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Title: The Blue Fairy Book
Author: Lang, Andrew
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 "The Blue Fairy Book" ***

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



THE BLUE FAIRY BOOK

By Various

Edited by Andrew Lang



CONTENTS


     THE BRONZE RING
     PRINCE HYACINTH AND THE DEAR LITTLE PRINCESS
     EAST OF THE SUN AND WEST OF THE MOON
     THE YELLOW DWARF
     LITTLE RED RIDING-HOOD
     THE SLEEPING BEAUTY IN THE WOOD
     CINDERELLA; OR, THE LITTLE GLASS SLIPPER
     ALADDIN AND THE WONDERFUL LAMP
     THE TALE OF A YOUTH WHO SET OUT TO LEARN WHAT FEAR WAS
     RUMPELSTILTZKIN
     BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
     THE MASTER-MAID
     WHY THE SEA IS SALT
     THE MASTER CAT; OR, PUSS IN BOOTS
     FELICIA AND THE POT OF PINKS
     THE WHITE CAT
     THE WATER-LILY. THE GOLD-SPINNERS
     THE TERRIBLE HEAD
     THE STORY OF PRETTY GOLDILOCKS
     THE HISTORY OF WHITTINGTON
     THE WONDERFUL SHEEP
     LITTLE THUMB
     THE FORTY THIEVES
     HANSEL AND GRETTEL
     SNOW-WHITE AND ROSE-RED
     THE GOOSE-GIRL
     TOADS AND DIAMONDS
     PRINCE DARLING
     BLUE BEARD
     TRUSTY JOHN
     THE BRAVE LITTLE TAILOR
     A VOYAGE TO LILLIPUT
     THE PRINCESS ON THE GLASS HILL
     THE STORY OF PRINCE AHMED AND THE FAIRY PARIBANOU
     THE HISTORY OF JACK THE GIANT-KILLER
     THE BLACK BULL OF NORROWAY
     THE RED ETIN



THE BRONZE RING


Once upon a time in a certain country there lived a king whose palace
was surrounded by a spacious garden. But, though the gardeners were many
and the soil was good, this garden yielded neither flowers nor fruits,
not even grass or shady trees.

The King was in despair about it, when a wise old man said to him:

“Your gardeners do not understand their business: but what can you
expect of men whose fathers were cobblers and carpenters? How should
they have learned to cultivate your garden?”

“You are quite right,” cried the King.

“Therefore,” continued the old man, “you should send for a gardener
whose father and grandfather have been gardeners before him, and very
soon your garden will be full of green grass and gay flowers, and you
will enjoy its delicious fruit.”

So the King sent messengers to every town, village, and hamlet in his
dominions, to look for a gardener whose forefathers had been gardeners
also, and after forty days one was found.

“Come with us and be gardener to the King,” they said to him.

“How can I go to the King,” said the gardener, “a poor wretch like me?”

“That is of no consequence,” they answered. “Here are new clothes for
you and your family.”

“But I owe money to several people.”

“We will pay your debts,” they said.

So the gardener allowed himself to be persuaded, and went away with
the messengers, taking his wife and his son with him; and the King,
delighted to have found a real gardener, entrusted him with the care
of his garden. The man found no difficulty in making the royal garden
produce flowers and fruit, and at the end of a year the park was not
like the same place, and the King showered gifts upon his new servant.

The gardener, as you have heard already, had a son, who was a very
handsome young man, with most agreeable manners, and every day he
carried the best fruit of the garden to the King, and all the prettiest
flowers to his daughter. Now this princess was wonderfully pretty and
was just sixteen years old, and the King was beginning to think it was
time that she should be married.

“My dear child,” said he, “you are of an age to take a husband,
therefore I am thinking of marrying you to the son of my prime minister.

“Father,” replied the Princess, “I will never marry the son of the
minister.”

“Why not?” asked the King.

“Because I love the gardener’s son,” answered the Princess.

On hearing this the King was at first very angry, and then he wept and
sighed, and declared that such a husband was not worthy of his daughter;
but the young Princess was not to be turned from her resolution to marry
the gardener’s son.

Then the King consulted his ministers. “This is what you must do,” they
said. “To get rid of the gardener you must send both suitors to a
very distant country, and the one who returns first shall marry your
daughter.”

The King followed this advice, and the minister’s son was presented with
a splendid horse and a purse full of gold pieces, while the gardener’s
son had only an old lame horse and a purse full of copper money, and
every one thought he would never come back from his journey.

The day before they started the Princess met her lover and said to him:

“Be brave, and remember always that I love you. Take this purse full of
jewels and make the best use you can of them for love of me, and come
back quickly and demand my hand.”

The two suitors left the town together, but the minister’s son went off
at a gallop on his good horse, and very soon was lost to sight behind
the most distant hills. He traveled on for some days, and presently
reached a fountain beside which an old woman all in rags sat upon a
stone.

“Good-day to you, young traveler,” said she.

But the minister’s son made no reply.

“Have pity upon me, traveler,” she said again. “I am dying of hunger,
as you see, and three days have I been here and no one has given me
anything.”

“Let me alone, old witch,” cried the young man; “I can do nothing for
you,” and so saying he went on his way.

That same evening the gardener’s son rode up to the fountain upon his
lame gray horse.

“Good-day to you, young traveler,” said the beggar-woman.

“Good-day, good woman,” answered he.

“Young traveler, have pity upon me.”

“Take my purse, good woman,” said he, “and mount behind me, for your
legs can’t be very strong.”

The old woman didn’t wait to be asked twice, but mounted behind him,
and in this style they reached the chief city of a powerful kingdom. The
minister’s son was lodged in a grand inn, the gardener’s son and the old
woman dismounted at the inn for beggars.

The next day the gardener’s son heard a great noise in the street, and
the King’s heralds passed, blowing all kinds of instruments, and crying:

“The King, our master, is old and infirm. He will give a great reward to
whoever will cure him and give him back the strength of his youth.”

Then the old beggar-woman said to her benefactor:

“This is what you must do to obtain the reward which the King promises.
Go out of the town by the south gate, and there you will find three
little dogs of different colors; the first will be white, the second
black, the third red. You must kill them and then burn them separately,
and gather up the ashes. Put the ashes of each dog into a bag of its own
color, then go before the door of the palace and cry out, ‘A celebrated
physician has come from Janina in Albania. He alone can cure the King
and give him back the strength of his youth.’ The King’s physicians will
say, This is an impostor, and not a learned man,’ and they will make all
sorts of difficulties, but you will overcome them all at last, and will
present yourself before the sick King. You must then demand as much wood
as three mules can carry, and a great cauldron, and must shut yourself
up in a room with the Sultan, and when the cauldron boils you must throw
him into it, and there leave him until his flesh is completely separated
from his bones. Then arrange the bones in their proper places, and throw
over them the ashes out of the three bags. The King will come back to
life, and will be just as he was when he was twenty years old. For your
reward you must demand the bronze ring which has the power to grant
you everything you desire. Go, my son, and do not forget any of my
instructions.”

The young man followed the old beggar-woman’s directions. On going out
of the town he found the white, red, and black dogs, and killed and
burnt them, gathering the ashes in three bags. Then he ran to the palace
and cried:

“A celebrated physician has just come from Janina in Albania. He alone
can cure the King and give him back the strength of his youth.”

The King’s physicians at first laughed at the unknown wayfarer, but the
Sultan ordered that the stranger should be admitted. They brought the
cauldron and the loads of wood, and very soon the King was boiling away.
Toward mid-day the gardener’s son arranged the bones in their places,
and he had hardly scattered the ashes over them before the old King
revived, to find himself once more young and hearty.

“How can I reward you, my benefactor?” he cried. “Will you take half my
treasures?”

“No,” said the gardener’s son.

“My daughter’s hand?”

“_No_.”

“Take half my kingdom.”

“No. Give me only the bronze ring which can instantly grant me anything
I wish for.”

“Alas!” said the King, “I set great store by that marvelous ring;
nevertheless, you shall have it.” And he gave it to him.

The gardener’s son went back to say good-by to the old beggar-woman;
then he said to the bronze ring:

“Prepare a splendid ship in which I may continue my journey. Let the
hull be of fine gold, the masts of silver, the sails of brocade; let
the crew consist of twelve young men of noble appearance, dressed like
kings. St. Nicholas will be at the helm. As to the cargo, let it be
diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and carbuncles.”

And immediately a ship appeared upon the sea which resembled in every
particular the description given by the gardener’s son, and, stepping
on board, he continued his journey. Presently he arrived at a great town
and established himself in a wonderful palace. After several days he
met his rival, the minister’s son, who had spent all his money and was
reduced to the disagreeable employment of a carrier of dust and rubbish.
The gardener’s son said to him:

“What is your name, what is your family, and from what country do you
come?”

“I am the son of the prime minister of a great nation, and yet see what
a degrading occupation I am reduced to.”

“Listen to me; though I don’t know anything more about you, I am willing
to help you. I will give you a ship to take you back to your own country
upon one condition.”

“Whatever it may be, I accept it willingly.”

“Follow me to my palace.”

The minister’s son followed the rich stranger, whom he had not
recognized. When they reached the palace the gardener’s son made a sign
to his slaves, who completely undressed the new-comer.

“Make this ring red-hot,” commanded the master, “and mark the man with
it upon his back.”

The slaves obeyed him.

“Now, young man,” said the rich stranger, “I am going to give you a
vessel which will take you back to your own country.”

And, going out, he took the bronze ring and said:

“Bronze ring, obey thy master. Prepare me a ship of which the
half-rotten timbers shall be painted black, let the sails be in rags,
and the sailors infirm and sickly. One shall have lost a leg, another
an arm, the third shall be a hunchback, another lame or club-footed or
blind, and most of them shall be ugly and covered with scars. Go, and
let my orders be executed.”

The minister’s son embarked in this old vessel, and thanks to favorable
winds, at length reached his own country. In spite of the pitiable
condition in which he returned they received him joyfully.

“I am the first to come back,” said he to the King; now fulfil your
promise, and give me the princess in marriage.

So they at once began to prepare for the wedding festivities. As to the
poor princess, she was sorrowful and angry enough about it.

The next morning, at daybreak, a wonderful ship with every sail set came
to anchor before the town. The King happened at that moment to be at the
palace window.

“What strange ship is this,” he cried, “that has a golden hull, silver
masts, and silken sails, and who are the young men like princes who man
it? And do I not see St. Nicholas at the helm? Go at once and invite the
captain of the ship to come to the palace.”

His servants obeyed him, and very soon in came an enchantingly handsome
young prince, dressed in rich silk, ornamented with pearls and diamonds.

“Young man,” said the King, “you are welcome, whoever you may be. Do me
the favor to be my guest as long as you remain in my capital.”

“Many thanks, sire,” replied the captain, “I accept your offer.”

“My daughter is about to be married,” said the King; “will you give her
away?”

“I shall be charmed, sire.”

Soon after came the Princess and her betrothed.

“Why, how is this?” cried the young captain; “would you marry this
charming princess to such a man as that?”

“But he is my prime minister’s son!”

“What does that matter? I cannot give your daughter away. The man she is
betrothed to is one of my servants.”

“Your servant?”

“Without doubt. I met him in a distant town reduced to carrying away
dust and rubbish from the houses. I had pity on him and engaged him as
one of my servants.”

“It is impossible!” cried the King.

“Do you wish me to prove what I say? This young man returned in a vessel
which I fitted out for him, an unseaworthy ship with a black battered
hull, and the sailors were infirm and crippled.”

“It is quite true,” said the King.

“It is false,” cried the minister’s son. “I do not know this man!”

“Sire,” said the young captain, “order your daughter’s betrothed to be
stripped, and see if the mark of my ring is not branded upon his back.”

The King was about to give this order, when the minister’s son, to save
himself from such an indignity, admitted that the story was true.

“And now, sire,” said the young captain, “do you not recognize me?”

“I recognize you,” said the Princess; “you are the gardener’s son whom I
have always loved, and it is you I wish to marry.”

“Young man, you shall be my son-in-law,” cried the King. “The marriage
festivities are already begun, so you shall marry my daughter this very
day.”

And so that very day the gardener’s son married the beautiful Princess.

Several months passed. The young couple were as happy as the day was
long, and the King was more and more pleased with himself for having
secured such a son-in-law.

But, presently, the captain of the golden ship found it necessary to
take a long voyage, and after embracing his wife tenderly he embarked.

Now in the outskirts of the capital there lived an old man, who had
spent his life in studying black arts--alchemy, astrology, magic,
and enchantment. This man found out that the gardener’s son had only
succeeded in marrying the Princess by the help of the genii who obeyed
the bronze ring.

“I will have that ring,” said he to himself. So he went down to the
sea-shore and caught some little red fishes. Really, they were
quite wonderfully pretty. Then he came back, and, passing before the
Princess’s window, he began to cry out:

“Who wants some pretty little red fishes?”

The Princess heard him, and sent out one of her slaves, who said to the
old peddler:

“What will you take for your fish?”

“A bronze ring.”

“A bronze ring, old simpleton! And where shall I find one?”

“Under the cushion in the Princess’s room.”

The slave went back to her mistress.

“The old madman will take neither gold nor silver,” said she.

“What does he want then?”

“A bronze ring that is hidden under a cushion.”

“Find the ring and give it to him,” said the Princess.

And at last the slave found the bronze ring, which the captain of the
golden ship had accidentally left behind and carried it to the man, who
made off with it instantly.

Hardly had he reached his own house when, taking the ring, he said,
“Bronze ring, obey thy master. I desire that the golden ship shall turn
to black wood, and the crew to hideous negroes; that St. Nicholas shall
leave the helm and that the only cargo shall be black cats.”

And the genii of the bronze ring obeyed him.

Finding himself upon the sea in this miserable condition, the young
captain understood that some one must have stolen the bronze ring from
him, and he lamented his misfortune loudly; but that did him no good.

“Alas!” he said to himself, “whoever has taken my ring has probably
taken my dear wife also. What good will it do me to go back to my own
country?” And he sailed about from island to island, and from shore to
shore, believing that wherever he went everybody was laughing at him,
and very soon his poverty was so great that he and his crew and the poor
black cats had nothing to eat but herbs and roots. After wandering about
a long time he reached an island inhabited by mice. The captain landed
upon the shore and began to explore the country. There were mice
everywhere, and nothing but mice. Some of the black cats had followed
him, and, not having been fed for several days, they were fearfully
hungry, and made terrible havoc among the mice.

Then the queen of the mice held a council.

“These cats will eat every one of us,” she said, “if the captain of the
ship does not shut the ferocious animals up. Let us send a deputation to
him of the bravest among us.”

Several mice offered themselves for this mission and set out to find the
young captain.

“Captain,” said they, “go away quickly from our island, or we shall
perish, every mouse of us.”

“Willingly,” replied the young captain, “upon one condition. That is
that you shall first bring me back a bronze ring which some clever
magician has stolen from me. If you do not do this I will land all my
cats upon your island, and you shall be exterminated.”

The mice withdrew in great dismay. “What is to be done?” said the Queen.
“How can we find this bronze ring?” She held a new council, calling in
mice from every quarter of the globe, but nobody knew where the bronze
ring was. Suddenly three mice arrived from a very distant country. One
was blind, the second lame, and the third had her ears cropped.

“Ho, ho, ho!” said the new-comers. “We come from a far distant country.”

“Do you know where the bronze ring is which the genii obey?”

“Ho, ho, ho! we know; an old sorcerer has taken possession of it, and
now he keeps it in his pocket by day and in his mouth by night.”

“Go and take it from him, and come back as soon as possible.”

So the three mice made themselves a boat and set sail for the magician’s
country. When they reached the capital they landed and ran to the
palace, leaving only the blind mouse on the shore to take care of the
boat. Then they waited till it was night. The wicked old man lay down in
bed and put the bronze ring into his mouth, and very soon he was asleep.

“Now, what shall we do?” said the two little animals to each other.

The mouse with the cropped ears found a lamp full of oil and a bottle
full of pepper. So she dipped her tail first in the oil and then in the
pepper, and held it to the sorcerer’s nose.

“Atisha! atisha!” sneezed the old man, but he did not wake, and the
shock made the bronze ring jump out of his mouth. Quick as thought the
lame mouse snatched up the precious talisman and carried it off to the
boat.

Imagine the despair of the magician when he awoke and the bronze ring
was nowhere to be found!

But by that time our three mice had set sail with their prize. A
favoring breeze was carrying them toward the island where the queen
of the mice was awaiting them. Naturally they began to talk about the
bronze ring.

“Which of us deserves the most credit?” they cried all at once.

“I do,” said the blind mouse, “for without my watchfulness our boat
would have drifted away to the open sea.”

“No, indeed,” cried the mouse with the cropped ears; “the credit is
mine. Did I not cause the ring to jump out of the man’s mouth?”

“No, it is mine,” cried the lame one, “for I ran off with the ring.”

And from high words they soon came to blows, and, alas! when the quarrel
was fiercest the bronze ring fell into the sea.

“How are we to face our queen,” said the three mice “when by our
folly we have lost the talisman and condemned our people to be utterly
exterminated? We cannot go back to our country; let us land on this
desert island and there end our miserable lives.” No sooner said than
done. The boat reached the island, and the mice landed.

The blind mouse was speedily deserted by her two sisters, who went off
to hunt flies, but as she wandered sadly along the shore she found a
dead fish, and was eating it, when she felt something very hard. At her
cries the other two mice ran up.

“It is the bronze ring! It is the talisman!” they cried joyfully, and,
getting into their boat again, they soon reached the mouse island. It
was time they did, for the captain was just going to land his cargo of
cats, when a deputation of mice brought him the precious bronze ring.

“Bronze ring,” commanded the young man, “obey thy master. Let my ship
appear as it was before.”

Immediately the genii of the ring set to work, and the old black vessel
became once more the wonderful golden ship with sails of brocade; the
handsome sailors ran to the silver masts and the silken ropes, and very
soon they set sail for the capital.

Ah! how merrily the sailors sang as they flew over the glassy sea!

At last the port was reached.

The captain landed and ran to the palace, where he found the wicked
old man asleep. The Princess clasped her husband in a long embrace. The
magician tried to escape, but he was seized and bound with strong cords.

The next day the sorcerer, tied to the tail of a savage mule loaded with
nuts, was broken into as many pieces as there were nuts upon the mule’s
back.(1)


(1) Traditions Populaires de l’Asie Mineure. Carnoy et Nicolaides.
Paris: Maisonneuve, 1889.



PRINCE HYACINTH AND THE DEAR LITTLE PRINCESS


Once upon a time there lived a king who was deeply in love with a
princess, but she could not marry anyone, because she was under an
enchantment. So the King set out to seek a fairy, and asked what he
could do to win the Princess’s love. The Fairy said to him:

“You know that the Princess has a great cat which she is very fond of.
Whoever is clever enough to tread on that cat’s tail is the man she is
destined to marry.”

The King said to himself that this would not be very difficult, and he
left the Fairy, determined to grind the cat’s tail to powder rather than
not tread on it at all.

You may imagine that it was not long before he went to see the Princess,
and puss, as usual, marched in before him, arching his back. The King
took a long step, and quite thought he had the tail under his foot, but
the cat turned round so sharply that he only trod on air. And so it went
on for eight days, till the King began to think that this fatal tail
must be full of quicksilver--it was never still for a moment.

At last, however, he was lucky enough to come upon puss fast asleep and
with his tail conveniently spread out. So the King, without losing a
moment, set his foot upon it heavily.

With one terrific yell the cat sprang up and instantly changed into a
tall man, who, fixing his angry eyes upon the King, said:

“You shall marry the Princess because you have been able to break the
enchantment, but I will have my revenge. You shall have a son, who will
never be happy until he finds out that his nose is too long, and if you
ever tell anyone what I have just said to you, you shall vanish away
instantly, and no one shall ever see you or hear of you again.”

Though the King was horribly afraid of the enchanter, he could not help
laughing at this threat.

“If my son has such a long nose as that,” he said to himself, “he
must always see it or feel it; at least, if he is not blind or without
hands.”

But, as the enchanter had vanished, he did not waste any more time in
thinking, but went to seek the Princess, who very soon consented to
marry him. But after all, they had not been married very long when the
King died, and the Queen had nothing left to care for but her little
son, who was called Hyacinth. The little Prince had large blue eyes, the
prettiest eyes in the world, and a sweet little mouth, but, alas!
his nose was so enormous that it covered half his face. The Queen was
inconsolable when she saw this great nose, but her ladies assured her
that it was not really as large as it looked; that it was a Roman nose,
and you had only to open any history to see that every hero has a large
nose. The Queen, who was devoted to her baby, was pleased with what they
told her, and when she looked at Hyacinth again, his nose certainly did
not seem to her _quite_ so large.

The Prince was brought up with great care; and, as soon as he could
speak, they told him all sorts of dreadful stories about people who had
short noses. No one was allowed to come near him whose nose did not more
or less resemble his own, and the courtiers, to get into favor with the
Queen, took to pulling their babies’ noses several times every day
to make them grow long. But, do what they would, they were nothing by
comparison with the Prince’s.

When he grew sensible he learned history; and whenever any great prince
or beautiful princess was spoken of, his teachers took care to tell him
that they had long noses.

His room was hung with pictures, all of people with very large noses;
and the Prince grew up so convinced that a long nose was a great beauty,
that he would not on any account have had his own a single inch shorter!

When his twentieth birthday was passed the Queen thought it was time
that he should be married, so she commanded that the portraits of
several princesses should be brought for him to see, and among the
others was a picture of the Dear Little Princess!

Now, she was the daughter of a great king, and would some day possess
several kingdoms herself; but Prince Hyacinth had not a thought to spare
for anything of that sort, he was so much struck with her beauty. The
Princess, whom he thought quite charming, had, however, a little saucy
nose, which, in her face, was the prettiest thing possible, but it was
a cause of great embarrassment to the courtiers, who had got into such
a habit of laughing at little noses that they sometimes found themselves
laughing at hers before they had time to think; but this did not do at
all before the Prince, who quite failed to see the joke, and actually
banished two of his courtiers who had dared to mention disrespectfully
the Dear Little Princess’s tiny nose!

The others, taking warning from this, learned to think twice before they
spoke, and one even went so far as to tell the Prince that, though it
was quite true that no man could be worth anything unless he had a
long nose, still, a woman’s beauty was a different thing; and he knew
a learned man who understood Greek and had read in some old manuscripts
that the beautiful Cleopatra herself had a “tip-tilted” nose!

The Prince made him a splendid present as a reward for this good
news, and at once sent ambassadors to ask the Dear Little Princess in
marriage. The King, her father, gave his consent; and Prince Hyacinth,
who, in his anxiety to see the Princess, had gone three leagues to meet
her was just advancing to kiss her hand when, to the horror of all who
stood by, the enchanter appeared as suddenly as a flash of lightning,
and, snatching up the Dear Little Princess, whirled her away out of
their sight!

The Prince was left quite unconsolable, and declared that nothing should
induce him to go back to his kingdom until he had found her again, and
refusing to allow any of his courtiers to follow him, he mounted his
horse and rode sadly away, letting the animal choose his own path.

So it happened that he came presently to a great plain, across which
he rode all day long without seeing a single house, and horse and rider
were terribly hungry, when, as the night fell, the Prince caught sight
of a light, which seemed to shine from a cavern.

He rode up to it, and saw a little old woman, who appeared to be at
least a hundred years old.

She put on her spectacles to look at Prince Hyacinth, but it was quite
a long time before she could fix them securely because her nose was so
very short.

The Prince and the Fairy (for that was who she was) had no sooner looked
at one another than they went into fits of laughter, and cried at the
same moment, “Oh, what a funny nose!”

“Not so funny as your own,” said Prince Hyacinth to the Fairy; “but,
madam, I beg you to leave the consideration of our noses--such as
they are--and to be good enough to give me something to eat, for I am
starving, and so is my poor horse.”

“With all my heart,” said the Fairy. “Though your nose is so ridiculous
you are, nevertheless, the son of my best friend. I loved your father as
if he had been my brother. Now _he_ had a very handsome nose!”

“And pray what does mine lack?” said the Prince.

“Oh! it doesn’t _lack_ anything,” replied the Fairy. “On the contrary
quite, there is only too much of it. But never mind, one may be a very
worthy man though his nose is too long. I was telling you that I was
your father’s friend; he often came to see me in the old times, and you
must know that I was very pretty in those days; at least, he used to say
so. I should like to tell you of a conversation we had the last time I
ever saw him.”

“Indeed,” said the Prince, “when I have supped it will give me the
greatest pleasure to hear it; but consider, madam, I beg of you, that I
have had nothing to eat to-day.”

“The poor boy is right,” said the Fairy; “I was forgetting. Come in,
then, and I will give you some supper, and while you are eating I can
tell you my story in a very few words--for I don’t like endless tales
myself. Too long a tongue is worse than too long a nose, and I remember
when I was young that I was so much admired for not being a great
chatterer. They used to tell the Queen, my mother, that it was so. For
though you see what I am now, I was the daughter of a great king. My
father----”

“Your father, I dare say, got something to eat when he was hungry!”
 interrupted the Prince.

“Oh! certainly,” answered the Fairy, “and you also shall have supper
directly. I only just wanted to tell you----”

“But I really cannot listen to anything until I have had something
to eat,” cried the Prince, who was getting quite angry; but then,
remembering that he had better be polite as he much needed the Fairy’s
help, he added:

“I know that in the pleasure of listening to you I should quite forget
my own hunger; but my horse, who cannot hear you, must really be fed!”

The Fairy was very much flattered by this compliment, and said, calling
to her servants:

“You shall not wait another minute, you are so polite, and in spite of
the enormous size of your nose you are really very agreeable.”

“Plague take the old lady! How she does go on about my nose!” said the
Prince to himself. “One would almost think that mine had taken all the
extra length that hers lacks! If I were not so hungry I would soon have
done with this chatterpie who thinks she talks very little! How stupid
people are not to see their own faults! That comes of being a princess:
she has been spoiled by flatterers, who have made her believe that she
is quite a moderate talker!”

Meanwhile the servants were putting the supper on the table, and the
prince was much amused to hear the Fairy who asked them a thousand
questions simply for the pleasure of hearing herself speak; especially
he noticed one maid who, no matter what was being said, always contrived
to praise her mistress’s wisdom.

“Well!” he thought, as he ate his supper, “I’m very glad I came here.
This just shows me how sensible I have been in never listening to
flatterers. People of that sort praise us to our faces without shame,
and hide our faults or change them into virtues. For my part I never
will be taken in by them. I know my own defects, I hope.”

Poor Prince Hyacinth! He really believed what he said, and hadn’t an
idea that the people who had praised his nose were laughing at him, just
as the Fairy’s maid was laughing at her; for the Prince had seen her
laugh slyly when she could do so without the Fairy’s noticing her.

However, he said nothing, and presently, when his hunger began to be
appeased, the Fairy said:

“My dear Prince, might I beg you to move a little more that way, for
your nose casts such a shadow that I really cannot see what I have on my
plate. Ah! thanks. Now let us speak of your father. When I went to his
Court he was only a little boy, but that is forty years ago, and I have
been in this desolate place ever since. Tell me what goes on nowadays;
are the ladies as fond of amusement as ever? In my time one saw them at
parties, theatres, balls, and promenades every day. Dear me! _what_ a
long nose you have! I cannot get used to it!”

“Really, madam,” said the Prince, “I wish you would leave off mentioning
my nose. It cannot matter to you what it is like. I am quite satisfied
with it, and have no wish to have it shorter. One must take what is
given one.”

“Now you are angry with me, my poor Hyacinth,” said the Fairy, “and I
assure you that I didn’t mean to vex you; on the contrary, I wished to
do you a service. However, though I really cannot help your nose being a
shock to me, I will try not to say anything about it. I will even try to
think that you have an ordinary nose. To tell the truth, it would make
three reasonable ones.”

The Prince, who was no longer hungry, grew so impatient at the Fairy’s
continual remarks about his nose that at last he threw himself upon his
horse and rode hastily away. But wherever he came in his journeyings he
thought the people were mad, for they all talked of his nose, and yet
he could not bring himself to admit that it was too long, he had been so
used all his life to hear it called handsome.

The old Fairy, who wished to make him happy, at last hit upon a plan.
She shut the Dear Little Princess up in a palace of crystal, and put
this palace down where the Prince would not fail to find it. His joy at
seeing the Princess again was extreme, and he set to work with all his
might to try to break her prison; but in spite of all his efforts he
failed utterly. In despair he thought at least that he would try to
get near enough to speak to the Dear Little Princess, who, on her part,
stretched out her hand that he might kiss it; but turn which way he
might, he never could raise it to his lips, for his long nose always
prevented it. For the first time he realized how long it really was, and
exclaimed:

“Well, it must be admitted that my nose _is_ too long!”

In an instant the crystal prison flew into a thousand splinters, and
the old Fairy, taking the Dear Little Princess by the hand, said to the
Prince:

“Now, say if you are not very much obliged to me. Much good it was for
me to talk to you about your nose! You would never have found out how
extraordinary it was if it hadn’t hindered you from doing what you
wanted to. You see how self-love keeps us from knowing our own defects
of mind and body. Our reason tries in vain to show them to us; we refuse
to see them till we find them in the way of our interests.”

Prince Hyacinth, whose nose was now just like anyone’s else, did not
fail to profit by the lesson he had received. He married the Dear Little
Princess, and they lived happily ever after.(1)


(1) Le Prince Desir et la Princesse Mignonne. Par Madame Leprince de
Beaumont.



EAST OF THE SUN AND WEST OF THE MOON


Once upon a time there was a poor husbandman who had many children and
little to give them in the way either of food or clothing. They were all
pretty, but the prettiest of all was the youngest daughter, who was so
beautiful that there were no bounds to her beauty.

So once--it was late on a Thursday evening in autumn, and wild weather
outside, terribly dark, and raining so heavily and blowing so hard that
the walls of the cottage shook again--they were all sitting together by
the fireside, each of them busy with something or other, when suddenly
some one rapped three times against the window-pane. The man went out
to see what could be the matter, and when he got out there stood a great
big white bear.

“Good-evening to you,” said the White Bear.

“Good-evening,” said the man.

“Will you give me your youngest daughter?” said the White Bear; “if you
will, you shall be as rich as you are now poor.”

Truly the man would have had no objection to be rich, but he thought to
himself: “I must first ask my daughter about this,” so he went in and
told them that there was a great white bear outside who had faithfully
promised to make them all rich if he might but have the youngest
daughter.

She said no, and would not hear of it; so the man went out again, and
settled with the White Bear that he should come again next Thursday
evening, and get her answer. Then the man persuaded her, and talked so
much to her about the wealth that they would have, and what a good thing
it would be for herself, that at last she made up her mind to go, and
washed and mended all her rags, made herself as smart as she could, and
held herself in readiness to set out. Little enough had she to take away
with her.

Next Thursday evening the White Bear came to fetch her. She seated
herself on his back with her bundle, and thus they departed. When they
had gone a great part of the way, the White Bear said: “Are you afraid?”

“No, that I am not,” said she.

“Keep tight hold of my fur, and then there is no danger,” said he.

And thus she rode far, far away, until they came to a great mountain.
Then the White Bear knocked on it, and a door opened, and they went into
a castle where there were many brilliantly lighted rooms which shone
with gold and silver, likewise a large hall in which there was a
well-spread table, and it was so magnificent that it would be hard to
make anyone understand how splendid it was. The White Bear gave her a
silver bell, and told her that when she needed anything she had but
to ring this bell, and what she wanted would appear. So after she had
eaten, and night was drawing near, she grew sleepy after her journey,
and thought she would like to go to bed. She rang the bell, and scarcely
had she touched it before she found herself in a chamber where a bed
stood ready made for her, which was as pretty as anyone could wish to
sleep in. It had pillows of silk, and curtains of silk fringed with
gold, and everything that was in the room was of gold or silver, but
when she had lain down and put out the light a man came and lay down
beside her, and behold it was the White Bear, who cast off the form of
a beast during the night. She never saw him, however, for he always came
after she had put out her light, and went away before daylight appeared.

So all went well and happily for a time, but then she began to be very
sad and sorrowful, for all day long she had to go about alone; and
she did so wish to go home to her father and mother and brothers and
sisters. Then the White Bear asked what it was that she wanted, and she
told him that it was so dull there in the mountain, and that she had to
go about all alone, and that in her parents’ house at home there were
all her brothers and sisters, and it was because she could not go to
them that she was so sorrowful.

“There might be a cure for that,” said the White Bear, “if you would
but promise me never to talk with your mother alone, but only when the
others are there too; for she will take hold of your hand,” he said,
“and will want to lead you into a room to talk with you alone; but that
you must by no means do, or you will bring great misery on both of us.”

So one Sunday the White Bear came and said that they could now set out
to see her father and mother, and they journeyed thither, she sitting on
his back, and they went a long, long way, and it took a long, long time;
but at last they came to a large white farmhouse, and her brothers and
sisters were running about outside it, playing, and it was so pretty
that it was a pleasure to look at it.

“Your parents dwell here now,” said the White Bear; “but do not forget
what I said to you, or you will do much harm both to yourself and me.”

“No, indeed,” said she, “I shall never forget;” and as soon as she was
at home the White Bear turned round and went back again.

There were such rejoicings when she went in to her parents that it
seemed as if they would never come to an end. Everyone thought that he
could never be sufficiently grateful to her for all she had done for
them all. Now they had everything that they wanted, and everything was
as good as it could be. They all asked her how she was getting on where
she was. All was well with her too, she said; and she had everything
that she could want. What other answers she gave I cannot say, but I am
pretty sure that they did not learn much from her. But in the afternoon,
after they had dined at midday, all happened just as the White Bear had
said. Her mother wanted to talk with her alone in her own chamber. But
she remembered what the White Bear had said, and would on no account go.
“What we have to say can be said at any time,” she answered. But somehow
or other her mother at last persuaded her, and she was forced to tell
the whole story. So she told how every night a man came and lay down
beside her when the lights were all put out, and how she never saw him,
because he always went away before it grew light in the morning, and how
she continually went about in sadness, thinking how happy she would
be if she could but see him, and how all day long she had to go about
alone, and it was so dull and solitary. “Oh!” cried the mother, in
horror, “you are very likely sleeping with a troll! But I will teach you
a way to see him. You shall have a bit of one of my candles, which you
can take away with you hidden in your breast. Look at him with that when
he is asleep, but take care not to let any tallow drop upon him.”

So she took the candle, and hid it in her breast, and when evening drew
near the White Bear came to fetch her away. When they had gone some
distance on their way, the White Bear asked her if everything had not
happened just as he had foretold, and she could not but own that it had.
“Then, if you have done what your mother wished,” said he, “you have
brought great misery on both of us.” “No,” she said, “I have not done
anything at all.” So when she had reached home and had gone to bed it
was just the same as it had been before, and a man came and lay down
beside her, and late at night, when she could hear that he was sleeping,
she got up and kindled a light, lit her candle, let her light shine on
him, and saw him, and he was the handsomest prince that eyes had ever
beheld, and she loved him so much that it seemed to her that she must
die if she did not kiss him that very moment. So she did kiss him; but
while she was doing it she let three drops of hot tallow fall upon
his shirt, and he awoke. “What have you done now?” said he; “you have
brought misery on both of us. If you had but held out for the space of
one year I should have been free. I have a step-mother who has bewitched
me so that I am a white bear by day and a man by night; but now all is
at an end between you and me, and I must leave you, and go to her. She
lives in a castle which lies east of the sun and west of the moon, and
there too is a princess with a nose which is three ells long, and she
now is the one whom I must marry.”

She wept and lamented, but all in vain, for go he must. Then she asked
him if she could not go with him. But no, that could not be. “Can you
tell me the way then, and I will seek you--that I may surely be allowed
to do!”

“Yes, you may do that,” said he; “but there is no way thither. It lies
east of the sun and west of the moon, and never would you find your way
there.”

When she awoke in the morning both the Prince and the castle were gone,
and she was lying on a small green patch in the midst of a dark, thick
wood. By her side lay the self-same bundle of rags which she had brought
with her from her own home. So when she had rubbed the sleep out of her
eyes, and wept till she was weary, she set out on her way, and thus she
walked for many and many a long day, until at last she came to a great
mountain. Outside it an aged woman was sitting, playing with a golden
apple. The girl asked her if she knew the way to the Prince who lived
with his stepmother in the castle which lay east of the sun and west of
the moon, and who was to marry a princess with a nose which was three
ells long. “How do you happen to know about him?” inquired the old
woman; “maybe you are she who ought to have had him.” “Yes, indeed, I
am,” she said. “So it is you, then?” said the old woman; “I know nothing
about him but that he dwells in a castle which is east of the sun and
west of the moon. You will be a long time in getting to it, if ever you
get to it at all; but you shall have the loan of my horse, and then you
can ride on it to an old woman who is a neighbor of mine: perhaps she
can tell you about him. When you have got there you must just strike the
horse beneath the left ear and bid it go home again; but you may take
the golden apple with you.”

So the girl seated herself on the horse, and rode for a long, long way,
and at last she came to the mountain, where an aged woman was sitting
outside with a gold carding-comb. The girl asked her if she knew the way
to the castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon; but she
said what the first old woman had said: “I know nothing about it, but
that it is east of the sun and west of the moon, and that you will be a
long time in getting to it, if ever you get there at all; but you shall
have the loan of my horse to an old woman who lives the nearest to me:
perhaps she may know where the castle is, and when you have got to her
you may just strike the horse beneath the left ear and bid it go home
again.” Then she gave her the gold carding-comb, for it might, perhaps,
be of use to her, she said.

So the girl seated herself on the horse, and rode a wearisome long way
onward again, and after a very long time she came to a great mountain,
where an aged woman was sitting, spinning at a golden spinning-wheel.
Of this woman, too, she inquired if she knew the way to the Prince, and
where to find the castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon.
But it was only the same thing once again. “Maybe it was you who should
have had the Prince,” said the old woman. “Yes, indeed, I should have
been the one,” said the girl. But this old crone knew the way no better
than the others--it was east of the sun and west of the moon, she knew
that, “and you will be a long time in getting to it, if ever you get
to it at all,” she said; “but you may have the loan of my horse, and I
think you had better ride to the East Wind, and ask him: perhaps he may
know where the castle is, and will blow you thither. But when you have
got to him you must just strike the horse beneath the left ear, and he
will come home again.” And then she gave her the golden spinning-wheel,
saying: “Perhaps you may find that you have a use for it.”

The girl had to ride for a great many days, and for a long and wearisome
time, before she got there; but at last she did arrive, and then she
asked the East Wind if he could tell her the way to the Prince who dwelt
east of the sun and west of the moon. “Well,” said the East Wind, “I
have heard tell of the Prince, and of his castle, but I do not know the
way to it, for I have never blown so far; but, if you like, I will go
with you to my brother the West Wind: he may know that, for he is much
stronger than I am. You may sit on my back, and then I can carry you
there.” So she seated herself on his back, and they did go so swiftly!
When they got there, the East Wind went in and said that the girl whom
he had brought was the one who ought to have had the Prince up at the
castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon, and that now she
was traveling about to find him again, so he had come there with her,
and would like to hear if the West Wind knew whereabout the castle was.
“No,” said the West Wind; “so far as that have I never blown; but if you
like I will go with you to the South Wind, for he is much stronger than
either of us, and he has roamed far and wide, and perhaps he can tell
you what you want to know. You may seat yourself on my back, and then I
will carry you to him.”.

So she did this, and journeyed to the South Wind, neither was she very
long on the way. When they had got there, the West Wind asked him if he
could tell her the way to the castle that lay east of the sun and west
of the moon, for she was the girl who ought to marry the Prince who
lived there. “Oh, indeed!” said the South Wind, “is that she? Well,”
 said he, “I have wandered about a great deal in my time, and in all
kinds of places, but I have never blown so far as that. If you like,
however, I will go with you to my brother, the North Wind; he is the
oldest and strongest of all of us, and if he does not know where it is
no one in the whole world will be able to tell you. You may sit upon
my back, and then I will carry you there.” So she seated herself on his
back, and off he went from his house in great haste, and they were not
long on the way. When they came near the North Wind’s dwelling, he was
so wild and frantic that they felt cold gusts a long while before they
got there. “What do you want?” he roared out from afar, and they froze
as they heard. Said the South Wind: “It is I, and this is she who should
have had the Prince who lives in the castle which lies east of the sun
and west of the moon. And now she wishes to ask you if you have ever
been there, and can tell her the way, for she would gladly find him
again.”

“Yes,” said the North Wind, “I know where it is. I once blew an aspen
leaf there, but I was so tired that for many days afterward I was not
able to blow at all. However, if you really are anxious to go there, and
are not afraid to go with me, I will take you on my back, and try if I
can blow you there.”

“Get there I must,” said she; “and if there is any way of going I will;
and I have no fear, no matter how fast you go.”

“Very well then,” said the North Wind; “but you must sleep here
to-night, for if we are ever to get there we must have the day before
us.”

The North Wind woke her betimes next morning, and puffed himself up, and
made himself so big and so strong that it was frightful to see him, and
away they went, high up through the air, as if they would not stop until
they had reached the very end of the world. Down below there was such a
storm! It blew down woods and houses, and when they were above the sea
the ships were wrecked by hundreds. And thus they tore on and on, and
a long time went by, and then yet more time passed, and still they were
above the sea, and the North Wind grew tired, and more tired, and at
last so utterly weary that he was scarcely able to blow any longer, and
he sank and sank, lower and lower, until at last he went so low that the
waves dashed against the heels of the poor girl he was carrying. “Art
thou afraid?” said the North Wind. “I have no fear,” said she; and it
was true. But they were not very, very far from land, and there was just
enough strength left in the North Wind to enable him to throw her on to
the shore, immediately under the windows of a castle which lay east of
the sun and west of the moon; but then he was so weary and worn out that
he was forced to rest for several days before he could go to his own
home again.

Next morning she sat down beneath the walls of the castle to play with
the golden apple, and the first person she saw was the maiden with the
long nose, who was to have the Prince. “How much do you want for that
gold apple of yours, girl?” said she, opening the window. “It can’t be
bought either for gold or money,” answered the girl. “If it cannot be
bought either for gold or money, what will buy it? You may say what you
please,” said the Princess.

“Well, if I may go to the Prince who is here, and be with him to-night,
you shall have it,” said the girl who had come with the North Wind. “You
may do that,” said the Princess, for she had made up her mind what she
would do. So the Princess got the golden apple, but when the girl went
up to the Prince’s apartment that night he was asleep, for the Princess
had so contrived it. The poor girl called to him, and shook him, and
between whiles she wept; but she could not wake him. In the morning, as
soon as day dawned, in came the Princess with the long nose, and drove
her out again. In the daytime she sat down once more beneath the windows
of the castle, and began to card with her golden carding-comb; and then
all happened as it had happened before. The Princess asked her what she
wanted for it, and she replied that it was not for sale, either for gold
or money, but that if she could get leave to go to the Prince, and be
with him during the night, she should have it. But when she went up to
the Prince’s room he was again asleep, and, let her call him, or shake
him, or weep as she would, he still slept on, and she could not put any
life in him. When daylight came in the morning, the Princess with the
long nose came too, and once more drove her away. When day had quite
come, the girl seated herself under the castle windows, to spin with
her golden spinning-wheel, and the Princess with the long nose wanted to
have that also. So she opened the window, and asked what she would
take for it. The girl said what she had said on each of the former
occasions--that it was not for sale either for gold or for money, but if
she could get leave to go to the Prince who lived there, and be with him
during the night, she should have it.

“Yes,” said the Princess, “I will gladly consent to that.”

But in that place there were some Christian folk who had been carried
off, and they had been sitting in the chamber which was next to that of
the Prince, and had heard how a woman had been in there who had wept and
called on him two nights running, and they told the Prince of this. So
that evening, when the Princess came once more with her sleeping-drink,
he pretended to drink, but threw it away behind him, for he suspected
that it was a sleeping-drink. So, when the girl went into the Prince’s
room this time he was awake, and she had to tell him how she had come
there. “You have come just in time,” said the Prince, “for I should have
been married to-morrow; but I will not have the long-nosed Princess, and
you alone can save me. I will say that I want to see what my bride can
do, and bid her wash the shirt which has the three drops of tallow on
it. This she will consent to do, for she does not know that it is you
who let them fall on it; but no one can wash them out but one born of
Christian folk: it cannot be done by one of a pack of trolls; and then
I will say that no one shall ever be my bride but the woman who can do
this, and I know that you can.” There was great joy and gladness between
them all that night, but the next day, when the wedding was to take
place, the Prince said, “I must see what my bride can do.” “That you may
do,” said the stepmother.

“I have a fine shirt which I want to wear as my wedding shirt, but three
drops of tallow have got upon it which I want to have washed off, and
I have vowed to marry no one but the woman who is able to do it. If she
cannot do that, she is not worth having.”

Well, that was a very small matter, they thought, and agreed to do it.
The Princess with the long nose began to wash as well as she could,
but, the more she washed and rubbed, the larger the spots grew. “Ah! you
can’t wash at all,” said the old troll-hag, who was her mother. “Give it
to me.” But she too had not had the shirt very long in her hands before
it looked worse still, and, the more she washed it and rubbed it, the
larger and blacker grew the spots.

So the other trolls had to come and wash, but, the more they did, the
blacker and uglier grew the shirt, until at length it was as black as if
it had been up the chimney. “Oh,” cried the Prince, “not one of you is
good for anything at all! There is a beggar-girl sitting outside the
window, and I’ll be bound that she can wash better than any of you! Come
in, you girl there!” he cried. So she came in. “Can you wash this shirt
clean?” he cried. “Oh! I don’t know,” she said; “but I will try.” And
no sooner had she taken the shirt and dipped it in the water than it
was white as driven snow, and even whiter than that. “I will marry you,”
 said the Prince.

Then the old troll-hag flew into such a rage that she burst, and the
Princess with the long nose and all the little trolls must have burst
too, for they have never been heard of since. The Prince and his bride
set free all the Christian folk who were imprisoned there, and took away
with them all the gold and silver that they could carry, and moved far
away from the castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon.(1)


(1) Asbjornsen and Moe.



THE YELLOW DWARF


Once upon a time there lived a queen who had been the mother of a great
many children, and of them all only one daughter was left. But then
_she_ was worth at least a thousand.

Her mother, who, since the death of the King, her father, had nothing in
the world she cared for so much as this little Princess, was so terribly
afraid of losing her that she quite spoiled her, and never tried to
correct any of her faults. The consequence was that this little person,
who was as pretty as possible, and was one day to wear a crown, grew
up so proud and so much in love with her own beauty that she despised
everyone else in the world.

The Queen, her mother, by her caresses and flatteries, helped to make
her believe that there was nothing too good for her. She was dressed
almost always in the prettiest frocks, as a fairy, or as a queen going
out to hunt, and the ladies of the Court followed her dressed as forest
fairies.

And to make her more vain than ever the Queen caused her portrait to be
taken by the cleverest painters and sent it to several neighboring kings
with whom she was very friendly.

When they saw this portrait they fell in love with the Princess--every
one of them, but upon each it had a different effect. One fell ill, one
went quite crazy, and a few of the luckiest set off to see her as soon
as possible, but these poor princes became her slaves the moment they
set eyes on her.

Never has there been a gayer Court. Twenty delightful kings did
everything they could think of to make themselves agreeable, and after
having spent ever so much money in giving a single entertainment thought
themselves very lucky if the Princess said “That’s pretty.”

All this admiration vastly pleased the Queen. Not a day passed but
she received seven or eight thousand sonnets, and as many elegies,
madrigals, and songs, which were sent her by all the poets in the
world. All the prose and the poetry that was written just then was about
Bellissima--for that was the Princess’s name--and all the bonfires that
they had were made of these verses, which crackled and sparkled better
than any other sort of wood.

Bellissima was already fifteen years old, and every one of the Princes
wished to marry her, but not one dared to say so. How could they when
they knew that any of them might have cut off his head five or six times
a day just to please her, and she would have thought it a mere trifle,
so little did she care? You may imagine how hard-hearted her lovers
thought her; and the Queen, who wished to see her married, did not know
how to persuade her to think of it seriously.

“Bellissima,” she said, “I do wish you would not be so proud. What makes
you despise all these nice kings? I wish you to marry one of them, and
you do not try to please me.”

“I am so happy,” Bellissima answered: “do leave me in peace, madam. I
don’t want to care for anyone.”

“But you would be very happy with any of these Princes,” said the Queen,
“and I shall be very angry if you fall in love with anyone who is not
worthy of you.”

But the Princess thought so much of herself that she did not consider
any one of her lovers clever or handsome enough for her; and her mother,
who was getting really angry at her determination not to be married,
began to wish that she had not allowed her to have her own way so much.

At last, not knowing what else to do, she resolved to consult a certain
witch who was called “The Fairy of the Desert.” Now this was very
difficult to do, as she was guarded by some terrible lions; but happily
the Queen had heard a long time before that whoever wanted to pass
these lions safely must throw to them a cake made of millet flour,
sugar-candy, and crocodile’s eggs. This cake she prepared with her own
hands, and putting it in a little basket, she set out to seek the Fairy.
But as she was not used to walking far, she soon felt very tired and sat
down at the foot of a tree to rest, and presently fell fast asleep. When
she awoke she was dismayed to find her basket empty. The cake was all
gone! and, to make matters worse, at that moment she heard the roaring
of the great lions, who had found out that she was near and were coming
to look for her.

“What shall I do?” she cried; “I shall be eaten up,” and being too
frightened to run a single step, she began to cry, and leaned against
the tree under which she had been asleep.

Just then she heard some one say: “H’m, h’m!”

She looked all round her, and then up the tree, and there she saw a
little tiny man, who was eating oranges.

“Oh! Queen,” said he, “I know you very well, and I know how much afraid
you are of the lions; and you are quite right too, for they have eaten
many other people: and what can you expect, as you have not any cake to
give them?”

“I must make up my mind to die,” said the poor Queen. “Alas! I should
not care so much if only my dear daughter were married.”

“Oh! you have a daughter,” cried the Yellow Dwarf (who was so called
because he _was_ a dwarf and had such a yellow face, and lived in the
orange tree). “I’m really glad to hear that, for I’ve been looking for
a wife all over the world. Now, if you will promise that she shall marry
me, not one of the lions, tigers, or bears shall touch you.”

The Queen looked at him and was almost as much afraid of his ugly little
face as she had been of the lions before, so that she could not speak a
word.

“What! you hesitate, madam,” cried the Dwarf. “You must be very fond of
being eaten up alive.”

And, as he spoke, the Queen saw the lions, which were running down a
hill toward them.

Each one had two heads, eight feet, and four rows of teeth, and their
skins were as hard as turtle shells, and were bright red.

At this dreadful sight, the poor Queen, who was trembling like a dove
when it sees a hawk, cried out as loud as she could, “Oh! dear Mr.
Dwarf, Bellissima shall marry you.”

“Oh, indeed!” said he disdainfully. “Bellissima is pretty enough, but I
don’t particularly want to marry her--you can keep her.”

“Oh! noble sir,” said the Queen in great distress, “do not refuse her.
She is the most charming Princess in the world.”

“Oh! well,” he replied, “out of charity I will take her; but be sure and
don’t forget that she is mine.”

As he spoke a little door opened in the trunk of the orange tree, in
rushed the Queen, only just in time, and the door shut with a bang in
the faces of the lions.

The Queen was so confused that at first she did not notice another
little door in the orange tree, but presently it opened and she found
herself in a field of thistles and nettles. It was encircled by a muddy
ditch, and a little further on was a tiny thatched cottage, out of which
came the Yellow Dwarf with a very jaunty air. He wore wooden shoes and
a little yellow coat, and as he had no hair and very long ears he looked
altogether a shocking little object.

“I am delighted,” said he to the Queen, “that, as you are to be my
mother-in-law, you should see the little house in which your Bellissima
will live with me. With these thistles and nettles she can feed a donkey
which she can ride whenever she likes; under this humble roof no
weather can hurt her; she will drink the water of this brook and eat
frogs--which grow very fat about here; and then she will have me always
with her, handsome, agreeable, and gay as you see me now. For if her
shadow stays by her more closely than I do I shall be surprised.”

The unhappy Queen, seeing all at once what a miserable life her daughter
would have with this Dwarf could not bear the idea, and fell down
insensible without saying a word.

When she revived she found to her great surprise that she was lying in
her own bed at home, and, what was more, that she had on the loveliest
lace night cap that she had ever seen in her life. At first she thought
that all her adventures, the terrible lions, and her promise to the
Yellow Dwarf that he should marry Bellissima, must have been a dream,
but there was the new cap with its beautiful ribbon and lace to remind
her that it was all true, which made her so unhappy that she could
neither eat, drink, nor sleep for thinking of it.

The Princess, who, in spite of her wilfulness, really loved her mother
with all her heart, was much grieved when she saw her looking so sad,
and often asked her what was the matter; but the Queen, who didn’t want
her to find out the truth, only said that she was ill, or that one of
her neighbors was threatening to make war against her. Bellissima knew
quite well that something was being hidden from her--and that neither of
these was the real reason of the Queen’s uneasiness. So she made up her
mind that she would go and consult the Fairy of the Desert about it,
especially as she had often heard how wise she was, and she thought that
at the same time she might ask her advice as to whether it would be as
well to be married, or not.

So, with great care, she made some of the proper cake to pacify the
lions, and one night went up to her room very early, pretending that
she was going to bed; but instead of that, she wrapped herself in a long
white veil, and went down a secret staircase, and set off all by herself
to find the Witch.

But when she got as far as the same fatal orange tree, and saw it
covered with flowers and fruit, she stopped and began to gather some
of the oranges--and then, putting down her basket, she sat down to eat
them. But when it was time to go on again the basket had disappeared
and, though she looked everywhere, not a trace of it could she find.
The more she hunted for it, the more frightened she got, and at last she
began to cry. Then all at once she saw before her the Yellow Dwarf.

“What’s the matter with you, my pretty one?” said he. “What are you
crying about?”

“Alas!” she answered; “no wonder that I am crying, seeing that I have
lost the basket of cake that was to help me to get safely to the cave of
the Fairy of the Desert.”

“And what do you want with her, pretty one?” said the little monster,
“for I am a friend of hers, and, for the matter of that, I am quite as
clever as she is.”

“The Queen, my mother,” replied the Princess, “has lately fallen into
such deep sadness that I fear that she will die; and I am afraid that
perhaps I am the cause of it, for she very much wishes me to be married,
and I must tell you truly that as yet I have not found anyone I consider
worthy to be my husband. So for all these reasons I wished to talk to
the Fairy.”

“Do not give yourself any further trouble, Princess,” answered the
Dwarf. “I can tell you all you want to know better than she could. The
Queen, your mother, has promised you in marriage----”

“Has promised _me!_” interrupted the Princess. “Oh! no. I’m sure she has
not. She would have told me if she had. I am too much interested in
the matter for her to promise anything without my consent--you must be
mistaken.”

“Beautiful Princess,” cried the Dwarf suddenly, throwing himself on his
knees before her, “I flatter myself that you will not be displeased
at her choice when I tell you that it is to _me_ she has promised the
happiness of marrying you.”

“You!” cried Bellissima, starting back. “My mother wishes me to marry
you! How can you be so silly as to think of such a thing?”

“Oh! it isn’t that I care much to have that honor,” cried the Dwarf
angrily; “but here are the lions coming; they’ll eat you up in three
mouthfuls, and there will be an end of you and your pride.”

And, indeed, at that moment the poor Princess heard their dreadful howls
coming nearer and nearer.

“What shall I do?” she cried. “Must all my happy days come to an end
like this?”

The malicious Dwarf looked at her and began to laugh spitefully. “At
least,” said he, “you have the satisfaction of dying unmarried. A lovely
Princess like you must surely prefer to die rather than be the wife of a
poor little dwarf like myself.”

“Oh, don’t be angry with me,” cried the Princess, clasping her hands.
“I’d rather marry all the dwarfs in the world than die in this horrible
way.”

“Look at me well, Princess, before you give me your word,” said he. “I
don’t want you to promise me in a hurry.”

“Oh!” cried she, “the lions are coming. I have looked at you enough. I
am so frightened. Save me this minute, or I shall die of terror.”

Indeed, as she spoke she fell down insensible, and when she recovered
she found herself in her own little bed at home; how she got there
she could not tell, but she was dressed in the most beautiful lace and
ribbons, and on her finger was a little ring, made of a single red hair,
which fitted so tightly that, try as she might, she could not get it
off.

When the Princess saw all these things, and remembered what had
happened, she, too, fell into the deepest sadness, which surprised and
alarmed the whole Court, and the Queen more than anyone else. A hundred
times she asked Bellissima if anything was the matter with her; but she
always said that there was nothing.

At last the chief men of the kingdom, anxious to see their Princess
married, sent to the Queen to beg her to choose a husband for her as
soon as possible. She replied that nothing would please her better, but
that her daughter seemed so unwilling to marry, and she recommended them
to go and talk to the Princess about it themselves so this they at once
did. Now Bellissima was much less proud since her adventure with the
Yellow Dwarf, and she could not think of a better way of getting rid
of the little monster than to marry some powerful king, therefore she
replied to their request much more favorably than they had hoped, saying
that, though she was very happy as she was, still, to please them, she
would consent to marry the King of the Gold Mines. Now he was a very
handsome and powerful Prince, who had been in love with the Princess for
years, but had not thought that she would ever care about him at all.
You can easily imagine how delighted he was when he heard the news,
and how angry it made all the other kings to lose for ever the hope of
marrying the Princess; but, after all, Bellissima could not have married
twenty kings--indeed, she had found it quite difficult enough to choose
one, for her vanity made her believe that there was nobody in the world
who was worthy of her.

Preparations were begun at once for the grandest wedding that had ever
been held at the palace. The King of the Gold Mines sent such immense
sums of money that the whole sea was covered with the ships that brought
it. Messengers were sent to all the gayest and most refined Courts,
particularly to the Court of France, to seek out everything rare and
precious to adorn the Princess, although her beauty was so perfect that
nothing she wore could make her look prettier. At least that is what
the King of the Gold Mines thought, and he was never happy unless he was
with her.

As for the Princess, the more she saw of the King the more she liked
him; he was so generous, so handsome and clever, that at last she was
almost as much in love with him as he was with her. How happy they were
as they wandered about in the beautiful gardens together, sometimes
listening to sweet music! And the King used to write songs for
Bellissima. This is one that she liked very much:

  In the forest all is gay
  When my Princess walks that way.
  All the blossoms then are found
  Downward fluttering to the ground,
  Hoping she may tread on them.
  And bright flowers on slender stem
  Gaze up at her as she passes
  Brushing lightly through the grasses.
  Oh! my Princess, birds above
  Echo back our songs of love,
  As through this enchanted land
  Blithe we wander, hand in hand.


They really were as happy as the day was long. All the King’s
unsuccessful rivals had gone home in despair. They said good-by to the
Princess so sadly that she could not help being sorry for them.

“Ah! madam,” the King of the Gold Mines said to her “how is this? Why
do you waste your pity on these princes, who love you so much that all
their trouble would be well repaid by a single smile from you?”

“I should be sorry,” answered Bellissima, “if you had not noticed how
much I pitied these princes who were leaving me for ever; but for you,
sire, it is very different: you have every reason to be pleased with
me, but they are going sorrowfully away, so you must not grudge them my
compassion.”

The King of the Gold Mines was quite overcome by the Princess’s
good-natured way of taking his interference, and, throwing himself at
her feet, he kissed her hand a thousand times and begged her to forgive
him.

At last the happy day came. Everything was ready for Bellissima’s
wedding. The trumpets sounded, all the streets of the town were hung
with flags and strewn with flowers, and the people ran in crowds to the
great square before the palace. The Queen was so overjoyed that she had
hardly been able to sleep at all, and she got up before it was light to
give the necessary orders and to choose the jewels that the Princess was
to wear. These were nothing less than diamonds, even to her shoes, which
were covered with them, and her dress of silver brocade was embroidered
with a dozen of the sun’s rays. You may imagine how much these had cost;
but then nothing could have been more brilliant, except the beauty of
the Princess! Upon her head she wore a splendid crown, her lovely
hair waved nearly to her feet, and her stately figure could easily be
distinguished among all the ladies who attended her.

The King of the Gold Mines was not less noble and splendid; it was easy
to see by his face how happy he was, and everyone who went near him
returned loaded with presents, for all round the great banqueting hall
had been arranged a thousand barrels full of gold, and numberless bags
made of velvet embroidered with pearls and filled with money, each one
containing at least a hundred thousand gold pieces, which were given
away to everyone who liked to hold out his hand, which numbers of people
hastened to do, you may be sure--indeed, some found this by far the most
amusing part of the wedding festivities.

The Queen and the Princess were just ready to set out with the King when
they saw, advancing toward them from the end of the long gallery, two
great basilisks, dragging after them a very badly made box; behind them
came a tall old woman, whose ugliness was even more surprising than her
extreme old age. She wore a ruff of black taffeta, a red velvet hood,
and a farthingale all in rags, and she leaned heavily upon a crutch.
This strange old woman, without saying a single word, hobbled three
times round the gallery, followed by the basilisks, then stopping in the
middle, and brandishing her crutch threateningly, she cried:

“Ho, ho, Queen! Ho, ho, Princess! Do you think you are going to break
with impunity the promise that you made to my friend the Yellow Dwarf? I
am the Fairy of the Desert; without the Yellow Dwarf and his orange
tree my great lions would soon have eaten you up, I can tell you, and in
Fairyland we do not suffer ourselves to be insulted like this. Make up
your minds at once what you will do, for I vow that you shall marry the
Yellow Dwarf. If you don’t, may I burn my crutch!”

“Ah! Princess,” said the Queen, weeping, “what is this that I hear? What
have you promised?”

“Ah! my mother,” replied Bellissima sadly, “what did _you_ promise,
yourself?”

The King of the Gold Mines, indignant at being kept from his happiness
by this wicked old woman, went up to her, and threatening her with his
sword, said:

“Get away out of my country at once, and for ever, miserable creature,
lest I take your life, and so rid myself of your malice.”

He had hardly spoken these words when the lid of the box fell back on
the floor with a terrible noise, and to their horror out sprang the
Yellow Dwarf, mounted upon a great Spanish cat. “Rash youth!” he cried,
rushing between the Fairy of the Desert and the King. “Dare to lay a
finger upon this illustrious Fairy! Your quarrel is with me only. I
am your enemy and your rival. That faithless Princess who would have
married you is promised to me. See if she has not upon her finger a ring
made of one of my hairs. Just try to take it off, and you will soon find
out that I am more powerful than you are!”

“Wretched little monster!” said the King; “do you dare to call yourself
the Princess’s lover, and to lay claim to such a treasure? Do you know
that you are a dwarf--that you are so ugly that one cannot bear to look
at you--and that I should have killed you myself long before this if you
had been worthy of such a glorious death?”

The Yellow Dwarf, deeply enraged at these words, set spurs to his
cat, which yelled horribly, and leaped hither and thither--terrifying
everybody except the brave King, who pursued the Dwarf closely, till he,
drawing a great knife with which he was armed, challenged the King to
meet him in single combat, and rushed down into the courtyard of the
palace with a terrible clatter. The King, quite provoked, followed him
hastily, but they had hardly taken their places facing one another, and
the whole Court had only just had time to rush out upon the balconies to
watch what was going on, when suddenly the sun became as red as blood,
and it was so dark that they could scarcely see at all. The thunder
crashed, and the lightning seemed as if it must burn up everything; the
two basilisks appeared, one on each side of the bad Dwarf, like giants,
mountains high, and fire flew from their mouths and ears, until they
looked like flaming furnaces. None of these things could terrify the
noble young King, and the boldness of his looks and actions reassured
those who were looking on, and perhaps even embarrassed the Yellow Dwarf
himself; but even _his_ courage gave way when he saw what was happening
to his beloved Princess. For the Fairy of the Desert, looking more
terrible than before, mounted upon a winged griffin, and with long
snakes coiled round her neck, had given her such a blow with the lance
she carried that Bellissima fell into the Queen’s arms bleeding and
senseless. Her fond mother, feeling as much hurt by the blow as the
Princess herself, uttered such piercing cries and lamentations that
the King, hearing them, entirely lost his courage and presence of mind.
Giving up the combat, he flew toward the Princess, to rescue or to die
with her; but the Yellow Dwarf was too quick for him. Leaping with his
Spanish cat upon the balcony, he snatched Bellissima from the Queen’s
arms, and before any of the ladies of the Court could stop him he had
sprung upon the roof of the palace and disappeared with his prize.

The King, motionless with horror, looked on despairingly at this
dreadful occurrence, which he was quite powerless to prevent, and to
make matters worse his sight failed him, everything became dark, and he
felt himself carried along through the air by a strong hand.

This new misfortune was the work of the wicked Fairy of the Desert, who
had come with the Yellow Dwarf to help him carry off the Princess,
and had fallen in love with the handsome young King of the Gold Mines
directly she saw him. She thought that if she carried him off to some
frightful cavern and chained him to a rock, then the fear of death would
make him forget Bellissima and become her slave. So, as soon as they
reached the place, she gave him back his sight, but without releasing
him from his chains, and by her magic power she appeared before him as
a young and beautiful fairy, and pretended to have come there quite by
chance.

“What do I see?” she cried. “Is it _you_, dear Prince? What misfortune
has brought you to this dismal place?”

The King, who was quite deceived by her altered appearance, replied:

“Alas! beautiful Fairy, the fairy who brought me here first took away
my sight, but by her voice I recognized her as the Fairy of the Desert,
though what she should have carried me off for I cannot tell you.”

“Ah!” cried the pretended Fairy, “if you have fallen into _her_ hands,
you won’t get away until you have married her. She has carried off more
than one Prince like this, and she will certainly have anything she
takes a fancy to.” While she was thus pretending to be sorry for the
King, he suddenly noticed her feet, which were like those of a griffin,
and knew in a moment that this must be the Fairy of the Desert, for her
feet were the one thing she could not change, however pretty she might
make her face.

Without seeming to have noticed anything, he said, in a confidential
way:

“Not that I have any dislike to the Fairy of the Desert, but I really
cannot endure the way in which she protects the Yellow Dwarf and keeps
me chained here like a criminal. It is true that I love a charming
princess, but if the Fairy should set me free my gratitude would oblige
me to love her only.”

“Do you really mean what you say, Prince?” said the Fairy, quite
deceived.

“Surely,” replied the Prince; “how could I deceive you? You see it is
so much more flattering to my vanity to be loved by a fairy than by
a simple princess. But, even if I am dying of love for her, I shall
pretend to hate her until I am set free.”

The Fairy of the Desert, quite taken in by these words, resolved at once
to transport the Prince to a pleasanter place. So, making him mount
her chariot, to which she had harnessed swans instead of the bats which
generally drew it, away she flew with him. But imagine the distress
of the Prince when, from the giddy height at which they were rushing
through the air, he saw his beloved Princess in a castle built of
polished steel, the walls of which reflected the sun’s rays so
hotly that no one could approach it without being burnt to a cinder!
Bellissima was sitting in a little thicket by a brook, leaning her head
upon her hand and weeping bitterly, but just as they passed she looked
up and saw the King and the Fairy of the Desert. Now, the Fairy was so
clever that she could not only seem beautiful to the King, but even the
poor Princess thought her the most lovely being she had ever seen.

“What!” she cried; “was I not unhappy enough in this lonely castle to
which that frightful Yellow Dwarf brought me? Must I also be made to
know that the King of the Gold Mines ceased to love me as soon as he
lost sight of me? But who can my rival be, whose fatal beauty is greater
than mine?”

While she was saying this, the King, who really loved her as much as
ever, was feeling terribly sad at being so rapidly torn away from his
beloved Princess, but he knew too well how powerful the Fairy was to
have any hope of escaping from her except by great patience and cunning.

The Fairy of the Desert had also seen Bellissima, and she tried to read
in the King’s eyes the effect that this unexpected sight had had upon
him.

“No one can tell you what you wish to know better than I can,” said
he. “This chance meeting with an unhappy princess for whom I once had a
passing fancy, before I was lucky enough to meet you, has affected me a
little, I admit, but you are so much more to me than she is that I would
rather die than leave you.”

“Ah, Prince,” she said, “can I believe that you really love me so much?”

“Time will show, madam,” replied the King; “but if you wish to convince
me that you have some regard for me, do not, I beg of you, refuse to aid
Bellissima.”

“Do you know what you are asking?” said the Fairy of the Desert,
frowning, and looking at him suspiciously. “Do you want me to employ my
art against the Yellow Dwarf, who is my best friend, and take away from
him a proud princess whom I can but look upon as my rival?”

The King sighed, but made no answer--indeed, what was there to be said
to such a clear-sighted person? At last they reached a vast meadow, gay
with all sorts of flowers; a deep river surrounded it, and many little
brooks murmured softly under the shady trees, where it was always cool
and fresh. A little way off stood a splendid palace, the walls of
which were of transparent emeralds. As soon as the swans which drew
the Fairy’s chariot had alighted under a porch, which was paved with
diamonds and had arches of rubies, they were greeted on all sides by
thousands of beautiful beings, who came to meet them joyfully, singing
these words:

  “When Love within a heart would reign,
       Useless to strive against him ‘tis.
  The proud but feel a sharper pain,
       And make a greater triumph his.”


The Fairy of the Desert was delighted to hear them sing of her triumphs;
she led the King into the most splendid room that can be imagined, and
left him alone for a little while, just that he might not feel that
he was a prisoner; but he felt sure that she had not really gone quite
away, but was watching him from some hiding-place. So walking up to a
great mirror, he said to it, “Trusty counsellor, let me see what I can
do to make myself agreeable to the charming Fairy of the Desert; for I
can think of nothing but how to please her.”

And he at once set to work to curl his hair, and, seeing upon a table a
grander coat than his own, he put it on carefully. The Fairy came back
so delighted that she could not conceal her joy.

“I am quite aware of the trouble you have taken to please me,” said she,
“and I must tell you that you have succeeded perfectly already. You see
it is not difficult to do if you really care for me.”

The King, who had his own reasons for wishing to keep the old Fairy in
a good humor, did not spare pretty speeches, and after a time he was
allowed to walk by himself upon the sea-shore. The Fairy of the Desert
had by her enchantments raised such a terrible storm that the boldest
pilot would not venture out in it, so she was not afraid of her
prisoner’s being able to escape; and he found it some relief to think
sadly over his terrible situation without being interrupted by his cruel
captor.

Presently, after walking wildly up and down, he wrote these verses upon
the sand with his stick:

     “At last may I upon this shore
       Lighten my sorrow with soft tears.
     Alas! alas! I see no more
       My Love, who yet my sadness cheers.

     “And thou, O raging, stormy Sea,
       Stirred by wild winds, from depth to height,
     Thou hold’st my loved one far from me,
       And I am captive to thy might.

     “My heart is still more wild than thine,
       For Fate is cruel unto me.
     Why must I thus in exile pine?
       Why is my Princess snatched from me?

     “O! lovely Nymphs, from ocean caves,
       Who know how sweet true love may be,
     Come up and calm the furious waves
       And set a desperate lover free!”


While he was still writing he heard a voice which attracted his
attention in spite of himself. Seeing that the waves were rolling in
higher than ever, he looked all round, and presently saw a lovely lady
floating gently toward him upon the crest of a huge billow, her long
hair spread all about her; in one hand she held a mirror, and in the
other a comb, and instead of feet she had a beautiful tail like a fish,
with which she swam.

The King was struck dumb with astonishment at this unexpected sight; but
as soon as she came within speaking distance, she said to him, “I know
how sad you are at losing your Princess and being kept a prisoner by
the Fairy of the Desert; if you like I will help you to escape from this
fatal place, where you may otherwise have to drag on a weary existence
for thirty years or more.”

The King of the Gold Mines hardly knew what answer to make to this
proposal. Not because he did not wish very much to escape, but he was
afraid that this might be only another device by which the Fairy of
the Desert was trying to deceive him. As he hesitated the Mermaid, who
guessed his thoughts, said to him:

“You may trust me: I am not trying to entrap you. I am so angry with the
Yellow Dwarf and the Fairy of the Desert that I am not likely to wish to
help them, especially since I constantly see your poor Princess, whose
beauty and goodness make me pity her so much; and I tell you that if you
will have confidence in me I will help you to escape.”

“I trust you absolutely,” cried the King, “and I will do whatever you
tell me; but if you have seen my Princess I beg of you to tell me how
she is and what is happening to her.

“We must not waste time in talking,” said she. “Come with me and I will
carry you to the Castle of Steel, and we will leave upon this shore a
figure so like you that even the Fairy herself will be deceived by it.”

So saying, she quickly collected a bundle of sea-weed, and, blowing it
three times, she said:

“My friendly sea-weeds, I order you to stay here stretched upon the sand
until the Fairy of the Desert comes to take you away.” And at once
the sea-weeds became like the King, who stood looking at them in great
astonishment, for they were even dressed in a coat like his, but they
lay there pale and still as the King himself might have lain if one
of the great waves had overtaken him and thrown him senseless upon
the shore. And then the Mermaid caught up the King, and away they swam
joyfully together.

“Now,” said she, “I have time to tell you about the Princess. In spite
of the blow which the Fairy of the Desert gave her, the Yellow Dwarf
compelled her to mount behind him upon his terrible Spanish cat; but she
soon fainted away with pain and terror, and did not recover till they
were within the walls of his frightful Castle of Steel. Here she was
received by the prettiest girls it was possible to find, who had been
carried there by the Yellow Dwarf, who hastened to wait upon her and
showed her every possible attention. She was laid upon a couch covered
with cloth of gold, embroidered with pearls as big as nuts.”

“Ah!” interrupted the King of the Gold Mines, “if Bellissima forgets me,
and consents to marry him, I shall break my heart.”

“You need not be afraid of that,” answered the Mermaid, “the Princess
thinks of no one but you, and the frightful Dwarf cannot persuade her to
look at him.”

“Pray go on with your story,” said the King.

“What more is there to tell you?” replied the Mermaid. “Bellissima was
sitting in the wood when you passed, and saw you with the Fairy of the
Desert, who was so cleverly disguised that the Princess took her to be
prettier than herself; you may imagine her despair, for she thought that
you had fallen in love with her.”

“She believes that I love her!” cried the King. “What a fatal mistake!
What is to be done to undeceive her?”

“You know best,” answered the Mermaid, smiling kindly at him. “When
people are as much in love with one another as you two are, they don’t
need advice from anyone else.”

As she spoke they reached the Castle of Steel, the side next the sea
being the only one which the Yellow Dwarf had left unprotected by the
dreadful burning walls.

“I know quite well,” said the Mermaid, “that the Princess is sitting by
the brook-side, just where you saw her as you passed, but as you will
have many enemies to fight with before you can reach her, take this
sword; armed with it you may dare any danger, and overcome the greatest
difficulties, only beware of one thing--that is, never to let it fall
from your hand. Farewell; now I will wait by that rock, and if you need
my help in carrying off your beloved Princess I will not fail you, for
the Queen, her mother, is my best friend, and it was for her sake that I
went to rescue you.”

So saying, she gave to the King a sword made from a single diamond,
which was more brilliant than the sun. He could not find words to
express his gratitude, but he begged her to believe that he fully
appreciated the importance of her gift, and would never forget her help
and kindness.

We must now go back to the Fairy of the Desert. When she found that the
King did not return, she hastened out to look for him, and reached the
shore, with a hundred of the ladies of her train, loaded with splendid
presents for him. Some carried baskets full of diamonds, others golden
cups of wonderful workmanship, and amber, coral, and pearls, others,
again, balanced upon their heads bales of the richest and most beautiful
stuffs, while the rest brought fruit and flowers, and even birds. But
what was the horror of the Fairy, who followed this gay troop, when she
saw, stretched upon the sands, the image of the King which the Mermaid
had made with the sea-weeds. Struck with astonishment and sorrow, she
uttered a terrible cry, and threw herself down beside the pretended
King, weeping, and howling, and calling upon her eleven sisters, who
were also fairies, and who came to her assistance. But they were all
taken in by the image of the King, for, clever as they were, the Mermaid
was still cleverer, and all they could do was to help the Fairy of the
Desert to make a wonderful monument over what they thought was the grave
of the King of the Gold Mines. But while they were collecting jasper
and porphyry, agate and marble, gold and bronze, statues and devices,
to immortalize the King’s memory, he was thanking the good Mermaid and
begging her still to help him, which she graciously promised to do as
she disappeared; and then he set out for the Castle of Steel. He walked
fast, looking anxiously round him, and longing once more to see his
darling Bellissima, but he had not gone far before he was surrounded by
four terrible sphinxes who would very soon have torn him to pieces with
their sharp talons if it had not been for the Mermaid’s diamond sword.
For, no sooner had he flashed it before their eyes than down they fell
at his feet quite helpless, and he killed them with one blow. But he
had hardly turned to continue his search when he met six dragons covered
with scales that were harder than iron. Frightful as this encounter was
the King’s courage was unshaken, and by the aid of his wonderful sword
he cut them in pieces one after the other. Now he hoped his difficulties
were over, but at the next turning he was met by one which he did
not know how to overcome. Four-and-twenty pretty and graceful nymphs
advanced toward him, holding garlands of flowers, with which they barred
the way.

“Where are you going, Prince?” they said; “it is our duty to guard this
place, and if we let you pass great misfortunes will happen to you
and to us. We beg you not to insist upon going on. Do you want to kill
four-and-twenty girls who have never displeased you in any way?”

The King did not know what to do or to say. It went against all his
ideas as a knight to do anything a lady begged him not to do; but, as he
hesitated, a voice in his ear said:

“Strike! strike! and do not spare, or your Princess is lost for ever!”

So, without reply to the nymphs, he rushed forward instantly, breaking
their garlands, and scattering them in all directions; and then went
on without further hindrance to the little wood where he had seen
Bellissima. She was seated by the brook looking pale and weary when he
reached her, and he would have thrown himself down at her feet, but she
drew herself away from him with as much indignation as if he had been
the Yellow Dwarf.

“Ah! Princess,” he cried, “do not be angry with me. Let me explain
everything. I am not faithless or to blame for what has happened. I am
a miserable wretch who has displeased you without being able to help
himself.”

“Ah!” cried Bellissima, “did I not see you flying through the air with
the loveliest being imaginable? Was that against your will?”

“Indeed it was, Princess,” he answered; “the wicked Fairy of the Desert,
not content with chaining me to a rock, carried me off in her chariot to
the other end of the earth, where I should even now be a captive but for
the unexpected help of a friendly mermaid, who brought me here to rescue
you, my Princess, from the unworthy hands that hold you. Do not refuse
the aid of your most faithful lover.” So saying, he threw himself at her
feet and held her by her robe. But, alas! in so doing he let fall the
magic sword, and the Yellow Dwarf, who was crouching behind a lettuce,
no sooner saw it than he sprang out and seized it, well knowing its
wonderful power.

The Princess gave a cry of terror on seeing the Dwarf, but this only
irritated the little monster; muttering a few magical words he summoned
two giants, who bound the King with great chains of iron.

“Now,” said the Dwarf, “I am master of my rival’s fate, but I will give
him his life and permission to depart unharmed if you, Princess, will
consent to marry me.”

“Let me die a thousand times rather,” cried the unhappy King.

“Alas!” cried the Princess, “must you die? Could anything be more
terrible?”

“That you should marry that little wretch would be far more terrible,”
 answered the King.

“At least,” continued she, “let us die together.”

“Let me have the satisfaction of dying for you, my Princess,” said he.

“Oh, no, no!” she cried, turning to the Dwarf; “rather than that I will
do as you wish.”

“Cruel Princess!” said the King, “would you make my life horrible to me
by marrying another before my eyes?”

“Not so,” replied the Yellow Dwarf; “you are a rival of whom I am too
much afraid; you shall not see our marriage.” So saying, in spite of
Bellissima’s tears and cries, he stabbed the King to the heart with the
diamond sword.

The poor Princess, seeing her lover lying dead at her feet, could no
longer live without him; she sank down by him and died of a broken
heart.

So ended these unfortunate lovers, whom not even the Mermaid could help,
because all the magic power had been lost with the diamond sword.

As to the wicked Dwarf, he preferred to see the Princess dead rather
than married to the King of the Gold Mines; and the Fairy of the Desert,
when she heard of the King’s adventures, pulled down the grand monument
which she had built, and was so angry at the trick that had been played
her that she hated him as much as she had loved him before.

The kind Mermaid, grieved at the sad fate of the lovers, caused them to
be changed into two tall palm trees, which stand always side by side,
whispering together of their faithful love and caressing one another
with their interlacing branches.(1)


(1) Madame d’Aulnoy.



LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD


Once upon a time there lived in a certain village a little country girl,
the prettiest creature was ever seen. Her mother was excessively fond
of her; and her grandmother doted on her still more. This good woman
had made for her a little red riding-hood; which became the girl so
extremely well that everybody called her Little Red Riding-Hood.

One day her mother, having made some custards, said to her:

“Go, my dear, and see how thy grandmamma does, for I hear she has been
very ill; carry her a custard, and this little pot of butter.”

Little Red Riding-Hood set out immediately to go to her grandmother, who
lived in another village.

As she was going through the wood, she met with Gaffer Wolf, who had
a very great mind to eat her up, but he dared not, because of some
faggot-makers hard by in the forest. He asked her whither she was going.
The poor child, who did not know that it was dangerous to stay and hear
a wolf talk, said to him:

“I am going to see my grandmamma and carry her a custard and a little
pot of butter from my mamma.”

“Does she live far off?” said the Wolf.

“Oh! ay,” answered Little Red Riding-Hood; “it is beyond that mill you
see there, at the first house in the village.”

“Well,” said the Wolf, “and I’ll go and see her too. I’ll go this way
and you go that, and we shall see who will be there soonest.”

The Wolf began to run as fast as he could, taking the nearest way,
and the little girl went by that farthest about, diverting herself in
gathering nuts, running after butterflies, and making nosegays of such
little flowers as she met with. The Wolf was not long before he got to
the old woman’s house. He knocked at the door--tap, tap.

“Who’s there?”

“Your grandchild, Little Red Riding-Hood,” replied the Wolf,
counterfeiting her voice; “who has brought you a custard and a little
pot of butter sent you by mamma.”

The good grandmother, who was in bed, because she was somewhat ill,
cried out:

“Pull the bobbin, and the latch will go up.”

The Wolf pulled the bobbin, and the door opened, and then presently he
fell upon the good woman and ate her up in a moment, for it was above
three days that he had not touched a bit. He then shut the door and went
into the grandmother’s bed, expecting Little Red Riding-Hood, who came
some time afterward and knocked at the door--tap, tap.

“Who’s there?”

Little Red Riding-Hood, hearing the big voice of the Wolf, was at first
afraid; but believing her grandmother had got a cold and was hoarse,
answered:

“‘Tis your grandchild, Little Red Riding-Hood, who has brought you a
custard and a little pot of butter mamma sends you.”

The Wolf cried out to her, softening his voice as much as he could:

“Pull the bobbin, and the latch will go up.”

Little Red Riding-Hood pulled the bobbin, and the door opened.

The Wolf, seeing her come in, said to her, hiding himself under the
bed-clothes:

“Put the custard and the little pot of butter upon the stool, and come
and lie down with me.”

Little Red Riding-Hood undressed herself and went into bed, where, being
greatly amazed to see how her grandmother looked in her night-clothes,
she said to her:

“Grandmamma, what great arms you have got!”

“That is the better to hug thee, my dear.”

“Grandmamma, what great legs you have got!”

“That is to run the better, my child.”

“Grandmamma, what great ears you have got!”

“That is to hear the better, my child.”

“Grandmamma, what great eyes you have got!”

“It is to see the better, my child.”

“Grandmamma, what great teeth you have got!”

“That is to eat thee up.”

And, saying these words, this wicked wolf fell upon Little Red
Riding-Hood, and ate her all up.



THE SLEEPING BEAUTY IN THE WOOD


There were formerly a king and a queen, who were so sorry that they had
no children; so sorry that it cannot be expressed. They went to all the
waters in the world; vows, pilgrimages, all ways were tried, and all to
no purpose.

At last, however, the Queen had a daughter. There was a very fine
christening; and the Princess had for her god-mothers all the fairies
they could find in the whole kingdom (they found seven), that every one
of them might give her a gift, as was the custom of fairies in those
days. By this means the Princess had all the perfections imaginable.

After the ceremonies of the christening were over, all the company
returned to the King’s palace, where was prepared a great feast for the
fairies. There was placed before every one of them a magnificent cover
with a case of massive gold, wherein were a spoon, knife, and fork, all
of pure gold set with diamonds and rubies. But as they were all sitting
down at table they saw come into the hall a very old fairy, whom they
had not invited, because it was above fifty years since she had been out
of a certain tower, and she was believed to be either dead or enchanted.

The King ordered her a cover, but could not furnish her with a case
of gold as the others, because they had only seven made for the seven
fairies. The old Fairy fancied she was slighted, and muttered some
threats between her teeth. One of the young fairies who sat by her
overheard how she grumbled; and, judging that she might give the little
Princess some unlucky gift, went, as soon as they rose from table, and
hid herself behind the hangings, that she might speak last, and repair,
as much as she could, the evil which the old Fairy might intend.

In the meanwhile all the fairies began to give their gifts to the
Princess. The youngest gave her for gift that she should be the most
beautiful person in the world; the next, that she should have the wit
of an angel; the third, that she should have a wonderful grace in
everything she did; the fourth, that she should dance perfectly well;
the fifth, that she should sing like a nightingale; and the sixth, that
she should play all kinds of music to the utmost perfection.

The old Fairy’s turn coming next, with a head shaking more with spite
than age, she said that the Princess should have her hand pierced with a
spindle and die of the wound. This terrible gift made the whole company
tremble, and everybody fell a-crying.

At this very instant the young Fairy came out from behind the hangings,
and spake these words aloud:

“Assure yourselves, O King and Queen, that your daughter shall not die
of this disaster. It is true, I have no power to undo entirely what
my elder has done. The Princess shall indeed pierce her hand with a
spindle; but, instead of dying, she shall only fall into a profound
sleep, which shall last a hundred years, at the expiration of which a
king’s son shall come and awake her.”

The King, to avoid the misfortune foretold by the old Fairy, caused
immediately proclamation to be made, whereby everybody was forbidden, on
pain of death, to spin with a distaff and spindle, or to have so much as
any spindle in their houses. About fifteen or sixteen years after, the
King and Queen being gone to one of their houses of pleasure, the young
Princess happened one day to divert herself in running up and down the
palace; when going up from one apartment to another, she came into a
little room on the top of the tower, where a good old woman, alone, was
spinning with her spindle. This good woman had never heard of the King’s
proclamation against spindles.

“What are you doing there, goody?” said the Princess.

“I am spinning, my pretty child,” said the old woman, who did not know
who she was.

“Ha!” said the Princess, “this is very pretty; how do you do it? Give it
to me, that I may see if I can do so.”

She had no sooner taken it into her hand than, whether being very hasty
at it, somewhat unhandy, or that the decree of the Fairy had so ordained
it, it ran into her hand, and she fell down in a swoon.

The good old woman, not knowing very well what to do in this affair,
cried out for help. People came in from every quarter in great numbers;
they threw water upon the Princess’s face, unlaced her, struck her on
the palms of her hands, and rubbed her temples with Hungary-water; but
nothing would bring her to herself.

And now the King, who came up at the noise, bethought himself of
the prediction of the fairies, and, judging very well that this must
necessarily come to pass, since the fairies had said it, caused the
Princess to be carried into the finest apartment in his palace, and to
be laid upon a bed all embroidered with gold and silver.

One would have taken her for a little angel, she was so very beautiful;
for her swooning away had not diminished one bit of her complexion; her
cheeks were carnation, and her lips were coral; indeed, her eyes were
shut, but she was heard to breathe softly, which satisfied those about
her that she was not dead. The King commanded that they should not
disturb her, but let her sleep quietly till her hour of awaking was
come.

The good Fairy who had saved her life by condemning her to sleep a
hundred years was in the kingdom of Matakin, twelve thousand leagues
off, when this accident befell the Princess; but she was instantly
informed of it by a little dwarf, who had boots of seven leagues, that
is, boots with which he could tread over seven leagues of ground in one
stride. The Fairy came away immediately, and she arrived, about an hour
after, in a fiery chariot drawn by dragons.

The King handed her out of the chariot, and she approved everything
he had done, but as she had very great foresight, she thought when the
Princess should awake she might not know what to do with herself, being
all alone in this old palace; and this was what she did: she
touched with her wand everything in the palace (except the King
and Queen)--governesses, maids of honor, ladies of the bedchamber,
gentlemen, officers, stewards, cooks, undercooks, scullions, guards,
with their beefeaters, pages, footmen; she likewise touched all the
horses which were in the stables, pads as well as others, the great dogs
in the outward court and pretty little Mopsey too, the Princess’s little
spaniel, which lay by her on the bed.

Immediately upon her touching them they all fell asleep, that they might
not awake before their mistress and that they might be ready to wait
upon her when she wanted them. The very spits at the fire, as full as
they could hold of partridges and pheasants, did fall asleep also. All
this was done in a moment. Fairies are not long in doing their business.

And now the King and the Queen, having kissed their dear child without
waking her, went out of the palace and put forth a proclamation that
nobody should dare to come near it.

This, however, was not necessary, for in a quarter of an hour’s time
there grew up all round about the park such a vast number of trees,
great and small, bushes and brambles, twining one within another, that
neither man nor beast could pass through; so that nothing could be seen
but the very top of the towers of the palace; and that, too, not unless
it was a good way off. Nobody; doubted but the Fairy gave herein a very
extraordinary sample of her art, that the Princess, while she continued
sleeping, might have nothing to fear from any curious people.

When a hundred years were gone and passed the son of the King then
reigning, and who was of another family from that of the sleeping
Princess, being gone a-hunting on that side of the country, asked:

What those towers were which he saw in the middle of a great thick wood?

Everyone answered according as they had heard. Some said:

That it was a ruinous old castle, haunted by spirits.

Others, That all the sorcerers and witches of the country kept there
their sabbath or night’s meeting.

The common opinion was: That an ogre lived there, and that he carried
thither all the little children he could catch, that he might eat them
up at his leisure, without anybody being able to follow him, as having
himself only the power to pass through the wood.

The Prince was at a stand, not knowing what to believe, when a very good
countryman spake to him thus:

“May it please your royal highness, it is now about fifty years since I
heard from my father, who heard my grandfather say, that there was then
in this castle a princess, the most beautiful was ever seen; that she
must sleep there a hundred years, and should be waked by a king’s son,
for whom she was reserved.”

The young Prince was all on fire at these words, believing, without
weighing the matter, that he could put an end to this rare adventure;
and, pushed on by love and honor, resolved that moment to look into it.

Scarce had he advanced toward the wood when all the great trees, the
bushes, and brambles gave way of themselves to let him pass through; he
walked up to the castle which he saw at the end of a large avenue which
he went into; and what a little surprised him was that he saw none of
his people could follow him, because the trees closed again as soon as
he had passed through them. However, he did not cease from continuing
his way; a young and amorous prince is always valiant.

He came into a spacious outward court, where everything he saw might
have frozen the most fearless person with horror. There reigned all over
a most frightful silence; the image of death everywhere showed itself,
and there was nothing to be seen but stretched-out bodies of men and
animals, all seeming to be dead. He, however, very well knew, by the
ruby faces and pimpled noses of the beefeaters, that they were only
asleep; and their goblets, wherein still remained some drops of wine,
showed plainly that they fell asleep in their cups.

He then crossed a court paved with marble, went up the stairs and came
into the guard chamber, where guards were standing in their ranks, with
their muskets upon their shoulders, and snoring as loud as they could.
After that he went through several rooms full of gentlemen and ladies,
all asleep, some standing, others sitting. At last he came into a
chamber all gilded with gold, where he saw upon a bed, the curtains of
which were all open, the finest sight was ever beheld--a princess, who
appeared to be about fifteen or sixteen years of age, and whose bright
and, in a manner, resplendent beauty, had somewhat in it divine. He
approached with trembling and admiration, and fell down before her upon
his knees.

And now, as the enchantment was at an end, the Princess awaked, and
looking on him with eyes more tender than the first view might seem to
admit of:

“Is it you, my Prince?” said she to him. “You have waited a long while.”

The Prince, charmed with these words, and much more with the manner in
which they were spoken, knew not how to show his joy and gratitude;
he assured her that he loved her better than he did himself; their
discourse was not well connected, they did weep more than talk--little
eloquence, a great deal of love. He was more at a loss than she, and we
need not wonder at it; she had time to think on what to say to him; for
it is very probable (though history mentions nothing of it) that the
good Fairy, during so long a sleep, had given her very agreeable dreams.
In short, they talked four hours together, and yet they said not half
what they had to say.

In the meanwhile all the palace awaked; everyone thought upon their
particular business, and as all of them were not in love they were ready
to die for hunger. The chief lady of honor, being as sharp set as other
folks, grew very impatient, and told the Princess aloud that supper
was served up. The Prince helped the Princess to rise; she was entirely
dressed, and very magnificently, but his royal highness took care not
to tell her that she was dressed like his great-grandmother, and had
a point band peeping over a high collar; she looked not a bit less
charming and beautiful for all that.

They went into the great hall of looking-glasses, where they supped, and
were served by the Princess’s officers, the violins and hautboys played
old tunes, but very excellent, though it was now above a hundred years
since they had played; and after supper, without losing any time, the
lord almoner married them in the chapel of the castle, and the chief
lady of honor drew the curtains. They had but very little sleep--the
Princess had no occasion; and the Prince left her next morning to return
to the city, where his father must needs have been in pain for him. The
Prince told him:

That he lost his way in the forest as he was hunting, and that he had
lain in the cottage of a charcoal-burner, who gave him cheese and brown
bread.

The King, his father, who was a good man, believed him; but his mother
could not be persuaded it was true; and seeing that he went almost every
day a-hunting, and that he always had some excuse ready for so doing,
though he had lain out three or four nights together, she began to
suspect that he was married, for he lived with the Princess above two
whole years, and had by her two children, the eldest of which, who was
a daughter, was named Morning, and the youngest, who was a son, they
called Day, because he was a great deal handsomer and more beautiful
than his sister.

The Queen spoke several times to her son, to inform herself after
what manner he did pass his time, and that in this he ought in duty to
satisfy her. But he never dared to trust her with his secret; he feared
her, though he loved her, for she was of the race of the Ogres, and the
King would never have married her had it not been for her vast riches;
it was even whispered about the Court that she had Ogreish inclinations,
and that, whenever she saw little children passing by, she had all the
difficulty in the world to avoid falling upon them. And so the Prince
would never tell her one word.

But when the King was dead, which happened about two years afterward,
and he saw himself lord and master, he openly declared his marriage; and
he went in great ceremony to conduct his Queen to the palace. They made
a magnificent entry into the capital city, she riding between her two
children.

Soon after the King went to make war with the Emperor Contalabutte, his
neighbor. He left the government of the kingdom to the Queen his mother,
and earnestly recommended to her care his wife and children. He was
obliged to continue his expedition all the summer, and as soon as he
departed the Queen-mother sent her daughter-in-law to a country house
among the woods, that she might with the more ease gratify her horrible
longing.

Some few days afterward she went thither herself, and said to her clerk
of the kitchen:

“I have a mind to eat little Morning for my dinner to-morrow.”

“Ah! madam,” cried the clerk of the kitchen.

“I will have it so,” replied the Queen (and this she spoke in the tone
of an Ogress who had a strong desire to eat fresh meat), “and will eat
her with a sauce Robert.”

The poor man, knowing very well that he must not play tricks with
Ogresses, took his great knife and went up into little Morning’s
chamber. She was then four years old, and came up to him jumping and
laughing, to take him about the neck, and ask him for some sugar-candy.
Upon which he began to weep, the great knife fell out of his hand, and
he went into the back yard, and killed a little lamb, and dressed it
with such good sauce that his mistress assured him that she had never
eaten anything so good in her life. He had at the same time taken up
little Morning, and carried her to his wife, to conceal her in the
lodging he had at the bottom of the courtyard.

About eight days afterward the wicked Queen said to the clerk of the
kitchen, “I will sup on little Day.”

He answered not a word, being resolved to cheat her as he had done
before. He went to find out little Day, and saw him with a little foil
in his hand, with which he was fencing with a great monkey, the child
being then only three years of age. He took him up in his arms and
carried him to his wife, that she might conceal him in her chamber along
with his sister, and in the room of little Day cooked up a young kid,
very tender, which the Ogress found to be wonderfully good.

This was hitherto all mighty well; but one evening this wicked Queen
said to her clerk of the kitchen:

“I will eat the Queen with the same sauce I had with her children.”

It was now that the poor clerk of the kitchen despaired of being able
to deceive her. The young Queen was turned of twenty, not reckoning the
hundred years she had been asleep; and how to find in the yard a beast
so firm was what puzzled him. He took then a resolution, that he might
save his own life, to cut the Queen’s throat; and going up into her
chamber, with intent to do it at once, he put himself into as great
fury as he could possibly, and came into the young Queen’s room with his
dagger in his hand. He would not, however, surprise her, but told
her, with a great deal of respect, the orders he had received from the
Queen-mother.

“Do it; do it” (said she, stretching out her neck). “Execute your
orders, and then I shall go and see my children, my poor children, whom
I so much and so tenderly loved.”

For she thought them dead ever since they had been taken away without
her knowledge.

“No, no, madam” (cried the poor clerk of the kitchen, all in tears);
“you shall not die, and yet you shall see your children again; but then
you must go home with me to my lodgings, where I have concealed them,
and I shall deceive the Queen once more, by giving her in your stead a
young hind.”

Upon this he forthwith conducted her to his chamber, where, leaving her
to embrace her children, and cry along with them, he went and dressed a
young hind, which the Queen had for her supper, and devoured it with
the same appetite as if it had been the young Queen. Exceedingly was
she delighted with her cruelty, and she had invented a story to tell the
King, at his return, how the mad wolves had eaten up the Queen his wife
and her two children.

One evening, as she was, according to her custom, rambling round about
the courts and yards of the palace to see if she could smell any fresh
meat, she heard, in a ground room, little Day crying, for his mamma was
going to whip him, because he had been naughty; and she heard, at the
same time, little Morning begging pardon for her brother.

The Ogress presently knew the voice of the Queen and her children, and
being quite mad that she had been thus deceived, she commanded next
morning, by break of day (with a most horrible voice, which made
everybody tremble), that they should bring into the middle of the great
court a large tub, which she caused to be filled with toads, vipers,
snakes, and all sorts of serpents, in order to have thrown into it the
Queen and her children, the clerk of the kitchen, his wife and maid;
all whom she had given orders should be brought thither with their hands
tied behind them.

They were brought out accordingly, and the executioners were just going
to throw them into the tub, when the King (who was not so soon expected)
entered the court on horseback (for he came post) and asked, with the
utmost astonishment, what was the meaning of that horrible spectacle.

No one dared to tell him, when the Ogress, all enraged to see what had
happened, threw herself head foremost into the tub, and was instantly
devoured by the ugly creatures she had ordered to be thrown into it for
others. The King could not but be very sorry, for she was his mother;
but he soon comforted himself with his beautiful wife and his pretty
children.



CINDERELLA, OR THE LITTLE GLASS SLIPPER


Once there was a gentleman who married, for his second wife, the
proudest and most haughty woman that was ever seen. She had, by a former
husband, two daughters of her own humor, who were, indeed, exactly like
her in all things. He had likewise, by another wife, a young daughter,
but of unparalleled goodness and sweetness of temper, which she took
from her mother, who was the best creature in the world.

No sooner were the ceremonies of the wedding over but the mother-in-law
began to show herself in her true colors. She could not bear the good
qualities of this pretty girl, and the less because they made her own
daughters appear the more odious. She employed her in the meanest work
of the house: she scoured the dishes, tables, etc., and scrubbed madam’s
chamber, and those of misses, her daughters; she lay up in a sorry
garret, upon a wretched straw bed, while her sisters lay in fine rooms,
with floors all inlaid, upon beds of the very newest fashion, and where
they had looking-glasses so large that they might see themselves at
their full length from head to foot.

The poor girl bore all patiently, and dared not tell her father, who
would have rattled her off; for his wife governed him entirely. When she
had done her work, she used to go into the chimney-corner, and sit down
among cinders and ashes, which made her commonly be called Cinderwench;
but the youngest, who was not so rude and uncivil as the eldest, called
her Cinderella. However, Cinderella, notwithstanding her mean apparel,
was a hundred times handsomer than her sisters, though they were always
dressed very richly.

It happened that the King’s son gave a ball, and invited all persons of
fashion to it. Our young misses were also invited, for they cut a very
grand figure among the quality. They were mightily delighted at this
invitation, and wonderfully busy in choosing out such gowns, petticoats,
and head-clothes as might become them. This was a new trouble to
Cinderella; for it was she who ironed her sisters’ linen, and plaited
their ruffles; they talked all day long of nothing but how they should
be dressed.

“For my part,” said the eldest, “I will wear my red velvet suit with
French trimming.”

“And I,” said the youngest, “shall have my usual petticoat; but then,
to make amends for that, I will put on my gold-flowered manteau, and my
diamond stomacher, which is far from being the most ordinary one in the
world.”

They sent for the best tire-woman they could get to make up their
head-dresses and adjust their double pinners, and they had their red
brushes and patches from Mademoiselle de la Poche.

Cinderella was likewise called up to them to be consulted in all these
matters, for she had excellent notions, and advised them always for the
best, nay, and offered her services to dress their heads, which they
were very willing she should do. As she was doing this, they said to
her:

“Cinderella, would you not be glad to go to the ball?”

“Alas!” said she, “you only jeer me; it is not for such as I am to go
thither.”

“Thou art in the right of it,” replied they; “it would make the people
laugh to see a Cinderwench at a ball.”

Anyone but Cinderella would have dressed their heads awry, but she was
very good, and dressed them perfectly well They were almost two days
without eating, so much were they transported with joy. They broke above
a dozen laces in trying to be laced up close, that they might have a
fine slender shape, and they were continually at their looking-glass.
At last the happy day came; they went to Court, and Cinderella followed
them with her eyes as long as she could, and when she had lost sight of
them, she fell a-crying.

Her godmother, who saw her all in tears, asked her what was the matter.

“I wish I could--I wish I could--“; she was not able to speak the rest,
being interrupted by her tears and sobbing.

This godmother of hers, who was a fairy, said to her, “Thou wishest thou
couldst go to the ball; is it not so?”

“Y--es,” cried Cinderella, with a great sigh.

“Well,” said her godmother, “be but a good girl, and I will contrive
that thou shalt go.” Then she took her into her chamber, and said to
her, “Run into the garden, and bring me a pumpkin.”

Cinderella went immediately to gather the finest she could get, and
brought it to her godmother, not being able to imagine how this pumpkin
could make her go to the ball. Her godmother scooped out all the inside
of it, having left nothing but the rind; which done, she struck it with
her wand, and the pumpkin was instantly turned into a fine coach, gilded
all over with gold.

She then went to look into her mouse-trap, where she found six mice, all
alive, and ordered Cinderella to lift up a little the trapdoor, when,
giving each mouse, as it went out, a little tap with her wand, the mouse
was that moment turned into a fine horse, which altogether made a very
fine set of six horses of a beautiful mouse-colored dapple-gray. Being
at a loss for a coachman,

“I will go and see,” says Cinderella, “if there is never a rat in the
rat-trap--we may make a coachman of him.”

“Thou art in the right,” replied her godmother; “go and look.”

Cinderella brought the trap to her, and in it there were three huge
rats. The fairy made choice of one of the three which had the largest
beard, and, having touched him with her wand, he was turned into a fat,
jolly coachman, who had the smartest whiskers eyes ever beheld. After
that, she said to her:

“Go again into the garden, and you will find six lizards behind the
watering-pot, bring them to me.”

She had no sooner done so but her godmother turned them into six
footmen, who skipped up immediately behind the coach, with their
liveries all bedaubed with gold and silver, and clung as close behind
each other as if they had done nothing else their whole lives. The Fairy
then said to Cinderella:

“Well, you see here an equipage fit to go to the ball with; are you not
pleased with it?”

“Oh! yes,” cried she; “but must I go thither as I am, in these nasty
rags?”

Her godmother only just touched her with her wand, and, at the same
instant, her clothes were turned into cloth of gold and silver, all
beset with jewels. This done, she gave her a pair of glass slippers, the
prettiest in the whole world. Being thus decked out, she got up into her
coach; but her godmother, above all things, commanded her not to stay
till after midnight, telling her, at the same time, that if she stayed
one moment longer, the coach would be a pumpkin again, her horses mice,
her coachman a rat, her footmen lizards, and her clothes become just as
they were before.

She promised her godmother she would not fail of leaving the ball before
midnight; and then away she drives, scarce able to contain herself for
joy. The King’s son who was told that a great princess, whom nobody
knew, was come, ran out to receive her; he gave her his hand as she
alighted out of the coach, and led her into the ball, among all the
company. There was immediately a profound silence, they left off
dancing, and the violins ceased to play, so attentive was everyone to
contemplate the singular beauties of the unknown new-comer. Nothing was
then heard but a confused noise of:

“Ha! how handsome she is! Ha! how handsome she is!”

The King himself, old as he was, could not help watching her, and
telling the Queen softly that it was a long time since he had seen so
beautiful and lovely a creature.

All the ladies were busied in considering her clothes and headdress,
that they might have some made next day after the same pattern, provided
they could meet with such fine material and as able hands to make them.

The King’s son conducted her to the most honorable seat, and afterward
took her out to dance with him; she danced so very gracefully that they
all more and more admired her. A fine collation was served up, whereof
the young prince ate not a morsel, so intently was he busied in gazing
on her.

She went and sat down by her sisters, showing them a thousand
civilities, giving them part of the oranges and citrons which the Prince
had presented her with, which very much surprised them, for they did not
know her. While Cinderella was thus amusing her sisters, she heard the
clock strike eleven and three-quarters, whereupon she immediately made a
courtesy to the company and hasted away as fast as she could.

When she got home she ran to seek out her godmother, and, after having
thanked her, she said she could not but heartily wish she might go next
day to the ball, because the King’s son had desired her.

As she was eagerly telling her godmother whatever had passed at the
ball, her two sisters knocked at the door, which Cinderella ran and
opened.

“How long you have stayed!” cried she, gaping, rubbing her eyes and
stretching herself as if she had been just waked out of her sleep; she
had not, however, any manner of inclination to sleep since they went
from home.

“If thou hadst been at the ball,” said one of her sisters, “thou wouldst
not have been tired with it. There came thither the finest princess, the
most beautiful ever was seen with mortal eyes; she showed us a thousand
civilities, and gave us oranges and citrons.”

Cinderella seemed very indifferent in the matter; indeed, she asked them
the name of that princess; but they told her they did not know it, and
that the King’s son was very uneasy on her account and would give all
the world to know who she was. At this Cinderella, smiling, replied:

“She must, then, be very beautiful indeed; how happy you have been!
Could not I see her? Ah! dear Miss Charlotte, do lend me your yellow
suit of clothes which you wear every day.”

“Ay, to be sure!” cried Miss Charlotte; “lend my clothes to such a dirty
Cinderwench as thou art! I should be a fool.”

Cinderella, indeed, expected well such answer, and was very glad of the
refusal; for she would have been sadly put to it if her sister had lent
her what she asked for jestingly.

The next day the two sisters were at the ball, and so was Cinderella,
but dressed more magnificently than before. The King’s son was always by
her, and never ceased his compliments and kind speeches to her; to whom
all this was so far from being tiresome that she quite forgot what her
godmother had recommended to her; so that she, at last, counted the
clock striking twelve when she took it to be no more than eleven; she
then rose up and fled, as nimble as a deer. The Prince followed, but
could not overtake her. She left behind one of her glass slippers, which
the Prince took up most carefully. She got home but quite out of breath,
and in her nasty old clothes, having nothing left her of all her finery
but one of the little slippers, fellow to that she dropped. The guards
at the palace gate were asked:

If they had not seen a princess go out.

Who said: They had seen nobody go out but a young girl, very meanly
dressed, and who had more the air of a poor country wench than a
gentlewoman.

When the two sisters returned from the ball Cinderella asked them: If
they had been well diverted, and if the fine lady had been there.

They told her: Yes, but that she hurried away immediately when it struck
twelve, and with so much haste that she dropped one of her little glass
slippers, the prettiest in the world, which the King’s son had taken up;
that he had done nothing but look at her all the time at the ball, and
that most certainly he was very much in love with the beautiful person
who owned the glass slipper.

What they said was very true; for a few days after the King’s son caused
it to be proclaimed, by sound of trumpet, that he would marry her whose
foot the slipper would just fit. They whom he employed began to try it
upon the princesses, then the duchesses and all the Court, but in vain;
it was brought to the two sisters, who did all they possibly could
to thrust their foot into the slipper, but they could not effect it.
Cinderella, who saw all this, and knew her slipper, said to them,
laughing:

“Let me see if it will not fit me.”

Her sisters burst out a-laughing, and began to banter her. The gentleman
who was sent to try the slipper looked earnestly at Cinderella, and,
finding her very handsome, said:

It was but just that she should try, and that he had orders to let
everyone make trial.

He obliged Cinderella to sit down, and, putting the slipper to her foot,
he found it went on very easily, and fitted her as if it had been made
of wax. The astonishment her two sisters were in was excessively great,
but still abundantly greater when Cinderella pulled out of her pocket
the other slipper, and put it on her foot. Thereupon, in came her
godmother, who, having touched with her wand Cinderella’s clothes, made
them richer and more magnificent than any of those she had before.

And now her two sisters found her to be that fine, beautiful lady whom
they had seen at the ball. They threw themselves at her feet to beg
pardon for all the ill-treatment they had made her undergo. Cinderella
took them up, and, as she embraced them, cried:

That she forgave them with all her heart, and desired them always to
love her.

She was conducted to the young prince, dressed as she was; he thought
her more charming than ever, and, a few days after, married her.
Cinderella, who was no less good than beautiful, gave her two sisters
lodgings in the palace, and that very same day matched them with two
great lords of the Court.(1)


(1) Charles Perrault.



ALADDIN AND THE WONDERFUL LAMP


There once lived a poor tailor, who had a son called Aladdin, a
careless, idle boy who would do nothing but play ball all day long in
the streets with little idle boys like himself. This so grieved the
father that he died; yet, in spite of his mother’s tears and prayers,
Aladdin did not mend his ways. One day, when he was playing in the
streets as usual, a stranger asked him his age, and if he was not the
son of Mustapha the tailor. “I am, sir,” replied Aladdin; “but he died
a long while ago.” On this the stranger, who was a famous African
magician, fell on his neck and kissed him, saying, “I am your uncle, and
knew you from your likeness to my brother. Go to your mother and tell
her I am coming.” Aladdin ran home and told his mother of his newly
found uncle. “Indeed, child,” she said, “your father had a brother, but
I always thought he was dead.” However, she prepared supper, and bade
Aladdin seek his uncle, who came laden with wine and fruit. He presently
fell down and kissed the place where Mustapha used to sit, bidding
Aladdin’s mother not to be surprised at not having seen him before, as
he had been forty years out of the country. He then turned to Aladdin,
and asked him his trade, at which the boy hung his head, while his
mother burst into tears. On learning that Aladdin was idle and would
learn no trade, he offered to take a shop for him and stock it with
merchandise. Next day he bought Aladdin a fine suit of clothes and took
him all over the city, showing him the sights, and brought him home at
nightfall to his mother, who was overjoyed to see her son so fine.

The next day the magician led Aladdin into some beautiful gardens a long
way outside the city gates. They sat down by a fountain and the magician
pulled a cake from his girdle, which he divided between them. They then
journeyed onward till they almost reached the mountains. Aladdin was
so tired that he begged to go back, but the magician beguiled him with
pleasant stories, and led him on in spite of himself. At last they came
to two mountains divided by a narrow valley. “We will go no farther,”
 said the false uncle. “I will show you something wonderful; only do you
gather up sticks while I kindle a fire.” When it was lit the magician
threw on it a powder he had about him, at the same time saying some
magical words. The earth trembled a little and opened in front of them,
disclosing a square flat stone with a brass ring in the middle to raise
it by. Aladdin tried to run away, but the magician caught him and gave
him a blow that knocked him down. “What have I done, uncle?” he said
piteously; whereupon the magician said more kindly: “Fear nothing, but
obey me. Beneath this stone lies a treasure which is to be yours, and
no one else may touch it, so you must do exactly as I tell you.” At the
word treasure Aladdin forgot his fears, and grasped the ring as he was
told, saying the names of his father and grandfather. The stone came up
quite easily, and some steps appeared. “Go down,” said the magician; “at
the foot of those steps you will find an open door leading into three
large halls. Tuck up your gown and go through them without touching
anything, or you will die instantly. These halls lead into a garden of
fine fruit trees. Walk on until you come to a niche in a terrace where
stands a lighted lamp. Pour out the oil it contains, and bring it to
me.” He drew a ring from his finger and gave it to Aladdin, bidding him
prosper.

Aladdin found everything as the magician had said, gathered some fruit
off the trees, and, having got the lamp, arrived at the mouth of the
cave. The magician cried out in a great hurry: “Make haste and give me
the lamp.” This Aladdin refused to do until he was out of the cave. The
magician flew into a terrible passion, and throwing some more powder
on to the fire, he said something, and the stone rolled back into its
place.

The magician left Persia for ever, which plainly showed that he was no
uncle of Aladdin’s, but a cunning magician, who had read in his magic
books of a wonderful lamp, which would make him the most powerful man in
the world. Though he alone knew where to find it, he could only receive
it from the hand of another. He had picked out the foolish Aladdin for
this purpose, intending to get the lamp and kill him afterward.

For two days Aladdin remained in the dark, crying and lamenting. At last
he clasped his hands in prayer, and in so doing rubbed the ring, which
the magician had forgotten to take from him. Immediately an enormous and
frightful genie rose out of the earth, saying: “What wouldst thou with
me? I am the Slave of the Ring, and will obey thee in all things.”
 Aladdin fearlessly replied: “Deliver me from this place!” whereupon the
earth opened, and he found himself outside. As soon as his eyes could
bear the light he went home, but fainted on the threshold. When he came
to himself he told his mother what had passed, and showed her the lamp
and the fruits he had gathered in the garden, which were, in reality,
precious stones. He then asked for some food. “Alas! child,” she said,
“I have nothing in the house, but I have spun a little cotton and will
go and sell it.” Aladdin bade her keep her cotton, for he would sell the
lamp instead. As it was very dirty she began to rub it, that it might
fetch a higher price. Instantly a hideous genie appeared, and asked what
she would have. She fainted away, but Aladdin, snatching the lamp, said
boldly: “Fetch me something to eat!” The genie returned with a silver
bowl, twelve silver plates containing rich meats, two silver cups, and
two bottles of wine. Aladdin’s mother, when she came to herself, said:
“Whence comes this splendid feast?” “Ask not, but eat,” replied Aladdin.
So they sat at breakfast till it was dinner-time, and Aladdin told his
mother about the lamp. She begged him to sell it, and have nothing to do
with devils. “No,” said Aladdin, “since chance hath made us aware of
its virtues, we will use it, and the ring likewise, which I shall always
wear on my finger.” When they had eaten all the genie had brought,
Aladdin sold one of the silver plates, and so on until none were left.
He then had recourse to the genie, who gave him another set of plates,
and thus they lived for many years.

One day Aladdin heard an order from the Sultan proclaimed that everyone
was to stay at home and close his shutters while the Princess, his
daughter, went to and from the bath. Aladdin was seized by a desire to
see her face, which was very difficult, as she always went veiled. He
hid himself behind the door of the bath, and peeped through a chink. The
Princess lifted her veil as she went in, and looked so beautiful that
Aladdin fell in love with her at first sight. He went home so changed
that his mother was frightened. He told her he loved the Princess so
deeply that he could not live without her, and meant to ask her in
marriage of her father. His mother, on hearing this, burst out laughing,
but Aladdin at last prevailed upon her to go before the Sultan and carry
his request. She fetched a napkin and laid in it the magic fruits from
the enchanted garden, which sparkled and shone like the most beautiful
jewels. She took these with her to please the Sultan, and set out,
trusting in the lamp. The Grand Vizier and the lords of council had
just gone in as she entered the hall and placed herself in front of the
Sultan. He, however, took no notice of her. She went every day for a
week, and stood in the same place. When the council broke up on the
sixth day the Sultan said to his Vizier: “I see a certain woman in the
audience-chamber every day carrying something in a napkin. Call her next
time, that I may find out what she wants.” Next day, at a sign from the
Vizier, she went up to the foot of the throne and remained kneeling till
the Sultan said to her: “Rise, good woman, and tell me what you want.”
 She hesitated, so the Sultan sent away all but the Vizier, and bade
her speak frankly, promising to forgive her beforehand for anything she
might say. She then told him of her son’s violent love for the Princess.
“I prayed him to forget her,” she said, “but in vain; he threatened to
do some desperate deed if I refused to go and ask your Majesty for the
hand of the Princess. Now I pray you to forgive not me alone, but my
son Aladdin.” The Sultan asked her kindly what she had in the
napkin, whereupon she unfolded the jewels and presented them. He was
thunderstruck, and turning to the Vizier said: “What sayest thou? Ought
I not to bestow the Princess on one who values her at such a price?” The
Vizier, who wanted her for his own son, begged the Sultan to withhold
her for three months, in the course of which he hoped his son would
contrive to make him a richer present. The Sultan granted this, and told
Aladdin’s mother that, though he consented to the marriage, she must not
appear before him again for three months.

Aladdin waited patiently for nearly three months, but after two had
elapsed his mother, going into the city to buy oil, found every one
rejoicing, and asked what was going on. “Do you not know,” was the
answer, “that the son of the Grand Vizier is to marry the Sultan’s
daughter to-night?” Breathless, she ran and told Aladdin, who was
overwhelmed at first, but presently bethought him of the lamp. He rubbed
it, and the genie appeared, saying, “What is thy will?” Aladdin replied:
“The Sultan, as thou knowest, has broken his promise to me, and the
Vizier’s son is to have the Princess. My command is that to-night you
bring hither the bride and bridegroom.” “Master, I obey,” said the
genie. Aladdin then went to his chamber, where, sure enough, at midnight
the genie transported the bed containing the Vizier’s son and the
Princess. “Take this new-married man,” he said, “and put him outside in
the cold, and return at daybreak.” Whereupon the genie took the Vizier’s
son out of bed, leaving Aladdin with the Princess. “Fear nothing,”
 Aladdin said to her; “you are my wife, promised to me by your unjust
father, and no harm shall come to you.” The Princess was too frightened
to speak, and passed the most miserable night of her life, while Aladdin
lay down beside her and slept soundly. At the appointed hour the
genie fetched in the shivering bridegroom, laid him in his place, and
transported the bed back to the palace.

Presently the Sultan came to wish his daughter good-morning. The unhappy
Vizier’s son jumped up and hid himself, while the Princess would not say
a word, and was very sorrowful. The Sultan sent her mother to her, who
said: “How comes it, child, that you will not speak to your father? What
has happened?” The Princess sighed deeply, and at last told her mother
how, during the night, the bed had been carried into some strange house,
and what had passed there. Her mother did not believe her in the least,
but bade her rise and consider it an idle dream.

The following night exactly the same thing happened, and next morning,
on the Princess’s refusal to speak, the Sultan threatened to cut off her
head. She then confessed all, bidding him to ask the Vizier’s son if it
were not so. The Sultan told the Vizier to ask his son, who owned the
truth, adding that, dearly as he loved the Princess, he had rather die
than go through another such fearful night, and wished to be separated
from her. His wish was granted, and there was an end to feasting and
rejoicing.

When the three months were over, Aladdin sent his mother to remind the
Sultan of his promise. She stood in the same place as before, and the
Sultan, who had forgotten Aladdin, at once remembered him, and sent for
her. On seeing her poverty the Sultan felt less inclined than ever to
keep his word, and asked his Vizier’s advice, who counselled him to set
so high a value on the Princess that no man living could come up to
it. The Sultan then turned to Aladdin’s mother, saying: “Good woman, a
Sultan must remember his promises, and I will remember mine, but your
son must first send me forty basins of gold brimful of jewels, carried
by forty black slaves, led by as many white ones, splendidly dressed.
Tell him that I await his answer.” The mother of Aladdin bowed low and
went home, thinking all was lost. She gave Aladdin the message, adding:
“He may wait long enough for your answer!” “Not so long, mother, as you
think,” her son replied. “I would do a great deal more than that for the
Princess.” He summoned the genie, and in a few moments the eighty slaves
arrived, and filled up the small house and garden. Aladdin made them
set out to the palace, two and two, followed by his mother. They were
so richly dressed, with such splendid jewels in their girdles, that
everyone crowded to see them and the basins of gold they carried on
their heads. They entered the palace, and, after kneeling before the
Sultan, stood in a half-circle round the throne with their arms crossed,
while Aladdin’s mother presented them to the Sultan. He hesitated no
longer, but said: “Good woman, return and tell your son that I wait for
him with open arms.” She lost no time in telling Aladdin, bidding him
make haste. But Aladdin first called the genie. “I want a scented bath,”
 he said, “a richly embroidered habit, a horse surpassing the Sultan’s,
and twenty slaves to attend me. Besides this, six slaves, beautifully
dressed, to wait on my mother; and lastly, ten thousand pieces of gold
in ten purses.” No sooner said than done. Aladdin mounted his horse and
passed through the streets, the slaves strewing gold as they went. Those
who had played with him in his childhood knew him not, he had grown so
handsome. When the Sultan saw him he came down from his throne, embraced
him, and led him into a hall where a feast was spread, intending to
marry him to the Princess that very day. But Aladdin refused, saying, “I
must build a palace fit for her,” and took his leave. Once home, he said
to the genie: “Build me a palace of the finest marble, set with jasper,
agate, and other precious stones. In the middle you shall build me a
large hall with a dome, its four walls of massy gold and silver, each
having six windows, whose lattices, all except one which is to be left
unfinished, must be set with diamonds and rubies. There must be stables
and horses and grooms and slaves; go and see about it!”

The palace was finished by the next day, and the genie carried him there
and showed him all his orders faithfully carried out, even to the laying
of a velvet carpet from Aladdin’s palace to the Sultan’s. Aladdin’s
mother then dressed herself carefully, and walked to the palace with her
slaves, while he followed her on horseback. The Sultan sent musicians
with trumpets and cymbals to meet them, so that the air resounded with
music and cheers. She was taken to the Princess, who saluted her and
treated her with great honor. At night the Princess said good-by to her
father, and set out on the carpet for Aladdin’s palace, with his mother
at her side, and followed by the hundred slaves. She was charmed at the
sight of Aladdin, who ran to receive her. “Princess,” he said, “blame
your beauty for my boldness if I have displeased you.” She told him
that, having seen him, she willingly obeyed her father in this matter.
After the wedding had taken place Aladdin led her into the hall, where a
feast was spread, and she supped with him, after which they danced till
midnight. Next day Aladdin invited the Sultan to see the palace. On
entering the hall with the four-and-twenty windows, with their rubies,
diamonds, and emeralds, he cried: “It is a world’s wonder! There is only
one thing that surprises me. Was it by accident that one window was
left unfinished?” “No, sir, by design,” returned Aladdin. “I wished
your Majesty to have the glory of finishing this palace.” The Sultan was
pleased, and sent for the best jewelers in the city. He showed them
the unfinished window, and bade them fit it up like the others. “Sir,”
 replied their spokesman, “we cannot find jewels enough.” The Sultan
had his own fetched, which they soon used, but to no purpose, for in
a month’s time the work was not half done. Aladdin, knowing that their
task was vain, bade them undo their work and carry the jewels back, and
the genie finished the window at his command. The Sultan was surprised
to receive his jewels again, and visited Aladdin, who showed him the
window finished. The Sultan embraced him, the envious Vizier meanwhile
hinting that it was the work of enchantment.

Aladdin had won the hearts of the people by his gentle bearing. He was
made captain of the Sultan’s armies, and won several battles for him,
but remained modest and courteous as before, and lived thus in peace and
content for several years.

But far away in Africa the magician remembered Aladdin, and by his magic
arts discovered that Aladdin, instead of perishing miserably in the
cave, had escaped, and had married a princess, with whom he was living
in great honor and wealth. He knew that the poor tailor’s son could only
have accomplished this by means of the lamp, and traveled night and day
until he reached the capital of China, bent on Aladdin’s ruin. As he
passed through the town he heard people talking everywhere about a
marvellous palace. “Forgive my ignorance,” he asked, “what is this
palace you speak Of?” “Have you not heard of Prince Aladdin’s palace,”
 was the reply, “the greatest wonder of the world? I will direct you
if you have a mind to see it.” The magician thanked him who spoke, and
having seen the palace, knew that it had been raised by the Genie of the
Lamp, and became half mad with rage. He determined to get hold of the
lamp, and again plunge Aladdin into the deepest poverty.

Unluckily, Aladdin had gone a-hunting for eight days, which gave the
magician plenty of time. He bought a dozen copper lamps, put them into a
basket, and went to the palace, crying: “New lamps for old!” followed
by a jeering crowd. The Princess, sitting in the hall of four-and-twenty
windows, sent a slave to find out what the noise was about, who came
back laughing, so that the Princess scolded her. “Madam,” replied the
slave, “who can help laughing to see an old fool offering to exchange
fine new lamps for old ones?” Another slave, hearing this, said: “There
is an old one on the cornice there which he can have.” Now this was the
magic lamp, which Aladdin had left there, as he could not take it out
hunting with him. The Princess, not knowing its value, laughingly
bade the slave take it and make the exchange. She went and said to the
magician: “Give me a new lamp for this.” He snatched it and bade the
slave take her choice, amid the jeers of the crowd. Little he cared, but
left off crying his lamps, and went out of the city gates to a lonely
place, where he remained till nightfall, when he pulled out the lamp
and rubbed it. The genie appeared, and at the magician’s command carried
him, together with the palace and the Princess in it, to a lonely place
in Africa.

Next morning the Sultan looked out of the window toward Aladdin’s palace
and rubbed his eyes, for it was gone. He sent for the Vizier and asked
what had become of the palace. The Vizier looked out too, and was lost
in astonishment. He again put it down to enchantment, and this time the
Sultan believed him, and sent thirty men on horseback to fetch Aladdin
in chains. They met him riding home, bound him, and forced him to go
with them on foot. The people, however, who loved him, followed, armed,
to see that he came to no harm. He was carried before the Sultan,
who ordered the executioner to cut off his head. The executioner made
Aladdin kneel down, bandaged his eyes, and raised his scimitar to
strike. At that instant the Vizier, who saw that the crowd had forced
their way into the courtyard and were scaling the walls to rescue
Aladdin, called to the executioner to stay his hand. The people, indeed,
looked so threatening that the Sultan gave way and ordered Aladdin to be
unbound, and pardoned him in the sight of the crowd. Aladdin now
begged to know what he had done. “False wretch!” said the Sultan, “come
thither,” and showed him from the window the place where his palace had
stood. Aladdin was so amazed that he could not say a word. “Where is my
palace and my daughter?” demanded the Sultan. “For the first I am not so
deeply concerned, but my daughter I must have, and you must find her
or lose your head.” Aladdin begged for forty days in which to find her,
promising, if he failed, to return and suffer death at the Sultan’s
pleasure. His prayer was granted, and he went forth sadly from the
Sultan’s presence. For three days he wandered about like a madman,
asking everyone what had become of his palace, but they only laughed and
pitied him. He came to the banks of a river, and knelt down to say his
prayers before throwing himself in. In so doing he rubbed the magic ring
he still wore. The genie he had seen in the cave appeared, and asked his
will. “Save my life, genie,” said Aladdin, “bring my palace back.” “That
is not in my power,” said the genie; “I am only the Slave of the Ring;
you must ask him of the lamp.” “Even so,” said Aladdin, “but thou canst
take me to the palace, and set me down under my dear wife’s window.” He
at once found himself in Africa, under the window of the Princess, and
fell asleep out of sheer weariness.

He was awakened by the singing of the birds, and his heart was lighter.
He saw plainly that all his misfortunes were owing to the loss of the
lamp, and vainly wondered who had robbed him of it.

That morning the Princess rose earlier than she had done since she had
been carried into Africa by the magician, whose company she was forced
to endure once a day. She, however, treated him so harshly that he dared
not live there altogether. As she was dressing, one of her women looked
out and saw Aladdin. The Princess ran and opened the window, and at the
noise she made Aladdin looked up. She called to him to come to her, and
great was the joy of these lovers at seeing each other again. After he
had kissed her Aladdin said: “I beg of you, Princess, in God’s name,
before we speak of anything else, for your own sake and mine, tell me
that has become of an old lamp I left on the cornice in the hall of
four-and-twenty windows, when I went a-hunting.” “Alas!” she said, “I am
the innocent cause of our sorrows,” and told him of the exchange of the
lamp. “Now I know,” cried Aladdin, “that we have to thank the African
magician for this! Where is the lamp?” “He carries it about with him,”
 said the Princess. “I know, for he pulled it out of his breast to show
me. He wishes me to break my faith with you and marry him, saying that
you were beheaded by my father’s command. He is for ever speaking ill of
you but I only reply by my tears. If I persist, I doubt not but he
will use violence.” Aladdin comforted her, and left her for a while.
He changed clothes with the first person he met in the town, and having
bought a certain powder, returned to the Princess, who let him in by
a little side door. “Put on your most beautiful dress,” he said to her
“and receive the magician with smiles, leading him to believe that you
have forgotten me. Invite him to sup with you, and say you wish to taste
the wine of his country. He will go for some and while he is gone I will
tell you what to do.” She listened carefully to Aladdin and when he left
she arrayed herself gaily for the first time since she left China. She
put on a girdle and head-dress of diamonds, and, seeing in a glass that
she was more beautiful than ever, received the magician, saying, to his
great amazement: “I have made up my mind that Aladdin is dead, and that
all my tears will not bring him back to me, so I am resolved to mourn no
more, and have therefore invited you to sup with me; but I am tired of
the wines of China, and would fain taste those of Africa.” The magician
flew to his cellar, and the Princess put the powder Aladdin had given
her in her cup. When he returned she asked him to drink her health in
the wine of Africa, handing him her cup in exchange for his, as a sign
she was reconciled to him. Before drinking the magician made her a
speech in praise of her beauty, but the Princess cut him short, saying:
“Let us drink first, and you shall say what you will afterward.” She set
her cup to her lips and kept it there, while the magician drained his to
the dregs and fell back lifeless. The Princess then opened the door to
Aladdin, and flung her arms round his neck; but Aladdin put her away,
bidding her leave him, as he had more to do. He then went to the dead
magician, took the lamp out of his vest, and bade the genie carry the
palace and all in it back to China. This was done, and the Princess in
her chamber only felt two little shocks, and little thought she was at
home again.

The Sultan, who was sitting in his closet, mourning for his lost
daughter, happened to look up, and rubbed his eyes, for there stood the
palace as before! He hastened thither, and Aladdin received him in the
hall of the four-and-twenty windows, with the Princess at his side.
Aladdin told him what had happened, and showed him the dead body of the
magician, that he might believe. A ten days’ feast was proclaimed, and
it seemed as if Aladdin might now live the rest of his life in peace;
but it was not to be.

The African magician had a younger brother, who was, if possible, more
wicked and more cunning than himself. He traveled to China to avenge his
brother’s death, and went to visit a pious woman called Fatima, thinking
she might be of use to him. He entered her cell and clapped a dagger to
her breast, telling her to rise and do his bidding on pain of death. He
changed clothes with her, colored his face like hers, put on her veil,
and murdered her, that she might tell no tales. Then he went toward the
palace of Aladdin, and all the people, thinking he was the holy woman,
gathered round him, kissing his hands and begging his blessing. When
he got to the palace there was such a noise going on round him that
the Princess bade her slave look out of the window and ask what was the
matter. The slave said it was the holy woman, curing people by her touch
of their ailments, whereupon the Princess, who had long desired to see
Fatima, sent for her. On coming to the Princess the magician offered up
a prayer for her health and prosperity. When he had done the Princess
made him sit by her, and begged him to stay with her always. The false
Fatima, who wished for nothing better, consented, but kept his veil down
for fear of discovery. The Princess showed him the hall, and asked him
what he thought of it. “It is truly beautiful,” said the false Fatima.
“In my mind it wants but one thing.” “And what is that?” said the
Princess. “If only a roc’s egg,” replied he, “were hung up from the
middle of this dome, it would be the wonder of the world.”

After this the Princess could think of nothing but the roc’s egg, and
when Aladdin returned from hunting he found her in a very ill humor. He
begged to know what was amiss, and she told him that all her pleasure in
the hall was spoiled for the want of a roc’s egg hanging from the dome.
“If that is all,” replied Aladdin, “you shall soon be happy.” He left
her and rubbed the lamp, and when the genie appeared commanded him to
bring a roc’s egg. The genie gave such a loud and terrible shriek that
the hall shook. “Wretch!” he cried, “is it not enough that I have done
everything for you, but you must command me to bring my master and hang
him up in the midst of this dome? You and your wife and your palace
deserve to be burnt to ashes, but that this request does not come from
you, but from the brother of the African magician, whom you destroyed.
He is now in your palace disguised as the holy woman--whom he murdered.
He it was who put that wish into your wife’s head. Take care of
yourself, for he means to kill you.” So saying, the genie disappeared.

Aladdin went back to the Princess, saying his head ached, and requesting
that the holy Fatima should be fetched to lay her hands on it. But when
the magician came near, Aladdin, seizing his dagger, pierced him to the
heart. “What have you done?” cried the Princess. “You have killed the
holy woman!” “Not so,” replied Aladdin, “but a wicked magician,” and
told her of how she had been deceived.

After this Aladdin and his wife lived in peace. He succeeded the Sultan
when he died, and reigned for many years, leaving behind him a long line
of kings.(1)


(1) Arabian Nights.



THE TALE OF A YOUTH WHO SET OUT TO LEARN WHAT FEAR WAS


A father had two sons, of whom the eldest was clever and bright, and
always knew what he was about; but the youngest was stupid, and
couldn’t learn or understand anything. So much so that those who saw him
exclaimed: “What a burden he’ll be to his father!” Now when there was
anything to be done, the eldest had always to do it; but if something
was required later or in the night-time, and the way led through the
churchyard or some such ghostly place, he always replied: “Oh! no,
father: nothing will induce me to go there, it makes me shudder!” for
he was afraid. Or, when they sat of an evening around the fire telling
stories which made one’s flesh creep, the listeners sometimes said:
“Oh! it makes one shudder,” the youngest sat in a corner, heard the
exclamation, and could not understand what it meant. “They are always
saying it makes one shudder! it makes one shudder! Nothing makes me
shudder. It’s probably an art quite beyond me.”

Now it happened that his father said to him one day: “Hearken, you there
in the corner; you are growing big and strong, and you must learn to
earn your own bread. Look at your brother, what pains he takes; but
all the money I’ve spent on your education is thrown away.” “My dear
father,” he replied, “I will gladly learn--in fact, if it were possible
I should like to learn to shudder; I don’t understand that a bit yet.”
 The eldest laughed when he heard this, and thought to himself: “Good
heavens! what a ninny my brother is! he’ll never come to any good;
as the twig is bent, so is the tree inclined.” The father sighed, and
answered him: “You’ll soon learn to shudder; but that won’t help you to
make a living.”

Shortly after this, when the sexton came to pay them a visit, the father
broke out to him, and told him what a bad hand his youngest son was at
everything: he knew nothing and learned nothing. “Only think! when I
asked him how he purposed gaining a livelihood, he actually asked to be
taught to shudder.” “If that’s all he wants,” said the sexton, “I can
teach him that; just you send him to me, I’ll soon polish him up.” The
father was quite pleased with the proposal, because he thought: “It will
be a good discipline for the youth.” And so the sexton took him into his
house, and his duty was to toll the bell. After a few days he woke him
at midnight, and bade him rise and climb into the tower and toll.
“Now, my friend, I’ll teach you to shudder,” thought he. He stole forth
secretly in front, and when the youth was up above, and had turned
round to grasp the bell-rope, he saw, standing opposite the hole of the
belfry, a white figure. “Who’s there?” he called out, but the figure
gave no answer, and neither stirred nor moved. “Answer,” cried the
youth, “or begone; you have no business here at this hour of the night.”
 But the sexton remained motionless, so that the youth might think that
it was a ghost. The youth called out the second time: “What do you want
here? Speak if you are an honest fellow, or I’ll knock you down the
stairs.” The sexton thought: “He can’t mean that in earnest,” so gave
forth no sound, and stood as though he were made of stone. Then the
youth shouted out to him the third time, and as that too had no effect,
he made a dash at the spectre and knocked it down the stairs, so that it
fell about ten steps and remained lying in a corner. Thereupon he tolled
the bell, went home to bed without saying a word, and fell asleep. The
sexton’s wife waited a long time for her husband, but he never appeared.
At last she became anxious, and woke the youth, and asked: “Don’t you
know where my husband is? He went up to the tower in front of you.”
 “No,” answered the youth; “but someone stood on the stairs up there just
opposite the trap-door in the belfry, and because he wouldn’t answer me,
or go away, I took him for a rogue and knocked him down. You’d better go
and see if it was he; I should be much distressed if it were.” The wife
ran and found her husband who was lying groaning in a corner, with his
leg broken.

She carried him down, and then hurried with loud protestations to the
youth’s father. “Your son has been the cause of a pretty misfortune,”
 she cried; “he threw my husband downstairs so that he broke his leg.
Take the good-for-nothing wretch out of our house.” The father was
horrified, hurried to the youth, and gave him a scolding.

“What unholy pranks are these? The evil one must have put them into your
head.” “Father,” he replied, “only listen to me; I am quite guiltless.
He stood there in the night, like one who meant harm. I didn’t know who
it was, and warned him three times to speak or begone.” “Oh!” groaned
the father, “you’ll bring me nothing but misfortune; get out of my
sight, I won’t have anything more to do with you.” “Yes, father,
willingly; only wait till daylight, then I’ll set out and learn to
shudder, and in that way I shall be master of an art which will gain me
a living.” “Learn what you will,” said the father, “it’s all one to me.
Here are fifty dollars for you, set forth into the wide world with them;
but see you tell no one where you come from or who your father is, for
I am ashamed of you.” “Yes, father, whatever you wish; and if that’s all
you ask, I can easily keep it in mind.”

When day broke the youth put the fifty dollars into his pocket, set out
on the hard high road, and kept muttering to himself: “If I could only
shudder! if I could only shudder!” Just at this moment a man came by who
heard the youth speaking to himself, and when they had gone on a bit and
were in sight of the gallows the man said to him: “Look! there is the
tree where seven people have been hanged, and are now learning to fly;
sit down under it and wait till nightfall, and then you’ll pretty soon
learn to shudder.” “If that’s all I have to do,” answered the youth,
“it’s easily done; but if I learn to shudder so quickly, then you shall
have my fifty dollars. Just come back to me to-morrow morning early.”
 Then the youth went to the gallows-tree and sat down underneath it, and
waited for the evening; and because he felt cold he lit himself a fire.
But at midnight it got so chill that in spite of the fire he couldn’t
keep warm. And as the wind blew the corpses one against the other,
tossing them to and fro, he thought to himself: “If you are perishing
down here by the fire, how those poor things up there must be shaking
and shivering!” And because he had a tender heart, he put up a ladder,
which he climbed unhooked one body after the other, and took down all
the seven. Then he stirred the fire, blew it up, and placed them all
round in a circle, that they might warm themselves. But they sat there
and did not move, and the fire caught their clothes. Then he spoke:
“Take care, or I’ll hang you up again.” But the dead men did not hear
and let their rags go on burning. Then he got angry, and said: “If you
aren’t careful yourselves, then I can’t help you, and I don’t mean to
burn with you”; and he hung them up again in a row. Then he sat down at
his fire and fell asleep. On the following morning the man came to him,
and, wishing to get his fifty dollars, said: “Now you know what it is to
shudder.” “No,” he answered, “how should I? Those fellows up there never
opened their mouths, and were so stupid that they let those few old
tatters they have on their bodies burn.” Then the man saw he wouldn’t
get his fifty dollars that day, and went off, saying: “Well, I’m blessed
if I ever met such a person in my life before.”

The youth went too on his way, and began to murmur to himself: “Oh! if I
could only shudder! if I could only shudder!” A carrier who was walking
behind him heard these words, and asked him: “Who are you” “I don’t
know,” said the youth. “Where do you hail from?” “I don’t know.” “Who’s
your father?” “I mayn’t say.” “What are you constantly muttering to
yourself?” “Oh!” said the youth, “I would give worlds to shudder, but no
one can teach me.” “Stuff and nonsense!” spoke the carrier; “come along
with me, and I’ll soon put that right.” The youth went with the carrier,
and in the evening they reached an inn, where they were to spend the
night. Then, just as he was entering the room, he said again, quite
aloud: “Oh! if I could only shudder! if I could only shudder!” The
landlord, who heard this, laughed and said: “If that’s what you’re
sighing for, you shall be given every opportunity here.” “Oh! hold your
tongue!” said the landlord’s wife; “so many people have paid for their
curiosity with their lives, it were a thousand pities if those beautiful
eyes were never again to behold daylight.” But the youth said: “No
matter how difficult, I insist on learning it; why, that’s what I’ve set
out to do.” He left the landlord no peace till he told him that in the
neighborhood stood a haunted castle, where one could easily learn to
shudder if one only kept watch in it for three nights. The King had
promised the man who dared to do this thing his daughter as wife, and
she was the most beautiful maiden under the sun. There was also much
treasure hid in the castle, guarded by evil spirits, which would then
be free, and was sufficient to make a poor man more than rich. Many had
already gone in, but so far none had ever come out again. So the youth
went to the King and spoke: “If I were allowed, I should much like
to watch for three nights in the castle.” The King looked at him, and
because he pleased him, he said: “You can ask for three things, none of
them living, and those you may take with you into the castle.” Then he
answered: “Well, I shall beg for a fire, a turning lathe, and a carving
bench with the knife attached.”

On the following day the King had everything put into the castle; and
when night drew on the youth took up his position there, lit a bright
fire in one of the rooms, placed the carving bench with the knife close
to it, and sat himself down on the turning lathe. “Oh! if I could only
shudder!” he said: “but I sha’n’t learn it here either.” Toward midnight
he wanted to make up the fire, and as he was blowing up a blaze he heard
a shriek from a corner. “Ou, miou! how cold we are!” “You fools!” he
cried; “why do you scream? If you are cold, come and sit at the fire and
warm yourselves.” And as he spoke two huge black cats sprang fiercely
forward and sat down, one on each side of him, and gazed wildly at him
with their fiery eyes. After a time, when they had warmed themselves,
they said: “Friend, shall we play a little game of cards?” “Why not?” he
replied; “but first let me see your paws.” Then they stretched out their
claws. “Ha!” said he; “what long nails you’ve got! Wait a minute: I must
first cut them off.” Thereupon he seized them by the scruff of their
necks, lifted them on to the carving bench, and screwed down their paws
firmly. “After watching you narrowly,” said he, “I no longer feel any
desire to play cards with you”; and with these words he struck them dead
and threw them out into the water. But when he had thus sent the two of
them to their final rest, and was again about to sit down at the fire,
out of every nook and corner came forth black cats and black dogs with
fiery chains in such swarms that he couldn’t possibly get away from
them. They yelled in the most ghastly manner, jumped upon his fire,
scattered it all, and tried to put it out. He looked on quietly for
a time, but when it got beyond a joke he seized his carving-knife and
called out: “Be off, you rabble rout!” and let fly at them. Some of them
fled away, and the others he struck dead and threw them out into the
pond below. When he returned he blew up the sparks of the fire once
more, and warmed himself. And as he sat thus his eyes refused to keep
open any longer, and a desire to sleep stole over him. Then he looked
around him and beheld in the corner a large bed. “The very thing,” he
said, and laid himself down in it. But when he wished to close his
eyes the bed began to move by itself, and ran all round the castle.
“Capital,” he said, “only a little quicker.” Then the bed sped on as if
drawn by six horses, over thresholds and stairs, up this way and down
that. All of a sudden--crash, crash! with a bound it turned over, upside
down, and lay like a mountain on the top of him. But he tossed the
blankets and pillows in the air, emerged from underneath, and said: “Now
anyone who has the fancy for it may go a drive,” lay down at his fire,
and slept till daylight. In the morning the King came, and when he
beheld him lying on the ground he imagined the ghosts had been too much
for him, and that he was dead. Then he said: “What a pity! and such a
fine fellow he was.” The youth heard this, got up, and said: “It’s not
come to that yet.” Then the King was astonished, but very glad, and
asked how it had fared with him. “First-rate,” he answered; “and now
I’ve survived the one night, I shall get through the other two also.”
 The landlord, when he went to him, opened his eyes wide, and said:
“Well, I never thought to see you alive again. Have you learned now what
shuddering is?” “No,” he replied, “it’s quite hopeless; if someone could
only tell me how to!”

The second night he went up again to the old castle, sat down at the
fire, and began his old refrain: “If I could only shudder!” As midnight
approached, a noise and din broke out, at first gentle, but gradually
increasing; then all was quiet for a minute, and at length, with a loud
scream, half of a man dropped down the chimney and fell before him. “Hi,
up there!” shouted he; “there’s another half wanted down here, that’s
not enough”; then the din commenced once more, there was a shrieking
and a yelling, and then the other half fell down. “Wait a bit,” he said;
“I’ll stir up the fire for you.” When he had done this and again looked
around, the two pieces had united, and a horrible-looking man sat on his
seat. “Come,” said the youth, “I didn’t bargain for that, the seat is
mine.” The man tried to shove him away, but the youth wouldn’t allow
it for a moment, and, pushing him off by force, sat down in his place
again. Then more men dropped down, one after the other, who fetching
nine skeleton legs and two skulls, put them up and played ninepins with
them. The youth thought he would like to play too, and said: “Look here;
do you mind my joining the game?” “No, not if you have money.” “I’ve
money enough,” he replied, “but your balls aren’t round enough.” Then
he took the skulls, placed them on his lathe, and turned them till they
were round. “Now they’ll roll along better,” said he, “and houp-la! now
the fun begins.” He played with them and lost some of his money, but
when twelve struck everything vanished before his eyes. He lay down and
slept peacefully. The next morning the King came, anxious for news. “How
have you got on this time?” he asked. “I played ninepins,” he answered,
“and lost a few pence.” “Didn’t you shudder then?” “No such luck,” said
he; “I made myself merry. Oh! if I only knew what it was to shudder!”

On the third night he sat down again on his bench, and said, in the most
desponding way: “If I could only shudder!” When it got late, six big men
came in carrying a coffin. Then he cried: “Ha! ha! that’s most likely
my little cousin who only died a few days ago”; and beckoning with his
finger he called out: “Come, my small cousin, come.” They placed the
coffin on the ground, and he approached it and took off the cover. In
it lay a dead man. He felt his face, and it was cold as ice. “Wait,” he
said “I’ll heat you up a bit,” went to the fire, warmed his hand, and
laid it on the man’s face, but the dead remained cold. Then he lifted
him out, sat down at the fire, laid him on his knee, and rubbed his arms
that the blood should circulate again. When that too had no effect it
occurred to him that if two people lay together in bed they warmed each
other; so he put him into the bed, covered him up, and lay down beside
him; after a time the corpse became warm and began to move. Then the
youth said: “Now, my little cousin, what would have happened if I
hadn’t warmed you?” But the dead man rose up and cried out: “Now I
will strangle you.” “What!” said he, “is that all the thanks I get? You
should be put straight back into your coffin,” lifted him up, threw him
in, and closed the lid. Then the six men came and carried him out again.
“I simply can’t shudder,” he said, “and it’s clear I sha’n’t learn it in
a lifetime here.”

Then a man entered, of more than ordinary size and of a very fearful
appearance; but he was old and had a white beard. “Oh! you miserable
creature, now you will soon know what it is to shudder,” he cried, “for
you must die.” “Not so quickly,” answered the youth. “If I am to die,
you must catch me first.” “I shall soon lay hold of you,” spoke the
monster. “Gently, gently, don’t boast too much, I’m as strong as you,
and stronger too.” “We’ll soon see,” said the old man; “if you are
stronger than I then I’ll let you off; come, let’s have a try.” Then he
led him through some dark passages to a forge, and grasping an axe he
drove one of the anvils with a blow into the earth. “I can do better
than that,” cried the youth, and went to the other anvil. The old man
drew near him in order to watch closely, and his white beard hung right
down. The youth seized the axe, cleft the anvil open, and jammed in the
old man’s beard. “Now I have you,” said the youth; “this time it’s your
turn to die.” Then he seized an iron rod and belabored the old man till
he, whimpering, begged him to leave off, and he would give him great
riches. The youth drew out the axe and let him go. The old man led him
back to the castle and showed him in a cellar three chests of gold. “One
of these,” said he, “belongs to the poor, one to the King, and the
third is yours.” At that moment twelve struck, and the spirit vanished,
leaving the youth alone in the dark. “I’ll surely be able to find a way
out,” said he, and groping about he at length found his way back to the
room, and fell asleep at his fire. The next morning the King came, and
said: “Well, now you’ve surely learned to shudder?” “No,” he answered;
“what can it be? My dead cousin was here, and an old bearded man came,
who showed me heaps of money down below there, but what shuddering is no
one has told me.” Then the King spoke: “You have freed the castle from
its curse, and you shall marry my daughter.” “That’s all charming,” he
said; “but I still don’t know what it is to shudder.”

Then the gold was brought up, and the wedding was celebrated, but the
young King, though he loved his wife dearly, and though he was very
happy, still kept on saying: “If I could only shudder! if I could only
shudder!” At last he reduced her to despair. Then her maid said: “I’ll
help you; we’ll soon make him shudder.” So she went out to the stream
that flowed through the garden, and had a pail full of little gudgeons
brought to her. At night, when the young King was asleep, his wife had
to pull the clothes off him, and pour the pail full of little gudgeons
over him, so that the little fish swam all about him. Then he awoke and
cried out: “Oh! how I shudder, how I shudder, dear wife! Yes, now I know
what shuddering is.” (1)


(1) Grimm.



RUMPELSTILTZKIN


There was once upon a time a poor miller who had a very beautiful
daughter. Now it happened one day that he had an audience with the King,
and in order to appear a person of some importance he told him that
he had a daughter who could spin straw into gold. “Now that’s a talent
worth having,” said the King to the miller; “if your daughter is as
clever as you say, bring her to my palace to-morrow, and I’ll put her to
the test.” When the girl was brought to him he led her into a room full
of straw, gave her a spinning-wheel and spindle, and said: “Now set to
work and spin all night till early dawn, and if by that time you haven’t
spun the straw into gold you shall die.” Then he closed the door behind
him and left her alone inside.

So the poor miller’s daughter sat down, and didn’t know what in the
world she was to do. She hadn’t the least idea of how to spin straw into
gold, and became at last so miserable that she began to cry.
Suddenly the door opened, and in stepped a tiny little man and said:
“Good-evening, Miss Miller-maid; why are you crying so bitterly?” “Oh!”
 answered the girl, “I have to spin straw into gold, and haven’t a notion
how it’s done.” “What will you give me if I spin it for you?” asked
the manikin. “My necklace,” replied the girl. The little man took the
necklace, sat himself down at the wheel, and whir, whir, whir, the wheel
went round three times, and the bobbin was full. Then he put on another,
and whir, whir, whir, the wheel went round three times, and the second
too was full; and so it went on till the morning, when all the straw
was spun away, and all the bobbins were full of gold. As soon as the sun
rose the King came, and when he perceived the gold he was astonished and
delighted, but his heart only lusted more than ever after the precious
metal. He had the miller’s daughter put into another room full of straw,
much bigger than the first, and bade her, if she valued her life, spin
it all into gold before the following morning. The girl didn’t know what
to do, and began to cry; then the door opened as before, and the tiny
little man appeared and said: “What’ll you give me if I spin the straw
into gold for you?” “The ring from my finger,” answered the girl. The
manikin took the ring, and whir! round went the spinning-wheel again,
and when morning broke he had spun all the straw into glittering gold.
The King was pleased beyond measure at the sights but his greed for gold
was still not satisfied, and he had the miller’s daughter brought into a
yet bigger room full of straw, and said: “You must spin all this away
in the night; but if you succeed this time you shall become my wife.”
 “She’s only a miller’s daughter, it’s true,” he thought; “but I couldn’t
find a richer wife if I were to search the whole world over.” When the
girl was alone the little man appeared for the third time, and said:
“What’ll you give me if I spin the straw for you once again?” “I’ve
nothing more to give,” answered the girl. “Then promise me when you
are Queen to give me your first child.” “Who knows what may not happen
before that?” thought the miller’s daughter; and besides, she saw no
other way out of it, so she promised the manikin what he demanded, and
he set to work once more and spun the straw into gold. When the
King came in the morning, and found everything as he had desired, he
straightway made her his wife, and the miller’s daughter became a queen.

When a year had passed a beautiful son was born to her, and she thought
no more of the little man, till all of a sudden one day he stepped into
her room and said: “Now give me what you promised.” The Queen was in a
great state, and offered the little man all the riches in her kingdom if
he would only leave her the child. But the manikin said: “No, a living
creature is dearer to me than all the treasures in the world.” Then the
Queen began to cry and sob so bitterly that the little man was sorry for
her, and said: “I’ll give you three days to guess my name, and if you
find it out in that time you may keep your child.”

Then the Queen pondered the whole night over all the names she had ever
heard, and sent a messenger to scour the land, and to pick up far and
near any names he could come across. When the little man arrived on the
following day she began with Kasper, Melchior, Belshazzar, and all the
other names she knew, in a string, but at each one the manikin called
out: “That’s not my name.” The next day she sent to inquire the names
of all the people in the neighborhood, and had a long list of the
most uncommon and extraordinary for the little man when he made
his appearance. “Is your name, perhaps, Sheepshanks Cruickshanks,
Spindleshanks?” but he always replied: “That’s not my name.” On the
third day the messenger returned and announced: “I have not been able to
find any new names, but as I came upon a high hill round the corner of
the wood, where the foxes and hares bid each other good-night, I saw
a little house, and in front of the house burned a fire, and round
the fire sprang the most grotesque little man, hopping on one leg and
crying:

  “To-morrow I brew, to-day I bake,
    And then the child away I’ll take;
    For little deems my royal dame
    That Rumpelstiltzkin is my name!”


You can imagine the Queen’s delight at hearing the name, and when the
little man stepped in shortly afterward and asked: “Now, my lady Queen,
what’s my name?” she asked first: “Is your name Conrad?” “No.” “Is your
name Harry?” “No.” “Is your name perhaps, Rumpelstiltzkin?” “Some demon
has told you that! some demon has told you that!” screamed the little
man, and in his rage drove his right foot so far into the ground that it
sank in up to his waist; then in a passion he seized the left foot with
both hands and tore himself in two.(1)


(1) Grimm.



BEAUTY AND THE BEAST


Once upon a time, in a very far-off country, there lived a merchant who
had been so fortunate in all his undertakings that he was enormously
rich. As he had, however, six sons and six daughters, he found that his
money was not too much to let them all have everything they fancied, as
they were accustomed to do.

But one day a most unexpected misfortune befell them. Their house
caught fire and was speedily burnt to the ground, with all the splendid
furniture, the books, pictures, gold, silver, and precious goods it
contained; and this was only the beginning of their troubles. Their
father, who had until this moment prospered in all ways, suddenly lost
every ship he had upon the sea, either by dint of pirates, shipwreck,
or fire. Then he heard that his clerks in distant countries, whom he
trusted entirely, had proved unfaithful; and at last from great wealth
he fell into the direst poverty.

All that he had left was a little house in a desolate place at least a
hundred leagues from the town in which he had lived, and to this he was
forced to retreat with his children, who were in despair at the idea of
leading such a different life. Indeed, the daughters at first hoped
that their friends, who had been so numerous while they were rich, would
insist on their staying in their houses now they no longer possessed
one. But they soon found that they were left alone, and that their
former friends even attributed their misfortunes to their own
extravagance, and showed no intention of offering them any help. So
nothing was left for them but to take their departure to the cottage,
which stood in the midst of a dark forest, and seemed to be the most
dismal place upon the face of the earth. As they were too poor to have
any servants, the girls had to work hard, like peasants, and the sons,
for their part, cultivated the fields to earn their living. Roughly
clothed, and living in the simplest way, the girls regretted unceasingly
the luxuries and amusements of their former life; only the youngest
tried to be brave and cheerful. She had been as sad as anyone when
misfortune overtook her father, but, soon recovering her natural gaiety,
she set to work to make the best of things, to amuse her father and
brothers as well as she could, and to try to persuade her sisters to
join her in dancing and singing. But they would do nothing of the sort,
and, because she was not as doleful as themselves, they declared that
this miserable life was all she was fit for. But she was really far
prettier and cleverer than they were; indeed, she was so lovely that she
was always called Beauty. After two years, when they were all beginning
to get used to their new life, something happened to disturb their
tranquillity. Their father received the news that one of his ships,
which he had believed to be lost, had come safely into port with a rich
cargo. All the sons and daughters at once thought that their poverty
was at an end, and wanted to set out directly for the town; but their
father, who was more prudent, begged them to wait a little, and, though
it was harvest time, and he could ill be spared, determined to go
himself first, to make inquiries. Only the youngest daughter had any
doubt but that they would soon again be as rich as they were before, or
at least rich enough to live comfortably in some town where they would
find amusement and gay companions once more. So they all loaded their
father with commissions for jewels and dresses which it would have taken
a fortune to buy; only Beauty, feeling sure that it was of no use, did
not ask for anything. Her father, noticing her silence, said: “And what
shall I bring for you, Beauty?”

“The only thing I wish for is to see you come home safely,” she
answered.

But this only vexed her sisters, who fancied she was blaming them for
having asked for such costly things. Her father, however, was pleased,
but as he thought that at her age she certainly ought to like pretty
presents, he told her to choose something.

“Well, dear father,” she said, “as you insist upon it, I beg that you
will bring me a rose. I have not seen one since we came here, and I love
them so much.”

So the merchant set out and reached the town as quickly as possible, but
only to find that his former companions, believing him to be dead, had
divided between them the goods which the ship had brought; and after
six months of trouble and expense he found himself as poor as when he
started, having been able to recover only just enough to pay the cost of
his journey. To make matters worse, he was obliged to leave the town
in the most terrible weather, so that by the time he was within a few
leagues of his home he was almost exhausted with cold and fatigue.
Though he knew it would take some hours to get through the forest, he
was so anxious to be at his journey’s end that he resolved to go on;
but night overtook him, and the deep snow and bitter frost made it
impossible for his horse to carry him any further. Not a house was to
be seen; the only shelter he could get was the hollow trunk of a great
tree, and there he crouched all the night which seemed to him the
longest he had ever known. In spite of his weariness the howling of the
wolves kept him awake, and even when at last the day broke he was not
much better off, for the falling snow had covered up every path, and he
did not know which way to turn.

At length he made out some sort of track, and though at the beginning it
was so rough and slippery that he fell down more than once, it presently
became easier, and led him into an avenue of trees which ended in a
splendid castle. It seemed to the merchant very strange that no snow
had fallen in the avenue, which was entirely composed of orange trees,
covered with flowers and fruit. When he reached the first court of the
castle he saw before him a flight of agate steps, and went up them, and
passed through several splendidly furnished rooms. The pleasant warmth
of the air revived him, and he felt very hungry; but there seemed to be
nobody in all this vast and splendid palace whom he could ask to give
him something to eat. Deep silence reigned everywhere, and at last,
tired of roaming through empty rooms and galleries, he stopped in a room
smaller than the rest, where a clear fire was burning and a couch was
drawn up closely to it. Thinking that this must be prepared for someone
who was expected, he sat down to wait till he should come, and very soon
fell into a sweet sleep.

When his extreme hunger wakened him after several hours, he was still
alone; but a little table, upon which was a good dinner, had been drawn
up close to him, and, as he had eaten nothing for twenty-four hours, he
lost no time in beginning his meal, hoping that he might soon have an
opportunity of thanking his considerate entertainer, whoever it might
be. But no one appeared, and even after another long sleep, from which
he awoke completely refreshed, there was no sign of anybody, though a
fresh meal of dainty cakes and fruit was prepared upon the little table
at his elbow. Being naturally timid, the silence began to terrify him,
and he resolved to search once more through all the rooms; but it was of
no use. Not even a servant was to be seen; there was no sign of life in
the palace! He began to wonder what he should do, and to amuse
himself by pretending that all the treasures he saw were his own, and
considering how he would divide them among his children. Then he went
down into the garden, and though it was winter everywhere else, here the
sun shone, and the birds sang, and the flowers bloomed, and the air was
soft and sweet. The merchant, in ecstacies with all he saw and heard,
said to himself:

“All this must be meant for me. I will go this minute and bring my
children to share all these delights.”

In spite of being so cold and weary when he reached the castle, he had
taken his horse to the stable and fed it. Now he thought he would saddle
it for his homeward journey, and he turned down the path which led to
the stable. This path had a hedge of roses on each side of it, and the
merchant thought he had never seen or smelt such exquisite flowers.
They reminded him of his promise to Beauty, and he stopped and had just
gathered one to take to her when he was startled by a strange noise
behind him. Turning round, he saw a frightful Beast, which seemed to be
very angry and said, in a terrible voice:

“Who told you that you might gather my roses? Was it not enough that I
allowed you to be in my palace and was kind to you? This is the way you
show your gratitude, by stealing my flowers! But your insolence shall
not go unpunished.” The merchant, terrified by these furious words,
dropped the fatal rose, and, throwing himself on his knees, cried:
“Pardon me, noble sir. I am truly grateful to you for your hospitality,
which was so magnificent that I could not imagine that you would be
offended by my taking such a little thing as a rose.” But the Beast’s
anger was not lessened by this speech.

“You are very ready with excuses and flattery,” he cried; “but that will
not save you from the death you deserve.”

“Alas!” thought the merchant, “if my daughter could only know what
danger her rose has brought me into!”

And in despair he began to tell the Beast all his misfortunes, and the
reason of his journey, not forgetting to mention Beauty’s request.

“A king’s ransom would hardly have procured all that my other daughters
asked.” he said: “but I thought that I might at least take Beauty her
rose. I beg you to forgive me, for you see I meant no harm.”

The Beast considered for a moment, and then he said, in a less furious
tone:

“I will forgive you on one condition--that is, that you will give me one
of your daughters.”

“Ah!” cried the merchant, “if I were cruel enough to buy my own life at
the expense of one of my children’s, what excuse could I invent to bring
her here?”

“No excuse would be necessary,” answered the Beast. “If she comes at all
she must come willingly. On no other condition will I have her. See if
any one of them is courageous enough, and loves you well enough to come
and save your life. You seem to be an honest man, so I will trust you to
go home. I give you a month to see if either of your daughters will come
back with you and stay here, to let you go free. If neither of them is
willing, you must come alone, after bidding them good-by for ever, for
then you will belong to me. And do not imagine that you can hide from
me, for if you fail to keep your word I will come and fetch you!” added
the Beast grimly.

The merchant accepted this proposal, though he did not really think any
of his daughters could be persuaded to come. He promised to return at
the time appointed, and then, anxious to escape from the presence of the
Beast, he asked permission to set off at once. But the Beast answered
that he could not go until next day.

“Then you will find a horse ready for you,” he said. “Now go and eat
your supper, and await my orders.”

The poor merchant, more dead than alive, went back to his room, where
the most delicious supper was already served on the little table which
was drawn up before a blazing fire. But he was too terrified to eat, and
only tasted a few of the dishes, for fear the Beast should be angry if
he did not obey his orders. When he had finished he heard a great noise
in the next room, which he knew meant that the Beast was coming. As he
could do nothing to escape his visit, the only thing that remained was
to seem as little afraid as possible; so when the Beast appeared and
asked roughly if he had supped well, the merchant answered humbly that
he had, thanks to his host’s kindness. Then the Beast warned him to
remember their agreement, and to prepare his daughter exactly for what
she had to expect.

“Do not get up to-morrow,” he added, “until you see the sun and hear
a golden bell ring. Then you will find your breakfast waiting for you
here, and the horse you are to ride will be ready in the courtyard. He
will also bring you back again when you come with your daughter a month
hence. Farewell. Take a rose to Beauty, and remember your promise!”

The merchant was only too glad when the Beast went away, and though he
could not sleep for sadness, he lay down until the sun rose. Then, after
a hasty breakfast, he went to gather Beauty’s rose, and mounted his
horse, which carried him off so swiftly that in an instant he had lost
sight of the palace, and he was still wrapped in gloomy thoughts when it
stopped before the door of the cottage.

His sons and daughters, who had been very uneasy at his long absence,
rushed to meet him, eager to know the result of his journey, which,
seeing him mounted upon a splendid horse and wrapped in a rich mantle,
they supposed to be favorable. He hid the truth from them at first, only
saying sadly to Beauty as he gave her the rose:

“Here is what you asked me to bring you; you little know what it has
cost.”

But this excited their curiosity so greatly that presently he told
them his adventures from beginning to end, and then they were all very
unhappy. The girls lamented loudly over their lost hopes, and the sons
declared that their father should not return to this terrible castle,
and began to make plans for killing the Beast if it should come to fetch
him. But he reminded them that he had promised to go back. Then the
girls were very angry with Beauty, and said it was all her fault, and
that if she had asked for something sensible this would never have
happened, and complained bitterly that they should have to suffer for
her folly.

Poor Beauty, much distressed, said to them:

“I have, indeed, caused this misfortune, but I assure you I did it
innocently. Who could have guessed that to ask for a rose in the middle
of summer would cause so much misery? But as I did the mischief it is
only just that I should suffer for it. I will therefore go back with my
father to keep his promise.”

At first nobody would hear of this arrangement, and her father and
brothers, who loved her dearly, declared that nothing should make them
let her go; but Beauty was firm. As the time drew near she divided
all her little possessions between her sisters, and said good-by to
everything she loved, and when the fatal day came she encouraged and
cheered her father as they mounted together the horse which had brought
him back. It seemed to fly rather than gallop, but so smoothly that
Beauty was not frightened; indeed, she would have enjoyed the journey if
she had not feared what might happen to her at the end of it. Her father
still tried to persuade her to go back, but in vain. While they were
talking the night fell, and then, to their great surprise, wonderful
colored lights began to shine in all directions, and splendid fireworks
blazed out before them; all the forest was illuminated by them, and
even felt pleasantly warm, though it had been bitterly cold before. This
lasted until they reached the avenue of orange trees, where were statues
holding flaming torches, and when they got nearer to the palace they saw
that it was illuminated from the roof to the ground, and music sounded
softly from the courtyard. “The Beast must be very hungry,” said Beauty,
trying to laugh, “if he makes all this rejoicing over the arrival of his
prey.”

But, in spite of her anxiety, she could not help admiring all the
wonderful things she saw.

The horse stopped at the foot of the flight of steps leading to the
terrace, and when they had dismounted her father led her to the little
room he had been in before, where they found a splendid fire burning,
and the table daintily spread with a delicious supper.

The merchant knew that this was meant for them, and Beauty, who was
rather less frightened now that she had passed through so many rooms and
seen nothing of the Beast, was quite willing to begin, for her long ride
had made her very hungry. But they had hardly finished their meal when
the noise of the Beast’s footsteps was heard approaching, and Beauty
clung to her father in terror, which became all the greater when she saw
how frightened he was. But when the Beast really appeared, though
she trembled at the sight of him, she made a great effort to hide her
terror, and saluted him respectfully.

This evidently pleased the Beast. After looking at her he said, in a
tone that might have struck terror into the boldest heart, though he did
not seem to be angry:

“Good-evening, old man. Good-evening, Beauty.”

The merchant was too terrified to reply, but Beauty answered sweetly:
“Good-evening, Beast.”

“Have you come willingly?” asked the Beast. “Will you be content to stay
here when your father goes away?”

Beauty answered bravely that she was quite prepared to stay.

“I am pleased with you,” said the Beast. “As you have come of your own
accord, you may stay. As for you, old man,” he added, turning to the
merchant, “at sunrise to-morrow you will take your departure. When the
bell rings get up quickly and eat your breakfast, and you will find the
same horse waiting to take you home; but remember that you must never
expect to see my palace again.”

Then turning to Beauty, he said:

“Take your father into the next room, and help him to choose everything
you think your brothers and sisters would like to have. You will find
two traveling-trunks there; fill them as full as you can. It is only
just that you should send them something very precious as a remembrance
of yourself.”

Then he went away, after saying, “Good-by, Beauty; good-by, old man”;
and though Beauty was beginning to think with great dismay of her
father’s departure, she was afraid to disobey the Beast’s orders; and
they went into the next room, which had shelves and cupboards all round
it. They were greatly surprised at the riches it contained. There were
splendid dresses fit for a queen, with all the ornaments that were to
be worn with them; and when Beauty opened the cupboards she was quite
dazzled by the gorgeous jewels that lay in heaps upon every shelf. After
choosing a vast quantity, which she divided between her sisters--for she
had made a heap of the wonderful dresses for each of them--she opened
the last chest, which was full of gold.

“I think, father,” she said, “that, as the gold will be more useful to
you, we had better take out the other things again, and fill the trunks
with it.” So they did this; but the more they put in the more room there
seemed to be, and at last they put back all the jewels and dresses they
had taken out, and Beauty even added as many more of the jewels as she
could carry at once; and then the trunks were not too full, but they
were so heavy that an elephant could not have carried them!

“The Beast was mocking us,” cried the merchant; “he must have pretended
to give us all these things, knowing that I could not carry them away.”

“Let us wait and see,” answered Beauty. “I cannot believe that he meant
to deceive us. All we can do is to fasten them up and leave them ready.”

So they did this and returned to the little room, where, to their
astonishment, they found breakfast ready. The merchant ate his with a
good appetite, as the Beast’s generosity made him believe that he might
perhaps venture to come back soon and see Beauty. But she felt sure that
her father was leaving her for ever, so she was very sad when the bell
rang sharply for the second time, and warned them that the time had come
for them to part. They went down into the courtyard, where two horses
were waiting, one loaded with the two trunks, the other for him to
ride. They were pawing the ground in their impatience to start, and the
merchant was forced to bid Beauty a hasty farewell; and as soon as he
was mounted he went off at such a pace that she lost sight of him in an
instant. Then Beauty began to cry, and wandered sadly back to her
own room. But she soon found that she was very sleepy, and as she had
nothing better to do she lay down and instantly fell asleep. And then
she dreamed that she was walking by a brook bordered with trees, and
lamenting her sad fate, when a young prince, handsomer than anyone she
had ever seen, and with a voice that went straight to her heart, came
and said to her, “Ah, Beauty! you are not so unfortunate as you suppose.
Here you will be rewarded for all you have suffered elsewhere. Your
every wish shall be gratified. Only try to find me out, no matter how I
may be disguised, as I love you dearly, and in making me happy you will
find your own happiness. Be as true-hearted as you are beautiful, and we
shall have nothing left to wish for.”

“What can I do, Prince, to make you happy?” said Beauty.

“Only be grateful,” he answered, “and do not trust too much to your
eyes. And, above all, do not desert me until you have saved me from my
cruel misery.”

After this she thought she found herself in a room with a stately and
beautiful lady, who said to her:

“Dear Beauty, try not to regret all you have left behind you, for you
are destined to a better fate. Only do not let yourself be deceived by
appearances.”

Beauty found her dreams so interesting that she was in no hurry to
awake, but presently the clock roused her by calling her name softly
twelve times, and then she got up and found her dressing-table set
out with everything she could possibly want; and when her toilet was
finished she found dinner was waiting in the room next to hers. But
dinner does not take very long when you are all by yourself, and very
soon she sat down cosily in the corner of a sofa, and began to think
about the charming Prince she had seen in her dream.

“He said I could make him happy,” said Beauty to herself.

“It seems, then, that this horrible Beast keeps him a prisoner. How
can I set him free? I wonder why they both told me not to trust to
appearances? I don’t understand it. But, after all, it was only a
dream, so why should I trouble myself about it? I had better go and find
something to do to amuse myself.”

So she got up and began to explore some of the many rooms of the palace.

The first she entered was lined with mirrors, and Beauty saw herself
reflected on every side, and thought she had never seen such a charming
room. Then a bracelet which was hanging from a chandelier caught her
eye, and on taking it down she was greatly surprised to find that it
held a portrait of her unknown admirer, just as she had seen him in her
dream. With great delight she slipped the bracelet on her arm, and went
on into a gallery of pictures, where she soon found a portrait of the
same handsome Prince, as large as life, and so well painted that as she
studied it he seemed to smile kindly at her. Tearing herself away from
the portrait at last, she passed through into a room which contained
every musical instrument under the sun, and here she amused herself for
a long while in trying some of them, and singing until she was tired.
The next room was a library, and she saw everything she had ever wanted
to read, as well as everything she had read, and it seemed to her that a
whole lifetime would not be enough to even read the names of the books,
there were so many. By this time it was growing dusk, and wax candles
in diamond and ruby candlesticks were beginning to light themselves in
every room.

Beauty found her supper served just at the time she preferred to have
it, but she did not see anyone or hear a sound, and, though her father
had warned her that she would be alone, she began to find it rather
dull.

But presently she heard the Beast coming, and wondered tremblingly if he
meant to eat her up now.

However, as he did not seem at all ferocious, and only said gruffly:

“Good-evening, Beauty,” she answered cheerfully and managed to conceal
her terror. Then the Beast asked her how she had been amusing herself,
and she told him all the rooms she had seen.

Then he asked if she thought she could be happy in his palace; and
Beauty answered that everything was so beautiful that she would be very
hard to please if she could not be happy. And after about an hour’s talk
Beauty began to think that the Beast was not nearly so terrible as she
had supposed at first. Then he got up to leave her, and said in his
gruff voice:

“Do you love me, Beauty? Will you marry me?”

“Oh! what shall I say?” cried Beauty, for she was afraid to make the
Beast angry by refusing.

“Say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ without fear,” he replied.

“Oh! no, Beast,” said Beauty hastily.

“Since you will not, good-night, Beauty,” he said.

And she answered, “Good-night, Beast,” very glad to find that her
refusal had not provoked him. And after he was gone she was very soon in
bed and asleep, and dreaming of her unknown Prince. She thought he came
and said to her:

“Ah, Beauty! why are you so unkind to me? I fear I am fated to be
unhappy for many a long day still.”

And then her dreams changed, but the charming Prince figured in
them all; and when morning came her first thought was to look at the
portrait, and see if it was really like him, and she found that it
certainly was.

This morning she decided to amuse herself in the garden, for the sun
shone, and all the fountains were playing; but she was astonished to
find that every place was familiar to her, and presently she came to the
brook where the myrtle trees were growing where she had first met the
Prince in her dream, and that made her think more than ever that he must
be kept a prisoner by the Beast. When she was tired she went back to
the palace, and found a new room full of materials for every kind of
work--ribbons to make into bows, and silks to work into flowers. Then
there was an aviary full of rare birds, which were so tame that they
flew to Beauty as soon as they saw her, and perched upon her shoulders
and her head.

“Pretty little creatures,” she said, “how I wish that your cage was
nearer to my room, that I might often hear you sing!”

So saying she opened a door, and found, to her delight, that it led into
her own room, though she had thought it was quite the other side of the
palace.

There were more birds in a room farther on, parrots and cockatoos that
could talk, and they greeted Beauty by name; indeed, she found them so
entertaining that she took one or two back to her room, and they talked
to her while she was at supper; after which the Beast paid her his usual
visit, and asked her the same questions as before, and then with a gruff
“good-night” he took his departure, and Beauty went to bed to dream of
her mysterious Prince. The days passed swiftly in different amusements,
and after a while Beauty found out another strange thing in the palace,
which often pleased her when she was tired of being alone. There was one
room which she had not noticed particularly; it was empty, except that
under each of the windows stood a very comfortable chair; and the first
time she had looked out of the window it had seemed to her that a black
curtain prevented her from seeing anything outside. But the second time
she went into the room, happening to be tired, she sat down in one of
the chairs, when instantly the curtain was rolled aside, and a most
amusing pantomime was acted before her; there were dances, and colored
lights, and music, and pretty dresses, and it was all so gay that Beauty
was in ecstacies. After that she tried the other seven windows in turn,
and there was some new and surprising entertainment to be seen from each
of them, so that Beauty never could feel lonely any more. Every evening
after supper the Beast came to see her, and always before saying
good-night asked her in his terrible voice:

“Beauty, will you marry me?”

And it seemed to Beauty, now she understood him better, that when she
said, “No, Beast,” he went away quite sad. But her happy dreams of the
handsome young Prince soon made her forget the poor Beast, and the only
thing that at all disturbed her was to be constantly told to distrust
appearances, to let her heart guide her, and not her eyes, and many
other equally perplexing things, which, consider as she would, she could
not understand.

So everything went on for a long time, until at last, happy as she was,
Beauty began to long for the sight of her father and her brothers and
sisters; and one night, seeing her look very sad, the Beast asked her
what was the matter. Beauty had quite ceased to be afraid of him. Now
she knew that he was really gentle in spite of his ferocious looks and
his dreadful voice. So she answered that she was longing to see her
home once more. Upon hearing this the Beast seemed sadly distressed, and
cried miserably.

“Ah! Beauty, have you the heart to desert an unhappy Beast like this?
What more do you want to make you happy? Is it because you hate me that
you want to escape?”

“No, dear Beast,” answered Beauty softly, “I do not hate you, and I
should be very sorry never to see you any more, but I long to see my
father again. Only let me go for two months, and I promise to come back
to you and stay for the rest of my life.”

The Beast, who had been sighing dolefully while she spoke, now replied:

“I cannot refuse you anything you ask, even though it should cost me my
life. Take the four boxes you will find in the room next to your own,
and fill them with everything you wish to take with you. But remember
your promise and come back when the two months are over, or you may have
cause to repent it, for if you do not come in good time you will find
your faithful Beast dead. You will not need any chariot to bring you
back. Only say good-by to all your brothers and sisters the night before
you come away, and when you have gone to bed turn this ring round upon
your finger and say firmly: ‘I wish to go back to my palace and see my
Beast again.’ Good-night, Beauty. Fear nothing, sleep peacefully, and
before long you shall see your father once more.”

As soon as Beauty was alone she hastened to fill the boxes with all the
rare and precious things she saw about her, and only when she was tired
of heaping things into them did they seem to be full.

Then she went to bed, but could hardly sleep for joy. And when at last
she did begin to dream of her beloved Prince she was grieved to see him
stretched upon a grassy bank, sad and weary, and hardly like himself.

“What is the matter?” she cried.

He looked at her reproachfully, and said:

“How can you ask me, cruel one? Are you not leaving me to my death
perhaps?”

“Ah! don’t be so sorrowful,” cried Beauty; “I am only going to assure
my father that I am safe and happy. I have promised the Beast faithfully
that I will come back, and he would die of grief if I did not keep my
word!”

“What would that matter to you?” said the Prince “Surely you would not
care?”

“Indeed, I should be ungrateful if I did not care for such a kind
Beast,” cried Beauty indignantly. “I would die to save him from pain. I
assure you it is not his fault that he is so ugly.”

Just then a strange sound woke her--someone was speaking not very far
away; and opening her eyes she found herself in a room she had never
seen before, which was certainly not nearly so splendid as those she
was used to in the Beast’s palace. Where could she be? She got up and
dressed hastily, and then saw that the boxes she had packed the night
before were all in the room. While she was wondering by what magic
the Beast had transported them and herself to this strange place she
suddenly heard her father’s voice, and rushed out and greeted
him joyfully. Her brothers and sisters were all astonished at her
appearance, as they had never expected to see her again, and there was
no end to the questions they asked her. She had also much to hear
about what had happened to them while she was away, and of her father’s
journey home. But when they heard that she had only come to be with them
for a short time, and then must go back to the Beast’s palace for ever,
they lamented loudly. Then Beauty asked her father what he thought could
be the meaning of her strange dreams, and why the Prince constantly
begged her not to trust to appearances. After much consideration, he
answered: “You tell me yourself that the Beast, frightful as he
is, loves you dearly, and deserves your love and gratitude for his
gentleness and kindness; I think the Prince must mean you to understand
that you ought to reward him by doing as he wishes you to, in spite of
his ugliness.”

Beauty could not help seeing that this seemed very probable; still, when
she thought of her dear Prince who was so handsome, she did not feel at
all inclined to marry the Beast. At any rate, for two months she need
not decide, but could enjoy herself with her sisters. But though they
were rich now, and lived in town again, and had plenty of acquaintances,
Beauty found that nothing amused her very much; and she often thought of
the palace, where she was so happy, especially as at home she never once
dreamed of her dear Prince, and she felt quite sad without him.

Then her sisters seemed to have got quite used to being without her, and
even found her rather in the way, so she would not have been sorry when
the two months were over but for her father and brothers, who begged her
to stay, and seemed so grieved at the thought of her departure that she
had not the courage to say good-by to them. Every day when she got up
she meant to say it at night, and when night came she put it off again,
until at last she had a dismal dream which helped her to make up her
mind. She thought she was wandering in a lonely path in the palace
gardens, when she heard groans which seemed to come from some bushes
hiding the entrance of a cave, and running quickly to see what could be
the matter, she found the Beast stretched out upon his side, apparently
dying. He reproached her faintly with being the cause of his distress,
and at the same moment a stately lady appeared, and said very gravely:

“Ah! Beauty, you are only just in time to save his life. See what
happens when people do not keep their promises! If you had delayed one
day more, you would have found him dead.”

Beauty was so terrified by this dream that the next morning she
announced her intention of going back at once, and that very night she
said good-by to her father and all her brothers and sisters, and as soon
as she was in bed she turned her ring round upon her finger, and said
firmly, “I wish to go back to my palace and see my Beast again,” as she
had been told to do.

Then she fell asleep instantly, and only woke up to hear the clock
saying “Beauty, Beauty” twelve times in its musical voice, which told
her at once that she was really in the palace once more. Everything
was just as before, and her birds were so glad to see her! But Beauty
thought she had never known such a long day, for she was so anxious to
see the Beast again that she felt as if suppertime would never come.

But when it did come and no Beast appeared she was really frightened;
so, after listening and waiting for a long time, she ran down into the
garden to search for him. Up and down the paths and avenues ran poor
Beauty, calling him in vain, for no one answered, and not a trace of him
could she find; until at last, quite tired, she stopped for a minute’s
rest, and saw that she was standing opposite the shady path she had seen
in her dream. She rushed down it, and, sure enough, there was the cave,
and in it lay the Beast--asleep, as Beauty thought. Quite glad to have
found him, she ran up and stroked his head, but, to her horror, he did
not move or open his eyes.

“Oh! he is dead; and it is all my fault,” said Beauty, crying bitterly.

But then, looking at him again, she fancied he still breathed, and,
hastily fetching some water from the nearest fountain, she sprinkled it
over his face, and, to her great delight, he began to revive.

“Oh! Beast, how you frightened me!” she cried. “I never knew how much
I loved you until just now, when I feared I was too late to save your
life.”

“Can you really love such an ugly creature as I am?” said the Beast
faintly. “Ah! Beauty, you only came just in time. I was dying because
I thought you had forgotten your promise. But go back now and rest, I
shall see you again by and by.”

Beauty, who had half expected that he would be angry with her, was
reassured by his gentle voice, and went back to the palace, where supper
was awaiting her; and afterward the Beast came in as usual, and talked
about the time she had spent with her father, asking if she had enjoyed
herself, and if they had all been very glad to see her.

Beauty answered politely, and quite enjoyed telling him all that had
happened to her. And when at last the time came for him to go, and he
asked, as he had so often asked before, “Beauty, will you marry me?”

She answered softly, “Yes, dear Beast.”

As she spoke a blaze of light sprang up before the windows of the
palace; fireworks crackled and guns banged, and across the avenue of
orange trees, in letters all made of fire-flies, was written: “Long live
the Prince and his Bride.”

Turning to ask the Beast what it could all mean, Beauty found that he
had disappeared, and in his place stood her long-loved Prince! At the
same moment the wheels of a chariot were heard upon the terrace, and two
ladies entered the room. One of them Beauty recognized as the stately
lady she had seen in her dreams; the other was also so grand and queenly
that Beauty hardly knew which to greet first.

But the one she already knew said to her companion:

“Well, Queen, this is Beauty, who has had the courage to rescue your
son from the terrible enchantment. They love one another, and only your
consent to their marriage is wanting to make them perfectly happy.”

“I consent with all my heart,” cried the Queen. “How can I ever thank
you enough, charming girl, for having restored my dear son to his
natural form?”

And then she tenderly embraced Beauty and the Prince, who had meanwhile
been greeting the Fairy and receiving her congratulations.

“Now,” said the Fairy to Beauty, “I suppose you would like me to send
for all your brothers and sisters to dance at your wedding?”

And so she did, and the marriage was celebrated the very next day
with the utmost splendor, and Beauty and the Prince lived happily ever
after.(1)


(1) La Belle et la Bete. Par Madame de Villeneuve.



THE MASTER-MAID


Once upon a time there was a king who had many sons. I do not exactly
know how many there were, but the youngest of them could not stay
quietly at home, and was determined 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.
When he had traveled about for several days, he came to a giant’s house,
and hired himself to the giant as a servant. In the morning the giant
had to go out to pasture his goats, and as he was leaving the house he
told the King’s son that he must clean out the stable. “And after you
have done that,” he said, “you need not do any more work to-day, for you
have come to a kind master, and that you shall find. But what I set you
to do must be done both well and thoroughly, and you must on no account
go into any of the rooms which lead out of the room in which you slept
last night. If you do, I will take your life.”

“Well to be sure, he is an easy master!” said the Prince to himself as
he walked up and down the room humming and singing, for he thought there
would be plenty of time left to clean out the stable; “but it would be
amusing to steal a glance into his other rooms as well,” thought the
Prince, “for there must be something that he is afraid of my seeing,
as I am not allowed to enter them.” So he went into the first room.
A cauldron was hanging from the walls; it was boiling, but the Prince
could see no fire under it. “I wonder what is inside it,” he thought,
and dipped a lock of his hair in, and the hair became just as if it were
all made of copper. “That’s a nice kind of soup. If anyone were to taste
that his throat would be gilded,” said the youth, and then he went into
the next chamber. There, too, a cauldron was hanging from the wall,
bubbling and boiling, but there was no fire under this either. “I will
just try what this is like too,” said the Prince, thrusting another lock
of his hair into it, and it came out silvered over. “Such costly soup is
not to be had in my father’s palace,” said the Prince; “but everything
depends on how it tastes,” and then he went into the third room. There,
too, a cauldron was hanging from the wall, boiling, exactly the same
as in the two other rooms, and the Prince took pleasure in trying this
also, so he dipped a lock of hair in, and it came out so brightly gilded
that it shone again. “Some talk about going from bad to worse,” said the
Prince; “but this is better and better. If he boils gold here, what can
he boil in there?” He was determined to see, and went through the door
into the fourth room. No cauldron was to be seen there, but on a bench
someone was seated who was like a king’s daughter, but, whosoever she
was, she was so beautiful that never in the Prince’s life had he seen
her equal.

“Oh! in heaven’s name what are you doing here?” said she who sat upon
the bench.

“I took the place of servant here yesterday,” said the Prince.

“May you soon have a better place, if you have come to serve here!” said
she.

“Oh, but I think I have got a kind master,” said the Prince. “He has not
given me hard work to do to-day. When I have cleaned out the stable I
shall be done.”

“Yes, but how will you be able to do that?” she asked again. “If you
clean it out as other people do, ten pitchforksful will come in for
every one you throw out. But I will teach you how to do it; you must
turn your pitchfork upside down, and work with the handle, and then all
will fly out of its own accord.”

“Yes, I will attend to that,” said the Prince, and stayed sitting where
he was the whole day, for it was soon settled between them that they
would marry each other, he and the King’s daughter; so the first day of
his service with the giant did not seem long to him. But when evening
was drawing near she said that it would now be better for him to clean
out the stable before the giant came home. When he got there he had a
fancy to try if what she had said were true, so he began to work in the
same way that he had seen the stable-boys doing in his father’s stables,
but he soon saw that he must give up that, for when he had worked a very
short time he had scarcely any room left to stand. So he did what the
Princess had taught him, turned the pitchfork round, and worked with the
handle, and in the twinkling of an eye the stable was as clean as if
it had been scoured. When he had done that, he went back again into the
room in which the giant had given him leave to stay, and there he walked
backward and forward on the floor, and began to hum and sing.

Then came the giant home with the goats. “Have you cleaned the stable?”
 asked the giant.

“Yes, now it is clean and sweet, master,” said the King’s son.

“I shall see about that,” said the giant, and went round to the stable,
but it was just as the Prince had said.

“You have certainly been talking to my Master-maid, for you never got
that out of your own head,” said the giant.

“Master-maid! What kind of a thing is that, master?” said the Prince,
making himself look as stupid as an ass; “I should like to see that.”

“Well, you will see her quite soon enough,” said the giant.

On the second morning the giant had again to go out with his goats,
so he told the Prince that on that day he was to fetch home his horse,
which was out on the mountain-side, and when he had done that he might
rest himself for the remainder of the day, “for you have come to a kind
master, and that you shall find,” said the giant once more. “But do not
go into any of the rooms that I spoke of yesterday, or I will wring your
head off,” said he, and then went away with his flock of goats.

“Yes, indeed, you are a kind master,” said the Prince; “but I will go
in and talk to the Master-maid again; perhaps before long she may like
better to be mine than yours.”

So he went to her. Then she asked him what he had to do that day.

“Oh! not very dangerous work, I fancy,” said the King’s son. “I have
only to go up the mountain-side after his horse.”

“Well, how do you mean to set about it?” asked the Master-maid.

“Oh! there is no great art in riding a horse home,” said the King’s son.
“I think I must have ridden friskier horses before now.”

“Yes, but it is not so easy a thing as you think to ride the horse
home,” said the Master-maid; “but I will teach you what to do. When you
go near it, fire will burst out of its nostrils like flames from a pine
torch; but be very careful, and take the bridle which is hanging by the
door there, and fling the bit straight into his jaws, and then it will
become so tame that you will be able to do what you like with it.” He
said he would bear this in mind, and then he again sat in there the
whole day by the Master-maid, and they chatted and talked of one thing
and another, but the first thing and the last now was, how happy and
delightful it would be if they could but marry each other, and get
safely away from the giant; and the Prince would have forgotten both the
mountain-side and the horse if the Master-maid had not reminded him of
them as evening drew near, and said that now it would be better if he
went to fetch the horse before the giant came. So he did this, and
took the bridle which was hanging on a crook, and strode up the
mountain-side, and it was not long before he met with the horse, and
fire and red flames streamed forth out of its nostrils. But the youth
carefully watched his opportunity, and just as it was rushing at him
with open jaws he threw the bit straight into its mouth, and the horse
stood as quiet as a young lamb, and there was no difficulty at all in
getting it home to the stable. Then the Prince went back into his room
again, and began to hum and to sing.

Toward evening the giant came home. “Have you fetched the horse back
from the mountain-side?” he asked.

“That I have, master; it was an amusing horse to ride, but I rode him
straight home, and put him in the stable too,” said the Prince.

“I will see about that,” said the giant, and went out to the stable,
but the horse was standing there just as the Prince had said. “You have
certainly been talking with my Master-maid, for you never got that out
of your own head,” said the giant again.

“Yesterday, master, you talked about this Master-maid, and to-day you
are talking about her; ah, heaven bless you, master, why will you not
show me the thing? for it would be a real pleasure to me to see it,”
 said the Prince, who again pretended to be silly and stupid.

“Oh! you will see her quite soon enough,” said the giant.

On the morning of the third day the giant again had to go into the wood
with the goats. “To-day you must go underground and fetch my taxes,”
 he said to the Prince. “When you have done this, you may rest for the
remainder of the day, for you shall see what an easy master you have
come to,” and then he went away.

“Well, however easy a master you may be, you set me very hard work
to do,” thought the Prince; “but I will see if I cannot find your
Master-maid; you say she is yours, but for all that she may be able
to tell me what to do now,” and he went back to her. So, when the
Master-maid asked him what the giant had set him to do that day, he told
her that he was to go underground and get the taxes.

“And how will you set about that?” said the Master-maid.

“Oh! you must tell me how to do it,” said the Prince, “for I have never
yet been underground, and even if I knew the way I do not know how much
I am to demand.”

“Oh! yes, I will soon tell you that; you must go to the rock there under
the mountain-ridge, and take the club that is there, and knock on the
rocky wall,” said the Master-maid. “Then someone will come out who will
sparkle with fire; you shall tell him your errand, and when he asks you
how much you want to have you are to say: ‘As much as I can carry.’”

“Yes, I will keep that in mind,” said he, and then he sat there with the
Master-maid the whole day, until night drew near, and he would gladly
have stayed there till now if the Master-maid had not reminded him that
it was time to be off to fetch the taxes before the giant came.

So he set out on his way, and did exactly what the Master-maid had told
him. He went to the rocky wall, and took the club, and knocked on it.
Then came one so full of sparks that they flew both out of his eyes and
his nose. “What do you want?” said he.

“I was to come here for the giant, and demand the tax for him,” said the
King’s son.

“How much are you to have then?” said the other.

“I ask for no more than I am able to carry with me,” said the Prince.

“It is well for you that you have not asked for a horse-load,” said he
who had come out of the rock. “But now come in with me.”

This the Prince did, and what a quantity of gold and silver he saw! It
was lying inside the mountain like heaps of stones in a waste place, and
he got a load that was as large as he was able to carry, and with that
he went his way. So in the evening, when the giant came home with the
goats, the Prince went into the chamber and hummed and sang again as he
had done on the other two evenings.

“Have you been for the tax?” said the giant.

“Yes, that I have, master,” said the Prince.

“Where have you put it then?” said the giant again.

“The bag of gold is standing there on the bench,” said the Prince.

“I will see about that,” said the giant, and went away to the bench,
but the bag was standing there, and it was so full that gold and silver
dropped out when the giant untied the string.

“You have certainly been talking with my Master-maid!” said the giant,
“and if you have I will wring your neck.”

“Master-maid?” said the Prince; “yesterday my master talked about this
Master-maid, and to-day he is talking about her again, and the first
day of all it was talk of the same kind. I do wish I could see the thing
myself,” said he.

“Yes, yes, wait till to-morrow,” said the giant, “and then I myself will
take you to her.”

“Ah! master, I thank you--but you are only mocking me,” said the King’s
son.

Next day the giant took him to the Master-maid. “Now you shall kill him,
and boil him in the great big cauldron you know of, and when you have
got the broth ready give me a call,” said the giant; then he lay down
on the bench to sleep, and almost immediately began to snore so that it
sounded like thunder among the hills.

So the Master-maid took a knife, and cut the Prince’s little finger, and
dropped three drops of blood upon a wooden stool; then she took all the
old rags, and shoe-soles, and all the rubbish she could lay hands on,
and put them in the cauldron; and then she filled a chest with gold
dust, and a lump of salt, and a water-flask which was hanging by the
door, and she also took with her a golden apple, and two gold chickens;
and then she and the Prince went away with all the speed they could,
and when they had gone a little way they came to the sea, and then
they sailed, but where they got the ship from I have never been able to
learn.

Now, when the giant had slept a good long time, he began to stretch
himself on the bench on which he was lying. “Will it soon boil?” said
he.

“It is just beginning,” said the first drop of blood on the stool.

So the giant lay down to sleep again, and slept for a long, long time.
Then he began to move about a little again. “Will it soon be ready now?”
 said he, but he did not look up this time any more than he had done the
first time, for he was still half asleep.

“Half done!” said the second drop of blood, and the giant believed it
was the Master-maid again, and turned himself on the bench, and lay down
to sleep once more. When he had slept again for many hours, he began to
move and stretch himself. “Is it not done yet?” said he.

“It is quite ready,” said the third drop of blood. Then the giant began
to sit up and rub his eyes, but he could not see who it was who had
spoken to him, so he asked for the Master-maid, and called her. But
there was no one to give him an answer.

“Ah! well, she has just stolen out for a little,” thought the giant, and
he took a spoon, and went off to the cauldron to have a taste; but there
was nothing in it but shoe-soles, and rags, and such trumpery as that,
and all was boiled up together, so that he could not tell whether it
was porridge or milk pottage. When he saw this, he understood what had
happened, and fell into such a rage that he hardly knew what he was
doing. Away he went after the Prince and the Master-maid so fast that
the wind whistled behind him, and it was not long before he came to the
water, but he could not get over it. “Well, well, I will soon find a
cure for that; I have only to call my river-sucker,” said the giant, and
he did call him. So his river-sucker came and lay down, and drank one,
two, three draughts, and with that the water in the sea fell so low that
the giant saw the Master-maid and the Prince out on the sea in their
ship. “Now you must throw out the lump of salt,” said the Master-maid,
and the Prince did so, and it grew up into such a great high mountain
right across the sea that the giant could not come over it, and the
river-sucker could not drink any more water. “Well, well, I will soon
find a cure for that,” said the giant, so he called to his hill-borer
to come and bore through the mountain so that the river-sucker might be
able to drink up the water again. But just as the hole was made, and the
river-sucker was beginning to drink, the Master-maid told the Prince to
throw one or two drops out of the flask, and when he did this the sea
instantly became full of water again, and before the river-sucker
could take one drink they reached the land and were in safety. So they
determined to go home to the Prince’s father, but the Prince would on no
account permit the Master-maid to walk there, for he thought that it was
unbecoming either for her or for him to go on foot.

“Wait here the least little bit of time, while I go home for the seven
horses which stand in my father’s stable,” said he; “it is not far off,
and I shall not be long away, but I will not let my betrothed bride go
on foot to the palace.”

“Oh! no, do not go, for if you go home to the King’s palace you will
forget me, I foresee that.”

“How could I forget you? We have suffered so much evil together, and
love each other so much,” said the Prince; and he insisted on going home
for the coach with the seven horses, and she was to wait for him there,
by the sea-shore. So at last the Master-maid had to yield, for he was
so absolutely determined to do it. “But when you get there you must
not even give yourself time to greet anyone, but go straight into the
stable, and take the horses, and put them in the coach, and drive back
as quickly as you can. For they will all come round about you; but you
must behave just as if you did not see them, and on no account must you
taste anything, for if you do it will cause great misery both to you and
to me,” said she; and this he promised.

But when he got home to the King’s palace one of his brothers was just
going to be married, and the bride and all her kith and kin had come
to the palace; so they all thronged round him, and questioned him about
this and that, and wanted him to go in with them; but he behaved as if
he did not see them, and went straight to the stable, and got out the
horses and began to harness them. When they saw that they could not by
any means prevail on him to go in with them, they came out to him with
meat and drink, and the best of everything that they had prepared for
the wedding; but the Prince refused to touch anything, and would do
nothing but put the horses in as quickly as he could. At last, however,
the bride’s sister rolled an apple across the yard to him, and said: “As
you won’t eat anything else, you may like to take a bite of that, for
you must be both hungry and thirsty after your long journey.” And he
took up the apple and bit a piece out of it. But no sooner had he got
the piece of apple in his mouth than he forgot the Master-maid and that
he was to go back in the coach to fetch her.

“I think I must be mad! what do I want with this coach and horses?” said
he; and then he put the horses back into the stable, and went into the
King’s palace, and there it was settled that he should marry the bride’s
sister, who had rolled the apple to him.

The Master-maid sat by the sea-shore for a long, long time, waiting
for the Prince, but no Prince came. So she went away, and when she had
walked a short distance she came to a little hut which stood all alone
in a small wood, hard by the King’s palace. She entered it and asked if
she might be allowed to stay there. The hut belonged to an old crone,
who was also an ill-tempered and malicious troll. At first she would not
let the Master-maid remain with her; but at last, after a long time, by
means of good words and good payment, she obtained leave. But the hut
was as dirty and black inside as a pigsty, so the Master-maid said that
she would smarten it up a little, that it might look a little more like
what other people’s houses looked inside. The old crone did not like
this either. She scowled, and was very cross, but the Master-maid did
not trouble herself about that. She took out her chest of gold, and
flung a handful of it or so into the fire, and the gold boiled up and
poured out over the whole of the hut, until every part of it both inside
and out was gilded. But when the gold began to bubble up the old hag
grew so terrified that she fled as if the Evil One himself were pursuing
her, and she did not remember to stoop down as she went through the
doorway, and so she split her head and died. Next morning the sheriff
came traveling by there. He was greatly astonished when he saw the gold
hut shining and glittering there in the copse, and he was still more
astonished when he went in and caught sight of the beautiful young
maiden who was sitting there; he fell in love with her at once, and
straightway on the spot he begged her, both prettily and kindly, to
marry him.

“Well, but have you a great deal of money?” said the Master-maid.

“Oh! yes; so far as that is concerned, I am not ill off,” said the
sheriff. So now he had to go home to get the money, and in the evening
he came back, bringing with him a bag with two bushels in it, which he
set down on the bench. Well, as he had such a fine lot of money, the
Master-maid said she would have him, so they sat down to talk.

But scarcely had they sat down together before the Master-maid wanted to
jump up again. “I have forgotten to see to the fire,” she said.

“Why should you jump up to do that?” said the sheriff; “I will do that!”
 So he jumped up, and went to the chimney in one bound.

“Just tell me when you have got hold of the shovel,” said the
Master-maid.

“Well, I have hold of it now,” said the sheriff.

“Then you may hold the shovel, and the shovel you, and pour red-hot
coals over you, till day dawns,” said the Master-maid. So the sheriff
had to stand there the whole night and pour red-hot coals over himself,
and, no matter how much he cried and begged and entreated, the red-hot
coals did not grow the colder for that. When the day began to dawn, and
he had power to throw down the shovel, he did not stay long where he
was, but ran away as fast as he possibly could; and everyone who met him
stared and looked after him, for he was flying as if he were mad, and he
could not have looked worse if he had been both flayed and tanned, and
everyone wondered where he had been, but for very shame he would tell
nothing.

The next day the attorney came riding by the place where the Master-maid
dwelt. He saw how brightly the hut shone and gleamed through the wood,
and he too went into it to see who lived there, and when he entered and
saw the beautiful young maiden he fell even more in love with her than
the sheriff had done, and began to woo her at once. So the Master-maid
asked him, as she had asked the sheriff, if he had a great deal of
money, and the attorney said he was not ill off for that, and would at
once go home to get it; and at night he came with a great big sack of
money--this time it was a four-bushel sack--and set it on the bench by
the Master-maid. So she promised to have him, and he sat down on the
bench by her to arrange about it, but suddenly she said that she had
forgotten to lock the door of the porch that night, and must do it.

“Why should you do that?” said the attorney; “sit still, I will do it.”

So he was on his feet in a moment, and out in the porch.

“Tell me when you have got hold of the door-latch,” said the
Master-maid.

“I have hold of it now,” cried the attorney.

“Then you may hold the door, and the door you, and may you go between
wall and wall till day dawns.”

What a dance the attorney had that night! He had never had such a waltz
before, and he never wished to have such a dance again. Sometimes he was
in front of the door, and sometimes the door was in front of him, and
it went from one side of the porch to the other, till the attorney was
well-nigh beaten to death. At first he began to abuse the Master-maid,
and then to beg and pray, but the door did not care for anything but
keeping him where he was till break of day.

As soon as the door let go its hold of him, off went the attorney. He
forgot who ought to be paid off for what he had suffered, he forgot
both his sack of money and his wooing, for he was so afraid lest the
house-door should come dancing after him. Everyone who met him stared
and looked after him, for he was flying like a madman, and he could not
have looked worse if a herd of rams had been butting at him all night
long.

On the third day the bailiff came by, and he too saw the gold house
in the little wood, and he too felt that he must go and see who lived
there; and when he caught sight of the Master-maid he became so much in
love with her that he wooed her almost before he greeted her.

The Master-maid answered him as she had answered the other two, that
if he had a great deal of money, she would have him. “So far as that is
concerned, I am not ill off,” said the bailiff; so he was at once told
to go home and fetch it, and this he did. At night he came back, and he
had a still larger sack of money with him than the attorney had brought;
it must have been at least six bushels, and he set it down on the bench.
So it was settled that he was to have the Master-maid. But hardly had
they sat down together before she said that she had forgotten to bring
in the calf, and must go out to put it in the byre.

“No, indeed, you shall not do that,” said the bailiff; “I am the one to
do that.” And, big and fat as he was, he went out as briskly as a boy.

“Tell me when you have got hold of the calf’s tail,” said the
Master-maid.

“I have hold of it now,” cried the bailiff.

“Then may you hold the calf’s tail, and the calf’s tail hold you,
and may you go round the world together till day dawns!” said the
Master-maid. So the bailiff had to bestir himself, for the calf went
over rough and smooth, over hill and dale, and, the more the bailiff
cried and screamed, the faster the calf went. When daylight began to
appear, the bailiff was half dead; and so glad was he to leave loose
of the calf’s tail, that he forgot the sack of money and all else. He
walked now slowly--more slowly than the sheriff and the attorney had
done, but, the slower he went, the more time had everyone to stare and
look at him; and they used it too, and no one can imagine how tired out
and ragged he looked after his dance with the calf.

On the following day the wedding was to take place in the King’s palace,
and the elder brother was to drive to church with his bride, and the
brother who had been with the giant with her sister. But when they had
seated themselves in the coach and were about to drive off from the
palace one of the trace-pins broke, and, though they made one, two, and
three to put in its place, that did not help them, for each broke in
turn, no matter what kind of wood they used to make them of. This went
on for a long time, and they could not get away from the palace, so they
were all in great trouble. Then the sheriff said (for he too had been
bidden to the wedding at Court): “Yonder away in the thicket dwells a
maiden, and if you can get her to lend you the handle of the shovel that
she uses to make up her fire I know very well that it will hold fast.”
 So they sent off a messenger to the thicket, and begged so prettily that
they might have the loan of her shovel-handle of which the sheriff had
spoken that they were not refused; so now they had a trace-pin which
would not snap in two.

But all at once, just as they were starting, the bottom of the coach
fell in pieces. They made a new bottom as fast as they could, but, no
matter how they nailed it together, or what kind of wood they used,
no sooner had they got the new bottom into the coach and were about to
drive off than it broke again, so that they were still worse off than
when they had broken the trace-pin. Then the attorney said, for he too
was at the wedding in the palace: “Away there in the thicket dwells
a maiden, and if you could but get her to lend you one-half of her
porch-door I am certain that it will hold together.” So they again sent
a messenger to the thicket, and begged so prettily for the loan of the
gilded porch-door of which the attorney had told them that they got it
at once. They were just setting out again, but now the horses were not
able to draw the coach. They had six horses already, and now they put in
eight, and then ten, and then twelve, but the more they put in, and
the more the coachman whipped them, the less good it did; and the coach
never stirred from the spot. It was already beginning to be late in the
day, and to church they must and would go, so everyone who was in the
palace was in a state of distress. Then the bailiff spoke up and said:
“Out there in the gilded cottage in the thicket dwells a girl, and if
you could but get her to lend you her calf I know it could draw the
coach, even if it were as heavy as a mountain.” They all thought that
it was ridiculous to be drawn to church by a calf, but there was nothing
else for it but to send a messenger once more, and beg as prettily as
they could, on behalf of the King, that she would let them have the loan
of the calf that the bailiff had told them about. The Master-maid let
them have it immediately--this time also she would not say “no.”

Then they harnessed the calf to see if the coach would move; and away
it went, over rough and smooth, over stock and stone, so that they could
scarcely breathe, and sometimes they were on the ground, and sometimes
up in the air; and when they came to the church the coach began to
go round and round like a spinning-wheel, and it was with the utmost
difficulty and danger that they were able to get out of the coach and
into the church. And when they went back again the coach went quicker
still, so that most of them did not know how they got back to the palace
at all.

When they had seated themselves at the table the Prince who had been in
service with the giant said that he thought they ought to have invited
the maiden who had lent them the shovel-handle, and the porch-door,
and the calf up to the palace, “for,” said he, “if we had not got these
three things, we should never have got away from the palace.”

The King also thought that this was both just and proper, so he sent
five of his best men down to the gilded hut, to greet the maiden
courteously from the King, and to beg her to be so good as to come up to
the palace to dinner at mid-day.

“Greet the King, and tell him that, if he is too good to come to me, I
am too good to come to him,” replied the Master-maid.

So the King had to go himself, and the Master-maid went with him
immediately, and, as the King believed that she was more than she
appeared to be, he seated her in the place of honor by the youngest
bridegroom. When they had sat at the table for a short time, the
Master-maid took out the cock, and the hen, and the golden apple which
she had brought away with her from the giant’s house, and set them on
the table in front of her, and instantly the cock and the hen began to
fight with each other for the golden apple.

“Oh! look how those two there are fighting for the golden apple,” said
the King’s son.

“Yes, and so did we two fight to get out that time when we were in the
mountain,” said the Master-maid.

So the Prince knew her again, and you may imagine how delighted he was.
He ordered the troll-witch who had rolled the apple to him to be torn
in pieces between four-and-twenty horses, so that not a bit of her was
left, and then for the first time they began really to keep the wedding,
and, weary as they were, the sheriff, the attorney, and the bailiff kept
it up too.(1)


(1) Asbjornsen and Moe.



WHY THE SEA IS SALT


Once upon a time, long, long ago, there were two brothers, the one rich
and the other poor. When Christmas Eve came, the poor one had not a bite
in the house, either of meat or bread; so he went to his brother, and
begged him, in God’s name, to give him something for Christmas Day. It
was by no means the first time that the brother had been forced to give
something to him, and he was not better pleased at being asked now than
he generally was.

“If you will do what I ask you, you shall have a whole ham,” said he.
The poor one immediately thanked him, and promised this.

“Well, here is the ham, and now you must go straight to Dead Man’s
Hall,” said the rich brother, throwing the ham to him.

“Well, I will do what I have promised,” said the other, and he took
the ham and set off. He went on and on for the livelong day, and at
nightfall he came to a place where there was a bright light.

“I have no doubt this is the place,” thought the man with the ham.

An old man with a long white beard was standing in the outhouse,
chopping Yule logs.

“Good-evening,” said the man with the ham.

“Good-evening to you. Where are you going at this late hour?” said the
man.

“I am going to Dead Man’s Hall, if only I am on the right track,”
 answered the poor man.

“Oh! yes, you are right enough, for it is here,” said the old man. “When
you get inside they will all want to buy your ham, for they don’t get
much meat to eat there; but you must not sell it unless you can get the
hand-mill which stands behind the door for it. When you come out again
I will teach you how to stop the hand-mill, which is useful for almost
everything.”

So the man with the ham thanked the other for his good advice, and
rapped at the door.

When he got in, everything happened just as the old man had said it
would: all the people, great and small, came round him like ants on an
ant-hill, and each tried to outbid the other for the ham.

“By rights my old woman and I ought to have it for our Christmas dinner,
but, since you have set your hearts upon it, I must just give it up to
you,” said the man. “But, if I sell it, I will have the hand-mill which
is standing there behind the door.”

At first they would not hear of this, and haggled and bargained with
the man, but he stuck to what he had said, and the people were forced
to give him the hand-mill. When the man came out again into the yard, he
asked the old wood-cutter how he was to stop the hand-mill, and when he
had learned that, he thanked him and set off home with all the speed he
could, but did not get there until after the clock had struck twelve on
Christmas Eve.

“Where in the world have you been?” said the old woman. “Here I have sat
waiting hour after hour, and have not even two sticks to lay across each
other under the Christmas porridge-pot.”

“Oh! I could not come before; I had something of importance to see
about, and a long way to go, too; but now you shall just see!” said the
man, and then he set the hand-mill on the table, and bade it first grind
light, then a table-cloth, and then meat, and beer, and everything else
that was good for a Christmas Eve’s supper; and the mill ground all that
he ordered. “Bless me!” said the old woman as one thing after another
appeared; and she wanted to know where her husband had got the mill
from, but he would not tell her that.

“Never mind where I got it; you can see that it is a good one, and the
water that turns it will never freeze,” said the man. So he ground meat
and drink, and all kinds of good things, to last all Christmas-tide, and
on the third day he invited all his friends to come to a feast.

Now when the rich brother saw all that there was at the banquet and in
the house, he was both vexed and angry, for he grudged everything his
brother had. “On Christmas Eve he was so poor that he came to me and
begged for a trifle, for God’s sake, and now he gives a feast as if he
were both a count and a king!” thought he. “But, for heaven’s sake, tell
me where you got your riches from,” said he to his brother.

“From behind the door,” said he who owned the mill, for he did not
choose to satisfy his brother on that point; but later in the evening,
when he had taken a drop too much, he could not refrain from telling how
he had come by the hand-mill. “There you see what has brought me all my
wealth!” said he, and brought out the mill, and made it grind first one
thing and then another. When the brother saw that, he insisted on having
the mill, and after a great deal of persuasion got it; but he had to
give three hundred dollars for it, and the poor brother was to keep it
till the haymaking was over, for he thought: “If I keep it as long as
that, I can make it grind meat and drink that will last many a long
year.” During that time you may imagine that the mill did not grow
rusty, and when hay-harvest came the rich brother got it, but the other
had taken good care not to teach him how to stop it. It was evening when
the rich man got the mill home, and in the morning he bade the old woman
go out and spread the hay after the mowers, and he would attend to the
house himself that day, he said.

So, when dinner-time drew near, he set the mill on the kitchen-table,
and said: “Grind herrings and milk pottage, and do it both quickly and
well.”

So the mill began to grind herrings and milk pottage, and first all
the dishes and tubs were filled, and then it came out all over the
kitchen-floor. The man twisted and turned it, and did all he could to
make the mill stop, but, howsoever he turned it and screwed it, the mill
went on grinding, and in a short time the pottage rose so high that the
man was like to be drowned. So he threw open the parlor door, but it was
not long before the mill had ground the parlor full too, and it was
with difficulty and danger that the man could go through the stream of
pottage and get hold of the door-latch. When he got the door open, he
did not stay long in the room, but ran out, and the herrings and pottage
came after him, and it streamed out over both farm and field. Now the
old woman, who was out spreading the hay, began to think dinner was long
in coming, and said to the women and the mowers: “Though the master does
not call us home, we may as well go. It may be that he finds he is not
good at making pottage and I should do well to help him.” So they began
to straggle homeward, but when they had got a little way up the hill
they met the herrings and pottage and bread, all pouring forth and
winding about one over the other, and the man himself in front of the
flood. “Would to heaven that each of you had a hundred stomachs! Take
care that you are not drowned in the pottage!” he cried as he went by
them as if Mischief were at his heels, down to where his brother dwelt.
Then he begged him, for God’s sake, to take the mill back again, and
that in an instant, for, said he: “If it grind one hour more the whole
district will be destroyed by herrings and pottage.” But the brother
would not take it until the other paid him three hundred dollars, and
that he was obliged to do. Now the poor brother had both the money and
the mill again. So it was not long before he had a farmhouse much finer
than that in which his brother lived, but the mill ground him so much
money that he covered it with plates of gold; and the farmhouse lay
close by the sea-shore, so it shone and glittered far out to sea.
Everyone who sailed by there now had to be put in to visit the rich man
in the gold farmhouse, and everyone wanted to see the wonderful mill,
for the report of it spread far and wide, and there was no one who had
not heard tell of it.

After a long, long time came also a skipper who wished to see the mill.
He asked if it could make salt. “Yes, it could make salt,” said he who
owned it, and when the skipper heard that, he wished with all his might
and main to have the mill, let it cost what it might, for, he thought,
if he had it, he would get off having to sail far away over the perilous
sea for freights of salt. At first the man would not hear of parting
with it, but the skipper begged and prayed, and at last the man sold it
to him, and got many, many thousand dollars for it. When the skipper
had got the mill on his back he did not stay there long, for he was so
afraid that the man would change his mind, and he had no time to ask
how he was to stop it grinding, but got on board his ship as fast as he
could.

When he had gone a little way out to sea he took the mill on deck.
“Grind salt, and grind both quickly and well,” said the skipper. So the
mill began to grind salt, till it spouted out like water, and when
the skipper had got the ship filled he wanted to stop the mill, but
whichsoever way he turned it, and how much soever he tried, it went on
grinding, and the heap of salt grew higher and higher, until at last the
ship sank. There lies the mill at the bottom of the sea, and still, day
by day, it grinds on; and that is why the sea is salt.(1)


(1) Asbjornsen and Moe.



THE MASTER CAT; OR, PUSS IN BOOTS


There was a miller who left no more estate to the three sons he had than
his mill, his ass, and his cat. The partition was soon made. Neither
scrivener nor attorney was sent for. They would soon have eaten up all
the poor patrimony. The eldest had the mill, the second the ass, and
the youngest nothing but the cat. The poor young fellow was quite
comfortless at having so poor a lot.

“My brothers,” said he, “may get their living handsomely enough by
joining their stocks together; but for my part, when I have eaten up my
cat, and made me a muff of his skin, I must die of hunger.”

The Cat, who heard all this, but made as if he did not, said to him with
a grave and serious air:

“Do not thus afflict yourself, my good master. You have nothing else to
do but to give me a bag and get a pair of boots made for me that I may
scamper through the dirt and the brambles, and you shall see that you
have not so bad a portion in me as you imagine.”

The Cat’s master did not build very much upon what he said. He had often
seen him play a great many cunning tricks to catch rats and mice, as
when he used to hang by the heels, or hide himself in the meal, and
make as if he were dead; so that he did not altogether despair of his
affording him some help in his miserable condition. When the Cat had
what he asked for he booted himself very gallantly, and putting his bag
about his neck, he held the strings of it in his two forepaws and went
into a warren where was great abundance of rabbits. He put bran and
sow-thistle into his bag, and stretching out at length, as if he had
been dead, he waited for some young rabbits, not yet acquainted with the
deceits of the world, to come and rummage his bag for what he had put
into it.

Scarce was he lain down but he had what he wanted. A rash and foolish
young rabbit jumped into his bag, and Monsieur Puss, immediately drawing
close the strings, took and killed him without pity. Proud of his prey,
he went with it to the palace and asked to speak with his majesty.
He was shown upstairs into the King’s apartment, and, making a low
reverence, said to him:

“I have brought you, sir, a rabbit of the warren, which my noble lord
the Marquis of Carabas” (for that was the title which puss was pleased
to give his master) “has commanded me to present to your majesty from
him.”

“Tell thy master,” said the king, “that I thank him and that he does me
a great deal of pleasure.”

Another time he went and hid himself among some standing corn, holding
still his bag open, and when a brace of partridges ran into it he drew
the strings and so caught them both. He went and made a present of these
to the king, as he had done before of the rabbit which he took in the
warren. The king, in like manner, received the partridges with great
pleasure, and ordered him some money for drink.

The Cat continued for two or three months thus to carry his Majesty,
from time to time, game of his master’s taking. One day in particular,
when he knew for certain that he was to take the air along the
river-side, with his daughter, the most beautiful princess in the world,
he said to his master:

“If you will follow my advice your fortune is made. You have nothing
else to do but go and wash yourself in the river, in that part I shall
show you, and leave the rest to me.”

The Marquis of Carabas did what the Cat advised him to, without knowing
why or wherefore. While he was washing the King passed by, and the Cat
began to cry out:

“Help! help! My Lord Marquis of Carabas is going to be drowned.”

At this noise the King put his head out of the coach-window, and,
finding it was the Cat who had so often brought him such good game,
he commanded his guards to run immediately to the assistance of his
Lordship the Marquis of Carabas. While they were drawing the poor
Marquis out of the river, the Cat came up to the coach and told the King
that, while his master was washing, there came by some rogues, who
went off with his clothes, though he had cried out: “Thieves! thieves!”
 several times, as loud as he could.

This cunning Cat had hidden them under a great stone. The King
immediately commanded the officers of his wardrobe to run and fetch one
of his best suits for the Lord Marquis of Carabas.

The King caressed him after a very extraordinary manner, and as the fine
clothes he had given him extremely set off his good mien (for he was
well made and very handsome in his person), the King’s daughter took a
secret inclination to him, and the Marquis of Carabas had no sooner cast
two or three respectful and somewhat tender glances but she fell in love
with him to distraction. The King would needs have him come into the
coach and take part of the airing. The Cat, quite overjoyed to see his
project begin to succeed, marched on before, and, meeting with some
countrymen, who were mowing a meadow, he said to them:

“Good people, you who are mowing, if you do not tell the King that
the meadow you mow belongs to my Lord Marquis of Carabas, you shall be
chopped as small as herbs for the pot.”

The King did not fail asking of the mowers to whom the meadow they were
mowing belonged.

“To my Lord Marquis of Carabas,” answered they altogether, for the Cat’s
threats had made them terribly afraid.

“You see, sir,” said the Marquis, “this is a meadow which never fails to
yield a plentiful harvest every year.”

The Master Cat, who went still on before, met with some reapers, and
said to them:

“Good people, you who are reaping, if you do not tell the King that all
this corn belongs to the Marquis of Carabas, you shall be chopped as
small as herbs for the pot.”

The King, who passed by a moment after, would needs know to whom all
that corn, which he then saw, did belong.

“To my Lord Marquis of Carabas,” replied the reapers, and the King was
very well pleased with it, as well as the Marquis, whom he congratulated
thereupon. The Master Cat, who went always before, said the same words
to all he met, and the King was astonished at the vast estates of my
Lord Marquis of Carabas.

Monsieur Puss came at last to a stately castle, the master of which was
an ogre, the richest had ever been known; for all the lands which the
King had then gone over belonged to this castle. The Cat, who had taken
care to inform himself who this ogre was and what he could do, asked
to speak with him, saying he could not pass so near his castle without
having the honor of paying his respects to him.

The ogre received him as civilly as an ogre could do, and made him sit
down.

“I have been assured,” said the Cat, “that you have the gift of being
able to change yourself into all sorts of creatures you have a mind to;
you can, for example, transform yourself into a lion, or elephant, and
the like.”

“That is true,” answered the ogre very briskly; “and to convince you,
you shall see me now become a lion.”

Puss was so sadly terrified at the sight of a lion so near him that he
immediately got into the gutter, not without abundance of trouble and
danger, because of his boots, which were of no use at all to him in
walking upon the tiles. A little while after, when Puss saw that the
ogre had resumed his natural form, he came down, and owned he had been
very much frightened.

“I have been, moreover, informed,” said the Cat, “but I know not how to
believe it, that you have also the power to take on you the shape of the
smallest animals; for example, to change yourself into a rat or a mouse;
but I must own to you I take this to be impossible.”

“Impossible!” cried the ogre; “you shall see that presently.”

And at the same time he changed himself into a mouse, and began to run
about the floor. Puss no sooner perceived this but he fell upon him and
ate him up.

Meanwhile the King, who saw, as he passed, this fine castle of the
ogre’s, had a mind to go into it. Puss, who heard the noise of his
Majesty’s coach running over the draw-bridge, ran out, and said to the
King:

“Your Majesty is welcome to this castle of my Lord Marquis of Carabas.”

“What! my Lord Marquis,” cried the King, “and does this castle also
belong to you? There can be nothing finer than this court and all the
stately buildings which surround it; let us go into it, if you please.”

The Marquis gave his hand to the Princess, and followed the King,
who went first. They passed into a spacious hall, where they found a
magnificent collation, which the ogre had prepared for his friends, who
were that very day to visit him, but dared not to enter, knowing
the King was there. His Majesty was perfectly charmed with the good
qualities of my Lord Marquis of Carabas, as was his daughter, who
had fallen violently in love with him, and, seeing the vast estate he
possessed, said to him, after having drunk five or six glasses:

“It will be owing to yourself only, my Lord Marquis, if you are not my
son-in-law.”

The Marquis, making several low bows, accepted the honor which his
Majesty conferred upon him, and forthwith, that very same day, married
the Princess.

Puss became a great lord, and never ran after mice any more but only for
his diversion.(1)


(1) Charles Perrault.



FELICIA AND THE POT OF PINKS


Once upon a time there was a poor laborer who, feeling that he had not
much longer to live, wished to divide his possessions between his son
and daughter, whom he loved dearly.

So he called them to him, and said: “Your mother brought me as her dowry
two stools and a straw bed; I have, besides, a hen, a pot of pinks, and
a silver ring, which were given me by a noble lady who once lodged in my
poor cottage. When she went away she said to me:

“‘Be careful of my gifts, good man; see that you do not lose the ring or
forget to water the pinks. As for your daughter, I promise you that she
shall be more beautiful than anyone you ever saw in your life; call her
Felicia, and when she grows up give her the ring and the pot of pinks to
console her for her poverty.’ Take them both, then, my dear child,” he
added, “and your brother shall have everything else.”

The two children seemed quite contented, and when their father died they
wept for him, and divided his possessions as he had told them. Felicia
believed that her brother loved her, but when she sat down upon one of
the stools he said angrily:

“Keep your pot of pinks and your ring, but let my things alone. I like
order in my house.”

Felicia, who was very gentle, said nothing, but stood up crying quietly;
while Bruno, for that was her brother’s name, sat comfortably by the
fire. Presently, when supper-time came, Bruno had a delicious egg, and
he threw the shell to Felicia, saying:

“There, that is all I can give you; if you don’t like it, go out and
catch frogs; there are plenty of them in the marsh close by.” Felicia
did not answer, but she cried more bitterly than ever, and went away
to her own little room. She found it filled with the sweet scent of the
pinks, and, going up to them, she said sadly:

“Beautiful pinks, you are so sweet and so pretty, you are the only
comfort I have left. Be very sure that I will take care of you, and
water you well, and never allow any cruel hand to tear you from your
stems.”

As she leaned over them she noticed that they were very dry. So taking
her pitcher, she ran off in the clear moonlight to the fountain, which
was at some distance. When she reached it she sat down upon the brink
to rest, but she had hardly done so when she saw a stately lady coming
toward her, surrounded by numbers of attendants. Six maids of honor
carried her train, and she leaned upon the arm of another.

When they came near the fountain a canopy was spread for her, under
which was placed a sofa of cloth-of-gold, and presently a dainty supper
was served, upon a table covered with dishes of gold and crystal, while
the wind in the trees and the falling water of the fountain murmured the
softest music.

Felicia was hidden in the shade, too much astonished by all she saw to
venture to move; but in a few moments the Queen said:

“I fancy I see a shepherdess near that tree; bid her come hither.”

So Felicia came forward and saluted the Queen timidly, but with so much
grace that all were surprised.

“What are you doing here, my pretty child?” asked the Queen. “Are you
not afraid of robbers?”

“Ah! madam,” said Felicia, “a poor shepherdess who has nothing to lose
does not fear robbers.”

“You are not very rich, then?” said the Queen, smiling.

“I am so poor,” answered Felicia, “that a pot of pinks and a silver ring
are my only possessions in the world.”

“But you have a heart,” said the Queen. “What should you say if anybody
wanted to steal that?”

“I do not know what it is like to lose one’s heart, madam,” she replied;
“but I have always heard that without a heart one cannot live, and if it
is broken one must die; and in spite of my poverty I should be sorry not
to live.”

“You are quite right to take care of your heart, pretty one,” said the
Queen. “But tell me, have you supped?”

“No, madam,” answered Felicia; “my brother ate all the supper there
was.”

Then the Queen ordered that a place should be made for her at the table,
and herself loaded Felicia’s plate with good things; but she was too
much astonished to be hungry.

“I want to know what you were doing at the fountain so late?” said the
Queen presently.

“I came to fetch a pitcher of water for my pinks, madam,” she answered,
stooping to pick up the pitcher which stood beside her; but when she
showed it to the Queen she was amazed to see that it had turned to gold,
all sparkling with great diamonds, and the water, of which it was full,
was more fragrant than the sweetest roses. She was afraid to take it
until the Queen said:

“It is yours, Felicia; go and water your pinks with it, and let it
remind you that the Queen of the Woods is your friend.”

The shepherdess threw herself at the Queen’s feet, and thanked her
humbly for her gracious words.

“Ah! madam,” she cried, “if I might beg you to stay here a moment I
would run and fetch my pot of pinks for you--they could not fall into
better hands.”

“Go, Felicia,” said the Queen, stroking her cheek softly; “I will wait
here until you come back.”

So Felicia took up her pitcher and ran to her little room, but while she
had been away Bruno had gone in and taken the pot of pinks, leaving a
great cabbage in its place. When she saw the unlucky cabbage Felicia was
much distressed, and did not know what to do; but at last she ran back
to the fountain, and, kneeling before the Queen, said:

“Madam, Bruno has stolen my pot of pinks, so I have nothing but my
silver ring; but I beg you to accept it as a proof of my gratitude.”

“But if I take your ring, my pretty shepherdess,” said the Queen, “you
will have nothing left; and what will you do then?”

“Ah! madam,” she answered simply, “if I have your friendship I shall do
very well.”

So the Queen took the ring and put it on her finger, and mounted her
chariot, which was made of coral studded with emeralds, and drawn by six
milk-white horses. And Felicia looked after her until the winding of
the forest path hid her from her sight, and then she went back to the
cottage, thinking over all the wonderful things that had happened.

The first thing she did when she reached her room was to throw the
cabbage out of the window.

But she was very much surprised to hear an odd little voice cry out:
“Oh! I am half killed!” and could not tell where it came from, because
cabbages do not generally speak.

As soon as it was light, Felicia, who was very unhappy about her pot of
pinks, went out to look for it, and the first thing she found was the
unfortunate cabbage. She gave it a push with her foot, saying: “What are
you doing here, and how dared you put yourself in the place of my pot of
pinks?”

“If I hadn’t been carried,” replied the cabbage, “you may be very sure
that I shouldn’t have thought of going there.”

It made her shiver with fright to hear the cabbage talk, but he went on:

“If you will be good enough to plant me by my comrades again, I can tell
you where your pinks are at this moment--hidden in Bruno’s bed!”

Felicia was in despair when she heard this, not knowing how she was
to get them back. But she replanted the cabbage very kindly in his old
place, and, as she finished doing it, she saw Bruno’s hen, and said,
catching hold of it:

“Come here, horrid little creature! you shall suffer for all the unkind
things my brother has done to me.”

“Ah! shepherdess,” said the hen, “don’t kill me; I am rather a gossip,
and I can tell you some surprising things that you will like to hear.
Don’t imagine that you are the daughter of the poor laborer who brought
you up; your mother was a queen who had six girls already, and the King
threatened that unless she had a son who could inherit his kingdom she
should have her head cut off.

“So when the Queen had another little daughter she was quite frightened,
and agreed with her sister (who was a fairy) to exchange her for the
fairy’s little son. Now the Queen had been shut up in a great tower
by the King’s orders, and when a great many days went by and still she
heard nothing from the Fairy she made her escape from the window by
means of a rope ladder, taking her little baby with her. After wandering
about until she was half dead with cold and fatigue she reached this
cottage. I was the laborer’s wife, and was a good nurse, and the Queen
gave you into my charge, and told me all her misfortunes, and then died
before she had time to say what was to become of you.

“As I never in all my life could keep a secret, I could not help telling
this strange tale to my neighbors, and one day a beautiful lady came
here, and I told it to her also. When I had finished she touched me with
a wand she held in her hand, and instantly I became a hen, and there was
an end of my talking! I was very sad, and my husband, who was out
when it happened, never knew what had become of me. After seeking me
everywhere he believed that I must have been drowned, or eaten up by
wild beasts in the forest. That same lady came here once more, and
commanded that you should be called Felicia, and left the ring and
the pot of pinks to be given to you; and while she was in the house
twenty-five of the King’s guards came to search for you, doubtless
meaning to kill you; but she muttered a few words, and immediately they
all turned into cabbages. It was one of them whom you threw out of your
window yesterday.

“I don’t know how it was that he could speak--I have never heard either
of them say a word before, nor have I been able to do it myself until
now.”

The Princess was greatly astonished at the hen’s story, and said kindly:
“I am truly sorry for you, my poor nurse, and wish it was in my power to
restore you to your real form. But we must not despair; it seems to
me, after what you have told me, that something must be going to happen
soon. Just now, however, I must go and look for my pinks, which I love
better than anything in the world.”

Bruno had gone out into the forest, never thinking that Felicia
would search in his room for the pinks, and she was delighted by
his unexpected absence, and thought to get them back without further
trouble. But as soon as she entered the room she saw a terrible army
of rats, who were guarding the straw bed; and when she attempted to
approach it they sprang at her, biting and scratching furiously. Quite
terrified, she drew back, crying out: “Oh! my dear pinks, how can you
stay here in such bad company?”

Then she suddenly bethought herself of the pitcher of water, and, hoping
that it might have some magic power, she ran to fetch it, and sprinkled
a few drops over the fierce-looking swarm of rats. In a moment not a
tail or a whisker was to be seen. Each one had made for his hole as fast
as his legs could carry him, so that the Princess could safely take her
pot of pinks. She found them nearly dying for want of water, and hastily
poured all that was left in the pitcher upon them. As she bent over
them, enjoying their delicious scent, a soft voice, that seemed to
rustle among the leaves, said:

“Lovely Felicia, the day has come at last when I may have the happiness
of telling you how even the flowers love you and rejoice in your
beauty.”

The Princess, quite overcome by the strangeness of hearing a cabbage,
a hen, and a pink speak, and by the terrible sight of an army of rats,
suddenly became very pale, and fainted away.

At this moment in came Bruno. Working hard in the heat had not improved
his temper, and when he saw that Felicia had succeeded in finding her
pinks he was so angry that he dragged her out into the garden and shut
the door upon her. The fresh air soon made her open her pretty eyes, and
there before her stood the Queen of the Woods, looking as charming as
ever.

“You have a bad brother,” she said; “I saw he turned you out. Shall I
punish him for it?”

“Ah! no, madam,” she said; “I am not angry with him.

“But supposing he was not your brother, after all, what would you say
then?” asked the Queen.

“Oh! but I think he must be,” said Felicia.

“What!” said the Queen, “have you not heard that you are a Princess?”

“I was told so a little while ago, madam, but how could I believe it
without a single proof?”

“Ah! dear child,” said the Queen, “the way you speak assures me that, in
spite of your humble upbringing, you are indeed a real princess, and I
can save you from being treated in such a way again.”

She was interrupted at this moment by the arrival of a very handsome
young man. He wore a coat of green velvet fastened with emerald clasps,
and had a crown of pinks on his head. He knelt upon one knee and kissed
the Queen’s hand.

“Ah!” she cried, “my pink, my dear son, what a happiness to see you
restored to your natural shape by Felicia’s aid!” And she embraced him
joyfully. Then, turning to Felicia, she said:

“Charming Princess, I know all the hen told you, but you cannot have
heard that the zephyrs, to whom was entrusted the task of carrying my
son to the tower where the Queen, your mother, so anxiously waited for
him, left him instead in a garden of flowers, while they flew off to
tell your mother. Whereupon a fairy with whom I had quarrelled changed
him into a pink, and I could do nothing to prevent it.

“You can imagine how angry I was, and how I tried to find some means of
undoing the mischief she had done; but there was no help for it. I could
only bring Prince Pink to the place where you were being brought up,
hoping that when you grew up he might love you, and by your care be
restored to his natural form. And you see everything has come right, as
I hoped it would. Your giving me the silver ring was the sign that the
power of the charm was nearly over, and my enemy’s last chance was to
frighten you with her army of rats. That she did not succeed in doing;
so now, my dear Felicia, if you will be married to my son with this
silver ring your future happiness is certain. Do you think him handsome
and amiable enough to be willing to marry him?”

“Madam,” replied Felicia, blushing, “you overwhelm me with your
kindness. I know that you are my mother’s sister, and that by your art
you turned the soldiers who were sent to kill me into cabbages, and my
nurse into a hen, and that you do me only too much honor in proposing
that I shall marry your son. How can I explain to you the cause of my
hesitation? I feel, for the first time in my life, how happy it would
make me to be beloved. Can you indeed give me the Prince’s heart?”

“It is yours already, lovely Princess!” he cried, taking her hand in
his; “but for the horrible enchantment which kept me silent I should
have told you long ago how dearly I love you.”

This made the Princess very happy, and the Queen, who could not bear
to see her dressed like a poor shepherdess, touched her with her wand,
saying:

“I wish you to be attired as befits your rank and beauty.” And
immediately the Princess’s cotton dress became a magnificent robe of
silver brocade embroidered with carbuncles, and her soft dark hair was
encircled by a crown of diamonds, from which floated a clear white veil.
With her bright eyes, and the charming color in her cheeks, she was
altogether such a dazzling sight that the Prince could hardly bear it.

“How pretty you are, Felicia!” he cried. “Don’t keep me in suspense, I
entreat you; say that you will marry me.”

“Ah!” said the Queen, smiling, “I think she will not refuse now.”

Just then Bruno, who was going back to his work, came out of the
cottage, and thought he must be dreaming when he saw Felicia; but she
called him very kindly, and begged the Queen to take pity on him.

“What!” she said, “when he was so unkind to you?”

“Ah! madam,” said the Princess, “I am so happy that I should like
everybody else to be happy too.”

The Queen kissed her, and said: “Well, to please you, let me see what I
can do for this cross Bruno.” And with a wave of her wand she turned the
poor little cottage into a splendid palace, full of treasures; only the
two stools and the straw bed remained just as they were, to remind him
of his former poverty. Then the Queen touched Bruno himself, and made
him gentle and polite and grateful, and he thanked her and the Princess
a thousand times. Lastly, the Queen restored the hen and the cabbages
to their natural forms, and left them all very contented. The Prince and
Princess were married as soon as possible with great splendor, and lived
happily ever after.(1)


(1) Fortunee. Par Madame la Comtesse d’Aulnoy.



THE WHITE CAT


Once upon a time there was a king who had three sons, who were all so
clever and brave that he began to be afraid that they would want to
reign over the kingdom before he was dead. Now the King, though he felt
that he was growing old, did not at all wish to give up the government
of his kingdom while he could still manage it very well, so he thought
the best way to live in peace would be to divert the minds of his sons
by promises which he could always get out of when the time came for
keeping them.

So he sent for them all, and, after speaking to them kindly, he added:

“You will quite agree with me, my dear children, that my great age makes
it impossible for me to look after my affairs of state as carefully as
I once did. I begin to fear that this may affect the welfare of my
subjects, therefore I wish that one of you should succeed to my crown;
but in return for such a gift as this it is only right that you should
do something for me. Now, as I think of retiring into the country, it
seems to me that a pretty, lively, faithful little dog would be very
good company for me; so, without any regard for your ages, I promise
that the one who brings me the most beautiful little dog shall succeed
me at once.”

The three Princes were greatly surprised by their father’s sudden fancy
for a little dog, but as it gave the two younger ones a chance they
would not otherwise have had of being king, and as the eldest was
too polite to make any objection, they accepted the commission with
pleasure. They bade farewell to the King, who gave them presents of
silver and precious stones, and appointed to meet them at the same hour,
in the same place, after a year had passed, to see the little dogs they
had brought for him.

Then they went together to a castle which was about a league from the
city, accompanied by all their particular friends, to whom they gave a
grand banquet, and the three brothers promised to be friends always,
to share whatever good fortune befell them, and not to be parted by
any envy or jealousy; and so they set out, agreeing to meet at the same
castle at the appointed time, to present themselves before the King
together. Each one took a different road, and the two eldest met with
many adventures; but it is about the youngest that you are going to
hear. He was young, and gay, and handsome, and knew everything that a
prince ought to know; and as for his courage, there was simply no end to
it.

Hardly a day passed without his buying several dogs--big and little,
greyhounds, mastiffs, spaniels, and lapdogs. As soon as he had bought a
pretty one he was sure to see a still prettier, and then he had to get
rid of all the others and buy that one, as, being alone, he found it
impossible to take thirty or forty thousand dogs about with him. He
journeyed from day to day, not knowing where he was going, until at
last, just at nightfall, he reached a great, gloomy forest. He did not
know his way, and, to make matters worse, it began to thunder, and
the rain poured down. He took the first path he could find, and after
walking for a long time he fancied he saw a faint light, and began to
hope that he was coming to some cottage where he might find shelter for
the night. At length, guided by the light, he reached the door of the
most splendid castle he could have imagined. This door was of gold
covered with carbuncles, and it was the pure red light which shone from
them that had shown him the way through the forest. The walls were of
the finest porcelain in all the most delicate colors, and the Prince saw
that all the stories he had ever read were pictured upon them; but as he
was terribly wet, and the rain still fell in torrents, he could not stay
to look about any more, but came back to the golden door. There he saw
a deer’s foot hanging by a chain of diamonds, and he began to wonder who
could live in this magnificent castle.

“They must feel very secure against robbers,” he said to himself. “What
is to hinder anyone from cutting off that chain and digging out those
carbuncles, and making himself rich for life?”

He pulled the deer’s foot, and immediately a silver bell sounded and the
door flew open, but the Prince could see nothing but numbers of hands
in the air, each holding a torch. He was so much surprised that he stood
quite still, until he felt himself pushed forward by other hands, so
that, though he was somewhat uneasy, he could not help going on. With
his hand on his sword, to be prepared for whatever might happen, he
entered a hall paved with lapis-lazuli, while two lovely voices sang:


     “The hands you see floating above
       Will swiftly your bidding obey;
     If your heart dreads not conquering Love,
       In this place you may fearlessly stay.”


The Prince could not believe that any danger threatened him when he was
welcomed in this way, so, guided by the mysterious hands, he went toward
a door of coral, which opened of its own accord, and he found himself
in a vast hall of mother-of-pearl, out of which opened a number of other
rooms, glittering with thousands of lights, and full of such beautiful
pictures and precious things that the Prince felt quite bewildered.
After passing through sixty rooms the hands that conducted him stopped,
and the Prince saw a most comfortable-looking arm-chair drawn up close
to the chimney-corner; at the same moment the fire lighted itself, and
the pretty, soft, clever hands took off the Prince’s wet, muddy clothes,
and presented him with fresh ones made of the richest stuffs, all
embroidered with gold and emeralds. He could not help admiring
everything he saw, and the deft way in which the hands waited on him,
though they sometimes appeared so suddenly that they made him jump.

When he was quite ready--and I can assure you that he looked very
different from the wet and weary Prince who had stood outside in the
rain, and pulled the deer’s foot--the hands led him to a splendid room,
upon the walls of which were painted the histories of Puss in Boots and
a number of other famous cats. The table was laid for supper with
two golden plates, and golden spoons and forks, and the sideboard was
covered with dishes and glasses of crystal set with precious stones. The
Prince was wondering who the second place could be for, when suddenly
in came about a dozen cats carrying guitars and rolls of music, who took
their places at one end of the room, and under the direction of a cat
who beat time with a roll of paper began to mew in every imaginable key,
and to draw their claws across the strings of the guitars, making the
strangest kind of music that could be heard. The Prince hastily stopped
up his ears, but even then the sight of these comical musicians sent him
into fits of laughter.

“What funny thing shall I see next?” he said to himself, and instantly
the door opened, and in came a tiny figure covered by a long black veil.
It was conducted by two cats wearing black mantles and carrying swords,
and a large party of cats followed, who brought in cages full of rats
and mice.

The Prince was so much astonished that he thought he must be dreaming,
but the little figure came up to him and threw back its veil, and he saw
that it was the loveliest little white cat it is possible to imagine.
She looked very young and very sad, and in a sweet little voice that
went straight to his heart she said to the Prince:

“King’s son, you are welcome; the Queen of the Cats is glad to see you.”

“Lady Cat,” replied the Prince, “I thank you for receiving me so kindly,
but surely you are no ordinary pussy-cat? Indeed, the way you speak and
the magnificence of your castle prove it plainly.”

“King’s son,” said the White Cat, “I beg you to spare me these
compliments, for I am not used to them. But now,” she added, “let supper
be served, and let the musicians be silent, as the Prince does not
understand what they are saying.”

So the mysterious hands began to bring in the supper, and first they put
on the table two dishes, one containing stewed pigeons and the other a
fricassee of fat mice. The sight of the latter made the Prince feel as
if he could not enjoy his supper at all; but the White Cat, seeing this,
assured him that the dishes intended for him were prepared in a separate
kitchen, and he might be quite certain that they contained neither rats
nor mice; and the Prince felt so sure that she would not deceive him
that he had no more hesitation in beginning. Presently he noticed
that on the little paw that was next him the White Cat wore a bracelet
containing a portrait, and he begged to be allowed to look at it. To his
great surprise he found it represented an extremely handsome young man,
who was so like himself that it might have been his own portrait! The
White Cat sighed as he looked at it, and seemed sadder than ever, and
the Prince dared not ask any questions for fear of displeasing her; so
he began to talk about other things, and found that she was interested
in all the subjects he cared for himself, and seemed to know quite well
what was going on in the world. After supper they went into another
room, which was fitted up as a theatre, and the cats acted and danced
for their amusement, and then the White Cat said good-night to him, and
the hands conducted him into a room he had not seen before, hung with
tapestry worked with butterflies’ wings of every color; there were
mirrors that reached from the ceiling to the floor, and a little white
bed with curtains of gauze tied up with ribbons. The Prince went to bed
in silence, as he did not quite know how to begin a conversation with
the hands that waited on him, and in the morning he was awakened by
a noise and confusion outside of his window, and the hands came and
quickly dressed him in hunting costume. When he looked out all the cats
were assembled in the courtyard, some leading greyhounds, some blowing
horns, for the White Cat was going out hunting. The hands led a wooden
horse up to the Prince, and seemed to expect him to mount it, at which
he was very indignant; but it was no use for him to object, for he
speedily found himself upon its back, and it pranced gaily off with him.

The White Cat herself was riding a monkey, which climbed even up to
the eagles’ nests when she had a fancy for the young eaglets. Never was
there a pleasanter hunting party, and when they returned to the castle
the Prince and the White Cat supped together as before, but when they
had finished she offered him a crystal goblet, which must have contained
a magic draught, for, as soon as he had swallowed its contents, he
forgot everything, even the little dog that he was seeking for the King,
and only thought how happy he was to be with the White Cat! And so the
days passed, in every kind of amusement, until the year was nearly gone.
The Prince had forgotten all about meeting his brothers: he did not even
know what country he belonged to; but the White Cat knew when he ought
to go back, and one day she said to him:

“Do you know that you have only three days left to look for the little
dog for your father, and your brothers have found lovely ones?”

Then the Prince suddenly recovered his memory, and cried:

“What can have made me forget such an important thing? My whole fortune
depends upon it; and even if I could in such a short time find a dog
pretty enough to gain me a kingdom, where should I find a horse who
would carry me all that way in three days?” And he began to be very
vexed. But the White Cat said to him: “King’s son, do not trouble
yourself; I am your friend, and will make everything easy for you. You
can still stay here for a day, as the good wooden horse can take you to
your country in twelve hours.”

“I thank you, beautiful Cat,” said the Prince; “but what good will it do
me to get back if I have not a dog to take to my father?”

“See here,” answered the White Cat, holding up an acorn; “there is a
prettier one in this than in the Dogstar!”

“Oh! White Cat dear,” said the Prince, “how unkind you are to laugh at
me now!”

“Only listen,” she said, holding the acorn to his ear.

And inside it he distinctly heard a tiny voice say: “Bow-wow!”

The Prince was delighted, for a dog that can be shut up in an acorn must
be very small indeed. He wanted to take it out and look at it, but the
White Cat said it would be better not to open the acorn till he was
before the King, in case the tiny dog should be cold on the journey. He
thanked her a thousand times, and said good-by quite sadly when the time
came for him to set out.

“The days have passed so quickly with you,” he said, “I only wish I
could take you with me now.”

But the White Cat shook her head and sighed deeply in answer.

After all the Prince was the first to arrive at the castle where he had
agreed to meet his brothers, but they came soon after, and stared in
amazement when they saw the wooden horse in the courtyard jumping like a
hunter.

The Prince met them joyfully, and they began to tell him all their
adventures; but he managed to hide from them what he had been doing, and
even led them to think that a turnspit dog which he had with him was the
one he was bringing for the King. Fond as they all were of one another,
the two eldest could not help being glad to think that their dogs
certainly had a better chance. The next morning they started in the same
chariot. The elder brothers carried in baskets two such tiny, fragile
dogs that they hardly dared to touch them. As for the turnspit, he ran
after the chariot, and got so covered with mud that one could hardly see
what he was like at all. When they reached the palace everyone crowded
round to welcome them as they went into the King’s great hall; and when
the two brothers presented their little dogs nobody could decide which
was the prettier. They were already arranging between themselves to
share the kingdom equally, when the youngest stepped forward, drawing
from his pocket the acorn the White Cat had given him. He opened it
quickly, and there upon a white cushion they saw a dog so small that it
could easily have been put through a ring. The Prince laid it upon the
ground, and it got up at once and began to dance. The King did not know
what to say, for it was impossible that anything could be prettier than
this little creature. Nevertheless, as he was in no hurry to part with
his crown, he told his sons that, as they had been so successful the
first time, he would ask them to go once again, and seek by land and sea
for a piece of muslin so fine that it could be drawn through the eye of
a needle. The brothers were not very willing to set out again, but
the two eldest consented because it gave them another chance, and they
started as before. The youngest again mounted the wooden horse, and rode
back at full speed to his beloved White Cat. Every door of the castle
stood wide open, and every window and turret was illuminated, so it
looked more wonderful than before. The hands hastened to meet him, and
led the wooden horse off to the stable, while he hurried in to find the
White Cat. She was asleep in a little basket on a white satin cushion,
but she very soon started up when she heard the Prince, and was
overjoyed at seeing him once more.

“How could I hope that you would come back to me King’s son?” she said.
And then he stroked and petted her, and told her of his successful
journey, and how he had come back to ask her help, as he believed that
it was impossible to find what the King demanded. The White Cat looked
serious, and said she must think what was to be done, but that, luckily,
there were some cats in the castle who could spin very well, and if
anybody could manage it they could, and she would set them the task
herself.

And then the hands appeared carrying torches, and conducted the Prince
and the White Cat to a long gallery which overlooked the river, from
the windows of which they saw a magnificent display of fireworks of all
sorts; after which they had supper, which the Prince liked even better
than the fireworks, for it was very late, and he was hungry after his
long ride. And so the days passed quickly as before; it was impossible
to feel dull with the White Cat, and she had quite a talent for
inventing new amusements--indeed, she was cleverer than a cat has any
right to be. But when the Prince asked her how it was that she was so
wise, she only said:

“King’s son, do not ask me; guess what you please. I may not tell you
anything.”

The Prince was so happy that he did not trouble himself at all about the
time, but presently the White Cat told him that the year was gone, and
that he need not be at all anxious about the piece of muslin, as they
had made it very well.

“This time,” she added, “I can give you a suitable escort”; and on
looking out into the courtyard the Prince saw a superb chariot of
burnished gold, enameled in flame color with a thousand different
devices. It was drawn by twelve snow-white horses, harnessed four
abreast; their trappings were flame-colored velvet, embroidered with
diamonds. A hundred chariots followed, each drawn by eight horses,
and filled with officers in splendid uniforms, and a thousand guards
surrounded the procession. “Go!” said the White Cat, “and when you
appear before the King in such state he surely will not refuse you the
crown which you deserve. Take this walnut, but do not open it until you
are before him, then you will find in it the piece of stuff you asked me
for.”

“Lovely Blanchette,” said the Prince, “how can I thank you properly for
all your kindness to me? Only tell me that you wish it, and I will
give up for ever all thought of being king, and will stay here with you
always.”

“King’s son,” she replied, “it shows the goodness of your heart that you
should care so much for a little white cat, who is good for nothing but
to catch mice; but you must not stay.”

So the Prince kissed her little paw and set out. You can imagine how
fast he traveled when I tell you that they reached the King’s palace in
just half the time it had taken the wooden horse to get there. This time
the Prince was so late that he did not try to meet his brothers at their
castle, so they thought he could not be coming, and were rather glad of
it, and displayed their pieces of muslin to the King proudly, feeling
sure of success. And indeed the stuff was very fine, and would go
through the eye of a very large needle; but the King, who was only too
glad to make a difficulty, sent for a particular needle, which was kept
among the Crown jewels, and had such a small eye that everybody saw at
once that it was impossible that the muslin should pass through it. The
Princes were angry, and were beginning to complain that it was a trick,
when suddenly the trumpets sounded and the youngest Prince came in. His
father and brothers were quite astonished at his magnificence, and after
he had greeted them he took the walnut from his pocket and opened it,
fully expecting to find the piece of muslin, but instead there was only
a hazel-nut. He cracked it, and there lay a cherry-stone. Everybody was
looking on, and the King was chuckling to himself at the idea of finding
the piece of muslin in a nutshell.

However, the Prince cracked the cherry-stone, but everyone laughed when
he saw it contained only its own kernel. He opened that and found a
grain of wheat, and in that was a millet seed. Then he himself began to
wonder, and muttered softly:

“White Cat, White Cat, are you making fun of me?”

In an instant he felt a cat’s claw give his hand quite a sharp scratch,
and hoping that it was meant as an encouragement he opened the millet
seed, and drew out of it a piece of muslin four hundred ells long, woven
with the loveliest colors and most wonderful patterns; and when the
needle was brought it went through the eye six times with the greatest
ease! The King turned pale, and the other Princes stood silent and
sorrowful, for nobody could deny that this was the most marvelous piece
of muslin that was to be found in the world.

Presently the King turned to his sons, and said, with a deep sigh:

“Nothing could console me more in my old age than to realize your
willingness to gratify my wishes. Go then once more, and whoever at the
end of a year can bring back the loveliest princess shall be married
to her, and shall, without further delay, receive the crown, for my
successor must certainly be married.” The Prince considered that he had
earned the kingdom fairly twice over but still he was too well bred
to argue about it, so he just went back to his gorgeous chariot, and,
surrounded by his escort, returned to the White Cat faster than he had
come. This time she was expecting him, the path was strewn with flowers,
and a thousand braziers were burning scented woods which perfumed the
air. Seated in a gallery from which she could see his arrival, the White
Cat waited for him. “Well, King’s son,” she said, “here you are once
more, without a crown.” “Madam,” said he, “thanks to your generosity I
have earned one twice over; but the fact is that my father is so loth to
part with it that it would be no pleasure to me to take it.”

“Never mind,” she answered, “it’s just as well to try and deserve it. As
you must take back a lovely princess with you next time I will be on
the look-out for one for you. In the meantime let us enjoy ourselves;
to-night I have ordered a battle between my cats and the river rats on
purpose to amuse you.” So this year slipped away even more pleasantly
than the preceding ones. Sometimes the Prince could not help asking the
White Cat how it was she could talk.

“Perhaps you are a fairy,” he said. “Or has some enchanter changed you
into a cat?”

But she only gave him answers that told him nothing. Days go by so
quickly when one is very happy that it is certain the Prince would never
have thought of its being time to go back, when one evening as they sat
together the White Cat said to him that if he wanted to take a lovely
princess home with him the next day he must be prepared to do what she
told him.

“Take this sword,” she said, “and cut off my head!”

“I!” cried the Prince, “I cut off your head! Blanchette darling, how
could I do it?”

“I entreat you to do as I tell you, King’s son,” she replied.

The tears came into the Prince’s eyes as he begged her to ask him
anything but that--to set him any task she pleased as a proof of his
devotion, but to spare him the grief of killing his dear Pussy. But
nothing he could say altered her determination, and at last he drew his
sword, and desperately, with a trembling hand, cut off the little white
head. But imagine his astonishment and delight when suddenly a lovely
princess stood before him, and, while he was still speechless with
amazement, the door opened and a goodly company of knights and ladies
entered, each carrying a cat’s skin! They hastened with every sign of
joy to the Princess, kissing her hand and congratulating her on being
once more restored to her natural shape. She received them graciously,
but after a few minutes begged that they would leave her alone with the
Prince, to whom she said:

“You see, Prince, that you were right in supposing me to be no ordinary
cat. My father reigned over six kingdoms. The Queen, my mother, whom he
loved dearly, had a passion for traveling and exploring, and when I
was only a few weeks old she obtained his permission to visit a certain
mountain of which she had heard many marvelous tales, and set out,
taking with her a number of her attendants. On the way they had to pass
near an old castle belonging to the fairies. Nobody had ever been into
it, but it was reported to be full of the most wonderful things, and
my mother remembered to have heard that the fairies had in their garden
such fruits as were to be seen and tasted nowhere else. She began to
wish to try them for herself, and turned her steps in the direction of
the garden. On arriving at the door, which blazed with gold and jewels,
she ordered her servants to knock loudly, but it was useless; it seemed
as if all the inhabitants of the castle must be asleep or dead. Now the
more difficult it became to obtain the fruit, the more the Queen was
determined that have it she would. So she ordered that they should bring
ladders, and get over the wall into the garden; but though the wall did
not look very high, and they tied the ladders together to make them very
long, it was quite impossible to get to the top.

“The Queen was in despair, but as night was coming on she ordered
that they should encamp just where they were, and went to bed herself,
feeling quite ill, she was so disappointed. In the middle of the night
she was suddenly awakened, and saw to her surprise a tiny, ugly old
woman seated by her bedside, who said to her:

“‘I must say that we consider it somewhat troublesome of your Majesty to
insist upon tasting our fruit; but to save you annoyance, my sisters
and I will consent to give you as much as you can carry away, on one
condition--that is, that you shall give us your little daughter to bring
up as our own.’

“‘Ah! my dear madam,’ cried the Queen, ‘is there nothing else that you
will take for the fruit? I will give you my kingdoms willingly.’

“‘No,’ replied the old fairy, ‘we will have nothing but your little
daughter. She shall be as happy as the day is long, and we will give her
everything that is worth having in fairy-land, but you must not see her
again until she is married.’

“‘Though it is a hard condition,’ said the Queen, ‘I consent, for I
shall certainly die if I do not taste the fruit, and so I should lose my
little daughter either way.’

“So the old fairy led her into the castle, and, though it was still the
middle of the night, the Queen could see plainly that it was far more
beautiful than she had been told, which you can easily believe, Prince,”
 said the White Cat, “when I tell you that it was this castle that we are
now in. ‘Will you gather the fruit yourself, Queen?’ said the old fairy,
‘or shall I call it to come to you?’

“‘I beg you to let me see it come when it is called,’ cried the Queen;
‘that will be something quite new.’ The old fairy whistled twice, then
she cried:

“‘Apricots, peaches, nectarines, cherries, plums, pears, melons, grapes,
apples, oranges, lemons, gooseberries, strawberries, raspberries, come!’

“And in an instant they came tumbling in one over another, and yet they
were neither dusty nor spoilt, and the Queen found them quite as good as
she had fancied them. You see they grew upon fairy trees.

“The old fairy gave her golden baskets in which to take the fruit away,
and it was as much as four hundred mules could carry. Then she reminded
the Queen of her agreement, and led her back to the camp, and next
morning she went back to her kingdom, but before she had gone very far
she began to repent of her bargain, and when the King came out to meet
her she looked so sad that he guessed that something had happened, and
asked what was the matter. At first the Queen was afraid to tell him,
but when, as soon as they reached the palace, five frightful little
dwarfs were sent by the fairies to fetch me, she was obliged to confess
what she had promised. The King was very angry, and had the Queen and
myself shut up in a great tower and safely guarded, and drove the little
dwarfs out of his kingdom; but the fairies sent a great dragon who ate
up all the people he met, and whose breath burnt up everything as he
passed through the country; and at last, after trying in vain to rid
himself of this monster, the King, to save his subjects, was obliged to
consent that I should be given up to the fairies. This time they came
themselves to fetch me, in a chariot of pearl drawn by sea-horses,
followed by the dragon, who was led with chains of diamonds. My cradle
was placed between the old fairies, who loaded me with caresses, and
away we whirled through the air to a tower which they had built on
purpose for me. There I grew up surrounded with everything that was
beautiful and rare, and learning everything that is ever taught to a
princess, but without any companions but a parrot and a little dog, who
could both talk; and receiving every day a visit from one of the old
fairies, who came mounted upon the dragon. One day, however, as I sat at
my window I saw a handsome young prince, who seemed to have been hunting
in the forest which surrounded my prison, and who was standing and
looking up at me. When he saw that I observed him he saluted me with
great deference. You can imagine that I was delighted to have some one
new to talk to, and in spite of the height of my window our conversation
was prolonged till night fell, then my prince reluctantly bade me
farewell. But after that he came again many times and at last I
consented to marry him, but the question was how was I to escape from my
tower. The fairies always supplied me with flax for my spinning, and by
great diligence I made enough cord for a ladder that would reach to
the foot of the tower; but, alas! just as my prince was helping me to
descend it, the crossest and ugliest of the old fairies flew in. Before
he had time to defend himself my unhappy lover was swallowed up by the
dragon. As for me, the fairies, furious at having their plans defeated,
for they intended me to marry the king of the dwarfs, and I utterly
refused, changed me into a white cat. When they brought me here I found
all the lords and ladies of my father’s court awaiting me under the same
enchantment, while the people of lesser rank had been made invisible,
all but their hands.

“As they laid me under the enchantment the fairies told me all my
history, for until then I had quite believed that I was their child, and
warned me that my only chance of regaining my natural form was to win
the love of a prince who resembled in every way my unfortunate lover.

“And you have won it, lovely Princess,” interrupted the Prince.

“You are indeed wonderfully like him,” resumed the Princess--“in voice,
in features, and everything; and if you really love me all my troubles
will be at an end.”

“And mine too,” cried the Prince, throwing himself at her feet, “if you
will consent to marry me.”

“I love you already better than anyone in the world,” she said; “but
now it is time to go back to your father, and we shall hear what he says
about it.”

So the Prince gave her his hand and led her out, and they mounted the
chariot together; it was even more splendid than before, and so was the
whole company. Even the horses’ shoes were of rubies with diamond nails,
and I suppose that is the first time such a thing was ever seen.

As the Princess was as kind and clever as she was beautiful, you may
imagine what a delightful journey the Prince found it, for everything
the Princess said seemed to him quite charming.

When they came near the castle where the brothers were to meet, the
Princess got into a chair carried by four of the guards; it was hewn out
of one splendid crystal, and had silken curtains, which she drew round
her that she might not be seen.

The Prince saw his brothers walking upon the terrace, each with a lovely
princess, and they came to meet him, asking if he had also found a wife.
He said that he had found something much rarer--a white cat! At which
they laughed very much, and asked him if he was afraid of being eaten up
by mice in the palace. And then they set out together for the town. Each
prince and princess rode in a splendid carriage; the horses were decked
with plumes of feathers, and glittered with gold. After them came the
youngest prince, and last of all the crystal chair, at which everybody
looked with admiration and curiosity. When the courtiers saw them coming
they hastened to tell the King.

“Are the ladies beautiful?” he asked anxiously.

And when they answered that nobody had ever before seen such lovely
princesses he seemed quite annoyed.

However, he received them graciously, but found it impossible to choose
between them.

Then turning to his youngest son he said:

“Have you come back alone, after all?”

“Your Majesty,” replied the Prince, “will find in that crystal chair a
little white cat, which has such soft paws, and mews so prettily, that I
am sure you will be charmed with it.”

The King smiled, and went to draw back the curtains himself, but at a
touch from the Princess the crystal shivered into a thousand splinters,
and there she stood in all her beauty; her fair hair floated over her
shoulders and was crowned with flowers, and her softly falling robe was
of the purest white. She saluted the King gracefully, while a murmur of
admiration rose from all around.

“Sire,” she said, “I am not come to deprive you of the throne you fill
so worthily. I have already six kingdoms, permit me to bestow one upon
you, and upon each of your sons. I ask nothing but your friendship, and
your consent to my marriage with your youngest son; we shall still have
three kingdoms left for ourselves.”

The King and all the courtiers could not conceal their joy and
astonishment, and the marriage of the three Princes was celebrated at
once. The festivities lasted several months, and then each king and
queen departed to their own kingdom and lived happily ever after.(1)


(1) La Chatte blanche. Par Madame la Comtesse d’Aulnoy.



THE WATER-LILY. THE GOLD-SPINNERS


Once upon a time, in a large forest, there lived an old woman and
three maidens. They were all three beautiful, but the youngest was the
fairest. Their hut was quite hidden by trees, and none saw their beauty
but the sun by day, and the moon by night, and the eyes of the stars.
The old woman kept the girls hard at work, from morning till night,
spinning gold flax into yarn, and when one distaff was empty another was
given them, so they had no rest. The thread had to be fine and even, and
when done was locked up in a secret chamber by the old woman, who twice
or thrice every summer went a journey. Before she went she gave out work
for each day of her absence, and always returned in the night, so that
the girls never saw what she brought back with her, neither would she
tell them whence the gold flax came, nor what it was to be used for.

Now, when the time came round for the old woman to set out on one of
these journeys, she gave each maiden work for six days, with the usual
warning: “Children, don’t let your eyes wander, and on no account speak
to a man, for, if you do, your thread will lose its brightness, and
misfortunes of all kinds will follow.” They laughed at this oft-repeated
caution, saying to each other: “How can our gold thread lose its
brightness, and have we any chance of speaking to a man?”

On the third day after the old woman’s departure a young prince, hunting
in the forest, got separated from his companions, and completely lost.
Weary of seeking his way, he flung himself down under a tree, leaving
his horse to browse at will, and fell asleep.

The sun had set when he awoke and began once more to try and find his
way out of the forest. At last he perceived a narrow foot-path, which he
eagerly followed and found that it led him to a small hut. The maidens,
who were sitting at the door of their hut for coolness, saw him
approaching, and the two elder were much alarmed, for they remembered
the old woman’s warning; but the youngest said: “Never before have I
seen anyone like him; let me have one look.” They entreated her to come
in, but, seeing that she would not, left her, and the Prince, coming up,
courteously greeted the maiden, and told her he had lost his way in the
forest and was both hungry and weary. She set food before him, and
was so delighted with his conversation that she forgot the old woman’s
caution, and lingered for hours. In the meantime the Prince’s companions
sought him far and wide, but to no purpose, so they sent two messengers
to tell the sad news to the King, who immediately ordered a regiment of
cavalry and one of infantry to go and look for him.

After three days’ search, they found the hut. The Prince was still
sitting by the door and had been so happy in the maiden’s company that
the time had seemed like a single hour. Before leaving he promised to
return and fetch her to his father’s court, where he would make her his
bride. When he had gone, she sat down to her wheel to make up for
lost time, but was dismayed to find that her thread had lost all
its brightness. Her heart beat fast and she wept bitterly, for she
remembered the old woman’s warning and knew not what misfortune might
now befall her.

The old woman returned in the night and knew by the tarnished thread
what had happened in her absence. She was furiously angry and told
the maiden that she had brought down misery both on herself and on the
Prince. The maiden could not rest for thinking of this. At last she
could bear it no longer, and resolved to seek help from the Prince.

As a child she had learned to understand the speech of birds, and this
was now of great use to her, for, seeing a raven pluming itself on a
pine bough, she cried softly to it: “Dear bird, cleverest of all birds,
as well as swiftest on wing, wilt thou help me?” “How can I help
thee?” asked the raven. She answered: “Fly away, until thou comest to a
splendid town, where stands a king’s palace; seek out the king’s son
and tell him that a great misfortune has befallen me.” Then she told the
raven how her thread had lost its brightness, how terribly angry the old
woman was, and how she feared some great disaster. The raven promised
faithfully to do her bidding, and, spreading its wings, flew away. The
maiden now went home and worked hard all day at winding up the yarn her
elder sisters had spun, for the old woman would let her spin no longer.
Toward evening she heard the raven’s “craa, craa,” from the pine tree
and eagerly hastened thither to hear the answer.

By great good fortune the raven had found a wind wizard’s son in the
palace garden, who understood the speech of birds, and to him he had
entrusted the message. When the Prince heard it, he was very sorrowful,
and took counsel with his friends how to free the maiden. Then he said
to the wind wizard’s son: “Beg the raven to fly quickly back to the
maiden and tell her to be ready on the ninth night, for then will I come
and fetch her away.” The wind wizard’s son did this, and the raven flew
so swiftly that it reached the hut that same evening. The maiden thanked
the bird heartily and went home, telling no one what she had heard.

As the ninth night drew near she became very unhappy, for she feared
lest some terrible mischance should arise and ruin all. On this night
she crept quietly out of the house and waited trembling at some little
distance from the hut. Presently she heard the muffled tramp of horses,
and soon the armed troop appeared, led by the Prince, who had prudently
marked all the trees beforehand, in order to know the way. When he saw
the maiden he sprang from his horse, lifted her into the saddle, and
then, mounting behind, rode homeward. The moon shone so brightly that
they had no difficulty in seeing the marked trees.

By and by the coming of dawn loosened the tongues of all the birds,
and, had the Prince only known what they were saying, or the maiden
been listening, they might have been spared much sorrow, but they were
thinking only of each other, and when they came out of the forest the
sun was high in the heavens.

Next morning, when the youngest girl did not come to her work, the old
woman asked where she was. The sisters pretended not to know, but the
old woman easily guessed what had happened, and, as she was in reality
a wicked witch, determined to punish the fugitives. Accordingly, she
collected nine different kinds of enchanters’ nightshade, added some
salt, which she first bewitched, and, doing all up in a cloth into the
shape of a fluffy ball, sent it after them on the wings of the wind,
saying:

  “Whirlwind!--mother of the wind!
  Lend thy aid ‘gainst her who sinned!
  Carry with thee this magic ball.
  Cast her from his arms for ever,
  Bury her in the rippling river.”


At midday the Prince and his men came to a deep river, spanned by so
narrow a bridge that only one rider could cross at a time. The horse on
which the Prince and the maiden were riding had just reached the middle
when the magic ball flew by. The horse in its fright suddenly reared,
and before anyone could stop it flung the maiden into the swift current
below. The Prince tried to jump in after her, but his men held him back,
and in spite of his struggles led him home, where for six weeks he shut
himself up in a secret chamber, and would neither eat nor drink, so
great was his grief. At last he became so ill his life was despaired of,
and in great alarm the King caused all the wizards of his country to be
summoned. But none could cure him. At last the wind wizard’s son said to
the King: “Send for the old wizard from Finland he knows more than all
the wizards of your kingdom put together.” A messenger was at once sent
to Finland, and a week later the old wizard himself arrived on the wings
of the wind. “Honored King,” said the wizard, “the wind has blown this
illness upon your son, and a magic ball has snatched away his beloved.
This it is which makes him grieve so constantly. Let the wind blow upon
him that it may blow away his sorrow.” Then the King made his son go
out into the wind, and he gradually recovered and told his father all.
“Forget the maiden,” said the King, “and take another bride”; but the
Prince said he could never love another.

A year afterward he came suddenly upon the bridge where his beloved met
her death. As he recalled the misfortune he wept bitterly, and would
have given all he possessed to have her once more alive. In the midst
of his grief he thought he heard a voice singing, and looked round, but
could see no one. Then he heard the voice again, and it said:

“Alas! bewitched and all forsaken,  ‘Tis I must lie for ever here!
My beloved no thought has taken  To free his bride, that was so dear.”

He was greatly astonished, sprang from his horse, and looked everywhere
to see if no one were hidden under the bridge; but no one was there.
Then he noticed a yellow water-lily floating on the surface of the
water, half hidden by its broad leaves; but flowers do not sing, and
in great surprise he waited, hoping to hear more. Then again the voice
sang:

     “Alas! bewitched and all forsaken,
       ‘Tis I must lie for ever here!
     My beloved no thought has taken
       To free his bride, that was so dear.”

The Prince suddenly remembered the gold-spinners, and said to himself:
“If I ride thither, who knows but that they could explain this to me?”
 He at once rode to the hut, and found the two maidens at the fountain.
He told them what had befallen their sister the year before, and how he
had twice heard a strange song, but yet could see no singer. They said
that the yellow water-lily could be none other than their sister, who
was not dead, but transformed by the magic ball. Before he went to bed,
the eldest made a cake of magic herbs, which she gave him to eat. In the
night he dreamed that he was living in the forest and could understand
all that the birds said to each other. Next morning he told this to the
maidens, and they said that the charmed cake had caused it, and advised
him to listen well to the birds, and see what they could tell him, and
when he had recovered his bride they begged him to return and deliver
them from their wretched bondage.

Having promised this, he joyfully returned home, and as he was riding
through the forest he could perfectly understand all that the birds
said. He heard a thrush say to a magpie: “How stupid men are! they
cannot understand the simplest thing. It is now quite a year since the
maiden was transformed into a water-lily, and, though she sings so sadly
that anyone going over the bridge must hear her, yet no one comes to
her aid. Her former bridegroom rode over it a few days ago and heard her
singing, but was no wiser than the rest.”

“And he is to blame for all her misfortunes,” added the magpie. “If he
heeds only the words of men she will remain a flower for ever. She
were soon delivered were the matter only laid before the old wizard of
Finland.”

After hearing this, the Prince wondered how he could get a message
conveyed to Finland. He heard one swallow say to another: “Come, let us
fly to Finland; we can build better nests there.”

“Stop, kind friends!” cried the Prince. “Will you do something for me?”
 The birds consented, and he said: “Take a thousand greetings from me
to the wizard of Finland, and ask him how I may restore a maiden
transformed into a flower to her own form.”

The swallows flew away, and the Prince rode on to the bridge. There he
waited, hoping to hear the song. But he heard nothing but the rushing of
the water and the moaning of the wind, and, disappointed, rode home.

Shortly after, he was sitting in the garden, thinking that the swallows
must have forgotten his message, when he saw an eagle flying above him.
The bird gradually descended until it perched on a tree close to the
Prince and said: “The wizard of Finland greets thee and bids me say that
thou mayest free the maiden thus: Go to the river and smear thyself all
over with mud; then say: ‘From a man into a crab,’ and thou wilt become
a crab. Plunge boldly into the water, swim as close as thou canst to the
water-lily’s roots, and loosen them from the mud and reeds. This done,
fasten thy claws into the roots and rise with them to the surface. Let
the water flow all over the flower, and drift with the current until
thou comest to a mountain ash tree on the left bank. There is near it
a large stone. Stop there and say: ‘From a crab into a man, from a
water-lily into a maiden,’ and ye both will be restored to your own
forms.”

Full of doubt and fear, the Prince let some time pass before he was bold
enough to attempt to rescue the maiden. Then a crow said to him: “Why
dost thou hesitate? The old wizard has not told thee wrong, neither have
the birds deceived thee; hasten and dry the maiden’s tears.”

“Nothing worse than death can befall me,” thought the Prince, “and death
is better than endless sorrow.” So he mounted his horse and went to
the bridge. Again he heard the water-lily’s lament, and, hesitating no
longer, smeared himself all over with mud, and, saying: “From a man into
a crab,” plunged into the river. For one moment the water hissed in
his ears, and then all was silent. He swam up to the plant and began
to loosen its roots, but so firmly were they fixed in the mud and reeds
that this took him a long time. He then grasped them and rose to the
surface, letting the water flow over the flower. The current carried
them down the stream, but nowhere could he see the mountain ash. At last
he saw it, and close by the large stone. Here he stopped and said: “From
a crab into a man, from a water-lily into a maiden,” and to his delight
found himself once more a prince, and the maiden was by his side. She
was ten times more beautiful than before, and wore a magnificent pale
yellow robe, sparkling with jewels. She thanked him for having freed her
from the cruel witch’s power, and willingly consented to marry him.

But when they came to the bridge where he had left his horse it was
nowhere to be seen, for, though the Prince thought he had been a crab
only a few hours, he had in reality been under the water for more than
ten days. While they were wondering how they should reach his father’s
court, they saw a splendid coach driven by six gaily caparisoned horses
coming along the bank. In this they drove to the palace. The King and
Queen were at church, weeping for their son, whom they had long mourned
for dead. Great was their delight and astonishment when the Prince
entered, leading the beautiful maiden by the hand. The wedding was at
once celebrated and there was feasting and merry-making throughout the
kingdom for six weeks.

Some time afterward the Prince and his bride were sitting in the garden,
when a crow said to them: “Ungrateful creatures! Have you forgotten the
two poor maidens who helped you in your distress? Must they spin gold
flax for ever? Have no pity on the old witch. The three maidens are
princesses, whom she stole away when they were children together, with
all the silver utensils, which she turned into gold flax. Poison were
her fittest punishment.”

The Prince was ashamed of having forgotten his promise and set out at
once, and by great good fortune reached the hut when the old woman was
away. The maidens had dreamed that he was coming, and were ready to go
with him, but first they made a cake in which they put poison, and
left it on a table where the old woman was likely to see it when she
returned. She _did_ see it, and thought it looked so tempting that she
greedily ate it up and at once died.

In the secret chamber were found fifty wagon-loads of gold flax, and as
much more was discovered buried. The hut was razed to the ground, and
the Prince and his bride and her two sisters lived happily ever after.



THE TERRIBLE HEAD


Once upon a time there was a king whose only child was a girl. Now the
King had been very anxious to have a son, or at least a grandson, to
come after him, but he was told by a prophet whom he consulted that his
own daughter’s son should kill him. This news terrified him so much that
he determined never to let his daughter be married, for he thought it
was better to have no grandson at all than to be killed by his grandson.
He therefore called his workmen together, and bade them dig a deep round
hole in the earth, and then he had a prison of brass built in the hole,
and then, when it was finished, he locked up his daughter. No man ever
saw her, and she never saw even the fields and the sea, but only the sky
and the sun, for there was a wide open window in the roof of the house
of brass. So the Princess would sit looking up at the sky, and watching
the clouds float across, and wondering whether she should ever get out
of her prison. Now one day it seemed to her that the sky opened above
her, and a great shower of shining gold fell through the window in the
roof, and lay glittering in her room. Not very long after, the Princess
had a baby, a little boy, but when the King her father heard of it he
was very angry and afraid, for now the child was born that should be his
death. Yet, cowardly as he was, he had not quite the heart to kill
the Princess and her baby outright, but he had them put in a huge
brass-bound chest and thrust out to sea, that they might either be
drowned or starved, or perhaps come to a country where they would be out
of his way.

So the Princess and the baby floated and drifted in the chest on the sea
all day and night, but the baby was not afraid of the waves nor of the
wind, for he did not know that they could hurt him, and he slept quite
soundly. And the Princess sang a song over him, and this was her song:

  “Child, my child, how sound you sleep!
  Though your mother’s care is deep,
  You can lie with heart at rest
  In the narrow brass-bound chest;
  In the starless night and drear
  You can sleep, and never hear
  Billows breaking, and the cry
  Of the night-wind wandering by;
  In soft purple mantle sleeping
  With your little face on mine,
  Hearing not your mother weeping
  And the breaking of the brine.”


Well, the daylight came at last, and the great chest was driven by the
waves against the shore of an island. There the brass-bound chest lay,
with the Princess and her baby in it, till a man of that country came
past, and saw it, and dragged it on to the beach, and when he had broken
it open, behold! there was a beautiful lady and a little boy. So he took
them home, and was very kind to them, and brought up the boy till he was
a young man. Now when the boy had come to his full strength the King of
that country fell in love with his mother, and wanted to marry her, but
he knew that she would never part from her boy. So he thought of a plan
to get rid of the boy, and this was his plan: A great Queen of a country
not far off was going to be married, and this king said that all his
subjects must bring him wedding presents to give her. And he made a
feast to which he invited them all, and they all brought their presents;
some brought gold cups, and some brought necklaces of gold and amber,
and some brought beautiful horses; but the boy had nothing, though he
was the son of a princess, for his mother had nothing to give him. Then
the rest of the company began to laugh at him, and the King said: “If
you have nothing else to give, at least you might go and fetch the
Terrible Head.”

The boy was proud, and spoke without thinking:

“Then I swear that I _will_ bring the Terrible Head, if it may be
brought by a living man. But of what head you speak I know not.”

Then they told him that somewhere, a long way off, there dwelt three
dreadful sisters, monstrous ogrish women, with golden wings and claws
of brass, and with serpents growing on their heads instead of hair. Now
these women were so awful to look on that whoever saw them was turned
at once into stone. And two of them could not be put to death, but the
youngest, whose face was very beautiful, could be killed, and it was
_her_ head that the boy had promised to bring. You may imagine it was no
easy adventure.

When he heard all this he was perhaps sorry that he had sworn to bring
the Terrible Head, but he was determined to keep his oath. So he went
out from the feast, where they all sat drinking and making merry, and
he walked alone beside the sea in the dusk of the evening, at the place
where the great chest, with himself and his mother in it, had been cast
ashore.

There he went and sat down on a rock, looking toward the sea, and
wondering how he should begin to fulfill his vow. Then he felt some one
touch him on the shoulder; and he turned, and saw a young man like a
king’s son, having with him a tall and beautiful lady, whose blue eyes
shone like stars. They were taller than mortal men, and the young man
had a staff in his hand with golden wings on it, and two golden serpents
twisted round it, and he had wings on his cap and on his shoes. He spoke
to the boy, and asked him why he was so unhappy; and the boy told him
how he had sworn to bring the Terrible Head, and knew not how to begin
to set about the adventure.

Then the beautiful lady also spoke, and said that “it was a foolish oath
and a hasty, but it might be kept if a brave man had sworn it.” Then the
boy answered that he was not afraid, if only he knew the way.

Then the lady said that to kill the dreadful woman with the golden wings
and the brass claws, and to cut off her head, he needed three things:
first, a Cap of Darkness, which would make him invisible when he wore
it; next, a Sword of Sharpness, which would cleave iron at one blow; and
last, the Shoes of Swiftness, with which he might fly in the air.

The boy answered that he knew not where such things were to be procured,
and that, wanting them, he could only try and fail. Then the young man,
taking off his own shoes, said: “First, you shall use these shoes till
you have taken the Terrible Head, and then you must give them back to
me. And with these shoes you will fly as fleet as a bird, or a thought,
over the land or over the waves of the sea, wherever the shoes know the
way. But there are ways which they do not know, roads beyond the borders
of the world. And these roads have you to travel. Now first you must
go to the Three Gray Sisters, who live far off in the north, and are so
very cold that they have only one eye and one tooth among the three. You
must creep up close to them, and as one of them passes the eye to the
other you must seize it, and refuse to give it up till they have told
you the way to the Three Fairies of the Garden, and _they_ will give you
the Cap of Darkness and the Sword of Sharpness, and show you how to wing
beyond this world to the land of the Terrible Head.”

Then the beautiful lady said: “Go forth at once, and do not return to
say good-by to your mother, for these things must be done quickly, and
the Shoes of Swiftness themselves will carry you to the land of the
Three Gray Sisters--for they know the measure of that way.”

So the boy thanked her, and he fastened on the Shoes of Swiftness, and
turned to say good-by to the young man and the lady. But, behold! they
had vanished, he knew not how or where! Then he leaped in the air to try
the Shoes of Swiftness, and they carried him more swiftly than the wind,
over the warm blue sea, over the happy lands of the south, over the
northern peoples who drank mare’s milk and lived in great wagons,
wandering after their flocks. Across the wide rivers, where the wild
fowl rose and fled before him, and over the plains and the cold North
Sea he went, over the fields of snow and the hills of ice, to a place
where the world ends, and all water is frozen, and there are no men, nor
beasts, nor any green grass. There in a blue cave of the ice he found
the Three Gray Sisters, the oldest of living things. Their hair was as
white as the snow, and their flesh of an icy blue, and they mumbled and
nodded in a kind of dream, and their frozen breath hung round them like
a cloud. Now the opening of the cave in the ice was narrow, and it
was not easy to pass in without touching one of the Gray Sisters. But,
floating on the Shoes of Swiftness, the boy just managed to steal in,
and waited till one of the sisters said to another, who had their one
eye:

“Sister, what do you see? do you see old times coming back?”

“No, sister.”

“Then give _me_ the eye, for perhaps I can see farther than you.”

Then the first sister passed the eye to the second, but as the second
groped for it the boy caught it cleverly out of her hand.

“Where is the eye, sister?” said the second gray woman.

“You have taken it yourself, sister,” said the first gray woman.

“Have you lost the eye, sister? have you lost the eye?” said the third
gray woman; “shall we _never_ find it again, and see old times coming
back?”

Then the boy slipped from behind them out of the cold cave into the air,
and he laughed aloud.

When the gray women heard that laugh they began to weep, for now they
knew that a stranger had robbed them, and that they could not help
themselves, and their tears froze as they fell from the hollows where no
eyes were, and rattled on the icy ground of the cave. Then they began to
implore the boy to give them their eye back again, and he could not help
being sorry for them, they were so pitiful. But he said he would never
give them the eye till they told him the way to the Fairies of the
Garden.

Then they wrung their hands miserably, for they guessed why he had come,
and how he was going to try to win the Terrible Head. Now the Dreadful
Women were akin to the Three Gray Sisters, and it was hard for them to
tell the boy the way. But at last they told him to keep always south,
and with the land on his left and the sea on his right, till he reached
the Island of the Fairies of the Garden. Then he gave them back the
eye, and they began to look out once more for the old times coming back
again. But the boy flew south between sea and land, keeping the land
always on his left hand, till he saw a beautiful island crowned with
flowering trees. There he alighted, and there he found the Three Fairies
of the Garden. They were like three very beautiful young women, dressed
one in green, one in white, and one in red, and they were dancing and
singing round an apple tree with apples of gold, and this was their
song:

       THE SONG OF THE WESTERN FAIRIES

     Round and round the apples of gold,
       Round and round dance we;
     Thus do we dance from the days of old
       About the enchanted tree;
     Round, and round, and round we go,
     While the spring is green, or the stream shall flow,
       Or the wind shall stir the sea!

     There is none may taste of the golden fruit
       Till the golden new time come
     Many a tree shall spring from shoot,
     Many a blossom be withered at root,
       Many a song be dumb;
     Broken and still shall be many a lute
       Or ever the new times come!

     Round and round the tree of gold,
       Round and round dance we,
     So doth the great world spin from of old,
     Summer and winter, and fire and cold,
     Song that is sung, and tale that is told,
     Even as we dance, that fold and unfold
       Round the stem of the fairy tree!


These grave dancing fairies were very unlike the Grey Women, and they
were glad to see the boy, and treated him kindly. Then they asked him
why he had come; and he told them how he was sent to find the Sword of
Sharpness and the Cap of Darkness. And the fairies gave him these, and
a wallet, and a shield, and belted the sword, which had a diamond blade,
round his waist, and the cap they set on his head, and told him that now
even they could not see him though they were fairies. Then he took it
off, and they each kissed him and wished him good fortune, and then they
began again their eternal dance round the golden tree, for it is their
business to guard it till the new times come, or till the world’s
ending. So the boy put the cap on his head, and hung the wallet round
his waist, and the shining shield on his shoulders, and flew beyond the
great river that lies coiled like a serpent round the whole world. And
by the banks of that river, there he found the three Terrible Women all
asleep beneath a poplar tree, and the dead poplar leaves lay all about
them. Their golden wings were folded and their brass claws were crossed,
and two of them slept with their hideous heads beneath their wings
like birds, and the serpents in their hair writhed out from under the
feathers of gold. But the youngest slept between her two sisters, and
she lay on her back, with her beautiful sad face turned to the sky; and
though she slept her eyes were wide open. If the boy had seen her he
would have been changed into stone by the terror and the pity of it,
she was so awful; but he had thought of a plan for killing her without
looking on her face. As soon as he caught sight of the three from far
off he took his shining shield from his shoulders, and held it up like
a mirror, so that he saw the Dreadful Women reflected in it, and did not
see the Terrible Head itself. Then he came nearer and nearer, till he
reckoned that he was within a sword’s stroke of the youngest, and he
guessed where he should strike a back blow behind him. Then he drew the
Sword of Sharpness and struck once, and the Terrible Head was cut from
the shoulders of the creature, and the blood leaped out and struck him
like a blow. But he thrust the Terrible Head into his wallet, and flew
away without looking behind. Then the two Dreadful Sisters who were left
wakened, and rose in the air like great birds; and though they could not
see him because of his Cap of Darkness, they flew after him up the wind,
following by the scent through the clouds, like hounds hunting in a
wood. They came so close that he could hear the clatter of their golden
wings, and their shrieks to each other: “_here, here,_” “_no, there;
this way he went,_” as they chased him. But the Shoes of Swiftness flew
too fast for them, and at last their cries and the rattle of their wings
died away as he crossed the great river that runs round the world.

Now when the horrible creatures were far in the distance, and the boy
found himself on the right side of the river, he flew straight eastward,
trying to seek his own country. But as he looked down from the air he
saw a very strange sight--a beautiful girl chained to a stake at the
high-water mark of the sea. The girl was so frightened or so tired that
she was only prevented from falling by the iron chain about her waist,
and there she hung, as if she were dead. The boy was very sorry for her
and flew down and stood beside her. When he spoke she raised her head
and looked round, but his voice only seemed to frighten her. Then he
remembered that he was wearing the Cap of Darkness, and that she could
only hear him, not see him. So he took it off, and there he stood before
her, the handsomest young man she had ever seen in all her life, with
short curly yellow hair, and blue eyes, and a laughing face. And he
thought her the most beautiful girl in the world. So first with one blow
of the Sword of Sharpness he cut the iron chain that bound her, and then
he asked her what she did there, and why men treated her so cruelly. And
she told him that she was the daughter of the King of that country, and
that she was tied there to be eaten by a monstrous beast out of the sea;
for the beast came and devoured a girl every day. Now the lot had fallen
on her; and as she was just saying this a long fierce head of a cruel
sea creature rose out of the waves and snapped at the girl. But the
beast had been too greedy and too hurried, so he missed his aim the
first time. Before he could rise and bite again the boy had whipped the
Terrible Head out of his wallet and held it up. And when the sea beast
leaped out once more its eyes fell on the head, and instantly it was
turned into a stone. And the stone beast is there on the sea-coast to
this day.

Then the boy and the girl went to the palace of the King, her father,
where everyone was weeping for her death, and they could hardly believe
their eyes when they saw her come back well. And the King and Queen made
much of the boy, and could not contain themselves for delight when they
found he wanted to marry their daughter. So the two were married with
the most splendid rejoicings, and when they had passed some time at
court they went home in a ship to the boy’s own country. For he could
not carry his bride through the air, so he took the Shoes of Swiftness,
and the Cap of Darkness, and the Sword of Sharpness up to a lonely place
in the hills. There he left them, and there they were found by the man
and woman who had met him at home beside the sea, and had helped him to
start on his journey.

When this had been done the boy and his bride set forth for home, and
landed at the harbor of his native land. But whom should he meet in the
very street of the town but his own mother, flying for her life from the
wicked King, who now wished to kill her because he found that she would
never marry him! For if she had liked the King ill before, she liked him
far worse now that he had caused her son to disappear so suddenly. She
did not know, of course, where the boy had gone, but thought the King
had slain him secretly. So now she was running for her very life,
and the wicked King was following her with a sword in his hand. Then,
behold! she ran into her son’s very arms, but he had only time to kiss
her and step in front of her, when the King struck at him with his
sword. The boy caught the blow on his shield, and cried to the King:

“I swore to bring you the Terrible Head, and see how I keep my oath!”

Then he drew forth the head from his wallet, and when the King’s eyes
fell on it, instantly he was turned into stone, just as he stood there
with his sword lifted!

Now all the people rejoiced, because the wicked King should rule them no
longer. And they asked the boy to be their king, but he said no, he must
take his mother home to her father’s house. So the people chose for king
the man who had been kind to his mother when first she was cast on the
island in the great chest.

Presently the boy and his mother and his wife set sail for his mother’s
own country, from which she had been driven so unkindly. But on the way
they stayed at the court of a king, and it happened that he was
holding games, and giving prizes to the best runners, boxers, and
quoit-throwers. Then the boy would try his strength with the rest, but
he threw the quoit so far that it went beyond what had ever been thrown
before, and fell in the crowd, striking a man so that he died. Now this
man was no other than the father of the boy’s mother, who had fled away
from his own kingdom for fear his grandson should find him and kill him
after all. Thus he was destroyed by his own cowardice and by chance, and
thus the prophecy was fulfilled. But the boy and his wife and his mother
went back to the kingdom that was theirs, and lived long and happily
after all their troubles.



THE STORY OF PRETTY GOLDILOCKS


Once upon a time there was a princess who was the prettiest creature in
the world. And because she was so beautiful, and because her hair was
like the finest gold, and waved and rippled nearly to the ground, she
was called Pretty Goldilocks. She always wore a crown of flowers, and
her dresses were embroidered with diamonds and pearls, and everybody who
saw her fell in love with her.

Now one of her neighbors was a young king who was not married. He was
very rich and handsome, and when he heard all that was said about Pretty
Goldilocks, though he had never seen her, he fell so deeply in love
with her that he could neither eat nor drink. So he resolved to send an
ambassador to ask her in marriage. He had a splendid carriage made for
his ambassador, and gave him more than a hundred horses and a hundred
servants, and told him to be sure and bring the Princess back with him.
After he had started nothing else was talked of at Court, and the King
felt so sure that the Princess would consent that he set his people to
work at pretty dresses and splendid furniture, that they might be
ready by the time she came. Meanwhile, the ambassador arrived at the
Princess’s palace and delivered his little message, but whether she
happened to be cross that day, or whether the compliment did not please
her, is not known. She only answered that she was very much obliged
to the King, but she had no wish to be married. The ambassador set off
sadly on his homeward way, bringing all the King’s presents back with
him, for the Princess was too well brought up to accept the pearls
and diamonds when she would not accept the King, so she had only kept
twenty-five English pins that he might not be vexed.

When the ambassador reached the city, where the King was waiting
impatiently, everybody was very much annoyed with him for not bringing
the Princess, and the King cried like a baby, and nobody could console
him. Now there was at the Court a young man, who was more clever and
handsome than anyone else. He was called Charming, and everyone loved
him, excepting a few envious people who were angry at his being the
King’s favorite and knowing all the State secrets. He happened to one
day be with some people who were speaking of the ambassador’s return
and saying that his going to the Princess had not done much good, when
Charming said rashly:

“If the King had sent me to the Princess Goldilocks I am sure she would
have come back with me.”

His enemies at once went to the King and said:

“You will hardly believe, sire, what Charming has the audacity to
say--that if _he_ had been sent to the Princess Goldilocks she would
certainly have come back with him. He seems to think that he is so much
handsomer than you that the Princess would have fallen in love with him
and followed him willingly.” The King was very angry when he heard this.

“Ha, ha!” said he; “does he laugh at my unhappiness, and think himself
more fascinating than I am? Go, and let him be shut up in my great tower
to die of hunger.”

So the King’s guards went to fetch Charming, who had thought no more of
his rash speech, and carried him off to prison with great cruelty. The
poor prisoner had only a little straw for his bed, and but for a little
stream of water which flowed through the tower he would have died of
thirst.

One day when he was in despair he said to himself:

“How can I have offended the King? I am his most faithful subject, and
have done nothing against him.”

The King chanced to be passing the tower and recognized the voice of his
former favorite. He stopped to listen in spite of Charming’s enemies,
who tried to persuade him to have nothing more to do with the traitor.
But the King said:

“Be quiet, I wish to hear what he says.”

And then he opened the tower door and called to Charming, who came very
sadly and kissed the King’s hand, saying:

“What have I done, sire, to deserve this cruel treatment?”

“You mocked me and my ambassador,” said the King, “and you said that
if I had sent you for the Princess Goldilocks you would certainly have
brought her back.”

“It is quite true, sire,” replied Charming; “I should have drawn such a
picture of you, and represented your good qualities in such a way,
that I am certain the Princess would have found you irresistible. But I
cannot see what there is in that to make you angry.”

The King could not see any cause for anger either when the matter was
presented to him in this light, and he began to frown very fiercely at
the courtiers who had so misrepresented his favorite.

So he took Charming back to the palace with him, and after seeing that
he had a very good supper he said to him:

“You know that I love Pretty Goldilocks as much as ever, her refusal has
not made any difference to me; but I don’t know how to make her change
her mind; I really should like to send you, to see if you can persuade
her to marry me.”

Charming replied that he was perfectly willing to go, and would set out
the very next day.

“But you must wait till I can get a grand escort for you,” said the
King. But Charming said that he only wanted a good horse to ride, and
the King, who was delighted at his being ready to start so promptly,
gave him letters to the Princess, and bade him good speed. It was on a
Monday morning that he set out all alone upon his errand, thinking of
nothing but how he could persuade the Princess Goldilocks to marry
the King. He had a writing-book in his pocket, and whenever any happy
thought struck him he dismounted from his horse and sat down under
the trees to put it into the harangue which he was preparing for the
Princess, before he forgot it.

One day when he had started at the very earliest dawn, and was riding
over a great meadow, he suddenly had a capital idea, and, springing from
his horse, he sat down under a willow tree which grew by a little river.
When he had written it down he was looking round him, pleased to find
himself in such a pretty place, when all at once he saw a great golden
carp lying gasping and exhausted upon the grass. In leaping after little
flies she had thrown herself high upon the bank, where she had lain till
she was nearly dead. Charming had pity upon her, and, though he couldn’t
help thinking that she would have been very nice for dinner, he picked
her up gently and put her back into the water. As soon as Dame Carp
felt the refreshing coolness of the water she sank down joyfully to the
bottom of the river, then, swimming up to the bank quite boldly, she
said:

“I thank you, Charming, for the kindness you have done me. You have
saved my life; one day I will repay you.” So saying, she sank down into
the water again, leaving Charming greatly astonished at her politeness.

Another day, as he journeyed on, he saw a raven in great distress. The
poor bird was closely pursued by an eagle, which would soon have eaten
it up, had not Charming quickly fitted an arrow to his bow and shot the
eagle dead. The raven perched upon a tree very joyfully.

“Charming,” said he, “it was very generous of you to rescue a poor
raven; I am not ungrateful, some day I will repay you.”

Charming thought it was very nice of the raven to say so, and went on
his way.

Before the sun rose he found himself in a thick wood where it was too
dark for him to see his path, and here he heard an owl crying as if it
were in despair.

“Hark!” said he, “that must be an owl in great trouble, I am sure it has
gone into a snare”; and he began to hunt about, and presently found a
great net which some bird-catchers had spread the night before.

“What a pity it is that men do nothing but torment and persecute poor
creatures which never do them any harm!” said he, and he took out his
knife and cut the cords of the net, and the owl flitted away into the
darkness, but then turning, with one flicker of her wings, she came back
to Charming and said:

“It does not need many words to tell you how great a service you have
done me. I was caught; in a few minutes the fowlers would have been
here--without your help I should have been killed. I am grateful, and
one day I will repay you.”

These three adventures were the only ones of any consequence that befell
Charming upon his journey, and he made all the haste he could to reach
the palace of the Princess Goldilocks.

When he arrived he thought everything he saw delightful and magnificent.
Diamonds were as plentiful as pebbles, and the gold and silver, the
beautiful dresses, the sweetmeats and pretty things that were everywhere
quite amazed him; he thought to himself: “If the Princess consents to
leave all this, and come with me to marry the King, he may think himself
lucky!”

Then he dressed himself carefully in rich brocade, with scarlet and
white plumes, and threw a splendid embroidered scarf over his shoulder,
and, looking as gay and as graceful as possible, he presented himself at
the door of the palace, carrying in his arm a tiny pretty dog which
he had bought on the way. The guards saluted him respectfully, and a
messenger was sent to the Princess to announce the arrival of Charming
as ambassador of her neighbor the King.

“Charming,” said the Princess, “the name promises well; I have no doubt
that he is good looking and fascinates everybody.”

“Indeed he does, madam,” said all her maids of honor in one breath. “We
saw him from the window of the garret where we were spinning flax, and
we could do nothing but look at him as long as he was in sight.”

“Well to be sure,” said the Princess, “that’s how you amuse yourselves,
is it? Looking at strangers out of the window! Be quick and give me my
blue satin embroidered dress, and comb out my golden hair. Let somebody
make me fresh garlands of flowers, and give me my high-heeled shoes and
my fan, and tell them to sweep my great hall and my throne, for I want
everyone to say I am really ‘Pretty Goldilocks.’”

You can imagine how all her maids scurried this way and that to make the
Princess ready, and how in their haste they knocked their heads together
and hindered each other, till she thought they would never have done.
However, at last they led her into the gallery of mirrors that she might
assure herself that nothing was lacking in her appearance, and then
she mounted her throne of gold, ebony, and ivory, while her ladies took
their guitars and began to sing softly. Then Charming was led in, and
was so struck with astonishment and admiration that at first not a word
could he say. But presently he took courage and delivered his harangue,
bravely ending by begging the Princess to spare him the disappointment
of going back without her.

“Sir Charming,” answered she, “all the reasons you have given me are
very good ones, and I assure you that I should have more pleasure in
obliging you than anyone else, but you must know that a month ago as I
was walking by the river with my ladies I took off my glove, and as I
did so a ring that I was wearing slipped off my finger and rolled into
the water. As I valued it more than my kingdom, you may imagine how
vexed I was at losing it, and I vowed to never listen to any proposal of
marriage unless the ambassador first brought me back my ring. So now
you know what is expected of you, for if you talked for fifteen days and
fifteen nights you could not make me change my mind.”

Charming was very much surprised by this answer, but he bowed low to the
Princess, and begged her to accept the embroidered scarf and the tiny
dog he had brought with him. But she answered that she did not want any
presents, and that he was to remember what she had just told him. When
he got back to his lodging he went to bed without eating any supper, and
his little dog, who was called Frisk, couldn’t eat any either, but came
and lay down close to him. All night Charming sighed and lamented.

“How am I to find a ring that fell into the river a month ago?” said
he. “It is useless to try; the Princess must have told me to do it on
purpose, knowing it was impossible.” And then he sighed again.

Frisk heard him and said:

“My dear master, don’t despair; the luck may change, you are too good
not to be happy. Let us go down to the river as soon as it is light.”

But Charming only gave him two little pats and said nothing, and very
soon he fell asleep.

At the first glimmer of dawn Frisk began to jump about, and when he had
waked Charming they went out together, first into the garden, and then
down to the river’s brink, where they wandered up and down. Charming was
thinking sadly of having to go back unsuccessful when he heard someone
calling: “Charming, Charming!” He looked all about him and thought he
must be dreaming, as he could not see anybody. Then he walked on and the
voice called again: “Charming, Charming!”

“Who calls me?” said he. Frisk, who was very small and could look
closely into the water, cried out: “I see a golden carp coming.” And
sure enough there was the great carp, who said to Charming:

“You saved my life in the meadow by the willow tree, and I promised that
I would repay you. Take this, it is Princess Goldilock’s ring.” Charming
took the ring out of Dame Carp’s mouth, thanking her a thousand times,
and he and tiny Frisk went straight to the palace, where someone told
the Princess that he was asking to see her.

“Ah! poor fellow,” said she, “he must have come to say good-by, finding
it impossible to do as I asked.”

So in came Charming, who presented her with the ring and said:

“Madam, I have done your bidding. Will it please you to marry my
master?” When the Princess saw her ring brought back to her unhurt she
was so astonished that she thought she must be dreaming.

“Truly, Charming,” said she, “you must be the favorite of some fairy, or
you could never have found it.”

“Madam,” answered he, “I was helped by nothing but my desire to obey
your wishes.”

“Since you are so kind,” said she, “perhaps you will do me another
service, for till it is done I will never be married. There is a prince
not far from here whose name is Galifron, who once wanted to marry me,
but when I refused he uttered the most terrible threats against me, and
vowed that he would lay waste my country. But what could I do? I could
not marry a frightful giant as tall as a tower, who eats up people as
a monkey eats chestnuts, and who talks so loud that anybody who has to
listen to him becomes quite deaf. Nevertheless, he does not cease to
persecute me and to kill my subjects. So before I can listen to your
proposal you must kill him and bring me his head.”

Charming was rather dismayed at this command, but he answered:

“Very well, Princess, I will fight this Galifron; I believe that he will
kill me, but at any rate I shall die in your defense.”

Then the Princess was frightened and said everything she could think of
to prevent Charming from fighting the giant, but it was of no use, and
he went out to arm himself suitably, and then, taking little Frisk with
him, he mounted his horse and set out for Galifron’s country. Everyone
he met told him what a terrible giant Galifron was, and that nobody
dared go near him; and the more he heard, the more frightened he grew.
Frisk tried to encourage him by saying: “While you are fighting the
giant, dear master, I will go and bite his heels, and when he stoops
down to look at me you can kill him.”

Charming praised his little dog’s plan, but knew that this help would
not do much good.

At last he drew near the giant’s castle, and saw to his horror that
every path that led to it was strewn with bones. Before long he saw
Galifron coming. His head was higher than the tallest trees, and he sang
in a terrible voice:

  “Bring out your little boys and girls,
  Pray do not stay to do their curls,
  For I shall eat so very many,
  I shall not know if they have any.”


Thereupon Charming sang out as loud as he could to the same tune:

  “Come out and meet the valiant Charming
  Who finds you not at all alarming;
  Although he is not very tall,
  He’s big enough to make you fall.”


The rhymes were not very correct, but you see he had made them up so
quickly that it is a miracle that they were not worse; especially as he
was horribly frightened all the time. When Galifron heard these words he
looked all about him, and saw Charming standing, sword in hand this put
the giant into a terrible rage, and he aimed a blow at Charming with his
huge iron club, which would certainly have killed him if it had reached
him, but at that instant a raven perched upon the giant’s head, and,
pecking with its strong beak and beating with its great wings so
confused and blinded him that all his blows fell harmlessly upon the
air, and Charming, rushing in, gave him several strokes with his sharp
sword so that he fell to the ground. Whereupon Charming cut off his head
before he knew anything about it, and the raven from a tree close by
croaked out:

“You see I have not forgotten the good turn you did me in killing the
eagle. To-day I think I have fulfilled my promise of repaying you.”

“Indeed, I owe you more gratitude than you ever owed me,” replied
Charming.

And then he mounted his horse and rode off with Galifron’s head.

When he reached the city the people ran after him in crowds, crying:

“Behold the brave Charming, who has killed the giant!” And their shouts
reached the Princess’s ear, but she dared not ask what was happening,
for fear she should hear that Charming had been killed. But very soon
he arrived at the palace with the giant’s head, of which she was still
terrified, though it could no longer do her any harm.

“Princess,” said Charming, “I have killed your enemy; I hope you will
now consent to marry the King my master.”

“Oh dear! no,” said the Princess, “not until you have brought me some
water from the Gloomy Cavern.

“Not far from here there is a deep cave, the entrance to which is
guarded by two dragons with fiery eyes, who will not allow anyone to
pass them. When you get into the cavern you will find an immense hole,
which you must go down, and it is full of toads and snakes; at the
bottom of this hole there is another little cave, in which rises the
Fountain of Health and Beauty. It is some of this water that I really
must have: everything it touches becomes wonderful. The beautiful things
will always remain beautiful, and the ugly things become lovely. If one
is young one never grows old, and if one is old one becomes young. You
see, Charming, I could not leave my kingdom without taking some of it
with me.”

“Princess,” said he, “you at least can never need this water, but I am
an unhappy ambassador, whose death you desire. Where you send me I will
go, though I know I shall never return.”

And, as the Princess Goldilocks showed no sign of relenting, he started
with his little dog for the Gloomy Cavern. Everyone he met on the way
said:

“What a pity that a handsome young man should throw away his life so
carelessly! He is going to the cavern alone, though if he had a
hundred men with him he could not succeed. Why does the Princess ask
impossibilities?” Charming said nothing, but he was very sad. When he
was near the top of a hill he dismounted to let his horse graze, while
Frisk amused himself by chasing flies. Charming knew he could not be far
from the Gloomy Cavern, and on looking about him he saw a black hideous
rock from which came a thick smoke, followed in a moment by one of the
dragons with fire blazing from his mouth and eyes. His body was yellow
and green, and his claws scarlet, and his tail was so long that it lay
in a hundred coils. Frisk was so terrified at the sight of it that he
did not know where to hide. Charming, quite determined to get the water
or die, now drew his sword, and, taking the crystal flask which Pretty
Goldilocks had given him to fill, said to Frisk:

“I feel sure that I shall never come back from this expedition; when I
am dead, go to the Princess and tell her that her errand has cost me
my life. Then find the King my master, and relate all my adventures to
him.”

As he spoke he heard a voice calling: “Charming, Charming!”

“Who calls me?” said he; then he saw an owl sitting in a hollow tree,
who said to him:

“You saved my life when I was caught in the net, now I can repay you.
Trust me with the flask, for I know all the ways of the Gloomy Cavern,
and can fill it from the Fountain of Beauty.” Charming was only too glad
to give her the flask, and she flitted into the cavern quite unnoticed
by the dragon, and after some time returned with the flask, filled to
the very brim with sparkling water. Charming thanked her with all his
heart, and joyfully hastened back to the town.

He went straight to the palace and gave the flask to the Princess, who
had no further objection to make. So she thanked Charming, and ordered
that preparations should be made for her departure, and they soon set
out together. The Princess found Charming such an agreeable companion
that she sometimes said to him: “Why didn’t we stay where we were? I
could have made you king, and we should have been so happy!”

But Charming only answered:

“I could not have done anything that would have vexed my master so
much, even for a kingdom, or to please you, though I think you are as
beautiful as the sun.”

At last they reached the King’s great city, and he came out to meet the
Princess, bringing magnificent presents, and the marriage was celebrated
with great rejoicings. But Goldilocks was so fond of Charming that she
could not be happy unless he was near her, and she was always singing
his praises.

“If it hadn’t been for Charming,” she said to the King, “I should never
have come here; you ought to be very much obliged to him, for he did the
most impossible things and got me water from the Fountain of Beauty, so
I can never grow old, and shall get prettier every year.”

Then Charming’s enemies said to the King:

“It is a wonder that you are not jealous, the Queen thinks there is
nobody in the world like Charming. As if anybody you had sent could not
have done just as much!”

“It is quite true, now I come to think of it,” said the King. “Let him
be chained hand and foot, and thrown into the tower.”

So they took Charming, and as a reward for having served the King so
faithfully he was shut up in the tower, where he only saw the jailer,
who brought him a piece of black bread and a pitcher of water every day.

However, little Frisk came to console him, and told him all the news.

When Pretty Goldilocks heard what had happened she threw herself at the
King’s feet and begged him to set Charming free, but the more she cried,
the more angry he was, and at last she saw that it was useless to say
any more; but it made her very sad. Then the King took it into his
head that perhaps he was not handsome enough to please the Princess
Goldilocks, and he thought he would bathe his face with the water
from the Fountain of Beauty, which was in the flask on a shelf in the
Princess’s room, where she had placed it that she might see it often.
Now it happened that one of the Princess’s ladies in chasing a spider
had knocked the flask off the shelf and broken it, and every drop of the
water had been spilt. Not knowing what to do, she had hastily swept away
the pieces of crystal, and then remembered that in the King’s room she
had seen a flask of exactly the same shape, also filled with sparkling
water. So, without saying a word, she fetched it and stood it upon the
Queen’s shelf.

Now the water in this flask was what was used in the kingdom for getting
rid of troublesome people. Instead of having their heads cut off in the
usual way, their faces were bathed with the water, and they instantly
fell asleep and never woke up any more. So, when the King, thinking
to improve his beauty, took the flask and sprinkled the water upon his
face, _he_ fell asleep, and nobody could wake him.

Little Frisk was the first to hear the news, and he ran to tell
Charming, who sent him to beg the Princess not to forget the poor
prisoner. All the palace was in confusion on account of the King’s
death, but tiny Frisk made his way through the crowd to the Princess’s
side, and said:

“Madam, do not forget poor Charming.”

Then she remembered all he had done for her, and without saying a word
to anyone went straight to the tower, and with her own hands took off
Charming’s chains. Then, putting a golden crown upon his head, and the
royal mantle upon his shoulders, she said:

“Come, faithful Charming, I make you king, and will take you for my
husband.”

Charming, once more free and happy, fell at her feet and thanked her for
her gracious words.

Everybody was delighted that he should be king, and the wedding, which
took place at once, was the prettiest that can be imagined, and Prince
Charming and Princess Goldilocks lived happily ever after.(1)


(1) Madame d’Aulnoy.



THE HISTORY OF WHITTINGTON


Dick Whittington was a very little boy when his father and mother died;
so little, indeed, that he never knew them, nor the place where he was
born. He strolled about the country as ragged as a colt, till he met
with a wagoner who was going to London, and who gave him leave to walk
all the way by the side of his wagon without paying anything for his
passage. This pleased little Whittington very much, as he wanted to see
London sadly, for he had heard that the streets were paved with
gold, and he was willing to get a bushel of it; but how great was his
disappointment, poor boy! when he saw the streets covered with dirt
instead of gold, and found himself in a strange place, without a friend,
without food, and without money.

Though the wagoner was so charitable as to let him walk up by the side
of the wagon for nothing, he took care not to know him when he came to
town, and the poor boy was, in a little time, so cold and hungry that he
wished himself in a good kitchen and by a warm fire in the country.

In his distress he asked charity of several people, and one of them bid
him “Go to work for an idle rogue.” “That I will,” said Whittington,
“with all my heart; I will work for you if you will let me.”

The man, who thought this savored of wit and impertinence (though the
poor lad intended only to show his readiness to work), gave him a blow
with a stick which broke his head so that the blood ran down. In this
situation, and fainting for want of food, he laid himself down at the
door of one Mr. Fitzwarren, a merchant, where the cook saw him, and,
being an ill-natured hussy, ordered him to go about his business or she
would scald him. At this time Mr. Fitzwarren came from the Exchange, and
began also to scold at the poor boy, bidding him to go to work.

Whittington answered that he should be glad to work if anybody would
employ him, and that he should be able if he could get some victuals to
eat, for he had had nothing for three days, and he was a poor country
boy, and knew nobody, and nobody would employ him.

He then endeavored to get up, but he was so very weak that he fell down
again, which excited so much compassion in the merchant that he ordered
the servants to take him in and give him some meat and drink, and let
him help the cook to do any dirty work that she had to set him about.
People are too apt to reproach those who beg with being idle, but give
themselves no concern to put them in the way of getting business to do,
or considering whether they are able to do it, which is not charity.

But we return to Whittington, who could have lived happy in this worthy
family had he not been bumped about by the cross cook, who must be
always roasting and basting, or when the spit was idle employed her
hands upon poor Whittington! At last Miss Alice, his master’s daughter,
was informed of it, and then she took compassion on the poor boy, and
made the servants treat him kindly.

Besides the crossness of the cook, Whittington had another difficulty
to get over before he could be happy. He had, by order of his master, a
flock-bed placed for him in a garret, where there was a number of rats
and mice that often ran over the poor boy’s nose and disturbed him
in his sleep. After some time, however, a gentleman who came to his
master’s house gave Whittington a penny for brushing his shoes. This
he put into his pocket, being determined to lay it out to the best
advantage; and the next day, seeing a woman in the street with a cat
under her arm, he ran up to know the price of it. The woman (as the cat
was a good mouser) asked a deal of money for it, but on Whittington’s
telling her he had but a penny in the world, and that he wanted a cat
sadly, she let him have it.

This cat Whittington concealed in the garret, for fear she should be
beat about by his mortal enemy the cook, and here she soon killed or
frightened away the rats and mice, so that the poor boy could now sleep
as sound as a top.

Soon after this the merchant, who had a ship ready to sail, called
for his servants, as his custom was, in order that each of them might
venture something to try their luck; and whatever they sent was to pay
neither freight nor custom, for he thought justly that God Almighty
would bless him the more for his readiness to let the poor partake of
his fortune.

All the servants appeared but poor Whittington, who, having neither
money nor goods, could not think of sending anything to try his luck;
but his good friend Miss Alice, thinking his poverty kept him away,
ordered him to be called.

She then offered to lay down something for him, but the merchant told
his daughter that would not do, it must be something of his own. Upon
which poor Whittington said he had nothing but a cat which he bought
for a penny that was given him. “Fetch thy cat, boy,” said the merchant,
“and send her.” Whittington brought poor puss and delivered her to the
captain, with tears in his eyes, for he said he should now be disturbed
by the rats and mice as much as ever. All the company laughed at
the adventure but Miss Alice, who pitied the poor boy, and gave him
something to buy another cat.

While puss was beating the billows at sea, poor Whittington was severely
beaten at home by his tyrannical mistress the cook, who used him so
cruelly, and made such game of him for sending his cat to sea, that
at last the poor boy determined to run away from his place, and having
packed up the few things he had, he set out very early in the morning on
All-Hallows day. He traveled as far as Holloway, and there sat down on
a stone to consider what course he should take; but while he was thus
ruminating, Bow bells, of which there were only six, began to ring; and
he thought their sounds addressed him in this manner:

  “Turn again, Whittington,
  Thrice Lord Mayor of London.”


“Lord Mayor of London!” said he to himself, “what would not one endure
to be Lord Mayor of London, and ride in such a fine coach? Well, I’ll go
back again, and bear all the pummelling and ill-usage of Cicely rather
than miss the opportunity of being Lord Mayor!” So home he went, and
happily got into the house and about his business before Mrs. Cicely
made her appearance.

We must now follow Miss Puss to the coast of Africa. How perilous are
voyages at sea, how uncertain the winds and the waves, and how many
accidents attend a naval life!

The ship that had the cat on board was long beaten at sea, and at last,
by contrary winds, driven on a part of the coast of Barbary which was
inhabited by Moors unknown to the English. These people received our
countrymen with civility, and therefore the captain, in order to trade
with them, showed them the patterns of the goods he had on board, and
sent some of them to the King of the country, who was so well pleased
that he sent for the captain and the factor to come to his palace, which
was about a mile from the sea. Here they were placed, according to the
custom of the country, on rich carpets, flowered with gold and silver;
and the King and Queen being seated at the upper end of the room, dinner
was brought in, which consisted of many dishes; but no sooner were the
dishes put down but an amazing number of rats and mice came from all
quarters and devoured all the meat in an instant.

The factor, in surprise, turned round to the nobles and asked if these
vermin were not offensive. “Oh! yes,” said they, “very offensive; and
the King would give half his treasure to be freed of them, for they
not only destroy his dinner, as you see, but they assault him in his
chamber, and even in bed, so that he is obliged to be watched while he
is sleeping, for fear of them.”

The factor jumped for joy; he remembered poor Whittington and his
cat, and told the King he had a creature on board the ship that would
despatch all these vermin immediately. The King’s heart heaved so high
at the joy which this news gave him that his turban dropped off his
head. “Bring this creature to me,” said he; “vermin are dreadful in a
court, and if she will perform what you say I will load your ship with
gold and jewels in exchange for her.” The factor, who knew his business,
took this opportunity to set forth the merits of Miss Puss. He told his
Majesty that it would be inconvenient to part with her, as, when she
was gone, the rats and mice might destroy the goods in the ship--but to
oblige his Majesty he would fetch her. “Run, run,” said the Queen; “I am
impatient to see the dear creature.”

Away flew the factor, while another dinner was providing, and returned
with the cat just as the rats and mice were devouring that also. He
immediately put down Miss Puss, who killed a great number of them.

The King rejoiced greatly to see his old enemies destroyed by so small a
creature, and the Queen was highly pleased, and desired the cat might
be brought near that she might look at her. Upon which the factor called
“Pussy, pussy, pussy!” and she came to him. He then presented her to the
Queen, who started back, and was afraid to touch a creature who had made
such havoc among the rats and mice; however, when the factor stroked
the cat and called “Pussy, pussy!” the Queen also touched her and cried
“Putty, putty!” for she had not learned English.

He then put her down on the Queen’s lap, where she, purring, played with
her Majesty’s hand, and then sang herself to sleep.

The King, having seen the exploits of Miss Puss, and being informed that
her kittens would stock the whole country, bargained with the captain
and factor for the whole ship’s cargo, and then gave them ten times as
much for the cat as all the rest amounted to. On which, taking leave of
their Majesties and other great personages at court, they sailed with a
fair wind for England, whither we must now attend them.

The morn had scarcely dawned when Mr. Fitzwarren arose to count over
the cash and settle the business for that day. He had just entered the
counting-house, and seated himself at the desk, when somebody came,
tap, tap, at the door. “Who’s there?” said Mr. Fitzwarren. “A friend,”
 answered the other. “What friend can come at this unseasonable time?” “A
real friend is never unseasonable,” answered the other. “I come to bring
you good news of your ship Unicorn.” The merchant bustled up in such a
hurry that he forgot his gout; instantly opened the door, and who should
be seen waiting but the captain and factor, with a cabinet of jewels,
and a bill of lading, for which the merchant lifted up his eyes and
thanked heaven for sending him such a prosperous voyage. Then they told
him the adventures of the cat, and showed him the cabinet of jewels
which they had brought for Mr. Whittington. Upon which he cried out with
great earnestness, but not in the most poetical manner:

  “Go, send him in, and tell him of his fame,
  And call him Mr. Whittington by name.”


It is not our business to animadvert upon these lines; we are not
critics, but historians. It is sufficient for us that they are the words
of Mr. Fitzwarren; and though it is beside our purpose, and perhaps not
in our power to prove him a good poet, we shall soon convince the reader
that he was a good man, which was a much better character; for when some
who were present told him that this treasure was too much for such a
poor boy as Whittington, he said: “God forbid that I should deprive him
of a penny; it is his own, and he shall have it to a farthing.” He then
ordered Mr. Whittington in, who was at this time cleaning the kitchen
and would have excused himself from going into the counting-house,
saying the room was swept and his shoes were dirty and full of
hob-nails. The merchant, however, made him come in, and ordered a chair
to be set for him. Upon which, thinking they intended to make sport
of him, as had been too often the case in the kitchen, he besought his
master not to mock a poor simple fellow, who intended them no harm, but
let him go about his business. The merchant, taking him by the hand,
said: “Indeed, Mr. Whittington, I am in earnest with you, and sent for
you to congratulate you on your great success. Your cat has procured you
more money than I am worth in the world, and may you long enjoy it and
be happy!”

At length, being shown the treasure, and convinced by them that all of
it belonged to him, he fell upon his knees and thanked the Almighty for
his providential care of such a poor and miserable creature. He then
laid all the treasure at his master’s feet, who refused to take any part
of it, but told him he heartily rejoiced at his prosperity, and hoped
the wealth he had acquired would be a comfort to him, and would make
him happy. He then applied to his mistress, and to his good friend
Miss Alice, who refused to take any part of the money, but told him she
heartily rejoiced at his good success, and wished him all imaginable
felicity. He then gratified the captain, factor, and the ship’s crew for
the care they had taken of his cargo. He likewise distributed presents
to all the servants in the house, not forgetting even his old enemy the
cook, though she little deserved it.

After this Mr. Fitzwarren advised Mr. Whittington to send for the
necessary people and dress himself like a gentleman, and made him the
offer of his house to live in till he could provide himself with a
better.

Now it came to pass when Mr. Whittington’s face was washed, his hair
curled, and he dressed in a rich suit of clothes, that he turned out
a genteel young fellow; and, as wealth contributes much to give a man
confidence, he in a little time dropped that sheepish behavior which
was principally occasioned by a depression of spirits, and soon grew a
sprightly and good companion, insomuch that Miss Alice, who had formerly
pitied him, now fell in love with him.

When her father perceived they had this good liking for each other
he proposed a match between them, to which both parties cheerfully
consented, and the Lord Mayor, Court of Aldermen, Sheriffs, the Company
of Stationers, the Royal Academy of Arts, and a number of eminent
merchants attended the ceremony, and were elegantly treated at an
entertainment made for that purpose.

History further relates that they lived very happy, had several
children, and died at a good old age. Mr. Whittington served as Sheriff
of London and was three times Lord Mayor. In the last year of his
mayoralty he entertained King Henry V and his Queen, after his
conquest of France, upon which occasion the King, in consideration of
Whittington’s merit, said: “Never had prince such a subject”; which
being told to Whittington at the table, he replied: “Never had subject
such a king.” His Majesty, out of respect to his good character,
conferred the honor of knighthood on him soon after.

Sir Richard many years before his death constantly fed a great number
of poor citizens, built a church and a college to it, with a yearly
allowance for poor scholars, and near it erected a hospital.

He also built Newgate for criminals, and gave liberally to St.
Bartholomew’s Hospital and other public charities.



THE WONDERFUL SHEEP


Once upon a time--in the days when the fairies lived--there was a king
who had three daughters, who were all young, and clever, and beautiful;
but the youngest of the three, who was called Miranda, was the prettiest
and the most beloved.

The King, her father, gave her more dresses and jewels in a month than
he gave the others in a year; but she was so generous that she shared
everything with her sisters, and they were all as happy and as fond of
one another as they could be.

Now, the King had some quarrelsome neighbors, who, tired of leaving him
in peace, began to make war upon him so fiercely that he feared he would
be altogether beaten if he did not make an effort to defend himself.
So he collected a great army and set off to fight them, leaving the
Princesses with their governess in a castle where news of the war was
brought every day--sometimes that the King had taken a town, or won a
battle, and, at last, that he had altogether overcome his enemies and
chased them out of his kingdom, and was coming back to the castle as
quickly as possible, to see his dear little Miranda whom he loved so
much.

The three Princesses put on dresses of satin, which they had had made
on purpose for this great occasion, one green, one blue, and the third
white; their jewels were the same colors. The eldest wore emeralds, the
second turquoises, and the youngest diamonds, and thus adorned they
went to meet the King, singing verses which they had composed about his
victories.

When he saw them all so beautiful and so gay he embraced them tenderly,
but gave Miranda more kisses than either of the others.

Presently a splendid banquet was served, and the King and his daughters
sat down to it, and as he always thought that there was some special
meaning in everything, he said to the eldest:

“Tell me why you have chosen a green dress.”

“Sire,” she answered, “having heard of your victories I thought that
green would signify my joy and the hope of your speedy return.”

“That is a very good answer,” said the King; “and you, my daughter,” he
continued, “why did you take a blue dress?”

“Sire,” said the Princess, “to show that we constantly hoped for your
success, and that the sight of you is as welcome to me as the sky with
its most beautiful stars.”

“Why,” said the King, “your wise answers astonish me, and you, Miranda.
What made you dress yourself all in white?

“Because, sire,” she answered, “white suits me better than anything
else.”

“What!” said the King angrily, “was that all you thought of, vain
child?”

“I thought you would be pleased with me,” said the Princess; “that was
all.”

The King, who loved her, was satisfied with this, and even pretended to
be pleased that she had not told him all her reasons at first.

“And now,” said he, “as I have supped well, and it is not time yet to go
to bed, tell me what you dreamed last night.”

The eldest said she had dreamed that he brought her a dress, and the
precious stones and gold embroidery on it were brighter than the sun.

The dream of the second was that the King had brought her a spinning
wheel and a distaff, that she might spin him some shirts.

But the youngest said: “I dreamed that my second sister was to be
married, and on her wedding-day, you, father, held a golden ewer and
said: ‘Come, Miranda, and I will hold the water that you may dip your
hands in it.’”

The King was very angry indeed when he heard this dream, and frowned
horribly; indeed, he made such an ugly face that everyone knew how angry
he was, and he got up and went off to bed in a great hurry; but he could
not forget his daughter’s dream.

“Does the proud girl wish to make me her slave?” he said to himself. “I
am not surprised at her choosing to dress herself in white satin without
a thought of me. She does not think me worthy of her consideration! But
I will soon put an end to her pretensions!”

He rose in a fury, and although it was not yet daylight, he sent for the
Captain of his Bodyguard, and said to him:

“You have heard the Princess Miranda’s dream? I consider that it means
strange things against me, therefore I order you to take her away into
the forest and kill her, and, that I may be sure it is done, you must
bring me her heart and her tongue. If you attempt to deceive me you
shall be put to death!”

The Captain of the Guard was very much astonished when he heard this
barbarous order, but he did not dare to contradict the King for fear of
making him still more angry, or causing him to send someone else, so he
answered that he would fetch the Princess and do as the King had said.
When he went to her room they would hardly let him in, it was so early,
but he said that the King had sent for Miranda, and she got up quickly
and came out; a little black girl called Patypata held up her train, and
her pet monkey and her little dog ran after her. The monkey was called
Grabugeon, and the little dog Tintin.

The Captain of the Guard begged Miranda to come down into the garden
where the King was enjoying the fresh air, and when they got there, he
pretended to search for him, but as he was not to be found, he said:

“No doubt his Majesty has strolled into the forest,” and he opened the
little door that led to it and they went through.

By this time the daylight had begun to appear, and the Princess, looking
at her conductor, saw that he had tears in his eyes and seemed too sad
to speak.

“What is the matter?” she said in the kindest way. “You seem very
sorrowful.”

“Alas! Princess,” he answered, “who would not be sorrowful who was
ordered to do such a terrible thing as I am? The King has commanded me
to kill you here, and carry your heart and your tongue to him, and if I
disobey I shall lose my life.”

The poor Princess was terrified, she grew very pale and began to cry
softly.

Looking up at the Captain of the Guard with her beautiful eyes, she said
gently:

“Will you really have the heart to kill me? I have never done you any
harm, and have always spoken well of you to the King. If I had deserved
my father’s anger I would suffer without a murmur, but, alas! he is
unjust to complain of me, when I have always treated him with love and
respect.”

“Fear nothing, Princess,” said the Captain of the Guard. “I would far
rather die myself than hurt you; but even if I am killed you will not
be safe: we must find some way of making the King believe that you are
dead.”

“What can we do?” said Miranda; “unless you take him my heart and my
tongue he will never believe you.”

The Princess and the Captain of the Guard were talking so earnestly that
they did not think of Patypata, but she had overheard all they said, and
now came and threw herself at Miranda’s feet.

“Madam,” she said, “I offer you my life; let me be killed, I shall be
only too happy to die for such a kind mistress.”

“Why, Patypata,” cried the Princess, kissing her, “that would never do;
your life is as precious to me as my own, especially after such a proof
of your affection as you have just given me.”

“You are right, Princess,” said Grabugeon, coming forward, “to love such
a faithful slave as Patypata; she is of more use to you than I am, I
offer you my tongue and my heart most willingly, especially as I wish to
make a great name for myself in Goblin Land.”

“No, no, my little Grabugeon,” replied Miranda, “I cannot bear the
thought of taking your life.”

“Such a good little dog as I am,” cried Tintin, “could not think of
letting either of you die for his mistress. If anyone is to die for her
it must be me.”

And then began a great dispute between Patypata, Grabugeon, and Tintin,
and they came to high words, until at last Grabugeon, who was quicker
than the others, ran up to the very top of the nearest tree, and let
herself fall, head first, to the ground, and there she lay--quite dead!

The Princess was very sorry, but as Grabugeon was really dead, she
allowed the Captain of the Guard to take her tongue; but, alas! it
was such a little one--not bigger than the Princess’s thumb--that they
decided sorrowfully that it was of no use at all: the King would not
have been taken in by it for a moment!

“Alas! my little monkey,” cried the Princess, “I have lost you, and yet
I am no better off than I was before.”

“The honor of saving your life is to be mine,” interrupted Patypata,
and, before they could prevent her, she had picked up a knife and cut
her head off in an instant.

But when the Captain of the Guard would have taken her tongue it turned
out to be quite black, so that would not have deceived the King either.

“Am I not unlucky?” cried the poor Princess; “I lose everything I love,
and am none the better for it.”

“If you had accepted my offer,” said Tintin, “you would only have had me
to regret, and I should have had all your gratitude.”

Miranda kissed her little dog, crying so bitterly, that at last she
could bear it no longer, and turned away into the forest. When she
looked back the Captain of the Guard was gone, and she was alone, except
for Patypata, Grabugeon, and Tintin, who lay upon the ground. She could
not leave the place until she had buried them in a pretty little mossy
grave at the foot of a tree, and she wrote their names upon the bark of
the tree, and how they had all died to save her life. And then she began
to think where she could go for safety--for this forest was so close to
her father’s castle that she might be seen and recognized by the first
passer-by, and, besides that, it was full of lions and wolves, who would
have snapped up a princess just as soon as a stray chicken. So she began
to walk as fast as she could, but the forest was so large and the sun
was so hot that she nearly died of heat and terror and fatigue; look
which way she would there seemed to be no end to the forest, and she
was so frightened that she fancied every minute that she heard the King
running after her to kill her. You may imagine how miserable she was,
and how she cried as she went on, not knowing which path to follow, and
with the thorny bushes scratching her dreadfully and tearing her pretty
frock to pieces.

At last she heard the bleating of a sheep, and said to herself:

“No doubt there are shepherds here with their flocks; they will show me
the way to some village where I can live disguised as a peasant girl.
Alas! it is not always kings and princes who are the happiest people in
the world. Who could have believed that I should ever be obliged to run
away and hide because the King, for no reason at all, wishes to kill
me?”

So saying she advanced toward the place where she heard the bleating,
but what was her surprise when, in a lovely little glade quite
surrounded by trees, she saw a large sheep; its wool was as white as
snow, and its horns shone like gold; it had a garland of flowers round
its neck, and strings of great pearls about its legs, and a collar of
diamonds; it lay upon a bank of orange-flowers, under a canopy of cloth
of gold which protected it from the heat of the sun. Nearly a hundred
other sheep were scattered about, not eating the grass, but some
drinking coffee, lemonade, or sherbet, others eating ices, strawberries
and cream, or sweetmeats, while others, again, were playing games. Many
of them wore golden collars with jewels, flowers, and ribbons.

Miranda stopped short in amazement at this unexpected sight, and was
looking in all directions for the shepherd of this surprising flock,
when the beautiful sheep came bounding toward her.

“Approach, lovely Princess,” he cried; “have no fear of such gentle and
peaceable animals as we are.”

“What a marvel!” cried the Princess, starting back a little. “Here is a
sheep that can talk.”

“Your monkey and your dog could talk, madam,” said he; “are you more
astonished at us than at them?”

“A fairy gave them the power to speak,” replied Miranda. “So I was used
to them.”

“Perhaps the same thing has happened to us,” he said, smiling
sheepishly. “But, Princess, what can have led you here?”

“A thousand misfortunes, Sir Sheep,” she answered.

“I am the unhappiest princess in the world, and I am seeking a shelter
against my father’s anger.”

“Come with me, madam,” said the Sheep; “I offer you a hiding-place which
you only will know of, and where you will be mistress of everything you
see.”

“I really cannot follow you,” said Miranda, “for I am too tired to walk
another step.”

The Sheep with the golden horns ordered that his chariot should be
fetched, and a moment after appeared six goats, harnessed to a pumpkin,
which was so big that two people could quite well sit in it, and was all
lined with cushions of velvet and down. The Princess stepped into it,
much amused at such a new kind of carriage, the King of the Sheep took
his place beside her, and the goats ran away with them at full speed,
and only stopped when they reached a cavern, the entrance to which
was blocked by a great stone. This the King touched with his foot, and
immediately it fell down, and he invited the Princess to enter without
fear. Now, if she had not been so alarmed by everything that had
happened, nothing could have induced her to go into this frightful cave,
but she was so afraid of what might be behind her that she would have
thrown herself even down a well at this moment. So, without hesitation,
she followed the Sheep, who went before her, down, down, down, until she
thought they must come out at the other side of the world--indeed, she
was not sure that he wasn’t leading her into Fairyland. At last she saw
before her a great plain, quite covered with all sorts of flowers, the
scent of which seemed to her nicer than anything she had ever smelled
before; a broad river of orange-flower water flowed round it and
fountains of wine of every kind ran in all directions and made the
prettiest little cascades and brooks. The plain was covered with the
strangest trees, there were whole avenues where partridges, ready
roasted, hung from every branch, or, if you preferred pheasants, quails,
turkeys, or rabbits, you had only to turn to the right hand or to the
left and you were sure to find them. In places the air was darkened by
showers of lobster-patties, white puddings, sausages, tarts, and all
sorts of sweetmeats, or with pieces of gold and silver, diamonds and
pearls. This unusual kind of rain, and the pleasantness of the whole
place, would, no doubt, have attracted numbers of people to it, if the
King of the Sheep had been of a more sociable disposition, but from all
accounts it is evident that he was as grave as a judge.

As it was quite the nicest time of the year when Miranda arrived in this
delightful land the only palace she saw was a long row of orange trees,
jasmines, honeysuckles, and musk-roses, and their interlacing branches
made the prettiest rooms possible, which were hung with gold and silver
gauze, and had great mirrors and candlesticks, and most beautiful
pictures. The Wonderful Sheep begged that the Princess would consider
herself queen over all that she saw, and assured her that, though for
some years he had been very sad and in great trouble, she had it in her
power to make him forget all his grief.

“You are so kind and generous, noble Sheep,” said the Princess, “that I
cannot thank you enough, but I must confess that all I see here seems to
me so extraordinary that I don’t know what to think of it.”

As she spoke a band of lovely fairies came up and offered her amber
baskets full of fruit, but when she held out her hands to them they
glided away, and she could feel nothing when she tried to touch them.

“Oh!” she cried, “what can they be? Whom am I with?” and she began to
cry.

At this instant the King of the Sheep came back to her, and was so
distracted to find her in tears that he could have torn his wool.

“What is the matter, lovely Princess?” he cried. “Has anyone failed to
treat you with due respect?”

“Oh! no,” said Miranda; “only I am not used to living with sprites and
with sheep that talk, and everything here frightens me. It was very kind
of you to bring me to this place, but I shall be even more grateful to
you if you will take me up into the world again.”

“Do not be afraid,” said the Wonderful Sheep; “I entreat you to have
patience, and listen to the story of my misfortunes. I was once a king,
and my kingdom was the most splendid in the world. My subjects loved me,
my neighbors envied and feared me. I was respected by everyone, and it
was said that no king ever deserved it more.

“I was very fond of hunting, and one day, while chasing a stag, I left
my attendants far behind; suddenly I saw the animal leap into a pool of
water, and I rashly urged my horse to follow it, but before we had gone
many steps I felt an extraordinary heat, instead of the coolness of the
water; the pond dried up, a great gulf opened before me, out of which
flames of fire shot up, and I fell helplessly to the bottom of a
precipice.

“I gave myself up for lost, but presently a voice said: ‘Ungrateful
Prince, even this fire is hardly enough to warm your cold heart!’

“‘Who complains of my coldness in this dismal place?’ I cried.

“‘An unhappy being who loves you hopelessly,’ replied the voice, and at
the same moment the flames began to flicker and cease to burn, and I
saw a fairy, whom I had known as long as I could remember, and whose
ugliness had always horrified me. She was leaning upon the arm of a
most beautiful young girl, who wore chains of gold on her wrists and was
evidently her slave.

“‘Why, Ragotte,’ I said, for that was the fairy’s name, ‘what is the
meaning of all this? Is it by your orders that I am here?’

“‘And whose fault is it,’ she answered, ‘that you have never understood
me until now? Must a powerful fairy like myself condescend to explain
her doings to you who are no better than an ant by comparison, though
you think yourself a great king?’

“‘Call me what you like,’ I said impatiently; ‘but what is it that you
want--my crown, or my cities, or my treasures?’

“‘Treasures!’ said the fairy, disdainfully. ‘If I chose I could make
any one of my scullions richer and more powerful than you. I do not
want your treasures, but,’ she added softly, ‘if you will give me your
heart--if you will marry me--I will add twenty kingdoms to the one you
have already; you shall have a hundred castles full of gold and five
hundred full of silver, and, in short, anything you like to ask me for.’

“‘Madam Ragotte,’ said I, ‘when one is at the bottom of a pit where one
has fully expected to be roasted alive, it is impossible to think of
asking such a charming person as you are to marry one! I beg that you
will set me at liberty, and then I shall hope to answer you fittingly.’

“‘Ah!’ said she, ‘if you really loved me you would not care where you
were--a cave, a wood, a fox-hole, a desert, would please you equally
well. Do not think that you can deceive me; you fancy you are going to
escape, but I assure you that you are going to stay here and the first
thing I shall give you to do will be to keep my sheep--they are very
good company and speak quite as well as you do.

“As she spoke she advanced, and led me to this plain where we now stand,
and showed me her flock, but I paid little attention to it or to her.

“To tell the truth, I was so lost in admiration of her beautiful slave
that I forgot everything else, and the cruel Ragotte, perceiving this,
turned upon her so furious and terrible a look that she fell lifeless to
the ground.

“At this dreadful sight I drew my sword and rushed at Ragotte, and
should certainly have cut off her head had she not by her magic arts
chained me to the spot on which I stood; all my efforts to move were
useless, and at last, when I threw myself down on the ground in despair,
she said to me, with a scornful smile:

“‘I intend to make you feel my power. It seems that you are a lion at
present, I mean you to be a sheep.’

“So saying, she touched me with her wand, and I became what you see. I
did not lose the power of speech, or of feeling the misery of my present
state.

“‘For five years,’ she said, ‘you shall be a sheep, and lord of this
pleasant land, while I, no longer able to see your face, which I loved
so much, shall be better able to hate you as you deserve to be hated.’

“She disappeared as she finished speaking, and if I had not been too
unhappy to care about anything I should have been glad that she was
gone.

“The talking sheep received me as their king, and told me that they,
too, were unfortunate princes who had, in different ways, offended the
revengeful fairy, and had been added to her flock for a certain number
of years; some more, some less. From time to time, indeed, one regains
his own proper form and goes back again to his place in the upper world;
but the other beings whom you saw are the rivals or the enemies of
Ragotte, whom she has imprisoned for a hundred years or so; though even
they will go back at last. The young slave of whom I told you about is
one of these; I have seen her often, and it has been a great pleasure to
me. She never speaks to me, and if I were nearer to her I know I should
find her only a shadow, which would be very annoying. However, I noticed
that one of my companions in misfortune was also very attentive to this
little sprite, and I found out that he had been her lover, whom the
cruel Ragotte had taken away from her long before; since then I have
cared for, and thought of, nothing but how I might regain my freedom.
I have often been in the forest; that is where I have seen you, lovely
Princess, sometimes driving your chariot, which you did with all the
grace and skill in the world; sometimes riding to the chase on so
spirited a horse that it seemed as if no one but yourself could have
managed it, and sometimes running races on the plain with the Princesses
of your Court--running so lightly that it was you always who won the
prize. Oh! Princess, I have loved you so long, and yet how dare I
tell you of my love! what hope can there be for an unhappy sheep like
myself?”

Miranda was so surprised and confused by all that she had heard that
she hardly knew what answer to give to the King of the Sheep, but she
managed to make some kind of little speech, which certainly did not
forbid him to hope, and said that she should not be afraid of the
shadows now she knew that they would some day come to life again.
“Alas!” she continued, “if my poor Patypata, my dear Grabugeon, and
pretty little Tintin, who all died for my sake, were equally well off, I
should have nothing left to wish for here!”

Prisoner though he was, the King of the Sheep had still some powers and
privileges.

“Go,” said he to his Master of the Horse, “go and seek the shadows of
the little black girl, the monkey, and the dog: they will amuse our
Princess.”

And an instant afterward Miranda saw them coming toward her, and their
presence gave her the greatest pleasure, though they did not come near
enough for her to touch them.

The King of the Sheep was so kind and amusing, and loved Miranda so
dearly, that at last she began to love him too. Such a handsome
sheep, who was so polite and considerate, could hardly fail to please,
especially if one knew that he was really a king, and that his strange
imprisonment would soon come to an end. So the Princess’s days passed
very gaily while she waited for the happy time to come. The King of
the Sheep, with the help of all the flock, got up balls, concerts, and
hunting parties, and even the shadows joined in all the fun, and came,
making believe to be their own real selves.

One evening, when the couriers arrived (for the King sent most carefully
for news--and they always brought the very best kinds), it was announced
that the sister of the Princess Miranda was going to be married to
a great Prince, and that nothing could be more splendid than all the
preparations for the wedding.

“Ah!” cried the young Princess, “how unlucky I am to miss the sight of
so many pretty things! Here am I imprisoned under the earth, with no
company but sheep and shadows, while my sister is to be adorned like a
queen and surrounded by all who love and admire her, and everyone but
myself can go to wish her joy!”

“Why do you complain, Princess?” said the King of the Sheep. “Did I say
that you were not to go to the wedding? Set out as soon as you please;
only promise me that you will come back, for I love you too much to be
able to live without you.”

Miranda was very grateful to him, and promised faithfully that nothing
in the world should keep her from coming back. The King caused an escort
suitable to her rank to be got ready for her, and she dressed herself
splendidly, not forgetting anything that could make her more beautiful.
Her chariot was of mother-of-pearl, drawn by six dun-colored griffins
just brought from the other side of the world, and she was attended by a
number of guards in splendid uniforms, who were all at least eight feet
high and had come from far and near to ride in the Princess’s train.

Miranda reached her father’s palace just as the wedding ceremony began,
and everyone, as soon as she came in, was struck with surprise at
her beauty and the splendor of her jewels. She heard exclamations
of admiration on all sides; and the King her father looked at her so
attentively that she was afraid he must recognize her; but he was so
sure that she was dead that the idea never occurred to him.

However, the fear of not getting away made her leave before the marriage
was over. She went out hastily, leaving behind her a little coral casket
set with emeralds. On it was written in diamond letters: “Jewels for the
Bride,” and when they opened it, which they did as soon as it was found,
there seemed to be no end to the pretty things it contained. The King,
who had hoped to join the unknown Princess and find out who she was,
was dreadfully disappointed when she disappeared so suddenly, and gave
orders that if she ever came again the doors were to be shut that she
might not get away so easily. Short as Miranda’s absence had been, it
had seemed like a hundred years to the King of the Sheep. He was waiting
for her by a fountain in the thickest part of the forest, and the ground
was strewn with splendid presents which he had prepared for her to show
his joy and gratitude at her coming back.

As soon as she was in sight he rushed to meet her, leaping and bounding
like a real sheep. He caressed her tenderly, throwing himself at her
feet and kissing her hands, and told her how uneasy he had been in
her absence, and how impatient for her return, with an eloquence which
charmed her.

After some time came the news that the King’s second daughter was going
to be married. When Miranda heard it she begged the King of the Sheep
to allow her to go and see the wedding as before. This request made him
feel very sad, as if some misfortune must surely come of it, but his
love for the Princess being stronger than anything else he did not like
to refuse her.

“You wish to leave me, Princess,” said he; “it is my unhappy fate--you
are not to blame. I consent to your going, but, believe me, I can give
you no stronger proof of my love than by so doing.”

The Princess assured him that she would only stay a very short time, as
she had done before, and begged him not to be uneasy, as she would be
quite as much grieved if anything detained her as he could possibly be.

So, with the same escort, she set out, and reached the palace as the
marriage ceremony began. Everybody was delighted to see her; she was
so pretty that they thought she must be some fairy princess, and the
Princes who were there could not take their eyes off her.

The King was more glad than anyone else that she had come again, and
gave orders that the doors should all be shut and bolted that very
minute. When the wedding was all but over the Princess got up quickly,
hoping to slip away unnoticed among the crowd, but, to her great dismay,
she found every door fastened.

She felt more at ease when the King came up to her, and with the
greatest respect begged her not to run away so soon, but at least to
honor him by staying for the splendid feast which was prepared for the
Princes and Princesses. He led her into a magnificent hall, where all
the Court was assembled, and himself taking up the golden bowl full of
water, he offered it to her that she might dip her pretty fingers into
it.

At this the Princess could no longer contain herself; throwing herself
at the King’s feet, she cried out:

“My dream has come true after all--you have offered me water to wash my
hands on my sister’s wedding day, and it has not vexed you to do it.”

The King recognized her at once--indeed, he had already thought several
times how much like his poor little Miranda she was.

“Oh! my dear daughter,” he cried, kissing her, “can you ever forget my
cruelty? I ordered you to be put to death because I thought your dream
portended the loss of my crown. And so it did,” he added, “for now your
sisters are both married and have kingdoms of their own--and mine shall
be for you.” So saying he put his crown on the Princess’s head and
cried:

“Long live Queen Miranda!”

All the Court cried: “Long live Queen Miranda!” after him, and the young
Queen’s two sisters came running up, and threw their arms round her
neck, and kissed her a thousand times, and then there was such a
laughing and crying, talking and kissing, all at once, and Miranda
thanked her father, and began to ask after everyone--particularly
the Captain of the Guard, to whom she owed so much; but, to her great
sorrow, she heard that he was dead. Presently they sat down to the
banquet, and the King asked Miranda to tell them all that had happened
to her since the terrible morning when he had sent the Captain of the
Guard to fetch her. This she did with so much spirit that all the guests
listened with breathless interest. But while she was thus enjoying
herself with the King and her sisters, the King of the Sheep was waiting
impatiently for the time of her return, and when it came and went, and
no Princess appeared, his anxiety became so great that he could bear it
no longer.

“She is not coming back any more,” he cried. “My miserable sheep’s
face displeases her, and without Miranda what is left to me, wretched
creature that I am! Oh! cruel Ragotte; my punishment is complete.”

For a long time he bewailed his sad fate like this, and then, seeing
that it was growing dark, and that still there was no sign of the
Princess, he set out as fast as he could in the direction of the town.
When he reached the palace he asked for Miranda, but by this time
everyone had heard the story of her adventures, and did not want her to
go back again to the King of the Sheep, so they refused sternly to let
him see her. In vain he begged and prayed them to let him in; though
his entreaties might have melted hearts of stone they did not move the
guards of the palace, and at last, quite broken-hearted, he fell dead at
their feet.

In the meantime the King, who had not the least idea of the sad thing
that was happening outside the gate of his palace, proposed to Miranda
that she should be driven in her chariot all round the town, which was
to be illuminated with thousands and thousands of torches, placed in
windows and balconies, and in all the grand squares. But what a sight
met her eyes at the very entrance of the palace! There lay her dear,
kind sheep, silent and motionless, upon the pavement!

She threw herself out of the chariot and ran to him, crying bitterly,
for she realized that her broken promise had cost him his life, and for
a long, long time she was so unhappy that they thought she would have
died too.

So you see that even a princess is not always happy--especially if she
forgets to keep her word; and the greatest misfortunes often happen to
people just as they think they have obtained their heart’s desires!(1)


(1) Madame d’Aulnoy.



LITTLE THUMB


There was, once upon a time, a man and his wife fagot-makers by trade,
who had several children, all boys. The eldest was but ten years old,
and the youngest only seven.

They were very poor, and their seven children incommoded them greatly,
because not one of them was able to earn his bread. That which gave
them yet more uneasiness was that the youngest was of a very puny
constitution, and scarce ever spoke a word, which made them take that
for stupidity which was a sign of good sense. He was very little, and
when born no bigger than one’s thumb, which made him be called Little
Thumb.

The poor child bore the blame of whatsoever was done amiss in the house,
and, guilty or not, was always in the wrong; he was, notwithstanding,
more cunning and had a far greater share of wisdom than all his brothers
put together; and, if he spake little, he heard and thought the more.

There happened now to come a very bad year, and the famine was so great
that these poor people resolved to rid themselves of their children. One
evening, when they were all in bed and the fagot-maker was sitting with
his wife at the fire, he said to her, with his heart ready to burst with
grief:

“Thou seest plainly that we are not able to keep our children, and I
cannot see them starve to death before my face; I am resolved to lose
them in the wood to-morrow, which may very easily be done; for, while
they are busy in tying up fagots, we may run away, and leave them,
without their taking any notice.”

“Ah!” cried his wife; “and canst thou thyself have the heart to take thy
children out along with thee on purpose to lose them?”

In vain did her husband represent to her their extreme poverty: she
would not consent to it; she was indeed poor, but she was their mother.
However, having considered what a grief it would be to her to see them
perish with hunger, she at last consented, and went to bed all in tears.

Little Thumb heard every word that had been spoken; for observing, as
he lay in his bed, that they were talking very busily, he got up softly,
and hid himself under his father’s stool, that he might hear what they
said without being seen. He went to bed again, but did not sleep a wink
all the rest of the night, thinking on what he had to do. He got up
early in the morning, and went to the river-side, where he filled his
pockets full of small white pebbles, and then returned home.

They all went abroad, but Little Thumb never told his brothers one
syllable of what he knew. They went into a very thick forest, where they
could not see one another at ten paces distance. The fagot-maker began
to cut wood, and the children to gather up the sticks to make fagots.
Their father and mother, seeing them busy at their work, got away from
them insensibly, and ran away from them all at once, along a by-way
through the winding bushes.

When the children saw they were left alone, they began to cry as loud as
they could. Little Thumb let them cry on, knowing very well how to get
home again, for, as he came, he took care to drop all along the way the
little white pebbles he had in his pockets. Then he said to them:

“Be not afraid, brothers; father and mother have left us here, but I
will lead you home again, only follow me.”

They did so, and he brought them home by the very same way they came
into the forest. They dared not go in, but sat themselves down at the
door, listening to what their father and mother were saying.

The very moment the fagot-maker and his wife reached home the lord of
the manor sent them ten crowns, which he had owed them a long while, and
which they never expected. This gave them new life, for the poor people
were almost famished. The fagot-maker sent his wife immediately to the
butcher’s. As it was a long while since they had eaten a bit, she bought
thrice as much meat as would sup two people. When they had eaten, the
woman said:

“Alas! where are now our poor children? they would make a good feast of
what we have left here; but it was you, William, who had a mind to lose
them: I told you we should repent of it. What are they now doing in the
forest? Alas! dear God, the wolves have perhaps already eaten them up;
thou art very inhuman thus to have lost thy children.”

The fagot-maker grew at last quite out of patience, for she repeated it
above twenty times, that they should repent of it, and that she was in
the right of it for so saying. He threatened to beat her if she did not
hold her tongue. It was not that the fagot-maker was not, perhaps, more
vexed than his wife, but that she teased him, and that he was of the
humor of a great many others, who love wives to speak well, but
think those very importunate who are continually doing so. She was
half-drowned in tears, crying out:

“Alas! where are now my children, my poor children?”

She spoke this so very loud that the children, who were at the gate,
began to cry out all together:

“Here we are! Here we are!”

She ran immediately to open the door, and said, hugging them:

“I am glad to see you, my dear children; you are very hungry and weary;
and my poor Peter, thou art horribly bemired; come in and let me clean
thee.”

Now, you must know that Peter was her eldest son, whom she loved above
all the rest, because he was somewhat carroty, as she herself was. They
sat down to supper, and ate with such a good appetite as pleased both
father and mother, whom they acquainted how frightened they were in
the forest, speaking almost always all together. The good folks were
extremely glad to see their children once more at home, and this joy
continued while the ten crowns lasted; but, when the money was all gone,
they fell again into their former uneasiness, and resolved to lose them
again; and, that they might be the surer of doing it, to carry them to a
much greater distance than before.

They could not talk of this so secretly but they were overheard by
Little Thumb, who made account to get out of this difficulty as well as
the former; but, though he got up very early in the morning to go and
pick up some little pebbles, he was disappointed, for he found the
house-door double-locked, and was at a stand what to do. When their
father had given each of them a piece of bread for their breakfast,
Little Thumb fancied he might make use of this instead of the pebbles by
throwing it in little bits all along the way they should pass; and so he
put the bread in his pocket.

Their father and mother brought them into the thickest and most obscure
part of the forest, when, stealing away into a by-path, they there left
them. Little Thumb was not very uneasy at it, for he thought he could
easily find the way again by means of his bread, which he had scattered
all along as he came; but he was very much surprised when he could not
find so much as one crumb; the birds had come and had eaten it up, every
bit. They were now in great affliction, for the farther they went the
more they were out of their way, and were more and more bewildered in
the forest.

Night now came on, and there arose a terribly high wind, which made them
dreadfully afraid. They fancied they heard on every side of them the
howling of wolves coming to eat them up. They scarce dared to speak or
turn their heads. After this, it rained very hard, which wetted them to
the skin; their feet slipped at every step they took, and they fell into
the mire, whence they got up in a very dirty pickle; their hands were
quite benumbed.

Little Thumb climbed up to the top of a tree, to see if he could
discover anything; and having turned his head about on every side, he
saw at last a glimmering light, like that of a candle, but a long way
from the forest. He came down, and, when upon the ground, he could see
it no more, which grieved him sadly. However, having walked for some
time with his brothers toward that side on which he had seen the light,
he perceived it again as he came out of the wood.

They came at last to the house where this candle was, not without an
abundance of fear: for very often they lost sight of it, which happened
every time they came into a bottom. They knocked at the door, and a good
woman came and opened it; she asked them what they would have.

Little Thumb told her they were poor children who had been lost in the
forest, and desired to lodge there for God’s sake.

The woman, seeing them so very pretty, began to weep, and said to them:

“Alas! poor babies; whither are ye come? Do ye know that this house
belongs to a cruel ogre who eats up little children?”

“Ah! dear madam,” answered Little Thumb (who trembled every joint of
him, as well as his brothers), “what shall we do? To be sure the wolves
of the forest will devour us to-night if you refuse us to lie here; and
so we would rather the gentleman should eat us; and perhaps he may take
pity upon us, especially if you please to beg it of him.”

The Ogre’s wife, who believed she could conceal them from her husband
till morning, let them come in, and brought them to warm themselves at a
very good fire; for there was a whole sheep upon the spit, roasting for
the Ogre’s supper.

As they began to be a little warm they heard three or four great raps at
the door; this was the Ogre, who had come home. Upon this she hid them
under the bed and went to open the door. The Ogre presently asked if
supper was ready and the wine drawn, and then sat himself down to table.
The sheep was as yet all raw and bloody; but he liked it the better for
that. He sniffed about to the right and left, saying:

“I smell fresh meat.”

“What you smell so,” said his wife, “must be the calf which I have just
now killed and flayed.”

“I smell fresh meat, I tell thee once more,” replied the Ogre, looking
crossly at his wife; “and there is something here which I do not
understand.”

As he spoke these words he got up from the table and went directly to
the bed.

“Ah, ah!” said he; “I see then how thou wouldst cheat me, thou cursed
woman; I know not why I do not eat thee up too, but it is well for thee
that thou art a tough old carrion. Here is good game, which comes very
quickly to entertain three ogres of my acquaintance who are to pay me a
visit in a day or two.”

With that he dragged them out from under the bed one by one. The poor
children fell upon their knees, and begged his pardon; but they had to
do with one of the most cruel ogres in the world, who, far from having
any pity on them, had already devoured them with his eyes, and told
his wife they would be delicate eating when tossed up with good
savory sauce. He then took a great knife, and, coming up to these poor
children, whetted it upon a great whet-stone which he held in his left
hand. He had already taken hold of one of them when his wife said to
him:

“Why need you do it now? Is it not time enough to-morrow?”

“Hold your prating,” said the Ogre; “they will eat the tenderer.

“But you have so much meat already,” replied his wife, “you have no
occasion; here are a calf, two sheep, and half a hog.”

“That is true,” said the Ogre; “give them their belly full that they may
not fall away, and put them to bed.”

The good woman was overjoyed at this, and gave them a good supper; but
they were so much afraid they could not eat a bit. As for the Ogre,
he sat down again to drink, being highly pleased that he had got
wherewithal to treat his friends. He drank a dozen glasses more than
ordinary, which got up into his head and obliged him to go to bed.

The Ogre had seven daughters, all little children, and these young
ogresses had all of them very fine complexions, because they used to
eat fresh meat like their father; but they had little gray eyes, quite
round, hooked noses, and very long sharp teeth, standing at a
good distance from each other. They were not as yet over and above
mischievous, but they promised very fair for it, for they had already
bitten little children, that they might suck their blood.

They had been put to bed early, with every one a crown of gold upon her
head. There was in the same chamber a bed of the like bigness, and it
was into this bed the Ogre’s wife put the seven little boys, after which
she went to bed to her husband.

Little Thumb, who had observed that the Ogre’s daughters had crowns of
gold upon their heads, and was afraid lest the Ogre should repent his
not killing them, got up about midnight, and, taking his brothers’
bonnets and his own, went very softly and put them upon the heads of
the seven little ogresses, after having taken off their crowns of gold,
which he put upon his own head and his brothers’, that the Ogre might
take them for his daughters, and his daughters for the little boys whom
he wanted to kill.

All this succeeded according to his desire; for, the Ogre waking about
midnight, and sorry that he deferred to do that till morning which
he might have done over-night, threw himself hastily out of bed, and,
taking his great knife,

“Let us see,” said he, “how our little rogues do, and not make two jobs
of the matter.”

He then went up, groping all the way, into his daughters’ chamber, and,
coming to the bed where the little boys lay, and who were every soul of
them fast asleep, except Little Thumb, who was terribly afraid when
he found the Ogre fumbling about his head, as he had done about his
brothers’, the Ogre, feeling the golden crowns, said:

“I should have made a fine piece of work of it, truly; I find I drank
too much last night.”

Then he went to the bed where the girls lay; and, having found the boys’
little bonnets,

“Ah!” said he, “my merry lads, are you there? Let us work as we ought.”

And saying these words, without more ado, he cut the throats of all his
seven daughters.

Well pleased with what he had done, he went to bed again to his wife.
So soon as Little Thumb heard the Ogre snore, he waked his brothers, and
bade them all put on their clothes presently and follow him. They stole
down softly into the garden, and got over the wall. They kept running
about all night, and trembled all the while, without knowing which way
they went.

The Ogre, when he awoke, said to his wife: “Go upstairs and dress those
young rascals who came here last night.”

The wife was very much surprised at this goodness of her husband, not
dreaming after what manner she should dress them; but, thinking that
he had ordered her to go and put on their clothes, she went up, and was
strangely astonished when she perceived her seven daughters killed, and
weltering in their blood.

She fainted away, for this is the first expedient almost all women find
in such cases. The Ogre, fearing his wife would be too long in doing
what he had ordered, went up himself to help her. He was no less amazed
than his wife at this frightful spectacle.

“Ah! what have I done?” cried he. “The wretches shall pay for it, and
that instantly.”

He threw a pitcher of water upon his wife’s face, and, having brought
her to herself, said:

“Give me quickly my boots of seven leagues, that I may go and catch
them.”

He went out, and, having run over a vast deal of ground, both on
this side and that, he came at last into the very road where the poor
children were, and not above a hundred paces from their father’s house.
They espied the Ogre, who went at one step from mountain to mountain,
and over rivers as easily as the narrowest kennels. Little Thumb, seeing
a hollow rock near the place where they were, made his brothers hide
themselves in it, and crowded into it himself, minding always what would
become of the Ogre.

The Ogre, who found himself much tired with his long and fruitless
journey (for these boots of seven leagues greatly fatigued the wearer),
had a great mind to rest himself, and, by chance, went to sit down upon
the rock where the little boys had hid themselves. As it was impossible
he could be more weary than he was, he fell asleep, and, after reposing
himself some time, began to snore so frightfully that the poor children
were no less afraid of him than when he held up his great knife and was
going to cut their throats. Little Thumb was not so much frightened as
his brothers, and told them that they should run away immediately toward
home while the Ogre was asleep so soundly, and that they should not be
in any pain about him. They took his advice, and got home presently.
Little Thumb came up to the Ogre, pulled off his boots gently and put
them on his own legs. The boots were very long and large, but, as they
were fairies, they had the gift of becoming big and little, according to
the legs of those who wore them; so that they fitted his feet and legs
as well as if they had been made on purpose for him. He went immediately
to the Ogre’s house, where he saw his wife crying bitterly for the loss
of the Ogre’s murdered daughters.

“Your husband,” said Little Thumb, “is in very great danger, being taken
by a gang of thieves, who have sworn to kill him if he does not give
them all his gold and silver. The very moment they held their daggers
at his throat he perceived me, and desired me to come and tell you the
condition he is in, and that you should give me whatsoever he has of
value, without retaining any one thing; for otherwise they will kill him
without mercy; and, as his case is very pressing, he desired me to make
use (you see I have them on) of his boots, that I might make the more
haste and to show you that I do not impose upon you.”

The good woman, being sadly frightened, gave him all she had: for this
Ogre was a very good husband, though he used to eat up little children.
Little Thumb, having thus got all the Ogre’s money, came home to his
father’s house, where he was received with abundance of joy.

There are many people who do not agree in this circumstance, and pretend
that Little Thumb never robbed the Ogre at all, and that he only thought
he might very justly, and with a safe conscience, take off his boots
of seven leagues, because he made no other use of them but to run after
little children. These folks affirm that they are very well assured of
this, and the more as having drunk and eaten often at the fagot-maker’s
house. They aver that when Little Thumb had taken off the Ogre’s boots
he went to Court, where he was informed that they were very much in pain
about a certain army, which was two hundred leagues off, and the success
of a battle. He went, say they, to the King, and told him that, if he
desired it, he would bring him news from the army before night.

The King promised him a great sum of money upon that condition. Little
Thumb was as good as his word, and returned that very same night with
the news; and, this first expedition causing him to be known, he got
whatever he pleased, for the King paid him very well for carrying his
orders to the army. After having for some time carried on the business
of a messenger, and gained thereby great wealth, he went home to his
father, where it was impossible to express the joy they were all in at
his return. He made the whole family very easy, bought places for his
father and brothers, and, by that means, settled them very handsomely in
the world, and, in the meantime, made his court to perfection.(1)


(1) Charles Perrault.



THE FORTY THIEVES


In a town in Persia there dwelt two brothers, one named Cassim, the
other Ali Baba. Cassim was married to a rich wife and lived in plenty,
while Ali Baba had to maintain his wife and children by cutting wood in
a neighboring forest and selling it in the town. One day, when Ali Baba
was in the forest, he saw a troop of men on horseback, coming toward him
in a cloud of dust. He was afraid they were robbers, and climbed into
a tree for safety. When they came up to him and dismounted, he counted
forty of them. They unbridled their horses and tied them to trees. The
finest man among them, whom Ali Baba took to be their captain, went a
little way among some bushes, and said: “Open, Sesame!”(1) so plainly
that Ali Baba heard him. A door opened in the rocks, and having made the
troop go in, he followed them, and the door shut again of itself. They
stayed some time inside, and Ali Baba, fearing they might come out and
catch him, was forced to sit patiently in the tree. At last the door
opened again, and the Forty Thieves came out. As the Captain went in
last he came out first, and made them all pass by him; he then closed
the door, saying: “Shut, Sesame!” Every man bridled his horse and
mounted, the Captain put himself at their head, and they returned as
they came.


(1) Sesame is a kind of grain.


Then Ali Baba climbed down and went to the door concealed among the
bushes, and said: “Open, Sesame!” and it flew open. Ali Baba, who
expected a dull, dismal place, was greatly surprised to find it large
and well lighted, hollowed by the hand of man in the form of a vault,
which received the light from an opening in the ceiling. He saw rich
bales of merchandise--silk, stuff-brocades, all piled together, and gold
and silver in heaps, and money in leather purses. He went in and the
door shut behind him. He did not look at the silver, but brought out as
many bags of gold as he thought his asses, which were browsing outside,
could carry, loaded them with the bags, and hid it all with fagots.
Using the words: “Shut, Sesame!” he closed the door and went home.

Then he drove his asses into the yard, shut the gates, carried the
money-bags to his wife, and emptied them out before her. He bade her
keep the secret, and he would go and bury the gold. “Let me first
measure it,” said his wife. “I will go borrow a measure of someone,
while you dig the hole.” So she ran to the wife of Cassim and borrowed a
measure. Knowing Ali Baba’s poverty, the sister was curious to find out
what sort of grain his wife wished to measure, and artfully put some
suet at the bottom of the measure. Ali Baba’s wife went home and set the
measure on the heap of gold, and filled it and emptied it often, to her
great content. She then carried it back to her sister, without noticing
that a piece of gold was sticking to it, which Cassim’s wife perceived
directly her back was turned. She grew very curious, and said to Cassim
when he came home: “Cassim, your brother is richer than you. He does not
count his money, he measures it.” He begged her to explain this riddle,
which she did by showing him the piece of money and telling him where
she found it. Then Cassim grew so envious that he could not sleep, and
went to his brother in the morning before sunrise. “Ali Baba,” he said,
showing him the gold piece, “you pretend to be poor and yet you measure
gold.” By this Ali Baba perceived that through his wife’s folly Cassim
and his wife knew their secret, so he confessed all and offered Cassim a
share. “That I expect,” said Cassim; “but I must know where to find the
treasure, otherwise I will discover all, and you will lose all.” Ali
Baba, more out of kindness than fear, told him of the cave, and the very
words to use. Cassim left Ali Baba, meaning to be beforehand with him
and get the treasure for himself. He rose early next morning, and set
out with ten mules loaded with great chests. He soon found the place,
and the door in the rock. He said: “Open, Sesame!” and the door opened
and shut behind him. He could have feasted his eyes all day on the
treasures, but he now hastened to gather together as much of it as
possible; but when he was ready to go he could not remember what to say
for thinking of his great riches. Instead of “Sesame,” he said: “Open,
Barley!” and the door remained fast. He named several different sorts of
grain, all but the right one, and the door still stuck fast. He was so
frightened at the danger he was in that he had as much forgotten the
word as if he had never heard it.

About noon the robbers returned to their cave, and saw Cassim’s mules
roving about with great chests on their backs. This gave them the alarm;
they drew their sabres, and went to the door, which opened on their
Captain’s saying: “Open, Sesame!” Cassim, who had heard the trampling of
their horses’ feet, resolved to sell his life dearly, so when the door
opened he leaped out and threw the Captain down. In vain, however, for
the robbers with their sabres soon killed him. On entering the cave they
saw all the bags laid ready, and could not imagine how anyone had got in
without knowing their secret. They cut Cassim’s body into four quarters,
and nailed them up inside the cave, in order to frighten anyone who
should venture in, and went away in search of more treasure.

As night drew on Cassim’s wife grew very uneasy, and ran to her
brother-in-law, and told him where her husband had gone. Ali Baba did
his best to comfort her, and set out to the forest in search of Cassim.
The first thing he saw on entering the cave was his dead brother. Full
of horror, he put the body on one of his asses, and bags of gold on the
other two, and, covering all with some fagots, returned home. He drove
the two asses laden with gold into his own yard, and led the other to
Cassim’s house. The door was opened by the slave Morgiana, whom he knew
to be both brave and cunning. Unloading the ass, he said to her: “This
is the body of your master, who has been murdered, but whom we must bury
as though he had died in his bed. I will speak with you again, but now
tell your mistress I am come.” The wife of Cassim, on learning the fate
of her husband, broke out into cries and tears, but Ali Baba offered to
take her to live with him and his wife if she would promise to keep
his counsel and leave everything to Morgiana; whereupon she agreed, and
dried her eyes.

Morgiana, meanwhile, sought an apothecary and asked him for some
lozenges. “My poor master,” she said, “can neither eat nor speak, and
no one knows what his distemper is.” She carried home the lozenges and
returned next day weeping, and asked for an essence only given to those
just about to die. Thus, in the evening, no one was surprised to hear
the wretched shrieks and cries of Cassim’s wife and Morgiana, telling
everyone that Cassim was dead. The day after Morgiana went to an old
cobbler near the gates of the town who opened his stall early, put a
piece of gold in his hand, and bade him follow her with his needle and
thread. Having bound his eyes with a handkerchief, she took him to the
room where the body lay, pulled off the bandage, and bade him sew the
quarters together, after which she covered his eyes again and led him
home. Then they buried Cassim, and Morgiana his slave followed him to
the grave, weeping and tearing her hair, while Cassim’s wife stayed at
home uttering lamentable cries. Next day she went to live with Ali Baba,
who gave Cassim’s shop to his eldest son.

The Forty Thieves, on their return to the cave, were much astonished to
find Cassim’s body gone and some of their money-bags. “We are certainly
discovered,” said the Captain, “and shall be undone if we cannot find
out who it is that knows our secret. Two men must have known it; we have
killed one, we must now find the other. To this end one of you who
is bold and artful must go into the city dressed as a traveler, and
discover whom we have killed, and whether men talk of the strange manner
of his death. If the messenger fails he must lose his life, lest we be
betrayed.” One of the thieves started up and offered to do this, and
after the rest had highly commended him for his bravery he disguised
himself, and happened to enter the town at daybreak, just by Baba
Mustapha’s stall. The thief bade him good-day, saying: “Honest man, how
can you possibly see to stitch at your age?” “Old as I am,” replied the
cobbler, “I have very good eyes, and will you believe me when I tell you
that I sewed a dead body together in a place where I had less light than
I have now.” The robber was overjoyed at his good fortune, and, giving
him a piece of gold, desired to be shown the house where he stitched
up the dead body. At first Mustapha refused, saying that he had been
blindfolded; but when the robber gave him another piece of gold he began
to think he might remember the turnings if blindfolded as before. This
means succeeded; the robber partly led him, and was partly guided by
him, right in front of Cassim’s house, the door of which the robber
marked with a piece of chalk. Then, well pleased, he bade farewell to
Baba Mustapha and returned to the forest. By and by Morgiana, going out,
saw the mark the robber had made, quickly guessed that some mischief was
brewing, and fetching a piece of chalk marked two or three doors on each
side, without saying anything to her master or mistress.

The thief, meantime, told his comrades of his discovery. The Captain
thanked him, and bade him show him the house he had marked. But when
they came to it they saw that five or six of the houses were chalked
in the same manner. The guide was so confounded that he knew not what
answer to make, and when they returned he was at once beheaded for
having failed. Another robber was dispatched, and, having won over Baba
Mustapha, marked the house in red chalk; but Morgiana being again too
clever for them, the second messenger was put to death also. The Captain
now resolved to go himself, but, wiser than the others, he did not
mark the house, but looked at it so closely that he could not fail to
remember it. He returned, and ordered his men to go into the neighboring
villages and buy nineteen mules, and thirty-eight leather jars, all
empty except one, which was full of oil. The Captain put one of his men,
fully armed, into each, rubbing the outside of the jars with oil from
the full vessel. Then the nineteen mules were loaded with thirty-seven
robbers in jars, and the jar of oil, and reached the town by dusk. The
Captain stopped his mules in front of Ali Baba’s house, and said to Ali
Baba, who was sitting outside for coolness: “I have brought some oil
from a distance to sell at to-morrow’s market, but it is now so late
that I know not where to pass the night, unless you will do me the favor
to take me in.” Though Ali Baba had seen the Captain of the robbers in
the forest, he did not recognize him in the disguise of an oil merchant.
He bade him welcome, opened his gates for the mules to enter, and
went to Morgiana to bid her prepare a bed and supper for his guest. He
brought the stranger into his hall, and after they had supped went again
to speak to Morgiana in the kitchen, while the Captain went into the
yard under pretense of seeing after his mules, but really to tell his
men what to do. Beginning at the first jar and ending at the last, he
said to each man: “As soon as I throw some stones from the window of the
chamber where I lie, cut the jars open with your knives and come out,
and I will be with you in a trice.” He returned to the house,
and Morgiana led him to his chamber. She then told Abdallah, her
fellow-slave, to set on the pot to make some broth for her master, who
had gone to bed. Meanwhile her lamp went out, and she had no more oil in
the house. “Do not be uneasy,” said Abdallah; “go into the yard and take
some out of one of those jars.” Morgiana thanked him for his advice,
took the oil pot, and went into the yard. When she came to the first jar
the robber inside said softly: “Is it time?”

Any other slave but Morgiana, on finding a man in the jar instead of the
oil she wanted, would have screamed and made a noise; but she, knowing
the danger her master was in, bethought herself of a plan, and answered
quietly: “Not yet, but presently.” She went to all the jars, giving
the same answer, till she came to the jar of oil. She now saw that her
master, thinking to entertain an oil merchant, had let thirty-eight
robbers into his house. She filled her oil pot, went back to the
kitchen, and, having lit her lamp, went again to the oil jar and filled
a large kettle full of oil. When it boiled she went and poured enough
oil into every jar to stifle and kill the robber inside. When this brave
deed was done she went back to the kitchen, put out the fire and the
lamp, and waited to see what would happen.

In a quarter of an hour the Captain of the robbers awoke, got up,
and opened the window. As all seemed quiet, he threw down some little
pebbles which hit the jars. He listened, and as none of his men seemed
to stir he grew uneasy, and went down into the yard. On going to the
first jar and saying, “Are you asleep?” he smelt the hot boiled oil, and
knew at once that his plot to murder Ali Baba and his household had been
discovered. He found all the gang was dead, and, missing the oil out of
the last jar, became aware of the manner of their death. He then forced
the lock of a door leading into a garden, and climbing over several
walls made his escape. Morgiana heard and saw all this, and, rejoicing
at her success, went to bed and fell asleep.

At daybreak Ali Baba arose, and, seeing the oil jars still there, asked
why the merchant had not gone with his mules. Morgiana bade him look
in the first jar and see if there was any oil. Seeing a man, he started
back in terror. “Have no fear,” said Morgiana; “the man cannot harm
you: he is dead.” Ali Baba, when he had recovered somewhat from his
astonishment, asked what had become of the merchant. “Merchant!” said
she, “he is no more a merchant than I am!” and she told him the whole
story, assuring him that it was a plot of the robbers of the forest, of
whom only three were left, and that the white and red chalk marks had
something to do with it. Ali Baba at once gave Morgiana her freedom,
saying that he owed her his life. They then buried the bodies in Ali
Baba’s garden, while the mules were sold in the market by his slaves.

The Captain returned to his lonely cave, which seemed frightful to
him without his lost companions, and firmly resolved to avenge them by
killing Ali Baba. He dressed himself carefully, and went into the town,
where he took lodgings in an inn. In the course of a great many journeys
to the forest he carried away many rich stuffs and much fine linen, and
set up a shop opposite that of Ali Baba’s son. He called himself Cogia
Hassan, and as he was both civil and well dressed he soon made friends
with Ali Baba’s son, and through him with Ali Baba, whom he was
continually asking to sup with him. Ali Baba, wishing to return his
kindness, invited him into his house and received him smiling, thanking
him for his kindness to his son. When the merchant was about to take his
leave Ali Baba stopped him, saying: “Where are you going, sir, in such
haste? Will you not stay and sup with me?” The merchant refused, saying
that he had a reason; and, on Ali Baba’s asking him what that was, he
replied: “It is, sir, that I can eat no victuals that have any salt
in them.” “If that is all,” said Ali Baba, “let me tell you that there
shall be no salt in either the meat or the bread that we eat to-night.”
 He went to give this order to Morgiana, who was much surprised. “Who is
this man,” she said, “who eats no salt with his meat?” “He is an honest
man, Morgiana,” returned her master; “therefore do as I bid you.” But
she could not withstand a desire to see this strange man, so she helped
Abdallah to carry up the dishes, and saw in a moment that Cogia Hassan
was the robber Captain, and carried a dagger under his garment. “I am
not surprised,” she said to herself, “that this wicked man, who intends
to kill my master, will eat no salt with him; but I will hinder his
plans.”

She sent up the supper by Abdallah, while she made ready for one of the
boldest acts that could be thought on. When the dessert had been served,
Cogia Hassan was left alone with Ali Baba and his son, whom he thought
to make drunk and then to murder them. Morgiana, meanwhile, put on a
head-dress like a dancing-girl’s, and clasped a girdle round her waist,
from which hung a dagger with a silver hilt, and said to Abdallah: “Take
your tabor, and let us go and divert our master and his guest.” Abdallah
took his tabor and played before Morgiana until they came to the door,
where Abdallah stopped playing and Morgiana made a low courtesy. “Come
in, Morgiana,” said Ali Baba, “and let Cogia Hassan see what you can
do”; and, turning to Cogia Hassan, he said: “She’s my slave and my
housekeeper.” Cogia Hassan was by no means pleased, for he feared
that his chance of killing Ali Baba was gone for the present; but he
pretended great eagerness to see Morgiana, and Abdallah began to play
and Morgiana to dance. After she had performed several dances she drew
her dagger and made passes with it, sometimes pointing it at her own
breast, sometimes at her master’s, as if it were part of the dance.
Suddenly, out of breath, she snatched the tabor from Abdallah with her
left hand, and, holding the dagger in her right hand, held out the tabor
to her master. Ali Baba and his son put a piece of gold into it, and
Cogia Hassan, seeing that she was coming to him, pulled out his purse to
make her a present, but while he was putting his hand into it Morgiana
plunged the dagger into his heart.

“Unhappy girl!” cried Ali Baba and his son, “what have you done to ruin
us?”

“It was to preserve you, master, not to ruin you,” answered Morgiana.
“See here,” opening the false merchant’s garment and showing the dagger;
“see what an enemy you have entertained! Remember, he would eat no salt
with you, and what more would you have? Look at him! he is both the
false oil merchant and the Captain of the Forty Thieves.”

Ali Baba was so grateful to Morgiana for thus saving his life that he
offered her to his son in marriage, who readily consented, and a few
days after the wedding was celebrated with greatest splendor.

At the end of a year Ali Baba, hearing nothing of the two remaining
robbers, judged they were dead, and set out to the cave. The door opened
on his saying: “Open Sesame!” He went in, and saw that nobody had been
there since the Captain left it. He brought away as much gold as he
could carry, and returned to town. He told his son the secret of
the cave, which his son handed down in his turn, so the children and
grandchildren of Ali Baba were rich to the end of their lives.(1)


(1) Arabian Nights.



HANSEL AND GRETTEL


Once upon a time there dwelt on the outskirts of a large forest a poor
woodcutter with his wife and two children; the boy was called Hansel and
the girl Grettel. He had always little enough to live on, and once, when
there was a great famine in the land, he couldn’t even provide them with
daily bread. One night, as he was tossing about in bed, full of cares
and worry, he sighed and said to his wife: “What’s to become of us? how
are we to support our poor children, now that we have nothing more for
ourselves?” “I’ll tell you what, husband,” answered the woman; “early
to-morrow morning we’ll take the children out into the thickest part
of the wood; there we shall light a fire for them and give them each a
piece of bread; then we’ll go on to our work and leave them alone. They
won’t be able to find their way home, and we shall thus be rid of them.”
 “No, wife,” said her husband, “that I won’t do; how could I find it in
my heart to leave my children alone in the wood? The wild beasts would
soon come and tear them to pieces.” “Oh! you fool,” said she, “then we
must all four die of hunger, and you may just as well go and plane the
boards for our coffins”; and she left him no peace till he consented.
“But I can’t help feeling sorry for the poor children,” added the
husband.

The children, too, had not been able to sleep for hunger, and had heard
what their step-mother had said to their father. Grettel wept bitterly
and spoke to Hansel: “Now it’s all up with us.” “No, no, Grettel,” said
Hansel, “don’t fret yourself; I’ll be able to find a way to escape, no
fear.” And when the old people had fallen asleep he got up, slipped
on his little coat, opened the back door and stole out. The moon was
shining clearly, and the white pebbles which lay in front of the house
glittered like bits of silver. Hansel bent down and filled his pocket
with as many of them as he could cram in. Then he went back and said to
Grettel: “Be comforted, my dear little sister, and go to sleep: God will
not desert us”; and he lay down in bed again.

At daybreak, even before the sun was up, the woman came and woke the two
children: “Get up, you lie-abeds, we’re all going to the forest to fetch
wood.” She gave them each a bit of bread and said: “There’s something
for your luncheon, but don’t you eat it up before, for it’s all you’ll
get.” Grettel took the bread under her apron, as Hansel had the stones
in his pocket. Then they all set out together on the way to the forest.
After they had walked for a little, Hansel stood still and looked back
at the house, and this maneuver he repeated again and again. His father
observed him, and said: “Hansel, what are you gazing at there, and why
do you always remain behind? Take care, and don’t lose your footing.”
 “Oh! father,” said Hansel, “I am looking back at my white kitten, which
is sitting on the roof, waving me a farewell.” The woman exclaimed:
“What a donkey you are! that isn’t your kitten, that’s the morning sun
shining on the chimney.” But Hansel had not looked back at his kitten,
but had always dropped one of the white pebbles out of his pocket on to
the path.

When they had reached the middle of the forest the father said: “Now,
children, go and fetch a lot of wood, and I’ll light a fire that you
may not feel cold.” Hansel and Grettel heaped up brushwood till they had
made a pile nearly the size of a small hill. The brushwood was set fire
to, and when the flames leaped high the woman said: “Now lie down at the
fire, children, and rest yourselves: we are going into the forest to cut
down wood; when we’ve finished we’ll come back and fetch you.” Hansel
and Grettel sat down beside the fire, and at midday ate their little
bits of bread. They heard the strokes of the axe, so they thought their
father was quite near. But it was no axe they heard, but a bough he had
tied on a dead tree, and that was blown about by the wind. And when they
had sat for a long time their eyes closed with fatigue, and they fell
fast asleep. When they awoke at last it was pitch dark. Grettel began
to cry, and said: “How are we ever to get out of the wood?” But Hansel
comforted her. “Wait a bit,” he said, “till the moon is up, and then
we’ll find our way sure enough.” And when the full moon had risen he
took his sister by the hand and followed the pebbles, which shone like
new threepenny bits, and showed them the path. They walked on through
the night, and at daybreak reached their father’s house again. They
knocked at the door, and when the woman opened it she exclaimed: “You
naughty children, what a time you’ve slept in the wood! we thought
you were never going to come back.” But the father rejoiced, for
his conscience had reproached him for leaving his children behind by
themselves.

Not long afterward there was again great dearth in the land, and the
children heard their mother address their father thus in bed one night:
“Everything is eaten up once more; we have only half a loaf in the
house, and when that’s done it’s all up with us. The children must be
got rid of; we’ll lead them deeper into the wood this time, so that
they won’t be able to find their way out again. There is no other way
of saving ourselves.” The man’s heart smote him heavily, and he thought:
“Surely it would be better to share the last bite with one’s children!”
 But his wife wouldn’t listen to his arguments, and did nothing but scold
and reproach him. If a man yields once he’s done for, and so, because he
had given in the first time, he was forced to do so the second.

But the children were awake, and had heard the conversation. When the
old people were asleep Hansel got up, and wanted to go out and pick up
pebbles again, as he had done the first time; but the woman had barred
the door, and Hansel couldn’t get out. But he consoled his little
sister, and said: “Don’t cry, Grettel, and sleep peacefully, for God is
sure to help us.”

At early dawn the woman came and made the children get up. They received
their bit of bread, but it was even smaller than the time before. On the
way to the wood Hansel crumbled it in his pocket, and every few minutes
he stood still and dropped a crumb on the ground. “Hansel, what are you
stopping and looking about you for?” said the father. “I’m looking back
at my little pigeon, which is sitting on the roof waving me a farewell,”
 answered Hansel. “Fool!” said the wife; “that isn’t your pigeon, it’s
the morning sun glittering on the chimney.” But Hansel gradually threw
all his crumbs on the path. The woman led the children still deeper into
the forest farther than they had ever been in their lives before. Then
a big fire was lit again, and the mother said: “Just sit down there,
children, and if you’re tired you can sleep a bit; we’re going into the
forest to cut down wood, and in the evening when we’re finished we’ll
come back to fetch you.” At midday Grettel divided her bread with
Hansel, for he had strewn his all along their path. Then they fell
asleep, and evening passed away, but nobody came to the poor children.
They didn’t awake till it was pitch dark, and Hansel comforted his
sister, saying: “Only wait, Grettel, till the moon rises, then we shall
see the bread-crumbs I scattered along the path; they will show us the
way back to the house.” When the moon appeared they got up, but they
found no crumbs, for the thousands of birds that fly about the woods
and fields had picked them all up. “Never mind,” said Hansel to Grettel;
“you’ll see we’ll find a way out”; but all the same they did not. They
wandered about the whole night, and the next day, from morning till
evening, but they could not find a path out of the wood. They were very
hungry, too, for they had nothing to eat but a few berries they found
growing on the ground. And at last they were so tired that their legs
refused to carry them any longer, so they lay down under a tree and fell
fast asleep.

On the third morning after they had left their father’s house they set
about their wandering again, but only got deeper and deeper into the
wood, and now they felt that if help did not come to them soon they must
perish. At midday they saw a beautiful little snow-white bird sitting on
a branch, which sang so sweetly that they stopped still and listened to
it. And when its song was finished it flapped its wings and flew on in
front of them. They followed it and came to a little house, on the roof
of which it perched; and when they came quite near they saw that the
cottage was made of bread and roofed with cakes, while the window was
made of transparent sugar. “Now we’ll set to,” said Hansel, “and have a
regular blow-out.(1) I’ll eat a bit of the roof, and you, Grettel,
can eat some of the window, which you’ll find a sweet morsel.” Hansel
stretched up his hand and broke off a little bit of the roof to see what
it was like, and Grettel went to the casement and began to nibble at it.
Thereupon a shrill voice called out from the room inside:

  “Nibble, nibble, little mouse,
  Who’s nibbling my house?”

The children answered:

  “Tis Heaven’s own child,
  The tempest wild,”

and went on eating, without putting themselves about. Hansel, who
thoroughly appreciated the roof, tore down a big bit of it, while
Grettel pushed out a whole round window-pane, and sat down the better
to enjoy it. Suddenly the door opened, and an ancient dame leaning on
a staff hobbled out. Hansel and Grettel were so terrified that they let
what they had in their hands fall. But the old woman shook her head and
said: “Oh, ho! you dear children, who led you here? Just come in and
stay with me, no ill shall befall you.” She took them both by the hand
and let them into the house, and laid a most sumptuous dinner before
them--milk and sugared pancakes, with apples and nuts. After they had
finished, two beautiful little white beds were prepared for them, and
when Hansel and Grettel lay down in them they felt as if they had got
into heaven.


(1) He was a vulgar boy!


The old woman had appeared to be most friendly, but she was really an
old witch who had waylaid the children, and had only built the little
bread house in order to lure them in. When anyone came into her power
she killed, cooked, and ate him, and held a regular feast-day for the
occasion. Now witches have red eyes, and cannot see far, but, like
beasts, they have a keen sense of smell, and know when human beings pass
by. When Hansel and Grettel fell into her hands she laughed maliciously,
and said jeeringly: “I’ve got them now; they sha’n’t escape me.” Early
in the morning, before the children were awake, she rose up, and when
she saw them both sleeping so peacefully, with their round rosy cheeks,
she muttered to herself: “That’ll be a dainty bite.” Then she seized
Hansel with her bony hand and carried him into a little stable, and
barred the door on him; he might scream as much as he liked, it did him
no good. Then she went to Grettel, shook her till she awoke, and
cried: “Get up, you lazy-bones, fetch water and cook something for your
brother. When he’s fat I’ll eat him up.” Grettel began to cry bitterly,
but it was of no use; she had to do what the wicked witch bade her.

So the best food was cooked for poor Hansel, but Grettel got nothing but
crab-shells. Every morning the old woman hobbled out to the stable and
cried: “Hansel, put out your finger, that I may feel if you are getting
fat.” But Hansel always stretched out a bone, and the old dame, whose
eyes were dim, couldn’t see it, and thinking always it was Hansel’s
finger, wondered why he fattened so slowly. When four weeks had passed
and Hansel still remained thin, she lost patience and determined to wait
no longer. “Hi, Grettel,” she called to the girl, “be quick and get some
water. Hansel may be fat or thin, I’m going to kill him to-morrow and
cook him.” Oh! how the poor little sister sobbed as she carried the
water, and how the tears rolled down her cheeks! “Kind heaven help us
now!” she cried; “if only the wild beasts in the wood had eaten us, then
at least we should have died together.” “Just hold your peace,” said the
old hag; “it won’t help you.”

Early in the morning Grettel had to go out and hang up the kettle full
of water, and light the fire. “First we’ll bake,” said the old dame;
“I’ve heated the oven already and kneaded the dough.” She pushed Grettel
out to the oven, from which fiery flames were already issuing. “Creep
in,” said the witch, “and see if it’s properly heated, so that we can
shove in the bread.” For when she had got Grettel in she meant to close
the oven and let the girl bake, that she might eat her up too. But
Grettel perceived her intention, and said: “I don’t know how I’m to do
it; how do I get in?” “You silly goose!” said the hag, “the opening is
big enough; see, I could get in myself,” and she crawled toward it, and
poked her head into the oven. Then Grettel gave her a shove that sent
her right in, shut the iron door, and drew the bolt. Gracious! how she
yelled, it was quite horrible; but Grettel fled, and the wretched old
woman was left to perish miserably.

Grettel flew straight to Hansel, opened the little stable-door, and
cried: “Hansel, we are free; the old witch is dead.” Then Hansel sprang
like a bird out of a cage when the door is opened. How they rejoiced,
and fell on each other’s necks, and jumped for joy, and kissed one
another! And as they had no longer any cause for fear, they went in the
old hag’s house, and here they found, in every corner of the room, boxes
with pearls and precious stones. “These are even better than pebbles,”
 said Hansel, and crammed his pockets full of them; and Grettel said:
“I too will bring something home,” and she filled her apron full. “But
now,” said Hansel, “let’s go and get well away from the witch’s wood.”
 When they had wandered about for some hours they came to a big lake.
“We can’t get over,” said Hansel; “I see no bridge of any sort or kind.”
 “Yes, and there’s no ferry-boat either,” answered Grettel; “but look,
there swims a white duck; if I ask her she’ll help us over,” and she
called out:

  “Here are two children, mournful very,
  Seeing neither bridge nor ferry;
  Take us upon your white back,
  And row us over, quack, quack!”


The duck swam toward them, and Hansel got on her back and bade his
little sister sit beside him. “No,” answered Grettel, “we should be too
heavy a load for the duck: she shall carry us across separately.” The
good bird did this, and when they were landed safely on the other side,
and had gone for a while, the wood became more and more familiar to
them, and at length they saw their father’s house in the distance. Then
they set off to run, and bounding into the room fell on their father’s
neck. The man had not passed a happy hour since he left them in the
wood, but the woman had died. Grettel shook out her apron so that the
pearls and precious stones rolled about the room, and Hansel threw down
one handful after the other out of his pocket. Thus all their troubles
were ended, and they lived happily ever afterward.

My story is done. See! there runs a little mouse; anyone who catches it
may make himself a large fur cap out of it.(1)


(1) Grimm.



SNOW-WHITE AND ROSE-RED


A poor widow once lived in a little cottage with a garden in front of
it, in which grew two rose trees, one bearing white roses and the other
red. She had two children, who were just like the two rose trees; one
was called Snow-white and the other Rose-red, and they were the sweetest
and best children in the world, always diligent and always cheerful; but
Snow-white was quieter and more gentle than Rose-red. Rose-red loved
to run about the fields and meadows, and to pick flowers and catch
butterflies; but Snow-white sat at home with her mother and helped her
in the household, or read aloud to her when there was no work to do. The
two children loved each other so dearly that they always walked about
hand in hand whenever they went out together, and when Snow-white said,
“We will never desert each other,” Rose-red answered: “No, not as long
as we live”; and the mother added: “Whatever one gets she shall share
with the other.” They often roamed about in the woods gathering berries
and no beast offered to hurt them; on the contrary, they came up to them
in the most confiding manner; the little hare would eat a cabbage leaf
from their hands, the deer grazed beside them, the stag would bound past
them merrily, and the birds remained on the branches and sang to them
with all their might.

No evil ever befell them; if they tarried late in the wood and night
overtook them, they lay down together on the moss and slept till
morning, and their mother knew they were quite safe, and never felt
anxious about them. Once, when they had slept all night in the wood and
had been wakened by the morning sun, they perceived a beautiful child
in a shining white robe sitting close to their resting-place. The figure
got up, looked at them kindly, but said nothing, and vanished into the
wood. And when they looked round about them they became aware that they
had slept quite close to a precipice, over which they would certainly
have fallen had they gone on a few steps further in the darkness. And
when they told their mother of their adventure, she said what they had
seen must have been the angel that guards good children.

Snow-white and Rose-red kept their mother’s cottage so beautifully clean
and neat that it was a pleasure to go into it. In summer Rose-red looked
after the house, and every morning before her mother awoke she placed
a bunch of flowers before the bed, from each tree a rose. In winter
Snow-white lit the fire and put on the kettle, which was made of brass,
but so beautifully polished that it shone like gold. In the evening when
the snowflakes fell their mother said: “Snow-white, go and close the
shutters,” and they drew round the fire, while the mother put on her
spectacles and read aloud from a big book and the two girls listened and
sat and span. Beside them on the ground lay a little lamb, and behind
them perched a little white dove with its head tucked under its wings.

One evening as they sat thus cosily together someone knocked at the door
as though he desired admittance. The mother said: “Rose-red, open
the door quickly; it must be some traveler seeking shelter.” Rose-red
hastened to unbar the door, and thought she saw a poor man standing in
the darkness outside; but it was no such thing, only a bear, who poked
his thick black head through the door. Rose-red screamed aloud and
sprang back in terror, the lamb began to bleat, the dove flapped its
wings, and Snow-white ran and hid behind her mother’s bed. But the bear
began to speak, and said: “Don’t be afraid: I won’t hurt you. I am half
frozen, and only wish to warm myself a little.” “My poor bear,” said the
mother, “lie down by the fire, only take care you don’t burn your fur.”
 Then she called out: “Snow-white and Rose-red, come out; the bear will
do you no harm; he is a good, honest creature.” So they both came out of
their hiding-places, and gradually the lamb and dove drew near too, and
they all forgot their fear. The bear asked the children to beat the snow
a little out of his fur, and they fetched a brush and scrubbed him till
he was dry. Then the beast stretched himself in front of the fire, and
growled quite happily and comfortably. The children soon grew quite at
their ease with him, and led their helpless guest a fearful life. They
tugged his fur with their hands, put their small feet on his back, and
rolled him about here and there, or took a hazel wand and beat him
with it; and if he growled they only laughed. The bear submitted to
everything with the best possible good-nature, only when they went too
far he cried: “Oh! children, spare my life!

  “Snow-white and Rose-red,
  Don’t beat your lover dead.”

When it was time to retire for the night, and the others went to bed,
the mother said to the bear: “You can lie there on the hearth, in
heaven’s name; it will be shelter for you from the cold and wet.” As
soon as day dawned the children led him out, and he trotted over the
snow into the wood. From this time on the bear came every evening at
the same hour, and lay down by the hearth and let the children play what
pranks they liked with him; and they got so accustomed to him that the
door was never shut till their black friend had made his appearance.

When spring came, and all outside was green, the bear said one morning
to Snow-white: “Now I must go away, and not return again the whole
summer.” “Where are you going to, dear bear?” asked Snow-white. “I
must go to the wood and protect my treasure from the wicked dwarfs.
In winter, when the earth is frozen hard, they are obliged to remain
underground, for they can’t work their way through; but now, when the
sun has thawed and warmed the ground, they break through and come up
above to spy the land and steal what they can; what once falls into
their hands and into their caves is not easily brought back to light.”
 Snow-white was quite sad over their friend’s departure, and when she
unbarred the door for him, the bear, stepping out, caught a piece of
his fur in the door-knocker, and Snow-white thought she caught sight of
glittering gold beneath it, but she couldn’t be certain of it; and the
bear ran hastily away, and soon disappeared behind the trees.

A short time after this the mother sent the children into the wood to
collect fagots. They came in their wanderings upon a big tree which lay
felled on the ground, and on the trunk among the long grass they
noticed something jumping up and down, but what it was they couldn’t
distinguish. When they approached nearer they perceived a dwarf with a
wizened face and a beard a yard long. The end of the beard was jammed
into a cleft of the tree, and the little man sprang about like a dog
on a chain, and didn’t seem to know what he was to do. He glared at the
girls with his fiery red eyes, and screamed out: “What are you standing
there for? Can’t you come and help me?” “What were you doing, little
man?” asked Rose-red. “You stupid, inquisitive goose!” replied the
dwarf; “I wanted to split the tree, in order to get little chips of
wood for our kitchen fire; those thick logs that serve to make fires for
coarse, greedy people like yourselves quite burn up all the little food
we need. I had successfully driven in the wedge, and all was going well,
but the cursed wood was so slippery that it suddenly sprang out, and the
tree closed up so rapidly that I had no time to take my beautiful white
beard out, so here I am stuck fast, and I can’t get away; and you silly,
smooth-faced, milk-and-water girls just stand and laugh! Ugh! what
wretches you are!”

The children did all in their power, but they couldn’t get the beard
out; it was wedged in far too firmly. “I will run and fetch somebody,”
 said Rose-red. “Crazy blockheads!” snapped the dwarf; “what’s the good
of calling anyone else? You’re already two too many for me. Does
nothing better occur to you than that?” “Don’t be so impatient,” said
Snow-white, “I’ll see you get help,” and taking her scissors out of
her pocket she cut off the end of his beard. As soon as the dwarf felt
himself free he seized a bag full of gold which was hidden among the
roots of the tree, lifted it up, and muttered aloud: “Curse these rude
wretches, cutting off a piece of my splendid beard!” With these words he
swung the bag over his back, and disappeared without as much as looking
at the children again.

Shortly after this Snow-white and Rose-red went out to get a dish of
fish. As they approached the stream they saw something which looked like
an enormous grasshopper springing toward the water as if it were going
to jump in. They ran forward and recognized their old friend the dwarf.
“Where are you going to?” asked Rose-red; “you’re surely not going to
jump into the water?” “I’m not such a fool,” screamed the dwarf. “Don’t
you see that cursed fish is trying to drag me in?” The little man
had been sitting on the bank fishing, when unfortunately the wind had
entangled his beard in the line; and when immediately afterward a big
fish bit, the feeble little creature had no strength to pull it out; the
fish had the upper fin, and dragged the dwarf toward him. He clung on
with all his might to every rush and blade of grass, but it didn’t help
him much; he had to follow every movement of the fish, and was in great
danger of being drawn into the water. The girls came up just at the
right moment, held him firm, and did all they could to disentangle his
beard from the line; but in vain, beard and line were in a hopeless
muddle. Nothing remained but to produce the scissors and cut the beard,
by which a small part of it was sacrificed.

When the dwarf perceived what they were about he yelled to them: “Do
you call that manners, you toad-stools! to disfigure a fellow’s face? It
wasn’t enough that you shortened my beard before, but you must now
needs cut off the best bit of it. I can’t appear like this before my own
people. I wish you’d been in Jericho first.” Then he fetched a sack of
pearls that lay among the rushes, and without saying another word he
dragged it away and disappeared behind a stone.

It happened that soon after this the mother sent the two girls to the
town to buy needles, thread, laces, and ribbons. Their road led over a
heath where huge boulders of rock lay scattered here and there. While
trudging along they saw a big bird hovering in the air, circling slowly
above them, but always descending lower, till at last it settled on
a rock not far from them. Immediately afterward they heard a sharp,
piercing cry. They ran forward, and saw with horror that the eagle had
pounced on their old friend the dwarf, and was about to carry him off.
The tender-hearted children seized hold of the little man, and struggled
so long with the bird that at last he let go his prey. When the dwarf
had recovered from the first shock he screamed in his screeching voice:
“Couldn’t you have treated me more carefully? You have torn my thin
little coat all to shreds, useless, awkward hussies that you are!” Then
he took a bag of precious stones and vanished under the rocks into his
cave. The girls were accustomed to his ingratitude, and went on their
way and did their business in town. On their way home, as they were
again passing the heath, they surprised the dwarf pouring out his
precious stones on an open space, for he had thought no one would pass
by at so late an hour. The evening sun shone on the glittering stones,
and they glanced and gleamed so beautifully that the children stood
still and gazed on them. “What are you standing there gaping for?”
 screamed the dwarf, and his ashen-gray face became scarlet with rage.
He was about to go off with these angry words when a sudden growl was
heard, and a black bear trotted out of the wood. The dwarf jumped up in
great fright, but he hadn’t time to reach his place of retreat, for the
bear was already close to him. Then he cried in terror: “Dear Mr.
Bear, spare me! I’ll give you all my treasure. Look at those beautiful
precious stones lying there. Spare my life! what pleasure would you get
from a poor feeble little fellow like me? You won’t feel me between your
teeth. There, lay hold of these two wicked girls, they will be a tender
morsel for you, as fat as young quails; eat them up, for heaven’s sake.”
 But the bear, paying no attention to his words, gave the evil little
creature one blow with his paw, and he never moved again.

The girls had run away, but the bear called after them: “Snow-white
and Rose-red, don’t be afraid; wait, and I’ll come with you.” Then they
recognized his voice and stood still, and when the bear was quite close
to them his skin suddenly fell off, and a beautiful man stood beside
them, all dressed in gold. “I am a king’s son,” he said, “and have been
doomed by that unholy little dwarf, who had stolen my treasure, to roam
about the woods as a wild bear till his death should set me free. Now he
has got his well-merited punishment.”

Snow-white married him, and Rose-red his brother, and they divided the
great treasure the dwarf had collected in his cave between them. The
old mother lived for many years peacefully with her children; and she
carried the two rose trees with her, and they stood in front of her
window, and every year they bore the finest red and white roses.(1)


(1) Grimm.



THE GOOSE-GIRL


Once upon a time an old queen, whose husband had been dead for many
years, had a beautiful daughter. When she grew up she was betrothed to
a prince who lived a great way off. Now, when the time drew near for her
to be married and to depart into a foreign kingdom, her old mother gave
her much costly baggage, and many ornaments, gold and silver, trinkets
and knicknacks, and, in fact, everything that belonged to a royal
trousseau, for she loved her daughter very dearly. She gave her a
waiting-maid also, who was to ride with her and hand her over to the
bridegroom, and she provided each of them with a horse for the journey.
Now the Princess’s horse was called Falada, and could speak.

When the hour for departure drew near the old mother went to her
bedroom, and taking a small knife she cut her fingers till they bled;
then she held a white rag under them, and letting three drops of blood
fall into it, she gave it to her daughter, and said: “Dear child, take
great care of this rag: it may be of use to you on the journey.”

So they took a sad farewell of each other, and the Princess stuck the
rag in front of her dress, mounted her horse, and set forth on the
journey to her bridegroom’s kingdom. After they had ridden for about
an hour the Princess began to feel very thirsty, and said to her
waiting-maid: “Pray get down and fetch me some water in my golden cup
out of yonder stream: I would like a drink.” “If you’re thirsty,” said
the maid, “dismount yourself, and lie down by the water and drink; I
don’t mean to be your servant any longer.” The Princess was so thirsty
that she got down, bent over the stream, and drank, for she wasn’t
allowed to drink out of the golden goblet. As she drank she murmured:
“Oh! heaven, what am I to do?” and the three drops of blood replied:

  “If your mother only knew,
  Her heart would surely break in two.”

But the Princess was meek, and said nothing about her maid’s rude
behavior, and quietly mounted her horse again. They rode on their
way for several miles, but the day was hot, and the sun’s rays smote
fiercely on them, so that the Princess was soon overcome by thirst
again. And as they passed a brook she called once more to her
waiting-maid: “Pray get down and give me a drink from my golden
cup,” for she had long ago forgotten her maid’s rude words. But the
waiting-maid replied, more haughtily even than before: “If you want a
drink, you can dismount and get it; I don’t mean to be your servant.”
 Then the Princess was compelled by her thirst to get down, and bending
over the flowing water she cried and said: “Oh! heaven, what am I to
do?” and the three drops of blood replied:

  “If your mother only knew,
  Her heart would surely break in two.”

And as she drank thus, and leaned right over the water, the rag
containing the three drops of blood fell from her bosom and floated down
the stream, and she in her anxiety never even noticed her loss. But the
waiting-maid had observed it with delight, as she knew it gave her power
over the bride, for in losing the drops of blood the Princess had become
weak and powerless. When she wished to get on her horse Falada again,
the waiting-maid called out: “I mean to ride Falada: you must mount
my beast”; and this too she had to submit to. Then the waiting-maid
commanded her harshly to take off her royal robes, and to put on her
common ones, and finally she made her swear by heaven not to say a word
about the matter when they reached the palace; and if she hadn’t taken
this oath she would have been killed on the spot. But Falada observed
everything, and laid it all to heart.

The waiting-maid now mounted Falada, and the real bride the worse horse,
and so they continued their journey till at length they arrived at the
palace yard. There was great rejoicing over the arrival, and the Prince
sprang forward to meet them, and taking the waiting-maid for his bride,
he lifted her down from her horse and led her upstairs to the royal
chamber. In the meantime the real Princess was left standing below in
the courtyard. The old King, who was looking out of his window, beheld
her in this plight, and it struck him how sweet and gentle, even
beautiful, she looked. He went at once to the royal chamber, and asked
the bride who it was she had brought with her and had left thus standing
in the court below. “Oh!” replied the bride, “I brought her with me to
keep me company on the journey; give the girl something to do, that she
may not be idle.” But the old King had no work for her, and couldn’t
think of anything; so he said, “I’ve a small boy who looks after the
geese, she’d better help him.” The youth’s name was Curdken, and the
real bride was made to assist him in herding geese.

Soon after this the false bride said to the Prince: “Dearest husband,
I pray you grant me a favor.” He answered: “That I will.” “Then let the
slaughterer cut off the head of the horse I rode here upon, because it
behaved very badly on the journey.” But the truth was she was afraid
lest the horse should speak and tell how she had treated the Princess.
She carried her point, and the faithful Falada was doomed to die.
When the news came to the ears of the real Princess she went to the
slaughterer, and secretly promised him a piece of gold if he would do
something for her. There was in the town a large dark gate, through
which she had to pass night and morning with the geese; would he “kindly
hang up Falada’s head there, that she might see it once again?” The
slaughterer said he would do as she desired, chopped off the head, and
nailed it firmly over the gateway.

Early next morning, as she and Curdken were driving their flock through
the gate, she said as she passed under:


  “Oh! Falada, ‘tis you hang there”;

and the head replied:

  “‘Tis you; pass under, Princess fair:
  If your mother only knew,
  Her heart would surely break in two.”

Then she left the tower and drove the geese into a field. And when they
had reached the common where the geese fed she sat down and unloosed
her hair, which was of pure gold. Curdken loved to see it glitter in the
sun, and wanted much to pull some hair out. Then she spoke:

  “Wind, wind, gently sway,
  Blow Curdken’s hat away;
  Let him chase o’er field and wold
  Till my locks of ruddy gold,
  Now astray and hanging down,
  Be combed and plaited in a crown.”


Then a gust of wind blew Curdken’s hat away, and he had to chase it over
hill and dale. When he returned from the pursuit she had finished
her combing and curling, and his chance of getting any hair was gone.
Curdken was very angry, and wouldn’t speak to her. So they herded the
geese till evening and then went home.

The next morning, as they passed under the gate, the girl said:

  “Oh! Falada, ‘tis you hang there;”

and the head replied:

  “‘Tis you; pass under, Princess fair:
  If your mother only knew,
  Her heart would surely break in two.”

Then she went on her way till she came to the common, where she sat down
and began to comb out her hair; then Curdken ran up to her and wanted to
grasp some of the hair from her head, but she called out hastily:

  “Wind, wind, gently sway,
  Blow Curdken’s hat away;
  Let him chase o’er field and wold
  Till my locks of ruddy gold,
  Now astray and hanging down,
  Be combed and plaited in a crown.”


Then a puff of wind came and blew Curdken’s hat far away, so that he had
to run after it; and when he returned she had long finished putting
up her golden locks, and he couldn’t get any hair; so they watched the
geese till it was dark.

But that evening when they got home Curdken went to the old King, and
said: “I refuse to herd geese any longer with that girl.” “For what
reason?” asked the old King. “Because she does nothing but annoy me
all day long,” replied Curdken; and he proceeded to relate all her
iniquities, and said: “Every morning as we drive the flock through the
dark gate she says to a horse’s head that hangs on the wall:

     “‘Oh! Falada, ‘tis you hang there’;

and the head replies:

     “‘’Tis you; pass under, Princess fair:
     If your mother only knew,
     Her heart would surely break in two.’”


And Curdken went on to tell what passed on the common where the geese
fed, and how he had always to chase his hat.

The old King bade him go and drive forth his flock as usual next day;
and when morning came he himself took up his position behind the dark
gate, and heard how the goose-girl greeted Falada. Then he followed her
through the field, and hid himself behind a bush on the common. He soon
saw with his own eyes how the goose-boy and the goose-girl looked after
the geese, and how after a time the maiden sat down and loosed her hair,
that glittered like gold, and repeated:

  “Wind, wind, gently sway,
  Blow Curdken’s hat away;
  Let him chase o’er field and wold
  Till my locks of ruddy gold
  Now astray and hanging down,
  Be combed and plaited in a crown.”

Then a gust of wind came and blew Curdken’s hat away, so that he had to
fly over hill and dale after it, and the girl in the meantime quietly
combed and plaited her hair: all this the old King observed, and
returned to the palace without anyone having noticed him. In the evening
when the goose-girl came home he called her aside, and asked her why she
behaved as she did. “I may not tell you why; how dare I confide my woes
to anyone? for I swore not to by heaven, otherwise I should have lost my
life.” The old King begged her to tell him all, and left her no peace,
but he could get nothing out of her. At last he said: “Well, if you
won’t tell me, confide your trouble to the iron stove there,” and he
went away. Then she crept to the stove, and began to sob and cry and to
pour out her poor little heart, and said: “Here I sit, deserted by all
the world, I who am a king’s daughter, and a false waiting-maid has
forced me to take off my own clothes, and has taken my place with my
bridegroom, while I have to fulfill the lowly office of goose-girl.

  “If my mother only knew
  Her heart would surely break in two.”


But the old King stood outside at the stove chimney, and listened to her
words. Then he entered the room again, and bidding her leave the stove,
he ordered royal apparel to be put on her, in which she looked amazingly
lovely. Then he summoned his son, and revealed to him that he had got
the false bride, who was nothing but a waiting-maid, while the real one,
in the guise of the ex-goose-girl, was standing at his side. The young
King rejoiced from his heart when he saw her beauty and learned how good
she was, and a great banquet was prepared, to which everyone was bidden.
The bridegroom sat at the head of the table, the Princess on one side of
him and the waiting-maid on the other; but she was so dazzled that she
did not recognize the Princess in her glittering garments. Now when they
had eaten and drunk, and were merry, the old King asked the waiting-maid
to solve a knotty point for him. “What,” said he, “should be done to a
certain person who has deceived everyone?” and he proceeded to relate
the whole story, ending up with, “Now what sentence should be passed?”
 Then the false bride answered: “She deserves to be put stark naked into
a barrel lined with sharp nails, which should be dragged by two white
horses up and down the street till she is dead.”

“You are the person,” said the King, “and you have passed sentence on
yourself; and even so it shall be done to you.” And when the sentence
had been carried out the young King was married to his real bride, and
both reigned over the kingdom in peace and happiness.(1)


(1) Grimm.



TOADS AND DIAMONDS


THERE was once upon a time a widow who had two daughters. The eldest
was so much like her in the face and humor that whoever looked upon the
daughter saw the mother. They were both so disagreeable and so proud
that there was no living with them.

The youngest, who was the very picture of her father for courtesy and
sweetness of temper, was withal one of the most beautiful girls ever
seen. As people naturally love their own likeness, this mother even
doted on her eldest daughter and at the same time had a horrible
aversion for the youngest--she made her eat in the kitchen and work
continually.

Among other things, this poor child was forced twice a day to draw water
above a mile and a-half off the house, and bring home a pitcher full
of it. One day, as she was at this fountain, there came to her a poor
woman, who begged of her to let her drink.

“Oh! ay, with all my heart, Goody,” said this pretty little girl;
and rinsing immediately the pitcher, she took up some water from the
clearest place of the fountain, and gave it to her, holding up the
pitcher all the while, that she might drink the easier.

The good woman, having drunk, said to her:

“You are so very pretty, my dear, so good and so mannerly, that I cannot
help giving you a gift.” For this was a fairy, who had taken the form
of a poor country woman, to see how far the civility and good manners of
this pretty girl would go. “I will give you for a gift,” continued the
Fairy, “that, at every word you speak, there shall come out of your
mouth either a flower or a jewel.”

When this pretty girl came home her mother scolded her for staying so
long at the fountain.

“I beg your pardon, mamma,” said the poor girl, “for not making more
haste.”

And in speaking these words there came out of her mouth two roses, two
pearls, and two diamonds.

“What is it I see there?” said the mother, quite astonished. “I think I
see pearls and diamonds come out of the girl’s mouth! How happens this,
child?”

This was the first time she had ever called her child.

The poor creature told her frankly all the matter, not without dropping
out infinite numbers of diamonds.

“In good faith,” cried the mother, “I must send my child thither.
Come hither, Fanny; look what comes out of thy sister’s mouth when she
speaks. Wouldst not thou be glad, my dear, to have the same gift given
thee? Thou hast nothing else to do but go and draw water out of the
fountain, and when a certain poor woman asks you to let her drink, to
give it to her very civilly.”

“It would be a very fine sight indeed,” said this ill-bred minx, “to see
me go draw water.”

“You shall go, hussy!” said the mother; “and this minute.”

So away she went, but grumbling all the way, taking with her the best
silver tankard in the house.

She was no sooner at the fountain than she saw coming out of the wood
a lady most gloriously dressed, who came up to her, and asked to drink.
This was, you must know, the very fairy who appeared to her sister,
but now had taken the air and dress of a princess, to see how far this
girl’s rudeness would go.

“Am I come hither,” said the proud, saucy one, “to serve you with water,
pray? I suppose the silver tankard was brought purely for your ladyship,
was it? However, you may drink out of it, if you have a fancy.”

“You are not over and above mannerly,” answered the Fairy, without
putting herself in a passion. “Well, then, since you have so little
breeding, and are so disobliging, I give you for a gift that at every
word you speak there shall come out of your mouth a snake or a toad.”

So soon as her mother saw her coming she cried out:

“Well, daughter?”

“Well, mother?” answered the pert hussy, throwing out of her mouth two
vipers and two toads.

“Oh! mercy,” cried the mother; “what is it I see? Oh! it is that wretch
her sister who has occasioned all this; but she shall pay for it”; and
immediately she ran to beat her. The poor child fled away from her, and
went to hide herself in the forest, not far from thence.

The King’s son, then on his return from hunting, met her, and seeing her
so very pretty, asked her what she did there alone and why she cried.

“Alas! sir, my mamma has turned me out of doors.”

The King’s son, who saw five or six pearls and as many diamonds come out
of her mouth, desired her to tell him how that happened. She thereupon
told him the whole story; and so the King’s son fell in love with
her, and, considering himself that such a gift was worth more than any
marriage portion, conducted her to the palace of the King his father,
and there married her.

As for the sister, she made herself so much hated that her own mother
turned her off; and the miserable wretch, having wandered about a good
while without finding anybody to take her in, went to a corner of the
wood, and there died.(1)


(1) Charles Perrault.



PRINCE DARLING


ONCE upon a time there lived a king who was so just and kind that his
subjects called him “the Good King.” It happened one day, when he was
out hunting, that a little white rabbit, which his dogs were chasing,
sprang into his arms for shelter. The King stroked it gently, and said
to it:

“Well, bunny, as you have come to me for protection I will see that
nobody hurts you.”

And he took it home to his palace and had it put in a pretty little
house, with all sorts of nice things to eat.

That night, when he was alone in his room, a beautiful lady suddenly
appeared before him; her long dress was as white as snow, and she had
a crown of white roses upon her head. The good King was very much
surprised to see her, for he knew his door had been tightly shut, and he
could not think how she had got in. But she said to him:

“I am the Fairy Truth. I was passing through the wood when you were out
hunting, and I wished to find out if you were really good, as everybody
said you were, so I took the shape of a little rabbit and came to your
arms for shelter, for I know that those who are merciful to animals will
be still kinder to their fellow-men. If you had refused to help me
I should have been certain that you were wicked. I thank you for the
kindness you have shown me, which has made me your friend for ever. You
have only to ask me for anything you want and I promise that I will give
it to you.”

“Madam,” said the good King, “since you are a fairy you no doubt know
all my wishes. I have but one son whom I love very dearly, that is why
he is called Prince Darling. If you are really good enough to wish to do
me a favor, I beg that you will become his friend.”

“With all my heart,” answered the Fairy. “I can make your son the
handsomest prince in the world, or the richest, or the most powerful;
choose whichever you like for him.”

“I do not ask either of these things for my son,” replied the good
King; “but if you will make him the best of princes, I shall indeed be
grateful to you. What good would it do him to be rich, or handsome, or
to possess all the kingdoms of the world if he were wicked? You
know well he would still be unhappy. Only a good man can be really
contented.”

“You are quite right,” answered the Fairy; “but it is not in my power to
make Prince Darling a good man unless he will help me; he must himself
try hard to become good, I can only promise to give him good advice, to
scold him for his faults, and to punish him if he will not correct and
punish himself.”

The good King was quite satisfied with this promise; and very soon
afterward he died.

Prince Darling was very sorry, for he loved his father with all his
heart, and he would willingly have given all his kingdoms and all his
treasures of gold and silver if they could have kept the good King with
him.

Two days afterward, when the Prince had gone to bed, the Fairy suddenly
appeared to him and said:

“I promised your father that I would be your friend, and to keep my word
I have come to bring you a present.” At the same time she put a little
gold ring upon his finger.

“Take great care of this ring,” she said: “it is more precious than
diamonds; every time you do a bad deed it will prick your finger, but
if, in spite of its pricking, you go on in your own evil way, you will
lose my friendship, and I shall become your enemy.”

So saying, the Fairy disappeared, leaving Prince Darling very much
astonished.

For some time he behaved so well that the ring never pricked him, and
that made him so contented that his subjects called him Prince Darling
the Happy.

One day, however, he went out hunting, but could get no sport, which
put him in a very bad temper; it seemed to him as he rode along that his
ring was pressing into his finger, but as it did not prick him he did
not heed it. When he got home and went to his own room, his little dog
Bibi ran to meet him, jumping round him with pleasure. “Get away!” said
the Prince, quite gruffly. “I don’t want you, you are in the way.”

The poor little dog, who didn’t understand this at all, pulled at his
coat to make him at least look at her, and this made Prince Darling so
cross that he gave her quite a hard kick.

Instantly his ring pricked him sharply, as if it had been a pin. He was
very much surprised, and sat down in a corner of his room feeling quite
ashamed of himself.

“I believe the Fairy is laughing at me,” he thought. “Surely I can have
done no great wrong in just kicking a tiresome animal! What is the good
of my being ruler of a great kingdom if I am not even allowed to beat my
own dog?”

“I am not making fun of you,” said a voice, answering Prince Darling’s
thoughts. “You have committed three faults. First of all, you were out
of temper because you could not have what you wanted, and you thought
all men and animals were only made to do your pleasure; then you were
really angry, which is very naughty indeed; and lastly, you were
cruel to a poor little animal who did not in the least deserve to be
ill-treated.

“I know you are far above a little dog, but if it were right and
allowable that great people should ill-treat all who are beneath them, I
might at this moment beat you, or kill you, for a fairy is greater than
a man. The advantage of possessing a great empire is not to be able to
do the evil that one desires, but to do all the good that one possibly
can.”

The Prince saw how naughty he had been, and promised to try and do
better in future, but he did not keep his word. The fact was he had been
brought up by a foolish nurse, who had spoiled him when he was little.
If he wanted anything he only had to cry and fret and stamp his feet
and she would give him whatever he asked for, which had made him
self-willed; also she had told him from morning to night that he would
one day be a king, and that kings were very happy, because everyone was
bound to obey and respect them, and no one could prevent them from doing
just as they liked.

When the Prince grew old enough to understand, he soon learned that
there could be nothing worse than to be proud, obstinate, and conceited,
and he had really tried to cure himself of these defects, but by that
time all his faults had become habits; and a bad habit is very hard to
get rid of. Not that he was naturally of a bad disposition; he was truly
sorry when he had been naughty, and said:

“I am very unhappy to have to struggle against my anger and pride every
day; if I had been punished for them when I was little they would not be
such a trouble to me now.”

His ring pricked him very often, and sometimes he left off what he was
doing at once; but at other times he would not attend to it. Strangely
enough, it gave him only a slight prick for a trifling fault, but when
he was really naughty it made his finger actually bleed. At last he got
tired of being constantly reminded, and wanted to be able to do as he
liked, so he threw his ring aside, and thought himself the happiest of
men to have got rid of its teasing pricks. He gave himself up to doing
every foolish thing that occurred to him, until he became quite wicked
and nobody could like him any longer.

One day, when the Prince was walking about, he saw a young girl who was
so very pretty that he made up his mind at once that he would marry her.
Her name was Celia, and she was as good as she was beautiful.

Prince Darling fancied that Celia would think herself only too happy if
he offered to make her a great queen, but she said fearlessly:

“Sire, I am only a shepherdess, and a poor girl, but, nevertheless, I
will not marry you.”

“Do you dislike me?” asked the Prince, who was very much vexed at this
answer.

“No, my Prince,” replied Celia; “I cannot help thinking you very
handsome; but what good would riches be to me, and all the grand dresses
and splendid carriages that you would give me, if the bad deeds which I
should see you do every day made me hate and despise you?”

The Prince was very angry at this speech, and commanded his officers to
make Celia a prisoner and carry her off to his palace. All day long the
remembrance of what she had said annoyed him, but as he loved her he
could not make up his mind to have her punished.

One of the Prince’s favorite companions was his foster-brother, whom
he trusted entirely; but he was not at all a good man, and gave Prince
Darling very bad advice, and encouraged him in all his evil ways. When
he saw the Prince so downcast he asked what was the matter, and when
he explained that he could not bear Celia’s bad opinion of him, and was
resolved to be a better man in order to please her, this evil adviser
said to him:

“You are very kind to trouble yourself about this little girl; if I were
you I would soon make her obey me. Remember that you are a king, and
that it would be laughable to see you trying to please a shepherdess,
who ought to be only too glad to be one of your slaves. Keep her in
prison, and feed her on bread and water for a little while, and then, if
she still says she will not marry you, have her head cut off, to teach
other people that you mean to be obeyed. Why, if you cannot make a girl
like that do as you wish, your subjects will soon forget that they are
only put into this world for our pleasure.”

“But,” said Prince Darling, “would it not be a shame if I had an
innocent girl put to death? For Celia has done nothing to deserve
punishment.”

“If people will not do as you tell them they ought to suffer for it,”
 answered his foster-brother; “but even if it were unjust, you had better
be accused of that by your subjects than that they should find out that
they may insult and thwart you as often as they please.”

In saying this he was touching a weak point in his brother’s character;
for the Prince’s fear of losing any of his power made him at once
abandon his first idea of trying to be good, and resolve to try and
frighten the shepherdess into consenting to marry him.

His foster-brother, who wanted him to keep this resolution, invited
three young courtiers, as wicked as himself to sup with the Prince,
and they persuaded him to drink a great deal of wine, and continued to
excite his anger against Celia by telling him that she had laughed at
his love for her; until at last, in quite a furious rage, he rushed off
to find her, declaring that if she still refused to marry him she should
be sold as a slave the very next day.

But when he reached the room in which Celia had been locked up, he was
greatly surprised to find that she was not in it, though he had the key
in his own pocket all the time. His anger was terrible, and he vowed
vengeance against whoever had helped her to escape. His bad friends,
when they heard him, resolved to turn his wrath upon an old nobleman who
had formerly been his tutor; and who still dared sometimes to tell the
Prince of his faults, for he loved him as if he had been his own son. At
first Prince Darling had thanked him, but after a time he grew impatient
and thought it must be just mere love of fault-finding that made his old
tutor blame him when everyone else was praising and flattering him. So
he ordered him to retire from his Court, though he still, from time
to time, spoke of him as a worthy man whom he respected, even if he no
longer loved him. His unworthy friends feared that he might some day
take it into his head to recall his old tutor, so they thought they now
had a good opportunity of getting him banished for ever.

They reported to the Prince that Suliman, for that was the tutor’s name,
had boasted of having helped Celia to escape, and they bribed three men
to say that Suliman himself had told them about it. The Prince, in great
anger, sent his foster-brother with a number of soldiers to bring his
tutor before him, in chains, like a criminal. After giving this order he
went to his own room, but he had scarcely got into it when there was
a clap of thunder which made the ground shake, and the Fairy Truth
appeared suddenly before him.

“I promised your father,” said she sternly, “to give you good advice,
and to punish you if you refused to follow it. You have despised my
counsel, and have gone your own evil way until you are only outwardly a
man; really you are a monster--the horror of everyone who knows you. It
is time that I should fulfil my promise, and begin your punishment. I
condemn you to resemble the animals whose ways you have imitated. You
have made yourself like the lion by your anger, and like the wolf by
your greediness. Like a snake, you have ungratefully turned upon one who
was a second father to you; your churlishness has made you like a bull.
Therefore, in your new form, take the appearance of all these animals.”

The Fairy had scarcely finished speaking when Prince Darling saw to his
horror that her words were fulfilled. He had a lion’s head, a bull’s
horns, a wolf’s feet, and a snake’s body. At the same instant he found
himself in a great forest, beside a clear lake, in which he could see
plainly the horrible creature he had become, and a voice said to him:

“Look carefully at the state to which your wickedness has brought you;
believe me, your soul is a thousand times more hideous than your body.”

Prince Darling recognized the voice of the Fairy Truth and turned in
a fury to catch her and eat her up if he possibly could; but he saw no
one, and the same voice went on:

“I laugh at your powerlessness and anger, and I intend to punish your
pride by letting you fall into the hands of your own subjects.”

The Prince began to think that the best thing he could do would be to
get as far away from the lake as he could, then at least he would not
be continually reminded of his terrible ugliness. So he ran toward the
wood, but before he had gone many yards he fell into a deep pit which
had been made to trap bears, and the hunters, who were hiding in a tree,
leaped down, and secured him with several chains, and led him into the
chief city of his own kingdom.

On the way, instead of recognizing that his own faults had brought this
punishment upon him, he accused the Fairy of being the cause of all his
misfortunes, and bit and tore at his chains furiously.

As they approached the town he saw that some great rejoicing was being
held, and when the hunters asked what had happened they were told that
the Prince, whose only pleasure it was to torment his people, had been
found in his room, killed by a thunder-bolt (for that was what was
supposed to have become of him). Four of his courtiers, those who had
encouraged him in his wicked doings, had tried to seize the kingdom
and divide it between them, but the people, who knew it was their bad
counsels which had so changed the Prince, had cut off their heads, and
had offered the crown to Suliman, whom the Prince had left in prison.
This noble lord had just been crowned, and the deliverance of the
kingdom was the cause of the rejoicing “For,” they said, “he is a good
and just man, and we shall once more enjoy peace and prosperity.”

Prince Darling roared with anger when he heard this; but it was still
worse for him when he reached the great square before his own palace. He
saw Suliman seated upon a magnificent throne, and all the people crowded
round, wishing him a long life that he might undo all the mischief done
by his predecessor.

Presently Suliman made a sign with his hand that the people should be
silent, and said: “I have accepted the crown you have offered me, but
only that I may keep it for Prince Darling, who is not dead as you
suppose; the Fairy has assured me that there is still hope that you may
some day see him again, good and virtuous as he was when he first came
to the throne. Alas!” he continued, “he was led away by flatterers.
I knew his heart, and am certain that if it had not been for the bad
influence of those who surrounded him he would have been a good king and
a father to his people. We may hate his faults, but let us pity him and
hope for his restoration. As for me, I would die gladly if that could
bring back our Prince to reign justly and worthily once more.”

These words went to Prince Darling’s heart; he realized the true
affection and faithfulness of his old tutor, and for the first time
reproached himself for all his evil deeds; at the same instant he felt
all his anger melting away, and he began quickly to think over his
past life, and to admit that his punishment was not more than he had
deserved. He left off tearing at the iron bars of the cage in which he
was shut up, and became as gentle as a lamb.

The hunters who had caught him took him to a great menagerie, where he
was chained up among all the other wild beasts, and he determined to
show his sorrow for his past bad behavior by being gentle and obedient
to the man who had to take care of him. Unfortunately, this man was very
rough and unkind, and though the poor monster was quite quiet, he often
beat him without rhyme or reason when he happened to be in a bad temper.
One day when this keeper was asleep a tiger broke its chain, and flew at
him to eat him up. Prince Darling, who saw what was going on, at
first felt quite pleased to think that he should be delivered from his
persecutor, but soon thought better of it and wished that he were free.

“I would return good for evil,” he said to himself, “and save the
unhappy man’s life.” He had hardly wished this when his iron cage flew
open, and he rushed to the side of the keeper, who was awake and was
defending himself against the tiger. When he saw the monster had got out
he gave himself up for lost, but his fear was soon changed into joy, for
the kind monster threw itself upon the tiger and very soon killed it,
and then came and crouched at the feet of the man it had saved.

Overcome with gratitude, the keeper stooped to caress the strange
creature which had done him such a great service; but suddenly a voice
said in his ear:

“A good action should never go unrewarded,” and at the same instant the
monster disappeared, and he saw at his feet only a pretty little dog!

Prince Darling, delighted by the change, frisked about the keeper,
showing his joy in every way he could, and the man, taking him up in his
arms, carried him to the King, to whom he told the whole story.

The Queen said she would like to have this wonderful little dog, and
the Prince would have been very happy in his new home if he could have
forgotten that he was a man and a king. The Queen petted and took
care of him, but she was so afraid that he would get too fat that she
consulted the court physician, who said that he was to be fed only upon
bread, and was not to have much even of that. So poor Prince Darling was
terribly hungry all day long, but he was very patient about it.

One day, when they gave him his little loaf for breakfast, he thought
he would like to eat it out in the garden; so he took it up in his mouth
and trotted away toward a brook that he knew of a long way from the
palace. But he was surprised to find that the brook was gone, and where
it had been stood a great house that seemed to be built of gold and
precious stones. Numbers of people splendidly dressed were going into
it, and sounds of music and dancing and feasting could be heard from the
windows.

But what seemed very strange was that those people who came out of the
house were pale and thin, and their clothes were torn, and hanging in
rags about them. Some fell down dead as they came out before they had
time to get away; others crawled farther with great difficulty; while
others again lay on the ground, fainting with hunger, and begged a
morsel of bread from those who were going into the house, but they would
not so much as look at the poor creatures.

Prince Darling went up to a young girl who was trying to eat a few
blades of grass, she was so hungry. Touched with compassion, he said to
himself:

“I am very hungry, but I shall not die of starvation before I get my
dinner; if I give my breakfast to this poor creature perhaps I may save
her life.”

So he laid his piece of bread in the girl’s hand, and saw her eat it up
eagerly.

She soon seemed to be quite well again, and the Prince, delighted to
have been able to help her, was thinking of going home to the palace,
when he heard a great outcry, and, turning round, saw Celia, who was
being carried against her will into the great house.

For the first time the Prince regretted that he was no longer the
monster, then he would have been able to rescue Celia; now he could only
bark feebly at the people who were carrying her off, and try to follow
them, but they chased and kicked him away.

He determined not to quit the place till he knew what had become of
Celia, and blamed himself for what had befallen her.

“Alas!” he said to himself, “I am furious with the people who are
carrying Celia off, but isn’t that exactly what I did myself, and if I
had not been prevented did I not intend to be still more cruel to her?”

Here he was interrupted by a noise above his head--someone was opening
a window, and he saw with delight that it was Celia herself, who came
forward and threw out a plate of most delicious-looking food, then the
window was shut again, and Prince Darling, who had not had anything to
eat all day, thought he might as well take the opportunity of getting
something. He ran forward to begin, but the young girl to whom he
had given his bread gave a cry of terror and took him up in her arms,
saying:

“Don’t touch it, my poor little dog--that house is the palace of
pleasure, and everything that comes out of it is poisoned!”

At the same moment a voice said:

“You see a good action always brings its reward,” and the Prince found
himself changed into a beautiful white dove. He remembered that white
was the favorite color of the Fairy Truth, and began to hope that he
might at last win back her favor. But just now his first care was for
Celia, and rising into the air he flew round and round the house, until
he saw an open window; but he searched through every room in vain. No
trace of Celia was to be seen, and the Prince, in despair, determined
to search through the world till he found her. He flew on and on for
several days, till he came to a great desert, where he saw a cavern,
and, to his delight, there sat Celia, sharing the simple breakfast of an
old hermit.

Overjoyed to have found her, Prince Darling perched upon her shoulder,
trying to express by his caresses how glad he was to see her again,
and Celia, surprised and delighted by the tameness of this pretty white
dove, stroked it softly, and said, though she never thought of its
understanding her:

“I accept the gift that you make me of yourself, and I will love you
always.”

“Take care what you are saying, Celia,” said the old hermit; “are you
prepared to keep that promise?”

“Indeed, I hope so, my sweet shepherdess,” cried the Prince, who was
at that moment restored to his natural shape. “You promised to love me
always; tell me that you really mean what you said, or I shall have to
ask the Fairy to give me back the form of the dove which pleased you so
much.”

“You need not be afraid that she will change her mind,” said the Fairy,
throwing off the hermit’s robe in which she had been disguised and
appearing before them.

“Celia has loved you ever since she first saw you, only she would not
tell you while you were so obstinate and naughty. Now you have repented
and mean to be good you deserve to be happy, and so she may love you as
much as she likes.”

Celia and Prince Darling threw themselves at the Fairy’s feet, and
the Prince was never tired of thanking her for her kindness. Celia
was delighted to hear how sorry he was for all his past follies and
misdeeds, and promised to love him as long as she lived.

“Rise, my children,” said the Fairy, “and I will transport you to the
palace, and Prince Darling shall have back again the crown he forfeited
by his bad behavior.”

While she was speaking, they found themselves in Suliman’s hall, and his
delight was great at seeing his dear master once more. He gave up the
throne joyfully to the Prince, and remained always the most faithful of
his subjects.

Celia and Prince Darling reigned for many years, but he was so
determined to govern worthily and to do his duty that his ring, which he
took to wearing again, never once pricked him severely.(1)


(1) Cabinet des Fees.



BLUE BEARD


There was a man who had fine houses, both in town and country, a deal
of silver and gold plate, embroidered furniture, and coaches gilded all
over with gold. But this man was so unlucky as to have a blue beard,
which made him so frightfully ugly that all the women and girls ran away
from him.

One of his neighbors, a lady of quality, had two daughters who were
perfect beauties. He desired of her one of them in marriage, leaving to
her choice which of the two she would bestow on him. They would neither
of them have him, and sent him backward and forward from one another,
not being able to bear the thoughts of marrying a man who had a blue
beard, and what besides gave them disgust and aversion was his having
already been married to several wives, and nobody ever knew what became
of them.

Blue Beard, to engage their affection, took them, with the lady their
mother and three or four ladies of their acquaintance, with other young
people of the neighborhood, to one of his country seats, where they
stayed a whole week.

There was nothing then to be seen but parties of pleasure, hunting,
fishing, dancing, mirth, and feasting. Nobody went to bed, but all
passed the night in rallying and joking with each other. In short,
everything succeeded so well that the youngest daughter began to think
the master of the house not to have a beard so very blue, and that he
was a mighty civil gentleman.

As soon as they returned home, the marriage was concluded. About a
month afterward, Blue Beard told his wife that he was obliged to take
a country journey for six weeks at least, about affairs of very great
consequence, desiring her to divert herself in his absence, to send for
her friends and acquaintances, to carry them into the country, if she
pleased, and to make good cheer wherever she was.

“Here,” said he, “are the keys of the two great wardrobes, wherein I
have my best furniture; these are of my silver and gold plate, which is
not every day in use; these open my strong boxes, which hold my money,
both gold and silver; these my caskets of jewels; and this is the
master-key to all my apartments. But for this little one here, it is the
key of the closet at the end of the great gallery on the ground floor.
Open them all; go into all and every one of them, except that little
closet, which I forbid you, and forbid it in such a manner that, if you
happen to open it, there’s nothing but what you may expect from my just
anger and resentment.”

She promised to observe, very exactly, whatever he had ordered; when
he, after having embraced her, got into his coach and proceeded on his
journey.

Her neighbors and good friends did not stay to be sent for by the
new married lady, so great was their impatience to see all the rich
furniture of her house, not daring to come while her husband was there,
because of his blue beard, which frightened them. They ran through all
the rooms, closets, and wardrobes, which were all so fine and rich that
they seemed to surpass one another.

After that they went up into the two great rooms, where was the best
and richest furniture; they could not sufficiently admire the number
and beauty of the tapestry, beds, couches, cabinets, stands, tables, and
looking-glasses, in which you might see yourself from head to foot; some
of them were framed with glass, others with silver, plain and gilded,
the finest and most magnificent ever were seen.

They ceased not to extol and envy the happiness of their friend, who in
the meantime in no way diverted herself in looking upon all these rich
things, because of the impatience she had to go and open the closet on
the ground floor. She was so much pressed by her curiosity that, without
considering that it was very uncivil to leave her company, she went
down a little back staircase, and with such excessive haste that she had
twice or thrice like to have broken her neck.

Coming to the closet-door, she made a stop for some time, thinking upon
her husband’s orders, and considering what unhappiness might attend her
if she was disobedient; but the temptation was so strong she could not
overcome it. She then took the little key, and opened it, trembling, but
could not at first see anything plainly, because the windows were shut.
After some moments she began to perceive that the floor was all covered
over with clotted blood, on which lay the bodies of several dead women,
ranged against the walls. (These were all the wives whom Blue Beard had
married and murdered, one after another.) She thought she should have
died for fear, and the key, which she pulled out of the lock, fell out
of her hand.

After having somewhat recovered her surprise, she took up the key,
locked the door, and went upstairs into her chamber to recover herself;
but she could not, she was so much frightened. Having observed that the
key of the closet was stained with blood, she tried two or three times
to wipe it off, but the blood would not come out; in vain did she wash
it, and even rub it with soap and sand; the blood still remained, for
the key was magical and she could never make it quite clean; when the
blood was gone off from one side, it came again on the other.

Blue Beard returned from his journey the same evening, and said he had
received letters upon the road, informing him that the affair he went
about was ended to his advantage. His wife did all she could to convince
him she was extremely glad of his speedy return.

Next morning he asked her for the keys, which she gave him, but with
such a trembling hand that he easily guessed what had happened.

“What!” said he, “is not the key of my closet among the rest?”

“I must certainly have left it above upon the table,” said she.

“Fail not to bring it to me presently,” said Blue Beard.

After several goings backward and forward she was forced to bring him
the key. Blue Beard, having very attentively considered it, said to his
wife,

“How comes this blood upon the key?”

“I do not know,” cried the poor woman, paler than death.

“You do not know!” replied Blue Beard. “I very well know. You were
resolved to go into the closet, were you not? Mighty well, madam; you
shall go in, and take your place among the ladies you saw there.”

Upon this she threw herself at her husband’s feet, and begged his pardon
with all the signs of true repentance, vowing that she would never more
be disobedient. She would have melted a rock, so beautiful and sorrowful
was she; but Blue Beard had a heart harder than any rock!

“You must die, madam,” said he, “and that presently.”

“Since I must die,” answered she (looking upon him with her eyes all
bathed in tears), “give me some little time to say my prayers.”

“I give you,” replied Blue Beard, “half a quarter of an hour, but not
one moment more.”

When she was alone she called out to her sister, and said to her:

“Sister Anne” (for that was her name), “go up, I beg you, upon the top
of the tower, and look if my brothers are not coming over; they promised
me that they would come to-day, and if you see them, give them a sign to
make haste.”

Her sister Anne went up upon the top of the tower, and the poor
afflicted wife cried out from time to time:

“Anne, sister Anne, do you see anyone coming?”

And sister Anne said:

“I see nothing but the sun, which makes a dust, and the grass, which
looks green.”

In the meanwhile Blue Beard, holding a great sabre in his hand, cried
out as loud as he could bawl to his wife:

“Come down instantly, or I shall come up to you.”

“One moment longer, if you please,” said his wife, and then she cried
out very softly, “Anne, sister Anne, dost thou see anybody coming?”

And sister Anne answered:

“I see nothing but the sun, which makes a dust, and the grass, which is
green.”

“Come down quickly,” cried Blue Beard, “or I will come up to you.”

“I am coming,” answered his wife; and then she cried, “Anne, sister
Anne, dost thou not see anyone coming?”

“I see,” replied sister Anne, “a great dust, which comes on this side
here.”

“Are they my brothers?”

“Alas! no, my dear sister, I see a flock of sheep.”

“Will you not come down?” cried Blue Beard

“One moment longer,” said his wife, and then she cried out: “Anne,
sister Anne, dost thou see nobody coming?”

“I see,” said she, “two horsemen, but they are yet a great way off.”

“God be praised,” replied the poor wife joyfully; “they are my brothers;
I will make them a sign, as well as I can, for them to make haste.”

Then Blue Beard bawled out so loud that he made the whole house tremble.
The distressed wife came down, and threw herself at his feet, all in
tears, with her hair about her shoulders.

“This signifies nothing,” says Blue Beard; “you must die”; then, taking
hold of her hair with one hand, and lifting up the sword with the other,
he was going to take off her head. The poor lady, turning about to him,
and looking at him with dying eyes, desired him to afford her one little
moment to recollect herself.

“No, no,” said he, “recommend thyself to God,” and was just ready to
strike...

At this very instant there was such a loud knocking at the gate that
Blue Beard made a sudden stop. The gate was opened, and presently
entered two horsemen, who, drawing their swords, ran directly to Blue
Beard. He knew them to be his wife’s brothers, one a dragoon, the other
a musketeer, so that he ran away immediately to save himself; but the
two brothers pursued so close that they overtook him before he could get
to the steps of the porch, when they ran their swords through his body
and left him dead. The poor wife was almost as dead as her husband, and
had not strength enough to rise and welcome her brothers.

Blue Beard had no heirs, and so his wife became mistress of all his
estate. She made use of one part of it to marry her sister Anne to a
young gentleman who had loved her a long while; another part to buy
captains commissions for her brothers, and the rest to marry herself to
a very worthy gentleman, who made her forget the ill time she had passed
with Blue Beard.(1)


(1) Charles Perrault.



TRUSTY JOHN


Once upon a time there was an old king who was so ill that he thought to
himself, “I am most likely on my death-bed.” Then he said, “Send Trusty
John to me.” Now Trusty John was his favorite servant, and was so called
because all his life he had served him so faithfully. When he approached
the bed the King spake to him: “Most trusty John, I feel my end is
drawing near, and I could face it without a care were it not for my son.
He is still too young to decide everything for himself, and unless you
promise me to instruct him in all he should know, and to be to him as a
father, I shall not close my eyes in peace.” Then Trusty John answered:
“I will never desert him, and will serve him faithfully, even though it
should cost me my life.” Then the old King said: “Now I die comforted
and in peace”; and then he went on: “After my death you must show him
the whole castle, all the rooms and apartments and vaults, and all the
treasures that lie in them; but you must not show him the last room in
the long passage, where the picture of the Princess of the Golden Roof
is hidden. When he beholds that picture he will fall violently in love
with it and go off into a dead faint, and for her sake he will encounter
many dangers; you must guard him from this.” And when Trusty John had
again given the King his hand upon it the old man became silent, laid
his head on the pillow, and died.

When the old King had been carried to his grave Trusty John told the
young King what he had promised his father on his death-bed, and added:
“And I shall assuredly keep my word, and shall be faithful to you as I
have been to him, even though it should cost me my life.”

Now when the time of mourning was over, Trusty John said to him: “It
is time you should see your inheritance. I will show you your ancestral
castle.” So he took him over everything, and let him see all the riches
and splendid apartments, only the one room where the picture was he
did not open. But the picture was placed so that if the door opened
you gazed straight upon it, and it was so beautifully painted that
you imagined it lived and moved, and that it was the most lovable and
beautiful thing in the whole world. But the young King noticed that
Trusty John always missed one door, and said: “Why do you never open
this one for me?” “There is something inside that would appall you,” he
answered. But the King replied: “I have seen the whole castle, and shall
find out what is in there”; and with these words he approached the door
and wanted to force it open. But Trusty John held him back, and said: “I
promised your father before his death that you shouldn’t see what that
room contains. It might bring both you and me to great grief.” “Ah!
no,” answered the young King; “if I don’t get in, it will be my certain
destruction; I should have no peace night or day till I had seen what
was in the room with my own eyes. Now I don’t budge from the spot till
you have opened the door.”

Then Trusty John saw there was no way out of it, so with a heavy heart
and many sighs he took the key from the big bunch. When he had opened
the door he stepped in first, and thought to cover the likeness so that
the King might not perceive it; but it was hopeless: the King stood on
tiptoe and looked over his shoulder. And when he saw the picture of the
maid, so beautiful and glittering with gold and precious stones, he fell
swooning to the ground. Trusty John lifted him up, carried him to bed,
and thought sorrowfully: “The curse has come upon us; gracious heaven!
what will be the end of it all?” Then he poured wine down his throat
till he came to himself again. The first words he spoke were: “Oh! who
is the original of the beautiful picture?” “She is the Princess of the
Golden Roof,” answered Trusty John. Then the King continued: “My love
for her is so great that if all the leaves on the trees had tongues they
could not express it; my very life depends on my winning her. You are my
most trusty John: you must stand by me.”

The faithful servant pondered long how they were to set about the
matter, for it was said to be difficult even to get into the presence of
the Princess. At length he hit upon a plan, and spoke to the King: “All
the things she has about her--tables, chairs, dishes, goblets, bowls,
and all her household furniture--are made of gold. You have in
your treasure five tons of gold; let the goldsmiths of your kingdom
manufacture them into all manner of vases and vessels, into all sorts of
birds and game and wonderful beasts; that will please her. We shall
go to her with them and try our luck.” The King summoned all his
goldsmiths, and they had to work hard day and night, till at length the
most magnificent things were completed. When a ship had been laden with
them the faithful John disguised himself as a merchant, and the King had
to do the same, so that they should be quite unrecognizable. And so
they crossed the seas and journeyed till they reached the town where the
Princess of the Golden Roof dwelt.

Trusty John made the King remain behind on the ship and await his
return. “Perhaps,” he said, “I may bring the Princess back with me, so
see that everything is in order; let the gold ornaments be arranged and
the whole ship decorated.” Then he took a few of the gold things in his
apron, went ashore, and proceeded straight to the palace. When he came
to the courtyard he found a beautiful maiden standing at the well,
drawing water with two golden pails. And as she was about to carry away
the glittering water she turned round and saw the stranger, and asked
him who he was. Then he replied: “I am a merchant,” and opening his
apron, he let her peep in. “Oh! my,” she cried; “what beautiful gold
wares!” she set down her pails, and examined one thing after the other.
Then she said: “The Princess must see this, she has such a fancy for
gold things that she will buy up all you have.” She took him by the hand
and let him into the palace, for she was the lady’s maid.

When the Princess had seen the wares she was quite enchanted, and said:
“They are all so beautifully made that I shall buy everything you have.”
 But Trusty John said: “I am only the servant of a rich merchant, what
I have here is nothing compared to what my master has on his ship; his
merchandise is more artistic and costly than anything that has ever been
made in gold before.” She desired to have everything brought up to her,
but he said: “There is such a quantity of things that it would take many
days to bring them up, and they would take up so many rooms that
you would have no space for them in your house.” Thus her desire and
curiosity were excited to such an extent that at last she said: “Take me
to your ship; I shall go there myself and view your master’s treasures.”

Then Trusty John was quite delighted, and brought her to the ship; and
the King, when he beheld her, saw that she was even more beautiful than
her picture, and thought every moment that his heart would burst. She
stepped on to the ship, and the King led her inside. But Trusty John
remained behind with the steersman, and ordered the ship to push off.
“Spread all sail, that we may fly on the ocean like a bird in the air.”
 Meanwhile the King showed the Princess inside all his gold wares, every
single bit of it--dishes, goblets, bowls, the birds and game, and all
the wonderful beasts. Many hours passed thus, and she was so happy that
she did not notice that the ship was sailing away. After she had seen
the last thing she thanked the merchant and prepared to go home; but
when she came to the ship’s side she saw that they were on the high
seas, far from land, and that the ship was speeding on its way under
full canvas. “Oh!” she cried in terror, “I am deceived, carried away and
betrayed into the power of a merchant; I would rather have died!” But
the King seized her hand and spake: “I am no merchant, but a king of as
high birth as yourself; and it was my great love for you that made me
carry you off by stratagem. The first time I saw your likeness I fell to
the ground in a swoon.” When the Princess of the Golden Roof heard this
she was comforted, and her heart went out to him, so that she willingly
consented to become his wife.

Now it happened one day, while they were sailing on the high seas,
that Trusty John, sitting on the forepart of the ship, fiddling away to
himself, observed three ravens in the air flying toward him. He ceased
playing, and listened to what they were saying, for he understood their
language. The one croaked: “Ah, ha! so he’s bringing the Princess of
the Golden Roof home.” “Yes,” answered the second, “but he’s not got her
yet.” “Yes, he has,” spake the third, “for she’s sitting beside him on
the ship.” Then number one began again and cried: “That’ll not help him!
When they reach the land a chestnut horse will dash forward to greet
them: the King will wish to mount it, and if he does it will gallop away
with him, and disappear into the air, and he will never see his bride
again.” “Is there no escape for him?” asked number two. “Oh! yes, if
someone else mounts quickly and shoots the horse dead with the pistol
that is sticking in the holster, then the young King is saved. But who’s
to do that? And anyone who knows it and tells him will be turned into
stone from his feet to his knees.” Then spake number two: “I know more
than that: even if the horse is slain, the young King will still not
keep his bride: when they enter the palace together they will find a
ready-made wedding shirt in a cupboard, which looks as though it were
woven of gold and silver, but is really made of nothing but sulphur and
tar: when the King puts it on it will burn him to his marrow and bones.”
 Number three asked: “Is there no way of escape, then?” “Oh! yes,”
 answered number two: “If someone seizes the shirt with gloved hands and
throws it into the fire, and lets it burn, then the young King is saved.
But what’s the good? Anyone knowing this and telling it will have half
his body turned into stone, from his knees to his heart.” Then number
three spake: “I know yet more: though the bridal shirt too be burnt, the
King hasn’t even then secured his bride: when the dance is held after
the wedding, and the young Queen is dancing, she will suddenly grow
deadly white, and drop down like one dead, and unless some one lifts her
up and draws three drops of blood from her right side, and spits them
out again, she will die. But if anyone who knows this betrays it, he
will be turned into stone from the crown of his head to the soles of his
feet.” When the ravens had thus conversed they fled onward, but Trusty
John had taken it all in, and was sad and depressed from that time
forward; for if he were silent to his master concerning what he had
heard, he would involve him in misfortune; but if he took him into his
confidence, then he himself would forfeit his life. At last he said: “I
will stand by my master, though it should be my ruin.”

Now when they drew near the land it came to pass just as the ravens had
predicted, and a splendid chestnut horse bounded forward. “Capital!”
 said the King; “this animal shall carry me to my palace,” and was about
to mount, but Trusty John was too sharp for him, and, springing up
quickly, seized the pistol out of the holster and shot the horse dead.
Then the other servants of the King, who at no time looked favorably on
Trusty John, cried out: “What a sin to kill the beautiful beast that was
to bear the King to his palace!” But the King spake: “Silence! let him
alone; he is ever my most trusty John. Who knows for what good end he
may have done this thing?” So they went on their way and entered
the palace, and there in the hall stood a cupboard in which lay the
ready-made bridal shirt, looking for all the world as though it were
made of gold and silver. The young King went toward it and was about to
take hold of it, but Trusty John, pushing him aside, seized it with his
gloved hands, threw it hastily into the fire, and let it burn The
other servants commenced grumbling again, and said: “See, he’s actually
burning the King’s bridal shirt.” But the young King spoke: “Who knows
for what good purpose he does it? Let him alone, he is my most trusty
John.” Then the wedding was celebrated, the dance began, and the bride
joined in, but Trusty John watched her countenance carefully. Of a
sudden she grew deadly white, and fell to the ground as if she were
dead. He at once sprang hastily toward her, lifted her up, and bore her
to a room, where he laid her down, and kneeling beside her he drew three
drops of blood from her right side, and spat them out. She soon
breathed again and came to herself; but the young King had watched the
proceeding, and not knowing why Trusty John had acted as he did, he flew
into a passion, and cried: “Throw him into prison.” On the following
morning sentence was passed on Trusty John, and he was condemned to be
hanged. As he stood on the gallows he said: “Every one doomed to
death has the right to speak once before he dies; and I too have that
privilege?” “Yes,” said the King, “it shall be granted to you.” So
Trusty John spoke: “I am unjustly condemned, for I have always been
faithful to you”; and he proceeded to relate how he had heard the
ravens’ conversation on the sea, and how he had to do all he did in
order to save his master. Then the King cried: “Oh! my most trusty John,
pardon! pardon! Take him down.” But as he uttered the last word Trusty
John had fallen lifeless to the ground, and was a stone.

The King and Queen were in despair, and the King spake: “Ah! how ill
have I rewarded such great fidelity!” and made them lift up the stone
image and place it in his bedroom near his bed. As often as he looked at
it he wept and said: “Oh! if I could only restore you to life, my most
trusty John!” After a time the Queen gave birth to twins, two small
sons, who throve and grew, and were a constant joy to her. One day when
the Queen was at church, and the two children sat and played with their
father, he gazed again full of grief on the stone statue, and sighing,
wailed: “Oh, if I could only restore you to life, my most trusty John!”
 Suddenly the stone began to speak, and said: “Yes, you can restore me
to life again if you are prepared to sacrifice what you hold most dear.”
 And the King cried out: “All I have in the world will I give up for your
sake.” The stone continued: “If you cut off with your own hand the heads
of your two children, and smear me with their blood, I shall come back
to life.” The King was aghast when he heard that he had himself to put
his children to death; but when he thought of Trusty John’s fidelity,
and how he had even died for him, he drew his sword, and with his own
hand cut the heads off his children. And when he had smeared the stone
with their blood, life came back, and Trusty John stood once more safe
and sound before him. He spake to the King: “Your loyalty shall be
rewarded,” and taking up the heads of the children, he placed them on
their bodies, smeared the wounds with their blood, and in a minute they
were all right again and jumping about as if nothing had happened.
Then the King was full of joy, and when he saw the Queen coming, he hid
Trusty John and the two children in a big cupboard. As she entered he
said to her: “Did you pray in church?” “Yes,” she answered, “but my
thoughts dwelt constantly on Trusty John, and of what he has suffered
for us.” Then he spake: “Dear wife, we can restore him to life, but the
price asked is our two little sons; we must sacrifice them.” The Queen
grew white and her heart sank, but she replied: “We owe it to him on
account of his great fidelity.” Then he rejoiced that she was of the
same mind as he had been, and going forward he opened the cupboard, and
fetched the two children and Trusty John out, saying: “God be praised!
Trusty John is free once more, and we have our two small sons again.”
 Then he related to her all that had passed, and they lived together
happily ever afterward.(1)


(1) Grimm.



THE BRAVE LITTLE TAILOR


One summer’s day a little tailor sat on his table by the window in
the best of spirits, and sewed for dear life. As he was sitting thus a
peasant woman came down the street, calling out: “Good jam to sell,
good jam to sell.” This sounded sweetly in the tailor’s ears; he put
his frail little head out of the window, and shouted: “up here, my good
woman, and you’ll find a willing customer.” The woman climbed up the
three flights of stairs with her heavy basket to the tailor’s room, and
he made her spread out all the pots in a row before him. He examined
them all, lifted them up and smelled them, and said at last: “This jam
seems good, weigh me four ounces of it, my good woman; and even if it’s
a quarter of a pound I won’t stick at it.” The woman, who had hoped to
find a good market, gave him what he wanted, but went away grumbling
wrathfully. “Now heaven shall bless this jam for my use,” cried the
little tailor, “and it shall sustain and strengthen me.” He fetched some
bread out of a cupboard, cut a round off the loaf, and spread the jam on
it. “That won’t taste amiss,” he said; “but I’ll finish that waistcoat
first before I take a bite.” He placed the bread beside him, went
on sewing, and out of the lightness of his heart kept on making his
stitches bigger and bigger. In the meantime the smell of the sweet jam
rose to the ceiling, where heaps of flies were sitting, and attracted
them to such an extent that they swarmed on to it in masses. “Ha! who
invited you?” said the tailor, and chased the unwelcome guests away. But
the flies, who didn’t understand English, refused to let themselves
be warned off, and returned again in even greater numbers. At last the
little tailor, losing all patience, reached out of his chimney corner
for a duster, and exclaiming: “Wait, and I’ll give it to you,” he beat
them mercilessly with it. When he left off he counted the slain, and
no fewer than seven lay dead before him with outstretched legs. “What a
desperate fellow I am!” said he, and was filled with admiration at his
own courage. “The whole town must know about this”; and in great haste
the little tailor cut out a girdle, hemmed it, and embroidered on it in
big letters, “Seven at a blow.” “What did I say, the town? no, the whole
world shall hear of it,” he said; and his heart beat for joy as a lamb
wags his tail.

The tailor strapped the girdle round his waist and set out into the wide
world, for he considered his workroom too small a field for his prowess.
Before he set forth he looked round about him, to see if there was
anything in the house he could take with him on his journey; but he
found nothing except an old cheese, which he took possession of. In
front of the house he observed a bird that had been caught in some
bushes, and this he put into his wallet beside the cheese. Then he went
on his way merrily, and being light and agile he never felt tired. His
way led up a hill, on the top of which sat a powerful giant, who was
calmly surveying the landscape. The little tailor went up to him, and
greeting him cheerfully said: “Good-day, friend; there you sit at your
ease viewing the whole wide world. I’m just on my way there. What do you
say to accompanying me?” The giant looked contemptuously at the tailor,
and said: “What a poor wretched little creature you are!” “That’s a good
joke,” answered the little tailor, and unbuttoning his coat he showed
the giant the girdle. “There now, you can read what sort of a fellow
I am.” The giant read: “Seven at a blow”; and thinking they were human
beings the tailor had slain, he conceived a certain respect for the
little man. But first he thought he’d test him, so taking up a stone in
his hand, he squeezed it till some drops of water ran out. “Now you do
the same,” said the giant, “if you really wish to be thought strong.”
 “Is that all?” said the little tailor; “that’s child’s play to me,” so
he dived into his wallet, brought out the cheese, and pressed it till
the whey ran out. “My squeeze was in sooth better than yours,” said he.
The giant didn’t know what to say, for he couldn’t have believed it
of the little fellow. To prove him again, the giant lifted a stone and
threw it so high that the eye could hardly follow it. “Now, my little
pigmy, let me see you do that.” “Well thrown,” said the tailor; “but,
after all, your stone fell to the ground; I’ll throw one that won’t come
down at all.” He dived into his wallet again, and grasping the bird in
his hand, he threw it up into the air. The bird, enchanted to be free,
soared up into the sky, and flew away never to return. “Well, what do
you think of that little piece of business, friend?” asked the tailor.
“You can certainly throw,” said the giant; “but now let’s see if you can
carry a proper weight.” With these words he led the tailor to a huge oak
tree which had been felled to the ground, and said: “If you are strong
enough, help me to carry the tree out of the wood.” “Most certainly,”
 said the little tailor: “just you take the trunk on your shoulder; I’ll
bear the top and branches, which is certainly the heaviest part.” The
giant laid the trunk on his shoulder, but the tailor sat at his ease
among the branches; and the giant, who couldn’t see what was going on
behind him, had to carry the whole tree, and the little tailor into the
bargain. There he sat behind in the best of spirits, lustily whistling a
tune, as if carrying the tree were mere sport. The giant, after dragging
the heavy weight for some time, could get on no further, and shouted
out: “Hi! I must let the tree fall.” The tailor sprang nimbly down,
seized the tree with both hands as if he had carried it the whole way
and said to the giant: “Fancy a big lout like you not being able to
carry a tree!”

They continued to go on their way together, and as they passed by a
cherry tree the giant grasped the top of it, where the ripest fruit
hung, gave the branches into the tailor’s hand, and bade him eat. But
the little tailor was far too weak to hold the tree down, and when the
giant let go the tree swung back into the air, bearing the little tailor
with it. When he had fallen to the ground again without hurting himself,
the giant said: “What! do you mean to tell me you haven’t the strength
to hold down a feeble twig?” “It wasn’t strength that was wanting,”
 replied the tailor; “do you think that would have been anything for a
man who has killed seven at a blow? I jumped over the tree because the
huntsmen are shooting among the branches near us. Do you do the like if
you dare.” The giant made an attempt, but couldn’t get over the tree,
and stuck fast in the branches, so that here too the little tailor had
the better of him.

“Well, you’re a fine fellow, after all,” said the giant; “come and spend
the night with us in our cave.” The little tailor willingly consented to
do this, and following his friend they went on till they reached a cave
where several other giants were sitting round a fire, each holding
a roast sheep in his hand, of which he was eating. The little tailor
looked about him, and thought: “Yes, there’s certainly more room to turn
round in here than in my workshop.” The giant showed him a bed and bade
him lie down and have a good sleep. But the bed was too big for the
little tailor, so he didn’t get into it, but crept away into the corner.
At midnight, when the giant thought the little tailor was fast asleep,
he rose up, and taking his big iron walking-stick, he broke the bed
in two with a blow, and thought he had made an end of the little
grasshopper. At early dawn the giants went off to the wood, and quite
forgot about the little tailor, till all of a sudden they met him
trudging along in the most cheerful manner. The giants were terrified at
the apparition, and, fearful lest he should slay them, they all took to
their heels as fast as they could.

The little tailor continued to follow his nose, and after he had
wandered about for a long time he came to the courtyard of a royal
palace, and feeling tired he lay down on the grass and fell asleep.
While he lay there the people came, and looking him all over read on his
girdle: “Seven at a blow.” “Oh!” they said, “what can this great hero of
a hundred fights want in our peaceful land? He must indeed be a mighty
man of valor.” They went and told the King about him, and said what a
weighty and useful man he’d be in time of war, and that it would be well
to secure him at any price. This counsel pleased the King, and he sent
one of his courtiers down to the little tailor, to offer him, when he
awoke, a commission in their army. The messenger remained standing by
the sleeper, and waited till he stretched his limbs and opened his eyes,
when he tendered his proposal. “That’s the very thing I came here for,”
 he answered; “I am quite ready to enter the King’s service.” So he was
received with all honor, and given a special house of his own to live
in.

But the other officers resented the success of the little tailor, and
wished him a thousand miles away. “What’s to come of it all?” they asked
each other; “if we quarrel with him, he’ll let out at us, and at every
blow seven will fall. There’ll soon be an end of us.” So they resolved
to go in a body to the King, and all to send in their papers. “We are
not made,” they said, “to hold out against a man who kills seven at a
blow.” The King was grieved at the thought of losing all his faithful
servants for the sake of one man, and he wished heartily that he had
never set eyes on him, or that he could get rid of him. But he didn’t
dare to send him away, for he feared he might kill him along with his
people, and place himself on the throne. He pondered long and deeply
over the matter, and finally came to a conclusion. He sent to the tailor
and told him that, seeing what a great and warlike hero he was, he
was about to make him an offer. In a certain wood of his kingdom there
dwelled two giants who did much harm; by the way they robbed, murdered,
burned, and plundered everything about them; “no one could approach them
without endangering his life. But if he could overcome and kill these
two giants he should have his only daughter for a wife, and half his
kingdom into the bargain; he might have a hundred horsemen, too, to back
him up.” “That’s the very thing for a man like me,” thought the little
tailor; “one doesn’t get the offer of a beautiful princess and half a
kingdom every day.” “Done with you,” he answered; “I’ll soon put an end
to the giants. But I haven’t the smallest need of your hundred horsemen;
a fellow who can slay seven men at a blow need not be afraid of two.”

The little tailor set out, and the hundred horsemen followed him. When
he came to the outskirts of the wood he said to his followers: “You wait
here, I’ll manage the giants by myself”; and he went on into the wood,
casting his sharp little eyes right and left about him. After a while
he spied the two giants lying asleep under a tree, and snoring till
the very boughs bent with the breeze. The little tailor lost no time in
filling his wallet with stones, and then climbed up the tree under
which they lay. When he got to about the middle of it he slipped along a
branch till he sat just above the sleepers, when he threw down one stone
after the other on the nearest giant. The giant felt nothing for a long
time, but at last he woke up, and pinching his companion said: “What did
you strike me for?” “I didn’t strike you,” said the other, “you must be
dreaming.” They both lay down to sleep again, and the tailor threw down
a stone on the second giant, who sprang up and cried: “What’s that for?
Why did you throw something at me?” “I didn’t throw anything,” growled
the first one. They wrangled on for a time, till, as both were tired,
they made up the matter and fell asleep again. The little tailor began
his game once more, and flung the largest stone he could find in his
wallet with all his force, and hit the first giant on the chest. “This
is too much of a good thing!” he yelled, and springing up like a madman,
he knocked his companion against the tree till he trembled. He gave,
however, as good as he got, and they became so enraged that they tore up
trees and beat each other with them, till they both fell dead at once on
the ground. Then the little tailor jumped down. “It’s a mercy,” he said,
“that they didn’t root up the tree on which I was perched, or I should
have had to jump like a squirrel on to another, which, nimble though I
am, would have been no easy job.” He drew his sword and gave each of
the giants a very fine thrust or two on the breast, and then went to
the horsemen and said: “The deed is done, I’ve put an end to the two of
them; but I assure you it has been no easy matter, for they even tore up
trees in their struggle to defend themselves; but all that’s of no use
against one who slays seven men at a blow.” “Weren’t you wounded?” asked
the horsemen.

“No fear,” answered the tailor; “they haven’t touched a hair of my
head.” But the horsemen wouldn’t believe him till they rode into the
wood and found the giants weltering in their blood, and the trees lying
around, torn up by the roots.

The little tailor now demanded the promised reward from the King, but he
repented his promise, and pondered once more how he could rid himself
of the hero. “Before you obtain the hand of my daughter and half my
kingdom,” he said to him, “you must do another deed of valor. A unicorn
is running about loose in the wood, and doing much mischief; you must
first catch it.” “I’m even less afraid of one unicorn than of two
giants; seven at a blow, that’s my motto.” He took a piece of cord and
an axe with him, went out to the wood, and again told the men who had
been sent with him to remain outside. He hadn’t to search long, for the
unicorn soon passed by, and, on perceiving the tailor, dashed straight
at him as though it were going to spike him on the spot. “Gently,
gently,” said he, “not so fast, my friend”; and standing still he waited
till the beast was quite near, when he sprang lightly behind a tree; the
unicorn ran with all its force against the tree, and rammed its horn so
firmly into the trunk that it had no strength left to pull it out again,
and was thus successfully captured. “Now I’ve caught my bird,” said the
tailor, and he came out from behind the tree, placed the cord round its
neck first, then struck the horn out of the tree with his axe, and when
everything was in order led the beast before the King.

Still the King didn’t want to give him the promised reward and made a
third demand. The tailor was to catch a wild boar for him that did a
great deal of harm in the wood; and he might have the huntsmen to help
him. “Willingly,” said the tailor; “that’s mere child’s play.” But he
didn’t take the huntsmen into the wood with him, and they were well
enough pleased to remain behind, for the wild boar had often
received them in a manner which did not make them desire its further
acquaintance. As soon as the boar perceived the tailor it ran at him
with foaming mouth and gleaming teeth, and tried to knock him down; but
our alert little friend ran into a chapel that stood near, and got out
of the window again with a jump. The boar pursued him into the church,
but the tailor skipped round to the door, and closed it securely. So the
raging beast was caught, for it was far too heavy and unwieldy to spring
out of the window. The little tailor summoned the huntsmen together,
that they might see the prisoner with their own eyes. Then the hero
betook himself to the King, who was obliged now, whether he liked it or
not, to keep his promise, and hand him over his daughter and half his
kingdom. Had he known that no hero-warrior, but only a little tailor
stood before him, it would have gone even more to his heart. So the
wedding was celebrated with much splendor and little joy, and the tailor
became a king.

After a time the Queen heard her husband saying one night in his sleep:
“My lad, make that waistcoat and patch these trousers, or I’ll box your
ears.” Thus she learned in what rank the young gentleman had been born,
and next day she poured forth her woes to her father, and begged him to
help her to get rid of a husband who was nothing more nor less than a
tailor. The King comforted her, and said: “Leave your bedroom door open
to-night, my servants shall stand outside, and when your husband is
fast asleep they shall enter, bind him fast, and carry him on to a
ship, which shall sail away out into the wide ocean.” The Queen was
well satisfied with the idea, but the armor-bearer, who had overheard
everything, being much attached to his young master, went straight to
him and revealed the whole plot. “I’ll soon put a stop to the business,”
 said the tailor. That night he and his wife went to bed at the usual
time; and when she thought he had fallen asleep she got up, opened the
door, and then lay down again. The little tailor, who had only pretended
to be asleep, began to call out in a clear voice: “My lad, make that
waistcoat and patch those trousers, or I’ll box your ears. I have killed
seven at a blow, slain two giants, led a unicorn captive, and caught a
wild boar, then why should I be afraid of those men standing outside my
door?” The men, when they heard the tailor saying these words, were so
terrified that they fled as if pursued by a wild army, and didn’t dare
go near him again. So the little tailor was and remained a king all the
days of his life.



A VOYAGE TO LILLIPUT


CHAPTER I


My father had a small estate in Nottinghamshire, and I was the third
of four sons. He sent me to Cambridge at fourteen years old, and after
studying there three years I was bound apprentice to Mr. Bates, a famous
surgeon in London. There, as my father now and then sent me small sums
of money, I spent them in learning navigation, and other arts useful to
those who travel, as I always believed it would be some time or other my
fortune to do.

Three years after my leaving him my good master, Mr. Bates, recommended
me as ship’s surgeon to the “Swallow,” on which I voyaged three years.
When I came back I settled in London, and, having taken part of a
small house, I married Miss Mary Burton, daughter of Mr. Edmund Burton,
hosier.

But my good master Bates died two years after; and as I had few friends
my business began to fail, and I determined to go again to sea. After
several voyages, I accepted an offer from Captain W. Pritchard, master
of the “Antelope,” who was making a voyage to the South Sea. We set sail
from Bristol, May 4, 1699; and our voyage at first was very prosperous.

But in our passage to the East Indies we were driven by a violent storm
to the north-west of Van Diemen’s Land. Twelve of our crew died from
hard labor and bad food, and the rest were in a very weak condition.
On the 5th of November, the weather being very hazy, the seamen spied
a rock within 120 yards of the ship; but the wind was so strong that we
were driven straight upon it, and immediately split. Six of the crew,
of whom I was one, letting down the boat, got clear of the ship, and we
rowed about three leagues, till we could work no longer. We therefore
trusted ourselves to the mercy of the waves; and in about half an hour
the boat was upset by a sudden squall. What became of my companions in
the boat, or those who escaped on the rock or were left in the vessel,
I cannot tell; but I conclude they were all lost. For my part, I swam as
fortune directed me, and was pushed forward by wind and tide; but when
I was able to struggle no longer I found myself within my depth. By this
time the storm was much abated. I reached the shore at last, about eight
o’clock in the evening, and advanced nearly half a mile inland, but
could not discover any sign of inhabitants. I was extremely tired, and
with the heat of the weather I found myself much inclined to sleep. I
lay down on the grass, which was very short and soft, and slept sounder
than ever I did in my life for about nine hours. When I woke, it was
just daylight. I attempted to rise, but could not; for as I happened to
be lying on my back, I found my arms and legs were fastened on each side
to the ground; and my hair, which was long and thick, tied down in the
same manner. I could only look upward. The sun began to grow hot, and
the light hurt my eyes. I heard a confused noise about me, but could
see nothing except the sky. In a little time I felt something alive
and moving on my left leg, which, advancing gently over my breast, came
almost up to my chin, when, bending my eyes downward, I perceived it to
be a human creature, not six inches high, with a bow and arrow in his
hands, and a quiver at his back. In the meantime I felt at least forty
more following the first. I was in the utmost astonishment, and roared
so loud that they all ran back in a fright; and some of them were
hurt with the falls they got by leaping from my sides upon the ground.
However, they soon returned, and one of them, who ventured so far as to
get a full sight of my face, lifted up his hands in admiration. I lay
all this while in great uneasiness; but at length, struggling to get
loose, I succeeded in breaking the strings that fastened my left arm
to the ground; and at the same time, with a violent pull that gave me
extreme pain, I a little loosened the strings that tied down my hair, so
that I was just able to turn my head about two inches. But the creatures
ran off a second time before I could seize them, whereupon there was a
great shout, and in an instant I felt above a hundred arrows discharged
on my left hand, which pricked me like so many needles. Moreover, they
shot another flight into the air, of which some fell on my face, which
I immediately covered with my left hand. When this shower of arrows
was over I groaned with grief and pain, and then, striving again to get
loose, they discharged another flight of arrows larger than the first,
and some of them tried to stab me with their spears; but by good luck
I had on a leather jacket, which they could not pierce. By this time
I thought it most prudent to lie still till night, when, my left
hand being already loose, I could easily free myself; and as for the
inhabitants, I thought I might be a match for the greatest army they
could bring against me if they were all of the same size as him I
saw. When the people observed that I was quiet they discharged no more
arrows, but by the noise I heard I knew that their number was increased;
and about four yards from me, for more than an hour, there was a
knocking, like people at work. Then, turning my head that way as well
as the pegs and strings would let me, I saw a stage set up, about a foot
and a half from the ground, with two or three ladders to mount it. From
this, one of them, who seemed to be a person of quality, made me a long
speech, of which I could not understand a word, though I could tell from
his manner that he sometimes threatened me, and sometimes spoke with
pity and kindness. I answered in few words, but in the most submissive
manner; and, being almost famished with hunger, I could not help showing
my impatience by putting my finger frequently to my mouth, to signify
that I wanted food. He understood me very well, and, descending from the
stage, commanded that several ladders should be set against my sides, on
which more than a hundred of the inhabitants mounted, and walked toward
my mouth with baskets full of food, which had been sent by the King’s
orders when he first received tidings of me. There were legs and
shoulders like mutton but smaller than the wings of a lark. I ate
them two or three at a mouthful, and took three loaves at a time. They
supplied me as fast as they could, with a thousand marks of wonder at
my appetite. I then made a sign that I wanted something to drink. They
guessed that a small quantity would not suffice me, and, being a most
ingenious people, they slung up one of their largest hogsheads, then
rolled it toward my hand, and beat out the top. I drank it off at a
draught, which I might well do, for it did not hold half a pint. They
brought me a second hogshead, which I drank, and made signs for more;
but they had none to give me. However, I could not wonder enough at the
daring of these tiny mortals, who ventured to mount and walk upon my
body, while one of my hands was free, without trembling at the very
sight of so huge a creature as I must have seemed to them. After some
time there appeared before me a person of high rank from his Imperial
Majesty. His Excellency, having mounted my right leg, advanced to my
face, with about a dozen of his retinue, and spoke about ten minutes,
often pointing forward, which, as I afterward found, was toward the
capital city, about half a mile distant, whither it was commanded by his
Majesty that I should be conveyed. I made a sign with my hand that was
loose, putting it to the other (but over his Excellency’s head, for
fear of hurting him or his train), to show that I desired my liberty.
He seemed to understand me well enough, for he shook his head, though
he made other signs to let me know that I should have meat and drink
enough, and very good treatment. Then I once more thought of attempting
to escape; but when I felt the smart of their arrows on my face and
hands, which were all in blisters and observed likewise that the number
of my enemies increased, I gave tokens to let them know that they might
do with me what they pleased. Then they daubed my face and hands with a
sweet-smelling ointment, which in a few minutes removed all the smarts
of the arrows. The relief from pain and hunger made me drowsy, and
presently I fell asleep. I slept about eight hours, as I was told
afterward; and it was no wonder, for the physicians, by the Emperor’s
orders, had mingled a sleeping draught in the hogsheads of wine.

It seems that, when I was discovered sleeping on the ground after my
landing, the Emperor had early notice of it, and determined that I
should be tied in the manner I have related (which was done in the
night, while I slept), that plenty of meat and drink should be sent me,
and a machine prepared to carry me to the capital city. Five hundred
carpenters and engineers were immediately set to work to prepare the
engine. It was a frame of wood, raised three inches from the ground,
about seven feet long and four wide, moving upon twenty-two wheels. But
the difficulty was to place me on it. Eighty poles were erected for this
purpose, and very strong cords fastened to bandages which the workmen
had tied round my neck, hands, body, and legs. Nine hundred of the
strongest men were employed to draw up these cords by pulleys fastened
on the poles, and in less than three hours I was raised and slung
into the engine, and there tied fast. Fifteen hundred of the Emperor’s
largest horses, each about four inches and a half high, were then
employed to draw me toward the capital. But while all this was done I
still lay in a deep sleep, and I did not wake till four hours after we
began our journey.

The Emperor and all his Court came out to meet us when we reached the
capital; but his great officials would not suffer his Majesty to risk
his person by mounting on my body. Where the carriage stopped there
stood an ancient temple, supposed to be the largest in the whole
kingdom, and here it was determined that I should lodge. Near the great
gate, through which I could easily creep, they fixed ninety-one chains,
like those which hang to a lady’s watch, which were locked to my
left leg with thirty-six padlocks; and when the workmen found it was
impossible for me to break loose, they cut all the strings that bound
me. Then I rose up, feeling as melancholy as ever I did in my life. But
the noise and astonishment of the people on seeing me rise and walk were
inexpressible. The chains that held my left leg were about two yards
long, and gave me not only freedom to walk backward and forward in a
semicircle, but to creep in and lie at full length inside the temple.
The Emperor, advancing toward me from among his courtiers, all most
magnificently clad, surveyed me with great admiration, but kept beyond
the length of my chain. He was taller by about the breadth of my nail
than any of his Court, which alone was enough to strike awe into the
beholders, and graceful and majestic. The better to behold him, I lay
down on my side, so that my face was level with his, and he stood three
yards off. However, I have had him since many times in my hand, and
therefore cannot be deceived. His dress was very simple; but he wore a
light helmet of gold, adorned with jewels and a plume. He held his sword
drawn in his hand, to defend himself if I should break loose; it was
almost three inches long, and the hilt was of gold, enriched with
diamonds. His voice was shrill, but very clear. His Imperial Majesty
spoke often to me, and I answered; but neither of us could understand a
word.


CHAPTER II


After about two hours the Court retired, and I was left with a strong
guard to keep away the crowd, some of whom had had the impudence to
shoot their arrows at me as I sat by the door of my house. But the
colonel ordered six of them to be seized and delivered bound into my
hands. I put five of them into my coat pocket; and as to the sixth, I
made a face as if I would eat him alive. The poor man screamed terribly,
and the colonel and his officers were much distressed, especially when
they saw me take out my penknife. But I soon set them at ease, for,
cutting the strings he was bound with, I put him gently on the ground,
and away he ran. I treated the rest in the same manner, taking them one
by one out of my pocket; and I saw that both the soldiers and people
were delighted at this mark of my kindness.

Toward night I got with some difficulty into my house, where I lay on
the ground, as I had to do for a fortnight, till a bed was prepared for
me out of six hundred beds of the ordinary measure.

Six hundred servants were appointed me, and three hundred tailors made
me a suit of clothes. Moreover, six of his Majesty’s greatest scholars
were employed to teach me their language, so that soon I was able to
converse after a fashion with the Emperor, who often honored me with his
visits. The first words I learned were to desire that he would please
to give me my liberty, which I every day repeated on my knees; but he
answered that this must be a work of time, and that first I must swear a
peace with him and his kingdom. He told me also that by the laws of the
nation I must be searched by two of his officers, and that as this could
not be done without my help, he trusted them in my hands, and whatever
they took from me should be returned when I left the country. I took up
the two officers, and put them into my coat pockets. These gentlemen,
having pen, ink, and paper about them, made an exact list of everything
they saw, which I afterward translated into English, and which ran as
follows:

“In the right coat pocket of the great Man-Mountain we found only one
great piece of coarse cloth, large enough to cover the carpet of your
Majesty’s chief room of state. In the left pocket we saw a huge silver
chest, with a silver cover, which we could not lift. We desired that it
should be opened, and one of us stepping into it found himself up to the
mid-leg in a sort of dust, some of which flying into our faces sent us
both into a fit of sneezing. In his right waistcoat pocket we found a
number of white thin substances, folded one over another, about the size
of three men, tied with a strong cable, and marked with black figures,
which we humbly conceive to be writings. In the left there was a sort of
engine, from the back of which extended twenty long poles, with which,
we conjecture, the Man-Mountain combs his head. In the smaller pocket on
the right side were several round flat pieces of white and red metal, of
different sizes. Some of the white, which appeared to be silver, were
so large and heavy that my comrade and I could hardly lift them. From
another pocket hung a huge silver chain, with a wonderful kind of engine
fastened to it, a globe half silver and half of some transparent metal;
for on the transparent side we saw certain strange figures, and thought
we could touch them till we found our fingers stopped by the shining
substance. This engine made an incessant noise, like a water-mill, and
we conjecture it is either some unknown animal, or the god he worships,
but probably the latter, for he told us that he seldom did anything
without consulting it.

“This is a list of what we found about the body of the Man-Mountain, who
treated us with great civility.”

I had one private pocket which escaped their search, containing a pair
of spectacles and a small spy-glass, which, being of no consequence to
the Emperor, I did not think myself bound in honor to discover.


CHAPTER III


My gentleness and good behavior gained so far on the Emperor and his
Court, and, indeed, on the people in general, that I began to have hopes
of getting my liberty in a short time. The natives came by degrees to be
less fearful of danger from me. I would sometimes lie down and let five
or six of them dance on my hand; and at last the boys and girls ventured
to come and play at hide-and-seek in my hair.

The horses of the army and of the royal stables were no longer shy,
having been daily led before me; and one of the Emperor’s huntsmen, on a
large courser, took my foot, shoe and all, which was indeed a prodigious
leap. I amused the Emperor one day in a very extraordinary manner. I
took nine sticks, and fixed them firmly in the ground in a square. Then
I took four other sticks, and tied them parallel at each corner, about
two feet from the ground. I fastened my handkerchief to the nine sticks
that stood erect, and extended it on all sides till it was as tight as
the top of a drum; and I desired the Emperor to let a troop of his best
horse, twenty-four in number, come and exercise upon this plain. His
majesty approved of the proposal, and I took them up one by one, with
the proper officers to exercise them. As soon as they got into order
they divided into two parties, discharged blunt arrows, drew their
swords, fled and pursued, and, in short, showed the best military
discipline I ever beheld. The parallel sticks secured them and their
horses from falling off the stage, and the Emperor was so much delighted
that he ordered this entertainment to be repeated several days, and
persuaded the Empress herself to let me hold her in her chair within
two yards of the stage, whence she could view the whole performance.
Fortunately no accident happened, only once a fiery horse, pawing with
his hoof, struck a hole in my handkerchief, and overthrew his rider and
himself. But I immediately relieved them both, and covering the hole
with one hand, I set down the troop with the other as I had taken them
up. The horse that fell was strained in the shoulder; but the rider was
not hurt, and I repaired my handkerchief as well as I could. However,
I would not trust to the strength of it any more in such dangerous
enterprises.

I had sent so many petitions for my liberty that his Majesty at length
mentioned the matter in a full council, where it was opposed by none
except Skyresh Bolgolam, admiral of the realm, who was pleased without
any provocation to be my mortal enemy. However, he agreed at length,
though he succeeded in himself drawing up the conditions on which I
should be set free. After they were read I was requested to swear to
perform them in the method prescribed by their laws, which was to hold
my right foot in my left hand, and to place the middle finger of my
right hand on the crown of my head, and my thumb on the top of my right
ear. But I have made a translation of the conditions, which I here offer
to the public:

“Golbaste Mamarem Evlame Gurdile Shefin Mully Ully Gue, Most Mighty
Emperor of Lilliput, delight and terror of the universe, whose dominions
extend to the ends of the globe, monarch of all monarchs, taller than
the sons of men, whose feet press down to the center, and whose head
strikes against the sun, at whose nod the princes of the earth shake
their knees, pleasant as the spring, comfortable as the summer, fruitful
as autumn, dreadful as winter: His Most Sublime Majesty proposeth to the
Man-Mountain, lately arrived at our celestial dominions, the following
articles, which by a solemn oath he shall be obliged to perform:

“First. The Man-Mountain shall not depart from our dominions without our
license under the great seal.

“Second. He shall not presume to come into our metropolis without our
express order, at which time the inhabitants shall have two hours’
warning to keep within doors.

“Third. The said Man-Mountain shall confine his walks to our principal
high roads, and not offer to walk or lie down in a meadow or field of
corn.

“Fourth. As he walks the said roads he shall take the utmost care not to
trample upon the bodies of any of our loving subjects, their horses or
carriages, nor take any of our subjects into his hands without their own
consent.

“Fifth. If an express requires extraordinary speed the Man-Mountain
shall be obliged to carry in his pocket the messenger and horse a six
days’ journey, and return the said messenger (if so required) safe to
our imperial presence.

“Sixth. He shall be our ally against our enemies in the island of
Blefuscu, and do his utmost to destroy their fleet, which is now
preparing to invade us.

“Lastly. Upon his solemn oath to observe all the above articles,
the said Man-Mountain shall have a daily allowance of meat and drink
sufficient for the support of 1,724 of our subjects, with free access to
our royal person, and other marks of our favor. Given at our palace at
Belfaburac, the twelfth day of the ninety-first moon of our reign.”

I swore to these articles with great cheerfulness, whereupon my chains
were immediately unlocked, and I was at full liberty.

One morning, about a fortnight after I had obtained my freedom,
Reldresal, the Emperor’s secretary for private affairs, came to my
house, attended only by one servant. He ordered his coach to wait at
a distance, and desired that I would give him an hour’s audience. I
offered to lie down that he might the more conveniently reach my
ear; but he chose rather to let me hold him in my hand during our
conversation. He began with compliments on my liberty, but he added
that, save for the present state of things at Court, perhaps I might not
have obtained it so soon. “For,” he said, “however flourishing we may
seem to foreigners, we are in danger of an invasion from the island of
Blefuscu, which is the other great empire of the universe, almost as
large and as powerful as this of his Majesty. For as to what we have
heard you say, that there are other kingdoms in the world, inhabited
by human creatures as large as yourself, our philosophers are very
doubtful, and rather conjecture that you dropped from the moon, or one
of the stars, because a hundred mortals of your size would soon destroy
all the fruit and cattle of his Majesty’s dominions. Besides, our
histories of six thousand moons make no mention of any other regions
than the two mighty empires of Lilliput and Blefuscu, which, as I was
going to tell you, are engaged in a most obstinate war, which began in
the following manner: It is allowed on all hands that the primitive
way of breaking eggs was upon the larger end; but his present Majesty’s
grandfather, while he was a boy, going to eat an egg, and breaking it
according to the ancient practice, happened to cut one of his fingers.
Whereupon the Emperor, his father, made a law commanding all his
subjects to break the smaller end of their eggs. The people so highly
resented this law that there have been six rebellions raised on that
account, wherein one emperor lost his life, and another his crown. It is
calculated that eleven hundred persons have at different times suffered
rather than break their eggs at the smaller end. But these rebels,
the Bigendians, have found so much encouragement at the Emperor of
Blefuscu’s Court, to which they always fled for refuge, that a bloody
war, as I said, has been carried on between the two empires for
six-and-thirty moons; and now the Blefuscudians have equipped a large
fleet, and are preparing to descend upon us. Therefore his Imperial
Majesty, placing great confidence in your valor and strength, has
commanded me to set the case before you.”

I desired the secretary to present my humble duty to the Emperor, and
to let him know that I was ready, at the risk of my life, to defend him
against all invaders.


CHAPTER IV


It was not long before I communicated to his Majesty the plan I formed
for seizing the enemy’s whole fleet. The Empire of Blefuscu is an island
parted from Lilliput only by a channel eight hundred yards wide. I
consulted the most experienced seamen on the depth of the channel, and
they told me that in the middle, at high water, it was seventy glumguffs
(about six feet of European measure). I walked toward the coast, where,
lying down behind a hillock, I took out my spy-glass, and viewed the
enemy’s fleet at anchor--about fifty men-of-war, and other vessels. I
then came back to my house and gave orders for a great quantity of
the strongest cables and bars of iron. The cable was about as thick as
packthread, and the bars of the length and size of a knitting-needle. I
trebled the cable to make it stronger, and for the same reason twisted
three of the iron bars together, bending the ends into a hook. Having
thus fixed fifty hooks to as many cables, I went back to the coast,
and taking off my coat, shoes, and stockings, walked into the sea in my
leather jacket about half an hour before high water. I waded with what
haste I could, swimming in the middle about thirty yards, till I felt
ground, and thus arrived at the fleet in less than half an hour. The
enemy was so frightened when they saw me that they leaped out of their
ships and swam ashore, where there could not be fewer than thirty
thousand. Then, fastening a hook to the hole at the prow of each ship,
I tied all the cords together at the end. Meanwhile the enemy discharged
several thousand arrows, many of which stuck in my hands and face. My
greatest fear was for my eyes, which I should have lost if I had
not suddenly thought of the pair of spectacles which had escaped the
Emperor’s searchers. These I took out and fastened upon my nose, and
thus armed went on with my work in spite of the arrows, many of which
struck against the glasses of my spectacles, but without any other
effect than slightly disturbing them. Then, taking the knot in my hand,
I began to pull; but not a ship would stir, for they were too fast
held by their anchors. Thus the boldest part of my enterprise remained.
Letting go the cord, I resolutely cut with my knife the cables that
fastened the anchors, receiving more than two hundred shots in my face
and hands. Then I took up again the knotted end of the cables to which
my hooks were tied, and with great ease drew fifty of the enemy’s
largest men-of-war after me.

When the Blefuscudians saw the fleet moving in order, and me pulling at
the end, they set up a scream of grief and despair that it is impossible
to describe. When I had got out of danger I stopped awhile to pick out
the arrows that stuck in my hands and face, and rubbed on some of
the same ointment that was given me at my arrival. I then took off my
spectacles, and after waiting about an hour, till the tide was a little
fallen, I waded on to the royal port of Lilliput.

The Emperor and his whole Court stood on the shore awaiting me. They saw
the ships move forward in a large half-moon, but could not discern me,
who, in the middle of the channel, was under water up to my neck. The
Emperor concluded that I was drowned, and that the enemy’s fleet was
approaching in a hostile manner. But he was soon set at ease, for, the
channel growing shallower every step I made, I came in a short time
within hearing, and holding up the end of the cable by which the fleet
was fastened, I cried in a loud voice: “Long live the most puissant
Emperor of Lilliput!” The Prince received me at my landing with all
possible joy, and made me a Nardal on the spot, which is the highest
title of honor among them.

His Majesty desired that I would take some opportunity to bring all the
rest of his enemy’s ships into his ports, and seemed to think of nothing
less than conquering the whole Empire of Blefuscu, and becoming the sole
monarch of the world. But I plainly protested that I would never be the
means of bringing a free and brave people into slavery; and though
the wisest of the Ministers were of my opinion, my open refusal was so
opposed to his Majesty’s ambition that he could never forgive me. And
from this time a plot began between himself and those of his Ministers
who were my enemies, that nearly ended in my utter destruction.

About three weeks after this exploit there arrived an embassy from
Blefuscu, with humble offers of peace, which was soon concluded, on
terms very advantageous to our Emperor. There were six ambassadors, with
a train of about five hundred persons, all very magnificent. Having been
privately told that I had befriended them, they made me a visit, and
paying me many compliments on my valor and generosity, invited me
to their kingdom in the Emperor their master’s name. I asked them to
present my most humble respects to the Emperor their master, whose
royal person I resolved to attend before I returned to my own country.
Accordingly, the next time I had the honor to see our Emperor I desired
his general permission to visit the Blefuscudian monarch. This he
granted me, but in a very cold manner, of which I afterward learned the
reason.

When I was just preparing to pay my respects to the Emperor of Blefuscu,
a distinguished person at Court, to whom I had once done a great
service, came to my house very privately at night, and without sending
his name desired admission. I put his lordship into my coat pocket, and,
giving orders to a trusty servant to admit no one, I fastened the door,
placed my visitor on the table, and sat down by it. His lordship’s face
was full of trouble; and he asked me to hear him with patience, in a
matter that highly concerned my honor and my life.

“You are aware,” he said, “that Skyresh Bolgolam has been your mortal
enemy ever since your arrival, and his hatred is increased since
your great success against Blefuscu, by which his glory as admiral is
obscured. This lord and others have accused you of treason, and several
councils have been called in the most private manner on your account.
Out of gratitude for your favors I procured information of the whole
proceedings, venturing my head for your service, and this was the charge
against you:

“First, that you, having brought the imperial fleet of Blefuscu into the
royal port, were commanded by his Majesty to seize all the other ships,
and put to death all the Bigendian exiles, and also all the people of
the empire who would not immediately consent to break their eggs at the
smaller end. And that, like a false traitor to his Most Serene Majesty,
you excused yourself from the service on pretence of unwillingness to
force the consciences and destroy the liberties and lives of an innocent
people.

“Again, when ambassadors arrived from the Court of Blefuscu, like a
false traitor, you aided and entertained them, though you knew them to
be servants of a prince lately in open war against his Imperial Majesty.

“Moreover, you are now preparing, contrary to the duty of a faithful
subject, to voyage to the Court of Blefuscu.

“In the debate on this charge,” my friend continued, “his Majesty often
urged the services you had done him, while the admiral and treasurer
insisted that you should be put to a shameful death. But Reldresal,
secretary for private affairs, who has always proved himself your friend
suggested that if his Majesty would please to spare your life and only
give orders to put out both your eyes, justice might in some measure be
satisfied. At this Bolgolam rose up in fury, wondering how the secretary
dared desire to preserve the life of a traitor; and the treasurer,
pointing out the expense of keeping you, also urged your death. But his
Majesty was graciously pleased to say that since the council thought the
loss of your eyes too easy a punishment, some other might afterward be
inflicted. And the secretary, humbly desiring to be heard again, said
that as to expense your allowance might be gradually lessened, so that,
for want of sufficient food you should grow weak and faint, and die in
a few months, when his Majesty’s subjects might cut your flesh from your
bones and bury it, leaving the skeleton for the admiration of posterity.

“Thus, through the great friendship of the secretary the affair was
arranged. It was commanded that the plan of starving you by degrees
should be kept a secret; but the sentence of putting out your eyes was
entered on the books. In three days your friend the secretary will come
to your house and read the accusation before you, and point out the
great mercy of his Majesty, that only condemns you to the loss of
your eyes--which, he does not doubt, you will submit to humbly and
gratefully. Twenty of his Majesty’s surgeons will attend, to see the
operation well performed, by discharging very sharp-pointed arrows into
the balls of your eyes as you lie on the ground.

“I leave you,” said my friend, “to consider what measures you will take;
and, to escape suspicion, I must immediately return, as secretly as I
came.”

His lordship did so; and I remained alone, in great perplexity. At first
I was bent on resistance; for while I had liberty I could easily with
stones pelt the metropolis to pieces; but I soon rejected that idea with
horror, remembering the oath I had made to the Emperor, and the favors
I had received from him. At last, having his Majesty’s leave to pay
my respects to the Emperor of Blefuscu, I resolved to take this
opportunity. Before the three days had passed I wrote a letter to my
friend the secretary telling him of my resolution; and, without waiting
for an answer, went to the coast, and entering the channel, between
wading and swimming reached the port of Blefuscu, where the people, who
had long expected me, led me to the capital.

His Majesty, with the royal family and great officers of the Court, came
out to receive me, and they entertained me in a manner suited to the
generosity of so great a prince. I did not, however, mention my disgrace
with the Emperor of Lilliput, since I did not suppose that prince would
disclose the secret while I was out of his power. But in this, it soon
appeared, I was deceived.


CHAPTER V


Three days after my arrival, walking out of curiosity to the northeast
coast of the island, I observed at some distance in the sea something
that looked like a boat overturned. I pulled off my shoes and stockings,
and wading two or three hundred yards, I plainly saw it to be a real
boat, which I supposed might by some tempest have been driven from a
ship. I returned immediately to the city for help, and after a huge
amount of labor I managed to get my boat to the royal port of Blefuscu,
where a great crowd of people appeared, full of wonder at sight of so
prodigious a vessel. I told the Emperor that my good fortune had thrown
this boat in my way to carry me to some place whence I might return to
my native country, and begged his orders for materials to fit it up, and
leave to depart--which, after many kindly speeches, he was pleased to
grant.

Meanwhile the Emperor of Lilliput, uneasy at my long absence (but never
imagining that I had the least notice of his designs), sent a person of
rank to inform the Emperor of Blefuscu of my disgrace; this messenger
had orders to represent the great mercy of his master, who was content
to punish me with the loss of my eyes, and who expected that his brother
of Blefuscu would have me sent back to Lilliput, bound hand and foot,
to be punished as a traitor. The Emperor of Blefuscu answered with many
civil excuses. He said that as for sending me bound, his brother knew
it was impossible. Moreover, though I had taken away his fleet he was
grateful to me for many good offices I had done him in making the peace.
But that both their Majesties would soon be made easy; for I had found
a prodigious vessel on the shore, able to carry me on the sea, which
he had given orders to fit up; and he hoped in a few weeks both empires
would be free from me.

With this answer the messenger returned to Lilliput; and I (though the
monarch of Blefuscu secretly offered me his gracious protection if I
would continue in his service) hastened my departure, resolving never
more to put confidence in princes.

In about a month I was ready to take leave. The Emperor of Blefuscu,
with the Empress and the royal family, came out of the palace; and I lay
down on my face to kiss their hands, which they graciously gave me. His
Majesty presented me with fifty purses of sprugs (their greatest gold
coin) and his picture at full length, which I put immediately into one
of my gloves, to keep it from being hurt. Many other ceremonies took
place at my departure.

I stored the boat with meat and drink, and took six cows and two bulls
alive, with as many ewes and rams, intending to carry them into my own
country; and to feed them on board, I had a good bundle of hay and a bag
of corn. I would gladly have taken a dozen of the natives; but this was
a thing the Emperor would by no means permit, and besides a diligent
search into my pockets, his Majesty pledged my honor not to carry away
any of his subjects, though with their own consent and desire.

Having thus prepared all things as well as I was able, I set sail. When
I had made twenty-four leagues, by my reckoning, from the island of
Blefuscu, I saw a sail steering to the northeast. I hailed her, but
could get no answer; yet I found I gained upon her, for the wind
slackened; and in half an hour she spied me, and discharged a gun. I
came up with her between five and six in the evening, Sept. 26, 1701;
but my heart leaped within me to see her English colors. I put my cows
and sheep into my coat pockets, and got on board with all my little
cargo. The captain received me with kindness, and asked me to tell him
what place I came from last; but at my answer he thought I was raving.
However, I took my black cattle and sheep out of my pocket, which, after
great astonishment, clearly convinced him.

We arrived in England on the 13th of April, 1702. I stayed two months
with my wife and family; but my eager desire to see foreign countries
would suffer me to remain no longer. However, while in England I made
great profit by showing my cattle to persons of quality and others; and
before I began my second voyage I sold them for 600_l_. I left 1500_l_.
with my wife, and fixed her in a good house; then taking leave of her
and my boy and girl, with tears on both sides, I sailed on board the
“Adventure.” (1)


(1) Swift.



THE PRINCESS ON THE GLASS HILL


Once upon a time there was a man who had a meadow which lay on the side
of a mountain, and in the meadow there was a barn in which he stored
hay. But there had not been much hay in the barn for the last two years,
for every St. John’s eve, when the grass was in the height of its vigor,
it was all eaten clean up, just as if a whole flock of sheep had gnawed
it down to the ground during the night. This happened once, and it
happened twice, but then the man got tired of losing his crop, and
said to his sons--he had three of them, and the third was called
Cinderlad--that one of them must go and sleep in the barn on St. John’s
night, for it was absurd to let the grass be eaten up again, blade and
stalk, as it had been the last two years, and the one who went to watch
must keep a sharp look-out, the man said.

The eldest was quite willing to go to the meadow; he would watch the
grass, he said, and he would do it so well that neither man, nor beast,
nor even the devil himself should have any of it. So when evening came
he went to the barn, and lay down to sleep, but when night was drawing
near there was such a rumbling and such an earthquake that the walls and
roof shook again, and the lad jumped up and took to his heels as fast as
he could, and never even looked back, and the barn remained empty that
year just as it had been for the last two.

Next St. John’s eve the man again said that he could not go on in this
way, losing all the grass in the outlying field year after year, and
that one of his sons must just go there and watch it, and watch well
too. So the next oldest son was willing to show what he could do. He
went to the barn and lay down to sleep, as his brother had done; but
when night was drawing near there was a great rumbling, and then an
earthquake, which was even worse than that on the former St. John’s
night, and when the youth heard it he was terrified, and went off,
running as if for a wager.

The year after, it was Cinderlad’s turn, but when he made ready to go
the others laughed at him, and mocked him. “Well, you are just the right
one to watch the hay, you who have never learned anything but how to sit
among the ashes and bake yourself!” said they. Cinderlad, however, did
not trouble himself about what they said, but when evening drew near
rambled away to the outlying field. When he got there he went into the
barn and lay down, but in about an hour’s time the rumbling and creaking
began, and it was frightful to hear it. “Well, if it gets no worse than
that, I can manage to stand it,” thought Cinderlad. In a little time
the creaking began again, and the earth quaked so that all the hay flew
about the boy. “Oh! if it gets no worse than that I can manage to stand
it,” thought Cinderlad. But then came a third rumbling, and a third
earthquake, so violent that the boy thought the walls and roof had
fallen down, but when that was over everything suddenly grew as still
as death around him. “I am pretty sure that it will come again,” thought
Cinderlad; but no, it did not. Everything was quiet, and everything
stayed quiet, and when he had lain still a short time he heard something
that sounded as if a horse were standing chewing just outside the barn
door. He stole away to the door, which was ajar, to see what was there,
and a horse was standing eating. It was so big, and fat, and fine a
horse that Cinderlad had never seen one like it before, and a saddle
and bridle lay upon it, and a complete suit of armor for a knight, and
everything was of copper, and so bright that it shone again. “Ha, ha! it
is thou who eatest up our hay then,” thought the boy; “but I will stop
that.” So he made haste, and took out his steel for striking fire, and
threw it over the horse, and then it had no power to stir from the spot,
and became so tame that the boy could do what he liked with it. So he
mounted it and rode away to a place which no one knew of but himself,
and there he tied it up. When he went home again his brothers laughed
and asked how he had got on.

“You didn’t lie long in the barn, if even you have been so far as the
field!” said they.

“I lay in the barn till the sun rose, but I saw nothing and heard
nothing, not I,” said the boy. “God knows what there was to make you two
so frightened.”

“Well, we shall soon see whether you have watched the meadow or not,”
 answered the brothers, but when they got there the grass was all
standing just as long and as thick as it had been the night before.

The next St. John’s eve it was the same thing, once again: neither of
the two brothers dared to go to the outlying field to watch the crop,
but Cinderlad went, and everything happened exactly the same as on the
previous St. John’s eve: first there was a rumbling and an earthquake,
and then there was another, and then a third: but all three earthquakes
were much, very much more violent than they had been the year before.
Then everything became still as death again, and the boy heard something
chewing outside the barn door, so he stole as softly as he could to
the door, which was slightly ajar, and again there was a horse standing
close by the wall of the house, eating and chewing, and it was far
larger and fatter than the first horse, and it had a saddle on its back,
and a bridle was on it too, and a full suit of armor for a knight, all
of bright silver, and as beautiful as anyone could wish to see. “Ho,
ho!” thought the boy, “is it thou who eatest up our hay in the night?
but I will put a stop to that.” So he took out his steel for striking
fire, and threw it over the horse’s mane, and the beast stood there as
quiet as a lamb. Then the boy rode this horse, too, away to the place
where he kept the other, and then went home again.

“I suppose you will tell us that you have watched well again this time,”
 said the brothers.

“Well, so I have,” said Cinderlad. So they went there again, and there
the grass was, standing as high and as thick as it had been before, but
that did not make them any kinder to Cinderlad.

When the third St. John’s night came neither of the two elder brothers
dared to lie in the outlying barn to watch the grass, for they had been
so heartily frightened the night that they had slept there that they
could not get over it, but Cinderlad dared to go, and everything
happened just the same as on the two former nights. There were three
earthquakes, each worse than the other, and the last flung the boy from
one wall of the barn to the other, but then everything suddenly
became still as death. When he had lain quietly a short time, he heard
something chewing outside the barn door; then he once more stole to the
door, which was slightly ajar, and behold, a horse was standing just
outside it, which was much larger and fatter than the two others he had
caught. “Ho, ho! it is thou, then, who art eating up our hay this time,”
 thought the boy; “but I will put a stop to that.” So he pulled out his
steel for striking fire, and threw it over the horse, and it stood as
still as if it had been nailed to the field, and the boy could do just
what he liked with it. Then he mounted it and rode away to the place
where he had the two others, and then he went home again. Then the two
brothers mocked him just as they had done before, and told him that they
could see that he must have watched the grass very carefully that night,
for he looked just as if he were walking in his sleep; but Cinderlad did
not trouble himself about that, but just bade them go to the field and
see. They did go, and this time too the grass was standing, looking as
fine and as thick as ever.

The King of the country in which Cinderlad’s father dwelt had a daughter
whom he would give to no one who could not ride up to the top of the
glass hill, for there was a high, high hill of glass, slippery as ice,
and it was close to the King’s palace. Upon the very top of this the
King’s daughter was to sit with three gold apples in her lap, and the
man who could ride up and take the three golden apples should marry her,
and have half the kingdom. The King had this proclaimed in every church
in the whole kingdom, and in many other kingdoms too. The Princess was
very beautiful, and all who saw her fell violently in love with her,
even in spite of themselves. So it is needless to say that all the
princes and knights were eager to win her, and half the kingdom besides,
and that for this cause they came riding thither from the very end of
the world, dressed so splendidly that their raiments gleamed in the
sunshine, and riding on horses which seemed to dance as they went, and
there was not one of these princes who did not think that he was sure to
win the Princess.

When the day appointed by the King had come, there was such a host of
knights and princes under the glass hill that they seemed to swarm, and
everyone who could walk or even creep was there too, to see who won the
King’s daughter. Cinderlad’s two brothers were there too, but they would
not hear of letting him go with them, for he was so dirty and black
with sleeping and grubbing among the ashes that they said everyone would
laugh at them if they were seen in the company of such an oaf.

“Well, then, I will go all alone by myself,” said Cinderlad.

When the two brothers got to the glass hill, all the princes and knights
were trying to ride up it, and their horses were in a foam; but it was
all in vain, for no sooner did the horses set foot upon the hill than
down they slipped, and there was not one which could get even so much as
a couple of yards up. Nor was that strange, for the hill was as smooth
as a glass window-pane, and as steep as the side of a house. But they
were all eager to win the King’s daughter and half the kingdom, so they
rode and they slipped, and thus it went on. At length all the horses
were so tired that they could do no more, and so hot that the foam
dropped from them and the riders were forced to give up the attempt. The
King was just thinking that he would cause it to be proclaimed that the
riding should begin afresh on the following day, when perhaps it might
go better, when suddenly a knight came riding up on so fine a horse that
no one had ever seen the like of it before, and the knight had armor of
copper, and his bridle was of copper too, and all his accoutrements were
so bright that they shone again. The other knights all called out to him
that he might just as well spare himself the trouble of trying to ride
up the glass hill, for it was of no use to try; but he did not heed
them, and rode straight off to it, and went up as if it were nothing at
all. Thus he rode for a long way--it may have been a third part of the
way up--but when he had got so far he turned his horse round and rode
down again. But the Princess thought that she had never yet seen so
handsome a knight, and while he was riding up she was sitting thinking,
“Oh! how I hope he may be able to come up to the top!” And when she saw
that he was turning his horse back she threw one of the golden apples
down after him, and it rolled into his shoe. But when he had come down
from off the hill he rode away, and that so fast that no one knew what
had become of him.

So all the princes and knights were bidden to present themselves before
the King that night, so that he who had ridden so far up the glass hill
might show the golden apple which the King’s daughter had thrown down.
But no one had anything to show. One knight presented himself after the
other, and none could show the apple.

At night, too, Cinderlad’s brothers came home again and had a long story
to tell about riding up the glass hill. At first, they said, there was
not one who was able to get even so much as one step up, but then came
a knight who had armor of copper, and a bridle of copper, and his armor
and trappings were so bright that they shone to a great distance, and it
was something like a sight to see him riding. He rode one-third of the
way up the glass hill, and he could easily have ridden the whole of it
if he had liked; but he had turned back, for he had made up his mind
that that was enough for once. “Oh! I should have liked to see him too,
that I should,” said Cinderlad, who was as usual sitting by the chimney
among the cinders. “You, indeed!” said the brothers, “you look as if you
were fit to be among such great lords, nasty beast that you are to sit
there!”

Next day the brothers were for setting out again, and this time too
Cinderlad begged them to let him go with them and see who rode; but no,
they said he was not fit to do that, for he was much too ugly and dirty.
“Well, well, then I will go all alone by myself,” said Cinderlad. So the
brothers went to the glass hill, and all the princes and knights began
to ride again, and this time they had taken care to roughen the shoes of
their horses; but that did not help them: they rode and they slipped as
they had done the day before, and not one of them could get even so far
as a yard up the hill. When they had tired out their horses, so that
they could do no more, they again had to stop altogether. But just as
the King was thinking that it would be well to proclaim that the riding
should take place next day for the last time, so that they might have
one more chance, he suddenly bethought himself that it would be well to
wait a little longer to see if the knight in copper armor would come on
this day too. But nothing was to be seen of him. Just as they were still
looking for him, however, came a knight riding on a steed that was much,
much finer than that which the knight in copper armor had ridden, and
this knight had silver armor and a silver saddle and bridle, and all
were so bright that they shone and glistened when he was a long way off.
Again the other knights called to him, and said that he might just as
well give up the attempt to ride up the glass hill, for it was useless
to try; but the knight paid no heed to that, but rode straight away
to the glass hill, and went still farther up than the knight in copper
armor had gone; but when he had ridden two-thirds of the way up he
turned his horse around, and rode down again. The Princess liked this
knight still better than she had liked the other, and sat longing that
he might be able to get up above, and when she saw him turning back she
threw the second apple after him, and it rolled into his shoe, and as
soon as he had got down the glass hill he rode away so fast that no one
could see what had become of him.

In the evening, when everyone was to appear before the King and
Princess, in order that he who had the golden apple might show it, one
knight went in after the other, but none of them had a golden apple to
show.

At night the two brothers went home as they had done the night before,
and told how things had gone, and how everyone had ridden, but no one
had been able to get up the hill. “But last of all,” they said, “came
one in silver armor, and he had a silver bridle on his horse, and a
silver saddle, and oh, but he could ride! He took his horse two-thirds
of the way up the hill, but then he turned back. He was a fine fellow,”
 said the brothers, “and the Princess threw the second golden apple to
him!”

“Oh, how I should have liked to see him too!” said Cinderlad.

“Oh, indeed! He was a little brighter than the ashes that you sit
grubbing among, you dirty black creature!” said the brothers.

On the third day everything went just as on the former days. Cinderlad
wanted to go with them to look at the riding, but the two brothers would
not have him in their company, and when they got to the glass hill there
was no one who could ride even so far as a yard up it, and everyone
waited for the knight in silver armor, but he was neither to be seen nor
heard of. At last, after a long time, came a knight riding upon a horse
that was such a fine one, its equal had never yet been seen. The knight
had golden armor, and the horse a golden saddle and bridle, and these
were all so bright that they shone and dazzled everyone, even while the
knight was still at a great distance. The other princes and knights were
not able even to call to tell him how useless it was to try to ascend
the hill, so amazed were they at sight of his magnificence. He rode
straight away to the glass hill, and galloped up it as if it were no
hill at all, so that the Princess had not even time to wish that he
might get up the whole way. As soon as he had ridden to the top, he took
the third golden apple from the lap of the Princess and then turned his
horse about and rode down again, and vanished from their sight before
anyone was able to say a word to him.

When the two brothers came home again at night they had much to tell of
how the riding had gone off that day, and at last they told about the
knight in the golden armor too. “He was a fine fellow, that was! Such
another splendid knight is not to be found on earth!” said the brothers.

“Oh, how I should have liked to see him too!” said Cinderlad.

“Well, he shone nearly as brightly as the coal-heaps that thou art
always lying raking among, dirty black creature that thou art!” said the
brothers.

Next day all the knights and princes were to appear before the King and
Princess--it had been too late for them to do it the night before--in
order that he who had the golden apple might produce it. They all went
in turn, first princes, and then knights, but none of them had a golden
apple.

“But somebody must have it,” said the King, “for with our own eyes we
all saw a man ride up and take it.” So he commanded that everyone in the
kingdom should come to the palace, and see if he could show the apple.
And one after the other they all came, but no one had the golden apple,
and after a long, long time Cinderlad’s two brothers came likewise. They
were the last of all, so the King inquired of them if there was no one
else in the kingdom left to come.

“Oh! yes, we have a brother,” said the two, “but he never got the golden
apple! He never left the cinder-heap on any of the three days.”

“Never mind that,” said the King; “as everyone else has come to the
palace, let him come too.”

So Cinderlad was forced to go to the King’s palace.

“Hast thou the golden apple?” asked the King.

“Yes, here is the first, and here is the second, and here is the third,
too,” said Cinderlad, and he took all three apples out of his pocket,
and with that drew off his sooty rags, and appeared there before them in
his bright golden armor, which gleamed as he stood.

“Thou shalt have my daughter, and the half of my kingdom, and thou hast
well earned both!” said the King. So there was a wedding, and Cinderlad
got the King’s daughter, and everyone made merry at the wedding, for all
of them could make merry, though they could not ride up the glass hill,
and if they have not left off their merry-making they must be at it
still.(1)


(1) Asbjornsen and Moe.



THE STORY OF PRINCE AHMED AND THE FAIRY PARIBANOU


There was a sultan, who had three sons and a niece. The eldest of the
Princes was called Houssain, the second Ali, the youngest Ahmed, and the
Princess, his niece, Nouronnihar.

The Princess Nouronnihar was the daughter of the younger brother of the
Sultan, who died, and left the Princess very young. The Sultan took upon
himself the care of his daughter’s education, and brought her up in his
palace with the three Princes, proposing to marry her when she arrived
at a proper age, and to contract an alliance with some neighboring
prince by that means. But when he perceived that the three Princes, his
sons, loved her passionately, he thought more seriously on that affair.
He was very much concerned; the difficulty he foresaw was to make them
agree, and that the two youngest should consent to yield her up to their
elder brother. As he found them positively obstinate, he sent for them
all together, and said to them: “Children, since for your good and
quiet I have not been able to persuade you no longer to aspire to
the Princess, your cousin, I think it would not be amiss if every one
traveled separately into different countries, so that you might not
meet each other. And, as you know I am very curious, and delight in
everything that’s singular, I promise my niece in marriage to him that
shall bring me the most extraordinary rarity; and for the purchase of
the rarity you shall go in search after, and the expense of traveling, I
will give you every one a sum of money.”

As the three Princes were always submissive and obedient to the Sultan’s
will, and each flattered himself fortune might prove favorable to him,
they all consented to it. The Sultan paid them the money he promised
them; and that very day they gave orders for the preparations for their
travels, and took their leave of the Sultan, that they might be the more
ready to go the next morning. Accordingly they all set out at the same
gate of the city, each dressed like a merchant, attended by an officer
of confidence dressed like a slave, and all well mounted and equipped.
They went the first day’s journey together, and lay all at an inn, where
the road was divided into three different tracts. At night, when they
were at supper together, they all agreed to travel for a year, and to
meet at that inn; and that the first that came should wait for the rest;
that, as they had all three taken their leave together of the Sultan,
they might all return together. The next morning by break of day, after
they had embraced and wished each other good success, they mounted their
horses and took each a different road.

Prince Houssain, the eldest brother, arrived at Bisnagar, the capital
of the kingdom of that name, and the residence of its king. He went and
lodged at a khan appointed for foreign merchants; and, having learned
that there were four principal divisions where merchants of all sorts
sold their commodities, and kept shops, and in the midst of which
stood the castle, or rather the King’s palace, he went to one of these
divisions the next day.

Prince Houssain could not view this division without admiration. It was
large, and divided into several streets, all vaulted and shaded from the
sun, and yet very light too. The shops were all of a size, and all
that dealt in the same sort of goods lived in one street; as also the
handicrafts-men, who kept their shops in the smaller streets.

The multitude of shops, stocked with all sorts of merchandise, as the
finest linens from several parts of India, some painted in the most
lively colors, and representing beasts, trees, and flowers; silks and
brocades from Persia, China, and other places, porcelain both from Japan
and China, and tapestries, surprised him so much that he knew not how to
believe his own eyes; but when he came to the goldsmiths and jewelers he
was in a kind of ecstacy to behold such prodigious quantities of wrought
gold and silver, and was dazzled by the lustre of the pearls, diamonds,
rubies, emeralds, and other jewels exposed to sale.

Another thing Prince Houssain particularly admired was the great number
of rose-sellers who crowded the streets; for the Indians are so great
lovers of that flower that no one will stir without a nosegay in his
hand or a garland on his head; and the merchants keep them in pots in
their shops, that the air is perfectly perfumed.

After Prince Houssain had run through that division, street by street,
his thoughts fully employed on the riches he had seen, he was very much
tired, which a merchant perceiving, civilly invited him to sit down in
his shop, and he accepted; but had not been sat down long before he
saw a crier pass by with a piece of tapestry on his arm, about six feet
square, and cried at thirty purses. The Prince called to the crier,
and asked to see the tapestry, which seemed to him to be valued at an
exorbitant price, not only for the size of it, but the meanness of the
stuff; when he had examined it well, he told the crier that he could
not comprehend how so small a piece of tapestry, and of so indifferent
appearance, could be set at so high a price.

The crier, who took him for a merchant, replied: “If this price seems
so extravagant to you, your amazement will be greater when I tell you I
have orders to raise it to forty purses, and not to part with it under.”
 “Certainly,” answered Prince Houssain, “it must have something very
extraordinary in it, which I know nothing of.” “You have guessed it,
sir,” replied the crier, “and will own it when you come to know that
whoever sits on this piece of tapestry may be transported in an instant
wherever he desires to be, without being stopped by any obstacle.”

At this discourse of the crier the Prince of the Indies, considering
that the principal motive of his travel was to carry the Sultan, his
father, home some singular rarity, thought that he could not meet with
any which could give him more satisfaction. “If the tapestry,” said he
to the crier, “has the virtue you assign it, I shall not think forty
purses too much, but shall make you a present besides.” “Sir,” replied
the crier, “I have told you the truth; and it is an easy matter to
convince you of it, as soon as you have made the bargain for forty
purses, on condition I show you the experiment. But, as I suppose you
have not so much about you, and to receive them I must go with you to
your khan, where you lodge, with the leave of the master of the shop, we
will go into the back shop, and I will spread the tapestry; and when we
have both sat down, and you have formed the wish to be transported into
your apartment of the khan, if we are not transported thither it shall
be no bargain, and you shall be at your liberty. As to your present,
though I am paid for my trouble by the seller, I shall receive it as a
favor, and be very much obliged to you, and thankful.”

On the credit of the crier, the Prince accepted the conditions, and
concluded the bargain; and, having got the master’s leave, they went
into his back shop; they both sat down on it, and as soon as the Prince
formed his wish to be transported into his apartment at the khan he
presently found himself and the crier there; and, as he wanted not a
more sufficient proof of the virtue of the tapestry, he counted the
crier out forty pieces of gold, and gave him twenty pieces for himself.

In this manner Prince Houssain became the possessor of the tapestry,
and was overjoyed that at his arrival at Bisnagar he had found so rare
a piece, which he never disputed would gain him the hand of Nouronnihar.
In short, he looked upon it as an impossible thing for the Princes his
younger brothers to meet with anything to be compared with it. It was
in his power, by sitting on his tapestry, to be at the place of meeting
that very day; but, as he was obliged to stay there for his brothers, as
they had agreed, and as he was curious to see the King of Bisnagar and
his Court, and to inform himself of the strength, laws, customs, and
religion of the kingdom, he chose to make a longer abode there, and to
spend some months in satisfying his curiosity.

Prince Houssain might have made a longer abode in the kingdom and
Court of Bisnagar, but he was so eager to be nearer the Princess that,
spreading the tapestry, he and the officer he had brought with him sat
down, and as soon as he had formed his wish were transported to the inn
at which he and his brothers were to meet, and where he passed for a
merchant till they came.

Prince Ali, Prince Houssain’s second brother, who designed to travel
into Persia, took the road, having three days after he parted with
his brothers joined a caravan, and after four days’ travel arrived at
Schiraz, which was the capital of the kingdom of Persia. Here he passed
for a jeweler.

The next morning Prince Ali, who traveled only for his pleasure, and
had brought nothing but just necessaries along with him, after he had
dressed himself, took a walk into that part of the town which they at
Schiraz called the bezestein.

Among all the criers who passed backward and forward with several sorts
of goods, offering to sell them, he was not a little surprised to see
one who held an ivory telescope in his hand of about a foot in length
and the thickness of a man’s thumb, and cried it at thirty purses. At
first he thought the crier mad, and to inform himself went to a shop,
and said to the merchant, who stood at the door: “Pray, sir, is not that
man” (pointing to the crier who cried the ivory perspective glass at
thirty purses) “mad? If he is not, I am very much deceived.”

“Indeed, sir,” answered the merchant, “he was in his right senses
yesterday; I can assure you he is one of the ablest criers we have, and
the most employed of any when anything valuable is to be sold. And if he
cries the ivory perspective glass at thirty purses it must be worth as
much or more, on some account or other. He will come by presently, and
we will call him, and you shall be satisfied; in the meantime sit down
on my sofa, and rest yourself.”

Prince Ali accepted the merchant’s obliging offer, and presently
afterward the crier passed by. The merchant called him by his name, and,
pointing to the Prince, said to him: “Tell that gentleman, who asked
me if you were in your right senses, what you mean by crying that ivory
perspective glass, which seems not to be worth much, at thirty purses.
I should be very much amazed myself if I did not know you.” The crier,
addressing himself to Prince Ali, said: “Sir, you are not the only
person that takes me for a madman on account of this perspective glass.
You shall judge yourself whether I am or no, when I have told you its
property and I hope you will value it at as high a price as those I have
showed it to already, who had as bad an opinion of me as you.

“First, sir,” pursued the crier, presenting the ivory pipe to the
Prince, “observe that this pipe is furnished with a glass at both ends;
and consider that by looking through one of them you see whatever object
you wish to behold.” “I am,” said the Prince, “ready to make you all
imaginable reparation for the scandal I have thrown on you if you will
make the truth of what you advance appear,” and as he had the ivory pipe
in his hand, after he had looked at the two glasses he said: “Show me
at which of these ends I must look that I may be satisfied.” The crier
presently showed him, and he looked through, wishing at the same time to
see the Sultan his father, whom he immediately beheld in perfect health,
set on his throne, in the midst of his council. Afterward, as there was
nothing in the world so dear to him, after the Sultan, as the Princess
Nouronnihar, he wished to see her; and saw her at her toilet laughing,
and in a pleasant humor, with her women about her.

Prince Ali wanted no other proof to be persuaded that this perspective
glass was the most valuable thing in the world, and believed that if
he should neglect to purchase it he should never meet again with such
another rarity. He therefore took the crier with him to the khan where
he lodged, and counted him out the money, and received the perspective
glass.

Prince Ali was overjoyed at his bargain, and persuaded himself that,
as his brothers would not be able to meet with anything so rare and
admirable, the Princess Nouronnihar would be the recompense of his
fatigue and trouble; that he thought of nothing but visiting the Court
of Persia incognito, and seeing whatever was curious in Schiraz and
thereabouts, till the caravan with which he came returned back to the
Indies. As soon as the caravan was ready to set out, the Prince joined
them, and arrived happily without any accident or trouble, otherwise
than the length of the journey and fatigue of traveling, at the place of
rendezvous, where he found Prince Houssain, and both waited for Prince
Ahmed.

Prince Ahmed, who took the road of Samarcand, the next day after his
arrival there went, as his brothers had done, into the bezestein, where
he had not walked long but heard a crier, who had an artificial apple
in his hand, cry it at five and thirty purses; upon which he stopped the
crier, and said to him: “Let me see that apple, and tell me what virtue
and extraordinary properties it has, to be valued at so high a rate.”
 “Sir,” said the crier, giving it into his hand, “if you look at the
outside of this apple, it is very worthless, but if you consider its
properties, virtues, and the great use and benefit it is to mankind, you
will say it is no price for it, and that he who possesses it is master
of a great treasure. In short, it cures all sick persons of the most
mortal diseases; and if the patient is dying it will recover him
immediately and restore him to perfect health; and this is done after
the easiest manner in the world, which is by the patient’s smelling the
apple.”

“If I may believe you,” replied Prince Ahmed, “the virtues of this apple
are wonderful, and it is invaluable; but what ground have I, for all you
tell me, to be persuaded of the truth of this matter?” “Sir,” replied
the crier, “the thing is known and averred by the whole city of
Samarcand; but, without going any further, ask all these merchants you
see here, and hear what they say. You will find several of them will
tell you they had not been alive this day if they had not made use of
this excellent remedy. And, that you may better comprehend what it is,
I must tell you it is the fruit of the study and experiments of a
celebrated philosopher of this city, who applied himself all his
lifetime to the study and knowledge of the virtues of plants and
minerals, and at last attained to this composition, by which he
performed such surprising cures in this town as will never be forgot,
but died suddenly himself, before he could apply his sovereign remedy,
and left his wife and a great many young children behind him, in very
indifferent circumstances, who, to support her family and provide for
her children, is resolved to sell it.”

While the crier informed Prince Ahmed of the virtues of the artificial
apple, a great many persons came about them and confirmed what he said;
and one among the rest said he had a friend dangerously ill, whose life
was despaired of; and that was a favorable opportunity to show Prince
Ahmed the experiment. Upon which Prince Ahmed told the crier he would
give him forty purses if he cured the sick person.

The crier, who had orders to sell it at that price, said to Prince
Ahmed: “Come, sir, let us go and make the experiment, and the apple
shall be yours; and I can assure you that it will always have the
desired effect.” In short, the experiment succeeded, and the Prince,
after he had counted out to the crier forty purses, and he had delivered
the apple to him, waited patiently for the first caravan that should
return to the Indies, and arrived in perfect health at the inn where the
Princes Houssain and Ali waited for him.

When the Princes met they showed each other their treasures, and
immediately saw through the glass that the Princess was dying. They then
sat down on the carpet, wished themselves with her, and were there in a
moment.

Prince Ahmed no sooner perceived himself in Nouronnihar’s chamber than
he rose off the tapestry, as did also the other two Princes, and went
to the bedside, and put the apple under her nose; some moments after the
Princess opened her eyes, and turned her head from one side to another,
looking at the persons who stood about her; and then rose up in the bed,
and asked to be dressed, just as if she had waked out of a sound sleep.
Her women having presently informed her, in a manner that showed their
joy, that she was obliged to the three Princes for the sudden recovery
of her health, and particularly to Prince Ahmed, she immediately
expressed her joy to see them, and thanked them all together, and
afterward Prince Ahmed in particular.

While the Princess was dressing the Princes went to throw themselves at
the Sultan their father’s feet, and pay their respects to him. But when
they came before him they found he had been informed of their arrival by
the chief of the Princess’s eunuchs, and by what means the Princess had
been perfectly cured. The Sultan received and embraced them with the
greatest joy, both for their return and the recovery of the Princess his
niece, whom he loved as well as if she had been his own daughter, and
who had been given over by the physicians. After the usual ceremonies
and compliments the Princes presented each his rarity: Prince Houssain
his tapestry, which he had taken care not to leave behind him in the
Princess’s chamber; Prince Ali his ivory perspective glass, and Prince
Ahmed his artificial apple; and after each had commended their present,
when they put it into the Sultan’s hands, they begged of him to
pronounce their fate, and declare to which of them he would give the
Princess Nouronnihar for a wife, according to his promise.

The Sultan of the Indies, having heard, without interrupting them, all
that the Princes could represent further about their rarities, and
being well informed of what had happened in relation to the Princess
Nouronnihar’s cure, remained some time silent, as if he were thinking
on what answer he should make. At last he broke the silence, and said
to them: “I would declare for one of you children with a great deal of
pleasure if I could do it with justice; but consider whether I can do it
or no. ‘Tis true, Prince Ahmed, the Princess my niece is obliged to
your artificial apple for her cure; but I must ask you whether or no
you could have been so serviceable to her if you had not known by Prince
Ali’s perspective glass the danger she was in, and if Prince Houssain’s
tapestry had not brought you so soon. Your perspective glass, Prince
Ali, informed you and your brothers that you were like to lose the
Princess your cousin, and there you must own a great obligation.

“You must also grant that that knowledge would have been of no service
without the artificial apple and the tapestry. And lastly, Prince
Houssain, the Princess would be very ungrateful if she should not
show her acknowledgment of the service of your tapestry, which was so
necessary a means toward her cure. But consider, it would have been of
little use if you had not been acquainted with the Princess’s illness
by Prince Ali’s glass, and Prince Ahmed had not applied his artificial
apple. Therefore, as neither tapestry, ivory perspective glass, nor
artificial apple have the least preference one before the other, but, on
the contrary, there’s a perfect equality, I cannot grant the Princess to
any one of you; and the only fruit you have reaped from your travels is
the glory of having equally contributed to restore her health.

“If all this be true,” added the Sultan, “you see that I must have
recourse to other means to determine certainly in the choice I ought
to make among you; and that, as there is time enough between this and
night, I’ll do it to-day. Go and get each of you a bow and arrow, and
repair to the great plain, where they exercise horses. I’ll soon come to
you, and declare I will give the Princess Nouronnihar to him that shoots
the farthest.”

The three Princes had nothing to say against the decision of the Sultan.
When they were out of his presence they each provided themselves with a
bow and arrow, which they delivered to one of their officers, and went
to the plain appointed, followed by a great concourse of people.

The Sultan did not make them wait long for him, and as soon as he
arrived Prince Houssain, as the eldest, took his bow and arrow and shot
first; Prince Ali shot next, and much beyond him; and Prince Ahmed last
of all, but it so happened that nobody could see where his arrow fell;
and, notwithstanding all the diligence that was used by himself and
everybody else, it was not to be found far or near. And though it was
believed that he shot the farthest, and that he therefore deserved the
Princess Nouronnihar, it was, however, necessary that his arrow
should be found to make the matter more evident and certain; and,
notwithstanding his remonstrance, the Sultan judged in favor of Prince
Ali, and gave orders for preparations to be made for the wedding, which
was celebrated a few days after with great magnificence.

Prince Houssain would not honor the feast with his presence. In short,
his grief was so violent and insupportable that he left the Court, and
renounced all right of succession to the crown, to turn hermit.

Prince Ahmed, too, did not come to Prince Ali’s and the Princess
Nouronnihar’s wedding any more than his brother Houssain, but did not
renounce the world as he had done. But, as he could not imagine what had
become of his arrow, he stole away from his attendants and resolved to
search after it, that he might not have anything to reproach himself
with. With this intent he went to the place where the Princes Houssain’s
and Ali’s were gathered up, and, going straight forward from there,
looking carefully on both sides of him, he went so far that at last
he began to think his labor was all in vain; but yet he could not help
going forward till he came to some steep craggy rocks, which were
bounds to his journey, and were situated in a barren country, about four
leagues distant from where he set out.


II


When Prince Ahmed came pretty nigh to these rocks he perceived an arrow,
which he gathered up, looked earnestly at it, and was in the greatest
astonishment to find it was the same he shot away. “Certainly,” said he
to himself, “neither I nor any man living could shoot an arrow so far,”
 and, finding it laid flat, not sticking into the ground, he judged that
it rebounded against the rock. “There must be some mystery in this,”
 said he to himself again, “and it may be advantageous to me. Perhaps
fortune, to make me amends for depriving me of what I thought the
greatest happiness, may have reserved a greater blessing for my
comfort.”

As these rocks were full of caves and some of those caves were deep, the
Prince entered into one, and, looking about, cast his eyes on an iron
door, which seemed to have no lock, but he feared it was fastened.
However, thrusting against it, it opened, and discovered an easy
descent, but no steps, which he walked down with his arrow in his
hand. At first he thought he was going into a dark, obscure place, but
presently a quite different light succeeded that which he came out of,
and, entering into a large, spacious place, at about fifty or sixty
paces distant, he perceived a magnificent palace, which he had not then
time enough to look at. At the same time a lady of majestic port and air
advanced as far as the porch, attended by a large troop of ladies, so
finely dressed and beautiful that it was difficult to distinguish which
was the mistress.

As soon as Prince Ahmed perceived the lady, he made all imaginable
haste to go and pay his respects; and the lady, on her part, seeing him
coming, prevented him from addressing his discourse to her first, but
said to him: “Come nearer, Prince Ahmed, you are welcome.”

It was no small surprise to the Prince to hear himself named in a place
he had never heard of, though so nigh to his father’s capital, and he
could not comprehend how he should be known to a lady who was a stranger
to him. At last he returned the lady’s compliment by throwing himself at
her feet, and, rising up again, said to her:

“Madam, I return you a thousand thanks for the assurance you give me of
a welcome to a place where I believed my imprudent curiosity had made
me penetrate too far. But, madam, may I, without being guilty of ill
manners, dare to ask you by what adventure you know me? and how you, who
live in the same neighborhood with me, should be so great a stranger to
me?”

“Prince,” said the lady, “let us go into the hall, there I will gratify
you in your request.”

After these words the lady led Prince Ahmed into the hall. Then she sat
down on a sofa, and when the Prince by her entreaty had done the same
she said: “You are surprised, you say, that I should know you and not be
known by you, but you will be no longer surprised when I inform you who
I am. You are undoubtedly sensible that your religion teaches you to
believe that the world is inhabited by genies as well as men. I am the
daughter of one of the most powerful and distinguished genies, and my
name is Paribanou. The only thing that I have to add is, that you seemed
to me worthy of a more happy fate than that of possessing the Princess
Nouronnihar; and, that you might attain to it, I was present when you
drew your arrow, and foresaw it would not go beyond Prince Houssain’s.
I took it in the air, and gave it the necessary motion to strike against
the rocks near which you found it, and I tell you that it lies in your
power to make use of the favorable opportunity which presents itself to
make you happy.”

As the Fairy Paribanou pronounced these last words with a different
tone, and looked, at the same time, tenderly upon Prince Ahmed, with
a modest blush on her cheeks, it was no hard matter for the Prince to
comprehend what happiness she meant. He presently considered that the
Princess Nouronnihar could never be his and that the Fairy Paribanou
excelled her infinitely in beauty, agreeableness, wit, and, as much
as he could conjecture by the magnificence of the palace, in immense
riches. He blessed the moment that he thought of seeking after his arrow
a second time, and, yielding to his love, “Madam,” replied he, “should
I all my life have the happiness of being your slave, and the admirer
of the many charms which ravish my soul, I should think myself the most
blessed of men. Pardon in me the boldness which inspires me to ask this
favor, and don’t refuse to admit me into your Court, a prince who is
entirely devoted to you.”

“Prince,” answered the Fairy, “will you not pledge your faith to me,
as well as I give mine to you?” “Yes, madam,” replied the Prince, in an
ecstacy of joy; “what can I do better, and with greater pleasure?
Yes, my sultaness, my queen, I’ll give you my heart without the least
reserve.” “Then,” answered the Fairy, “you are my husband, and I am
your wife. But, as I suppose,” pursued she, “that you have eaten nothing
to-day, a slight repast shall be served up for you, while preparations
are making for our wedding feast at night, and then I will show you the
apartments of my palace, and you shall judge if this hall is not the
meanest part of it.”

Some of the Fairy’s women, who came into the hall with them, and guessed
her intentions, went immediately out, and returned presently with some
excellent meats and wines.

When Prince Ahmed had ate and drunk as much as he cared for, the Fairy
Paribanou carried him through all the apartments, where he saw diamonds,
rubies, emeralds and all sorts of fine jewels, intermixed with pearls,
agate, jasper, porphyry, and all sorts of the most precious marbles.
But, not to mention the richness of the furniture, which was
inestimable, there was such a profuseness throughout that the Prince,
instead of ever having seen anything like it, owned that he could not
have imagined that there was anything in the world that could come up to
it. “Prince,” said the Fairy, “if you admire my palace so much, which,
indeed, is very beautiful, what would you say to the palaces of the
chief of our genies, which are much more beautiful, spacious, and
magnificent? I could also charm you with my gardens, but we will let
that alone till another time. Night draws near, and it will be time to
go to supper.”

The next hall which the Fairy led the Prince into, and where the cloth
was laid for the feast, was the last apartment the Prince had not seen,
and not in the least inferior to the others. At his entrance into it
he admired the infinite number of sconces of wax candles perfumed with
amber, the multitude of which, instead of being confused, were placed
with so just a symmetry as formed an agreeable and pleasant sight. A
large side table was set out with all sorts of gold plate, so finely
wrought that the workmanship was much more valuable than the weight of
the gold. Several choruses of beautiful women richly dressed, and whose
voices were ravishing, began a concert, accompanied with all sorts of
the most harmonious instruments; and when they were set down at table
the Fairy Paribanou took care to help Prince Ahmed to the most delicate
meats, which she named as she invited him to eat of them, and which
the Prince found to be so exquisitely nice that he commended them with
exaggeration, and said that the entertainment far surpassed those of
man. He found also the same excellence in the wines, which neither he
nor the Fairy tasted of till the dessert was served up, which consisted
of the choicest sweetmeats and fruits.

The wedding feast was continued the next day, or, rather, the days
following the celebration were a continual feast.

At the end of six months Prince Ahmed, who always loved and honored the
Sultan his father, conceived a great desire to know how he was, and
that desire could not be satisfied without his going to see; he told the
Fairy of it, and desired she would give him leave.

“Prince,” said she, “go when you please. But first, don’t take it amiss
that I give you some advice how you shall behave yourself where you are
going. First, I don’t think it proper for you to tell the Sultan your
father of our marriage, nor of my quality, nor the place where you have
been. Beg of him to be satisfied in knowing you are happy, and desire
no more; and let him know that the sole end of your visit is to make him
easy, and inform him of your fate.”

She appointed twenty gentlemen, well mounted and equipped, to attend
him. When all was ready Prince Ahmed took his leave of the Fairy,
embraced her, and renewed his promise to return soon. Then his horse,
which was most finely caparisoned, and was as beautiful a creature as
any in the Sultan of Indies’ stables, was led to him, and he mounted him
with an extraordinary grace; and, after he had bid her a last adieu, set
forward on his journey.

As it was not a great way to his father’s capital, Prince Ahmed soon
arrived there. The people, glad to see him again, received him with
acclamations of joy, and followed him in crowds to the Sultan’s
apartment. The Sultan received and embraced him with great joy,
complaining at the same time, with a fatherly tenderness, of the
affliction his long absence had been to him, which he said was the more
grievous for that, fortune having decided in favor of Prince Ali his
brother, he was afraid he might have committed some rash action.

The Prince told a story of his adventures without speaking of the Fairy,
whom he said that he must not mention, and ended: “The only favor I
ask of your Majesty is to give me leave to come often and pay you my
respects, and to know how you do.”

“Son,” answered the Sultan of the Indies, “I cannot refuse you the leave
you ask me; but I should much rather you would resolve to stay with me;
at least tell me where I may send to you if you should fail to come, or
when I may think your presence necessary.” “Sir,” replied Prince Ahmed,
“what your Majesty asks of me is part of the mystery I spoke to your
Majesty of. I beg of you to give me leave to remain silent on this head,
for I shall come so frequently that I am afraid that I shall sooner be
thought troublesome than be accused of negligence in my duty.”

The Sultan of the Indies pressed Prince Ahmed no more, but said to him:
“Son, I penetrate no farther into your secrets, but leave you at your
liberty; but can tell you that you could not do me a greater pleasure
than to come, and by your presence restore to me the joy I have not
felt this long time, and that you shall always be welcome when you come,
without interrupting your business or pleasure.”

Prince Ahmed stayed but three days at the Sultan his father’s Court, and
the fourth returned to the Fairy Paribanou, who did not expect him so
soon.

A month after Prince Ahmed’s return from paying a visit to his father,
as the Fairy Paribanou had observed that the Prince, since the time that
he gave her an account of his journey, his discourse with his father,
and the leave he asked to go and see him often, had never talked of the
Sultan, as if there had been no such person in the world, whereas before
he was always speaking of him, she thought he forebore on her account;
therefore she took an opportunity to say to him one day: “Prince, tell
me, have you forgot the Sultan your father? Don’t you remember the
promise you made to go and see him often? For my part I have not forgot
what you told me at your return, and so put you in mind of it, that you
may not be long before you acquit yourself of your promise.”

So Prince Ahmed went the next morning with the same attendance as
before, but much finer, and himself more magnificently mounted,
equipped, and dressed, and was received by the Sultan with the same
joy and satisfaction. For several months he constantly paid his visits,
always in a richer and finer equipage.

At last some viziers, the Sultan’s favorites, who judged of Prince
Ahmed’s grandeur and power by the figure he cut, made the Sultan jealous
of his son, saying it was to be feared he might inveigle himself into
the people’s favor and dethrone him.

The Sultan of the Indies was so far from thinking that Prince Ahmed
could be capable of so pernicious a design as his favorites would make
him believe that he said to them: “You are mistaken; my son loves me,
and I am certain of his tenderness and fidelity, as I have given him no
reason to be disgusted.”

But the favorites went on abusing Prince Ahmed till the Sultan said: “Be
it as it will, I don’t believe my son Ahmed is so wicked as you would
persuade me he is; how ever, I am obliged to you for your good advice,
and don’t dispute but that it proceeds from your good intentions.”

The Sultan of the Indies said this that his favorites might not know the
impressions their discourse had made on his mind; which had so alarmed
him that he resolved to have Prince Ahmed watched unknown to his grand
vizier. So he sent for a female magician, who was introduced by a back
door into his apartment. “Go immediately,” he said, “and follow my son,
and watch him so well as to find out where he retires, and bring me
word.”

The magician left the Sultan, and, knowing the place where Prince Ahmed
found his arrow, went immediately thither, and hid herself near the
rocks, so that nobody could see her.

The next morning Prince Ahmed set out by daybreak, without taking leave
either of the Sultan or any of his Court, according to custom. The
magician, seeing him coming, followed him with her eyes, till on a
sudden she lost sight of him and his attendants.

As the rocks were very steep and craggy, they were an insurmountable
barrier, so that the magician judged that there were but two things
for it: either that the Prince retired into some cavern, or an abode of
genies or fairies. Thereupon she came out of the place where she was hid
and went directly to the hollow way, which she traced till she came
to the farther end, looking carefully about on all sides; but,
notwithstanding all her diligence, could perceive no opening, not so
much as the iron gate which Prince Ahmed discovered, which was to be
seen and opened to none but men, and only to such whose presence was
agreeable to the Fairy Paribanou.

The magician, who saw it was in vain for her to search any farther, was
obliged to be satisfied with the discovery she had made, and returned to
give the Sultan an account.

The Sultan was very well pleased with the magician’s conduct, and said
to her: “Do you as you think fit; I’ll wait patiently the event of your
promises,” and to encourage her made her a present of a diamond of great
value.

As Prince Ahmed had obtained the Fairy Paribanou’s leave to go to the
Sultan of the Indies’ Court once a month, he never failed, and the
magician, knowing the time, went a day or two before to the foot of the
rock where she lost sight of the Prince and his attendants, and waited
there.

The next morning Prince Ahmed went out, as usual, at the iron gate, with
the same attendants as before, and passed by the magician, whom he knew
not to be such, and, seeing her lie with her head against the rock,
and complaining as if she were in great pain, he pitied her, turned his
horse about, went to her, and asked her what was the matter with her,
and what he could do to ease her.

The artful sorceress looked at the Prince in a pitiful manner, without
ever lifting up her head, and answered in broken words and sighs, as
if she could hardly fetch her breath, that she was going to the capital
city, but on the way thither she was taken with so violent a fever that
her strength failed her, and she was forced to lie down where he saw
her, far from any habitation, and without any hopes of assistance.

“Good woman,” replied Prince Ahmed, “you are not so far from help as you
imagine. I am ready to assist you, and convey you where you will meet
with a speedy cure; only get up, and let one of my people take you
behind him.”

At these words the magician, who pretended sickness only to know where
the Prince lived and what he did, refused not the charitable offer he
made her, and that her actions might correspond with her words she made
many pretended vain endeavors to get up. At the same time two of the
Prince’s attendants, alighting off their horses, helped her up, and set
her behind another, and mounted their horses again, and followed the
Prince, who turned back to the iron gate, which was opened by one of his
retinue who rode before. And when he came into the outward court of the
Fairy, without dismounting himself, he sent to tell her he wanted to
speak with her.

The Fairy Paribanou came with all imaginable haste, not knowing what
made Prince Ahmed return so soon, who, not giving her time to ask him
the reason, said: “Princess, I desire you would have compassion on this
good woman,” pointing to the magician, who was held up by two of his
retinue. “I found her in the condition you see her in, and promised her
the assistance she stands in need of, and am persuaded that you, out of
your own goodness, as well as upon my entreaty, will not abandon her.”

The Fairy Paribanou, who had her eyes fixed upon the pretended sick
woman all the time that the Prince was talking to her, ordered two of
her women who followed her to take her from the two men that held her,
and carry her into an apartment of the palace, and take as much care of
her as she would herself.

While the two women executed the Fairy’s commands, she went up to Prince
Ahmed, and, whispering in his ear, said: “Prince, this woman is not so
sick as she pretends to be; and I am very much mistaken if she is not an
impostor, who will be the cause of a great trouble to you. But don’t
be concerned, let what will be devised against you; be persuaded that
I will deliver you out of all the snares that shall be laid for you. Go
and pursue your journey.”

This discourse of the Fairy’s did not in the least frighten Prince
Ahmed. “My Princess,” said he, “as I do not remember I ever did or
designed anybody an injury, I cannot believe anybody can have a thought
of doing me one, but if they have I shall not, nevertheless, forbear
doing good whenever I have an opportunity.” Then he went back to his
father’s palace.

In the meantime the two women carried the magician into a very fine
apartment, richly furnished. First they sat her down upon a sofa, with
her back supported with a cushion of gold brocade, while they made a bed
on the same sofa before her, the quilt of which was finely embroidered
with silk, the sheets of the finest linen, and the coverlet
cloth-of-gold. When they had put her into bed (for the old sorceress
pretended that her fever was so violent she could not help herself in
the least) one of the women went out, and returned soon again with a
china dish in her hand, full of a certain liquor, which she presented to
the magician, while the other helped her to sit up. “Drink this liquor,”
 said she; “it is the Water of the Fountain of Lions, and a sovereign
remedy against all fevers whatsoever. You will find the effect of it in
less than an hour’s time.”

The magician, to dissemble the better, took it after a great deal of
entreaty; but at last she took the china dish, and, holding back her
head, swallowed down the liquor. When she was laid down again the two
women covered her up. “Lie quiet,” said she who brought her the china
cup, “and get a little sleep if you can. We’ll leave you, and hope to
find you perfectly cured when we come again an hour hence.”

The two women came again at the time they said they should, and found
the magician up and dressed, and sitting upon the sofa. “Oh, admirable
potion!” she said: “it has wrought its cure much sooner than you told me
it would, and I shall be able to prosecute my journey.”

The two women, who were fairies as well as their mistress, after they
had told the magician how glad they were that she was cured so soon,
walked before her, and conducted her through several apartments, all
more noble than that wherein she lay, into a large hall, the most richly
and magnificently furnished of all the palace.

Fairy Paribanou sat in this hall on a throne of massive gold, enriched
with diamonds, rubies, and pearls of an extraordinary size, and attended
on each hand by a great number of beautiful fairies, all richly clothed.
At the sight of so much majesty, the magician was not only dazzled, but
was so amazed that, after she had prostrated herself before the throne,
she could not open her lips to thank the Fairy as she proposed. However,
Paribanou saved her the trouble, and said to her: “Good woman, I am glad
I had an opportunity to oblige you, and to see you are able to pursue
your journey. I won’t detain you, but perhaps you may not be displeased
to see my palace; follow my women, and they will show it you.”

Then the magician went back and related to the Sultan of the Indies all
that had happened, and how very rich Prince Ahmed was since his marriage
with the Fairy, richer than all the kings in the world, and how there
was danger that he should come and take the throne from his father.

Though the Sultan of the Indies was very well persuaded that Prince
Ahmed’s natural disposition was good, yet he could not help being
concerned at the discourse of the old sorceress, to whom, when she was
taking her leave, he said: “I thank thee for the pains thou hast taken,
and thy wholesome advice. I am so sensible of the great importance it is
to me that I shall deliberate upon it in council.”

Now the favorites advised that the Prince should be killed, but the
magician advised differently: “Make him give you all kinds of wonderful
things, by the Fairy’s help, till she tires of him and sends him away.
As, for example, every time your Majesty goes into the field, you are
obliged to be at a great expense, not only in pavilions and tents for
your army, but likewise in mules and camels to carry their baggage. Now,
might not you engage him to use his interest with the Fairy to procure
you a tent which might be carried in a man’s hand, and which should be
so large as to shelter your whole army against bad weather?”

When the magician had finished her speech, the Sultan asked his
favorites if they had anything better to propose; and, finding them
all silent, determined to follow the magician’s advice, as the most
reasonable and most agreeable to his mild government.

Next day the Sultan did as the magician had advised him, and asked for
the pavilion.

Prince Ahmed never expected that the Sultan his father would have
asked such a thing, which at first appeared so difficult, not to say
impossible. Though he knew not absolutely how great the power of genies
and fairies was, he doubted whether it extended so far as to compass
such a tent as his father desired. At last he replied: “Though it is
with the greatest reluctance imaginable, I will not fail to ask the
favor of my wife your Majesty desires, but will not promise you to
obtain it; and if I should not have the honor to come again to pay you
my respects that shall be the sign that I have not had success. But
beforehand, I desire you to forgive me, and consider that you yourself
have reduced me to this extremity.”

“Son,” replied the Sultan of the Indies, “I should be very sorry if what
I ask of you should cause me the displeasure of never seeing you more. I
find you don’t know the power a husband has over a wife; and yours would
show that her love to you was very indifferent if she, with the power
she has of a fairy, should refuse you so trifling a request as this I
desire you to ask of her for my sake.” The Prince went back, and was
very sad for fear of offending the Fairy. She kept pressing him to
tell her what was the matter, and at last he said: “Madam, you may have
observed that hitherto I have been content with your love, and have
never asked you any other favor. Consider then, I conjure you, that
it is not I, but the Sultan my father, who indiscreetly, or at least I
think so, begs of you a pavilion large enough to shelter him, his Court,
and army from the violence of the weather, and which a man may carry in
his hand. But remember it is the Sultan my father asks this favor.”

“Prince,” replied the Fairy, smiling, “I am sorry that so small a matter
should disturb you, and make you so uneasy as you appeared to me.”

Then the Fairy sent for her treasurer, to whom, when she came, she said:
“Nourgihan”--which was her name--“bring me the largest pavilion in my
treasury.” Nourgiham returned presently with the pavilion, which she
could not only hold in her hand, but in the palm of her hand when she
shut her fingers, and presented it to her mistress, who gave it to
Prince Ahmed to look at.

When Prince Ahmed saw the pavilion which the Fairy called the largest in
her treasury, he fancied she had a mind to jest with him, and thereupon
the marks of his surprise appeared presently in his countenance; which
Paribanou perceiving burst out laughing. “What! Prince,” cried she, “do
you think I jest with you? You’ll see presently that I am in earnest.
Nourgihan,” said she to her treasurer, taking the tent out of Prince
Ahmed’s hands, “go and set it up, that the Prince may judge whether it
may be large enough for the Sultan his father.”

The treasurer went immediately with it out of the palace, and carried it
a great way off; and when she had set it up one end reached to the very
palace; at which time the Prince, thinking it small, found it large
enough to shelter two greater armies than that of the Sultan his
father’s, and then said to Paribanou: “I ask my Princess a thousand
pardons for my incredulity; after what I have seen I believe there
is nothing impossible to you.” “You see,” said the Fairy, “that the
pavilion is larger than what your father may have occasion for; for
you must know that it has one property--that it is larger or smaller
according to the army it is to cover.”

The treasurer took down the tent again, and brought it to the Prince,
who took it, and, without staying any longer than till the next day,
mounted his horse, and went with the same attendants to the Sultan his
father.

The Sultan, who was persuaded that there could not be any such thing
as such a tent as he asked for, was in a great surprise at the Prince’s
diligence. He took the tent and after he had admired its smallness his
amazement was so great that he could not recover himself. When the tent
was set up in the great plain, which we have before mentioned, he found
it large enough to shelter an army twice as large as he could bring into
the field.

But the Sultan was not yet satisfied. “Son,” said he, “I have already
expressed to you how much I am obliged to you for the present of the
tent you have procured me; that I look upon it as the most valuable
thing in all my treasury. But you must do one thing more for me, which
will be every whit as agreeable to me. I am informed that the Fairy,
your spouse, makes use of a certain water, called the Water of the
Fountain of Lions, which cures all sorts of fevers, even the most
dangerous, and, as I am perfectly well persuaded my health is dear to
you, I don’t doubt but you will ask her for a bottle of that water for
me, and bring it me as a sovereign medicine, which I may make use of
when I have occasion. Do me this other important piece of service, and
thereby complete the duty of a good son toward a tender father.”

The Prince returned and told the Fairy what his father had said;
“There’s a great deal of wickedness in this demand?” she answered, “as
you will understand by what I am going to tell you. The Fountain of
Lions is situated in the middle of a court of a great castle, the
entrance into which is guarded by four fierce lions, two of which sleep
alternately, while the other two are awake. But don’t let that frighten
you: I’ll give you means to pass by them without any danger.”

The Fairy Paribanou was at that time very hard at work, and, as she had
several clews of thread by her, she took up one, and, presenting it
to Prince Ahmed, said: “First take this clew of thread. I’ll tell you
presently the use of it. In the second place, you must have two horses;
one you must ride yourself, and the other you must lead, which must be
loaded with a sheep cut into four quarters, that must be killed to-day.
In the third place, you must be provided with a bottle, which I will
give you, to bring the water in. Set out early to-morrow morning, and
when you have passed the iron gate throw the clew of thread before you,
which will roll till it comes to the gates of the castle. Follow it, and
when it stops, as the gates will be open, you will see the four lions:
the two that are awake will, by their roaring, wake the other two, but
don’t be frightened, but throw each of them a quarter of mutton, and
then clap spurs to your horse and ride to the fountain; fill your bottle
without alighting, and then return with the same expedition. The lions
will be so busy eating they will let you pass by them.”

Prince Ahmed set out the next morning at the time appointed by the
Fairy, and followed her directions exactly. When he arrived at the
gates of the castle he distributed the quarters of mutton among the
four lions, and, passing through the midst of them bravely, got to the
fountain, filled his bottle, and returned back as safe and sound as he
went. When he had gone a little distance from the castle gates he turned
him about, and, perceiving two of the lions coming after him, he drew
his sabre and prepared himself for defense. But as he went forward he
saw one of them turned out of the road at some distance, and showed by
his head and tail that he did not come to do him any harm, but only to
go before him, and that the other stayed behind to follow, he put his
sword up again in its scabbard. Guarded in this manner, he arrived at
the capital of the Indies, but the lions never left him till they had
conducted him to the gates of the Sultan’s palace; after which they
returned the same way they came, though not without frightening all
that saw them, for all they went in a very gentle manner and showed no
fierceness.

A great many officers came to attend the Prince while he dismounted his
horse, and afterward conducted him into the Sultan’s apartment, who was
at that time surrounded with his favorites. He approached toward the
throne, laid the bottle at the Sultan’s feet, and kissed the rich
tapestry which covered his footstool, and then said:

“I have brought you, sir, the healthful water which your Majesty desired
so much to keep among your other rarities in your treasury, but at the
same time wish you such extraordinary health as never to have occasion
to make use of it.”

After the Prince had made an end of his compliment the Sultan placed him
on his right hand, and then said to him: “Son, I am very much obliged
to you for this valuable present, as also for the great danger you have
exposed yourself to upon my account (which I have been informed of by
a magician who knows the Fountain of Lions); but do me the pleasure,”
 continued he, “to inform me by what address, or, rather, by what
incredible power, you have been secured.”

“Sir,” replied Prince Ahmed, “I have no share in the compliment your
Majesty is pleased to make me; all the honor is due to the Fairy my
spouse, whose good advice I followed.” Then he informed the Sultan what
those directions were, and by the relation of this his expedition let
him know how well he had behaved himself. When he had done the Sultan,
who showed outwardly all the demonstrations of great joy, but secretly
became more jealous, retired into an inward apartment, where he sent for
the magician.

The magician, at her arrival, saved the Sultan the trouble to tell her
of the success of Prince Ahmed’s journey, which she had heard of before
she came, and therefore was prepared with an infallible means, as she
pretended. This means she communicated to the Sultan who declared it
the next day to the Prince, in the midst of all his courtiers, in these
words: “Son,” said he, “I have one thing more to ask of you, after which
I shall expect nothing more from your obedience, nor your interest with
your wife. This request is, to bring me a man not above a foot and a
half high, and whose beard is thirty feet long who carries a bar of
iron upon his shoulders of five hundredweight, which he uses as a
quarterstaff.”

Prince Ahmed, who did not believe that there was such a man in the world
as his father described, would gladly have excused himself; but the
Sultan persisted in his demand, and told him the Fairy could do more
incredible things.

The next day the Prince returned to his dear Paribanou, to whom he told
his father’s new demand, which, he said, he looked upon to be a thing
more impossible than the two first; “for,” added he, “I cannot imagine
there can be such a man in the world; without doubt, he has a mind to
try whether or no I am so silly as to go about it, or he has a design on
my ruin. In short, how can he suppose that I should lay hold of a man
so well armed, though he is but little? What arms can I make use of to
reduce him to my will? If there are any means, I beg you will tell them,
and let me come off with honor this time.”

“Don’t affright yourself, Prince,” replied the Fairy; “you ran a risk in
fetching the Water of the Fountain of Lions for your father, but there’s
no danger in finding out this man, who is my brother Schaibar, but is so
far from being like me, though we both had the same father, that he is
of so violent a nature that nothing can prevent his giving cruel marks
of his resentment for a slight offense; yet, on the other hand, is so
good as to oblige anyone in whatever they desire. He is made exactly as
the Sultan your father has described him, and has no other arms than a
bar of iron of five hundred pounds weight, without which he never stirs,
and which makes him respected. I’ll send for him, and you shall judge
of the truth of what I tell you; but be sure to prepare yourself against
being frightened at his extraordinary figure when you see him.” “What!
my Queen,” replied Prince Ahmed, “do you say Schaibar is your brother?
Let him be never so ugly or deformed I shall be so far from being
frightened at the sight of him that, as our brother, I shall honor and
love him.”

The Fairy ordered a gold chafing-dish to be set with a fire in it under
the porch of her palace, with a box of the same metal, which was a
present to her, out of which taking a perfume, and throwing it into the
fire, there arose a thick cloud of smoke.

Some moments after the Fairy said to Prince Ahmed: “See, there comes my
brother.” The Prince immediately perceived Schaibar coming gravely with
his heavy bar on his shoulder, his long beard, which he held up before
him, and a pair of thick mustachios, which he tucked behind his ears and
almost covered his face; his eyes were very small and deep-set in his
head, which was far from being of the smallest size, and on his head he
wore a grenadier’s cap; besides all this, he was very much hump-backed.

If Prince Ahmed had not known that Schaibar was Paribanou’s brother,
he would not have been able to have looked at him without fear, but,
knowing first who he was, he stood by the Fairy without the least
concern.

Schaibar, as he came forward, looked at the Prince earnestly enough to
have chilled his blood in his veins, and asked Paribanou, when he first
accosted her, who that man was. To which she replied: “He is my husband,
brother. His name is Ahmed; he is son to the Sultan of the Indies. The
reason why I did not invite you to my wedding was I was unwilling to
divert you from an expedition you were engaged in, and from which I
heard with pleasure you returned victorious, and so took the liberty now
to call for you.”

At these words, Schaibar, looking on Prince Ahmed favorably, said: “Is
there anything else, sister, wherein I can serve him? It is enough
for me that he is your husband to engage me to do for him whatever he
desires.” “The Sultan, his father,” replied Paribanou, “has a curiosity
to see you, and I desire he may be your guide to the Sultan’s Court.”
 “He needs but lead me the way I’ll follow him.” “Brother,” replied
Paribanou, “it is too late to go to-day, therefore stay till to-morrow
morning; and in the meantime I’ll inform you of all that has passed
between the Sultan of the Indies and Prince Ahmed since our marriage.”

The next morning, after Schaibar had been informed of the affair, he and
Prince Ahmed set out for the Sultan’s Court. When they arrived at the
gates of the capital the people no sooner saw Schaibar but they ran and
hid themselves; and some shut up their shops and locked themselves up in
their houses, while others, flying, communicated their fear to all they
met, who stayed not to look behind them, but ran too; insomuch that
Schaibar and Prince Ahmed, as they went along, found the streets all
desolate till they came to the palaces where the porters, instead
of keeping the gates, ran away too, so that the Prince and Schaibar
advanced without any obstacle to the council-hall, where the Sultan was
seated on his throne, and giving audience. Here likewise the ushers,
at the approach of Schaibar, abandoned their posts, and gave them free
admittance.

Schaibar went boldly and fiercely up to the throne, without waiting to
be presented by Prince Ahmed, and accosted the Sultan of the Indies in
these words: “Thou hast asked for me,” said he; “see, here I am; what
wouldst thou have with me?”

The Sultan, instead of answering him, clapped his hands before his eyes
to avoid the sight of so terrible an object; at which uncivil and rude
reception Schaibar was so much provoked, after he had given him the
trouble to come so far, that he instantly lifted up his iron bar and
killed him before Prince Ahmed could intercede in his behalf. All that
he could do was to prevent his killing the grand vizier, who sat not far
from him, representing to him that he had always given the Sultan his
father good advice. “These are they, then,” said Schaibar, “who gave him
bad,” and as he pronounced these words he killed all the other viziers
and flattering favorites of the Sultan who were Prince Ahmed’s enemies.
Every time he struck he killed some one or other, and none escaped but
they who were not so frightened as to stand staring and gaping, and who
saved themselves by flight.

When this terrible execution was over Schaibar came out of the
council-hall into the midst of the courtyard with the iron bar upon his
shoulder, and, looking hard at the grand vizier, who owed his life to
Prince Ahmed, he said: “I know here is a certain magician, who is a
greater enemy of my brother-in-law than all these base favorites I
have chastised. Let the magician be brought to me presently.” The grand
vizier immediately sent for her, and as soon as she was brought Schaibar
said, at the time he fetched a stroke at her with his iron bar: “Take
the reward of thy pernicious counsel, and learn to feign sickness
again.”

After this he said: “This is not yet enough; I will use the whole town
after the same manner if they do not immediately acknowledge Prince
Ahmed, my brother-in-law, for their Sultan and the Sultan of the
Indies.” Then all that were there present made the air echo again
with the repeated acclamations of: “Long life to Sultan Ahmed”; and
immediately after he was proclaimed through the whole town. Schaibar
made him be clothed in the royal vestments, installed him on the throne,
and after he had caused all to swear homage and fidelity to him went
and fetched his sister Paribanou, whom he brought with all the pomp and
grandeur imaginable, and made her to be owned Sultaness of the Indies.

As for Prince Ali and Princess Nouronnihar, as they had no hand in the
conspiracy against Prince Ahmed and knew nothing of any, Prince Ahmed
assigned them a considerable province, with its capital, where they
spent the rest of their lives. Afterwards he sent an officer to Prince
Houssain to acquaint him with the change and make him an offer of which
province he liked best; but that Prince thought himself so happy in his
solitude that he bade the officer return the Sultan his brother thanks
for the kindness he designed him, assuring him of his submission; and
that the only favor he desired of him was to give him leave to live
retired in the place he had made choice of for his retreat.(1)


(1) Arabian Nights.



THE HISTORY OF JACK THE GIANT-KILLER


In the reign of the famous King Arthur there lived in Cornwall a lad
named Jack, who was a boy of a bold temper, and took delight in hearing
or reading of conjurers, giants, and fairies; and used to listen eagerly
to the deeds of the knights of King Arthur’s Round Table.

In those days there lived on St. Michael’s Mount, off Cornwall, a huge
giant, eighteen feet high and nine feet round; his fierce and savage
looks were the terror of all who beheld him.

He dwelt in a gloomy cavern on the top of the mountain, and used to wade
over to the mainland in search of prey; when he would throw half a dozen
oxen upon his back, and tie three times as many sheep and hogs round his
waist, and march back to his own abode.

The giant had done this for many years when Jack resolved to destroy
him.

Jack took a horn, a shovel, a pickaxe, his armor, and a dark lantern,
and one winter’s evening he went to the mount. There he dug a pit
twenty-two feet deep and twenty broad. He covered the top over so as to
make it look like solid ground. He then blew his horn so loudly that the
giant awoke and came out of his den crying out: “You saucy villain! you
shall pay for this I’ll broil you for my breakfast!”

He had just finished, when, taking one step further, he tumbled headlong
into the pit, and Jack struck him a blow on the head with his pickaxe
which killed him. Jack then returned home to cheer his friends with the
news.

Another giant, called Blunderbore, vowed to be revenged on Jack if ever
he should have him in his power. This giant kept an enchanted castle in
the midst of a lonely wood; and some time after the death of Cormoran
Jack was passing through a wood, and being weary, sat down and went to
sleep.

The giant, passing by and seeing Jack, carried him to his castle, where
he locked him up in a large room, the floor of which was covered with
the bodies, skulls and bones of men and women.

Soon after the giant went to fetch his brother who was likewise a giant,
to take a meal off his flesh; and Jack saw with terror through the bars
of his prison the two giants approaching.

Jack, perceiving in one corner of the room a strong cord, took courage,
and making a slip-knot at each end, he threw them over their heads, and
tied it to the window-bars; he then pulled till he had choked them. When
they were black in the face he slid down the rope and stabbed them to
the heart.

Jack next took a great bunch of keys from the pocket of Blunderbore,
and went into the castle again. He made a strict search through all
the rooms, and in one of them found three ladies tied up by the hair
of their heads, and almost starved to death. They told him that their
husbands had been killed by the giants, who had then condemned them to
be starved to death because they would not eat the flesh of their own
dead husbands.

“Ladies,” said Jack, “I have put an end to the monster and his wicked
brother; and I give you this castle and all the riches it contains, to
make some amends for the dreadful pains you have felt.” He then very
politely gave them the keys of the castle, and went further on his
journey to Wales.

As Jack had but little money, he went on as fast as possible. At length
he came to a handsome house. Jack knocked at the door, when there came
forth a Welsh giant. Jack said he was a traveler who had lost his way,
on which the giant made him welcome, and let him into a room where there
was a good bed to sleep in.

Jack took off his clothes quickly, but though he was weary he could not
go to sleep. Soon after this he heard the giant walking backward and
forward in the next room, and saying to himself:

  “Though here you lodge with me this night,
  You shall not see the morning light;
  My club shall dash your brains out quite.”


“Say you so?” thought Jack. “Are these your tricks upon travelers? But
I hope to prove as cunning as you are.” Then, getting out of bed, he
groped about the room, and at last found a large thick billet of wood.
He laid it in his own place in the bed, and then hid himself in a dark
corner of the room.

The giant, about midnight, entered the apartment, and with his bludgeon
struck many blows on the bed, in the very place where Jack had laid the
log; and then he went back to his own room, thinking he had broken all
Jack’s bones.

Early in the morning Jack put a bold face upon the matter, and walked
into the giant’s room to thank him for his lodging. The giant started
when he saw him, and began to stammer out: “Oh! dear me; is it you? Pray
how did you sleep last night? Did you hear or see anything in the dead
of the night?”

“Nothing to speak of,” said Jack, carelessly; “a rat, I believe, gave me
three or four slaps with its tail, and disturbed me a little; but I soon
went to sleep again.”

The giant wondered more and more at this; yet he did not answer a word,
but went to bring two great bowls of hasty-pudding for their breakfast.
Jack wanted to make the giant believe that he could eat as much as
himself, so he contrived to button a leathern bag inside his coat, and
slip the hasty-pudding into this bag, while he seemed to put it into his
mouth.

When breakfast was over he said to the giant: “Now I will show you a
fine trick. I can cure all wounds with a touch; I could cut off my head
in one minute, and the next put it sound again on my shoulders. You
shall see an example.” He then took hold of the knife, ripped up the
leathern bag, and all the hasty-pudding tumbled out upon the floor.

“Ods splutter hur nails!” cried the Welsh giant, who was ashamed to be
outdone by such a little fellow as Jack, “hur can do that hurself”;
so he snatched up the knife, plunged it into his own stomach, and in a
moment dropped down dead.

Jack, having hitherto been successful in all his undertakings, resolved
not to be idle in future; he therefore furnished himself with a horse,
a cap of knowledge, a sword of sharpness, shoes of swiftness, and an
invisible coat, the better to perform the wonderful enterprises that lay
before him.

He traveled over high hills, and on the third day he came to a large and
spacious forest through which his road lay. Scarcely had he entered the
forest when he beheld a monstrous giant dragging along by the hair
of their heads a handsome knight and his lady. Jack alighted from his
horse, and tying him to an oak tree, put on his invisible coat, under
which he carried his sword of sharpness.

When he came up to the giant he made several strokes at him, but could
not reach his body, but wounded his thighs in several places; and at
length, putting both hands to his sword and aiming with all his might,
he cut off both his legs. Then Jack, setting his foot upon his neck,
plunged his sword into the giant’s body, when the monster gave a groan
and expired.

The knight and his lady thanked Jack for their deliverance, and invited
him to their house, to receive a proper reward for his services. “No,”
 said Jack, “I cannot be easy till I find out this monster’s habitation.”
 So, taking the knight’s directions, he mounted his horse and soon after
came in sight of another giant, who was sitting on a block of timber
waiting for his brother’s return.

Jack alighted from his horse, and, putting on his invisible coat,
approached and aimed a blow at the giant’s head, but, missing his aim,
he only cut off his nose. On this the giant seized his club and laid
about him most unmercifully.

“Nay,” said Jack, “if this be the case I’d better dispatch you!” so,
jumping upon the block, he stabbed him in the back, when he dropped down
dead.

Jack then proceeded on his journey, and traveled over hills and dales,
till arriving at the foot of a high mountain he knocked at the door of a
lonely house, when an old man let him in.

When Jack was seated the hermit thus addressed him: “My son, on the top
of this mountain is an enchanted castle, kept by the giant Galligantus
and a vile magician. I lament the fate of a duke’s daughter, whom they
seized as she was walking in her father’s garden, and brought hither
transformed into a deer.”

Jack promised that in the morning, at the risk of his life, he would
break the enchantment; and after a sound sleep he rose early, put on his
invisible coat, and got ready for the attempt.

When he had climbed to the top of the mountain he saw two fiery
griffins, but he passed between them without the least fear of danger,
for they could not see him because of his invisible coat. On the castle
gate he found a golden trumpet, under which were written these lines:

  “Whoever can this trumpet blow
  Shall cause the giant’s overthrow.”


As soon as Jack had read this he seized the trumpet and blew a shrill
blast, which made the gates fly open and the very castle itself tremble.

The giant and the conjurer now knew that their wicked course was at an
end, and they stood biting their thumbs and shaking with fear. Jack,
with his sword of sharpness, soon killed the giant, and the magician was
then carried away by a whirlwind; and every knight and beautiful lady
who had been changed into birds and beasts returned to their proper
shapes. The castle vanished away like smoke, and the head of the giant
Galligantus was then sent to King Arthur.

The knights and ladies rested that night at the old man’s hermitage, and
next day they set out for the Court. Jack then went up to the King, and
gave his Majesty an account of all his fierce battles.

Jack’s fame had now spread through the whole country, and at the King’s
desire the duke gave him his daughter in marriage, to the joy of all his
kingdom. After this the King gave him a large estate, on which he and
his lady lived the rest of their days in joy and contentment.(1)


(1) Old Chapbook.



THE BLACK BULL OF NORROWAY


     And many a hunting song they sung,
       And song of game and glee;
     Then tuned to plaintive strains their tongue,
       “Of Scotland’s luve and lee.”
      To wilder measures next they turn
       “The Black, Black Bull of Norroway!”
      Sudden the tapers cease to burn,
       The minstrels cease to play.

            “The Cout of Keeldar,” by J. Leyden.


In Norroway, langsyne, there lived a certain lady, and she had three
dochters. The auldest o’ them said to her mither: “Mither, bake me a
bannock, and roast me a collop, for I’m gaun awa’ to seek my fortune.”
 Her mither did sae; and the dochter gaed awa’ to an auld witch
washerwife and telled her purpose. The auld wife bade her stay that day,
and gang and look out o’ her back door, and see what she could see. She
saw nocht the first day. The second day she did the same, and saw nocht.
On the third day she looked again, and saw a coach-and-six coming along
the road. She ran in and telled the auld wife what she saw. “Aweel,”
 quo’ the auld wife, “yon’s for you.” Sae they took her into the coach,
and galloped aff.

The second dochter next says to her mither: “Mither, bake me a bannock,
and roast me a collop, fur I’m gaun awa’ to seek my fortune.” Her mither
did sae; and awa’ she gaed to the auld wife, as her sister had dune. On
the third day she looked out o’ the back door, and saw a coach-and-four
coming along the road. “Aweel,” quo’ the auld wife, “yon’s for you.” Sae
they took her in, and aff they set.

The third dochter says to her mither: “Mither, bake me a bannock, and
roast me a collop, for I’m gaun awa’ to seek my fortune.” Her mither did
sae; and awa’ she gaed to the auld witch-wife. She bade her look out
o’ her back door, and see what she could see. She did sae; and when she
came back said she saw nocht. The second day she did the same, and saw
nocht. The third day she looked again, and on coming back said to the
auld wife she saw nocht but a muckle Black Bull coming roaring alang the
road. “Aweel,” quo’ the auld wife, “yon’s for you.” On hearing this she
was next to distracted wi’ grief and terror; but she was lifted up and
set on his back, and awa’ they went.

Aye they traveled, and on they traveled, till the lady grew faint wi’
hunger. “Eat out o’ my right lug,” says the Black Bull, “and drink out
o’ my left lug, and set by your leavings.” Sae she did as he said, and
was wonderfully refreshed. And lang they gaed, and sair they rade, till
they came in sight o’ a very big and bonny castle. “Yonder we maun be
this night,” quo’ the bull; “for my auld brither lives yonder”; and
presently they were at the place. They lifted her aff his back, and took
her in, and sent him away to a park for the night. In the morning,
when they brought the bull hame, they took the lady into a fine shining
parlor, and gave her a beautiful apple, telling her no to break it till
she was in the greatest strait ever mortal was in in the world, and that
wad bring her o’t. Again she was lifted on the bull’s back, and after
she had ridden far, and farer than I can tell, they came in sight o’ a
far bonnier castle, and far farther awa’ than the last. Says the bull
till her: “Yonder we maun be the night, for my second brither lives
yonder”; and they were at the place directly. They lifted her down
and took her in, and sent the bull to the field for the night. In the
morning they took the lady into a fine and rich room, and gave her the
finest pear she had ever seen, bidding her no to break it till she was
in the greatest strait ever mortal could be in, and that wad get her out
o’t. Again she was lifted and set on his back, and awa’ they went. And
lang they gaed, and sair they rade, till they came in sight o’ the far
biggest castle, and far farthest aff, they had yet seen. “We maun be
yonder the night,” says the bull, “for my young brither lives yonder”;
and they were there directly. They lifted her down, took her in, and
sent the bull to the field for the night. In the morning they took her
into a room, the finest of a’, and gied her a plum, telling her no to
break it till she was in the greatest strait mortal could be in, and
that wad get her out o’t. Presently they brought hame the bull, set the
lady on his back, and awa’ they went.

And aye they gaed, and on they rade, till they came to a dark and ugsome
glen, where they stopped, and the lady lighted down. Says the bull to
her: “Here ye maun stay till I gang and fight the deil. Ye maun seat
yoursel’ on that stane, and move neither hand nor fit till I come back,
else I’ll never find ye again. And if everything round about ye turns
blue I hae beated the deil; but should a’ things turn red he’ll hae
conquered me.” She set hersel’ down on the stane, and by-and-by a’ round
her turned blue. O’ercome wi’ joy, she lifted the ae fit and crossed it
owre the ither, sae glad was she that her companion was victorious. The
bull returned and sought for but never could find her.

Lang she sat, and aye she grat, till she wearied. At last she rase and
gaed awa’, she kedna whaur till. On she wandered till she came to a
great hill o’ glass, that she tried a’ she could to climb, bat wasna
able. Round the bottom o’ the hill she gaed, sabbing and seeking a
passage owre, till at last she came to a smith’s house; and the smith
promised, if she wad serve him seven years, he wad make her iron shoon,
wherewi’ she could climb owre the glassy hill. At seven years’ end she
got her iron shoon, clamb the glassy hill, and chanced to come to the
auld washerwife’s habitation. There she was telled of a gallant young
knight that had given in some bluidy sarks to wash, and whaever washed
thae sarks was to be his wife. The auld wife had washed till she was
tired, and then she set to her dochter, and baith washed, and they
washed, and they better washed, in hopes of getting the young knight;
but a’ they could do they couldna bring out a stain. At length they set
the stranger damosel to wark; and whenever she began the stains came
out pure and clean, but the auld wife made the knight believe it was her
dochter had washed the sarks. So the knight and the eldest dochter were
to be married, and the stranger damosel was distracted at the thought
of it, for she was deeply in love wi’ him. So she bethought her of her
apple, and breaking it, found it filled with gold and precious jewelry,
the richest she had ever seen. “All these,” she said to the eldest
dochter, “I will give you, on condition that you put off your marriage
for ae day, and allow me to go into his room alone at night.” So
the lady consented; but meanwhile the auld wife had prepared a
sleeping-drink, and given it to the knight, wha drank it, and never
wakened till next morning. The lee-lang night ther damosel sabbed and
sang:

  “Seven lang years I served for thee,
  The glassy hill I clamb for thee,
  The bluidy shirt I wrang for thee;
  And wilt thou no wauken and turn to me?”


Next day she kentna what to do for grief. She then brak the pear, and
found it filled wi’ jewelry far richer than the contents o’ the apple.
Wi’ thae jewels she bargained for permission to be a second night in
the young knight’s chamber; but the auld wife gied him anither
sleeping-drink, and he again sleepit till morning. A’ night she kept
sighing and singing as before:

“Seven lang years I served for thee,” &c. Still he sleepit, and she
nearly lost hope a’thegither. But that day when he was out at the
hunting, somebody asked him what noise and moaning was yon they heard
all last night in his bedchamber. He said he heardna ony noise. But they
assured him there was sae; and he resolved to keep waking that night
to try what he could hear. That being the third night, and the damosel
being between hope and despair, she brak her plum, and it held far the
richest jewelry of the three. She bargained as before; and the auld
wife, as before, took in the sleeping-drink to the young knight’s
chamber; but he telled her he couldna drink it that night without
sweetening. And when she gaed awa’ for some honey to sweeten it wi’, he
poured out the drink, and sae made the auld wife think he had drunk it.
They a’ went to bed again, and the damosel began, as before, singing:

  “Seven lang years I served for thee,
  The glassy hill I clamb for thee,
  The bluidy shirt I wrang for thee;
  And wilt thou no wauken and turn to me?”

He heard, and turned to her. And she telled him a’ that had befa’en her,
and he telled her a’ that had happened to him. And he caused the auld
washerwife and her dochter to be burned. And they were married, and he
and she are living happy till this day, for aught I ken.(1)


(1) Chambers, Popular Traditions of Scotland.



THE RED ETIN


There were ance twa widows that lived on a small bit o’ ground, which
they rented from a farmer. Ane of them had twa sons, and the other had
ane; and by-and-by it was time for the wife that had twa sons to send
them away to seeke their fortune. So she told her eldest son ae day to
take a can and bring her water from the well, that she might bake a cake
for him; and however much or however little water he might bring, the
cake would be great or sma’ accordingly; and that cake was to be a’ that
she could gie him when he went on his travels.

The lad gaed away wi’ the can to the well, and filled it wi’ water, and
then came away hame again; but the can being broken the maist part of
the water had run out before he got back. So his cake was very sma’; yet
sma’ as it was, his mother asked if he was willing to take the half of
it with her blessing, telling him that, if he chose rather to have the
hale, he would only get it wi’ her curse. The young man, thinking he
might hae to travel a far way, and not knowing when or how he might get
other provisions, said he would like to hae the hale cake, com of his
mother’s malison what like; so she gave him the hale cake, and her
malison alang wi’t. Then he took his brither aside, and gave him a
knife to keep till he should come back, desiring him to look at it every
morning, and as lang as it continued to be clear, then he might be sure
that the owner of it was well; but if it grew dim and rusty, then for
certain some ill had befallen him.

So the young man set out to seek his fortune. And he gaed a’ that day,
and a’ the next day; and on the third day, in the afternoon, he came up
to where a shepherd was sitting with a flock o’ sheep. And he gaed up
to the shepherd and asked him wha the sheep belanged to; and the man
answered:


     “The Red Etin of Ireland
       Ance lived in Bellygan,
     And stole King Malcolm’s daughter,
       The King of fair Scotland.
     He beats her, he binds her,
       He lays her on a band;
     And every day he dings her
       With a bright silver wand
     Like Julian the Roman
     He’s one that fears no man.
     It’s said there’s ane predestinate
       To be his mortal foe;
     But that man is yet unborn
       And lang may it be so.”

The young man then went on his journey; and he had not gone far when he
espied an old man with white locks herding a flock of swine; and he gaed
up to him and asked whose swine these were, when the man answered:

     “The Red Etin of Ireland”--
            (Repeat the verses above.)

Then the young man gaed on a bit farther, and came to another very old
man herding goats; and when he asked whose goats they were, the answer
was:

     “The Red Etin of Ireland”--
            (Repeat the verses again.)

This old man also told him to beware of the next beasts that he should
meet, for they were of a very different kind from any he had yet seen.

So the young man went on, and by-and-by he saw a multitude of very
dreadfu’ beasts, ilk ane o’ them wi’ twa heads, and on every head four
horns. And he was sore frightened, and ran away from them as fast as he
could; and glad was he when he came to a castle that stood on a hillock,
wi’ the door standing wide to the wa’. And he gaed into the castle for
shelter, and there he saw an auld wife sitting beside the kitchen fire.
He asked the wife if he might stay there for the night, as he was tired
wi’ a lang journey; and the wife said he might, but it was not a good
place for him to be in, as it belanged to the Red Etin, who was a very
terrible beast, wi’ three heads, that spared no living man he could get
hold of. The young man would have gone away, but he was afraid of the
beasts on the outside of the castle; so he beseeched the old woman to
conceal him as well as she could, and not to tell the Etin that he was
there. He thought, if he could put over the night, he might get away in
the morning without meeting wi’ the beasts, and so escape. But he had
not been long in his hidy-hole before the awful Etin came in; and nae
sooner was he in than he was heard crying:

  “Snouk but and snouk ben,
  I find the smell of an earthly man;
  Be he living, or be he dead,
  His heart this night shall kitchen(1) my bread.”


(1) “Kitchen,” that is, “season.”


The monster soon found the poor young man, and pulled him from his hole.
And when he had got him out he told him that if he could answer him
three questions his life should be spared. The first was: Whether
Ireland or Scotland was first inhabited? The second was: Whether man was
made for woman, or woman for man? The third was: Whether men or
brutes were made first? The lad not being able to answer one of these
questions, the Red Etin took a mace and knocked him on the head, and
turned him into a pillar of stone.

On the morning after this happened the younger brither took out the
knife to look at it, and he was grieved to find it a’ brown wi’ rust. He
told his mother that the time was now come for him to go away upon
his travels also; so she requested him to take the can to the well for
water, that she might bake a cake for him. The can being broken, he
brought hame as little water as the other had done, and the cake was as
little. She asked whether he would have the hale cake wi’ her malison,
or the half wi’ her blessing; and, like his brither, he thought it best
to have the hale cake, come o’ the malison what might. So he gaed away;
and everything happened to him that had happened to his brother!

The other widow and her son heard of a’ that had happened frae a fairy,
and the young man determined that he would also go upon his travels, and
see if he could do anything to relieve his twa friends. So his mother
gave him a can to go to the well and bring home water, that she might
bake him a cake for his journey. And he gaed, and as he was bringing
hame the water, a raven owre abune his head cried to him to look, and
he would see that the water was running out. And he was a young man of
sense, and seeing the water running out, he took some clay and patched
up the holes, so that he brought home enough water to bake a large cake.
When his mother put it to him to take the half-cake wi’ her blessing,
he took it in preference to having the hale wi’ her malison; and yet the
half was bigger than what the other lads had got a’thegither.

So he gaed away on his journey; and after he had traveled a far way he
met wi’ an auld woman, that asked him if he would give her a bit of his
bannock. And he said he would gladly do that, and so he gave her a piece
of the bannock; and for that she gied him a magical wand, that she said
might yet be of service to him if he took care to use it rightly. Then
the auld woman, who was a fairy, told him a great deal that whould
happen to him, and what he ought to do in a’ circumstances; and after
that she vanished in an instant out o’ his sight. He gaed on a great way
farther, and then he came up to the old man herding the sheep; and when
he asked whose sheep these were, the answer was:

      “The Red Etin of Ireland
        Ance lived in Bellygan,
      And stole King Malcolm’s daughter,
        The King of fair Scotland.
      He beats her, he binds her,
        He lays her on a band;
      And every day he dings her
        With a bright silver wand.
      Like Julian the Roman,
      He’s one that fears no man,
      But now I fear his end is near,
        And destiny at hand;
      And you’re to be, I plainly see,
        The heir of all his land.”

(Repeat the same inquiries to the man attending the swine and the man
attending the goats, with the same answer in each case.)


When he came to the place where the monstrous beasts were standing, he
did not stop nor run away, but went boldly through among them. One came
up roaring with open mouth to devour him, when he struck it with his
wand, and laid it in an instant dead at his feet. He soon came to the
Etin’s castle, where he knocked, and was admitted. The auld woman that
sat by the fire warned him of the terrible Etin, and what had been the
fate of the twa brithers; but he was not to be daunted. The monster soon
came in, saying:

  “Snouk but and snouk ben,
  I find the smell of an earthly man;
  Be he living, or be he dead,
  His heart shall be kitchen to my bread.”

He quickly espied the young man, and bade him come forth on the floor.
And then he put the three questions to him, but the young man had been
told everything by the good fairy, so he was able to answer all the
questions. When the Etin found this he knew that his power was gone. The
young man then took up the axe and hewed off the monster’s three heads.
He next asked the old woman to show him where the King’s daughters lay;
and the old woman took him upstairs and opened a great many doors, and
out of every door came a beautiful lady who had been imprisoned there by
the Etin; and ane o’ the ladies was the King’s daughter. She also took
him down into a low room, and there stood two stone pillars that he had
only to touch wi’ his wand, when his two friends and neighbors started
into life. And the hale o’ the prisoners were overjoyed at their
deliverance, which they all acknowledged to be owing to the prudent
young man. Next day they a’ set out for the King’s Court, and a gallant
company they made. And the King married his daughter to the young man
that had delivered her, and gave a noble’s daughter to ilk ane o’ the
other young men; and so they a’ lived happily a’ the rest o’ their
days.(1)


(1) Chambers, Popular Traditions of Scotland.





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