There was once a girl who was lazy and would not spin, and her mother could not persuade her to it, do what she would. At last the mother became angry and out of patience, and gave her a good beating, so that she cried out loudly. At that moment the Queen was going by; as she heard the crying, she stopped; and, going into the house, she asked the mother why she was beating her daughter, so that every one outside in the street could hear her cries. The woman was ashamed to tell of her daughter’s laziness, so she said, “I cannot stop her from spinning; she is for ever at it, and I am poor and cannot furnish her with flax enough.” Then the Queen answered, “I like nothing better than the sound of the spinning-wheel, and always feel happy when I hear its humming; let me take your daughter with me to the castle – I have plenty of flax, she shall spin there to her heart’s content.” The mother was only too glad of the offer, and the Queen took the girl with her.

When they reached the castle the Queen showed her three rooms which were filled with the finest flax as full as they could hold.

“Now you can spin me this flax,” said she, “and when you can show it me all done you shall have my eldest son for bridegroom; you may be poor, but I make nothing of that – your industry is dowry enough.” The girl was inwardly terrified, for she could not have spun the flax, even if she were to live to be a hundred years old, and were to sit spinning every day of her life from morning to evening. And when she found herself alone she began to weep, and sat so for three days without putting her hand to it. On the third day the Queen came, and when she saw that nothing had been done of the spinning she was much surprised; but the girl excused herself by saying that she had not been able to begin because of the distress she was in at leaving her home and her mother. The excuse contented the Queen, who said, however, as she went away, “Tomorrow you must begin to work.”

When the girl found herself alone again she could not tell how to help herself or what to do, and in her perplexity she went and gazed out of the window. There she saw three women passing by, and the first of them had a broad flat foot, the second had a big under-lip that hung down over her chin, and the third had a remarkably broad thumb. They all of them stopped in front of the window, and called out to know what it was that the girl wanted. She told them all her need, and they promised her their help, and said, “Then will you invite us to your wedding, and not be ashamed of us, and call us your cousins, and let us sit at your table; if you will promise this, we will finish off your flax-spinning in a very short time.”

“With all my heart,” answered the girl; “only come in now, and begin at once.”

Then these same women came in, and she cleared a space in the first room for them to sit and carry on their spinning. The first one drew out the thread and moved the treddle that turned the wheel, the second moistened the thread, the third twisted it, and rapped with her finger on the table, and as often as she rapped a heap of yarn fell to the ground, and it was most beautifully spun. But the girl hid the three spinsters out of the Queen’s sight, and only showed her, as often as she came, the heaps of well-spun yarn; and there was no end to the praises she received. When the first room was empty they went on to the second, and then to the third, so that at last all was finished. Then the three women took their leave, saying to the girl, “Do not forget what you have promised, and it will be all the better for you.”

So when the girl took the Queen and showed her the empty rooms, and the great heaps of yarn, the wedding was at once arranged, and the bridegroom rejoiced that he should have so clever and diligent a wife, and praised her exceedingly.

“I have three cousins,” said the girl, “and as they have shown me a great deal of kindness, I would not wish to forget them in my good fortune; may I be allowed to invite them to the wedding, and to ask them to sit at the table with us?” The Queen and the bridegroom said at once, “There is no reason against it.”

So when the feast began in came the three spinsters in strange guise, and the bride said, “Dear cousins, you are welcome.”

“Oh,” said the bridegroom, “how come you to have such dreadfully ugly relations?” And then he went up to the first spinster and said, “How is it that you have such a broad flat foot?”

“With treading,” answered she, “with treading.” Then he went up to the second and said, “How is it that you have such a great hanging lip?”

“With licking,” answered she, “with licking.”

Then he asked the third, “How is it that you have such a broad thumb?”

“With twisting thread,” answered she, “with twisting thread.” Then the bridegroom said that from that time forward his beautiful bride should never touch a spinning-wheel. And so she escaped that tiresome flax-spinning.

The cock once said to the hen, “It is now the time when our nuts are ripe, so let us go to the hill together and for once eat our fill before the squirrel takes them all away.” – “Yes,” replied the hen, “come, we will have some pleasure together.” Then they went away to the hill, and on it was a bright day they stayed till evening. Now I do not know whether it was that they had eaten till they were too fat, or whether they had become proud, but they would not go home on foot, and the cock had to build a little carriage of nut-shells. When it was ready, the little hen seated herself in it and said to the cock, “Thou canst just harness thyself to it.” – “I like that!” said the cock, “I would rather go home on foot than let myself be harnessed to it; no, that is not our bargain. I do not mind being coachman and sitting on the box, but drag it myself I will not.”

As they were thus disputing, a duck quacked to them, “You thieving folks, who bade you go to my nut-hill? Well, you shall suffer for it!” and ran with open beak at the cock. But the cock also was not idle, and fell boldly on the duck, and at last wounded her so with his spurs that she also begged for mercy, and willingly let herself be harnessed to the carriage as a punishment. The little cock now seated himself on the box and was coachman, and thereupon they went off in a gallop, with “Duck, go as fast as thou canst.” When they had driven a part of the way they met two foot-passengers, a pin and a needle. They cried, “Stop! stop!” and said that it would soon be as dark as pitch, and then they could not go a step further, and that it was so dirty on the road, and asked if they could not get into the carriage for a while. They had been at the tailor’s public- house by the gate, and had stayed too long over the beer. As they were thin people, who did not take up much room, the cock let them both get in, but they had to promise him and his little hen not to step on their feet. Late in the evening they came to an inn, and as they did not like to go further by night, and as the duck also was not strong on her feet, and fell from one side to the other, they went in. The host at first made many objections, his house was already full, besides he thought they could not be very distinguished persons; but at last, as they made pleasant speeches, and told him that he should have the egg which the little hen has laid on the way, and should likewise keep the duck, which laid one every day, he at length said that they might stay the night. And now they had themselves well served, and feasted and rioted. Early in the morning, when day was breaking, and every one was asleep, the cock awoke the hen, brought the egg, pecked it open, and they ate it together, but they threw the shell on the hearth. Then they went to the needle which was still asleep, took it by the head and stuck it into the cushion of the landlord’s chair, and put the pin in his towel, and at the last without more ado they flew away over the heath. The duck who liked to sleep in the open air and had stayed in the yard, heard them going away, made herself merry and found a stream, down which she swam, which was a much quicker way of travelling than being harnessed to a carriage. The host did not get out of bed for two hours after this; he washed himself and wanted to dry himself, then the pin went over his face and made a red streak from one ear to the other. After this he went into the kitchen and wanted to light a pipe, but when he came to the hearth the egg-shell darted into his eyes. “This morning everything attacks my head, ” said he, and angrily sat down on his grandfather’s chair, but he quickly started up again and cried, “Woe is me, ” for the needle had pricked him still worse than the pin, and not in the head. Now he was thoroughly angry, and suspected the guests who had come so late the night before, and when he went and looked about for them, they were gone. Then he made a vow to take no more ragamuffins into his house, for they consume much, pay for nothing, and play mischievous tricks into the bargain by way of gratitude.

There was once a wonderful musician, who went quite alone through a forest and thought of all manner of things, and when nothing was left for him to think about, he said to himself, “Time is beginning to pass heavily with me here in the forest, I will fetch hither a good companion for myself.” Then he took his fiddle from his back, and played so that it echoed through the trees. It was not long before a wolf came trotting through the thicket towards him. “Ah, here is a wolf coming! I have no desire for him!” said the musician; but the wolf came nearer and said to him, “Ah, dear musician, how beautifully thou dost play. I should like to learn that, too.” – “It is soon learnt,” the musician replied, “thou hast only to do all that I bid thee.” – “Oh, musician,” said the wolf, “I will obey thee as a scholar obeys his master.” The musician bade him follow, and when they had gone part of the way together, they came to an old oak-tree which was hollow inside, and cleft in the middle. “Look,” said the musician, “if thou wilt learn to fiddle, put thy fore paws into this crevice.” The wolf obeyed, but the musician quickly picked up a stone and with one blow wedged his two paws so fast that he was forced to stay there like a prisoner. “Stay there until I come back again,” said the musician, and went his way.

After a while he again said to himself, “Time is beginning to pass heavily with me here in the forest, I will fetch hither another companion,” and took his fiddle and again played in the forest. It was not long before a fox came creeping through the trees towards him. “Ah, there’s a fox coming!” said the musician. “I have no desire for him.” The fox came up to him and said, “Oh, dear musician, how beautifully thou dost play! I should like to learn that too.” – “That is soon learnt,” said the musician. “Thou hast only to do everything that I bid thee.” – “Oh, musician,” then said the fox, “I will obey thee as a scholar obeys his master.” – “Follow me,” said the musician; and when they had walked a part of the way, they came to a footpath, with high bushes on both sides of it. There the musician stood still, and from one side bent a young hazel-bush down to the ground, and put his foot on the top of it, then he bent down a young tree from the other side as well, and said, “Now little fox, if thou wilt learn something, give me thy left front paw.” The fox obeyed, and the musician fastened his paw to the left bough. “Little fox,” said he, “now reach me thy right paw” and he tied it to the right bough. When he had examined whether they were firm enough, he let go, and the bushes sprang up again, and jerked up the little fox, so that it hung struggling in the air. “Wait there till I come back again,” said the musician, and went his way.

Again he said to himself, “Time is beginning to pass heavily with me here in the forest, I will fetch hither another companion,” so he took his fiddle, and the sound echoed through the forest. Then a little hare came springing towards him. “Why, a hare is coming,” said the musician, “I do not want him.” – “Ah, dear musician,” said the hare, “how beautifully thou dost fiddle; I too, should like to learn that.” – “That is soon learnt,” said the musician, “thou hast only to do everything that I bid thee.” – “Oh, musician,” replied the little hare, “I will obey thee as a scholar obeys his master.” They went a part of the way together until they came to an open space in the forest, where stood an aspen tree. The musician tied a long string round the little hare’s neck, the other end of which he fastened to the tree. “Now briskly, little hare, run twenty times round the tree!” cried the musician, and the little hare obeyed, and when it had run round twenty times, it had twisted the string twenty times round the trunk of the tree, and the little hare was caught, and let it pull and tug as it liked, it only made the string cut into its tender neck. “Wait there till I come back,” said the musician, and went onwards.

The wolf, in the meantime, had pushed and pulled and bitten at the stone, and had worked so long that he had set his feet at liberty and had drawn them once more out of the cleft. Full of anger and rage he hurried after the musician and wanted to tear him to pieces. When the fox saw him running, he began to lament, and cried with all his might, “Brother wolf, come to my help, the musician has betrayed me!” The wolf drew down the little tree, bit the cord in two, and freed the fox, who went with him to take revenge on the musician. They found the tied-up hare, whom likewise they delivered, and then they all sought the enemy together.

The musician had once more played his fiddle as he went on his way, and this time he had been more fortunate. The sound reached the ears of a poor wood-cutter, who instantly, whether he would or no, gave up his work and came with his hatchet under his arm to listen to the music. “At last comes the right companion,” said the musician, “for I was seeking a human being, and no wild beast.” And he began and played so beautifully and delightfully that the poor man stood there as if bewitched, and his heart leaped with gladness. And as he thus stood, the wolf, the fox, and the hare came up, and he saw well that they had some evil design. So he raised his glittering axe and placed himself before the musician, as if to say, “Whoso wishes to touch him let him beware, for he will have to do with me!” Then the beasts were terrified and ran back into the forest. The musician, however, played once more to the man out of gratitude, and then went onwards.

There was once a peasant who had driven his cow to the fair, and sold her for seven thalers. On the way home he had to pass a pond, and already from afar he heard the frogs crying, “Aik, aik, aik, aik.” – “Well,” said he to himself, “they are talking without rhyme or reason, it is seven that I have received, not eight.” When he got to the water, he cried to them, “Stupid animals that you are! Don’t you know better than that? It is seven thalers and not eight.” The frogs, however, stood to their, “aik aik, aik, aik.” – “Come, then, if you won’t believe it, I can count it out to you.” And he took his money out of his pocket and counted out the seven thalers, always reckoning four and twenty groschen to a thaler. The frogs, however, paid no attention to his reckoning, but still cried, “aik, aik, aik, aik.” – “What,” cried the peasant, quite angry, “since you are determined to know better than I, count it yourselves,” and threw all the money into the water to them. He stood still and wanted to wait until they were done and had brought him his own again, but the frogs maintained their opinion and cried continually, “aik, aik, aik, aik,” and besides that, did not throw the money out again. He still waited a long while until evening came on and he was forced to go home. Then he abused the frogs and cried, “You water-splashers, you thick-heads, you goggle-eyes, you have great mouths and can screech till you hurt one’s ears, but you cannot count seven thalers! Do you think I’m going to stand here till you get done?” And with that he went away, but the frogs still cried, “aik, aik, aik, aik,” after him till he went home quite angry.
After a while he bought another cow, which he killed, and he made the calculation that if he sold the meat well he might gain as much as the two cows were worth, and have the skin into the bargain. When therefore he got to the town with the meat, a great troop of dogs were gathered together in front of the gate, with a large greyhound at the head of them, which jumped at the meat, snuffed at it, and barked, “Wow, wow, wow.” As there was no stopping him, the peasant said to him, “Yes, yes, I know quite well that thou art saying, ‘wow, wow, wow,’ because thou wantest some of the meat; but I should fare badly if I were to give it to thee.” The dog, however, answered nothing but “wow, wow.” – “Wilt thou promise not to devour it all then, and wilt thou go bail for thy companions?” – “Wow, wow, wow,” said the dog. “Well, if thou insistest on it, I will leave it for thee; I know thee well, and know who is thy master; but this I tell thee, I must have my money in three days or else it will go ill with thee; thou must just bring it out to me.” Thereupon he unloaded the meat and turned back again, the dogs fell upon it and loudly barked, “wow, wow.”

The countryman, who heard them from afar, said to himself, “Hark, now they all want some, but the big one is responsible to me for it.”

When three days had passed, the countryman thought, “To-night my money will be in my pocket,” and was quite delighted. But no one would come and pay it. “There is no trusting any one now,” said he; and at last he lost patience, and went into the town to the butcher and demanded his money. The butcher thought it was a joke, but the peasant said, “Jesting apart, I will have my money! Did not the great dog bring you the whole of the slaughtered cow three days ago?” Then the butcher grew angry, snatched a broomstick and drove him out. “Wait a while,” said the peasant, “there is still some justice in the world!” and went to the royal palace and begged for an audience. He was led before the King, who sat there with his daughter, and asked him what injury he had suffered. “Alas!” said he, “the frogs and the dogs have taken from me what is mine, and the butcher has paid me for it with the stick,” and he related at full length all that had happened. Thereupon the King’s daughter began to laugh heartily, and the King said to him, “I cannot give you justice in this, but you shall have my daughter to wife for it, — in her whole life she has never yet laughed as she has just done at thee, and I have promised her to him who could make her laugh. Thou mayst thank God for thy good fortune!”

“Oh,” answered the peasant, “I will not have her, I have a wife already, and she is one too many for me; when I go home, it is just as bad as if I had a wife standing in every corner.” Then the King grew angry, and said, “Thou art a boor.” – “Ah, Lord King,” replied the peasant, “what can you expect from an ox, but beef?” – “Stop,” answered the King, “thou shalt have another reward. Be off now, but come back in three days, and then thou shalt have five hundred counted out in full.”

When the peasant went out by the gate, the sentry said, “Thou hast made the King’s daughter laugh, so thou wilt certainly receive something good.” – “Yes, that is what I think,” answered the peasant; “five hundred are to be counted out to me.” – “Hark thee,” said the soldier, “give me some of it. What canst thou do with all that money?” – “As it is thou,” said the peasant, “thou shalt have two hundred; present thyself in three days’ time before the King, and let it be paid to thee.” A Jew, who was standing by and had heard the conversation, ran after the peasant, held him by the coat, and said, “Oh, wonder! what a luck-child thou art! I will change it for thee, I will change it for thee into small coins, what dost thou want with the great thalers?” – “Jew,” said the countryman, “three hundred canst thou still have; give it to me at once in coin, in three days from this, thou wilt be paid for it by the King.” The Jew was delighted with the profit, and brought the sum in bad groschen, three of which were worth two good ones. After three days had passed, according to the King’s command, the peasant went before the King. “Pull his coat off,” said the latter, “and he shall have his five hundred.” – “Ah!” said the peasant, “they no longer belong to me; I presented two hundred of them to the sentinel, and three hundred the Jew has changed for me, so by right nothing at all belongs to me.” In the meantime the soldier and the Jew entered and claimed what they had gained from the peasant, and they received the blows strictly counted out. The soldier bore it patiently and knew already how it tasted, but the Jew said sorrowfully, “Alas, alas, are these the heavy thalers?” The King could not help laughing at the peasant, and as all his anger was gone, he said, “As thou hast already lost thy reward before it fell to thy lot, I will give thee something in the place of it. Go into my treasure chamber and get some money for thyself, as much as thou wilt.” The peasant did not need to be told twice, and stuffed into his big pockets whatsoever would go in. Afterwards he went to an inn and counted out his money. The Jew had crept after him and heard how he muttered to himself, “That rogue of a King has cheated me after all, why could he not have given me the money himself, and then I should have known what I had? How can I tell now if what I have had the luck to put in my pockets is right or not?” – “Good heavens!” said the Jew to himself, “that man is speaking disrespectfully of our lord the King, I will run and inform, and then I shall get a reward, and he will be punished as well.”

When the King heard of the peasant’s words he fell into a passion, and commanded the Jew to go and bring the offender to him. The Jew ran to the peasant, “You are to go at once to the lord King in the very clothes you have on.” – “I know what’s right better than that,” answered the peasant, “I shall have a new coat made first. Dost thou think that a man with so much money in his pocket is to go there in his ragged old coat?” The Jew, as he saw that the peasant would not stir without another coat, and as he feared that if the King’s anger cooled, he himself would lose his reward, and the peasant his punishment, said, “I will out of pure friendship lend thee a coat for the short time. What will people not do for love!” The peasant was contented with this, put the Jew’s coat on, and went off with him.

The King reproached the countryman because of the evil speaking of which the Jew had informed him. “Ah,” said the peasant, “what a Jew says is always false — no true word ever comes out of his mouth! That rascal there is capable of maintaining that I have his coat on.”

“What is that?” shrieked the Jew. “Is the coat not mine? Have I not lent it to thee out of pure friendship, in order that thou might appear before the lord King?” When the King heard that, he said, “The Jew has assuredly deceived one or the other of us, either myself or the peasant,” and again he ordered something to be counted out to him in hard thalers. The peasant, however, went home in the good coat, with the good money in his pocket, and said to himself, “This time I have hit it!”

There was once on a time an old king who was ill, and thought to himself, “I am lying on what must be my death-bed.” Then said he, ” Tell Faithful John to come to me.” Faithful John was his favourite servant, and was so called, because he had for his whole life long been so true to him. When therefore he came beside the bed, the King said to him, “Most faithful John, I feel my end approaching, and have no anxiety except about my son. He is still of tender age, and cannot always know how to guide himself. If thou dost not promise me to teach him everything that he ought to know, and to be his foster-father, I cannot close my eyes in peace.” Then answered Faithful John, “I will not forsake him, and will serve him with fidelity, even if it should cost me my life.” On this, the old King said, “Now I die in comfort and peace.” Then he added, “After my death, thou shalt show him the whole castle: all the chambers, halls, and vaults, and all the treasures which lie therein, but the last chamber in the long gallery, in which is the picture of the princess of the Golden Dwelling, shalt thou not show. If he sees that picture, he will fall violently in love with her, and will drop down in a swoon, and go through great danger for her sake, therefore thou must preserve him from that.” And when Faithful John had once more given his promise to the old King about this, the King said no more, but laid his head on his pillow, and died.

When the old King had been carried to his grave, Faithful John told the young King all that he had promised his father on his deathbed, and said, “This will I assuredly perform, and will be faithful to thee as I have been faithful to him, even if it should cost me my life.” When the mourning was over, Faithful John said to him, “It is now time that thou shouldst see thine inheritance. I will show thee thy father’s palace.” Then he took him about everywhere, up and down, and let him see all the riches, and the magnificent apartments, only there was one room which he did not open, that in which hung the dangerous picture. The picture was, however, so placed that when the door was opened you looked straight on it, and it was so admirably painted that it seemed to breathe and live, and there was nothing more charming or more beautiful in the whole world. The young King, however, plainly remarked that Faithful John always walked past this one door, and said, “Why dost thou never open this one for me?” – “There is something within it,” he replied, “which would terrify thee.” But the King answered, “I have seen all the palace, and I will know what is in this room also,” and he went and tried to break open the door by force. Then Faithful John held him back and said, “I promised thy father before his death that thou shouldst not see that which is in this chamber, it might bring the greatest misfortune on thee and on me.” – “Ah, no,” replied the young King, “if I do not go in, it will be my certain destruction. I should have no rest day or night until I had seen it with my own eyes. I shall not leave the place now until thou hast unlocked the door.”

Then Faithful John saw that there was no help for it now, and with a heavy heart and many sighs, sought out the key from the great bunch. When he had opened the door, he went in first, and thought by standing before him he could hide the portrait so that the King should not see it in front of him, but what availed that? The King stood on tip-toe and saw it over his shoulder. And when he saw the portrait of the maiden, which was so magnificent and shone with gold and precious stones, he fell fainting to the ground. Faithful John took him up, carried him to his bed, and sorrowfully thought, “The misfortune has befallen us, Lord God, what will be the end of it?” Then he strengthened him with wine, until he came to himself again. The first words the King said were, “Ah, the beautiful portrait! whose it it?” – “That is the princess of the Golden Dwelling,” answered Faithful John. Then the King continued, “My love for her is so great, that if all the leaves on all the trees were tongues, they could not declare it. I will give my life to win her. Thou art my most Faithful John, thou must help me.”

The faithful servant considered within himself for a long time how to set about the matter, for it was difficult even to obtain a sight of the King’s daughter. At length he thought of a way, and said to the King, “Everything which she has about her is of gold – tables, chairs, dishes, glasses, bowls, and household furniture. Among thy treasures are five tons of gold; let one of the goldsmiths of the Kingdom work these up into all manner of vessels and utensils, into all kinds of birds, wild beasts and strange animals, such as may please her, and we will go there with them and try our luck.” The King ordered all the goldsmiths to be brought to him, and they had to work night and day until at last the most splendid things were prepared. When everything was stowed on board a ship, Faithful John put on the dress of a merchant, and the King was forced to do the same in order to make himself quite unrecognizable. Then they sailed across the sea, and sailed on until they came to the town wherein dwelt the princess of the Golden Dwelling.

Faithful John bade the King stay behind on the ship, and wait for him. “Perhaps I shall bring the princess with me,” said he, “therefore see that everything is in order; have the golden vessels set out and the whole ship decorated.” Then he gathered together in his apron all kinds of gold things, went on shore and walked straight to the royal palace. When he entered the courtyard of the palace, a beautiful girl was standing there by the well with two golden buckets in her hand, drawing water with them. And when she was just turning round to carry away the sparkling water she saw the stranger, and asked who he was. So he answered, “I am a merchant,” and opened his apron, and let her look in. Then she cried, “Oh, what beautiful gold things!” and put her pails down and looked at the golden wares one after the other. Then said the girl, “The princess must see these, she has such great pleasure in golden things, that she will buy all you have.” She took him by the hand and led him upstairs, for she was the waiting-maid. When the King’s daughter saw the wares, she was quite delighted and said, “They are so beautifully worked, that I will buy them all of thee.” But Faithful John said, “I am only the servant of a rich merchant. The things I have here are not to be compared with those my master has in his ship. They are the most beautiful and valuable things that have ever been made in gold.” She wanted to have everything brought to her there, but he said, “There are so many of them that it would take a great many days to do that, and so many rooms would be required to exhibit them, that your house is not big enough.” Then her curiosity and longing were still more excited, until at last she said, “Conduct me to the ship, I will go there myself, and behold the treasures of thine master.”

On this Faithful John was quite delighted, and led her to the ship, and when the King saw her, he perceived that her beauty was even greater than the picture had represented it to be, and thought no other than that his heart would burst in twain. Then she got into the ship, and the King led her within. Faithful John, however, remained behind with the pilot, and ordered the ship to be pushed off, saying, “Set all sail, till it fly like a bird in air.” Within, however, the King showed her the golden vessels, every one of them, also the wild beasts and strange animals. Many hours went by whilst she was seeing everything, and in her delight she did not observe that the ship was sailing away. After she had looked at the last, she thanked the merchant and wanted to go home, but when she came to the side of the ship, she saw that it was on the deep sea far from land, and hurrying onwards with all sail set. “Ah,” cried she in her alarm, “I am betrayed! I am carried away and have fallen into the power of a merchant – I would die rather!” The King, however, seized her hand, and said, “I am not a merchant. I am a king, and of no meaner origin than thou art, and if I have carried thee away with subtlety, that has come to pass because of my exceeding great love for thee. The first time that I looked on thy portrait, I fell fainting to the ground.” When the princess of the Golden Dwelling heard that, she was comforted, and her heart was inclined unto him, so that she willingly consented to be his wife.

It so happened, however, while they were sailing onwards over the deep sea, that Faithful John, who was sitting on the fore part of the vessel, making music, saw three ravens in the air, which came flying towards them. On this he stopped playing and listened to what they were saying to each other, for that he well understood. One cried, “Oh, there he is carrying home the princess of the Golden Dwelling.” – “Yes,” replied the second, “but he has not got her yet.” Said the third, “But he has got her, she is sitting beside him in the ship.” Then the first began again, and cried, “What good will that do him? When they reach land a chestnut horse will leap forward to meet him, and the prince will want to mount it, but if he does that, it will run away with him, and rise up into the air with him, and he will never see his maiden more.” Spake the second, “But is there no escape?” – “Oh, yes, if any one else gets on it swiftly, and takes out the pistol which must be in its holster, and shoots the horse dead with it, the young King is saved. But who knows that? And whosoever does know it, and tells it to him, will be turned to stone from the toe to the knee.” Then said the second, “I know more than that; even if the horse be killed, the young King will still not keep his bride. When they go into the castle together, a wrought bridal garment will be lying there in a dish, and looking as if it were woven of gold and silver; it is, however, nothing but sulphur and pitch, and if he put it on, it will burn him to the very bone and marrow.” Said the third, “Is there no escape at all?” – “Oh, yes,” replied the second, “if any one with gloves on seizes the garment and throws it into the fire and burns it, the young King will be saved. “But what avails that?” Whosoever knows it and tells it to him, half his body will become stone from the knee to the heart.” Then said the third, “I know still more; even if the bridal garment be burnt, the young King will still not have his bride. After the wedding, when the dancing begins and the young queen is dancing, she will suddenly turn pale and fall down as if dead, and if some one does not lift her up and draw three drops of blood from her right breast and spit them out again, she will die. But if any one who knows that were to declare it, he would become stone from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot.” When the ravens had spoken of this together, they flew onwards, and Faithful John had well understood everything, but from that time forth he became quiet and sad, for if he concealed what he had heard from his master, the latter would be unfortunate, and if he discovered it to him, he himself must sacrifice his life. At length, however, he said to himself, “I will save my master, even if it bring destruction on myself.”

When therefore they came to shore, all happened as had been foretold by the ravens, and a magnificent chestnut horse sprang forward. “Good,” said the King, “he shall carry me to my palace,” and was about to mount it when Faithful John got before him, jumped quickly on it, drew the pistol out of the holster, and shot the horse. Then the other attendants of the King, who after all were not very fond of Faithful John, cried, “How shameful to kill the beautiful animal, that was to have carried the King to his palace.” But the King said, “Hold your peace and leave him alone, he is my most faithful John, who knows what may be the good of that!” They went into the palace, and in the hall there stood a dish, and therein lay the bridal garment looking no otherwise than as if it were made of gold and silver. The young King went towards it and was about to take hold of it, but Faithful John pushed him away, seized it with gloves on, carried it quickly to the fire and burnt it. The other attendants again began to murmur, and said, “Behold, now he is even burning the King’s bridal garment!” But the young King said, “Who knows what good he may have done, leave him alone, he is my most faithful John.” And now the wedding was solemnized: the dance began, and the bride also took part in it; then Faithful John was watchful and looked into her face, and suddenly she turned pale and fell to the ground, as if she were dead. On this he ran hastily to her, lifted her up and bore her into a chamber – then he laid her down, and knelt and sucked the three drops of blood from her right breast, and spat them out. Immediately she breathed again and recovered herself, but the young King had seen this, and being ignorant why Faithful John had done it, was angry and cried, “Throw him into a dungeon.” Next morning Faithful John was condemned, and led to the gallows, and when he stood on high, and was about to be executed, he said, “Every one who has to die is permitted before his end to make one last speech; may I too claim the right?” – “Yes,” answered the King, “it shall be granted unto thee.” Then said Faithful John, “I am unjustly condemned, and have always been true to thee,” and he related how he had hearkened to the conversation of the ravens when on the sea, and how he had been obliged to do all these things in order to save his master. Then cried the King, “Oh, my most Faithful John. Pardon, pardon – bring him down.” But as Faithful John spoke the last word he had fallen down lifeless and become a stone.

Thereupon the King and the Queen suffered great anguish, and the King said, “Ah, how ill I have requited great fidelity!” and ordered the stone figure to be taken up and placed in his bedroom beside his bed. And as often as he looked on it he wept and said, “Ah, if I could bring thee to life again, my most faithful John.” Some time passed and the Queen bore twins, two sons who grew fast and were her delight. Once when the Queen was at church and the two children were sitting playing beside their father, the latter full of grief again looked at the stone figure, sighed and said, “Ah, if I could but bring thee to life again, my most faithful John.” Then the stone began to speak and said, “Thou canst bring me to life again if thou wilt use for that purpose what is dearest to thee.” Then cried the King, “I will give everything I have in the world for thee.” The stone continued, “If thou wilt will cut off the heads of thy two children with thine own hand, and sprinkle me with their blood, I shall be restored to life.” The King was terrified when he heard that he himself must kill his dearest children, but he thought of faithful John’s great fidelity, and how he had died for him, drew his sword, and with his own hand cut off the children’s heads. And when he had smeared the stone with their blood, life returned to it, and Faithful John stood once more safe and healthy before him. He said to the King, “Thy truth shall not go unrewarded,” and took the heads of the children, put them on again, and rubbed the wounds with their blood, on which they became whole again immediately, and jumped about, and went on playing as if nothing had happened. Then the King was full of joy, and when he saw the Queen coming he hid Faithful John and the two children in a great cupboard. When she entered, he said to her, “Hast thou been praying in the church?” – “Yes,” answered she, “but I have constantly been thinking of Faithful John and what misfortune has befallen him through us.” Then said he, “Dear wife, we can give him his life again, but it will cost us our two little sons, whom we must sacrifice.” The Queen turned pale, and her heart was full of terror, but she said, “We owe it to him, for his great fidelity.” Then the King was rejoiced that she thought as he had thought, and went and opened the cupboard, and brought forth Faithful John and the children, and said, “God be praised, he is delivered, and we have our little sons again also,” and told her how everything had occurred. Then they dwelt together in much happiness until their death.

There was once a man, whose wife was dead, and a woman, whose husband was dead; and the man had a daughter, and so had the woman. The girls were acquainted with each other, and used to play together sometimes in the woman’s house. So the woman said to the man’s daughter, “Listen to me, tell your father that I will marry him, and then you shall have milk to wash in every morning and wine to drink, and my daughter shall have water to wash in and water to drink.” The girl went home and told her father what the woman had said.

The man said, “What shall I do! Marriage is a joy, and also a torment.” At last, as he could come to no conclusion, he took off his boot, and said to his daughter, “Take this boot, it has a hole in the sole; go up with it into the loft, hang it on the big nail and pour water in it. If it holds water, I will once more take to me a wife; if it lets out the water, so will I not.”

The girl did as she was told, but the water held the hole together, and the boot was full up to the top. So she went and told her father how it was. And he went up to see with his own eyes, and as there was no mistake about it, he went to the widow and courted her, and then they had the wedding.

The next morning, when the two girls awoke, there stood by the bedside of the man’s daughter milk to wash in and wine to drink, and by the bedside of the woman’s daughter there stood water to wash in and water to drink. On the second morning there stood water to wash in and water to drink for both of them alike. On the third morning there stood water to wash in and water to drink for the man’s daughter, and milk to wash in and wine to drink for the woman’s daughter; and so it remained ever after. The woman hated her stepdaughter, and never knew how to treat her badly enough from one day to another. And she was jealous because her stepdaughter was pleasant and pretty, and her real daughter was ugly and hateful.

Once in winter, when it was freezing hard, and snow lay deep on hill and valley, the woman made a frock out of paper, called her stepdaughter, and said, “Here, put on this frock, go out into the wood and fetch me a basket of strawberries; I have a great wish for some.”

“Oh dear,” said the girl, “there are no strawberries to be found in winter; the ground is frozen, and the snow covers everything. And why should I go in the paper frock? it is so cold out of doors that one’s breath is frozen; the wind will blow through it, and the thorns will tear it off my back!”

“How dare you contradict me!” cried the stepmother, “be off, and don’t let me see you again till you bring me a basket of strawberries.” Then she gave her a little piece of hard bread, and said, “That will do for you to eat during the day,” and she thought to herself, “She is sure to be frozen or starved to death out of doors, and I shall never set eyes on her again.”

So the girl went obediently, put on the paper frock, and started out with the basket. The snow was lying everywhere, far and wide, and there was not a blade of green to be seen. When she entered the wood she saw a little house with three little men peeping out of it. She wished them good day, and knocked modestly at the door. They called her in, and she came into the room and sat down by the side of the oven to warm herself and eat her breakfast. The little men said, “Give us some of it.”

“Willingly,” answered she, breaking her little piece of bread in two, and giving them half. They then said, “What are you doing here in the wood this winter time in your little thin frock?”

“Oh,” answered she, “I have to get a basket of strawberries, and I must not go home without them.” When she had eaten her bread they gave her a broom, and told her to go and sweep the snow away from the back door. When she had gone outside to do it the little men talked among themselves about what they should do for her, as she was so good and pretty, and had shared her bread with them. Then the first one said, “She shall grow prettier every day.” The second said, “Each time she speaks a piece of gold shall fall from her mouth.” The third said, “A king shall come and take her for his wife.”

In the meanwhile the girl was doing as the little men had told her, and had cleared the snow from the back of the little house, and what do you suppose she found? fine ripe strawberries, showing dark red against the snow! Then she joyfully filled her little basket full, thanked the little men, shook hands with them all, and ran home in haste to bring her stepmother the thing she longed for. As she went in and said, “Good evening,” a piece of gold fell from her mouth at once. Then she related all that had happened to her in the wood, and at each word that she spoke gold pieces fell out of her mouth, so that soon they were scattered all over the room.

“Just look at her pride and conceit!” cried the stepsister, “throwing money about in this way!” but in her heart she was jealous because of it, and wanted to go too into the wood to fetch strawberries. But the mother said, “No, my dear little daughter, it is too cold, you will be frozen to death.” But she left her no peace, so at last the mother gave in, got her a splendid fur coat to put on, and gave her bread and butter and cakes to eat on the way.

The girl went into the wood and walked straight up to the little house. The three little men peeped out again, but she gave them no greeting, and without looking round or taking any notice of them she came stumping into the room, sat herself down by the oven, and began to eat her bread and butter and cakes.

“Give us some of that,” cried the little men, but she answered, “I’ve not enough for myself; how can I give away any?” Now when she had done with her eating, they said, “Here is a broom, go and sweep all clean by the back door.”

“Oh, go and do it yourselves,” answered she; “I am not your housemaid.” But when she saw that they were not going to give her anything, she went out to the door. Then the three little men said among themselves, “What shall we do to her, because she is so unpleasant, and has such a wicked jealous heart, grudging everybody everything?” The first said, “She shall grow uglier every day.” The second said, “Each time she speaks a toad shall jump out of her mouth at every word.” The third said, “She shall die a miserable death.”

The girl was looking outside for strawberries, but as she found none, she went sulkily home. And directly she opened her mouth to tell her mother what had happened to her in the wood a toad sprang out of her mouth at each word, so that every one who came near her was quite disgusted.

The stepmother became more and more set against the man’s daughter, whose beauty increased day by day, and her only thought was how to do her some injury. So at last she took a kettle, set it on the fire, and scalded some yarn in it. When it was ready she hung it over the poor girl’s shoulder, and gave her an axe, and she was to go to the frozen river and break a hole in the ice, and there to rinse the yarn. She obeyed, and went and hewed a hole in the ice, and as she was about it there came by a splendid coach, in which the King sat. The coach stood still, and the King said, “My child, who art thou, and what art thou doing there?”

She answered, “I am a poor girl, and am rinsing yarn.” Then the King felt pity for her, and as he saw that she was very beautiful, he said, “Will you go with me?”

“Oh yes, with all my heart,” answered she; and she felt very glad to be out of the way of her mother and sister.

So she stepped into the coach and went off with the King; and when they reached his castle the wedding was celebrated with great splendour, as the little men in the wood had foretold.
At the end of a year the young Queen had a son; and as the stepmother had heard of her great good fortune she came with her daughter to the castle, as if merely to pay the King and Queen a visit. One day, when the King had gone out, and when nobody was about, the bad woman took the Queen by the head, and her daughter took her by the heels, and dragged her out of bed, and threw her out of the window into a stream that flowed beneath it. Then the old woman put her ugly daughter in the bed, and covered her up to her chin.

When the King came back, and wanted to talk to his wife a little, the old woman cried, “Stop, stop! she is sleeping nicely; she must be kept quiet to day.” The King dreamt of nothing wrong, and came again the next morning; and as he spoke to his wife, and she answered him, there jumped each time out of her mouth a toad instead of the piece of gold as heretofore. Then he asked why that should be, and the old woman said it was because of her great weakness, and that it would pass away.

But in the night, the boy who slept in the kitchen saw how something in the likeness of a duck swam up the gutter, and said,

“My King, what mak’st thou?
Sleepest thou, or wak’st thou?”

But there was no answer. Then it said,

“What cheer my two guests keep they?”

So the kitchen-boy answered,

“In bed all soundly sleep they.”

It asked again,

“And my little baby, how does he?”

And he answered,

“He sleeps in his cradle quietly.”

Then the duck took the shape of the Queen and went to the child, and gave him to drink, smoothed his little bed, covered him up again, and then, in the likeness of a duck, swam back down the gutter. In this way she came two nights, and on the third she said to the kitchen-boy, “Go and tell the King to brandish his sword three times over me on the threshold!” Then the kitchen-boy ran and told the King, and he came with his sword and brandished it three times over the duck, and at the third time his wife stood before him living, and hearty, and sound, as she had been before.

The King was greatly rejoiced, but he hid the Queen in a chamber until the Sunday came when the child was to be baptized. And after the baptism he said, “What does that person deserve who drags another out of; bed and throws him in the water?”

And the old woman answered, “No better than to be put into a cask with iron nails in it, and to be rolled in it down the hill into the water.” Then said the King, “You have spoken your own sentence;”and he ordered a cask to be fetched, and the old woman and her daughter were put into it, and the top hammered down, and the cask was rolled down the hill into the river.

There was once a poor widow who lived in a lonely cottage. In front of the cottage was a garden wherein stood two rose-trees, one of which bore white and the other red roses. She had two children who were like the two rose-trees, and one was called Snow-white, and the other Rose-red. They were as good and happy, as busy and cheerful as ever two children in the world were, only Snow-white was more quiet and gentle than Rose- red. Rose-red liked better to run about in the meadows and fields seeking flowers and catching butterflies; but Snow-white sat at home with her mother, and helped her with her house-work, or read to her when there was nothing to do.
The two children were so fond of each another that they always held each other by the hand when they went out together, and when Snow-white said, “We will not leave each other,” Rose-red answered, “Never so long as we live,” and their mother would add, “What one has she must share with the other.”

They often ran about the forest alone and gathered red berries, and no beasts did them any harm, but came close to them trustfully. The little hare would eat a cabbage-leaf out of their hands, the roe grazed by their side, the stag leapt merrily by them, and the birds sat still upon the boughs, and sang whatever they knew.

No mishap overtook them; if they had stayed too late in the forest, and night came on, they laid themselves down near one another upon the moss, and slept until morning came, and their mother knew this and had no distress on their account.

Once when they had spent the night in the wood and the dawn had roused them, they saw a beautiful child in a shining white dress sitting near their bed. He got up and looked quite kindly at them, but said nothing and went away into the forest. And when they looked round they found that they had been sleeping quite close to a precipice, and would certainly have fallen into it in the darkness if they had gone only a few paces further. And their mother told them that it must have been the angel who watches over good children.

Snow-white and Rose-red kept their mother’s little cottage so neat that it was a pleasure to look inside it. In the summer Rose-red took care of the house, and every morning laid a wreath of flowers by her mother’s bed before she awoke, in which was a rose from each tree. In the winter Snow-white lit the fire and hung the kettle on the wrekin. The kettle was of copper and shone like gold, so brightly was it polished. In the evening, when the snowflakes fell, the mother said, “Go, Snow-white, and bolt the door,” and then they sat round the hearth, and the mother took her spectacles and read aloud out of a large book, and the two girls listened as they sat and span. And close by them lay a lamb upon the floor, and behind them upon a perch sat a white dove with its head hidden beneath its wings.

One evening, as they were thus sitting comfortably together, some one knocked at the door as if he wished to be let in. The mother said, “Quick, Rose-red, open the door, it must be a traveller who is seeking shelter.” Rose-red went and pushed back the bolt, thinking that it was a poor man, but it was not; it was a bear that stretched his broad, black head within the door.

Rose-red screamed and sprang back, the lamb bleated, the dove fluttered, and Snow-white hid herself behind her mother’s bed. But the bear began to speak and said, “Do not be afraid, I will do you no harm! I am half-frozen, and only want to warm myself a little beside you.”

“Poor bear,” said the mother, “lie down by the fire, only take care that you do not burn your coat.” Then she cried, “Snow-white, Rose-red, come out, the bear will do you no harm, he means well.” So they both came out, and by-and-by the lamb and dove came nearer, and were not afraid of him. The bear said, “Here, children, knock the snow out of my coat a little;” so they brought the broom and swept the bear’s hide clean; and he stretched himself by the fire and growled contentedly and comfortably. It was not long before they grew quite at home, and played tricks with their clumsy guest. They tugged his hair with their hands, put their feet upon his back and rolled him about, or they took a hazel-switch and beat him, and when he growled they laughed. But the bear took it all in good part, only when they were too rough he called out, “Leave me alive, children,

“Snowy-white, Rosy-red,
Will you beat your lover dead?”
When it was bed-time, and the others went to bed, the mother said to the bear, “You can lie there by the hearth, and then you will be safe from the cold and the bad weather.” As soon as day dawned the two children let him out, and he trotted across the snow into the forest.
Henceforth the bear came every evening at the same time, laid himself down by the hearth, and let the children amuse themselves with him as much as they liked; and they got so used to him that the doors were never fastened until their black friend had arrived.

When spring had come and all outside was green, the bear said one morning to Snow-white, “Now I must go away, and cannot come back for the whole summer.” – “Where are you going, then, dear bear?” asked Snow-white. “I must go into the forest and guard my treasures from the wicked dwarfs. In the winter, when the earth is frozen hard, they are obliged to stay below and cannot work their way through; but now, when the sun has thawed and warmed the earth, they break through it, and come out to pry and steal; and what once gets into their hands, and in their caves, does not easily see daylight again.”

Snow-white was quite sorry for his going away, and as she unbolted the door for him, and the bear was hurrying out, he caught against the bolt and a piece of his hairy coat was torn off, and it seemed to Snow-white as if she had seen gold shining through it, but she was not sure about it. The bear ran away quickly, and was soon out of sight behind the trees.

A short time afterwards the mother sent her children into the forest to get fire-wood. There they found a big tree which lay felled on the ground, and close by the trunk something was jumping backwards and forwards in the grass, but they could not make out what it was. When they came nearer they saw a dwarf with an old withered face and a snow-white beard a yard long. The end of the beard was caught in a crevice of the tree, and the little fellow was jumping backwards and forwards like a dog tied to a rope, and did not know what to do.

He glared at the girls with his fiery red eyes and cried, “Why do you stand there? Can you not come here and help me?” – “What are you about there, little man?” asked Rose-red. “You stupid, prying goose!” answered the dwarf; “I was going to split the tree to get a little wood for cooking. The little bit of food that one of us wants gets burnt up directly with thick logs; we do not swallow so much as you coarse, greedy folk. I had just driven the wedge safely in, and everything was going as I wished; but the wretched wood was too smooth and suddenly sprang asunder, and the tree closed so quickly that I could not pull out my beautiful white beard; so now it is tight in and I cannot get away, and the silly, sleek, milk-faced things laugh! Ugh! how odious you are!”

The children tried very hard, but they could not pull the beard out, it was caught too fast. “I will run and fetch some one,” said Rose-red. “You senseless goose!” snarled the dwarf; why should you fetch some one? You are already two too many for me; can you not think of something better?” – “Don’t be impatient,” said Snow-white, “I will help you,” and she pulled her scissors out of her pocket, and cut off the end of the beard.

As soon as the dwarf felt himself free he laid hold of a bag which lay amongst the roots of the tree, and which was full of gold, and lifted it up, grumbling to himself, “Uncouth people, to cut off a piece of my fine beard. Bad luck to you!” and then he swung the bag upon his back, and went off without even once looking at the children.

Some time after that Snow-white and Rose-red went to catch a dish of fish. As they came near the brook they saw something like a large grasshopper jumping towards the water, as if it were going to leap in. They ran to it and found it was the dwarf. “Where are you going?” said Rose-red; “you surely don’t want to go into the water?” – “I am not such a fool!” cried the dwarf; don’t you see that the accursed fish wants to pull me in?” The little man had been sitting there fishing, and unluckily the wind had twisted his beard with the fishing-line; just then a big fish bit, and the feeble creature had not strength to pull it out; the fish kept the upper hand and pulled the dwarf towards him. He held on to all the reeds and rushes, but it was of little good, he was forced to follow the movements of the fish, and was in urgent danger of being dragged into the water.

The girls came just in time; they held him fast and tried to free his beard from the line, but all in vain, beard and line were entangled fast together. Nothing was left but to bring out the scissors and cut the beard, whereby a small part of it was lost. When the dwarf saw that he screamed out, “Is that civil, you toad-stool, to disfigure one’s face? Was it not enough to clip off the end of my beard? Now you have cut off the best part of it. I cannot let myself be seen by my people. I wish you had been made to run the soles off your shoes!” Then he took out a sack of pearls which lay in the rushes, and without saying a word more he dragged it away and disappeared behind a stone.

It happened that soon afterwards the mother sent the two children to the town to buy needles and thread, and laces and ribbons. The road led them across a heath upon which huge pieces of rock lay strewn here and there. Now they noticed a large bird hovering in the air, flying slowly round and round above them; it sank lower and lower, and at last settled near a rock not far off. Directly afterwards they heard a loud, piteous cry. They ran up and saw with horror that the eagle had seized their old acquaintance the dwarf, and was going to carry him off.

The children, full of pity, at once took tight hold of the little man, and pulled against the eagle so long that at last he let his booty go. As soon as the dwarf had recovered from his first fright he cried with his shrill voice, “Could you not have done it more carefully! You dragged at my brown coat so that it is all torn and full of holes, you helpless clumsy creatures!” Then he took up a sack full of precious stones, and slipped away again under the rock into his hole. The girls, who by this time were used to his thanklessness, went on their way and did their business in the town.

As they crossed the heath again on their way home they surprised the dwarf, who had emptied out his bag of precious stones in a clean spot, and had not thought that anyone would come there so late. The evening sun shone upon the brilliant stones; they glittered and sparkled with all colors so beautifully that the children stood still and looked at them. “Why do you stand gaping there?” cried the dwarf, and his ashen-gray face became copper-red with rage. He was going on with his bad words when a loud growling was heard, and a black bear came trotting towards them out of the forest. The dwarf sprang up in a fright, but he could not get to his cave, for the bear was already close. Then in the dread of his heart he cried, “Dear Mr. Bear, spare me, I will give you all my treasures; look, the beautiful jewels lying there! Grant me my life; what do you want with such a slender little fellow as I? you would not feel me between your teeth. Come, take these two wicked girls, they are tender morsels for you, fat as young quails; for mercy’s sake eat them!” The bear took no heed of his words, but gave the wicked creature a single blow with his paw, and he did not move again.

The girls had run away, but the bear called to them, “Snow-white and Rose-red, do not be afraid; wait, I will come with you.” Then they knew his voice and waited, and when he came up to them suddenly his bearskin fell off, and he stood there, a handsome man, clothed all in gold. “I am a King’s son,” he said, “and I was bewitched by that wicked dwarf, who had stolen my treasures; I have had to run about the forest as a savage bear until I was freed by his death. Now he has got his well-deserved punishment.”

Snow-white was married to him, and Rose-red to his brother, and they divided between them the great treasure which the dwarf had gathered together in his cave. The old mother lived peacefully and happily with her children for many years. She took the two rose-trees with her, and they stood before her window, and every year bore the most beautiful roses, white and red.

There was once a man who had seven sons, and still he had no daughter, however much he wished for one. At length his wife again gave him hope of a child, and when it came into the world it was a girl. The joy was great, but the child was sickly and small, and had to be privately baptized on account of its weakness. The father sent one of the boys in haste to the spring to fetch water for the baptism. The other six went with him, and as each of them wanted to be first to fill it, the jug fell into the well. There they stood and did not know what to do, and none of them dared to go home. As they still did not return, the father grew impatient, and said, “They have certainly forgotten it for some game, the wicked boys!” He became afraid that the girl would have to die without being baptized, and in his anger cried, “I wish the boys were all turned into ravens.” Hardly was the word spoken before he heard a whirring of wings over his head in the air, looked up and saw seven coal-black ravens flying away.

The parents could not recall the curse, and however sad they were at the loss of their seven sons, they still to some extent comforted themselves with their dear little daughter, who soon grew strong and every day became more beautiful. For a long time she did not know that she had had brothers, for her parents were careful not to mention them before her, but one day she accidentally heard some people saying of herself, “that the girl was certainly beautiful, but that in reality she was to blame for the misfortune which had befallen her seven brothers.” Then she was much troubled, and went to her father and mother and asked if it was true that she had had brothers, and what had become of them? The parents now dared keep the secret no longer, but said that what had befallen her brothers was the will of Heaven, and that her birth had only been the innocent cause. But the maiden took it to heart daily, and thought she must deliver her brothers. She had no rest or peace until she set out secretly, and went forth into the wide world to trace out her brothers and set them free, let it cost what it might. She took nothing with her but a little ring belonging to her parents as a keepsake, a loaf of bread against hunger, a little pitcher of water against thirst, and a little chair as a provision against weariness.

And now she went continually onwards, far, far to the very end of the world. Then she came to the sun, but it was too hot and terrible, and devoured little children. Hastily she ran away, and ran to the moon, but it was far too cold, and also awful and malicious, and when it saw the child, it said, “I smell, I smell the flesh of men.” On this she ran swiftly away, and came to the stars, which were kind and good to her, and each of them sat on its own particular little chair. But the morning star arose, and gave her the drumstick of a chicken, and said, “If you thou hast not that drumstick thou canst not open the Glass mountain, and in the Glass mountain are thy brothers.”

The maiden took the drumstick, wrapped it carefully in a cloth, and went onwards again until she came to the Glass mountain. The door was shut, and she thought she would take out the drumstick; but when she undid the cloth, it was empty, and she had lost the good star’s present. What was she now to do? She wished to rescue her brothers, and had no key to the Glass mountain. The good sister took a knife, cut off one of her little fingers, put it in the door, and succeeded in opening it. When she had gone inside, a little dwarf came to meet her, who said, “My child, what are you looking for?” – “I am looking for my brothers, the seven ravens,” she replied. The dwarf said, “The lord ravens are not at home, but if you will wait here until they come, step in.” Thereupon the little dwarf carried the ravens’ dinner in, on seven little plates, and in seven little glasses, and the little sister ate a morsel from each plate, and from each little glass she took a sip, but in the last little glass she dropped the ring which she had brought away with her.

Suddenly she heard a whirring of wings and a rushing through the air, and then the little dwarf said, “Now the lord ravens are flying home.” Then they came, and wanted to eat and drink, and looked for their little plates and glasses. Then said one after the other, “Who has eaten something from my plate? Who has drunk out of my little glass? It was a human mouth.” And when the seventh came to the bottom of the glass, the ring rolled against his mouth. Then he looked at it, and saw that it was a ring belonging to his father and mother, and said, “God grant that our sister may be here, and then we shall be free.” When the maiden, who was standing behind the door watching, heard that wish, she came forth, and on this all the ravens were restored to their human form again. And they embraced and kissed each other, and went joyfully home.

Long time ago, perhaps as much as two thousand years, there was a rich man, and he had a beautiful and pious wife, and they loved each other very much, and they had no children, though they wished greatly for some, and the wife prayed for one day and night. Now, in the courtyard in front of their house stood an almond tree; and one day in winter the wife was standing beneath it, and paring an apple, and as she pared it she cut her finger, and the blood fell upon the snow. “Ah,” said the woman, sighing deeply, and looking down at the blood, “if only I could have a child as red as blood, and as white as snow!” And as she said these words, her heart suddenly grew light, and she felt sure she should have her wish. So she went back to the house, and when a month had passed the snow was gone; in two months everything was green; in three months the flowers sprang out of the earth; in four months the trees were in full leaf, and the branches were thickly entwined; the little birds began to sing, so that the woods echoed, and the blossoms fell from the trees; when the fifth month had passed the wife stood under the almond tree, and it smelt so sweet that her heart leaped within her, and she fell on her knees for joy; and when the sixth month had gone, the fruit was thick and fine, and she remained still; and the seventh month she gathered the almonds, and ate them eagerly, and was sick and sorrowful; and when the eighth month had passed she called to her husband, and said, weeping, “If I die, bury me under the almond tree.” Then she was comforted and happy until the ninth month had passed, and then she bore a child as white as snow and as red as blood, and when she saw it her joy was so great that she died.

Her husband buried her under the almond tree, and he wept sore; time passed, and he became less sad; and after he had grieved a little more he left off, and then he took another wife.

His second wife bore him a daughter, and his first wife’s child was a son, as red as blood and as white as snow. Whenever the wife looked at her daughter she felt great love for her, but whenever she looked at the little boy, evil thoughts came into her heart, of how she could get all her husband’s money for her daughter, and how the boy stood in the way; and so she took great hatred to him, and drove him from one corner to another, and gave him a buffet here and a cuff there, so that the poor child was always in disgrace; when he came back after school hours there was no peace for him. Once, when the wife went into the room upstairs, her little daughter followed her, and said, “Mother, give me an apple.” – “Yes, my child,” said the mother, and gave her a fine apple out of the chest, and the chest had a great heavy lid with a strong iron lock. “Mother,” said the little girl, “shall not my brother have one too?” That was what the mother expected, and she said, “Yes, when he comes back from school.” And when she saw from the window that he was coming, an evil thought crossed her mind, and she snatched the apple, and took it from her little daughter, saying, “You shall not have it before your brother.” Then she threw the apple into the chest, and shut to the lid. Then the little boy came in at the door, and she said to him in a kind tone, but with evil looks, “My son, will you have an apple?” – “Mother,” said the boy, “how terrible you look! yes, give me an apple!” Then she spoke as kindly as before, holding up the cover of the chest, “Come here and take out one for yourself.” And as the boy was stooping over the open chest, crash went the lid down, so that his head flew off among the red apples. But then the woman felt great terror, and wondered how she could escape the blame. And she went to the chest of drawers in her bedroom and took a white handkerchief out of the nearest drawer, and fitting the head to the neck, she bound them with the handkerchief, so that nothing should be seen, and set him on a chair before the door with the apple in his hand.

Then came little Marjory into the kitchen to her mother, who was standing before the fire stirring a pot of hot water. “Mother,” said Marjory, “my brother is sitting before the door and he has an apple in his hand, and looks very pale; I asked him to give me the apple, but he did not answer me; it seems very strange.” – “Go again to him,” said the mother, “and if he will not answer you, give him a box on the ear.” So Marjory went again and said, “Brother, give me the apple.” But as he took no notice, she gave him a box on the ear, and his head fell off, at which she was greatly terrified, and began to cry and scream, and ran to her mother, and said, “O mother.1 I have knocked my brother’s head off!” and cried and screamed, and would not cease. “O Marjory!” said her mother, “what have you done? but keep quiet, that no one may see there is anything the matter; it can’t be helped now; we will put him out of the way safely.”

When the father came home and sat down to table, he said, “Where is my son?” But the mother was filling a great dish full of black broth, and Marjory was crying bitterly, for she could not refrain. Then the father said again, “Where is my son?” – “Oh,” said the mother, “he is gone into the country to his great-uncle’s to stay for a little while.” – “What should he go for?” said the father, “and without bidding me good-bye, too!” – “Oh, he wanted to go so much, and he asked me to let him stay there six weeks; he will be well taken care of.” – “Dear me,” said the father, “I am quite sad about it; it was not right of him to go without bidding me good-bye.” With that he began to eat, saying, “Marjory, what are you crying for? Your brother will come back some time.” After a while he said, “Well, wife, the food is very good; give me some more.” And the more he ate the more he wanted, until he had eaten it all up, and be threw the bones under the table. Then Marjory went to her chest of drawers, and took one of her best handkerchiefs from the bottom drawer, and picked up all the bones from under the table and tied them up in her handkerchief, and went out at the door crying bitterly. She laid them in the green grass under the almond tree, and immediately her heart grew light again, and she wept no more. Then the almond tree began to wave to and fro, and the boughs drew together and then parted, just like a clapping of hands for joy; then a cloud rose from the tree, and in the midst of the cloud there burned a fire, and out of the fire a beautiful bird arose, and, singing most sweetly, soared high into the air; and when he had flown away, the almond tree remained as it was before, but the handkerchief full of bones was gone. Marjory felt quite glad and light-hearted, just as if her brother were still alive. So she went back merrily into the house and had her dinner. The bird, when it flew away, perched on the roof of a goldsmith’s house, and began to sing,

”It was my mother who murdered me;
It was my father who ate of me;
It was my sister Marjory
Who all my bones in pieces found;
hem in a handkerchief she bound,
And laid them under the almond tree.
Kywitt, kywitt, kywitt, I cry,
Oh what a beautiful bird am I!”

The goldsmith was sitting in his shop making a golden chain, and when he heard the bird, who was sitting on his roof and singing, he started up to go and look, and as he passed over his threshold he lost one of his slippers; and he went into the middle of the street with a slipper on one foot and-only a sock on the other; with his apron on, and the gold chain in one hand and the pincers in the other; and so he stood in the sunshine looking up at the bird. “Bird,” said he, “how beautifully you sing; do sing that piece over again.” – “No,” said the bird, “I do not sing for nothing twice; if you will give me that gold chain I will sing again.” – “Very well,” said the goldsmith, “here is the gold chain; now do as you said.” Down came the bird and took the gold chain in his right claw, perched in front of the goldsmith, and sang,

“It was my mother who murdered me;
It was my father who ate of me;
It was my sister Marjory
Who all my bones in pieces found;
Them in a handkerchief she bound,
And laid them under the almond tree.
Kywitt, kywitt, kywitt, I cry,
Oh what a beautiful bird am I!”

Then the bird flew to a shoemaker’s, and perched on his roof, and sang,

“It was my mother who murdered me;
It was my father who ate of me;
It was my sister Marjory
Who all my bones in pieces found;
Them in a handkerchief she bound,
And laid them under the almond tree.
Kywitt, kywitt, kywitt, I cry,
Oh what a beautiful bird am I!”

When the shoemaker heard, he ran out of his door in his shirt sleeves and looked up at the roof of his house, holding his hand to shade his eyes from the sun. “Bird,” said he, “how beautifully you sing!” Then he called in at his door, “Wife, come out directly; here is a bird singing beautifully; only listen.” Then he called his daughter, all his children, and acquaintance, both young men and maidens, and they came up the street and gazed on the bird, and saw how beautiful it was with red and green feathers, and round its throat was as it were gold, and its eyes twinkled in its head like stars. “Bird,” said the shoemaker, “do sing that piece over again.” – “No,” said the bird, “I may not sing for nothing twice; you must give me something.” – “Wife,” said the man, “go into the shop; on the top shelf stands a pair of red shoes; bring them here.” So the wife went and brought the shoes. “Now bird,” said the man, “sing us that piece again.” And the bird came down and took the shoes in his left claw, and flew up again to the roof, and sang,

“It was my mother who murdered me;
It was my father who ate of me;
It was my sister Marjory
Who all my bones in pieces found;
hem in a handkerchief she bound,
And laid them under the almond tree.
Kywitt, kywitt, kywitt, I ciy,
Oh what a beautiful bird am I!”

And when he had finished he flew away, with the chain in his right claw and the shoes in his left claw, and he flew till he reached a mill, and the mill went “clip-clap, clip-clap, clip-clap.” And in the mill sat twenty millers-men hewing a millstone- “hick-hack, hick-hack, hick-hack,” while the mill was going “clip-clap, clip-clap, clip-clap.” And the bird perched on a linden tree that stood in front of the mill, and sang, “It was my mother who murdered me; ” Here one of the men looked up. “It was my father who ate of me;” Then two more looked up and listened. “It was my sister Marjory ” Here four more looked up. “Who all my bones in pieces found; Them in a handkerchief she bound,” Now there were only eight left hewing. “And laid them under the almond tree.” Now only five. “Kywitt, kywitt, kywitt, I cry,” Now only one. “Oh what a beautiful bird am I!” At length the last one left off, and he only heard the end. “Bird,” said he, “how beautifully you sing; let me hear it all; sing that again!” – “No,” said the bird, “I may not sing it twice for nothing; if you will give me the millstone I will sing it again.” – “Indeed,” said the man, “if it belonged to me alone you should have it.” – “All right,” said the others, “if he sings again he shall have it.” Then the bird came down, and all the twenty millers heaved up the stone with poles – “yo! heave-ho! yo! heave-ho!” and the bird stuck his head through the hole in the middle, and with the millstone round his neck he flew up to the tree and sang,

“It was my mother who murdered me;
It was my father who ate of me;
It was my sister Marjory
Who all my bones in pieces found;
Them in a handkerchief she bound,
And laid them under the almond tree.
Kywitt, kywitt, kywitt, I cry,
Oh what a beautiful bird am I!”

And when he had finished, he spread his wings,, having in the right claw the chain, and in the left claw the shoes, and round his neck the millstone, and he flew away to his father’s house.

In the parlour sat the father, the mother, and Marjory at the table; the father said, “How light-hearted and cheerful I feel.” – “Nay,” said the mother, “I feel very low, just as if a great storm were coming.” But Marjory sat weeping; and the bird came flying, and perched on the roof “Oh,” said the father, “I feel so joyful, and the sun is shining so bright; it is as if I were going to meet with an old friend.” – “Nay,” said the wife, “I am terrified, my teeth chatter, and there is fire in my veins,” and she tore open her dress to get air; and Marjory sat in a corner and wept, with her plate before her, until it was quite full of tears. Then the bird perched on the almond tree, and sang, ” It was my mother who murdered me; ” And the mother stopped her ears and hid her eyes, and would neither see nor hear; nevertheless, the noise of a fearful storm was in her ears, and in her eyes a quivering and burning as of lightning. “It was my father who ate of me;” “O mother!” said the-father, “there is a beautiful bird singing so finely, and the sun shines, and everything smells as sweet as cinnamon. ”It was my sister Marjory ” Marjory hid her face in her lap and wept, and the father said, “I must go out to see the bird.” – “Oh do not go!” said the wife, “I feel as if the house were on fire.” But the man went out and looked at the bird. “Who all my bones in pieces found; Them in a handkerchief she bound, And laid them under the almond tree. Kywitt, kywitt, kywitt, I cry, Oh what a beautiful bird am I!”

With that the bird let fall the gold chain upon his father’s neck, and it fitted him exactly. So he went indoors and said, “Look what a beautiful chain the bird has given me.” Then his wife was so terrified that she fell all along on the floor, and her cap came off. Then the bird began again to sing, “It was my mother who murdered me;” – “Oh,” groaned the mother, “that I were a thousand fathoms under ground, so as not to be obliged to hear it.” – “It was my father who ate of me;” Then the woman lay as if she were dead. “It was my sister Marjory ” – “Oh,” said Marjory, “I will go out, too, and see if the bird will give me anything.” And so she went. “Who all my bones in pieces found; Them in a handkerchief she bound,” Then he threw the shoes down to her. “And laid them under the almond tree. Kywitt, kywitt, kywitt, I cry, Oh what a beautiful bird am I!”

And poor Marjory all at once felt happy and joyful, and put on her red shoes, and danced and jumped for joy. “Oh dear,” said she, “I felt so sad before I went outside, and now my heart is so light! He is a charming bird to have given me a pair of red shoes.” But the mother’s hair stood on end, and looked like flame, and she said, “Even if the world is coming to an end, I must go out for a little relief.” Just as she came outside the door, crash went the millstone on her head, and crushed her flat. The father and daughter rushed out, and saw smoke and flames of fire rise up; but when that had gone by, there stood the little brother; and he took his father and Marjory by the hand, and they felt very happy and content, and went indoors, and sat to the table, and had their dinner.

There was once a King who had a son who asked in marriage the daughter of a mighty King; she was called Maid Maleen, and was very beautiful. As her father wished to give her to another, the prince was rejected; but as they both loved each other with all their hearts, they would not give each other up, and Maid Maleen said to her father, “I can and will take no other for my husband.” Then the King flew into a passion, and ordered a dark tower to be built, into which no ray of sunlight or moonlight should enter. When it was finished, he said, “Therein shalt thou be imprisoned for seven years, and then I will come and see if thy perverse spirit is broken.” Meat and drink for the seven years were carried into the tower, and then she and her waiting-woman were led into it and walled up, and thus cut off from the sky and from the earth. There they sat in the darkness, and knew not when day or night began. The King’s son often went round and round the tower, and called their names, but no sound from without pierced through the thick walls. What else could they do but lament and complain? Meanwhile the time passed, and by the diminution of the food and drink they knew that the seven years were coming to an end. They thought the moment of their deliverance was come; but no stroke of the hammer was heard, no stone fell out of the wall, and it seemed to Maid Maleen that her father had forgotten her. As they only had food for a short time longer, and saw a miserable death awaiting them, Maid Maleen said, “We must try our last chance, and see if we can break through the wall.” She took the bread-knife, and picked and bored at the mortar of a stone, and when she was tired, the waiting-maid took her turn. With great labour they succeeded in getting out one stone, and then a second, and a third, and when three days were over the first ray of light fell on their darkness, and at last the opening was so large that they could look out. The sky was blue, and a fresh breeze played on their faces; but how melancholy everything looked all around! Her father’s castle lay in ruins, the town and the villages were, so far as could be seen, destroyed by fire, the fields far and wide laid to waste, and no human being was visible. When the opening in the wall was large enough for them to slip through, the waiting-maid sprang down first, and then Maid Maleen followed. But where were they to go? The enemy had ravaged the whole kingdom, driven away the King, and slain all the inhabitants. They wandered forth to seek another country, but nowhere did they find a shelter, or a human being to give them a mouthful of bread, and their need was so great that they were forced to appease their hunger with nettles. When, after long journeying, they came into another country, they tried to get work everywhere; but wherever they knocked they were turned away, and no one would have pity on them. At last they arrived in a large city and went to the royal palace. There also they were ordered to go away, but at last the cook said that they might stay in the kitchen and be scullions.
The son of the King in whose kingdom they were, was, however, the very man who had been betrothed to Maid Maleen. His father had chosen another bride for him, whose face was as ugly as her heart was wicked. The wedding was fixed, and the maiden had already arrived; but because of her great ugliness, however, she shut herself in her room, and allowed no one to see her, and Maid Maleen had to take her her meals from the kitchen. When the day came for the bride and the bridegroom to go to church, she was ashamed of her ugliness, and afraid that if she showed herself in the streets, she would be mocked and laughed at by the people. Then said she to Maid Maleen, “A great piece of luck has befallen thee. I have sprained my foot, and cannot well walk through the streets; thou shalt put on my wedding-clothes and take my place; a greater honour than that thou canst not have!” Maid Maleen, however, refused it, and said, “I wish for no honour which is not suitable for me.” It was in vain, too, that the bride offered her gold. At last she said angrily, “If thou dost not obey me, it shall cost thee thy life. I have but to speak the word, and thy head will lie at thy feet.” Then she was forced to obey, and put on the bride’s magnificent clothes and all her jewels. When she entered the royal hall, every one was amazed at her great beauty, and the King said to his son, “This is the bride whom I have chosen for thee, and whom thou must lead to church.” The bridegroom was astonished, and thought, “She is like my Maid Maleen, and I should believe that it was she herself, but she has long been shut up in the tower, or dead.” He took her by the hand and led her to church. On the way was a nettle-plant, and she said,

“Oh, nettle-plant,
Little nettle-plant,
What dost thou here alone?
I have known the time
When I ate thee unboiled,
When I ate thee unroasted.”
“What art thou saying?” asked the King’s son. “Nothing,” she replied, “I was only thinking of Maid Maleen.” He was surprised that she knew about her, but kept silence. When they came to the foot-plank into the churchyard, she said,
“Foot-bridge, do not break,
I am not the true bride.”
“What art thou saying there?” asked the King’s son. “Nothing,” she replied, “I was only thinking of Maid Maleen.” – “Dost thou know Maid Maleen?” – “No,” she answered, “how should I know her; I have only heard of her.” When they came to the church-door, she said once more,

“Church-door, break not,
I am not the true bride.”
“What art thou saying there?” asked he. “Ah,” she answered, “I was only thinking of Maid Maleen.” Then he took out a precious chain, put it round her neck, and fastened the clasp. Thereupon they entered the church, and the priest joined their hands together before the altar, and married them. He led her home, but she did not speak a single word the whole way. When they got back to the royal palace, she hurried into the bride’s chamber, put off the magnificent clothes and the jewels, dressed herself in her gray gown, and kept nothing but the jewel on her neck, which she had received from the bridegroom.
When the night came, and the bride was to be led into the prince’s apartment, she let her veil fall over her face, that he might not observe the deception. As soon as every one had gone away, he said to her, “What didst thou say to the nettle-plant which was growing by the wayside?”

“To which nettle-plant?” asked she; “I don’t talk to nettle-plants.” – “If thou didst not do it, then thou art not the true bride,” said he. So she bethought herself, and said,

“I must go out unto my maid,
Who keeps my thoughts for me.”
She went out and sought Maid Maleen. “Girl, what hast thou been saying to the nettle?” – “I said nothing but,

“Oh, nettle-plant,
Little nettle-plant,
What dost thou here alone?
I have known the time
When I ate thee unboiled,
When I ate thee unroasted.”
The bride ran back into the chamber, and said, “I know now what I said to the nettle,” and she repeated the words which she had just heard. “But what didst thou say to the foot-bridge when we went over it?” asked the King’s son. “To the foot-bridge?” she answered. “I don’t talk to foot-bridges.” – “Then thou art not the true bride.”
She again said,

“I must go out unto my maid,
Who keeps my thoughts for me,”
And ran out and found Maid Maleen, “Girl, what didst thou say to the foot-bridge?”
“I said nothing but,

“Foot-bridge, do not break,
I am not the true bride.”
“That costs thee thy life!” cried the bride, but she hurried into the room, and said, “I know now what I said to the foot-bridge,” and she repeated the words. “But what didst thou say to the church-door?” – “To the church-door?” she replied; “I don’t talk to church-doors.” – “Then thou art not the true bride.”
She went out and found Maid Maleen, and said, “Girl, what didst thou say to the church-door?”

“I said nothing but,

“Church-door, break not,
I am not the true bride.”
“That will break thy neck for thee!” cried the bride, and flew into a terrible passion, but she hastened back into the room, and said, “I know now what I said to the church-door,” and she repeated the words. “But where hast thou the jewel which I gave thee at the church-door?” – “What jewel?” she answered; “thou didst not give me any jewel.” – “I myself put it round thy neck, and I myself fastened it; if thou dost not know that, thou art not the true bride.” He drew the veil from her face, and when he saw her immeasurable ugliness, he sprang back terrified, and said, “How comest thou here? Who art thou?” – “I am thy betrothed bride, but because I feared lest the people should mock me when they saw me out of doors, I commanded the scullery-maid to dress herself in my clothes, and to go to church instead of me.” – “Where is the girl?” said he; “I want to see her, go and bring her here.” She went out and told the servants that the scullery-maid was an impostor, and that they must take her out into the court-yard and strike off her head. The servants laid hold of Maid Maleen and wanted to drag her out, but she screamed so loudly for help, that the King’s son heard her voice, hurried out of his chamber and ordered them to set the maiden free instantly. Lights were brought, and then he saw on her neck the gold chain which he had given her at the church-door. “Thou art the true bride, said he, “who went with me to the church; come with me now to my room.” When they were both alone, he said, “On the way to church thou didst name Maid Maleen, who was my betrothed bride; if I could believe it possible, I should think she was standing before me thou art like her in every respect.” She answered, “I am Maid Maleen, who for thy sake was imprisoned seven years in the darkness, who suffered hunger and thirst, and has lived so long in want and poverty. To-day, however, the sun is shining on me once more. I was married to thee in the church, and I am thy lawful wife.” Then they kissed each other, and were happy all the days of their lives. The false bride was rewarded for what she had done by having her head cut off.
The tower in which Maid Maleen had been imprisoned remained standing for a long time, and when the children passed by it they sang,

“Kling, klang, gloria.
Who sits within this tower?
A King’s daughter, she sits within,
A sight of her I cannot win,
The wall it will not break,
The stone cannot be pierced.
Little Hans, with your coat so gay,
Follow me, follow me, fast as you may.”