen with you, and mind
the fire; but don't stand there glowering after strange men.'

So the wife had nothing left for it but to go into the kitchen, and
look after the cooking; as for the lad outside, she couldn't get
leave to ask him in, or to treat him either; but just as she was
about spitting the pig in the kitchen, she made an excuse for running
out into the yard, and then and there she gave Boots a pair of
scissors, of such a kind that they cut of themselves out of the air
the loveliest clothes any one ever saw, silk and satin, and all that
was fine.

'This you shall have because you are so handsome,' said the
innkeeper's wife.

So when the two elder brothers had crammed themselves with roast and
boiled, they wished to be off again, and Boots had to stand behind
their carriage, and be their servant; and so they travelled a good
way, till they came to another inn. There the two brothers again
alighted and went indoors, but Boots, who had no money, they wouldn't
have inside with them; no, he must wait outside and watch the
luggage. 'And mind', they said, 'if any one asks whose servant you
are, say we are two foreign Princes.'

But the same thing happened now as happened before; while Boots stood
hanging about out in the yard, the innkeeper's wife came to the
window and saw him, and she too fell in love with him, just like the
first innkeeper's wife; and there she stood and stared, for she
thought she could never have her fill of looking at him. Then her
husband came running through the room with something the two Princes
had ordered.

'Don't stand there staring like a cow at a barn-door, but take this
into the kitchen, and look after your fish-kettle, Goody', said the
man; 'don't you see what grand people we have in the house to-day?'

'I don't care a farthing for such a pack of rubbish', said the wife;
'if they don't like what they get they may lump it, and eat what they
brought with them. But just do come here, and see what you shall see!
Such a handsome fellow as walks here, out in the yard, I never saw in
all my born days. Shan't we ask him in and treat him a little; he
looks as if he needed it, poor chap?' and then she went on:

'Such a love! such a love!'

'You never had much wit, and the little you had is clean gone, I can
see', said the man, who was much more angry than the first innkeeper,
and chased his wife back, neck and crop, into the kitchen.

'Into the kitchen with you, and don't stand glowering after lads', he

So she had to go in and mind her fish-kettle, and she dared not treat
Boots, for she was afraid of her old man; but as she stood there
making up the fire, she made an excuse for running out into the yard,
and then and there she gave Boots a table-cloth, which was such that
it covered itself with the best dishes you could think of, as soon as
it was spread out.

'This you shall have', she said, 'because you're so handsome.'

So when the two brothers had eaten and drank of all that was in the
house, and had paid the bill in hard cash, they set off again, and
Boots stood up behind their carriage. But when they had gone so far
that they grew hungry again, they turned into a third inn, and called
for the best and dearest they could think of.

'For', said they, 'we are two kings on our travels, and as for our
money, it grows like grass.'

Well, when the innkeeper heard that, there was such a roasting, and
baking, and boiling; why! you might smell the dinner at the next
neighbour's house, though it wasn't so very near; and the innkeeper
was at his wits' end to find all he wished to put before the two
kings. But Boots, he had to stand outside here too, and look after
the things in the carriage.

So it was the same story over again. The innkeeper's wife came to the
window and peeped out, and there she saw the servant standing by the
carriage. Such a handsome chap she had never set eyes on before; so
she looked and looked, and the more she stared the handsomer he
seemed to the innkeeper's wife. Then out came the innkeeper,
scampering through the room, with some dainty which the travelling
kings had ordered, and he wasn't very soft-tongued when he saw his
old dame standing and glowering out of the window.

'Don't you know better than to stand gaping and staring there, when
we have such great folk in the house', he said; 'back into the
kitchen with you this minute, to your custards.'

'Well! well!' she said, 'as for them, I don't care a pin. If they
can't wait till the custards are baked, they may go without--that's
all. But do, pray, come here, and you'll see such a lovely lad
standing out here in the yard. Why I never saw such a pretty fellow
in my life. Shan't we ask him in now, and treat him a little, for he
looks as if it would do him good. Oh! what a darling! What a

'A wanton gadabout you've been all your days, and so you are still',
said her husband, who was in such a rage he scarce knew which leg to
stand on; 'but if you don't be off to your custards this minute, I'll
soon find out how to make you stir your stumps; see if I don't.'

So the wife had off to her custards as fast as she could, for she
knew that her husband would stand no nonsense; but as she stood there
over the fire she stole out into the yard, and gave Boots a tap.

'If you only turn this tap', she said; 'you'll get the finest drink
of whatever kind you choose, both mead, and wine, and brandy; and
this you shall have because you are so handsome.'

So when the two brothers had eaten and drunk all they could, they
started from the inn, and Boots stood up behind again as their
servant, and thus they drove far and wide, till they came to a king's
palace. There the two elder gave themselves out for two emperor's
sons, and as they had plenty of money, and were so fine that their
clothes shone again ever so far off, they were well treated. They had
rooms in the palace, and the king couldn't tell how to make enough of
them. But Boots, who went about in the same rags he stood in when he
left home, and who had never a penny in his pocket, he was taken up
by the king's guard, and put across to an island, whither they used
to row over all the beggars and rogues that came to the palace. This
the king had ordered, because he wouldn't have the mirth at the
palace spoilt by those dirty blackguards; and thither, too, only just
as much food as would keep body and soul together was sent over
everyday. Now Boots' brothers saw very well that the guard was rowing
him over to the island, but they were glad to be rid of him, and
didn't pay the least heed to him.

But when Boots got over there, he just pulled out his scissors and
began to snip and cut in the air; so the scissors cut out the finest
clothes any one would wish to see; silk and satin both, and all the
beggars on the island were soon dressed far finer than the king and
all his guests in the palace. After that, Boots pulled out his table-
cloth, and spread it out, and so they got food too, the poor beggars.
Such a feast had never been seen at the king's palace, as was served
that day at the Beggars' Isle.

'Thirsty, too, I'll be bound you all are', said Boots, and out with
his tap, gave it a turn, and so the beggars got all a drop to drink;
and such ale and mead the king himself had never tasted in all his

So, next morning, when those who were to bring the beggars their food
on the island, came rowing over with the scrapings of the porridge-
pots and cheese-parings--that was what the poor wretches had--the
beggars wouldn't so much as taste them, and the king's men fell to
wondering what it could mean; but they wondered much more when they
got a good look at the beggars, for they were so fine the guard
thought they must be Emperors or Popes at least, and that they must
have rowed to a wrong island; but when they looked better about them,
they saw they were come to the old place.

Then they soon found out it must be he whom they had rowed out the
day before who had brought the beggars on the island all this state
and bravery; and as soon as they got back to the palace, they were
not slow to tell how the man, whom they had rowed over the day
before, had dressed out all the beggars so fine and grand that
precious things fell from their clothes.

'And as for the porridge and cheese we took, they wouldn't even taste
them, so proud have they got', they said.

One of them, too, had smelt out that the lad had a pair of scissors
which he cut out the clothes with.

'When he only snips with those scissors up in the air he snips and
cuts out nothing but silk and satin', said he.

So, when the Princess heard that, she had neither peace nor rest till
she saw the lad and his scissors that cut out silk and satin from the
air; such a pair was worth having, she thought, for with its help she
would soon get all the finery she wished for. Well, she begged the
king so long and hard, he was forced to send a messenger for the lad
who owned the scissors; and when he came to the palace, the Princess
asked him if it were true that he had such and such a pair of
scissors, and if he would sell it to her. Yes, it was all true he had
such a pair, said Boots, but sell it he wouldn't; and with that he
took the scissors out of his pocket, and snipped and snipped with
them in the air till strips of silk and satin flew all about him.

'Nay, but you must sell me these scissors', said the Princess. 'You
may ask what you please for them, but have them I must.'

No! Such a pair of scissors he wouldn't sell at any price, for he
could never get such a pair again; and while they stood and haggled
for the scissors, the Princess had time to look better at Boots, and
she too thought with the innkeepers' wives that she had never seen
such a handsome fellow before. So she began to bargain for the
scissors over again, and begged and prayed Boots to let her have
them; he might ask many, many hundred dollars for them, 'twas all the
same to her, so she got them.

'No! sell them I won't', said Boots; 'but all the same, if I can get
leave to sleep one night on the floor of the Princess' bedroom, close
by the door, I'll give her the scissors. I'll do her no harm, but if
she's afraid, she may have two men to watch inside the room.'

Yes! the Princess was glad enough to give him leave, for she was
ready to grant him anything if she only got the scissors. So Boots
lay on the floor inside the Princess' bedroom that night, and two men
stood watch there too; but the Princess didn't get much rest after
all; for when she ought to have been asleep, she must open her eyes
to look at Boots, and so it went on the whole night. If she shut her
eyes for a minute, she peeped out at him again the next, such a
handsome fellow he seemed to her to be.

Next morning Boots was rowed over to the Beggars' isle again; but
when they came with the porridge scrapings and cheese parings from
the palace, there was no one who would taste them that day either,
and so those who brought the food were more astonished than ever. But
one of those who brought the food contrived to smell out that the lad
who had owned the scissors owned also a table-cloth, which he only
needed to spread out, and it was covered with all the good things he
could wish for. So when he got back to the palace, he wasn't long
before he said:

'Such hot joints and such custards I never saw the like of in the
king's palace.'

And when the Princess heard that, she told it to the king, and begged
and prayed so long, that he was forced to send a messenger out to the
island to fetch the lad who owned the table-cloth; and so Boots came
back to the palace. The Princess must and would have the cloth of
him, and offered him gold and green woods for it, but Boots wouldn't
sell it at any price.

'But if I may have leave to lie on the bench by the Princess' bed-
side to-night, she shall have the cloth; but if she's afraid, she is
welcome to set four men to watch inside the room.'

Yes! the Princess agreed to this, so Boots lay down on the bench by
the bed-side, and the four men watched; but if the Princess hadn't
much sleep the night before, she had much less this, for she could
scarce get a wink of sleep; there she lay wide awake looking at the
lovely lad the whole night through, and after all, the night seemed
too short.

Next morning Boots was rowed off again to the Beggars' island, though
sorely against the Princess' will, so happy was she to be near him;
but it was past praying for; to the island he must go, and there was
an end of it. But when those who brought the food to the beggars came
with the porridge scrapings and cheese parings, there wasn't one of
them who would even look at what the king sent, and those who brought
it didn't wonder either; though they all thought it strange that none
of them were thirsty. But just then, one of the king's guard smelled
out that the lad who had owned the scissors and the table-cloth had a
tap besides, which, if one only turned it a little, gave out the
rarest drink, both ale, and mead, and wine. So when he came back to
the palace, he couldn't keep his mouth shut this time any more than
before; he went about telling high and low about the tap, and how
easy it was to draw all sorts of drink out of it.

'And as for that mead and ale, I've never tasted the like of them in
the king's palace; honey and syrup are nothing to them for

So when the Princess heard that, she was all for getting the tap, and
was nothing loath to strike a bargain with the owner either. So she
went again to the king, and begged him to send a messenger to the
Beggars' Isle after the lad who had owned the scissors and cloth, for
now he had another thing worth having, she said; and when the king
heard it was a tap, that was good to give the best ale and wine any
one could drink, when one gave it a turn, he wasn't long in sending
the messenger, I should think.

So when Boots came up to the palace, the Princess asked whether it
were true he had a tap which could do such and such things? 'Yes! he
had such a tap in his waistcoat pocket', said Boots; but when the
Princess wished with all her might to buy it, Boots said, as he had
said twice before, he wouldn't sell it, even if the Princess bade
half the kingdom for it.

'But all the same', said Boots; 'if I may have leave to sleep on the
Princess' bed to-night, outside the quilt, she shall have my tap.
I'll not do her any harm; but, if she's afraid, she may set eight men
to watch in her room.'

'Oh, no!' said the Princess, 'there was no need of that, she knew him
now so well'; and so Boots lay outside the Princess' bed that night.
But if she hadn't slept much the two nights before, she had less
sleep that night; for she couldn't shut her eyes the livelong night,
but lay and looked at Boots, who lay alongside her outside the quilt.

So, when she got up in the morning, and they were going to row Boots
back to the island, she begged them to hold hard a little bit; and in
she ran to the king, and begged him so prettily to let her have Boots
for a husband, she was so fond of him, and, unless she had him, she
did not care to live.

'Well, well!' said the king, 'you shall have him if you must; for he
who has such things is just as rich as you are.'

So Boots got the Princess and half the kingdom--the other half he was
to have when the king died; and so everything went smooth and well;
but as for his brothers, who had always been so bad to him, he packed
them off to the Beggars' island.

'There', said Boots, 'perhaps they may find out which is best off,
the man who has his pockets full of money, or the man whom all women
fall in love with.'

Nor, to tell you the truth, do I think it would help them much to
wander about upon the Beggars' island pulling pieces of money out of
their pockets; and so, if Boots hasn't taken them off the island,
there they are still walking about to this very day, eating cheese-
parings and the scrapings of the porridge-pots.


Once on a time there were three Billy-goats, who were to go up to the
hill-side to make themselves fat, and the name of all three was

On the way up was a bridge over a burn they had to cross; and under
the bridge lived a great ugly Troll, with eyes as big as saucers, and
a nose as long as a poker.

So first of all came the youngest billy-goat Gruff to cross the

'Trip, trap; trip, trap!' went the bridge.

'WHO'S THAT tripping over my bridge?' roared the Troll.

'Oh! it is only I, the tiniest billy-goat Gruff; and I'm going up to
the hill-side to make myself fat', said the billy-goat, with such a
small voice.

'Now, I'm coming to gobble you up', said the Troll.

'Oh, no! pray don't take me. I'm too little, that I am', said the
billy-goat; 'wait a bit till the second billy-goat Gruff comes, he's
much bigger.'

'Well! be off with you', said the Troll.

A little while after came the second billy-goat Gruff to cross the

'TRIP, TRAP! TRIP, TRAP! TRIP, TRAP!' went the bridge.

'WHO'S THAT tripping over my bridge?' roared the Troll.

'Oh! it's the second billy-goat Gruff, and I'm going up to the hill-
side to make myself fat', said the billy-goat, who hadn't such a
small voice.

'Now, I'm coming to gobble you up', said the Troll.

'Oh, no! don't take me, wait a little till the big billy-goat Gruff
comes, he's much bigger.'

'Very well! be off with you', said the Troll.

But just then up came the big billy-goat Gruff.

'TRIP, TRAP! TRIP, TRAP! TRIP, TRAP!' went the bridge, for the billy-
goat was so heavy that the bridge creaked and groaned under him.

'WHO'S THAT tramping over my bridge?' roared the Troll.

'IT'S I! THE BIG BILLY-GOAT GRUFF', said the billy-goat, who had an
ugly hoarse voice of his own.

'Now, I'm coming to gobble you up', roared the Troll.

  Well, come along! I've got two spears,
  And I'll poke your eyeballs out at your ears;
  I've got besides two curling-stones,
  And I'll crush you to bits, body and bones.

That was what the big billy-goat said; and so he flew at the Troll
and poked his eyes out with his horns, and crushed him to bits, body
and bones, and tossed him out into the burn, and after that he went
up to the hill-side. There the billy-goats got so fat they were
scarce able to walk home again; and if the fat hasn't fallen off
them, why they're still fat; and so:

  Snip, snap, snout,
  This tale's told out.


Once on a time there was a man, who had to drive his sledge to the
wood for fuel. So a Bear met him.

'Out with your horse', said the Bear, 'or I'll strike all your sheep
dead by summer.'

'Oh! heaven help me then', said the man; 'there's not a stick of
firewood in the house; you must let me drive home a load of fuel,
else we shall be frozen to death. I'll bring the horse to you to-
morrow morning.'

Yes! on those terms he might drive the wood home, that was a bargain;
but Bruin said, 'if he didn't come back, he should lose all his sheep
by summer'.

So the man got the wood on the sledge and rattled homewards, but he
wasn't over pleased at the bargain you may fancy. So just then a Fox
met him.

'Why, what's the matter?' said the Fox; 'why are you so down in the

'Oh, if you want to know', said the man; 'I met a Bear up yonder in
the wood, and I had to give my word to him to bring Dobbin back to-
morrow, at this very hour; for if he didn't get him, he said he would
tear all my sheep to death by summer.'

'Stuff, nothing worse than that', said the Fox; 'if you'll give me
your fattest wether, I'll soon set you free; see if I don't.'

Yes! the man gave his word, and swore he would keep it too.

'Well, when you come with Dobbin to-morrow for the bear', said the
Fox, 'I'll make a clatter up in that heap of stones yonder, and so
when the bear asks what that noise is, you must say 'tis Peter the
Marksman, who is the best shot in the world; and after that you must
help yourself.'

Next day off set the man, and when he met the Bear, something began
to make a clatter up in the heap of stones.

'Hist! what's that?' said the Bear.

'Oh! that's Peter the Marksman, to be sure', said the than; 'he's the
best shot in the world. I know him by his voice.'

'Have you seen any bears about here, Eric?' shouted out a voice in
the wood.

'Say, no!' said the Bear.

'No, I haven't seen any', said Eric.

'What's that then, that stands alongside your sledge?' bawled out the
voice in the wood.

'Say it's an old fir-stump', said the Bear.

'Oh, it's only an old fir-stump', said the man.

'Such fir-stumps we take in our country and roll them on our
sledges', bawled out the voice; 'if you can't do it yourself, I'll
come and help you.'

'Say you can help yourself, and roll me up on the sledge', said the

'No, thank ye, I can help myself well enough', said the man, and
rolled the Bear on to the sledge.

'Such fir-stumps we always bind fast on our sledges in our part of
the world', bawled out the voice; 'shall I come and help you?'

'Say you can help yourself, and bind me fast, do', said the Bear.

'No, thanks, I can help myself well enough', said the man, who set to
binding Bruin fast with all the ropes he had, so that at last the
bear couldn't stir a paw.

'Such fir-stumps we always drive our axes into, in our part of the
world', bawled out the voice; 'for then we guide them better going
down the steep pitches.'

'Pretend to drive your axe into me, do now', said the bear. Then the
man took up his axe, and at one blow split the bear's skull, so that
Bruin lay dead in a trice, and so the man and the Fox were great
friends, and on the best terms. But when they came near the farm, the
Fox said:

'I've no mind to go right home with you, for I can't say I like your
tykes; so I'll just wait here, and you can bring the wether to me,
but mind and pick out one nice and fat.'

Yes! the man would be sure to do that, and thanked the Fox much for
his help. So when he had put up Dobbin, he went across to the sheep-

'Whither away, now?' asked his old dame.

'Oh!' said the man, 'I'm only going to the sheep-stall to fetch a fat
wether for that cunning Fox, who set our Dobbin free. I gave him my
word I would.'

'Whither, indeed', said the old dame; 'never a one shall that thief of
a Fox get. Haven't we got Dobbin safe, and the bear into the bargain;
and as for the Fox, I'll be bound he's stolen more of our geese than
the wether is worth; and even if he hasn't stolen them, he will. No,
no; take a brace of your swiftest hounds in a sack, and slip them
loose after him; and then, perhaps, we shall be rid of this robbing

Well, the man thought that good advice; so he took two fleet red
hounds, put them into a sack, and set off with them.

'Have you brought the wether?' said the Fox.

'Yes, come and take it', said the man, as he untied the sack and let
slip the hounds.

'HUF', said the Fox, and gave a great spring; 'true it is what the
old saw says, "Well done is often ill paid"; and now, too, I see the
truth of another saying, "The worst foes are those of one's own
house."' That was what the Fox said as he ran off, and saw the red
foxy hounds at his heels.


Once on a time there was a man, so surly and cross, he never thought
his wife did anything right in the house. So, one evening, in hay-
making time, he came home, scolding and swearing, and showing his
teeth and making a dust.

'Dear love, don't be so angry; there's a good man', said his goody;
'to-morrow let's change our work. I'll go out with the mowers and
mow, and you shall mind the house at home.'

Yes! the husband thought that would do very well. He was quite
willing, he said.

So, early next morning, his goody took a scythe over her neck, and
went out into the hay-field with the mowers, and began to mow; but
the man was to mind the house, and do the work at home.

First of all, he wanted to churn the butter; but when he had churned
a while, he got thirsty, and went down to the cellar to tap a barrel
of ale. So, just when he had knocked in the bung, and was putting the
tap into the cask, he heard overhead the pig come into the kitchen.
Then off he ran up the cellar steps, with the tap in his hand, as
fast as he could, to look after the pig, lest it should upset the
churn; but when he got up, and saw the pig had already knocked the
churn over, and stood there, routing and grunting amongst the cream
which was running all over the floor, he got so wild with rage that
he quite forgot the ale-barrel, and ran at the pig as hard as he
could. He caught it, too, just as it ran out of doors, and gave it
such a kick, that piggy lay for dead on the spot.

Then all at once he remembered he had the tap in his hand; but when
he got down to the cellar, every drop of ale had run out of the cask.

Then he went into the dairy and found enough cream left to fill the
churn again, and so he began to churn, for butter they must have at
dinner. When he had churned a bit, he remembered that their milking
cow was still shut up in the byre, and hadn't had a bit to eat or a
drop to drink all the morning, though the sun was high. Then all at
once he thought 'twas too far to take her down to the meadow, so he'd
just get her up on the house top-for the house, you must know, was
thatched with sods, and a fine crop of grass was growing there. Now
their house lay close up against a steep down, and he thought if he
laid a plank across to the thatch at the back he'd easily get the cow

But still he couldn't leave the churn, for there was his little babe
crawling about on the floor, and 'if I leave it', he thought, 'the
child is safe to upset it'. So he took the churn on his back, and
went out with it; but then he thought he'd better first water the cow
before he turned her out on the thatch; so he took up a bucket to
draw water out of the well; but, as he stooped down at the well's
brink, all the cream ran out of the churn over his shoulders, and so
down into the well.

Now it was near dinner-time, and he hadn't even got the butter yet;
so he thought he'd best boil the porridge, and filled the pot with
water, and hung it over the fire. When he had done that, he thought
the cow might perhaps fall off the thatch and break her legs or her
neck. So he got up on the house to tie her up. One end of the rope he
made fast to the cow's neck and the other he slipped down the chimney
and tied round his own thigh; and he had to make haste, for the water
now began to boil in the pot, and he had still to grind the oatmeal.

So he began to grind away; but while he was hard at it, down fell the
cow off the house-top after all, and as she fell, she dragged the man
up the chimney by the rope. There he stuck fast; and as for the cow,
she hung half-way down the wall, swinging between heaven and earth,
for she could neither get down nor up.

And now the goody had waited seven lengths and seven breadths for her
husband to come and call them home to dinner; but never a call they
had. At last she thought she'd waited long enough, and went home. But
when she got there and saw the cow hanging in such an ugly place, she
ran up and cut the rope in two with her scythe. But as she did this,
down came her husband out of the chimney; and so when his old dame
came inside the kitchen, there she found him standing on his head in
the porridge pot.


Once on a time there was a rich couple who had twelve sons; but the
youngest when he was grown up, said he wouldn't stay any longer at
home, but be off into the world to try his luck. His father and
mother said he did very well at home, and had better stay where he
was. But no, he couldn't rest; away he must and would go. So at last
they gave him leave. And when he had walked a good bit, he came to a
king's palace, where he asked for a place, and got it.

Now the daughter of the king of that land had been carried off into
the hill by a Troll, and the king had no other children; so he and
all his land were in great grief and sorrow, and the king gave his
word that any one who could set her free should have the Princess and
half the kingdom. But there was no one who could do it, though many

So when the lad had been there a year or so, he longed to go home
again and see his father and mother, and back he went, but when he
got home his father and mother were dead, and his brothers had shared
all that the old people owned between them, and so there was nothing
left for the lad.

'Shan't I have anything at all, then, out of father's and mother's
goods?' said the lad.

'Who could tell you were still alive, when you went gadding and
wandering about so long?' said his brothers. 'But all the same; there
are twelve mares up on the hill which we haven't yet shared among us;
if you choose to take them for your share, you're quite welcome.'

Yes! the lad was quite content; so he thanked his brothers, and went
at once up on the hill, where the twelve mares were out at grass. And
when he got up there and found them, each of them had a foal at her
side, and one of them had besides, along with her, a big dapple-gray
foal, which was so sleek that the sun shone from its coat.

'A fine fellow you are, my little foal', said the lad.

'Yes', said the foal; 'but if you'll only kill all the other foals,
so that I may run and suck all the mares one year more, you'll see
how big and sleek I'll be then.'

Yes! the lad was ready to do that; so he killed all those twelve
foals, and went home again.

So when he came back the next year to look after his foal and mares,
the foal was so fat and sleek, that the sun shone from its coat, and
it had grown so big, the lad had hard work to mount it. As for the
mares, they had each of them another foal.

'Well, it's quite plain I lost nothing by letting you suck all my
twelve mares', said the lad to the yearling, 'but now you're big
enough to come along with me.'

'No', said the colt, 'I must bide here a year longer; and now kill
all the twelve foals, that I may suck all the mares this year too,
and you'll see how big and sleek I'll be by summer.'

Yes! the lad did that; and next year when he went up on the hill to
look after his colt and the mares, each mare had her foal, but the
dapple colt was so tall the lad couldn't reach up to his crest when
he wanted to feel how fat he was; and so sleek he was too, that his
coat glistened in the sunshine.

'Big and beautiful you were last year, my colt', said the lad, 'but
this year you're far grander. There's no such horse in the king's
stable. But now you must come along with me.'

'No', said Dapple again, 'I must stay here one year more. Kill the
twelve foals as before, that I may suck the mares the whole year, and
then just come and look at me when the summer comes.'

Yes! the lad did that; he killed the foals, and went away home.

But when he went up next year to look after Dapple and the mares, he
was quite astonished. So tall, and stout, and sturdy, he never
thought a horse could be; for Dapple had to lie down on all fours
before the lad could bestride him, and it was hard work to get up
even then, although he lay flat; and his coat was so smooth and
sleek, the sunbeams shone from it as from a looking-glass.

This time Dapple was willing enough to follow the lad, so he jumped
up on his back, and when he came riding home to his brothers, they
all clapped their hands and crossed themselves, for such a horse they
had never heard of nor seen before.

'If you will only get me the best shoes you can for my horse, and the
grandest saddle and bridle that are to be found', said the lad, 'you
may have my twelve mares that graze up on the hill yonder, and their
twelve foals into the bargain.' For you must know that this year too
every mare had her foal.

Yes, his brothers were ready to do that, and so the lad got such
strong shoes under his horse, that the stones flew high aloft as he
rode away across the hills; and he had a golden saddle and a golden
bridle, which gleamed and glistened a long way off.

'Now we're off to the king's palace', said Dapplegrim--that was his
name; 'but mind you ask the king for a good stable and good fodder
for me.'

Yes! the lad said he would mind; he'd be sure not to forget; and when
he rode off from his brothers' house, you may be sure it wasn't long,
with such a horse under him, before he got to the king's palace.

When he came there the king was standing on the steps, and stared and
stared at the man who came riding along.

'Nay, nay!', said he, 'such a man and such a horse I never yet saw in
all my life.'

But when the lad asked if he could get a place in the king's
household, the king was so glad he was ready to jump and dance as he
stood on the steps.

Well, they said, perhaps he might get a place there.

'Aye', said the lad, 'but I must have good stable-room for my horse,
and fodder that one can trust.'

Yes! he should have meadow-hay and oats, as much as Dapple could
cram, and all the other knights had to lead their horses out of the
stable that Dapplegrim might stand alone, and have it all to himself.

But it wasn't long before all the others in the king's household
began to be jealous of the lad, and there was no end to the bad
things they would have done to him, if they had only dared. At last
they thought of telling the king he had said he was man enough to set
the king's daughter free--whom the Troll had long since carried away
into the hill--if he only chose. The king called the lad before him,
and said he had heard the lad said he was good to do so and so; so
now he must go and do it. If he did it, he knew how the king had
promised his daughter and half the kingdom, and that promise would be
faithfully kept; if he didn't, he should be killed.

The lad kept on saying he never said any such thing; but it was no
good--the king wouldn't even listen to him; and so the end of it was
he was forced to say he'd go and try.

So he went into the stable, down in the mouth and heavy-hearted, and
then Dapplegrim asked him at once why he was in such dumps.

Then the lad told him all, and how he couldn't tell which way to

'For as for setting the Princess free, that's downright stuff.'

'Oh! but it might be done, perhaps', said Dapplegrim. 'I'll help you
through; but you must first have me well shod. You must go and ask
for ten pound of iron and twelve pound of steel for the shoes, and
one smith to hammer and another to hold.'

Yes, the lad did that, and got for answer 'Yes!' He got both the iron
and the steel, and the smiths, and so Dapplegrim was shod both strong
and well, and off went the lad from the court-yard in a cloud of

But when he came to the hill into which the Princess had been
carried, the pinch was how to get up the steep wall of rock where the
Troll's cave was, in which the Princess had been hid. For you must
know the hill stood straight up and down right on end, as upright as
a house-wall, and as smooth as a sheet of glass.

The first time the lad went at it he got a little way up; but then
Dapple's fore-legs slipped, and down they went again, with a sound
like thunder on the hill.

The second time he rode at it he got some way further up; but then
one fore-leg slipped, and down they went with a crash like a

But the third time Dapple said:

'Now we must show our mettle'; and went at it again till the stones
flew heaven-high about them, and so they got up.

Then the lad rode right into the cave at full speed, and caught up
the Princess, and threw her over his saddle-bow and out and down
again before the Troll had time even to get on his legs; and so the
Princess was freed.

When the lad came back to the palace, the king was both happy and
glad to get his daughter back; that you may well believe; but somehow
or other, though I don't know how, the others about the court had so
brought it about that the king was angry with the lad after all.

'Thanks you shall have for freeing my Princess', said he to the lad,
when he brought the Princess into the hall, and made his bow.

'She ought to be mine as well as yours; for you're a word-fast man, I
hope', said the lad.

'Aye, aye!' said the king, 'have her you shall, since I said it; but
first of all, you must make the sun shine into my palace hall.'

Now, you must know there was a high steep ridge of rock close outside
the windows, which threw such a shade over the hall that never a
sunbeam shone into it.

'That wasn't in our bargain', answered the lad; 'but I see this is
past praying against; I must e'en go and try my luck, for the
Princess I must and will have.'

So down he went to Dapple, and told him what the king wanted, and
Dapplegrim thought it might easily be done, but first of all he must
be new shod; and for that ten pound of iron, and twelve pound of
steel besides, were needed, and two smiths, one to hammer and the
other to hold, and then they'd soon get the sun to shine into the
palace hall.

So when the lad asked for all these things, he got them at once--the
king couldn't say nay for very shame; and so Dapplegrim got new
shoes, and such shoes! Then the lad jumped upon his back, and off
they went again; and for every leap that Dapplegrim gave, down sank
the ridge fifteen ells into the earth, and so they went on till there
was nothing left of the ridge for the king to see.

When the lad got back to the king's palace, he asked the king if the
Princess were not his now; for now no one could say that the sun
didn't shine into the hall. But then the others set the king's back
up again, and he answered the lad should have her of course, he had
never thought of anything else; but first of all he must get as grand
a horse for the bride to ride on to church as the bridegroom had

The lad said the king hadn't spoken a word about this before, and
that he thought he had now fairly earned the Princess; but the king
held to his own; and more, if the lad couldn't do that he should lose
his life; that was what the king said. So the lad went down to the
stable in doleful dumps, as you may well fancy, and there he told
Dapplegrim all about it; how the king had laid that task on him, to
find the bride as good a horse as the bridegroom had himself, else he
would lose his life.

'But that's not so easy', he said, 'for your match isn't to be found
in the wide world.'

'Oh yes, I have a match', said Dapplegrim; 'but 'tisn't so easy to
find him, for he abides in Hell. Still we'll try. And now you must go
up to the king and ask for new shoes for me, ten pound of iron, and
twelve pound of steel; and two smiths, one to hammer and one to hold;
and mind you see that the points and ends of these shoes are sharp;
and twelve sacks of rye, and twelve sacks of barley, and twelve
slaughtered oxen, we must have with us; and mind, we must have the
twelve ox-hides, with twelve hundred spikes driven into each; and,
let me see, a big tar-barrel--that's all we want.'

So the lad went up to the king and asked for all that Dapplegrim had
said, and the king again thought he couldn't say nay, for shame's
sake, and so the lad got all he wanted.

Well, he jumped up on Dapplegrim's back, and rode away from the
palace, and when he had ridden far far over hill and heath, Dapple

'Do you hear anything?'

'Yes, I hear an awful hissing and rustling up in the air,' said the
lad; 'I think I'm getting afraid.'

'That's all the wild birds that fly through the wood. They are sent
to stop us; but just cut a hole in the corn-sacks, and then they'll
have so much to do with the corn, they'll forget us quite.'

Yes! the lad did that; he cut holes in the corn-sacks, so that the
rye and barley ran out on all sides. Then all the wild birds that
were in the wood came flying round them so thick that the sunbeams
grew dark; but as soon as they saw the corn, they couldn't keep to
their purpose, but flew down and began to pick and scratch at the rye
and barley, and after that they began to fight among themselves. As
for Dapplegrim and the lad, they forgot all about them, and did them
no harm.

So the lad rode on and on--far far over mountain and dale, over sand-
hills and moor. Then Dapplegrim began to prick up his ears again, and
at last he asked the lad if he heard anything?

'Yes! now I hear such an ugly roaring and howling in the wood all
round, it makes me quite afraid.'

'Ah!' said Dapplegrim, 'that's all the wild beasts that range through
the wood, and they're sent out to stop us. But just cast out the
twelve carcasses of the oxen, that will give them enough to do, and
so they'll forget us outright.'

Yes! the lad cast out the carcasses, and then all the wild beasts in
the wood, both bears, and wolves, and lions--all fell beasts of all
kinds--came after them. But when they saw the carcasses, they began
to fight for them among themselves till blood flowed in streams; but
Dapplegrim and the lad they quite forgot.

So the lad rode far away, and they changed the landscape many many
times, for Dapplegrim didn't let the grass grow under him, as you may
fancy. At last Dapple gave a great neigh.

'Do you hear anything?' he said.

'Yes, I hear something like a colt neighing loud, a long long way
off', answered the lad.

'That's a full-grown colt then', said Dapplegrim, 'if we hear him
neigh so loud such a long way off.'

After that they travelled a good bit, changing the landscape once or
twice, maybe. Then Dapplegrim gave another neigh.

'Now listen, and tell me if you hear anything', he said.

'Yes, now I hear a neigh like a full-grown horse', answered the lad.

'Aye! aye!' said Dapplegrim, 'you'll hear him once again soon, and
then you'll hear he's got a voice of his own.'

So they travelled on and on, and changed the landscape once or twice,
perhaps, and then Dapplegrim neighed the third time; but before he
could ask the lad if he heard anything, something gave such a neigh
across the heathy hill-side, the lad thought hill and rock would
surely be rent asunder.

'Now, he's here!' said Dapplegrim; 'make haste, now, and throw the ox
hides, with the spikes in them, over me, and throw down the tar-
barrel on the plain; then climb up into that great spruce-fir yonder.
When it comes fire will flash out of both nostrils, and then the tar-
barrel will catch fire. Now, mind what I say. If the flame rises, I
win; if it falls, I lose; but if you see me winning take and cast the
bridle--you must take it off me--over its head, and then it will be
tame enough.'

So just as the lad had done throwing the ox hides, with the spikes,
over Dapplegrim, and had cast down the tar-barrel on the plain, and
had got well up into the spruce-fir, up galloped a horse, with fire
flashing out of his nostrils, and the flame caught the tar-barrel at
once. Then Dapplegrim and the strange horse began to fight till the
stones flew heaven high. They fought and bit, and kicked, both with
fore-feet and hind-feet, and sometimes the lad could see them, and
sometimes he couldn't; but at last the flame began to rise; for
wherever the strange horse kicked or bit, he met the spiked hides,
and at last he had to yield. When the lad saw that, he wasn't long in
getting down from the tree, and in throwing the bridle over its head,
and then it was so tame you could hold it with a pack-thread.

And what do you think? that horse was dappled too, and so like
Dapplegrim, you couldn't tell which was which. Then the lad bestrode
the new Dapple he had broken, and rode home to the palace, and old
Dapplegrim ran loose by his side. So when he got home, there stood
the king out in the yard.

'Can you tell me now', said the lad, 'which is the horse I have
caught and broken, and which is the one I had before. If you can't, I
think your daughter is fairly mine.'

Then the king went and looked at both Dapples, high and low, before
and behind, but there wasn't a hair on one which wasn't on the other
as well. 'No', said the king, 'that I can't; and since you've got my
daughter such a grand horse for her wedding, you shall have her with
all my heart. But still, we'll have one trial more, just to see
whether you're fated to have her. First, she shall hide herself
twice, and then you shall hide yourself twice. If you can find out
her hiding-place, and she can't find out yours, why then you're fated
to have her, and so you shall have her.'

'That's not in the bargain either', said the lad; 'but we must just
try, since it must be so'; and so the Princess went off to hide
herself first.

So she turned herself into a duck, and lay swimming on a pond that
was close to the palace. But the lad only ran down to the stable, and
asked Dapplegrim what she had done with herself.

'Oh, you only need to take your gun', said Dapplegrim, 'and go down
to the brink of the pond, and aim at the duck which lies swimming
about there, and she'll soon show herself.'

So the lad snatched up his gun and ran off to the pond. 'I'll just
take a pop at this duck', he said, and began to aim at it.

'Nay, nay, dear friend, don't shoot. It's I', said the Princess.

So he had found her once.

The second time the Princess turned herself into a loaf of bread, and
laid herself on the table among four other loaves; and so like was
she to the others, no one could say which was which.

But the lad went again down to the stable to Dapplegrim, and said how
the Princess had hidden herself again, and he couldn't tell at all
what had become of her.

'Oh, just take and sharpen a good bread-knife', said Dapplegrim,' and
do as if you were going to cut in two the third loaf on the left hand
of those four loaves which are lying on the dresser in the king's
kitchen, and you'll find her soon enough.'

Yes! the was down in the kitchen in no time, and began to sharpen the
biggest bread-knife he could lay hands on; then he caught hold of the
third loaf on the left hand, and put the knife to it, as though he
was going to cut it in two. I'll just have a slice off this loaf', he

Nay, dear friend', said the Princess, 'don't cut. It's I' So he had
found her twice.

Then he was to go and hide; but he and Dapplegrim had settled it all
so well beforehand, it wasn't easy to find him. First he turned
himself into a tick, and hid himself in Dapplegrim's left nostril;
and the Princess went about hunting him everywhere, high and low; at
last she wanted to go into Dapplegrim's stall, but he began to bite
and kick, so that she daren't go near him, and so she couldn't find
the lad.

'Well', she said, 'since I can't find you, you must show where you
are yourself'; and in a trice the lad stood there on the stable

The second time Dapplegrim told him again what to do; and then he
turned himself into a clod of earth, and stuck himself between
Dapple's hoof and shoe on the near forefoot. So the Princess hunted
up and down, out and in, everywhere; at last she came into the
stable, and wanted to go into Dapplegrim's loose-box. This time he
let her come up to him, and she pried high and low, but under his
hoofs she couldn't come, for he stood firm as a rock on his feet, and
so she couldn't find the lad.

'Well; you must just show yourself, for I'm sure I can't find you',
said the Princess, and as she spoke the lad stood by her side on the
stable floor.

'Now you are mine indeed', said the lad; 'for now you can see I'm
fated to have you.' This he said both to the father and daughter.

'Yes; it is so fated', said the king; 'so it must be.' Then they got
ready the wedding in right down earnest, and lost no time about it;
and the lad got on Dapplegrim, and the Princess on Dapplegrim's
match, and then you may fancy they were not long on their way to the


Once on a time there was a man and his wife, who had an only son, and
his name was Jack. The old dame thought it high time for her son to
go out into the world to learn a trade, and bade her husband be off
with him.

'But all you do', she said, 'mind you bind him to some one who can
teach him to be master above all masters'; and with that she put some
food and a roll of tobacco into a bag, and packed them off.

Well! they went to many masters; but one and all said they could make
the lad as good as themselves, but better they couldn't make him. So
when the man came home again to his wife with that answer, she said:

'I don't care what you make of him; but this I say and stick to, you
must bind him to some one where he can learn to be master above all
masters'; and with that she packed up more food and another roll of
tobacco, and father and son had to be off again.

Now when they had walked a while they got upon the ice, and there
they met a man who came whisking along in a sledge, and drove a black

'Whither away?' said the man.

'Well!' said the father, 'I'm going to bind my son to some one who is
good to teach him a trade; but my old dame comes of such fine folk,
she will have him taught to be master above all masters.'

'Well met then', said the driver; 'I'm just the man for your money,
for I'm looking out for such an apprentice. Up with you behind!' he
added to the lad, and whisk! off they went, both of them, and sledge
and horse, right up into the air.

'Nay, nay!' cried the lad's father, 'you haven't told me your name,
nor where you live.'

'Oh!' said the master, 'I'm at home alike north and south, and east
and west, and my name's _Farmer Weathersky_. In a year and a day
you may come here again, and then I'll tell you if I like him.' So
away they went through the air, and were soon out of sight.

So when the man got home, his old dame asked what had become of her

'Well', said the man, 'Heaven knows, I'm sure I don't. They went up
aloft'; and so he told her what had happened. But when the old dame
heard that her husband couldn't tell at all when her son's
apprenticeship would be out, nor whither he had gone, she packed him
off again, and gave him another bag of food and another roll of

So, when he had walked a bit, he came to a great wood, which
stretched on and on all day as he walked through it. When it got dark
he saw a great light, and he went towards it. After a long, long time
he came to a little but under a rock, and outside stood an old hag
drawing water out of a well with her nose, so long was it.

'Good evening, mother!' said the man.

'The same to you', said the old hag. 'It's hundreds of years since
any one called me mother.'

'Can I have lodging here to-night?' asked the man.

'No! that you can't', said she.

But then the man pulled out his roll of tobacco, lighted his pipe,
and gave the old dame a whiff, and a pinch of snuff. Then she was so
happy she began to dance for joy, and the end was, she gave the man
leave to stop the night.

So next morning he began to ask after Farmer Weathersky. 'No! she
never heard tell of him, but she ruled over all the four-footed
beasts; perhaps some of them might know him.' So she played them all
home with a pipe she had, and asked them all, but there wasn't one of
them who knew anything about Farmer Weathersky.

'Well!' said the old hag, 'there are three sisters of us; maybe one
of the other two know where he lives. I'll lend you my horse and
sledge, and then you'll be at her house by night; but it's at least
three hundred miles off, the nearest way.'

Then the man started off, and at night reached the house, and when he
came there, there stood another old hag before the door, drawing
water out of the well with her nose.

'Good evening, mother!' said the man.

'The same to you', said she; 'it's hundreds of years since any one
called me mother.'

'Can I lodge here to-night?' asked the man.

'No!' said the old hag.

But he took out his roll of tobacco, lighted his pipe, and gave the
old dame a whiff, and a good pinch of snuff besides, on the back of
her hand. Then she was so happy that she began to jump and dance for
joy, and so the man got leave to stay the night. When that was over,
he began to ask after Farmer Weathersky. 'No! she had never heard
tell of him; but she ruled all the fish in the sea; perhaps some of
them might know something about him.' So she played them all home
with a pipe she had, and asked them, but there wasn't one of them who
knew anything about Farmer Weathersky.

'Well, well!' said the old hag, 'there's one sister of us left; maybe
she knows something about him. She lives six hundred miles off, but
I'll lend you my horse and sledge, and then you'll get there by

Then the man started off, and reached the house by nightfall, and
there he found another old hag who stood before the grate, and
stirred the fire with her nose, so long and tough it was.

'Good evening, mother!' said the man.

'The same to you', said the old hag; 'it's hundreds of years since
any one called me mother.'

'Can I lodge here to-night?' asked the man.

'No', said the old hag.

Then the man pulled out his roll of tobacco again, and lighted his
pipe, and gave the old hag such a pinch of snuff it covered the whole
back of her hand. Then she got so happy she began to dance for joy,
and so the man got leave to stay. But when the night was over, he
began to ask after Farmer Weathersky. She never heard tell of him she
said; but she ruled over all the birds of the air, and so she played
them all home with a pipe she had, and when she had mustered them
all, the Eagle was missing. But a little while after he came flying
home, and when she asked him, he said he had just come straight from
Farmer Weathersky. Then the old hag said he must guide the man
thither; but the eagle said he must have something to eat first, and
besides he must rest till the next day; he was so tired with flying
that long way, he could scarce rise from the earth.

So when he had eaten his fill and taken a good rest, the old hag
pulled a feather out of the Eagle's tail, and put the man there in
its stead; so the Eagle flew off with the man, and flew, and flew,
but they didn't reach Farmer Weathersky's house before midnight.

So when they got there, the Eagle said

'There are heaps of dead bodies lying about outside but you mustn't
mind them. Inside the house every man Jack of them are so sound
asleep, 't will be hard work to wake them; but you must go straight
to the table drawer, and take out of it three crumbs of bread, and
when you hear some one snoring loud, pull three feathers out of his
head; he won't wake for all that.'

So the man did as he was told, and after he had taken the crumbs of
bread, he pulled out the first feather.

'OOF!' growled Farmer Weathersky, for it was he who snored.

So the man pulled out another feather.

'OOF!' he growled again.

But when he pulled out the third, Farmer Weathersky roared so, the
man thought roof and wall would have flown asunder, but for all that
the snorer slept on.

After that the Eagle told him what he was to do. He went to the yard,
and there at the stable-door he stumbled against a big gray stone,
and that he lifted up; underneath it lay three chips of wood, and
those he picked up too; then he knocked at the stable-door, and it
opened of itself. Then he threw down the three crumbs of bread, and a
hare came and ate them up; that hare he caught and kept. After that
the Eagle bade him pull three feathers out of his tail, and put the
hare, the stone, the chips, and himself there instead, and then he
would fly away home with them all.

So when the Eagle had flown a long way, he lighted on a rock to rest.

'Do you see anything?' it asked.

'Yes', said the man, 'I see a flock of crows coming flying after us.'

'We'd better be off again, then', said the Eagle, who flew away.

After a while it asked again:

'Do you see anything now?'

'Yes', said the man; 'now the crows are close behind us.'

'Drop now the three feathers you pulled out of his head, said the

Well, the man dropped the feathers, and as soon as ever he dropped
them they became a flock of ravens which drove the crows home again.
Then the Eagle flew on far away with the man, and at last it lighted
on another stone to rest.

'Do you see anything?' it said.

'I'm not sure', said the man; 'I fancy I see something coming far far

'We'd better get on then', said the Eagle; and after a while it said

'Do you see anything?'

'Yes', said the man, 'now he's close at our heels.'

'Now, you must let fall the chips of wood which you took from under
the gray stone at the stable door', said the Eagle.

Yes! the man let them fall, and they grew at once up into tall thick
wood, so that Farmer Weathersky had to go back home to fetch an axe
to hew his way through. While he did this, the Eagle flew ever so
far, but when it got tired, it lighted on a fir to rest.

'Do you see anything?' it said.

'Well! I'm not sure', said the man; 'but I fancy I catch a glimpse of
something far away.'

'We'd best be off then', said the Eagle; and off it flew as fast as
it could. After a while it said:

'Do you see anything now?'

'Yes! now he's close behind us', said the man.

'Now, you must drop the big stone you lifted up at the stable door',
said the Eagle.

The man did so, and as it fell it became a great high mountain, which
Farmer Weathersky had to break his way through. When he had got half
through the mountain, he tripped and broke one of his legs, and so he
had to limp home again and patch it up.

But while he was doing this, the Eagle flew away to the man's house
with him and the hare, and as soon as they got home, the man went
into the churchyard and sprinkled Christian mould over the hare, and
lo! it turned into 'Jack', his son.

Well, you may fancy the old dame was glad to get her son again, but
still she wasn't easy in her mind about his trade, and she wouldn't
rest till he gave her a proof that he was 'master above all masters'.

So when the fair came round, the lad changed himself into a bay
horse, and told his father to lead him to the fair. 'Now, when any
one comes', he said, 'to buy me, you may ask a hundred dollars for
me; but mind you don't forget to take the headstall off me; if you
do, Farmer Weathersky will keep me for ever, for he it is who will
come to deal with you.'

So it turned out. Up came a horse-dealer, who had a great wish to
deal for the horse, and he gave a hundred dollars down for him; but
when the bargain was struck, and Jack's father had pocketed the
money, the horse-dealer wanted to have the headstall. 'Nay, nay!'
said the man, 'there's nothing about that in the bargain; and
besides, you can't have the headstall, for I've other horses at home
to bring to town to-morrow.'

So each went his way; but they hadn't gone far before Jack took his
own shape and ran away, and when his father got home, there sat Jack
in the ingle.

Next day he turned himself into a brown horse, and told his father to
drive him to the fair.

'And when any one comes to buy me, you may ask two hundred dollars
for me--he'll give that and treat you besides; but whatever you do,
and however much you drink, don't forget to take the headstall off
me, else you'll never set eyes on me again.'

So all happened as he had said; the man got two hundred dollars for
the horse and a glass of drink besides, and when the buyer and seller
parted, it was as much as he could do to remember to take off the
headstall. But the buyer and the horse hadn't got far on the road
before Jack took his own shape, and when the man got home, there sat
Jack in the ingle.

The third day, it was the same story over again: the lad turned
himself into a black horse, and told his father some one would come
and bid three hundred dollars for him, and fill his skin with meat
and drink besides; but however much he ate or drank, he was to mind
and not forget to take the headstall off, else he'd have to stay with
Farmer Weathersky all his life long.

'No, no; I'll not forget, never fear', said the man.

So when he came to the fair, he got three hundred dollars for the
horse, and as it wasn't to be a dry bargain, Farmer Weathersky made
him drink so much that he quite forgot to take the headstall off, and
away went Farmer Weathersky with the horse. Now when he had gone a
little way, Farmer Weathersky thought he would just stop and have
another glass of brandy; so he put a barrel of red-hot nails under
his horse's nose, and a sieve of oats under his tail, hung the
halter, upon a hook, and went into the inn. So the horse stood there
and stamped and pawed, and snorted and reared. Just then out came a
lassie, who thought it a shame to treat a horse so.

'Oh, poor beastie', she said, 'what a cruel master you must have to
treat you so', and as she said this she pulled the halter off the
hook, so that the horse might turn round and taste the oats.

'I'M AFTER YOU', roared Farmer Weathersky, who came rushing out of
the door.

But the horse had already shaken off the headstall, and jumped into a
duck-pond, where he turned himself into a tiny fish. In went Farmer
Weathersky after him, and turned himself into a great pike. Then Jack
turned himself into a dove, and Farmer Weathersky made himself into a
hawk, and chased and struck at the dove. But just then a Princess
stood at the window of the palace and saw this struggle.

'Ah! poor dove', she cried, 'if you only knew what I know, you'd fly
to me through this window.'

So the dove came flying in through the window, and turned itself into
Jack again, who told his own tale.

'Turn yourself into a gold ring, and put yourself on my finger', said
the Princess.

'Nay, nay!' said Jack, 'that'll never do, for then Farmer Weathersky
will make the king sick, and then there'll be no one who can make him
well again till Farmer Weathersky comes and cures him, and then, for
his fee, he'll ask for that gold ring.'

'Then I'll say I had it from my mother, and can't part with it', said
the Princess.

Well, Jack turned himself into a gold ring, and put himself on the
Princess' finger, and so Farmer Weathersky couldn't get at him. But
then followed what the lad had foretold; the king fell sick, and
there wasn't a doctor in the kingdom who could cure him till Farmer
Weathersky came, and he asked for the ring off the Princess' finger
for his fee. So the king sent a messenger to the Princess for the
ring; but the Princess said she wouldn't part with it, her mother had
left it her. When the king heard that, he flew into a rage, and said
he would have the ring, whoever left it to her.

'Well', said the Princess, 'it's no good being cross about it. I
can't get it off, and if you must have the ring, you must take my
finger too.'

'If you'll let me try, I'll soon get the ring off', said Farmer

'No, thanks, I'll try myself', said the Princess, and flew off to the
grate and put ashes on her finger. Then the ring slipped off and was
lost among the ashes. So Farmer Weathersky turned himself into a
cock, who scratched and pecked after the ring in the grate, till he
was up to the ears in ashes. But while he was doing this, Jack turned
himself into a fox, and bit off the cock's head; and so if the Evil
One was in Farmer Weathersky, it is all over with him now.


Once on a time there was a poor couple, and they had nothing in the
world but three sons. What the names the two elder had I can't say,
but the youngest he was called Peter. So when their father and mother
died, the sons were to share what was left, but there was nothing but
a porridge-pot, a griddle, and a cat.

The eldest, who was to have first choice, he took the pot; 'for',
said he, 'whenever I lend the pot to any one to boil porridge, I can
always get leave to scrape it'.

The second took the griddle; 'for', said he, 'whenever I lend it to
any one, I'll always get a morsel of dough to make a bannock.'

But the youngest, he had no choice left him; if he was to choose
anything it must be the cat.

'Well!' said he, 'if I lend the cat to any one I shan't get much by
that; for if pussy gets a drop of milk, she'll want it all herself.
Still, I'd best take her along with me; I shouldn't like her to go
about here and starve.'

So the brothers went out into the world to try their luck, and each
took his own way; but when the youngest had gorse a while, the cat

'Now you shall have a good turn, because you wouldn't let me stay
behind in the old cottage and starve. Now, I'm off to the wood to lay
hold of a fine fat head of game, and then you must go up to the
king's palace that you see yonder, and say you are come with a little
present for the king; and when he asks who sends it, you must say,
"Why, who should it be from but Lord Peter."'

Well! Peter hadn't waited long before back came the cat with a
reindeer from the wood; she had jumped up on the reindeer's head,
between his horns, and said, 'If you don't go straight to the king's
palace I'll claw your eyes out.'

So the reindeer had to go whether he liked it or no.

And when Peter got to the palace he went into the kitchen with the
deer, and said: 'Here I'm come with a little present for the king, if
he won't despise it.'

Then the King went out into the kitchen, and when he saw the fine
plump reindeer, he was very glad.

'But, my dear friend', he said, 'who in the world is it that sends me
such a fine gift?'

'Oh!' said Peter, 'who should send it but Lord Peter.'

'Lord Peter! Lord Peter!' said the King. 'Pray tell me where he
lives'; for he thought it a shame not to know so great a man. But
that was just what the lad wouldn't tell him; he daren't do it, he
said, because his master had forbidden him.

So the King gave him a good bit of money to drink his health, and
bade him be sure and say all kind of pretty things, and many thanks
for the present to his master when he got home.

Next day the Cat went again into the wood, and jumped up on a red
deer's head, and sat between his horns, and forced him to go to the
palace. Then Peter went again into the kitchen, and said he was come
with a little present for the King, if he would be pleased to take
it. And the King was still more glad to get the red deer than he had
been to get the reindeer, and asked again who it was that sent so
fine a present.

'Why, it's Lord Peter, of course', said the lad; but when the King
wanted to know where Lord Peter lived, he got the same answer as the
day before; and this day, too, he gave Peter a good lump of money to
drink his health with.

The third day the Cat came with an elk. And so when Peter got into
the palace kitchen, and said he had a little present for the King, if
he'd be pleased to take it, the King came out at once into the
kitchen; and when he saw the grand big elk, he was so glad he scarce
knew which leg to stand on; and this day, too, he gave Peter many
many more dollars--at least a hundred. He wished now, once for all,
to know where this Lord Peter lived, and asked and asked about this
thing and that, but the lad said he daren't say, for his master's
sake, who had strictly forbidden him to tell.

'Well, then', said the King, 'beg Lord Peter to come and see me.'

Yes, the lad would take that message; but when Peter got out into the
yard again, and met the Cat, he said,

'A pretty scrape you've got me into now, for here's the King, who
wants me to come and see him, and you know I've nothing to go in but
these rags I stand and walk in.'

'Oh, don't be afraid about that', said the Cat; 'in three days you
shall have coach and horses, and fine clothes, so fine that the gold
falls from them, and then you may go and see the king very well. But
mind, whatever you see in the king's palace, you must say you have
far finer and grander things of your own. Don't forget that.'

No, no, Peter would bear that in mind, never fear.

So when three days were over, the Cat came with a coach and horses,
and clothes, and all that Peter wanted, and altogether it was as
grand as anything you ever set eyes on; so off he set, and the Cat
ran alongside the coach. The King met him well and graciously; but
whatever the King offered him, and whatever he showed him, Peter
said, 'twas all very well, but he had far finer and better things in his
own house. The King seemed not quite to believe this, but Peter
stuck to what he said, and at last the King got so angry, he couldn't
bear it any longer.

'Now I'll go home with you', he said, 'and see if it be true what
you've been telling me, that you have far finer and better things of
your own. But if you've been telling a pack of lies, Heaven help you,
that's all I say.'

'Now, you've got me into a fine scrape', said Peter to the Cat, 'for
here's the King coming home with me; but my home, that's not so easy
to find, I think.'

'Oh! never mind', said the Cat; 'only do you drive after me as I run

So off they set; first Peter, who drove after his Cat, and then the
King and all his court.

But when they had driven a good bit, they came to a great flock of
fine sheep, that had wool so long it almost touched the ground.

'If you'll only say', said the Cat to the Shepherd, 'this flock of
sheep belongs to Lord Peter, when the King asks you, I'll give you
this silver spoon', which she had taken with her from the King's

Yes! he was willing enough to do that. So when the king came up, he
said to the lad who watched the sheep,

'Well, I never saw so large and fine a flock of sheep in my life!
Whose is it? my little lad.'

'Why', said the lad, 'whose should it be but Lord Peter's.'

A little while after they came to a great, great herd of fine
brindled kine, who were all so sleek the sun shone from them.

'If you'll only say', said the Cat to the neat-herd, 'this herd is
Lord Peter's, when the King asks you, I'll give you this silver
ladle'; and the ladle too she had taken from the King's palace.

'Yes! with all my heart', said the neat-herd.

So when the King came up, he was quite amazed at the fine fat herd,
for such a herd he had never seen before, and so he asked the neat-
herd who owned those brindled kine.

'Why! who should own them but Lord Peter', said the neat-herd.

So they went on a little further, and came to a great, great drove of
horses, the finest you ever saw, six of each colour, bay, and black,
and brown, and chesnut.

'If you'll only say this drove of horses is Lord Peter's when the
King asks you', said the Cat, 'I'll give you this silver stoop'; and
the stoop too she had taken from the palace.

Yes! the lad was willing enough; and so when the King came up, he was
quite amazed at the grand drove of horses, for the matches of such
horses he had never yet set eyes on, he said.

So he asked the lad who watched them, whose all these blacks, and
bays, and browns, and chesnuts were?

'Whose should they be', said the lad, 'but Lord Peter's.'

So when they had gone a good bit farther, they came to a castle;
first there was a gate of tin, and next there was a gate of silver,
and next a gate of gold. The castle itself was of silver, and so
dazzling white, that it quite hurt one's eyes to look at in the
sunbeams which fell on it just as they reached it.

So they went into it, and the Cat told Peter to say this was his
house. As for the castle inside, it was far finer than it looked
outside, for everything was pure gold--chairs, and tables, and
benches, and all. And when the King had gone all over it, and seen
everything high and low, he got quite shameful and downcast.

'Yes', he said at last; 'Lord Peter has everything far finer than I
have, there's no gainsaying that', and so he wanted to be off home

But Peter begged him to stay to supper, and the King stayed, but he
was sour, and surly the whole time.

So as they sat at supper, back came the Troll who owned the castle,
and gave such a great knock at the door.

roared out the Troll.

As soon as the Cat heard that, she ran down to the gate.

'Stop a bit', she said, 'and I'll tell you how the farmer sets to
work to get in his winter rye.'

And so she told him such a long story about the winter rye.

'First of all, you see, he ploughs his field, and then he dungs it,
and then he ploughs it again, and then he harrows it'; and so she
went on till the sun rose.

'Oh, do look behind you, and there you'll see such a lovely lady',
said the Cat to the Troll.

So the Troll turned round, and, of course, as soon as he saw the sun
he burst.

'Now all this is yours', said the Cat to Lord Peter. 'Now, you must
cut off my head; that's all I ask for what I have done for you.'

'Nay, nay', said Lord Peter, 'I'll never do any such thing, that's

'If you don't', said the Cat,' see if I don't claw your eyes out.'

Well! so Lord Peter had to do it, though it was sore against his
will. He cut off the Cat's head, but there and then she became the
loveliest Princess you ever set eyes on, and Lord Peter fell in love
with her at once.

'Yes! all this greatness was mine first', said the Princess, 'but a
Troll bewitched me to be a Cat in your father's and mother's cottage.
Now you may do as you please, whether you take me as your queen or
not, for you are now king over all this realm.'

Well, well; there was little doubt Lord Peter would be willing enough
to have her as his queen, and so there was a wedding that lasted
eight whole days, and a feast besides; and after it was over, I
stayed no longer with Lord Peter and his lovely queen, and so I can't
say anything more about them.


Once on a time there was a poor couple who lived in a wretched hut,
far far away in the wood. How they lived I can't tell, but I'm sure
it was from hand to mouth, and hard work even then; but they had
three sons, and the youngest of them was Boots, of course, for he did
little else than lie there and poke about in the ashes.

So one day the eldest lad said he would go out to earn his bread, and
he soon got leave, and wandered out into the world. There he walked
and walked the whole day, and when evening drew in, he came to a
king's palace, and there stood the King out on the steps, and asked
whither he was bound.

'Oh, I'm going about, looking after a place', said the lad.

'Will you serve me?' asked the King, 'and watch my seven foals. If
you can watch them one whole day, and tell me at night what they eat
and what they drink, you shall have the Princess to wife, and half my
kingdom; but if you can't, I'll cut three red stripes out of your
back. Do you hear?'

Yes! that was an easy task, the lad thought; he'd do that fast
enough, never fear.

So next morning, as soon as the first peep of dawn came, the king's
coachman let out the seven foals. Away they went, and the lad after
them. You may fancy how they tore over hill and dale, through bush
and bog. When the lad had run so a long time, he began to get weary,
and when he had held on a while longer, he had more than enough of
his watching, and just there, he came to a cleft in a rock, where an
old hag sat and spun with a distaff. As soon as she saw the lad who
was running after the foals till the sweat ran down his brow, this
old hag bawled out:

'Come hither, come hither, my pretty son, and let me comb your hair.'

Yes! the lad was willing enough; so he sat down in the cleft of the
rock with the old hag, and laid his head on her lap, and she combed
his hair all day whilst he lay there, and stretched his lazy bones.

So, when evening drew on, the lad wanted to go away. 'I may just as
well toddle straight home now', said he, 'for it's no use my going
back to the palace.'

'Stop a bit till it's dark', said the old hag, 'and then the king's
foals will pass by here again, and then you can run home with them,
and then no one will know that you have lain here all day long,
instead of watching the foals.'

So, when they came, she gave the lad a flask of water and a clod of
turf. Those he was to show to the King, and say that was what his
seven foals ate and drank.

'Have you watched true and well the whole day, now?' asked the King,
when the lad came before him in the evening.

'Yes, I should think so', said the lad.

'Then you can tell me what my seven foals eat and drink', said the

'Yes!' and so the lad pulled out the flask of water and the clod of
turf, which the old hag had given him.

'Here you see their meat, and here you see their drink', said the

But then the King saw plain enough how he had watched, and he got so
wroth, he ordered his men to chase him away home on the spot; but
first they were to cut three red stripes out of his back, and rub
salt into them. So when the lad got home again, you may fancy what a
temper he was in. He'd gone out once to get a place, he said, but
he'd never do so again.

Next day the second sons aid he would go out into the world to try
his luck. His father and mother said 'No', and bade him look at his
brother's back; but the lad wouldn't give in; he held to his own, and
at last he got leave to go, and set off. So when he had walked the
whole day, he, too, came to the king's palace. There stood the King
out on the steps, and asked whither he was bound? and when the lad
said he was looking about for a place, the King said he might have a
place there, and watch his seven foals. But the king laid down the
same punishment, and the same reward, as he had settled for his
brother. Well, the lad was willing enough; he took the place at once
with the King, for he thought he'd soon watch the foals, and tell the
King what they ate and drank. So, in the gray of the morning, the
coachman let out the seven foals, and off they went again over hill
and dale, and the lad after them. But the same thing happened to him
as had befallen his brother. When he had run after the foals a long
long time, till he was both warm and weary, he passed by the cleft in
a rock, where an old hag sat and spun with a distaff, and she bawled
out to the lad:

'Come hither, come hither, my pretty son, and let me comb your hair.'

That the lad thought a good offer, so he let the foals run on their
way, and sat down in the cleft with the old hag. There he sat, and
there he lay, taking his ease, and stretching his lazy bones the
whole day.

When the foals came back at nightfall, he too got a flask of water
and clod of turf from the old hag to show to the King. But when the
King asked the lad:

'Can you tell me now, what my seven foals eat and drink?' and the lad
pulled out the flask and the clod, and said:

'Here you see their meat, and here you see their drink.'

Then the King got wroth again, and ordered them to cut three red
stripes out of the lad's back, and rub salt in, and chase him home
that very minute. And so when the lad got home, he also told how he
had fared, and said, he had gone out once to get a place, but he'd
never do so any more.

The third day Boots wanted to set out; he had a great mind to try and
watch the seven foals, he said. The others laughed at him, and made
game of him, saying:

'When we fared so ill, you'll do it better--a fine joke; you look
like it--you, who have never done anything but lie there and poke
about in the ashes.'

'Yes!' said Boots, 'I don't see why I shouldn't go, for I've got it
into my head, and can't get it out again.'

And so, in spite of all the jeers of the others and the prayers of
the old people, there was no help for it, and Boots set out.

So after he had walked the whole day, he too came at dusk to the
king's palace. There stood the King out on the steps, and asked
whither he was bound.

'Oh', said Boots, 'I'm going about seeing if I can hear of a place.'

'Whence do you come then?' said the King, for he wanted to know a
little more about them before he took any one into his service.

So Boots said whence he came, and how he was brother to those two who
had watched the king's seven foals, and ended by asking if he might
try to watch them next day.

'Oh, stuff!' said the King, for he got quite cross if he even thought
of them; 'if you're brother to those two, you're not worth much, I'll
be bound. I've had enough of such scamps.'

'Well', said Boots; but since I've come so far, I may just as well
get leave to try, I too.'

'Oh, very well; with all my heart', said the King, 'if you
_will_ have your back flayed, you're quite welcome.'

'I'd much rather have the Princess', said Boots.

So next morning, at gray of dawn, the coachman let out the seven
foals again, and away they went over hill and dale, through bush and
bog, and Boots behind them. And so, when he too had run a long while,
he came to the cleft in the rock, where the old hag sat, spinning at
her distaff. So she bawled out to Boots:

'Come hither, come hither, my pretty son, and let me comb your hair.'

'Don't you wish you may catch me', said Boots. 'Don't you wish you
may catch me', as he ran along, leaping and jumping, and holding on
by one of the foal's tails. And when he had got well past the cleft
in the rock, the youngest foal said:

'Jump up on my back, my lad, for we've a long way before us still.'

So Boots jumped up on his back.

So they went on, and on, a long, long way.

'Do you see anything now', said the Foal.

'No', said Boots.

So they went on a good bit farther.

'Do you see anything now?' asked the Foal.

'Oh no', said the lad.

So when they had gone a great, great way farther--I'm sure I can't
tell how far--the Foal asked again:

'Do you see anything now?'

'Yes', said Boots; 'now I see something that looks white--just like a
tall, big birch trunk.'

'Yes', said the Foal; 'we're going into that trunk.' So when they got
to the trunk, the eldest foal took and pushed it on one side, and
then they saw a door where it had stood, and inside the door was a
little room, and in the room there was scarce anything but a little
fireplace and one or two benches; but behind the door hung a great
rusty sword and a little pitcher.

'Can you brandish the sword?' said the Foals; 'try.' So Boots tried,
but he couldn't; then they made him take a pull at the pitcher; first
once, then twice, and then thrice, and then he could wield it like

'Yes', said the Foals, 'now you may take the sword with you, and with
it you must cut off all our seven heads on your wedding-day, and then
we'll be princes again as we were before. For we are brothers of that
Princess whom you are to have when you can tell the King what we eat
and drink; but an ugly Troll has thrown this shape over us. Now mind,
when you have hewn off our heads, to take care to lay each head at
the tail of the trunk which it belonged to before, and then the spell
will have no more power over us.'

Yes! Boots promised all that, and then on they went. And when they
had travelled a long long way, the Foal asked:

'Do you see anything?'

'No', said Boots.

So they travelled a good bit still.

'And now?' asked the Foal.

'No, I see nothing', said Boots.

So they travelled many many miles again, over hill and dale.

'Now then', said the Foal, 'do you see anything now?'

'Yes', said Boots, 'now I see something like a blue stripe, far far

'Yes', said the Foal, 'that's a river we've got to cross.' Over the
river was a long, grand bridge; and when they had got over to the
other side, they travelled on a long, long way. At last the Foal
asked again:

'If Boots didn't see anything?'

'Yes, this time he saw something that looked black far far away, just
as though it were a church steeple.'

'Yes', said the Foal, 'that's where we're going to turn in.'

So when the foals got into the churchyard, they became men again, and
looked like Princes, with such fine clothes that it glistened from
them; and so they went into the church, and took the bread and wine
from the priest who stood at the altar. And Boots he went in too; but
when the priest had laid his hands on the Princes, and given them the
blessing, they went out of the church again, and Boots went out too;
but he took with him a flask of wine and a wafer. And soon as ever
the seven Princes came out into the churchyard, they were turned into
foals again, and so Boots got up on the back of the youngest, and so
they all went back the same way that they had come; only they went
much, much faster. First they crossed the bridge, next they passed
the trunk, and then they passed the old hag, who sat at the cleft and
span, and they went by her so fast, that Boots couldn't hear what the
old hag screeched after him; but he heard so much as to know she was
in an awful rage.

It was almost dark when they got back to the palace, and the King
himself stood out on the steps and waited for them. 'Have you watched
well and true the whole day?' said he to Boots.

'I've done my best', answered Boots.

'Then you can tell me what my seven foals eat and drink', said the

Then Boots pulled out the flask of wine and the wafer, and showed
them to the King.

'Here you see their meat, and here you see their drink', said he.

'Yes', said the King, 'you have watched true and well, and you shall
have the Princess and half the kingdom.'

So they made ready the wedding-feast, and the King said it should be
such a grand one, it should be the talk far and near.

But when they sat down to the bridal-feast, the bridegroom got up and
went down to the stable, for he said he had forgotten something, and
must go to fetch it. And when he got down there, he did as the Foals
had said, and hewed their heads off, all seven, the eldest first, and
the others after him; and at the same time he took care to lay each
head at the tail of the foal to which it belonged; and as he did
this, lo! they all became Princes again.

So when he went into the bridal hall with the seven princes, the King
was so glad he both kissed Boots and patted him on the back, and his
bride was still more glad of him than she had been before.

'Half the kingdom you have got already', said the King, 'and the
other half you shall have after my death; for my sons can easily get
themselves lands and wealth, now they are princes again.'

And so, like enough, there was mirth and fun at that wedding. I was
there too; but there was no one to care for poor me; and so I got
nothing but a bit of bread and butter, and I laid it down on the
stove, and the bread was burnt and the butter ran, and so I didn't
get even the smallest crumb. Wasn't that a great shame?


Once on a time there was a poor, poor widow, who had an only son. She
dragged on with the boy till he had been confirmed, and then she said
she couldn't feed him any longer, he must just go out and earn his
own bread. So the lad wandered out into the world, and when he had
walked a day or so, a strange man met him.

'Whither away?' asked the man.

'Oh, I'm going out into the world to try and get a place', said the

'Will you come and serve me?' said the man.

'Oh yes; just as soon you as any one else', said the lad.

'Well, you'll have a good place with me', said the man; 'for you'll
only have to keep me company, and do nothing at all else beside.'

So the lad stopped with him, and lived on the fat of the land, both
in meat and drink, and had little or nothing to do; but he never saw
a living soul in that man's house.

So one day the man said:

'Now, I'm going off for eight days, and that time you'll have to
spend here all alone; but you must not go into any one of these four
rooms here. If you do, I'll take your life when I come back.'

'No', said the lad, he'd be sure not to do that. But when the man had
been gone three or four days, the lad couldn't bear it any longer,
but went into the first room, and when he got inside he looked round,
but he saw nothing but a shelf over the door where a bramble-bush rod

Well, indeed! thought the lad; a pretty thing to forbid my seeing

So when the eight days were out, the man came home, and the first
thing he said was:

'You haven't been into any of these rooms, of course.'

'No, no; that I haven't', said the lad.

'I'll soon see that', said the man, and went at once into the room
where the lad had been.

'Nay, but you have been in here', said he; 'and now you shall lose
your life.'

Then the lad begged and prayed so hard that he got off with his life,
but the man gave him a good thrashing. And when it was over, they
were as good friends as ever.

Some time after the man set off again, and said he should be away
fourteen days; but before he went he forbade the lad to go into any
of the rooms he had not been in before; as for that he had been in,
he might go into that, and welcome. Well, it was the same story aver
again, except that the lad stood out eight days before he went in. In
this room, too, he saw nothing but a shelf over the door, and a big
stone, and a pitcher of water on it. Well, after all, there's not
much to be afraid of my seeing here, thought the lad.

But when the man came back, he asked if he had been into any of the
rooms. No, the lad hadn't done anything of the kind.

'Well, well; I'll soon see that,' said the man; and when he saw that
the lad had been in them after all, he said, 'Ah! now I'll spare you
no longer; now you must lose your life.'

But the lad begged and prayed for himself again, and so this time too
he got off with stripes; though he got as many as his skin could
carry. But when he got sound and well again, he led just as easy a
life as ever, and he and the man were just as good friends.

So a while after the man was to take another journey, and now he said
he should be away three weeks, and he forbade the lad anew to go into
the third room, for if he went in there he might just make up his
mind at once to lose his life. Then after fourteen days the lad
couldn't bear it, but crept into the room, but he saw nothing at all
in there but a trap door on the floor; and when he lifted it up and
looked down, there stood a great copper cauldron which bubbled and
boiled away down there; but he saw no fire under it.

'Well, I should just like to know if it's hot,' thought the lad, and
stuck his finger down into the broth, and when he pulled it out
again, lo! it was gilded all over. So the lad scraped and scrubbed
it, but the gilding wouldn't go off, so he bound a piece of rag round
it; and when the man came back, and asked what was the matter with
his finger, the lad said he'd given it such a bad cut. But the man
tore off the rag, and then he soon saw what was the matter with the
finger. First he wanted to kill the lad outright, but when he wept,
and begged, he only gave him such a thrashing that he had to keep his
bed three days. After that the man took down a pot from the wall, and
rubbed him over with some stuff out of it, and so the lad was sound
and fresh as ever.

So after a while the man started off again, and this time he was to
be away a month. But before he went, he said to the lad, if he went
into the fourth room he might give up all hope of saving his life.

Well, the lad stood out for two or three weeks, but then he couldn't
holdout any longer; he must and would go into that room, and so in he
stole. There stood a great black horse tied up in a stall by himself,
with a manger of red-hot coals at his head, and a truss of hay at his
tail. Then the lad thought this all wrong, so he changed them about,
and put the hay at his head. Then said the Horse:

'Since you are so good at heart as to let me have some food, I'll set
you free, that I will. For if the Troll comes back and finds you
here, he'll kill you outright. But now you must go up to the room
which lies just over this, and take a coat of mail out of those that
hang there; and mind, whatever you do, don't take any of the bright
ones, but the most rusty of all you see, that's the one to take; and
sword and saddle you must choose for yourself just in the same way.'

So the lad did all that; but it was a heavy load for him to carry
them all down at once.

When he came back, the Horse told him to pull off his clothes and get
into the cauldron which stood and boiled in the other room, and bathe
himself there. 'If I do', thought the lad, 'I shall look an awful
fright'; but for all that, he did as he was told. So when he had
taken his bath, he became so handsome and sleek, and as red and white
as milk and blood, and much stronger than he had been before.

'Do you feel any change?' asked the Horse.

'Yes', said the lad.

'Try to lift me, then', said the Horse.

Oh yes! he could do that, and as for the sword, he brandished it like
a feather.

'Now saddle me', said the Horse, 'and put on the coat of mail, and
then take the bramble-bush rod, and the stone, and the pitcher of
water, and the pot of ointment, and then we'll be off as fast as we

So when the lad had got on the horse, off they went at such a rate,
he couldn't at all tell how they went. But when he had ridden awhile,
the Horse said,

'I think I hear a noise; look round! can you see anything?'

'Yes; there are ever so many coming after us, at least a score', said
the lad.

'Aye, aye, that's the Troll coming', said the Horse; 'now he's after
us with his pack.'

So they rode on a while, until those who followed were close behind

'Now throw your bramble-bush rod behind you, over your shoulder',
said the Horse; 'but mind you throw it a good way off my back.'

So the lad did that, and all at once a close, thick bramble-wood grew
up behind them. So the lad rode on a long, long time, while the Troll
and his crew had to go home to fetch something to hew their way
through the wood. But at last, the Horse said again.

'Look behind you! can you see anything now?'

'Yes, ever so many', said the lad, 'as many as would fill a large

'Aye, aye, that's the Troll and his crew', said the Horse; 'now he's
got more to back him; but now throw down the stone, and mind you
throw it far behind me.'

And as soon as the lad did what the Horse said, up rose a great black
hill of rock behind him. So the Troll had to be off home to fetch
something to mine his way through the rock; and while the Troll did
that, the lad rode a good bit further on. But still the Horse begged
him to look behind him, and then he saw a troop like a whole army
behind him, and they glistened in the sunbeams.

'Aye, aye', said the Horse, 'that's the Troll, and now he's got his
whole band with him, so throw the pitcher of water behind you, but
mind you don't spill any of it upon me.'

So the lad did that; but in spite of all the pains he took, he still
spilt one drop on the horse's flank. So it became a great deep lake;
and because of that one drop, the horse found himself far out in it,
but still he swam safe to land. But when the Trolls came to the lake,
they lay down to drink it dry; and so they swilled and swilled till
they burst.

'Now we're rid of them', said the Horse.

So when they had gone a long, long while, they came to a green patch
in a wood.

'Now, strip off all your arms', said the Horse, 'and only put on your
ragged clothes, and take the saddle off me, and let me loose, and
hang all my clothing and your arms up inside that great hollow lime-
tree yonder. Then make yourself a wig of fir-moss, and go up to the
king's palace, which lies close here, and ask for a place. Whenever
you need me, only come here and shake the bridle, and I'll come to

Yes! the lad did all his Horse told him, and as soon as ever he put
on the wig of moss he became so ugly, and pale, and miserable to look
at, no one would have known him again. Then he went up to the king's
palace and begged first for leave to be in the kitchen, and bring in
wood and water for the cook, but then the kitchen-maid asked him:

'Why do you wear that ugly wig? Off with it. I won't have such a
fright in here.'

'No, I can't do that', said the lad; 'for I'm not quite right in my

'Do you think then I'll have you in here about the food', cried the
cook. 'Away with you to the coachman; you're best fit to go and clean
the stable.'

But when the coachman begged him to take his wig off, he got the same
answer, and he wouldn't have him either. 'You'd best go down to the
gardener', said he; 'you're best fit to go about and dig in the

So he got leave to be with the gardener, but none of the other
servants would sleep with him, and so he had to sleep by himself
under the steps of the summerhouse. It stood upon beams, and had a
high staircase. Under that he got some turf for his bed, and there he
lay as well as he could.

So, when he had been some time at the palace, it happened one
morning, just as the sun rose, that the lad had taken off his wig,
and stood and washed himself, and then he was so handsome, it was a
joy to look at him.

So the Princess saw from her window the lovely gardener's boy, and
thought she had never seen any one so handsome. Then she asked the
gardener why he lay out there under the steps.

'Oh', said the gardener, 'none of his fellow-servants will sleep with
him; that's why.'

'Let him come up to-night, and lie at the door inside my bedroom, and
then they'll not refuse to sleep with him any more', said the

So the gardener told that to the lad.

'Do you think I'll do any such thing?' said the lad. 'Why they'd say
next there was something between me and the Princess.'

'Yes', said the gardener, 'you've good reason to fear any such thing,
you who are so handsome.'

'Well, well', said the lad, 'since it's her will, I suppose I must

So, when he was to go up the steps in the evening, he tramped and
stamped so on the way, that they had to beg him to tread softly lest
the King should come to know it. So he came into the Princess'
bedroom, lay down, and began to snore at once. Then the Princess said
to her maid:

'Go gently, and just pull his wig off'; and she went up to him.

But just as she was going to whisk it off, he caught hold of it with
both hands, and said she should never have it. After that he lay down
again, and began to snore. Then the Princess gave her maid a wink,
and this time she whisked off the wig; and there lay the lad so
lovely, and white and red, just as the Princess had seen him in the
morning sun.

After that the lad slept every night in the Princess' bedroom.

But it wasn't long before the King came to hear how the gardener's
lad slept every night in the Princess' bedroom; and he got so wroth
he almost took the lad's life. He didn't do that, however, but threw
him into the prison tower; and as for his daughter, he shut her up in
her own room, whence she never got leave to stir day or night. All
that she begged, and all that she prayed, for the lad and herself,
was no good. The King was only more wroth than ever.

Some time after came a war and uproar in the land, and the king had
to take up arms against another king who wished to take the kingdom
from him. So when the lad heard that, he begged the gaoler to go to
the king and ask for a coat of mail and a sword, and for leave to go
to the war. All the rest laughed when the gaoler told his errand, and
begged the king to let him have an old worn-out suit, that they might
have the fun of seeing such a wretch in battle. So he got that, and
an old broken-down hack besides, which went upon three legs and
dragged the fourth after it.

Then they went out to meet the foe; but they hadn't got far from the
palace before the lad got stuck fast in a bog with his hack. There he
sat and dug his spurs in, and cried, 'Gee up, gee up!' to his hack.
And all the rest had their fun out of this, and laughed, and made
game of the lad as they rode past him. But they were scarcely gone,
before he ran to the lime-tree, threw on his coat of mail, and shook
the bridle, and there came the horse in a trice, and said 'Do now
your best, and I'll do mine.'

But when the lad came up the battle had begun, and the king was in a
sad pinch; but no sooner had the lad rushed into the thick of it than
the foe was beaten back, and put to flight. The king and his men
wondered and wondered who it could be who had come to help them, but
none of them got so near him as to be able to talk to him, and as
soon as the fight was over he was gone. When they went back, there
sat the lad still in the bog, and dug his spurs into his three-legged
hack, and they all laughed again.

'No! only just look', they said; 'there the fool sits still.'

The next day when they went out to battle, they saw the lad sitting
there still, so they laughed again, and made game of him; but as soon
as ever they had ridden by, the lad ran again to the lime-tree, and
all happened as on the first day. Every one wondered what strange
champion it could be that had helped them, but no one got so near him
as to say a word to him; and no one guessed it could be the lad;
that's easy to understand.

So when they went home at night, and saw the lad still sitting there
on his hack, they burst out laughing at him again, and one of them
shot an arrow at him and hit him in the leg. So he began to shriek
and to bewail; 'twas enough to break one's heart; and so the king
threw his pocket-handkerchief to him to bind his wound.

When they went out to battle the third day, the lad still sat there.

'Gee up! gee up!' he said to his hack.

'Nay, nay', said the king's men; 'if he won't stick there till he's
starved to death.'

And then they rode on, and laughed at him till they were fit to fall
from their horses. When they were gone, he ran again to the lime, and
came up to the battle just in the very nick of time. This day he slew
the enemy's king, and then the war was over at once.

When the battle was over, the king caught sight of his handkerchief,
which the strange warrior had bound round his leg, and so it wasn't
hard to find him out. So they took him with great joy between them to
the palace, and the Princess, who saw him from her window, got so
glad, no one can believe it.

'Here comes my own true love', she said.

Then he took the pot of ointment and rubbed himself on the leg, and
after that he rubbed all the wounded, and so they all got well again
in a moment.

So he got the Princess to wife; but when he went down into the stable
where his horse was on the day the wedding was to be, there it stood
so dull and heavy, and hung its ears down, and wouldn't eat its corn.
So when the young king--for he was now a king, and had got half the
kingdom--spoke to him, and asked what ailed him, the Horse said:

'Now I have helped you on, and now I won't live any longer. So just
take the sword, and cut my head off.'

'No, I'll do nothing of the kind', said the young king; 'but you
shall have all you want, and rest all your life.'

'Well', said the Horse, 'If you don't do as I tell you, see if I
don't take your life somehow.'

So the king had to do what he asked; but when he swung the sword and
was to cut his head off, he was so sorry he turned away his face, for
he would not see the stroke fall. But as soon as ever he had cut off
the head, there stood the loveliest Prince on the spot where the
horse had stood.

'Why, where in all the world did you come from?' asked the king.

'It was I who was a horse', said the Prince; 'for I was king of that
land whose king you slew yesterday. He it was who threw this Troll's
shape over me, and sold me to the Troll. But now he is slain I get my
own again, and you and I will be neighbour kings, but war we will
never make on one another.'

And they didn't either; for they were friends as long as they lived,
and each paid the other very many visits.


Once on a time there was a widower, who had a son and a daughter by
his first marriage. Both were good children, and loved each other
dearly. Some time after the man married a widow, who had a daughter
by her first husband, and she was both ugly and bad, like her mother.
So from the day the new wife came into the house there was no peace
for her stepchildren in any corner; and at last the lad thought he'd
best go out into the world, and try to earn his own bread. And when
he had wandered a while he came to a king's palace, and got a place
under the coachman, and quick and willing he was, and the horses he
looked after were so sleek and clean that their coats shone again.

But the sister who stayed at home was treated worse than badly; both
her stepmother and stepsister were always at her, and wherever she
went, and whatever she did, they scolded and snarled so, the poor
lassie hadn't an hour's peace. All the hard work she was forced to
do, and early and late she got nothing but bad words, and little food

So one day they had sent her to the burn to fetch water: and what do
you think? up popped an ugly, ugly head out of the pool, and said:

'Wash me, you lassie.'

'Yes, with all my heart I'll wash you', said the lassie. So she began
to wash and scrub the ugly head; but truth to say, she thought it
nasty work.

Well, as soon as she had done washing it, up popped another head out
of the pool, and this was uglier still.

'Brush me, you lassie', said the head.

'Yes, with all my heart I'll brush you.'

And with that she took in hand the matted locks, and you may fancy
she hadn't very pleasant work with them. But when she had got over
that, if a third head didn't pop up out of the pool, and this was far
more ugly and loathsome than both the others put together.

'Kiss me, you lassie!'

'Yes, I'll kiss you', said the lassie, and she did it too, though she
thought it the worst work she had ever had to do in her life.

Then the heads began to chatter together, and each asked what they
should do for the lassie who was so kind and gentle.

'That she be the prettiest lassie in the world, and as fair as the
bright day', said the first head.

'That gold shall drop from her hair, every time she brushes it', said
the second head.

'That gold shall fall from her mouth every time she speaks', said the
third head.

So when the lassie came home looking so lovely, and beaming as the
bright day itself, her stepmother and her stepsister got more and
more cross, and they got worse still when she began to talk, and they
saw how golden guineas fell from her mouth. As for the stepmother,
she got so mad with rage, she chased the lassie into the pigsty. That
was the right place for all her gold stuff, but as for coming into
the house, she wouldn't hear of it.

Well, it wasn't long before the stepmother wished her own daughter to
go to the burn to fetch water. So when she came to the water's edge
with her buckets, up popped the first head.

'Wash me, you lassie', it said.

'The Deil wash you', said the stepdaughter.

So the second head popped up.

'Brush me, you lassie', it said.

'The Deil brush you', said the stepdaughter.

So down it went to the bottom, and the third head popped up.

'Kiss me, you lassie', said the head.

'The Deil kiss you, you pig's-snout', said the girl.

Then the heads chattered together again, and asked what they should
do to the girl who was so spiteful and cross-grained; and they all
agreed she should have a nose four ells long, and a snout three ells
long, and a pine bush right in the midst of her forehead, and every
time she spoke, ashes were to fall out of her mouth.

So when she got home with her buckets, she bawled out to her mother:

'Open the door.'

'Open it yourself, my darling child', said the mother.

'I can't reach it because of my nose', said the daughter.

So, when the mother came out and saw her, you may fancy what a way
she was in, and how she screamed and groaned; but, for all that,
there were the nose and the snout and the pine bush, and they got no
smaller for all her grief.

Now the brother, who had got the place in the King's stable, had
taken a little sketch of his sister, which he carried away with him,
and every morning and every evening he knelt down before the picture
and prayed to Our Lord for his sister, whom he loved so dearly. The
other grooms had heard him praying, so they peeped through the key-hole
of his room, and there they saw him on his knees before the picture.
So they went about saying how the lad every morning and every evening
knelt down and prayed to an idol which he had, and at last they went
to the king himself and begged him only to peep through the key-hole,
and then His Majesty would see the lad, and what things he did. At
first the King wouldn't believe it, but at last they talked him over,
and he crept on tiptoe to the door and peeped in. Yes, there was the
lad on his knees before the picture, which hung on the wall, praying
with clasped hands.

'Open the door!' called out the King; but the lad didn't hear him.

So the King called out in a louder voice, but the lad was so deep in
his prayers he couldn't hear him this time either. 'OPEN THE DOOR, I
SAY!' roared out the King; 'It's I, the King, who want to come in.'

Well, up jumped the lad and ran to the door, and unlocked it, but in
his hurry he forgot to hide the picture. But when the King came in
and saw the picture, he stood there as if he were fettered, and
couldn't stir from the spot, so lovely he thought the picture.

'So lovely a woman there isn't in all the wide world', said the King.

But the lad told him she was his sister whom he had drawn, and if she
wasn't prettier than that, at least she wasn't uglier.

'Well, if she's so lovely', said the King, 'I'll have her for my
queen'; and then he ordered the lad to set off home that minute, and
not be long on the road either. So the lad promised to make as much
haste as he could, and started off from the King's palace.

When the brother came home to fetch his sister, the step-mother and
stepsister said they must go too. So they all set out, and the good
lassie had a casket in which she kept her gold, and a little dog,
whose name was 'Little Flo'; those two things were all her mother
left her. And when they had gone a while, they came to a lake which
they had to cross; so the brother sat down at the helm, and the
stepmother and the two girls sat in the bow foreward, and so they
sailed a long, long way.

At last they caught sight of land.

'There', said the brother, 'where you see the white strand yonder,
there's where we're to land'; and as he said this he pointed across
the water.

'What is it my brother says?' asked the good lassie.

'He says you must throw your casket overboard', said the stepmother.

'Well, when my brother says it, I must do it', said the lassie, and
overboard went the casket.

When they had sailed a bit farther, the brother pointed again across
the lake.

'There you see the castle we're going to.'

'What is it my brother says?' asked the lassie.

'He says now you must throw your little dog overboard', said the

Then the lassie wept and was sore grieved, for Little Flo was the
dearest thing she had in the world, but at last she threw him

'When my brother says it, I must do it, but heaven knows how it hurts
me to throw you over, Little Flo', she said.

So they sailed on a good bit still.

'There you see the King coming down to meet us', said the brother,
and pointed towards the strand.

'What is it my brother says', asked the lassie.

'Now he says you must make haste and throw yourself overboard', said
the stepmother.

Well, the lassie wept and moaned; but when her brother told her to do
that, she thought she ought to do it, and so she leapt down into the

But when they came to the palace, and the King saw the loathly bride,
with a nose four ells long, and a snout three ells long, and a pine-
bush in the midst of her forehead, he was quite scared out of his
wits; but the wedding was all ready, both in brewing and baking, and
there sat all the wedding guests, waiting for the bride; and so the
King couldn't help himself, but was forced to take her for better for
worse. But angry he was, that any one can forgive him, and so he had
the brother thrown into a pit full of snakes.

Well, the first Thursday evening after the wedding, about midnight,
in came a lovely lady into the palace-kitchen, and begged the
kitchen-maid, who slept there, so prettily, to lend her a brush. That
she got, and then she brushed her hair, and as she brushed, down
dropped gold, A little dog was at her heel, and to him she said:

'Run out, Little Flo, and see if it will soon be day.'

This she said three times, and the third time she sent the dog it was
just about the time the dawn begins to peep. Then she had to go, but
as she went she sung:

  Out on you, ugly Bushy Bride,
  Lying so warm by the King's left side;
  While I on sand and gravel sleep,
  And over my brother adders creep,
                   And all without a tear.

'Now I come twice more, and then never again.'

So next morning the kitchen-maid told what she had seen and heard,
and the King said he'd watch himself next Thursday night in the
kitchen, and see if it were true, and as soon as it got dark, out he
went into the kitchen to the kitchen-maid. But all he could do, and
however much he rubbed his eyes and tried to keep himself awake, it
was no good; for the Bushy Bride chaunted and sang till his eyes
closed, and so when the lovely lady came, there he slept and snored.
This time, too, as before, she borrowed a brush, and brushed her hair
till the gold dropped, and sent her dog out three times, and as soon
as it was gray dawn, away she went singing the same words, and

'Now I come once more, and then never again.'

The third Thursday evening the King said he would watch again; and he
set two men to hold him, one under each arm, who were to shake and
jog him every time he wanted to fall asleep; and two men he set to
watch his Bushy Bride. But when the night wore on, the Bushy Bride
began to chaunt and sing, so that his eyes began to wink, and his
head hung down on his shoulders. Then in came the lovely lady, and
got the brush and brushed her hair, till the gold dropped from it;
after that she sent Little Flo out again to see if it would soon be
day, and this she did three times. The third time it began, to get
gray in the east; then she sang,

  Out on you, ugly Bushy Bride,
  Lying so warm by the King's left side;
  While I on sand and gravel sleep,
  And over my brother adders creep,
           And all without a tear.

'Now I come back never more', she said, and went towards the door.
But the two men who held the King under the arms, clenched his hands
together, and put a knife into his grasp; and so, somehow or other,
they got him to cut her in her little finger, and drew blood. Then
the true bride was freed, and the King woke up, and she told him now
the whole story, and how her stepmother and sister had deceived her.
So the King sent at once and took her brother out of the pit of
snakes, and the adders hadn't done him the least harm, but the
stepmother and her daughter were thrown into it in his stead.

And now no one can tell how glad the King was to be rid of that ugly
Bushy Bride, and to get a Queen who was as lovely and bright as the
day itself. So the true wedding was held, and every one talked of it
over seven kingdoms; and then the King and Queen drove to church
in their coach, and Little Flo went inside with them too, and when the
blessing was given they drove back again, and after that I saw nothing
more of them.


Once on a time there was a man who had three sons, Peter, Paul, and
John. John was Boots, of course, because he was the youngest. I can't
say the man had anything more than these three sons, for he hadn't
one penny to rub against another; and so he told his sons over and
over again they must go out into the world and try to earn their
bread, for there at home there was nothing to be looked for but
starving to death.

Now, a bit off the man's cottage was the king's palace, and you must
know, just against the king's windows a great oak had sprung up,
which was so stout and big that it took away all the light from the
king's palace. The King had said he would give many, many dollars to
the man who could fell the oak, but no one was man enough for that,
for as soon as ever one chip of the oak's trunk flew off, two grew in
its stead. A well, too, the King had dug, which was to hold water for
the whole year; for all his neighbours had wells, but he hadn't any,
and that he thought a shame. So the King said he would give any one
who could dig him such a well as would hold water for a whole year
round, both money and goods; but no one could do it, for the King's
palace lay high, high up on a hill, and they hadn't dug a few inches
before they came upon the living rock.

But as the King had set his heart on having these two things done, he
had it given out far and wide, in all the churches of his kingdom,
that he who could fell the big oak in the king's court-yard, and get
him a well that would hold water the whole year round, should have
the Princess and half the kingdom. Well! you may easily know there
was many a man who came to try his luck; but for all their hacking
and hewing, and all their digging and delving, it was no good. The
oak got bigger and stouter at every stroke, and the rock didn't get
softer either. So one day those three brothers thought they'd set off
and try too, and their father hadn't a word against it; for even if
they didn't get the Princess and half the kingdom, it might happen
they might get a place somewhere with a good master; and that was all
he wanted. So when the brothers said they thought of going to the
palace, their father said 'yes' at once. So Peter, Paul, and Jack
went off from their home.

Well! they hadn't gone far before they came to a fir wood, and up
along one side of it rose a steep hill-side, and as they went, they
heard something hewing and hacking away up on-the hill among the

'I wonder now what it is that is hewing away up yonder?' said Jack.

'You're always so clever with your wonderings', said Peter and Paul
both at once. 'What wonder is it, pray, that a woodcutter should
stand and hack up on a hill-side?'

'Still, I'd like to see what it is, after all', said Jack; and up he

'Oh, if you're such a child, 'twill do you good to go and take a
lesson', bawled out his brothers after him.

But Jack didn't care for what they said; he climbed the steep hill-
side towards where the noise came, and when he reached the place,
what do you think he saw? why, an axe that stood there hacking and
hewing, all of itself, at the trunk of a fir.

'Good day!' said Jack. 'So you stand here all alone and hew, do you?'

'Yes; here I've stood and hewed and hacked a long long time, waiting
for you', said the Axe.

'Well, here I am at last', said Jack, as he took the axe, pulled it
off its haft, and stuffed both head and haft into his wallet.

So when he got down again to his brothers, they began to jeer and
laugh at him.

'And now, what funny thing was it you saw up yonder on the hill-
side?' they said.

'Oh, it was only an axe we heard', said Jack.

So when they had gone a bit farther, they came under a steep spur of
rock, and up there they heard something digging and shovelling.

'I wonder now,' said Jack, 'what it is digging and shovelling up
yonder at the top of the rock.'

'Ah, you're always so clever with your wonderings', said Peter and
Paul again, 'as if you'd never heard a woodpecker hacking and pecking
at a hollow tree.'

'Well, well', said Jack, 'I think it would be a piece of fun just to
see what it really is.'

And so off he set to climb the rock, while the others laughed and
made game of him. But he didn't care a bit for that; up he clomb, and
when he got near the top, what do you think he saw? Why, a spade that
stood there digging and delving.

'Good day!' said Jack. 'So you stand here all alone, and dig and

'Yes, that's what I do', said the Spade, 'and that's what I've done
this many a long day, waiting for you.'

'Well, here I am', said Jack again, as he took the spade and knocked
it off its handle, and put it into his wallet, and then down again to
his brothers.

'Well, what was it, so rare and strange', said Peter and Paul, 'that
you saw up there at the top of the rock?'

'Oh,', said Jack, 'nothing more than a spade; that was what we

So they went on again a good bit, till they came to a brook. They
were thirsty, all three, after their long walk, and so they lay down
beside the brook to have a drink.

'I wonder now', said Jack, 'where all this water comes from.'

'I wonder if you're right in your head', said Peter and Paul, in one
breath. 'If you're not mad already, you'll go mad very soon, with
your wonderings. Where the brook comes from, indeed! Have you never
heard how water rises from a spring in the earth?'

'Yes! but still I've a great fancy to see where this brook comes
from', said Jack.

So up alongside the brook he went, in spite of all that his brothers
bawled after him. Nothing could stop him. On he went. So, as he went
up and up, the brook got smaller and smaller, and at last, a little
way farther on, what do you think he saw? Why, a great walnut, and
out of that the water trickled.

'Good-day!' said Jack again. 'So you lie here, and trickle and run
down all alone?'

'Yes, I do,' said the Walnut; 'and here have I trickled and run this
many a long day, waiting for you.'

'Well, here I am', said Jack, as he took up a lump of moss and
plugged up the hole, that the water mightn't run out. Then he put the
walnut into his wallet, and ran down to his brothers.

'Well now', said Peter and Paul, 'have you found out where the water
comes from? A rare sight it must have been!'

'Oh, after all, it was only a hole it ran out of', said Jack; and so
the others laughed and made game of him again, but Jack didn't mind
that a bit.

'After all, I had the fun of seeing it', said he. So when they had
gone a bit farther, they came to the king's palace; but as every one
in the kingdom had heard how they might win the Princess and half the
realm, if they could only fell the big oak and dig the king's well,
so many had come to try their luck that the oak was now twice as
stout and big as it had been at first, for two chips grew for every
one they hewed out with their axes, as I daresay you all bear in
mind. So the King had now laid it down as a punishment, that if any
one tried and couldn't fell the oak, he should be put on a barren
island, and both his ears were to be clipped off. But the two
brothers didn't let themselves be scared by that; they were quite
sure they could fell the oak, and Peter, as he was eldest, was to try
his hand first; but it went with him as with all the rest who had
hewn at the oak; for every chip he cut out, two grew in its place. So
the king's men seized him, and clipped off both his ears, and put him
out on the island.

Now Paul, he was to try his luck, but he fared just the same; when he
had hewn two or three strokes, they began to see the oak grow, and so
the king's men seized him too, and clipped his ears, and put him out
on the island; and his ears they clipped closer, because they said he
ought to have taken a lesson from his brother.

So now Jack was to try.

'If you _will_ look like a marked sheep, we're quite ready to
clip your ears at once, and then you'll save yourself some bother',
said the King; for he was angry with him for his brothers' sake.

'Well, I'd like just to try first', said Jack, and so he got leave.
Then he took his axe out of his wallet and fitted it to its haft.

'Hew away!' said he to his axe; and away it hewed, making the chips
fly again, so that it wasn't long before down came the oak.

When that was done, Jack pulled out his spade, and fitted it to its

'Dig away!' said he to the spade; and so the spade began to dig and
delve till the earth and rock flew out in splinters, and so he had
the well soon dug out, you may think.

And when he had got it as big and deep as he chose, Jack took out his
walnut and laid it in one corner of the well, and pulled the plug of
moss out.

'Trickle and run', said Jack; and so the nut trickled and ran, till
the water gushed out of the hole in a stream, and in a short time the
well was brimfull.

Then Jack had felled the oak which shaded the king's palace, and dug
a well in the palace-yard, and so he got the Princess and half the
kingdom, as the King had said; but it was lucky for Peter and Paul
that they had lost their ears, else they had heard each hour and day,
how every one said, 'Well, after all, Jack wasn't so much out of his
mind when he took to wondering.'


Once on a time there were two brothers, both named Peter, and so the
elder was called Big Peter, and the younger Little Peter. When his
father was dead, Big Peter took him a wife with lots of money, but
Little Peter was at home with his mother, and lived on her means till
he grew up. So when he was of age he came into his heritage, and then
Big Peter said he mustn't stay any longer in the old house, and eat
up his mother's substance; 'twere better he should go out into the
world and do something for himself.

Yes; Little Peter thought that no bad plan; so he bought himself a
fine horse and a load of butter and cheese, and set off to the town;
and with the money he got for his goods he bought brandy, and wine,
and beer, and as soon as ever he got home again it was one round of
holiday-keeping and merry-making; he treated all his old friends and
neighbours, and they treated him again; and so he lived in fun and
frolic so long as his money lasted. But when his last shilling was
spent, and Little Peter hadn't a penny in his purse, he went back
home again to his old mother, and brought nothing with him but a
calf. When the spring came he turned out the calf and let it graze on
Big Peter's meadow. Then Big Peter got cross and killed the calf at
one blow; but Little Peter, he flayed the calf, and hung the skin up
in the bath-room till it was thoroughly dry; then he rolled it up,
stuffed it into a sack, and went about the country trying to sell it;
but wherever he came, they only laughed at him, and said they had no
need of smoked calfskin. So when he had walked on a long way, he came
to a farm, and there he turned in and asked for a night's lodging.

'Nay, nay', said the Goody, 'I can't give you lodging, for my husband
is up at the shieling on the hill, and I'm alone in the house. You
must just try to get shelter at our next neighbour's; but still if
they won't take you in, you may come back, for you must have a house
over your head, come what may.'

So as little Peter passed by the parlour window, he saw that there
was a priest in there, with whom the Goody was making merry, and she
was serving him up ale and brandy, and a great bowl of custard. But
just as the priest had sat down to eat and drink, back came the
husband, and as soon as ever the Goody heard him in the passage, she
was not slow; she took the bowl of custard, and put it under the
kitchen grate, and the ale and brandy into the cellar, and as for the
priest, she locked him up in a great chest which stood there. All
this Little Peter stood outside and saw, and as soon as the husband
was well inside Little Peter went up to the door and asked if he
might have a night's lodging.

'Yes, to be sure', said the man, 'we'll take you in'; and so he
begged Little Peter to sit down at the table and eat. Yes, Little
Peter sat down, and took his calfskin with him, and laid it down at
his feet.

So, when they had sat a while, Little Peter began to mutter to his

'What are you saying now? can't you hold your tongue', said Little

'Who is it you're talking with?' asked the man.

'Oh!' answered Little Peter, 'it's only a spae-maiden whom I've got
in my calfskin.'

'And pray what does she spae?' asked the man again.

'Why, she says that no one can say there isn't a bowl of custard
standing under the grate', said Little Peter.

'She may spae as much as she pleases', answered the man, 'but we
haven't had custards in this house for a year and a day.'

But Peter begged him only to look, and he did so; and he found the
custard-bowl. So they began to make merry with it, but just as they
sat and took their ease, Peter muttered something again to the

'Hush!' he said, 'can't you hold your jaw?'

'And pray what does the spae-maiden say now?' asked the man.

'Oh! she says no one can say there isn't brandy and ale standing just
under the trap-door which goes down into the cellar', answered Peter.

'Well! if she never spaed wrong in her life, she spaes wrong now',
said the man. 'Brandy and ale! why, I can't call to mind the day when
we had such things in the house!'

'Just look', said Peter; and the man did so, and there, sure enough,
he found the drink, and you may fancy how merry and jolly he was.

'What did you give for that spae-maiden?' said the man, 'for I must
have her, whatever you ask for her.'

'She was left me by my father', said Peter, 'and so she didn't cost
me much. To tell you the truth, I've no great mind to part with her,
but, all the same, you may have her, if you'll let me have, instead
of her, that old chest that stands in the parlour yonder.'

'The chest's locked and the key lost', screamed the old dame.

'Then I'll take it without the key, that I will', said Peter. And so
he and the man soon struck the bargain. Peter got a rope instead of
the key, and the man helped him to get the chest up on his back, and
then off he stumped with it. So when he had walked a bit he came on
to a bridge, and under the bridge ran a river in such a headlong
stream; it leapt, and foamed, and made such a roar, that the bridge
shook again.

'Ah!' said Peter, 'that brandy-that brandy! Now I can feel I've had a
drop too much. What's the good of my dragging this chest about? If I
hadn't been drunk and mad, I shouldn't have gone and swopped away my
spae-maiden for it. But now this chest shall go out into the river
this very minute.'

And with that he began to untie the rope.

'Au! Au! do for God's sake set me free. The priest's life is at
stake; he it is whom you have got in the chest', screamed out some
one inside.

'This must be the Deil himself', said Peter, 'who wants to make me
believe he has turned priest; but whether he makes himself priest or
clerk, out he goes into the river.' 'Oh no! oh no! 'roared out the
priest. 'The parish priest is at stake. He was on a visit to the
Goody for her soul's health, but her husband is rough and wild, and
so she had to hide me in the chest. Here I have a gold watch and a
silver watch in my fob; you shall have them both, and eight hundred
dollars beside, if you will only let me out.'

'Nay, nay', said Peter; 'is it really your reverence after all'; and
with that he took up a stone, and knocked the lid of the chest to
pieces. Then the priest got out, and off he set home to his parsonage
both fast and light, for he no longer had his watches and money to
weigh him down.

As for Little Peter, he went home again, and said to Big Peter,
'There was a good sale to-day for calfskins at the market.'

'Why, what did you get for your tattered one, now?' asked Big Peter.

'Quite as much as it was worth. I got eight hundred dollars for it,
but bigger and stouter calves-skins fetched twice as much', said
Little Peter, and showed his dollars.

''Twas well you told me this', answered Big Peter, who went and
slaughtered all his kine and calves, and set off on the road to town
with their skins and hides. So when he got to the market, and the
tanners asked what he wanted for his hides, Big Peter said he must
have eight hundred dollars for the small ones, and so on, more and
more for the big ones. But all the folk only laughed and made game of
him, and said he oughtn't to come there; he'd better turn into the
madhouse for a better bargain, and so he soon found out how things
had gone, and that Little Peter had played him a trick. But when he
got home again, he was not very soft-spoken, and he swore and cursed;
so help him, if he wouldn't strike Little Peter dead that very night.
All this Little Peter stood and listened to; and so, when he had gone
to bed with his mother, and the night had worn on a little, he begged
her to change sides with him, for he was well-nigh frozen, he said,
and might be 'twas warmer next the wall. Yes, she did that, and in a
little while came Big Peter with an axe in his hand, and crept up to
the bedside, and at one blow chopped off his mother's head.

Next morning, in went Little Peter into Big Peter's sitting-room.

'Heaven better and help you', he said; 'you who have chopped our
mother's head off. The Sheriff will not be over-pleased to hear that
you pay mother's dower in this way.'

Then Big Peter got so afraid, he begged Little Peter, for God's sake,
to say nothing about what he knew. If he would only do that, he
should have eight hundred dollars.

Well, Little Peter swept up the money; set his mother's head on her
body again; put her on a hand-sledge, and so drew her to market.
There he set her up with an apple-basket on each arm, and an apple in
each hand. By and by came a skipper walking along; he thought she was
an apple-woman, and asked if she had apples to sell, and how many he
might have for a penny. But the old woman made no answer. So the
skipper asked again. No! she hadn't a word to say for herself.

'How many may I have for a penny', he bawled the third time, but the
old dame sat bolt upright, as though she neither saw him, nor heard
what he said. Then the skipper flew into such a rage that he gave her
one under the ear, and so away rolled her head across the market-
place. At that moment, up came Little Peter with a bound; he fell a-
weeping and bewailing, and threatened to make the skipper smart for
it, for having dealt his old mother her death blow.

'Dear friend, only hold your tongue about what you know', said the
skipper, 'and you shall have eight hundred dollars.'

And so they made it up.

When Little Peter got home again, he said to Big Peter:

'Old women fetch a fine price at market to-day. I got eight hundred
dollars for mother; just look', and so he showed him the money.

''Twas well I came to know this', said Big Peter.

Now, you must know he had an old stepmother, so he took and killed
her out of hand, and strode off to sell her. But when they heard how
he went about trying to sell dead bodies, the neighbours were all for
handing him over to the Sheriff, and it was as much as he could do to
get out of the scrape.

When Big Peter got home again, he was so wroth and mad against Little
Peter, he threatened to strike him dead there and then; he needn't
hope for mercy, die he must.

'Well! well!' said Little Peter, 'that's the way we must all trudge,
and betwixt to-day and to-morrow, there's only a night to come. But
if I must set off now, I've only one thing to ask; stuff me into that
sack that hangs yonder, and take and toss me into the river.'

Well! Big Peter had nothing to say against that, he stuffed him into
the sack and set off. But he hadn't gone far on his way, before it
came into his mind that he had forgotten something which he must go
back to fetch; meanwhile, he set the sack down by the road side. Just
then came a man driving a fine fat flock of sheep.

  To Kingdom-come, to Paradise.
  To Kingdom-come, to Paradise.

roared out Little Peter, who lay inside the sack, and that he kept
bawling and bellowing out.

'Mayn't I get leave to go with you', asked the man who drove the

'Of course you may', said Little Peter. 'If you'll only untie the
sack, and creep into it in my stead, you'll soon get there. As for
me, I don't mind biding here till next time, that I don't. But you
must keep on calling out the words I bawled out, else you'll not go
to the right place.'

Then the man untied the sack, and got into it in Little Peter's
place: Peter tied the sack up again and the man began to bawl out:

  To Kingdom-come, to Paradise.
  To Kingdom-come, to Paradise.

and to that text he stuck.

When Peter had got him well into the sack, he wasn't slow; off he
went with the flock of sheep, and soon put a good bit of the road
behind him. Meantime, back came Big Peter, took the sack on his
shoulders, and bore it across the country to the river, and all the
while he went, the drover sat inside bawling out:

  To Kingdom-come, to Paradise.
  To Kingdom-come, to Paradise.

'Aye, aye', said Big Peter; 'try now to find the way for yourself';
and with that, he tossed him out into the stream.

So when Big Peter had done that, and was going back home, whom should
he overtake but his brother, who went along driving the flock of
sheep before him. Big Peter could scarce believe his eyes, and asked
how Little Peter had got out of the river, and whence the fine flock
of sheep came.

'Ah!' said Little Peter, 'that just was a good brotherly turn you did
me, when you threw me into the river. I sank right down to the bottom
like a stone, and there I just did see flocks of sheep; you'd scarce
believe now, that they go about down there by thousands, one flock
bigger than the other. And just look here! here are fleeces for you!'

'Well', said Big Peter, 'I'm very glad you told me.'

So off he ran home to his old dame; made her come with him to the
river; crept into a sack, and bade her make haste to tie it up, and
toss him over the bridge.

'I'm going after a flock of sheep', he said, 'but if I stay too long,
and you think I can't get along with the flock by myself, just jump
over and help me; do you hear?'

'Well, don't stay too long', said his wife, 'for my heart is set on
seeing those sheep.'

There she stood and waited a while, but then she thought, perhaps her
husband couldn't keep the flock well together, and so down she jumped
after him.

And so Little Peter was rid of them all, and the farm and fields came
to him as heir, and horses and cattle too; and, besides, he had money
in his pocket to buy milch kine to tether in his byre.


Once on a time there was a king and a queen who had no children, and
that gave the queen much grief; she scarce had one happy hour. She
was always bewailing and bemoaning herself, and saying how dull and
lonesome it was in the palace.

'If we had children there'd be life enough', she said.

Wherever she went in all her realm she found God's blessing in
children, even in the vilest hut; and wherever she came she heard the
Goodies scolding the bairns, and saying how they had done that and
that wrong. All this the queen heard, and thought it would be so nice
to do as other women did. At last the king and queen took into their
palace a stranger lassie to rear up, that they might have her always
with them, to love her if she did well, and scold her if she did
wrong, like their own child.

So one day the little lassie whom they had taken as their own, ran
down into the palace yard, and was playing with a gold apple. Just
then an old beggar wife came by, who had a little girl with her, and
it wasn't long before the little lassie and the beggar's bairn were
great friends, and began to play together, and to toss the gold apple
about between them. When the Queen saw this, as she sat at a window
in the palace, she tapped on the pane for her foster-daughter to come
up. She went at once, but the beggar-girl went up too; and as they
went into the Queen's bower, each held the other by the hand. Then
the Queen began to scold the little lady, and to say:

'You ought to be above running about and playing with a tattered
beggar's brat.'

And so she wanted to drive the lassie downstairs.

'If the Queen only knew my mother's power, she'd not drive me out',
said the little lassie; and when the Queen asked what she meant more
plainly, she told her how her mother could get her children if she
chose. The Queen wouldn't believe it, but the lassie held her own,
and said every word of it was true, and bade the Queen only to try
and make her mother do it. So the Queen sent the lassie down to fetch
up her mother.

'Do you know what your daughter says?' asked the Queen of the old
woman, as soon as ever she came into the room.

No; the beggar wife knew nothing about it.

'Well, she says you can get me children if you will', answered the

'Queens shouldn't listen to beggar lassies' silly stories', said the
old wife, and strode out of the room.

Then the Queen got angry, and wanted again to drive out the little
lassie; but she declared it was true every word that she had said.

'Let the Queen only give my mother a drop to drink,' said the lassie;
'when she gets merry she'll soon find out a way to help you.'

The Queen was ready to try this; so the beggar wife was fetched up
again once more, and treated both with wine and mead as much as she
chose; and so it was not long before her tongue began to wag. Then
the Queen came out again with the same question she had asked before.

'One way to help you perhaps I know', said the beggar wife. 'Your
Majesty must make them bring in two pails of water some evening
before you go to bed. In each of them you must wash yourself, and
afterwards throw away the water under the bed. When you look under
the bed next morning, two flowers will have sprung up, one fair and
one ugly. The fair one you must eat, the ugly one you must let stand;
but mind you don't forget the last.'

That was what the beggar wife said.

Yes; the Queen did what the beggar wife advised her to do; she had
the water brought up in two pails, washed herself in them, and
emptied them under the bed; and lo! when she looked under the bed
next morning, there stood two flowers; one was ugly and foul, and had
black leaves; but the other was so bright, and fair, and lovely, she
had never seen its like; so she ate it up at once. But the pretty
flower tasted so sweet, that she couldn't help herself. She ate the
other up too, for, she thought, 'it can't hurt or help one much
either way, I'll be bound'.

Well, sure enough, after a while the Queen was brought to bed. First
of all, she had a girl who had a wooden spoon in her hand, and rode
upon a goat; loathly and ugly she was, and the very moment she came
into the world, she bawled out 'Mamma'.

'If I'm your mamma', said the Queen, 'God give me grace to mend my

'Oh, don't be sorry', said the girl, who rode on the goat, 'for one
will soon come after me who is better looking.'

So, after a while, the Queen had another girl, who was so fair and
sweet, no one had ever set eyes on such a lovely child, and with her
you may fancy the Queen was very well pleased. The elder twin they
called 'Tatterhood', because she was always so ugly and ragged, and
because she had a hood which hung about her ears in tatters. The
Queen could scarce bear to look at her, and the nurses tried to shut
her up in a room by herself, but it was all no good; where the
younger twin was, there she must also be, and no one could ever keep
them apart.

Well, one Christmas eve, when they were half grown up, there rose
such a frightful noise and clatter in the gallery outside the Queen's
bower. So Tatterhood asked what it was that dashed and crashed so out
in the passage.

'Oh!' said the Queen, 'it isn't worth asking about.'

But Tatterhood wouldn't give over till she found out all about it and
so the Queen told her it was a pack of Trolls and witches who had
come there to keep Christmas. So Tatterhood said she'd just go out
and drive them away; and in spite of all they could say, and however
much they begged and prayed her to let the Trolls alone, she must and
would go out to drive the witches off; but she begged the Queen to
mind and keep all the doors close shut, so that not one of them came
so much as the least bit ajar. Having said this, off she went with
her wooden spoon, and began to hunt and sweep away the hags; and all
this while there was such a pother out in the gallery, the like of it
was never heard. The whole Palace creaked and groaned as if every
joint and beam were going to be torn out of its place. Now, how it
was, I'm sure I can't tell; but somehow or other one door did get the
least bit ajar, then her twin sister just peeped out to see how
things were going with Tatterhood, and put her head a tiny bit
through the opening. But, POP! up came an old witch, and whipped off
her head, and stuck a calf's head on her shoulders instead; and so
the Princess ran back into the room on all-fours, and began to 'moo'
like a calf. When Tatterhood came back and saw her sister, she
scolded them all round, and was very angry because they hadn't kept
better watch, and asked them what they thought of their heedlessness
now, when her sister was turned into a calf.

'But still I'll see if I can't set her free', she said.

Then she asked the King for a ship in full trim, and well fitted with
stores; but captain and sailors she wouldn't have. No; she would sail
away with her sister all alone; and as there was no holding her back,
at last they let her have her own way.

Then Tatterhood sailed off, and steered her ship right under the land
where the witches dwelt, and when she came to the landing-place, she
told her sister to stay quite still on board the ship; but she
herself rode on her goat up to the witches' castle. When she got
there, one of the windows in the gallery was open, and there she saw
her sister's head hung up on the window frame; so she leapt her goat
through the window into the gallery, snapped up the head, and set off
with it. After her came the witches to try to get the head again, and
they flocked about her as thick as a swarm of bees or a nest of ants;
but the goat snorted, and puffed, and butted with his horns, and
Tatterhood beat and banged them about with her wooden spoon; and so
the pack of witches had to give it up. So Tatterhood got back to her
ship, took the calf's head off her sister, and put her own on again,
and then she became a girl as she had been before. After that she
sailed a long, long way, to a strange king's realm.

Now the king of that land was a widower, and had an only son. So when
he saw the strange sail, he sent messengers down to the strand to
find out whence it came, and who owned it; but when the king's men
came down there, they saw never a living soul on board but
Tatterhood, and there she was, riding round and round the deck on her
goat at full speed, till her elf locks streamed again in the wind.
The folk from the palace were all amazed at this sight, and asked,
were there not more on board? Yes, there were; she had a sister with
her, said Tatterhood. Her, too, they wanted to see, but Tatterhood
said 'No':

'No one shall see her, unless the king comes himself', she said; and
so she began to gallop about on her goat till the deck thundered

So when the servants got back to the palace, and told what they had
seen and heard down at the ship, the king was for setting out at
once, that he might see the lassie that rode on the goat. When he got
down, Tatterhood led out her sister, and she was so fair and gentle,
the king fell over head and ears in love with her as he stood. He
brought them both back with him to the Palace, and wanted to have the
sister for his queen; but Tatterhood said 'No'; the king couldn't
have her in any way, unless the king's son chose to have Tatterhood.
That you may fancy the prince was very loath to do, such an ugly
hussy as Tatterhood was; but at last the king and all the others in
the palace talked him over, and he yielded, giving his word to take
her for his queen; but it went sore against the grain, and he was a
doleful man.

Now they set about the wedding, both with brewing and baking; and
when all was ready, they were to go to church; but the prince thought
it the weariest churching he had ever had in all his life. First, the
king drove off with his bride, and she was so lovely and so grand,
all the people stopped to look after her all along the road, and they
stared at her till she was out of sight. After them came the prince
on horseback by the side of Tatterhood, who trotted along on her goat
with her wooden spoon in her fist, and to look at him, it was more
like going to a burial than a wedding, and that his own; so sorrowful
he seemed, and with never a word to say.

'Why don't you talk?' asked Tatterhood, when they had ridden a bit.

'Why, what should I talk about?' answered the prince.

'Well, you might at least ask me why I ride upon this ugly goat',
said Tatterhood.

'Why do you ride on that ugly goat?' asked the prince.

'Is it an ugly goat? why, it's the grandest horse bride ever rode
on', answered Tatterhood; and in a trice the goat became a horse, and
that the finest the prince had ever set eyes on.

Then they rode on again a bit, but the prince was just as woeful as
before, and couldn't get a word out. So Tatterhood asked him again
why he didn't talk, and when the Prince answered he didn't know what
to talk about, she said:

'You can at least ask me why I ride with this ugly spoon in my fist.'

'Why do you ride with that ugly spoon? 'asked the prince.

'Is it an ugly spoon? why, it's the loveliest silver wand bride ever
bore', said Tatterhood; and in a trice it became a silver wand, so
dazzling bright, the sunbeams glistened from it.

So they rode on another bit, but the Prince was just as sorrowful,
and said never a word. In a little while, Tatterhood asked him again
why he didn't talk, and bade him ask why she wore that ugly grey hood
on her head.

'Why do you wear that ugly grey hood on your head?' asked the Prince.

'Is it an ugly hood? why, it's the brightest golden crown bride ever
wore', answered Tatterhood, and it became a crown on the spot.

Now, they rode on a long while again, and the Prince was so woeful,
that he sat without sound or speech just as before. So his bride
asked him again why he didn't talk, and bade him ask now, why her
face was so ugly and ashen-grey?

'Ah!' asked the Prince, 'why is your face so ugly and ashen-grey?'

'I ugly', said the bride; 'you think my sister pretty, but I am ten
times prettier'; and lo! when the Prince looked at her, she was so
lovely, he thought there never was so lovely a woman in all the
world. After that, I shouldn't wonder if the Prince found his tongue,
and no longer rode along hanging down his head.

So they drank the bridal cup both deep and long, and, after that,
both Prince and King set out with their brides to the Princess's
father's palace, and there they had another bridal feast, and drank
anew, both deep and long. There was no end to the fun; and, if you
make haste and run to the King's palace, I dare say you'll find
there's still a drop of the bridal ale left for you.


Once on a time there was a Hen that had flown up, and perched on an
oak-tree for the night. When the night came, she dreamed that unless
she got to the Dovrefell, the world would come to an end. So that
very minute she jumped down, and set out on her way. When she had
walked a bit she met a Cock.

'Good day, Cocky-Locky', said the Hen.

'Good day, Henny-Penny', said the Cock, 'whither away so early.'

'Oh, I'm going to the Dovrefell, that the world mayn't come to an
end', said the Hen.

'Who told you that, Henny-Penny', said the Cock.

'I sat in the oak and dreamt it last night', said the Hen.

'I'll go with you', said the Cock.

Well! they walked on a good bit, and then they met a Duck.

'Good day, Ducky-Lucky', said the Cock.

'Good day, Cocky-Locky', said the Duck, 'whither away so early?'

'Oh, I'm going to the Dovrefell, that the world mayn't come to an
end', said the Cock.

'Who told you that, Cocky-Locky?'

'Henny-Penny', said the Cock.

'Who told you that, Henny-Penny?' said the Duck.

'I sat in the oak and dreamt it last night', said the Hen.

'I'll go with you', said the Duck.

So they went off together, and after a bit they met a Goose.

'Good day, Goosey-Poosey', said the Duck.

'Good day, Ducky-Lucky', said the Goose, 'whither away so early?'

'I'm going to the Dovrefell, that the world mayn't come to an end',
said the Duck.

'Who told you that, Ducky-Lucky?' asked the Goose.


'Who told you that, Cocky-Locky?'


'How you do know that, Henny-Penny?' said the Goose.

'I sat in the oak and dreamt it last night, Goosey-Poosey', said the

'I'll go with you', said the Goose.

Now when they had all walked along for a bit, a Fox met them.

'Good day, Foxsy-Cocksy', said the Goose.

'Good day, Goosey-Poosey.'

'Whither away, Foxy-Cocksy?'

'Whither away yourself, Goosey-Poosey?'

'I'm going to the Dovrefell that the world mayn't come to an end',
said the Goose.

'Who told you that, Goosey-Poosey?' asked the Fox.


'Who told you that, Ducky-Lucky?'


'Who told you that, Cocky-Locky?'


'How do you know that, Henny-Penny?'

'I sat in the oak and dreamt last night, that if we don't get to the
Dovrefell, the world will come to an end', said the Hen.

'Stuff and nonsense', said the Fox; 'the world won't come to an end
if you don't get thither. No! come home with me to my earth. That's
far better, for it's warm and jolly there.'

Well, they went home with the Fox to his earth, and when they got in,
the Fox laid on lots of fuel, so that they all got very sleepy.

The Duck and the Goose, they settled themselves down in a corner, but
the Cock and Hen flew up on a post. So when the Goose and Duck were
well asleep, the Fox, took the Goose and laid him on the embers, and
roasted him. The Hen smelt the strong roast meat, and sprang up to a
higher peg, and said, half asleep:

  Faugh, what a nasty smell!
  What a nasty smell!

'Oh, stuff', said the Fox; 'it's only the smoke driven down the
chimney; go to sleep again, and hold your tongue.' So the Hen went
off to sleep again.

Now the Fox had hardly got the Goose well down his throat, before he
did the very same with the Duck. He took and laid him on the embers,
and roasted him for a dainty bit. Then the hen woke up again, and
sprung up to a higher peg still.

  Faugh, what a nasty smell!
  What a nasty smell!

She said again, and then she got her eyes open, and came to see how
the Fox had eaten both the twain, goose and duck; so she flew up to
the highest peg of all, and perched there, and peeped up through the

'Nay, nay; just see what a lovely lot of geese flying yonder', she
said to the Fox.

Out ran Reynard to fetch a fat roast. But while he was gone, the Hen
woke up the Cock, and told him how it had gone with Goosey-Poosey and
Ducky-Lucky; and so Cocky-Lucky and Henny-Penny flew out through the
chimney, and if they hadn't got to the Dovrefell, it surely would
have been all over with the world.


Once on a time there was a King who had become a widower. By his
Queen he had one daughter, who was so clever and lovely, there wasn't
a cleverer or lovelier Princess in all the world. So the King went on
a long time sorrowing for the Queen, whom he had loved so much, but
at last he got weary of living alone, and married another Queen, who
was a widow, and had, too, an only daughter; but this daughter was
just as bad and ugly as the other was kind, and clever, and lovely,
The stepmother and her daughter were jealous of the Princess, because
she was so lovely; but so long as the King was at home, they daredn't
do her any harm, he was so fond of her.

Well, after a time, he fell into war with another King, and went out
to battle with his host, and then the stepmother thought she might do
as she pleased; and so she both starved and beat the Princess, and
was after her in every hole and corner of the house. At last she
thought everything too good for her, and turned her out to herd
cattle. So there she went about with the cattle, and herded them in
the woods and on the fells. As for food, she got little or none, and
she grew thin and wan, and was always sobbing and sorrowful. Now in
the herd there was a great dun bull, which always kept himself so
neat and sleek, and often and often he came up to the Princess, and
let her pat him. So one day when she sat there, sad, and sobbing, and
sorrowful, he came up to her and asked her outright why she was
always in such grief. She answered nothing, but went on weeping.

'Ah!' said the Bull, 'I know all about it quite well, though you
won't tell me; you weep because the Queen is bad to you, and because
she is ready to starve you to death. But food you've no need to fret
about, for in my left ear lies a cloth, and when you take and spread
it out, you may have as many dishes as you please.'

So she did that, took the cloth and spread it out on the grass, and
lo! it served up the nicest dishes one could wish to have; there was
wine too, and mead, and sweet cake. Well, she soon got up her flesh
again, and grew so plump, and rosy, and white, that the Queen and her
scrawny chip of a daughter turned blue and yellow for spite. The
Queen couldn't at all make out how her stepdaughter got to look so
well on such bad fare, so she told one of her maids to go after her in the
wood, and watch and see how it all was, for she thought some of the
servants in the house must give her food. So the maid went after her,
and watched in the wood, and then she saw how the stepdaughter took
the cloth out of the Bull's ear, and spread it out, and how it served
up the nicest dishes, which the stepdaughter ate and made good cheer
over. All this the maid told the Queen when she went home.

And now the King came home from war, and had won the fight against
the other king with whom he went out to battle. So there was great
joy throughout the palace, and no one was gladder than the King's
daughter. But the Queen shammed sick, and took to her bed, and paid
the doctor a great fee to get him to say she could never be well
again unless she had some of the Dun Bull's flesh to eat. Both the
king's daughter and the folk in the palace asked the doctor if
nothing else would help her, and prayed hard for the Bull, for every
one was fond of him, and they all said there wasn't that Bull's match
in all the land. But, no; he must and should be slaughtered, nothing
else would do. When the king's daughter heard that, she got very
sorrowful, and went down into the byre to the Bull. There, too, he
stood and hung down his head, and looked so downcast that she began
to weep over him.

'What are you weeping for?' asked the Bull.

So she told him how the King had come home again, and how the Queen
had shammed sick and got the doctor to say she could never be well
and sound again unless she got some of the Dun Bull's flesh to eat,
and so now he was to be slaughtered.

'If they get me killed first', said the Bull, 'they'll soon take your
life too. Now, if you're of my mind, we'll just start off, and go
away to-night.'

Well, the Princess thought it bad, you may be sure, to go and leave
her father, but she thought it still worse to be in the house with
the Queen; and so she gave her word to the Bull to come to him.

At night, when all had gone to bed, the Princess stole down to the
byre to the Bull, and so he took her on his back, and set off from
the homestead as fast as ever he could. And when the folk got up at
cockcrow next morning to slaughter the Bull, why, he was gone; and
when the King got up and asked for his daughter, she was gone too. He
sent out messengers on all sides to hunt for them, and gave them out
in all the parish churches; but there was no one who had caught a
glimpse of them. Meanwhile, the Bull went through many lands with the
King's daughter on his back, and so one day they came to a great
copper-wood, where both the trees, and branches, and leaves, and
flowers, and everything, were nothing but copper.

But before they went into the wood, the Bull said to the King's

'Now, when we get into this wood, mind you take care not to touch
even a leaf of it, else it's all over both with me and you, for here
dwells a Troll with three heads who owns this wood.'

No, bless her, she'd be sure to take care not to touch anything.
Well, she was very careful, and leant this way and that to miss the
boughs, and put them gently aside with her hands; but it was such a
thick wood, 'twas scarce possible to get through; and so, with all
her pains, somehow or other she tore off a leaf, which she held in
her hand.

'AU! AU! what have you done now?' said the Bull; 'there's nothing for
it now but to fight for life or death; but mind you keep the leaf

Soon after they got to the end of the wood, and a Troll with three
heads came running up:

'Who is this that touches my wood?' said the Troll.

'It's just as much mine as yours', said the Bull.

'Ah!' roared the Troll, 'we'll try a fall about that.'

'As you choose', said the Bull.

So they rushed at one another, and fought; and the Bull he butted,
and gored, and kicked with all his might and main; but the Troll gave
him as good as he brought, and it lasted the whole day before the
Bull got the mastery; and then he was so full of wounds, and so worn
out, he could scarce lift a leg. Then they were forced to stay there
a day to rest, and then the Bull bade the King's daughter to take the
horn of ointment which hung at the Troll's belt, and rub him with it.
Then he came to himself again, and the day after they trudged on
again. So they travelled many, many days, until, after a long long
time, they came to a silver wood, where both the trees, and branches,
and leaves, and flowers, and everything, were silvern.

Before the Bull went into the wood, he said to the King's daughter:

'Now, when we get into this wood, for heaven's sake mind you take
good care; you mustn't touch anything, and not pluck off so much as
one leaf, else it is all over both with me and you; for here is a
Troll with six heads who owns it, and him I don't think I should be
able to master.'

'No', said the King's daughter; 'I'll take good care and not touch
anything you don't wish me to touch.'

But when they got into the wood, it was so close and thick, they
could scarce get along. She was as careful as careful could be, and
leant to this side and that to miss the boughs, and put them on one
side with her hands, but every minute the branches struck her across
the eyes, and in spite of all her pains, it so happened she tore off
a leaf.

'AU! AU! what have you done now?' said the Bull. 'There's nothing for
it now but to fight for life and death, for this Troll has six heads,
and is twice as strong as the other, but mind you keep the leaf safe,
and don't lose it.'

Just as he said that, up came the Troll:

'Who is this', he said, 'that touches my wood?'

'It's as much mine as yours', said the Bull.

'That we'll try a fall about', roared the Troll.

'As you choose', said the Bull, and rushed at the Troll, and gored
out his eyes, and drove his horns right through his body, so that the
entrails gushed out; but the Troll was almost a match for him, and it
lasted three whole days before the Bull got the life gored out of
him. But then he, too, was so weak and wretched, it was as much as he
could do to stir a limb, and so full of wounds, that the blood
streamed from him. So he said to the King's daughter she must take
the horn of ointment that hung at the Troll's belt, and rub him with
it. Then she did that, and he came to himself; but they were forced
to stay there a week to rest before the Bull had strength enough to
go on.

At last they set off again, but the Bull was still poorly, and they
went rather slowly at first. So, to spare time, the King's daughter
said, as she was young and light of foot, she could very well walk,
but she couldn't get leave to do that. No; she must seat herself up
on his back again. So on they travelled through many lands a long
time, and the King's daughter did not know in the least whither they
went; but after a long, long time they came to a gold wood. It was so
grand, the gold dropped from every twig, and all the trees, and
boughs, and flowers, and leaves, were of pure gold. Here, too, the
same thing happened as had happened in the silver wood and copper
wood. The Bull told the King's daughter she mustn't touch it for
anything, for there was a Troll with nine heads who owned it, and he
was much bigger and stouter than both the others put together; and he
didn't think he could get the better of him. No; she'd be sure to
take heed not to touch it; that he might know very well. But when
they got into the wood, it was far thicker and closer than the silver
wood, and the deeper they went into it, the worse it got. The wood
went on, getting thicker and thicker, and closer and closer; and at
last she thought there was no way at all to get through it. She was
in such an awful fright of plucking off anything, that she sat, and
twisted, and turned herself this way and that, and hither and
thither, to keep clear of the boughs, and she put them on one side
with her hands; but every moment the branches struck her across the
eyes, so that she couldn't see what she was clutching at; and lo!
before she knew how it came about, she had a gold apple in her hand.
Then she was so bitterly sorry, she burst into tears, and wanted to
throw it away; but the Bull said, she must keep it safe and watch it
well, and comforted her as well as he could; but he thought it would
be a hard tussle, and he doubted how it would go.

Just then up came the Troll with the nine heads, and he was so ugly,
the King's daughter scarcely dared to look at him.


'It's just as much mine as yours', said the Bull.

'That we'll try a fall about', roared the Troll again.

'Just as you choose', said the Bull; and so they rushed at one
another, and fought, and it was such a dreadful sight, the King's
daughter was ready to swoon away. The Bull gored out the Troll's
eyes, and drove his horns through and through his body, till the
entrails came tumbling out; but the Troll fought bravely; and when
the Bull got one head gored to death, the rest breathed life into it
again, and so it lasted a whole week before the Bull was able to get
the life out of them all. But then he was utterly worn out and
wretched. He couldn't stir a foot, and his body was all one wound. He
couldn't so much as ask the King's daughter to take the horn of
ointment which hung at the Troll's belt, and rub it over him. But she
did it all the same, and then he came to himself by little and
little; but they had to lie there and rest three weeks before he was
fit to go on again.

Then they set off at a snail's pace, for the Bull said they had still
a little further to go, and so they crossed over many high hills and
thick woods. So after awhile they got upon the fells.

'Do you see anything?' asked the Bull.

'No, I see nothing but the sky, and the wild fell', said the King's

So when they clomb higher up, the fell got smoother, and they could
see further off.

'Do you see anything now?' asked the Bull.

'Yes, I see a little castle far, far away', said the Princess.

'That's not so little though', said the Bull.

After a long, long time, they came to a great cairn, where there was
a spur of the fell that stood sheer across the way.

'Do you see anything now?' asked the Bull.

'Yes, now I see the castle close by', said the King's daughter, 'and
now it is much, much bigger.'

'Thither you're to go', said the Bull. 'Right underneath the castle
is a pig-sty, where you are to dwell. When you come thither you'll
find a wooden cloak, all made of strips of lath; that you must put
on, and go up to the castle and say your name is "Katie Woodencloak",
and ask for a place. But before you go, you must take your penknife
and cut my head off, and then you must flay me, and roll up the hide,
and lay it under the wall of rock yonder, and under the hide you must
lay the copper leaf, and the silver leaf, and the golden apple.
Yonder, up against the rock, stands a stick; and when you want
anything, you've only got to knock on the wall of rock with that

At first she wouldn't do anything of the kind; but when the Bull said
it was the only thanks he would have for what he had done for her,
she couldn't help herself. So, however much it grieved her heart, she
hacked and cut away with her knife at the big beast till she got both
his head and his hide off, and then she laid the hide up under the
wall of rock, and put the copper leaf, and the silvern leaf, and the
golden apple inside it.

So when she had done that, she went over to the pig-sty, but all the
while she went she sobbed and wept. There she put on the wooden
cloak, and so went up to the palace. When she came into the kitchen
she begged for a place, and told them her name was Katie Woodencloak.
Yes, the cook said she might have a place--she might have leave to be
there in the scullery, and wash up, for the lassie who did that work
before had just gone away.

'But as soon as you get weary of being here, you'll go your way too,
I'll be bound.'

No; she was sure she wouldn't do that.

So there she was, behaving so well, and washing up so handily. The
Sunday after there were to be strange guests at the palace, so Katie
asked if she might have leave to carry up water for the Prince's
bath; but all the rest laughed at her, and said:

'What should you do there? Do you think the Prince will care to look
at you, you who are such a fright!'

But she wouldn't give it up, and kept on begging and praying; and at
last she got leave. So when she went up the stairs, her wooden cloak
made such a clatter, the Prince came out and asked:

'Pray who are you?'

'Oh! I was just going to bring up water for your Royal Highness's
bath', said Katie.

'Do you think now', said the Prince, 'I'd have anything to do with
the water you bring?' and with that he threw the water over her.

So she had to put up with that, but then she asked leave to go to
church; well, she got that leave too, for the church lay close by.
But, first of all, she went to the rock, and knocked on its face with
the stick which stood there, just as the Bull had said. And
straightway out came a man, who said:

'What's your will?'

So the Princess said she had got leave to go to church and hear the
priest preach, but she had no clothes to go in. So he brought out a
kirtle, which was as bright as the copper wood, and she got a horse
and saddle beside. Now, when she got to the church she was so lovely
and grand, all wondered who she could be, and scarce one of them
listened to what the priest said, for they looked too much at her. As
for the Prince, he fell so deep in love with her, he didn't take his
eyes off her for a single moment.

So, as she went out of church, the Prince ran after her, and held the
church door open for her; and so he got hold of one of her gloves,
which was caught in the door. When she went away and mounted her
horse, the Prince went up to her again, and asked whence she came.

'Oh! I'm from Bath', said Katie; and while the Prince took out the
glove to give it to her, she said:

  Bright before and dark behind,
  Clouds come rolling on the wind;
  That this Prince may never see
  Where my good steed goes with me.

The Prince had never seen the like of that glove, and went about far
and wide asking after the land whence the proud lady, who rode off
without her glove, said she came; but there was no one who could tell
where 'Bath' lay.

Next Sunday some one had to go up to the Prince with a towel.

'Oh! may I have leave to go up with it?' said Katie.

'What's the good of your going?' said the others; 'you saw how it
fared with you last time.'

But Katie wouldn't give in; she kept on begging and praying, till she
got leave; and then she ran up the stairs, so that her wooden cloak
made a great clatter. Out came the Prince, and when he saw it was
Katie, he tore the towel out of her hand, and threw it into her face.

'Pack yourself off, you ugly Troll', he cried; 'do you think I'd have
a towel which you have touched with your smutty fingers?'

After that the Prince set off to church, and Katie begged for leave
to go too. They all asked what business she had at church--she who
had nothing to put on but that wooden cloak, which was so black and
ugly. But Katie said the priest was such a brave man to preach, what
he said did her so much good; and so she at last got leave. Now she
went again to the rock and knocked, and so out came the man, and gave
her a kirtle far finer than the first one; it was all covered with
silver, and it shone like the silver wood; and she got besides a
noble steed, with a saddle-cloth broidered with silver, and a silver

So when the King's daughter got to the church, the folk were still
standing about in the churchyard. And all wondered and wondered who
she could be, and the Prince was soon on the spot, and came and
wished to hold her horse for her while she got off. But she jumped
down, and said there was no need, for her horse was so well broke, it
stood still when she bid it, and came when she called it. So they all
went into church; but there was scarce a soul that listened to what
the priest said, for they looked at her a deal too much; and the
Prince fell still deeper in love than the first time.

When the sermon was over, and she went out of church and was going to
mount her horse, up came the Prince again, and asked her whence she

'Oh! I'm from Towelland', said the King's daughter; and as she said
that, she dropped her riding-whip, and when the Prince stooped to
pick it up, she said:

  Bright before and dark behind,
  Clouds come rolling on the wind;
  That this Prince may never see
  Where my good steed goes with me.

So away she was again; and the Prince couldn't tell what had become
of her. He went about far and wide asking after the land whence she
said she came, but there was no one who could tell him where it lay;
and so the Prince had to make the best he could of it.

Next Sunday some one had to go up to the Prince with a comb. Katie
begged for leave to go up with it, but the others put her in mind how
she had fared the last time, and scolded her for wishing to go before
the Prince--such a black and ugly fright as she was in her wooden
cloak. But she wouldn't leave off asking till they let her go up to
the Prince with his comb. So, when she came clattering up the stairs
again, out came the Prince, and took the comb, and threw it at her,
and bade her be off as fast as she could. After that the Prince went
to church, and Katie begged for leave to go too. They asked again
what business she had there, she who was so foul and black, and who
had no clothes to show herself in. Might be the Prince or some one
else would see her, and then both she and all the others would smart
for it; but Katie said they had something else to do than to look at
her; and she wouldn't leave off begging and praying till they gave
her leave to go.

So the same thing happened now as had happened twice before. She went
to the rock and knocked with the stick, and then the man came out and
gave her a kirtle which was far grander than either of the others. It
was almost all pure gold, and studded with diamonds; and she got
besides a noble steed, with a gold broidered saddle-cloth and a
golden bit.

Now when the King's daughter got to the church, there stood the
priest and all the people in the churchyard waiting for her. Up came
the Prince running, and wanted to hold her horse, but she jumped off,
and said:

'No; thanks--there's no need, for my horse is so well broke, it
stands still when I bid him.'

So they all hastened into church, and the priest got into the pulpit,
but no one listened to a word he said; for they all looked too much
at her, and wondered whence she came; and the Prince, he was far
deeper in love than either of the former times. He had no eyes, or
ears, or sense for anything, but just to sit and stare at her.

So when the sermon was over, and the King's daughter was to go out of
the church, the Prince had got a firkin of pitch poured out in the
porch, that he might come and help her over it; but she didn't care a
bit--she just put her foot right down into the midst of the pitch,
and jumped across it; but then one of her golden shoes stuck fast in
it, and as she got on her horse, up came the Prince running out of
the church, and asked whence she came.

'I'm from Combland', said Katie. But when the Prince wanted to reach
her the gold shoe, she said,

  Bright before and dark behind,
  Clouds come rolling on the wind;
  That this Prince may never see
  Where my good steed goes with me.

So the Prince couldn't tell still what had become of her, and he went
about a weary time all over the world asking for 'Combland'; but when
no one could tell him where it lay, he ordered it to be given out
everywhere that he would wed the woman whose foot could fit the gold

So many came of all sorts from all sides, fair and ugly alike; but
there was no one who had so small a foot as to be able to get on the
gold shoe. And after a long, long time, who should come but Katie's
wicked stepmother, and her daughter, too, and her the gold shoe
fitted; but ugly she was, and so loathly she looked, the Prince only
kept his word sore against his will. Still they got ready the
wedding-feast, and she was dressed up and decked out as a bride; but
as they rode to church, a little bird sat upon a tree and sang:

  A bit off her heel,
  And a bit off her toe;
  Katie Woodencloak's tiny shoe
  Is full of blood--that's all I know.

And, sure enough, when they looked to it the bird told the truth, for
blood gushed out of the shoe.

Then all the maids and women who were about the palace had to go up
to try on the shoe, but there was none of them whom it would fit at

'But where's Katie Woodencloak?' asked the Prince, when all the rest
had tried the shoe, for he understood the song of birds very well,
and bore in mind what the little bird had said.

'Oh! she think of that!' said the rest; 'it's no good her coming
forward. Why, she's legs like a horse.'

'Very true, I daresay', said the Prince; 'but since all the others
have tried, Katie may as well try too.'

'Katie', he bawled out through the door; and Katie came trampling
upstairs, and her wooden cloak clattered as if a whole regiment of
dragoons were charging up.

'Now, you must try the shoe on, and be a Princess, you too,' said the
other maids, and laughed and made game of her.

So Katie took up the shoe, and put her foot into it like nothing, and
threw off her wooden cloak; and so there she stood in her gold
kirtle, and it shone so that the sunbeams glistened from her; and,
lo! on her other foot she had the fellow to the gold shoe.

So when the Prince knew her again, he grew so glad, he ran up to her
and threw his arms round her, and gave her a kiss; and when he heard
she was a King's daughter, he got gladder still, and then came the
wedding feast; and so,

  Snip, snip, snover,
  This story's over.


Once on a time there was a woman who had an only son, and he was no
taller than your thumb; and so they called him Thumbikin.

Now, when he had come to be old enough to know right and wrong, his
mother told him to go out and woo him a bride, for now she said it
was high time he thought about getting a wife. When Thumbikin heard
that, he was very glad; so they got their driving gear in order and
set off, and his mother put him into her bosom. Now they were going
to a palace where there was an awfully big Princess, but when they
had gone a bit of the way, Thumbikin was lost and gone. His mother
hunted for him everywhere, and bawled to him, and wept because he was
lost, and she couldn't find him again.

'_Pip, Pip_', said Thumbikin, 'here I am'; and he had hidden
himself in the horse's mane.

So he came out, and had to give his word to his mother that he
wouldn't do so any more. But when they had driven a bit further on,
Thumbikin was lost again. His mother hunted for him, and called him,
and wept; but gone he was, and gone he stayed.

'_Pip, Pip_', said Thumbikin at last; and then she heard how he
laughed and tittered, but she couldn't find him at all for the life
of her.

'_Pip, Pip_, why, here I am now!' said Thumbikin, and came out
of the horse's ear.

So he had to give his word that he wouldn't hide himself again; but
they had scarce driven a bit further before he was gone again. He
couldn't help it. As for his mother, she hunted, and wept, and called
him by name; but gone he was, and gone he stayed; and the more she
hunted, the less she could find him in any way.

'_Pip, Pip_, here I am then', said Thumbikin.

But she couldn't make out at all where he was, his voice sounded so
dull, and muffled.

So she hunted, and he kept on saying, 'Pip, here I am', and laughed
and chuckled, but she couldn't find him; but all at once the horse
snorted, and it snorted Thumbikin out, for he had crept up one of his

Then his mother took him and put him into a bag; she knew no other
way, for she saw well enough he couldn't help hiding himself.

So, when they came to the palace, the match was soon made, for the
Princess thought him a pretty little chap, and it wasn't long before
the wedding came on too.

Now, when they were going to sit down to the wedding-feast, Thumbikin
sat at the table by the Princess's side; but he had worse than no
seat, for when he was to eat he couldn't reach up to the table; and
so if the Princess hadn't helped him up on to it, he wouldn't have
got a bit to eat.

Now it went good and well so long as he had to eat off a plate, but
then there came a great bowl of porridge--that he couldn't reach up
to; but Thumbikin soon found out a way to help himself; he climbed up
and sat on the lip of the bowl. But then there was a pat of melting
butter right in the middle of the bowl, and that he couldn't reach to
dip his porridge into it, and so he went on and took his seat at the
edge of the melting butter; but just then who should come but the
Princess, with a great spoonful of porridge to dip it into the
butter; and, alas! she went too near to Thumbikin, and tipped him
over; and so he fell over head and ears, and was drowned in the
melted butter.


Once on a time there was a King who had twelve sons. When they were
grown big he told them they must go out into the world and win
themselves wives, but these wives must each be able to spin, and
weave, and sew a shirt in one day, else he wouldn't have them for

To each he gave a horse and a new suit of mail, and they went out
into the world to look after their brides; but when they had gone a
bit of the way, they said they wouldn't have Boots, their youngest
brother, with them--he wasn't fit for anything.

Well, Boots had to stay behind, and he didn't know what to do or
whither to turn; and so he grew so downcast, he got off his horse,
and sat down in the tall grass to weep. But when he had sat a little
while, one of the tufts in the grass began to stir and move, and out
of it came a little white thing, and when it came nearer, Boots saw
it was a charming little lassie, only such a tiny bit of a thing. So
the lassie went up to him, and asked if he would come down below and
see 'Doll i' the Grass'.

Yes, he'd be very happy, and so he went.

Now, when he got down; there sat Doll i' the Grass on a chair; she
was so lovely and so smart, and she asked Boots whither he was going,
and what was his business.

So he told her how there were twelve brothers of them, and how the
King had given them horses and mail, and said they must each go out
into the world and find them a wife who could spin, and weave, and
sew a shirt in a day.

'But if you'll only say at once you'll be my wife, I'll not go a step
further', said Boots to Doll i' the Grass.

Well, she was willing enough, and so she made haste and span, and
wove, and sewed the shirt, but it was so tiny, tiny little. It wasn't
longer than so--------long.

So Boots set off home with it, but when he brought it out he was
almost ashamed, it was so small. Still the King said he should have
her, and so Boots set off, glad and happy to fetch his little
sweetheart. So when he got to Doll i' the Grass, he wished to take
her up before him on his horse; but she wouldn't have that, for she
said she would sit and drive along in a silver spoon, and that she
had two small white horses to draw her. So off they set, he on his
horse and she on her silver spoon, and the two horses that drew her
were two tiny white mice; but Boots always kept the other side of the
road, he was so afraid lest he should ride over her, she was so
little. So, when they had gone a bit of the way, they came to a great
piece of water. Here Boots' horse got frightened, and shied across
the road and upset the spoon, and Doll i' the Grass tumbled into the
water. Then Boots got so sorrowful because he didn't know how to get
her out again; but in a little while up came a merman with her, and
now she was as well and full grown as other men and women, and far
lovelier than she had been before. So he took her up before him on
his horse, and rode home.

When Boots got home all his brothers had come back each with his
sweetheart, but these were all so ugly, and foul, and wicked, that
they had done nothing but fight with one another on the way home, and
on their heads they had a kind of hat that was daubed over with tar
and soot, and so the rain had run down off the hats on to their
faces, till they got far uglier and nastier than they had been
before. When his brothers saw Boots and his sweetheart, they were all
as jealous as jealous could be of her; but the King was so overjoyed
with them both, that he drove all the others away, and so Boots held
his wedding-feast with Doll i' the Grass, and after that they lived
well and happily together a long long time, and if they're not dead,
why they're alive still.


Once on a time there was a lad who was walking along a road cracking
nuts, so he found one that was worm-eaten, and just at that very
moment he met the Deil.

'Is it true, now', said the lad, 'what they say, that the Deil can
make himself as small as he chooses, and thrust himself in through a

'Yes it is', said the Deil.

'Oh! it is, is it? then let me see you do it, and just creep into
this nut', said the lad.

So the Deil did it.

Now, when he had crept well in through the worm's hole, the lad
stopped it up with a pin.

'Now, I've got you safe', he said, and put the nut into his pocket.

So when he had walked on a bit, he came to a smithy, and he turned in
and asked the smith if he'd be good enough to crack that nut for him.

'Aye, that'll be an easy job', said the smith, and took his smallest
hammer, laid the nut on the anvil, and gave it a blow, but it
wouldn't break.

So he took another hammer a little bigger, but that wasn't heavy
enough either.

Then he took one bigger still, but it was still the same story; and
so the smith got wroth, and grasped his great sledge-hammer.

'Now, I'll crack you to bits', he said, and let drive at the nut with
all his might and main. And so the nut flew to pieces with a bang
that blew off half the roof of the smithy, and the whole house
creaked and groaned as though it were ready to fall.

'Why! if I don't think the Deil must have been in that nut', said the

'So he was; you're quite right', said the lad, as he went away


Once on a time the cock and the hen went out into the hazel-wood to
pick nuts; and so the hen got a nutshell in her throat, and lay on
her back, flapping her wings.

Off went the cock to fetch water for her; so he came to the Spring
and said:

'Dear good friend Spring give me a drop of water, that I may give it
to Dame Partlet, my mate, who lies at death's door in the hazel-

But the Spring answered:

'You'll get no water from me until I get leaves from you.'

So the Cock ran to the Linden, and said:

'Dear good friend Linden, give me some of your leaves, the leaves
I'll give to the Spring, and the Spring'll give me water to give to
Dame Partlet my mate, who lies at death's door in the hazel-wood.'

'You'll get no leaves from me', said the Linden, 'until I get a red
ribbon with a golden edge from you.'

So the Cock ran to the Virgin Mary.

'Dear good Virgin Mary, give me a red ribbon with a golden edge, and
I'll give the red ribbon to the Linden, the Linden'll give me leaves,
the leaves I'll give to the Spring, the Spring'll give me water, and
the water I'll give to Dame Partlet my mate, who lies at death's
door, in the hazel-wood.'

'You'll get no red ribbon from me', answered the Virgin Mary, 'until
I get shoes from you.'

So the Cock ran to the Shoemaker and said

'Dear good friend Shoemaker, give me shoes, and I'll give the shoes
to the Virgin Mary, the Virgin Mary'll give me a red ribbon, the red
ribbon I'll give to the Linden, the Linden'll give me leaves, the
leaves I'll give to the Spring, the Spring'll give me water, the
water I'll give to Dame Partlet my mate, who lies at death's door in
the hazel-wood.'

'You'll get no shoes from me', said the Shoemaker, 'until I get
bristles from you.'

So the Cock ran to the Sow and said:

'Dear good friend Sow, give me bristles, the bristles I'll give to
the Shoemaker, the Shoemaker'll give me shoes, the shoes I'll give to
the Virgin Mary, the Virgin Mary'll give me a red ribbon, the red
ribbon I'll give to the Linden, the Linden'll give me leaves, the
leaves I'll give to the Spring, the Spring'll give me water, the
water I'll give to Dame Partlet my mate, who lies at death's door in
the hazel-wood.'

'You'll get no bristles from me', said the Sow, 'until I get corn
from you.'

So the Cock ran to the Thresher and said:

'Dear good friend Thresher, give me corn, the corn I'll give to the
Sow, the Sow'll give me bristles, the bristles I'll give to the
Shoemaker, the Shoemaker'll give me shoes, the shoes I'll give to the
Virgin Mary, the Virgin Mary'll give me a red ribbon, the red ribbon
I'll give to the Linden, the Linden'll give me leaves, the leaves
I'll give to the Spring, the Spring'll give me water, the water I'll
give to Dame Partlet my mate, who lies at death's door in the hazel-

'You'll get no corn from me', said the Thresher, 'until I get a
bannock from you.'

So the Cock ran to the Baker's wife and said:

'Dear good friend Mrs. Baker, give me a bannock, the bannock I'll
give to the Thresher, the Thresher'll give me corn, the corn I'll
give to the Sow, the Sow'll give me bristles, the bristles I'll give
to the Shoemaker, the Shoemaker'll give me shoes, the shoes I'll give
to the Virgin Mary, the Virgin Mary'll give me a red ribbon, the red
ribbon I'll give to the Linden, the Linden'll give me leaves, the
leaves I'll give to the Spring, the Spring'll give me water, the
water I'll give to Dame Partlet my mate, who lies at death's door in
the hazel-wood.'

'You'll get no bannock from me', said the Baker's wife, until I get
wood from you.'

So the Cock ran to the Woodcutter and said:

'Dear good friend Woodcutter, give me wood, the wood I'll give to the
Baker's wife, the Baker's wife'll give me a bannock, the bannock I'll
give to the Thresher, the Thresher'll give me corn, the corn I'll
give to the Sow, the Sow'll give me bristles, the bristles I'll give
to the Shoemaker, the Shoemaker'll give me shoes, the shoes I'll give
to the Virgin Mary, the Virgin Mary'll give me a red ribbon, the red
ribbon I'll give to the Linden, the Linden'll give me leaves, the
leaves I'll give to the Spring, the Spring'll give me water, the
water I'll give to Dame Partlet my mate, who lies at death's door in
the hazel-wood.'

'You'll get no wood from me', answered the Woodcutter, 'until I get
an axe from you.'

So the Cock ran to the Smith and said:

'Dear good friend Smith, give me an axe, the axe I'll give to the
Woodcutter, the Woodcutter'll give me wood, the wood I'll give to the
Baker's wife, the Baker's wife'll give me a bannock, the bannock I'll
give to the Thresher, the Thresher'll give me corn, the corn I'll
give to the Sow, the Sow'll give me bristles, the bristles I'll give
to the Shoemaker, the Shoemaker'll give me shoes, the shoes I'll give
to the Virgin Mary, the Virgin Mary'll give me a red ribbon, the red
ribbon I'll give to the Linden, the Linden'll give me leaves, the
leaves I'll give to the Spring, the Spring'll give me water, the
water I'll give to Dame Partlet my mate, who lies at death's door in
the hazel-wood.'

'You'll get no axe from me', answered the Smith, 'until I get
charcoal of you.'

So the Cock ran to the Charcoal-burner and said

'Dear good friend Charcoal-burner, give me charcoal, the charcoal
I'll give to the Smith, the Smith'll give me an axe, the axe I'll
give to the Woodcutter, the Woodcutter'll give me wood, the wood I'll
give to the Baker's wife, the Baker's wife'll give me a bannock, the
bannock I'll give to the Thresher, the Thresher'll give me corn, the
corn I'll give to the Sow, the Sow'll give me bristles, the bristles
I'll give to the Shoemaker, the Shoemaker'll give me shoes, the shoes
I'll give to the Virgin Mary, the Virgin Mary'll give me a red
ribbon, the red ribbon I'll give to the Linden, the Linden'll give me
leaves, the leaves I'll give to the Spring, the Spring'll give me
water, the water I'll give to Dame Partlet my mate, who lies at
death's door in the hazel-wood.

So the Charcoal-burner took pity on the Cock, and gave him a bit of
charcoal, and then the Smith got his coal, and the Woodcutter his
axe, and the Baker's wife her wood, and the Thresher his bannock, and
the Sow her corn, and the Shoemaker his bristles, and the Virgin Mary
her shoes, and the Linden its red ribbon with a golden edge, and the
Spring its leaves, and the Cock his drop of water, and he gave it to
Dame Partlet, his mate, who lay there at death's door in the hazel-
wood, and so she got all right again.


Once on a time there was a king who had twelve daughters, and he was
so fond of them they must always be at his side; but every day at
noon, while the king slept, the Princesses went out to take a walk.
So once, while the king was taking his noontide nap, and the
Princesses had gone to take their walk, all at once they were
missing, and worse, they never came home again. Then there was great
grief and sorrow all over the land, but the most sorry of all was the
king. He sent messengers out throughout his own and other realms, and
gave out their names in all the churches, and had the bells tolled
for them in all the steeples; but gone the Princesses were, and gone
they stayed, and none could tell what was become of them. So it was
as clear as day that they must have been carried off by some

Well, it wasn't long before these tidings spread far and wide, over
land and town, aye, over many lands; and so the news came to a king
ever so many lands off, who had twelve sons. So when these Princes
heard of the twelve king's daughters, they asked leave of their
father to go out and seek them. They had hard work to get his leave,
for he was afraid lest he should never see them again, but they all
fell down on their knees before the king, and begged so long, at last
he was forced to let them go after all.

He fitted out a ship for them, and gave them Ritter Red, who was
quite at home at sea, for a captain. So they sailed about a long,
long time, landed on every shore they came to, and hunted and asked
after the Princesses, but they could neither hear nor see anything of
them. And now, a few days only were wanting to make up seven years
since they set sail, when one day a strong storm rose, and such foul
weather, they thought they should never come to land again, and all
had to work so hard, they couldn't get a wink of sleep so long as the
storm lasted. But when the third day was nearly over, the wind fell,
and all at once it got as still as still could be. Now, they were all
so weary with work and the rough weather, they fell fast asleep in
the twinkling of an eye; all but the youngest Prince, he could get no
rest, and couldn't go off to sleep at all.

So as he was pacing up and down the deck, the ship came to a little
island, and on the island ran a little dog, and bayed and barked at
the ship as if it wanted to come on board. So the Prince went to that
side of the deck, and tried to coax the dog, and whistled and
whistled to him, but the more he whistled and coaxed, the more the
dog barked and snarled. Well, he thought it a shame the dog should
run about there and starve, for he made up his mind that it must have
come thither from a ship that had been cast away in the storm; but
still he thought he should never be able to help it after all, for he
couldn't put out the boat by himself, and as for the others, they all
slept so sound, he wouldn't wake them for the sake of a dog. But then
the weather was so calm and still; and at last he said to himself:
'Come what may, you must go on shore and save that dog', and so he
began to try to launch the boat, and he found it far easier work than
he thought. So he rowed ashore, and went up to the dog; but every
time he tried to catch it, it jumped on one side, and so it went on
till he found himself inside a great grand castle, before he knew
where he was. Then the dog, all at once, was changed into a lovely
Princess; and there, on the bench, sat a man so big and ugly, the
Prince almost lost his wits for fear.

'YOU'VE NO NEED TO BE AFRAID', said the man--but the Prince, to tell
you the truth, got far more afraid when he heard his gruff voice--
'for I know well enough what you want. There are twelve Princes of
you, and you are looking for the twelve Princesses that are lost. I
know, too, very well whereabouts they are; they're with my lord and
master, and there they sit, each of them on her chair, and comb his
hair; for he has twelve heads. And now you have sailed seven years,
but you'll have to sail seven years more before you find them. As for
you, you might stay here and welcome, and have my daughter; but you
must first slay him, for he's a hard master to all of us, and we're
all weary of him, and when he's dead I shall be King in his stead;
but first try if you can brandish this sword'.

Then the King's son took hold of a rusty old sword which hung on the
wall, but he could scarce stir it.

'Now you must take a pull at this flask', said the Troll; and when he
had done that he could stir it, and when he had taken another he
could lift it, and when he had taken a third he could brandish the
sword as easily as if it had been his own.

'Now, when you get on board', said the Troll Prince, 'you must hide
the sword well in your berth, that Ritter Red mayn't set eyes on it;
he's not man enough to wield it, but he'll get spiteful against you,
and try to take your life. And when seven years are almost out all
but three days', he went on to say, 'everything will happen just as
now; foul weather will come on you, with a great storm, and when it
is over you'll all be sleepy. Then you must take the sword and row
ashore, and so you'll come to a castle where all sorts of guards will
stand--wolves, and bears, and lions; but you needn't be afraid of
them, for they'll all come and crouch at your feet. But when you come
inside the castle, you'll soon see the Troll; he sits in a splendid
chamber in grand attire and array; twelve heads he has of his own,
and the Princesses sit round them, each on her chair, and comb his
heads, and that's a work you may guess they don't much like. Then you
must make haste, and hew off one head after the other as quick as you
can; for if he wakes and sets his eyes on you, he'll swallow you

So the King's son went on board with the sword, and he bore in mind
what he had come to know. The others still lay fast asleep and
snored, and he hid the sword in his berth, so that neither Ritter Red
nor any of the rest got sight of it. And now it began to blow again,
so he woke up the others and said he thought they oughtn't to sleep
any longer now when there was such a good wind. And there was none of
them that marked he had been away. Well, after the seven years were
all gone but three days, all happened as the Troll had said. A great
storm and foul weather came on that lasted three days, and when it
had blown itself out, all the rest grew sleepy and went to rest; but
the youngest King's son rowed ashore, and the guards fell at his
feet, and so he came to the castle. So when he got inside the
chamber, there sat the King fast asleep as the Troll Prince had said,
and the twelve Princesses sat each on her chair and combed one of his
heads. The king's son beckoned to the Princesses to get out of the
way; they pointed to the Troll, and beckoned to him again to go his
way as quick as ever he could, but he kept on making signs to them to
get out of the way, and then they understood that he wanted to set
them free, and stole away softly one after the other, and as fast as
they went, he hewed off the Troll King's heads, till at last the
blood gushed out like a great brook. When the Troll was slain he
rowed on board and hid his sword. He thought now he had done enough,
and as he couldn't get rid of the body by himself, he thought it only
fair they should help him a little. So he woke them all up, and said
it was a shame they should be snoring there, when he had found the
Princesses, and set them free from the Troll. The others only laughed
at him, and said he had been just as sound asleep as they, and only
dreamt that he was man enough to do what he said; for if any one was
to set the Princesses free, it was far more likely it would be one of
them. But the youngest King's son told them all about it, and when
they followed him to the land and saw first of all the brook of
blood, and then the castle, and the Troll, and the twelve heads, and
the Princesses, they saw plain enough that he had spoken the truth,
and now the whole helped him to throw the body and the heads into the
sea. So all were glad and happy, but none more so than the
Princesses, who got rid of having to sit there and comb the Troll's
hair all day. Of all the silver and gold and precious things that
were there, they took as much as the ship could hold, and so they
went on board altogether Princes and Princesses alike.

But when they had gone a bit out on the sea, the Princesses said they
had forgotten in their joy their gold crowns; they lay behind in a
press, and they would be so glad to have them. So when none of the
others was willing to fetch them, the youngest King's son said:

'I have already dared so much, I can very well go back for the gold
crowns too, if you will only strike sail and wait till I come again.'

Yes, that they would do. But when he had gone back so far that they
couldn't see him any longer, Ritter Red, who would have been glad
enough to have been their chief, and to have the youngest Princess,
said, 'it was no use their lying there still waiting for him, for
they might know very well he would never come back; they all knew,
too, how the king had given him all power and authority to sail or
not as he chose; and now they must all say 'twas he that had saved
the Princesses, and if any one said anything else, he should lose his

The Princes didn't dare to do anything else than what Ritter Red
willed, and so they sailed away.

Meanwhile the youngest King's son rowed to land, went up to the
castle, found the press with gold crowns in it, and at last lugged it
down to the boat, and shoved off; but when he came where he ought to
have seen the ship, lo! it was gone. Well, as he couldn't catch a
glimpse of it anywhere, he could very soon tell how matters stood. To
row after them was no good, and so he was forced to turn about and
row back to land. He was rather afraid to stay alone in the castle
all night, but there was no other house to be got, so he plucked up a
heart, locked up all the doors and gates fast, and lay down in a room
where there was a bed ready made. But fearful and woeful he was, and
still more afraid he got when he had lain a while and something began
to creak and groan and quake in wall and roof, as if the whole castle
were being torn asunder. Then all at once down something plunged
close by the side of his bed, as if it were a whole cartload of hay.
Then all was still again; but after a while he heard a voice, which
bade him not to be afraid, and said:

  Here am I the Big Bird Dan
  Come to help you all I can.

'But the first thing you must do when you wake in the morning, will
be to go to the barn and fetch four barrels of rye for me. I must
fill my crop with them for breakfast, else I can't do anything'.

When he woke up, sure enough there he saw an awfully big bird, which
had a feather at the nape of his neck, as thick and long as a half-
grown spruce fir. So the King's son went down to the barn to fetch
four barrels of rye for the Big Bird Dan, and when he had crammed
them into his crop he told the King's son to hang the press with the
gold crowns on one side of his neck, and as much gold and silver as
would weigh it down on the other side, and after that to get on his
back and hold fast by the feather in the nape of his neck. So away
they went till the wind whistled after them, and so it wasn't long
before they outstripped the ship. The King's son wanted to go on
board for his sword, for he was afraid lest any one should get sight
of it, for the Troll had told him that mustn't be; but Bird Dan said
that mustn't be either.

'Ritter Red will never see it, never fear; but if you go on board,
he'll try to take your life, for he has set his heart on having the
youngest Princess; but make your mind quite easy about her, for she
lays a naked sword by her side in bed every night.'

So after a long, long time, they came to the island where the Troll
Prince was; and there the King's son was welcomed so heartily there
was no end to it. The Troll Prince didn't know how to be good enough
to him for having slain his Lord and Master, and so made him King of
the Trolls, and if the King's son had been willing he might easily
have got the Troll King's daughter, and half the kingdom. But he had
so set his heart on the youngest of the twelve Princesses, he could
take no rest, but was all for going after their ship time after time.
So the Troll King begged him to be quiet a little longer, and said
they had still nearly seven years to sail before they got home. As
for the Princess the Troll said the same thing as the Big Bird Dan.

'You needn't fret yourself about her, for she lays a naked sword by
her side every night in bed. And now if you don't believe what I
say', said the Troll, 'you can go on board when they sail by here,
and see for yourself, and fetch the sword too, for I may just as well
have it again.'

So when they sailed by another great storm arose, and when the king's
son went on board they all slept, and each Princess lay beside her
Prince; but the youngest lay alone with a naked sword beside her in
the bed, and on the floor by the bedside lay Ritter Red. Then the
king's son took the sword and rowed ashore again, and none of them
had seen that he had been on board. But still the King's son couldn't
rest, and he often and often wanted to be off, and so at last when it
got near the end of the seven years, and only three weeks were left,
the Troll King said:

'Now you may get ready to go since you won't stay with us; and you
shall have the loan of my iron boat, which sails of itself, if you
only say:

  Boat, boat, go on!

'In that boat there is an iron club, and that club you must lift a
little when you see the ship straight a-head of you, and then they'll
get such a rattling fair breeze, they'll forget to look at you; but
when you get alongside them, you must lift the club a little again,
and then they'll get such a foul wind and storm, they'll have
something else to do than to stare at you; and when you have run past
them, you must lift the club a third time, but you must always be
sure and lay it down carefully again, else there'll be such a storm
both you and they will be wrecked and lost. Now, when you have got to
land, you've no need to bother yourself at all about the boat; just
turn it about, and shove it off, and say:

  Boat, boat, go back home!

When he set out they gave him so much gold and silver, and so many
other costly things, and clothes and linen which the Troll Princess
had sewn and woven for him all that long time, that he was far richer
than any of his brothers.

Well, he had no sooner seated himself in the boat, and said,

  Boat, boat, go on!

than away went the boat, and when he saw the ship right ahead he
lifted up the club, and then they got such a fair breeze, they forgot
to look at him. When he was alongside the ship, he lifted the club
again, and then such a storm arose and such foul weather, that the
white foam flew about the ship, and the billows rolled over the deck,
and they had something else to do than to stare at him; and when he
had run past them he lifted the club the third time, and then the
storm and the wind rose so, they had still less time to look after
him, and to make him out. So he came to land long, long before the
ship; and when he had got all his goods out of the boat, he shoved it
off again, and turned it about and said:

  Boat, boat, go back home!

And off went the boat.

Then he dressed himself up as a sailor--whether the Troll king had
told him that, or it was his own device, I'm sure I can't say--and
went up to a wretched hut where an old wife lived, whom he got to
believe that he was a poor sailor who had been on board a great ship
that was wrecked, and that he was the only soul that had got ashore.
After that he begged for house-room for himself and the goods he had

'Heaven mend me!' said the old wife, 'how can I lend any one house-
room? look at me and mine, why, I've no bed to sleep on myself, still
less one for any one else to lie on.'

Well, well, it was all the same, said the sailor; if he only got a
roof over his head, it didn't matter where he lay. So she couldn't
turn him out of the house, when he was so thankful for what there
was. That afternoon he fetched up his things, and the old wife, who
was very eager to hear a bit of news to run about and tell, began at
once to ask who he was, whence he came, whither he was bound, what it
was he had with him, what his business was, and if he hadn't heard
anything of the twelve Princesses who had been away the Lord knew how
many years. All this she asked and much more, which it would be waste
of time to tell. But he said he was so poorly and had such a bad
headache after the awful weather he had been out in, that he couldn't
answer any of her questions; she must just leave him alone and let
him rest a few days till he came to himself after the hard work he'd
had in the gale, and then she'd know all she wanted.

The very next day the old wife began to stir him up and ask again,
but the sailor's head was still so bad he hadn't got his wits
together, but somehow he let drop a word or two to show that he did
know something about the Princesses. Off ran the old wife with what
she had heard to all the gossips and chatterboxes round about, and
soon the one came running after the other to ask about the
Princesses, 'if he had seen them', 'if they would soon be there', 'if
they were on the way', and much more of the same sort. He still went
on groaning over his headache after the storm, so that he couldn't
tell them all about it, but so much he told them, unless they had
been lost in the great storm they'd make the land in about a
fortnight or before perhaps; but he couldn't say for sure whether
they were alive or no, for though he had seen them, it might very
well be that they had been cast away in the storm since. So what did
one of these old gossips do but run up to the Palace with this story,
and say that there was a sailor down in such and such an old wife's
hut, who had seen the Princesses, and that they were coming home in a
fortnight or in a week's time. When the King heard that he sent a
messenger down to the sailor to come up to him and tell the news

'I don't see how it's to be', said the sailor, 'for I haven't any
clothes fit to stand in before the King.'

But the King said he must come; for the King must and would talk with
him, whether he were richly or poorly clad, for there was no one else
who could bring him any tidings of the Princesses. So he went up at
last to the Palace and went in before the King, who asked him if it
were true that he had seen anything of the Princesses.

'Aye, aye', said the sailor, 'I've seen them sure enough, but I don't
know whether they're still alive, for when I last caught sight of
them, the weather was so foul we in our ship were cast away; but if
they're still alive they'll come safe home in a fortnight or perhaps

When the King heard that he was almost beside himself for joy; and
when the time came that the sailor had said they would come, the King
drove down to the strand to meet them in a great state; and there was
joy and gladness over the whole land, when the ship came sailing in
with the Princes and Princesses and Ritter Red. But no one was
gladder than the old King, who had got his daughters back again. The
eleven eldest Princesses too, were glad and merry, but the youngest
who was to have Ritter Red, who said that he had set them all free
and slain the Troll, she wept and was always sorrowful. The King took
this ill, and asked why she wasn't cheerful and merry like the
others; she hadn't anything to be sorry for now when she had got out
of the Troll's clutches, and was to have such a husband as Ritter
Red. But she daredn't say anything, for Ritter Red had said he would
take the life of any one who told the truth how things had gone.

But now one day, when they were hard at work sewing and stitching the
bridal array, in came a man in a great sailor's cloak with a pedlar's
pack on his back, and asked if the Princesses wouldn't buy something
fine of him for the wedding; he had so many wares and costly things,
both gold and silver. Yes, they might do so perhaps, so they looked
at his wares and they looked at him, for they thought they had seen
both him and many of his costly things before.

'He who has so many fine things', said the youngest Princess, 'must
surely have something still more precious, and which suits us better
even than these.'

'Maybe I have', said the Pedlar.

But now all the others cried 'Hush', and bade her bear in mind what
Ritter Red had said he would do.

Well, some time after the Princesses sat and looked out of the
window, and then the King's son came again with the great sea-cloak
thrown about him, and the press with the gold crowns at his back; and
when he got into the palace hall he unlocked the press before the
Princesses, and when each of them knew her own gold crown again, the
youngest said:

'I think it only right that he who set us free should get the meed
that is his due; and he is not Ritter Red, but this man who has
brought us our gold crowns. He it is that set us free.'

Then the King's son cast off the sailor's cloak, and stood there far
finer and grander than all the rest; and so the old King made them
put Ritter Red to death. And now there was real right down joy in the
palace; each took his own bride, and there just was a wedding! Why,
it was heard of and talked about over twelve kings' realms.


Once on a time there was a poor couple who had a son whose name was
Halvor. Ever since he was a little boy he would turn his hand to
nothing, but just sat there and groped about in the ashes. His father
and mother often put him out to learn this trade or that, but Halvor
could stay nowhere; for, when he had been there a day or two, he ran
away from his master, and never stopped till he was sitting again in
the ingle, poking about in the cinders.

Well, one day a skipper came, and asked Halvor if he hadn't a mind to
be with him, and go to sea, and see strange lands. Yes, Halvor would
like that very much; so he wasn't long in getting himself ready.

How long they sailed I'm sure I can't tell; but the end of it was,
they fell into a great storm, and when it was blown over, and it got
still again, they couldn't tell where they were; for they had been
driven away to a strange coast, which none of them knew anything

Well, as there was just no wind at all, they stayed lying wind-bound
there, and Halvor asked the skipper's leave to go on shore and look
about him; he would sooner go, he said, than lie there and sleep.

'Do you think now you're fit to show yourself before folk', said the
skipper, 'why, you've no clothes but those rags you stand in?'

But Halvor stuck to his own, and so at last he got leave, but he was
to be sure and come back as soon as ever it began to blow. So off he
went and found a lovely land; wherever he came there were fine large
flat corn-fields and rich meads, but he couldn't catch a glimpse of a
living soul. Well, it began to blow, but Halvor thought he hadn't
seen enough yet, and he wanted to walk a little farther just to see
if he couldn't meet any folk. So after a while he came to a broad
high road, so smooth and even, you might easily roll an egg along it.
Halvor followed this, and when evening drew on he saw a great castle
ever so far off, from which the sunbeams shone. So as he had now
walked the whole day and hadn't taken a bit to eat with him, he was
as hungry as a hunter, but still the nearer he came to the castle,
the more afraid he got. In the castle kitchen a great fire was
blazing, and Halvor went into it, but such a kitchen he had never
seen in all his born days. It was so grand and fine; there were
vessels of silver and vessels of gold, but still never a living soul.
So when Halvor had stood there a while and no one came out, he went
and opened a door, and there inside sat a Princess who span upon a

'Nay, nay, now!' she called out, 'dare Christian folk come hither?
But now you'd best be off about your business, if you don't want the
Troll to gobble you up; for here lives a Troll with three heads.'

'All one to me', said the lad, 'I'd be just as glad to hear he had
four heads beside; I'd like to see what kind of fellow he is. As for
going, I won't go at all. I've done no harm; but meat you must get
me, for I'm almost starved to death.'

When Halvor had eaten his fill, the Princess told him to try if he
could brandish the sword that hung against the wall; no, he couldn't
brandish it, he couldn't even lift it up.

'Oh!' said the Princess, 'now you must go and take a pull of that
flask that hangs by its side; that's what the Troll does every time
he goes out to use the sword.'

So Halvor took a pull, and in the twinkling of an eye he could
brandish the sword like nothing; and now he thought it high time the
Troll came; and lo! just then up came the Troll puffing and blowing.
Halvor jumped behind the door.

'HUTETU', said the Troll, as he put his head in at the door, 'what a
smell of Christian man's blood!'

'Aye', said Halvor, 'you'll soon know that to your cost', and with
that he hewed off all his heads.

Now the Princess was so glad that she was free, she both danced and
sang, but then all at once she called her sisters to mind, and so she

'Would my sisters were free too'

'Where are they?' asked Halvor.

Well, she told him all about it; one was taken away by a Troll to his
Castle which lay fifty miles off, and the other by another Troll to
his Castle which was fifty miles further still.

'But now', she said, 'you must first help me to get this ugly carcass
out of the house.'

Yes, Halvor was so strong he swept everything away, and made it all
clean and tidy in no time. So they had a good and happy time of it,
and next morning he set off at peep of grey dawn; he could take no
rest by the way, but ran and walked the whole day. When he first saw
the Castle he got a little afraid; it was far grander than the first,
but here too there wasn't a living soul to be seen. So Halvor went
into the kitchen, and didn't stop there either, but went strait
further on into the house.

'Nay, nay', called out the Princess, 'dare Christian folk come
hither? I don't know I'm sure how long it is since I came here, but
in all that time I haven't seen a Christian man. 'Twere best you saw
how to get away as fast as you came; for here lives a Troll, who has
six heads.'

'I shan't go', said Halvor, 'if he has six heads besides.'

'He'll take you up and swallow you down alive', said the Princess.

But it was no good, Halvor wouldn't go; he wasn't at all afraid of
the Troll, but meat and drink he must have, for he was half starved
after his long journey. Well, he got as much of that as he wished,
but then the Princess wanted him to be off again.

'No', said Halvor, 'I won't go, I've done no harm, and I've nothing
to be afraid about.'

'He won't stay to ask that', said the Princess, 'for he'll take you
without law or leave; but as you won't go, just try if you can
brandish that sword yonder, which the Troll wields in war.'

He couldn't brandish it, and then the Princess said he must take a
pull at the flask which hung by its side, and when he had done that
he could brandish it.

Just then back came the Troll, and he was both stout and big, so that
he had to go sideways to get through the door. When the Troll got his
first head in he called out 'HUTETU, what a smell of Christian man's

But that very moment Halvor hewed off his first head, and so on, all
the rest as they popped in. The Princess was overjoyed, but just then
she came to think of her sisters, and wished out loud they were free.
Halvor thought that might easily be done, and wanted to be off at
once; but first he had to help the Princess to get the Troll's
carcass out of the way, and so he could only set out next morning.

It was a long way to the Castle, and he had to walk fast and run hard
to reach it in time; but about night-fall he saw the Castle, which
was far finer and grander than either of the others. This time he
wasn't the least afraid, but walked straight through the kitchen, and
into the Castle. There sat a Princess who was so pretty, there was no
end to her loveliness. She too like the others told him there hadn't
been Christian folk there ever since she came thither, and bade him
go away again, else the Troll would swallow him alive, and do you
know, she said, he has nine heads.

'Aye, aye', said Halvor, 'if he had nine other heads, and nine other
heads still, I won't go away', and so he stood fast before the stove.
The Princess kept on begging him so prettily to go away, lest the
Troll should gobble him up, but Halvor said:

'Let him come as soon as he likes.'

So she gave him the Troll's sword, and bade him take a pull at the
flask, that he might be able to brandish and wield it.

Just then back came the Troll puffing and blowing and tearing along.
He was far stouter and bigger than the other two, and he too had to
go on one side to get through the door. So when he got his first head
in, he said as the others had said:

'HUTETU what a smell of Christian man's blood!

That very moment Halvor hewed off the first head and then all the
rest; but the last was the toughest of them all, and it was the
hardest bit of work Halvor had to do, to get it hewn off, although he
knew very well he had strength enough to do it.

So all the Princesses came together to that Castle, which was called
_Soria Moria Castle_, and they were glad and happy as they had
never been in all their lives before, and they all were fond of
Halvor and Halvor of them, and he might choose the one he liked best
for his bride; but the youngest was fondest of him of all the three.

But there after a while, Halvor went about, and was so strange and
dull and silent. Then the Princesses asked him what he lacked, and if
he didn't like to live with them any longer? Yes, he did, for they
had enough and to spare, and he was well off in every way, but still
somehow or other he did so long to go home, for his father and mother
were alive, and them he had such a great wish to see.

Well, they thought that might be done easily enough.

'You shall go thither and come back hither, safe and unscathed, if
you will only follow our advice', said the Princesses.

Yes, he'd be sure to mind all they said. So they dressed him up till
he was as grand as a king's son, and then they set a ring on his
finger, and that was such a ring, he could wish himself thither and
hither with it; but they told him to be sure not to take it off, and
not to name their names, for there would be an end of all his
bravery, and then he'd never see them more.

'If I only stood at home I'd be glad', said Halvor; and it was done
as he had wished. Then stood Halvor at his father's cottage door
before he knew a word about it. Now it was about dusk at even, and
so, when they saw such a grand stately lord walk in, the old couple
got so afraid they began to bow and scrape. Then Halvor asked if he
couldn't stay there, and have a lodging there that night. No; that he

'We can't do it at all', they said, 'for we haven't this thing or
that thing which such a lord is used to have; 'twere best your
lordship went up to the farm, no long way off, for you can see the
chimneys, and there they have lots of everything.'

Halvor wouldn't hear of it--he wanted to stop; but the old couple
stuck to their own, that he had better go to the farmer's; there he
would get both meat and drink; as for them, they hadn't even a chair
to offer him to sit down on.

'No', said Halvor, 'I won't go up there till to-morrow early, but let
the just stay here to-night; worst come to the worst, I can sit in
the chimney-corner.'

Well, they couldn't say anything against that; so Halvor sat down by
the ingle, and began to poke about in the ashes, just as he used to
do when he lay at home in old days, and stretched his lazy bones.

Well, they chattered and talked about many things; and they told
Halvor about this thing and that; and so he asked them if they had
never had any children.

'Yes, yes, they had once a lad whose name was Halvor, but they didn't
know whither he had wandered; they couldn't even tell whether he were
dead or alive.'

'Couldn't it be me, now?' said Halvor.

'Let me see; I could tell him well enough', said the old wife, and
rose up. 'Our Halvor was so lazy and dull, he never did a thing; and
besides, he was so ragged, that one tatter took hold of the next
tatter on him. No; there never was the making of such a fine fellow
in him as you are, master.'

A little while after the old wife went to the hearth to poke up the
fire, and when the blaze fell on Halvor's face, just as when he was
at home of old poking about in the ashes, she knew him at once.

'Ah! but is it you after all, Halvor?' she cried; and then there was
such joy for the old couple, there was no end to it; and he was
forced to tell how he had fared, and the old dame was so fond and
proud of him, nothing would do but he must go up at once to the
farmer's, and show himself to the lassies, who had always looked down
on him. And off she went first, and Halvor followed after. So, when
she got up there, she told them all how her Halvor had come home
again, and now they should only just see how grand he was, for, said
she, 'he looks like nothing but a king's son'.

'All very fine', said the lassies, and tossed up their heads. 'We'll
be bound he's just the same beggarly ragged boy he always was.'

Just then in walked Halvor, and then the lassies were all so taken
aback, they forgot their sarks in the ingle, where they were sitting
darning their clothes, and ran out in their smocks. Well, when they
were got back again, they were so shamefaced they scarce dared look
at Halvor, towards whom they had always been proud and haughty.

'Aye, aye', said Halvor, 'you always thought yourselves so pretty and
neat, no one could come near you; but now you should just see the
eldest Princess I have set free; against her you look just like
milkmaids, and the midmost is prettier still; but the youngest, who
is my sweetheart, she's fairer than both sun and moon. Would to
Heaven she were only here', said Halvor, 'then you'd see what you
would see.'

He had scarce uttered these words before there they stood, but then
he felt so sorry, for now what they had said came into his mind. Up
at the farm there was a great feast got ready for the Princesses, and
much was made of them, but they wouldn't stop there.

'No; we want to go down to your father and mother', they said to
Halvor; 'and so we'll go out now and look about us.'

So he went down with them, and they came to a great lake just outside
the farm. Close by the water was such a lovely green bank; here the
Princesses said they would sit and rest a while; they thought it so
sweet to sit down and look over the water.

So they sat down there, and when they had sat a while, the youngest
Princess said:

'I may as well comb your hair a little, Halvor.'

Yes, Halvor laid his head on her lap, and so she combed his bonny
locks, and it wasn't long before Halvor fell fast asleep. Then she
took the ring from his finger, and put another in its stead; and so
she said:

'Now hold me all together! and now would we were all in SORIA MORIA

So when Halvor woke up, he could very well tell that he had lost the
Princesses, and began to weep and wail; and he was so downcast, they
couldn't comfort him at all. In spite of all his father and mother
said, he wouldn't stop there, but took farewell of them, and said he
was safe not to see them again; for if he couldn't find the
Princesses again, he thought it not worth while to live.

Well, he had still three hundred dollars left, so he put them into
his pocket, and set out on his way. So, when he had walked a while,
he met a man with a tidy horse, and he wanted to buy it, and began to
chaffer with the man.

'Aye', said the man, 'to tell the truth, I never thought of selling
him; but if we could strike a bargain, perhaps----'

'What do you want for him', asked Halvor.

'I didn't give much for him, nor is he worth much; he's a brave horse
to ride, but he can't draw at all; still he's strong enough to carry
your knapsack and you too, turn and turn about', said the man.

At last they agreed on the price, and Halvor laid the knapsack on
him, and so he walked a bit, and rode a bit, turn and turn about. At
night he came to a green plain where stood a great tree, at the roots
of which he sat down. There he let the horse loose, but he didn't lie
down to sleep, but opened his knapsack and took a meal. At peep of
day off he set again, for he could take no rest. So he rode and
walked and walked and rode the whole day through the wide wood, where
there were so many green spots and glades that shone so bright and
lovely between the trees. He didn't know at all where he was or
whither he was going, but he gave himself no more time to rest than
when his horse cropped a bit of grass, and he took a snack out of his
knapsack when they came to one of those green glades. So he went on
walking and riding by turns, and as for the wood there seemed to be
no end to it.

But at dusk the next day he saw a light gleaming away through the

'Would there were folk hereaway', thought Halvor, 'that I might warm
myself a bit and get a morsel to keep body and soul together.'

When he got up to it, he saw the light came from a wretched little
hut, and through the window he saw an old old couple inside. They
were as grey-headed as a pair of doves, and the old wife had such a
nose! why, it was so long she used it for a poker to stir the fire as
she sat in the ingle.

'Good evening', said Halvor.

'Good evening', said the old wife.

'But what errand can you have in coming hither?' she went on, 'for no
Christian folk have been here these hundred years and more.'

Well, Halvor told her all about himself, and how he wanted to get to
SORIA MORIA CASTLE, and asked if she knew the way thither.

'No', said the old wife, 'that I don't, but see now, here comes the
Moon, I'll ask her, she'll know all about it, for doesn't she shine
on everything?'

So when the Moon stood clear and bright over the tree-tops, the old
wife went out.

'THOU MOON, THOU MOON', she screamed, 'canst thou tell me the way to

'No', said the Moon, 'that I can't, for the last time I shone there a
cloud stood before me.'

'Wait a bit still', said the old wife to Halvor, 'by and bye comes
the West Wind; he's sure to know it, for he puffs and blows round
every corner.'

'Nay, nay', said the old wife when she went out again, 'you don't
mean to say you've got a horse too; just turn the poor beastie loose
in our "toun", and don't let him stand there and starve to death at
the door.'

Then she ran on:

'But won't you swop him away to me?--we've got an old pair of boots
here, with which you can take twenty miles at each stride; those you
shall have for your horse, and so you'll get all the sooner to SORIA

That Halvor was willing to do at once; and the old wife was so glad
at having the horse, she was ready to dance and skip for joy.

'For now', she said, 'I shall be able to ride to church. I too, think
of that.'

As for Halvor, he had no rest, and wanted to be off at once, but the
old wife said there was no hurry.

'Lie down on the bench with you and sleep a bit, for we've no bed to
offer you, and I'll watch and wake you when the West Wind comes.'

So after a while up came the West Wind, roaring and howling along
till the walls creaked and groaned again.

Out ran the old wife.

'THOU WEST WIND, THOU WEST WIND! Canst thou tell me the way to SORIA
MORIA CASTLE? Here's one who wants to get thither.'

'Yes, I know it very well', said the West Wind, and now I'm just off
thither to dry clothes for the wedding that's to be; if he's swift of
foot he can go along with me.'

Out ran Halvor.

'You'll have to stretch your legs if you mean to keep up', said the
West Wind.

So off he set over field and hedge, and hill and fell, and Halvor had
hard work to keep up.

'Well', said the West Wind, 'now I've no time to stay with you any
longer, for I've got to go away yonder and tear down a strip of
spruce wood first before I go to the bleaching-ground to dry the
clothes; but if you go alongside the hill you'll come to a lot of
lassies standing washing clothes, and then you've not far to go to

In a little while Halvor came upon the lassies who stood washing, and
they asked if he had seen anything of the West Wind who was to come
and dry the clothes for the wedding. 'Aye, aye, that I have', said
Halvor, 'he's only gone to tear down a strip of spruce wood. It'll
not be long before he's here', and then he asked them the way to

So they put him into the right way, and when he got to the Castle it
was full of folk and horses; so full it made one giddy to look at
them. But Halvor was so ragged and torn from having followed the West
Wind through bush and brier and bog, that he kept on one side, and
wouldn't show himself till the last day when the bridal feast was to

So when all, as was then right and fitting, were to drink the bride
and bridegroom's health and wish them luck, and when the cupbearer
was to drink to them all again, both knights and squires, last of all
he came in turn to Halvor. He drank their health, but let the ring
which the Princess had put upon his finger as he lay by the lake fall
into the glass, and bade the cupbearer go and greet the bride and
hand her the glass.

Then up rose the Princess from the board at once.

'Who is most worthy to have one of us', she said, 'he that has set us
free, or he that here sits by me as bridegroom?'

Well they all said there could be but one voice and will as to that,
and when Halvor heard that he wasn't long in throwing off his
beggar's rags, and arraying himself as bridegroom.

'Aye, aye, here is the right one after all', said the youngest
Princess as soon as she saw him, and so she tossed the other one out
of the window, and held her wedding with Halvor.


The Bear and the Fox had once bought a firkin of butter together;
they were to have it at Yule and hid it till then under a thick
spruce bush.

After that they went a little way off and lay down on a sunny bank to
sleep. So when they had lain a while the Fox got up, shook himself,
and bawled out 'yes'.

Then he ran off straight to the firkin and ate a good third part of
it. But when he came back, and the Bear asked him where he had been,
since he was so fat about the paunch, he said:

'Don't you believe then that I was bidden to barsel, to a christening

'So, so', said the Bear, 'and pray what was the bairn's name.'

'Just-begun', said the Fox.

So they lay down to sleep again. In a little while up jumped the Fox
again, bawled out 'yes', and ran off to the firkin.

This time too he ate a good lump. When he came back, and the Bear
asked him again where he had been, he said:

'Oh, wasn't I bidden to barsel again, don't you think.'

'And pray what was the bairn's name this time', asked the Bear.

'Half-eaten', said the Fox.

The Bear thought that a very queer name, but he hadn't wondered long
over it before he began to yawn and gape and fell asleep. Well, he
hadn't lain long before the Fox jumped up as he had done twice
before, bawled out 'yes' and ran off to the firkin, which this time
he cleared right out. When he got back he had been bidden to barsel
again, and when the Bear wanted to know the bairn's name, he


After that they lay down again, and slept a long time; but then they
were to go to the firkin to look at the butter, and when they found
it eaten up, the Bear threw the blame on the Fox, and the Fox on the
Bear; and each said the one had been at the firkin while the other

'Well, well', said Reynard, 'we'll soon find this out, which of us
has eaten the butter. We'll just lay down in the sunshine, and he
whose cheeks and chaps are greasiest when we wake, he is the thief.'

Yes, that trial Bruin was ready to stand; and as he knew in his heart
he had never so much as tasted the butter, he lay down without a care
to sleep in the sun.

Then Reynard stole off to the firkin for a morsel of butter, which
stuck there in a crack, and then he crept back to the Bear, and
greased his chaps and cheeks with it; and then he, too, lay down to
sleep as if nothing had happened.

So when they both woke, the sun had melted the butter, and the Bear's
whiskers were all greasy; and so it was Bruin after all, and no one
else, who had eaten the butter.


Once on a time there was a Goody who had a deaf husband. A good, easy
man he was, but that was just why she thought more of the lad next
door, whom they called 'Tom Totherhouse'. Now the lad that served the
deaf man saw very well that the two had something between them, and
one day he said to the Goody:

'Dare you wager ten dollars, mother, that I don't make you lay bare
your own shame?'

'Yes I dare', said she; and so they wagered ten dollars. So one day,
while the lad and the deaf man stood thrashing in the barn, the lad
saw that Tom Totherhouse came to see the Goody. He said nothing, but
a good while before dinnertime he turned toward the barn-door, and
bawled out 'Halloa!'

'What! are we to go home already?' said the man, who hadn't given any
heed to what the lad did.

'Yes, we must, since mother calls', said the lad.

So when they got into the passage, the lad began to hem and cough,
that the Goody might get Tom Totherhouse out of the way. But when
they came into the room, there stood a whole bowl of custards on the

'Nay, nay, mother', cried out the man; 'shall we have custards to-

'Yes, that you shall, dear', said the Goody; but she was as sour as
verjuice, and as cross as two sticks.

So when they had eaten and drank all the good cheer up, off they went
again to their work, and the Goody said to Tom:

'Deil take that lad's sharp nose, this was all his fault; but now you
must be off as fast as you can, and I'll come down to you in the mead
with a snack between meals.'

This the lad stood outside in the passage and listened to.

'Do you know, father', he said, 'I think we'd best go down into the
hollow and put our fence to rights, which is blown down, before the
neighbours' swine get in and root up our meadow.'

'Aye, aye, let's go and do it', said the man; for he did all he was
told, good, easy man.

So when the afternoon was half spent, down came the Goody sneaking
along into the mead, with something under her apron.

'Nay, nay, mother', said the man, 'it can't be you any longer; are we
to have a snack between meals too?'

'Yes, yes, that you shall', she said; but she was sourer and wilder
than ever.

So they made merry, and crammed themselves with bannocks and butter,
and had a drop of brandy into the bargain.

'I'll go off to Tom Totherhouse with a snack--shan't I, mother?' said
the lad. 'He's had nothing between meals, I'll be bound.'

'Ah! do; there's a good fellow', said the Goody, who all at once got
as mild as milk.

As he went along the lad broke a bannock to bits, and dropped the
crumbs here and there as he walked. But when he got to Tom
Totherhouse he said:

'Now, just you take care, for our old cock has found out that you
come too often to see our Goody. He won't stand it any longer, and
has sworn to drive his axe into you as soon as ever he can set eyes
on you.'

As for Tom, he was so frightened he scarce knew which way to turn,
and the lad went back again to his master.

'There's something wrong', he said, 'with Tom's plough, and he begs
you to be so good as to take your axe, and go and see if you can't
set it right.'

Yes, the man set off with his axe, but Tom Totherhouse had scarce
caught sight of him before he took to his heels as fast as he could.
The man turned and twisted the plough round and round, and looked at
it on every side, and when he couldn't see anything wrong with it he
went off home again; but on the way he picked up the bits of broken
bannock which the lad had let fall. His old dame stood in the meadow
and looked at him as he did this for a while, and wondered and
wondered what it could be her husband was gathering up.

'Oh, I know', said the lad, 'master's picking up stones, I'll be
bound; for he has marked how often this Tom Totherhouse runs over
here; and the old fellow won't stand it any longer; and now he has
sworn to stone mother to death.'

Off went the Goody as fast as her legs could carry her.

'What in the world is it that mother is running after now?' asked the
man, when he reached the spot where she had stood.

'Oh', said the lad, 'maybe the house at home is on fire!'

So there ran the husband behind and the Goody before; and as she ran
she screeched out:

'Ah! ah! don't stone me to death; don't stone me to death! and I'll
give you my word never to let Tom Totherhouse come near me again.'

'Now the ten dollars are mine', bawled out the lad; and so they were.


Once on a time there was a King who had so many geese he was forced
to have a lassie to tend them and watch them; her name was Annie, and
so they called her 'Annie the Goose-girl'. Now you must know there
was a King's son from England who went out to woo; and as he came
along Ann sat herself down in his way.

'Sitting all alone there, you little Annie?' said the King's son.

'Yes', said little Annie, 'here I sit and put stitch to stitch and
patch on patch. I'm waiting to-day for the King's son from England.'

'Him you mustn't look to have', said the Prince.

'Nay, but if I'm to have him', said little Annie, 'have him I shall,
after all.'

And now limners were sent out into all lands and realms to take the
likenesses of the fairest Princesses, and the Prince was to chose
between them. So he thought so much of one of them, that he set out
to seek her, and wanted to wed her, and he was glad and happy when he
got her for his sweetheart.

But now I must tell you this Prince had a stone with him which he
laid by his bedside, and that stone knew everything, and when the
Princess came little Annie told her, if so be she'd had a sweetheart
before, or didn't feel herself quite free from anything which she
didn't wish the Prince to know, she'd better not step on that stone
which lay by the bedside.

'If you do, it will tell him all about you', said little Annie.

So when the Princess heard that she was dreadfully downcast, and she
fell upon the thought to ask Annie if she would get into bed that
night in her stead and lie down by the Prince's side; and then when
he was sound asleep, Annie should get out and the Princess should get
in, and so when he woke up in the morning he would find the right
bride by his side.

So they did that, and when Annie the goose-girl came and stepped upon
the stone the Prince asked:

'Who is this that steps into my bed?'

'A maid pure and bright', said the stone, and so they lay down to
sleep; but when the night wore on the Princess came and lay down in
Annie's stead.

But next morning, when they were to get up, the Prince asked the
stone again:

'Who is this that steps out of my bed?'

'One that has had three bairns', said the stone. When the Prince
heard that he wouldn't have her, you may know very well; and so he
packed her off home again, and took another sweetheart.

But as he went to see her, little Annie went and sat down in his way

'Sitting all alone there, little Annie, the goose-girl', said the

'Yes, here I sit, and put stitch to stitch, and patch on patch; for
I'm waiting to-day for the king's son from England', said Annie.

'Oh! you mustn't look to have him', said the king's son.

'Nay, but if I'm to have him, have him I shall, after all'; that was
what Annie thought.

Well, it was the same story over again with the Prince; only this
time, when his bride got up in the morning, the stone said she'd had
six bairns.

So the Prince wouldn't have her either, but sent her about her
business; but still he thought he'd try once more if he couldn't find
one who was pure and spotless; and he sought far and wide in many
lands, till at last he found one he thought he might trust. But when
he went to see her, little Annie the goose-girl had put herself in
his way again.

'Sitting all alone there, you little Annie, the goose-girl', said the

'Yes, here I sit, and put stitch to stitch, and patch on patch; for
I'm waiting to-day for the king's son from England', said Annie.

'Him you mustn't look to have', said the Prince.

'Nay, but if I'm to have him, have him I shall, after all', said
little Annie.

So when the Princess came, little Annie the goose-girl told her the
same as she had told the other two, if she'd had any sweetheart
before, or if there was anything else she didn't wish the Prince to
know, she mustn't tread on the stone that the Prince had put at his
bedside; for, said she:

'It tells him everything.'

The Princess got very red and downcast when she heard that, for she
was just as naughty as the others, and asked Annie if she would go in
her stead and lie down with the Prince that night; and when he was
sound asleep, she would come and take her place, and then he would
have the right bride by his side when it was light next morning.

Yes! they did that. And when little Annie the goose-girl came and
stepped upon the stone, the Prince asked:

'Who is this that steps into my bed.'

'A maid pure and bright', said the stone; and so they lay down to

Farther on in the night the Prince put a ring on Annie's finger, and
it fitted so tight she couldn't get it off again; for the Prince saw
well enough there was something wrong, and so he wished to have a
mark by which he might know the right woman again.

Well, when the Prince had gone off to sleep, the Princess came and
drove Annie away to the pigsty, and lay down in her place. Next
morning, when they were to get up, the Prince asked:

'Who is this that steps out of my bed?'

'One that's had nine bairns', said the stone.

When the Prince heard that he drove her away at once, for he was in
an awful rage; and then he asked the stone how it all was with these
Princesses who had stepped on it, for he couldn't understand it at
all, he said.

So the stone told him how they had cheated him, and sent little Annie
the goose-girl to him in their stead.

But as the Prince wished to have no mistake about it, he went down to
her where she sat tending her geese, for he wanted to see if she had
the ring too, and he thought, 'if she has it, 'twere best to take her
at once for my queen'.

So when he got down he saw in a moment that she had tied a bit of rag
round one of her fingers, and so he asked her why it was tied up.

'Oh! I've cut myself so badly', said little Annie the goose-girl.

So he must and would see the finger, but Annie wouldn't take the rag
off. Then he caught hold of the finger; but Annie, she tried to pull
it from him, and so between them the rag came off, and then he knew
his ring.

So he took her up to the palace, and gave her much fine clothes and
attire, and after that they held their wedding feast; and so little
Annie the goose-girl came to have the king of England's son for her
husband after all, just because it was written that she should have



The Negroes in the West Indies still retain the tales and traditions
which their fathers and grandfathers brought with them from Africa.
Some thirty years back these 'Ananzi Stories', as they are called,
were invariably told at the Negro wakes, which lasted for nine
successive nights. The reciters were always men. In those days when
the slaves were still half heathen, and when the awful _Obeah_
was universally believed in, such of the Negroes as attended church
or chapel kept their children away from these funeral gatherings. The
wakes are now, it is believed, almost entirely discontinued, and with
them have gone the stories. The Negroes are very shy of telling them,
and both the clergyman of the Church of England, and the Dissenting
Minister set their faces against them, and call them foolishness. The
translator, whose early childhood was passed in those islands,
remembers to have heard such stories from his nurse, who was an
African born; but beyond a stray fragment here and there, the rich
store which she possessed has altogether escaped his memory. The
following stories have been taken down from the mouth of a West
Indian nurse in his sister's house, who, born and bred in it, is
rather regarded as a member of the family than as a servant. They are
printed just as she told them, and both their genuineness and their
affinity with the stories of other races will be self-evident. Thus
we have the 'Wishing Tree' of the Hindoos, the _Kalpa Vriksha_
of Somadeva, and of the German Fairy Tales in the 'Pumpkin Tree',
which throws down as many pumpkins as the poor widow wishes. In one
story we have 'Boots' to the life, while the man whom he outwits is
own brother to the Norse Trolls. In another we find a 'speaking
beast', which reminds us at once of the Egyptian story of Anessou and
Satou, as well as of the 'Machandelboom', and 'the Milk-white Doo'.
We find here the woman who washes the dirty head rewarded, and the
man who refuses to wash it punished, in the very words used in 'The
Bushy Bride'. We find, too, in 'Nancy Fairy', the same story, both in
groundwork and incident, as we have in 'the Lassie and her
Godmother'; and most surprising of all, in the story of 'Ananzi and
Quanqua', we find the very trait about a trick played with the tail
of an ox, which is met with in a variation to 'Boots who ate a match
with the Troll'. Here is the variation: 'Whilst he was with the
Troll, the lad was to go out to watch the swine, so he drove them
home to his father's house, but first he cut their tails off, and
stuck them into the ground. Then he went home to the Troll, and
begged him to come and see how his swine were going down to Hell. But
when the Troll saw the swine's tails sticking out of the ground he
wanted to pull them back again, so he caught hold of them and gave a
great tug, and then down he fell with his heels up in the air, and
the tails in his fist.'

They are called 'Ananzi Stories', because so many of them turn on the
feats of Ananzi, whose character is a mixture of 'the Master-thief',
and of 'Boots'; but the most curious thing about him, is that he
illustrates the Beast Epic in a remarkable way. In all the West
Indian Islands, 'Ananzi' is the name of spiders in general, and of a
very beautiful spider with yellow stripes in particular. [Footnote:
Compare Crowther's _Yoruba Glossary_, where _Alansasa_ is given
as the Yoruban for _spider_. The change of _n_ into _l_ is not
uncommon, even supposing the West Indian word to be uncorrupt.] The
Negroes think that this spider is the 'Ananzi' of their stories, but that
his superior cunning enables him to take any shape he pleases. In fact,
he is the example which the African tribes from which these stories
came, have chosen to take as pointing out the superiority of wit over
brute strength. In this way they have matched the cleverness and
dexterity of the Spider, against the bone and muscle of the Lion,
invariably to the disadvantage of the latter.

After this introduction, we let the Tales speak for themselves, only
premising that the 'Jack-Spaniard' in the first story is a very
pretty fly of the wasp kind, and, like his European brother, very
small in the waist; that the 'Cush-cush', is a little red yam which
imparts a strong red dye to everything with which it is boiled; and
that the 'Doukana' is a forest tree which bears a fruit, though of
what kind it is hard to say.



Ananzi and Mosquito were talking together one day, and boasting of
their fathers' crops. Ananzi said his father had never had such a
crop in his life before; and Mosquito said, he was sure his father's
was bigger, for one yam they dug was as big as his leg. This tickled
Jack-Spaniard so much, that he laughed till he broke his waist in
two. That's why the Jack-Spaniard's waist is so small.


Once on a time Ananzi planned a scheme. He went to town and bought
ever so many firkins of fat, and ever so many sacks, and ever so many
balls of string, and a very big frying pan, then he went to the bay
and blew a shell, and called the Head-fish in the sea, 'Green Eel',
to him. Then he said to the fish, 'The King sends me to tell you that
you must bring all the fish on shore, for he wants to give them new

So 'Green Eel' said he would, and went to call them. Meanwhile Ananzi
lighted a fire, and took out some of the fat, and got his frying pan
ready, and as fast as the fish came out of the water he caught them
and put them into the frying pan, and so he did with all of them
until he got to the Head-fish, who was so slippery that he couldn't
hold him, and he got back again into the water.

When Ananzi had fried all, the fish, he put them into the sacks, and
took the sacks on his back and set off to the mountains. He had not
gone very far when he met Lion, and Lion said to him':

'Well, brother Ananzi, where have you been? I have not seen you a
long time.'

Ananzi said, 'I have been travelling about.'

'But what have you got there?' said the Lion.

'Oh! I have got my mother's bones--she has been dead these forty-
eleven years, and they say I must not keep her here, so I am taking
her up into the middle of the mountains to bury her.'

Then they parted. After he had gone a little way, the Lion said, 'I
know that Ananzi is a great rogue; I daresay he has got something
there that he doesn't want me to see, and I will just follow him';
but he took care not to let Ananzi see him.

Now, when Ananzi got into the wood he set his sacks down, and took
one fish out and began to eat; then a fly came, and Ananzi said, 'I
cannot eat any more, for there is some one near'; so he tied the sack
up, and went on further into the mountains, where he set his sacks
down, and took out two fish, which he ate; and no fly came, he said,
'There's no one near'; so he took out more fish. But when he had
eaten about half-a-dozen, the Lion came up, and said:

'Well, brother Ananzi, a pretty tale you have told me.'

'Oh! brother Lion, I am so glad you have come; never mind what tale I
have told you, but come and sit down--it was only my fun.'

So Lion sat down and began to eat; but before Ananzi had eaten two
fish, Lion had emptied one of the sacks. Then said Ananzi to himself:

'Greedy fellow, eating up all my fish.'

'What do you say, sir?'

'I only said you do not eat half fast enough', for he was afraid the
Lion would eat him up.

Then they went on eating, but Ananzi wanted to revenge himself, and
he said to the Lion, 'Which of us do you think is the strongest?'

The Lion said, 'Why, I am, of course.'

Then Ananzi said, 'We will tie one another to the tree and we shall
see which is the stronger.'

Now they agreed that the Lion should tie Ananzi first, and he tied
him with some very fine string, and did not tie him tight. Ananzi
twisted himself about two or three times, and the string broke.

Then it was Ananzi's turn to tie the Lion, and he took some very
strong cord. The Lion said, 'You must not tie me tight, for I did not
tie you tight.' And Ananzi said, 'Oh! no, to be sure I will not.' But
he tied him as tight as ever he could, and then told him to try and
get loose.

The Lion tried and tried in vain--he could not get loose. Then Ananzi
thought, now is my chance; so he got a big stick and beat him, and
then went away and left him, for he was afraid to loose him lest he
should kill him.

Now there was a woman called Miss Nancy, who was going out one
morning to get some 'callalou' (spinach) in the wood, and as she was
going, she heard some one say, 'Good morning, Miss Nancy!' She could
not tell who spoke to her, but she looked where the voice came from,
and saw the Lion tied to the tree.

'Good morning, Mr Lion, what are you doing there?'

He said, 'It is all that fellow Ananzi who has tied me to the tree,
but will you loose me?'

But she said, 'No, for I am afraid, if I do, you will kill me.' But
he gave, her his word he would not; still she could not trust him;
but he begged her again and again, and said:

'Well, if I do try to eat you, I hope all the trees will cry out
shame upon me.'

So at last she consented; but she had no sooner loosed him, than he
came up to her to eat her, for he had been so many days without food
that he was quite ravenous, but the trees immediately cried out
'shame', and so he could not eat her. Then she went away as fast as
she could, and the Lion found his way home.

When Lion got home he told his wife and children all that happened to
him, and how Miss Nancy had saved his life, so they said they would
have a great dinner, and ask Miss Nancy. Now when Ananzi heard of it,
he wanted to go to the dinner, so he went to Miss Nancy, and said she
must take him with her as her child, but she said 'No'. Then he said,
I can turn myself into quite a little child, and then you can take
me, and at last she said 'Yes'; and he told her, when she was asked
what pap her baby ate, she must be sure to tell them it did not eat
pap, but the same food as every one else; and so they went, and had a
very good dinner, and set off home again--but somehow one of the
lion's sons fancied that all was not right, and he told his father he
was sure it was Ananzi, and the Lion set out after him.

Now as they were going along, before the Lion got up to them, Ananzi
begged Miss Nancy to put him down, that he might run, which she did,
and he got away and ran along the wood, and the Lion ran after him.
When he found the Lion was overtaking him, he turned himself into an
old man with a bundle of wood on his head--and when the Lion got up
to him, he said, 'Good-morning, Mr Lion', and the Lion said 'Good-
morning, old gentleman.'

Then the old man said, 'What are you after now? 'and the Lion asked
if he had seen Ananzi pass that way, but the old man said 'No, that
fellow Ananzi is always meddling with some one; what mischief has he
been up to now?'

Then the Lion told him, but the old man said it was no use to follow
him any more, for he would never catch him, and so the Lion wished
him good day, and turned and went home again.


Quanqua was a very clever fellow, and he had a large house full of
all sorts of meat. But you must know he had a way of saying _Quan?
qua?_ (how? what?) when any one asked him anything and so they
called him 'Quanqua'. One day when he was out, he met Atoukama,
Ananzi's wife, who was going along driving an ox, but the ox would
not walk, so Atoukama asked Quanqua to help her; and they got on
pretty well, till they came to a river, when the ox would not cross
through the water. Then Atoukama called to Quanqua to drive the ox
across, but all she could get out of him was, 'QUAN? QUA? _Quan?
qua?_' At last she said, 'Oh! you stupid fellow, you're no good;
stop here and mind the ox while I go and get help to drive him
across.' So off she went to fetch Ananzi. As soon as Atoukama was
gone away, Quanqua killed the ox, and hid it all away, where Ananzi
should not see it; but first he cut off the tail, then he dug a hole
near the river side and stuck the tail partly in, leaving out the
tip. When he saw Ananzi coming, he caught hold of the tail,
pretending to tug at it as if he were pulling the ox out of the hole.
Ananzi seeing this, ran up as fast as he could, and tugging at the
tail with all his might, fell over into the river, but he still had
hold of the tail, and contrived to get across the water, when he
called out to Quanqua, 'You idle fellow, you couldn't take care of
the ox, so you shan't have a bit of the tail', and then on he went.
When he was gone quite out of sight, Quanqua took the ox home, and
made a very good dinner.

Next day he went to Ananzi's house, and said, Ananzi must give him
some of the tail, for he had got plenty of yams, but he had no meat.
Then they agreed to cook their pot together. Quanqua was to put in
white yams, and Ananzi the tail, and red yams. When they came to put
the yams in, Quanqua put in a great many white yams, but Ananzi only
put in one little red cush-cush yam. Quanqua asked him if that little
yam would be enough, he said, 'Oh! plenty', for I don't eat much.

When the pot boiled, they uncovered it, and sat down to eat their
shares, but they couldn't find any white yams at all; the little red
one had turned them all red. So Ananzi claimed them all, and Quanqua
was glad to take what Ananzi would give him.

Now, when they had done eating, they said they would try which could
bear heat best, so they heated two irons, and Ananzi was to try first
on Quanqua, but he made so many attempts, that the iron got cold
before he got near him; then it was Quanqua's turn, and he pulled the
iron out of the fire, and poked it right down Ananzi's throat.


[This tale is imperfect at the beginning.]

Ananzi said to the King, that if he would give him an ear of corn, he
would bring him twelve strong men. The King gave him the ear of corn,
and he went away. At last he got to a house, where he asked for a
night's lodging which was given him; the next morning he got up very
early, and threw the ear of corn out of the door to the fowls, and
went back to bed. When he got up in the morning, he looked for his
ear of corn, and could not find it anywhere, so he told them he was
sure the fowls had eaten it, and he would not be satisfied unless
they gave him the best cock they had. So they were obliged to give
him the cock, and he went away with it, all day, until night, when he
came to another house, and asked again for a night's lodging, which
he got; but when they wanted to put the cock into the fowl-house, he
said no, the cock must sleep in the pen with the sheep, so they put
the cock with the sheep. At midnight he got up, killed the cock,
threw it back into the pen, and went back to bed. Next morning when
it was time for him to go away, his cock was dead, and he would not
take anything for it but one of the best sheep, so they gave it to
him, and he went off with it all that day, until night-fall, when he
got to a village, where he again asked for a night's lodging, which
was given to him, and when they wanted to put his sheep with the
other sheep, he said, no, the sheep must sleep with the cattle; so
they put the sheep with the cattle. In the middle of the night he got
up and killed the sheep, and went back to bed. Next morning he went
for his sheep, which was dead, so he told them they must give him the
best heifer for his sheep, and if they would not do so, he would go
back and tell the King, who would come and make war on them.

So to get rid of him, they were glad to give him the heifer, and let
him go; and away he went, and walked nearly all day with the heifer.
Towards evening he met a funeral, and asked whose it was? one of the
men said, it was his sister, so he asked the men if they would let
him have her; they said no, but after a while, he begged so hard,
saying he would give them the heifer, that they consented, and he
took the dead body and walked away, carrying it until it was dark,
when he came to a large town, where he went to a house and begged
hard for a night's lodging for himself and his sister, who was so
tired he was obliged to carry her, and they would be thankful if they
would let them rest there that night. So they let them in, and he
asked them to let them sit in the dark, as his sister could not bear
the light. So they took them into a room, and left them in the dark;
and when they were alone, he seated himself on a bench near the
table, and put his sister close by his side, with his arm round her
to keep her up. Presently they brought them in some supper; one plate
he set before his sister, and put her hand in it, and the other plate
for himself, but he ate out of both plates. When it was time to go to
bed, he asked if they would allow his sister to sleep in a room where
there were twelve strong men sleeping, for she had fits, and if she
had one in the night, they would be able to hold her, and would not
disturb the rest of the house. So they agreed to this, and he carried
her in his arms, because, he said she was so tired, she was asleep,
and laid her in a bed; he charged the men not to disturb her, and
went himself to sleep in the next room. In the middle of the night he
heard the men calling out, for they smelt a horrid smell, and tried
to wake the woman-first one man gave her a blow, and then another,
until all the men had struck her, but Ananzi took no notice of the
noise. In the morning when he went in for his sister and found her
dead, he declared they had killed her, and that he must have the
twelve men; to this the townsmen said no, not supposing that all the
men had killed her, but the men confessed that they had each given
her a blow-so he would not be satisfied with less than the twelve,
and he carried them off to the King, and delivered them up.


There was a King who had a very beautiful daughter, and he said,
whoever would cut down an Ant's tree, which he had in his kingdom,
without brushing off the ants, should marry his daughter. Now a great
many came and tried, but no one could do it, for the ants fell out
upon them and stung them, and they were forced to brush them off.
There was always someone watching to see if they brushed the ants

Then Ananzi went, and the King's son was set to watch him. When they
showed him the tree, he said, 'Why, that's nothing, I know I can do
that.' So they gave him the axe, and he began to hew, but each blow
he gave the tree, he shook himself and brushed himself, saying all
the while, 'Did you see me do that? I suppose you think I'm brushing
myself, but I am not.' And so he went, on until he had cut down the
tree. But the boy thought he was only pretending to brush himself all
the time, and the King was obliged to give him his daughter.


There was once a poor widow who had six children. One day when she
was going out to look for something to eat, for she was very poor,
she met an old man sitting by the river side. He said to her 'Good

And she answered, 'Good morning, father.'

He said to her, 'Will you wash my head?'

She said she would, so she washed it, and when she was going away, he
gave her a 'stampee'[A small coin], and told her to go a certain
distance, and she would see a large tree full of pumpkins; she was
then to dig a hole at the root of the tree and bury the money, and
when she had done so, she was to call for as many pumpkins as she
liked, and she should have them.

So the woman went, and did as she was told, and she called for six
pumpkins, one for each child, and six came down, and she carried them
home; and now they always had pumpkins enough to eat, for whenever
they wanted any, the woman had only to go to the tree and call, and
they had as many as they liked. One morning when she got up, she
found a little baby before the door, so she took it up and carried it
in, and took care of it. Every day she went out, but in the morning
she boiled enough pumpkins to serve the children all day. One day
when she came back she found the food was all gone, so she scolded
her children, and beat them for eating it all up. They told her they
had not taken any--that it was the baby--but she would not believe
them, and said, 'How could a little baby get up and help itself'; but
the children still persisted it was the baby. So one day when she was
going out, she put some pumpkin in a calabash, and set a trap over
it. When she was gone the baby got up as usual to eat the food, and
got its head fastened in the trap, so that it could not get out, and
began knocking its head about and crying out, 'Oh! do loose me, for
that woman will kill me when she comes back.' When the woman came in,
she found the baby fastened in the trap, so she beat it well, and
turned it out of doors, and begged her children's pardon for having
wronged them.

Then after she turned the baby out, he changed into a great big man,
and went to the river, where he saw the old man sitting by the river
side, who asked him to wash his head, as he had asked the poor woman,
but the man said:

'No, he would not wash his dirty head', and so he wished the old man
'good bye'.

Then the old man asked him if he would like to have a pumpkin, to
which he said 'yes', and the old man told him to go on till he saw a
large tree with plenty of pumpkins on it, and then he must ask for
one. So he went on till he got to the tree, and the pumpkins looked
so nice he could not be satisfied with one, so he called out, 'Ten
pumpkins come down', and the ten pumpkins fell and crushed him.


There were once upon a time three sisters and a brother. The sisters
were all proud, and one was very beautiful, and she did not like her
little brother, 'because', she said, 'he was dirty'. Now, this
beautiful sister was to be married, and the brother begged their
mother not to let her marry, as he was sure the man would kill her,
for he knew his house was full of bones. So the mother told her
daughter, but she would not believe it, and said, 'she wouldn't
listen to anything that such a dirty little scrub said', and so she
was married.

Now, it was agreed that one sister was to remain with their mother
and the other was to go with the bride, and so they set out on their
way. When they got to the beach, the husband picked up a beautiful
tortoise-shell comb, which he gave to his bride. Then they got into
his boat and rowed away over the sea, and when they reached their
home, they were so surprised to see their little brother, for the
comb had turned into their brother. They were not at all glad to see
him, and the husband thought to himself he would kill him without
telling his wife. When night came the boy told the husband that at
home his mother always put him to sleep in the blacksmith's shop, and
so the husband said he should sleep in the smithy.

In the middle of the night the man got up, intending to kill them
all, and went to his shop to get his irons ready, but the boy jumped
up as soon as he went in, and he said, 'Boy, what is the matter with
you?' So the boy said, when he was at home his mother always gave him
two bags of gold to put his head on. Then the man said, he should
have them, and went and fetched him two bags of gold, and told him to
go to sleep.

But the boy said, 'Now mind, when you hear me snore I'm not
asleep, but when I am not snoring, then I'm asleep.' Then the boy
went to sleep and began to snore, and as long as the man heard the
snoring, he blew his bellows; but as soon as the snoring stopped, the
man took his irons out of the fire, and the boy jumped up.

Then the man said, 'Why, what's the matter? why, can't you sleep?'

The boy said 'No; for at home my mother always gave me four bags of
money to lie upon.

Well, the man said he should have them, and brought him four bags of
money. Then the boy told him again the same thing about his snoring
and the man bade him go to sleep, and he began to snore, and the man
to blow his bellows until the snoring stopped. Then the man took out
his irons again, and the boy jumped up, and the man dropped the
irons, saying, 'Why, what's the matter now that you can't sleep?'

The boy said, 'At home my mother always gave me two bushels of corn.'

So the man said he should have the corn, and went and brought it, and
told him to go to sleep. Then the boy snored, and the man blew his
bellows till the snoring stopped, when he again took out his irons,
and the boy jumped up, and the man said, 'Why, what's it now?'

The boy said, 'At home my mother always goes to the river with a
sieve to bring me some water.'

So the man said 'Very well, I will go, but I have a cock here, and
before I go, I must speak to it.'

Then the man told the cock if he saw any one moving in the house, he
must crow; that the cock promised to do, and the man set off.

Now when the boy thought the man was gone far away, he got up, and
gave the cock some of the corn; then he woke up his sisters and
showed them all the bones the man had in the house, and they were
very frightened. Then he took the two bags of gold on his shoulders,
and told his sisters to follow him. He took them to the bay, and put
them into the boat with the bags of gold, and left them whilst he
went back for the four bags of money. When he was leaving the house
he emptied the bags of corn to the cock, who was so busy eating, he
forget to crow, until they had got quite away.

When the man returned home and could not find them in the house, he
went to the river, where he found his boat gone, and so he had no way
of going after them. When they landed at their own place, the boy
turned the boat over and stove it in, so that it was of no use any
more; and he took his sisters home, and told their mother all that
had happened, and his sisters loved him, and they lived very happily
together ever afterwards, and do so still if they are not dead.


There was once a girl who used to go to the river to fetch water, but
when she went she was never in a hurry to come back, but staid so
long, that they made up their minds to watch her. So one day they
followed her to the river, and found when she got there, she said
something (the reciter forgets the words), and a fish came up and
talked to her; and she did not like to leave it, for it was her
sweetheart. So next day they went to the river to see if the fish
would come up, for they remembered what the girl said and used the
same words. Then up came the fish immediately, and they caught it,
and took it home, and cooked it for dinner--and a part they set by,
and gave to the girl when she came in. Whilst she was eating, a voice
said, 'Do you know what you are eating? I am he you have so often
talked with. If you look in the pig's tub, you will see my heart.'
Then the voice told her to take the heart, and wrap it up in a
handkerchief, and carry it to the river. When she got to the river
she would see three stones in the water, she was to stand on the
middle stone, and dip the handkerchief three times into the water.
All this she did, and then she sank suddenly, and was carried down to
a beautiful place, where she found her lover changed from a fish into
his proper form, and there she lived happily with him for ever. And
this is the reason why there are mermaids in the water.


A Lion had a Goat for his wife. One day Goat went out to market, and
while she was gone, Lion went out in the wood, where he met with
Baboon, who made friends with Lion, for fear he would eat him, and
asked him to go home with him; but the Lion thought it would be a
good chance, so he asked the Baboon to go home with him and see his
little ones. When they got home, the Baboon said to the Lion.

'Why, you have got plenty of little goats here.'

The Lion said, 'Yes, they are my children.'

So the Baboon said, 'If they are, they are little goats, and they are
very good meat.'

So the Lion said, 'Don't make a noise; their mother will come
presently, and we will see.'

So these little goats took no notice, but went out to meet their
mother, and told her what had passed.

Their mother said to them, 'Go back, take no notice, and I shall come
home presently, and shall do for him.'

So she went and bought some molasses, and took it home with her. The
Lion said, 'Are you come; what news?'

'Oh!' she said, 'good news, taste here.' He tasted, and said, 'It's
very good, it's honey.'

And she said, 'It's baboon's blood; they have been killing one to-
day, the blood is running in the street, and every one is carrying it

The Lion said, 'Hush, there's one in the house, and we shall have

At this the Baboon rushed off, and when they looked for him, he was
gone, and never came near them again, which saved the little goats'


Ananzi and Baboon were disputing one day which was fattest. Ananzi
said he was sure he was fat, but Baboon declared he was fatter. Then
Ananzi proposed that they should prove it; so they made a fire, and
agreed that they should hang up before it, and see which would drop
most fat.

Then Baboon hung up Ananzi first, but no fat dropped.

Then Ananzi hung up Baboon, and very soon the fat began to drop,
which smelt so good that Ananzi cut a slice out of Baboon, and said,

'Oh! brother Baboon, you're fat for true.'

But Baboon didn't speak.

So Ananzi said, 'Well, speak or not speak, I'll eat you every bit to-
day', which he really did. But when he had eaten up all Baboon, the
bits joined themselves together in his stomach, and began to pull him
about so much that he had no rest, and was obliged to go to a doctor.

The doctor told him not to eat anything for some days, then he was to
get a ripe banana, and hold it to his mouth; when the Baboon, who
would be hungry, smelt the banana, he would be sure to run up to eat
it, and so he would run out of his mouth.

So Ananzi starved himself, and got the banana, and did as the doctor
told him; but when he put the banana to his mouth, he was so hungry
he couldn't help eating it. So he didn't get rid of the Baboon, which
went on pulling him about till he was obliged to go back to the
doctor, who told him he would soon cure him; and he took the banana,
and held it to Ananzi's mouth, and very soon the Baboon jumped up to
catch it, and ran out of his mouth; and Ananzi was very glad to get
rid of him. And Baboons to this very day like bananas.


There was once a man and his wife, who were very poor, and they had a
great many children. The man was very lazy, and would do nothing to
help his family. The poor mother did all she could. In the wood close
by grew a Doukana Tree, which was full of fruit. Every day the man
went and ate some of the fruit, but never took any home, so he ate
and he ate, until there were only two Doukanas left on the Tree. One
he ate, and left the other. Next day, when he went for that one, he
was obliged to climb up the tree to reach it; but when he got up, the
Doukana fell down; when he got down the Doukana jumped up; and so it
went on until he was quite tired.

Then he asked all the animals that passed by to help him, but they
all made some excuse. They all had something to do. The horse had his
work to do, or he would have no grass to eat. The donkey brayed. Last
came a dog, and the man begged him hard to help him; so the dog said
he would. Then the man climbed up the tree, and the Doukana jumped to
the ground again, when the dog picked it up and ran off with it The
man was very vexed, and ran after the dog, but it ran all the faster,
so that the man could not overtake him. The dog, seeing the man after
him, ran to the sea shore, and scratching a hole in the ground,
buried himself all but his nose, which he left sticking out.

Soon after the man came up, and seeing the nose, cried out that he
had 'never seen ground have nose'; and catching hold of it he tugged
till he pulled out the dog, when he squeezed him with all his might
to make him give up the Doukana. And that's why dogs are so small in
their bodies to this very day.


There was once an old woman called 'Nancy Fairy'. She was a witch,
and used to steal all the little babies as soon as they were born,
and eat them. One day she stole a little baby, who was so beautiful
that she had not the heart to eat her; but she took her home and
brought her up. She called her 'daughter', named her 'Nancy Fairy',
after herself, and the girl called the old woman 'Granny'.

So the girl grew up, and the more she grew the more beautiful she

The old woman never let her daughter know of her doings; but one day
when she had brought a baby home, and had locked herself in a room,
her daughter peeped through a chink to see what she was about, and
the old woman saw her shadow, and thought her daughter had seen what
she was doing, and the daughter thought her granny had seen her, and
was very much afraid.

So the old woman asked her, 'Nancy Fairy, did you see what I was

'No, Granny.'

She asked the girl several times, 'Nancy Fairy, did you see what I
was doing?' and the girl always said, 'No, Granny.'

So the old woman took her up to a hut in a wood, and left her there
as a punishment; and she took her food every day.

One day it happened that the king's servant, going that way, saw the
beautiful girl come out of the hut. Next day he went again and saw
the same beautiful girl again. So he went home and told the prince
that he could show him in the wood a girl more beautiful than he had
ever seen. The prince went and saw the girl, and then sent a band of
soldiers to fetch her home, and took her for his bride.

A year after she had a baby. Soldiers were set to keep guard at the
gate, and the room was full of nurses; but in the middle of the night
the old woman came in a whirlwind and put them all to sleep. She
stole the child, and on going away gave the mother a slap on the
mouth which made her dumb.

Next morning there was a great stir, and they said the mother had
eaten the child. There was a trial, but the mother was let off that

Next year she had another baby, and the same thing happened again.
The old woman came in the middle of the night in a whirlwind, and put
them all to sleep. She stole the child, and struck the mother on the
mouth, which made it bleed.

In the morning there was a stir; and the servant maid, who was
jealous, said the mother had eaten the child. All believed it, as her
mouth was covered with blood; and, besides, what would be expected of
a girl brought out of the wood? So she was tried again, and condemned
to be hanged.

Invitations were sent out to all the grand folk to come and see her
hanged; so many fine carriages came driving up. At last, just before
the time, there came a very grand carriage, all of gold, which
glistened in the sun. In it were the old woman and two children,
dressed in fine clothes, with the king's star on them. When the queen
saw this grand carriage she got her speech and sung,

'Do spare me till I see that grand carriage.'

The old woman came into the courtyard, and asked the people if they
saw any likeness to any one in the children. They said, 'they were
like the prince', and asked her how she came by them, and told her
she had stolen them. She said she had not stolen them; she had taken
them, for they were her own; the prince had taken away her daughter
without her leave, and so she had taken his children; but she was
willing to give them back, if they would allow that she was right.

So they consented, and the old woman made the prince and his queen a
present of the grand carriage, and so they lived happily. The old
woman was allowed to come and see the children whenever she liked.
But the servant girl, who said the queen had eaten her babies, was


A water carrier once went to the river to fetch water. She dipped in
her calabash, and brought out a cray-fish. The cray-fish began
beating his claws on the calabash, and played such a beautiful tune,
that the girl began dancing, and could not stop.

The driver of the gang wondered why she did not come, and sent
another to see after her. When she came, she too began to dance. So
the driver sent another, who also began to dance when she heard the
music and the cray-fish singing:

      Vaitsi, Vaitsi, O sulli Van.
  Stay for us, stay for us, how long will you stay for us?

Then the driver sent another and another, till he had sent the whole

At last he went himself, and when he found the whole gang dancing, he
too began to dance; and they all danced till night, when the cray-
fish went back into the water; and if they haven't done dancing, they
are dancing still.



How strange is the terror of Natural Science, which seems to possess,
with a religious possession, so many good and pious people! How
rigidly do they bind themselves hand and foot with the mere letter of
the law, forgetting Him who came to teach us, that 'the letter
killeth, but the Spirit giveth life!' What are we to say of those
who, when the old crust which clogs and hampers human knowledge is
cracking and breaking all around them, when the shell is too narrow
an abode for the life within it, which is preparing to cast it off,
still cling to the crust and shell, looking, like the disciples by
the sepulchre, at the linen clothes lying, and know not that He has
risen in glory? These are they who obstinately refuse to believe in
the 'Testimony of the Rocks', who deny Geology the thousands, nay
millions, of years which she requires to make her deposits in
Nature's great saving-bank. These are they for whom the Nile, as he
brings down year by year his tribute to the sea from Central Africa,
lays down in vain layer after layer of alluvial deposit, which can be
measured to an inch for tens of thousands of years. These are they to
whom the comparatively younger growth of trees, the dragon tree of
Orotava, and the cedars of California, plead in vain when they show,
year after year, ring on ring of wood for thousands of years. 'No;
the world is only five or six thousands of years old, or thereabouts.
The Old Testament'--the dates in which have been confessedly tampered
with, and in some cases forged and fabricated by Hebrew scribes--
'says so. We believe in it--we will believe in nothing else, not even
in our senses. We will believe literally in the first chapter of
Genesis, in working days and nights of twenty-four hours, even before
the sun and moon were made, on the fourth day, "to divide the day
from the night", and to be "for signs and for seasons, and for days
and years". We will not hear of ages or periods, but "days", because
the "letter" says so'. This is what our Western Brahmins say; but if
they remembered that He who set sun and moon also planted the eye and
ear, that he gave sense, and speech, and mind; if they considered
that faith is a lively thing, elastic and expansive; that it embraces
a thousand or a million years as easily as a moment of time; that
bonds cannot fetter it, nor distance darken and dismay it; that it is
given to man to grow with his growth and strengthen with his
strength; that it rises at doubts and difficulties, and surmounts
them; they would cease to condemn all the world to wear their own
strait-waistcoat, cut and sewn by rabbis and doctors some thousand
years ago; a garment which the human intellect has altogether
outgrown, which it is ridiculous to wear, which careless and impious
men laugh at when it is seen in the streets; and might begin to see
that spirit is spirit, and flesh is flesh; that while one lives for
ever, the other is corruptible and passes away; that there are
developments in faith as in every thing else; that as man's intellect
and human knowledge have grown and expanded, so his faith must grow
and expand too; that it really matters nothing at all, as an act of
faith, whether the world is six thousand or six million years old;
that it must have had a beginning; that there must be one great first
cause, God. Surely there is no better way to bring His goodness into
question, to throw doubt on His revelation, and to make it the
laughing stock of the irreligious, than thus to clip the wings of
faith, to throw her into a dungeon, to keep her from the light of
day, to make her read through. Hebrew spectacles, and to force her to
be a laggard and dullard, instead of a bright and volatile spirit,
forward and foremost in the race of life.


But if the first heir of my invention prove deformed, I shall be
sorry it had so noble a godfather, and never after _ear_ so
barren a land, for fear it yield me still so bad a harvest'--
SHAKESPEARE, _Dedication to Venus and Adonis_.


As a specimen of their thoughtful turn of mind, even in the
_Vedas_, at a time before the monstrous avatars of the Hindoo
Pantheon were imagined, and when their system of philosophy,
properly so called, had no existence, the following metrical translation
of the 129th hymn of the 10th book of the _Rig-Veda_ may be
quoted, which Professor Müller assures us is of a very early date:

  Nor aught nor naught existed; yon bright sky
  Was not, nor Heaven's broad woof outstretched above.
  What covered all? what sheltered? what concealed?
  Was it the water's fathomless abyss?
  There was not death--yet was there nought immortal.
  There was no confine betwixt day and night;
  The only One breathed breathless by itself,
  Other than It there nothing since has been.
  Darkness there was, and all at first was veiled
  In gloom profound--an ocean without light--
  The germ that still lay covered in the husk
  Burst forth, one nature, from the fervent heat.
  Then first came love upon it, the new spring
  Of mind--yea, poets in their hearts discerned,
  Pondering, this bond between created things
  And uncreated. Comes this spark from earth,
  Piercing and all pervading, or from Heaven?
  Then seeds were sown, and mighty powers arose--
  Nature below, and power and will above--
  Who knows the secret? who proclaimed it here,
  Whence, whence this manifold creation sprang?
  The Gods themselves came later into being--
  Who knows from whence this great creation sprang?
  He from whom all this great creation came,
  Whether His will created or was mute,
  The Most High Seer that is in highest heaven,
  He knows it--or perchance even he knows not.

If we reflect that this hymn was composed centuries before the time
of Hesiod, we shall be better able to appreciate the speculative
character of the Indian mind in its earliest stage.


'A Brahmin, who had vowed a sacrifice, went to the market to buy a
goat. Three thieves saw him, and wanted to get hold of the goat. They
stationed themselves at intervals on the high road. When the Brahmin,
who carried the goat on his back, approached the first thief, the
thief said, "Brahmin, why do you carry a dog on your back?" The
Brahmin replied: "It is not a dog, it is a goat." A little while
after, he was accosted by the second thief, who said, "Brahmin, why
do you carry a dog on your back?" The Brahmin felt perplexed, put the
goat down, examined it, and walked on. Soon after he was stopped by
the third thief, who said, "Brahmin, why do you carry a dog on your
back?" Then the Brahmin was frightened, threw down the goat, and
walked home to perform his ablutions for having touched an unclean
animal. The thieves took the goat and ate it.' See the notice of
the Norse Tales in _The Saturday Review_, January 15. In Max
Müller's translation of the _Hitopadesa_, the story has a
different ending. See also _Le Piacevoli Notti_, di M. Giovan
Francesco Straparola da Caravaggio (Venice, 1567), Notte Prima,
Favola III: 'Pre Scarpacifico da tre malandrini una sol volta
gabbato, tre fiate gabba loro, finalmente vittorioso con la sua Nina
lietamente rimane'. In which tale the beginning is a parallel to the
first part of 'The Master Thief', while the end answers exactly to
the Norse tale added in this edition, and called Big Peter and Little


The following are translations from Saxo, the _Wilkina Saga_,
and the _Malleus Maleficarum_. The question is completely set at
rest by Grimm, _D. M._ p. 353 fol. and p. 1214.

'Nor is the following story to be wrapped in silence. A certain
Palnatoki, for some time among King Harold's bodyguard, had made his
bravery odious to very many of his fellow-soldiers by the zeal with
which he surpassed them in the discharge of his duty. This man once,
when talking tipsily over his cups, had boasted that he was so
skilled an archer, that he could hit the smallest apple placed a long
way off on a wand at the first shot; which talk, caught up at first
by the ears of backbiters, soon came to the hearing of the king. Now,
mark how the wickedness of the king turned the confidence of the sire
to the peril of the son, by commanding that this dearest pledge of
his life should be placed instead of the wand, with a threat that,
unless the author of this promise could strike off the apple at the
first flight of the arrow, he should pay the penalty of his empty
boasting by the loss of his head. The king's command forced the
soldier to perform more than he had promised, and what he _had_
said, reported by the tongues of slanderers, bound him to accomplish
what he had _not_ said'...'Nor did his sterling courage, though
caught in the snare of slander, suffer him to lay aside his firmness
of heart; nay, he accepted the trial the more readily because it was
hard. So Palnatoki warned the boy urgently when he took his stand to
await the coming of the hurtling arrow with calm ears and unbent
head, lest by a slight turn of his body he should defeat the
practised skill of the bowman; and, taking further counsel to prevent
his fear, he turned away his face lest he should be scared at the
sight of the weapon. Then taking three arrows from the quiver, he
struck the mark given him with the first he fitted to the string.
But, if chance had brought the head of the boy before the shaft, no
doubt the penalty of the son would have recoiled to the peril of the
father, and the swerving of the shaft that struck the boy would have
linked them both in common ruin. I am in doubt, then, whether to
admire most the courage of the father or the temper of the son, of
whom the one by skill in his art avoided being the slayer of his
child, while the other by patience of mind and quietness of body
saved himself alive, and spared the natural affection of his father.
Nay, the youthful frame strengthened the aged heart, and showed as
much courage in awaiting the arrow as the father, skill in launching
it. But Palnatoki, when asked by the king why he had taken more
arrows from the quiver, when it had been settled that he should only
try the fortune of the bow _once_, made answer "That I might
avenge on thee the swerving of the first by the points of the rest,
lest perchance my innocence might have been punished, while your
violence escaped scot-free"'.--_Saxo Gram._, Book X, (p. 166,
ed. Frankf.)

'About that time the young Egill, Wayland's brother, came to the
court of King Nidung, because Wayland (Smith) had sent him word.
Egill was the fairest of men and one thing he had before all other
men--he shot better with the bow than any other man. The king took to
him well, and Egill was there a long time. Now, the king wished to
try whether Egill shot so well as was said or not, so he let Egill's
son, a boy of three years old, be taken, and made them put an apple
on his head, and bade Egill shoot so that the shaft struck neither
above the head nor to the left nor to the right; the apple only was
he to split. But it was not forbidden him to shoot the boy, for the
king thought it certain that he would do that on no account if he
could at all help it. And he was to shoot one arrow only, no more. So
Egill takes three, and strokes their feathers smooth, and fits one to
his string, and shoots and hits the apple in the middle, so that the
arrow took along with it half the apple, and then fell to the ground.
This master-shot has long been talked about, and the king made much
of him, and he was the most famous of men. Now, King Nidung asked
Egill why he took out _three_ arrows, when it was settled that
one only was to be shot with. Then Egill answered "Lord", said he, "I
will not lie to you; had I stricken the lad with that one arrow, then
I had meant these two for you." But the king took that well from him,
and all thought it was boldly spoken'.--_Wilkina Saga_, ch. 27
(ed. Pering).

'It is related of him (Puncher) that a certain lord, who wished to
obtain a sure trial of his skill, set up his little son as a butt,
and for a mark a shilling on the boy's cap, commanding him to carry
off the shilling without the cap with his arrow. But when the wizard
said he could do it, though he would rather abstain, lest the Devil
should decoy him to destruction; still, being led on by the words of
the chief, he thrust one arrow through his collar, and, fitting the
other to his crossbow, struck off the coin from the boy's cap without
doing him any harm; seeing which, when the lord asked the wizard why
he had placed the arrow in his collar? he answered "If by the Devil's
deceit I had slain the boy, when I needs must die, I would have
transfixed you suddenly with the other arrow, that even so I might
have avenged my death."'--_Malleus Malef._, p. ii, ch. 16.


See _Pantcha-Tantra_, v. ii of Wilson's _Analysis_, quoted
by Loiseleur Deslongchamps, _Essai sur les Fables Indiennes_
(Paris, Techener, 1838, p. 54), where the animal that protects the
child is a mangouste (Viverra Mungo). See also _Hitopadesa_,
(Max Müller's Translation, Leipzig, Brockhaus, p. 178) where the
guardian is an otter. In both the foe is a snake. [7]

The account in the _Nibelungen_ respecting the _Tarnhut_ is
confused, and the text probably corrupt; but so much is plain, that
Siegfried got it from Elberich in the struggle which ensued with
Schilbung and Niblung, after he had shared the Hoard.


Thus we find it in the originals or the parallels of Grendel in
_Beowulf_, of Rumpelstiltskin, of the recovery of the Bride by
the ring dropped into the cup, as related in 'Soria Moria Castle,'
and other tales; of the 'wishing ram', which in the Indian story
becomes a 'wishing cow', and thus reminds us of the bull in one of
these Norse Tales, out of whose ear came a 'wishing cloth'; of the
lucky child, who finds a purse of gold under his pillow every
morning; and of the red lappet sown on the sleeping lover, as on
Siegfried in the _Nibelungen_. The devices of Upakosa, the
faithful wife, remind us at once of 'the Master-maid', and the whole
of the stories of Saktideva and the Golden City, and of Viduschaka,
King Adityasena's daughter, are the same in groundwork and in many of
their incidents as 'East o' the Sun, and West o' the Moon', 'the
Three Princesses of Whiteland', and 'Soria Moria Castle'.


Kölle, _Kanuri Proverbs and Fables_ (London Church Missionary
House, 1854), a book of great philological interest, and one which
reflects great credit on the religious society by which it was


Notte Duodecima. Favola terza. 'Pederigo da Pozzuolo che intendeva il
linguaggio de gli animali, astretto dalla moglie dirle un segreto,
quella stranamente battè.'


The story of the Two Brothers Anesou and Satou, from the _D'Orbiney
Papyrus_, by De Ronge, Paris, 1852.


See the Ananzi Stories in the Appendix, which have been taken down
from the mouth of a West Indian nurse.


See _Anecd. and Trad._, Camd. Soc. 1839, pp. 92 fol. See also
the passages from Anglo-Saxon laws against 'well-waking', which Grimm
has collected: _D. M._, p. 550.


One of Odin's names, when on these adventures, was Gangradr, or
Gangleri. Both mean 'the _Ganger_, or way-farer'. We have the
latter epithet in the '_Gangrel_ carle', and '_Gangrel loon_', of
the early Scotch ballads.


So also Orion's Belt was called by the Norsemen, Frigga's spindle or
_rock, Friggjar rock_. In modern Swedish, _Friggerock_, where the
old goddess holds her own; but in Danish, _Mariaerock_, Our Lady's rock
or spindle. Thus, too, _Karlavagn_, the 'car of men', or heroes, who
rode with Odin, which we call 'Charles' Wain', thus keeping something,
at least, of the old name, though none of its meaning, became in
Scotland 'Peter's-pleugh', from the Christian saint, just as Orion's sword
became 'Peter's-staff'. But what do 'Lady Landers' and 'Lady Ellison'
mean, as applied to the 'Lady-Bird' in Scotland?


Here are a few of these passages which might be much extended:
Burchard of Worms, p. 194, a. 'credidisti ut aliqua femina sit quae
hoc facere possit quod quaedam a diabolo deceptae se affirmant
necessario et ex praecepto facere debere; id est cum daemonum turba
in similitudinem mulierum transformata, quam vulgaris stultitia
_Holdam_ vocat, certis noctibus equitare debere super quasdam
bestias, et in eorum se consortio annumeratam esse.'

'Illud etiam non omittendum, quod quasdam sceleratae mulieres retro
post Sathanam conversae, daemonum illusionibus et phantasmatibus
seductae credunt se et profitentur nocturnis horis cum _Diana_
paganorum dea, vel cum _Herodiade_ et innumera multitudine
mulierum equitare super quasdam bestias, et multa terrarum spatia
intempestae noctis silentio pertransire, ejusque jussionibus velut
_Dominae_ obedire et certis noctibus ad ejus servitium evocari.'
--Burchard of Worms, 10, I.

'Quale est, quod noctilucam quandam, vel _Herodiadem_, vel
praesidem noctis Dominam concilia et conventus de nocte asserunt
convocare, varia celebrari convivia, etc.'--Joh. Sarisberiensis
Polycrat. 2, 17 (died 1182).

'_Herodiam_ illam baptistae Christi interfectricem, quasi
reginam, immo deam proponant, asserentes tertiam totius mundi partem
illi traditam.'--Rather. Cambrens. (died 974).

'Sic et daemon qui praetextu mulieris cum aliis de nocte, domos et
cellaria dicitur frequentare, et vocant eam _Satiam_ a satietate, et
_Dominam Abundiam_ pro abundantia, quam eam praestare dicunt
domibus quas frequentaverit; hujusmodi etiam daemones quas _dominas
vocant_, vetulae penes quas error iste remansit et a quibus solis
creditur et somniatur.'--Guilielmus Alvernus, 1, 1036 (died 1248).

So also the Roman de la Rose (Meon line 18, 622.)

  Qui les cinc sens ainsinc deçoit
  Par les fantosmes, qu'il reçoit,

  Don maintes gens par lor folie
  Cuident estre par nuit estries,
  _Errans_ aveques _Dame Habonde_:
  Et dient, que par tout le monde
  _Li tiers enfant_ de nacion
  _Sunt de ceste condicion._

And again, line 18,686:

  Dautre part, _que li tiers du monde_
  _Aille_ ainsinc _eavec Dame Habonde_.


See the derivation of _pagan_ from paganus, one who lived in the
country, as opposed to urbanus, a townsman.


Keisersberg Omeiss, 46 b., quoted by Grimm, _D.M._ pp. 991,

  Wen man em man verbrent,
  so brent man wol zehen frauen.


See the passage from Vincent, _Bellov. Spec. Mor._, iii, 2, 27,
quoted in Grimm, _D. M._ pp. 1,012-3.


The following passage from _The Fortalice of Faith_ of Alphonso
Spina, written about the year 1458, will suffice to show how
disgustingly the Devil, in the form of a goat, had supplanted the
'Good Lady': Quia nimium abundant tales perversae mulieres ine
Delphinatu et Guasconia, ubi se asserunt concurrere de nocte in
quâdam planitie deserta ubi est _caper quidam in rupe_, qui
vulgariter dicitur _el boch de Biterne_ et clued ibi _conveniunt
cum candelis accensis et adorant illum caprum osculpntes eum in ano
suo_. Ideo captae plures earum, ab inquisitoribus fidei et convictae

About the same time, too, began to spread the notion of formal
written agreements between the Fiend and men who were to be his after
a certain time, during which he was to help them to all earthly
goods. This, too, came with Christianity from the East. The first
instance was Theophilus, vicedominus of the Bishop of Adana, whose
fall and conversion form the original of all the Faust Legends. See
Grimm, D. M. 969, and 'Theophilus in Icelandic, Low German, and other
tongues, by G. W. Dasent, Stockholm, 1845.' There a complete account
of the literature of the legend may be found. In almost all these
early cases the Fiend is outwitted by the help of the Virgin or some
other saint, and in this way the reader is reminded of the Norse
Devil, the successor of the Giants, who always makes bad bargains.
When the story was applied to Faust in the sixteenth century, the
terrible Middle Age Devil was paramount, and knew how to exact his


How strangely full of common sense sounds the following article from
the Capitularies of Charlemagne, _De part. Sax._, 5:

Si quis a diabolo deceptus crediderit secundum morem. Paganorum,
virum aliquem aut faeminam strigam esse et homines comedere, et
propter hoc ipsum incenderit, vel carnem eius ad comedendum dederit,
capitis sententia punietur.' And this of Rotharius, Lex. Roth., 379:
'Nullus praesumat aldiam alienam aut ancillam quasi strigam occidere,
quod Christianis mentibus nullatenus est credendum nec possible est,
ut hominem mulier vivum intrinsecus possit comedere.'

Here the law warns the common people from believing in witches, and
from taking its functions into their own hands, and reasons with them
against the absurdity of such delusions. So, too, that reasonable
parish priest who thrashed the witch, though earlier in time, was far
in advance of Gregory and his inquisitors, and even of our wise King


The following is the title of this strange tract, _Newes from
Scotland, declaring the damnable life of Doctor Fian, a notable
Sorcerer, who was burned at Edenbrough, in Januarie last 1591, which
Doctor was register to the devil, that sundrie times preached at
North Baricke Kirke to a number of notorious Witches. With the true
examinations of the said Doctor and witches, as they uttered them in
the presence of the Scottish king. Discovering how they pretended to
bewitch and drowne his Majestic in the sea, comming from Denmarke,
with such other wonderfull matters as the like, hath not bin heard at
anie time_. Published according to the Scottish copie. Printed for
William Wright. It was reprinted in 1816 for the Roxburghe Club by Mr
H. Freeling, and is very scarce even in the reprint, which, all
things considered, is perhaps just as well.


The following specimens of the tortures and confessions may suffice;
but most of the crimes and confessions are unutterable. One Geillis
Duncane was tortured by her master, David Seaton, dwelling within the
town of Tranent, who, 'with the help of others, did torment her with
the torture of the Pilliwinkes (thumbscrews), upon her fingers, and
binding and wrinching her head with a cord or roape, which is a most
cruel torment also.' So also Agnes Sampson, 'the eldest witch of them
all, dwelling in Haddington, being brought to Haleriud House before
the kinge's majestie and sundry other of the nobilitie of Scotland,
had her head thrawne with a rope according to the custom of that
countrie, beeing a payne most greevous.' After the Devil's mark is
found on her she confesses that she went to sea with two hundred
others in sieves to the kirk of North Berwick in East Lothian, and
after they had landed they 'took handes on the lande and daunted,
this reill or short daunce, saying all with one voice:

  Commer goe ye before, Commer goe ye,
  Gif ye will not goe before, Commer let me.

'At which time she confessed that this Geillis Duncane did goe before
them playing this reill or daunce upon a small trumpe called a Jew's
trump, until they entered into the kirk of North Barrick.' 'As
touching the aforesaid Doctor Fian', he 'was taken and imprisoned,
and used with the accustomed paine provided for these offences,
inflicted upon the rest, as is aforesaid. First by thrawing of his
head with a rope, whereat he would confesse nothing! Secondly, he was
persuaded by faire means to confesse his follies, but that would
prevaile as little. Lastly, he was put to the most severe and cruell
paine in the world, called the Bootes, who, after he had received
three strokes, being inquired if he would confesse his damnable actes
and wicked life, his toong would not serve him to spaake.' This
inability, produced no doubt by pain, the other witches explain by
saying that the Devil's mark had not been found, which, being found,
'the charm' was 'stinted', and the Doctor, in dread probably of a
fourth stroke, confessed unutterably shameful things. Having escaped
from prison, of course by the aid of the Devil, he was pursued, and
brought back and re-examined before the king. 'But this Doctor,
notwithstanding that his own confession appeareth remaining in
recorde, under his owne handewriting, and the same thereunto fixed in
the presence of the King's majestie and sundrie of his councell, yet
did he utterly deny the same, whereupon the King's majestie,
perceiving his stubborne wilfulness...he was commanded to have a
most strange torment, which was done in this manner following: His
nailes upon all his fingers were riven and pulled off with an
instrument called in Scottish a Turkas, which in England wee call a
payre of pincars, and under everie nayle there was thrust in two
needels over even up to the heads. At all which torments,
notwithstanding the Doctor never shronke anie whit; neither would he
then confesse it the sooner for all the tortures inflicted upon him.

'Then was he with all convenient speed, by commandement convaied
againe to the torment of the Bootes, wherein hee continued a long
time, and did abide so many blowes in them, that his legges were
crusht and beaten together as small as might bee, and the bones and
flesh so brused that the blond and marrow spouted forth in great
abundance, wherby they were made unserviceable for ever. And
notwithstanding all these grievous panes and cruel torments, he would
not confesse aniething, so deepely had the Devil entered into his
heart, that hee utterly denied all that which he had before avouched,
and would saie nothing thereunto but this, that what he had done and
sayde before, was onely done and saide for fear of paynes which he
had endured.' Thereupon as 'a due execution of justice' 'and 'for
example sake', he was tried, sentenced, put into a cart, strangled
and immediately put into a great fire, being readie provided for that
purpose, and there burned in the Castle Hill of Edenbrough on a
saterdaie, in the ende of Januaire last past, 1591.' The tract ends
significantly: 'The rest of the witches which are not yet executed
remayne in prison till further triall and knowledge of his majestie's


_Ecl._, viii, 97:

  His ego saepe lupum fieri
  et se condere silvis Maerin--vidi.


See Grimm's _D.M._, 1,047 fol.; and for this translation from
Petronius, a very interesting letter prefixed to Madden's Ed. of the
old English Romance of _William and the Werewolf_, 1832, one of
the Roxburghe Club Publications. This letter, which was by the hand of
Mr Herbert of Petworth, contains all that was known on this subject
before Grimm; but when Grimm came he was, compared with all who had
treated the subject, as a sober man amongst drunkards.


_Bisclavaret_ in the _Lais_ of Marie de France, 1, 178
seems to be a corruption of Bleizgarou, as the Norman _garwal_
is of _garwolf_. See also Jamieson Dict., under _warwolf_.


_Troldham, at kaste ham paa._ Comp. the old Norse _hamr,
hamför, hammadr, hamrammr_, which occur repeatedly in the same


Comp. Vict. Hugo, _Nôtre-Dame de Paris_, where he tells us that
the gipsies called the wolf _piedgris_. See also Grimm, _D.
M._, 633 and _Reinhart_, lv, ccvii, and 446.


Thus from the earliest times 'dog', 'hound', has been a term of
reproach. Great instances of fidelity, such as 'Gellert' or the 'Dog
of Montargis', both of which are Eastern and primeval, have scarcely
redeemed the cringing currish nature of the race in general from
disgrace. M. Francisque Michel, in his _Histoire des Races
Maudites de da France et de l'Espagne_, thinks it probable that
_Cagot_, the nickname by which the heretical Goths who fled
into Aquitaine in the time of Charles Martel, and received protection
from that king and his successors, were called by the Franks,
was derived from the term _Canis Gothicus_ or _Canes Gothi_. In
modern French the word means hypocrite, and this would come
from the notion of the outward conformity to the Catholic formularies
imposed on the Arian Goths by their orthodox protectors. Etymologically,
the derivation is good enough, according to Diez, _Romanisches
Wörterbuch_; Provençal _ca_, dog; _Get_, Gothic. Before quitting
_Cagot_, we may observe that the derivation of _bigot_, our bigot,
another word of the same kind, is not so clear. Michel says it comes from
_Vizigothus, Bizigothus_. Diez says this is too far-fetched, especially as
'Bigot', 'Bigod', was a term applied to the Normans, and not to the
population of the South of France. There is, besides another derivation
given by Ducange from a Latin chronicle of the twelfth century. In
speaking of the homage done by Rollo, the first Duke of Normandy, to
the King of France, he says:

Hic non dignatus pedem Caroli osculari nisi ad os suum levaret,
cumque sui comites illum admonerent ut pedem Regis in acceptione
tanti muneris, Neustriae provinciae, oscularetur, Anglica lingua
respondit '_ne se bi got_', quod interpretatur 'ne per deum'.
Rex vero et sui illum deridentes, et sermonem ejus corrupte
referentes, illum vocaverunt Bigottum; unde Normanni adhuc Bigothi

Wace, too, says, in the _Roman de Rou_, that the French had
abused the Normans in many ways, calling them Bigos. It is also
termed, in a French record of the year 1429, '_un mot très
injurieux_'. Diez says it was not used in its present sense before
the sixteenth century.


The most common word for a giant in the Eddas was Jötunn (A. S.
_coten_), which, strange to say, survives in the Scotch Etin. In
one or two places the word _ogre_ has been used, which is
properly a Romance word, and comes from the French _ogre_, Ital.
_orco_, Lat. _orcus_. Here, too, we have an old Roman god of the
nether world degraded.


These paroxysms were called in Old Norse _Jötunmodr_, the
_Etin mood_, as opposed to _Asmodr, the mood of the Aesir_,
that diviner wrath which, though burning hot, was still under the
control of reason.


It may be worth while here to shew how old and widespread this custom
or notion of the 'naked sword' was. In the North, besides being told
of Sigurd and Brynhildr, we hear it of Hrólf and Ingigerd, who took
rest at night in a hut of leaves in the wood, and lay together, 'but
laid a naked sword between them'. So also Saxo Grammaticus says of
King Gorm, 'Caeterum ne inconcessum virginis amorem libidinoso
complexu praeripere videretur, vicina latera non solum alterius
complexibus exult, sed etiam _districto mucrone_ secrevit. Lib.
9, p.179. So also Tristan and Isolt in Gottfried of Strasburg's poem,
line 17,407-17.

  Hierü ber vant Tristan einen sin,
  Si giengen an ir bette wider,
  Und leiten sich dâ wider nider,
  Von einander wol pin dan,
  Reht als man and man,
  Niht als man and wîp;
  Dâ lac lîp and lîp,
  In fremder gelegenheit,
  Ouch hât Tristan geleit
  Sîn _swert bar_ enzwischen si.

And the old French Tristan in the same way:

  Et qant il vit la nue espee
  Qui entre eus deus les deseurout.

So the old English Tristrem, line 2,002-3:

  His sword he drough titly
  And laid it hem bitvene.

And the old German ballad in _Des Knaben Wunderhorn_, 2, 276:

  Der Herzog zog aus sein goldiges schwert,
  Er leit es zwischen beide hert
  Das schwert soll weder hauen noch schneiden,
  Das Annelein soll ein megedli bleiben.

So Fonzo and Fenizia in the _Pentamerone_, I, 9:

Ma segnenno havere fatto vuto a Diana, de non toccare la mogliere la
notte, mese la spata arranata comme staccione 'miezo ad isso ed a

And in Grimm's story of 'The Two Brothers' where the second brother
lays 'a double-edged sword' at night between himself and his
brother's wife, who has mistaken him for his twin brother. In fact
the custom as William Wackernagel has shewn in _Haupt's Zeitschrift
für Deutsches Alterthum_ was one recognized by the law; and so
late as 1477, when Lewis, County Palatine of Veldenz represented
Maximilian of Austria as his proxy at the betrothal of Mary of
Burgundy, he got into the bed of state, booted and spurred, and laid
a naked sword between him and the bride. Comp. Birkens Ehrenspiegel,
p. 885. See also as a proof that the custom was known in England as
late as the seventeenth century, _The Jovial Crew_, a comedy
first acted in 1641, and quoted by Sir W. Scott in his _Tristrem_,
p. 345, where it is said (Act V, sc. 2): 'He told him that he would be
his proxy, and marry her for him, and lie with her the first night with a
naked cudgel betwixt them.' And see for the whole subject, J. Grimm's
_Deutsche Rechts-Alterthümer_, Göttingen, 1828, p. 168-70.


M. Moe, _Introd. Norsk. Event_ (Christiania, 1851, 2d Ed.), to
which the writer is largely indebted.


Footnote: The following list, which only selects the more prominent
collections, will suffice to show that Popular Tales have a
literature of their own:--Sanscrit. The _Pantcha Tantra_, 'The
Five Books', a collection of fables of which only extracts have as
yet been published, but of which Professor Wilson has given an
analysis in the Transactions of the Asiatic Society, vol. I, sect. 2.
The _Hitopadesa_, or 'Wholesome Instruction', a selection of
tales and fables from the Pantcha Tantra, first edited by Carey at
Serampore in 1804; again by Hamilton in London in 1810; again in
Germany by A. W. von Schlegel in 1829, an edition which was followed
in 1831 by a critical commentary by Lassen; and again in 1830 at
Calcutta with a Bengali and English translation. The work had been
translated into English by Wilkins so early as 1787, when it was
published in London, and again by Sir William Jones, whose rendering,
which is not so good as that by Wilkins, appeared after his death in
the collected edition of his works. Into German it has been
translated in a masterly way by Max Müller, Leipzig, Brockhaus, 1844.
Versions of these Sanscrit collections, the date of the latter of
which is ascribed to the end of the second century of the Christian
era, varying in many respects, but all possessing sufficient
resemblance to identify them with their Sanscrit originals, are found
in almost every Indian dialect, and in Zend, Arabic, Persian, Hebrew,
Greek and Turkish. We are happy to be able to state here that the
eminent Sanscrit scholar, Professor Benfey of Göttingen, is now
publishing a German translation of the _Pantcha Tantra_, which
will be accompanied by translations of numerous compositions of the
same kind, drawn from unpublished Sanscrit works, and from the
legends current amongst the Mongolian tribes. The work will be
preceded by an introduction embracing the whole question of the
origin and diffusion of fables and popular tales. The following will
be the title of Prof. Benfey's work: '_Pantcha Tantra. Erster
Theil, Fünf Bücher Indischer Fabeln, Märchen, and Erzählungen_. Aus
dem Sanskrit übersetzt, mit Anmerkungen and Einleitung über das
Indische Grundwerk und dessen Ausflüsse, so wie über die Quellen und
Verbreitung des Inhalts derselben. Zweiter Theil, Übersetzungen und
Anmerkungen.' Most interesting of all for our purpose is the
collection of Sanscrit Tales, collected in the twelfth century of our
era, by Somadeva Bhatta of Cashmere. This has been published in
Sanscrit, and translated into German by Hermann Brockhaus, and the
nature of its contents has already been sufficiently indicated. We
may add, however, that Somadeva's collection exhibits the Hindoo mind
in the twelfth century in a condition, as regards popular tales,
which the mind of Europe has not yet reached. How old these
stories and fables must have been in the East, we see both from
the _Pantcha Tantra_ and the _Hitopadesa_, which are strictly
didactic works, and only employ tales and fables to illustrate and
inculcate a moral lesson. We in the West have got beyond fables and
apologues, but we are only now collecting our popular tales. In
Somadeva's time the simple tale no longer sufficed; it had to be
fitted into and arranged with others, with an art and dexterity which
is really marvellous; and so cleverly is this done, that it requires
a mind of no little cultivation, and a head of more than ordinary
clearness, to carry without confusion all the wheels within wheels,
and fables within fables, which spring out of the original story as
it proceeds. In other respects the popular tale loses in simplicity
what it gains in intricacy by this artificial arrangement; and it is
evident that in the twelfth century the Hindoo tales had been long
since collected out of the mouths of the people, and reduced to
writing; in a word, that the popular element had disappeared, and
that they had passed into the written literature of the race. We may
take this opportunity, too, to mention that a most curious collection
of tales and fables, translated from Sanscrit, has recently been
discovered in Chinese. They are on the eve of publication by M.
Stanislas Julien, the first of Chinese scholars; and from the
information on the matter which Professor Max Müller has kindly
furnished to the translator, it appears that they passed with
Buddhism from India into China. The work from which M. Julien has
taken these fables, which are all the more precious because the
Sanscrit originals have in all probability perished,--is called
_Yu-lin_, or 'The Forest of Comparisons'. It was the work of
Youen-thai, a great Chinese scholar, who was President of the
Ministry of justice at Pekin in the year 1565 of our era. He
collected in twenty-four volumes, after the labour of twenty years,
during which he read upwards of four hundred works, all the fables
and comparisons he could find in ancient books. Of those works, two
hundred were translations from the Sanscrit made by Buddhist monks,
and it is from eleven of these that M. Julien has translated his
Chinese Fables. We need hardly say that this work is most anxiously
expected by all who take an interest in such matters. Let it be
allowed to add here, that it was through no want of respect towards
the memory of M. de Sacy that the translator has given so much
prominence to the views and labours of the Brothers Grimm in this

To M. de Sacy belongs all the merit of exploring what may be called
the old written world of fable. He, and Warton, and Dunlop, and
Price, too, did the day's work of Giants, in tracing out and
classifying those tales and fables which had passed into the
literature of the Aryan race. But, besides this old region, there is
another new hemisphere of fiction which lies in the mouths and in the
minds of the people. This new world of fable the Grimms discovered,
and to them belongs the glory of having brought all its fruits and
flowers to the light of day. This is why their names must ever be
foremost in a work on Popular Tales, shining, as their names
must ever shine, a bright double star in that new hemisphere. In
more modern times, the earliest collection of popular tales is to be
found in the _Piacevoli Notte_ of John Francis Straparola of
Caravaggio, near Milan, the first edition of which appeared at
Venice in 1550. The book, which is shamefully indecent, even
for that age, and which at last, in 1606, was placed in the
_Index Expurgatorius_, contains stories from all sources, and
amongst them nineteen genuine popular tales, which are not
disfigured by the filth with which the rest of the volume is full.
Straparola's work has been twice translated into German, once at
Vienna, 1791, and again by Schmidt in a more complete form,
_Märchen-Saal_, Berlin, 1817. But a much more interesting Italian
collection appeared at Naples in the next century. This was
the _Pentamerone_ of Giambattista Basile, who wrote in the
Neapolitan dialect, and whose book appeared in 1637. This collection
contains forty-eight tales, and is in tone, and keeping, and diction,
one of the best that has ever appeared in any language. It has been
repeatedly reprinted at Naples. It has been translated into German,
and a portion of it, a year or two back, by Mr. Taylor, into English.
In France the first collection of this kind was made by Charles
Perrault, who, in 1697, published eight tales, under a title taken
from an old _Fabliau_, _Contes de ma mère L'Oye_, whence comes
our 'Mother Goose'. To these eight, three more tales were added in
later editions. Perrault was shortly followed by Madame D'Aulnoy
(born in 1650, died 1705), whose manner of treating her tales is far
less true to nature than Perrault's, and who inserts at will, verses,
alterations, additions, and moral reflections. Her style is
sentimental and over-refined; the courtly airs of the age of Louis
XIV predominate, and nature suffers by the change from the cottage to
the palace. Madame d'Aulnoy was followed by a host of imitators; the
Countess Mürat, who died in 1710; Countess d'Auneuil, who died in
1700; M. de Preschac, born 1676, who composed tales of utter
worthlessness, which may be read as examples of what popular tales
are not, in the collection called _Le Cabinet des Fées_, which
was published in Paris in 1785. Not much better are the attempts of
Count Hamilton, who died in 1720; of M. de Moncrif, who died in 1770;
of Mademoiselle de la Force, died 1724; of Mademoiselle l'Heritier
died 1737; of Count Caylus, who wrote his _Féeries Nouvelles_ in
the first half of the 18th century, for the popular element fails
almost entirely in their works. Such as they are, they may also be
read in the _Cabinet des Fées_, a collection which ran to no
fewer than forty-one volumes, and with which no lover of popular
tradition need trouble himself much. To the playwright and the story-
teller it has been a great repository, which has supplied the lack of
original invention. In Germany we need trouble ourselves with none of
the collections before the time of the Grimms, except to say that
they are nearly worthless. In 1812-14 the two brothers, Jacob and
William, brought out the first edition of their _Kinder-und Haus-
Märchen_, which was followed by a second and more complete one in
1822: 3 vols., Berlin, Reimer. The two first volumes have been
repeatedly republished, but few readers in England are aware of the
existence of the third, a third edition of which appeared in 1856 at
Göttingen, which contains the literature of these traditions, and is
a monument of the care and pains with which the brothers, or rather
William, for it is his work, even so far back as 1820, had traced out
parallel traditions in other tribes and lands. This work formed an
era in popular literature, and has been adopted as a model by all
true collectors ever since. It proceeded on the principle of
faithfully collecting these traditions from the mouths of the people,
without adding one jot or tittle, or in any way interfering with
them, except to select this or that variation as most apt or
beautiful. To the adoption of this principle we owe the excellent
Swedish collection of George Stephens and Hylten Cavallius,
_Svenska Folk-Sagor og Aefventyr_, 2 vols. Stockholm 1844, and
following years; and also this beautiful Norse one, to which Jacob
Grimm awards the palm over all collections, except perhaps the
Scottish, of MM. Asbjörnsen and Moe. To it also we owe many most
excellent collections in Germany, over nearly the whole of which an
active band of the Grimm's pupils have gone gathering up as gleaners
the ears which their great masters had let fall or let lie. In
Denmark the collection of M. Winther, _Danske Folkeeventyr_,
Copenhagen, 1823, is a praiseworthy attempt in the same direction;
nor does it at all detract from the merit of H. C. Andersen as an
original writer, to observe how often his creative mind has fastened
on one of these national stories, and worked out of that piece of
native rock a finished work of art. Though last not least, are to be
reckoned the Scottish stories collected by Mr. Robert Chambers, of
the merit of which we have already expressed our opinion in the text.


After all, there is, it seems, a Scottish word which answers to
_Askepot_ to a hair. See Jamieson's _Dictionary_, where the
reader will find _Ashiepattle_ as used in Shetland for a
'neglected child'; and not in Shetland alone, but in Ayrshire,
_Ashypet_, an adjective, or rather a substantive degraded to do
the dirty work of an adjective, 'one employed in the lowest kitchen
work'. See too the quotation, 'when I reached Mrs. Damask's house she
was gone to bed, and nobody to let me in, dripping wet as I was, but
an _ashypet_ lassy, that helps her for a servant.'--_Steamboat_,
p. 259. So again _Assiepet_, substantive 'a dirty little creature,
one that is constantly soiled with _ass_ or ashes'.


The Sagas contain many instances of Norsemen who sat thus idly over
the fire, and were thence called _Kolbitr_, _coalbiters_, but who
afterwards became mighty men.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Popular Tales from the Norse" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.