Once upon a time there was an old fox with nine tails. He did not believe that his wife was faithful to him and wanted to put her to the test. He stretched himself out beneath the bench, did not move a limb, and pretended to be stone dead.

Mrs. Fox locked herself in her room, and her maid, Miss Cat, sat on the hearth and cooked.

As soon as it became known that the old fox had died, suitors began to appear. The maid heard someone knocking at the front door. She opened it, and there stood a young fox, who said:

What are you doing, Miss Cat?
Are you asleep, or are you awake?

She answered:

I’m not asleep; I am awake.
Do you want to know what I am doing?
I am cooking warm beer with butter in it.
Would you like to be my guest?

“No thank you, Miss,” said the fox. “What is Mrs. Fox doing?”

The maid answered:

She is sitting in her room
Mourning and grieving.
She has cried her eyes red,
Because old Mr. Fox is dead.

“Miss, tell her that a young fox is here who would like to court her.”

“I’ll do that, young man.”

The cat went upstairs and knocked on the door.

“Mrs. Fox, are you there?”

“Yes, my dear, yes.”

“A suitor is outside.”

“What does he look like? Does he have nine bushy tails like the late Mr. Fox?”

“No,” answered the cat. “He has but one.”

“Then I’ll not have him.”

Miss Cat went downstairs and sent the suitor away.

Soon afterward there was another knock at the door. Another fox was there who wanted to court Mrs. Fox. He had two tails, but he did not fare any better than the first one. Then others came, each with one additional tail, but all were turned away until finally one came who had nine tails, just like old Mr. Fox. When the widow heard that, she spoke joyfully to the cat:

Open up the door
And throw old Mr. Fox out.

They were just about to celebrate the wedding when beneath the bench old Mr. Fox began to stir. He attacked the entire party with blows and drove them all out of the house, including Mrs. Fox.

 

Second Tale

Following the death of old Mr. Fox, the wolf presented himself as a suitor. The cat, who was serving as Mrs. Fox’s maid, opened the door. The wolf greeted her, saying:

Good day, Mrs. Cat,
Why are you sitting alone?
What good things are you making there?

The cat answered:

Bread and milk.
Would you like to be my guest?

“No thank you, Mrs. Cat.” answered the wolf. “Isn’t Mrs. Fox at home?”

The cat said:

She’s upstairs in her room
Mourning and grieving,
Bemoaning her plight,
Because old Mr. Fox is dead.

The wolf answered:

If she wants another man,
Just have her come downstairs.

The cat ran upstairs
To give her the news.
She ran to the great room,
And knocked on the door
With her five golden rings.
“Mrs. Fox, are you in there?
Do you want another man?”

Mrs. Fox asked, “Is the gentleman wearing red breeches, and does he have a pointed little face?”

“No,” answered the cat.

“Then he’s of no use to me.”

After the wolf had been sent away there came a dog, a deer, a hare, a bear, a lion, and all the other animals of the forest, one after the other. But each one lacked one of the good qualities that old Mr. Fox had had, and the cat had to send each of the suitors away. Finally a young fox came.

Mrs. Fox asked, “Is the gentleman wearing red breeches, and does he have a pointed little face?”

“Yes,” said the cat, “that he does.”

“Then let him come upstairs,” said Mrs. Fox, and she told the maid to make preparations for the wedding feast.

Cat, sweep out the kitchen,
And throw the old fox out the window.
He brought home many a big fat mouse,
But he ate them all alone,
And never gave me a one.

Then Mrs. Fox married young Mr. Fox, and everyone danced and celebrated, and if they have not stopped, then they are dancing still.

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

A wild boar was wreaking havoc throughout the country. No one dared venture into the forest where it ran about. With its tusks it ripped to pieces anyone who was bold enough to pursue it and attempt to kill it. Then the king proclaimed that anyone who could kill the boar would receive his daughter for a wife.

There were three brothers in the kingdom. The oldest was sly and clever; the second was of ordinary intelligence; but the third and youngest was innocent and slow witted. They wanted to win the princess, so they set forth to seek out the wild boar and kill it.

The two oldest ones went together, while the youngest one went by himself. When he entered the woods an old man approached him. He was holding a black lance in his hand, and said to him, “Take this lance and fearlessly attack the boar with it, and you will kill it.” And that is what happened. He struck the boar with the lance, and it fell dead to the earth. Then he lifted it onto his shoulder, and cheerfully set off toward home.

On the way he came to a house where his brothers were making merry and drinking wine. When they saw him with the boar on his back, they called to him, “Come in and have a drink with us. You must be tired.” The innocent simpleton, not thinking about any danger, went inside and told them how he had killed the boar with the black lance, and rejoiced in his good fortune. That evening they returned home together. The two oldest ones plotted to kill their brother. They let him walk ahead of them, and when they came to a bridge just outside the city, they attacked him, striking him dead. They buried him beneath the bridge. Then the oldest one took the boar, carried it to the king, claimed that he had killed it, and received the princess for a wife.

Many years passed, but it was not to remain hidden. One day a shepherd was crossing the bridge when he saw a little bone beneath him in the sand. It was so pure and snow-white that he wanted it to make a mouthpiece from, so he climbed down and picked it up. Afterward he made a mouthpiece from it for his horn, and when he put it to his lips to play, the little bone began to sing by itself:

Oh, dear shepherd
You are blowing on my bone.
My brothers struck me dead,
And buried me beneath the bridge,
To get the wild boar
For the daughter of the king.

The shepherd took the horn to the king, and once again it sang the same words. After hearing this, the king had his people dig under the bridge, and they soon uncovered the skeleton. The two wicked brothers confessed their crime and were thrown into the water. The murdered brother’s bones were laid to rest in a beautiful grave in the churchyard.

A man had a donkey, who for long years had untiringly carried sacks to the mill, but whose strength was now failing, so that he was becoming less and less able to work. Then his master thought that he would no longer feed him, but the donkey noticed that it was not a good wind that was blowing and ran away, setting forth on the road to Bremen, where he thought he could become a town musician. When he had gone a little way he found a hunting dog lying in the road, who was panting like one who had run himself tired.

“Why are you panting so, Grab-Hold?” asked the donkey.

“Oh,” said the dog, “because I am old and am getting weaker every day and can no longer go hunting, my master wanted to kill me, so I ran off; but now how should I earn my bread?”

“Do you know what,” said the donkey, “I am going to Bremen and am going to become a town musician there. Come along and take up music too. I’ll play the lute, and you can beat the drums.”

The dog was satisfied with that, and they went further. It didn’t take long, before they came to a cat sitting by the side of the road and making a face like three days of rainy weather. “What has crossed you, old Beard-Licker?” said the donkey.

“Oh,” answered the cat, “who can be cheerful when his neck is at risk? I am getting on in years, and my teeth are getting dull, so I would rather sit behind the stove and purr than to chase around after mice. Therefore my mistress wanted to drown me, but I took off. Now good advice is scarce. Where should I go?”

“Come with us to Bremen. After all, you understand night music. You can become a town musician there.” The cat agreed and went along.

Then the three refugees came to a farmyard, and the rooster of the house was sitting on the gate crying with all his might.

“Your cries pierce one’s marrow and bone,” said the donkey. “What are you up to?”

“I just prophesied good weather,” said the rooster, “because it is Our Dear Lady’s Day, when she washes the Christ Child’s shirts and wants to dry them; but because Sunday guests are coming tomorrow, the lady of the house has no mercy and told the cook that she wants to eat me tomorrow in the soup, so I am supposed to let them cut off my head this evening. Now I am going to cry at the top of my voice as long as I can.”

“Hey now, Red-Head,” said the donkey, “instead come away with us. We’re going to Bremen. You can always find something better than death. You have a good voice, and when we make music together, it will be very pleasing.”

The rooster was happy with the proposal, and all four went off together. However, they could not reach the city of Bremen in one day, and in the evening they came into a forest, where they would spend the night. The donkey and the dog lay down under a big tree, but the cat and the rooster took to the branches. The rooster flew right to the top, where it was safest for him. Before falling asleep he looked around once again in all four directions, and he thought that he saw a little spark burning in the distance. He hollered to his companions, that there must be a house not too far away, for a light was shining.

The donkey said, “Then we must get up and go there, because the lodging here is poor.” The dog said that he could do well with a few bones with a little meat on them. Thus they set forth toward the place where the light was, and they soon saw it glistening more brightly, and it became larger and larger, until they came to the front of a brightly lit robbers’ house.

The donkey, the largest of them, approached the window and looked in.

“What do you see, Gray-Horse?” asked the rooster.

“What do I see?” answered the donkey. “A table set with good things to eat and drink, and robbers sitting there enjoying themselves.”

“That would be something for us,” said the rooster.

“Ee-ah, ee-ah, oh, if we were there!” said the donkey.

Then the animals discussed how they might drive the robbers away, and at last they came upon a plan. The donkey was to stand with his front feet on the window, the dog to jump on the donkey’s back, the cat to climb onto the dog, and finally the rooster would fly up and sit on the cat’s head. When they had done that, at a signal they began to make their music all together. The donkey brayed, the dog barked, the cat meowed and the rooster crowed. Then they crashed through the window into the room, shattering the panes.

The robbers jumped up at the terrible bellowing, thinking that a ghost was coming in, and fled in great fear out into the woods. Then the four companions seated themselves at the table and freely partook of the leftovers, eating as if they would get nothing more for four weeks.

When the four minstrels were finished, they put out the light and looked for a place to sleep, each according to his nature and his desire. The donkey lay down on the manure pile, the dog behind the door, the cat on the hearth next to the warm ashes, and the rooster sat on the beam of the roof. Because they were tired from their long journey, they soon fell asleep.

When midnight had passed and the robbers saw from the distance that the light was no longer burning in the house, and everything appeared to be quiet, the captain said, “We shouldn’t have let ourselves be chased off,” and he told one of them to go back and investigate the house. The one they sent found everything still, and went into the kitchen to strike a light. He mistook the cat’s glowing, fiery eyes for live coals, and held a sulfur match next to them, so that it would catch fire. But the cat didn’t think this was funny and jumped into his face, spitting, and scratching.

He was terribly frightened and ran toward the back door, but the dog, who was lying there, jumped up and bit him in the leg. When he ran across the yard past the manure pile, the donkey gave him a healthy blow with his hind foot, and the rooster, who had been awakened from his sleep by the noise and was now alert, cried down from the beam, “Cock-a-doodle-doo!”

Then the robber ran as fast as he could back to his captain and said, “Oh, there is a horrible witch sitting in the house, she blew at me and scratched my face with her long fingers. And there is a man with a knife standing in front of the door, and he stabbed me in the leg. And a black monster is lying in the yard, and it struck at me with a wooden club. And the judge is sitting up there on the roof, and he was calling out, ‘Bring the rascal here.’ Then I did what I could to get away.”

From that time forth, the robbers did not dare go back into the house. However, the four Bremen Musicians liked it so well there, that they never left it again. And the person who just told that, his mouth is still warm.

Once upon a time there was a sweet little girl. Everyone who saw her liked her, but most of all her grandmother, who did not know what to give the child next. Once she gave her a little cap made of red velvet. Because it suited her so well, and she wanted to wear it all the time, she came to be known as Little Red Cap.

One day her mother said to her, “Come Little Red Cap. Here is a piece of cake and a bottle of wine. Take them to your grandmother. She is sick and weak, and they will do her well. Mind your manners and give her my greetings. Behave yourself on the way, and do not leave the path, or you might fall down and break the glass, and then there will be nothing for your sick grandmother.”

Little Red Cap promised to obey her mother. The grandmother lived out in the woods, a half hour from the village. When Little Red Cap entered the woods a wolf came up to her. She did not know what a wicked animal he was, and was not afraid of him.

“Good day to you, Little Red Cap.”

“Thank you, wolf.”

“Where are you going so early, Little Red Cap?”

“To grandmother’s.”

“And what are you carrying under your apron?”

“Grandmother is sick and weak, and I am taking her some cake and wine. We baked yesterday, and they should give her strength.”

“Little Red Cap, just where does your grandmother live?”

“Her house is a good quarter hour from here in the woods, under the three large oak trees. There’s a hedge of hazel bushes there. You must know the place,” said Little Red Cap.

The wolf thought to himself, “Now there is a tasty bite for me. Just how are you going to catch her?” Then he said, “Listen, Little Red Cap, haven’t you seen the beautiful flowers that are blossoming in the woods? Why don’t you go and take a look? And I don’t believe you can hear how beautifully the birds are singing. You are walking along as though you were on your way to school in the village. It is very beautiful in the woods.”

Little Red Cap opened her eyes and saw the sunlight breaking through the trees and how the ground was covered with beautiful flowers. She thought, “If a take a bouquet to grandmother, she will be very pleased. Anyway, it is still early, and I’ll be home on time.” And she ran off into the woods looking for flowers. Each time she picked one she thought that she could see an even more beautiful one a little way off, and she ran after it, going further and further into the woods. But the wolf ran straight to the grandmother’s house and knocked on the door.

“Who’s there?”

“Little Red Cap. I’m bringing you some cake and wine. Open the door for me.”

“Just press the latch,” called out the grandmother. “I’m too weak to get up.”

The wolf pressed the latch, and the door opened. He stepped inside, went straight to the grandmother’s bed, and ate her up. Then he took her clothes, put them on, and put her cap on his head. He got into her bed and pulled the curtains shut.

Little Red Cap had run after flowers, and did not continue on her way to grandmother’s until she had gathered all that she could carry. When she arrived, she found, to her surprise, that the door was open. She walked into the parlor, and everything looked so strange that she thought, “Oh, my God, why am I so afraid? I usually like it at grandmother’s.” Then she went to the bed and pulled back the curtains. Grandmother was lying there with her cap pulled down over her face and looking very strange.

“Oh, grandmother, what big ears you have!”

“All the better to hear you with.”

“Oh, grandmother, what big eyes you have!”

“All the better to see you with.”

“Oh, grandmother, what big hands you have!”

“All the better to grab you with!”

“Oh, grandmother, what a horribly big mouth you have!”

“All the better to eat you with!” And with that he jumped out of bed, jumped on top of poor Little Red Cap, and ate her up. As soon as the wolf had finished this tasty bite, he climbed back into bed, fell asleep, and began to snore very loudly.

A huntsman was just passing by. He thought it strange that the old woman was snoring so loudly, so he decided to take a look. He stepped inside, and in the bed there lay the wolf that he had been hunting for such a long time. “He has eaten the grandmother, but perhaps she still can be saved. I won’t shoot him,” thought the huntsman. So he took a pair of scissors and cut open his belly.

He had cut only a few strokes when he saw the red cap shining through. He cut a little more, and the girl jumped out and cried, “Oh, I was so frightened! It was so dark inside the wolf’s body!”

And then the grandmother came out alive as well. Then Little Red Cap fetched some large heavy stones. They filled the wolf’s body with them, and when he woke up and tried to run away, the stones were so heavy that he fell down dead.

The three of them were happy. The huntsman took the wolf’s pelt. The grandmother ate the cake and drank the wine that Little Red Cap had brought. And Little Red Cap thought to herself, “As long as I live, I will never leave the path and run off into the woods by myself if mother tells me not to.”


They also tell how Little Red Cap was taking some baked things to her grandmother another time, when another wolf spoke to her and wanted her to leave the path. But Little Red Cap took care and went straight to grandmother’s. She told her that she had seen the wolf, and that he had wished her a good day, but had stared at her in a wicked manner. “If we hadn’t been on a public road, he would have eaten me up,” she said.

“Come,” said the grandmother. “Let’s lock the door, so he can’t get in.”

Soon afterward the wolf knocked on the door and called out, “Open up, grandmother. It’s Little Red Cap, and I’m bringing you some baked things.”

They remained silent, and did not open the door. The wicked one walked around the house several times, and finally jumped onto the roof. He wanted to wait until Little Red Cap went home that evening, then follow her and eat her up in the darkness. But the grandmother saw what he was up to. There was a large stone trough in front of the house.

“Fetch a bucket, Little Red Cap,” she said. “Yesterday I cooked some sausage. Carry the water that I boiled them with to the trough.” Little Red Cap carried water until the large, large trough was clear full. The smell of sausage arose into the wolf’s nose. He sniffed and looked down, stretching his neck so long that he could no longer hold himself, and he began to slide. He slid off the roof, fell into the trough, and drowned. And Little Red Cap returned home happily and safely.

Once upon a time there was a princess who went out into a forest and sat next to a cool well. She took great pleasure in throwing a golden ball into the air and catching it, but once it went too high. She held out her hand with her fingers curved to catch it, but it fell to the ground and rolled and rolled right into the water.

Horrified, the princess followed it with her eyes, but the well was so deep that she could not see its bottom. Then she began to cry bitterly, “I’d give anything, if only I could get my ball back: my clothes, my precious stones, my pearls, anything in the world.” At this a frog stuck his head out of the water and said, “Princess, why are you crying so bitterly?”

“Oh,” she said, “you ugly frog, how can you help me? My golden ball has fallen into the well.”

The frog said, “I do not want your pearls, your precious stones, and your clothes, but if you’ll accept me as a companion and let me sit next to you and eat from your plate and sleep in your bed, and if you’ll love and cherish me, then I’ll bring your ball back to you.”

The princess thought, “What is this stupid frog trying to say? After all, he does have to stay here in the water. But still, maybe he can get my ball. I’ll go ahead and say yes,” and she said aloud, “Yes, for all I care. Just bring me back my golden ball, and I’ll promise everything.”

The frog stuck his head under the water and dove to the bottom. He returned a short time later with the golden ball in his mouth and threw it onto the land. When the princess saw her ball once again, she rushed toward it, picked it up, and was so happy to have it in her hand again, that she could think of nothing else than to run home with it. The frog called after her, “Wait, princess, take me with you like you promised,” but she paid no attention to him.

The next day the princess was sitting at her table when she heard something coming up the marble steps: plop, plop. Then there came a knock at the door, and a voice called out, “Princess, princess, open the door for me!” She ran and opened the door. It was the frog, whom she had put completely out of her mind. Frightened, she slammed the door shut and returned to the table.

The king saw that her heart was pounding and asked, “Why are you afraid?”

“There is a disgusting frog out there,” she said, “who got my golden ball out of the water. I promised him that he could be my companion, but I didn’t think that he could leave his water, but now he is just outside the door and wants to come in.” Just then there came a second knock at the door, and a voice called out:

Youngest daughter of the king,
Open up the door for me,
Don’t you know what yesterday,
You said to me down by the well?
Youngest daughter of the king,
Open up the door for me,

The king said, “What you have promised, you must keep. Go and let the frog in.” She obeyed, and the frog hopped in, then followed her up to her chair.

After she had sat down again, he called out, “Lift me up onto your chair and let me sit next to you.” The princess did not want to, but the king commanded her to do it. When the frog was seated next to her he said, “Now push your golden plate closer. I want to eat from it.” She had to do this as well. When he had eaten all he wanted, he said, “Now I am tired and want to sleep. Take me to your room, make your bed, so that we can lie in it together.”

The princess was horrified when she heard that. She was afraid of the cold frog and did not dare to even touch him, and yet he was supposed to lie next to her in her bed; she began to cry and didn’t want to at all. Then the king became angry and commanded her to do what she had promised. There was no helping it; she had to do what her father wanted, but in her heart she was bitterly angry. She picked up the frog with two fingers, carried him to her room, and climbed into bed, but instead of laying him next to herself, she threw him bang! against the wall. “Now you will leave me in peace, you ugly frog!” But when the frog came down onto the bed, he was a handsome young prince, and he was her dear companion, and she held him in esteem as she had promised, and they fell asleep together with pleasure.

The next morning the prince’s faithful Heinrich arrived in a splendid carriage drawn by eight horses and decorated with feathers and glistening with gold. He had been so saddened by the prince’s enchantment that he had had to place three iron bands around his heart to keep it from bursting in sorrow. The prince climbed into the carriage with the princess. His faithful servant stood at the rear to drive them to his kingdom. After they had gone a short distance, the prince heard a loud crack. He turned around and said:

“Heinrich, the carriage is breaking apart.”
“No, my lord, the carriage it’s not,
But one of the bands surrounding my heart,
That suffered such great pain,
When you were sitting in the well,
When you were a frog.”

Once again, and then once again the prince heard a cracking sound and thought that the carriage was breaking apart, but it was the bands springing from faithful Heinrich’s heart because his master was now redeemed and happy.

This story was actually made up, young ones, but it really is true, for my grandfather, who told it to me, always said whenever he told it, “it must be true, my son, otherwise it couldn’t be told.” Anyway, this is how the story goes:

It was on a Sunday morning at harvest time, just when the buckwheat was in bloom. The sun was shining bright in the heaven, the morning wind was blowing warmly across the stubble, the larks were singing in the air, the bees were buzzing in the buckwheat, and the people in their Sunday best were on their way to church, and all the creatures were happy, including the hedgehog.

The hedgehog was standing before his door with his arms crossed, humming a little song to himself, neither better nor worse than hedgehogs usually sing on a nice Sunday morning. Singing there to himself, half silently, it suddenly occurred to him that while his wife was washing and drying the children, he could take a little walk into the field and see how his turnips were doing. The turnips were close by his house, and he and his family were accustomed to eating them, so he considered them his own.

No sooner said than done. The hedgehog closed the house door behind him and started down the path to the field. He hadn’t gone very far away from his house at all, only as far as the blackthorn bush which stands at the front of the field, near the turnip patch, when he met up with the hare, who had gone out for a similar purpose, namely to examine his cabbage.

When the hedgehog saw the hare, he wished him a friendly good morning. The hare, however, who was in his own way a distinguished gentleman, and terribly arrogant about it, did not answer the hedgehog’s greeting, but instead said to the hedgehog, in a terribly sarcastic manner, “How is it that you are running around in the field so early in the morning?”

“I’m taking a walk,” said the hedgehog.

“Taking a walk?” laughed the hare. “I should think that you could better use your legs for other purposes.”

This answer made the hedgehog terribly angry, for he could stand anything except remarks about his legs, for by nature they were crooked.

“Do you imagine,” said the hedgehog to the hare, “that you can accomplish more with your legs?”

“I should think so,” said the hare.

“That would depend on the situation,” said the hedgehog. “I bet, if we were to run a race, I’d pass you up.”

“That is a laugh! You with your crooked legs!” said the hare. “But for all I care, let it be, if you are so eager. What will we wager?”

“A gold louis d’or and a bottle of brandy,” said the hedgehog.

“Accepted,” said the hare. “Shake hands, and we can take right off.”

“No, I’m not in such a hurry,” said the hedgehog. “I’m very hungry. First I want to go home and eat a little breakfast. I’ll be back here at this spot in a half hour.”

The hare was agreeable with this, and the hedgehog left.

On his way home the hedgehog thought to himself, “The hare is relying on his long legs, but I’ll still beat him. He may well be a distinguished gentleman, but he’s still a fool, and he’ll be the one to pay.”

Arriving home, he said to his wife, “Wife, get dressed quickly. You’ve got to go out to the field with me.”

“What’s the matter?” said his wife.

“I bet a gold louis d’or and a bottle of brandy with the hare that I could beat him in a race, and you should be there too.”

“My God, man,” the hedgehog’s wife began to cry, “are you mad? Have you entirely lost your mind? How can you agree to run a race with the hare?”

“Hold your mouth, woman,” said the hedgehog. “This is my affair. Don’t get mixed up in men’s business. Hurry up now, get dressed, and come with me.”

What was the hedgehog’s wife to do? She had to obey, whether she wanted to or not.

As they walked toward the field together, the hedgehog said to his wife, “Now pay attention to what I tell you. You see, we are going to run the race down the long field. The hare will run in one furrow and I in another one. We’ll begin running from up there. All you have to do is to stand here in the furrow, and when the hare approaches from the other side, just call out to him, ‘I’m already here.'”

With that they arrived at the field, the hedgehog showed his wife her place, then he went to the top of the field. When he arrived the hare was already there.

“Can we start?” said the hare.

“Yes, indeed,” said the hedgehog. “On your mark!” And each one took his place in his furrow.

The hare counted “One, two, three,” and he tore down the field like a windstorm. But the hedgehog ran only about three steps and then ducked down in the furrow and remained there sitting quietly.

When the hare, in full run, arrived at the bottom of the field, the hedgehog’s wife called out to him, “I’m already here!”

The hare, startled and bewildered, thought it was the hedgehog himself, for as everyone knows, a hedgehog’s wife looks just like her husband.

The hare thought, “Something’s not right here.” He called out, “Let’s run back again!” And he took off again like a windstorm, with his ears flying from his head. But the hedgehog’s wife remained quietly in place.

When the hare arrived at the top, the hedgehog called out to him, “I’m already here!”

The hare, beside himself with excitement, shouted, “Let’s run back again!”

“It’s all right with me,” answered the hedgehog. “For all I care, as often as you want.”

So the hare ran seventy-three more times, and the hedgehog always kept up with him. Each time the hare arrived at the top or the bottom of the field, the hedgehog or his wife said, “I am already here!”

But the hare did not complete the seventy-fourth time. In the middle of the field, with blood flowing from his neck, he fell dead to the ground.

The hedgehog took the gold louis d’or and the bottle of brandy he had won, called his wife from her furrow, and happily they went back home.

And if they have not died, then they are still alive.

Thus it happened that the hedgehog ran the hare to death on the Buxtehude Heath, and since that time no hare has agreed to enter a race with a hedgehog.

The moral of this story is, first, that no one, however distinguished he thinks himself, should make fun of a lesser man, even if this man is a hedgehog. And second, when a man marries, it is recommended that he take a wife from his own class, one who looks just like him. In other words, a hedgehog should always take care that his wife is also a hedgehog, and so forth.

There was once upon a time a tailor who had three sons, and only one goat. But as the goat supported all of them with her milk, she was obliged to have good food, and to be taken every day to pasture. The sons did this, in turn.

Once the eldest took her to the churchyard, where the finest herbs were to be found, and let her eat and run about there. At night when it was time to go home he asked, “Goat, have you had enough?”

The goat answered, I have eaten so much, Not a leaf more I’ll touch; Meh, meh!

“Come home, then,” said the youth, and took hold of the cord around her neck, led her into the stable, and tied her up securely.

“Well,” said the old tailor, “has the goat had as much food as she ought?”

“Oh,” answered the son, “she has eaten so much, not a leaf more she’ll touch.”

But the father wished to satisfy himself, and went down to the stable, stroked the dear animal, and asked, “Goat, are you satisfied?”

The goat answered, How should I be satisfied? Among the ditches I leapt about, Found no leaf, so went without; Meh, meh!

“What do I hear?” cried the tailor, and ran upstairs and said to the youth, “Hey, you liar, you said the goat had had enough, and have let her hunger.” And in his anger he took the yardstick from the wall, and drove him out with blows.

Next day it was the turn of the second son, who sought a place next to the garden hedge where nothing but good herbs grew, and the goat gobbled them all up. At night when he wanted to go home, he asked, “Goat, are you satisfied?” I have eaten so much, Not a leaf more I’ll touch; Meh, meh!

“Come home then,” said the youth, and led her home, and tied her up in the stable.

“Well,” said the old tailor, “has the goat had as much food as she ought?”

“Oh,” answered the son, “she has eaten so much, not a leaf more she’ll touch.”

The tailor would not rely on this, but went down to the stable and said, “Goat, have you had enough?”

The goat answered, How should I be satisfied? Among the ditches I leapt about, Found no leaf, so went without; Meh, meh!

“The godless wretch!” cried the tailor, to let such a good animal hunger, and he ran up and drove the youth out of doors with the yardstick.

Now came the turn of the third son, who wanted to do his duty well, and sought out some bushes with the finest leaves, and let the goat devour them. In the evening when he wanted to go home, he asked, “Goat, have you had enough?”

The goat answered, I have eaten so much, Not a leaf more I’ll touch; Meh, meh!

“Come home then,” said the youth, and led her into the stable, and tied her up.

“Well,” said the old tailor, “has the goat had her full share of food?”

“She has eaten so much, not a leaf more she’ll touch.”

The tailor was distrustful, went down, and asked, “Goat, have you had enough?”

The wicked beast answered, How should I be satisfied? Among the ditches I leapt about, Found no leaf, so went without; Meh, meh!

“Oh, the brood of liars!” cried the tailor, “Each as wicked and forgetful of his duty as the other. You shall no longer make a fool of me!” And quite beside himself with anger, he ran upstairs and tanned the poor young fellow’s back so vigorously with the yardstick that he leaped out of the house.

The old tailor was now alone with his goat. Next morning he went down into the stable, stroked the goat and said, “Come, my dear little animal, I myself will take you to feed.” He took her by the rope and led her to green hedges, and amongst yarrow and whatever else goats like to eat. “Here you may for once eat to your heart’s content,” he said to her, and let her browse till evening. Then he asked, “Goat, are you satisfied?”

She answered, I have eaten so much, Not a leaf more I’ll touch; Meh, meh!

“Come home then,” said the tailor, and led her into the stable, and tied her fast. When he was going away, he turned around again and said, “Well, are you satisfied for once?”

But the goat behaved no better for him, and cried, How should I be satisfied? Among the ditches I leapt about, Found no leaf, so went without; Meh, meh!

When the tailor heard that, he was shocked, and saw clearly that he had driven away his three sons without cause. “Wait, you ungrateful creature,” he cried, “it is not enough to drive you away, I will brand you so that you will no more dare to show yourself amongst honest tailors.” He quickly ran upstairs, fetched his razor, lathered the goat’s head, and shaved her as clean as the palm of his hand. And as the yardstick would have been too honorable for her, he grabbed a whip, and gave her such blows with it that she bounded away with tremendous leaps.

When the tailor was thus left quite alone in his house he fell into great grief, and would gladly have had his sons back again, but no one knew where they were gone.

The eldest had apprenticed himself to a joiner, and learned industriously and tirelessly, and when the time came for him to be on his way, his master presented him with a little table which was not particularly beautiful, and was made of common wood, but which had one good property. If anyone set it out, and said, “table be set,” the good little table was at once covered with a clean little cloth, and a plate was there, and a knife and fork beside it, and dishes with boiled meats and roasted meats, as many as there was room for, and a great glass of red wine shone, so that it made the heart glad.

The young journeyman thought, “With this you have enough for your whole life,” and went joyously about the world and never troubled himself at all whether an inn was good or bad, or if anything was to be found in it or not. When it suited him, he did not enter an inn at all, but either on the plain, in a wood, a meadow, or wherever he fancied, he took his little table off his back, set it down before him, and said, “table be set,” and then everything appeared that his heart desired.

At length he took it into his head to go back to his father, whose anger would now be appeased, and who would now willingly receive him with his magic table. It came to pass that on his way home, he came one evening to an inn which was filled with guests. They bade him welcome, and invited him to sit and eat with them, for otherwise he would have difficulty in getting anything.

“No,” answered the joiner, “I will not take the few morsels out of your mouths. Rather than that, you shall be my guests.”

They laughed, and thought he was jesting with them. He but placed his wooden table in the middle of the room, and said, “Table be set.” Instantly it was covered with food, so good that the host could never have procured it, and the smell of it ascended pleasantly to the nostrils of the guests.

“Fall to, dear friends,” said the joiner, and the guests when they saw that he meant it, did not need to be asked twice, but drew near, pulled out their knives and attacked it valiantly. And what surprised them the most was that when a dish became empty, a full one instantly took its place of its own accord.

The innkeeper stood in one corner and watched the affair. He did not at all know what to say, but thought, “You could easily find a use for such a cook as that in your household.”

The joiner and his comrades made merry until late into the night. At length they lay down to sleep, and the young journeyman also went to bed, and set his magic table against the wall. The host’s thoughts, however, let him have no rest. It occurred to him that there was a little old table in his backroom which looked just like the journeyman’s and he brought it out, and carefully exchanged it for the wishing table. Next morning the joiner paid for his bed, took up his table, never thinking that he had got a false one, and went his way.

At midday he reached his father, who received him with great joy. “Well, my dear son, what have you learned?” he said to him.

“Father, I have become a joiner.”

“A good trade,” replied the old man. “But what have you brought back with you from your apprenticeship?”

“Father, the best thing which I have brought back with me is this little table.”

The tailor inspected it on all sides and said, “You did not make a masterpiece when you made this. It is a bad old table.”

“But it is a table-be-set,” replied the son. “When I set it out, and tell it to set itself, the most beautiful dishes immediately appear on it, and wine also, which gladdens the heart. Just invite all our relatives and friends. They shall refresh and enjoy themselves for once, for the table will fill them all.”

When the company was assembled, he put his table in the middle of the room and said, “Table be set,” but the little table did not move, and remained just as bare as any other table which does not understand language. Then the poor journeyman became aware that his table had been changed, and was ashamed at having to stand there like a liar. The relatives, however, mocked him, and were forced to go home without having eaten or drunk.

The father brought out his scraps again, and went on tailoring, but the son found work with a master joiner.

The second son had gone to a miller and had apprenticed himself to him. When his years were over, the master said, “As you have conducted yourself so well, I give you a donkey of a peculiar kind, which neither draws a cart nor carries a sack.”

“What good is he then?” asked the young journeyman.

“He spews forth gold,” answered the miller. “If you set him on a cloth and say ‘Bricklebrit,’ the good animal will spew forth gold pieces for you from back and front.”

“That is a fine thing,” said the journeyman, and thanked the master, and went out into the world. When he had need of gold, he had only to say “Bricklebrit” to his donkey, and it rained gold pieces, and he had nothing to do but pick them off the ground. Wherever he went, the best of everything was good enough for him, and the more expensive the better, for he had always a full purse. When he had looked about the world for some time, he thought, “You must seek out your father. If you go to him with the gold-donkey he will forget his anger, and receive you well.”

It came to pass that he came to the same inn in which his brother’s table had been exchanged. He led his donkey by the bridle, and the host was about to take the animal from him and tie him up, but the young journeyman said, “Don’t trouble yourself, I will take my nag into the stable, and tie him up myself too, for I must know where he is.”

This struck the host as odd, and he thought that a man who was forced to look after his donkey himself, could not have much to spend. But when the stranger put his hand in his pocket and brought out two gold pieces, and said he was to provide something good for him, the host opened his eyes wide, and ran and sought out the best he could muster. After dinner the guest asked what he owed. The innkeeper did not see why he should not double the bill, and said the journeyman must give two more gold pieces. He felt in his pocket, but his gold was just at an end.

“Wait an instant, sir,” said he, “I will go and fetch some money.” But he took the tablecloth with him. The innkeeper could not imagine what this meant, and being curious, stole after him, and as the guest bolted the stable door, he peeped through a hole left by a knot in the wood.

The stranger spread out the cloth under the animal and cried, “Bricklebrit,” and immediately the beast began to let gold pieces fall from back and front, so that it fairly rained down money onto the ground.

“Eh, my word,” said the innkeeper. “Ducats are quickly coined there. A purse like that is not bad.” The guest paid his bill and went to bed, but in the night the innkeeper stole down into the stable, led away the master of the mint, and tied up another donkey in his place.

Early next morning the journeyman traveled away with his donkey, and thought that he had his gold-donkey. At midday he reached his father, who rejoiced to see him again, and gladly took him in.

“What have you made of yourself, my son?” asked the old man.

“A miller, dear father,” he answered.

“What have you brought back with you from your travels.”

“Nothing else but a donkey.”

“There are donkeys enough here,” said the father, “I would rather have had a good goat.”

“Yes,” replied the son, “but it is no common donkey, but a gold-donkey. When I say ‘Bricklebrit’ the good beast spews forth a whole sheetful of gold pieces. Just summon all our relatives here, and I will make them rich folks.”

“That suits me well,” said the tailor, “for then I shall have no need to torment myself any longer with the needle,” and he himself ran out and called the relatives together. As soon as they were assembled, the miller bade them make way, spread out his cloth, and brought the donkey into the room.

“Now watch,” said he, and cried, “Bricklebrit,” but what fell were not gold pieces, and it was clear that the animal knew nothing of the art, for not every donkey attains such perfection. Then the poor miller made a long face, saw that he had been betrayed, and begged pardon of the relatives, who went home as poor as they came. There was no help for it, the old man had to take up his needle once more, and the youth hired himself to a miller.

The third brother had apprenticed himself to a turner, and as that is skilled labor, he was the longest in learning. His brothers, however, told him in a letter how badly things had gone with them, and how the innkeeper had cheated them of their beautiful wishing gifts on the last evening before they reached home. When the turner had served his time, and was about to set forth, as he had conducted himself so well, his master presented him with a sack saying, “There is a cudgel in it.”

“I can take the sack with me,” said he, “and it may serve me well, but why should the cudgel be in it. It only makes it heavy.”

“I will tell you why,” replied the master. “If anyone has done anything to injure you, do but say, ‘Cudgel out of the sack,’ and the cudgel will leap forth among the people, and play such a dance on their backs that they will not be able to stir or move for a week. And it will not quit until you say, ‘Cudgel into the sack.'”

The journeyman thanked him, and put the sack on his back, and when anyone came too near him and wished to attack him, he said, “Cudgel out of the sack,” and instantly the cudgel sprang out and beat the dust out of their coats and jackets, right on their backs, not waiting until they had taken them off, and it was done so quickly, that before anyone was aware, it was already his own turn.

In the evening the young turner reached the inn where his brothers had been cheated. He laid his sack on the table before him, and began to talk of all the wonderful things which he had seen in the world. “Yes,” said he, “table-be-sets, gold-donkeys, and things of that kind —— extremely good things which I by no means despise —— but these are nothing in comparison with the treasure which I have obtained and am carrying about with me here in my sack.”

The innkeeper pricked up his ears. “What in the world can that be?” he thought. “The sack must be filled with nothing but jewels. I ought to get them cheap too, for all good things come in threes.”

When it was time for sleep, the guest stretched himself out on the bench, laying his sack beneath him for a pillow. When the innkeeper thought his guest was lying in a sound sleep, he went to him and pushed and pulled quite gently and carefully at the sack to see if he could possibly take it away and lay another in its place.

The turner, however, had been waiting for this for a long time, and now just as the innkeeper was about to give a hearty tug, he cried, “Cudgel out of the sack!”

Instantly the little cudgel came forth, and falling on the innkeeper gave him a sound thrashing. The innkeeper cried for mercy, but the louder he cried, the harder the cudgel beat the time on his back, until at length he fell to the ground exhausted.

Then the turner said, “If you do not give back the table-be-set and the gold-donkey, the dance shall start again from the beginning.”

“Oh, no!” cried the innkeeper, quite humbly, “I will gladly give everything back, only make the accursed kobold creep back into the sack.”

Then the journeyman said, “I will let mercy take the place of justice, but beware of getting into mischief again” Then he cried, “Cudgel into the sack,” and let him rest.

Next morning the turner went home to his father with the table-be-set, and the gold-donkey. The tailor rejoiced when he saw him once more, and asked him likewise what he had learned in foreign parts. “Dear father,” said he, “I have become a turner.”

“A skilled trade,” said the father. “What have you brought back with you from your travels?”

“A precious thing, dear father,” replied the son, “a cudgel in the sack.”

“What!” cried the father, “A cudgel! That’s worth your trouble! From every tree you can cut yourself one.”

“But not one like this, dear father. If I say, ‘Cudgel out of the sack,’ the cudgel springs out and leads anyone ill-disposed toward me a weary dance, and never stops until he lies on the ground and prays for fair weather. Look you, with this cudgel have I rescued the table-be-set and the gold-donkey which the thievish innkeeper took away from my brothers. Now let them both be sent for, and invite all our relatives. I will give them to eat and to drink, and will fill their pockets with gold as well.”

The old tailor had not much confidence. Nevertheless he summoned the relatives together. Then the turner spread a cloth in the room and led in the gold-donkey, and said to his brother, “Now, dear brother, speak to him.”

The miller said, “Bricklebrit,” and instantly the gold pieces rained down on the cloth like a cloudburst, and the donkey did not stop until every one of them had so much that he could carry no more. (I can see by your face that you would have liked to be there as well.)

Then the turner brought out the little table and said, “Now, dear brother, speak to it.” And scarcely had the joiner said, “Table be set,” than it was spread and amply covered with the most exquisite dishes. Then such a meal took place as the good tailor had never yet known in his house, and the whole party of relatives stayed together until after nightfall, and were all merry and glad. The tailor locked his needle and thread and yardstick and pressing iron into a chest, and lived with his three sons in joy and splendor.

What, however, happened to the goat who was to blame for the tailor driving out his three sons? That I will tell you.

She was ashamed that she had a bald head, and ran to a fox’s hole and crept into it. When the fox came home, he was met by two great eyes shining out of the darkness, and was terrified and ran away. A bear met him, and as the fox looked quite disturbed, he said, “What is the matter with you, Brother Fox, why do you look like that?”

“Ah,” answered Redskin, “a fierce beast is in my cave and stared at me with its fiery eyes.”

“We will soon drive him out,” said the bear, and went with him to the cave and looked in, but when he saw the fiery eyes, fear seized on him likewise. He would have nothing to do with the furious beast, and took to his heels.

The bee met him, and as she saw that he was ill at ease, she said, “Bear, you are really pulling a very pitiful face. What has become of all your cheerfulness?”

“It is all very well for you to talk,” replied the bear. “A furious beast with staring eyes is in Redskin’s house, and we can’t drive him out.”

The bee said, “Bear, I pity you. I am a poor weak creature whom you would not turn aside to look at, but still, I believe I can help you.” She flew into the fox’s cave, lit on the goat’s smoothly shorn head, and stung her so violently, that she sprang up, crying “meh, meh,” and ran forth into the world as if mad, and to this hour no one knows where she has gone.