A widow had two daughters; one was pretty and industrious, the other was ugly and lazy. And as the ugly one was her own daughter, she loved her much the best, and the pretty one was made to do all the work, and be the drudge of the house. Every day the poor girl had to sit by a well on the high road and spin until her fingers bled. Now it happened once that as the spindle was bloody, she dipped it into the well to wash it; but it slipped out of her hand and fell in. Then she began to cry, and ran to her step-mother, and told her of her misfortune; and her stepmother scolded her without mercy, and said in her rage: “As you have let the spindle fall in, you must go and fetch it out again!” Then the girl went back again to the well, not knowing what to do, and in the despair of her heart she jumped down into the well the same way the spindle had gone. After that she knew nothing; and when she came to herself she was in a beautiful meadow, and the sun was shining on the flowers that grew round her. And she walked on through the meadow until she came to a baker’s oven that was full of bread; and the bread called out to her: “Oh, take me out, take me out, or I shall burn; I am baked enough already!” Then she drew near, and with the baker’s peel she took out all the loaves one after the other. And she went farther on till she came to a tree weighed down with apples, and it called out to her: “Oh, shake me, shake me, we apples are all of us ripe!” Then she shook the tree until the apples fell like rain, and she shook until there were no more to fall; and when she had gathered them together in a heap, she went on farther. At last she came to a little house, and an old woman was peeping out of it, but she had such great teeth that the girl was terrified and about to run away, only the old woman called her back. “What are you afraid of, my dear child? Come and live with me, and if you do the house-work well and orderly, things shall go well with you. You must take great pains to make my bed well, and shake it up thoroughly, so that the feathers fly about, and then in the world it snows, for I am Mother Hulda.” As the old woman spoke so kindly, the girl took courage, consented, and went to her work. She did everything to the old woman’s satisfaction, and shook the bed with such a will that the feathers flew about like snow-flakes: and so she led a good life, had never a cross word, but boiled and roast meat every day. When she had lived a long time with Mother Hulda, she began to feel sad, not knowing herself what ailed her; at last she began to think she must be home-sick; and although she was a thousand times better off than at home where she was, yet she had a great longing to go home. At last she said to her mistress: “I am homesick, and although I am very well off here, I cannot stay any longer; I must go back to my own home.” Mother Hulda answered: “It pleases me well that you should wish to go home, and, as you have served me faithfully, I will undertake to send you there!” She took her by the hand and led her to a large door standing open, and as she was passing through it there fell upon her a heavy shower of gold, and the gold hung all about her, so that she was covered with it. “All this is yours, because you have been so industrious,” said Mother Hulda; and, besides that, she returned to her her spindle, the very same that she had dropped in the well. And then the door was shut again, and the girl found herself back again in the world, not far from her mother’s house; and as she passed through the yard the cock stood on the top of the well and cried:

“Cock-a-doodle doo!
Our golden girl has come home too!”

Then she went in to her mother, and as she had returned covered with gold she was well received.

So the girl related all her history, and what had happened to her, and when the mother heard how she came to have such great riches she began to wish that her ugly and idle daughter might have the same good fortune. So she sent her to sit by the well and spin; and in order to make her spindle bloody she put her hand into the thorn hedge. Then she threw the spindle into the well, and jumped in herself. She found herself, like her sister, in the beautiful meadow, and followed the same path, and when she came to the baker’s oven, the bread cried out: “Oh, take me out, take me out, or I shall burn; I am quite done already!” But the lazy-bones answered: “I have no desire to black my hands,” and went on farther. Soon she came to the apple-tree, who called out: “Oh, shake me, shake me, we apples are all of us ripe!” But she answered: “That is all very fine; suppose one of you should fall on my head,” and went on farther. When she came to Mother Hulda’s house she did not feel afraid, as she knew beforehand of her great teeth, and entered into her service at once. The first day she put her hand well to the work, and was industrious, and did everything Mother Hulda bade her, because of the gold she expected; but the second day she began to be idle, and the third day still more so, so that she would not get up in the morning. Neither did she make Mother Hulda’s bed as it ought to have been made, and did not shake it for the feathers to fly about. So that Mother Hulda soon grew tired of her, and gave her warning, at which the lazy thing was well pleased, and thought that now the shower of gold was coming; so Mother Hulda led her to the door, and as she stood in the doorway, instead of the shower of gold a great kettle full of pitch was emptied over her. “That is the reward for your service,” said Mother Hulda, and shut the door. So the lazy girl came home all covered with pitch, and the cock on the top of the well seeing her, cried:

“Cock-a-doodle doo!
Our dirty girl has come home too!”

And the pitch remained sticking to her fast, and never, as long as she lived, could it be got off.

 

Mother Hulda

It was terribly cold and nearly dark on the last evening of the old year, and the snow was falling fast. In the cold and the darkness, a poor little girl, with bare head and naked feet, roamed through the streets. It is true she had on a pair of slippers when she left home, but they were not of much use. They were very large, so large, indeed, that they had belonged to her mother, and the poor little creature had lost them in running across the street to avoid two carriages that were rolling along at a terrible rate. One of the slippers she could not find, and a boy seized upon the other and ran away with it, saying that he could use it as a cradle, when he had children of his own. So the little girl went on with her little naked feet, which were quite red and blue with the cold. In an old apron she carried a number of matches, and had a bundle of them in her hands. No one had bought anything of her the whole day, nor had any one given here even a penny. Shivering with cold and hunger, she crept along; poor little child, she looked the picture of misery. The snowflakes fell on her long, fair hair, which hung in curls on her shoulders, but she regarded them not.

Lights were shining from every window, and there was a savory smell of roast goose, for it was New-year’s eve– yes, she remembered that. In a corner, between two houses, one of which projected beyond the other, she sank down and huddled herself together. She had drawn her little feet under her, but she could not keep off the cold; and she dared not go home, for she had sold no matches, and could not take home even a penny of money. Her father would certainly beat her; besides, it was almost as cold at home as here, for they had only the roof to cover them, through which the wind howled, although the largest holes had been stopped up with straw and rags. Her little hands were almost frozen with the cold. Ah! perhaps a burning match might be some good, if she could draw it from the bundle and strike it against the wall, just to warm her fingers. She drew one out-“scratch!” how it sputtered as it burnt! It gave a warm, bright light, like a little candle, as she held her hand over it. It was really a wonderful light. It seemed to the little girl that she was sitting by a large iron stove, with polished brass feet and a brass ornament. How the fire burned! and seemed so beautifully warm that the child stretched out her feet as if to warm them, when, lo! the flame of the match went out, the stove vanished, and she had only the remains of the half-burnt match in her hand.

She rubbed another match on the wall. It burst into a flame, and where its light fell upon the wall it became as transparent as a veil, and she could see into the room. The table was covered with a snowy white table-cloth, on which stood a splendid dinner service, and a steaming roast goose, stuffed with apples and dried plums. And what was still more wonderful, the goose jumped down from the dish and waddled across the floor, with a knife and fork in its breast, to the little girl. Then the match went out, and there remained nothing but the thick, damp, cold wall before her.

She lighted another match, and then she found herself sitting under a beautiful Christmas-tree. It was larger and more beautifully decorated than the one which she had seen through the glass door at the rich merchant’s. Thousands of tapers were burning upon the green branches, and colored pictures, like those she had seen in the show-windows, looked down upon it all. The little one stretched out her hand towards them, and the match went out.

The Christmas lights rose higher and higher, till they looked to her like the stars in the sky. Then she saw a star fall, leaving behind it a bright streak of fire. “Some one is dying,” thought the little girl, for her old grandmother, the only one who had ever loved her, and who was now dead, had told her that when a star falls, a soul was going up to God.

She again rubbed a match on the wall, and the light shone round her; in the brightness stood her old grandmother, clear and shining, yet mild and loving in her appearance. “Grandmother,” cried the little one, “O take me with you; I know you will go away when the match burns out; you will vanish like the warm stove, the roast goose, and the large, glorious Christmas-tree.” And she made haste to light the whole bundle of matches, for she wished to keep her grandmother there. And the matches glowed with a light that was brighter than the noon-day, and her grandmother had never appeared so large or so beautiful. She took the little girl in her arms, and they both flew upwards in brightness and joy far above the earth, where there was neither cold nor hunger nor pain, for they were with God.

In the dawn of morning there lay the poor little one, with pale cheeks and smiling mouth, leaning against the wall; she had been frozen to death on the last evening of the year; and the New-year’s sun rose and shone upon a little corpse! The child still sat, in the stiffness of death, holding the matches in her hand, one bundle of which was burnt. “She tried to warm herself,” said some. No one imagined what beautiful things she had seen, nor into what glory she had entered with her grandmother, on New-year’s day.

There was once an old goat who had seven little ones, and was as fond of them as ever mother was of her children. One day she had to go into the wood to fetch food for them, so she called them all round her. “Dear children,” said she, “I am going out into the wood; and while I am gone, be on your guard against the wolf, for if he were once to get inside he would eat you up, skin, bones, and all. The wretch often disguises himself, but he may always be known by his hoarse voice and black paws.” – “Dear mother,” answered the kids, “you need not be afraid, we will take good care of ourselves.” And the mother bleated good-bye, and went on her way with an easy mind.

It was not long before some one came knocking at the house-door, and crying out: “Open the door, my dear children, your mother is come back, and has brought each of you something.” But the little kids knew it was the wolf by the hoarse voice. “We will not open the door,” cried they; “you are not our mother, she has a delicate and sweet voice, and your voice is hoarse; you must be the wolf.” Then off went the wolf to a shop and bought a big lump of chalk, and ate it up to make his voice soft. And then he came back, knocked at the house-door, and cried: “Open the door, my dear children, your mother is here, and has brought each of you something.” But the wolf had put up his black paws against the window, and the kids seeing this, cried out, “We will not open the door; our mother has no black paws like you; you must be the wolf.” The wolf then ran to a baker. “Baker,” said he, “I am hurt in the foot; pray spread some dough over the place.” And when the baker had plastered his feet, he ran to the miller. “Miller,” said he, “strew me some white meal over my paws.” But the miller refused, thinking the wolf must be meaning harm to some one. “If you don’t do it,” cried the wolf, “I’ll eat you up!” And the miller was afraid and did as he was told. And that just shows what men are.

And now came the rogue the third time to the door and knocked. “Open, children!” cried he. “Your dear mother has come home, and brought you each something from the wood.” – “First show us your paws,” said the kids, “so that we may know if you are really our mother or not.” And he put up his paws against the window, and when they saw that they were white, all seemed right, and they opened the door. And when he was inside they saw it was the wolf, and they were terrified and tried to hide themselves. One ran under the table, the second got into the bed, the third into the oven, the fourth in the kitchen, the fifth in the cupboard, the sixth under the sink, the seventh in the clock-case. But the wolf found them all, and gave them short shrift; one after the other he swallowed down, all but the youngest, who was hid in the clock-case. And so the wolf, having got what he wanted, strolled forth into the green meadows, and laying himself down under a tree, he fell asleep.

Not long after, the mother goat came back from the wood; and, oh! what a sight met her eyes! the door was standing wide open, table, chairs, and stools, all thrown about, dishes broken, quilt and pillows torn off the bed. She sought her children, they were nowhere to be found. She called to each of them by name, but nobody answered, until she came to the name of the youngest. “Here I am, mother,” a little voice cried, “here, in the clock case.” And so she helped him out, and heard how the wolf had come, and eaten all the rest. And you may think how she cried for the loss of her dear children.

At last in her grief she wandered out of doors, and the youngest kid with her; and when they came into the meadow, there they saw the wolf lying under a tree, and snoring so that the branches shook. The mother goat looked at him carefully on all sides and she noticed how something inside his body was moving and struggling. Dear me! thought she, can it be that my poor children that he devoured for his evening meal are still alive? And she sent the little kid back to the house for a pair of shears, and needle, and thread. Then she cut the wolf’s body open, and no sooner had she made one snip than out came the head of one of the kids, and then another snip, and then one after the other the six little kids all jumped out alive and well, for in his greediness the rogue had swallowed them down whole. How delightful this was! so they comforted their dear mother and hopped about like tailors at a wedding. “Now fetch some good hard stones,” said the mother, “and we will fill his body with them, as he lies asleep.” And so they fetched some in all haste, and put them inside him, and the mother sewed him up so quickly again that he was none the wiser.

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

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

So he came to the brook, and stooped to drink, but the heavy stones weighed him down, so he fell over into the water and was drowned. And when the seven little kids saw it they came up running. “The wolf is dead, the wolf is dead!” they cried, and taking hands, they danced with their mother all about the place.

There was once a miller who was poor, but he had one beautiful daughter. It happened one day that he came to speak with the king, and, to give himself consequence, he told him that he had a daughter who could spin gold out of straw. The king said to the miller: “That is an art that pleases me well; if thy daughter is as clever as you say, bring her to my castle to-morrow, that I may put her to the proof.”

When the girl was brought to him, he led her into a room that was quite full of straw, and gave her a wheel and spindle, and said: “Now set to work, and if by the early morning thou hast not spun this straw to gold thou shalt die.” And he shut the door himself, and left her there alone. And so the poor miller’s daughter was left there sitting, and could not think what to do for her life: she had no notion how to set to work to spin gold from straw, and her distress grew so great that she began to weep. Then all at once the door opened, and in came a little man, who said: “Good evening, miller’s daughter; why are you crying?”

“Oh!” answered the girl, “I have got to spin gold out of straw, and I don’t understand the business.” Then the little man said: “What will you give me if I spin it for you?” – “My necklace,” said the girl. The little man took the necklace, seated himself before the wheel, and whirr, whirr, whirr! three times round and the bobbin was full; then he took up another, and whirr, whirr, whirr! three times round, and that was full; and so he went on till the morning, when all the straw had been spun, and all the bobbins were full of gold.

At sunrise came the king, and when he saw the gold he was astonished and very much rejoiced, for he was very avaricious. He had the miller’s daughter taken into another room filled with straw, much bigger than the last, and told her that as she valued her life she must spin it all in one night. The girl did not know what to do, so she began to cry, and then the door opened, and the little man appeared and said: “What will you give me if I spin all this straw into gold?”

“The ring from my finger,” answered the girl. So the little man took the ring, and began again to send the wheel whirring round, and by the next morning all the straw was spun into glistening gold. The king was rejoiced beyond measure at the sight, but as he could never have enough of gold, he had the miller’s daughter taken into a still larger room full of straw, and said: “This, too, must be spun in one night, and if you accomplish it you shall be my wife.” For he thought: “Although she is but a miller’s daughter, I am not likely to find any one richer in the whole world.” As soon as the girl was left alone, the little man appeared for the third time and said: “What will you give me if I spin the straw for you this time?” – “I have nothing left to give,” answered the girl. “Then you must promise me the first child you have after you are queen,” said the little man. “But who knows whether that will happen?” thought the girl; but as she did not know what else to do in her necessity, she promised the little man what he desired, upon which he began to spin, until all the straw was gold. And when in the morning the king came and found all done according to his wish, he caused the wedding to be held at once, and the miller’s pretty daughter became a queen.

In a year’s time she brought a fine child into the world, and thought no more of the little man; but one day he came suddenly into her room, and said: “Now give me what you promised me.” The queen was terrified greatly, and offered the little man all the riches of the kingdom if he would only leave the child; but the little man said: “No, I would rather have something living than all the treasures of the world.” Then the queen began to lament and to weep, so that the little man had pity upon her. “I will give you three days,” said he, “and if at the end of that time you cannot tell my name, you must give up the child to me.”

Then the queen spent the whole night in thinking over all the names that she had ever heard, and sent a messenger through the land to ask far and wide for all the names that could be found. And when the little man came next day, (beginning with Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar) she repeated all she knew, and went through the whole list, but after each the little man said: “That is not my name.” The second day the queen sent to inquire of all the neighbours what the servants were called, and told the little man all the most unusual and singular names, saying: “Perhaps you are called Roast-ribs, or Sheepshanks, or Spindleshanks?” But he answered nothing but: “That is not my name.”

The third day the messenger came back again, and said: “I have not been able to find one single new name; but as I passed through the woods I came to a high hill, and near it was a little house, and before the house burned a fire, and round the fire danced a comical little man, and he hopped on one leg and cried:

“Today do I bake,
tomorrow I brew,
The day after that the queen’s child comes in;
And oh! I am glad that nobody knew
That the name I am called is Rumpelstiltskin!”

You cannot think how pleased the queen was to hear that name, and soon afterwards, when the little man walked in and said: “Now, Mrs. Queen, what is my name?” she said at first “Are you called Jack?” – “No,” answered he. “Are you called Harry?” she asked again. “No,” answered he. And then she said”: “Then perhaps your name is Rumpelstiltskin?”

“The devil told you that! the devil told you that!” cried the little man, and in his anger he stamped with his right foot so hard that it went into the ground above his knee; then he seized his left foot with both his hands in such a fury that he split in two, and there was an end of him.

There once lived a man and his wife, who had long wished for a child, but in vain. Now there was at the back of their house a little window which overlooked a beautiful garden full of the finest vegetables and flowers; but there was a high wall all round it, and no one ventured into it, for it belonged to a witch of great might, and of whom all the world was afraid.

One day that the wife was standing at the window, and looking into the garden, she saw a bed filled with the finest rampion; and it looked so fresh and green that she began to wish for some; and at length she longed for it greatly. This went on for days, and as she knew she could not get the rampion, she pined away, and grew pale and miserable. Then the man was uneasy, and asked, “What is the matter, dear wife?”

“Oh,” answered she, “I shall die unless I can have some of that rampion to eat that grows in the garden at the back of our house.” The man, who loved her very much, thought to himself, “Rather than lose my wife I will get some rampion, cost what it will.” So in the twilight he climbed over the wall into the witch’s garden, plucked hastily a handful of rampion and brought it to his wife. She made a salad of it at once, and ate of it to her heart’s content. But she liked it so much, and it tasted so good, that the next day she longed for it thrice as much as she had done before; if she was to have any rest the man must climb over the wall once more. So he went in the twilight again; and as he was climbing back, he saw, all at once, the witch standing before him, and was terribly frightened, as she cried, with angry eyes, “How dare you climb over into my garden like a thief, and steal my rampion! it shall be the worse for you!”

“Oh,” answered he, “be merciful rather than just, I have only done it through necessity; for my wife saw your rampion out of the window, and became possessed with so great a longing that she would have died if she could not have had some to eat.” Then the witch said,
“If it is all as you say you may have as much rampion as you like, on one condition – the child that will come into the world must be given to me. It shall go well with the child, and I will care for it like a mother.”

In his distress of mind the man promised everything; and when the time came when the child was born the witch appeared, and, giving the child the name of Rapunzel (which is the same as rampion), she took it away with her.

Rapunzel was the most beautiful child in the world. When she was twelve years old the witch shut her up in a tower in the midst of a wood, and it had neither steps nor door, only a small window above. When the witch wished to be let in, she would stand below and would cry,

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel!
Let down your hair!”

Rapunzel had beautiful long hair that shone like gold. When she. heard the voice of the witch she would undo the fastening of the upper window, unbind the plaits of her hair, and let it down twenty ells below, and the witch would climb up by it.

After they had lived thus a few years it happened that as the King’s son was riding through the wood, he came to the tower; and as he drew near he heard a voice singing so sweetly that he stood still and listened. It was Rapunzel in her loneliness trying to pass away the time with sweet songs. The King’s son wished to go in to her, and sought to find a door in the tower, but there was none. So he rode home, but the song had entered into his heart, and every day he went into the wood and listened to it. Once, as he was standing there under a tree, he saw the witch come up, and listened while she called out,

“O Rapunzel, Rapunzel!
Let down your hair.”

Then he saw how Rapunzel let down her long tresses, and how the witch climbed up by it and went in to her, and he said to himself, “Since that is the ladder I will climb it, and seek my fortune.” And the next day, as soon as it began to grow dusk, he went to the tower and cried,

“O Rapunzel, Rapunzel!
Let down your hair.”

And she let down her hair, and the King’s son climbed up by it. Rapunzel was greatly terrified when she saw that a man had come in to her, for she had never seen one before; but the King’s son began speaking so kindly to her, and told how her singing had entered into his heart, so that he could have no peace until he had seen her herself. Then Rapunzel forgot her terror, and when he asked her to take him for her husband, and she saw that he was young and beautiful, she thought to herself, “I certainly like him much better than old mother Gothel,” and she put her hand into his hand.

She said: “I would willingly go with thee, but I do not know how I shall get out. When thou comest, bring each time a silken rope, and I will make a ladder, and when it is quite ready I will get down by it out of the tower, and thou shalt take me away on thy horse.” They agreed that he should come to her every evening, as the old woman came in the day-time.

So the witch knew nothing of all this until once Rapunzel said to her unwittingly, “Mother Gothel, how is it that you climb up here so slowly, and the King’s son is with me in a moment?”

“O wicked child,” cried the witch, “what is this I hear! I thought I had hidden thee from all the world, and thou hast betrayed me!” In her anger she seized Rapunzel by her beautiful hair, struck her several times with her left hand, and then grasping a pair of shears in her right – snip, snap – the beautiful locks lay on the ground. And she was so hard-hearted that she took Rapunzel and put her in a waste and desert place, where she lived in great woe and misery.
The same day on which she took Rapunzel away she went back to the tower in the evening and made fast the severed locks of hair to the window-hasp, and the King’s son came and cried,

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel!
Let down your hair.”

Then she let the hair down, and the King’s son climbed up, but instead of his dearest Rapunzel he found the witch looking at him with wicked glittering eyes.

“Aha!” cried she, mocking him, “you came for your darling, but the sweet bird sits no longer in the nest, and sings no more; the cat has got her, and will scratch out your eyes as well! Rapunzel is lost to you; you will see her no more.” The King’s son was beside himself with grief, and in his agony he sprang from the tower: he escaped with life, but the thorns on which he fell put out his eyes. Then he wandered blind through the wood, eating nothing but roots and berries, and doing nothing but lament and weep for the loss of his dearest wife.

So he wandered several years in misery until at last he came to the desert place where Rapunzel lived with her twin-children that she had borne, a boy and a girl. At first he heard a voice that he thought he knew, and when he reached the place from which it seemed to come Rapunzel knew him, and fell on his neck and wept. And when her tears touched his eyes they became clear again, and he could see with them as well as ever. Then he took her to his kingdom, where he was received with great joy, and there they lived long and happily.

Once upon a time there was a rich man who lived happily for a long time with his wife. Together they had a single daughter. Then the woman became ill, and when she was lying on her deathbed, she called her daughter to her side, and said, “Dear child, I must leave you now, but I will look down on you from heaven. Plant a little tree on my grave, and when you want something, just shake the tree, and you shall get what you want. I will help you in time of need. Just remain pious and good.” Then she closed her eyes and died. The child cried, and planted a little tree on her mother’s grave. She did not need to carry any water to it, because her tears provided all the water that it needed.
The snow fell over the mother’s grave like a white cloth; then after the sun had retired from it a second time, and the little tree had become green a second time, the man took another wife.

The stepmother already had two daughters by her first husband. They were beautiful to look at, but in their hearts they were proud, arrogant, and evil. After the wedding was over, the three moved into the man’s house, and times grew very bad for his poor child.

“What is that useless creature doing in the best room?” asked the stepmother. “Away to the kitchen with her! And if she wants to eat, then she must earn it. She can be our maid.”

Her stepsisters took her dresses away from her and made her wear an old gray skirt. “That is good enough for you!” they said, making fun of her and leading her into the kitchen. Then the poor child had to do the most difficult work. She had to get up before sunrise, carry water, make the fire, cook, and wash. To add to her misery, her stepsisters ridiculed her and then scattered peas and lentils into the ashes, and she had to spend the whole day sorting them out again. At night when she was tired, there was no bed for her to sleep in, but she had to lie down next to the hearth in the ashes. Because she was always dirty with ashes and dust, they gave her the name Cinderella.

The time came when the king announced a ball. It was to last, in all splendor, for three days, and there his son, the prince, would choose a wife for himself. The two proud sisters were invited. “Cinderella,” they cried, “Come here. Comb our hair. Brush our shoes, and tighten our laces. We are going to the prince’s ball.”

Cinderella did the best that she could, but they rewarded her only with curses. When they were ready, they said with scorn, “Cinderella, wouldn’t you like to go to the ball?”

“Oh, yes. But how can I go? I don’t have a dress.”

“No,” said the oldest one, “and we would be ashamed if you were to be seen there, and people learned that you are our sister. You belong in the kitchen. Here is a basin of lentils. Sort the good ones from the bad ones, and if there is a single bad one in the lot when we return, you can expect the worst.”

With that, they left. Cinderella stood and watched until she could no longer see them. Then she sadly went into the kitchen and spread the lentils out over the hearth. There was a very, very large pile of them. “Oh,” she said with a sigh. “I’ll have to sit here sorting lentils until midnight, and I can’t close my eyes, no matter how much they hurt. If only my mother knew about this!”

She kneeled down in the ashes next to the hearth and was about to begin her work when two white pigeons flew in through the window. They lit on the hearth next to the lentils. Nodding their heads, they said, “Cinderella, do you want us to help you sort the lentils?”

“Yes,” she answered:

The bad ones go into your crop,
The good ones go into the pot.
And peck, peck, peck, peck, they started at once, eating up the bad ones and leaving the good ones lying. In only a quarter of an hour there was not a single bad lentil among the good ones, and she brushed them all into the pot.

Then the pigeons said to her, “Cinderella, if you would like to see your sisters dancing with the prince, just climb up to the pigeon roost.” She followed them and climbed to the top rung of the ladder to the pigeon roost. There she could see into the hall, and she saw her sisters dancing with the prince. Everything glistened by the glow of a thousand lights. After she had seen enough, she climbed back down. With a heavy heart she lay down in the ashes and fell asleep.

The next morning the two sisters came to the kitchen. They were angry when they saw that she had sorted the lentils, for they wanted to scold her. Because they could not, they began telling her about the ball. They said, “Cinderella, it was so grand at the ball. The prince, who is the best looking man in the whole world, escorted us, and he is going to choose one of us to be his wife.”

“Yes,” said Cinderella, “I saw the glistening lights. It must have been magnificent.”

“Now just how did you do that?” asked the oldest one.

“By standing up there on the pigeon roost.”

When she heard this, her envy drove her to have the pigeon roost torn down immediately.

Cinderella had to comb their hair and get them ready again. The youngest sister, who had a little sympathy in her heart, said, “Cinderella, when it gets dark you can go and look through the windows from the outside.”

“No!” said the oldest one. “That would only make her lazy. Here is a sackful of seeds. Sort the good ones from the bad ones, and do it well. If tomorrow there are any bad ones in the lot, then I will dump the whole sackful into the ashes, and you will have to go without eating until you have picked them all out again.”

Cinderella sadly sat down on the hearth and spread out the seeds. The pigeons flew in again, and said, “Cinderella, do you want us to help you sort the seeds?”

“Yes,” she answered:

The bad ones go into your crop,
The good ones go into the pot.
Peck, peck, peck, peck, it went as fast as if twelve hands were at work. When they were finished, the pigeons said, “Cinderella, would you like to go dancing at the ball?”

“Oh, my goodness,” she said, “how could I go in these dirty clothes?”

“Just go to the little tree on your mother’s grave, shake it, and wish yourself some beautiful clothes. But come back before midnight.”

So Cinderella went and shook the little tree, and said:

Shake yourself, shake yourself, little tree.
Throw some nice clothing down to me!
She had scarcely spoken these words when a splendid silver dress fell down before her. With it were pearls, silk stockings with silver decorations, silver slippers, and everything else that she needed. Cinderella carried it all home. After she had washed herself and put on the beautiful clothing, she was as beautiful as a rose washed in dew. She went to the front door, and there was a carriage with six black horses all decorated with feathers, and servants dressed in blue and silver. They helped her into the carriage, and away they galloped to the king’s castle.

The prince saw the carriage stop before the gate, and thought that a foreign princess was arriving. He himself walked down the steps, helped Cinderella out, and escorted her into the hall. Many thousand lights shone upon her, and she was so beautiful that everyone there was amazed. The sisters stood there, angry that someone was more beautiful than they were, but they had no idea that it was Cinderella, who they thought was lying at home in the ashes. The prince danced with Cinderella and paid her every royal honor. He thought to himself, “I am supposed to choose myself a bride. I will have no one but her.”

However long she had suffered in ashes and sorrow, Cinderella was now living in splendor and joy. As midnight approached, before the clock struck twelve, she stood up, bowed, and said that she had to go, in spite of the prince’s requests for her to stay. The prince escorted her out. Her carriage stood there waiting for her. And she rode away just as splendidly as she had come.

Back at home, Cinderella returned to the tree on her mother’s grave, and said:
Shake yourself, shake yourself, little tree!
Take the clothing back from me!
The tree took back the clothes. Cinderella put on her old ash-dress again, went home, dirtied her face, and lay down in the ashes to sleep.

The next morning the two sisters came in looking out of sorts, and without saying a word. Cinderella said, “Did you have a good time yesterday evening?”

“No. A princess was there who danced with the prince almost the whole time, but no one knew who she was nor where she came from.”

“Was she the one in the splendid carriage drawn by six black horses?” asked Cinderella.

“How did you know that?”

“I was standing in the front door when she rode by the house.”

“In the future do not leave your work,” said the oldest one, giving Cinderella an evil look. “What were you doing, standing in the front door?”

Cinderella had to get her sisters ready a third time. Her reward was a basin filled with peas, which she was supposed to sort. “And do not dare to leave your work,” shouted the oldest one, as she was leaving.

Cinderella thought, “If only my pigeons will come again,” and her heart beat a little faster. The pigeons did come, just as they had the evening before, and said, “Cinderella, would you like us to help you sort the peas.”

“Yes,” she said:

The bad ones go into your crop,
The good ones go into the pot.
Once again the pigeons picked out the bad ones, and soon they were finished. Then they said, “Cinderella, shake the little tree, and it will throw down even more beautiful clothes. Go to the ball, but be careful to come back before midnight.” Cinderella went and said:

Shake yourself, shake yourself, little tree.
Throw some nice clothing down to me!
Then a dress fell down that was even more magnificent and more splendid than the other one, made entirely of gold and precious stones. With it were stockings decorated with gold, and slippers made of gold. Cinderella put them on, and she glistened like the sun at midday. A carriage with six white horses pulled up at the door. The horses had tall white plumes on their heads, and the servants were dressed in red and gold.

When Cinderella arrived, the prince was waiting for her at the stairway. He escorted her into the hall. If everyone had been astounded at her beauty yesterday, today they were even more astounded. The sisters stood in the corner, pale with envy. If they had known that this was Cinderella, who they thought was at home lying in the ashes, they would have died of jealousy.

The prince wanted to know who the foreign princess was, where she was from, and where she was going. He placed his people in the street to keep watch. To prevent her from running away so fast, he had the stairway covered with pitch. Cinderella danced with the prince again and again. Filled with joy, she did not think about midnight. Suddenly, in the middle of a dance, she heard the clock strike. She suddenly remembered what the pigeons had warned her. Frightened, she rushed to the door and ran down the stairs. Because they were covered with pitch, one of her golden slippers stuck fast, and in her fear she did not think to pick it up. She reached the last step just as the clock struck twelve. The carriage and the horses disappeared, and Cinderella was left standing there in the dark street dressed in her ash-clothes.

The prince had rushed after her. He found the golden slipper on the stairway, pulled it loose, and picked it up. But by the time he arrived below, she had disappeared. The people whom he had ordered to keep watch came and said that they had seen nothing.

Cinderella was glad that it had not been worse. She returned home, lit her simple oil lamp, hung it in the chimney, and lay down in the ashes. Before long the two sisters returned, and called out, “Cinderella, get up and light the way for us.”

Cinderella yawned and acted as though she had been asleep. While lighting their way, she heard one of them say, “God knows who the cursed princess is. I wish that she were lying beneath the earth! The prince danced only with her, and after she left, he did not want to stay any longer, and the whole party came to an end.”

“It was as though they suddenly blew out all the lights,” said the other one. Cinderella knew exactly who the foreign princess was, but she did not say a word.

Now the prince decided that since nothing else had succeeded, he would let the slipper help him find his bride. He had it proclaimed that he would marry the person whose foot fit the golden slipper. But it was too small for everyone. Indeed, some could not have gotten their foot inside, if it had been twice as large. Finally it came time for the two sisters to try on the slipper. They were happy, for they had small, beautiful feet, and each one believed that she could not fail. “If only the prince would come here sooner!” they thought.

“Listen,” said the mother secretly. “Take this knife, and if the slipper is too tight, just cut off part of your foot. It will hurt a little, but what harm is that? The pain will soon pass, and then one of you will be queen.” Then the oldest one went to her bedroom and tried on the slipper. The front of her foot went in, but her heel was too large, so she took the knife and cut part of it off, so she could force her foot into the slipper. Then she went out to the prince, and when he saw that she was wearing the slipper, he said that she was to be his bride. He escorted her to his carriage and was going to drive away with her. When he arrived at the gate, the two pigeons were perched above, and they called out:

Rook di goo, rook di goo!
There’s blood in the shoe.
The shoe is too tight,
This bride is not right!
The prince bent over and looked at the slipper. Blood was streaming from it. He saw that he had been deceived, and he took the false bride back.

The mother then said to her second daughter, “Take the slipper, and if it is too short for you, then cut off your toes.” So she took the slipper into her bedroom, and because her foot was too long, she bit her teeth together, and cut off a large part of her toes, then quickly pulled on the slipper. When she stepped out wearing it, the prince thought that she was the right one, and wanted to ride away with her. But when they came to the gate, the pigeons again called out:

Rook di goo, rook di goo!
There’s blood in the shoe.
The shoe is too tight,
This bride is not right!
The prince looked down and saw that her white stockings were stained red, and that blood and had come up high on them. The prince took her back to her mother and said, “She is not the right bride either. Is there not another daughter here in this house?”

“No,” said the mother. “There is only a dirty cinder girl here. She is sitting down there in the ashes. The slipper would never fit her.” She did not want to call her, but the prince insisted. So they called Cinderella, and when she heard that the prince was there, she quickly washed her hands and face. She stepped into the best room and bowed. The prince handed her the golden slipper, and said, “Try it on. If it fits you, you shall be my wife.” She pulled the heavy shoe from her left foot, then put her foot into the slipper, pushing ever so slightly. It fit as if it had been poured over her foot. As she straightened herself up, she looked into the prince’s face, and he recognized her as the beautiful princess. He cried out, “This is the right bride.” The stepmother and the two proud sisters turned pale with horror. The prince escorted Cinderella away. He helped her into his carriage, and as they rode through the gate, the pigeons called out:

Rook di goo, rook di goo!
No blood’s in the shoe.
The shoe’s not too tight,
This bride is right!

Ages ago there lived a king who had three good and beautiful daughters whom he loved very much and who in turn loved him dearly. He had no princes, but in his kingdom it was the custom that the succession of the throne could also pass to women and daughters. Because the king’s wife was no longer alive he was free to appoint one of his daughters to the throne, and it did not need to be the oldest one.

Because this king loved all of his daughters equally the decision was very difficult for him. He came to the conclusion to select the one who demonstrated the keenest intellect. He shared this determination with his three daughters, declaring that his approaching birthday would be the day of decision. The one who would bring him “the most indispensable thing” would become queen.

Each of the princesses thought about what would be the most indispensable thing. When his birthday arrived, the oldest one approached him, carrying a fine purple robe, and said, “The Lord God had mankind come naked into the world, but then he barred them from paradise. Thus robes and clothing are indispensable.”

The second daughter brought a loaf of fresh bread that she herself had baked. It was lying on top of a filled beaker made of gold. “Food and drink are the most indispensable things for mankind, born from dust, for without these they cannot live. Thus God created the fruits of the field, fruit, berries, and grapes, and taught mankind to make bread and wine, the sacred symbols of his love.”

The youngest daughter brought a pile of salt on a wooden plate, saying, “My father, I consider salt and wood to be the most indispensable. Ancient peoples paid sacred homage to the trees and considered salt to be holy.

The king was very surprised with these gifts. Thinking about them, he said, “Purple is the most indispensable thing for a king, for if he has it, he has everything else. If he loses it, then he is no longer king and is as common as other humans. Because you have perceived this, my oldest and beloved daughter, after me you shall be decorated with royal purple. Come to me and receive my thanks and my blessing!”

After kissing and blessing his oldest daughter, he said to the second oldest, “Eating and drinking are not altogether necessary, my good child, and they draw us down entirely too much into commonness. They are a sign of mediocrity and of the masses. I cannot hinder you if you find pleasure therein, nor can I thank you for your poorly chosen gift, but you shall be blessed for your good will.” Then the king blessed his daughter, but he did not kiss her.

Then he turned to the third princess, who was standing there pale and trembling. After what she had seen and heard, she sensed what was to come.

“My daughter, on your wooden plate you may well have some salt, but in your brain you have none,” said the king. “You are still alive, and therefore salt is not indispensable. One does not need salt. With your salt you are showing the sense of a peasant, not the sense of a king. And I take no pleasure on that stiff wooden thing. Thus I can neither thank you nor bless you. Go away from me, as far as your feet will carry you. Go to the stupid and coarse people who worship old blocks of wood and tree limbs instead of the living God, and who consider common salt to be sacred.”

Crying, the youngest princess then turned away from her hard father, and walked far, far away from the court and the royal city, as far as her feet would carry her.

She came to an inn and offered her services to the female innkeeper. The innkeeper was touched by her humility, innocence, youth, and beauty, and she took her in as a maid. The princess soon mastered all the household duties, and the innkeeper said, “It would be a pity if the girl did not learn a decent skill. I’ll teach her to cook.”

And thus the princess learned to cook. She grasped everything quickly, and soon could cook some dishes even better and more delicious than the teacher herself. Business improved at the inn because of the good cooking there, and the good cook’s reputation — who was also so young and so beautiful — spread throughout the entire land.

Now it came to pass that this cook’s father’s oldest daughter was about to be married. A royal wedding was to be held, and it was recommended to bring the famous cook to the court to prepare the feast, for the lords at the royal court, the marshals, the royal wine stewards, the royal dining stewards, the masters of ceremony, the chamberlains, and other excellencies did not share the view that their most gracious lord the king had once expressed, that eating and drinking were not altogether necessary and that they draw us down to commonness. To the contrary, they praised all good food and fine wine and honored — at least inwardly — that old and true proverb, “Eating and drinking hold body and soul together.”

The wedding meal was deliciously prepared, nor was the king’s favorite dish lacking, which had been specially ordered by the royal dining steward. The meal was served. There came one dish after the other, and each was highly praised.

Finally came the king’s favorite dish, and it was served first to him. He tried it and found it completely tasteless. His cheerful mood darkened, and he spoke to the chamberlain standing behind his golden armchair, “This dish is ruined! It is terrible! Stop the platters from being passed around, and summon the cook!”

The cook entered the magnificent hall, and the king addressed her, “You have ruined my favorite dish. You have spoiled my pleasure by not putting any salt in my favorite dish!”

Then the cook fell at the king’s feet, saying with humility, “Have mercy, your majesty, my royal lord, and forgive me! How could I have dared to mix salt into your food? Did I not once hear from a lofty king’s own mouth the words, ” One does not need salt. Salt is not indispensable. Salt shows only the sense of a peasant, not the sense of a king!”

With shame the king recognized these words as his own and the cook as his daughter. Lifting her from the floor where she was kneeling, he drew her to his heart. He then told all the wedding guests her story and had his youngest daughter once again be seated by his side.

Then the wedding became doubly joyful, and the king was once again entirely happy with his daughter’s love.

Salt is holy.

Once upon a time there was a peasant who had money and land enough, but as rich as he was, there was still something missing from his happiness: He had no children with his wife. Often when he went to the city with the other peasants, they would mock him and ask him why he had no children. He finally became angry, and when he returned home, he said, “I will have a child, even if it is a hedgehog.”

Then his wife had a baby, and the top half was a hedgehog and the bottom half a boy. When she saw the baby, she was horrified and said, “Now see what you have wished upon us!”

The man said, “It cannot be helped. The boy must be baptized, but we cannot ask anyone to be his godfather.”

The woman said, “And the only name that we can give him is Hans-My-Hedgehog.”

When he was baptized, the pastor said, “Because of his quills he cannot be given an ordinary bed.” So they put a little straw behind the stove and laid him in it. And he could not drink from his mother, for he would have stuck her with his quills. He lay there behind the stove for eight years, and his father grew tired of him, and thought, “if only he would die.” But he did not die, but just lay there.

Now it happened that there was a fair in the city, and the peasant wanted to go. He asked his wife what he should bring her.

“A little meat, some bread rolls, and things for the household,” she said. Then he asked the servant girl, and she wanted a pair of slippers and some fancy stockings.

Finally, he also said, “Hans-My-Hedgehog, what would you like?”

“Father,” he said, “bring me some bagpipes.”

When the peasant returned home he gave his wife what he had brought for her, meat and bread rolls. Then he gave the servant girl the slippers and fancy stockings. And finally he went behind the stove and gave Hans-My-Hedgehog the bagpipes.

When Hans-My-Hedgehog had them, he said, “Father, go to the blacksmith’s and have my cock-rooster shod, then I will ride away and never again come back.” The father was happy to get rid of him, so he had his rooster shod, and when it was done, Hans-My-Hedgehog climbed on it and rode away. He took pigs and donkeys with him, to tend in the forest.

In the forest the rooster flew into a tall tree with him. There he sat and watched over the donkeys and the pigs. He sat there for years, until finally the herd had grown large. His father knew nothing about him. While sitting in the tree, he played his bagpipes and made beautiful music.

One day a king came by. He was lost and heard the music. He was amazed to hear it, and sent a servant to look around and see where it was coming from. He looked here and there but only saw a little animal sitting high in a tree. It looked like a rooster up there with a hedgehog sitting on it making the music.

The king said to the servant that he should ask him why he was sitting there, and if he knew the way back to his kingdom. Then Hans-My-Hedgehog climbed down from the tree and told him that he would show him the way if the king would promise in writing to give him the first thing that greeted him at the royal court upon his arrival home.

The king thought, “I can do that easily enough. Hans-My-Hedgehog cannot understand writing, and I can put down what I want to.”

Then the king took pen and ink and wrote something, and after he had done so, Hans-My-Hedgehog showed him the way, and he arrived safely at home. His daughter saw him coming from afar, and was so overjoyed that she ran to meet him and kissed him. He thought about Hans-My-Hedgehog and told her what had happened, that he was supposed to have promised the first thing that greeted him to a strange animal that rode a rooster and made beautiful music. But instead he had written that this would not happen, for Hans-My-Hedgehog could not read. The princess was happy about this, and said that it was a good thing, for she would not have gone with him in any event.

Hans-My-Hedgehog tended the donkeys and pigs, was of good cheer, and sat in the tree blowing on his bagpipes.

Now it happened that another king came this way with his servants and messengers. He too got lost and did not know the way back home because the forest was so large. He too heard the beautiful music from afar, and asked one of his messengers to go and see what it was and where it was coming from. The messenger ran to the tree where he saw Hans-My-Hedgehog astride the cock-rooster. The messenger asked him what he was doing up there.

“I am tending my donkeys and pigs. What is it that you want?” replied Hans-My-Hedgehog.

The messenger said that they were lost and could not find their way back to their kingdom, and asked him if he could not show them the way.

Then Hans-My-Hedgehog climbed down from the tree with his rooster and told the old king that he would show him the way if he would give him the thing that he first met at home before the royal castle.

The king said yes and signed a promise to Hans-My-Hedgehog.

When that was done, Hans-My-Hedgehog rode ahead on his rooster showing them the way, and the king safely reached his kingdom. When the king arrived at his court there was great joy. Now he had an only daughter who was very beautiful. She ran out to him, threw her arms around his neck and kissed him, and was ever so happy that her old father had returned.

She asked him where he had been during his long absence, and he told her how he had lost his way and almost not made it home again, but that as he was making his way through a great forest he had come upon a half hedgehog, half human astride a rooster sitting in a tall tree and making beautiful music who had shown him the way, but whom he had promised whatever first met him at the royal court, and it was she herself, and he was terribly sorry.

But she promised that she would go with him when he came, for the love of her old father.

Hans-My-Hedgehog tended his pigs, and the pigs had more pigs, until there were so many that the whole forest was full. Then Hans-My-Hedgehog let his father know that they should empty out all the stalls in the village, because he was coming with such a large herd of pigs that everyone who wanted to would be able to take part in the slaughter.

It saddened the father to hear this, for he thought that Hans-My-Hedgehog had long since died. But Hans-My-Hedgehog mounted his cock-rooster, drove the pigs ahead of himself into the village, and had them butchered. What a slaughter! What a commotion! They could hear the noise two hours away!

Afterward Hans-My-Hedgehog said, “Father, have my cock-rooster shod a second time at the blacksmith’s. Then I will ride away and not come back again as long as I live.” So the father had the cock-rooster shod, and was happy that Hans-My-Hedgehog was not coming back.

Hans-My-Hedgehog rode into the first kingdom. The king had ordered that if anyone should approach who was carrying bagpipes and riding on a rooster, that he should be shot at, struck down, and stabbed, to prevent him from entering the castle. Thus when Hans-My-Hedgehog rode up, they attacked him with bayonets, but he spurred his rooster on, flew over the gate and up to the king’s window. Landing there, he shouted to him, to give him what he had promised, or it would cost him and his daughter their lives.

Then the king told the princess to go out to him, in order to save his life and her own as well. She put on a white dress, and her father gave her a carriage with six horses, magnificent servants, money, and property. She climbed aboard and Hans-My-Hedgehog took his place beside her with his rooster and bagpipes. They said farewell and drove off.

The king thought that he would never see them again. However, it did not go as he thought it would, for when they had traveled a short distance from the city, Hans-My-Hedgehog pulled off her beautiful clothes and stuck her with his quills until she was bloody all over. “This is the reward for your deceit. Go away. I do not want you.” With that he sent her back home, and she was cursed as long as she lived.

Hans-My-Hedgehog, astride his cock-rooster and carrying his bagpipes, rode on to the second kingdom where he had also helped the king find his way. This one, in contrast, had ordered that if anyone looking like Hans-My-Hedgehog should arrive, he should be saluted and brought to the royal castle with honors and with a military escort.

When the princess saw him she was horrified, because he looked so strange, but she thought that nothing could be done about it, because she had promised her father to go with him. She welcomed Hans-My-Hedgehog, and they were married. Then he was taken to the royal table, and she sat next to him while they ate and drank.

That evening when it was time to go to bed, she was afraid of his quills, but he told her to have no fear, for he would not hurt her. He told the old king to have four men keep watch by their bedroom door. They should make a large fire. He said that he would take off his hedgehog skin after going into the bedroom, and before getting into bed. The men should immediately pick it up and throw it into the fire, and then stay there until it was completely consumed by the fire.

When the clock struck eleven, he went into the bedroom, took off the hedgehog skin, and laid it down by the bed. The men rushed in, grabbed it, and threw it into the fire, and as soon as the fire consumed it, he was redeemed, and he lay there in bed entirely in the shape of a human. But he was as black as coal, as though he had been charred. The king sent for his physician, who washed him with good salves and balms. Then he became white and was a handsome young gentleman.

When the princess saw what had happened, she was overjoyed, and they got up and ate and drank. Now their wedding was celebrated for real, and Hans-My-Hedgehog inherited the old king’s kingdom.

Some years later he traveled with his wife to his father, and said that he was his son. But the father said that he did not have a son. He had had one, but he had been born with quills like a hedgehog and had gone off into the world. Then he said that he was the one, and the old father rejoiced and returned with him to his kingdom.

My tale is done,
And has gone
To Gustchen’s home.

Once upon a time there was a child who was willful and did not do what his mother wanted. For this reason God was displeased with him and caused him to become ill, and no doctor could help him, and in a short time he lay on his deathbed.

He was lowered into a grave and covered with earth, but his little arm suddenly came forth and reached up, and it didn’t help when they put it back in and put fresh earth over it, for the little arm always came out again. So the mother herself had to go to the grave and beat the little arm with a switch, and as soon as she had done that, it withdrew, and the child finally came to rest beneath the earth.

Once upon a time there was a soldier who had served the king loyally for many long years. When the war was over and the soldier could no longer serve because of the many wounds he had received, the king said to him, “You can go home now. I no longer need you. There will be no more money for you, because wages are only for those who earn them.”

Because the soldier did not know how he could earn a living, he sadly walked the whole day long, until he came to a forest in the evening. As darkness fell he saw a light. He approached it and came to a little house, where a witch lived. “Give me a night’s shelter and a little to eat and drink,” he said to her, “otherwise I will perish.”

“Oho!” she answered. “Who gives anything to a runaway soldier? But I will have pity and take you in after all, if you will do what I ask of you.”

“What do you want?” asked the soldier.

“For you to dig up my garden tomorrow.”

The soldier agreed, and the next day he worked with all his might, but could not finish before evening. “I see,” said the witch, “that you can do no more work today. I will take you in for one more night if tomorrow you will cut up and split a stack of wood for me.”

The soldier took the entire day to do this, and that evening the witch proposed that he remain a third night. “Tomorrow I have only a small task for you. Behind my house there is a dry well into which my light has fallen. It burns blue and never goes out. I want you to get it for me.”

The next day the old woman led him to the well and lowered him down it in a basket. He found the blue light and gave a sign that she should pull him up again. And she did pull him up, but when he was close to the edge, she wanted to take the blue light from him. “No,” he said, sensing her evil thoughts, “I shall not give you the light until I am standing on the ground with both feet.”

Then the witch became furious, let him fall back into the well, and walked away. The poor soldier fell to the damp floor without being injured. The blue light continued to burn, but how could that help him? He saw that would not be able to escape death. He sadly sat there for a while. Then he happened to reach into his pocket and found his tobacco pipe, which was still half full. “This will be your last pleasure,” he thought, pulled it out, lit it with the blue light, and began to smoke.

After the fumes had wafted about the cavern, suddenly there stood before him a little black dwarf, who said, “Master, what do you command?”

“Why should I command you?” replied the bewildered soldier.

“I must do everything that you demand,” said the dwarf.”

“Good,” said the soldier, “then first help me out of this well.”

The dwarf took him by the hand and led him through an underground passage, and he did not forget to take the blue light with him. Along the way he showed him the treasures that the witch had collected and hidden there, and the soldier took as much gold as he could carry. When he was above ground, he said to the dwarf, “Now go and bind the old witch and take her to the judge.”

Not long afterward she came riding by on a tomcat as fast as the wind and screaming horribly. And not long after that the dwarf was back. “It is all taken care of,” he said. “The witch is hanging on the gallows. Master, what do you command now?”

“Nothing at the moment,” answered the soldier. “You can go home, but be ready when I call you.”

“It is only necessary,” said the dwarf, “for you to light your pipe with the blue light, and I will be with you.” With that he disappeared before his very eyes.

The soldier returned to the city from which he had come. He moved into the best inn and had beautiful clothes made for himself. Then he told the innkeeper to furnish his room as luxuriously as possible. When it was finished he summoned the black dwarf and said, “I served the king loyally, but he sent me away to starve. For this I now want revenge.”

“What am I to do?” asked the little man.

“Late this evening, when the king’s daughter is lying in bed, bring her here to me in her sleep. She shall do maid service for me.”

The dwarf said, “That is an easy thing for me, but a dangerous thing for you. If you are found out, it will not go well for you.”

At the strike of twelve the door opened, and the dwarf carried the king’s daughter in.

“Aha, is that you?” cried the soldier. “Get to work now! Go fetch the broom and sweep the room.” When she was finished he called her to his chair, stuck his feet out at her, and said, “Pull off my boots,” then threw them in her face, and she had to pick them up and clean them and make them shine. She did everything that he ordered her to do, without resisting, silently, and with half-closed eyes. At the first cock’s crow, the dwarf carried her to the royal palace and back to her bed.

The next morning, after the king’s daughter had gotten up, she went to her father and told him that she had had an amazing dream. “I was carried away through the streets as fast as lightning and taken to a soldier’s room. I had to serve as his maid and wait on him and do common work, sweep the room, and clean his boots. It was only a dream, but still I am as tired as if I had really done it all.”

“The dream could have been true,” said the king. “I will give you some advice. Fill your pocket with peas, then make a small hole in your pocket. If you are carried away again, they will fall out and leave a track on the street.”

As the king was thus speaking, the dwarf was invisibly standing nearby and heard everything.

That night when he once again carried the sleeping princess through the streets, a few peas did indeed fall out of her pocket, but they did not leave a track, because the cunning dwarf had already scattered peas in all the streets. And once again the king’s daughter had to do maid service until the cock crowed.

The next morning the king sent his people out to look for the track, but it was to no end, for in all the streets there were poor children gathering peas and saying, “Last night it rained peas.”

“We must think of something else,” said the king. “Leave your shoes on when you go to bed, and before you return from there, hide one of them. I will be sure to find it.”

The black dwarf overheard this proposal, and that evening when the soldier again wanted the king’s daughter brought to him, the dwarf advised him against this, saying that he had no way to protect him against such trickery. If the shoe were to be found in his room, it would not go well with him.

“Do what I tell you,” replied the soldier, and for a third night the king’s daughter had to work like a maid. But before she was carried back, she hid a shoe under the bed.

The next morning the king had the entire city searched for the shoe, and it was found in the soldier’s room. The soldier himself, following the little man’s request, was already outside the city gate, but they soon overtook him and threw him into prison.

In his haste, he had forgotten to take along his most valuable things: the blue light and the gold. He had only one ducat in his pocket. Standing at the window of his prison and weighted down with chains, he saw one of his comrades walking by. He knocked on the glass, and as he walked by, he said, “Be so good and bring me the little bundle that I left at the inn. I’ll give you a ducat for it.”

The comrade ran forth and brought back the desired things. As soon as the soldier was alone again, he lit his pipe and summoned the black dwarf. “Have no fear,” he said to his master. “Just go where they lead you, and let everything happen, but take the blue light with you.”

The next day the soldier was tried, and although he had done nothing wrong, the judge still sentenced him to death. As he was being led out, he asked the king for one last wish.

“What sort of a wish?” asked the king.

“That I might smoke one more pipe on the way.”

“You can smoke three,” answered the king, “but do not think that I will let you live.”

Then the soldier pulled out his pipe and lit it with the blue light. As soon as a few rings of smoke had risen, the dwarf was standing there. He had a cudgel in his hand and said, “What does my master command?”

“Strike the false judges and their henchmen to the ground for me. And don’t spare the king either, who has treated me so badly.”

Then the dwarf took off like lightning, zip-zap, back and forth, and everyone he even touched with his cudgel fell to the ground and did not dare to move. The king became afraid. He begged for mercy, and in order to save his life, he gave to the soldier his kingdom as well as his daughter for a wife.